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WPU Students Present at Alpha Chi National Convention in Portland, Oregon


Five members of William Penn University’s Iowa Beta Chapter of Alpha Chi, a national collegiate honor society, attended the Society’s national convention in Portland, Oregon, April 5—7, where they presented original research papers.

Senior Lucas Smith, Sports Management, attended the national convention to share his research on the correlation between academic and athletic performance in “Academic Progress and On-field Success.” Within this research paper, Smith took notes on football players and their performance on the field and in the classroom to see the correlations.

“My greatest experience at the convention was being able to interact with other members from different colleges that are also part of Alpha Chi,” said Smith. “I was able to sit in some presentations that were in the same categories just to learn more about topics I wasn’t familiar with.”

In addition to Smith, Junior Sociology major, Isabella Potter, spoke on her research, “Homelessness in the U.S.: A Conflict Theory Perspective.”

Potter said, “From my research, I found that society negatively stigmatizes those in the lower class, specifically homeless individuals. It became clear to me that, as a community, we need to work towards treating every person with love and respect so that they may be in a place in life where they are supported and more likely to succeed.”

The three other members that spoke include seniors Kiera MacPherson, Claire Simmons, and Kelly Walker. MacPherson, Secondary Education—Mathematics and Chemistry, presented insights from her research on “Inquiry-Based Learning: Secondary Mathematics Application.” Claire Simmons, Psychology and Human Services Major, shared from her research entitled “Terminating Athlete Status in the Student-Athlete Experience: Impact on Self Esteem,” wherein she examined the student-athlete’s experience of ‘retiring’ from intercollegiate sport. Lastly, Walker, Human Services and Psychology major, presented, “The Effect of Sleep Deprivation on Academic Success Among College Students.”

Both Smith and Potter appreciate the opportunities that Alpha Chi has granted them. “Alpha Chi has provided me the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone by sharing what is important to me at a national convention,” said Potter.

“I want to thank Dr. Michael Collins for taking time out of his life to take a group of us students to this convention,” said Smith. “I feel like it changed my life in a way—if you work hard for something you may get rewarded and knowing someone believes in you besides your family makes it even better.”

These students joined nearly 400 others at the annual event. Alpha Chi is a pan-academic national college honor society that admits students from all academic disciplines. Membership is limited to the top 10-percent (grade point average) of an institution’s juniors and seniors, respectively.  Invitation to become a member comes only through an institutional chapter. Any college hosting an active chapter must grant baccalaureate degrees and be regionally accredited.  The William Penn University Iowa Beta Chapter has been in existence since 1962. Dr. Michael Collins, Professor of Sociology, is the chapter’s current faculty sponsor and is President Elect of the Society’s Region IV.

To learn more about Alpha Chi and other student organizations at William Penn University, visit



For more information, contact:

Miranda Keeler
Communications/Event Coordinator
William Penn University
(641) 673-1078 |

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