Rackham celebrates centennial with symposium

By Channing Robinson, For the Daily
Published February 16, 2012

This year, Rackham Graduate School is celebrating 100 years of educating students from around the world through a series of events and celebrations.

Yesterday, about 200 University students from more than 90 doctoral and master’s programs participated in a symposium commemorating the centennial year of Rackham’s establishment. The symposium allowed students to present research projects, as well as examine the work of peers outside of their own concentrations.

Janet A. Weiss, Rackham dean and vice provost for academic affairs, said the goal of the event was to serve as a opportunity for students to showcase their work to members of the campus community and learn more about other programs.

Rackham was established in 1912 as a school dedicated solely to graduate studies. The school has enrolled over 7,000 students and contains 108 Ph.D. programs, 83 master’s programs and 33 certificate programs, according to Rackham’s website.

Several students who participated in the symposium said it was beneficial for the students not only to present their research, but also to learn about other projects going on within the school.

Clifford Akateh, a medical student at the University Medical School, said though the research projects differ in content, many are similar in that they aim to help others through their work.

“The most exciting thing is to see what all the graduate students are doing … because at the end of the day, what all of us want to do is get a better society,” Akateh said.

Rackham student Wan-Tzu Lo agreed with Akateh’s, noting that she enjoys learning about other disciplines.

“(The symposium is) interdisciplinary, so it’s a big chance for me to go over the other studies,” Lo said. “It’s really exciting to be a part of it.”

Jocelynn Owusu, a student at the School of Public Health, said the event was a good way to celebrate the centennial.

“It’s really great to see all the other different projects that are going on amongst other graduate students and especially at the 100th year anniversary,” Owusu said.

Symposium participants were also quick to share the contributions Rackham has made to their own studies.

Becky Matz, a Rackham student studying chemistry, said the seminars, symposia and workshops were helpful to her research efforts.

Following the symposium, there was a panel discussion to discuss prospects and challenges for students transferring their research to real-world solutions.

In addition to yesterday’s event, the school is also hosting “Can Graduate Education Survive as We Know it?” in April, a career exploration roundtable which will feature Rackham alumni sharing their post-graduation experiences and a series of lectures to highlight different Rackham programs.