From left, Emma Kicklighter, Mandia Roberts, Aylah Birks, Cameron Hutchins and Laila Siyam. Photo by Dr. Kevin Cummings.
From left, Emma Kicklighter, Mandia Roberts, Aylah Birks, Cameron Hutchins and Laila Siyam. Photo by Kevin Cummings.

MACON – Five Mercer University students presented at the 2022 Popular Culture Association in the South and American Cultural Association in the South (PCAS/ACAS) Conference, held Oct. 13-15 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Along with publishing two journals – Studies in Popular Culture and Studies in American Culture – PCAS and ACAS meet annually to present and discuss ideas about popular culture, American culture and culture worldwide.

  • Aylah Birks, a sophomore neuroscience major from Dry Branch, presented “Liberation, Heroism and Black Redemption: Having a Dream By Any Means Necessary.”
  • Cameron Hutchins, a sophomore anthropology and global health studies double-major from Gwinnett County, presented “What’s So Wrong About Pink? The Modern Effects of Sexism Around the World.” 
  • Emma Kicklighter, a junior neuroscience major from Blackshear, presented “Genetically Modified Organisms Can Do No Harm, or Can They? Jurassic Park and the Dangers of GMOs.”
  • Mandia Roberts, a sophomore global health studies and Spanish double-major from Nassau, Bahamas, presented “The Plight of the Race that Experiences the Hate that You Give.”
  • Laila Siyam, a sophomore kinesiology major from Rocky Face, presented “The Evil That Breeds Evil: How Monsters are Created.”

“Mercer does a fantastic job supporting student research,” said Dr. Kevin Cummings, professor and chair of the Department of Communication Studies and Theatre Arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “I am delighted that we are able to assist students who want to share their work and incredibly proud of the job these five amazing students did presenting their findings.”

“It speaks to the strength of Mercer students as researchers, Dr. Cummings as a professor and the rigor of the University’s Integrative Curriculum (INT) program that these five students were able to write essays in a classroom setting that, after some editing and feedback, could hold their own in the ‘big leagues’ with graduate students and lifelong scholars,” added Dr. Cameron Kunzelman, assistant director of fellowships and scholarships and co-director of the Communication Theory Research Lab. “I am very proud of these students for presenting at a significant professional academic conference like Pop Culture Association South.”

About the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Mercer University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences serves as the academic cornerstone of one of America’s oldest and most distinctive institutions of higher learning. The oldest and largest of Mercer’s 12 schools and colleges, it is a diverse and vibrant community, enrolling more than 1,900 students, dedicated to learning and service through the practice of intellectual curiosity, respectful dialogue and responsible citizenry. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers majors in more than 30 areas of study, including more than a dozen pre-professional academic tracks, with classes taught by an outstanding faculty of scholars. In 2015, Mercer was awarded a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society that recognizes exceptional achievement in the arts and sciences. For more information, visit