14 students awarded Oglethorpe research funding

Fourteen students have received undergraduate research awards from Oglethorpe’s Student Research Development Fund, administered annually by the Philip Weltner Library.

Students can apply for funding to help with costs incurred while conducting or presenting research. Funds may be used for attending conferences, research-related equipment, and project and logistical expenses.

Applications were evaluated by a committee comprised of Dr. Lea Alford, Eli Arnold, Dr. Kristen Clayton, Dr. James Goodenberger, Chamyre Hynson, Dr. Kathryn McClymond, Dr. Karen Schmeichel, and Dr. Justin Wise.

Majoring in a range of disciplines, this year’s funding recipients are:

Marnie Neja, French major
Neja will use her award in support of her individual research project, specifically to offset costs of traveling to the University of Georgia’s archives and to interview members of the Vietnamese and Laotian communities throughout Atlanta.

Alex Foret, Chemistry major
Foret’s award supports the presentation of research, titled “Steric effects of nitrogen-based substitutions on fulgide mechanophore reaction pathways: A computational analysis,” together with Dr. Allison Roessler at the American Chemical Society Conference.

Wyatt Jonske, Chemistry major 
Jonske’s award supports the presentation of research titled “Functionalization of Indolylfulgide/Fulgamide Mechanophores using quantum chemical simulations,” together with Dr. Allison Roessler at the American Chemical Society Conference.

Rafael Aragon, Psychology major
Aragon will travel to present advanced experimental research on the effects of video playback speeds and multiple exposures on learning. He will present at the 68th annual meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) in Hilton Head, SC on March 23-26, 2022.

Thomas Baldwin, Biopsychology major
Baldwin will also present his research at the SEPA conference and will use his award for registration, transportation, and lodging.

Karen Becerra, Psychology major 
Lamia Bhuiyan, Biopsychology major
Rachel Lester, Psychology major  
Since September 2020, this group of students has been data collecting as part of Oglethorpe’s Psych Stats and Research Methods courses, taught by Dr. Lisa Hayes. Their funding will be used to cover the cost of presenting their research, which studied the effects of mental illness diagnosis and race on levels of stigmatization of homeless individuals. The co-authors will present at SEPA alongside Dr. Hayes.

Kharynton Beggs, Psychology major 
Alexa Tringali, Biopsychology major 
Since September 2020, co-authors Beggs and Tringali have studied which factors predict the level of fear an individual has toward COVID-19 The research was part of Psych Stats and Research Methods 1 course with Dr.  Justin Wise. Factors analyzed in their study were participants’ belief in science, religiosity, trust in government response, depression level, and the current mood and attitude of participants. Funding will allow these students to present their findings at the SEPA conference alongside Dr. Lisa Hayes. Since this research was conducted when knowledge about COVID-19 was still limited, the students would like to conduct additional research on feelings toward governmental policies and vaccination availability.

Rebecca Castro, Biopsychology major
Castro was awarded funds to attend the SEPA conference and present research conducted for the her Psych Stats class.

Sydney Hamming, Psychology major
In the Fall 2020 semester, Hamming completed a research project for Advanced Experimental Psychology with Dr. Leah Zinner. The experiment involved immersion into stories and the relationship between them and personality measures. Their results found that people who were higher in extroversion had a harder time being immersed within the story, a novel contribution to the literature. Hamming’s research group will present these findings at SEPA.

Tulani Leeks, Psychology major 
Leeks will attend the SEPA conference, where she will present her research on the perceptions of parents and children based on family structure and income. The study results indicated that young adults’ perceptions of parents, quality of life, and child outcomes vary based on the family structure depicted. Additionally, young adults believe that a family’s income is representative of their quality of life and child’s outcome.

Alessandra Nash, Psychology major
In spring 2021, Nash created and conducted a research experiment surveying preferences for different types of therapeutic interventions for children with ADHD, Anxiety, and Autism. She will present her work at the SEPA conference in March.

Since 2016, more than 40 Oglethorpe student-scholars have received these grants for research in a variety of disciplines, including biology, art history, English, chemistry, linguistics, mathematics, psychology, sociology, theatre, and Buddhist philosophy.

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