SWCC Student Research Series Entries Honored

SWCC Student Research Series

Student Entries Receive Honors

Logan Harman, Jeff Mutter, and Alyssa Ratliff were honored for research work completed during the SWCC Student Research Series (SRS).

This new initiative, the idea of SWCC Professor Terry Lambert, provides students the opportunity to undertake comprehensive academic research, from collecting and analyzing data to writing and presenting findings, in collaboration with a faculty mentor.  The SRS allows students to conduct original research or undertake an analysis of secondary sources.  If secondary sources are used, they must be academic in nature, such as peer reviewed journals.

The SRS committee included Professors Terry Lambert, Jason Osborne, Jereial Fletcher, Kevin Stilwelll, Brian Hale, Dr. Loretta Beavers, Dr. John Brenner, Stephanie Davis, Thomas Lester, and Dr. Brian Wright. “The dedication of these faculty members to student excellence cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Barbara Fuller, Vice President of Academic and Student Services. “We are proud of the students whose research we honored and of the faculty who encouraged their academic growth.”

“We are extremely proud of these students,” said Dr. Mark Estepp, president of SWCC. “We know that experiences like these help to provide an academic foundation that will lead to success in advanced studies.”

Jeff Mutter, a sophomore Science and General Studies major at SWCC and Logan Harman, a sophomore Science major were recognized for their research project, “Bacterial Affects on Fish Populations in the Clinch River and its Tributaries.” Their research looked at how bacteria from livestock waste affects fish population.
swcc student research series

Jeff Mutter

According to Mutter, “Participating in this project allowed me to gain experience in scientific research. Logan (Harman) and I were able to learn so many things that we would not have learned in a simple classroom setting.” He continued, “This experience will help us in the future, with projects and careers.” He gave a special thanks to SWCC Professors Jason Osborne and Terry Lambert. “Both gave us direction and guidance with our project. They would fact check our data and let us know if we were going in the right direction.”

After graduating from SWCC, Mutter has his eyes set on a degree in natural resource conservation from Virginia Tech. He would like to become a soil conservationist with the USDA. He is the son of John and Rita Mutter and lives in Belfast, Virginia.


Logan Harman

“This project gave me an idea of what to expect in research as I go up the academic ladder,” said Harman.  “I feel better prepared for advanced academic work now, but more importantly it felt like working on the job, like I was shadowing a professional. It gave me insight into the field,” he said. Harman would like to transfer to Virginia Tech after graduating from SWCC and major in science. He wants to have a career with Wildlife and Fishery Conservation. He is the son of Billy and Deanna Harman and is from Raven, Virginia.

According to SWCC Professor Jason Osborne, “the student research series is one of the most exciting projects I’ve had the chance to participate in.  Jeff Mutter and Logan Harman did an amazing job on their project focusing on the impact humans have on the fishes of the Clinch River.” He continued, “I think it’s important to expose students to how science works and get them excited about the field.  The student research series also encourages students from humanities and business to participate as well. SWCC is an amazing institution and has shown great support for these types of activities.  We expect to have the same great success in our student research series next year.”

Alyssa Ratliff’s SWCC Student Research Series research project, “Do Components of the Human Diet Have an Effect on Probiotic Bacteria,” was also recognized. Her project was mentored by SWCC Professor Kevin Stilwell. “My professor (Stilwell) was wonderful to work with. He goes in depth on the subject and is able to convey it well to students. He spent a lot of extra time helping me with this project.
Ayssa Ratliff

Alyssa Ratliff (center)

Her project looked at how certain substances, such as cinnamon, zinc, and garlic, may have prohibiting factors against probiotics. In her research results, only the zinc showed promise.

Ratliff, who graduated from Lebanon High School in 2015, was able to satisfy many of her college prerequisites by enrolling in dual enrollment classes while still in secondary education. Dual enrollment provides an opportunity for high school students to earn college credits at reduced tuition. Her mother, Cheryl Ratliff said, “I encourage dual enrollment for eligible high school students. It is beneficial for them academically because it gives them a jump start on their college career.”

Ratliff is the daughter of James and Cheryl Ratliff and resides in Belfast, Virginia. She is a sophomore Pre-Med major who has her sights on a career in Pharmacy. Ratliff will pursue advanced studies at the Appalachian College of Pharmacy in Grundy, Virginia.

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