Phi Kappa Phi hosts 18th Annual Student Research and Fine Arts Conference

Students and faculty gathered together for the 18th Phi Kappa Phi Annual Student Research and Fine Arts Conference on Mar. 8 in the JSAC Ballroom. (Photo: Skyler Mitchell)

By Skyler Mitchell | Staff Writer

Members of Phi Kappa Phi gathered in the JSAC Ballroom to have a meeting of minds on Mar. 8.  Students from every department came to share their hard-won knowledge to others and were met with praise.

The honors society of Phi Kappa Phi recently had its 18th Annual Student Research and Fine Arts Conference that was open to the public on a Wednesday afternoon, which was the site of several extraordinary events.

Dr. Pamela Hayward, the leader of the Augusta University chapter, was the presenter of the event.

“I believe this conference is important to show the hard work [of the students] on these projects,” she said after explaining her position in the conference.

Following Dr. Hayward, Augusta University president Dr. Brooks Keel and vice president of academic affairs Dr. Gretchen Caughman gave their thanks to those who participated in the event.

“Many thanks to our faculty and students who dedicated all this time for this conference,” said Dr. Brooks Keel over livestream.

After the three speakers gave their thanks to those attending the conference, the floor was given to Dr. Bill Hobbins and the University Singers. The University Singers is a choral group that anyone can join by audition, regardless of major. The Department of Music runs the choral group and it rehearses many styles of choral literature. They sang a few hymns and poems, along with a rendition of “Rockin’ in Jerusalem.” After they were done singing, the floor was opened for the main event.

The main event of the congress is the poster session, where students were given time to present their research on things they were passionate about. The gamut of topics consisted of four subjects: medical, environmental, political science and artistic. Students Monica Amin, Baillie Conway, William Gordon and Nicole Haibach did these four subjects.

Monica Amin’s poster focused on the medical field, specifically on how plasticizer DNOP in which is part of foods that people eat could be a possible source of cancer. She centered her research on how it affected field mice.

She found that it can prevent certain actions that make sure cells do not become cancerous.

“DNOP can cause apoptosis, which happens when a cell mutates,” Amin said, pointing out the main reason it was cancerous.

It has a huge effect on the liver of the mice and she recommended that more testing should be done to make sure DNOP is not ingested by any more people.

For the environmental topic, Nicole Haibach focused on how rainfall changed mosquito populations. After she gathered up groups of mosquitoes from different species and rainwater from a certain site, Haibach tested how certain species survived on rainwater.

Her findings showed that only “container” species, or species that require water to be collected in certain places, had any change in population by the end of the study.

“The Salinarius and the Quiinguefasciatus were the ones to be effected,” Haibach said as she talked about her results. For those that do not require water to be collected, there is no correlation.

The political science topic came from William Gordon, who focused on how students are more likely to vote based on their political knowledge. Using the survey with a sample size of about 400 people, Gordon found that the more knowledge a young person has on the election, the more likely they are to vote.

“The survey is similar to one done by CIRLE, with the lower scores meaning more political knowledge,” he said when he was explaining how he made the survey.

Gordon said he hopes to continue this study with changes to the survey and with a larger sample size. He also plans to revise his old survey so he can get accurate results.

For the artistic topic, Baillie Conway picked an interesting topic. Through the art of taking photos, exposing them onto a silk screen to make them older, and moving them onto carefully created structures, Conway recreated old buildings from Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina.

“I wanted to represent a transition in history and industry and what it left behind,” he said when asked why he did this.

In order to fulfill his goal, Conway recreated the buildings in smaller forms, created a soundtrack to accompany the artwork, and even made a working streetcar to capture the setting. He calls the city “Progress City” and was proud of the results of his project.

“This wasn’t an easy project, but I’m glad I did it,” Conway said.

After the poster session was done, everyone was divided into several groups to view different presentations. After the closing remarks by Dr. Kevin Frasier, the conference ended.

“Thank you for taking time to come to our event,” Frasier said before ending the meeting.

The Phi Kappa Phi has many members on campus and have many locations within the country. The organization also hosts many events and charities that anyone can participate in. If there are any questions about the organization, feel free to contact the local chapter through Regina Messer at For the national society, please contact Hanna Breaux at

Contact Skyler Mitchell at


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