Two Harding students received awards for work presented at the 2021 National Alpha Chi Convention, which was held virtually April 8-10.
Senior interdisciplinary studies major John Lim and senior computer science major Pedro Navarrete, who both graduated May 2021, received recognition as the top presenters in their field at the national convention.
Lim received the Clark Youngblood Prize in Philosophy and World Religions with his presentation titled “Hybridized Spirituality in Singaporean Christians,” which focused on how Christianity brought by Western missionaries blends with the culture of Singapore, Lim’s home country. Lim said this project led him to view this blend in a new light and allowed him to have more knowledge about this as he plans to return to Singapore to do ministry.
“It would certainly affect the way I approach the intersection of faith and culture,” Lim said. “I think my approach to ministry is not shunning away from culture — while certainly admitting that it has certain elements that are not in keeping with Christian ethics and lifestyle, still engaging with it meaningfully, acknowledging that it exists and that we are affected by it, then using that as a starting point to then meaningfully engage with those who have not heard the gospel yet.”
Dr. James Huff, Honors College faculty fellow and Lim’s advisor, praised Lim for his quality of work.
“I would say as his advisor he completed this study at the level of an advanced graduate student — not even a first-year graduate student, but someone who’s advanced,” Huff said. “He did very thorough, extensive qualitative analysis and had just very, very insightful findings on things that otherwise wouldn’t be visible.”
Navarrete received the Floyd Tesmer/Strayer University Prize in Computer Science and Engineering for his presentation, “Comparative Study: MongoDB vs. Elasticsearch.” He proposed using a search engine rather than a database to find The Bison newspaper articles, later conducting a test study to determine if changing the system to a search engine would be beneficial to the Brackett Library website.
“It’s a lot faster because it’s a search engine, and the only additional cost is that it uses more space, but that’s not a significant cost, especially since the cost of storage is getting a lot cheaper,” Navarrete said. “So, I found out that there’s actually no reason for companies to not be using search engines except that they are used to using these databases.”
Huff said Navarrete’s presentation stood out from others because of its originality.
“That was really above and beyond a lot of scientific presentations, which often maybe try to replicate an experiment, or in computer science, [in which] you would maybe see software developed,” Huff said. “He went above and beyond and made it very original by seeking a novel claim to compare those two databases.”
Navarrete is now implementing his findings by working with the Brackett Library to transition The Bison from a database to a search engine.
Other students who presented at the National Alpha Chi Convention included junior public administration and communication studies double major Mary Grace Golden with “Political Identity in First-time Voting Christian Women: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis,” senior biochemistry and molecular biology major Emory Malone, who graduated May 2021, with “Reducing Resistance to Antibiotics: The Antibacterial Effects of Treated Zinc Surfaces on E. coli,” and clinical mental health counseling graduate student Daylan Moore with “Seasonal Affective Disorder: Etiology, Prevalence, Course, Assessments and Treatment Interventions.”