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Students at Mississippi College and Tougaloo College Focus on Research


MC chemistry professor Trent Selby and Bre Holmes, president of the MC student chapter of the American Chemical Society

Students at Mississippi College and Tougaloo College will focus on their research efforts at an April 9 conference.

Showcasing their findings at the 17th annual undergraduate research symposium, students at the private institutions in Central Mississippi reflect a splendid partnership.

“The continued partnership between two of Mississippi’s private universities, both founded in the 1800s, gives us all confidence in the future of college-educated young people,” says Debbie Norris, MC’s interim provost.

“For 17 years now, this partnership has provided numerous college students a platform to present their research,” says Norris, the university’s Graduate School dean.

Santanu Banerjee serves as chair of the 2020 symposium to be held at Tougaloo’s Health & Wellness Center. The Tougaloo physics professor joins MC faculty counterparts seeing benefits of the event for students at both colleges.

Over the years, more than 1,000 students made presentations at the conference, Banerjee said. It is typically 80 students each year. “The events have seamlessly tied the institutions.”

Students will receive awards for oral and poster presentations in the following areas: natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and education.

Research dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and alternative medicines remain popular research topics for college students nationwide. The impact of climate change, and methods of destroying cancer cells are vital research topics as well.

The first joint research symposium was held in April 2004 on the Tougaloo campus and moved to Mississippi College the following year. There were 28 oral and 35 poster presentations the first year.

It’s been a success ever since.

MC student presenters this year include Dean Damon and Rachel Rocray, both of Madison, Ruth Brooks and Summer Nash, both of Brandon. Also: Aspen Kent of Pearl, Carly Beth Cappleman of Starkville, Kelbe Logan of Kosciusko and Trey Pittman of Eupora.

MC student presenters at the inaugural Tougaloo-Mississippi College Undergraduate Research Symposium in 2004 are excelling in their careers today.

They include:  Florence native Dr. Ashley Ringer McDonald, a chemistry professor at California Polytechnic University, and Brandon native Dr. Patricia Honea Stewart, an allergist at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Also: Dr. Jeanann Lovell Suggs, a radiation oncologist at the Mississippi Baptist Medical Center. She is originally from Clinton. 

The research symposium is not only a busy time for students. MC chemistry professors like Trent Selby and David Magers are gearing up for the symposium, too.

The symposium is open to students in all disciplines doing undergraduate research.