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Jaysa Hutchings, a political science major at East Central University, recently won a $1,500 Gaston Scholarship at the Alpha Chi National Convention in Chicago.

Hutchings, a junior from Wilson, earned the award after presenting a paper entitled “Why Do We Debate? A Content Analysis of the Obama vs. McCain Election and Voter Opinion.”

“Alpha Chi is an organization full of creative and innovative scholars and for me to be chosen among them for my research was such an honor,” said Hutchings. “I enjoyed my time at the convention, learning from others and sharing what I learned while conducting my own research.”

Hutchings joined fellow ECU students Linzi Thompson, Kirstin Shields, Garima Thapa and Ashley Huhman, along with ECU faculty advisor Dr. Christine Pappas at the convention.

Thompson, an environmental health science and chemistry double-major from Sulphur, served as a convention delegate.

“Serving as convention delegate for our ECU chapter felt like a great honor,” Thompson said. “I love representing my school and I felt that being a delegate in Chicago at a national conference was one of the best ways I could have done so.”

Shields, a junior biology major from McAlester, was runner-up for the Nolle Scholarship.

“My paper on the Effects of Electrical Shock on Rattlesnake Venom placed 13th out of 70 in the nation and I’m honored to be third runner-up for the Nolle Scholarship.

Thapa is a biology major from Nepal and Huhman is a math major from Mannsville.

In addition to attending three days of scholarly panels, the ECU group visited the Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park while also taking an architectural tour of the city.

At the convention, the Oklahoma Gamma Chapter learned that it had again won a Star Chapter Award. Among the requirements for becoming a Star Chapter, groups must send at least one sponsor and one student member to the annual convention and at least one of those students must present research during the event. Only four universities in the country have won this award every year since it was established in 1996.



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