Fourth Annual Mercer Atlanta Research Conference Showcases Student and Faculty Scholarship


MACON – The fourth annual Mercer Atlanta Research Conference was held on the Cecil B. Day Campus April 12, featuring 43 student and 31 faculty presentations from seven of the University's 12 schools and colleges.

Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs and Associate Professor of Counseling Dr. Kenyon Knapp and the College of Continuing and Professional Studies first organized the conference in 2011 “out of a desire to encourage and inspire both students and faculty to become more involved in research activities, as well as provide a venue where they can share their findings,” said Dr. Knapp.

This year's Monroe F. Swilley Jr. Student Research Award was presented to Jessica Williams of the College of Pharmacy for her research project, titled “A Review of Withdraw Strategies for Discontinuing Antiepileptic Therapy in Epilepsy and Pain Management.” The award, which recognizes students who best incorporate the use of the University Libraries' collections and services and demonstrate active critical thinking, includes a $250 cash prize. Lauren Brown of the McAfee School of Theology was the runner-up for the award for her project, “The Stilling of the Storm in Matthew 8:23-27,” and received a $100 cash prize.

The keynote speaker for the conference was Anna Lumpkin, school safety coordinator with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency–Homeland Security (GEMA-HS). Lumpkin reviews emergency operations plans, conducts comprehensive site surveys, provides technical assistance and develops innovative training for public and private K-12 schools, as well as childcare centers and higher education facilities. In her address, titled “Workplace Violence: Best Practices, Research and Trends,” she discussed the topic of workplace violence and how research continues to influence best practices to minimize the impact and, in some cases, potentially prevent such unfortunate incidents.

Following the welcome and keynote address, from 9:30-10:45 a.m., poster presentations and concurrent speaker sessions were held across campus until 2:30 p.m. Presenters represented the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, Stetson School of Business and Economics, Tift College of Education, College of Pharmacy, McAfee School of Theology and College of Health Professions.

The conference was sponsored by the Center for Health and Learning; Pi Gamma Chapter of Sigma Theta Nau, the International Honor Society of Nursing; and Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society.