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Scholar’s Showcase

Horizons Spring 2023 Home

Features - Spring 2023

June 20, 2023 | Shane Adams

Each spring, Graceland hosts this signature academic event for students from a variety of disciplines to present their work to fellow students, faculty, and visitors on the Lamoni campus, celebrating the University’s emerging scholars.


S tarted in 2009 by Dan Pratt ’81, Bill Norman, Sherri Kirkpatrick ’65, and Jeana Wilcox, Scholars’ Showcase aims to develop a culture of high-quality research, scholarship, and creative activities. The annual all-day event has grown dramatically each year and now includes over 100 scholarly works. The showcase is an opportunity for students and professors to share their passion for academics through posters, presentations, demonstrations, senior projects, art shows, musical instrument recitals, and more. Faculty, staff, students, and members of the community attend the event, have the opportunity to ask questions, and explore the full breadth of Graceland’s academic pursuits.


Katie Booth ’99 Heinrich

Keynote Speaker

This year’s event featured a keynote from Katie Booth ’99 Heinrich, PhD, a senior researcher for The Phoenix, a research fellow affiliate for NDRI-USA, and an adjunct professor for Kansas State University. She shared how her Graceland education has been influential throughout her career journey. She is recognized both nationally and internationally for her research on high intensity functional training (HIFT), exercise and chronic disease, and the built environment. Her research aims are to study the effects of HIFT on fitness, health and psychosocial outcomes delivered in a group-based context, focusing on populations including youth, active duty military, healthy adults, overweight/obese adults, and cancer survivors.


Standout Research Projects

These three students displayed their posters in the Shaw Center Lobby space, with a crowd of interested faculty and fellow students stopping by to hear their presentations and learn more about their research. Below are excerpts from their submitted work:


Darwin Marquez Rosario

Darwin Marquez Rosario – Since its development in 1953, ibuprofen has become one of the most successful non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Work continues on the optimization of ibuprofen to enhance its ability to permeate the blood/brain barrier. In this study, structural analogues of ibuprofen were evaluated using density functional theory (DFT) and Quantitative Structural Activity Relationships (QSAR). Results show that the ethoxy analogues has the largest increase in polar surface area.


Brenna Murphy

Brenna Murphy – Many schools across the nation have made the choice to switch to renewable energy sources to power their schools and the choice has many benefits. This paper discusses the reality of what going solar for Graceland would look like, what land it would have to allocate, how much energy would be offset, how much it would cost, how much it would save, the time it would take to return on its investments, and the environmental implications. The students of Graceland have shown their opinion and it is important for Graceland to consider that socially conscious decisions are a factor in who decides to attend the school. Renowned in the residential and commercial solar project development community, Aurora software was used to make careful and accurate calculations that would allow for the school to make informed decisions for a project of this scale and importance. Institutions such as Graceland should look at how their decisions to buy energy from sources who produce it using non-renewable resources impact the environment and the image of their school.


Madi Sager

Madi Sager – Acid rain causes billions of dollars of damage around the world annually. Carboxylic acids contribute largely to the effects, but little is known on how they form. This project highlighted an intermediate (CH2CH3) that was found to be a pathway leading to acid rain. Having CH2CH3 as a known pathway can help mitigate the number of carboxylic acids in the air and lead to other pathways.




Learn more at graceland.edu/scholars-showcase

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