NSU Research Day highlights student, faculty scholarly endeavors


Northwestern State University presented research awards to students and faculty during the school’s 29th annual Research Day. From left are faculty award winners Dr. Tommy Hailey, Dr. Jim Mischler and Dr. Rick Jensen with Dr. Margaret Cochran, chair of the NSU Research Committee and student winners Aaron Bradford and Megan Duhon.

For the first time, Research Day presentations were streamed live via WebEx to allow distance learning students and students and faculty on our other campuses to participate in the day’s activities. One distance student presented a virtual session.

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi annually presents Student Research Awards to increase student participation in Research Day. Awards are presented to the best contributions regardless of academic classification. Students in all academic disciplines are eligible. Student Research Award winners were Megan Duhon of Crowley and Aaron Bradford of Frisco, Texas. Both are students in the Louisiana Scholars’ College.

Bradford’s topic was “The Change in Cardiovascular Endurance and Body Fat Percentage of Drum Corps Athletes.” Dr. Margaret Cochran is his faculty mentor. Bradford documented the changes in fitness levels of participants in Drum Corp International, a physically and mentally challenging activity that requires marching arts performers to rehearse between eight and 12 hours per day for 12 weeks. He then assessed the changes in fitness level and athleticism of the participants over the course of the summer to determine if the demanding level of physical activity mirrors that of competing sports.

Duhon’s topic was “The Regulation of Angiogenesis by Lysophosphatidic Acid.” Her faculty mentor is Dr. Massimo Bezoari. Duhon’s research investigated whether lypophosphatidic acid, a natural lipid in the body, could be used to create a healthy and safe angiogenic therapy. The research is applicable in therapies used to combat coronary artery disease, the buildup of plaque in the arteries, globally the most common cause of natural death.

Amanda Schultz of Leesville, a senior in the Department of Fine and Graphic Art, was recognized for producing the winning program cover and Research Day poster design. This was her second year to win the honor.

Faculty Research Awards presented during Research Day honor the memories of former NSU faculty.

Dr. Jim Mischler, a professor in the Department of English, Foreign Language and Cultural Studies, was named the recipient of the Dr. Mildred Hart Bailey Faculty Research Award for research in cognitive linguistics. Those nominated for the award are evaluated on scholarly or creative significance, national, regional or local impact; originality and ingenuity of project design and critical recognition by experts in the field.

Dr. Tommy Hailey, a professor in the Department of History, Criminal Justice and Social Sciences, was named recipient of the Dr. Marietta LeBreton Louisiana Studies Award for research in anthropology. This award acknowledges faculty whose research careers have been dedicated to topics in any discipline related to Louisiana. Nominees must have made significant contributions to their field of study through publications, creative pieces, presentations, sustained work on a major projected relating to the history, culture, languages, science, math or other fields. Nominees must demonstrate a sustained record of research on Louisiana topics or other projects that illustrate a significant connection to Louisiana.

Dr. Richard Jensen, a professor in the Louisiana Scholars’ College, was named recipient of the Dr. Jean D’Amato Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award for research on the history of anarchistic terrorism and political violence. This award honors a senior faculty member whose career has included a significant commitment to research and service to their discipline. Nominees must have made significant contributions to their field of study, remained dedicated to a consistent research agenda spanning their career through publication, presentations, research grants or related activities and demonstrated a sustained record of service to the discipline.

Church, the keynote speaker, works with the materials conservation program at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, which is housed on the NSU campus. NCPTT is a research and training office of the National Service and Church divides his time between conducting in-house research, organizing training events and teaching hands-on conservation workshops.

Church discussed outsider art and art conservation and NCPTT’s role in helping the FBI examine the work of Natchitoches artist Clementine Hunter and forgeries of her art.

Dr. Margaret Cochran chairs the NSU Research Committee that annually organizes Research Day.