ROCK SPRINGS — Western Wyoming Community College’s Hybrid Undergraduate Research Symposium will take place from 12:30-5 p.m. on April 14 in Room 1221 on the Rock Springs campus and via Zoom.

The symposium consists of oral presentations and poster presentations. It provides Western’s students with a venue to present the research and scholarship they’ve been developing throughout the years, according to a press release. The students are mentored throughout the research process by Western faculty. This year, Western will have eight student participants:

Justin Boley, Nicole Peden, Caleb Nathan, and Cole Jensen will present a poster on “COVID-19 Effect on Exercise and Diet” in the field of exercise science.

Breelyn Semon will present “Self-Esteem’s Role in Cheating” in the field of psychology.

Ryan Desmond will present “The Moderating Effect of Just-World Beliefs on the Relationship between Self-Monitoring and Depression” in the field of psychology.

Emilee Thomas will present “Are female heroines held to a different standard than their male counterparts? A Case Study Examination of Star Wars” in the field of sociology.

Kaylee Hughes will present “First-generation College Students vs. Non-First-Generation College Students” in the field of sociology.

Maintaining undergraduate research throughout the pandemic has been a big accomplishment, the press release said.

“This has been a tough year to conduct research, not only here at Western, but throughout the world,” said Dr. Shane Westfall. “I know that my own research endeavors have slowed as we navigate the landscape of COVID-19. It is really a testament to these students that they have been able to succeed at producing research that is not only interesting to the Western community, but the scientific community more broadly as both of the psychology students are also presenting work at a national conference this year. I am proud of them all and expect that they have bright futures ahead.”

Ryan Desmond, one of the students whom Westfall mentors, shares the doctor’s sentiments.

“Life during a pandemic is hard, academia during a pandemic is madness. As a psychology student, there is a certain level of understanding that one must bear down and find something normal to ground themselves. For me, it was research. I have conducted research every year of my higher education at Western. This year’s symposium will be the culmination of years of work. The ability to share research findings is important in most fields, but for Ph.D.-seeking students like myself, it is vital,” Desmond said.

A full schedule and Zoom information are available at, by scanning the QR code printed on all event posters and programs or with the story at The capacity in Room 1221 is limited. Audience members are encouraged to attend via Zoom.

For more information regarding the symposium, contact Janice Grover-Roosa at

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