Thursday, April 29, 2021

Welcome to SOURCE and the Graduate Academic Symposium! Here is an overview of the day’s schedule. Each Session listed below consists of five student presentations. Click the Session name to display the link to its Zoom recording, along with a list of presentations and their starting times. Click on the 9:00 am Opening and Welcome Session to access its Zoom recording. Note: The password for all recordings is VU-SOURCE2021.

9:00 am Opening and Welcome from President Padilla

Time Track 1 Track 2 Track 3 Track 4
9:30 am – 11:10 am Session 1A Session 2A Session 3A Session 4A
11:20 am – 1:00 pm Session 1B Session 2B Session 3B Session 4B
1:10 pm – 2:50 pm Session 1C Session 2C Session 3C Session 4C
3:00 pm – 4:40 pm Session 1D Session 2D Session 3D Session 4D
4:50 pm – 6:30 pm Session 1E Session 2E Session 3E Session 4E
To see a list of all presentations alphabetized by department/program, click here.
Session Title Author(s) Department/Program
4C Comorbidities Among Sexual Dysfunctions in Men: Results from a Binational Community Sample Laurel Oosterhouse, David L. Rowland, Ben Hamilton Analytics and Modeling
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Sexual problems among men fall into one of four classifications: lack of interest (LI), erectile dysfunction (ED), premature ejaculation (PE), and delayed/inhibited ejaculation (DE). Men suffering from one sexual problem sometimes report having another sexual problem, but few studies have determined concordance rates among dysfunction, that is, the percentage of men having one sexual problem who also suffer from another sexual problem. This study determined concordance rates and odds ratios among sexual dysfunctions in a binational sample of 4402 men from Hungary and the USA. In addition, concordance rates between specific type of premature ejaculation and other dysfunctions were determined as were three way concordances. Participants completed a 55-item questionnaire that included series of questions assessing erectile function (based on the IIEF), premature ejaculation (based on the PEDT), delayed ejaculation, and level of sexual interest. This survey was created and distributed last year and was taken either online or with pencil and paper. Results indicated a number of different patterns. For example, of men who have severe ED, 38.1% also had severe DE, while 23.2% had moderate DE. In men who have severe PE, 7.6% have severe ED, while 15.1% had moderate ED. Of the men who had severe DE, 3.0% also had a severely low interest in sex, while 25.0% had a moderate interest in sex. When assessing type of PE (lifelong vs. acquired), different patterns emerged here. Of the men who had lifelong severe PE, 9.1% also had severe ED and 16.5% had moderate ED. Of the men who had acquired severe PE later in life, 7.1% also had severe ED and 16.1% had moderate ED. The incidence of having more than 2 dysfunctions was small. For example, only 2 of 4402 (>0.001%) men in our sample who suffered from severe DE, severe ED, and a severe lack of interest in sex. When we expanded beyond the “severe” category of dysfunction to include the “moderate” case, this increased to 98 of 4402 (0.022%) men in our sample who indicated suffering from moderate to severe DE, ED, and lack of interest in sex. Determination of sexual comorbidities, including whether one is primary and the other secondary, is important as it impacts the diagnostic process and efficiency within a clinical setting and as it guides the treatment strategy for the patient.
1A My World Drew Moore Art
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“My World” is a visual exploration of the merger between the physical environments that I have interacted with as well as the thoughts and emotions that I have sorted through while in them. This piece came about as an exploration of my struggles with identity and the trajectory of my personal and professional lives. The processes of making, cutting, and collaging the photographs acted as a catharsis of confusion, anxiety, and sadness. Through the process of making this piece, I realized that it is a symbolic understanding and acceptance of my many layers. As I continue to sort through different aspect of my personal and professional lives, I find more answers and peace in in the things that I have experienced.

1A Liminal Space Emily Gustin Art
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“Liminal” means to be in an intermediate, or in-between, state. I am in the midst of worldly events as well as life stages; I currently exist within a liminal space, as do many at this time. The narrative of Liminal Space is told through a series of photographs, taken continuously throughout daily scenes from November 2020 to February 2021. This piece chronicles my life and the world around me through sight and sound and explores my perception of time and memory. I created this short film to document and notice the details of my life. Photographing each day for four months made me look at my surroundings in a different way– a way that practices gratitude, but also shows the sometimes mundane aspects of life. Each frame is a single photograph, creating a stop-motion quality to the film. The purpose of this is to draw attention to each moment’s transient nature. Though there are no pictures of myself alone, the documentary has become a self-portrait, showing the viewer insight into my life through the interactions with my surroundings and the people that inhabit them. I am asking questions with the work such as: How do others relate to my experiences? How will my perception of this period of my life change as time goes by? What is the impact of paying attention to details in one’s life?

1A “I Am..” Kristen Haling Art
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The project “I Am…” shows the different layers a woman can possess. The definition of layers within this series would be emotional, physical, and unseen layers within each woman. Through the use of photography and graphic design the layers of each subject can be discovered by the viewer. Some characteristics are unseen leaving room for interpretation, while others are very evident. The women being photographed come from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, and race. Through these differences within their layers, they can celebrate what brings them together and makes them alike. The use of color and text bring out both the similarities and differences between each of the women. Each piece is unique to the subject based on who they say they are, the emotions they show, the colors they chose, and the physical features of their beauty. There is a need for women to show their layers to the world. To show who they are and all they can be. This is evident by the amount of women that came to me and knew how important it is for the voices to be heard. For them to be confident in who they are. The theme of this piece is very simple but very necessary. The demographic is all women. Every single woman who wanted to be a part of this project was photographed, none were excluded. Excluding women based on their layers and characteristics to fit a specific demographic of my project is not how I want to be perceived as an artist. I do not pick and choose, I accept all. Some other themes that can be seen throughout the series are women empowerment, body positivity, natural beauty, strength, confidence, color, acceptance and emotion.

1A Functionless Structures Nathanael Chrzan Art
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My project seeks to expand upon the forms common to clay vessels into new structures that tower their ancestors and reject functionalism. My medium was a buff three stoneware clay. I used traditional potters wheel techniques to create these hollow structures. To achieve the final height of my structures, I had to throw individual building blocks of its final form and then stack them on top of each other. My stacking process influenced the final forms I created and I had to consider the clay’s plasticity. This can happen because certain angles are unable to hold their shape when weight is applied on them. In addition, the size of the kiln required me to cut my final structures in half in order to fire them, and stack them again after the firing process. This allows my structures to look complete after the glazing process. As I continue to grow as a ceramicist, I ask myself how far can I push these forms given the clay’s limitations as well as what glazes compliment certain forms.

1D Effects of polyester plastic on attachment behavior in zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and movement in ramshorn snails (Planorbella campanulata) Cole Philips, Thomas Paul, Laurie Eberhardt, Addi Burke, Ethan Peck Biology
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Plastic pollution in aquatic environments has gained significant attention over the past decade, as microplastic (plastic fibers less than 5 mm in length) pollution has been quantified in marine and some freshwater environments. However, much of the ecological impact of microplastics is still relatively unknown. Furthermore, in lieu of COVID-19 pandemic, disposable plastic masks have been widely used and discarded, serving as potential sources of microplastic pollution. In this study, snails (Planorbella campanulata) and invasive zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) were used to study the effects of microplastic pollution in freshwater environments. Behavioral changes in snails were examined. Zebra mussels in fish tanks were exposed to polyester, a plastic found in disposable face masks, and the number of byssal threads produced by the mussels was recorded. No significant differences were found between control mussels and those exposed to plastics (n1 = 10, n2 = 9, U1 = 52.5, U2 = 37.5, p > 0.05). The reason for such variation in byssal thread production in zebra mussels remains unknown. Further understanding may require research on different organisms to understand the ecological consequences of microplastic pollution.

1D Plastic prevalence and distribution in bird nests in Valparaiso, IN Thomas Paul, Cole Philips, Addi Burke, Ethan Peck, Laurie Eberhardt Biology
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Plastic pollution has become a focus of much concern in recent years, and many of the ecological and environmental consequences of plastic proliferation are still unknown. While much work has been done in recent years to understand plastic pollution in marine environments, the impacts of plastic pollution in terrestrial settings are still relatively unknown. In this study, local bird nests were collected and sorted based on material composition using qualitative and quantitative methods, such as where different materials were located in nests, and how much of the overall mass of nests was composed of each type of material. Nests were collected locally in Valparaiso, IN, from the university campus, Walmart, and other local suburban areas. Initial findings in this study on 25 nests of different species, including robin, cardinal, catbird, and oriole, seem to suggest that plastic materials are often present in bird nests, with many of those being types of plastic used for packaging or baggage material. Plastic and other anthropogenic materials found included grocery bag fragments, candy wrappers, netting, plastic string, foam packaging, landscaping cloth, and cigarette fragments. Furthermore, our findings indicate that plastic materials are used in nest construction for core structural purposes, often found in the bottom or sides of the main cup of the nest. Further research is needed to understand possible benefits and consequences of plastic use by birds in nest construction.

1D Characterizing the Cytotoxic Effects and Several Antimicrobial Phytocompounds of Argemone mexicana Teodora Najdeska, Tj Lefeber, Estefany Bocangel Gamarra, Katelyn Shouse, Caleb VanArragon, Hannah Bhakta, Alexis Dres, Danielle Orozco-Nunnelly Biology
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Commonly called the Mexican prickly poppy, Argemone mexicana is a stress-resistant member of the Papaveraceae family of plants that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a wide variety of ailments. This plant has reported antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, and cytotoxic effects against some human cancer cell lines. Due to its various therapeutic uses and its abundance of secondary metabolites, A. mexicana has great potential as a drug discovery candidate. Herein, the cytotoxic activities of different A. mexicana plant parts (seeds, leaves, inner vs. outer roots) from methanol or hexane extracts are characterized against cells of seven organisms. Comparing 1 mg of each sample normalized to background solvent alone, A. mexicana methanol outer root and leaf extracts possessed the strongest antimicrobial activity, with greatest effects against the Gram-positive bacteria tested, and less activity against the Gram-negative bacteria and fungi tested. Using the MTT colorimetric assay, the outer root methanol and seed hexane extracts displayed pronounced inhibitory effects against human colon cancer cells. Quantification of c-MYC and APC mRNA levels help elucidate how the A. mexicana root methanol extract possibly affects colon cancer cells. After ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance analysis of the root and leaf methanol fractions, two main antibacterial compounds, chelerythrine and berberine, were identified. The roots possessed both phytocompounds, while the leaf lacked chelerythrine. These data highlight the importance of plants as an invaluable pharmaceutical resource at a time when antimicrobial and anticancer drug discovery has plateaued.

1D Testing Environmental Cues on Candida albicans Morphology Idalia Z. Zachara, Paige M. Camp, Patrice Bouyer, Michael Watters Biology
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Introduction

C. albicans is a commensal fungus which under certain environmental cues (e.g., pH, oxidative stress) shifts morphology from spores to filamentous and becomes invasive within the human body. This work aims to identify the environmental gut cues responsible for this morphological shift. Estrogen (E2) becomes elevated during sepsis, thus the guiding hypothesis states that E2 may represent a factor responsible for the morphological change in C. albicans.

Methods

A calibration curve of growth of C. albicans in liquid minimal media (MM) was established using a spectrophotometer and correlating optical density with cell counts measured with a hematocyter. Liquid MM was inoculated in quadruplets of three different amounts of C. albicans. To test the effect of estrogen at 1nM concentration, E2 was added at the time of inoculation to one of each tube set, and fetal bovine serum was the positive control in another tube. All tubes were anaerobically grown over 3 nights in a shaking incubator at 30?. Morphological changes were assayed using bright-field microscopy.

Results

C. albicans was inoculated in amounts of 1, 2, and 4 million cells into sets of 4 tubes each based on the established growth curve. The MM relationship between OD and number of cells is described by the following equation: 1.06×106 + 1.83×10 7x + 1.68×10 7x 2 , R 2= 0.867. Adding E2 at 1 nM to the liquid media appeared to induce filamentous growth and budding, as with positive control 10% FBS.

Conclusion

Our preliminary experiments indicate that regardless of initial cell amount, tubes containing E2 seem to induce more filamentous growth in MM, as observed with FBS (positive control). Further experiments to determine effects of E2 at other concentrations would bring more insight, as well as trials combining E2 and FBS to explore if there is an additive or inhibitory effect on filamentation.

2C The Effect of Supply Chain Disruptions on Business Katia Fedor, Ceyhun Ceyhun Ozgur Business Administration
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Abstract

There are many reasons for experiencing supply chain disruptions. The reasons could be miscommunication between the factory and the warehouse, miscommunication between the warehouse and the stores, or miscommunication between the stores and the customers. We investigated these possible disruptions throughout this paper with the help of a questionnaire. We further investigated the effect of various problems that may occur with the company stock which resulted in supply chain disruptions. There have been many papers written about the effect of the disruptions regarding these problems. With the goal of finding out the tactical approach from the company affects the value of the stock, we investigated this further. Additionally, this paper examined the nature of the tactical standings of the company and the effects on supply chain disruptions and the position of the company stock. Based on the responses to the questionnaire, we found how the tactical elements affect the supply chain disruptions. We also showed the effect of the supply chain disruptions on the company stock.

1E Enzymatic Synthesis of a Vitamin B-9 Derivative for More Cost-Efficient Biochemical Assays Noah Moriarty, Grace Burkhart, Zachary Bennett, Sam Markovich, Jeffrey Pruet Chemistry
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Vitamin B-9, and its polyglutamated derivative, is a key component of biochemical assays aimed at testing novel therapeutic agents. Therefore, there is a need to produce this essential molecule in an efficient manner. Due to inherent difficulties in organic synthesis of a Vitamin B-9 derivative, in addition to the significantly high commercial price of this compound, a new synthetic route has been designed based on biocatalysis. This design utilized the enzyme folyl polyglutamate synthase (FPGS) for an enzymatic polyglutamation reaction on the commercially available 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5MeTHF) to make polyglutamated Vitamin B-9. Production of the FPGS enzyme involved protein expression from a designed plasmid originating in b. licheniformis, followed by cell lysis and protein purification. The isolated FPGS enzyme was then tested for its ability to add additional glutamates to 5MeTHF through an ATP-promoted process. The viability of this biochemically produced Vitamin B9 derivative is being assessed using a fluorescence-based assay.

1E The Synthesis of an Unnatural Fluorescent Amino Acid Cassandra Niemeyer, Esteban Kurth, Taylor Gaskill Chemistry
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The long-term goal of this project is to develop a more cost-effective chemical synthesis of an unnatural fluorescent amino acid, 3-[7-nitro-2,1,3-benzoxadiazol-4-yl]-L-alanine. This molecule can be used to visualize a single “glow-in-the-dark” protein in an otherwise transparent living cell. We are investigating two synthetic routes: traditional organic chemistry and biocatalysis. The biocatalysis route utilizes the enzyme glutathione S-transferase from the thermophilic cyanobacterium, T. elongatus. For the organic reaction, nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy is being used to monitor reaction kinetics with the goal of identifying the optimal solvent and reaction conditions. For the biocatalyzed reaction, a commercial vendor has synthesized the DNA that codes for the T. elongatus glutathione S-transferase gene and incorporated that gene into a suitable plasmid. We have used this plasmid to transform E. coli and have demonstrated expression of T. elongatus glutathione S-transferase. A plate reader has been used to monitor enzyme kinetics. We hope to develop a liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy method that will allow us to monitor reaction kinetics for both the organic and biocatalysis routes.

1E Comparisons of volatile organic compounds emitted from pure and weathered polyethylene and polyethylene terephthalate Julie Peller, Stephen P. Mezyk, Gregory P Horne, Morgan Keller, Joe Castleman, Eddie Kostelnik, Scott Kaiser, Esteban Kurth Chemistry
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It is well documented that microplastics and synthetic microfibers are present in large quantities in the environment across the globe. Large plastic items break down into smaller fragments, many below 5 mm in size, which are then classified as microplastics. The long-term weathering of these microplastics in the environment alters their chemical make-up and structure, but the details of these changes are not well known. To simulate and study the long-term, natural, radical-induced weathering of microplastics in aqueous environments, specific microplastics, polyethylene (PE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), have been exposed to ionizing radiation (Cobalt-60 gamma emitter) in water and salt water. The changes in chemical composition of these microplastics can be probed directly and indirectly. One indirect method is the analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted upon heating. The released organics have been collected using solid phase microextraction fibers, then separated and identified using gas chromatography – mass spectrometry. Significant differences between the irradiated and pure polymers have been identified. The full analysis of compounds will be presented and related to the chemical changes induced by the radicals created in natural environments.

1E Mars Surface Simulation Claire Kovarik Chemistry
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There are 20 amino acids used to construct proteins on Earth, however, there are many amino acids that are not used. It is theorized that in extreme conditions a different set of amino acids could be used to build proteins because of their stability. The study of amino acids and extremophiles in Mars-like conditions could provide clues into the evolution of life on other planets, as well as guiding rational strategies to search for and identify non-Earth life. A Mars surface simulator (MSS) is constructed to perform controlled laboratory experiments that replicate 3 of the environmental surface conditions on Mars: carbon dioxide atmosphere, low pressure, and low temperatures. The atmosphere of Mars is very thin, with a composition of roughly 95% carbon dioxide with trace amounts of nitrogen, argon, oxygen, and carbon monoxide, compared to the 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 0.9% argon of Earth. The surface pressure of Mars averages between 1-14 millibars, versus 1 bar on Earth, and the temperature on Mars averages -60? but can range from -125?C to 20?C. To generate these kinds of conditions in a laboratory, our MSS works by depressurizing the inside of a desiccator (a sealed container) that contains carbon dioxide gas. This system is then stored in a refrigerated microbial incubator to maintain a temperature of 0?C. Using this Mars surface simulator the stability of biological building blocks (such as amino acids and proteins, as well as whole extremophile organisms) can be tested for extended periods of time.

1D Synthetic microfiber loads in green algae, Cladophora, in Lake Michigan and Lake Erie Edward Kostelnik, Julie Peller, Meredith Nevers, Muruleedhara Byappanahalli, Cassie Nelson, Bharath Ganesh Babu, Mary Ann Evans, Morgan Keller, Jenna Johnston, Sarah Shidler Chemistry
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Synthetic microfibers, a category of microplastics, have been found throughout surface waters distributed around the world. These microfiber polymers are, for the most part, denser than water and become submerged in water environments such as lakes. Thus, surface water samples likely do not accurately account for microfibers loads, which integrate into other areas of the aquatic environment. One ecological sink for synthetic microfibers may be submerged aquatic vegetation (e.g. Cladophora, a nuisance green alga). Throughout the Laurentian Great Lakes, Cladophora creates large areas of submerged biomass, which can potentially concentrate these microfibers. To quantify the loads of synthetic microfibers in Cladophora, algal samples were collected in 2018 from Lake Erie and Lake Michigan at different depths and months. The samples were cleaned to remove unwanted debris and processed, using H2O2/UV advanced oxidation, to eliminate natural fibers. The average load of synthetic microfibers in Lake Erie samples was 32,000 microfibers/kg (dw) and 34,000 microfibers/kg (dw) in Lake Michigan. These findings suggest that submerged vegetation such as Cladophora is an additional sink for synthetic microfibers introduced through waterways.

Keywords: Microplastics, microfibers, surface water, Cladophora, Great Lakes

2A Design and Synthesis of Potential Anti-fungal Drugs Jessica Villegas, Noah Moriarty, Matt Mcintyre, Bryce Ball, Jeffrey Pruet Chemistry
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Fungal infections occur when fungus invades the tissue, however if left untreated, they can grow and affect the whole body. Antifungal drugs that are currently on the market often come with unwanted side effects, and drug resistance will also always be a problem. These issues lead to the necessity for new pathways for inhibiting fungal infections to be discovered. For this reason, we are developing a library of new antifungal agents. Methionine synthase is a crucial enzyme for living organisms, and key structural differences in the fungal form of this enzyme can be exploited. An inhibitory molecule can be made to selectively target fungal methionine synthase based on this difference. Utilizing the modelling software, Autodock, molecular modelling was done to develop theoretical molecules that target the fungal enzyme. Based on the theoretical modelling, a library of potential inhibitors was synthesized. Several compounds have shown promise when tested in an assay measuring the activity of the fungal enzyme in the presence of our compounds. To further evaluate the activity of each inhibitor, they were tested in a fungal growth assay which show zones of inhibition that prove our molecules are biologically active against fungi.

1E Using extremophile samples to determine the possibility for life on Mars Alyssa Jarabek, Michayla VanAken Chemistry
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Extremophile organisms are uniquely suited to survive under extreme conditions, such as extreme cold or heat, radical pressure changes, high levels of radioactivity, and many other conditions. Extremophile samples collected from Yellowstone National Park’s geothermal features and Mono Lake are significant to astrobiological research because they not only survive, but thrive in conditions of extreme salinity, heat, sulfur content, and variability in pH. Extremophiles are often studied in astrobiology research because of their ability to survive in extreme environments that may be present on extraterrestrial planets and satellites, such as Mars. Astrobiology research is the study of organisms that may be present in extraterrestrial conditions on other planets. The surface of Mars has many conditions that may make life as we know it challenging, including a mainly carbon dioxide atmosphere, low pressure, extremely low temperature, high salt levels, and other factors not common to life on Earth. Although Martian conditions may limit the occurrence of sentient life, the possibility for microbial extremophile life is a possibility that is being explored by current NASA missions, such as the Mars Perseverance Rover that landed on Mars in February 2021. In this study, we use samples collected from Yellowstone National Park and Mono Lake and employ 16SrRNA gene sequencing to determine which microbial species are present. We will then analyze the genomic and proteomic (DNA and protein) profiles of these organisms in order to hypothesize what building block profiles they possess that allow them to survive and thrive in extreme conditions that may be encountered on the surface or subsurface of Mars. Furthermore, we will use LC-MS (liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry) to understand the stability of unnatural versus natural amino acids when exposed to these extreme conditions using the field samples collected as natural, and complex, water sources. This understanding may pave the way for comprehending the possibility of non-Earth life forms utilizing alternative, “unnatural” building blocks in their protein construction in order to adapt to non-Earth environmental conditions. Therefore, the use of extremophile organisms as well as unnatural amino acids may allow for a deeper understanding of the biological building blocks extraterrestrial life may use that will allow them to thrive in their unique and challenging environmental niches.

2A Abnormal DNA Binding by Metal Reconstituted CooA James Rolland Chemistry
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This work is part of a larger project whose overarching goal is to learn how the binding of a small molecule, carbon monoxide, to a large protein causes the shape of that protein to dramatically change. The protein in question, called CooA, is found in a bacterial species where it serves as a carbon monoxide sensor. When carbon monoxide binds to CooA, the dramatic shape change causes CooA to bind to the bacterium’s DNA. This DNA binding enables the bacterium to make proteins that the cell then uses to consume the carbon monoxide as a food. The focus of the work reported here is to study a newly-discovered form of CooA where the specific carbon monoxide binding site, a heme-bound iron 3+ ion, has been removed and then readded (reconstituted). This reconstituted CooA shows activity without the presence of carbon monoxide. This is unusual because it is generally accepted that reduction of the iron and carbon monoxide together are required to activate DNA binding. To further test this behavior, other metals than iron were reconstituted and showed similar effects but provided a possible molecular explanation that accounted for carbon monoxide-independent DNA binding.

1B Ecumenical Dialogue and Interdenominational Unity Andrew Witte Christ College
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Ecumenical efforts should not aim to produce uniform doctrinal agreement but instead should promote mutual understanding of differing beliefs and in the process produce a formulation of the precise areas of departure between those denominations. Tension and disagreement within the church does not weaken the church’s unity, but is essential to it.

The church is strongest when fundamentalists and progressives display the duality of many gospel truths. Luther put this duality into terms of law and gospel. One is for humbling, one is for healing, but both are part of biblical wisdom. Both the LCMS and ELCA denominations contain valuable truth in their communion practices. LCMS churches emphasize the sanctity of the tradition and the importance of remembering the true purpose of Jesus’ death. ELCA churches emphasize the universality of God’s love for humankind, and that His sacrifice is freely given and not withheld from anyone. If one denomination was to stop operating communion the way they do, it would present the risk of forgetting the truths that are exemplified in that unique denominational perspective.

Ecumenical dialogue is the process by which Christian thought stays alive in the world, and prevents doctrine from becoming dead dogma. Each denomination of Christianity should be viewed as containing a unique cluster of theological and cultural perspectives. In the same way our skills and gifts come together to form the body of Christ, so do our unique perspectives and emphases of values. Unity is not about agreeing, it is about being willing to listen.

1B Social” Media: Disrupting our ability to be a Cosmopolitan – Consequential effects on our mental health and psychological well-being Payton Hodson Christ College
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This interdisciplinary research paper examines how social media interactions impact human ability to effectively live together in a globalized society, including the consequences on mental health. Our contemporary social world is increasingly connected online with evolving technology, allowing us to build networks and improve communicative efficiency, yet at the cost of losing direct interpersonal experiences. Using philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah’s Cosmopolitanism as a framework for analysis, this paper extends his call for intercultural conversations to social media. Appiah proposes cosmopolitanism as an ethic for living amongst strangers, arguing that we have an obligation to others beyond kith and kin, and we have to respect the value of particular human lives. Social media disrupts this cosmopolitan ethic through diminished encounters and non-inclusive narratives online. Examples of disagreements about women’s reproductive rights and climate change on Twitter illustrate how social media encounters are divisive, exclusive, polarized, and do not foster cosmopolitan understanding. Moreover, media “connectivity” can harm mental health, contributing to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, as we derive our identity from and socially compare in virtual interactions. Social media encounters provide a challenge to engaging productively with others. Though, social media institutions have been associated with positive engagement and education, so for it to support cosmopolitan understanding we need to find creative ways to tap into these efforts and have everyone’s voices heard. By emphasizing our shared humanity while encountering others through conversation on social media, we can overcome the divisions—while respecting and understanding our differences.

1B Work, Dignity, and Disability: Toward an Inclusive Humanist Philosophy Jenna Johnston Christ College
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Many humanist thinkers in the Western tradition focus on productive labor as central to thinking about human beings. We find such focus in Marx’s historical materialism, Weber’s discussion of the Protestant ethic, Pope John Paul II’s theory of the dignity of labor, and Nussbaum’s capabilities approach. The problem with these humanist perspectives is that they dismiss the dignity of people unable to do labor, and they imply that disabled people – who comprise 15-20% of the population and are the largest minority worldwide – are unable to live a complete, good life. The importance of labor as a phenomenon cannot be understated – if work were not an important characteristic of human life, it would not be the primary focus of the humanist perspectives as diverse as Marxist ideology, Weber’s social thought, Catholic social teaching, and contemporary development economics. However, while work is a right, it is necessary to revisit the idea that the ability to work is essential to our humanity and dignity. In this research, I suggest that we can utilize frameworks such as the liberation theology of disability, universal human rights, and theories of disability studies to redefine humans not by what they produce, but by what they need in order to thrive. It is crucial to start from an inclusive philosophical perspective in order to make practical social justice and human rights available to all people.

1B Desiring the Touch of Something that No Longer Exists: Divinity, Loss of Control, and Agency in NieR: Automata Kiley Webber Christ College
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NieR: Automata quickly became popular in the US as underneath the cover of an action JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game) the game drew its players into questions of free will, what it means to be human, and even the nature of God. NieR: Automata presents its own theology and creation stories that are enhanced by the storytelling and other medium features such as mechanics, visuals, and music. The game integrates the player into the narratively present cycle of life and death via “in-universe” and “gamified” beginnings and ends as well as mirroring major character, 9S’s, loss of control. Through its narrative, characters, and mechanics, the game gets its points across about the questions of existence and the meaning of life. At its core, it wrestles with the existence of God, agency, Nihilism, gender, fall from grace, death, and creation; however, these issues are looked at through the lens of the playable characters and make use of empathetic experience, forcing the player to deal with these problems both through the eyes of the characters and their own. With such humanistic and existential issues sitting at its center, NieR: Automata is an inevitable standout, both because of its tackling of the issues in itself but also in the way it portrays these issues through the unique medium of video games. NieR: Automata is an example of a game that makes for an excellent exercise in empathy because of the ways it creates the experiences for the player.

4E Campus Origin-Destination Study Utilizing Mobile Bluetooth Addresses Mary Busby Civil & Environmental Engineering
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Many locations have a large volume of foot traffic: one being universities due to the high density of walking on campus, composed of concentrated patterns of walking to classes, dining halls, and residential buildings from students, faculty, and visitors. A small-scale origin-destination survey was conducted to analyze these movements on the Valparaiso University campus using Bluetooth device addresses. The purpose of the study was to determine the most popular origin-destination pairs on campus and plot the most trafficked routes. Transportation designers use these studies to plan new paths and roads to improve traffic flow, reduce travel time, and prioritize improvements. This research provided feedback on university paths and highlighted potential improvements for accessibility in student movements between buildings in a timely and efficient manner. Multiple Bluetooth receivers were placed throughout campus to collect origin-destination data using ESP32s chips that record and read the MAC address of nearby Bluetooth devices, primarily phones, watches, and headphones. The data from the receivers was uploaded to a database to allow for the determination of the primary origin and destination pairs on campus.

4C Depression as a Function of Social Support in Transgender and Cisgender Individuals with Sexually Transmitted Diseases Candace Roberson Clinical Mental Health Counseling
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This study focused on the relationships among social support, self-esteem, and depression in transgender and cisgender individuals suffering from an incurable or curable sexually transmitted disease. Data were collected from 210 participants with an STI using a semi-structured interview along with culturally adapted standardized instruments. The 210 individuals were surveyed from both private and government sector organizations in Karachi, Pakistan, and were recruited through quota and convenience sampling. Of these, 95 self-identified as transgender and 115 self-identified as cisgender, with an age range of 17 to 39 years. The inclusion and exclusion of participants relied on self-report regarding identity and STI status. We explored differences in depression, social support, and self-esteem through a twofactor analysis with gender identity status (transgender vs. cisgender) and STI type (HIV/HEP-C) as independent variables, including age and education as covariates as these differed across gender groups. For regression, preliminary analyses were conducted to determine correlations among potential demographic covariates in order to eliminate one of each pair of collinear variables. Results indicated no differences between transgender and cisgender groups in depression, although there were large differences in social support and self-esteem. Preliminary regression analysis identified only STI type and duration of STI as significant predictors of depression. However, when moderating roles for both social support and self-esteem were tested, each added to the explained variance and, equally importantly, revealed the effects of both gender status and social support on depression. These findings not only demonstrate how the compound stressors of gender minority status and STI type affect depressive symptoms, but also reveal the critical role that social support can play in mitigating depressive symptoms in those with gender minority status. Findings are interpreted within the context of South/Central Asian cultures that have pre- and post-colonial traditions regarding the social role of non-binary individuals.
2B Do simple word features predict dialogue acts among students working together? Jaeda Nowacki Computing & Information Sciences
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Is it possible for a computer to tell when students working together online are engaging with each other in their conversation? The Computer-Mediated Problem-Solving (COMPS) project is working to address that question. The goal is to have the computer figuratively look over the shoulders of students at work, judging whether they are more-or-less on task. This student project works with dialogue acts that typify students working productively, e.g. sharing ideas, negotiating, directing the problem solving task. The experiment uses transcripts of 1200 turns of synchronous dialogue, students type-chatting together solving exercises in a computer programming class. These transcripts have been manually pre-tagged showing which turns exhibit which dialogue behaviors. We then tabulate common words and phrases which are statistically associated with these behaviors. As a simple example, a common word like “but” might be associated with students disagreeing with each other, which would be a type of negotiating dialogue act, which would be expected from students engaging with each other in a problem-solving activity. The research question is then: are these word features predictive of the same dialogue acts in other contexts? Does the association discovered in the training data help to identify the same behaviors in conversations between different students solving different problems? We test the hypothesis using other synchronous dialogues of different students solving the same and different computer programming problems. We then test further, using threaded discussion board postings where students asynchronously discuss different topics.

2B Tracking Valpo’s Bluetooth Nathan Randle, Steve Helm, Mihal Zavalani, Michael Revor Computing & Information Sciences
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This project allows users to observe the movements of the bluetooth devices that people carry around campus. Bluetooth devices are all around us at all times, constantly outputting their signal. Prof. Dan White placed bluetooth sniffers across campus, which can identify devices within range by the beacons that bluetooth devices frequently emit. These device sightings are collected into a database, where an interested user can track the movement of any bluetooth device on campus. Professor White planned to distribute a number of keys to students across campus. Our goal has been working on the refinement of the database and digital management of these devices. This involved the creation of a website that can track the devices remotely, and allows for the registration of new bluetooth sniffing devices. By registering these keys in a way that allows for tracking, we can then move on to the data management segment of the project. Our end goal is to be able to locate specific bluetooth capable devices and retrieve certain information that is important to the digital manager (for example, a user device’s MAC address). All of this information will be used to create our application, which will be useful for the Engineering Department.

2A Geology Samples database website Jaeda Nowacki, Tyler Faber, James Lane, Jacob Bradley Computing & Information Sciences
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Our project creates a website of the rocks and minerals in the Valparaiso University Geography department’s collection. Students can refer to these samples when they are in class, doing homework, or even in the field. Information for each sample includes date collected, location it was collected, the collection coordinates, who it was collected by, the sample type, its general type, what kind of rock or mineral it is, the weathering process and general notes and comments. There are also some warnings to show the dangers of some samples and that students need to be careful when handling them. Students will be able to pull up the website and see this information, along with a search function that will pull up the rocks and minerals of what you searched for. What is interesting about this project is that students of Valparaiso university will be able to pull this up when they are in the field. The website will take the information that is provided by the Geography department in a spreadsheet and format it for students to use and read. It will also have a feature where the professor can add new mineral samples to the spreadsheet and the website will then update to include that new information for all who access it.

2B Lambda Chi Alpha Webpage Creation Casey Hill Computing & Information Sciences
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The design group set out to create a new website for the Valparaiso chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha. This was necessary as the older website was outdated, lacked accessibility per W3C guidelines, and was very limited in the functions that it set out to perform. The goal of this new website is to allow users to have access to all information on the fraternity chapter in a visually pleasing and well organized manner. A sub-goal of this group’s creation was to allow a smooth upkeep process so that the website would never be out of date. The group focused computer science and researching abilities to formulate a website that was functional and in compliance with governmental guidelines. In order to fulfill the goal, the group used an iterative approach with an emphasis on coding with shared branches. For the client side services, the group used angular API and for backend services, Google’s Firebase was used. CRUD operations (create, read, update, delete) were used to implement a persistent storage functionality for the website. The group researched the web content accessibility guidelines from the World Wide Web Consortium to ensure that the website followed all accessibility guidelines. This research also allowed for the creation of a website that was visually and aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. In the end, the website was created using the computer science skills of the group and it is not only fully functional, but it runs better than the previous website and in compliance with all accessibility standards.

2B Valpo SERF App Gabriel Fragoso Jr., Sam Gordon, Evan Cummings, Matthew Spivey Computing & Information Sciences
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This project performs public outreach for the Valparaiso Solar Energy Research Facility (SERF), a solar furnace used for research at Valparaiso University. With this software, interested members of the public and members of the SERF research community can keep in touch with solar furnace operations. They can be alerted when the furnace turns on and keep apprised of the experiments currently running. There will be a camera to live stream a view inside the facility. This project will use the Flutter SDK from Google to create the mobile application on Android and iOS. The mobile app will be used for push notifications and to make the application more accessible. The app will take a blog format of posts and pictures, with each post having a title and a description of the experiment currently being conducted. The project will also have an Apache server and a MySQL database to store and query the information the SERF team wanted to present. Flutter can be used with PHP scripts to query a web server with a SQL database, and this is the method we are going to use.

1A Miss Saigon: Racism and Sexism Portrayed in a Musical Karsten Beeker Digital Media
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“You are here like a mystery, I’m from a world that’s so different from all that you are. How in one night did we come so far?” – Kim, Vietnamese bar girl in Miss Saigon The musical Miss Saigon, directed by Nicholas Hynter, is an adaptation of the artifact Madame Butterfly from 1904 (Degabriele, 1996). Miss Saigon is one of the most commercially popular and critically contested musicals of all time. The hype around the musical, which premiered at West End in London in 1989, led to the largest advance ticket sale on Broadway in the 1990s (Pogrebin, 2000). It is closely associated with Asians and Asian Americans. In 1991, the Filipina actress who originated the role of Kim, Lea Salonga, was awarded as the first Asian actress to win the Tony Award (Chung, 2011). The musical, which was written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, is the eleventh-longest running Broadway musical in history with 4.111 performances to date (Gans, 2018). It is ranked the third most successful musical in West End history, has won more than thirty major awards, sold more than 31 million tickets in 18 different countries, and has been translated into 9 different languages (Chung, 2011). In 2014, the musical was revived and celebrated equal success (Gans, 2018). While the musical gained a “legend” status right from the beginning, it has been controversial from the start (Kroll, 1991).While some see it as a musical that supports representation of Asian characters on Broadway, from Asian American theater and activist communities, the feedback was not too positive, claiming that the musical is racist and sexist towards Asian women (Ryde, 2019). After stopping white washing “the Engineer” (Nishime, 2017) and marketing Miss Saigon as the “first world musical in a third world country” (De Guzman, 2000), the creators of Miss Saigon have already reacted to some criticism from the past. However, the revival of the musical in 2014, for the musical’s 25th anniversary, still shows many signs of racism and sexism. Thus, this paper will take a deeper look on racism and sexism portrayed in the revival of the musical Miss Saigon. The musical Miss Saigon is more than just a story about Chris and Kim’s personal tragedy. It shows serious signs of racism and sexism throughout the two hour and 40 minutes musical. The set design and costumes show that America is more desirable as it does not seem as black and dirty as Vietnam. Lyrics in the musical like “Will you marry me and take me to America?” from a Vietnamese bar girl support the ethnocentric world view of the musical that says America is superior. Furthermore, the musical shows that white skin color seems more desirable. This believe is supported by the fact that Chris chooses his white, blond wife over his Asian wife, who he married first, but did not seem to take as serious as he married another woman. On the other hand, Kim chooses Chris even though her father married her to an Asian man. The feminine side of Chris’s competitor for Kim, shows signs of “orientalism”, as Thuy is not as muscular and tall as Chris and the sexualized way “oriental” women are shown in the musical. Finally, the musical shows different perceptions of genders. Kim seems passive while Chris is active in the musical. With lyrics like “I will do whatever you say”, Kim seems devoted to Chris and does whatever he wants her to do. Having passive women roles can damage the perception of young women in their view of the world. The hyper sexualized view on the bar girls does not help and embraces that thought. Women in the musical are seen as objects while men are seen as “the makers”. The argument that it helps representation on Broadway seems weak as the represented Asian characters leave an audience closed minded with the impression white people are superior and a hyper sexualized image of Asian women. While a musical in the 1990’s may have been socially accepted, times and audiences change, and audience’s views of race, gender change raising the question whether a musical like miss Saigon should still be performed. It seems that the musical is past its time and does not fit in a world of #metoo and racial awareness movements anymore.
2C Promoting Valparaiso Graduate Communication Programs during Covid Andrew Miller Digital Media
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Due to COVID-19 restrictions, 2020 was a challenging year for potential students
to engage in the traditional campus visit. However, out of this tragic dilemma, I created
a promotional video for the Digital and Sports Media Masters Program. This video
allows potential students to learn about what this program has to offer. Video is an
excellent medium because it provides potential students a sensory experience.
Research shows that the visual elements of video will resonate with potential students
much more than written text.
This project highlights my editing and craft within the adobe suite of programs.
Specifically with Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Photoshop. Blending
these three together seamlessly to create a promotion for the department to help
potential students understand what these programs provide. With my background in
video production and what I have learned from the Digital Media program I built this
project to show my ability to bring different elements together from multiple programs.
Another aspect of my creative work was creating a Digital Media/Sports Media
YouTube page so that the department can display informational content and student’s
creative work. YouTube is a widely used site to distribute videos and can attract
students to the program.
4C Education Combined with Reminder Strategies to Improve Cervical Cancer Screening Rates Christiana McLean Doctorate of Nursing Practice
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Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women
worldwide, and in some countries, is a leading cause of death
(Jayasekara, 2020). Approximately 13,800 cases of cervical cancer were
diagnosed in the U.S. last year, and about 4,290 women died (American
Cancer Society [ACS], 2020). Regular cervical cancer screening (CCS)
reduces morbidity and mortality, but screening rates are low in the U.S.
and at the project site (ACS. 2020). The purpose of this evidence-based
practice (EBP) project was to increase CCS at a Federally Qualified
Health Center (FQHC) with six clinic locations in Northwest Indiana; the
primary project site was a clinic in Porter County. Participants included
female patients age 24 to 65 due for CCS (N = 475) who received an
educational email on CCS, including an appointment reminder. Two
weeks after the initial email, patients who had not scheduled an
appointment received a second reminder email. Five weeks after the
second email, participants who had not made an appointment received a
phone call. If participants identified Spanish as their preferred language,
emails and phone calls were conducted in Spanish. The emails were also
sent to patients at the other five clinics due for CCS. Data on CCS
completed were collected from patient charts every two to four weeks for a
period of five months. The primary outcome examined was CCS uptake at
the primary site, compared with uptake in a comparison group of patients
from 2019. Following the interventions, 16.42% of the intervention group
completed CCS, while only 11.36% of the comparison group did so; the
increase was statistically significant X2
(1, N = 1109) = 5.96, p < .05. In
addition, CCS completions were collected following each intervention;
McNemar’s test was conducted and found a significant increase in CCS
after the second email (X2 = 25.04, df = 1, N = 475, p = .000) and the
phone call intervention (X2 = 36.03, df = 1, N = 475, p = .000). Another
secondary outcome was CCS completions for participants from the other
five clinics who only received the emails, which will be reported as
frequencies. Findings from this project will be used to recommend
continued annual phone call and email interventions at all six clinics.
Keywords: cervical cancer screening, Papanicolaou smear, uptake,
participate, improve, strategies, interventions
2D Yokai in Toho Project: Monsters, Modernization, and the Death of Japanese Spirituality Lukas. Torgerson East Asian Studies, Folklore Studies
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The use of yokai (the ghosts and monsters of Japanese folklore) in Touhou Project represents a way to talk about the death of Japanese spirituality, the role of the West in Japanese culture, and the place of tradition in modern society. In some sense, this is nothing new. From the folklore of the Kamakura period, to Edo period wood-block prints, to modern franchises like Pokemon, yokai are a persistent part of Japanese popular culture. More than just a form of entertainment, yokai are often used to make religious, social, or political statements. This can be seen Edo period art, where monsters were used as a way to criticize government officials and the rigid, Neo-Confucian social structure while avoiding censorship, and in the used of oni in early-mid 20th century propaganda to justify the second world war.

Touhou Project is a modern (1998-present) collection of games, manga, short stories, music created by Ota Jun’ya, more commonly known as ZUN or Team Shanghai Alice. The stories largely take place in the present day (or future, an unspecified number of decades from now) in Gensoukyou (roughly meaning “land of illusions”), a village in Japan that was sealed off from the outside world during the Meiji period by yokai fearing the decline in belief in their existence. The author uses this setting to talk about where he thinks Japanese society is, and where it’s going. The setting and the ideas it grapples with are heavily rooted in the Meiji period, was a time of negotiating the fusion of Eastern and Western culture and the extent of the role that traditional beliefs and ideas could play in a modernized society. Like many before him, ZUN uses yokai as tools to talk about these issues.

2C Making Change: State Tipped Minimum Wage Policies and the Poverty Gap Kaitlyn M. Steinhiser Economics
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In 1996, an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act set the national tipped minimum wage at $2.13 per hour. The Act states that, if a tipped employee’s tips do not make up the difference between the tipped minimum wage and the federal, regular minimum wage, then employers must make up the difference. Eight states have chosen to make up the difference themselves by unifying their tipped and regular minimum wages. Twenty-six states have chosen to lessen the difference by raising their tipped minimum wage. This paper seeks to examine the effect of states’ policy choices for tipped minimum wages on the poverty gap of the United States’ largest tipped worker populations: wait staff and bartenders. Using Occupational Employment Statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this paper will empirically assess the impact of the changes to states’ minimum wage policies by examining the trends in poverty gap data for this group of workers both before and after these changes were instituted. Considering the wage theft that results from employers neglecting to make up the difference between their tipped employees’ tips and the regular minimum wage, this paper predicts that the wage alterations will be associated with lower poverty gap indices in those states.

2D Factors Influencing Age of a Mother at the Birth of Her First Child Sarah Messerschmidt Economics
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Across the globe, women are waiting longer to have their first child, and this trend has appeared especially among developing countries (The Lancet, 2016). There have been investigations into the role of education in affecting the age of a mother when giving birth to her first child, but the influences of many other variables – like the role of conflict in a country, income of a family, and residing in a rural or urban location – are mostly unexplored (Glick, 2015). In this study, I explore the relationship between societal and demographic factors that influence the age a mother gives birth to her first child, specifically the significance of education, location, and wealth, in the small African nation of Sierra Leone. I use information from the 2014 Sierra Leone Labor Force Survey along with SAS regressions to determine the significance of competing influences that affect the age of a mother when she has her first child.

2D Religion and Domestic Violence in Nigeria Lucas Strothoff Economics
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Using data from 2018 Nigeria Demographic Health Survey, accessed through IPUMS will investigate how religion is related to the incidence of domestic violence of women in Nigeria. This project expands upon previous research from Professor Sara Gundersen, which investigates the relationship between religion and domestic violence of women in Ghana. The results from Professor Gundersen’s research were women who identified as Pentecostal are more likely to have experienced domestic violence than women who were not. Domestic violence in women who identify as Pentecostal have a lower chance of domestic violence when they are wealthier. Nigeria will be an interesting expansion of this research, as there is a sizeable Muslim population, along with different types of Christian and Traditional religions. I will include education, age, wealth, and other explanatory variables, and will also consider the potential role domestic violence attitudes also play. The statistical analysis techniques that will be used on the data will be logistic regressions and multiple linear regression.

4E Exploration of QCA Diagonal Kink Effect on the Expected Output of a Five to One Majority Gate Dylan Grace Electrical & Computer Engineering
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Within Quantum Cellular Automata’s (QCA) model of computation, a majority gate allows for generic comparisons of an odd number of QCA binary inputs to determine a singular output that is shared with the majority of the inputs. In the case of this study, I have analyzed the five to one majority gate’s generic calculation error cases that arise on occasion when 6 kinks, or unstably aligned, adjacent cells are present. This study explores the effect of diagonal kinks on the outputs in these cases to determine the validity of each through calculating the potential energy of the system in each instance. This can then be compared with correct output 6 kink potential energy to determine which case should occur. To determine the effect of the diagonal kinks on the potential of the system, I had to determine the sum of the potential energy at a point to find the relative effect of every element in the cell network. From this, I determined the radius at which the effect of the potential became negligible to the overall sum. Using the summation of the potential at those points, we can determine the overall possibility of these error cases within a QCA majority gate. For any given set of inputs, the output should correlate to the combination containing the lowest net potential.

4E Lithium-Ion Batteries Compared to Lead-Acid Batteries in Mechatronic Football Robots at Different Loads Ethan Storer Electrical & Computer Engineering
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A battery with improved capacity and current output would enable the creation of more aggressive and strategically enabled robots for Valparaiso’s robot football team. Research and development led to the creation of a lithium-ion battery pack that will accommodate such future designs. The objective of this project is to test the performance of lithium-ion batteries against that of traditional lead-acid batteries. Two load levels representing typical (80 amps) and extreme (120 amps) usage cases are tested on four lead-acid batteries and two lithium-ion batteries. Tests measured maximum output amperage, discharge time, and lifetime charge/discharge cycles.

1C Nationalism Christianity: Trump’s America or Gilead? Jordin Billings English Studies and Communication
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Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale opens with the overthrow of the United States by Gilead, a government that weaponized fear. The people of Gilead enacted mass book burnings, murdered protestors, subverted women’s rights, and placed men at the head of the country and household. By examining The Handmaid’s Tale through the lens of a dystopian novel situated within American history, I argue that Donald Trump’s political career mirrored Gilead by promising would-be Christian nationals that he would reestablish traditional patriarchal values. In Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, Kristin Kobes Du Mez describes the rise of Donald Trump as appearing in a moment when Evangelical Christians felt increasingly persecuted. They feared that the United States was no longer abiding by traditional patriarchal values and saw Trump as a savior figurehead who promised to correct that. Trump’s directed comments to evangelicals such as, “Every day I wake up determined to deliver a better life for the people all across this nation that have been neglected, ignored, and abandoned,” and “I’m with you, I will fight for you, and I will win for you,” coerced this group into following him. Trump weaponized this fear in order to rally a silent minority of evangelicals, nationalise them, and turn them into loyal supporters. This led to the demonization of liberal and feminist women, the appointment of conservative Supreme Court justices despite a popular vote of disagreement, and the January 6th insurrection of the Capitol. By studying the connection between The Handmaid’s Tale and Donald Trump’s presidential career we are able to understand how political figureheads use religion to gain control over marginalized groups of people, such as Evangelical Christians. Scholars such as Matthew Beaumont, Raffaella Baccolini, and Carter Hanson argue that dystopian novels are a result of historical pressure. In Memory and Utopian Agency in Utopian/dystopian Literature: Memory of the Future, scholar Carter Hanson remarks on this saying, “But, of course, utopian and dystopian fictions are always grounded in, and responsive to, the historical moments in which they are written.” Dystopian fictions encourage us to see our political moment and to take the challenge that Atwood gives us: a theocracy with a controlled patriarchy isn’t our worst nightmare, but it is a picture of what we could become. In studying Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale as a dystopian novel situated within American history, I am positioning the The Handmaid’s Tale to be seen as a prediction of what the United States could turn into under Donald Trump’s control, as well as a guide in combating weaponized Christian nationalism.
2A Extratropical Transition of Tropical Cyclones in the Southeast Indian Ocean: A Climatology Samantha Schletz Geography & Meteorology
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This research investigates the extratropical transition (ET) of tropical cyclones in the Western Australian (WAUS) region between 1979 and 2015. The study examined 212 tropical cyclones to see if they completed the ET by examining the thickness values at the center of the cyclone and the thermal wind vectors through reanalysis data from the ERA5 (0.25 degree). The original track of each cyclone was provided by the International Best Track Archive For Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS). By using the ERA5, reanalysis tracks were determined in two different ways. The first way that was used was finding the grid point on the reanalysis that was closest to the known center point that was provided through IBTrACS. The second method that was used to find the reanalysis track was to find the grid point that had the lowest mean sea level pressure within 300 kilometers from the known center point of the cyclone. Cyclone phase space parameters determining symmetry and the direction of the thermal wind will be used to determine which tropical cyclones started and/or completed the ET. Based on previous studies, it is expected that approximately 10% of the cyclones will complete the ET for the Southeast Indian Ocean Basin. In addition to determining the frequency of ET in the WAUS region, other characteristics about the ET in this ocean basin will be examined.

2A Geochemical and Morphological Changes Associated with a Wetland Grace Fleszewski, Momin Mirza Geography & Meteorology
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Wetlands are important providers of many ecosystem services, and wetland delineation determines land use options for an area. Geochemical and morphological changes can be determined through magnetic susceptibility, organic matter content, and x-ray fluorescence. Results showed consistency in organic matter percentage throughout the wetland sample, indicating an anaerobic environment, while the non-wetland samples showed decreased organic matter percentages with depth. The variations in Fe content seen are likely due to iron solubility in respect to pH.

4B Keeping the Peace: An Exploration with Police Administrators and Personnel Emily Sandlin, Palak Nigam Health Administration
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Police officers currently face a significant challenge of establishing a trusting, calm relationship
with the public. Recent history shows that cries for help from both sides have been loud and clear
but lack a direct path toward a solution. Many movements have been formed in favor of various
racial groups and retaliation on law enforcement has been on the rise. Identifying problematic areas
within law enforcement and finding a more comprehensive solution is the driving factor of this
research. This is a conceptually forecasted research project as there is no data supporting the
conflagration of the ideas presented, but there has been research with outcomes that are referenced.
The state of Indiana has identified these issues to be serious and alarming and has begun moving
forward in creating a more effective criminal justice system. Unanimously approved, House Bill
1006 is the solution Indiana’s legislature has brought forth. This bill will review mandatory deescalation training for all law enforcement, requires all officers to wear body cameras, and gives
the law enforcement training board the ability to decertify officers who commit misconduct
(Mendoza, 2021). Currently, there are not specific de-escalation training principles or strategies.
Some references for de-escalation guidance are the Task Force of 21st Century Policing, the
International Association of Chiefs of Police, and Mindful Policing training among others.
The Task Force of 21st Century Policing strives to find a balance between an authoritative yet
trustworthy relationship between law enforcement and community members. It was created to
build trust, legitimacy, policy, oversight, encourage technology, practice community policing,
reduce crime, train and educate officers, and bring awareness to officer’s wellness and safety
(President’s Task Force, 2015).
The International Association of Chiefs of Police aims to provide readers with solid research
regarding de-escalation training, the methods used, and how effective those methods are. The
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goal of de-escalation is to create an advantageous position for officers allows them to make clearer,
better informed decisions when responding to situations that are effective. When conducted in this
manner it increases the safety of both the officer and the public and gives the officer ways to
respond to the encounter without use of lethal weapons (De-escalation, 2021). The research was
observed through pre-training and post-training surveys. In the statistical data collected after
training, officer priorities during citizen interactions improved (4.10 pre vs. 4.23 post)
significantly, officer’s attitudes towards use of force was significantly different (2.38 pre vs. 2.00
post), attitudes during interactions with persons in crisis was significantly different (3.96 pre vs.
4.18 post), and officer confidence was significantly different (44.08 pre vs. 47.26 post), to name a
few. The post-training surveys show the importance and benefit of having de-escalation training.
Mindful Policing focuses on the importance of helping officers navigate their mental health and to
manage the effects of the job on their lives. One study of almost 2,800 officers in Buffalo, New
York found their average life expectancy was 22 years shorter than their civilian counterparts
(Barry, 2017). Researchers have also linked law enforcement careers to high rates of various
mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and suicide not to mention the overall health
issues that can develop from high levels of stress such as heart disease, obesity, and high blood
pressure among other things. Creating an early identification system within a department will
allow officers to recognize signs and symptoms of a mental health crisis (De-escalation, 2021).
In conclusion, de-escalation training is not only beneficial to the community members but also the
officers because it increases their safety. It will build the trust with the community and allows them
to feel more informed from the transparency the department shows. Lastly, policing is one of the
most stressful jobs one can have, so de-stigmatizing mental health services will increase the
likelihood of officers getting help when they need it.
2B Framework for Deep Reinforcement Learning Experimentation HarishGupta Lingam Information Technology
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In recent years deep learning obtained astonishing results in pattern recognition, computer vision, natural language processing, and other complex problems. Recent research shows that deep learning can be combined with reinforcement learning to solve complex problems. Deep reinforcement learning(DRL) revolutionized AI by creating an autonomous system with a higher level of understanding of the visual world. Some Real world applications are self driving cars and control policy of robots by only taking camera input. However, a major limitation of such applications is they require massive amounts of training data and are very slow to learn the task. The present objective is thus to develop a deep RL agent that can adapt rapidly to new tasks using recent reseach. To develop this agent, I created a modular framework in which various combinations of RL algorithms, different training strategies, and configurations of neural networks are trained. To test these deep reinforcement learning(DRL) systems, we generally use simulated environments and games(we can not initially test this system in the real world). In this project I will be using OpenAI Gym’s environment and games to test the DRL systems. Detailed log files and results are preserved in a uniform format that permits analysis and comparison of learning performance and performance playing the video game. By this analysis, the agent is built with the best performing combination of RL algorithms, neural network configuration, and training strategies. This gives a single set of hyperparameters that will perform well in different environments and can be extended to real world applications like self driving cars and robotics. Playing the games is a Markov Decision Process, where time is modeled by discrete intervals and the game moves from state to state partially in response to the agent and partly randomly. The agent receives state information from the “world” (the game it is trying to play). The agent produces an action (controls something in the game), then receives back a reward value (which can be negative) and the new state of the game. A key part of reinforcement learning is recurrence equations which allow rewards to be propagated backward. The agent may not get much reward until it wins or loses. If at time 10 the game is won, for example, then that reward is propagated backward to inform future choices for the intermediate states times 9, 8, 7, etc which later resulted in the win. The agent then plays another game. Sometimes it “exploits” (picks the best move in a given situation based on prior experience) and sometimes “explores” (picks a random move, exploring new paths which may result in improving the model. Iterating, exploiting and exploring, and accumulating the backward learned rewards for all the intermediate states. The agent will learn to perform a sequence of actions in a given environment to maximize the reward. A little more formally, at each time step agent takes an action based on the policy ?(?? , ?? |?? ?? ) where st is the current state and at the action taken. The environment reacts with the next state st+1 and reward rt+1 . The goal is to improve policy to maximize the overall reward . To improve the policy, I have used Q-Learning. Q-Learning is based on the action-value function (or Q-function) of a policy, Q(s, a). Q-function measures the expected reward from state s by taking action a. A naive learning function would simply remember for each state the best-move-learned-so-far, along with its expected reward. The Q function remembers an expected reward from each possible action from a given state. Q is thus a “dynamic programming” algorithm. It remembers a polynomial amount of expected reward information to optimize learning over a combinatorial large number of possible paths of actions and states. The Deep Q-Network algorithm was developed by Google DeepMind in 2015, it was able to play a wide range of Atari games by combining the deep neural network and Q-learning algorithms. To estimate the Q-values the neural network is trained. By minimizing the neural network loss Q-values are improved. For setting up the environment, I have used OpenAI gym Library, which contains a list of game environments. This library is mainly used as a standard benchmark test for reinforcement learning algorithms. In OpenAI gym, the state of the game environment can be extracted in two forms. One form is parameterized information such as the position and velocity of a game object. The other possible way to extract the state is as a raw pixel image, the image that a human player would see and react to. I have used raw image input. To process these images, convolutional layers are added to neural networks to digest useful information out of the image. The framework was written in Python, using PyTorch and individual loadable modules. In the framework, different configurations and parameters of the neural network, training strategies, and even different RL algorithms can be easily changed. Detailed log file of episodes (with rewards, # of time steps, loss) created. The framework allows me to use the same code for different environments. Thus the same agent configurations can play different games. Also, it’s easy to compare the performance between different configurations. Using this framework I am able to determine the network configuration, training strategies, and reinforcement learning parameters which work well generically across multiple games. Using this results(hyperparameters) can be extended to autonomous systems and robotics which is outside scope of this project.
2D Air Pollution and Alcoholism: Evidence from BRFSS Dataset Yumeng Li International Economics and Finance
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This paper examines the effect of air pollution on alcohol consumption. The CDC lists heavy drinking and binge drinking in its definition of excessive alcohol consumption. Studies (Fischer, Paul H., Marten Marr a(2015) 1) have shown that higher levels of air pollution have detrimental effects on health such as liver-related morbidity and the function of the neural system. Communities with higher levels of exposure to air pollution, such as Particular Matter and Nitrous Oxide, have been reported to experience higher morbidity rates (Block and Calderon-Gar ciduenas(2009) 2 , Rao, Shilpa (2012) 3). In addition to health impacts, studies (Str ak, Maciej, Nicole J anssen(2017) 4) have successfully connected air pollution to individual lifestyle factors, including smoking habits, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and BMI. They concluded that individual lifestyle-related risk factors were weakly associated with long-term exposure to air pollution. These negative effects of air pollution on health impacts would potentially induce economic stress, such as high health expenditures, low labor productivity, and even unemployment. Studies(Peir ce, 1 Fischer, Paul H., Marten Marra, Caroline B. Ameling, Gerard Hoek, Rob Beelen, Kees De Hoogh, Oscar Breugelmans, Hanneke Kruize, Nicole A.h. Janssen, and Danny Houthuijs. “Air Pollution and Mortality in Seven Million Adults: The Dutch Environmental Longitudinal Study (DUELS).” Environmental Health Perspectives 123, no. 7 (2015): 697–704. 2 Block, Michelle L., and Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas. “Air Pollution: Mechanisms of Neuroinflammation and CNS Disease.” Trends in Neurosciences 32, no. 9 (2009): 506–16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tins.2009.05.009. 3 Rao, Shilpa, Vadim Chirkov, Frank Dentener, Rita Van Dingenen, Shonali Pachauri, Pallav Purohit, Markus Amann, et al. “Environmental Modeling and Methods for Estimation of the Global Health Impacts of Air Pollution.” Environmental Modeling & Assessment 17, no. 6 (2012): 613–22. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10666-012-9317-3. 4 Strak, Maciej, Nicole Janssen, Rob Beelen, Oliver Schmitz, Derek Karssenberg, Danny Houthuijs, Carolien van den Brink, Martin Dijst, Bert Brunekreef, and Gerard Hoek. “Associations between Lifestyle and Air Pollution Exposure: Potential for Confounding in Large Administrative Data Cohorts.” Environmental Research. Academic Press, April 10, 2017. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935116306612. Robert S(1996) 5) have also shown that binge drinking and heavy drinking behaviors are exacerbated by economic stressors such as severe economic loss, and economic uncertainty as well as heightened psychological anxiety. Our study estimates the effect of air pollution on alcoholism through its impact on economic outcomes. The first aim of our study is to estimate the effect of air pollution on economic factors, including employment status, income and health expenditure. The second aim is to include the alcohol consumption variables to check the effects of air pollution on alcohol consumption. The third aim is to assess whether the associations between air pollution and alcohol consumption are sensitive to adjustment for sex, age, and economic factors. Health and socioeconomic information, such as health condition, alcohol consumption, health expenditure, income, and employment status are obtained from the 2002-2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Annual Survey Data for the fifty states of the United States. Our measure of pollution includes the annual average concentrations of PM2.5, PM10, Nitrous Oxide, and Lead from various monitoring stations of the Outdoor Air Quality data of the EPA. To empirically estimate the effect of each pollutant, we use the Ordinary Least Squares Method We expect to find that air pollution is positively associated with alcohol consumption. We also expect the magnitude of these associations to vary across different pollutants and by socioeconomic and employment status. Key Words: Heavy drinking, Air pollution, BRFSS survey data
2C How Does Financial Inclusion Affect Firm Performance and Participation in Trade? Bhawana Rana International Economics and Finance
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This paper extends on the work by Chauvet and Jacolin titled “Financial inclusion, bank concentration, and firm performance,” which focused on the importance of financial inclusion on a firm’s ability to improve on its sales performance. Financial inclusion is the availability or equality of opportunity to access credits provided by the financial service providers. It helps firms to secure financial services to run their businesses, including the production and innovation expenses that they need, so that they can improve on their sales. Production and innovation expenses are not something easy to access as it contains heavy cost for the firms for example, launching a new product would require lot of research and experiment which requires sufficient funding which is possible through external sources. In such cases, financial inclusion comes into the picture. Financial inclusion is a key to reducing poverty and boosting prosperity (“World bank”). This paper deals with the data from developing countries which brings us to the fact that if the firms have financial inclusion, it will lead to prosperity and reducing poverty in the country. The rationale behind this cause is leading more productivity would result in more employment and labor participation, which would bring prosperity and reduce poverty in the country. Any firm who expands would also bring wealth to the people of its country by giving them jobs and improving the lifestyle of the country. In this paper, I use the latest data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey from 161977 firms in 79 countries from 2006-2019 to test whether the results from the earlier studies are still significant. I also expand on the findings by examining whether firms are also more likely to trade when they have better access to financial services. Economies with better developed financial sectors tends to have a comparative advantage in manufacturing industries (Beck,2002). Access to finance brings an opportunity to have more resources in the firm, which will help in producing more goods and services. hence, the business would expand not only at the country level but internationally too. Therefore, financial inclusion leads to participation in trade. My results suggest that people who have a facility of loan or overdraft leads to more productivity and growth whereas, the one with low productivity requires financial inclusion to sustain and then expand their business to lead to productivity, prosperity and reducing poverty in the country. Also, the results show that firms having loan/overdraft facility leads to more participation in trade which answers our second research question about the effect of financial inclusion on international trade. Therefore, the analysis states that financial inclusion in firms has a positive relationship between productivity and participation in trade.
2D The Social Costs of Gun Ownership: Gun Control Policy and Crime Thomas Shomer International Economics and Finance
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In 2018, more than 9 million firearms were manufactured in the United State. Due to the size of this market, firearms can have significant social costs or benefits like other goods, which is seen in the 40,000 lives lost annually. According to gun rights advocates, higher rates of gun ownership are likely to be associated with less crime, and that stricter gun policy only diminishes the enjoyment of gun ownership. When more guns are sold, law-abiding citizens have access to guns to protect themselves from criminals. Additionally, they believe that it increases the likelihood that a crime can be deterred through intervention by gun owners. Furthermore, the mere knowledge of higher rates of gun ownership in the community could also act as a deterrent. Moreover, they claim that stringent regulations of gun purchases and ownership would make it more difficult for citizens to obtain guns to protect themselves, while criminals may continue to obtain them illegally.
However, those who support more stringent gun laws claim that more guns could be associated with higher crime rates. Studies by Cook and Ludwig and Duggan have shown that gun purchases could adversely impact even those who are not party to transactions in the market for guns, i.e., gun purchases cause negative externalities. The laws of gun ownership are such that it is extremely difficult or near impossible to track who has access to that gun after purchase. According to Cook, guns are commonly obtained by criminals through a series of exchanges initially started from a licensed dealer to a citizen with a clean background. The lax oversight of gun dealers, firearms inventories and inadequate tracking data are some of the factors that may lead to guns being misused in the commission of crimes. Due to loopholes such as these, advocates for gun laws call for more stringent regulations, of instance background checks.
In the paper, I examine the effect of the enactment of background checks on crime rates in two countries, the US and Canada. By lowering the private benefits of gun ownership and introducing more oversight into the profile of gun owners, background checks are intended to lower the external costs of gun ownership on society. The U.S Brady Act of 1994 and the Canada Firearms Act of 1995, both included the requirement of background checks to prevent direct purchases of guns by those who may deemed to be mentally ill or having a criminal background. The Brady Act provides a baseline of gun control by implementing a national background check system for the US. In addition to background checks, the Firearms Act labels some guns as “restricted” or “banned”; preventing or slowing purchases for certain harmful firearms to civilians.
To evaluate the effects of these policies, I will use Ordinary Least Squares method to empirically estimate the impact of the policy change on gun crime rates from 1990 to 2000. I expect to find a statistically significant impact of the policy change on lowering gun crime rates both in the short run as well as over a longer time period. Gun crimes are measured by the number of gun-related homicides per 100,000 people. However, gun-related homicides are only a portion of the negative externalities associated with gun ownership. Due to easier access to firearms, individuals who are suicidal have a more lethal and instant option readily available to them. Thus, I will compare the effects of these policies on the volume of gun-related suicides. To ensure that my findings are empirically robust, I also control for the other factors that impact that gun crime, such as police presence, alcohol consumption, and demographics.
2E The Impact of Shoulder Conditioning Exercises on Injury in Collegiate Swimmers Darby Kloweit Kinesiology
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The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between habitual shoulder conditioning and pain and injury in Division 1 (D1) collegiate swimmers. The null hypothesis stated that no relationship would be found between swimmers who engage in a regularly scheduled dry-land shoulder conditioning programs and the incidence of shoulder pain and injury. The study consisted of 13, D1 collegiate swimmers from Valparaiso University. In conjunction with Kent State University, a survey was constructed and distributed through Qualtrics to each participant by email to be filled out every day until the end of the season. The participants responded anonymously to the survey via email. The survey questions included demographic information, participation in shoulder conditioning, and incidence and frequency of shoulder injury and/or surgery. A z-test for proportions at a 0.5 alpha was used to analyze the data. A statistically significant correlation was found between swimmers who performed a dry-land shoulder conditioning program and had one shoulder injury or were unable to train. The null hypothesis was rejected. Therefore, evidence was found that supports a shoulder rotational conditioning program to help reduce incidence of shoulder injury in collegiate swimmers. Recommendations for further research include recruiting more swim teams, recruiting various age groups, further developing more in-depth survey questions, and comparing male versus female swimmers.

2E Analyzing the Validity of Physical Activity Trackers In Terms of Heart Rate and Energy Expenditure Stephanie Sgouroudis Kinesiology
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the agreement between two popular commercially available activity trackers and a metabolic cart in terms of energy expenditure and heart rate. The activity trackers analyzed were the Apple Watch Series 3 and the Fitbit Versa. The research hypothesis stated that a difference would be found between the Apple Watch Series 3, the Fitbit Versa, and the Parvo Medics 2400 metabolic analyzer in terms of energy expenditure and heart rate.Participants (N = 5; average age: 23.6 1.7 years) completed a Bruce Protocol maximal test. Participants were connected to the ParvoMedic metabolic analyzer while wearing the Apple Watch on their left wrist and the Fitbit Versa on their right wrist. Heart rate and caloric expenditure values were obtained from each device for analysis. Two matched-pairs t-tests were performed to compare the Apple Watch and Fitbit to the metabolic cart. The Fitbit significantly underreported heart rate and energy expenditure when compared to the true value given by the metabolic cart (p = 0.003). The Apple Watch Series 3 did appear to report slightly lower than the metabolic cart, however, the value was not statistically significant (p = 0.0981). Therefore, the research hypotheses is accepted for the Fitbit, but rejected for the Apple Watch activity tracker. Future studies should aim to gather a larger sample size.

2E Impact of Velocity-Based Training and Percentage-Based Training on Power Output Doug Haugh Kinesiology
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This study examined the differences in power output after a six-week intervention of a percentage-based resistance training (PBT) and a velocity-based resistance training (VBT). Power output was measured by Harman’s formula; it requires body weight (kg) and jump height (cm). The null hypothesis stated that there would no significant difference between the VBT and PBT groups. Six males with at least two years of resistance training experience participated in the study. One participant had to withdraw from the study due to being quarantined by contact tracing of COVID-19. All participants performed three, counter movement jumps on a Just Jump Mat© and the mean height was applied to Harman’s Formula to find average and peak power (W). A 1RM back squat was performed to discover baseline percentages to be used in the intervention. For the PBT group, each session consisted of two warm sets of five repetitions and three work sets of five repetitions in barbell back squats. A VmaxPro Sensor© was used to track barbell velocities of the VBT group. A matched pairs t-test was performed for both the average and peak power. Matched pairs t-tests were performed for peak and average power and all five participants had a statistically significant increases in both categories. A two-sample t test could not be performed to determine significant difference between the PBT and VBT groups but by comparing averages between pre and post data, VBT had a higher increase in average power while PBT had a higher increase in peak power.

3A Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction, Muscle Activation, and Center of Mass During Stair Descent Riana Gesell Kinesiology
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This study examined the influence of ACLR on muscle activation and center of mass (COM) in females while performing a descending of stairs task. Muscles targeted were the vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, biceps femoris, semitendinosus and medial and lateral gastrocnemius muscles. The research hypotheses stated that significant differences in individual muscle activation and dislocation in COM would be found between ACLR and non-ACLR participants. The study consisted of 13 participants (injured=7, healthy=6). Surface electrodes (sEMG) were placed on the bellies of targeted muscles. Muscle activity was acquired through Delsys Trigno® Wireless EMG System and analyzed with EMGworks® software. XSens captured the translation of COM. Participants each completed three descending stairs tasks. Root mean square (RMS) values of sEMG signals were normalized to a percentage of each participant’s maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) for each muscle. A two-sample t-test was performed on COM differences between injured and non-injured. A statistically significant difference was found in dislocation of COM with p=0.01. Another statistically different value was found between the Left Vastus Medialis of ACLR vs. Non-ACLR with p=0.025. The research hypothesis is confirmed with regard to significant differences in translation of COM and with respect to the left vastus medialis. In conclusion, ACLR has a significant impact on muscle activation and shifts of COM when descending stairs. Recommendations for a future study include a larger sample size.

2E Impact of Various Stretching Techniques on Gait and Hip Range of Motion Sierra Asher Kinesiology
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This study was performed to determine the impact of dynamic versus static stretching exercises on range of motion at the hip and their impact on running gait. Three college students were selected and randomly assigned to three separate conditions: dynamic stretching, static stretching, and a control. Hip flexion and hyperextension range of motion was measured before and after the two-week stretching intervention with a manual goniometer. During the intervention, subjects were asked to perform only stretches provided by a licensed Physical Therapist. For the running trials, subjects were fitted with an Xsens suit with motion capture sensors pre and post-intervention. Subjects ran at their own pace for 20-meters after a brief calibration of the Xsens. Pre to post measurements of range of motion at hip indicated a greater difference with the static stretching condition.

2E Impacts of Dynamic Intervention in Functional Movement Screening Jamari Brown Kinesiology
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The objective of this study was to aimed examine the impact of dynamic intervention stretching on Functional Movement Screening (FMS)©. The (FMS)© is a screening system that allows the professional to assess the fundamental movement patterns of an individual. Movements include deep squat. hurdle step, in-line lunge, shoulder mobility, rotary stability, active straight leg raises, and trunk stability push-up. Further, per/post Functional Movement Scores (FMS) scores will be compared to see if dynamic stretching intervention was effective on functional movement quality. The null hypothesis stated that no statistically significant differences will be found between FMS© and dynamic intervention stretching nor functional movement quality. The participants in this study were student-athletes at a small Division I University. A non-probability sample 8 division I football players were recruited for the study. All participants were over 18 years of age and was recruited by the means of convenience sampling. A functional movement assessment kit, dowel rod, and an iPad was used data collection. All data was analyzed using SPSS software. Data analysis was performed to investigate differences in pre- and post-intervention scores. Descriptive statistics inclusive of means, standard deviations and deltas between pre- and post- FMSÓ scores were also determined. A paired sample mean t-test was done to test for significance differences between pre and post-intervention stretching FMSÓ scores. The null hypothesis was rejected.

3A Statistical Consulting for Kinesiology Capstone Projects Terry Wade Kinesiology
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This project explored the application of data science techniques to kinesiology research initiatives led by students. Statistical analysis is becoming increasingly popular in academic research due to the ease of use provided by modern technology. As a result, the field of data science is growing and its relevance in education is becoming more prominent. This project will explore the relevance of data science principles in a program of higher education.

To investigate this, I consulted 17 senior kinesiology students in their capstone project course. Each project collected its own data with which I was able to provide statistical insights to the relationship being studied. From these explorations I observed which data science techniques appeared most frequently in results production. I worked with each student to clean their data, perform statistical tests, and make meaningful conclusions from the numbers.

Many of the same techniques were used between projects despite their methodologies being completely different. Among the most common were procedures taught in introductory statistics courses. In particular, the Repeated Measures ANOVA was utilized to answer multiple research questions. These results indicate that real research questions are related in what techniques they require. This knowledge allows us to more effectively incorporate relevant research practices into a program’s course track.

3A Using Data Analytics to Identify the Best Predictors of Successful Valparaiso University Baseball Players Deven Harris Mathematics & Statistics
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The Valparaiso University baseball team, along with many other Division I programs, recruits baseball players from colleges in divisions lower than Division 1. The goal of this project is to identify a metric with which to assess the predicted success of a player at the Division 1 level based upon their performance at the lower division school. I specifically looked at the relationship between offensive performance in Division 1 and lower divisions using a multiple linear regression model. Using my general knowledge of the sport, I picked the initial components of the multiple linear regression model to be runs, hits, homeruns, RBIs, strikeouts, batting average, OPS, and XBH. The statistical software package R was used for data analysis to determine which of these initial choices for predictors are the most effective. The results of this project can be utilized by the Valparaiso University baseball team to evaluate potential recruits based upon the identified best predictors and predict how successful those players will be at the Division 1 level.

3A Using Neural Networks to Discover new Tetris™ Strategies Nathan Randle Mathematics & Statistics
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Using neural networks to play Tetris is a classical implementation. Tetris is a game where there are immediate solutions to gain points, but there are also less obvious choices that a player can choose to have delayed benefit, such as adding a gap and waiting for an I-piece. This paper presents a new heuristic added to the repertoire of classically implemented Tetris heuristics, with the goal of making discoveries in a technique known as bagging. Tetris generates a bag of the 7 tetrominos {I, O, T, J, L, S, Z} that are then chosen and removed from the bag as the pieces drop. Once the bag is empty, the game generates a new one. Tetris players take advantage of this fact to clear the board using several bags, with no pieces left over, letting the players have an infinitely repeatable strategy. The difficulty in this is finding patterns that can be repeated regardless of piece order. Once our heuristic was implemented, our algorithm began frequently repeating moves and managed to replicate some bagging behavior. However, due to these repeated moves the neural network was no longer able to play for extended periods of time, likely due to new unseen bag orders.

3B The Network Outlier Hunt Michael Hamalis Mathematics & Statistics
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Networks provide a model of relationships between objects, which can represent numerous invisible services for humans every day. These range from connecting users on social media to controlling how power is distributed throughout a city. We are interested in extending the notion of centrality (mean, median, etc.) to a network. Multiple centrality measurements are introduced, including degree, closeness, betweenness, and eigenvector. Outlier nodes are useful for observing a network’s structure. In a university Facebook network, for example, a user with a low centrality measurement may be disconnected from campus, a cause of concern for university faculty. This is a low outlier. On the other hand, users with a high centrality measurement will be influential and thus useful for spreading information to the greater student population. This is a high outlier. The nodes in the network data researched for this presentation have had their centrality measurements analyzed using the interquartile range (IQR) to determine if the node is an outlier.

3A Predicting winners in the Formula 1 car racing season Shawn Lasrado Mathematics & Statistics
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Sports and statistical analysis have gone hand in hand for as long as many of us can remember. Predicting the winner of any sports contest is always filled with a group of passionate and certain voices. The use of predictive modeling with statistics has been a very popular method for predicting outcomes in the world of sports. With increased access to computers and data in our world today, predictive modelling has become ever more accessible to sports fans. This research project aims to use predictive modeling to predict the winner in all 23 races of the Formula 1 world championship in the 2021 season. Formula 1 (or F1) is the highest level of international motor racing in the world, with 70 years of pedigree. The history of F1, combined with vast amounts of publicly available historical data, allows us to pursue this model. This model will focus on data relating to the drivers, team standings, qualifying teams, results, weather, and circuits.
4B Survey Processes and Standards for The College of Nursing and Health Professions Junta Callahan Mathematics & Statistics
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At the end of every semester, all nursing majors from Valparaiso University complete a survey that evaluates their clinical instructors and clinical sites. The survey results are utilized for the accreditation process that occurs every ten years. Throughout the years, the College of Nursing and Health Professions has tried to find ways to automate the process of data collection. The motivation for this project is to develop standards and documentation for survey creation using Survey Monkey, which is an online survey development cloud-based software. The goal is to create a process for the College of Nursing and Health Professions that can easily be replicated and to develop templates for presenting survey data not only for program accreditors, but additionally for internal audiences such as Deans, Faculties, and Provosts. Overall, this project provides a real-world experience of providing reports, deliverables, and consulting to a client or a stakeholder while also being able to meet their requirements.

3B Determining the Winner in a Graph Theory Game Eric Burkholder, Gabe Fragoso, Christopher Barua Mathematics & Statistics
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We are investigating who has the winning strategy in a game in which two players take turns drawing arrows trying to complete cycle cells. The game boards are graphs, objects with dots and lines between them. A cycle cell looks like a polygon (triangle, square, pentagon, etc.). We examined game boards where the winning strategy was previously unknown. Starting with a pentagon and a heptagon glued by two sides, we worked to solve multiple classes of graphs involving stacked polygons. We also explored variations of the game where cycles, as defined in graph theory, are used in place of cycle cells, which opens the game up to non-planar graphs, such as complete graphs and gives the game a graph theory twist on top of topology. The original game was described by Francis Su in his book Mathematics for Human Flourishing.

2C Productivity and Efficiency of Warehouse Processes Camryn Hannah Mathematics & Statistics
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Trek Bicycle company is known for being one of the most popular bike brands in the world, along with having such a broad line that includes clothes, water bottles, bike pumps, etc. Companies like Trek Bicycle strive to reach high productivity and efficiency due to the high demand of their products. To reach their goals, the company tries to find the most efficient processes of picking and packing merchandise executed by the employees within the warehouse. This study attempts to quantify the procedure of completing an order by comparing the total time between an individual pick and pack and a team pick and pack to determine which process is more efficient. Besides the processes of picking and packing, an order is composed of if the order has tags, how many lines of tags it has for the pieces that need them, and how many pieces it has. My hypothesis is that the individual pick and pack is more efficient than the team pick and pack and a significant difference exists in the total time of picking and packing between the processes. A multiple regression model was used to see if the line count, the piece count, existence of tagging merchandise, and the process (team vs individual) of an order has a significant effect on the total time. The major finding of this study was similar to my hypothesis being that the team pick and pack results in a significant increase in the average amount of time to pick and pack.

4D Simulated Collagen Placement with Varied Movement of Cells McKeon Laws Mechanical & Bioengineering
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Biological Scaffolds provide cells a matrix on which to move, place collagen, and eventually restore tissue function. This process and the effects varying types of scaffolds produce is just yet beginning to develop. This model hopes to replicate in vivo conditions to improve this understanding. A part of this model specifically aims to simulate the cell’s distribution of collagen as well as its movement when one direction is favored over the others, based off what is seen in Sato et el. This model is two-dimensional, therefore cell movement will be increased and decreased in the positive and negative X and Y directions. During each trial one direction was slightly favored over the others. The resulting cell trajectories and collagen distributions for the experimental trials showed increased collagen density in the modified direction when compared to the control trials. When using this model cell movement and therefore collagen placement can be successfully varied to favor a specific side of the model. Further development of this model will include collagen placement based on amount of collagen already placed (modeling on/off stages of collagen production) and nonlinear directional changes based off of published research.

4D Introduction to RobotOS & TurtleBot3 Thomas Quigley Mechanical & Bioengineering
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The purpose of this project is to introduce the basic concepts of robotic control using an open source operating system called RobotOS (ROS) on Linux. This project was initiated by the author who is seeking to continue their education in robotics beyond what their undergraduate courses could offer. It involves the purchase of a TurtleBot3 robot originally developed at Willow Garage. The TurtleBot platform is widely used in university research for introducing robotic controls at the undergraduate and graduate level. It can be used to study robotic movement, computer vision, Simultaneous Localization & Mapping (SLAM), and autonomous navigation and driving. These areas of study promote interdisciplinary research and collaboration between different departments in the Engineering College as these topics are deeply rooted in mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering, as well as computer science. When the project is completed, a basic control manual for the TurtleBot will be written, allowing for further undergraduate research and study in more intricate areas of robotics, including developing autonomous control programs and robotic manipulator movement on the TurtleBot.

4E Effects of a CPC on a Concentrated Solar Energy System Brian Schmit Mechanical & Bioengineering
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See attached document

4D Modelling Stochastic Polymer Degradation by Finite Difference in Matrix Environments Nicholas A Evans, Bethany Luke Mechanical & Bioengineering
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Ligament and tendon injuries are where the soft tissue that connects muscle to bone or bone to bone has been damaged. Current medical treatments are not always successful and can cause complications for the patient. A new, promising device that is being researched for ligament and tendon replacement is a tissue scaffold. The objective of our research is to create the novel model for tissue scaffolds through computational simulations that will in turn inform researchers with more optimal designs for scaffolds. A key feature of tissue scaffolds is the biocompatibility of the device with the human body. Over time, the polymers that make up the scaffold will degrade, and the stem cells that were originally seeded into the scaffold will have differentiated into new, healthy tissue. Our goal this semester was to validate the degradation scheme and apply it to scaffold geometry. The degradation code was updated by implementing the finite difference method. With finite difference being utilized, we can see how degraded segments within the fibers are diffused throughout the rest of a polymeric fiber. The results will allow us to improve how concentration of monomers affect local pH values and degradation probabilities. Future work will include taking the results from our simulations and comparing them to experimental results to see if they are validated.

4D Development of a computational model for assessing cell morphology and movement on three-dimensional polymer fibers Bethany Luke, Matthew Ditommaso, Rio Parsons Mechanical & Bioengineering
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Within biological systems, cells exist inside structures of collagen fibers. Cells use these fibers in order to move, and the fibers can be mimicked by biodegradable scaffolds. There are a variety of factors such as the orientation and diameter of collagen fibers that affect cell movement and cause scaffold biodegradation within the body. These factors determine how successful scaffolds are at creating healthy tissue within a given system. There are currently few to no models which accurately represent how the fiber properties affect cell movement and fiber degradation. Therefore, the goal of this research is to design an accurate scaffold model in order to analyze how cell morphology and mobility change as various scaffold parameters are altered. MATLAB software was used to build this model. Cell motion was used in order to analyze the efficiency of fiber growth.

4D Effects of Pressure and Input Gasses on a Methane Reforming Reaction Nate DeGoede Mechanical & Bioengineering
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This study analyzes the effects of different pressures and reactant compositions on the performance of a methane reforming reaction. The methane reforming reaction uses the elevated temperatures made possible by concentrated solar to react methane with oxygen to produce syngas. Syngas is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide that can be used to synthesize different fuels. Some of these fuels include kerosene (jet fuel), diesel, and gasoline. A potential problem with this methane reforming process is solid carbon deposition. The formation of solid carbon in the reactor inhibits the reaction. Using analysis involving Gibbs Free Energy Minimization, predictions can be made about the performance of the reaction at different pressures and temperatures with different reactants. Using this technique an optimal pressure and reactant composition pairing was found that balances maximizing syngas production while minimizing carbon deposition.

1C Searching for the Sound of Debussy’s Danse Sacree et Profane Alana Swopes Music
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Scholars and historians have done a lot of work on Debussy’s impressionistic style and musical compositions. Focusing on Debussy’s Danse Sacree et Profane, my main research question is not purely historical but rather, in addition to a historical contextualization, it brings knowledge and data into the discussion that are derived from a six-week long investigation of my harp practice. The broader question “What is the most efficient way to play the piece” to capture Debussy’s intended sound in Danse Sacree et Profane is broken down into three sub-questions: a) what is the most expressive way of doing the harp rolls in measures 8-14 of Danse Sacree which is the harp’s first enterance of the piece and set the tone for this first movement, b) what enharmonic equivalents help ease the tension and sound the difficulity in multiple passages throughout the piece, and c) how can an individual’s artistic liberties in the cadenza –one going beyond what the music suggests — unlock the colors and magic in Debussy’s Danse Sacree et Profane. My research treats experience-based facts — practice journal notes collected over a time period of six weeks — as equally valid and important as the historical sources that point to Debussy’s piece Danse Sacree et Profane and what soundworld it encapsulates. My research falls into the field of Artistic Research — a combination of musicology and performance studies. By synthesizing different types of knowledge — historical, analytical and the performer’s practice-based knowledge — I bring new insights into the field of Debussy in performance. My research is based on musicological and historical primary and secondary sources as well as on recent literature specifically about Artistic Research, published by the Orpheus Institute, Ghent (Belgium).

1C Reconsidering Debussy’s Danse Sacrée et Dance Profane from a Performative Perspective Alana Swopes Music
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This presentation investigates Debussy’s Dance Sacrée et Dance Profane and some score-based issues such as instrument-specific notation, from both a historical and a performance-based perspective. Scholars and music historians have investigated Debussy’s impressionistic style and musical compositions for decades. But only recent methodological developments in the humanities have given legitimacy to performance-based types of “knowledge”. This presentation relies on both historical and performance-based evidence. The historical evidence is derived from careful study of the sources, including the composition and the composer’s instructions located in the score. The performative evidence is drawn from empirical study over six weeks and includes notes and observations from a practice journal, as well as demonstrations on the harp in my SOURCE presentation. I argue that instrument-specific notational issues composed into the piece challenge today’s harpist to find their own individual solutions. These solutions allow unlocking a sound world that goes beyond traditional approaches — and perhaps beyond what Debussy had in mind — but help foster a more nuanced understanding of the pieces.

4B Determining the Effect of Evidence Based Low-Stress Nursing Care on Premature Infants’ DNA Methylation Christina Cavinder DNP, RN, CPNP-PC, Angela Schooley Ph.D., Sarah Caesar, Rylee Cookerly, Claire Czerwonka, Christina Foy, Elizabeth Heisler, Brie Kraus, Taylor Madon, Bianca Messina Nursing
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Background

Evidence has shown that premature infants in the newborn intensive care units (NICU) experiencing stress in the areas of parental detachment, painful procedures, and exposure to noxious stimuli undergo DNA methylation (Montirosso & Provenzi, 2015). These epigenetic changes cause poor long-term psychological and social outcomes similar to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Purpose

The purpose of this phase of the study is to provide additional education for the nurses and the parents to provide evidence-based low-stress nursing care.

Methods

Lighting and sound will be measured during the study to enable nurses to control the levels of noxious stimuli. Reduction in noise to less than 45 dB is recommended (Committee on Environmental Health, 1997). Nursing staff will be educated on the use of non-pharmacological agents for pain management during pain-inducing procedures. The use of kangaroo care will be promoted throughout the unit by the use of modest incentives for nurses and families. A pain assessment tool will be used to guide pain relief measures (Altimier, et al, 2015) along with comfort measures to improve physiologic stability (Altimier, et al, 2015).

Implications

This research project looks at providing low-stress nursing interventions to these vulnerable infants mitigating adverse DNA outcomes. Kangaroo Care regulates heart rate (Charpak et al., 2020), improves growth (Charpak, et al.,2020), decrease the length of stay (Ludington-Hoe, et al., 2008). Pain exposure results in epigenetic changes and adverse long-term developmental outcomes (Montirosso & Provenzi, 2015). Noxious stimuli, sound >70 dB causes changes in heart rate, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, respirations, peristalsis, glucose consumption (Graven, 2000). The correlation between interventions and DNA changes is significant to better understand the impact of evidenced-based practice nursing care. Educating nursing staff about the benefits and methods of low-stress nursing care could change the NICU environment by decreasing noxious stimuli, improving pain management, and increasing parental bonding leading to improved patient outcomes.

4B Determining the Effect of Circadian Lighting on Premature Infants’ DNA Methylation Christina Cavinder DNP, RN, CPNP-PC, Angela M. Schooley Ph.D., Sarah Caesar, Rylee Cookerly, Claire Czerwonka, Christina Foy, Elizabeth Heisler, Brie Kraus, Taylor Madon, Bianca Messina Nursing
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Background

Evidence shows that premature infants in the NICU experiencing stress in the areas of parental detachment, pain, and exposure to noxious stimuli undergo DNA methylation (Montirosso & Provenzi, 2015). These epigenetic changes cause long-term effects similar to PTSD.

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of evidence-based low-stress nursing care including circadian lighting on premature infants’ DNA methylation levels at SLC6A4 alleles.

Methods

The study will be conducted in 3 phases with infants admitted to the level III NICU. The anticipated number of participants is 150 to 200. The first phase includes obtaining a baseline oral swab for DNA in the control group. Phase two begins with evidence-based nursing care. Focus of care will be to reduce pain by low-stress nursing care. After 50 infants’ data are collected, phase three will begin with circadian lighting. The initial swab will be obtained before 2 days of age. The second will be obtained 24 hours before discharge. The baseline swab shows the levels of methylation due to maternal stress passed to the infant. This compares methylation levels from hospitalization to those inherited from mom.

Implications

Circadian Lighting, which changes morning, evening, and night helps create a 24- hour cycle with calming light tones to aid in creating their circadian rhythm (Linander et al., 2020). Bright light exposure at night causes DNA methylation changes (Fonken & Nelson, 2016). Environmental lighting affects biological processes and sleep states (Miriam & Ariagno, 2000). Cycled lighting decreases length of hospital stay and increased weight gain (Miriam & Ariagno, 2000). Current research demonstrates stressful events cause DNA changes in premature infants (Montirosso et al., 2016; Montirosso & Provenzi, 2015). This research provides low-stress interventions to infants mitigating DNA changes. DNA methylation is significant to understand the impact of nursing care.

4B Vaping Prevalence On College Campus Using a Mixed Methods Design Lexi Przybylski Nursing
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The college-aged demographic is at risk for adverse effects surrounding usage of electronic vaping devices (Kenney et al., 2017). This mixed-method study assessed attitudes and beliefs about the use of electronic vaping devices held by college students and identified vaping use despite adverse health effects. Fitting with the social learning theory and transtheoretical model, beliefs and attitudes towards vaping are derived from various sources including social norms and perceived effects (Bandura, 1986) as well as decisions to change vaping behaviors (Prochaska & Velicer, 1997). 800 undergraduates at a faith-based, Midwestern university were invited to participate via Survey Monkey®. Data were collected and analyzed in order to further understand relationships and opinions existing between college students and the use of electronic vaping devices. 487 students responded (60.87% response rate). 17.85% used an electronic vaping device in the last 30 days; 46% indicated they had quit or planned to quit within the next 6 months; 43.14% began vaping in high school. Following the survey, three focus groups (n = 34) were conducted for a discussion regarding usage of and attitudes towards vaping practices. Five themes emerged: safer than smoking, cool in high school, generationally chill, quitting because of consequences, and ease of accessibility. The majority of participants started vaping in high school because it was cool, and their peers were non-judgmental. Even though participants believed vaping was safer than smoking, a majority agreed that they quit or were planning to quit because of consequences. Results should direct education for college students.

4E Analysis of Anharmonic Oscillatory Motion Andrew Edwards Physics
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The behavior of harmonic oscillators is easily characterized. For example, many undergraduates encounter systems such as an oscillating mass which stretches and compresses a spring. In these harmonic systems, the restoring force on the oscillator is linear, and the period of oscillation does not change if the oscillation amplitude is changed. However, variations on these systems can easily be constructed to display anharmonic behavior. We have examined three different anharmonic systems, each with a different nonlinear restoring force, and analyzed the relationship between oscillation period and amplitude for each.

3B The Formation of Glycine in The Interstellar Medium Joshua Corr Physics & Astronomy
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In this project, I intend to study the formation of glycine in the Interstellar Medium (ISM) through computer simulations. I will calculate the energy required to break the bonds of the stable reactants, to form intermediates, and to produce the final product glycine using the quantum chemistry program Gaussian 09. Since ultraviolet (UV) radiation is largely available in the ISM, I will evaluate the possibility of using UV radiation to form glycine through radicals by comparing the energies needed to break the bonds and to form intermediates to the average energy of UV rays found in the ISM. The average UV radiation in the ISM is between 1500 Å and 1600 Å, or 8.2656 eV and 7.49 eV respectively. The reactants that I will focus on are H2O, HCN, and CO2, which are detected in the ISM. In addition, H2O may possibly act as a catalyst to lower the overall energy required. I plan on testing the reactions to form glycine in three different scenarios: in the gas phase, reactants inside bulk ice, and on the ice surface. In this way, the effect of H2O in catalyzing these reactions can be studied.

3B Searching for Periodicity in Proto-Planetary Nebulae Peyton Grimm Physics & Astronomy
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Our research revolved around analyzing how the brightness of proto-planetary nebulae (PPNe) vary over time. The overall goal was to analyze their light curves for periodicity and to find what the periods are if they exist. PPNe are low mass stars in transition from the red giant and Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) phase to the planetary nebula phase of a star’s life cycle. This transition is known to last only a few thousand years. Similar to AGB stars, PPNe pulsate causing them to periodically vary in brightness. However, we do not have as much data on PPNe nor do we have as good of an understanding of the mechanics of their pulsation. To analyze our PPNe candidates for periodicity, we gathered data from the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN). We then used these data to construct light curves for each of our candidates. After eliminating the data of poorer quality, we analyzed them using a program called Period04, which uses a Fourier transform to search for periods and allowed us to fit sine curves to the data. We studied a sample of 18 PPNe candidates located in the southern celestial hemisphere. Most of them were found to have periods ranging from around 20 – 120 days, with several PPNe having multiple periods. Several PPNe also had long-term (multi-year) trends to their brightness variations. Our results can be used to better understand the structure and evolution of stars in this phase of their life cycle. This research was supported by a grant from NASA through the Indiana Space Grant Consortium.

3B Investigating Low Surface Brightness Objects Identified in the Subaru Survey Lukas Torgerson Physics & Astronomy
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The goal of this project is to use the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) to measure the HI spectra of 25 low surface-brightness galaxies (LSBs) detected by the Subaru telescope through the Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Program (HSC-SSP or HSC), specifically potential ultra-diffuse galaxies (UDGs). The HSC was an optical survey, so while it detected 781 LSBs, it did not collect spectral information, meaning the distances are mostly unknown. Being a radio telescope, the GBT will be able to take spectra on these objects, allowing us to measure the redshift of the 21 cm HI emission line. From the redshift, we can determine the distance, and therefore absolute brightness and mass, as well as how much neutral hydrogen gas (HI) the galaxy contains. Since HI is the material used in star formation, so knowing that gas content is critical to understanding its formation and evolution. Leisman et al. 2017 found that UDGs in non-cluster environments had an unusually high HI content, but the fact that the objects were radio-selected (which biases results towards HI-rich galaxies) makes it difficult to tell how typical that is. The main goal of this project is to the galaxies observed in Leisman et al. 2017 are the norm for UDGs, by looking at the gas content of optically-selected galaxies, which is another (potentially substantial) piece in the puzzle of figuring how and why these unusual galaxies form.

4A Competency Rates for Offending Juveniles And Mental Health Resources in Washington State Alessandra Luciano, Alexandra Herbert, Rachel DeWitt, Macy Siegfried, Dr. Holly Cross Psychology
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Competency is a legal state, suggesting the ability to aid and contribute to one’s own defense, and a crucial aspect of due process rights in the United States. Juvenile offenders may be more likely to be referred for competency evaluations due to the subjective interpretation of the Dusky standard and non-impartial guidelines in the measurement of adolescent competency to stand trial. Whereas adult defendants are declared incompetent due to severe mental illness or intellectual disabilities, juvenile defendents are declared incompetent based on the discretion of the judge or other legal decision-makers. This paper will explore and describe the factors that influence discretion in determining juvenile competency, and how those elements differ from components determining adult competency. This project will provide a critical review of juvenile competency case law to examine whether statutory direction of competency evaluations of juveniles reflects psychological research on adolescent development and mental illness. Comparisons will also be made with adult competency statutes and research to identify potential differences in competency referral rates. Additionally, it will investigate whether social factors, like homelessness, impact judge’s, or other legal decision-maker’s, discretion in determining legal competence or referrals for competency evaluations by reviewing publicly available data and prior research. Potential implications for legislative policy or court procedures will be discussed in relation to these findings.

4A Evaluation of Factors Relating to Competency Ratings in Washington State since COVID-19: Crime, Homelessness, and Evictions Rachel DeWitt, Macy Siegfried, Alexandra Herbert, Alessandra Luciano, Holly Cross Ph.D. Psychology
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Competency evaluation referrals, which determine whether people with mental illness have the capacity to aid in their own defense, have been increasing in Washington state over the past 10 years. This increase has created significant delays in legal proceedings, impacting due process rights of citizens with mental illness. These delays may further be exacerbated by the consequences of the Covid-19 global pandemic, particularly regarding crime and homelessness rates. On a national level, property-related crime rates have increased. Furthermore, Covid-19’s economic damage has also increased homelessness rates, even with the national eviction moratorium’s mitigation measures. The purpose of this research is to ascertain whether these macro-level ecological factors may be contributing to the increase in competency referrals which are overwhelming the state hospitals and forensic services available in the state of Washington. Utilizing archival data published by state departments between 2017 and 2020, a multilevel time-series model will be utilized to nest data by year, type of referral (i.e., felony or misdemeanor), hospital (i.e., Western State Hospital or Eastern State Hospital), and county (taking into account county-level factors such as crime rates and homeless population size) to predict Covid-19’s impact on competency evaluation referrals. Competency evaluations are essential for a fair trial. Thus, between increased demand for such evaluations and Covid-related consequences, there may be a critical backlog in resolution of legal cases. By understanding the causes of this backlog, legislators can identify and create programs to address this crisis.

4C The Role of Orgasmic Difficulty in Attributing Cause for Positive and Negative Sexual Outcomes in Women: The Importance of Cross-Cultural Analyses Julia Kneusel, Katelyn Bacys Psychology
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Studies investigating women’s attributions for positive and negative sexual experiences have been slow to adopt a cross-cultural perspective, resulting in a perspective defined by Western experiences. This cross-cultural analysis examined such attribution processes in 88 Pakistani and USA women, and identified differences related to orgasmic difficulty and country of origin. Pakistani and USA women differed on both self-blame and relationship blame related to negative sexual outcomes, an effect intensified in Pakistani women who reported orgasmic difficulty during partnered sex. Differences are interpreted within a cultural context and underscore the importance of addressing women’s sexual experiences in a more global context.

1B The Soul’s Access to Divine Will: Implications of Stoic Reason, Christian Will, and Galenic Body in Reformulating the Platonic Philosophy of the Human Person Noelle Canty, Noelle Canty Psychology
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Recent anthropologies of the human person reject the Platonic emphasis on “King Reason” because it seems dualistic. In the history of psychology, “anthropology” refers to the structure of a human person. Although Plato views the will as only a part of the rational soul, the psychological anthropologies of three Platonic writers seem to develop Platonic thought through placing the human will above reason. The Stoic, Epictetus, wrote about reason; the Catholic, Erasmus, wrote about the soul; and the Roman doctor, Galen, wrote about the body. Viewing the will as central could result in an anthropology of the human person which emphasizes neither the body nor the mind. In the following proposed anthropology which builds on their works, assigning the body control over the mind equal to that of the mind over the body might seem to destroy the accountability of the mind. However, if choice is the moment at which the body and mind both become willing to perform an action, both are accountable. The act of willing, therefore, functions as a faculty of the essential form, or soul, of the person, while the matter would consist of both mind and body. The soul is a state of being open to the convictions of both the body and the mind, choosing an action, and manifesting its changed state of being through allowing them to perform an action. The human person flourishes when his/her soul, distinguishable through acts of the defining will, always reflects the perfect and all-good will of God.

3E Gratitude Journal – Single Subject Design Rachel Winkler Social Work
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Practicing gratitude has been shown to improve mental health, physical health, relationships with others, and increase positivity. For this ABA Single Subject Design, I worked with one participant over a period of four weeks. The goal was to see how using a gratitude journal would impact their daily outlook on their life and on the world.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, life has become harder for almost everyone. Mental health struggles have gone up and the outlook on life has become increasingly negative. I started to wonder how do we recognize and validate the bad without totally blocking out the good. These thoughts turned into conversations with the person who would become the participant in this research project. The participant was having a hard time seeing any good in the world so we decided to use the intervention of a gratitude journal.

For one week the participant would record their mood and outlook via a google form without any intervention. After the one-week period, the participant was educated about the use of gratitude journals and the most effective way of using them. The following two weeks they used a gratitude journal every day and continued filling out the same google form. After the two-week use of the gratitude journal, the participant was interviewed for qualitative information. During the last week, the participant was instructed to stop using the gratitude journal and continue filling out the form to see if the effects lasted after the participant stopped writing in the journal.

3C Sorority Connection During a Pandemic Erikah Diaz Social Work
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In this study I am examining the overall level of connection sorority women feel towards their chapter and sorority sisters. This will be a single subjects design with the subject being my sorority. After getting an initial base line measurement, I have added the intervention of having members connect with sisters either via facetime or by spending time together in person. I am also measuring how chapter meetings and sisterhood events affect the feeling of connection. I am measuring this through survey questions using a Likert scale. Participants were chosen from the chapter as volunteers. Social connection is one of the most important things to have in college. Social connection has been linked to lower anxiety and depression, it has been found to help regulate emotions, and leads to high self-esteem. Because of this importance, I want to understand how my sorority sisters are staying connected during the pandemic and what intervention is needed in order to foster better connection. With this research I will be able to inform the chapter what works and what does not work in terms of staying connected while being distanced. This can help in the future with keeping commuters connected and helping sisters stay in touch during summer and winter breaks when we are apart for an extended period of time.

3D How does Music Led Meditation Improve a Negative Attitude. Taylor Dunigan Social Work
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I have chosen to do a single-subject research design focusing on the ABA intervention model. For this study, I have decided to study my attitude based on music lead meditation to improve a negative mood. I have noticed that through this pandemic, my attitude and personal disposition have become negative through isolation. I believe that music lead meditation can improve my mood at the start of my day. I thrive on being a positive person and believe that music-led meditation for thirty minutes a day can improve my attitude and daily disposition. I start my day by recording my attitude or daily disposition on a scale from one to ten. Ten is the highest and one being the lowest. I have started this study on February 7th and recorded the baseline mood assessment for three weeks. I had noticed my attitude would fluctuate from a range of nine to six consecutively through these weeks. Starting on February 21st, I added the intervention of music-led meditation at the beginning of my day after I had taken and recorded my initial ranking. I have noticed there was a significant increase in my mood after the meditation. I have a study ranking of a seven to ten since the intervention has started. I am continuing to record my attitude with the added intervention for another week for four solid weeks with the intervention in place. Then I will remove the intervention to see if it has any lasting effects and recording the scores on a scale of one to ten for a period of two to three weeks.

3C Social Media Consumption and Effects on Eating Habits Chloe Cox Social Work
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We live in a world where image means everything. There is an emphasis to look a certain way and to be the ideal woman. Beauty trends and expectations have evolved into the new age of social media where the world is at our fingertips. Within this single subjects design, I tracked one individual’s social media consumption correlation with their eating habits. The focus of the study was to see social media consumptions’ effect on the subjects’ relationship with food. The interventions include: photo focused apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok, news focused apps such as Buzzfeed and Apple News, and achievement focused apps including Linkedin and Facebook. The participant utilized a daily tracker to track their time on different social media apps and their resulting eating habits. There is currently a wide range of literature surrounding the body positivity movement, the impact of social media, and eating disorders in the modern age.

3C A Study on the Effectiveness of Stress Management Techniques Jacob Cox Social Work
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This research was conducted for my research and stat implementation course. Throughout my time in the social work program, self-care and taking proper time to reflect and recharge has been a very important part of the process. However, one difficulty I know that I have faced is finding how to best use this time and get the most out of the process. This single subject design study aims to look at how I can use different self-care techniques to get the most effective reflection based on the stress I am feeling. The two different types of stressors that I face most at school are personal stress, from family, friends, and life in general, and there is school stress, from assignments, internship, and events. I have been tracking these different types of stressors in a write up so I am able to quantify which stress I was experiencing each time I performed my relaxation techniques. When looking at my relaxation techniques, I am using two primary strategies. One of which involves writing, sketching, and creating as a form of expression of my stress, and the other being meditation, both guided and personal, as well as self-reflection and evaluation. These different strategies have been ones I have used throughout my life so I decided it best to see which of these was more appropriate for my different kinds of stress. My hypothesis for this research is that I will prefer the reflection for school stress and the creative technique for personal stressors.

3D The Effects of Physical Activity on RHR Tasha Abraham Social Work
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Abstract

This study was conducted to determine the effect that increased physical activity has on an individual’s RHR, or resting heart rate. RHRs are determined by many factors such as fitness levels, stress management, caffeine intake, diet, thyroid conditions, and other heart rate influencing factors. In the US, the normal RHR of a healthy person ranges from 60-100. Higher RHR’s are linked to many different health issues, while lower RHRs are typically used as indicators of good heart health and fitness. It is important to note though that, with the exceptions of young and very healthy individuals, an RHR that is lower than 60, is considered bradycardia. In this single-subject design, the research was self-monitored. She is a twenty-two-year-old female, who is of an average fitness level. In an attempt to see if walking ten thousand steps daily would decrease the RHR, the subject’s RHR was retroactively collected by her Fitbit device and then compared to the Fitbit data collected after the intervention period began.

3C Physical Activity and Positive Self Talk and its Effects on Body Image Ashlee Barton Social Work
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For many people, negative feelings towards one’s own self and physical appearance seem as if it is an integral part of who they are. Research has suggested that harboring these negative feelings over time can have a detrimental effect on mental health. However, negative feelings of body image do not have to be permanent. This study aims to explore possible ways to increase feelings of satisfaction with body image. Using a single-subject design, the study collected data from the subject over a period of eight weeks. Before beginning the intervention, the subject answered a short questionnaire that assessed body satisfaction on a numerical scale. This questionnaire was adapted from the Body Image Scale by Hopwood et al., which has been tested and validated. For the first four weeks, the subject engaged in physical activity three times per week. At the end of each week, the subject took the same body image questionnaire, and the results were recorded. For the next four weeks, the subject was tasked with writing one positive affirmation about themselves per day. Again, the questionnaire was administered at the end of each week, and data was recorded. At the end of the study, the results were analyzed and indicated that the intervention was successful. The subject’s body image score increased from the start to the finish of the study. The results indicate that engaging in physical activity and proactive, holistic positive thinking has an impact on perceptions of self and body image for this subject.

3C The Importance of Self-Care for Students Storm Fleming Social Work
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Storm is a junior social work and psychology major from Griffith, Indiana. She suffers from heightened feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed during the academic year. She has identified that self-care activities may lessen the effects of stressors in her life. The purpose of this single-subject design is to identify and analyze the correlation between the frequency of self-care activities and levels of stress a person experiences. This study was structured as an A-B-A-C design where there was a phase of participating in one specific self-care activity for two weeks and then a phase of a different specific self-care activity for two weeks. The first self-care activity focused on improving physical health by following an exercise and nutritious diet routine. The second self-care activity centralized on expressing emotions verbally and through written work through journaling and attending therapy. These both served as the intervention for the treatment. The baseline was established in real time with four measures (two weeks) taken before beginning the treatment stage. Data was collected twice a week where the subject will report their stress levels on a scale of one to ten after participating in the self-care activity. The results of this study indicate a downward trajectory of stress levels associated with an increase in self-care activities. The research also suggests that both self-care activities produce positive results and promote an overall greater wellbeing.

3D Making Prevention Practical: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Suicide Prevention Emily Friedman Social Work
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Using an interdisciplinary approach, this oral presentation will illuminate ways individuals can contribute toward suicide prevention practices on a micro, mezzo, and macro level. Currently, suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth, with one out of every five Indiana teens seriously considering suicide in the last twelve months (Indiana Center for Prevention of Youth Abuse & Suicide, n.d.; Indiana Youth Institute, 2018; CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2020). The speaker will highlight experiences and research from occupational and academic pursuits as inspiration for suicide prevention. First, the speaker will reflect on tenets of Kwame Anthony Appiah’s philosophy, cosmopolitanism to argue why people should care about suicide beyond their own friends and family. Building on this philosophical foundation, the speaker will describe the procedure and effectiveness of suicide gatekeeper trainings. Next, the speaker will share how she applied classroom conversations about suicide to understand and offer resources and support to Illinois and Indiana schools regarding their suicide protocol. Finally, the speaker will briefly explain the legislative process to encourage citizens to advocate for bills that support suicide prevention strategies. In all, suicide is a public health crisis where its tragedy impacts humanity beyond those closest to the deceased. By inviting cosmopolitan beliefs, individuals will learn that suicide prevention is accessible and obligatory to valuing human life.

3E Professional Confidence in the Work Place Tahelah E Noel Social Work
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Self-confidence is something that can change quite regularly depending on the setting. Studies have shown that those in a familiar environment or group tend to feel more confident than those in new environments. Working and professional environments can change the way others perceive themselves. This study aims to explore ways to increase professional confidence in a working environment. By using a single-subject design, data was collected by the subject for eight weeks. During the first two weeks, the study took a questionnaire that assessed confidence using a Likert Scale questionnaire without using any interventions. For the next six weeks, the subject rated themself twice a week at the end of each working day using a Likert Scale on their feelings while working their internship. At the end of the study, the subject took the original questionnaire and found their results improved, and the intervention was measured as successful. The subject’s professional confidence increased by the end of the study. The results share that changes in interaction with other professionals, the willingness to take on challenging tasks, and putting themself in uncomfortable situations increased their overall confidence.

3E Speed Reading Jamie Powell Social Work
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As a college student and emerging social worker professional, I learned that being a lifelong learner is crucial when pursuing any career. As a lifelong learner, you will come across new information continually, whether formally or informally. I saw it as crucial to obtain and understand several evaluative methods and interventions for individuals, families, groups, and communities. However, I saw a stumbling block; my reading pace.

Obtaining a large amount of information comes with constant reading and critical thinking, which is what influenced my project. I conducted a single-subject experiment that would examine and improve my reading pace. I noticed that my reading pace when reading materials to prepare for homework and/or in-class assignments negatively affected the tasks I wanted to complete outside of school. Time was a major element. With that being said, I utilized a Words Per Minute (WPM) Reading Test to assess and record my reading pace once a week. My intervention were reading exercises, from an application called ReaderPro. Not only did I focus on my pace, but I focused on my comprehension level as well.

3E Self-Care and its Effect on Mental Health Emma Magee Social Work
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Self-Care is an extremely important facet of maintaining mental health and reducing the effects of burnout, but it is widely underused and not prioritized. It is well established that setting aside even just 30 minutes a day for self-care can drastically improve mood, burnout, reduce stress levels, and increase productivity. This study aims to determine the effect of self-care rituals on overall mood. Specifically, this investigates whether scheduling 30 minutes out of the day dedicated to self-care positively effects mood. In this context, self-care is defined as dedicated time to personally enriching content. To test this hypothesis that 30 minutes of self-care per day enhances overall mood, I created a single-subject design and surveyed myself daily to get a baseline, then surveyed myself after adding the intervention of 30 minutes of daily self-care. I had created a survey that I answered daily in order to track my feelings and overall mood. The results suggested that the hypothesis was correct, and self-care creates a positive effect on mood.

3D Early Intervention Referral Relevance Rates Lydia Knorp Social Work
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The following study is a single subject design that will measure the relevancy of the referrals that received from LaPorte Community School Corporation staff to the early intervention program. After the program was implemented in the fall of 2020, it was found that many of the referrals did not fit the definition of early intervention. In an attempt to receive more appropriate referrals, the definition of early intervention was listed at the bottom of the referral forms. The following study will examine the effects of this intervention and if it increases the relevance of referrals to the program. The baseline of this study will be measured retroactively with past data regarding referral relevance that was collected prior to the intervention. The data points will include: the number of past referrals (before the intervention), the number of referrals determined to be early intervention, the number of referrals determined to be irrelevant, and a coded record of the referral source to ensure confidentiality. It is expected that by listing the definition of early intervention on the bottom of the program referral forms and pointing this change out to the coworkers that make referrals, a greater number of program appropriate referrals will be received than before the intervention. At the end of the study, the percentage of relevant referrals will be calculated and compared to the rate of relevant referrals that were retroactively collected before the intervention. If the percentage of relevant referrals is higher than the baseline, it will infer that the intervention was successful. The referral source will be collected for each case (in a coded format to ensure confidentiality) to determine if the intervention was successful on all, some, or none of the referral sources.

3D Perceived Effectiveness of Coping Mechanisms and Medication Use on Decreasing Stress and Anxiety Natalie Kasberger Social Work
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In a time full of economic, social, and environmental pressures and turmoil, stress amongst Americans has heightened significantly. When one adds course requirements, job applications, and student loans to this, as many college seniors do, the stress and anxiety piles on higher and higher. Within this single subjects design study, I tracked the perceived effectiveness of three different anxiety coping mechanisms (prescribed medication as needed, morning meditation, and breathing exercises) on an individual college senior. The central focus of the study is to understand the perceived difference between proactive and reactive responses to stress and anxiety. I gathered data by having the participant fill out a survey daily to report the amount of medication taken, proactive behaviors performed, or reactive behaviors performed and their perceived effectiveness of it. There is a wide collection of research around anxiety and it has been shown that coping mechanisms are effective in reducing the number of anxiety episodes.

3E An Intervention To Improve Personal Hydration Julie Vick Social Work
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It is well-known that water intake is a key element in maintaining good health. Regular water intake provides many health benefits. Conversely, depriving the body of water can quickly lead to dehydration and negative health outcomes. For several years I have been negligent in providing my body with adequate hydration, so the purpose of this research was to introduce an intervention to increase my daily water intake. My research was a single subject design (myself), so the findings will not be generalizable. I monitored my behavior to improve my daily hydration through increased water intake. I tracked data points on a daily basis and kept a tally of how many ounces of water I drank per day. I established a baseline of 7 days’ worth of data, and then began an intervention of being more mindful of my water intake and intentional about drinking more water. Approximately 3 weeks into the data tracking I employed an altered treatment which was the use of water flavoring in at least 1 of the water bottles I drank each day. This was to help decrease the monotony of drinking water and to assist in achieving the desired results.

1C Cultural Métissage: A lost movement relevant for our time Miranda A Engholm World Languages & Cultures
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In West African literature, folklore has been a major cultural component in passing down traditions and history, most notably through oral tradition. However, colonialism and western thought have often pushed this history aside in order to impose, or “impart,” more “civilized” modes of culture. Cultural métissage, a movement that looks to the mixing or blending of cultures, is a way to reclaim cultural autonomy for West Africans particularly in the writing down of traditional stories in the French language. Here, we examine “Sarzan” by Birago Diop as an example of cultural métissage in two ways—first, the themes it presents in looking at ancient and modern. Secondly, the story itself is an example of cultural blending; it is a traditional Senegalese story but written in the colonizer’s tongue: French. A close examination of the story itself provides a glimpse into the internal struggle between tradition and change, of old and new. This paper demonstrates how métissage is a way to understand the relevance of old tradition and customs in a new post-colonial era in which ancient and modern can live side by side.

1C A Model for Maintaining Cultural Relevance in French Overseas Territories Miranda A Engholm World Languages & Cultures
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French Overseas territories have different social, economic, and cultural identities and yet are often treated in the same way that France is. In this paper, I look at two different historically French territories: Algeria, which is now independent, and French Guiana which is still connected to the Métropole France. By examining the language and cultural identities of these territories, it is evident that there are major gaps in their treatment as post-colonial entities. One of the areas in which both territories lack cultural autonomy is in their education systems. I seek to find a solution that allows for greater access to education in these regions, through both language empowerment and local history and arts education. This paper seeks to find a model that is most effective in ameliorating and rejuvenating the cultural autonomy in these countries by understanding root causes and in particular their current and past relationship to France.

 Session 1ABack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
9:30 am Functionless Structures Nathanael Chrzan Art
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My project seeks to expand upon the forms common to clay vessels into new structures that tower their ancestors and reject functionalism. My medium was a buff three stoneware clay. I used traditional potters wheel techniques to create these hollow structures. To achieve the final height of my structures, I had to throw individual building blocks of its final form and then stack them on top of each other. My stacking process influenced the final forms I created and I had to consider the clay’s plasticity. This can happen because certain angles are unable to hold their shape when weight is applied on them. In addition, the size of the kiln required me to cut my final structures in half in order to fire them, and stack them again after the firing process. This allows my structures to look complete after the glazing process. As I continue to grow as a ceramicist, I ask myself how far can I push these forms given the clay’s limitations as well as what glazes compliment certain forms.

9:50 am Liminal Space Emily Gustin Art
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“Liminal” means to be in an intermediate, or in-between, state. I am in the midst of worldly events as well as life stages; I currently exist within a liminal space, as do many at this time. The narrative of Liminal Space is told through a series of photographs, taken continuously throughout daily scenes from November 2020 to February 2021. This piece chronicles my life and the world around me through sight and sound and explores my perception of time and memory. I created this short film to document and notice the details of my life. Photographing each day for four months made me look at my surroundings in a different way– a way that practices gratitude, but also shows the sometimes mundane aspects of life. Each frame is a single photograph, creating a stop-motion quality to the film. The purpose of this is to draw attention to each moment’s transient nature. Though there are no pictures of myself alone, the documentary has become a self-portrait, showing the viewer insight into my life through the interactions with my surroundings and the people that inhabit them. I am asking questions with the work such as: How do others relate to my experiences? How will my perception of this period of my life change as time goes by? What is the impact of paying attention to details in one’s life?

10:10 am “I Am..” Kristen Haling Art
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The project “I Am…” shows the different layers a woman can possess. The definition of layers within this series would be emotional, physical, and unseen layers within each woman. Through the use of photography and graphic design the layers of each subject can be discovered by the viewer. Some characteristics are unseen leaving room for interpretation, while others are very evident. The women being photographed come from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, and race. Through these differences within their layers, they can celebrate what brings them together and makes them alike. The use of color and text bring out both the similarities and differences between each of the women. Each piece is unique to the subject based on who they say they are, the emotions they show, the colors they chose, and the physical features of their beauty. There is a need for women to show their layers to the world. To show who they are and all they can be. This is evident by the amount of women that came to me and knew how important it is for the voices to be heard. For them to be confident in who they are. The theme of this piece is very simple but very necessary. The demographic is all women. Every single woman who wanted to be a part of this project was photographed, none were excluded. Excluding women based on their layers and characteristics to fit a specific demographic of my project is not how I want to be perceived as an artist. I do not pick and choose, I accept all. Some other themes that can be seen throughout the series are women empowerment, body positivity, natural beauty, strength, confidence, color, acceptance and emotion.

10:30 am My World Drew Moore Art
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“My World” is a visual exploration of the merger between the physical environments that I have interacted with as well as the thoughts and emotions that I have sorted through while in them. This piece came about as an exploration of my struggles with identity and the trajectory of my personal and professional lives. The processes of making, cutting, and collaging the photographs acted as a catharsis of confusion, anxiety, and sadness. Through the process of making this piece, I realized that it is a symbolic understanding and acceptance of my many layers. As I continue to sort through different aspect of my personal and professional lives, I find more answers and peace in in the things that I have experienced.

10:50 am Miss Saigon: Racism and Sexism Portrayed in a Musical Karsten Beeker Digital Media
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“You are here like a mystery, I’m from a world that’s so different from all that you are. How in one night did we come so far?” – Kim, Vietnamese bar girl in Miss Saigon The musical Miss Saigon, directed by Nicholas Hynter, is an adaptation of the artifact Madame Butterfly from 1904 (Degabriele, 1996). Miss Saigon is one of the most commercially popular and critically contested musicals of all time. The hype around the musical, which premiered at West End in London in 1989, led to the largest advance ticket sale on Broadway in the 1990s (Pogrebin, 2000). It is closely associated with Asians and Asian Americans. In 1991, the Filipina actress who originated the role of Kim, Lea Salonga, was awarded as the first Asian actress to win the Tony Award (Chung, 2011). The musical, which was written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, is the eleventh-longest running Broadway musical in history with 4.111 performances to date (Gans, 2018). It is ranked the third most successful musical in West End history, has won more than thirty major awards, sold more than 31 million tickets in 18 different countries, and has been translated into 9 different languages (Chung, 2011). In 2014, the musical was revived and celebrated equal success (Gans, 2018). While the musical gained a “legend” status right from the beginning, it has been controversial from the start (Kroll, 1991).While some see it as a musical that supports representation of Asian characters on Broadway, from Asian American theater and activist communities, the feedback was not too positive, claiming that the musical is racist and sexist towards Asian women (Ryde, 2019). After stopping white washing “the Engineer” (Nishime, 2017) and marketing Miss Saigon as the “first world musical in a third world country” (De Guzman, 2000), the creators of Miss Saigon have already reacted to some criticism from the past. However, the revival of the musical in 2014, for the musical’s 25th anniversary, still shows many signs of racism and sexism. Thus, this paper will take a deeper look on racism and sexism portrayed in the revival of the musical Miss Saigon. The musical Miss Saigon is more than just a story about Chris and Kim’s personal tragedy. It shows serious signs of racism and sexism throughout the two hour and 40 minutes musical. The set design and costumes show that America is more desirable as it does not seem as black and dirty as Vietnam. Lyrics in the musical like “Will you marry me and take me to America?” from a Vietnamese bar girl support the ethnocentric world view of the musical that says America is superior. Furthermore, the musical shows that white skin color seems more desirable. This believe is supported by the fact that Chris chooses his white, blond wife over his Asian wife, who he married first, but did not seem to take as serious as he married another woman. On the other hand, Kim chooses Chris even though her father married her to an Asian man. The feminine side of Chris’s competitor for Kim, shows signs of “orientalism”, as Thuy is not as muscular and tall as Chris and the sexualized way “oriental” women are shown in the musical. Finally, the musical shows different perceptions of genders. Kim seems passive while Chris is active in the musical. With lyrics like “I will do whatever you say”, Kim seems devoted to Chris and does whatever he wants her to do. Having passive women roles can damage the perception of young women in their view of the world. The hyper sexualized view on the bar girls does not help and embraces that thought. Women in the musical are seen as objects while men are seen as “the makers”. The argument that it helps representation on Broadway seems weak as the represented Asian characters leave an audience closed minded with the impression white people are superior and a hyper sexualized image of Asian women. While a musical in the 1990’s may have been socially accepted, times and audiences change, and audience’s views of race, gender change raising the question whether a musical like miss Saigon should still be performed. It seems that the musical is past its time and does not fit in a world of #metoo and racial awareness movements anymore.

 Session 1BBack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
11:20 am The Soul’s Access to Divine Will: Implications of Stoic Reason, Christian Will, and Galenic Body in Reformulating the Platonic Philosophy of the Human Person Noelle Canty, Noelle Canty Psychology
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Recent anthropologies of the human person reject the Platonic emphasis on “King Reason” because it seems dualistic. In the history of psychology, “anthropology” refers to the structure of a human person. Although Plato views the will as only a part of the rational soul, the psychological anthropologies of three Platonic writers seem to develop Platonic thought through placing the human will above reason. The Stoic, Epictetus, wrote about reason; the Catholic, Erasmus, wrote about the soul; and the Roman doctor, Galen, wrote about the body. Viewing the will as central could result in an anthropology of the human person which emphasizes neither the body nor the mind. In the following proposed anthropology which builds on their works, assigning the body control over the mind equal to that of the mind over the body might seem to destroy the accountability of the mind. However, if choice is the moment at which the body and mind both become willing to perform an action, both are accountable. The act of willing, therefore, functions as a faculty of the essential form, or soul, of the person, while the matter would consist of both mind and body. The soul is a state of being open to the convictions of both the body and the mind, choosing an action, and manifesting its changed state of being through allowing them to perform an action. The human person flourishes when his/her soul, distinguishable through acts of the defining will, always reflects the perfect and all-good will of God.

11:40 am Social” Media: Disrupting our ability to be a Cosmopolitan – Consequential effects on our mental health and psychological well-being Payton Hodson Christ College
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This interdisciplinary research paper examines how social media interactions impact human ability to effectively live together in a globalized society, including the consequences on mental health. Our contemporary social world is increasingly connected online with evolving technology, allowing us to build networks and improve communicative efficiency, yet at the cost of losing direct interpersonal experiences. Using philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah’s Cosmopolitanism as a framework for analysis, this paper extends his call for intercultural conversations to social media. Appiah proposes cosmopolitanism as an ethic for living amongst strangers, arguing that we have an obligation to others beyond kith and kin, and we have to respect the value of particular human lives. Social media disrupts this cosmopolitan ethic through diminished encounters and non-inclusive narratives online. Examples of disagreements about women’s reproductive rights and climate change on Twitter illustrate how social media encounters are divisive, exclusive, polarized, and do not foster cosmopolitan understanding. Moreover, media “connectivity” can harm mental health, contributing to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, as we derive our identity from and socially compare in virtual interactions. Social media encounters provide a challenge to engaging productively with others. Though, social media institutions have been associated with positive engagement and education, so for it to support cosmopolitan understanding we need to find creative ways to tap into these efforts and have everyone’s voices heard. By emphasizing our shared humanity while encountering others through conversation on social media, we can overcome the divisions—while respecting and understanding our differences.

12:00 pm Work, Dignity, and Disability: Toward an Inclusive Humanist Philosophy Jenna Johnston Christ College
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Many humanist thinkers in the Western tradition focus on productive labor as central to thinking about human beings. We find such focus in Marx’s historical materialism, Weber’s discussion of the Protestant ethic, Pope John Paul II’s theory of the dignity of labor, and Nussbaum’s capabilities approach. The problem with these humanist perspectives is that they dismiss the dignity of people unable to do labor, and they imply that disabled people – who comprise 15-20% of the population and are the largest minority worldwide – are unable to live a complete, good life. The importance of labor as a phenomenon cannot be understated – if work were not an important characteristic of human life, it would not be the primary focus of the humanist perspectives as diverse as Marxist ideology, Weber’s social thought, Catholic social teaching, and contemporary development economics. However, while work is a right, it is necessary to revisit the idea that the ability to work is essential to our humanity and dignity. In this research, I suggest that we can utilize frameworks such as the liberation theology of disability, universal human rights, and theories of disability studies to redefine humans not by what they produce, but by what they need in order to thrive. It is crucial to start from an inclusive philosophical perspective in order to make practical social justice and human rights available to all people.

12:20 pm Desiring the Touch of Something that No Longer Exists: Divinity, Loss of Control, and Agency in NieR: Automata Kiley Webber Christ College
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NieR: Automata quickly became popular in the US as underneath the cover of an action JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game) the game drew its players into questions of free will, what it means to be human, and even the nature of God. NieR: Automata presents its own theology and creation stories that are enhanced by the storytelling and other medium features such as mechanics, visuals, and music. The game integrates the player into the narratively present cycle of life and death via “in-universe” and “gamified” beginnings and ends as well as mirroring major character, 9S’s, loss of control. Through its narrative, characters, and mechanics, the game gets its points across about the questions of existence and the meaning of life. At its core, it wrestles with the existence of God, agency, Nihilism, gender, fall from grace, death, and creation; however, these issues are looked at through the lens of the playable characters and make use of empathetic experience, forcing the player to deal with these problems both through the eyes of the characters and their own. With such humanistic and existential issues sitting at its center, NieR: Automata is an inevitable standout, both because of its tackling of the issues in itself but also in the way it portrays these issues through the unique medium of video games. NieR: Automata is an example of a game that makes for an excellent exercise in empathy because of the ways it creates the experiences for the player.

12:40 pm Ecumenical Dialogue and Interdenominational Unity Andrew Witte Christ College
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Ecumenical efforts should not aim to produce uniform doctrinal agreement but instead should promote mutual understanding of differing beliefs and in the process produce a formulation of the precise areas of departure between those denominations. Tension and disagreement within the church does not weaken the church’s unity, but is essential to it.

The church is strongest when fundamentalists and progressives display the duality of many gospel truths. Luther put this duality into terms of law and gospel. One is for humbling, one is for healing, but both are part of biblical wisdom. Both the LCMS and ELCA denominations contain valuable truth in their communion practices. LCMS churches emphasize the sanctity of the tradition and the importance of remembering the true purpose of Jesus’ death. ELCA churches emphasize the universality of God’s love for humankind, and that His sacrifice is freely given and not withheld from anyone. If one denomination was to stop operating communion the way they do, it would present the risk of forgetting the truths that are exemplified in that unique denominational perspective.

Ecumenical dialogue is the process by which Christian thought stays alive in the world, and prevents doctrine from becoming dead dogma. Each denomination of Christianity should be viewed as containing a unique cluster of theological and cultural perspectives. In the same way our skills and gifts come together to form the body of Christ, so do our unique perspectives and emphases of values. Unity is not about agreeing, it is about being willing to listen.

 Session 1CBack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
1:10 pm Searching for the Sound of Debussy’s Danse Sacree et Profane Alana Swopes Music
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Scholars and historians have done a lot of work on Debussy’s impressionistic style and musical compositions. Focusing on Debussy’s Danse Sacree et Profane, my main research question is not purely historical but rather, in addition to a historical contextualization, it brings knowledge and data into the discussion that are derived from a six-week long investigation of my harp practice. The broader question “What is the most efficient way to play the piece” to capture Debussy’s intended sound in Danse Sacree et Profane is broken down into three sub-questions: a) what is the most expressive way of doing the harp rolls in measures 8-14 of Danse Sacree which is the harp’s first enterance of the piece and set the tone for this first movement, b) what enharmonic equivalents help ease the tension and sound the difficulity in multiple passages throughout the piece, and c) how can an individual’s artistic liberties in the cadenza –one going beyond what the music suggests — unlock the colors and magic in Debussy’s Danse Sacree et Profane. My research treats experience-based facts — practice journal notes collected over a time period of six weeks — as equally valid and important as the historical sources that point to Debussy’s piece Danse Sacree et Profane and what soundworld it encapsulates. My research falls into the field of Artistic Research — a combination of musicology and performance studies. By synthesizing different types of knowledge — historical, analytical and the performer’s practice-based knowledge — I bring new insights into the field of Debussy in performance. My research is based on musicological and historical primary and secondary sources as well as on recent literature specifically about Artistic Research, published by the Orpheus Institute, Ghent (Belgium).

1:30 pm Reconsidering Debussy’s Danse Sacrée et Dance Profane from a Performative Perspective Alana Swopes Music
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This presentation investigates Debussy’s Dance Sacrée et Dance Profane and some score-based issues such as instrument-specific notation, from both a historical and a performance-based perspective. Scholars and music historians have investigated Debussy’s impressionistic style and musical compositions for decades. But only recent methodological developments in the humanities have given legitimacy to performance-based types of “knowledge”. This presentation relies on both historical and performance-based evidence. The historical evidence is derived from careful study of the sources, including the composition and the composer’s instructions located in the score. The performative evidence is drawn from empirical study over six weeks and includes notes and observations from a practice journal, as well as demonstrations on the harp in my SOURCE presentation. I argue that instrument-specific notational issues composed into the piece challenge today’s harpist to find their own individual solutions. These solutions allow unlocking a sound world that goes beyond traditional approaches — and perhaps beyond what Debussy had in mind — but help foster a more nuanced understanding of the pieces.

1:50 pm Cultural Métissage: A lost movement relevant for our time Miranda A Engholm World Languages & Cultures
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In West African literature, folklore has been a major cultural component in passing down traditions and history, most notably through oral tradition. However, colonialism and western thought have often pushed this history aside in order to impose, or “impart,” more “civilized” modes of culture. Cultural métissage, a movement that looks to the mixing or blending of cultures, is a way to reclaim cultural autonomy for West Africans particularly in the writing down of traditional stories in the French language. Here, we examine “Sarzan” by Birago Diop as an example of cultural métissage in two ways—first, the themes it presents in looking at ancient and modern. Secondly, the story itself is an example of cultural blending; it is a traditional Senegalese story but written in the colonizer’s tongue: French. A close examination of the story itself provides a glimpse into the internal struggle between tradition and change, of old and new. This paper demonstrates how métissage is a way to understand the relevance of old tradition and customs in a new post-colonial era in which ancient and modern can live side by side.

2:10 pm A Model for Maintaining Cultural Relevance in French Overseas Territories Miranda A Engholm World Languages & Cultures
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French Overseas territories have different social, economic, and cultural identities and yet are often treated in the same way that France is. In this paper, I look at two different historically French territories: Algeria, which is now independent, and French Guiana which is still connected to the Métropole France. By examining the language and cultural identities of these territories, it is evident that there are major gaps in their treatment as post-colonial entities. One of the areas in which both territories lack cultural autonomy is in their education systems. I seek to find a solution that allows for greater access to education in these regions, through both language empowerment and local history and arts education. This paper seeks to find a model that is most effective in ameliorating and rejuvenating the cultural autonomy in these countries by understanding root causes and in particular their current and past relationship to France.

2:30 pm Nationalism Christianity: Trump’s America or Gilead? Jordin Billings English Studies and Communication
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Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale opens with the overthrow of the United States by Gilead, a government that weaponized fear. The people of Gilead enacted mass book burnings, murdered protestors, subverted women’s rights, and placed men at the head of the country and household. By examining The Handmaid’s Tale through the lens of a dystopian novel situated within American history, I argue that Donald Trump’s political career mirrored Gilead by promising would-be Christian nationals that he would reestablish traditional patriarchal values. In Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, Kristin Kobes Du Mez describes the rise of Donald Trump as appearing in a moment when Evangelical Christians felt increasingly persecuted. They feared that the United States was no longer abiding by traditional patriarchal values and saw Trump as a savior figurehead who promised to correct that. Trump’s directed comments to evangelicals such as, “Every day I wake up determined to deliver a better life for the people all across this nation that have been neglected, ignored, and abandoned,” and “I’m with you, I will fight for you, and I will win for you,” coerced this group into following him. Trump weaponized this fear in order to rally a silent minority of evangelicals, nationalise them, and turn them into loyal supporters. This led to the demonization of liberal and feminist women, the appointment of conservative Supreme Court justices despite a popular vote of disagreement, and the January 6th insurrection of the Capitol. By studying the connection between The Handmaid’s Tale and Donald Trump’s presidential career we are able to understand how political figureheads use religion to gain control over marginalized groups of people, such as Evangelical Christians. Scholars such as Matthew Beaumont, Raffaella Baccolini, and Carter Hanson argue that dystopian novels are a result of historical pressure. In Memory and Utopian Agency in Utopian/dystopian Literature: Memory of the Future, scholar Carter Hanson remarks on this saying, “But, of course, utopian and dystopian fictions are always grounded in, and responsive to, the historical moments in which they are written.” Dystopian fictions encourage us to see our political moment and to take the challenge that Atwood gives us: a theocracy with a controlled patriarchy isn’t our worst nightmare, but it is a picture of what we could become. In studying Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale as a dystopian novel situated within American history, I am positioning the The Handmaid’s Tale to be seen as a prediction of what the United States could turn into under Donald Trump’s control, as well as a guide in combating weaponized Christian nationalism.

 Session 1DBack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
3:00 pm Effects of polyester plastic on attachment behavior in zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and movement in ramshorn snails (Planorbella campanulata) Cole Philips, Thomas Paul, Laurie Eberhardt, Addi Burke, Ethan Peck Biology
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Plastic pollution in aquatic environments has gained significant attention over the past decade, as microplastic (plastic fibers less than 5 mm in length) pollution has been quantified in marine and some freshwater environments. However, much of the ecological impact of microplastics is still relatively unknown. Furthermore, in lieu of COVID-19 pandemic, disposable plastic masks have been widely used and discarded, serving as potential sources of microplastic pollution. In this study, snails (Planorbella campanulata) and invasive zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) were used to study the effects of microplastic pollution in freshwater environments. Behavioral changes in snails were examined. Zebra mussels in fish tanks were exposed to polyester, a plastic found in disposable face masks, and the number of byssal threads produced by the mussels was recorded. No significant differences were found between control mussels and those exposed to plastics (n1 = 10, n2 = 9, U1 = 52.5, U2 = 37.5, p > 0.05). The reason for such variation in byssal thread production in zebra mussels remains unknown. Further understanding may require research on different organisms to understand the ecological consequences of microplastic pollution.

3:20 pm Characterizing the Cytotoxic Effects and Several Antimicrobial Phytocompounds of Argemone mexicana Teodora Najdeska, Tj Lefeber, Estefany Bocangel Gamarra, Katelyn Shouse, Caleb VanArragon, Hannah Bhakta, Alexis Dres, Danielle Orozco-Nunnelly Biology
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Commonly called the Mexican prickly poppy, Argemone mexicana is a stress-resistant member of the Papaveraceae family of plants that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a wide variety of ailments. This plant has reported antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, and cytotoxic effects against some human cancer cell lines. Due to its various therapeutic uses and its abundance of secondary metabolites, A. mexicana has great potential as a drug discovery candidate. Herein, the cytotoxic activities of different A. mexicana plant parts (seeds, leaves, inner vs. outer roots) from methanol or hexane extracts are characterized against cells of seven organisms. Comparing 1 mg of each sample normalized to background solvent alone, A. mexicana methanol outer root and leaf extracts possessed the strongest antimicrobial activity, with greatest effects against the Gram-positive bacteria tested, and less activity against the Gram-negative bacteria and fungi tested. Using the MTT colorimetric assay, the outer root methanol and seed hexane extracts displayed pronounced inhibitory effects against human colon cancer cells. Quantification of c-MYC and APC mRNA levels help elucidate how the A. mexicana root methanol extract possibly affects colon cancer cells. After ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance analysis of the root and leaf methanol fractions, two main antibacterial compounds, chelerythrine and berberine, were identified. The roots possessed both phytocompounds, while the leaf lacked chelerythrine. These data highlight the importance of plants as an invaluable pharmaceutical resource at a time when antimicrobial and anticancer drug discovery has plateaued.

3:40 pm Plastic prevalence and distribution in bird nests in Valparaiso, IN Thomas Paul, Cole Philips, Addi Burke, Ethan Peck, Laurie Eberhardt Biology
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Plastic pollution has become a focus of much concern in recent years, and many of the ecological and environmental consequences of plastic proliferation are still unknown. While much work has been done in recent years to understand plastic pollution in marine environments, the impacts of plastic pollution in terrestrial settings are still relatively unknown. In this study, local bird nests were collected and sorted based on material composition using qualitative and quantitative methods, such as where different materials were located in nests, and how much of the overall mass of nests was composed of each type of material. Nests were collected locally in Valparaiso, IN, from the university campus, Walmart, and other local suburban areas. Initial findings in this study on 25 nests of different species, including robin, cardinal, catbird, and oriole, seem to suggest that plastic materials are often present in bird nests, with many of those being types of plastic used for packaging or baggage material. Plastic and other anthropogenic materials found included grocery bag fragments, candy wrappers, netting, plastic string, foam packaging, landscaping cloth, and cigarette fragments. Furthermore, our findings indicate that plastic materials are used in nest construction for core structural purposes, often found in the bottom or sides of the main cup of the nest. Further research is needed to understand possible benefits and consequences of plastic use by birds in nest construction.

4:00 pm Testing Environmental Cues on Candida albicans Morphology Idalia Z. Zachara, Paige M. Camp, Patrice Bouyer, Michael Watters Biology
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Introduction

C. albicans is a commensal fungus which under certain environmental cues (e.g., pH, oxidative stress) shifts morphology from spores to filamentous and becomes invasive within the human body. This work aims to identify the environmental gut cues responsible for this morphological shift. Estrogen (E2) becomes elevated during sepsis, thus the guiding hypothesis states that E2 may represent a factor responsible for the morphological change in C. albicans.

Methods

A calibration curve of growth of C. albicans in liquid minimal media (MM) was established using a spectrophotometer and correlating optical density with cell counts measured with a hematocyter. Liquid MM was inoculated in quadruplets of three different amounts of C. albicans. To test the effect of estrogen at 1nM concentration, E2 was added at the time of inoculation to one of each tube set, and fetal bovine serum was the positive control in another tube. All tubes were anaerobically grown over 3 nights in a shaking incubator at 30?. Morphological changes were assayed using bright-field microscopy.

Results

C. albicans was inoculated in amounts of 1, 2, and 4 million cells into sets of 4 tubes each based on the established growth curve. The MM relationship between OD and number of cells is described by the following equation: 1.06×106 + 1.83×10 7x + 1.68×10 7x 2 , R 2= 0.867. Adding E2 at 1 nM to the liquid media appeared to induce filamentous growth and budding, as with positive control 10% FBS.

Conclusion

Our preliminary experiments indicate that regardless of initial cell amount, tubes containing E2 seem to induce more filamentous growth in MM, as observed with FBS (positive control). Further experiments to determine effects of E2 at other concentrations would bring more insight, as well as trials combining E2 and FBS to explore if there is an additive or inhibitory effect on filamentation.

4:20 pm Synthetic microfiber loads in green algae, Cladophora, in Lake Michigan and Lake Erie Edward Kostelnik, Julie Peller, Meredith Nevers, Muruleedhara Byappanahalli, Cassie Nelson, Bharath Ganesh Babu, Mary Ann Evans, Morgan Keller, Jenna Johnston, Sarah Shidler Chemistry
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Synthetic microfibers, a category of microplastics, have been found throughout surface waters distributed around the world. These microfiber polymers are, for the most part, denser than water and become submerged in water environments such as lakes. Thus, surface water samples likely do not accurately account for microfibers loads, which integrate into other areas of the aquatic environment. One ecological sink for synthetic microfibers may be submerged aquatic vegetation (e.g. Cladophora, a nuisance green alga). Throughout the Laurentian Great Lakes, Cladophora creates large areas of submerged biomass, which can potentially concentrate these microfibers. To quantify the loads of synthetic microfibers in Cladophora, algal samples were collected in 2018 from Lake Erie and Lake Michigan at different depths and months. The samples were cleaned to remove unwanted debris and processed, using H2O2/UV advanced oxidation, to eliminate natural fibers. The average load of synthetic microfibers in Lake Erie samples was 32,000 microfibers/kg (dw) and 34,000 microfibers/kg (dw) in Lake Michigan. These findings suggest that submerged vegetation such as Cladophora is an additional sink for synthetic microfibers introduced through waterways.

Keywords: Microplastics, microfibers, surface water, Cladophora, Great Lakes

 Session 1EBack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
4:50 pm Using extremophile samples to determine the possibility for life on Mars Alyssa Jarabek, Michayla VanAken Chemistry
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Extremophile organisms are uniquely suited to survive under extreme conditions, such as extreme cold or heat, radical pressure changes, high levels of radioactivity, and many other conditions. Extremophile samples collected from Yellowstone National Park’s geothermal features and Mono Lake are significant to astrobiological research because they not only survive, but thrive in conditions of extreme salinity, heat, sulfur content, and variability in pH. Extremophiles are often studied in astrobiology research because of their ability to survive in extreme environments that may be present on extraterrestrial planets and satellites, such as Mars. Astrobiology research is the study of organisms that may be present in extraterrestrial conditions on other planets. The surface of Mars has many conditions that may make life as we know it challenging, including a mainly carbon dioxide atmosphere, low pressure, extremely low temperature, high salt levels, and other factors not common to life on Earth. Although Martian conditions may limit the occurrence of sentient life, the possibility for microbial extremophile life is a possibility that is being explored by current NASA missions, such as the Mars Perseverance Rover that landed on Mars in February 2021. In this study, we use samples collected from Yellowstone National Park and Mono Lake and employ 16SrRNA gene sequencing to determine which microbial species are present. We will then analyze the genomic and proteomic (DNA and protein) profiles of these organisms in order to hypothesize what building block profiles they possess that allow them to survive and thrive in extreme conditions that may be encountered on the surface or subsurface of Mars. Furthermore, we will use LC-MS (liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry) to understand the stability of unnatural versus natural amino acids when exposed to these extreme conditions using the field samples collected as natural, and complex, water sources. This understanding may pave the way for comprehending the possibility of non-Earth life forms utilizing alternative, “unnatural” building blocks in their protein construction in order to adapt to non-Earth environmental conditions. Therefore, the use of extremophile organisms as well as unnatural amino acids may allow for a deeper understanding of the biological building blocks extraterrestrial life may use that will allow them to thrive in their unique and challenging environmental niches.

5:10 pm Mars Surface Simulation Claire Kovarik Chemistry
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There are 20 amino acids used to construct proteins on Earth, however, there are many amino acids that are not used. It is theorized that in extreme conditions a different set of amino acids could be used to build proteins because of their stability. The study of amino acids and extremophiles in Mars-like conditions could provide clues into the evolution of life on other planets, as well as guiding rational strategies to search for and identify non-Earth life. A Mars surface simulator (MSS) is constructed to perform controlled laboratory experiments that replicate 3 of the environmental surface conditions on Mars: carbon dioxide atmosphere, low pressure, and low temperatures. The atmosphere of Mars is very thin, with a composition of roughly 95% carbon dioxide with trace amounts of nitrogen, argon, oxygen, and carbon monoxide, compared to the 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 0.9% argon of Earth. The surface pressure of Mars averages between 1-14 millibars, versus 1 bar on Earth, and the temperature on Mars averages -60? but can range from -125?C to 20?C. To generate these kinds of conditions in a laboratory, our MSS works by depressurizing the inside of a desiccator (a sealed container) that contains carbon dioxide gas. This system is then stored in a refrigerated microbial incubator to maintain a temperature of 0?C. Using this Mars surface simulator the stability of biological building blocks (such as amino acids and proteins, as well as whole extremophile organisms) can be tested for extended periods of time.

5:30 pm Enzymatic Synthesis of a Vitamin B-9 Derivative for More Cost-Efficient Biochemical Assays Noah Moriarty, Grace Burkhart, Zachary Bennett, Sam Markovich, Jeffrey Pruet Chemistry
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Vitamin B-9, and its polyglutamated derivative, is a key component of biochemical assays aimed at testing novel therapeutic agents. Therefore, there is a need to produce this essential molecule in an efficient manner. Due to inherent difficulties in organic synthesis of a Vitamin B-9 derivative, in addition to the significantly high commercial price of this compound, a new synthetic route has been designed based on biocatalysis. This design utilized the enzyme folyl polyglutamate synthase (FPGS) for an enzymatic polyglutamation reaction on the commercially available 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5MeTHF) to make polyglutamated Vitamin B-9. Production of the FPGS enzyme involved protein expression from a designed plasmid originating in b. licheniformis, followed by cell lysis and protein purification. The isolated FPGS enzyme was then tested for its ability to add additional glutamates to 5MeTHF through an ATP-promoted process. The viability of this biochemically produced Vitamin B9 derivative is being assessed using a fluorescence-based assay.

5:50 pm The Synthesis of an Unnatural Fluorescent Amino Acid Cassandra Niemeyer, Esteban Kurth, Taylor Gaskill Chemistry
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The long-term goal of this project is to develop a more cost-effective chemical synthesis of an unnatural fluorescent amino acid, 3-[7-nitro-2,1,3-benzoxadiazol-4-yl]-L-alanine. This molecule can be used to visualize a single “glow-in-the-dark” protein in an otherwise transparent living cell. We are investigating two synthetic routes: traditional organic chemistry and biocatalysis. The biocatalysis route utilizes the enzyme glutathione S-transferase from the thermophilic cyanobacterium, T. elongatus. For the organic reaction, nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy is being used to monitor reaction kinetics with the goal of identifying the optimal solvent and reaction conditions. For the biocatalyzed reaction, a commercial vendor has synthesized the DNA that codes for the T. elongatus glutathione S-transferase gene and incorporated that gene into a suitable plasmid. We have used this plasmid to transform E. coli and have demonstrated expression of T. elongatus glutathione S-transferase. A plate reader has been used to monitor enzyme kinetics. We hope to develop a liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy method that will allow us to monitor reaction kinetics for both the organic and biocatalysis routes.

6:10 pm Comparisons of volatile organic compounds emitted from pure and weathered polyethylene and polyethylene terephthalate Julie Peller, Stephen P. Mezyk, Gregory P Horne, Morgan Keller, Joe Castleman, Eddie Kostelnik, Scott Kaiser, Esteban Kurth Chemistry
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It is well documented that microplastics and synthetic microfibers are present in large quantities in the environment across the globe. Large plastic items break down into smaller fragments, many below 5 mm in size, which are then classified as microplastics. The long-term weathering of these microplastics in the environment alters their chemical make-up and structure, but the details of these changes are not well known. To simulate and study the long-term, natural, radical-induced weathering of microplastics in aqueous environments, specific microplastics, polyethylene (PE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), have been exposed to ionizing radiation (Cobalt-60 gamma emitter) in water and salt water. The changes in chemical composition of these microplastics can be probed directly and indirectly. One indirect method is the analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted upon heating. The released organics have been collected using solid phase microextraction fibers, then separated and identified using gas chromatography – mass spectrometry. Significant differences between the irradiated and pure polymers have been identified. The full analysis of compounds will be presented and related to the chemical changes induced by the radicals created in natural environments.

 Session 2ABack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
9:30 am Abnormal DNA Binding by Metal Reconstituted CooA James Rolland Chemistry
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This work is part of a larger project whose overarching goal is to learn how the binding of a small molecule, carbon monoxide, to a large protein causes the shape of that protein to dramatically change. The protein in question, called CooA, is found in a bacterial species where it serves as a carbon monoxide sensor. When carbon monoxide binds to CooA, the dramatic shape change causes CooA to bind to the bacterium’s DNA. This DNA binding enables the bacterium to make proteins that the cell then uses to consume the carbon monoxide as a food. The focus of the work reported here is to study a newly-discovered form of CooA where the specific carbon monoxide binding site, a heme-bound iron 3+ ion, has been removed and then readded (reconstituted). This reconstituted CooA shows activity without the presence of carbon monoxide. This is unusual because it is generally accepted that reduction of the iron and carbon monoxide together are required to activate DNA binding. To further test this behavior, other metals than iron were reconstituted and showed similar effects but provided a possible molecular explanation that accounted for carbon monoxide-independent DNA binding.

9:50 am Design and Synthesis of Potential Anti-fungal Drugs Jessica Villegas, Noah Moriarty, Matt Mcintyre, Bryce Ball, Jeffrey Pruet Chemistry
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Fungal infections occur when fungus invades the tissue, however if left untreated, they can grow and affect the whole body. Antifungal drugs that are currently on the market often come with unwanted side effects, and drug resistance will also always be a problem. These issues lead to the necessity for new pathways for inhibiting fungal infections to be discovered. For this reason, we are developing a library of new antifungal agents. Methionine synthase is a crucial enzyme for living organisms, and key structural differences in the fungal form of this enzyme can be exploited. An inhibitory molecule can be made to selectively target fungal methionine synthase based on this difference. Utilizing the modelling software, Autodock, molecular modelling was done to develop theoretical molecules that target the fungal enzyme. Based on the theoretical modelling, a library of potential inhibitors was synthesized. Several compounds have shown promise when tested in an assay measuring the activity of the fungal enzyme in the presence of our compounds. To further evaluate the activity of each inhibitor, they were tested in a fungal growth assay which show zones of inhibition that prove our molecules are biologically active against fungi.

10:10 am Geochemical and Morphological Changes Associated with a Wetland Grace Fleszewski, Momin Mirza Geography & Meteorology
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Wetlands are important providers of many ecosystem services, and wetland delineation determines land use options for an area. Geochemical and morphological changes can be determined through magnetic susceptibility, organic matter content, and x-ray fluorescence. Results showed consistency in organic matter percentage throughout the wetland sample, indicating an anaerobic environment, while the non-wetland samples showed decreased organic matter percentages with depth. The variations in Fe content seen are likely due to iron solubility in respect to pH.

10:30 am Extratropical Transition of Tropical Cyclones in the Southeast Indian Ocean: A Climatology Samantha Schletz Geography & Meteorology
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This research investigates the extratropical transition (ET) of tropical cyclones in the Western Australian (WAUS) region between 1979 and 2015. The study examined 212 tropical cyclones to see if they completed the ET by examining the thickness values at the center of the cyclone and the thermal wind vectors through reanalysis data from the ERA5 (0.25 degree). The original track of each cyclone was provided by the International Best Track Archive For Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS). By using the ERA5, reanalysis tracks were determined in two different ways. The first way that was used was finding the grid point on the reanalysis that was closest to the known center point that was provided through IBTrACS. The second method that was used to find the reanalysis track was to find the grid point that had the lowest mean sea level pressure within 300 kilometers from the known center point of the cyclone. Cyclone phase space parameters determining symmetry and the direction of the thermal wind will be used to determine which tropical cyclones started and/or completed the ET. Based on previous studies, it is expected that approximately 10% of the cyclones will complete the ET for the Southeast Indian Ocean Basin. In addition to determining the frequency of ET in the WAUS region, other characteristics about the ET in this ocean basin will be examined.

10:50 am Geology Samples database website Jaeda Nowacki, Tyler Faber, James Lane, Jacob Bradley Computing & Information Sciences
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Our project creates a website of the rocks and minerals in the Valparaiso University Geography department’s collection. Students can refer to these samples when they are in class, doing homework, or even in the field. Information for each sample includes date collected, location it was collected, the collection coordinates, who it was collected by, the sample type, its general type, what kind of rock or mineral it is, the weathering process and general notes and comments. There are also some warnings to show the dangers of some samples and that students need to be careful when handling them. Students will be able to pull up the website and see this information, along with a search function that will pull up the rocks and minerals of what you searched for. What is interesting about this project is that students of Valparaiso university will be able to pull this up when they are in the field. The website will take the information that is provided by the Geography department in a spreadsheet and format it for students to use and read. It will also have a feature where the professor can add new mineral samples to the spreadsheet and the website will then update to include that new information for all who access it.

 Session 2BBack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
11:20 am Framework for Deep Reinforcement Learning Experimentation HarishGupta Lingam Information Technology
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In recent years deep learning obtained astonishing results in pattern recognition, computer vision, natural language processing, and other complex problems. Recent research shows that deep learning can be combined with reinforcement learning to solve complex problems. Deep reinforcement learning(DRL) revolutionized AI by creating an autonomous system with a higher level of understanding of the visual world. Some Real world applications are self driving cars and control policy of robots by only taking camera input. However, a major limitation of such applications is they require massive amounts of training data and are very slow to learn the task. The present objective is thus to develop a deep RL agent that can adapt rapidly to new tasks using recent reseach. To develop this agent, I created a modular framework in which various combinations of RL algorithms, different training strategies, and configurations of neural networks are trained. To test these deep reinforcement learning(DRL) systems, we generally use simulated environments and games(we can not initially test this system in the real world). In this project I will be using OpenAI Gym’s environment and games to test the DRL systems. Detailed log files and results are preserved in a uniform format that permits analysis and comparison of learning performance and performance playing the video game. By this analysis, the agent is built with the best performing combination of RL algorithms, neural network configuration, and training strategies. This gives a single set of hyperparameters that will perform well in different environments and can be extended to real world applications like self driving cars and robotics. Playing the games is a Markov Decision Process, where time is modeled by discrete intervals and the game moves from state to state partially in response to the agent and partly randomly. The agent receives state information from the “world” (the game it is trying to play). The agent produces an action (controls something in the game), then receives back a reward value (which can be negative) and the new state of the game. A key part of reinforcement learning is recurrence equations which allow rewards to be propagated backward. The agent may not get much reward until it wins or loses. If at time 10 the game is won, for example, then that reward is propagated backward to inform future choices for the intermediate states times 9, 8, 7, etc which later resulted in the win. The agent then plays another game. Sometimes it “exploits” (picks the best move in a given situation based on prior experience) and sometimes “explores” (picks a random move, exploring new paths which may result in improving the model. Iterating, exploiting and exploring, and accumulating the backward learned rewards for all the intermediate states. The agent will learn to perform a sequence of actions in a given environment to maximize the reward. A little more formally, at each time step agent takes an action based on the policy ?(?? , ?? |?? ?? ) where st is the current state and at the action taken. The environment reacts with the next state st+1 and reward rt+1 . The goal is to improve policy to maximize the overall reward . To improve the policy, I have used Q-Learning. Q-Learning is based on the action-value function (or Q-function) of a policy, Q(s, a). Q-function measures the expected reward from state s by taking action a. A naive learning function would simply remember for each state the best-move-learned-so-far, along with its expected reward. The Q function remembers an expected reward from each possible action from a given state. Q is thus a “dynamic programming” algorithm. It remembers a polynomial amount of expected reward information to optimize learning over a combinatorial large number of possible paths of actions and states. The Deep Q-Network algorithm was developed by Google DeepMind in 2015, it was able to play a wide range of Atari games by combining the deep neural network and Q-learning algorithms. To estimate the Q-values the neural network is trained. By minimizing the neural network loss Q-values are improved. For setting up the environment, I have used OpenAI gym Library, which contains a list of game environments. This library is mainly used as a standard benchmark test for reinforcement learning algorithms. In OpenAI gym, the state of the game environment can be extracted in two forms. One form is parameterized information such as the position and velocity of a game object. The other possible way to extract the state is as a raw pixel image, the image that a human player would see and react to. I have used raw image input. To process these images, convolutional layers are added to neural networks to digest useful information out of the image. The framework was written in Python, using PyTorch and individual loadable modules. In the framework, different configurations and parameters of the neural network, training strategies, and even different RL algorithms can be easily changed. Detailed log file of episodes (with rewards, # of time steps, loss) created. The framework allows me to use the same code for different environments. Thus the same agent configurations can play different games. Also, it’s easy to compare the performance between different configurations. Using this framework I am able to determine the network configuration, training strategies, and reinforcement learning parameters which work well generically across multiple games. Using this results(hyperparameters) can be extended to autonomous systems and robotics which is outside scope of this project.
11:40 am Lambda Chi Alpha Webpage Creation Casey Hill Computing & Information Sciences
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The design group set out to create a new website for the Valparaiso chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha. This was necessary as the older website was outdated, lacked accessibility per W3C guidelines, and was very limited in the functions that it set out to perform. The goal of this new website is to allow users to have access to all information on the fraternity chapter in a visually pleasing and well organized manner. A sub-goal of this group’s creation was to allow a smooth upkeep process so that the website would never be out of date. The group focused computer science and researching abilities to formulate a website that was functional and in compliance with governmental guidelines. In order to fulfill the goal, the group used an iterative approach with an emphasis on coding with shared branches. For the client side services, the group used angular API and for backend services, Google’s Firebase was used. CRUD operations (create, read, update, delete) were used to implement a persistent storage functionality for the website. The group researched the web content accessibility guidelines from the World Wide Web Consortium to ensure that the website followed all accessibility guidelines. This research also allowed for the creation of a website that was visually and aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. In the end, the website was created using the computer science skills of the group and it is not only fully functional, but it runs better than the previous website and in compliance with all accessibility standards.

12:00 pm Do simple word features predict dialogue acts among students working together? Jaeda Nowacki Computing & Information Sciences
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Is it possible for a computer to tell when students working together online are engaging with each other in their conversation? The Computer-Mediated Problem-Solving (COMPS) project is working to address that question. The goal is to have the computer figuratively look over the shoulders of students at work, judging whether they are more-or-less on task. This student project works with dialogue acts that typify students working productively, e.g. sharing ideas, negotiating, directing the problem solving task. The experiment uses transcripts of 1200 turns of synchronous dialogue, students type-chatting together solving exercises in a computer programming class. These transcripts have been manually pre-tagged showing which turns exhibit which dialogue behaviors. We then tabulate common words and phrases which are statistically associated with these behaviors. As a simple example, a common word like “but” might be associated with students disagreeing with each other, which would be a type of negotiating dialogue act, which would be expected from students engaging with each other in a problem-solving activity. The research question is then: are these word features predictive of the same dialogue acts in other contexts? Does the association discovered in the training data help to identify the same behaviors in conversations between different students solving different problems? We test the hypothesis using other synchronous dialogues of different students solving the same and different computer programming problems. We then test further, using threaded discussion board postings where students asynchronously discuss different topics.

12:20 pm Tracking Valpo’s Bluetooth Nathan Randle, Steve Helm, Mihal Zavalani, Michael Revor Computing & Information Sciences
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This project allows users to observe the movements of the bluetooth devices that people carry around campus. Bluetooth devices are all around us at all times, constantly outputting their signal. Prof. Dan White placed bluetooth sniffers across campus, which can identify devices within range by the beacons that bluetooth devices frequently emit. These device sightings are collected into a database, where an interested user can track the movement of any bluetooth device on campus. Professor White planned to distribute a number of keys to students across campus. Our goal has been working on the refinement of the database and digital management of these devices. This involved the creation of a website that can track the devices remotely, and allows for the registration of new bluetooth sniffing devices. By registering these keys in a way that allows for tracking, we can then move on to the data management segment of the project. Our end goal is to be able to locate specific bluetooth capable devices and retrieve certain information that is important to the digital manager (for example, a user device’s MAC address). All of this information will be used to create our application, which will be useful for the Engineering Department.

12:40 pm Valpo SERF App Gabriel Fragoso Jr., Sam Gordon, Evan Cummings, Matthew Spivey Computing & Information Sciences
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This project performs public outreach for the Valparaiso Solar Energy Research Facility (SERF), a solar furnace used for research at Valparaiso University. With this software, interested members of the public and members of the SERF research community can keep in touch with solar furnace operations. They can be alerted when the furnace turns on and keep apprised of the experiments currently running. There will be a camera to live stream a view inside the facility. This project will use the Flutter SDK from Google to create the mobile application on Android and iOS. The mobile app will be used for push notifications and to make the application more accessible. The app will take a blog format of posts and pictures, with each post having a title and a description of the experiment currently being conducted. The project will also have an Apache server and a MySQL database to store and query the information the SERF team wanted to present. Flutter can be used with PHP scripts to query a web server with a SQL database, and this is the method we are going to use.

 Session 2CBack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
1:10 pm Productivity and Efficiency of Warehouse Processes Camryn Hannah Mathematics & Statistics
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Trek Bicycle company is known for being one of the most popular bike brands in the world, along with having such a broad line that includes clothes, water bottles, bike pumps, etc. Companies like Trek Bicycle strive to reach high productivity and efficiency due to the high demand of their products. To reach their goals, the company tries to find the most efficient processes of picking and packing merchandise executed by the employees within the warehouse. This study attempts to quantify the procedure of completing an order by comparing the total time between an individual pick and pack and a team pick and pack to determine which process is more efficient. Besides the processes of picking and packing, an order is composed of if the order has tags, how many lines of tags it has for the pieces that need them, and how many pieces it has. My hypothesis is that the individual pick and pack is more efficient than the team pick and pack and a significant difference exists in the total time of picking and packing between the processes. A multiple regression model was used to see if the line count, the piece count, existence of tagging merchandise, and the process (team vs individual) of an order has a significant effect on the total time. The major finding of this study was similar to my hypothesis being that the team pick and pack results in a significant increase in the average amount of time to pick and pack.

1:30 pm The Effect of Supply Chain Disruptions on Business Katia Fedor, Ceyhun Ceyhun Ozgur Business Administration
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Abstract

There are many reasons for experiencing supply chain disruptions. The reasons could be miscommunication between the factory and the warehouse, miscommunication between the warehouse and the stores, or miscommunication between the stores and the customers. We investigated these possible disruptions throughout this paper with the help of a questionnaire. We further investigated the effect of various problems that may occur with the company stock which resulted in supply chain disruptions. There have been many papers written about the effect of the disruptions regarding these problems. With the goal of finding out the tactical approach from the company affects the value of the stock, we investigated this further. Additionally, this paper examined the nature of the tactical standings of the company and the effects on supply chain disruptions and the position of the company stock. Based on the responses to the questionnaire, we found how the tactical elements affect the supply chain disruptions. We also showed the effect of the supply chain disruptions on the company stock.

1:50 pm Making Change: State Tipped Minimum Wage Policies and the Poverty Gap Kaitlyn M. Steinhiser Economics
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In 1996, an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act set the national tipped minimum wage at $2.13 per hour. The Act states that, if a tipped employee’s tips do not make up the difference between the tipped minimum wage and the federal, regular minimum wage, then employers must make up the difference. Eight states have chosen to make up the difference themselves by unifying their tipped and regular minimum wages. Twenty-six states have chosen to lessen the difference by raising their tipped minimum wage. This paper seeks to examine the effect of states’ policy choices for tipped minimum wages on the poverty gap of the United States’ largest tipped worker populations: wait staff and bartenders. Using Occupational Employment Statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this paper will empirically assess the impact of the changes to states’ minimum wage policies by examining the trends in poverty gap data for this group of workers both before and after these changes were instituted. Considering the wage theft that results from employers neglecting to make up the difference between their tipped employees’ tips and the regular minimum wage, this paper predicts that the wage alterations will be associated with lower poverty gap indices in those states.

2:10 pm How Does Financial Inclusion Affect Firm Performance and Participation in Trade? Bhawana Rana International Economics and Finance
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This paper extends on the work by Chauvet and Jacolin titled “Financial inclusion, bank concentration, and firm performance,” which focused on the importance of financial inclusion on a firm’s ability to improve on its sales performance. Financial inclusion is the availability or equality of opportunity to access credits provided by the financial service providers. It helps firms to secure financial services to run their businesses, including the production and innovation expenses that they need, so that they can improve on their sales. Production and innovation expenses are not something easy to access as it contains heavy cost for the firms for example, launching a new product would require lot of research and experiment which requires sufficient funding which is possible through external sources. In such cases, financial inclusion comes into the picture. Financial inclusion is a key to reducing poverty and boosting prosperity (“World bank”). This paper deals with the data from developing countries which brings us to the fact that if the firms have financial inclusion, it will lead to prosperity and reducing poverty in the country. The rationale behind this cause is leading more productivity would result in more employment and labor participation, which would bring prosperity and reduce poverty in the country. Any firm who expands would also bring wealth to the people of its country by giving them jobs and improving the lifestyle of the country. In this paper, I use the latest data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey from 161977 firms in 79 countries from 2006-2019 to test whether the results from the earlier studies are still significant. I also expand on the findings by examining whether firms are also more likely to trade when they have better access to financial services. Economies with better developed financial sectors tends to have a comparative advantage in manufacturing industries (Beck,2002). Access to finance brings an opportunity to have more resources in the firm, which will help in producing more goods and services. hence, the business would expand not only at the country level but internationally too. Therefore, financial inclusion leads to participation in trade. My results suggest that people who have a facility of loan or overdraft leads to more productivity and growth whereas, the one with low productivity requires financial inclusion to sustain and then expand their business to lead to productivity, prosperity and reducing poverty in the country. Also, the results show that firms having loan/overdraft facility leads to more participation in trade which answers our second research question about the effect of financial inclusion on international trade. Therefore, the analysis states that financial inclusion in firms has a positive relationship between productivity and participation in trade.
2:30 pm Promoting Valparaiso Graduate Communication Programs during Covid Andrew Miller Digital Media
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Due to COVID-19 restrictions, 2020 was a challenging year for potential students
to engage in the traditional campus visit. However, out of this tragic dilemma, I created
a promotional video for the Digital and Sports Media Masters Program. This video
allows potential students to learn about what this program has to offer. Video is an
excellent medium because it provides potential students a sensory experience.
Research shows that the visual elements of video will resonate with potential students
much more than written text.
This project highlights my editing and craft within the adobe suite of programs.
Specifically with Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Photoshop. Blending
these three together seamlessly to create a promotion for the department to help
potential students understand what these programs provide. With my background in
video production and what I have learned from the Digital Media program I built this
project to show my ability to bring different elements together from multiple programs.
Another aspect of my creative work was creating a Digital Media/Sports Media
YouTube page so that the department can display informational content and student’s
creative work. YouTube is a widely used site to distribute videos and can attract
students to the program.

 Session 2DBack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
3:00 pm Religion and Domestic Violence in Nigeria Lucas Strothoff Economics
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Using data from 2018 Nigeria Demographic Health Survey, accessed through IPUMS will investigate how religion is related to the incidence of domestic violence of women in Nigeria. This project expands upon previous research from Professor Sara Gundersen, which investigates the relationship between religion and domestic violence of women in Ghana. The results from Professor Gundersen’s research were women who identified as Pentecostal are more likely to have experienced domestic violence than women who were not. Domestic violence in women who identify as Pentecostal have a lower chance of domestic violence when they are wealthier. Nigeria will be an interesting expansion of this research, as there is a sizeable Muslim population, along with different types of Christian and Traditional religions. I will include education, age, wealth, and other explanatory variables, and will also consider the potential role domestic violence attitudes also play. The statistical analysis techniques that will be used on the data will be logistic regressions and multiple linear regression.

3:20 pm Factors Influencing Age of a Mother at the Birth of Her First Child Sarah Messerschmidt Economics
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Across the globe, women are waiting longer to have their first child, and this trend has appeared especially among developing countries (The Lancet, 2016). There have been investigations into the role of education in affecting the age of a mother when giving birth to her first child, but the influences of many other variables – like the role of conflict in a country, income of a family, and residing in a rural or urban location – are mostly unexplored (Glick, 2015). In this study, I explore the relationship between societal and demographic factors that influence the age a mother gives birth to her first child, specifically the significance of education, location, and wealth, in the small African nation of Sierra Leone. I use information from the 2014 Sierra Leone Labor Force Survey along with SAS regressions to determine the significance of competing influences that affect the age of a mother when she has her first child.

3:40 pm Air Pollution and Alcoholism: Evidence from BRFSS Dataset Yumeng Li International Economics and Finance
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This paper examines the effect of air pollution on alcohol consumption. The CDC lists heavy drinking and binge drinking in its definition of excessive alcohol consumption. Studies (Fischer, Paul H., Marten Marr a(2015) 1) have shown that higher levels of air pollution have detrimental effects on health such as liver-related morbidity and the function of the neural system. Communities with higher levels of exposure to air pollution, such as Particular Matter and Nitrous Oxide, have been reported to experience higher morbidity rates (Block and Calderon-Gar ciduenas(2009) 2 , Rao, Shilpa (2012) 3). In addition to health impacts, studies (Str ak, Maciej, Nicole J anssen(2017) 4) have successfully connected air pollution to individual lifestyle factors, including smoking habits, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and BMI. They concluded that individual lifestyle-related risk factors were weakly associated with long-term exposure to air pollution. These negative effects of air pollution on health impacts would potentially induce economic stress, such as high health expenditures, low labor productivity, and even unemployment. Studies(Peir ce, 1 Fischer, Paul H., Marten Marra, Caroline B. Ameling, Gerard Hoek, Rob Beelen, Kees De Hoogh, Oscar Breugelmans, Hanneke Kruize, Nicole A.h. Janssen, and Danny Houthuijs. “Air Pollution and Mortality in Seven Million Adults: The Dutch Environmental Longitudinal Study (DUELS).” Environmental Health Perspectives 123, no. 7 (2015): 697–704. 2 Block, Michelle L., and Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas. “Air Pollution: Mechanisms of Neuroinflammation and CNS Disease.” Trends in Neurosciences 32, no. 9 (2009): 506–16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tins.2009.05.009. 3 Rao, Shilpa, Vadim Chirkov, Frank Dentener, Rita Van Dingenen, Shonali Pachauri, Pallav Purohit, Markus Amann, et al. “Environmental Modeling and Methods for Estimation of the Global Health Impacts of Air Pollution.” Environmental Modeling & Assessment 17, no. 6 (2012): 613–22. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10666-012-9317-3. 4 Strak, Maciej, Nicole Janssen, Rob Beelen, Oliver Schmitz, Derek Karssenberg, Danny Houthuijs, Carolien van den Brink, Martin Dijst, Bert Brunekreef, and Gerard Hoek. “Associations between Lifestyle and Air Pollution Exposure: Potential for Confounding in Large Administrative Data Cohorts.” Environmental Research. Academic Press, April 10, 2017. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935116306612. Robert S(1996) 5) have also shown that binge drinking and heavy drinking behaviors are exacerbated by economic stressors such as severe economic loss, and economic uncertainty as well as heightened psychological anxiety. Our study estimates the effect of air pollution on alcoholism through its impact on economic outcomes. The first aim of our study is to estimate the effect of air pollution on economic factors, including employment status, income and health expenditure. The second aim is to include the alcohol consumption variables to check the effects of air pollution on alcohol consumption. The third aim is to assess whether the associations between air pollution and alcohol consumption are sensitive to adjustment for sex, age, and economic factors. Health and socioeconomic information, such as health condition, alcohol consumption, health expenditure, income, and employment status are obtained from the 2002-2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Annual Survey Data for the fifty states of the United States. Our measure of pollution includes the annual average concentrations of PM2.5, PM10, Nitrous Oxide, and Lead from various monitoring stations of the Outdoor Air Quality data of the EPA. To empirically estimate the effect of each pollutant, we use the Ordinary Least Squares Method We expect to find that air pollution is positively associated with alcohol consumption. We also expect the magnitude of these associations to vary across different pollutants and by socioeconomic and employment status. Key Words: Heavy drinking, Air pollution, BRFSS survey data
4:00 pm The Social Costs of Gun Ownership: Gun Control Policy and Crime Thomas Shomer International Economics and Finance
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In 2018, more than 9 million firearms were manufactured in the United State. Due to the size of this market, firearms can have significant social costs or benefits like other goods, which is seen in the 40,000 lives lost annually. According to gun rights advocates, higher rates of gun ownership are likely to be associated with less crime, and that stricter gun policy only diminishes the enjoyment of gun ownership. When more guns are sold, law-abiding citizens have access to guns to protect themselves from criminals. Additionally, they believe that it increases the likelihood that a crime can be deterred through intervention by gun owners. Furthermore, the mere knowledge of higher rates of gun ownership in the community could also act as a deterrent. Moreover, they claim that stringent regulations of gun purchases and ownership would make it more difficult for citizens to obtain guns to protect themselves, while criminals may continue to obtain them illegally.
However, those who support more stringent gun laws claim that more guns could be associated with higher crime rates. Studies by Cook and Ludwig and Duggan have shown that gun purchases could adversely impact even those who are not party to transactions in the market for guns, i.e., gun purchases cause negative externalities. The laws of gun ownership are such that it is extremely difficult or near impossible to track who has access to that gun after purchase. According to Cook, guns are commonly obtained by criminals through a series of exchanges initially started from a licensed dealer to a citizen with a clean background. The lax oversight of gun dealers, firearms inventories and inadequate tracking data are some of the factors that may lead to guns being misused in the commission of crimes. Due to loopholes such as these, advocates for gun laws call for more stringent regulations, of instance background checks.
In the paper, I examine the effect of the enactment of background checks on crime rates in two countries, the US and Canada. By lowering the private benefits of gun ownership and introducing more oversight into the profile of gun owners, background checks are intended to lower the external costs of gun ownership on society. The U.S Brady Act of 1994 and the Canada Firearms Act of 1995, both included the requirement of background checks to prevent direct purchases of guns by those who may deemed to be mentally ill or having a criminal background. The Brady Act provides a baseline of gun control by implementing a national background check system for the US. In addition to background checks, the Firearms Act labels some guns as “restricted” or “banned”; preventing or slowing purchases for certain harmful firearms to civilians.
To evaluate the effects of these policies, I will use Ordinary Least Squares method to empirically estimate the impact of the policy change on gun crime rates from 1990 to 2000. I expect to find a statistically significant impact of the policy change on lowering gun crime rates both in the short run as well as over a longer time period. Gun crimes are measured by the number of gun-related homicides per 100,000 people. However, gun-related homicides are only a portion of the negative externalities associated with gun ownership. Due to easier access to firearms, individuals who are suicidal have a more lethal and instant option readily available to them. Thus, I will compare the effects of these policies on the volume of gun-related suicides. To ensure that my findings are empirically robust, I also control for the other factors that impact that gun crime, such as police presence, alcohol consumption, and demographics.
4:20 pm Yokai in Toho Project: Monsters, Modernization, and the Death of Japanese Spirituality Lukas. Torgerson East Asian Studies, Folklore Studies
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The use of yokai (the ghosts and monsters of Japanese folklore) in Touhou Project represents a way to talk about the death of Japanese spirituality, the role of the West in Japanese culture, and the place of tradition in modern society. In some sense, this is nothing new. From the folklore of the Kamakura period, to Edo period wood-block prints, to modern franchises like Pokemon, yokai are a persistent part of Japanese popular culture. More than just a form of entertainment, yokai are often used to make religious, social, or political statements. This can be seen Edo period art, where monsters were used as a way to criticize government officials and the rigid, Neo-Confucian social structure while avoiding censorship, and in the used of oni in early-mid 20th century propaganda to justify the second world war.

Touhou Project is a modern (1998-present) collection of games, manga, short stories, music created by Ota Jun’ya, more commonly known as ZUN or Team Shanghai Alice. The stories largely take place in the present day (or future, an unspecified number of decades from now) in Gensoukyou (roughly meaning “land of illusions”), a village in Japan that was sealed off from the outside world during the Meiji period by yokai fearing the decline in belief in their existence. The author uses this setting to talk about where he thinks Japanese society is, and where it’s going. The setting and the ideas it grapples with are heavily rooted in the Meiji period, was a time of negotiating the fusion of Eastern and Western culture and the extent of the role that traditional beliefs and ideas could play in a modernized society. Like many before him, ZUN uses yokai as tools to talk about these issues.

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Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
4:50 pm Impact of Various Stretching Techniques on Gait and Hip Range of Motion Sierra Asher Kinesiology
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This study was performed to determine the impact of dynamic versus static stretching exercises on range of motion at the hip and their impact on running gait. Three college students were selected and randomly assigned to three separate conditions: dynamic stretching, static stretching, and a control. Hip flexion and hyperextension range of motion was measured before and after the two-week stretching intervention with a manual goniometer. During the intervention, subjects were asked to perform only stretches provided by a licensed Physical Therapist. For the running trials, subjects were fitted with an Xsens suit with motion capture sensors pre and post-intervention. Subjects ran at their own pace for 20-meters after a brief calibration of the Xsens. Pre to post measurements of range of motion at hip indicated a greater difference with the static stretching condition.

5:10 pm Impacts of Dynamic Intervention in Functional Movement Screening Jamari Brown Kinesiology
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The objective of this study was to aimed examine the impact of dynamic intervention stretching on Functional Movement Screening (FMS)©. The (FMS)© is a screening system that allows the professional to assess the fundamental movement patterns of an individual. Movements include deep squat. hurdle step, in-line lunge, shoulder mobility, rotary stability, active straight leg raises, and trunk stability push-up. Further, per/post Functional Movement Scores (FMS) scores will be compared to see if dynamic stretching intervention was effective on functional movement quality. The null hypothesis stated that no statistically significant differences will be found between FMS© and dynamic intervention stretching nor functional movement quality. The participants in this study were student-athletes at a small Division I University. A non-probability sample 8 division I football players were recruited for the study. All participants were over 18 years of age and was recruited by the means of convenience sampling. A functional movement assessment kit, dowel rod, and an iPad was used data collection. All data was analyzed using SPSS software. Data analysis was performed to investigate differences in pre- and post-intervention scores. Descriptive statistics inclusive of means, standard deviations and deltas between pre- and post- FMSÓ scores were also determined. A paired sample mean t-test was done to test for significance differences between pre and post-intervention stretching FMSÓ scores. The null hypothesis was rejected.

5:30 pm Impact of Velocity-Based Training and Percentage-Based Training on Power Output Doug Haugh Kinesiology
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This study examined the differences in power output after a six-week intervention of a percentage-based resistance training (PBT) and a velocity-based resistance training (VBT). Power output was measured by Harman’s formula; it requires body weight (kg) and jump height (cm). The null hypothesis stated that there would no significant difference between the VBT and PBT groups. Six males with at least two years of resistance training experience participated in the study. One participant had to withdraw from the study due to being quarantined by contact tracing of COVID-19. All participants performed three, counter movement jumps on a Just Jump Mat© and the mean height was applied to Harman’s Formula to find average and peak power (W). A 1RM back squat was performed to discover baseline percentages to be used in the intervention. For the PBT group, each session consisted of two warm sets of five repetitions and three work sets of five repetitions in barbell back squats. A VmaxPro Sensor© was used to track barbell velocities of the VBT group. A matched pairs t-test was performed for both the average and peak power. Matched pairs t-tests were performed for peak and average power and all five participants had a statistically significant increases in both categories. A two-sample t test could not be performed to determine significant difference between the PBT and VBT groups but by comparing averages between pre and post data, VBT had a higher increase in average power while PBT had a higher increase in peak power.

5:50 pm The Impact of Shoulder Conditioning Exercises on Injury in Collegiate Swimmers Darby Kloweit Kinesiology
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The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between habitual shoulder conditioning and pain and injury in Division 1 (D1) collegiate swimmers. The null hypothesis stated that no relationship would be found between swimmers who engage in a regularly scheduled dry-land shoulder conditioning programs and the incidence of shoulder pain and injury. The study consisted of 13, D1 collegiate swimmers from Valparaiso University. In conjunction with Kent State University, a survey was constructed and distributed through Qualtrics to each participant by email to be filled out every day until the end of the season. The participants responded anonymously to the survey via email. The survey questions included demographic information, participation in shoulder conditioning, and incidence and frequency of shoulder injury and/or surgery. A z-test for proportions at a 0.5 alpha was used to analyze the data. A statistically significant correlation was found between swimmers who performed a dry-land shoulder conditioning program and had one shoulder injury or were unable to train. The null hypothesis was rejected. Therefore, evidence was found that supports a shoulder rotational conditioning program to help reduce incidence of shoulder injury in collegiate swimmers. Recommendations for further research include recruiting more swim teams, recruiting various age groups, further developing more in-depth survey questions, and comparing male versus female swimmers.

6:10 pm Analyzing the Validity of Physical Activity Trackers In Terms of Heart Rate and Energy Expenditure Stephanie Sgouroudis Kinesiology
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the agreement between two popular commercially available activity trackers and a metabolic cart in terms of energy expenditure and heart rate. The activity trackers analyzed were the Apple Watch Series 3 and the Fitbit Versa. The research hypothesis stated that a difference would be found between the Apple Watch Series 3, the Fitbit Versa, and the Parvo Medics 2400 metabolic analyzer in terms of energy expenditure and heart rate.Participants (N = 5; average age: 23.6 1.7 years) completed a Bruce Protocol maximal test. Participants were connected to the ParvoMedic metabolic analyzer while wearing the Apple Watch on their left wrist and the Fitbit Versa on their right wrist. Heart rate and caloric expenditure values were obtained from each device for analysis. Two matched-pairs t-tests were performed to compare the Apple Watch and Fitbit to the metabolic cart. The Fitbit significantly underreported heart rate and energy expenditure when compared to the true value given by the metabolic cart (p = 0.003). The Apple Watch Series 3 did appear to report slightly lower than the metabolic cart, however, the value was not statistically significant (p = 0.0981). Therefore, the research hypotheses is accepted for the Fitbit, but rejected for the Apple Watch activity tracker. Future studies should aim to gather a larger sample size.

 Session 3ABack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
9:30 am Statistical Consulting for Kinesiology Capstone Projects Terry Wade Kinesiology
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This project explored the application of data science techniques to kinesiology research initiatives led by students. Statistical analysis is becoming increasingly popular in academic research due to the ease of use provided by modern technology. As a result, the field of data science is growing and its relevance in education is becoming more prominent. This project will explore the relevance of data science principles in a program of higher education.

To investigate this, I consulted 17 senior kinesiology students in their capstone project course. Each project collected its own data with which I was able to provide statistical insights to the relationship being studied. From these explorations I observed which data science techniques appeared most frequently in results production. I worked with each student to clean their data, perform statistical tests, and make meaningful conclusions from the numbers.

Many of the same techniques were used between projects despite their methodologies being completely different. Among the most common were procedures taught in introductory statistics courses. In particular, the Repeated Measures ANOVA was utilized to answer multiple research questions. These results indicate that real research questions are related in what techniques they require. This knowledge allows us to more effectively incorporate relevant research practices into a program’s course track.

9:50 am Using Data Analytics to Identify the Best Predictors of Successful Valparaiso University Baseball Players Deven Harris Mathematics & Statistics
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The Valparaiso University baseball team, along with many other Division I programs, recruits baseball players from colleges in divisions lower than Division 1. The goal of this project is to identify a metric with which to assess the predicted success of a player at the Division 1 level based upon their performance at the lower division school. I specifically looked at the relationship between offensive performance in Division 1 and lower divisions using a multiple linear regression model. Using my general knowledge of the sport, I picked the initial components of the multiple linear regression model to be runs, hits, homeruns, RBIs, strikeouts, batting average, OPS, and XBH. The statistical software package R was used for data analysis to determine which of these initial choices for predictors are the most effective. The results of this project can be utilized by the Valparaiso University baseball team to evaluate potential recruits based upon the identified best predictors and predict how successful those players will be at the Division 1 level.

10:10 am Predicting winners in the Formula 1 car racing season Shawn Lasrado Mathematics & Statistics
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Sports and statistical analysis have gone hand in hand for as long as many of us can remember. Predicting the winner of any sports contest is always filled with a group of passionate and certain voices. The use of predictive modeling with statistics has been a very popular method for predicting outcomes in the world of sports. With increased access to computers and data in our world today, predictive modelling has become ever more accessible to sports fans. This research project aims to use predictive modeling to predict the winner in all 23 races of the Formula 1 world championship in the 2021 season. Formula 1 (or F1) is the highest level of international motor racing in the world, with 70 years of pedigree. The history of F1, combined with vast amounts of publicly available historical data, allows us to pursue this model. This model will focus on data relating to the drivers, team standings, qualifying teams, results, weather, and circuits.
10:30 am Using Neural Networks to Discover new Tetris™ Strategies Nathan Randle Mathematics & Statistics
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Using neural networks to play Tetris is a classical implementation. Tetris is a game where there are immediate solutions to gain points, but there are also less obvious choices that a player can choose to have delayed benefit, such as adding a gap and waiting for an I-piece. This paper presents a new heuristic added to the repertoire of classically implemented Tetris heuristics, with the goal of making discoveries in a technique known as bagging. Tetris generates a bag of the 7 tetrominos {I, O, T, J, L, S, Z} that are then chosen and removed from the bag as the pieces drop. Once the bag is empty, the game generates a new one. Tetris players take advantage of this fact to clear the board using several bags, with no pieces left over, letting the players have an infinitely repeatable strategy. The difficulty in this is finding patterns that can be repeated regardless of piece order. Once our heuristic was implemented, our algorithm began frequently repeating moves and managed to replicate some bagging behavior. However, due to these repeated moves the neural network was no longer able to play for extended periods of time, likely due to new unseen bag orders.

10:50 am Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction, Muscle Activation, and Center of Mass During Stair Descent Riana Gesell Kinesiology
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This study examined the influence of ACLR on muscle activation and center of mass (COM) in females while performing a descending of stairs task. Muscles targeted were the vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, biceps femoris, semitendinosus and medial and lateral gastrocnemius muscles. The research hypotheses stated that significant differences in individual muscle activation and dislocation in COM would be found between ACLR and non-ACLR participants. The study consisted of 13 participants (injured=7, healthy=6). Surface electrodes (sEMG) were placed on the bellies of targeted muscles. Muscle activity was acquired through Delsys Trigno® Wireless EMG System and analyzed with EMGworks® software. XSens captured the translation of COM. Participants each completed three descending stairs tasks. Root mean square (RMS) values of sEMG signals were normalized to a percentage of each participant’s maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) for each muscle. A two-sample t-test was performed on COM differences between injured and non-injured. A statistically significant difference was found in dislocation of COM with p=0.01. Another statistically different value was found between the Left Vastus Medialis of ACLR vs. Non-ACLR with p=0.025. The research hypothesis is confirmed with regard to significant differences in translation of COM and with respect to the left vastus medialis. In conclusion, ACLR has a significant impact on muscle activation and shifts of COM when descending stairs. Recommendations for a future study include a larger sample size.

 Session 3BBack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
11:20 am Determining the Winner in a Graph Theory Game Eric Burkholder, Gabe Fragoso, Christopher Barua Mathematics & Statistics
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We are investigating who has the winning strategy in a game in which two players take turns drawing arrows trying to complete cycle cells. The game boards are graphs, objects with dots and lines between them. A cycle cell looks like a polygon (triangle, square, pentagon, etc.). We examined game boards where the winning strategy was previously unknown. Starting with a pentagon and a heptagon glued by two sides, we worked to solve multiple classes of graphs involving stacked polygons. We also explored variations of the game where cycles, as defined in graph theory, are used in place of cycle cells, which opens the game up to non-planar graphs, such as complete graphs and gives the game a graph theory twist on top of topology. The original game was described by Francis Su in his book Mathematics for Human Flourishing.

11:40 am The Network Outlier Hunt Michael Hamalis Mathematics & Statistics
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Networks provide a model of relationships between objects, which can represent numerous invisible services for humans every day. These range from connecting users on social media to controlling how power is distributed throughout a city. We are interested in extending the notion of centrality (mean, median, etc.) to a network. Multiple centrality measurements are introduced, including degree, closeness, betweenness, and eigenvector. Outlier nodes are useful for observing a network’s structure. In a university Facebook network, for example, a user with a low centrality measurement may be disconnected from campus, a cause of concern for university faculty. This is a low outlier. On the other hand, users with a high centrality measurement will be influential and thus useful for spreading information to the greater student population. This is a high outlier. The nodes in the network data researched for this presentation have had their centrality measurements analyzed using the interquartile range (IQR) to determine if the node is an outlier.

12:00 pm The Formation of Glycine in The Interstellar Medium Joshua Corr Physics & Astronomy
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In this project, I intend to study the formation of glycine in the Interstellar Medium (ISM) through computer simulations. I will calculate the energy required to break the bonds of the stable reactants, to form intermediates, and to produce the final product glycine using the quantum chemistry program Gaussian 09. Since ultraviolet (UV) radiation is largely available in the ISM, I will evaluate the possibility of using UV radiation to form glycine through radicals by comparing the energies needed to break the bonds and to form intermediates to the average energy of UV rays found in the ISM. The average UV radiation in the ISM is between 1500 Å and 1600 Å, or 8.2656 eV and 7.49 eV respectively. The reactants that I will focus on are H2O, HCN, and CO2, which are detected in the ISM. In addition, H2O may possibly act as a catalyst to lower the overall energy required. I plan on testing the reactions to form glycine in three different scenarios: in the gas phase, reactants inside bulk ice, and on the ice surface. In this way, the effect of H2O in catalyzing these reactions can be studied.

12:20 pm Searching for Periodicity in Proto-Planetary Nebulae Peyton Grimm Physics & Astronomy
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Our research revolved around analyzing how the brightness of proto-planetary nebulae (PPNe) vary over time. The overall goal was to analyze their light curves for periodicity and to find what the periods are if they exist. PPNe are low mass stars in transition from the red giant and Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) phase to the planetary nebula phase of a star’s life cycle. This transition is known to last only a few thousand years. Similar to AGB stars, PPNe pulsate causing them to periodically vary in brightness. However, we do not have as much data on PPNe nor do we have as good of an understanding of the mechanics of their pulsation. To analyze our PPNe candidates for periodicity, we gathered data from the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN). We then used these data to construct light curves for each of our candidates. After eliminating the data of poorer quality, we analyzed them using a program called Period04, which uses a Fourier transform to search for periods and allowed us to fit sine curves to the data. We studied a sample of 18 PPNe candidates located in the southern celestial hemisphere. Most of them were found to have periods ranging from around 20 – 120 days, with several PPNe having multiple periods. Several PPNe also had long-term (multi-year) trends to their brightness variations. Our results can be used to better understand the structure and evolution of stars in this phase of their life cycle. This research was supported by a grant from NASA through the Indiana Space Grant Consortium.

12:40 pm Investigating Low Surface Brightness Objects Identified in the Subaru Survey Lukas Torgerson Physics & Astronomy
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The goal of this project is to use the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) to measure the HI spectra of 25 low surface-brightness galaxies (LSBs) detected by the Subaru telescope through the Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Program (HSC-SSP or HSC), specifically potential ultra-diffuse galaxies (UDGs). The HSC was an optical survey, so while it detected 781 LSBs, it did not collect spectral information, meaning the distances are mostly unknown. Being a radio telescope, the GBT will be able to take spectra on these objects, allowing us to measure the redshift of the 21 cm HI emission line. From the redshift, we can determine the distance, and therefore absolute brightness and mass, as well as how much neutral hydrogen gas (HI) the galaxy contains. Since HI is the material used in star formation, so knowing that gas content is critical to understanding its formation and evolution. Leisman et al. 2017 found that UDGs in non-cluster environments had an unusually high HI content, but the fact that the objects were radio-selected (which biases results towards HI-rich galaxies) makes it difficult to tell how typical that is. The main goal of this project is to the galaxies observed in Leisman et al. 2017 are the norm for UDGs, by looking at the gas content of optically-selected galaxies, which is another (potentially substantial) piece in the puzzle of figuring how and why these unusual galaxies form.

 Session 3CBack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
1:10 pm The Importance of Self-Care for Students Storm Fleming Social Work
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Storm is a junior social work and psychology major from Griffith, Indiana. She suffers from heightened feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed during the academic year. She has identified that self-care activities may lessen the effects of stressors in her life. The purpose of this single-subject design is to identify and analyze the correlation between the frequency of self-care activities and levels of stress a person experiences. This study was structured as an A-B-A-C design where there was a phase of participating in one specific self-care activity for two weeks and then a phase of a different specific self-care activity for two weeks. The first self-care activity focused on improving physical health by following an exercise and nutritious diet routine. The second self-care activity centralized on expressing emotions verbally and through written work through journaling and attending therapy. These both served as the intervention for the treatment. The baseline was established in real time with four measures (two weeks) taken before beginning the treatment stage. Data was collected twice a week where the subject will report their stress levels on a scale of one to ten after participating in the self-care activity. The results of this study indicate a downward trajectory of stress levels associated with an increase in self-care activities. The research also suggests that both self-care activities produce positive results and promote an overall greater wellbeing.

1:30 pm Physical Activity and Positive Self Talk and its Effects on Body Image Ashlee Barton Social Work
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For many people, negative feelings towards one’s own self and physical appearance seem as if it is an integral part of who they are. Research has suggested that harboring these negative feelings over time can have a detrimental effect on mental health. However, negative feelings of body image do not have to be permanent. This study aims to explore possible ways to increase feelings of satisfaction with body image. Using a single-subject design, the study collected data from the subject over a period of eight weeks. Before beginning the intervention, the subject answered a short questionnaire that assessed body satisfaction on a numerical scale. This questionnaire was adapted from the Body Image Scale by Hopwood et al., which has been tested and validated. For the first four weeks, the subject engaged in physical activity three times per week. At the end of each week, the subject took the same body image questionnaire, and the results were recorded. For the next four weeks, the subject was tasked with writing one positive affirmation about themselves per day. Again, the questionnaire was administered at the end of each week, and data was recorded. At the end of the study, the results were analyzed and indicated that the intervention was successful. The subject’s body image score increased from the start to the finish of the study. The results indicate that engaging in physical activity and proactive, holistic positive thinking has an impact on perceptions of self and body image for this subject.

1:50 pm A Study on the Effectiveness of Stress Management Techniques Jacob Cox Social Work
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This research was conducted for my research and stat implementation course. Throughout my time in the social work program, self-care and taking proper time to reflect and recharge has been a very important part of the process. However, one difficulty I know that I have faced is finding how to best use this time and get the most out of the process. This single subject design study aims to look at how I can use different self-care techniques to get the most effective reflection based on the stress I am feeling. The two different types of stressors that I face most at school are personal stress, from family, friends, and life in general, and there is school stress, from assignments, internship, and events. I have been tracking these different types of stressors in a write up so I am able to quantify which stress I was experiencing each time I performed my relaxation techniques. When looking at my relaxation techniques, I am using two primary strategies. One of which involves writing, sketching, and creating as a form of expression of my stress, and the other being meditation, both guided and personal, as well as self-reflection and evaluation. These different strategies have been ones I have used throughout my life so I decided it best to see which of these was more appropriate for my different kinds of stress. My hypothesis for this research is that I will prefer the reflection for school stress and the creative technique for personal stressors.

2:10 pm Social Media Consumption and Effects on Eating Habits Chloe Cox Social Work
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We live in a world where image means everything. There is an emphasis to look a certain way and to be the ideal woman. Beauty trends and expectations have evolved into the new age of social media where the world is at our fingertips. Within this single subjects design, I tracked one individual’s social media consumption correlation with their eating habits. The focus of the study was to see social media consumptions’ effect on the subjects’ relationship with food. The interventions include: photo focused apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok, news focused apps such as Buzzfeed and Apple News, and achievement focused apps including Linkedin and Facebook. The participant utilized a daily tracker to track their time on different social media apps and their resulting eating habits. There is currently a wide range of literature surrounding the body positivity movement, the impact of social media, and eating disorders in the modern age.

2:30 pm Sorority Connection During a Pandemic Erikah Diaz Social Work
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In this study I am examining the overall level of connection sorority women feel towards their chapter and sorority sisters. This will be a single subjects design with the subject being my sorority. After getting an initial base line measurement, I have added the intervention of having members connect with sisters either via facetime or by spending time together in person. I am also measuring how chapter meetings and sisterhood events affect the feeling of connection. I am measuring this through survey questions using a Likert scale. Participants were chosen from the chapter as volunteers. Social connection is one of the most important things to have in college. Social connection has been linked to lower anxiety and depression, it has been found to help regulate emotions, and leads to high self-esteem. Because of this importance, I want to understand how my sorority sisters are staying connected during the pandemic and what intervention is needed in order to foster better connection. With this research I will be able to inform the chapter what works and what does not work in terms of staying connected while being distanced. This can help in the future with keeping commuters connected and helping sisters stay in touch during summer and winter breaks when we are apart for an extended period of time.

 Session 3DBack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
3:00 pm How does Music Led Meditation Improve a Negative Attitude. Taylor Dunigan Social Work
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I have chosen to do a single-subject research design focusing on the ABA intervention model. For this study, I have decided to study my attitude based on music lead meditation to improve a negative mood. I have noticed that through this pandemic, my attitude and personal disposition have become negative through isolation. I believe that music lead meditation can improve my mood at the start of my day. I thrive on being a positive person and believe that music-led meditation for thirty minutes a day can improve my attitude and daily disposition. I start my day by recording my attitude or daily disposition on a scale from one to ten. Ten is the highest and one being the lowest. I have started this study on February 7th and recorded the baseline mood assessment for three weeks. I had noticed my attitude would fluctuate from a range of nine to six consecutively through these weeks. Starting on February 21st, I added the intervention of music-led meditation at the beginning of my day after I had taken and recorded my initial ranking. I have noticed there was a significant increase in my mood after the meditation. I have a study ranking of a seven to ten since the intervention has started. I am continuing to record my attitude with the added intervention for another week for four solid weeks with the intervention in place. Then I will remove the intervention to see if it has any lasting effects and recording the scores on a scale of one to ten for a period of two to three weeks.

3:20 pm The Effects of Physical Activity on RHR Tasha Abraham Social Work
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Abstract

This study was conducted to determine the effect that increased physical activity has on an individual’s RHR, or resting heart rate. RHRs are determined by many factors such as fitness levels, stress management, caffeine intake, diet, thyroid conditions, and other heart rate influencing factors. In the US, the normal RHR of a healthy person ranges from 60-100. Higher RHR’s are linked to many different health issues, while lower RHRs are typically used as indicators of good heart health and fitness. It is important to note though that, with the exceptions of young and very healthy individuals, an RHR that is lower than 60, is considered bradycardia. In this single-subject design, the research was self-monitored. She is a twenty-two-year-old female, who is of an average fitness level. In an attempt to see if walking ten thousand steps daily would decrease the RHR, the subject’s RHR was retroactively collected by her Fitbit device and then compared to the Fitbit data collected after the intervention period began.

3:40 pm Making Prevention Practical: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Suicide Prevention Emily Friedman Social Work
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Using an interdisciplinary approach, this oral presentation will illuminate ways individuals can contribute toward suicide prevention practices on a micro, mezzo, and macro level. Currently, suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth, with one out of every five Indiana teens seriously considering suicide in the last twelve months (Indiana Center for Prevention of Youth Abuse & Suicide, n.d.; Indiana Youth Institute, 2018; CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2020). The speaker will highlight experiences and research from occupational and academic pursuits as inspiration for suicide prevention. First, the speaker will reflect on tenets of Kwame Anthony Appiah’s philosophy, cosmopolitanism to argue why people should care about suicide beyond their own friends and family. Building on this philosophical foundation, the speaker will describe the procedure and effectiveness of suicide gatekeeper trainings. Next, the speaker will share how she applied classroom conversations about suicide to understand and offer resources and support to Illinois and Indiana schools regarding their suicide protocol. Finally, the speaker will briefly explain the legislative process to encourage citizens to advocate for bills that support suicide prevention strategies. In all, suicide is a public health crisis where its tragedy impacts humanity beyond those closest to the deceased. By inviting cosmopolitan beliefs, individuals will learn that suicide prevention is accessible and obligatory to valuing human life.

4:00 pm Perceived Effectiveness of Coping Mechanisms and Medication Use on Decreasing Stress and Anxiety Natalie Kasberger Social Work
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In a time full of economic, social, and environmental pressures and turmoil, stress amongst Americans has heightened significantly. When one adds course requirements, job applications, and student loans to this, as many college seniors do, the stress and anxiety piles on higher and higher. Within this single subjects design study, I tracked the perceived effectiveness of three different anxiety coping mechanisms (prescribed medication as needed, morning meditation, and breathing exercises) on an individual college senior. The central focus of the study is to understand the perceived difference between proactive and reactive responses to stress and anxiety. I gathered data by having the participant fill out a survey daily to report the amount of medication taken, proactive behaviors performed, or reactive behaviors performed and their perceived effectiveness of it. There is a wide collection of research around anxiety and it has been shown that coping mechanisms are effective in reducing the number of anxiety episodes.

4:20 pm Early Intervention Referral Relevance Rates Lydia Knorp Social Work
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The following study is a single subject design that will measure the relevancy of the referrals that received from LaPorte Community School Corporation staff to the early intervention program. After the program was implemented in the fall of 2020, it was found that many of the referrals did not fit the definition of early intervention. In an attempt to receive more appropriate referrals, the definition of early intervention was listed at the bottom of the referral forms. The following study will examine the effects of this intervention and if it increases the relevance of referrals to the program. The baseline of this study will be measured retroactively with past data regarding referral relevance that was collected prior to the intervention. The data points will include: the number of past referrals (before the intervention), the number of referrals determined to be early intervention, the number of referrals determined to be irrelevant, and a coded record of the referral source to ensure confidentiality. It is expected that by listing the definition of early intervention on the bottom of the program referral forms and pointing this change out to the coworkers that make referrals, a greater number of program appropriate referrals will be received than before the intervention. At the end of the study, the percentage of relevant referrals will be calculated and compared to the rate of relevant referrals that were retroactively collected before the intervention. If the percentage of relevant referrals is higher than the baseline, it will infer that the intervention was successful. The referral source will be collected for each case (in a coded format to ensure confidentiality) to determine if the intervention was successful on all, some, or none of the referral sources.

 Session 3EBack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
4:50 pm Self-Care and its Effect on Mental Health Emma Magee Social Work
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Self-Care is an extremely important facet of maintaining mental health and reducing the effects of burnout, but it is widely underused and not prioritized. It is well established that setting aside even just 30 minutes a day for self-care can drastically improve mood, burnout, reduce stress levels, and increase productivity. This study aims to determine the effect of self-care rituals on overall mood. Specifically, this investigates whether scheduling 30 minutes out of the day dedicated to self-care positively effects mood. In this context, self-care is defined as dedicated time to personally enriching content. To test this hypothesis that 30 minutes of self-care per day enhances overall mood, I created a single-subject design and surveyed myself daily to get a baseline, then surveyed myself after adding the intervention of 30 minutes of daily self-care. I had created a survey that I answered daily in order to track my feelings and overall mood. The results suggested that the hypothesis was correct, and self-care creates a positive effect on mood.

5:10 pm Professional Confidence in the Work Place Tahelah E Noel Social Work
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Self-confidence is something that can change quite regularly depending on the setting. Studies have shown that those in a familiar environment or group tend to feel more confident than those in new environments. Working and professional environments can change the way others perceive themselves. This study aims to explore ways to increase professional confidence in a working environment. By using a single-subject design, data was collected by the subject for eight weeks. During the first two weeks, the study took a questionnaire that assessed confidence using a Likert Scale questionnaire without using any interventions. For the next six weeks, the subject rated themself twice a week at the end of each working day using a Likert Scale on their feelings while working their internship. At the end of the study, the subject took the original questionnaire and found their results improved, and the intervention was measured as successful. The subject’s professional confidence increased by the end of the study. The results share that changes in interaction with other professionals, the willingness to take on challenging tasks, and putting themself in uncomfortable situations increased their overall confidence.

5:30 pm Speed Reading Jamie Powell Social Work
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As a college student and emerging social worker professional, I learned that being a lifelong learner is crucial when pursuing any career. As a lifelong learner, you will come across new information continually, whether formally or informally. I saw it as crucial to obtain and understand several evaluative methods and interventions for individuals, families, groups, and communities. However, I saw a stumbling block; my reading pace.

Obtaining a large amount of information comes with constant reading and critical thinking, which is what influenced my project. I conducted a single-subject experiment that would examine and improve my reading pace. I noticed that my reading pace when reading materials to prepare for homework and/or in-class assignments negatively affected the tasks I wanted to complete outside of school. Time was a major element. With that being said, I utilized a Words Per Minute (WPM) Reading Test to assess and record my reading pace once a week. My intervention were reading exercises, from an application called ReaderPro. Not only did I focus on my pace, but I focused on my comprehension level as well.

5:50 pm An Intervention To Improve Personal Hydration Julie Vick Social Work
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It is well-known that water intake is a key element in maintaining good health. Regular water intake provides many health benefits. Conversely, depriving the body of water can quickly lead to dehydration and negative health outcomes. For several years I have been negligent in providing my body with adequate hydration, so the purpose of this research was to introduce an intervention to increase my daily water intake. My research was a single subject design (myself), so the findings will not be generalizable. I monitored my behavior to improve my daily hydration through increased water intake. I tracked data points on a daily basis and kept a tally of how many ounces of water I drank per day. I established a baseline of 7 days’ worth of data, and then began an intervention of being more mindful of my water intake and intentional about drinking more water. Approximately 3 weeks into the data tracking I employed an altered treatment which was the use of water flavoring in at least 1 of the water bottles I drank each day. This was to help decrease the monotony of drinking water and to assist in achieving the desired results.

6:10 pm Gratitude Journal – Single Subject Design Rachel Winkler Social Work
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Practicing gratitude has been shown to improve mental health, physical health, relationships with others, and increase positivity. For this ABA Single Subject Design, I worked with one participant over a period of four weeks. The goal was to see how using a gratitude journal would impact their daily outlook on their life and on the world.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, life has become harder for almost everyone. Mental health struggles have gone up and the outlook on life has become increasingly negative. I started to wonder how do we recognize and validate the bad without totally blocking out the good. These thoughts turned into conversations with the person who would become the participant in this research project. The participant was having a hard time seeing any good in the world so we decided to use the intervention of a gratitude journal.

For one week the participant would record their mood and outlook via a google form without any intervention. After the one-week period, the participant was educated about the use of gratitude journals and the most effective way of using them. The following two weeks they used a gratitude journal every day and continued filling out the same google form. After the two-week use of the gratitude journal, the participant was interviewed for qualitative information. During the last week, the participant was instructed to stop using the gratitude journal and continue filling out the form to see if the effects lasted after the participant stopped writing in the journal.

 Session 4ABack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
9:30 am Evaluation of Factors Relating to Competency Ratings in Washington State since COVID-19: Crime, Homelessness, and Evictions Rachel DeWitt, Macy Siegfried, Alexandra Herbert, Alessandra Luciano, Holly Cross Ph.D. Psychology
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Competency evaluation referrals, which determine whether people with mental illness have the capacity to aid in their own defense, have been increasing in Washington state over the past 10 years. This increase has created significant delays in legal proceedings, impacting due process rights of citizens with mental illness. These delays may further be exacerbated by the consequences of the Covid-19 global pandemic, particularly regarding crime and homelessness rates. On a national level, property-related crime rates have increased. Furthermore, Covid-19’s economic damage has also increased homelessness rates, even with the national eviction moratorium’s mitigation measures. The purpose of this research is to ascertain whether these macro-level ecological factors may be contributing to the increase in competency referrals which are overwhelming the state hospitals and forensic services available in the state of Washington. Utilizing archival data published by state departments between 2017 and 2020, a multilevel time-series model will be utilized to nest data by year, type of referral (i.e., felony or misdemeanor), hospital (i.e., Western State Hospital or Eastern State Hospital), and county (taking into account county-level factors such as crime rates and homeless population size) to predict Covid-19’s impact on competency evaluation referrals. Competency evaluations are essential for a fair trial. Thus, between increased demand for such evaluations and Covid-related consequences, there may be a critical backlog in resolution of legal cases. By understanding the causes of this backlog, legislators can identify and create programs to address this crisis.

9:50 am Competency Rates for Offending Juveniles And Mental Health Resources in Washington State Alessandra Luciano, Alexandra Herbert, Rachel DeWitt, Macy Siegfried, Dr. Holly Cross Psychology
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Competency is a legal state, suggesting the ability to aid and contribute to one’s own defense, and a crucial aspect of due process rights in the United States. Juvenile offenders may be more likely to be referred for competency evaluations due to the subjective interpretation of the Dusky standard and non-impartial guidelines in the measurement of adolescent competency to stand trial. Whereas adult defendants are declared incompetent due to severe mental illness or intellectual disabilities, juvenile defendents are declared incompetent based on the discretion of the judge or other legal decision-makers. This paper will explore and describe the factors that influence discretion in determining juvenile competency, and how those elements differ from components determining adult competency. This project will provide a critical review of juvenile competency case law to examine whether statutory direction of competency evaluations of juveniles reflects psychological research on adolescent development and mental illness. Comparisons will also be made with adult competency statutes and research to identify potential differences in competency referral rates. Additionally, it will investigate whether social factors, like homelessness, impact judge’s, or other legal decision-maker’s, discretion in determining legal competence or referrals for competency evaluations by reviewing publicly available data and prior research. Potential implications for legislative policy or court procedures will be discussed in relation to these findings.

 Session 4BBack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
11:20 am Determining the Effect of Circadian Lighting on Premature Infants’ DNA Methylation Christina Cavinder DNP, RN, CPNP-PC, Angela M. Schooley Ph.D., Sarah Caesar, Rylee Cookerly, Claire Czerwonka, Christina Foy, Elizabeth Heisler, Brie Kraus, Taylor Madon, Bianca Messina Nursing
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Background

Evidence shows that premature infants in the NICU experiencing stress in the areas of parental detachment, pain, and exposure to noxious stimuli undergo DNA methylation (Montirosso & Provenzi, 2015). These epigenetic changes cause long-term effects similar to PTSD.

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of evidence-based low-stress nursing care including circadian lighting on premature infants’ DNA methylation levels at SLC6A4 alleles.

Methods

The study will be conducted in 3 phases with infants admitted to the level III NICU. The anticipated number of participants is 150 to 200. The first phase includes obtaining a baseline oral swab for DNA in the control group. Phase two begins with evidence-based nursing care. Focus of care will be to reduce pain by low-stress nursing care. After 50 infants’ data are collected, phase three will begin with circadian lighting. The initial swab will be obtained before 2 days of age. The second will be obtained 24 hours before discharge. The baseline swab shows the levels of methylation due to maternal stress passed to the infant. This compares methylation levels from hospitalization to those inherited from mom.

Implications

Circadian Lighting, which changes morning, evening, and night helps create a 24- hour cycle with calming light tones to aid in creating their circadian rhythm (Linander et al., 2020). Bright light exposure at night causes DNA methylation changes (Fonken & Nelson, 2016). Environmental lighting affects biological processes and sleep states (Miriam & Ariagno, 2000). Cycled lighting decreases length of hospital stay and increased weight gain (Miriam & Ariagno, 2000). Current research demonstrates stressful events cause DNA changes in premature infants (Montirosso et al., 2016; Montirosso & Provenzi, 2015). This research provides low-stress interventions to infants mitigating DNA changes. DNA methylation is significant to understand the impact of nursing care.

11:40 am Determining the Effect of Evidence Based Low-Stress Nursing Care on Premature Infants’ DNA Methylation Christina Cavinder DNP, RN, CPNP-PC, Angela Schooley Ph.D., Sarah Caesar, Rylee Cookerly, Claire Czerwonka, Christina Foy, Elizabeth Heisler, Brie Kraus, Taylor Madon, Bianca Messina Nursing
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Background

Evidence has shown that premature infants in the newborn intensive care units (NICU) experiencing stress in the areas of parental detachment, painful procedures, and exposure to noxious stimuli undergo DNA methylation (Montirosso & Provenzi, 2015). These epigenetic changes cause poor long-term psychological and social outcomes similar to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Purpose

The purpose of this phase of the study is to provide additional education for the nurses and the parents to provide evidence-based low-stress nursing care.

Methods

Lighting and sound will be measured during the study to enable nurses to control the levels of noxious stimuli. Reduction in noise to less than 45 dB is recommended (Committee on Environmental Health, 1997). Nursing staff will be educated on the use of non-pharmacological agents for pain management during pain-inducing procedures. The use of kangaroo care will be promoted throughout the unit by the use of modest incentives for nurses and families. A pain assessment tool will be used to guide pain relief measures (Altimier, et al, 2015) along with comfort measures to improve physiologic stability (Altimier, et al, 2015).

Implications

This research project looks at providing low-stress nursing interventions to these vulnerable infants mitigating adverse DNA outcomes. Kangaroo Care regulates heart rate (Charpak et al., 2020), improves growth (Charpak, et al.,2020), decrease the length of stay (Ludington-Hoe, et al., 2008). Pain exposure results in epigenetic changes and adverse long-term developmental outcomes (Montirosso & Provenzi, 2015). Noxious stimuli, sound >70 dB causes changes in heart rate, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, respirations, peristalsis, glucose consumption (Graven, 2000). The correlation between interventions and DNA changes is significant to better understand the impact of evidenced-based practice nursing care. Educating nursing staff about the benefits and methods of low-stress nursing care could change the NICU environment by decreasing noxious stimuli, improving pain management, and increasing parental bonding leading to improved patient outcomes.

12:00 pm Vaping Prevalence On College Campus Using a Mixed Methods Design Lexi Przybylski Nursing
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The college-aged demographic is at risk for adverse effects surrounding usage of electronic vaping devices (Kenney et al., 2017). This mixed-method study assessed attitudes and beliefs about the use of electronic vaping devices held by college students and identified vaping use despite adverse health effects. Fitting with the social learning theory and transtheoretical model, beliefs and attitudes towards vaping are derived from various sources including social norms and perceived effects (Bandura, 1986) as well as decisions to change vaping behaviors (Prochaska & Velicer, 1997). 800 undergraduates at a faith-based, Midwestern university were invited to participate via Survey Monkey®. Data were collected and analyzed in order to further understand relationships and opinions existing between college students and the use of electronic vaping devices. 487 students responded (60.87% response rate). 17.85% used an electronic vaping device in the last 30 days; 46% indicated they had quit or planned to quit within the next 6 months; 43.14% began vaping in high school. Following the survey, three focus groups (n = 34) were conducted for a discussion regarding usage of and attitudes towards vaping practices. Five themes emerged: safer than smoking, cool in high school, generationally chill, quitting because of consequences, and ease of accessibility. The majority of participants started vaping in high school because it was cool, and their peers were non-judgmental. Even though participants believed vaping was safer than smoking, a majority agreed that they quit or were planning to quit because of consequences. Results should direct education for college students.

12:20 pm Keeping the Peace: An Exploration with Police Administrators and Personnel Emily Sandlin, Palak Nigam Health Administration
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Police officers currently face a significant challenge of establishing a trusting, calm relationship
with the public. Recent history shows that cries for help from both sides have been loud and clear
but lack a direct path toward a solution. Many movements have been formed in favor of various
racial groups and retaliation on law enforcement has been on the rise. Identifying problematic areas
within law enforcement and finding a more comprehensive solution is the driving factor of this
research. This is a conceptually forecasted research project as there is no data supporting the
conflagration of the ideas presented, but there has been research with outcomes that are referenced.
The state of Indiana has identified these issues to be serious and alarming and has begun moving
forward in creating a more effective criminal justice system. Unanimously approved, House Bill
1006 is the solution Indiana’s legislature has brought forth. This bill will review mandatory deescalation training for all law enforcement, requires all officers to wear body cameras, and gives
the law enforcement training board the ability to decertify officers who commit misconduct
(Mendoza, 2021). Currently, there are not specific de-escalation training principles or strategies.
Some references for de-escalation guidance are the Task Force of 21st Century Policing, the
International Association of Chiefs of Police, and Mindful Policing training among others.
The Task Force of 21st Century Policing strives to find a balance between an authoritative yet
trustworthy relationship between law enforcement and community members. It was created to
build trust, legitimacy, policy, oversight, encourage technology, practice community policing,
reduce crime, train and educate officers, and bring awareness to officer’s wellness and safety
(President’s Task Force, 2015).
The International Association of Chiefs of Police aims to provide readers with solid research
regarding de-escalation training, the methods used, and how effective those methods are. The
2
goal of de-escalation is to create an advantageous position for officers allows them to make clearer,
better informed decisions when responding to situations that are effective. When conducted in this
manner it increases the safety of both the officer and the public and gives the officer ways to
respond to the encounter without use of lethal weapons (De-escalation, 2021). The research was
observed through pre-training and post-training surveys. In the statistical data collected after
training, officer priorities during citizen interactions improved (4.10 pre vs. 4.23 post)
significantly, officer’s attitudes towards use of force was significantly different (2.38 pre vs. 2.00
post), attitudes during interactions with persons in crisis was significantly different (3.96 pre vs.
4.18 post), and officer confidence was significantly different (44.08 pre vs. 47.26 post), to name a
few. The post-training surveys show the importance and benefit of having de-escalation training.
Mindful Policing focuses on the importance of helping officers navigate their mental health and to
manage the effects of the job on their lives. One study of almost 2,800 officers in Buffalo, New
York found their average life expectancy was 22 years shorter than their civilian counterparts
(Barry, 2017). Researchers have also linked law enforcement careers to high rates of various
mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and suicide not to mention the overall health
issues that can develop from high levels of stress such as heart disease, obesity, and high blood
pressure among other things. Creating an early identification system within a department will
allow officers to recognize signs and symptoms of a mental health crisis (De-escalation, 2021).
In conclusion, de-escalation training is not only beneficial to the community members but also the
officers because it increases their safety. It will build the trust with the community and allows them
to feel more informed from the transparency the department shows. Lastly, policing is one of the
most stressful jobs one can have, so de-stigmatizing mental health services will increase the
likelihood of officers getting help when they need it.
12:40 pm Survey Processes and Standards for The College of Nursing and Health Professions Junta Callahan Mathematics & Statistics
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At the end of every semester, all nursing majors from Valparaiso University complete a survey that evaluates their clinical instructors and clinical sites. The survey results are utilized for the accreditation process that occurs every ten years. Throughout the years, the College of Nursing and Health Professions has tried to find ways to automate the process of data collection. The motivation for this project is to develop standards and documentation for survey creation using Survey Monkey, which is an online survey development cloud-based software. The goal is to create a process for the College of Nursing and Health Professions that can easily be replicated and to develop templates for presenting survey data not only for program accreditors, but additionally for internal audiences such as Deans, Faculties, and Provosts. Overall, this project provides a real-world experience of providing reports, deliverables, and consulting to a client or a stakeholder while also being able to meet their requirements.

 Session 4CBack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
1:10 pm Comorbidities Among Sexual Dysfunctions in Men: Results from a Binational Community Sample Laurel Oosterhouse, David L. Rowland, Ben Hamilton Analytics and Modeling
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Sexual problems among men fall into one of four classifications: lack of interest (LI), erectile dysfunction (ED), premature ejaculation (PE), and delayed/inhibited ejaculation (DE). Men suffering from one sexual problem sometimes report having another sexual problem, but few studies have determined concordance rates among dysfunction, that is, the percentage of men having one sexual problem who also suffer from another sexual problem. This study determined concordance rates and odds ratios among sexual dysfunctions in a binational sample of 4402 men from Hungary and the USA. In addition, concordance rates between specific type of premature ejaculation and other dysfunctions were determined as were three way concordances. Participants completed a 55-item questionnaire that included series of questions assessing erectile function (based on the IIEF), premature ejaculation (based on the PEDT), delayed ejaculation, and level of sexual interest. This survey was created and distributed last year and was taken either online or with pencil and paper. Results indicated a number of different patterns. For example, of men who have severe ED, 38.1% also had severe DE, while 23.2% had moderate DE. In men who have severe PE, 7.6% have severe ED, while 15.1% had moderate ED. Of the men who had severe DE, 3.0% also had a severely low interest in sex, while 25.0% had a moderate interest in sex. When assessing type of PE (lifelong vs. acquired), different patterns emerged here. Of the men who had lifelong severe PE, 9.1% also had severe ED and 16.5% had moderate ED. Of the men who had acquired severe PE later in life, 7.1% also had severe ED and 16.1% had moderate ED. The incidence of having more than 2 dysfunctions was small. For example, only 2 of 4402 (>0.001%) men in our sample who suffered from severe DE, severe ED, and a severe lack of interest in sex. When we expanded beyond the “severe” category of dysfunction to include the “moderate” case, this increased to 98 of 4402 (0.022%) men in our sample who indicated suffering from moderate to severe DE, ED, and lack of interest in sex. Determination of sexual comorbidities, including whether one is primary and the other secondary, is important as it impacts the diagnostic process and efficiency within a clinical setting and as it guides the treatment strategy for the patient.
1:30 pm Depression as a Function of Social Support in Transgender and Cisgender Individuals with Sexually Transmitted Diseases Candace Roberson Clinical Mental Health Counseling
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This study focused on the relationships among social support, self-esteem, and depression in transgender and cisgender individuals suffering from an incurable or curable sexually transmitted disease. Data were collected from 210 participants with an STI using a semi-structured interview along with culturally adapted standardized instruments. The 210 individuals were surveyed from both private and government sector organizations in Karachi, Pakistan, and were recruited through quota and convenience sampling. Of these, 95 self-identified as transgender and 115 self-identified as cisgender, with an age range of 17 to 39 years. The inclusion and exclusion of participants relied on self-report regarding identity and STI status. We explored differences in depression, social support, and self-esteem through a twofactor analysis with gender identity status (transgender vs. cisgender) and STI type (HIV/HEP-C) as independent variables, including age and education as covariates as these differed across gender groups. For regression, preliminary analyses were conducted to determine correlations among potential demographic covariates in order to eliminate one of each pair of collinear variables. Results indicated no differences between transgender and cisgender groups in depression, although there were large differences in social support and self-esteem. Preliminary regression analysis identified only STI type and duration of STI as significant predictors of depression. However, when moderating roles for both social support and self-esteem were tested, each added to the explained variance and, equally importantly, revealed the effects of both gender status and social support on depression. These findings not only demonstrate how the compound stressors of gender minority status and STI type affect depressive symptoms, but also reveal the critical role that social support can play in mitigating depressive symptoms in those with gender minority status. Findings are interpreted within the context of South/Central Asian cultures that have pre- and post-colonial traditions regarding the social role of non-binary individuals.
1:50 pm Education Combined with Reminder Strategies to Improve Cervical Cancer Screening Rates Christiana McLean Doctorate of Nursing Practice
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Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women
worldwide, and in some countries, is a leading cause of death
(Jayasekara, 2020). Approximately 13,800 cases of cervical cancer were
diagnosed in the U.S. last year, and about 4,290 women died (American
Cancer Society [ACS], 2020). Regular cervical cancer screening (CCS)
reduces morbidity and mortality, but screening rates are low in the U.S.
and at the project site (ACS. 2020). The purpose of this evidence-based
practice (EBP) project was to increase CCS at a Federally Qualified
Health Center (FQHC) with six clinic locations in Northwest Indiana; the
primary project site was a clinic in Porter County. Participants included
female patients age 24 to 65 due for CCS (N = 475) who received an
educational email on CCS, including an appointment reminder. Two
weeks after the initial email, patients who had not scheduled an
appointment received a second reminder email. Five weeks after the
second email, participants who had not made an appointment received a
phone call. If participants identified Spanish as their preferred language,
emails and phone calls were conducted in Spanish. The emails were also
sent to patients at the other five clinics due for CCS. Data on CCS
completed were collected from patient charts every two to four weeks for a
period of five months. The primary outcome examined was CCS uptake at
the primary site, compared with uptake in a comparison group of patients
from 2019. Following the interventions, 16.42% of the intervention group
completed CCS, while only 11.36% of the comparison group did so; the
increase was statistically significant X2
(1, N = 1109) = 5.96, p < .05. In
addition, CCS completions were collected following each intervention;
McNemar’s test was conducted and found a significant increase in CCS
after the second email (X2 = 25.04, df = 1, N = 475, p = .000) and the
phone call intervention (X2 = 36.03, df = 1, N = 475, p = .000). Another
secondary outcome was CCS completions for participants from the other
five clinics who only received the emails, which will be reported as
frequencies. Findings from this project will be used to recommend
continued annual phone call and email interventions at all six clinics.
Keywords: cervical cancer screening, Papanicolaou smear, uptake,
participate, improve, strategies, interventions
2:10 pm The Role of Orgasmic Difficulty in Attributing Cause for Positive and Negative Sexual Outcomes in Women: The Importance of Cross-Cultural Analyses Julia Kneusel, Katelyn Bacys Psychology
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Studies investigating women’s attributions for positive and negative sexual experiences have been slow to adopt a cross-cultural perspective, resulting in a perspective defined by Western experiences. This cross-cultural analysis examined such attribution processes in 88 Pakistani and USA women, and identified differences related to orgasmic difficulty and country of origin. Pakistani and USA women differed on both self-blame and relationship blame related to negative sexual outcomes, an effect intensified in Pakistani women who reported orgasmic difficulty during partnered sex. Differences are interpreted within a cultural context and underscore the importance of addressing women’s sexual experiences in a more global context.

 Session 4DBack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
3:00 pm Effects of Pressure and Input Gasses on a Methane Reforming Reaction Nate DeGoede Mechanical & Bioengineering
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This study analyzes the effects of different pressures and reactant compositions on the performance of a methane reforming reaction. The methane reforming reaction uses the elevated temperatures made possible by concentrated solar to react methane with oxygen to produce syngas. Syngas is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide that can be used to synthesize different fuels. Some of these fuels include kerosene (jet fuel), diesel, and gasoline. A potential problem with this methane reforming process is solid carbon deposition. The formation of solid carbon in the reactor inhibits the reaction. Using analysis involving Gibbs Free Energy Minimization, predictions can be made about the performance of the reaction at different pressures and temperatures with different reactants. Using this technique an optimal pressure and reactant composition pairing was found that balances maximizing syngas production while minimizing carbon deposition.

3:20 pm Modelling Stochastic Polymer Degradation by Finite Difference in Matrix Environments Nicholas A Evans, Bethany Luke Mechanical & Bioengineering
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Ligament and tendon injuries are where the soft tissue that connects muscle to bone or bone to bone has been damaged. Current medical treatments are not always successful and can cause complications for the patient. A new, promising device that is being researched for ligament and tendon replacement is a tissue scaffold. The objective of our research is to create the novel model for tissue scaffolds through computational simulations that will in turn inform researchers with more optimal designs for scaffolds. A key feature of tissue scaffolds is the biocompatibility of the device with the human body. Over time, the polymers that make up the scaffold will degrade, and the stem cells that were originally seeded into the scaffold will have differentiated into new, healthy tissue. Our goal this semester was to validate the degradation scheme and apply it to scaffold geometry. The degradation code was updated by implementing the finite difference method. With finite difference being utilized, we can see how degraded segments within the fibers are diffused throughout the rest of a polymeric fiber. The results will allow us to improve how concentration of monomers affect local pH values and degradation probabilities. Future work will include taking the results from our simulations and comparing them to experimental results to see if they are validated.

3:40 pm Simulated Collagen Placement with Varied Movement of Cells McKeon Laws Mechanical & Bioengineering
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Biological Scaffolds provide cells a matrix on which to move, place collagen, and eventually restore tissue function. This process and the effects varying types of scaffolds produce is just yet beginning to develop. This model hopes to replicate in vivo conditions to improve this understanding. A part of this model specifically aims to simulate the cell’s distribution of collagen as well as its movement when one direction is favored over the others, based off what is seen in Sato et el. This model is two-dimensional, therefore cell movement will be increased and decreased in the positive and negative X and Y directions. During each trial one direction was slightly favored over the others. The resulting cell trajectories and collagen distributions for the experimental trials showed increased collagen density in the modified direction when compared to the control trials. When using this model cell movement and therefore collagen placement can be successfully varied to favor a specific side of the model. Further development of this model will include collagen placement based on amount of collagen already placed (modeling on/off stages of collagen production) and nonlinear directional changes based off of published research.

4:00 pm Development of a computational model for assessing cell morphology and movement on three-dimensional polymer fibers Bethany Luke, Matthew Ditommaso, Rio Parsons Mechanical & Bioengineering
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Within biological systems, cells exist inside structures of collagen fibers. Cells use these fibers in order to move, and the fibers can be mimicked by biodegradable scaffolds. There are a variety of factors such as the orientation and diameter of collagen fibers that affect cell movement and cause scaffold biodegradation within the body. These factors determine how successful scaffolds are at creating healthy tissue within a given system. There are currently few to no models which accurately represent how the fiber properties affect cell movement and fiber degradation. Therefore, the goal of this research is to design an accurate scaffold model in order to analyze how cell morphology and mobility change as various scaffold parameters are altered. MATLAB software was used to build this model. Cell motion was used in order to analyze the efficiency of fiber growth.

4:20 pm Introduction to RobotOS & TurtleBot3 Thomas Quigley Mechanical & Bioengineering
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The purpose of this project is to introduce the basic concepts of robotic control using an open source operating system called RobotOS (ROS) on Linux. This project was initiated by the author who is seeking to continue their education in robotics beyond what their undergraduate courses could offer. It involves the purchase of a TurtleBot3 robot originally developed at Willow Garage. The TurtleBot platform is widely used in university research for introducing robotic controls at the undergraduate and graduate level. It can be used to study robotic movement, computer vision, Simultaneous Localization & Mapping (SLAM), and autonomous navigation and driving. These areas of study promote interdisciplinary research and collaboration between different departments in the Engineering College as these topics are deeply rooted in mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering, as well as computer science. When the project is completed, a basic control manual for the TurtleBot will be written, allowing for further undergraduate research and study in more intricate areas of robotics, including developing autonomous control programs and robotic manipulator movement on the TurtleBot.

 Session 4EBack to ScheduleZoom Recording

Time Title Author(s) Department/Program
4:50 pm Effects of a CPC on a Concentrated Solar Energy System Brian Schmit Mechanical & Bioengineering
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See attached document

5:10 pm Campus Origin-Destination Study Utilizing Mobile Bluetooth Addresses Mary Busby Civil & Environmental Engineering
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Many locations have a large volume of foot traffic: one being universities due to the high density of walking on campus, composed of concentrated patterns of walking to classes, dining halls, and residential buildings from students, faculty, and visitors. A small-scale origin-destination survey was conducted to analyze these movements on the Valparaiso University campus using Bluetooth device addresses. The purpose of the study was to determine the most popular origin-destination pairs on campus and plot the most trafficked routes. Transportation designers use these studies to plan new paths and roads to improve traffic flow, reduce travel time, and prioritize improvements. This research provided feedback on university paths and highlighted potential improvements for accessibility in student movements between buildings in a timely and efficient manner. Multiple Bluetooth receivers were placed throughout campus to collect origin-destination data using ESP32s chips that record and read the MAC address of nearby Bluetooth devices, primarily phones, watches, and headphones. The data from the receivers was uploaded to a database to allow for the determination of the primary origin and destination pairs on campus.

5:30 pm Exploration of QCA Diagonal Kink Effect on the Expected Output of a Five to One Majority Gate Dylan Grace Electrical & Computer Engineering
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Within Quantum Cellular Automata’s (QCA) model of computation, a majority gate allows for generic comparisons of an odd number of QCA binary inputs to determine a singular output that is shared with the majority of the inputs. In the case of this study, I have analyzed the five to one majority gate’s generic calculation error cases that arise on occasion when 6 kinks, or unstably aligned, adjacent cells are present. This study explores the effect of diagonal kinks on the outputs in these cases to determine the validity of each through calculating the potential energy of the system in each instance. This can then be compared with correct output 6 kink potential energy to determine which case should occur. To determine the effect of the diagonal kinks on the potential of the system, I had to determine the sum of the potential energy at a point to find the relative effect of every element in the cell network. From this, I determined the radius at which the effect of the potential became negligible to the overall sum. Using the summation of the potential at those points, we can determine the overall possibility of these error cases within a QCA majority gate. For any given set of inputs, the output should correlate to the combination containing the lowest net potential.

5:50 pm Lithium-Ion Batteries Compared to Lead-Acid Batteries in Mechatronic Football Robots at Different Loads Ethan Storer Electrical & Computer Engineering
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A battery with improved capacity and current output would enable the creation of more aggressive and strategically enabled robots for Valparaiso’s robot football team. Research and development led to the creation of a lithium-ion battery pack that will accommodate such future designs. The objective of this project is to test the performance of lithium-ion batteries against that of traditional lead-acid batteries. Two load levels representing typical (80 amps) and extreme (120 amps) usage cases are tested on four lead-acid batteries and two lithium-ion batteries. Tests measured maximum output amperage, discharge time, and lifetime charge/discharge cycles.

6:10 pm Analysis of Anharmonic Oscillatory Motion Andrew Edwards Physics
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The behavior of harmonic oscillators is easily characterized. For example, many undergraduates encounter systems such as an oscillating mass which stretches and compresses a spring. In these harmonic systems, the restoring force on the oscillator is linear, and the period of oscillation does not change if the oscillation amplitude is changed. However, variations on these systems can easily be constructed to display anharmonic behavior. We have examined three different anharmonic systems, each with a different nonlinear restoring force, and analyzed the relationship between oscillation period and amplitude for each.