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COLUMBUS, Miss. - The Mississippi University for Women Office of Undergraduate Research has announced five participants in the 2021 W Summer Scholars program.

 Amy Azwell, Maggie Ellis, Mikayla Reed, Sara Lynn Sligh and Zithlaly Amezquita were selected to participate in The W’s third annual W Summer Scholars Program.

The Summer Scholars Program is a chance for students to do an independent research study guided by a faculty member during the summer semesters and receive scholarship for tuition, housing and meals.

“I’m really excited to see this program grow. With this year’s cohort, we are focused on creating a community of researchers among these students,” said Hillary Richardson, coordinator of Undergraduate Research and Information Literacy. “We’ll have meetings throughout the summer to discuss research habits, tools, resources and outlets they have at their disposal. At the end, we’ll celebrate not only what they’ve accomplished, but what they learned, as a group, along the way.”

AzwellAzwell, a music therapy equivalency major, received a vocal music education degree from Mississippi State University. This summer she will research the phenomenology of music and its applications to music therapy.

“I wanted to apply for Summer Scholars because it allows me an opportunity to research a topic that is not addressed in the music therapy curriculum,” said Azwell, who is from Maryland Heights, Missouri.

After graduating in December 2022, she plans on trying to find a job in music therapy in the Southeast.

EllisEllis, a history major, is from Forest. This summer she will be doing in-depth research about some of the houses included on the Columbus Pilgrimage Tour.

“I am interested in archival research, and found that the Summer Scholars program was the perfect opportunity,” said Ellis.

After graduating in May 2022, she plans to attend graduate school to earn a degree in either museum studies or history.

ReedReed, a psychology major, will be researching the psychosocial and demographic factors associated with consumer preferences among mobile payment service providers.

“The Summer Scholars program will potentially propel me into the world of research, said Reed, who is from Columbus. “It will afford me the opportunity to expand my knowledge on the investigative process, which will assist in my efforts to continue creating meaningful research post-grad.”

After graduating in May 2022, she plans to obtain a master’s degree in social work, with a certification in animal-assisted psychotherapy.

SlighSligh and Amezquita, both biology majors, plan to conduct research mutations in the CFTR protein, which is known to cause cystic fibrosis.

“I wanted to participate in the Summer Scholars program this summer because I felt it would be a good environment to explore the realm of intellectual curiosity as it applies to research, said Sligh, a native of Amory. “Research is an important aspect of college and as a future scientist I felt it was my responsibility to participate in research as an undergraduate.”

After graduating in May 2022, she plans to attend medical school to pursue a career in rural, primary care medicine.

AmezquitaAmezquita, a biology major from Ecru, is the only student participating in Summer Scholars for the full 10-week term.

“Throughout my sophomore and junior year at The W, not only have I learned essential techniques that are required for this research project, but I have also made progress in terms of generating data. The W’s Summer Scholars program will allow me to continue to work and make progress with this project,” said Amezquita.

After graduating in May 2022, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in arts of teaching.

Each student is required to present on their research following their completion of the W Summer Scholars program. To learn more about the Summer Scholars program visit the OUR website at https://www.muw.edu/our/summer.


May 4, 2021
Olivia Sagely

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