April 29, 2022 at 5:00pm
Dane Lisser, Kendall Trump (Class of 2013) and Sydney Gyuran (Class of 2019)

Millikin's Celebrations of Scholarship highlights academic excellence

Each spring, students from across Millikin University present the results of their research, scholarship and creativity through the university's annual Celebrations of Scholarship. Throughout the event, students showcase their scholarly and artistic accomplishments with new audiences, giving every member of the campus community an opportunity to share in the celebration of their achievements.

From the sciences to the fine arts, from presentations to exhibits, this year's Celebrations of Scholarships, held on April 22, brought Millikin's Performance Learning curriculum to the forefront.  

To capture this event, we explored presentations from each of Millikin's schools, including a look at the 29th Judith & Dr. G. Richard Locke Poster Symposium and its award winners.

College of Arts & Sciences

Reena Cynthia Riley, a criminal justice minor, presented in representation of the Sociology Department. Her presentation, "Evaluating the Underlying Causes of Delinquency: Does community service truly have an impact on recidivism rates?," summarized Riley's research paper written for Methods of Sociological Research. The faculty sponsor and course instructor was Dr. Jorge Chavez-Rojas, chair and assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice. During her presentation, Riley discussed her research methods, data and sources, along with her strategy to further her research into juvenile offenders, reasons for committing offenses and effective measures to prevent recidivism.

College of Fine Arts

Kody Myhra is a senior music education-instrumental major from Antioch, Ill., who is studying the clarinet under the guidance of Dr. David Cook, assistant professor of clarinet and chair of instrumental performance studies. Myhra began teaching as a private instructor in the fall of 2021 through the Millikin Community Arts Academy. She currently has three students varying different ages: a 4th graduate student, a 6th grade student and a junior in high school.

Having such a wide gap between students, Myhra began to notice a trend. "I kept asking myself, why would these students want to take lessons? Is there a reason or a factor that plays into their decision and why do they want to take lessons with me specifically?"

These questions led Myhra down a path of researching the concept of motivation in a private music lesson setting; looking at what a music student's motivation requires; age differences and how private music studio teachers can promote healthy motivational tactics in a conventional manner. She found that different tactics should be used in private lessons depending on the age of the student.

"We have two types of motivation which are extrinsic and intrinsic," she said. "Everyone has different reasons for being motivated. Motivation can be a difficult thing to possess, but instructors can assist in making music motivating, bonding and worthwhile."

College of Professional Studies

Gretchen Gould, an elementary education major in Millikin's School of Education, gave a presentation entitled "Global Citizenship and K-Pop," which was a thoughtful examination of Korean pop, more commonly known as K-pop and how it relates to global events and cultures. Dr. Hee Young Choi, associate professor for the School of Education, served as the presentation's faculty sponsor. During the presentation, Gould analyzed the impact of K-pop group BTS, including the fan culture, philanthropy and the group's musical lyrics. Gould also shared her study of the symbolism for BTS's music video "Spring Day," which strongly draws strong inspiration from the 2014 Sewol Ferry Tragedy in South Korea, along with Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" and Bong Joon-ho's film "Snowpiercer."

Tabor School of Business

Junior consultants from MU Performance Consulting exhibited their work to create a new and improved website for the tech-focused, interdisciplinary student-run venture that would appeal to clients. The group, consisting of Cameron Richardson, Bushra Ibrahim, Paige Coleman, Ethan Zobel and Madisyn Carpenter offered insight into their roles, strategies and what they learned in the process. Team members learned about how to build a site, design principles and user accessibility while adding in their own innovative ideas. The faculty sponsor for this presentation was RJ Podeschi, dean of the Tabor School of Business.

Long-Vanderburg Scholars

Each year at Celebrations of Scholarship, the first-year Long-Vanderburg (LV) Scholars have the opportunity to present the culmination of their research. Their projects varied greatly with topics in medicine, environmental studies, fine arts and political issues. First-year students Amelia Ayotte, Itzel Garcia, Ruby Goodman Lee, Luis Guerro, Joshua Kalber Higgins and Abigail Mendoza presented to fellow classmates with directors of the program Dr. Anne Matthews and Dr. Ngozi Onuora present.

One of Millikin's several special academic programs, the LV Scholars Program recognizes high scholastic achievement among those students who have a demonstrated commitment to diversity, leadership and community service, which showed in their research. The director of the LV Scholars Program, Dr. Anne Matthews, said, "It would be hard to believe they were first-year students if people hadn't told me."

Ameila Ayotte, a biology/pre-medicine major, presented her research titled "It's NOT 'All in Our Heads': Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness through Brain Scans and Conversations." Ayotte said, "If we find solutions that show people the physicality of mental illness, we will be able to make it easier for them to talk about and make the diagnosis process easier, as well as the treatment."

Another presenter, Itzel Garcia, a double major in digital media marketing and Spanish, presented on "The Importance of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)." During her presentation, Garcia discussed the importance of DACA and the benefits it brings to not only its recipients but the United States as a whole. Garcia said, "DACA offers undocumented people an opportunity at the American dream."

29th Poster Symposium

The 29th year of Millikin's annual Poster Symposium was held in conjunction with the Celebrations of Scholarship event. Developed by the Office of the Provost, this event provides students an opportunity to share their research and present their findings to an audience.

Angela Arnold's research poster, "Measuring Educational Outcomes and Effectiveness of College Preparatory Programs in Kyrgyzstan," tied for first place in the political science division. She was grateful for the opportunity to work with students in Kyrgyzstan and to teach her peers about the remote region. "I'm excited to present this research because I think that this particular part of the world is not well-known by many Americans. It's a great opportunity for students to learn more about Kyrgyzstan."

Binny Tamang's research for her poster, "Simple Method for Preparing Customizable Pyrolized Photoresin Carbon Electrodes Using 3D Printing" was two years in the making. As a Leighty Science Scholar, Tamang was able to conduct research throughout the summer. "I'm really excited to be here and to present my research in person. Being able to share the things I've been working on for the past two years has been exciting." Tamang's poster took second place in the chemistry division.

Jason David created a poster for his research, entitled "Addressing the Incidence of Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting (PONV) in High-Risk Patients Due to Volatile Anesthetics." He remarked that the research process from start to finish has been exceptionally helpful in how he examines resources and writes academic papers. "From day one at Millikin, I was learning about the research process. The faculty here were great and they gave me the confidence to move forward."

Poster Symposium Awards

First Place Biology

Title: ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN INTERFERON GAMMA (IFN-Y) LEVELS AND IVERMECTIN TREATMENT ON AVIAN MALARIAL PARASITE LOADS

Student Author: Jenna Thelen

Second Place Biology

Title: THE EFFECT OF VITAMIN B12 ON THE INNATE AND ADAPTIVE IMMUNITY OF CUBAN TREE FROG (OSTEOPILUS SEPTENTRIONALIS) TADPOLES

Student Author: Hannah Warfel

First Place Chemistry

Title: SIZE-CONSISTENCY IN QUANTUM CHEMICAL CALCULATIONS

Student Author: Greta Jacobson

Second Place Chemistry

Title: SIMPLE METHOD FOR PREPARING CUSTOMIZABLE PYROLYZED PHOTORESIN CARBON ELECTRODES USING 3D PRINTING

Student Author: Binny Tamang

Third Place Chemistry

Title: ANALYSIS OF METALS IN WATER SAMPLES USING INDUCTIVELY COUPLED PLASMA - OPTICAL EMISSION SPECTROSCOPY

Student Author: Samantha Mitchell

First Place Nursing

Title: NEW GRADUATE NURSES' EXPERIENCES WITH BURNOUT DURING THE TRANSITION TO PRACTICE

Student Author: Rachael Croy

Second Place Nursing

Title: USE OF A FITNESS APP TO REDUCE STRESS-EATING AMONG NURSING STUDENTS

Student Author: Raisa Zamacona Gonzalez

Third Place Nursing

Title: IMPACT OF A BREASTFEEDING EDUCATION INTERVENTION ON OBSTETRIC NURSE BREASTFEEDING KNOWLEDGE AND CONFIDENCE

Student Author: Taylor Orr

First Place Political Science (Tie)

Title: MEASURING EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES AND EFFECTIVENESS OF COLLEGE PREPARATORY PROGRAMS IN KYRGYZSTAN

Student Author: Angela Arnold

First place Political Science (Tie)

Title: HUMAN TRAFFICKING ADJUDICATION IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS

Student Authors: Aimable Ngabo, Gabby Watson

First Place Psychology

Title: EFFECT OF GLUCOSE INGESTION ON INHIBITORY CONTROL

Student Author: Emily Kemp