2021 Undergraduate Exhibition
|"I am in Need of Music" by Lori Laitman: Online Collaboration in 2021
|Carter Houston and Marissa Perri
This performance of Lori Laitman's "I am in Need of Music" was a collaborative effort by Bachelor of Music Voice Performance Majors Marissa Perri and Carter Houston and pianist, Ann Deighton to bring hope and joy to the Penn State community in times of isolation, loss, and sadness. This project allowed Perri and Houston to learn about the audio and video engineering process and how to create a unified musical performance over a far distance.
|3D Printing of Smart Ceramic
|The Direct Ink Writing of smart material Barium Titanate gives rise broad applications in medical, robotic, and electronic fields. By modifying current 3D printer technology to fit the needs of the smart ceramic, such as redesigning the print head and reconfiguring the feeder assembly, barium Titanate can be used as the ink for Direct Ink Writing. This technique will be generalizable for other ceramics as well.
|A Bioinformatic Approach to Phylogeny and Strain-typing Among Natural Isolates of V. fischeri taken from a Wild-Caught Adult E. scolopes:
|Strain diversity in host-microbe symbioses represents an opportunity for genetic diversity to impact the relationship. In order to determine the strain diversity of V. fischeri associated with a wild-caught, adult, E. scolopes squid, a bioinformatic approach comparing the genomes of 12 strains isolated from the squid identified three distinct genetic groups of strains associated with the host. Identification of these groups presents an opportunity to study the ways individual strains interact within the symbiosis further.
|A Computational Approach to Modelling Sarcasm (#Not Sarcastic)
|Sarcasm is one of the most confusing features of human language that we must deal with on a daily basis. This project aims to explain how the Rational Speech Acts (RSA) model, a framework that views communication as recursive social and pragmatic reasoning between a listener and a speaker, is able to model sarcasm. Predictions from a computational implementation of this sarcasm model showed similarity to human raters' predictions about sarcasm.
|A Cure for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia: Activating Gpr44 by CyPGs
|Selenium-dependent cyclopentanone prostaglandin (CyPG) production can induce leukemia-protective effects in chronic myeloid leukemia by CyPG activation of PPARγ, which initiates leukemic stem cell (LSC) death; it is suspected that CyPGs can also inhibit LSCs by activation of Gpr44 to induce apoptosis. A novel LSC eradication therapy to suppress disease severity and relapse potential was investigated with CyPG treatment and Gpr44 gene inactivation studies to determine roles of Gpr44 in an experimental model of CML.
|A High-Throughput Computational Modeling Framework for Direct Ink Writing (DIW) of Smart Ceramic Structures
|The goal of this project is to create a computational model in COMSOL Multiphysics that accurately simulates the extrusion process of a 3D printer. This computational model allows us to analyze how different parameters affect print quality, greatly reducing manufacturing cost and waste. Our results suggest that gap distance and print speed critically affect print quality. We plan to leverage this knowledge to help design a highly accurate direct ink writing ceramic 3D printer.
|A History of the 'Red Pill'
|Many authors have discussed how the internet changes the tone and form of political discussion. Less attention is given to the ways online communication shapes the systematic development of new or resurgent ideologies. ‘Neoreaction’ is one such ideology, where the medium itself helps determine the content of the ideology. The central idea of Neoreaction--the 'Red Pill'--has spawned a whole host of similar political groups with the same essential structure.
|A Microfluidic-Based Diagnostic Technique for Sepsis
|Sepsis occurs when the immune system responds to an infection in the bloodstream; this often leads to organ damage, organ failure, and death. Successful treatment of sepsis relies on precise diagnosis of bacteria. Emerging technologies, such as microfluidic devices, offer huge potential for transforming diagnosis of sepsis. This project, in specific, seeks to design a microfluidic device that can isolate and characterize bacteria at sepsis-level concentrations with species, such as Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
|A qualitative assessment of the impact of a theoretically-based mental skills training session on youth athlete responses to performance stress
|Kristen Guarneschelli and Tiffaney Simmers
The purpose of this experiment was to examine the impact of a theoretically-based mental skills training (MST) session on youth athletes' ability to handle performance stress. Before stress exposure, athletes participated in a session that included either a lecture on sport psychology history (control) or a MST session that promoted a mastery focus and caring climate (experimental group). The results suggest a single, 20-minute theoretically-based MST session can help young athletes better handle performance stress.
|A Scoping Review of Contract Cheating in Higher Education
|Contract cheating is academic dishonesty in which a third-party completes assignments or courses for another. Research suggests this practice is growing but remains difficult to identify and prevent. We undertook a scoping review of the literature to describe factors promoting contract cheating. Results reveal gaps in knowledge of student motivations but suggest marketing tactics, especially combined with drastic shifts in course delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, play a role. We offer suggestions for future research.
|A Search for Breathing of the Broad-Line Region of Quasars
|Quasars are the ultra-luminous centers of some galaxies, powered by gas falling onto a supermassive black hole after forming an accretion disk. The glowing portion of fast-moving gas in and around the disk, called the "broad-line region," can change in size with the varying luminosity of the quasar in a phenomenon called "breathing." This project aims to determine the extent to which breathing exists and persists in >500 quasars observed multiple times over a decade.
|Abortion Activists, Worldviews, and Attitude Expression: A Twitter Analysis
|This analysis builds on theories of worldviews and research of abortion attitude expression to investigate how abortion attitudes translate to social media. Using Twitter data, I compiled 2,100 tweets from six activist groups on both sides of the abortion issue. I performed a content analysis where I compared the tweets in terms of purpose, sentiment, and word count. I found differences in how pro-life and pro-choice activists tweet, which is evidence for the worldviews.
|Adolescent Social Stress Alters Morphine Behaviors in C57BL/6J Mice, but not BALB/cJ Mice
|Aidan James Peat
|This study investigated whether chronic adolescent social stress, genetic background, and their interaction influence later morphine stimulation, sensitization, and consumption. The data show genetic background and stress altered morphine behaviors. Specifically, adolescent social stress attenuated morphine sensitization in C57BL/6J mice, but not BALB/cJ mice. Adolescent social stress did not influence morphine stimulation or consumption in either strain. Together, our findings show that genetic and environmental factors influence behaviors related to opioid abuse.
|Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the Relation to Chosen Adult Altruistic Professions
Quantitative research was conducted through an anonymous survey method for the purposes of investigating past traumas, specifically in the form of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and the possible link to adult professionals currently employed within occupations of an altruistic nature. The tentative hypothesis was that the majority of those who choose altruistic professions have experienced a severity of adverse childhood experiences as defined by the 1997 CDC-Kaiser ACE study.
|African IGOs and Democracy.
|The purpose of this thesis is to research and understand the effect that three prominent African intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) have on democracy, by looking at the election observers they deploy and the charters they implement. My research question is what effects do the African Union (AU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and Southern African Development Community (SADC) have on democracy in Africa. In light of this, democracy should be flourishing on the continent.
|Alcohol-Related Consequences Among Racial and Ethnic Minority First-Year College Students
|Alcohol-related consequences among racial/ethnic minority college students is a public health concern. The present study examines whether the factor structure of B-YAACQ generalizes to this racial/ethnic minority sample (e.g., Asian, Black, Multiracial, Latinx; N=317). Differences by sex were also examined. Results revealed that blackout drinking and sexual consequences were reliable factors among the racial/ethnic minority sample. The factor structure held for both sexes. Findings suggest that future drinking interventions may need to be culturally tailored.
|Aleksandr Scriabin's Etude in D-sharp Minor, Op. 8, No. 12
Aleksandr Scriabin was a romantic composer in the 19th century. I will discuss his influences, his compositional style, and how they relate to his Etude in D-sharp Minor. Futhermore, I will explain what an etude is and its uses as a compositional form, as well as how Scriabin uses this form to his advantage. Finally, I will conclude the presentation with a performance of the piece in the Penn State School of Music Recital Hall.
|AMPK regulates lipid metabolism and cell migration
|Xianzhen Zhou et al
The activation of AMPK slows the synthesis of biomolecules to focus on conserving the cells energy. This shift in metabolism promotes the degradation of lipid droplets as a viable source of energy. To test how this impacts lipid droplet localization and cellular functions, we used an Oil-red-O stain to visualize lipid droplets. We find AMPK mediates a shift in lipid droplet distribution to the cell periphery and this is accompanied by enhanced cell migration.
|An Environmental Film Pitch: The Life of Mare
|This presentation focuses on a film pitch following the lives of two turtles who attempt to live in a polluted ocean. After a near death experience that the younger turtle faces from this pollution, the message is clear that we need to work to preserve and protect our environment before this species and many others go extinct from our harmful ways.
|Analysis of Structural Brain Imaging Data in Pediatric Samples – The Impact of Using Adult vs Pediatric Templates in Data Processing
|The current study uses structural MRI data from a large sample of children (~400) with a history of childhood maltreatment to address the issue of how the type of template used may impact structural brain imaging outcomes. It is anticipated that, due to more extreme deformations when using adult templates with pediatric samples, there will be quantitative differences in the estimations of cortical thickness, surface area, and subcortical volume for adult templates vs. pediatric templates.
|Analytical and Numerical Approaches to Studying Complex Electric Circuits
|Timmy Tushar Rajan Susai Rajan
|We investigate practically interesting complex electrical circuits of arbitrary size, termed "Multi-Wheatstone Bridge" in the presentation, using both analytical and numerical methods. The numerical results for the nodal potentials and equivalent resistance of those circuits are obtained using a Python implementation of the method of Random Walks and method of Relaxations. We study the accuracy and convergence rate of these methods and compare their results to those obtained analytically.
|Analyzing Unassociated Candidate TeV Sources with HAWC
|Nicole Firestone and Sarah Greberman
The High Altitude Water Cherenkov Gamma-Ray Observatory (HAWC) is one of the highest energy gamma-ray detectors to date. In 2017, the HAWC Collaboration presented the 2HWC catalog from 508 days of data collection, which included 16 unassociated candidate TeV sources. Now, with a data collection period nearly triple in duration (1523 days), we analyze the location, morphology, and energy spectra of these candidate sources in more detail and investigate their potential association with nearby sources.
|Assessing Bias Against Perceptions of Criminal Offenders Based on LGBTQ+ Identity
|Bias against LGBTQ+ people is well documented; less studied, however, is how this impacts their experiences in the criminal justice system. With little research confirming or disconfirming this bias, scholars do not know how bias influences these outcomes. This study measures bias as it impacts justice-involved homosexual individuals through differences in stigma and punitive attitudes. Results bear on equity during jury trials and inform the role of bias in sentencing.
|Nicholas; Nathan Rowland; Kruis
|Assessing Changes in Middle School Students’ Attitudes Toward Coding and Engineering using Microcontroller Design Challenges
|This study investigates the use of an inexpensive microcontroller to integrate computational thinking and engineering design within a middle school unit of instruction. Seventy-two students participated in a pre and post survey to examine changes in their attitudes toward coding and engineering. The t-tests revealed the only statistically significant area of change was student’s’ interest in physical computing applications. This study provides implications to inform coding and engineering instruction at the middle school level.
|Assessing Student Perceptions of Inquiry-guided Learning Taught Through Mixed-mode Instruction During the Pandemic
The effects of COVID-19 restrictions greatly influence student learning. Impacting students at all levels of education, different avenues of limitations associated with mixed-mode learning must be explored. By using qualitative thematic analysis we discover barriers students (N = 25) faced throughout an inquiry-guided, mixed-mode learning experience provided at two Penn State Commonwealth Campuses in Fall of 2020. Findings are important in discussing what actions can aid student success in future courses that incorporate mixed-mode instruction.
|Assessment of the Effects of Intrauterine Dextrose Infusion After Calving on Uterine Health, Metabolic Stress, Systemic Inflammation and Daily Milk Yield in Post-partum Dairy Cows
|The objective was to assess the effects of intrauterine dextrose infusion after calving on uterine health, metabolic stress, and inflammation in dairy cows. Cows (n=135) were randomly assigned to groups: SAL: intrauterine infusion of saline solution; DEX: intrauterine infusion of 50% dextrose solution, or CON: untreated. Uterine health and blood metabolites were assessed at 7, 14 and 21 d after. SAL cows had higher clinical metritis incidence and metabolic stress and inflammation at day 7
|Assessment of the effects of intrauterine dextrose infusion on clinical cure rate, daily milk yield, daily rumination, metabolic stress and inflammation in post-partum dairy cows diagnosed with clinical metritis
|This study assessed the effects of intrauterine dextrose infusion in dairy cows with clinical metritis (CM). Postpartum cows (n=641) were screened, those with red-brownish watery vaginal discharge (n=74) were classified as CM cows and assigned to either: 1) CONV (n=37): two administrations of ceftiofur or 2) DEX (n=37): three intrauterine infusions of dextrose. No difference was found in clinical cure rate; however, DEX cows produced less milk and had higher systemic inflammation than CONV cows.
|Associations between activity patterns during the dry period and calving events in dairy cattle.
|This study assessed associations between activity patterns during the 14 days prepartum and calving events in dairy cattle. Cows (n=136) that were between 20 and 30 days from expected calving date were fitted with a HOBO® accelerometer on the rear right leg. Cows that experienced a severe assisted calving spent more time lying down during the 14 days prior to calving compared to cows that experience either normal or mild assisted calvings.
|Attitudes Toward Employer-Provided Genetic Wellness Programs
|Some forward-thinking companies are considering the inclusion of genetic wellness programs in their employee benefits packages to ensure a healthy and productive workforce. While this type of offering could be valuable, its implementation also raises ethical and practical concerns. This pilot study utilizes qualitative data from focus group sessions to analyze participants' attitudes toward this benefit to guide future research and inform employers.
|Automating Cavity Analysis in Microscopy Images
|In the world of material sciences study, particularly when looking at the effects of radiation on materials, it is important to be able to reliably and conveniently assess materials for the state of radiation damage that they may have incurred during use. To count out the cavities present in microscopy images of the material would be too tedious, so instead I aimed to build an algorithm to do so automatically by implementing machine learning.
|Binding Site Verification of KKL-35 and KKL-55
|Antibiotics that exist on the market today are causing bacterial resistance. Recently, the binding sites of KKL-35 and KKL-55 , classified as an oxadiazole and tetrazole respectively, have been visually verified by cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM). These proposed binding sites for KKL-35 and KKL-55 can be further confirmed by exploring how other antibiotics, with known binding sites, interact with KKL-35 and KKL-55. The interactions are measuring synergy, which verified the binding site.
|Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Risk Factors among Hispanic/Latino Immigrant Farmworkers in the United States: A Scoping Review
|The Hispanic/Latino immigrant farmworker population experiences a disproportionate prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the United States. Despite this, a scoping review on CVD health among Hispanic/Latino immigrant farmworkers has not been completed to date. Therefore, a scoping review was completed to understand the correlates of CVD risk factors which includes (1) body mass index (BMI)/overweight/obesity, (2) high cholesterol, (3) diabetes, (4) hypertension, and (5) physical activity/exercise among Hispanic/Latino immigrant farmworkers.
|Changes in Weekly Physical Activity Levels due to the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown: Differences Based on Education Level
The COVID-19 Pandemic impacted behavior, notably lower physical activity (PA). This study examined the relationship between PA and education levels before/after the pandemic lockdown. Individuals in an underserved Pittsburgh neighborhood were asked via survey to self-report weekly PA levels and demographics. Participants with higher education experienced a decrease of PA levels, while those with less education did not see a change in PA levels. This is important for public health officials implementing PA promotion strategies.
|Characterization and Automation of Quantum Electronics for a Qubit-based Dark Matter Detector
|Dark matter vastly exceeds normal matter in the universe, and its composition is unknown. Contemporary cosmological theories suggest the existence of hypothetical particles called axions which are potential dark matter candidates. In this work, a Python-based operational framework for managing and characterizing quantum electronics for detecting axion dark matter was created. Development was centered around a user-friendly data acquisition and equipment management tool for a remotely operated dark matter detector.
|Characterization of Lanmodulin Homologs as Lanthanide-Binding Proteins
Lanmodulin (LanM) binds rare earth elements (REEs) with high selectivity over metals such as calcium and iron, thus having the potential for application of separating these REEs for modern technologies. A LanM homolog was characterized through circular dichroism. This characterization of the diversity of lanthanide recognition mechanisms provide insight into lanthanide uptake in cells and may inform for practical applications of these proteins for rare earth metal extraction.
|Characterization of Radioactive Backgrounds for the Snowball Dark Matter Detector
The Snowball Chamber is an R&D project investigating the application of supercooled water as target for dark matter direct detection. The temperature of water in detectors sets the energy threshold. We hypothesize that the leading factor limiting lower temperatures is radioactive backgrounds: particles found naturally in the environment trigger nucleation and freezing in the detector, reducing active time. We completed preliminary calculations of neutrons, the dominant backgrounds, and are working on full backgrounds simulations.
|Characterizing the Degradation of Cellulose by Combinations of Cellulolytic Enzymes
|To better understand factors that hinder cellulose degradation by cellobiohydrolases, we characterized accessory enzymes that act on cellulose in combination with Trichoderma reesei Cel7A. These accessory enzymes include endo-1,4-beta-D-glucanase (Cel7B) from Trichoderma longibrachiatum and Cel6A, a cellobiohydrolase II. By measuring reducing end production in reactions between cellulose from Acetobacter and these enzymes, we found that Cel7B acts with Cel7A in an additive manner while Cel6A acts with Cel7A in a synergistic manner.
|Co-Amorphous Systems: A Way to Improve Drug Solubility
|One out of every three Americans is diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. Such treatment could be improved upon through research, more specifically, when it comes to the solubility of medications. For this research, two new molecular systems were studied. We looked at whether a molecule was more soluble independently or in a combined system. Quantum mechanic calculations, optimizations, and analysis were techniques used to determine this. Lipophilicity was also a factor analyzed in our experiment.
|Codependency and Relationship Dimensions
I administered a codependency survey to 8 participants and compared results to participant ECR data. I predicted a positive correlation between codependency and anxiety about abandonment, avoidance of intimacy, problematic relationships, and an agape love style. Additionally, I predicted a negative correlation between codependency and self-esteem as well as between codependency and positive family interactions, and no significant relationship between gender and codependency. Each hypothesis was supported, though only some results were statistically significant.
|Combined effects of climate change and competition on tree survival and growth of Juglans nigra natural populations
Natural tree populations spend many generations adapting to their home climate. Climate change is predicted to exceed natural rates of population adaptation causing maladapted populations. Inter-tree competition may compound this, reducing growth and species population survival. This study evaluates 36 natural populations of Juglans nigra distributed across the native range in a common garden experiment. Generalized mixed linear models were developed; predicting tree growth and survival as a function of additive and interactive climate-competition effects.
|Comparing performance on Sign Language tasks in deaf preschool age children with a delay
|The Visual Communication and Sign Language (VCSL) checklist is one of the only standardized assessments for children developing a visual language. We employed the VCSL to compare performance of deaf children with a basal age delay of at least 24 months on particularly difficult items. This analysis led us to multiple difficult items for children of deaf parents, and for both groups together, but it only yielded one difficult item for children of hearing parents.
|Conceptualizing and Eliciting Awe: An Evolutionary Approach
|The current study manipulates awe-based arousal using backward masking procedures to measure changes in various emotion components. For both masked and unmasked conditions, moderately arousing awe is predicted to demonstrate SNS withdrawal and PNS activation. The opposite is predicted for highly arousing awe: SNS activation and PNS withdrawal. Greater levels of self-reported awe and appraisals of vastness and need for accommodation are also predicted in high and moderately arousing – but not neutral – conditions.
|Conflicting Identities: Algerian Jewish Migration to France as a Result of the Algerian War, 1954-62
In 1954, the Algerian War for independence from France began, and Algeria’s Jewish population, which numbered around 140,000 in its height, was caught in the middle of the two sides. Although as a collective Algeria’s Jews remained neutral throughout the war, almost 90% of them moved to France toward the end of the war from 1960-62. Throughout the war and their migration to France, they experienced conflicting ideas about their identities and place in society.
|Connecting Ligand Binding Preferences of Atomically Precise Clusters with Larger Nanoparticles
Gold nano-systems are an interesting field of research due to their unique electronic and optical properties that have applications in areas ranging from photothermal treatment to catalysis to chemical sensing. This project aims to link ligand preferences and ligand exchange mechanisms observed in well-characterized gold nanoclusters to larger metallic gold nanoparticles through nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.
|Contempt as a Mixed Emotion
|There has been convolution with the characterization of contempt; some researchers have found this emotion to be basic in nature while others find the complete opposite. Our study focuses on the characterization of this emotion as a mixed emotion using the evaluative space model in an attempt to alleviate the confusion surrounding this emotion. The poster will focus on the procedures used in this study and show the theatrical data we expect to observe.
|Control of AuNP Synthesis in PDMS
Polydimethylsiloxane is a non-flammable, non-toxic silicon-organic polymer that can be used as a reducing agent in the synthesis of colloidal gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). AuNPs synthesized in PDMS take various shapes and sizes; however, it is not known how to control their synthesis. Therefore, finding a means to control the synthesis of AuNPs in PDMS could potentially result in control over the chemical and physical transformations and further, control over the mechanical and physical properties.
|Defining Jefferson’s Legacy: Exhibiting a Film at Monticello for the 21st Century
|Kenneth Gatten Iii
|After the recent nationwide protests against racial injustice, the public has been debating how, or if, we should remember historical figures—exemplified by Thomas Jefferson. The Monticello museum claims to address this question by “bring[ing] history forward into national and global dialogues.” But visitors say otherwise. So, I propose that Monticello takes a cue from modern curatorship developments to exhibit a short documentary that reviews the legacy of Jefferson’s ideas in 21st century American history.
|Defining the Epidemiology, Clinical Presentation, and Diagnostics for Acute Canine Anaplasmosis, an Increasingly Prevalent Tick-borne Disease in Pennsylvania
Canine anaplasmosis is an increasingly common tick-borne disease in Pennsylvania. Due to false negatives associated with in-clinic serologic tests, additional ancillary diagnostics are needed to diagnose acute canine anaplasmosis. Between November 2015 and July 2020, 61 cases of suspect acute canine anaplasmosis were diagnosed at Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pennsylvania. The results of this research will summarize data on history, signalment, physical exam, laboratory, and ancillary diagnostics from cases of acute canine anaplasmosis.
|Development of Novel Chemotherapeutic Approaches Using a Pediatric Glioma Model
|Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a pediatric cancer characterized by a low survival rate, creating a pressing need for novel therapeutics. After discovering that the hyperactivation of the mitochondrial ClpP protease reduces DIPG tumor growth, a library of natural products was screened for chemotherapeutic potential. Utilizing cell viability assays, two compounds able to reduce DIPG tumor cell viability in culture were identified. Such results present great promise for the future development of cancer treatments.
|Discrepancies between Parent-Adolescent Reports of Adolescent Social Anxiety: Associations of Parental Support, Conflict and Anxiety Severity
|The present study examines associations between adolescents’ perceived parental support/conflict, discrepancies in maternal and adolescent-report of social anxiety symptoms, and adolescent social anxiety severity (self-report). Contradicting past research, mothers endorse significantly more social anxiety symptoms compared to adolescents. Additionally, we demonstrate support/conflict are differentially associated with score discrepancies as well as severity. Results emphasize the importance of relationship perception, as support was indicative of concordance in social anxiety symptom reporting.