Business school holds first research festival

A tree-planting project is one of many projects students in the Neeley School of Business undertook and will present at the school’s first Festival of Student Scholarship and Creativity today.

Twenty-one students from the Neeley Fellows Program, the BNSF Next Generation Leadership Program and the Educational Investment Fund will present their research at the festival, Lynn Cole, assistant dean of Neeley’s undergraduate program, wrote in an e-mail. Neeley joins several academic units around the university that hold research symposiums during Honors Week.

“We chose to start with these programs and hope to engage a variety of faculty next year,” said Beata Jones, director of Neeley Fellows, members of the business school honors program.

Jones said three Neeley Fellows teams will present their service-learning projects. One of the teams researched the Near Southside Tree Planting Program and chose the best locations for the trees, researched tree species, garnered community support and developed a budget for the program, she said.

Jones said another Neeley Fellows team conducted marketing research for Samaritan House, organizing focus groups to assess community needs, and a third team conducted a financial analysis for a new Samaritan House community, she said. Service-learning projects are a required part of the Neeley Fellows program but are not done for academic credit, she said.

“The students are utilizing business skills that they learn in the classroom to help nonprofit agencies with issues they otherwise could not complete,” Jones said. “This is real service for real organizations.”

Two BNSF teams that won the leadership-challenge case competition will also present their projects. Three students who help manage the $1.5 million portfolio for the Educational Investment Fund will present their annual report at the conclusion of the festival.

Cole said she is impressed with the research students conducted.

“The amount of time invested and the quality of work that is produced is remarkable,” Cole said. “We are proud to have the opportunity to showcase Neeley student scholarship and creativity in this way.”

Lyndsey McClelland, a junior finance major who will present during the festival, said the festival will give her a chance to practice her presentation skills and share her work with others.

“It’s a great opportunity to share how the program has helped us and how we’ve helped the community,” she said.

McClelland said she hopes this year’s presentations will raise awareness about how business students can use their skills to benefit the community.

Jones said she would eventually like to see several classes that complete applied coursework participate in the festival.

She said several of the projects are from cocurricular activities rather than course requirements and said she hopes the festival will inspire students to engage in research.

“Hopefully we’ll generate enthusiasm in students to share their work in the festival,” Jones said.

For Your Info

Festival of Student Scholarship and Creativity at Neeley
When: 1 to 3 p.m. today
Where: Smith Hall, Room 104
Open to the public