Southern Oregon University reports a 54 percent increase in participants in the second annual Southern Oregon Arts and Research celebration of faculty and student research and artistic achievement.

Southern Oregon University reports a 54 percent increase in participants in the second annual Southern Oregon Arts and Research celebration of faculty and student research and artistic achievement. This year, 178 students, faculty and staff will participate in 42 podium presentations and/or symposia, 28 poster sessions, 11 art exhibitions and four live performances of dance and music. The event continues on the SOU campus through May 21.

"SOAR is a great showcase for SOU's connected learning experiences, intellectual creativity and the outdoor and cultural opportunities in southern Oregon that are integral to the educational experience on our campus," SOU provost James Klein said. "It's the culmination of the school year, the completion of University Seminar, the topping off of capstone projects and the conclusion to long hours of research and artistic creation. What a feast of ideas —178 participants — presenting original thinking in education, business, science, the arts and humanities. This is an opportunity not to be missed."

SOAR opening ceremonies were Tuesday in the Stevenson Union Courtyard with speakers, music and dance performances. University Seminar presentations by freshmen and sophomores were planned from 10 a.m. to 3 pm, Wednesday in the Stevenson Union and Hannon Library. On Thursday other faculty, students and staff will take over the Stevenson Union and Hannon Library to display and discuss their work. All presentations are free and open to the public. Visit http://sou.edu/soar/schedule/ for Thursday's schedule and abstracts of presentations.

Among the May 21 highlights is "Murder Revisited: The Sensational Story of Roseburg's Most Baffling Homicide," by Leah "Candolin" Cook, a student who recently presented her research to the Oregon Historical Society and the Pacific Northwest American Studies Association. The Historical Society will publish Cook's work, done in collaboration with SOU history and political science professor Jay Mullen.

Biological research is the focus of a poster presentation by Drew Albright, Kelsey Evans and Alex Grimaldi — students of associate professor of biology Richard May. "As a student planning to become a physician, I'm excited to present at this year's SOAR," says Albright, a Grants Pass senior. "Our research is focused on early cardiovascular risk in college-aged individuals. In conjunction with SOU's Health and Wellness Center, we're examining the effects of stress, obesity and lifestyle factors."

Other presentations include Movement for the Actor: "The Art of the Fight," a Demonstration of Hand-to-Hand Stage Combat by Maggie McClellan, associate professor of theatre arts; "Leaving Meth: The Career of an Ex-User and Dealer," by student Shannon Bates; and world premieres of music by composers Todd Barton and Dan Maske in the Music Recital Hall.