Developmental Changes in Zebrafish Lens α-crystallin Expression and Potential Connection to Cataract Formation
Matthew McDonald

Student’s Major: Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Mason Posner, Biology

Cataracts develop when proteins in the lens become misfolded and cluster together. Naturally occurring chaperone proteins called α-crystallins prevent this clustering and delay cataract formation. The goal of this study was to investigate the levels of α-crystallin gene expression during development of the zebrafish lens to enhance its use as a model system for studying cataract  formation. We also compared expression between normal zebrafish and a mutant strain (cloche) that develops an early cataract by three days of age. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) was used to accurately measure expression levels for the three unique zebrafish α-crystallins (αA, αBa, and αBb). Additionally, eye and lens sizes were compared between normal and mutant fishes to characterize any structural differences in addition to early cataract formation. A significant increase in mRNA expression for αA-and αBa-crystallin was observed between 1-2 days post fertilization (dpf) and 4-5 dpf, respectively. No significant increase in αBb-crystallin expression was observed through 5 dpf. Comparison of α-crystallin expression levels between 4 dpf normal wild type and cloche embryos showed no statistically significant differences in gene expression. This lack of change in expression conflicts with a prior study (Goishi et. al, 2006), however our method for α-crystallin expression is more sensitive. Our results suggest that a yet unidentified mechanism leads to cataract formation in cloche fishes. We are currently using the cloche lens model system to test the ability of introduced proteins to prevent cataract formation.

Addressing the Negative Impacts of Aging Stereotypes
in Nursing Home Residents
Mary Moeller

Mary Moeller is a third year graduate student in Clinical Psychology at Bowling Green State University. She is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and earned her BS in Psychology from Ashland University in 2015. Her research interests include outcomes of mindfulness and acceptance-based interventions as well as finding ways to improve the quality of life and psychological health of nursing home residents. After graduation, Mary plans on doing clinical work and research, specifically within a nursing home setting.

Stereotypes about the older adult populationare ingrained in individuals at a young age through media and culture, and eventually become self-stereotypes as these individuals age. These self-stereotypes about aging have been found to have many detrimental effects on memory, recovery from illness, and
lifespan. Nursing home residents may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of these types of stereotypes because they are reinforced by the nursing home environment and staff. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is effective in targeting the belief in these stereotypes, both about the self and about others. This study involved a four-week ACT intervention for 5 nursing home residents. It was hypothesized that residents would report (a) significant changes in their beliefs about aging; (b) less daily distress, depression, and anxiety; and (c) more meaningful interactions. Along with survey data, qualitative feedback on the protocol was collected from the participants and the therapists. Results indicated improvements in the belief of negative stereotypes on aging. Future research should explore the benefits of intervening on these stereotypes at both the resident level and the healthcare worker level. Further, future research should also explore the efficacy of using residents’ values as a framework for exploring the other concepts introduced in ACT.

My Charming Mademoiselle from Act II of "The Consul"
by Gian Carlo Menotti
Drew Berlin, Samantha Eron, Gracie Fumic, Kendra Garver,
Mia Kardotzke, Maya Rickard, Anna Rivero, Corey Turpin
& Rebecca Young

Students’ Majors: Theater (DB); Music Education (SE, GF, KG);
Musical Theatre (MK, MR); Music (AR); ACS Chemistry (CT);
Music & History (RY)
Faculty Sponsor: Sandra Ross, Music

These students from Opera Workshop class in the music department will demonstrate their knowledge of classical vocal techniques, stage acting and modern music through the live performance of a scene from the opera "The Consul" by Gian Carlo Menotti. "The Consul" is an opera in three acts with music and libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti which first opened in March 1950 and ran in New York City for nearly eight months. The opera takes place in an unidentified European totalitarian country. During our performance the character Nika Magadoff (played by Corey Turpin), the magician, is trying to obtain a Visa from the Consulate. He attempts to impress the secretary by performing magic tricks and hypnotizing the rest of the people waiting in the room into believing they are at a ball. He only succeeds in creating chaos and frightening the secretary.

Neuropathological and Behavioral Consequences of Inhaled Ambient Ultrafine Particulate Matter Exposure During Development
Dr. Josh Allen

Josh Allen is a developmental neurotoxicologist and inhalation toxicologist; his research has focused on early life exposures to inhaled materials and later developmental outcome using a variety of rodent models and epidemiological approaches. Josh graduated from Ashland University (2007), majoring in both toxicology and psychology. In 2013, he completed his PhD in toxicology from the University of Rochester in the Department of Environmental Medicine. Josh currently serves as a Principal Research Scientist and Study Director at Battelle where his focus is on inhalation toxicology and general toxicology.

Accumulating evidence from both human and animal studies show that the brain is a toxicological target of air pollution. Multiple epidemiological studies have linked components of air pollution to adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in humans. We sought to determine whether early life exposure to concentrated ambient particulate matter (CAPS; <100 nm in diameter) resulted in neurotoxicity and behavioral changes in rodents. To this end, we exposed C57BL/6J mice to CAPS during the first two weeks of life prior to assessment of brain development and behavioral function. We observed ventriculomegaly (i.e., lateral ventricle dilation) preferentially in male mice exposed CAPS that persisted through young adulthood. We further observed evidence of a neuroinflammatory response including alteration of brain cytokines and glial activation. Additionally, behavioral alterations included increased preference for immediate reward (i.e., impulsivity), alterations in learning and memory, and social behavior. Although the mechanism by which early life exposure to ambient ultrafine particles may be impacting neurodevelopment remains to be fully elucidated, our studies suggest that developmental exposure to air pollution may represent an underexplored risk factor for central nervous system diseases/disorders.

Investigation of Microplastic Ingestion by Daphnia magna in the Black Fork of the Mohican River in Ashland, Ohio
Alexis Lough

Student’s Major: Forensic Biology
Faculty Sponsors: Dr. Jenna Dolhi & Dr. Patricia Saunders, Biology

Plastics are created in a variety of sizes and after their use and disposal, can make their way into our waterways. More recently, plastics under 5mm in diameter, known as microplastics, have come under scrutiny due to their interference in natural marine life. For example, studies cited by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have found plastic particles in 12% of freshwater fish. The presence of these particles can cause digestive obstructions as well as impede reproduction, among other biological detriments. Some microplastics result from fragmentation of larger pieces of plastic waste and also deliberate manufacturing for products such as hand sanitizer and body exfoliants. These smaller plastics likely affect microscopic organisms such as D. magna. Many of these microplastics are able to float near the water’s surface, which can be easily collected for analysis. Water samples from the Black Fork of the Mohican River were analyzed for the presence of microplastics. The water samples were serially filtered through membranes with pore sizes of 5mm, 100μm, and 20μm. The membranes were observed under a dissecting microscope for the presence of microplastics. Studies by USGS also indicate that fibers compose 71% of the total microplastic particles sampled from river water. Our analyses of the 100μm pore sized membrane yielded colored fibers and zooplankton, indicating the two coexist in the river surface water. The presence of the fibers is consistent with USGS studies. Further analysis will be conducted to determine the relationship between and ingestion of microplastics by the zooplankton, D. magna.

Exploring the Relationship between Men and Women
in Eugène Ionesco’s La Leçon
Tasha Arnold

Student’s Major: French
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Richard Gray, Foreign Languages

Written by French playwright Eugène Ionesco in 1951, La Leçon is a play that brings to light both social and political issues of the mid-20th century focusing on the privilege and disadvantages of gender. It features three main characters: a young female student, an older male professor, and a middle-aged female maid. As a harrowing sequence of events unfolds, the professor and student are set against each other in such a way as to represent both the separation of sexes and the constant power struggle between man and woman. This paper will discuss the situation of the professor and student and how their relationship in the play exemplifies the often challenging and inequitable relationship between men and women. Within the play, both at the textual level and at the performance level, the audience witnesses the power differentials as they are revealed between both the professor and pupil. Despite the professor’s inability to effectively instruct his student, his skill in controlling his pupil illuminates a disturbing metaphor that underlies the violent killing that occurs towards the end of the play. The rape and murder of the pupil, and the mention that this same ritual has previously occurred multiple times, underscores the power that he as a man exerts over the women in his life.

Who Are You? A Dramaturgical Examination
of Buried Child by Sam Shepard
Jessica Dupee

Student’s Major: Theatre Design/Technology
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Teresa Durbin-Ames, Theatre

Sam Shepard was a major twentieth century American playwright whose career spanned over forty years and left a significant impact on American theatre. He gained much recognition for his portrayal of families and society and his expert blending of myth and ritual with popular culture. This presentation studies the effect of Shepard’s father on his work, his focus on family, his fascination with identity, and the ways that he communicates these influences through his play Buried Child. It is one of Shepard’s most honored plays and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979. This play explores the dissolution of a family and follows the grandson, Vince, and his girlfriend Shelly as they visit his family in Illinois only to uncover a secret that has plagued the family with guilt for many years. This dramaturgy draws from research about the playwright, dramatic criticism on the play, reviews of various productions, and interviews with the playwright. I examine Shepard’s play and find the search for identity as a prominent theme, as Vince must uncover who he really is and who these people are around him. This play presents a realistic world full of metaphors, which I believe portray the decline of the American family. I notice that Shepard maintains a sense of mystery that keeps an audience questioning what they believe is true. Buried Child expresses his memories and connection with his family and it still resonates with contemporary audiences.

Self-Service Tool for Blackboard Instructors
Nathan Ahrens, Brady Douglas, Erich Berger & Brennan Kunkel

Students’ Major: Computer Science (NA, BD, EB, BK)
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Iyad Ajwa, Computer Science

Blackboard is a Learning Management System, which is used by instructors to communicate with students in their courses. Every semester, instructors at Ashland University request that Blackboard administrators add users to their courses as either a guest or a teaching assistant (TA). This common request is very time-consuming for administrators, so we created a web app that allows course instructors to add or remove guests and TAs without the intervention of a Blackboard administrator. This application was created using the Python programming language and the Django framework, which is a Python extension that allows Python to be used to create an efficient web application and make it quicker to develop. This application uses an Application Program Interface in the backend to communicate with the Blackboard Learn server easily and efficiently. Since this is a web application, instructors who wish to use it will not need to download any additional software, but instead may easily access the tool through their favorite web browser. During our presentation, we will discuss the advantages to using this self-service tool, the technologies we used to create the tool, as well as outside factors that must be considered when developing an application of this type.

“Starry Night”
Amanda Wise

Student’s Major: Creative Writing
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Joe Mackall, English

My short story, “Starry Night”, concerns a character named Christian, a young girl in college, who has been struggling with depression for a couple of years. She decides to go to a museum to see Vincent Van Gogh’s art exhibition, and as she looks at his paintings, Christian sees similarities between herself and Van Gogh. The paintings she observes are Starry Night, The Night Café, The Wheatfield with Crows, and The Potato Eaters, in which Van Gogh shares his own emotions through expressive color and brushwork. As Christian stops at each of these paintings, she reflects on her life and ponders memories that correspond with the subject of each painting. At the end of her visit, Christian will decide to either continue living in her depression, change her life or end it by following in Van Gogh’s footsteps. Through my story, I aim for the audience to understand the mental health disorder of depression and how powerfully art can impact a viewer’s emotions.

Black Fork Wetlands Data Storage Web Application
Benjamin Cipa, Mohammed Bawazeer & Sebastian Vidika

Students’ Majors: Computer Science (BC, MB);
Philosophy & Computer Science (SV)
Faculty Sponsors: Dr. Jenna Dolhi, Biology,
& Dr. Iyad Ajwa, Computer Science

This project aims to create a simple, user-friendly, and visually pleasing application that stores and displays data collected from the Black Fork Wetlands Environmental Preserve. Users will be able to create graphs based on selected inputs to view trends of different variables over time. This application will allow students with an Ashland University email account to sign up and enter data to create reports for each site from which data is collected. This project uses the coding language Ruby on Rails. Rails is a web application language that specializes in database creation and management. This allows the application to work on the web and be accessible from any computer with internet access. This will allow us to store data very simply and efficiently. Multiple types of data are collected about the wetlands, including temperature, salinity, pH level, nitrate and phosphate levels. Google Charts will be integrated so that users will be able to generate graphs. Integrating Google Charts and creating a dynamic map that will link to the different areas of the wetlands were the most time consuming and difficult tasks to complete.

The Journey to Self-Actualization through Creative Expression
Keeleigh Myers

Student’s Major: Fine Arts
Faculty Sponsors: Prof. Keith Dull & Prof. Michael Bird, Art

Creativity is something that either comes naturally to a person or is a constant struggle between the will of the mind and the drive of the artist’s hand. When one is creatively fulfilled the world is their oyster, but what’s to say when one is feeling unfulfilled in the endeavors that no longer provide that spark of creativity? In order to combat a loss of control from losing creative fulfillment, I set to explore what it means to push forth mental blocks for the intention of creative innovation, emotional release, and mental stimulation. To achieve this, I must evolve my processes of creating art and investigate other artists’ processes of dealing with unfulfillment in comparison to my own. Within my presentation, I employ metaphors of light and electricity that are used in my fictional world The Bulboid Universe, where the primary drive of life for the creatures that exist within is survival through the struggle of electricity; an electrical Darwinism with a taste of the Surrealist Art movement. I set to create a narrative that effectively imbues my prints and paintings in regards to the struggle of losing your creative spark, losing the light in your passions, and the journey you take in order to return to a state of self-actualization, fulfillment, and aesthetical enlightenment. From my experimentation with creative evolution, I surmise that neither the mind nor the hand is the dominant force; both creative components must coexist in order to thrive within the mind of the artist.

This project will also be exhibited during Poster/Exhibition Session I.

Machiavellian Faith and Foundings
Dennis J Clark

Student’s Major: Political Science
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Gregory McBrayer, Political Science

The founding of a regime—one wholly new—represents the birth of new modes and orders under one who has risen from private citizen to prince. Niccolò Machiavelli discusses such foundings in chapter six of The Prince; he examines the actions and character of those who found new principalities at the highest level, those to whom he refers as “prophets”1: Moses, Cyrus, Romulus, and Theseus. I intend to outline how these princes are similar and where they differ in their actions, and what those similarities and differences reveal about what Machiavelli believes can be learned from the example of these men.

In this paper the twin topics of arms and belief are examined through the lives of the “armed prophets” with reference to chapter six of The Prince. This examination focuses on the role force played in supporting the claims made by each of these armed prophets that their actions were supported by God, and illuminates Machiavelli’s teaching about the necessity of the prophet’s use of arms to compel belief in his rule, as each of the armed prophets used military force to secure his rule and ensure belief. Machiavelli also offers a subtle teaching about the extremely limited role he believes the divine plays in foundings, and by extension all of political life, placing the emphasis squarely on the Machiavellian virtue of the armed prophets, and seeming to discount the need for religious truth in political life.

1Machiavelli, Niccolò The Prince (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 24

The Relationship between Cyan and Memory Performance
Natalie Bisignano

Student’s Major: Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Diane Bonfiglio, Psychology

Memory is an essential part of everyday life that allows individuals to recall important events and other information. Numerous other researchers have constructed studies around the topic of memory; however, this particular study went further to determine if there was a relationship between memory and the color cyan, a shade of blue which is often thought of as a calming color. While the color red has been found to decrease students’ productivity due to its portrayal of a sense of danger and failure (Elliot, Maier, Moller, Friedman, & Meinhardt, 2007), this study will show whether a soothing color, like blue, would then increase students’ productivity. One group of participants read an article in black font and another group read the same article in cyan font. All participants then responded to a questionnaire regarding the information covered in the article in order to determine if the font color affected their memory performance. When using an independent samples t-test, t(87) = 0.28, p = 0.39. The results of this study showed that the mean memory test score of the cyan group was not statistically significantly different from the mean memory test score of the black group, as the average scores for the groups were 5.0 and 4.9, respectively. This finding demonstrated that although certain colors do have the potential to positively influence certain aspects of individuals’ lives, the color cyan does not particularly have a significant impact on one’s memory performance.

Probing the Root Exudation of Harmala Alkaloids from Syrian Rue
Corianna Borton

Student’s Majors: Forensic Chemistry & Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Brian K. Mohney, Chemistry

Syrian Rue, a desert plant native to the Middle East and Southern Asia, has a long history of use in rituals and folk medicine. The plant was introduced into the United States in the 1930’s and has become an invasive plant thriving in the deserts of the southwest. Roots of Syrian Rue produce six harmala alkaloids which can affect the growth of other plants in the vicinity and negatively impact organisms that live in the soil near the plant. Compounds released by Syrian Rue in soil were measured using techniques developed in our laboratory known as silicone tube microextraction. Silicone sequesters and concentrates lipophilic (fat-loving) organic compounds. The compounds are extracted from the silicone and the concentration of each compound is measured using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). HPLC was used to separate the six different harmala alkaloids of interest. The spatial and temporal profiles of the harmala alkaloids were measured using various planting methods (pots of unique design) and variations of silicone probe designs to probe the release of the alkaloids from plants. Harmine and harmaline can be detected at 1x10-5 and 1x10-6 mg/mL, respectively. Silicone probes show the spatial profile of harmine ranging from 11 ng to 46 ng released in soil. The measurement of the spatial and temporal release of harmala alkaloids is novel and will contribute to the understanding of how root exudates affect their surroundings.

Learning Through Game Development
Brady Douglas

Student’s Major: Computer Science
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Iyad Ajwa, Computer Science

In order to become relevant in the world of Computer Science, one must be willing and able to adapt to the constantly expanding field of technology. Therefore, I decided to create my own video game which would enable me to showcase my adaptability to tools I was originally unfamiliar with. My game is a role-playing game in which you get to play as a hero who undertakes quests and tasks to help aid a village that is in grave danger of being attacked by enemies located just out of town. In my demonstration, I will walk through a couple of missions aimed at aiding the village in order to showcase various aspects of the game. In addition to revealing my game, I will also discuss the different tools I used to bring it together. These include Tiled2D, which allowed me to create the landscape in which the character explores, Visual Studio 2017, which is the programming environment I used to create the various interactions in the game, and Unity, the game engine in which I was able to put all of the pieces of my game together into one uniform project.

Effects of Racially Typical Names on Level of Interpersonal Attraction
Hannah C Drake

Student’s Major: Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Diane Bonfiglio, Psychology

Racially typical names impact the hiring process in today’s society (Bertrand & Mullainathan, 2004). In such studies, applicants with typically White names are called more often than applicants with typically Black names. However, the research is lacking in the discussion of the link between interpersonal attraction and racially typical names. I examined the effect of racially typical names on reported nonromantic social liking. I recruited 79 participants, 89.8% of whom reported themselves as being Caucasian/White. Participants read through a list of character traits with a racially typical name at the top, either Emily or Lakisha. The character trait list was comprised of mostly positive character traits like honest, tactful, active, and self-reliant. All character trait lists were identical except for the name of the person the participant was supposed to be perceiving. Participants were then asked to rate their level of nonromantic social liking using the Interpersonal Attraction Scale (IAS; McCroskey, 1974). An independent t-test revealed no significant difference between amounts of attraction toward either name, with a mean attraction level toward Emily of 23.56 (SD = 3.860), and a mean attraction level toward Lakisha of 23.37 (SD = 3.233), t(77) = 0.24, p = 0.81. Contrary to prediction, students did not show a bias toward or against the racially typical names.

Determining the Genotype of Some Known
Polyploid Ambystomid Salamanders
Colton Hiner

Student’s Major: Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Prof. Merrill Tawse, Biology

Some of the salamanders from North-Central region of Ohio that belong to the genus Ambystoma, are of interest because they exhibit more chromosomes than the expected two like a diploid organism, a condition known as polyploidy. These polyploid individuals are formed from the genomes of both A. jeffersonium and A. laterale. Sampling was done at several vernal pools in the Richland and Ashland county areas and polyploid individuals were captured. All polyploid individuals sampled were female, and are referred to as unisexual populations. The question raised from these polyploids is their parentage. What percentage of their DNA is A. jeffersonium[J] and what percentage is A. laterale[L]? The ploids can either be formed from JJL or JLL, hybrids produced from malfunctions in the reproduction process. By extracting DNA from tail clippings, polymerase-chain reaction [PCR] was used to amplify the segments of DNA. This was run through a gel electrophoresis to analyze their banding patterns and compare these patterns to known individuals. By sampling from multiple populations, the consistency of genomes can then be compared and determined which percentage is A. jeffersonium and what percentage is A. laterale.

Determining the Effects of Water Hardness and Sub-Lethal Levels of Calcium- and Magnesium-Based Deicing Agents to the Toxicity of Sodium Chloride Using the Aquatic Amphipod Hyalella azteca
Kelsey Kidd & Lauren Bood

Students’ Major: Toxicology (KK, LB)
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Andrew Trimble, Biology/Toxicology

Many products used to melt ice in winter are formulations of highly watersoluble salts that readily dissolve in rainwater and snowmelt. Runoff from suburban neighborhoods, highways, and other sources could discharge complex mixtures of salts into natural surface waters, which could result in unpredictable toxic effects to aquatic organisms. The most commonly used saline deicing agent is sodium chloride (NaCl), though calcium chloride (CaCl2) and magnesium chloride (MgCl2) are also used. Some aquatic invertebrates, like the amphipod Hyalella azteca, prefer hard water to soft water and have a higher tolerance to calcium and magnesium than to sodium. Therefore, they might benefit from the presence of less toxic ions in NaCl contaminated water. The objective of the present study was to determine the effects of water hardness and sub-lethal levels of CaCl2 and MgCl2 to NaCl toxicity. Specifically, 96-h water-only toxicity tests were conducted using H. azteca exposed to NaCl in both soft and hard water. Separate NaCl toxicity tests were conducted that contained either CaCl2 or MgCl2 at levels corresponding to their approximate 1% lethal concentrations. A preliminary water hardness test resulted in a substantially higher (less toxic) NaCl 50% lethal concentration (LC50) in hard versus soft water (4413 mg/L versus 546 mg/L, respectively). When sub-lethal levels of CaCl2 are present, there is a significant decrease in NaCl toxicity based on non-overlapping 95% fiducial limits. This effect was not observed with MgCl2. These results will help water quality managers more accurately predict risk to aquatic organisms from these contaminants.

Synthesis of Eight-Armed Calixarene-Core Star Polymers Containing Polylactide/Polyethylene Glycol Arms
Tyler McFarland

Student’s Major: Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Perry Corbin, Chemistry

Many polymers used in commercial applications have a linear structure, which is property-limiting. Alternatively, there is an interest in non-linear polymers with varied architectures because of their distinct properties. This project focuses on the synthesis of new calix-8-arene core star-shaped polymers with polylactide (PLA) and polyethylene glycol (PEG) arms and the study of micelle formation from the polymers. If micelles—large soap-like aggregates—form, these molecules have the potential to be used as a drug-delivery apparatus. As the first step of the synthesis, the hydroxyl groups of a commercially available calix-8-arene were reacted with ethyl bromoacetate to give an octaester. The ester was further reacted with lithium aluminum hydride to yield a “calix-8 initiator.” After purification using radial chromatography and azeotropic distillation, the initiator was used as the starting material for attaching PLA chains. A ring-opening polymerization with lactide resulted in a star polymer with approximately 22 PLA repeat units per arm. This large structure with eight polymer branches was reacted with pentynoic anhydride to place alkyne functional groups on the end of the PLA arms. The resulting compound was reacted with PEG-azide and the catalyst copper (I) bromide (CuBr) via a click reaction. No-deuterium NMR spectroscopy was carried out after the addition of PEG and purified CuBr to determine optimal reaction parameters. Results showed that with the addition of purified CuBr and a 9.2 equivalents of PEG, the reaction neared 100% completion. Reactions are currently being carried out on a larger scale in order to investigate micelle development.

The Responsibilities, Process, and Craft of Technical Direction
Seth Morrison

Student’s Major: Theatre Design/Technology
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Teresa Durbin-Ames, Theatre

A Technical Director (TD) is a member of a theatrical production team who is in charge of transforming a scenic design to the stage. I was introduced to this role when I began working in the Scene Shop in the AU Theatre, and following opportunities as TD helped me decide to further explore how a TD is able to make a production a success. They can be responsible for budget, maintenance, technical drawings, construction supervision, and more. It is often challenging to specifically articulate responsibilities of the TD because it varies across the industry. This can be an issue when a company hires a TD with their own version of responsibilities, while that TD has a different expectation. Open and concise communication can solve that issue, but it raised the question: Is it possible to reasonably list and describe the typically expected responsibilities for a TD? Research, analysis and synthesis, collaboration, implementation, and evaluation were key to this project. An ideal step-by-step process was developed, which shows responsibilities in relation to a “typical production” timeframe. The purpose of the process is to be able to adapt to a variety of different settings or producing companies. To evaluate its success, I applied the adapted process while serving as TD for Ashland University’s production of The Trojan Women. The process was adaptable, and technical aspects of the production were in a positive state throughout the experience. Though not applied linearly, it was successful in its purpose. The position will always require flexibility, but it is possible to list and describe the typically expected responsibilities of a TD. The process assists in anticipating that flexibility.

Development of a Rapid and Cost-Effective Method for the Extraction of Hydrophobic Pesticide Contaminants from Sediment
Hayley Nininger & Jordin Vidmar

Students’ Major: Toxicology (HN, JV)
Faculty Sponsor: Dr.Andrew Trimble, Biology/Toxicology

Hydrophobic pesticide contaminants from agricultural, urban and mixed-use landscapes are frequently detected in aquatic ecosystems. A 2017 study by the U.S. Geological Survey reported that over 180 pesticides and their byproducts were detected in streams throughout 11 states in the Midwest. Current methods for the extraction and identification of these contaminants in solid media (sediment, soil and sand) are typically expensive, time consuming and not practical for smaller labs that lack specialized equipment. Therefore, the primary goal of this study is to develop a more rapid and cost-effective method for extracting and identifying hydrophobic pesticide contaminants in solid media using common analytical equipment. The pesticides used in this study include seven current and historic-use organochlorine, organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides selected because of their frequent detections in the environment. The initial step of the extraction method involves removing pesticides from the solid media using common and inexpensive solvents (acetone and dichloromethane). Basic laboratory equipment such as a clinical rotator and sonicating probe are employed to help facilitate this process. Pesticides of interest are purified using solid-phase extraction (a readily-available type of filtration media). They are then identified using gas chromatography (GC), which is common to many analytical laboratories. The extraction method was tested by spiking the insecticide DDT into sand, which was successfully removed from the media and identified. This new extraction method proved to be more rapid, reliable and inexpensive than existing methods. The GC method that was developed allowed for adequate separation and detection of all pesticides of interest.

How to Bypass Cognitive Dissonance in Habit Changing Behaviors
Tiffany Pryce

Student’s Majors: Psychology & Public Relations
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Diane Bonfiglio, Psychology

The difficulties of breaking a habit have been investigated in multiple studies. Habit-breaking has been the primary focus of a variety of major health science studies, such as smoking studies. This study aimed to further research in this category and make breaking a habit easier for those who struggle. Some of the difficulties people face when attempting to break a habit may be understood through cognitive dissonance theory. This theory states that when someone’s actions and thoughts contradict each other, the person experiences discomfort. I hypothesized that instead of going through this discomfort, one could avoid it by visualizing a new habit rather than focusing on breaking an old one. To examine this, I measured the mean reaction times of two groups. Group A received instructions that indicated the breaking of a habit needed to take place. In this study the habit was choosing the correct answer for standardized testing on a computer program. Group B received instructions that indicated they needed to create a new habit in order to respond to the stimuli presented. I hypothesized that Group B would have a faster mean reaction time. The results did not reveal a statistically significant difference between the group means (t(62) = .140, p = 0.711; however, a review of trends within the data showed potential for further research that could lead to effective habit breaking tactics.

Potential Exposure to Lead and Cadmium in Decorative Glassware
Kaitlin Snider & Chelsea Myers

Students’ Majors: Toxicology (KS); Biology (CM)
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Jeffrey Weidenhamer, Chemistry

Heavy metals, particularly lead and cadmium, cause detrimental health effects. Lead can cause anemia, weakness, kidney damage, and brain damage. Cadmium can produce health effects that include bone and kidney damage. Our objective was to analyze the potential for metal exposure in secondhand decorative glassware. Lead and cadmium are used in pigments to produce decorations on glassware. Using an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer, heavy metals could be detected. Out of 178 analyses performed on different colors on 55 glassware items, lead was detected in 154 analyses, ranging from not detected to 29.0% and a median of 6.8%. Cadmium was detected in 152 analyses, ranging from not detected to 2.6% and a median of 0.18%. Wipe tests were done to estimate how much lead and cadmium might be picked up by handling glassware. For 55 decorative glassware items, individual wipe tests of 28 picked up greater than 10 micrograms of lead, and a total of more than 50 micrograms was measured from nine glassware items from three successive wipes. Wipe tests of eight glassware items yielded a total of more than 5 micrograms of cadmium. Glassware decorated in the lip area (less than 20 millimeters from the rim), were extracted by placing the lip area upside down in 4% acetic acid. Three of the ten samples tested released high concentrations of lead (greater than 10 milligrams per liter). We conclude that decorative glassware is a potentially overlooked source of heavy metal exposure. Further studies are being carried out with newly purchased glassware.

The Distribution and Life Cycle of Eubranchipus vernalis
at the Black Fork Wetland Preserve
Erika Stevens

Student’s Major: Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Patricia Saunders, Biology

Fairy shrimp, order Anostraca, live mainly in vernal pools. Adult fairy shrimp mate in early spring, then after a required dry period, the cysts hatch in the fall when the ponds rewet. At the Black Fork Wetlands Preserve, there are several freshwater vernal pools that contain fairy shrimp. Since fairy shrimp are not well-researched, the purpose of this project is to further the knowledge of their life, history, and ecology. One project objective is to better understand a year in the life of fairy shrimp. This is done by measuring and comparing the fairy shrimp by abundance, age and sex. Animal counts are low in previously taken samples, making a second objective to figure out how to more effectively sample the fairy shrimp by testing different sample locations and volumes. Fairy shrimp at the Black Fork Wetlands are identified as Eubranchipus vernalis. In 2014-2015, the young fairy shrimp appear in samples by late November. Adults disappear by early May, which was 1-2 weeks before the shallowest ponds dried out. More fairy shrimp appear in the shallow edge samples, and when larger amounts of water are filtered. To better sample adult fairy shrimp, samples should be taken in mid-April, with large amounts of water, from a shallow part of the pond. These studies help show how fairy shrimp fit into the ecology of wetlands.

The Lead Analysis of Virginia Rails’ Feather Samples
from the Black Fork Wetlands
Tyler Theaker

Student’s Major: Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Prof. Merrill Tawse, Biology

The purpose of this project was to monitor the activities of Sora and Virginia Rails, species of wetland birds that are listed as a “Species of Concern” by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), found inhabiting Ashland University’s Black Fork Wetlands. Very little is known of these species due to their secretive nature, inhabiting emergent wetland plant communities. They are listed as species of concern due to habitat loss and possibly lead poisoning by accidental ingestion of lead shot from previous waterfowl hunting. Much of this research was conducted in the spring and summer time when the birds were present. The project started with acoustic surveys in early spring to determine their presence within the Wetlands. Once their presence was determined, trapping efforts began within three wetland ponds via cloverleaf traps. A total of seven Virginia Rails were caught and banded. Four of these birds were tagged with radio transmitters, and feather samples were clipped for further lead analysis. Triangulating their movements via radio telemetry we were able to gather data on the areas of their foraging sites as well as their movements within the wetlands. To determine whether there was an accumulation of lead within the birds, feather samples were chemically digested. The feathers were then analyzed, running the samples through spectroscopy equipment to determine lead concentrations. Preliminary analysis showed that the lead concentrations within the feathers are at or below the toxic threshold of 4 parts per million.

Investigation of Imidazole Based Drugs and
Phosphazene Drug Delivery Systems
Corey Turpin

Student’s Major: ACS Chemistry
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Nicholas A Johnson, Chemistry

One of main challenges when developing drug candidates is delivery. Most drugs that show high activity are usually lipophilic; however, biological systems are mostly aqueous and therefore effective drug molecules must also be water-soluble. This poses an interesting dichotomy when synthesizing novel drug systems. The system must be lipophilic for the highest activity, and yet also water-soluble to be delivered. The goal of our research is to utilize inorganic systems as drug delivery molecules, specifically phosphazenes. Phosphazenes are inexpensive and easy synthetic targets and are also highly customizable, granting unparalleled structural diversity. By substituting highly hydrophilic groups, such as polyethylene glycol derivatives (TEGME), the hydrophilicity of the compound can be drastically increased. A class of molecules that we are interested in utilizing as potential drug molecules are N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) and their derivatives. Medicinal applications of NHC derivatives have been heavily studied in recent years and have been shown to have a multitude of applications including both antimicrobial and anti-tumor properties. We have begun to synthesize a benzimidazole based core with propanol group substituted in the C2 position (for attachment to the ring) and two methylnapthyl groups (to increase lipophilicity) at the N1 and N3 positions. By attaching this benzimidazole system to TEGME substituted phosphazene ring, the highly lipophilic imidazole can be solubilized and delivered. Results from these studies have been characterized via nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, and mass spectrometry.

The Journey to Self-Actualization through Creative Expression
Keeleigh Myers

Student’s Major: Fine Arts
Faculty Sponsors: Prof. Keith Dull & Prof. Michael Bird, Art

Creativity is something that either comes naturally to a person or is a constant struggle between the will of the mind and the drive of the artist’s hand. When one is creatively fulfilled the world is their oyster, but what’s to say when one is feeling unfulfilled in the endeavors that no longer provide that spark of creativity? In order to combat a loss of control from losing creative fulfillment, I set to explore what it means to push forth mental blocks for the intention of creative innovation, emotional release, and mental stimulation. To achieve this, I must evolve my processes of creating art and investigate other artists’ processes of dealing with unfulfillment in comparison to my own. Within my presentation, I employ metaphors of light and electricity that are used in my fictional world The Bulboid Universe, where the primary drive of life for the creatures that exist within is survival through the struggle of electricity; an electrical Darwinism with a taste of the Surrealist Art movement. I set to create a narrative that effectively imbues my prints and paintings in regards to the struggle of losing your creative spark, losing the light in your passions, and the journey you take in order to return to a state of self-actualization, fulfillment, and aesthetical enlightenment. From my experimentation with creative evolution, I surmise that neither the mind nor the hand is the dominant force; both creative components must coexist in order to thrive within the mind of the artist.

This project will also be presented during Oral Session III.

The Effect of Hunger on Short-Term Memory
Nicholas Bloxsom & Derek Rangel

Students’ Majors: Psychology & Criminal Justice (NB);
Psychology & Music (DR)
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Christopher Chartier, Psychology

In this experiment, we examined short-term memory while attempting to cause interference to the participant using visual stimuli related to food, hoping to emphasize hunger; hunger is a very powerful physiological force that needs to be satisfied (Maslow, 1954). Cues, such as hunger, can bring forward strong, involuntary memories (Ball, 2015). In order to bring forth involuntary memories in participants, we showed pictures of healthy or fatty foods or a blank screen. To test the effect of hunger on memory, we pre-assigned 56 participants to one of three groups: healthy, fatty, or control. Participants rated their current level of hunger on a one to eleven rating scale. Then, participants completed a short-term memory test in which they had to remember sets of numbers. We conducted an analysis of variance, measuring the memory differences within each group and found no significant differences, F(2,53) = 0.176, p = .839. The means and standard deviations of the participants’ errors in the fatty, healthy, and control groups respectively were (M = 4.53, SD = 3.31), (M = 4.06, SD = 2.23), (M = 4.08, SD = 2.56). Additionally, a correlation coefficient measuring numbers remembered and self-rated hungriness was r(54) = .060, p = .659. There were no significant differences in memory between any groups, and there was no correlation between hungriness of participants and the amount of numbers recalled. In our admittedly small, study, we found no evidence for interference in the participants’ memory when presented with visual stimuli meant to elicit hunger.

Density-Dependent Growth Responses of Arabidopsis to Copper Toxicity
Abigail Dingus

Student’s Majors: Biology & Biochemistry
Faculty Sponsors: Dr. Jeffrey Weidenhamer, Chemistry,
& Dr. Soren Brauner, Biology

Plant growth responses to toxic copper concentrations are density-dependent. Copper toxicity is reduced at high plant densities for reasons that are not clear. One possibility is that excess copper stimulates citrate release from roots. Citrate binds metals, and thus the larger amount of citrate at high plant densities could reduce copper uptake. We are testing this hypothesis using Arabidopsis thaliana cultivars that either produce (wild type) or do not produce (mutant) citrate in response to metals in soil. In a preliminary study to determine the appropriate copper concentrations for toxicity experiments, wild type Arabidopsis were planted at three densities (1, 3, and 5 plants per pot) and copper was applied ten days after establishment at rates of 25, 50, and 75 micrograms per gram soil. Plants were harvested and dried two weeks after treatment. Shoot biomass was measured and analyzed. Slight toxicity was observed at the lower densities (1 and 3) while the higher density (5) did not show signs of toxicity. These data indicate that copper concentrations were not high enough to produce a response. Another preliminary study is being conducted with copper treatments of 75, 125, and 175 micrograms per gram soil to determine the appropriate copper concentrations for toxicity experiments. Once toxic concentrations are determined, the full experiment using all cultivars will be conducted. Understanding the mechanism for density dependent growth responses has implications for successfully using plants to detoxify contaminated soils, and also highlights the need to use several plant densities in standard ecotoxicological testing.

Cardiotoxic Effects of Atrazine in Developing Zebrafish
Krystle Etling

Student’s Major: Toxicology
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Mason Posner, Biology

Atrazine is an herbicide in worldwide use that can spill into waterways along farms and urban areas. The toxic effects of atrazine have been studied using the small, easy to maintain zebrafish. While published studies have shown that atrazine alters heart function and causes heart deformities, little work has examined how gene expression related to heart development is influenced. To see if atrazine alters gene expression related to the heart two genes were selected: heart-strings (hs), which plays a role in heart formation and function, and heart of glass (HoG), which influences heart shape. The expression of these genes has previously been reported to decrease with age. Our study examined whether there was a change in expression of these genes between 3 and 4 days post fertilization and then if atrazine exposure affected this expression and heart structure. We used quantitative PCR to examine gene expression of hs and HoG along with the control genes, ef1a and beta-actin. For atrazine exposure five embryos were placed in each well of a 24-well plate with 2 mL of system water containing either 0, 20, or 120 ppb atrazine in acetone as a solvent. Quantitative PCR successfully measured the expression of hs and HoG and showed no significant change between 3 and 4 days post fertilization (Ct values of 8.95 and 8.68 for hs; and 11.63 and 12.97 for HoG). Currently we are studying the effects of atrazine on gene expression and heart structure, so that we can identify potential harmful effects on small fish populations.

Identifying Influential Nodes in Weighted, Directed Networks
Kelly Fullin

Student’s Majors: Math & Computer Science
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Darren Wick, Mathematics

In fields such as epidemiology, networks are used to visualize and predict spreading patterns of diseases. By identifying key members (or “nodes”) of this network we might in principle stop an epidemic spread of disease by vaccinating the most influential nodes. In this case, these influential nodes would be the people who have the most potential to spread this disease to the rest of their community. We are interested in finding a way to efficiently measure the influence of individual nodes in weighted and directed networks. We ran computer simulations using the SIR (susceptible, infected, recovered) model of disease spread in which a single “seed” node was initially infected. We then defined this node’s influence by counting the total number of nodes it infected. We have succeeded in developing an algorithm that propagates probabilities of infection, rather than running the time-consuming brute force simulations mentioned above, to accurately determine this influence in roughly a tenth of the time.

The Job of a Producer and The 24 Hour Theatre Project
Megan Harvey

Student’s Majors: Multidisciplinary Arts Management
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Teresa Durbin-Ames, Theatre

What happens when an entire theatrical production is condensed into twenty-four-hours? On Friday, March 23rd and Saturday, March 24th, 2018, I served as producer for “The 24 Hour Theatre Project”. The goal of this project was to condense an entire theatre process into twenty-four-hours and demonstrate the job of a producer and the importance of collaboration. A typical theatre production includes four to five months of design meetings as well as four to six weeks of rehearsal with actors. This project included researching the responsibilities of a producer, the logistics of 24-hour theatre, the key points to produce a successful play, and serving as a leader. Part of my role as the producer was to select and organize a team of leaders and participants, divide the budget provided by the department between the areas of focus for the production, and create a timeline for the months leading up to as well as the actual event. During the timeframe, actors auditioned, a script was written, memorized, designed, marketed and finally performed. This poster presentation will provide insight into the process of what it takes to produce theatre in 24 hours.

Effects of Phosphorus Enrichment on the
Black Fork Wetlands Algal Community
Natalie Kracker

Student’s Major: Forensic Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Jenna Dolhi, Biology

Ashland County lies mostly within the Mohican watershed which is highly impacted by nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) runoff, as land use in this area is dominated by agricultural cropland and pasture. Additional nutrient sources may include groundwater, sewage, and even household detergents. Eutrophication, the over-enrichment of nutrients in a body of water by human activities, has been shown to cause algal blooms that lead to anoxia, a depletion of oxygen levels that is harmful to fish and other wildlife and is detrimental to biodiversity. We hypothesized that phosphorus would cause an increase in green algae abundance and decrease in algal diversity in the Black Fork Wetlands area. Here we investigated the effect of elevated phosphorus on the wetland protist community using enrichment culturing and microscopic observations. Cultures of wetland water were amended with phosphorus at four concentrations (0.1 mg/L, 0.5 mg/L, 2.5 mg/L and 5 mg/L) and incubated for three weeks. This range was chosen as phosphorus concentration in the wetland water was previously measured to be about 0.5 mg/L. Overall, the highest abundance of cells after three weeks was in the 2.5 mg/L phosphate enrichment. Protist abundance peaked after only one week when enrichment cultures were limited for nutrients (0.1 mg/L phosphate). To complement protist identification based on morphology, sequencing of a small ribosomal subunit (18S) rRNA gene will be performed. Identification of protists, especially algae, and investigation of their response to high phosphorus levels will help us understand the consequences of phosphorus loading in our local water systems.

Optomechanics of a Levitated Nanosphere
Emily Law

Student’s Majors: Physics & Mathematics
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Rodney Michael, Physics

The levitation and trapping of minuscule particles involves the use of lasers to control the particle’s motion. A particle caught in one of these ‘optical traps’ can be manipulated to move like a harmonic oscillator and is modeled as such. The optical levitation of these particles can both slow the motion of the particle without using a cryostat to reduce temperature and dramatically reduce the amount of damping in the particle’s motion. In this optical trap, a highly focused laser controls the motion of trapped silica nanospheres (d~100 nm) by manipulating their minimum potential energy. This is achieved through feedback from each of the three axes, where data received from photodetectors about the particle’s movement is sent to an electro-optic modulator which then adjusts the trapping beam accordingly. These nanoparticles can theoretically be cooled to where they exhibit non-classical behavior while the cavity is still at room temperature using this method. Particle dynamics were first observed during various degrees of chamber pressure and trapping beam power without feedback. Feedback was then included in order to study focal geometry, or the particle’s motion through space over time.

What’s in a Walk?
Savannah Lewis

Student’s Major: Psychology
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Christopher Chartier, Psychology

Collaboration between psychology researchers has greatly increased in recent years (Klein, 2014). One example of how these collaborations are initiated is StudySwap, a platform for researchers to find collaborators and exchange resources (McCarty & Chartier, 2017). I used StudySwap to connect with Liam Satchell, a UK based Forensic Psychologist. Our study explored if an individual’s perceptions of threat are influenced by a walking gait. Previous studies on aggression perceptions found that a person’s judgment of someone walking towards them is a quite accurate predictor of actual traitlevel aggression (Satchell, Morris, Akehurst, & Morrison, 2017; Satchell et al, 2017). Seventy-four AU participants watched 40 brief videos (~6 seconds) of anonymized people walking. To create the videos, Dr. Satchell placed red dots on walkers’ bodies and recorded the resulting outline of their body as they walked. Walkers displayed four different gaits: feminised, masculinised, natural, and flimps (fake limps). The order of videos was randomized. Participants viewed each walker and rated them on a 1 (non-threatening) to 9 (threatening) scale. In terms of level of perceived trait aggression, feminized walkers were rated lowest while masculinized and flimps were rated highest, but overall there was no significant difference between groups, F(3,216) = 2.18, p = .091. Interestingly, when comparing perceived threat to actual traitlevel aggression, walkers exhibiting flimps were rated more accurately than chance, t (73) = 3.56, p = .001. Participants were most accurate in detecting trait aggression for flimps than any of the other walking types.

Genetic Analysis of Invasive Reed Canarygrass Populations
in Ohio Wetlands
Adam Roan & Madison Olander

Students’ Major: Forensic Biology (AR, MO)
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Soren Brauner, Biology

Reed Canarygrass is an invasive species that is continuing to spread throughout Ohio wetlands and displace native species. Current data suggests that North American invasive populations are European in origin. Reed Canarygrass spreads by small, buoyant seeds and vegetatively through underground rhizomes. The differing reproduction methods combined with the species’ high environment adaptability makes this species ideal for invasion. The spread of Reed Canarygrass in different regions and watersheds of Ohio raises the question of how it was introduced. Has it been introduced only a few times and spread within regions, or have there been multiple introductions? We genetically tested the Reed Canarygrass using two different DNA markers, ISSRs (inter simple sequence repeats) and microsatellites, to determine genetic diversity and relatedness of populations. Initial analysis of ISSRs of the Reed Canarygrass at the AU Black Fork Wetlands revealed high genetic diversity and the ability to identify individual clones. Subsequent work in the lab using microsatellites to examine variations among Ohio populations showed little variation and ability to distinguish populations. The low microsatellite diversity between populations was unexpected based on results obtained in studies from other regions. Our study is combining ISSR and microsatellites to determine to what extent the two techniques reveal variation at different levels and whether together they can resolve relationships among Ohio populations to allow testing hypotheses of how Reed Canarygrass spread in Ohio.

The Application of GIS to Better Understand Environmental Runoff
Produced by Agricultural Lands
Deric Roll

Student’s Major: Geoscience Technology & Management
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Rebecca Corbin, Chemistry

Agriculture is a major producer of runoff, which affects the local environment. For example, fertilizers can be washed into streams and rivers. Fertilizer chemicals can also be carried by water through the soil into underground aquifers. Little research has been done considering subsurface runoff as a major issue in agricultural contamination. One step in this direction would be to use a geographic information system (GIS) to map land used for agriculture and to estimate the areas that can produce the greatest amount of runoff. A significant challenge to this research was finding the correct software to project the data in order to create the type of map needed. Following a comprehensive evaluation of options, the best software found for the task was the combination of two Golden Software products, Surfer and Voxler. Specifically, Surfer was used for creating the surface layer, and Voxler was used to target the subsurface. A digital elevation model of a particular field in question was used to represent the elevation of the land. The data was downloaded from the United States Geologic Survey database and projected into Golden Software. The results provide insight into the contamination of the subsurface related to farming. Further application of this work should provide valuable insight about farmland affected by issues related to runoff.

Media and Ethical Communication During Crisis in the United States
Jacob Smith & Seth Ansell

Students’ Majors: Sport Communication & Digital Media Production (JS); 
Health & Risk Communication (SA)
Faculty Sponsor: Prof. Maggie Cogar, Journalism & Digital Media

This study examines mass media coverage of natural disasters in the United States, using Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy as content analyses. We will examine ways in which the mass media has handled natural disaster communication in the past, both positively and negatively. The basis for examination will include measuring how thoroughly media outlets covered the disaster and the disaster relief effort (such as amount of time the disaster spent in the news cycle and amount of articles or segments that were focused on the situation). This study will look at criticisms of the mass media in these situations and through qualitative research attempt to improve disaster coverage by examining both successes and failures by the media in the past. Unethical communication consists of focusing on economic issues surrounding disasters, rather than focusing on the tragedy that struck the public and ways in which they can assist recovery. Little to no coverage of the disaster can also be considered a form of unethical communication. Crisis communication will be examined to attempt to show how disaster communication can improve recovery efforts and the healing process for those affected by different disasters.

Patient-Centered Communication: A Catalyst for Disclosure
Hannah Stryker & Maggie Andrews

Students’ Majors: Biology (HS); Public Relations & Strategic Communication, English, & Creative Writing (MA)
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Deleasa Randall-Griffiths, Communication Studies

This study investigates the link between patient-centered communication and disclosure patterns. Physicians may understand how to properly diagnose their patients and may carry a deep sense of medical knowledge. However, they are oftentimes lacking in their communication abilities. Successful communication involves empathy, openness, listening abilities, and a general connection between at least two active participants of a conversation. The general participants during a medical conversation are the physician and the patient. In the quest to maintain professionalism, physicians disregard the importance of patient-centered communication. Studies show that patient satisfaction increases with patient-centered communication. Studies also show that patients are more comfortable disclosing information when they have increased satisfaction. A scale measuring patient-centeredness and disclosure was used in this study. By using the scale as a survey, it provided an accessible and broader means to reaching students as study participants. The study results indicated that health-related majors reported more frequent disclosure of health issues than those of their counterparts (t (65) = 2.75, p = .01). Health-related majors also reported higher levels of overall disclosure of health issues than non-health related majors (t (65) = 2.03, p < .05). This could be due to their background in health and understanding the importance of full disclosure. Patient-centered communication and disclosure could lead to an individual being more willing to discuss health issues, and in turn, result in a more positive interaction with their health care provider.

Macroscopic and Microscopic Dissection of a Cadaver
with Renal Failure
Madison Endicott & Matthew Wilcox

Students’ Major: Exercise Science
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Kristin Simokat, Biology

Medical professionals must observe with great detail and intuitively predict what is unseen. Ashland University receives cadavers as a supplemental resource for teaching Anatomy and Physiology. These cadavers come with little patient information other than the cause of death. Renal failure is listed as the cause of death of the current cadaver; continued dissection will be performed to directly observe other pathologies that may have led to death. The purpose of this study is to dissect the kidneys at both the macroscopic and microscopic level. Observed deviations such as a colostomy port, dialysis port, coronary bypass, and recent surgical procedures will also be examined. The second aspect of the study will be to develop microscopic methods utilizing the tools available at Ashland University. These may include histological sectioning and staining of the various aspects of the kidney. These results will be analyzed and compared to a cadaver’s kidney that did not present renal failure. This study will allow researchers to develop and evaluate existing pedagogical methods of microscopic dissection. Conclusions aim to show the importance of using dissection to create a comprehensive patient history centered around a single cause of death.

FYI: I’m Not Alright
Victoria Roddy

Student’s Major: Fine Arts
Faculty Sponsor: Prof. Keith Dull, Art

I create art about my experiences with mental illness in an attempt for others to understand it. Being able to paint the hardships of depression or anxiety is extremely therapeutic for me because I am able to reach a deeper understanding of how mental illness affects me. But sometimes I find it hard to explain to others what it is like especially if they have no experience with said illnesses. I believe that if I can capture the feeling of handling these disorders people can have a deeper understanding of them. To do this, I take up a surrealist aspect within my work. Just showing someone holding their chest in pain is not enough to explain what it feels like to have an anxiety attack. But if I paint a ribbon wound tightly around someone’s lungs, I can be more accurate to the emotional turmoil experienced. It might seem odd to portray mental illness with bright complementary colors, but I use these color schemes to reflect the destructive intensity it has. If I were to use muted washed out colors I would not be acknowledging the aggressiveness of it. I do not offer viewers a solution to dealing with mental illness within my work because I want the ugliness of it to be the focus. My goal is not to show people how to deal with mental illness, but to show how it may affect someone’s thoughts and emotions.

Documenting Changes in the Plant Community of a Marsh at the
Black Fork Wetlands Preserve
Emily Nicholls

Student’s Major: Biology
Faculty Sponsors: Dr. Patricia Saunders & Prof. Merril Tawse, Biology

The distribution and abundance of plant species at a marsh at the Black Fork Wetlands is being evaluated to understand the current plant community structure. The presence of high-quality species in the marsh is critical to the current Virginia and sora rail populations. These bird species are known to thrive in wetlands that combine herbaceous emergent vegetation with woodier species, as may be expected of a diverse marsh. Understanding the current plant community structure makes it possible to evaluate future changes that could impact rail populations, such as an invasion by reed canary grass. Plants were sampled and identified using seeds, flowers, and key anatomical features to determine which species were present. Identifications were verified by a local botanist and used to determine that the marsh is high-quality. We focused particularly on burr reed distribution because burr reed was widely present and is a commonly recognized quality indicator. Sampling from the tree line to the open water, burr reed and an unidentified sedge were the most numerous of the 17 plant species present and had patchy distributions. Other plants like poison ivy and rushes were found only by the tree line and open water respectively, and plants such as arrowhead were present along the length of transect. This herbaceous vegetation combined with red osier dogwood and black willow trees means that the current plant community structure is suitable for Virginia and sora rails and that significant changes to this community structure could have an impact on these bird species.

“From Man’s Effeminate Slackness It Begins”:
Masculinity in Milton’s Eden
Jakob Demers

Student’s Majors: Creative Writing & English
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Hilary Donatini, English

The late twentieth century brought with it a new critical focus on the role of gender in literature. In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Adam’s status as the first patriarch and his initial strength against temptation should by all rights make his masculinity both powerful and desirable, just as Eve’s emotional seduction by Satan is disdained. In the moments leading up to the Fall, however, Adam’s masculinity undergoes a transformation eventually termed by the archangel Michael as “effeminate slackness” (Milton 11.634). While previous critics have painted Adam’s feminization as flawed yet sympathetic, or masculinity as innately corrupt, I argue that the text cultivates neither a wholly sympathetic view of Adam’s actions, nor a view where masculinity is entirely condemned. Book Nine’s portrayal of the Fall instead reveals an Adam who is caught between his ordained masculinity and the effeminacy that he is prone to with Eve. In the moments leading up to the Fall, Adam’s decision to stand by Eve forces him to reconfigure his outlook on life. His effeminacy therefore feeds into his masculinity, corrupting it not because it is innately corrupt, but because he has given in to effeminacy without acknowledging it. His attempts at fully-masculine reason are by default twisted and parodic as Adam tries to rationalize both holding onto his appointed role as patriarch of Eden and justifying Eve’s continued existence by his side.

Meditation and Altruism
Dana Awlia & Emily Ledbetter

Students’ Majors: Psychology (DA); Marketing (EL)
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Christopher Chartier, Psychology

Psychological science is in the midst of a replication crisis (Open Science Collaboration, 2015). One proposal for improving replicability is to conduct replication attempts before publication (Schweinsberg et al., 2016). We joined a large-scale international collaboration called the Pipeline Project Two (PP2). In PP2, many studies are being replicated prior to publication. One of these studies is known as the meditation and altruism study; we are one of over 20 labs attempting to replicate this study. The meditation and altruism study builds on similar work that found mindfulness meditation reduces participants’ likelihood of committing sunk-cost biases (Hafenbrack, Kinias, & Barsade, 2013); the sunk-cost bias is the “tendency to continue an endeavor once an investment in money, effort, or time has been made” (Arkes & Blumer, 1985). There are two methodological components: 1) listening to either a mindfulness meditation or a mind-wandering recording, and 2) a measure of altruism. We randomly assigned 64 participants to one of two conditions: mindfulness meditation or mind-wandering recording. Afterwards, participants decided how much of a hypothetical $120 endowment to donate to another participant. We examined whether the mindfulness recording led to greater altruism than the mind-wandering recording, by conducting an independent samples t-test, which revealed no significant difference in altruism between the mindfulness (M = 56.79, SD = 33.31) and mind-wandering (M = 51.62, SD = 33.97) conditions, t(62) = 0.6, p = .55. We hope that the replications within PP2 help solve the replication crisis in psychological science by moving replication attempts prior to publication.

“To Justify the Ways of God to Men:” Just Punishment in Paradise Lost
Sabrina Maristela

Student’s Majors: Political Science, Spanish, & Philosophy
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Hilary Donatini, English

John Milton’s Paradise Lost is an epic poem published in 1667 and revised in 1674 that explicates the “Fortunate Fall” of man. Milton states that its purpose is “To justify the ways of God to men,” and does so by maintaining that the failures of Satan and man, while not apparently good, ultimately produce greater good from the punishments given by God in response. Because of the limitations of human understanding, scholars assert that artistic depiction, in this case poetry, is the only means through which men may comprehend this greater good. I examine a scene in Pandemonium in Book X after Eve’s temptation and man’s punishment to reveal the just nature of divine punishment and identify that the distinction between Hellish and Earthly punishments is a result of God’s omni-benevolence. Earthly punishment is just and merciful because it reestablishes man’s righteous relationship with God by educating the sufferers, thus creating good out of man’s wrongdoing. God’s punishment of the demons in Hell appears unreasonably malevolent because it offers no such redemption. However, my interpretation of Milton’s poem emphasizes that the demons will never see their fault and accept God’s mercy; God, being omniscient, knows this. I assert that Milton portrays Hellish punishment as just because it is not merciful, fabricating a scene in Hell in order to remind his readers of the possibility of their own redemption and the mercy they receive.

Predicting Changes in Scores and Earnings on the PGA Tour
Michael Woode

Student’s Major: Mathematics
Faculty Sponsors: Dr. Paul Holmes, Economics,
& Dr. Christopher Swanson, Mathematics

The goal of every professional golfer’s training is to achieve lower scores and earn more money. In my project, I have applied regression techniques to analyze professional golfers’ statistics in order to find the areas of the game to work on to best achieve lower scores and higher earnings. Regression analysis statistically determines which independent variables have a greater or lesser impact on a dependent variable. The data set I used contains statistics for each professional golfer including putting percentages from various distances, driving accuracy off the tee, and proximity to the hole from all distances. The project also involved data management—the data set required considerable processing before using regression analysis. Through analysis of the data, it appears that improving driving accuracy off the tee, driving distance off the tee, and putting percentage within 10 feet are all important in lowering scores and increasing earnings, whereas improving accuracy of shots from the fairway/rough, is not as important in lowering scores and increasing earnings.

Investigation of the Supramolecular Chemistry of Calixarenes and
Calixarene-Core Star Polymers
Corey Turpin

Student’s Major: ACS Chemistry
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Perry Corbin, Chemistry

The focus of supramolecular chemistry is the use of non-covalent interactions to direct the assembly of molecular building blocks into larger aggregates orto entrap molecules, atoms, or ions within other molecules or assemblies. Myresearch has focused on the self-organization of calixarene-core star blockcopolymers into larger aggregates and complexation of silver by a calixarene. In the first part of the project, a calixarene initiator was used in a three-step synthesis to make a four-armed amphiphilic star block copolymer that has hydrophobic polylactide (PLA) blocks attached to hydrophilic polyethylene glycol (PEG) blocks. These molecules have the potential to form aggregates (micelles) that facilitate the delivery of pharmaceuticals. The star polymer’s ability to solubilize a model fluorescent dye, coumarin-6 (C6), was tested. The presence of a yellow color and fluorescence from C6 in aqueous (water-based) solutions of the polymer confirms that micelles are formed that have the ability to solubilize molecules with low water solubility. For the second part of the project, attempts were made to complex silver using the previously mentioned calixarene initiator. Because silver has anti-microbial properties, these efforts are the first step in preparing anti-microbial PLA for biomaterial applications. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy was used to determine the association constant (220 M-1) for the binding of a silver salt with the calixarene. Energy maps were then calculated via PC-Spartan to model the possible interaction of the silver salt with the calixarene. In summary, the projects described utilize supramolecular chemistry in designing new, potentially useful biomaterials.

Visualization of Binary Search Trees 
Nathan Ahrens

Student’s Major: Computer Science
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Iyad Ajwa, Computer Science

A data structure is a term in computer science used to describe how data is stored, or represented, in a computer. A binary search tree (BST) is a data structure typically used to efficiently search through data values. Tools for visualizing a binary search tree are important because they allow programmers
to visualize how their data is being stored and manipulated. Visualizing a tree can be a complex process. This application allows a user to effectively view a BST and manipulate a BST in real-time, allowing a user to see how their actions affect the structure of the tree. Whether there is data in every possible storage location or in only a few, this application is able to neatly display a BST. Though there are many tools available for visualizing binary search trees, my Binary Search Tree Visualizer is unique in its ability to save a BST for later use, save a BST as an image to be shared with others or printed, and view common properties of a BST. In this presentation I will review the significance of binary search trees, will explain why they are important in computer science, and will give a demonstration of the application I developed to visualize them.

Aristotle and Machiavelli on Fortune as a Means to Happiness
Jacquelyn Leigh Dambrosio

Student’s Majors: History & Political Science
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. David Foster, History & Political Science

Although Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) and Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527 A.D.) are two of the most prominent western political thinkers of all time, they varied greatly in their principles, beliefs and goals. In my presentation, I will be comparing and contrasting Book One of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics with chapter twenty-five of Machiavelli’s The Prince. I will be elaborating on their views of the importance of fortune in achieving the highest human goal. Aristotle believed that the highest end is happiness or fulfilment. Machiavelli asserted that political power is the most important end. Aristotle also believed that a means to the highest end would be virtuous activities. Even though Machiavelli mentioned virtue as well, the two thinkers had opposing views as to the meaning of the word. Aristotle defined virtue as living consistently and morally in a mean between extremes. Examples of such virtues would be moderation, courage, and justice. Machiavelli described virtue as a malleable means to gaining and maintaining political power. While both thinkers argued that human merit and action are more authoritative or essential in gaining the highest end, the two writers varied in terms of the types of actions that should be taken and they differed on the end itself.

Identifying and Characterizing Crystallin Knockouts
in Zebrafish Using CRISPR/Cas9
Brandon Andrew

Student’s Major: Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Mason Posner, Biology 

Cataracts, a leading cause of blindness, are caused by dysfunction of a protein family called crystallins. α-Crystallins are a family of small heat shock proteins found prominently in the eye lens, and they are thought to play a role in the development of cataracts. The goal of our study was to investigate the function of α-A crystallin using a gene editing technique called CRISPR/Cas9. This technique was used in zebrafish to disable the gene for α-A crystallin and allowed us to examine the role α-A crystallin plays in cataract development. We identified potentially modified fish by clipping the tail fins, using a polymerase chain reaction to amplify the extracted DNA, and sequencing the amplified DNA. Sequence analysis of α-A CRISPR injected fish showed the gene was successfully modified to prevent the α-A crystallin protein from being produced. We observed two different modified alleles (different copies of a gene) in a population of zebrafish. This population was heterozygous for the modified alleles, meaning that one copy of the gene was modified and the other was not. Finally, we bred the heterozygous population to produce one fish with two modified copies of the α-A crystallin gene and no α-A production. These genetically engineered fish populations will now allow us to examine how the lack of α-A crystallin may lead to cataract development. This will be accomplished by using differential interference contrast imaging to observe the eye lens in modified fish.

A Conversation With the Late René Girard
Garrison Stima

Student’s Majors: Creative Writing & Religion
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Craig Hovey, Religion

Anthropologist René Girard is known for developing grand theories about mimetic desire, sacrifice, scapegoating, and nonviolence in human society. Through surveys of world literature and cultures, Girard focused on how societies engage in, justify, and approve acts of collective violence. His work
has become especially important in Christian theology because of Girard’s claim that the Bible disrupts and ultimately overturns this pattern with Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. Jesus was acting as a mirror that made the society around him see their wickedness in themselves. This occurred, not because Jesus mimicked their actions, but because his own were so contrary to the world. Due to this, the people scapegoated him with the belief that his death would heal society. However, that was entirely false. Not only did Jesus’ resurrection not bring about the death of his killers, as one would expect, he came back preaching forgiveness. He came back to deny violence. Here, Girard and I are revising longstanding theological issues, which have existed in the study of Jesus’ crucifixion for numerous reasons. Upon assessing Girard’s contributions, one begins to see how it has both upended deep-seated concepts of violence and struggled to argue with the same God who seemed to kill his own son. Specifically, in investigating the crucifixion, Girard is struggling to unveil humanity’s societal violence, which he has seen across the globe. This violence has become an openly recognized form of redemption. In this, we see that all societies scapegoat to hide their own flaws.

Colleague-Blackboard Integration Audit Tool
Michael Cowan, Nick Hurst, Justin Wallace & Michael Woode

Students’ Majors: Computer Science (MC & JW); 
Mathematics & Computer Science (NH); Mathematics (MW)
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Iyad Ajwa, Computer Science

Blackboard, Ashland University’s learning management system, takes a lot of work and a good team to work effectively. There are many processes in the management of Blackboard that could be improved. One such way that has been brought to our attention, is how courses go through the registration process. Sometimes there are inconsistencies between the Blackboard data and Colleague data. These differences must be tracked down and resolved by hand by the system administrators at Ashland University. Our team has created a tool to compare what Blackboard has in its own internal databases and what Colleague has, so that these differences can be found and pointed out to the system administrators. This allows them to be resolved quickly and more efficiently. What used to take a couple of hours of searching and comparing, can now be done in seconds with a few clicks using our tool. Using the Python3 programming language, we divided up our audit tool into four roles that work together to solve the problem most efficiently. One role is responsible for querying the data from Blackboard. This is passed to a role which manipulates the data from Blackboard and Colleague into a form that can be better compared. The next role compares this altered data and finds the differences. Finally, the information is displayed in a user interface; this is also used to input the Colleague data at the beginning of the process. Throughout the process of creating this tool we overcame challenges with the Blackboard Application Programming Interface, user interface design challenges, and developing the project as a group, rather than as an individual.

“To His Coy Mistress:” The Irony of Time and Love
Corinne Spisz

Student’s Major: Integrated Language Arts Education
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Hilary Donatini, English

The author and the narrator’s opinions are not always identical in a work of literature. A mid-seventeenth century English seduction poem by Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress,” creates an ironic contrast between the surface meaning of the poetic speaker’s slow romantic narrative and the actual purpose of rapid seduction. The narrator throughout the poem says one thing but means another, creating irony within the poem. To add another layer of irony, the speaker’s true goal of seduction and celebration of it contrasts with Marvell’s real attitude about purely physical desire. Though it may seem like Marvell is endorsing seduction, he is in actuality advocating the need and importance of chastity in a relationship. The extravagance of the ideas and the indecisive seduction techniques of the narrator confirm Marvell’s position. Critics such as Malcolm Pittock argue that Marvell’s attitudes about seduction differ from that of his poetic speaker. My interpretation builds on this position by questioning and analyzing the use of cyclical images, numbers, and the different interpretations of the spirituality of love, creating the ironic meanings that, in the end, lead to the condemnation of the narrator.

The Oppressed Woman: A Look at Exceptionalism in the
Treatment of Women in Americanah
Sara Ludwig

Student’s Majors: Creative Writing & English
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Sharleen Mondal, English

Although society has long overlooked everyday oppression of women by men, deeming so-called egregious cases as exceptional, these injustices are finally coming to light as the public addresses a continual problem of abuse. In an effort to tackle this mistreatment, many contemporary writers use their fiction to contest that individual experiences are merely exceptions to the rule. One such writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in her 2013 novel Americanah, depicts Ifemelu and her high school sweetheart Obinze navigating their tumultuous relationship over decades and across oceans. Leaving her home in Nigeria for America to attend college, the world at large she thought she knew irrevocably changed her and how she interpreted relationships. People like Aunty Uju, Ifemelu’s aunt, and Kimberly, a woman whom she works for in America as a babysitter, both repress their independent spirit for the sake of the men in their lives. Through her characterizations of Aunty Uju and Kimberly, both stifled women in dysfunctional romantic relationships, Adichie critiques popular American culture’s condemnation of women who desire individuality apart from their partners. Conversely, Adichie allows Ifemelu both love and independence, attempting to normalize these traits, making it possible for her to retain her autonomy. At the same time, by denying everyone else this resolution, Adichie acknowledges that social norms still place women in the subservient role. The juxtaposition of Ifemelu overcoming traditional roles and those women kept captive in these roles allows readers to empathize with and understand the challenges of being a woman in a patriarchal society.

The Effects of Glycerol, a Stabilizer of E-cigarettes,
on the Respiratory Health of Mice
Allison Tupps

Student’s Major: Biology
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Dolly Crawford, Biology/Toxicology

Although e-cigarette use is widespread, including among young people, the effect of e-cigarettes on health is not fully understood. Among the health concerns are changes to metabolism. Vegetable glycerol (VG) is a chemical compound used in e-cigarettes. It has been suggested that VG may catalyze the onset of Type II diabetes because VG is metabolized as a fat, leading to elevated blood glucose levels and insulin resistance. Lipids require more O2 to be broken down in body cells. As a result, lipid metabolism can be detected by measuring the amount of O2 consumed/time. I tested the hypothesis that O2 consumption in VG exposed mice will be the same as the control group. Animals from the treatment group were exposed to VG for 10 minutes. A nebulizer aerosolized 3 mL of 0.2%, 0.6% or 2% VG, which was then pumped into a 1 L air-tight induction chamber. Animals in the control group were exposed to room air. After exposure, the animals were moved into an iWorx metabolic chamber where the volume of O2 consumed and the amount of CO2 produced during respiration was measured using a GA-200 gas analyzer. The results of preliminary statistical analyses demonstrated that mice exposed to VG consumed a greater concentration of O2 [F(3,7)=21.32, p=0.012] and exhaled a lower concentration of CO2 [F(3,7)=11.12, p=0.001] compared to controls. This result suggests that exposure to VG may cause a shift toward lipid metabolism. Additional research will help to more fully elucidate the interaction between VG exposure and metabolic dynamics.

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