The 23rd Annual Celebration of Student Research, Scholarship, and Creative Work at Wabash College recognizes in a proud and public way the creative accomplishments of Wabash students. The College celebrates not only the particular achievements of individual students, but also a deeply embedded ethos of the College. Here, Augustus Isaac '25 explains a bit about his presentation, 'Bacdegron-LOCKR: When You Want to Break Up with Your Proteins.'
Assistant Professor of Biology Erika Sorensen-Kamakian (center, standing) poses with a group of her students. Eleven of her students presented at the Celebration based on research headed by Dr. Sorensen-Kamakian and Wally Novak, professor of chemistry.
Whether using an electronic notepad or a traditional one, the Celebration is a great event to take notes.
Ethan Johns '25 answers a question about his presentation, 'Investigating the Role of Calcium in Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress.'
Listening is one of the best skills on display at the Celebration of Student Research.
Mawuli Nevis '25 (right) answers a question from a classmate regarding his presentation, 'A “Key” Template for Unlocking Protein Degradation in C. elegans.'
Chad Westphal, Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science and Dept Chair, listens to an answer from Isaac.
Connor Wakefield '23 explains a bit about protein control with 'LOCKR: an Eggceptional Way to Destroy Proteins,' during his presentation with Michael Bertram '23.
Cody Leneave '24 presented a 'Computational Investigation of CuPdO2 Catalyzed Sonogashira Reaction' with Eric Green '24.
Khoi Truong ’23 presenting his research titled, “Impacts on Income Inequality from the Aftereffects of Financial Crisis
with Market Expectations and Macroeconomic Factors.“
Grant Johnson '23 had an easy going demeanor in delivering 'Developing a Model for C. elegans 26S Proteasome Function in vitro' with research partner Thomas Oppman '25.
Brian Dobbels '24 (right) listens to a question during his presentation, 'Drivers of Variation in Innate Immune Assays in Box Turtles.'
Director of International Programs Amy Weir was an engaged questioner during Friday's first poster session.
Eric Green '24 (center) was one of the winners of the Robert Wedgeworth '59 Library Research, Scholarship, and Creativity Award, which recognize effective use of library resources in the preparation of Celebration work.
Nathan Pairitz '23 (left) explains a point to Wabash College President Scott E. Feller.
Thomas Oppman '25 (left) was an engaged presenter.
Luis Rivera '25 presneted 'The Impact of Avoidance Coping and Fear on Conspiracy Theory Beliefs.'
Quinton Wood '24 delivers his presentation, 'Investigating the Role of Calcium in Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress.' with research partner Ethan Johns.
Jovan Simakoski '23 (right) makes a point to Assistant Professor of Economics Sujata Saha while presenting 'Uvulifer ambloplitis (Platyhelminthes: Trematoda) Larval Infection in its Local Fish Host (Notropis sp.).'
Nhan Huynh '24 (right) answered plenty of questions on his presentation 'Functional Study of the SASH1 Gene in Developing Skin Pigmentation Disorder.'
Michael Bertram '23 (center, in red shirt with back to camera) engages in a conversation with President Feller while presenting 'Crushing it with LOCKR: an Eggceptional Way to Destroy Proteins.' Bertram co-presented this poster with Connor Wakefield.
Owen Hauber '25 (left) shares details on his presentation 'Aelosoma Regeneration in Different Solutions.'
Mitchell Keeling '23 (center) is all ears as he listens to question while delivering 'When Worms Get on Your Nerves: Destroying Neuronal Proteins using LOCKR.' He co-presented with Austin Johnson '23.
'Drivers of Variation in Innate Immune Assays in Box Turtles' drew a lot of questions and Brigham Anderson'23 (center) supplied the answers.
How do you condense months’ worth of extensive research into a 15-minute presentation?
“Practice, practice, practice,” chuckled Hawk Ricketts ’23, one of 50 students across campus who were brave enough to reverse the roles and act as an educator as part of Wabash’s 23rd Celebration of Student Research, Scholarship, and Creative Work.
Friday’s event was dedicated to showcasing the impressive work of students in the form of oral and poster presentations, representing accomplishments across various disciplines.
Ricketts, a Classics major and religion minor, gave a presentation titled, “Calvinist Horror and the Summary, Analysis, Continuity, and Discontinuity of Two Contemporary Retellings of Doctor Faustus,” which examined what makes Calvinist horror truly terrifying.
With the use of multimedia examples, the senior analyzed how two contemporary retellings of Goethe’s Faust — an episode of “The Twilight Zone” and a character featured in the video game “Guilty Gear” — explore and play with the concept of religious horror.
“This presentation came from a 15-page paper I wrote for my Theology of Evil class,” explained Ricketts, who’s research was sponsored by Assistant Professor of Religion Jeffrey Reed Jay. “Originally, I thought one page translates to one minute but it doesn’t. The first time I read it through, the presentation was 40 minutes!
“Condensing it all down took so much time,” he said. “I got the best advise ever from some peers and professors ahead of the event, which was to assume that my audience is intelligible with the subject matter and to have a lot of information on the screen rather than me speaking it in great detail. That was my biggest challenge with this project, but I am so happy with how it turned out.”
After presenting his research on Calvinist horror and receiving a round of applause, compliments weaved into questions by the audience, which was made up of classmates, faculty, staff, and other members of the campus community. An engaging conversation continued back-and-forth between Ricketts and members of the crowd until it was time for the next student presenter.
Gage Businger ’25, a rhetoric major and business minor, presented “Jazz on the River: A History of Riverboat Jazz,” sponsored by Associate Professor of Music Sarin Williams.
The sophomore’s presentation highlighted the significance of riverboat jazz on and around the Mississippi River in the integration of Black culture in the form of jazz music in northern industrialized cities during the Great Migration.
“I had no real connection to or knowledge of jazz and its history before taking Dr. Williams’ class and working further on this presentation,” Businger said. “I like music, the evolution of music, and I respect people who have the ability to play, so it’s been fun to dive into an elective outside of my major.
“I found it fun answering all the questions from the audience (during the presentation) because it felt like I was able to educate and peak their interests in a subject that I was curious about at one point too,” he said. “I was able to enhance what I have learned in class.”
More than 20 posters and exhibits were displayed inside Detchon’s International Hall. Jonathan Silva-Melendez ’24, Seth Kirkpatrick ’24, Richard Ballentine ’25, and Parker Gamble ’23 presented “The Interception of Hispanic Identity and Democracy.” Brian Dobbels ’24 and Brigham Anderson ’23 presented “Drivers of Variation in Innate Immune Assays in Box Turtles.” Luis Rivera ’25 presented “The Impact of Avoidance Coping and Fear on Conspiracy Theory Beliefs.”
The Celebration presentations were diverse and focused on a wide variety of student work from all three academic divisions, including collaborative work with faculty and staff, independent study, or other projects that showcased efforts beyond normal coursework.
Since 1999, the Celebration has recognized, in a proud and public way, the creative accomplishments of Wabash students, said Dean of the College Todd McDorman.
“Close collaboration between Wabash students and faculty across the College is a hallmark of our culture, a labor of pedagogy and love that makes a difference for our students. It is a special pleasure to introduce some of the results of that collaboration in these presentations,” McDorman said. “Our thanks go to the students who prepared to teach the Wabash community about their good work and to the faculty and staff members who have devoted considerable time helping students in their research and creative productions.”
Lon Porter, professor of chemistry and chair of the Undergraduate Research and Celebration Committee, said he was proud of see the breadth of work submitted from students, with presentations ranging from an exploration of musical ensembles on TikTok and gerrymandering, to protein function and rainbow numbers.
“We witness our students at top form,” Porter said, “and we’re all so immensely proud of their accomplishments.”
Porter also noted that the Celebration occurs during a time when students are “on the hunt for that ‘dream’ summer opportunity,” and that participating in the event may inspire them to pursue research or artistic internships.
“Student presenters share not only the results of their work, but often tell of the journey along the way,” Porter added. “These insights help to motivate them to look for similar opportunities and many say their experiences often unlock an advanced research internship, job, or even a new academic focus at the College.”
One highlight of the annual event includes the Celebration Planning Committee announcing the winners of two prestigious awards.
The Celebration Research, Scholarship, and Creativity Awards are $150 prizes awarded to the students who most effectively articulated their gains in professional development and personal growth as a result of their research, scholarship, or creative work. This year’s winners are Nhan Huynh ’24, Auggie Isaac ’25, and Tom Oppman ’25.
The Robert Wedgeworth Library Research, Scholarship, and Creativity Awards are $500 prizes that recognize a student’s effective use of library resources in the preparation of Celebration work. This year’s winners are Nathen Burnside ’23, Eric Green ’24, and Khoi Truong ’23.