GWU Students Win Presentation Prizes at National Alpha Chi Conference

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Gardner-Webb The Largest Represented Delegation at Alpha Chi

By: Chelsea Sydnor, GWU Communications Intern

Members of GUW's Alpha Chi delegation
Members of the Gardner-Webb Alpha Chi delegation were front row, from left, Kelsi Williams, Harley Burgess, Sarah Grace Moxley, Summer Byers, Hannah Ray, Emily Eidson, Sarah Traylor, Shaquavia Chiles, Angela Meade, and Dr. June Hobbs, and back row, Tyler Hemingway, Damien Hutchins, Hope Still, Gabrielle Cortese, Mallory Moore, Morgan VanderSchaaf, Tyler Helms, and Dr. Bruce Moser.

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.— Gardner-Webb University sent 16 students to the recent Alpha Chi Conference in Portland, Ore. Alpha Chi is a national college honor society invested in fueling students’ original research and creativity. There are 300 society chapters at colleges and universities in the United States.

“Gardner-Webb sent the largest delegation and won the most prizes of any chapter in the nation at the national convention,” said Dr. June Hobbs, Alpha Chi sponsor and director of undergraduate research. “Our students’ superior preparation and professionalism were very obvious in the context of such intense academic competition.”

Students from GWU won a total of $10,000 in prizes and grants for their research presentations.

A collaborative team took the first-place prize of $5,000 for their project: “The Psychology of Oceanic Climate Change.” Collaborative team members were Chemistry major Tyler Hemingway (’18) of Cape Coral, Fla., Biology major Damian Hutchins (’19) of Cherryville, N.C., psychology major Kelsi Williams (’18) of Lincolnton, N.C., and nursing major Hope Still of Harrisburg, N.C.

English major Mallory Moore (’18) of Maurertown, Va., won a $3,000 Benedict Graduate Fellowship for her essay “‘Visual Pleasure’ and Suicidal Cinema.”

Philosophy and religion major Harley Burgess (’18) of Forest City, N.C., won a $1,000 Region III graduate fellowship for her essay “A Mirror Worth Imitating: The Song of Songs as Diverting the Traditional Marriage Matrix and Normative Sexual Boundaries,” and the presentation prize in world religions and philosophy for “The Divine Collaborative Effort: Agency as a Tool for Examining Power and Relationship in the Exodus Narrative.”

English major Hannah Ray (’18) of High Point, N.C., won the presentation prize in American literature for “Now Memories: The Present Realized through Nostalgia for Our Past.”

English major Emily Eidson (’18) of Augusta, Ga., won the presentation prize in world literature for “Moral Development and the Transactional Reading Experience: The Stimulation of ‘Theory of Mind’ in Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.”

English education major Sarah Grace Moxley (’18) of Bluefield, Va., won the presentation prize in education for “‘Enhancing the Freedom of Others’: Using Multimodality to Create Social Justice in the English Education Classroom.”

Damien Hutchins, Tyler Hemingway, Hope Still and Kelsi Williams
From left, Damien Hutchins, Tyler Hemingway, Hope Still and Kelsi Williams won an award for their presentation.

Exercise Science major Gabrielle Cortese (’18) of Athens, Ga., won the presentation prize in exercise science for “Effectiveness of a Student-led Worksite Wellness Program Addressing Health-related Physical Fitness.”
Other students who presented their work included:

  • English major Summer Byers (’18) of Forest City, N.C.
  • English as a Second Language major Shaquavia Chiles (‘18) of Greenville, S.C.
  • Broadcast journalism major Tyler Helms (’18) of Monroe, N.C.
  • English as a Second Language major Angela Meade (’18) of Charlotte N.C.
  • Biblical studies major Sarah Traylor (’18) of Staunton, Va.
  • Nursing major Morgan VanderSchaaf (‘19) of Jenison, Mich.

Dr. Hobbs praised the GWU faculty members who mentored students by providing encouragement and helping them polish their work. Dr. Bruce Moser, assistant Alpha Chi sponsor, helped organize the trip to Portland and supported students in their research.

“Behind all of us is a university that believes in the importance of undergraduate research and supports both these trips and programs such as Summer Scholars and the Life of the Scholar Multidisciplinary Conference that give the students opportunities to hone their research and presentation skills,” she said.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university that prepares students to become critical thinkers, effective leaders and compassionate servants in the global community. Emphasizing a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics, Gardner-Webb ignites learning and service opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Ignite your future at