Thursday, April 21, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

The School of Health Sciences will host its 2022 research conference at the Stephens College Campus in Columbia, with the option for participants to join virtually through Zoom. 

This event is free and open to the public.



    • Keynote speaker in Public Health and Medicine
    • Participants will have an option to present their research posters in person or virtually
    • Student-centered sessions including a careers panel for our future life scientists and opportunities for our future clinicians
    • High school students submitted work to present with an option to compete for a Stephens College scholarship


Keynote Speaker

“Women's Health Research: Why, When & What?”

Dr. Susan R. Johnson, MD, MS, Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Epidemiology at the University of Iowa


Susan R. Johnson, MD, MS received all her education and training at the University of Iowa, where she recently retired as Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Epidemiology. Dr. Johnson’s primary clinical and research interests have been in the area of menopausal health. She was an investigator in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), a seminal clinical trial of menopausal hormone therapy. She continues to serve as Chair of the NIA/NINR funded Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), a multi-site longitudinal, epidemiologic study designed to examine the health of women during their middle years. Dr. Johnson held several administrative positions at the University of Iowa, as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the Carver College of Medicine, Associate Provost for Faculty for the university, and then as University Ombudsperson until she retired, serving the entire university community of faculty, staff, and students.


Conference Agenda

Thursday, April 21, 2022


9-9:30 a.m. Welcome & Opening Session – Windsor Auditorium; Dual Mode

Dr. Julia Moffitt, Dean, School of Health Sciences, Stephens College

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9:30-10:20 a.m. Keynote  – Windsor Auditorium; Dual Mode

Women's Health Research: Why, When & What?

Dr. Susan R. Johnson, Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Epidemiology, University of Iowa

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10:30-11:20 a.m. Center Stage: Spotlight on Student Research  – Windsor Auditorium; Dual Mode

Presentations from our undergraduate and graduate students selected from outstanding abstract submissions, as well as distinguished faculty.

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Presenting Author*


Sydney Harrison

Characterizing anatomy and predicting function of the male Florida soft-shell turtle phallic glans

Amanda Kujiraoka

Impact of incubation regimes on genital differentiation in hatchling American alligators

Julia Moffitt, PhD

The automatic detection of malaria (p. falciparum) from erythrocytes: optimization of a convolutional neural network (CNN) model

Mike Barger, PhD

Can parasite diversity predict ecosystem integrity? Parasites of fishes in the Big Thicket National Preserve


*Co-Authors noted in the abstract listing.  


11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Poster Sessions – Lela Raney Wood Ballroom

Undergraduate and Graduate Poster Presentations


Presenting Author*


Karrie Armstrong

Current trends in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation

Noa Emerson and Katherine Sharp PhD

Determining how biochemistry courses are taught in R1 universities, if they use real-world connections, and how that has differed before and during COVID.

Cassidy J. Filipiak

Improvements in repeat pacing performance indicates that experience may be a significant factor in contributing to overall pacing ability in a 100-mile ultramarathon running event

Briana Parrott

How an Ethics course enhances medical students' perspective of patient quality care

Allyssa Wilmoth

Concussion protocol effectiveness

Lauren Ruff

Rural suicide rate disparities

Abigail F. Hatfield

Do urban and rural areas have an effect on anti-predator behavior in fox squirrels (Sciurus Niger)?

Lyndsey Hood

Disparities in breast cancer care of African American women

Erin R. Hickey

Effects of unequal educational attainment on African American health literacy

Megan Coffman

From classroom to clinic

Aditi Chohan

HIV and AIDS in African Americans in southern United States

Anya Castelli

Oral health disparities

Madison Heflin, Sophia Shepherd, Sophia Rush, Oshin Jones, Alivia Forck

Effectiveness of mask wearing & face touching in small Midwestern private college

Olivia Williams

Prostate cancer in African American versus White American men

Allison Ainsleigh, Anya Castelli, Alexis Heaberlin

What caused the drop in Women's interest in computer science and what can be done to fix it?

A&P II Class

The diving reflex: beneficial drowning?

Mariah Thibodeaux

Suicide rates among college students

Kamaryn G. M. Sullivan

Health disparities in minority populations: suicide rates among native youth

Madelyne Denslow

Cervical cancer in Hispanic/Latino Women

Kelsey Ross

Food insecurity and its effects on college students: problems in rural communities

Kiana Ellison

African American women & increased postpartum depression

Morgan Lowery

Mental health among college students

Lauren Vineyard

African American women and maternal health

Megan Reese

Asthma rates in the African American community

Catherine McNeely

School counseling comparison: Missouri vs. Indonesia

Bridget Corcoran, Karishma Sherchan, Brittany McIntyre, Stephen Newberry, Paige Renfrow

The current state of concussion prevention in football and the future of athlete safety

Riley B, Madelyn L, Tuan P, Kelly S, Chris K

The effects of Cannabis on epilepsy

Kerissa Harris

Prevalence of growing antibiotic resistance and ways to address it

Caroline Williams, Kelli Rosen, Sarah Burns, Wayne Morris, Kami Tabor

Nature's Impact on Mental and Physical Health

Courtney Felten, Kate Doerhoff, Marie Kurzner, Charlotte Burns, Hayden Gunther

Mental health disparity within the chronic pain population

Husref Rizvanovic; Lauren Crawford; Catie Kifer; Tyler Harrelson; Jayeeta Devi

Migrant status and its effect on health outcomes

Hayley M. Smith

To touch or not to touch: Implications for guidance on touch in counselor education programs


*Co-Authors noted in the abstract listing.  


12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Lunch/Break on Your Own -- Stamper Commons
Opportunity for students to meet and greet keynote speaker Dr. Susan Johnson 


1:30-2:20 p.m. Careers Panel A – Research & Applied Sciences -- Dudley 105/106; Dual Mode

Think beyond the typical careers in the life sciences and learn about new and alternate career possibilities for your degree. 

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Carolyn J. Anderson, PhD

Carolyn Anderson obtained her undergraduate education in Chemistry at a small branch school of the University of Wisconsin-(Superior). Her career in diagnostic imaging and targeted radiopharmaceutical therapy of cancer started when she saw an ad in the American Chemical Society student affiliate newsletter for the Department of Energy sponsored Summer School in Nuclear Chemistry at San Jose State University. She applied on a whim and was unexpectedly accepted, becoming part of a group of chemistry majors from ivy league and top-tier colleges including Harvard and UC-Berkeley, to take coursework and learn laboratory skills in nuclear chemistry, an area where there is still minimal formal didactic training at the undergraduate level. After receiving her PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at FSU, she followed her passion for applying nuclear chemistry to medicine and moved to Washington University in St. Louis as a postdoctoral fellow under Professor Michael J Welch’s mentorship. At WU she designed and tested receptor-targeted agents labeled with metal radionuclides for imaging and therapy of cancer. After 20 years at WU, she led pre-clinical cancer imaging at the University of Pittsburgh. During her nine years at Pitt, Dr. Anderson established small animal PET/CT imaging at the Hillman Cancer Center, as well as developed a PET imaging agent for imaging vaso-occlusive crisis of sickle cell disease that was recently approved for human studies by the FDA as an Investigational New Drug. 

Viridiana E. Herrera

Viridiana E. Herrera is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Lincoln University. As an undergraduate student, she became fascinated by the complexity and efficiency of biological systems. Naturally, she followed her curious nature and went on to obtain a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Oklahoma where she determined the X-ray crystal structures of several hemeprotein-ligand complexes. She then went on to complete her postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania. Her current work uses structural biology techniques to characterize centromeric protein/DNA interactions. One of her goals at Lincoln University is to establish research experiences to introduce students to the principles of X-ray crystallography. Professor Herrera is also a devout advocate for diversity and inclusion in STEM. She currently serves as National Planning Committee (NPC) Co-chair for the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE’s) Annual Meeting. 

Khianne Jackson

Khianne Jackson has an undergraduate degree in Architecture, a master’s in Civil Engineering with a career background in engineering, primarily construction management. She is the current Federal Program Manager for Isotope Initiatives and has a current portfolio of about $750M for projects and initiatives that will be completed from the present to the early 2030s. Before entering Federal Service 1 year ago, she was a Project Controls Analyst at BNL working primarily on upgrades to particle accelerators, notably the upcoming $2.6B Electron Ion Collider as well as smaller projects from $5 to $25M in size. 

Jenifer Shafer, PhD

Professor Shafer joined the faculty at Colorado School of Mines in the fall of 2012 after a two-year employment at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Jenifer Shafer is an Associate Professor in the Chemistry Department and Nuclear Science & Engineering Program at the Colorado School of Mines. She received her Ph.D. from Washington State University in 2010, and a B.S. from Colorado State University in 2005. Jenifer is interested in advancing element separations technology through the use of new materials, supramolecular assembly, unique oxidation states, and controlling electronic structure. Advancing element separations technology has broad applications from advanced nuclear fuel cycles, nuclear forensics, and renewable technology. She is the co-author of numerous book chapters, roughly 70 technical manuscripts, and has led or collaborated on projects receiving ~$35M in funding from the DOE, DOD, DHS and NSF, with ~$5M directly supporting the efforts of the Shafer Research Group. She currently serves as a Program Director at the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

Helen Vogl, PhD

Dr. Vogl completed her Bachelors in Biology from UC Santa Cruz, holds a PhD in Physiology and Neurobiology from Rutgers University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Missouri. She has worked in the medical device industry for Medtronic for over 20 years serving in various roles in sales, education, marketing, product development and product planning for cardiac therapies, and currently is a market development director for neuroscience and diabetes therapies. This means she solves problems to help more patients get access to the therapies Medtronic creates. Dr. Vogl is originally from California and now resides in Minneapolis with her two teenage children and other friends and family. 


1:30-2:20 p.m. Careers Panel B: Health Behavior & Promotion – Pillsbury Science Center 206; Dual Mode

Think beyond the typical careers in the life sciences and learn about new and alternate career possibilities for your degree. 

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 Rachel Clair Franklin, CHLPC, CHES, BC-TMH

Rachel Franklin is a mental health counselor and has worked with the Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grant, allowing Mississippi State University (MSU) and the Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) to offer training focused on youth suicide prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her gatekeeper training program, The Alliance Project, aims to identify when a person is in distress, make a connection with that person, and learn how to help them. 

Gabe Huffington, CPRP

Gabe Huffington is the Acting Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Columbia, Missouri.  His responsibilities include the management of the Park Services Division, Recreation Services Division and Business Operations Division for the Department, which includes all tasks ranging from natural resource management to special events coordination. Gabe is also an Adjunct Professor working in the Park, Recreation, Sport and Tourism Department at the University of Missouri. Gabe is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP) and holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration, Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and an Associate's Degree in Turf and Landscape Management. He is an active member of the National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA) and the Missouri Park and Recreation Association (MPRA). He currently serves as the President-Elect on the MPRA Board of Directors and as a Regent for the Lyle Beaver Leadership Development Institute (LDI). He has previously served as a MPRA Region Director, MPRA Board Member and Park Resource Section President. He is also a past-president and active member of the Columbia Cosmopolitan Luncheon Club.

Alicia Pugh, PhD, MCHES

Alicia Pugh is the Director of Counseling & Psychological Services at the University of West Florida in Pensacola; She is responsible for health promotion efforts for the department, oversees outreach, and works on assessment plans for the department to show effectiveness. She also oversees the Peer Education program. Dr. Pugh has worked in a variety of health promotion positions from worksite wellness, violence prevention, the US Navy, and has worked in college health for over 10 years. She has her ACE group fitness certification and is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES).

2:30-3:20 p.m. Concurrent Session I -- Dual Mode

Session I-A -- Psychology Capstone Presentations -- Pillsbury Science Hall 206

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Presenting Author*


Jenna Young

Student cognitive engagement and learning

Ashley D. Lopez

The dark side of personality and its role in long-term romantic relationships

Cameron Northlake

An adult life with a childhood disorder: The persisting effects of selective mutism

Mary A. Leibovich

Exploring the adult ADHD experience for women

Avery Bird

Moral leadership in the "Ten Ideals" recipients


*Co-Authors noted in the abstract listing.  


Session I-B -- Health & Education Disparities -- Dudley Hall 105/106

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Presenting Author*


Cassidy Filipiak

Ovarian cancer: Disparities between African-American women and Non-Hispanic White women

Allyssa Wilmoth

Disparities within the American Indian/Alaskan Native population

Lupita Arias, Erin Hickey, Megan Reese

Effects of online learning during COVID-19

Noa Emerson

Health disparities for American veterans


*Co-Authors noted in the abstract listing.  


3:30-4:20 p.m. Concurrent Session II -- Dudley Hall 105/106; Dual Mode

Session I-B -- Biases & Health Inequality

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Presenting Author*


Kelsey Ross

The effects of abuse and athletic biases on the mental health of both professional and non-professional athletes

Madison Heflin

Health disparities contribution to depression in African Americans

Cassidy Filipiak

The undermining of female patients: Does it increase with age?

Karrie Armstrong

The lifelong consequences gender roles have on children


*Co-Authors noted in the abstract listing.  


4:30 – 5 p.m. Closing Remarks/Awards -- Windsor Auditorium; Dual Mode

Dr. Julia Moffitt, Dean, School of Health Sciences, Stephens College

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Abstracts >

Audience Menu