Eight students from Belmont University presented research papers at the Alpha Chi National Honor Society Convention at the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, Ark., April 3-4. Faculty advisors Rachel Rigsby and Jonathan Thorndike also attended the convention. The annual Alpha Chi convention is organized around student presentations by juniors and seniors from their respective chapters. Convention attendees also visited the Clinton Presidential Center and the Heifer International World Headquarters.
Membership in Alpha Chi is the highest academic honor awarded by Belmont University. Its members are invited based on their academic standing in the top 10% of the junior and senior classes within any academic major. Belmont has had an active chapter of Alpha Chi for over 25 years. Dr. Sarah Ann Stewart (Mathematics) is the current sponsor, and Dr. Rachel Rigsby (Chemistry) is the assistant sponsor. Dr. Jonathan Thorndike is Region III Secretary-Treasurer. Alpha Chi Region III includes the colleges and universities with chapters in Alabama, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
The convention’s keynote speaker was Carlotta Walls Lanier, who made history in September 1957 when, at age 14, she became the youngest of nine students to integrate Little Rock Central High School. The students became known around the world as the “Little Rock Nine” and changed the face of American education forever. Conventioneers received a copy of Lanier’s book, A Mighty Long Way.
Belmont student presentations included:
– In the health sciences section, Julie Malkowski presented her research on “The Search for an End to Aging.”
– In the music section, Lindsay Thompson presented her research on “Music and the Brain.” She discussed what happens inside a listener’s head when he or she listens to music and how certain people are predisposed to be skilled at music due to brain information processing.
– Also in the music section, Allison Simmons discussed “Extending the Piano: Beyond the Black and White.”
– In anthropology and sociology, Amanda Danley presented research on “In Search of the Sacred Cosmos.” This senior thesis explores the contemporary application of Emile Durkheim’s sacred-profane dichotomy in a narrative context. Amanda’s research was based primarily on the theories of Durkheim and Peter Berger, as well as a case study she conducted on rituals within fraternal organizations.
– Also in anthropology and sociology, Jill Johnson discussed “The Death Penalty and Its Abolition Movement as Analyzed Through the Theories of Foucault and Durkheim.” Foucault approaches the death penalty as a manifestation of both power and knowledge being held by the elite. Durkheim, however, sees the death penalty as a function of society that improves social solidarity and reinforcement of the “conscience collective.”
– In the Business Section, Laura Haupt presented “A Man of Vision.”
– Also in the business section, Lauren Cooper discussed “A New Kind of Pirate.”
– In the religion section, Anny Knight presented her creative essay titled “I Found God in a Textbook.”