Welcome to the 2022 Southeast Regional Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity Virtual Conference, hosted by New College of Florida! We’re thrilled to have a wide variety of topics and themes represented here. Please take some time to view the presentations before the live Q&A sessions on 9 April (schedule below). You can also peruse the presenters listed alphabetically or by institution by using the links below.
On behalf of all of our COPLAC partners I’d like to extend a warm welcome to all of you attending the Southeast Regional Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity Conference. We regret that we could not host this year’s conference on our beautiful bayfront campus here in Sarasota, Florida but we hope to be able to get another opportunity to do so next Spring. A special thanks to Claire Bailey and Cole Woodcox for the marvelous effort they put into making this happen virtually this year. I hope all of you enjoy this opportunity to share your research and creative activities and learn from one another. Thank you for participating and we hope to see you in person next year! – Provost Suzanne Sherman
Oral Presentation Session 1
American University From a European Perspective Emily Hafner, University of Montevallo
This research analyzes the differences between the American and European (primarily using Germany as an example) education systems, including the admission process, cost of education, college housing, size of academic programs, level of mathematics requirements, credit and exam systems, number of students in higher education, class sizes and student-professor relationships. It also discusses the phenomena of alumni and athletics in American schools in comparison with European practices. The main conclusion is that students in the U.S. have more opportunities to change and choose their majors, have closer relationships with professors and more rich campus life. In Europe, universities offer more simple and straightforward admission processes, lower tuition costs and more comprehensive academic programs.
James A. Bland High School: Working Toward a National Register of Historic Places Nomination Math Rowe, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise
Due to restrictive criteria, relatively few African American high schools that opened prior to Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka are listed on state or federal historic registries. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) established its online catalog for Historic African American Sites in Virginia in 2019 and called for further submissions to protect crumbling properties. James A. Bland High School remains standing, yet its core records were destroyed. I pieced together the history of James A. Bland High School by transcribing the local newspaper, The Coalfield Progress, and accessing the Library of Virginia’s archival records. Through these records, I determined Wise County opposed racial integration in public education through the operation of a Pupil Placement Board from 1957-1965. Local and state resistance resulted in discrimination against students at James A. Bland High School until the Civil Rights Act forced the county to integrate in 1965.
Impact of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) on Family Functions Benjamin Little, Mississippi University for Women
Family policy broadly encompasses everything the government does to promote individual and family well-being through policies that seek to improve the quality of life for individuals and their families. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 requires work in exchange for time-limited assistance and a performance bonus to reward states for moving welfare recipients into jobs. The bill includes a provision known as Section 115 that imposes a lifetime ban on federal food and cash assistance for people with drug felony convictions. Those with a previous drug felony conviction receive a lifetime ban on SNAP and TANF regardless of whether they have completed their time in prison or not. The purpose of this brief is to educate and inform on the impact of this section on the well-being of individuals and families through Hill’s (1949) ABC-X model of family stress.
Gun Policy and its Ramification in America Eva Dirr, University of Montevallo
This presentation compares the gun laws in the United States, Switzerland, Germany, and Japan regarding the process to buy a gun, storage requirements and carrying rules. It also compares the numbers of firearms in civilian possession in selected developed countries as well as the firearm-related death rate, the homicide rate, and suicide rate, all related to firearms. No causation can be proven but there seems to be a positive correlation between the number of guns owned by citizens in a country and the number of gun-related deaths as well as a positive correlation between the rules on gun storage and use and the number of gun related deaths.
Oral Presentation Session 2
Endogenous CFTR Expression in Human Epithelial Cell Lines Zithlaly Amezquita, Mississippi University for Women
Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane-conductance Regulator (CFTR) is a plasma membrane protein that functions as a chloride ion channel on many epithelial cells. The most common mutation that affects this protein is the DF508 mutation. CFTR mutations lead to the disease known as cystic fibrosis. Detection of endogenous CFTR expression is possible by a difficult/costly immunoprecipitation method but not by the common western blotting method. Therefore, the goal of this project was to detect the endogenous CFTR expression in pancreatic cell lines that contain either the mutated CFTR or the wild-type CFTR by western blotting. By using a newly-developed western blotting method and modern sensitive detection tools, the detection of endogenous CFTR expression by western blotting was possible. Endogenous CFTR detection by this improved western blotting method, however, required a large amount of protein samples.This detection method may be useful for detecting CFTR in CF specimen.
Assessing the Influence of Fire History on Wild American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) Populations on Pine Mountain, Kentucky Liah Continentino, New College of Florida
The American Chestnut, dominant in eastern US forests until the arrival of Cryphonectria parasitica, is now functionally extinct. Chestnuts assume juvenile growth forms, cycling through stem emergence and mortality. Restoration efforts rely on rare wild native germplasm. To determine fire management’s feasibility to increase germplasm production in chestnuts, two state nature preserves on Pine Mountain with differing fire history were investigated. Sampling chestnuts within thirteen transects at each site, we collected biotic and abiotic measurements at each chestnut to explore statistical associations between fire history and canopy openness, chestnut density, blight status, and stem number. Chestnut density did not vary across fire history. Canopy openness and chestnut stem numbers were highest in the prescribed burn area. The lack of correlation between canopy openness and stem number suggested other factors at play. Fire increased blight severity. Data from flowering trees were insufficient for statistical analysis. Further research is recommended.
Online and Traditional Assessments: Kahoot! Vs. Timed Quizzes Meredith Avera, University of Montevallo
Many students and teachers alike appreciate the quiz game Kahoot! when used as an additive to normal classroom proceedings, such as in a review session, or as a formative assessment. However, Kahoot! may be useful in a more formal light in order to increase grades and engagement with classroom assessments. This research seeks to determine how utilizing Kahoot! in place of a formal assessment affects learning outcomes when used on a single math skill in a fourth grade classroom. This paper argues that Kahoot! is useful as a pre-assessment quiz prior to assessment to increase scoring and can increase student engagement and positive classroom dynamics; however, the nature of Kahoot!’s question and answer format may not allow it to be used in a more meaningful context in mathematical assessment.
Cyanobacteria Community Analyses and Cyanotoxin Testing in Lake Sinclair, Georgia Maung V. Tlung, Georgia College & State University
Harmful algal blooms have been more commonly occurring in lentic systems and the current federal guidance for algal biomass, measured as chlorophyll a, is less than 10 µg/L for recreational waters. The goals of this study were to relate algal biomass with species level identification and abundances. Samples were tested for cyanobacteria with ELISA enzymatic assay in addition to species level identification. 28 samples were collected from May to November 2021 from Lake Sinclair, Georgia. We ran standard EPA toxicity tests for four algal toxins and confirmed presence of cylindrospermopsin and microcystins in concentrations lower than drinking water limits of 4 µg/L. Community biomass measured as chlorophyll a was never above 5 µg/L. Algal communities were dominated by diatoms, but we verified presence of cyanobacteria toxigenic species like M. aeruginosa. Species identification and abundances are more informative form bloom understanding compared to biomass estimated with total chlorophyll a.
Testing Various Collection Methods for Freshwater Microbial Environmental Metabarcoding Kayla B. Deel, Isabella J. Maggard, B. Hope Mitchell, Megan E. Roark, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise
The purpose of this study was to determine the best sampling method to detect freshwater microbes from karst springs. The following methods were attempted: 1 – Water scooped and filtered, 2 – sediment, 3 – pebbles for biofilm analysis, 4 – glass slides in a periphytometer, and 5 – glass beads enclosed within tea strainers, sink strainers, and polyester bags. Environmental DNA metabarcoding was used to assay biodiversity. The greatest alpha-diversity was detected from glass beads enclosed in polyester bags however there were no statistically significant differences between the methods (Kruskal-Wallis). Similarly, beta-diversity suggested the glass beads in polyester bags collected a similar array of microbes as filtered water, but these were not significantly different (PERMANOVA) from other collection methods. This study suggests that planktonic microbes can be collected from freshwater using glass beads in polyester bags at a rate and diversity similar to retrieving and filtering liters of water.
Invasive Hydrilla Population Dynamics in Lake Sinclair, Georgia Meagan E. Henderson, Georgia College & State University
Hydrilla Verticillata (L. f.) Royle is a widespread invasive aquatic plant that alters ecosystem services. The goals of this study were to monitor Hydrilla population growth in seven public access sites around Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, Georgia and to relate anthropogenic influences to plant biomass dynamics together with physicochemical characteristics for 7 months. All collected plant specimens were measured and taxonomically evaluated. Hydrilla had higher growth in higher water temperature (above 25C) and pH ranging from 8-8.5. Plant height and density cover varied significantly between sites (p<0.001) with the highest plants persisting longest in the most traffic-dense site. The sites with prolonged Hydrilla plant coverage had decrease dissolved oxygen and higher water temperature. Significant growth of epiphytic algae or Cyanobacteria was not observed. High boat traffic fragmented Hydrilla, so at visible high biomass sites, temporarily reducing boat traffic might prevent the spread of this invasive species.
Convenience or Reckless Spending? How Mobile Payment Apps Can Help College Students Manage Their Money Mikayla Reed, Mississippi University for Women
Mobile payment services (MPS) apps are often utilized for their convenience and ease of use. However, people may not understand how MPS use could impact daily finances or long-term financial well-being. This study explores MPS app use and related factors such as ease of use, convenience, and financial behaviors. In the fall of 2021, 122 college students from the Southeastern United States responded to an online questionnaire related to preferences among MPS apps, frequency of their use, and financial behaviors in the last 6 months. Correlations revealed frequent MPS use was not associated with financial skills, usefulness, convenience, awareness, or actual financial behaviors. However, financial skills were positively related to factors such as MPS usefulness and convenience, and awareness of financial behaviors. Findings suggest that MPS apps can be a tool to promote financial management behaviors such as controlling spending and paying bills on time.
Design and Testing of a Portable Solar Generator Evan Dunnam, Bennet Schwab, Noah Pendrey, and Wesley Sutton, Georgia College & State University
As global temperatures rise and natural disasters worsen, decreased access to electricity during power outages become more common. With such conditions on the rise, gas powered generators have become the most popular solution. Gasoline generators are often too expensive to purchase for people in lower-income areas and not environmentally friendly. The objective of this project is to build a Portable Solar Generator (PSG) that is smaller, light-weight, and cheaper than its gas-powered counterpart, to provide quick, easy, and clean electricity. It is designed to be deployed anywhere quickly by utilizing five pre-assembled components including solar panels. The solar panels are wired for AC power output with a DC charging system for the onboard batteries. Our robust and compact design provides a balance between strength and weight. Our PSG prototype will serve as a proof of concept to mass-produce low-cost, light-weight solar generators to be used mainly in disaster relief.
Oral Presentation Session 3
Heathendom’s Return: The Cultural and Romanticized Revival of Norse Paganism in the Norwegian Black Metal Church Arsons Albert Jackson, University of South Carolina Aiken
The early Norwegian black metal scene during the 1990s has been marked with infamy because of the arson of old Norwegian stave churches and cathedrals. The Norwegian press linked the church arsons with Satanism considering the occult imagery and anti-Christian ideologies of many black metal bands; however, the press failed to regard the elements of Norwegian national romanticism and Norse paganism represented in these church burnings. Scholars of history explained that frustrated black metal musicians burned down churches to remove Christianity from Norway as violently as it had been imposed a thousand years prior. This paper will show that the black metal church arsons reflected the connection between Norse paganism in the arts and Norwegian national romanticism.
Flatliners: The Musical Annslyn Pilkington, University of Montevallo
The purpose of this project was to examine how to adapt an existing screenplay for a live audience while staying true to the original storyline and prevalent elements while also incorporating a score and songs. In the process, other theatrical elements like color theory, lighting and set design, costuming, direction, and audience placement were utilized. The major goals of writing, composing, and staging the musical were all achieved. Other successful goals included navigating rights management and copyright, taking part in the writing and editing process, producing a working script and compositions, working with live musicians and creating a cast recording, and editing a video for limited publication. The final staged result received widespread audience and university acclaim, and it was selected to be submitted to dramatic festivals.
An Interpretation of the Progression and Subversion of the Joker Character: A Critical Rhetorical Analysis Noah Anderson, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise
The character known as “Joker” may be one of the most complex of comic book villains. Few studies, however, have explored the communicative and social relevance of messages embodied by the character, who appears in five films between 1966 to 2019. Here, we draw upon cinematic evolutions of the character while using critical theory to further explore the progression and subversion of rhetorical strategies within the 2019 film. Selected scenes from the film duration were coded based on dialogue, setting, and nonverbal communication. The current study illustrates the rhetorical significance of this portrayal in exposing hegemonic beliefs that contribute to the character’s marginalized experiences and perpetuate harmful attitudes surrounding mental illness. Findings suggest a progressive strategy of exposing themes of stigma toward the mentally ill, thereby perpetuating a socially created Joker through these marginalized experiences. These rhetorical strategies encourage audiences to redefine their definition of the traditional villain.
Crafting the Next World Through Poetry Becca Hadwen, New College of Florida
I seek to understand how and why artists can use poetry events to co-create meanings, feelings, and understandings in the service of social justice movements. Previous research projects on this topic have come from different disciplines and been limited to specific cases. Research on social movements does not look at these gatherings. I add another case to those existing and examine a different possible avenue for communicating about social movements and connecting across difference. I observed an open mic in Sarasota, Florida, conducted qualitative interviews with four of the participants, and performed literary analysis on some of the poems shared that night. Preliminary analysis suggests the open mic can be a unique space for vulnerable dialogue and community-building, but those impacts depend on the attendees’ attention and openness. Attendees who participate as performers described deeper connection to the event than those who only listened.
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