Madison Richards wins 2024 Student Excellence Award

Aris Karagiorgakis and Madison Richards posing together with the Student Excellence Award

Aris Karagiorgakis (pictured left), and Madison Richards (pictured right).

Credit: Penn State

LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, has named Madison Richards as the winner of the 2024 Student Excellence Award for her research on “Exploring the George Floyd effect: Judgments of sentences for crimes by race.”

Richards is a fourth-year student set to graduate this spring with a baccalaureate degree in psychology. She will be awarded $1,000 and will have her name engraved on a plaque displayed inside the Eberly Building. Sponsored by the campus Advisory Board, the Student Excellence Award is the Fayette campus’ most prestigious academic achievement.

Throughout her research, Richards said, she sought to determine if student peers assigned harsher sentences to criminal offenders based on the latter’s racial identity. Instead of using a person’s actual photo, she leveraged artificial intelligence to generate images of the offenders, ensuring that no real individuals were implicated or used without consent.

“We found that students didn’t assign racially biased sentences,” Richards said.

Other finalists for the 2024 Student Excellence Award include Sophie Machesky, who created an internal communications plan for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Alexis Mosier, who explored the effects of additional probiotic treatment on Type 2 Diabetes. Each received a cash award of $500.