Student Research Symposium

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10th Annual Coker College Student Research Symposium

Daniels Board Room, Library and Information Technology Center (LITC)

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Full Schedule

1:00pm – 4:00pm, Tuesday, April 11 , 2017
High and Late Renaissance Art and William Shakespeare

Presenter: Alston Singletary
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rhonda Knight
Time: 1:00 pm - 1:15 pm

The purpose of this project was to investigate the connections between William Shakespeare and the High and Late Renaissance and write two encyclopedia-style articles for the Shakespeare Life and Times website, housed at the University of Victoria. These articles have been written and submitted to the editors. Students studying Shakespeare need to be aware of the world that he lived in, which includes all of his influences. With the connections that I found students can use the articles to better understand Shakespeare and his plays. Shakespeare was a product of the English Renaissance, which occurred after the Italian Renaissance. He and many other playwrights and poets were inspired by the ideas of Italian Renaissance and artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Titian. Shakespeare was an essential part of the effort to bring Renaissance ideas to English writing, specifically through the use of mythology and humanism. Shakespeare was clearly interested in Italian Renaissance ideas, and they directly affected how he wrote. He incorporated mythical characters that were prominent in the Italian Renaissance into his writing. For example, the mythical Venus and Adonis were the subjects of his first published poem of the same name (1593). Theseus and Hippolyta appear in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Shakespeare designated Giulio Romano, a famous late Renaissance artist, as the artist of a hyper realistic sculpture in his play, The Winter’s Tale. Most importantly, Shakespeare’s work prioritizes the human experience over all other literary and dramatic elements; this is called humanism, one of the most significant outgrowths of the Italian Renaissance.

Characterization of Bacterial Populations Associated with Locally Produced Aerated Compost Tea

Presenter: George W. Green IV
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Valeria Avanzato (co-mentor, Dr. Joe Flaherty)
Time: 1:20 pm - 1:35 pm

Aerated compost tea plays an integral role in the agricultural community. The utility of aerated compost tea has gained global and local interest worldwide. The presence of beneficial microbial populations as part of the biotic components of compost teas, provide plants with a more efficient nutrient uptake and defense mechanism to disease. This study investigated the bacterial populations linked to the locally produced aerated compost tea at Kalmia Gardens. Identification of the isolates recovered were conducted by culture-based methods, selective staining, and endospore detection. In addition, bacterial DNA amplification was done by the use of universal bacterial primers (BAC 907r/BAC 27f) and a Bacillus specific primer (Bk1f/Bk1r) to further confirm species. The physicochemical properties of the compost tea were recorded on site. The total number of the bacterial colonies in the compost tea was 3.26 x 10 6 CFU/ml. Out of the 23 isolates recovered, 11 isolates belonged to Bacillus spp. The colony morphology for the Bacillus spp. was divided into three categories: Long rods (3/11), medium rods (4/11), and short rods (4/11). The remaining isolates were identified as Serratia marcescens (1/23) and 11 uncharacterized bacterial isolates. This study represents the first step to characterize the active bacterial populations inhabiting the locally produced compost tea at Kalmia gardens. Further studies are necessary to fully discover the bacterial populations in the compost tea and their link to the beneficial effects on plant growth. This will allow Kalmia gardens to commercialize the compost tea to local farmers while promoting healthy and environmentally safe plant growing practices.

Campus Rides App

Presenter: Artur Cabral
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Paul Dostert
Time: 1:40pm – 1:55pm

The inspiration for Campus Rides App came from a conversation with some friends and staff members about how complicated is for international students or students in general who do not own a car to get from school to the airport and nearby cities during school breaks. Since mobile development is part of my major, as of my research class, I decided to do an independent study on mobile applications development, and create an app to solve this problem. The idea of the app is to make available to every user the information of who is offering a ride to where, and who are the drivers willing to give rides to their destinations for maybe a small charge for gas, which it would be a fraction of a plane or train ticket. The intention is to give students a cheaper and easier option to find transportation during school breaks, on the weekends, or during the convenience of their regular day.

Implicit Bias and the College Educational Experience

Presenter: William David McLaurin
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Danny Malone
Time: 2:00pm – 2:15pm

The purpose of this research is to find a correlation between implicit bias and the college educational experience. Implicit bias can be defined as bias in judgment and /or behavior that results form subtle cognitive processes that operate at a level below conscious awareness without intentional control (Brownstein, 2016). Through this study we looked at data from the Implicit Associations Test (IAT) database for 2015. While researching my primary objective was to find out how increasing years of college education, freshman thru graduate degrees, would affect the overall race IAT scores. I also wanted to see how a person’s race affects their overall IAT scores. In doing so, what I have found is that IAT scores do not statistically change within the college experience and that race does have an affect on overall IAT scores.

If You Don’t Want to Be Here, Leave: The Effects of a No-Choice Option in Athletics

Presenter: Kaitlyn Kimball
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Julia Fisher, Dr. James McLaughlin, and Professor Kyria Flynn
Time: 2:20pm – 2:35pm

An examination at the impact a no-choice option has on athletics. Scenarios with choices often contain two different sets of choices, the forced choice set or the rejectable choice set. The forced choice set doesn’t contain a no-choice option, whereas a rejectable choice set does. A no-choice option is the option to do nothing; to opt out, to leave, to revoke participation, etc. It is thought to be true that when someone is given a no-choice option, they are actually more likely to be persistent and more committed to the path they choose. This research takes this concept and applies to it athletic performance.

BREAK: 2:35pm - 2:45pm
Microwave Spectrum of the of 2,3-Difluoropyridine- CO 2 Complex

Presenter: Sydney Gaster (co-author, Cameron Funderburk)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gordon Brown
Time: 2:45pm – 3:00pm

The increasing concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) is quickly becoming a critical issue for the long-term sustainability of current ecosystems on Earth. However, new materials designed to capture and store CO 2 show promise in alleviating this issue. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the process of capturing CO 2 produced by the combustion of fossil fuels and other chemical processes and storing the CO 2 to prevent it from entering the atmosphere. The most promising materials designed for CCS employ nitrogen-containing organic rings at the active sites. For this reason, our laboratory is interested in studying the interactions of these organic rings with carbon dioxide. Through studying these interactions we determined the shape of the complex, which will in turn provide us with information about the function of the complex. In this project, we have measured the 3 – 18 GHz region of the microwave spectrum of the 2,3-difluoropyridine- CO 2 complex complete for the first time. Through analysis of the spectrum the rotational constants have been determined. These provide information on the structure of the complex and the interactions between the molecules. The quadrupole coupling constants of the complex were also determined from the spectrum. Ab initio computer calculations were performed in support of the laboratory data.

Quantifying Patterns in Gene Expression: Mining RNA Sequence Data in Fusarium graminearum

Presenter: Zoe Bilton
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rachel Manspeaker (co-mentor, Dr. Joe Flaherty)
Time: 3:05pm – 3:20

This project’s goal was to mine RNA sequence data from three genetic strains of Fusarium graminearum to find patterns in the changes in gene expression associated with salt stress. We used cluster analysis to process gene expression data for identification of candidate genes and gene clusters for future research. This method provides a novel approach to finding gene expression patterns, taking into account the location of each gene in the genome instead of expression levels only. This may also prove to be a more organic and meaningful way to identify genes of interest than the more commonly used practice of selecting an arbitrary number of the most differentially expressed genes to research further.


Presenter: Cameron Flotow, Dominik Rega (co-author, Justin Lyde)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Andy Burkemper
Time: 3:25pm – 3:40pm

Over the course of the semester two of my friends in my Entrepreneurship class have been working on a business plan for a mobile app we are putting together an Indiegogo for. We want to create a mobile application that puts everyone within a 10-mile radius in a social media where everyone can communicate with everyone else. We want to put cities online and connect everyone with everyone else in their city.

Squares and Communism

Presenter: Aleksa Bijelic
Faculty Mentor: Professor Jean Grosser
Time: 3:45pm – 4:00pm

Art is a reaction to an environment, but what if the environment does not allow the art to react? This research explores the connection between the life and the work of an artist, Kazimir Malevich, and the Russian communism. What happens to the art when an artist is scared for his life? How does the artist fight with the system? This research will show Malevich's work before and after the Russian Revolution, and explain the artist's reaction to the society through his paintings. I am looking at Malevich because of his political and social involvement, which gives him the first-hand view of the society that he is reacting to.

Microwave Spectroscopy of Eugenol

Presenter: Cameron Funderburk (co-author, Sydney Gaster)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gordon Brown
Time: 4:05pm – 4:20pm

Many foods, especially spices, owe their complex flavors to the odors of essential oils. In this project, we studied eugenol – an essential oil found in cloves, nutmeg, and bay leaves – using microwave spectroscopy. The microwave spectrum of eugenol was measured, analyzed, and assigned for the first time. Microwave spectroscopy is a powerful tool used to experimentally determine the shape of molecules. The shape of a molecule, in turn, determines its function. In the case of essential oils, the smell character has been linked to the molecular geometry, as it may determine the interactions with olfactory nerves. Cloves were distilled in water in order to extract eugenol, the dominant essential oil. Eugenol was then isolated from the distillate by solvent-solvent extractions with dichloromethane. The dichloromethane was evaporated off, yielding pure eugenol. Purity of the eugenol was tested by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Once the eugenol was extracted and isolated, it was placed in the nozzle of Coker College’s custom-made chirped-pulse Fourier transform microwave (CP-FTMW) spectrometer. The microwave spectrum was measured in the 3 – 18 GHz frequency range. Gaussian 03W software was used to predict the rotational constants (three numbers that define the shape of the molecule in the x-, y-, and z-directions). The predicted rotational constants were then used as estimates in the analysis of the experimental rotational constants, which were successfully determined for the lowest-energy shape of eugenol.

Gender Performance and Offender Sentencing in Domestic Violence Incidents

Presenter: Sarah Wilson
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Todd Couch
Time: 4:20pm - 4:25pm

Contrary to the larger cultural belief that gender does not have a significant impact on the criminal justice system, contemporary research and criminal justice outcomes suggest otherwise. In Steffensmeier’s 1993 article “Gender and Imprisonment Decisions,” he found that men and women who were in the same life situations (caring for children, pregnant, emotional/physical problems) and are charged with similar offenses receive similar sentencing. However, those who are not in similar life situations are more likely to get longer sentences for the same offense. Elliot (1996) found same-sex relationships have around the same rate of domestic violence as heterosexual relationships but are handled quite differently. Domestic violence is a reality of both heterosexual and LGBTQIA relationships. Yet, the research does not explore the significance of gender performances in shaping sentencing practices.

Concluding Remarks, Dr. Joe Flaherty, Director of Undergraduate Research, Coker College: 4:25pm – 4:30pm