This past weekend, honors program students and faculty from higher education institutions across both Virginia and West Virginia traveled to the University of Lynchburg to attend the 2022 Virginias Collegiate Honors Council (VCHC) Conference. Representing 17 percent of all students presenting at the Conference was a group of Marymount University honors students, with eight Saints presenting a variety of research projects that have connections to current societal problems and concerns.
“Our students did a fantastic job and represented Marymount so well, and I am so proud of them,” said Dr. Stacy Lopresti-Goodman, Honors Program Director and Professor of Psychology at Marymount University. “Professors from other universities were complimenting them on the quality of their work, outstanding presentation skills and level of analysis, and were even asking about their plans for graduate study. It’s very fulfilling to see all of the hard work pay off for our honors students.”
These Marymount Honors students presented research on the following topics during the Conference:
- Noemi Cerritos Gatto (Senior majoring in Psychology) – “The Relationship Between Dreams, Emotion and Memory”
- Ava Gonzalez (Senior majoring in Psychology and Philosophy) – “Preventing Future Harm: Understanding Epistemic Injustice Against Children”
- Caroline MacDonald (Freshman majoring in Fashion Design) – “Environmental and Social Concerns in Fashion Textile Production”
- Katie McShea (Senior majoring in Biochemistry) – “Effect of a Chemistry Case Study on Students’ Understanding of Chemical Bonds”
- Isabella Ochalik (Sophomore majoring in Biochemistry) – “Role of GATA4 and NKX2-5 Mutations in Ventricular Septal Defects”
- Maia Pappadakis (Senior majoring in Biochemistry) – “mRNA Vaccines: History, Development and Potential”
- Macy Pope (Senior majoring in Philosophy and English) – “The Anthropocene, Capitalism and the Destruction of Nature”
- MacKenzy Robbins (Freshman majoring in Biology) – “Can Military Working Dogs Suffer from PTSD After Combat?”
Eighty attendees from 18 universities participated in the Conference, with a total of 52 presentations made by 46 students. In addition to research presentations, the two-day event featured business meetings, organizational elections and sessions for professional development and professional headshots.
“The Virginias Collegiate Honors Council Conference is a wonderful opportunity for our students to engage with their honors peers from across the region,” added Dr. Lopresti-Goodman, who has served as the VCHC Executive Committee’s Faculty Vice President over the past year. “I am proud of Marymount’s strong presence at the Conference and our students’ outstanding scholarship that was showcased at the event.”
During the Conference, Dr. Lopresti-Goodman was voted to be the VCHC Faculty President for the upcoming academic year. Freshman MacKenzy Robbins will work alongside her as the next four-year private institution representative on the VCHC Executive Committee, and both will travel to Virginia Commonwealth University this September to engage in professional development while also planning the 2023 VCHC Conference.
Graduating senior Katie McShea has served as the VCHC Student Vice President during the current academic year, and kicked off this year’s Conference with opening remarks and presided over the student business meeting and student elections.
“We’re here because we care about fostering a community that values the pursuit of learning alongside like-minded peers,” McShea said to the Conference audience. “Being in an environment with equally as inquisitive and motivated students is an invaluable experience that opens the door to further academic connections that will last a lifetime.”
Click here to see the full Conference program from this year’s event.