MSOE students across program areas shared their creativity in the first annual Festival of Big Ideas organized by the General Studies Department. Eleven students participated in the event, which took place April 22 in the Grohmann Museum.

Students were invited to present any topic that promotes intellectual curiosity or provides meaningful entertainment. Entries included musical presentations, a comedy routine, a short film, and formal presentations.

The top three entries received monetary awards, presented by Yazmene Thomas. Abigail Johnson received first place and a $500 award for her presentation “Every Student Should be an Artist”; Matheus Faria Inacio, received second place and $300 for his piano solo entitled, “Impressions of the Human Learning Process”; and the third place prize of $200 went to Logan Readnour for her presentation, “Volunteering: What’s in it for You?”

A team of General Studies faculty – Dr. Nadya Shalamova and Dr. Tammy Rice-Bailey, associate professors, Department Chair Alicia Domack, Ph.D., and Dr. Katie Wikoff, professor – developed the event. Acting as event emcee was lecturer Yazmene Thomas.

“The Festival of Big Ideas was the brain-child of Dr. Nadya Shalamova, who wanted to allow MSOE students to showcase their creativity and ideas,” said Rice-Bailey. “Next year, we are hoping to expand the event.”

Entries were evaluated on their “big-ness” (How buzz-worthy and transformative is the idea?), design (How original and creative was the design of the presentation?) and the execution (Was the delivery engaging or entertaining? Was the delivery seamless and well-prepared?) Faculty judging the event included Wikoff, Dr. William Gonwa and Dr. Leah Newman. About 70 people attended the new event.