Nine Liberty University students presented research at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium (BigSURS) hosted by High Point University April 5-6, with six receiving first- or second-place honors.
More than 125 students from 18 institutions participated in the event, including all nine Big South Conference schools and nine other prominent institutions from North Carolina, including the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Davidson, Appalachian State, and UNC-Charlotte.
Liberty students presented research in disciplines such as English literature, history, psychology, and Teaching English as a Second Language (see presentation titles below). Each had a faculty mentor supervise their research.
“This is an invaluable experience, to have our students, half of them sophomores, presenting their research against (these institutions) and to have most of them win … it shows that Liberty is serious about academics,” said Dr. Jim Nutter, professor and director of Liberty’s Honors Program.
Nutter also coaches Liberty’s Quiz Bowl team, which recently won its seventh conference championship in eight years. In the past two years, the team has posted wins over numerous ACC and SEC schools: Duke University, the University of Virginia, the University of South Carolina, the University of Maryland, the University of Kentucky, Auburn University, North Carolina State, and Virginia Tech.
Through programs like Quiz Bowl, honors, and the BigSURS, Nutter said Liberty is proving it can compete with other world-class institutions known for their academic reputations.
“These students are graduating and being accepted into graduate schools at some of the top academic institutions across the country and even the world,” Nutter said, naming Ivy League schools like Yale, Cornell, Columbia, Penn, Dartmouth, and Brown, as well as Edinburgh and Cambridge as examples of where Liberty students have attended graduate school. “Liberty’s students are among the brightest in the country. Most of our Quiz Bowl team members are National Merit Finalists … scoring in the top 1 percent on the PSATs in high school.”
Emily Abel (junior) – First place in Psychology, “Material and Social Reinforcements in Children With High-Functioning Autism”
Rachel Beel (senior) and Jennifer Felder (senior) – First place in Modern Languages, “Phonological Adaptations of English Loanwords in Turkish”
Kristina Benham (senior) – First place in History, “John Quincy Adams and Slavery: Resolving the Founders' Contradiction”
Megan Doherty (sophomore) – Second place in Modern Languages, “Music-based ESL Teaching: A Case Study of English Stress Patterns”
Doug Stephens (sophomore) – Second place in English Literature, “The Persistence of Narrative: Archetypal and Thematic Parallelism in Milton and Shelley”