Three students represented Concordia College at this year’s Scholars at the Capitol, an event put on by the Minnesota Private College Council to celebrate students’ research efforts and provide an opportunity for students to showcase their work to the public as well as legislators.
The students were Hakima Amiri ’25, Luke Young ’24, and Sophie Schaumann ’24.
Amiri’s research for “Fallen Stories” focused on the 2021 mass refugee crisis out of Afghanistan. She interviewed Afghans who had fled their homes when Taliban soldiers claimed the capital, Kabul, two weeks after U.S. troops left the country. The goal of the project was to “encourage a culture of empathetic dialogue regarding the stories of refugees and their struggles” and to prompt thinking about how to make the U.S. a more inclusive country. Amiri’s faculty advisor on the project was Erin Hemme Froslie, English instructor.
Young and Schaumann presented their research on the abundance of microplastics in the digestive system of waterfowl. They spent the past two summers working with Dr. Jennifer Sweatman, assistant professor of biology, studying ground foragers and dabblers, primarily geese and mallards, that were donated by a North Dakota hunting outfitter.
The students said the public presentation was a valuable way to promote undergraduate research.
“This was an amazing and truly unique opportunity,” Young said. “The questions that were asked by listeners were very interesting and allowed me to see our research from their perspective. We could be discussing with someone who has never heard of microplastics and then transition to someone who is involved with environmental protection in the state wanting to know solutions.”
“This event gave me the opportunity to form connections and have meaningful conversations with legislators, educators, and students from Minnesota,” Schaumann said. “Being able to have thoughtful discussions about important topics and issues is something that doesn't happen every day, and I am very grateful for the experience at Scholars at the Capitol which allowed these conversations to flourish.”