Differential Gene Expression of Piccolo (PCLO) in Mouse and Zebrafish Brain Development
Lindsey Knapp
Student’s Major: Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Steven Fenster, Biology/Toxicology

Piccolo is a multidomain protein localized to synapses, cellular structures that allow for efficient communication between neurons.  Formation of synapses is critical during neuronal development.  Alterations in synaptic signaling can lead to neurological disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, and major depressive disorder (MDD).  Using a genome-wide analysis of genes differentially expressed in the brains of MDD patients, recent studies have identified a number of genetic variations called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the human gene PCLO that are strongly correlated with increased risk for MDD.  A specific SNP maps to the C2A domain of piccolo, a region associated with calcium binding domain that regulates the frequency of synaptic signaling.  In mammals, there are two major splice variants of the PCLO gene: a shorter transcript (variant2) that contains only the C2A domain and a longer one (variant1) that contains an additional C2B domain.  Previously, we demonstrated that variant1 is expressed at higher levels than variant2 in mice throughout brain development.  To gain a better understanding of the conserved expression and splicing patterns of the PCLO in vertebrates, we examined difference in expression patterns of variant1 versus variant2 in zebrafish.  Our data demonstrate that an ortholog for PCLO is present in zebrafish.  Further examination of the coding sequence for zebrafish piccolo showed high degree of similarity with mammalian piccolo especially in the 3’ end that encodes the C2A and C2B domains.  Further studies will focus on determining the level of expression of variant1 and variant2 during zebrafish brain development.

Mozart’s Methods of Characterization in Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni
Bret Cowden
Student’s Major: Applied Music
Faculty Sponsor: Christina Fuhrmann, Music

Almost everyone is familiar with the four main voice parts, soprano, alto, tenor and bass, and many know additional divisions such as mezzo-soprano and baritone. Few, however, are familiar with the myriad of fachs, or specific categories into which voices can be further divided. These include the buffo bass and lyric baritone, the two fachs my research has covered more particularly. Composers use the difference between fachs to emphasize individual character traits, but few composers write such dissimilar characters in adjacent fachs as Mozart. My research is a study of the similarities between Mozart’s character types and specific fachs; often, this was because of the particular singers cast for the roles. I will be comparing two lyric baritones, Count Almaviva from Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni from Don Giovanni as well as two buffo basses, the role of Figaro from Le Nozze di Figaro and Leporello from Don Giovanni. Although these four characters are all considered bass-baritones, they can more accurately be categorized into their own fachs. I will discuss not only the original singers but also how modern singers interpret these roles and the possibility of a singer performing all four roles over the course of his career. After the lecture, I will demonstrate this by performing contrasting arias from both operas.

The Effects of Ostracism on Intrinsic Motivation: A Manipulation of Social Context
Sarah Guarino
Student’s Major: Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Brent Mattingly, Psychology

Intrinsically motivated behaviors fulfill innate psychological needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Although experiments exist that explore different areas of intrinsic motivation, few investigations of how direct ostracism and neglect influence intrinsic motivation have been done. This research is a combination of three separate experiments: the first two examining neglect through the absence of the researcher in the study room, and a third that explores ostracism through giving participants “the cold shoulder.” In all three experiments, participants completed an initial measure of affect, a puzzle task, a measure of intrinsic motivation, and a short questionnaire. As the manipulation of neglect in Experiments 1 and 2, participants in the neglect condition were left alone in the study room during the puzzle task. A total of 116 undergraduate students participated in the first two experiments. I hypothesized that participants who were neglected/ostracized in each experiment would report lower intrinsic motivation than those in the control groups. T-tests in Experiments 1 and 2 revealed that participants did not report lower intrinsic motivation when neglected, t(51)=.862, p=.393 (Experiment 1) and t(61) =1.245, p=.218 (Experiment 2). Thus far, results from the first two experiments were non-significant (all ps > .05), indicating that intrinsic motivation did not differ greatly between the neglect and control groups. In Experiment 3, I predict that participants will feel a stronger sense of ostracism, which will thwart relatedness and reduce intrinsic motivation.

The Theory of Evolution in American Society and Politics after the Civil War
Erin Sutter
Student’s Major: History and Political Science
Faculty Sponsor: Michael Schwarz, History/Political Science

In November 1859, less than two years before the start of the Civil War, Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species. The theories and ideas articulated in this work would transcend natural science and exert a powerful influence on American social and political thought in the years following the war. Having learned of Isaac Newton’s impact on social and political thought in the Enlightenment era of the eighteenth century, and having read about the Social Darwinism of the nineteenth, I grew curious about why people come to accept certain scientific theories for their explanatory value beyond science. In my senior thesis, therefore, I set out to discover why, after the Civil War, so many Americans embraced evolution not only as a scientific theory but as something broadly applicable to society and politics. I have used a number of primary sources, including the writings of men such as William Graham Sumner, Theodore Roosevelt, Edward Bellamy, and Herbert Croly. I also have drawn on secondary sources for context. My talk will consist of a summary of my findings. I will argue that the Civil War played an important role in preparing the way for the acceptance of evolution as a theory broad enough to explain not only natural phenomena but how human beings relate to one another, how they should govern and be governed, etc. I will also argue that the both the Progressive movement and Social Darwinism found their roots in the theory of evolution.

Implicit Racial Associations and Their Limited Malleability
Jessica Istanich & Bethanee Burden
Students’ Majors: Psychology (Istanich); Psychology and Social Work (Burden)
Faculty Sponsor: Brent Mattingly, Psychology

Implicit associations operate outside of conscious awareness, even when individuals explicitly endorse oppositional attitudes (Stanley, Sokol-Hessner, Banaji, & Phelps, 2011).  Racial implicit attitudes begin as early as age 3 and tend to be stable throughout the lifetime (Baron & Banaji, 2006).  The purpose of this study was to determine the malleability of implicit racial attitudes using priming.  Participants were primed with either smiling African American faces and neutral Caucasian faces (experimental condition) or neutral images (control condition).  The intent of the prime was for participants to subconsciously absorb positive reactions toward African Americans thus swaying their implicit cognitions toward that minority population in hopes that their Implicit Association Test would show little to no biases toward Caucasians, which is generally the case; explicitly endorsed attitudes have decreased dramatically from the 1970s to today yet implicit racial attitudes still persist (Schmidt & Nosek, 2009).  Following the manipulation, participants completed the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which assesses implicit racial attitudes.   Participants primed with African American and Caucasian faces showed no difference in their implicit preference for Caucasians than did the control group.  An independent samples t-test revealed no significant difference from neutral images group (M = 2.93, SD = 1.32) and the ‘smiling/Black’ faces and ‘neutral/White’ faces matching group (M = 2.59, SD = 1.34) t(94) = -1.25, p = .215.  In the current study, limitations to finding malleability may be due to lack of enough exposure time to prime.

Minimizing the Number of Two-step Paths in a Graph
Anna Payne
Student’s Major: Mathematics
Faculty Sponsor: Christopher Swanson, Mathematics/Computer Science

In the mathematical field of Graph Theory, a graph is thought of as a set of vertices that are connected by edges. For this research project, we worked with tournaments, or graphs in which every pair of vertices is connected by a single directed edge. We took these tournaments and compared them to undirected graphs on the same number of vertices. We analyzed a type of tournament called a transitive tournament, where if there is an edge directed from vertex a to vertex b, and one directed from vertex b to vertex c, then there is an edge from a to c. We defined a cost of an edge in the undirected graph as the number of two-step paths between its two endpoints in the tournament. The total cost of a graph is the sum of the cost of its edges. The goal of this research was to prove a conjecture given by mathematicians M.J. Pelsmajer, M. Schaefer, and D. Stefankovic that a transitive tournament gives the minimum cost for any undirected graph on the same number of vertices. Though we could neither disprove the conjecture nor generalize our results to all types of graphs, we were able to prove, through methods of Direct Proof, Mathematical Induction, Optimization, and the Pigeon-hole Principle, that this conjecture is true for complete graphs, nearly complete graphs, paths, cycles, and star graphs.

The Role of the Church in a Segregated Society: A Case Study of Shelby, Ohio
James Robinson
Student’s Majors: Religion and Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Peter Slade, Religion

Shelby, Ohio is a small city of 9,424 residents. According to the 2010 census 98.2% are white and only 0.2% are African American. In my research I sought to understand: 1) the significance of these demographic statistics in the context of central Ohio; 2) the history of race in Shelby; 3) the role that churches played and can play in this story. A disturbing finding is that statistical evidence gathered using the Index of Dissimilarity (Index that compares the evenness of races living within a community), shows that Shelby is not just segregated but “hypersegregated.” In order to understand the history of race in Shelby, I researched the history of employment and churches in the town through documents and photographs in the local library as well as conducting oral history interviews with citizens and pastors within the community. The historical research revealed the ways that the institutions of the town--churches, schools, factories--worked to keep Shelby white. Finally, as a minister serving in Shelby, I researched ways that churches might start addressing some of the issues of segregation and racism so present in the community. After considering the implications of my research, I began working with one other local pastor to establish a prayer breakfast program including members of both the white churches in Shelby, and African American churches from other communities.

Mona Lisa and a Midwest Kid
Jacob Ewing
Student’s Major: English
Faculty Sponsor: Joe Mackall, English          
In the summer of 2011, I traveled to the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Here, in the most famous museum in the world, hangs Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, surrounded by a frantic crowd of gawkers—a crowd of which I was a member during my visit. While attempting to see Da Vinci’s masterpiece was an experience in itself, I discovered something in this museum that far transcended Mona Lisa. On the opposite wall of the same room rests a massive painting entitled The Wedding at Cana, Paolo Veronese’s renaissance-era depiction of Christ’s first miracle. The piece somehow towers over the entire room and goes wholly unnoticed by many of the Mona Lisa’s visitors. In my essay entitled “Mona Lisa and a Midwest Kid,” I discuss how these two vastly different paintings affected me—a kid raised in a small Midwestern town, far from the sophistication of high society that the Louvre so fully represents. I explore the sensation of being thousands of miles away from the small town I grew up in, the pull toward a rural home coupled with the deep, existential need to see just what else lies beyond the familiarity of the place.

Isolation and Characterization of a Suspected Phytoalexin from Acer rubrum L.
Jared Baisden
Student’s Majors: Biology and Biochemistry
Faculty Sponsor: Jeff Weidenhamer, Chemistry/Geology/Physics

Wilted red maple leaves are toxic to horses, causing death by oxidation of hemoglobin and inducing anemia. Gallic acid derivatives have been identified as the main oxidants present in the leaves. However, our work has found that a previously unknown phytoalexin is produced by wilting red maple leaves. Phytoalexins are defensive compounds produced by plants in response to fungal attack. These compounds often have a range of biological activities. The unidentified compound from red maple, which fluoresces blue in certain TLC systems, is present only after wilting. The objective of this study is to identify and characterize this compound so that its toxicity can be determined. Wilted leaves were collected, dried, and extracted with methanol. Leaf extracts have been purified through repeated thin layer chromatography and column chromatography. After successful purification, the structure of the compound will be confirmed by NMR and mass spectral analysis. This research will provide insight regarding the mechanism of fungal defense in Acer rubrum and may also be relevant to the known toxicity of wilted red maple leaves to horses.

Family Caregivers of Loved Ones with Aphasia:  How They Are Affected and How We Can Help
Lauren Goossens
Student’s Major: Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Alinde Moore, Psychology

In the case of aphasia, which is a speech deficit in production and/or comprehension often caused by brain trauma, the lives of the family caregivers of the person with aphasia are drastically changed.  An exploratory qualitative study was conducted by interviewing six family members who are the caregivers of people with aphasia to see how they are affected by having a loved one with aphasia and how they can be helped.  The findings indicate that many family caregivers had to deal with much more than just aphasia, as most of their loved ones suffered from multiple health problems.  Participants had a lack of knowledge about aphasia and their loved one’s condition, and many would have liked to have been given more opportunities to attend support groups and educational groups.  Having a loved one with aphasia also had an effect on the stress levels of the family members who are the caregiver.  With this study, it is hoped that the effects on family caregivers will be more apparent, and that suggestions of how to best help family members will be discovered. 

Conscious Surrealism
Pablo Mauricio Uranga
Student’s Major: Fine Arts and Commercial Arts
Faculty Sponsor: Charles Caldemeyer, Art

My paintings are creations of my conscious mind inspired by subconscious ideas. Each painting is a scene from the movie of my life. I select ideas that form part of who I am; for example, where I have lived and traveled to, how my swimming career started, the process of how I solve problems, how I learn and pass new skills, etc. After I decide the idea I want to illustrate through painting, the process becomes that of a lucid dream, which is subconscious creation controlled by a conscious mind. After putting the basic ideas into the equation, the result is a self-evolving process. The background and the surrounding elements generate themselves inside my mind faster than I can paint. The ideas quickly become symbols as I place them in these windows of an impossible world. Water, geometric shapes, precious stones, the moon and other symbols are all important and gain more significance as they reappear in my other paintings, whether I consciously place them there or not. The result is a combination of intentional and unintentional elements that I call "conscious surrealism.” Because viewers have memories from their own experiences, they will all have different interpretations of the reasoning behind the symbols. They can create their own narrative using the paintings as starting thoughts. My talk will focus on how I manipulate symbols, light, colors and the compositions of the paintings to create a story in a viewer’s mind.

The Protestant Church Under a Socialist Regime
Mackenzie Lake
Student’s Majors: Political Science and Religion
Faculty Sponsor: Rene Paddags, History/Political Science

In this paper, I argue that the protestant church in the German Democratic Republic was an essential institution for the peaceful revolution from Communism. This view was undisputed in 1990 immediately following the collapse of the regime, but only a couple years later, especially after the files of the State Security Ministry (Stasi) became available to the public, this view became controversial. Claims such as that of Richard John argue that the church was merely the puppet of the state. In order to refute this argument I looked at the debates between the Lutheran Church and the Communist state, as well as the debates within the Lutheran church. These debates demonstrate how the church used Luther’s original argument for the division of church and state, refusing to side entirely with the regime or to openly condemn it. This allowed the Lutheran Church, despite fundamental differences with the ideologies of the communist state to retain some independence. The state saw the church as a means of obtaining international recognition and the church-based social welfare institutions were essential to the large-scale welfare programs of the state. The state also believed that this would be only temporary because the achievement of true Communism would result in the death of religion. Because of this stance, the church could become a refuge for opposition groups pushing for a reformed socialism. When the state refused to make the desired reforms, the opposition groups under the leadership of the church made the peaceful revolution against Communism.

The Influence of the Color Red on Aggression Levels
Samantha Diemer & Jessica Gross
Students’ Majors: Psychology and Criminal Justice (Diemer); Psychology and Criminal Justice (Gross)
Faculty Sponsor: Brent Mattingly, Psychology

Many psychological experiments have examined the effects of color on certain cognitive processes. Aggression and color, however, have not been studied thoroughly in the science of psychology. This study examined the effects of the color red on the perception of aggression in others. We hypothesized people would judge a target as more aggressive if he was wearing a red shirt in a mug shot than if he was wearing a white shirt. Participants were asked to read a story about a man, the target, and were shown a picture of him wearing either a white shirt or a red shirt. Participants were asked questions about the target’s aggressiveness and the possibility of conviction of the target. Although the results were not statistically significant, the findings were trending toward supporting our hypothesis. The independent samples t-test revealed that participants viewing the red shirt (M = 4.54, SD =. 970) were not viewing the target as more aggressive than those participants viewing the white shirt (M = 4.27, SD = .794), t(75) = -1.309, p = .194.

Embodied Cognition: Gum Chewing as a Temperature Manipulation and Attraction to Opposite Sex Others
Amanda Mosley & Ben Bukovec
Students’ Majors: Psychology (Mosley); Psychology and Business Administration (Bukovec)
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Brent Mattingly, Psychology

Embodied cognition is the theory that there is a strong connection between physical and psychological states, and experiencing physical states can activate the associated mental constructs. For instance, holding a warm cup of coffee influences individuals to interpret others as having “warm” personalities (Williams & Bargh, 2008). However, no research has yet examined this phenomenon in a relationship context. We hypothesized that individuals who chewed cinnamon gum (creating a sense of “hot”) would be more likely to rate others as more physically attractive. Participants were randomly assigned to chew cinnamon gum (experimental condition), mint gum (experimental condition), or no gum (control condition). Individuals then rated a male and female photo on the following items: attractiveness, warmth, kindness, intelligence, fun, seriousness, and trustworthiness. When assessing ratings of the female photo using planned contrasts via one-way ANOVA, cinnamon gum participants rated the photos as more attractive (M =4.42, SD =0.83) than mint gum participants (M =3.15, SD =1.95) and no gum participants (M =3.85, SD =1.59), t(73) =2.40, p =.019. When examining the effects of gum on warmth, those in the cinnamon condition rated the female in the photo as warmer (M =5.63, SD =0.65) than the no gum (M =4.92, SD =0.80) and mint gum conditions (M =5.08, SD =1.20), t(73) =2.76, p =.007. All other tests on characteristics for females and males were insignificant (p>0.05). These results suggest that experiencing physical warmth affects individuals’ ratings of physical attractiveness of others.

Al-Ghazali and the Refutation of Philosophy
Lindsey Richey
Student’s Majors: Political Science and History
Faculty Sponsor: Rene Paddags, History/Political Science

The understanding of Islam in today’s world can be incomplete and baffling at times. Much of this confusion can be traced back to the 11th Century with the Islamic thinker, Al-Ghazali, who wrote a rejection of philosophy and reason. While the idea of a refutation of reason and philosophy is foreign concept in the Western world, the ideals and publications of Al-Ghazali spread throughout the Muslim world to the extent that Hellenistic philosophy never recovered. Some scholars in recent years have begun to champion a new understanding of Al-Ghazali, claiming he did not write or believe in the incompatibility of Islam and falsafa meaning philosophy but including logic, mathematics and physics. Rather, scholars argue, Al-Ghazali attempted to allow the inquiry of philosophy and logic to be separate from the inquiry of mathematics and physics, essentially proving the incoherence of combining such different sciences into one subject. A first reading of Al-Ghazali’s best known work, the Deliverance from Error and the Mystical Union with the Almighty, seems to show his refutation of philosophy, and thereby reason, as well as the Shi’a Islam. Al-Ghazali attempts to restore the faith of Muslims, meaning adherence to Sharia Law, and to bring about the acceptance of Mysticism into mainstream Islam. However, through a proper examination of Al-Ghazali’s work, I reached the conclusion that Al-Ghazali does not refute philosophy and Shi’a Islam. Therefore, the pursuit of truth either though Shi’a Islam or through philosophy remains open, contrary to popular arguments about the hermeneutical closing of Islam.

The Art of Selling Yourself
Johanna Regan
Student’s Major: Theatre
Faculty Sponsor: Fabio Polanco, Theatre

In the world of musical theatre actors are categorized by a specific “type.”  An actor’s type is determined through a combination of their personality, appearance, style, behavior, and humor.  Through these factors an actor is placed into a certain character category.  Some people are better suited to play ingénues, while others are better suited to play comedic character roles.  Through classes and self-examination I have been typed as a mature, fun, upper class, character actor.  But what happens when an actor wants to break the norm?  What if I wanted to be considered for a completely different type of role?  At the end of November, I performed a musical revue where I sang musical theatre songs originally written for male characters and/or African-American characters.  I wove the songs together into a narrative, which took a look at the theatre world from the view of a struggling actor trying to show the world that she can play any role regardless of gender or skin color.  I implemented tools I have learned through acting classes, private voice lessons, and individual research to create a character, write a story, and to sing using a variety of healthy techniques.  I began developing the revue hoping to stretch myself and discovered unexpected challenges and abilities.  During my session I will perform a scene and discuss my goals, process, and outcomes.

A Sacred Love of Freedom: The Legacy of Tadeusz Kosciuszko
Lindsey Grudnicki
Student’s Majors: History and English
Faculty Sponsor: Michael Schwarz, History/Political Science

My presentation will focus on Tadeusz Kosciuszko and his legacy as the purest “son of liberty.” A sadly forgotten member of the revolutionary generation of the late eighteenth century, Kosciuszko has been recognized as one of the great liberators of mankind, a Cincinnatus-like figure, and one of the most vocal critics of European serfdom and American slavery. I plan to explore Kosciuszko’s life and character by looking at four different periods of the general’s life: his participation in the American Revolution, the Kosciuszko Uprising in Poland, his portrayal in British Romantic poetry, and his correspondence with Thomas Jefferson at the end of his life. The writings of those who served with the Pole in America, Kosciuszko’s own proclamations and actions as commander-in-chief of Poland, the symbol his name became in British verse, and the intimate letters he wrote to the Virginian reveal a rare degree of republican virtue and human kindness. I hope to show how even though Kosciuszko’s noblest endeavors – Polish independence, the spread of republicanism, the abolition of serfdom, and the freeing of Jefferson’s slaves – met with failure, his example is worthy of imitation.

Detecting Deceptive Communication through Computer Mediated Technology: Applying Interpersonal Deception Theory to Texting Behavior
Megan Wise
Student’s Majors: Speech Communication and Broadcast Communication
Faculty Sponsor: Theodore Avtgis, Communication Studies

Interpersonal Deception Theory (I.D.T) argues that deception is an interpersonal action, where people employ communication tactics to achieve various goals. Deception is a global concept, thus much investigation has been conducted to determine its roots. Since computer mediated communication technology has proliferated, scholars are now investigating traditional face to face interpersonal constructs and applying them to the mediated environment. Deception that occurs in computer mediated communication is referred to digital deception. The deception takes place in a technologically mediated environment, thus messages must be sent in a medium other than face to face. The present study was conducted to determine the degree to which undergraduate students engage in deceptive behavior via computer mediated communication technology. One-hundred and sixty undergraduate students completed a survey about their deceptive texting behaviors and level of detection in text messaging (e.g., Have you ever lied via text message when conducting business or other professionally-related work?). Results indicate that deceptive text messaging is an interpersonal form of communication which is primarily restricted to family and friends and much less prevalent in the workplace. Furthermore, respondents reported being successful at deceiving others yet rated themselves high on detecting when others are trying to deceive them. Theoretical implications for I.D.T. in the computer mediated environment are discussed.

The Early Bird: How Twitter Has Created the Perpetual Media Race
Tyler Remmel
Student’s Majors: Journalism and Sport Communication
Faculty Sponsor: Matt Tullis, Journalism & Digital Media

This capstone thesis for the Ashland University Honors Program examines the use of Twitter by media outlets as a means to quickly disseminate information to a wide audience of varying demographics. In particular, it strives to satisfy the over-arching research question: are media entities today more concerned with the speed at which they disseminate or the accuracy of the information that is disseminated? I will answer this question by sharing the three types of research conducted. First, I will offer a summary of literature that looks at ways in which the media use Twitter. Second, I will share the results of a case study focusing on the CNN and FOX News coverage of the June 2012 Supreme Court health care mandate ruling. Thirdly, I will discuss a study that I did looking at media tweets. To conduct this study, a Twitter list was created to follow the tweets of 14 media accounts that satisfied specified criteria for the number of account followers, type of media (TV, network, internet-based, etc.) and the primary publics served. Tweets were analyzed from a one-day period and logged, noting information like speed (news mention compared to similar mentions from other accounts being studied), number of retweets and number of favorites. The results of the study were inconclusive, likely due to its broad nature and the inclusion of such a large number of accounts. Recommendations for further research and deeper conversation about why the study had no significant findings will be discussed during the presentation. 

The Romans Deify Augustus: A Mutual Understanding between the Emperor and His People
Danielle Sunnucks
Student’s Major: History and Political Science
Faculty Sponsor: Edith Foster, History/Political Science

I have been researching how Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, came to be worshipped as a god. In particular, I am interested in why the Romans, who had not worshipped human beings before, would now do this. The purpose of this talk will be to show how Augustus’ public image reflected both what the Roman people wanted to see, and also what Augustus wanted them to see. In order to find out about both sides, I have been reading Cicero, Vergil, Augustus’ own synopsis of his achievements, called the res gestae, and a large variety of secondary works. These sources show that after the destructive civil wars and the breakdown of political and religious order at Rome in the first century before Christ, the Roman people looked for a stable and powerful leader, who would not only restore the state, but also restore the divine order that upheld Roman society. Augustus’ religious and priestly public image responded to this need. Augustus was not only emperor, but pontifex maximus, and a priest of many different priestly colleges. Moreover, Augustus responded in many other ways; for instance, by restoring and building temples, instituting festivals, and associating himself to particular gods. This activity resulted in his eventual deification, which the Roman people enthusiastically supported, even demanded. My research has identified the motivations of the Roman people for supporting the deification of Augustus, and elucidates how he used the People's desires in order to become more powerful.

The Effect of Scent on Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence
Lacie Bray-Akers & Amanda Rae Martin
Students’ Majors: Psychology (Bray-Akers); Psychology (Martin)
Faculty Sponsor: Brent Mattingly, Psychology

Johnson (2011) has proposed four theories as to why scent may affect psychological processes like self-esteem and self-confidence, one of them being that the components might enter the system and from there it impacts cognition. The present study examines the effect of a scent (Bath and Body Works’ Japanese Cherry Blossom) on five dependent variables: self-esteem, self-confidence, emotional empathy, the likability of the scent, and the self-confidence of the participants when wearing the scent. Forty-six women were recruited and randomly assigned into one of two groups: scent (experimental group) or water (control group). Participants in the scent condition were sprayed with the scent and then given a questionnaire to complete. Participants in the water condition were sprayed with water and then given the same questionnaire. There was a significant difference between the experimental (M = 3.74) and control (M= 2.35) conditions on the likability of the scent, t(44) = 5.10, p < .001. There was also a significant difference between the experimental (M = 3.78) and the control (M = 3.00) conditions concerning the self-confidence of the participants while wearing the scent, t(44)=2.72, p = .009. No significant difference was found between the two conditions for the other three dependent variables: emotional empathy (p = .699), general self-confidence (p = 0.62), and self-esteem (p = 0.48). This means that the scent had no direct effect on any of these three constructs.

Synthesis, Characterization, and Degradation of Multi-armed Calixarene-core Star Polylactides
Anna Falls
Student’s Major: Biochemistry
Faculty Sponsor: Perry Corbin, Chemistry/Geology/Physics

Polylactide (PLA) and related polyesters have been employed in biomedical applications and are becoming more prominently used in commercial packaging materials. One potential method of expanding the properties of this class of renewable, biodegradable plastics is to prepare PLAs with varied architectures and with cores that can be further functionalized.  To address this issue, my research has focused on the original synthesis of eight-armed calixarene-core star L-PLAs. The synthesis was accomplished by preparing a calixarene initiator with eight alcohol functional groups. Polymers with varying numbers of repeat units per arm were then synthesized in solution by Sn(II)-catalyzed ring-opening polymerizations of L-lactide using the macrocyclic initiator.  The star PLAs were characterized by gel permeation chromatography and were found to have low polydispersity indices and number average molecular weights (Mn’s) close to those targeted.  Moreover, end-group analysis by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy supported star polymer production.  Differential scanning calorimetry studies have, in turn, revealed that the crystallization rates of lower Mn calixarene-core PLAs are slower than their linear counterparts and that the percent crystallinity can be finely adjusted with annealing.  This observation also suggests that the degradation rates of the lower Mn PLAs might be readily tuned, which is important for potential biomedical applications.  Along these lines, the degradation of low Mn eight-armed PLAs and previously prepared four- and six-armed calixarene-core PLAs were studied in basic solution.  This resulted in rapid surface degradation that depended upon the initial crystallinity of the PLAs.  Further degradation studies under physiological conditions are in progress.

A Fall Acoustic Survey of the Insectivorous Bats of the Mohican State Forest
Caitlin Duncan
Student’s Major: Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Merrill Tawse, Biology/Toxicology

In the Eastern United States, White-nose Syndrome is devastating populations of bats in their winter hibernacula.  Indications are that such hibernacula may be present in the Mohican Forest.  A fall acoustic survey was conducted to monitor swarming sites and areas of concentrated activity of insectivorous bats, mainly Myotis lucifugus, little brown bats, in the Mohican State Forest in order to try to determine from where the bats were emerging to come to those areas.  Due to the fact that the bats are active in concentrated areas late into the year, and that the bats have been mist-netted and found to have dried mud on their fur, it is believed that the bats are hibernating underground in or near the Mohican State Forest.  Monitoring areas of concentrated bat activity in the Mohican State Forest will hopefully lead to the discovery of hibernacula.  This study is important because it is essential to know where the bats are spending their time hibernating, which is when and where they come into contact with Geomyces destructans, the fungus that causes White-nose Syndrome.  The exact locations of the site where the bats were emerging from at night were not determined, and no hibernacula were discovered.  From this study we were able to eliminate areas that were previously thought to contain hibernacula and to confirm areas of high activity that were previously unknown.  Future studies will focus on acoustic monitoring of new areas in the Mohican State Forest and further monitoring of the areas that were discovered to have concentrated bat activity.

Progress Towards the Synthesis of Resorcinarene-Core Polylactide/Polyethylene Glycol Star Block Copolymers Using Click Chemistry
Aaron Tipton
Student’s Major: Biochemistry
Faculty Sponsor: Perry Corbin, Chemistry/Geology/Physics

With an increased interest in developing new medicines, there is also an interest in new drug-delivery vehicles. Along this line, our research efforts have focused on the chemical synthesis of resorcinarene-core polylactide (PLA)/polyethylene (PEG) glycol star block copolymers, which upon self-organization have the potential to serve as polymeric micelle drug carriers. To prepare the polymers, an appropriate tetra-functional resorcinarene initiator was first synthesized. Four-armed, resorcinarene-core star PLAs were then prepared by Sn(II)-catalyzed, ring-opening polymerization of lactide. Subsequently, the homopolymer end groups have been reacted with a suitable anhydride to provide PLA's with terminal alkyne end-groups. Attempts have been made to prepare the aforementioned star block copolymers by coupling an azido-functionalized PEG to the alkynyl-functionalized star PLAs via Huisgen dipolar cycloaddition—while minimizing PLA degradation.  To date, results have shown that these difficult coupling reactions proceed and reach a maximum degree of coupling of about 81% in approximately one hour, as indicated by product analysis using gel-permeation chromatography and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.   These efforts will be described in detail and compared to alternative approaches that are being investigated for preparing resorcinarene-core, PLA-PEG star block copolymers.

Sibling Adjustment to Child’s Chronic Illness
Jessica Bates
Student’s Major: Child and Family Studies
Faculty Sponsor: Cindy Moseman, Family & Consumer Sciences

Previous research has shown that the experience of having a sibling with a chronic illness can be a stressful and challenging time for a healthy child. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between a child’s understanding of his or her brother or sister’s chronic illness and the emotional and social adjustment of that child. Fifty-two family sets (one parent and one sibling of a child with a chronic illness) participated in this study. Participants came from The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton and also from support groups on Facebook for parents of children with chronic illnesses. A parent survey and sibling survey were given to each family, with questions regarding frequency and source of communication about the sibling’s illness and how the healthy sibling is affected emotionally and socially from the illness. Findings showed a negative correlation (r(50) = -.399, p = .03) between the education a child receives on his or her sibling’s chronic illness and the amount of problems in adjustment he or she experiences. In other words, children who received more education reported fewer symptoms of adjustment problems. Out of five chronic illness groups, the children who had a sibling with cancer tended to have a higher level of education about the illness than children with siblings who have other illnesses. Although this study was limited by small sample size, the trends in the data suggest a relationship between illness education and adjustment of a healthy sibling.   

Characterizing Enterococcus faecalis Bacteriophage VD13
Carly Young
Student’s Major: Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Paul Hyman, Biology/Toxicology

The bacterium Enterococcus faecalis is found in plants, soil, water, and the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. In humans, it can cause urinary tract infections, meningitis, and other infections. The purpose of my research was to characterize the virus VD13, which infects the bacterium E. faecalis. These viruses, which infect the cells of bacteria, are called bacteriophage. I first tested how stable this bacteriophage is when not infecting cells. A heat stability test showed that VD13 is stable up to about 60°C. A pH stability test was also performed, and showed that VD13 is stable from a pH of 4 all the way up to a pH of 11. I next studied the growth of the bacteriophage in bacterial cells. I used a lysis test to determine when the bacteriophage broke open (lysed) cells to release new progeny both at 37°C and at room temperature. At 37°C, the virus began to lyse the bacteria cells at about 70 minutes. At room temperature, the virus began to lyse the bacteria cells at about 105 minutes. I used a one-step growth curve assay to measure how many progeny virus were made during infection. I also isolated DNA from the bacteriophage. Various restriction digests were performed to find which enzymes cut the DNA of VD13. The next step in my research is to obtain a very highly concentrated stock of VD13 so that it may be used for protein gels and VD13 DNA will also be sent in for DNA sequencing.

Programming Techniques in Dark GDK
Chris Yocum & Ben Bushong
Students’ Majors: Computer Science (Yocum); Computer Science (Bushong)
Faculty Sponsor: Paul Cao, Mathematics/Computer Science

USS:2101 is a 2 dimensional game created by Christopher Yocum and Ben Bushong. It was created using the C++ programming language in Visual Studio 2008, a programming compiler, and DarkGDK, a game design package suited for both C++ and Visual Studio 2008. USS:2101 is a 2 dimensional space-shooter, intended to be a new spin on a mixture of some older arcade classics while adding some new features that were not available in the arcade generation such as video settings, volume control, and several control scheme options. USS:2101 uses a simplistic programming approach to develop an advanced array of options for the players that include multiplayer capabilities, special collision functions, and customization options. The process of creating this game involved selecting complex, specific needs for the game, and breaking them down into simple commands for an easier algorithm that allowed the building-upon of more advanced features easily. The first steps included object placement, followed by object movement and player controls, then collisions. This evolved to include projectiles with their own collision functions, varied enemy movements, and a final encounter sequence. To be included in the future are sprite variations and upgrade options, with potential cross-network options.

Assessing the Zebrafish as an Efficient Model for Analyzing Mammalian a-crystallin Gene Regulation
Zachary Haley
Student’s Major: Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Mason Posner, Biology/Toxicology

Alpha crystallins are a group of small heat shock proteins that protect cells from damage during times of stress.  Mutations in a-crystallins can lead to heart disorders and cataracts in the lens of the eye, and their expression increases in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.  Changes in a-crystallin levels are also linked to numerous cancers.  The purpose of this study is to determine whether the zebrafish can serve as an efficient model for the study of how mammalian a-crystallin expression is regulated.  Three different lengths of the mouse αB-crystallin promoter, which controls the gene’s expression, and a complete mouse αA-crystallin promoter were linked to the gene for green fluorescent protein (GFP).  These α-crystallin promoter constructs were injected individually into single celled zebrafish embryos that were then analyzed after 1-6 days of development by fluorescent microscopy to determine where the promoters where producing GFP expression.  Injection of the mouse aA-crystallin promoter produced GFP expression in the lens similar to native expression in the mouse.  However, our 0.8 and 1.4 kb mouse aB-crystallin promoter regions did not produce the expected expression in the lens, but instead drove GFP expression in the notochord. These results show that mouse αA-crystallin promoter activity can be replicated in zebrafish embryos, suggesting that the zebrafish is a viable model for testing mammalian αA-crystallin promoter function.  However, while the genomic organization of mouse αB- and zebrafish αBb-crystallin is evolutionarily conserved, their gene regulatory mechanisms have apparently diverged.

Measuring Halogenated Flame Retardants by Silicone Tubing Microextraction
Megan Liggett
Student’s Major: Biochemistry
Faculty Sponsors: Brian Mohney & Jeff Weidenhamer, Chemistry/Geology/Physics

Silicone tubing microextraction (STME) was used to extract and concentrate brominated and chlorinated flame retardants from environmental samples.  Due to the lipophilic nature of these compounds silicone tube microextraction is ideal for extracting flame retardants from soil and water.  Flame retardants are a category of commercially produced chemicals that have been added to many synthetic products including computers, plastics, and fabrics.  These compounds are known to accumulate in the environment, leading to bioaccumulation of compounds in the human body and various aquatic species producing potential adverse health effects.  Our goal was to develop a method of quantification of flame retardants initially using standards, and then use this technique to quantify these compounds in environmental samples.  This project provides a new analytical approach to understanding the environmental and public health issues resulting from the widespread exposure to these compounds.  The specific flame retardant used in this analysis was tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA).  TBBPA has been identified as a highly effective flame retardant used in circuit boards, certain foams, and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene thermoplastics.  TBBPA has been identified as acutely toxic to fish at high concentrations (0.51mg/L – 3mg/L) and has been detected in soils and sediments.  The STME technique we developed has been tested in sand, soil, and water samples.  Using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to detect and quantify TBBPA from silicone tubing, we have successfully detected TBBPA at concentrations down to 132 parts per billion (ppb) in sand, and 32.8 ppb in water using 1.1 meter of silicone tubing. 

Bringing Wilde to the 21st Century: An In Depth Look at the Costumes of Ashland University’s Production of The Importance of Being Earnest
Jensen Glick
Student’s Major: Theatre
Faculty Sponsor: Teresa Durbin-Ames, Theatre

In November 2012, the Ashland University Theatre Department presented the comedy The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.  Written in 1895, the play is a comment on the class divide in London’s high society.  In this production, the director interpreted the play to show parallels between Victorian society and today’s modern fascination with social media.  As a costume designer, it was my job to create a modern wardrobe for the characters while giving nods to Victorian dress.  For example, the trickster character Algernon had a pair of plaid orange pants, as in the Victorian era plaid was considered to be a fabric for con artists or swindlers.  I also wanted to assign each character a color to show the relationships between the characters.  For example, I matched each couple with their complementary color and character.  Jack, one of our lead males, was dressed in red while his companion Gwendolen wore green.  I found the process as a costume designer is always developing; no design is ever finished.  I discovered that as a designer I have to stand by my design while allowing my ideas to be alterable and willing to mold with the collaboration with the ideas of the other designers.

Divorce and Perceptions of Conflict
Rachel E. A. Carson
Student’s Major: Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Brent Mattingly, Psychology

This two-part study investigates the relationship between thoughts related to divorce and subsequent perceptions of relationship conflicts. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce, and divorce is one of the largest stressors that individuals can experience (Demo & Fine, 2010; Binger, 2010). Children of divorce (vs. intact families) may view relationships differently, which may affect subsequent stress and conflict.  It was hypothesized that participants who have experienced divorce (Study 1) or primed with thoughts of divorce (Study 2) will perceive conflicts as more severe and less likely to reach a positive resolution. In Study 1, participants read a scenario about a couple and a recent conflict between the two (of which they are both at fault for at least one aspect). After reading the story, each participant answered various questions about their interpretation of the conflict and the couple (i.e., rating the severity of the conflict, likelihood of resolution, how happy the couple is, and how committed the couple is). Participants also indicated if they have experienced parental divorce. Study 1 revealed no significant differences between the two groups of participants (divorce vs. no-divorce); all p-values > .05. In Study 2, the same aspects of the conflict scenario will be examined; however, prior to reading the story each participant engaged in a priming task. Participants were given a “word comprehension task” which consisted of them unscrambling sentences to either prime the concept of divorce or a control concept (Slotter & Gardner, 2012). Data is currently being collected for Study 2.

Determining the Toxicity of Mixtures of Saline Deicing Agents to the Aquatic Amphipod Hyalella azteca
Shane Daugherty
Student’s Major: Toxicology
Faculty Sponsor: Andrew Trimble, Biology/Toxicology

Many products used to melt ice in the winter are formulations of highly water-soluble salts that readily dissolve in rainwater and snowmelt.  Runoff from suburban neighborhoods, highways and other non-point sources frequently discharges complex mixtures of salts into surface water in the environment, which can result in unpredictable toxic effects to aquatic organisms. The objective of this research was to examine the effects of mixtures of the common saline deicing agents sodium chloride (NaCl), calcium chloride (CaCl2), and magnesium chloride (MgCl2) using the model aquatic amphipod Hyalella azteca.  Specifically, 96-h water-only toxicity tests were conducted with these saline toxicants in single compound exposures, as well as in binary and tertiary mixtures.  Potential deviations from additive toxicity were assessed by comparing the experimental mixture dose-response curves to those predicted by Concentration Addition (CA) and Independent Action (IA) mathematical models. Single compound toxicity test LC50s were 4606 mg/L, 9404 mg/L, and 2852 mg/L for NaCl, CaCl2, and MgCl2, respectively. The binary mixture toxicity test LC50 for the NaCl/CaCl2 mixture was 9348 mg/L.  Model comparisons showed that there is an antagonistic effect with mixtures of NaCl and CaCl2, with the IA model providing better toxicity predictions than CA.  Additional tests and model comparisons will be conducted for the remaining binary and tertiary salt mixtures.  Results of this study will help risk assessors and water quality managers to more accurately determine the risk to aquatic organisms that are exposed to these commonly-detected contaminants.

Undergraduate Problem Solving in Mathematics
Stacee King, Anna Payne, Megan Raber, Brad Sekas, Emma Vandenberg & Rob Woodward
Students’ Majors: Mathematics and Integrated Mathematics (King); Mathematics (Payne); Mathematics and Integrated Mathematics (Raber); Mathematics and Actuarial Science (Sekas); Mathematics and Integrated Mathematics (Vandenberg); Mathematics (Woodward)
Faculty Sponsor: Gordon Swain, Mathematics/Computer Science

The Ashland University Problem Solving Group [PSG] meets bi-weekly to solve problems posed in the mathematics journals. Because everyone sees problems from a slightly different perspective, we are able to combine our ideas until we can come up with a successful method of solution. The unique thing about the group is that it challenges us all to think a little differently and use mathematical methods that may not be immediately obvious when initially looking at the problem. For example, “find integers x such that is a perfect square” initially looked like an exhaustive search problem but ended up using factorization and divisibility arguments, while “order by size” did involve direct calculations to find the pattern and a bit of calculus to confirm it. Some of the problems can be solved mainly using logic and trial-and-error, rather than higher level mathematics, so it is fun and accessible for students of all levels and majors. This poster presentation will include a few of the problems PSG has looked at, a description of how we were able to solve the problems, and our solutions.

The World Beneath Our Feet:  Analysis of Bacterial Abundance and Species Diversity   in Various Soils
McKenzie Roth
Student’s Major: Integrated Science Education
Faculty Sponsor: Andrew Greene, Biology/Toxicology

Different soil types display a wide range of nutrient content, microbial abundance and diversity.  Many of the microbes viable in soil have practical functions in the agricultural and medical fields while others are pathogenic.  Garden topsoil, potting soil, forest soil, compost and manure were the five soil types investigated in this study for bacterial abundance, species diversity, and nutrient content.  We hypothesized that manure and compost would have the most nutrients and be highest in number and diversity of bacteria.  Likewise, we hypothesized that potting soil would be low in all three areas.  Each soil sample was diluted, plated on Plate Count Agar and incubated at 37oC for 2 days in order to maximize the number of colonies able to grow on the media.  The bacteria count was determined by plate count assay and the microbial diversity by using 16S rDNA to sequence isolated species and compare the number of genera present in each soil type.  A qualitative nutrient analysis was conducted to evaluate the relative nutrient content of each soil type.  It was determined that the compost was richest in nitrate, phosphorus and potassium, while the other soils were low in all three.  The manure exhibited the highest bacterial count with an average abundance of 8.8x107 colonies per gram.  Potting soil, compost, garden topsoil and forest soil followed with statistically similar abundances ranging from 3.27x106 to 2.2x107 colonies per gram.  Similarly, the manure represented the greatest number of genera from the 16S rDNA sequencing than the other samples.    

Sensory Modality and Directed Forgetting: Similar Effects for Visual and Auditory Stimuli
Amber Weaver
Student’s Major: Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Mitchell Metzger, Psychology

Intentional forgetting occurs when individuals consciously forget stimuli to which they have previously been exposed.  Greater knowledge of intentional forgetting may improve understanding of forgetting processes involved in traumatic experiences.  There is little research completed examining whether the sensory modality of stimulus presentation can influence directed forgetting (DF), the primary method used to measure intentional forgetting.  To address this question this experiment compared the DF effect for auditory and visual stimuli, and also examined whether the emotional valence of words affected the level of DF.  The participants were undergraduates enrolled in psychology courses at Ashland University (15 males and 40 females with mean age of 18.6 years).  They were presented with positive, negative, and neutral words in an auditory or visual mode, and were instructed to remember one-half of the words while forgetting one-half of the words.  During the recognition test, participants were told to remember all words, regardless of the cue they were followed by in the study phase.  Analysis revealed a significant effect of cue, as words followed by the remember cue were recognized at higher rates than words followed by the forget cue.  Additionally, there was a significant effect of emotion, as negative and positive words were recognized at higher frequencies than neutral words.  For sensory modality, no significant effect between visual and auditory cues was observed; however, sensory modality did have a significant effect on false alarm scores.  These data provide additional information on DF processes and the influence of sensory modality on motivated forgetting.

Bioavailability of Cadmium in Inexpensive Jewelry
Mallorie Boron
Student’s Major: Biochemistry and Forensic Chemistry
Faculty Sponsor: Jeff Weidenhamer, Chemistry/Geology/Physics

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently accepted methods proposed by industry for testing cadmium bioavailability in children’s jewelry.  The cadmium content of this jewelry is of concern because it bioaccumulates in the body and can cause health problems later in life.  These include osteotoxicity and kidney damage.  Compared to lead, which has been the focus of concern in consumer products, cadmium is even more toxic. Samples are extracted in saline solution (simulating mouthing) or 0.07 M hydrochloric acid (simulating swallowing) to estimate cadmium release.  One unanswered question is whether cadmium release increases when electroplated coatings are damaged.  Earlier tests identified several pieces for which leaching increased as much as ten-fold when the item’s coating was damaged.  For this study, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) was used to identify high-cadmium items with a range of zinc content, because zinc appears to reduce cadmium bioavailability.  Duplicate high-cadmium samples, one cut in half and one left intact, were analyzed by the different extraction methods.  An alternate procedure using a briefer extraction of ground material from each jewelry item is being compared to the other test methods.  Following bioavailability testing, total cadmium and zinc content of all items is being determined.

Using the Zebrafish Lens As a Model for Characterizing Engineered aA-crystallin Proteins
Mary Brown
Student’s Major: Forensic Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Mason Posner, Biology/Toxicology

Alpha A-crystallin is a lens specific small heat shock protein (sHsp) that is found in a variety of species including both zebrafish and humans.  sHsps play an essential role in protecting cells from stress by preventing protein aggregation, which can cause diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to lens cataracts, the leading cause of human blindness worldwide.  Previous work in our lab has shown that altering individual amino acids in the aA-crystallin protein can increase its protective activity.  These previous experiments were done in vitro (in the test tube).  In this present study I am taking the next step by looking at the effect of engineered proteins with altered structures in vivo, or in the zebrafish lens itself.  I have used a synthetic RNA molecule called a morpholino to suppress the production of normal aA-crystallin in the zebrafish lens.  Analysis of lens protein content showed that this technique successfully reduced aA-crystallin expression to undetectable levels.  Altered versions of the aA-crystallin gene were constructed using PCR techniques and linked to a human b-crystallin promoter that will cause them to be expressed in the zebrafish lens.  These various aA-crystallin genes are currently being injected into one-cell stage zebrafish embryos to determine whether they are expressed.  This would be the first time that the zebrafish has been used as a model to assess the in vivo effects of engineered sHsps with increased protective ability, which could provide insight into possible future therapeutic roles.

Repressive Copers vs. Defensive High Anxious Copers
Morgan Phillips
Student’s Major: Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Diane Bonfiglio, Psychology

People who register high scores on a measure of anxiety and also register high scores on a scale of socially desirable responding are characterized as demonstrating a defensive high anxious style.  In comparison, people who register low scores on a measure of anxiety and register a high score on a scale of socially desirable responding are characterized as repressive copers.  Literature on coping has suggested that those who are considered defensive high anxious use less effective coping strategies than do those who are considered repressive copers.  This study examined differences between defensive high anxious and repressive copers in their self-report of the use of a cognitive avoidant coping strategies, which are ways that people avoid threatening or upsetting thoughts or memories.  125 participants (68 females and 57 males; mean age of 19.34 years) completed a packet of surveys which included an anxiety measure and a measure of socially desirable responding for coping style characterization and a measure of cognitive avoidant coping.  Based on their responses to the measures of anxiety and socially desirable responding, 21 participants were categorized as defensive high anxious and 35 were categorized as repressive copers.  Those categorized as defensive high anxious had significantly higher overall scores on the measure of cognitive avoidant coping (M = 72.95, SD = 19.06) than did those categorized as repressive copers (M = 53.86, SD = 17.17; t(54) = 3.87, p < .01).  This result suggests that defensive high anxious participants reported more use of cognitive avoidant coping than did repressive copers.

Effects of Color in Attention to fMRI Scan Images in Legal Settings
Jalessa Brown
Student’s Major: Criminal Justice
Faculty Sponsor: Diane Bonfiglio, Psychology

The use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in court has raised questions about its utility and potential consequence when it is presented as evidence. Previous research showed that participants were more likely to notice that fMRI data contradicted expert witness testimony when the fMRI data was presented in red, but less likely to notice the same contradiction when the fMRI data was presented in blue. Our experiment investigated whether variations in how fMRI is visually presented influenced whether participants were likely to notice a contradiction between what an “expert witness” says and what the fMRI presents. 320 participants were assigned to one of four groups. Each group was given a fictional court proceeding scenario to read. In the scenario a judge passed a sentence based on physical evidence presented in court. On appeal, a different judge reduced the sentence based off of expert testimony which contradicted the fMRI data. Participants in the control group were not provided fMRI images, whereas participants in the other three groups were provided with fMRI images presented in red, blue, or yellow. The results of chi-square showed that the red condition showed a consistent effect (χ2 (1, 77) = 10.646, p < .01, η = .261) such that participants in that condition discerned that fMRI data contradicted expert witness testimony. These data could have consequences for litigators in how they present fMRI evidence.

The Healing of Hipsters: Ironic Living in 21st-Century America
Jacob Ewing
Student’s Major: English
Faculty Sponsor: Gary Levine, English

In November of 2012, The New York Times published an opinion piece entitled “How to Live Without Irony.” Christy Wampole, a professor at Princeton, argues that irony has become the dominant strand of thought in contemporary America, citing the so-called “hipster movement” as an example. Much of the article is spent discussing the dangers and repercussions that Wampole sees associated with this dependence on irony.  While she offers some insightful criticism of the movement, she misunderstands the way it relates to irony. Nearly twenty years ago, the late author David Foster Wallace offered his own understanding of how irony has manifested itself in American culture in his 1993 essay “E Unibus Pluram.” Wallace rightly predicts that as irony becomes more widespread in American culture, there will come a point at which genuine sincerity overtakes it as the dominant strand of thought. This brilliant description of irony’s fierce hold on mainstream culture in the late 20th century still holds true today and serves as an argument against Wampole’s criticism of the hipster movement. My project interprets Wampole’s article in light of Wallace’s essay, relating the differences in the two works and showing how Wampole mischaracterizes the hipster movement by missing what Wallace was able to foresee some twenty years ago.

Improving Cognitive Skills: An Application of a Computer Program
Alexandra Maus & Amanda Mayes
Students’ Majors: Psychology (Maus); Psychology (Mayes)
Faculty Sponsor: Alinde Moore, Psychology

In the field of aging, much attention has been focused on helping older adults to stay cognitively fit.  The purpose of this study is to help a 59 year old man regain memory functioning that was lost after a heart attack in 2007.  To do so, the department purchased BrainHQ from Posit Science, an academically-based organization that designs and tests computer software for use by older adults.  Many organizations including AARP have developed computer exercises and games for that purpose but with little scientific evidence of their effectiveness.  While the initial intent of Posit Science was to produce products for normal cognitive changes in older adults, their computer programs were subsequently tested with individuals with brain damage from numerous causes.  The peer-reviewed studies of the programs found significant improvement in some of the cognitive training tasks performed by their participants (Fisk, Novack, Mennemeier, & Roenker, 2002; O’Conner, Hudak, & Edwards, 2011; Rosen, Suqiura, Kramer, Whitfield-Gabrieli, & Gabrieli, 2011).  The participant in this study utilized BrainHQ in two one-hour sessions per week for nine months, utilizing auditory and visual cognitive tasks related to attention, brain speed, memory, and people skills.  His progress was tracked by the BrainHQ program, and he demonstrated improvement in all cognitive tasks. Furthermore, the participant showed improvement in memory and day to day functioning tasks.  Limitations in this study included the small (one participant) sample size, limited time for using the BrainHQ program, and lack of control for other life factors.  

Constantine, the Donatists, and the Arians: Creating Unity in a Divided Church
Kelsey Paramore
Student’s Major: History and Political Science
Faculty Sponsor: Edith Foster, History/Political Science

My research focuses on the political implications of the emperor Constantine’s involvement in the church. Constantine (272—337 AD) was the first Roman emperor to favor Christianity, and his actions were influential both upon the church and the later Roman Empire. Constantine was involved in church councils, he made laws pertaining to the church, he promoted Christianity in the Roman army, and he also favored the church with donations of money. The purpose of this talk will be to focus on the main doctrinal disputes of the time – the Donatist schism and the Arian heresy – and to show how Constantine worked through church councils to try to control the progress of each dispute and create unity within the church. In working with these two challenges to Christianity, Constantine was encountering opposing types of forces. The Donatists could be compared to fundamentalists, who want to establish strict rules for the church. By contrast, the followers of Arian wanted a change in the church, since they promoted a new doctrine of the Trinity. Constantine attempted to keep order and unity in the church in each case.

GDP: Economics or Something More?
Marc Zimmerman
Student’s Majors: Political Science and Economics
Faculty Sponsors: Mark Nadler, Economics & Steven Hayward, History/Political Science

My investigation seeks to explore the relationship between political variables and their effects on GDP per capita across over 100 nations. My analysis includes nine independent variables, which range from secure property rights to access to basic public services. My thesis is that these political variables play an important role in explaining GDP per capita in nations across the world. Too often, the focus of trying to improve third world economies and developing nations fails to address these variables, instead focusing on such traditional economic variables as direct financial or monetary assistance. This analysis seeks to provide valuable insight into the factors that most affect GDP per capita across the world and to provide a framework by which developed nations can better understand how to effectively help developing nations. Initial results from the weighted least squares (WLS) model indicate that public services, property rights, and financial freedom are significant at the 1% level, while trade freedom is significant at the 10% level. Moving forward, the data will also be subdivided into sub-categories in order to see whether results from the initial analysis hold across various subsets of data.

Not Gone Yet: A Documentary about Miller Hall
Elizabeth Bucheit & Tyler Remmel
Students’ Majors: Journalism and Digital Media (Bucheit); Journalism and Sport Communication (Remmel)
Faculty Sponsor: Dave McCoy, Journalism & Digital Media

Throughout the years, Miller Hall gained a special place in the hearts of faculty and students at Ashland University. While the building is now gone, it has left behind an untold legacy. This legacy, scattered around the current campus and community, gave us the opportunity to bring the history of Miller Hall to life through a documentary. The fondness is hidden, waiting for the right questions to bring it out. In our research, we found that, as we began uncovering these seemingly forgotten feelings, more and more of the same impressions kept coming up. Through over 20 pre-production interviews, we began to see a glimpse of just how widespread these feelings of fondness were. Miller represented a period of rapid growth at the university in which expansion was essential. Not only does this documentary tell Miller’s history by presenting a moving sequence of photos and video, it rekindles the emotions and shares them with the Ashland University students who never had a chance to hear the clanking of the radiators during class or to see the squirrels outside the windows. The research phase started with information gathering for the newspaper story, “Below the surface.” Continued research was conducted on previously interviewed sources. We also assembled a team with diverse yet complimentary skill sets. During the presentation, we will describe the extensive creative and research processes required to produce this documentary as well as screening a few short clips.

Chris, a Memoir: Loving the Deceased Through Story
Lindsay Cameron
Student’s Majors: Creative Writing, Journalism, and Integrated Language Arts
Faculty Sponsor: Joe Mackall, English

This memoir is about the story’s ability to reinstate a life and reconnect family members. The stories my family told me made me love my uncle Chris, who died in a car accident in 1969. Though I have never met him, the stories have enabled me to have a relationship with him. Through interviews, research, and reporting, I have recorded and imagined their memories and pieced together his life.  The memoir is a product of factual reporting, blending the tools of journalism with the craft of creative nonfiction—using the tools of fiction to tell true stories—to create, on paper, Chris’s world in 1969—a place and time of which I have no firsthand knowledge or experience—and how, from my fascination and curiosity, that world coalesces with my own.  This story is about the influence a person can have on earth, long after life, even though death separates, wrestling with the question: How can I love someone I have never met?  And it answers that love is constant—it can overcome the grave—and it is passed on through the people who are living, who first held the love.  As I grow closer to my uncle who I never knew, my seeking him brings me closer to family I have always wanted to know better.  My excerpt for the reading will explore the struggles of the memoirist to understand her relationship to her uncle, and how that relationship to the deceased can influence or change the living.

The Relationship Between Students’ Financial Responsibility for College and Level of Academic Motivation and Success
Amber Weaver
Student’s Major: Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Diane Bonfiglio, Psychology

College students vary considerably with respect to the amount of college expenses for which they are personally responsible.  The present study examines whether a student’s personal responsibility in paying for college is related to his or her academic motivation or performance in college.  It was hypothesized that as a student’s personal responsibility for college expenses increases, academic motivation and success will also increase.  Eighty-three first year undergraduates enrolled in introductory psychology courses at a Midwestern university participated in this study (63 women and 20 men, with a mean age of 18.25.)  Surveys were completed detailing participants’ financial responsibility for college and their high school academic background.  Participants also completed the Academic Motivation Scale and consented to the researcher gathering their financial aid and GPA information from the university.  Statistical analyses were conducted to measure the correlation between variables.  The correlation between financial responsibility and overall academic motivation, the main variable being examined in this study, was not significant (r(81) = -.188, p = .088).  Results thus far do not point toward a strong relationship between a student’s financial responsibility for college and levels of academic motivation and success.  The results of this study could have important implications for the way families and our country overall handle college expenses.

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