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UT Tyler Alpha Chi Chapter Grabs Top Awards at National Convention

April 18, 2013

Media Contact:  Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769 or 903.539.7196 (cell)

The University of Texas at Tyler received top awards at the Alpha Chi National Honor Society’s annual convention in Nashville, Tenn., Suzanne Pundt, UT Tyler senior lecturer in biology and chapter sponsor, announced.

Students representing the UT Tyler Alpha Xi chapter of Alpha Chi gave presentations and were recognized for their research.

Graduate student Claris Smith of Tyler received the Dennis M. Organ Prize in the amount of $100 for her presentation titled, “Role of Vitamin D and Celecoxib on Expression of Breast Cancer Biomarkers in Normal Risk Women.” This honor is given to the top presentation made by a graduate student or alumni member at the convention.

Senior psychology major Felicia Mirghassemi of Houston received the Mary Waterstreet Prize in Psychology in the amount of $100 for her paper titled, “Reciprocity Norm Following Behavior During Informal Conversations.”

Senior English major Terry Britt of Sweetwater, Tenn. was the first runner up for the 2013 Region II Pryor Fellowship for his paper and accompanying video titled, “Sounds of a New Frontier: Music Journalism in the Digital Age.”

Other UT Tyler students were senior health professions major Hien Nguyen of Tyler, who presented “Transfer Testing: Transferring of Bowling Skills in Wii Bowling vs. Kinect Bowling” and post-graduate Ciera Ward of Tyler, who presented “Surface-Modified Nanoparticles from Acoustic Emulsion-Polymerization.”

The convention featured scholarly, creative and artistic presentations by more than 300 students and a national literacy project that provided books to Reading is Fundamental. UT Tyler’s Texas Alpha Xi Chapter donated 18 new books to RIF. The books were collected from new chapter members inducted in the fall of 2012 and from the student attendees.

The UT Tyler Texas Alpha Xi Chapter also received a Star Chapter Award for the 2011-12 year. UT Tyler’s was one of only nine chapters from Region II to have earned the society’s designation, which recognizes outstanding achievement throughout the academic year.

Pundt currently serves as the Region II secretary/treasurer and member of the National Council of Alpha Chi. Region II includes Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and part of Texas. Dr. James Koukl, UT Tyler associate professor of biology, serves as assistant sponsor. Both sponsors served as session-presiders. Koukl also served as a presentation judge, and Pundt served on the national Gaston/Nolle Scholarship Committee.

The Alpha Chi Honor Society has some 300 chapters in 45 states and the District of Columbia. This year marks the 91th anniversary of its founding, and the 400,000th member was inducted last spring.

Alpha Chi is a coeducational society whose purpose is to promote academic excellence and exemplary character among college and university students and to honor those who achieve such distinction.

As a general honor society, Alpha Chi admits to membership students from all academic disciplines.A member institution, which must be a regionally accredited, baccalaureate degree-granting college or university, may invite to membership no more than the top 10 percent of the junior, senior and graduate students.

For more information about UT Tyler’s Alpha Chi chapter, contact Pundt, 903.566.7274 or spundt@uttyler.edu.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of almost 7,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.
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