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Transylvania students Travis Maynard and Liz Lane present projects at national conference

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Transylvania University seniors Travis Maynard and Liz Lane were chosen to present projects at the 80th Annual Convention of the Southern States Communication Association and 20th Annual Theodore Clevenger Jr. Undergraduate Honors Conference held in early April at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tenn. Writing, rhetoric and communication professor Scott Whiddon, who encouraged them to submit their projects for consideration, called their acceptance to present at the conference “a serious honor.”

Maynard’s project was titled “And on the Eighth Day, God Created Rhetoricians: A Case Study of the Creation Museum.” Lane’s project was “Creativity, Consumers and Copyright: How the Internet and Consumer Usage has Changed the Music Industry.”

Maynard and Lane are both majoring in writing, rhetoric and communication, one of the newest of the university’s 37 majors. The projects were adapted from larger projects they completed for their senior seminar class, the final component of the major. In this class, students essentially design, research and compose an independent research project that is somewhat equivalent to a master's thesis chapter. While the goal is to produce a product that is discipline-specific, students draw heavily upon their liberal arts education background.

“What I like most about the senior seminar is that students build upon their own interests and connect them to ongoing scholarly conversations,” said Whiddon. “Travis' project, an analysis of the Creation Museum, connects well with the scholarship of Ernest Bormann, the originator of fantasy-theme based rhetorical methods. Liz's project, a discussion of peer-to-peer file sharing, copyright laws and the future of music distribution, allowed her to explore her own interests in a way that connects to both academics and legal professionals.”

Maynard and Lane are two of just four students from Transylvania to present at the conference and the first to present since writing, rhetoric and communication became an official major at Transylvania. Previous students were a sociology major with a communication minor, and a student who had self-designed a writing, rhetoric and communication major.

“I am incredibly proud of Travis and Liz for being selected to present at the Undergraduate Honors Conference,” said program director Gary Deaton, “It is a tremendous honor for them, for the WRC program and for Transylvania. I am impressed that both their projects and the presentations were so scholarly, so engaging and so professional. Most of all, I am grateful for all the wonderful contributions Travis and Liz have made to our campus and to the lives of those of us fortunate enough to interact with them on a regular basis.”

4/30/2010

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