# Honors College

Honors College
Lampasas Bldg 407
601 University Dr.
San Marcos, TX 78666

Dr. Heather C. Galloway, Dean
Ph: (512) 245.2266
Fax: (512) 245.8959
honors@txstate.edu

# 2011 URC Poster Presentation Abstracts

## LBJ STUDENT CENTER - ROOM 3.9.1

### In alphabetical order according to last name.

Melissa Bryant and Vanessa Rubio
"Reflect and Renew: Creating Economic Growth through Historic Preservation"

The city of Seguin, Texas, along with over 85 other communities throughout the state, is working with the Texas Historical Commission and its Main Street Program in an effort to revitalize its downtown through preservation and economic development. The city of Seguin is collaborating with the Interior Design students at Texas State in the field of Research and Environmental Design using a four point approach: design, organization, economic reconstruction and promotions. A building located on a prime corner location in downtown was designed to be re-purposed into a multi-use venue. The design enhances the historical influence of Seguin while attracting a variety of groups of people, in and out of Seguin, to gain business and retain long term use. Careful identification and evaluation of interior elements after research is critical before any changes are made to a building. An interior of a building can be just as important as the exterior. Wi th cost effective and sustainable solutions in mind, the design encompasses price, zoning and spatial codes, demographics, community and economy to bring in traffic and increase revenue for the owner and the city. Plans for a restaurant, retail and residential spaces reflect the history of Seguin and the site with influence s from the art deco period providing inspiration when renewing the space. With research and creativity, our design team hopes to bring forth a re-birth of activity and sense of pride in the downtown area of Seguin.

Daniel L Campos
"Lower Bounds on the Depth of Path Ideals of Spines"

Given a polynomial ring $R$, a lower bound is given for the depth of $R/I$ where $I$ is a path ideal of a tree of length $l$. For a special class of trees consisting of only one branch, which we will refer to as spines, the depth$(R/I) = \sum_{i=0}^{l-1} \lceil \frac{n-i}{l+2} \rceil$.

Brandi Castillo

"Sex Differences in Courtesy"

Sex differences in courtesy are of interest because they give insight into gender roles and how they affect human interaction. Eagly said, “The specialty of women is pro-social behaviors that are more communal and relational, and that of men is behaviors that are more agentic and collectively oriented as well as strength intensive.” Eagly (2009) predicts that in certain circumstances, pro-social acts may occur- “when another’s need is merely present”- Eagley also proposed a gender effect in pro-social behavior, identifying females as having more pro-social, communal and relationship orientation than men, while males were described by Eagley as more strongly agent oriented. This theory pertains to courteous behaviors because women would be more likely to respond in a social situation rather than men according to the theory. However, Moser and Correyer observed a specific courteous behavior that occurs when the person appears to have a need, such as the opening of a door, and the behaviors associated with it. They reported no significant sex differences in either agents or recipients. To further explore sex differences and courtesy, we performed a natural observation examining the hypothesis that women are more likely to respond in an appreciative way by means of verbal communication when an act of courtesy is directed toward them. In the current study, state university students were observed holding a door-open for another person. The frequency and latency of recipients’ ‘thank you’ responses were measured. The sample was compromised of 122 participants, 74 females and 48 males, who were observed entering or leaving a state university dining hall between the times of 2100 and 2200 on two separate occasions. Independent raters measured the frequency of verbal acknowledgement and rate reaction times. The results for both measures were not significant, (p<.05) - (chi square (1) = .38) and an independ ent samples t test (t= -.33), respectively. Our findings along with Moser and Correy’s do not support Eagley’s theory. Future researchers may want to study a situation different than opening a door such as sex differences in the frequency and latency of people that give their seat up on the bus.

"Measuring water-borne cortisol in sailfin mollies: is the process stressful, can the stress levels be minimized and is cortisol correlated with sex steroids?"

The recent advent of techniques for measuring water-borne hormones from water in fish has greatly increased the type and quality of experiments that can be performed, but it is necessary to determine whether the process is stressful for the fish in question and if stress can be minimized. In addition, in studies on the relationship between hormones and reproductive behaviors, it is important to understand the relationship between stress hormones and hormones involved in reproductive behavior. Finally, it is important to validate the correlation between water-borne release rates and plasma steroid levels. We found that a 30 minute hormone collection period was sufficient to collect data on cortisol production in male sailfin mollies (Poecilia latipinna), as the release rates of cortisol over 30 min are the same as the release rates over 60 min. We also found no evidence of stress due to the collection methods, as cortisol release rates did no t significantly differ across four sequential days of handling for sailfin mollies. Cortisol levels were not significantly correlated with sex steroids, (11-ketotestosterone (KT), testosterone or estradiol) or mating attempts. Finally, we found significant positive correlations between plasma and water-borne release rates of both cortisol and KT. The water-borne hormone assays are a valuable tool for investigating questions concerning the role of hormones in mediating stress responses and reproductive behaviors.

Chase David

"Research Assistant - Feasibility Study of Using Natural Nano Materials in Concrete "

Applying nanotechnology has recently drawn a lot of attention because nanomaterials in concrete might significantly improve behavior. However previous studies were made using synthetic nanomaterials which are very costly, and makes their use not feasible for mass production. The scope of this paper is to characterize using natural Montmorillonite nanomaterial in concrete to improve behavior with respect to feasibility. Both cement paste and mortar were prepared from 0-1.38% nanomaterial. Tests including: strengths, drying shrinkage, flowability, and density were used in evaluating fresh and hardened concrete properties. Results show that with the proper mix design the behaviors of concrete can increase substantially.

Ribel Fares

"FastStor: Data-Mining-Based Prefetching for Hybrid Storage Systems"

Stephen Garcia
"Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus: A Study of the Prevalence and Risk of MRSA Found on

Exercise Equipment in an Athletic Facility in Texas"

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterial strain resistant to antibiotics used to treat staph infections. Associated with patients in hospitals, MRSA is now a general community concern via contact with contaminated items, such as exercise equipment. This study investigated the prevalence of MRSA and S. aureus found on exercise equipment in a recreational facility.  One hundred twenty five samples were collected from various exercise equipment and areas within the facility. A 4cm x 4cm hand-contact area was swabbed from the exercise equipment and plated onto mannitol salt agar (MSA). Suspected S. aureus colonies on MSA were confirmed by DRYSPOT Staphytect Plus™. S. aureus isolates were plated to CHROMagarTM to identify MRSA and VITEK antibiotic susceptibility testing was performed to confirm the isolates as MRSA. Results were S. aureus (48, 38%), other Staphylococci spp. (65, 52%), MRSA (7, 6%), and negative (5, 4%). S. aureus prevalence was highest on free weights; MRSA prevalence highest on mats. The results of this study will be used to examine the risk to users of the equipment within the recreational facility.

Dominic L DeSantis
"Predator recognition and response of the Barton Springs salamander, Eurycea sosorum"

In many systems, predation is a dominant and influential factor. Little is known about how the federally endangered Barton Springs salamander, Eurycea sosorum, responds to predators. Recent studies on predator-prey interactions of a similar species, E. nana, have shown a complex response towards native and introduced predatory fish and that learning can influence this response. The largest population of E. sosorum is located in Eliza Spring, a restored habitat which currently lacks predatory fish. Using captive hatched  salamanders, we examined the antipredator response of E. sosorum to chemical cues from (1) a native predatory bass (Micropterus salmoides), (2) an introduced predatory sunfish (Lepomis auritus), (3) a non-predatory fish (Gambusia affinis), and (4) a blank water control. Individuals responded to all fish treatments over the blank water control. There was no difference between the response to the non-predator and the predatory sunfish, but both were significantly less than the response to the predatory bass. These results suggest complex predator-prey dynamics in E. sosorum.

Eric Harper

Eighth grade students taking Algebra I has become an increasingly common occurrence in the United States during recent years. Still, math education in America and the placement of algebra in the curriculum differs greatly from other countries. For my thesis, I took a look at the arguments both for and against introducing algebra to students at earlier ages and then analyzed the effectiveness of a curriculum that attempts to do just that. The Math Explorations curriculum created by the Texas Mathworks faculty at Texas State attempts to weave algebra throughout its curriculum which takes students through Algebra I by the end of eighth grade in a three-text series corresponding to state standards for sixth, seventh and eighth grade curriculum. This study examines the effectiveness of the curriculum in terms of both preparing students for algebra and student learning of state-mandated standards as assessed by TAKS testing.

Arisela Hernandez

"Protecting our LGBT Youth"

A year ago it was not uncommon to hear about a young adult, teenager, or child committing suicide. The year 2010 was unfortunately filled with youth taking their lives. As we continued to lose young Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq, we were also losing young Americans in the homeland. It seemed as if every other day, the news stations were reporting a death, resulting from a suicide by a person under the age of twenty. As the suicides continued, a serious problem was exposed. The youth who were taking their lives were victims of bullying, but not just any bullying. The type of bullying these young Americans faced was anti-gay bullying.  As the suicides of LGBT youth continue, it is important that a solution to this problem is made. I propose that in order to solve the problem of LGBT suicide, every public school in Texas provide LGBT youth with a safe haven. I suggest that every public school in Texas have one person on staff that LGBT youth can go to when they are being bullied or just need someone to talk to.

Aaron Horn
"Study of Minimal Dominating Sets on n-De Bruijn Graphs"

De Bruijn graphs are a special type of graph in which each node has two sets of directed edges; two “in” edges and two “out” edges. In Graph Theory, a dominating set for a graph is a sub set of that graph’s vertices in which every vertex which is not in that sub set is connected to that sub set. Through my studies I hope to find an algorithm, which ensures the minimal dominating set for any size De Bruijn graph, and proves that it is mathematically sound, while still being able to tell anyone who is not math savvy and have them understand. To aid me with my research, I have coded up a program to analyze De Bruijn Graphs and speed up testing of minimal dominating sets on De Bruijn Graphs.

Aaron Houston
"Improving "Smart Grid" Communication via Signal Optimization"

“Smart Grid” technology is a topic of great interest to utility companies and electricity consumers. One approach to Smart Grid systems involves electronic communications via the power line. Unfortunately, when sending a signal through the power line, some aspects of the grid create very destructive signal disturbances. These disturbances are due to several factors including the activity of devices on the grid, the physical structure of the grid, and other noise sources. These noise and interference phenomena hinder the effective transmission of data. To improve the quality of the communication signal, we use a signal conditioning technique to protect the signal prior to introduction to the channel. To implement the conditioning process, we model the system mathematically, and then we optimize the model using real-world data. This approach improves the quality and reliability of communication on this extremely noisy and unpredictable channel.

Travis Kolinek
"Preliminary characterization of cell-free supernatants from Bifidobacterium longum with bioactivity towards enterocytic Fasting Induced Adipocyte Factor (FIAF) in vitro"

Gut bacteria have been shown to influence diet-related obesity, mediated in part via intestinal FIAF, a circulating lipoprotein lipase inhibitor that modulates fat-storage in the adipose tissue. Probiotic bacteria and probiotic-derived bioactive compounds with stimulatory activity towards intestinal FIAF may thus serve a protective function against diet-related obesity. We have previously shown that secreted factors from Bifidobacterium longum (B. longum), a resident member of the human gut and a probiotic, significantly increased the levels of FIAF secreted from HT-29 enterocytes. The objective of this study was a preliminary characterization of the secreted bioactive compounds from B. longum responsible for the observed increases in enterocytic FIAF levels. Our experiments showed that the increase in FIAF levels was produced by fractions of molecular weight >50kDa isolated from B. longum cell free supernatants (BLCFS). Heat-treatment did no t impact their ability to increase FIAF levels but freeze-thaw lead to loss of modulatory activity. Denaturing electrophoresis of TCA-precipitated BLCFS followed by protein-staining revealed several protein bands of molecular weight >50kDa with differential heat and free-thaw stability. Electrophoretic analysis of conditioned media obtained from HT-29 cells after treatment with BLCFS of various molecular weights showed that proteins in the expected molecular weight range consistent with FIAF were secreted only upon treatment with >50kDa BLCFS fractions. As TCA precipitates can contain both proteins and nucleic acids, we also analyzed the BLCFS by agarose-gel electrophoresis but no detectable DNA was evident. This preliminary data suggests that the FIAF-modulatory factors may be secreted B. longum proteins.

Megan H Rangel
"The Role of Sustainability in Historic Preservation"

Historic preservation of a downtown area can revitalize a city by enhancing the economic and social health of the community. Texas State’s interior design students, in collaboration with Seguin’s Main Street Program and local developers, are in the process of revitalizing a 10,000 sq. ft. vacant building in Seguin’s downtown district through research and design. This project exemplifies how the field of interior design applies research in order to gain a factual context in which the space exists, thus giving designers the data with which to implement a design that is responsive to both the environment and its end users. Our research focuses on the environmental, social, cultural and historical context of Seguin including the desires of the community. The data collected from this research coupled with the fundamentals of design elements and principles was the starting point of our creative process. We determined the City of Seguin would benefit from a mixed use space that incorporates community connectivity through new urbanism, highlights historic materials, and incorporates sustainability by expanding on the inherent environmentally friendly features of the building. Our proposed design incorporates a sustainable restaurant with rooftop vegetable garden, a connecting community market that offers grab and go options and two apartments on the second floor, one of which will be connected to a retail space below and marketed as a live/work space. Our design plan will boost Seguin’s economic revitalization and community connectivity through a socially and environmentally sustainable space.

Saul Villarreal
"Modeling, Analysis and Integration of Distributed Energy Systems in Semiconductor Wafer Fabs"

Semiconductor wafer fabrications, also known as wafer fabs, consume a substantial amount of electricity in daily production. As smart grid initiatives, distributed generation (DG) systems injected with wind turbines (WT) and solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems is a promising technology to meet the energy need in the next 20-30 years. The integration of DG systems into wafer fabs is beneficial to the control and reduction of greenhouse gases emission. However, a key challenge to integrate WT and solar PV into the DG system is the power intermittency as the energy output of renewable resources depends on the weather condition, geographical locations, and the season of the year.

This research aims to investigate a simulation-based optimization approach that guides the modeling, analysis, and integration of a cost-effective DG system in traditional fabs. The DG system comprises several WT units, PV-based solar panels, a net metering system, and a substation connected with utility grid. The objective of the study is to determine the types and capacity of WT, solar PV, and substation such that the lifecycle of the DG system is minimized subject to loss-of-load criterion. It is assumed that WT generate electric power during the day and night; the solar PV system generates power from the solar radiation from 7 am to 7 pm each day. The net metering system allows the wafer fab to sell the surplus electricity back to the utility company. The substation is used as a contingency when the fab load exceeds the total alternative power. The lifecycle cost includes the costs for DG installation, operation, maintenance, and penalties on green gas emission. Virtual w afer fabs located in Austin TX, San Francisco CA, and Buffalo NY are used to compare how different locations affect the total lifecycle cost of DG systems.

Preston Walker

"Optimizing Algorithm for Reliability Assessment of Radial Lifeline Systems"

A prominent reason for finding efficient methods to quantify reliability of radial lifeline systems may be attributed to the susceptibility of the system to large-scale failure when a single line segment in the system fails. This study proposes an algorithm for calculating the complete probability distribution of customer service availability for the general case for radial lifeline systems, and explores the sensitivity of components to large-scale failure.