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Zyzzogeton Research Symposium

Hosted by URGO, McNair, and STEM ProgramsStudent presenting at Z

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Hoversten Chapel

About Zyzzogeton

Augsburg celebrates the creativity and scholarship of undergraduate students with its annual Zyzzogeton festival. The festival falls at the end of each academic year and is a culmination of achievement featuring work across departments. Over 80 students participate each year, showcasing their research. A “zyzzogeton” is a green leaf-hopper as well as the last word in the Webster Collegiate Dictionary, which is a fitting symbol to mark the end of the academic year.  The public is welcome, so please come join us for this exciting event!

A sampling of posters from past Zyzzogeton Festivals

Zyzzogeton Presenters and Abstracts



Hamdi Adam
Dr. Irina St. Louis MD, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Molecular Biology
Localization of RNA-Binding Proteins in Irradiated Cells as a Mechanism to Cancer Cell Radiation Therapy Resistance

Introduction: When cells are exposed to therapeutic doses of ionizing radiation, they undergo cell cycle arrest through the ATM/ATR signaling pathway, leading to transcriptional shut-off and initiation of DNA repair. Malignant cells, however reconfigure intracellular pathways toward activation of post-transcriptional processes, which may enhance their survival. We hypothesize that in irradiated cells, RNA binding proteins, specifically CELF1 and ELAVL1, re-localize and change binding affinity to target RNAs. Both RBPs bind to GU-rich motifs in 3’-untranslated regions of mRNA, but with opposite outcomes: binding by CELF1 results in mRNA degradation and binding by ELAVL1 results in mRNA stabilization.

Method: H9 lymphoma and Jurkat leukemia cell lines were irradiated with a 5 Gy of ionizing radiation dosage. Cells were then harvested at the fixed timepoints of 0, 1, 2, 3, 24, and 48 hours after irradiation. Cells were stained via immunofluorescence techniques with the use of appropriate antibodies in order to locate the RBPs intracellularly.

Results: We observed that CELF1 localizes from the cytoplasm into the nucleus and ELAVL1 relocalizes from the nucleus into the cytoplasm, as early as at 3 hours post-irradiation. This switch in localization correlated with stabilization of target RNAs in the cytoplasm.

Conclusion: In response to DNA-damage induced stress, the retention of CELF1 in the nucleus, and relocalization of ELAVL1 to the cytoplasm, contributes to stabilization and translation of target mRNAs, which represents a survival mechanism. Future uses may include designing an effective drug that can prevent relocalization, which may reduce cancer resistance to DNA damaging agents.


Michael Alves

Dr. Vicki Grassian, University of California-San Diego


Phase transitions of biologically-derived components in sea spray aerosols and investigation into the chemical complexity of aged SSA

There is a fundamental lack of understanding in processes involving aerosols and clouds that include important mechanisms such as precipitation, climate change, cloud formation, and more. Airborne sea spray aerosol (SSA) particles show diversity in their compositions that is highly dependent on the complex biological, chemical, and physical processes of the subsurface and sea surface microlayer. The hygroscopicity of inorganic salts and chemically complex set of biologically-derived components of SSA and the mixtures of these compounds with sodium chloride is investigated using Hygroscopicity Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzer (HTDMA) under sub-saturated conditions. Results on the chemical changes of nascent SSA via marine aerosol reference tanks in polluted conditions is also reported using single particle micro-Raman Spectroscopy for particles collected during the 2016 summer experiment at the Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment.


Vision Bagonza

Dr. Benjamin Stottrup


Nucleation and Growth of Isometric Hydroxycholesterols

 Hydroxycholesterols are cholesterol analogs formed either enzymatically or non-enzymatically to have a second hydroxyl function group. In this work we study compositions of 24(R), 24(S), and 27 hydroxycholesterol monolayers mixed with 1,2-Dimysristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DMPC). These sterols induce liquid-liquid phase separation which share similarities and distinct differences from commonly studied lipid raft model compositions with cholesterol. Previous work has identified these differences and the role that the position of the second hydroxyl group plays in determining phase behavior. Less well studied is the observation that unlike other liquid-liquid phase separated lipid monolayers, hydroxycholesterols domains display distinct nucleation and growth behavior. We use fluorescence microscopy and Langmuir isotherms to test how the observed thermodynamic behavior matches with theory. A recently developed method of measuring line tension using domain size distribution is applied and results are compared to well-studied cholesterol/DMPC compositions. We have previously identified the important role optical activity plays in the differences between 22(R) and 22(S) hydroxycholesterol phase behavior. We attempt to develop a general model for these differences and present the results from studies of 24(R) and 24(S).


Marisa Benasutti

Dr. Nishesh Chalise

Social Work

Addressing Food Security: A Community Based Approach

 A recent report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that food insecurity is significantly associated with household income, estimating that 38.3 percent of the households in poverty were food insecure. Cedar-Riverside, a diverse and densely populated neighborhood is also one of the poorest with median household income at $18,900 and half of the households living below the federal poverty level. In its initial phase, this study is seeking to develop an effective community based research approach to food security in this neighborhood. First, secondary data was collected about the neighborhood to create a baseline profile to share with stakeholders and participants. To understand the process of community based research, a literature review was conducted of research that used similar approaches, topics, and populations. Lastly, stakeholders and participants were identified by attending neighborhood leadership meetings. Initial neighborhood profiles and discussion with community organizations indicate that food insecurity in Cedar-Riverside is a significant issue. The next steps of this research will be to characterize food security in the neighborhood in a detailed way considering the unique characteristics and strengths of the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.


David Braun

Dr. Mark Engebretson


The study of long-period plasma waves in Earth’s Space Environment

Augsburg’s space physics program has long utilized magnetometers to study plasma waves originating in earth’s space environment.  These instruments allow us to detect waves propagating along the magnetic field.  During this past summer, I was involved in cataloging data obtained by two research satellite missions, NASA’s Van Allen Probes and the POES satellites operated by NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the parent body of the U.S. Weather Bureau).  A major software tool used to analyze wave data is a Fourier transform.  In this poster I provide an introduction to Fourier wave analysis and describe an example of electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves observed by Van Allen Probes A, as displayed in a Fourier spectrogram.  Also shown are plots from the MetOp1 POES satellite showing protons in two different energy ranges precipitated by similar EMIC waves.  These and other examples of protons precipitated by EMIC waves are currently being incorporated into a research study led by Prof. Danny Summers of the Memorial University of Newfoundland.


Brett Bukowski

Dr. Michael Wentzel


The Protection of Aniline and Aniline Derivatives using Bulky Silyl Protecting Groups

Amines are ubiquitous in biological systems, including in the formation of peptide bonds between amino acids, neurotransmitters, and in many products of the pharmaceutical industry. The investigation of the synthesis of amines can be of great importance. Tri-tert-butoxychlorosilane (TBOS-Cl) has been shown to be an effective protecting group for aniline and its derivatives because it can be easily purified and allows for chemoselectivity to be gained in the molecule. Other, less-bulky silyl protecting groups are not nearly as effective when attached to aniline and its derivatives.


Oksana Burt

Dr. Matthew Beckman


The role of serotonergic signaling in Daphnia magna swimming

Daphnia magna are freshwater microcrustaceans that have been used in toxicology research for decades. One common test involves exposing Daphnia to a drug or chemical and assessing its movement. Daphnids possess a rich motor program, yet not much is known about the neurochemical control of movement. We sought to use D. magna as a model organism to determine the role of serotonin in movement. Daphnia were treated with agonist and antagonist drugs targeting 5-HT 1A and 5-HT 7 receptors. Animals were filmed for one minute from above to make 2D movies at various time-points following treatment with 10 μM drug solutions. CTRAX, an open-source software, was used to track Daphnia swimming. Statistical analysis showed the effects of two of these drugs on 5-HT 1A receptors significantly affected movement. Xaliproden hydrochloride, a 5-HT 1A receptor agonist showed inhibition by decreasing the total swimming distance; whereas, NAD 299 which is a 5-HT 1A antagonist, increased total swimming distance. Further, application of NAD 299, the antagonist, followed by Xaliproden HCl, the agonist, resulted in control levels of Daphnia swimming.  These findings indicate that a serotonergic signaling pathway involving 5-HT1A receptors is involved in the neural control of Daphnia swimming. Additionally, this research supports that Daphnia magna is a viable model organisms in studying the role of serotonergic signaling in animal movement.


Sydney Busch, Alexander Husak & Jordyn Robarge

Dr. Jennifer Bankers-Fulbright


Gelsolin, but not mucin, inhibits P. aeruginosa swimming motility in vitro

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a ubiquitous, opportunistic pathogen responsible for substantial morbidity and mortality in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Following initial colonization of the CF lung, P. aeruginosa changes phenotype and becomes virtually impossible to inhibit, kill, or remove. Thus, understanding and preventing initial P. aeruginosa colonization is of great interest. Our lab has previously demonstrated that apical secretions from a human airway cell line, Calu-3, inhibit P. aeruginosa swimming motility and biofilm formation in vitro, and that this inhibition is lost if proteins > 50 kDa are removed. However, secretions from Calu-3 cells lacking the CFTR (CF-like cells) do not inhibit P. aeruginosa. The goal of this project is to identify the inhibitory protein(s) present in non-CF apical airway secretions. Using reducing SDS-PAGE, we identified a band at approximately 90 – 100 kDa that was present in normal apical airway secretions but not CF-like secretions, suggesting that a protein this size may be our target. We have begun testing readily available candidate proteins – mucin and gelsolin — to see if they can replicate the inhibitory activity of non-CF airway secretions. Mucin had no effect on P. aeruginosa swimming motility or biofilm formation, but gelsolin significantly inhibited swimming motility in a dose-dependent manner. Interestingly, P. aeruginosa biofilm formation was not inhibited by gelsolin. Thus, gelsolin may be responsible for at least a part of the P. aeruginosa inhibition induced by apical airway secretions.


Emily Campbell

Dr. Diane Pike


Rape Myths, Rape Narratives, and the Social Construction of Campus Sexual Assault in Newspaper Coverage

Since 2014, advocacy against campus sexual assault has gained traction at universities, in the media, and from lawmakers nationwide. The ways in which the media present campus sexual assault provide one framework through which society views and addresses the issue. This study explores how rape myths and narratives are reinforced by media coverage of campus sexual assault from five news sources targeted to higher education audiences in the United States, comparing student targeted readership with faculty and administrator readership. Content analysis of 200 articles in four student newspapers and The Chronicle of Higher Education suggests that common rape myths are reinforced through coverage of campus sexual assault. While there are few differences between the articles targeted at administrators and those targeted at students, overall analysis suggests that these news sources focus on common narratives about alcohol, gender, and other variables that reinforce distorted perceptions about sexual assault on college campuses.


Nyssa Capman

Dr. Mark Engebretson


MMS, Van Allen Probes, and Ground-based Magnetometer Observations of a Compression-induced EMIC Wave Event

A 0.5-1.0 Hz electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) wave event was observed on December 14, 2015 from 13:26 to 13:28 UT at the four MMS satellites (L= ~9.5, MLT= ~13.0, MLAT= ~-24.4, peak amplitude ~7 nT), and both Van Allen probes (RBSP-A: L= ~5.7, MLT= ~12.8, MLAT= ~19.5, peak amplitude ~5 nT; RBSP-B: L= ~4.3, MLT= ~14.2, MLAT= ~11.3, peak amplitude ~1 nT). On the ground, it was observed by search coil magnetometers at Halley Bay and South Pole, Antarctica, and Sondrestromfjord, Greenland, and by fluxgate magnetometers of the MACCS array at Pangnirtung and Cape Dorset in Arctic Canada. This event was preceded by a small increase of the solar wind pressure of 3 nPa from 13:10 to 13:20 UT. The proton distributions at Van Allen probe A confirm that the compression increased the pitch angle anisotropy in ~10 keV ring current protons. The wave forms were very similar at the four MMS spacecraft indicating that the coherence-scale of the wave packets is larger than the inter-spacecraft separations of ~20 km at the time. Inter-comparison of the wave signals at the four MMS spacecraft are used to assess the characteristics of the waves and estimate their spatial scales transverse and parallel to the background magnetic field.


Javae Carroll

Dr. Anthony Clapp

Exercise Science

Effects of a Six Week Core Strengthening Program on Functional Movement Scores in College Females

Functional Movement Screening (FMS) is a common procedure for scoring and evaluating movement patterns to help determine an individual’s risk for injury during physical activity. It provides feedback regarding an individual’s weaknesses to better improve their basic movement patterns. Core strength is essential to most all human body movements and it has been established that core weaknesses can influence appropriate movement patterns. Examining the relationship between core strength and FMS scores will help clarify proper implementation and possibly reduce risk of injury during physical activity. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between core strength and FMS assessment in college age females. METHODS: A group of healthy, non-athletic female college students between the ages of 19-22 (N=10, age 20.6, ± 1.9 yr) were tested for core strength with a plank exercise to fatigue and an FMS assessment using three of the seven tests (inline lunge, trunk stability and rotary stability). All subjects implemented a 6 week core strengthening program featuring a series of core strengthening and plank exercises performed for 30 min/day, 3 times a week. After 6 weeks all subjects were retested on core strength and FMS scores using the same pre-test methods.  Pre to post changes were analyzed with a paired T-Test and Pearson correlation to examine relationship. RESULTS: Average composite score increased from 3.6 to 5.7 from pre to post-test out of 9 (p < .05).  Average core strength improved from 136 sec to 157 sec from pre to post-test (p < .05). Mean core strength improved 27% and mean FMS score improved 24%. A correlation of 0.58 was observed between FMS changes and core performance post measures, showing a moderate correlation. CONCLUSION: This study revealed that a 6-week core strengthening protocol is effective in increasing functional movement and core strength in active college female subjects. Thus, demonstrating that an improvement in core strength can improve FMS scores, and ultimately leading to a decrease in risk of injury during physical activity.


Mythoua Chang

Dr. Shana Watters

Computer Science

Sentiment Analysis Framework and Classification of Word Sense in Product Reviews

Sentiment analysis is the process of identifying the underlying attitude or feelings in text or spoken languages. This study seeks to determine the underlying opinions of product reviews. Our framework utilizes a decision tree that determines whether a reviewer would recommend or not recommend a product. The results of the decision tree algorithm are compared to a baseline algorithm using positive and negative words and the actual recommendation provided by the original reviewer.  We collected 262 reviews from Walmart and JCPenny to classify using both the baseline algorithm and decision tree.


Anabel Chavez

Dr. O. Evren Guler


Romantic Relationships: Autobiographical Memories and Relationship Satisfaction

The present study focuses on the social function of autobiographical memories, specifically how remembering relationship-defining memories can affect the satisfaction within a romantic relationship. Previous research has found a positive correlation between remembering positive relationship-defining memories and an increase in romantic relationship satisfaction. However, very little work has been conducted on how relationship-defining memories that are negative in emotional valence relates to satisfaction in a romantic relationship. Participants were volunteers from a midwestern liberal arts college and nearby universities who were in a romantic (but not marital) relationship for at least 6 months. Forty-one participants participated in two separate sessions. In the first session, participants responded to the Relationship Assessment Scale as well as the Positive and Negative Quality in Relationship Satisfaction Scale to establish baseline scores. In the second session, participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions (redemptive negative memory vs. negative memory) in which they recalled and wrote about a negative memory, and then responded again to the two questionnaires given in the first session to measure how negative memory recall affected relationship satisfaction. Based on previous correlational research, it was hypothesized that the redemptive negative memory condition would actually increase relationship satisfaction. However, in this experimental study, the results indicated that participants in the redemptive negative memory condition had significantly lower relationship satisfaction scores after memory recall.


Danielle Chevalier

Dr. Nancy Steblay


Eyewitness Descriptions Affect Lineup Fairness (Phase 1)

 An eyewitness description of an offender is the basis for construction of a fair police lineup. All lineup members must meet the description. Unfortunately, eyewitness descriptions are often vague. The lineup constructed by the police based on a vague description would then fail to match for features remembered but not mentioned by the eyewitness. We hypothesize that vague descriptions lead to unfair lineup structure. Twenty real police lineups are used in the study. The eyewitness to the crime in each case had provided only a vague description of the offender. This study will be conducted in two phases. First, participants view 20 individual suspect photos and describe each of the suspects. Second, to test the hypothesis, the new synthesized (“default”) description will be compared to the original description using a mock-witness procedure. The prediction is that lineup fairness metrics will be (artificially) inflated when based on a vague description compared to a description based on default attributes. Phase One is complete and Phase Two will be conducted next fall semester.


Natasha Clark

Dr. David Murr


Study of the Northern Lights Impact on GPS Signals

From cell phones to sonars, most technology relies heavily on the use of GPS satellites for navigation and other services. A subdivision of space physics, the study of the earth’s space environment, called space weather, studies the way naturally occurring events in space can affect the Earth’s environment, space travel, satellites, and satellite signals. One of these naturally occurring events are auroral lights. They result from collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere and charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere. These ionizing collisions produce electrons. In addition to navigation, GPS satellite signals can be used to measure this increase in the number of electrons. Often, collecting data from GPS satellites is a more reliable way of obtaining quantitative information about auroral lights and number of electrons since they are able to disregard variables such as clouds or daylight. The purpose of our study was to compare fluctuation in electron density provided by the GPS satellites to all-sky camera images during pulsating aurora. We generated plots that showed the path of satellites as they traveled over time which was then superimposed over auroral images to show the correlation between auroral variations and the GPS measurements. In order to verify the correlation, GPS derived electron density was plotted over time to show the relationship between electron density and auroral variation. We found that for more intense events there was a clear correlation. More auroral events will be analyzed in the future to verify this correlation for pulsating aurora events.


Austin Conery, Casey Regnier, Sean Adams, Sara Henson, Julie Johnson, Dan Zeng

Dr. Nancy Steblay


Police Lineup Structure:  Distinctive Culprit Description is Related to Bias

A police lineup includes one suspect and five fillers who match the eyewitness’s description of the culprit.  A police lineup may be structured unfairly, thereby putting an innocent suspect at risk of false identification. The relationship between description distinctiveness and lineup structure fairness was assessed using the mock-witness procedure and real lineups from criminal cases. As hypothesized, more distinctive descriptions were related to greater lineup bias.


Samantha Coy

Elaine Eschenbacher

Leadership Studies

Organizational Leadership and Consent Culture: Decoding Climate Surveys

In April of 2014, former Vice President Joe Biden issued a call-to-action for colleges and universities across the nation to “step up” their efforts to combat campus sexual assault. Specifically, Biden suggested that they “…voluntarily conduct anonymous surveys that gauge the ‘climate’ on their campuses surrounding sexual violence and harassment” (New, 2016).

In the last three years, Augsburg has been in the process of innovating ways for students to learn about our resources, policies, and engage in productive conversations about sexual misconduct on our campus. In March of 2016, a student organization was founded and chartered with the mission of educating peers on these very issues. SMART (Sexual Misconduct Awareness Raising Team) has since organized several educational and advocacy events and has initiated, facilitated, and participated in campus-wide conversations about sexual misconduct.

In SMART’s efforts to continue the conversation and raise awareness while also answering the call-to-action issued by former Vice President Joe Biden, I have, in partnership with the Leadership Studies department, Communication Studies department, and the Dean of Students, elected to assist the University in beginning the process of surveying campus members by selecting the top Campus Climate Surveys and performing a coding analysis to decipher what instrument is best aligned with the University’s needs. This particular presentation, quantitative in nature, simply analyzes the ARC3 instrument.


Ian Cummings

Dr. Pavel Belik


Toward Numerical Estimation of the Maximum Rate of Growth of the Support of Planar Vorticity Using Monte Carlo Techniques

We consider a numerical approach to approximate an upper bound for the time rate of spread of vorticity (tendency to rotate) in a static two-dimensional setting. Theoretical upper bounds exist in the literature but are believed not to be “tight” estimates. We attempt to estimate these rates of change using computer driven Monte Carlo techniques by attempting to construct computer models of distributions of vorticity in circles of radius R that maximize the rate of spread (radial velocity), while satisfying physical constraints that arise from conserved quantities. By varying R, we generate numerical results that we then use to reconstruct the radial velocity as a function of time. The context of this mathematical problem is, for example, the growth of a hurricane over time.


Olivia Fitch

Dr. Matthew Beckman


A comparative microscopic, genetic and pharmacological study of larval eye development in Branchiopoda

In the past century a variety of vertebrate and invertebrate organisms have been adopted as “model organisms” for biological research. A common invertebrate model organism used in toxicology studies is Daphnia magna. These microcrustaceans are unique because they are cyclopes: they only have one eye. Our understanding of the developmental basis for cyclopia has focused in large part on vertebrate models in which mutations in single genes have been introduced and result in a partial or full cyclopean phenotype. 1 Our approach will be to determine what genetic differences exist between the natural cyclops Daphnia magna and closely related two-eyed organisms including Triops longicaudatus and Artemia franciscana. By using non-traditional model organisms related to Daphnia, we hope to better understand the genetic basis for the evolution of cyclopia.

Candidate genes that may be involved in the development of cyclopia include a variety of developmental genes such as six3, sonic hedgehog, TGIF, Zic2, and several others. 2 In this work, we focus on members of the Hedgehog signaling pathway, specifically hedgehog. We performed an amino acid sequence alignment of the Hedgehog protein from multiple species using MAFFT, an online sequence alignment package, in order to identify amino acid sequence differences unique to Daphnia. As a continuation of this project, we have begun sequencing hedgehog from multiple members of Branchiopoda to expand upon the sequence alignment.

Another approach we have taken to understand the functional effect of hedgehog signaling in Branchiopod eye development is to culture Daphnia, Artemia and Triops and treat them with Hedgehog signaling pathway inhibitors. We hypothesized that eye development in Daphnia, a cyclops, will be refractory to hedgehog inhibitors while Artemia and Triops will exhibit perturbed eye development when treated with such inhibitors. Cyclopamine has little effect on Artemia and Triops eye development though we measured minor changes in eye size and shape in a small subset of the treated animals. Future experiments will test the effect of other hedgehog pathway inhibitors since cyclopamine may not be affecting arthropod hedgehog signaling.

In addition to genetic differences, we have also investigated morphological differences between the cyclopic organism Daphnia magna, and the closely related two-eyed organisms Artemia franciscana and Triops longicaudatus. In order to compare these organisms, we made staged photographs of the larval eye development in Triops and Artemia to complement the previously documented larval eye development of Daphnia. Future experiments will comprise staged photographs from other branchiopods such as clam shrimp.


1Rebagliati et al. cyclops encodes a nodal-related factor involved in midline signaling. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 1998. 95. 9932-9937. 2Roessler et al. The Molecular Genetics of Holoprosencephaly. Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2010. 154, 52-61.


Quinn Gamble

Dr. Lars Christiansen


Exploring the Feasibility of a Construction Worker Cooperative in the Twin Cities

Laborers performing the tasks of roofing, framing, and drywall installation in the non-unionized segments of the construction industry are subject to labor-only subcontracting. The affected laborers, who are predominantly Latino immigrants, work off-the-books and thus have no safety or compensatory guarantees. Organizing laborers into worker cooperatives and providing the resources for these workers to manage themselves has the possibility of providing living wages and a democratic working environment for these workers. This study explores the feasibility of developing a construction worker cooperative in the Twin Cities area. The feasibility in part relies on the cooperative’s ability to compete in current market conditions; therefore, the current market is explored. The feasibility also depends on the ability of undocumented immigrants to form a legal business entity and compete in the market as a legal firm. The provisional findings suggest that a worker cooperative is feasible if the company has one documented worker (to obtain licenses) and it competes in the multi-family (mid-sized project) construction market.


Kayla Grover

Dr. James Vela-McConnell


Zero Tolerance, Sometimes: The impact of internal policy reform on media coverage of the

Catholic Church

In June 2002, American Catholic Bishops approved the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Young People, a sweeping reform of internal policy relating to sex abuse of minors. Earlier that year, the Boston Globe broke the news of an alleged cover up in the Boston Archdiocese, making the Catholic sex abuse scandal national news. This research examines whether the adoption of policy changes was able to mitigate the negative and stigmatizing media coverage of the sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. Through a content analysis of all articles published relating to the scandal from 2001-2014 published by five news sources, this research concludes that institutional reform was not sufficient to mitigate stigmatizing media coverage. Reporting of the scandal focused on distrust of the Bishops drafting the Dallas Charter, creating an image of the Catholic Church as secretive and unable to manage the crisis, and over time the stigmatizing media coverage of the Catholic Church increased.


Eric Hanson

Dr. Bibiana Koh

Social Work
Heritage Travel Project

Positive identity formation is critical for healthy development of Transracial/Transethnic Adoptees (TTAs). TTA parents often will integrate aspects of their child’s birth culture, such as foods, music, and holidays into their family’s daily life. For example, TTA parents who adopt a child from China may celebrate Chinese New Year, and attend other Chinese cultural celebrations as a family. In recent decades, heritage travel programs have also become a popular option for TTA families to expose their children to their birth culture. These immersive programs give TTA children the opportunity to visit their birth country and experience its culture in person, meet other TTA children like them, and develop a better understanding of their narrative.


Danielle Heitkamp

Dr. Anthony Clapp

Exercise Science

Hydration Status in DIII Female Hockey Players Prior to Competition via Urinalysis

Voluminous sweating and collegiate athletes share an association, especially during competition. In regards to hydration, the accountability is on the athlete to arrive to the venue euhydrated. In the case of the DIII female hockey player it has been reported that improper hydration will most likely cause headaches, dry mouth, sluggishness, malaise, and reduced performance. Pre-participation euhydration is paramount to optimal performance. The pre-competition hydration status of the female DIII athlete has yet to be elucidated. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the hydration status in a group of DIII collegiate female hockey players prior to competition. METHODS: Twelve female division III hockey players (age = 19.8 ± 0.8 years, height = 168.2 ± 8.2 cm, mass = 60.8 ± 9.0 kg) participated in this investigation. Prior to home competition during a six week span, twelve skaters had been randomly asked to provide a sample on two different occasions. Players were randomly asked to ensure their hydration routines weren’t influenced on whether or not they were providing a urine specimen. Once the urine specimen was collected, a pen refractometer Atago, model 3749 was used to determine the Standard Gravity (SG) of the athletes’ urine. Score were then compared to established standards. RESULTS: Optimal level of SG hydration was established at 1.020SG or below. In this investigation, two out of twelve subjects provided urine specimens that fit attained the 1.020 or lower number. As for the other ten, they were all slightly above 1.020 which indicates that these athletes were slightly dehydrated. CONCLUSION: Only 16.7% of the athletes were properly SG hydrated.  It is alarming that less than a quarter of subjects were properly hydrated. This reveals that the DIII female hockey players are not adequately hydrated prior to competition and would benefit from additional guidance and preparation.


Rebecca Hillebrand

Dr. Ben Denkinger


Time Estimation in a Lexical Decision Task

In a study of emotion and time perception, undergraduates performed a temporal bisection task and a pleasantness judgment on a sequence of words presented for variable durations. Participants rated positively valenced emotional words as being presented for significantly longer durations than negative or neutral words.


Nikki Hoang

Dr. Benjamin Stottrup


Viscoelastic measurements of hydroxycholesterol phospholipid monolayers

The rheological characteristics of multi-component cholesterol/phospholipid monolayers have received less attention than measurements of phase behavior, domain morphology, and pressure-area isotherms. The liquid-liquid coexistence observed in these systems is a compelling model to investigate both biological membranes as well as for the physical chemistry of two dimensional phase separated systems in their own right. We use a pulsating drop module for an optical tensiometer to measure the elastic and viscous moduli for lipid monolayers exhibiting unique liquid-liquid phase behavior. Robustly, hydroxycholesterol isomers induce a kink in pressure-area isotherms for monolayers over a wide range of compositions and phospholipids. Likewise, monolayers of 27-hydroxycholesterol and 1,2-Dimysristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DMPC) system exhibit the nucleation and growth of a sterol rich phase which increases in area fraction over a range of surface pressures. The role of sterol concentration, phase behavior, and droplet curvature are investigated in determining the viscoelastic properties of these Langmuir films.


Kitana Holland

Dr. James Vela-McConnell


Demands of Change: Factors in Corrective Action by the Catholic Church following the Sex Abuse Scandal

When examining different media outlets and stories, it is not always clear who is to blame and who needs to take corrective action. Corrective action is a concrete step to change something such as through policy changes, personnel changes and institutional reform. It was found that, when media coverage focuses on individuals involved in scandals rather than the larger church system, the church was least likely to take corrective action. If the focus of media coverage was on the larger church system, the church was most likely to respond with corrective action.


Jide Ifonlaja

Dr. Ana Ribeiro

Exercise Science

Validation of a Modified Functional Movement Screen Test for Division III Male Soccer Players

Purpose: To validate a modified version of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) in Division III male soccer players. It is not known whether a shorter version of the FMS could yield the same results, while allowing for more efficient screening times in athletic settings.

Methods: The Functional Movement Screen is a battery of 7 tests to assess movement patterns. These tests include the deep squat, hurdle step, inline lunge, shoulder mobility, active straight leg raise, trunk stability push-up, and rotary stability test. The modified version includes the deep squat, hurdle step, active straight leg raise, and an added test: the single leg squat. The soccer group was scored once for the original FMS (21 points) and the modified FMS (10 points), while the control group was scored twice for both versions by an FMS certified athletic trainer. The single leg squat was scored as a 0, if knee valgus was displayed, or a 1, if no knee valgus was displayed. Reliability was calculated as Pearson Product Moment and concurrent validity was calculated between the modified FMS and the original FMS scores, using R Statistical Software.

Results: Mean age for the soccer group was 19.6 ± 0.73 years, with a mean FMS score of 15.6 ± 1.5 and a mean modified FMS score of 7.3 ± 1.63. Mean age for the control group was 20.5 ± 1.19 years, with a mean FMS score of 14.8 ± 1.64 for trial 1 and 15.3 ± 1.5 for trial 2. There was a strong correlation (r =0.74) between trials for both the original and modified FMS scores. Trial 2 scores were approximately 3% higher in both original and modified FMS. The differences between trials in the control group were likely due to the practice effect. The addition of a third trial could possibly have attenuated this. There was also a strong correlation (r =0.73) between the original FMS and the modified FMS.

Conclusion: The results of this study show this modified version of the FMS is valid for division III male soccer players. Athletic trainers and coaches may now use this modified version for more efficient screening times.


Lewis Istok

Dr. Matthew Haines

Mathematics & Statistics

3D Printing & Mathematics Education

3D printing as an instructional technology is a growing subject of interest but is not yet well described.  Since the technology is still relatively new and dispersing into the mainstream, empirical studies done on digital fabrication as an instructional tool are relatively sparse, and those specifically done in the context of mathematics education are even less common.   Much of the literature focuses on the use of 3D printing in engineering and technology education, its use in teaching design concepts, or leveraging the innate connections with mathematics to introduce engineering principles in elementary education. As a step towards bridging this gap, we’ve made a collaborative effort between in-service and pre-service mathematics educators to develop a 3D printing lesson plan which incorporates mathematics standards in a middle school interdisciplinary STEM classroom.


Madelynn Johnson

Dr. Annie Heiderscheit


Music Therapists’ Perceptions of Clients Experiences in Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy

Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins aided in establishing the profession of music therapy. Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy (NRMT) is based on a core belief that music is innate within every human being, this core belief remains consistent today in NRMT, even though the methods utilized have evolved. This study gathered qualitative data through interviews to explore the current practice of NRMT.


Katelyn Johnston

Dr. Emily Schilling


Overwintering strategies of Anax junius (common green darner) in a Minnesota prairie pothole ecosystem.

Anax junius (the common green darner) is one of the most common and widespread species of dragonfly in the United States. Northern A. junius either overwinter as aquatic nymphs or migrate south as adults. Temperature is a leading driver of exotherm growth rate and likely plays a major role in determining which overwintering strategy an individual nymph utilizes. Therefore, the timing and abundance of fall emergence and migration may be changing as climate extends the length of the northern growing season. This observational study of six different ponds within a restored prairie pothole ecosystem in central Minnesota documents the seasonal nymph population dynamics during 2017. These data, combined with adult phenological observations and experimentally created species temperature response curves will build a broad understanding of how northern A. junius are adapting to our changing climate.


Bryce Kadrlik

Dr. Shana Watters

Computer Science

A Collaboration Between Neural Networks and Reinforcement Learning: Applying Concepts to a Brick Breaking Game

This work explores the interactions of artificial neural networks and digital games and details the development of an artificial neural network intended to play a game based upon the Atari game Breakout. The network was designed with the goals of not dropping the ball and maximizing its game score. Full game and network integration was not completed, but two versions of a neural network intended to decide whether to move the paddle to the right or left based on the point of impact on the paddle were developed. In preliminary testing using manual inputs, these networks reached a 100 percent rate of returning the expected output. Next steps in the development of this neural network include the addition of multiple inputs, the ability to output a distance for the paddle to move, and full integration with the brick-breaking game.


Derek King

Dr. Ralph Butkowski


Interactions of Clotting Proteins with Zinc

Histidine-rich glycoprotein (HRG) is a major plasma protein that is thought to play a role in regulating the blood coagulation system. Human HRG is a continuous protein chain of 507 amino acids (rabbit HRG has 518 amino acids) that is folded into several structural domains as illustrated in the model below.

One of HRG’s domains, the histidine-rich region (HRR) is flexible and it has an affinity for zinc ions. The other domains contain binding sites for several coagulation proteins. Following an injury, platelets release zinc on contact, and the zinc binds to the multiple histidine amino acids that are present in the HRR of HRG. Bound zinc induces a shape change in HRR that permits access to HRG’s other domains by several coagulation proteins.

HRG is generally purified using metal-ion affinity chromatography (IMAC). The IMAC technique uses an insoluble matrix containing bound metal such as zinc or nickel. Histidine-containing proteins bind to the insoluble matrix and can be purified away from other proteins. With its 34 histidine amino acids in its HRR, and IMAC is extraordinarily useful for preparation of HRG.

Previous studies by URGO students lead to developing an improved IMAC method for HRG preparation.  In that study, a detection method for HRG was established by an enzyme-linked metal-ion assay. The detection procedure allows for monitoring the purification of HRG and of its HRR, and for monitoring its binding to other proteins.


Madeline Kinn

Dr. Ben Denkinger


Recognition Biases and Visual Scanning Techniques Predict Memory for Emotional Faces

Much evidence suggests that people tend to recognize and identify other people in the same age group as themselves, otherwise known as an own-age bias. In addition, older adults tend to favor positively expressive faces rather than negatively expressive faces, showing an age-related positivity effect in their recognition of emotional faces. Previous studies suggest that these age-related differences might be explained by how a face is viewed. In this study we used the EyeLink 1000 in a three phase facial recognition eye-tracking experiment to examine trends in age-related effects and visual scanning behavior. Our results support the own-age and positivity bias in facial recognition. We also explored for the first time how age-related differences in the way that older and younger adults visually scan stimuli during initial coding play a role in their later recognition accuracy.


Jennifer Kochaver

Drs. Miles Ott & Brian Rood

Mathematics & Statistics

Minority Stressors Predict Sexual Risk Behaviors and HIV Testing in a U.S. Sample of Transgender Individuals

The Center for Disease Control defines transgender as “an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity or expression (masculine, feminine, other) is different from their sex (male, female) at birth.” Because transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are at a higher risk for HIV transmission, and because transgender individuals make up an estimated 0.6% of the United States population (about 1.4 million people), it is important to understand the factors which put this population at greater risk. Understanding the psychological factors associated with heightened sexual risk-taking is a first step towards developing better practices in preventing the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in transgender and gender non-conforming communities. We examined the applicability of Ilan Meyer’s minority stress model to the experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in the United States. Meyer modeled internal and external minority stressors as the causes of disproportional adverse health outcomes in minority populations. Using survey data from 300 transgender or gender non-conforming adults from across the United States, we performed multiple linear and logistic regression adjusting for race, relationship status, level of education, and sex assigned at birth. We found that expecting rejection and experiencing discrimination are associated with heightened sexual risk taking in this population, as well as a higher likelihood to get HIV tested. This suggests that the minority stress model may be applicable to transgender and gender non-conforming individuals with some modifications.


Joshua Kuether

Dr. Vivian Feng


Impact of Natural Organic Matter on the Interaction of Functionalized Diamond Nanoparticles with Model

Bacterium S. oneidensis MR-1

Natural Organic Matter (NOM) has shown to influence nanoparticle interactions with organisms. Studies with model supported lipid bilayer with lipopolysaccharides has demonstrated that at higher NOM concentrations, the interactions of lipid bilayers with poly (allylamine hydrochloride) functionalized nanodiamond (PAH-ND) decreased. The purpose of this work is to examine the modified interactions by NOM at a whole cell level, using a model gramnegative bacterium, Shewanella oneidensis MR-1. To test this hypothesis, bacterial viability was first assessed by colony counting and growth-based viability assays. BacLight Live-Dead assay was also utilized to investigate bacterial membrane damage. Together with ND Zeta potential results at varying NOM concentrations, we observed that a decrease in both toxicity and membrane damage by PAH-ND to S. oneidensis occurred at a similar NOM level where a charge reversal of the ND was observed.


Holly Kundel & Meghan Springborn

Dr. Emily Schilling


Needle in a Haystack: Hunting for a Rare Dragonfly (Rhionaeschna mutata) in the St. Croix River Valley, MN  

The Spatterdock Darner dragonfly, Rhionaeschna mutata, is a rare North American dragonfly species, which is most widely distributed in the eastern USA. In 2009, a breeding population of R. mutata was found in two ponds at the Warner Nature Center in Marine on Saint Croix, Minnesota. This population is of particular interest, because it is the only known breeding population in Minnesota and establishes a substantial northwestern range expansion of this species. The breeding habitat preferences of this species are not well-documented. Our research is a continuation of work that was initiated last summer to identify other potential R. mutata breeding ponds in the region. We compiled information on R. mutata habitat preferences in other regions where it is more common through communications with natural resource agencies in five states and one Canadian province. We consulted the few publications that describe R. mutata breeding habitat and the Odonata Central database ( where vouchered dragonfly sightings and habitat notes are recorded and mapped. Building off of this information and the knowledge gained from the first field season, we selected 15 potential breeding sites in and around Warner Nature Center. We targeted heavily vegetated, fishless ponds with a sphagnum fringe and a wooded riparian zone. We initiated an earlier start to our field sampling season this year, with the aim of collecting final instar nymphs just before emergence using multiple types of gear to maximize our sampling effort, including dip-nets, small-mesh minnow seines, and 3’x3’ frame sweeps. We also conducted extensive visual searches for exuviae along the shoreline and flying adults near the ponds. In a subset of ponds, we set submerged night traps to characterize the macroinvertebrate communities and overnight minnow traps to characterize the fish communities. During our five-week sampling period (May – June 2016) no R. mutata were found (nymphs, adults, or exuviae). It is possible that a local extirpation has occurred, which is possibly linked to the recent addition of three-spined stickleback fish to one of the original breeding ponds. Evidence suggests that R. mutata does not co-exist well with fish.

Suggested reading: DuBois, R., R. Lawrenz, D. Johnson, W. Smith, R. Chrouser, and D. Jackson. 2015. First records for Rhionaeschna multicolor (Blue-eyed Darner) and R. mutata (Spatterdock Darner) in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and their overlapping ranges in these states. Argia: 27(3), pp. 32-35.


Clare Lantzer

Dr. Matthew Beckman


Development of RNA interference (RNAi) tools to study Pax6 in Daphnia magna

The freshwater microcrustacean of genus Daphnia, more commonly referred to as the water flea, has frequently been used in the scientific community as a model organism due to its diversity, reproduction rate, and sensitivity to water quality. Daphnia magna’s slightly increased size over other species lends itself to an easier study of the physical makeup and an easier handling in the lab, thus serving as an ideal model organism for the study of its eye development, as is done in this project. When determining the role that a gene plays in an organism, the most efficient method to find this out is by knocking it down; the phenotype of the resulting organism should give a clue into the purpose that the gene would have played if it was functioning. The method of RNA interference, or RNAi, is utilized in this project for silencing the expression of the gene Pax6, which in previous studies has been shown to play a role in the development of the cyclopean eye of this organism. This method silences the gene when double stranded RNA is introduced into an organism’s cell, either by microinjection or a method of ingestion. Extensive RNAi studies have been performed through microinjection, with fewer performed using the emerging method of ingestion as we examined in this experiment. Within this project, tools will be developed for RNAi to study Pax6 in the organism Daphnia magna by feeding genetically engineered plasmids containing the dsRNA gene insert to D.magna.


Pong Lee

Dr. Anthony Clapp

Exercise Science

Changes in Oxygen Consumption Following 6 weeks of Elevation Mask Endurance Training in College-aged Males

Aerobic exercise at altitude has been shown to increase maximal oxygen uptake. Elevation Training Masks© (ETM) claim to stimulate cardio respiratory fitness improvements similar to training at altitude, however, there is little research to support this claim. ETM’s have been a purported way to mimic high altitude training by restricting the oxygen pathway to your lungs and making your diaphragm and intercostals work harder. PURPOSE: To examine aerobic changes in subjects following a 6 week ETM cardio training program. METHODS: Eight moderately fit college students ranging in age from 18-24 yrs, were randomly assigned to either the experimental group (n = 4) using elevation training masks (EXP) or control group (n = 4) without the masks (CTL). Pre and post-training test consisted of VO2max evaluation with MedGraphics, VO2000 gas analysis system. The endurance training program consisted solely of treadmill running, 3 times a week for 6 weeks. All subjects followed an incremental program at an individualized speed based upon 80% of their heart rate reserve. For the first 2 weeks each subject ran at a 0% incline for 15 minutes. Weeks 2-4 the incline was 2%, and weeks 4-6 the incline was 4% incline. After 6 weeks, Pre to post changes were analyzed with a paired T-Test to examine relationship. RESULTS: All subjects improved their VO2 max scores and significant improvements were established following 6 weeks of incremental training (p < 0.05). The experimental group improved their pre to post VO2 max score from 45.1 ml/kg/min to 48.3 ml/kg/min and the control group improved from 44.1 ml/kg/min to 47.0 ml/kg/min. There were no significant differences in improvements between the groups (p = 0.64). CONCLUSION: This study revealed that although the between groups data was not significantly different, there was a slightly greater increase in the experimental group wearing the ETM compared to the control group not wearing the mask. The data reinforced that incremental cardiovascular training can be a viable method of improving VO2 max, however, training masks such as the ETM may not lead to greater overall improvements.


Darby Lindgren

Dr. Ana Ribeiro

Exercise Science

Modified Functional Movement Screen as a Predictor of Knee Valgus in Male Soccer Players

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a battery of seven tests to observe key movement patterns and is scored in a twenty-one point scale (Cook, 2010). Studies have suggested that individuals with scores of 14 or less had significantly higher risks of injury (Bushman et al., 2015; Chorba et al., 2010). A modified FMS, scored in a ten-point scale, has been used by a Division III college athletic training staff. It is not known whether the new battery can predict knee valgus in Division III male soccer players.

PURPOSE: To determine whether the modified FMS can predict knee valgus when landing from drop jumps.
METHODS: Seventeen Division III male soccer players and twenty healthy male non-athletes (ages 18-24) were recruited for the study. Subjects performed all modified FMS exercises, a drop jump and a single leg squat and were scored by one FMS certified athletic trainer.

RESULTS: The modified FMS was not a significant predictor of right knee valgus (p=0.65) or left knee valgus (p=0.22).
CONCLUSION: The Modified Functional Movement Screen is not a significant predictor of knee valgus in DIII male soccer players.


Chung Lip

Dr. Matthew Beckman


Roles of Decapentaplagia (Dpp) on D. magna eye development

RNA interference or RNAi is an essential tool used to study gene function. In our study, this gene knockout method is used to study the dysfunction of the decapentaplegic gene in Daphnia magnaD.magna is a fresh water microcrustacean that is an emerging model organism for genetic study. We have successfully built essential molecular tools for the study of the Dpp gene in Daphnia magna. To perform RNAi in Daphnia we identified the Daphnia magna decapentaplegic gene sequence and generated PCR fragments of the gene. We optimized these PCR products to work and ligated them into the feeding vector, L4440, a plasmid. Preliminary feeding studies yielded inconclusive results. In summary, we have engineered a bacterial RNAi feeding strain specifically targeting D.magna Dpp gene which is harbored in E.coli HT115. The study of the loss of function of the Dpp gene will be continued by performing additional bacterial feeding experiments in order to determine the role of the Dpp gene in Daphnia magna eye development.


Aleksandr Lukanen

Dr. Pavel Belik

Mathematics & Statistics

An Investigation of the Equilibrium Statistics of Vortex Filaments and the Pivot Algorithm

A replication and expansion of previously published results by Chorin in the early 90s concerning the statistical equilibrium of vortex filaments on a cubic lattice are presented here. The numerical and graphical results help show that the modified pivot algorithm presented here gives a much better estimation of the point of statistical equilibrium for a vortex filament constrained to the cubic lattice over a larger range of temperatures, both positive and negative. The most interesting of these results is that the statistical equilibrium of a filament found with the original pivot algorithm depends on the initial configuration of the SAW (self-avoiding walk), using our algorithm can help alleviate this pattern. In addition, the entropy of these vortex filaments is computed using the hypothetical scanning method of Meirovitch.


Simona Mackovichova

Dr. David Matz


Objectification of Same-Sex and Opposite-Sex Individuals

The objectifying gaze refers to the tendency to focus on an individual’s sexual body parts rather than their face, thereby reducing the target of the objectifying gaze to a mere object. This tendency has been shown to be more prevalent among men and directed more frequently towards women. The present study investigated gender differences in male and female gaze patterns towards same-sex and opposite-sex individuals. It was predicted that 1) males would attend to the bodies of all models more than females, 2) the body regions of female targets would be focused on more than the body regions of male targets, especially by male participants and 3) participants tasked with judging appearance would focus more on models’ bodies than those tasked with judging personality. Eighty-two college students viewed images of male and female models and rated their appearance or personality, depending on the condition. Participants’ eye-movements were tracked and the amount of time they spent examining the models’ bodies was established as the measure of the objectifying gaze. Results indicate that the bodies of female and male models were observed approximately equally by both male and female participants in both the appearance-focused and personality-focused conditions.


Taylor Mattice

Dr. Michael Wentzel


Green Polymer Chemistry in the Organic Chemistry Lab

Polymer chemistry is of large importance in our society. As of now, the most commonly used polymer is plastic, which is causing issues in our environment due to its non-biodegradability, its use of a petroleum-derived initiator, and an overall energy-inefficient reaction. This bench-ready procedure was created to improve the energy efficiency by using a microwave reactor. In addition to polymers being used as plastics, they are often used often in the medical field, for things such as tissue engineering. There has been a recent influx of scientists studying self-healing hydrogels, a type of polymer that can heal itself upon fracture. Many of these self-healing hydrogels show promise within the biomedical field, but fail due to their non-biocompatibility or inability to endure tensile stress. The reaction created involves the use of only a non-toxic synthetic polymer and water to create a self-healing hydrogel that is biocompatible and can endure tensile stress after self-repair.


Cameron Mielke

Dr. Nancy Steblay


Double-Blind Administrator Influence in Police Lineups

This study examined the effect of double-blind administrators on police lineup proceedings.

A representative subset (n=102) of real police lineups from a larger data set (n=494) was taken from the American Judicature Society (AJS) field experiment. Lineups were from four U.S. cities and included primarily felony criminal cases. Transcripts of audio recordings were coded for categories of on- and off-script according to the field experiment protocol and then compared to eyewitness accuracy (suspect vs. filler picks) and decision-making processes (automatic vs. deliberative).

This study’s first hypothesis is that off-script lineups will be associated with more filler picks and fewer suspect picks compared to on-script lineups. The second hypothesis is that off-script lineups will be associated with an increase in deliberative and a decrease in automatic eyewitness processes. The second hypothesis was supported.


Alexis (Kaitlyn) Nagle

Dr. Stacy Freiheit


Appropriation of Blame by the Support System of Sexual Assault Survivors

A total of 706 adults took part in a nationwide survey that examined the impact of survivor gender, perpetrator gender, and the survivor-perpetrator relationship on the perceived blame by friends and family members of sexual assault survivors. Survey respondents were randomly assigned to one of eight fictitious sexual assault scenarios and then asked to complete measures of perceived blame. Respondents perceived parents and friends of sexual assault survivors would experience similar levels of internalized blame. One notable difference was that parents would appropriate more blame when a daughter was assaulted than a son. It is important to understand the impact of sexual assault on the survivor’s friends and family.


Adam Pancoast

Dr. Michael Wentzel


Using High Molecular Weight Silane Groups For The Protection of Primary Amines

As the pharmaceutical industry continues to play a larger and larger role in treating disease, there has been an increased interest in the synthesis of new/existing drugs on an industrial scale in an efficient, economical, and green manner. Typically, an amine will over react, thus necessitating the use of a protecting group to force the amine to only undergo one reaction. Large silane protecting groups, such as tris(trimethylsiloxy)chlorosilane (TTMSS-Cl), are effective protecting groups for primary amines due to their steric bulkiness, which renders the protected amine fairly unreactive with most other compounds. Each reaction was monitored with GC-MS, and analyzed at the end with GC-MS and 1H-NMR.


Ellyn Peters

Dr. Michael Wentzel


Synthesis of Esters and Amides via Flow and Microwave Reactors

Benzyl alcohol was used to synthesize esters using a TiO2 catalyzed continuous flow reactor. This is a continuation of research in which temperature, flow rate, stoichiometry, column size, and collection time were varied to produce higher yields of amides from anilines. The previous research found the optimal conditions to be 200ºC, 0.25 mL/min flow rate, 1:8:1:4 (aniline:nitrile:H2O:THF) molar ratio, 5 micron fritted column, and 1hr and 54min product collection time. In efforts to synthesize esters, these reaction conditions were explored and varied and pressure was varied. By varying these conditions, optimal pressure was found to be a minimum of 1000 psi sustained throughout the reaction, and not exceeding 3000 psi. Esters were successfully synthesized using the reaction conditions described above, using a 1:8:4 (benzyl alcohol:nitrile:THF) molar ratio.

Benzylamine derivatives were used to synthesize amides using a TiO2 catalyst and a microwave reactor. In efforts to optimize yields, the temperature, reaction time, catalyst form, presence and timing of water addition, and workup were varied. Heating the reaction mixture at 250ºC for 20 minutes, using TiO2 catalyst in pellet form, and including water in the reaction mixture was found to produce the highest yields. A workup utilizing diethyl ether and saturated ammonium chloride washes was prone to losing product.


Maria De La Luz Rico Mendoza

Dr. Michael Wentzel


Microwave-Assisted Fischer Indole Synthesis for the Organic Chemistry Laboratory

Microwave-Assisted Organic Synthesis (MAOs) is a growing interest in the scientific community in recent years. Implementation of microwave irradiation in synthetic chemistry allows for an efficient heating mechanism for reactions that permit better temperature control, reaction time, pressure control and reduction of side reactions. Here, we present an undergraduate Organic chemistry experiment that utilizes MAOs to perform a Fischer Indole synthesis. The Fischer Indole synthesis, a reaction that would normally take over an hour to complete with conventional heating, is run in less than 5 minutes. This experiment demonstrated the efficiency of microwave irradiation and allowed more time for product analysis and characterization. Moreover, synthesis of a cyclic aromatic compound in the undergraduate laboratory allows for hands on application of topics discussed in lecture and an introduction to characterization of molecules using GC/MS and NMR spectroscopy.


Kassidy Rodriguez

Dr. Benjamin Stottrup


Graphene Oxide and Phospholipids at the air-water interface

Graphene Oxide (GO) has many potential and realized applications as a novel material, additive, and thin film coating. However, like other nanoparticles, the interactions of graphene oxide with biological membranes and tissue is not fully understood and therefore it is important to determine modes of interaction. GO has been shown to be surface active under a variety of experimental conditions and preparations. Further, GO has been shown to insert into lipid monolayers based on lipid head group affinity. We test the competitive absorption of graphene oxide with phospholipids at the air-water interface using Langmuir film-balance techniques and Brewster angle microscopy. We determine how monolayer phase behavior, GO concentration, and subphase pH impact these nanoparticle/phospholipid interactions. Brewster angle microscopy was also used to observe the morphology of GO packing with phospholipids at the air-water interface as well as estimating the height of GO when in the lipid monolayer.


Jason Scheeler

Dr. Michael Wentzel


Benzylic Amide Synthesis Using a Heterogeneous Catalyst in a Continuous Flow Reactor

Amide functionality plays a vital role in the biochemical makeup of every living organism and is also prevalent in the pharmacy industry. However, pathways to the most efficient syntheses of this functional group have been challenging as temperature control, lack of scalability, energy consumption, time efficiency, and waste generation are all problematic. Therefore, we figured a continuous flow synthesis with a heterogeneous catalyst in a flow reactor would be a necessary means to synthesize the amide product. Phenylacetonitrile and several amine derivatives were pumped through an HPLC pump into the reactor with water and THF in a 1:8:1:4 molar ratio, respectively. It was confirmed that monitoring the reaction with a back-pressure regulator between 500-1000psi increased yields.


Davi Singer

Dr. Matthew Beckman


Development of Tools for RNA interference (RNAi) of the engrailed Gene in Daphnia magna

The legend of the cyclops has been a part of international folklore for centuries. Yet, we do not fully understand the developmental genetic basis for cyclopia. Daphnia magna, a water flea, is a naturally occurring cyclops which can serve as a model to study this phenomenon.  In this study tools were created to examine the role of the engrailed gene in Daphnia eye development. In Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies), silencing of the engrailed gene affects segmentation during early development. Additional studies suggest that engrailed is one candidate gene involved in eye field development. To understand the role of engrailed in Daphnia development, we sought to knockdown the gene’s expression using RNA interference.  Using the online databases Uniprot and the wFleaBase we acquired the D. magna hedgehog mRNA sequence. Using this sequence we designed primers to amplify portions of the D. magna engrailed gene. Engrailed gene PCR products were then cloned into the pGC-Blue vector and later, the L4440 plasmid. The L4440 plasmid will be transformed into HT115 E.coli and fed to Daphnia. Future work will also include qPCR studies of the engrailed gene expression during key time-points in Daphnia eye development and following RNAi knockdown. In summary, through this work tools are being developed to study the role of engrailed in cyclopean eye development. We believe that by leveraging in our studies, Daphnia magna, a true cyclopean organism that evolution built, we can gain a deeper understanding of the developmental genetic basis for midline disorders.


Nicholas Stewart-Bloch

Dr. Michael J. Lansing


From Cooperative Commonwealth to Yardstick Capitalism: Midland’s Vision of Cooperation in Mid-century Minnesota

Midland Cooperative Wholesale’s story began in 1921 when Minnesotan farmers decided to form a cooperative. Each member had a vote, and they collectively bought petroleum in bulk, distributing the savings according to patronage. They were responding to large oil companies raising the price of petroleum. In the ensuing decades, the cooperative grew and took on the mission of promoting cooperation as a business model, and more notably, as a way of life. Midland’s message resonated with thousands across the Midwest. By the 1950s, however, Midland became more concerned with profit than democratizing the economy. A competitive economy and narrowed political space made seemingly radical solutions unpopular. Midland merged with Land O’ Lakes in 1982. Nonetheless, Midland’s conception of the ways in which cooperation and democracy might extend into our everyday life–particularly in the economic sphere–remains instructive.


Alex Sushko

Dr. Pavel Belik


A Numerical Study of Tropical Cyclones Simplified in a 2-D Flow

An important concern regarding the formation tropical cyclones (TC’s) is the development of a symmetric structure revolving around the eye of the storm, usually originating from an asymmetric convection. Researchers have particularly been interested in the radial profiles of the tangential velocity of tropical cyclones (or hurricanes). It has been observed that as the radius increases from the hurricane’s vortex (center), the velocity increases linearly until some radius r0 where the tangential velocity will reach a maximum value. Thereafter, the velocity will decrease proportional to 1/rβ for some 0<β<1. Most researchers have used mathematical models with β=1, but analyses of actual radar data have clearly shown that the actual value of β is less than 1, that is, that velocity decays at a slower rate. We would like to come up with a mathematical model to approximate such velocity profiles using very simple concepts (for practical purposes, we will simplify our analysis for tropical cyclones by assuming axial symmetry). Overall, we would like to construct an approximation to a given a velocity function, where we can construct a set of annuli to represent the regions of nonzero vorticity given the different radii values. We can then create “patches” of vorticity to be used in a simulation, where we would analyze the effect of two merging patches, similar to what would happen in a real tropical storm. If we are able to perform this simulation well, we should then be able to check our work by verifying the correct velocity, vorticity, and pressure profiles that match with the simulation results.


Abigail Tetzlaff

Drs. Douglas Green and Dallas Liddle


The Murphy Square Project: Applying the Methods of Digital Humanities to an Undergraduate Literary Journal

In this study, Murphy Square, an undergraduate literary magazine published annually by students of Augsburg University since 1975, became an exploratory corpus. The study conducted various experiments to ascertain how well a corpus with short, varying writings would respond to digital research methods. The query in question was inspired by Franco Moretti’s article, “Network Theory, Plot Analysis,” in which Moretti demonstrated square-shaped networks forged through dialogue interaction in chapters of Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend. Our study found that short prose pieces in Murphy Square lie in one of four categories based on dialogue interaction shape: no shape, web/linear, triangle-shaped, or square-shaped. In graphs that relate these shape categories to word count, the study shows how each category has different properties in regard to length and length-flexibility.


Karen Thao

Dr. Adriane Brown

Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Influence and Portrayal of Asian American Masculinity in Science Fiction/Fantasy Characters: Hikaru Sulu (Star Trek: the Original Series), Hiro Nakamura (Heroes), and Glenn Rhee (The Walking Dead)

The purpose of this research is to identify how Asian American masculinity is constructed in science fiction/ fantasy television shows. I examine the roles of three Asian male characters in the science fiction/fantasy genre: Hikaru Sulu (Star Trek), Hiro Nakamura (Heroes), and Glenn Rhee (The Walking Dead). My research reveals that both “yellow peril” and the “model minority” discourses produce ambivalent representations of Asian American masculinity. All three characters: Sulu, Hiro and Glenn embody some stereotypical traits, such as their loyalty to the white protagonist, but at the same time they also challenge hegemonic masculinity by negotiating their role as a male and creating their own masculinity to align with their identity as Asian Americans.


Hannah Thiry

Dr. Matthew Beckman


Measuring Hedgehog Gene Expression during Daphnia magna Embryonic Development

Daphnia magna, a water flea, is a cyclopic fresh-water crustacean. Early Daphnia embryos appear to have two eye spots within a single eye field that “fuse” in the adult D. magna to form the single cyclopic eye. To investigate this developmental phenomenon, we focused on a gene involved in embryonic midline formation- Hedgehog (Hh). Reverse Transcription-quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR) was performed with D. magna mRNA. Levels of Hh RNA levels were quantified at different time points in eye development. In this study we sought to determine the level of D. magna Hh gene expression at key timepoints in eye development. This work is important because the homologous human gene, Sonic Hh, when mutated, is associated with holoprosencephaly (HPE), a disorder that manifests in midline defects, including cyclopia. Preliminary data revealed D. magna Hh gene expression changes throughout early embryogenesis into full adult development. Further studies are needed to quantify more accurately Hh gene expression. However, these preliminary findings suggest changes in Hh expression levels during development, which lay the foundation for continued work toward understanding the role of hedgehog in midline development.


Miles Turk

Dr. Michael Wentzel


Pressure Controlled Continuous Flow Reactor Synthesis of Amides from Aniline Derivatives

Aniline derivatives were used to synthesis Amides using a TiO2 catalyzed continuous flow reactor. This is a continuation of research where temperature, flow rate, stoichiometry were varied to produce optimal reaction conditions. Those conditions being 200°C, a 0.25 ml/min flow rate, and a 1:8:1:4 (aniline: nitrile:H2O:THF) molar ratio. In efforts to obtain higher yields of amides collection time and size of column in the reactor were varied. By varying these conditions, optimal collection time was found collecting product for 1 hr and 54 min. A 5 micron fritted column consistently gave higher yields whereas the 2 micron fritted column was less consistent in obtaining high yields and more prone to clogging.


Diamonique Walker

Dr. O. Evren Guler


Relation between Autobiographical Memory Narrative Coherence and Executive Function

Autobiographical memory can be defined as memory for personally relevant events. Executive function skill level may be a predictor of one’s ability to produce narratively coherent autobiographical memory narratives. In the context of the present study, executive function encompasses attention control, inhibition, working memory (manipulating items in short term memory) and cognitive flexibility. Previous studies have found results suggesting that executive function has an important role in the retrieval of autobiographical memories. In the current study, researchers investigated whether greater narrative coherence relates to greater executive function. Participants responded to ten cue words with instructions to give detailed specific memories for each. Participants also completed the Dimensional Card Change Sorting Task (cognitive flexibility), Flanker’s Inhibitory Control and Attention Task (attention and inhibition), and List Sorting Working Memory Task. Autobiographical memories were coded with a narrative coherence coding scheme to rate the narratives on context, chronology and theme. The results of this study show there is a marginally significant relationship between narrative coherence of autobiographical memories and executive function.


ReaShondra Walker

Dr. Barbara Lehmann

Social Work

Comparisons of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): in Clients Seeking Out-patient Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Services

The purpose of this study was to determine whether there were differences in the number and types of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in clients receiving treatment in the outpatient Mental Health (MH) and Chemical Dependency (CD) departments at a Health East Hospital in downtown St. Paul, MN.  This study served as a pilot to ascertain the validity and reliability of the format for future research.  This topic is important because those who suffer from adverse experiences during childhood are at an increased risk of disease, disability, and early death. ACEs lead to increased stress which can lead to maladaptive coping mechanisms, and possible could potentially result in mental illness. This study measured the significant difference in ACE scores between clients receiving treatment from the MH department, the CD department, and from the dual diagnostic Mental Health and Chemical Dependency (MH/CD) program. There were statistically significant differences between the three groups. Persons receiving services for MH/CD had a significantly higher number of ACEs than those presenting with CD.  Persons receiving services for CD were significantly less likely to have reported emotional neglect than persons receiving MH services or MH/CD services. Finally, people receiving services for MH were significantly less likely to report having experienced separating or divorced parents than the other groups.


Elizabeth Whalen

Dr. Roberta Kagin


Clinical Applications of Vibroacoustic Therapy with Individuals Diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorders

This presentation examines clinical application of vibroacoustic therapy with individuals diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorders. It reviews the suggestions for therapeutic goals, training, and ethical practice from the literature. In addition, it includes a survey of vibroacoustic therapy practitioners. Practitioners were surveyed about their professional education, training, and experiences. The presentation suggests recommendations for clinical practice, recommendations for future research, and ethical considerations related to the use of vibroacoustic therapy with clients diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorders.


Devin Wiggs

Dr. Diane Pike


Cosmopolitan Café: A Third Place for Those without a First Place

This ethnography explores the “social contract” Cosmopolitan Café has with the homeless population in the surrounding university neighborhood, where it has a reputation for accommodating local “traveling, homeless, and home-free” persons. This research seeks to understand how this café can sustain this accommodation as an organization. A mixed-methods approach of participant observation and interviews uncovered spatial and cultural factors that make this accommodation possible. Located between two “hangout spots” for homeless individuals in the neighborhood, the café’s outdoor patio brings domiciled and homeless actors of the café into frequent contact, allowing homeless individuals to build rapport, create relationships, and enact civility to establish a positive reputation amongst domiciled actors. Moreover, the café’s low division of labor allows employees to create “personal policies” that diverge from official business policy and guide their individual accommodations. Personal policies are fashioned on the reputation, politeness, deviant behavior, and familiarity with the homeless individual.


Breanna Wilson

Dr. Nancy Steblay


Eyewitness Verbalizations Predict Identification Decisions

This study examined the relationship between identification accuracy of real eyewitnesses to crime and their verbalizations while viewing lineups.

A subset (n=26) of lineups from a larger data set (n=494) was obtained from the American Judicature Society (AJS) field experiment.  Lineups were from four U.S. cities and primarily included felony criminal cases.

Eyewitness scientists theorize that automatic decisions will lead to increased suspect identifications and decreased filler identifications, while the reverse effect will occur with deliberative decisions.

This phase of the study used the witness’s verbalizations from case audios and transcripts to predict whether the witness chose a suspect or a filler. The frequency of three specific deliberative processes was tracked as they occurred individually and together. The order in which they occurred was also tracked.

Eyewitness verbalizations were coded for categories of witness decision strategies and then compared to eyewitness accuracy (suspect vs. filler picks).

We hypothesized that witness comments indicating automatic decision-making would be associated with greater accuracy than comments indicating deliberative decision making. This hypothesis was supported.