Third Honors Showcase fills SMC art gallery

DOWAGIAC — Exemplary Southwestern Michigan College students displayed their work at the third Honors Showcase Dec. 12 in the art gallery of the Dale A. Lyons Building on the Dowagiac campus. Fifteen students in SMC’s Honors Program presented posters and answered questions, simulating a professional conference experience unheard of for most college freshmen and sophomores.

Their work represented research done as Honors students in SMC classes including physics, chemistry, genetics, biology, mathematics applied to art history, engineering, nursing, human growth and development, literature and graphic design. Presenters worked closely with distinguished faculty members in their respective departments, along with Gary Franchy and Mark Pelfrey, the faculty members who coordinate the Honors Program.

The unifying theme of the projects was the natural curiosity of the students. In some cases, their curiosity was tied to improving technology:

Jacob Clark, Cassopolis — The Physics of Batteries;

Tanner Bohan, Marcellus — The Physics of Computer Processors.

Other posters focused on the environment:

Natalie Adams, Edwardsburg — Cilantro Filtration System;

Anaya Roschyk, Granger — Analysis of Local Leaf Systems as Biosorbents;

Audrey Bakerson, Niles — Using Rye Grass Seed and Ultraviolet C Radiation to Mutate a Plant to Collect Sufficient Amounts of Lead: A New Way to Collect Pollutants;

Abigail Craft, Niles — Physics of Hurricane Rapid Intensification.

Students, especially pursuing health careers, focused on health issues:

Melanie Becker, Edwardsburg — Providing Health Care Internationally;

Justine Grisham, Edwardsburg — Treatment Options for Herpes Simplex Virus.

Broad social issues related to social work, psychology and education were represented:

Kaitlin Ingold, Portage — How Societal and Economic Factors Impact Fertility Rates in North America and Africa;

Rebekah F. Ashley, Decatur — Fun with Genetics Lesson Plans;

Jessica Garcia, Constantine — Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Theory;

Diana Salto, Coldwater — Censorship in Public Schools.

Some posters highlighted the general education core of a college education:

Angela Smith, Mendon — American Ethnic Literature;

Abigail Craft, Niles — Speculative Mathematics and Sacred Geometries: An Analysis of Intuitive Associations in Works of Art.

Some posters demonstrated the principles of graphic design as learned by students in that program:

Madeline Collins, Cassopolis;

Julia Tyson, Elkhart.

The Honors Showcase at SMC has become an annual event for the Honors Program, providing students the opportunity to participate in graduate-style research early in their academic careers. These experiences ensure that SMC Honors Program graduates are at the front of the line for transfer scholarships, internships and job opportunities.

For more information on the Honors program or program eligibility requirements and benefits, as well as learn about the full-ride scholarships available to incoming Honors Program students at

SMC is a public, residential and commuter community college founded in 1964. The college delivers above-average graduation/transfer rates compared to other community colleges nationally and student college-level course success that is consistently in the top 25 percent of two-year colleges nationally, according to officials. The college is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges.

Learn more at or email


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