Honors College publishes MTSU students’ research

Honors College publishes MTSU students’ research

MTSU alumna Linda Purkey tried to find a possible correlation between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and an increase in autism diagnoses for a class project just before her December 2011 graduation.

Forensic-science major Richard Bautista chose death — more specifically, the subject of postmortem interval determination — for his research.

Purkey’s and Bautista’s projects, along with research analysis and summaries by six other students, were recently included in Scientia et Humanitas: A Journal of Student Research, an annual bound volume published by the University Honors College.

Copies are available in the Honors College office, located in Room 205 of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building, or you can read the publication online by clicking on the magazine cover at right.

The printed student-research periodical formerly was an online journal called Scientia, founded by Dr. Phil Mathis, a professor emeritus of biology and a former Honors College dean. It was renamed in 2010 to reflect its wider scope to include .

Scientia et Humanitas adviser Marsha Powers of the Honors College staff said the paperback publication “provides a place for people to be published.”

Purkey’s research, for example, “concluded that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine has very little to do with the increase in the diagnosed cases of autism,” Powers said.

Bautista concluded that “relying on any one individual assessment method, such as rigor mortis or body cooling, can result in inaccuracies due to the wide range of variables that would be difficult, if not impossible, to identify.”

Other Scientia et Humanitas contributors included:

  • Anna Yacovone (’11), a 2012-13 Fulbright Scholar and global-studies and organizational-communication double major who examined interfaith dialogues as a method of promoting peace in southern Thailand;
  • Amber L. Hulsey (’11), an aerospace major who co-wrote an article with aerospace professor Dr. Daniel Prather on the perspective of Tennessee airports on safety-management systems;
  • Brian Criswell, a sociology major whose paper illustrated how hip-hop music can be used to reach multiple audiences and encourage critical thought;
  • Matthew Hibdon (’12), a history major who wrote about History Day at MTSU;
  • Mike Smith, an English major who examined Augustine’s life depicted in “Confessions;” and
  • Lindsay Gates (’12), a history major who outlined the peaceful efforts of India’s Narmada River Valley dwellers to save the river from the construction of a farm.

Students Jake Verhoeff and Chris Ranker served as managing and copy editors, respectively. The publication’s 11-member study advisory board also included newly named Fulbright Scholar Adam Emerson.

The Honors College plans to send the journal to other honors programs. Copies also will be placed in the Honors College Michael Martinelli Memorial Library and James E. Walker Library.

Submissions already are being accepted for volume three.

For more information, call Powers at 615-898-5759, email or visit

— Randy Weiler (