2020 Virtual Poster Session
The University Honors Committee and the Honors Student Board welcome you to the Spring 2020 Honors project virtual poster session. This longstanding annual event has been adapted as an online gallery this semester due to COVID19 social distancing guidelines and the university’s move to online instruction. Despite these unprecedented circumstances, we are pleased to be able to feature the projects of graduating seniors.
We are proud of the Honors students who are presenting their work this semester. We are also grateful for the faculty and staff across campus who have worked closely with them to adapt and finalize their projects despite the mid-semester loss of access to on-campus resources. Only through this collective effort have we been able to make this possible. Thank you!
Laurie Smith Law, Chair
University Honors Committee
Samantha Anderson - Biology (AGLS)
Role of Lamin Dm0 on Chromosome Organization and Gene Expression in Drosophila
Project Advisor: Kristen Johansen | Advisor(s): Clark Coffman
AbstractDrosophila as a model organism allows for the study of proteins that are directly involved in chromatin structure and therefore gene expression. One such gene of interest, Lamin Dm0 (Lam), is an intermediate filament protein that forms the lining of the inner nuclear envelope. Lamin has been implicated in functions including maintenance of nuclear structure and regulation of chromatin organization. Our experimental objective was to examine the functional consequences of different levels of Lamin Dm0 on position effect variegation (PEV) using the reporter line 118E-10. We used PEV because of its usefulness in understanding transcriptional silencing of euchromatic genes located on and near heterochromatin. In our experiments, the 118E-10 P-element insertion line was specifically used, which is known to have inserted in the centromeric heterochromatin regions of the fourth chromosome. The Lam mutants that were used included LamAri3, LamA25, and Lam4643. Multigenerational crosses and selection were performed to establish lines combining our genes of interest. Predicted results for the Lam4643 flies with the 118E-10 allele are to be primarily red eyes, showing suppressed variegation, while the others may model typical 118E-10 phenotypes. If so, these results may show that lamins are indeed involved in regulating heterochromatic spreading and gene expression.
Megan Conry - Animal Science
Feeding the Shelter Dog: A Comprehensive Plan for the Animal Rescue League
Project Advisor: Mariana Rossoni-Sergo | Advisor(s): Curtis Youngs
Makenzie Dejno - Biology (AGLS)
The Vaping Epidemic
Project Advisor: Clark Coffman | Advisor(s): James Colbert
AbstractVaping has increased in popularity throughout the United States and specifically in adolescents. The objective of my project is to provide information on the effects of vaping on adolescent's bodies and assist them in making educated decisions before vaping. I have created an interactive informational video for teachers, parents, or medical providers to use to teach adolescents about the potential negative effects of vaping. An in-depth literature review was conducted and presented at a middle school level. Adolescents have quickly become addicted, and dependent on these tetrahydrocannabinol and nicotine containing devices. These products are appealing because of the discrete design, positive advertisements in the media, and fruity flavors. Vape products contain less chemicals than normal cigarettes, however, it is difficult to know the true and full negative effects of vaping because of how recent people have begun using them. Vitamin E acetate is a sticky chemical that causes a buildup in the lungs causing E-cigarette or Vaping Associated Lung Injury. The symptoms vary greatly or mimic the common flu and can end in the need of a lung transplant. Ultimately, it is the individual’s choice to vape or not, but this video provides information to assist in making that decision.
Alyssa Dougherty - Dietetics (AGLS), Global Resource Systems
Think Globally, Lead Locally: Food Waste Breakout Session at the World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute
Project Advisor: Christina Campbell | Advisor(s): Donna Winham, Maggie Sprecher
AbstractPrior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the goal of the Honors Capstone Project was to inspire high school students to reduce food waste by leading two 2-hour breakout sessions at the Iowa Youth Institute on Monday, April 27th, 2020 in Ames, Iowa. Upon cancelation of the in-person conference, the goal was modified to exemplify how one may support the reduction of food waste on a personal, local, and global level amidst a global pandemic. Revised Objectives: (1) Complete FS HN 490: Consumer Food Waste course; (2) Describe and reflect on an at-home vermicomposting experience; (3) Write two articles about food waste and food composting for Frederiksen Court residents; (4) Present two food waste and composting presentations in a course titled FS HN 480: Professional Communication in Food Science and Human Nutrition; (5) Serve as a technical host for the virtually-conducted Iowa Youth Institute on April 27, 2020.
Freya Eriksen - Animal Ecology
How Humor Affects the Future Success of College Students
Project Advisor: Peter Orazen | Advisor(s): Emma Hashman
AbstractThis study will explore how the ability to understand and utilize humor affects the future success of college students. The sample will be drawn from lists of current and past students in ISU’s Comedy College Honors Seminar. I will use survey responses and case study research to get student assessments of how Comedy College affected their careers. I will be reaching out to Comedy College graduates to get their thoughts, and to see how humor is implemented in their lives. I will also review the literature to look into the research linking humor with career growth. My main goal is to find out if the ability to use humor is an advantage for college students in their future endeavors such as public speaking, interviewing, leading a team, communicating ideas or career growth.
Hannah Garland - Horticulture, Agricultural & Life Sciences Education
Pre-Service Substitute Authorization Curriculum
Project Advisor: Scott Smalley | Advisor(s): Barbara Clawson , Scott Smalley
AbstractThe purpose of my project was to create a curriculum for use on Iowa State University’s campus that would allow pre-service teachers to become certified substitute teachers. The primary objective was to develop a curriculum to provide pre-service teachers with the necessary information to gain substitute authorization. The second objective was to gain an understanding of the elements needed to design a curriculum. The curriculum was divided into four modules and focused on a specific topic in each module. Each module contains a PowerPoint lecture providing the pre-service teacher with detailed information pertaining to the topic, assignments for the pre-service teacher to complete, and an end of module quiz to check for understanding. As a result of this curriculum being developed, Iowa State University will be offering this class to pre-service teachers. In conclusion, this curriculum may alleviate the shortages of substitute teachers in the Ames area as more pre-service teachers receive substitute authorization. This will result in more experienced student teachers and better learning experiences in the elementary, middle, and high schools as instruction is given by trained substitutes.
Kaela Gollob - Environmental Science (AGLS), Geology
Transport and Denitrification of Nitrate-N from a Losing Reach of the South Skunk River into an Alluvial Aquifer in Ames, Iowa
Project Advisor: William Simpkins | Advisor(s): Steven Hall, Paul Spry
AbstractIowa is dominated by agricultural land on which nutrients are applied to maintain farmland productivity. As a result, NO3-N is common in Iowa streams and groundwater. This project investigated the transport, fate, and source of NO3-N from the South Skunk River into an alluvial aquifer in Ames, Iowa. River stage and hydraulic head measurements in four piezometers at depths of 14 to 42 feet in the aquifer show that groundwater flow is from the river into the aquifer. Samples of the river and groundwater were obtained from June 2019 to March 2020 and analyzed for pH, temperature, DOC, dissolved O2, NO3-N, Cl, Br, N2O, and stable isotopes of water (δ18O-H2O, δD-H2O) and nitrogen (δ15sup>N-NO3, δ18O-NO3). The results show that NO3-N input concentrations at the river range from 1.6 to 12.5 mg/L, while NO3-N concentrations in the groundwater vary due variations in transport velocity, river NO3-N input, and denitrification. Stable isotopes values of δ15N-NO3 and δ18O-NO3, in conjunction with NO3-N and N2O gas data, suggest that denitrification is occurring, most likely from a source of NH4+ and/or manure/septic waste. The approach used here may be useful to identify areas of active denitrification in alluvial aquifers.
Caroline Gregg - Animal Science
Evaluating How Freezing Rate and Presence of Wooden Breast Affects the Texture of Cooked Chicken
Project Advisor: Dawn Koltes | Advisor(s): Dawn Koltes
AbstractWooden breast (WB) in broiler chickens is an economically detrimental trait due to possible downgrading of product. Freezing condition influences food quality. Air blast freezing is used by commercial meat processors to rapidly freeze product. In comparison, household freezers freeze at a slower rate, resulting in larger ice crystals that can damage muscle cells and reduce quality. This study examined the effects of WB severity and freezing condition on the texture of chicken breast fillets. Whole breast fillets were scored for WB severity: 0 (normal), 1 (mild), and 2 (moderate). Whole breasts per WB severity group (n=6) were split into fillets with coordinating halves going to either a household freezer (HH) (-18oC) or a blast freezer (BF) (-40oC). Once equilibrated, all fillets were stored in a HH for 4 d. Frozen fillets were cooked in an oven and cooled to room temperature. HH had increased freezing loss compared to the AB (P=0.005), and cook loss was altered by the WB severity (P=0.039). Texture analysis (TA-45 incisor probe) was performed on 3 distinct regions across the fillet to measure peak puncture force; however, no differences were observed. The results suggest texture qualities of WB-affected meat are not influenced by freezing condition.
Shayla Holland - Animal Science, International Agriculture
Evaluation to Determine the Existence of the Entero-Mammary Pathway in Swine
Project Advisor: Laura Greiner, Robert Martin | Advisor(s): Rodrigo Tarte
AbstractIn the current era where much research has been devoted to understanding complex microbiomes and their relationships to other living beings, the enteromammary pathway has been postulated to exist in a variety of mammalian species as a way for microbes from the mother’s gastrointestinal tract to be transferred to the infant via milk from the mammary system. Research has primarily evaluated the existence, importance, and functionality of this pathway in humans, but there has been research and speculations regarding it in other species such as rodents and cattle. Studies have focused on the transmission of viruses, pathogenic bacteria, and beneficial bacteria between the mother and neonate via the milk. The existence of this pathway and understanding of it in domesticated livestock species such as swine could lead to changes in veterinary practices, animal husbandry, and livestock production practices to increase farm productivity rates and reduce morbidity and mortality rates in nursing young.
Avery Korns - Animal Science, Animal Ecology
Impacts of Perfluorooctane Sulfonate and Perfluorooctanoic Acid on Ovarian Gap Junction Protein Expression
Project Advisor: Aileen Keating, Stephen Dinsmore | Advisor(s): Aileen Keating
AbstractPerfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is an environmentally-persistent manmade chemical known to bioaccumulate in the body of humans and animals. PFOA accumulates mostly in the blood serum, but also affects the kidney and liver. Studies have shown an increase in fetal resorption and neonatal mortality in animals, as well as longer time to pregnancy in humans. A high caloric diet may cause an amplification of the harmful effects of PFOA. In 2017-2018, the United States reported a 42.4% prevalence of obesity among adults. In the ovary, granulosa cell exchange is critical for cell differentiation and oocyte maturation to occur. The ovarian gap junction protein connexin 43 (CX43) facilitates communication between granulosa cells. This project aimed to determine the mechanism of action behind the reduced female fertility seen after exposure to PFOA, and if obesity would have an additive effect on the results.
Rachel Millard - Animal Science
Rancher for a Day
Project Advisor: Brad Skaar | Advisor(s): Brad Skaar
AbstractThroughout the time that I have studied at Iowa State, I have had the opportunity to learn about many aspects of managing a beef cattle operation. I had the fortune of being able to take a cow-calf management class, in addition to classes in farm economics, domestic animal reproduction and physiology, animal nutrition, and animal welfare. In completing this project, I wished to combine the information from these classes into a fun and educational book that allows consumers to understand a portion of what cow-calf producers must deal with on a regular basis. “Rancher for a Day” is an interactive story book. The reader has the opportunity to make decisions that progress them through the story to one of 36 different possible endings. The decisions are explained at each step and the reader is helped to understand the significance of each one. The book has been prepared for printing and is currently accessible as a pdf file.
Zhitao Ming - Biology (AGLS)
Role of Gap Junction Proteins in Kupffer’s Vesicle Development in Zebrafish
Link to Poster
Project Advisor: Jeffrey Essner | Advisor(s): Yanhai Yin
Caroline Sabotta - Genetics (AGLS), World Languages & Cultures
Characterizing the Function of Vimr1 and Vimr2 in Zebrafish Development
Project Advisor: Jeff Essner | Advisor(s): Tracy Heath, Flor Romero-De-Slowing
AbstractThe goal of my project is to determine what role the genes Vimentin-related 1 (vimr1) and Vimentin-related 2 (vimr2) play in the early development of the zebrafish vasculature. The Vimentin gene codes for a conserved intermediate filament expressed in mesenchymal cells. Vimentin has been shown to interact with Jagged and contribute to signaling strength and promote angiogenesis. When vimentin is knocked out, we hypothesize it will decrease Jagged-Notch signaling and lead to a reduction in branching and vascularization in the early development of zebrafish embryos. In order to knock out vimr1 and vimr2, I designed and developed gRNA constructs so that the CRISPR system can be used to cleave the genes of interest. Upon cleavage of the gene, we will integrate RFP, so we will be able to visualize which fish have successfully had the gene of interest knocked out and follow the expression of vimr1 and vimr2 in living embryos.
Neel Solanki - Horticulture, Biology (AGLS)
Using Tea Bags to Test Decomposition Rates in an Agroforestry System
Project Advisor: Ann Russell | Advisor(s): Ajay Nair, James Colbert
AbstractThe USDA defines agroforestry as “the intentional integration of trees and shrubs into crop and/or animal farming systems to create environmental, economic, and social benefits.” Agroforestry systems are being widely studied across the world to understand their role in creating sustainable and resilient agriculture systems. Decomposition involves the processes, both physical and chemical, by which dead organic matter, also known as detritus or litter is reduced to its elemental chemical constituents. Aerts (1997) reports that, as such, decomposition is a crucial process in carbon and nutrient cycling and plays an important role in the global carbon budgets. And McClaughter at al (1985) found that increasing rates of decomposition can also lead to greater nitrogen availability in soils, for plant use. For this project we used the Tea Bag test (Keuskamp et al. 2013) to understand how land use affects the decomposition of different litter types in agroforestry systems. 5 different treatments: Fig monoculture, Undisturbed Savannah, Vegetable Polyculture, Vetiver grass and Bunds were compared on a 1-year old agroforestry system. Our results indicated that there was no significant difference between the land use treatments after 1-year post establishment and follow up studies would help track if this changes with time.
Emma Troyer - Biology (AGLS)
Healthcare System Importance
Project Advisor: Rose Caraway | Advisor(s): Stephen Howell
AbstractThe healthcare systems in the United States and Cuba are vastly different but have some similarities. The objective of my project was to uncover the hidden costs that are associated with the United States and Cuban healthcare systems that many people may not know about. I hope to inform people about each healthcare system about parts that may be unknown to some people. By using peer-reviewed articles, documentaries, books, and the help of my project advisor I uncovered the hidden costs that are unique within each healthcare system. The United States healthcare system is a hybrid system that has public and private sectors. The Cuban healthcare system is closed, and services are essentially “free” to people. In Cuba, there are hidden costs of sending physicians to Venezuela which create a shortage to the people in Cuba, and informal gift giving, which could create problems. In the United States, there are hidden costs behind chronic diseases such as obesity which leads to other costs and insurance costs, dealing with defensive medicine and costs of drugs. Each system has its own issues and need to be worked on in order to make these costs known to people.
Justin Wigdahl - Horticulture
Installation and Long-Term Management Costs of Conventional Landscape Designs vs. Designed Plant Communities
Project Advisor: Grant Thompson | Advisor(s): Lisa Orgler
AbstractA Designed Plant Community (DPC) planting plan is an approach to landscaping that can lead to reduced management costs. DPC vertically layer plants and include a dense, diverse groundcover layer of adapted and shade-tolerant plants that compete with weeds for sunlight, nutrients, and water. Because the living mulch and weed suppressive groundcover layer must be densely planted it requires a greater quantity of plants than conventional landscapes which include heavy use of mulch and larger plant spacing, therefore a DPC tends to have higher installation costs. This study was conducted to determine when the long-term savings from the decreased management costs of DPC balance out the higher upfront installation costs. Using data from the Des Moines Botanical Garden and central Iowa landscaping businesses, it was determined that the accumulated costs of a DPC landscape become less than those of a conventional landscape after about 6-9 years from installation. As little as a few years after a DPC is established, the landscapes require less frequent and intense management, so time savings begin even before the financial break-even point.
Julia Beswick - Marketing
SFE Marketing Plan
Project Advisor: Billy Boulden | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli
AbstractThis report reviews the marketing efficiency and effectiveness of the Sorority and Fraternity Engagement Office (SFE) at Iowa State University. A cost-benefit analysis is conducted to review the efficiency of the current marketing items. Research is conducted to identify the importance of effective marketing items. Cost recommendations are provided for the best marketing advantage. To enhance the social media posts, a review of the current marketing plan, posts, and data analytics was performed to determine alterations for future posts. Recommendations on alterations such as consistent theme, post, and the use of business analytics are discussed and displayed.
Emma Chizek - Supply Chain Management, International Business
Royal Supply Chains: an Analysis of Historic Transportation Methods
Project Advisor: Frank Montabon | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli
AbstractIn the twenty-first century, literature and films often portray castles as grand homes to royal families with balls, armies of knights, fatal battles, and occasional mythical dragons. Even though several of these elements were a reality for medieval citizens, a lot of today’s media fails to demonstrate the actual intent for the construction of the extravagant fortresses. To give a more complete picture of these structures, the goals of this honors project were the following: (1) To research medieval castles and learn about each one’s construction, history, supply chain, and role in the economy. (2) To make connections between supply methods used in the Middle Ages to those used frequently by today’s supply chain professionals. (3) To write a well-organized, thorough report sharing research findings. In focusing on three 11th- and 13th-century structures ordered by Central European Archbishops, this comparison discusses ever-evolving supply chain concepts, including facility placement, last-mile logistics, and international trade. Additionally, this report discusses the historical importance of Austria’s Burg Hohenwerfen, Festung Hohensalzburg, and Burg Mauterndorf to Central Europe while considering both the relevance and influence of each construction to the modern supply chain.
Emily Hammer - Management, Marketing
Analysis: Sexual Assault Perceptions and Knowledge at Iowa State
Project Advisor: Alissa Stoehr | Advisor(s): Austin Haytko
AbstractStudents at Iowa State are required to complete multiple trainings on sexual violence in compliance with Title IX, covering topics from basic definitions to bystander intervention training. The goal of this project was firstly to understand how students view the climate of sexual violence at Iowa State and their basic knowledge of sexual violence through use of an Iowa-State specific survey that was distributed across campus. This would ideally allow room to determine areas where training in compliance with Title IV could stand to be improved upon for future years to maximize the efficiency of training for students. The final objective of the project as to develop specific recommendations for Iowa State administration based on survey data that could be implemented or serve as a framework to increase the effectiveness of trainings.
Ananya Kaushik - Finance
Movement of Market Sentiment and Risk Factors
Project Advisor: Paul Koch | Advisor(s): Austin Haytko
AbstractWe observed whether the measures of overall market sentiment, uncertainty, and fear are associated with time series movements in factors underlying the Multifactor Asset Pricing Model. We expect there to be a significant relation between the measures of sentiment and fear and the Risk Factors. We analyze this using time-series analysis, correlation analysis, and regression analysis.
Cassie Kubiak - Accounting
SFE Marketing Plan
Project Advisor: Billy Boulden | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli
AbstractThis report reviews the marketing efficiency and effectiveness of the Sorority and Fraternity Engagement Office (SFE) at Iowa State University. A cost-benefit analysis is conducted to review the efficiency of the current marketing items. Research is conducted to identify the importance of effective marketing items. Cost recommendations are provided for the best marketing advantage. To enhance the social media posts, a review of the current marketing plan, posts, and data analytics was performed to determine alterations for future posts. Recommendations on alterations such as consistent theme, post, and the use of business analytics are discussed and displayed.
Hannah Sams - Marketing, Management
Predicting Loneliness and Depression in College Freshman
Project Advisor: Daniel Russell | Advisor(s): Austin Haytko
AbstractMany college freshmen experience loneliness during the transition to university. Understanding what subset of students are lonely and why has the potential to help universities increase retention rates and better support students. To gain insight into loneliness levels in current college freshmen, a survey asking a range of demographic and psychographic questions was sent out to all freshmen at Iowa State one month into the spring semester. The results of analyzing data from 624 students indicates higher loneliness levels than those of college freshmen in the past, similar loneliness scores regardless of high school graduating class size, and lower loneliness scores the closer students are to their friends, regardless of those friends’ sex.
Alexander Snyder - Finance
Small Stocks and Their Compounding Effects
Project Advisor: Xiaolu Wang | Advisor(s): Austin Haytko
AbstractRolf Banz published a paper where he noted that the stocks of smaller companies have higher monthly returns than the stocks of large companies. This paper is about a trading strategy where large stocks are shorted and long stocks are held over long holding periods. Does a longer holding period change the frequency of small stocks outperforming large stocks, or the magnitude of that outperformance for the long-term investor? Research methods used were to download monthly historical returns from the Center for Research in Security prices to analyze. Next, synthetic data sets were obtained from Monte Carlo, both with independent variables and correlating the small stocks and large stocks. The results showed that two-thirds of the time Decile 10 outperformed Decile 1 with a median growth of $92,804 for $1 invested in 1926. As a result, this trading strategy of shorting large stocks and holding small stocks is advantageous if the long-term investor has a high risk tolerance and is willing to hold this strategy for a decade or more.
A F M Tahsinuzzaman - Accounting
Project Advisor: Robert Overstreet | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli
Brooklyn Treinen - Supply Chain Management, Marketing
Generation Z Enters the Professional World: Adapting Personal Brand and Social Capital Virtually
Project Advisor: Raj Agnihotri | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli
AbstractGeneration Z is the generation of digital natives raised simultaneously with the Internet. This generation was brought into an environment of constant connectivity where individuals began posting personal social media content at an early age. As Generation Z enters the professional workforce, the content posted during adolescence is the information recruiters are using to disqualify candidates during the interview process. As a result, it is critical for young adults to understand the importance of their social media presence to receive career opportunities. This research theorizes a relationship-based model to adapt Generation Z’s social media to the professional workforce through the following propositions: 1) Social media content should be strategically posted to match each platform’s structure while remaining consistent across all accounts; 2) The social media content posted by an individual develops their personal brand; 3) The social media content posted by an individual can build one’s social capital through existing relationships and new social ties; 4) An individual’s network affects their social capital; and 5) An individual’s network should not change one’s personal brand, but may influence the development of such. Through strategic social media moves, individuals have the opportunity to stand out amongst their peers, leading to career opportunities.
Mary Azelborn - Architecture Professional Degree, Art & Design (Bachelor of Arts)
The Boston Architectural Academy for Space Exploration
Project Advisor: Nick Senske | Advisor(s): Vladimir Kulic, John Cunnally
AbstractThe Boston Architectural Academy for Space Exploration (B.A.A.S.E.) is a project exploring the possibilities for the future of architecture and architectural education. Set in 2045, the project imagines a future where humanity is actively colonizing other planets, and as such, there is a demand for extraterrestrial architecture. Additionally, in this future the population on earth has grown such that humanity has found itself inhabiting environments we have previously avoided. Students at the B.A.A.S.E. learn to design structures for these inhospitable environments, whether that be Antarctica or the Bradbury Landing site on Mars. The hands-on learning environment we envisioned for the B.A.A.S.E. required specialized spaces for fabrication and testing of proposed designs. Chief among these were a neutral buoyancy pool, a drop chamber to simulate zero gravity, an elaborate simulation room, and of course, an extensive fabrication lab. The unusual requirements of these spaces helped to drive our design and informed many of our decisions. Research into pedagogy also played a large part in our design process, to ensure that the spaces we created would promote effective learning among our students.
Caroline Fiedler - Graphic Design
Project Advisor: Cheri Ure | Advisor(s): Sunghyun Kang, Allison Ringholz
AbstractOver a year ago when I decided to study abroad in Rome, Italy, I tried to plan out how I was going to remember the best parts of my experience. Over the semester I took pictures, pinned Google map locations, sketched, and wrote on postcards. I compiled the best tips and advice into this handmade book that serves as a creative expression of my experience abroad. The book also serves as a journal to promote the idea of writing and sketching abroad. Before I created my final book of expression, I sent out a survey asking others who went abroad to Rome in the fall of 2019 and others who were abroad previous semesters to gather their thoughts and experiences about recording memories. I decided to add what they had to say to my book as well since recording memories is different and unique for everyone.
Zoey Lazere - Art & Design (Bachelor of Arts)
Of the Deep: Whales and Ecosystems
Project Advisor: Austin Stewart | Advisor(s): John Cunnally, Marina Reasoner
AbstractWhales have always been a key part of the global ecosystem, but in recent years more and more whales have been washing up on shores raising concerns and causing disruption in communities. The Iowa State University Theatre’s production of “Of the Deep,” written by Amanda Petefish-Schrag, Assistant Professor of Theatre, that was set to open in April 2020, is a new play featuring puppetry and deals with the aftermath of a whale washing up on shore near a small coastal village and the challenges individuals and communities face. With research on ocean ecosystems and life cycle of whales an original film script was created and then narrated. The art design of the video was inspired by the shadow puppets that are used in the production. The digital video project “Of the Deep: Whales and Ecosystems” provides the audience with background information about how exactly whales contribute to the environment and their role in the ocean and global ecosystem. With “Of the Deep” originally planning for a youth matinee performance, this video piece would be part of a study guide that would go out to the middle and high school classes attending the performance
Brandon Maxey - Architecture Professional Degree
Project Advisor: Shelby Doyle | Advisor(s): Thomas Leslie, Jeremy Miller
AbstractIn this project I explore automaton through research, prototyping, and fabrication. Although automaton can relate to a wide variety of mechanisms, this project focuses on automata as it relates to drawing. Taking Aaron Kramer’s “Selfie Machine,” The Ohio State University Department of Engineering’s “Kinematic Writing Machine,” and David Brebner’s “Automaton 3” as case studies, I learned about the mechanics of each automata and mimicked them in a machine of their own. Through an iterative process, all elements of this project ultimately culminated in creating a final automaton capable of producing an image.
Alicia O'Neill - Architecture Professional Degree
At the Water's Mercy: America's Sinking Cities
Project Advisor: Andrew Gleeson | Advisor(s): Mikesch Muecke, Jeremy Miller
AbstractOceanic and atmospheric warming, a consequence of climate change, has led to the melting of ice caps and the thermal expansion of water causing sea levels to rise and water-based disasters to increase in both frequency and severity. Infrastructure and, more importantly, people are at extreme risk of catastrophic damage in coastal cities of the United States and around the world. Human-driven climate change and resultant rising sea levels have become increasingly pressing issues in cities like New Orleans, New York and Miami, and each of these cities has experienced devastating wake-up calls that forced them to act against the water. This paper serves to analyze what measures these cities are taking to combat sea level rise and speculate on the future of sinking cities.
Sparsh Agarwal - Chemical Engineering
Substrate-Wrapped Carbon Nanotubes as a Generalizable Sensor for Screening of Enzymes for Biomass Degradation
Project Advisor: Nigel Reuel | Advisor(s): Nicole Prentice
AbstractLignocellulosic biomass is one of the most abundantly available feedstocks for the production of renewable fuels (mainly bioethanol) as well as products in the food industry. The lignocellulosic material has an extensive degree of polymerization which inhibits the conversion of biomass into useful products. To overcome the structural challenges, lignocellulosic biomass is pretreated, helping facilitate enzymatic hydrolysis efficiently. Enzymatic hydrolysis serves as the key step in biomass processing due to the high costs associated with enzyme production, and hence it is important to measure and evaluate the enzymatic activity associated with the polymers. While there is a need to understand the enzymatic activity, current methods of measuring activity involve a high level of complexity, which have hindered our understanding of enzymes. Herein, we have developed a generalizable substrate wrapped single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) based sensor for effective screening of cellulases, laccases, and xylanases. Furthermore, we also examine the library of carboxymethylcellulose (different substitution ratios and polymer lengths) wrapped SWNT and their selectivity towards cellulases. The SWNT sensor overcomes several challenges posed by biological tools like ease of preparation and faster measurement of enzyme activity. Additionally, the simplicity of the sensor allows easy automation resulting in higher throughput. The sensor is also suited for a hyperspectral setting i.e. presence of different SWNT chiralities in a single sensor solution can possibly allow the screening of different enzymes simultaneously. The results of the SWNT sensor can be extended to droplet based microfluidic systems, which can accelerate the process of screening of enzymes by order of magnitude.
Emalee Benkufsky - Materials Engineering
Content Development for MatE 170X
Project Advisor: Tim Cullinan | Advisor(s): Holly Dunlay-Lott
AbstractThe goal of this project was to create materials for MatE 170X, a new class for materials engineering majors that is intended to be an extension of Engr 160 for software skills. The key areas of topic generation and content development were spreadsheets (excel), numeric computation (MATLAB), symbolic computation (Mathematica), and CAD (Solidworks). Materials engineering students, professors, and industry professionals were surveyed to understand the importance of knowledge in each of these areas. It was found that students feel they have low proficiency in numeric computation, symbolic computation, and CAD and would like to have learned more about these software skills while at ISU. Industry professionals and faculty put high value on spreadsheet ability and thus these skills should continue to be taught. Symbolic computation is among the least used and required software skills, so future offerings of the course should focus more on numeric computation and CAD than symbolic computation.
Paige Boor - Mechanical Engineering
Autonomous Navigation of a Mobile Robot
Project Advisor: Soumik Sarkar | Advisor(s): Aliza Mackenzie
AbstractThis project focuses on indoor robot navigation and the initial development of software for a mobile robot, a TurtleBot, to detect objects. The motivation is to use the findings to connect verbal instructions to exact objects in an environment. First, an environment was developed virtually using Gazebo. The virtual environment mirrored a real-world environment that could later be used for testing of navigation. Features were added to the environment such as doors, windows, furniture and colored walls for the robot to see. Second, a general framework model for object detection, Mask RCNN, was installed and validated on ROS, the robotic operating system, for a mobile robot. Mask RCNN segments objects at an instance, applies a mask, and predicts the class. The capability of the model on this type of robot was tested with different settings, such as lighting and camera quality. It is found that lighting and angles of objects affects the results. Overall, the model is able to be implemented within ROS, so the TurtleBot is able to detect objects it sees.
Brian Caskey - Aerospace Engineering
ISUCF'V'MB Attendance System
Project Advisor: Christian Carichner | Advisor(s): Brad Eilers
AbstractThe objective and result of this honors project is to create two programs to be used by the Iowa State Marching Band staff to increase accuracy and save time when taking attendance and planning for travel. With 350 members in the Cyclone Marching Band, even the smallest logistical tasks can take hours to complete. Programs written for this honors project solve the following two problems: Problem #1: Attendance The ensemble rehearses daily and the staff is responsible for taking attendance, including checking students in and out of rehearsal. The staff then must manually cross check this ‘log’ of absent/in/out with a list of allowed absences for each day of the week (some students may have excused class-conflicts). With hundreds of students and thousands of entries, this task can take hours to complete and is not always 100% accurate. Problem #2: Travel Per-DiemWhen the marching band travels, ISU athletics provides so many dollars per member per meal. The allotted amount changes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and because students may deviate from travel, different students are often allotted different amounts of per diem. Not only this, but every student must be given exact change for their per-diem amount. For 350+ members, this problem gets very complex.
Joseph Crowley - Computer Engineering
Enhancing Memory System Dependability by Integrity Checking
Project Advisor: Arun Somani | Advisor(s): Vicky Thorland-Oster
AbstractI studied the effects of error in memory systems and effects of error correcting codes (ECC's) and hashes on blocks of data affected by multi-chip errors. To perform this study, I created a simulation framework to allow a user to set parameters that include the following variables: Reed Solomon encoding to use – (18,16,8),(19,17,8),etc.; Hash method to use – CRC-32, SpookyHash, etc.; how many chips faults; how many trials to run; etc. By using this software framework, a user can test different schemes against each other to compare their performances. From this simulation framework, I was able to learn about different types of errors and ECC’s and hash coding effects through simulation and learn their effects. I was able to apply experimental design in my research and learned how to plan such experiments. The research reported in this paper is partially supported by the NSF award 1618104 and the Philip and Virginia Sproul Professorship at Iowa State University. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agencies. .
John Ferguson - Software Engineering
Writing and Selling a Screenplay
Project Advisor: David Zimmerman | Advisor(s): Patrick Determan
AbstractFor this project I undertook the task of writing a full movie script. To begin with I wrote an outline of the movie and several character profiles for major characters within the story. After a solid understanding was formed of the basic plot elements of the story, a first draft was written. From there editing was performed for spelling, story content, document format, and grammar resulting in several unique versions of the script being printed off for this process. From there research was conducted on agents in order to hopefully sell the script. To facilitate this a letter of contact for the agency was outlined and several summaries of the story for the purpose of raising interest in it during the pitching process were produced.
Austin Hanus - Computer Engineering
Identifying the Efficacy of CalcHub
Project Advisor: Benjamin Ahn | Advisor(s): Leah Eilers
AbstractA literature review was written to identify the advantages and disadvantages of current online mathematics assessment systems. The advantages of current systems included: student-provided answers, unique question sets, mass grading or marking, and custom and immediate feedback. The disadvantages of the current systems included: learning a new syntax, loss of student work, and no graphing or modeling. Addressing these disadvantages, CalcHub is being developed. CalcHub is an online mathematics workspace for creating calculations that look as they would on a piece of notebook paper. CalcHub’s adoption of a workspace sets it apart from current software and enables the creation of show your work problems online. CalcHub’s Assistant also provides a robust mathematics input system that has minimal learning curve. Future work includes continuing the development of the software and running a study to determine if it could improve online mathematics testing.
Ashley Harris - Chemical Engineering
Nanoparticle-Mediated Drug Delivery for Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases
Project Advisor: Balaji Narasimhan | Advisor(s): Mackenzie Schwartz
AbstractNeurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease (PD), affect millions of Americans every year. Currently approved PD therapeutics treat motor symptoms, but do not slow down disease progression. Additionally, high therapeutic doses are needed due to complications crossing the Blood-brain Barrier (BBB), leading to unwanted side effects. Nanoparticles (NPs) can address these challenges by improving brain bioavailability of disease-slowing anti-neurodegenerative therapeutics. Specifically, polyanhydride NPs can improve therapeutic efficacy by crossing the BBB and releasing the drug at the right time, and can be functionalized to further improve brain bioavailability. In this study, to investigate this platform, polyanhydride NP-drug interaction properties of therapeutic-encapsulated functionalized and non-functionalized NPs are evaluated. A correlation with drug hydrophobicity was found regardless of functionalization, where sustained release was observed for hydrophobic drugs, while hydrophilic drugs experienced a large “burst” release within the first day with trace amounts released thereafter. The difference in encapsulation efficiency (EE) between hydrophilic and hydrophobic drugs was not significant. Additionally, surfactants were considered in an effort to provide sustained release and raise the EE. However, incorporating span-80 during NP synthesis did not lead to improved sustained release or EE. Future studies will investigate cellular internalization efficiency in neurons, microglia, astrocytes and endothelial cells.
Christopher Holloway - Mechanical Engineering
Formula SAE Suspension Strain Gauge Testing Program
Project Advisor: Michael Messman | Advisor(s): Aliza Mackenzie
Caleb Larison - Agricultural Engineering, Global Resource Systems
Assessment of the Effects of Climate Change on Prairie Pothole Flooding
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Project Advisor: Amy Kaleita | Advisor(s): Benjamin Mccarty, Maggie Sprecher
Sarah Leahy - Mechanical Engineering
Solar Cell Encapsulation
Project Advisor: Emmanuel Agba | Advisor(s): Tessa Brow
Breuklyn Opp - Biological Systems Engineering
Food Transportation Emissions and Estimation Tools
Project Advisor: Kurt Rosentrater | Advisor(s): Benjamin Mccarty
AbstractFood transportation is an increasingly important consideration to total food sustainability in a rapidly globalizing world. To maintain the efficiency of regionalized production, food travels great distances to the consumer’s plate. To reduce emissions due to transportation, many have tried to limit miles traveled. However, the mode of travel is an equally important factor. To effectively model these routes, a set of transportation emissions estimation tools has been created. This program uses an Excel interface to allow users to input key factors and experiment with different modes and routes of travel to find the optimal transportation system for their application. This program may be used to analyze or improve the total life cycle analysis of a variety of products. In a case of the comparison of transportation modes, a salmon transportation route from the Faroe Islands to Richmond, VA resulted in a roughly 98% reduction of emissions when shipped via sea rather than flown. In a case of transportation optimization, the reciprocal trade of beef between Costa Rica and the United States was found to result in at least 158,000 kg of CO2 equivalent annually. These cases (and others) show the great need for better route optimization in food transportation systems.
Peyton Russell - Biological Systems Engineering
A How To Guide for Starting Your Own Profitable Urban Farm
Project Advisor: Kurt Rosentrater | Advisor(s): Jacquelyn Ulmer
AbstractUrban agriculture has long been practiced for both subsistence farming and to provide fresh produce to sell at the market. A synthesis of these two purposes of urban farming may help reduce the number of food deserts in US cities by providing fresh produce to low-income families. Many community gardens have made fresh, locally sourced food available, but may not be setup as a sustainable for-profit business. The purpose of this research project was to determine if a small-scale urban farm could grow enough vegetables to sell at consumer markets in order to offset the cost of donating fresh produce to low-income families at no extra cost. The impact of this strategy was determined by the number of servings of vegetable the farm could provide to the community for free. In order to determine this, an urban farm in Chicago was modeled for start-up and recurring costs, as well as potential seasonal yield of vegetables. Linear programming was used to constrain the model and determine the trade-off between profitability and servings donated to the community. It was determined that an urban farm can remain both profitable and charitable, however the exact growing mix of vegetables will impact both metrics.
Samuel Schreck - Civil Engineering
Leaching Behavior of Taconite Tailings as an Embankment Fill Material
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Project Advisor: Masrur Mahedi | Advisor(s): Brandi Moorman
Dustin Schultz - Software Engineering
Deployable Local Area Network Radio
Project Advisor: Ahmed Kamal | Advisor(s): Patrick Determan
Laura Snyder - Chemical Engineering
Harnessing Support Surface Chemistry for an Improved Design of Biomass Conversion Catalysts
Project Advisor: Jean-Philippe Tessonnier | Advisor(s): Nicole Prentice
Jaclyn Stiller - Industrial Engineering
Understanding the Dream Job: Leveraging Student Passions and Recruiting Gender-Diverse Job Candidates
Project Advisor: Alissa Stoehr | Advisor(s): Devna Popejoy-Sheriff
AbstractOnly 13% of engineers are women. Because of this, all companies struggle to achieve gender diversity within their workforce. This is especially difficult for small and medium-sized companies who are not well-known among college graduates. By understanding what female and male engineering students look for in a future company and a future dream job, recruiters can seek out the candidates who will fit best in their company. In this study, a student survey and a company survey were conducted and compared to learn where companies can improve their recruiting strategies to attract more female engineering students. The results showed that students care deeply about meaningful work more than any other factor of a future job. They also desire flexible hours. Female students value women in leadership and corporate reputation more highly than male students. Female students also value a collaborative, rewarding, and inclusive workplace environment. Students typically utilize career fairs, company websites, electronic job boards, and on-campus information sessions when interacting with the companies that interest them. Female students favor social media when interacting with companies more than male students. By using this information, several recommendations were made to help small engineering companies recruit female engineering candidates more effectively.
Trace Tuthill - Agricultural Engineering
Battery-Powered Ear Tagger
Project Advisor: Brian Steward | Advisor(s): Lindsay Frueh
AbstractCurrently there is no commercial ear tagging option available that is battery powered. All current options are either manually or pneumatically powered. The purpose of this project is to develop a prototype battery powered tagging option that could be transitioned into a commercial option. The prototype will accomplish this by using a stepper motor and swashplate design. The prototype will be able to tag 50 pigs per charge of its battery, weigh less than 4 lbs, and cost less than $300. Originally the intention was to develop and troubleshoot a physical prototype. Due to COVID-19 effects, this was unable to be realized and this project was limited to theoretical calculations and CAD models. Physical testing and experimentation would be needed to confirm that the protype meets the design specifications, and multiple iterations would most likely be needed.
Michael Volk - Civil, Construction, & Environmental Engineering,
Effectiveness of Intelligent Work Zones
Project Advisor: Jennifer Shane | Advisor(s): Jennifer Shane
AbstractThe future of transportation is automated cars. The way to ensure that this future is possible is through the investment in Intelligent Transportation Systems. A subset of Intelligent Transportation Systems is Intelligent Work Zones, which involves placing sensors, cameras and interactive message to warn drivers of incidents in the roadway ahead and allow transportation professionals to monitor work zones. Intelligent Work Zones require new investment in technology and personnel to make it effective. Reviewing and evaluating the effectiveness of Intelligent Work Zones (IWZ) allows State Transportation Agencies to understand how to best deploy and utilize (IWZ) to increase safety and efficiently manage taxpayer dollars, as well as giving industry a chance to see where improvements can be made. In order to successfully analyze the effectiveness of IWZ, data will be collected from state transportation agencies regarding the costs, slowdowns and crash rates of IWZ, as well as the slow down and crash rates from similar work zones that did not have IWZ. Interviews will be conducted with traffic control companies, IWZ vendors and ITS engineers in order to determine their perspective on IWZ challenges and best practices.
Evan Wieczorek - Aerospace Engineering
Hydraulic and Electronic Actuator System Development for ISU's BuonyanCY Laboratory
Project Advisor: Tomas Gonzalez-Torres | Advisor(s): Jackie Kester
Holly Appleton - Food Science (H Sci)
High Voltage Atmospheric Cold Plasma Treatment Inactivation of Aspergillus flavus Spores and Deoxynivalenol Toxin
Project Advisor: Melha Mallata | Advisor(s): Joey Talbert
AbstractFungal contamination is a pressing concern for the food industry as fungal spores can cause food spoilage and produce mycotoxins which can be toxic to both animals and humans. Fungal spores resist food sterilization treatments; thus, technologies that can deactivate both spores and toxins without impacting food quality are desirable. This study demonstrates the efficacy of a high voltage atmospheric cold plasma (HVACP) technology using air to generate reactive oxygen (ROS) and nitrogen (RNS) species for the degradation of Aspergillus flavus cultures and deoxynivalenol (DON) mycotoxins. The plasma generated was characterized by optical emission spectroscopy demonstrating ionization of hydroxyl groups, atomic oxygen, and transitions in the second positive nitrogen system. Furthermore, optical absorption spectroscopy confirmed the production of ROS and RNS, e.g. O3, NO2, NO3, N2O4, and N2O5. The degradative effects of one-minute treatment on fungal cultures showed a depletion in pigmentation and approximately 50% fungal spore inactivation. HVACP-treated fungal spores also showed surface ablation and membrane degradation as revealed with scanning electron microscopy. Additionally, a twenty-minute direct HVACP treatment of 100 µg of DON in a one mL aqueous suspension resulted in a more than 99% reduction in DON structure and rescued over 80% of the Caco-2 cell viability. In summary, HVACP air treatment can inactivate both fungal spores and toxins in a matter of minutes demonstrating HVACP's potential to overcome the limitations of conventional food treatments and improve food quality and safety.
Stephanie Bias - Event Management
Defining and Analyzing Motivation Factors for Vegan Festivals
Project Advisor: Chin-Hsun (Ken) Tsai | Advisor(s): Elizabeth Harris
AbstractThis study investigates the factors that motivate audience members to attend vegan festivals in the United States. Festivals are essential economic stimulators and can increase the perceived value of a destination by enhancing the local community’s image and creating spending outlets for locals and visitors (Wilson, 2017). Vegan festivals, or food and lifestyle festivals that offer plant-based products and experiences, are one festival niche rising in popularity. Vegan festivals promote veganism, a social movement advocating the exclusion of all animal products from a person’s diet and daily life for the betterment of animal welfare, the environment, and one’s health (Definition of Veganism, 2020). In 2019, there were 92 vegan festivals in 36 states of the United States (Vegan Festivals Directory: Top Events Worldwide, 2020). One in 10 Americans now adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet (Reinhart, 2018). In order to meet growing demands for vegan experiences, vegan festival planners need to understand attendee motivation factors so they can develop more effective promotion strategies that appeal to diverse audiences. A survey was developed using the Theory of Planned Behavior and administered to 942 participants through Qualtrics on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. 700 usable responses were collected, and results were analyzed using confirmatory factor analysis, ANOVA, and multiple regression analysis. The results conclude that vegan festival attendees are influenced by their attitude toward vegan festivals, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral controls. Inter-group differences were identified between self-reported genders and diet preferences.
Claire Birchmier - Nutritional Science (H Sci)
Effects of Letrozole on Sprague-Dawley Rats in Inducing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Project Advisor: Kevin Schalinske | Advisor(s): Kevin Schalinske
AbstractPolycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 10% of women. This disorder results in polycystic ovaries, obesity, increased testosterone, and infertility. In order to further research the pathophysiology of PCOS and nutritional therapeutics, there is a need to verify a useful animal model of PCOS. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of using an implanted, slow-release bead of Letrozole in Sprague-Dawley rats at 24 weeks. Five-week-old female Sprague-Dawley rats were acclimated for one week. After this period, rats were administered a modified standard AIN93G diet. The animals were randomly assigned to the treatment group of Letrozole (Let; 1 g/kg BW) or placebo (carboxymethylcellulose vehicle control). Beads of Let and vehicle control were implanted every 30 d. Daily measurements of BW and estrous cycles were taken. Upon being euthanized at 24 weeks of age, plasma samples were collected to determine testosterone concentrations. Let decreased occurrence of proestrus and estrus stages (P=0.0001 and P=0.006, respectively). Further, Let-induced animals had increased BW at every age point (P<0.0001). Additionally, Let-rats had increased testosterone levels (P=0.03). These results indicate the effectiveness of using Let to induce PCOS in rats. More research is necessary to explore nutritional therapies to modulate the effects of PCOS.
Andra Luth - Kinesiology & Health
Effect of School Wellness Policies on School Physical Activity Behavior
Project Advisor: Greg Welk | Advisor(s): Jessica Dewall
AbstractThe 2017 passing of the USDA Final Rule on School Wellness Policies requires schools to update their local school wellness policies. Purpose: To evaluate if the presence of policies to support PA and nutrition in schools was associated with students’ school-based PA and nutrition behaviors. Methods: Forty-two Iowa schools participated in the study. School wellness leaders completed an evaluation of their school wellness environment using the School Wellness Environment Profile. Classes of 4th - 8th grade students completed the Youth Activity Profile. Correlations were run to explore if there was an association between the number of policies in place to support student PA and nutrition and student-reported school-based behaviors. Results: Schools reporting having more policies in place to support student PA was predictive of students reporting higher levels of PA at school (r=0.50, p= 0.0009). Schools reporting having more policies in place to support student nutrition was not predictive of students reporting higher levels of nutrition behaviors. (r=-0.18, p=0.25). Conclusions: Our results show that differences exist in the types of wellness policies in place to support student behaviors in schools. In addition, we found that the presence of school PA policies was moderately associated with better student PA at school.
Tammie Melton - Apparel, Merchandising, and Design, Marketing
Critical Analysis of WOC in HBO’s Euphoria
Project Advisor: Kelly Reddy-Best | Advisor(s): Ann Thye, Ke Huang
AbstractMedia communication greatly impacts society and what we believe. This research project focused on the representation of women of color in HBO’s show Euphoria. Data was gathered from all eight episodes of season one of the show using a content analysis methodology. A codebook was developed for common stereotypes and negative associations of Black, Asian, and Latina. The purpose of the research, is to educate consumers of media, specifically film or TV shows, how women of color are being represented and the hierarchies it creates. Being aware of these barriers is essential in actively decreasing the bias and negative perceptions associated with underrepresented groups of people.
Macy Morrow - Kinesiology & Health
The Effects of Menopause on Angiotensin II Vascular Response
Project Advisor: James Lang | Advisor(s): Marsha Wissink
AbstractAn imbalance in angiotensin II (AngII) contributes to hypertension, which is a prominent risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). AngII is part of the Renin-Angiotensin Aldosterone System (RAAS) and acts as a vasoconstrictor to increase blood pressure. We hypothesize that blood vessels in the skin are more sensitive to AngII in postmenopausal women than premenopausal women, increasing the risk for CVD in older women. We have collected data on the AngII-mediated cutaneous vasoconstriction response by placing three microdialysis (MD) fibers in the forearm skin of 11 young (26±3 years) and 11 older (68±4 years) adults to perfuse 1) Ringer’s solution (control), 2) adrenoreceptor blockade with yohimbine + propranolol, and 3) AT-2 receptor inhibitor with PD-123319. AngII was perfused at eight graded dosages, increasing from 10-10 to 10-3 M. Older women (-42 ± 3) had a greater peak vasoconstriction at the control site compared to older men (-20 ± 1) or young adults (-22 ± 2 %ΔCVCBASELINE; p < 0.05), which was decreased with adrenoreceptor blockade. AT-2 receptor, a vasodilator, inhibition increased vasoconstriction in young but not in older men and women. The results show that older women have a greater response to AngII, increasing their risk of CVD.
Savannah Schultz - Food Science & Human Nutrition (H Sci)
Stay Independent: A Healthy Aging Series
Project Advisor: Sarah Francis | Advisor(s): Sarah Francis
AbstractNutritional risk affects about 21% of community-residing older Iowans. Factors that increase nutritional risk include eating < 3 meals daily, low intakes of protein and produce, and limited physical activity. In response, Stay Independent was developed with four weekly lessons that target these behaviors. Lessons were designed to be interactive and group-based. To date, there has been up to 341 participants. Participants have been mostly White, female and aged 81 years and older. Participants rated their familiarity of the topics at PRE and POST as well as likelihood of performing recommended behavior at POST. Responses were recorded through Qualtrics and transferred to SPSS. Descriptive statistics analyzed sociodemographic data and likelihood to make changes. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests assessed change in familiarity from PRE to POST for each lesson. Familiarity significantly increased for all lesson topics from PRE to POST (p ≤0.005). The majority reported being ‘very likely’ to try at least one strategy suggested during the lessons. These findings suggest Stay Independent is effective in increasing familiarity with recommended behaviors and the likelihood of trying behaviors that lower nutritional risk. Additional lessons are being develop to broaden the scope of Stay Independent to aid the growing older adult population.
Katherine Tupper - Kinesiology & Health
Effects on ACL Reconstruction on Muscle Firing During Jump-Landing
Project Advisor: Jason Gillette | Advisor(s): Lisa Phillips
AbstractAnterior cruciate ligament tears are common in young athletes, and changes in muscle activation can be seen after reconstruction surgery. We investigated the effects of reacting to a stimulus on the activation of quadricep and hamstring muscles during a single leg jump-land-jump movement. Subjects stood on a portable force platform on one leg, and then jumped either to the left or right side of an in-ground force platform according to which computer monitor changed colors. Subjects performed 3 trials of each condition, jumping to the left and right with each leg, for a total of 12 trials. Surface Electromyography sensors were placed on one quadricep and hamstring muscle of each leg. A Maximal Voluntary Isometric Contraction test was performed for each muscle to normalize the activation to a percentage. There was significantly higher quadricep activation in the left leg compared to the right leg. There was no difference in the hamstring activation. Quadricep to hamstring ratio is often looked at after ACL reconstruction, since they tend to have a higher ratio. This could potentially be of interest in preventing ACL injury or re-injury after reconstruction.
Gwynne Wright - Kinesiology & Health
The Effect of Intergenerational Relationships and Quality of Life Through 8 Weeks of Involvement in Outreach Groups
Project Advisor: Elizabeth Stegemoller | Advisor(s): Jessica Dewall
AbstractPrevious studies show that intergenerational relationships have helped improve the quality of life of older adults with suffering from depression, those within nursing homes, and in other populations as well. However, gaps in literature are seen when specifically focusing on the Parkinson's disease population. In the Neurophysiology Lab at Iowa State University, specific outreach groups are offered to older adults with Parkinson’s Disease for participation as well as the students volunteering in the lab. Studying the effects that these outreach groups not only have on the participants, but also the student volunteers and researchers could help to show a major impact of what these intergenerational relationships have done and have the capability to do regarding improvement of well-being and quality of life. We hypothesize that after eight weeks of involvement in the outreach groups, self-reported well-being and quality of life will improve. In this experiment, 13 older participants with PD and 13 heathy student volunteers were asked to complete a survey measuring quality of life within the outreach groups following the session. Surveys were filled out at week one, four, and eight. The score of the quality of life survey will be measured as well as a verbal component of the survey which will be analyzed for themes. Results from this study could be used to further assess the effects how intergenerational relationships impact quality of life and overall well-being, continuing the outreach programs and providing a basis for additional programs to be put in place.
Wanfeng Xu - Hospitality Management, Event Management
Using Advertisement Message Framing to Reduce Plate Waste in Restaurants
Project Advisor: EunHa Jeong | Advisor(s): Stacey Wertzberger, Elizabeth Harris
Catherine Bappe - Linguistics
Intelligibility of Misplaced Lexical Stress
Project Advisor: John Levis | Advisor(s): Taylor Barriuso
AbstractResearch on pronunciation has been increasingly focused on suprasegmentals as a necessary aspect of improving learner intelligibility and comprehensibility. This trend has led to an empirically based search on what specific features are important to focus on in teaching English pronunciation. The present study seeks to assess the influence of word stress on intelligibility. Word stress in English differs from other languages in how it is produced by native speakers. Speakers express word stress using a combination of four dimensions: duration, intensity, pitch, and segmentals. English relies little on suprasegmental features of stress. Instead, native speakers of English mostly indicate word stress through vowel quality. Indicating lexical stress this way and relying on stress for word recognition leads to difficulties for non-native English speakers and those listening to them. The purpose of the current study is to investigate how intelligibility and lexical stress interact in a scenario with non-native speakers and native listeners in an academic context by evaluating native English listeners' ability to accurately transcribe non-native speech in an online listening task.
Alexander Beagle - Economics (LAS)
Modeling the Impact of Producers' Socio-Economic Attributes on the Use of Urea Deep Placement (UDP) on Rice Production in Ghana
Project Advisor: Andrew Manu | Advisor(s): Darin Wohlgemuth
AbstractFarmers in Ghana are testing the use of two nitrogen (N) management methods for rice production: Urea Deep Placement (UDP) and other nitrogen application methods (non-UDP). My research project was completed as an additional extension to Dr. Manu’s original research. He interviewed 67 Ghanaian farmers, 19 farmers using the UDP method and 48 using the non-UDP method. From these interviews, he collected information about their socio-economic characteristics (gender, level of education, time spent farming, etc.). Drone technology was used to analyze the yield production of each farmer. Using these characteristics, the purpose of the study was to determine which socio-economic variables play a significant role in the yield production of paddy rice, regarding the UDP versus the non-UDP method, and identify whether we can relate the significant socio-economic variables to the production potential of each farmer. Microsoft Excel was used for data cleaning and R for initial data visualization and model building. The two statistically significant socio-economic variables were the method of farming (UDP or non-UDP) and the distance between the producer’s residence and their farm. The model shows that farmers who utilized the UDP method and those who lived further from their farms produced greater yields of rice grain.
Mark Bertolami - Chemistry
Exploration in the KZnBi Ternary System Via Hydride Synthesis
Project Advisor: Julia Zaikina | Advisor(s): Terry Kruse
AbstractWithin the K-Zn-Bi system, two metal ternary phases were previously reported: K4ZnBi2 and K6ZnBi5. These phases were synthesized via traditional solid state synthesis, entailing long annealing times (several days) and high temperatures (as high as 1200K). Furthermore, the alkali metal precursors are difficult to mix with other reactants due to their ductility. These aspects associated with traditional solid state synthesis has limited the discovery of new compounds. A new synthetic method involving reactive potassium hydride precursor has allowed for rapid compositional “screening” within a ternary system. Potassium hydride vigorously reacts with the starting materials resulting in faster kinetics, reduced annealing time, and lower temperatures which allows for rapid phase screening within a ternary system. Using the hydride method, two novel bismuthides, KZnBi and KZn2Bi2, were synthesized. Each phase was characterized via various techniques: powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), single crystal X-ray diffraction (SCXRD), high-temperature PXRD, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and magnetometry.
Jacqueline Blaum - Physics, Computer Science
An Analysis of the Gamma Ray Emission of Supernova Remnant IC 443
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Project Advisor: Amanda Weinstein | Advisor(s): Charles Kerton, Sita Molacek
Britt Bovbjerg - Political Science
Coworker and Supervisor Support as a Mitigating Factor of Work-Family Role Strain
Project Advisor: Leigh Phillips | Advisor(s): Jason Chrystal
AbstractEmployees often struggle with family work-conflict, due to role strain between their responsibilities as family caretakers and the responsibilities of their jobs. In my work I examined whether and how much the support (emotional and practical) of coworkers and supervisors mitigates the relationship between role strain as measured through work-family conflict in the dimensions of feelings of stress after work, family causing work strain and work causing family strain. I used previously validated scales to survey 574 ISU faculty, staff and graduate students over the age of 23 on the constructs of work-family conflict, supervisor support, and coworker support. I found that supervisor support correlated with all three types of role strain, ranging from -.43 for feeling stress after work to -.14 for family causing work strain. Coworker support significantly predicted feelings of stress after work with a correlation of -.28 and work causing family strain with a correlation of -.16. It was not significantly related to family causing work strain with a correlation of -.08. Although both are important, our results suggest that emotional and practical supervisor support is more related to decreased role strain than coworkers support in the same areas, and future research should examine the causal mechanisms for these variables.
Madison Davies - Technical Communication, International Studies
Impact of English Translations of "The Arabian Nights" on Perceptions of the Arab World
Project Advisor: Ghimwa Alameen | Advisor(s): Samantha Robinson-Adams, Elizabeth Zimmerman
AbstractThe Stories of The Arabian Nights are at least heard of, if not read, by many Westerners both at the time of the initial French and English translations, primarily in the 19th century, as well as now. The concern with the variety of English translations is that the translator inevitably places their own biases into each edition; and, as the only text readily available to people outside the Arab world, The Arabian Nights carries significant influence over the opinions of Westerners about the characteristics and lifestyles of Arabs. The 14th-century Syrian manuscript is the most original version in written form, while the series of early Egyptian manuscripts have been embellished with additional tales to reach the famous 1001 nights. This project examines the translator bias of three English translations as well as their connection to either the Syrian or Egyptian manuscripts to determine the effect of the original versions on the resulting outcome of each translation. This study is limited in scope and could be expanded in the future to cover more English translations and translations to other languages to confirm the results of this research.
Lucy Dougherty - Economics (LAS), Political Science
The Lucky Store Phenomenon
Project Advisor: Peter Orazem | Advisor(s): Darin Wohlgemuth, Jason Chrystal
AbstractThis study examines whether stores that sell a winning lottery ticket with a visible prize of at least $1 million experience an increase in lottery ticket sales in subsequent weeks. The sale of a winning ticket should be random. Rational customers would not alter their purchase decisions based on a given store’s sale of a winning ticket. However, consumer choices in games of chance are often affected by a combination of two logical fallacies: the hot hand fallacy and the gambler’s fallacy. Confirmation or rejection of the lucky store phenomena will test whether these two logical fallacies hold for lottery sales. Results indicate that stores that sell winning tickets experience significantly greater sales compared to their control stores in the week following the sale of the big winner. The effect dissipates thereafter. There is no significant trend in sales in the weeks leading up to the sale of the big winner. Additionally, there is a small spillover effect for stores in the vicinity of the winning ticket store in the first week after the big win compared to stores elsewhere in the state. These findings support the hot hand fallacy but not the gamblers fallacy.
Josephine Dubiel - World Languages & Cultures, Mathematics
The Food of Don Quixote
Project Advisor: Julia Dominguez | Advisor(s): Alissa Whitmore, Dawn Walker-Chalmers
Abstract“The Food of Don Quixote” is a cookbook featuring food mentioned in Don Quixote updated for the modern cook to make and enjoy. The idea for the book stemmed from reading and studying Don Quixote in a Spanish seminar. To start, an initial list of foods from Don Quixote was drafted and then refined based on frequency of occurrence in the book and feasibility for the home cook. Research was then conducted on historical, and in some cases modern, versions of each food to create a new recipe. Each recipe was made once, tested at least once more by a home cook, and then photographed. The goal of the project was to create and compile at least twelve recipes. The book creates an immersive reading experience by including photographs of the food, quotes from Don Quixote, and brief historical descriptions with the recipes so anyone can eat like the famous knight errant.
Marie Hardt - Mathematics, Statistics
Statistical Survival Analysis with Stochastic Ordering
Project Advisor: Heike Hofmann | Advisor(s): Dawn Walker-Chalmers, Amy Froelich
AbstractSurvival analysis is an area of great interest in many fields, including medicine and engineering. When performing a survival analysis, we are interested in determining the probability that someone or something will continue to survive, given that it has survived up to a particular point. The Kaplan-Meier estimator is the method of choice for calculating survival probabilities, but it does not take into account the added information provided by stochastic ordering in the data, where we know that members of one group are more likely to survive longer than members of the other group. Alternative estimators to the Kaplan-Meier estimator have been proposed by many authors, including Rojo (2004) and Rojo and Jiang (2013). We discuss these alternative estimators and examine a previously proposed solution to prevent violations of the non-increasing property of survival functions that sometimes occur with the Rojo-Jiang estimator. We also propose a new way to prevent such violations in the Rojo-Jiang estimator.
Sonya Harwood - Anthropology, Religious Studies
An Ethnographic Approach to Esotericism and Occultism
Project Advisor: Christopher Chase | Advisor(s): Alissa Whitmore, Cullen Padgett-Walsh
AbstractThe problematic Insider/Outsider status of the researcher is a classic debate within Anthropology. While it may be difficult to get both an insider and outsider perspective during research, I show the necessity of including multiple voices to formulate a more accurate and more conclusive picture of a religious community or culture, particularly in the field of Esoteric Studies. The outsider status of a researcher can help limit some biases, while insider practitioners can inform the researcher on what is acceptable to publish and what should be left unknown to the outside world. Insider informants working with academic outsiders could mitigate unforeseen ethical flaws in the ethnographic process that can be detrimental to future research and the communities involved, while outsider researchers can offer new context. Using my personal ethnographic research in the areas of esoteric material technologies (such as crystals, tarot, candles, books, wands, cups, and runes), I have found combining both my “outsider” perspective with “insider” perspectives allows for a better flow of dialogue and a unique look into the world of Esotericism. For this project, I use ethnographic data from within the Des Moines, Iowa, and New Orleans, Louisiana, areas.
Amanda Heiderscheit - Genetics (LAS)
On the Flip Side of P. putida: Constructing an Inducible CRISPR System to Shape Bacterial Communities
Project Advisor: Larry Halverson | Advisor(s): Erik Vollbrecht
Ashley Hurd - Genetics (LAS)
Studying the Role of R248W Variants in Cancer Malignancy
Project Advisor: Maura McGrail | Advisor(s): Erik Vollbrecht
AbstractTp53 R248W is a hotspot mutation located within the DNA binding domain of the Tp53 proteins. R248W results in decreased transactivation on Tp53 target genes, increased cell proliferation, and increased tumorigenesis in mice. Tp53 R248W has also been associated with breast and ovarian cancers. Throughout this project, I aimed to investigate this specific mutation using zebrafish. Breaking my project into two approaches, I was able to build the reagents needed for this experiment to learn more about the Tp53 R248W mutation and its relationship to cancer.
Sarah Jones - Psychology
Confidence in Communications: Factors that Relate to Student Confidence in Writing Abilities
Project Advisor: Matthew Pistilli | Advisor(s): Kristin Towers
AbstractThe Writing and Media Center (WMC) at Iowa State University plays an integral role in the formation of a capable student body. This ability is diminished, however, by an incomplete understanding of an essential psychological construct underlying one's ability to succeed: confidence. This research generates a framework for understanding and increasing communication-specific confidence based on the characteristics of students who utilize the WMC. This research measured factors hypothesized to impact communication confidence. Information regarding motivations for utilizing the WMC, the stage of the writing process during an appointment, and the concerns expressed within a session were collected, along with participants' demographic characteristics. Following the collection period, the data were analyzed statistically and graphically to determine significant relationships. Overall, the results indicate that utilizing a service such as the WMC has a significant impact on how confident students are in their communication abilities. Specifically, intrinsic motivations and focusing on higher-order concerns are related to the greatest increases in confidence following a session. This study provides insight into the capability of writing centers to influence the lives of the students they support. By creating more confident communicators, this research increases the global confidence of the entire writing center - and university - community.
Erin Kamm - Computer Science, Mathematics
Efficacy of SCRUM Development Methodology as Told by Widely Held Communication Theory: A Systematic Review
Project Advisor: Racheal Ruble | Advisor(s): Sita Molacek, Dawn Walker-Chalmers
AbstractScrum has become a widely accepted method for software development in organizations, and has even begun getting used in other industries. This report is a systematic literature review aimed at identifying the factors of efficiency and efficacy of these methods and explaining these factors with widely held communication theory. Out of the 100 studies looked at, 23 papers were included in the review. Scrum appears to increase efficiency over traditional methods as reported by papers analyzed. Through the analysis, collaboration, communication, and commitment were identified as both points of benefit and of difficulty. To combat inefficiencies organizations should consider thorough training of team members, creation of group norms, and integrating a decision-making structure.
Alexandra Kelly - Advertising, Psychology
Honors Program Advertising Campaign
Project Advisor: Jan Boyles | Advisor(s): Jan Boyles, Ashley Phipps
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to investigate relationships between social media content posted by Honors Programs and social media engagement levels. The goal of this project was to develop a new creative campaign that the ISU Honors College can use for its social media platforms. This study first examined 251 total posts from the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Big XII Universities. The content analysis included studying: posting frequency, engagement levels and posting topics. Next, a survey was conducted asking students about their preferences for social media content (such as photo styles/caption lengths, as well was what entices them to comment on a post). Based upon the content analysis and survey data, a creative campaign was designed that included draft posts for Instagram and Facebook.
Laura Kurr - Biochemistry
Harnessing the Biology of Intestinal Organoids to Accelerate Drug Discovery in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A One Health Approach
Project Advisor: Jonathan Mochel | Advisor(s): Eric Underbakke
AbstractInflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic disorder that demonstrates similar pathogenesis in both canines and humans. Intestinal stem cell-derived organoids are emerging as a promising ex vivo system for studying Inflammatory Bowel (IBD) pathogenesis. In collaboration with the FDA, the aim of this investigation was to compare the similarities in phenotypic and functional characterization between organoids derived from healthy dogs and dogs with IBD. Overall, IBD organoids showed different phenotypic features as compared to healthy organoids, including increased expression of differentiated cells (enterocytes, stem cells, enteroendocrine and Goblet cells) and decreased expression of Ki-67, a cell proliferation marker. Importantly, similar trends in phenotypic changes were observed between IBD organoids and inflamed primary tissues they were derived from. Functional features of organoids were demonstrated using the Forskolin assay. This study provides the first report of phenotypic changes in intestinal organoids from dogs with IBD. Our findings show that IBD organoids present different phenotypic features as compared to healthy organoids. In addition, our study shows that ileal organoids derived from dogs with IBD recapitulate both the phenotypic and physiological features of original diseased tissues, demonstrating its utility as an ex vivo model for investigating pathomechanisms and pharmacotherapy in dogs with IBD.
Araceli Lopez-Valdivia - Political Science, Communication Studies
A Look at the Mobilization of Indigenous Peoples in Ecuador as a Response to the Oil Industry
Project Advisor: Amy Erica Smith | Advisor(s): Jason Chrystal, Ann Haugland
Megan Lutz - English, Public Relations
Banned Books and First Amendment Rights
Project Advisor: Christiana Langenberg | Advisor(s): Christiana Langenberg, Tracy Lucht
AbstractIn this project, I have researched the First Amendment in regard to the freedom of speech and how that affects the availability and right to access certain books in the United States. I researched the history of banned books, common themes and reasoning of banning books, who has the power of banning books, and current issues with banned books. I read most of the banned books from the past ten years as well as the most notoriously banned books of all time and studied arguments against having the books accessible. I was then able to compile data for common “ban-able” themes across book genres.
Abigail Mankins - Political Science, Environmental Studies
Sex Trafficking in the United States: Analysis of Iowa's Laws and Legislation
Project Advisor: Alissa Stoehr | Advisor(s): Jason Chrystal, Richard Williams
AbstractSex trafficking is commonly thought of as a big city crime: one that does not affect rural or non-metropolitan areas. However, sex trafficking is present everywhere - including in Iowa. It is difficult for law enforcement to convict traffickers of the crime, as it is difficult to prove that cases had a presence of force, fraud, or coercion. Because of this, traffickers are typically convicted of related crimes, such as sexual abuse or pimping. This is problematic as it does not accurately represent the amount of trafficking that occurs in society. This research analyzes how traffickers are charged in Iowa and how those charges compare to charges that are similar in nature: namely, sexual abuse and pimping. It was found that, in Iowa, trafficking charges are not severe, especially when compared to charges for sexual abuse. Traffickers who are correctly charged and convicted with human trafficking get a maximum prison term of 5-10 years, much less than that for sexual abuse in the first- and second- degree. Since trafficking is a relatively new crime and is still increasing in media attention, it is expected that the severity of the conviction will increase in the coming years.
Margaret McGary - History
The Study of How Political Media Writes about Sexual Assaults Involving Liberal and Conservative Politians and Other Partisan Men
Project Advisor: Alissa Stoehr | Advisor(s): Kevin Hill
David McHugh - Biology (LAS)
Who Buried Paul?: A Comprehensive Investigation of the “Paul is Dead” Hoax
Project Advisor: Jen Leptian & Jason Chrystal | Advisor(s): Michael Mccloskey
AbstractOne of the most infamous conspiracy theories to date states that Paul McCartney of The Beatles was replaced following a fatal car accident in 1966. The purpose of this project is to reveal the true nature of popular clues linked to Paul’s death and determine what role, if any, The Beatles played in perpetuating the rumors. Additionally, providing historical context will lead to a complete understanding of the conspiracy’s rise and impact. To gain a holistic view of the conspiracy required intense research on proposed theories, daily activities of The Beatles, and historical events relevant to the claims. Using the acquired facts to construct an accurate timeline of events, as well as studying the band members, led a rational explanation to take shape. While evidence supporting Paul’s death and replacement is insufficient, it is likely that John Lennon played a key role in perpetuating the false death rumors. I propose that John began planting references to the rumor in songs and artwork as far back as 1967 to emphasize its absurdity and exploit obsessive fan culture. John has admittedly done so in other capacities writing the bizarre song “I am the Walrus” to mock fans who over-interpret their music.
MacKenzie Novotny - World Languages & Cultures, Linguistics
A Comparison of Greek and Gothic Verb Moods
Project Advisor: Evgeny Chukharev-Hudilainen | Advisor(s): Flor Romero-De-Slowing, Taylor Barriuso
AbstractThe study of ancient languages provides information about language change and modern languages. Gothic, one of the earliest Germanic languages, has not been thoroughly studied. Wulfila’s Gothic translation of the Greek Bible provides a rich dataset for understanding the development of Germanic languages, including English. This study aims to uncover the functions of two Gothic verb moods, the imperative and the optative. Using computational and corpus linguistics, a concordance of present tense, second person, imperative and optative Gothic verbs and their Greek forms was created. The two Gothic moods aligned with different Greek forms, suggesting the moods perform separate functions in Gothic. Wulfila translated aorist subjunctive, future indicative, and present imperative Greek forms most often as the Gothic optative. Greek aorist imperative forms were most often translated as Gothic imperative verbs. The context, or register, of the form also affected Wulfila’s translations, which can be seen by the different translations dependent on being in a Gospel or Epistle. Further research is necessary to include more verb forms, but this study does reveal promising information about the functions and meanings of two Gothic verb moods.
Sarah Potter - Psychology, Criminal Justice Studies
Juror Perceptions of Firearms Evidence
Project Advisor: Max Guyll, Ryan Ditchfield, Kayla Burd | Advisor(s): Ashley Phipps, Mark Hagley
AbstractJurors may be presented with complex forensic science evidence during a case. Jurors may struggle to understand this evidence and may rely on expert testimony to understand this evidence. In particular, jurors may interpret uncertainty in firearms conclusions differently than firearms examiners. This study aims to understand how mock jurors interpret firearms cartridge case comparison conclusions, particularly when the opinion rendered is inconclusive compared to cartridge cases that do not match. Participants (n=430) read a case summary and firearms expert testimony and were then asked to render a verdict and answer questions about the case. Participants were significantly more likely to reach a guilty verdict when the firearms expert rendered a conclusion of inconclusive compared to an elimination. The results of this research are expected to have broad impacts on admissibility decisions, defendant outcomes, and crime laboratory protocols. This research has the potential to significantly improve understanding regarding the probative value of forensic science.
Sara Ronnkvist - Statistics
An Analysis of Factors Influencing Farmers' Conservation Spending
Project Advisor: J. Gordon Arbuckle | Advisor(s): Dawn Walker-Chalmers
AbstractFarming is significantly impacted by climate change, however agriculture is also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and pollution (IPCC, 2019). Thus, it is important to understand the mechanisms behind farmers’ actions which can provide insights into both the mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Given that farmers are responsible for food production, it is important to understand the predictors of farmers’ land usage to provide adequate support for the implementation of preventive and adaptive measures for climate change. Motivated by these concerns, my research objectives are to study the determinants of farmers’ on-farm conservation actions. I am particularly interested in understanding factors associated with farmers’ conservation spending with the assumption that increased spending on conservation actions results in increased adaptation and/or mitigation actions on their farm. I found participation in conservation programs, gross farm sales, belief in farm revenue to protect farm revenue, and soil erosion to be significant factors with increased conservation spending.
Matthew Ryan - Chemistry
Probing the Structure of Pharmaceuticals using Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy
Project Advisor: Aaron Rossini | Advisor(s): Terry Kruse
AbstractSolid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (SSNMR) spectroscopy provides powerful information about the local environment of a nucleus through a number of observables. NMR crystallography is a method that uses SSNMR, density functional theory (DFT), and X-ray diffraction techniques to determine the atomic structure of materials. NMR crystallography has proven to be effective for the structural characterization of pharmaceuticals, which frequently exist as hydrochloride (HCl) salts. The nuclear properties of the 35Cl isotope (spin-3/2, 75.5% natural abundance, and a gyromagnetic ratio similar to 15N) make 35Cl SSNMR a powerful technique to directly probe the local environment of chloride ions in HCl pharmaceuticals. However, the 35Cl SSNMR methods currently used to characterize these materials are primarily one-dimensional experiments that do not provide information about the spatial proximity of the chloride ions with other nearby atoms. Here, we use two-dimensional heteronuclear correlation NMR techniques enhanced by dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) with 1H, 13C, 15N, and 35Cl to probe the spatial proximities of chloride ions in HCl pharmaceuticals. Additionally, we have performed DFT calculations of NMR properties which show good agreement with experimental results. With the methods developed here, 35Cl based SSNMR experiments can be utilized in NMR crystallography to improve the structural models generated.
Ridley Schwartz - Biology (LAS)
Investigating SIDS Hypotheses
Project Advisor: Michael Lyons | Advisor(s): Diane Bassham
AbstractSudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death for infants under the age of 1, affecting nearly 1,400 infants a year as of 2017. There has been much speculation and research over the past few decades as to the underlying mechanism of SIDS, and there have been risk factors and common autopsy findings identified, yet no definitive answer has been found. This paper evaluates two common SIDS hypotheses for their evidence, plausibility, and problems. The first is a triple risk hypothesis by Filiano and Kinney in 1994, which posits that a combination of multiple factors ultimately leads to death. The second is a common bacterial toxin hypothesis by Morris in 1999 which posits that infants succumb to an overwhelming presence of bacterial toxins that leads to death. These are only two of the popular hypotheses in this field of research. The triple risk hypothesis has a basis of a neurophysiological abnormality which impacts autoresuscitation or CO2 detection. The overly broad catch all approach seems to raise more questions than it answers. The common bacterial toxins hypothesis appears more promising but requires more investigation specifically regarding multiple bacterial interactions. While the answer has not been found, it is imperative to continue research with particular attention to explaining autopsy findings.
Yash Solanki - Biology (LAS)
Linking Genetic Variation and Gene Expression: Studying Allele-Specific and Allele-Biased Expression in Fetal Pig Tissues
Project Advisor: Christopher Tuggle | Advisor(s): Jeffrey Essner
AbstractPigs hold great agricultural importance and are a useful biomedical model to study human diseases. While the complete DNA sequence (genome) of pigs is available, there is a lack of functional annotation - the information about the function and expression of genes. The FAANG (Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes) Project aims to further the functional annotation data on pigs. As part of FAANG, our objective involves studying gene expression in different tissues during fetal development, and how genetic differences affect such expression. The fetal tissues studied were derived from the product of reciprocal crosses between Meishan (a popular Asian pig breed) and White Composite (a cross between popular western breeds) pigs. We used genomic DNA and RNA sequencing to identify genes that demonstrate allele-specific expression (ASE) or allele biased expression (ABE). All organisms carry two alleles of each gene, with one copy from each parent. Under normal circumstances, both alleles are expressed equally (50-50 ratio). ASE involves an almost 100% expression of one allele, with no or minimal expression of the other, while ABE involves an approximately 75%-25% expression ratio of the two alleles. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), we targeted specific genes for verification of our predictions. Our PCR assays allowed us to selectively amplify millions of copies of a gene, which we sequenced and studied the signal strength of, to observe differences in expression, based on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), or differences, between alleles. Sequence chromatogram data from genomic DNA were compared to muscle and liver RNA sequences to observe differences in expression patterns between alleles. Identifying the genetic variation affecting gene expression has great potential not only for industrial applications, such as animal genetic improvement, but also for biomedical modeling of pigs to study human diseases.
Cameron Stocker - Statistics
Developing a Social Media App
Project Advisor: Dan Malliet | Advisor(s): Kevin Kasper
AbstractSocial media today can often be a very toxic place. On Twitter and Facebook, you will frequently see people aggressively commenting at each other when trying to discuss today’s issues. Not only does this not help push the conversation forward, but it is very frustrating for those who do not engage in this type of behavior. This is where my social media app idea, Yabble, comes in. On Yabble, all content is divided up into 5 categories: Politics, Sports, Entertainment, Daily Habits, and Hypothetical. Within each category, there are provided topics (i.e. Who is better, LeBron James or Michael Jordan?) for users to either post their thoughts about or see what others are saying. This layout provides users the ability to browse content from the topics they are most interested in. The app also introduces a ‘yabble button’. Where instead of ‘liking’ an individual post, users ‘like’ an entire conversation between users. This idea therefore rewards users who actually engage in productive back and forth discussion. Right now, you have Facebook to connect with friends, Twitter for constant updates, Instagram for photos, and now Yabble, the social media for conversation.
Courtney Tompkins - Mathematics
Deciphering Mathematical Lingo
Project Advisor: Michael Young | Advisor(s): Dawn Walker-Chalmers
AbstractMath often seems like a far-off subject that both students and adults have a burning dislike for. Moreover, most students could never imagine sitting down to read mathematical journal articles, let alone find enjoyment or interest in them. In this activity, students will engage with material from articles relating to “Magic Polygrams” and about their numbers and relations. These are simply shapes that have numbers specifically placed in them where all the rows and columns of numbers will have some specific property. According to “The Effects of Classroom Mathematics Teaching on Students' Learning,” opportunities are the number one reason that students can either continue in their studies, or the lack of opportunities causing them to drop these types of programs. It is the goal of this project to then create an opportunity for teachers to share high level mathematical content with their student and increasing their opportunity and exposure to the content.
Cassidy Wagner - Psychology
Adverse Childhood Experiences and Peer Mentorship
Project Advisor: Nicole Bartolozzi | Advisor(s): Ashley Phipps
AbstractI explored the literature around peer mentorship in colleges, focusing on the relationship between peer mentors and first-year mentees. I also explored the literature surrounding childhood trauma, choosing to highlight Adverse Childhood Experiences and how they influence the experiences of first-year college students. Using my own experiences as a peer mentor, I developed and devised an original curriculum that can be adapted to fit a variety of needs. In doing this I created unique activities to illustrate the ways that childhood trauma can be an influencing factor in a college classroom setting. I created this curriculum with and under the mentorship of the Hixson Opportunity Awards. In doing this I kept in mind the programs implemented by both the University Honors Program and the Hixson Opportunity Awards in their development of their peer mentors that serve their first-year students. Having been a part of both programs and experiencing it first-hand I was able to create a tool I wish had been available to me. I created a curriculum that serves to empower peer mentors, bring light to childhood trauma and the ways it influences learning at the college level, and prepare peer mentors for the task of leading fellow students.
John Wahlig - Computer Science, Mathematics
SRPT for Multi Server Systems Under Cellular Batching
Project Advisor: Jia (Kevin) Liu | Advisor(s): Sita Molacek, Dawn Walker-Chalmers
AbstractIn recent years, there has been a rapid growth of large-scale distributed deep learning (DDL) (this is a form of machine learning that lets computer programs learn patterns and adapt their performance) frameworks (Google's TensorFlow, MXNet, etc.), which exploit the massive parallelism of computing clusters to expedite the training and inference phases of deep learning systems. In a networked computing cluster that supports a large number of deep learning jobs, a key question is how to design efficient scheduling algorithms to allocate resources across different machines to minimize the overall job processing time (Essentially, we want to let computers process as many tasks as efficiently as possible). Toward this end, in this project, we propose to develop a suite of online scheduling algorithms that jointly optimize resource allocation and locality decisions for distributed deep learning training and inference phases. Our goal is to develop theoretically provable (near) delay-optimal scheduling and resource allocation optimization algorithms for RNN-based (recursive neural network) distributed deep learning based on cell-based batching in the inference phase.
Sarah Zelle - Biochemistry, Genetics (LAS)
Determinants of Membrane Association in a Synaptic GTPase-activating Protein
Project Advisor: Eric Underbakke | Advisor(s): Scott Nelson, Scott Nelson
AbstractSynaptic plasticity is modulated by two signaling G-proteins, Ras and Rap, found in the post-synaptic density of neurons. Defects in these proteins can lead to autism spectrum disorders, depression, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, and intellectual disabilities. Previous work has shown that SynGAP, an abundant GTPase activating protein, regulates Ras and Rap. The specificity determinants of SynGAP toward Ras and Rap remain unclear. Ras and Rap cycle between the cytosol and membrane, and intriguingly, SynGAP exhibits putative membrane localization domains. We hypothesize that the post-synaptic membrane influences SynGAP recognition and selectivity for Ras and Rap. To explore the nature of the SynGAP:membrane interaction, I assessed binding of SynGAP to the membrane using liposome sedimentation assays. Liposomes were designed to match the biological composition of the inner leaflet of the membrane, where Ras and Rap bind. Preliminary results from this assay suggest SynGAP binds to the biological membrane via electrostatics. Future work will also consider the membrane localization of Ras and Rap by using Cys-reactive N-octadecylmaleimide designed and synthesized to mimic Ras’ lipidation in vitro. We will also map the SynGAP membrane binding site using hydrogen/deuterium mass spectrometry to see if there is a difference in how SynGAP binds the two substrates.