Simpson University Students Honored at Research Symposium

REDDING, Calif.—More than 350 attendees filled lecture halls to listen to 25 presentations and posters during Simpson University’s 9th annual Student Research Symposium on March 13.

The symposium is an annual event open to the public. It began in 2011 as a faculty initiative to give students an opportunity to share their research outside the classroom. Divided into morning and afternoon sessions, the symposium is modeled after professional academic conferences.

In addition to sharing their research with peers, faculty, and other visitors, the 34 student presenters were also competing for prizes. The Stanley Clark Research Awards were given to five outstanding presenters at a banquet following the symposium.

The award for Best Undergraduate Presentation went to Paul Bigelow, a history major from Redding, on the topic, “Of the End Times: Comparing Shi’i, Sunni, and Christian Eschatology.”

The award for Best Undergraduate Poster went to Taylor Baldwin, a psychology major from San Luis Obispo, on the topic of “The Effects of Small-Group Participation on Men’s Perceived Social Support, Attachment to Others, and Attachment to God-Figures.”

The award for Best Undergraduate Paper went to Lydia McGaffee, a psychology major from Lilongwe, Malawi, for her work entitled, “What is the evidence for PTSD as a Disorder of Memory? How Might a Cognitive Vaccine be Developed?”

The award for Best Graduate Poster went to Amy Chambers, a master of arts in counseling psychology student, on the topic, “Utilizing Somatic Experiencing for the Treatment of Trauma.”

The award for Best Graduate Paper went to Molly Finn, a master of arts in counseling psychology student from Chico, for her work entitled, “Barriers to Mental Health Services in the Latino Population.”

Award recipients receive a plaque and scholarship funds.

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The day’s events began with a free breakfast on the “plaza” and egg-drop competition and concluded with an Outdoor Leadership trail-food cook-off outside the Bean Scene.

The symposium opened with a plenary address by Ryan Collins, CEO of Bethel School of Technology, who wove the theme of “Momentum” into a discussion about his journey into the tech field and the opportunities present for Christians to have an impact. He encouraged students to look for ways to create and sustain momentum.

“Whatever you do, you need to do in excellence,” he said. “Our lives have to speak. We have to be excellent in what we do and who we are.”

Symposium committee member and nursing professor Misty Smith also shared opening remarks about the importance and rigor of scholarship.

“Once a project is completed, it must be shared to grow that body of knowledge,” she said. “The symposium offers students an opportunity to learn about work being developed by their peers … Scholarship is alive and well at Simpson University. Today, we pause to learn, grow and be inspired.”

In addition to Smith, symposium committee members include Drs. John Ayabe, Brian Hooker, Reg Watson, and Jennifer Costillo; and Dean of Students Mark Endraske.

The symposium awards are named after former Simpson University Provost Stanley Clark, an enthusiastic supporter of the research symposium. Following his 2012 retirement, Dr. Clark and his wife, Susan, established The Clark Endowment for Student Research to support student scholarly activity.

Learn more about the symposium and read descriptions of all the presentations at simpsonu.edu/researchsymposium.

Photos by Holly Kiker and Chyna Xiong / Top photo: Dr. Patrick Blewett, left, and President Norman Hall (right) stand with Stanley Clark Award winners Paul Bigelow (second from left), Taylor Baldwin, and Amy Chambers. Not pictured: Lydia McGaffee and Molly Finn.

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Simpson University, founded in 1921, moved to Redding almost 30 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 25 majors in its traditional undergraduate program, the university has graduated almost 4,000 North State adults from its ASPIRE degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a highly ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership.

Simpson is launching new athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team. The university is also working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements.

Learn more about Simpson University at simpsonu.edu. Follow university news at simpsonunews.com.

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