by Colton Campbell

Three University of West Georgia students take classes about 20 minutes away from Bremen, Georgia. This summer, though, they’ll enrich their educational experience about 40 minutes away from another city called Bremen.

Bremen, Germany, that is.

The three UWG students – Jawonna Coleman, Jenna Miller and Perry Wasdin – were accepted for presentation at the second World Congress on Undergraduate Research (World CUR), to be held in May at a university in Oldenburg, Germany.

“This is such a tremendous opportunity for our students to showcase the excellent undergraduate research that makes UWG a standout institution,” said Dr. Janet Donohoe, dean of the UWG Honors College. “We have distinguished ourselves thanks to the dedication of remarkable faculty and student researchers.”

Students from UWG will present research in a variety of topics – from how to stage a modern re-telling of a 17th-century play to a cutting-edge use of nuclear magnetic spectroscopy.

This year, 270 abstracts were accepted from 37 different countries, with 106 presentations from North American students accepted. Three of those 106 North American presentations will be presented by the UWG students.

Jawonna Coleman

Jawonna ColemanColeman is a junior majoring in anthropology and psychology, both in the College of Social Sciences. Her research project is focused on seeing how religion influences a woman’s identity and social behaviors, particularly in a college campus setting. She’s focused on her peers at UWG and has surveyed them on how religion influences them.

“I’ve found that people believe religion can be at the core of our behavior, and I’ve found some peers who believe religion only plays a minor factor in how we navigate the world, if it plays a factor at all,” Coleman said.

Coleman looks forward to understanding more about how research is completed and presented internationally.

“I am ecstatic that I get to present my research on a topic that I consider very close to me as a person and a woman,” Coleman said. “My focus on women’s interpretation of religion was purposeful because most people don’t want to reveal how women are under-represented. Religion can also be a controversial topic, so I’m excited to dive deeper into that and see how my research is interpreted on a global scale.”

Jenna Miller

Jenna MillerMiller is in her third year pursuing a bachelor’s degree in art and hopes to break into the film industry upon graduation.

Her work to be presented in Germany centers on a contemporary period transfer – a process in which a play or other act of performance is interpreted through a modern lens and staged as a contemporary production – of the 17th-century Spanish play, “Fuenteovejuna.”

Miller will present the modern interpretation as a theoretical study in dramaturgy, but she hopes to stage the production in the future. She said the play has a contemporary message that could be applicable to modern society.

Miller – who wants to work in art in whatever form she can after graduation – hopes the experience at World CUR will provide the confidence boost she expects.

“I’ve never really been much of a risk-taker, so this is a huge leap for me,” Miller said of presenting on an international stage. “When people hear you’ve presented research on a topic, they’re naturally interested and want to hear more. I’m hoping those future interactions will open new doors for me as I finish out my degree and kick-start my career in the film industry.”

Perry Wasdin

Perry WasdinWasdin, a junior majoring in chemistry in the College of Science and Mathematics, will present his research investigating the ligand exchange behavior of lead sulfide quantum dots using nuclear magnetic spectroscopy.

In layperson’s terms, his research centers on how to observe chemical reactions taking place in compounds that have been affected by the placement of quantum dots – tiny particles that can be embedded in cells or organisms for experimental purposes.

“Quantum dots are a relatively new technology with many interesting applications,” Wasdin said. “I’m excited for this awesome opportunity to present my research in front of an international audience.”

Like his peers, Wasdin hopes the conference will help him gain a new perspective on research in general.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting people from all over the world who are interested in similar topics and are excited to share their own research projects,” Wasdin said. “It can be easy to overlook the fact that scientific advancement is a global effort and that I have peers not only at West Georgia, but all over the world.”

Posted on March 29, 2019