Students, faculty awarded for their research during annual Center for Research Excellence Symposium (CRES)

On Thursday, Feb. 9, the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences hosted the 9th annual Center for Research Excellence Symposium (CRES) at the Biotechnology Building.

CRES is a professional outlet for individuals to convene, network, and exchange concepts. It is a platform that allows for the research accomplished at Alcorn State University to be revealed. Students and faculty from colleges in Mississippi were encouraged to participate and attend.

“I am truly blessed that Alcorn always encourages me to do what I love, which is research. We all have different questions about the world we live in, and to know that Alcorn has given me the opportunity to help answer questions that someone might be asking is a true blessing to me,” said Tatyana Hollingbird, first-place winner in the ‘Graduate Poster’ category.

First-place winners were divided into six categories: Professional Oral, Graduate Oral, Undergraduate Oral, Professional Poster, Graduate Poster, and Undergraduate Poster. The winners consisted of professors and students and were awarded monetary rewards for their accomplishments.

“Winning this prestigious prize was an absolute surprise to me! I feel honored and inspired,” said Elena Kostyleva, first-place winner in the ‘Professional Poster’ category and professor at Alcorn State University.

All participants received a prize of value when considering the knowledge learned and available. There were a variety of majors and presentations accessible so that the education provided would be broad.

“Alcorn providing these opportunities for students is extremely helpful. For my major, I will have to get used to presenting and attending conferences often. This experience helps build my confidence and experience. The conference consisted of mostly STEM majors, whereas I was the only English major. This conference gave me the opportunity to widen others’ knowledge within my field and encourage other majors to participate as well,” said Mikayla Shaughnessy, first-place winner in the ‘Undergraduate Oral’ category.

The achievers felt grateful to the individuals who helped aid them in their success. They acknowledged them while accepting their award and communicating in interviews.

“Attending this HBCU gave me the opportunity for my research internship at UCI thanks to Dr. Cooper and to Nash for the research I have been doing in the lab,” said Sierra Woodall, first-place winner in the ‘Undergraduate Poster’ category.

This occasion enlightened each person by preparing them to become successful in their upcoming careers.

“It’s very important that students get a chance to present their work to others. Events like CRES help to train us young scientists for larger symposiums/conferences and beyond,” said Kevaughn Prout, first-place winner in the ‘Graduate Oral’ category.

Below is the complete list of winners:

Professional Oral


First Place: Dr. Emran Ali

Second Place: Dr. Samuel Nwaneri

Graduate Oral

First Place: Kevaughn Prout

Second Place: Puneeth Kumar Bolugallu Padmayya

Undergraduate Oral

First Place: Mikayla Shaughnessy

Second Place: Jacob Piazza

Professional Poster

First Place: Dr. Elena Kostyleva

Second Place: Dr. Marta Piva

Graduate Poster

First Place: Tatyanna Hollingbird

Second Place: Maranda Dillon

Undergraduate Poster:

First Place: Sierra Woodall

Second Place: Stellah Kiptui