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Media Contact: Maddy Elledge
(706) 379-5319, [email protected]

Young Harris College Hosts Fifth Annual Undergraduate Research Day

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Young Harris College hosted the fifth annual Undergraduate Research Day on March 17. The event showcased student and faculty research across all academic disciplines.

“The Undergraduate Research Day at Young Harris College is a highlight of the year,” said Assistant Professor of Outdoor Leadership Joseph Pate, Ph.D., who served as the faculty advisor for both an oral presentation and poster presentation. “The day allows students to share their passions and interests, and work with those from the broader campus community.”

The event included nearly 30 oral and 15 poster presentations addressing topics ranging from “The Pros and Cons of Modern Mission Trips” to “Effects of Nicotine Use in Cigarettes and Vaporizers on the Oral Microbiota.’’ Other presentations included “Preserving truth and democracy through philosophy,” “Universality of Facial Expression of Emotion,” and “Assessment of Habitat Preferences of the Hiwassee Crayfish ‘Cambarus Hiwasseensis’.”

“Undergrad research is a great way for students to practice public speaking while showcasing their research,” said junior business and public policy major Elli Falig, of Odessa, Fla., who presented research entitled “Does Internet access have an impact on the GDP per Capita?” “It was really encouraging to have peers and YHC faculty and staff come out and listen to us present on topics we have worked so hard on.”

This year, the YHC Clarinet Quartet performed an original composition, “Whirling Leaves,” by junior music major Melanie Ellis, of Hawkinsville, Ga. The YHC Clarinet Choir also performed under the direction of Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Leigh Miller.

“The coordinators, Dr. Linda Jones, Professor Lynne Nation, and Dr. Eric Dickman, do an amazing job of bringing together diverse and varied presentations and posters from across the fabric of the institution to celebrate Young Harris College’s emerging scholars, researchers, and students who have truly taken advantage of their liberal arts degree,” said Dr. Pate.

The closing session titled “Experience, Insight and Values in Graduate Research,” was coordinated by Chair of the Religion and Philosophy Department and Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies Eric Dickman, Ph.D. During the session, four YHC alumni were featured including Aaron Smithson, ’16, who is earning a M.F.A. in film and television production at Savannah College of Art and Design, Kalie Pritchett, ’15, who will graduate from Elon University School of Law in December, Jade Smith, ’15, who earned her master of arts in mathematics education through Western Governor’s University, and Kaycee Cash, ’15, a second-year student at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia.

“I was so honored to be a part of the panel of fellow alumni to share with current students about our experiences as graduate students,” said Smithson. “Undergraduate Research Day offers great opportunities for students to get recognized for their hard work and exceptional research. I am incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities YHC gave me as a student and continues to give me as an alumnus.”

With a goal of showcasing research across the curriculum, this annual event held on the YHC campus originated in 2013. To learn more, visit


Speaker with presentation

About Young Harris College
Young Harris College is a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. The College currently has more than 1,100 students across five divisions—Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., has completed major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth. Recent LEED-certified campus improvements include the 121,000-square-foot Rollins Campus Center, new residence facilities, and a 57,000-square-foot recreation and fitness center. The College is an active member of NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. YHC is among fewer than 300 colleges and universities nationwide named to the 2016-2017 list of Colleges of Distinction and is listed as a “Best National Liberal Arts College” by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit