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Honors Thesis Symposium Schedule

2024 Honors Thesis Symposium
Friday, April 12, 2024


8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Symposium Check-in/Information Table

Russell House Theater Lobby
Students presenting in the Russell House Theater may check in here.

9:00 – 9:30 a.m. | Opening Session

Russell House Theater
Welcome: Dean Steven Lynn
Reflecting on Your Senior Thesis Experience: Dr. Tracy Skipper

9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Symposium Check-in/Information Table

Russell House 300 Hallway
Students presenting in Russell House 302, 303, 304 or 305 may check in here.

9:45 – 10:45 a.m. | Thesis Presentations Session One

  • BARSC–Accelerated Pre-Medicine Concentration Thesis Showcase
  • Research in Biological Sciences
  • The Role of Physical Activity and Environmental Factors on Cognition and Emotional Response
  • Reproductive and Maternal Health Care
  • Biomarkers and the Diagnosis and Treatment of Neurological Disorders

10:45 – 11:00 a.m. | Coffee Break

Russell House 300 Hallway

11 a.m. – Noon | Thesis Presentations Session Two

  • The Role of Neuroscience in the Treatment of Chronic Disease and Injury
  • Exploring Beyond the Classroom Experiences
  • Improving Outcomes for Children: Research Exploring Race and SES
  • Influences of Social Media on Eating Behaviors
  • Critical and Literary Analysis

12 – 1 p.m. | Luncheon Roundtable (RSVP Required)

What Else Can You Do With a Senior Thesis? – Russell House Room 304
Panelists will discuss opportunities for broadening the impact of your thesis for your personal benefit and for knowledge communities outside the Honors College and USC. We will discuss strategies for using your senior thesis as a jumping-off point for graduate fellowship opportunities for publication in open-access and peer-reviewed outlets.


  • Heidi Bretz, National Fellowships Coordinator, National Fellowships and Scholar Programs
  • Amie Freeman, Scholarly Communication and Open Initiatives Librarian, University Libraries
  • Tracy Skipper, Senior Thesis Director, South Carolina Honors College

1:15 – 2:15 p.m. | Thesis Presentations Session Three

  • (Re)Interpretations of Monsters and Horror
  • Uses of Feedback to Improve Performance and Overall Health
  • Private and Governmental Responses to National Crises
  • Research in Public Health

2:30 – 3:30 p.m. | Thesis Presentations Session Four

  • Connecting Anxiety, Stress, and Mental Imagery to Overall Wellness
  • Recapturing Artistic Traditions
  • Medical Research
  • Humanities Research
  • Marketing, Consumer Behavior, and Social Change

3:45 – 4:45 p.m. | Thesis Presentations Session Five

  • College Student Health and Well-Being
  • Research on Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD
  • College of Engineering and Computing Showcase
  • Land Use, Sustainability, and Economic Justice


Thesis Presentations Session One (9:45 – 10:30 a.m.)

A Historical Analysis of Health Institutions, Professionals, and Advocates in the Civil Rights Movement in Columbia, South Carolina
Anusha Ghosh, BARSC–Accelerated Pre-Medicine Concentration
Thesis Director: Dr. Bobby Donaldson
Second Reader: Dr. Robert Rhinehart

Parental Influence on Contraceptive Use Among Adolescents and Young Adults within the Southeastern United States
Mounica Katragadda, BARSC–Accelerated Pre-Medicine Concentration
Thesis Director: Dr. Kathleen Broussard
Second Reader: Dr. Emily Mann

Child Welfare Through Art: Creating Child Safety Posters to Promote Bodily Autonomy, Boundary Setting, and Affirmative Consent
Shireen Kaur, BARSC–Accelerated Pre-Medicine Concentration
Thesis Director: Dr. Kristen Seay
Second Reader: Dr. Breanne Grace

The Effect of Zinc Finger Proteins on Plant Vegetative Phase Change in Arabidopsis thaliana
Karam Faraj, Biological Sciences
Thesis Director: Dr. Mingli Xu
Second Reader: Darren Manuela

Factors Affecting the Distribution and Abundance of Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) In Fukushima and Chernobyl
Sophia Vrh, Biological Sciences
Thesis Director: Dr. Timothy Mousseau
Second Reader: Dr. Tad Dallas

Investigating the Expression of Growth-Regulating Factor 2 (GRF2) in Arabidopsis thaliana
Sophia Henry, Biological Sciences
Thesis Director: Dr. Beth Krizek
Second Reader: Dr. Johannes Strattman

The Role of Circadian Pacemaker in Modulating Light-Induced Learning Impairment
Yatin Nerella, Biological Sciences
Thesis Director: Dr. Alessandra Porcu
Second Reader: Alexandria Atkins

Everything in Moderation: The Relationship Between Moderate Physical Activity and Cognition
Trusha Patel, Public Health
Thesis Director: Dr. Roger Newman-Norlund
Second Reader: Sarah Wilson

Effects of Blue Light at Night on Astrocyte Function in the Amygdala
Lily Quick, Biological Sciences
Thesis Director: Dr. Alessandra Porcu
Second Reader: Dr. Pablo Bonilla Villamil

The Correlation Between Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Diagnoses (PCOS) in Women of Different Ethnic Backgrounds and Insulin Resistance
Rebecca Berrigan, Biology
Thesis Director: Dr. Holly LaVoie
Second Reader: Dr. Kathryn Luchok

Doulas Under Medicaid: A Solution to Birthing Outcome Inequalities
Sarah Moody, Chemistry
Thesis Director: Dr. Kathryn Luchok
Second Reader: Ashley Hamm

EEG and HRV Concurrent Measurement
Neal Hammond, Neuroscience
Thesis Director: Dr. Scott Decker
Second Reader: Devan Bowersox

Investigating ANS Dysfunction to Facilitate Diagnosis of ASD and ADHD
Emma Grace Jordan, Biological Sciences
Thesis Director: Dr. Jessica Bradshaw
Second Reader: Alexis Federico

Long-lasting Avoidance Induced by Chemogenetic and Optogenetic Stimulation of the RMTg
Moira Lopez de Leon, Psychology
Thesis Director: Dr. Peter Vento
Second Reader: Dr. Jessica Green


Thesis Presentations Session Two (11 a.m. – Noon)

Neurodegeneration and Neuroanatomy of the Cholinergic System in HIV-1 Transgenic Rats
Emma Bryson, Neuroscience
Thesis Director: Dr. Rosemarie Booze
Second Reader: Dr. Charles Mactutus

The Impact of Insulin Resistance on Cognition and Neurogenesis
DeWitt Coleman, Biological Sciences
Thesis Director: Dr. Claudia Grillo
Second Reader: Dr. Lawrence Reagan

Characterization of the RNA-Binding Proteins Regulating Axonal Localization of Prenyl-Cdc42 mRNA
Ashley Loomis, Biological Sciences
Thesis Director: Dr. Jeffery Twiss
Second Reader: Dr. Lauren Vaughn

Major Map and Advising for Chemistry and Biology Majors to Spend a Semester Abroad
Kathryn Jones, Chemistry
Thesis Director: Dr. Kristen Hogan
Second Reader: Brandi Byers

Learning Through Leading: A Survey-Based Analysis of the Impact of Leadership Activity at the University of South Carolina on Career Outcome
Rebecca Naglieri, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Thesis Director: Dr. Wanda Chaves
Second Reader: Sharon Gumina

Assessing the Impact of Diligent Recruitment Policies on Racial Disparities in Foster Home Placements
Caila Foley, Economics and International Studies
Thesis Director: Dr. Jessica Brown
Second Reader: Dr. Chris Mills

Inequity in Academic Achievement by Race, SES in South Carolina Middle Schools
Cypress Heniford, Psychology and English
Thesis Director: Dr. Rebekah Siceloff
Second Reader: Abby De Arellano

Exploring the Correlation Between Social Media Usage and Disordered Eating Behaviors
Josephine Sobecks, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Thesis Director: Dr. Laura Brashears
Second Reader: Dr. Holly Crocker
Cycles of Existential and Confessional Women's Writing in the Mid-20th Century and Beyond
Sophie Conrad, English and Media Arts
Thesis Director: Dr. Susan Felleman
Second Reader: Dr. Catherine Keyser

Gay Superheroes and the Mutant Metaphor: Queer Allegory and Representation in Modern X-Men Comics
Jamie Davis, Film and Media Studies, Media Arts
Thesis Director: Dr. Mark Minett
Second Reader: Dr. Kelsey Cameron

The Evolution of the Story of Hades and Persephone from Myth to Modern Literature
Crawford Latham, Biological Sciences
Thesis Director: Dr. Parrish Wright
Second Reader: Ms. Paige McKeown


Thesis Presentations Session Three (1:15 - 2:15 p.m.)

"Dance as an Extension of Body Horror":  A Sociological Analysis of the Fear of the  Dancing Woman  in Modern Horror Media via the Affect Control Model
Naomi Booker, Biological Sciences
Thesis Director: Dr. Julia Elliott
Second Reader: Dr. Laura Brashears

From Screen to Scream: How Culture Shapes The Monsters of Horror Cinema
Bill Brown, Media Arts
Thesis Director: Dr. Julia Elliott
Second Reader: Dr. James Henderson

Focus Group and Survey Response to Postural Feedback During Creative Movement Exploration
Mary Matthews, BARSC (Dance, Wellness, and Community Health)
Thesis Director: Dr. André Megerdichian
Second Reader: Dr. Michelle Brown

Heart Rate Measurement Via Wrist-Based PPG When Compared to Polar H10 Chest-Based ECG During Treadmill Interval Exercise
Monica Ryan, Exercise Science
Thesis Director: Dr. Shawn Arent
Second Reader: Gianna Mastrofini

Motivation, Execution, and Effectiveness of a Pre-Semester Strength Training Intensive for Collegiate Dancers
Ella Sanders, BARSC (Dance Science)
Thesis Director: Dr. Jennifer Deckert
Second Reader: Dr. André Megerdichian

Examining the Experiences of Nonprofit Organizations Supporting Migrants at the US-Mexico Border
Emma Mooney, International Business and Finance
Thesis Director: Dr. Deborah Billings
Second Reader: Dr. John Doering-White

"Settling" the Opioid Crisis: How State Strategies Vary Across Party Lines
Meredith Rhodes, Public Health
Thesis Director: Dr. Christina Andrews
Second Reader: Emily Suski
Associations Between Ad Exposure and Appeal with E-Cigarette Use Susceptibility Among Youth in the US
Riley O'Neal, Public Health
Thesis Director: Dr. Minji Kim
Second Reader: Dr. Jim Thrasher

Investigating the Relationship Between Diet-Associated Inflammation, Tryptophan Intake, and Depression
Jhanvi Parvathaneni, Biological Sciences
Thesis Director: Dr. James Hébert
Second Reader: Dr. Stephen Taylor


Thesis Presentations Session Four (2:30 – 3:30 p.m.)

Music as a Coping Mechanism: Clinical Implications of How College Students Utilize Music to Cope with Anxiety, Depression, and Daily Stressors
Karly Pikel, Public Health
Thesis Director: Dr. Elizabeth Myers
Second Reader: Dr. Amber Falluca

Test Anxiety and Heart Rate Variability
Maya Thille, Neuroscience
Thesis Director: Dr. Scott Decker
Second Reader: Dr. Jack Ginsberg

Drawing a Blank: Conversations on Aphantasia
Khushi Umarwadia, Chemistry
Thesis Director: Dr. Svetlana Shinkareva
Second Reader: Dr. Elizabeth Myers
The Incorporation of Spanish-Language Repertoire Into Collegiate Voice Studies
Emma Schwertfuehrer, Music Performance
Thesis Director: Dr. Kunio Hara
Second Reader: Landon Osteen

How Late 19th Century European Print was Influenced by Japanese Woodblock Print
Gillian Thomas, Visual Communications
Thesis Director: Dr. Amanda Wangwright
Second Reader: Dr. Sabrina Habib

Target Small Molecule Inhibitors Remediate Loss of ING4 Expression in Breast and Colorectal Cancer Cells
Meredith Bhend, Biological Sciences
Thesis Director: Dr. Katie Kathrein
Second Reader: Dr. Marj Pena

Assessing Effects of CDK8/19 Inhibition on Metastasis of Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Karthik Rangavajhula, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Thesis Director: Dr. Gary Schools
Second Reader: Dr. Eugenia Broude

Discovery and Characterization of Trilenodin, a Novel Lasso Peptide from Paenibacillus with Potent Antimicrobial Activity
Conor Pulliam, Biochemistry
Thesis Director: Dr. Jie Li
Second Reader: Dr. Charles Schumpert

Self-Cultivation: Religion Through Bathing in Premodern China
Grace Bingham, International Studies
Thesis Director: Dr. Daniel Stuart
Second Reader: Dr. Gregory Patterson

Transcending the Clovis First Paradigm: A Reevaluation of Human Migration to the Western Hemisphere
Hudson Good, Anthropology
Thesis Director: Dr. Adam King
Second Reader: Dr. Joanna Casey

Faces of Empire: Using Comparative Biography to Study the Development of America
Sydney McKenzie, History
Thesis Director: Dr. Jason Osborne
Second Reader: Dr. Woody Holton

Zeitgeist of the 2010s and Its Impact on Fashion Trends
Sophie Anderson, Marketing
Thesis Director: Dr. Courtney Worsham
Second Reader: Cynthia Newman

An Analysis of Aesthetics and Efficacy of Equestrian Safety Equipment
Camryn Lubner, Statistics and Finance
Thesis Director: Dr. David Hitchcock
Second Reader: Chris Gulino

Critical Acclaim: Deciphering the Influence of Film Reviews on Box Office Triumphs
Dakota Markow, International Business and Marketing
Thesis Director: Dr. Beth Renninger
Second Reader: Ronni Wilson


Thesis Presentations Session Five (3:45 – 4:45 p.m.)

Gen Z and the Pharmaceuticalization of Mental Health: A Qualitative Study with Young Adults
Catherine DeMino, English
Thesis Director: Dr. Emily Mann
Second Reader: Dr. Andrea Henderson

The Impact of Race on the Perception of Healthcare Among US College Students
Aja Keitt-Butler, Nursing
Thesis Director: Dr. Jewel Scott
Second Reader: Dr. Tisha Felder

Shared Decision-Making Between Patients and Providers at the University Student Health Services
Vidhi Patel, Biological Sciences and Psychology
Thesis Director: Dr. Karen McDonnell
Second Reader: Dr. Mari Ross-Alexander
Rejection Sensitivity as a Potential Influence in ADHD-Related Alcohol and Cannabis Use Among College Students
Andrew de Arellano, Psychology
Thesis Director: Dr. Kate Flory
Second Reader: Dr. Steven Harrod
VentureFlex Crutch: Foldable & Terrain-Adaptable Crutch
Kathleen Abrams, Biomedical Engineering
Haley Pepper, Biomedical Engineering
Capstone Director: Dr. Meghan Graul

Lyraquist: A Music App to Aid in Language Learning
Vivian D'Souza, Computer Science
Siri Avula, Computer Science & Mathematics
Mahi Patel, Computer Science
Tanvi Singh, Computer Engineering
Mia Bickham, Computer Science
Capstone Director: Dr. Jose Vidal

An Environmental Justice Analysis of the Historic 2015 Floods in Richland County, SC
Katie Jackson, Environmental Science
Thesis Director: Dr. Dean Hardy
Second Reader: Dr. Susan Cutter

Greenville's Black Business District and Urban Renewal's Aftermath
Ellis McClure, Art History and History
Thesis Director: Dr. Lydia Brandt
Second Reader: Carolyn Click

The Influence of Neoliberal and Ecoimperialist Contexts on Conservation: Insights From Ecuador's Mache-Chindul Ecological Reserve
Carlos Sanchez-Julia, International Studies and Economics
Thesis Director: Dr. Robert Kopack
Second Reader: Dr. Liat Perlin

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.