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WIU Centennial Honors College Announces Research Day Awards

May 7, 2024

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MACOMB, IL - - The Centennial Honors College at Western Illinois University has announced the winners of the 21st Thomas E. Helm Undergraduate Research Day, which was held April 17. A total of 66 scholarly presentations were delivered by 80 students, spanning 14 majors.

The awards included:

Podium Competition

First Place: Mitchell White, of Glen Carbon, with faculty mentor Jonathan Hammersley, Psychology – "Associations Between Avoidant Coping Styles and Interpersonal Indicators of Suicidality"

Second Place: Maria Aleshina of Moscow, with faculty mentor, Scott Hemenover, Psychology – "Growth and recovery: Exploring the relationship between PTSD symptoms, post-traumatic growth, and resilience in Russian-speaking asylum seekers"

Third Place: Chirecce Robertson, of Saint Davids, with faculty mentor Dinesh Ekanayake, Mathematics – "Predicting area burned from forest fires using meteorological data"

Poster Competition

First Place: Lilian Obasi-Uchechukwu, of DeKalb, Carlos Negron, of Galesburg, and Franca Adelu, of Chicago, with faculty mentor Lindsay White, Nursing – "Exploring Embeddedness of New Nurse Graduates in a Nurse Residency Program"

Second Place: Kevin Delgado, of St. Charles, with faculty mentor, Shawn Meagher, Biology – "Sex-biased parasitism is due to sex, not size differences, in Illinois white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus)"

Third Place: Haley McKinsey, of Clinton, with Kristy Keefe, Psychology – "Anger, Sexual Assault, Trauma, and True Crime; A Correlational Study"

Winners are awarded monetary prizes of $200 for first place, $100 for second place, and $50 for third place. Winners' abstracts can be viewed at All Undergraduate Research Day abstracts are available at

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