The Brightest - Past Accomplishments
DEPARTMENT OF CHEMISTRY
Highlighting research on membrane proteins whose signaling plays a critical role in
regulating physiological functions
Feb 2022 - GREGORY L. SZWABOWSKI, graduate student, Department of Chemistry. His research involves the study of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR), membrane proteins whose signaling plays a critical role in regulating physiological functions such as immune responses and neurotransmission. As a graduate student, he has worked on developing and automating new workflows to computationally predict protein structure and ligand-protein interaction patterns to aid in the discovery of new GPCR ligands. When GPCR signaling is dysregulated, diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart failure can manifest. Thus, development of GPCR-based therapeutics is an area of interest of the pharmaceutical industry, with GPCR serving as the targets of ~33-50% of all FDA-approved drugs. Although these receptors possess immense therapeutic significance, there are two main challenges in GPCR ligand identification. The first challenge stems from a lack of experimentally determined structural information, as only ~13% of the over 800 known GPCR have experimentally determined structures. Since it is difficult to identify prospective ligands for a receptor without first analyzing its structure, researchers often rely on computational methods such as homology modeling (generating a predictive model of a protein lacking structure using a closely related template structure) or loop modeling (conformational sampling of the structurally variable extracellular loop 2 (ECL2) region of GPCR) to make structural predictions. In addition to a lack of resolved structures, many GPCR possess few or no known ligands, leaving the physiological roles and functions of many GPCR targets challenging to investigate. However, new developments in virtual screening (a computational technique used to search compound libraries and identify ligands likely to bind a target) are likely to aid the GPCR ligand discovery process.
The first project Szwabowski embarked on as a graduate student involved benchmarking a method of GPCR structure prediction that integrated the efforts of two prior graduate students. This project involved the generation of predictive models for 8 GPCR with known structure, which allowed him to test the accuracy of our modeling methods based on comparisons to experimentally determined reference structures. His research showed that when the group's homology modeling efforts were combined with ECL2 modeling while maintaining the template structure’s ligand during the modeling process, improvements in homology model quality and docked pose quality were found. As such, this method of GPCR structure prediction is now standard practice in numerous ongoing projects of several graduate students in Gregory’s research group.
Szwabowski’s recent research has focused on the development of pharmacophore models, which are three-dimensional arrangements of molecular features conferring biological activity. Pharmacophore models serve as a template with which to match prospective ligands during the virtual screening process and are therefore of great use to GPCR ligand identification efforts. He has developed two methods of pharmacophore model generation that are able to use crystal structures or predictive models of GPCR to identify sets of optimal ligand interactions for use in virtual screening efforts. Thus far, the GPCR ligand identification workflows he has developed have proved useful in identifying candidate ligands for two example GPCR and should prove useful to his group’s research efforts for years to come.
Computer Science: Subash Poudyal
Subash Poudyal is a doctoral candidate working with Prof. Dipankar Dasgupta on cybersecurity issues. Subash completed his undergraduate studies in computer science and information technology in 2011 from St. Xavier’s College, Tribhuvan University of Nepal, after which he worked for about five years as a professional software engineer. He joined the University of Memphis in 2017. In addition to his research work, he serves as a system administrator at the Center for Information Assurance and conducts hands-on labs in topics such as web security, network analysis, secure coding, identity management, penetration testing, and malware analysis for both graduate and undergraduate students.
Recently, Subash's work on ransomware and possible AI-based countermeasures was featured in Analytics India Magazine. Cybercriminals are constantly changing their attack strategy, and security checkpoints often miss catching them. "It is possible to capture malware even if they bypass other checkpoints," says Subash. "There is a need for an intelligent way to combat ransomware attacks. We need to leverage the power of artificial intelligence and advanced reverse engineering techniques to build a robust detection system with low false positives and the ability to catch even zero-day ransomware attacks. Our AI framework is designed to address these challenges."
Subash also presented this work at the April 2021 Hot Topics in the Science of Security (HoTSoS) conference, hosted virtually by the National Security Agency.
More information about Subash can be found on his personal website at https://sites.google.com/view/subashpoudyal.
Graduate School Fellowship and Scholarship Awards Spring 2021
Congratulations to the following winners of Graduate School Fellowships and Scholarships!
University of Memphis Society Doctoral Fellowship: Anna Liley (Psychology)
Morton Dissertation Award: Michael Ardoline (Philosophy)
Morton Thesis Award: Ebenezer Kpuinen (Sociology)
Graduate Assistant Meritorious Teaching Award (GAMTA): Corey Reed (Philosophy)
Graduate Student Research Forum Awards Spring 2021
Math and Computer Sciences
1st place: Mazharul Hossain, Computer Science
2nd place: Subash Poudyal, Computer Science
Physical and Applied Sciences
1st place: Paige Castleman, Chemistry
2nd place: Thomas Summers, Chemistry
Social and Behavioral Science
1st place: Rachel Clark, Earth Sciences
2nd place: Megan McWain, Psychology
View a full list of abstracts for the 33rd Annual Student Research Forum.
Department of Anthropology
Alexis Wade, MA candidate in the Department of Anthropology, interviewed two alumni (Dr. Christina Blanchard-Horan (MA ’96) and Theo Davis (’14)). Excerpts of their conversations can be seen in the department newsletter.
Department of Biological Sciences
First Place in 33rd Annual Student Research Forum
Emma Micer, a senior biology and chemistry double major in Dr. Jaime Sabel’s lab, won first place in the 33rd Annual Student Research Forum in the undergraduate Education category. Their research was titled, “Exploring Undergraduate Chemistry and Biology Students’ Understanding of Enzymes.” Congratulations Emma!
Biology scholarships for the academic year 2021-2022
The Department of Biological Sciences Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce
the names of the recipients of the biology scholarships for the academic year 2021-2022:
The Botany Scholarship -- Jie Meltesen
The Dr. Virginia M. Norton & Dan Norton Scholarship -- Sarah Coleman
The Elizabeth K. Perryman Scholarship -- Isis Davis
The Goldye L. Feinstone Scholarship -- Saba Rohani & Razan Sweileh
Congratulations to all our scholarship recipients!
Thesis and Dissertations
Congratulations to Mike Ballou who successfully defended his Masters Thesis entitled “Distribution and genetic diversity of Nabulus serpentarius and its common congener N. trifoliolatus (Asteraceae) with implication on conservation” on March 16th. Mike performed his thesis work in the lab of Dr. Jennifer Mandel.
Congratulations to Kathryn Parsley who successfully defended her dissertation entitled “Exploring New Approaches to the Problem of Plant Awareness Disparity in Undergraduate Students" yesterday. Kate performed her research in the laboratory of Dr. Jaime Sabel.
Congratulations to Dr. Elyan Shor who successfully defended her dissertation entitled “Environment, Brain, and Behavior: Neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying seasonal Rhythms in stress, immunity, and the gut microbiota in Siberian hamsters (Phodopus subgroups) “. Dr Shor performed her dissertation research in the laboratory of Dr. David Freeman.
From the Bower's Lab
Parental favoritism in a wild bird population (Madison Brode, Kelly D. Miller, Ashley J. Atkins Coleman, Kelly L. O’Neil, LeighAnn E. Poole & E. Keith Bowers )
In most taxa with altricial young, offspring solicit food from their parents using a combination of visual and acoustic stimuli, but exactly what these young are communicating, and how selection shapes parental responses, remains unresolved. Theory posits that parents’ interpretation and response to begging should vary with the likelihood of a return on their investment. We tested this in a wild population of prothonotary warblers (Protonotaria citrea), predicting that parents bias food non-randomly toward certain individuals within their broods depending on both the size and number of offspring. Full Abstract | More Publications from the Bower's Lab
Congratulations to Dr. Prabin Shrestha who recently successfully defended his dissertation entitled “Triangluating the webs of environment influences, bacteria, and antibiotics”. Dr. Shrestha performed his dissertation work in the lab of Dr. T Y Wong.
Department of Computer Science
Mazharul Hossain, Subash Poudyal Awarded at Student Research Forum
PhD students Mazharul Hossain and Subash Poudyal were awarded first and second place, respectively, in the Math and Computer Science category at the UofM's 33rd Annual Student Research Forum.
Department of English
Congratulations to Emily Binkley, this year's recipient of the Dean's Outstanding Student Award! The Dean’s Outstanding Student Award recognizes graduating undergraduate students who have earned academic achievement; as well as demonstrating leadership, character, scholarship, and service to the University and the greater community.
Department of History
Congratulations to two Department of History undergraduate majors, Sophia Rouse and Anna Wiener. Both were selected as Research Fellows with the Honors College for Summer 2021. Ms. Rouse is the leader of the Student History Society, and Ms. Wiener recently presented her research at our annual undergrad colloquium HURC in the HERC.
Please join us in congratulating them!
Department of Political Science
Thesis and Dissertations
Congratulations to Jacob Pollock for successfully defending his MA thesis today! The project is titled "Argentine Dependency, Devaluation, and Default: A Study of Argentina’s Economic Crises from 2001 to the Present." Way to go, Jacob!
School of Social Work Student Awards
These student awards are nominated and selected by the School of Social Work faculty.
- Jacqueline Yarbrough | BA in SW Student of the Year
- Stacey Abraham Bayard Rustin Academic Excellence MSW Award
- Anna Hunter Corri R. Thomas MSW Student Excellence in Field Award
- Taylor Churchwell Ida B. Wells Advocacy and Leadership MSW Award
This awards are selected by the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy.
- Ricki Martin SUAPP Outstanding Student Engagement Award
These awards are nominated by School of Social Work faculty and selected by NASW-TN.
- Kevin Shea NASW-TN West Branch BSW Student of the Year Award
- Jay Allen Stone NASW-TN West Branch MSW Student of the Year Award
Department of Sociology
Congratulations to Jalen Zwart, the 2020-2021 Jerry Michel Outstanding Senior in Sociology!
Department of World Languages & Literatures
Savannah Ealy is this year’s recipient of the Department of World Languages and Literatures Outstanding Senior Award. Savannah is graduating with a double concentration in Chinese and Japanese, as well as University Honors and a minor in International Studies. Savannah was nominated for the award by Dr. Lan Zhang.
Elizabeth Spitznas is this year’s University of Memphis recipient of the Senior Award of the American Association of Teachers of French. This award requires the student to have grades of A in all French coursework as well as participation in activities such as study abroad and departmental organizations. Liz is graduating this semester with a double major in World Languages (French) and Psychology. Liz will be continuing her studies in the fall in the University of Memphis School Psychology M.A./Ed.S. program.
David Cole will be attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa pursuing masters degree in education, specifically secondary school education with a focus on social studies. David is graduating this semester with a concentration in Japanese.
Keisha Prater will be graduating this semester with concentrations in German and Japanese. She eventually plans on coming back to school. Upon graduation she will be a commissioned field artillery officer for the United States Army.
Dr. Robert Kelz has shared the following information about one of his students: Sophia Rouse's project (under the guidance of Dr. Kelz) is the first place winner in the 33rd Annual Student Research Forum for the Liberal and Fine Arts category. The project is entitled, "Standing in the Doorway: German Immigrants' Identities and Integration Along the Southern Mississippi River, 1830-1873." Sophia is a Junior majoring in World Languages (German) and History.
Dr. Yuki Matsuda reports that ten Japanese students are graduating this May. Among them six students were inducted into the prestigious Japanese National Honor Society this semester. A celebration ceremony was held on April 23 (Fri) during the semester's last virtual language table. Congratulations!
Fall 2019 through Fall 2020
Meet the Honors Summer Research Fellows of CAS and their mentors
Each year the Honors College provides an opportunity for 10 undergraduate students to work with UofM faculty on research projects throughout the summer months. In addition to receiving a stipend to conduct research over the summer, the students also receive funding to travel to state and national conferences to present their research during the 2020-21 academic year. The Honors College is pleased to announce the 2020 Honors Summer Research Fellows: (listed below are from the College of Arts & Sciences)
- Michael Chaney (Biomechanical Engineering) / Mentor: Timothy Brewster, Chemistry
- Wesley Roberts (Psychology) / Mentor: Gina Cauci, Psychology
- Sydney Prather (English) / Mentor: Sage Graham, English
- Emma Micer (Biology/Chemistry) / Mentor: Jaime Sable, Biology
- Carina Hicks (Psychology) / Mentor: Helen Sable, Psychology
Department of Biological Sciences
Oct 3, 2020 - Congratulations to Kate Parsley from the Dr Jaime Sabel's lab for her recent publication on Plant Awareness Disparity (previously referred to as plant blindness). In her paper, "Plant awareness disparity: A case for renaming plant blindness," Kate proposes a more appropriate term to replace plant blindness: plant awareness disparity (PAD) and explains why it both addresses the problems with "plant blindness" while keeping the original reasoning behind the term intact. Have a look!
Oct 4, 2020 - Another publication! Congratulations to Elyan Shor, Dr. Shawn Brown and Dr. David Freeman for their new publication entitled "A novel role for the pineal gland: Regulating seasonal shifts in the gut microbiota of Siberian hamsters". In this paper the authors identify a novel neuroendocrine pathway by which a host regulates seasonal shifts in gut community composition, and a relationship between seasonal changes in the gut microbiota and seasonal physiological adjustments. Take a look!
Exceptional Work from Chemistry Student
Nov, 2020 - Congratulations to Paige Castleman for winning a Division of Medicinal Chemistry Award for her flash presentation at the Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society. Paige is a graduate student in the labs of Drs. Daniel Baker and Abby Parrill. Her presentation was entitled "Receptor pharmacophore benchmarking: The role of ligand function in model development". Paige's presentation included graduate student Greg Szwabowski, and Drs. Dale Bowman (Mathematical Sciences) and Judith Cole (Biological Sciences) as co-authors. Congratulations everyone!
Nov, 2020 - Congratulations to Christy Dyer for winning a Royal Society of Chemistry Award for her flash presentation at the Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society. Christy is a graduate student in the labs of Drs. Daniel Baker and Abby Parrill. Her presentation was entitled "Statistical Analysis of Protein-Protein Comparison Methods". Congratulations!
Nov, 2020 - Congratulations to Melissa Alfonso for winning the Helen Gerhard LLC Award for her flash presentation at the Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society. Melissa is a graduate student in the labs of Drs. Paul Simone and Gary Emmert. Her presentation "TotalTHM-NOW: A low-cost online analyzer for total trihalomethanes in drinking water" also included Drs. Naga Boppana and Michael A. Brown as co-authors. Congrats to all!
(Fall 2020) The UofM Department of Chemistry congratulates Graduate Student Greg Szwabowski on publication of his first manuscript entitled "Benchmarking GPCR homology model template selection in combination with de novo loop generation" in the J of Computer-Aided Mol Des https://rdcu.be/b51I9
Greg is jointly mentored by Drs. Daniel Baker and Abby Parrill and is part of a multidisciplinary team studying ligand discovery for orphan G protein-coupled receptors.
Congratulations to the Fall 2020 CS Scholarship & Fellowship Recipients!
- Brandon Hobson, Undergraduate Student, Diversity in CS Scholarship
- Ethan Hawkins, Undergraduate Student, Peter I. Neathery Scholarship
- Ramita Maharjan, Graduate Student, Peter I. Neathery Fellowship
- Priti Oli, Graduate Student, Peter I. Neathery Fellowship
Click Here (and image to the right) for full details
Soujanya Chatterjee Awarded at Student Research Forum
Spring - PhD student Soujanya Chatterjee received first place in the Math and Computer Science category at the UofM's 32nd Annual Student Research Forum, which was held online this year.
Soujanya's project, entitled "SmokingOpp: Detecting the Smoking 'Opportunity' Context Using Mobile Sensor," has also been accepted to be presented at the ACM UbiComp 2020 conference. Congratulations!
Oct, 2020 - Congratulations are in order! Novelist, poet, and MFA candidate Heather Truett has a new text on the way! KISS AND REPEAT will be released in May 2021 and is available now for pre-order on Amazon. Heather is represented by Hilary Harwell of KT Literary.
In Heather Truett's Kiss and Repeat, a teen uses the scientific method drilled into him by his scientist father to begin a kissing experiment. Only the experiment gets messy, and Stephen will have to come clean if he wants to win one girl's heart in this heartfelt and funny YA debut.
Oct 6, 2020 - Huge congratulations to MFA graduate student Matt Hawk! His article about Memphis poet Kenneth Lawrence Beaudoin will be published in Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies this December 🎉🎉
Physics and Materials Science
Physics Student Participates in Prestigious Astronomy Summer Research Program
During summer 2020, student Savannah Woods participated in a summer research program at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Charlottesville, VA. Savannah--who is an undergraduate student at the UofM majoring in Physics with an Astronomy concentration--performed research at the NRAO studying Luminous InfraRed Galaxies (LIRGs). As their name suggests, these galaxies possess large luminosities in the infra-red portion of the electromagnetic spectrum due to enhanced star formation typically originating from galactic mergers. Savannah analyzed data from the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, and Herschel (a space-based, infrared observatory). The experience provided the opportunity to work closely with leading astronomers from University of Virginia, UMass Amherst, Universidad Nacional Autonóma de Honduras, and Caltech among others, as well as to meet other undergraduate and graduate physics and astronomy students from other institutions. Savannah will be continuing her summer project as a student intern with the NRAO throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. Savannah's research talk is available here. For more information about Astronomy at the University of Memphis, please visit Dr. Muller Sanchez's page.
Congratulations to the 2020 MS Graduating Class
It is an honor to recognize the wonderful work of the students in the Department of Physics and Materials Science who have graduated with MS degrees in August 2020. Congratulations Dipendra Singh Khatri, Netra Dhakal, Yu Zhu, Kamal Ranabhat, Deepa Guragain, Juan Chen, Negar Charchi, Subash Bhandari, and Trae Staggers. We are proud of you, and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Click here or image for a larger view.
Oct - Department of Political Sciences graduate student Hannah Shelton successfully defended her M.A. Thesis "And We're Rollin' on a River ...: The Poetics and Musical Dimensions of Breaking with Eurocentric Knowledge and Decolonizing Humanity!"
School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy
Nikeisha Bass, Master of Social Work student, has been chosen as the recipient of the 2020 SUAPP Outstanding Student Engagement Award. Her work with Restore Corp and Project Launch impressed reviewers. Nikeisha's community engagement exemplifies SUAPP's mission and vision of actively connecting learning and practice to crucial community issues. Amaia Iratzoqui (Criminal Justice), Jae Chin (Planning), John Topinka (Public and Nonprofit Administration), and Robin Lennon-Dearing (Social Work) served on the review committee. Full details about Nikeisha's accomplishments and the impact of community engagement on her academic and professional trajectory can be found here.
World Languages and Literatures
Gina Iovinelli, William Fite and Heather Truett published translations of Dr. Vania Barraza Toledo's column 'To See You Better: Recommendations for Latin American Films' in La Prensa Latina. The translations were developed as part of the 'Introduction to Spanish Translation' course taught by Dr. Ivan Ortega-Santos in Fall 2019. Their work can be found here:
- Gina Iovinelli - Miriam miente / Miriam Lies https://issuu.com/laprensalatina/docs/lpl_02.02.20/31
- William Fite - El último Elvis / The Last Elvis https://issuu.com/laprensalatina/docs/lpl_01.05.20/20
- Heather Truett - Luz silenciosa / Silent Light https://issuu.com/laprensalatina/docs/lpl_04.26.20/36
Physics Students and SOFIA
Ethan Avery (graduate PhD) and Savannah Woods (undergraduate) flew inside the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA, https://www.sofia.usra.edu/). They obtained high resolution infrared images of galaxies with two active supermassive black holes.
The students performed astronomical observations of accreting supermassive black holes on board of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). SOFIA is a 2.7 meter telescope carried aboard a Boeing 747SP aircraft. Flight operations are being conducted out of the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California.
The observing altitudes of SOFIA are between 37,000 and 45,000 feet, above 99% of the water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere. The telescope is located in an open cavity in the rear section of the aircraft, with a view out of the port side. The telescope and instruments provide imaging and spectroscopic capabilities in the 0.3-1600 µm wavelength range, making SOFIA one of the premier infrared/sub-millimeter astronomical facilities.
(photo top: Ethan Avery and Savannah Woods inside SOFIA, bottom: image of black holes)
Department of Psychology
Alton "Jay" Withers, a first-year doctoral student in clinical psychology, has been awarded an NIH Diversity Fellowship award to support his research on behavioral economic factors that influence risk for alcohol misuse among African American emerging adults in the Memphis community. The grant will provide Jay with $70,000 over two years to support the project and his advanced training in addiction research. His mentors will include three faculty members from the UofM (Drs. Jim Murphy, Kris Berlin, and Rosie Bingham Davis), and James MacKillop, who is the Peter Boris Chair in Addictions Research from McMaster University in Canada. I am delighted to see Jay receiving support for this important work.
Spring and Summer 2019
Department of Biological Sciences
Congratulations to Dr. Adam Ramsey who successfully defended his dissertation entitled "Considering cytonuclear interactions in the face of heteroplasmy: evidence from Daucus carota (Apiaceae), a gynodioecious plant species". Dr. Ramsey performed his dissertation work with Dr. Jennifer Mandel. Read more about the Mandel lab at http://mandel-lab.org/
Department of Psychology
Clinical doctoral student Lauren Schaefer was awarded a $3,500 scholarship by The Melanie Foundation. Lauren M. Schaefer, M.A., is a fourth-year student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at the University of Memphis. Read the Press Release for more information about the scholarship. Lauren works in the REACH lab.
Schaefer's manuscript from a research project in Katie Howell's lab was selected to be translated into an informational video. Learn more about the research project and video.
Ryan Wickman, Department of Computer Science
Ryan Wickman is a senior in the undergraduate computer science program, where he has maintained excellent grades in addition to being involved in various internship and extracurricular activities.
He has served as the leader of the True Bit Union Association (TBUA), a student group focused on game development. During his tenure there, the group developed a horror game that procedurally generates a new maze each time the game is played. Currently, Ryan is the vice president of the department's ACM student chapter, whose first website he built as a freshman. Learn more about his research and projects.
Fulbright Award Will Allow UofM Student to Study Water Management in Italy
April 8. 2019 - Aubrey Toldi, a graduate assistant in the UofM Department of City and Regional Planning, has received a Fulbright award to Italy for research in water management that could benefit the Memphis community.
The nine-month award provides Toldi the opportunity and funding to conduct research in the Simeto River Valley of Sicily, working with partners from the City and Regional Planning department's summer study abroad exchange program. She will be learning about community-led approaches to and mobilization around water management that could be beneficial to Memphis. Her project is "(New) Memphis Blues: A Holistic, Community-Led Reconnection to Our River and Blue Spaces." Read the full press release.
UofM Doctoral Student Receives NIH F31 Award Furthering Alcohol Abuse Research
Samuel Acuff, a PhD student in clinical psychology, has been awarded the NIH F31 Predoctoral Fellowship Award from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Acuff's grant, "Integration of Electrophysiological and Behavioral Economic Models of Reward Among Heavy Drinking Emerging Adults," will provide him with $70,000 for two years to support the project and aid in his advanced training in addiction research.
This is the fourth NIAAA F31 grant awarded to a UofM Clinical Psychology student in the past four years. Please join us in celebrating Acuff on this stellar achievement.
Two APA Recognitions for Lauren
Lauren Schaefer received a Division 36 Student Research Award for $500 for her project titled "A Convergent and Longitudinal Examination of Resilience among Bereaved Youth: The Differential Roles of Spirituality and Religiosity."
Also, she received the Division 12 Student Poster Award. Congratulations, Lauren. Your hard work has paid off. She will attend the APA Convention in Chicago in August.
Lauren is a Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student and serves as the Clinical Representative for the Graduate Student Coordinating Committee.
NASA TN Space Grant Fellowships awarded to Department of Chemistry Students
Rising second-year graduate student Joseph Burns and junior undergraduate student Maura Washington have both been awarded a NASA TN Space Grant Fellowship for Summer 2019! They are both modeling the rovibrational spectroscopy of magnesium-containing molecules in the laboratory of Prof. Nathan DeYonker (Chemistry). Joseph and Maura are sharing their spectroscopic data with collaborator Prof. Lucy Ziurys, an astrochemist at the University of Arizona. Dr. Ziruys and her group will then attempt to be the first to detect these molecules in the Interstellar Medium and the clouds/envelopes around newly forming stars.
Honors Students Presented Research at National Conference
UofM honors students presented their research projects at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research in April at Kennesaw State University. Since its inception in 1987, NCUR has become a major annual event drawing over 4,000 undergraduates, faculty, and administrators to hear and discuss undergraduate scholarly and creative work.
Participating College of Arts & Sciences students, their projects and faculty mentors are:
Sonia Hopkins, Associations Between Early Childhood Stress, Cognitive Functions, and Marijuana Use." Faculty Mentor: Dr. James G. Murphy, Psychology;
Xin Ju, "Determining the Difficulty of Math Problems from Surface Linguistic Features." Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alistair Windsor, Mathematical Sciences;
Kelse Matthews, "Predictors of Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors in Adolescents: A Systematic Review." Faculty Mentor: Dr. Xu Jiang, School Psychology;
Megan McWain, "Effects of Chronic Cannabinoid Agonists on Dopamine Release and Related Behavior." Faculty Mentors: Dr. Deranda Lester and Dr. Helen Sable, Psychology;
Brianna Miller, "Simulation of Vacancy Enhanced Diffusion Using KMC." Faculty Mentor: Dr. Xiao Shen, Physics and Material Science;
Paige Murin and Steven M. Ballou, "Analysis of Morphological and Genotypic Variation among Populations of Lactuca Hirsuta Var. Sanguinea." Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Mandel, Biological Sciences;
Jacob Parks, "Factors Influencing Coating Uniformity: An Analysis of Phosphor Coatings on Aerogel and PDMS Substrates." Faculty Mentor: Dr. Firouzi Sabri, Physics and Material Science;
Robyn Pennella, "Examining the Effects of Social Interaction and Nicotine Exposure on Mesolimbic Dopamine Functioning in Mice." Faculty Mentor: Dr. Deranda Lester, Psychology;
Kyle Pugh and Kami Fox, "Morality's Relationship with Spirituality and Religiosity." Faculty Mentor: Dr. Cheryl Bowers, Psychology;
Mary Katherine Reynolds, "Mental Health Outcomes in Women Exposed to Abusive Romantic Relationships: Does Number of Abusive Partners Matter?" Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gayle Beck, Psychology;
Abeer Salah and Amber Love. "Instagram and Physical Appearance Comparisons." Dr. Cheryl Bowers, Psychology.
Abeer Salah, Katie Markham, Jennifer Sanders and Emily Boone. "Sex and Relationship Dyads in Texting." Dr. Cheryl Bowers,Psychology
Shelby Towers. "Examining the Effects of Environmental Enrichment on Mesolimbic Dopamine Release Associated with Addiction." Faculty Mentor: Dr. Deranda Lester, Psychology;
Nicholas Whitaker, "Acute Sleep Deprivation and Following Instructions." Faculty Mentor: Dr. Cheryl Bowers, Psychology.
The Helen Hardin Honors College provides support for students to present their research, creative works and community-based learning projects at regional and national conferences. For more information, call 901.678.2690.
Department of History
2019 Awards Banquet
The Department of History held its annual banquet in the spring. The event celebrated over thirty initiates into the Epsilon Nu chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society. The department also bestowed its undergraduate and graduate awards on over a dozen deserving winners (see below.)
2019 Graduate Awards recipients
Major L. Wilson Graduate Paper Prize: Jackson Rauch
American History Scholarship from the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Tennessee: Rebekkah Mulholland
Catherine and Charles Freeburg Fellowship, Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities: Matt Isaacs
Ruth and Harry Woodbury Graduate Fellowship in Southern History: Heather McNamee
Dr. William and Helen Lucile Gillaspie Scholarship: Kyra Sanchez-Clapper
Dr. Peggy Jemison Bodine Dissertation Award: Matt Isaacs
Dr. Dalvan M. Coger and Dr. Greta M. Coger Fellowship in History: Katie Fincher
Paul R. Coppock Scholarship: Hagar Abdelrahman
Outstanding Prospectus: Matt Isaacs
Outstanding Graduate Assistant Teaching Award: Rebekkah Mulholland
2019 Undergraduate Scholarships and Awards recipients
Bob Baker Scholarship: Lindsey McKee
Belle McWilliams Scholarship: Michael Napier
Janann M. Sherman Undergraduate Award for the Study of Women's History : Joseph Cash
Major L. Wilson Undergraduate Paper Prize: Amanda Campbell
Jonathan Derek Selkirk Award in History: Brendon Stark
Kell F. Mitchell Memorial Award: Jennifer D. Corbitt
Walter R. Brown Award: Ali Almoraisi
History Department Undergraduate Travel Grant: Charity Holmes
Undergraduate History Internship Awards
James McGee (Fall 2018)
Lindsey McKee (Fall 2018)
Jonathan Smith (Spring 2019)
2019 Phi Alpha Theta Honors Society Initiates
Ali Hussein Almoraisi;
Stacey A. Bellew;
James Ryan Hubbert;
Hayden E. Kissinger;
Matthew M. Livingston;
Lauren Berlynn Long;
Sean Joseph Jackson McEwen;
Michael J. Napier;
Taylor Ann Norell;
Everest B. Ouyang;
Jonathan B. Smith;