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Students present research at Southern Conference forum

The students who represented WCU at the fourth annual SoCon Undergraduate Research Forum get together for a photo opportunity.

Thirteen students from Western Carolina University participated in the fourth annual SoCon Undergraduate Research Forum held Nov. 2-3 in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The event is a collaborative project of the Southern Conference membership and is hosted by Wofford College.

Nearly 150 students from the 10 Southern Conference institutions gave presentations. Supervised by a panel of faculty members representing each SoCon school, SURF welcomes research from the humanities and the arts as well as from the STEM disciplines. Bill Kwochka, a professor in WCU’s Department of Chemistry and Physics, serves as chair of the organizing panel.

WCU student presentations included:

Savannah Bennett, oral presentation, “La Princess Jaune and Samson et Dalila: Orientalism in the Operas of Camille Saint-Saëns.”

Annie Vasquez, oral presentation, “Farmworker Burdens in the Carolinas.”

Noah Smith, poster presentation, “Identification of Forensically Relevant Biological Fluids Using Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR).”

Connor Henderson, poster presentation, “Technology of Ancient Mosaic Production: Huqoq Excavation Project, Lower Galilee, Israel.”

Melissa Rogers, poster presentation, “Rebuilding Trust: An Examination of How Big Pharma Markets Its Products Through Influencer Partnerships on Instagram.”

Hannah Grace Lemacks, oral presentation, “Can You Hear Me? Living in the In-Between.”

Eduardo Correa, poster presentation, “Predicting Social Anxiety in Second-Language Learners Using Personality, Linguistic Competence and Social Evaluation.”

Clark Williams, oral presentation, “Kierkegaard in the Self-Help Age: The Quest for Selfhood in Community.”

Audre Tyner, oral presentation, “Humor and Happiness Among People with Multiple Sclerosis.”

Mary Emma Haywood, poster presentation, “Cooling System Design for Stirling Power Conversion System Used in NASA Kilopower Reactor.”

Lindsey McGregor, poster presentation, “Constructing a Small-Scale Biodigester, and its Feasibility in Western North Carolina.”

Jose Ruano, oral presentation, “The Effects of Linguistics in Healthcare of Spanish-Speaking Communities.”

Lauren Testerman, two poster presentations, “The Impact of Adolescents' Perceptions of Their Parents' Anxiety on Their Own Anxiety in Stressful Situations” and “Slut-Shaming in College-Aged Females as a Function of Ethnicity, Style of Dress, Body Shape and Relationship Status.”

For more information about WCU’s participation in SURF, contact Kwochka at 828-227-3673 or

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