Murray State, serving as head university for program, featured research from 19 students accompanied by faculty mentors

MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University students traveled to Frankfort on Feb. 21 to share research and creative activity with state legislators during the annual Posters at the Capitol event.

For nearly 20 years, undergraduates have presented their work in the Capitol Building, demonstrating the value of higher education to lawmakers and fellow students. This year, Murray State students worked on projects ranging from agriculture’s impact on soil, elevated calcium levels in Kentucky Lake thanks to invasive mollusks, how megachurches are struggling to brand themselves and more.

Some 200 students and faculty across Kentucky’s public universities presented 118 posters this year, with 19 Murray State students presenting 14 posters. Those students were accompanied by faculty mentors.

Murray State is the head university for each year’s program, coordinating with faculty and staff at other Kentucky universities throughout the year. Murray State University Interim President Bob Jackson emceed the event, with Provost Mark Arant also in attendance. Kentucky House of Representatives Majority Whip Chad McCoy and Kentucky State Senate District 1 Rep. Stan Humphries were the featured speakers.

AJ Boston, scholarly communication librarian and coordinator for Murray State’s Posters at the Capitol program, praised the variety and depth of research on display.

“It’s encouraging to see students at this stage of their college career so active and so eager,” Boston said. “I appreciate the wide breadth of projects we saw, especially at Murray State. Although we certainly had strong representation from students in STEM fields and the humanities, we had a good number of projects that were cross-disciplinary.”

Murray State junior Taylor Davis, a music education major from Madisonville, Kentucky, explored how the human brain processes and stores information and how it applies it to teaching music. She worked with the Paducah Symphony Youth & Children’s Chorus in her research, showing them how melodies and rhythms can be represented visually.

“It was an honor to present this year,” Davis said of her first Posters at the Capitol experience. “I’ve made my passion into my career. I was very excited to represent Murray State. I love Murray State and I am so thankful for the music faculty. Everyone has been so supportive. To have Murray State’s name on my poster was an honor.

“For the whole trip, I learned from others and we all learned from one another. It was a highlight of my entire collegiate career.”

Davis’ project mentor was Murray State music professor Dr. Bradley Almquist, who also serves as director of choral activities. She was accompanied by professor Joan Eckroth-Riley during her presentation. Other faculty involved in this year’s Posters at the Capitol are as follows:

• Dr. Iin Handayani
• Dr. Bommanna Loganathan
• Dr. Susan Hendricks
• Dr. David Eaton
• Dr. Alyx Shultz
• Dr. Brian Parr
• Dr. Marcie Hinton
• Dr. Kathy Callahan
• Dr. Steve Still
• Dr. David Pizzo
• Dr. Bikram Subedi
• Dr. Abdul Yareli

Murray State University students who participated in this year’s Posters at the Capitol are as follows:

Murray State University junior Taylor Davis, left, presents her research to a group during the 2019 Posters at the Capitol event.
Murray State University junior Taylor Davis, left, presents her research to a group during the 2019 Posters at the Capitol event.

• Taylor Davis (Madisonville, Kentucky)
• McKenna Morgan (New Concord, Kentucky)
• Adam Martin (Nebo, Kentucky)
• Hanna Huckeby (Louisville, Kentucky)
• Meredith Mullins (Benton, Kentucky)
• Samantha Peterson (Columbia, Missouri)
• Carly Middleton (Williamstown, Kentucky)
• Chloe Chaplin (Louisville, Kentucky)
• Gabby Barnes (Raywick, Kentucky)
• Caroline Mikez (Mayfield, Kentucky)
• Ella Potts (Falls of Rough, Kentucky)
• Jessica Stoner (Henderson, Kentucky)
• Tara Croft (Murray, Kentucky)
• Katelyn Foppe (Troy, Illinois)
• Rhiannon Huffines (McDaniels, Kentucky)
• Richard Thompson (Santa Elena, Belize)
• Seth Pritchett (Henderson, Kentucky)
• Tracy Whitlock (Mount Eden, Kentucky)
• Ashley Robert (Dahlgren, Illinois)

Photo 1: Pictured are administrators, faculty, staff and students representing Murray State University at this year’s Posters at the Capitol event.

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