Each year College of Liberal Arts departments present Graduate Student Achievement Awards at Honors Day. These six represent scholars across the discipline areas housed in the College.
ANNA KATHERINE BLACK
PhD clinical psychology ’18
Doctoral winner of UM’s Three Minute Thesis Competition challenging graduate students to explain their research in three minutes and using only one slide, Anna Katherine’s dissertation is “An Experimental Manipulation of Fear of Pain in Migraine.”
Recipient of the Research Achievement Award in Psychology, she has four publications in peer-reviewed journals and a book chapter in press with Scientific American–Neurology. Black, UM’s Psychological Services Center Assessment Services Coordinator, plans a clinical work career delivering therapy to clients who struggle with mental health difficulties.
PhD chemistry ’17
Katelyn’s graduate research experience includes the application of sophisticated quantum mechanical methods to study small, noncovalently bound clusters and also the investigation of physical properties of moderately-sized molecules and clusters of unusual inter- or intra-molecular interactions using density functional theory. Her dissertation is “Probing Atypical Non-covalent Interactions Using Electronic Structure.”
She presented her research results at three regional and national meetings and published four papers during her time at UM.
BA classics and history ’08
MA Southern Studies ’17
Josh’s undergraduate honors thesis on the end of prohibition in Mississippi was so good that The Mississippi Encyclopedia editors asked him to write the essay on the topic for the book.
Josh obtained a law degree from Tulane University and practiced law in New Orleans before returning to Oxford to pursue a master’s in Southern Studies, where he won the first-year paper prize for “Peace and the Unsealing of the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission Files.”
JUSTIN “JP” LAWRENCE
PhD biology ’18
JP works in Biology Professor Brice Noonan’s lab exploring the evolution of warning coloration in poison frogs of the Neotropics. His most recent success securing research funding is an Australian Endeavour Fellowship to spend five months with a new collaborative group in Australia.
JP’s goal is to establish an independent research program focused on the ecology and evolution of aposematic species and the process of speciation.
PhD history ’18
“Slavery’s Holy Profits: Religion and Capitalism in the Antebellum Lower Mississippi Valley” is John’s dissertation exploring the relationship between capitalist markets, religious faith, and the institution of slavery in the antebellum Southwest.
“I am especially interested in the economic foundations of proslavery evangelical denominations, as well as white Southerners’ faith that God’s Providence guided markets and commercial networks in the slave-based cotton kingdom.”
He presented “Missionary Cotton: Saving Souls in Mississippi’s Cotton Kingdom” at the 2017 Southern Historical Association annual meeting and wrote his master’s thesis on Anti-Mission Baptists, Religious Liberty, and Local Church Autonomy.
PhD economics ’18
Feng has developed a new test of predictive accuracy for macroeconomic applications and written elaborate programs to generate results for the new test—working as a full research partner with Economics Professor Walter Mayer and Mathematics Professor Xin Dang. Their paper interpreting the results has been accepted for publication by the International Journal of Forecasting.
As lead author on another paper, Feng simplified Economics Professor John Conlon’s asset-price bubble models—previously the simplest available. “My models have been cited in the Journal of Economic Theory—the top field journal on the subject, the Review of Economic Studies, and Econometrica,” Dr. Conlon said. “And I’m sure that her model will be significantly more influential than mine.”