Northwestern State University recognized individuals for excellence in research during the schools’ 30th annual Research Day. The awards capped off a day of oral and poster presentations that addressed topics in the varied disciplines of computer information systems, engineering technology, music, public health, cultural studies, English, science, Cuba, psychology and film. Some presentations were live streamed for the benefit of distance-learning students.
Kirsten Fontenot of Zachary was recognized with the Phi Kappa Phi Student Research Award, which recognizes outstanding research, distinguished artistic performance or creative work completed by a student or team of students while enrolled at NSU.
Fontenot is a senior in the Louisiana Scholars’ College majoring in liberal arts with a concentration in scientific inquiry. Her research, which she intends to publish in an undergraduate chemistry academic journal, was titled “Protein-Protein Docking Analysis of Ebola Virus Cell Bending and Entry.” Her faculty sponsor is Dr. Massimo Bezoari. She intends to attend medical school this fall.
“My research is on blocking Ebola virus infection using computer software to model the proteins involved in infection,” she explained. “Modeling the interactions between the proteins show where exactly the proteins will interact with each other. That information can be utilized to synthesize small molecules that can bind in those interaction sites and stop or prevent Ebola virus infection.”
Jessica Cross of Natchitoches was recognized with the Student Design Award for creating the poster and program cover for Research Day 2017. Cross is a senior in the Department of Fine and Graphic Arts with a concentration in graphic communications.
Paul Christopher was this year’s recipient of the Dr. Mildred Hart Bailey Faculty Research Award, which recognized a member of the faculty for outstanding research or distinguished artistic performance and/or creative work substantially completed during the last three years. The projects are evaluated for scholarly or creative significance, national, regional or local impact, originality and ingenuity of project design and critical recognition by experts in the field.
Christopher is an associate professor of cello and music theory in the School of Creative and Performing Arts. His research topic is “Musique Concrete Instrumentale.”
Keynote speaker Dr. Richard Jensen, an internationally recognized authority on the history of terrorism, spoke on “Terrorism from Anarchism to Al Qaeda and ISIS.” Jensen, A professor in the Louisiana Scholars College who is retiring after this semester, dedicated his lecture to the late Dr. Jean D’Amato Thomas, former faculty and noted researcher. Jensen was winner of last year’s Dr. Jean D’Amato Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award.
Research Day was chaired by Dr. Margaret Cochran.