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Carthage students to present research at NCUR

March 17, 2014

Twenty-nine Carthage students have been selected to present their research at the 2014 National Conference on Undergraduate Research this week. Attracting more than 4,000 students, NCUR is the country’s largest conference dedicated to undergraduate research, scholarship and creative works in all disciplines. This year’s conference will be held April 3-5 at the University of Kentucky.

The Carthage students at NCUR represent a wide variety of disciplines. At the conference, they will give oral or poster presentations, receive feedback on their work, learn more about available career options, and view other research in their field.

The NCUR submission process is competitive, and Carthage was fortunate to have 14 scholars accepted for last year’s conference.

Follow the students on their trip! Check out #carthageNCUR.

Here’s a look at some of Carthage student research that will be on display at NCUR 2014:

Brian Anderson ’14
Political Science
“Is Anyone Listening? Responsiveness of Representatives in the House”

Lauren Burleson ’14
“The Effects of Idealized Media Images on Body Dissatisfaction in a Nonclinical Population”

“My senior thesis focused on measuring the level of body dissatisfaction felt by both men and women, and the implications of high levels of it,” Lauren said. “While the prevalence rate of eating disorders is 1 to 3 percent, the percentage of men and women who feel dissatisfied with their bodies is significantly higher.” She surveyed 191 Carthage students about body image; idealized images; and negative weight management behaviors, such as working out excessively, avoiding eating certain foods, using steroids, and frequent weigh-ins, in an attempt to show a correlation between high levels of body dissatisfaction and high levels of engagement in negative weight management behaviors. “For a long time, eating disorders have been seen as a ‘female problem’; however, males are starting to be included in the literature on this subject,” she said.

Joshua Duncan ’14
“Black Feet, Red Sand, and Greener Grass: Losing French Algeria Amidst Metropolitan and Settler Conflict”

Heidi Fenske ’14 and Darien Jefferson ’14
“Visualization of Internalized Viral Nanoparticles (VNPs) for Early Cancer Detection”

Angela Fuller ’14 and Ellisa Mullen ’14
“Creation of an Escherichia Coli C.0293 Knockout for an Examination of the Stress Response”

Kaylee Gleason ’14
Political Science
“The Impact of Colonial Legacy on African Women: A Comparative Analysis of British and French Colonial Institutions”

Diane Hahn ’14
Political Science
“Strengthening the Electorate by Improving the Role of Student Government in United States Colleges”

“This thesis compiles research about the history, structures, responsibilities and overall purpose of student governments in United States colleges,” Diane said. “The thesis further suggests the importance of student government as a pedagogical method to teach students about democracy and citizenship, ideals that align with the purpose of higher education. A unique case study at the conclusion of this thesis provides valuable insight into whether key stakeholders of the college experience, like administration, faculty, and students, are prepared to use student government to its fullest potential.”

Matthew Hellyer ’14
Geography and Earth Science
“Johnny Appleseed: Trees and Travels”

Sebastian Jacinto ’14
“On the Determinants of Emigration: The Effect of Wealth on Push Factors”

By looking at various sociopolitical push factors such as religious fractionalization, government effectiveness, and corruption, the study uses Ordinary Least Square (OLS) regressions to study the relationship between country level wealth, sociopolitical push factors, and emigration rates. The study looks at two separate time periods (the year 2000 and 2010) using interaction terms within two sets of cross sectional OLS regressions and finds evidence to suggest that wealth does indeed affect how push factors influence emigration rates. “The proposed findings of the study suggest further challenges for developing low wealth nations who are trying to keep high skilled migrants from emigrating,” Sebastian said. “For such nations, the importance of the sociopolitical environment could be more important than previously thought and therefore should increase attempts at creating a stable and peaceful demographic population in order to retain skilled labor.”

Beth Klein ’15 and Benjamin Massat ’15
“Investigating the Anomaly of Mycobacteriophage Squid: A Temperate Phage that Lacks an Integrase”

Ryan Lindsay ’14
“The Effect of Wealth on Health in the U.S. from 1999 to 2011”

“This study examines the wealth effect on the health status of an individual using 7 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) from 1999 to 2011,” Ryan explained. “The study employs 4 different regression models in order to capture the causal effect wealth has on person’s health. With the rising call for universal healthcare, these findings have important policy incentive implications.”

Marco Martinez ’14
Political Science
“Drone Warfare: A Look into the Legality of the U.S. Drone Program”

Ember McCoy ’14
Environmental Science
“Strategic Decommissioning of Coal Power Plants in Illinois”

“The objective of my research was to find a strategy for decommissioning coal plants in Illinois,” Ember said. “I looked at reasons for shutdown, such as impact on the environment, social inequality, and size/energy output. Ten potential sites were evaluated using ArcGIS based on pollution emissions, percent minority population, median household income of the surrounding area, size/energy output, and the cost-benefit of an alternative energy source.”

Steven Metallo ’14
“Dynamical Systems and Circle Maps”

Kelly Moench ’14
“The Effects of Acute Stress and Fear Conditioning on Spine Density in Rat Infralimbic Cortex”

Jacelyn Peabody ’14
“The Hunt for Agmatine Receptors on Macrophages”

“Agmatine, a derivative of L-arginine, is known to act as a neurotransmitter, is associated with lung exacerbations in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, and can augment biofilm formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa,” Jacelyn explained. “Most CF patients succumb to chronic airway infections from this opportunistic pathogen. Our lab is interested in the host-pathogen dynamic in the CF lung, and has found that agmatine plays a pivotal role in this process. Known agmatine-binding receptors are being searched for on primary murine macrophages, a cell we have shown responds to agmatine. Candidates are 5HT-2C-serotonin receptors and α2-adrenoreceptors, whose existence has been putatively shown through adrenoreceptor blockade in the presence of agmatine. Western-blots were used to identify the presence of α2-adrenoreceptors and 5HT-2C-serotonin receptors and to quantify the level of expression following stimulus of macrophages with lipopolysaccharide or agmatine. Understanding the immunomodulatory effects of agmatine allows for future studies of host-pathogen interactions in CF patients.”

Kelly Peterson ’14
Political Science
“Just War Theory and the Importance of Wars of Choice and Wars of Necessity”

Cory Schrandt ’14
“Analysis of Diffuse Interstellar Bands in Open Cluster NGC 7160”

Alyssa Scott ’14
Political Science
“Reproductive Rights and Development: Effectively Using Male and Cultural Perspectives”

“I am interested in the developing world and women’s rights in particular,” she said. “In an age where it is universally accepted that educating more girls worldwide will solve a lot of problems, I wanted to explore some of the reasons why these other problems have not been solved. One of my main focuses is the rate of maternal mortality in the developing world, which is astonishing. My research led me to explore what might create greater change in women’s reproductive rights and reproductive health worldwide. The answer that I came up with is including men and helping reduce gender discrimination within individual societies. I included case studies of Nigeria and Vietnam to help support my ideas.”

Hannah Shields ’14
Exercise and Sport Science
“The Relationship Between College Students’ Connectedness to Nature, Quality of Life, and Stress”

“I worked with Dr. Cynthia Allen last semester in order to find out if the strength of a person’s relationship with nature has any relationship with their quality of life or their ability to handle certain stressors,” Hannah said. “Our results showed that those students who had a higher Connectedness to Nature Score were less likely to report being stressed by academics, but were actually more likely to be stressed by daily finances and paying for college. It may be possible that because many college students often find themselves forced to spend their time working indoors (studying, part-time jobs), they are unable to make time for outdoor pursuits. Also, because experiences that allow us to become closer to nature often require money (time off work, camping equipment, travel expenses), college students are often not yet in a financial place to afford these expenses. These are just two explanations we are looking into that require further research.”

Adam Szalacinski ’14
“Self Therapy as an Alternative Explanation as to Why People Get Tattoos”

Jena Thomas ’14
“Evolutionary Attraction, Freud, and Amnesia”

Samuel Tomten ’15
“Uncle Sam Wants Your Business: U.S. Interventionism in Guatemala, 1944-1954”

Allison von Borstel ’14
“An Ethical Analysis of Media Pirates: How Generations Sway Piracy”

Devon Wells ’14
Political Science
“What Heats Up Cools Off: A Study of U.S.-Russia Relations Past, Present and Future”

Jesse Wilson ’14
“Amygdala Lesions Disrupted But Did Not Prevent Signaled Avoidance Acquisition in Wistar Kyoto and Spraque Dawley Rats”

To follow the students on their trip, check out #carthageNCUR.