Nine Students Win Statewide Awards at LAND Conference

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HFC student Sophia Hart won first place for her clay sculpture of boots called “A Walk In Vincent’s Shoes” at the 2016 Liberal Arts Network for Development (LAND) Conference this past February.

Nine HFC students won awards and earned recognition at the 2016 Liberal Arts Network for Development (LAND) Conference, a statewide community college competition, in Grand Rapids this past February. This is the largest group of winners from a single college.

The nine winners placed in the following categories:

  • Student Scholars,
  • Writing Contest-Fiction, and
  • LAND 3-D Art Competition.

Participants in the Student Scholars category presented their winning research in TED-style “Lightning Talks.” This format borrows from the "Technology, Entertainment, and Design" talks, which requires the speaker to engage directly with the audience, often without a podium and without a teleprompter or a script. However, the talk is generally 10 minutes or less, rehearsed and professionally presented with digital slides. There were a total of eight winners, five of which are from HFC.

HFC student Kelly Pettit gave her presentation on “The Evolution of Electronic Music in Detroit,” where she discussed Detroit’s influence on techno.

HFC student Quilon Patterson spoke on “Black Bottom: The Road Between the Past and the Future,” and the importance of Black Bottom – a predominantly black neighborhood in Detroit known for its contribution to American music, including Blues, Big Band, and Jazz from the 1930s to the 1950s – in the history and culture of African Americans in Detroit.

HFC student Rana Makki shared her talk on “The Controversy Behind Literary Awards,” where she analyzed three major literary awards.

HFC student Jeremy Cross presented on “The Racial Divides of Detroit,” tracing racial conflicts of the 1943 and 1967 race riots to socio-economic and political factors that still plague Detroiters.

The final presentation was given by HFC student Issamar Camacho Almaraz. She used meticulous research to support her presentation on “Segregation and Takeovers in DPS,” which examined state laws that have permitted emergency managers and charter schools in Detroit. Almaraz concluded her presentation with footage of African American student Marketh Jones declaring to the media that Detroit Public School (DPS) students are “not second-class citizens.”

For the Fiction Writing Contest, students shared their work at an open-mic night. Makki placed first for her piece “Mona Talks,” a story about an Arab American girl who learns how to balance her family’s traditions with new American values. HFC student Brittney Arafat won third place for her story “Summer Boys,” which was about a daughter and her mother as they learn about relationships following divorce.

All three awards for the LAND 3-D Art Competition went to HFC students. Sophia Hart won first place for her clay sculpture of boots called “A Walk In Vincent’s Shoes.” Diane Eberts won second place for her “Curvilinear Decorated Tray Set,” which featured a geometric design across multiple plates. Sarah Bosell won third place for “Once Upon A Time,” which was inspired by numerous fairy tales.

LAND seeks to develop and promote a network for strengthening liberal arts education across all 28 of Michigan’s community colleges. LAND sponsors five student competitions to recognize outstanding student work in the liberal arts: student scholars, creative writing, illustration, fine arts and digital literacy.

Dr. Peter Kim, an HFC English professor and LAND representative, recognized the HFC Henry Ford II Honors Program for ensuring that seven Honors Program students who were also LAND winners could attend the LAND Conference. In fact, all five student scholar winners are Honors Program students. Four winning projects were completed as part of the Honors Colloquium, one of the core courses in the Honors Program. Makki, who won in both the Student Scholars and Fiction Writing contests, entered Honors Program-directed study projects.

“The LAND conference is unique in offering community college students a professional conference specifically for them, where they present and engage with fellow students and faculty, discussing their research and creative work while advancing the liberal arts at Michigan’s two-year colleges,” said Kim. “The nine HFC students who were selected this year as winners are exceptional individuals, and I was very fortunate to see five of them give remarkably poised and very meaningful presentations, as well as see seven winners accept their awards. It should be noted that seven of the winners are honors students, so their success is also a testament to the success of our Honors Program. I also enjoyed the opportunity to meet with the parents of four of the attendees who made the trip. The pride in seeing such bright students on their path to what will surely be very successful careers is one of the main reasons LAND holds its annual conference,” said Kim.