Global Scholars Symposium

2021 Global Scholars Symposium

Saturday, April 17 ♦ 9:00 - 11:30 a.m. ♦ Register at
Parents,  friends, research mentors, and others interested in undergraduate research are invited to attend the Symposium.

9:00 Welcome

9:05 Taelyr Blehm

9:20 Mary Bisbee

9:35 Gabriella Bernard

9:50 Abigail Neal

10:05 Natasha LaGrega

10:20 Rachel Griffard

10:35 Emma Kellogg

10:50 Kathy Burton

11:05 Cierra Kahrs


Taelyr Blehm

Major: Global International Studies & American Studies, Minor in Spanish

Title: Generational Knowledge: Examining Legal Protection of Indigenous Heritage in Mexico  

The project evaluates the lack of legal protection of indigenous heritage within intellectual property law in Mexico with a specific focus on patent law. Analysis of UN Guidelines, Mexican Patent Statues, a court case decision, and interviews with patent attorneys contextualize the level of legal protection in Mexico. Understanding the results will add to discussions on modifications to intellectual property law for researchers and policymakers

Mentor: Dr. Melissa Birch, Associate Professor, Business  


Mary Bisbee

Major: Anthropology

Title: The Feminization of Poverty and Its Development

The proportion of women in poverty is drastically higher than that of men, an issue commonly referred to as the feminization of poverty. This project looks at the development of this phenomenon in the United States with a comparative view to other countries.


Gabriella Bernard

Major: Music Therapy, Minor in Psychology

Title: Systematic Review of Trauma-Informed Care Practices with Music for Refugees: Implications for Music Therapy Practice 

The purpose of this study was to (a) identify trauma-informed care practices using music for people who are refugees, (b) summarize and describe reported outcomes, and (c) discuss possible implications for music therapy clinical work with this population. The guiding research questions were (a) What are the trauma-informed care practices using music for people who are refugees, displaced persons, and asylum seekers? (b) What are the outcomes and implications for music therapy practice?

Mentor: Dr. Abbey Dvorak, Assistant Professor, Music Therapy at The University of Iowa


Abigail Neal

Major: Environmental Studies and Political Science

Study Abroad Program: Cancelled due to COVID

Research Project Title: Environmental Geopolitics of Climate Engineering Proposals

This research examines the treatment of climate engineering (geoengineering) proposals and research by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change using a critical environmental geopolitics perspective. This approach examines the way different spatial scales, human agency, and the role of the environment are obscured and politicized throughout various IPCC reports and summaries, ultimately creating conditions under which existing power structures and inequities are replicated.

Mentor: Dr. Shannon O'Lear, Director, Environmental Studies Program


Natasha LaGrega

Major: Microbiology, Minor in Psychology and Pre-Med

Study Abroad: Atlantis Fellowship in Toledo, Spain. (6 weeks in summer 2019 shadowing doctors in Spanish hospitals)

Title: Understanding Modern Challenges in STEM Education: Bridging the Gap
Engaging young students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers is a growing concern in the United States and the Global community. Cultural rhetoric pushing woman and minorities away from STEM careers is not only a detriment to society, but an often a flaw in modern education. Understanding where these messages come from, and modern teaching practices to approach them, can help us support a new generation of STEM leaders.

Mentor: Dr. Laurie Cleavinger, Multi-Term Lecturer, Curriculum & Teaching


Rachel Griffard

Major: Behavioral Neuroscience

Title: Population Data Analysis on Infant Mortality

The project uses population level data run through statistical analyses in R to consider factors relating to infant mortality across countries.

Mentor: Dr. Marsha McCartney, Assistant Professor, Psychology


Emma Kellogg

Majors: Visual Arts & French

Study Abroad Program - Université Catholique de l'Ouest, Angers, France

Title: International Experimental Theater Workshop

I will be presenting over my experience this summer with the Manhattan Experimental Theater Workshop (MXTW) in Manhattan, Kansas. During this summer's socially distanced workshop, we collaborated over Google Meet with the Norwegian Experimental Theater Workshop (NExT).  I will be talking about how our relationship with NExT was formed and the circumstances of our collaboration over the summer.  

Mentor: Gwethalyn Williams, Director, Manhattan Experimental Theater Workshop (MXTW)


Kathy Burton

Major: Global and International Studies/Anthropology

Title: Failed Again: Resources and Reentrance for Sex Trafficking Survivors in Northern Myanmar

This project discusses the continued practice of trafficking Kachin and Shan women in Northern Myanmar and the failure of the government of Myanmar in both proactive and retroactive measures to protect these women. The project will discuss groups that are working to help rescue the trafficked women and help them reenter society after their ordeals. 

Mentor: Dr. Brian Lagotte, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Global and International Studies


Cierra Kahrs

Major: Molecular, ​Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Study Abroad Program: CIEE Singapore Internship

Title: Caring for an Aging Population: A Comparative Analysis of Singapore and the United States

The project looks at both Singapore and U.S. healthcare systems, with a focus on geriatric care. This includes population data, long-term care support, and plans for the future.




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