Announcing the winners of the annual GSC Undergraduate Research Symposium


GSC Provost & Vice President Dr C. Jeffery Knighton, GSC Professor of Biology Dr Amanda Duffus, Mireya Parra, Chelsea Eagle, GSC Professor of Business Dr Alan Burstein, GSC President Dr Kirk A. Nooks

On Friday, April 22, Gordon State College hosted its annual in-person Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) at the GSC Collaborative Learning Center in the Nursing, Health, and Natural Sciences (NAHS) building. .
The annual symposium event invited the submission of scientific papers in all disciplines. GSC student work in critical analysis, synthesis, evidence-based practice, original interpretation, and primary research were eligible submission options. The selected candidates presented their work in poster or podium form at a gathering of fellow students, teachers and families.
This year’s winners included Chelsea H. Eagle of Locust Grove, Henry County for her podium presentation titled “A Brief Evolution of Digital Marketing and Where It Goes Next”, and Mireya Parra of Hampton, Henry County for her poster presentation titled “Bacterial Monitoring in the GSC Campus Pond for Fecal Coliforms.”
“This experience pushed me incredibly far out of my comfort zone, but I’m very happy about it. I gave a presentation on digital marketing, which I’m very excited about,” Eagle said. “Winning the podium presentation was completely unexpected, but I’m so grateful. I really wanted to be able to talk about something I’m passionate about, winning was an unexpected blessing.
Faculty provided research assistance to students by serving as sponsors or mentors.
Eagle’s adviser was GSC Professor of Business Dr. Alan Burstein. His presentation focused on social media being, according to Eagle’s research, a “powerful tool for building, sustaining, and the ultimate success or failure of a brand.” She called Instagram and TikTok “two of the most powerful tools”.
GSC Professor of Biology and Undergraduate Research Coordinator Dr. Amanda LJ Duffus was Parra’s advisor. Other contributors included Calvin Adams, GSC coordinator for recreation, intramural activities and club sports; with Larkin McDaniel, GSC student from Thomaston, Upson County; and Michelle Childers, a student at CGC in Barnesville, Lamar County. Parra presented his results of research and bacterial monitoring of fecal coliforms.
“This year again, the judges had a very difficult job, all the presentations were exceptional. Each student presented work worthy of graduate students! I am so excited for the students who participated and so proud of their accomplishments! said Duffus.
Other podium presenters include: Telisa Kelly-Peavy, “Emergence: Students Unearthing Gordon State’s Rich Oral History,” with Dr. Jessica Traylor, assistant professor of psychology at GSC, as faculty advisor; and Emma Mixon, “Learning While Healing: Best Practices Based on Neuroscience for Teaching Veteran Students Impacted by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” with Dr. Inez Jones, GSC assistant professor of biology, as faculty advisor.
Other poster presenters included: Dahlia Bao, “Using the Ambystoma tigrinum virus model system to find suitable genes to examine local adaptation of ranaviruses,” with Dr. Duffus as academic advisor; Isabelle Kramer, “Effect of the California Product Ban on the Sustainable Conservation Use of American Alligators,” with Dr. Burstein as educational advisor; and Leilani Thrash with Amber Fraley and Kensley Philemond with Dr. Cathy Lee, professor of biology at GSC, as educational advisor for their presentation entitled “Power of Analogy: Easier way of Understanding Enzyme Mechanism, Chymotrypsin”.
The URS is a way for GSC to instill at The Highlander EDGE committed leaders, dedicated scholars, gifted communicators and ethical leaders. It is an opportunity for students to share their intellectual endeavors with the Highlander Nation and showcase their accomplishments to a receptive audience.
“They [the presenters] have once again shown that our students are dedicated scholars and gifted communicators, truly exemplifying the Highlander EDGE,” said Duffus.
Dr. Duffus thanked GSC President Dr. Kirk A. Nooks; GSC Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. C. Jeffery Knighton; the judges; the faculty tutors and the URS committee for their support.
The URS Committee is composed of: Dr. Burstein; Dr. David Janssen, GSC Professor of English; Dr. John George, professor of mathematics at the GSC; Dr. Stephen Powers, Professor of English at GSC; and Melanie Mertz, GSC Assistant Professor of Nursing.
Founded in 1852, GSC is a member of the University System of Georgia. The college has a distinctive heritage of excellent scholarship and service. GSC offers 11 four-year degrees and 16 associate-level degrees, which include several bachelor’s degree pathways for students. With an enrollment of over 3,000 students, GSC offers an intimate academic setting in state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories. As part of this, students receive individualized attention that only a small college with dedicated faculty and staff can provide.


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