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Poster Presentation Best in Show

Fall 2019

The following five students earned the highest scores at the fall 2019 Bachelor of General Studies Poster Presentation Day. In addition to public recognition for their achievements, they were all awarded Starbucks gift cards.

Cedric Cheeves - Mass Communication, Sociology, Technology

Professional Writing and Networking Skills for Job Preparation: A Workshop for Teens at the Boys and Girls Club in San Marcos, TX

“There is a reason that the unemployment rate of youth aged 16 to 24 is the highest among any other group at 25 percent. Of those who find work, 65 percent of them will lose their job within 3 months” (Price, 2017).  Do you wish that you were taught about post high school life, such as college, working, career, resumes etc., while in high school? Before answering the question, reflect on who taught you how to build a resume, jobs you were not offered after an interview, or jobs that you were not prepared for.

There is a problem with youth not being taught how to properly prepare for a job or career. Teenagers often lack job preparation skills such as professional writing. Professional writing includes correct grammar and punctuation, knowing how to write emails and memos in a corporate way, and knowing active verbs. Teenagers often lack soft skills in job preparation as well. Possessing quality soft skills can be the difference between getting and keeping a job, or not getting a job at all. Both problems present teenagers a lack of preparedness for their future.

“If young job seekers learn how to search for job opportunities, know how to apply for those positions… resume and list of references, their chances of finding employment increases. If they are also well prepared to deliver an effective interview, a job offer soon follows” (Price, 2017). Instructors and teachers must emphasize life after school in order to help teens in the long run. Three minors, technology, sociology, and mass communication, contributed to the workshop for the teenagers at the Boys and Girls Club in San Marcos.



Eboni Dugas - Psychology, Social Work, Sociology

Combating Foster Care Youth Homelessness: A Program Proposal for UpBring BeREAL

Have you ever been or seen homeless people between the ages of 18-24? The answer to this question may be no, but 40 – 50% of the youth who age out of foster care end up homeless 12 – 18 months after aging out of the system (O'Neale, n.d.). Based on the research, there are many different routes youth can take that lead to them being homeless after they turn 18 or 21.

Different programs are working to help fight this problem, but there are challenges. One problem is a lack of funding to support the needs of this population. The primary audience of this program proposal are youth transitioning out between the ages of 18 – 24. The secondary audience is a program named UpBring BeREAL. Located in Austin, this program helps to place homeless youth into affordable housing and housing placements based off their needs.

The solution to these problems is finding more sufficient ways to spend the funds that are received.  The city of Austin just received a grant that gave them 5.2 million to allocate to a program to help tackle youth homelessness, which is down 25% since receiving that grant (ECHO, 2019).  A program is still needed that actually reconstructs the structure UpBring BeREAL has now to better assist the youth before they become homeless, instead of when they become homeless.

Using minors in sociology, psychology and social work, this program proposal is designed to help end youth homelessness in Austin, Texas.



Ashlyn Markovitch - Horticulture, Music, Studies in Popular Culture

Creating a Better Classroom Environment Through Creative Arts Programs: A Professional Development Workshop for San Marcos CISD Elementary Teachers

Students involved in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. In addition, students who take four years of arts and music average nearly 100 points higher on the SAT versus students who only take a half year or less of these classes (“Arts Education Facts,” 2019).

Elementary students are not receiving enough creative arts education during school. The lack of programs available, specifically in music and nature, can be attributed to budget cuts in districts and a considerable focus on standardized testing (Burrack, 2014). By cutting these programs, students are no longer given a creative outlet in school. The reduction of this type of education has led to conflicts and behavioral issues in some elementary children.

By creating a workshop for San Marcos CISD elementary teachers, creative arts resources will be made available to students through their teachers. These resources can be incorporated into after-school programs to expand creative arts topics already available to students. By practicing these various activities within nature and music, teachers should notice academic and behavioral improvement in their students.

Utilizing concepts from studies in popular culture, music, and horticulture, along with my familiarity of music in the classroom, this workshop provides options to teachers regarding creative arts activities in after-school programs.



Pollyanne Sweitzer - Psychology, Sociology, Theatre

Yoga and Meditation: A Proposal to Decrease Opioid Reliance

A new frontier for the treatment of pain may not come from a prescription bottle, but from within. Mindfulness-based interventions are highly effective at treating pain and its accompanying stress, and occupational therapists (OT’s) are uniquely situated to administer these practices to their patients. Physicians who prescribe extended pain medications are a root cause of the current opioid epidemic (Zeidan & Vago, 2016). My research has shown both a need and a desire for alternative therapies to deal with this problem. This bio-psycho-social treatment plan is holistic and sustainable, and OT’s spend the necessary time with patients to deliver it. This program will be a poisoned arrow aimed directly at those who profit from human suffering. Yoga and meditation to reduce opioid reliance administered in the field of occupational therapy is a start to reversing the current and escalating trend of opioid addiction.



Courtney Taylor - Coaching, Family and Child Development, Psychology

Decreasing Burnout in Adolescent Athletes using a Mental and Physical Health-Focused Blog

What would happen if we let youth sports diminish because we failed to see the needs of our children?  In recent years, the dropout rate of adolescent softball players has increased dramatically.  In one study, 73% of surveyed athletes said they did not receive any resources for coping with stress within softball.  As a community there needs to be a greater focus on producing healthy athletes and encouraging the love for the game or else, we will see a decline in a growing sport, as well an increase in injured athletes.

Adolescence is a time of rapid development and the lack of help to grow in both mental and physical aspects is concerning across the board.

Theories and principles in my three minors of Coaching, Family and Child Development, and Psychology will provide the outline for developing a project that benefits the minds and bodies of adolescent athletes.


Past Best in Show

Expand or Collapse all.
  • Best Overall

    Hunter Jones - Leadership Studies, Mass Communication, Psychology
    Addressing Efficiency and Job Retention: A Revised Training Program for Landmark Properties Management Leasing Agents

    "Texas State University is seeing modest rent growth of 1.8% compared to 2017. In 2019, the university is expected to grow by roughly 1,100 new beds. The number of private, off-campus beds has doubled this economic cycle as undergraduate enrollment has increased by about 10,000 students. Texas State has one of the higher bed-to-student ratios of the nation’s most prominent universities at 53.1%. Occupancy at Texas State is also the highest of the major Texas universities at 97.4% (Bunch, 2019.)

    With the influx of students attending Texas State University, the student housing market has been flooded with new clients. It's in every student housing company’s best interest to have properly trained employees in leasing. The issue is one company has not taken the proper steps to ensure agents are properly trained. Informational interviews revealed staff did not feel prepared for their duties as a leasing agent. The number one complaint was that the training was not extensive enough.

    The primary audience is the management team at Uptown Square apartments located in San Marcos. Informational interviews were conducted with past agents and current agents. The interviews revealed frustration with the training program and amount of support from management.

    Using concepts from the disciplines of psychology, leadership studies, and mass communication, this project proposes a revised training program for Landmark Properties management."

    Best Poster

    Amanda Fry - Business Administration, International Studies, Mass Communication
    Promoting Responsible Ecotourism in the Guanacaste Province: A Publicity Concept for the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT)

    "Costa Rica is typically revered as the paradigm of ecotourism across the globe. With 800 miles of beautiful coastline Costa Rica is home to over 4% of the world’s total biodiversity making it an ecotourist’s paradise, according to Costa Rica’s National Institute of Biodiversity. This small Central American country receives over 1.7 million tourists per year and unfortunately, due to this surplus of tourists to the quiet, sleepy, beach towns in the Guanacaste province, areas of Costa Rica can no longer be praised. As the number of tourists in Guanacaste continues to grow steadily and the land becomes consolidated and owned by foreign investors and companies, the more issues the citizens and wildlife of this province are faced with. From large amounts of waste found on beaches, to electrocuted howler monkeys and tourists interfering with leatherback turtle mating practices, awareness surrounding responsible ecotourism practices needs to be increased.

    The Department of Tourism Development at the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) lacks an effective publicity concept to bring awareness to tourists and land developers alike. How to responsibly visit and care for the gentle Costa Rican ecosystem is not something many are aware of. As a response, an effective publicity concept for ICT will increase awareness for visitors and current populations, while decreasing irresponsible ecotourist practices.

    Minors in Business Administration, International Studies, and Mass Communication will bring forth concepts and theories which can be utilized to create a successful publicity concept for ICT to combat these ineffective practices."

    Best Presentation

    Matthew Oropeza - Healthcare Administration, Psychology, Public Health
    Bridging the Gap of Adolescent Boys in Need: An Advanced Training Module for San Marcos Treatment Center Staff

    "If you knew you could make the life of a child better, would you? There are an estimated 12 million adolescents under the age of 18 who are admitted to a psychiatric facility each year in the U.S. The quality of those patients’ lives is determined by their direct care staff who spend 24 hours a day and seven days week with them. The staff determine what the kids do every day, how they do it, and are there for them in timed of need. Most of these kids from the hospitals researched in this study are victims of neglect, abuse or trauma, and as a result, often battle mental/behavioral disorders.

    Can you imagine being a 6-year-old boy in a facility away from his guardians (most of them not their biological parents?) That child will need exemplary care, and that is why I gaps in the quality of care need a solution. Our kids deserve the best.


    • There is a lack of training in adolescent psychiatric facilities in the U.S pertaining to patient mediation.
    • San Marcos Treatment Center staff lack the proper training in assisting a 6-10 year- old patients in a psychiatric crisis.

    The target audience is the San Marcos Treatment Center Staff, specifically the New Horizons 2 staff who deal directly with the 6-10-year-old adolescent boys. Using primary and secondary research and my three areas of study, Healthcare Administration, Public Health, and Psychology, an online training module will enhance the knowledge and skills of the staff to provide a better quality of care for their patients."