WT Graduate, Undergraduate scholars honored at Student Research Conference

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Courtesy West Texas A&M University

CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — West Texas A&M University announced a graduate form the Republic of Benin was given the first WT 125 Research Award at the recent Student Research Conference at West Texas A&M University.

WT said Erasme da Cruz, a natural sciences graduate student, won the new award for his oral presentation “Environmental Crisis in the Panhandle of Texas: The Tale of Buffalo Lake.”

WT continues saying thirty-three graduate and undergraduate students participated in the 27th annual conference on April 14 and 15, presenting their work in paper, oral or poster presentations.

“This event offers our students, as well as students from other educational institutions, the chance to showcase their research and creative projects in a professional venue,” said Dr. Pam Lockwood, Student Research Conference chair.

Students competing for cash awards are judged and critiqued by a panel of faculty members. The 2021 event was sponsored by the WT Graduate School and Research.

This year’s winners:

Oral presentations


  • First: Katelyn Denney, graduate student in humanities from Amarillo, “Black History: Bringing Black Texans into the Regional Narrative”
  • Second: Erasme da Cruz, graduate student in natural sciences from Benin, “Environmental Crisis in the Panhandle of Texas: The Tale of Buffalo Lake”
  • Third: Ann Underwood, graduate student in fine arts from Amarillo, “Lucienne Bloch (1909-1999): Trailblazing Artist in Fresco”


  • First: Aryauna Thompson, senior English major from Canyon, “The Past Is Present: Addressing the Importance of Collecting Local Oral Histories”
  • Second: Melinda Jackson, junior history major from Grants Pass, Ore., “Buried City Archaeological Site: Buried from Public View”
  • Third: Thinh Nguyen, senior biochemistry major from Vietnam, “Quantum Oscillations Studies of Sb2Te2Se Single Crystals”



  • First: Wyatt Smith, graduate student in agriculture from Canyon, “Effects of Roughage Source on Growth Performance, Carcass Characteristics, and Rumination Time of Beef Steers Fed a Steam-Flaked Corn Finishing Diets”
  • Second: Socorro Martinez, graduate student in agriculture from Liberal, Kan., “The Effect of Three Implant Programs on Performance, Carcass Outcomes, and Activity of Finishing Steers Fed Different Days on Feed”
  • Third: Daniel Martinez, graduate student in engineering from Canyon, “Evaluation of In-Situ Process Monitoring System for Powder-Bed Laser Fusion”


  • First: Lyanna De Leon, senior biology education major from Amarillo, “An Investigation on the Household and Allergenic Fungi of Texas Panhandle”
  • Second: Jarrett Toland, senior pre-med major from Lubbock, “Resveratrol as an Alternative Treatment for Glioblastoma Multiforme”
  • Third: Shelby Morton, senior biology and chemistry major from Amarillo, “Genetic Mutations Producing Polymyxin B Resistance in Pseudomonas Aeruginosa”

Research Papers


  • First: Stephen Bussey, graduate student in behavioral sciences from Amarillo, “Religiosity and Spirituality: Psychological Gender Essentialism as a Mediator for Transnegative Prejudice”
  • Second: Shayna Chewning, graduate student in agriculture from Canyon, “Long-Term Effects of Controlled-Release Intramuscular Levothyroxine Sodium Microparticle Injection on Serum Concentrations of Thyroxine, Insulin, Non-Esterified Fatty Acids, Rump Fat Thickness, and Echocardiographic Measurements”
  • Third: E. Paige Clements, graduate student in humanities from Amarillo, “The Patriarchy in the Attic: How Patriarchal Violence Creates Women’s Madness”


  • First: John Pleming, senior history major from Childress, “When Hell Flamed in East St. Louis: White Violence and the Black Intellectual Response in the East St. Louis Race Riot of 1917”
  • Second: Clarence Warren, senior public service administration major from Amarillo, “Pandemic Posting in the Panhandle: How Texas Panhandle Non-Profit Organizations Are Using Social Media During the COVID-19 Pandemic”
  • Third: Valeria Porras, senior sports and exercise sciences major from Texhoma, Okla., “Barriers Faced by Students with Physical Disabilities on a College Campus”

West Texas A&M University said the conference highlights undergraduate and graduate excellence, key maxims of the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

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