Research Across Disciplines: Spring 2017 Conference


Conference Overview

Friday, May 5

8 a.m - 3:30 p.m.

  • 8:00 a.m. Registration & Breakfast
    2nd Floor Lobby & Edward Jones Commons
  • 9:00 a.m. Opening Remarks- Provost Julian Schuster
    Edward Jones Commons
  • 9:30 a.m. Oral Presentation Sessions I & II
    Rooms 137 & 232
  • 11:00 a.m. Oral Presentation Sessions III & IV
    Rooms 232 & 137
  • 12:00 p.m. Lunch Break
  • 1:00 p.m. Keystone Students Presentation & Oral Presentation Session V 
    Rooms 254 & 232
  • 2:00 p.m. Oral Presentations Sessions VI & VII
    Rooms 232 & 137

Saturday, May 6

8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

  • 8:00 a.m. Registration & Breakfast
    2nd Floor Lobby & Edward Jones Commons
  • 9:00 a.m. Opening Remarks- President Elizabeth Stroble
    Edward Jones Commons
  • 9:30 a.m. Oral Presentation Sessions VIII & IX
    Rooms 137 & 232
  • 11:00 a.m. Oral Presentation Session X & Poster Presentations
    Room 137 & Edward Jones Commons

Presentation Schedule

Friday, May 5

ORAL PRESENTATION SESSION I

9:30 a.m. East Academic Building | Room  137

  • Issues in the Quality Management System Implementation in SMEs in Serbia
    Jovana Djuric
  • Key Facilitating Factors of Lifelong Learning
    Vera Meshcheriakova-Klabacher
  • It’s All Drag! An Analysis of Non-Binary and Gender Nonconforming Identities
    Kalani Seaver
  • Non-Binary Gender Identity and Spirituality/Religiosity
    Andrew Wagner

ORAL PRESENTATION SESSION II

9:30 a.m. East Academic Building | Room  232

  • Tackling terrorism in East Africa by developing cultural negotiation and entrepreneurship.
    Lulay Kassa
  • Intimate Terrorism, Psychological Enslavement, and Private Torture: Reconceptualizing Intimate Partner Violence Using a Human Rights Framework
    Hafsa Mansoor
  • China’s regional image and status in East Asian region-A responsible great power with zero tolerance for provocation on Taiwan Issue
    Yu Mu
  • A Look into Food Insecurity on College Campuses . . . And Why Everyone Should Care About this Phenomena
    Evelyn Whitehead

ORAL PRESENTATION SESSION III

11:00 a.m. East Academic Building | Room  232

  • Kinematics with Robotics - Using an Arduino based robot to study motion in physics
    Megan Brandt, Ravin Kodikara
  • Comparing Acoustic and Visual Surveys of Bees During Blueberry Pollination
    Valerie Martin
  • Dissecting the functional components of the PIN1 promoter, an Auxin Efflux Family Carrier Protein in Arabidopsis thaliana
    Sophia Stair

ORAL PRESENTATION SESSION IV

11:00 a.m. East Academic Building | Room 137

  • School Resource Officers in the United States: Statistics, Research, and Perspectives
    Patrick McGuirk
  • The Evolution of the American Political Mistress: Exploring the Communication Techniques During Political Scandals
    Charissa Paschke
  • Conference Attendance and Presentation: A Journey to the Society for Cross Cultural Research Conference 2017
    Jennifer Pierce, Maria Escalona

ORAL PRESENTATION SESSION V

1:00 p.m East Academic Building | Room 232

  • A Peer Support Vocational Program for Women with Employment Barriers due to Mental Health- and/or Substance Abuse-Related Issues
    Sheila Mihalick
  • Redefining Racism
    Morgan Rabe
  • Gender Policing: Transwomen and the US Criminal Justice System
    Kalani Seaver

ORAL PRESENTATION SESSION VI

2:00 p.m. East Academic Building | Room 232

  • The Impact of Women’s Education on The Initiation or Escalation of Conflict
    Jinyu Bao
  • European Perceptions of Civilization as Reflected by Imperial Missions to Civilize
    Marissa Beccard
  • Domestic Violence and the Law
    Joyce Davis

ORAL PRESENTATION SESSION VII

2:00 p.m. East Academic Building | Room 137

  • Media’s Representation of the Discrimination of Women in India Based on Skin Color
    Zohra Coday
  • Criminals and the System
    Bree Crumpton
  • Broken Window Policies: A Comparison of Rural to Urban
    Tyler Fear
  • The Navigation of Non-Monosexual Identities within Relationships
    Jarren Gorka

Saturday, May 6

ORAL PRESENTATION SESSION VIII

9:30 a.m. East Academic Building | Room 137

  • An Assessment of Success, Effectiveness and Sustainability of Bangkok’s Startup Community
    Roshan Adhikari, Raymond Ledesma
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and their influences on angiotensin conversion and heart rate
    Jacob Marsh
  • Knowledge of Security Protocols and Acceptance of E-commerce
    Sumendra Singh, Dr. Leslie Klieb
  • The effect of Bacillus thuringiensis on non-target organisms
    Rowena Messmore

ORAL PRESENTATION SESSION IX

9:30 a.m. East Academic Building | Room 232

  • Reclaiming the Past: China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative
    Madeleine Biggs
  • The First Generation of Chinese Immigrants in America: the Construction of Transnational Identity in Geling Yan’s Novel The Lost Daughter of Happiness
    Tianlin Li
  • Commonalities of Community Displacement
    Hattie Svoboda-Stel

ORAL PRESENTATION SESSION X

11:00 a.m. East Academic Building | Room 137

  • Analysis of The Turn of the Screw
    Max Nutter, Nicholas Furhmann, Aaron Tomey
  • How Familial Expectations Affect Education and Career Paths for Women from Venezuela, Iran, and Japan: An Exploratory Study
    Jennifer Pierce, Maria Escalona
  • In Learning we Bloom
    Sally Talal, Maria Stoli
  • Digital Learning Programme
    Joy Warugi

POSTER PRESENTATION SESSION

11:00 a.m. East Academic Building | Edward Jones Commons

  • Sentiment Analysis using R
    Shiloh Bradley, Erik Palmore
  • Childhood Mental Health and Stigma
    Madeleine Cain, Megan Haas
  • The Triumphs and Tragedies of the United States in the Sixties.
    Christian Hargas
  • Exploring Connections within the Circadian Clock: the LWD1, LWD2, TIC Interactome
    Sarah Huss
  • Predicting the Three-Dimensional Structures of Mutated Glypican-3 Proteins in Zebrafish
    Ameera Jaouni, Kaley Reedy, Matthew Tossick, Heather Wiegmann
  • Comparative Analysis of Freshwater Microbial Diversity
    Anthony Fairman, Masha Kinley, Aaron McCrary,  Patrick Rosenthal, Mary Lai Preuss
  • Annotating the Kalah2 Bacteriophage Genome
    Jacob Marsh, Shiloh Bradley, Joshua Embry, Ryan Glasgow, Mason Justin, Rohan Keenoy, Kennedy Killion-Johnson, Taylor Kissel, Richard Le, Jacob Marsh, AbdAllah Mitchell, Victoria Brown-Kennerly, Mary Preuss
  • Internet Gaming Disorder
    Reese Moore, Sam Fross
  • Abnormal or Just A Little Kinky?: A Look At BDSM
    Tiara Moye
  • The Effect of Thermal Stress on Growth in the Tobacco Hornworm
    T. Ritter, M. Kanan, and C. Englert
  • Effect of Plant Polyphenolic Compounds on the Melanoma Cells
    Galyna Sergach, Stephanie C. Schroeder

Abstracts

An Assessment of Success, Effectiveness and Sustainability of Bangkok’s Startup Community

Roshan Adhikari, Raymond Ledesma

Bangkok startup community is definitely up-scaling just like the majority of Thai startups that have yet to experience overall boom or bust. The steady growth of the Thai startup ecosystem has been fueled by the startup zeal among cross-cultural entrepreneurs, international venture capitalist funds, local tech incubators, co-working spaces and several platforms that facilitate networking and peer-to-peer discussions among the local entrepreneurs, techies and investors. Such is a quick snapshot of Bangkok startup community.

To goad the startup success, ‘Thailand 4.0’ economic model, a 20-year national policy for Smart Thailand, is being chalked out by the Thai government to support creative and innovative startups. Similarly, the local banks and financial institutions have started investing in Thai startups, the lawyers are getting more expert at investment legalities, and the fund available for the Thai startups is ever-increasing. However, despite the availability of well-equipped open innovation platforms, large investments available for Thai startups, governmental support and modern technical infrastructures, majority of Thai startups are having hard time fund-raising and thriving internationally. Skimming across the pluralities in inter-governmental policies, corporate practices, investment environments and startup cultures, this research has assessed their success, interrogated on their effectiveness and sustainability, and drawn systemic and pragmatic recommendations.

Faculty Mentor: Raymond Ledesma


The Impact of Women’s Education on The Initiation or Escalation of Conflict

Jinyu Bao

This research focuses on the impact of women’s empowerment through women and girls’ education on reducing the likelihood of both intrastate and interstate conflicts. Women’s education benefits our society in a variety of ways, including lowering population growth rate, increasing in the supply of resources by utilizing the productivity of newly educated female labor, and so on. This research will study the positive influence of women’s education, especially about it’s effect on reducing resource scarcity and the conflicts induced by disputes over vital resources such as water and food.

Faculty Mentor: Amanda Rosen


European Perceptions of Civilization as Reflected by Imperial Missions to Civilize

Marissa Beccard

This project examines European Imperialism and its attitudes towards the non-European peoples it encountered. It looks into how Europeans defined their civilization as distinct and superior to how the rest of the world lived, and how they attempted to spread their civilization throughout the world. It identifies and investigates three major European attitudes towards civilization; firstly that it was Christian, secondly that it fostered scientific and technological progress, and finally that it was enforced by a system of law.

Faculty Mentor: Warren Rosenblum


Reclaiming the Past: China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative

Madeleine Biggs

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, also known as the One Belt, One Road initiative, is set to directly impact two-thirds of the world’s population and one-third of the global GDP. However, the initiative is primarily discussed in economic and political circles outside of the United States. This paper aims to open a new line of discussion about the significance of the One Belt, One Road initiative in a way that people who do not have a working understanding of Chinese history and culture can participate in the conversation. The basic economic equations for supply and demand will be used to aid the explanation of the historical processes that gave rise to the initiative. The One Belt, One Road initiative is a way for the People’s Republic of China to utilize the historical connections of the Silk Road in order to create a new model of regional cooperation that promotes global economic stability.

Faculty Mentor: Don Conway-Long


Sentiment Analysis using R

Shiloh Bradley, Erik Palmore

While traditional course evaluations are useful and insightful, they leave a large gap in time where the true sentiments of college/ university students are not being considered. With this idea in mind, we have formed a novel idea to perform sentiment analysis on tweets that have been scraped from Twitter through a statistical programming language known as R. Through R, we have developed a script that allows a user to login to twitter, pull tweets based on words they are searching for, and store these results in a data frame. After a data frame is formed, we run additional scripts that can remove retweets, find and replace emojis, create word clouds, and also tell us word frequencies. This is a powerful tool that anyone can run to see what users say and how positive or negative the statements are. Our hope is that this will help educators find feedback in an unconventional way as well as find honest, raw feedback from students.

Faculty Mentor: Erik Palmore


Kinematics with Robotics - Using an Arduino based robot to study motion in physics

Megan Brandt, Ravin Kodikara

This abstract describes a physics education research project with the objective of improving undergraduate physics laboratory activities related to kinematics. A mobile robot is constructed and programmed to simulate various kinematic problems relevant to the undergraduate University Physics course. DC servo motors are used to achieve precision movements, and an Arduino based microcontroller is used for controlling the robot.  These robots are used in physics lab activities where students are first given an introduction to basic microcontroller programming and electronics. Upon gaining experience in programming, students are challenged to simulate real-world physics problems. This unique interdisciplinary merger of physics, mathematics and contemporary technology makes the labs more attractive and promote critical thinking.

Faculty Mentor: Ravin Kodikara


Childhood Mental Health and Stigma

Madeleine Cain, Megan Haas

Stigma is conceptualized by Corrigan and Watson (2002, p. 16) as “...stereotypes and prejudice that result from misconceptions about mental illness.”Research shows that stigmas can promote power, kindness, anxiety and rejection. This poster will review the research literature regarding stigma related to children who have a mental health diagnosis and their families. The poster has three aims. Our first objective is to compare the stigma associated with certain disorders. For example, the difference in degree of stigma associated with anxiety compared to oppositional defiant disorder. Second, family stigma will be explored; specifically, we examine the research regarding both how the family views a child with a mental health diagnosis in that family and how society sees a family who has a child with a mental health diagnosis. Finally, we will examine how stigma affects children and their families. A discussion of these issues is important for both the general community and mental health professionals. It is important for individuals to understand how their beliefs in stigmas alter their behavior and thinking toward individuals with mental health diagnoses and their families.

Faculty Mentor: Amanda Kracen


Media’s Representation of the Discrimination of Women in India Based on Skin Color

Zohra Coday

The promotion of skin lightening creams through advertisements play a role in the idea of colorism and which skin color is prefered. Colorism is evident at least since India’s period of colonization, and exemplifies color conscious ideals in India by showing that preferences and commercialization of products are ways to help with people being too dark. Previous research on fairness cream advertisements show skin color plays an essential role in the status of certain individuals and their (in)ability to gain social standing in their society. This project takes an ethnographic approach of fairness creams and is taken by evaluating the consumerism and advertising of fairness creams, looking at the history of India, Bollywood actors promotion of productions, and supposed skin lightening color guide. Although fairness creams have been barred from television, companies like Oreal and Unilever contribute to these continued sales in fairness creams. Women are majorly affected by these ads and a woman’s gender, race, and skin tone, can have negative effects on her self-esteem. This triple-jeopardy, exemplified through the fairness cream consumer market, shows the pathways to promoting and esaturbating a color conscious society through practices other than advertisements. By evaluating fairness cream ads an effort is made to address the policy of products with whitening properties still being sold in India.

Faculty Mentor: Danielle MacCartney


Criminals and the System

Bree Crumpton

This presentation will review the literature on serial killers with the intention of demonstrating that killer’s actions are the result of biological factors. Should a biological connection between killers be found, then finding and stopping killers before they ever commit a crime could become easier. Serial killers have been a fascination for as long as they have existed, but they have remained a somewhat unsolvable subject area. Biological causes for their violence have been discovered, but other >factors also influence serial killers. It is true that more violent individuals come from broken homes, have low income, have low education, and various other unattractive circumstances. However, it is also true that mental illness and violence share an overlap. Killers are often evaluated and interviewed after they are caught, and the crimes have already been committed, but if a common link can be found between all killers, then they could potentially be stopped before they commit any crimes. There is a multitude of factors that play into the creation of each individual, but I conclude that the primary influencing factor is biological factors they were born with.

Faculty Mentor: Danielle MacCartney


Domestic Violence and the Law

Joyce Davis

My presentation topic will be on Domestic Violence and the Law. I have gathered research on the topic through peer review articles, and books as well as from legislation and statutes. My presentation will show how much is known on the topic and why it needs to be explored more. The reasons why it is underreported. Why we need to have these policies and have the funding to support those policies. To gain awareness on the topic and undrstand that even though it is labeled domestic violence it is not a domestic problem. In order to do this I will use the data and the methods used to gather that data as support for my claim.

Faculty Mentor: Danielle MacCartney


Issues in the Quality Management System Implementation in SMEs in Serbia

Jovana Djuric

Due to constant changes in global markets, many companies use the Quality Management System (QMS) to persistently improve their organization and management practices in order to meet customer demand. However, research shows that the QMS often is not implemented properly, and therefore does not fulfill its purpose. This research aims to identify factors that may cause incorrect implementation of the QMS. Cases in which the QMS implementation has not been efficient or situations in which companies have already implemented it while having problems are analyzed. For this study, 13 firms were randomly selected among ISO 9001 certified SME companies in Serbia, belonging to different industries. Semi-structured questionnaires were completed by the certification body and the certified companies as well as in-depth interviews were conducted with a consultant and an auditor. The results show that factors such as leadership, management commitment, defining processes and activities, monitoring, evaluating and valuing the systems are causing the QMS not to fulfill its purpose. This research suggests improvements in the process effectiveness for companies having issues with the QMS implementation.

Faculty Mentor: Pernille Eskerod


Broken Window Policies: A Comparison of Rural to Urban

Tyler Fear

Broken windows policies and theory have been growing in popularity for some time now. New York City, Chicago, and most recently Los Angeles are the go to examples of how broken window policies and policing are used to control crime. However, most cities in today’s current political climate have some kind of broken windows policy, including St. Louis City and St. Louis County. These are usually laws placed on the local level. Such as, no riding your bike on the sidewalk, spitting on the sidewalk, stop question and frisk, no tagging or graffiti, consumption of alcohol on streets, minor marijuana possession, disorderly conduct, trespassing, loitering, disturbing the peace (including loud music), and jaywalking. They are sometimes called nuisance crimes because they are of low priority to the police. However, there has been more and more people being fined and arrested for these crimes, possibly show a shift in policing behavior. This research will show how crime rates differ between rural and urban communities to better understand those differences so policymakers can form laws that do not hurt the community but help it grow.

Faculty Mentor: Danielle MacCartney


The Navigation of Non-Monosexual Identities within Relationships

Jarren Gorka

Prior research on role division and relationship maintenance behaviors have focused heavily on heterosexual and homosexual individuals within cohabitating relationships without mention of those who may exist between or outside of the sexual binary. The inclusion of bisexual, pansexual, queer, and fluid individuals are of interest not just for the legitimization of the communities, but to understand the ways in which non-monosexuals can and do use their sexualities to disrupt spaces and common conceptions of sex and gender regarding household dynamics. Within this study, the division of household tasks, the division of finances, relationship maintenance behaviors, and conflict are examined within twelve relationships where at least one individual between the ages of 22 and 34 is attracted to more than one gender and has lived with a partner for more than six months. The identity politics behind how and why participants name their non-monosexual identity are also examined. This work legitimatizes sidelined communities in the study of family and relationships, suggests that relationships, especially minority relationships, are far more complex than prior research has grasped, and answers the “but why?” question regarding household dynamics through an open discussion that prior research has failed to do through their research methods.

Faculty Mentor: Danielle MacCartney


The Triumphs and Tragedies of the United States in the Sixties.

Christian Hargas

The United States, during the sixties, experienced periods of triumph and tragedy. This creative display project will help illustrate the major pillars of the decade, ranging from the rise and fall of the Civil Rights Movement to the unfortunate assassination of John F. Kennedy to the “Great Society” of Lyndon B. Johnson and the controversial United States involvement in Vietnam to the shift in political activism and how social movements impacted the political spectrum. Entertainment also played an important role, with the rise of rock and roll music, critically/historically acclaimed films and national sporting events (the first ever Super Bowl). The fifties brought about a new America. The sixties will do the same.

Faculty Mentor: John Chappell


Exploring Connections within the Circadian Clock: the LWD1, LWD2, TIC Interactome

Sarah Huss

In Arabiopsis thaliana, the circadian clock regulates many physiological functions such as flowering time, hypocotyl elongation, photoperiod length, rhythmicity, and vegetative growth. Due to its complexity, much remains unknown about how its components function and interact with each other. Two recently discovered genes, LIGHT REGULATED WD1 and LIGHT REGULATED WD2, are exemplary of the mystery that surrounds the clock. This study focuses on characterizing the functions of these genes, as well as their connections to TIME FOR COFFEE and the evening complex in the circadian clock. This study is an exploratory analysis of these genes, using phenotypic and biochemical assays to clarify interactions between the proteins of interest.

Faculty Mentor: Mary Preuss


Predicting the Three-Dimensional Structures of Mutated Glypican-3 Proteins in Zebrafish

Ameera Jaouni, Kaley Reedy, Matthew Tossick, Heather Wiegmann

Human mutations in the Glypican-3 gene cause the Simpson-Golabi-Behmel Syndrome (SGBS) a pleiotropic syndrome that includes cleft palate and bone overgrowth. We are studying zebrafish that carry mutations in the glypican-3 gene to determine whether these mutations cause similar phenotypes to those seen in humans. We found a 42% amino acid similarity between wildtype sequences in humans and zebrafish. Using three-dimensional protein modeling, we showed that they have comparable overall structures. We wish to determine the likely conformation of mutated Gpc-3 proteins in zebrafish. The biological implications of these mutant proteins have yet to be determined.

Faculty Mentor: Stephenie Paine-Saunders


Tackling terrorism in East Africa by developing cultural negotiation and entrepreneurship.

Lulay Kassa

The purpose of this study is to define terrorism in many perspectives and to propose possible solutions to tackle the problems in East Africa. Terrorism is one of the social concerns that disrupts the lives of  many people in the world. The effects of this disruption has escalated gradually in East Africa over within the past few decades. This research is based upon theoretical perspectives on terrorism from International relations and challenges policymakers in East Africa for using western counterterrorism programs, which causes effects to state’s foreign policy after starting the implementations of policies that intensify continuous attacks around the region. The paper also proposes cultural negotiation as a primary solutions, which is considered by the author to be preferable to the social entrepreneurship and state level negotiations as secondary solutions to tackle terrorism in East Africa.

Faculty Mentor: Don-Conway Long


Comparative Analysis of Freshwater Microbial Diversity

Anthony Fairman, Masha Kinley, Aaron McCrary,  Patrick Rosenthal, Mary Lai Preuss

This project carried out a comparative analysis of diversity of microbial communities in three bodies of water in the St. Louis area. One of these, the Webster Natural Area, is a man-made retention pond that is being redeveloped into a more natural area. This study also examines the change in microbial communities in the Natural Area after the installation of an aerator. Water samples were collected from each area every other month over a period of two years. Total DNA was extracted and PCR of 16S and 18S amplicons was performed. The quality of PCR amplicons was analyzed with bioanalyzer, and a library was prepared for high throughput sequencing on the Illumina MiSeq sequencing system. Data processing and analysis were performed using the QIIME software. B-diversity analyses demonstrated that installation of the aerator helped to bring the Natural Area closer in line with other more established bodies of water.

Faculty Mentor: Mary Preuss


The First Generation of Chinese Immigrants in America: the Construction of Transnational Identity in Geling Yan’s Novel The Lost Daughter of Happiness

Tianlin Li

The construction of cultural identity for immigrants is becoming a hot-debated issue with the development of globalization. Confronted with cultural conflicts and assimilations happened during immigration, discussions on how to define immigrants culturally vary from melting pot theory to cultural pluralism theory in anthropology field. Many immigrant writers gave out their thoughts about developing a new cultural identity through literature creations. This research studies the piece of history about the first generation of Chinese immigrants in America during Gold Rush era, and demonstrates a literature analysis of the fiction The Lost Daughter of Happiness by Geling Yan that is set in this historical background. Through the discussion of certain cultural concepts and contexts from the novel, it aims to give the audience especially the immigrants a multicultural awareness for them to fit into the cultural globalization trend.

Faculty Mentor: Don Conway-Long


Intimate Terrorism, Psychological Enslavement, and Private Torture: Reconceptualizing Intimate Partner Violence Using a Human Rights Framework

Hafsa Mansoor

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a disconcertingly prevalent and devastating phenomenon in U.S. society and one which too often goes unaddressed. Reconceptualizing IPV within a human rights framework can enable more survivors of IPV to access justice, as it provides internationally-accepted standards, language, and mechanisms by which to measure governmental responsibility for private harm. Specifically, this paper proposes that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is an appropriate tool by which to define the U.S’s failure to respond to IPV as a human rights violation. Incomplete definitions of IPV which— through their omissions— do not represent the totality of the abuse suffered thereby impeding victims’ access to justice and enabling private torture. Sex discrimination and intersecting systems of oppression which deny survivors of IPV access to legal resources violate their human rights to equal protection and freedom from discrimination. Further, the state’s failure to consider alternative solutions to end abuse beyond separation-based policies and its enforcement of mandatory arrest and no-drop prosecution policies violate survivors’ human rights to effective remedy. Each of these state failures constitutes a breach of the U.S responsibilities as a party to the ICCPR and, as such, a human rights violation.

Faculty Mentor: Don Conway Long


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and their influences on angiotensin conversion and heart rate

Jacob Marsh

Recent studies have shown that an increased overall heart rate can act similarly to high blood pressure when it comes to the development of various cardiovascular ailments. In this study we have tested whether non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) influence heart rates in Drosophila melanogaster. In addition to observing changes in heart rate, we have chosen a range of mutants, that when tested, may provide insight into the role of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) in maintaining a homeostatic heart rate. Three strains of Drosophila were tested including two mutant strains containing mutations in their angiotensin conversion enzyme, and a wildtype strain to serve as a control. Drosophila were treated with various NSAIDs that included both selective and non-selective cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme inhibitors in order to establish a connection between heart rate and active COX enzyme inhibition. Through experimental trials it has been observed that COX-2 selective NSAIDs produce a statistically significant change on the heart rate of strain specific mutants, whereas non-selective NSAIDs illustrate no significant difference.

Faculty Mentor: Stephanie Schroeder


Annotating the Kalah2 Bacteriophage Genome

Jacob Marsh, Shiloh Bradley, Joshua Embry, Ryan Glasgow, Mason Justin, Rohan Keenoy, Kennedy Killion-Johnson, Taylor Kissel, Richard Le, Jacob Marsh, AbdAllah Mitchell, Victoria Brown-Kennerly, Mary Preuss

The world of viruses is still vastly undocumented and even less understood. These organisms have the ability to infect and take over their host’s cellular machinery in order to replicate and produce progeny. Even more astonishing, viruses can infect any type of cell, either eukaryotic or prokaryotic, and while we have a semi-firm grasp on the processes involved in eukaryotic viral infection, there is still much to be discovered about the same process in prokaryotic organisms. Through the SeaPhages program, undergraduate research students are attempting to find and genetically sequence novel bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacterial cells). After the sequencing of these bacteriophages is completed, their genomes must be annotated using biological databases and DNA analysis software. Previously, students isolated an unknown bacteriophage that would come to be known as Kalah2, who was then sent off to University of Pittsburgh for genomic sequencing. Currently, Kalah2 is being annotated by students here at Webster University utilizing a variety of bioinformatics tools to see how the genome compares to other closely related J cluster bacteriophages. Through this process students have been able to determine specific start and stop sites for protein coding genes, as well as assign various functions when applicable.

Faculty Mentor: Mary Preuss


Comparing Acoustic and Visual Surveys of Bees During Blueberry Pollination

Valerie Martin

Wild pollinators, primarily bees, contribute to $9 billion of the U.S. economy and play an irreplaceable role in our ecosystems. Recent declines of domestic and wild bee species could threaten the reproductive success of the crop and wild plants they visit. To assist practitioners in establishing more effective management strategies, large-scale monitoring of  pollination services are required. In this research, I test the efficacy of a novel acoustic  survey technique for monitoring pollination services to blueberries.  This non-invasive technique leverages the sounds bees make while flying and foraging to estimate bee pollination services.  I  conducted acoustic and visual surveys of bee foragers on blueberries at a farm in St. Charles County, with one plot that supplements wild pollinators with four honey bee colonies and one that supplements with two.  I tested for buzz density and differences in buzz frequency among foraging bee species. Preliminary analyses suggest that buzz density correlated with bee densities. Bee species also differed in buzz frequency with smaller bees producing higher frequency buzzes. To assess pollination services, pollen receipt was quantified and the average fruit set and berry weight at each farm was determined.  The results of this research will contribute to the further refinement of acoustic survey techniques.

Faculty Mentor: Nicole Miller-Struttmann


School Resource Officers in the United States: Statistics, Research, and Perspectives

Patrick McGuirk

After the Columbine school shooting, school resource officers (SROs) became a prominent part of many schools in the United States. Highly publicized events in recent years involving SROs have put the discussion as to their lawfulness and effectiveness back on the table. My research has shown a disparity between what SROs are trained for and what their roles in schools have become. Additionally, most states do not require specialized training for SROs which can potentially create confusion among SROs and schools as to their roles in schools and can lead to more incidents that put the SRO position into question. Research also shows that schools using higher security measures such as metal detectors and strip searches conducted by SROs lead to a less perceived sense of security among students. In order to combat this perception, we believe specialized SRO training should be mandatory in all states across the country. Missouri is a state that requires specialized SRO training and provides a clear directive and guidelines for SROs working in Missouri schools. Missouri’s policy can be used as a framework for other SRO systems in the country.

Faculty Mentor: Deborah Stiles


Key Facilitating Factors of Lifelong Learning

Vera Meshcheriakova-Klabacher

It is commonly understood that deliberate learning can and should accompany people throughout their lifetime. This paper investigates the factors that may influence people’s decision to participate in lifelong learning, such as age, gender, number of children below 18 in the household, educational and employment status. For the purposes of this paper lifelong learning is understood as participation in any educational program that lead to a degree or certificate, online courses, or training within a company by people between 25 and 64 years old. This paper also studies the reasons, why people participate in lifelong learning and why they do not. The empirical data was collected by a survey, which was completed by 84 people. Although the sample cannot be called representative enough, since the majority of the survey participants have master or doctoral degrees, it still provides a first look into understanding of driving factors for life long learning. The growing scientific interest in life long learning can be explained by the fact that it will likely shape the labor market in the near future as it is likely to reward those who are willing to continuously augment their human capital in the fast changing demand for new skills.

Faculty Mentor: Luba Habodaszova


The effect of Bacillus thuringiensis on non-target organisms

Rowena Messmore

Genetic engineering has generated crops resistant to predation by caterpillars, such as transgenic “Bt corn” expressing the cry gene from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. Cry is toxic to insects that eat crops, such as the European corn borer and corn rootworm, but suspicion exists in the literature that this toxin remains in the environment and adversely affects other invertebrate species.  One controversial paper suggests the Bt Cry toxin may even affect honeybee longevity and navigation.  Ants are close Hymenopteran relatives to honeybees, thus we wondered whether Bt bacteria or its toxin would affect the survival or tunneling behavior of ants. We hypothesized that the Bt-based insecticide would be toxic and thus reduce tunneling productivity.

Using Western Harvester ants in a quantitative assay for tunneling, we tested commonly available Thuricide at relevant field application doses, and observed no apparent toxicity to the ants; however, tunneling productivity was reduced dose-dependently. Thuricide is a complex formula, thus we isolated pure Bt cultures in standard lab culture media.  We found the lab media alone had no effect on ants, and indeed the bacterial culture appeared to stimulate tunneling.  We conclude that the Bt bacteria has little effect on ants, but some other ingredient in the Thuricide inhibits ant productivity.  We are currently investigating other ingredients for bioactivity in this assay.

Faculty Mentor: Victoria Brown-Kennerly


A Peer Support Vocational Program for Women with Employment Barriers due to Mental Health- and/or Substance Abuse-Related Issues

Sheila Mihalick

Individuals who have mental health and/or substance abuse issues experience a diminished sense of hope and self-efficacy that can worsen symptoms or impede recovery. Outcomes improve for these individuals when services are delivered by peers who have lived experience with and successfully overcome the same issues. Peer-delivered vocational programs are likewise efficacious for individuals whose mental health and/or substance use problems have created barriers to employment. Women in particular face significantly more barriers to employment, yet they are less likely to use vocational services. Such “difficult-to-employ” women--those with a dual diagnosis, a history of homelessness, incarceration, or domestic violence--show gains from structured vocational programs utilizing peer support services. However, these programs require a substantial investment of time, personnel, or funds. Therefore, a short-term, publicly accessible, peer-delivered vocational program for “difficult-to-employ” women, broadly defined, will be proposed.

Faculty Mentor: Robin Moore-Chambers and Melissa Spriggs


Internet Gaming Disorder

Reese Moore, Sam Fross

Internet Gaming Disorder is considered a condition of further study in the DSM-V, and is defined  as the, “persistent and recurrent use of the Internet to engage in games, often with other players, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress” (American Psychological Association, 2013).  Individuals who suffer from this disorder become preoccupied with online gaming, allowing it to become the dominant activity in their daily life, causing negative cognitive and behavioral effects.  For instance, problems with sleep, socialization, and quality of health have been reported in players. Our poster presentation will explore the effects of prolonged use of internet gaming and how it impacts an individual’s life outside of the game.

Faculty Mentor: Amanda Kracen


Abnormal or Just A Little Kinky?: A Look At BDSM

Tiara Moye

Bondage-discipline, dominant-submission, sadomasochism (BDSM) participants have been place in the ‘abnormal’ category by society. This project will explore the reasons BDSM practitioners, particularly the dominant submissive participants, engage in the lifestyle that the society they inhabit deem taboo. The benefits and challenges participants face with the BDSM lifestyle, how they function in society, and whether they believe they are ‘abnormal’ will also be discussed in this project.

Faculty Mentor: Amanda Kracen


China’s regional image and status in East Asian region-A responsible great power with zero tolerance for provocation on Taiwan Issue

Yu Mu

Over the past few years there have been heated debates over the potential challenge of an increasing strong China to the East Asian region. Debates are generated within academia about whether or not that China will replace the United States as a hegemon in East Asia, and whether China’s rise will be peaceful or threatening. These two questions are related to the third one, which is what is the future order of East Asia. This thesis first offers an overview of the definition of hegemon based on the hegemonic stability theory and offers a critical analysis of the debate on China’s emerging role in East Asian system from the theoretical perspectives of neorealist perspective and neoliberal perspective within the hegemonic stability theory. However, the thesis believes that neither of these two perspectives alone would be able to define and analyze the development of China and its implication for the East Asian regional order. The thesis believes that China lacks both capabilities and intentions to replace the United States as the East Asian hegemon. It is now is a developing power, who has nonmalignant intentions, who is willing to take East Asian regional responsibilities in accordance with its capabilities, but who will not tolerate U.S. provocation on its territory and domestic issues. The future order East Asian is full of uncertainty but is highly depend on U.S. foreign policy towards East Asia

Faculty Mentor: Don Conway-Long


Nutter: “Interpretative Ambiguity in Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw”
Tomey: “Absurd Specters in Turn of the Screw”
Furhmann: “The True Horror of The Turn of the Screw:  A Layered Approach”

Max Nutter, Nicholas Furhmann, Aaron Tomey

Nutter: Alongside Nicholas Furhmann and Aaron Tomey, I developed an argument within a massive number of interpretative approaches to Henry James’ ghost story, “The Turn of the Screw.” My paper, Filtered Meanings and Corruption in Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw,” analyzed how the governess, the story’s narrator, understands herself in relation to the ghosts and the novella’s other characters. I argued that the governess, informed by her Victorian upbringing, perceives the ghosts as sexually-charged and corruptive threats to Miles and Flora, her two wards. I circumvented preexisting debates about the ghosts as real or the product of an unstable narrator by discussing how their meaning is censored by the governess’ expression of prevalent, nineteenth-century English opinions concerning servants and her own sexual repression. Finally, I examined the nature of the ghosts’ threat to the children, who the governess perceives as subtly transforming into reflections of the apparitions themselves. My approach combined preexisting criticisms concerning the novella and encouraged me to place my argument within a broader and ongoing critical conversation. Like my classmates, the assignment challenged me to consider the ways in which literary analysis is based overall upon considering and balancing the ideas of a number of different and occasionally conflicting opinions about a particular work.

Tomey: The debate surrounding Henry James’ Turn of the Screw, which has accreted around it over the past century, often centers around the existence or non-existence of the ghosts that haunt the governess of Bly and the children she protects. However, contradictory details in the novel, such as the governess’s leading questions to Ms. Grose about the ghosts, as well as her complete shock at the ghosts’ presence, prevent the formation of a concrete answer to the ghostly question. Because many essays throughout the critical history of the Turn of the Screw often treat the ghosts (whether real or unreal) as a center, these arguments are inherently flawed. Because of this, Jacques Derrida’s ideas of deconstruction, as described in “Sign, Structure, & Play,” allow a reader to logically ignore whether or not the ghosts exist, and instead focus on the governess’ reaction to the unreality encapsulated in the ghosts. That aforementioned unreality also aligns with the idea of absurdity, or that in the world which is unreasonable, as explained by Albert Camus in the Myth of Sisyphus. By deconstructing the debate over ghosts, a reader can appreciate the governess’ confrontation with the absurd.

Furhmann: My paper contains several parts, and is structured in a way that attempts to break down TTotS into layers. The first part is an introduction followed by a critical history, which discusses some of the ideas and themes other critics have addressed in their papers. I then move into my own paper, where I layer the book based on its frame and the content within that frame. I first discuss the opening portion of the frame, where I question who actually wrote the main content of TTotS while also making note of important observations made by the frame narrator—a woman seemingly unrelated to any of the main events of the tale. I then move into the content of TTotS itself, where I argue that the events at the house of Bly defy each of the governess’s lofty expectations of working as a governess. I then shift back out to the opening frame, and place my observations in the context of what the often-ignored frame suggests about TTotS: that it is a horror story. I close the paper by suggesting that looking at the main content of TTotS as a work of horror is the key to understanding the work.

Faculty Mentor: Karla Armbruster


The Evolution of the American Political Mistress: Exploring the Communication Techniques During Political Scandals

Charissa Paschke

Political scandals are not a recent development in the political realm, however the role of the mistress is much more complicated. Since Thomas Jefferson, the political mistress has played a role in the American political system. Through an analysis of five politicians and their image restoration strategies as well as their crisis communication, the underlying necessity for context will be provided. The analysis will include an analysis of Sen. John Edwards and his extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, former governor Mark Sanford and his extramarital affair with Maria Belen Chapur, and former governor Eliot Spitzer and his multiple prostitution scandals with various women. The research is focused on a comparative analysis of the crisis communication and image restoration strategies that were used by the politicians surrounding the sex scandals. By using articles from The New York Times, USA Today and The Washington Post a consistent political and social demographic are represented in the test group. This reduces the amount of single paper bias and allows the widely-held opinion to be revealed. The research will be focused by the research question: In the post-Clinton era, the media framing of political mistresses has changed from perpetrator to victim.

Faculty Mentor: Allison Levin


Conference Attendance and Presentation: A Journey to the Society for Cross Cultural Research Conference 2017

Jennifer Pierce, Maria Escalona

Presenting at, or even attending, a conference can feel like an unending labyrinth of protocols and red tape; but the process cannot only be an extremely fulfilling learning process but also an opportunity for personal and professional growth and development. This presentation addresses the path to conference presentation based upon the presenters’ personal experiences. From submitting a proposal to present to the Society for Cross Cultural Research Conference to attendance at the conference, we share our process, the obstacles we encountered, and how we overcame these barriers. We discuss how to decide whether or not to present and the process of deciding what type of presentation to submit for approval. The submission process is briefly explained as well as the registration process. Financial considerations are explored including opportunities to apply for aid and grants from numerous sources. We examine the need for a strong supporting mentor and the impact that such a mentor has on the process. We discuss travel considerations and other preparations needed for presenting at a professional conference. Finally, we share our personal conference experiences including highlights from presentations we attended.

Faculty Mentor: Phoenicia Wright


How Familial Expectations Affect Education and Career Paths for Women from Venezuela, Iran, and Japan: An Exploratory Study

Jennifer Pierce, Maria I. Escalona

In most societies, women fulfill the traditional roles of mother, daughter, wife, caregiver, educator, housekeeper, and guardian. Through this exploratory study, women from Venezuela, Iran, and Japan share their experiences and knowledge as to how the cultural expectations of their roles within the family affect their education and career options. Women from the countries of Venezuela, Iran, and Japan eighteen years of age or older legally living in the United States are the target group for this study. This study uses a multi-method approach employing 1) a review of international statistical data and indices on women’s roles in Venezuela, Iran, and Japan, 2) an online survey consisting of 35 ratable statements and multiple choice questions, and 3) in-depth face-to-face interviews.  Based upon the results of the online survey and interviews, women have realistic views of their positions within society while developing positive ideals of how these gender-based expectations have shifted. Although women may be expected to put family and familial expectations first in their lives, pursuing opportunities to receive higher education have increased; however the rate of increase for career opportunities has not surged at the same rate.

Faculty Mentor: Phoenicia Wright


Redefining Racism

Morgan Rabe

It can be difficult today to have meaningful conversations with people about race and racism. At least part of the challenge lies in the fact that these terms have multiple, and even competing definitions. Common dictionary definitions of racism tend to emphasize personal conflicts based on race whereas sociological definitions of racism tend to illustrate the role of institutionalized oppression. Definitions provide cultural records of agreed-upon terminological meaning, but individuals’ own understandings of these terms may vary. The significance given to terms such as “race”and “racism” differ from person to person, and it is important to note how one’s own race may influence one’s understanding. According to a survey conducted in 2016 by the Pew Research Center, the majority of Blacks, 58% - believe that too little attention is given to race nowadays, but only 27% of whites agree; 41% of whites (compared to 22% of Blacks) believe the opposite. This survey data, which is supported by sociological research by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, indicates that many white people would rather not discuss the topic of race. As Bonilla-Silva argues, a “colorblind” or post-racial ideology is prevalent today, and can be seen in statements such as “I don’t see race.” In this presentation, I examine the effects of “colorblind” ideology from a sociolinguistic perspective and provide concrete recommendations for having constructive conversations about race. While recognizing the importance of both intent and outcomes, I seek to bridge the gap between “colorblind”people and anti-racist activists.

Faculty Mentor: Julie Setele


The Effect of Thermal Stress on Growth in the Tobacco Hornworm

T. Ritter, M. Kanan, and C. Englert

Abiotic stress, such as thermal stress, is known to activate glucocortical hormones in animals.  In this study the tobacco hornworm was used as a test animal.  4th and 5th instar larvae were subjected to thermal extremes and the effect on hemolymph trehalose, trehalase, growth (as determined by mass) and % protein were determined.  Initial trials suggest that hemolymph trehalose increases two-fold as a result of acute stress, but this could be the result of stress-induced trehalase activation.

Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Rayhel


It’s All Drag! An Analysis of Non-Binary and Gender Nonconforming Identities

Kalani Seaver

In recent years, we have seen an increase in people identifying and presenting outside of the gender binary. These presentations have begun to challenge the ways in which we perceive and understand traditional gender norms. Understandings of gender are produced based on an individual’s performance within cultural understandings of gender identities through their individual agency. Understandings of gender have begun to be deconstructed and challenged by gender identities existing outside of the traditional gender binary. However, current dominant social structures make it difficult to accurately explain or identify non-normative gender identities. Through an analysis of theory around drag, performance, and gender, this paper identifies the ways in which society erases nonbinary and gender nonconforming people. A change in how our culture views and discusses gender is mandatory in order to further understand the formation of non binary and gender nonconforming identities. This paper will promote more critical analysis of current gender conceptions. I encourage others to utilize this paper to inform policies and legislation regarding trans issues (i.e. bathrooms, healthcare, discrimination, etc.).

Faculty Mentor: Danielle MacCartney


Gender Policing: Transwomen and the US Criminal Justice System

Kalani Seaver

As visibility of the trans community grows, so does the violence directed towards them. Police often handle cases regarding trans people in dehumanizing and harmful ways (i.e. misgendering, harassment, etc.). The mistreatment of trans bodies by the state perpetuates the abuse and harassment happening interpersonally. Because the police are seen as a force of justice, their actions influence the normalization of this violence and causes it to be invisible to the public conscious. This state sponsored violence further erases the experiences of an entire community. Through the analysis of literature surrounding gender, policing, and race, this paper looks at law enforcement’s treatment of trans people and how it influences other acts of violence and mistreatments of trans bodies in everyday life. A more critical analysis of gender and policing is needed to confront the state-sponsored violence happening to trans people. This paper will highlight how the criminal justice and law enforcement systems dehumanizes and abuses trans people, and how they promote transphobia on a larger scale. This research advocates for academics and policymakers to pay more attention to state violence towards trans bodies.

Faculty Mentor: Julie Setele


Effect of Plant Polyphenolic Compounds on the Melanoma Cells

Galyna Sergach, Stephanie C. Schroeder

Melanoma is one of the most aggressive types of cancer and the most dangerous skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation organization, it kills more than 10,000 people only in the US. The chance to survive is considered to be very low, especially if treated at late stages; however, if identified and successfully treated at the early stage, the chance of survival increases. Thus, the purpose of our research is studying the effect of naturally found plant compounds on melanoma cell’s viability which may have the potential to be the successful treatment and prolong the life.  In our research, we used VMM39 cell line derived from human malignant melanocytes. The base medium for this cell was RPMI-1640.  The cells were cultured in complete growth medium made of the base medium, fetal bovine serum diluted with DMSO, and penicillin.  The drugs being used in the research were different types of phenolic compounds referring to the class of flavonols, (Myriecetin and Kaempherol), flavones (tangeretin) and phenolic acid (gallic acid). The drugs were solvated in DMSO and different concentration of each drugs was made. According to the results, kaempherol decreased the viability of the cells, while the myricetin had no effect or increased the viability. The results were consistant in all trials. The other two compounds, tangeretin and gallic acid are in progress. Our results so far suggest that some plant compounds may have antiproliferative effect on melanoma cells.

Faculty Mentor: Stephanie C. Schroeder


Knowledge of Security Protocols and Acceptance of E-commerce

Sumendra Singh, Leslie Klieb

This research study investigates if user knowledge of security protocols is a factor in the acceptance of e-commerce. The hypothesis of this work is that more knowledge about internet security protocols enhances subjective feelings of internet safety and that this increases trust and acceptance. An empirical study confirmed that when users perceive their level of knowledge as higher, this contributes to their feelings of safety and this influences their frequency of use and their intention to use e-commerce. Because payment gateways are an important part of the user experience in e-commerce, this research also looks if user knowledge about security plays a role in online banking. The work was done for the BUSN 6250 course for the MBA degree. Research is required by the department of Thailand Education for the MBA degree. I have successfully defended my paper at Webster Thailand, Bangkok Campus, in December 2016. Also, a paper based on this work got accepted at International Conference on E-Commerce, E-Business and E-Technology (IC17Thai Conference) on February 17th and 18th in Bangkok, Thailand. The paper got a best paper award in the Track: E-Business and Marketing.

Faculty Mentor: Leslie Klieb


Dissecting the functional components of the PIN1 promoter, an Auxin Efflux Family Carrier Protein in Arabidopsis thaliana

Sophia Stair

Genetic material is the instructions that tell how, when, and where a protein is synthesized.  The production of each type of protein provides an organism with their tools for growth and survival.  Auxin is a plant growth substance that plays a major role in the coordination of growth and behavioral processes of movement in a plant’s life cycle.  The PIN1 protein has a specific localization pattern that enables the directed movement of auxin for normal plant growth.  Deletion mutagenesis (or promoter bashing) can be used to find functional elements responsible for the regulation of when and where the gene is expressed.  This study plans to explore the possibility of utilizing different segments of the PIN1 promoter region to then assess differences in gene expression within the shoot system of Arabidopsis thaliana.  The overall purpose is to assess the varying degrees in which the promoter region of a gene can be manipulated and still produce a viable product and identify crucial promoter elements.  This will hopefully answer the question of what components of the upstream genomic DNA is required for proper expression of the PIN1 gene.  Constructs will be made, consisting of parts of the 5 UTR PIN1 promoter driving the expression of the GUS and EYFP reporter gene.  These constructs will then be transformed to further be analyzed for various rates of expression of the PIN1 gene in the shoot system.

Faculty Mentor: Mary Preuss


Commonalities of Community Displacement

Hattie Svoboda-Stel

The United States loves the land grab. Aside from the foundation of our country’s physical existence resting upon stolen Native American land, a predominant method of current capital accumulation is reliant upon value extraction sourcing from land tenance. Innocuous as this may seem, state sponsored development projects have increasingly acted as the avenue through which neoliberal interests are explored and as such development today requires land liberalization for corporate consumption. Through replicating processes of community displacement in Honduras and St. Louis, Missouri, the United States reorganizes the geographies of urban and agricultural landscapes in order to serve national interests . This is achieved by an implementation of a produced blight and obsolescence, economic and tax incentivization, project validation through greenwashing, militarization, and finally privatization. Using these pillars, this essay will analyse the commonalities of U.S facilitation of displacement and land reorganization in the central american country of Honduras and in the U.S city of St. Louis, Missouri. In conclusion, I will uplift the resistance strategies of Honduran communities, advocate for replication of effective tactics and center the importance of international solidarity in resisting the efforts of the U.S government in decentralizing communities through land grabs. This essay will ultimately ask us to reflect introspectively and identify our complicity, our affect, and our complacency.

Faculty Mentor: Don Conway-Long


In Learning we Bloom

Sally Talal, Maria Stoli

The pursuit of the paper rests on the investigation that relate philosophy, literature, learning and knowledge to the organization, structure, and workings of the human brain. Literature enlightens elements of the past as one learns the heritage. Developing an understanding of learning through literature and the Theories of Knowledge, we make the choices that would broaden our worlds, as Jean-Paul Satre would say.

An increasing number of scholars are now studying the   basis of literary creation, knowledge and learning. The emerging area of studies in literature, and its relations to the human brain has spurred a remarkable, recent growth in the neurosciences. The mind experiences only what experience presents; most learning and knowledge are achieved in the steps of the Theories of Knowledge. What does it mean to learn or understand something? When is the exact moment where we know that something is learnt and knowledge is gained? In our presentation, we will be discovering the three Ways of Knowing involving perception, emotion, reason along with the role of learning in Literature. Cognitive sciences continue to influence issues traditionally addressed within the humanities, including the nature of consciousness, action, knowledge, and arts.

Faculty Mentor: Susie Michailidis


Non-Binary Gender Identity and Spirituality/Religiosity

Andrew Wagner

This study looks at how non-binary and genderqueer individuals experience and understand their own religiosity/spirituality. While there is some pre-existing literature on how religion and sexuality are mutually constituted within Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual individuals, non-binary/genderqueer identities are almost always left out. Non-Binary individuals reject binary ways of thinking and “queer up” existing doxa’s of gender. The focus of this study is how non-binary individuals experience their spirituality/religion in light of their gender identity. By looking at this intersection, we can better understand how queer identity and spirituality/religiosity are mutually constituted.

Participants of this study were asked survey questions from the WHOQOL-SRPB Field-Test Instrument and then asked open ended questions about their religiosity/spirituality. The results were analyzed with SPSS to identify correlations between variables of interest in the WHOQOL-SRPB Field-Test Instrument section of the survey. The answers of the participants show how “queering” binaries can impact the ways spirituality/religiosity are experienced within non-binary/genderqueer individuals.

Faculty Mentor: Danielle MacCartney


Digital Learning Programme

Joy Warugi

The focus of my project is the Digital Learning Programme (DLP) that was initiated by the Kenyan Government in 2015. The programme provides students from public primary schools with tablets, teachers with laptops and one projector. The programme was initially targeted at grade one students with the aim of expanding it to higher grades. The process of installing the devices is still ongoing.

My paper will be divided into two sections, the first will analyse the learning implications of the introduction of computers. This will be discussed through looking at the challenges and benefits that the teachers encounter while working with the devices. Additionally, I will look into teachers’ perceptions of the new technology and what are their opinions. Finally, I will examine some of the initiatives that have been taken by the government to train the teachers on how to use the technology. Secondly, the paper will discuss the management aspect of project. This will include some of the contributions form donor countries or international organizations. I will also discuss the governments plans on sustaining the project when the technology becomes outdated, broken or misplaced. Finally, I will explore some of the positive spill overs that have resulted in the introduction of computers to primary schools. After the completion of my paper I hope to get a better understanding of the DLP and what can be done to improve it. My project will also contribute the limited published information on the topic.

Faculty Mentor: Holli Schauber


A Look into Food Insecurity on College Campuses . . . And Why Everyone Should Care About this Phenomena

Evelyn Whitehead

Food insecurity is a widely recognized issue that has received renewed attention over the past few decades. As such, many different aspects of food insecurity are being explored and surveyed to indicate both the depth and severity of this phenomena. However, throughout all of the surveys conducted to determine “who actually suffers from food insecurity” one significant population seems to go unrecognized: America’s college students. Every year, millions of parents send their new-found “adult” children off to university, knowing that they are likely to make poor financial decisions that could lead to their child struggling to feed themselves at the end of the day. Despite this piece of common knowledge, not much has changed in the way of helping financially insecure students feed themselves while attending university- in fact, this problem is only getting worse. The historically unchanging status of food insecure college students now begs the question, “what are college campuses doing to create a more conducive learning environment for financially insecure students and why are most campuses still coming up short?” This presentation will delve deeper into the issue of food insecurity on college campuses, and what can be done to combat it.

Faculty Mentor: Don Conway-Long