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April 2, 2013

ULM Honors Program students present at Louisiana Collegiate Honors Council conference; 2014 conference to be held at ULM

Students from The University of Louisiana at Monroe Honors Program attended the annual meeting of the Louisiana Collegiate Honors Council at Delgado Community College New Orleans at the end of February.

Eleven honors students presented papers based on research conducted at ULM.

Those students include: Melinda Johnson, a modern languages major from Bossier City; Jenae Clay, an atmospheric sciences major from Lafayette; Alex Babin, an atmospheric sciences major from Ponchatoula; Phil Petit, an atmospheric sciences major from Ama; Catherine Olson, a modern languages major from Bossier City; Dustin Lovas, a biology major from Marrero; Jesse Pope, a mathematics major from Junction City, Ark.; Taylor Diaz, an English major from Dry Prong; Amit Rajkarnikar, a biology major from Delhi; Satish Dahal, a biology major from Kathmandu, Nepal; and Ryan Byrd, a biology major from Madisonville.

Eleven other students represented ULM as well, including Susan Egbert of Deridder; Bria Pierre of Baton Rouge; Sailesh Wagle of Kathmandu, Nepal; Shaterrica Sampson of Monroe; Similoluwa Ogundare of West Monroe; Melvin Grimes of Bastrop; Camille Barmore of Ruston; Vernon Bush of Natchitoches; Chimdi Ifediatu of Monroe; Bria Savage of Monroe; and Klarissa Dargin of Lake Charles.


Dr. Joshua Stockley, associate professor of political science, and director of the ULM Honors Program, accompanied the students, along with Dr. Chris Gissendanner, associate professor of pharmacology.

"I am extremely proud of how well-represented and how well-prepared ULM students were at LCHC," said Stockley.

"ULM had more student presentations than any other university, which speaks volumes about the quality of research being conducted by undergraduate students in ULM's Honors Program."

Stockley was also elected President of LCHC for the 2013-2014 academic year, and ULM was chosen as the host site for the 2014 LCHC meeting.

"Being elected to lead LCHC is an honor," he said. "It's a great testament regarding the perception of our program within the state and the honors community."

The Louisiana Collegiate Honors Council is an association of honors program directors and students from universities and colleges across the state. Students present papers and posters showcasing their own work and research, discuss specific issues related to the furtherance of successful honors programs, and compete in a Quiz Bowl competition.

Student Presentations:

Taylor Diaz presented, "Nerdin' It Up: The New Wave of Mass Consumption of Nerd Culture," which discussed the growing popularity of the "nerd archetype" in popular culture.

Amit Rajkarnikar presented, "Characterizing Pit-Mound Microtopography in Bottomland Hardwood Forests," which reported on the importance of pit mound features in the Russell Sage State Wildlife Management Area in contributing to the stand heterogeneity of the ecosystem.

Melinda Johnson presented "English in the Korean Language and South Korean Popular Culture," which studied the role of English in Korean dramas and Korean popular music.

In "Asexual Reproduction Discrete Time Model of Water Hyacinths in Northeast Louisiana," Jesse Pope discussed the results of an experiment studying the asexual reproduction habits of the water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)—an invasive aquatic plant species in Louisiana.

Catherine Olson's paper, "Charlemagne The Myth and History," examined texts regarding Charlemagne from the Medieval Period dating shortly after the king's death to develop a greater understanding of his "mythification" and its affect on current and historical French national identity.

Satish Dahal's paper, "Assessment of Secreted and GPI-linked Extracellular Leucine-Rich Repeat Proteins as Possible Ligands for the Transmembrane Protein PAN-1 in C. elegans," confirmed that the extracellular leucine-rich repeat protein, PAN-1, is a signaling pathway in C. elegans.

Ryan Byrd's paper, "Zombie Pandemic," discussed the theoretical probabilities and manifestations of a "zombie-like" pandemic.

Jenae Clay's paper, "The Effect of Canopy Mediated Micro-climatic Variations on the Growth of Cherry Belle and White Icicle Radishes," talked about the results of an experiment on radishes to ascertain how abiotic variables such as temperature, humidity, wind, light, and precipitation effect plant growth and ecosystem productivity.

Alex Babin's paper, "Tornadogenesis Associated with Landfalling Tropical Cyclones," was a case study focusing on dry air intrusion, location, and other significant dynamic processes associated with tornadogenesis.

Phil Petit's paper, "Environmental Influences on Tropical Cyclone Intensification," reviewed existing literature and theories regarding the role that upper-level troughs and vertical wind shear have on the intensification of tropical cyclones to better understand environmental effects on tropical cyclone intensity forecasts.

Dustin Lovas, with his presentation "Sequence Homology of Repressor Binding Sites Results in Homoimmunity in Related Mycobacteriophages," discussed the results of a comparative analysis of the repressor binding site sequence homology for A3, A4, and A10 Mycobacteriophages finding evidence for homoimmunity between members of related, but not identical, cluster representatives.

About the ULM Honors Program:
The ULM Honors Program is a unique program within ULM that seeks intellectually curious students who desire to challenge themselves with new ideas and to work with similarly motivated students.

The program is open to all majors in all colleges and offers various options while working within a degree program.

Honors students are exposed to more in-depth topics and work closely with faculty though a specially designed honors-only curriculum.

For more information about the Honors Program contact Stockley at or 318-342-3216 or visit

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