MSU celebrates undergraduate research with summer symposium

Mississippi State Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium participant Ashley L. Greene, a senior animal and dairy science major from Saint Johns, Florida, explains her research to Assistant Research Professor Kristine Evans of the university’s Geosystems Research Institute. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Showcasing multifaceted, innovative research currently underway at Mississippi State, 11 students recently were recognized for successful faculty-guided projects during the Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium at the university’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College.

Open to MSU undergraduate students of all majors, the annual competition featured project submissions that were assigned to one of four categories, including arts and humanities, biological sciences and engineering, physical sciences and engineering, and social sciences. In recognition of the university’s Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, a community engagement and service-learning track also was included for the fourth year.

A team of 24 campus faculty members representing a cross-section of academic areas served as judges for the competition.

“We view the encouragement and support of undergraduate research for all Mississippi State students to be part of our core mission,” said Seth F. Oppenheimer, professor of mathematics who also serves as the honors college’s director of undergraduate research.

“Undergraduate research allows students to dive deeply into important ideas and topics in a rigorous and creative manner, paving the way for future intellectual work and exploration in academics, business and life,” Oppenheimer said.

Residents of Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Texas, this year’s winners include (by project type and category):



FIRST—Lily A. Hebert of Brandon, a sophomore English and psychology double-major advised by Tommy Anderson, associate professor of English and director of prestigious external scholarships for MSU’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College.



FIRST—Jessica N. Smith of Picayune, a senior agricultural information science/agricultural communication major advised by Quisto Settle, assistant professor in the School of Human Sciences.


FIRST—Ciarra N. Smith of Starkville, a sophomore biochemistry major advised by Jeffrey Eells, associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Basic Sciences.

SECOND—Izabella Gomes Almeida, an animal and dairy science major from the Federal University of Lavras. Participating in the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program at MSU, she was advised by Jean M.N. Feugang, MSU assistant research professor of animal and dairy sciences.

THIRD—Anna C. Jackson of Starkville, a senior biological sciences major advised by Mark Welch, associate professor of biological sciences.


FIRST—Allyssa Paul, a University of Central Florida mechanical engineering major participating in a Physical Properties of Materials Program Research Experience for Undergraduates funded by the National Science Foundation. While at MSU, she was advised by Masoud Rais-Rohani, professor of aerospace engineering.

SECOND—Jaylin Myers, a Tuskegee University chemical engineering major who is participating in the MSU James Worth Bagley College of Engineering’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program directed by Associate Dean and Professor James Warnock. She was advised by Hongjoo Rhee, associate research professor at MSU’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems.

THIRD—Aaron C. Scoggin of Lawrence, a senior chemical engineering major advised by Priscilla Hill, associate professor of chemical engineering.


FIRST—Emily B. Damm of Starkville, a senior communication/broadcasting and public relations major advised by Skye Cooley, assistant professor of communication.

SECOND—Elizabeth L. Roshelli of Peachtree City, Georgia, a sophomore communication/public relations major advised by Skye Cooley, assistant professor of communication.

THIRD—Harmon Duke of Hooks, Texas, a junior landscape architecture major advised by Elizabeth Payne Tofte, assistant professor of landscape architecture.

Featured speaker for the symposium was MSU Provost and Executive Vice President Judith L. “Judy” Bonner.

In addition to the honors college, the symposium is sponsored by the offices of the Provost and Executive President, and Research and Economic Development, along with the Center for the Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence, MSU Extension Service, National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center, and Phi Kappa Phi honor society.

Learn more about the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College at and

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