Marushka, Fults, and Preston-Self Win Lee’s Student Research Showcase

Events, News

Lee University Squires Library recently hosted the 7th annual Student Research Showcase. Students of various disciplines were encouraged to submit and present on any research-related project they have worked on during the 2021-2022 academic year.

“Squires Library is honored to be able to keep the tradition of the Student Research Showcase ongoing,” said Diette Ward, coordinator for the event and Lee’s librarian for instruction and electronic resources. “Even though this annual event has gone virtual, we feel that it is a great opportunity to see the various kinds of research work that our students are producing. This year highlighted well-researched and thought-provoking content in truly fantastic presentations.”

This year’s winners are Viktoriya Marushka, who won $150 for first place; Charlotte Fults, who won $100 for second place; and Lake Preston-Self, who won $50 for third place.

Marushka, a senior health science major with a psychology minor, presented “Effect of COVID-19 on the Mental Health of College Students.” She anonymously surveyed students from Lee on their mental health over the course of their COVID-19-influenced college experience regarding their motivation, sleep patterns, and physical activity levels to determine how students had been affected. Findings concluded that although most students said their academic year was not affected by COVID-19 in a drastic way on Lee’s campus alone, students still agreed that their college experience and outlook on mental health was influenced by the pandemic in some way.

“I am very thankful to have been able to do research through the McNair Scholars Program and present it at the Student Research Showcase,” said Marushka. “I had a wonderful opportunity to delve into the vast world of research as an undergraduate student, and it has been inspiring to see all the work that has been done by students across the nation.”

Fults, a senior sociology major, presented “Abortion Rates in the Context of Public Policy.” She studied abortion policies, including Texas’ recent “Heartbeat Bill,” which criminalizes women who have an abortion after six weeks gestation or anyone who aids in the procedure. Fults’ study analyzes restrictive abortion policies’ correlation with how many women ages 15- 44 choose to terminate their pregnancy by each state in the United States. The goal for finding this correlation is to explore if states with varying restrictive policies correspond with their abortion rates.

Preston-Self, a junior history major, presented “To Protect and Defend: Formative Expansions of American Domestic Intelligence, 1933-64.” His presentation explores the impact of race and politics on American domestic intelligence activities. By analyzing the FBI’s counterintelligence program “COINTELPRO,” he demonstrated that a convergence of racial and political motivations served as the primary impetus for the mobilization of domestic intelligence against the American public, the civil rights movement, and various domestic political groups. The presentation traces the proliferation of FBI domestic intelligence overtime through three major cases: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” the Second Red Scare and “McCarthyism,” and Lyndon B. Johnson’s handling of the race riots of 1964.

“The Student Research Showcase was a wonderful opportunity to present my original research to a new audience and to engage with other scholars across campus,” said Preston-Self. “It is an honor to attend a university that is focused on promoting undergraduate research in all disciplines.”

The showcase is virtual, and all presentations can be viewed at

For more information about Squires Library or the Student Research Showcase, email

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