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‘Astronomy in Ozark Heritage’ theme of 3rd annual Academic Symposium


“Astronomy in Ozark Heritage” is the theme of the third annual Academic Symposium at Missouri State University-West Plains, set for May 2 at the West Plains Civic Center.

“Since we are having the eclipse in April, we wanted to emphasize astronomy in our theme for this year’s event,” said Ana Estrella, chair of MSU-WP’s public affairs committee which organizes the event. “We will have some presentation devoted to this topic.”

The keynote presentation, “Close Encounters of the Ozark Kind” will be given by Dr. Thomas Kersen, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice at Jackson State University in Mississippi, Estrella said.

In addition, representatives from the DarkSky Missouri will present and man a table with demonstrations and resources, Estrella said. DarkSky Missouri’s mission is to raise awareness about light pollution issues in Missouri, promote quality outdoor lighting, protect our natural environment and our beautiful night sky, and educate the public how reducing light pollution can lower energy costs, according to its website.

The Academic Symposium is designed to celebrate the academic endeavors of students by shining a spotlight on their evidence-based research projects. Students from different degree programs and disciplines will display posters of their work, and several will give presentations outlining their discoveries.

In addition, community leaders and representatives from MSU-WP are welcome to submit proposals to include in the event, as well, Estrella said. The deadline for submitting proposals is 5 p.m. April 19.

“Our goal is to grow this event as the biggest conference in the region where the general public has the opportunity to connect with students, academics and experts while learning more about the projects happening in this area,” Estrella explained. “We would like to invite the community to save the date and join us for this unique event.”

The event will begin at 4 p.m. May 2. Refreshments will be served. Admission is free.

For more information, contact Estrella at AnaEstrellaRiollano@MissouriState.edu.