Academic Symposium draws students from several departments

BUIES CREEK – Her mother is a college professor with a Ph.D. in nursing, but what really got Campbell University junior Katelyn St. Clair interested in biology and the workings of the human body was a sports injury she suffered three years ago.

St. Clair tore a quarter-sized chunk of cartilage off her femur before her freshman season began in basketball at Charleston Southern, sidelining the athlete and allowing her to focus more on her other interests, such as science. She joined with Campbell biology professor Dr. Karen Guzman this year to research the process of taking DNA from the skeletal muscle of a mouse and convert it to RNA then to protein.

Her research was one of 10 oral presentations given throughout the day Thursday at the Wiggins Memorial Library’s second annual Academic Symposium. Research topics ranged from the use of propaganda in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany to the ethical ramifications of cigarette advertising to St. Clair’s presentation on cloning. St. Clair was also among a group of students who later showed poster presentations of their scientific research.

The goal of the symposium is to allow students, who are nominated by their professors, the opportunity to showcase their findings or their research with their fellow students and faculty in other departments. The inter-departmental communication is a big part of the draw, according to Sarah Steele, the Library’s head of Research and Instructional Services.

“Katie is a biology major, so she doesn’t get to hear about the work going on in our religion or English departments,” Steele said. “If she chose to attend some of the other presentations, she got a broader snapshot of what we offer at Campbell University.”

More than 20 students participated in the second annual Symposium, and for students like St. Clair, the event served as practice for future presentations.

“I’m working with Dr. Guzman, who is president of the North Carolina Academy of Science, so I will be doing this same presentation at next week’s big meeting,” St. Clair said. “The research taught me that life is different than the lab. Outside of the classroom, things don’t always go as planned, and it takes critical thinking to get around those problems.”

St. Clair said she wants to pursue a career as a physical therapist, since it was a therapist who helped her rehab from her serious injury.Other presentations Thursday:

Jonathan Lee: “Prayer and the Divine Economy: Some Insight from Origen of Alexandria.” Faculty mentor, Dr. Cameron Jorgenson

Shekanah Soloman: “Joseph Goebbels’ Use of Propaganda in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.” Faculty mentor, Dr. Michael Smith

Melinda Autry: “Let the Little Children Come: Not Letting Modern Theories Hinder Them.” Faculty mentor, Dr. Cameron Jorgenson

Jonathan Bridges: “No More Marlboro Man: What Tobacco Companies Failed to Consider in Advertising.” Faculty mentor, Dr. Michael Smith

Ben Dyer: “God in Frost’s ‘Once by the Pacific’ and ‘Design’.” Faculty mentor, Shirley Jefferds

Katelyn St. Clair: “Cloning of Mouse Calpain 2 and Development of Laboratory Exercises to Teach the Transfer of Genetic Information and Biotechnology.” Faculty mentor, Dr. Karen Guzman

Johnathan Lomick: “Blake’s Artistic Work on the Book of Job.” Faculty mentor, Dr. Kathy Lopez

Chris Walk: “The Land as Character: The Idea of Progress in American Agriculture, and the Christian Narrative.” Faculty mentor, Dr. Cameron Jorgenson

Hannah Parson: “Utopian Fantasies and Paganism in ‘The Scarlet Letter’.” Faculty mentor, Dr. Gina Peterman

Maria Sadler: “Medication Errors: What is Flagged by Pharmacy Computer Systems?” Faculty mentor, Dr. Robert Cisneros


– story and photo by Billy Liggett, Assistant Director for Publications