SMC library hosts honors program showcase

DOWAGIAC — The Fred L. Mathews Library on Southwestern Michigan College’s campus is decked out with posters ready to educate curious eyes on everything from literature to animal welfare to the popular game of disc golf.

Ten research poster presentations by SMC Honors Program students are currently being showcased in Fred L. Mathews Library on the Dowagiac campus. Typically, the event is hosted in the college’s art gallery with creators on hand at an in-person reception. However, due to ongoing COVID-19 precautions, college officials opted to host the presentations in the library.

SMC officials said Mathews Library is a frequent collaborator across the college.

“We’re always happy to display student work and are open a lot of hours,” said Coordinator of Library Services Jenn Zimmer.

SMC President Dr. Joe Odenwald appreciated “the continuity of college life” the research exhibition illustrates.

“There are not many things we haven’t done, outside of eating in groups, in spite of the pandemic. Most things have gone on — even theatre and honor-society inductions. People have found ways,” he said.

Despite the changes to this year’s showings, staff said they still believed students were given a valuable experience.

“They still have the opportunity to get their work out there and to put it on their resumes,” said faculty advisor Gary Franchy.  “That students get to do undergraduate research and present it their first and second years is a big selling point of the Honors Program. At most schools that might not happen until master’s level.”

Poster presentations showcased include:

  • “Free”by Gabrielle Munson for Dr. Maria DeRose. Munson dissects the deeper meaning of the main character repeatedly uttering the word in Kate Chopin’s 1895 “Story of an Hour.” The dual-enrolled Dowagiac Union High School senior plans to major in mathematics at Grand Valley State University.

“The Honors Program proved challenging,” Munson said. “It has been a great experience. It’s pushed me to reach my full potential and prepared me to learn at a university level.”

  • “The Physics of Disc Golf”by Grant Lubbert, of Watervliet, for Andrew Dohm.

“Three major things make a disc fly — angular momentum, angle of attack and the velocity of the disc,” Lubbert said, an Andrews Academy graduate who will study mechanical engineering at Grand Valley State University.

  • “Toxic Masculinity: Causes and Effects”by Maria Springs for Daniel Johnson.
  • “Layers of Parsley”by Otto Reick IV for Dr. Maria DeRose. Rita Dove’s 1983 poem retells a 1937 Dominican Republic massacre. Rafael Trujillo, “El General,” was the country’s military dictator who ordered everyone put to death who could not pronounce the Spanish word for parsley, “pereji,” Those unable to roll “r” were judged Haitians and exterminated.
  • “Sources of Stress and Its Effects on Animals in Artificial Environments”by Jossalyn Rogalski, of Dowagiac, for Thomas Beaven.

“Instead of focusing on how to improve conditions in captivity, the world needs to orient its attention to the real problem at hand: human activity contributing to habitat destruction,” Rogalski said of the ethics of captivity.

Rogalski, majoring in biology to become a zoologist focused on ecology and conservation, transfers to Western Michigan University with a full-ride scholarship.

  • “Motifs and Mysteries of ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’” by Demitrios Cortez for Dr. Maria DeRose. The St. Joseph homeschooler hopes to pursue engineering at Michigan State University.

“I think it held some relevance in regards to the ongoing pandemic,” Cortez said of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 1892 story about mental illness and the impact of isolation and loneliness.

  • “Overpopulation: Effects and Solutions”by Maria Springs for Deirdre Kirk. With the world population at 7.7 billion people, every person who contributes to the exploitation of resources adds to climate change, which can be mitigated by reducing fertility rates through family planning and empowering womens, Springs concluded in her presentation.
  • “Drug Resistance of Escherichia Coli in Domestic Canines”by Jessica Bowen for Thomas Beaven. “There are currently concerns about the dangers of resistant bacteria since we already have several superbugs that are practically untreatable,” Bowen wrote.
  • “Investigating the Biodegradation of Glyphosate by Fusarium in Local Agricultural Soils”by Jossalyn Rogalski for Thomas Beaven. Glyphosate is a chemical found in many herbicides.
  • “Examination of the Biodegradation of Glyphosate by Gly Bacteria from Local Michigan Agricultural Soil”by Grace Orpurt for Thomas Beaven. Orpurt grew up in Niles and graduated from Edwardsburg High School.

“Growing up on a farm surrounded by horses since I could walk is when my dream of being a veterinarian became real,” the biology major said.

After she completes her associate degree, Orpurt plans to transfer to the University of Tennessee to continue her undergraduate studies with the goal of admission to the Volunteers’ Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine Program.




Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 995,910 cases, 20,700 deaths


Parents protest masks at Niles Community Schools Board of Education meeting

Berrien County

CFCN hosting flu, COVID-19 vaccine clinic


Under the Harvest Moon Festival to offer children’s activities


Niles man, 13-year-old passenger killed in Sodus Township crash

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Old Rugged Cross Church hosts church, museum dedication


Dowagiac Elks hosting annual Guys and Dolls Golf Outing


New general surgeon seeing patients in Niles


Michigan Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall stops in Edwardsburg


PHOTO STORY: Edwardsburg Area Chamber of Commerce hosts fall festival


Niles man sentenced to probation for drunk driving


PHOTO STORY: Uptown Fright Fest a success


PHOTO STORY: Niles student crowned Miss Apple Festival 2021


Three injured in Howard Township crash


Medical event causes car to crash into Dowagiac Burger King

Cass County

Cassopolis man sent to prison on drug charges


SMC recognized for turning students into citizens


ETS program awarded grant from Department of Education

Cass County

Dowagiac man who broke elementary school windows sentenced to probation


Changes to retirement benefits cause for concern among Cass County employees


Niles first ward residents ask for an end to gun violence in their community


Buchanan Area Senior Center raising funds to convert porch into sunroom

Cass County

Man arrested on drug charges in Mason Township

Cass County

Cass County Commissioners approve grant for Dowagiac River restoration