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Poster session caps off Furman Engaged, memorable experiences for senior

Louisa Brown ’24

Last updated April 15, 2024

By Staff Report

By Louisa Brown ’24 

Furman Engaged is a day dedicated to the many unique learning experiences offered at Furman. On this day, the Trone Student Center is transformed into a professional conference space, with posters and presenters lining the hallways to explain their research. As you walk down the hall, you pass posters describing topics from every discipline, from the influence of TikTok on health to the math behind popular music.

The space is crowded with presenters and audience members alike, although the atmosphere varies with each poster. At some, you may find passionate discussions between majors, fascinated by each other’s work. At others, you may find students laughing as their friends animatedly recount the failures they encountered over the course of the project. The room is loud, filled with scores of people talking at once. Advisors maneuver to proudly take photos, parents lean in to make small talk, and visitors weave haltingly through the posters looking for a topic that sparks their attention.

A Black woman in a black dress talks with people about her poster.

Casey V. Carter G’24, a master’s of science in Community Engaged Medicine student.

As I wander around the event, I stop to talk to friends about their posters. My brother, Hayes Brown ’26, shows me his research, where he combined his background in programming with his interest in board games to create a solver for the game Genius Square. My friend, Brian Mapakamise ’25, shows me different sulfuric acid-ammonia cluster systems he studied using computational chemistry. Another friend, Lily Feingold ’25, explains the association between artificial sweetener and cancer from a group project in her epidemiology class. Even without prior knowledge of their disciplines, I quickly learn so much through their simple explanations.

At last year’s poster session, I presented my own research with the mathematics department, where I predicted March Madness basketball upsets using statistical models. This two-hour session became one of my most treasured Furman memories. After months of research, I could proudly share my work with family, friends and mentors. Even though research was a major part of my summer, even my closest friends didn’t know much about it, since “k-means clustering” doesn’t naturally flow into our daily conversations. The poster session was a unique way to share my academic interests with the people who care about me.

Looking down on a concourse with people and posters.

Furman Engaged 2024

This year, I presented on a project I completed on my MayX in London. During the trip, my class divided into groups to research a cryptology topic of our interest. My group studied the ADFGVX cipher, which was used during World War I. Instead of joining the poster session, we opted to present our research live. The room was completely packed with people: my favorite professors, my parents, familiar classmates and curious underclassmen. Despite this large crowd, I was excited to share my project. I knew the material well and felt proud of the work I had accomplished. I was particularly encouraged when audience members asked questions at the end of the presentation, indicating that they not only understood the material, but wanted to learn more.

As a senior, Furman Engaged is a bittersweet reminder of the many opportunities that I’ve had the past four years. From studying data analytics in Disney World, to living abroad in Spain, to interning at Bank of America, I’ve had experiences that my high school self never thought possible. The event has allowed me to reflect on everything I’ve learned, and the many ways I’ve changed for the better over the course of my college career. I now feel comfortable presenting to a crowded room. I am more open-minded to learning new ideas. I have the confidence to take initiative, solve problems, and thrive in my plans after graduation.

Louisa Brown ’24, a math and Spanish major from Greenville, South Carolina, will work for Bank of America as a global operations analyst in the Enterprise Transaction Services subdivision after graduation in May. Among other awards she won the Delaney Medal in Mathematics for the highest math GPA.

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