While most campus activity remained virtual this summer, three Hamilton faculty members brought colleagues and students from around the globe together by hosting academic conferences. Assistant Professor of Physics Kristen Burson co-chaired the 81st Physical Electronics Conference (PEC), Associate Professor of Sociology Jaime Kucinskas convened a Social Mindfulness Symposium, and Associate Professor of Philosophy Russell Marcus co-organized the American Association of Philosophy Teachers (AAPT) summer series.
Burson said the PEC is typically a three-day, in-person conference held at an R1 (research university), but this year the conference took place virtually, featuring a Ph.D. prize talk competition and invited talks from top researchers in the area of physical electronics.
Prior to the conference, Burson said she anticipated that, “[t]he conference will bring positive attention to Hamilton as an institution, bring top scholars in my field ‘to’ Hamilton, bolster my reputation in my scholarly community, and provide an opportunity for Hamilton students to attend leading-edge research talks at a professional conference. I plan to ‘bring’ my summer students.”
Burson said viewing the Nottingham prize competition talks can help students considering graduate school to envision their next steps. Her co-chair was Anibal Boscoboinik, a research scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Kucinskas, author of The Mindful Elite: Mobilizing from the Inside Out, virtually convened top social scientists from around the world, spanning from Iran to California, to discuss the latest research on mindfulness. Topics included mindfulness in organizations and how mindfulness can reduce employees’ emotional exhaustion. Experts discussed whether contemporary critiques of mindfulness are novel.
Kucinskas co-convened the symposium with Kristina Eichel of Brown University.
Both in 2020 and in 2021, Marcus co-organized the AAPT conference, which Hamilton Zoom-hosted. “We were supposed to have one four-day conference,” Marcus said. “Instead, we [did] a summer series of four one-day conferences: who we teach, what we teach, how we teach, and why we teach.
Marcus presented at the “what” day and co-organized the “why” day with Rebecca Millsop of the University of Rhode Island.
Marcus also led a plenary workshop comparing three reasons for teaching philosophy: teaching philosophical content, teaching transferable skills, and teaching philosophy as a way of life.