Presentations as varied as the effect of obesity on mouth health and the ongoing debate of the role of the death penalty took top honors at the 2015 Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Student Research Conference (UISRC) held April 15-16 at the Spring Creek Campus. Collin College students were honored as four of the top five papers submitted this year.

About 820 presenters and audience members took part in the conference, which is hosted by the Collin College Honors Institute. Hundreds of students from colleges around the country submitted research projects and papers for a chance to be part of the conference, which had an acceptance rate of just 42 percent. A committee of faculty and students read the presentations blind, so that no favoritism was shown to local students. The best papers were presented at the conference.

Selection was based on three criteria. Was the paper written at the college level? Does the topic add something new/unique to the discipline? Does the work include string sources, appropriately utilized and cited?

The top five papers selected on that criteria were: “Only Some Wanted: Exclusion of LGBTQAI in Television” by Bryn Crowell, “Excessive Internet Use and Recollection” by Teresa Nguyen, “Pro-Life and Pro-Death Penalty: Hypocrisy?” by Lindsay Kline, “Obesity and Periodontitis: The Role of Adipokines on Periodontal Health” by Erin Morris and Kelsey Simmons, and “A Wilderness Affair: An Ecofeminist Reading of William Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses” by Savannah DiGregorio of Middle Tennessee State University. Of all those papers, DiGregorio’s was the only one to come from another school.

“This if the first time we have had four of the top five papers coming from Collin College,” Honors Institute Director Jenny Warren said. “Usually we have two or three from Collin College and the others from other universities.”

Each of the top paper writers earned $1,250 scholarships to Collin College if they choose to continue their education here.

Conference attendees also had the chance to observe a dramatic performance written and acted out by Professor Brad Baker’s history of drama class and a poster session where many of the natural science-oriented presentations flourished.

“It was really good, really interactive,” Warren said.

Warren also remarked about the keynote speaker, Jen Buchan, a former Collin College student who told a personal story that seemed to touch the audience. Buchan talked about the abuse she suffered as a child and how her time at Collin College was one of the things that has helped her battle back from those childhood memories. She is now an author and student at the University of North Texas.

“She said her time at Collin made her realize that she shouldn’t doubt herself, that she is better than a child who gets beaten by her father,” Warren said. “She was the best keynote speaker we have ever had.”

See more photos of the event at .

The Honors Institute’s next event is a study party planned from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Thursday, May 7 at the Spring Creek Campus Conference Center. The event is free and open to all Collin College students.

The study party will have free food – of healthy and pizza varieties –  as well as yoga and meditation sessions at noon, 4 p.m. and another time to be determined closer to the event. Math and writing center tutors will be on site and students can partake of private, quiet study rooms as well.

Students can come and go as they please. For more information, contact Warren at