Featured photo: Senior Hayley Heacox speaks to students about her internship with NASA at the Chalk Talk Sept. 15 in Arkansas Hall. The purpose of the Chalk Talk program is to help STEM majors build important public speaking skills. (Monica Sanders)
Marking their 20th year this year at UCA, Chalk Talks returned to the science department Sept. 16. Chalk Talks are a series of presentations held every semester in which science students, and occasionally math students, get chances to talk about certain research that they have conducted while at school.
Chalk Talks were started by Chair and Professor of Chemistry Patrick Desrochers out of a need for students to develop public speaking skills to be able to convey their research to the masses.
“This year marks 20 years of Chalk Talks in the College of Natural Science and Mathematics,” lecturer Faith Yarberry said. “Chalk Talks are excellent occasions for students to discover research occurring within CNSM and encourage them to take advantage of these opportunities.”
Yarberry also said Chalk Talks are held three times a semester, and are attended by many faculty, graduate and undergraduate students.
“The ultimate result to audience members is [to]broaden horizons,” Yarberry said.
The duration of a Chalk Talk is usually an hour, allowing for three to four students to speak about their work.
Thursday, speaker Jessica Deyoung, a senior majoring in chemistry, spoke about using her research in analytical chemistry to determine answers to archeological questions. Deyoung’s research with Associate Chemistry Professor Karen Steelman involves examiningcarbon-12 and carbon-14 to calculate the ages of sites through half-lives.
Deyoung said “UCA is actually one of the best undergraduate institutions for natural sciences and mathematics in Arkansas.
She said that because UCA is a smaller school, students have lots of opportunities for “hands-on research.”
Deyoung said Chalk Talks and other seminars provide opportunities for undergrads to get a better idea of the work involved in research and may help them find an academic passion to pursue.
“To be able to provide an opportunity to establish this drive at a younger time in their collegiate experiences is unbelievably important,” Deyoung said.