news-category: Academics

Eight GWU Students Receive Summer Undergraduate Research Grants

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Scholars Spend Five Weeks Conducting Focused Research with Faculty Mentors

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Gardner-Webb University Summer Undergraduate Research Scholars Program has awarded grants to eight students for five weeks of focused research outside the boundaries of the classroom. The grants provide room and board on campus for students as they work with faculty mentors or faculty collaborators in any academic discipline.

During the summer term, the student is expected to devote approximately 40 hours per week to the project. After their research experience, Summer Scholars must present the results of their projects in forums beyond those required for fulfilling the requirements of a class.

Research by previous Summer Undergraduate Research Scholars has led to scholarships from graduate school and Ph.D. programs and eventual publication in international journals. Others have participated in exciting opportunities, such as an internship with Oscar-winning film score composer Hans Zimmer or studying lemurs in Madagascar.

The 2022 Summer Undergraduate Research Scholars

Summer I, May 25-June 28

Catherine Clover, of Waxhaw, N.C., psychology major

A literature review of publications on post-traumatic disorder (PTSD), including an examination of the effects on brain development and trauma-related treatments and therapies. (Mentor, Dr. James Morgan)

Bethany Mace, of Connelly Springs, N.C., history major

Research culminating in a scholarly paper on the contributions of the Charlotte YWCA from the 1910s to the 1950s, focusing especially on contributions to the war effort such as hostess houses for soldiers and their families and facilities for African American women and girls. (Mentor, Dr. Aihua Zhang)

Brandon Richmond, of Salisbury, N.C., English major

Revision of a fantasy novel that explores real-world issues about self-discovery and diversity. (Mentor, Prof. Matt Duffus)

Summer II, June 30-July 26

Makayla Jibben, of Anderson, S.C., biology major

Method development for extraction and characterization of eucalyptol (1,8-cineole) from cardamon using steam distillation followed analysis using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, Infrared (IR) spectroscopy, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), and flash chromatography. Makayla hopes to improve her lab skills to prepare for medical school and to invest in anti-cancer methodology. (Mentors, Dr. Ben Brooks and Dr. Stefka Eddins)

Michelle Lominac, of Conover, N.C., political science major

A study of the potential future of laws and regulations concerning social media as a public forum. (Mentor, Dr. Elizabeth Amato)

Madison Mintz, of Canton, N.C., biology major

A literature review of scholarship on CRISPR as a potential treatment mechanism for genetic conditions such as Huntington’s Disease. (Mentor, Prof. Susan Manahan)

Nicole Riha, of Knoxville, Tenn., biology major

Method development for extraction and characterization of citral oil from lemongrass using steam distillation followed by analysis using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, Infrared (IR) spectroscopy, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), and flash chromatography. Citral has both cosmetic and medicinal uses. (Mentor, Dr. Ben Brooks)

Rebekah Vaughn, of Kernersville, N.C., political science and international affairs major

A study of Supreme Court cases related to Roe v. Wade and including the Texas and Alabama heartbeat laws. The study will be unusual in approaching abortion from a political science perspective instead of a theological perspective. (Mentor, Dr. Elizabeth Amato)

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to six professional schools, 14 academic departments, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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