2022 Undergraduate Exhibition
|2nd Year Psych Student Event||Camille Selden||
I am submitting a virtual poster for the 2nd Year Enhancement Funding Requirement.
|2nd Year Student Engagement - College of Engineering||Matt Barone||
The University established the First to Second Year Task Force during the spring 2021 semester to identify the impact that the pandemic had on students who entered Penn State between summer 2020 and spring 2021. The College of Engineering identified a senior undergraduate student to serve as a "Program Assistant" to support 2nd year students in their engagement efforts.
|2nd Year Success Program||Lynnsey Doane||
Penn State New Kensington offered second-year students an on-campus program designed to increase a sense of community and improve campus engagement through a peer mentorship program. The underlying goal of the program was to connect second-year students with academic concerns to campus resources and to their peers. Our intended outcome was for 75% of student participants to stay out of academic warning.
|A Letter from Sullivan Ballou||Sarah Esslinger||
On July 14, 1861, Major Sullivan Ballou wrote a letter to his wife, Sarah, while he was stationed at Camp Clark in Washington, D.C.. One week later, Sullivan Ballou was killed at the First Battle of Bull Run (Sullivan Ballou Letter). Composer John Kander set Ballou's letter in the eight-minute vocal work, “A Letter from Sullivan Ballou.” I will submit a recording of myself singing this work with Ann Deighton on piano.
|A Preliminary Framework for Modeling Human Migration Flows Impacted by Climate Change–Induced State Carrying Capacity Changes||Alexandra Yukish||
This paper develops a preliminary framework for modeling human migration flows where climate change (mean annual temperature) impacts state carrying capacity and movement is constrained by finite migration rates. Experimentation with model parameters indicates a potentially catastrophic inability of human populations to adapt quickly enough to changing carrying capacities as climate change stresses existing population regions such as the Sahara and the Sahel.
|Abstaining from Abstinence: Pennsylvania Voter's Views of Teen's Sexual Health Education||Yasmeen Benamar||
Pennsylvania’s pro-abstinence sexual health education policies fail to successfully address the health issues of adolescents. One reason policies have remained unchanged is that lawmakers may believe that previous studies do not reflect their constituents’ views. To assess the validity of these claims, 562 participants answered questions about mandating healthy relationship, abstinence, and contraceptive instruction among other related topics. It was found that at least 81% of voters would support almost all the examined topics.
|Acetylation of Isobutyric Anhydride on Lignin||Lia Novak||
We aim to determine if isobutyric anhydride (IA) can be added to lignin via an acylation reaction catalyzed by hafnium triflate. Lignin, IA, and Hf(OTf)4 were dissolved in 1,4-dioxane, which was allowed to react and subsequently centrifuged to recover modified lignin. It was then dried and prepped for 31P-NMR spectroscopy. The 31P-NMR spectrum shows there were no aliphatic hydroxyl groups which indicates some of the hydroxyl groups on lignin were acylated.
|Activation of Silent Gene Clusters in Streptomyces||Joao Ferreira||
Streptomyces is a genus of Gram-positive bacteria, an important attribute of Streptomyces is its ability to produce secondary metabolites with different bioactive properties including antibacterial compounds. Whole genomic sequencing has identified silent gene clusters encoding for secondary metabolites of unknown biological activity. The goal of this research is to explore a method of activation of silent gene clusters, through tying secondary metabolite synthesis to primary metabolite production and thus necessary for growth and development.
|An Analysis of the Parental Brain Hypothesis in Stickleback Fish||Tiffany Hatfield||
I tested the hypothesis that parental care is related to whole brain or brain region size by utilizing hybrid fish generated from a population that provides care (with large brains) and one that does not (with small brains). I used FIJI image software to measure whole brain and brain region volume of 78 male brains. I will present my analysis of the association between parental care and whole brain and brain region sizes.
|An Empirical Assessment of the Relationship Between Jail Population Size and County-level Crime Rates in Central Pennsylvania||Jazzmine McCauley et al||
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States in March of 2020, many correctional institutions nationally, and in Pennsylvania specifically, have reduced the size of their correctional populations by releasing non-violent offenders. Using official data, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between county-level jail population sizes and county-level crime rates, reported in the Uniform Crime Report (UCR), in Central Pennsylvania. Policy implications based on findings are discussed within.
|Analysis of Non-B DNA Conformations in Mammalian Cells by Chemical Modifications||Victoria LaRow and Mahak Sharma||
We are developing a method of chemical modifications in living cells which will detect non-canonical DNA structures, such as those associated with GAA repeats, responsible for Friedreich’s ataxia, and GATA repeats, known to be unstable in colon cancer cells and a FoxE1 region, which was hypothesized to be involved in evolution. This research will shed light on the mechanism of their instability, which may be important for treatment development and understanding of disease evolution.
|Animal Populations Modeling by Differential Equations||Caitlin Grabowski||
The intent of this research is to investigate how the Lotka-Volterra linear differential equation illustrates the relationship between a predator population and the population of one species it preys upon. Existing data on local prey and predator populations is utilized to calculate the expected number of individuals based on the model and given initial conditions. The calculated values are then compared to the actual numbers to evaluate the model's accuracy.
|Applied formative research investigating the multi-level determinants of Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation among pregnant women in Bangladesh and Madagascar – a biocultural perspective||Rachel Bruning||
Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation (MMS) is recommended to mitigate the effects of maternal malnutrition in Madagascar and Bangladesh. Data collected from focus groups, community workshops, and interviews elucidated the multilevel determinants of pregnant women’s potential MMS acceptability and compliance. Findings suggest that the most salient determinants at the community, institutional, interpersonal, and individual levels are similar across settings yet culturally and contextually bound, providing insights into tailored implementation strategies for introducing MMS within antenatal care services.
|Are You Ready to Study?: The Development of an Anatomy Study Tool||Nandini Patel||
We created a software tool for learning anatomy, which provides three different views of anatomical structures in the same way physicians view MRI or CT scans. This tool can be used online through WebLabs. The next step is beta-testing including an IRB-approved Qualtrics survey. We predict the survey will show that the tool is engaging and worthwhile. Using the survey results, we can make improvements. We would like to add other components, too.
|Assessing Concreteness Rating Data in Older Adults||Jacquelyn Stochel||
Older adults are typically underrepresented in psycholinguistic research. This motivated survey research to see to if the judgment of word concreteness (i.e., degree to which a word evokes the senses) is changed in aging populations. Older adult respondents in my study rated words as being less concrete than respondents in previous surveys with predominantly younger respondents. This knowledge can be leveraged in speech therapy serving predominantly elder patient populations (e.g., persons with post-stroke aphasia).
|Assessing the Extent of Bird-window Collision Mortality on the Pennsylvania State University Park Campus||Chyvonne Jessick||
Of the major anthropogenic-induced threats to North American avian populations, collisions with windows contribute an estimated 100 million to 1 billion mortalities annually in the United States (Loss et. al., 2014). The objective of this study was to assess the extent of bird-window collision mortality that occurs on the Pennsylvania State University Park campus.
|Assessment of Urban Heat Island in Bogota, Colombia and Analysis of Mitigation Strategies||Andrea Castaneda||
Urban heat islands are urbanized areas that experience higher temperatures than outlying areas and are becoming increasingly dangerous in dense cities, like Bogota, Colombia. Latin America has the highest urbanization rate, but lacks data and research. This research quantifies the urban heat islands in different neighborhoods in Bogota from 2021 and analyses their causes. Mitigation strategies to minimize the trapped heat are assessed to find possible solutions.
|Automated Generation of Graph-Based Models for Vehicle Electro-Thermal Systems||Madison O'Hara||
Graph-based modeling is a powerful tool for analyzing the dynamics of electro-thermal systems, which are governed by complex physics. The goal of this research is to automatically generate a network graph that illustrates how each mechanism in a vehicle energy system connects to other mechanisms and the environment. The governing differential equations can then be directly coupled and analyzed. This will enable more efficient vehicles by providing advanced insight into the multi-physics interactions between components.
|Beneficial Implications of Trait Dissociation on Absorptive Positive Affect||Derek Ulrich||
Trait dissociation is the measurable degree to which an individual may experience interruption of conscious flow which temporarily alters their perceptive reality on a recurring basis. Predominate literature thus far focuses only on the negative aspects/disease model of dissociation as those with elevated dispositional dissociation scores are predisposed to develop related disorders. My proposed research seeks to uncover a potential beneficent link between higher trait dissociation and positive affect by way of absorptive (imaginative) assimilation.
|Bifidobacterium adolescentis L2-32 N-terminal acylation lipoprotein characterization and TLR activation||Kyle Hennessy||
Lipoproteins are important structures that allow the bacteria to survive. When it comes to human health, these lipoproteins act as Pathogen-associated molecular patterns, or PAMPS, that can activate Toll-Like-Receptors of the innate immune system. Lipoprotein structures are determined by their N-Terminal acylation which is controlled by different enzymes. Bifidobacterium adolescentis strain L2-32 has an unknown lipoprotein that is being determined by mass spectrometry and has been found to activate TLR 2 receptors.
|Biofilm Growth in Changing Conditions||Emma Uy||
Biofilm is a viscous film formed by bacteria composed of an extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) that attaches to surfaces. Bacteria communicate through quorum sensing, which creates adaptability. EPS contains enzymes that allow biofilm to be used in bioremediation. Atrazine is a harmful herbicide that was used nationally in the 1980’s. Pseudomas sp. strain ADP has been discovered to degrade atrazine. Studying biofilm behavior in changing conditions is important to furthering research on it’s bioremediation use.
|Blue & White Society Bus Trip Enhancement Fund||Kevin Schuyler||
The Blue & White Society planned a bus trip to Hershey Park last fall for second-year students to form meaningful connections after their first remote year at Penn State. Students received park tickets and meal vouchers free of charge. This more relaxed environment allowed students to destress from school and focus on having a good time with new friends!
|Bottom-up effects of fertilizer on aphids and their natural enemies||Megan Czekaj||
Lady Beetles (Harmonia axyridis) are natural enemies to the aphids (Myzus persicae) and affect the reproduction of aphids. These reproductive responses can be seen when there are consumptive and non-consumptive presence of the H. axyridis. In this study, we want to take our previous knowledge about non-consumptive effects of the H. axyridis on the M. persicae with the addition of fertilized and non-fertilized collards (Brassica oleracea).
|Building Community Through Total Engagement with Earth and Mineral Sciences (TEEMS)||Karen Marosi||
The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) offered an abridged version of our pre-semester program, Total Engagement with Earth and Mineral Sciences (TEEMS), for EMS students who matriculated SU2020-SP2021. This entering cohort was offered a virtual program in August 2020 and then invited to a one-day, in-person event (TEEMS 2.0) in fall 2021. Program assessment revealed ways TEEMS 2.0 could be improved along with areas for further study related to the TEEMS program.
|C. Elegans as a Model for Purine Metabolism Disorders||Mia Peifer, Abigayle Nafus and Juan-Diego Hernandes Estupinan||
Purine metabolism disorders are genetic disorders that cause severe neurological symptoms. These disorders arise from mutations in DNA that encode specific enzymes responsible for creating intermediates of the purine metabolism pathway. Deficiencies or mutations in these enzymes cause a build-up of intermediates which express neurological phenotypes observed in affected individuals. We want to use the model system Caenorhabditis elegans, to further investigate the role these specific enzymes play in neurological health.
|Can Habitat Management Help Non-Target Species?||Grant Zemanek||
In Central Pennsylvania, there are areas conserved for specific species of animals. While they help said animals they may also help a non-target species which in this case was the eastern box turtle. The summer was spent tracking and marking turtles to measure their movement, social patterns, and egg-laying behaviors within three protected areas. Radio transmitter strength was also tested in three different areas and circumstances to help set a standard for tracking different species.
|Can Habitat Management Help Non-Target Species?||Grant Zemanek||
The eastern box turtle is a species of special concern in Pennsylvania where population numbers have declined considerably. There is an urgent need to understand where populations occur and to characterize critical demographic parameters such as age structure and reproductive success. I conducted surveys in Rothrock State Forest to assess population status and to determine the effectiveness of new ultra-high-frequency radio transmitters for individual tracking purposes.
|Cannabinoid pharmacology in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-like fear-memory behavior||Nicole Lookfong||
Endocannabinoids regulate negative feedback neurotransmitters in PTSD fear-memory; whether phytocannabinoids modulate fear-memory is unconfirmed. We hypothesize Cannabis extracts containing the phytocannabiniod Cannabidiol reduce long-term fear-memory in mouse models and phytomolecules like cannabigerol, terpenes, and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol improve Cannabidiol efficacy through “entourage” effects. Findings suggest specific phytomolecule interactions are critical for entourage effects to Cannabidiol reducing fear-memory. High terpene content was not beneficial. Phytocannabinoids may be potential PTSD treatment options but more studies are necessary.
|CD36 Overexpression Induces Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition||Ryan Swartz et al||
The CD36 scavenger receptor is overexpressed in some cancers, but how this impacts tumor cell functions is not well understood. This project aims to explore how CD36 influences epithelial to mesenchymal transition and associated metastasis markers. Using a doxycycline-inducible system for overexpression of CD36 and examination of multiple markers of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition, we show that CD36 increases key markers of a mesenchymal phenotype.
|Characterization of Ruminococcus gnavus Lipoprotein Structure and Toll-Like Receptor Activity||Julian Rupkey||
The interaction between the human body and its gut microbiome is an area of interest in regard to human health. The detection of bacterial lipoproteins by host Toll-Like Receptors is a key part of this interaction. Ruminococcus ganvus is an anaerobic, gram-positive firmicute residing in approximately 90% of human gut microbiomes. This research characterizes the lipoprotein structure in R. gnavus and measures its ability to induce a TLR response in HEK293T cells.
|Chromatin Remodeler Modulator CDCA7L||Hsuan-Cheng Hu||
Cell Division Cycle Associated 7 (CDCA7) is a transcription factor containing a 4CXXC-type zinc finger domain mediated by c-Myc. In vivo, CDCA7 will first associate with chromatin; then, it will recruit LSH-1 and forms a complex. Mutations in CDCA7 or LSH-1 can result in DNA methylation defection, which is one of the main causes of ICF and many cancers. In my research, I'll be presenting CDCA7L purification research process and determining structure through electron microscopy.
|Clostridium symbiosum lipoprotein structure and toll-like receptor (TLR) activity||Katie Alesi||
Over the last two semesters, I have studied lipoprotein structure in Clostridium symbiosum. Lipoprotein structure is important in bacteria, as it responsible for various factors such as virulence, metabolism, antibiotic resistance, and more. I have isolated the lipoproteins from the other cell components, including supernatant proteins, and am currently using mass spectrometry to analyze these proteins. Additionally, TLR-2 activity was tested using pasteurized bacterial cells and HEK-Blue hTLR2 cells to measure inflammation.
|Co-colonization of Euprymna scolopes by coisolated Vibrio fischeri strains||Elizabeth Giacobe||
The symbiosis between the Hawaiian bobtail squid and the bacterium Vibrio fischeri can be used as a model to study growth inhibition of coisolated symbionts. One interaction that results in inhibition is the activity of bacterial encoded type six secretion systems (T6SSs). Using fluorescence spotting assays and squid colonization assays, the growth inhibition phenotypes and colonization abilities of strains were determined. Coisolated strains encoding T6SSs exhibited growth inhibition in vitro, but colonized the same animal.
|Coming Face-to-Face with Depression: The Impact of Depression Severity on Emotion Perception||Jordan Cover||
Emotion perception is a critical part of our social development. Although many may not realize it, emotions provide nonverbal signals to one's affective state, ultimately influencing our response and behavior in social settings. However, disorders such as Major Depression may have a detrimental impact on the ability to perceive and interpret facial expressions accurately. Thus, this study investigates how depression and anxiety severity affects one's threshold sensitivity to various emotional expressions.
|Comparative in vitro bioavailability of flavonoids in oral cancer cells||Aom Jantip||
Our lab is focusing on the anticancer activities of the following flavonoids: naringenin, quercetin, apigenin, eriodictyol, fisetin, and chrysin against oral cancer. We have found that their cytotoxic effects on oral cancer cells are different. To understand the mechanisms behind these differences, we obtained quantitative cell uptake of each flavonoid by SCC-25 cells and compared them via One-way ANOVA. The results showed that the cell uptake does not predict cytotoxicity of these flavonoids.
|Comparing single vs.dual parent households on parent-teen alcohol use communication||Peyton Stull, Lea Lenker and Sophia Ko||
Underage drinking is a public health concern associated with parent communication. Gaps exist between single and dual parent households. Parent-teen dyads were examined from the general U.S. population (n=907; M (SD)teen age= 16.3 (1.08); 49% teen female; 53% parent female). Results revealed significant differences between single and dual parent households in parent-teen communication (p < .05) with single parents reporting more parent-teen communication. Findings suggest that parent-based interventions need to be tailored for single parents.
|Connecting ligand binding preferences between atomically precise clusters and large nanoparticles||Timothy Lou||
Gold nanoparticles possess unique optical and magnetic properties compared to bulk gold, allowing for various significant applications.Previous nanoscience work reveals a significant discovery by Burgi et al, that the ligand exchanges with free thiols and nanocluster Au25(SR)18 is done in a manner that isn’t governed by probability. This project is meant to quantify the ligand exchange of thiolate-protected gold nanoparticles and compare with that of Au25(SR)18 model clusters and determine whether similar ligand preferences exist.
|Constraining Metastable Very Heavy Dark Matter using the Extragalactic Gamma-ray Background||Michael Zaidel||
We constrain the mass and lifetime of metastable very heavy dark matter particles (VHDM) using blazar emissions and the extragalactic gamma-ray background (EGB) as observed using the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. We calculate J factors along lines of sight and gamma-ray spectra from dark matter decay channels. Our results suggest that if VHDM particles contribute to the EGB, they must have lifetimes in excess of 10^25 seconds.
|Contentment as a Human Emotion: Cognitive Appraisals and Behaviors that Cause Contentment||Christopher Hughes||
My research proposal proposes a study from the cognitive appraisal perspective to determine whether contentment truly is an emotion. The study I propose examines participants' cognitive appraisals after recalling an event that elicits contentment, amusement, and a neutral emotional state. My hypothesis is that contentment is an emotion and will lead to less approach behaviors, low external attribution, and a greater appreciation of the present. Further contentment will show distinct and unique cognitive appraisals.
|Coping Strategies for Loneliness and Isolation Amongst Older Adults||Brenda Mwangi||
This mixed-method study explored what coping strategies older adults used during the pandemic and if they experience loneliness and social isolation. The sample included 49 older adults. The quantitative portion consisted of online surveys. The qualitative consisted of semi-structured interviews. In my poster I will present the main results from both sections. The findings highlight how resilient older adults were in coping with social distance and Covid-19 preventive measures.
|Ana Patricia Aguilera-Hermida||16858|
|Dead Reckoning with Path Matching in an Instrumented Small-Scale Test Vehicle||Stephen Maransky||
A method of dead reckoning utilizing an average path is proposed and compared to traditional methods. The effective wheel radius of each wheel is estimated and used to determine distance traveled along the average path when GPS signal is lost. This is demonstrated using data collected with a small-scale test vehicle instrumented with high-resolution wheel encoders and a GPS receiver.
|Depression and Acculturation Stress within Adolescent Latino Immigrants||Angiemarit Garcia||
The concept of culture continues to be significant in our everyday lives. However, we tend to underestimate its impact on minorities, specifically those experiencing immigration. The stressors of immigration, such as acculturation stress, can be detrimental to mental health. This project focuses on Latino adolescents, the cultural implications during immigration, and how it can cause depression. It is significant to study culture in-depth to understand the challenges minorities face and to represent the population better.
|Depression and Non-suicidal self-injury||Elizabeth Morvey||
Mental well-being is crucial for college students to succeed, especially for international students. In this research, I reviewed articles on the causes of depression and non-suicidal self-injury, and how art and psychotherapy are beneficial. Based on my research, I created a poster that portrays depression and non-suicidal self-injury for international student at Penn State, Harrisburg. The project was done to bring awareness to the topic and encourage students to seek help, and rediscover themselves.
|Ana Patricia Aguilera Hermida||16775|
|Determining Proteins that Regulate Microtubule Length of Drosophila Neurons||Olivia Abboud and Nikhita Arunprakash||
Microtubules are used to direct the transport of cargo within a cell. In Drosophila dendrites, most microtubules are minus end out and play a role in its stability. Nup358 and mTOR are proteins that are involved in the inhibition of microtubule nucleation, and act similarly to kinetochore proteins. Asp and ninein are proteins that localize at the minus end of microtubules that have been found to assist in nucleation from the centrosome.
|Devaluation of Future Rewards as an Underlying Mechanism of Media Multitasking in the Classroom||Savannah Cothron||
This study examined whether there would be students who differ in frequency of media multitasking between preferred and non-preferred classes, and if any of these students differed in levels of trait impulsiveness and delay discounting. Students were compared on their freuqencies of media multitasking in preferred and non-preferred classes, delay discounting tasks, and trait impulsivity measures. Results suggests devaluation of future rewards is an underlying mechanism for resisting media multitasking in the classroom.
|Developing an AE Tutoring Engaging Advising & Mentoring (TEAM) Program: a Peer Cohort Environment||Ryan Levi Solnosky||
The Archtiectural Engineering Dept. aimed to create an environment within an Architectural Engineering (AE) program that championed a closed-knit peer to peer learning community. AE TEAM was created to promote this type of engaged learning support and development of self-efficacy through a low-stress extra-curricular academic environment. AE TEAM is student run and managed by a group of senior Architectural Engineering undergraduate students, recruited from across the four sub-disciplines within Architectural Engineering.
|Developing supramolecular heparin-peptide materials as injectable anticoagulant depots||Sopida Pimcharoen||
Heparin is a widely accepted blood thinner used in several therapeutic settings. Typically, heparin is administered as an intravenous infusion, and due to its short serum half-life (approx. 60-90 minutes) must be administered frequently, resulting in patient’s discomforts, risk of infection and overdosing. Herein, we develop an injectable material that sustainably releases heparin to allow for less frequent dosing of patients and reduce the incidence of overdose complications.
|Development of a reconfigurable testbed for hybrid-electric aircraft powertrains||Carly Dunford||
This research aims to create a laboratory-scale reconfigurable testbed for hybrid-electric aircraft powertrains, capable of emulating different propulsion configurations. Current work focuses on developing a detailed dynamic simulation of the testbed in MATLAB/Simulink, first modeling each component separately and then connecting them together. This includes models of generators, motors, dynamometers, batteries, and other key components spanning the electrical, mechanical, and thermal energy domains. Simulation results provide insight into ideal specifications for the experimental hardware.
|Development of an Efficient Wireless Power and Audio Transmission System||Arya Keni||
Modern medical technology such as pacemakers have the ever-growing need of efficient charging within apt limits for patients.Developing, testing, and analyzing a wireless system that transmits energy across a short distance of non-conductive media such as air is key. Further modifications to transmit audio signals from any digital source wirelessly across similar non-conductive media which proves useful in blue-tooth or radio transmitting technology, where there can be multiple branches of applications for wireless data transfer.
|Diffusion of the Death Penalty among the American States||Autumn Mueller||
In the past 14 years, eleven states have abolished the death penalty, and three currently have moratoriums on their death penalty policy. This might make one wonder, why have all of a sudden these states decided to abolish their death penalty, why during this time period, and why have other states not? I seek to empirically answer these questions by conducting similar analyses as done in the literature regarding adoption of the death penalty.