Celebrating the Research Process

May 10, 2021

Kaylin Coe ’20 (left) delivered the keynote address at the awards ceremony for the 2021 Capstone festival. Top honors recipients were (clockwise from top left) Elyse Levens '21, Kylie Stottlemyer '21, Felicia Maziarz '21, and Jessica Balough '21.

The 2021 Capstone Festival, MBU’s signature showcase of undergraduate research, presented topics from a wide variety of fields including community policing, the biological tool of mass cytometry, English sonnet sequences, engaging elementary students in American history, and many more. A total of 21 students participated, creating 13 papers, six posters, and two artistic videos. 

This year, the festival was held virtually with nominated projects shared during the week of May 3–7. Students presented their research through recorded videos posted on the Capstone website.

The final awards ceremony was held synchronously via Zoom on May 7, inviting nominated students and their families, faculty advisors, the MBU Board of Trustees, members of MBU’s Advisory Board of Visitors (ABV), and the entire university community to participate. A group of faculty judges decided upon the recipients of each top honors award.

“Congratulations today to each of our outstanding students,” said President Pamela R. Fox in her welcome address. “You were selected based upon the excellence of your senior project, honors project, or special research project. We are so very proud of you.”

Kaylin Coe ’20 (left) delivered the keynote address at the awards ceremony for the 2021 Capstone festival. Top honors recipients were (clockwise from top left) Elyse Levens '21, Kylie Stottlemyer '21, Felicia Maziarz '21, and Jessica Balough '21.

The awards ceremony featured criminal justice and sociology double major Kaylin Coe ’20 as the keynote speaker, who shared how the undergraduate research process at MBU has been instrumental to her continuing success in graduate school at the University of Cincinnati. 

“Going through the research process at Mary Baldwin, I learned that asking a ton of questions was perfectly OK,” Coe said. “Messing up was perfectly OK. I learned to utilize my support system to get advice when I was unsure … I believe wholeheartedly in the phrase ‘trust the process.’ I think that it is important to keep in mind the journey you take will teach you how to get better.”

“I believe wholeheartedly in the phrase ‘trust the process.’ I think that it is important to keep in mind the journey you take will teach you how to get better.”
Kaylin Coe ’20, Capstone Festival keynote speaker

Co-chairs of the Capstone Festival Calvin Chung, assistant professor of business, and Beth Easterling, associate professor of criminal justice and sociology, introduced the faculty judges to announce and congratulate the following recipients of top honors. Several judges mentioned the competitiveness of the categories this year and the difficulty of making the final choice.

Two Awards: Papers I and Quantitative 

Elyse Levens, A Mass Cytometry Application of a Community Structure Generating Algorithm Derived from a Combination of Leiden and Girvan-Newman Methods

Papers II

Kylie Stottlemyer, Understanding the Complexity of Community Policing and the Implementation when Assisting Victims

Posters

Jessica Balough, Photocatalytic Degradation of Bisphenol-F by Hydrogen Peroxide

Artistic Portfolio

Felicia Maziarz, There’s an Armadillo in my Living Room

Award recipient in two top honors categories Elyse Levens ’21 knew she wanted to explore three areas of research for her thesis: applied math, physics, and biology. It was just a matter of finding a way to connect them all.

“It feels amazing to have my work appreciated after all of the time and effort I’ve put into it,” Levens said. “I’m incredibly happy that I was able to construct and design my thesis in a way that satisfied my intellectual curiosity it was a lot of fun once I got going.” 

Levens will continue to build her abilities in relaying complex concepts and advocating for the importance of research as she enters a PhD program in biomedical engineering at the University of Oxford this fall.

“I'm incredibly happy that I was able to construct and design my thesis in a way that satisfied my intellectual curiosity — it was a lot of fun once I got going.”
Elyse Levens '21, Capstone top honors recipient

Looking forward to the next academic year at MBU, the ABV Capstone Fellowship awards support juniors who will embark upon 2021-22 research projects, and those recipients are:

  • Haley Schwarz, biology
  • Madison Kelly, biology
  • Brionny Brown, biology with a biomedical emphasis
  • Stella Maris Remigio, biology with a biomedical emphasis
  • Katherine Keegan, applied mathematics 

The faculty judges for Capstone were: William Cundiff, David Black, Peter Ruiz-Haas, Molly Serement, Pam Stevenson, Ellen Lucius, Lise Keiter, Christina Harris, Janet Ewing, and Robin Hopkins. 

Thank you to the members of MBU’s Advisory Board of Visitors for their generous sponsorship of this year’s festival: Cynthia Burnett, Dr. Leigh Frame, Chuck Henck, Mark Journell, Mark LaRosa, Brian McReynolds, Kathryn Gravely Melo, Daniel O. Connor, Mary Satterfield, and Glenda Western.