Submissions Showcase

2017 Submissions

Winners:

  • Jeanine Campbell, Overall Winner & Science Winner
  • Megan Gieske, Arts Winner
  • Ashley Dickerson, Humanities Winner

Arts

Arts Winner:
Poetry Matters in the Face of Sex Trafficking and Sexual Violence
Megan Gieske ’17, Creative Writing
Faculty Sponsor: Marcia Hurlow, Ph.D., M.F.A.

Abstract:

Through exploration in border crossing or what I call “ocean-crossing” and some lessons in empathy from representatives of every religion, I’m writing a place for trafficked or abused women in third world countries, marking it down before anyone tells us how we’re supposed to think of them. Although these are world issues, my poetry focuses on the third world countries I traveled to from 2013 to 2017, India, Myanmar, Vietnam, South Africa, Ghana, and Morocco. “Can atrocity be the subject matter of poetry” (Creswell, Robyn), or as you have heard, can it only be the beautiful, and are not testimonies in their righteous pain and resurrection also beautiful?

My poetry presents the reader with a problem, a problem that like a misbehaving dog won’t sit down. Like the poetry of Charles Baudelaire writing to his wife from a concentration camp, or Miklós Radnóti writing his last ten poems from a forced labor camp in Yugoslavia (“Carolyn Forché: On Poetry of Witness”), my poems evade the easy.

My goal for the collection of poems is found in the words of Anna Akhmatova, “Yes, I can.” In her poem “Requiem,” she stood outside the gates of a Cold War-era Russian prison with other mothers awaiting the release of their children. In that bleak place, someone who recognized her as the poet shouted to ask, “Can you describe this?” Her response, “Yes, I can,” becomes an apostrophe in the poem to a fellow woman, and so as Carolyn Forché has said, “It (poetry) is not only a record of experience but an exhortation against despair. It is not a cry for sympathy, but a call for strength” (“Carolyn Forché: On Poetry of Witness”).

A Life in Paintings: How Caravaggio’s Life Shows up in His Works
Ashley Lacheta ’17, Art History
Faculty Sponsor: Linda Stratford, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Caravaggio painted himself into many of his pieces, in fact, in more ways than one. In some, his self-portraits were physical and obvious, but in others, he painted his life into them more subtly in ways such as the status of those in the painting or through hidden words or phrases. Caravaggio’s violent life of brawling, murder, and general antagonistic lifestyle is so different from what his religious paintings encourage, and that is what he is most famous for. The first critic to suggest a link between Caravaggio’s tempestuous lifestyle with his paintings was G.P. Bellori. “He was a large young man, around twenty or twenty-five years, with a thin black beard, black eyes with bushy eyebrows…and a mass of black hair, long over his forehead.” Bellori’s findings were not published until 62 years after the artist’s death, but accurately depicts that Caravaggio’s dark coloring was naturally mimicked in his work.2 This dark, mysterious figure wandering the midnight streets of Rome, though young, disheveled, and often amidst a bloody dispute, becomes the greatest religious artist of his time. Beyond the siege of the church, Caravaggio’s life in Rome was very different than most people. A tragically brutal lifestyle drug the artist down much of the time, and often resulted with him in prison. When he was not being punished, however, Caravaggio was painting. Oddly enough, his cruel tendencies show up in many of his pieces, including his religious works. By combining his own violent, sinful habits with scenes of a spiritual nature, Caravaggio managed to turn himself into the most celebrated religious artist of his time. Some of the most influential of Caravaggio’s paintings from each period of his life include, “Young Sick Bacchus,” “Cardsharps,” both the “Calling of St. Matthew” and “Martyrdom of St. Matthew,” the “Death of the Virgin,” the “Beheading of John the Baptist,” and, finally, “David with the Head of Goliath.” Focusing on each of these paintings one will find out more on how certain events in the artist’s life affected their creation; how Caravaggio’s dark life and compelling personality are reflected in these pieces.

Christo: An Artist Team Making Visual Imagery for Collective Freedom
Emma Nesselroade ’17, Art History
Faculty Sponsor: Linda Stratford, Ph.D.

Abstract:

This paper will look at the individual backgrounds of the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and the ways in which their early lives inform their artwork and their search for freedom from the constraints of patronage, object oriented permanence, and national political borders.

The Contra Dance: A Hidden Gem at the Heart of America
Sarah Boiney ’18, Ethnomusicology
Faculty Sponsor: Nathan T. Miller, ABD

Abstract:

Contra dancing is a widely unknown, yet thriving recreational activity in many cities across the United States. Over a two-month period, through first-hand experience and ethnomusicological forms of study, the researcher investigated contra dancing for its American cultural significance. The dance moves, music, and relationship between partners in contra dancing all point towards a very welcoming and communal atmosphere. This experience that is routine for many of its participants is very ritualistic and quasi-religious in nature. The music is conducive to an ease of learning, and the open band nights allow for the contra music tradition to be passed on. The groups of people who contra dance are extremely diverse. Children as young as 7 dance with adults as old as 80. Immigrants contra dance as well as people who have stayed rooted in the same spot for many years. There is a spectrum of political and religious views at any given time of a contra dance. Some people dance for fun, some for exercise, and some to help heal from PTSD. This diversity yields at least one common aspect: everyone loves to dance, have fun, and be with a people group that they find welcoming and accepting. The contra dance community explores what true community building can look like, and is a rare gem that lies largely undiscovered in its once-a-month dances.

Bach Fugue
Ashley Taylor ’18, Hannah Stafford ’19, Music
Faculty Sponsor: Vicki P. Bell, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Fugue in G minor, has become one of the most iconic compositions for organ of all time. While this can certainly be attributed to its memorable melody and powerful accompanying motives, Bach’s intricate and masterful display of 18th century counterpoint is astounding to musicians and scholars alike. This research project analyzes this timeless piece and seeks to show how a mere six ideas are developed and transformed to build this breath-taking work.

Humanities

Humanities Winner:
Feuds and Dehumanization: Becoming the “Other”
Ashley Dickerson ’17, History
Faculty Sponsor: David R. Swartz, Ph.D.

Abstract:

The Hatfield and McCoy families of the Appalachian Mountains are as well-known among Americans as any two families of the Beverly Hills. For the people of Appalachia, the notoriety of the Kentucky feuds did more harm than good. There was no single cause that started the feuds and no single solution, but that did not keep entertainment-hungry media or self-proclaimed philanthropists from trying to solve the mystery or fix the problem. How the Kentucky feuds of the late 19th century were reported and discussed contributed to the dehumanization and marginalization of the people of Appalachia. Using a sensationalistic article from Frank Leslie’s “Popular Monthly,” the selective cause and solution of President William Frost of Berea College, and other primary sources, this work shows how a culture can turn a group of people into “the other” and how a group of humans can be turned into a humanitarian cause.

Dreaming with Open Eyes: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Perspectives on Dreaming and Waking
Faith Neece ’18, English Literature
Faculty Sponsor: Erin K. Penner, Ph.D.

Abstract:

The Civil Rights movement in America was fueled by a dream of a bright future, one where people of all races could join hands together. But this movement also focused on awakening; activists labored to wake up the privileged citizens who were blind to the oppression of African-Americans. Celebrated leader Martin Luther King, Jr. famously painted his vision for America in his “I Have a Dream” speech. Yet while his vision is important, the bulk of his speech actually centers on the present reality of oppression that America must see to make his dream possible. In his book “Between the World and Me,” modern author Ta-Nehisi Coates writes to rouse America from the destructive and elusive American Dream that has decimated black bodies and lives. While both of these authors incorporate images of waking and dreaming, they use dreams to actually wake us up – to sharpen our perception of reality and to insist on present social change. These authors dream with their eyes open. They do not turn a blind eye to injustice, but they also cast their visions for a brighter future, awakening us from dreams of selfish upward mobility, and calling us to dream anew, in a way that embodies equality for all citizens. This essay explores our small interpretations of Civil Rights leaders, the ways in which the American Dream has harmed African-Americans, and a new way of dreaming that can truly bring change to America.

Civil Rights, School Integration and Asbury University: How a National Movement Made its Way to Wilmore
Samantha Fraser ’18, History
Faculty Sponsor: David R. Swartz, Ph.D.

Abstract:

This research paper shows how integration in the United States eventually reached small, rural Wilmore, Ky. Religion played a big role in the integration at Asbury, and these changes – segregation to integration – can be noticed through the evolving points of views within the nation, within Asbury’s faculty and board, and within the student body. This research papers shines light on Asbury’s view on integration in the 1950s to now. It answers questions like, “Why did Asbury integrate, why did it take so long for Asbury to integrate, and what did the students think of this shift?” The paper quotes various previous Asbury leaders – E. Stanley Jones (1907 grad) and Z.T Johnson – showing what their views were on the civil rights issue. It shows how a national issue affected a small town. It also focuses on how and why a Christian institution supported segregation. Another portion of this paper shows who supported segregation at Asbury, whether it was the administration, faculty, and/or students.

“I Want To Go to Heaven Someday”: The Influence of the Old Regular Baptists in Southeastern Kentucky
Victoria McClary ’17, History
Faculty Sponsor: David R. Swartz, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Old Regular Baptists have been the predominant religion because of their traditional values and their preservation of these values. These values come from the idea of family and viewing church as a community, and their strict interpretation of the Bible. These particular reasons have appealed most to the older population of the region since the Old Regulars are not an evangelical sect of the Baptist church. Another important factor is the idea of church rule among the common man. The hierarchy system is how the Methodist Church governs itself, while the Old Regulars are organized by governance among the laity of the church through their elders and appointed members. The Old Regulars are humble people who do not seek out fame or recognition, or as Elwood Cornett, the moderator of the Indian Bottom Association said in his interview from 1990, they were “not anxious to be studied” but instead exhibited a “uniqueness and a genuineness” in their worship of God. Deep within the Old Regular Baptists is this sense of community and a personal, emotional relationship with God. These emotions can be expressed outright in worship or song. The Old Regulars are a part of the landscape and context of Southeastern Kentucky. Old Regulars are locals who have lived in the area their entire lives. These reasons are why is has been difficult for outside denominations to make an impact on the landscape. Old Regular preachers are spoken about as ignorant, but in actuality, ignorance comes from the mainline denominations because they had not studied the historical and religious background of Central Appalachia in order to impact the the lives of the people who reside there.

A Cry for Help: The Missionary Party’s Battle and Eventual Triumph over Queen Liliuokalani
Katrina Miller ’17, History
Faculty Sponsor: David R. Swartz, Ph.D.

Abstract:

While the foreign born men came to the Hawaiian Islands in peace with pure intentions, their descendants grew in power and sought to take control of the islands. This paper follows the political power struggle between the Missionary Party and the Hawaiian monarchy beginning with King Kamehameha V’s constitution in 1864 to the Hawaiian overthrow in 1893. King Kamehameha V brought power back to the native culture by passing a constitution solely written by Hawaiians. This move angered the foreign born. Later, King Kalākaua sought to appease the foreigners by seeking advice on trade agreements with the United States. His efforts were not enough, and the Missionary Party staged a rebellion that forced the Monarch to sign a new constitution giving government control to the foreign born. With Kalākaua’s death, Queen Liliuokalani received the crown and attempted to bring power back to the natives. Feeling threatened, the Missionary Party sought help from the United States to overthrow the monarchy. The U.S. sent a battleship equipped with men and supplies to help. The overthrow was successful giving power to the Provisional Government run by the Missionary Party. The United States recognized this government as the new governing body and five years later annexed the islands.

American Nuclear Weapons Policy in the Twenty-First Century
Rebecca Frazer ’17, Political Science
Faculty Sponsor: Stephen K. Clements, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Based on a review of academic literature and government reports, my paper discusses the nuclear weapons threats and policy options facing the United States in the twenty-first century. I first examine the modern threats of nuclear terrorism, rogue nations, and South Asian nuclear expansion. I then present three policy options that are widely discussed by experts and policymakers: 1) nuclear modernization, 2) official adoption of a no first use policy, and 3) development of a comprehensive missile defense system. I examine key points of advocacy and critique for each option and conclude with a short analysis of how the United States should proceed going forward.

Purity Culture: The Intersection of Sexuality and Evangelicalism
Shannon Kenny ’17, Psychology
Faculty Sponsors: Gay L. Holcomb, Ph.D. & Janet B. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract:

When comparing the sexual climates at various secular and religious universities, Freitas (2008) found that Evangelicals have a unique cultural approach to and ideation of sexuality. This purity culture is exhibited in the importance placed on virginity pledges and abstinence until marriage. Purity culture seems to be rooted in traditional gender roles, having a profound influence on the expectations placed on men and women living according to this perspective. Purity culture also plays a unique role in the intersection of religiosity and sexual behavior. Little research exists regarding this unique subculture, calling for future researchers to further explore this realm.

Predictors and Treatment of Sexual Dysfunctions in Women
Lydia Sisco ’17, Psychology
Faculty Sponsors: Gay L. Holcomb, Ph.D. & Janet B. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Sexual dysfunctions and subjective sexual difficulties affect women at a higher rate than men, but only recently has research emerged on this topic. The DSM-V provides three diagnoses for women, with associated features that address biological, psychological, interpersonal, partner, and sociocultural factors for consideration. Current studies are focused primarily on the psychological factors that correlate with women’s sexual problems, especially cognitive factors. Clinicians who are Christians, or who have Christian clients, can benefit from identifying connections between empirical literature on sexual health and Christian teachings on sex, the body, and desire. Further examination into these topics through correlational and outcome studies will allow for the development of clearer etiology and more effective and evidence based strategies in the future.

Medical Family Therapy: Immersing Family Therapy in a Healthcare Context
Claire Webb ’17, Psychology
Faculty Sponsors: Gay L. Holcomb, Ph.D. & Janet B. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Medical family therapy is a young specialty deriving from family therapy with an emphasis in medical culture. Medical family therapists must acquire in-depth knowledge of family dynamics as well as understand the biopsychosocial-spiritual and systemic approach to therapy. Therapists working in health care must be willing to collaborate with professionals in other disciplines. This form of therapy seeks to enhance the entire health care experience of the patient and the family. Medical family therapy has shown to benefit the health of entire communities and lower the cost of health care. There is more research to be done to support the effectiveness of this therapy in treating a variety of illnesses.

Schizophrenia: Theories on Its Development, Effects, and Treatment
Rachel Winger ’17, Psychology
Faculty Sponsors: Gay L. Holcomb, Ph.D. & Janet B. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Schizophrenia is one of the most pervasive mental illnesses in its symptomology. It has wide ranging effects on brain volume and structures, leading to difficulties in occupational and social functioning. Antipsychotics are the standard treatment, and studies have demonstrated a wide number of benefits; however, research on their effects is mixed and shows many potential negative effects on brain structures. Several alternatives have been tested and used in treatment resistant patients. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an emerging treatment, but more research is needed to support its use. Continuing evaluation is needed and may potentially lead to more personalized treatment.

An Epidemic That Cuts to the Bone
Alexis Finley ’17, Youth Ministry
Faculty Sponsor: Brian C. Hull, Ph.D.

Abstract:

The Church has done a poor job of addressing and interacting with taboo topics such as self-harm. The 21st century Church is facing several problems in regards to this issue of self-harm; the Church not only avoids having conversations about self-harm and providing proper treatment for those who self-injure, but the Church has failed its young people by not teaching them that no longer do they have to be in control of their own lives, circumstances and hardships but that their Creator and Savior stands before them with His scarred hands outstretched ready and willing to take on their mess and brokenness if they will only let Him. Thus, this paper is an attempt to provide youth workers who interact and encounter young people on a regular basis with the tools needed to spark a conversation about self-injury that will then lead to the opening of the door that brings hope and healing for kids who cut.

Science

Science Winner:
Understanding Psychological Distress within the Christian Student Community: The Influence of Resilience and God Representations
Jeanine Campbell ’17, Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Janet B. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Previous research suggests individuals’ psychological states can be significantly influenced by resilience and God representations. The prevalence of psychological distress among college students, along with the theological focus of Christian communities, presents an opportunity to explore a unique influence of resilience and God representations on the psychological states of students at a Christian university via an online survey. Congruence between theological orthodoxy and personal beliefs about God is expected to predict greater well-being, while incongruence is expected to predict more distress. An interaction between resilience and God representations is also anticipated, with greater levels of resilience and theological congruence indicating more positive well-being. The second part of this study explores the potential for narrative priming to modify students’ representations of God, predicting positive narratives of God to increase positivity of representations, and negative narratives to increase negativity. Research findings and implications are discussed.

Poster Presentation at the 2017 Spring Academic Conference of the Kentucky Psychological Foundation

Development of a Highly Efficient Nicotine-Metabolizing Enzyme through Computational Design
Young Hwan Kim ’18, Biochemistry/Physiology
Faculty Sponsor: Bruce M. Branan, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Nicotine replacement therapy, Bupropion and Varenicline are three current FDA-approved drugs for smoking-cessation. However, these drug-based therapies may cause detrimental side effects. Consequently, enzyme-based therapy for smoking-cessation is being developed using Uridine 5’-diphospho-glucuronosyltransferase 2B10 (UGT 2B10). UGT 2B10 is a human liver enzyme that plays a major role in nicotine metabolism, converting nicotine into nicotine N-glucuronide, which is eliminated by the human body more rapidly. UGT 2B10 was engineered to improve the enzyme’s ability to metabolize nicotine and thus to develop an efficient drug for smoking-cessation. The structure of UGT 2B10 was first formulated through computational modeling to determine which amino acids are involved in the active site of the enzyme, and site-directed mutagenesis was performed to mutate those amino acids. A single-mutation UGT 2B10 mutant exhibited a 7-fold improvement in nicotine metabolism, and 19 second mutations were performed on the mutant. A total of 19 double-mutation DNA were prepared, and six of these DNA were introduced to Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. Only five of the six double-mutation UGT 2B10 mutants were produced by the CHO cells, and HPLC analyses indicated that all five mutants lost their abilities to metabolize nicotine. The remaining 13 double-mutation mutants are yet to be tested, and if all the mutants exhibit no activity, it may be concluded that the second mutated amino acid is critical to the structure and function of UGT 2B10.

Oral Presentation at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Academy of Science - First Place in Physiology and Biochemistry

Sequencing Cytochrome B from Tissue and Swab Collected DNA in Salamander Species from Central Kentucky
Ashton Bain ’17, Robert L. Washburn ’17, Biology
Faculty Sponsors: Malinda A. Stull, Ph.D., & Benjamin F. Brammell, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Salamanders are important bioindicators of habitat quality in forest and aquatic ecosystems. Because of their vital role in nutrient cycling, it is important to have an efficient and noninvasive means of monitoring salamander populations. Techniques such as environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling can be effective monitoring tools; however, eDNA techniques require the knowledge of one or more gene sequences from the species of interest. Sequences can vary slightly across geographical regions, potentially rendering primers ineffective outside the region of origin. Therefore, the aim of this study was to provide regional sequence data for six Central Appalachian salamanders. We also attempted to test the efficacy of swabbing as a less invasive means of salamander DNA acquisition. Portions of cytochrome b sequences were subjected to endpoint polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using universal primer sets MVZ 15/Cyt-b2 and MVZ 18/25. Agarose, polyacrylamide, and urea gel electrophoresis were used as indicators of successful amplification. Near full length sequences of cytochrome b were eventually obtained from E. lucifuga, A. maculatum, A. barbouri, and D. fuscus, with corresponding species sequences matching ≥ 89% to published sequences. Using Pseudotriton ruber as a subject, we found DNA collection via swabs to be as effective at DNA extraction as tissue collection. These data provide sequences essential to the development of molecular tools to detect salamander species in a field setting, and provide a potential means of sample collection which is less harmful than previous methods. Future work will be conducted in order to align sequences and create species-specific primers for each of these sequences.

Presentation at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Academy of Science

The Relationship Between the Ras Pathway and Hedgehog Pathway in Barrett’s Disease
Rebecca Bolinger ’17, Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Bruce M. Branan, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Squamous cell carcinoma is the most prevalent esophageal cancer in America with risk factors being gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and obesity. Barrett’s disease, the metaplastic transformation of esophageal stratified squamous epithelia into simple columnar, has been found to lead to adenocarcinoma. It has been found that the activation of the Sonic Hedgehog pathway during the metaplastic transformation contributes to the development of Barrett’s metaplasia. Ras has been found to transmit signals downstream of epidermal growth factor, which has been found in increased levels in Barrett’s metaplasia. The Sonic Hedgehog and Ras pathways work cooperatively in some cancers. The objective of this research is to discovery relationship between the Ras and Hedgehog pathways in esophageal adenocarcinoma. Normal esophageal squamous and Barrett’s Cells were transfected with Hras and Gli1 in order to determine the effects of oncogenic Ras overexpression on the Hedgehog pathway by Western Blotting and Quantitative Real-Time PCR. In this research, it was found that Sonic Hedgehog levels increased in response to Gli1 expression and that Sonic Hedgehog and Indian Hedgehog levels increased in response to oncogenic Ras expression. The results of this experiment do not indicate the mechanism by which the ligand concentration is increased. Possible explanations could be that in the absence of the Ras pathway, an inhibitory system for the Hedgehog pathway is mutated or that a positive feedback mechanism is unregulated. To determine the mechanism, we would need to look at the Transcription Factor and the promoter region of SHH and IHH and see if Ras affects them directly or indirectly.

Evaluation of Survival Percentages, Growth Rates and Carbon Sequestration on Reclaimed Starfire Mine in Eastern Kentucky Appalachia
Taylor Childress ’17, Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Bruce M. Branan, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Surface mining has made a huge environmental impact on the Appalachian region of Kentucky, especially when it comes to species biodiversity and how well the species are able to flourish even after reforestation. There are many different variables that go into the effectiveness of reforestation, however the effect of the three different compaction site types [compacted, strike-off, and loose-dump] are of particular concern when it comes to determining how mining companies should be required to recover the mine site back to where an ecosystem can once again form.

The reforestation of the Starfire mine site occurred in 1996 when it was split into nine cells, three of each type, and each cell contained 21 plots The plots measure 20 m x 20 m and one corner was permanently marked with rebar and metal tags identifying plot number and species planted within the plot. Each tree species was randomly allotted to three plots (three replications) within each reclamation cell. Tree seedlings were planted on 1.8- x 1.8-m (6- x 6-ft) spacing, providing 121 trees in each growth plot. These species included White Pine, Yellow Poplar, Red Oak, White Oak and Royal Paulownia.

After looking at the plots now, 20 years following the original planting, it was found that species variety and number were highest on the loose dump sites and lowest in the compacted. Not only that but the size of the species was slightly larger on average in the loose-dump sites than the other two types. The findings suggested that the loose dump sites allowed for the most species variety (in terms of growth of species that were not originally planted) as well as allowing them to flourish and grow much more than the other two site types, however the strike-off sites better resembled natural forest while still being almost as effective growth-wise. In terms of carbon sequestration, the white pine had the highest rates to show in the data.

Effect of Transportation Stress on Whole Blood Gene Expression of Cytokines in Horses
Mary Tress Eastham ’17, Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Bobby R. Baldridge, D.V.M.

Abstract:

Transportation of some agricultural animals (e.g. swine) has been shown to result in stress responses that alter immune function. However, little research has been conducted regarding the effects of transportation stress on immune responses in horses. Thus, the objective of this study was to assess the effects of short distance transportation of horses on nascent inflammatory cytokine gene expression and steroid hormone responses. Sixteen senior horses of mixed age and gender were transported 20 miles over a span of 1.5 hours. A baseline blood sample was collected one week before transportation. Whole blood samples were collected 15 minutes before and after transport, 24 h, and days 3, 7, 14, and 21 after transportation. RNA was isolated from the whole blood tempus tube samples and subjected to reverse transcription, followed by qPCR to measure pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-a, IFN-g, IL-1b) and anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and IL-10). Cortisol was the steroid hormone measured. Results show no significant change in IFN-g, IL-1b, or IL-6. However, TNF-a expression significantly (P<0.05) decreased at 15 minutes post travel and IL-10 significantly (P<0.05) increased. These results display the inverse relationship between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, cortisol results showed a significant increase in levels 15 minutes post transit, likely reflecting another inverse relationship between increased stress hormones and decreased immune response. Overall, short distance transportation acutely affects immune responses in horses.

Poster Presentation at the 2017 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR);
Presentation at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Academy of Science

Changes in Circulating Inflammatory Markers in Response to Oral Sugar Administration in EMS Horses
Alexandria LoPrinzi ’17, Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Bobby R. Baldridge, D.V.M.

Abstract:

Horses (Equus caballus) can develop a syndrome called Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS). This disease is associated with obesity, laminitis, and insulin resistance. Horses impacted by insulin resistance or EMS also have impaired glucose metabolism. An increased amount of insulin is released to compensate. This can lead to downstream effects that alter the blood flow, such as, vasoconstriction and inflammation which will predispose horses to laminitis. This can antagonize and contribute to an inflammatory immune response. To quantify this relationship EMS and control horses had blood drawn at time 0 and oral glucose administered immediately following. Blood was drawn 60 minutes after administration. RNA was extracted from the whole blood. The RNA was then transcribed to cDNA. The cDNA was then subjected to Real-Time PCR for analysis of the following 5 cytokines and insulin. The cytokine levels will allow the relationship between Equine Metabolic Syndrome and the immune response to be analyzed in order to have a more comprehensive understanding of the disease. Three cytokines, INF-γ, IL-6, and IL-10 were not significantly different (<0.05). TLR-4, TNF-α, and insulin showed higher gene expression at time 60, but only TLR-4 and insulin were significantly different (<0.05) between EMS and control horses. This data suggests that there is an increased amount of TLR-4 and an increased amount insulin in the blood of horses with Equine Metabolic Syndrome. Horses with Equine Metabolic Syndrome are at risk for other diseases such as obesity, insulin resistance, and laminitis.

Detection of Percopsis Omiscomaycus (Trout-Perch) Using eDNA in Eastern Kentucky Streams
Andrew Nesselroade ’19, Harold Brabon, David Eisenhour, Brooke Washburn, & Lynn Eisenhour, Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Benjamin F. Brammell, Ph.D.

Faculty Sponsor: Benjamin F. Brammell, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Environmental DNA (eDNA) provides an effective, non-invasive method to detect the presence of rare organisms in aquatic systems, provided sufficient molecular tools are available. Percopsis omiscomaycus is a small fish with a limited, disjunct distribution in central and eastern Kentucky. We amplified and sequenced a 769 BP region of Percopsis omiscomaycus cytochrome b and used this sequence to design eDNA primers that selectively amplify P. omiscomaycus DNA from filtered water samples. One liter water samples were collected from 28 locations in northeastern Kentucky, filtered, and DNA was extracted in a manner consistent with established methods. Additionally, each location was intensively sampled for P. omiscomaycus by seining. Initial results indicate eDNA successfully detected P. omiscomaycus at sites where specimens were collected using seines in addition to at least one site in which suitable habitat was observed but no specimens were collected. These data add to the body of knowledge concerning P. omiscomaycus distribution and provide a useful tool for detecting cryptic populations for this and other species.

Use of eDNA to Detect Multiple Species in High Elevation Habitats in the Sierra Nevada, Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, Calif.
Christopher Pauley ’17, Biology
Faculty Sponsors: Benjamin F. Brammel, Ph.D. & Malinda A. Stull, Ph.D.

Abstract:

High elevation habitats in the Sierra Nevada Mountains are known to be sensitive habitats and are home to creatures that are well adapted for such a climate. A few of the amphibian species, the federally endangered Rana sierra (Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged frog) and Rana muscosa (mountain yellow legged frog), have been greatly impacted by the introduction of exotic salmonid species such as the brook trout. The use of eDNA to detect aquatic organisms is a relatively new technique that provides an effective and non-invasive method to determine the presence of animals. As a result, it has particularly great promise in working with endangered amphibians. In this study we have applied eDNA in remote, wilderness settings, which is something that has been applied in only limited instances thus far. Water samples were collected from stream and lake water using means to ensure no contamination. eDNA was extracted using a DNeasy extraction kit. Primers built to amplify a 105 base pair region of the Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged cytochrome b gene were designed using IDT’s PrimerQuest software based on a published sequence. Published eDNA primers amplifying a 140 base pair segment of brook trout cytochrome b gene were utilized. Both the brook trout and Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged frog primers effectively identified DNA from these respective species. Endpoint PCR reactions were conducted and the results include water samples from five sites known as Bishop Pass Lake (#1), Muir Pass Lake (#5), Palisade Creek (#10), Dollar Lake (#36), Rae Lakes (#37). eDNA results are encouraging, since they have revealed detection of brook trout and Sierra Nevada yellow legged frog in a manner that is consistent with field observations. In the future, sequencing will be conducted as a final verification.

Presentation at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Academy of Science

Seasonal Fluctuations in Salamander eDNA in Central Kentucky Streams
Ronald Sams ’17, Biology
Faculty Sponsors: Benjamin F. Brammel, Ph.D. & Malinda A. Stull, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Ambystomid species persist as aquatic larvae for just a few months while other sympatric species spend more than one year in the juvenile aquatic phase. We developed species specific eDNA primers for streamside (Ambystoma barbouri), and cave (Eurycea lucifuga) salamanders that effectively amplify salamander DNA filtered from stream water. We collected 1 liter water samples biweekly from February to July 2015 in four small streams in Jessamine County to examine seasonal fluctuations in eDNA levels of different salamander species. Initial data reveal a complete absence of A. barbouri and E. lucifuga eDNA in early spring samples but high levels later in the spring corresponding with breeding and larval presence. Continuing research is focused on seasonal fluctuation, late-season persistence, and quantification of eDNA for both species. These data add to the growing pool of knowledge concerning eDNA monitoring of species and should provide useful reference data for future range delineation studies and conservation efforts.

Poster Presentation at the 2017 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR);
Presentation at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Academy of Science

Communication Effects on Homesickness: How Frequency of Parent-Student Communication Affects Levels of Homesickness in First-Year College Students
Rachal McConkey ’17 & Victoria Watson ’17, Communications
Faculty Sponsor: Elizabeth B. Jones, Ph.D.

Abstract:

This research study examines the relationship between the frequency of communication between parents and students and the level of homesickness experienced by a first-year college student. Previous research related to these specific variables has not been conducted. A survey was conducted using a self-report questionnaire (N=109). Findings revealed an insignificant correlation between frequency of communication and level of homesickness experienced. Findings also revealed an insignificant correlation between quality of relationship and homesickness, and a highly significant relationship between personality and homesickness. Study results provide a platform for future research.

Engaging Gifted and Talented Students Using Virtual Manipulatives
Kendall Anderson ’18, Education
Faculty Sponsor: Cheryll E. Crowe, Ph.D.

Abstract:

The use of manipulatives is essential in teaching mathematics. Using manipulatives constructs a student’s own mathematical understanding by allowing students to explore on their own to assist them in learning mathematics. Although concrete and virtual manipulatives have many similarities, virtual manipulatives have several different attributes that can help students interact with their mathematical tasks. The students’ attitudes towards learning with virtual manipulatives were very positive according to the research that was conducted. This research explored how virtual manipulatives can engage students in learning mathematics and why the students had a positive correlation with the virtual manipulatives.

Poster Presentation at the Kentucky Association of Teacher Educators (KATE) Conference;
Peer-Refereed Presentation at the Kentucky Council of Teachers of Mathematics (KCTM) Conference

Singapore Math and Student Success
Emily Flaget ’18, Education
Faculty Sponsor: Cheryll E. Crowe, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Mathematical scores for the United States. are not comparing to those internationally, which has led to a large amount of research that has tried to determine whether a previously proven technique is more effective on student success. While there are many theories that have been tied to mathematical success, one theory, in particular, seems to have significant evidence in support of it; the mathematics techniques being used in Singapore are having a beneficial impact on their students, and many educators have speculated whether these methods would have the same impact on U.S. students. The standard approach to mathematics in the U.S. uses a Concrete-Abstract sequence in teaching. This progression is generally associated with creating procedural students that have a basic understanding of a wide variety of topics. However, this contrasts with the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract approach that is used in Singapore Math instruction, which is associated with students gaining a deeper understanding and using higher-level thinking in regards to the mathematical processes. The general connotation with Singapore Math is that it creates students with the capability to use their mastery of fewer topics to understand the mathematical procedures more in depth. This research explores the effects of the two differing mathematical problem-solving styles on one specific student. Through pre-/post-assessments, student surveys, and teaching sessions, research measured how a student performed and was able to assimilate to varying mathematical techniques. Contrasting to previous studies, the research in this paper does not indicate substantial differences in achievement when using Singapore Math as compared to traditional American Math.

Poster Presentation at the Kentucky Association of Teacher Educators (KATE) Conference;
Peer-Refereed Presentation at the Kentucky Council of Teachers of Mathematics (KCTM) Conference

Improvement of Motor Functioning in Children with Cerebral Palsy through the Multidimensional Movement of the Horse
Jessica Bennett ’17, Exercise Science
Faculty Sponsor: Elise K. Kearns, M.S.

Abstract:

“Hippotherapy,” (HPOT), literally means treatment with the help of a horse, from the Greek word “hippo”, meaning horse. It is a treatment modality of physical, occupational and/or speech therapy in which a therapist uses the characteristic movements of a horse to provide carefully graded sensory input to address impairments, functional motor limitations, and disabilities in patients with neuro-musculoskeletal dysfunctions (Palaestra, 2008). Studies have shown that while sitting astride a horse, the horse’s movement provides multidimensional movement for many different muscle groups (Benda 2003, Debuse, 2005, El-Meniawy, 2012). The variable, rhythmic and repetitive movement mimics the motions of a human gait, and stimulates muscles helping build motor memory. In hippotherapy, the client is not learning how to ride, but rather the horse is used as a tool that provides a dynamic base of support for building core body strength and control, improving balance, and normalizing muscle tone.

Therapists are using HPOT because of its integrative approach to improve the lifestyles of those suffering from neuromuscular dysfunctions. This literature review will specifically address the current research on how the movement of the horse in hippotherapy can improve the motor skills of children with cerebral palsy.

The studies included in this review suggest that the multi-dimensional movement of the horse does improve motor functioning by improving muscle control in the extremities via strengthening the trunk, and/or engaging the proprioceptive and vestibular systems.

Factors Contributing to the Walk-to-Run Transition in Human Gait
Nicholas Kulaga ’19 & Thomas J. M. Otley ’17, Exercise Science
Faculty Sponsor: Vinson H. Sutlive, Ph.D.

Abstract:

The study examined factors contributing to the walk-to-run (WTR) transition in human gait. The purposes of the study included: (A) confirmation that the preferred WTR occurs at a Fr = 0.50; (B) determination of a similar estimate for a maximum WTR transition velocity (e.g., Fr >0.60); (C) testing the following hypothesis: As velocity increases, rather than taking longer steps, subjects (1) take shorter steps, and (2) increase step frequency. The Froude ratio (Fr) is calculated as Fr = v2 / gL, where v = velocity, g = acceleration due to gravity (9.81 m/s2), and L = leg length. Twenty volunteers participated. Leg length for each subject was measured using a published protocol. To determine (A) preferred WTR, subjects walked on a treadmill at a self-selected velocity. Every 15 seconds, velocity was increased 0.045 m/sec until there was an observable gait transition The procedure was repeated for three trials. Procedure for (B) was the same as the (A) except that the subjects were instructed to hold their walk as long as possible to determine maximum WTR velocity. Procedure for (C) involved filming each subject during condition (B) to determine step length and step frequency. Frame-by-frame analysis determined changes in step length/frequency. Results for each part of the study were as follows: (A) mean Fr = 0.48 for the preferred WTR; (B) mean Fr = 0.85 for the maximum WTR; (C) subjects did not shorten step length; rather, subjects maintained step length and increased step frequency prior to maximum WTR.

Poster Presentation at the 2017 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR)

Robotic Therapies for Pediatric Patients Affected by Cerebral Palsy
Thomas J. M. Otley ’17, Exercise Science
Faculty Sponsor: Elise K. Kearns, M.S.

Abstract:

This literature review examined the effectiveness of robotic gait therapies on improving the functionality of pediatric patients affected cerebral palsy. Functionality was defined as gait velocity and endurance. Specific elements discussed included: (1) underlying concepts of robotic therapy; (2) robotic devices – Gait Trainer I and the Lokomat; (3) overview of benefits; (4) basic algorithms for robotic gait training; (5) incorporation of virtual reality (VR) in robotic gait training. Source articles were gathered from a variety of peer-reviewed journals. The currency of the articles was considered in determining relevance, in addition to keywords. Keywords included: cerebral palsy, robotics, robotic training, gait training, motor learning, plasticity, rehabilitation, and physical therapy. Assist-As-Needed algorithms were determined to be the most effective for preventing habituation and increasing patient involvement. It was also determined that robotic therapies were most effective when used in conjunction with other available treatments.

Sustainable Cities
Eric Brown ’19, Dakota Owens ’19, Deborah Burgess ’18 & Elijah Morgan ’20, Mathematics
Faculty Sponsor: David L. Coulliette, Ph.D.

Abstract:

As urban populations grow, so do our cities. Therefore, incorporation of smart growth methods in urban development is important. For our task, we analyzed data from the U.S. census and created a metric to evaluate the growth of cities. Using the census, our group compiled several thousand statistics on a group of nine different cities. Unfortunately, some of the data gathered by the census was inconsistent, and we were only able to use the questions that were consistent over the years. Our group then gauged the usefulness of each common question, comparing them to the three E’s of urban development. We were able to see how cities have grown and find reasonable estimates for how they can be expected to grow in the near future.

Our metric uses quantitative pass/fail questions, and we obtained all our answers from census.gov and epa.gov. Next, we evaluated the growth plan of two cities, Lexington, Ky., and Wellington, New Zealand. Since the three E’s form the foundation of our metric, it is easy to determine when and why a city’s growth plan is failing and form a path research a myriad of initiatives to fix the plan. We chose to only propose improvements to the city’s current plans.

When we adjusted our plans for a 50% growth by 2050, we observed a 2% growth rate every two years (and included it in our metric) which, when you account for exponential growth, means that we planned for a minimum of a 40% growth by 2050.

Participation in the 2017 COMAP Mathematical Contest in Modeling

Differences between Finger and Brush Painting on Stress Levels
Nicole Baker ’17, Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Janet B. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Research has shown that art therapy is very helpful in relieving stress (Drake et al., 2016). The current study explored the effects of finger painting and brush painting on stress, and how those with traumatic pasts are affected by painting. Approximately 15 students from a Christian liberal arts college completed surveys both before and after painting a picture according to instructions given. It was hypothesized that because finger painting adds a tangible and almost child-like mindset, finger painting will be more stress relieving than brush painting, and those with more childhood trauma would show a greater reduction in stress when finger painting rather than brush painting. The 2x2 ANOVAs showed no significance between finger painting and brush painting (F (1, 10) = 1.21, p = 0.298), nor any difference between those with less or more childhood trauma , (F (1, 9) = 0.61, p = 0.454).

Poster Presentation at the 2017 Spring Academic Conference of the Kentucky Psychological Foundation

Effects of Gender Stereotype Priming on Teamwork Communication Styles
Aubrey Charette ’17, Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Janet B. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Gender stereotypes are prevalent in many cultures, even in one that is striving to progress beyond these. Although individuals are imploring for changes to what are known as traditional gender roles, there is evidence that internal stereotypes are not shifting as quickly (Haines, Deaux, & Lufaro, 2016). These stereotypical roles and perceptions likely will continue to affect social communication. The current study explored effects of gender stereotyping on joint task performance. The 26 undergraduate participants were placed in a gender stereotyping priming or control condition and asked to complete a building task with a partner. Both primed females and males were expected to communicate according to their respective stereotypes more so than students who were not primed. In particular, females in the gender priming condition are anticipated to submit to the direction of the male when in male/female teams. Teams who function more clearly within their gender roles were hypothesized to show better task performance than those teams functioning in less gender stereotypical ways.

Poster Presentation at the 2017 Spring Academic Conference of the Kentucky Psychological Foundation

Sense of Personal Disorganization and Time Management
Kelsie Harwell ’17, Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Janet B. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract:

This study examined the relationship between personal disorganization and time estimation within a time management task. The 47 participants completed a self-report measure of their personal disorganization and estimated the amount of time spent on a trivia task. They later completed a jigsaw puzzle followed by an identical trivia task with the objective of managing their time to complete the two tasks in exactly 15 minutes. Results did not show a significant relationship between personal disorganization and use of time estimations in the time management task. The primary limitation of the study was sample size, and repeating the study with more participants may yield significant results.

The Relationship between Purity Culture, Religiosity, and Spirituality, and Their Correlation with Sexual Attitudes, Ideals, and Behaviors
Shannon Kenny ’17, Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Janet B. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract:

This study explores the intersection of spirituality and sexuality through the novel lens of faith-based sexual ideals. These faith-based sexual ideals reflect the degree to which people hold sexuality and spirituality together, seeing a spiritual element within sexual intimacy. High levels of religiosity and low levels of sexual permissiveness were both expected to correlate with high sexual ideals scores. Approximately 59 participants took an online survey measuring these variables and the variables of age of sexual milestones and parental relationships. Based on a previous study (Kenny & Dean, 2016), results are expected to show that organized religiosity, non-organized religiosity, internal religiosity, and one’s relationship with their father will all significantly contribute to the prediction of faith-based sexual ideals. Limitations for this study include the use of a preliminary Sexual Ideals Scale, as well as a certain lack of control due to the online administration of the survey.

Poster Presentation at the 2017 Spring Academic Conference of the Kentucky Psychological Foundation

The Effects of Color on Creativity
Alyssa Martin ’18 & MarySam Jaggers ’18, Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Janet B. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract:

The purpose of this research was to establish a relationship between color and creativity and an interactive relationship between color and aspects of personality. Creativity was defined and rated on two aspects – frequency and elaboration of responses – as ambient color was manipulated. Personality was analyzed using the NEO-PI on three different aspects: extraversion, openness, and conscientiousness. Participants were randomly assigned into two different experimental groups, either red or green, to complete a personality then a creativity assessment within the assigned color. No significant relationship was found between color and creativity; a significant relationship between color and extraversion was supported.

Effects of Volunteering on Individual Well-Being and Resistance to Stress
Alyssa Pelletier ’17, Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Janet B. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract:

The current study explores the relationship between regular volunteer activity and resistance to stress. Regular volunteering is hypothesized to correlate with an increase in resistance to stress. Participants in both a volunteer group and a self-care group were asked to chart their activities, either volunteer hours or self-care, over the course of three weeks. Approximately 15 undergraduate students completed both a pre-survey, which included several self-report measures on stress and resilience, during the first week, and then a similar test administered at the end. Results will contribute to the growing body of knowledge regarding the positive outcomes of volunteer work.

Emoticon Use and Me: Emoticon Usage, Personality and Self-Esteem in Undergraduates
Kayla Sheeran ’17, Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Janet B. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Emoticons, textual expressions of emotion, serve as tools to enhance emotional meaning in online messages in which nonverbal cues are missing. The evolution of online communication requires continued understanding of elements that aid in the transmission of clear messages, specifically emoticons. The current study investigated the relationships among emoticon use and personality, as well as positive and negative affect, social desirability, self-esteem and gender. The approximate 40 participants completed an online survey and a self-report exercise in which they analyzed the last 20 messages of their top two recent conversations in both text and social media messages. (Four total conversations were analyzed). Emoticon usage is expected to be positively associated with the feeling category of the MBTI and negatively associated with the thinking category; also emoticon usage is expected to be positively associated with agreeableness, extroversion, and openness, and social desirability. Higher levels of negative affect is predicted to associate with a fewer number of and more negative emoticons used. Finally, females are expected to use more emoticons in messages than males.

Poster Presentation at the 2017 Spring Academic Conference of the Kentucky Psychological Foundation

Predicting Sexual Desire: Do Anxiety and Sexual Beliefs Play a Role?
Hannah Stewart ’17, Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Janet B. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract:

This study examined the correlations among levels of general anxiety, paternal involvement, and sexual desire. The 70 traditional undergraduates completed an online questionnaire that assessing sexual perceptions, sexual conservatism, parental relationships, current relational status, anxiety levels and religiosity. The anticipated correlation between father involvement and sexual desire was not seen, yet general anxiety was found to be a significant predictor of sexual desire, supporting the possibility that sexual activity may be used as a coping mechanism. Limitations include using a convenience sample, a lack of diversity and slight design confounds.

Poster Presentation at the 2017 Spring Academic Conference of the Kentucky Psychological Foundation

Purity Culture Impact: Religious Parent Interactions and Communication with Children Regarding Sexuality
Claire Webb ’17, Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Janet B. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Although there have been multiple studies examining the relationship between religion and sexual behaviors in young people, as well as separate studies investigating associations between parent-child communication and their sexual behaviors, there has been less research on parents’ role in shaping their child’s sexual attitudes. The current study explored the relationships among religiosity, the parent-child relationship, and messages about sexuality among 70 students at a small Christian liberal arts university through a 40-minute online survey. Results revealed the significant impact that adults have on their children’s sexual attitudes and exposed further questions to help researchers understand how religiosity, religious affiliation, parental relationships, and parental communication affect young people’s sexual behaviors and concepts of sexuality.

Right-Wing Authoritarianism and Cultural Ideologies
Rachel Winger ’17, Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Janet B. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Studies into Right Wing Authoritarianism have targeted a number of attitudes and beliefs since the scale was developed. This study aims to examine the differential effects of RWA on subjects’ racial attitudes when primed with politically charged ideals as opposed to neutral ones. Previous research supports the theory of a higher racial bias in those higher in RWA overall, but has focused less attention on those who are extremely low in measures of RWA. In this study, a differential effect suggesting that subjects low in RWA should be lower in racially stereotyped attitudes when primed and those higher in RWA should be higher in racially stereotyped attitudes when primed as compared to controls is hypothesized. It is also believed that those with higher degrees of cross cultural exposure will be lower in measures of RWA, and therefore racially stereotyped attitudes, than will their cross-culturally naïve peers.

Poster Presentation at the 2017 Spring Academic Conference of the Kentucky Psychological Foundation