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Global Scholars to Present Research on Saturday

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Lawrence, KS - Representing diverse academic fields across campus, nine seniors will present their internationally focused research on Saturday, April 17 at the virtual Global Scholars Symposium. Coordinated by International Affairs, the symposium is the culmination of the Global Scholars program.

The public is invited to attend the virtual symposium, which will be held online from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturday, April 17.


The symposium will showcase the seniors’ research on a range of topics, including the environmental geopolitics of climate engineering, the gender and minority gap in STEM education, factors relating to infant mortality, and sex trafficking in northern Myanmar, among others.

The seniors presenting on Saturday are members of the ninth cohort of Global Scholars. They were selected as sophomores for their demonstrated interest in global and international studies and potential for continued high academic achievement and leadership. As part of the program, students participated in a semester-long seminar course and worked on research projects with an international dimension.

“We are always excited for the symposium when we have the chance to learn more about the research that our Global Scholars have been doing and this year is no exception. This is a super-impressive cohort, who have found really amazing ways of integrating their international interests with their majors” said Megan Greene, associate professor of history and director of the Global Scholars program.

The following are the Global Scholar students who will be presenting on Saturday:

Taelyr Blehm, a global & international studies and American studies major, is mentored by Melissa Birch, associate professor of business. Her research project is titled “Generation Knowledge: Examining Legal Protection of Indigenous Heritage in Mexico.”

Mary Bisbee is an anthropology major. Her research project is titled “The Feminization of Poverty and Its Development.”

Gabriella Bernard, a music therapy major and psychology minor, is mentored by Abbey Dvorak, assistant professor of music therapy at the University of Iowa. Her research project is titled “Systematic Review of Trauma-Informed Care Practices with Music for Refugees: Implications for Music Therapy Practice.”

Abigail Neal, an environmental studies and political science major, is mentored by Shannon O’Lear, director of the Environmental Studies Program. Her research project is titled “Environmental Geopolitics of Climate Engineering Proposals.”

Natasha LaGrega, a microbiology major and psychology minor on the pre-medicine track, is mentored by Laurie Cleavinger, multi-term lecturer in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching. LaGrega studied abroad in Toledo, Spain through an Atlantis Fellowship, which allowed her to shadow doctors in Spanish hospitals for six weeks. Her research project is titled “Understanding Modern Challenges in STEM Education: Bridging the Gap.”

Rachel Griffard, a behavioral neuroscience major, is mentored by Marsha McCartney, assistant professor of psychology. Her research project is titled "Population Data Analysis on Infant Mortality."

Emma Kellogg, who is majoring in visual arts and French, is mentored by Gwethalyn Williams, director of the Manhattan Experimental Theater Workshop. Kellogg studied abroad at the Université Catholique de l'Ouest in Angers, France. Her research project is titled “International Experimental Theater Workshop.”

Katherine Burton, who is a global & international studies and anthropology major, is mentored by Brian Lagotte, director of undergraduate studies for the Global & International Studies Program. Her research project is titled “Failed Again: Resources and Reentrance for Sex Trafficking Survivors in Northern Myanmar.”

Cierra Kahrs is a molecular, cellular and developmental biology major. Kahrs studied abroad through the Council on International Education Exchange’s Singapore internship program. Her research project is titled “Caring for an Aging Population: A Comparative Analysis of Singapore and the United States.”

More information can be found in the Global Scholars Symposium program.

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