Five Tarleton students earn first-place honors at Pathway event


Friday, November 15, 2019

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Five Tarleton State University students took first-place honors at the 16th annual Pathways Student Research Symposium on Nov. 7-8 at Texas A&M International University in Laredo.

Additionally, six Tarleton students earned second- and third-place awards out of approximately 250 projects.

Hosted annually by a different A&M System university, the symposium is an opportunity for undergraduate, master’s degree and doctoral students to present their research findings — across various academic disciplines — in a poster or oral format.

This year saw 39 Tarleton students participated and six faculty members served as judges.

Graduate Project Winners: 

Preston Ward, first place, Math and Physical Sciences – “Big Jumps or Little Steps: Fighting Gerrymandering with Random Walks,” mentored by Dr. Scott Cook

Marissa Pensirkul, second place, Environmental Sciences – “Predictive Mapping of Potentially Listed Rare Plant Species,” mentored by Dr. Hemanta Kafley

Ty Hill, first place, Health Sciences – “Physical Fitness Sex Difference of ROTC Cadets,” mentored by Dr. Andy Wolfe

Jacob Raney, second place, Life Sciences – “Differential Staining and Characterization of Osteoderm Development in the American Alligator and Potential Similarities to Trauma-Induced Heterotopic Ossification Lesions in Humans,” mentored by Dr. Brooke Dubansky

Kristin Cunningham, second place, Health Sciences – “Incoming Cadets Perception of Athletic Training,” mentored by Dr. Stephanie Nelson

James Norcross, first place, Business and Computer Science – “Web Scraping to Inform Curriculum Decisions: An Exploratory Study,” mentored by Drs. Joseph Schuessler and Dennis Jones

Undergraduate Project Winners:

Kholton Tidwell-Courtney, first place, Math and Physical Sciences – “Application of Biomolecules for the Absorption of Crude Oil from Ocean Surface Water,” mentored by Rajani Srinivasan

Britney Torres, first place, Education – “The Effect of Integrative STEAM on Middle School Students,” mentored by Dr. Erin Pearce

Melissa Rinehart and Aleesha Barrett, second place, Education – “STEMming Interest,” mentored by Dr. Erin Pearce

James Alexander, second place, Business and Computer Science – “Model of the Quality Life and How it Affects Life Expectancy,” mentored by Dr. Derrill Watson

Rachel Olson, third place, Business and Computer Science – “Enterprise Engagement: A Further Look into a Developing Concept,” mentored by Dr. Randy McCamey

“We are very pleased with our students and their presentations at this year’s Pathways Symposium as well as the faculty members who mentored them,” said Dr. Barry Lambert, associate vice president for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies. “Tarleton was well represented at this competitive event. Our students presented their research findings to faculty members from The Texas A&M University System with expert knowledge in their respective fields as well as networked with their peers.”

For the full listing of event winners, visit

For more information on Tarleton’s research programs, go to

Tarleton, founding member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven education marked by academic innovation and a dedication to transform today’s scholars into tomorrow’s leaders. It offers degree programs to more than 13,000 students at Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, RELLIS Academic Alliance in Bryan, and online, emphasizing real-world learning experiences that address societal needs while maintaining its core values of tradition, integrity, civility, excellence, leadership and service.

Contact: Phil Riddle, News and Information Specialist
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A founding member of The Texas A&M University System, Tarleton is breaking records — in enrollment, research, scholarship, athletics, philanthropy and engagement — while transforming the lives of more than 15,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, A&M RELLIS at Bryan and online. True to Tarleton’s values of excellence, integrity, and respect, academic programs emphasize real world learning and address regional, state and national needs.