Ryan Environmental Research Symposium and Ryan Environmental Prize for Excellence in Research
Established with the generous support of Louis and Prudence Ryan, the Ryan Environmental Research Symposium features the best of student research from scholars in the Batten Honors College. Under the mentorship of VWU Faculty and community leaders, student scholarship featured in the Symposium explores complex environmental challenges in a global context.
Each Spring, students from the Batten Honors College present their research in the symposium. A committee of Batten Professors and Student Representatives will select the best projects from the application pool to present their research at a poster session during the Symposium. The top three students will be selected to present their work in a premiere public event that brings together scholars, mentors, and community leaders.
The Louis and Prudence Ryan Prize recognizes excellence in research presented by a student from the Batten Honors College at the Louis and Prudence Ryan Research Symposium.
- Award - $750 Cash Award, Recognition Plaque, $750 donation in honor of the award winner made to the environmental organization or their choosing.
- Runners-up (2) -$125 Cash Award, Recognition Plaque, $125 donation to an environmental organization of their choosing for each runner-up.
- Institution Recognition - Names of award winners will be placed on plaque prominently displayed on campus.
Batten Honors College students completing their Senior Honors Capstone.
- Clearly state the central research question and/or purpose of the project.
- Define the project approach - paper, qualitative research, analytical/lab research, creative project.
- Provide brief, relevant scholarly or research context (no actual citations required) that demonstrate the project’s attempt to make a unique contribution to the area of inquiry.
- Provide a brief description of the research methodology.
- State conclusions or expected results and the context in which they will be discussed.
The Undergraduate Research Director will convene a committee of 5 adjudicators that will serve on the Award Panel. The panel will feature Batten Professors, a student from the Batten Honors College Junior class, and a local leader from an organization committed to the environment.
All applicants will be adjudicated by the following principles, with the top three projects being invited to present at the public event. Projects will be judged on four criteria:
- Potential Impact of the Project - Project demonstrates one or more solutions/hypotheses that explore a deep comprehension of the problem. Projects are sensitive to contextual factors including: environmental, ethical, logical, and cultural dimensions. The project goals must be achievable and sustainable over time.
- Addressing Environmental Complexities - Project or research question is imaginative, taking into account the complexities of an issue. Scholar understands and articulates the limits of project and solution, or acknowledges scalability of the project to global contexts. Articulates other points of view. The environmental impacts are synthesized within solution and articulated well.
- Strength of Evidence - Project demonstrates skillful use of high quality, credible, relevant sources to develop ideas that are appropriate for the discipline and genre of the writing. Sources of support are integrated seamlessly into the solution to create a nearly irrefutable solution.
- Communication - Well-written and clearly communicates the value of the project relatable to audiences from different backgrounds.