Most Recent Convention
April 7-9, 2016
Transcending Boundaries in DC/Alexandria!
Embracing both vistas of cherry blossoms and a spring snow storm, Alpha Chi’s student scholars and faculty sponsors gathered in Alexandria, Virginia, for the annual national convention April 7-9, 2016. As the 510 delegates registered on Thursday, many chapters dropped off donation checks and supplies for the International Academy at the Cardozo School, this year’s National Service Project, selected by the student representatives on the convention committee. This service project as well as entries in the Collaborative Research Project competition and the keynote speaker’s address, as well as many individual research presentations, offered compelling aspects of the convention theme of Transcending Boundaries.
Thursday evening’s kick-off reception, featuring dishes from around the world, allowed attendees to network among art and research posters showcased on two floors of the host hotel, the Hilton Mark Center. The next two days continued the concentration on student scholarship, featuring close to 300 presenters from 83 chapters presenting in concurrent, adjudicated sessions organized by academic discipline.
Friday morning’s plenary brunch featured sponsor service awards and recognition of this year’s Distinguished Alumna, Illinois State Representative Avery Bourne. Claiming she little could have believed she’d one day soon be speaking at the podium when she attended the Alpha Chi convention in Nashville in 2013 as an undergrad, Bourne, the youngest award recipient in Alpha Chi history, briskly illustrated the combination of accomplishment and character that led to her recognition. Inducted into the Missouri Epsilon chapter at Columbia College, Bourne’s chief distinction as a high-ability undergrad was her commitment to public service, completing eight internships with legislators before graduation. While in her first year of law school, she was appointed as Illinois’ youngest ever state representative, which encouraged her chapter sponsor, Dr. Tonia Compton, to nominate her for the award. Bourne motivated the students to be bold, to work hard, and to embrace their status as millennials. She celebrated the qualities she shared with the other millennials at the convention (entrepreneurial, diverse, educated, independent, non-partisan, open to talking about new ideas, and optimistic) and challenged them to discover the avenues where they could make a difference in their world. The line for questions after her presentation was long, with students anxious to interact with this engaging and high-energy alumna.
Keynoter Sonia Nazario wowed the audience at the Saturday evening Gala. Her talk merged moving elements of her personal story with the riveting narrative that formed the basis of Enrique’s Journey. Nazario captivated the crowd with the harrowing story of immigrant children who ride the tops of trains from Central America to the United States, searching for their families who have come ahead looking for work. Hundreds waited while Nazario signed copies of her Pulitzer-winning book, often commenting that hers was the most inspirational talk they’d ever heard.
Awards capped the evening, with national scholarship winners announced, conference presentation prizes awarded to 28 students, the $5000 Collaborative Research Prize claimed by Ouachita Baptist University, and Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, sponsored by Dr. James Clarke, taking home the coveted President’s Cup for outstanding chapter in the nation. National Council Vice President Dr. Bill Clemente’s highly anticipated closing slide show of conference pics ushered the audience to their feet and encouraged all to attend next year’s convention in Louisville, Kentucky.