Student Scholar Day Abstracts

Oral Presentation Abstracts

9:05 AM

Real Existing Fascism
Reginald Black (History)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jeffrey Myers

Based on the diaries and letters of average Italians like Maria Teresa Rossetti, Giulio Teoni, and Guglielmo Morlotti, this work sheds light on the private attitudes of such people toward the Fascist regime in Italy from its beginnings just after the First World War to its end in the Second World War. Conversation surrounding this regime often only compares it to Nazi Germany, and scholarship focused on the Fascist period of Italy is a relatively small field – though it is growing. For those reasons, this work seeks to understand Fascist Italy not as a base model for Nazi Germany, but as a serious, unique regime in its own right. It does so by introducing readers to the Italian political landscape into which Fascism entered in 1919, by using diaries and letters from throughout the Fascist period to reveal the private sentiments of Italian citizens, and by using examples of Fascist programs and propaganda that affected various parts of Italian daily life and culture. In addition, this work examines the historiography of
Italian Fascism in an effort to answer why misconceptions about, and ignorance of, the regime continues to persist. This is done by detailing the different phases which scholarship on the subject underwent from 1943 to today. Specific works and scholarly reviews were selected to highlight these changing phases and interpretations. All parts of this thesis combine to show the roots of the realities of, and the lingering effects of Italian Fascism.

9:25 AM

Gene Expression Analysis of BHLHB9 Mutant Mice Using qPCR
Alexandra Comparato (Biology)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Katherine Burgess

Our genetic code is very specific. When a protein does not work properly or is absent, it can cause an organism to function in an abnormal manner. Basic helix loop helix family member B9, BHLHB9, is a G-protein coupled receptor sorting protein (GPCRSP) responsible for transmitting signals in cells, directing G-protein coupled receptor pathways, neuronal survival and differentiation, and metabolism. Our research uses quantitative polymerase chain reactions (qPCR) to measure the changes in gene expression caused by BHLHB9 deletion. BHLHB9 is a sex-linked gene (located on the X chromosome), and males only have one copy. In mice, males with BHLHB9 deficiency (hemizygous mice) are born small yet have early onset obesity. To determine a cellular mechanism for the early onset obesity, the expression of 12 genes were measured in four different genotypes: female homozygous, female heterozygous, male homozygous, and male hemizygous (“mutant” mice with the BHLHB9 deletion). The 12 tested genes were each hypothesized to be affected by BHLHB9 signaling. Primers were designed for each gene and quantitative, real-time PCR was conducted. Our results indicate that BHLHB9 deletion affects the Arginine Vasopressin (AVP), Leptin Receptor (LepR), Allograft Inflammatory Factor 1 (Aif1), and Septin 6 (Sept6) genes.

9:45 AM

Public Perception of Crime and Punishment Recommendation
Sean Wheaton, Jr. (MS Psychology)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jordan Wagge

The type of information presented to the public regarding criminal cases can influence the perception of the victim, which can promote victimization towards the individual and determine the severity of the punishment recommended. Additionally, recent studies have been conducted to understand how stereotypes influence an individual’s perception of a crime incident. The purpose of this study was to conceptually replicate and extend the understanding of stereotypes and punishment recommendations provided by Dukes and Gaither (2017), who explored how the type of information released (negative or positive) about a victim impacts opinion surrounding a crime incident, including severity of punishment, blame for victim, and empathy for victim. As an extension, this study added names (stereotypical Black or stereotypical white) and image of the victim (prototypical Black or prototypical white) to see how this type of additional information influences punishment recommendation and related measures. This presentation will report the results of this study, which could extend our understanding of how negative imaging and stereotypes about a victim may decrease their social appeal. Additionally, it may showcase the role that images of victims and negative or positive information, such as that provided by online news platforms, play in how the general public formulate conclusions regarding a crime incident and outcome based on the type of information released.

10 AM

The Impact of Victim-Offender Relationship on Sexual Assault
Madison Self (Criminology and Justice Studies; Psychology)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ashley Fansher

Current research suggests that victim-offender relationship influences aspects of sexual assault, such as victim cooperation; however, this research lacks depth when looking at other variables present within these cases. The current study uses data from Kansas City Police Department’s reported sexual assault cases from the years 2012 to 2018 to examine the characteristics of rape and sexual assault cases as they differ between stranger and non-stranger rape. Variables such as victim cooperation, average reporting window, and whether there are physical injuries reported after the assault will be considered for discussion. This presentation will include possible policy implications and recommendations for future research.

10:20 AM

Whiskey Breath: Cathartic Theater
Olivia Anothayanontha (Theatre, Acting Concentration)
Faculty Mentor: Matt Schwader Harbor, MFA

This Spring, I wrote and performed a piece in Avila University’s production of Twenty20’s. This production was a combination of many stories written by Avila Theatre students focusing on the impact that the year 2020 had on us. I wrote and performed a piece focusing on my time as a child growing up with a parent struggling with addiction. Throughout the writing and performing process, I began to realize that this piece was my artistic illustration of what I had struggled to express for many years. Through the telling of my story, I was able to release all of the emotions I had been holding in. Based on my process of writing and performing this piece, “Whiskey Breathe- Cathartic Theatre”

10:40 AM

The Effects of Different Antibiotics on the Growth of Natural Isolates of Salmonella and Their Ability to Form Biofilms
Emma Prettyman (Biology)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stephen Daggett

Salmonella enterica is a gram-negative bacterium leading to cases of diarrheal disease around the globe. Salmonella also forms biofilms on both living and non-living surfaces, which are nearly resistant to sanitization. The increase in antibiotic resistance in populations of the organism has presented a challenge to medicine and science. As many different Salmonella strains have shown resistance to a variety of drugs, it is important to investigate the commonality of these cases. This research examined isolates of Salmonella enterica from store-bought chicken for sensitivity to three antibiotics: kanamycin, streptomycin, and tetracycline. The pathogen’s ability to generate a biofilm in the presence of these antibiotics was also studied. Preliminary results indicate some resistance to tetracycline among these isolates.

1 PM

The Commonality of “Date Rape” Drugs in Sexual Assault Cases
Madeline Clardy (Criminology and Justice Studies; Psychology)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ashley Fansher

Within the last five years, sexual assault awareness has made headlines thanks to movements such as the “#MeToo” movement. A positive result of this is increased education on decreasing one’s victimization risk. A very common piece of advice is to watch one’s drink when at a bar or party to avoid someone adding any form of conscious-altering drugs. In the study presented, 2014 rape, sexual assault, and sodomy cases from a Midwest police department were analyzed, with the overall goal to determine how common the use of “date rape” drugs were in sexual assault cases. Overall, findings indicate that “date rape” drugs used in sexual assault are not as common as the public is led to believe. Implications and future research will be discussed.

1:20 PM

Screen Time and Adolescent Well-being
Jason Phelps (MS Counseling Psychology)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jordan Wagge

Adolescent well-being has shown recent declines. Simultaneously, there have been increases in adolescents’ time using screens. The current recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is for adolescents to spend less than two hours/day using screens. However, the literature is inconclusive on the relationship between screen time and well-being. Some research suggest a significant negative relationship for screen time under two hours/day, while other research suggest a positive relationship with light/moderate screen time. Ultimately, a curvilinear relationship depicts the relationship between screen time and adolescent well-being, although there are significant limitations to making causal inferences about this relationship.

1:40 PM

Violence and Credibility: A Philosophical Critique of ICE
Gabriela Shalabi-Fierro (Philosophy and Religious Studies)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ken Parsons

Throughout the history of the United States as a nation-state, political and cultural rhetoric around immigration has been such that it tends to be divisive of US society and abusive of migrants. Immigration Customs Enforcement, the youngest Homeland Security agency, has had tremendous leeway in its use of violence toward migrants , both in its choice of language and in practice. In order to shape the public’s perception of migrants, ICE has employed several tactics that led to group psychology- or “Us versus Them” ideologies. Additionally, these practices, placed against the backdrop of popular political propaganda, have lead to the exploitation of migrants in the US, and to genocide across the globe. Therefore, it is imperative that the public recognize such rhetoric and implicit bias. At a time when domestic hate crimes are on the rise, this work is crucial both for preventing and combating inequality,
injustice, and genocide, both within ICE and throughout the nation.

Poster Presentation Abstracts

Pharmacological and Non-pharmacological Treatments for Systemic Lupus
Diana Guerrero (Nursing)
Faculty Mentor: Tracy Koehler, MSN, RN

There is currently no cure for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), but it is still essential to provide patients with SLE the most effective treatment to control their symptoms. Evaluating multiple research methodologies, this literature review focuses on pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment options available for patients with SLE and assesses their effectiveness. What makes this project significant to nursing are the recommendations identified. In female patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), how do pharmacological interventions compared to non-pharmacological interventions affect levels of joint pain? This literature review searches for evidence to answer this question. It has been shown that exercise and corticosteroid therapy are both interventions that should be incorporated into the nursing care of this population as it may improve their overall quality of life. Challenges that may be faced when addressing this diagnosis include the fact that pain is subjective, patients have flare ups at different times, reaction to treatment varies from patient to patient, and some patients may have bias towards certain treatments. However, implementing the previously mentioned therapies gives SLE patients a chance at increasing their quality of life.

Effects of Prescribed Burning on Pollinators in Jerry Smith Park
Marlon Jones (Biochemistry)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Karin Gastreich

Urban remnant grasslands are increasingly important for pollinator conservation. However, small isolated habitats pose unique challenges for conservation. In the case of stem-nesting bees such as Ceratina spp., periodic burning in small remnant grasslands caneliminate dry stems needed to complete their life cycle. Here, we report the results from a novel management technique applied to a small remnant prairie in an effort to increase stem nester bee abundance and diversity. Located at Jerry Smith Park in Kansas City, Missouri, the prairie remnant is managed by Bridging the Gap, KC Parks, and the Missouri Department of Conservation. Previous surveys have indicated a lack of stem-nester bee species in an otherwise rich community of native bees. In 2020, stem-nester refugia, consisting of unburned quadrats, were established as part of the burning protocol. We monitored the impact of these refugia on stem-nesting bees. In the late spring of 2020, cup traps were used to compare bee species at the microhabitat level, within and outside of refugia. We collected over 60 insects and more than half identified as bees. At the microhabitat level,
represented bee species are just as likely to be encountered inside or outside of refugia when sampling with cup traps. Small bees were the most abundant, although a few bumble bees were captured as well. These results indicate the importance of considering specialized needs of native pollinator guilds when managing for community diversity in small isolated remnants.

Attitudes and Concerns of Automated Vehicles: A Qualitative Replication
Raven Josiah (MS Psychology)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jordan Wagge

Adoption of new technologies has been shown to be influenced by a variety of factors, including experiences, social status/peer networks, demographics, and region. These factors have been explored in the transportation sector, where researchers have sought to understand what influences users’ mass acceptance of automated vehicles (AVs). Liljamo et al. (2018), acknowledging that much of the literature regarding understanding attitudes and concerns toward AVs had either small or unrepresentative samples, completed an extensive survey with a large representative sample (N = 2036) in order to produce actionable insights for the transportation industry. The authors were able to support some of the results of previous research and identify additional characteristics that increased acceptance of AVs, such as gender, urban/rural, age, and education. However, many of the insights from these results fail to capture the reasons why these participants answered the way that they did. Therefore, I intend to replicate
the findings of Liljamo et al. (2018) and to add a qualitative component in order to attempt to clarify participants’ reasons for their attitudes toward AVs.

Mitigating Delivery Anxiety with the Presence of Nursing Students
Matti Morgan (Nursing)
Faculty Mentor: Tracy Koehler, MSN, RN

Pregnancy is a vital stage of a mother’s life. Delivering a newborn is a critical moment that contains unpredictable emotions. Expecting mothers often experience anxiety that can lead to complications for mother and baby before, during, and after delivery. Complications include a decrease in birth weight and a disturbance in the cognitive development. Labor and delivery nurses learned how to accurately care for delivering moms. Nursing students also need to learn through clinical and hands-on experience.
The integration of student nurses in the care of delivering women can potentially increase the mother’s anxiety. The question addressed for this literature review was: How does the presence of a nursing student, compared to being treated by a labor and delivery nurse without a nursing student, affect the mother’s anxiety as she prepares to deliver? The review of the literature revealed the importance of increasing the education of the patient and staff regarding the important role of the nursing student, preventing anxiety causing factors, and increasing the confidence of nursing students prior to giving care. These evidence-based recommendations to nursing practice will decrease the risks of complications, allow for nursing students to learn, and improve the overall birthing experience.

Education and Screening to Lower the Possibility of Postpartum Depression
Alejandra Perez (Nursing)
Faculty Mentor: Tracy Koehler, MSN, RN

Mental health continues to carry a social stigma. For child-bearing women, postpartum depression is a mood disorder often overlooked due to the expectation that the mother should experience joy because of her newborn child. Children of mothers who experience postpartum depression are found to have deprived health, unhealthy diets, are often uninsured, and experience less maternal engagement with learning activities compared to those of non-depressed mothers. Low education and perceived discrimination impact this population. The question addressed for this literature review was: In child-bearing women, how does education about postpartum depression, compared to screening for postpartum depression, affect the possibility of experiencing postpartum depression? Through evaluation of a variety of research methodologies, the literature suggests that using a combination of education and screening during prenatal and postpartum visits can potentially reduce the possibility of experiencing postpartum depression as well as decreasing poor maternal-child outcomes. Barriers identified for the healthcare system are the implementation and timing of education and screening and the lack of knowledge to identify the signs and symptoms associated with postpartum depression. Recommendations found in the literature review include screening mothers at prenatal and postpartum visits, building trust, asking about history of depression, and asking about experience with discrimination.

Replicate the Things You Can: A Student Replication of Troy et al. (2017)
Mallorie Shephard, Jason Phelps, Cindy Brizedine, Irainnys Torres, Léa Morvan, & Gina Pace (MS Psychology)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jordan Wagge

In a sample of adults from the United States recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical, Turk, Troy et al. (2017; Study 1) found that cognitive reappraisal ability (CRA) – or the ability to rethink situations – was linked to lower levels of stress. Notably, this effect was stronger for low-socioeconomic status (SES) individuals. These results suggest that CRA might be particularly important when individuals have fewer resources. In order to determine whether these findings are robust and generalizable, we have directly replicated this study as part of a multi-site crowd-sourced replication facilitated by the Collaborative Replications and Education Project (CREP; CREP is a project designed specifically for students to contribute to the advancement of psychological science by conducting direct replications of recent, high-interest research as part of their research training. In this presentation, we will discuss our findings from this replication and compare them to the original study.

Indicator-Based Visualization of Ocean Acidification as the Result of CO2 Dissolution
Noor Ul Ain (Professional Health Studies)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lida Khalfi

In the past two centuries, the CO2 concentration has increased in the atmosphere as the result of industrial human activities. This increase in CO2 concentration and its related “carbon problem” has gained increasing attention in the scientific communities. One of the carbon related problems is “ocean acidification”. The oceans serve as a carbon sink and the amount of CO2 absorbed by the ocean increases proportionally to the levels of atmospheric CO2. The dissolved CO2 and water combine to form carbonic acid; its dissociation results in a decrease in the pH of the ocean’s surface. Considering the pH value of the ocean, which is 8.1 currently, and the logarithmic scale of pH, this change represents about 30% increase in ocean acidity. Herein, we describe an indicator based color change to highlight and visualize the ocean acidification by CO2 absorption through the air. This demonstration consists of putting a beaker of “soda water” in a closed container next to the beakers which include tap water and distilled water containing acid base indicators. The color change of indicator before and after exposure to different volume of CO2
indicates the acidification.

Keynote Speaker

Compromising Positions: Sex Scandals, Politics, and American Christianity
Dr. Leslie Dorrough-Smith
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department

Americans have long believed that the private lives of their politicians are important indicators of their fitness to lead and of their ability to defend and uphold American values. For many, a sex scandal renders a person ineligible, or at the very least questionably
qualified, for public service. In Compromising Positions, Leslie Dorrough-Smith questions the assumption that sex scandals are really about sex– that is, that they are primarily concerned with the discovery of sexual misconduct. She argues that they are, instead, a form of cultural storytelling that uses racial and gendered symbols to create a collective sense of national worth and strength.

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