Lee News

McNair-Ledford Symposium held at Lee



Lee University recently held the second annual McNair-Ledford Undergraduate Research Symposium on its campus, featuring 31 presentations with cash awards for the winners. The symposium was conducted in a hybrid format, with most events taking place at Lee’s Science and Math Complex (SMC).

The event showcased student research from various disciplines across campus. Topics ranging from democracy, imperialism, gender issues, theology, and media to liberty rights and natural sciences were covered in the presentations.

The symposium committee included Dr. Michaelia Black, McNair Scholars program coordinator; Dr. Debra Gladden, associate professor of mathematics; Whit Guthrie, program assistant for the McNair Scholars program and The Hub; Dr. Kevin Ung, director of the McNair Scholars program; and Dr. Ruth Wienk, assistant professor of sociology.

Jackson presenting
Alyssa Jackson presents.

“The symposium is a wonderful opportunity every year for students to showcase their research to the Lee community,” said Ung. “We are grateful for the many faculty mentors who invest in student research through a purposeful and intentional approach. The wide variety of disciplines represented is a continued testament to Lee’s commitment to the liberal arts.
Dr. Ernest Brothers, an associate dean for the graduate school at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and director of the Office of Graduate Training and Mentorship, was the keynote speaker for the symposium.

Following Brothers’ address, students from various disciplines presented posters of their summer research in the SMC Great Room and some through Zoom, and over 18 faculty and administrative staff members served as judges. The students also competed on oral presentations through Zoom and in person across various SMC classrooms.

The overall winner of the event was Desiree LaPeer, a senior anthropology major, who received $150 for her presentation “Understanding the Challenges Faced by First-Generation College Students in Fentress County.”

Two poster presentations tied for first place, “Effects of Physical/Chemical Factors on Cancer Cell Susceptibility to Irreversible Electroporation” by Alissa Jackson, a senior biology major, and “New World primates' responses to native predator vocalizations in captive-raised individuals” by Ellie Carlson, a senior biology major, and McKenzie Holmes, a junior ecology major. The first-place winners received $75 each for their presentation. Jacob Wagoner, a senior athletic training major, won third place with $50 for his presentation “Coping Methods Utilized by Collegiate Athletes Suffering from Season- Ending Injury.”

The winners of the oral presentations were Ashley Garner, a senior music education major, in first place with $100 for her presentation “High School Band and Social-Emotional Health: What Students Are Saying;” in second place with $75, Brandyn Kirby, a senior political science major, for his presentation “Dining at a French Table: Federalist and Anti-Federalist Invocations of Montesquieu;” and in third place with $50, Katherine Moore, a senior chemistry major, for her presentation “From jellyfish and anemones to the SMC: the journey of two fluorescent proteins.

To watch the presentations, visit Syposium Site.

For more information about the McNair program or to apply, visit McNair at Lee.

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