SFA’s Graduate Research Conference winners announced


Winners of Stephen F. Austin State University’s 2020 Graduate Research Conference were recently announced after organizers restructured the annual event as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

“COVID-19 brought an immediate halt to our university’s classes on campus as well as all events, including our annual Graduate Research Conference,” said Dr. Pauline Sampson, dean of the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. “Our great committee jumped into action to change the format from a face-to-face to virtual conference.

“Because one of the conference’s main purposes is to prepare graduate students to present at other professional conferences after they graduate, we did not want them to lose the chance to showcase their work and also be able to include it on their résumés.”

Nineteen research posters and 15 research papers were selected for virtual presentation. They were chosen by members of the Graduate Research Committee, which comprised Dr. Sarah Savoy, associate professor of psychology; Dr. Linda Levitt, professor of communication; Dr. Perky Beisel, professor of history; Dr. Frantisek Majs, assistant professor of agriculture; Dr. Todd Whitehead, associate professor of kinesiology and health science; Dr. Alexandra Van Kley, professor of biology; Amanda Breitbach, assistant professor or art; Dr. Robyn Whitehead, assistant professor of kinesiology and health science; Dr. Leslie Cecil, professor of anthropology; Brooke Ashley, graduate student representative; and Sampson.

Best Poster was awarded to Liam Wolff for his research titled “Assessing Occupancy and Detection of Bachman’s Sparrow (Peucaea aestivalis) in East Texas.” Wolff is a graduate student in the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, and his advisor is Dr. Christopher M. Schalk, assistant professor of forestry.

Best Paper was awarded to Sarah Whitfield for her research titled “Synthesis and Characterization of CO Releasing Bipyridine Palladium Flavonolate Complexes: Potential Anticancer Agents.” She was a graduate student in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, and Dr. Xiaozhen Han, assistant professor of chemistry, was her advisor.