PRCC Honors Institute students present ideas at Research Symposium

April 25, 2024

Students from Pearl River Community College recently participated in the Spring 2024 Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute Research Symposium hosted at the Forrest County Campus.

Each spring semester, the Honors Institute Research Symposium makes it possible for freshmen students to present the very beginning of an idea to research that over the next year will evolve into something worthwhile.

“The spring Symposium allows students to present their preliminary research on a topic of special interest to them,” said Dr. Ryan Ruckel, Dean, of the Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute.

“We provide a friendly, encouraging environment that includes faculty, staff, and other students so that the presenters have a wide range of questions and suggestions to help them further develop their area of interest. Freshmen also have the prospect of enlisting the support of a Faculty Mentor to guide them in the coming year.”

Students gave oral and postal presentations in front of faculty and students covering a variety of topics.

Added Dr. Ruckel, “I’m especially proud of the four-fold mix of 1) freshman and sophomore presenters, 2) posters and oral presentations, 3) Academic and CTE/Allied Health students, and 4) Middle College students – 2/3 of whom are home-school students. 

“Posters provide a more relaxed interaction that allows for conversation, while the oral presentations allow them to practice a more formal – and for some – intimidating style of communication.” 

Oral presentations included:

5 college students stand in front of whiteboard with American Flag to the side.
Students making oral presentations included from left: Laura Lumpkin of Poplarville, Emily Smith of Petal, Abbilyn Jones of Sumrall, Winter Baker of Hattiesburg and William Phelps of Hattiesburg.

Winter Baker of Hattiesburg: Gender Differences in Presentation and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Abbilyn Jones of Sumrall: Why do we pay to be scared?

Laura Lumpkin of Poplarville: Has the Advancement of Technology Impacted Attention Disorder?

William Phelps of Hattiesburg: The negative connotation with the word ‘Nuclear’.

Emily Smith of Petal: And You’re Watching Disney Channel, Disney, Gender, and Gen Z.

Poster presentations (Exploratory) included:

Six college students stand in row with American Flag and Mississippi State Flag on either side.
Students making poster presentations included from left: Alex Martinez of Hattiesburg, Grant Matheny of Columbia, Faith Wakefield of Carnes, Kaycee Tanner of Lucedale, Abigail Ford of Purvis and Olivia Collum of Hattiesburg.

Olivia Collum of Hattiesburg: Why Does Hip-Hop Matter?

Abigail Ford of Purvis: Art Associations – Does doodling help recall or retain information more efficiently?

Alex Martinez of Hattiesburg: Autilepsy.

Kaycee Tanner of Lucedale: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Grant Matheny of Columbia: Cause of Conflict. 

Faith Wakefield of Carnes: Beyond the Periodic Table.

“Freshmen will have the opportunity to refine their work and present at the Fall Symposium, hosted by USM or William Carey, where they are also heavily recruited, and then on to the Mississippi Honors Conference, where we have been very competitive and have had winners each year,” said Dr. Ruckel.

He also gave special thanks to Honors Faculty mentors Mary Ann Stuart and Heather Peerboom.

Said Dr. Ruckel, “We are very proud of the turnout and engagement and want to thank everyone for their support.”

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Article by Chuck Abadie. Photography by Kaitlyn Jones.

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.