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Featured Students:
Alexa Abee | Eric Adjakwah | Jackie Airhart | Theophilus Aluko | Lilian Anosike | Hannah Aris | Kayla Barrett | Hannah Carter | Nicholas Carter | Elizabeth Chen | Seung Ho Choi | Niara Comrie | Cara Dekelbaum | Braxton Dubin | Katlyn Easter | Rivka Fleischman | Humza Ghani | Emily Grace | Christina Hong | Jason Hughes | Saad Javed | Naureen Khan | Brittney Kramer | Simon Lee | Tomas Loayza | Justine Lottermoser | Corrin Markey | Caitlyn McCaulley | Allie Meadows | Samantha McDonald | Maureen McGowan | Sarah Moshman | Daniela Mujica-Martorell | Dozie Oguike | Paul Oh | Danielle O’Neill | Nneka Opara | Amanda Perera | Rebekah Rashford | Sahrish Rukhsar | Carly Sciandra | Andreas Seas | Archie Slade | Amelia Smith | Kristina Soetje | Parisa Soleimanifar | Priya Surapaneni | Savannah Steinly | Caitlin Stone | Julian Tash | Shelbi Tippett | Rashi Turniansky | Nerissa Vasconcells | Rachel Wolven | Stefan Wroblewski | Vishnu Yogendran | Benjamin Zimmer


Eric Adjakwah

Using DNA Sequences to Determine the Geographic Origins of Agriculturally Important Invasive Leafmining Flies
Mentor: Sonja Scheffer
UC Ballroom | Noon – 2:00 p.m.

Eric Adjakwah

The increased global movement of people and goods has resulted in introduction of agricultural pests into new areas. Understanding the patterns and processes of colonization by introduced species is crucial in planning interventions and management strategies. However, determining the origin and colonization patterns of invasive species can be difficult. Molecular markers such as DNA sequence data can help determine the history of movement by an invasive species. Liriomyza huidobrensis is a leafmining fly that feeds within leaf tissue of crops, including potatoes and beans. Although native to South America, it has spread throughout the world and is of great concern. Understanding the origin and pathways of dispersion can determine the means of spread, possibly leading to the development of interception and control programs. We analyzed 2125 base pairs of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase genes (COI & COII) in a phylogeographic approach to uncover distribution of genetic variation of L. huidobrensis. Our phylogeographic analysis of mitochondrial COI and COII found substantial geographic structure within L. huidobrensis in its native range, but almost none within and between invasive populations around the world.The data suggest that the invasive populations trace to the Peru/Ecuador region. We are collecting additional data to test this hypothesis.


Jackie Airhart

Jackie Airhart

Seamus Heaney’s Strange Fruit, Billie Holiday, and the Bog People
Mentor: Michael Fallon
UC 312 | 3:00 p.m.

“Southern trees bear a strange fruit, blood on the leaves and blood on the root.” Billie Holiday’s unnerving song about lynching in the American South echoes through time and in the work of Seamus Heaney, Ireland’s Nobel Prize winner for poetry. By examining draft revisions of Heaney’s poem, “Strange Fruit,” at the National Library of Ireland archives, I was able to trace the echoes of the famous jazz song in Heaney’s meditation on religious violence as part of a greater exploration of the complex literary genealogy that he drew from in his work. This was particularly aided by an analysis of Heaney’s struggle for an appropriate title to what would become “Strange Fruit” in successive drafts of the poem. This research gains deeper insight into the historical context of an important literary work by revealing how the Holiday song became connected to the 1960s civil rights movement in the United States—a movement that in turn helped inspire Irish Catholics fight for civil rights during The Troubles of Northern Ireland, Heaney’s home. Heaney’s writing process is also further explored, as I examined a poem that required an unusual amount of revision compared to his other works.


Theophilus Aluko

Experimental and Computational Analysis of Lift Generation by Wing Morphing Bird
Mentor: Dr. Meilin Yu and Ms. Jamie Gurganus
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon

Theophilus Aluko

This research aims to study and mimic the lift of a barn swallow via computational and experimental analysis, by meeting finite dynamic constraints such as flapping amplitudes and frequency. This bird was selected because of its maneuverability, efficiency and conical morphing wing-flapping motion. An animation of a simplified lifting process was obtained by creating a three-dimensional scan of a representative bird from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. In addition to the animation, we constructed a physical aerial robot prototype that mimicked the take-off process of the bird in its natural environment. Using the physical model, the generated lift force caused by the morphing flapping structure was measured and then compared with the force derived by a conventional flapping structure. Our analysis and measurements support the hypothesis that the lift generation is highly affected by a characterization of changes in the bird’s wing due to geometry. In particular we hypothesize that leading-edge vortices (LEVs) play an important role in lift generation and should be further parametrized for the making of safer, more efficient wing-morphing commercial aircraft.


Lilian Anosike

“Effects of a Chromatin Remodeler on Migratory Cell Fate Determination”
Mentor: Dr. Michelle Starz-Gaiano
UC 310 | 10:00 a.m.

anosikeLilianSP

Cell migration is a critical process involved in wound healing, tissue formation, and immune response. We study the highly conserved Janus Kinase/Signal Transducer Activator of Transcription (JAK/STAT) pathway that regulates cell migration in Drosophila melanogaster ovaries. There is evidence that Brahma, a chromatin remodeler that controls DNA accessibility, may interact with two downstream targets of STAT, apontic (apt) and slow border cells (slbo), that determine migratory cell fate. To investigate this potential genetic interaction, we utilized RNA interference (RNAi) to reduce expression of brahma and each of STAT’s target genes and we compared the resulting phenotypes. To study Brahma’s effects on migration timing, we reduced brahma expression in Ecdysone receptor (EcR) mutants because proper timing is dependent on EcR signaling. We found that a reduction of brm in conjunction with apt and brm in conjunction with slbo introduced migratory and specification defects respectively. Experimental data is compared to simulations using differential equations representing the JAK/STAT signaling. Into the model, we introduced a Brahma parameter and new constants to observe the effects on the static versus motile bistability of the system. This research should help biologists better understand the impact of chromatin remodelers on genetic pathways that regulate cell migration.


Hannah Aris

“Recovery of Nutrients from Chicken Litter to Create a Slow-release Fertilizer”
Mentor: Dr. Lee Blaney
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon

arisHannahSP

Large loads of nutrients are introduced to the Chesapeake Bay from agricultural runoff, fueling the growth of algal blooms and jeopardizing water quality and the ecological health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Recently enacted regulations in Maryland have made it increasingly important to remove nutrients, namely nitrogen and phosphorus, from chicken litter. We have devised a nutrient recovery process, in which chicken litter is mixed with water to form a high-solids slurry. The pH of this slurry is decreased to approximately 4.3 by bubbling carbon dioxide and dosing hydrochloric acid; at this pH, nitrogen and phosphorus are released from litter solids, generating a nutrient-rich solution. After solid-liquid separation, the pH of the nutrient-rich solution is increased to 8.8 through addition of sodium hydroxide. At this pH, struvite (MgNH4PO4·6H2O), which is a slow-release fertilizer, precipitates. Trace amounts of other nutrient-laden minerals, such as potassium struvite, hydroxyapatite, newberyite, and monetite, are also generated. We postulate that nutrient loads to the Chesapeake Bay can be drastically reduced by implementing this nutrient recovery process, and that the recovered struvite can serve as an alternate source of phosphorus.


Kayla Barrett

The Social Impact of Air Pollution in China
Mentor: Constantine Vaporis
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon

Kayla Barrett

In 2015, a TEDtalk-style documentary produced in China entitled “Under the Dome” went viral on the internet, alerting the entire world to the problem of air pollution and the lack of environmental safeguards in place in China. In a modern society, the protection of the environment is vital to the health of the people, not to mention the legitimacy of the government. This research addresses the question of how the government has managed environmental policy, the nature and scope of the health crisis facing Chinese society, and the strategies the Chinese people have taken to cope. To assess the impact of pollution on society, I analyzed government policies, popular media and scholarly reports, focused on air pollution in major cities, especially Beijing. The paper concludes that the Chinese state is continuing to put economic expansion above environmental health and leaving the people to defend themselves from the ever-growing problem.


Seung Ho Choi

Probing the Secondary Structure of the Monomeric Conformation in the HIV-1 5`-Leader RNA by NMR Spectroscopy
Mentor: Michael F. Summers
UC 310 | 2:15 p.m.

Seung Ho Choi

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the AIDS pathogen, proliferates within infected human helper T cells, compromising an otherwise healthy and responsive immune system. Viral replication is mediated by the 5`Leader (5`L) element in viral genomic RNA. This 5`-L RNA exists in an equilibrium of two structural conformers – monomer and dimer, by which it directs and mediates viral assembly and replication. Here, we demonstrate an approach to probe for and characterize secondary structure in the 5`-L monomeric conformer by high-field nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, a technique used for high-resolution biomolecular structural studies. Signal assignment and validation of characteristic peaks in NMR experiments designed to explore the through-space interactions of base-paired residues provide evidence to support the formation of distinct secondary structures in our proposed model. Our study of the HIV-1 5`-L monomeric conformer structure and the processes that this highly conserved RNA sequence mediates in retroviral replication not only provide further insight into our current understanding of the functional and dynamic nature of three-dimensional RNA structure, but also highlight potential therapeutic value in the monomer as a drug target in clinical medicine.


Cara Dekelbaum

DJ Rekha: Ambassador of Bhangra
Mentor: Anna Rubin
ENG 023 | 2:30 p.m.

Cara Dekelbaum

I will present DJ Rekha’s “Basement Bhangra Anthem” and discuss the various influences this piece reflects. DJ Rekha is a New York-based DJ, producer, educator, and curator. The New York Times called her the “Ambassador of Bhangra.” Bhangra is a style of folk music and dance from the Indian state Punjab. DJ Rekha is known for being one of the first DJs to merge the classic sounds of Bhangra and Bollywood with contemporary hip-hop and dance-hall beats. One of her notable songs is “Basement Bhangra Anthem.” Musician and composer Wendy Carlos can be seen as an influence. Carlos popularized the Moog synthesizer with the release of her 1968 album Switched-On Bach, which featured Bach compositions played on a Moog synthesizer as well as film scores in a more popular musical language. Carlos combined classical music with electronic music. DJ Rekha is also a musical pioneer. She was raised in an Indian family and faced criticism for being passionate about hip-hop. She took her passion for music and made a career out of it by fusing different musical styles to create a new musical genre. I am investigating the cultural melting pot of her music.


Braxton Dubin, Samantha McDonald, Niara Comrie, and Nicholas Carter

Empowering Occupational and Physical Therapists with 3D Printing Technology
Mentor: Amy Hurst
UC Ballroom | 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Samantha McDonald

Standardized assistive technology provides minimal customizations for users and lead to ill-fit devices and user abandonment. Our goal is to use 3D printing technology to empower therapists to create customizable and inexpensive assistive technology for patients. We plan to familiarize medical professionals with 3D printing to make highly specific modifications to assistive devices and provide them with software to make 3D models. We trained therapists to 3D print through a series of classes. Through qualitative research, we gauged the rate of adoption and formulated the user specifications for the software. Employing user requirements, we developed a software from the GripFab program using tools such as html, css, and github. Our project’s success is determined by the adoption rate of this technology among therapists and decrease in user abandonment of assistive technologies. Therapists can use medical expertise to tailor adaptations to existing assistive technologies, but current efforts to customize assistive technology are limited to materials like tape, clay, Velcro, and foam padding.


Katlyn Easter

Analysis of Psychosis-Risk Screener and Interview Response Mismatch
Mentor: Jason Schiffman
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon

Katlyn Easter

Brief self-report questionnaires of psychosis-risk symptoms (e.g., PRIME) correlate highly with clinician-administered gold-standard interviews (e.g., Structured Interview for Psychosis-Risk Syndromes, SIPS), indicating screener utility for assessing attenuated psychosis symptoms. Nonetheless, in some instances, psychosis-risk questionnaires produce false-positives and mismatched responses relative to clinician interviews. Examination of mismatches (e.g., when an individual’s response on questionnaires differs from clinical interview) may help elucidate when and why discrepant responses occur. The current study attempted to identify patterns of response mismatches between the PRIME screen and corresponding items from the SIPS for 108 help-seeking adolescents who were administered both instruments. Mismatch response rates for PRIME items ranged from 5.9-29.4%. Participants who met criteria for psychosis-risk had a tendency to report interview/questionnaire mismatch regarding “mind-reading” experiences compared to non-at-risk participants. Male participants were more likely to have inconsistent reports about the experience of “hearing a person mumbling or talking when there is no one near.” Finally, mismatch rates of reported experiences of “hearing their own thoughts being spoken out loud” were greater for younger aged participants. These patterns of mismatch may clarify possible reasons for discrepancies between screener and interview measures, ultimately helping to improve screener effectiveness towards early identification of psychosis-risk.


Rivka Fleischman

“Analysis of Psychosis Risk Interview Questions for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders”
Mentor: Dr. Jason Schiffman
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon

fleischmanRivkaSP

Assessing for risk of psychosis among individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) presents challenges as core symptoms of ASD can be difficult to disentangle from psychotic symptoms. The Structured Interview for Psychosis-Risk Syndrome (SIPS) is a semi-structured interview to assess attenuated symptoms of psychosis. Although the SIPS is used among individuals with ASD, its utility has not yet been demonstrated. This study examined expert clinicians’ assessment of how SIPS interview items may be interpreted by adolescents with ASD. Clinicians (n=14) with ASD expertise were asked to rate questions from the SIPS based on their ease of interpretation for youth with ASD. If they were rated as difficult to interpret, the experts were then asked to describe why. Of the 95 SIPS questions, 35% were flagged as problematic for the ASD population by a majority of clinicians. The reasons the clinicians gave fell into categories of 1) poor wording, 2) complexity, and 3) overlapping symptoms between the two disorders (e.g. social skills difficulties, obsessions or rigidity of thought, sensory challenges, language problems, misunderstanding emotions). Given the growing recognition of overlap between ASD and psychosis, this study offers insight into how clinicians can more accurately assess psychosis-risk symptoms in individuals with ASD.


Emily Grace

By Ear
Mentor: Lia Purpura
UC 312 | 2:15 p.m.

Emily Grace

By Ear describes an experimental approach to the composition of poetry, drawing upon my own experience of “writing by ear.” As a writer, prior to working on this project, my compositional method was based upon hearing spoken phrases, jotting them down, and returning to them later. By the time I returned to them, however, I had lost the intensity and honesty of the phrase, or was too worried about forcing deliberate meaning into it. I set for myself the task of writing as much as possible as soon as I heard one of these suggestive phrases, exploring where it led until the idea was spent. This process forced me to write by ear and instinct, paying attention to patterns, rhythms, and stresses in natural and organic ways. I would later refine and edit these pieces into their finished states. My presentation and performance will focus on a discussion of this method as I explore my own work, as well as incorporating interviews from professional writers about their practices of “writing by ear.” It will also discuss how there is still an element of writing poetry that remains mysterious, despite an intentional and organized method.


Christina Hong

Parental Stress Impacts Children’s Effortful Control through Maternal Psychological Well-Being and Physical Coercion
Mentor: Charissa Cheah
UC 312 | 10:30 a.m.

Christina Hong

Children’s effortful control (EC) predicts their behavioral, emotional, and academic outcomes. Parents can undermine children’s EC by employing highly controlling parenting practices such as physical coercion (PC). Asian-American parents are characterized as more controlling than European-American parents. However, the processes through which contextual and personal characteristics lead to controlling parenting practices and ultimately Asian-American children’s EC is unknown. Asian-American mothers may experience high levels of parenting stress (PS) as immigrants navigating their new environment, which may impair their psychological well-being (PWB). Furthermore, mothers with decreased PWB might be more likely to use PC, which undermines their children’s EC. The present study examined if Asian-American mothers’ (N=111) PS predicted their PWB, which in turn predicted maternal use of PC, and ultimately their preschool children’s EC, using questionnaire data. Serial mediation analysis indicated that higher PS predicted lower levels of maternal PWB (a1=-0.90, SE=0.17, p<.001), which in turn was associated with an increased use of PC. Higher PC was ultimately associated with lower levels of children’s EC (a3=-0.02, SE=0.01, p<.01). All indirect effects were significant. Implications for the implementation of culturally-appropriate programs will be discussed.


Jason Hughes

Changes in Thin Film Metallic Glass Microstructures upon Annealing in the Supercooled Liquid Region
Mentor: Yanhui Liu
UC 310 | 11:30 a.m.

Jason Hughes

Bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) are great candidate materials for many technological applications because they have high strength, ductility, corrosive resistance, and tuneable properties. We are applying an approach using thin film metallic glass (TFMG) where we simultaneously create many different TFMGs and measure their properties. We then develop the BMGs with the same composition as the TFMGs with the best properties. In this approach microstructures form in TFMGs that prevent precise measurements of some properties. We believe that without these microstructures TFMGs properties can be measured more accurately. We studied changes in TFMG microstructures upon annealing near their glass transition temperature (Tg) to see if we can eliminate them. We used two films, Mg74.5Cu15Y10.5 (Tg of 149.9°C) and Au59Cu21Ag8Si12 (Tg of 135.7°C) made via magnetron co-sputtering. The films were cut into 1 cm2 samples and annealed in a vacuum furnace Mg74.5Cu15Y10.5 at .95Tg , Tg, and 1.05Tg , and Au59Cu21Ag8Si12 at .88Tg , .92Tg and .97Tg all for 10, 20, and 30 minutes. The samples were then characterized using x-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Our findings indicate that the diameter of TFMG microstructures increased when annealed at temperatures above Tg and how much the annealing conditions affected its atomic structure.


Naureen Khan

Mastering The Purposes, Principles, and Structure of U.S. Government Through Scaffolded Instruction
Mentor: Linda Oliva
UC Ballroom | 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Naureen Khan

Comprehending the principles and powers of United States government is vital to becoming a responsible and informed adult. However, high schools struggle with comprehending the structure of U.S. government because they cannot make personal connections to their lives. This study investigated the effectiveness of differentiating and scaffolding instruction to promote students’ abilities to evaluate how the principles of government are demonstrated in today’s society. Examples of instruction include formative assessments like scenario exit tickets, newspaper headline classwork, debates, quote jigsaw stations, jeopardy games, and close-reading activities. The study population was twenty-two students enrolled in standard government classes. The target was for each student to achieve a fifty-percent improvement between their initial score and the maximum score, in order to track growth and mastery. The results indicate twenty students reached the target.


Brittney Kramer, Elizabeth Chen and Alexa Abee

Mill Girls in Nineteenth-Century Print
Mentor: Lindsay DiCuirci
UC 312 | 1:30 p.m.

Brittney Kramer

This digital exhibition examines the lives of nineteenth-century mill girls, American women who left their rural homes to work in the first industrial factories, by recovering pieces that were published by and about these women in American newspapers and magazines. The exhibition is composed of archival holdings from the American Antiquarian Society (AAS), on whose website the exhibition is permanently housed. We conducted primary-source research in digital archives to select exhibit items and the AAS located the items in their stacks, supplying images of the items and metadata. The goal of our research was to understand the conditions and challenges that Mill Girls faced by curating the writings they produced and examining how they were viewed by society. We organized our exhibit into three sections based on prevalent themes: Culture, Working Conditions, and Activism and Reform. By presenting our findings as an online exhibition, visitors to the site can navigate through a range of texts, such as engravings, song lyrics, and newspaper columns. This research provides access to archival texts from a critical era in labor history and challenges us to consider how, two centuries after the fact, women in the workforce still face inequities today.


Simon Lee

Sponge
Mentor: Ms. Corrie Parks
UC 204 | 02:30 p.m.

Simon Lee

What if people could SEE what is going into their heads; what they are learning and experiencing? When do these mental tasks grow to be too much? Sponge is a live-action, stop-motion animation showing how stressful these experiences and bits of knowledge become as they are forced into our brains. The scene consists of a figure, represented only by hands, conducting surgery and continually forcing different objects (meant to represent knowledge and experiences) into a head, eventually causing the head to overload. To express this process, a model of a head was created using clay, model foam, and paper, allowing the head to hold unique facial expressions and emotions. The small surgical setting utilized claustrophobia and stress, similar to what one feels when life’s experiences seem to be too much to handle. I also used Foley sound effects and sound effect clips, giving each action another layer of realism. The animation itself was captured using a mounted camera set up and a wireless remote, which took pictures of every movement. These shots were played back in rapid succession, and then compiled in Adobe Premier. The finished product is an animation that depicts the struggles of mental overload.


Tomas Loayza

The Cliff
Mentor: Corrie Parks
UC 204 | 10:40 a.m.

Tomas Loayza

The Cliff is a self-portrait piece depicting a creature made of rock who tries to follow his father up a cliff, but struggles to figure out how his father made the climb. This is a short film, 1:26 minutes in length, made using cutout paper animation. I found this kind of animation was much faster to do than hand-drawn animation, and consequently chose to do more than a minute of it. All the animation was captured in DragonFrame and edited together Adobe Premiere. The sound effects were original and were edited and synced in Adobe Audition. The music, “Bumbly March” by Kevin Macleod, was picked for the combination of its tuba and drums creating an impression of a slow march, contemplation, and a sense of achievement at the end. The music was chosen after the story was animated since it connected to the story so well. In my original storyboard, the main character was to run into several obstacles to prove that he is a slow learner, but to my peers, it only proved that he was an excellent problem solver. Therefore, it was decided to give a rock creature one formidable obstacle, getting up a cliff.


Justine Lottermoser

“The First Electrochemical, Aptamer-based Sensor on a Carbon Surface”
Mentor: Dr. Ryan White
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon

lottermoserJustineSP

Astrocyte cells use adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to transfer signals. This process is suggested as a novel therapeutic target in Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), one of autism’s few known genetic causes. Our aim is to develop a carbon fiber electrode aptamer-based sensor capable of single cell and in vivo measurements of ATP to determine the release mechanism and spatial location of ATP. Aptamers are short nucleotide sequences that select for target analytes and translate binding into an electrochemical signal. Carbon fiber is very robust, enabling sensitive measurements while eliminating background processes like oxygen reduction that plague existing measurements. We are developing the linkage chemistry to covalently attach the aptamer to the carbon surface. Specifically, we have electrochemically grafted several compounds (4-aminobenzoic acid and ethylenediamine) to the surface of glassy carbon electrodes and have found 4-nitrobenzene diazonium is best suited for further development. To test for successful grafting, we have employed the positively charged hexaammineruthenium (III) chloride (RuHex) as a redox reporter. Using cyclic voltammetry, changes in observed peak current caused by electrostatic repulsion of RuHex with the grafted electrode surface report on the grafting’s success. With the attached diazonium, we are now poised to fabricate our aptamer sensors on carbon surfaces.


Corrin Markey

The Influence of Accelerated Photoperiod on Molt, Fat, and Body Weight in Grasshopper Sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum)
Mentor: Bernard Lohr
UC Ballroom | 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Corrin Markey

Migration and molting in many birds are key stages of their lives that are essential for their survival. Birds that migrate typically rely on their physiological clocks to keep their bodies synchronized with environment changes and to provide them with necessary cues about when to begin the processes of migrating and molting. Physiological clocks, for example circadian rhythmicity, are often dependent on the photoperiod that a bird experiences. Here we investigated the effects of an accelerated photoperiod on physical changes in a captive flock of Grasshopper Sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum). We manipulated the birds’ photoperiods in the laboratory by speeding up the rate of change of day length of “spring” and “fall,” and adjusting the luminance of the flock room accordingly. Over the course of three years we measured the birds’ weight weekly, which is indicative of overall condition and migratory stage. In the last year we also scored detailed fat and molt data on a weekly basis. Based on these data, we found correlations between photoperiod alterations and physical changes in the birds in molt rate, fat deposition, and weight gain/loss that paralleled those normally occurring at more gradual photoperiod transitions typical of seasonal changes in the wild.


Caitlyn McCaulley

Torn: An Animation
Mentor: Corrie Parks
UC 204 | 11:20 a.m.

Caitlyn McCaulley

Torn is an abstract animated short film, 1:09 minutes in length, that combines hand-drawn and paper-cutout styles of animation. The purpose of the project is to explore my interests in both art and science. The film starts with the notion that one must choose between the two fields. However, the character finds herself happy only she accepts both. This film adds to the body of animated work utilizing abstraction and stream-of-conscious approaches to express conflict and resolution. For this project, I used an overall story arch with checkpoint goals for the hand-drawn animation. I carefully followed the plan and met the checkpoint goals. I created the cutout animation using Dragonframe. It took many hours to hand drawn each frame. The frames were then each transcribed into Photoshop. In order to convey my internal struggle of art vs. science through the body language of my animated character, I acted out each specific motion. My abstract visuals were made by individually crafting each frame with several cutouts and watercolor paintings. In the end, the animation shows that I am only whole when I engage both parts of my mind.


Maureen McGowan, Priya Surapaneni and Danielle O’Neill

Addressing Location, Literacy, and Cultural Barriers for a Prenatal Health Intervention in Haiti
Mentor: Jasmine Abrams
UC Ballroom | Noon – 2:00 p.m.

Maureen McGowan

Maternal and infant mortality rates in Haiti are the highest in the Western hemisphere. However, group prenatal care can be utilized to reduce mortality and improve birth outcomes. The goal of group prenatal care is to improve health outcomes via pregnancy education, appropriate prenatal care, and community building. This approach results in prenatal care attentiveness, pregnancy healthcare knowledge, and decreased frequencies of premature births. There are many challenges associated with foreigners implementing such interventions in Haiti, including access to the intervention, cultural differences, and high rates of illiteracy. This review has identified several strategies for overcoming implementation barriers by synthesizing related literature and data on the topic. To address the barrier of access, we researched geographical data (i.e., location, terrain, available community centers) to determine the most accessible settings for pregnant women. To address culture, we gathered information on Haitian values and customs to adapt the intervention. Finally, we identified intervention materials used with illiterate societies to address the barrier of illiteracy. We present our literature review to provide suggestions for solving the previously mentioned issues. Our research can assist health professionals implementing interventions in Haiti and other developing countries by offering strategies for overcoming location, literacy, and cultural barriers.


Daniela Mujica-Martorell

Between the Lines
Mentor: Preminda Jacob
UC 204 | 10:30 a.m.

Daniela Mujica-Martorell

Between the Lines, a two-minute-long stop-animation short, is a hand-drawn project including hundreds of drawings and photographs. Set to French composer Yann Tiersen’s Toujours La, this project’s main concept arose from my self-image as an artist. The film is about the common thread connecting all my artwork, from a rough sketch to an elaborated final project, despite the unique context and stylistic approach of each creation. The story line revolves around two little characters, who, as children, share a similar kind of gentle and innocent personality. While both are simply drawn, the characters live in different worlds: one has been sketched into a class notebook in a rough, doodle-like format, while the other has been drawn more carefully into a sketchbook, and has been colored in fully. I purposefully chose a seemingly simplified approach to animation style in order to embody the sweetness of the relationship not only between the characters, but between artist and artwork. This project was created with Adobe Premiere Pro.


Paul Oh, Humza Ghani, Vishnu Yogendran, Allie Meadows, Sahrish Rukhsar, Stefan Wroblewski, Dozie Oguike and Saad Javed

Monster
Mentor: Christian Valiente
UC 204 | 2:15 p.m.

Paul Oh

Monster is a short horror film made by UMBC undergraduate students. The film is six minutes long and revolves around a young college student being confronted by her friends about her abusive relationship. Monster’s surreal plot pays homage to the horror films of John Carpenter, known for They Live and The Thing. Taking a post-modern approach of the horror film genre, Monster utilizes the conventional aesthetics commonly found in these films and moves towards an alternate conclusion. These aesthetics include dim lighting, moody sound design, and hand-held filming. The dialogue was all improvisational from non-professional student actors, resulting in a quirky style of interaction among the cast. Filmed over one evening, Monster is the result of team collaboration with each member voicing their opinion into the creative process. With the inevitable arrival of the protagonist’s abusive spouse, the film’s ending contorts the audiences’ expectations into absurdity. Monster is a self-aware narrative that questions the definition of horror in scary movies.


Nneka Opara

Ethnic Differences in Perceived Parental Psychological Control During Emerging Adulthood
Mentor: Charissa Cheah
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon

Nneka Opara

Between 18 and 25 years of age, emerging adults encounter new challenges, including changes in the parenting they receive. Parental psychological control includes practices that induce child compliance through psychological and emotional manipulation, and undermine children’s autonomy development. These practices have been found to be associated with negative psychosocial outcomes among emerging adults. However, differences in psychological control and associated child outcomes across U.S. ethnic groups have not been examined, despite potential cultural variations. This research compared self-reported responses from 98 African American, 155 Asian American and 251 European American emerging adults regarding (1) their perceptions of their parents’ level of engagement in two forms of psychological control (dependency-oriented and achievement-oriented), and (2) the relations between perceived parental psychological control and emerging adults’ depressive symptoms. Significant ethnic group differences were found in the levels of psychological control; Asian Americans perceived their parents as using the most psychological control. Both forms of psychological control predicted depressive symptoms for all ethnic groups. However, achievement-oriented psychological control was more strongly associated with depressive symptoms for Asian Americans. These findings illustrated the significance of culture when attempting to understand both parenting and the effects of parenting on emerging adults’ psychosocial outcomes.


Amanda Perera, Sarah Moshman

Prior Video Game Experience and the Effectiveness of Video Game Distraction
Mentor: Lynnda Dahlquist
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon

Amanda Perera

Research has previously examined the effectiveness of video-game distraction in reducing children’s experience of pain. However, the mechanisms of the relationship are not fully understood. Research and theory suggest that cognitively demanding tasks are more effective at reducing pain than less cognitively demanding tasks. Furthermore, well-practiced tasks demand less cognitive effort than less-practiced tasks. This study examines the relationship between experience with video games and the effectiveness of video games as a distracter from pain during a cold water task. Participants were 96 children ages six to 13 and their parents. Parents reported estimates of the child’s video game playing during the previous week. Experimental tasks included children immersing their non-dominant hand in uncomfortably cold (7 °C) water while playing a video game, and without video game distraction. Children’s pain tolerance was measured as the amount of time that children successfully kept their non-dominant hand immersed in the cold water. Data will be analyzed using Pearson correlations to examine relations between prior experience with video games and pain tolerance. It is hypothesized that video-game distraction will improve pain tolerance for all children, but that children with more video-game experience will benefit less from video-game distraction than children with less experience.


Rebekah Rashford

Ribosomal Protein Binding During Ribosomal RNA Maturation
Mentor: Lasse Lindahl
UC Ballroom | 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Rebekah Rashford

Genetic and biochemical studies of the ribosome show that ribosome formation is a complex process of synthesis and assembly of individual components, namely ribosomal proteins (rp) and ribosomal RNA (rRNA). However, the exact timing of individual rp addition to ribosome assembly RNA intermediates is not fully understood. This project was designed to develop a method for determining these binding patterns without interrupting ribosome biogenesis. Individual tagged rp’s were expressed and co-immunoprecipitated, along with the specific rRNA segment to which the rp binds. RNA was extracted from the immune precipitate and loaded onto slot blots. The blots were then probed with segment-specific oligo-probes loosely corresponding to rRNA cleavage sites (a process we termed “slot-northern”). When a signal showed the slot-northern indicating a probe had bound to the rp/RNA complex, it was viewed against the known specific probe-segments of the binding probe and used to deduce the location of binding for that individual rp onto the maturing rRNA. By gaining this information about ribosomal proteins, we may better understand the ribosome in its entirety and add to the foundational understanding of the important process of translation.


Carly Sciandra

“Probing the Dimerization of the HIV-1 5’-Leader”
Mentor: Dr. Michael F. Summers, Dr. Sarah Keane
UC Ballroom | Noon – 2:00 p.m.

sciandraCarlySP

Human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) infects roughly 35 million people worldwide. HIV-1 selectively packages the dimeric, unspliced RNA genome. It is important to characterize the dimerization mechanism of the HIV-1 5’-leader (5’-L) because it is the most conserved region of the genome and contains the major dimerization signal. Previous NMR studies from our lab have identified an extensive intermolecular dimer interface of the 5’-L after long periods of incubation in physiological conditions. Gel based studies of the 5’-L established the dimerization equilibrium to be approximately 30 minutes. However, the nature of the dimer is unknown. We used an NMR spectroscopy strategy known as long-range probing by Adenosine Interaction Detection (lr-AID) to probe the nature of the dimer interface at short time intervals. The two lr-AID mutations, UUA v. UUG, when introduced into the context of the full 5’-L, have distinct chemical shifts at 6.4 ppm and 6.7 ppm, respectively. By mixing Ad UUA 5’-L and AH UUG 5’-L we were able to show that the 5’-L forms an extended dimer within 30 minutes, consistent with the gel-based studies. Therefore, extended dimer formation occurs on the same time scale as overall dimerization.


Andreas Seas

Effects of Demographics and Risk Factors on the Elastic Strain Energy of Human Superficial Femoral Arteries
Mentors: Alexey Kamenskiy, Jason MacTaggart
UC 310 | 1:15 p.m.

Andreas SeasOcclusive disease of the superficial femoral artery (SFA) is associated with significant morbidity and quality of life impairment. Understanding SFA remodelling as it relates to patient characteristics could improve diagnostic and treatment modalities for peripheral artery disease. Fresh SFAs were obtained from n=27 human subjects, age 33-80 years old. Arterial morphology measurements were obtained, followed by mechanical property characterization using planar biaxial extension with multi-ratio protocols. Raw data were used to determine parameters of an invariant-based, structurally motivated model accounting for passive contributions of collagen, elastin and smooth muscle. Nonparametric bootstrapping was performed on each parameter to establish uniqueness. Elastic strain energy (ESE) was calculated at physiologic stretch conditions corresponding to 120 mmHg internal pressure and in situ longitudinal pre-stretch. Data analysis with respect to demographics and risk factors demonstrated a decrease in ESE with age and Body Mass Index (BMI). Age had a stronger effect (r=-0.704, p<0.001) than BMI (r=-0.348, p<0.1), and strongly correlated with constitutive parameters representing loss of elastin, accumulation of collagen and stiffening of smooth muscle. ESE reduction with age and BMI suggests degenerative changes in the elastic properties of the SFA likely due to degradation and fragmentation of intramural elastin and accumulation of tissue damage.


Archie Slade

Archie Slade

Negative Modernism: Djuna Barnes, Theodor Adorno, and the Problem of Nightwood
Mentor: Jessica Berman
UC 312 | 2:00 p.m.

The purpose of my research is to investigate how Djuna Barnes, a groundbreaking woman modernist, used – and subverted – modernist conventions of literature to portray love between women early in the 20th century. Her 1937 novel Nightwood is a mostly forgotten and often misunderstood work of fiction that has evoked wildly divergent responses from critics. The language of the book is at turns thorny and poetic, and its social message seems self-contradictory and indeterminate. How can we, in the 21st century, look back on Nightwood and understand it as a barometer, a diagnostic of the modern age? To that end, I use the philosophy of Theodor R. Adorno to investigate negation and negativity, the gears on which the novel turns. Queer theory, deconstruction, postmodernism, animal studies: all these theoretical approaches try to encompass the peculiarities of Nightwood but in my opinion fall short. This talk will try to find ways to think through Nightwood without letting its purpose fall to the wayside.


Amelia Smith

Investigating the Function of the shep Gene in Cell Migration
Mentor: Michelle Starz-Gaiano
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon
Amelia Smith

Cell migration is an important process as it is necessary for proper immune function, embryonic development, and injury repair. Border cell migration in Drosophila melanogaster is used as a model to study cell migration due to similarities between fly genes and human genes, the ease of manipulating gene function in flies, and the fact that migrating cells can be observed in their native tissue. During border cell migration, a group of cells travels from one side of a developing egg chamber to the other. Previous investigations into a D. melanogaster gene called shep have indicated it may have a role in this important developmental process. We tested this hypothesis using immunohistochemistry, RNA interference, and a transposase experiment. A GFP reporter insertion in the shep locus showed specific expression of Shep protein in the border cells. Knockdown of shep via RNA interference caused delayed migration in developing eggs. The transposase experiment to generate shep alleles is ongoing but has not yet yielded affected offspring. Thus, another method to generate mutant alleles, CRISPR-Cas9, will be used. This work may reveal that Shep regulates cell migration in D. melanogaster and lead researchers to investigate the functions of similar proteins in humans.


Kristina Soetje

An Ideal World
Mentor: Ms. Corrie Parks
UC 204 | 2:40 p.m.

Kristina Soetje

An Ideal World, 1:36 minutes in length, is a two-dimensional cut-out animation telling the story of a little robot who doesn’t enjoy the bleak and geometric world in which he lives. After coloring the world in his coloring book, he discovers that he is able to color in his own world with crayon and sets off to make it ideal: organic, bright, and fun. He even takes the liberty to color himself in to match. The animation was shot over the course of two days in segments using DragonFrame, and put together in Premier Pro CC 2015. I executed a layering process when animating. I drew the background and taped it down, and afterwards layered a sheet of glass over this to prevent smearing. The robot’s individual body parts were animated on top of the glass. I chose to use Jason Shaw’s royalty free song, “Rubix Cube” for the background music because it provided the peaceful feel to the animation I was looking for, and certain points of the song matched the movement of the robot. After editing the animation twice for lighting and frame issues, the animation appears the way I first envisioned it.


Parisa Soleimanifar

“Geographic Variation in Composition and Body Size of Drosophila Species in North America”
Mentor: Dr. Jeff Leips, Ms. Chia-Hua Lue
UC Ballroom | 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

soleimanifarParisaSP

Ecological interactions among species are one of the most important processes driving adaptive evolution and diversification. Geographic variation in biodiversity can generate testable hypotheses about the factors that determine species distributions, a central question of ecology. We are characterizing geographic biodiversity of Drosophila host-parasitoid wasp communities along the eastern coast of North America, focusing on Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila simulans, two closely related host species, and their major parasitoid predator, Leptopilina boulardi. In this component of our study we document patterns of geographic variation in relative abundance and body size in D. melanogaster and D. simulans. Body size is perhaps the most fundamental property of an organism and is related to many biological traits, including abundance. The body size of Drosophila hosts may also affect the body sizes of parasitoids thus influencing the outcome of host-parasitoid interactions. Drosophila and their parasitoids are an ideal group to study as they are commonly used lab species, yet very little is known about their natural environment, processes, and biodiversity. Characterizing the body sizes, abundances, and distributions of these interacting species across different geographic locations allows us to generate testable hypotheses about the factors that determine species distributions and coexistence, central questions of ecology.


Savannah Steinly

Mapping the Specific Molar Extinction Coefficients of Organometallic Compounds
Mentor: Lee Blaney
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon
Savannah Steinly

Organometallic chemicals are used for a variety of applications, including agriculture, medicine, and electronics. This project focused on four organometallic classes (i.e., organo-arsenic, platinum, -selenium, and -tin). These compounds are introduced to the environment through wastewater treatment plants (Pt, Sn), the shipping industry (Se), and agricultural runoff (As). The unique properties of these compounds, and the corresponding inorganic metals, present distinct environmental and human health concerns; however, few studies on the photolytic transformation of these organometallics in the environment have been undertaken. One critical aspect of photolysis is determination of molar extinction coefficients across the solar irradiation spectrum. In this study, we used the Beer-Lambert law to measure the apparent UV-visible absorbance for 190-900 nm along a pH gradient for organometallics. With these data, we mapped molar extinction coefficients and deconvoluted the apparent molar extinction coefficients with respect to pH to determine extinction coefficients for protonated/deprotonated species. The results of this study provide insight into how organometallics absorb solar irradiation. That information will be used in ongoing work to identify the photodegradation kinetics of organometallics in environmental systems.


Caitlin Stone

The Costs of Good Karma: The Effects of Fangsheng on the Chinese Environment and Society
Mentor: Constantine Vaporis
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon

Caitlin Stone

Since the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, a resurgence of religious practices had unintended environmental consequences across China. The Buddhist practice of fangsheng, releasing captive animals to obtain good karma, has been on the rise. Fangsheng has introduced large quantities of non-native species to China’s environment and heavily influenced the likelihood of a non-native species becoming invasive, which has caused numerous problems. An example from 2015 is one Fangsheng association’s singular liberation of thousands of loach into the Shanghai’s Huangpu River. Given that there are 281 different fangsheng organizations in China, with at least one in almost every province, the potential for environmental damage is great. In Hong Kong, too, liberation of non-native bird species has raised environmental and health concerns, including the disappearing of native bird populations and the spread of different avian flu strains. Fangsheng has also impacted the economy, causing an increasing demand among practitioners of Buddhism wishing to liberate animals. This activity is often quite expensive; many young people spend upwards of 5,000 yuan (about 765 dollars) per year on animals to release. Utilizing previous research of other scholars, this paper addresses these and other effects of fangsheng and proposes solutions for them.


Julian Tash

“Burnt Bridges over Troubled Waters: A History of Territorial Disputes in the South China Sea”
Mentor: Dr. Meredith Oyen
ENG 023 | 10:00 a.m.

tashJulianSP

Over half of East Asia’s oil and 5.3 trillion dollars of trade travel annually through the South China Sea, a body of water to which eleven countries lay some claim. Underlying many international anxieties is China’s policy in the area, which includes military maneuvers and the illegal creation of artificial land. This research gathered sources to analyze how patterns in Chinese territorial disputes indicate future action in the South China Sea. One major facet of Chinese policy is historic claims to ownership. An investigation of China’s history, however, reveals that the term “China” did not carry nationalistic undertones (and claims of ownership) until the twentieth century. China’s dubious ownership claims are not the product of lazy Chinese scholarship; questions of Chinese sovereignty are intimately connected to the country’s reduction to a semi-colonial state in the nineteenth century and the need for adventurism to create internal stability during economic uncertainty in the twentieth and twenty-first. The use of such arguments as rhetorical tools reveals how the Chinese construct their past. With a rising China soon to displace US hegemony in the area, it is crucial to understand how history shapes China’s current policies.


Shelbi Tippett

Remote Sensing Monitoring of Canadian Wildfire Smoke and its Impact on Baltimore Air Quality
Mentor: Ruben Delgado
UC 310 | 2:00 p.m.

Shelbi Tippett

High spatial and temporal resolution elastic light detection and ranging (lidar) measurements allow monitoring of long-range transport of particulates, such as dust and smoke, that impact local and regional air quality. These lidar measurements enhance current knowledge and understanding of how vertical layering and long-range transport of natural and anthropogenic particle pollution may alter the relationship between column aerosol optical depth and surface particle pollution concentrations. We examined the impact of a strong haze event in June 9-11, 2015. Particle pollution associated with this event yielded a 245% increase in aerosol optical depth values compared to the average mean June values for the last decade. We present how air mass back trajectory analysis, aerosol intensive and extensive parameters from lidar, sun-photometer and satellite observations revealed the presence of Canadian wildfire smoke impacting the Baltimore air quality during those days.


Rashi Turniansky

“Proteomic Analysis of Chromatin-Modifying Enzyme Set5”
Mentor: Dr. Erin Green
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon

turnianskyRashiSP

The goal of this ongoing project is to investigate the biological activity of the methyltransferase Set5, an enzyme responsible for the methylation of histone H4 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. DNA normally associates with histones, forming a structure called chromatin, and the modification of chromatin through histone methylation is one of many tools that cells use to regulate gene expression. Other methyltransferases have been shown to work in large complexes with proteins that guide their activity, making it likely that Set5 is similarly aided and regulated. Using immunoprecipitation to isolate Set5 from cells, followed by proteomic analysis by mass spectrometry, we have been able to identify several proteins with which it is physically associated. Among these potential partners are proteins involved in the assembly of chromatin, which is important for regulation of gene expression. These interactions are currently being tested with a variety of biochemical and genetic assays. Because regulation of gene expression is vital to the well-being of cells, it is important to understand the activity of Set5 and other methyltransferases. This understanding could lead to greater insight into diseases such as cancer, which can be caused by deficiency in similar enzymes in humans.


Nerissa Vasconcells

Limitless
Mentor: Doug Hamby
PAHB 337 | 11:15 a.m.

Nerissa Vasconcells

My creative project merges elements of both modern dance and classical ballet through a dance performance piece titled Limitless. In the summer of 2015, my studies at Maryland Youth Ballet gave me the opportunity to take professional dance classes in ballet and pointe. Alternatively, while at UMBC, my primary focus has been to learn modern dance methods, e.g., Graham, Horton, and Limon. Classical ballet has its origins in the 18th and 19th centuries, emphasizing elegance, beauty, and regimentation, and has a choreographic process directly related to a musical score. Modern dance, a product of the 20th century, is often abstract and uses a wide variety of choreographic processes not linked to the musical score. Combining these varied techniques has been a personal challenge and a pursuit of self-exploration. In creating this piece, I emphasized beauty as a classical ballet choreographer, while using choreographic methods commonly found in modern dance. My work in progress piece, Limitless, is the culmination of this creative process combining modern dance with classical ballet. The intention of this fusion of styles into one piece is to motivate others to embark on their own exploration of movement modalities to create one that is uniquely their own.


Rachel Wolven

Light Inhibits Light
Mentor: Steven Silberg
UC 204 | 2:00 p.m.

Rachel Wolven

With light pollution an ever-increasing problem, fewer people are aware of the night sky and the wonders it holds. Through a comparative study of the visibility of deep space objects and the Milky way as affected by light pollution within the Northeastern United States and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada, Light Inhibits Light aims to bring attention to the sky in order to show what is missing from the skies above our cities. To protect this natural resource, awareness must first be raised in order for people to want to make changes and work to fight the over abundance of light pollution. Presented as a time-lapse photography film, light pollution measurements and GPS coordinates are displayed with each night-scene, to contrast the light polluted skies with the non-light polluted skies. The materials show how far removed these dark sky sites are from us, as well as how bad the light pollution is. Attention of the general public must be brought to the issue of light pollution before this ever-fading resource is too far gone from our lives.

Watch her video here.


Benjamin Zimmer

Rationality and the North Korean Nuclear Program: How the International Status-Quo Affects Pyongyang’s Nuclear Pursuit
Mentor: Constatine Vaporis
ENG 023 | 11:45 a.m.

Benjamin Zimmer

North Korea has pursued nuclear weapons for the majority of its short history. Four times – 2006, 2009, 2013, 2016 – it has conducted nuclear tests, which have brought international condemnation and sanctions. A study of the western perceptions of North Korea, based on news footage and reporting, shows the nuclear program to be an irrational pursuit; these accounts also assert that North Korea grossly misinterprets the status-quo. A more thorough study of the program, however, using sources from North Korean official media, such as Rodung Shinmun, Korean Central News Agency and Korea Today magazine, reveals that for North Korea the program is seen as the only way it can gain political attention, as well as deter a possible military attack. In order to denuclearize North Korea, the international community must acknowledge the political and security concerns of North Korea. Through this presentation, I will argue that North Korea has developed its nuclear weapons program as a rational response to the current state of international affairs on and surrounding the peninsula, and it is unlikely to abandon its nuclear weapons unless its political and security concerns are addressed.