Lee Hosts McNair-Ledford Undergraduate Research Symposium

Thursday, October 10, 2019 - by Merritt Jenkins, Lee University
Heather Mellis receiving her poster presentation award from Dr. Michaelia Black
Heather Mellis receiving her poster presentation award from Dr. Michaelia Black

Lee University held the McNair-Ledford Undergraduate Research Symposium on its campus, featuring 28 presentations with cash awards for the winners.

“The McNair-Ledford Research Symposium showcases to our community the high caliber academic work that Lee students are participating in,” said Dr. Kevin Ung, director of the McNair Scholars program. “With the guidance of committed faculty, scholars are able to maintain a high standard of academic excellence found within a small, private liberal arts university.”

Dr. Ernest Brothers, an associate dean for the graduate school at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and director of the Office of Graduate Training and Mentorship, was keynote speaker for the symposium. He provided tips for applying to graduate programs around the country, covered essential topics such as setting up a resume, various funding and scholarship options, best practices for interviewing, and communicating with admission counselors and prospective faculty members.

Following Dr. Brothers’ address, students from all disciplines presented posters of their summer research and various faculty members served as judges. Students also gave oral presentations.

The winners of the poster presentation included Heather Mellis, recipient of $150, for her presentation “Hashtag Thriving: Religiosity in Congruence to Flourishing;” in second place Jared Lutsic received $100 for his presentation “The Role of Nuclear Factor (Erythroid-Derived 2) - Like (NRF2) Response in Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease;” and in third place Alissa Jackson, $50, for her presentation “Characterization of Novel A572T TMEM67 Gene Variant Association with Joubert Syndrome.”

“When I decided to present at the symposium, I never thought I would actually win,” said Ms. Mellis. “Being able to present research that I am passionate about was such a privilege in itself. I'm thankful to be a part of a program that has given me such an incredible opportunity to be a better steward of research.”

The winners of the oral presentations were first place Chanmony Miller, with $150, for her presentation “Teacher’s Perception of Trauma;” in second place Moises Ponce and Rachel Wood with $100 for their presentation “Quest for the Mathematically Ideal Font Using Principal Component Analysis;” and in third place with $50, Desiree LaPeer for her presentation “College Retention Rates of First-Generation Students in Central Appalachia.”

Scholars are given the opportunity to travel regionally and nationally where they are able to compete with their peers from large research universities.

For more information about McNair program or to apply, visit www.leeuniversity.edu/mcnair. The application deadline for the next cohort is Oct. 31.

 

Dr. Ernest Brothers opening the symposium with his keynote address
Dr. Ernest Brothers opening the symposium with his keynote address

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