Lincoln Memorial University

Six LMU Undergraduate Students Awarded Research Grants by ACA

Harrogate, Tennessee, March 13, 2019—Six Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) students have been awarded grants by the Appalachian College Association (ACA) for summer research projects. The students, along with faculty supervisors, will conduct research on a range of topics including bats, ticks, hellbenders, freshwater mussels and lycanthropy (werewolf) in folklore, literature and more.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our students to gain valuable research experience. I am so glad to see them supported this way,” said Dr. Amiel Jarstfer, vice president for academic affairs. “The ACA brings institutions, faculty and students together and this is one of the wonderful benefits of colleges and universities associating for the greater good of Appalachia.”

Junior Hunter Wyatt, of Rogersville, Tennessee, was awarded a grant to pursue his proposed topic “The accuracy of the Echo Meter Touch 2 in Bat diversity Surveys in Costa Rica.” Wyatt will work on his research under the mentorship of Dr. LaRoy Brandt, associate professor of biology. Much of the data for the research will be gathered during an upcoming research trip to Costa Rica. Wyatt, a conservation biology major at LMU, graduated from Cherokee High School and is the son of Thelma Wyatt and the late Anthony Wyatt.

Junior Hana Hess, of Rich Valley, Virginia, will explore the topic “Identification of Presence of Eastern Hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) in the Cumberland Gap Region via environmental DNA detection methods” with the support of the grant. Assistant Professor of Biology Whitney Kistler will serve as a mentor for Hess’ research. Hess will complete the majority of her project in the LMU research lab after collecting samples on the Powell River and collaborating with other organizations to access to additional samples. Hess, a conservation biology major at LMU, graduated from Northwood High School and is the daughter of Mark and Sue Hess.

Sophomore Matilda Tate, of Bristol, Tennessee, was awarded a grant to explore “Ixodid ticks associated with horses in eastern Tennessee.” Assistant Professor of Biology Barbara Schock will mentor Tate.  She will be conducting field work over the summer, collecting ticks from fields in the Tri-Cities area and completing a molecular analysis of the specimens in the fall. A veterinary health science major, Tate is the daughter of Tim and Laura Tate. Prior to enrolling at LMU she completed homeschooling through the A Beka Academy DVD Program.

Senior Jacob Lanning, of Rogersville, Tennessee, was awarded a grant in support of his proposal “Burrowing success of endangered juvenile Oyster mussels (Epioblasma capsaeformis) in relation to rearing conditions and substrate type.” Dr. Aggy Vanderpool, associate professor of biology, will supervise the research. A conservation biology major, Lanning is a graduate of Volunteer High School and the son of Sam and Jane Anne Lanning.

Senior Justin Anderson-Woodard, of Pennington Gap, Virginia, was awarded a grant to explore the topic of his proposal, “Monitoring the movement and burrowing behavior of endangered, Epioblasma brevidens, the Cumberlandian combshell mussel, in relation to rearing conditions and substrate type.” Vanderpool will also supervise Anderson-Woodard’s research. A conservation biology major at LMU, Anderson-Woodard graduated from Lee High and is the son of Kristi and Eddie Woodard.

Junior Alisha Helton, of Harlan, Kentucky, will examine “It’s Identity’s Dual Nature: Lyncanthropy in Literature, Legends and Mental Illness.” Assistant Professor of English Sandra Weems will mentor Helton as she explores and examines the dual nature of an identity through the representation of lycanthropy in stories, folklore and mental illness. Helton, an English and psychology major, is a graduate of Harlan County High School. She is the daughter of Jimmy and Jessica Helton.

The grants, which are awarded by the Lee B. Ledford Student Research Endowment of the Appalachian College Association (ACA), provide stipends for students and an allotment for equipment and travel. To be eligible for the awards, students must be enrolled on a full-time basis at an ACA institution, have graduated from an Appalachian high school and have maintained a 2.0 GPA or higher.

A total of 32 undergraduate students, representing 14 ACA institutions, will receive financial support enabling them to pursue research projects during the summer of 2019. The program will culminate with the Scholars making a presentation of their research findings at the ACA’s Annual Summit in September 2019.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or email at [email protected].


423.869.3611 | 800.325.0900
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752