The 2023 Undergraduate Research Conference recently took place in Fant Memorial Library. There were 11 submissions across three different categories: poster presentations, oral presentations and asynchronous presentations.

Irelyn French shares research with alumni during Homecoming

The Undergraduate Research Conference, in its 4th year, is a chance for students to showcase their ongoing, in-progress, and/or proposed research projects. Students who participate are eligible for a cash prize, given to projects that demonstrate excellence in different categories of research.

“Seeing student presenters go from nervous and unsure when they get ready to talk in front of people, to accomplished and even a bit confident after they’ve been recognized for their work is really what this day is about. I am so proud of our presenters this – and every – year,” said Hillary Richardson, coordinator of undergraduate research.

This year’s conference began in conjunction with the Coffee with Scholars Homecoming event. Alumni, friends and family were invited to enjoy coffee and refreshments while conversing with the student presenters before opening remarks.

Presentation subjects ranged from neuroscience, reproductive health, graphic design and pre-med. Of the 11 student presenters, six presented posters, two gave oral presentations and three presented asynchronously. Faculty evaluators scored each presentation, and the top performers received a cash prize.

This year, a total of $1,800 was awarded to outstanding presentations.

Maggie Taylor won second place in Long-Term Research with Ayooluwa Ilesanmi taking first place for her project titled “Computational Evaluation of Bioactive Compounds from Vaccinium vitis-idaea L (Ligonberry) for Treating KRAS-associated Lung Cancer.”

Second place in Short-Term Research was awarded to Hailey Reel. Hailey McCool won first place in the Short-Term category with her project “Reproductive Health in America: A History of Patriarchal Control.”
Irelyn French placed second in Poster Presentations with Reggi Pech’s “What Makes a Good Product?” taking first place.

Best Research Proposal was awarded to Aubrey Parker for “Sexual Knowledge and Wellness of College Students.”

Best Asynchronous Presentation was awarded to Tera Dora’s “Perceived Racism and Help Seeking Behaviors on College Campuses.”

Best Oral Presentation was awarded to Annie Hollis’ “Antagonistic Pleiotropy in Alzheimer’s Disease.”
The Overall Excellence in Research Award was given to Jadelynn Rudolf for her project titled “Phage Peptide Technology to Characterize Extracellular Vesicles in the Brain Tumors.”

Rudolf had this to say about her experience, “I really enjoyed my experience as a student presenter, especially because Hillary made the process so welcoming and easy for all of us. One thing that stood out to me was the topics of projects presented. As a stem major, I enjoyed seeing presentations from a range of topics unfamiliar to me. Having won the Overall Excellence Award, I was very proud of the work that I did and very thankful for the people that helped me get here.”

All presentations are available on the URC Athena Commons website. Visitors can view abstracts and posters, recorded presentations and view presentations from previous years. Visit

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

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