Pearl River honors students showcase research at annual symposium
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) -Eleven students from Pearl River Community College participated in the Fall 2021 Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute Research Symposium hosted at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Thad Cochran Center on Monday.
The students gave oral presentations of research conducted covering a variety of topics in the areas of STEM, Social Science and Humanities.
For the STEM category, there was a tie with both Kadence Dedeaux and Seth Ladner being recognized. Sachi Ajmera was selected as the Social Science category winner, and Allyna Pytleski was chosen as the winner of the Humanities category.
“Innovative community colleges across the nation — and Pearl River is definitely in that list — are providing research and presentation opportunities to students because of the significant value research has in engaging students and increasing student success at the university level,” Dr. Terri Ruckel, instructor of English/Hattiesburg Honors institute dean, said. “As a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council, we are following the leading advocate for research symposiums as an exchange of ideas between undergraduate students, providing a platform where students can engage with advanced learning.
“In fact, these PRCC students are rehearsing for the next level of engagement this coming February at the Mississippi Honors Conference to be hosted by Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi. From the state level, they can progress to a regional as well as to a national conference,” Ruckel added.
Dr. Jennifer Seal, dean of the Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute on the Poplarville Campus, served as the host.
After Seal’s welcome, students and guests heard opening remarks from Dr. Greg Underwood, academic dean of the Forrest County Campus; Dr. Jana Causey, vice president of the Forrest County Campus and Dr. Sabine Heinhorst, interim dean of USM Honors College.
Judges for this year’s competition included Dr. David Collum, dean of career and technical instruction of the Forrest County Campus; Dr. Douglas Donohue, instructor of mathematics at the Forrest County Campus; Heather Peerboom, instructor of English at the Forrest County Campus and Dr. Ryan Ruckel, instructor of humanities and social sciences/academic department chair at the Forrest County Campus.
In addition to selecting a winner for each of the three categories, they provided valuable feedback for the students on their presentations.
Dr. William Lewis, former president of Pearl River Community College, was in attendance for the presentations.
“It was most pleasing to witness the mission of the Honors Institute being carried out in the presentation of the research developed by these outstanding students,” Lewis said. “The depth of their inquiry into topics that impact today’s culture was truly insightful. Their ability to organize their findings and to present the materials verbally and visually was inspiring.
“I am truly proud of these young scholars and grateful that my name is associated with the preparation of these future leaders for our society,” Lewis added.
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