MSU architecture, art students honored at research symposium

McKenzie Johnson stands under Giles Hall's "architecture" signage and rings cowbell with her right arm
McKenzie Johnson

By Lauren Skelton | Mississippi State University Student

Two students in the College of Architecture, Art and Design earned top recognition in the Fall 2020 MSU Undergraduate Research Symposium.

McKenzie Johnson of Fayetteville, Georgia, and Hailey Nickels of Elida, New Mexico, placed first and second, respectively, for their research in the Arts and Humanities category.

Johnson, a senior architecture major, received first place for her research titled “Ethical and Empathetic Research in Architectural Education.”

“The basis of mine and Professor Gregory’s research is to understand the teachings and/or lack of teachings of ethics and empathy in architectural education and what can be done about this,” Johnson said.

Hailey Nickels sits on steps
Hailey Nickels

Nickels, a senior art major with a concentration in photography, received second place for her research titled “Using Abstracted Organic Forms to Personify the Effects of Domestic Violence on Partners and Children.”

“I am incredibly proud of myself and my family is as well, and it was nice to see some of my hard work be acknowledged by people outside of my classmates and thesis committee,” Nickels said.

Nickels’ research idea came from her interest in how people who have suffered abuse have different coping mechanisms.

“In deciding what to pursue for my thesis show, I wanted to explore this further,” she said. “Really try and dig into everything that goes into being abused and what damage it does to its victims. I’ve seen lots of ads about domestic violence, and they all feature human beings. So, I decided to think outside the box and remembered that my mom used to always tell my sister and me that if we were in trouble, to call and ask about the roses.”

View Nickels’ Senior Thesis Exhibit

The MSU Undergraduate Research Symposium allows undergraduate students to showcase their research. This event was held in the spring and summer semesters in the past but was held this year in the fall semester because of COVID-19 related cancellations.