Spring 2021 Virtual Poster Session
The University Honors Committee and the Honors Student Board welcome you to the Spring 2021 Honors project virtual poster session. This longstanding annual event has been adapted as an online gallery during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This semester's poster session features 109 projects completed by members of the University Honors Program. The honors project is a requirement for students who wish to graduate with University Honors, and it is often one of the most valuable components of their Honors education.
The virtual poster session is organized by college, based on the student's major. Each participating student has provided a project abstract, research poster (PDF), and brief presentation of their research poster (MP4).
We are proud of the students who are presenting their work this semester and extend a special thanks to the faculty and staff who served as project advisors and research mentors.
Laurie Smith Law, Chair
University Honors Committee
Megan Behrends – Agricultural & Life Sciences Education
The Secret Among Food Labels
Project Advisor(s): Virginia Hanson | Advisor(s): Nathan Dobbels
Abstract (Click to view)Food labels can be difficult to decipher. My project takes three commonly used terms on food labels (organic, GMO, natural) and breaks down their definition, how/if they are regulated, and why they are used. Each term is discussed in three separate animated videos. The fourth video of the series explains what to specifically look for when reading a food label. Through my four animated videos, I hope to increase consumer understanding of hot-topic terms used on food labels.
Maria Bellows – Animal Ecology
Comparing the Social Integration of Immigrant vs. Natal Males in a Wild Troop of Olive Baboons (P. anubis)
Project Advisor(s): Corinna Most | Advisor(s): John Burnett
Abstract (Click to view)In olive baboons (Papio anubis), males typically leave their natal troop as adolescents. In our study troop, however, several natal males have remained into adulthood. This is likely because their troop was the product of two fusion events, which brought enough unrelated females to the troop to prevent inbreeding. We thus had the opportunity to compare the degree to which natal and immigrant males are socially integrated into the troop. Our study explored the differences between natal and immigrant males in allogrooming, aggression, interactions with infants, consort behavior, greeting exchanges, and proximity to other members of the troop. To do so, we selected 3 immigrant and 3 natal males and collected 16 hours of focal follows for each male. Statistical analysis was performed in JMP 15 Pro using Wilcoxon and Kruskal-Wallis tests. Immigrants engaged in more non-sexual grooming interactions (p=.046) and were more likely to be the recipients of grooming (p=.050) than natal males. There were no significant differences between immigrants and natal males in aggression, male-infant interactions, or consort behaviors. Slight trends were observed in proximity and greeting data but were not significant. Small sample sizes may have precluded significant findings, but further research may yield more decisive results.
Megan Bixby – Animal Science
Swine Science Merit Badge
Project Advisor(s): Laura Greiner | Advisor(s): Jennifer Bundy
Abstract (Click to view)The Swine Science Badge project was created to provide opportunities to youth to learn about the swine industry and can be used in a variety of programs or classes. This project contains a booklet, a supplemental worksheet, and badge that can be earned by completing the reflection activities. For youth who come from a non-agricultural background, they will be able to learn the basics of the swine industry through the booklet and gain some hands-on experience when following the requirements. Although the format of the booklet is aimed toward teaching youth, students in universities studying animal science with a non-agricultural background will also be able to use this booklet as a crash course guide to swine science. The booklet covers a wide variety of topics which include importance of the swine industry, swine breeds in the US and their qualities, stages of life, nutritional requirements, pig health, housing systems, animal handling, jobs in the swine industry, and resources. All of the resources have been cited to enable people using this booklet to find more information on topics they found interesting or need a more in depth look on.
Hunter Blum – Animal Ecology
Sexual Shape Dimorphism in Sphaerodactylidae Toe Morphology
Project Advisor(s): Dean Adams | Advisor(s): Stephen Dinsmore
Abstract (Click to view)Natural selection often leads to species differing in their morphology. An example of this can be shape dimorphism, or when species’ morphology differs from one another. Shape dimorphism can be seen between male and females within the same sex, often due to differing natural and sexual selection pressures on each sex. However, it can also be seen in species that occupy differing habitats, such as with the anole ecomorphs. This phenomenon has been studied across a wide range of taxa; however, it remains poorly understood in geckos. Our study investigates shape dimorphism of claw morphology in a gecko family, Sphaerodactylidae, known to occupy both the new and old world. We photographed the lateral side of the third toe of the back right foot of both male and female Sphaerodactylids for nine different species. The 73 images were then digitized using three fixed landmarks and two curves. Two MANOVAs were performed to investigate if the dimorphism was correlated to sex or local. We found strong evidence that the claw shape varied by species, and no evidence that claw shape differed by sex or the interaction between species and sex. Additionally, we found that shape also differed by new and old-world origins. New world species tended to have a shorter, more curved claw, while old world species typically had longer and thinner claws. The shape difference could be caused by differing habitats between new and old-world species, however more data will be needed to better inform this relationship.
Jensina Davis – Agronomy, Seed Science
Artificial Seed Drying Conditions and Maize Seed Viability and Vigor after Storage
Project Advisor(s): Susana Goggi | Advisor(s): Mary Wiedenhoeft, Mary Wiedenhoeft
Abstract (Click to view)Maize seed is harvested at ~40% moisture content (MC) and artificially dried to 12% MC for storage. This study investigated effects of artificial drying on seed viability and vigor, seed test weight, 100-seed mass, and seed MC in storage. Five maize hybrids were harvested at 30 ± 8% MC and artificially dried using five drying conditions: ambient air, ambient air for either 24 or 48 hours followed by heated air (43 ± 8°C), and normal drying temperature (40±2°C) with limited airflow. Seed viability and vigor were evaluated at 5 and 7 months storage at 50% relative humidity and 10°C and compared to results obtained immediately after drying. The standard germination (viability), and Cold and Seedling Dry Weight tests (seed vigor) were used. At 7 months, seed viability was significantly reduced in seeds dried with ambient air for 24 hours followed by heated air, and heated air with limited airflow. Vigor loss between 5- and 7-months was greatest in seeds dried with ambient air for 24 hours followed by heated air. Drying conditions also significantly impacted seed MC at 7 months of storage. Maize seed-dryer operators must accurately manage drying conditions to preserve high seed quality of their seed inventory.
Emily Everhart – Food Science (AGLS)
Investigating the Impact of Educational Messages on Purchase Behavior with Dairy Products Containing Lactose
Project Advisor(s): Stephanie Clark | Advisor(s): Stephanie Clark
Abstract (Click to view)How does healthy eating importance affect fruit intake? An invitation to participate in a survey about food consumption and intolerances was sent to students, faculty, and staff at Iowa State University through email. One goal of the project is to create appropriate educational messages about Nutrition Facts panels and ingredient statements to help consumers make informed nutritional choices. Of the respondents, 2,100 were used for this project. Some questions asked how important eating healthy was to the respondent, whether they consumed or avoided certain food groups, and how often they read Nutrition Facts panels or ingredient statements when buying a new product. The food group of interest here was fruits. JMP Pro 15 was used to conduct correlation between responses to select questions. It was found that 1.4% of respondents have a medically diagnosed allergy or intolerance to fruits. There was a moderate correlation between understanding Nutrition Facts panels and ingredient statements. It is not surprising that people who understand Nutrition Facts panels also understand ingredient statements. Hopes are that educating consumers about how to read and understand ingredient statements and Nutrition Facts panels will improve their likelihood to read them and increase their fruit consumption.
Mikaela Gaskill – Environmental Science (AGLS), Biology (AGLS)
Effects of Global Warming on Black Tailed Prairie Dog Distribution
Project Advisor(s): Lori Biederman | Advisor(s): Richard Williams, James Colbert
Abstract (Click to view)While humans have the forewarning and ability to adapt to coming global climate changes, other species are not so lucky. This study aims to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and species distribution using the predicted effects on a single keystone species as an example. The species chosen for this research was the Black tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus, hereon referred to as BTPD) because of its large distribution, readily available population data, and effects on the ecosystem in which they reside. Using modeling software Maxent, climate envelope models were generated for decades 2020, 2030, 2050, and 2080. Maxent also determined that the monthly temperature values and precipitation during the coldest quarter of the year to be the most important factors in building each model, suggesting that temperature and water availability are the limiting factors in BTPD distribution. Based on model distributions, the BTPD’s suitable habitat is predicted to decrease by roughly 78,000 m2 by 2080.
Marjorie Hanneman – Agronomy, Genetics (AGLS)
Validation Study of a Real-Time PCR Method for the Detection of Pantoea Stewartii subsp. Stewartii in Maize Seeds
Project Advisor(s): Silvina Arias | Advisor(s): Mindy Devries, Alison Esser
Abstract (Click to view)Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii is the causal agent of the disease Stewart’s bacterial wilt of corn. P.s. subsp. stewartti has been listed in the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) A2 quarantine list (EFSA 2019). As a result, most corn seed exported from the U.S. must be declared free of P.s. subsp. stewartti, either by field inspection or laboratory seed health testing. Although several methods have been developed for detection of Pss in corn seeds, the current laboratory testing methods (enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay [ELISA] and polymerase chain reaction [PCR]) still appear to be prone to false positive results, because they cannot distinguish P. s. subsp. stewartii from the closely related subspecies Pantoea stewartii subsp. indologenes (Block 2011, Pal et al, 2019). Primers have been developed previously to detect P. s. subsp. stewartii from P. s. subsp. indologenes. For the new qPCR to be approved for use under NSHS, optimization and interlaboratory validation of the test needed to be conducted. Addition of this tool to the NSHS method should greatly reduce false positives. The goal of this research was to use PCR as a follow-up step for positive ELISA results, to distinguish true positives from false positives.
Grace Jakes – Animal Science, Global Resource Systems
Effects of CLOSTAT on Immune System, Leaky Gut, and Production Parameters in Transition Dairy Cows
Project Advisor(s): Lance Baumgard | Advisor(s): Steven Lonergan, Maggie Sprecher
Abstract (Click to view)Abstract will not be available
Kelsey Karnish – Environmental Science (AGLS)
Use of Soil & Terrain GIS Data to Inform Placement of Agricultural BMPs in Iowa
Project Advisor(s): Peter Wolter | Advisor(s): Richard Williams
Abstract (Click to view)With a growing global population, increasing the soil health of crop lands is crucial. The use of Best Management Practices (BMPs), specifically BMP terraces, is an integral part of maintaining soil health and water quality by decreasing erosion. Terraces are embankments or ridges built across a slope to slow water runoff and decrease soil erosion. For this project, slope and soil texture data was analyzed using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software to identify gaps in erosion-prone areas where terrace construction as a BMP is recommended. Using GIS software is more efficient than traditional on the ground methods which are more subjective. To accomplish this goal, spatial analysis tools from GIS software were used on terraces across the state of Iowa to create a 30m buffer around the terraces. The buffer was used to identify the range of percent slope around existing terraces. The slope statistics and soil texture data were then used to identify croplands with soil vulnerable to erosion. The final product was a prediction surface that highlighted which 30m pixels in Iowa exceeded slope-erosion criteria. This prediction surface has identified additional croplands throughout Iowa that can be better protected against soil erosion using terraces.
Katherine Kilmer – Animal Ecology
Iowa Turtle Care: Guidelines for Wildlife Rehabilitators and Educators
Project Advisor(s): Rachel Ruden | Advisor(s): Stephen Dinsmore
Abstract (Click to view)Educators and wildlife rehabilitators can come from a wide variety of backgrounds and may not be familiar with the unique needs of herptiles and specifically turtles. Though rehabilitators in Iowa must complete a one-year apprenticeship with a current permit holder before they can handle and care for wildlife on their own, educators may come from a variety of backgrounds, including some with little prior animal experience or knowledge. It can be challenging to learn or remember all the care requirements of different turtle species. This project focused on researching the needs of turtles in captivity and compiling a set of turtle care guidelines for use by educators and rehabilitators. Our research process included reviewing literature and scientific journals, visiting with experienced turtle caretakers, and looking at examples of enclosure set-ups. The resulting end-product is a digital document outlining proper identification, signs of potential injury or illness, and proper care of Iowa turtle species. This document will be distributed to educators and wildlife rehabilitators permitted by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Samantha Lyle – Horticulture
Herbaceous Database for Visual Learning
Project Advisor(s): Cynthia Haynes, Grant Thompson | Advisor(s): Cynthia Haynes
Abstract (Click to view)For the last two years, I have served as a Teaching Assistant for Horticulture 330, Herbaceous Ornamentals. The majority of the course’s objectives are identifying common herbaceous perennials and annuals in cultivated Iowan landscapes. As this is an identification course, a large part of my responsibilities was sourcing and supplying physical samples for students to study with and reference during quizzes. This project consisted of over a hundred scans of plant material sorted into modules on HORT 330’s Canvas course site. The inspiration for this project was drawn from the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic- an attempt to bridge the gap for visual learners as the class adapted for hybrid learning. Sometimes students can run into poor quality and inaccurate search results when looking for their own images online. However, the compilation of this highly detailed database creates the unique opportunity to conduct an identification class online in future semesters.
Grace Mercer – Animal Science
The Influence of Environmental Enrichment on Piglet Behavior During Early Weaning
Project Advisor(s): Anna Johnson, Cassandra Stambuk | Advisor(s): Dawn Koltes
Abstract (Click to view)Limited published research has been completed on swine nutritional enrichment as a tool to improve welfare. The objective of this study was to evaluate a novel nutritional “biscuit” on feeder aggression in weaned pigs. Forty mixed-sex pigs, aged 19-24, were randomly allocated into 4 pens (10 pigs/pen). Pens were assigned 1 of 4 treatments: (1) biscuit with fecal semiochemical attractant, (2) biscuit with sugary attractant, (3) biscuit with no attractant (positive control), and (4) no biscuit (negative control). Each pen received 4 biscuits suspended from 2 ropes at the feeder, for the first 7 days. Pig aggressive behavior at the feeder was recorded for the first hour after biscuit placement each day. Descriptive data was analyzed for frequency (number) and duration (seconds) during the first hour. The negative control treatment had less aggression than the enrichment treatments at the feeder. On average, the duration of aggression between the 4 treatments was very short, whilst the longest aggressive bout was in the positive control treatment. Aggression around the feeder across all treatments was very low during the first hour after initial biscuit placement. Therefore, we cannot conclude that the enrichment altered feeder aggression at this time point for recently weaned pigs.
Elizabeth Moore – Animal Science
Advantages of Utilizing a Synchronization Protocol Prior to Natural Service in Beef Cows
Project Advisor(s): Dan Thomson | Advisor(s): Stephanie Hansen
Abstract (Click to view)This study examined the ability of estrous synchronization prior to natural breeding in beef cows to help producers improve the performance and profitability of their herd. To do this, we compared published literature on three different breeding strategies: 1) cows were bred by natural service without use of estrous synchronization, 2) cows were bred by natural service following the use of estrous synchronization and 3) cows were bred using timed artificial insemination with estrous synchronization, followed by the use of clean up sires. Bull carrying capacity, veterinary costs, labor, and calving distribution were determined for each strategy. Costs and revenue analysis were conducted for each strategy to examine economic efficiency within the herd. While there were increased costs associated with handling, labor, and product, improved revenue can be realized by increasing the number of calves born during the first 21 days of the calving season due to heavier weaning weights and decreased labor.
Mason Ohnemus – Agricultural Business, Finance
Survey of the Fama French Asset Pricing Models
Project Advisor(s): Paul Koch | Advisor(s): Ebby Luvaga, Austin Haytko
Abstract (Click to view)The world of investing is incredibly complex. Market participants have seemingly endless investment options to choose from and countless metrics to evaluate said options. For this reason, Investors have tirelessly looked for an efficient way to select investments that generate higher than average returns. It has long been believed that the market is unpredictable and that this search was pointless, but is this still a fact today? This paper discussed an investing style that attempts to find any patterns, correlations, or attributes associated with abnormal returns, known as factor-based investing, and determine whether it successfully explains or predicts stock market returns. This paper serves as a survey of the history, findings, and explanation of factor-based investing. It also includes information on the behavior of investors to bring attention to common anomalies. The results found in this study suggests that stock returns can be explained and predicted to some degree through behavioral and stock anomalies. The intended result of this paper is to simplify this complex subject so that anyone can understand it and apply in investment decisions. After this paper, readers should feel confident in their knowledge of factor-based investing and have the tools to implement it in their portfolios.
Lauren Peters – Dairy Science
Dairy Throughout the States
Project Advisor(s): Jennifer Bundy | Advisor(s): Mariana Rossoni-Serao
Abstract (Click to view)The dairy industry is viewed differently throughout the states and since I have lived in three different states with different views of agriculture, I wanted to get the views from actual residents. My hypothesis for this experiment was that Wisconsin will be more accepting of the dairy industry and have positive things to say, and Illinois will have negative opinions about the dairy industry. I think Iowa will be the middleman and have a mix of opinions. The way that this was conducted was by interviewing about 350 people in super markets in each of the states. I had questions that I asked each of the people that I interviewed. I then analyzed and categorized the data as to whether it had a positive or a negative connotation. Once all the data was analyzed, I made my conclusions about each of the states. In the end my hypothesis was correct. Wisconsin had more positive opinions about the dairy industry while Illinois had more negative opinions about the dairy industry. Iowa was the middleman and was close to being split down the middle in regards to opinions.
Behnia Rezazadeh Shirazi – Biology (AGLS), Biophysics, Biochemistry
Reproducibility of Reactive Hyperemia and Whole-Body Cooling
Project Advisor(s): James Lang | Advisor(s): Diane Bassham, Mark Hargrove
Abstract (Click to view)Vasodilation and vasoconstriction responses of the blood vessels are critical to the distribution of blood to different cells and tissue of the body. Vasodilation increases blood flow while vasoconstriction reduces the diameter of the arteries. Such responses are critical in inflammation, heat-stress, mechanical-stress, pharmacological interventions, and homeostasis. Cutaneous PORH, characterized by markedly increased blood flow supplying a distal extremity following a period of arterial occlusion. The whole-body cooling is known to exhibit an initial strong vasoconstrictive reaction that leads to the reduction of blood flow. Laser-doppler-flowmetry (LDF) and laser-speckle-contrast-imaging (LSCI) are used to measure cutaneous microvascular function. In this study both imaging techniques are employed. PORH (measured by LSCI) is recorded after a 5-min brachial artery occlusion while whole body cooling is achieved through reducing skin temperature to 30.5 C in an intermittent 0.5 C reduction. The objectives of my study were to determine the reproducibility of multiple PORH variables using different normalization methods and to compare the reproducibility of the LDF and the LSCI techniques in the whole-body cooling response. We found that the MF, AUC, and ORC5-20s of PORH are reproducible. Moreover, we saw that LSCI renders more reproducible results than LDF when we compared the cooling data.
Jordan Schroeder – Animal Science
Learning about Learning: Analyzing the Efficacy of PSYCH 131 for College of Agriculture and Life Science Students at Iowa State University
Project Advisor(s): Jennifer Bundy | Advisor(s): Elisabeth Lonergan
Abstract (Click to view)Psychology 131: Academic Learning Skills focuses on teaching students to discover their individual learning style and practice various academic skills. Psych 131 is not a required course but is recommended to First-Semester Students, Students on Academic Probation/Warning, and Transfer Students. This project investigated College of Agriculture and Life Science students’ opinion on the efficacy of the course and its role in altering their definition of academic success to determine if the course should be offered to a larger population of Iowa State students. Students were sent a survey to qualify changes to their confidence and skill-level perception through response matrixes and open-ended questions. By quantifying the matrixes and creating the numerical “average” student responses, there was a defined increase in student confidence and skill-level perception in factors such as self-motivation, organization, academic interactions, and completing assignments. Additionally, definitions of academic success switched themes from measurements of grades to individualized notions of positive emotional academic associations and future preparedness. Overall, this research established the “average” Psych 131 student experienced an increase in their confidence and skill-level perception with various academic skills and altered their opinion of academic success which suggests this course should be utilized by a larger student population.
Kasey Sullivan – Microbiology
Developing Recommendations for Studying Erwinia tracheiphila Vector-Pathogen Interactions by Studying Similar and Non-similar Vector-Pathogen Interactions.
Project Advisor(s): Gwyn Beattie | Advisor(s): Joan Cunnick
Abstract (Click to view)Erwinia tracheiphila is a pathogen responsible for bacterial wilt in cucurbits like melons, squash and cucumbers. Bacterial wilt is a serious plant disease, causing tremendous yield and economic loss. E. tracheiphila is spread to cucurbit plants by its vector, the striped cucumber beetle. The beetle infects the plants either by feeding on them with inoculated mouthparts or leaving contaminated feces. While the general cycle of how E. tracheiphila is spread from vector the plant is well documented, the molecular interaction isn’t thoroughly understood. The goal of this project was to conduct a literature review that investigated known bacterial-vector systems and compared them to the E. tracheiphila system. The analysis of these systems was used to develop recommendations for new research topics that would help elucidate the molecular interaction between E. tracheiphila and the striped cucumber beetle. Additionally, this project includes a grant proposal that develops a methodology to study the role of a type III secretion system in the interaction between E. tracheiphila and the striped cucumber beetle.
Catherine Thom – Agronomy
How Man-Made Structures Affect Catenas
Project Advisor(s): Lee Burras | Advisor(s): Michael Thompson
Abstract (Click to view)The purpose of this project was to look at how man-made structures affect catenas or how soil properties and processes are connected throughout a landscape. In this project, I went to different sites containing structures, sampled on each side of the structure, and made notes of the general landscape. I then evaluated different properties of the soils and compared the samples to each other and to what the expected soil was, according to Web Soil Survey. Through this I found that the soil upslope of the structure had darker/more Mollic colors that went deeper than in the soil downslope from the structure- (both in places where there was different and similar management on each side of the structure). Water was slowed on one side of a road creating a wetland and a stream from where the culvert takes water from the new wetland to the other side of the road. Measurements of stream bottom depths near, upstream, and downstream of bridges differed but ambiguously. From this it can be concluded that the structures do affect the landscape.
Avery Wickham – Animal Ecology
Ames Insect Initiative
Project Advisor(s): Gregory Courtney | Advisor(s): Stephen Dinsmore
Abstract (Click to view)The Ames Insect Initiative’s goal is to make Ames a more insect-friendly place, by creating change through educational outreach in the community. Insects are the most diverse animal group on the planet and provide numerous benefits to our ecosystem. Unfortunately, insects are currently facing a massive extinction event largely unknown by the public, and brought upon by habitat changes and pesticide use. The Ames Insect Initiative, through posters, public booths, and online campaigns, spread awareness of the role insects play in the ecosystem and the threats they are currently facing. The project also supported local actions to increase biodiversity, such as replacing traditional lawns with native prairies that provide insects with much needed resources.
Danielle Youngblut – Agricultural Business, Advertising
Redesigning Gravel Road Sunflowers
Project Advisor(s): Joanna Schroeder | Advisor(s): Ebby Luvaga, Michael Wigton
Abstract (Click to view)In March of 2020 ISU students were sent home with the rise of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Being one of these students, I resumed classes online from Northeast Iowa and looked to fill my spare time with a hobby. Six weeks after moving home, I started my own small business and Gravel Road Sunflowers (GRS) was born. For my honors project, I wanted to support the growth of my small business by building a website, informative business model, and detailed financial system that I can implement for the 2021 sunflower season. After completing these three components, I want to share what I’ve learned and what resources I utilized to make informed decisions in completing my target tasks. My results will be shared via my capstone honors poster virtually. My poster will contain five headlines describing the background, objectives, methods, results and conclusion on my project. The information above discusses the background and objectives. In order to make decisions, primarily about my website, my methods included conducting primary and secondary research to learn about the information and visuals most valuable to customers. Finally, my poster will outline how I intent to utilize my project moving forward and what I learned.
Camila Almeida – Business Analytics
Guides to Success of Business Analytics Teams in Corporations
Project Advisor(s): Wei Zhang | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli
Abstract (Click to view)As the world becomes more data-driven, business analytics teams become critical to companies. The true value of those professionals is not only acquired by simply having a business analytics team in a company; Rather, managers should know the approach to take to guide those teams to success. This project explores corporations and managerial goals along with business analysts’ perspectives. The corporation goals underscore the advantages of having business analytics teams, including identifying and curing the right talent and enabling those to be successful and bring value to the company, while also taking a look at how COVID-19 has shaped the way business operates. From the business analysts’ perspectives, however, this project raises questions about the skills, relevance of work, and mindset of those professionals that make them successful. This project dives into both quantitative data by surveying and interviewing industry professionals and to-be graduates of business analytics programs and qualitative data by leveraging literary research done in the topic. To handle both the corporate opportunities and business analysts’ perspectives posed by this project, we developed a clear set of guides to success of business analytics teams in corporations.
Marina Auwerda – Accounting, Management Information Systems
Short Stories Collection
Project Advisor(s): Alissa Stoehr | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli, Kelly Pistilli
Abstract (Click to view)My project is a collection of short stories centered around the experiences of women. It seeks to shed light on their struggles and bring unity between women who see reflections of themselves in the literature. Throughout, it prompts readers to examine their treatment of women, whether it be themselves or others. The stories suggest that we hold women to high standards and high responsibility, yet we treat them with reduced respect and understanding. My works seek to raise questions about what behaviors we have normalized, and the impact they have on millions of women’s lives. They also attempt to provide solidarity for women who have felt alone or isolated in their experiences. My writing comes from both personal experience and research, and I hope it will bring new perspectives to those who read it.
Noah Beukelman – Management
Remote Employment Trends Post-COVID-19
Project Advisor(s): Melissa Chamberlin | Advisor(s): Austin Haytko
Abstract (Click to view)The world’s workforce, the way that businesses view remote work, and how employees view the value proposition of remote work have all been changed permanently due to the past year. The objective of this project was to gain insights into remote employment trends as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. To accomplish this goal, I surveyed the Iowa State University undergraduate student body in order to gain an understanding of people’s thoughts related to remote employment and their overall preferences after a year of firsthand experience. This survey included questions about current employment status, remote work experience, preferences in the workplace, and which benefits to both remote and in-person work are the most prioritized amongst this group of future professionals. Overall conclusions drawn from this survey include the undergraduate population at Iowa State preferring remote employment for the various benefits but in-person employment for the socialization aspect, the trend of industries adapting to more easily offer a variety of employment formats to improve their value proposition, and certain industries struggling to adapt to this format shift more than others.
Kathleen Byrne – Management Information Systems
Improving Communication Between Deaf and Hearing Employees
Project Advisor(s): Dina Toulan | Advisor(s): Shannon Grundmeier
Abstract (Click to view)When discussing diversity in the workplace, diversity in communication is a critical but often overlooked topic. To answer the research question of how to improve communication between Deaf and hearing employees, this project aims to create a resource that employers can use to create an inclusive environment for Deaf employees. Specifically, this project's objectives were to: 1. Provide education on etiquette for interacting with a Deaf person 2. Recommend best practices for inclusive meetings 3. Teach basic American Sign Language (ASL) signs To meet these objectives, I interviewed several Deaf employees and a Deaf Services Director. Additionally, I researched information from several organizations (e.g. National Association of the Deaf). Through my research and experience taking four ASL classes at Iowa State, I discovered helpful technologies for the workplace, etiquette when interacting with a Deaf person, best practices for meetings, and basic ASL signs. Over the course of the project, I learned that there are many simple adjustments that employers can make to create an inclusive workplace for Deaf employees. My project is best summarized in the words of one of my interviewees - when interacting with a Deaf person, “Be patient. Be accommodating. Be kind.”
Courtney Campbell – Marketing
Copyright and Music: When and Where Can You Use It?
Project Advisor(s): Michael Bootsma | Advisor(s): Austin Haytko
Abstract (Click to view)Many people have always just assumed that once music was out in the world, anybody could use it at any time. This is not the case, thanks to copyright law. Copyright law can be extremely hard to understand, and its applications to common day cases can pose some issues. The purpose of this project was to take a deep dive into the history of copyright law and its past applications. This was done through secondary research that consisted of reading the Copyright Act of 1976 itself and more. Then, after examining the history, past applications, and further intricacies of copyright law, a case study approach was taken to see how copyright law is dealt with today. Furthermore, through applying the knowledge of copyright today, a prediction into the future of copyright law is made and discussed.
Michael Carter – Marketing
The Effects of Covid-19 on the Mental Health of Undergrad University Students
Project Advisor(s): Robert Hessling | Advisor(s): Brenda Thorbs-Weber
Abstract (Click to view)The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has had massive impacts on the world. Whether it be school and business closings, travel restrictions, or loss of life, everyone has been affected by this disease. The purpose of my study is to take a deeper look into the mental health implications of this pandemic. Through a Qualtrics survey, I measured the life satisfaction, COVID-19 anxiety levels, and overall social engagement of 832 undergraduate students at Iowa State University. These questions were in Likert scale format, given a numerical value, and then averaged (given a score) to get an accurate picture of an individual’s COVID-19 anxiety, life satisfaction, or social engagement level. Conclusions from this research include the following: Women reported higher levels of COVID-19 anxiety then men on average. Those who can engage in social activities with others outside the home have lower COVID-19 anxiety levels and higher life satisfaction. Younger students are less anxious about COVID-19 than older students. Lastly, those who live in apartments on campus are the most anxious about COVID-19.
Kailee Ervin – Actuarial Science, Statistics
Ideal Technical Skills for Future Actuaries
Project Advisor(s): Xuan Nguyen | Advisor(s): Austin Haytko, Dawn Walker-Chalmers
Abstract (Click to view)In Fall 2019, the new actuarial science undergraduate major was added to the Ivy College of Business. However, the requirements for the major lack technical skills at the level expected of future actuaries. This project looked to answer two questions: First, what are the specific technical skills recruiters look for in their ideal actuarial intern or entry-level hire? Second, what classes should an actuarial science student at Iowa State take in order to develop their technical skills to a level preferred by recruiting companies? A total of 10 companies were chosen because of their previous interest in recruitment at Iowa State for actuarial science, and they were surveyed about their technical skill preferences for their interns and entry-level hires. As a result of the survey, classes like DS 201 and STAT 486 were chosen to be the best fit in the level of technical experience in an actuarial internship. These classes were selected based on their ability to teach technical skills in one of the top programming languages determined from the survey, demonstrate one’s capability to work with little supervision, and provide an opportunity to practice clearly communicating technical results.
Claire Grebner – Marketing
Development of a Cross-Industry Sustainability Index
Project Advisor(s): Frank Montabon | Advisor(s): Austin Haytko
Abstract (Click to view)Comparing sustainability across industries is always difficult. Indices exist to give firms scores and assist with comparison; however, problems exist because index creators are not perfect and there are always improvements that can be made in the index creation process. Giving a firm a more accurate score from a better designed index means customers can make better decisions about the businesses they support. This problem is also applicable to the firms themselves with regard to comparing their performance in relation to competitors, where they can make improvements, and how they can leverage their sustainability as a competitive advantage. Research, comparison, and analysis were conducted of the indices and index types that exist. Best practices were determined and compiled. A new index, the Claire Index, resulted from this research process. It seeks to maximize the best practices and minimize the negative aspects of index creation. From this research, best decision-making procedures were identified, not only for sustainability indices, but also other indices. Businesses can also see applications of this research in deciding how to audit within their departments, where they should allocate spending when sustainability is their focus, and who they want as suppliers and business partners along their supply chain.
Katie Koehler – Supply Chain Management
Optimizing Last Mile Delivery for On-Campus Deliveries at Iowa State University
Project Advisor(s): Robert Overstreet | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli
Abstract (Click to view)In the fall of 2020, the Iowa State University Central Receiving Office assumed responsibility for small parcel delivery campus-wide. This increased volume significantly strained their resources and presented major challenges with respect to handling, processing, and delivering packages. As part of a continuous process improvement team, I worked with Central Receiving for four months collecting data and developing recommendations to enhance their capabilities. One recommendation was to implement a routing system that divided the campus into delivery areas (North, East, South, and West) to facilitate faster delivery and prevent multiple drivers from delivering to the same building. The purpose of this honor’s project is to evaluate the performance of the routing system to date, look for improvement opportunities, and make further recommendations to improve their overall delivery process.
Corey Kubisiak – Finance, Business Economics
A Study into the Value of Online Learning
Project Advisor(s): Donghyuk Kim | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli, Darin Wohlgemuth
Abstract (Click to view)This paper studies student preferences for course modalities as the COVID-19 pandemic forced a change in how education was delivered. A survey collected the responses of 200 Iowa State University Honors Program students on their rankings and willingness-to-pay for various course modalities and the actual choices made in the Fall 2020 semester. Insights from microeconomic theories relating to consumer behavior are used to interpret the survey results. The analysis is complemented by an interview with Iowa State Department of Economics faculty member Dr. Donghyuk Kim on the shift in education delivery from an instructor’s perspective. Results are consistent with the equilibrium outcome of rational behavior of students given their values for in-person interaction with peers, but irrational, myopic behavior cannot be ruled out. Results on students’ willingness-to-pay for various course modalities also suggest that students prefer to enroll in a mixture of in-person and online courses.
Nathan Mathews – Accounting, International Business
CPA Preparedness: Mapping Accounting Courses to BEC and FAR Sections
Project Advisor(s): Diane Janvrin, Kayla Sander | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli, Kelly Pistilli
Abstract (Click to view)The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam is a topic of interest for many accounting students at Iowa State University. The Accounting Department aims to prepare students to succeed in any accounting career they choose. This means they do not strive to have every student pass the CPA exam because not every student will take the exam. Thus, this research maps out various business courses and their curriculum to determine how well students are being prepared for the Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) and Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) sections of the CPA exam using the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) blueprints. This is a continuation of a Senior Honors Project completed by Stephanie Sincox, titled CPA Ready: How Accounting Courses Prepare Students, which analyzed the Auditing and Attestation (AUD) and Regulation (REG) sections of the CPA exam.
Brooke Mennen – Finance
Discrimination in the Financial Services Industry
Project Advisor(s): Mark Power | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli
Abstract (Click to view)Based on previous research, the LGBTQ community faces financial barriers. Using academic research, I conducted a database search to analysis the academic literature on discrimination in the financial services industry based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A significant amount of academic research was identified related to LGBTQ discrimination in mortgage lending and health insurance. The literature analysis discusses mortgage lending discrimination and relevant laws, along with the impact of the federal legalization of same-sex marriage and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act on health insurance for the LGBTQ community. The analysis suggests that the LGBTQ population in the US experience discrimination in mortgage lending and health insurance. These findings should justify further research on LGBTQ people’s experiences within the financial services industry.
Zhaoying Qin – Entrepreneurship, Management Information Systems
Data Explain, the Story behind GameStop: the Century Battle of Hedge Funds and Individual Investors
Project Advisor(s): Wenli Zhang | Advisor(s): Austin Haytko, Austin Haytko
Abstract (Click to view)This report aims to explore the story behind the stock trading rally regarding GameStop that took place in January 2021. Data is extracted and scraped from Reddit’s wallstreetbets community and individual investors’ emotion and sentiment analysis is performed by using of data visualization tools to help illustrate and understand the driving factors behind the investing movement.
Devin Scott – Finance, Management Information Systems
Accounting for Seasonality in Intraday Volume for Forex Volatility Measures
Project Advisor(s): Tingting Liu | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli, Kelly Pistilli
Abstract (Click to view)This project seeks to address the seasonality in volatility that comes from the varying degrees of volume throughout the 24-hour foreign exchange trading day. The indicator that the project will work with is the average true range, a tool that is used to track an instruments trading range (for a given period) by taking a running average of previous periods’ ranges. Using the pairs EUR/USD, USD/JPY, GBP/USD, USD/CHF, USD/CAD, AUD/USD and NZD/USD, with 10 years of intraday historical data for each pair, the project will attempt to improve the model for the average true range indicator. The result of this research is the alteration of the average true range formula to create a much more accurate model for measuring volatility in markets where volatility and volume have a distinct seasonality that correlates with repeating intraday time-periods. Analysis of the data will be done in Python and JMP, with visualizations created through Python, JMP, Excel, and Tableau. Lastly, the project will explore applications in other financial markets (such as the spot metals market) and a brief commentary on its usefulness to retail traders will be offered, as well.
Kalista Velman – Finance, Supply Chain Management
Analyzing the Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses
Project Advisor(s): Johanna Amaya Leal | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli, Kelly Pistilli
Abstract (Click to view)Abstract will not be available
Jack Wilgenbusch – Marketing
Understanding SEO Strategy: Analyzing Paid Versus Organic Keyword Searches
Project Advisor(s): Ashley Goreczny | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli
Abstract (Click to view)The optimization of specific keywords digitally is essential to the success of all companies within an industry. With a proper SEO strategy, firms can improve search volume. SEO strategy is impacted by the specificity of the keywords used and the amount of money spent on the keywords. This research seeks to answer what drives success in a keyword. Through the utilization of a keyword database provided by SpyFu.com, a multiple regression model was used to study the relationship between variables that seek to answer what drives the success of a keyword. The database consisted of more than 231 unique keywords across 56 companies in six industries. The research supports the hypothesis that the more specific a keyword is, the higher the value that the keyword provides to its represented domain. Interestingly it was concluded that there was no support that the amount of money a company spends to advertise a keyword drives the value that the keyword provides to its represented domain. Finally, the value of the keyword on the domain drives search volume of that keyword. These findings can be implemented by a manager in their SEO strategy for more effective results.
Diandra Duenser – Architecture Professional Degree
Architecture and Our Well-Being
Project Advisor(s): Bosuk Hur | Advisor(s): Rob Whitehead, Jeremy Miller
Abstract (Click to view)The effects that the built environment has on our daily lives is more than most people would think. This project’s research provokes us into asking ourselves what our ideal environments are and what characterizes them as such. Through space and function, an architect is tasked to build an environment that fits the needs of its user. With this, there is an emphasis on social interaction and how to best promote engagement with neighbors. Lighting and colors within a space can also affect us by stimulating an emotive response within ourselves. Lastly, through sustainability and other connections with the natural environment, we can emphasize the importance of the relationship between our built and natural environments. By understanding the ways we feel in the spaces we inhabit or frequent, we can ultimately decide if we are in a healthy environment that promotes ourselves.
Jacob Gasper – Architecture Professional Degree
Architectural Clay Formworks
Project Advisor(s): Shelby Doyle | Advisor(s): Jeremy Miller
Abstract (Click to view)This body of work explores 3d printing clay as a reusable formwork for concrete applications. Additive manufacturing or 3D printing clay is a growing body of knowledge occurring at the intersection of engineering, ceramics, and design. Jenny Sabin Labs of Cornell University and Ron Rael of University of California Berkeley are two researchers at the forefront of additive clay workflows to create architectural elements and sustainable building technologies. This project began with a literature review and case studies to scope a research agenda and expand upon the possibility of 3D printing clay for the design and production of reusable concrete formwork. This research develops methods and mock-ups for unfired clay 3D printing, both for its geometric possibilities and limitations as a reusable architectural formwork. The hypothesis of this project is that clay can be 3D printed to produce a mold, poured into to produce a concrete cast, then dissolved, remixed, and then used to produce new prints and molds. The project methodology relies upon iterative digital fabrication to combine robotic fabrication knowledge, computational design, and ceramic knowledge. Resulting work is evaluated for replicability and aesthetics. The outcome is mock-ups of architectural elements that reduce formwork material use and demonstrate the viability of the proposed methods.
Madeleine Loyd – Art: Integrated Studio Arts
Concept Art for Prop and Scene Design
Project Advisor(s): Chuck Richards | Advisor(s): Christopher Martin, Allison Ringholz
Abstract (Click to view)My project was an independent study of the process and best practices in creating concept art that produces visual ideas for objects and scenes to be used in a professional field such as animation or video game production. This study included three projects, the first focusing on object design, the second on scene design, and the third on the use of varying lighting schemes to convey mood in an environment. For each project the process was visual research, design iteration, adding value, refining designs, and rendering in color. Researching and applying the properties of light and perspective easily readable designs was a central goal. The final products are a series of designs from concept to final render that provide a strong foundation of a concept art portfolio.
Emma Madden – Art & Design (Bachelor of Arts), Psychology
Media Portrayals of Mental Illness
Project Advisor(s): Monica Marsee | Advisor(s): Marina Reasoner, Whitney Baker
Abstract (Click to view)Mental illnesses are often depicted in fictional media. However, due to the complexities of these conditions, depictions are often flawed or inaccurate. Harmful stereotypes are often perpetuated, including portraying characters with mental illness as violent, incompetent, or criminal. Inaccurate depictions of mental illness in film may harm real people living with these conditions, as such portrayals often contribute to the public perception of and stigmas surrounding mental illness. This project analyzes 35 English-language movies available on Netflix U.S. that depict at least one character as experiencing a mental illness. Demographic data was collected, including approximate age, race, and gender. Mental illnesses were not specifically named, but rather were grouped into diagnostic categories as used in the DSM-5. Information was also collected regarding how the character was portrayed with regards to harmful stereotypes about mental illness. Over half of the characters were shown to harm others, and nearly 70% were incompetent in one or more areas of their life. Nearly all of these depictions were dramatized and at least partially inaccurate. While viewing fictional films about mental illness, it is important to remember that personal perceptions of and attitudes towards mental illness can affect real people living with similar conditions.
Thomas O'Donnell – Community & Regional Planning
Heartland Utopias: Intentional Communities in Iowa
Project Advisor(s): Ted Grevstad-Noro | Advisor(s): Marina Reasoner
Abstract (Click to view)Since the earliest days of Iowa’s statehood, the state has been home to a wide range of intentional communities. Groups of all types have come to the state to build unique towns and villages defined by their beliefs. This project examines many of these communities, including three in-depth case studies of notable groups and two surveys of other communities. It aims to reveal how these groups came to be in Iowa and how their beliefs shaped their homes. The project takes the form of a series of blog articles published at urbanutopias.net. The three core case studies examine the secular utopia of Icaria in Adams County, the religious Amana Colonies in Iowa County, and the modern-day community of Maharishi Vedic City in Jefferson County. The two survey articles touch on a variety of political and religious communities in Iowa. The series also includes two short posts introducing and concluding the project. In sum, this project reveals the broad trends that helped shape these intentional communities, as well as the specific forces that brought them to Iowa and defined their existence in the state.
Mia Tiric – Architecture Professional Degree
Modern Intentional Communities & the Future of Sustainable Architectural Typologies
Project Advisor(s): Andrea Wheeler | Advisor(s): Patience Lueth
Abstract (Click to view)Federation for Intentional Communities defines an intentional community as a group of people who have chosen to live together or share resources based on a set of common values (FIC, 2021). Historically, such groups have either been seen as anarchists or acting in opposition to conventional views and often disregarded as too idealistic or impractical. However, intentional communities engaged with community living have repeatedly demonstrated their movement's practicality through their positive relation to the environment with land management or farming. Using five case studies of contemporary groups that identify themselves as intentional communities, this research aims to analyze the relationship between community groups' social organization and their motivation for alternative sustainable lifestyles. Dolores Hayden states that: "To achieve a successful community living dynamic, there must be a balance between authority and participation, community and privacy, and uniqueness and replicability." Using this statement as a framework for our analysis, this study analyzes the following intentional communities directly: Acorn Farm Community (VA) and Twin Oaks Community (VA). Each of these communities differs in size and exemplifies complex social structures that aim to practice various degrees of sustainable living. The study uses survey data collected from members, ex-members, and long-term visitors from Acorn Farm Community and Twin Oaks Community, along with secondary to help compare, contrast, and analyze plausible urban influences using a more comprehensive range of existing sustainable models.
Bethany Trang – Graphic Design
Asian American Experiences
Project Advisor(s): Cheri Ure | Advisor(s): Allison Ringholz
Abstract (Click to view)The purpose of this project was to tell stories of Asian American college students, a group that isn’t always known or cared for. College students exist in a space between childhood and true adulthood. Students are pressured to form their own opinions and voice them loudly, joining the political, racial, and religious tension that the world is encapsulated in. The voices of college students are the ones that are shaping the future and it is important that every voice is heard and valued. The process for this project involved question creation, visual identity ideation, planning for the video shoot, interviews, video editing, and publication design. Each interviewee was given the questions ahead of time and could choose what they wished to answer. They submitted photos for use in the film and publication while the rest of the visual material was created completely for this project. The end deliverables are a short film documentary and a digital publication piece.
Aimee Wallner – Interior Design
Diving into the Scene of Scenic Design
Project Advisor(s): Robert Sunderman | Advisor(s): Allison Ringholz
Abstract (Click to view)The world of show business: Broadway performances that astound, the plays that tug emotion, the movies and TV watched every day all have rich backgrounds that often go unnoticed. Each of these forms of entertainment encompasses so much more than just the actors. In this project, I dive deeper into the art of scenic design. Throughout this project, I designed the set for a mainstage show for the ISU Theatre department performed virtually in March. My project includes a discussion of the design process, analysis, set construction, and final product. I documented my work along the way, showing the journey of bringing a set design to life. In designing this set, I first analyzed the script, then created a mood board that encompasses the ideas of the show which will help guide my design. From there, I created rough sketch ideations of my design which I turned into a 3D model. Ultimately, this set was constructed in Fisher Theatre and housed actors for the performance of the show. Throughout this process, I worked closely with the whole production team including the director, set builder, and lighting designer.
Morgan Ambourn – Computer Engineering
Distance Perception in Virtual Reality
Project Advisor(s): Jonathan Kelly | Advisor(s): Vicky Thorland-Oster
Abstract (Click to view)Virtual reality (VR) is used for several applications including entertainment, education, and workforce training. Accurate distance perception in these environments is essential to the quality and effectiveness of these applications. However, research has shown that distance in head-mounted display (HMD) VR systems is consistently underperceived compared to distances in the real world. Although recent technological improvements have allowed distance perception to become more veridical, it is necessary to evaluate whether distances in modern, consumer-oriented HMDs are still underperceived. Therefore, distance perception was investigated using contemporary HMDs (e.g., Oculus Quest and Oculus Quest 2), and a real environment. The real environment was a university classroom; the virtual environment was a 3D replica of the classroom. Participants viewed an object and judged its distance through a verbal report and blind walking. On verbal trials, the participant verbally reported how far away the object appeared to be. On blind walking trials, the participant walked (without vision) to the location where they thought the object had been. Verbal and blind walking judgments were significantly shorter in the Oculus Quest than the real classroom, indicating under perception of distance.
Noah Berthusen – Software Engineering
Efficient Quantum Circuit Compression using Reinforcement Learning
Project Advisor(s): Peter Orth | Advisor(s): Teela Wilmes
Abstract (Click to view)Computations by the current generation of noisy intermediate scale quantum (NISQ) computers are often plagued by errors such as decoherence and cross talk. Such errors severely limit the depth of NISQ quantum circuits, yet many quantum algorithms that show promise of a quantum speedup require deep circuits and prolonged coherence times. In this work, we propose leveraging Reinforcement Learning (RL) to intelligently build quantum circuits that can recreate given target states, given no information about the circuit used to construct them. The RL agent learns about the hidden system by receiving rewards based on local observables, calculated using the target state, and the fidelity of the final state. By constraining the depth of the circuits built by the agent, we hypothesize that this approach allows us to compress the depth of quantum circuits necessary to create the target state. One important application of our method is dynamic quantum simulation, where the target state is a time-evolved state using a given Hamiltonian and a Trotterized quantum circuit. Our method promises quantum simulations out to longer final times than are currently feasible on NISQ devices.
Casey Bradt – Aerospace Engineering
Stirring the Pot of Cleaner Cooking Technology
Project Advisor(s): Mark Bryden | Advisor(s): Nicole Gupta
Abstract (Click to view)Much of the developing world relies on biomass (wood) cookstoves/fires that vent to the cooking space. These cookstoves have been shown to be significant negative contributors to anthropogenic climate change, deforestation, and children’s and women’s health. Because of this, the design of biomass cookstoves is a topic of ongoing research and development. However, these efforts have focused on the design of the cookstove and have not addressed the cooking system (i.e., the cookpot). This research project developed a novel computational model appropriate for the design of the cookpot that determines the user-critical design parameters of the heat loss, mass loss, efficiency, and time to boil. Specifically, this research addressed the relatively unstudied problem of high mass-transfer natural convection from a horizontal surface using the steady-state model developed by Brewster and extended this model to account for transient behavior of heating water in a cookpot. The model has been validated using Brewster’s steady-state data and qualitative cooking data. Future work will validate the model against experimental data. This project addresses, in part, the issue of energy justice. Significant research time is spent improving the energy solutions favored by the wealthy and little is spent on energy solutions needed by the poor.
Nicholas Heger – Computer Engineering
Project Advisor(s): Simanta Mitra | Advisor(s): Vicky Thorland-Oster
Stephanie Jou – Aerospace Engineering
Structural Analysis on Small UAS
Project Advisor(s): Vinay Dayal | Advisor(s): Brad Eilers
Abstract (Click to view)This project proposes the integration of a structural analysis of the Open UAS research team's small unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The project consists of the subsystem modeling of the wing, tail, and landing gear. These subsystems are modeled through Solidworks or ANSYS and then analyzed with ANSYS Mechanical APDL or ANSYS Workbench. For these analyses, material properties such as the density and elastic modulus are researched and input into the programs. The loads and constraints are placed in the program to obtain solutions for each subsystem. The project includes some background information of the subsystems and the results are analyzed for each. This project concludes with some takeaways and proposed methods to improve this analysis to incorporate it to the Open UAS research team's iteration design process.
Timothy Kaufmann – Chemical Engineering
Modeling Calcium Alginate Diffusion
Project Advisor(s): Ian Schneider | Advisor(s): Mackenzie Schwartz
Abstract (Click to view)The purpose of this paper is to analyze two different models for the diffusion of calcium chloride crosslinker into alginate hydrogel. A model was created in MATLAB using PDE toolbox and another model was created using a semi-infinite domain approximation. It is assumed in both models that no reaction is taking place. Opacity data from a 10 hr. diffusion experiment was manipulated and fit to the models to determine the diffusion coefficient. The diffusion coefficients obtained from the MATLAB and error function models are 0.000621 cm^2/min and 0.000915 cm^2/min respectively. Based on the results the semi-infinite domain models the data better at radiuses less than 0.6 cm. However, at radiuses larger than 0.6 cm the PDE toolbox model is a better fit. Further testing of this model is necessary, it is also recommended that the system be modeled without the no reactions assumption to see how it compares to the data.
Gabriel Kjeldgaard – Mechanical Engineering
Enzymatic Loading of LIG Biosensors for Pesticide Detection
Project Advisor(s): Jonathan Claussen | Advisor(s): John Wagner, Sarah Wilson
Abstract (Click to view)This enzymatic biosensor for paraoxon is made on a laser induced graphene working electrode which makes it cost effective and has the possibility of mass production in the future. The sensor is functionalized with Acetylcholinesterase (ACHE) which is inhibited by paraoxon. The inhibition of the enzymatic reaction with acetylthiocholine chloride to form acetic acid and thiocholine which is oxidized, giving off dithiocholine and 2 electrons, is observed through electrochemical testing using amperometry. The biosensor has repeatable results with a linear range that does not include the nominal range of paraoxon concentrations found in ground water. Different methods to decrease the linear range to include nominal concentrations should be considered. The low cost of these sensors allows for the future possibility of use in an internet of things mapping system in the agriculture industry to apply targeted pesticide application to decrease over spraying which is costly and has negative environmental effects
Sylvia Knight – Industrial Engineering
Does Polarization Turn off Younger Voters?: Investigating the Effects of the 2016 Presidential Election on the 18-22 Age Bracket
Project Advisor(s): David Peterson | Advisor(s): Devna Popejoy-Sheriff
Abstract (Click to view)This study investigates what effect reminding young adults of the 2016 United States presidential election would have on their future voting behavior. It seeks to further the investigation into the motivations for voting. The experiment was conducted using a sample of Iowa State University students between the ages of 18 and 38. It was found that participants who were asked to think about their emotional reaction to the 2016 United States presidential election were significantly more likely to say that they would vote in an election if one was held today. These findings suggest that, at least in the case of the 2016 election, reminding young adults of past elections is likely to increase their motivation to vote.
Karter Krueger – Software Engineering
Playing Catch with a Mobile Robot
Project Advisor(s): Yan-Bin Jia | Advisor(s): Patrick Determan
Abstract (Click to view)In this project, I designed, built, and programmed a mobile robot capable of catching a tennis ball thrown at it. The robot is designed to be lightweight to allow for high acceleration to quickly move to position to intercept the ball. The robot uses a stereo depth camera mounted on a gimbal to actively track the moving ball. As the camera tracks the ball, 3D position coordinates are passed to a Kalman filter that uses known dynamics, such as gravity, to accurately estimate the trajectory of the ball and predict the expected interception point for the robot. A motion planner then determines a velocity plan for the motors to drive the robot to the correct position at the correct time to intercept the path of the ball and catch it in the basket.
Bethany Lippert – Industrial Engineering
Using Systems Thinking to Increase Effectiveness of a Local Food Pantry
Project Advisor(s): Ana Luz | Advisor(s): Devna Popejoy-Sheriff
Abstract (Click to view)The purpose of this project was to identify ways that Food at First, a local food bank, could more effectively serve the Ames community by applying a systems mindset. The project was conducted using the double diamond design thinking methodology consisting of four stages: observation and ideation, defining the problem, design for intervention, and implementation. After analyzing the system, the focus of the project became: How might we reduce the amount of time the executive director spends on non-value-added tasks to decrease overtime and prevent burn out? Through volunteering, observation, and SWAT analysis, primary issue areas were identified. After synthesizing issues and identifying potential solutions, the following issues were selected: not having time to complete office work (missing deadlines), getting pulled into volunteer work, frequent interruptions (phone calls or volunteers), and incorrect/inaccessible information on the website. Uninterrupted work time was established from 11-1 pm daily. Email templates and group email lists were created to reduce time spent on repetitive tasks. The website was modified to improve clarity and make information accessible to reduce the number of questions received. Issues were identified and solutions implemented that allowed the executive director to do her job more effectively, impacting the whole organization.
Heather MacMurdo – Materials Engineering, World Languages & Cultures
Comparative Analysis of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Policy and the 1960s Bilingual Movements, and their effects on Bilingualism in the United States
Project Advisor(s): Brian Behnken | Advisor(s): Holly Dunlay-Lott, Flor Romero-De-Slowing
Abstract (Click to view)This project assesses the Bilingual Education Act (BEA) of 1968 and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 to compare their effectiveness. The BEA developed from civil rights activists’ demands. It provided grants to help develop education in the student’s native languages. However, the BEA from the beginning became dissociated from these larger civil rights demands. It also mainly supported programs designed to transition students to English instead of maintaining the student’s ancestral language. With each reauthorization the bill became further divorced from the initial ideals that inspired it. The NCLB was founded on the idea that the United States needed to increase accountability in schools to help the country stay competitive globally. To do so the NCLB mandated nationwide standardized assessments to measure educational achievement. However, these assessments and the erroneous assumptions of bilingual learning capabilities negatively impacted students with limited English language proficiency. My initial hypothesis was that since the BEA was connected to the Civil Rights Movement it would have accomplished more than the NCLB. This hypothesis would appear to be true only in a limited fashion. Instead, both bills failed students in ways that impacted their educational success.
Joaquin Matticoli – Aerospace Engineering
High-Fidelity Aerodynamic Optimization for Wind Turbine Blades
Project Advisor(s): Ping He | Advisor(s): Jackie Kester
Abstract (Click to view)The goal of a wind turbine is to produce as much electricity as possible. To achieve this, the aerodynamic properties of the blade become a key factor of consideration, since they affect how much lift is produced and, thus, the torque and spin rate. These properties can always be improved upon to increase the efficiency and power output of the wind turbine. Through this project, we used a high-fidelity aerodynamic optimization framework to maximize the power output of NREL6 wind turbine blades. We ran tests to determine the correct constraints necessary for the optimization framework to produce structurally sound wind turbine blades with a higher power output. After comparing with experimental data from the NASA-Ames wind tunnel, we found that the torque output was only 6% off. After eight iterations, we produced a wind turbine blade with a 6% torque increase compared to the baseline NREL 6 blades. This optimization research is also helping prove that computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solvers work correctly and provide valuable optimization results. As part of the optimization, we provided thickness and axial thrust constraints for structural considerations. We are now evaluating what difference running a single point versus multipoint solution does to the shape of the blades.
Augusto Menezes Savaris – Computer Engineering
Exploring how Unsupervised Learning Techniques can Affect Supervised Image Classification
Project Advisor(s): Christopher Quinn | Advisor(s): Vicky Thorland-Oster
Abstract (Click to view)Image classification is very important to many real-world applications, including medical imaging, self-driving vehicles, and security systems. Image classifiers need to be trained on labeled data to successfully classify new images. However, labeled data can be expensive to obtain. We explore a framework that leverages unlabeled data to learn the most fundamental features of images and apply the learned knowledge into image classification tasks. We are training an Autoencoder to learn how to encode an image into a low dimensionality representation, preserving only the most relevant features. Then, we transform the Autoencoder into a classifier by adding a final layer to the neural network, and train the new layer using a limited amount of annotated data. Using this strategy shows significant performance improvements for image classification on the MNIST data set compared with just using labelled data.
Stefan Peng – Computer Engineering
Differentiation of Neural Stem Cells through Electric Field Stimulation
Project Advisor(s): Donald Sakaguchi | Advisor(s): Vicky Thorland-Oster
Abstract (Click to view)Neural stem cells (NSCs) show promise in treating neurodegenerative diseases and repairing nervous system injuries. Potential applications include in vivo treatments for nervous system damage as well as in vitro modeling of the nervous system. Microfluidic devices show potential as a neural stem cell-based high-throughput drug screening platform. This platform could lead to faster drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and could be used in conjunction with traditional drug screening assays and animal tests. My goal for this project is to quantify neural stem cell growth within the microfluidic device environment. Cell viability within the microfluidic devices was assessed using propidium iodide (PI) assays. Neurosphere growth was quantified, as well as cell proliferation using Ki67 antibody immunolabeling. Other avenues of investigation included characterization of neurosphere growth using GFP-expressing/non-GFP-expressing co-cultures and characterization of cell differentiation using immunocytochemistry. Preliminary results indicate that the microfluidic devices are compatible for cell proliferation and the growth of neurospheres.
David Reynolds – Mechanical Engineering
Development of a Microfluidic Platform for Embryonic Zebrafish Confocal Microscopy Imaging
Project Advisor(s): Raquel Espin Palazon & Long Que | Advisor(s): Kirsten Hauge
Abstract (Click to view)Embryonic zebrafish have been used extensively when studying hematopoiesis due to their high similarity with the human hematopoietic system. While in vivo imaging is one of the main advantages of using this animal model, there is no commercially viable device for managing these subjects under confocal imaging. Therefore, expensive reagents such as agarose and large amounts of time are needed for imaging. This project aimed to develop a 3D-printed system that contains the embryonic (1-3 days post-fertilization, hpf) zebrafish's anatomical features and controls the subject for confocal microscopy imaging, reducing considerably the time and money spent to correctly positioned the embryos for in vivo imaging. First, the chip's constraints, outlining the embryonic zebrafish's anatomical structure, were obtained for the initial design. For the design process, the physical prototype was designed with Solidworks (3D modeling computer-aided software). For chip fabrication, the device was fabricated with a Form 2 SLA 3D Printer. Once fabrication was complete, the device underwent a scrutiny process to ensure the device was functional, controlled the zebrafish, and posed no disruptions in imaging. This device's development will continue to pioneer genetic and developmental studies, potentially converting into a marketable product for its relevant fields.
Thomas Simon – Chemical Engineering
Investigating How Aptamers Dock with SARS-CoV-2 Spike Glycoprotein
Project Advisor(s): Monica Lamm | Advisor(s): Nicole Prentice
Abstract (Click to view)Song et al. proposed that they have made an aptamer that binds or “docks” well with the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein, a protein of great interest on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. To begin to verify their results, the software HADDOCK was used. HADDOCK uses a computational molecular docking approach that allows users to test if certain molecules bind well with others. Using docking approaches can save countless hours of experimental time. With HADDOCK, one can investigate how a strand of RNA, an aptamer, binds with a specific protein, in our case the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2. The data generated by HADDOCK can then be used to guide researchers toward focused experiments with aptamers that have a higher chance of working in the real world. A docking study was conducted using the aptamers proposed by Song et al. It was found that their aptamers bind well with the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and allows for further experimentation in a laboratory setting to continue to verify their results. Citation: Song et al. (Discovery of Aptamers Targeting the Receptor-Binding Domain of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Glycoprotein, Anal. Chem. 2020, 92, 14, 9895–9900)
Jidong Sun – Computer Engineering
Adaptive Administration System for First-Year Honors Program
Project Advisor(s): Simanta Mitra | Advisor(s): Vicky Thorland-Oster
Abstract (Click to view)Each spring semester, the University Honors Program (UHP) recruits student leaders and matches them in pairs to teach the HON-121 Seminar. The previous matching process involved pooling students' data from many sources and manually creating matches based on students' availability, preferences, and other factors defined by the UHP staff. The project was designed and developed to solve the problems of the manual process by creating a centralized dashboard to view all of students' information at once, a student-leader portal to gather that information, and a matching engine to create leader pairs manually or automatically, following the dynamic constraints set by the users. With future maintenance in mind, the application is highly configurable to accommodate changes in data managed and changes in matching parameters. This project was developed with the Angular and Spring Boot frameworks and designed as a web-based application to reduce the set-up overhead for users. It used oauth2 provided by Okta for user management and authentication, ensuring the security of student data.
Srisai Anirudh Tangellapalli – Computer Engineering
Evaluating Machine Learning Models to Identify Leaf Damage on Sorghum
Project Advisor(s): Joshua Peschel | Advisor(s): Vicky Thorland-Oster
Abstract (Click to view)This project presents an alternative approach to detect sugarcane aphid infestation on the underside of sorghum leaves using computer vision techniques and deep learning. Currently, monitoring sorghum plant health is time-consuming and requires much manual labor with room for human error. Therefore, an automated computer vision-based technique to detect symptoms of sugarcane aphid infestation can significantly improve the overall health of the sorghum field. The results from this study provide a method to accurately gauge aphid infestation to apply appropriate amounts of pesticides, effectively preventing unnecessary chemical runoff and overuse of pesticides. We used a dataset composed of 1863 images extracted from infield video to test and train two machine learning models. The first model is used to classify the entire frame into two categories, healthy or unhealthy. The second model uses a specific subset of the dataset because the model can segment individual leaves in the frame, which are then classified. The first model successfully classifies each frame with high accuracy. The second model struggles to locate each leaf and fails to classify them correctly. The second model requires more training time as well as more data. Overall, the first model performed significantly better than the second model.
Danielle Thompson – Chemical Engineering
Environmental Impacts of Modified Escherichia coil Lignocellulose Biomass Component for Biofuel Production
Project Advisor(s): Laura Jarboe | Advisor(s): Mackenzie Schwartz
Abstract (Click to view)Escherichia coli is used in fermentation reactions to aid in the production of biofuels, specifically the conversion of sugars into ethanol. Unfortunately, due to the ease of infection in E. coli, fermentation batches are often lost due to bacteriophage infection. The use of a genetically modified strain with bacteriophage resistance may overcome this issue. A sustainability-focused literature review of the use of a modified E. coli strain as a lignocellulose fermentation agent in biofuel production was conducted. In terms of biofuels, lignocellulosic feedstock is a highly sustainable option since it is otherwise waste. The material and energy inputs to degrade lignocellulose into useful components are large, however it provides an inexpensive feed source and decreased waste. Lignocellulose has a mid-level energy value while having a high sourcing sustainability. The CRISPR/Cas9 method of speeding up genetic modification allows for improved fermentation processes and is more efficient than alternative modification methods. Safety practices can be put in place to ensure there is no health or safety risk to humans or the environment associated with the modified strain. The industrial processes used to convert lignocellulose into biofuel have high operating cost due to the degree of cooling, aeration, agitation, and single-use materials.
Brian Todey – Civil Engineering
Determining the Viability of Paper and Non-Synthetic Wax for Food Packaging
Project Advisor(s): Greg Curtzwiler | Advisor(s): Kathleen Shields
Abstract (Click to view)This research project explored the viability of using paper with a non-petroleum-based wax (beeswax, soy wax, and carnauba wax) liner as an alternative to polypropylene and low-density polyethylene which are used to make plastic wrappers currently in candy bars, potato chip bags, and cracker packaging. A variety of wax mixtures were created, and these wax samples were applied to paper using wet application and a laminator. Packaging samples where then tested using Cobb testing, Oil Drop Testing, Water Vapor Permeation Test, Differential Scanning Calorimeter, Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. Three main conclusions were drawn from this research study: Brittle waxes struggled to adhere to paper which reduced their ability to black water vaper transmission, soy wax and mineral oil helped reduced the brittleness of waxes it was mixed with but these mixes were also associated with an increase in permeability, and beeswax performed consistently in both Cobb tests and the permeation value was similar to that of plastics (polypropylene, and low density polyethylene) used in food packaging.
Iris Top – Computer Engineering
Project Advisor(s): Randall Geiger | Advisor(s): Vicky Thorland-Oster
Abstract (Click to view)Current computer engineering curriculum does not cover hardware security at the undergraduate level. It is assumed in many classes that security at the hardware level is impenetrable and that the hardware itself is not compromised in any way. As the internet of things (IoT) continues to grow, so do the number of ways that hardware in a system can be, or already has been compromised. The goal of this honors project is to provide easy to understand learning materials for classes or tech talks. This material covers general hardware security, vocabulary, an in-depth investigation into hardware trojans, and why it is an important topic for all students to understand. It includes lecture slides, a prerecorded lecture, a lab, and a homework assignment.
Alexander Vande Loo – Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering
Project Advisor(s): Kristin Rozier | Advisor(s): Jackie Kester, Vicky Thorland-Oster
Abstract (Click to view)This project explores robotics design in terms of structural elements, controls, and sensor inputs. More specifically, this project was intended to design the structure, code controls for, and assemble a robot that is able to autonomously navigate a 2D space, avoiding any obstacles present and recording a map of this space. To achieve this goal, the project was broken up into three stages. The first stage was to assemble the structure and calibrate the controls for different model robotics kits. This gave a better idea for how different movement configurations of robots are built and controlled. The second stage was to take one of these kits and modify it by 3D printing a structure to add on that allowed the addition of extra sensors. After adding on the new sensors, the code and controls were modified to add autonomous obstacle avoidance capabilities to the robot. Finally, the third stage was to design, manufacture, and code a robot capable of autonomous navigation, obstacle avoidance, and mapping over a specified 2D area. The final robot was able to successfully navigate an area of 30 x 30 cm with a randomly placed obstacle having no collisions and producing a map of the area.
Robert Walling – Software Engineering, Music (Curriculum)
Project Advisor(s): Simanta Mitra | Advisor(s): Jason Follett, Kevin Judge
Abstract (Click to view)As a music major, I noticed many of my colleagues struggle to prepare dozens of pieces for grad school auditions. Many people used bulky notebooks or spreadsheets that caused a large chunk of practice time to go toward bookkeeping. To change this, I created an app that allows users to better track practice sessions and allow practicing to be more efficient. In this presentation, I lay out the process of writing code, developing a database, running code on the cloud, and packaging an app to be deployed for Apple and Android.
Phillip Ward – Mechanical Engineering
Using Physical Principles to Create an Image
Project Advisor(s): Amy Kaleita | Advisor(s): John Wagner
Abstract (Click to view)This project explores the world of the camera along with its history and all its intricacies. Cameras are something taken for granted in everyday life, being as accessible as sitting in our pockets every day. No one sits and thinks about how this marvel of technology works. Although it took hundreds of years to develop the first working commercially available cameras, the principles that govern how a camera works are actually very simple to understand. From the lens and the shutter, to the film and rules of exposure, I will be going over how and why a camera works. I take this information of the rules governing light physics and use it to build a camera of my own utilizing simple parts and models. Documenting my progress along the way, and using my second passion for film and my filmmaking skills, I created a fun video of my journey on producing my own original images. My goal of this project is to inform people in a fun and creative way about the world of cameras, a tool literally everyone uses in their everyday life, and hopefully inspire people to do their own projects with cameras.
Benjamin Welte – Electrical Engineering
Christ in Middle Earth
Project Advisor(s): Susan Yager | Advisor(s): Vicky Thorland-Oster
Abstract (Click to view)More than half a century after its initial publication, J.R.R. Tolkien’s best-selling book, The Lord of the Rings, remains a landmark of popular culture in the English-speaking world, and the story’s abundant elements of naturalism, philology, and premodern European myth represent Tolkien’s eclectic personality well. But to limit Middle Earth’s inspiration to these interests would omit the single most important feature of Tolkien’s life: his devout Catholic faith. This essay attempts to analyze the role of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Catholic religion in shaping the story, characters, and message of The Lord of the Rings. Specifically, it examines parallels between the implicit soteriology, ecclesiology, and Christology in Middle Earth and the Catholic theology that enlivened Tolkien’s imagination. A comparison between The Lord of the Rings and the Catholic faith illumines the significance of the story’s events and reveals the purpose their author saw behind both his life and the lives of his readers.
Faith Anton – Kinesiology & Health
Establishing a Link between Cerebrospinal Fluid Superoxide Dismutase, White Matter Hyperintensities, and Cognitive Impairment
Project Advisor(s): Auriel Willette | Advisor(s): Jessica Dewall
Abstract (Click to view)Copper/zinc superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD-1) is an antioxidant enzyme which may preserve cognition in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Specifically, SOD-1 may degrade harmful free radicals that damage brain tissue and cause lesions. It is unknown if SOD-1 may act as an early warning sign for AD-related brain atrophy. This project primarily investigated if cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of SOD-1 GDGY8 peptide could predict such atrophy. Data were downloaded from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), which included older adult participants classified as cognitively unimpaired or having mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Using SPSS, linear mixed models tested CSF SOD-1 relationships with: 1) total lesion load; and 2) performance on several cognitive measures (language, visuospatial, the functional assessment questionnaire). Interactions between SOD-1 and diagnosis category or Apolipoprotein E (APOE) status (a genetic risk factor for AD) were also examined. Main effects were not observed for SOD-1. Interactions with APOE and clinical category, however, indicated that higher SOD-1 levels were related to fewer lesions and better cognition in non-risk participants, but the opposite for adults with genetic risk or MCI. These results suggest that SOD-1 may dynamically track the degree of AD pathology before AD diagnosis occurs.
Allison Buckert – Kinesiology & Health
Cognitive Function Response to Acute Exercise in Major Depressive Disorder and the Effect of Depression Severity
Project Advisor(s): Jacob Meyer | Advisor(s): Janessa Boley
Abstract (Click to view)28 participants with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) (N=28; 67% female; 30.6±9 years old) completed the study and were separated into Severe and Mild MDD using a median split based on the average of their perceived depression severity on visits two and three. After an initial intake, individuals participated in two visits. During visit two and three, the order was randomly assigned to either complete a 30- minute biking session or quiet rest session first. During the exercise session, participants pedaled at a moderate intensity on a stationary bike and were monitored for an additional 75 minutes. During quiet rest, participants were seated on the bike but did not pedal for 30-minutes and were monitored for an additional 75 minutes. The Stroop Task was completed at six time points (PRE, MID, POST, 25POST, 50POST, 75POST) during both sessions to test cognitive function. Analysis showed severity did not significantly influence the effect of exercise compared to quiet rest across time on reaction time or accuracy. Reaction time was significantly different at the MID timepoint (exercise was lower) and 25POST (quiet rest was lower). Further research could be done to explore the effect of exercise versus a quiet rest session on cognitive function.
Danielle Childers – Culinary Food Science - (HS)
Culinary Connection: A Look at Culinary Competency of High School Students
Project Advisor(s): Erica Beirman | Advisor(s): Erica Beirman
Abstract (Click to view)Culinary Connection: A Look at Culinary Competency of High School Students is a food safety and kitchen skills-based program designed to teach high school students about safe food preparation and basic culinary techniques. First, the knowledge high school students possessed of food safety and basic kitchen preparation tasks, such as proper knife handling, was assessed. After the assessment, students participated in a training session designed to fill in the gaps in their knowledge. During the technical training portion, three different recipes were prepared by groups of students. The recipes selected highlighted the skills demonstrated to students, specifically, knife skills, proper measuring, and thermometer use. Students also participated in a food safety seminar, where they were taught about the importance of safe food preparation. Key topics discussed included final internal temperatures recommended by the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), preventing cross contamination, and the requirements needed for pathogenic bacterial growth. At the completion of the program, student knowledge was once again assessed. Data gathered and analyzed with JMP Pro 15 software showed that the training and lecture sessions played a statistically significant role in furthering student knowledge in both areas (α = 0.05).
Kajsa Hallberg – Apparel, Merchandising, and Design
#Burnberry: A Case Study of Consumer Backlash for Sustainability Policy Change
Project Advisor(s): Rachel Eike | Advisor(s): Sarah Bennett-George
Abstract (Click to view)This project is an analysis of the 2018 Burberry clothing incineration scandal that was infamously labeled as #Burnberry on social media. Burberry was found to be burning millions of dollars-worth of season-specific clothing that went unsold as a way to preserve their image as a luxury and elite brand. Consumers were outraged when they learned about it, and the social media backlash and resulting negative public relations is thought to have contributed to Burberry changing their policies to a more sustainable way to deal with the clothing waste. The goal of this project is to look at the social media backlash, specifically through posts on Twitter, to the scandal and analyze how it affected Burberry. Analysis will be conducted into how consumer social media use in general can influence companies and how it can possibly have an influence on sustainability for apparel companies. Consumer opinions on sustainability can be analyzed as how often they are willing to speak out about company policies related to sustainable practices. The final product will hopefully contribute to a conversation about transparency relating to company sustainability practices and help suggest best waste practices for apparel companies so they can avoid the negative public relations.
Lily Harvison – Kinesiology & Health
Whole Egg Consumption Downregulates Pre-Frontal Cortex Genes in Zucker Diabetic Fatty Rats
Project Advisor(s): Matthew Rowling | Advisor(s): Lisa Phillips
Abstract (Click to view)Evidence supports the idea that Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) arises due to the interactions among the transcriptome, individual genetic profiles, lifestyle, and diet. Since eggs are nutrient-dense food containing ingredients that modify gene expression, our goal was to examine the role of whole egg consumption on genes during T2DM, specifically the Prefrontal Cortex (PCF). Male ZDF (fa/fa) rats (n = 12) and their lean controls (fa/+; n = 12) were obtained at 6-wk of age. The rats were dual-caged and acclimated for 72 hour in conventional cages in a temperature-controlled room (25°C) with a 12-hour light-dark cycle. Rats were randomly assigned to an experimental diet consisting of either a casein or a whole egg-based diet containing dried WE powder. Both diets provided 20% protein. TotalRNA libraries were prepared using QuantSeq 3' mRNA-Seq and Lexogen smallRNA library prep kits and were further sequenced on an Illumina HighSeq3000. It was found that 2 genes in the PCF were downregulated.
Claire Jager – Kinesiology & Health
Effects of Response Time on ACL Injury Risk Factors During Single Leg Hopping in Post-ACL Reconstruction Individuals
Project Advisor(s): Jason Gillette | Advisor(s): Jessica Dewall
Abstract (Click to view)Many athletes return to sport after ACL reconstruction, where they must perceive and react to visual stimuli. There is evidence that impaired reaction times to visual stimuli may lead increased risk of ACL re-injury. The purpose of this study was to identify potential neurological and biomechanical deficits in post-ACL reconstruction individuals as they pertain to reaction times. Reaction times were measured using a computer program and when jumping left or right in response to visual stimuli. Participants started by on a portable force platform while standing on one foot. They viewed two computer monitors which directed them to jump to one of two inground force platforms. Immediately after landing on one foot, they jumped off the force platform in the same direction. Participants performed jumps in both directions with the left and right legs. Electromyography sensors were placed on the quadriceps and hamstring muscles of both legs. Participants landed on an in-ground force platform to record their ground reaction forces and centers of pressure. Participants wore retroreflective markers that were tracked by a 12 camera motion analysis system. Knee joint angles and joint moments were calculated using motion and ground reaction force data as a measure of ACL injury risk.
Maria Lea – Kinesiology & Health
Do You Vaccinate?
Project Advisor(s): Carly Manz | Advisor(s): Jessica Dewall
Abstract (Click to view)Many individuals under the age of 18 hear the words “getting a (flu) shot” and think of pain or dread the appointment. More times than not, they don’t actually understand the background of why they are getting it or what it does. Once a child turns 18, they can make immunization decisions on their own. Will they continue to receive a flu shot every year? College students perceive themselves as low risk for getting the flu, where in fact, they are most vulnerable because of the accelerated transmission throughout the close contact university (1). I conducted a short randomized and anonymous survey given to the students at Iowa State University aged 18-24 years old essentially asking reasons for receiving and not receiving the flu shot every year. These answers were categorized and generalized to college students and presented in the form of an informational brochure that was provided to Thielen Health Center.
Alanna Maxwell – Kinesiology & Health
Differences in Marching Techniques with and without Background Music
Project Advisor(s): Tim Derrick | Advisor(s): Lisa Phillips
Abstract (Click to view)Marching band students are often expected to march a consistent step size (step length = 0.572 m) regardless of external factors. One external factor we were interested in was background noise. Students learn marching formations first with a metronome, adding music with metronome second, and removing the metronome for the performance. Three subjects currently in band learned a marching sequence. We tested two conditions (metronome, metronome plus music), each subjected completed 5 trials of each condition, and subjects were randomly assigned to which condition was first. We hypothesized a smaller step length in the second condition (music + metronome). The average step length during condition 1, metronome only was 0.510 0.127 meters while the average step length during condition 2, metronome and music was 0.504 0.131 meters. A paired samples t-test was run, yielding a p-value of 0.264 which was well above the alpha level of 0.05. We failed to reject the null hypothesis due to our p-value. While it is true students shorten their step length with music, that was not the case here. All participants had been in the marching band at Iowa State for at least 3 years and had experience maintaining 0.527 meters.
Nathan Robillard – Kinesiology & Health
Monocyte Inflammatory Pathways in Depression
Project Advisor(s): Marian Kohut | Advisor(s): Marsha Wissink
Abstract (Click to view)Current evidence suggests that there is an immune activation in depression. The cellular pathways contributing to this inflammation are not well understood. Given that current therapies for depression are not effective in a significant number of individuals, a better understanding of the contributing biological pathways is an important step in identifying potential therapeutics. The goal of this project was to identify the potential differences of inflammation-related pathways in depression. Monocytes contribute significantly to inflammation. In this study, monocytes were isolated from the blood of depressed and non-depressed participants, and the cells were incubated in cell culture medium alone (unstimulated) or with 100ug/ml of the inflammatory stimulant lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Cells were then frozen. The mRNA was later isolated from previously frozen monocytes. cDNA was prepared from mRNA and the cDNA was used to perform quantitative PCR to identify the expression of genes involved in the inflammasome activation pathway. The findings demonstrated that basal level of inflammasome-pathway gene expression in unstimulated monocytes is greater in cells from depressed compared to non-depressed individuals. Also, the typical inflammasome activation in response to a stimulus (lipopolysaccharide) is dysregulated in monocytes from depressed. These finding suggest that the inflammasome pathway may be dysregulated in depressed individuals.
Samantha Rooney – Elementary Education
Exploring the Experiences of Special Education Teachers in Urban, Suburban, and Rural Districts
Project Advisor(s): Emily Hayden | Advisor(s): Tonya McCormick
Abstract (Click to view)As a future elementary Special Education teacher, I was interested in learning about the experiences of teachers in this field from urban, suburban, and rural districts. For my research, I interviewed three Special Education elementary teachers in each of the three types of districts listed above. From my interviews, I gathered conclusions regarding similarities and differences between districts, advice for first-year teachers to be successful, and the implications of working in an urban, suburban, or rural district. Similarities included the connection between socioeconomic status and special education and the passion teachers have for working with students. Differences were regarding range of grade of levels taught and presence of other special education colleagues in the buildings. Advice centered on flexibility and building relationships with students. The implications that arose were related to number of colleagues in the building, money and opportunities for continuing education, and cultural competence professional development and prioritization. This research helped me to better prepare myself for the actual experiences that I will have in my future career field and provided me with insight into how to be successful in the classroom.
Sara Siebrecht – Culinary Food Science - (HS)
Special Diet Kitchen Baked Products Revision
Project Advisor(s): Kate Gilbert | Advisor(s): Erica Beirman
Abstract (Click to view)The Special Diet Kitchen (SDK), in the Union Drive Marketplace on Iowa State University’s campus, is designed to accommodate the students with medically-indicated dietary needs. The SDK is focused on cooking and baking without using the top eight allergens in the United States: dairy, wheat, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, and shellfish. Many students who utilize the SDK have multiple allergies, or are extremely sensitive to cross-contamination. Therefore, it is important for the recipes in the SDK to minimize the use of any allergens as ingredients. Baking without the top eight allergens, especially dairy, wheat and eggs, is a particular challenge because those ingredients are protein-rich and provide critical chemical functions within that food. The SDK has not yet been fully successful in achieving top eight allergen-free baked goods that are comparable in quality to the traditional product. This project is aimed at improving the sensory qualities of three baked good recipes while eliminating the top eight allergens from the ingredients: monster cookies, banana muffins, and pancakes. The achievement of this objective was indicated by conducting a simple acceptability test of appearance, texture, and flavor of the products with the students who regularly eat in the SDK
Karley Spahn – Kinesiology & Health
Effects of Athletic Tape on the Ankle Joint and Ground Reaction Forces During Jump-Landing Tasks
Project Advisor(s): Jason Gillette | Advisor(s): Lisa Phillips
Abstract (Click to view)Athletic tape is used to stabilize joints, reduce pain, and aid in recovery during physical activity. The purpose of this study was to determine if there are differences in ground reaction forces and ankle joint movement between ankle taping compared to a notaping condition during directional jump-landing movements. Seven healthy participants had their dominant ankle taped using a closed basket weave technique. The participants performed three directional (right, left, straight) single-leg jump landings starting on a portable force platform and landing on an in-ground force platform to measure ground reaction forces. These movements were chosen to simulate common rapid directional change movements during athletic events where the risk of ankle injury may be increased. A twelve-camera motion analysis system tracked three-dimensional positions of reflective markers to determine ankle movement during each jump. The data were analyzed and compared between the ankle-taped and no-taping conditions to determine any differences in ground reaction forces or ankle joint movement. Reduced ankle inversion and impact forces may reduce ankle injury risk, while reduced ankle dorsiflexion and jumping forces may reduce performance. The results of the study will provide insight into how athletic tape might benefit athletes during directional movements and potentially prevent injuries.
Nicole Whitlock – Elementary Education
Improving Iowa State Sexual Misconduct Policies and Practices
Project Advisor(s): Alissa Stoehr | Advisor(s): Kathy Christensen
Abstract (Click to view)I researched Iowa State University’s sexual assault procedures and policies. I surveyed students to find out what they think of these procedures and policies and used these opinions, and other research, to find where Iowa State University can improve on their sexual assault procedures and policies. I then conducted research to determine how these improvements could be put into action on campus.
Lindsey Balkema – Biology (LAS)
Development of Dental Procedures through Laser and Clinical Procedures
Project Advisor(s): Robert Wallace | Advisor(s): Robert Wallace
Abstract (Click to view)In the past thirty years, the dental field has started to implement the sought-after laser technology advancements that were first introduced to the medical profession in 1951. These techniques were adjusted for use in the field of dentistry to provide patients with benefits that are not seen within traditional methods, including quicker recovery time and being minimally invasive. Although these procedures are less common due to the costly investment for dentists, the Biolase Waterlase all-tissue laser has versatile settings that change between soft and hard tissue function depending on the treatment type, which is accomplished through combining water and laser energy to reduce dental anxiety. Through my dental internship at Ames Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry I was able to witness Waterlase technology while also researching professional dental literature to emphasize the importance of this clinical advancement. My project provides insight into how laser technology functions, identifies the adaptability of various clinical procedures, and investigates the advantages and potential safety concerns between laser and traditional practices. Although traditional dentistry has been consistently practiced with unchanged methods and is the primary course material in dental education, the extra training and protective efforts a dentist goes through to operate laser technology is worth the advantages for long-term patient care.
Nicole Benson – Criminal Justice, Psychology
Using Your Imagination
Project Advisor(s): Max Guyll | Advisor(s): Jenny Macken, Whitney Baker
Abstract (Click to view)The stigma associated with criminal behaviors can cause suspects to be hesitant to admit to past wrongdoings. However, suspects may be more willing to admit to criminal behaviors if interrogation procedures first lead them to become inured to the associated stigma. The present research examines whether imagining engaging in shameful behavior increases admissions to other illegal and immoral behaviors and if admitting to less serious illegal and immoral behaviors first increases admissions overall. 414 Iowa State University students completed an online experimental study. Participants were randomly assigned with respect to two variables, type of imagination (antisocial vs. prosocial) and seriousness order (least to most vs. most to least.) Data was collected on the number of crimes admitted to, the imagination task, and responses to an illegal behaviors questionnaire. Results indicate that imagining engaging in antisocial behavior did not increase admissions but admitting to less serious behaviors first did increase overall admissions. Whether a participant imagined engaging in antisocial or prosocial behavior did not significantly alter the order of seriousness effect on admissions. These findings suggest that when officers want a confession from suspects for a serious offense, they should first inquire about less serious crimes that are more socially acceptable.
Calvin Clark – Journalism & Mass Communication, Performing Arts
"Our Community Carol" - Theatrical Evolution in a Post-COVID World
Project Advisor(s): Tiffany Antone, Brad Dell | Advisor(s): Novotny Lawrence, Brad Dell
Abstract (Click to view)This project discusses and showcases how live theatre has evolved during the pandemic to still provide opportunity and accessibility to both the performers and the audience. It looks at the creation of and final product of ISU Theatre's COVID-safe production of the play "Our Community Carol" and the innovations needed to make a project like that work without losing its theatricality during that height of the pandemic. The project also looks at ISU Theatre's live streamed musical production "Songs For a New World" as well as general innovations to modern theatre to increase accessibility for all audiences, and innovations that could still be made.
John Davis – Biology (LAS)
Effects of Nicotine Riboside on Oxidative Stress following a High-Fat Meal
Poster and presentation will not be available online
Project Advisor(s): Rudy Valentine | Advisor(s): Tracy Heath
Abstract (Click to view)Abstract will not be available online
Megan Davis – Genetics (LAS)
The Effects of Irradiation on Transposable Elements in Maize and Arabidopsis Genomes
Project Advisor(s): Thomas Peterson | Advisor(s): Maura McGrail
Abstract (Click to view)Transposable elements (TEs) are DNA sequences that can change positions within the genome and may induce mutations. In Maize and Arabidopsis genomes, environmental stressors may cause an increase in transposition events. We used X-ray radiation on maize (W22) and arabidopsis (TAIR10) and then assembled a bioinformatic pipeline to test for an increase in TEs. Arabidopsis was exposed to 80 Gy of radiation and Maize was exposed to 10 Gy. Each plant was grown and self-crossed for three generations before sample collection was performed to ensure the fixation of activated TEs. Oxford Nanopore long-read sequencing was performed, and reads were aligned to their respective reference genome using minimap2. SVIM, a bioinformatics tool for detecting structural variants, was used to find instances of novel insertions (NI) in the genomes. The NI were then compared to the reference genome using the BLAST software, and the BLAST hits showed where the NI aligned with the reference genome. The BLAST hits were then compared to the annotated transposons via bedtools intersect and R code. Instances where the start and endpoints of the BLAST hits are close to the start and endpoints of the annotated transposons will be identified in order to locate active transposons.
Madeline Farringer – Biochemistry
Development of an Auxin-Inducible Degron System for use in Plasmodium Falciparum
Project Advisor(s): Josh Beck | Advisor(s): Richard Honzatko
Abstract (Click to view)Malaria is a devastating disease that requires novel therapeutic approaches, but functional genetic studies are challenging given the limited tools available. We are adapting the plant auxin-inducible degron (AID) to study the function of essential genes in Plasmodium falciparum. In its endogenous context, the plant hormone auxin binds the AID sequence present in certain target proteins, enabling recognition by an F-box protein within the Skp, Cullin, F-box-containing protein complex (SCF). SCF then recruits an E2 ubiquitin ligase, leading to ubiquitination and rapid proteasomal degradation of the target protein. Due to the high conservation of SCF among eukaryotes, repurposing this system for knockdown in an exogenous context requires only the expression of an auxin-sensitive F-box protein and fusion of the AID sequence to a target protein. We have developed AID systems in P. falciparum based on TIR1 and AFB2, two different auxin-sensitive F-box proteins, and are evaluating their capabilities with a reporter and a panel of essential protein targets with diverse biochemical properties, including soluble, integral membrane, and secreted proteins.
Dhaval Ghone – Biochemistry
Creating and Testing of Cas9 Delivering DNA Origami Nanosystem
Project Advisor(s): Eric Hederson, Jeffery Essner | Advisor(s): Gustavo Macintosh
Abstract (Click to view)DNA origami is a self-assembly method in which a single stranded DNA (ssDNA) molecule called the “scaffold” via an ensemble of smaller ssDNA molecules called “staples” into a precision nanoparticle. DNA origami can be heavily modified for in vivo biocompatibility and targeting making it a promising method for delivering DNA in vivo. The goal of this project was to create a DNA origami nanoparticle comprised of Cas9 and a guide RNA (gRNA) and deliver it to Zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos to assay for in vivo gene editing. In preliminary experiments the gene for Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) was used as a Cas9 proxy. GFP origami was validated by gel electrophoresis and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). However, no fluorescence was observed after injecting with either the GFP origami or positive controls (linear GFP gene and a GFP plasmid). The failure of positive controls suggests technical errors in the procedure. Thus, further experimentation is required with appropriate controls to determine if the use of DNA origami for gene delivery has merit.
Brenda Goh – Political Science, Psychology
Predictors of Offender Treatment Attrition in the Iowa Domestic Abuse Program
Project Advisor(s): Amie Zarling | Advisor(s): Jason Chrystal, Ashley Phipps
Abstract (Click to view)The rate of offender treatment attrition for batterer intervention programs (BIPs) is high and of great concern as treatment noncompletion is predictive of poor treatment outcomes and domestic assault recidivism, the latter of which poses a threat to public safety. Attrition in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and the Duluth Model, the traditional standards for BIPs, has been extensively studied while the research on attrition in other BIP models, such as Achieving Change Through Values-Based Behavior (ACTV), has been limited. The current study examined predictors of attrition by comparing pre-treatment differences between treatment completers and noncompleters. The sample included 3,474 men in the Iowa Domestic Abuse Program (IDAP) (Duluth/CBT or ACTV), a court mandated BIP, who were convicted of domestic assault against an intimate partner. The results indicated that demographic factors such as age, race, and education level were significant predictors of attrition, while marital status was not a significant predictor. Criminal history factors such as the total number of charges and the number of domestic assault charges before the IDAP start date were also not significant predictors of attrition. These findings provide suggestions to improve BIP treatment delivery and indicate a greater need to expand research to new BIP models.
Matthew Kigin – Biology (LAS)
Identifying Novel Hematopoietic Stem Cell Genes through Single-Cell Sequencing
Project Advisor(s): Clyde Campbell | Advisor(s): Dior Kelley
Abstract (Click to view)The creation of induced pluripotent stem cells holds promise for cellular regeneration therapies, but it is not currently possible to instruct the generation of HSCs in vitro. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand signals that instruct HSC fate in vivo to replicate generation in vitro for the clinical treatment of various blood disorders. While work has been done attempting to identify novel genes in blood cell lines, the cell sequencing data being evaluated in this study is novel, with specificity towards hematopoietic stem cell development at unstudied timepoints. In this project, work was done towards isolating and identifying promising genes yet to be researched in the field of hematopoiesis. Many of these genes being evaluated have had no investigation in their role towards HSCs, and this work in identifying these genes may be the first time they’ve been linked to blood cell development. Work through this project establishes foundational knowledge required to understand these signals. We were able to identify seven distinct clusters of cells, including erythrocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, hematopoietic progenitors, macrophage progenitors, and endothelial and heart cells. Within these clusters, three genes (rtn4rl2a, fn1a, and acba1b) were found to express novel hematopoietic functions not previously studied.
Nathalia Kimmell – Economics (LAS)
Success at the ISU Research Park
Project Advisor(s): Peter Orazem | Advisor(s): Ebby Luvaga
Abstract (Click to view)Firms of varying sizes and experiences are located at the Iowa State University Research Park. For over 25 years, the ISU Research Park has provided space and resources to firms and served as the location where both start-ups and expanding businesses can interact with one another. This project aims to analyze the ISU Research Park tenants in terms of their survival, growth, and employment generation. This analysis allows for an assessment on the impact that the ISU Research Park has had on the local community as well as the factors affecting the success of tenants within the ISU Research Park. Further, this project analyzes the relationship between firms within an agglomeration economy and the varying networking effects that arise among different sized firms. This project utilizes data that was collected through a survey filled by current and former tenants of the ISU Research Park, as well as employment records. The survey informed us on the factors that affected the success of Research Park tenants, as well as the benefits firms see from interacting with other different sized firms
Matthew Lowe – Music Education
Valley Marchmasters Pregame Show
Project Advisor(s): Christian Carichner | Advisor(s): Kevin Judge
Abstract (Click to view)For my honors project, I wrote marching drill and arranged music for a football pregame show to be performed by the Valley High School “Marchmasters”. Using the music notation program Finale, I arranged a fanfare based on the school’s fight and school song. To write the marching drill, I used the program Pyware 3D, in which I was able to dictate pathways, facings, and what instrument each performer was holding. The goal was to create a show that would provide a sense of school pride and excitement for a game while being both entertaining and obtainable for the performers. Though the ensemble wasn’t able to perform it during the 2020 season, I’ve prepared the materials needed to present it during the 2021 season
Makayla McDonald – Criminal Justice
Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign
Project Advisor(s): Alissa Stoehr | Advisor(s): Mark Hagley
Abstract (Click to view)This project aims to create a line of human trafficking stickers that spreads an accurate message while still maintaining an appeal. Existing campaigns hit one of these marks while shunning the other. They either portray a clear message of human trafficking and are not pleasing to the eye or are misinforming the public about human trafficking. By creating these stickers, I hope to spread awareness among people and educate them on the topic and realities of this issue. Human trafficking currently affects 24.9 million victims worldwide and generates nearly $150 billion a year. The problem is growing, but it must first be addressed with people educating themselves on how to create change. Each sticker was designed with a specific message to advocate and inform individuals on the realities around human trafficking.
Maeve McGuire – Technical Communication, Communication Studies
Finding Beauty in the Struggle: Using Relational Dialectics Theory to Analyze Discourses That Influence What It Means to be Both Mom and Caregiver to a Child with Medical Complexities
Project Advisor(s): Katherine Rafferty | Advisor(s): Samantha Robinson-Adams, Sabrina Shields-Cook
Abstract (Click to view)Mothers of children with complex chronic conditions (CCCs) face many challenges and feel increased tensions associated with the demands of caregiving for their child. Such demands include interacting with medical professionals, coordinating a child’s ongoing care and treatment, informing members of their social support network about updates regarding a child’s health and care, alongside managing their own and other family member’s health and emotions. These perpetual demands are fueled by discourses that tell mothers what it means to be a “good” mother. Using relational dialectics theory, we conducted a contrapuntal analysis to analyze 17 mothers’ experiences with caregiving for their medically complex child, and the competing messages that voice such tensions surrounding their dual responsibilities as mother and caregiver. We identified two centripetal discourses within the data: (1) mothers should be mentally capable, and (2) mothers should be emotionally strong. We also observed a transformative aesthetic moment of redemptive suffering that suspended these two discourses to reveal the beauty within these mothers’ unique parental caregiving experiences. Lastly, our findings stress the importance of providing additional information about these tensions to current family-based palliative care programs for mothers of children with CCCs.
Christina Motalebi – Public Relations
The Family Life Cycle – Target Marketing Tactics
Project Advisor(s): Russel Laczinak | Advisor(s): Erin Wilgenbusch
Abstract (Click to view)In the 1960s during the height of the post-World War 2 baby boom, one family structure dominated the United States and was often referred to as the ‘nuclear family’ consisting of two parents with the same ethnicity and their children. Today, there is no longer one dominant family structure in the United States. Customers have recently begun to look beyond the product or service that a company offers and have a stronger draw to companies that have the same values as themselves. Thankfully, many brands have recognized the shift in family structure and have begun to make adjustments in their advertisements accordingly to feature modern families: Single-parent families, interracial families, adoptive families, families with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ families. These are just a few of the modern families that reflect the beauty of change in the world. The shift in representation in advertising has received both positive and negative responses from audiences. Although the marketing has improved to feature modern families, it's critical for marketers to continue to change their strategies with the shifting times to signal to their market that they are open-minded and progressive. By integrating innovative family dynamics, they are not only reaching a larger audience, but also driving profits, and improving their brand image.
Sophia Muta – World Languages & Cultures
Project Advisor(s): Gabriel Rodriquez | Advisor(s): Flor Romero-De-Slowing, Heather Kruger
Abstract (Click to view)Oppression is an issue that has been plaguing our society for as long as humans have existed. Many intersecting identities are affected by oppression in different ways. Oppression is taking away other people’s basic human rights, rights necessary for survival in the world. Black, Indigenous, People of Color, women, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, and so many others face discrimination solely based on their identity. While many resources exist to explain the specifics of each category of oppression, I found that there was not an accessible resource that explained sexism in depth, so I decided to create one in the form of a small booklet. This booklet explores subcategories of sexism and how women are affected in their everyday lives. It also features important factors that play into sexism, besides having an identity as a woman, like power and intersectionality. Ultimately, this booklet explains how sexism affects women and aims to educate the reader about the multiple layers that keep women oppressed in society.
Jacob Riesen – Mathematics, Computer Science
An Algorithmic Information-Theoretic Approach to a Kakeya-type Problem for Circles
Project Advisor(s): Neil Lutz | Advisor(s): Kristopher Lee, Deborah Holmes
Abstract (Click to view)If a set contains circles of all sizes, how small can the set be? This is an abstract geometric question with deep connections to other areas of mathematics, including harmonic analysis and the famous Kakeya problem. For over 50 years, mathematicians have been studying sets that contain circles of all sizes but are nonetheless “thin,” called Besicovitch-Rado-Kinney (BRK) sets. Surprisingly, these sets can have zero area, but their “thinness” can be more precisely quantified using Hausdorff dimension, the most common notion of fractal dimension. It was shown by Wolff that if a BRK set is Borel — meaning that it is well-suited to the standard tools of mathematical analysis — then it must have Hausdorff dimension 2. In this project, I investigated BRK sets from the perspective of algorithmic information theory, using the point-to-set principle of Lutz and Lutz to recast questions about the Hausdorff dimension as questions about the compressibility of data streams. Using this radically different set of mathematical tools, I was able to bound the Hausdorff dimension of certain classes of non-Borel BRK sets.
Jacob Schmieder – Biochemistry
Marching Lights Business Plan
Project Advisor(s): Diana Wright, Laurie Smith Law | Advisor(s): Reuben Peters
Abstract (Click to view)The project is a business plan for lights that change color with a change different musical notes. The plan outlines the essential business concept. The market value and potential customers are discussed to show how the lights are catering to the potential buyers and why they would be interested in the product. A second section discusses how the company would operate and market the product to the buyers. The company structure and partners are shown in a third section, explaining how the order of the business would be maintained to run the company. Finally, the plan ends with the financial structure and forecast of the business. Additionally, the business plan is accompanied by a pitch for the business that was presented at the college pitch-off in spring 2021. A prototype for the lights is also included with the business plan and pitch to be used in the marching band at ISU.
Christian Schnieders – Music
A Look Into the Music Production Process
Project Advisor(s): Christina Svec | Advisor(s): Kevin Judge
Abstract (Click to view)Music education, specifically general music, is due for a change. Young students have been taught with the same methods and frameworks for many years now, but often can’t connect with them. Music technology may play a pivotal role in changing that. We already have begun to see a shift in other subjects towards technology-based learning. As a future teacher who wants to teach general music classes, I have taken it upon myself to learn more about music technology and what it can offer to the music education realm. My conduit for doing this was creating an album using a digital audio workstation or DAW. I have found through my use of the DAW that we as music educators are missing out on a wealth of new approaches to teaching music. Approaches that students can more easily connect with and get excited about due to their use of technology. In this project I have tried to express my thoughts on the ways we can use this new and stimulating method.
Chirayu Shukla – Biology (LAS), Psychology
Project Advisor(s): Elizabeth Stegemoller | Advisor(s): Philip Becraft, Ashley Phipps
Abstract (Click to view)This project is a documentary about the daily lives of people with Parkinson’s. It focuses on how PD has affected these people’s lives, what PD is, and the various type of things they do to help.
Justin Squillo – Biology (LAS)
Functions of Connexin 43.4 in Relation to Cell Adhesion, Tight Junction Formation and Beta-Catenin Localization
Project Advisor(s): Jeffrey Essner | Advisor(s): Dior Kelley
Abstract (Click to view)I have analyzed several mutants in the connexin43.4 (cx43.4) gene and its relation to Kupffer’s vesicle (KV) formation within developing zebrafish embryos. Attempting to determine whether cx43.4 mutants affect cell adhesion, tight junction formation, and betacatenin localization. Our results over the course of this semester have indicated a possible affect of the cx43.4 mutants on beta-catenin localization. Further experiments will determine how cx43.4 contributes to early axis formation and formation of a luminal space. These are fundamental processes during development that position the internal organs and guide morphogenesis. The basic understanding of these processes has implications for strategies for biomedicine.
Benjamin Tinguely – Mathematics
Project Advisor(s): Steven Kawaler | Advisor(s): Kristopher Lee
Abstract (Click to view)This research focuses on an investigation of eclipsing binaries, which are stars that are orbiting close together. The Kepler team produced the Eclipsing Binaries catalog that listed several properties of the stars along with the lightcurve, or the dips in the light that can be seen from Earth due to an eclipse of the stars. From the lightcurve, the orbital period and eccentricity (or shape) of the stars’ orbit are found. With this information, we focused on an analysis of the eccentricity-period correlation to see if the period has an influence on the shape of the orbit (or the eccentricity). The expectation is that binaries with shorter periods would have more circular orbits (lower eccentricity), caused by tidal circularization. However, such a correlation is not clearly evident from the data in the Eclipsing Binaries catalog. This suggests that the models of circularization may over-estimate the effect, or perhaps the sample data were biased by systematic effects on discovery and characterization. Closer binaries have a higher morph class (pathological light-curve features), so further work to account them in the analysis may be needed.
Grace Trembath – Biochemistry, World Languages & Cultures
Spanish Language Collections in Iowa Public Libraries
Project Advisor(s): Megan Myers | Advisor(s): Reuben Peters, Flor Romero-De-Slowing
Abstract (Click to view)The Hispanic population is one of the fastest growing populations in the United States. Between 2000 and 2010, Hispanics made up more than half of U.S. population’s growth1 , and projections by the U.S. Census Bureau estimate that the Hispanic population will reach around 106 million by the year 20502 . In addition, the United States has the second largest Spanish-speaking population in the world after Mexico3 . In Ames, Iowa, 14.2% of people ages five and older speak a language other than English at home, according to U.S. Census data collected between 2015 and 20194 . Over the last decade, Ames Public Library has grown its world languages collection to reflect this. This project examined collection data for Spanish language books in circulation at the Ames Public Library and categorized them based on a variety of factors such as the original language of publication and the lifetime circulation rate with the goal of identifying common themes in the material included and any holes that exist in the collection.
Jordan Trommater – Biology (LAS)
A Quantitative Expression of Phosphor tau (pY18) in Epilepsy Mouse Model
Project Advisor(s): Thimmasettappa Thippeswamy, Manson Putra | Advisor(s): Geetu Tuteja
Abstract (Click to view)The aim of this study was to examine the biological marker, phospho tau (Y18), in a rat model of epilepsy. This specific marker was evaluated as neuronal Fyn, a Src family kinase, is found to interact with tau causing phosphorylation of tau at the tyrosine 18 site (Y18). As studies have shown an involvement of tau hyperphosphorylation in epileptic brains, It is likely that Y18 may also contribute to neuronal hyperexcitability and neurodegeneration in epilepsy. Therefore, we hypothesized that high expression of pY18 would be observed in epileptic animals. To test this, we had compared epileptic and age-matched control animals, to draw comparisons between the amount of pY18 seen in different regions of the brain, the hippocampus (CA1, CA3, and DG) and the Entorhinal Cortex (ENT). Results were obtained using the program, Cellprofiler, and later graphed with, Prism Graphpad, forstatistical analysis. The results were significantly different (p-value <0.05) in CA1, DG, and ENT areas comparing epileptic and control animals. Although there was no statistical difference found in the CA3 region, there was a trend of Y18 increase in epileptic animals compared to control. In conclusion, this tau hyperphosphorylation at Y18 may play a role in pathogenesis of epilepsy.
Laurence Vander Werff – Statistics, Economics (LAS)
Effects of Nudging on Traffic Safety
Project Advisor(s): Joydeep Bhattacharya | Advisor(s): Amy Froelich, Ebby Luvaga
Abstract (Click to view)This project was done as part of a much larger project that examines the merit of the use of video message boards to combat traffic fatalities. Traffic fatalities are a serious concern to governmental agencies at the federal, state, and local level and one of the ways they attempt to combat this is with electronic message boards. My part of this project specifically focuses on improvements in the processing of the information and decreasing the computational cost associated with the analysis. Using the geo-spatial software required for this kind of research is costly to use due to the complexity of analyzing large road networks. Due to this limitation improvements in this process allow for more data to used at a lower cost and will enable a wider field of study for further analysis. Looking at only a few states for this analysis would subject it to some degree of bias due to that limited scope, additional data will allow more generalization of the findings.