For three hours, help on just about every subject was available for Polk State College students.
The first-ever Research Marathon was a pilot endeavor held at the Library on the Lakeland Campus on Friday, Oct. 27. During the marathon, students had the opportunity to receive help from more than 25 members of faculty, staff, and tutors.
“Some of our library staff, in the past, had the opportunity to attend research marathons at different institutions, which gave us the idea to start our own,” said Courtlann Thomas, Director of Learning Resources for the Lakeland Campus. “The goal was for students to get help with their academics. This was also a great opportunity to create synergy between the departments.”
More than 60 students registered for the Research Marathon where they received one-on-one help from the staff members. Lunch was provided and a $25 Amazon gift card was given away every hour.
“I was able to get some good information for MLA formatting,” said student Nga Huyhn, 38, who was looking for help with her essays. “It was very helpful. I feel prepared.”
Thomas noted that the timing of the event was intentional. She said that for many students, big projects, and term papers are right around the corner.
“It’s been really helpful,” said Cadence Caywood, 18, a freshman working on a research outline for her ENC1101 course. “I spoke to one of the writing tutors and got some pointers on a couple of things I needed to fix. It’s nice to be able to sit down and get the help you need.”
Brandy Mercer, 21, was also working on an assignment for her English Composition class. She arrived in search of help for her compare-and-contrast essay.
“I love the tutors and having my papers looked over,” she said. “This is a great opportunity for students like me.”
The Research Marathon, a joint venture between Polk State Libraries and the Teaching Learning Computing Centers (TLCC) was sponsored by the Student Leadership & Activities Office (SALO). Thomas said without SALO’s help, the event would not have been possible.
“It’s our job to serve the students,” SALO Director Melvin Thompson said. “It’s not often that you can find this many people willing to help you in one place, but I’m happy the students took advantage of it.”
Lia Arreola, 21, was working on a resume for her First-Year Seminar course. She was able to get help from a tutor.
“This is a really nice event,” she said. “It’s neat they have everyone here to help the students.”
Sam Saint-Lot, 19, normally takes classes at Polk State JDA and was visiting the Lakeland Campus for the first time. He originally showed up to earn credit for his First-Year Seminar course, but ended up getting valuable help for a research paper he was working on.
“I got some really helpful tips,” he said. “I didn’t even know you could narrow down dates when doing a search. I’ve learned so much today. I’m really glad I came out.”
Throughout the event, different staff members, including Cody Moyer and Katie Ragsdale gave PowerPoint presentations on a number of topics in a separate room. Library and TLCC staff haven’t ruled out the possibility of making the Research Marathon a mainstay at Polk State. More information, including hours and resources available, about Polk State’s Libraries and TLCCs can be found here.
“We hope to break down the barriers and get students in the door,” said Amy Austin, Librarian. “We want them to know we’re here, we’re friendly, we’re helpful, and approachable. We feel like the library is central to the College. There’s something to be said for making research for fun. We’ve had a really great response to our call for registration.”