A-Z Index

News Release

April 30, 2021

Students showcase academic work at annual Celebration of Quality

Twenty-five Northwest Missouri State University students representing the academic areas of fine and performing arts, communication and mass media, humanities and social sciences, natural sciences, behavioral sciences and agricultural sciences, presented their work April 16 as the Society of President’s Scholars sponsored its annual Celebration of Quality.

Students presented posters and displays in the J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom in conjunction with oral presentations in Student Union meeting rooms.

A panel of judges awarded cash prizes to presenters based the quality of their work, their ability to explain the project and its value to people within and outside the field of study. First place winners in each category received $250, and second place finishers received $150.

Among the winners in the category for posters and displays were senior chemistry major Elizabeth Skelly, senior biology major Collins Nwanonenyi, senior nanoscience major Dakota Matthews, senior biology and psychology major Camilo Castelblanco Riveros and senior chemistry major Mary Tess Urbanek for their research project, “Nanocomposites films with c-dots,” sponsored by Dr. Mohammed Meziani, an associate professor of chemistry.

Their poster highlighted their ongoing research of carbon dots, which are nanoparticles known for their biocompatibility and low cost as well as their applications in energy and biomedicine. The students conducted the research using an ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy and XRD to assess the characterization of films. They learned the carbon dots’ efficiency against pathogenic organisms after testing bacteria like E.coli.

Among the winners in the presentation category was senior broadcast production major Ben Whitney for his documentary, “Amazing Things: ScrapsKC,” sponsored by Will Murphy, a television and video engineer in the School of Communication and Mass Media. His presentation shared the story of ScrapsKC, a nonprofit in Kansas City, Missouri, that operates a scrap materials store, educates the public about benefits of creative reuse, and works with homeless people to provide survival items and other supplies.

“The Celebration of Quality is a great opportunity to showcase media-related work in an academic setting,” Whitney said. “Determining how I would present the documentary was challenging, because I’m not used to explaining my thought process behind storytelling pieces like this. By simplifying the documentary down to its most basic pieces — the people I interviewed, the shots I used and the story I wanted to tell — I could leave the audience with a better understanding of why I did what I did.”

Sponsored jointly by the Society of President’s Scholars and the Office of the Provost, the Celebration of Quality annually invites students to submit their best work completed throughout the previous year.

The interdisciplinary symposium gives the Northwest community a chance to view student work and places it in front of an audience beyond the classroom. Submissions are accepted from all students at the University.

This year’s Celebration of Quality award winners are listed below.

Posters and displays

First place
  • Elizabeth Skelly, Collins Nwanonenyi, Dakota Matthews, Camilo Castelblanco and Mary Tess Urbanek, “Nanocomposites films with c-dots,” sponsored by Dr. Mohammed Meziani
Second place
  • Cory Busch, “Independent Study in Dramaturgy and Playwrighting,” sponsored by Dr. Theophil Ross



First place (tie)
  • Natalie Coté, “Ready or Not: Emergency Planning in Midwest Museums,” 
    sponsored by John Carr
  • Ben Whitney, “Amazing Things: ScrapsKC,” sponsored by Will Murphy
Second place

Brett Wilson, “Ave Maria (SATB),” sponsored by Dr. Ernest Kramer


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215