2020 Undergraduate Exhibition

Title Presenter Abstract Faculty Sponsor Number
Coping Efficacy Predicts Increases in Caring during Early Adolescence: Longitudinal Buffering Effects of Initial Caring Mary Crino and Chenlinlang Guo

Coping efficacy, the belief that one can deal with stress, leads to positive outcomes in preadolescence. This longitudinal study examines how coping efficacy plays a role in prosocial behavior (caring) for pre-adolescents exposed to poverty related stress. Further, we investigated the influence of initial levels of caring on the relation between coping efficacy and change in caring over time. Results suggest that coping efficacy plays a powerful role in children's ability to care for others.

Martha Wadsworth 126
Cryo-EM Structure of Catalytic Ribonucleoprotein Complex RNase MRP Di Li RNase MRP is an essential eukaryotic ribonucleoprotein complex involved in the maturation of rRNA and the regulation of the cell cycle. It is partially homologous to RNase P, but it has some unique roles in cellular mechanisms. In this project, we solved the 3.0 A Cryo-EM structure of S. cerevisiae RNase MRP holoenzyme, showing the interaction between components and the differences between RNase P and RNase MRP. Andrey Krasilnikov 54
Cultural Correlates of Coping Strategies in Latinx Youth Kelly Contino The purpose of the current study, TIES-ENLACES, is to understand the daily lives of Latino adolescents and their parents in Harrisburg, PA. Using data from this project, the effects of familism, behavioral reactivity, and emotional reactivity on adolescent coping strategies were evaluated. The need for this study was highlighted by numerous research findings showing a correlation between poor coping and depression/anxiety in adolescents, but very little research on cultural factors that contribute to coping strategies. Mayra Bámaca-Colbert 147
Desensitization from Media Consumption Habits Jordan Reis Participants completed pre- and post-PANAS, media consumption, and physiological arousal questionnaires and watched negative clips. Results suggested an inverse relationship between average TV viewing and fear and positive correlation between playing shooter/fighter video games and positive affect after the series. When asked to label their emotions felt post-videos, participants identified fear when physiologically aroused but not anger, sadness, and disgust. These findings leave questions about what effects media consumption has on our emotions and self-awareness. Alicia Drais-Parrillo 2008
Design of a Low-Temperature Plasma Electrode for Future Cardiovascular Treatments Daniel Holcomb The goal of this project is to design an electrode capable of producing plasma for cardiac treatments. This device will treat infected cardiac devices with a safer process leading to a quicker recovery time. We have seen our most successful data by using a copper electrode with a smooth round tip and coated with parylene, a dielectric. Sean Knecht 30
Determining the impact of the luxIR intergenic region on transcription of the lux operon Molly Ehrig Vibrio fischeri is a bioluminescent bacteria that produces light by expressing the lux operon. The purpose of this project is to determine the extent to which the luxIR intergenic region impacts transcription of the lux operon in vitro and determine whether producing bioluminescence confers a growth disadvantage. The data suggests that mutations affecting transcription of the lux operon occur in the luxIR intergenic region and that producing bioluminescence results in a slower growth rate. Timothy Miyashiro 66
Determining the Mohr-Coulomb model Parameters to examine the Flowability of ground corn stover and Douglas fir Yang Li In this study, the flowability of two biomass feedstocks, corn stover and Douglas Fir, will be examined with the Mohr-Coulomb model. Two types of triaxial tests, i.e. hydrostatic triaxial compression and conventional triaxial compression, will be conducted with a Cubical Triaxial Tester. Triaxial test results will be used in determining the Mohr-Coulomb model parameters. The determined flowability will be compared with existing studies. Hojae Yi 10
Developing Protocol for Testing Hydrated Tendons Steven Budzinski Tendon degeneration from overuse changes the local microenvironment and leads to abnormal phenotype expression and eventual tissue degradation. Investigation into causes of fatigue degeneration depends on methods for adequately testing tendons in a lab setting. This research focuses on developing a protocol for testing hydrated tendons using a Criterion MTS device and digital image correlation, and developing software to analyze the acquired data to compare tissue mechanics properties to previous lab testing on separate equipment. Spencer Szczesny 13
Development of a manufacturing process for producing compostable polysaccharide barrier coatings for industrial products. Jiamu He This research focused on the mechanical performance and barrier properties of chitosan and carboxymethyl cellulose blends on food packaging. This polysaccharide-based coating material is edible and compostable that could potentially replace plastic laminates on paperboard for food packaging applications. We focused on how the change of ball milling time, polysaccharide content, acid concentration affect the particle size, morphology and rheology properties of this blends. Jeffrey Catchmark 9
Developmental Social Stress and House Dust Mite affect Social Interaction Behavior in Mice Parisa Solaimanian Social stress and allergen exposure can each affect mouse social and anxiety-related behavior. In our study, we compared social behavior in mice after developmental chronic social stress or house dust mite exposure. We found differences between based on stress, allergen, and sex in latency to approach a target, time interacting with a target, and mean time interacting with a target. Importantly, the results demonstrate that early life social experiences affect later-life behavior. Sonia Cavigelli 122
Direct Amplification of Mosquito Blood Meals in Human Identification Mollie Comella

Generation of short tandem repeat (STR) DNA by direct amplification is useful for identification of the donor of the blood on which a mosquito has fed. GlobalFiler(tm) Express PCR Amplification Kit was chosen for amplifying blood collected on COPAN microFLOQ(r) Direct Collection Devices from the mosquito midguts after feeding. Blood sample from each donor was used as reference to compare the results of profiles generated from the midguts of the mosquitoes.

Reena Roy 111
Discovery of Novel Antibacterial Agents from Compounds Isolated from Soil Eric Lundberg and Aidan Matunis As the threat of antibiotic resistance rises across the globe an increasing need for novel antibiotics has developed. Soil has high biodiversity resulting in natural antibiotics, allowing for a pipeline of development. In this study, components isolated from soil were tested for inhibition against translation through the use of a GFP indicator in a bioassay. Four of the soil compounds showed strong inhibition to translation across a broad-spectrum of bacterial species. Shawn Xiong 76
Discovery of Novel Chemotherapeutic Agents Using a Pediatric Glioma Model Tatiana Mcanulty

Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) is a high-grade pediatric cancer that develops in the pons of the brain stem. There is no effective treatment for these highly resistant tumors to date, creating a pressing need for new therapeutics. Following the discovery of a mechanism for the reduction of DIPG tumor cell viability via hyperactivation of the ClpP protease, a library of natural products was screened in search of novel ClpP hyperactivators and effective chemotherapeutic agents.

Kenneth Keiler 44
Discrete Mathematics Brenden Caruso IST 230 offers content knowledge to integer related concepts. There is a feeling of disconnect from Discrete Mathematics' relevance to the overall understanding of IST. Our research question poses the opposite. An understanding of Discrete Mathematics is integral, and the pedagogy of this course must find ways to strongly link the content knowledge of discrete mathematics to active learning beyond the traditional mathematics. That link is that relationship to all concepts of Computer technology. Larry Dupak 3005
Discrimination Moderates the Association Between Acculturation and Alcohol-Related Consequences in Hispanic College Students Erin Wolfe Acculturation and discrimination are risk factors for alcohol-related consequences among Hispanics, but it is unknown how the two interact. This study examined whether discrimination moderated the association between acculturation and consequences in Hispanic college students (N=245). Students attending three large public universities completed surveys during years two (T2) and four (T4). Discrimination moderated the association between T2 acculturation and T4 consequences. Results inform how culturally-specific risk factors interact to affect alcohol consequences among Hispanic students. Robert Turrisi 56
Distinct effects of IRE1α mutants on the cellular responses to nutrient starvation Lily Robinson To further understand the role of the unfolded protein response (UPR) sensor IRE1a, we generated specific mutations in WT IRE1a to potentially alter its activity. We have experimentally determined the impact of the mutations under conditions of nutrient starvation by expressing them in immortalized epidermal keratinocytes in vitro. We saw that overexpression of active IRE1a hinders cell survival in tumor promoting conditions while inactivation of IRE1a aids cell survival and possibly contributes to cancer development. Adam Glick 86
Do high biomass grass cover crops increase the nitrogen fertilizer requirement for corn? Elizabeth Baker-Mikesell

Cover crops are important to increasing plant health, but may require additional N applications. This experiment tested whether additional N sidedressing or cover crop termination date increased carbon to nitrogen ratio, corn weight, or yield. Overall, delaying cover crop termination increased N uptake, but did not affect yield. Farmers can plant high-biomass cover crops without adding extra Nitrogen.

Charlie White 53
Do Tattoos Affect Preference for Gender? Marina Bystryy and Carly Biebel The current study examined the relationship between preferences for tattoos and gender. Participants included 43 students from Penn State Behrend. Participants viewed randomized vignettes, rated their preference and comfort level, and completed an assessment that included tattoo history. Results indicated that male participants' comfort ratings towards the male individual vignettes were higher than the females. Implications of this study, were that male participants most likely preferred interacting with the males with and without tattoos. Wilson Brown 116
Does Continuous No-Till Farming Lead to Increased Soil Carbon Sequestration in Dairy Crop Production? Jillian Barskey Measured soil organic carbon was compared to data from a cropping simulation model, Cycles, to predict soil organic carbon. Management (MGT) and no-till (NT) had the highest carbon in the top 5-cm, but occasional-tillage (OT) had the highest carbon in the 5-10 cm and 10-20 cm layers. These results indicate that carbon inputs from crop residues and manure may need to be incorporated occasionally in order to increase the amount of C stored in soil. Charles White 106
Does Negative Affect Moderate Links Between Pain and Inflammation? Alexandra Stone The present research examined associations between the salivary inflammatory markers CRP and IL-6 with acute pain intensity and pain interference, and whether negative affect (NA) moderated these associations. As predicted, those with higher NA and higher pain interference evidenced higher IL-6. There were no significant associations with CRP or interactions with pain severity. Results suggest that the combination of NA and pain interference may help identify risk of elevated inflammation among even young adults. Jennifer Graham-Engeland 125
Does personality type predict exercise behavior in zebrafish, Danio rerio, a common animal model of human disease Kristina Franklin and Zhaohan (Zora) Jia How personality can motivate us to pursue exercise is fundamental to our understanding of mental health, promoting improvement in health and motivating people to exercise. The aim of this study is to enhance our understanding of the connection between personality and exercise by using zebrafish as a model organism. Our research examines: 1) how personality and anxiety influence the amount of time fish spend exercising, and 2) how individual activity level predicts motivation to exercise. Cairsty Depasquale 91
Drone for Earth Sciences Allison Karp The project goal is to design a long-endurance multi-rotor unmanned air vehicle (UAV) that will be used to carry science payloads. The immediate application is flights over the Helheim Glacier in Greenland, gathering data collected by remote glacier monitoring stations. Research has focused on configuration design and sizing to permit long range flights. Jacob Langelaan 14
Drug Initiation Habits As Predicted by Sibling Closeness in Divorced and Nondivorced Families Anna Herwig The present study explores the link between divorce and drug and alcohol initiation in adolescents. Analyzing data from the NEAD project, younger siblings of divorced families were expected to report greater closeness with their older sibling in addition to a greater frequency of drug initiation when compared to their peers from nondivorced families. Controlling for age and age difference, divorce status of the family did not alter the relationship between drug initiation and sibling closeness. Jenae Neiderhiser 120
Dynamics of supraglacial lake drainage on Amery ice shelf, East Antarctica Zhuolai Pan

Surface meltwater lakes can destabilize ice shelves through the process of hydrofracture, thereby reducing their buttressing effect and causing sea level to rise. Here, we present remotely sensed observations of repeated, rapid drainages of a ~4.3 km2 supraglacial lake on Amery ice shelf. We describe lake evolution and volume variations using ultra-high-resolution (~0.5 m) optical imagery and digital elevation models. Our research aims to advance the understanding of surface melt on ice shelf stability.

Luke Trusel 109
Effect of Functional Grading on Mechanical Properties of Directed Energy Deposition Inconel Parts Nathaniel Chamberlain Many biological systems have increased mechanical properties due to the presence of functionally graded material. Although the microstructures found in nature are difficult to replicate, mimicking their geometric properties and spatial arrangement may improve the mechanical properties of additively manufactured parts. In this project, we propose that altering directed energy deposition (DED) printing process parameters to create hard geometrically interlocking blocks and softer material between these blocks can improve a part's ability to dissipate energy. Amrita Basak 42
Effect of Soil Water Storage on Greenhouse Gas Production Macayla Murdick The level of soil saturation and the biogeochemical processes present in soil have an impact on the water quality and the presence of various chemicals in the system. Stormwater management practices, including bioretention systems, can be utilized to minimize greenhouse gases and monitor nutrient removal. The purpose of the experiment is to test for greenhouse gases emitted through the soil surface and dissolved in the water using simulated storm events on bioretention style models. Lauren McPhillips 21
Effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) severity on semantic memory retrieval one year or more post TBI. Adwait Chafale This study examined correlations between injury severity levels and semantic memory deficits post Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). Participants were divided based on their Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score range: Mild (13-15), Moderate (9-12), Severe (3-8). Semantic memory retrieval was analyzed using two cognitive tests - the Boston Naming Test and Verbal Letter Fluency. Results showed a moderate positive relationship between Glasgow Coma Scale score and letter fluency in the moderate TBI test group. Frank Hillary 137
Efficiency Optimization of mtqPCR Custom Assay Dana Dirnberger and Troy Adams The quantification of DNA using PCR technology has come under scrutiny recently as MIQE guidelines suggest that qPCR information is inaccurate without following standards such as efficiency, or the accurate doubling of DNA. DNA quantification is important in research, forensic investigations, and medical diagnostics so the technique accuracy is vital. This project examined the impact of varying this efficiency value. Additionally, this research examined the steps necessary to optimize a custom mitochondrial qPCR assay. Mitchell Holland 100
Electroless Deposition of Silver Coated Copper for Bi-Layering in Electrical Contacts Linsea H Paradis The development of a silver coated copper powder was produced by using a method of electroless deposition. A copper powder was coated with a silver salt through an auto-catalytic reaction using ammonium hydroxide as a reducing agent. The dried, coated powders were used an interlayer to copper powder and silver-graphite powder to act as a bonding mechanism in aiding the diffusion process without the accumulation of graphite at the bonding interface. Daudi Waryoba 2011
Electromagnetic characterization of the soil for a ground-penetrating radar to track nesting pollinators Sakshi Gulgulia The goal is to develop a ground-penetrating sub-harmonic radar to track nesting of pollinators by investigating the stresses' impacts on population of pollinators. The focus is to develop MATLAB and HFSS simulations to identify the constitutive parameters (permeability and permittivity) based on the properties of the soil (humidity, silt, clay, sand concentration) to find the complex constant of propagation. With these parameters, it is possible to test several frequencies and achieve an efficient link. Julio Urbina 25
Electromyography Controlled Robotic Arm Nicole Hill This research presents an array of background information on the topic of using electromyographic signals in conjunction with a robotic arm as a means of control. Different components of an EMG circuit are analyzed in detail to understand how this circuit will control a robotic arm. A motor circuit is designed to integrate with the EMG circuit in order to interact with the X-R3 robotic arm. Lastly, the effectiveness of the complete system is discussed. David Witwer 15
Elk K+ Channel Modulation and Neuronal Signalling Kathryn King

Elk K+ channels form a functionally distinct subfamily of ether-a-go-go (Eag) channels; a class of tetrameric, voltage-gated channels that are conserved in both Drosophila and mammals (1). Elks are believed to regulate the firing threshold of neurons and prevent hyperexcitability that leads to epileptic activity (2). This project investigates the relationship between the voltage sensor and channel pore in order to develop a greater understanding of ion channel biophysics and voltage sensing.

Timothy Jegla 166
Emergency Evacuation Management utilizing Moving Object Simulation Xiaoru Shi To best utilize the resources of public facilities for emergency evacuation, a comprehensive and effective simulation model is needed to analyze the traffic efficiency considering different behaviors and interactions of all moving objects, within a given transportation network under different emergency conditions. This study proposes a framework of evacuation simulation with a case study in University Park, PA, to illustrate the model feasibility, and potential evacuation policies are suggested based on results. Cheng-Bang Chen 26
Enhancement of Bifidobacteria animalis Survivability in Edible Films Following Treatments With Trehalose Solutions Jeremy Purwo

Bifidobacteria animalis is an anaerobic, probiotic organism. Pre-treating the microorganism with high concentrations of trehalose and incorporation into pullulan, an edible, water-soluble and oxygen-impermeable polysaccharide, may increase survivability. Our results indicated that survivability of B. animalis was increased following treatments with 20, 30, or 40% trehalose for 30 min at 25@C. Further studies will evaluate the survivability of the trehalose-treated, probiotic organism in pullulan films stored under various conditions (temperature, atmosphere).

Catherine Cutter 2203
Epidermal IRE1alpha ablation leads to differential cellular responses following chronic UVB exposure Stephen Worrell This project aims to show that ER stress sensor protein IRE1alpha controls key cellular processes in response to chronic Ultra-Violet B radiation. UVB represents a significant public health hazard because it is a known cause of skin cancer. IRE1alpha has been previously implicated in a number of different diseases, so understanding its role in UVB induced inflammation could lead to a therapy to mitigate UVB induced damage. Adam Glick 60
Examine how to improve shoulder bone implant longevity Young Joon Kim Mechanical behavior of bone is very important to stabilization of shoulder implant after orthopaedic surgery. However, the deformation and strain inside shoulder bone is not yet well understood. By adopting mechanical testing coupled with micro-CT, we are able to measure 3D deformation in shoulder bone nondestructively. The long-term goal of this research is to improve the longevity of the shoulder bone implants after shoulder replacement surgeries. Jing Du 36
Examining the physiological role of ArfB through ribosome profiling in Caulobacter crescentus Emma Osterhaus The trans-translation pathway is a new drug target for the discovery of novel antimicrobials. ssrA encodes a protein essential for functionality of trans-translation, which is an essential pathway for virulence in pathogenic bacteria. ArfB is an alternate factor for rescuing stalled ribosomes. Since deletion of arfB combined with deletion of ssrA is lethal, it presents a suitable target for drug discovery. His-tagged ArfB bound to ribosomes will be isolated for further ribosome profiling. Kenneth Keiler 46

Our paper explores the effectiveness of experiential learning activities by examining the learning process and personal and professional development induced by semester-long experiential learning activities.The Principles of Marketing class was designated to test the research objective. Through scaffolding, a series of activities are designed to specifically introduce knowledge of marketing concepts to analyze those concepts and execute them in semester-long marketing plan project for real business challenges for small business enterprises in New Kensington, PA.

Rujirutana Mandhachitara 158
Exploring Gender Differences in the Perception of Sexual Harassment Danielle Wieczorek, Tyler Skelton and Brooke Cass Researchers investigated whether gender influences an individual's perception of sexual harassment in relation to the gender of the aggressor (male, female, and non-gender conforming), as well as the severity of harassment (mild, moderate, and severe). Results indicated there was no effect of gender of participant on rating of the vignettes. The hypothesis that females and non-gender conforming groups are more sensitive to sexual harassment scenarios, regardless of the gender of the aggressor, was not supported. Wilson Brown 118
Exploring hemispheric specializations in stereognosis. Jordan Scott Our current project studies hemispheric specialization in stereognosis, the ability to blindly use manual information to identify novel objects, using 3-D printed cylinders of successive size (1 mm to 16 mm diameter). Our preliminary results in right-handers indicate a right-hand advantage for stereognosis, consistent with left-hemisphere specialization for proprioceptive-visual integration. We also explored interlimb transfer in this task. Following opposite arm experience with the task, the left arm improved compared to left arm naive performance, while the right arm showed a decrement in compared to right arm naive performance. These findings not only confirm a right arm advantage for this task, but also suggest competitive interhemispheric influences on this task. Robert Sainburg 77
Exploring Natural Products as Inhibitors of trans-Translation in Bacteria Karah Jean Shultz Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem. The trans-translation pathway is a new drug target for the discovery of novel antibacterial drugs. A growth inhibitory screen was conducted with natural products extracted from marine plant life in Hawaii. Identified hits were found to inhibit growth of pathogens, including Klebsiella pneumoniae and MRSA USA300, as well as target the trans-translation pathway. Hits will be characterized in order to determine the mechanism of action. John Alumasa 2004
Face Orbitals: Adapting Deep Learning models to Generate Artificial Faces Michael Mugno and Rose Hudson

Faces are an important stimulus for many experiments in psychology, and new technologies let us create artificial faces that are highly realistic. We have modified StyleGAN--a deep learning algorithm that creates face pictures, so that it will produce a smooth "circle" of computer-generated faces. These are randomly generated from a 512-dimension "face space," allowing for an incredible diversity of face types. Scalable parameters allow precise control over how smoothly the faces change around the circle.

Bradley Wyble 3012
Female Judges Sentence Harsher Than Male Judges in Sex Offense Cases Erin Doolin

My research analyzes if female and male judges sentence significantly differently in all cases and in sex offense cases during sentencing. The data shows that female judges generally sentence more leniently than male judges during the incarceration decision. Female judges sentence slightly more leniently than male judges in the sentence length decision for all cases. However, female judges sentence significantly harsher in the sentence length decision than male judges in sex offense cases.

Jeffery Ulmer 127
Finding Genetic Variation in Publicly Available Sequence Data Emma Domico

The inception of powerful sequencing technologies has allowed the scientific community to share and access vast amounts of genomic sequences through public databases. These data are a useful resource for studying genetic variation. Here, we describe the process that allowed for the identification of a VNTR (Variable Number of Tandem Repeats) within the DAT1 gene (SLC6A3). Given the gene's well-established role in addictive behavior, we then discuss the possible role of this VNTR in addiction.

David Vandenbergh 88
Frustration in Response to Color Shades Monet Rexford The phenomenon that was researched in this study was how paper color influenced different levels of frustration when given an impossible task. Before the task, the participants were given the Buss Perry Aggression Questionnaire to measure predisposed aggression. The results from fifty-five participants following the impossible task showed that red colored paper evokes the highest frustration, white colored paper evokes moderate frustration, and pink colored paper evokes low frustration levels. Wilson Brown 145
Fundaments of Capital Warehouse Design Taylor Hebb, Marney Haddad and Nupur Patel

A comprehensive warehouse design and structure is essential to support production operations, and the logistic literature is rich of suggestions about design choices to be considered when structuring warehouse processes. We use action research to customize these aspects in the context of warehouse design for a company in the petrochemical sector. Results include the final layout of the warehouse, and recommendations grouped into three categories (People; Process; Equipment and Software).

Andrea Patrucco 2300
Geometric scattering theory and special functions Yiyang Wang We explain how Gauss' hypergeometric functions and the Heun functions arise in the consideration of the fractional Q-curvature, a type of geometric scattering problem. Our geometric perspective leads to new insights into solutions of the Heun equation. Jeffrey Case 105
Ground Vehicle Maintenance Agent Eilijah Cordero This research aimed to create an autonomous method to analyze vehicle parts. This information is then processed to categorize vehicle availability. The goal was to utilize the computer language SOAR to create artificial agents that either flag or green-light vehicles. This was possible through parameter-based agent reports. However, SOAR only approximates rational thinking. This research serves to progress the use of autonomy intelligence as a viable option instead of human labor for insignificant tasks. David Lyons 39
Guns Perps and Scalia: An Analysis of Justice Antonin Scalia's Originalist Jurisprudence in District of Columbia v. Heller Aileen Mckinstry

In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), Justice Antonin Scalia, employing originalism, attempts to interpret the rights enshrined in the Constitution according to how the Founders would have understood them. Scalia uses the history of the Second Amendment to prove that the right to bear arms protected an individual's right to bear arms, unconnected with service in a militia. However, the sources Scalia cites often do not neatly align with, or contradict his conclusions.

Michael Milligan 6
Here to Stay: Foreign Fighters & The Duration of Civil Conflict Meghan Mcnicholas

Contemporary conflict studies has largely focused on foreign fighters and civil conflict as two entities independent of one another; the two concepts remain largely unlinked in current literature. My senior thesis attempts to explore one particular facet of this unexplored relationship: duration. My project uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative analyses to identify any links between foreign fighter engagement in civil conflict and the total duration of said intrastate violence.

Douglas Lemke 165