Pearl River honors students excel in research symposium

Submitted by akennedy on January 14, 2021 – 10:38am

Pearl River Community College’s fifth Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute Research Symposium was held virtually this year. The event included students competing from the Poplarville and Forrest County campuses.

The symposium was put on with the help of William Carey University. Dr. Ben Burnette, Executive Vice-President and the Dean of Education at Carey, played a critical role in supporting PRCC Honors student success. Working alongside Dr. Burnette was Dr. David Lowery, Professor of English and Coordinator of Carey’s Scholar Program.

“When planning for the Fall 2020 Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute Research Symposium, the main objective seemed clear: the symposium must go on,” Vice President for Planning and Institutional Research, the Hancock Center and Dean of Honors Institute for Poplarville Dr. Jennifer Seal and Instructor of English/Dean of Honors Institute Forrest County Campus Dr. Terri Ruckel said in a joint statement. “We whole-heartedly embraced President Dr. Adam Breerwood’s declaration that ‘Wildcats Never Quit.’”

PRCC Honors students from Poplarville and the Forrest County Center met on their respective campuses and filmed their research presentations. Presentations from freshman and sophomore students were grouped into categories representing STEM, the Social Sciences and the Humanities. Videos were then forwarded to Burnette and Lowery and the Carey professors recruited to serve as evaluators for the virtual symposium.

Symposium judges included Dr. Jonathan Brooke, Asst. Professor of History; Dr. John Mark Nicovich, Professor of History; Dr. Janie Bower, Professor of Mathematics; Dr. Jaylnn Roberts, Professor of Research and Statistics; Dr. Mary Mackey, Professor of Chemistry and Physical Science; Dr. Lorie Massey, Professor of English; and Dr. Marsha Newman, Professor of  English.

The evaluators followed rubric guidelines to score each presentation and provided the students with comments and suggestions. These notes are sure to prove helpful to the students in preparation for the Mississippi Honors Conference being hosted by Mississippi University for Women during the Spring 2021 semester.

Students tackled various subjects such as COVID-19 related topics, technological advances, and infrastructure.

The submitted students presentations and results of their evaluation placements are as listed:


Sophomore Level

First Place (Tie): Jennifer Kerry

First Place (Tie): Michelle Legg

Freshman Level

First Place: Jolie Pervel

Second Place: Joseph Forsman

Third Place: Brianna Wood


Sophomore Level

First Place: Lauren Sumrall

Second Place: Quindalin Harper

Freshman Level

First Place: Hannah Lambert

Second Place: Mason Wheeler-Shigley

Third Place: Patrick Dunkle


Sophomore Level

First Place: Jessica Roberts

Second Place: Michael Littlejohn

Freshman Level

First Place: Samuel Largen

Second Place: Lane Evans

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities.  The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability.  For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

Each community college president is asked to bring two (2) wrapped door prizes, minimum value of $50 each. We will have a station set up at the conference for you to drop off the door prizes.

Each community college is asked to provide name tags for their Board members, administration, and staff attending the conference.