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Sparks Research Symposium
Celebrating Dr. Sparks' commitment to funding student and faculty scholarship

March 25, 2022 • 1-5:30 p.m.
Forbes Center for the Performing Arts 

While Dr. Sparks’ legacy in the visual and performing arts is perpetually on display through the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts, Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Arts, and the Lisanby Museum, he was also deeply committed to supporting a range of scholarly activities that you might not see in a gallery or hear on a stage. As part of commemorating the George E. Sparks College of Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship Endowment, we invite you to join us for a showcase of the breadth of student, faculty and alumni research Dr. Sparks supported through CVPA Undergraduate Research Grants and CVPA Faculty Summer Grants, initiatives that have evolved into CVPA Development Grants.

We welcome you to join us for any of the following presentations:

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1 p.m. | Faculty and Alumni PechaKucha Presentations

Hear from faculty and alumni how scholarship funds have driven their artistic growth through CVPA Undergraduate Research Grants, Faculty Development Awards and Student Development Awards. Presentations will be in PechaKucha format.

PechaKucha, a Japanese phrase that means "chit chat," is a story-telling style in which the presenter shows 20 slides for 20 seconds each. Slides advance on a timer, the presenter must keep their story in synch, and so each story is told in 400 seconds.

  • Audrey Barnes (SADAH)
  • Dympha DeWild (SADAH)
  • Jessica Del Vecchio (STAD)
  • Kelsey Gilchriest (alumna, STAD)
  • Matt Gurniak (alumnus, STAD)
  • Melissa Leider (alumna, SOM)
  • Monica Slater (alumna, SOM)
  • Jon Stapleton (alumnus, SOM)
  • Anna Stegmeier (SADAH)
  • Marina Wright (alumna, STAD)
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2:30 p.m. | Student Research Poster Session

Students will showcase how development awards have supported their academic research and creative scholarship, answer questions and discuss their work with visitors. 

  • Hannah Breen (STAD)
  • Ashton Clevenger (STAD)
  • Hailey Clevenger (STAD)
  • Ben Steinhauer (STAD)
  • David Swanson (SOM)
  • Isabella "Bee" Swatosh (SADAH)
  • Grace Templeton (SOM)
  • Xaiver Williams (SOM)
  • Diana Witt (STAD)
  • Joshua Villa (SOM)
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4 p.m. | Madison Scholar Lecture & Reception

Take a deep dive into graphic design with this year's Madison Scholar Professor Rich Hilliard, who has earned national and international recognition for his work for the AMC+/SHUDDER series "Creepshow," his contributions to the industry and his 23 years of teaching at JMU.  The following reception honoring Professor Hilliard will offer snacks, coffee and tea.

Help make the arts accessible to all aspiring Dukes

Support the George E. Sparks College of Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship EndowmentContributions to this fund help make students’ dreams of a coveted JMU arts degree a reality. The seed to grow such a scholarship fund in CVPA was planted in February 2020 in honor of Dean Sparks and his belief in the potential of our students. Now in his memory, we want that seed to grow into his dream of sustainable scholarship funds. 

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