May 3, 2019 at 9:45am
Dane Lisser

Millikin event showcases breadth and depth of Student Research and Creativity

It's a day when no classes are held, but it doesn't mean the learning stops.

Millikin University's Celebrations of Scholarship is the culmination of the academic year; an all-day event that puts the outstanding achievements of students from all majors front and center for the entire campus community to witness. It's a forum that not only recognizes academics, it honors personal success.

Millikin Celebrations of Scholarship

Celebrations of Scholarship gives students a day to present a years' worth of research, scholarship and creative efforts to the campus community. Multiple sessions were held across campus highlighting explorations and discoveries.

"Millikin students are going to be involved in the field in doing the real work that professionals do," said Millikin Provost Dr. Jeff Aper. "We believe that students have the best opportunities to learn and develop their skills when they do the work. It's great to showcase the students and all of the hard work they do throughout the year."

Jeff Aper

Aper: "From session to session, the event is a time for students to talk about their active involvement in the life of their study."

The campus-wide event on Friday, April 26 covered all academic backgrounds, from behavioral sciences, fine arts and modern languages, to exercise science and sport, entrepreneurship and nursing. Sessions began in the morning, including one from a group of students in Shilling Hall who shared their immersive cultural experience engaging with the Pawnee Native American Tribe over spring break.

"One of the neat things we saw was how deeply rooted they are in tradition," said Blake Carmichael, a senior human services major from Taylorville, Ill. "We learned right away that men are supposed to pray over meals. You can apply some sort of element of culture in nearly everything you do. They were very generous people."

Millikin Celebrations of Scholarship

Not far from Shilling Hall, a large audience in Pilling Chapel saw several theatre students from Dr. Tom Robson's playwriting course present public readings of their works. Each reading was followed by a short feedback session, providing an opportunity for the audience to engage in the work.

Millikin Celebrations of Scholarship

Three scenes were presented from three different works: "In This Room" by Sophie Kibiger, a junior theatre major from Ramsey, Minn.; "Recovery" by Rachel Pevehouse, a sophomore theatre major from St. Louis, Mo.; and "The Waiting Room" by Chris Cunningham, a senior theatre major from Cary, Ill.

Millikin Celebrations of Scholarship

"The way these pieces were selected is students in the classroom were interested in having their work shared. We had a secret ballot where everyone in the class voted for the best pieces that represented the entire class," said Dr. Robson, associate professor of theatre and dance. "The feedback session was modeled after the same process we used in class."

Over in the Perkinson Music Center, Cellist Becca Husar, a junior commercial music major from Yorkville, Ill., was playing to an audience of fellow students and School of Music faculty, performing "Julie-O," a cello piece by Mark Summers.

Millikin Celebrations of Scholarship

The performance was part of Husar's research of Bach's Cello Suites to explore the art of interpretation and its influence on music throughout history and today. Husar offered insight into how musicians must determine the boundaries that they are willing to push when performing a composition.

"Interpretation is a particular version of a work, method or style, and the keyword for this study is method," said Husar. "The line between compositional integrity and the artistic freedom to stray from the notated music is blurred when time, instrumentation and personal style become an element of the performance."

Millikin Celebrations of Scholarship

In the afternoon, the Bob and Debi Johnston Banquet Room of the University Commons was busy with activity as the 26th Annual Research Poster Symposium took place. The Poster Symposium, in honor of Judith and Dr. G. Richard Locke, provided students with an opportunity to share their scholarly activities and practice communication skills essential for professional success. The event has also become an excellent means of encouraging students to explore and participate in research opportunities at Millikin.

Millikin Celebrations of Scholarship

Judges, selected from Millikin retirees, alumni and friends, were on hand to observe over 50 poster presentations and to cast their votes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes.

Among the presenters were Matthew Vangunten, a senior chemistry major from East Peoria, Ill., and Jacob Hamilton, a senior chemistry major from Swansea, Ill. Vangunten and Hamilton worked with Dr. Kyle Knust, assistant professor of chemistry, to construct a home-built capillary electrophoresis instrument. Capillary electrophoresis is a technique that allows extremely efficient separation of peptides, oligonucleotides and steroid hormones.

"Our instrument separates everything by size and charge," said Hamilton. "We wanted to prove that it was functional and we wanted to make the separation happen." After graduation, Hamilton will be attending Washington University in St. Louis to pursue a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, and Vangunten will be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to pursue a Ph.D. in Chemistry.

Senior nursing majors Alice Bernard, of Bensenville, Ill., and Cody Gray, of Washburn, Ill., teamed up to research how accurately the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) can be used to assess the severity of patient symptoms in the acute setting to promote a plan of care.

"This project is all focused on bettering patient outcomes," said Bernard. "Both Cody and I are interested in becoming critical care nurses, and we will be using instruments like this in our daily lives moving forward."

Millikin Celebrations of Scholarship

As seen throughout the day, Celebrations of Scholarship is an exciting time for students who are proud to present their work firsthand.

Congratulations to the following award winners of the 26th Research Poster Symposium.

1st Place Awards                                      

  • Anthony Bryan, a senior biology major from Plainfield, Ill.

"Enhanced hematological condition in birds of prey undergoing rehabilitation is independent of vitamin supplementation"

  • Dalton Glasco, a senior chemistry major from Decatur, Ill.

 "Simple method for preparing customizable pyrolyzed resin carbon electrodes using 3-D printing"

  • Kelsey Pierson, a senior nursing major from Orland Park, Ill.; and Carly Kirk, a senior nursing major from Danville, Ill.

"Effects of Kangaroo care on the neonate"

  • Alisha Larrison, a master’s entry into nursing practice student from Mt. Zion, Ill.

"Patient's perception of the appearance of nurses"

2nd Place Awards

  • Allyson Isenhower, a senior biology major from Trenton, Ill.

"Agglutinin-like sequence genes in Meyerozyma Guilliermondii"

  • Julia Taraszewski, a senior biology major from Decatur

"Siblings vs. Strangers: Cooperation or Competition in Abutilon Theophrasti (F. Malvaceae)"

  • Kaia Ball, a senior biology molecular cell track major from Bolingbrook, Ill.

"Conferral of streptomycin resistance via crispr/cas9 genome editing in escherichia coli"

  • Doug Sherrill, a senior biology major from West Union, Ill.

"Effect of partial blindness on hunting behavior in salticus scenicus (araneae: salticidae) in a controlled environment"

  • Raisa Zamacona-Gonzalez, a senior biology major from Getxo, Spain

"Isotype switching and spleen development in Rana Catesbeiana"

  • Angelina Thomas, a senior nursing major from Decatur

"An evidenced-based clinical guide for sugammadex: a quality improvement & cost reduction strategy"

3rd Place Awards

  • Erin Lukens, a senior biology major from Johnston City, Ill.

"Effects of elevated salinity on cuban treefrog (osteopilus septentrionalis) tadpole aldosterone levels, growth, and development"

  • Blaine Traylor, a junior chemistry major from Mt. Zion

"Investigation of gcgns sequence derivatives for anti-cancer properties"  

  • Rachel Munyembabazi, a senior chemistry major from Decatur

"Exploring the viability of metal nanoparticles as cancer-killing agents"    

  • Angela Thunder, a senior nursing major from Mt. Zion; and Katlyn Niepoetter, a senior nursing major from Decatur

"Anti-vaccination Movement"

  • Yvette Musanganya, a senior nursing major from Goma, Congo; and Cali Melton, a senior nursing major from Oreana, Ill.

"Epidural Analgesia: Risks to mother and baby during labor"

  • Julisa Sierra, a senior political science major from Chicago

"Human Trafficking task forces in the U.S.: Overlapping Jurisdictions and Criminal Justice Approaches"

Phi Kappa Phi Award

  • Anthony Bryan

"Enhanced hematological condition in birds of prey undergoing rehabilitation is independent of vitamin supplementation"