Undergraduate symposium expanded to include humanities

Posted on May 14, 2018

Daniel•Moultrie Science Center was the setting for the Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Erskine’s fifth annual Undergraduate Research Symposium May 7 included student poster presentations in the areas of athletic training, biology, chemistry, mathematics, and psychology; oral presentations in mathematics and history; an art show; and honor recitals in music. “We had campus-wide involvement this year,” Associate Professor of Chemistry and Physics Dr. Tiffany Hayden said. “We expanded it to include humanities and they delivered.”

Peggy Skerratt with her poster

Winners of the poster competition in biology were Sarah Ashbrook, first place, and Elizabeth McKenzie, second place. Ashbrook’s research, “Mesopredator Occurrence Across an Urban to Rural Gradient in Central Appalachia,” was completed during her summer at Eastern Kentucky University under the guidance of Dr. Luke Dodd. McKenzie’s research, “Monoallelic Expression of Autosomal Genes: MED13L,” was completed at the Greenwood Genetics Center under the guidance of Dr. Charles E. Schwartz.

Poster winners in chemistry were Elizabeth Bishop, first place, Adam Hartley, second place, and Peggy Skerratt, third place. Bishop’s work was on “Photocatalytic degradation of aqueous cyanide using compound parabolic reflector arrays” and was done at Erskine’s Center for Environmental Stewardship under the guidance of Professor of Chemistry Dr. Joel Boyd. Hartley’s work was entitled “Predicting the Properties of High Oxidation State Actinide Hydroxides, An(OH)x” and was completed during summer research at the University of Alabama under the guidance of Dr. D.A. Dixon. Skerratt’s work, “Seasonal Comparison of the Photocatalytic Degradation of Tetracycline in Agricultural Wastewater,” was done at the Center for Environmental Stewardship under the guidance of Dr. Joel Boyd.

The first-place poster winner in psychology was Saige Stermin for “Creativity Compared Between Majors and Students.” Her research was done under the guidance of Professor of Psychology Dr. Robert Elsner and Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Briana Van Scoy.

First-place winner for an oral presentation in mathematics was Julie Butler for “A Parallel Implementation of the Random Method of Feasible Directions,” research conducted under the guidance of Associate Professor of Mathematics Dr. Art Gorka.

The Students’ Choice Award for poster presentations was given to Courtney Dale, Dynasty Heyward, Cameron Spires, and Elizabeth Walker for “Fe Extraction from Glazed Pottery using Acid,” a Chemistry 103 Honors Chemistry Lab Research Project under the direction of Dr. Joel Boyd.

People’s Choice Award in the art show: The Washing Vessel

Awards in the Visual Art Show included Katie Loudermilk, Best in Show 2D for Essentials; Gracie Williams for Ready for a Fight; Saige Stermin, Best in Show 3D for The Desert Home; Paul Lawing, second place in 3D for Bog Man. The People’s Choice Award in the art show went to Hayden Banks for The Washing Vessel.

Hayden expressed thanks to the judges and others who helped make this year’s research symposium a success.

Judges for the competitive entries included Laura Bachinski, owner of Main & Maxwell Gallery in Greenwood; Lydia Clarke, graduating senior; Dr. Art Gorka, associate professor of mathematics; Leighton Morgan, a biology graduate; Schanen Smith, a chemistry teacher at Dixie High School; and Jacq Strowd, a psychology graduate.

“We want to thank Ruth Burton in the Bowie Arts Center for her help with the art show, Randy Moore and Aramark for the refreshments, and Provost of the College Dr. John Basie’s office for financial support,” Hayden said.

“Special thanks to Professors Kerri Boyd and Hannah Timms for helping us expand the Undergraduate Research Symposium into the humanities. And it couldn’t happen without the students’ hard work and the work of their faculty members and advisors,” she added.

“I love being able to showcase student accomplishments. Hoping that our symposium in 2019 will be even bigger. Stay tuned!”

2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium participants