news-category: Academics

Gardner-Webb Honors Students Win Top Awards at National Conference in Chicago

a collage of the GWU students holding their awards

Seniors Emma Rayfield and Makayla Jibben Bring Home Sloane Prizes for their Research Presentations

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Members of the Gardner-Webb University Honors Student Association recently attended the National Collegiate Honors Council annual conference in Chicago, Ill. Participating in the event were 1,800 honors students and administrators from colleges and universities across the United States. Only 20 awards were presented for research posters, and two students from Gardner-Webb placed in the top three.

Emma Rayfield, a senior biology/chemistry major, won first in the Sloane Prize for Undergraduate Research in Environmental Sciences. Makayla Jibben, a senior biology major with biomedical sciences concentration, won third in the Sloane Prize in the Health Sciences division.

Rayfield’s poster was titled, “Porifera: Biology and Medicinal Properties.” She conducted her research for a GWU honors thesis with Associate Professor of Paleontology and Chair of Natural Sciences Dr. David Campbell and Assistant Professor Susan Manahan.

Jibben presented on “Determination of alpha-Terpinol Acetate and 1, 8-Cineole in Black and Green Cardamom: Steam Distillation, Spectroscopy, and GC-MS Analysis.” She conducted her research through the Summer Scholars program with Professors of Chemistry Dr. Ben Brooks and Dr. Stefka Eddins, and Chemistry Lab Coordinator Jacob Willis.

Emma Rayfield, left, and Makayla Jibben won two of 20 awards for their research presented at the national honors conference.

Honors Conference Attendees

Honors students who attended the conference, along with Honors Director and Professor of Physics, Dr. Wilson Hawkins, were:


  • Emma Rayfield, first place
  • Makayla Jibben, third place
  • Marissa DiMatteo
  • Blake Henkel
  • Micah Moulder
  • Sydney Hudson


  • Charity Rosenhauer
  • Breanna Littlejohn

About The National Collegiate Honors Council

The NCHC is an educational organization that supports and promotes undergraduate honors education. NCHC has nearly 900 member institutions and several hundred individual members, impacting over 330,000 honors students. NCHC provides its members with resources, training opportunities, and collaborative events to build and sustain honors programs and their curriculum. NCHC distributes honors scholarships and hosts exclusive events for its members.

About Gardner-Webb

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, 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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