Symposium motivates students to value their goals

Highlights importance of believing in yourself

For Sharon Turrentine, the song “When You Wish Upon a Star” is much more than a song from a children’s movie. It’s a motivational song that depicts the way we should view self-doubt. 

As Turrentine sang, “Anything your heart desires will come to you if your heart is in dream,” the audience sat in confusion wondering what her talk would be about and how it would relate to other talks at the College of Business and Social Sciences symposium.  

Once the song was over, Turrentine explained that she wanted everyone to keep the lyrics of the song in their minds and hearts throughout her talk. 

Turrentine began by asking the audience, “Do you ever wonder about things you would like to do but hesitate for fear of failure?” 

This question was a common theme throughout different talks at the symposium. 

According to Janelle McDaniel, the CBSS symposium is an annual event that allows students and members of the community to connect through talks. 

Each year the symposium has a theme which the talks are centered around. The theme of this year’s symposium was “The Human/Machine Connection.”

The symposium began with the Brain Bowl competition and a talk from the kickoff keynote speaker Gretchen Stangier and ended with a speech from keynote speaker Julia Landauer. 

Landauer is a two-time NASCAR Champion and STEM Education Advocate that spoke about five valuable lessons she learned through these jobs—the importance of taking ownership, be self-aware, work with your fear and not against it, persevering in hard times and the benefits of positive self-talk.  

Landauer brought a different perspective to the symposium because while she based her talk around fear and self-doubt, she related it to the competitive nature of NASCAR racing. 

Landauer explained that while NASCAR has brought her many highs, it has also brought her many lows that she had to work through on her own by realizing she is the only one in control of her narrative. 

“We are only in control of our actions and our reactions,” Landauer said. “If you don’t get something that you want and you look back and think oh there’s something else I could’ve done, that is the most gut-wrenching feeling […] but you have to persevere.” 

Turrentine also talked about the importance of preserving and believing in yourself because you are all you in have. 

“No matter what the circumstances that happen in your life, you can make it work for you in your heart, if you want to,” Turrentine said. 

The messages of Landauer, Turrentine and many other speakers’ talks resonated with many students. 

Trinity Moore, a senior business administration major, went to multiple talks at the symposium that all taught her valuable lessons about valuing her herself and her own goals. 

Moore said she felt connected to Landauer because they are both women in male-dominated fields. 

When asked by a student how Landauer manages being a woman in a male dominated field, she said, “[being in this field] emphasized the importance of seeking out the people who can be good allies.” 

Moore said hearing this made her feel that anything is possible if you stay true to yourself even if you’re in a male-dominated field. 

“You must have the drive and the intrinsic motivation to know what you want and to not let anyone or anything stop you,” Moore said.