UMTC Undergraduate Research Presentations and Papers (UROP)

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This collection contains posters, scholarly papers, and other presentations prepared by undergraduate researchers, including presentations made at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, the McNair Scholars Symposium, and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Additional undergraduate work can be found in the Homecoming Student Scholar and Public Engagement Showcase

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Now showing 1 - 20 of 1997
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    Developing Architectural Guidelines for Digital Twins
    (2024-04-18) Perez, Wincy Gerard
    The concept of a ‘digital-twin’ opens up the possibility to capture an overview of the constantly shifting attributes of the building through real-time data collection that is allocated to a model rebuilt in a digital workspace. Today’s architectural applications of the concept mainly focuses on the measurement of environmental data within the building or metrics that can be associated with operational energy. This project aims to expand on digital-twin methodology with further consideration of metrics collected from the materials within the wall assembly that are associated with embodied energy; using the Nolte Center as a test subject building. A list of technologies available for digital-twin creation were created and Rhino was used to run weather-induced simulations. This brought about further exploration pertaining to the feasibility of sensor installation and representations of the data in a digital environment. Although the project initially aimed to explore the overall methodology, the early stages of creation were explored in-depth and helped to find more clarity about the feasibility of measuring various aspects. In the future, we hope to use the findings from this project to carry out a physical implementation in the Nolte Center.
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    Light-mediated Sexual Dimorphism in Opsin Expression During Spawning in Nematostella vectensis
    (2024-04) Wagner, Starla J.; McCulloch, Kyle J.
    Across animals, opsins are the primary protein responsible for light detection. Currently, there is a large gap in knowledge in the evolutionary history of opsin function and how it correlates with other biological responses like spawning. Cnidarians (jellyfish and anemones) are prime candidates for closing this gap. They are a sister taxon to bilaterally symmetric animals like flies and humans, and so studying their opsin function and expression in non-visual contexts allows for further understanding of how light sensing may have evolved to form modern visual systems. In this experiment, qPCR analysis on the Cnidarian, Nematostella vectensis (the starlet sea anemone), was used to determine the effect of certain wavelengths of light that an animal was exposed to during spawning had on opsin expression levels. The impact of sex and tissue type on these expression levels was an additional area of interest. The data showed that certain wavelengths like blue light were correlated with larger amounts of opsin expression in female mesenteries and tentacles/skin tissue than in male tissue types. This indicates that opsin expression is sexually dimorphic which implies there is a relationship between opsin expression and spawning, something that was previously unknown. Future experiments using RNA-seq will allow for a deeper understanding of this relationship and the proteins involved.
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    Meta-Learning for Monitoring Environment Systems Across the Globe
    (2024-05-15) Vashishtha, Shridhar
    Data sparsity is a key challenge in monitoring climate because of the lack of quality data, problems in sensors, lack of historical data, or financial constraints in certain parts of the world. Thus, monitoring the environment using machine learning becomes a difficult task because classic machine learning algorithms’ main objective is to train a model that uses input features to learn classes. This paradigm requires huge datasets which makes it difficult to train models in tasks where data is sparse. Meta-learning, or learning-to-learn is a learning paradigm which provides an alternative methodology to classic machine learning algorithms. Meta-learning uses machine learning models in various learning episodes and uses this experience to learn in new learning environments. Thus, meta-learning can be used to monitor environment systems by training in scenarios where data is available and leveraging that information in data sparse tasks.
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    Quantifying the Diffusivity of Cryoprotective Agents in Swine Skeletal Muscle Tissue
    (2024-05-15) Saida, Agam; Kraft, Casey; Upchurch , Weston; Iaizzo, Paul A.; Bischof, John
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    Community design/building in Japan & China: From Participatory Design to Co-design
    (2024-05-13) Liu, Xiaotong
    Community design is always a crucial component of architecture design. And a crucial factor that should be taken into account in the community design process is resident involvement. Today, "co-design" is growing in popularity. "Co-design" refers to the inclusion of locals in the designing and building process of the project. Architects should engage community members and get feedback from them continuously. In Japanese community residents are highly motivated to participate in the planning and construction process. The community's participation in design and construction has a lengthy development history, beginning with rehabilitation projects that happened as a result of the periodic earthquakes and tsunami (Jiang, 2023). This essay documents six Japanese community design cases, analyzing their histories, current status, benefits, and involved parties. A matrix examines the various participant kinds, behaviors, and levels of participation. Inferences are drawn about how to move the current participatory design process to the co-design stage, and with a Chinese case as an example, how to apply Japanese participatory design techniques to Chinese community design.
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    Characterizing perception of transcutaneous electrical stimulation on the external ear via psychometric functions
    (2024) Haider, Azaan
    Tinnitus is a condition where one has the perception of a sound, such as ringing or hissing, despite the absence of an external auditory stimulus.1 Tinnitus affects around 740 million people worldwide.2 For some, this perceived sound can be irritating, decreasing their quality of life. Despite this, few effective treatments exist for tinnitus, launching research into developing new techniques.3 Two new and promising treatment strategies are transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) and bimodal stimulation. Both have been shown to be effective, portable, and noninvasive.4,5 Both treatment options make use of paired electrical stimulation (e-stim) and sounds to induce therapeutic neuromodulation that alleviates tinnitus symptoms. A key element of e-stim is the intensity–the amount of stimulation delivered (referred to as e-stim level here). While there is a growing body of work on taVNS and bimodal stimulation, there remains no consensus on the optimal e-stim level for tinnitus treatment. In this project, we aimed to understand the variability of the perceptual threshold of e-stim in tinnitus participants.
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    Marriage & Migration: Examining the Role of Legal Actors in Constructing Narratives
    (2024) Makori, Eunice; Horner, Kimberly; Bethke, Isabel
    Shifting away from institutional approaches to examining the roles of legal actors or immigration law and policy, this research takes a special focus on how narratives are constructed and employed within marriage and migration. In that, this literature review takes a particular focus to how law functions as a form of narrative within examining the use narrative strategies by legal actors in meditating marriage and migration
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    Race in Brazilian Political Campaigns
    (2024-05) Rodriguez Yado, Marina
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    The Significance of Ancient Mitochondrial DNA in Establishing Genetic Ancestry
    (2024-05) Lindahl, Laena E.
    Within this study, the mitochondrial genomes of ancient Homo sapiens were analyzed to mark ancestral connections among the ancient people of the Caribbean and Puerto Rico; samples examined were found across Southern and Central America. Literature references house large amounts of genomic data which can be compared to each other. These papers show that mitochondrial DNA can help make connections between groups through maternal haplogroup identification. This project not only compiled and organized this data but gave insight to how mitochondrial DNA can be used to find genetic links among a group of ancient people which can later be compared to modern.
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    Human Facial Perception of Primates Through ERP Measurement, 2024, Poster
    (2024-05) West, Abigail E
    Several studies, some using electrophysiological methods, have examined the capacity of humans to perceive primate faces. Through subsequent data, humans are confirmed to be far more adept at recognizing human faces, and less skilled at recognizing non-human primate faces. However, comparative perceptual research utilizing non-human primate species as stimuli is limited. In this study, I utilized EEG technology to compare the amplitude and latency of the P1 and N170 components in adults when exposed to chimp, macaque, and human faces. I determined that chimpanzee faces result in a significantly higher P1 amplitude, as well as a faster N170 latency. Human faces, meanwhile, showed a significantly higher N170 amplitude. Macaque faces demonstrated a faster P1 latency. These findings support non-evolutionary mechanisms for facial processing. In addition, the results from the chimpanzee face trials align with previous literature regarding human perception of threatening faces. Overall, through the measurement of the P1 and N170 components, more insight could be gained in regards to human perception of different primate species.
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    Applying Antiracist Research Principles in Psychology: A Case Study of The CARPE DIEM Project
    (2024-04) Sabia, Monir; Boles, Mallory; McIntyre, Kleara; Berg, Kalina; Lundeen, Ellen; Arnold, Jax
    Historically, developmental psychology research has primarily studied White families through a color- and power-evasive lens and has applied deficit models to other ethnic-racial groups. To rectify inequities in the field and apply research that will promote racial justice, many individual researchers and the American Psychological Association (2019) have proposed antiracist guidelines to best guide researchers, support minority populations, and inform policy. For this poster, we extracted 38 antiracist research recommendations from six published articles, clustering them into four overarching principles, including 1) Supporting and amplifying BIPOC researchers and leadership, 2) Commitment to ethical translational and community-based participatory research, 3) Acknowledgement of researchers’ positionality and racial/ethnic bias within the project and commitment to ongoing learning, and 4) Explicit exploration of participants’ ethnic-racial identities, resilience, and systems of oppression. To illustrate these principles in action, we describe methods and team members’ reflections from The CARPE DIEM (Courageous, Antiracist, and Reflective Parenting Efforts: Deepening Intentionality with Each Moment) Study, a three-year, longitudinal, mixed-methods study evaluating an antiracist parenting intervention for White mothers and their young children. Implementing these principles encourages antiracist practices and equitable research that uplifts marginalized families and communities, and promotes a diverse, collaborative lab culture.
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    Public Perceptions Of Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization
    (2024) Reeves, Mya L; Borgida, Eugene; Schumacher, Lucas
    This 2-wave panel study examines the relationship between Separate Spheres Ideology (hereafter, SSI), abortion attitudes, and attitudes toward reproductive health policies. Prior research on gender ideology has focused on prescriptive and descriptive stereotypes, but this study aims to test the validity of SSI as a measure of gender ideology in the context of abortion attitudes. It was generally expected that those respondents who endorse SSI, who are theoretically committed to preserving the gendered-status quo in society, will be more likely to endorse the SCOTUS decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization (hereafter, Dobbs) and related policy attitudes when the Dobbs decision is depicted as a threat to the gendered status quo. The surveys were administered through Prolific, an online research panel. The analytic focus was to test the interaction between SSI at Time 1 and the experimental factors presented at Time 2. Wave 1 included baseline measures, such as SSI, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education, political ideology, and political party, which served as control variables in the data analysis. In Wave 2, participants were randomly assigned to either the control condition or one of two experimental conditions (Positive Impact or Negative Impact). Survey questions in Wave 2 measured various dependent variables, including attitudes toward abortion. The interactions between AAI and both treatment paragraphs had positive associations with emotion scores.
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    Pilot Study, Adapting a Social Skills Program for Autistic Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD)
    (2023) Lee, Jiyeon
    This pilot study evaluates the effectiveness of a tailored therapeutic intervention, the PEERS® program, for autistic adolescents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Traditional social skills programs often exclude those with IDD, underscoring the necessity for specialized adaptations. This research focuses on adapting the PEERS® program to meet the unique needs of this population, emphasizing enhancing social skills and improving quality of life. Utilizing a collaborative approach with the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain and the Speak Right Now team, the study integrates comprehensive literature reviews, preliminary interviews with potential participants and their caregivers, and detailed feedback mechanisms to refine the intervention. Preliminary findings suggest that tailored interventions may significantly improve social skills acquisition among autistic adolescents with IDD. The ongoing study aims to validate these findings through further community-informed adjustments and empirical testing, contributing to more inclusive and effective social skills training programs.
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    Understanding the Varying Levels of Effectiveness in Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: A Comparative Analysis of Truth Commissions
    (2024) Manushri Ivaturi
    Recognizing gender-based violence in truth commissions plays a significant role in confronting the injustices of the past. This research explores the puzzle of why some truth commissions more effectively address conflict-related sexual violence than others. The research draws insights by comparing the cases of Colombia and Sierra Leone, where strides have been made in ensuring the documentation of women’s experiences, and contrasting them with less successful examples from Guatemala and South Africa.
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    Green Ash 2001 Flood Event at Mississippi River Floodplain
    (2024-04) Danz, Jeremy; Trumper, Matthew; Crawford, Daniel
    With the help of Professor Daniel Griffin, throughout the semester, I have been working with Green Ash tree samples. My goal has been to examine and identify whether or not a flood in the Mississippi River floodplain in southern Minnesota in early 2001 shows a significant difference in the early wood vessel size leading to significantly smaller annual rings in that year. To get the early wood vessel size, for each sample, the images were retrieved using a high powered robotic GigaMacro camera where many images were taken and then stitched together. Once a final composite image had been created, it was uploaded to DendroElevator where it was measured for the five years preceding the 2001 flood event and the five years following the event using a tool in DendroElevator which is a database of tree core samples to gain a larger picture of how the flood affected the area.
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    NAMPT as a Potential Biomarker for Daporinad Treatment: Analyzing Protein Expression in Gene-Modified Prostate Cancer Cell Lines
    (2024-04) Lee, Lauren; Lee, Adam; Zhang, Weijie; Huang, Yingbo; Huang, R. Stephanie
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    Gender in Brazilian Political Campaigns
    (2024-04) Duarte Possebon, Daphine
    Since 1989, when Lula Inácio da Silva ran for presidency for the first time, Brazilian politics became more polarized. The main competition has been between Lula's left party, know as the Workers Party (Partido Trabalhista, PT) and his opponents. Among his biggest competitors, Jair Bolsonaro from the Liberal Party stands out as a known figure from the right side of polarization.
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    The Role of Social Media and Mindfulness in Adolescents’ Divided Attention
    (2024-04-30) Haig, Michaela; Martin, Timothy; Zelazo, Philip
    In this study, we examine the potential effects of a short mindfulness intervention on divided attention in adolescents. Recently, social media has been demanding increasing amounts of divided attention among its users. Understanding how to mediate these impacts is vital to helping today’s adolescents successfully retain attentive capabilities. We recruited middle and high school students at a local charter school to participate. Students were given a 5-minute open monitoring, focused attention, or control listening exercise. Then, we administered a measure of divided attention created for this study. In this, participants watched a 2-minute dual-stream video and were instructed to either pay attention to the video on the left only (and not get distracted by the other video) or to watch both videos simultaneously (divide their attention). Then, participants answered a series of questions about both videos to measure their information retention. We found no significant effects of mindfulness on divided attention, nor support for the efficacy of the divided attention measure. Future directions are discussed.
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    Characterizing the Effects of Composition on Lung Surfactant Monolayer Collapse through Fluorescence Imaging
    (2024-04) Kelpsas, Josephine, K; McAllister, Zachary; Zasadzinski, Joseph, A