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Honors students present research to national audience

Few can say that they have presented research findings at a national conference. For Minot State University seniors Alec Clark and Kristen Schneider, fantasy became reality in October.

Through the MSU honors program, Clark and Schneider were challenged to research an open ended topic. Clark, a Minot native and chemistry major, had been discussing the subject of stem cells in another class. As an employee in an assisted living facility with many residents who suffer from Parkinsonís disease, she chose the disease as her research. Clarkís work investigated the discrepancies within the ethics of stem cell research and how they have hindered the advancement of a potential cure for Parkinsonís disease.

Schneider, a communication disorders major from Regina, Saskatchewan, had worked with autistic children at a summer camp. She knew intensive behavioral intervention treatment worked well with clients, so Schneider researched how autism treatment affects more than behavior. Her final project weighed the gains and stresses that parents endure in intensive and structured behavioral treatment for their children with autism.

After their research was compiled Lynne Rumney, former honors program director, suggested the girls submit their exemplary works to the National Collegiate Honors Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. Both students were selected through a competitive process to present their research in the "Student Interdisciplinary Research Panels" segment of the conference.

Clark and Schneider were two of 19 students chosen from around the United States to present at the conference. The NCHC is the premier event for honors programs nationwide, with attendance of about 1,500-2000 directors, faculty, staff and honors students each year.

"The fact that their accomplishments were recognized in a competitive national forum highlights both their individual commitment to excellence and the advanced research instruction they've received at MSU," said Rumney. "I'm proud of these students who represent us so well."

"The honors program pushes students to excel; it is for students who want to put in that extra work," added Schneider.

"It was an honor to have the opportunity to present our paper," said Clark. And the opportunity continues: Clark and Schneider were asked to submit their research for publication.

Currently, both girls are planning on continuing their education upon graduation from MSU in spring 2012. Clark has begun applying for medical school and Schneider is applying to graduate schools for a masterís degree in speech pathology.