CSB senior receives 'Outstanding Thesis Award' from CSC Day


April 21, 2021

College of Saint Benedict senior Emily Twardy received the “Outstanding Thesis Award” during the 2021 Celebrating Scholarship and Creativity (CSC) Day Scholars Reception April 19.

In addition to Twardy, 32 students from CSB and Saint John’s University were honored for their undergraduate research presented during the 21st anniversary of CSC Day.

Twardy, a mathematics major from Monticello, Minnesota, was honored for her thesis, “Games with Dihedral Groups.”  She was advised by Bret Benesh, professor and chair of the mathematics department at CSB/SJU, and receives a $500 award from Undergraduate Research.

Each year, Undergraduate Research selects one thesis for the “Outstanding Thesis Award.” The award is based not only on an exceptional thesis, but also on the Thesis scholar's growth as a researcher, investment in the process and the ability to share the importance of their work with others.  To be considered, a Scholar must be nominated by their Thesis Committee.

“Emily’s thesis is a shining example of what can be accomplished here at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University,” said Lindsey Gunnerson Gutsch, assistant director of Undergraduate Research at CSB and SJU, at the reception. “She takes her place alongside former winners in giving us a reason to smile and give thanks for our ability to seek knowledge and truth through research.”

Recognition was given in three categories: Distinguished Thesis Scholars, CSC Day Spotlight recipients and Emerging Scholars.

The honorees represented just a small portion of the research presented throughout CSC Day. A total of 238 students presented their research and creative work online throughout the day.

Distinguished Thesis Scholars

The Distinguished Thesis Scholars are graduating seniors who have successfully completed a three-semester long independent research or creative work project, producing work that is above and beyond the expectations of a senior capstone.

Distinguished Thesis Scholars are endorsed and sponsored by their academic departments based on a competitive project proposal.

The nine scholars, their research titles and their faculty advisers are:

• Daniel Bachmeier, “The Impact of Club Involvement on the Racial Diversity of Social Networks,” Dr. Michael Rosenbaum, adviser;

• Emily Booth, “Concern for COVID-19 related to The Big Five Personality Types and Collegiate Hardiness,” Dr. Robert Kachelski, adviser;

• Anne Marie Griebie, “The Influence of Personality on Presidential Leadership Style (with a Case Study of Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States),” Dr. Aubrey Immelman, adviser;

• Nathan Jordre, “Estimating the Heat Equation with Neural Networks,” Dr. Michael Heroux, adviser;

• Mengzhen (Mia) Li, “Using Program Synthesis to Build a Testing Program,” Dr. Peter Ohmann, adviser;

• Alexis Swanz, “Emerging Adulthood in the Digital Age: How Psychological Needs Mediate the Relationship Between Social Media Use and FoMO,” Dr. Richard Wielkiewicz, adviser;

• Emily Twardy, “Games with Permutation Groups,” Dr. Bret Benesh, adviser;

• Flannery White, “Undermining Equal Citizenship: Nuisance Laws, Evictions and Victims of Intimate Partner Violence,” Dr. Christi Siver, adviser;

• Drew Wilds, “Reproductive Health and Injustices of Incarcerated Women,” Dr. Christi Siver, adviser.

CSC Day Spotlight Award

Each CSC Day, the Undergraduate Research Program highlights the research and creative work of exceptional student projects in the CSC Day Spotlight.

To be considered for the spotlight, students must be nominated, register to present their work at CSC Day and submit a short reflection on their research experience. Recipients are selected the by the Undergraduate Research Program, based on faculty nomination and student reflection.

The nine projects and 19 students selected for this award include:

• Katie Johnson, “Perceived Stress Level, Gastrointestinal Symptoms, and Dietary Intake Among College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic;”

• Anne Marie Griebie, “The Influence of Personality on Presidential Leadership Style (with a case study of Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States);

• Grace Baker, Milo Ambord and Eryn Hauch, “The Predictive Relationship Between Training Impulse, Sleep Quality, and Sleep Quantity;”

• D'Havian Scott, Grace Savard and Mackenzie Carlson, “Complexities of Caregiving: Healthcare Providers’ Perspectives on Workplace Environment, Home Life and Isolation During COVID-19;”

• Carly Mastrian, “The Influence of Gender on the Experience of Induced Emotions;”

• Betsy Berens, “Accuracy of Nutrient Intake Values from Four Popular Nutrition Tracking Apps;”

• Allison Schabacker, “Perceived Stress, Energy and Mood State During High and Low Stress Academic Weeks in Division III Female Athletes;”

• Emma Murphy, “The interaction of Emotions and Reading Speed: Implications for Text Comprehension and Metacognition; “

• Senior accounting students Jacob Thorsten, Maria Van Hove, Derica Ferguson,  Hailey Sabin,  Eric Kieser,  Abbey Estep and Emma Gorman,  “COVID, Working From Home and Career Issues Related to the Accounting Profession.”

Emerging Scholars

This is the second cohort of the Emerging Scholars Program, which is designed to provide first-year students that have been traditionally underrepresented in higher education or their field of study to three high-impact practices over the course of their first year at CSB/SJU: undergraduate research, learning in community and meaningful on-campus student employment.

Students selected to be an Emerging Scholar are offered a full-time, paid, on-campus research position (10-12 hours per week) for the entire academic year under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Emerging Scholars are selected by Undergraduate Research, based on student application and fit with faculty mentor.

The five Emerging Scholars and their faculty mentors include:

• Cao Doan, “Dietary Intake Changes in College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” mentored by Dr. Alexa Evenson;

• Fredi Ponce Parra, “How Tribal Governments Responded to COVID-19,” mentored by Dr. Ted Gordon;

• Bretxi  Sandiero Flores, "A Proposal Concerning Black Survival: The History of Black Student Activism at CSB/SJU,” mentored by Dr. Jonathan Nash;

• Maria Fajardo Reyes, “Comparison of Presidential Media Use in Relation to COVID-19 Pandemic Response,” mentored by Dr. Pedro dos Santos;

• Benchelo Victorin, “Game Development Using Game Theory,” mentored by Dr. Bret Benesh.

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