Research Across Disciplines: Fall 2017 Conference | Webster University

Research Across Disciplines: Fall 2017 Conference (Fall 2018 Coming Soon!)

Conference Overview

Friday, December 15

8:30 am – 2:45 pm

8:30 am Registration & Breakfast
Browning Hall, ISB, 1st Floor Commons
9 am Opening Remarks:
Dr. Simone Cummings, Dean , Walker School of Business and Technology
Video Message - Dr. Anton Wallner, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
ISB 160 Auditorium
9:30 am Oral Presentation Sessions I & II
EAB 137 & ISB 160 Auditorium
10:45 am Oral Presentation Sessions III & IV
ISB 140 (conference room) & ISB 160 Auditorium
12:00 pm Lunch Break
EAB 102
12:30 pm Poster Presentations
EAB 102
1:30 pm Oral Presentation Session V & Oral Presentations VI
ISB 140 (conference room) & ISB 160 Auditorium

Additional Student Events

9:30 am First Year Seminar Showcase
EAB 238 (all day)
1:30 pm STEM Learning Community
EAB 137

Presentation Schedule

Friday, December 15

9:30 am East Academic Building | Room 137
• Addressing the barriers of buyer and supplier performance development in Bangkok-based companies
Siraprapa Ohurai via WebEx from Bangkok, Thailand
• Camfed and Good Governance: Work, Vision, and Implications
Grace Randolph via WebEx from Mendoza, Argentina
• Bridging the Gap in the Cybersecurity Workforce
Margaret Reed via WebEx from Colorado Springs, Colorado

9:30 am Browning Hall, Interdisciplinary Science Building | Room 160 Auditorium
• Effect of Environment and Food Source on Aggression and Hydrocarbon Profiles in Pogonomyrmex occidentalis
Benjamin Clewell
• The Shining Path's Afterglow
Julia Craig
• The Reconciliation and Normalization of Risk: Navigating the Impact of a Man Made Environmental Disaster
Heather Parker 

10:45 am Interdisciplinary Science Building | Room 140 (conference room)
• Argo: Hollywood's False Attempt to Change
Nina Zorko
• An Analysis of Caste-based Discrimination in India through a Human Rights Lens
Alexandra Lubbe
• Risk Contextualized in the National Parks Service Designation of Cahokia Mounds
Melissa Fritz

10:45 am Interdisciplinary Science Building | Room 160 Auditorium
• Opening Minds through Art (OMA) and the Effects in Individuals with Dementia
Gavin McGrath
• Nanotechnology and Quantum Cryptography
Samuel Neuhaus
• Smoking, Heath Professions, and Mitigating Risk
Madison Smith

1:30 pm Interdisciplinary Science Building | Room 140 (conference room)
• The Politics and Personality of Racism Among University Students
Emika Otani
• SOS for Health: Utilizing Guided Action Planning to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among College Students
Lauren Grimes
• Just Breathe: Mindfulness, Stress, and Physical Activity Among Undergraduate Students
Lily Davis

1:30 pm Interdisciplinary Science Building | Room 160 Auditorium
Use of Laryngeal Mask Airways by Practicing CRNAs in Patients Reporting GERD
Christin Weir
• Statelessness in Ghana, the Major Actors and Their Efforts: A Case Study
Olivia Potter
• Recycling or Relegating? Global implications and local Impacts of the international second-hand clothing trade in Ghana
Lauren Handley


Enriching Student Work with Adobe Creative Cloud: An Interdisciplinary Tool

Rea Bedalli

Webster students have free access to over 20 applications through Adobe Creative Cloud that students across disciplines can use to enhance their work. This project demonstrates that Adobe tools are completely interdisciplinary and essential in the future workplace. By providing examples and explanations for using specific applications—such as InDesign, Illustrator, Animate, Muse, and more—this project displays ways that students can use Adobe tools to display their research in visually compelling way, communicate with diverse audiences, and present important issues. Adobe tools are not only geared towards illustration and design; students doing biology research might present their results in an infographic that appeals to wider audiences, while sociology students might create a user-friendly and interactive website about their findings. Furthermore, there are limitless applications for professional development: students can create the perfect resume, business card, or logo to enhance their personal brand, which shows employers their ability to use these tools. Put simply, Adobe Creative Cloud is a tool for better communication across disciplines, and this project showcases just some of its relevant capabilities and applications for student research and professional development.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Erik Palmore

Curricular Extension Project: Constellation Mythology and Storytelling in the Classroom

Katherine Bergmann, Celeste Tyler, Becky Oleksiw

Students will be producing a play based on the myth Hercules in an all-day Theatre Workshop. We have specifically chosen one "labor" for them to act out: The Capture of Cerberus. Students will be discussing the elements of a play, writing a script, making costumes and props, performing, and recording their final product using the green screen at the Soulard School. Students will use the STEAM lab at the Soulard School to design and make their costumes. The students will also use the lab to design and assemble props. The use of the STEAM lab directly relates to the project's learner outcome of using STEAM to produce a play. Students will be divided up into three groups - actors, script writers, and prop/costume makers - working towards the learner outcome of using Cooperative Learning through group work to form a play. Students will record the play against the Soulard School's green screen. We will post the final video to a global website, such as "iEarn". We will also post it to the school's Facebook page so the parents can view it. Our choice of Hercules will relate to the class' current unit of mythology and constellations.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Basiyr Rodney and Prof. Kerri Fair

The Anesthesia Computer Work Station: A Potential Infection Risk?

Erika Beussink, Amy Schollenberger

The presence of electronic medical records (EMR) in the operating room is becoming increasingly common, especially among anesthesia providers. The anesthesia workstation is the computer that anesthesia providers can use to access EMRs. Hand hygiene techniques among providers have shown to be highly variable. This variability could lead to potential bacterial transmission from the patient onto surfaces that the provider touches. These surfaces then have the potential to transmit bacteria to the patient.

Approximately one in 25 patients develop a healthcare-associated infection daily; these infections are extremely costly and contribute to prolonged length of stay in the hospital. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether the anesthesia computer workstation mouse is a fomite for bacterial transmission.

The research study focused on swabbing the anesthesia workstation computer mouse the morning after general anesthesia cases were performed, followed by the application of a germicidal wipe, and then swabbing the mouse again. This study indicated that application of a germicidal wipe to the computer mouse significantly decreases the presence of bacteria on the computer mouse. Looking at the data from both studies, we concluded that the anesthesia workstation computer mouse was a potential source of bacterial transmission. We also concluded that application of germicidal agents to the surface of the mouse decreases the presence of bacteria on the surface of the mouse.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Julie Mehringer

Teaching States of Matter in the Elementary Classroom

Callie Blatt, Amanda Klein, Courtney Moser

This poster presentation will describe a lesson plan and design story detailing our team's objective of teaching states of matter to a first grade class. The design will incorporate storytelling, experimentation, a design challenge, and interaction with a first grade classroom in Guam. Students will follow the story of Olaf, a snowman from the Disney film "Frozen", as he travels to Guam. Each student will then be asked to design and create a physical way for him to survive in this climate utilizing an extensive option of makerspace materials. The students will conduct an experiment that will demonstrate how the chemicals in Mentos (a solid) will react with Diet Coke (a liquid) to form a gas. Throughout the process, students will learn about the different changes within the states of matter. Our team will gauge student learning through the use of a pre and post-assessment of the material, enabling us to determine student learning and growth.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Baysir Rodney

Effect of Environment and Food Source on Aggression and Hydrocarbon Profiles in Pogonomyrmex occidentalis

Benjamin Clewell

This project explores the nature of how various food sources and environment types can modulate friend-or-foe behavior in the Pogonomyrmex occidentalis Western Harvester ant. We hypothesized that environmental exposure and diet could modulate intraspecific aggression, even between related colony sisters. By experimenting with long term acclimation to herbicide-infused substrates, by sand-to-gel habitat substrate comparatives, and by differing macromolecular food sources, our research has shown that the only way to incite intraspecific aggression in the lab has been by introducing ants presumably sourced from different colonies, thus likely genetically variable. These results clearly reject two hypotheses that appear to be standard conventions in the published literature, wherein it was suggested that variation in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles result from either environmental exposure or diet to drive friend-or-foe identification and determine aggression. Through our extensive testing, we've shown that in laboratory conditions proctored, P. occidentalis sisters acclimated to differing environments and foods do not show increased aggression to each other. This revelation leaves an alternative hypothesis intact: genetics plays a more significant role in determining how ants recognize and show aggression toward each other, than does a differing environment or food source.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Victoria Brown-Kennerly

The Shining Path's Afterglow

Julia Craig

The Shining Path terrorized Peru for decades though they executed their most major attacks from the 80's to the early 90's. They were dedicated to imposing Maoist ideology on the Peruvian government and its citizens. Professor Abimael Guzman was the head of this group, forming followers from among the student population at the university he taught at in rural Peru. What began as a movement among the peasantry of Peru evolved into a much larger threat to National Security as their attacks infiltrated the urban areas where the affluent, intellectuals and government officials, lived. In its infancy, The Shining Path proselytized rural inhabitants, growing in strength, with very little resistance from the government because that area was so isolated. As the terrorist group gained ground they began plans to take over the Peruvian government which lead to their eventual demise. / The Shining Path was successful for over three decades for a few important reasons. At the times they were most successful, they operated in rural areas, away from government control. The rural Peruvians had been ignored and forgotten by policy makers for decades, despite promises made time and time again to give them aid. These people were disgruntled and were easy prey to the charismatic professor and his followers. The government was not interested in the terrorist groups movements until it directly affected them in the cities they lived in.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Brian K Frederking

Just Breathe: Mindfulness, Stress, and Physical Activity Among Undergraduate Students

Lily Davis

During college, undergraduate students often experience high levels of perceived stress due to various challenges, including adjusting to new environments, demanding course loads and schedules, and/or student loans. High levels of stress are associated with multiple mental and physical health consequences, including decreased activity levels, more sick days, and increased likelihood of depressive symptoms. Preventative stress management entails employing stress management techniques to help individuals cope with stressors as they are experienced. Previous research has identified physical activity, meditation and mindfulness practices as techniques useful for managing stress. The present study used a multiple baseline, single-case research design to experimentally examine the efficacy of a four-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention. Participants completed a six-week study that consisted of one week of baseline measures, four weeks of a meditation and mindfulness intervention, and an additional one week of follow-up data. It was expected that individuals would report lower levels of perceived stress and an increased number of daily steps throughout the intervention. Results from the present study may inform future MBSR programs as an effective way to help undergraduate students cope with high levels of stress in order to reach their maximum potential during their undergraduate years.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Eric Goedereis

Water Provision and Privitization in Ghana

Casey Edgerton

Innumerable factors can be identified when describing the lack of a nation's infrastructural development, but this paper will focus on the private sector's fluctuating influence. Private efforts have measurably impacted Ghana's water provision, and this paper will explore and attempt to somewhat elucidate whether or not it has been largely negative or positive for the country. In order to do this, a great deal of archival research was studied, including case studies and analyses of past and present development projects in urban and rural Ghana. This was done in order to draw an assessment of the general effectiveness of the private sector, from the privatization of the 2000s to the ongoing influence from private actors from Ghana and abroad. In doing this, the findings appear to bear out that the private sector has achieved mixed results. While hitting certain United Nations Millennium Development Goals, a vast discrepancy is found in access when comparing urban to rural areas, and an ongoing inability to improve sanitation across the board persists. These findings could benefit research in other nations facing similar issues, and hopefully encourage a more organized and consolidated effort to achieve clean water provision.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Danielle MacCartney

Risk Contextualized in the National Parks Service Designation of Cahokia Mounds

Melissa Fritz

Cahokia Mounds is the site of a prehistoric city occupied by the Mississippians roughly between AD 800-late 1300s, presently located in the city of Collinsville, IL. The site contains approximately 80 mounds and other features of cultural relevance to the Mississippians, although there are an estimated 500+ mounds spread across the Missouri and Illinois bi-state region that are not currently under any state protection. Local and state government leaders, the Cahokia Museum Society, and the Heartlands Conservancy non-profit organization have collectively stated that all the mounds, on and off state-protected property, are currently vulnerable from environmental and human related threats and that the protection from such threats resides in a national monument designation for all mound sites by the National Parks Service. By investigating the proposed NPS designation for the Cahokia Mounds Historic Site and non-contiguous mound sites, I plan to interrogate the concept of preservation and how it is defined by this proposal and through the intent of all supporting parties. How have the risks that pose a threat to the Mississippian sites come to be determined and how do we think about risk in the context of cultural and environmental preservation? How will the NPS designation be experienced at community, cultural, state, environmental, and national levels?

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Elsa Fan

Effects of Endurance Running on Cortisol in Athletes

Holly Goergen

When a person is stressed, cortisol is released to help regulate blood sugar as well as metabolism. It is possible to measure cortisol in elite athletes to analyze the effect their training plan is having on their body. Cortisol can be easily collected from saliva then analyzed through an ELISA test. The cortisol response in the body shows if the person is not training hard enough or if they are training too hard. While there has been links shown between low cortisol levels and increased race performance, there is little research to show how the body responds before and after activity. This study analyzes cortisol levels before and after long runs, easy recovery runs, and hard interval workouts to show if each activity stresses the body in the way the coaches want.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Stephanie Schroeder

SOS for Health: Utilizing Guided Action Planning to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among College Students

Lauren Grimes

Eating the recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables has been shown to lower the risk of many mental and physical illnesses. However, in the United States, and among U.S. college students in particular, low levels of fruit and vegetable consumption persist. The purpose of the present study was to experimentally examine the effects of providing guidance of how one could eat more fruits and vegetables and whether this guidance corresponded to increased fruit and vegetable consumption among college students. Following IRB approval, approximately 80 participants were drawn from the larger population of students enrolled at a midsize university. The present study utilized a pretest/posttest experimental, survey design to investigate baseline levels of fruit and vegetable consumption and pre-planning self-efficacy among college students. Following the baseline period, participants self-monitored their fruit and vegetable consumption for two weeks, then returned for follow-up measures. Data collection is currently underway. The data will be analyzed using independent samples t-tests. Results from the present study will extend our knowledge of the role of guidance and planning on important health-promoting behaviors among college students. These findings hold implications for promoting healthy minds and bodies among this population.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Eric Goedereis

Tetrahalogenated Benzenes as Templates to Achieve [2+2] Cycloaddition Reactions in the Organic Solid State

Anna Grobelny, Ryan Groeneman

In recent years, the ability to engineer photoreactive crystals that will undergo a [2+2] cycloaddition reaction has continued to be an active area of research. These photoreactions are generally achieved by utilizing supramolecular interactions (i.e. hydrogen bonds) due to the strength and directionality of this noncovalent interaction. These forces arrange a pair of carbon-carbon double bonds in the correct orientation and upon exposure to ultraviolet light produces a cyclobutane-based product. In nearly all of these cases, stronger and more conventional hydrogen bonds are used to produce the photoreactive solid. In addition, a majority of these materials are produced via a solvent-based approach. In this contribution, we will report the formation of a series of photoreactive co-crystals that were produced via solution and a solvent free approach utilizing dry vortex grinding. Lastly, we will illustrate that the driving force behind the alignment of the double bonds is based upon non-conventional C-H•••N hydrogen bonds.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Ryan Groeneman

Recycling or Relegating? Global implications and local Impacts of the international second-hand clothing trade in Ghana

Lauren Handley

In many countries such as Britain and the United States, it is common practice to quickly cycle through fashions and donate unwanted clothing to thrift stores or NGOs, unaware that the majority of donated items are sold and resold through various parties and eventually arrive in bulk to countries of "the global south". In Sub-Saharan Africa, used clothing now dominates most marketplaces, creating an economy of its own. Using observations made at Makola market in Accra, Ghana as a case study, this research analyzes the second-hand clothing (SHC) trade in relation to global patterns of consumption, waste disposal, and neo-colonial trade regimes as well as the trade's economic and cultural impact. My findings indicate that the economy of SHC trade has complex and contradictory effects and cast doubt on the idea that the influx of SHC imports has created a "preference gap" for Western styles and a distaste for traditional African wear. This project is significant because it meets a need for research exploring the effects of the SHC trade on societal dynamics in importing countries while also shedding light on global class dynamics which inform patterns of consumption and waste management.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Danielle MacCartney

The United States in the 1940s and 1950s.

Christian Hargas

The "Forties" was a decade to remember in Twentieth Century United States History. The "Fifties" built off the legacy of the previous decade, while driving American culture into a different direction. This display will showcase the significant events of, arguably, the two most correlating decades in Twentieth Century American History. From the conflict of the Second World War, to the rise of the dispute between former Allies, the United States and Soviet Union, of the Cold War. From the culture and urban development of the "Forties" to the rise of "Fifties Suburbia" and the new "concept" of family. American society in the 1940s and 1950s offers much more as the United States transformed into a new vision and set the stage for the proceeding decades.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. John Chappell

A Study of Learning, Memory & Navigation in Western Harvester Ants

Kelsey Hausmann

Ants use navigational cues to forage for food, scout boundaries of colony territory, and return to the nest to recruit others. We aimed to train Pogonomymex occidentalis Western Harvester ants to learn and remember the correct path to a food source within a maze. If possible, we could use that system to investigate under controlled conditions the navigational cues critical for learning and memory. We created a 'learning maze' with four symmetrical paths marked only by different colors. Each ant was painted a unique color combination to track individual time to discovery of the hidden food source (granola/honey mix). For 48 hours, ants were food deprived to motivate scouting/foraging. Data supports the ability to remember after 72 hours from a single maze exposure. Initial discovery trials ranged from 7-2,000 seconds while average learning times seemed to max out around 75-175 seconds. After each trial, average times decreased supporting learning and remembering the specific path to a food source. Developing the experimental system is important to further test which cues ants use to retrace back to the food source by manipulating known variables. We hypothesize that the ants use both visual and chemosensory information in foraging for food.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Victoria Brown-Kennerly

Comparative Analysis of RORA Expression in BrainTissue from Multiple Sclerosis Patients and Healthy Controls: A Pilot Study

Leah Heath

The key to understanding the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS) lies in a deeper analysis of the genes that play a role in the pathology of the disease. A new gene of interest encodes the retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor alpha (RORA). This receptor is expressed in several tissues and plays a critical role in regulating inflammatory response, neuronal cell development, bone metabolism, and has been proposed to promote the differentiation of Th17 cells. Th17 cells play a role in initiating autoimmune central nervous system inflammation, which is the cause of this debilitating disease. To better understand the significance of RORA in MS, the focus of this study was to observe the expression of this receptor and determine its role in susceptibility of multiple sclerosis. We did so by isolating RNA from 10 brain samples, 5 from multiple sclerosis patients and 5 from healthy controls. We then subjected the RNA to RT-PCR and normalized the samples to control RNAs TBP and GAPDH. We found that there was a significant increase in expression of RORA (P<0.05) in brain samples from MS patients compared with healthy controls. This is novel finding could be used as diagnostic criteria for susceptibility of multiple sclerosis and could potentially a target for new treatments.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Stephanie Schroeder

Enzyme Biomimetics: Substrate Binding and Kinetics of 4-Nitrophenylaceate Hydrolysis by per-Ethylenediamine-β-Cyclodextrin

Jamie Heet, Leah Umbarger, Jason R. Telford

β-Cyclodextrin (β-CyD) is a cyclic heptasaccharide with a hydrophilic exterior and hydrophobic interior. This structure is widely used in supramolecular chemistry to form inclusion complexes with guest species. We have characterized a modified, per-O6-ethylenediamine-β-cyclodextrin (en-β-CyD) as an esterase mimic using 4-nitrophenylacetate as a substrate. The association constant at pH 8.2 between 4-nitrophenol and β-CyD and the modified en-β-CyD were determined by analysis of UV-Vis titration data. These data allow for the development of a mechanistic proposal and determination of pseudo-Michaelis-Menten parameters for 4-nitrophenylacetate hydrolysis.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Jason R. Telford

Causes of Differential Treatment toward Individuals with Mental Disabilities in Ghana

Joy Kuhlo, Alexis Pettay

Significant improvements have been made in recent years to help raise awareness and combat negative perceptions toward mental illness. In developed countries in the West there has been movement toward deinstitutionalization, providing adequate funding for treatment for mental illness, creating mental health policies, organizations, establishing affordable counseling services, and a focus on community care. In Ghana, mental illness remains highly stigmatized and individuals who suffer from mental illness face challenges. Our research seeks to understand why individuals with mental illness are treated differently. Several contributing factors have lead to differential treatment: media, religious beliefs, a lack of funding, history, stigma, too few mental health care workers, and the media. In our research we analyzed the media's contribution to differential treatment by reviewing online news media. We will look at three main web news sources: Ghanaian Times, News Ghana, and the Daily Guide Africa, with articles published from 2012 to 2017 to see how the media depict mental illness. We have come to the conclusion that the media serves as a powerful tool in influencing people's perceptions and understanding of mental illness. We analyzed our data through content analysis. To assess other contributing factors that influence how people with mental disabilities are treated differently we plan to looked at published academic journal videos, and non-governmental organization reports

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Danielle MacCartney

Evaluation of bacteriophage diversity in Webster Natural Area

Maria Kinley

Bacteriophages, viruses which infect bacteria, are the most abundant entities of the biosphere.  Their diversity and global distribution are largely unknown. Phage exert pressure directly on their bacterial hosts and thus play a critical role in the biology of their hosts and in ecosystem functioning at large. Phage abundance, diversity, and distribution are therefore important parameters in ecosystem function.  New studies on phage diversity and geography have found that some phages are found globally while others are unique to specific environments. The classical approaches studying phages require isolation from a pure culture of the host. This project concentrates on the discovery of phage diversity in Webster Natural Area and employs metagenomic sequencing to evaluate the abundance of phage present in this environment. Phage were isolated and concentrated by filtration and dialysis from water samples obtained from Webster Natural Area. DNA is then extracted, sheared into fragments and sequenced using Next Generation Sequencing methods. The resulting reads are aligned against known phage genomes, which allows for the assessment of overall phage diversity in the samples taken. 

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Mary Preuss

An Analysis of Caste-based Discrimination in India through a Human Rights Lens

Alexandra Lubbe

The purpose of this research project is to explore the ways in which the Hindu caste system helps to promote or violate human rights in India. One of the biggest human rights abuses in India is the discrimination of members of the "untouchable", or Dalit, caste. In my research, I evaluate the provisions that the Indian government has made to end the discrimination of this caste, and in what ways these provisions have succeeded and failed. I also explore the very recent history of this issue in relation to international human rights, and analyze whether or not the treatment of caste-based discrimination as a human rights concern has altered the treatment of the Dalit caste. This research suggests future steps that could be taken to promote the human rights of the "untouchable" caste, and ties the issue of caste-based discrimination back to its religious roots to explore how religion can help to end the human rights abuses that the Dalits face.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Lindsey Kingston

Opening Minds through Art (OMA) and the Effects in Individuals with Dementia

Gavin McGrath, Rachel Fredrick, Libby Mattson

This presentation summarizes Webster University students' experiences in a recent, start-up iteration of an Opening Minds through Art (OMA) program in a local senior living community. The OMA program is an empirically-supported, activity-based intervention designed to stimulate creativity and promote well-being in individuals with dementia. Individuals with early to semi-late stages of cognitive-degenerative diseases are identified as "artists", who then complete specially designed and tested art projects while paired one-on-one with a volunteer/student who functions as a facilitator. Because the individuals no longer possess the necessary retrieval ability to create art from memory, the program instead focuses on and nurtures participants' existing strengths, creativity, and cognitive abilities, rather than relying on other areas which may cause aggravation to individuals. Thus, projects are completed in what would be described as an abstract or contemporary manner. Currently, 10 students are each paired with a distinct resident artist for weekly OMA artistic sessions. This session will provide an overview of the program, as well as students' perceptions of both the program and individual artists. In addition, general research findings regarding the benefits of OMA will be presented, as will suggestions for future research on this promising program.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Eric Goedereis

Consequences of a functional mismatch in a bumble bee-plant partnership

Jacob Milosch, Nicole Miller-Struttmann

Coevolution between plants and their pollinators enhances global biodiversity. Human-induced changes, such as climate change, disrupt native plant-pollinator interactions, potentially affecting the co-evolutionary trajectories. An optimum relationship is one where the tongue length of the pollinator matches that of the plant, resulting in high pollination success for the plant and high nectar extraction by the pollinator. If a changing environment alters tongue length, it could have adverse effects on their coevolved plants. Recent declines in long-tongued bees indicate that shallow flowers may be favored in this changing environment. Our research examines the impact of shorter bumble bee tongue length on the evolution of flower depth in Polemonium a common high-altitude plant in the Rocky Mountains. Using data collected from four populations in Colorado as a reference, we examined if selection by current assemblages of short-tongued bees favors shallow-tubed flowers. We measured the variation in reproductive success in shallow and deep flowers. Bumble bees were also surveyed to determine the tongue length phenotype at each site. Through this research we hope to determine the consequences of the evolution of shorter-tongues in bumble bees for their coevolved host plants. /

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Nicole Miller-Struttmann

Nanotechnology and Quantum Cryptography

Samuel Neuhaus

Cybersecurity is a hot topic in our world today, one that is at the forefront for individuals and corporations alike. Data breaches have financially hurt many companies and top level officials. Quantum communication is a new-generation technology based on the theory of quantum mechanics which may provide absolute security for future communication. Quantum key distribution (QKD) is the kernel of quantum cryptography. The implementation of QKD relies on several technologies, including single-photon source, encrypting/decrypting, key storage/transmission and single photon detection. To achieve the secure data transmission by quantum cryptography, individual photons of known wavelengths must be used; however, they are difficult to generate. One of the more promising ideas is the use of nanodiamonds as a source of single photons. When excited at the right wavelength, such defects as nitrogen vacancies substituting carbon atoms in a diamond lattice can emit single photons - this process is called photoluminescence. Quantum dots and CNTs are other promising sources of single photons, while superconducting nanowires can be used for single-photon detection. / With the ever increasing importance of digital presence in today's society, quantum cryptography is becoming increasingly common due to its superior intrusion detection, and nanotechnology plays a key role in its implementation.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Nigora Turaeva

Addressing the barriers of buyer and supplier performance development in Bangkok-based companies

Siraprapa Ohurai

Many organizations face the problem on performance development from conflict between buyers and suppliers due to different perspectives. To understand perspective in both buyers and suppliers, sustainability concept is selected to study for Bangkok-based companies. The sustainability survey is used in this research to concern person for both buyers and suppliers. The result showed that buyers tended to focus on economics pillar while environment pillar is important for suppliers. It is found that there is relationship among economics, environment and social in sustainability. According to this study, it's recommended that managers from buyers' and suppliers' side should understand the other viewpoint and adjust strategies for improvement, which could help both sides feel comfortable to work together and support them to develop their performance.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Johan Van Rooyen

The Politics and Personality of Racism Among University Students

Emika Otani

In recent years, and particularly in the United States, beliefs about and attitudes towards others have become increasingly polarized. Such attitudes have important implications within educational, employment, and criminal justice settings, as well as in the domains of health and well-being. Importantly, these attitudes can be observed across the lifespan, including among college students. The present study utilized an online survey design in order to examine the relationship between participants' attitudes toward others and current events. Following IRB approval, participants were recruited from the population of undergraduate students at a midsize university. Participants completed measures of narcissism, social desirability, color-blind racial attitudes, and political affiliation. Participants also answered questions regarding their perceptions of the Stockley verdict in St. Louis. It was expected that people who reported high narcissism, less social desirability, more conservative ideologies and scored higher on the color-blind racial attitudes scale would have higher levels of racism. The research questions will be examined using bivariate correlations. These findings hold important implications for our future understanding of factors that contribute to racism. Results from the present study may also provide information, which could aid in the development of interventions to reducing racism and other polarizing attitudes among young adults.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Michael Hulsizer

The Reconciliation and Normalization of Risk: Navigating the Impact of a Man Made Environmental Disaster

Heather Parker

In the early 1940's the United States military began developing the first atom bomb in response to fears of Nazi Germany producing a nuclear weapon of their own. This development was known as the Manhattan Project and Mallinckrodt Chemical Works based in St. Louis Missouri was one of the labs that was secretly enriching uranium through a contract with the U.S. government. At a certain point, Mallinckrodt had an excess of chemical waste that needed to be transported from their facilities to an offsite location for immediate storage. Mallinckrodt effectively dumped thousands of tons of nuclear waste into various locations in North County, Missouri which resulted in the contamination of Coldwater Creek. I aim to investigate how residents of Coldwater Creek and outlying areas effected by nuclear waste and contamination experience not only physical risk but through a system of players and stakeholders, risk is allocated financially and mentally. Through a series of phone interviews, photos and online research- I would like to explore risk as a lived daily experience for those residing next to Coldwater Creek.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Elsa Fan

Causes of Differential Treatment toward Individuals with Mental Disabilities in Ghana

Alexis Pettay, Joy Kuhlo

Significant improvements have been made in recent years to help raise awareness and combat negative perceptions toward mental illness. In developed countries in the West there has been movement toward eradicating institutionalization, providing adequate funding for treatment of mental illness, creating mental health policies, establishing affordable counseling services, and a greater focus on community care. Our conducted research focuses on mental illness in the state of Ghana. In Ghana, mental illness remains highly stigmatized and individuals who suffer from mental illness face several challenges. Our research seeks to understand why individuals with mental illness in Ghana were treated differently than those who did not suffer from a mental illness. Several contributing factors have led to differential treatment: the media, religious beliefs, a lack of funding, history, stigma, and too few mental health care workers. In our research we analyzed the media's contribution by reviewing online news media sources. We looked at three main web news sources: Ghanaian Times, News Ghana, and Daily Guide Africa, with articles published from 2012 to 2017, to see how news organizations depict mental illness. We have analyzed all our data through content analysis. We have come to the conclusion that the media serves as a powerful tool and is a leading contributor in influencing people's perceptions and understanding of mental illness.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Danielle MacCartney

The Other: An Exploration of Simone De Beauvoir's Philosophy Through Myth

Delaney Piggins

In her text, The Second Sex, existentialist philosopher Simone De Beauvoir says woman "is the incidental, the inessential, as opposed to the essential. He is the Subject, he is the Absolute-she is the Other." (Beauvoir.) This idea also exists in the man-made myths that shape our world, "Not positing themselves as subject, women have not created the virile myth that would reflect their projects; they have neither religion nor poetry that belongs to them alone: they still dream through men's dreams" (Beauvoir.) With three to six female artists, I will create a devised theatre piece that asks, how do women breakthrough their position of Other in theatrical narrative? I propose that for women to assert themselves as essential they must destroy influential myths and replace them with their own stories. The piece will explore this idea in three stages: writing and performing monologues where each female artist recognizes themselves as other; then using movement techniques to deconstruct the myth, Eurydice; and finally creating a new myth using Eurydice's themes and the women's personal narratives. This piece will be performed during the Webster Conservatory ETs in front of faculty, students and guests. With this, I hope to inspire the female audience members to assert themselves as essential, and the males to make room. Beauvoir, Simone de. The Second Sex. Vintage Classic, 2015.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Doug Finlayson

Statelessness in Ghana, the Major Actors and Their Efforts: A Case Study

Olivia Potter

Statelessness impacts a significant portion of the world's population, challenging their ability to access basic human rights. This project uses Ghana as a case study to examine the issue of statelessness, identify the primary actors who seek to end it, and compare their efforts. The goal is to explore ways in which statelessness is addressed by these actors and draw comparisons. An examination of the literature determines that the primary actors can be placed into three distinct groups: the United Nations (U.N.), the government of Ghana, and civil society. Overall, this research reveals that the U.N. is the dominant actor in the fight to end statelessness in Ghana, largely setting a human rights based agenda and providing resources. Utilizing public websites and documents such as mission statements, strategies, government acts, constitutions and plans of action, the author draws comparisons between the efforts made by the UN, the government of Ghana and civil society. The author then considers the impact of these efforts to end statelessness, with particular attention paid to the implications on the nation-state.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Danielle MacCartney

Camfed and Good Governance: Work, Vision, and Implications

Grace Randolph

In a climate of international competition for funding and donor expectations of measurable results, NGOs must differentiate themselves and prove the value of their work. Camfed is a UK-based NGO that works in five sub-Saharan African countries towards a goal of achieving gender parity in education and alleviating poverty, focusing on transparency, accountability, and community involvement in its programs. Through a discursive analysis of reports and publications released by Camfed, this paper examines how the organization seeks to present itself as an ethical and reliable NGO by emphasizing its governance model of downward accountability and power sharing, a model it suggests as the new standard for the international development sector. Through its focus on implementing its model of governance in local communities, it frames good governance as not only an important element in ensuring the efficacy of development work, but as the central element of said work and the key factor in alleviating poverty. This goal of spreading good governance has importance beyond considering solutions to poverty; it also has implications for defining the problem of poverty itself.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Elsa Fan

Bridging the Gap in the Cybersecurity Workforce

Margaret Reed, Daemon Pryor

In the United States there are over 200,000 Cybersecurity job vacancies. This is due to a misunderstanding of NIST 800-181 publication that lays out the standards for the Cybersecurity industry. As a result, businesses require advanced certification, even for entry level positions, instead of a creating a career process. This team researched the areas in government, education, training and workforce as outlined in NICE, that have contributed to the Gap. This project explains the problem, explores a hypothesis which is: If the mindset of the Cybersecurity industry shifts away from certification and towards a career path process, then a trained and ready workforce could be hired; conducts research and analysis of the research. Part of identifying and interviewing the key players in the industry include: asking a series of questions to determine if the key players are operating on the same level when it comes to Cybersecurity education, training and certification expectations; detail how job requirements of Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA's, as defined in NICE) can be met with realignment of current Cybersecurity requirements and expectations of the workforce.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Robert Ryals

Perception of Inclusive Education in Ghanaian Media

Jenna Rodriguez

Inclusive education (IE) is broadly defined as the integration of students with disabilities into a mainstream classroom. In 2003, the Ghana Education Service enacted the IE system. Since implementation, students with special needs still struggle to receive efficient and effective services. This project uses Ghana as a case study to discuss the pitfalls of IE, examine Ghanaian media perception of IE, and discuss implications. An examination of literature revealed that IE lacks consistent implementation due to lack of resources and teachers, improper teacher training, lack of enforcement, and a strong stigmatization of persons with disabilities. An analysis of Ghanaian news sources reveals that while the media discusses the IE school system in length, it also presents a strong bias against disabilities. The media neglects to consider special needs students when evaluating the education system, notably failing to mention the shortcomings of the 2015 Education Strategic Plans. The impact of this bias is influencing schools to not fully implement inclusion, which demonstrates the need for the media to accurately portray IE. Ultimately, the media influences public opinion and if the perception does not change about people with disabilities IE will not be successful.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Danielle MacCartney

The Portrayal of LGBT Issues in Ghanaian Media: A Discourse Analysis

Lexene Salamone

Governments use media as an agenda-setting tool to influence public opinion. The way news and reporting frame topics can play a key role in the social perceptions of controversial topics, such as homosexuality. According to Freedom House (2016), the Ghanaian press is still only partially free, meaning that the Ghanaian government exercises soft control of the press. In addition, Ghanaian law criminalizes male homosexuality and government officials have made inflammatory statements about LGBT people. This study analyzes agenda-setting within the Ghanaian press by utilizing discourse analysis to reveal the media frames and contexts in which LGBT issues are reported in Ghanaian news, including both in private and state-owned sources. This study revealed that Ghanaian news sources typically parrot the anti-LGBT stance of the government.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Danielle MacCartney

Effectiveness of Binaural Auditory Beats in Lowering Stress and Anxiety

Stephanie Seidel

Stress resolution and music therapy has been an ongoing field of study for many years now, yet there is still much to be discovered. This is especially true in regards to the use of binaural auditory beats in tandem with it. Research in this field has been split on its effectiveness and necessity in the medical field or in life in general. Most studies have found that the use of classical music has the best effects on overall stress reduction. Much of the support for binaural auditory beats is merely anecdotal, which means that further research is necessary. We are studying the effects of binaural auditory beats in the alpha frequency alongside classical music to determine its effectiveness in lowering stress and blood pressure. This will be done by having participants listen to music, beats, or both and is measured by taking blood pressure and testing cortisol levels in saliva.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Garrett Bergfeld

Smoking, Health Professions, and Mitigating Risk

Madison Smith

With the development of e-cigarettes that emit water vapor instead of smoke, these technologies have enabled new ways of navigating through the health risks of smoking. Although these instruments still have the presence of addictive nicotine and other chemicals, smoking continues to be a hobby of choice for some. How does a doctor, then, reconcile their smoking behavior and navigate the conflicting discourses between smoking and being a health professional? In this presentation, I show how health professionals who smoke negotiate the risks of smoking in their everyday lives, and how this personal habit pushes up against their profession as a medical expert. How does a health professional who smokes understand, interpret, and personalize their habits and behaviors? By analyzing "smoking areas" in hospitals, smoking literature, and smoking through select images, this presentation explores the risk management tactics employed by health professionals when it comes to their own health.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Elsa Fan

Survey of arthropods using decaying wood in Missouri urban parks

Koki Toyama, J. Megan Woltz

In forest ecosystems, organisms use dead wood both as an energy source and for shelter. Wood decay stage has been shown to affect the abundance and diversity of arthropods in natural forests, but little is known about arthropods in urban parks. Therefore, this project aimed to assess arthropod diversity under the coarse woody debris in two parks in St. Charles County, Missouri. We expected arthropod diversity underneath decaying logs to increase as the decay stage progresses. Logs with at least 10 cm in diameter and 20 cm in length were categorized into three decay stages based on wood shape, texture and presence or absence of bark. All arthropods present were collected from underneath 54 logs of each decay stage with an insect vacuum. Insects were identified to orders or to families, and other arthropods were identified to class. Identification is ongoing, but preliminary analyses suggest that arthropod abundance and diversity underneath logs the three decay stages was similar. The most common arthropod taxa found in decaying logs were beetles, flies, ants, termites, collembola, myriapods, isopods, ticks, and spiders. This study provides baseline data for future examinations of how the composition of the arthropod community influences decomposition rates.

Faculty Mentor: Megan Woltz

Seasonal Differentiation of Lonicera japonica's invasive properties on Arabidopsis thaliana

Emma Weidman

Invasive plant species exhibit inhibition and negative growth patterns on native plants. The lack of viability, failure in reproduction, and a decrease in growth of these native plants species causes a decrease in biodiversity on invaded environments. This decrease is deleterious to the natural flow of energy of an ecosystem and places a fortune on funds for restoration efforts. Lonicera japonica, Japanese Honeysuckle, is one plant that possesses the characteristics of an invasive species through resource competition. This invasive plant also shows evidence of an understudied mechanism of invasion, allelopathy. Comparing different concentrations of early and late season honeysuckle extracts from leaves will add to the greater body of knowledge in hope of identifying an (allelopathic) mechanism that would be, in part, responsible for invasion along with resource competition. This knowledge would help save money for control efforts in ecological prevention and restoration, and add to the body of knowledge working toward bringing back biodiversity and viability to an ecosystem's proper functioning.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Mary Preuss

Use of Laryngeal Mask Airways by Practicing CRNAs in Patients Reporting GERD

Christin Weir, Sally Santangelo

The purpose of this study is to assess the use of laryngeal mask airways (LMAs) by certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) in patients who report gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Laryngeal mask airway use is generally considered to be contraindicated in situations with high risk of pulmonary aspiration due to the lack of lung isolation. Gastroesophageal reflux disease has been considered a contraindication for LMA use since its inception. Patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease experience spontaneous regurgitation due to comprised lower esophageal sphincter function. In the last two decades, it has become commonplace for anesthesia practitioners to use LMAs in patients with GERD if the patient's symptoms are considered well-controlled. This study electronically surveyed certified registered nurse anesthetists in the United States. 284 surveys were completed. The responses will be analyzed in an attempt to elicit certain correlations. Parameters to be evaluated include type of LMA available at the facility as well as type of facility in which the CRNA practices. The frequency in which CRNAs read current research publications will also be analyzed. This study hopes to provide information about CRNAs attitudes toward GERD as well as how they use current literature in their decision making.

Faculty Mentor: Jill Stulce

How the Patriarchal System Within Ghana Affects Women's Access to Food

Evelyn Whitehead

In this presentation, we will take a close look at the food scarcity situation of women in Ghana, and how the inherent patriarchal system within this country plays a participating role within it. This issue was advised as a topic for research because many people believe that non-Western countries do not fall prey to the same patriarchal structures as those countries in the West. Data for this presentation was collected by gathering information on: the number of women who are legally married in Ghana, the number of women who own land in Ghana, and the number of women who are currently enrolled in some-type of schooling in Ghana. Through conducting this research, it was found that women are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to land ownership rights in the country, as most of the laws that speak to owning land, favor Ghanaian men. This discovery within itself is telling, because, generally, if a person or family is not allotted land to farm on - they will not eat. I have found conducting this research to be important because it could lead to new revelations as to how family life is carried out in Ghana, and additionally this research could help to develop some new avenues as to how food insecurity amongst women in Ghana could be prevented.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Danielle MacCartney

The Governators

Katelyn Wigmore, Joshua Humphrey, Jay Wortham, Sarah Adzick, Dave Cartier, Ruby Parks, Kaiti Richardt, Hailey Meersman

The purpose of this Curriculum Extention Project (CEP) was to design a lesson for nineteen 4th and 5th graders at The Soulard School on the three Branches of Government (Legislative, Executive, and Judicial) and the Bill of Rights of the United States of America. The CEP was a project that was a part of CMAT 5000 Teaching In A Diverse Society curriculum. The essential question asked of the students was, "How does the government operate in our everyday lives?" The students worked through four learning stations where they learned to identify and explain the functions of three Branches of Government and the rights included in the Bill of Rights. They gained information through a variety of activities, discussions, STEM, and art. Their final presentation and assessment was a poster which they created while working through the four stations. The poster allowed students to demonstrate their knowledge of the government's operation in their lives.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Basiyr Rodney

A Journey of Learning Boats

Rui Zhang, Emily Helton, Mollie Worthington, Jane Shepherd

This lesson is part of a unit on transportation learning, which focuses on helping students to recognize different types of boats and understand what makes a boat float. By the end of the lesson students are expected to understand the principle of buoyancy and demonstrate the skills of creativity by using recyclable materials to create their dream boats. The course is going to be presented around a main story which is about an adventurer prepares to voyage to China, students will play the roles of ship designers in this story, their primary mission is to design a floatable boat to help this adventurer realizes his dream. The returned adventurer will bring back a video he took in China as a reward for being helped by the students in the class. At the end of this lesson, students are encouraged to make a thank-you video and share their boats with friends in China. The adventurer will continue the journey, where is the destination? What kind of transportation will be taken in the future? Let's look forward to hearing more stories from him.

Faculty Mentor: Amy Cross

Argo : Hollywood's False Attempt to Change

Nina Zorko

This analysis explores the issues of representation and racist images in Hollywood productions through the analysis of a historical fiction film, Argo. Produced by Ben Affleck, this motion picture was purported to be "based on a true story", which was later amended to "loosely based on a true story", of the American embassy hostage crisis of 1979 in Tehran. The movie used the actual footage of violence that occurred during the revolution in Tehran, which was one of the areas of interest of this study. The present analysis utilized Siapera's (2010) regimes of representation to evaluate the level of racism and the extent of potential issues and consequences that the Muslim population worldwide might face in the aftermath of the movie's release around the world. Additionally, Argo's content was evaluated in relation to its representation of historical facts and other countries' contributions to the rescue mission of the escaped hostages. The findings of this paper identify and evaluate issues and potential consequences of racism and misrepresentation of groups, nations and facts. Methodology used also attempts to serve as a template for analysis of other Hollywood productions, in hopes of raising awareness and breaking patterns of misrepresentation.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Anthony Löwstedt

Additional Student Events

STEM Learning Community Presentations on Environmental Issues

The students in "Your Ecological Footprint" First Year Seminar and the STEM Learning Community present their semester projects on environmental issues that adversely affect our own ecological footprint on the planet.  Students selected their own topics based on interest.  This research and analysis is represented in both a written paper and a poster, and includes recommendations for improving these critical issues.  

Faculty Mentor: Carolyn I. Brown

First Year Seminar Showcase

First Year Seminar Showcase

First Year Seminar is one of the undergraduate degree requirements of the Global Citizenship Program at Webster University. Seminars are taught on a broad range of interdisciplinary topics. Each seminar is designed to help students integrate what they learn across disciplines and connect academic knowledge and life experience. Topics change from year to year, but all of these small classes help prepare students for college and for learning in life after graduation. This year's FYS Showcase includes research by students on a diverse range of topics, from contemporary schooling, to the history of theatre at Webster, and from the Missouri Botanical Garden, to the community of Webster Groves.

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Ralph Olliges