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"Fellowship of the Mind" 2017 Showcases AUBG Student and Faculty Research for the Eleventh Time

March 16, 2017

One of the most beloved AUBG events – the Student Faculty Research Conference “Fellowship of the Mind” – will take place on April 22, 2017 for the eleventh time.  This year’s edition is in memoriam Professor Cosmina Tanasoiu, who was one of the event’s founders.

“We were thinking of interesting things that could promote the academics, and we talked about research conferences and things that they had at other universities, and we decided to do one here,” said AUBG Dean of Students Lydia Krise, remembering her conversation with Tanasoiu and then-provost Ann Ferren. “She was a very, very big and important part of the conference,” Krise added an emotional recollection.

The event is an important academic experience for both students and faculty. They were very enthusiastic about it from the start, Krise remembers. “I think, especially the faculty have enjoyed it from very beginning, because it’s a good way to showcase what they are doing new and interesting with their students and also to show how special our students are, that the research and development they do is really very good,” she explained.

Krise also said participation in the “Fellowship of the Mind” is a “huge stepping stone for graduate school, for other publications, for jobs.” She noted it is also a good link with other schools that do similar kinds of faculty research.

According to AUBG history professor Markus Wien, who has taken a lead role in organizing the conference, it is really the chance to present research and get conference experience that attracts students to the event. “Conference experience is something which is important;  the conference is not only about giving a paper, listening to the papers and then discussing them, but also about how to –  kind of – find orientation in a conference, how to do networking on a more informal level, conference experience, conference behavior,” Wien said.

He added that faculty also present their papers during the conference, thus creating a sense for an experience among equals between them and the students. “And I think we’ve made some progress in the last couple of years to make the faculty and students appear on equal terms,” he elaborated.

“The format of the conference is really interesting as it allows both students and faculty to present and discuss their research within the same panel. In this way both students and faculty benefit from the opportunity to see issues in their discipline from different perspectives, as well as adapt their speech to the audience,” said AUBG French language professor Krastanka Bozhinova, who is the lead organizer of the event’s current edition.

In her words, another particularity of our conference is its interdisciplinarity. “Although each department organizes its own sessions, I was pleased to see in the last years that faculty and students from different disciplines attend sessions of other departments. Also, each year we invite keynote speakers who work in different fields, e.g. politics, finance, education policies, IT, etc.” Bozhinova explained.

The future ahead of the “Fellowship of the Mind” seems bright. Innovation is constantly taking place. This year, for example, the organizers intend to publish the participants' papers in a new AUBG student faculty research e-journal.  

The e-journal was an idea of Professor Volin Karagiozov, who has contributed a lot to the conference organization throughout the years. “At the moment, the books of abstracts from the last three conferences can be accessed on the conference website but we would like to make the presented research more visible. The full papers will be reviewed before publication and they will become accessible to AUBG faculty and students, as well as to a wider audience,” Bozhinova elaborated on the novelty.

“One of the things that they have done over the last few years is they’ve invited people from other schools to come and participate, and I’d love to see some more of that,” Krise expressed her wish for the event’s future.  

Bozhinova also shares the idea. “At the moment, the conference is open mostly to participants from AUBG. I hope that we will be able to make it more open to external participants, especially by inviting researchers from partner institutions,” she said.

The deadline for abstract submission for this year’s event is March 31, 2017. In this regard, Krise has a powerful message for aspiring participants. “This is one of the most important academic things that we do at AUBG, and I hope that as many students as possible present their senior theses, their senior projects. And I think it’s really, really important to have faculty collaboration, and I think that’s one of the things that our faculty members do the best – collaborative work with students to encourage them to become the best academics, the best business people, the best leaders they can be, to really do in-depth study,” Krise stated.

“My advice is simply not to be afraid; my advice to really take this as an opportunity, and – to the faculty in particular – to get indeed involved in the conference on a level equal with the students and use it as an opportunity to show what you are doing as a research,” Wien encouraged both students and professors.

According to Bozhinova, being exposed to new ideas and obtaining practical experience are among the benefits for students who participate in the conference. “Students can see what their professors are working on outside the classroom and get ideas for their projects,” she said. “Presenting at the conference is also an opportunity for them to get prepared for participation in external conferences, to discuss their findings, as well as to get advice on how to extend their research in the future.  Skills they gain while preparing and participating at the AUBG conference will help them a lot if they decide to do research at the graduate level later,” Bozhinova explained.

This year’s edition of the conference will host Annick Steta as a keynote speaker. Steta is an associate research fellow in economics at the European Research Center in Financial Economics and Business Management (CEREFIGE, University of Lorraine, France).

A graduate from Sciences Po Paris and HEC School of Management in Paris, Steta has a PhD in economics at the University of Nancy 2 and has focused her research interests on monetary economics and transition economics.

She also studies the monetary policy measures adopted by the main central banks after the outbreak of the 2007-2008 financial crisis and is working on a research project examining the current economic situation of advanced countries in the light of Joseph Schumpeter’s economic thought.

Steta is also a member of the editorial board of the French monthly magazine Revue des Deux Mondes, where she writes economics columns and conducts interviews with leading French and international personalities. “I am happy that Dr. Annick Steta accepted our invitation for a keynote speaker. She was a fellow at Harvard University together with Professor Cosmina Tanasoiu, and her presence on campus will be an occasion for us to honor the memory of our colleague and professor who co-founded the AUBG annual conference,” Bozhinova said.

Story by Despina Koleva-Hristova

Photos by Professor Diana Stantcheva, Anu Molor, Yana Aladzhova and Venera Nikolaeva

Link to the "Fellowship of the Mind" conference website: https://srv1.aubg-cos.org/indico/conferenceDisplay.py?confId=5

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