Contact: Landon Gibson
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State provides students with many opportunities to present their innovative research, and the Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium is one of the first options they have to accomplish this.
MSU’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College hosted this year’s recent competition with 23 winners selected from 155 submissions by students conducting faculty-guided research at the university. Projects were categorized in four areas—arts and humanities, biological sciences and engineering, physical sciences and engineering, and social sciences. Certain categories had multiple award winners due to the large number of submissions to the event which encompassed 1,301 visits and 8,630 unique presentation views online.
A team of nearly 60 faculty and advanced doctoral students representing a cross section of academic areas served as competition judges.
Anastasia Elder, the honors college’s associate dean for undergraduate research, said the symposium is a way for the MSU family to celebrate the students’ engagement, curiosity and hard work.
“This symposium is great for undergraduate students to showcase their interest and dedication to their research activities,” said Elder, also a professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Foundations. “We view the encouragement and support of undergraduate research and creative endeavors for all students to be part of our core mission as an institution of higher learning. Participating in undergraduate research is an exciting opportunity for students to complement their academic studies and preparation, paving the way for future intellectual work and exploration.”
This year’s winners represent Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio and Tennessee. They include (by project type and category):
ARTS AND HUMANITIES:
FIRST—Joseph N. Newell, a junior English major from Cary, “Dickinson, Displacement, and her use of Defense Mechanisms to Cope with Psychological Trauma,” mentored by MSU Assistant Professor of English Dhanashree Thorat and Professor of English Lara Dodds.
SECOND—Lindsey B. Downs, a senior English major from Alabaster, Alabama, “Loss, Reckless Behavior, and Jane Austen’s Realism in ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and ‘Persuasion,’” mentored by MSU Professor of English Kelly Marsh.
BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND ENGINEERING:
FIRST—Reese A. Dunne, a senior mechanical engineering major from Starkville, “Development and Implementation of a Magnesium-Based Finite Element Degradation Model for Orthopedic Implants,” mentored by MSU Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering Matthew W. Priddy.
SECOND—Hannah L. Scheaffer, a senior biochemistry major from Ruston, Louisiana, “The Interference of PGD2 in the IL4 Anti-Inflammatory Pathway in THP1 Macrophages,” mentored by MSU Professor of Comparative Biomedical Sciences Matthew Ross.
THIRD (tie)—James D. “Jay” Warren, a senior biomedical engineering major from Gulfport, “Bioprinting and evaluation of PLGA-KGN scaffolds as an augmentation to microfracture,” mentored by MSU Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering Steven H. Elder.
THIRD (tie)—Sarah M. Hobbs, a senior wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture major from Greenwood, South Carolina, “Characterization of Antifungal Activity of Strain A against aflatoxin producer Aspergillus flavus,” mentored by MSU Professor of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology Shien Lu.
THIRD (tie)—Anna E. Gamblin, a senior wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture major from Akron, Ohio, “Annual Coastal Bird Community Response to Natural Vegetation Succession on Dredge-Spoil New Round Island,” mentored by MSU Assistant Professor of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture Raymond Iglay.
PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND ENGINEERING:
FIRST—Hailey C. Jamison, a senior biochemistry/pre-medicine major from Walnut Grove, “Sorption of As(III) Using Fe3O4 Nanoparticles Dispersed on Guadua chacoensis Bamboo (Si-char) and Its Redox Transformations,” mentored by MSU Professor of Chemistry Todd Mlsna.
SECOND—Nirmal K. Bhatt, a senior mechanical engineering major from Collierville, Tennessee, “Thermo-Mechanical Modeling of Tubular Receivers for Solar Energy Storage,” mentored by MSU Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Like Li.
THIRD (tie)—Grace A. Williams, a senior aerospace engineering major from Brandon, “Determination of Mechanical Properties of Sandwich Composite Components,” mentored by MSU Professor of Aerospace Engineering Rani Sullivan and Instructor of Aerospace Engineering Robert Wolz.
THIRD (tie)—James A. Dye, a senior aerospace engineering major from Summit, “Acoustic Levitator in Motion,” mentored by MSU Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering Zhenhua Tian and Visiting Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering Jichul Kim.
THIRD (tie)—Nathan C. Frey, a senior chemistry major from Slidell, Louisiana, “Computational analysis of benzene-fused and extremely twisted pyrene-fused N-heterocyclic germylenes and boranes,” mentored by MSU Professor and Associate Department Head of Chemistry Charles Edwin Webster.
FIRST—Emily M. Davis, a senior chemistry major from Ripley, “Implementing Empathy in Future Healthcare Workers: Injury and Illness (I2) Simulation,” mentored by MSU Associate Professor David Buys, Extension Instructor Ann Sansing and Extension Associate II Jasmine Harris-Speight, all of food science, nutrition and health promotion.
SECOND—Nicole Mejia, a senior psychology major from Ripley, “Do You Care about Clutter?: Hoarding and Apathy,” mentored by MSU Assistant Professor of Psychology Mary E. Dozier.
THIRD—Khirsten J. Wilson, a senior psychology major from Philadelphia, “Bystanders to Bullying: Coping Mechanisms Involved in Challenging Hostile Workplace Dynamics,” mentored by MSU Associate Professor of Psychology Colleen Sinclair.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT RESEARCH TRACK:
FIRST—McKenzie R. Johnson, in the Arts and Humanities category, a senior architecture major from Griffin, Georgia, “Ethical and Empathetic Research in Architectural Education,” mentored by MSU Associate Professor of Architecture Alexis Gregory.
FIRST—Cristina E. Griffith, in Biological Sciences and Engineering category, a senior agribusiness major from Horn Lake, “Precision Agriculture Technologies for Small Farmer Adoption,” mentored by MSU Extension and Research Professor of Agricultural Economics Jeff Johnson and Associate Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering Wes Lowe.
FIRST—Kristin F. Williford, in Social Sciences category, a senior food science, nutrition and health promotion major from Richton, “Food Insecurity and Anxiety Among Mothers During COVID-19,” mentored by MSU Assistant Professor of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion Rahel Mathews.
PUBLIC HEALTH RESEARCH COMPETITION:
FIRST—Nicole Mejia, a senior psychology major from Ripley, “Do You Care about Clutter?: Hoarding and Apathy,” mentored by MSU Assistant Professor of Psychology Mary E. Dozier.
SECOND—Amy H. Pham, a senior food science, nutrition and health major from Hattiesburg, “The Relationship between Obesity and Sleep Quality in College Women,” mentored by MSU Associate Professor of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion Terezie Tolar-Peterson and graduate research assistant Nicole Reeder.
THIRD (tie)—Emily M. Davis, a senior chemistry major from Ripley, “Implementing Empathy in Future Healthcare Workers: Injury and Illness (I2) Simulation,” mentored by MSU Associate Professor David Buys, Extension Instructor Ann Sansing and Extension Associate II Jasmine Harris-Speight, all of food science, nutrition and health promotion.
THIRD (tie)—Katie D. Evans, a senior microbiology major from Louin, “Efficacy of Plant-Based Antimicrobial against Foodborne Salmonella spp. In Hummus Stored at Refrigerated and Abusive Temperatures,” mentored by MSU Assistant Professor of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion Shecoya White.
THETA TAU TOMORROW BUILDER AWARD:
FIRST—Shanika R. Musser, a senior civil engineering major from Starkville, “Potential of biochar for the removal of waterborne microbial contaminants,” mentored by MSU Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Benjamin Magbanua.
In 2006, a generous gift from MSU chemical engineering alumnus Bobby Shackouls and wife Judy transformed the University Honors Program into MSU’s Shackouls Honors College. The program has supported some of the nation’s best and brightest students in their pursuit of educational excellence for more than 50 years. Learn more at www.honors.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.