Undergraduate Oral 2018-04-19T20:28:09+00:00

Abstracts

Undergraduate Research Oral Presentation

Library Rooms: 407, 416, 424, 431
Friday, April 20

Grambling State University

Library Room 407
9:00 am – 9:15 am
Transthyretin expression and folding in rat and human hepatocytes
Reality Suarez, Paul Kim, Landon Sims, Seraya Jones

Protein misfolding contributes to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative and other diseases. Other investigators have recently developed small-molecule, fluorescence turn-on sensors to detect misfolded proteins. In the present study, we describe the use of a fluorescence turn-on sensor based on a coumarin derivative to detect the folding state of transthyretin (TTR) protein in liver cells. This model was selected because liver cells are known to secrete TTR and protein misfolding in liver cells may play a role in the development of fatty liver disease. TTR mRNA expression in H4IIE rat and HepG2 human liver cells was determined by qPCR, TTR protein expression was measured by western blot, and TTR protein folding state was probed using a fluorescence-turn on sensor with specificity for properly folded and assembled TTR protein.


Library Room 407
10:00 am – 10:15 am
Climate Science Climate Change – Hoax or Reality? | The Views of Grambling State University Students
Kenisha Warrington, Dr. Steve Favors

This paper explores four main articles that report on the make-up, potential impacts, and human response to climate change. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), in a 2017 article, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in a 2014 report, both suggest that current fluctuations in the climate is heavily influenced by human activity, but the risks of which can also be mitigated by immediate human initiatives. Stern (2006) stressed that the benefits of reducing the risks associated with climate change are greater than the costs of inaction. Shear (2017) examines the reasoning for the United States’ (US) withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, and the backlash the decision received.


Library Room 416
9:15 am – 9:30 am
Identification of Proteins that may Distinguish the Efficacy of Memory Processing Between Mammals and Non-mammals
Kiawna Mounts, Hung-Tat Tony Leung

CAMKII has been known to be involved in long-term memory. Recently, RGS7 was found to be necessary for long-term memory in mice. We wonder if the two proteins are conserved in all vertebrates which are commonly used in the study of learning and memory. Both proteins are found to be highly conserved among vertebrates. We then checked the proteins downstream of the pathways. There is a sudden drop in protein identities between mammals and non-mammals in three proteins: CAMKK in the CAMKII pathway; R7BPand GIRK4 in the RGS7 pathway. We think diversity of CAMKK, R7BP and GIRK4 may play a role in the different efficacy of memory processing in mammals and non-mammals.

With the use of a survey, this paper ultimately sought to document the perspectives of Grambling State University (GSU) students on climate change, in the hopes of shedding light on the fact that greater awareness needs to be created about this increasingly important topic.


Library Room 416
9:45 am – 10:00 am
Computer Information Systems Importing and Analyzing Financial Data using R
Nathan Ismael, Prasanthi Sreekumari

Big Data allows government to make better decisions more quickly by analyzing large volumes of structured and unstructured data. Government records flow of money by departments and also record the pattern of money spending and income across external organizations as they receive financial help or financial proceeds from the reserves and aid. The fundamental aim of this research is two- fold: First, we present the impact of big data on government. Second, we analyze the financial data using R language to identify government expenditures.


Library Room 407
2:30 pm – 2:45 pm
“Because I Learn!”: An Exploratory Note on the Academic Identity of African-American Children
Janice Tucker, Dr. Sheptoski

Academic identity refers to the extent to which one identifies or defines the self in terms of academic-related experiences (Finn, 1989) and can motivate one to engage or disengage from school. Most research on the academic identity of African American students has focused on adolescents; high school and college students specifically. The primary concern has been academic dis-identification as an explanation of low African American academic achievement relative to other racial and ethnic groups, white students specifically (Donovan, 1984; Keith & Benson, 1992; Reynolds, 1989). As a result, very little is known about the academic identity of African American elementary-aged students and how they make sense of and understand the student role, including what being “smart” means to them. Data were drawn from two third grade classes at Lincoln Preparatory School on the campus of Grambling State University, a well-known HBCU in North Central Louisiana. Each of the fifteen students interviewed identified the student role as important to their identity and one hundred percent defined themselves as “smart”. Student understandings of academic identity were based primarily on two factors: their academic performance, in the form of grades, and their future orientation toward college and an eventual career path. Contrary to the literature on dis-identification (Finn & Rock, 1997; Mickelson, 1990; Ogbu, 1986; Steel 1997; Spencer et al., 2001), results strongly indicate interviewed African American third graders identify strongly and positively with the student role and define themselves as intelligent and capable children; at this stage of their lives their academic identity is robust and positive.

Louisiana Tech University

Library Room 407
9:15 am – 9:30 am
Optimization and Characterization of the Osteogenic Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Tailorable Hydrogel Scaffolds
Rachel Eddy, Dr. Jamie Newman

This project seeks to determine the effects of scaffold elasticity on the osteogenic differentiation capabilities of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hASCs) using tailorable biocompatible poly (ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate (PEGDMA) hydrogels. hASCs provide a clinically-relevant and abundant cell source from which to develop functional osteogenic tissue patches for clinical use in autologous tissue grafting. In this project, hASC growth and differentiation was first optimized to determine ideal cell culture conditions and characterization techniques, including immunofluorescent (IF) staining of osteogenic marker RUNX2. To further investigate interactions between osteogenesis and hydrogel scaffolding, this project now attempts the phenotypic rescue of osteogenesis in NOTCH3 knockdown hASCs by seeding these cells on hydrogels of osteogenic tissue-mimicking stiffness, as preliminary studies have suggested that NOTCH3 may play a critical role in the regulation of stem cell state and differentiation. Preliminary protein expression and IF data support this understanding of osteogenic mechanisms, as RUNX2 appears to be downregulated in NOTCH3 knockdown. Further analyzes will be performed to characterize and quantify expression and differentiation data. These initial studies provide a foundation for the overall goal of synthesizing functional osteogenic tissue to repair bone damage and disease.

McNeese State University

Library Room 407
8:30 am – 8:45 am
Effects of Added Emulgator F 12 on Nutrient Content, Sensory, Physicochemical and Microbiological Characteristics of a Lamb Snack Product
Karenzi Mutsinzi, Wannee Tangkham

In this study, Emulgator F12 is used as an emulsifier that stabilizes the lamb snack. The objective of this study was to evaluate lamb snack prepared with 3 levels of Emulgator F12: 0, 1, and 3%. Trained participants (n = 25) evaluated the snack for acceptability of flavor, texture, taste, firmness, and overall liking by using a 9-point hedonic scale. Treatments were analyzed for protein, fat, fiber, moisture, ash, pH and macro and micro nutrient content. In addition, color (L*, a*, b*), firmness, TBARs, aerobic plate counts, Escherichia coli, Listeria spp., and Enterobacteriaceae comparisons were completed. Samples were examined weekly at room temperature (25°C) during a 4 week period. Results indicated that lamb snack with 1% Emulgator F12 obtained the highest taste (6.10), overall liking (5.95), acceptability (65%), and purchase (60%) scores from panelists. Adding 3% Emulgator F12 increased calcium content (0.162%), magnesium (0.049%), manganese (5.92 ppm), potassium (0.678%), and sulphur (0.078%) compared to the control treatment. The control treatment had the lowest (p<0.05) moisture content (27.28%), ash (2.05%), L* (29.3), b* (13.50), TBARs (0.38 mg MDA/kg), firmness (22.85 of penetrometer in 1/10 mm scale), and aerobic plate count (2.0 log CFU/g) throughout 28 days of storage. No Listeria spp., E. coli and Enterobacteriaceae were detected. Our study suggests that Emulgator F12 is an effective emulsifier when preparing a lamb meat snack and may help food industry producers increase market share through this innovative product.


Library Room 407
10:15 am – 10:30 am
Detecting the Autophagy Pathway in the American Alligator
Erin Keller, Amber Hale

American alligator’s brumate in response to cooler temperatures, which is accomplished by decreasing metabolism, fasting, and body temperature depression. In other organisms, nutrient scarcity, at the cellular or organismal level, promotes autophagy. Autophagy is a well-conserved sub-cellular catabolic process that cells activate to maintain energy homeostasis during periods of cellular stress. It is our working hypothesis that alligators upregulate the autophagy pathway during their winter anorexia. We have used published genomic data to perform an analysis of the autophagy pathway and related regulators, as well as, adapted molecular methods to this non-traditional animal model. We have compared nucleotide sequences, protein sequences, domain conservation, and regulatory data to the human homologues. The autophagy pathway is highly conserved, and alligator amino acid sequences exhibit high identity with human homologues. Autophagy proteins ATG5, ATG9A, ATG16L, BECN1, and LC3 have been detected in multiple tissue types by western blot analysis. As we move forward, we plan to utilize these detectable proteins to identify differences among tissues and seasonally driven regulatory changes.


Library Room 416
8:30 am – 8:45 am
The effects of biweekly administration of an Aspergillus oryzae supplement on average daily gains and carcass traits of Gulf Coast Native lambs
Kealy Stelly, Tom Shields

The objective of this experiment was to determine the effects of administration of an oral Aspergillus oryzae supplement on growth and carcass characteristics of breed of sheep. Thirty-six Gulf Coast Native (GCN) lambs were evaluated to determine the effects of an oral administration of an Aspergillus oryzae based dietary supplement (AOS) on various growth and physiological traits. Initially, all lambs were sheared, weighed and randomly assigned to one of two dietary treatments. All lambs were weighed biweekly for 7 weeks. Four lambs were removed from the study for various health reasons. The criteria evaluated include: average daily gain (ADG), rib fat (RF), loineye area (LEA) and loin depth (LD). There were no differences between AOS treatment for ADG (0.21 vs. 0.20), RF (0.12 vs. 0.12 in.), LEA (1.55 vs. 1.54 in.2) or LD (0.83 vs. 0.80 in.). This would indicate that the physiological adaption in GCN sheep may supersede normal management effects inherent to other breeds of sheep.


Library Room 431
8:45 am – 9:00 am
A Numerical Investigation of Turbulent Flows around Submerged Permeable Breakwaters
William Foltz, Ning Zhang

A breakwater is a structure used to reduce the energy of waves. When used properly, they can protect coasts from being affected by waves. One such application is to lessen erosion along Louisiana’s coastlines, where wave action is strong and is the main source of the erosion. Additionally, the breakwater can change how sediments are transported, and allow for the deposition and accumulation of sediment at target areas. This research aims to give a numerical comparison of the effectiveness of three different breakwater designs, and reveal the turbulence characteristics downstream of the breakwaters. Three breakwaters are examined: a solid panel without any holes, another panel with one hole, and a third panel with three holes. These breakwaters are expected to be placed on the banks of various water bodies in coastal Louisiana, to protect the surrounding wetlands from coastal erosion and land losses. The designs aim to reduce the wave action from the water bodies, while the holes on them allow the sediments to pass through and deposit on the wetlands downstream. To run the simulations, the CFD software ANSYS FLUENT was used. The numerical results were compared to experimental data, and the good agreement proves the accuracy of the results. The effects of different wave patterns on the downstream turbulence were also analyzed and discussed in this study.


Library Room 407
2:00 pm – 2:15 pm
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights in the United States
Litel Collier, Henry Sirgo

This research paper follows the trajectory of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender rights movement in the United States. The socio-political ramifications of events like the Stonewall Riots are discussed to add historical context to the discussion While laws like sodomy statutes, employment discrimination, and bans on same-sex marriage are examined, both on a federal level and a state-by-state basis. Current issues in the LGBT rights movement are also given the spotlight in order to offer policy recommendations to combat current inequities between the various states. My research ultimately shows that the trajectory of the LGBT rights movement has been mostly linear, with some deviations. It also sheds a light on issues that have yet to be solved within our country, as LGBT individuals still face unequal treatment in many areas.

Nicholls State University

Library Room 407
9:45 am – 10:00 am
Medical Forensics of an Historical Cypress Mill Town Pharmacy in Lafourche Parish
Megan Boudreaux, Dr. John Doucet

We conducted a descriptive and exploratory analysis of a series of pharmacy inventory ledgers from the historical cypress mill town of Bowie, Louisiana, active 1895-1917 and located north of Raceland, Louisiana. The inventory ledgers, dating from the early WWI era up until 1931 when fire destroyed the largely wooden town, were donated for preservation by successors of the historic J.J. Ayo Pharmacy of Bowie to the Archives and Special Collections at Nicholls State University. Ledger information consists of end-of-year shelf inventories and included chemicals and presumed pharmaceutical compounds as well as household items and cosmetics. From the 1914 inventory, we transcribed, coded, sorted, and assessed function of 744 items, including 550 specific historical pharmaceuticals. Among the pharmaceuticals, many were in organismal form, particularly botanicals, as well as small number of presumably commercial organism-derived monomolecular biologics. We found a number of heavy metal compounds, including those containing mercury and arsenic, as well as forms of strychnine, narcotics, and other items known to modern medicine to be harmful or toxic. With modern medicine’s attention to chronic adulthood diseases like cancer, diabetes, and neurodegeneration, such forensic studies are important to understand life exposures to harmful agents. These inventories provide insight on the state of medical practice and pharmacy in rural southeastern Louisiana during in the early years of the 20th century. Analysis of this information provides a unique picture of Louisiana medicine and therapy during WWI-era U.S. history, as well as of life in rural bayou cypress swamplands.


Library Room 416
8:45 am – 9:00 am
Biology Plant Community Diversity in Louisiana Wetlands
Aaron Bacala, Dr. Sean Graham

Wetlands have a substantial impact on the economy, infrastructure, history, and culture of Louisiana. In particular, Louisiana wetlands support a large diversity of plants, from which a wide variety of ecosystem services derive, including water quality improvement, pollution abatement, and habitat support for important commercial and recreational activities, to name a few. In addition, wetlands also help protect coastal communities from the damaging effects of extreme meteorologic events such as hurricanes and floods. Thus, an improved understanding of plant community composition in Louisiana wetlands is essential, because ecosystem structure (e.g., plant diversity) drives the numerous ecosystem functions that human populations value. In 2016, as part of the U.S. EPA’s National Wetland Condition Assessment, plant community composition was surveyed at 40 wetland sites across Louisiana, spanning from the northern-most border with Arkansas to the southern-most barrier islands. At each site, five-100m2 plots were established within a 40-m radius assessment area where the percent cover of each plant species was measured. In general, Louisiana wetlands transitioned from predominately forested areas in the north to herbaceous marsh areas in the south, with varying degrees of human impact. Salinity appeared to be the primary factor controlling plant community structure in Louisiana wetlands. Overall, plant species diversity, richness, and evenness, as well as the prevalence of introduced species were greatest in forested wetlands, with all measures generally decreasing with increasing salinity.


Library Room 431
2:00 pm – 2:15 pm
Biology Long-term Impacts of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Exposure on Soil Carbon in Louisiana Salt Marshes
Carmen Marinelli, Dr. Sean Graham

The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill was the largest marine oil discharge ever recorded in the United States, releasing 506 x 106 L of crude oil into the northern Gulf of Mexico. The spill impacted approximately 2,100 km of Gulf Coast shoreline, including over 1000 km of fragile coastal wetlands in Mississippi River Delta, the nation’s most productive estuary. The salt marshes of Barataria Bay, Louisiana, located in the central portion of the delta, were among the areas that received the most severe oiling and adverse impacts. In particular, previously documented negative effects of DWH oil exposure on plant growth have important implications for ecosystem stability by reducing the rate of carbon accumulation, which contributes to soil volume and directly effects to the capacity of coastal wetlands to keep pace with sea level rise. Thus, the objective of this research was to assess the long-term effects of DWH oiling on soil carbon content in salt marshes impacted by the spill. Results spanning a 7-yr timeframe from 2011 to 2016 show that marshes exposed to moderate and heavy oiling had significantly lower soil carbon content (mg C g-1 soil) compared to reference marshes that received no apparent oiling. Reductions in soil carbon caused by oiling also corresponded with increased soil bulk density (g soil cm-3), likely due to reduced belowground biomass contributions to soil volume. Collectively, these results indicate that DWH oil exposure compromised salt marsh stability over the long-term and that recovery of ecosystem function is not yet complete.


Library Room 431
2:30 pm – 2:45 pm
Using Frog Call Surveys to Compare Anuran Ecology in Wetlands of the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary System
Justin Brockmann, Dr. Gary LaFleur

Since 2005, our lab has conducted frog call surveys in the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary with the Louisiana Amphibian Monitoring Program established by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and U.S. Geological Survey. Each year we survey three routes at three sites including a freshwater area in Choctaw Swamp and two brackish sites along La. Hwy. 55 in Montegut and along Falgout Canal Road. We compared the number of anuran species encountered during 2006 to 2017 with Choctaw yielding 9.83 +/- 0.937 species, which is significantly higher than Falgout Canal yielding 5.83 +/- 2.08 species, and Montegut yielding 4.4 +/- 1.8 species. We have also listed the species that consistently tolerate brackish salinities including the Northern Cricket Frog, Green Treefrog, Southern Leopard Frog, Pig Frog, and American Bull Frog. Since the coastal sites are adjacent to coastal restoration projects, these data will allow us to use the number of frog species as an indicator of restoration success. If the marsh becomes more saline, we expect the number of amphibian species to decline, whereas if the marsh becomes fresher, we can expect the number of amphibian species to increase. This work was conducted in collaboration with LDWF, BTNEP, USGS, and NOAA.


Library Room 431
3:00 pm – 3:15 pm
Biology Presence of Antibiotic-Resistant Enteric Bacteria and Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Recreational Waters of Southeast Louisiana
Belding Cameron, Raj Boopathy

In the past few decades, the medical community has faced a rising problem in the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and the difficulty of treating related infections. The presence of these bacteria in high-traffic bodies of water, as well as the presence of the antibiotic resistance genes (ARG) floating freely in the water, pose the threat of antibiotic-resistant infections in individuals living and recreating in these areas of southeast Louisiana. Water samples from Cocodrie, Louisiana, and Port Fourchon, Louisiana, were analyzed using chemical, microbial, and molecular methods to determine the presence of ARBs and ARGs. The species analyzed include E. coli, K. pneumoniae, and E. cloacae. They were tested for resistance to carbapenem, monobactam, penicillin, sulfonamide, and cephalosporin antibiotics. Monthly samples were taken in triplicate for a 6-month testing period and tested for water quality standards including salinity, temperature; phosphate, nitrate, and ammonia concentration; dissolved oxygen, and total and fecal coliforms. Bacteria were isolated, identified using biochemical assays, and tested for antibiotic resistance using Kirby-Bauer assays. DNA isolation, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and gel electrophoresis were used to identify ARGs. Significant numbers of ARBs were consistently found at both sites, and ARGs were found throughout testing. These numbers, as well as the chemical and coliform data, show that these high-traffic recreational bodies of water may be putting wildlife and humans at risk for antibiotic-resistant infections.

Northwestern State University

Library Room 407
8:45 am – 9:00 am
Assembly of Metal Oxide Nanoparticles onto Macroscopic Structures
Harley Godwin, Dr. Shreyashi Ganguly, Shannon Jones, Rayvin Gaudet

Metal Oxide nanoparticles such as ZnO, TiO2, InSnO has been the topic of interest in the scientific community for the last decade. Their application as nanoparticles is versatile. Be it as transparent conductors, electrochromic windows, materials in sunscreen lotions. Having said that the major hurdle for the nanoparticles are usually how to assemble them together so that they could be fabricated into devices without altering a lot of their individual optoelectronic properties.

This presentation will describe a cheaper and viable mode of synthesis for ZnO nanoparticles of varied sizes and shapes. The nanoparticles will be characterized by powder X ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and infrared spectroscopy. In addition, it will also demonstrate easier methods of assembling the nanoparticles into thin films as well as into macroscopic materials. Further, the application of the ZnO as transparent conductor will also be addressed with the help of ultraviolet/visible spectroscopy.”


Library Room 416
9:00 am – 9:15 am
Identifying Leptospira interrogens in feral hog populations using MALDI-TOF
Caitlyn Cutrer, Christopher Lyles, Jordan Bringedahl, Luke Laborde

Leptospira interrogens is a zoonotic pathogen that causes leptospirosis. Feral hogs (Sus scrofa) are known carriers of this bacterium and due to the hogs’ reproductive prowess their population is beginning to encroach into city water reservoirs creating a human health concern. Traditional identification of Leptospira sp. is done by using the microscopic agglutination test however, this can be expensive and time consuming. Alternatively, by using MALDI-TOF we can identify multiple species of Leptospira sp. using their mass spectrum profiles. Blood was opportunistically collected from 23 feral hogs across Natchitoches Parish. The serum was separated via centrifugation and 0.5 mls of a respective serum was then pipetted into Fletcher’s medium modified with 0.05% hemin. Once growth was observed (~5-7 days), 1 ml of medium was aseptically transferred into a 1.5 ml tube and centrifuged, the supernatant was decanted, and the pellet spotted on a MSP 96 target polished steel plate and overlaid with 1 µl of HCCA. Samples were analyzed using the MALDI-TOF Biotyper software (v4.1.70). The results have yielded mixed results ranging from no growth, to the enrichment of Aeromonas hydrophila, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, and multiple Pseudomonas sp.; however, some samples yielded mass spectra that could not be readily identified and could potentially be Leptospira sp. Currently, we are in the process of using pure cultures purchased from ATCC to develop a unique Leptospira sp. mass spectrum library. This library can then be used as a reference to rapidly identify these unknown Leptospira sp. spectra enriched from our blood samples.


Library Room 431
9:15 am – 9:30 am
The Design and Fabrication of Electrofisher Robot
Jacob Shaver, Dr. Jafar Al Sharab, Anton Inyakov, Christopher Billiot, Dustin Ramsey

NSU IET/EET students’ capstone course requires that student(s) identify a local problem, research possible solutions, and propose a viable solution. In this case, student(s) designed and fabricated a Electrofisher Robot which can attract fish to the location of the robot. The proposal was presented by student(s) to the Natchitoches Fish Hatchery. Students applied theory and technique learned through the IET/EET Curriculum to solve problems of the type that they will encounter in the real-world. Preliminary research, application of theory, and analysis of the proposal was guided by faculty members to ensure that student(s) remain on target.


Library Room 431
10:00 am – 10:15 am
Penetrant Comparison Efficacy on Antique Brick Masonry
Linda Strauss, Dr. Jafar Al Sharab, Mason Caubarreaux, Tazarea Clark, Cory Franklin

NSU IET/EET students’ capstone course requires that students(s) identify a local problem, research possible solutions, and propose a viable solution. In this case, students(s) designed an experiment to compare the efficacy of water repelling penetrants, siloxane and RTV silicone, on an antique brick structure. The proposal was presented by the student(s) to the National Center for Preservation, Technology and Training (NCPTT). Students applied theory and technique learned through the IET/EET Curriculum to solve problems of the type that they will encounter in the real-world. Preliminary research, application of theory, and analysis of the proposal was guided by faculty members to ensure that student(s) remain on target.


Library Room 431
2:15 pm – 2:30 pm
Ai validation of a putative immune gene, lipocalin, in the lone star tick
Emily Bencosme-Cuevas, Dr. Lindsay Porter

Amblyomma americanum is a health burden for both humans and animals in the southern part of the United States. While extensive research on tick-host and host-pathogen interactions exists, few studies have investigated the tick-pathogen interaction. Previously, we identified a gene differentially-expressed during bacterial infection, lipocalin. Bioinformatic analysis of the full CDS and encoded protein are discussed. In this study, we investigated the tick response to bacterial challenge after RNAi silencing of lipocalin. Ticks were infected with E. coli induced to express ds-RNA, and after infection, both hemolymph and gene expression was analyzed. Results and future directions are discussed.

Southeastern Louisiana University

Library Room 416
10:00 am – 10:15 am
Recognizing Brain Activities by Means of Machine Learning
Damodar Dahal, Dr. Ömer M. Soysal

In this study, we aim to explore recognizing brain activities based on electroencephalography (EEG) signals. The work flow of the system has several stages including signal processing, feature extraction, classification, and assessment. We utilize a machine learning technique (Support Vector Machine) to predict whether a subject wearing an EEG headset is performing mental calculations or not. Such a system can be used to aid patients permanently paralyzed by diseases such as ALS and Parkinson’s disease. We use the open access dataset provided by Technical University of Berlin. A covariance matrix is used to calculate a special kind of spatial filter, named common spatial patterns. The preliminary results show improvement in classification accuracy (80.6%) compared to the one in the literature (75.9%)


Library Room 424
9:00 am – 9:15 am
Encoding for Online Scholarly Archives in the Humanities
Madeline Felps, Dr. David Hanson

Over the past several years, projects in the humanities, including scholarship, have moved to the web due to the significantly lower cost of electronic publishing and greater potential for user interaction. With the rise of the digital humanities, the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), which set a standard for encoding grammar using Extensible Markup Language (XML), was created to ensure the preservation of these projects. Several projects at Southeastern Louisiana University involve XML, though the Early Ruskin Manuscripts receives the most attention. The Early Ruskin Manuscripts is a digital archive of John Ruskin’s early work, including facsimiles of his manuscripts with corresponding digital transcriptions for readability, commentary on his works, and more. This presentation will discuss the significance of preservation, introduce the Early Ruskin Manuscripts, and explore the process of creating such an expansive archive.


Library Room 424
9:45 am – 10:00 am
Tennessee: A Grave or a Free Home
Joseph Ricci, William Robison

The Confederate invasion of Tennessee was the last major offensive campaign in the Western Theatre of the American Civil War and resulted in more than thousands of casualties. The largely forgotten Battle of Franklin took place on November 30, 1864 and contributed to the astronomic casualty count adding roughly 8,000 American lives to the total. This presentation will address the following: Confederate strategy, the effectiveness of Federal artillery and its role in the defeat of the Confederate Army, and the immediate burial of troops as well as the 1866-67 effort to re-inter the remains of roughly 2,000 soldiers. Use of the Official Record of the War of the Rebellion, The National Tribune, and The Confederate Veteran Magazine, as well as letters and diary entries have provided the detailed accounts of the attack, the nearly impenetrable line of Federal artillery, and the burials both immediately following the battle and burial project contracted to George and Marcellus Cuppett. The results of the research conducted shed a light on a largely forgotten battle and its aftermath which changed the landscape of Franklin, Tennessee forever.


Library Room 407
3:00 pm – 3:15 pm
Adverse Childhood Experiences, Resilience, & Empathy: Trauma Survivors’ Proclivity for Helping Others
Delanie Bourgeois, Narussia DeLoach, Josh Manguno, Bonnie Ahn

The purpose of this study is to examine if there is any relationship between adverse childhood experiences and a person’s selection of major in a helping profession. Researchers during the 1900s discovered that there is a link between experiencing childhood trauma, and a person’s physical and mental health outcomes later in adulthood. However, we propose that such research is antithetical to the beliefs held by the social work profession because studies undertaken in such a way fail to examine the entire person in his/her environment, and such studies ignore the strengths that may be gleaned, as by-products, to experiencing childhood trauma. We hypothesize that college students majoring in social work are more likely to have had adverse childhood experiences than in other majors. The research design will employ an explanatory approach using a cross-sectional survey study design. The purposive sample of 100 social work majors and 100 students from other majors will be selected. The study will use two instruments: First instrument is ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Questionnaire which is composed of questions related to the areas of childhood trauma and the second instrument explores the participants’ major and other demographic information. To address the study’s hypothesis, multiple regression will be performed. Our research is to discern whether a higher ACEs score, will affect a person choice to pursue a career in social work.


Library Room 431
2:45 pm – 3:00 pm
Preference and Tolerance for Exercise Intensity Impacts Time to Fatigue
Wesley Brown, Danial Hollander, Brandon Baiamonte, Robert R. Kraemer

The preference and tolerance for exercise intensity has been correlated with behavioral activation/inhibition, rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and HR. However, less is known about the relationship of preference and tolerance for exercise intensity to endurance tasks typical in strength programming. To determine if preference and tolerance of exercise intensity was related to time to fatigue during abdominal plank holds, the PRETIE-Q, time to fatigue on the plank, and several demographic variables were recorded. METHODS: 54 undergraduate students participated in the study. All participants were given brief health history questionnaire, informed consent, and the PRETIE-Q. Participants were instructed about the procedures of the study, a brief warm up was performed and then participants paired off and recorded time to fatigue on the plank exercise. In addition, the participants were told that when plank form (the lower back began to dip, the arms became too unsteady, or the participant voluntarily stopped) the exercise session was halted. RESULTS: Correlations determined positive relationship between plank time and preference (r=0.35, P <0.001) and tolerance (r=.30, P=0.02). Moreover, neither of the demographic nor the attention factors significantly correlated to plank time to fatigue. CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrated that participants, who reported higher preference and tolerance for exercise intensity, held the horizontal plank longer than those who scored lower on preference and tolerance. These results are consistent with past research that demonstrated these individuals with higher preference and tolerance scores demonstrated greater post exercise pain hyoalgesia after circuit training (Baiamonte et al., 2017).

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Library Room 416
10:15 am – 10:30 am
Demo of Secure Semantic Search Over Encrypted Data on the Cloud
Hoang Pham, Dr. Mohsen Amini

Cloud Computing is becoming dominant and utilized across various industries. Parallel with the growth of the Cloud Computing is the security and privacy concerns that cloud users have to delegate their data ownership to the cloud. Encrypting data before outsourcing them to the cloud is a popular solution to protect confidentiality of users, however, it is achieved with the sacrifice of fundamental functionality to search and retrieve data, since the traditional search does not work with encrypted data. This paper introduces a system, called S3C, that allows users to securely store their data files (i.e., documents) in the public cloud storage and also supports the mechanism to semantically search and retrieved their documents in the ranked order.


Library Room 424
10:00 am – 10:15 am
Remembering the Unforgettable: Oral History in Review
Reed Everette, Dr. Liz Skilton, Virginia Poimboeuf

This presentation reviews the work performed over the last year as undergraduate research assistants in Unforgettable Crises: The Grand 16 Theater Shooting Incident Oral History Project. This project looks at the community effects of the Grand 16 theater shooting in order to better understand disaster response and methods of response management. This project sought to answer: How do individuals react to unnatural disasters? How does a community react? What does recovery look like on an individual and community wide scale? How might this recovery process be aided? Research moved through three phases of data collection. In this presentation, we will discuss the various phases of research, methodology used, and preliminary results garnered.


Library Room 431
9:45 am – 10:00 am
A Study of the Effects of Soiling on Concentrating Solar Power
Matthew Prilliman, Dr. Terrence Chambers, Dr. Kary Ritter

Soiling of solar collector mirrors in concentrating solar power (CSP) applications is a major factor influencing component and system reliability, thermal efficiency degradation, and minimization of maintenance costs. Research is needed to identify mechanisms to minimize soiling or dust accumulation effects in different geographic and climatic regions as deposition on mirrors is location-specific and modulated by several factors, including soil parent material, microclimate, and frequency and intensity of dust events. With over 300 publications generated in the last five years alone, the effects of soiling and particle accumulation on solar power is a high interest topic. The UL Lafayette Solar Technology Applied Research and Testing (START) lab consists of a large aperture parabolic trough CSP facility in operation since 2013 where spectrometry measurements are taken regularly as part of plant operation and evaluation of the degree of soiling that the reflective surfaces have undergone. Based on operational outcomes, recommendations regarding cleaning procedure and frequency have been developed and are reported. Several models and generations of reflector composition have been evaluated, covering three generations of thin-film polymer chemistry and including several assembly methods. A low-cost gloss meter is used for spectrometry measurements for detecting reductions in specularity which are correlated to the actual plant energy production. This study analyzed solar collector soiling data for three different thin film types: 3M 1100, 3M 2020, and Konica Minolta film mirror. The data, along with parabolic trough cleaning costs and energy pricing considerations, was used to determine the optimal days between cleaning. Analysis of the results reveals that the 3M 2020 film has the fastest soiling degradation rate, and that the mirrors washing rate should be increased from its current standard to optimize cost savings.


Library Room 407
2:15 pm – 2:30 pm
An Analysis of Shell Oil’s Exploitation of the Ogoniland
Kai Duckworth, Dr. Sharon Ridgeway

This paper examines the history and implications of the state-corporate alliance of Shell Oil and the Nigerian Government. By exploring this relatively clear cut example of the destruction of corporate globalization I seek to clarify the process by which economic neoliberalism has grown across the world, as well as the destructive nature of that ideological expansion. I specifically followed the history of the Ogoni people from 18th century pre-colonialism all the way to modern day neo-colonialism, highlighting the most impactful legacies of British control. Information for this paper was collected mainly through newspaper articles, reports from international human rights organizations, and history books of Nigeria. This overview of Nigeria’s devastation challenges popular assumptions about the modern global economy by showing how neoliberalism has failed the country by design for the sole benefit of multinational corporations.


Library Room 407
2:45 pm – 3:00 pm
Distinctions between the Psychology and Semantics of ‘Fake News’ and ‘Propaganda’
Cloie Leger, Dr. Brooke Breaux, Dr. Robert Michael

Recently, the 2016 presidential election in the United States made fake news a household name, but what exactly is fake news? Potthast, Kiesel, Bevendorff, and Benno (2017) describe fake news as “a certain kind of ‘news’ spread much more successfully than others, and that these ‘news’ are typically extremely one-sided (hyperpartisan), inflammatory, emotional, and often riddled with untruths” (p. 1). Potthast et al.’s (2017) research showed that a computer program designed to analyze writing styles could be used to differentiate between real news stories and fake news stories. We wanted to know whether college students could perform a similar task, so we presented ninety-two college students with some of the same news stories used in the Potthast et al. (2017) study. These news stories differed in (a) whether they contained mostly false or mostly true information and (b) whether they were politically oriented from either the left, center, or right. Each participant read one of these news stories and responded to questions about how the story made them feel, the truthfulness of the new story’s content, the author’s intention, and the author’s political orientation. The results of our study reveal that college students were able to correctly categorize the news story according to its political orientation; however, they were not able to correctly assess its truth content. We argue that if someone wants to accurately detect fake news, they would be better served by a specialized computer program than by a random college student.

University of Louisiana at Monroe

Library Room 424
8:30 am – 8:45 am
Challenging Familial Structures of Modern Day America from a Gendered Lens
Tanya Lariviere, Lesli Pace

For generations, families in the United States have embodied a gendered institution within their home that delegates binary social expectations between all members. The presumption was that only one type of family exists and that it could not be a flexible term. Contemporary families are now having to redefine the definition of “family,” as the traditional nuclear family is no longer the active norm. Families are experiencing more unique situations in which single-parenting, step-parenting, and other distinct family structures are replacing historic household practices. This gender analysis focuses on challenging the fixed guidelines of what it means to be a family using a critical-gendered lens. The artifact that will be explored is an advertisement from the Whirlpool Every Day, Care Campaign. This topic brings new perspective and appreciation for the hard work of all families, while noting the presence of gendered expectations which are to be challenged within the artifact. Provided will be insight on how the artifact asks viewers to challenge the idea of the nuclear family, to see that single-parent children will not miss out on the importance of social learning, and lastly how gender-specific attributes are irrelevant because human identity is not binary. The methods used in this research were concepts extracted from “Gender in Communication” by Victoria P. DeFrancisco and Catherine H. Palczewski. Those in attendance are openly challenged to reevaluate their expectations of gender in the household.


Library Room 424
8:45 am – 9:00 am
Ibn Fadlan, John Mandeville, and the Land of Darkness: The Medieval Making and Mapping of Semitic Monsters
Mary Hillman, Dr. Will Rogers

The period leading up to the sack of Constantinople and following that of the Western Roman Empire is characterized as a time of anxiety. For the Medieval Christian and Islamic worlds, this millennium-long anxiety spurred the postulation and mapping of the Biblical figures of Gog and Magog. Looking back to Hellenist mythos of Alexander the Great and his encounters with Jewish tribes, the Mandeville and Ibn Fadlan texts provide a geographical and textual map of Gog and Magog’s Anti-Semitic adoption; in other terms, we can use these texts and their geographical claims to study the functions of both geographically-seated pagan and fluid Biblical mythoi in the context of discoveries, conflicts, and anxieties within late Medieval Christian and early Islamic travel narratives. As The Book of John Mandeville and Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness both respectfully reside within separate canons- Mandeville in Western and Fadlan in the Middle Eastern-, these works contrast one another in world perspectives, narrative structures, dates, language, and several other ways among these. Using Voyant Tools to compile word maps from the ‘Gog and Magog’ sections of the texts, this project aims to interpret these sections in relation to their geographical claims and narratives. Ultimately, this presentation will place these examples of Medieval travel literature into a broader context- one not only of exploration and discovery of the ‘other,’ but within the determinants of Anti-Semitism.

University of New Orleans

Library Room 424
9:15 am – 9:30 am
No-Budget vs High-Budget Filmmaking, A Video Essay
Dustin Foret, Laura Medina

Video essays are a visual and literary tool that blends creative editing and essay writing to discuss a specific topic, with words supporting visuals and visuals supporting words. YouTube has a strong community of very creative and articulate video essayists like ‘Every Frame A Painting,’ ‘Nerdwriter,’ and ‘Royal Ocean Film Society.’ This video essay compares the tactics of low-budget and high-budget filmmaking while highlighting the work of producer Emma Thomas–who with Christopher Nolan produced ‘The Dark Knight,’ ‘Interstellar,’ ‘Memento,’ and more.


Library Room 424
10:15 am – 10:30 am
FIFA Video Game Series and Diversity in US Soccer
M. Eric Kugler, Dan Harper, Dame Sene, Quinn Quaglino

In the past decade, I’ve seen the game of soccer grow by leaps and bounds here in New Orleans. In public school and parks, afterschool and late into the evening, you can see the game is being played by many more people of many different backgrounds. In this talk, I will discuss my experiences with the United States Soccer Foundation Diversity Task Force and our research project to use the EA FIFA video game to introduce new players to the World’s game and propose a curriculum development project with UNO to explore its uses to help aid in education in subjects like Social Studies, Geography, Language and Mathematics.


Library Room 431
8:30 am – 8:45 am
Optical Displacement Sensor
Raymond Herkes, Kim Jovanovich

This fiber optic sensor is a design project being done by Raymond Herkes for his senior project with the help and guidance of Professor Kim Jovanovich. The desire of this subject for the senior project was provoked when I took Prof. Jovanovich’s Optics class over the summer. With my focus of my Electrical Engineering degree being in Power Systems I wanted to broaden the spectrum of my body of work with the communications side of Electrical Engineering. This optical sensor will use a receiver similar to that of a medical stethoscope, but will not be made of the same material. This piece will only be used to detect sound or vibrations which will then then project these vibrations onto a membrane in a diaphragm. This diaphragm will be the essential piece used in modulation of the light signal in which will be then be sent to a receiver to be analyzed and interpret the data. The light will be sent and received using a bifurcated fiber optic cable. This sensor will be used in a magnetic resonance imaging environment where metal objects are of special concern and cannot be present. The sensor will not be constructed of any form of metal; therefore, it will not be rendered a problem. This sensor is not limited to just a microphone as it will have the capability to sense the slightest vibrations.


Library Room 431
9:00 am – 9:15 am
Hoverboards
Prerak Chapagain, Michael Goodwin

I worked in the research and design of a new focal-plane robotic positioner, called “Hoverboards” to move heavy payloads over large focal surfaces. These devices solve many challenges faced by the next generation of Extremely Large Telescopes. Hoverboards facilitate fast field configuration times (simultaneous positioning) and best utilization of the focal-plane (diversified payloads and multi-object surveys). An application of the positioner is the 24.5m Giant Magellan Telescope for multi-object adaptive optics and large format integral- field unit surveys. Working with my supervisor, we were successful in developing a low- cost prototype suitable for flat and curved focal-plane surfaces.


Library Room 431
10:15 am – 10:30 am
3D Printing of Metal Nanoparticle-Polymer Composites
Cynthiya Shrestha, Damon Smith

This research project primarily focuses on three major aspects: synthesis and inclusion of metallic nanoparticles within a polymer matrix, extrusion of composite filaments and three-dimensional (3D) printing of multifunctional polymer composites. Since very few studies have explored the inclusion of metallic nanoparticles in 3D printing materials, the findings from this study can be significant for additive manufacturing technology. Preliminarily, we are interested in synthesizing silver nanoparticles because of their enhanced antimicrobial, mechanical and optical properties. Initially, nanoparticles with different morphologies (such as spheres, cubes and wires) will be synthesized to study the effect of morphology on the mechanical properties of the composite material. The nanoparticles will be incorporated into ABS polymer pellets and extruded into composite filaments that can be used for 3D printing of dog-bone test structures. After the fabrication process, tensile tests and fracture surface analysis will be conducted to study the extent of enhancement of the mechanical properties as compared to neat polymer 3D printed specimens. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction (XRD) will be used to further understand the structure-mechanical property relationship of the composite specimens. The critical challenge in this project would be to ensure homogenous distribution of the nanoparticles throughout the polymer filaments. This project will integrate concepts and applications from three different fields: nanotechnology, material science and additive manufacturing.

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