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Students Present at Undergraduate Research Conference

Butler_Apr15On April 10, sixteen Belmont biology, biochemistry and molecular biology and neuroscience students attended the 27th Annual Butler University Undergraduate Research Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.  954 people attended the conference and participated in more than 500 presentations. Participants represented 58 colleges and universities in 16 states and the District of Columbia. Belmont faculty members Mike Pinter (mathematics), Rachel Rigsby (chemistry/physics), Roger Jackson and Jennifer Thomas (biology) also attended, and Thomas served as a session chair.

Students gave the following oral presentations:

  • “Determining the Effects of Invasive Plant Species on Soil Environments with C. Elegans Chemotaxis Bioassays”: John Holt (Robert Grammer, Faculty Sponsor)
  • “Bacterial Fight Club: Two-Component Signaling Cascades and Type VI Secretion System Cross-Interactions Benefit Bacterial Fitness”: Himesh Zaver (Jennifer Thomas, Kristen Guckes and Maria Hadjifrangiskou (Vanderbilt University), Faculty Sponsors)
  • “Genetic Manipulation Increases Rates of DNA Exchange in the Bacterium Acinetobacter Baumannii”: Justin Smith (Jennifer Thomas, Michael Noto and Eric Skaar (Vanderbilt), Faculty Sponsors
  • “Chemotaxis Response in Caenorhabditis Elegans to an Olfactory Repellent Paired With Nicotine”: Amanda Bigness (Robert Grammer, Faculty Sponsor)
  • “The Effect of 6-OHDA on SKN-1 in Parkinson’s”: Rezzan Hekmat (Nick Ragsdale, Faculty Sponsor)
  • “HPV-Positive Cervical Cancer Cells Show Generally Reduced Levels of IFN-Alpha”: Sarah Bonaparte (Jennifer Thomas, Faculty Sponsor)
  • “The Evaluation of Interferon-Beta Levels in HPV-Positive Cervical Cancer Cell Lines”: Olivia Ford (Jennifer Thomas, Faculty Sponsor)
  • “Appetite Suppressing Effects of Nicotine on Caenorhabditis Elegans Chemotaxis to E. Coli”: Khang Tran (Robert Grammer, Faculty Sponsor)
  • “The Anxiogenic Effects of 5-APB and Dark RageTM (Pre-Workout) on Danio Rerio”: Jaime Wesley (Lori McGrew, Faculty Sponsor)
  • “Effects of Subtoxic Levels of Triclosan on Working Memory and Anxiety Levels in Danio Rerio”: Hensley Barnes (Lori McGrew, Faculty Sponsor)
  • “The Effects of Anxiolytic Medication on Memory Formation in Stress Induced Danio Rerio Specimens”: Iqra Wahid (Lori McGrew, Faculty Sponsor)
  • “The Effects of Different Dosages of α-Lipoic Acid on the Chemotaxis of Caenorhabditis Elegans at Various Stages of Adulthood”: Alicia Hsu (Robert Grammer, Faculty Sponsor)
  • “The Effect on Danio Rerio Memory after Chronic Exposure to WIN 55,212-2 Mesylate”: Cassie Wyatt (Lori McGrew, Faculty Sponsor)
  • “Preferred Microhabitat Conditions of Vaejovis Carolinianus in a Middle Tennessee Cedar Glade”: Chelsea Lee (Steve Murphree, Faculty Sponsor)
  • “Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Isolate on Belmont University’s Campus is Negative for PBP2a as the Mechanism of Resistance”: Rebekah Shepherd (Jennifer Thomas, Faculty Sponsor)
  • “Panton-Valentine Leukocidin Exotoxin Found in Methicillin-Sensitive and –Intermediate Staphylococcus Aureus Samples on Belmont University’s Campus”: Jordan Helms (Jennifer Thomas, Faculty Sponsor)

Lang Accepted Into The Institute for Responsible Citizenship’s Washington Program

Justin_LangBelmont psychology major Justin Lang was recently accepted into the Washington Program of the Institute for Responsible Citizenship, a premiere organization for some of the nation’s top African American male college students.

The program runs through June and July and is a two-summer commitment. During the first summer, students focus on classes, internships, meetings with inspirational leader, and bonding with the other young men in their cohort. Professional development, character development, mentorship and graduate school preparation are priorities for the second summer, although students work full-time at internships.

Joining other undergraduates from universities such as Harvard, Yale, New York University and others, Justin will participate in a full-time internship over two consecutive summers. This summer he will be interning with the Children’s Defense Fund.

Students Present at the Middle Tennessee Psychological Association

MTPA 2015

(L to R) Krista Beebe, Dr. Jones, Dr. Yandell, Justin Lang, Leah Rose, Dr. Bailey, Stephanie Cooper, Dr. Giordano, Julisa Nunez, Brittany Redd, Alexandria Gumucio, Heather Dudley and Dr. Shen-Miller.

Belmont faculty members and students from the Department of Psychological Science attended the annual conference of the Middle Tennessee Psychological Association held at MTSU on Saturday,  April 25. Faculty attendees included Drs. Linda Jones, Pete Giordano, Seraphine Shen-Miller, William Bailey and Lonnie Yandell. The conference provides an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to present their research to colleagues from other colleges and universities.

The following research papers were presented by Belmont students:

  • “Loving My Future-Self: The Effects of Perspective-Taking on Ageism”: Stephanie Cooper (Dr. Yandell, Faculty Advisor)
  • “Eye Gaze and the Perception of Emotional Facial Expressions”: Brittany Redd (Dr. Yandell, Faculty Advisor)

The following research posters were presented by Belmont students:

  • “An Exploratory Study of Helping Behavior of Rats”: Heather Dudley, Krista Beebe, Alexandria Gumucio, Brittany Redd, Stephanie Seeley and Elizabeth Wilson (Dr. Bailey, Faculty Advisor)
  • “Scents and Scintillation: The Effects of Lemon and Peppermint Essential Oils on Working Memory and Alertness”: Stephanie Cooper, Matthew Maloney and Jacob Huffman (Dr. Yandell, Faculty Advisor)
  • “The Influences of Emotional Advertising on Willingness to Donate to Abused Animals”: Leah Rose, Chase Mackey and Miller Spivey (Dr. Bailey, Faculty Advisor)
  • “College Students’ Eating Behaviors, Influences, and Perceptions of Healthy Eating”: Justin Lang (Dr. Jones, Faculty Advisor)
  • “The Development of the Women’s Attitudes Toward Masculinity Inventory“: Heather Dudley, Savannah Johnson, Tanisha Williams, Savannah Ladage, Abigail Marchese and Elizabeth Wilson (Dr. Pete Giordano, Faculty Advisor)
  • “The Effects of Method of Information Presentation on Recall”: Julisa Nunez, Samantha Gould, Miranda West and Sarah Balding (Dr. William Bailey, Faculty Advisor)

Occupational Therapy Students and Faculty Published in Journal

AssistiveTechnologyA 2014 thesis project by three students in Belmont University’s Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program was recently published in Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology.  Co-authored by Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy Dr. Teresa Plummer, the project studied the impact of mobility assistive technology devices on participation for individuals with disabilities.

The research team included Jordan Carver, recent OTD graduate, Ashley Ganus and Jon Mark Ivey, 2004 OTD graduates. Ann Eubank, a Nashville area occupational therapist and social worker associated with Belmont’s School of Occupational Therapy, was an additional co-author.

Larkin Signs with Sony/ATV Music Publishing


(From L-R) Sony/ATV Creative Manager Ed Williams, Songwriting Chair at Belmont University James I. Elliott, Maddie Larkin, President and CEO of Sony/ATV Troy Tomlinson

Belmont University sophomore songwriting major Maddie Larkin signed a publishing contract with Sony/ATV Music Publishing after participating in the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business’s “All Access” program.

President and CEO of Sony ATV Music Nashville Troy Tomlinson said,“We were truly impressed with the level of talent of the Belmont students. Maddie’s abilities and commercial appeal moved us to sign her to a publishing deal and begin what I suspect will be a long time relationship and many years of success.” 

The “All Access” program was developed to give Belmont students the opportunity to present their music to the world’s leading music publisher. Students were able to submit two music videos to the Sony/ATV Creative team, who then selected six students to perform live for the team in Columbia Studio A on February 23. The “All Access” program will continue in the upcoming school year.

Larkin feels incredibly honored to be chosen. “I am so grateful to be joining the Sony/ATV team! Since I first started coming to Nashville to write when I was 15, I have dreamed of being able to call Sony my home. Thank you to God, my family and everyone that has believed in me. I feel so blessed,” she said.

To see more from Maddie Larkin, click here or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Botany Students Deliver Arboretum Samples to Sam Davis Home

SDH 004aProfessor and Chair of the Biology Department Dr. Darlene Panvini taught a botany class in Fall 2014 that visited the Historic Sam Davis Home and Plantation in Smyrna multiple times as part of the class’s service learning component. The students collected leaf samples from more than 40 trees on the property to apply for arboretum certification with the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council. Panvini’s Fall 2012 botany class did similar work to advance the arboretum on Belmont’s campus towards reaching certification by the Nashville Tree Foundation.

Linday Millward and Joanna Sorrell, Belmont students, accompanied Dr. Panvini on April 30 to present all of the identified, pressed tree samples for the 41 tree to Director of Collections and Education Alex Collins. The pressed tree samples will be stored in an herbarium cabinet that the Belmont Biology Department donated to the plantation last August.

Pharmacy Students Teach Primary Care Classes at Room In The Inn

group 3In April, pharmacy students in the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy course led educational classes at Room In The Inn, a community of participants, guests, volunteers and staff who work together to offer hope to Nashville’s homeless population. The organization serves more than 4,000 homeless individuals each year.

Assistant Professor in the College of Pharmacy Dr. Ashton Beggs teaches the course to second and third year students each spring, focusing on disease states seen in primary care settings and best practices for patient education.

Room In The Inn offers over 3,000 classes annually, covering a wide range of subjects including health, spirituality, GED preparation and art. Participants earn points for taking classes and can use them to purchase socks, gloves, bus passes or other useful items.

Dr. Beggs’s students taught five classes at Room In The Inn in April. These classes focused on primary care topics including diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, smoking cessation and asthma.

group 2Student Catie Martin stated, “I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent teaching the clients at Room at the Inn. It was a very rewarding experience to be able to teach these individuals about diseases and to see how much they already knew!”

Student Kandice Squires said she was impressed with how much her students learned during the class. “Teaching Diabetes Bingo at Room In The Inn was an incredible, enlightening experience,” Squires said. “The attendees were very interactive; sharing their current knowledge, answering questions, and having discussions with each other and students, which demonstrated they were retaining the information presented during the game.”

Students Write Profiles for Nashville’s Mayoral Candidates

IMG_1214In a partnership with The Tennessean, seven Belmont students were recently selected to write short, pithy profiles of each of the seven candidates vying for Nashville’s open mayoral seat. Participating students include MacLean Pillon, Sarah Ellis, Morgan Bolen, Mara White, Jonathan Joyce, Kirk Bado and Hayden Rutledge, all studying political science or journalism at the University.

Working with Opinion Engagement Editor at The Tennessean David Plazas, students listened to candidate interviews and turned them into short profiles that highlighted main platform stances and remaining questions. With a millennial’s viewpoint in mind, topics included education, affordable housing and transportation, among other things that are top-of-mind for the demographic.

Moving forward, the students will join Plazas in a podcast interview produced by the Tennessean and will be present at the June NashForward debate, held on Belmont’s campus. At the event, the students will have the opportunity to ask questions of the candidates in the town hall setting.

For Pillon’s profile on Megan Barry, click here.

For Eillis’s profile on Charles Robert Bone, click here.

For Bolen’s profile on David Fox, click here.

For White’s profile on Bill Freeman, click here.

For Joyce’s profile on Howard Gentry, click here.

For Rutledge’s profile on Jeremy Kane, click here.

For Bado’s profile on Rebrovick, click here.

For an overview on the student’s profiles, click here.

Students Take Second Place in Spring Mixer Competition

Acheivers.WeDimBoyzThe Audio Engineering Society (AES) Nashville hosted its annual Spring Mixer student mixing competition at Viacom Studios on April 23. Belmont’s team, “We Dim Boyz,” took second place in the event. The team consisted of AES student members Shane Bauman, Dave Villa, Cory Wilhite and Luke Woodward.

Teams from six audio programs throughout the Middle Tennessee region, including Belmont University, Blackbird Academy, The Art Institute of Tennessee, MTSU, Nashville State Community College and the School of Audio Engineering, mixed a song chosen by the AES committee in identical mixing suites, courtesy of CMT.  The final mixes were submitted to a panel of six judges for review based on the AES mix criteria. The results were presented at the Spring Mixer event, held at West End United Methodist Church, where students, educators and industry professionals listened to pieces of the student mixes and the judges’ critiques.

Students Receive Foreign Language Awards

Three foreign language students recently received national awards this spring:

Marissa Mitchell

Marissa Mitchell

Marissa Mitchell and Kelsea Riddick have been awarded Teaching Assistant Program (TAPIF) grants from the French Ministry of Education to serve as English Teaching Assistants in France for the 2015-16 year.


Emma Cate Whitefield

Emma Cate Whitefield has been awarded a grant from the Austrian Ministry of Education to serve as an English Teaching Assistant in Austria for 2015-16.

These grants are based, among other factors, on the student’s ability in the respective country’s language, as well as their knowledge of its culture. Mitchell, Riddick and Whitefield represent the high quality of work, both in teaching and in advising, that occurs in the Department of Foreign Languages at Belmont.

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