ORL students held their popular Paddle Fest at the Oakland Camp swimming hole May 11 following the FRC Student Research Symposium the day before. A tiny tot tries out sitting in a kayak before being fitted with a safety helmet as his parents watch from close by on the beach. Photos by Roni Java

FRC Symposium highlights life changes that come with education

FRC students Randell Willis, left, Rich Kotrba and Dalton Rockwood discussed video gaming, fuel cell cars and technology, and depression at FRC’s Student Research Symposium.

Research engages students with what they are learning and allows them to pay that experience forward when they share with others the things they’ve discovered.

Once in a while, those discoveries change lives.

The second Feather River College Student Research Symposium on May 10 illustrated a number of personal journeys when classmates from 20 different panels and a special plenary session took listeners through a wide range of topics.

“I learned I’d been kind of sneaking by my whole life and it was time to get it together and do something about it,” said Justin Andrew, making his presentation on adventure-based learning in FRC’s Outdoor Recreation Leadership (ORL) class. “There’s a whole lifetime of adventure that I’m working for through this program. I feel like I’m prepared for it. I feel like we’re all ready to move onto bigger and better things and that’s really awesome!”


The student presentations covered wildland fire prevention, global technology, African-American history, gender trouble, 21st century conflicts, native and Hispanic culture, mental health and agriculture, and the environment among other subjects.

The symposium was started in 2017 by Assistant Professor of English Will Lombardi, Ph.D., as a way to celebrate students’ research and writing and encourage them to share their ideas. Working with the other departments at FRC, this year’s event opened the forum to all interested classes and they joined in droves.

The stories they shared were personal, educational and shed light on a variety of life experiences — both in school and outside.

“All my life, I’d been doing what people expected me to, taking what was handed to me,” ORL’s Andrew told his audience. “I used to think I’ll just wing it, fake it until I make it. Now I feel like I want to experience (life). I’ve earned it.”

Nina Martynn, left, prepares to practice vital safety roll techniques in her kayak with her mother as one of two spotters who will aid her as needed in the cold spring creek water. Martynn’s symposium presentation emphasized outdoor sports as a successful way to overcome life’s anxieties and build confidence.

In the globalization and technology panel, student Randell Willis focused his presentation on social and emotional impacts of video gaming and said about 700 million people play games online today. He also touched on health impacts of gaming and offered recommendations including maybe only playing them one hour a day.

Audiences at the panels were encouraged to interact with the student presenters. When Willis was asked what he thought about video gaming’s popularity as a team “e-sport” at schools today, he quipped, “Actually, I think it’s good for kids to get out and exercise!”

FRC History Instructor Stacy Svilich echoed similar themes in her keynote speech when she urged students to grow by challenging themselves in life and in their education.

“Remember, your story deserves to be told,” Svilich said. “You will be part of many communities in your life. Leave a positive impact wherever you go.”

FRC Environmental Studies students opened the Student Research Symposium with an impressive plenary session on the FRC watershed and forest health. Their remarks included information about preventing wildfire in the wildland-urban interface.