CLA Scholars Day

Join us for CLA's Scholars Week sessions on March 23, 2022! All presentations take place in the Honors College Simmons Amphitheater (HONR 106), unless otherwise noted. Sessions in HONR 106 will also be live streamed via Zoom.

2022 Schedule

8:55 AM- Welcome

9:00 AM- Student Individual Research Presentations



Alexander Tcherepnin’s Musical Footprint in Twentieth-Century China
Presenter: Gretta Maguire, School of Music
(Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mei Han, School of Music)



Semblance and Simulacrum: Comparison of Formal and Mimetic Concepts of Image
Presenter: Elle Robinson, Philosophy
(Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Magada-Ward, Philosophy & Religious Studies)


9:30 AM – Graduate Student Research in Women’s and Gender Studies

Organizer: Dr. Ashleigh McKinize, Sociology



Respectful Discourse on Indigenous Gender Diversity
Presenter: Aubrey Keller, English
(Faculty Mentor: Dr. Laura White, English)


“We Are More Than Just Nurses”: Working Mothers in Nursing and the Effects of COVID-19
Presenter: Autumn Martin, Sociology
(Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ashleigh McKinzie, Sociology)


10:00 AM – Student Creative Presentations

Presenters: Student works and authors are listed below; actors TBD. 
(Faculty Mentor: Dr. Claudia Barnett, English)

“Family Jewels” by Kiara Jenkins
A man loses his girlfriend's ring and tries to make it up to her.

“Boxers and Briefs” by Sandy Flavin
Two friends discuss a better future.

“Ten Minutes” by Daniel Ecos
Two half-wit brothers find themselves in a tight spot to find and steal the pharaoh’s crown at a museum.

“Please Leave a Message” by Lillian Reid
After Sandra wakes up to a suspicious voicemail from her best friend, she interrogates her brother about his actions at a party the night before.

“Cold Feet” by Chloe Bastone
A bride, with a case of cold feet, reflects back with an ex-lover, the Best Man. Will they reconnect or apologize within the 10 minutes before she walks down the aisle?

11:00 AM – Student Individual Research & Creative Presentations


"The Weight of Living: Anti-fat Bias and Fatphobia in Women's Working Relationships"
Presenter: Hannah Newcomb, Sociology
(Faculty mentor: Dr. Gretchen Webber, Sociology)


“I Can’t Breathe”: A Comparison of Media Responses of the Murder of George Floyd and the Death of Eric Garner
Presenter: Hannah Rowland, Communication Studies & Political Science
(Faculty mentor: Dr. Roberta Chevrette, Communication Studies)


The Story of Jacqueline 'Jac' Kyalo
Presenter: Meghan Pittenger, Sociology
(Faculty Mentor: Dr. Roberta Chevrette, Communication Studies)


11:45 –Student Creative Presentation

‘Circus Act’ – a multi-hula hoop contortion circus act
Performer: Rachel Clement, Japanese
(Faculty mentor: Dr. Fusae Ekida, World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)

12:00-2:00 PM - Arts & Sciences Collaborative:  Mural Painting

Pop up Mural Event 2.0
Location: Todd Hall, Second Floor
Help us paint our murals while you discover four new skills employers want and how you can develop them in the College of Liberal Arts and College of Basic and Applied Sciences.
Sign up

2:30- 3:30 PM Bodies & Texts: A Dance and Communication Collaboration

This panel will share the results of a high-impact collaborative learning experience in which Dr. Roberta Chevrette's COMM 3740 Critical Methods in Communication class collaborated with Aaron Allen’s DANC 4110 Choreography II class. Students worked together to first conduct a rhetorical analysis of interview excerpts collected through Dr. Chevrette's research with individuals who participated in Black Lives Matter protests. Next, they designed and recorded movement pieces based on their collaborative research. This panel discusses the project and shares the videos produced from the student collaborations.

Organizers: Dr. Roberta Chevrette, Communication Studies & Aaron Allen, Dance

COMM 3740 students: Ashley Brown, Lynette Burns, Jillian Draper, Matt Gaines, Abryia Green, Ethan Hackett, Darcel Hibbler, Isabelle Hydrick, Hunter Jayne, Faith Lokey, Jake May, Tyrese Perry, Azsha Rodgers, and Ava Wilson

DANC 4110 students: Bryleigh Anders, Avery Biddle, Catherine Bright, Emma Kelley, Kaylah Jones, Rachel Osucha, Calvin Parrack, Alexis Strobel, and Piper Whitmore

3:30-4:00 PM Student Individual Research Presentations


The Costuming of Richard Dick Grayson throughout History and Various Mediums: A Visual Rhetoric Critique
Presenter: Katelynn Pricer, Political Science
(Faculty Mentor: Dr. Patrick Richey, Communication Studies)    


Effects of Strategic Visual Rhetoric in Children's Animation   
Presenter: Rebekah Barnard
(Faculty Mentor: Dr. Patrick Richey, Communication Studies)

4:00 p.m.
          Annual MTSU Speech Contest
Presented by the Department of Communication Studies
(Faculty Coordinator: Natonya Listach, Communication Studies)


Katelynn Pricer
The Costuming of Richard Dick Grayson throughout History and Various Mediums: A Visual Rhetoric Critique
I have always loved superheroes, so I decided to analyze the costuming of Richard Grayson through various mediums (including comics, cartoons, and television shows). I started with his original Robin costume from his first ever appearance and went through about fourteen of his various costumes, ranging from his first appearance as Nightwing to his costume as Agent 37. I analyzed the colors, the materials, the fit, and how the costumes have changed. All while taking into account the constraints of technology, the audience, money, time, and other important factors.

Rebekah Barnard
Effects of Strategic Visual Rhetoric in Children's Animation

Visual rhetoric is a concept that most people are familiar with, though not many understand the full extent of its effects in society. Research has shown that even small changes in color and layout can greatly impact the way children process information. While this is helpful to know in situations involving a traditional educational setting, it is also critical to understand how it takes effect in things that may at first seem insignificant, such as children’ s animation. There are many instances in which animated movies inspire their stories based on history, which can greatly influence the ways in which children organize their beliefs on historical facts and fiction. American philosopher Charles Sanders Pierce presents an excellent theory on how visual rhetoric is used, which this paper will demonstrate the use of in the 1997 film *Anastasia*. This study looks at how iconic and indexical signs, as well as the strategic use of specific coloration, greatly changed society’ s belief on the Russian Revolution that began in the early 1900s. *Anastasia* is just one instance out of many in which historical fact is presented incorrectly in animated movies. While there is nothing wrong with animation in general, research has shown that a lack of proper historical education in schools combined with inaccurate portrayals of history in the film industry can create a significant change in the perception of historical events.

Elle Robinson
Semblance and Simulacrum: Comparison of Formal and Mimetic Concepts of Image
The terms 'semblance', used by Susanne Langer in 'Feeling and Form', and 'simulacrum', used by Henry Sayre in 'The Object of Performance', are used to explain the relationship between image and object in works of art. I explain the usage of each term, and, in so doing, show that the terms are expressions of this relationship from the perspectives of formalist and mimetic theories of art, respectively. I argue that these perspectives lead to fundamentally different understandings of what that relationship is, and, furthermore, that because of formalism's insistence on divorce from the context of art and mimesis' focus on reproduction, both are ultimately inadequate to explain it.

Aubrey Keller
Respectful Discourse on Indigenous Gender Diversity

Making claims across cultural boundaries demands specificity and research. Hearing rhetoric that transgender identity is not a recent trend because of a history of third gender people in indigenous cultures, I wondered if that argument is reductive or appropriative towards gender diverse indigenous people. Critical indigenous scholars have done great work to demonstrate the limitations of queer and feminist terminology and theory in discussing indigenous experience. My research contributes to the discussion by scrutinizing the way my fellow activists and I might avoid the type of misrepresentation and homogenization of gender diverse indigenous people that critical indigenous scholars are actively working against. In this research presentation, I will first provide background on critical indigenous studies and the non-uniform category of gender diverse indigenous people. Then, I will apply a critical indigenous framework to the question: how can people ethically make claims about indigenous gender diversity across cultural boundaries?

Autumn Martin
“We Are More Than Just Nurses”: Working Mothers in Nursing and the Effects of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in harmful outcomes for working mothers who are paying the price socially and economically (Croda and Grossband 2021). The stress and disadvantages of childcare present before COVID have increased in the wake of the pandemic (Rinaldo and Whalen 2020). In this project, I assess these gendered phenomena and the additional stress the pandemic has had on mothers working as Registered Nurses in the United States, with an emphasis on mothers working on COVID-based floors. I investigate added demands including school and childcare closures, virtual learning, exposure potential, lack of personal protective equipment, lack of flexibility for work scheduling, burnout, home workload, and mental and physical effects. I center my focus on mothers' experiences, specifically the ways the pandemic has affected their personal and professional lives. My aim is to use this study to explore gender, family, and the workplace (specifically healthcare) amidst COVID-19.

Gretta Maguire
Alexander Tcherepnin’s Musical Footprint in Twentieth-Century China

In April of 1934, Soviet composer and pianist Alexander Tcherepnin visited China during a concert tour that stretched from Japan to Palestine. After falling in love with pianist  Lee Hsien Ming,Tcherepnin returned and spent two years as a teacher, composer, publisher, and concertizer. He met prominent educators like Xiao Youmei, president of the Shanghai Conservatory, and composition students like He Luting, who would go on to shape the countryâ s musical future. Xiao, a leading musical reformist, was integral in defining the national Chinese musical style, while He became president of the Shanghai Conservatory, a political prisoner of the Cultural Revolution, and the restored president of the Shanghai Conservatory. My presentation will investigate Tcherepninâ s two visits, lasting from 1934 to 1935 and 1936 to 1937. During these years, Tcherepnin proved instrumental in promoting composers like He, despite cultural and political upheaval that would mitigate his effects on Chinese musical pedagogy.

Hannah Newcomb
"The Weight of Living: Anti-fat Bias and Fatphobia in Women's Working Relationships"
Today, with the shadow of the ever-growing “obesity epidemic” looming over our lives, our society grapples with standards of beauty that are seemingly unattainable by the average American, increasingly so for the average American woman. Societal ideas about obesity, fatness, and overweight permeate the institutions that govern our lives, including family, work, the media, the medical field, and more. Negative perceptions about fatness manifest in the form of anti-fat bias and fatphobia. This discrimination toward fat people stemming from the association of fatness with deviance exists broadly in society. From employment, romantic relationships, education, and more, our society reinforces the stereotypes and mistreatment of fat people. The current body of research on fatphobia and anti-fat bias in the workplace shows that fat women in particular are faced with the stigma of existing in a larger body. Trends of lower occupational attainment and lower hourly and lifetime earnings for fat women, even when controlling for relevant variables like education and class, represent the ways that being fat negatively impacts fat women’s opportunities for employment and their relationships at work.  Despite this knowledge, the study of fat deviance, anti-fat bias, and fatphobia within the workplace (much like the literature on these topics), has remained largely unstudied and lacking the input of actual fat people, prompting the motivation behind this ongoing research. Using qualitative interviews with fat women, I aim to better understand how anti-fat bias and fatphobia within the workplace impacts these women’s experiences at work and with their coworkers. This research will contribute to the growing body of knowledge of fat studies within the field of Sociology.

Hannah Rowland
“I Can’t Breathe”: A Comparison of Media Responses of the Murder of George Floyd and the Death of Eric Garner

This phrase, “I can’t breathe” has become a significant rhetorical artifact used by those who wish to combat systematic racism. The three words captivated every area of the world including fashion, the music industry, art, news outlets and social media. While it is difficult to see a benefit from a worldwide lockdown, the pandemic gave us a chance to witness and observe real fear that many of us never have to face. By June 2020, the video of George Floyd’s death was viewed over 1.4 billion times (Blake, 2020). “I can’t breathe” took over the world to represent the death of both Garner and Floyd. “I can’t breathe” became the phrase that said, “enough is enough.” Using cluster criticism, I plan to address the following question: how does the media respond differently to the death of George Floyd and Eric Garner? After analyzing the different media responses, I will clarify how “I can’t breathe” has become a rhetorical artifact. In my analysis, I will address how different areas of society addressed the death of Floyd and used “I can’t breathe” as a form of protest.

Meghan Pittenger
The Story of Jacqueline 'Jac' Kyalo
This short fictional essay, created in WGST 3500 Women in the Media, tells the story of Jacqueline Kyalo. The story incorporates and reflects research from my women’s and  gender studies and sociology courses, including Sanyu Mojola’s work on modern African womanhood in relation to the HIV epidemic; Mary Robertson’s research on queer youth centers; and black feminism and womanism as theorized by Patricia Hill Collins and Alice Walker. Bringing these together, I tell a story of a young transnational queer Black woman as she finds her identity in the United States.