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College of Arts and Sciences

A day for discovery

Arts and Sciences students shine during annual research showcase event.

Justin Gates spent his Saturday mornings last summer picking up trash along the beaches near Brunswick, Georgia.

While conducting a research project analyzing the type and volume of shoreline litter, the marine science major found the expected high volume of plastic bottles and cigarette butts but uncovered something unexpected.

“I also learned there were a lot of shotgun shells washed up along the beach,” he explained while showing a poster of his research project at Discover USC.

Gates was one of more than 1,000 students who took part in the daylong event showcasing student research and scholarship at the end of the spring 2017 semester. College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate and graduate students participated in oral presentations and poster sessions and took home a variety of awards.

Gary Sellick, a doctoral student in history, won the three-minute thesis competition.

See winners from biological sciences and chemistry and biochemistry.

Learn more about all undergraduate winners and graduate student winners.

Kennedy Hayes, a criminal justice and psychology major, presented results of her year-long service work as part of the Graduation with Leadership Distinction program.

She served on the Panhellenic Council and presented about her experience launching a sorority event registration system to ultimately prevent high-risk behaviors. This system wasn’t popular, but Hayes said it was an important way to protect overall well-being.

“Throughout this process, I learned how to lead when faced with adversity from my peers,” she says. “I learned so much about myself and have grown so much.”

As for Gates, his research will continue. He traced the origin of the washed-up shells to an inland shooting range. Next, he wants to explore the levels of heavy metals in nearby marshes.


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