2020 Honors Conference Noted for First All-Women Cohort

While the student presentations submitted as part of this year’s Honors Research Conference demonstrated the usual academic excellence of Millsaps students, they weren’t the distinguishing component of this group of students.

As far as can be determined, this was also the first all-women cohort of students participating in the Honors Research Conference.

The 13 students presented their research in February on a range of academic disciplines, including psychology, religious studies, biology, applied math, biochemistry, anthropology, sociology, English, and history.

Dr. Cory Toyota, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and director of the Honors Program, said the program provides students the opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor on projects that they generate. Juniors with at least a 3.300 grade point average are invited to submit a proposal for a project in the fall of his or her junior year. Research is conducted during the spring semester and the summer, the fall of the senior year is spent writing and making revisions, and the thesis is defended in front of the Honors committee toward the end of the fall semester. Results of the project are presented at the annual Honors Conference during the spring of the senior year.

This year’s presentations included:

  • Laurel Stringer (Honors in applied math)—Damage Assessment of Y-TZP-Based Ceramic Frameworks
  • Beth Hawkins (Honors in psychology)—The Effect of Stress, Anxiety, and Gender: Memory Differences for Emotional and Neutral Material in College Students
  • Sree Vedala (Honors in religious studies)—The Dark Selfish Thief: The Image of Vishnu in Social Justice Movements
  • Payton Passantino (Honors in biology)—Hybridization of Graptemys pseudogeographica (False Map Turtle) and Graptemys oculifera (Ringed Sawback) in the Pearl River, Jackson, MS
  • Cailey Ness (Honors in biochemistry)—Method Development for Total Mitochondrial DNA Sequencing of Plethodon websteri and Plethodon ventralis
  • Ke’Ancerlar Birge (Honors in sociology)—Teenage Pregnancy: The Effects of Structural Disadvantages on the Culture Environment
  • Shanbai “Bonnie” Yang (Honors in sociology)—International Division of Domestic Labor: Myanmar Women Working as Domestic Workers in China
  • Alexis Carter (Honors in English)—Odyssey of the Modern Soul
  • Erica Bennett (Honors in religious studies)—Normalizing New Religious Movements: A Deeper Look into the Effects of Social Opinion on New Religious Movements in the Southeastern United States
  • Genesis Ranel (Honors in history)—Service, Activism, and Violence: African Americans in World War I and The Red Summer of 1919
  • Morgan Vincent (Honors in biochemistry)—Trichomonas Vaginalis Virus: Phylogeographic, Molecular Clock, and Global Prevalence Analyses
  • Lauren Ferguson (Honors in sociology)—You Will Know Who I Am: Investigating the Social Nature of School Shootings
  • Emma Jochim (Honors in biology)—Species Delimitation and Taxonomic Status of Vaejovis Scorpions in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona
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