Exemplary Southwestern Michigan College students displayed semester-length research projects at the fourth Honors Showcase Dec. 5 in the Dale A. Lyons Building art gallery on the Dowagiac campus.
Eighteen SMC Honors Program students presented posters and fielded questions, simulating a professional conference experience unheard of for most college freshmen and sophomores.
Presenters worked closely with distinguished faculty members in their respective departments, along with Associate Professors Gary Franchy and Mark Pelfrey, who coordinate the Honors Program.
• Calculus in Pharmacology by Cody Adkins of Edwardsburg. Adkins starred in SMC’s fall play, “The Siegel,” and, as Honors Club president, hosted Dec. 3’s “SMC’s Got Talent,” celebrating musical diversity. The biology major plans to transfer to Ferris State University for the pharmacy program.
• A Study of Benford’s Law on a Modern Data Set by music major Taylor Masse of Lakeshore, criminal justice major Zachary Sackrider of Mendon and computer networking major Jarod Siguenza of Edwardsburg.
• Effectiveness of Glyphosate as a Nitrogen Source for Microbes in Pure Soil by future veterinarian Jessica Bowen of Dowagiac.
• Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus Environmental Trends and Case Predictions by Audrey Bakerson of Niles.
• Absorption Rates of Rye Grass with Lead Using Titration Techniques, FTIR Data and MP-AES by Audrey Bakerson of Niles. MP-AES stands for Microwave Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometer. Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) identifies chemical bonds in a molecule by producing an infrared absorption spectrum.
Bakerson earned her associate degree last May and is working on her bachelor’s degree. She has applied to the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, the University of Notre Dame and MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her project built on previous research to cleanse water of heavy metals presented to the American Chemical Society in Orlando. She ultimately plans to achieve a medical degree.
• Biosorption of Lead by Local Flora by STEM major Kyle Kelly of Cassopolis. He hopes to transfer to Western Michigan University to major in physics. “My main focus would be neuroscience,” Kelly said, “but I think you can take just about any route to get to the brain.” He analyzed 20 different kinds of leaves, including sunflower, peony, ground elder, rose of Sharon, butternut squash and hibiscus.
• Evaluation of Coriandrum sativum (cilantro) as a Phytoremediation Plant by Anaya Roschyk of Granger. Last spring she presented her research on removing toxic heavy metals from water with maple leaves to the American Chemical Society in Orlando.
Last summer she spent two weeks in New Haven, Conn., for the Yale Young Global Scholars. “It was amazing. I absolutely loved it,” Roschyk said. “I’ve already applied to Yale.” The electric guitarist, singer and songwriter wants to combine passions for science and music into researching how music affects the brain.
• Mental Health in Adolescence by music major Tory Gage of Centreville. “I’m looking at going into music therapy,” she said.
• Influence of Art on College Stress by visual arts major Faith White of Niles. “My end goal is art education,” she said. “I intend to teach in a small-business format” modeled after the woman who taught her as a home-schooler.
• Anxiety in Children Living with Autism by biology major Hannah McIntyre of Bridgman. “I want to go into genetic research to look mainly at Alzheimer’s intervention,” McIntyre said.
• A Personal Journey with Schizophrenia: Dr. Elyn Saks by Diana Salto of Coldwater. Diagnosed at 28 while at Yale Law School, Saks, born in Miami in 1956, authored The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness in 2015.
• Working Women and Motherhood by Diana Salto of Coldwater. “I want to be a physician’s assistant,” said Salto, who expects to transfer to private Trine University in Angola, Ind.
• Social Issues in the 2000s Shown Through Media by Jade Harbert of Cassopolis. She will transfer to Grand Valley State University to study film and video production. “My dream job would be working in Ellen DeGeneres’ production studio,” Harbert said.
• Self-Discovery in Literature Through Journeys by communications major Elly Valdes of Hartford. “I want to be a middle-school English teacher,” Valdes said.
• Art History of India by visual arts major Anushka Ganu of Stevensville, who lived in India until 2016.
• Feminism in Thelma and Louise by River Valley graduate Zachary Sieler of Sawyer.
• Legend Has It (Hispanic culture fairy tales, including an original fable) by English major Lydia Sommer of Benton Harbor.
• Art Therapy: Healing with Crayons by graphic design major Hannah Quinones of St. Joseph.
SMC’s Honors Showcase furnishes experiences that place SMC Honors Program graduates at the head of the line for transfer scholarships, internships and job opportunities. Visit swmich.edu/honors to learn more.