UVa-Wise students to present research in Oklahoma April 4-7

A group of 11 students from UVa-Wise will be traveling to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to present undergraduate research at the University of Central Oklahoma at the ‘National Conference on Undergraduate Research’ scheduled for April 4-7.

Students and two faculty members, Dr. Costa and Dr. Floridia will be leaving April 3 and returning April 8. Costa is a professor of History at UVa-Wise and Floridia is an assistant professor of Administration of Justice.

Communication Studies majors Senior Lauren Rentz and Junior Telena Turner are among two of the 11 students traveling to the University of Central Oklahoma to present their undergraduate research.

Rentz’s undergraduate research is a titled ‘Rhetorical Analysis of Michael Jackson’s 1993 “Heal the World” Performance’. The analysis is of Jackson’s 1993 Super Bowl performance.

In her analysis, Rentz focuses on Jackson advocating for people to come together, regardless of race, to take on injustices happening in the world.

“Though it’s old, I thought it was an important and relevant message to analyze,” said Rentz.

Rentz gives credit and thanks to Dr. Amy Clark for encouraging her and Turner to submit their research projects to the nationwide contest. “I felt like I didn’t have too much of a chance, but I felt really honored to be chosen,” said Rentz.

Turner’s presentation is titled ‘The Duplicity of Innocence’ and is also about rhetoric. The message Turner chose for her research is from the ‘It Has to Stop’ campaign, which is an anti- sex trafficking campaign that originated in the state of Tennessee in 2014.

“I had a lot of fun with the project and learned a lot from it,” said Turner. She also thanks Dr. Clark for encouraging her to submit her research to the contest.

When asked if she was nervous about presenting her research at the NCUR conference Turner said, “I think I’m more excited, which is really interesting to say. It’s just such an incredible opportunity that I am so grateful for, that the nerves haven’t come yet. I’m looking forward to having the chance to do it.”

Both students completed these undergraduate projects in their Introduction to Rhetorical Studies class before submitting them to the research contest.

Rentz and Turner are looking forward to traveling to Oklahoma. This will be their first time on an airplane and both students are looking forward to that experience.

The other students presenting undergraduate research at the NCUR conference are:

Tiffany Absher- ‘Relationship Quality and Shyness as Predictors of Friendship in Emerging Adulthood’

Christian Bullion- ‘Climate-Linked Phenological Shifts Detected in the Context of an Ongoing Biodiversity Inventory of Odonata’


Natalie Chapman- ‘Significance of Education Public Investment Initiatives in Central Appalachia’


Hannah Daniels- ‘Synthesis and Characterization of Ruthenium and Manganese: Corm Complexes with Thiosemicarbazone’


Kara Dotten- ‘Witch Hunt: Collective Misandry, Valerie Solanas, and Making an Example Out of You’, ‘Glass Cuts Deeper: An Exploration of Appalachian Art Through Lens of Clogging, Crafting, and Cooking’


Alexander Hall- ‘Haunted Attractions: Terror as a Tool of Theatrical Release’


Sarah Hall- ‘Beta Cepheid Variable Stars: A Spectral Analysis’


David Shears- ‘Who am I? Changes in Identity Development During College’


Brandon Thompson- ‘Metagenomic Analysis of Cave Prokaryotic Microbiomes in Southwest VA’

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