The purpose of the Annual Morehead State University Celebration of Student Scholarship is to share and showcase the outstanding scholarly work of students involved in the Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program to the greater campus community. Initiated in the Spring of 2006, the annual celebration has grown into a day-long event of presentations, exhibitions, and performances by students from all colleges including Business and Technology, Education, Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and Science.
Morehead State University. Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program.
The 2021-2022 Program and Abstracts for the Celebration of Student Scholarship at Morehead State University held on April 27, 2022. A Showcase of Student Research, Scholarship, Creative Work, and Performance Arts.
Eliana Eldridge, Joshua Hicks, and Sean O'Keefe
Quantitative sampling of organisms is often used to provide information in ecological studies, monitor populations, and aid in biodiversity projects. Many studies involve the quantitative sampling of spiders. In this meta-analysis study, 207 peer-reviewed journal articles formed the basis of an initial data set for a quantitative analysis of spider collection techniques. Data collected included country of study, mode of study, trapping techniques used, spider diversity, and number of specimens collected. Our meta-analysis gathered research articles that included 33 different countries of study. Trapping techniques greatly vary depending on the habitat in which spiders dwell. These were divided into aerial, arboreal, terrestrial, and subterrestrial. From the gathered data, 5% of the articles included aerial trapping, 20% included arboreal trapping, 1% included subterrestrial trapping, and 80% included terrestrial trapping. 60% of the terrestrial studies utilized pitfall trapping, 20% used hand collecting, 15% used sweep netting, and 5% used branchbeating.
Calista Dean, Charlotte Gabbard, and Emma Schmittzehe
Electronic cigarettes are one of the most commonly used methods of nicotine delivery, especially among the adolescent population. Due to the lack of regulation in manufacturer labeling of refillable nicotine solutions (e-liquids), the actual concentration of nicotine and other additives is variable as compared to the reported values. Misreporting of nicotine content is a contributor in the development of nicotine dependency and potentially tobacco product dependency. The objective of this research is to develop reliable analytical methods to study the variations in nicotine levels in e-liquids, and to identify and quantify other potentially harmful additives in e-liquids. In this research we used gas chromatographymass spectrometry (GCMS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy for identification of compounds, and we used high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and GCMS for quantification of compounds.
A New Colorimetric Assay of Apurinic/Apyrimidinic (Abasic) Sites of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) Using Bicinchoninic Acid [
Isaiah O. Stephens and Elizabeth M. Thomas
Apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP or abasic) sites are DNA lesions that result from the loss of a nucleobase by hydrolysis of the N-glycosyl bond. It is estimated that AP sites are the most frequent lesions in cells with about 10,000-50,000 times per day per cell under typical aerobic conditions . The formation of AP sites is caused by environmental and cancer therapeutic genotoxins such as alkylating agents, oxidizing agents, ionizing radiation, and ultraviolet radiation.
Lorien Molstad, Zoe Baker, Julia Fitzpatrick, Bethany Lucio, and Sean O'Keefe
Biodiversity is the measure of variability of interactions between living organisms within an area. Biodiversity contributes significantly to the production of different life sustaining resources and supports a diversity of ecological life. A greater biodiverse area can help maintain environmental balance and maintain ecological diversity and health. There are multiple economic, cultural, and scientific reasons as to why biodiversity is important. When assessing biodiversity, mammals and birds are commonly used as surrogates. The problem with mammals and birds is that there are relatively few species and relatively few individuals in an area, so quantitative assessment can be difficult. However, insects are extremely diverse, ubiquitous, and important components of ecosystems, which makes them effective surrogates to assess biodiversity. Few studies have used wasps to measure biodiversity. However, wasps can be an effective surrogate to assess biodiversity as they provide essential ecological roles such as pollination, pest regulation, and general insect population control. There are both positive and negative aspects of using wasps to assess biodiversity. Advantages include wide species diversity, host specificity, and specialist roles in their environment. Downsides include few resources on wasp identification and most wasps are minute, smaller than 3 mm, which make them difficult to identify. We collected wasps from leaf litter and yellow pan traps at several localities near Morehead Kentucky. So far, we have collected several thousand specimens. Most samples contain 30-70 species of wasps. We are still sorting and identifying wasps
Blake Branham, Hannah Pyles, Charles Lydeard, and Sean O'Keefe
Having a multitude of definitions, biodiversity can most commonly be seen as the variety and diversity of life within an ecosystem. Its relevance is crucial for species survival and resource availability; a lack of biodiversity sets an ecosystem up for failure, reducing its productivity, species richness, and increasing organismal vulnerability. Measuring biodiversity is crucial for the understanding of an ecosystem’s health, giving scientists knowledge of its stability, productivity, and persistence. This collected information can be implemented in various ways outside the scientific field as well, such as with policy decisions and legal regulations. Biodiversity is most commonly analyzed through quantitative assessment of mammal and bird species, but the relatively low numbers of species and few individuals in defined areas tend to cause flawed statistical results. Beetles, however, can be found in large numbers in just about all ecosystems. Having an immense diversity of species, they play significant roles in environments, filling ecological roles as herbivores, decomposers, predators, coprophages, fungivores, etc. As beetles are tremendously diverse and very abundant, quantitative assessments of their diversity are more statistically rigorous. We are sampling beetles from 3 sites located near Morehead, KY. Beetles were collected using pan traps and leaf litter sifting. Collected beetles were then pinned or pointed and sorted by family groups. The primary focus of the study was to determine the various beetle species and their quantitative presence within the multiple sampling sites.
Sarah Miller and Kim Nettleton
Classroom management is a skill many incoming teachers struggle to balance while teaching. Good classroom management aids in establishing a learning environment that encourages both social and academic learning. The case studies recorded examine the classroom management methods of a select group of educators. These subjects described their methods of classroom management, whether self-made or research-based, through a series of interview questions. The interview questions establish an understanding of current practice of classroom management regarding rules, procedures, positive relationships, and classroom arrangement. In evaluating different variations of classroom management, the effectiveness, and advantages and disadvantages of different classroom management methods can be determined.
College Students’ Knowledge and Use of Herbal Supplements: Informed Decision, Health Risk, or Marketing Ploy?
Jillian Wallshield and Wilson Gonzalez-Espada
The purpose of this study is to better understand the extent to which college students from Eastern Kentucky use Herbal Supplements (HS). The research questions for this study were:
• How do the participants find out about HS?
• How helpful do participants perceive the HS they take to be?
• What misconceptions do participants have regarding HS?
• Does a positive or negative attitude towards science change the usage rate of HS?
Heather Randolph, Maddy McElfresh, Addie Short, Cailey Dahlquist, Jenna Bartley, and Suzi White
Nursing burnout costs the health care industry roughly 14 billion dollars a year. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically increased burnout rates. Many nurses feel overworked and underappreciated; this has caused a negative impact as it is influencing the rates of burnout among hospital staffing globally. Over half a million registered nurses have already left their profession nationwide due to stress and workload (Bruyneel, Smith, Tack, & Pirson, 2021). Burnout has diminished staff, depleted resources, and decreased quality of care.
Olivia Dale and James Masterson
When a nation attempts to erase the history of a marginalized group, the preservation of such narratives becomes critical. The genuine culture of a nation is exposed when that which officials attempted to hide is analyzed. The comfort women scheme conducted by the Imperial Japanese Government serves as an example of this phenomenon. The comfort women system was more than sex trafficking; it was the climax of a sexist society. Japan had a long history of organized prostitution before the Second World War, but during the conflict, the demeaning actions committed against women extended beyond the nation. The Japanese government insists its history is one of honor, but to provide supposed essential comfort to Japanese soldiers, it destroyed the lives of countless women. The Japanese government is responsible for the largest state-sponsored sex trafficking scheme in modern history; such a structure does not develop quickly. The Imperial Army comfort women system augmented the long-established sex industry by pushing the establishment to be more barbaric, extensive, and global. The wounds inflicted by the age-old sex scheme further deepened during the Second World War and were then neglected; because of this, the system continues to plague the political history of Japan.
Andrew Dorn, Ally Hall, Bryce Watkins, Hayley Milner, Kaleb Trent, Owen Day, Sawyer Putnam, Joyce Stubbs, and Steve Stubbs
The ultimate goal of the CASPR team is to build a solar powered car to race in the solar car for the Solar Car Challenge Classic Division, and race in a cross-county race or at the famous Texas Motor Speedway. The car must have taillights, blinkers, headlights, and extra suspension. For the fall semester of 2021, we researched different parts and other solar cars to see what would be the best fit most beneficial. We were able to find all the parts needed for the construction of the car. The Solar Car Challenge website provides some resources to make finding parts easier. During the spring semester we have been focusing on building a frame with wheels so we can start to put the car together.
Duncan McGinnis and Melissa Mefford
Prokaryotes and eukaryotes differ in their chromosome structure; prokaryotes have a single circular chromosome, while eukaryotes have multiple circular chromosomes. Linear chromosomes are more complex than circular ones and create problems for eukaryotes. Many of these issues are solved by telomeres—long, repetitive sequences of DNA found on the ends of most eukaryotic chromosomes. They protect the ends from harm and limit how many times a cell can divide. Two of our greatest medical challenges, cancer and aging, are closely related to telomeres; most cancers upregulate telomerase, and aging human cells display shorter telomeres. To investigate the evolution and function of telomeres, we are circularizing chromosome VII in a strain of the single-celled eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast). There is precedent set for functional and viable yeast with circular chromosomes; a naturally circularized chromosome III has been found in mutant S. cerevisiae (1); natural circularization of all 3 chromosomes has been observed in mutant Schizosaccharomyces pombe, another type of yeast (2); and a strain of S. cerevisiae has been created with all its chromosomes fused into a single, massive circular chromosome (3).
Keaghan Knight and Kevin Adkins
In proton collisions, fragmentation functions describe the probability that a given parton in the initial state creates a particular hadron in the final state. Understanding fragmentation is essential for a theoretical description of measured asymmetries that provide a glimpse of the proton's spin structure. Proton-gold collisions from the STAR detector at Brookhaven National Laboratory will provide a complementary result, using reconstructed jets, to the global data which comes mostly from electron-positron annihilation experiments. A first step in extracting fragmentation functions is to perform a quality analysis (QA) of the data. This poster shows a look at the data and our method for identifying and rejecting detector runs which are bad in an effort to have a clean sample for physics analysis.
Development of Anti-Cancer Small Molecules to Inhibit The Base Excision Repair (BER) Pathway By Binding Apyrimidinic/Apurinic (AP) Sites In DNA
Ellen S. Ledford, Robert M. Tackett, and Elizabeth M. Thomas
Two of the main treatments available to patients with cancer are radiation and chemotherapy which both rely on the ability to induce DNA damage. One reason cancer deaths perpetrate is due to cancer resistance towards current cancer therapies. The Base Excision Repair (BER) pathway is involved in therapeutic resistance by utilizing DNA glycosylases that recognize and remove the damaged DNA base to leave the aldehyde. Apyrimidinic/Apurinic (AP) enzyme 1, APE1, then recognizes the aldehyde to trigger DNA repair. Alkoxyamines function to competitively covalently bind the aldehyde generated from the AP site. Once the aldehyde is covalently bonded with the alkoxyamine, APE1 can no longer perform BER. Therefore, providing patients with alkoxyamine drug compounds, such as methoxyamine, CH3ONH2, current cancer therapies better survive cancer resistance. This is known as a combinatorial cancer therapy strategy. Currently, methoxyamine, TRC102, is being investigated in Phase I/II clinical trials for binding AP sites in DNA to inhibit the BER pathway. The focus of this research is to synthesize alkoxyamines and evaluate them as APE1 inhibitors. In particular, this work presented is focused on finding a synthetic route to generate alkoxyamines to potentiate current cancer therapies.
Nathan Sparks and Timothy Hare
The Eagle Lake Dam is an iconic part of Morehead State’s campus. It can be seen from much of campus and serves as one of the best views around. It is also the single most important structure on campus. A significant percentage of the campus would be damaged or impaired, as well as many people would be endangered if the dam failed. Hence, I am starting a multi-person and multi-year initiative to monitor Eagle Lake Dam using UAV and remote sensing technology. I hope to have teams make annual 3D models of Eagle Lake Dam over the next several years to monitor changes. This poster documents my method for doing this, so that others can do the same and compare their found data to my own. I also showcase several different ways to use this technology to create useful products and motivate others to learn about this cutting-edge technology.
Riley Q. Williams and Vijay Subramaniam
Rainwater harvesting (RWH) was primarily considered as a source for freshwater supply or a conservation practice for over coming water shortages in drought prone areas. By retaining storm-water run-off for on site use, harvesting systems reduce the runoff volumes and pollutant masses entering waterways. Consequently, using roof-top RWH as a best management practice has been encouraged by many state and local governments. Some of the most interesting aspects of RWH are the methods of capture, storage, and the use of this natural resource at the place it occurs.
Christen Ballard, Hannah Carpenter, Skyler Harper, Angela Marcum, and Suzi White
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is used to minimize infection transmission from patient to healthcare worker, or vice versa. During a clinical rotation in a large urban teaching hospital, it was noted that a number of nurses failed to adhere to proper PPE policies. A literature review focusing on thirty-two studies found that average nurse compliance to proper PPE is 34%. This review included an overall discussion of factors affecting compliance, as well as a more in-depth review of the effect of education on PPE compliance, how comfort and proper fitting affects compliance, and the general effectiveness of PPE when used properly. This literature review also indicated that major factors affecting compliance were perception of risk of infection, quality of education received, and the comfort/fit of PPE. These findings support the intervention of emphasizing the importance of PPE adherence through providing "donning and doffing" education for nurses.
Emmalea K. Dowdy, Grace C. Stubblefield, and David K. Peyton
The Melanocortin-1 Receptor gene (MC1R) encodes a protein that is associated with pigmentation in vertebrate animals. An extraordinary number of variations in this gene have arisen over time due to the importance of pigmentation in camouflage, photosensitivity, vitamin D production, and other evolutionary factors. Variations in the MC1R gene sequence became important to survival as humans migrated out of Africa and into cooler climates with less sun exposure, where lighter skin pigmentation (and therefore more vitamin D production) was key to survival. These genetic variations (alleles) continue to exist in modern humans. Recent research into the MC1R gene variations shows that variants occur at different frequencies in different human populations. For example, a variant named "R151C" occurs in about 9% of humans of European descent but is not detected in humans of Asian descent.
Brett Blair and James Masterson
It is no surprise that the proper education of a population ranks high on the list of important accomplishments within a society. After all, a population’s education can affect its ability to perform at a high capacity. The education of Kentucky’s children is no different. Recent years have seen large disparities in the resources available to each school in Kentucky, which could have effects on the educational output of regions in the state. Though research has been conducted on concepts such as school funding, educational quality, and education reform, this research tends to be lacking in specificity and consistency. (DeYoung, 1985) Some research concerns itself with the effects of funding on educational output, the effects of which are unknown and can even be seen as contradictory when controlling for social and economic factors. (Walberg & Fowler, 1987)
Fungi in a Warmer World - Fungal diversity from the Peak Warming of the Miocene Climate Optimum as Recorded in the Latah Formation, Clarkia, Idaho, USA
J. Fairchild, I. C. Romero, N. B. Nunez Otano, S. Warny, M. J. Pound, and J. M. K. O'Keefe
Microfungi are a vital part of ecosystems as they help with key processes, such as carbon and nutrient cycling, especially through the actions of mycorrhizal and saprotrophic members (Nuñez Otaño et al., 2015, 2021; Willis et al., 2018). Microfungi can also be good indicators of plant biodiversity in an area because many fungal taxa are host-specific (Rutten et al., 2021; Francioli et al., 2021; Hu et al., 2021; Wijayawardene et al., 2022 ). Despite being crucial components in ecosystems, they are often overlooked. In the fossil record, microfungi have a high preservaon rate and they are often preserved close to the original substrate they were deposited in. This makes them an important proxy for understanding local past ecological and climatological conditions (Romero et al., 2021, O’Keefe et al., 2017). The Fungi in a Warmer World project seeks to use fossil fungal assemblages to study changes in biodiversity during the Miocene Climate Opmum (MCO), a period of peak warming that closely mirrors current and projected warming trends (Steinthorsdotter et al., 2021). The current atmospheric CO2 concentraon is around 420 ppm but is rapidly approaching the MCO average of 450-550 ppm (Steinthorsdotter et al., 2021).
Fungi in a Warmer World: Fungal Diversity in the Tropical Miocene Climate Optimum of the Clarkia Region of Idaho, USA
J. Fairchild, L. Lennex-Stone, T. Horsfall, L. Tarlton, S. Jones, A. Caldwell, O. Vanderespt, L. Smallwood, A. Patel, J. O'Keefe, I. Romero, N. Nunnez Otano, and M. Pound
A knowledge gap associated with how fungal communities change in response to climate was identified in the 2018 State of the World Fungi report (Willis, 2018). While it is virtually impossible to test in the present, fungal assemblage changes can be studied in sediments from a warmer-than-present period such as the Miocene Climate Optimum (MCO) (Romero et al. 2021; O’Keefe 2017). The Fungi in a Warmer World project aims to generate and analyze a global-scale data set of fungal biodiversity, ecology, and associated flora from MCO sediments. This dataset will be used to model past fungal assemblage changes across the MCO and forecast future changes in line with IPCC RCP 4.5-8.5 warming.
Savannah Jones, Taylor Horsfall, Laikin Tarlton, Abigayle Caldwell, Liberty Smallwood, Jolene Fairchild, Libby Lennex-Stone, Alyssa Patel, Olivia Vanderespt, Ingrid Romero, Jennifer O'Keefe, Noelia Nunez Otano, Sophie Warny, and Matthew Pound
Fungi play a key role in the terrestrial carbon cycle, soil formation, and overall plant growth as terrestrial decomposers (1, 2). Thus, the study of fungi, especially in the fossil record, is critical to understanding how fungal assemblages will react to future warming events. Fossil fungi provide a large-scale, long-term dataset unavailable from modern records, allowing for the generation of viable paleoclimate reconstructions and predictions (3, 4). Despite their importance and advantages in forming ecological and climatological interpretations, deep-time fungi have been underutilized (3). The Fungi in a Warmer World (FiaWW) project aims to deliver the first global view of fungal biodiversity, ecology, and biogeography for the Miocene Climate Optimum (MCO): the warmest interval of the last 23 MY. The MCO is a good proxy for near-future climate change scenarios because atmospheric CO2 concentrations ranged between current concentrations of ~400ppm and future projected concentrations for the end of this century (5, 6).
Belinda Candra, Xiaohong Li, Eric Rouchka, Deborah Cook, and Janelle Hare
In the presence of DNA damage, the multi-drug resistant bacteria Acinetobacter baumannii employs the proteins UmuDAb and DdrR to repress the expression of error-prone polymerases.
Mollee Flannigan, Xiaohong Li, Eric Rouchka, Deborah Cook, and Janeele Hare
UmuDAb and DdrR coregulate error-prone polymerases in the multi-drug resistant opportunistic pathogen, Acinetobacter baumannii, by repressing polymerase expression until after DNA damage. New evidence indicates that these proteins may also regulate other genes that are repressed following DNA damage. We performed an in silico analysis of RNA-Seq data from wild-type, ddrR, and umuDAb mutant strains to examine the expression levels of genes repressed after DNA damage. We used two different algorithms to analyze Cuffnorm- and HTSeq normalized gene counts. This analysis revealed nineteen (CuffDiff) or twenty-nine (DESeq2) genes repressed in wild-type cells that were derepressed after DNA damage in either one or both of the mutant strains. The proteins encoded by these genes include an induced acetoin metabolism operon, a putative YfbU family member (often required for MazF-mediated cell death after DNA damage), RlpA (a septal ring lytic transglycosylase), and a putative cold-shock protein. We carried out RT-qPCR verification of the RNA-Seq data and found that these genes are dysregulated after DNA damage, indicating DdrR and UmuDAb’s regulatory functions. Upon completion of RT-qPCR, we will construct strains containing mutations in these genes to test if DdrR and UmuDAb co-regulate these repressed genes. This will aid us in our understanding of how their downregulation may be involved in the pathogen’s response to DNA damage-induced stress.
M. Maeve Tipton, Jennifer M.K. O'Keefe, and Ingrid C. Romero
The Kentucky Honey Testing Laboratory (KYHTL) is a new venture at Bluegrass Community and Technical College that helps honey producers assure the quality of their product and provide certification required for compliance with truth-in labeling guidelines. KYHTL is the first project to utilize melissopalynology in support of DNA metabarcoding to identify pollen in honey samples. This endeavor aims to bring the US closer to Jones and Bryant’s (1980) goal of having a data base of the compositional properties of honey in our 50 states and eventually for individual regions.
Brooke Boggs and Timothy L. Simpson
This paper seeks to illuminate the significance of Socrates' entrance into a series of speeches by exploring the connection between love and learning in Plato's Symposium. We begin by presenting historical and social contexts relevant to the dialogue and its author. We then turn to the dialogue, outlining the fundamental components of each speech and, moreover, analyzing each speech with the aim of eliciting educational implications which are later highlighted and expanded on by Socrates. We examine these pedagogical connotations through a thorough investigation of each speech, keeping a keen eye on Socrates. We approach our examination of Socrates’ speech in two key ways. The first is to examine how the educational implications found within the earlier speeches are later acknowledged and expanded on by Socrates. Furthermore, we also examine the way in which Socrates forms careful alterations of the previous speakers’ assertations to provide them with new meanings. Second, we examine Socrates' approach in contrast with the prior speeches. In our examination of Socrates’ speech, we find that the structure of Socrates' speech sharply contrasts with the overall narrative formatting of the prior speeches and the dialogue as a whole. We argue that Plato deliberately emphasizes Socrates' approach by constructing a structure that contrasts with previous speeches. For further support of our interpretation, we turn to additional Platonic dialogues with the intent of gaining further insight into his educational approach.
Gracie Smith, Mary Thornburg, Connor Noble, Breanna Markwell, Sarah Rigsby, and Suzi White
During a clinical rotation at a large urban teaching hospital, the occurrence of medication errors noted resulted in negative impacts on patient wellness. Research studies indicate that the U.S. spends more than $40 billion each year as a result of medication errors. A large portion of these medication errors are preventable. A thorough literature review of 40 research studies was conducted to identify issues associated with medication errors. This quality improvement project aims to identify the prevalence of medication errors, their effect on patient wellness, its monetary effects in healthcare, and what preventative interventions can be implemented to prevent such errors.
Nicholas Finch and Sean O'Keefe
Merope tuber Newman (Mecoptera: Meropeidae) is a rare North American species of earwigfly, which is closely related to common scorpionflies. “Earwigfly” refers to three different species: the Western Australian Austromerope poulton, the South American Austromerope brasiliensis, and finally, the Eastern North American Merope tuber. This last species was the focus of our study. Johnson’s 1995 study was based on 160 earwigflies, where he measured the female abdomen length, male and female forewing length, and male basistylus and dististylus length. In their 2014 study, based on 82 earwigflies, Skvarla, Hartshorn, and Dowling measured head width, pronotum width, forewing length, abdomen length, basistylus length, and dististylus length. In our study of 504 earwigflies, we are measuring head width, pronotum length, pronotum width, pterothorax length, abdomen length, forewing length, basistylus length, and diststylus length. This project was started in February, at this point we have measured about 2/5 of the specimens. This collection of 504 earwigflies is most likely the largest collection of any earwigflies in the world, and provided an excellent dataset for a comprehensive morphometric analysis. We plan to incorporate morphometrics to our measurements and seek to corroborate our results with previous findings.
Keenan Conley, Madison Frazier, and Melissa Mefford
Yeast are eukaryotic organisms that contain liner chromosomes. At the ends of these chromosomes, there are special regions known as telomeres. Telomeres are composed of non-coding nucleotides that serve to protect the vital coding DNA found throughout the rest of the chromosome. During the process of DNA replication, however, telomeres become progressively shorter which can lead to cellular senescence. To solve this issue, yeast express the enzyme telomerase. Telomerase is composed of a telomerase reverse transcriptase protein (TERT) and telomerase RNA (TLC1) in yeast. When telomeres become too short, telomerase extends telomeres by adding to the 3’ overhang. Telomeres shorten during aging while the expression of telomerase is upregulated in >85% of human cancers. While the overall function of telomerase is understood, the role of telomerase RNA is not as clear. In order to better understand how telomerase RNA has evolved and the role it plays in the enzyme complex, we conducted a genetic screen to identify novel gain-offunction (GOF) mutations in telomerase RNA.
Brooklin Routt, Allison Jones, Frazier Pack, and Robyn Moore
The photography practicum provides Art and Design student researchers with the practical experience of managing a fine art photography studio. Students learn how to operate, manage, and maintain industry-standard fine art archival inkjet printers as well as a fourteen-station traditional black and white darkroom. This project provides essential expertise and knowledge that students, as lab monitors, both share with other students and incorporate into their own fine art practice and professional activities. Student researchers learn how to mix, store, and dispose of photographic chemistry, provide daily assistance to undergraduate and graduate photography students, and generate ideas for improvements to the lab. Additionally, students improve their knowledge of various analog and digital photographic processes through self-directed research with the goal of helping other students learn how to further develop and understand their work. Students also contribute to the ongoing revision of the Photography Lab Manual, which specifies best practices and operating procedures for future photography lab monitors. The practical knowledge gained from this experience is highly valuable to colleges, universities, community colleges, artist coops, and professional photography labs that seek to employ individuals to manage and teach both digital and analog photographic practices. This research was funded with an Undergraduate Research Fellowship.
Predicting Cryptocurrency Price Change Direction from Supply-Side Factors via Machine Learning Methods
David Mayo and Heba Elgazzar
Cryptocurrency prices are highly variable. Predicting changes in cryptocurrency price is a hugely important topic to investors and researchers, with much existing research on demand-side factors. The goal of this research project is to design and implement machine learning models to predict future cryptocurrency price change direction based primarily on supply-side factors. Different unsupervised machine learning techniques are used to build the predictive models. These techniques include K Nearest Neighbors (KNN), Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), Support Vector Machines (SVM), Naïve Bayesian Classifier, and Random Forest Classifier. A dataset of 10 daily supply-side metrics for three prominent cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin) at four different time horizons (ranging from one day to 30 days) are used to build and test the machine learning models. The outputs of these models indicate the predicted direction of the price movement over the time horizon (i.e., whether the price would go up or down), not the magnitude of the movement. Experimental results show that predictions were very unreliable for the shorter time spans but very reliable for the longest time spans. The Artificial Neural Network and Random Forest classifiers consistently outperformed the other techniques and achieved a prediction accuracy of over 90% in most models and over 95% in the best models. Experimental results show also that there is no significant difference in predictability between the three prominent cryptocurrencies.
Colby Pugh, Kayla Blain, Chloe Patrick, Clarissa Baker, Mackenzie Hopkins, Jarrett Elam, and Suzi White
The purpose of this quality improvement project is to develop a teaching tool aimed at decreasing the incidence rate of pressure injuries in the clinical setting specifically those in intensive care settings. Pressure injuries are a common preventable hospitalacquired complication. The occurrence of pressure injuries is higher in an ICU setting than in a non-ICU setting with 30% and 27.6% respectively during a one-year time period. The development of a teaching tool to be distributed to nurses' stations, staff workrooms, and nurse managers seeks to improve ICU staff nurses' education on the topic of pressure injures at a large urban teaching hospital.
Noah Blevins, Graci Borders, Brett Bentley, Carly Crutchfield, Rachel Dillion, Jacob Dyer, Heleigh Eldridge, Taylor Emmons, and Suzi White
A pressure ulcer is an injury that affects the underlying tissue and skin and is primarily caused by prolonged pressure on the skin. During a clinical rotation at a small rural teaching hospital, pressure ulcers were prevalent in an estimated 80% of patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) during a three-week period. Approximately $26.8 billion are spent every year in the United States treating pressure ulcers. The purpose of this quality improvement project is to provide staff education to ICU nurses in order to reduce and prevent the prevalence of pressure ulcers in patients. A thorough literature review was completed on 64 studies related to pressure ulcers that focused on causes, effects, costs, education, treatments, and preventative measures. An educational tool was developed that outlines interventions that targeted pressure ulcer prevention.
Alyssa Turner, Jude Hall, Tayla Lee, Charles Lydeard, and Sean O'Keefe
To effectively conduct conservation efforts, we can use biodiversity to assess the condition of our environment. Biodiversity has been commonly defined as the variety and variability among living organisms within an area. When our ecosystems are at their best, they clean water, purify air, maintain soil, regulate climate, recycle nutrients, and provide food. Everything within an ecosystem is interdependent, so biodiversity is an important factor and indicator of environmental health. Indicators help us to measure and monitor pressures or threats in land and water use, habitat loss or invasive species, the state of species and ecosystems, the conservation response, and the benefits to people. Many different organisms have been used to assess biodiversity, such as plants, mammals, birds, butterflies, beetles, etc. Ants are a great candidate for biodiversity research, as they are found in many types of habitats, are diverse, extremely numerous, fulfill a variety of ecological roles, are sensitive to environmental change, and are conveniently easy to collect. Our most used method of collection is sorting through leaf litter. We collected leaf litter from three sites in Rowan County: Eagle Lake, Stony Cove, and Rodburn Hollow. We used Berlese funnels to extract the specimens from the litter, organized, identified, and counted them in order to analyze the biodiversity. Over the past three years we have collected almost 7,000 ants, including 18 genera. We plan to use the Shannon and Simpson indices to better evaluate alpha and beta diversity among our three study sites using ants.
Research, Testing, and Validation of Small Satellite Designs: CubeSats, CanSats, PocketQubes, and Femtosatellites
Jason A. Combs and Jose L. Garcia
The focus of this project, through research and testing, was to prepare various elements of small satellite experiential education curriculum. Rather than be constrained to the expensive and long-term timelines of a larger satellites, students can assemble, test, and operate various classes of small satellites in a valuable learning experience that will prepare them to work on larger projects. The true benefit of a PocketQube, CanSat, or femtosatellite is that they can be built with less money, less experience, and less long-term commitment while providing a scaled version of the real-life satellite development process that will engage and inspire students. One already tangible result of this project is a thirty-page illustrated handbook that instructs students how to use open-source coding software to verify PCB (Printed Circuit Board) construction, how to troubleshoot difficulties when testing the seven different families of satellite subsystems, and the steps for physical manipulation to validate the sensors of the subsystems. Also important for this project was over twenty-five hours of research cataloging the RF (Radio Frequency) products of more than seventeen different manufacturers to evaluate their impact on small satellite designs. Ongoing research into the standards currently used by this industry will provide useful results to develop small satellite components. The research in this project will speed the development of exciting small satellite projects that will be used to show students the basics of satellites at universities far beyond the mountains of Kentucky.
Risky Behaviors in Central Appalachia/Eastern Kentucky: Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections
Allison Hyden and Lisa Shannon
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2017), Central Appalachia had a teen birth rate 63% higher than the national rate. In the Big Sandy Region of Kentucky, the teen pregnancy rates per 1,000 females ages 15-19 were Floyd at 55.9, Johnson at 30.3, Magoffin at 57.3, Martin at 50.7, and Pike at 38.2. These were more than double the national rate (16.9) (Centers for Disease Control, 2021). Sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates within the area were also high. Chlamydia increased 200%, and syphilis increased 300% between 2011 and 2017; many of these cases were in young adults (Meehan, 2018). The Big Sandy Optimal Health Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPP) is a targeted program implemented by Mountain Comprehensive Care Center, Inc. to reduce teen pregnancy STIs within the Big Sandy Region. TPP is aimed towards youth ages 10-19 with a focus on high-risk youth. The data presentation will focus on data available as of April 2022. IRB Protocol Number: 22-02-62.
Abigal Fagan and Sean O'Keefe
The earwigfly is a rarely seen insect in the family of scorpionflies. There are three species total, one in Brazil, one in Australia, and the third (Merope tuber), widespread throughout the eastern United states. In a 1984 study, Chris Maier collected 69 earwigflies between 1977 and 1982 from New England. Most of these were collected in July using sticky traps. He collected 43 females and 26 males (sex ratio 2.4:1). In a 2014 study, Skvarla, Hartshorn, and Dowling collected 77 earwigflies from Arkansas, mostly in August using malaise traps, pan traps, Lindgren funnels, and pitfall traps. They collected 58 females and 24 males (sex ratio 1.65:1). Over the course of two field seasons in 2011 and 2012, we collected over 500 earwigflies from pan traps, which is the largest collection in the world that we know of. We collected 339 females and 165 males, which is roughly a 2.05:1 sex ratio. It seems that earwigflies in Eastern Kentucky are most abundant in late August and early September. Our results are similar to those of Maier and Skvarla, Hartshorn, and Dowling with their smaller data sets. We plan to use statistical analysis to better evaluate seasonal variance of earwigflies.
Mercy Hailu, Bailey Bullock, Joshua Hicks, Eliana Eldridge, and Sean O'Keefe
Biodiversity is known to be the variation of living organisms compromising several levels, beginning from genes, then species, communities, then finally ecosystems. Biodiversity is crucial in maintaining ecological balance, boosting ecosystem productivity, and determining the quality of ecosystem services such as pest management in agriculture. Being aware of biodiversity's importance can also help with the prevention of continuous threats to biodiversity and be best prepared to manage conservation challenges. Typically, mammals, birds, and plants are used to assess biodiversity. However, spiders may be effective in indicating environmental change because they are taxonomically quite diverse, species fill a variety of ecological niches, and they are easy to trap. Spiders can also be very numerous and reflect the heterogeneity of their environment. We assessed spider biodiversity within Eastern Kentucky using pan traps, net hunting, and sifting leaf litter. We have collected a couple thousand spiders so far and identified spiders from 20 families, including Agelenidae (grass spiders), Antrodiaetidae (Folding door Spiders), Anyphaenidae (ghost spiders), Araneidae (orb-weaver spiders), Atypidae (pursueweb spiders), Clubionidae (sac spiders), Ctenizidae (trapdoor spiders), Dictynidae (mesh web spiders), Dysderidae (Woodlouse Spiders), Hahniidae (dwarf sheet spiders), Linyphiidae (money spiders), Lycosidae (wolf spiders), Oxyopidae (lynx spiders), Philodromidae (running crab spiders), Pholcidae (cellar spiders), Pisauridae (nursery-web spiders), Salticidae (jumping spiders), Tetragnathidae (long-jawed orb weaver spiders), Theridiidae (tangle-web spiders), and Thomisidae (crab spiders). Most spiders that were found are Wolf Spiders (Lycosidae) whereas Antrodiaetidae (folding door spiders) and Atypidae (pursue-web spiders) were very rare. We have also discovered 3 genera of tarantula cousins.
Hannah Meadows and Christy Trent
The purpose of this research study was to determine the generational differences in the use of communication technology in the workplace. Most employees feel a deeper sense of connection to those in their own generational group. This survey looks at ideologies across four generations, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z, to help give employers some insight into why employees feel this way and encourage better communication in the workforce.
Telehealth as a preventative and quality control measure for hospital readmissions and comprehensive health factors: A quality improvement project
Miracle Thacker, Randa Thompson, Madison Whitenack, Elizabeth Williams, Kaitlyn Workman, and Suzi White
Exploring Telehealth as a tool for reducing hospital readmission rates and improving client long-term health. Findings are to be shared with staff nurses to improve client outcomes.
MacKenzie Neal, Hailey Rietz, and Melissa Mefford
Telomeres are located at the ends of eukaryotic linear chromosomes and are composed of repeated nucleotide sequences. One of their main functions is to protect chromosomal ends from being damaged. Telomeres cannot be completely copied during DNA replication so they gradually shorten during each replication cycle in what is known as the “end replication problem”. To counteract this problem, the RNA dependent enzyme complex telomerase works to extend telomeres and help protect the ends of chromosomes. Telomeres and the telomerase enzyme are heavily involved in the aging process and cancer progression. Telomeres gradually shorten with age and eventually become so short that cells begin to senese and undergo apoptosis. Most cancers avoid senescence and apoptosis by activating telomerase at an excessive rate to reduce telomere shortening. The structure and function of telomerase RNA is not well understood. Most past research has focused on identifying loss-of-function mutations rather than identifying gain-of-function mutations. We set out to identify gain-of-function mutations to help us learn more about telomere length and telomerase and how they relate to aging and cancer. We screened nearly 10,000 colonies and identified 32 possible gain-of-function candidates that we are currently in the process of verifying.We used Saccharomyces cerevisiae as the model organism in our gain-of-function genetic screen to identify mutations that lengthen telomeres by increasing telomerase activity. The gain-of-function mutants identified through our screen will further enhance our understanding of how significant increasing telomerase activity could be to human health as a whole.
Daniel Brooks, Josh Day, Brianna Kayatin, Logan Lee, Shawn Nelson, Brady Sammons, Paul Zigo, and Rachel Rodgers
To begin, the team’s research project consisted of a robot that could compete on a 12-foot by 12-foot playing field alongside 3 other robots. The robot had to fit within an 18in-by-18in limit, it could be made of a variety of materials and motors specified in the game manual to help it achieve the most amount of points possible. There are many ways to earn points in Freight Frenzy divided into 3 sections, Autonomous, Tele-Operation or “Op” for short, and End-Game: In the Autonomous section, the match starts with a 30-second Autonomous Period where Robots are operated only via pre-programmed instructions. Teams are not allowed to control Robot behavior with the Driver Station or any other actions. The Control Hub is placed in a hands-off location during said Autonomous Period so that it is evident that there is no human control of Robots. The robots can obtain points by parking in the Alliance storage unit, parking in the closest to the robot’s alliance, moving freight into the shipping hubs, or alliance specific storage unit, with an additional bonus of using a camera to recognize and move a rubber duck or Team Shipping Element to a randomized part of the shipping hub. During the Tele-Op part, teams can score points by going over or around the PVC barrier to obtain whiffle balls or different weighted plastic cubes and placing them in either the Alliance Shipping Hub or Shared Shipping Hub. Finally, in End-Game, Teams can put the custom capping element on the Alliance Shipping Hub, spin the Carrousel to get up to 10 ducks, or park in a Warehouse.
Chisom Iloegbunam and Melissa Mefford
Chromosomes are molecules of DNA that hold large quantities of genetic material in an organism. Generally, in nature, eukaryotic chromosomes are linear while prokaryotic chromosomes are circular. Since they are linear, eukaryotic chromosomes possess telomeres, or repetitive nucleotide sequences, on their ends. This significant difference in structure requires different additions to the basic replication process. In prokaryotes, replication starts at a single point on the chromosome and continues until the whole chromosome has been copied. In eukaryotes, replication happens in fragments with multiple starting points. Because of this more complicated replication process, the free 3’ ends of our DNA cannot be fully copied. Unchecked, this would lead to a progressive loss of important genetic information. To counteract this issue, most eukaryotic organisms express an enzyme telomerase to attach nucleotides onto the template telomere, which prevents wearing down of telomeres each time the cell gets copied. Despite the action of telomerase, we still lose telomere sequences as we age. If linear chromosomes create issues not found with circular chromosomes, this begs the question why did eukaryotic chromosomes evolve to be linear?
The perception of Minority student-athletes’ and non-athlete students’ learning experience at a predominately white institution
William Wellman, Jelani Garvin, Jane Zhang, and Steve Chen
This study examined mainly African-American and minority students' learning experience at a regional public university in Appalachia for the purpose of improving the existing academic support services and creating a safe diverse learning environment for racial minority students.
Sarah E. Lager and Kimberly Fatten
Undergraduate accounting retention research has focused primarily on why students choose an accounting major, but less is known about what programs students go to when they exit an accounting major.