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Westminster honors student presents at national conference

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Posted on Friday, December 15, 2023

Westminster College honors student Lily Hefner presented a research paper, “Using Low-Activity MAOA as a Mitigating Factor in the United States Criminal Justice System,” at the 58th annual conference of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) in Chicago in November.

A junior molecular biology and criminal justice studies double major from Washington, Pa., Hefner’s paper was a product of work completed for her interdisciplinary Honors Program research project.

Hefner’s research examines the role a particular gene can play in the likelihood of someone committing a crime. She evaluates how an unstable or abusive environment during adolescence combined with this genetic predisposition may be more likely to cause certain behaviors.

“Attending NCHC was a great learning experience. I feel much more confident in my own knowledge and my ability to share my thoughts in a clear and polished way. I think this was an important first step into larger academic circles,” said Hefner.

Funding for conference expenses was provided by the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research. The All-College Honors Program provided additional funding which supports participation in academic programs and research for honors students.

Attending the conference with Hefner was Dr. Jamie Chapman, associate professor of sociology and director of the Honors Program.

Click here for information about the All-College Honors Program at Westminster College.