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Gardner-Webb Announces Recipients of Summer Undergraduate Research Grants

A collage of seven pictures featuring the summer scholars in settings that depict their research studies.
Past Summer Undergraduate Research Scholars have studied a variety of topics, from identifying mushroom species at Broad River Greenway to researching topics in political science.

Eight Students will Pursue Academic Interests in Annual Program

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Summer Undergraduate Research Scholars Program is specifically designed for students who are looking to broaden their horizons during the summer months. This summer, eight students have been awarded grants to stay on campus and work with a mentor to pursue their academic interests. Over a five-week period, they are expected to work 40 hours a week on their projects.

In addition, the students are required to present their research in a professional forum. Students may choose to participate in Gardner-Webb’s Life of the Scholar Multidisciplinary Conference, publish manuscripts in a scholarly journal, or exhibit their work in an art gallery, or in some other forum.

Dr. June Hobbs, director of the program and professor of English, started the program in 2012. Since that time, students have used their research experience to earn scholarships to prestigious graduate schools, conduct research and publish in top scholarly journals and acquire internships in various fields.

For more information on the Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Gardner-Webb, email Dr. June Hobbs, [email protected].

Summer Undergraduate Research Scholars 2021

Summer Session I

Hannah Canipe, of Lincolnton, N.C.

A study of the toxicity of chemicals often hidden in commercial hair and skincare products and their effects on the human biome. A chemistry major, Canipe is considering applying to medical school or other graduate studies. (Mentor: Dr. Venita Totten)

A photo of Jessi Snover standing in front of three paintings of swimmers
Last summer, Undergraduate Research Scholar Jessi Snover studied the techniques of famous painters to create a portrait of a swimmer.

Sarah Goode, of Lenoir, N.C.

Composing at least 50,000 words of a children’s (juvenile) fantasy novel that deals with themes of reconciliation, coming of age, and friendship. An English major, Goode plans a career as a professional writer. (Mentor: Prof. Matt Duffus)

Virginia Merrill, of Charleston, S.C.

An interdisciplinary study using microbiology and analytical chemistry to determine how commercially available sunscreens can protect the skin from sun damage that causes skin cancer such as melanoma. A chemistry major, Merrill plans to use this experience in her future work as a cosmetic chemist.  (Mentors: Dr. Stefka Eddins and Prof. Susan Manahan)

Nathanial Qualls, of Mooresboro, N.C.

A literature review employing a biopsychosocial lens of scholarship addressing the effects of using psychedelic substances, including the possible efficacy of psychedelic drugs in treating psychological disorders. A psychology major, Qualls hopes to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology.  (Mentor: Dr. James Morgan)

Brittany Stauffenberg, of Youngsville, N.C.

A literature review and analysis of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the psychological well-being of children and adolescents. A psychology major, Stauffenberg plans to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology or a related field. (Mentor: Dr. James Morgan)

Summer Session II

Cullen Fields, of Marietta, Ga.

A survey of under-documented fauna in Cleveland County, which his mentor describes as a “black hole for biodiversity data.” This research, including data on habitats and DNA research, will be of service to future GWU students and other researchers as well as to conservationists and park rangers at the Broad River Greenway. A biology major, Fields will use her research to prepare for a future career as a teacher. (Mentor: Dr. David Campbell)

Anna Crowell in the lab at GWU
Anna Crowell, an Undergraduate Research Scholar in 2020, used advanced lab equipment to study how to extract curcumin from turmeric to synthesize vanillin.

Jordan Mitchell, of Hiddenite, N.C.

An analysis of various kinds of citrus peel to determine which one contains more of the compound limonene, a key ingredient in the disinfectant spray that some professors use to disinfect classrooms to lessen the spread of COVID-19. Limonene can be used to create eco-friendly pesticides, treat diseases, and combat the spread of COVID-19. A biology major, Mitchell’s research will help prepare her for medical school. (Mentor: Dr. Ben Brooks)

Jared Reeder, of Asheboro, N.C.

A survey and analysis of parasites such as rat lungworms and liver flukes that are likely to show up in Florida and other Southeastern states soon, including their potential effects on human beings. These are overlooked but important species in our environment. A biology major, Reeder is preparing for medical school. (Mentor: Dr. David Campbell)  

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at

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