Millikin Student Research Takes Center Stage at Judith & G. Richard Locke Poster Symposium

A total of 24 projects were on display in the University Commons

Poster Symposium

DECATUR, Ill. – The Judith & G. Richard Locke Poster Symposium, a part of Millikin’s annual Celebrations of Scholarship, took place on Friday, April 28, in the Bob and Debi Johnston Banquet Room of the University Commons. 

The event showcased student and student-faculty scholarship, and this year’s symposium featured 24 presentations. Participation in the poster symposium was open to all Millikin students, regardless of major or class rank, and students from Behavioral Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Nursing, Physics and the Tabor School of Business presented. 

The students had their work evaluated by a panel of judges and were eligible for cash awards provided by the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and the Judith & G. Richard Locke Poster Awards. 

Jacob Busey
Jacob Busy (middle) presents at the Judith & G. Richard Locke Poster Symposium.

Jacob Busey, a graduate Nursing student, presented his research at the Poster Symposium after a year of work on how phone applications help adults with diabetes. 

“A year ago, I came and saw other people’s presentations. After working on it for so long, here I am presenting on it myself,” Jacob said. “I studied the efficacy of using phone-based applications for diabetes management. I’m not necessarily for it or against it; I just wanted to review what’s in place. Diabetes is a big issue in the United States and has many complications that affect your quality of life.”

The topic has touched Jacob’s personal and professional life as his grandparents have dealt with diabetes. 

“My grandmother is a very well-controlled diabetic, and she is still around and healthy. My grandfather was the opposite. He couldn't have cared less about it. It tore him apart and unfortunately, he passed away from complications from it,” Jacob said. “I also worked at Gailey Eye Clinic, and we see many diabetics there due to diabetic eye exams, and we see a lot of blindness.”

Following graduation with his Master’s in Nursing, Jacob has accepted a position at HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit. 

“About 8.1 million people have diabetes in the United States, and in the hospital setting, you see it all the time,” Jacob said. “My research gave me a window into how much effort it takes to manage diabetes. These people need as much help as they can get.”

Sierra Peeples
Sierra Peeples (left) presents at the Judith & G. Richard Locke Poster Symposium.

Junior Biology major Sierra Peeples presented the first part of her research centered on cat allergies at this year’s symposium and hopes to present part two at next year’s event. 

Peeples has been researching cat allergies among Millikin’s student body and completed a survey to see if respondents experienced allergies around short and long-haired cats and if they were familiar with a vaccine that can reduce feline allergies. 

“In part one of my project and I sent out surveys to faculty, some Greek Life students and other students asking if they experienced allergy-like symptoms with a cat,” Sierra said. “People can be allergic to the feline D1 protein in cat’s saliva and dandruff from their hair. I found that none of the respondents knew that a vaccine was available that would allow them not to have to take antihistamines around cats.”

Peeples hopes to continue her research on feline allergies next year and will use her research skills in her future career in veterinary medicine. 

“I’m a very big cat lover and plan to attend veterinary school after graduation. I’ve known since I was a little kid that that was what I wanted to do, and I’ve stuck with it since,” Sierra said. “I would love to do neuroscience and neuro-veterinary medicine, and I hope to continue research.”

Here are the  2022-23 Poster Symposium honorees: 

Nikol Obradovic
Nikol Obradovic (right) presents at the Judith & G. Richard Locke Poster Symposium.

First place and Phi Kappa Phi Winner: Nikol Obradovic - “Quantitative Analysis of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Concentration in Potentially Substandard Amoxicillin Capsules from Malawi And Kenya Using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography.”

Second place: Delaney Haubner - “Surveillance of West Nile Virus in Migratory Warblers in Central Illinois.”

Third place: Morgan Hollon – “Identification of Soil Bacteria Producing Antibiotic Secondary Metabolites.”

Fourth place (Tie): Summer Dick – “The Evolution of the First Stars in the Universe and the Supermassive Black Hole Seed Problem.”

Fourth place (Tie): Victoria Stuart - “Innate Immunity in the Red-Eared Slider Turtle: Presence and Evolution of the Inflammatory Protein Serum Amyloid A.”

Fifth place: Keagan Brady – “Impact of L- And D-WWWW on Touch Habituation in Caenorhabditis Elegans”

Honorable Mention: Amanda Drain – “Comparing Non-Opioid Alternatives to Opioids Regarding Pain Management in Post-Surgical Patients.”

Honorable Mention: Sydney Griggs – “Peptide Exposure and Learning in Caenorhabditis Elegans as a Model For Alzheimer's Disease.”

Honorable Mention: Madeeha Salik – “Solventless Synthesis of Potential Inhibitors of Aldosterone Synthase (Cyp11b2) Via Aldol Condensation Methodology.”

Honorable Mention: Sophie Dorgan – “Repeatability of Peak Corticosterone Response in Recaptured Songbirds.”