This year's Quest bigger, adds new features

This year’s edition of Quest, SUNY Oswego’s annual daylong symposium celebrating scholarship and creative activity, on April 22 will be the biggest yet with many new features.

Around 275 talks, posters and other activities will fill the Campus Center, said Quest coordinator Jack Gelfand, SUNY Oswego’s director of research administration and development. “That’s a substantial increase from last year,” with the rise coming “across the board” among academic disciplines, he said.

Quest’s engaging students in intellectual activities is important, Gelfand said. “There’s a certain type of infectious enthusiasm that gets passed around when you have an event like this,” he explained. “When students see another student or group of students giving a presentation in their field, it really encourages them to start a new project or work on their projects even harder.”

The college’s move into engineering, with a software engineering major approved plus electrical and computer engineering in development, represents one new daylong feature in Room 209 of the Campus Center. Rachid Manseur, who spearheads the effort to develop an electrical and computer engineering major, will explain this process in the opening 9 a.m. session. Throughout the day, faculty and students working on engineering-related projects in such fields as software, robotics and nanotechnology will discuss their work. An autonomous vehicle contest featuring robotic cars at 4 p.m. will culminate the track.

A daylong track on energy, environment and society will feature two keynote speakers, morning sessions in the Campus Center auditorium and afternoon talks in Room P322. Carrier Corp. Technology Fellow John Vasselli will speak at 9 a.m. about “Global Challenges to America’s Future.” Binghamton University professor and influential researcher M. Stanley Whittingham, who helped develop the lithium battery, will discuss “A Cleaner and Energy-Independent America through Science and Public Participation” at 10 a.m. Other sessions will include talks on the business of sustainability, wind energy generation and campus green initiatives.

A series on research and other activities at Rice Creek Field Station, initiated by new director Lucina Hernandez, will be another added emphasis. Starting at 9 a.m. in Room 205 of the Campus Center, students and faculty will discuss research on the flora, fauna and environment of the field station. “We’re hoping that this special session highlighting Rice Creek will promote even more activity,” Gelfand said.

Organizers worked with the Student Association Programming Board this year to find a keynote speaker with increased appeal to students. After an SAPB survey found students most interested in a motivational speaker, the group booked Kevin Snyder to present “Passion, Persistence and ‘The Price Is Right’” at 1 p.m. in the Campus Center auditorium. Snyder discusses what his pursuit of getting on the popular game show taught him about life, overcoming obstacles and meeting goals.

All Quest activities are free and open to the public. More information and a schedule can be found at

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(Posted: Mar 31, 2009)