MSU College of Education honors student research at annual forum

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Research Forum Undergraduate Winners

MSU’s College of Education hosted Dr. Brent Ruby, director of the Center for Work, Physiology and Exercise Metabolism at the University of Montana, as the keynote speaker for the college’s 11th annual research forum.

Ruby received his Ph.D. in exercise science from the University of New Mexico and serves as the director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Montana. Ruby and the research staff at Montana WPEM, as it is also known, work to facilitate a better understanding of applied human physiology using aggressive laboratory and field study designs. Through his research success and application of the research to real life, Ruby has garnered the respect of faculty, those in military service, civilians at the U.S. Department of Defense, the wildland fire community, and undergraduate and graduate students. His work has a wide-ranging spectrum, from simple undergraduate projects to in-depth research designs with national and international colleagues. During the research forum, Ruby spoke on “Calibrating Direction in an Era of Moving Targets.”

In addition to the keynote speaker, the forum showcased student percussion performances directed by Jason Baker and featuring David Jenkins and Grace McCommon on marimba. Dr. Richard Blackbourn, dean of the College of Education, also spoke on “Conducting Meaningful Research: Lessons from Experience, Colleagues and the Wizard of Oz.” Two students also had the opportunity to present their research. Leah Boyd presented her work titled “Chopin’s Unsung Opera: The Fantaisie-Impromptu’s Inspirations in Song” and Jalen Jackson spoke on “Mozart’s Theme and Variation in the American Style.”

More than 250 participants attended the research forum, and approximately 50 undergraduate and graduate students entered the poster session. Three undergraduate and three graduate students conducted faculty-guided research projects throughout the 2017-2018 academic year and received awards. These students were:


FIRST – Mitchell Quigley, a kinesiology major from Southaven. His project “Ankle Kinematics During Unilateral Landings on a Tilted Surface: Simulating the Mechanism” was completed under the guidance of Dr. Adam Knight.

SECOND – Margy Westbrook, a kinesiology major from Oakland, Tennessee. Her project “Effect of Exogenous Ketone Salts on Oxidative Stress and Cardiovascular Responses in Fireflies” was completed under the guidance of Dr. Matt McAllister.

THIRD – Aaron Mathis, a kinesiology major from Texarkana, Texas. His project “Physical Activity and Falls in Adults with Intellectual Disabilities” was completed under the guidance of Dr. Stamatis Agiovlasitis.


FIRST – Kimberly Ball, an instructional systems and workforce development major from Starkville. Her project “An Investigation into Persistence and Non-Persistence of Second and Third Year Engineering Students” was completed under the guidance of Dr. Mabel Okojie.

SECOND – Nashedra Barry, an educational psychology major from Columbus. Her project “Effects of Phrase Cued Text Lessons on Reading Fluency and Comprehension in Elementary School Children” was completed under the guidance of Dr. Daniel Gadke.

THIRD – Elizabeth Struna, an educational psychology major from Granville, Illinois. Her project “Using Manipulatives to Teach Quantity Discrimination to a Child with Autism” was completed under the guidance   of Dr. Daniel Gadke.

Teresa Jayroe, associate dean, recognized the research committee for their hard work preparing for the forum. The research committee includes:

Dr. Teresa Jayroe, Associate Dean of Research

Dr. Mitzy Johnson, Assistant Dean

Dr. JoAnne Beriswill, Instructional Systems         & Workforce Development

Dr. Jennifer Cmar, National Research & Training Center on Blindness & Low Vision

Ms. Janie Cirlot-New, T.K. Martin Center

Ms. Theresa Hall-Brown, America Reads Mississippi

Dr. Missy Hopper, Curriculum, Instruction,         & Special Education

Dr. Beth Jackson, MS Writing/Thinking Institute

Dr. Stephanie King, Educational Leadership

Dr. Rebecca Robichaux-Davis, Curriculum, Instruction, & Special Education

Dr. Ryan Ross, Music

Dr. Tina Scholtes, World Class Teaching Program

Dr. JohnEric Smith, Kinesiology

Dr. Kasee Stratton-Gadke, Counseling, Educational Psychology & Foundations

Dr. Ben Wax, Meridian Division of Education

Dr. Glenn McGee, Director of the Center for Educational Partnerships

Ms. Christa King, Program Manager, Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program

Ms. Jenny Hartness, Database Administrator

Ms. Lori Staggs, Contracts & Grant Specialist

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