Winners at GSC annual undergraduate research symposium annnounced

GSC Provost & Vice President Dr. C. Jeffery Knighton, GSC Professor of Biology Dr. Amanda Duffus, Mireya Parra, Chelsea Eagle, GSC Professor of Business Dr. Alan Burstein, GSC President Dr. Kirk A. Nooks

On Friday, April 22, Gordon State College hosted its annual Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) in-person at the GSC Collaborative Learning Center in the Nursing, Health, and Natural Sciences (NAHS) building.
The annual symposium event invited the submission of scholarly papers in all disciplines. GSC student works of critical analysis, synthesis, evidence-based practice, original interpretation and primary research were eligible submission options. Chosen applicants presented their work in either a poster or podium presentation at a gathering of fellow students, faculty and family.
This year’s winners included Chelsea H. Eagle of Locust Grove, Henry County on her podium presentation titled, “A Brief Evolution of Digital Marketing and Where it is Going Next,” and Mireya Parra of Hampton, Henry County on her poster presentation titled, “ Bacterial Monitoring in the GSC Campus Pond for Fecal Coliforms.”
“This experience pushed me incredibly far out of my comfort zone, but I’m very glad it did. I presented on digital marketing which is something I am very passionate about,” Eagle said. “Winning the podium presentation was completely unexpected, but I am very grateful. I really just wanted to be able to talk about a topic that I am passionate about, winning was an unexpected blessing.”
Faculty provided research assistance to students by serving as sponsors or mentors.
Eagle’s advisor was GSC Professor of Business Dr. Alan Burstein. Her presentation focused on social media being, according to Eagle’s research, a “powerful tool for creating, maintaining and the ultimate success or failure of a brand.” She credited Instagram and TikTok as the “two of the most powerful tools.”
GSC Professor of Biology and Coordinator of Undergraduate Research, Dr. Amanda LJ Duffus was Parra’s advisor. Other collaborators included Calvin Adams, GSC coordinator of recreation, intramurals, and sports club; along with Larkin McDaniel, GSC student of Thomaston, Upson County; and Michelle Childers, GSC student of Barnesville, Lamar County. Parra presented her research and bacterial monitoring results of fecal coliforms.
“Again this year the judges had a very tough job on their hands, all of the presentations were exceptional. Every student presented work worthy of graduate students! I am so excited for the students that participated and so proud of their accomplishments!” Duffus said.
Other podium presenters included: Telisa Kelly-Peavy, “Emergence: Students Unearthing Gordon State’s Rich Oral History,” with Dr. Jessica Traylor, GSC assistant professor of psychology, as a faculty advisor; and Emma Mixon, “Learning While Healing: Best Practices Based on Neuroscience for Teaching Veteran Students Impacted by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” with Dr. Inez Jones, GSC assistant professor of biology, as a faculty advisor.
Additional poster presenters included: Dahlia Bao, “Using the Model System of Ambystoma tigrinum virus to Find Genes Suitable to Examine Local Adaptation in Ranaviruses,” with Dr. Duffus as a faculty advisor; Isabelle Kramer, “Effect of California’s Product Ban on Sustainable use Conservation of American Alligators,” with Dr. Burstein as a faculty advisor; and Leilani Thrash along with Amber Fraley and Kensley Philemond with Dr. Cathy Lee, GSC professor of biology, as a faculty advisor for their presentation titled, “Power of Analogy: Easier way of Understanding Enzyme Mechanism, Chymotrypsin.”
The URS is one way GSC instills The Highlander EDGE- Engaged Leaders, Dedicated Scholars, Gifted Communicators, and Ethical Leaders. It’s an opportunity for students to share their intellectual efforts with the Highlander Nation and present their accomplishments to a receptive audience.
“They [the presenters] have once again shown that our students are dedicated scholars and gifted communicators, really exemplifying the Highlander EDGE,” Duffus said.
Dr. Duffus thanked GSC President Dr. Kirk A. Nooks; GSC Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. C. Jeffery Knighton; the judges; the faculty mentors and the URS committee for their support.
The URS committee consists of: Dr. Burstein; Dr. David Janssen, GSC professor of English; Dr. John George, GSC professor of mathematics; Dr. Stephen Powers, GSC professor of English; and Melanie Mertz, GSC assistant professor of nursing.
Founded in 1852, GSC is a member of the University System of Georgia. The college has a distinctive legacy of excellent scholarship and service. GSC offers 11 four-year degrees and 16 associate-level degrees, which includes multiple baccalaureate pathways for students. With an enrollment of over 3,000 students, GSC offers an intimate academic setting in state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories. In this setting, students receive individualized attention that only a small college with dedicated faculty and staff can provide.

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