Student Projects Shine at Annual Symposium


More than 60 students presented their academic projects at the 2019 JSU Student Symposium on Feb. 13-15, where they had the opportunity to step outside the confines of the classroom and present their research projects in a professional setting. 

The symposium can trace its roots back to 1995, before going on a brief hiatus. It was originally open just to students from the School of Arts and Sciences (now the School of Arts and Humanities and School of Sciences), but for the past two years it has accepted presentations from the entire university. 

“There’s so much good work going on at JSU, and so much of it is happening outside of class,” said Dr. Jan Case, mathematics professor and event organizer. “Students are doing research projects, working in labs, and it seemed a shame that they were largely hidden or presenting their work at professional meetings away from campus.”

The Symposium showcases student work from a diverse range of disciplines across campus – from posters and papers to demonstrations and artwork. “This is the highlight of my academic year,” said Case, who has been organizing the event for well over a decade.

The following awards were presented at the end of the three-day event:

Awards for Best of School

  • Best Award - School of Science (Undergraduate)– James King and Madeline Miles: “The Jacksonville Tornado; a Scientific Retrospective” (paper, advised by Dr. Ross Martin)
  • Best Award - School of Science (Graduate)– Vanessa Chappell: “Eukaryotic Conservation of Interactions Between Histone Proteins and Mitochondria” (paper, advised by Dr. Roger Sauterer)
  • Best Award - School of Arts and Humanities (Undergraduate)– Rebekah Britton: “What A Wonderful Memory” (paper, advised by Dr. Sarah Cusimano Miles)

Category Awards

  • Best Paper (Undergraduate)– Katie Peyton: “Studying the ‘Oak’ Testament (advised by Jennifer Foster)
  • Best Paper (Graduate) – Derek Peacock: “Vascular Flora of the Hinds Road Outcrop Forever Wild Tract, Etowah County, Alabama” (advised by Dr. Jimmy Triplett)
  • Best Poster (Undergraduate)- (tie) Robi Ledbetter, Brianna Mercier, Blake Cook, Daisha Wilks, Jay Hagan: “The Effects of Urban Heat Islands on Faxonious erichsonianus Aggression in Local Lotic Systems” (advised by Dr. Sarah Wofford)
  • Best Poster (Undergraduate)- (tie) Georgia Chamblee: “L-dopa Docking in Aromatic L-amino Acid Decarboxylase Enzyme and Amino Acid Interactions” (advised by Dr. Donna Perygin)
  • Best Poster (Graduate) - (tie) Annie Slayton: “Helminth Infection Dynamics in Pomacea maculata (Ampullariidae), Giant Apple Snails, in Three Mile Creek in Mobile, Alabama” (advised by Dr. Lori Tolley-Jordan)
  • Best Poster (Graduate) - (tie)Sarah Lagon: “A Synthesis: Measurements Commonly Utilized to Determine Effects of Urban Runoff on Water Quality in Freshwater Systems Across the Continental USA” (advised by Dr. Jimmy Triplett)
  • Best Demonstration – George Beason: “Cluster Analysis Software for Genealogical Data” (advised by Dr. Benjie Blair and Dr. Monica Trifas)
  • Best Cover Design– Christian Everhart: winning cover elected for printed Symposium program (advised by Christian Dunn and Chad Anderson)
  • Houston Cole Library Award for Research Excellence - Cecelia Davis: “A Review of Nonpoint Source Pollution Models for Managing Agricultural Watersheds” (poster, advised by Dr. Lori Tolley-Jordan

Award for Best of Showcase – Rayne Ragains: “The Presence of Legionella in Potting Soil” (paper, advised by Richard Watkins)

Student presentations may be viewed on the JSU Student Symposium’s YouTube channel. Registration for the 2020 Student Symposium will open in December 2019.