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All 17 Applying Students Invited to Present at National Research Convention

LCU Students Invited to Present at National Research Convention

Dr. Kenneth Hawley, Director of the Rhodes Institute for Undergraduate Research, has announced that all 17 presentations/posters submitted by LCU students to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) 2020 were accepted.

“LCU’s participation in the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) began in 2010, when 3 faculty mentors took 5 students to Missoula, Montana. Other years have brought scholars to Ithaca, NY (5 students), Ogden, Utah (10 students), LaCrosse, Wisconsin (10 students), Lexington, Kentucky (10 students), Cheney, Washington (23 students), Ashville, North Carolina (12 students), Memphis, Tennessee (14 students), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (19 students), and Atlanta, Georgia (14 students),” said Hawley. “Ten years after our first trip to Montana, 5 faculty mentors will be joined by 17 students at the 2020 NCUR at Montana State University in Bozeman.”

While undergraduate research at LCU began through the efforts of the Honors College and faculty from the sciences, especially Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Biology, it has steadily grown in other areas of campus, with student projects being developed in fields as diverse as Education, Bible, Psychology, Social Work, Youth & Family Ministry, Communication, English, History, Music, and Art. This year, students are presenting projects on a range of topics—from a study of fatty acids in peanuts to an ecological reading of the prophet Micah, and from organic chemistry lab experiments to disability accommodations for social workers.

“We call it ‘undergraduate research’ because most opportunities for specialized, hands-on, mentored research are available only to those in graduate school,” explained Hawley. “LCU’s efforts to support such experiences for our students grew out of the initiative of a few motivated and dedicated faculty, and it continues to develop through the work of committed mentors and curious students. We believe that the formative experience of participating in a research project is not only the culmination of a student’s education here on campus, but also the seed for potential growth and fruit in the years to come—whatever the career path or vocation.”

Each fall, the Advisory Council for the Rhodes Family Institute for Undergraduate Research receives submissions from students who wish to attend NCUR, and after a rigorous vetting process that includes implementing any necessary revisions, the most outstanding projects are approved to apply to the national conference. “With excellent students and a thorough application process, we have always enjoyed a high acceptance rate at NCUR,” explained Hawley. “This year, all 17 student submissions were accepted.”

Early childhood education major Peyton Fortner, who will present her project on Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s theory of education, will travel with Dr. Ronna Privett, her faculty mentor. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to go to NCUR and present research that I’m passionate about,” shared Fortner. “I’m combining education and literature in my presentation, two things that are hopefully part of my future, so I’m very proud and honored to be going to NCUR.”

Dr. Julie Marshall explained just how important undergraduate research is for students, especially those considering further higher education after their undergraduate studies. “Chemistry and Biochemistry students who present at NCUR and LCU Scholars Colloquium have a competitive advantage when applying to graduate or professional school,” she explained. “Students learn how to research a topic, design experiments, collect data, and present their findings. Also, students gain valuable experience presenting research to a variety of audiences, which is excellent preparation for any career path. Taking ownership of the project builds confidence in students as they prepare themselves for life after college.”

Congratulations to the following students and their faculty mentors who will present their work at Montana State University, March 26-28.

Jessie Gutierrez, Biochemistry/Chemistry
Dr. Amanda Boston
Optimizing Experiments for Undergraduate Instructional Organic Chemistry Labs

Stephanie Beers, Biochemistry
Dr. Byron Rogers
Comparative Extraction of Rosmarinus Officinalis L. by Super Critical CO2, Steam Distillation, Cold press, and Solvent Extraction

Caitlin Mannon, Biochemistry
Dr .Julie Marshall
Investigation of Fatty Acid Variants in Arachis hypogaea for Selective Breeding

Kaitlyn Fell, Chemistry
Dr. Julie Marshall and Dr. Jessica Rogers
Characterization of Fatty Acid Composition in Peanuts

Joshua Ochoa, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. Julie Marshall
Sequence diversity in Ara h 3, a major allergen in cultivated peanut

Kailin Davis, Natural Sciences/Cell Biology
Dr. Doug Swartz
Developing Tryptophan Mutants to Monitor Nucleotide Binding Domain Activity in P-glycoprotein, an ATP Binding Cassette Transporter

David Nguyen, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. Lucy Porter
The Effectiveness of Alternative Sweeteners on Biofilm Formation by Streptococcus mutans

Lauren Camp, Com/Fine Arts (Music)
Dr. Philip Camp
Luther's Liturgical Language: The Musical Rhetoric of the Reformation

Luke Shelburne, Biblical Studies
Dr. Michael Martin
Swords into Plowshares: An Ecological Reading of the Prophet Micah

Caleb Scoggins, Humanities/Rhetoric
Dr. Kenneth Hawley
Restorative Rhetoric Moving the Nation

Caleb Ward, English
Dr. Kenneth Hawley
Gotham Before Joker: Taxi Driver’s Violent Road Less Traveled

Madison Wheeler, English
Dr. Kenneth Hawley
Harper Lee as the Jane Austen of South Alabama?: From Social Critique to Social Justice

Peyton Fortner, Humanities
Dr. Ronna Privett
JK Rowling's Theory of Education

Rita Reyes, Humanities
Dr. Kenneth Hawley
The Construction Worker Act of 2020: A Policy Proposal for the Integration of Undocumented Immigrants into the United States of America

Sarah Fantinel, English
Dr. Carole Carroll
Uncovering the Novella: An Exploration and Identification of Generic Form

Taylor Haynes, Social Work
Dr. Jill Johnson
Employee Disability Accommodations Specific to Social Work Tasks

Heather Cannon, Bible/Youth and Family Ministry
Dr. Shannon Rains
Stepping Out and Stepping In: The Role Churches play in Foster Care