2020 Undergraduate Exhibition
|Quorum Sensing Between Vibrio fischeri Populations in the Squid Light Organ
Quorum sensing describes the bacterial signaling process involving the synthesis and detection of small molecules called autoinducers. How quorum sensing occurs within bacterial populations within a host remains poorly characterized, in part because of the natural variation in size and biogeography of the cellular aggregates that form along host tissues. We utilize the symbiosis between the squid Euprymna scolopes and the bacterium Vibrio fischeri to evaluate quorum sensing across spatially segregated symbionts within the animal.
|Ramifications of Early life Stress for Plant Life History Traits
|Early life stress can have lasting impacts on plant growth, but the combination of intraspecific competition and stress is less understood. To explore how these variables together affect plant life history traits and resource allocation, I exposed various densities of common garden cress to early and late drought. Early drought always reduces subsequent growth, but high density populations allocate resources to grow taller and recover faster. While shoot height increased with density, total biomass decreased.
|Reinventing Foundry in a Box for the 21st Century
American Foundry Society (AFS) estimates 90% of all manufactured products contain cast metal parts. To engage and recruit K-12 students into the industry, AFS has an outreach and education program called "Foundry in a Box" where students create castings. But there are major safety and operational hazards, namely hot molten metal and tooling requirement. This project aims to redesign the program so students can safely experience the metal casting process.
|Relationship Between Bicycle Friendliness and Other Sustainability Practices On A College Campus
Bicycling has been found to have a plethora of positive externalities that promote public health, community engagement, and sustainability. Few studies however have been done accessing the exact relationship between a welcoming bicycle environment and university lead sustainability practices on a college campus. This studies particular aim is to asses just how core of a pillar bicycling is in the sustainability movements across the United States academic sphere.
|RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN VAPE USE AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE RISK
|The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between vape/electronic cigarette use and physical activity levels, resting blood pressure/heart-rate/oxygen saturation. Fitbit Charge HR's, an automated blood pressure cuff and finger pulse oximeter were used to collect the aforementioned data. Results indicate vape/e-cigarette users have lower physical activity levels and have pre-hypertensive blood pressure putting them at higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
|Respect and Satisfaction in Same-Sex Romantic Relationships
|Respect has been investigated in heterosexual romantic relationships and friendships, but not in same-sex relationships. The purpose of this study is to expand on previous research looking at respect and relationship satisfaction among heterosexual relationships and compare it to that of same-sex relationships to find where they are similar or different. We expect lesbian couples to have higher levels of intimacy than gay or heterosexual couples and therefore, show higher levels of respect and satisfaction.
|Respiratory sinus arrhythmia as a moderator in the relation between parent and child temperamental negative affect
|This study examines the moderating role of 12-month-old infants' baseline respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA; parasympathetic activity linked to children's flexible regulation) in the relation between temperamental negative affect (NA; sadness, anger, fear) in parents and infants. Among the 51 infants included in the initial analysis, we found a non-significant, trending interaction between baseline RSA and parent NA and no significant main effects of parent NA on child NA. Additional analyses were performed, showing significant results.
|Ribosome Profiling during trans-Translation to Combat Antibiotic Resistance
|Alexis Marie Davison
|Antibiotic resistance is an urgent global threat resulting in millions of infections and thousands of deaths in the United States alone. This involves bacteria surviving, proliferating, and spreading their resistant mechanisms, despite antibiotic efforts. This project examines a novel target pathway: trans-translation, an essential ribosome rescue process in bacterial pathogens. A Caulobacter model is utilized for cloning and ribosome profiling methodologies to gain crucial insight into each step of trans-translation for optimizing novel antibiotic development.
|Scaling Laws for Stagnant Lid Mantle Convection With Buoyant and Negatively Buoyant Crust
|Stagnant-lid planets (lack tectonic plates) are common in our solar system and likely among rocky exoplanets as well. Previous research on the interior of these planets has not accounted for the impact of the crust on mantle convection even though thick crusts do have an impact on their evolution. We derive new scaling laws for stagnant-lid interiors finding two end-member regimes the "thin" and "thick" crust limits that match the 2D convection models well.
|Senior Exhibition: Flap/Flutter
The Butterfly Effect is a theory which states that a small change in the environment can have a significant influence on further outcomes. I used the idea of the Butterfly Effect to reflect on events in my own life. My concept is about patterns of events, levels of growth, and faith. Each of my pieces demonstrates drastic changes in my life that formed my current identity, all of which trace back to one initial choice.
|Susan Marie Brundage
|Settling Velocities of Synthetic vs. Nonsynthetic Microfibers
Microplastic particles are becoming more and more common in aquatic ecosystems all over the world, and are a huge source of pollution within the environment. Studies of the physical transport of microplastics are limited, and cross-material comparison has not been undertaken on a large scale. We have compared the settling velocity and shape properties of two common microfibers: polyester (synthetic) and cotton (nonsynthetic). From these data, we can determine key differences between these two fibers.
|Sorority membership moderates the association between tanning norms and efficacy
|Female college students are at risk for skin cancer due to tanning behaviors and sociocultural norms. The present study examines whether the association between tanning-related norms and UV protection efficacy differs by sorority membership. Female college students participated in a cross-sectional survey (N=120). Results revealed a stronger negative association between norms and efficacy for non-sorority versus sorority members. Findings emphasize the importance of examining sorority membership in relation to tanning behaviors and norms.
|Strengthening and Repair of Additively-Manufactured Lattice Structures Using UV-Cured Glues
|Current empirical data suggests that additively-manufactured (AM) lattice structures can fail before predicted. This research proposes the use of UV-curing polymeric glues as a potential solution for preventing premature failure or for repairing of AM lattice structures. Stereolithographic-printed lattice cells of varying member thickness were compression tested with and without glues applied. The results show that the glue significantly increases the stiffness and strength of both new and repaired specimens, although more testing is required.
|Synthesis of dipyrrin ligands for applications in catalytic single-chain polymer nanoparticles
|Lauren Elizabeth Chamberlain
|Catalytically-active single-chain polymer nanoparticles (SCNPs) seek to resolve the issues of toxicity and recyclability associated with traditional methods. SCNPs draw inspiration from enzymes, specifically the idea of a catalytic compartmentalization. These nanoparticles can be formed by attachment of dipyrrin ligands (DPY) to a polymer backbone followed by crosslinking via metal ligation. Four DPYs were successfully synthesized for incorporation onto polymers. When successfully crosslinked, the SCNPs will be used to target cross-coupling reactions.
|Tectona grandis Grueling Germination and General Growth Guide
|Teak (Tectona grandis) is a valuable as timber with an import value of over $400 million/year between 2005-2014. Teak can be very hard to germinate; some provenances have less than 1% germination rate. I wanted to find a better way to germinate and grow teak in a lab setting for further research. So I designed a seed irrigator and compared several methods of vegetative propagation, including caning, cuttings, and air layering.
|Testing the Anxiety-Reducing Effects of Dark Chocolates in Public Speaking Anxiety
My research examines the anxiety-reducing effects of consuming dark chocolates. The study uses a 2 (group: individuals with social anxiety vs. non-anxious controls) x 2 (manipulation: chocolates, no chocolates) between-subjects factorial design. After the manipulation, participants will give a brief public speech, and anxiety will be assessed via self-report questionnaires at baseline and after the public speaking task. It is hypothesized that consuming dark chocolates reduces public speaking anxiety in both groups.
|The Affect Effect: Integrating Student Emotions into the Design of Engineering Technology Courses with Optimization Method
This research proposes the use of an optimization method to increase positive affect and learning outcomes in STEM students through the incorporation of student participation in course structure and responsive curriculum adjustments. A mathematical model was used to quantify traits such as boredom, surprise, satisfaction and confusion. Results are discussed in terms of how educators can use this optimization method to increase student affect and course design in STEM related courses and other applicable fields.
|The Applications of VR-AR Technologies in Construction Safety Training
|The construction industry has some of the highest incident and fatality rates among all industries and makes up almost 5% of the American workforce and a similar figure in other countries. This means around 5% of the world's working population is at risk and current safety training methods have not shown signs of improving the incident and fatality rates. Virtual and augmented reality training is a new, immersive way to train and assess at-risk workers.
|The Bilingual Abstract Semantic Associative Network Training
|Lucia Mitnik and Alexandra Santos
|Research in the Semantics, Aphasia, and Neural Dynamics Lab focuses on finding ways to optimize language therapy for acquired language disorders. For our research project, we explored the role of language dominance during abstract word retrieval training for a Spanish-English bilingual patient with aphasia. Training was conducted biweekly for 10 weeks in English and 10 in Spanish. The results show improvement in both languages, but better outcomes when she was trained in the nondominant language.
|The Discovery of Antimicrobial Compounds in State College, PA
|Joseph Mao and Sophia Mostafa
|The current dilemma resulting from antibiotic resistant bacteria has brought up the need for new antibiotics to be discovered. As natural environments contain an abundance of antibiotic compounds, natural products derived from soil in State College, PA were isolated, purified, characterized, and analyzed for antimicrobial activity. Several isolated natural products were found to inhibit translation at low concentration levels in an E. coli model, as well as in-vitro.
|The Effect I’d Stereotype Endorsement on Anorexia Symptom Severity
|The effects of stereotype endorsement of people with anorexia has been a topic of interest in the research world for several years. This study focuses on the difference in symptom severity between those who endorse stereotypes of people with anorexia and those who do not endorse these stereotypes. The study will be conducted through a between participants 2 (participants: male, female) x 2 (stereotype endorsement, no stereotype endorsement) Analysis of Variance.
|The Effect of Essential Oil on Memory Retention
|Adrienne Pauline, Samantha Conway and Shelby Conkling
This study examined the effect of sage on memory retention via inhalation. It was hypothesized that Digit Span (DS) raw scores and higher longest digit span forward (LDSF) scores would be higher in the experimental group. The results indicated that sage did not improve short term memory when administered through inhalation, and the hypothesis was not supported. Limitations included a cross sectional design, small sample size, and only short-term memory examined.
|The Effect of Memory Cue Duration on Directed Forgetting Performance in Healthy Aging
|Catherine Carpenter and Harini Babu
|Directed forgetting is a strategy often used in situations when one is presented with information, not all of which is necessary to remember. We examined the effect of cue duration (1, 3, and 5 seconds) on directed forgetting in older and younger adults. We found with increased processing time, there was improved directed forgetting performance for both age groups. Higher functioning older adults were able to utilize the increased times to enhance their directed forgetting.
|The Effects of Active Learning on Student’s Attitude and Performance
|The study's purpose is to determine how engagement techniques, specifically group work and case studies, affect students' learning. Two sections of Psych 238 will be used in a quasi-experiment. The independent variable is whether students completed case studies in groups or individually. The outcomes are assessment performance, including the cases, attendance and student perceptions of active learning collected via survey. It is anticipated that engagement will predict better performance, although students may not favor it.
|The Effects of Fitbit Groups on College Students’ Attitudes Towards Physical Activity
|The purpose is to assess the effect of Fitbit groups on college student's attitudes towards exercise and daily physical activity patterns using wearable technology. This 10-day study will utilize a Fitbit device, Attitude Towards Exercise Measure, and a Fitbit online group. The control group will utilize the Fitbit device and Attitude Towards Exercise Measure. The results from this study could affect how online groups can be used to increase student's attitude/activity levels.
|The Impact of Autoinducer of Type VI-mediated Activity in Vibrio fischeri
|The composition of the microbial community within a host is impacted by competition between various strains of bacteria. The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a contact-dependent killing mechanism that certain strains of bacteria express to facilitate the delivery of toxins to neighboring cells, thereby restructuring the microbial community. My presentation focuses on the study of the regulatory mechanisms through which control of the T6SS in V. fischeri is maintained.
|The Impact of Neighborhood Ethnic-Racial Context on the Racial Identity of African American and Latinx Youth
|The current study focused on the relationship between the neighborhood factors such as diversity and cohesion and ethnic-racial identity (ERI) while examining the role of ethnic-racial socialization (ERS) in the perceived relationship. The study utilized data from African American and Latinx adolescents in the Families, Adolescents, and Neighborhoods in Context (FAN-C) study. Results showed various correlations between the variables but was unable to provide evidence on the mediating role of ERS.
|The Influences of Family Relationships and Family Support on Psychological Distress Among Commuter College Students
|Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess how type of family relationship and forms of family support (instrumental and relational-emotional) influence psychological distress among commuter college students and how year in college and sociodemographic factors affect this influence. Results: On average, participants exhibited high distress. The closer the family relationship, the less distress exhibited. Likewise, the more relational-emotional support from family, the less distress exhibited.
|The Penn State protein ladders: an inexpensive source of protein molecular weight markers appropriate for both Coomassie staining and Western blotting
|Yoshitaka Shibata and Ryan Santilli
Although protein molecular weight markers are among the most commonly used reagents in molecular biology laboratories, simple and inexpensive means to produce such markers are lacking. We have therefore designed and prepared recombinant proteins of defined molecular weights from 10 to 150 kDa that migrate appropriately on SDS-PAGE gel. In addition to detection by Coomassie or silver staining, each protein contains an IgG binding domain that allows detection on Western blots without specific second antibodies.
|The Power of Art in Sustainable Community Development
|What are the direct and indirect economic, political, and social impacts of arts-based initiatives on communities? Mural Arts Philadelphia (MAP) is an arts-based initiative that appears to reflect key dimensions of sustainable community development. This research focuses on MAP as a case study to identify and analyze the direct and indirect impacts of arts-based initiatives in fostering personal, institutional, and community change grounded in the qualitative research method of the Most Significant Change Principle.
|The Preservation of History
|Joseph Fantuzzi and Austin Azar
|Historical structures present the challenge of preservation. We are going to perform a site visit at The Helfrich Springs Grist Mill in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. We will gather the needed information, then utilize AutoCAD to create an elevation view of the building while recommending any needed renovations. We will dedicate our time and effort into ensuring that these sites will not crumble to oblivion, but stand as bastions to showcase our innovation as a people.
|The Putative Role of FakA and FakB Deletions on Lipoproteins in Staphylococcus aureus.
|Fatty acid kinases A and B are involved in lipid metabolism and synthesizing membrane phospholipids in gram-positive pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus. This research aims to determine the effects of FakA and FakB deletions on their potential involvement in adding an acyl chain to lipoproteins in S. aureus as well as variations in toll-like receptor activation. This may also contribute to revealing the dynamics of the bacterial cell envelope and developing techniques to counter antibiotic resistance.
|The Relationship Between Physical Activity, Mental Health, and Sexual Orientation in College Women
|Sexual minority women have an increased risk of mental health problems. This study examined differences in mental health (stress and depression) and physical activity among female college students by sexual orientation. Students self-reported physical activity, sexual orientation, and mental health via an online survey. Mental health outcomes significantly varied depending on sexual orientation and activity intensity. Findings indicate physical activity promotion to improve mental health is warranted, especially among sexual minority female students.
|The Revival of Springs: Study on Spring Water Protection in the City of Springs
|Jinan, located in Eastern China, is famous as City of Springs. Due to unique Karst geological features, Jinan contains plentiful groundwater resources--creating 72 famous artesian springs. However, due to over-exploitation of groundwater, springs are in danger! Born and grew up in Jinan, I cherish this spring character in my hometown. In order to bring vigorous spring feature back to Jinan, this project studies the current groundwater situation and provides strategies to protect spring water.
|Thought Suppression as a Mediator in the Relationship Between Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Negative Affect in Traumatized Individuals
|Nathan Sitzler and Marcella Puglia
Research indicates that negative affect (NA) is significantly associated with posttraumatic stress symptom severity (PTSS) (Tull, Jakupcak, McFadden, & Roemer, 2007). To further understand the relationship between NA and PTSS, thought suppression (TS) may be a mediator in this relationship. A mediation analysis was conducted in a sample of 105 college students who have endorsed a past experience of criterion A traumatic event. TS was found to partially mediate the relationship between NA and PTSS.
|Timing Resolution of Photomultiplier Tube Waveforms
|The purpose of this investigation was to study the extracted times and timing resolutions for single photoelectron waveforms from a photomultiplier tube at different sample rates. This was done by taking waveforms from a high sample rate oscilloscope and downsampling them to the sample rates in question to serve as stand-ins for potential waveform digitizers at varying sample rates. Phase biases were found and algorithms were thus developed to counter these and provide cleaner timing.
|Understanding LIGO Criteria for Detecting Dissipative Dark Black Hole Binaries
|Under Dr. Shandera's supervision, I worked to check different criteria of the Dark Black Hole Binary models. I am also trying to understand the LIGO detection parameters that can indicate the existence of subsolar Black Hole Binaries made of dark matter components.
|Using a Fluorescense-Based Assay and Screening Methods to Characterize Inhibitors of the σE - Hfq Pathway in Gram-negative Bacteria
|The goals of this project are to discover and characterize the properties of new chemical leads that have been previously identified as potential inhibitors of the sE - Hfq pathway. The sE - Hfq pathway itself is required for virulence, and it does so by maintaining the integrity of the cellular envelope in Gram-negative bacteria. Identifying and characterizing these potential inhibitors holds potential for the production of novel antibiotics in the future.
|Using Resonant Chains to Explore the Formation of Exoplanetary Systems
|To better understand the formation of exoplanetary systems, we model the formation and subsequent evolution of specific systems with repeating orbital configurations, known as resonant chains. These configurations have long been considered a hallmark of planets forming far from their stars before migrating inwards, but recent work has challenged this concept. We find that the fate of a system can depend heavily on the migration timescales, the planets' masses, and other formation conditions.
|Utilizing Macroinvertebrate Surveys and Physical/Chemical Parameters to Assess the Stream Health of Laurel Run
|Vinay Singh, Dayana Delgado and Abigayle Ward
In 2009, a complete watershed assessment of the Saucon Creek Watershed in Eastern Pennsylvania, including its tributary Laurel Run, was published. At that time, Laurel Run was categorized as "unhealthy". The purpose of this study was to assess the current stream health of Laurel Run utilizing macroinvertebrate surveys and physical and chemical parameters. The results of this assessment indicate that Laurel Run is now categorized as "healthy."
|Vitamin D deficiency is associated with susceptibility to inflammatory bowel disease.
|The effect of the start time of vitamin D deficiency- gestational or postnatal- on experimental colitis was examined. Vitamin D sufficiency, gestational vitamin D deficiency, and post-natal vitamin D deficiency were compared for effects on susceptibility to colitis. Gestational vitamin D deficient mice had more severe colitis and premature death compared to post-natal vitamin D deficient and vitamin D sufficient mice.
|What is the relationship between sleep duration, physical fitness and BMI in older adults?
|This study examined the relationships between BMI, objectively-assessed physical fitness and self-reported average sleep duration among 58 healthy older adults. As hypothesized, greater BMI was associated with lower physical fitness (b = -.54, SE= .66, p < .05). After controlling for BMI and gender, sleep duration was not significantly associated with physical fitness (b = 0.79, SE = .66, p = .24). Implications of this research study will be discussed further.
|When Non-Conformity Trumps Partisanship
The political campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in 2016 reflected the growing prominence of populism both in the United States and globally. This thesis seeks to explain a common psychological mechanism hypothesized to underlie populist vote choice: political non-conformity. The present study finds that populist voters are less conformist. This study also finds compelling evidence of psychological differences among populist candidate supporters and lays the foundation for future research in political non-conformity.
|Women are not more likely to receive suggestion to cease driving
We examined the gender and age differences in receiving a suggestion to stop driving among healthy older drivers aged 65-91 years old. Women (73.3%) were not more likely to have someone suggest they stop driving compared to men, x2(1, N = 2,393) = 3.12, p = .08. Among women, there were no age differences in having someone suggest they stop driving, x2(1, N = 1,753) = 2.48, p = .12. Implications will be further discussed.