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A Celebration of the Arts, Scholarship, Performance, Innovation and Research Excellence

Want to share your research with your peers? See fantastic performances, presentations and art exhibitions? Join us for ASPIRE: A Celebration of the Arts, Scholarship, Performance, Innovation and Research Excellence.

Late in the spring semester, the College dedicates a week to showcasing the accomplishments of its students and faculty across all areas of study. You are invited to check out the latest faculty research, sign up to share your own work and more. It’s a tribute to the amazing work that goes on here at Bridgewater College. Every day. Every week. Every year. And this is our chance to celebrate it!


March 25-27

Schedule of Events

Monday, March 25

Student Research Oral Presentations
3-5 p.m., Forrer Learning Commons 215

“Mathematics Manipulatives and Instructional Aids: A Resource Guide”
Cara Rodes, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Gwen Jones (Honors Project)
This resource guide examines the use of manipulatives and other instructional aids in supporting student learning. It provides both concrete and virtual manipulatives for teachers and parents as well as ideas for activities that they can be used for. These resources can assist teachers who may be looking to incorporate the use of manipulatives into their curriculums or parents who want to start using them at home. The guide is divided into categories: research, resources, and activities. The guide includes research on the benefits of instructional aids as well as a section providing opposing viewpoints and opinions on this topic. There is also information about beginning to incorporate these manipulatives in the classroom. Links are provided if parents or teachers would like to read more about these topics. The resources section offers links to and descriptions of both concrete and virtual aid options. The activities section highlights activities and games for each manipulative and how they can be beneficial to students. It is my hope that both parents and teachers will benefit from this project by learning about the different variations and uses of manipulatives in the classroom and at home.


“Cortisol Production in Female Soccer Players”
Katelyn Seagraves, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Robert Shute (Honors Project)
Cortisol is a steroid hormone responsible for many processes in the human body. This hormone is released from the adrenal glands when there is an apparent stressor. Exercise, while very beneficial, is seen as a stress to the body and incites increased cortisol release. Cortisol levels are known to increase with exercise, and higher intensity exercise tends to raise levels more than moderate and low intensity exercise. However, less is known about interval training and cortisol concentrations. The purpose of this study is to determine at which condition cortisol concentrations increase more: interval or constant load training. Then compare those loads to the training intensities in women’s soccer to assess how cortisol may be released during a typical training session or game. This can help determine pieces of the sport that may be more stressful to the body and therefore incite a need for more rest.


“Binding studies of 12α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase with its substrates and inhibitors to supplement the kinetics data”
Sabrina Hillegass, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Rippa Sehgal (Honors Project)
12α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (12α-HSDH) is an enzyme that catalyzes reactions within the human gut microbiome, with involvement in the degradation of bile acids into cholesterol. It is beneficial to attempt to further our understanding of the enzyme and its possible interactions so as to possibly aid in both creating new approaches for healthcare and insights for related enzyme study, such as studying ligand interactions and kinetic values.

For this project, previously ascertained dissociation constants for substrates NAD+ and NADP+ will be compared to Michaelis-Menten (Km) and inhibition (Ki) values for both, which will be obtained by performing kinetic reactions involving them and the target enzyme. As Km refers to kinetic parameters and Ki to the potency of an inhibitory effect, the comparison and calculation of these are vital for determining enzyme efficacy and efficiency in reaction mechanisms. By comparing these parameters, including those for DCA, CA, and FAD+, with their dissociation (Kd) values, more may be concluded about the relationship between the enzyme and a ligand, to include enzyme-substrate affinity and any tendency for dissociation that may affect the observed kinetics and inhibitory rates.”


“Mortality in Medicine”
Maren Dougherty, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Betsy Hayes (Honors Project)
The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate medical professionals’ perceptions of how their medical and/or nursing education prepared them to encounter issues of mortality in their practice. The idea for this project was gathered by Atul Gawande’s book Being Mortal. In researching how medical professionals are taught about mortality, a better understanding can be reached on where education is lacking, and ideas can be provided on how to improve this area of the medical field. Although medical schools have increased their curriculum on end-of-life care, this often, is not an extensive unit. With a continuation of education, not only on disease and illness, but on psychology and personal relationships, doctors and other medical professionals will become better equipped to deal with end-of-life issues. Through improving decisions made at the end of patients’ lives, overall experience in the medical field will progress. My qualitative project used structured open-ended interviews to explore the current experience of medical professionals and how individuals have developed skills in end-of-life conversation and navigation of their patients’ and their own emotions.


“Crystallization Variations of 12a-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and Protocol Optimization for Overexpression and Purification”
Andrew Rodriguez, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Rippa Sehgal (Martin Science Research Institute Project)
Bile acids are essential to maintain gut health, but at high concentrations they have been linked to gastrointestinal tract cancer. 12α-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases (12α-HSDH) are the enzymes produced by gut microbes mainly bacteria, known for oxidizing bile acids and transforming them from the toxic to the lesser toxic forms. We aimed to crystallize 12α-HSDH for X-ray diffraction studies and solve the crystal structure of the enzyme. So far, we have done the crystal screening using Hampton screening kits and found a few crystallization conditions. His-tagged protein purified by Immobilized Metal Affinity Chromatography (IMAC) and confirmed for purity by using SDS-PAGE is used to set up the crystal trays. Crystal trays are set using hanging drop vapor diffusion method in a 24-well plate. We have been successful in getting 2-D crystals, plates, micro crystals and needles from the screened conditions. One preferred condition that allowed for 3D crystal growth was 0.1 M HEPES sodium pH 7.5 with 2% v/v Polyethyl Glycol 400 and 2.0 ammonium sulfate. Further experimentation was performed by varying optimization such as temperature and pH. Varied temperatures were 20°C and 4°C. Current focus is to analyze and develop a streamlined experimental protocol for protein production to achieve uniformed results.

Student Research Oral Presentations
3-5 p.m., Forrer Learning Commons 217

“Exploring the Cuckoo’s Nest: A Study on American Fiction and Mental Health”
Emily Smeds, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Scott Suter (Honors Project)
This is a study on American fiction and mental health. The project discusses the short stories “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, “Careful,” and “Where I’m Calling From” by Raymond Carver, and the novels One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. All of these works are discussed in how they relate to and portray the psychological disorders of schizophrenia, depression, substance abuse disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder.


“Japan’s Assimilation of Okinawans in the late 1800s and early 1900s”
Alex Thompson, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Yuka Kishida (Course Project)
In this presentation I will discuss the Japanese government’s assimilation practices and how Japanese people contributed to the assimilation policies. While my intention is not to report on if the act of assimilation is right or wrong but find out why it failed in Japan. Based on the results of my research, the initial motivation for assimilating the Okinawan people was to create a national cohesive culture in Japan. Still, it fell short because of the actions of the average citizen in Japan and the governmental strategies. The idea of racial superiority and discrimination kept the Okinawans from ever being recognized as Japanese citizens. To further support my proposal, we must explore Okinawan culture and how this unique culture was formed. Furthermore, I will explore how the average Japanese citizen’s racial superiority complex, humiliation tactics, and cultural suppression by the government in the 1800s and early 1900s were used to contain Okinawan acceptance.


“Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat – Churchill and Winning the Second World War”
Jeffrey Snider, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Brandon Marsh (Honors Project)
Winston Churchill led Great Britain through some of the worst events of its existence throughout World War II. Specifically in 1940 and 1941, events such as the Narvik invasion, Dunkirk evacuation, Fall of France, and Blitz on London continuously decimated the British. Faced with unending adversity, Winston Churchill used his words to spin numerous negative events into a slight positive by finding silver linings in each event. Churchill remained confident and spoke with authority during these tough times, always inspiring the British to continue fighting. This project examines the speeches and other methods used by Churchill to respond to negative events in 1940 and 1941 to keep the British motivated in extremely tough times.


“Researching & Designing Marketing Materials for Rachel Messer & Connor Dale”
Isabelle Bauer, Faculty Advisor: Prof. Ron Alabanza (Honors Project)
Isabelle Bauer’s Honors Project, “Researching and Designing Marketing Materials for Rachel Messer and Connor Dale,” is split into two components. First, the research paper titled “The American West as a Cultural Phenomenon” explores the fascination with the American West and its integration into various aspects of American culture, particularly in music, film, and art. The essay discusses the historical significance of the West and its transformation into a cultural obsession. Focusing on the resurgence of Western aesthetics in modern country music, the project’s second component involves the creation of marketing materials for country artists Rachel Messer and Connor Dale.

The research component examines the historical context of the American West, from the European settlers’ perception of it as a wild and alluring frontier to the conflicts with Native Americans and the development of the infamous cowboy figure. The evolution of Western media is explored, highlighting its impact on shaping the Wild West narrative. The project discusses the contemporary revival of Western elements of American culture, notably, in the resurgence of traditional country music.

The second component of the project displays a practical application of the research. This involves the design of marketing materials for Rachel Messer and Connor Dale, who embody a Western aesthetic with a 70’s flair. Drawing inspiration from iconic Western artists such as Frederic Remington and analyzing Western film posters, Bauer aims to infuse a gritty and authentic feel into the marketing materials. The research-driven design process includes using bold text, muted color palettes with vibrant accents, and graphic elements reminiscent of Western film posters.

Ultimately, the project seeks to capture the essence of the American West’s cultural allure and translate it into contemporary marketing materials for country artists that embody a traditional sound. By examining historical contexts and gathering inspiration from Western-style aesthetics, this project contributes to a deeper understanding of how the American West continues to captivate and influence cultural and artistic expressions in the 21st century.


“The Impacts of the Childcare Crisis on Labor Force Participation Rate”
Clay Lawrence, Faculty Advisors: Dr. Karie Dornon and Dr. David Huffman (Course Project)
Families across the United States are struggling with a crisis in childcare availability, affordability, and quality which may have broader implications for the labor market. This article conducts a multivariate regression analysis of the impact of childcare deserts and increasing costs of licensed providers on state-level labor force participation rates (LFPR) in 2023, holding economic conditions and demographics constant. The results suggest that the prevalence of childcare deserts and costs for infants and toddlers are negatively correlated with the LFPR, as expected. An unexpected result was the positive correlation between the cost of preschool-aged childcare and the LFPR, which may indicate endogeneity between these variables. An important implication from these findings is that public/private initiatives aimed at reducing the burden of finding childcare may incentivize entry into the labor force.


“Students and Their Relationships with Reading”
Meredyth Rankin, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Beth Lehman (Honors Project)
Educators often find that a majority of their students have a strong resistance to reading. The reasons for resistance vary from student to student, but, regardless of the underlying cause, such a resistance puts a strain on the classroom engagement. For decades, experts have considered this issue, supplying numerous potential solutions for educators to incorporate. As a literary review, this project studies those approaches, applies them to real-life classroom experiences, and offers additional tactics.

Tuesday, March 26

Student Research Oral Presentations & Creative Literary Arts Presentation
3-5 p.m., Forrer Learning Commons 215

“Pixels or Pencils: Rethinking the Role of Computers in Elementary Education”
Mackenzie Young, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Tracy Hough (Honors Project)
This paper challenges the misconception that the mere presence of technology mandates its obligatory use. Examining external influences, such as major tech companies, societal pressures, and the COVID-19 pandemic, reveals a context-dependent impact of technology in American schools, often moderate rather than revolutionary. Educators must decide whether to prioritize technology over traditional methods with similar learning outcomes. Recognizing that elementary schooling extends beyond content delivery to essential social skills underscores the importance of human interaction for cognitive development. To navigate the complex edtech landscape, providing preservice teachers with evidence-based technology integration training is crucial. Ongoing discussions and research on edtech effectiveness are vital, empowering educators to adapt in the face of evolving technology.


“Prejudice and Acceptance: A Comparative Essay between Irish and Chinese Immigrants in 1850s America”
Willow Ingram, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Yuka Kishida (Course Project)
The Irish and Chinese immigrants who came to America in the 1850’s seemingly fit into a similar social structure. Both groups should have faced similar struggles, as they both approached America with similar hopes and needs. However, as time has shown, Chinese immigrants were faced with far more pervasive discrimination and more noticeably prolonged than their Irish counterparts. Though this has sometimes been discerned as a lack of luck from the Chinese immigrants or a basic definition of racism, the conflict between these two groups runs far deeper than previously thought. Through my research of scholarly articles and primary sources from the era, I argue it was a perfect storm of Chinese culture’s emphasis on employability and work ethic, accidental ignorance and misunderstanding of the American language and religious norms, and racism from the Americans they encountered, that eventually led to the disparity between Irish and Chinese immigrants in this decade and far beyond, even to the modern day.


“Chapbook: ’Double Entendre,’ (aka book of poems)”
Logan Mae Lotts, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Stan Galloway (Course Project)
Embark on a poetic journey through the highs and lows of my college years with “Double Entendre.” This collection of 30 poems is not just a book; it’s a unique experience, intertwining words with music to create a multisensory exploration of relationships, self-discovery, and the dance between joy and sorrow.

Caution: Within these verses, emotions are laid bare, occasionally accompanied by vulgar language. Trigger warnings accompany the raw, unfiltered exploration of the human experience, ensuring readers are prepared for the emotional depth of the fusion between verse and melody.


“The ‘Framing a Nation’ Podcast”
Katerina Dronov, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Melanie Laliker (Honors Project)
“Framing a Nation” is a podcast on the historical background of the United States’ founding documents. The first season focuses on the Bill of Rights with its origins in the American Revolutionary context and precedent in English Common Law. Rather than being an innovative experiment or any true invention, the rights outlined in the Bill of Rights have deep roots in English legal tradition. They were merely brought to focus and enshrined in light of violations against colonists’ liberties that occurred prior to the War for Independence. On this podcast, amendments are examined in depth episode by episode to trace back why they were included in the Bill of Rights, how they were understood at the time of their ratification, and how their interpretations have changed since. Bringing in historical analysis along with expert commentary through interviews, “Framing a Nation” combines investigative research with quality audio production for an end product that is both entertaining and enlightening for a broader audience.


“Substantive Due Process and History and Tradition: What the Dobbs Court Got Wrong”
Katie Yoder, Faculty Advisor: Dr. James Josefson (Honors Project)
The U.S. Supreme Court first considered Substantive Due Process (SDP) in the early twentieth century (Lochner). The Court established that there are certain unenumerated rights that are implied by the Fourteenth Amendment. Though SDP originated in a case about worker’s rights and liberties, it quickly became relevant in many cases surrounding personal intimate decisions in the zones of health, safety, marriage, sexual activity, and reproduction. Within the past 60 years, SDP has been used to justify the court’s decisions to expand a fundamental right to privacy in regards to birth control, consensual sexual activity, abortion, marriage, and bodily autonomy.

Until the court’s recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Substantive Due Process, regarding female reproductive freedom, was consistently expanded by the court (Griswold, Eisenstadt, Carey, and Roe). This paper will explore the philosophical origins of Substantive Due Process, and its Constitutionally legitimate applications to a fundamental right to privacy, health, and life, and how the Supreme Court misunderstood how these rights are rooted in our nation’s history and tradition in their Dobbs decision. Specifically, it explains the shortcomings of the court’s application of a narrow and one-sided history and tradition, and how a more holistic application would have led the court to a different decision.

Student Research Oral Presentations
3-4 p.m., Forrer Learning Commons 217

“Book Design for Arithmetic: Models and Algorithms”
Heidi Hull, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Verne Leininger (Honors Project)
This project focused on the textbook design for Arithmetic: Models and Algorithms, written by Dr. Verne Leininger. The book will be a resource for elementary math teachers. It discusses mathematical operations (including addition, subtraction, and multiplication) and explains several models and algorithms for each one. The goal of the book design was to create an effective layout that would make the book easy-to-read and to create illustrations that enhance understanding for readers. The design process began with researching typical math textbook layouts and creating mockups. The book layout was completed in InDesign and included choosing fonts, styling the headings, and creating a format for the examples. The illustrations were designed in Adobe Illustrator and were incorporated into the layout of the InDesign document. The finished product is a neatly designed resource for teaching math.


“Building a Kinetic Profile of 12α-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase Through Inhibition by Redox-Active Coenzymes”
Marshall Ritchie, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Rippa Sehgal (Independent Research Project)
Proteins are the most useful functional agents in the body. These amino acid constructs can carry out a variety of tasks such as transport, structure, cellular communication, storage, and catalysis. Catalysis proteins are known as enzymes and these proteins serve to drive reactions in a thermodynamically favorable direction at a much faster rate than usual. 12α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase catalyzes the oxidation of bile acids which is incredibly important as the buildup of said bile acids can lead to complications such as colon cancer.1 A molecule that has a very close relationship to the NADP+ substrate is nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). NAD+ can be considered as a structural analogue to NADP+ with its chemical makeup being entirely conserved with the exclusion of the phosphate group on the 2’ carbon located within the ribose of the adenine moiety being replaced by an alcohol group. This structure similarity gives great interest of its potential interaction with 12α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, most notably its potential to be a competitive inhibitor. Previous studies done by our lab have shown that 12α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase is highly specific in terms of coenzyme substrate. In the presence of NAD+, 12α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase has been shown to not undergo catalysis further cementing the confidence in NAD+ as an inhibitory candidate. Likewise, flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) has a similar structure to NAD+ as well through the retention of the adenine dinucleotide body but deviates more than NAD+ through the presence of an isoalloxazine chemical group as opposed to a nicotinamide one. The purpose of this project is to build a kinetic profile for the targeted enzyme through the inhibition of these two potential inhibitory candidates in respect to both deoxycholic acid and cholic acid. Preliminary experiment results gave a large amount of confidence in the inhibitory potential of NAD+. Michaelis-Menten and Lineweaver-Burk kinetic analysis, generated by a time-based assay, revealed the overarching trend of the Km and Vmax decreasing as the inhibitor concentration increased. Competitive inhibition analysis revealed a global Km of 0.2734 mM and a global Ki 1.794 mM which showed that NAD+ was unable to compete with the natural substrate. The trends observed though the data analysis of Michaelis-Menten, Lineweaver Burk, competitive inhibition analysis conveyed the idea that NAD+ was an uncompetitive inhibitor as opposed to a competitive inhibitor. In the context of FAD, inhibitory potential was muddled by unreliable data collection methods leaving the potential for inhibition rather ambiguous.


“The Effects of Water Submersion on Skeletal Muscle Activation, Fatigue, and Whole-body Gas Exchange”
Caroline Griffin, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Robert Shute (Honors Project)
Fatigue of skeletal muscle can be affected by multiple environmental elements. Fatigue threshold can be measured by using a metabolic cart to measure VO2max on a cycle ergometer combined with and electromyography (EMG) measurements. PURPOSE: The purpose of this experiment is to determine if cold-water immersion affects skeletal muscle activation, fatigue, and whole-body gas exchange. METHODS: Nine participants were recruited to participate in two trials, a 20 °C cold-water bath in a whirlpool and no temperature control trial. To determine muscle activation, electrodes were placed on standardized locations for measurement of EMG. Substrate utilization and ventilatory threshold were determined through VO2 measurement. Body composition was measured via three-site skinfold measurement. Tympanic temperature, blood-oxygen saturation, heart rate and blood pressure were also measured during the trials. RESULTS: VO2 was increased in the cold compared to control throughout the protocol (p=.002) . There were no significant findings when comparing cold versus VO2peak. Heart rate (BPM) had a trend of being higher/lower between cold and the control (p = 0.056). Post-exercise tympanic temperature (℃) was significantly different between cold and control. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that there are significant differences between cold and no-temperature HR, temperature, and VO2.

Wednesday, March 27

Faculty Oral Presentations
1-3 p.m., McKinney Center 100

“A Review of Graduate Applied Sport Psychology Programs in the United States: Examining Coach Curricular Content”
Dr. Tammy Sheehy
Training within sport psychology largely focuses on preparing mental performance consultants (MPCs) for enhancing the performance and well-being of athletes and the focus for most applied sport psychology interventions is on the coach’s role as a facilitator of mental skills with athletes, rather than focusing on their own performance and well-being (Longshore & Sachs, 2015). As a result, many MPCs feel ill-equipped to work with coaches personally on their own performance stressors (e.g., Kelly et al., 2018). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to conduct a curriculum review of all applied sport psychology graduate programs within the US to determine the state of coaching content. Curriculum data was gathered for 48 schools. Course lists, course descriptions, and program student learning were compiled from program websites. Twenty-eight program directors completed a Qualtrics survey regarding information about their programs and nine of those directors participated in an interview to provide further information. Findings and future directions will be discussed.


“Defining Intransitive/Nontransitive Relations”
Dr. Verne Leininger
Bradley Efrom invented a set of 4 dice (call them A, B, C, and D) such that the Pr(A>B)>1/2, Pr(B>C)>1/2, Pr(C>D)>1/2 and Pr(D>A)>1/2. These dice are called either intransitive or nontransitive depending on the author. In other words, given this set of dice, define winning to be rolling the highest number. If two players are competing the player who chooses his die last can always have an advantage. The words intransitive/nontransitive have not been carefully defined mathematically. In this presentation I will present careful definitions and some consequences of these definitions. (And yes, I will bring along a set of intransitive dice.)


“Higher Education Vulnerability: An Assessment Model”
Dr. Daniel Finseth
It is important to determine whether there are leading indicators that may aid in the anticipation of higher education organizational demise. While there is a body of work addressing institutional metrics that serve as predictors of higher education financial viability, there has been little emphasis on complex organizational dynamics. This integrated mixed methods study employed grounded theory to explore how higher education experts understand organizational vulnerability. To gain insight and develop theory, interviews were conducted with institutional leadership, policy makers, and other experts in the field of higher education. Concurrent with the qualitative study, a financial analysis indicator was evaluated to provide an assessment of institutional vulnerability for private colleges and universities. The qualitative and quantitative portions of the study were integrated using an iterative, equivalently driven, bidirectional process. This allowed for development of a model which improves understanding of the complex factors that may signal small private college institutional decline.

“Designing a Scholarly Environment by Connecting Teaching and Research in Biochemistry”
Dr. Rippa Sehgal
Biochemistry is well-informed by research and experience. The pedagogical approaches in biochemistry based on experiential learning prepare students for the career paths in industry, research, medical areas, and interdisciplinary fields. As a biochemistry educator, I aimed to introduce protein chemistry, enzymology and protein crystallography in my lab course and research lab to engage students in the real biochemistry research experience. I will be presenting my journey as a biochemistry educator at Bridgewater College comprised of flourishing research connection with BC Alumnus, garnering collaborations with R1 universities, launching experimental biochemistry lab with acquisition of necessary instrumentation, research mentoring experiences and building a biochemistry lab course intertwined with research lab.

The enzyme being studied in my research group is also used as a protein/enzyme of interest in the BCHM-356 L lab course which fosters the interdependence of resources and help us to cut the costs in teaching and research without compromising with learning objectives and research goals. In the biochemistry teaching lab, 9-week research project is introduced consisting of a sequence of experiments followed by a biochemistry researcher in protein characterization and enzymology-based lab. Student groups purify their protein stock and preserve it for future experiments that develops a sense of responsibility towards resources. At the end, students submit their research paper like they would submit to a journal which is founded on extensive literature search about the enzyme, inquiry of enzyme’s class and active site composition using data bases such as UniProt and Protein Data Bank, holistic analysis of data using excel and GraphPad Prism. For the protein crystallography part, students worked with lysozyme, a protein that is easy to crystallize. Course evaluations and comments indicated that students like the project-based biochemistry lab experience and expressed their curiosity to work with the same protein in protein crystallography lab.


“Biographer Perceptions of CEO Personnel Decisions: Elon Musk as an Example”
Prof. Anthony Biasello
What have been biographers’ perceptions of CEO strategic human resources management (HRM) knowledge, skills, and abilities? As part of an in-progress qualitative meta-analysis project seeking answers to that general research question, this presentation examines one specific leadership competency Professor Walter Isaacson documents in his recent best-selling account of Elon Musk’s life. The talk explores leadership trait theory in general and Isaacson’s particular depiction of Musk’s emotional instability. It focuses on the impulsiveness Musk has demonstrated in handling strategic HRM staffing issues at Tesla and X (formerly Twitter).

Scholarship Colloquium: Dr. Stephen Baron, Harry G.M. Jopson Professor of Biology on “Plastic that Rots”
3-3:30 p.m., McKinney Center 100

“Plastic That Rots! Regulation of Polyhydroxybutyrate Depolymerase Synthesis in Streptomyces nymphaeiformis”
Dr. Stephen Baron
Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) is a biodegradable, plastic-like polymer produced by soil bacteria. The bacterium, Streptomyces nymphaeiformis, degrades PHB, using an extracellular PHB depolymerase. The enzyme is produced during growth on PHB but repressed by glucose, suggesting that transcription of its associated gene (phaZ) is regulated. Microbiological experiments suggest that carbon starvation and/or cell density may act as the initial triggers for phaZ transcription. In fact, the phaZ DNA sequence contains a promoter region with potential binding sites for transcriptional regulators that regulate genes in response to these two factors. Interestingly, the genome of S. nymphaeiformis contains a gene called lrp just upstream from phaZ which encodes a leucine-responsive regulatory protein (Lrp). Lrp in Escherichia coli activates genes in response to levels of the amino acid, leucine. The phaZ promoter region also has a potential binding site for an Lrp, suggesting that this protein may serve to activate phaZ transcription. We are currently attempting to clone and overexpress the lrp gene to determine if the Lrp protein of S. nymphaeiformis can bind to the phaZ promoter region, using a streptavidin pulldown assay.

Student Poster Presentations
3:30-5:30 p.m., Forrer Learning Commons Second Floor (hallway outside Class of 1969 Great Room)

“Finding the Perfect Purple: An Exploration of Glaze Making and Chemical Safety in the Pottery Studio”
Kara Eppard, Prof. Michael Hough (Course Project)
This project was undertaken as an IDS-100H course linkage between ceramics and chemistry. Through time spent reviewing literature and time in the studio, a project was developed that allowed the application of technical skills of each discipline in a creative fashion. The creative focus of the project was to find a suitable purple glaze to utilize on a previously thrown pottery collection. Through the process techniques in glaze making were explored. Additionally, safety within the pottery studio was increased through aspects such as the development of an MSDS, and the application of hazard labels to containers in the studio.


“Extraction of Transcriptional Regulators for the Polyhydroxyalkanoate Depolymerase Gene from Streptomyces nymphaeiformis”
Kara Eppard, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Stephen Baron (Honors Project)
Plastic waste is an increasingly prevalent environmental pollutant. This problem is worsened by the inability of plastic to degrade under most natural conditions. In contrast, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are biologically produced, plastic-like polymers that can be broken down and metabolized by bacteria. The bacterium Streptomyces nymphaeiformis can degrade the PHA, polyhydroxybutrate (PHB), using an extracellular PHB depolymerase, which is encoded by the phaZ gene. PHB depolymerase is synthesized only in the presence of PHB or its monomer, but not glucose, suggesting that transcription of phaZ is regulated, presumably by transcriptional regulatory proteins that bind to its promoter region. The DNA base sequence of phaZ is known, in the predicted promoter region, there are sequences with homology to binding sites for known transcriptional regulators from other bacteria. A modified pull-down assay using streptavidin magnetic beads was evaluated for success in revealing potential regulatory DNA-binding proteins for the phaZ gene.


“Stabilizing Supernumerary Hexapod Robotic Leg Using Arduino”
Cameron Martindale, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Derli Amaral (The Research Experience @ Bridgewater Project)
“Supernumerary robotic limbs are seeing an increase in use and research as engineers, technicians, and inventors seek to improve human capabilities. Our research dealt with prototyping a supernumerary leg with a hexapod structure that could react to tilt at the base of the leg. The design process began with finding a component to accurately measure tilt, finding a leg design that would support stabilization, and calculating an inverse kinematic model to accurately move and translate the leg. Through real-time orientation data from the accelerometer and an inverse kinematic model that allows for control of the leg based on the endpoint of the foot, stabilization in a single plane that bisects the leg was achieved. The first version of a self-stabilizing hexapod leg could lead to more dynamically improved versions that could allow an individual to move and walk without the fear of falling.


“Overcoming Obstacles That Prevent Ideal Implementation in Early Childhood Education”
Jamie Rexrode, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Donna Hoskins (The Research Experience @ Bridgewater Project)
The research is a literature review completed during the TREB program under Dr. Hoskins. The research analyzed discusses what children need in early childhood education and the obstacles that prevent teachers from fulfilling their needs. Obstacles are discussed on the micro and macro levels within the teaching system.


“Scandium Triflate Catalyzed Aromatic Aldehydic C-H Activation”
Nicholas Griffin, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Barnabas Otoo (Honors Project)
Herein described is a scandium triflate-catalyzed C-H activation of commercially available aromatic aldehydes producing aromatic ketones in low yields. The reaction occurred in a one-pot synthesis over a two-hour duration and required minimal purification. Inclusion of a fluorine-tagged phenol allowed for efficient reaction monitoring via F-19NMR.


“An Analysis of Consistency in Augustine’s Free Will Theology”
Ryan Tenberg, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Carol Scheppard (Honors Project)
This research paper seeks to determine the level of consistency within Augustine’s theological perspective on free will by comparing two pivotal works from each end of his Christian life: “On the Free Choice of the Will” and “On Grace and Free Choice.” This study systematically examines the core tenets of Augustine’s doctrine of free will in both works, dissecting the nuances of his theological development. By scrutinizing the historical and intellectual contexts surrounding each text, as well as comparing differing scholarly perspectives, this research seeks to establish a comprehensive understanding of Augustine’s evolving theological framework. This research proves continuity in Augustine’s understanding of free will, demonstrating that any apparent variations are rooted in evolving explorations, rather than substantive contradictions. This investigation contributes to a nuanced comprehension of Augustine’s theological development, emphasizing the cohesiveness in the development of his theology of free will throughout his life.

“β-Lactone Synthesis”
Megan Huffstickler, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Barnabas Otoo (Course Project)
β-lactones are cyclic 4-membered carboxylic esters, similar to β-lactams, the most commonly found chemical moieties in antibiotics. Many β-lactones have been found to have antibiotic or otherwise medically beneficial properties. However, only a few β-lactone drugs are currently on the market. As resistance to novel antibiotics increases, synthesizing new and diverse antibiotics has become necessary. In this project, we aim to synthesize β-lactone molecules with the goal of analyzing products for bioactivity. Our synthesis comprises three steps; first being the enolboration-aldolization of chloroacetic acid with 4-bromoacetophenone and cyclohexanone. The resulting 𝛼-chloro-ꞵ-hydroxycarboxylic acids were lactonized and subjected to Suzuki coupling reaction with 4-aminophenylboronic acid and 2-thienylboronic acid respectively to achieve the desired β-lactones. The products would be confirmed using IR, NMR, and MS, and tested on E. coli and S. aureus for biological activity.

“Exploring ꞵ-lactones as Potential Alternatives In the Fight Against Antibiotic Resistance”
Nadia Jacobs and Ifeatu Udokwu, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Barnabas Otoo (Course Project)
In recent years, there has been an observance of a concerning surge in fatalities attributed to antibiotic resistance. The severity of this global health crisis necessitates the development of novel antibiotics. Recognizing the potential benefit of ꞵ-lactones in addressing this pressing challenge, we synthesized selected ꞵ-lactones and explored their antibiotic properties. The ꞵ-lactones, synthesized by boron-mediated aldol reaction of 2-chloroacetic acid with acetophenone and thian-3-one, DCC-mediated dehydration, and Suzuki coupling of the 𝛼-chloro-ꞵ-lactones with 1-Naphthaleneboronic acid and 4-fluorophenylboronic acid respectively, were characterized by NMR and IR. The synthesized ꞵ-lactones would be tested against E. coli and S. Aureus to assess their antibiotic properties.


How to Create a Small Business, Website, and New Career
Grace Elliott, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Daniel Finseth (Honors Project)
This project focuses on combining computer science, business, and graphic design skills to create a website that is useful to first-time business owners. This includes the creation of a small business and a website used to document and address the steps and procedures necessary for opening a small business. The website contains a combination of text boxes, images, links, and videos (linked to YouTube) used to demonstrate and explain the tedious pieces involved in opening a new business. The goal was to design a website that is visually pleasing and inviting, while also allowing for ease of accessibility and navigation. The ultimate outcome of this project included a small graphic design business and a website detailing the procedures associated with creating a small business—thus, creating a useful resource for those looking to follow this project’s example and open a new business of their own.


“Purification and Isolation of α-Chloro-β-Lactone Precursor Molecules”
Matthew Ellis, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Barnabas Otoo (Honors Project)
This research explores the synthesis of α-chloro-β-lactone molecules from chloroacetic acid and substituted benzaldehydes, focusing on production, isolation, and purification. While various catalytic methods were examined, DCC showed the best result with the highest yield against other catalysts. However, challenges in purification arose due to the formation of byproducts, particularly with DCC, spurring further investigation for better purification techniques. Despite purification difficulties, DCC remains a promising route for α-chloro-β-lactone synthesis. The study emphasizes the successes and challenges encountered, particularly with purification, and suggests further research to optimize purification techniques or reaction scheme adjustments for higher yields of α-chloro-β-lactone precursor molecules.


“Does a long-term increase in locomotion impact axolotl regeneration?”
Cheyenne Barlow, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Moshe Khurgel (Honors Project, Martin Science Research Institute Project)
Axolotls (Ambystoma Mexicanum) are fully aquatic salamanders with a remarkable ability to regenerate multiple tissues and organs following injury. Recent findings in Dr. Khurgel’s lab revealed that lowering axolotls’ basal metabolic rate by housing them in chilled water (10 C) significantly slowed down the rate of limb regeneration, but increased the rate of animal growth (mass and length) when compared to animals housed at 20 C. To further our understanding of the role of metabolic rate in this differential morphogenesis, we attempted to increase axolotls’ metabolic rate by increasing their locomotion. Adult axolotls were placed in a water treadmill for 24 hours on an intermittent schedule for 6 weeks. The impact of the locomotion-inducing conditions of the treadmill on the animals’ metabolic rate, limb regeneration, and growth rates was tested in comparison to the same variables in animals housed at standard conditions.


“Understanding the EY Split: A Qualitative Approach”
Joseph Long, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Daniel Finseth. (Honors Project)
This research project takes a qualitative approach at analyzing the proposed split between the audit and consulting operations of the accounting firm known as Ernst & Young (EY). The two specific research questions this project attempts to answer are: 1. What specific reasons led to the downfall of EY’s proposed split? 2. Could a similar project be more successful in the future for EY or another firm? In order to answer these questions, a variety of accounting professionals from many different firms were interviewed to get their take on the proposed split. In addition, an assortment of academic journals relating to the structure of partnerships and news articles relating to EY’s split have been analyzed.


“Redesign of Ferrari’s Formula One Team”
Olivia Taylor, Faculty Advisor: Prof. Ron Alabanza (Honors Project)
I was inspired by my interest in Formula One and my previous experience with class branding projects. The goal was to stay true to the history and recognition of Ferrari and Scuderia Ferrari while incorporating a fresh take and new design in every part of the branding and team materials. My concept for the design was inspired by the prominence of team spirit at Scuderia Ferrari and their history of the sleek red car. The team spirit is shown through the driver numbers, 16 and 55, and the nod to history is shown through the shade of bright red.


“Quinn Lagrange’s Theorem and its Applications in Group Theory”
Kelsey Ann Quinn, Faculty Advisor: Dr. James Bowling (Honors Project)
Lagrange’s Theorem is a well-known result in group theory that many mathematicians consider to be one of the most important theorems relating to finite groups. This poster will be a visual representation of Lagrange’s Theorem and how it is utilized in the field of group theory. The theorem states that if G is a finite group and H is a subgroup of G, then the order of H divides the order of G. This paper will first cover elementary group theory terminology and concepts which provide context for a non-mathematical reader prior to proving Lagrange’s famous result. Then, it will explore derived consequences and applications of the theorem, namely Fermat’s Little Theorem and the Orbit-Stabilizer Theorem, that are heavily utilized when characterizing and analyzing different groups and their relations to subgroups to give the reader a complete understanding of the significance of Lagrange’s Theorem in finite group theory.


“Treatment of Immigrant Children at the U.S. Southern Border”
Mayra Mejia-Guardado, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Alma Ramirez Trujillo (Course Project)
The treatment of immigrant children at the U.S Southern border has raised concerns about human rights violations and sparked intense debate. Amidst heightened immigration enforcement, children arriving at the border often face a complex web of challenges, including separation of families, prolonged detention periods, and inadequate living conditions. Moreover the uncertain legal status of these children can have profound and lasting effects on their mental and emotional well-being. Mental health implications, subjected to trauma and uncertainty, are significant for these children. Additionally there are challenges ensuring legal representation and due process. By synthesizing current research, media reports, and policy documents, this poster aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the multifaceted issues surrounding the treatment of immigrant children at the U.S Southern border, emphasizing the need for compassionate solutions, humane treatment, improved facilities, and streamlined immigration process. Addressing these issues is crucial not only for the well-being of the children but also for upholding the values of justice and dignity within the broader immigration discourse as a country rooted in immigration.


“Effects of Hot-Water Immersion on Skeletal Muscle Activation and Whole-Body Gas Exchange”
Lucas Bauer and Caroline Griffin, Dr. Robert Shute (The Research Experience @ Bridgewater Project)
Reducing total body fatigue is a key aspect in improving sport and exercise performance. Body temperature modifications influence physiological stress and may provide benefits for optimization of sports performance. Purpose: To determine the effects of pre-heating the body through hot-water immersion on skeletal muscle activation and whole-body oxygen consumption during cycling. Methods: Nine male athletes (n = 9, age: 21.9 ± 5.5 years, height: 184.2 ± 5.3 cm, weight: 82.1 ± 5.6 kg, body fat: 13.7 ± 6.9%) participated in two trials including a no-water immersion control trial and a hot-water immersion trial. After water immersion, participants performed a graded VO2peak test on a cycle ergometer. During this test, surface EMG sensors were placed on the vastus lateralis to observe muscle activation and gas exchange was monitored using a metabolic cart. Results: Heart rate, respiratory exchange ratio, rating of perceived exertion, and VO2 increased with each stage of the protocol (p < 0.05). VO2 was higher in the hot trial compared to control (p < 0.05) whereas all other variables were not different between trials (p > 0.05). Conclusion: These data indicate that hot-water immersion before exercise significantly increased oxygen consumption during a graded exercise protocol.


“The Man That Broke Hitler’s Plan”
Eric Wilbur, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Maria Paz Esguerra (Honors Project)
This project will focus on the lead-up and effects of Jesse Owens’s debut at the 1936 Berlin Olympics under very politically tense circumstances. Weaving through the project it will explore the discussions among the various organizations in the United States as they discussed whether or not to go to the Berlin Olympics, fearing it would endorse the Nazi regime and their racist policies. The poster will explain the accomplishments of Owens in track and field, especially his Olympic debut. Then the bulk of the poster will deal with the effects of his accomplishments at home and worldwide, and how they changed African American history and the perception of African Americans in sports. The research will be supported by various articles, biographical books, and popular sources that will lend information and statistics to back the findings of this research poster. This project will shed light on one of the greatest track and field athletes, and how in a time of racial segregation Owens was able to achieve many great feats and set the stage for others.

“Metal Triflate Catalyzed Kolbe Addition of Phenols to Aldehydes”
Elijah Dunlap, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Barnabas Otoo (Honors Project)
A novel reaction was observed while attempting to synthesize fluoxetine (the antidepressant known as Prozac) via oxa-Michael addition, followed by reductive amination. This novel reaction, upon analysis, was determined to be a variation of the Kolbe synthesis of salicylic acid, allowing for the synthesis of benzhydrol, benzophenones, and xanthones – chemical moieties in multiple drugs and agrochemicals. Optimization of the reaction by scanning temperature, solvent, and reagent equivalents will be presented.


“The Lost Birds Video Project”
Grayson Preece, Faculty Advisor: Prof. Scott Jost (Honors Project)
My honors project is a video which I created to be shown while the oratorio choir performed The Lost Birds last November. I have already had an oral defense with a panel of three professors, and I would like to show the video on a monitor as my presentation at ASPIRE. I will not have audio for the presentation because I do not have rights to the music.


“How nutrient profile affects axolotl metabolism and growth”
Adreanna Hacker, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Moshe Khurgel (Honors Project)
Axolotls (Ambystoma Mexicanum) possess an extraordinary ability to completely regenerate damaged tissue following injury. Recent experiments in Dr. Khurgel’s lab showed that axolotls’ metabolism and growth are influenced by the ambient water temperature. To further understand the role of extrinsic factors in axolotl physiology, we tested the impact of differential nutrient profiles on metabolism and growth rates in these animals. Juvenile axolotls were randomly assigned to 2 diet groups: 37% protein, 8% fats (diet 1) versus 50% protein, 16% fats (diet 2). All animals were fed the same amount of diet 1 by mass (0.014g) every 48 hours for 4 weeks. Thereafter, ½ of the animals received diet 2, while the rest continued on diet 1; same food mass and feeding schedule. The impact of differential protein and fat concentrations on the animals’ growth rate (mass and snout-vent length) and metabolic rate were compared between the two groups.


“The Legacy of Moses Hogan”
Kayleigh Barrios, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Maria Paz Esguerra (Course Project)
Moses Hogan is known as one of the most influential African American spiritual composers. With hundreds of compositions, he exhibited several aspects of the stories from hundreds of years ago. His pieces’ topics range from enslaved African Americans’ freedom journey stories to celebration songs. Hogan performed in his uncle’s church choir before attending high-end universities for music. Following his education, he composed several original arrangements of traditional African American spirituals, making him a renowned American composer. Some of his most known compositions are Deep River and Wade in the Water. This poster will outline some of Moses Hogan’s greatest accomplishments as well as how they contribute to the legacy of traditional African American spirituals.


“Is Religion in Decline and, if so, What is the Impact on Local Communities?”
Grace Burdette, Faculty Advisor: Prof. Skip Burzumato. (Honors Project)
This project aims to investigate the debate over whether public religion is undergoing a decline and, if so, what consequences this has on local community engagement. Local religious congregations have traditionally played a crucial role in their communities, offering essential facilities, programs, and a sense of solidarity that helps individuals connect with personal and communal values. However, evidence suggests a declining presence of public religion, evident through decreasing attendance at religious services, rising rates of religious non-affiliation, and financial strains on local religious congregations. This has led to debates surrounding whether religion is genuinely in decline or undergoing some level of privatization. This project comprehensively explores whether public religion is in decline or evolving toward privatization. Furthermore, it will delve into the implications of these changing dynamics on local communities. It will provide a theoretical analysis of existing research literature on religious participation and commitment in the United States, focusing on the state and strength of religious engagement. This project will conclude by presenting an assessment of the conditions necessary for religious institutions to remain vibrant parts of their local communities.


“The Social Pot”
Reid Long, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Eric McGregor (Honors Project)
My poster will be about my process and learnings from my honors project. My project was the creation of a new web application that utilizes the API libraries of multiple social media platforms in order to allow a user to post to those platforms simultaneously. My challenge was to integrate and use these APIs in my own server-side and client-side code in order to create this new web application. My summary will be what I learned about using APIs and the challenges I came across when researching the libraries and implementing them.


“Examining the Static Properties of the Hoop House and Proposing Stability Upgrades”
James Francis, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Ian O’Neil (Honors Project)
In this project, I have designed, modeled, and tested ways to better stabilize the Hoop House, a secondary greenhouse structure located beside the McKinney building. I created a prototype of the structure, so that I could address structural issues and practical solutions. I have demonstrated what a possible solution may look like and collected data as evidence that the solution is effective at resisting collapse from external forces. Based on working on the Hoop House in the past, I believe a truss system would serve as a viable solution.
The Hoop House collapsed over the summer due to a storm. My hope was to find a solution that would repair it and keep it standing for years to come.
I 3D printed a prototype from the SolidWorks design. I tested the prototype in two ways: without the new bracing and then with them added. Testing without the new bracing allowed me to recreate the failure that actually occurred, and then testing with the bracing gave results on my proposed solution. I used a simple pulley system and weights to test for collapse, then recorded the data in Excel. I created scatterplots, and did some statistical analysis using R. The programming analysis was to show I found an accurate critical mass when recreating the failure, which is the weight at which the model collapsed.
I believed that a truss structure could serve as a brace between the hoops on the Hoop House to prevent future collapse. Based on the results of the testing, I found that the bracing system successfully increases the stability of the structure. The braced prototype held over five times the weight as when it was unbraced. This should translate to fixing the real structure, and offers a guide to whoever repairs it.”


“Blues Influence on The Beatles during the Long Civil Rights”
Jason Barnum, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Maria Paz Esguerra (Course Project)
The Beatles were heavily influenced by blues musicians. A majority of their first few albums being covers from black artists. For example, “Boys” from the Beatles “Please, Please Me” is originally by the Shirelles and “Twist and Shout” is thematically similar to “Twist” by the Isley Brothers. This influence, while providing the general public exposure to black artists, is a sort of double edged sword. Exposure does not always equal pay and, due to the massive popularity of the Beatles, it can be argued that their success far outweighed the meaningful exposure black artists received from album sales. This poster will include images of the Beatles, their interactions with black artists, and studio/performance pictures.


“2-BBN as an Alternative to 9-BBN”
Annaliese Franklin, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Barnabas Otoo (Independent Research Project)
9-borabicyclo [3,3,1] nonane (9-BBN) is a versatile reagent commonly used for the synthesis of aldehydes and ketones in numerous drugs and chemicals. Although relatively user-friendly and versatile, 9-BBN is limiting in that its reactions fail to produce asymmetry and it is an expensive reagent. There has been literature suggesting that 9-BBN analogs can be formed from directly reacting terpenes with boron, with limonene acting as a prime example. Various analogs of 9-BBN could, in theory, be cheaper alternatives to 9-BBN and induce asymmetry. Initially, our hypothesis of existing roadblocks with the use of cyclic boranes for hydroboration was proven true when the product 4,8-dimethyl-2-borabicyclononane (2-BBN, 11BNMR: 28ppm) from reacting limonene with borane-BMS was mostly unreactive regarding hydroboration in solvents such as water and aqueous hydrochloric acid. Although, after optimization of the reaction we found that it is reactive with water and methanol at room temperature, as well as with hydroborated alkenes at high temperatures when dissolved in hexanes. The preliminary results from this research will be presented.


“The Reinvention of Drag Show Culture”
River Cobb, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Maria Paz Esguerra (Course Project)
This research project focuses on the origins of drag and the subsequent ball culture that created a scene for queer POC individuals to succeed and find community in. A large focus of it is on Crystal LaBeija, a queen who is attributed with beginning the new era of drag that took away the whitewashing found in the original scene and community.


“Unraveling Threads: Mass Incarceration, Deindustrialization, and the Fractured Fabric of the Black Community”
Sloane Morton, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Maria Paz Esguerra (Course Project)
An analysis of how multiple factors affected the black community and the current family structure seen today. The reality is a lot of events coincided with destabilizing urban areas where a lot of black communities resided. The War on Drugs campaign heavily campaigned by President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, led to the mass incarceration of young black males. Not too long before this, there was a huge wave of the loss of factory jobs in many major cities which left these men unable to provide for their families. Many of these men turned to dealing crack/cocaine and marijuana to make enough money to survive. Because of the War on Drugs, there was the major criminalization of possession and dealing of these drugs which led to the disproportionate incarceration of young, black males in these urban neighborhoods. Both of these events led to the single-mother households we see today.


“How to Wear a Queen’s Crown”
Ka-mya Frye, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Maria Paz Esguerra (Course Project)
There are six hairstyles I chose to feature in this project that embody a story with culture to be told about the hardships African American women in the US have faced up until almost the present day. I believe it will be a fun learning experience, not only for me but other African American women, potentially looking for some cultural hairstyles and learning about their “crown’s” history. A couple of styles that stood out from the age of slavery to the 1990s were cornrows, dreads, Bantu/Zulu knots, and the afro. I will discuss the history of these styles along with how they are a part of African culture when they were mostly worn, and display photos to get a visual representation.


“Harmonic Radar Tracking of Queensland Fruit Fly Natural Movement”
Matthew Moses, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Matthew Siderhurst
Tephritid fruit flies, such as the Queensland fruit fly (Qfly), Bactrocera tryoni, are major horticultural pests worldwide and pose invasion risks due to international trade and climate change. Determining movement parameters for fruit flies is critical to further development of agent-based models aiming to increase the effectiveness of surveillance and control strategies. In this study, harmonic radar (HR) was used to track the natural movements of wild-caught male Qflies in papaya fields. The distance from one known location to the next after flight was considered a step. Step distance and direction measurements which were used to create flight paths. Flight path distances (9-16 steps) ranged in length from 14.4 to 116.8 m with a mean step distance of 6.2 ± 0.6 m. The majority of tagged Qflies showed strong flight directional biases similar to other HR tracking results with Zeugodacus cucurbitae, B. jarvisi, and B. tryoni. Along with flight distances and directions, wind direction and speed data was collected to be compared to flight paths. Flight directions were found to be correlated with the wind direction. Data on flight directionality and step-distances determined in this study provide parameters for models that may help enhance current surveillance, control, and eradication methods. Potential pest management enhancements include optimizing trap placements and pesticide applications, determining release sites for parasitoids, and setting quarantine boundaries after incursions.


“An Exploration of Available Services for Offenders with Mental Illness”
Kaliah Moulton, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Timothy Brazill (Honors Project)
The study is an exploration of services available for offenders with mental illness (OMI) and obstacles to providing treatment. It aims to identify services and obstacles to delivering treatment for offenders with mental health and substance use disorders in Augusta and Rockingham Counties. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with representatives of local agencies. Based on the agencies interviewed, services for OMI vary across the Sequential Intercept Model, with services like Crisis Intervention Teams, Medication-Assisted Treatment, and supervisory housing. Participants reported that despite the variation in services, barriers in infrastructure due to poor funding, low staffing, and lack of housing were present. Additionally, participants faced challenges with offender utilization because of anosognosia—a disorder that affects an individual’s ability to recognize they have a disorder and need treatment. To address these barriers, it is necessary to increase funding and raise awareness about these individuals’ challenges and substance use as a mental illness.


“Decades of Chilean Art”
Mason Whitney, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Alma Ramirez Trujillo (Course Project)
In this poster presentation, I will discuss Chilean art in the late 19th century and throughout the 20th century. In this time period, Chile’s art underwent major changes due to technology, migration, and the censorship of a dictator, Augusto Pinochet. I will present examples of art from each major time period in Chile, accompanied by text passages including the artist, the piece itself and its cultural significance. In addition to visual art, I will include excerpts from the written art from each period, since poetry was a very prominent art form for Chile in this time period. Finally, I will include music to go along with each piece. Chile has a rich artistic history that has intrigued me throughout my studies at Bridgewater and I think many people would enjoy learning about it as well.


“1968 Black Power Salute”
Maurtice McArthur, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Maria Paz Esguerra (Course Project)
My project topic is about the 1968 Black Power Salute which is a special moment in history where two black men named Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fist while wearing a black glove during the National Anthem during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. This one of the most important events in the history of sports. This summed up the battle for civil rights and racism all over the world. This act of protest by Smith and Carlos was a show of unity with their oppressed brothers and sisters. It was meant to bring light to the problems with black people all over the world. The 1960’s was a major time in history for black people as a whole. In April, 1968 the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. takes place, the Vietnam was started to escalate, there was a global wave of student protest, and also the Cold War. The Black Power Salute has been criticized, but it is still seen as a sign of resistance and strength especially in a time of social and political unrest this was a powerful act for justice.


“Hispanic Representation Matters”
Fernanda Vicuña, Katherine Menjivar, Emily Martinez, Kelsey Campos, and Luis Gutierrez, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jenny Martin
Experiences/knowledge gathered at the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute Conference.


“The Expansion of Santeria in the United States”
Dy’kierrya Whiting, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Maria Paz Esguerra (Course Project)
I will be researching the expansion of the Afro-Cuban religion Santeria in the United States. This project will highlight the origins of the religion, its travel from Africa to America, and its presence in America today. I will also make connections between the religious practice and American culture.


“The Impact of African American Politicians in the Reconstruction Era”
Luke Lewis, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Maria Paz Esguerra (Course Project)
The poster will show the impact of Reconstruction (1863-1877) on the first African American politicians in the United States and the impact of false narratives that came out of Reconstruction. It will also show the formation of the Freedman’s Bureau and Reconstruction Amendments/Acts and how they helped African Americans finally get political positions. The poster will break down how Reconstruction and its timeline were filled with complexities. This will lead to the end result of Reconstruction. That part will lead briefly to the impact it had on the first half of the 20th Century. The Poster will show African American elites who fixed the narrative coming out of Reconstruction. The information will showcase the helping aid of African American Elites and how they restored factual history and laws. The information will also highlight influential African Americans such as Hiram R. Revels, W.E.B. Du Bois, Robert Smalls, and Blanche K. Bruce. Lastly, it will show the ending of the Civil Rights movement and how the efforts of African Americans would give them the rights they desired coming out of the Civil War.


“Synthesis and Density Functional Theory (DFT) Analysis of Porphyrins”
John Meier, Dani Fellner and Avery Gray, Faculty Advisor: Dr. Ellen Mitchell (Independent Research Project)
Porphyrins, which are naturally abundant in nature in such compounds as hemoglobin and chlorophyll, are conjugated heterocyclic macrocycles. Their bright colors are due to their conjugation, which enables them to absorb visible light. While not quite as efficient as some ruthenium complexes, porphyrins have been found to be relatively efficient dyes in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). DSSCs are able to convert solar energy into electricity. Where the energy of the electron, which injects into the TiO2 of the DSSC is of interest in designing more efficient dyes, DFT calculations can provide insight into these energies. Thus, toward our goal of creating a more efficient and less expensive DSSC dye, we have synthesized H2(5,10,15,20-tetra-(4-difluoromethoxyphenyl))porphyrin. In addition, DFT calculations were performed to determine the energies of the highest- occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) and lowest-unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) energies of both H2(5,10,15,20-tetra-(4-difluoromethoxyphenyl))porphyrin and H2(5-(4-carboxyphenylethynyl)-10,15,20-tris-(4-difluoromethoxyphenyl))porphyrin.

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