El eterno femenino: Ramón Hernández y su experiencia

by Abigail Slaughter

Faculty mentor: Professor Elizabeth Lewis

This podcast is a creative performance based on El eterno femenino, by Rosario Castellanos, a play about a woman named Lupita that goes to the beauty salon to get her hair done before her wedding. She tries out a new hairdryer, which puts her into a dream state. This podcast episode covers the fictitious experience of a witness at the hair salon named Ramón Hernández, who recounts his experience witnessing Lupita murmur things to herself while dreaming.

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Comparación y contraste de la opresión de la mujer entre Florinda y El eterno femenino

by Bailey Bashara and Zhanna Leavitt

Faculty mentor: Professor Elizabeth Lewis

Both Florinda by Maria Rosa Galvez, and El Eterno Femenino by Rosario Castellanos, are works of theater that focus greatly on the theme of female oppression. In this infographic, we compare this theme within the two works, and the relevance this theme still has today. While both works take place in a patriarchal society, and ultimately end with the unhappiness of their female protagonists, there are differences in the themes they portray. Florinda places focus on the oppression of women by her male counterparts, who abuse their powerful roles in society, and blame her for the crimes taken against her. El Eterno Femenino focuses more on internalized oppression, with stereotypical female roles, and pressures to be a perfect woman and perfect wife, oppress generations of women in society. These works were written more than 150 years apart, with the theme of the oppression of women still very prevalent. We even see this theme carried into the works of today, as women’s rights continue to be a problem in today’s society.

El eterno femenino

by Liz Echeverría

Faculty mentor: Professor Elizabeth Lewis

The play “El eterno femenino” by Rosario Castellanos pórtate the live of a women who struggle to finding who she is a a woman. Throughout the play, she encounters many people and events that shape the way she sees her life as a women. In the poster, I drew a women with a child because it is watch women are most related to, their children. On the left side of the poster, there are words and phrases that reveal how society expected women to be. However, on the right side, there are words and phrases of what women wanted to be and what they actually felt. Overall, the message I am trying to portray is that in “El eterno femenino” we can truly see the difference between what women have to go through compared to what they truly want.

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Modeling Polarization in Mass Populations using Agent-Based Modeling & Novel Opinion Dynamics

By Justin Mittereder, Robert Carroll, Brandon Frulla

Faculty Mentor: Professor Stephen Davies

The 21st century has opened doors for large-scale simulations that were previously impossible due to computing power restrictions. Now, we are able to create large simulations of heterogeneous “agents”. These simulations allow researchers to discover what set of simple rules (behavioral rules of each agent) are sufficient to produce a particular phenomenon on the societal level. The particular phenomenon we hope to observe is political polarization. The results of this research will provide insights into how polarization arises, and how it may be prevented from escalating further. In our simulation, agents will have a predetermined number of different opinions that are assigned randomly from 0-1. At each step of the simulation, agents will choose another neighboring agent at random for an interaction. Then, they will look to see if they agree closely on a random issue. If the opinions of both agents are within a predetermined comparison threshold, then we will take the average of the neighbor and the agent’s opinion on another different issue and set that as the agent’s new opinion on that given issue. Throughout the life of the simulation, we will measure a number of different variables such as the average assortativity across all issues, the average opinion variance, the average persuasions per agent, and the number of opinion clusters for each issue. We will examine the data from many simulation runs to look for emergent behavior across all agents in the simulation. Our goal is to manipulate the parameters of the model in such a way that sheds light on how polarization develops in a society. Some of the tools used in this project are Mesa, Networkx, Python and Dash.

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Oda a la Bicicleta

By María Colón

Faculty Mentor: Professor Ana Chichester

My Project is inspired by the work of Chilean writer Pablo Neruda’s Odas. His remarkable work was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. Neruda’s Odes are inspired by all things that surrounded him. He found beauty in the simplest things, such as an artichoke, a lemon. His work aims to portray an enthusiastic approach from the lenses of positivism and realism. My inspiration was my bicycle. My child’s memories around it and all the happiness that I had because of it. I hope you enjoy it!

Crude Measures: Analyzing the Success and Failure of Economic Sanctions

By Dillon Schweers

Faculty Mentor: Professor Jason Davidson

The Trump Administration implemented a series of intense economic sanctions against the Venezuelan government in 2019 and 2020 in an effort to oust autocratic President Nicolas Maduro. After two years of the U.S. targeting the Venezuelan oil industry with these measures, Maduro remains entrenched in power. Alternatively, similar measures against Iran were ultimately successful in compelling the Islamic Republic to participate in negotiations that led to the Iran Nuclear Deal of 2015. The student researcher endeavors to answer why sanctions were successful in Iran, but not Venezuela. By analyzing each case from three perspectives (i.e., target-centric approach, third party-centric approach, and sender-centric approach), the student synthesizes an explanation for the outcomes of both sanctions episodes. Based on the findings from the two case studies, the student offers five policy implications that might inform future U.S. administrations in implementing maximum pressure economic sanctions.

Quantifying Microplastics Found in Canada Geese from Various Fredericksburg Locations

By Zhanna Leavitt

Faculty Mentor: Professor Andrew Dolby

Plastic pollution has accumulated to a concerning degree in many of the world’s ecosystems. Microplastics are some of the smallest plastic debris and are generally defined as plastic fragments less than 5mm in diameter. Given their small size, microplastic fibers and fragments can easily enter aquatic ecosystems and the species that feed in or near the water, such as waterfowl. Studies have found microplastics present in the gastrointestinal tract and in fecal samples of several freshwater bird species. Since Canada Geese are commonly found in the Fredericksburg, VA area, I decided to quantify microplastics found in Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) fecal samples in several Fredericksburg locations. I wanted to test the hypothesis that microplastic concentration was correlated to sample location. I obtained fecal samples from Ficklen Island, Old Mill Park, and the parking lot of the Outback Steakhouse in Central Park. The samples underwent digestion in 20 mL of aqueous 0.05 M Fe(II) solution and 40 mL of H2O2 and then vacuum filtrated to isolate microplastics. I then quantified microplastic under a dissecting microscope. There was no correlation between microplastic concentration and sampling location however, the majority of samples contained microplastics. Blue fibers were the most common microplastic type. Microplastics were present in nearly all of the samples supporting the evidence that waterfowl are regularly ingesting microplastics from their environment.

Toxoplasma gondii SUB4 Gene Deletion Mutants and Their Viability in Host Cell Invasion

by John Asmus

Faculty mentor: Professor Swati Agrawal

Toxoplasma gondii is a microscopic parasitic protist. It is responsible for the disease toxoplasmosis which can cause severe health problems in immunocompromised individuals and babies whose mothers become infected while pregnant. T. gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite that can infect almost any warm-blooded mammal. Because of this, host cell invasion is a key function that T. gondii must perform. Vital to this process is a group of secretory organelles including rhoptries, micronemes, and dense granules. Research has shown that subtilisin-like proteases act in processing and cleaving certain sites on proteins associated with these secretory organelles. T. gondii has a set of 12 genes that code for these proteases. While much research has been done on SUB1 and SUB2, little to none has been done on other genes such as SUB4. To determine the vitality of SUB4 in T. gondii host-cell invasion, I am creating gene knockout mutants using CRISPR-cas9 and will observe their ability to invade mammalian fibroblast cells. I created a drug repair cassette by adding SUB4 homology arms to a drug marker amplified from pJET plasmid. I designed and am currently in the process of amplifying two sgRNAs that flank the gene on both 5′ and 3′ ends. Once these are constructed, I will transfect T. gondii ΔKU80 cells, which cannot perform nonhomologous end-joining repairs, with these vectors to knockout the SUB4 gene. Following drug selection and screening to determine if the parasites successfully recombined the SUB4 locus, I will characterize mutant parasites using microscopy and biochemical techniques. Finally, I will conduct invasion and egress assays to determine the ability of Toxoplasma gondii to invade host cells without expression of the SUB4 gene. I expect that they will invade the fibroblast cells but at a slower rate compared to the wild-type parasites, elucidating the role of SUB4.

Studio Art Senior Art Show

Student presenters: Elizabeth Anderson, Victor Ascensao, Leland Burke, Gabrielle Campbell, Andy Chen, Cassidy Clark, Jessica Clark, Sam Estacion, Gwen Fiorillo, Riley M. Gildea, Michelle Greenway, Patricia Keitz, Sarah J. Kowalewski, Alison Martin, Emma McElwain, Christie Morris, Stephanie Overbeck, Bale Rose, Dee Shirley, Kaitlyn Tiffany, Chloe Wade, Rebecca Webb, Ally Wylde-Gladbach

Each year, the graduating studio art majors produce a group exhibition to culminate their time at UMW. The show will be on display in duPont Gallery from April 26 until May 9.

The exhibition is available in an online format as well in person

Visit www.umwgalleries.org to see it and to sign up for a time to visit the gallery in person.

The Influence of Habitat Disruption and Induced Overstimulation on Working and Spatial Memory and Hippocampal BDNF Levels in CD1 Mice

By Katie Warlick, Chloe Dishong, Jada Ramos, Olivia Asbell

Faculty Mentor: Professor Parrish Waters

Our experiment aims to explore the influence of habitat disruption and induced overstimulation on working and spatial memory in CD1 mice, and consequently, hippocampal Brain- Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) levels. We hypothesized that, because of the significance of the role of BDNF in the regulation of neuroplasticity, overstimulation onset by habitat disruption will result in diminished cognition, including working and spatial memory, and decreased intracellular output of hippocampal BDNF. Following a two-week acclimation period, the second of which we began habitat disruption, we conducted a behavioral testing paradigm on a group of ten CD1 mice (n=5) to assess working memory known as the Y-maze test. Contrary to our hypothesis, results showed that mice who were subjected to overstimulation induced by habitat disruption performed better in the Y-maze and displayed an enhanced capacity for working memory compared to the control mice, but the difference in BDNF concentration between groups was not statistically significant. We therefore retained the null hypothesis that overstimulation does not influence hippocampal BDNF levels in CD1 mice.

Method development for accessing the impacts of road salts on P. acuta behavior and egg viability

By Sophia Weldi

Faculty Mentor: Professor Tyler Frankel

In the US, nearly 24.5 million tons of road salt was distributed across public roadways in 2014. Of the various substances used in these formulations, NaCl accounted for 90% of these treatments. After application, up to 55% of these salts have been shown to enter local waterways via runoff and have been shown to cause many negative effects on the environment including inhibition of algal growth, reductions in activated sludge respiration rates, and mortality in all life stages of some amphibians. However, the effects of NaCl on aquatic invertebrates has been poorly explored. Thus, the goals of this study were to determine 1) the effects of NaCl on Physa acuta egg cluster viability, 2) methods to assess the baseline locomotion behavior of Physa acuta (average mobile speed, average speed, total distance traveled, acceleration, number of frozen events and time spent frozen), and 3) assess the effect of NaCl on these endpoints. Sixteen newly laid egg clusters were collected and exposed to 0, 100, 500, or 1000 mg/L NaCl and viability determined after 15 days of exposure. The locomotor behavior of seven unexposed adult snails were recorded and analyzed using ToxTrac (v. 2.83) to determine the basal movement patterns of this species. To assess the impacts of NaCl exposure on adult mobility, adult Physa acuta (n=3) were exposed to the above treatments for 7 days and locomotor behaviors quantified on days 3 and 7. While this study is still ongoing, it is expected that increased NaCl concentrations will cause a decrease in egg cluster viability and dose dependent impacts on mobility. These findings will help to elucidate the impacts of a commonly used deicing substance on a common invertebrate species.

Sky Horne Theatre Senior Project

by Sky Horne

Faculty mentor: Professor Cate Brewer

For my Senior Theatre Project and Honors Capstone, I rewrote a play I started in a playwriting course my sophomore year. I recorded my research and process for this project at http://skyhornecapstone.com.skyhorne.com/. This project involved utilizing the culmination of my Creative Writing major to work with my Theatre major. I wrote three separate drafts, almost completely different from the original, and put on two staged readings. The final product is a show that runs around forty-five minutes for three actors as a reading. The two readings can be found on the Studio 115 Youtube page.

Computer Science Extravaganza

The Department of Computer Science is holding a live Zoom event for all UMW Students Who Love Computer Science, Data Science, and Cybersecurity on Friday, April 30th at noon. Students present a project (software, data science, cyber security) completed this
All projects are welcome. The project can be a classroom assignment or something you created for fun.

Student projects featured at the live event:

Ryan Phillips – Simple Encryption and Decryption in Python

Brandon Frulla, Rob Carroll, Justin Mittereder – Modeling Polarization in Mass Populations Using ABM & Novel Opinion Dynamics

David Miller, Tyler Viacara, Alexander Loveland, Jema Unger, Joanna Osam, Samuel Adler, Lauren Pittman, Jacob Barker – UMW Outreach – The University wants ways to help connect parents with UMW students who could serve as tutors or even childcare (virtual tutor, maybe in-person childcare).

John-Paul King – CPSC 430 Alumni Project

David Craig – CPSC 444 Final Project

Sarah Riddell – ButterSpy – Online Identification Guide for Butterflies of Alexandria, VA. A unique take on virtual identification: removing the concept of instant gratification. Most nature identification apps (think PictureThis or iNaturalist) include a camera for quick and convenient results. While awesome, this approach does not encourage development of a user’s observational skills, which is one of the most important skills when it comes to identification. ButterSpy removes the camera element, requiring the user to observe and input distinct identifiers on their own. The app returns possible matches, following the principle “the more you give, the more you get.”

Miles Spence – An Epidemiological Simulation of COVID-19. Use past data from the CDC and Our World in Data (OWID), as well as Differential Equations to create a model to simulate as best as possible the spread of COVID-19.

Makayla Ferrell – Baby-step giant-step algorithm and discrete logs applied to public-private encryption.

Supreet Singh, Madison Williams, Madeline Phillips, and Paula Dorca – Data Science
Analysis of board game engagement

Communicating Preservation Planning

By: Colette Fralen, Gabrielle Gallier, Faith Hamman, Kyann Holman, Jessica Lynch, Emilia Michalkiewicz

Faculty Mentor: Professor Andrea Smith

The Preservation Planning Lab (HISP 469) serves as a capstone in the Historic Preservation Major. This year, the course focused on communicating preservation planning. This field is still misunderstood, so educating the public is a relevant and timely concern. The course was divided into two sections. First, the six students completed a team project. We were contacted by the City of Fredericksburg Planning Office to redesign the brochure for the Historic District. The old brochure was at least twenty years old, didn’t reflect current rules, and had no graphics or colors. The City asked us to create two new brochures – one for residential owners and one for business owners – and to incorporate newly adopted City branding. All six students in the course produced mockups and chose the best features of each to be integrated in the final designs. Colors and graphics use the new branding standards adopted by the City in 2021, ensuring that these brochures will be useful for many years to come. The brochures are now posted on the City of Fredericksburg website and are being printed for distribution. In the second section of the course, students created individual projects based on their interests. Three students utilized social media platforms to make aspects of preservation planning (such as preservation economics) accessible to the public. The other three created print media to discuss more locality-specific preservation planning projects. Throughout the entire course, students learned how to use industry standard design software, communicate complex concepts, and work collaboratively.

An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality on Economic Growth

By Brandon Williams

Faculty Mentor: Professor Steve Greenlaw

For the United States, one of the most important trends of concern is the growing level of inequality. It is widely accepted that the United States is currently experiencing historically high levels of economic inequality. There are numerous reasons for policymakers and citizens to be concerned about the rising level of inequality, such as its impact on the basic American social contract that says that hard work pays off; the diminishing of opportunity; the rise in societal unrest; and its impact on political functionality. It has been well established that inequality has a negative impact on undermining educational opportunities, lowering social mobility, hampering skills development, and less-productive labor inputs. Most research has studied the extent to which higher inequality is associated with less opportunity and mobility. This research studies if there is a causal linkage between higher inequality and slower macroeconomic growth. The main hypothesis is that inequality limits human capital accumulation primarily through the channel of educational attainment, which then dampens labor quality. Reductions in labor quality led to slower economic growth. This research attempts to measure this relationship through the dynamics of labor quality with the intention of incorporating economic inequality in the composition of labor quality. The results do not support the theory that economic inequality dampens economic growth. One suggestion is to use disaggregate data rather than aggregate data as some of the variation between the relationships are lost when conducting analysis in the aggregate.

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ButterSpy.com

by Sarah Riddell

Faculty mentor: Professor Jennifer Polack

ButterSpy is a butterfly identification website serving the Alexandria, VA area that invites the user to observe a butterfly and then enter observations they make. The website then checks the database of butterflies and returns all possible butterflies matching the information provided. The purpose of this project was to develop an online identification application that did not involve a camera as to remove the concept of instant gratification and make the user practice their observational skills. It is geared towards people who want to practice their identification skills but consider a field guide a too overwhelming place to start. This project was written in HTML/CSS for front-end development and PHP for back-end development. SQL was also used to communicate with the database, but the administration tool phpMyAdmin was used to do most of the database interactions. An algorithm had to be designed to conduct the search for butterflies in the database with column values that matched the user input. Users had the option to input primary color (required) and then a secondary color and/or the shape of the antennae. By using multiple nested if-then statements and logical operators, ButterSpy effectively conducts a search and accurately gives results. Through the process of developing ButterSpy, I increased my proficiency in HTML/CSS, PHP, SQL and JavaScript (though JS was not used in the final product.) Additionally, I was able to practice my time management and self discipline skills, about which I discovered have lots of room for improvement. The project is available for viewing at www.butterspy.com.

A Complete Analysis of Thomas Reid and Common Sense Realism

By Adam Kritz

Faculty Mentor: Professor Michael Reno

History is often unkind to great thinkers. Often those with brilliant minds are misunderstood in later years by others. This may be the case with the Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid. Reid is the founder of Scottish common sense realism, a school of thought that aims to counter Enlightenment skepticism. However, Reid’s common sense realism was the subject of philosophical debate for years after his death. Many philosophers struggled to understand Reid’s arguments, and others discredited him altogether. While there has been an increase in research on Reid since the 1990s, the contemporary research on Reid is still lacking. Since critical research on Reid’s work is lacking, it is hard to understand the true meaning of his philosophical work. This paper will serve as a complete synthesis of Reid and common sense realism The analysis of Reid will be broken into four sections. The first section sets the stage for Reid’s work by discussing Enlightenment empiricism and rationalism, which Reid’s work was a direct reaction to. The second section will analyze Reid’s major work, An Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense, which contains the bulk of his philosophical theory. The third section will discuss the initial reaction to this work from Kant and Hume, two philosophers more famous than Reid that dismissed his work entirely. The fourth section will analyze four Scottish philosophers who lived after Reid and will use their commentaries on Reid to better understand his work, as well as the development of common sense realism as a whole. The goal of this research will be to create a better understanding of Reid’s work and common sense realism.

Redlining, Tree Cover, and Temperature Variation

By Caylie Sims

Faculty Mentor: Professor Melina Patterson

Redlining is an environmental justice issue where, in the past, neighborhoods were graded based on a number of factors, one of which being race and class of its residence. These neighborhoods were given a grade, ranging from A as the highest grade, then B, C, and finally a D as the worst grade. Findings suggest that lower graded neighborhoods, occupied by people of color and poorer citizens, have higher internal temperatures and lower tree coverage, which can greatly affect health of residents. Certain regions of the United States have lower temperature differences between high graded neighborhoods and low graded ones .This project sought to analyze whether the variation in temperature is due to differences in tree coverage. High tree canopy coverage was analyzed in 2 cities (one low temperature difference and one high temperature difference) within 4 regions of the US (Midwest, South, Northeast and West). The tree coverage was tabulated to then calculate the mean of high tree coverage in each grader (A, B, C, and D) In all regions, for the lower temperature difference cities, there was more area covered by high amounts of tree canopy in the low graded neighborhoods than the high graded neighborhoods.

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Role of the Pvr signaling Pathway in a Fly Model for Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1

By Maya Takashima, Huda Al-Bana, Grace Holcomb

Faculty Mentor: Professor Ginny Morriss

Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 (DM1) is a multi-systemic genetic disorder that causes severe muscle weakening and wasting. The phenotype is caused by a CTG repeat expansion in the 3’ untranslated region in the DMPK gene. Studies have shown several different signaling pathways implicated in the DM1 muscle phenotype; however, one pathway that has not been implicated in DM1 is the platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta (PDGFRβ) signaling pathway. PDGFRβ is involved in cell growth, survival, and skeletal muscle hypertrophy. With this involvement, the pathways deregulation could contribute to the muscle wasting seen in DM1. This project uses a fly model to understand the role of the pvr signaling pathway (PDGFRβ fly equivalent) in muscle wasting due to DM1. Through this fly model, it will be determined which downstream pathway is primarily affected during deregulation. The two downstream pathways targeted are PI3K/Akt and Ras/Mek/Erk. Flybase was utilized to determine the downstream gene targets and fly lines needed to start the fly model. After selecting the gene targets, fly lines were picked that were either overexpression of the gene (UAS – upstream activating sequence) or a knockout. Gal4 promoter lines and CTG repeat lines are also needed. Gal4 promoters drive the expression of the desired gene, and the CTG repeat represents the CTG repeat of DM1. With the fly lines chosen, mating schemes were planned to determine what crosses needed to occur to get the desired progeny. The goal was to end up with a progeny with the Gal4 promoter, CTG repeat, and stock line all in the same fly. In the future, using these progeny, different tests will be completed to look at how the overexpression or knockout affects the muscle wasting phenotype.

Zu viel Zukunft!

by Grace Brecht

Faculty mentor: Professor Marcel Rotter

Punk rock developed in the 1970s and local scenes developed throughout Europe and the United States. East Germany was no exception. Despite — and because of — the brutal state-sponsored violence against and repression of anyone who did not conform to the government’s ideals, punk flourished in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik. Although the initial exposure to punk came via English punk bands on West German radio, the Eastern punks had little interest in the West and were largely anti-capitalist. Instead, they focused their attention on their own country and on the vast social reform needed there. The punks channeled their frustrations into social activism and fought against rampant corruption, government censorship and restrictions, and the resurgence of fascism, all while using punk music as an outlet for their rage and a vessel for their message. By the time the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the punks had shifted the narrative. Progressive political causes were more visible as a result of their activism and confrontational attitudes, and that energy followed the reunited country into the next decade and beyond. The spirit of the original East German punk scene lives on today in the politics and creative culture of Germany, especially in Berlin, and the face of the country has been forever changed because some teenagers decided in 1977 that they were ready to shape their own futures.

Oda al piano

By Madison Minvielle

Faculty mentor: Professor Ana Chichester

This is a creative writing assignment from my Spanish literature class where we wrote odes to objects similar to the poems written by Pablo Neruda. We had to include two similes and two metaphors and have a minimum of five stanzas.

Problematic Approaches in Communication Towards People with Disabilities

By Samantha Price

Faculty Mentor: Professor Emily Crosby

Through this video essay, I am hoping to draw attention to the problematic approaches in communication towards people with disabilities, but specifically invisible disabilities. In this video essay, I talk about the harmful effects of using war metaphors when talking about chronic illnesses, why inspiration porn is problematic, and how COVID-19 has impacted the rhetoric when talking about disabilities and chronic illnesses. We should all be working towards creating an environment that doesn’t negatively impact or burden those suffering with chronic illnesses or disabilities and I hope this video essay is just the start of the research you do to better support your chronically ill and disabled loved ones.

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Relationship Between Economic Development and Environmental Degradation.

By Quinn Lipetz

Faculty Mentor: Professor Amrita Dhar

The Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) is an economic model that describes the relationship between economic development and environmental degradation. This study aimed to determine if the pattern theorized by the EKC is visible in data from 32 countries from 1990 to 2015. The EKC states that as economic development increases within a country, there will be an increase in environmental degradation, but eventually a turning point will be reached, after which point environmental degradation will decrease as economic development continues to increase. This study used carbon dioxide emissions per capita as the measure of environmental degradation (dependent variable) and GDP per capita and the Human Development Index (HDI) as the measures of economic development (explanatory variables). The statistical analysis consisted of two fixed effects regressions; in the first carbon dioxide emissions per capita were regressed on GDP per capita, and in the second carbon dioxide emissions per capita were regressed on HDI. The result of both regression were significant and supported the EKC hypothesis; however, both regressions produced low R-squared values, which indicates that much of the variation in carbon dioxide emissions per capita was unaccounted for. In the future, a larger sample size and more explanatory variables should be included to provide a cleared picture of the relationship between environmental degradation and economic development.

Where there is land, there is wealth

by Olivia Mason-Lucas

Faculty mentor: Professor Melissa Martínez

This presentation serves to capture the relationship between two variables, an increase in extractive industries and unrest over land reform, with the dependent variable, indigenous land (in)security. Two groups in South America: the Guaraní and the Yanomami, serve as case studies for this intersection.

Temporal Dynamics of Caspase Activation in PPI-treated Cancer Cells

by Ashley Utz

Faculty Mentor: Professor Randall Reif

Cancer cells rely on glycolysis even under normoxic conditions. The use of this pathway results in measurable intracellular acidification, which is characterized as an early event in the apoptosis program. The pH is restored by activation of voltage- gated proton pumps, preventing acidification. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), such as omeprazole, inhibit the H+/K+-ATPase system found at the secretory surface of gastric parietal cells. Research has shown that omeprazole is also capable of inducing caspase-dependent apoptosis in Jurkat T-lymphocytes. However, the effects of PPIs on caspase activity remain largely unknown. The goal of this study was to determine the temporal dynamics of caspase activity in Jurkat cells treated with omeprazole, dexlansoprazole, or esomeprazole for six hours. After the incubation period, cells were held in place by anti- CD71 antibodies on the device’s affinity surface and fluorescence microcopy was used to monitor caspase activity in real time. Caspase activation was observed over a six-hour period with the fluorogenic caspase probe, L-bisaspartic acid rhodamine 110 (D2R). Elucidation of the intensity and timing of caspase activation will be beneficial for evaluating PPIs as potential cancer therapeutics.

Assessing the Presence and Concentrations of Nutrient Pollution In Freshwater Environments In Fredericksburg, Virginia

By Reagan Nierman

Faculty Mentor: Professor Tyler Frankel

Aquatic environments require nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen to function properly and form the base of complex food webs. However, excess inputs of these nutrients through anthropogenic pollution commonly results in algal blooms, hypoxia, and dead zones. In this study, surface water samples were taken from five sites located around the city of Fredericksburg (City Dock, Old Mill, Ficklen Island, Motts Run Reservoir, and Little Falls). Samples were collected weekly between February 17th – March 24h in 1000mL bottles and analyzed for the presence and concentrations of total phosphorus, nitrate, nitrite, copper, and chlorine using colorimetric assays. During the six weeks of sampling no concentrations of nitrite, copper, or chlorine were detected at any location. Nitrate levels fluctuated at each site with levels ranging from 1.0mg/L to 5.0mg/L. Phosphate was observed to be a cause for concern as concentrations were consistently found at 0.4mg/L to 1.0mg/L in all streams. While the sources of these excess nutrients are unclear, possibilities include excess wastewater treatment facility effluent discharge during heavy precipitation events, construction over waterways that loosens sediment and increases runoff events, and proximity to more heavily populated areas. These results suggest the need for a long-term study to assess what influence seasonal temperatures and precipitation have on nutrient pollution and how these excess nutrient levels impact aquatic organisms in these locations.

Winning and Attendance in Major League Baseball; Does Winning Attract More Fans?

By Emily Seay

Faculty Mentor: Professor Margaret Ray

Major League Baseball is a widely studied topic among economists and has been studied since its start in 1869. Many of these studies focus on factors that affect attendance to home games. In this study, data has been collected on the thirty teams in Major League Baseball and the areas the teams are located in for the 2019 season. The data has been analyzed to determine the extent to which home game wins affect attendance, finding that for every additional home game win increase, attendance increases by nearly 23,000.

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Literatura carcelaria y los derechos humanos en cuatro obras del siglo XX

By Sarah Patterson

Faculty Mentor: Professor Ana Chichester

Esta tesis es un estudio de la literatura carcelaria en cuatro obras del siglo XX. El ya reconocido género de la literatura carcelaria denomina un tipo de texto en cual un autor escribe cuando está encarcelado o rememora la experiencia carcelaria luego de abandonar la cárcel. Durante el siglo XX, muchos activistas políticos han protestado por sus derechos humanos por medio de sus obras. Algunos de estos activistas políticos fueron escritores y poetas de América latina, de los Estados Unidos y de otras partes del mundo, como Domitila Barrios de Chungara, Martin Luther King Jr. Roque Dalton y Otto René Castillo. Mi ponencia se enfoca en las comparaciones y contrastes de estos cuatro ejemplos de literaturas carcelarias: el tipo de texto, la representación y las circunstancias de la cárcel, la desobediencia civil, la subjetivación plural y la denuncia social.

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The Missing Picture: Early Modern Venetian Attitudes Towards Disability

by Michelle Zillioux

Faculty mentor: Professor Julia DeLancey

Of all the early modern Venetian visual art that has been studied over the centuries, few works of art depict diverse mental conditions. This blank spot in Venice’s visual history is telling of the government’s attempts to self-fashion a positive image of the city. As early modern Italian scholar David D’Andrea argues, the government of early modern Venice has a history of marginalizing people on the lower end of the socio-economic ladder in order to control the republic’s public image. Venice’s treatment of people with disabilities, particularly those with mental health conditions, fits into this pattern. Court cases record instances in which people with mental health conditions are exiled from Venice to remove from the city’s government the responsibility of care, often explicitly. Thus, this presentation will argue that the lack of early modern Venetian visual culture depicting people with diverse mental health conditions is reflective of the republic’s efforts to maintain a serene and controlled public image reinforced by the much studied “Myth of Venice.” This would be in line with Venice’s history of using visual art as a tool to promote certain positive ideas about the republic.

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COVID-19 Through Nepali Teachers’ Perspectives

By: Isabella Burns, Rachel Walters, Jenna Holland

Faculty mentor: Dr. Leslie Martin

The Nepali education system has been affected by the extensive spread of COVID-19. Before the pandemic, Nepal was in a period of growth regarding educational policy after suffering from a civil conflict that lasted 10 years (Valente 2015; Parker et al. 2013). Although Nepal was in the process of recovering, they have a considerable digital divide with a lack of Internet access for many citizens (Mandal, 2020). Nepal has supplemented the lack of Internet access with TVs, radios, and phones (Dhamala 2020; Radhakrishnan-Nair et al. 2020; UNESCO 2020). Because the pandemic is current, there is a lack of research on how COVID-19 and the lack of Internet access have affected the teachers in the Nepali education system. In our research, we investigate Nepali teachers’ perspectives of COVID-19 affecting the education system.

Carpe Diem and Consolation Horace’s Imitation and Manipulation of Greek Lyric Models

By Ruth Wilmot

Faculty Mentor: Professor Angela Pitts

This thesis examines the influence of Greek lyric, namely Sappho and Alcaeus, on Horace’s carpe diem poems. Horace imitates Greek lyric in themes and meter. He also imitates the structure of alternation scenes and injunction passed down in the lyric tradition from the poet Archilochus. However, Horace distinguishes himself by adding uniquely Roman elements and varying the tones of his speaker. He utilizes the variety of tones or perspectives in order to highlight the proper response to death, enjoying the symposium.

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The Development of a Sediment Pollution Pilot Study in Hazel Run

By Briana Edmunds

Faculty Mentor: Professor Pamela Grothe

Excess sediment runoff, as a result of anthropogenic activity, is one of the major contributors to the pollution of the Chesapeake Bay, Rappahannock River, and Hazel Run. To reduce the sediment entering different watersheds, different best management practices (BMPs) have been implemented. Agencies like the Chesapeake Bay Program and United States Geological Survey use models to predict how effective different BMPs are. Traditional models used by the USGS like ESTIMATOR use streamflow-based regression. However, regression relations fail to account for the variableness of sediment transfer during storm events (Jastram et al., 2009). Leigh et al. (2019) concluded that turbidity-based models which include temporal autocorrelation and heteroscedasticity were the most accurate and precise in predicting sediment and nutrient concentrations from high-frequency water-quality data, which we will be following. The Rappahannock River’s possession of only one monitoring station and how both it and Hazel Run have degraded water quality make it appropriate to conduct a pilot study. We will be utilizing in-situ sensors, which collect and store data, compared to manual samples. Using in-situ measurements allows data to be frequently collected, even during high-transport events like storms and floods, giving better records of the water quality. The goal of this capstone is to detail a pilot study project and complete a grant proposal to apply for the Jeffress Trust Awards Program in Interdisciplinary Research grant. The project in question will be a pilot study utilizing a proxy-model methodology using the deployment of many in-situ sensors to monitor and predict sediment and nutrient load in Hazel Run, a tributary of the Rappahannock River.

Effects of starvation and time of day on crayfish foraging behaviors

By Kylie Sunamoto

Faculty Mentor: Professor Abbie Tomba

Crayfish foraging behaviors can alter aquatic ecosystems. Starvation and time of day are two potential factors that can influence those foraging behaviors, but the interaction between the two variables has not been studied. In this study, we observed the movement of fed and starved crayfish during the day and at night in the presence of both water and food odor. We calculated both total movement and change in movement and predicted more activity when starved and at night. Crayfish did not show a preference for day or night, nor did they display significantly more movement when fed or starved. These results do not match previous literature, meaning that further research on these factors is necessary, especially in Cambarus acuminatus.

Communication Within Video Game Communities

by Alexandra Johnson, Nina Bowen, Arthur Romps, Madison Turner

Faculty mentor: Professor Adria Goldman

For this research paper, we looked at how video game users are impacted by different communication methods within video games. More specifically, this presentation will discuss how we framed our questions for a survey to be sent out to miscellaneous University of Mary Washington peers, and how different literature propelled our research.

Cooperative Learning in Secondary Mathematics

By: Katherine Safian

Faculty Mentor: Professor Marie Sheckels

Cooperative learning, or CL, is an instructional model commonly used in schools across the country, especially in mathematics. It involves the use of small group learning where students work collaboratively towards a common goal. Throughout my semester-long independent study, I researched how to incorporate cooperative learning into the secondary mathematics classroom and then made various lessons based on my findings. This presentation will discuss the meaning behind the term cooperative learning, its history, its benefits for both students and teachers, and why educators should consider incorporating this instructional practice into their classrooms. I will also discuss the various types and models of cooperative learning that I found in my research, along with best practices for how to successfully implement CL activities in the classroom. Finally, I will describe two mathematics lessons that I designed which incorporate various types and best practices of cooperative learning that I discovered throughout my research.

Understanding Rural Healthcare in America: A General Survey of Rural Healthcare Systems

By Macy Justice

Faculty Mentor: Professor Tracy Citeroni

With the recent election and the current global pandemic, health care has been on the forefront of almost every political conversation in America. With discussions growing around populations and communities that face gaps in health care access, it is important to understand the barriers and gaps in rural health care systems. Nearly 20% of Americans live in rural areas, and rural communities face unique challenges to accessing healthcare systems compared to their urban counterparts. Understanding these unique challenges will allow for policies and initiatives targeted at rural communities to be more efficient and more effective. This presentation will perform a general survey of the rural healthcare system in America, analyzing how the word ‘rural’ is used and what barriers rural residents face in their attempts to access healthcare systems, in hopes that the audience will better be to understand and represent the challenges faced by rural healthcare systems and rural residents. To apply the findings from the survey of rural healthcare systems, a case study of McDowell County, West Virginia will take place, highlighting trends and barriers that all rural communities face in some way.

The Influence of Olfactory Stressors on Anxiety-like Behaviors (ALB) and Amygdalar Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Levels in CD1 Mice

By Mary Zagrobelny, Bradley Torrington, Olayemi Fadahunsi, Laiba Murad

Faculty Mentor: Professor Parrish Waters

Cat odors serve as stressful stimuli for mice, leading to profound anxiety-like behaviors (ALB). These ALB are possibly the result of decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in the amygdala. Although the anxiogenic effects of cat odors have been established extensively, the relationship between long-term cat urine exposure and amygdalar BDNF levels has yet to be studied. To explore this relationship, we conducted a 21 day experimental study, in which mice were intermittently exposed to urine-soiled cat litter. Our study determined that long term intermittent cat urine exposure induced ALB in mice, which were negatively correlated with amygdalar BDNF levels. However, we observed no significant changes in the amygdalar BDNF levels in response to stress.

Differential Myokine Expression in a Model for Myotonic Dystrophy Type I

By Huda Al-Bana, Maya Takashima, Grace Holcomb

Faculty Mentor: Professor Ginny Morriss

Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a multi-systemic disease resulting in severe muscle weakening and wasting. Skeletal muscle wasting is the predominant cause of morbidity and mortality and is responsible for 60% of DM1-associated deaths. DM1 is caused by CTG repeat expansion in the 3’ untranslated region of the dystrophia myotonica protein kinase (DMPK) gene. Myokines are proteins that are produced and released by muscle cells in response to muscular contractions. Previous studies indicated that myokine signaling is deregulated in a mouse model expressing expanded CUG repeat (CUGexp) RNA. The goal of this work was to assess muscle-specific differential expression of myokines in mice expressing CUGexp RNA, relative to non-CUGexp RNA expressing control mice. Previously published RNA-seq datasets were compared to determine which putative myokines, identified in skeletal muscle samples of healthy subjects, were differentially expressed in CUGexp expressing mice. Myokines that display significant differential expression at 6, 12, and 20 weeks of repeat expression include the Cx3cl1, Cxcl10, and Gdf5. Primers were designed customary for these genes and specified for regions with constitutive exons to allow consideration of overall expression levels. Primers were then optimized using RT-PCR. The developed primers will be used to validate differential expression levels of these myokines using quantitative RT-PCR. Validated myokines will be assessed in unaffected and DM1 human myoblast cell lines to determine the contribution of these myokines to the skeletal muscle phenotype in DM1.

This is America: Examining the International Press’ Coverage of American Foreign Policy Officials

by Nina Burges

Faculty mentor: Professor Surupa Gupta

There is universal recognition that the foreign policy making talent in the United States is woefully unrepresentative of America’s vibrant minority populations, and more is required to attract minorities to pursue public service careers representing the United States abroad and accurately reflect its diversity. However, little attention is paid towards the international response to America’s diversity as it relates to when people of color represent the United States as diplomats, foreign service officers and White House foreign policy officials, as well as in less official capacities as scholars and humanitarian workers. These concerns assume new relevance against the backdrop of the United States’ outsized cultural reach and the international popularity of American films that show “true American culture” and a global introspection about race in America. This presentation will examine the English Language foreign press coverage in 6 countries of the appointment of General Colin Powell, Dr. Condoleezza Rice and Dr. Susan Rice to senior WH and cabinet-level Foreign Policy positions of Secretary of State and National Security Advisor respectively from 2000 to 2013 during the Bush and Obama Administrations. Ultimately, the presentation will analyze and demonstrate the influence of gender and race in the coverage of these individuals to demonstrate the importance of diversity to offering a full understanding of the American experience.

The Effectiveness of Uzarigenin as an Antiseptic against Staphylococcus aureus

by Gabrielle Moore

Faculty Mentor: Professor Lynn Lewis

To determine the effectiveness of uzarigenin on S. aureus, the agar disk diffusion method was first completed to study the cytotoxicity effect of uzarigenin directly on the bacteria. A cytotoxicity assay was then completed to test the cytotoxicity of the uzarigenin on the human epithelial fibroblasts themselves. After, a TCID50 assay was used to test for a preventative dose of uzarigenin against S. aureus to determine at what dilutions the uzarigenin can protect the cells from infection at least 50% of the time. It was found that there was an average 8.5 mm zone of inhibition compared to a standard 26.4 mm zone of inhibition by tetracycline. Since there may be different diffusion rates, S. aureus may be resistant to uzarigenin. It was also found that the uzarigenin caused cytopathic effects (CPE, changes in the host cell morphology due to infection) on the human epithelial fibroblasts up until a dilution of 10^-6. Additionally, the 10^-6 and 10^-9 dilutions of uzarigenin were effective in combatting an infection from S. aureus, leaving little to no traces of cytopathic effect. However, dilutions further than 10^-9 seemed to be too diluted to combat an infection, which resulted in CPE in all or most of the wells. Furthermore, the preventative dose for uzarigenin against S. aureus was found to be 10^11.2. In conclusion, uzarigenin may be able to be used as an antiseptic.

Astronautics: The Physics of Space Flight

By Britteny Backus

Faculty Mentor: Professor Varun Makhija

Over the course of the semester, my professor and I have collected notes and did research on the book: Astronautics, The Physics of Space Flight. In general, I learned how to apply Newtons laws and the Laws of Thermodynamics to the physics of rockets. Taking simple equations such as, thrust force and the equation of rocket motion and applying them to abstract and complex situations to determine the ideal space flight path of a spacecraft. In this talk I will explain some fundamental concepts. More specifically I will discuss how the speed of gas exhausted from the rear of the rocket increases its forward momentum. In addition, I will discuss some of the details associated with achieving a high rocket speed. Many of the equations used are too complex to solve by hand and therefore a computer software is needed to find the solutions of these problems. However, these equations tell us how to make a rocket go fast and how to direct the energy for an ideal rocket launch.

Lab Manual by a Lab Aide, for Lab Aides

By Theresa Vierow

Faculty Mentor: Professor Swati Agrawa

For my Capstone project, I created an online lab manual. My intention with this document is to provide guidance for future lab aides of BIOL 125 and BIOL 126 – the series of introductory honors biology classes referred to as Phage Hunters. This document is online for easy access when in the lab, and contains information on where to find needed materials for labs in the spring and fall, from wet labs to observational labs to bioinformatics. Also included in this lab manual is information I have picked up as a lab aide for three years that will not be immediately obvious to newcomers to the job.

Revising the Horror Novella

By Katherine Cavallaro

Faculty Mentor: Professor Ray Levy

I began my independent study project with the goal of revising an incomplete and unedited novella draft I had worked on the previous semester. I had hopes of creating something close to a finished and polished novella at the end of this semester. I approached this goal from two directions. First, the novella I am working on is an adventure/horror hybrid, so I began the semester doing research and work on how to write an effective work of horror. In the second half of the semester, I shifted to research and focused on effective techniques for editing and revising fiction drafts. Throughout the semester, I continued to edit and revise my novella, using the skills I gained in both horror and editing practices to make continual improvements. I produced several writing exercises throughout the semester, but my most important product I made was the actual drafts of my novella. The final draft showcases everything I have learned this semester and during my overall time in UMW’s creative writing program. The novella is well over fifty pages, so I have chosen to include selected excerpts that I think best highlight the work I have done. A brief description of the novella can be found alongside these excerpts.

Turtle Population Sex Ratios at Urban vs. Rural Locations

by Abigail Conklin

Faculty mentor: Professor Bradley Lamphere

In many turtle species, the sex of an individual is strongly influenced by the environmental temperatures it experiences prior to hatching. Climate change and urbanization may raise the temperature of nesting habitat enough to strongly skew sex ratios in freshwater turtles, but data on that question are lacking. I sampled multiple urban and rural sites to examine the effect of urbanization on the sex ratio of turtle populations. Three urban sites and three rural sites were sampled.

Resident Curator Program

By Vanessa Richardson

Faculty Mentor: Professor Ana Chichester

Resident Curator Programs (RCP) enable an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization, to serve as the curator of a property. Resident Curator Programs can facilitate preservation of historic properties in a county or region with the goal to rehabilitate and maintain sometimes abandoned or underutilized historic properties and ensure that the public will have scheduled access periodically. This process will not only preserve history but provide much needed context for those who appreciate the historical significance these restored properties. This Capstone focused on the Fairfax County Resident Curator program, an excellent program that is designed to preserve historic properties by offering long-term leases to qualified tenants who agree to rehabilitate and maintain these historic resources in accordance with established preservation standards. A curator can be a private citizen, a non-profit entity, or a for-profit entity. Fairfax County’s RCP is intended to reduce the public costs associated with the care and preservation of the properties by enabling groups or individuals to take over the responsibility. In addition to caring for the day-to-day management of the property, the curators are responsible for the rehabilitation and continued maintenance of the property. Properties that are included in the RCP have been deemed historically significant and meet established criteria of eligibility for curator. Any proposed rehabilitation of these sites must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, and the curator must provide reasonable public access to the property. In return, curators pay no rent as long as they continue to fulfill their contractual obligations. Curators are responsible for upkeep, property maintenance expenses, utilities, and county property taxes.

Human Trafficking and the Kafala System

By Casey Johnson

Faculty Mentor: Professor Farhang Rouhani

For my Middle Eastern Studies Minor and Honors Program capstone, I studied the Kafala sponsorship system practiced within the Gulf states. The Kafala system is the state program that facilitates labor related immigration to these countries. The system requires a citizen or company within the country to act as a sponsor for an immigrant to be able to travel to the host state and become their employee. This sponsor-employee relationship has specific legal obligations laid out by the state. The sponsor becomes responsible for the residential, medical, and legal wellbeing of the employee. The employee, in return, fulfills various work projects that have been contractually agreed upon. The Kafala system sees immigrants employed in various sectors; however, I focused solely on female immigrants employed in the domestic sector by individual citizens. The problem I argued is that the Kafala system has fostered a new form of contemporary slavery and has increased the likelihood of human trafficking within the region. I believe this topic is important for further study to create greater awareness of the issue. The emphasis of more popular and internationally recognized human rights abuses in the Middle East has, like other regions of the world, has facilitated a situation where the abuses taking place under the Kafala system are not as known or understood. It is also important as the states where abuses are taking place are often seen as economic powerhouses and have close ties to the West compared to other countries in the region. Additionally, I thought this topic was equally as important as it has implications beyond the borders of countries within the Middle East. The issue of human rights regarding immigration is a global problem, particularly for immigrants who come from the Global South and lack the agency to advocate for their own rights. I felt that it was important to cover a topic that had greater meaning beyond a few countries in one region of the world.

Human-Trafficking-and-the-Kafala-System-Trans_Casey-Johnson

Symbolic Methods in Synthesized Cryptosystems

By Dalton Chichester

Faculty Mentor: Professor Andrew Marshall

I will be giving a brief overview of recent, and I think, interesting work on applying automated reasoning to cryptography. In particular to the automatic generation and security proofs of cryptographic systems. As well as introduce a new tool which is an implementation of some of these methods.

Government and Music during the Bosnian War

By Kassie Phillips

Faculty Mentor: Professor Brooks Kuykendall

The purpose of my research is to survey music as it was deliberately used as a means to an end during the Bosnian War from 1992 to 1995, particularly as it applies to the state promotion of certain music by Serbian and Croatian leadership at the time. Investigation of popular music commonly heard during the war reveals that while Serbian music was often directed at both a domestic and enemy audience (for the purpose of demoralization), called on traditional musical styles and instrumentation, and featured lyrics promoting bold and aggressive messages, Croatian music was meant to appeal to an international audience, and thus relied upon modern, western musical genres and lyrics that emphasized peace and elicited sympathy. Less is consistent about the war music of the Bosniaks, which is difficult to single out because of the diversity in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the exodus of Bosnian Muslims from the area that occurred both before and during the conflict, but Western portrayals of the music scene in besieged Sarajevo definitely played a large role in creating the city’s images as the capital of Bosnian resistance.

Department of Psychological Science Spring Virtual Showcase of Student Research

https://umwpsychologyresearch.com/spring-2021/

The following student projects, listed by courses from spring semester 2021, are featured on the above linked virtual showcase site.

Professor Laura Wilson – PSYCH 362-01
TITLES:
The Association Between Virtual Interactions and Well-being
How Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Affect Participants’ Intentions to be a Primary Caregiver and Anticipated Parenting Styles
Instagram Influencer Content and Body Image
A Quantitative Study of the Association Between Self-Efficacy and Public Speaking Anxiety in Students
Social Buffering as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Anxiety and Attention
STUDENT PRESENTERS:
Anne Franklin
Camila Rodriguez
Carrie Van Orden
Colleen Cragun
Elizabeth Jones
Iliana Loaiza
Jenna Stewart
Katy Rose Price
Kendall McCracken
Kyle Cassidy
Laura String
Linda Dick
Monica Thompson
Nicole Segura
Paula Dorca
Sydney Dilick
Sydney Hassell

Professor Hillary Stebbins – PSYCH 362-02
TITLES:
The Effect of Social Anxiety and Approachability on Motivation in Online Classrooms
The Effects of Conservatism on Hesitancy Towards Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine
Inherent Curiosity and the Effect of Error Generation on the Ability to Learn German Words
The Relationship Between Social Media Self-Presentation, Self-Efficacy, Academic Anxiety, Motivation to Learn, and Camera Usage in Synchronous Virtual College Classes
STUDENT PRESENTERS:
Amira Akam
Amy Rouse
Annie Del Zingaro
Chloe Billy
Kianna Simien
Kiara Toler
Kira Flinn
Lauren Johnson
Leonie Steele
Lexi Vukmanic
Mariana Haugh
Marie Bright
Rachel Remer
Sarah Dietz
Sydney Thompson
Tenyia Smith
Victoria Rulapaugh

Professor Hilliary Stebbins – PSYCH 362-03
TITLES:
The Effect of Affirming Scientific Belief on Existential Anxiety
How Divorce Conflict Relates to an Adult’s Capacity to Build and Maintain Friendships
Mental Well-Being of Varsity Athletes During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Parenting Style’s Influence on Sleep Quality and Sleep Hygiene as an Adult
The Relationship Between Extroversion, Social Media, In-person Interaction, and Well-being Late in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Self Affirmations and the Perception of Micro-aggressions
STUDENT PRESENTERS:
Aidan Finegan
Ally Jones
Courtney Haines
Courtney Hooker
Hannah Hoffman
Jackson Kirschner
Jasselyn Gallardo-Garcia
Madeline Berning
Madison Groves
Maggie Millar
Preston Boxley
Shelby A. Russell
Siena De Steno
Sydney Keating
Trimby Magarity
Valentina Leon-Ledezma
Walker Chilton

Professor Dave Kolar – PSYCH 411-01
TITLES:
Educational Influences on Sustainable Fashion Purchasing Behavior
Impact of Sustainable Advertising on Individual Behavior
Initial Environmental Knowledge and Pro-environmental Advertisements Effects on Purchasing Behavior of Electric Vehicles
STUDENT PRESENTERS:

Antonio Herold
Chelsie Valencia
Ishini Karanda
Jenna Whearty
Jesse Boles
Kevin Bach
Malhar Meeran
Mekayla Thompson
Rachel Beatty
Riley Gildea
Samia Hajjaoui

Professor Mindy Erchull – PSYCH 411-02
TITLES:
The Effect of Parental Division of Labor and Gender/Sex-Based Bullying on Women’s Gender Beliefs, Attitudes, and Behaviors
The Investigation of Authenticity as a Moderator in the Relationship Between Conformity to Feminine Gender Norms and Relationship Satisfaction
Perceptions of Social Media Influencers Based on Race, Gender, and Interest
Perceptions of Women Violating Gender Norms in the Gym
STUDENT PRESENTERS:
Alyssa Titzer
Caroline Hieber
Christina Buchanan
Corrianna Calloway
Dalton Charron
Destiny Kay
Em Converse
Eva Aloezos
Gabby Roughan
Gina-Marie An
Hannah McCarthy
Lindsay Fedder
Maya Vera
Nancy Martin

Professor Dave Rettinger – PSYCH 413
TITLES:
Direct and Indirect Peer Pressure and Its Effects on Students’ Opinions about Cheating
Effect of Instructor Effort on Students’ Academic Motivation
The Effect of Responsibility to Report Cheating on Honor Codes
Social Norms Messaging Influence on Student Perception of Cheating
STUDENT PRESENTERS:
Alexander Lee
Alexis Thompson
Ashley Stewart
Charlene Parker
Courtney King
Derek DelGross
Gretel Kreider
Magaly Delgado
Mariah Bright
Nicholas Graves
Olayemi Fadahunsi
Rachel Thibodeau
Robert Ashworth
Teresa Siburn
Waverly Atkinson

Professor Virginia Mackintosh – PSYCH 414
TITLES:
The Association Between Sexual Orientation and Media on Identity Development
Importance of Parenting: Exploring Effects of Parenting Style on Identity Status, Risk Behaviors, and Self-Esteem in College Students
Social Media Social Comparison and Identity Development in College Students
STUDENT PRESENTERS:
Alex Sharpe
Anne Spady
Carmen Nichols
Emma Snyder
Grace Gartman
Hannah Schmidt
Haylee Beish
Kennedy King
Kourtney Chiles
Lucy Bondje
Rylie Cole
Simone Levendosky

Professor Mindy Erchull – 201-01
Infographic presentations
TITLES:
All About Blended Emotions
The “Athlete’s” Selves
The Confirmation Bias During Covid
Detecting Deception
Emotions
Impression Management
Self-Regulation
Virtual Self-Presentation
STUDENT PRESENTERS:
Alise Thaler
Ann Camp
Elizabeth VanSumeren
Fabian Rosales
Kennedy King
Martin Eykamp
Tiya Jeffreys
Veronica Moore

Ignite talk presentations
TITLE:
Attractiveness
STUDENT PRESENTER:
Elizabeth VanSumeren

Professor Mindy Erchull – PSYCH 201-02
Infographic presentations
TITLES:
Automatic Processing
Belief Perseverance
Caution: Self-Handicapping
Confirmation Bias in Social Media
Counterfactual Thinking
Heuristics, Biases, and Police Activity
Non-Verbal Communication
STUDENT PRESENTERS:
Ally Holden
Andrea McGrath
Harper Cowan
Krista Rodgers
Lovetta Rogers
Tyler Clift
Veronica Ahmed

Ignite talk presentations
TITLE:
Commitment and Consistency
STUDENT PRESENTERS:
Lovetta Rogers 
WGST 485
A Crumpled Flower: Sexual Assault’s Moderating Effect on the Relationships between Purity Culture, Rape Myth Acceptance, and Mental Health

  • Christine Wehner

    491/492 Teams (combined list across instructors)
    TITLES:
    Color Cues and Consumption: Who Falls Victim to Menu Design?
    COVID on the Brain: Anxiety Sensitivity and Mindful Awareness Mediate the Relationship Between COVID-19 Obsession and Anxiety
    The Effects of Shaping on Verbal Behavior in a Simulated Alien Invasion
    The Influence of Knowledge and Personal Norms on Pro-Environmental Behavior
    Mindfulness as a Mediator and Moderator in the Relationship between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Depression
    Mindfulness as a Mediator in the Relationship between Social Media Engagement and Depression
    Mindfulness in 1st Grade at Riverview Elementary School
    STUDENT PRESENTERS:
    Allie Wills
    Amelia Jones
    Angeline S. Gnanasekaran
    Carly Kingston
    Elsa Baumgartner
    Emily Beitzell
    George Stifel
    Haley McKeen
    Hannah J. Checkeye
    Hope Rivers
    Jenna M. Holland
    Jennifer Abrahamson
    Kaitlyn R. Ownbey
    Kathleen E. Daley
    Lily Goldberg
    Madison Schifflet
    Megan Hook
    Paige Arnau
    Purnaja Podduturi
    Sydney Dahl

Phage Hunting at the University of Mary Washington: Genome Annotation of Hari and JackRabbit

By Hannah Lee, Sabine Krall, John Tan, Raesa Zia, Charlotte Russell, Jayme Boudreau, Hannah Stottlemyer, Andrew Cooper, Elizabeth Sullivan, Madison DeWitt, Mitchell Freitag, Jacob Cantor, Arianna Chase, Vallarie Burge

Faculty Mentor: Professor Swati Agrawal

Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies Kurstaki (BTK) is often used as a microbial insecticide for pest control and as a simulant for Bacillus anthracis in biowarfare and bioterrorism studies. Students in 2021 Phage Hunters class at University of Mary Washington isolated nine bacteriophages using the host Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies Kurstaki. Two phages, Hari and Jackrabbit, were sent to SEAPHAGES for sequencing are currently being annotated in the lab during the Spring semester. Hari was found in a soil sample obtained from King George, VA while JackRabbit was isolated from Linton, VA. Both samples were isolated from enriched cultures. Hari has a genome length of 161,978 bp, which auto-annotated with 286 features, and a direct terminal repeat of 2,633 bp. Hari is most similar to DIGNKC, SBP8a and PPIsBest by BLAST. JackRabbit has a genome length of 161,552 bp, which auto-annotated with 288 features, and a direct terminal repeat of 2,821 bp.

Oda al patio

By Jennifer Ramos

Faculty Mentor: Professor Ana Chichester

En la obra que van a escuchar hoy en día, se platica sobre la idea del tiempo y la niñez. Aunque no hay un nombre a la cara de la niña, se habla de la experiencia que ella tuvo afuera en su propio patio. El patio es un lugar que fue sagrado e importante para la niña, una plataforma para la imaginación y creatividad que la niña tenia. El tiempo es importante porque explica la diferencia entre la muchacha hoy y la niña que era antes. Para ella el patio hoy en día solo es un patio, ella no lo puede ver como algo mas, pero para su niñez era cualquier cosa que se la venia a la mente. Esta obra enseña la idea de tener que crecer, pero también poder apreciar los momentos de inocencia que una persona tiene cuando solo tiene unos 7 años. Es algo que todos pueden relacionar en y admirar de su niñez.

Catechism and Constitution: The Role of Faith in Recusal on the Supreme Court

By Hanna Carey

Faculty Mentor: Professor Emile Lester

This project explores the role of Catholicism on the decisions of Supreme Court Justices in capital, high-profile cases, and what role religion plays on recusal of Justices from the Court. The research covers Catholic doctrines and teachings on capital punishment (among other life-or-death issue areas) and the different interpretations thereof. It also explores the influx of Catholic and Christian members of the Supreme Court and how the want to universalize and evangelize can put pressure on high-profile members of the Church in their secular jobs. It includes works from Catholic Church leaders and prominent decisions on capital cases decided by a heavily Catholic bench. In a culmination of looking at different ideas of morality and responsibility of a trials judge versus an appellate court, along with modern and traditional interpretations of Scripture, it concludes that religion is still not a preexisting condition or vested conflict of interest. While the No Religious Test Clause indicates that it is unconstitutional for a judge to be disqualified solely on their faith, it is unfair for the parties in a trial to be subject to a significantly altered Supreme Court bench because of personal interpretations of religion. If one’s religion will keep a Justice from carrying out their position on the Court in certain issue areas simply because of the subject matter, then the Justice cannot carry out their duties to the highest court in the land.

Game Chromatic Number on Segmented Caterpillars

By Paige Beidelman

Faculty mentor: Professor Jeb Collins

Graph theory is the study of sets vertices connected by known as edges, which are depicted as lines. The graph coloring game is a game played on a graph with two players, Alice and Bob, such that they alternate to properly color a graph, meaning no adjacent vertices are the same color. Alice wins if every vertex is properly colored with n colors, otherwise Bob wins when a vertex cannot be colored using n colors. While strategies for winning this game may seem helpful, more interesting is the least number of colors needed for Alice to have a winning strategy, which is called the game chromatic number. We classified a specific tree graph noted as segmented caterpillar graphs that have vertices of degree 2, 3, and 4, for which the game chromatic number have not yet been explored.

16th Annual Kemp Symposium

The Department of English and Linguistics is hosting a live virtual symposium for its students via Zoom on Thursday April 29th, and Friday, April 30th, 2021. Below is the published program of student presentations.

The Great Narrative: The Evolution of State Censorship in Soviet Era Museums

By Emily Harvey

Faculty Mentor: Professor Steven Harris

Before the Revolution of 1917, Russian museums were created by and for the ruling elite. Strict limitations on attendance and what objects could be viewed by what persons defined Russia’s imperial era. After the Revolution, the Soviet Union began to open its museum doors and create more museums by and for the working-class people and their struggle. Starting in the 1920s, a “Great Narrative,” as I call it, came into being that shaped the themes and missions of each museum in the Soviet Union. The Great Narrative was developed by Soviet leaders and the censorship bureau and often changed regularly, requiring frequent museum renovations. While museum attendance flourished and millions of objects went on display, the Great Narrative of the Soviet Union was constantly changing, therefore the museum network was under revision at all times from the beginning to the end of the Soviet Union. The revision of the Great Narrative led to large amounts of censorship in Soviet era museums, however this censorship was also not stagnant. Starting in 1917 and through the 1980s, Soviet museums were subjected to comprehensive state censorship, whether about the overall narrative being told or the objects themselves. However, the censorship was not stagnant and increased or decreased depending on the Soviet leader of the time and what policies and narratives were being developed under their leadership.

Does Coffee Production Impact Ecosystems’ Regenerative Capacities?

By Tatjana Farjadi

Faculty Mentor: Professor Amrita Dhar

Arabica coffee beans are traditionally grown in cooler shaded environments, which benefit the quality of the beans. Shade-grown coffee beans also tend to have many positive impacts on surrounding environments, as the protection from the sun that these beans require, increases the variety of plants and animals around the coffee plant. However, reductions in income that coffee farmers and growers have received over decades have had impacts on the growing process of arabica coffee beans, with researchers and analysts examining whether this has impacted farmers to seek out more efficient ways to grow these beans that differs from the traditional shade-grown process. This transition out of shade-grown coffee, as researchers examine, allows for an increased quantity of beans produced which ensures more profit and income at the end of the production cycle, but might have adverse effects on surrounding environments. This research project puts the shade-grown preference of arabica coffee beans to the test, examining whether arabica coffee production has a significant positive or negative impact on the environment. The environmental indicator used in this research is biological capacity which measures the ability of ecosystems to regenerate an ongoing supply of renewable resources and to absorb waste from surrounding populations.

Geometric Interpretations for Surfaces Using Technology

By Lynn Sherman

Faculty Mentor: Professor Y. Jen Chiang

This presentation is based on Math 491- Differential Geometries taken in Spring 2021. We first define the coordinate patch of a surface and provide a few examples of surfaces. Then we construct the tangent space and normal vector of a given a surface. Afterwards, we compute first fundamental form, second fundamental form and Christoffel symbol of a surface. Then we define mean curvature and Gaussian curvature of a surface. We also will discuss geodesic and parallel vector field of a surface. In the mean time, we will utilize Mathematica technology to sketch the graphs of various surfaces.

Somos el mundo: Global Medical Education for Children

By Angeline (Shanthi) Gnanasekaran

Faculty mentor: Professor María Laura Bocaz

As part of the Global Health Fellowship hosted by the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC), two activity workbooks were produced to educate the FIMRC youth population in Huancayo, Peru about two major health topics, violence and the five senses. These workbooks were written and illustrated in conjunction with the Dale la Mano program in Huancayo, Peru, which is targeted toward greater access to health services and education for young Peruvian Children. Each workbook was designed with a story and various activities pertaining to either violence or the five senses, and followed a style similar to the popular magazine, Highlights. The workbook on violence, “Las aventuras de José y Juana,” was approximately 68 pages, and sought to teach children about physical, psychological, and sexual violence, from the perspective of two fictional alpaca children. The workbook on the five senses, “Hecho con amor,” was approximately 30 pages, and utilized the story of a young boy and his grandmother cooking a traditional Peruvian dish, Papa a la huancaína, to demonstrate the five senses. Each workbook contained educational but enjoyable activities to encourage the children to recognize and speak out about the different types of violence, and to observe their sensory environment from a health perspective. Together, these workbooks were and continue to be used in both FIMRC sites in Peru, to further the global health awareness of impoverished children and their families.

Untitled: Into the Mind of Margaret Sutton

By Elianna Bowman, Katheen Daly, Tai Frazier, Jennifer Glazebrook, Wilson LeCount, Luka Molloy, Carolyn Riley, Madison Roberts, Katie Toomey, Maddy Williams

Faculty Mentor: Professor Marjorie Och

This semester students working on the New York painter Margaret Sutton ’26 were struck by the number of works the artist left untitled. When the works came to Mary Washington in 1993, gallery staff catalogued hundreds of untitled paintings, drawings, and sketches using descriptive terms. A daunting task considering Sutton’s fantastic imagery and the number of works to consider! Without a title the viewer is left to imagine and create significance on their own. Sutton encourages us, over and over, to be creative and playful, to check our experiences and define them within a fantastic environment that offers little certainty. The mind of Margaret Sutton remains a mystery, but the artist opens a door for our own minds to search for meaning. “Untitled: Into the Mind of Margaret Sutton” is the spring 2021 exhibition produced by students in ARTH 317: Laboratory in Museum Studies, and exhibited in the Phyllis Ridderhof Martin Gallery at UMW from April 8 through August 1, 2021, and in the online exhibition.

http://margaretsutton.maochclasses.org/2021-into-the-mind/

Works by Margaret Sutton featured on web exhibition “Untitled: Into the Mind of Margaret Sutton”

Catholicism and Preservation

By Francesca Maisano

Faculty Mentor: Professor Michael Spencer

The preservation of historic structures is a controversial subject, as though people and organizations generally do not seek to demolish the historic built environment, they may not choose to preserve those structures and sites either. This paper focuses on one organization that owns much many historic structures and sites: the Catholic Church. Through the analysis and comparison of case studies, this paper seeks to investigate and shed light on the reasons, associated factors, and underlying trends behind the choices the Catholic Church in the United States makes when it comes to historic preservation. Within this research is a focus on the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, the Catholic diocese in Northern Virginia that includes Fredericksburg, to examine these reasons and trends at a local level and see how this particular diocese compares to the nation’s dioceses as a whole.

Climate Change and the Collapse of Slavery at the Stratford Hall Plantation in Late 1700s Westmoreland County, Virginia

By Eden Rakes

Faculty Mentor: Professor Pamela Grothe

Models used in climate predictions today are dependent on paleoclimate proxies, or recorders of past climate conditions. Eastern oyster shells contain oxygen isotopes that have the potential to be valuable paleoclimate proxies of seasonal changes in the Chesapeake Bay. Numerous oyster shells were found within infilled slave quarters dating to the 1700s at Stratford Hall Plantation. The fact that these slave quarters were backfilled when slavery was still prevalent in nearby regions is surprising. It is hypothesized that localized climate perturbations may have played a role in the abandonment of these slave quarters, as the 1700s took place during the Little Ice Age (LIA), a time when Europe and North America endured cold winters and only mild summers. Oxygen isotopes within the Stratford Hall fossil oyster shells were compared with oyster shells collected in 2019 to test their suitability as paleoclimate proxies and better understand the decline in slave quarters at Stratford Hall. Although the oxygen isotopes were lighter in the fossil oysters, further analysis must be conducted to better understand how differences in salinity between the collection sites of the fossil and modern oysters are affecting the results.

The Effect of Netflix on U.S. Cable TV Subscriptions

By Luke Lilienthal

Faculty mentor: Professor Margaret Ray

Basic Annual Cable Subscriptions in the U.S. have been declining since 2001, which is the same year Netflix began recording subscribers. The annual number of basic cable subscriptions in the U.S. is calculated based on the total number of subscriptions to basic cable television. This means any extra channel packages or upgrades are not included in this variable, only the bare minimum subscription. The purpose of this study is to determine whether Netflix’s emergence directly impacted the rate of Basic Cable Subscriptions. This research is based on the years 1989-2019, for reference. This study contains has 4 independent variables. Basic Netflix subscriptions, which is the total amount of standard subscriptions on Netflix and should influence the Dependent Variable directly because it is a cable alternative. Basic Cable Subscription cost, which is the dollar amount for a basic cable subscription, no extra packages, or channels. Basic Netflix Subscription cost, which is the dollar amount of the standard Netflix subscription, no upgrades. Lastly, Annual U.S. Household Income, which is the average household income in the U.S. in dollars. In the years prior to Netflix (1989-2000), Basic Cable Subscriptions rose from 49.2 Million to 66.6 Million subscribers, a 35-percent increase. This was the peaking point for Basic Cable Subscriptions and since 2001, their subscriber count has fallen back down to 50.5 Million, nearly a 24-percent decrease. Given that Basic Cable Subscriptions is a normal good and tends to go up with income, seeing in the data that it declined in the past 15 to 20 years as Netflix emerged and grew rapidly draws the conclusion that Netflix directly impacted Cable TV subscriptions. The regression results are able to explain 77% of the variance in Cable TV Subscriptions and only contains Netflix, not any other widely used streaming services.

Virginia Libraries’ Disability Services and Website Accessibility

By Dillyn Scott

Faculty Mentor: Professor Brenta Blevins

This project examined the disability services and website accessibility features provided by Virginia libraries. According to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Association of Specialized Government and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASGCLA), there is a “commitment to diversity and to accessibility of library and information services for all, including people with physical, sensory or mental disabilities, as reflected in the ALA policy on library services to people with disabilities (54.3.2)” (https://libguides.ala.org/equip-facilities-mgt/disabilities). During my research, however, it was discovered that while there are noteworthy efforts being made within Virginia libraries, that this commitment is not equal among them, nor is it the best it can be. My research proved this in several ways, but it is with great emphasis that I state that this project is not an attack on the Virginia library system or its individual members, but rather an examination in hopes that further efforts will be made so that all individuals in need can be better served. I performed qualitative observational research of library home pages. This involved crafting a database detailing whether or not these libraries clearly advertised and offered certain disability activities, services, and resources. I utilized a website accessibility evaluation tool known as WAVE to create a database analyzing libraries’ website structure and errors. I also performed quantitative research on municipality budgets and library funding and added this information to the observational database; resulting in my conclusion that money is not the sole contributing factor in the ability to provide services. Lastly, key recommendations were established as a result of my findings so that I can potentially share my research problems and solutions via my newly created Twitter project @openbookva. These infographics are the result of a semester-long research project completed in collaboration with Dr. Brenta Blevins and Mr. Peter Catlin.

An Epidemiological Simulation of COVID-19

By Miles Spence

Faculty Mentor: Professor Jennifer Polack

This project is a cross-section of multiple disciplines in mathematics as well as computer science. In particular, it incorporates differential equations and data analysis to create a model, in the Python coding language, to estimate the spread of COVID-19. The model used for the simulation is a self-generated SIRDSV deterministic compartmental model. The presenter explains the SIR model and how it has been altered to fit the current context with COVID-19. The presenter also explains where data is found and how it is manipulated to fit in the model. In addition, the presenter demos the program that gathers the data, manipulates the data, checks the accuracy of the model, estimates the spread of COVID-19 in the next thirty days, and then finally estimates the spread of COVID-19 in one hundred days with decreased stringency. The model proves to be accurate in some cases and only breaks down over a long period of time and with changing rates and probabilities.

The Effects of Cortisol on Blood Coagulation in Zebrafish

By Bailey Bashara

Faculty Mentor: Professor Dianne Baker

In humans, increased cortisol can lead to pathological increases in blood coagulation, in turn leading to thrombotic events such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary emboli. Cortisol appears to promote coagulation by upregulating the transcription of coagulation factors, thereby increasing the likelihood of the coagulation cascade. It is possible that cortisol has a similar effect on clotting in zebrafish, via effects on transcription of coagulation factors. If so, this would support the use of zebrafish as a model organism for testing anti-coagulant medications. I hypothesized that cortisol induces transcriptional upregulation of genes encoding coagulation factors in zebrafish, as in humans. Additionally, that transcript levels of the coagulation factor genes will be higher in stressed females than stressed males. Male and female zebrafish (n=34) were exposed to acute stressors for 7 days, resulting in an unpredictable chronic stress environment. Additional males and females (n=34) were not exposed to the stress environment and were used as control. Twenty-four hours after the seven-day treatment, the fish were euthanized, and their livers transferred to TriReagent. The RNA from the livers was isolated and cDNA synthesized for qPCR. qPCR measured transcript levels of clotting factors X and VII. Mean (SE) Factor VII transcript levels of the control group (-0.211) were not significantly different from stressed groups (-0.367), nor in Factor X control group (-0.100) and stressed groups (-0.576) (p>0.05). Difference in transcript levels between each sex were also determined, with no significant difference in Factor VII control females (0.063), stressed females (-0.583), control males (-0.063), or stressed males (-0.004). No significant difference was found between transcript levels of Factor X control females (0.051), stressed females (-1.361), control males (0.1) or stressed males (0.122) (p>0.05). There is no evidence that increased cortisol causes differences in the transcription of genes coding for coagulation Factors VII or X.

Apoptosis in Crithidia fasciculata

By Kaelynn Parker and Abigail Delapenha

Faculty mentor: Professor Swati Agrawal

Crithidia fasciculata belongs to a group of parasites called kinetoplastids that comprise many important human pathogens. Evidence of apoptosis has been found in these parasites with pathways that appear to be different than in mammalian cells. Therefore, careful characterization of these pathways can provide ways to manipulate parasite infection which could be used to create better treatments for these diseases. In this study, potential apoptosis genes conserved across all kinetoplastid parasites were identified using gene prediction programs in Tri-TrypDB and BLAST searches. Homologous genes were identified in C. fasciculata and a comprehensive q-PCR analysis showed differential upregulation upon induction of apoptosis. One of the genes significantly changed was Bax1 inhibitory gene (Bax1i), an inhibitor of the putative apoptosis promoting Bax1. In order to characterize this gene further we made gene modification constructs for tagging and gene deletion using the CRISPR-Cas-9 system. A homologous repair template was created for Bax1i using 500 bp homology arms and a drug resistance gene using a fusion PCR protocol. Constructs were made using both Puromycin and Blasticidin resistance genes. We have successfully created and optimized the fusion PCR protocol for generation of 3.5Kb drug repair cassettes. The same process was repeated for Phosphoglycerate mutase family member 5 (PGAM5). Drug selection trials using Puromycin found the optimum concentration of drug is 50 µg/mL. Blasticidin trials are still being performed. The optimization of the fusion PCR protocol and drug selection procedure, along with the identification of genes done in this project will be important for continuing work.

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Using BLAST to Detect Horizontal Gene Transfer in Pathogenic Fungi

By Christopher Good

Faculty Mentor: Professor Theresa Grana

Similarly to antibiotic resistance, antifungal resistance is a growing challenge for clinicians. Mechanistically, one method of antibiotic resistance acquisition is through horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Although associated more with prokaryotes, past studies show limited evidence of HGT in Candida yeast, warranting additional comparative, genomic and proteomic research on the evolutionary forces behind fungal virulence. This honors capstone project used the NCBI’s Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) to quickly and statistically compare existing biological sequence data in conjunction with EMBL Multiple Sequence Comparison by Log-Expectation (MUSCLE) alignment and Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) to visualize likely evolutionary relationships. Thus, the objective of this project was to use bioinformatics tools to identify potential instances of Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) between pathogenic yeast and viruses, specifically HGT as an evolutionary mechanism for antifungal resistance gene (ARG) acquisition. Of the subset of ARGs searched, BLAST showed more support for ERG3 (C-5 sterol desaturase) HGT between edafosvirus and C. glabrata and between orpheovirus and C. albicans and C. californica, respectively. However, the ML phylogeny contradicts these BLAST results and shows more support for ERG3 HGT between both viruses and Hypopichia burtonii. Thus, while BLAST showed limited evidence for ERG3 HGT between three Candida species and two viruses, the ML phylogeny fails to support these evolutionary events. For the purposes of HGT, BLAST might be better suited to certain organisms (i.e., prokaryotes) and its use should be reinforced as a non-definitive predictor of such evolutionary events. Furthermore, increased understanding of the numerous uncharacterized Candida genes could reveal new evidence of fungal HGT and guide treatment options. Word Count: 261

Quantifying Hyperforin in St. Johns Wort

By Chase Forster

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Josephine Antwi

Hyperforin is a known compound naturally produced by St. Johns Wort plants and has been proven to help treat mild depression. The purpose of this project was to determine optimal growing conditions for this plant to maximize efficiency of hyperforin production.

A Tale of Two-City States: Early Modern Venetian and Florentine Perceptions of Melancholy

By Michelle Zillioux

Faculty Mentor: Professor Julia DeLancey

Despite the significant amount of scholarship produced about sixteenth century Venetian and Florentine visual cultures, there is a considerable lack of academic approaches to early modern research from the perspective of disability studies. However, this does not belie a lack of disability histories to analyze. In fact, Venetian and Florentine images of disability can be employed to paint a picture of early modern attitudes towards difference. Images of melancholy from Venice and Florence particularly speak to the significant difference between conceptions of the condition and the reality of the everyday lives of melancholics. Scholar Elizabeth W. Mellyn has supported this line of thought, arguing that those with privilege were afforded better circumstances in relation to their mental conditions than did the underprivileged. Thus, this presentation will argue that late 16th century Venetian and Florentine visual depictions of melancholy reveal early modern attitudes towards people with the condition that both ignore the lived experiences of the individual and provide persons with higher standing more privilege. Such disparities in privilege amongst those with diverse mental health conditions are relevant to contemporary perceptions of disability. Research for this project has drawn from interdisciplinary scholarship, translated primary sources, and visual analyses. Melancholy has a rich history, but scholarship often fails to represent the condition from the perspective of disability theory that acknowledges the ways in which the underprivileged have been left to disappear with time. The research employed for this project has aimed to address this issue, and therefore enriches the history of disability while providing considerable insight into two cultural hubs of the Italian Renaissance.

ZilliouxVFPresentationTranscript_Michelle-Zillioux

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

By Siddhartha Rao

Faculty mentor: Professor Steve Greenlaw

The COVID-19 Pandemic has caused the worst economic decline since the Great Depression. Both President Trump and Biden have passed stimulus packages to get the economy to recovery as quickly as possible. Since these packages have just been implemented there is no way to know the possible long term impacts they will have on the economy. The ARRA stimulus package that was implemented in 2009 was the last stimulus package to be passed by the US Government before the COVID-19 pandemic. This makes it the best comparison point for the most recent stimulus packages. This paper aims to find out the effectiveness of the ARRA stimulus using two approaches. One uses simulations of increasing government spending to see the impact of increasing all of the stimulus while the other looks at the estimated economic impact of each program funded by the ARRA. The first approach found that if the stimulus was five times greater then the economy would have recovered by 2012. The second approach found putting more funding into programs with a higher chance of increasing economic activity could have closed the worst part of the recession only if all of the funding was used at once. These approaches help to give insight to what can make a stimulus more effective at setting the economy on a course for recovery.

RC-Day-Captions-Sidd-Rao_Siddhartha-Rao

Cigarette Demand in the United States

By Emily Galloway

Faculty Mentor: Professor Margaret Ray

This project analyzes cigarette demand in the United States from the years 1964 to 2018. Using the number of cigarette packs purchased in any given year as the dependent variable, a time series OLS regression is run with price, income, population, and the previous year’s dependent variable as the independent variables. Findings indicate price is insignificant, which is common in addictive substances. Income is significant, with its relationship to the dependent variable possibly attributed to societal factors. Population is significant, and its results remain in line with basic economic theory. The independent variable equal to the previous year’s dependent variable is proven to be the most significant factor, which is expected in addictive substances; the total number of smokers in one year, and therefore the number of cigarettes purchased, is heavily dependent upon the number of smokers in the year previous. Cigarette demand in the United States remains complicated by several societal factors, only some of which have been used in this regression. Further, more rigorous research into the reasons for the continued decline of cigarette demand must be completed, especially as new anti-smoking policies arise.

The presence, distribution, and concentration of trace metals in the James River near a coal-burning repository

By Catherine Crowell

Faculty Mentor: Professor Tyler Frankel

The Chesapeake Bay, one of the largest estuary systems on the east coast of the United States, has numerous coal-burning power stations located along its waterways. Coal ash, or fly ash, is a form of industrial waste that is mainly produced by coal-burning power stations and is known to be enriched with trace metals that are at high risk for leaching into waterways, resulting in the presence of these contaminants within aquatic environments. Few studies have examined the distribution of trace metals in the James River watershed, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, and the implication of a coal-burning power station located in its upper reaches. Thus, the goal of this study was to evaluate the spatial and temporal distribution of trace metals in both water and sediments within the James River in the vicinity of the Chesterfield power station (Richmond, VA). Water and sediment samples (grab and core) were collected upstream, midstream, and downstream from the Chesterfield power station. The samples were analyzed using ICP-OES (a spectrometer used for analyzing environmental samples for trace metals) for the concentration of twelve trace metals including Al, As, Cd, Ca, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb, Mg, Mn, Se, and Zn. The preliminary results of water and grab samples show high concentrations of trace metals downstream as well as behind the power station near Dutch Gap Conservation Area. Cadmium concentrations in the water (0.005-0.017 ppm) exceeded the EPA’s MCL’s for drinking water. Complete water and sediment cores samples analyses will provide a clearer picture of trace metals spatial as well as temporal variability and loading at the study site. This study will provide vital information regarding the potential impacts of coal-burning repositories on the presence and mobilization of trace contaminants within aquatic ecosystems and their future impacts on terrestrial and aquatic organisms.

Asymmetric Synthesis of DEHP

By Hannah Harris

Faculty Mentor: Professor Davis Oldham

Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is a chiral molecule used as a plasticizer in many commercial products, and its metabolites have been linked to endocrine disruption and other adverse health effects in mice. Differences in the toxicity of the enantiomeric forms are not well studied. In order to synthesize (R,R)-DEHP, 2-ethyl-1-hexanol was reacted with vinyl acetate and Amano Lipase PS in dichloromethane at 0˚C for 48 hours to yield (R)-2-ethyl-1-hexanol (1) (60% yield, 75:25 e.r.) and 2-ethyl-1-hexyl acetate (2) (83% yield). (1) was refluxed with phthalic anhydride and pyridine at 120˚C for 3 hours yielding crude (R)-MEHP (3). After purification via column chromatography, the percent yield of pure (R)-MEHP, confirmed by 1H NMR, was 54% (75:25 e.r.). (3) was reacted with (R)-2-ethyl-1-hexanol (73:27 e.r.), N,N-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide, and 4-dimethylaminopyridine in dichloromethane at room temperature for 20 hours. The resulting (R,R)-DEHP (4) was purified via column chromatography (39% yield, approx. 75:25 e.r.) and confirmed by 1H NMR. (2) was hydrolyzed by potassium hydroxide in ethanol for 30 minutes at room temperature. (S)-2-ethyl-1-hexanol (5) was recovered (105% yield, 83:17 e.r.) and refluxed following the procedure previously described to produce (S)-MEHP (6), confirmed by 1H NMR in 15% yield after purification. Future work will optimize the enzymatic resolution of (1) and explore the reduction of 2-ethyl-2-hexenal by baker’s yeast as a more efficient method for synthesizing (2). Subsequently, the two other enantiomers of DEHP will be synthesized.

Influence of Social Status on Behavior and Stress in Mice

by Samantha Everett

Faculty mentor: Professor Parrish Waters

Mice are socially aggressive animals and tend to interact in ways that are representative of a social hierarchy. Their interactions and behaviors determine their position in the social hierarchy, i.e., dominant, subordinate, or somewhere in-between. The present study examined the effect of social rank on behavior and stress/anxiety. Mice were given access to a running wheel, an important resource because it provides the mice with stress relieving exercise, in both their home cage and their accessory cage. The mice’s daily activities, along with specific tests, were recorded to measure each mouse’s anxiety and identify them as dominant or subordinate. While the social rank of the mice was determined, none of the physiological or behavioral tests performed provided conclusive results demonstrating significant differences in anxiety or response to stress. This could be attributed to several factors, such as the spacious home cages, the accessibility of the isolated accessory cages, and the availability of two running wheels. Said factors possibly created a less stressful environment for the mice. The lack of significant results could also point to the behaviors and tests observed were not appropriate for detecting the effects of social stress in mice.