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Past Undergraduate Research Conferences

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2014 Winners

Congratulations to the 2014 URC Poster Winners!

1st Place: Jose Reyes

Poster Title: Is the total, conjugated or free portion of 11-ketotestosterone associated with male sailfin molly mating behavior?

urc

2nd Place: Kelsey Harmon

Poster Title: Chatting About Khat: The Impact on Ethiopia

2014 URC Presentation Schedule

2014 URC Schedule

April 23    
1:00-1:20 Zoe Zell Tolerant Cuba and Homophobic Russia: A Comparison Study Examining LGBT Policies and Attitudes in Cuba and Russia
2:00-2:20 Tia Turner Thinking Caps and Running Laps: Exploring the Importance of Physical Activity and Cognitive Development
2:40-3:00 Bryce Cashell A Comparison of Vector Autoregressive Forecasting Performance: Spatial versus Non-Spatial Bayesian Priors
3:00-3:20 Justin Joe Try to Follow Me: A Look into the Kaleidoscopic and Cosmopolitan Branding Scene of Pop Music in South Korea
3:40-4:00 Adam Pellerin To Dance the Foxtrot
4:00-4:20 Emily Elizabeth Collins The Witnesses: Stories about Childhood
4:20-4:40 Nadine Oliver The Post Communist Urban Landscape of Bucharest, Romania
4:40-5:00 Jaime Hollingsworth Implementing a Therapy Dog Program in a Long-Term Geriatric Care Facility: A Seminar for Health Administrators
April 24  
8:00-8:20 Danielle Stevens Sonata for Flute and Piano in D Major, Op. 94 by Sergey Prokofiev: A Performance Guide
8:20-8:40 Stephanie Bryant An Evaluation of the 2004 San Marcos Transportation Master Plan
8:40-9:00 Paul Kappler American Attitudes Toward Welfare
9:00-9:20 Mallory Marcone Digital Archaeology and the Curation Crisis: 3D Modeling as an Answer to Collections Access and Use
9:40-10:00 Angelica Riojas IBR5 Interacting Protein (IIP1) in Arabidopsis
10:00-10:20 Jesse Herrin Identifying Language Issues for ELLs in Algebra Classrooms
10:20-10:40 Matt Sheehan TEDucation: Creating a Curriculum for a TED Talks Honors Course
11:40-12:00 Chasley Jones Oxytocin's Effects on Well-Being and Social Interactions
12:00-12:20 Mark Anthony Sison Memorable Game Design
1:00-1:20 Laura Villalobos P.L.U.R.: An Inside Perspective into the American Rave Culture
1:40-2:00 Sunny Tompkins Permaculture Design Applied: A Sustainable Landscape Project
2:00-2:20 Erin Timperlake Mirror Neuron Function: An Examination of Differences Relevant to Empathy and Autism
2:20-2:40 Emily Hom-Nici Design and Construction of a Visual Degree Audit Software: An Application of Visual Communication, Project Management, and Graph Theory
2:40-3:00 Shelby Galvin Closing the Preparedness Gap through Leadership and Professional Development  
3:00-3:20 Samantha Greenleaf "Why can’t I get it right?”: Gaps in Education and Choosing a Major/Career Path
3:20-3:40 Staci Martin The Effects of Alcohol on Cancer Patients Undergoing Radiation Treatments
3:40-4:00 Steven Putnam Management Styles in Relationship to Small Group Output: Let’s Standardize Management Practices
April 25  
8:00-8:20 Brent Arthur Baker The Process of Natural Selection: Does Student Understanding Differ Between Rural and Urban Schools?
9:00-9:20 Ana Gabrielle Perez Herbs: Cultivation, Culinary Use and Curative Properties
9:20-9:40 Andrea Villalobos New Urbanism and Diverse Communities: An Analysis of Kyle, Texas
9:40-10:00 Taylor Wallace Riding for Gaia: Acquiring Ecological Awareness Through Cycling
10:00-10:20 Timothy Heller Growing Up Absurd
10:20-10:40 Sarah Tunnell Recruiting, Motivating, and Retaining Youthful Participants in Terrorism: A Preliminary Analysis
10:40-11:00 Lindsey Nussle Resiliency: A Stable Trait of a Dynamic and Situational Process?
11:00-11:20 Rachel Hughey High Modernism of Human Trafficking: Ideological Criticism of Central Planners and their Impact on NGOs in Texas
11:20-11:40 Matthew Martin Excisions of Order
11:40-12:00 Matthew Rochester Trends in Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Children’s Fairy Tales
12:00-12:20 Stephanie Moore Eastern European Cinema vs. Hollywood: Bosnian War Films
12:20-12:40 Jessica Loechel Listening to the Rain: A Contemporary Look at the Works of Alan Watts
12:40-1:00 Christopher Henry A Cultural Critique of Contemporary Science Fiction Film
Posters Friday, April 25, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Amy Ramos Correlation of Performance Properties to the Cementitious Paste Thickness of Previous Concrete
Alex Burkhart Characterization of Recycled Concrete Aggregate in Ultra High Performance Concrete
Priya Dhagat Prevalence of Staphylococci, including Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, in a Physical Therapy Education Facility
Benjamin Euhus Appetitive cues moderate gaze-cuing effects illicited by expressive faces
Jessica MacFarlane The Ephemeral Contraction: A University Based International Study into the Twenty-First Century Dancer-Audience Symbiosis
Shelby Bertsch Binaural stimulation in delta, theta, and beta bands and its effects on vigilance and mood
Jose Reyes Is the total, conjugated or free portion of 11-ketotestosterone associated with male sailfin molly mating behavior?
John Treffalls The influences of body mass index, ethnicity, attitudes toward food, and gender on preferences for foods varying in sugar and fat content
Aaron Grady Never Go to Bed Angry: Testing the Consequences of this Old Adage
Andrea Dooley Predicting Perceived Infidelity from Gender and Interpersonal Traits
Lindsey Nussle Resiliency: A Stable Trait of a Dynamic and Situational Process?
Jessica Loechel Listening to the Rain: A Contemporary Look at the Works of Alan Watts
Tiffany Stone Light and Dark Adaptation in Mouse Eyes
Adam Chalupa Quantum Phases of Disordered Bosonic Optical Lattices
Hannah Gaylord Structural and Electronic Properties of Poly-2,5-Bis(Thien-2-YL) Pyrimidine and its Molecular Crystal
Alexander Carr Developmental Expression of GFAP in Zebrafish
Simone Longe Sex Estimation in Forensic Anthropology Using the Radius, Femur, and Scapula
Kelsey Harmon Chatting About Khat: The Impact on Ethiopia
Luke Jenkins Troupe of the Revolt
Chelsea Horton Limited English Proficient Students, Bilingual Education, and Education Cost Function for Texas
Bryce Cashell School Resources and the Dropout Rate in Texas
Jennifer Velasquez Parental Behavior at Youth Sports and its Affect on Children
Katelyn Stephenson A Natural Observation Study of Food Neophobia in Humans
Mackenzie Luna Food Guarding Behaviors In Humans
Tia Turner Thinking Caps and Running Laps: Exploring the Importance of Physical Activity and Cognitive Development

2013 URC Presentation Schedule

2013 URC and Thesis Forum Presentation Schedule


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Conference Room, Lampasas 407A


8:00-8:20 a.m., Aaron Horn 
Navigation Using Wireless Access Points (NUWAP)
Supervising Professor: Dr. Mina G. Guirguis, Department of Computer Science
Second Reader: Dr. Qijun Gu, Department of Computer Science
 
8:20-8:40 a.m., Misael Orozco
Retardation of Oil Exploration and Development in Iraq
 
 
8:40-9:00 a.m., Virginia Brown
Use of Plant Species as Predictors of Insect Community Composition
Supervising Professor: Dr. Michael Huston, Department of Biology
 
9:00-9:20 a.m., Jennifer Morgan
Birds & Bees: A Teleplay
Supervising Professor: Mr. Jon Marc Smith, Department of English
 
9:20-9:40 a.m., Helen Kellogg
The Past, Present, and Possible Future of the Organic Foods Movement in the United States
Supervising Professor: Dr. Brock Brown, Department of Geography
Second Reader: Dr. Ronald Hagelman, Department of Geography
 
9:40-10:00 a.m., Rachel Barnett 
Creating the Premiere Issue of Texas State Undergraduate Research Journal
Supervising Professor: Mr. John Hood, Honors College
 
10:00-10:20 a.m., Elissa Myers
The Politics of Place in the Works of Amy Levy
Supervising Professor: Dr. Kathryn Ledbetter, Department of English
Second Reader: Dr. Margaret Menninger, Department of History
 
10:20-10:40 a.m., Roberto Sanchez
The RISING STAR Model: Achieving a Successful Transition and Sense of Community Among On-Campus Residents
Supervising Professor: Dr. Toni Watt, Department of Sociology
 
10:40-11:00 a.m., Andrew J. Rogers
Disease and the Effects of The Flood of 1954 in Iraq
 
11:00-11:20 a.m., Elia Bueno
Predictors of High Pregnancy Rates in Young Latinas
Supervising Professor: Dr. Roque Mendez, Department of Psychology
 
11:20-11:40 a.m., Colin McIntyre
Game Development Needs a Strategy Guide: How the Methodology used for Game Creation Influences a Game's Cultural Impact
Supervising Professor: Dr. Rodion Podorozhny, Department of Computer Science
 
11:40 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Daniel Shay 
Voice Recognition in Live Entertainment, Live Media, and Event Planning
Supervising Professor: Mr. John Hood, Honors College

12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m., Lunch Break 

1:00-1:20 p.m., Alexandra Scarborough
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Public Participation: Comprehensive Planning in San Marcos, TX
Supervising Professor: Mr. Mark Carter, Department of Geography
Second Reader: Dr. Brock Brown, Department of Geography
 
1:20-1:40 p.m., Christian Penichet-Paul
From Resistance to Revolution: Albert Camus and the Clandestine Press in Post-Liberation France
Supervising Professor: Dr. Kenneth H. Margerison, Department of History
 
1:40-2:00 p.m., Brittany Mari Landgrebe
Absent Priests in the Lives of Adolescents in James Joyce's Dubliners
 
2:00-2:20 p.m., Brittany Domer
798: Commodified Chineseness, Marketable Oppression
Supervising Professor: Dr. Erina Duganne, School of Art & Design
Second Reader: Dr. Gina Tarver, School of Art & Design
 
2:20-2:40 p.m.., Jonathan David Lynch
Stronger Plastics and Better Anti-Glare Coatings: Exploring the Properties of a Fluorinated CBDO Structure
Supervising Professor: Dr. Chad Booth, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
 
2:40-3:00 p.m., Chelsea Babin
The Lost Book of Larry:  A Young Adult Novel
Supervising Professor:  Mrs. Rene LeBlanc, Department of English
 
3:00-3:20 p.m., Bryan Russell
Stage Managers Don't Make Coffee Anymore
Supervising Professor: Ms. Shannon Richey, Department of Theatre and Dance
 
3:20-3:40 p.m., Kate Seideman-Barclay
Regional Comparison of Moths in Texas
Supervising Professor: Dr. Michael Huston, Department of Biology
 
3:40-4:00 p.m., Anson Blackall
Creating a Stronger Military Family
Supervising Professor: LTC James Adams, Department of Military Science (ROTC)
 
4:00-4:20 p.m., Shelby King
Comparative Analysis of the Effects of Mortality Salience and Uncertainty on Religiosity
Supervising Professor: Dr. Reiko Graham, Department of Psychology
 
4:20-4:40 p.m., Elise Decker
A Content Analysis of Men's Journal: Masculinity, Sexuality, and Health
Supervising Professor: Dr. Patti Giuffre, Department of Sociology
 
4:40-5:00 p.m., Andrew Santana
How Varying Levels of Acute Exercise Influence Cognitive Functions
Supervising Professor: Dr. William Kelemen, Department of Psychology

 


Thursday, April 25, 2013 

Conference Room, Lampasas 407A

8:00-8:20 a.m., Christine Netek
Sarah Jamali's Voice for Iraqi Women

8:20-8:40 a.m., J. Dylan Hall
Involvement of IBR5 in Photomorphogenic Development of Arabidopsis Thaliana
Supervising Professor: Dr. Nihal Dharmasiri, Department of Biology
Additional Authors: Thilanka Jayaweera, Graduate Student, Department of Biology
 
8:40-9:00 a.m., Andrew Spurlin
Making Connections: A Feasibility Study and Visualization of a San Marcos, TX Greenway
Supervising Professor: Dr. Kevin Romig, Department of Geography
 
9:00-9:20 a.m., Robert Finch
Signal Amplification in a Lateral Flow Device
Supervising Professor: Dr. Shannon Weigum, Department of Biology
 
9:20-9:40 a.m., Brian Fremaux
Organic Anion Transporters as a Possible Importers of Cylic Nucleotides into the Retinal Pigment Epithelium During Dark Adaption in Zebrafish
Supervising Professor: Dr. Dana García, Department of Biology
 
9:40-10:00 a.m., Molly Finneran
Peer-Education as an Alternative When Sexuality Education in Texas Fails
Supervising Professor: Dr. Ani Yazedjian, School of Family and Consumer Sciences
 
10:00-10:20 a.m., Andrew Williams
Vloggers: The Creative Process Behind Writing and Directing a Comedy Web Series
Supervising Professor: Mr. John Hood, Honors College
Second Reader: Dr. Richard Sodders, Department of Theatre and Dance
 
10:20-10:40 a.m.  Elliott Brandsma
Finnish Envy: What American Teachers Can Learn from the Finnish Model of Education
Supervising Professor: Mr. Keith Needham, Department of English
 
10:40-11:00 a.m., Forrest Blackwelder-Baggett
Supremacy, Honor, and the Lynching of Henry Smith
Supervising Professor: Dr. Angela Murphy, Department of History
Second Reader: Dr. Paul Hart, Department of History
 
11:20-11:40 a.m., Adam Contreras
Cortisol Release Due to Experimental Handling and UVB Radiation in Xiphophorus Species
Supervising Professor: Dr. Ron Walter, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Second Reader: Dr. Rachell Booth, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
 
11:40-12:00 p.m., Shaun Bryan Ford
(In)Visible Culture: Disabling Neuronormativity Through Insider Discourse Analysis of Artistic Portrayals of Autism
Supervising Professor: Dr. Nancy Wilson, Department of English
Second Reader: Ms. Amanda Mixon, Department of English
 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lampasas 501

12:30-1:45 PM, Elia Bueno, Molly Finneran, Jennifer Morgan

Focus on Teen Pregnancy:  Interdisciplinary Panel
 
Three honors students are writing their theses related to this critical and controversial topic.  Texas has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation.  They will briefly summarize their work and then answer questions.  Attendees at this panel will be able to observe the diversity of honors theses as well as learn more about this important issue.
 
Jennifer Morgan has written a screenplay for a pilot of a television series.  The story of two mother/daughter pairs examines how they each respond to a teenpregnancy.  The work highlights issues about sex ed curriculum in high schools and how community views collide.  The work inspires conversation and thought about a controversial topic.  Supervisor:  Mr. Jon Marc Smith, Department of English
 
Elia Bueno has performed a psychology study to identify cultural issues related to Latina pregnancy rates.  The work addresses issues such as contraceptive use, beliefs about unprotected sex and having an unplanned pregnancy among Latina teens in Texas.  Supervisor: Dr. Roque Mendez, Department of Psychology
 
Molly Finneran is designing a peer education program for sex education to be implemented at a majority Hispanic school in Texas.  This thesis examines the curriculum used in Texas high schools now and advocates how a peer education program could improve sex education in high schools. Supervisor:  Dr. Ani Yazedjian, School of Family and Consumer Sciences


Friday, April 26, 2013

LBJ Student Center, 3-9.1

8:00-8:20 a.m., Andreina Leah Alejandro
The Baghdad Pact: Protection or Prison?

8:40-9:00 a.m., April Hudson
Women Motorcycle Groups: The Construction of Gender and Embodiment of Femininity
Supervising Professor:  Dr. Rachel Romero, Department of Sociology
 
9:00-9:20 a.m., Matthew Osborn
Comparing Love Relationships with Human Sweethearts and Non-human Simulacrum Sweethearts: Intimacy, Passion, and Commitment
Supervising Professor: Dr. Harvey Ginsburg, Department of Psychology
 
9:20-9:40 a.m., Matthew Wood
Right to Remain Silent: Duty to Speak Out
Supervising Professor: Dr. David Nolan, School of Journalism and Mass Communication
 
9:40-10:00 a.m., Holly Dalbey
Reorganizing the School Year: A Comparative Analysis of Traditional and Year Round Public School Models
Supervising Professor: Mr. Jason Woolery, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
 
10:00-10:20 a.m., Amanda Marie Magera
Museums as Artifacts: How Architecture and History Influence Museums and the Visitor Experience
Supervising Professor: Dr. Neill Hadder, Department of Anthropology
Second Reader:  Dr. Steve Awoniyi, Department of Health and Human Performance
 
10:20-10:40 a.m., Gabriela Gordon Martinez
Romanticizing Tuberculosis: Poetry, Literature, Theatre, and Society of the Romantic Era
Supervising Professor: Mr. John Hood, Honors College
 
10:40-11:00 a.m., Laura Kobylecky
The Crane Wife
Supervising Professor: Mr. John Hood, Honors College
 
11:00-11:20 a.m., Jessica Kornberg
Satisfaction and Success in Assigned Group Dynamics
Supervising Professor: Dr. Natalie Ceballos, Department of Psychology
 
11:20-11:40 a.m., Tyler James Mahan
Allies of Necessity: U.S.-Philippine Strategic Relations, 1898-2013
Supervising Professor: Dr. Ellen Tillman, Department of History
 
11:40 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Sarah Anne Vielma
The Catholic Conversion Process Among University Students:  An Exploratory Study
Supervising Professor: Dr. Catherine Hawkins, School of Social Work
Second Reader: Mrs. Diann McCabe, Honors College

 

Friday, April 26, 2013

LBJ Student Center, 3-5.1

Poster Presentations 12:00-2:00 p.m.

Refreshments will be served.

Virginia Brown
Use of plant species as predictors of insect community composition
Supervising Professor: Dr. Michael Huston, Department of Biology
 
Lamont Colter
Cylindrical Liquid Bridges
Supervising Professor:  Dr. Ray Treinen, Department of Mathematics
 
Kristyn Cunningham
Behavioral and stress response to predators in mollies
Author list: Dr. Laura Alberici Da Barbiano, Dr. Caitlin Gabor, Kristyn Cunningham, Department of Biology
 
Kelsey Harmon
Chatting about Khat
Supervising Professor: Dr. Augustine Agwuele, Department of Anthropology
 
Lauren Minter
SAUR53 regulates apical hook development in Arabidopsis by modulating the auxin transport and ethylene response
Author List: Lauren Minter, Praveen Kathare, Dr. Sunethra Dharmasiri, Dr. Nihal Dharmasiri
 
Jonathan Palmer
Microlending in Bolivia: Applications in the U.S.
Author List: Jonathan Palmer, Dr. Ruby Kishan, Dr. Diego Vacaflores, Department of Finance and Economics
 
Angelica Riojas
Identification of IBR5 Interacting Proteins in Arabidopsis
Author List: Angelica Riojas, Thilanka Jayaweera, Praveen Kumar Kathare, Dr. Nihal Dharmasiri, Department of Biology
 
Cheryl Rollman-Tinajero
Gender in The West Wing
 
Michael Tarver
Mechanistic basis for ligand-regulated control of protein self-assembly into fibril nano structures
Complete Author List: Michael J. Tarver, Yaroslava G. Yingling, Dr. Steven T. Whitten
 
Samuel Wolfe
Jackie Robinson and King Faisal III

Friday, April 26, 2013

2:00-3:30 p.m., LBJ Student Center 3-9.1

Keynote Presentation and Poster Awards

Undergraduate Research Trips: In the Footsteps of Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Ansel Adams, Mary Shelley, and Claude Monet,
presented by Dr. Don Olson, Department of Physics

2011 Winners

2011 Winners and Photo Gallery


Sixth Annual Fall 2011 Undergraduate Research Conference

The sixth annual URC was held Thursday and Friday, December 1-2, in the Lyndon B. Johnson Student Center, rooms 3-9.1 and 3-14.1.

Winners of The 2011 URC Poster Competetion:

First Place

Travis Kolinek (pictured far-left): Preliminary Characterization of Cell-free Supernatants from Bifidobacterium longum with Bioactivity Towards enterocytic Fasting Induced Adipocyte Factor (FIAF) in Vitro.

School: Family and Consumer Sciences

Advisors: Dr. Vatsala Maitin
Other Authors: Priscilla Pham, Reese Cotton, Dr. Dhiraj A Vattem,

Second Place

Saul Villarreal (pictured middle): Modeling, Analysis and Integration of Distributed Energy Systems in Semiconductor Wafer Fabs

Third Place

Adam Contreras (pictured far-right): Measuring Water-Borne Cortisol in Sailfin Mollies: Is the Process Stressful, Can the Stress Levels be Minimized and is Cortisol Correlated with Sex Steroids?

Advisor: Dr. Caitlin R. Gabor Second Reader: Dr. Andrea Asbury

The keynote speaker for the 2011 URC was be Dr. Bob McLean from Texas State University's Department of Biology. His keynote address is titled "Investigating Adherent Bacteria on Earth and in Space".

2011 Oral Presentation Schedule and Abstracts

2011 URC Oral Presentation Schedule & Abstracts


THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1st AND FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2nd, 2011

THURSDAY 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

FRIDAY 9:20 AM - 2:00 PM

LBJ STUDENT CENTER ROOM 3.14.1

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1st


9:00 AM

Michelle Stav

"Teaching Poetry to Children: Shakespeare"

This semester I've brought the poems and sonnets of Shakespeare to elementary school students in order to inspire their own poetry. Teaching first graders and fifth graders, I've watched their writing skills and appreciation of Shakespeare develop over a six week period.


9:20AM

Dennis Mina

"Sustainability Through Ecosystem Services"

This presentation gives insight to the enormous benefits provided by the natural ecosystems in which all humans live. These benefits go beyond the scope of energy and truly encompass life sustaining regulations. The importance here is to find ways to create and promote a sustainable world where human decisions promote diversity and adaptations through the entire biological spectrum. Additionally, services rendered by the natural world and their global economic impacts. 


In exploring these aspects of ecosystem services, it would be impossible for nations to reproduce natural services like pollination, purification of air and water, waste decomposition, climate regulation, etc. Due to their seamless processes and natural flow of functions, these services rendered are usually not credited, but rather they are taken for granted. Research findings include the deterioration of natural resources due to the overwhelming demand of fish, timber, oil, etc. 



Methods for evaluating our complex system requires huge amounts of monetary and intellectual contributions. How can we, or should we, place values on the natural world? How can we find sustainability while allowing for economic growth? Basis for the presentation will include data research done by more than 13,600 scientists who participated in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Additionally, research contributions will come strictly from an economist’s perspective through interviews. 

 

 


9:40AM

Katelynn Hagans

"Hair as a Glory: An Analysis of the Perceptions of Hair in St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church"

In early Christianity, Biblical authors and early Church Fathers mandated that a woman should cover her head while in church or prayer, if not also in daily, public life. Compared to the age in which the New Testament was composed, significantly fewer Christian churches today require female parishioners to wear head coverings during prayer and worship. Many women have embraced this shift in norms, but some continue to veil themselves in church. This thesis will discuss how hair was viewed in early Christianity and transfer to an investigation conducted on how members of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Christian community, both those that veil themselves in worship and those that don’t, perceive hair within their religion. As a complement to this research, five personal narratives have been created based the questionnaire results and my personal interactions with five parishioners representing the diverse opinions within this Greek Orthodox community. In juxtaposing the opinions of the subjects studied, this thesis will show the various perceptions of Biblical stories and the Christian experience of hair among members of this religion.



 


10:20AM

Kristen Carruth

"Predictors of College Students' Attitudes Towards Privacy on Social Networks"

The daily use of Social Networking Sites (SNS) such as Facebook has become a routine for millions of Internet users. As a result, SNS’s are becoming more than just a phenomenon; they are a type of technology that is being massively adopted by societies around the world (Gross & Acquisti 2005). In particular, Facebook provides a place where users can personalize a profile with their information, pictures, and videos that can be shared with other users. Sometimes this information can be used in ways that may violate a users privacy with and without their knowledge. This research addresses issues of privacy on SNS’s as well as attitudes towards violations of one’s privacy. By surveying college students, this research will attempt to answer whether users’ Facebook use, Facebook self-efficacy, & attitudes towards Facebook privacy are significant predictors of privacy concerns about Facebook's use of personal information. It also addresses students' sex and leisure time as significant correlates of privacy concerns about Facebook's use of personal information.


10:40AM

Caitlin Batcheller

"The Effects of a Guided Relaxation Exercise on Perceived Stress and Physiological Stress Indicators in Medical-Surgical Nurses"

Nursing is known to be a high-stress profession, and as such, nurses are susceptible to employee absenteeism, reduced job satisfaction, and job burnout. Furthermore, the ability for such workers to think clearly and be able to demonstrate empathy is a key factor in the deliverance of quality patient care. A number of stress management programs, such as hypnosis, meditation, and mindfulness-based stress reduction, have been introduced into workplace settings with the intent to reduce the effects of stress on employees. This study implemented a short relaxation exercise to determine whether a brief intervention, compared to a long intervention, would affect perceived stress and physiological stress indicators in nurses. A total of 10 nurses were recruited, 9 of which were female and 1 of which was male. Subjects participated in a 3-week study consisting of 6 total sessions. The first and third week involved collecting only baseline data, such a s heart rate and blood pressure, in addition to subjects filling out surveys that measured stress levels. The second week consisted of the behavioral intervention and involved listening to two short relaxation scripts. Physiological and self-report measures were collected pre- and post-intervention. We expect the results to indicate no major change in stress levels. These results may be a result of the limited sample size and further studies should be conducted that utilize a greater number of nurses.
 


12:00PM

Emma Stephens

"The Student Body: The Effect of Backpack Wear on Center of Mass Displacement in College Students During Walking and Static Standing"

To investigate center of mass (COM) displacement during static standing and walking as well as forward flexion of the trunk during walking in college students in loaded and unloaded conditions. Design and Setting: All data were collected in Jowers Biomechanics Laboratory, Texas State University-San Marcos. Subjects: Subjects included 20 college students (ages = 22.85 + 5.58 years, mass = 72.11 + 11.28 kg, height = 169.89 + 10.01 cm) with no reports of injuries to lower extremities in the last two years Measurements: Participants stood on the Biodex Balance System on a static platform and performed postural stability tests. Subjects were then recorded walking for 5 meters. In both portions of the study, 3 trials were conducted in unloaded conditions, followed by 3 trials while carrying a backpack loaded to roughly 10% of subjects’ weight. Results: One tailed and two tailed T tests were performed. A significant difference was found in the angle of trunk flexion. Average angle of inclination at the trunk in unloaded walking was 165.56 degrees + 6.75 and 158.29 degrees + 6.87 during loaded walking. No significant difference was found in vertical COM displacement during walking or static standing between loaded and unloaded trials. Conclusions: Based on these findings, this data indicates that trunk forward flexion while wearing a loaded backpack occurs in consistent correlation regardless of weight, height, weekly exercise frequency or velocity during ambulation in college students. It is also indicated based on these results that a backpack loaded at 10% of an individuals’ body weight does not affect the COM location compared to unloaded trials during static standing, or vertical COM displacement during ambulation.


12:20PM

Jillian Vidal

"The perfect wedding for the perfect bride: An industry marketing strategy"

Every bride has their own idea of the perfect wedding. This idea could be extravagant and over the top or it could be small and simple. Whatever type of wedding the bride desires, she is able to consult with industry professionals to make her idea come to life. But the question remains whether or not the wedding industry is the sole contributor to a bride’s idea of a perfect wedding. This question is explored through an examination of the wedding industry, interviews with wedding vendors and recently married couples and the creation of a public relations plan for a catering company based out of San Antonio, Texas.


12:40PM

William Keitt

"The Effects of Weather on the Cattle Industry in Texas Since 1970"

As we have now begun to experience current global climate change, assessing its potential impact on agriculture crop and livestock production is becoming increasingly important. Global climate trends affect agriculture in many ways, but most importantly it affects (i) the price and availability of hay and feed grain for livestock (ii) the quality of livestock produced (iii) beef cattle production rates (iv) and beef demand on a global basis. All these factors are affected by climate change, but just how significantly does each of the above factors affect the other is one of the questions we seek to answer in this paper. The objective of this research is to investigate the extent of the relationship between weather conditions and their impact on feed and grain availability, quality of beef cattle production, the size and scope of beef cattle production, and price We have chosen to examine Texas as it consistently ranks as one of the highest producing beef cattle states in the US. This research will be able to show the impact and correlation that weather has on such a valuable, and important, livestock product. To conduct the analysis we will compute a series of coefficient of correlations between key variables. We will also develop regression models to analyze the impact of climate change on key variables listed above.

 


1:20PM

Natalie Rodriguez

"Going Green, Turning Red: The Real Business Cost of Eco-Friendly Decisions"

The 21st century created a new accounting practice, which is geared towards helping companies practice and report their costs in a systematic way, in accordance with the environment. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate and analyze the incremental costs of businesses becoming “green.” The overarching question underlying this project is: are businesses becoming eco-friendly or is this eco-frenzy? Sustainability has been around since the start of commercial business. From 1956 to 2011 there has been sustainable laws and bills implemented. With the increase of popularity, more businesses have incorporated sustainability into their Corporate Social Responsibility. The link between social accounting and sustainability is that businesses need to move away from traditional practices and venture out of their scope. At the start of the 21st century a disclosure framework for sustainability was created and the guidelines of Global Reporting Ini tiative were put into practice. For every implementation there is a cost-benefit that must be taken into consideration.


1:40PM

Shelly Simpson

"Binge Drinking in College-aged Students in the United States and United Kingdom"

Binge drinking is a growing behavioral trend in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Researchers are working to understand why this dangerous activity is on the rise in college-aged students. There are gaps in research to explain why young adults continue to binge drink knowing it is dangerous to their physical health and college career. The research found uses the systems perspective and social network theory to explain binge drinking among college-aged youth, but overlooks the possible use of the developmental and humanistic perspectives. These perspectives are helpful when personally observing the differences and similarities between binge drinking behavior in the United Kingdom and United States. Social workers play a key role in developing and implementing services for college-aged youth that will combat and lower occurrences of binge drinking.


3:00PM

Santo Randazzo

"Shoes: A Collection of Five Allegories"

This is a collection of five short stories that attempt to focus on some of the more intricate aspects of being human. The collection follows five characters as they struggle with issues ranging from religious zealotry to the acceptance of death.

 

 


3:20PM

Yesenia Flores

"Alcohol Use Characteristics and Expectancies among “First Generation College Students” of Hispanic/Latino Descent"

Background: Recent research has focused on alcohol use characteristics among Hispanic/Latino college students. However, few studies have examined the potentially differential experience of “first generation college students”, that is, students whose parents did not complete a four-year college degree. The current study examined college drinking and acculturation levels in male and female participants with and without FGCS status. 



Methods: Two hundred and eighty-five Hispanic/Latino participants (74 male) were surveyed at two college campuses in the South Central United States near the Texas/Mexico border region. Participants provided general demographic information, in addition to detailed assessments of alcohol use characteristics, expectancies about the consequences of alcohol use, Mexican/Anglo orientation levels, and cognitive referents of acculturation. 



Results: Main effects of first generation status and gender were noted, but there were no interactions. 



Conclusions: This study is among the first to compare alcohol use characteristics among male and female Hispanic/Latino FGCS’s and their peers. Results suggest that the gender differences in drinking among Hispanic/Latino college students is not significantly moderated by first-generation student status. In fact, first-generation status functioned as a significant and independent grouping factor in this study.
 


3:40PM

Wyatt Constantine

"Un Histoire Culinaire: Careme, the Restaurant and the birth of the first modern culinary movement"

This thesis discusses what the author argues to be the beginning of the first real culinary movement of post-revolutionary France, Haute Cuisine, and argues that the creation of the restaurant and the changing role of the chef, with a focus on a contemporary chef of the period, Antonin Careme, are representative of a paradigm shift in the culinary world. The changes in the gastronomic world occurring as a result of the revolution would evolve into the modern culinary world that we are familiar with today.
 

 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2nd

9:40AM

Eric Harper

"Evaluating Algebra Readiness"

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.


10:00AM

Elliot Brandsma

"Sheep, Volcanoes, and International Conflict: Mapping the Twentieth-Century Icelandic Consciousness through Fiction"

Settled over a millennium ago by the Norwegian dissident Ingólfur Arnarson, Iceland boasts an extensive body of literature that remains largely unexplored beyond the island nation’s desolate shores. Recent scholarship in Icelandic literature focuses almost exclusively on the Icelandic sagas. These ancient legends about bloodthirsty Vikings and their irascible gods no doubt provide a fascinating glimpse into the mindset of a pagan European culture. However, focusing solely on Iceland’s medieval works ignores the contribution that contemporary Icelandic fiction makes to the study of the nation’s collective consciousness, the shared opinions and attitudes that unify this Nordic people. The goal of this project is to identify through literature, aspects of the Icelandic consciousness that are universal, in hopes of better understanding the human condition during the early twentieth century.

            International wars, economic uncertainty, and disillusionment with mankind all dominated the intellectual currents of the early 1900s, and two of Iceland’s foremost authors, Halldór Laxness and Gunnar Gunnarsson, skillfully capture this decadence in their novels Independent People and Seven Days’ Darkness. Independent People enacts the tragedy of Bjartur, an intransigent sheepherder who, after being released from eighteen years of servitude, clings to his autonomous way of life, even as his farm, family, and homeland’s social order crumble around him. Seven Days’ Darkness portrays the philosophical war between pious doctor Grímur Elliðagrímur and cynical philosopher Páll Einarsson, a war after which Einarsson’s bleak modernist worldview ultimately prevails. Besides demonstrating the pessimistic outlook of the time, these and other Icelandic novels also serve as a unique testament to the endurance of the human psyche. By studying depictions of the Icelandic people’s endless struggle against the elements, we learn about survival, how human beings are capable of persisting even in the most forbidding circumstances.


10:20AM

Jonathon Hagans

"Home Efficiency in San Marcos, Texas: Is our Rebate Program up to Code?"

The homes in San Marcos are aging. While new tracts pop up to meet the housing demands of the region, many of the homes near the city's core are over 20 years old. Even when adequately maintained, these older homes experience degradation of energy efficiency, particularly in the heating and cooling systems. Heating and cooling make up approximately 43% of the average electricity bill, so improving their efficiency is paramount in lowering energy use and utility bills. The City of San Marcos offers the Energy Efficient Home Rebate Program to reduce the cost of energy efficient home improvements for residential utility customers. In 2010, $42,424 in rebates were given, with 68 households receiving at least one rebate. Still, the program falls short, not reaching or educating enough potential costumers to bring about significant change. This thesis explores and develops potential improvements to community outreach, education, as well as the rebate program itself, with a prospective goal of reducing the cumulative energy use of San Marcos homes by 1% within a 5 year period.


10:40

Ribel Fares

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

Many existing parallel storage systems consist of hybrid storage components, including solid-state drives (SSDs), hard disks (HDDs), and tapes. Compared with high-speed storage components (e.g. SSDs and HDDs), tapes inevitably become an I/O performance bottleneck. In this research project, called FastStor, we investigate data-mining-based prefetching techniques to improve the performance and energy-efficiency of hybrid storage systems. This project is motivated by the world’s largest satellite images distribution system operated at the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) center of the U.S Geological Survey (USGS). In September 2008, EROS placed its satellite imagery in the public domain for free download, which has resulted in over 4 million global download requests within just two years. Some download orders can be responded within seconds, if requested images are available in the FTP server. However, other orders may need up t o several hours or days to complete, if the requested images have not been cached in the FTP server previously. Unfortunately, the total disk space required to store all images far exceeds 66 TB (current USGS FTP server capacity). Thus, the majority of images must stay on tapes, which might significantly affect user download experience. We propose using data mining methods to predict future requests to minimize processing overhead. The Faststor project is comprised of three phases: visualization, historical data exploration, and data mining based prefetching. We have completed the visualization phase and are currently analyzing historical user download behaviors. Next, we will apply data mining algorithms to predict user download behaviors.
 


12:00PM

Roberto Sanchez

"Presenting Poetry to Children"

Over the course of six weeks during the Fall 2011 semester, I visited two Crockett Elementary classes six times each and presented poetry ideas based on two books authored by Kenneth Koch. The children were asked to write their own poems based on each poetry idea. The goal of this project was to stimulate their interest in poetry and writing in general. While some children responded eagerly, others showed very little interest.
 


12:20PM

Lorelei Kuehler Carrillo

"The Difficult Ascension from Common Struggles to an Uncommon Understanding: A Study of the Complex Relationships of Mexicans and Mexican Americans"

The Difficult Ascension from Common Struggles to an Uncommon Understanding: A Study of the Complex Relationships of Mexicans and Mexican Americans grew from my marriage to a Mexicano and from a Chicano/a narrative course. The first contributed because, I, as a fair-haired, blue-eyed Anglo, had not previously been the recipient of racial prejudice until I married a man of color. During the early parts of our relationship, we were the object of disagreeable stares from just about everyone. This first experience caused me to become more observant of interracial relations. This informal study exposed the highly complex relations that existed among Mexicans and Mexican Americans. This newfound awareness only increased when my husband and I decided to have a child that would naturally be Mexican American. But my interest in Mexican, Mexican American, and Chicano writers preceded the birth of our daughter. I had previously taken a Chica no/a narrative class which helped me convert my reflections on racial prejudice into ideas which led to further questions. In an attempt to answer these questions, I have examined many different perspectives, as they relate to the complex relations among Mexicans and Mexican Americans. Each chapter discusses the struggles of the past and today that affect each group. By looking at specific social scientific studies, I discovered how cultural traditions, social and political privilege, the racial order, and economic hardships contribute to these particular struggles. I examine how these factors impact the identity of people from each group and how these identities relate to one another. I also examine Mexicans and Mexican American literary works of identity literature, which enables a better understanding of the challenges in creating a cross-cultural identity.


12:40PM

Amy Beckman

"Aural Skills Pedagogy: From Academic Research to the Everyday Classroom"

Aural skills are necessary for all musicians and are a staple in all music majors’ education through aural skills/ear training classes. A vast body of research informs how people acquire aural skills and how to teach aural skills. The research covers several different areas of study, including music perception and cognition, music theory, music education, and general learning theories. Taken as a whole, a research-based aural skills pedagogy emerges. This thesis compares research to practice: (1) do textbooks employ research-based pedagogies? (2) do teachers implement these pedagogies in the classroom? The first section of this thesis synthesizes the academic research to present an ideal aural skills pedagogy. Using this ideal, the second section evaluates eight aural skills textbooks, while the third section reports the experiences of six collegiate aural professors. This thesis shows that most aural skills textbooks incorporate a fair amo unt of research-based pedagogies, while aural skills professors are less consistent and purposeful in implementing these pedagogies.
 

 


1:20PM

Caroline Sharp

"Planet K's Junked Vehicle and the First Amendment"

Many of the landmark free speech decisions made by the Supreme Court involve proactive expressions made during times of unrest. For example, the high court recognized the right of a citizen to burn a United States flag as symbolic speech and political protest in 1989. It had also protected the right of people to use hate speech, to burn crosses, and to support the violent overthrow of the government as an abstract doctrine. While some free speech issues have been resolved for many years by the court, other topics arise from struggles involving free speech. The purpose of this thesis is to examine one such free speech controversy in San Marcos, Texas. Planet K claimed that a junked car on the lot was under protection of the First Amendment and went as far as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Under the guidelines of strict scrutiny the car was ultimately removed from the lot.


1:40PM

Britany McCraw

"Cadence"

Cadence is, quite simply, the first part of a novel of the same name. Of course, as a novel of the fantasy genre, this portion of the novel spends the majority of its time establishing key details such as plot, setting, and cast.



This is especially true with Cadence. Because the cast consists of players of a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game—or MMORPG—there are a large number of individuals and organizations who take part in getting the various plots—of which a few are begun in part one—from their initiation to their completion.



In Part I, the government of “the country” has been sponsoring a set of virtual gaming worlds as an alternative to life in the real world. This was done in an effort to stem the ever-growing human population and combat rising unemployment and food shortages.



The server on which this particular cast of players...well, play...has begun experiencing a sequence of strange issues—an administrator disappears from the game after admitting the first new player in months, rumors spread of people dying outside of the game after their deaths in-game, and monsters appearing outside of their spawn zones—resulting in considerable conflict between a world that has become accustomed to disciplining its own citizens and handling its own affairs while those in the normal world try to cope with a virtual world that strains against the regulations placed upon it.

2011 Poster Presentation Abstracts

2011 URC Poster Presentation Abstracts


FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2nd, 2011

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

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. 



 

Adam Contreras
 "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"

Many existing parallel storage systems consist of hybrid storage components, including solid-state drives (SSDs), hard disks (HDDs), and tapes. Compared with high-speed storage components (e.g. SSDs and HDDs), tapes inevitably become an I/O performance bottleneck. In this research project, called FastStor, we investigate data-mining-based prefetching techniques to improve the performance and energy-efficiency of hybrid storage systems. This project is motivated by the world’s largest satellite images distribution system operated at the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) center of the U.S Geological Survey (USGS). In September 2008, EROS placed its satellite imagery in the public domain for free download, which has resulted in over 4 million global download requests within just two years. Some download orders can be responded within seconds, if requested images are available in the FTP server. However, other orders may need up t o several hours or days to complete, if the requested images have not been cached in the FTP server previously. Unfortunately, the total disk space required to store all images far exceeds 66 TB (current USGS FTP server capacity). Thus, the majority of images must stay on tapes, which might significantly affect user download experience. We propose using data mining methods to predict future requests to minimize processing overhead. The Faststor project is comprised of three phases: visualization, historical data exploration, and data mining based prefetching. We have completed the visualization phase and are currently analyzing historical user download behaviors. Next, we will apply data mining algorithms to predict user download behaviors.


 

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
 "Evaluating Algebra Readiness"

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"
Other Author: Courtney Read

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.

2010 Winners

2010 Winners

2010 URC Poster Presentation Winners

 

First place:

Danielle Faurie, "Uranium Remediation in Hanford Vadose Zone Sediments by Ammonia Gas Treatment"

An estimated 202,703 kg of uranium (U) has been released to the ground surface at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site in Hanford, WA, and is present in the vadose zone and groundwater as a contaminant. Various efforts to remediate this contamination are focused on reducing the transport of U to the accessible environment. Previous laboratory studies have shown that ammonia gas treatment of sediment decreases the overall mobility of the uranium, as there is less aqueous and adsorbed U and a greater fraction of U-containing precipitates. The goal of this study is to quantify the geochemical changes that occur from ammonia gas treatment at differing concentrations of ammonia gas for different time periods. Data was compared between batch experiments (vials with no gas flow) and 20-ft long 1-D column (i.e., gas flow) experiments. The results showed that greater ammonia treatment increased the sediment pH and mineral dissolution for both the column and the batch experiments. Over time, the pH remained fairly constant, yet some pore water cation/anion concentrations decreased and others remained constant. Even after a short time period of experimentation (800 hours), uranium surface phases indicated changes to less mobile phases. This study showed that ammonia gas treatment of sediment is successful in decreasing the mobility of uranium. Additional experimentation and modeling is needed to quantify precipitates that form during ammonia gas treatment, which will allow for this treatment to be applied to the field.

 

Second place:

Lucinda Choules, "The Efficacy of Garlic as an Antibacterial Agent"

The widespread use of antibiotics as growth promotants in livestock feed has led to a marked increase in multi-drug resistant super infections in both humans and animals. This study was designed to determine if garlic, an ancient herbal remedy, has biostatic and/or bactericidal properties in vitro.  The efficacy of various garlic preparations was tested in vitro on: C. freundii, E. coli, S. epidermidis and S. marcescens.  In broth cultures grown for 24 hours, bactericidal properties of fresh garlic extract (FGE) were similar to chloramphenicol (positive control) in three out of the four bacterial species studied.  Moreover, a study utilizing broth cultures grown for 96 hours prior to plating, clearly showed that FGE was far superior to the positive control in the treatment of S. epidermidis; however, its effectiveness was diminished for the other three bacterial species.  In summary, FGE (i) was effective in controlling bacterial growth in vitro, (ii) may be a viable option for inhibiting bacterial growth in vivo, and (iii) should be tested as a sustainable alternative to antibiotics used as prophylactic agents in livestock.

 

Honorable mentions:

Sherille Bradley, "Changes in Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa Grown in Mixed Culture for 500 Generations"

In nature microorganisms grow in a mixed culture environment, microbes use virulence factors to survive and compete. Biofilm are a type of virulence that microorganisms use to protect themselves from other microorganisms in competition. Bioflim also aid in protection from the human immune system. Microbes have a short generation time and can multiply within hours, unlike humans or animals whose generation times are usually years apart. Our research is an experimental evolution study on microorganisms and the effects that this has on mixed culture interactions vs. pure culture growth. We are examining if long term generational growth of microorganism displays any changes in their ability to compete for resources and if there are any genetic or physiology changes observed. We are working with Escherichia coli MG1655 strain and Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains PAO1 and PA14. Each strain is grown in LB broth with two glass beads both in pure and mixed culture. The beads promote biofilm growth. Each day one bead is transferred to a new tube, and this is done for a total of 500 generations or a total of two full months. After each strain is grown up to 500 generations, competition tests are conducted using antibiotic plates. Currently we have observed that there are only small differences in the growth rates in mixed culture, compared to pure culture. More competition tests are still being conducting currently. In the future we hope to look more closely at the genetic variations in these microorganisms if significant differences are found in the growth patterns.

 

Amanda Duran, "Characterization of Singlet Oxygen Generated DNA-Protein Cross-links"

Cancer cells have been shown to be under an increased level of oxidative stress. DNA is prone to oxidation at the guanine base. 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2’-deoxyguanosine (8OdG) is the primary oxidation product and is a biomarker of cellular oxidative damage. 8OdG is a potent mutagen that leads to a G to T transversion when left unrepaired. However, 8OdG detection proved unreliable as it has an even more favorable oxidation potential than dG which leads to hyper-oxidation and the formation of several well-known adducts. These adducts have been shown to occur in cells treated with heavy metals. An oxidative DNA-protein crosslink (DPC) is one such product. To study DPCs, we used pancreatic ribonuclease A protein, short DNA molecules with a guanine repeat, and photo-oxidants (riboflavin or rose bengal) to facilitate DPC formation. DPCs were analyzed by gel electrophoresis and differential staining. DPCs were additionally characterized as replication stops in a primer extension assay.

 

Joseph Whitt, "Trafficking Patterns of Candida albicans Cell Mutants Within Murine Macrophages Upon Phagocytosis"

Candida albicans is an opportunistic pathogen that costs over one billion dollars a year to treat. The duration and severity of candidial infection are dependent upon interactions between Candida and the innate immune system, specifically host phagocytes such as macrophages. Affected individuals are typically immune compromised or suffer from genetic defects in innate immune system signaling pathways. Macrophages play a key role in overcoming candidiasis, but C. albicans possesses a number of mechanisms to evade destruction after phagocytosis, most notably filamentous hyphae formation. The impact of cell wall proteins in preventing yeast destruction is not well characterized. Surprisingly, the intracellular fate of C. albicans within macrophages has not been well characterized either, but previous work has suggested it does not undergo the classical phagosomal maturation process.  In this study, strains of Candida defective in certain cell w! all proteins that are candidates to mediate the aberrant trafficking were transformed with a GFP tag using electroporation to follow their fate in the macrophage after phagocytosis. Whether these defective cell wall proteins aided in Candida survival or resulted in their rapid destruction was studied. Initial attempts to transform five of the C. albicans strains were unsuccessful and we identified a defect within the GFP expression plasmid. The plasmid was reconstructed and confirmed to be correct. This has allowed us to retransform the original strains in order to test the original hypothesis, and these experiments are underway.

2010 Oral Presentation Schedule and Abstracts

2010 URC Oral Presentation Schedule & Abstracts


THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2010

8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

LBJ STUDENT CENTER ROOM 3.14.1


8:30 AM

Lucinda Choules
“The Efficacy of Garlic as an Antibacterial Agent”


The widespread use of antibiotics as growth promotants in livestock feed has led to a marked increase in multi-drug resistant super infections in both humans and animals. This study was designed to determine if garlic, an ancient herbal remedy, has biostatic and/or bactericidal properties in vitro. The efficacy of various garlic preparations was tested in vitro on: C. freundii, E. coli, S. epidermidis and S. marcescens. In broth cultures grown for 24 hours, bactericidal properties of fresh garlic extract (FGE) were similar to chloramphenicol (positive control) in three out of the four bacterial species studied. Moreover, a study utilizing broth cultures grown for 96 hours prior to plating, clearly showed that FGE was far superior to the positive control in the treatment of S. epidermidis; however, its effectiveness was diminished for the other three bacterial species. In summary, FGE (i) was effective in controlling bacterial growth in vitro, (ii) may be a viable option for inhibiting bacterial growth in vivo, and (iii) should be tested as a sustainable alternative to antibiotics used as prophylactic agents in livestock.


9:30 AM

Holly Watson
“The Multigenerational Workforce: Strategies for Managing Four Generations”


Today’s workforce consists of four generations: the Traditionalists, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y. Over 60 years of knowledge, special skills, different perspectives, varying expectations, diverse experiences, and an assortment of work styles make up the workforce. This assortment of talent and varying views has potential for conflict, but organizations that take advantage of the diverse workforce may use it as a source of competitive advantage. Human resource (HR) specialists have the opportunity to capitalize on the assets of each generation as demographics and social trends will have a significant impact on the workforce in the coming years. In this thesis, I examine several methods proposed by psychologists, sociologists, and business executives to utilize each generation’s skills. I then make recommendations on how to develop a cohesive workforce, resulting in sustainability and growth for several organizations.

 


10:00 AM

Kyle Kastner and Eduardo Gonzalez
“Theory and Design of the DICE System”


DICE (Data and Instrument Control Environment) is an extensible framework for real-time acquisition, management, and processing of time series data for complex data analysis scenarios, including power line monitoring. DICE was created to manage multiple data streams taken simultaneously in real-time from various power line probes. Portions of DICE were designed by students in the Ingram School of Engineering as part of the capstone Sr. Design course.  DICE aggregates acquired data in an efficient, highly customized manner. It allows for quick configuration of the acquisition hardware, visual monitoring of incoming data, and customizable formats for archival. All aspects of the data acquisition, including output format and sampling parameters are configurable from the main screen. Additional Sr. Design teams are augmenting DICE to include sophisticated algorithms for analyzing power line events and specific formats of multicarrier communications.  This presentation involves a discussion of the software architecture and applications for which DICE was created, as well as a real-time demonstration of the DICE system.


10:30 AM

Kellen Elizabeth Stanley
“Memory as Childhood Videotape: The Marnie Video Performance”


In this life, we as human beings cling to our memories for documentation of existence. In the past two years, I've been working with a certain childhood memory captured on videotape. I refer to this specific tape as 'the Marnie video;' it acts as a remnant of my four-year old self in front of a technology capturing a storytelling performance. I long to have this memory play in front of me, without a television, mirroring the Samuel Beckett play, Krapp's Last Tape. Krapp yearns to hear the playback of voice recordings telling of his past, but tragically he can never physically go back into the memory. Beckett's comment on remembrance informs my approach of performance and theater as the main outlet of this thesis. Rehearsing with collaborating actors and musicians will bring me to the process that physically reconnects to this memory. I propose to create a sensory experience that triggers nostalgia in everyone involved, specifically channeling my childhood memory of the Marnie video as the main space of this performance. 


11:00 AM

Christian Wallace
“Beyond the Tracks: A History of Cheatham Street Warehouse”


Since opening its doors as a music venue in 1974, Cheatham Street Warehouse has been an important facet in the development of Texas songwriters and country music. Although CSW was opened with the tradition of historical Texas dancehalls and honkytonks in mind, the tin warehouse has created its own unique niche in the history of legendary music venues. The special place that CSW holds can be largely accredited to the performers who have used it as a launching pad for their early careers and, even more so, the man who runs and own Cheatham, Kent Finlay. Their personal stories about memorable nights under the neon lights are sure to capture the distinct atmosphere of the venue and serve as a written testament to the role that CSW has played in preserving and promoting Texas music for the past three decades. 


11:30 AM

Torrey-Jeanne Laws-Nicola
“You’ve Got Me All Wrong: Why Alban Berg’s Character Lulu Breaks Away from the Femme Fatale Label”


The titular character from Alban Berg’s opera, Lulu, has been labeled a femme fatale by academic scholars, newspaper editors, and enthusiasts alike. This patriarchal view has remained unchallenged, but is it really the answer? Once one looks at the libretto, and the music itself, it becomes clear that Lulu is not the cause, but rather a symptom of the deaths surrounding her life. This point of view allows for clarity of the musical rows used in the opera, and Berg’s use of orchestration during the time of Lulu’s death. Throughout her life, as presented in the opera, she remains aloof to other character’s plans to change her into their personal fantasies. Men that yearn for her body become entangled within the brothers of their gender; many of who do not escape the fight for Lulu alive. Although she is not an innocent character by any means, Lulu lives only for love. Indeed, when forced into becoming a prostitute, Lulu’s power as a sensual being is diminished to such a degree that she invites death, in the form of Jack the Ripper, into the squalor that her life has become. 


12:00 PM

Corey S. Jackson
“Solving the Musician's Dilemma: One Community's HAAM, Another Community's Example”


Austin, Texas is the Live Music Capital of the World. It is home to over 8,000 working musicians and many world-famous music venues and events. Austin’s music industry provides over 10,000 jobs and contributes nearly $1 billion annually to the local economy, yet most Austin musicians live at or below the federal poverty level, without health insurance. Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) is a nonprofit organization that brings together doctors, local businesses, and community donors in a network providing basic preventive health services to this essential segment of the community. HAAM is a unique service stemming from Austin’s unique culture, but a nation of musicians share this healthcare dilemma.  Chicago, Illinois is home to over 80,000 musicians, and a music scene that provides over 65,000 jobs, contributing over $15 billion annually to Chicago’s economy. Currently, there is not a local nonprofit organization that supports uninsured musicians in Chicago with affordable primary healthcare. Could Chicago benefit from a nonprofit organization that connects musicians to local health services?  I believe HAAM’s example could be used to derive a model which other communities across the country, like Chicago, can adapt to their distinctive personalities. I intend to prove this in three parts: the story of HAAM’s genesis and services; a comparison between Austin and Chicago, using “The Windy City” as a case for this general framework; and an online presence, that will host a short film and raise awareness about how communities can help their musicians, all while saving the community money. 


12:30 PM

Edgar Gordyn
“Odysseus’s (Ulysses’s) Odyssey through World Literature”


The mythological hero Odysseus, better known as Ulysses, remains as engaging to modern audiences as he was to the ancient Greeks. His early travails in the Trojan War, as described in the Iliad, led to worse travails as the veteran struggled for ten years to reach home, pursued by the vengeful god Poseidon, only to find his house overrun with ignominious suitors pursuing his wife. Although his Greek epic the Odyssey reestablishes Odysseus in the Ithaca which he stabilizes at the epic’s conclusion, the Odysseus theme gained strong momentum in ancient Greece. Developments in the Greek epic cycle pursued this multifaceted hero to the variously-imagined end of his days, and Western literature continues this tradition. Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses” and James Joyce’s novel Ulysses are two of the Western canon’s more famous variations on the Odysseus theme, but these build upon two more significant developments: Virgil’s Aeneid and Dante’s Inferno. Both of these artists treat Odysseus in intriguingly complex ways, making him simultaneously the heart of their works and the target of their attacks. Their ambivalence towards Odysseus speaks volumes about his influence upon their epic poems. My essay first explores Odysseus’s character as Homer’s epics depict him, and glances into the ancient Greek culture that conceived him as their representative hero. Then, my essay analyzes key selections from the Aeneid and the Inferno to demonstrate how strongly Odysseus inspired at the same time that he antagonized these poets who so strongly influence our Western literary canon. 


1:00 PM

Martha Bitar
“Middle Eastern Immigration to Torreon, Mexico: An Analysis of Adaptive Strategies"


This research studies the topic of Middle Eastern immigration to Torreon, Mexico, which began around the year 1900. Data collection was made in the form of primary and secondary historical sources, scholarly articles, oral histories, interviews, and participant observation in Torreon, Mexico, and Beirut and Zouk Mesbeh, Lebanon. My presentation will focus on two sections; the first one consists of a historical background to place the topic into context, and the second one is an analysis of the adaptive strategies of the immigrants as they entered the receiving culture.


1:30 PM

Mutsuko Heinai
“A Dynamic Space Time Panel Data Model of Beer Consumption”


A dynamic space-time panel data model containing random effects is used to examine state-level beer consumption over the period of 1970 to 2007 for the 48 contiguous US states plus the District of Columbia. A valuable aspect of dynamic space-time panel data models is that the parameter estimates from these models can be used to quantify dynamic responses over time and space as well as space-time diffusion impacts. We examine the impact of state-level taxes on beer on home/own-state and outside/other-state consumption of beer. The model allows for this situation since buyers of beer near state borders can purchase in neighboring states if there is a tax advantage to doing so.


2:00 PM

Elizabeth Wellings
“XBOX Stereotypes--Popular Media versus Research”


Stereotypes allow us to quickly process information and assign meaning. The perception process, leveling and sharpening, and labeling confirm our perceptions whether accurate or inaccurate. Socializing agents such as media perpetuate the stereotype of a video gamer as a teenage boy who sits in the dark alone playing his game all day long. However, despite high social consensus, this stereotype may no longer be accurate. Research is beginning to empirically demonstrate that video gamers no longer fit the social stereotype.


2:30 PM

Taylor Clark
“Development of a Structured Horseback Riding Therapeutic Program for Young Adults with Cerebral Palsy”

 

This thesis will concentrate on the development of a therapeutic horseback riding program for young adults with Cerebral Palsy enrolled in the non-profit program, Always Wanted a Riding Experience (A.W.A.R.E) in San Marcos, Texas. My observations for this research project involve a 21 year old female with severe spastic quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy. The structured program I will develop will target the physiological benefits for her body as well as incorporate social and cognitive goals using behavioral and learning models. These models will help analyze the patient’s self-perception in her group and individual therapy. The main component explored in my research targets hippotherapy effects in building trunk and postural stability. I will also explore how therapeutic horse riding sessions can relate to her specific goals in her future career. In return, my thesis will add for potential modifications to future cerebral palsy clients’ programs offered at A.W.A.R.E. My research will also make contributions to the use of hippotherapy treatment and therapeutic horseback riding for the Cerebral Palsy population.


3:00 PM

Maryjune F Smith
“Modulation of Pic59 Expression Causes Picloram Resistance in Arabidopsis”


Plant hormone auxin regulates many aspects of plant growth and developments. While Indole acetic acid is the major natural auxin found in plants, there are many synthetic chemicals such as 2,4-D, 1-NAA and picloram that exert auxinic activity. Recently we isolated an Arabidopsis mutant that is resistant to picloram and is named pic59. This mutant does not show any phenotypic differences from the wild type when grown on soil but exhibit primary root growth resistance when grown on a medium containing picloram. Moreover, the mutant does not show resistance to any other auxin indicating that pic59 is picloram specific. Through map based cloning we isolated the gene. In order to confirm that pic59 mutation confers the resistance to picloram, we over-expressed the mutant gene in Arabidopsis wild type background using the CaMV35S constitutive promoter. Analysis of independent transgenic Arabidopsis lines showed that these lines are resistant to picloram confirming that mutant pic59 gene causes the resistance to picloram.


3:30 PM

Russell MacDougal
“Velcro Connections”


Velcro Connections (VX) is first and foremost a social networking tool. My goal is to build a website where different talented individuals can post profiles in order to entice anyone willing to pay their price to hire them for a service. The idea was founded around local San Marcos musicians whom I have discovered that I believe are being severely underutilized. These artists, and others of non-musical orientation, stand to benefit from the increased opportunities of employment, and increased exposure, whereas public and private venues (including private house parties) will have easy access to a vast and diverse yet easily available group of artists at affordable prices. The site will be free to use, however I would personally rake a small percentage of both the money made by the performer(s) and the venue.


4:00 PM

Veronica M. Suarez
“Attractions: Five Stories”


“Attractions” is a collection of short stories that portray the theme of how the past influences the present. Although the stories concern unrelated people and subject matter, they are united in a world where the characters are constantly attracted to people and things that remind them of events that have happened in the past. While some characters attempt to suppress their history in death, abandonment, greed, or escape, it always remains a part of them.


FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010

8:30 AM - 3:00 PM

LBJ STUDENT CENTER ROOM 3.14.1


8:30 AM

Stephanie Berryman
“Driven to Learn: A Study on Why English Language Learner Students Lose Literacy Motivation, and What Can Be Done About It”


This mixed-methods study examined literacy motivation in middle school English Language Learner (ELL) students via classroom observations and a semi-structured eight11`-question teacher interview of four ELL instructional teachers. The data was analyzed by finding trends within the observations and interviews and accordingly aligning it with the Sturtevant and Kim (2010) research that asserts that as literacy proficiency increases in the middle grades, motivation subsequently decreases. The report noted effective motivational strategies used by the teachers, and activities that sparked student interest and thus motivation.


9:00 AM

Jennie Tudor Gray
“Writing a Youth Non-Fiction Book on Contemporary Women Artists”


It has come to my attention over my career in various bookstores and libraries that there is a void in the book market as far as books on contemporary women artists for a youth market. My honors thesis would consist of helping fill this gap by writing said book. The book will attempt to highlight the life and artworks of women artists from around the globe. The book will be geared to students as well as a resource for educators as it will include lesson plan activities that correspond to each artist.


9:30 AM

William Grieser
“Structured Industry Level Dependence”


The question of why firms exercise stock splits has inspired a great deal of research. Stock splits should have no impact on stock price returns, since splits simultaneously reduce the share price and increase outstanding shares by the same factor. Hence, performance of the stock measured in terms of price returns should have no relation to a stock split. Signaling and optimal trading range hypotheses are possible explanations for stock splits as well as well as more traditional arguments that a split increases the number of small shareholders who own the stock, or reflect improved liquidity for shares that trade at lower prices. In addition, the behavioral norms; catering hypothesis, states that firms aim to keep their share price within an optimal trading range. One particular version of the catering hypothesis suggests that firms align their stock prices with peers Bernartzi et al. (2010). We find strong evidence of structured industry-le! vel dependence in support of the behavioral norms argument. This study develops a fixed-effects panel relationship between stock price returns, (logged) price levels and the (logged) number of shares outstanding (plus control variables). Since a stock split involves a simultaneous decrease in stock price and increase in shares outstanding by some percentage(s), estimates from the fixed-effects panel model relationship can be used to explore the total derivative response of returns to a simultaneous (percentage(s)) decrease in price and increase in shares outstanding. Another methodological contribution of the fixed-effects panel data model is that it allows for contemporaneous interaction between returns for firms within industries. We find empirical evidence of significant within-industry interaction that could produce biased estimates for models that ignore this type of interaction.


10:00 AM

Kathleen Leigh
“Fictional Writing: the Role of Positive Affect and Empathic Concern”


The purpose of this study was to examine fictional writing, the positive moods produced by fictional writing, and the ability to empathize and fantasize as predictors of helping behavior. Forty-four female student participants (ranging in age from 18- 26) at Texas State University-San Marcos were randomly assigned to write about either a positive or negative fictional character. Moods were measured before and after the writing exercise. The Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) measured the ability to empathize and fantasize, and was administered after the writing exercise. Subsequently, participants were asked to help create sympathy cards for the Children’s Hospital. The time spent on the cards, number of cards produced, and the average time spent on each card was measured. Our results showed that condition and individual differences in empathy, as expected, significantly predicted helping as measured by the time spent on each card. Thos! e with gains in positive affect spent less time on each card, but attempted to produce more cards. These findings, their implication and the future directions of this research are addressed.


10:30 AM

Hylary Ahrendt
“Whole Learning: A Holistic Education's Contribution to the World”


In this presentation, I will discuss how a holistic, humanistic curriculum within elementary schools can be used to promote positive, whole-minded thinking in children and youth. I will incorporate a global perspective grounded on the universal human right to a primary education: Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Goal 2 of the UN Millennium Development Goals. I will profile Vikasana, a non-governmental organization in Karnataka, India that is working to improve the social welfare and education of women and children. The organization runs “bridge schools” which are community schools aimed at assimilating current and previous child laborers into a supportive educational and community environment. The ultimate goal of the schools is to foster open-minded thinking and a spirit of self-reliance among students. Ancedotal evidence suggests that the organization’s efforts have led to improvements in both social and economic conditions in this region. I will work with Vikasana in December 2010 at one of its bridge schools and conduct a case study to document how the schools’ holistic curriculum improves the lives of underprivileged students. During my time with the organization, I will develop an original, humanistic curriculum, providing examples of educational activities, and describing how this curriculum could positively contribute to a child's learning experience and society as a whole. This project is an extension of my current Honors Directed Independent Study and will be finalized in my Honors Thesis next semester.


11:00 AM

Shaun Ford
“Rainbows within Rainbows within Rainbows: Gender and Sexual Diversity Using a Multicultural Approach”


What is “gender?” Ideas about gender play a major role in the lives of every Westerner today. Is gender really as simplistic and binary as we have been led to believe? Furthermore, is gender really parallel to sexuality and romantic involvement as according to prevailing cultural attitudes? Leading gender and sexuality researchers have developed a multi-tiered, multi-faceted model of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity called the sexual spectrum, which threatens to redefine traditional cultural attitudes about gender and sexuality.
British colonial law defined sex between people of the same gender, as well as the adoption of gender expression seen to be opposite of one’s birth assigned sex to be “crimes against nature.” Is gender and sexual variance really unnatural? According to evolutionary biologist Joan Roughgarden, the British were dead wrong. For her book, Evolution’s Rainbow, Dr. Roughgarden conducted the most exhaustive and thorough study of gender and sexual variance conceived to date; she found that over half the species on this planet are somehow gender or sexuality variant. My research plunges the depths of the personal meanings of gender and sexual identity on an individual level, and then seeks to reach into the American and European cultural aspects both present and historical. Finally, I branch-out to uncover views of gender and sexual variance of diverse cultures throughout the world: from the 'katoi' of Thailand, to the 'hijrah' of India, to the 'fa'afafine' of Samoa, and beyond.


12:00 PM

Lindsay Gattis
“Establishing a Freelance Communication Design Business in Colombia”


American Communication Design graduates have two main directions in which to take their careers. Graduates may decide to work for a design firm looking to hire individual designers full time or part-time, or there is the option of freelancing. For either of these directions, some graduates may work in America and others may focus on foreign countries for employment. Currently there are blogs and books about finding a job in a foreign country but there is little written about starting a business in a foreign country. There is less still written about starting a Communication Design business in a foreign country. This research explains the process of constructing a brand and a marketing strategy to establish a Communication Design business in Colombia. The author interviewed business owners in Colombia and traveled to Colombia to obtain first-hand knowledge of the traditions and culture of this country. The author also summarized available data published by secondary sources. Although this paper discusses one available process while focusing on Colombia, a similar process could be applied to any foreign country by showcasing the areas of research to focus on: legal barriers, cultural barriers, marketing strategy, and brand development.


12:30 PM

Albert Arevalo
“Why, Yes Kermit, It is Easy Being Green: Content Analysis of Vogue and Forbes Magazine Advertisements”


The introduction of environmental media by businesses in recent years is an example of how outsiders understand what the fundamental needs of the people are. The purpose of this study is to better understand what are the underlining messages about nature in advertisement. In addition, the research also continues previous research about green advertisements. A content analysis was conducted on two popular magazines amongst its respected audiences, Vogue and Forbes. Major findings of the research indicate the use of natural resources, the use of green imagery for businesses, and bottling nature as a main point of emphasis for advertisers.


1:00 PM

Rebecca Cameron
“Azjen's Theory of Planned Behavior Applied to the Use of Social Networking by College Students”


Azjen’s Theory of Planned Behavior maintains that individual behavior is determined by behavioral intentions which are measured by an individual’s attitude toward a behavior, the subjective norms encasing the execution of the behavior, and the individual’s perception of their control over the behavior. Azjen’s theory has been used to predict a wide range of behaviors from academic misconduct to gambling. The purpose of this study is to assess the effectiveness of the Theory of Planned Behavior in predicting college students’ use of social networking sites. The hypotheses are that (1) a factor analysis will show that each component’s questions will correlate with themselves, (2) the use of social networking will be positively correlated with the probability of helping behaviors, (3) the self directed intentions will predict the self directed behaviors, and (4) the self directed intentions will correlate with the helping behaviors in the hypothetical situation questions.


1:30 PM

Benjamin Chasin
“Richard III and the Dark Age Myths”


The Dark Ages are not the Middle Ages or any true period or era of history. They are the “Mythical Middle Ages,” a fictional period of history constructed by post-medieval writers ranging from the Renaissance to the present. Like all myth, the myth of the Dark Ages is a myth that is a combination of fiction and half-truth that forms part of an ideology. Some aspects of the Dark Age myth are more undoubtedly fictional than others, such as the legend of witches and dragons. Other aspects of the Dark Age myth are clearly more based on truth, but a truth that is often over-elaborated and emphasized, such as the incidents of leprosy, medieval warfare, and torture. My thesis topic will investigate the myths of the Dark Ages in William Shakespeare’s play Richard III, which is filled with Dark Age myths. I will be investigating the myths of corrupt kings, spells, and prophecies, and medieval grotesqueness, some of the strongest myths in Shakespeare's Richard III.


2:00 PM

Keri Fitzgerald
“What Not to Do: Learning by Example in Plato's Republic and Swift's Gulliver's Travels”


Both Republic and Gulliver’s Travels propose examples for societies that appear to be on the brink of perfection, yet they both eventually point out how most of these societies profoundly fail in one way or another. Nevertheless, both books do not discard the final idealized societies proposed. Is the reader really to believe that the final states described in these texts should be free of error, when all others have been deconstructed as mere illusions of perfection? It would be a mistake to make this assumption because a careful reader will be plagued with problems if he or she attempts to leave these worlds created by Plato and Swift believing that they were meant to stand as plain examples of perfection; the point seems to be that the reader should have developed the tools to see the flaws in the logic of these supposedly perfected societies by reading about the imperfect examples that preceded them. Moreover, the inter-textual relationship between the two works is most likely not coincidental. Swift seems acutely aware of and repeatedly harnesses the lessons of what not to do from Republic in Gulliver’s Travels.


2:30 PM

Dori Thompson
“The Effects of Exogenous Auxin on Cellular Expansion and Elongation of the Hypocotyl of Arabidopsis thaliana mutant 2B-3”


Auxin is a major hormone that regulates plant growth and development specifically controlling cell division, differentiation, and expansion. Although in recent decades much progress has been made in elucidating the biosynthesis, transport and signaling pathways involved in auxin action, further research is necessary to fully understand these mechanisms. The Small Auxin Up RNA (SAUR) gene family is known to be highly induced by auxin. This gene family consists of over 70 genes in Arabidopsis. While the functions of these genes are unknown, many of the encoded SAUR proteins contain a putative calmodulin binding domain suggesting that their functions may be regulated through Ca2+/calmodulin activity in the cell. In this study, we over-expressed one of the SAUR genes in Arabidopsis using the CaMV35S promoter. The transgenic lines (2B-3) over expressing the SAUR gene exhibited longer hypocotyls compared to wild type. We tested the effects of different concentrations of synthetic auxin naphalene acetic acid (1-NAA) on the cell expansion and elongation of the hypocotyl in Arabidopsis thaliana mutant 2B-3. Overall, the results obtained in this experiment implicate that the elongated hypocotyls in 2B-3 transgenic line are due to a combination of increased cell length and cell number. Treatment of 2B-3 with exogenous 1-NAA had a minimal effect on cell length, but increased the cell width while decreasing the total cell number in hypocotyls of both wild type and transgenic line. Our data suggests that this SAUR gene may be involved in regulating cell division and cell expansion in Arabidopsis.

2010 Poster Presentation Abstracts

2010 URC Poster Presentation Abstracts


FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

LBJ STUDENT CENTER - ROOM 3.9.1

 


Sherille Bradley
“Changes in Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa Grown in Mixed Culture for 500 Generations”


In nature microorganisms grow in a mixed culture environment, microbes use virulence factors to survive and compete. Biofilm are a type of virulence that microorganisms use to protect themselves from other microorganisms in competition. Bioflim also aid in protection from the human immune system. Microbes have a short generation time and can multiply within hours, unlike humans or animals whose generation times are usually years apart. Our research is an experimental evolution study on microorganisms and the effects that this has on mixed culture interactions vs. pure culture growth. We are examining if long term generational growth of microorganism displays any changes in their ability to compete for resources and if there are any genetic or physiology changes observed. We are working with Escherichia coli MG1655 strain and Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains PAO1 and PA14. Each strain is grown in LB broth with two glass beads both in pure and mixed culture. The beads promote biofilm growth. Each day one bead is transferred to a new tube, and this is done for a total of 500 generations or a total of two full months. After each strain is grown up to 500 generations, competition tests are conducted using antibiotic plates. Currently we have observed that there are only small differences in the growth rates in mixed culture, compared to pure culture. More competition tests are still being conducting currently. In the future we hope to look more closely at the genetic variations in these microorganisms if significant differences are found in the growth patterns.


Brittany Charlton
“Identification of Mitochondrial Proteins in Durum Wheat”


Mitochondria are organelles present in both animal and plant cells that produce energy and are involved in various processes such as signaling, cell differentiation, and programmed cell death. There are approximately 2000 proteins within the mitochondria, of which less than 100 are mitochondrial encoded. Several human genetic disorders and phenotypic variations in plants are known to be the result of alterations of mitochondrial genes. Although the rice mitochondrial proteome has been analyzed, wheat still remains uninvestigated. The purpose of this project was to investigate the mitochondrial proteome in Triticum turgidum L., Durum wheat, by observing patterns in both membrane and soluble proteins using 1D and 2D gel electrophoresis. Mitochondria were prepared from 10-day old Durum wheat plants using differential centrifugation and percoll density gradients. Mitochondria were lysed by three freeze thaw cycles and the membranes separated by centrifugation. The soluble fraction was concentrated by vacuum distillation and the proteins precipitated. The membrane fraction was extracted with chloroform to remove lipids. The samples were solubilized with destreak rehydration buffer (GE Healthcare) and separated by IEF (pH 3-10 NL) and then separated in the second dimension by SDS-PAGE. The samples were also analyzed using 1D SDS- PAGE. The comparison of the 1D and 2D gels revealed significantly more proteins in the soluble fraction. Future research will include identification of the proteins in each fraction to better understand the function of mitochondria in plants.


Lucinda Choules
“The Efficacy of Garlic as an Antibacterial Agent”


The widespread use of antibiotics as growth promotants in livestock feed has led to a marked increase in multi-drug resistant super infections in both humans and animals. This study was designed to determine if garlic, an ancient herbal remedy, has biostatic and/or bactericidal properties in vitro. The efficacy of various garlic preparations was tested in vitro on: C. freundii, E. coli, S. epidermidis and S. marcescens. In broth cultures grown for 24 hours, bactericidal properties of fresh garlic extract (FGE) were similar to chloramphenicol (positive control) in three out of the four bacterial species studied. Moreover, a study utilizing broth cultures grown for 96 hours prior to plating, clearly showed that FGE was far superior to the positive control in the treatment of S. epidermidis; however, its effectiveness was diminished for the other three bacterial species. In summary, FGE (i) was effective in controlling bacterial growth in vitro, (ii) may be a viable option for inhibiting bacterial growth in vivo, and (iii) should be tested as a sustainable alternative to antibiotics used as prophylactic agents in livestock.


Taylor Clark
“Development of a Structured Horseback Riding Therapeutic Program for Young Adults with Cerebral Palsy”


My thesis will concentrate on the development of a therapeutic horseback riding program for young adults with Cerebral Palsy enrolled in the non-profit program, Always Wanted a Riding Experience (A.W.A.R.E) in San Marcos, Texas. My observations for this research project involve a 21-year-old female with severe spastic quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy. The structured program I will develop will target the physiological benefits for her body as well as incorporate social and cognitive goals using behavioral and learning models. These models will help analyze the patient’s self-perception in her group and individual therapy. The main component explored in my research targets hippotherapy effects in building trunk and postural stability. I will also explore how therapeutic horse riding sessions can relate to her specific goals in her future career. In return, my thesis will add for potential modifications to future cerebral palsy clients’ programs offered at A.W.A.R.E. My research will also make contributions to the use of hippotherapy treatment and therapeutic horseback riding for the Cerebral Palsy population.


Timothy Glenn Conner
“A Simulation Based Study for Evaluating Different Tooling Approaches for the FDFF Process”


The purpose of this research was to determine the optimum tooling method to achieve good layering alignment and bonding between sliced layers for building functional metallic parts for the FDFF process. The three alignment methods studied were internal feature alignment, fully nested alignment, and selected slices alignment. Three methods were compared by finite element method by Ansys/Inventor as well as cost, ease of manufacture, and ease of use. The results for the internal features alignment showed good pressure at the point of application and diminished pressure outward. Both the fully nested and selected slices alignment methods showed even application of pressure throughout the part. The uneven application of pressure made the internal features method the least desired. The fully nested and selected slices methods had many similar positives such as ease of alignment and even application of pressure. The fully nested method had several limitations including a fully enclosed design requiring a CNC mill. The selected slices method was found to be the best method of the three because it was less expensive to produce, shared the advantages with the fully nested method, and was an open design.


Kevin Downs
“Characterization of Telomerase Expression and Telomere Length in Xiphophorus”


Research focusing on telomere length and telomerase expression has become increasingly important due to the association of these two biological endpoints with cellular aging and cancer. However, in vivo studies examining telomeres and telomerase are limited to only a few vertebrate models. Currently, research relies upon the traditional use of laboratory mice strains that have telomeres with extremely long lengths and high variability. More recently, fish species have been shown to provide a potentially informative model for examining the role of telomeres and telomerase within intact animals. As a current model for melanoma research and a new world live-bearing genus, Xiphophorus had not previously been assessed for telomere length. To add to the knowledge base of telomere and telomerase biology we have begun to assess telomere length and telomerase expression among several species of Xiphophorus.


Amanda M. Duran
“Characterization of Singlet Oxygen Generated DNA-Protein Cross-Links”


Cancer cells have been shown to be under an increased level of oxidative stress. DNA is prone to oxidation at the guanine base. 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2’-deoxyguanosine (8OdG) is the primary oxidation product and is a biomarker of cellular oxidative damage. 8OdG is a potent mutagen that leads to a G to T transversion when left unrepaired. However, 8OdG detection proved unreliable as it has an even more favorable oxidation potential than dG which leads to hyper-oxidation and the formation of several well-known adducts. These adducts have been shown to occur in cells treated with heavy metals. An oxidative DNA-protein crosslink (DPC) is one such product. To study DPCs, we used pancreatic ribonuclease A protein, short DNA molecules with a guanine repeat, and photo-oxidants (riboflavin or rose bengal) to facilitate DPC formation. DPCs were analyzed by gel electrophoresis and differential staining. DPCs were additionally characterized as replication stops in a primer extension assay.


Caitlin Edge
“Restoring a Downtown & Strengthening a Community”


Cities are usually identified by the character of their downtown area. The idea of a “downtown” creates a sense of nostalgia for older generations that is slowly dissipating among younger contemporaries. Downtown Mainstreet areas are important for its ability to support local business, provide revenue for communities, and serve as entertainment and community building for locals and visitors. It has become imperative to restore a city’s downtown region to maintain its individuality. The city of Seguin, TX has been working to renovate its historical downtown district since 1981 through the Texas Main Street Program. For Seguin to thrive, it must provide for their fairly large population of college students and older retirement-age citizens, as well as newcomers. A fall semester devoted to historical research, community, economic, demographic and site analysis, has found that residential spaces, retail businesses, and restaurant venues are all needed in the city of Seguin. For the historic Vivroux hardware building, our goal as interior design students is to determine what unique business will attempt to revitalize the community. An environment that provides for socialization, not only for one group of individuals, but for all, and is architecturally current while maintaining the historically nostalgia of the surrounding historic district will bring the community into the downtown area. In doing so, keeping Seguin’s historical integrity in mind will restore and renew the city and its people.


Danielle Faurie
“Uranium Remediation in Hanford Vadose Zone Sediments by Ammonia Gas Treatment”


An estimated 202,703 kg of uranium (U) has been released to the ground surface at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site in Hanford, WA, and is present in the vadose zone and groundwater as a contaminant. Various efforts to remediate this contamination are focused on reducing the transport of U to the accessible environment. Previous laboratory studies have shown that ammonia gas treatment of sediment decreases the overall mobility of the uranium, as there is less aqueous and adsorbed U and a greater fraction of U-containing precipitates. The goal of this study is to quantify the geochemical changes that occur from ammonia gas treatment at differing concentrations of ammonia gas for different time periods. Data was compared between batch experiments (vials with no gas flow) and 20-ft long 1-D column (i.e., gas flow) experiments. The results showed that greater ammonia treatment increased the sediment pH and mineral dissolution for both the column and the batch experiments. Over time, the pH remained fairly constant, yet some pore water cation/anion concentrations decreased and others remained constant. Even after a short time period of experimentation (800 hours), uranium surface phases indicated changes to less mobile phases. This study showed that ammonia gas treatment of sediment is successful in decreasing the mobility of uranium. Additional experimentation and modeling is needed to quantify precipitates that form during ammonia gas treatment, which will allow for this treatment to be applied to the field.


Joshua Fugette
“Evidence of Hybrid Speciation in Iris Nelsonii”


Hybridization often results in the production of hybrids with lower fitness than the hybridizing taxa. However, in some systems, hybrid lineages may be fit in a novel habitat such that the hybrid lineage can diverge from the progenitor species. Homoploid hybrid speciation involves the evolution of reproductive isolation between such a hybrid lineage and the originally hybridizing taxa. Iris nelsonii is a purported homoploid hybrid species derived from hybridization between three widespread species of Louisiana Iris: Iris brevicaulis, I. fulva, and I. hexagona. I conducted a survey of the genetic variation in populations of the three widespread species and I. nelsonii in order to investigate the origin of I. nelsonii. Iris retrotransposon display fragment variation indicates that I. nelsonii is a stabilized species that shares much of its fragment variation with I. fulva. These data are consistent with previous analyses of allozyme and random amplified fragment polymorphisms within this system.


Jennie Tudor Gray
“Writing a Youth Non-Fiction Book on Contemporary Women Artists”


It has come to my attention over my career in various bookstores and libraries that there is a void in the book market as far as books on contemporary women artists for a youth market. My honors thesis would consist of helping fill this gap by writing said book. The book will attempt to highlight the life and artworks of women artists from around the globe. The book will be geared to students as well as a resource for educators as it will include lesson plan activities that correspond to each artist.


Timothy Gregg
“Confrontational vs. Avoidance Approaches to Fighting Addiction”


Does how a person chooses to respond to an addiction trigger affect success in efforts to abstain? The current study explores this question by measuring participants’ tendency to choose “confrontation” or “avoidance” strategies in response to addiction triggers and success in efforts to quit smoking.

The goal of this research is to begin to build psychological measurements into an alcohol addiction treatment program. Before proposing such a program, however, preliminary data is being gathered with students attempting to quit smoking. It is proposed that individuals that choose to “confront” triggers will report more successful abstinence (report fewer “slips”) than those who choose “avoidance” strategies in response to triggers.

Data is still being gathered but preliminary analyses suggest that those participants who responded to “trigger scenarios” with “confrontation” strategies report more successful abstinence efforts on weekly follow-up contacts than those participants who chose “avoidance” strategies in response to the same trigger scenarios. Full analyses and implications of these findings for alcohol addiction treatment will be explored.


Corey S. Jackson
“Solving the Musician's Dilemma: One Community's HAAM, Another Community's Example”


Austin, Texas is the Live Music Capital of the World. It is home to over 8,000 working musicians and many world-famous music venues and events. Austin’s music industry provides over 10,000 jobs and contributes nearly $1 billion annually to the local economy, yet most Austin musicians live at or below the federal poverty level, without health insurance. Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) is a nonprofit organization that brings together doctors, local businesses, and community donors in a network providing basic preventive health services to this essential segment of the community. HAAM is a unique service stemming from Austin’s unique culture, but a nation of musicians share this healthcare dilemma. Chicago, Illinois is home to over 80,000 musicians, and a music scene that provides over 65,000 jobs, contributing over $15 billion annually to Chicago’s economy. Currently, there is not a local nonprofit organization that supports uninsured musicians in Chicago with affordable primary healthcare. Could Chicago benefit from a nonprofit organization that connects musicians to local health services? I believe HAAM’s example could be used to derive a model which other communities across the country, like Chicago, can adapt to their distinctive personalities. I intend to prove this in three parts: the story of HAAM’s genesis and services; a comparison between Austin and Chicago, using “The Windy City” as a case for this general framework; and an online presence, that will host a short film and raise awareness about how communities can help their musicians, all while saving the community money.


Ryan Klitgaard
“Ammonia Toxicity to Asian Clams (Corbicula fluvimea) Under Field Conditions in Wilbarger Creek (Travis County, Texas)”


Freshwater mussels are one of the most rapidly declining groups of animals in aquatic ecosystems. Most freshwater mussels have a lower tolerance to ammonia (a commonly occurring pollutant) than other groups of aquatic organisms. We investigated the toxicity of ammonia to Asian clams (Corbicula fluvimea) using water from Wilbarger Creek (Travis County, Texas), where a large wastewater treatment plant (a major source of ammonia) has been permitted for construction. We exposed Corbicula collected from Wilbarger Creek to seven concentrations of ammonia for 24 hours to determine the LC50 of ammonia under actual stream conditions. We used reagent-grade ammonium chloride as our source of ammonia, and measured concentration of total nitrogen as ammonia (TAN) by chemical assay. Our results showed no toxicity at the lowest four concentrations (.5, .8, 1.3, and 2.4 mg/L), and low to moderate toxicity at the highest two (5 and 10 mg/L). These results demonstrate that significant freshwater mussel mortality can occur even at the maximum daily concentration of 10 mg/L allowed by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and can be used to help guide policy makers’ decisions concerning allowable ammonia concentrations.


Russell MacDougal
“Velcro Connections”


Velcro Connections (VX) is first and foremost a social networking tool. My goal is to build a website where different talented individuals can post profiles in order to entice anyone willing to pay their price to hire them for a service. The idea was founded around local San Marcos musicians whom I have discovered that I believe are being severely underutilized. These artists, and others of non-musical orientation, stand to benefit from the increased opportunities of employment, and increased exposure, whereas public and private venues (including private house parties) will have easy access to a vast and diverse yet easily available group of artists at affordable prices. The site will be free to use, however I would personally rake a small percentage of both the money made by the performer(s) and the venue.


Marcella Nance
“Elemental and Nutritional Variability in Aquatic and Terrestrial Arthropods”


Aquatic and terrestrial arthropods are important food resources for both terrestrial and aquatic consumers. For example, emergent adult aquatic arthropods are consumed by many species of birds. On the other hand, terrestrial arthropods that fall into aquatic systems can be a very important food resource for fishes. While the temporal patterns of abundance among these arthropod groups is well documented, there is an assumption that aquatic and terrestrial arthropods are similar in their nutritional value which is indicated by the ratios of carbon and nitrogen in the body tissues. We analyzed the C:N ratios of several arthropod taxa from both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems to determine if the nutritional value among these groups varies significantly among taxa, habitat, and trophic level (herbivores vs. predators).


Kelly Rotzler
“Research, Reuse, Revitalize: Designing a Texas Community’s Future”


Historic preservation celebrates and revitalizes the historic architecture of the past, but can also become a catalyst that restructures the local economy––in turn––creating job opportunities, business opportunities, and increasing the city’s overall economic system. Since 1981, through their Texas Main Street Program, The Texas Historical Commission has recognized the creation of almost 6,400 businesses in main street districts. Seguin is a Charter Member of the Texas Main Street program. This program is dedicated to the economic revitalization of downtown through historic preservation. Seguin's downtown is also recognized as an Accredited National Main Street City by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Seguin’s Main Street Program and Texas State’s Research and Environmental Design students and faculty, have teamed up to collaborate and encourage more growth to Seguin’s historic district. The vision is to restore a half-block of buildings adjacent to the courthouse square which includes a hardware store from 1868. The design development included plans for residential, restaurant, and commercial retail spaces. Our research––of both the community and the building site––is to reflect in our design proposal, taking into account community history and demographics, maps, housing information, site history and style, price analysis, and zoning information. In addition, our research captures how the surrounding community affects the design, and in turn how the redesign of the former hardware store impacts the local economy. The goal––as design students––is to be the visionary for the betterment of the community.


Kellen Elizabeth Stanley
“Memory as Childhood Videotape: The Marnie Video Performance”


In this life, we as human beings cling to our memories for documentation of existence. In the past two years, I've been working with a certain childhood memory captured on videotape. I refer to this specific tape as 'the Marnie video;' it acts as a remnant of my four-year old self in front of a technology capturing a storytelling performance. I long to have this memory play in front of me, without a television, mirroring the Samuel Beckett play, Krapp's Last Tape. Krapp yearns to hear the playback of voice recordings telling of his past, but tragically he can never physically go back into the memory. Beckett's comment on remembrance informs my approach of performance and theater as the main outlet of this thesis. Rehearsing with collaborating actors and musicians will bring me to the process that physically reconnects to this memory. I propose to create a sensory experience that triggers nostalgia in everyone involved, specifically channeling my childhood memory of the Marnie video as the main space of this performance.


Victoria L. Thornton
“What Is Infidelity? Perceptions Based Upon Biological Sex and Personality”


The current study examined perceptions of infidelity, paying particular attention to how these perceptions would differ based upon biological sex and personality traits, specifically agency, communion, and their unmitigated counterparts. The study utilized a sample of 125 male and 233 female college students. In addition to the personality measures, participants completed a 19-item checklist that assessed their perceptions of specific items that could potentially be construed as infidelity. It was hypothesized that females would construe more items as infidelity than males. It was also predicted that unmitigated communion and communion would be positively correlated with these perceptions and that unmitigated agency would be negatively correlated with these perceptions. No correlation was predicted between agency and infidelity. All hypotheses were supported. Implications and suggestions for future research will be discussed.


Saul Villarreal
“Metamodeling-Based Approximations for Optimization”


Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) and Linear Regression Model are two techniques that may be used to approximate functionalities hidden in raw data. When these data are generated with a model – like a simulation model- then the ANN and linear regression models are called ‘metamodels’. Artificial Neural Networks are viable metamodeling techniques since they are able to learn from examples, and are interesting because they deal effectively with uncertainty and noisy data, and are capable of universal approximation under specific conditions. Linear Regression is certainly a viable technique as it has been the workhorse of function approximation in statistics for many years. The purpose of this research was to compare accuracy, usability, and efficiency of both types of the metamodels described above in the particular context of a simulation optimization algorithm that uses function approximation as a key element in its structure. In order to carry out such comparison, a series of well-known test functions were used to be subjected to minimization: 1) Sphere, 2) Rosenbrock, 3) Rastringin, 4) Griewank, 5) Goldstein-Price, 6) Easom, and 7) Schfewel. The optimal solutions are well established for all these functions and can be easily accessed in the global optimization literature. In the Simulation Optimization Algorithm used in this work, one will choose the metamodeling technique, either ANN or Linear Regression, to approximate the values of each of the seven functions based on a finite sample obtained following a Central Composite Design (CCD). The CCD is a design (from the Design of Experiments field) that is known for its adequacy to study nonlinear behavior in experimental values. After obtaining values through the CCD for a particular function, the best solution is chosen as an incumbent. A metamodel is then created and subjected to optimization using Excel Solver under a multiple starting points scheme. The Excel Solver uses the Generalized Reduced Gradient algorithm for nonlinear optimization purposes. After a potential minimum is obtained, a true objective function value is obtained by evaluating the candidate solution in the targeted test function. Then, three stopping criteria are checked: Stop if 1) the potential minimum belongs to the original CCD; 2) the R squared is 100%; or 3) a predefined maximum number of iterations have been achieved. If none of the stopping criteria is met, the incumbent solution is added to the available known points and a new metamodel is created, thereby starting a new iteration. On every iteration, the new candidate solution is compared to the incumbent for updating purposes. When meeting a stopping criterion, the incumbent is reported and the algorithm ends. The materials used in this research were the Excel Solver for optimization, Matlab to model the ANN, and Minitab to find the regression and the R squared of the approximations. Graphics were used for supporting analysis and eventual conclusions. Analyzing the preliminary results, it is important to notice that ANNs were able to converge to the best known solutions in the least number of iterations, which would indicate that using a complex metamodel actually helped efficiency. This, of course should be balanced against the work of solving a more complex optimization problem. Furthermore, when trying the regression metamodels, it was interesting to see that a higher order model showed better results in this case. The results thus far, as it can be appreciated, go in the direction predicted when it comes to metamodel complexity. The next steps in this work should be to confirm the preliminary result to then extend the study to include further test functions of different kinds. The expected utility of this project is to shed some light in terms of what kind of metamodel should be used when applying the simulation optimization algorithm, especially in light of seeking a low number of iterations to find attractive solutions. This project was part of an NSF REU summer experience for Saul Villarreal and Monique Grier at University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. (NSF REU 0851879, PI: Dr. Viviana Cesani).


Joseph Whitt
“Trafficking Patterns of Candida albicans Cell Mutants Within Murine Macrophages Upon Phagocytosis”


Candida albicans is an opportunistic pathogen that costs over one billion dollars a year to treat. The duration and severity of candidial infection are dependent upon interactions between Candida and the innate immune system, specifically host phagocytes such as macrophages. Affected individuals are typically immune compromised or suffer from genetic defects in innate immune system signaling pathways. Macrophages play a key role in overcoming candidiasis, but C. albicans possesses a number of mechanisms to evade destruction after phagocytosis, most notably filamentous hyphae formation. The impact of cell wall proteins in preventing yeast destruction is not well characterized. Surprisingly, the intracellular fate of C. albicans within macrophages has not been well characterized either, but previous work has suggested it does not undergo the classical phagosomal maturation process. In this study, strains of Candida defective in certain cell w! all proteins that are candidates to mediate the aberrant trafficking were transformed with a GFP tag using electroporation to follow their fate in the macrophage after phagocytosis. Whether these defective cell wall proteins aided in Candida survival or resulted in their rapid destruction was studied. Initial attempts to transform five of the C. albicans strains were unsuccessful and we identified a defect within the GFP expression plasmid. The plasmid was reconstructed and confirmed to be correct. This has allowed us to retransform the original strains in order to test the original hypothesis, and these experiments are underway.


Thomas Wilson
“Physical and Mechanical Properties of the Parts Bonded by the FDFF Process”


Fully Dense Freeform Fabrication is an emerging engineering practice involving additive manufacturing, as oppose to material removal, to laminate slices with variable thicknesses bonded together with a bonding material. The focus of the current research is producing fully dense metallic parts by using heat, pressure, and bonding materials such as soldering and brazing materials. In this research, the mechanical and physical properties of the final parts are evaluated and compared with parts that are machined out of a solid block. Physical properties are mainly electrical and thermal conductivity. Mechanical properties include stress and bending tests are conducted according to ASTM standards. Design of experiments method is used to test the effects of bonding material (i.e., different percentages of tin-bismuth) and thickness on the physical and mechanical properties.

2009 URC Presentation Abstracts

2009 URC Presentation Abstracts

Brandi Barrier and Daniel Velez (Faculty advisor: Dr. Jitendra Tate, Co-author: Dmitri Kabakov)

Glass/Phenolic Nanocomposites

Polymer matrix composites (PMC) consist of a fiber reinforcement (E-glass, S2-glass, or carbon) and a polymer matrix/resin (polyester, vinyl ester, polyurethane, phenolic, epoxy, or cyanate ester). E-glass/phenolic composites are gaining popularity in marine, transportation(ground and aviation), military, and construction industry due to their exemplary fire, smoke, and toxicity (FST) properties. It is very important that E-glass/phenloic composites possess good FST and mechanical properties to help enhance safety in the previously mentioned applications. This study proposes to modify a water-based phenolic resin (Cellobond© J2027L) with montmorillonite nanoclay (Cloisite© Na+) at different loadings (0, 2.5, 5, and 7.5wt%) to enhance FST and mechanical properties. A THINKY planetary centrifugal mixer was used for the dispersion of the nanoclay in the phenolic resin. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analyses were used to determine the deg! ree of nanoparticles dispersions in the polymer nanocomposites. This mixing technique was compared with a high shear mixing technique to determine which mixing technique was more successful at thoroughly dispersing the nanoparticles in the phenolic resin. Both mixing techniques have different potential advantages. Vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) is a low cost closed molding process. This nano-modified phenolic resin was used to manufacture E-glass reinforced composites using this low-cost VARTM process. Mass loss calorimeter tests were conducted at a heat flux of 35 kW/m2 for these composites. In addition, mechanical properties such as flexural strength, inter-laminar shear strength, and compressive strength were evaluated.
 

Business Law Honors Students

Sustainability in the Classroom, at Texas State, in San Marcos, and the World

In our initial class meeting, we, the students in Honors Business Law 2361, voted for a "two-for-one" learning experience, covering the details of the core business course and working on complex campus and community sustainability projects. We divided into four foursomes.  First, with Ms. Nusbaum, a group is tackling rating the Planning, Administration & Engagement at Texas State by looking at diversity initiatives, investments, and community service issues. This research will be the basis of Ms. Nusbaum's grant proposal for STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) that will fund a Texas State, professionally-done inventory. Second, with Ms. Flores and Ms. Mitchell, a group is collaborating with the Phoenix School which serves the under-represented, at risk students. To enhance and embrace self-esteem and success, we will sponsor new visits to Texas State for college days, high school projects on green initiatives & even creative, social initiatives based on local and international dance companies' performances. Third, at Central Texas Medical Center with Mr. DeStefano, another group is helping host the opening of the $35 million birthing center in November. Education of under-served is at the heart of CTMC's mission. In con! junction with the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce, CTMC and our class will bring speakers to the 1st San Marcos Green Expo in March 2010. Fourth, under the leadership of Ms. Franks and Ms. Moyer, a group is addressing Downtown San Marcos Business Association and Main Street Downtown issues of sustainability & historic preservation. The Dunbar Neighborhood and the Calaboose African American History Museum will be spotlighted by our class for use by Dr. Sandra Mayo in Black History Month. The San Marcos Police Bicycle Patrol asked for our assistance, as well as the committee submitting new proposals for redesigning the pedestrian corridor downtown.  With the multitude of initiatives, our class will show how one student and one class can make a difference.

 

Robert Ben Crawford

The Indwelling God

The Indwelling God is a script for a potential video game. There are three protagonists – Equii, Vlanci, and Rekin - who attempt to overthrow the antagonist, Afanasi, at different periods. As the story progresses, each protagonist will help the game-player learn more about the world and help develop a bitter hatred towards the antagonist. Philosophical themes will include ideas of eternal recurrence, familial ties, the dualistic nature of man, and the difference between duty and opportunity. There are several scenes within each chapter that span lengths of time which are meant to allow the player to play the game; whereas, the scenes themselves are checkpoints that the story and the player must progress through.

 

 

Matt Dominguez and James P. LeSage

The Impact of Migration on Metro and Non-Metro Marginal Tax Prices for County Government Services

Migration of population has impacts on the provision of local government services. Destination regions should benefit from an inflow of more highly skilled and educated workers, since these are the groups most likely to move. On the other hand, origin regions may suffer from a loss of the more productive members of their communities who are also less dependent on government services. This reasoning has led to the argument that rural-urban migration trends over the past half century have increased the costs of providing local government services in rural areas. This study examines the relationship between the marginal tax cost of county government services and population in- and out-migration for a sample of 950 counties that exist in metropolitan areas versus 1,741 non-metropolitan counties. A spatial econometric model is used to quantify direct and indirect (spillover) effects arising from in- and out-migration from neighboring counties and non-neighboring counties that impact the marginal tax costs of county-level government services.

 

Rebekah Frank

Cover Your Eyes: Considering Empathetic Response in Reviewing Visual Art Conveying Trauma

In the process of considering art, especially images of pain and trauma, the audience serves an important role, as their reaction is an integral part of the experience, even as part of the process of art making.  Artists may overtly or covertly attempt to manipulate the reaction of the audience, to guide the empathetic response of the viewer. As both a visual artist and a critical thinker, I am interested in the effect of this empathetic response and the complex relationship that exists between the artist, the viewer and the artwork.  In this paper I will be taking into account recent neurological research into Mirror Neuron Systems (MNS) in the brain, sociological studies on empathy in relation to trauma and pain, and abject theory as explained by French feminist theorist Julia Kristeva to synthesize a holistic understanding of the viewer's response to pain and trauma in art. I will engage the work of recognized artists, such as Marina Ab! ramovic and Yoko Ono, interpreting their performative iterations of pain and trauma through this understanding of the mechanics of empathetic response. For example, the experience of a viewer watching as a young man aggressively approaches Ono and removes large portions of her clothing in the performance of Cut (1965).  The value of understanding the empathetic process will be immediately applicable to my creative process. The paper ends with a brief explanation of my own work, which seeks to convey the trauma of living within a gendered body that is constrained by society.

 

Ray Gonzales, Sam Peterson, Tim Harris, and Irfan Syed

The effects of nanoparticles (Halloysites) on Hyalella azteca (scuds) and Procambarus clarkii (crayfish) with respect to mortality rate

Halloysite is a type of nanoparticle that are used in many products, which may be deposited by clothing, cosmetics, paints, and fuel additives into aquatic ecosystems. Such effect on the surrounding environment is relatively unknown due to little research done with this type of nanoparticle within its time of discovery. The researches with other types of nanoparticles used in commercial activities have revealed that they present adverse effects on the physiology of humans and animals. For this experiment we wanted to observe the effect natural nanoparticles would have on the aquatic ecosystem, compared to the currently known effects of the commercially released nanoparticles.   We observed the effects that three different amounts of Halloysite would have on scud and crayfish mortality rates and activity. The predicted outcome was that the nanoparticles would significantly affect the survival rate of the scud and crayfish. The three different amounts of Halloysite used were, 0 mg, 1.0 mg, and 25.0 mg each introduced to the container of each scud and crawfish. The energy source provided in each container was 1 large and 1 small dried oak leaf, which was weighed initially and after the completion of the experiment to measure leaf-litter breakdown. The scuds were divided into three treatments, each with three replicates. Each replicate initially contained 10 scuds. Additionally, nine crawfish containers were also created with 1 female crawfish per container. The crayfish were also divided into three treatments and each treatment had three replicates. The three treatments contained three different quantities of Halloysite for the duration of 10 days, and the containers were checked for mortality once every 24 hours. Contradictory to the results obtained using commercially used nanoparticles, the results yielded no significant difference between the treatment amounts. The scuds treated with nanaoparticles experienced the same survival rates observed by the scuds without nanoparticles. The results suggest that a higher amount of naturally occurring nanoparticles may be needed to show the effects it may have on scuds and crayfish, which are commonly found in aquatic ecosystems.

 

Edgar Gordyn

The Storytelling Tradition in Miguel Cervantes' Don Quixote

The curious phenomenon of storytelling is unique to human beings, and has for millennia been a vital vein for the development of human civilization. Epic poems glorify the deeds of heroes, stories embody religious beliefs, and our world generally becomes more sensible through stories, both factual and fictional. Miguel Cervantes’ character, the story-obsessed Don Quixote, represents our collective fascination with stories. Cervantes, in his novel Don Quixote, employs the storytelling tradition to make Quixote’s worlds—both that of his imagination and that in which Quixote lives—more ingenious and sensible. Cervantes’ numerous themes seem at first as disconnected and disorganized as Quixote’s thinking. However, utilizing the storytelling tradition within his novel, Cervantes coheres his disparate themes into a harmonious whole. This approach mirrors our general storytelling tradition that makes our world—historical and modern —more sensible, however random some of its events seem. By focusing on Part I of Don Quixote, my essay will analyze not only Cervantes’ use of stories within stories, but also his layered narrative structure, both of which devices make the novel Don Quixote a microcosm of the storytelling tradition that is crucial to our civilization’s development.

 

Lauryn Gould

The Inner Symphony: Applying Holistic Thinking to Music
 
Our brain functions are divided between two hemispheres - working together to process the tasks we encounter as we carry on with our daily lives.  However, each activity is dominated by either the left or right “side” of the brain.  Due to societal tendencies in the occidental world, much of the emphasis in education, and more specifically, music education and classical performance practice, is placed on “left brain” activity, that which deals with analytical thinking, logic, and verbal skills.  Although these left-brain activities undoubtedly contribute to musical understanding, a system that equally nurtures the right side of the brain (that which is responsible for governing emotion, interpretation, and holistic thinking), will aid in developing mature, well-rounded musicians and contributors to society.  Drawing inspiration from the discipline of ethnomusicology, seminal literature in music education, and Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind, this thesis suggests an impetus to create an educational environment better suited to develop more holistic thought processes in the field of music education particularly at the college level.

This project is supported by a performance element, which embodies some of the principles defended herein.

 

Dave P. Hanrath

From Bankruptcy to Billions: How Spider-Man and the X-Men Rescued Marvel

At the end of 1996 Marvel Comics filed for bankruptcy. In 2009 they were bought by Disney for $4 billion. Marvel's movies brought them back to the forefront of the industry, but how did the movies become so successful?

 

Alex Herrera and Erik Larson (Faculty advisor: Dr. Jitendra Tate)

Kenaf reinforced Soy-based Polyurethane Nanocomposites: Mechanical and Thermal Properties

Nanomodified soy-based polyurethane was reinforced with a kenaf core powder to improve mechanical and thermal properties. The kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) core powder, donated by Kenaf Industries in Raymondville, TX, is made from ground core fibers that underlie bast fibers used in paper manufacturing. Aromatic polyisocyanate was used as a curing agent to formulate non-foam full density thermoset polyurethane resin. Four loadings each of Halloyosite nanotubes (HNT) and nanosilica were introduced in soy-based polyurethane. HNT was dispersed using a planetary centrifugal mixer and nanosilica was dispersed using simple mechanical stirring. Test panels were manufactured using heated platen compression press and cut into test specimens using an abrasive water jet machine. These nanocomposites were characterized under mechanical loading in accordance with the AMSE testing standard. Mechanical tests include tension, compression, and flexure. Addi! tional characterization of nanoparticle dispersion was observed using a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Thermal analysis of these composites is performed to evaluate thermal stability and glass transition temperature.

 

Travis Hilbig and Ben Butler (Faculty advisor: Dr. Jitendra Tate)

Effect of Mixing Techniques on Thermal and Fatigue Properties of Epoxy Resin with Halloysite Nanotubes

Using halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) is a relatively new technology with many unexplored properties. HNTs are inexpensive and have the potential to be an inexpensive substitute for Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) in improving the mechanical and thermal properties of a polyer matrix. These particles have shown potential in increasing impact strength in epoxy as well as showing significant improvement in tensile strength, modulus and flexural modulus. The broader objective is to create an epoxy nanocomposites using HNT that can be successfully dispersed using low cost methods such as mechanical stirring or centrifugal mixing. This epoxy nanocomposite will then be used as a matrix material in E-glass (fiberglass) reinforced composites in order to test the improved properties of this low-cost fiber reinforced nano-composite. In this paper, the possibility of using low cost mixing methods to disperse the HNT nanoparticles, such as mechanical stirring by Dispermat© or centrifugal mixing by THINKY©, in an epoxy resin will be compared and the amount of dispersion will be evaluated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). It has been shown that simple mechanical mixing is sufficient to disperse HNT in an epoxy resin. Once the better method for mixing has been found, different loadings of HNT in the epoxy resin will be tested for improvement of toughness properties, using Izod impact and flexure tests, as well as thermal properties, using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The results will be compared and expressed to show the optimal percent weight loading of HNT in an epoxy resin system.

 

Charles Jacobs and Ben Olson (Faculty advisor: Jitendra S. Tate, Co-authors: Joseph H. Koo and Dmitri Kabakov)

Thermal Stability Studies on Nylon 11/Nanographen Nanocomposites

The scope of this report is to evaluate thermal properties of polyamide 11 (PA11)/nanographene platelet (NGP) nanocomposites.  The main processing technique used was hand mixing PA11 and NGPs using a flat wooden dowel.  Isopropyl alcohol (OPA) was used as a solvent to assist in disperson of the NGPs, within PA11.  The resultant solution of PA11/NGPs was heated to between 80-85°C in order to evaporate the IPA and then placed in a compression press between aluminum foils at 190 C and used to produce a thin film for testing.  Thermal characterization of nanocomposites include thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) studies with a heating rate of 10°C/min. Previous research and analysis of nanographen suggst that the improved thermal properties are ideal for application as a thermal management layer in microelectronic devices, lightning protection in aircraft, and thermally conductive films.  Our goal was to compare neat resin PA11 to NGP modified PA11 to determine if improvement in thermal properties occurred and if the film will be practical for use in industrial applications.

 

Scott Jennings

Effects of Food Quality on the Growth of Acheta domesticus (Linnaeus)

Studying food webs and animal communities is important to understanding the basis of structure and functioning in ecosystems.  Nutritional ecology of organisms and the basis from which they feed provide information on trophic flows across the land and aquatic ecosystems in which organisms use resources for optimal growth and nutrition.   A study was conducted specifically to the subject of the variability of food resources in house crickets (Acheta domesticus and resulting growth analysis.  Four treatments of food resources with different quality to house crickets were (1)vegetative food only,(2)fish only,(3) both vegetative and fish resources,(4)a control (no food.  We hypothesized that the house crickets fed with vegetative and fish will grow more and have higher biomass than those limited to one nutritional subsidy only.   The observed results confirmed the prediction that the growth of house crickets directly responded to limited or denied resources through decreased biomass and increased mortality.

 

Kara Jimenez Niaomi Gallegos and Megan Lindsay

Diet Selection of the Red Eared Slider Turtle, Chrysemys scripta

The Texas native turtle, the Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) may play an important ecological role in the food web in the San Marcos River.  There are recent concerns over the turtles negative effect on the fish population and the rates of consumption. The objective of this study is to determine what food item the red-eared slider prefers when comparing multiple available food resources. This diet selection experiment will show the impact the turtles have in the ecosystem based on their selection. Reconstruction of streams was created to simulate their habitats in nature using rocks, soil, and sub-dividers. Each stream channel had one slider. The body size of turtles varied to show the total range of a population and resemble an actual community. The treatments of the experiment included filamentous algae, fish, crayfish, and snails in individual cages left in channels for the turtles to eat at their leisure. We measured weight of each food item before and after the experiment within a 24 hour period. Our preliminary results showed that the preferential diet items for the Red Eared Slider were dead fish and crayfish. The results of the trails supported our prediction that the Red Eared Slider turtles may have a strong negative effect on fish populations. The turtles in the experiment preferred fish rather than other food items they were provided.

 

Benjamin Lamb, Deleigh Hermes, and Christina Zambrano (Faculty advisor, Jason Reed)

Newcomers: Wurzbach Manor

Wurzbach Manor is an unassuming apartment complex in an ordinary looking neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas.  Standing outside its wrought iron gates, passersby would never suspect the vibrant tapestry of cultural diversity that teems within.  This bland housing development is the home of refugees brought to the United States from Burma, Afghanistan, Kenya, Somalia, Iraq and several other countries and therefore has become a refuge of unique and un-Americanized cultures, ripe with stories to be told and voices to be heard.

Working collaboratively with the youth of Wurzbach Manor, our Newcomers program utilized photography and creative writing to provide the refugee children an opportunity to express their viewpoint in new ways, through the creation of art.  Over a period of two weeks, we gave each child a disposable camera and a composition journal and encouraged them to express themselves and share with us their perspective and lifestyle.

Rooted in our culture of iPods and the wild web, gaining a fresh and real perspective is difficult.  These refugee youth, however, can provide us with a needed dose of global perspective simply by reflecting on their new place in our culture.  Gleaning over 1000 images, the Newcomers program will produce a book of images and an exhibition in order to spread this perspective and give a voice to those who have an important story to tell.  Our poster will include several images and writing selections from the youth at Wurzbach Manor, as well as information on refugees in the United States.

 

Leslie Long and Amanda Dunagin

Use of Pseudorandom Number Generators in Software Testing

Pseudorandom number generators (PRNGs) are used frequently in computers, from games to complex physics simulations. In software testing, PRNGs can be used to create a set of inputs to a program that covers a wide range of possible inputs. To assess how the software handles a range of inputs, a PRNG needs to output a uniform range of numbers. Uniformity is important for testing purposes. Uniformity is how series of numbers generated are distributed. Samples taken from a PRNG should be uniform across a spectrum of possible numbers so that they varied enough to be relevant for testing purposes. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the usefulness of the PRNG included in Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system. This will include an analysis of the uniformity of numbers that are the output of the PRNG across n-dimensions, as well as the length of the period of the PRNG.
 

Molyne Martinez, Mario Sullivan, and Yixin Zhang

Dietary Preference of House Crickets: The Related Effects of Limited Food Distribution

Nutritional values found in food sources are a growing subject of interest in field ecology. It is designed to give greater insight to insect dietary needs and food preference. Studies help to explain the shift in eating habits for some species of insects during environmental change. This intern allows us to see what nutrients are vital to the growth and development of our chosen house cricket. The objective of this investigation is to design an experiment to help gain information towards the house crickets diet while placed under stress when food resources are limited to two food types. The food resources used were dried fish matter and leaf matter; water is present during the testing in each of the treatments. We hypothesize that those consumers that have access to varying resources and ample water supplies will grow more quickly and obtain greater overall biomass.

The experimental set up is fairly simple there are a total of four treatments each designed to test a type food source. The first treatment is crickets without any food matter. The second are crickets placed with just dried fish matter. The third treatment is the subject placed just with leaf matter. And finally our last treatment will have both leaf and fish matter. Treatment one is verifies our thoughts that without adequate food resources are subject wound not survive within hrs.  Treatment two and three do not show significant growth of cricket biomass and length, but do verify an increase in the amount of food consumed during the study. The final treatment verifies our hypothesis by revealing slight increase of cricket biomass and length of the subjects, along with a significant amount of food resource consumed during the study.  This study does draw light to the study of nutritional values in ecology and help us to further design studies that will lead to further inves! tigation in food discrimination within riparian environments.

 

Saki Matsukawa

With advanced technology and savvy Generation Y consumers who know how to make use of it, the Japanese market has become one of the most unique in the world. Japanese consumers increasingly use technology as a solution for the problems they have. In addition, many Japanese companies provide technological solutions for their consumers as well as communicate with them through varied technologies. Often, many of these technologies are found only in Japan. Due to a highly competitive market and severe consumer scrutiny, these cutting-edge technologies that are successful in Japan tend to succeed in other countries as well. In fact, many technological innovations once unique to Japan have been adopted globally and are now mainstream. By innovating totally new technologies or creating a fusion of Western and Japanese technologies, the Japanese market has become an increasingly interesting market. This paper was created to provide other countries with information about how Japanese consumers use technology. The paper covers cultural trends in Japan, technology as solution, and recommendations for the application of technology. By analyzing the relationship between Japanese consumers and technological innovation, other countries businesses’ will be able to figure out the changes of market trends. Moreover, this paper will offer opportunities for how these technologies might possibly be applied to other countries while considering social and cultural differences.

 

Roxanne Moralez

The perspective regarding females in the accounting profession has changed within the past two decades, as women have created a strong presence in the accounting profession. Women struggle with the balance between work and personal life, as well as with the limits in advancement. As a result, firms have implemented “women/choice initiatives,” programs created by firms to offer female employees additional resources utilized as needed and at the discretion of the firm, to endorse the admission, growth, and full participation of women, as well as to promote gender diversity in the firm and the profession. Such programs have proven beneficial, as well as, detrimental for female accountants.

Research regarding female accountants who have benefited or suffered from the implementation of current “women/choice initiatives” has not been conducted heavily since the explosion of females entering the accounting field in the late 1970s. This paper will focus on certified public accountants in Texas affected by recent implementations by firms to assist with balancing work and life of female employees as of the mid-1990s.

Methodology used includes available statistical data from accounting publications and organizations such as The Journal of Accountancy and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), perspectives from personal experience as an intern in the profession, a survey of current accounting majors requesting their perspective of work/life balance based on their intended career, and survey of certified public accountants from four Texas metropolitan areas affected by the difficulty of balancing professional and personal life. The survey questioned the accountants’ job satisfaction and the effects of current “choice initiatives.” In addition, job satisfaction would include factors such as flexibility offered by firms to maintain a family, response to unexpected personal issues, and overall responses to management.  The findings are intended to benefit employers and practitioners, as well as new accountants as the information may encourage the awareness of work/life balance issues in the accounting profession.

 

 

Kosaku Narioka

Searching for the Point of No Return

The diplomatic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization worsened after the Oslo Accords in 1993, which settled the First Intifada (Palestinians uprising against Israelis) and was believed to become the foundation toward the conflict resolution. The Second Intifada eventually broke in 2000. Many factors contributed to the collapse of the peace talk. Those include the issues with the accords themselves, Israel's delays in the settlement withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories, Israeli religious extremists' activities and settlers' violence against Palestinians, and suicide bombings against Israelis by Palestinian organizations. In this presentation, while assessing relative importance of those factors, I will pay a particular attention to one factor, whose effects have traditionally been underestimated. I will explore the hypothesis that the PLO's failure to condemn the suicide bombings significantly da! maged the peace talk.

 

Maureen Pafumi

Unit Curriculum for 6th Grade Texas Students: Introduction to Arab Culture

This curriculum focuses on educating sixth graders about the geography, history, culture, and politics of the Arab World. It aims to have students think critically and be open-minded when encountering another culture.   Classes teaching students more about other cultures have become increasingly necessary with the phenomena of globalization that is occurring today. Currently students are not receiving enough information about the history and culture about other parts of our world, which is quickly becoming more intertwined.   This unit focuses on Arab culture, which is a vital part of the world today. The politics, conflicts, and resources in the Arab world are of increasing importance to the United States, and therefore our future citizens should be more educated about the region.

 

Risha Patel, Gabrielle Timmins, and Chi Nguyen

Value of Bat Subsidy Effects of Non-Cave Ecosystems

There have been very few studies done on aquatic cave ecosystems and the influences of guano on the ecology and fitness of these organisms.  Due to foraging and feeding at night by bats, guano is distributed over areas outside of cave systems.  But there has been limited research done on the effects of guano on aquatic systems outside of these caves.  Bat guano is a great resource of nutrients for plants and variety of organisms because it contains high levels of nutrients.  Nutrients are important for plants because it is a limiting factor for the soil, essential for growth and survival.  To accomplish this, we monitored the growth rate change of crayfish and leaf decomposition rates in varying amounts of guano.  Four replications were produced in a time span of four weeks using, 18 crayfish, Procambarus sp., 9 aquariums, guano collected from Braken Bat Cave in Texas, and dry leaves collected from San Marcos, TX.  9 different aquatic enviro! nments were equally allocated with 5 pounds of dry leaves for habitat and additional nourishment, rocks, water, and 2 crayfish each.  Each environment had varying amounts of guano pellets of 0 (the control), 3, and 9.  Though we had a wide range of results it shed light on the nitrous influence on systems that are not isolated by the typical ecology of a cave ecosystem.  It was determined using a single factor ANOVA that no influence was seen meaning there was no significant crayfish growth due to the different amounts of guano.

 

James Rogers

Effect of Different Food Types on Survival and Growth of House Crickets (Acheta domesticus)

For an organism to grow it requires increased amounts of nutrition, which includes nitrogen, phosphorous, proteins, and varying carbohydrates.  There are varying amounts of nutrition gained as an organism moves up in a food web; usually these levels of essential components decrease the higher the trophic level.  The objective of the experiment was to see how much of an effect of different food types had on cricket biomass with also the proportion of food eaten.  Three different treatments of food types were done on common house crickets, Acheta domesticus, to determine whether a significant change in body mass could be seen.  The three treatments were (1) leaf litter only, (2) fish only, (3) fish and leaf litter, each with five replicates each.  The crickets were measured in length and weight before and after each experimental period from September through October.  The results determined that crickets in the leaf only treatment died from malnutrition while crickets from the other two treatments doubled and tripled in biomass.  A conclusion found from these results is that for the omnivorous house cricket survival on primary producers alone is not enough.  From these results further studies can be made.  For example can these results be representative for all omnivores or is this result only for certain arthropods? 
 

Stephanie Schlacks, Kelly Haskard, Harvey Ginsburg, and Anna Williams

A Natural Observation of Staff-Patient Interactions at a Psychiatric Hospital

Research shows the importance of communication between staff and patients at mental health facilities. Learning to communicate effectively with fragile populations is a learned skill that requires much training and rehearsal. Staffing ratios also play an important role in effectively interacting with patients to maximize every meeting. Improvements in quality of interactions, with the correct quantity (enabled by the right ratio of staff:patients), will lead to more frequent and successful discharges. Methods: Researcher conducted 51 ten minute observations of staff-patient interactions at a state psychiatric hospital using the Staff-Resident Interaction Chronograph. Results will show how staff are performing and where improvements are needed. Comparisons will be made between three units. Staffing ratios will be compared to scores on observation chart.

 

Silvya Soto

Unlike mammals, fish and amphibians exhibit remarkable regenerative properties of the central nervous system. This study focused on the differences in gene expression involved in optic nerve injury and the severing of muscle tissue (sham operated) surrounding the eye of Danio rerio (zebrafish). Due to its multiple abilities to heterodimerize and its ambiguous effects in nerve regeneration and cell death, c-jun was chosen as our gene of interest in order to gain insight on its effects on post optic nerve injury. Based on previous studies, it was hypothesized that expression of c-jun would show a significant increase in fish that suffered injury to the optic nerve compared to those that only underwent peripheral tissue damage. Following an RNA extraction and cDNA synthesis with retro transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), quantification of c-jun expression was determined by quantitative real time-PCR (qRT-PCR). A two way independent samples analysis of variance was carried out in order to determine whether there were significant differences in gene expression after 3 hours, 24 hours and 168 hours after injury between sham operated and optic nerve injured fish. Significant differences ( p < 0.05) between sham operated and optic nerve injured were shown at 24 hours and at 168 hours. There was a significant (p < 0.05) up-regulation of c-jun in optic nerve injury and sham operated between each time period except for 3 hours and 168 hours. The significant differences in expression of c-jun corroborated past studies (Saul; Veldman et al., 2007, Herdegen et al., 1993) and demonstrated that c-jun is significantly up-regulated in optic nerve injury compared to sham operated at certain time points.

 

 

Benjamin Sullivan

Lightning Storm

Abstract unavailable (Honors thesis supervised by Professor Kathleen Peirce, Department of English)

 

Kristina Wilson

Dirty Rags of the "Dark Ages"    

The clothing of the Middle Ages, or "Dark Ages", specifically of 14th century France, was not as "dark" and "dirty" as it is commonly assumed.  This research will show the general perception of a commoner in the Middle Ages and the reality of commoner attire.  It will also explain the reasons why people have come to believe the misconception of dress during this period.