Hawk Talks takes on the future of various disciplines

Anya Dussault, News Editor

Students from various disciplines across campus presented on the future of their field in the hopes of inspiring and educating others as part of  an event titled “Hawk Talks” on Thursday, April 12.

The event , which was held in the Global Heritage Hall Atrium, was hosted by sophomore David Hayes, the president of the Roger Williams University College Democrats club, and sophomore Angeli Tillett, the president of the International Relations Organization club. Structured to mirror a traditional TED Talks event, Hawk Talks involved each student speaker providing a prepared speech on the importance and relevance of their discipline.

In the past, there have been events on campus under the same name during which professors presented on subjects specific to their field. However, this was the first of its kind to feature students.

The presenters of the evening began each of their talks by defining their field and key concepts in their disciplines. Throughout the event, it became clear that all these areas of study are extremely interdisciplinary.

Representing his background in environmental science and sustainability, junior Gavin Maylock spoke on the United Nations’ seventeen sustainability goals, adding that working towards achieving them requires collaboration between people of different fields.

The night took on quite a strong sustainability theme as many presenters spoke about how their fields are being affected or are affecting many of the environmental issues that the global community is facing.

Senior Mary Dinnean spoke on the future of public health, specifically in regard to environmental health. Dinnean described the world’s rising CO2 levels and global surface temperature; migration of populations due to environmental dangers; and the spread of infectious diseases caused by global warming.

A group of Hassenfeld fellows studying architecture said, “We’re in charge of literally building a better future”

The students, who are certified tree stewards, spoke on the importance of planting and saving trees, asking, “How can we be a green planet when there’s no green where it’s most needed?”

Along the same lines of sustainability, junior marine biology major Skyler Roberts highlighted the dangers of plastic pollution and the effects of it on marine life. Roberts explained some misconceptions regarding plastic pollution, distinguishing between macro and microplastics.

Speaking on the importance of educating the youth in regard to the environmental issues society is facing, junior Ryan Lustyik said, “it is important to instill an idea of environmental protection and an overall love for nature in kids at a young age.”

“The future of education should be to educate kids on how important it is to provide a safe environment for [future generations] to grow up in,” Lustyik said. “If the future of education isn’t necessarily sustainable, then there is no future.”

Other presenters spoke on the futures of English literature, forensic science, and psychology.

Senior psychology major Emily O’Neill spoke on some noteworthy industrial and organizational (IO) psychology ideas that are currently happening at well-known companies, including “nap pods” at Google; “Kegmate” at Yelp; and on-site childcare centers at Patagonia.

The student presenters hoped that those in attendance would catch a glimpse of the many exciting happenings within their major, and also understand how relevant their field of study is to the other disciplines offered on campus.

“I think the future of IO psychology is exciting and it’s innovative, and it makes it fun for future graduates like us to be going into the workforce,” O’Neill said, adding, “I think the major goal for IO psychologists is to truly make work not [feel] like work.”