Spring 2022 Poster Session
The University Honors Committee and the Honors Student Board invite you to browse the Spring 2022 Honors Poster Session as an online gallery. The completion of presentation of an honors project is a requirement for students graduating with University Honors, and it is often one of the most valuable components of their Honors education. This semester's poster session features 98 projects, including 92 presented by graduating seniors.
The online gallery is organized by college, based on the student's major. Each participating student has provided a project abstract and PDF of their research poster.
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
Claudia Adamson – Animal Ecology, Biology (AGLS)
Dominance Hierarchy of Male Olive Baboons (Papio anubis) Based Upon their Interactions
Poster not available in the digital archive
Project Advisor(s): Corinna Most | Advisor(s): Amanda Chung, Lauren Ramos
Abstract (Click to view)Olive baboons (Papio Anubis) are a species of nonhuman primate that live in polygynandrous matrilineal societies in which males experience high levels of competition for reproductive opportunities, leading to a large skew in reproductive success (Lemasson et al., 2008). Baboon dominance hierarchies are reflected in both affiliative behaviors (e.g. groomings and greetings) and in agonistic acts (e.g. avoidance and aggression). Since hierarchies are reflected in the outcomes of aggressive interactions, males that lose a higher proportion of aggressive interactions are assumed to be lower-ranking. For this project I developed a series of hierarchies based on the outcomes of observed aggressive interactions recorded between January and May of 2019. These hierarchies were then compared against a qualitative, holistic assessment of male hierarchy produced monthly in the field by trained observers. The mismatch between the quantitative and the qualitative hierarchies can be explained in several ways: 1) the outcome of aggressive interactions might not be the most accurate indicator of rank; 2) there weren't enough interactions recorded to produce an accurate picture of male hierarchies; or 3) the observers in the field rely on inaccurate qualitative assessments that wouldn’t reflect the current hierarchy.
Nick Battles – Global Resource Systems, Agriculture and Society
Learning, Leading and Listening: Multidimensional Reflection with Purpose
Project Advisor(s): Jan Wiersema | Advisor(s): Maggie Sprecher, Ramesh Balayar
Abstract (Click to view)Reflection and time intentionally set aside to think deeply about our personal, professional, academic, and extracurricular experiences is truly critical in order for learning to last. It was this understanding that served as an impetus for a project defined by multidimensional reflection. The work in this creative project assessed and facilitated learning that took place before, during, and after a semester of study abroad in Wageningen, the Netherlands. By writing three chapters of a memoir-style book, crafting a mini podcast series consisting of three thirty-minute episodes, and sharing visual representations of the four-month study abroad experience, a diverse audience is reached via multimedia. Peers and professionals were assembled to reflect and discuss topics of travel, burnout, culture shock, storytelling, connection, and, of course, thinking. Storytelling abilities were developed and refined. Further, the primary objectives of this project (e.g., to recall, find joy in creating, and help others) were achieved and insights from the self and others exceeded expectations. Connections with people, whether near or far, brief or enduring, hold life together. This project showed what it means to learn, lead, listen, and reflect with purpose for oneself and others.
Rebecca Burns – Animal Science
Elucidating the roles of glutamine in modulating energy status and the abundance of tight junction proteins in calf intestinal epithelial cells
Project Advisor(s): Ranga Appuhamy | Advisor(s): Christen Burgett
Abstract (Click to view)We previously demonstrated that glutamine (Gln) improved intestinal epithelial barrier function (IEBF) of calves that protects them from infections originating in the gut during weaning. A major component of IEBF is tight junction protein (TJP) abundance in the intestinal epithelial cell membrane, which can be regulated by AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in response to cellular energy status. The objective of this research project was to study the effects of Gln supplementations on the energy status and TJP abundance in calf intestinal epithelial cells (CIEC). The CIEC were treated with increasing concentrations of Gln (0, 5, and 10 mM) in media with glucose or Gln at 2.5 and 10 mM in media with or without glucose for 48 h. Our results revealed that supplementing Gln at 5 or 10 mM decreased the phosphorylation of AMPK indicating improved energy status in CIEC. The decreased AMPK phosphorylation was associated with an increased abundance of TJP namely occludin. Increasing Gln from 2.5 to 10 mM did not change AMPK phosphorylation but increased the abundance of occludin when media included glucose. Our results warrant future experiments to study the AMPK-independent effects of Gln and the role of glucose in those effects.
Michaela Erickson – Genetics (AGLS)
An Examination of Trait Inheritance and Allele Segregation in B73/Mo17 Maize Progeny
Project Advisor(s): Jianming Yu | Advisor(s): Alison Esser
Abstract (Click to view)Plant breeding is an important and complex process used to obtain higher-yielding, more resilient crops for farmers around the world. The genetic mechanisms of inheritance of different traits influence how breeders select which genotypes will be used to produce the progeny for the next generation. Introductory biology courses often oversimplify the inheritance of phenotypic traits in their examples commonly used. The goal of this experiment was to shed light on the complexity of quantitative trait inheritance and expression through the evaluation of six different traits in a population of related corn plants. Parental plants, first-generation progeny, and second-generation progeny were grown concurrently in a controlled greenhouse and measured to find differences across different genotypes--both in the values themselves and in the amount of variability around those values within each genotype. Gaining a more nuanced understanding of genetic inheritance allows breeders to understand how their research population will vary from generation to generation and how to target phenotypes encoded by multiple genetic loci.
Jordan Guezimane – Animal Ecology
Red Fox Project
Poster not available in the digital archive
Project Advisor(s): Michael Rentz | Advisor(s): Stephen Dinsmore
Abstract (Click to view)The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a highly adaptable, medium-sized canid native to North America. This species is naturally timid, however, there have been a number of sightings in Ames, Iowa in the last few years. The goal of this project was to better understand the distribution, travel patterns, and factors potentially influencing the urbanization of these red foxes, while also involving the public. During the spring of 2021 we invited community members to report fox sightings to a specially created email address. We then created a map compiling both current and recent historic sightings. We then used this map to set up trail cameras in promising locations. We placed traps in promising locations with the ultimate goal of capturing a red fox to be collared. The collar would provide information about the fox’s location and time. We planned to use this information to analyze the routes the fox used for traveling through the city and areas of potential den sites. The collar data would also enable use to perform a deeper analysis to find patterns in the various locations visited by a fox including vegetation, human activity levels, prey availability, distance to water source, and distance to shelter.
Julianna Hernandez – Animal Ecology
How Does Octopamine Affect Aggression of Polistes metricus Interactions?
Project Advisor(s): Amy Toth | Advisor(s): Stephen Dinsmore
Abstract (Click to view)Biogenic amines are known to play an important role in the modulation of diverse behaviors in many animals, including insects. Previous research has demonstrated links between agonistic behavior and octopamine in crickets and honeybees. However, this relationship has yet to be thoroughly investigated in an insect system in which aggressive interactions are paramount to the structure and maintenance of social organization. We examined the role of octopamine in aggression in the social paper wasp Polistes metricus, which establishes reproductive dominance hierarchies via aggressive contests. We injected live wasps octopamine, mianserin (an octopamine receptor antagonist) and compared their behavior to untreated controls. After treatment, each foundress was paired with an unfamiliar opponent. We then scored agonistic behaviors such as biting, antennal boxing, and mounting. Analysis of the behavioral data produced results that suggest an effect of the octopamine, but not the mianserin treatment. Because these behavioral results are difficult to interpret, subsequent work will be conducted on samples from a previous study that investigated worker wasp personalities. To achieve initial goals such as learning and utilizing qRT-PCR technology, we will primarily examine the expression of the octopamine receptor OaR and octopamine biosynthesis gene tyramine beta hydroxylase. Results from this work will provide valuable information and facilitate further investigation into the mechanisms behind wasp individuality.
Audrey Jenkins – Agronomy
The Intersection of Art and Agronomy - Creating New Diagrams for Agronomy 181: Introduction to Crop Science
Project Advisor(s): Mary Wiedenhoeft | Advisor(s): Mary Wiedenhoeft
Abstract (Click to view)Many courses use diagrams to visually explain complicated topics, and Agron 181: Introduction to Crop Science, taught by Dr. Mary Wiedenhoeft, is no different. In previous years, Dr. Wiedenhoeft used diagrams that were unclear or cluttered, leading to confusion with the course material. With my project, I intended to create illustrations depicting specific topics in this course. As an agronomy major with an interest in scientific illustration, this project gave me an opportunity to combine two things that I’m passionate about. To start my project, Dr. Wiedenhoeft and I identified a list of topics within Agron 181 that needed better illustrations. From there, I created three full illustrations (a monocot leaf diagram, a dicot leaf diagram, and a water potential diagram) and three simple illustrations of seeds. Each piece included background research, reference photos, sketches, and inked drawings. These topics can be complicated, so I chose to create simple, pen and ink illustrations. After completing the illustrations, I surveyed students in Agron 181 to get their feedback. Overall, they ranked my new drawings as more clear than the old drawings. My project works both as a collection of stand-alone pieces and a helpful supplement to Dr. Wiedenhoeft's lectures.
Allee Koestner – Agronomy
Affects of tillage on Fungi and Bacteria in Soil - It Depends!
Project Advisor(s): Marshall McDaniel | Advisor(s): Mary Wiedenhoeft
Abstract (Click to view)Tillage, the mixing of soil with various implements, is a practice that prepares seedbeds for planting. No or reduced tillage methods are in vogue due to the perception that tillage destroys soil aggregates and reduces soil biomass. We tested this assumption by examining the effect of reduced tillage practices on fungi and bacterial abundance in two long-term tillage experiments in the Des Moines Lobe region of Central Iowa. Study 1, in place for 16 years, compared three tillage intensities: moldboard plow (MP), chisel plow (CP), and no-tillage (NT). Study 2, in place for 8 years, compared two tillage intensities, chisel plow (CP) and no-tillage (NT), with the presence or absence of a cover crop. Fungi and bacteria abundance was quantified using qPCR. There were no significant differences in either abundance amongst treatments in Study 2. However, we did find that NT increased bacteria by 42.45% compared to MP in Study 1. In the same study, CP increased fungi by 69.03% compared to NT in the fall and by 72.98% compared to MP in the spring. These results show that the effects of no-tillage on bacteria and fungal abundance are variable, depending on the site and other management factors.
Kaitlyn Lathrop – Animal Science, Animal Ecology
Environmental Enrichment for Leopard Geckos
Project Advisor(s): Anna Johnson | Advisor(s): Jennifer Bundy, John Burnett
Abstract (Click to view)Reptile and amphibian ownership as pets has become common within the past decade. However, pet owners might be unaware of these animals' husbandry, care, and behavioral needs to ensure optimal welfare because of inadequate resources. The objective of this project was to create an educational pamphlet on biologically relevant environmental enrichment for the Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius). The audience for this pamphlet was two-fold, the owners and veterinarians. The goal was to provide key enrichment information that would result in optimal Leopard Gecko welfare. This pamphlet was broken up into the following sections: Leopard Gecko’s behavioral profile, natural habitat preferences, enrichment, and an introduction to biologically relevant environmental enrichment options for Leopard Geckos. Finally, the completed pamphlet will be e-mailed out to the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums list serves and pet stores nationwide.
Javelis Marin Castro – Animal Ecology
Endemic Birds of the Hawai’i Island
Project Advisor(s): Stephen Dinsmore | Advisor(s): Amanda Chung
Abstract (Click to view)To come
Bradley Melvin – Microbiology, Genetics (AGLS)
Neuroprotective Parkinson’s Disease Drug Maximum Tolerated Dose
Project Advisor(s): Vellareddy Anantharam | Advisor(s): Joan Cunnick, Alison Esser
Abstract (Click to view)Parkinson’s disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system, is the result of the autoimmune breakdown of neurons that produce dopamine. As dopamine - a neurotransmitter in the brain - levels decrease, PD symptoms become rampant; tremors, slow movement, rigidity in muscles, poor posture, balance issues, loss of passive movements, and communication changes are all symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Current treatments available for PD provide symptomatic relief of what remains to be an inevitably progressive neurodegenerative disorder, failing to halt or slow disease progression. Novel ‘neuroprotective’ agents are drugs that are designed to interfere with the pathogenic mechanism of cell death in PD. These neuroprotectors can be designed to target a wide variety of cellular death associated mechanisms, preventing or slowing their impact and thus prolonging the onset of symptoms and improving patient’s quality of life. One such drug - designed in labs here at Iowa State University - has shown neuroprotectivity using a unique targeting strategy. In this study, we have determined the maximum tolerated dose of the drug as well as its efficacy at that determined dose in mice. Subsequent testing of organ damage will provide additional information regarding the drug toxicity.
Cole Mitsdarfer – Animal Ecology
Impact of Dominance Status on the Grooming Behavior and Spatial Positioning of Captive Male Japanese Macaques (Macaca fuscata)
Project Advisor(s): Corinna Most | Advisor(s): Stephen Dinsmore
Abstract (Click to view)In the wild, Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) live in large complex polygynandrous (multi-male and multi-female) groups. Macaques are female philopatric, meaning males leave their natal group when they reach adolescence. Both sexes are organized in parallel dominance hierarchies, and dominant individuals have priority access to resources including mates, food, and space. Several studies of captive Japanese macaque troops have investigated how their hierarchies form and are maintained in such restrictive living conditions and with controlled breeding. For this project, I examined a troop of 10 Japanese macaques housed at Blank Park Zoo, in Des Moines, and collected daily data on the behavior of the one adult and two subadult males in the troop. The individual behavior recorded included displacements, physical aggression between males, and grooming received from other troop members. I also recorded the location within the exhibit of each male every 5 minutes via the ZooMonitor app. The analyses of the data indicate that Kitsi, the oldest male, ranked highest, followed by his son Neumann, and subsequently the unrelated male Nikko. Kitsi also received the most grooming. These results suggest that the same factors that influence dominance hierarchies in the wild also play a role in captivity despite birth control efforts and prevention of male dispersal.
Chase Olsen – Animal Ecology
Educational Program on Jellyfish
Project Advisor(s): Mike Rentz | Advisor(s): Stephen Dinsmore
Abstract (Click to view)The goal of this project was to create an educational program on jellyfish, specifically their role in ecology and conservation, for an audience of children and then deliver the program in a classroom setting. The desired audience age range was from eight to ten years old (roughly second to fourth grade). The purpose of this program was to provide students living in a state with no nearby ocean the chance to learn and engage with a part of the world they don’t typically experience. After developing the program, it was then delivered in ten different classrooms, six in Ames and four in Des Moines. Students in these audiences were in second, third, seventh, and eighth grade. While each audience was different in age and interest, the topics and activities remained the same. Feedback was collected from teachers to learn how well programs from outside sources can be implemented in classroom education. Despite the intended audience being at the younger end of the age range, it was actually the students in seventh and eighth grade who seemed to be more interested in the discussion and activities. This was valuable insight in which topics can better engage different age groups.
Jodie Parolini – Agronomy, Horticulture
A Garden for Grandma
Project Advisor(s): Lisa Nunamaker | Advisor(s): Mary Wiedenhoeft, Barbara Clawson
Abstract (Click to view)My grandmother got in a severe car accident over 10 years ago. This accident left her relying on a walker to get around and presented her with many obstacles to overcome. She has consistently expressed her desire to do things on her own and most lately she wants to start gardening again. Unfortunately, most backyards are not designed with the intent to be accommodating to those 65 and older. Those perfectly green lawns are a minefield to navigate for someone who has poor balance and a walker that gets caught in small holes in the ground. This honors project looks at the mobility of this age group as well as how gardening can increase their well-being. The intent of this project is to work through the designing process created by Lisa Nunamaker to design a functional garden that promotes independence for those who are 65 years of age or older.
Matthew Pfab – Biology (AGLS)
Measuring the Frequency of Mutations Associated with Pyrethroid Resistance in Aphis glycines
Project Advisor(s): Matthew O'Neal | Advisor(s): Sarah Wehner
Abstract (Click to view)Soybean aphid (Aphis glycines Matsumura) is challenging to manage as sub-populations have become resistant to pyrethroids, a common, affordable insecticide used in the North Central US. Currently, insecticide resistance can be identified using bioassays of living aphids. This method requires significant labor and may not provide immediate information needed by a farmer to make management decisions. Molecular markers can identify aphids with mutations associated with pyrethroid resistance. These markers reveal point mutations within the voltage-gated sodium channel (VGSC) and could more quickly identify if aphids are resistant. Aphids were collected from eight fields in 2021. We sampled from two of those fields before and after pyrethroid application. We tested for four different point mutations using molecular markers and evaluated the frequency of each in the fields. We found that genotype diversity was different for at least two of the mutations within the fields sampled. Furthermore, we found that heterozygosity and resistance increased in the fields that were sprayed with pyrethroids.
Marcus Prull – Animal Ecology
Precision, Bias, and Reader Confidence of Three Bigmouth Buffalo Ictiobus cyprinellus Aging Structures
Project Advisor(s): Michael Weber | Advisor(s): Stephen Dinsmore
Abstract (Click to view)Mortality, growth, and recruitment estimates are the cornerstone of fisheries management and are reliant on accurate age estimates. Bigmouth Buffalo Ictiobus cyprinellus is a long-lived Catostomid with ecological and commercial value but little is known about their populations. Lapillus otoliths have been validated as an accurate aging structure for Bigmouth Buffalo but are lethal whereas assessments of non-lethal aging structures have not been conducted. We analyzed reader bias, precision, and confidence of pectoral fin rays and dorsal spines relative to lapillus otoliths for Bigmouth Buffalo (n = 115) captured from shallow, natural Iowa lakes. Pectoral fin rays and dorsal spines were more precise and had higher reader agreement compared to otoliths. Reader confidence was similar for dorsal spines and pectoral fin rays; however, readers were more confident in both dorsal and pectoral spines than otoliths. Dorsal spines and pectoral fin rays underestimated age relative to otoliths that resulted in truncated population structures. We recommend lapillus otoliths be used for aging Bigmouth Buffalo where fish mortality is not a concern. However, dorsal spines or pectoral fin rays can be used as a non-lethal structure for younger fish.
Grace Reineke – Horticulture
Controlling Growth of Containerized Salvia buchananii with PGR’s
Poster not available in the digital archive
Project Advisor(s): Christopher Currey | Advisor(s): Barbara Clawson
Abstract (Click to view)Salvia buchananii ‘Fashion Pink’ is a vegetatively propagated flowering annual crop grown in containerized greenhouse production cropping systems for spring sales. This vigorously growing crop is challenging to produce in 4.5-in. containers with an appropriate size for shipping and retail sales. Our objectives were to quantify the effect of the PGR active ingredient flurprimidol as a foliar spray or substrate drench on the growth and flowering of Salvia buchananii ‘Fashion Pink’, and to find the most effective treatment(s) to suppress excessive stem elongation. We planted rooted cuttings in 4.5 in. pots and placed them in a controlled greenhouse environment. Flurprimidol foliar sprays were applied at 10 ppm, 20 ppm, 40 ppm, or 80 ppm and substrate drenches at 1 ppm, 2 ppm, 4 ppm, and 8 ppm. Data on height, average width, dry weight, and date of first flowering was collected. The height of drench treatments decreased as flurprimidol concentration increased and the average height of spray treatments also decreased as flurprimidol concentrations increased. The heights of drench-treated plants were less than those of spray-treated plants. In conclusion, we recommend drench concentrations of 6 ppm flurprimidol applied as a substrate drench in order to meet target specifications.
Emily Saeugling – Animal Science
The Impact of COVID-19 on Iowa's Beef Industry
Project Advisor(s): Frank Montabon | Advisor(s): Stephanie Hansen
Abstract (Click to view)The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the fragility of the U.S. food supply chain. In Iowa, many beef producers felt its impact as live cattle prices drastically declined. This was partially due to the struggles processing facilities were experiencing. In packing plants, employees were considered essential and often worked in close proximity. This meant that COVID-19 was quickly spread amongst employees. As a result, many processing facilities were forced to slow production or shut down completely. Meanwhile, consumers were fearful they wouldn’t have access to high-quality protein sources. Grocery stores placed limits on beef purchases. It wasn’t for a lack of a product; it was due to a bottleneck in the supply chain. It is vital to Iowa’s beef industry that we understand exactly how this bottleneck was caused and what we can do to prevent an issue like this from happening in the future. The information from this research will be useful in helping producers, consumers, and processors determine what to do in the event of another large supply chain bottleneck. Further understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on Iowa’s beef industry will also help us determine the potential social impacts. For example, many consumers already have concerns about animal welfare, sustainability, and factory farming. The lack of meat in the grocery store may push consumers towards direct marketing. If COVID-19 caused bottlenecks for large beef processing facilities and caused prices to fall for Iowa producers, then smaller Iowa producers are likely to shift their business to smaller processing facilities and direct marketing solutions.
Alene Scallon – Animal Science
In vitro Characterization of Human Enteric Coronavirus Infection in Cell Culture
Project Advisor(s): Luis Gimenez-Lirola | Advisor(s): Steven Lonergan
Abstract (Click to view)Human enteric coronavirus (HEC) is a poorly described virus closely related to bovine coronavirus. It has been sporadically associated to ~4% cases of gastroenteritis and diarrhea in infants. However, there are not real cumulative data on the prevalence or incidence of this virus. The human enteric coronavirus strain 4408 (HECV-4408) was initially isolated from fecal samples from a 6-year-old child with acute diarrhea. Since the isolation of the strain in 1994 there are limited studies on the virus. For this reason, the purpose of this study was to optimize in vitro the infection of HECV-4408 using cell culture. HRT-18 cells were propagated on 24-well plates using Advance Minimum Essential Medium supplemented with growth factors and antibiotics at 37°C with 5% CO2. After 24 h, cells were inoculated with HECV-4408 or with culture medium without fetal bovine serum. Infection was evaluated by confocal microscopy for 72 h. Virus-related cytopathic effects (CPE) were observed after 48 h post-inoculation (hpi) on the HECV-4408 infected cells, being more evident after 72 hpi. CPE consisted of cumulus of rounded cells and cell detachment. The next step of this project will consist on the development of a real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) and specific polyclonal and/or monoclonal antibodies towards the characterization of HECV-4408 infection in HRT-18 cells.
Caleb Skow – Biology (AGLS)
Antifungal Properties of Biochar as a Soybean Substrate
Project Advisor(s): Leonor Leandro | Advisor(s): Sarah Wehner
Abstract (Click to view)The objective of this research project was to determine if biochar has antifungal properties when used as a soil amendment for growing soybean plants inoculated with the root-rot causing fungal pathogen Fusarium graminearum. We hypothesized biochar would suppress root rot on soybeans following a predominantly linear response to biochar concentration in soil, negatively impacting plant health at concentrations near 50%. Soybean seeds were planted in soil amended with biochar at concentrations ranging from 0% to 50%, in 10% increments. Plants were inoculated by mixing soil with millet grains infested by F. graminearium. Autoclaved millet was used for non-inoculated controls for each treatment. After growth, plants were rated for root rot severity (% of root surface area affected), as well as root and shoot dry mass and root length. Among inoculated plants, root rot severity was reduced by 23% in the 10% biochar concentration compared to the 0% control, whereas root rot was greater than the control at concentrations of 40 and 50% biochar. Shoot mass was greater in the 10% treatment compared to 0% but did not differ among the other treatments. These data suggest a positive effect on root rot reduction with 10% biochar application to soil.
Jamie Skow – Environmental Science (AGLS), Psychology
Introverts and Extraverts Levels of Comfortability and Confidence During Social Situations When Wearing Masks
Project Advisor(s): Stephanie Madon | Advisor(s): Richard Williams, Mason Babcock
Abstract (Click to view)This study examined how introverts and extraverts differ in comfortability and confidence during social situations when wearing masks. All participants were presented with an introversion/extraversion scale followed by questions about mask-wearing during social situations. In contrast to the hypothesis that introverted individuals would be more confident and comfortable in social situations when wearing masks compared to extraverts, confidence and comfortability did not differ between the two groups. The implications of the results for this conclusion are discussed.
Talia Sylvester – Biology (AGLS)
Investigation of Shockwave Treated AHPCs
Project Advisor(s): Donald Sakaguchi | Advisor(s): Sarah Wehner
Abstract (Click to view)Millions of patients experience the dysfunction caused by incidents that lead to traumatic brain injury. Culturing adult hippocampal progenitor cells (AHPCs) and exposing these cells to a shockwave treatment is a promising route to model and study these injuries. This experiment was designed to study cell survival, differentiation, proliferation, and development of AHPCs exposed to different shockwave treatment strengths while in differentiation media. Samples underwent shockwave treatment at parameters of 5 HZ, 100 pulses at 2 Bar (mild strength), 4.5 Bar (moderate strength), or non-treated (control). Immunolabeling with cell-type-specific antibody markers was utilized to evaluate the differentiation of AHPCs in these differing conditions. The results of this experiment indicate that an increase in shockwave strength inhibits AHPC cell viability and differentiation towards astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and mature neurons. These shockwave treatment results and additional detailed studies could be further applied to advancements in using in vitro models to study traumatic brain injuries. This is a promising option that is economical and has fewer ethical issues as a TBI model for research on these injuries and may potentially be a useful drug/therapy screening platform.
Lauren Tidgren – Animal Science
An Analysis of Relevant Swine Laws and Potential Implications on the Industry
Project Advisor(s): Kristine Tidgren, (Jason Ross) | Advisor(s): Elisabeth Lonergan
Abstract (Click to view)For Iowa, pork production has a substantial economic impact. Close to a third of the hogs produced in America come out of Iowa. In recent years, swine agriculture has become a legislative hot topic. Recent bills and laws have cropped up due to growing public concerns, mainly pertaining to animal welfare and the environment. American agriculture has been shifting with the changing demands of consumers, but it is trying to reach legislative favor to protect certain aspects of farming. A research paper was composed compiling the relevant swine laws of today and what they mean for the pork industry. This analysis was done by scoping the legal databases, legislative commentaries, and academic archives. The information provided is objective, and the analysis and potential implications are personal conclusions from the semester of research.
Karen Vandervort – Food Science (AGLS)
Home in the Midwest
Project Advisor(s): Sherry Berghefer | Advisor(s): Melha Mellata
Abstract (Click to view)In this honors project, Home in the Midwest, I seek to bridge the gap between storytelling, heart language, and an objective understanding of how people interact with the concept of home. Each story is so different but each and every person ultimately wants to abide in a place they can call home. Each of the journeys to accomplish this is unique and my goal with this project is compile stories of home. This is meant to inspire hope again in how beautiful the concept of home is, regardless of where one is currently residing. For this project, I created a podcast in which I interview fellow Iowa State students and graduates about their stories and traditions of home. This podcast is also created in tandem with an Instagram account to compile all of the content in an artful and user-friendly manner. I also created a word cloud to be featured on the Instagram account that compiles responses of words that are associated with home. All in all, this project seeks to share stories and the beauty of home in a manner that reveals how "to be at home" is possible in every life stage and physical location.
Joy Westercamp – Biology (AGLS)
Insect-Decide: Using Machine Learning to Identify Insect Species from their Audio Signature
Poster not available in the digital archive
Project Advisor(s): Matthew O'Neal | Advisor(s): Sarah Wehner
Abstract (Click to view)Insect-Decide trained a machine learning program to differentiate between bee species using audio signatures. Current detection methods rely on killing insects to monitor their populations and are often labor-intensive. Using sound detection is less invasive and has implications for research and in industries like agriculture and housing development. Honey bee and bumble bee sound data was collected in an anechoic chamber. This data was used as spectrographs to train the machine learning program to identify the presence or absence of honey bees. Our best model was able to correctly determine the presence or absence of honey bees in over 90% of cases. Future work will include using field data to test our machine learning model on more complex audio files.
Sanjana Addagarla – Management Information Systems
Human Trafficking in Common Business Workplaces
Project Advisor(s): Alissa Stoehr | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli
Abstract (Click to view)Abstract will not be available.
Ken Galbraith – Accounting, Finance
Cybersecurity in the Online Gambling Industry
Poster not available in the digital archive
Project Advisor(s): Diane Janvrin | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli, Kelly Pistilli
Abstract (Click to view)This project explored the current regulations concerning online casinos and gambling in Iowa, Nevada, and New Jersey. It also touched on the development of sports gambling. It also reflected on requirements that states must meet as businesses when creating controls and addressing business risk. This was then put into perspective using the AICPA's cybersecurity framework to suggest a more stringent and easier to understand set of regulations and controls states could use to expand their online gambling offerings in the future.
Makayla Hendry – Accounting, Business Analytics
Stock Buyback Event Studies
Project Advisor(s): Travis Sapp | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli, Kelly Pistilli
Abstract (Click to view)For this project, I performed an analysis on stock prices prior to and following stock buyback announcements. My analysis is based on a sample of 30 companies' stock prices during an 11-day window (5 days prior to, the day of, and 5 days following the announcement) in comparison to market prices. To determine the impact the buyback announcement had on stock prices, I first calculated daily returns for each company and performed regressions with x-variables being the market returns (VFINX) and y-variables being the company returns. This allowed me to generate statistics (alpha, beta, standard error alpha, standard error beta, r-square, and standard error) that I used in calculating each company's daily abnormal return in comparison to the market. After computing daily abnormal returns, I calculated a +/- 5 days cumulative abnormal return (CAR) surrounding the announcement for each company. A positive CAR tells us that there was a positive reaction to the announcement while a negative CAR tells us that there was a negative reaction. To analyze the effect on the entire sample of companies, I calculated the average abnormal return for all companies each day of the 11-day window surrounding the buyback announcement along with the cumulative average abnormal return. I created graphs of both of these average returns throughout the 11-day window to better demonstrate the results. For both the average abnormal returns and cumulative average abnormal returns, the highest value is at day 1 following the announcement while the lowest values fall right before the announcement occurred. To further analyze the effect of the announcement on the sample, Professor Sapp assisted in calculating +/- 1 day CAR values along with t-statistics for each of these CARs. The average CAR during this 3-day window for all companies was 1.59% which indicates that there was a slight positive reaction to the buyback announcement. This result is consistent with prior research.
Sarah Hughes – Management, Marketing
Identifying Stages and Processes within the Migrant Consumer Journey
Project Advisor(s): Samantha Cross | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli, Kelly Pistilli
Abstract (Click to view)This research project defined migrant consumers as shoppers who are resident in one country and travel to another country with the main goal of shopping, often for commodity items as well as other products. The context focused on consumers in less-developed countries, who may not have access to the same goods and services, in terms of price, selection and quality, as consumers in more developed countries. This research was important because migrant consumers are widespread in major shopping hubs worldwide, such as Miami, Dubai and Hong Kong. Marketers need to better understand the shopping behavior of these types of customers, so they can tailor their marketing efforts to better meet the needs of migrant consumers. The project’s focus was on the journey that migrant consumers take from the decision to shop overseas, through navigating the shopping experience, to transporting the goods home. I analyzed 22 in-depth interviews with participants in the Caribbean that had previously been conducted. I compiled the interview data to find qualitative trends and summarized these trends visually by developing a Migrant Consumer Journey Map. This visual was essential in drawing conclusions based on trends, offering insights, and providing direction for future research.
Dane Rasmussen – Finance, Accounting
The Importance and Under Utilization of Renters’ Insurance
Poster not available in the digital archive
Project Advisor(s): Mark Power | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli, Kelly Pistilli
Abstract (Click to view)This project is exploring aspects of the renters' insurance market in America, including a definition of renters' insurance, consumer attitudes towards renters' insurance, statistics regarding the renting market and the finances of renters, and the benefits of renters' insurance. Additional focus was placed on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on renters and income/age groups most likely to rent. Data was found from a multitude of sources on the internet. The data found supported that renters' insurance is currently underutilized by renters in America due to the many benefits that the product delivers.
Mary Sullivan – Supply Chain Management
The Role of the Trucking Industry in Human Trafficking
Project Advisor(s): Alissa Stoehr | Advisor(s): Kelly Pistilli
Abstract (Click to view)The vitalness of the trucking industry to our nation's economy has only increased in recent years, leading to a shortage of some 80,000 workers. As inexperienced and ill-trained drivers are taking to the road every day, they may be oblivious to a significant danger: sex trafficking. Men, women, and children offering commercial sex acts are often spotted at travel plazas and rest areas across the country. This report studied the role of truck drivers in sex trafficking: as perpetrators and as watchful deterrents. Government regulation on sex trafficking was evaluated, such as suspending or revoking commercial drivers' licenses. Additionally, laws, legislation, and penalties for participating in commercial sex or sex trafficking were outlined. Important mitigation strategies, such as crowdsourcing and ELERTS Systems, were discussed. Lastly, two prominent truck stops in Iowa were contacted: Love's Travel Stops and the Iowa 80 World's Largest Truckstop. Their reported efforts' effectiveness to prevent sex trafficking and commercial sex were evaluated. This research uncovered many promising technologies and initiatives to prevent sex trafficking on the road. However, the situation will not improve unless awareness and support spread, industry leaders commit to ending the issue, and mitigation measures are implemented nationwide.
Grace Carlson – Graphic Design
Camping Cook Book
Project Advisor(s): Celinda Stamy | Advisor(s): Maurice Meilleur, Malinda Cooper
Abstract (Click to view)I wrote and illustrated a mini cook book that people can take on camping trips. It contains a multitude of recipes from breakfast to dinner to dessert that can all be cooked over a campfire and are all fairly quick and easy! The recipes come in a large variety of flavor profiles, and each one has a unique and adorable illustration that matches it. I have tested the majority of the recipes on my own hiking trips, and I can personally vouch for all of them!
Andersen Coates – Architecture Professional Degree
Project Advisor(s): Firat Erdim | Advisor(s): Jeremy Miller
Abstract (Click to view)To come
Bryan Dellett – Architecture Professional Degree
The Benefit of Keeping a Dedicated Sketchbook
Project Advisor(s): Paula Streeter | Advisor(s): Jeremy Miller
Abstract (Click to view)This project explores the psychological and technical benefits of keeping a dedicated sketchbook. It synthesizes research about sketching for artists and non-artists alike. The project considers my own experience as I kept a highly dedicated sketchbook over the course of the semester. The goal of the project is to promote sketching as a diary of personal expression and applied practice.
Brenna Fransen – Architecture Professional Degree, Environmental Studies
Memorializing History at Westbrook Artists' Site
Project Advisor(s): Kevin Lair | Advisor(s): Shelby Doyle, Richard Williams
Abstract (Click to view)To come
Keegan Holdorf – Architecture Professional Degree
WELL LEED ARCH: Guide for Sustainability and Well-Being in Design (Healthcare Edition)
Poster not available in the digital archive
Project Advisor(s): Cameron Campbell, Daejin Kim | Advisor(s): Thomas Leslie, Jeremy Miller
Abstract (Click to view)The project will be consisted of independent research studies conducted in a format that both highlights and exemplifies important practices in architecture revolving around LEED and WELL certification. Specifically relating to my studio, Design for Health, I want to have this proposal be an introduction into the notion of developing publications regarding recent architecture focused in healthcare design (as an edition or volume). In the future, if this is successful by its means, I will consider to continue said research and apply it as a series, each diving into different design programs (residential, commercial, education, etc). The title ‘WELL LEED ARCH’ is to creatively direct and relate to the primary focus in talking about Architecture (ARCH) that captures sustainable (LEED) and well-being (WELL) applications. At most times, magazines in the design field have difficulty representing themselves with specific motive. Projects may have a reason to be there to some degree, but at most times they are just consisted of visually pleasing pictures of building facades and decorative interior. Why choose these buildings or imagery? What am I supposed to look at, understand, and learn or gain inspiration from? Is it successful at exemplifying what it is being told? One of the biggest questions that motivated me was: Why isn’t there much architectural publications topic focused? I discovered Healthcare Design’s magazines on my trip to a HCD Charette in Ohio last year, a publication that's recognized for providing representation of innovative building designs and products on a monthly basis; this is the motive that I want to see, but in the format of looking specifically at LEED and WELL certified projects. It is an important topic to discuss as we continue to work towards innovative design, and what better way to encourage or inspire others to make great architecture by highlighting them in a format that is easy to read, understand, and apply to their developments.
Brandon Leeder – Architecture Professional Degree, Sociology (LAS)
EWB International Community Program: Rural West African Micro-Hospital
Project Advisor(s): Deborah Hauptmann | Advisor(s): Andrea Wheeler, Jacque Parker
Abstract (Click to view)The project is being conducted with the ISU Engineers Without Borders Chapter (ISU-EWB). I have been involved with the organization since the spring of 2021 working first as a member of the sustainable development team and later establishing a more permanent architecture team as its team lead. The project is a rural health clinic (more so micro-hospital) that will be built in the northwest region of Ghana in the Ullo-Dantie Traditional Area. The project has received support from the department of agricultural and bio systems engineering, the department of architecture, a partner university in Kumasi, Ghana (KNUST), national review personnel from EWB, the Catholic Diocese of Wa, Ghana, the Ghana Health Service, and the Ullo community. There is a history to the project, and many stakeholders that have contributed; the honors project focuses specifically on the architectural design, documentation, and ongoing project management. As indicated in the assessment of the community, the current clinic is operating from an administrative building that was never intended for providing medical services. Patient treatment is severely hindered by the environmental constraints such as access to running water as well as adequate and appropriate physical facilities. The proposed facility is a new, 15,000 square foot freestanding clinic. The clinic is composed of three adjacent buildings that form a semi-enclosed u-shaped complex. The interior of the complex is a central courtyard. The three buildings are separated by programmatic function as follows: 1.Main entrance, administration, and outpatient services 2.Inpatient general ward and operating theatre 3.Inpatient maternity ward and labor/delivery
Devin Palmer – Graphic Design
Interdisciplinary Experiential Design for Sporting Kansas City
Project Advisor(s): Andrea Quam | Advisor(s): Sam Johnson, Andrea Quam
Abstract (Click to view)Through this interdisciplinary studio, student teams designed comprehensive experiential space proposals for the professional men's soccer team Sporting Kansas City. My team worked across disciplines including architecture, graphic, industrial and interior design to complete a design proposal to be presented to the client. As graphic designer, I contributed to team efforts in research and analysis of site conditions and client needs, as well as general analysis of the design problem. I explored and addressed these client needs through the design process, creating branding, environmental and experiential graphic design applications. Additionally, I contributed to in-depth studies of cultural and historical contexts, through field studies in Rome, Milan, Turin and Kansas City, and worked collaboratively to apply appropriate theories and methodologies centered on user experience. Months of collaboration with my teammates on architectural elements, environmental graphics, interactive museum displays and overall brand cohesion culminated in a professional design proposal and client presentation, including project brief and research, as well as final graphics, mockups, spatial plans and supporting visuals.
Sara Smiley – Architecture Professional Degree
Carson: A Children's Book
Project Advisor(s): Nancy Thompson | Advisor(s): Shelby Doyle, Jeremy Miller
Abstract (Click to view)My cousin Carson was born with Down syndrome in 2018. His parents have noticed a lack of children’s books about the topic of Down syndrome that also incorporate Christian themes. While doing research, I found that most picture books about Down syndrome include narratives that express how children with Down syndrome are similar or dissimilar to other children their age. This narrative can be helpful in explaining the characteristics of Down syndrome, but does not adequately reflect God’s design. To remedy this, I wrote, illustrated, and published a picture book geared towards Christian children and adults that informs the audience about the characteristics of my cousin Carson while also indicating God’s role in his life.
Heather Baier – Mechanical Engineering
Project Advisor(s): Susan Yager | Advisor(s): Kirsten Hauge
Abstract (Click to view)Why do some stories resonate with people, while others don’t? Why is it that some of these stories are retold and rewritten time and again, making them deeply ingrained in society? In answering these questions, it is possible to better understand human nature and what inspires them. The story of Aladdin is one of these folktales that everyone knows by heart and has been redone many times. To fully understand the story, this project analyzed folktales and the different ways that they are classified. Then, an array of Aladdin rewrites were studied, from all different types of media and different points in history, to gain a better understanding of how these stories are similar and different, as well as how they change across cultures and time. This project determined what aspects, themes, and motifs of the story of Aladdin speak to the audience, as well as what makes a rewrite a successful one.
Mitchell Bailey – Aerospace Engineering
Identifying the Effects of an Encapsulating Mesh on a UAV
Project Advisor(s): Joshua Peschel | Advisor(s): Nicole Gupta
Abstract (Click to view)Certain environments provide too many dangers for UAVs to fly in. This project aimed to identify the effects of an encapsulating mesh on a UAV in an attempt to protect the craft. Different plastic and fabric meshes were fixed to a cage surrounding a UAV, and test flights were performed to monitor the craft's performance. By using motion capture data, the acceleration of the UAV can be recorded and compared to the motor speed from flight logs. This research provides a minimum hole diameter before propellers are starved of air and a relation between the hole diameter and power drawn from the motors. Three meshes were tested around the UAV with a uniform set of flights designed to test vertical, translational, and rotational acceleration. 5/8", 1/2", and 1/8" hole diameters were used. 5/8" showed little effect on the performance. A 1/2" hole diameter showed a surprisingly large increase in power draw and motor speed. The 1/8" mesh decreased lift until the UAV could only hover due to Ground Effect. This protection can be applied by researchers working in areas with high debris, such as tree canopies or cave systems, which may require a UAV's assistance.
Olivia Bogle – Mechanical Engineering
Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Quality of Engineering Degrees
Poster not available in the digital archive
Project Advisor(s): Hartanto Wibowo | Advisor(s): Kirsten Hauge
Abstract (Click to view)This project will achieve an understanding of how the COVID-19 Pandemic affected the quality of engineering degrees at Iowa State. It looks at the opinions of faculty and students at the university and how their education was impacted due to online classwork and the overall life throughout the pandemic. The project outlines how this altered their degree and readiness for future careers.
Remy Braun – Mechanical Engineering
Interactive Virtual Reality Simulations of Human Cardiovascular System for Medical Education and Student Exploration
Project Advisor(s): Adarsh Krishnamurthy | Advisor(s): Breanna Kixmiller
Abstract (Click to view)Virtual reality (VR) technology has progressed rapidly over the past decade with numerous companies emerging in the field. There has been an abundance of research investigating the use of VR in a variety of disciplines, however, there is still a lack of knowledge about the efficacy of VR in medicine. This project explored the use of VR as an educational tool for learning about the cardiovascular system. A VR scene was created in Unity and designed for use with an Oculus Rift headset and controllers. Cardiac computed tomography (CT) scans and 3-D heart models were implemented into the simulation along with other educational content. Interactive features were also created and connected to the educational material. It was found that VR, though challenging to implement, could provide instructors with a creative platform for presenting medical information. It was concluded that VR has the potential to provide students with a unique educational experience that may be conducive to learning. Analysis of student reception of VR in the medical field is required for further improvement.
Ola Carnahan – Aerospace Engineering
History of the Carillon
Poster not available in the digital archive
Project Advisor(s): Tin-Shi Tam | Advisor(s): Brad Eilers
Abstract (Click to view)The Campanile is one of the greatest symbols of Iowa state, but not many students know much about the instrument within the Campanile – the 50-bell carillon known as the Bells of Iowa State. My honors project was to begin the development of an online course on the history of the carillon. This course would be available to a diverse range of students and allow more to be introduced to the history and music of the carillon. My goal was to complete an outline for this course with a focus on the 19th and 20th centuries. This could then be used as a guide for future development and research.
Yahan Chang – Mechanical Engineering
Climate Change on Minority and Low-income Populations
Project Advisor(s): Mark Mba-Wright | Advisor(s): Breanna Kixmiller
Abstract (Click to view)Climate change continues to alter and change the lives of Earth’s habitat and inhabitants. Extreme weather, pollution, elevated health risks, loss in biodiversity, changes to landscape and terrain, and rising sea levels are a few repercussions of increasing the planet’s temperature. However, those ramifications do not affect everyone in the same way or intensity. While there are abundant climate change studies and articles on this ever-pressing topic, the project includes the environmental damages created and the sociological factors. A review of climate change consequences impacting communities of color and impoverished groups can imprint the urgency and connection to everyday people. This study helps to justify and explain the need for future research studies into climate change solutions, specifically toward environmental justice. A cohesive analysis of how climate change affects minorities in the United States was examined through literature analysis. The findings are presented and documented to inform and bring awareness to the disproportionate consequences of anthropogenic global warming.
Faith Cornish – Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics
CT Segmentation for Patient-Specific Cardiac Modeling
Project Advisor(s): Adarsh Krishnamurthy | Advisor(s): Nathan Ross, Ignacio Alvarez
Abstract (Click to view)Computational cardiac models have been used extensively to study cardiac biomechanics. Specifically, finite-element analysis (FEA) has been used to study the internal stresses and strains in the cardiac wall during the cardiac cycle. However, FEA has only been used with simple ventricular geometries with non-physiological boundary conditions due to the challenges associated with creating models of complex heart geometry. It is critical to accurately capture the geometric characteristics of the heart and apply physiologically equivalent boundary conditions to replicate the in vivo heart motion. Previous models consisted of truncated ventricular heart models that require complicated non-physiological boundary conditions for accurate simulations. In this project, patient-specific models of the complete four-chamber heart were created from cardiac tomography (CT) data. The software Slicer was used to segment the chambers from the CT data for the end-diastolic and end-systolic time points. The volumes for each chamber of the model were then compared to expected volume ranges for healthy adults to validate the accuracy of the segmented regions. In the future, physiologically equivalent boundary conditions will be applied to these models, and the final mesh will be used to simulate the complete cardiac cycle. This process will facilitate the creation of patient-specific four-chamber heart models that can be used for simulating different heart conditions. Such computational models can improve our fundamental understanding of the cardiovascular system.
Ava Depping – Mechanical Engineering
Design and Reliability of Embroidered Electrodes
Poster not available in digital archive
Project Advisor(s): Rachel Eike | Advisor(s): Breanna Kixmiller
Abstract (Click to view)The purpose of this project is to verify embroidery parameters for manufacturing high performance dry transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation (TENS) electrodes on soft-good end products, and to test the performance of TENS electrodes after environmental and laundering stresses. The embroidery parameters are verified by measuring and calculating surface resistance and signal-to-noise values for electrodes manufactured with different conductive threads, stitch patterns, stitch densities, and fabric grain to stitch orientations using an industrial embroidery machine. The chosen embroidery parameters were primarily based on those tested by Gozde Goncu Berk in “Design of a wearable pain management system with embroidered TENS electrodes”. The surface resistivity was measured from 16 different point locations using a multimeter. The signal-to-noise values were determined using a digital oscilloscope and MATLAB software. To analyze these results, the manufactured electrodes were compared with the aforementioned study. Samples were then tested for performance under AATCC laundering test conditions. The surface resistivity and signal-to-noise values were again measured and compared to the previous data. Although further testing will be necessary in regard to TENS electrodes effectiveness at minimizing pain, this evaluation of embroidered TENS electrodes performance is crucial to defining its life span and viability as a medical wearable device.
Bernard Fay – Software Engineering, Data Science
Predictive Modeling for Pokemon Battles
Project Advisor(s): Simanta Mitra | Advisor(s): Jason Follett, Erin Valerio-Garsow
Abstract (Click to view)Within the past few decades there have been several pursuits to create AIs that are able to compete against and ultimately beat human players. Some well-known include classic games such as Go, Chess, and Poker. However, these games are all sequential move games, meaning one player makes a move, then the next player makes a move, and so on. However, Pokémon battles are simultaneous move games, meaning both players must choose their moves at the same time without knowing the opponent’s choice and then the results are played out in one turn. This makes creating an AI more challenging as it requires an additional layer of predictive capabilities. To add more complexity, like Poker, a player does not know everything about the opponent and must make decisions based on incomplete information. Altogether, this makes creating a competent AI for Pokémon battles incredibly difficult, but that is the goal of this project.
Jacob Fields – Aerospace Engineering
Space Trajectory Optimization
Poster not available in the digital archive
Project Advisor(s): Ossama Abdelkhalik | Advisor(s): Brad Eilers
Abstract (Click to view)Satellite interplanetary missions can be very costly with the amount of fuel used due to the thrust needed to get to these other planets. My research was trying to determine how to reduce this cost by using Tisserand graphs and leveraging the data off these graphs. Tisserand graphs are plots of different fly-by orbits with different planets and a range of fly-by velocities. After generating the Tisserand graphs for all the planets in the solar system, they needed to be leveraged so that the best path for the satellite could be determined. I moved to calculating the exterior and interior orbits launched from Earth which could be used to preform fly-bys with planets on the way to the target planet. These fly-bys result in a change in the satellite’s momentum and saves fuel; hence reducing the cost of the mission. Using these two graphs together, the most economic path between Earth and the target planet can be determined. This research showed me how important it is to lower the cost of space missions, and why it is important to not sacrifice the schedule of the mission.
Landon Getting – Industrial Engineering
Improving Boundary Detection for Robotic Grinding System
Project Advisor(s): Frank Peters | Advisor(s): Devna Popejoy-Sheriff
Abstract (Click to view)In the steel casting industry, castings require post-processing to remove risers, gating systems, and excess material. Grinding is commonly utilized to achieve the desired geometry and surface finish for customers. Manual grinding processes raise many ergonomic problems (Peters, 2002) and are the second leading cause of safety incidents in foundries (Moore, 2019). To eliminate these issues, we are developing a robotic grinding system that works in tandem with human operators to perform grinding operations. During the process, operators indicate where the robot should grind by drawing markings on the casting. The robotic system scans and collects this information as a set of unordered points. An algorithm was needed to sort these points into the desired polygon for boundary detection. The situation was modeled as a Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) where each point represented a city. The Nearest Neighbor and 2-Opt TSP heuristics were implemented to find and optimize the shortest path which effectively sorted the points. This proposed method correctly sorted several sample geometries with runtimes less than a second. Additional test geometries should be evaluated to validate the efficacy of the method.
Yingying Huang – Mechanical Engineering
Selection and Optimization of Object Detection Model For Target Following.
Poster not available in the digital archive
Project Advisor(s): Soumik Sarkar | Advisor(s): John Wagner
Abstract (Click to view)Target following is a significant subject in the field of robotics as it has the potential to bring the robot capability to a new level and inspire new applications. Many practices of target-following robots nowadays involve object detection algorithms based on machine learning which process frames from the robot’s camera and help the robot locate target objects. To ensure the success of a target-following robot, the performance of the detection needs to be robust. With that in mind, this research focuses on the selection of a proper object detection algorithm and the optimization of the final model. In the research, a robot called JetBot was used as the target, and more than 500 images of the robot were collected. The object detection frameworks being investigated in this research were SSD MobileNet v2, SSD MobileNet v2 FPNLite, and SSD MobileNet v1 from TensorFlow 2, a popular machine-learning platform. The performance of each model was evaluated by both classification loss and localization loss and testing results on a given test dataset. This research shows that an object detection model can be improved with a strategic selection of datasets, and SSD MobileNet v2 outperforms SSD MobileNet v2 FPNLite and SSD MobileNet v1 in terms of detection speed.
Tyler Ingebrand – Computer Engineering
Teaching a Robot How to Walk Using Reinforcement Learning
Project Advisor(s): Diane Rover | Advisor(s): Vicky Thorland-Oster
Abstract (Click to view)Despite advancements in robotic technology, multi-purpose robots have yet to find widespread adoption in commercial or industrial settings. Some of this delay is due to the enormous time investment and domain knowledge required to program a robot to solve a new task that its hardware would allow it to solve. This project seeks to alleviate that issue by providing an automated solution to learning new tasks via reinforcement learning. Reinforcement learning is a growing field of machine learning that involves allowing an agent to explore a problem, observe the results of its actions, and slowly improve its performance over time. The goal of this project is to apply reinforcement learning algorithms such as DDPG and TD3 to a realistically simulated robot environment. The resultant behavior is applied to the robot in real life to investigate the practicality of teaching a robot to walk using reinforcement learning.
Joseph Kim – Industrial Engineering
Perspiring thErmal Replica for Comfort Evaluation (PERCE)
Project Advisor(s): Richard Stone | Advisor(s): Devna Popejoy-Sheriff
Abstract (Click to view)Surgeons are at an increased risk of developing head, neck, and back musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) due to the nature of their work. As a result, a variety of interventions have been created, one of which is exoskeletons. Exoskeletons are meant to support the body while working to decrease the risk of developing MSDs. One exoskeleton in particular supports the head, neck, and back for surgeons. Previous studies revealed that it would significantly reduce the likelihood of developing MSDs. However, despite its effectiveness, the surgeons complained about its usability, specifically comfort, which led some even to forgo its use during some trials. As a result, a manikin that has the potential to “sweat” and be heated to physiologically accurate temperatures was created. Heating pads powered by an Arduino were placed under the two layers of skin, which were both made out of silicone, and water, heated by a sous vide, was pumped to the top of the manikin head with a small water pump. In the future, this manikin will be used to evaluate the comfort and thermal conductivities of various types of exoskeleton headgear quickly and effectively.
Reed Kohlmeyer – Aerospace Engineering
Electronics and Control Design of a Nano-Scale Drone
Project Advisor(s): Matthew Nelson | Advisor(s): Caitlin Trom
Abstract (Click to view)Drones, commonly known as UAVs, show promising applications in military surveillance, search and rescue, structural examination, and extra-terrestrial atmospheric exploration. Nano-drones, defined by the DARPA Nano Air Vehicle Program as a drone less than 1U (10 x 10 x 10 cm), can provide a low-cost, high-efficiency solution compared to their larger counterparts. While nano-drones show promise, the field is still in its relative infancy. Significant improvements to power systems, stability, propulsive efficiency, and motor control are necessary for nano-drones to work into the mainstream. The Nano Drone M:2:I project is creating an intercollegiate nano-drone competition to push the boundaries of research on the topic. The Nano Drone team is currently creating an 8 x 8 x 4 cm drone capable of maneuvering through a 2 x 2 ft vent and sending NEC IR signals. This project specifically covers the selection of the flight controller, battery, and control systems on the drone, along with their firmware and software considerations.
Joyce Lai – Electrical Engineering
Development of A Portable MiRNA Analyzer
Project Advisor(s): Meng Lu | Advisor(s): Vicky Thorland-Oster
Abstract (Click to view)Studies have indicated that extracellular vehicles (EVs) carry useful information for predicting and detecting biological illnesses. Exosomes are a type of EV that carry proteins, miRNA, mRNA, DNA, and lipids; these molecules are transported to recipient cells forming biological communication networks. We are interested in the detection of miRNAs as much clinical evidence suggests that abnormal miRNA expression is closely related to serious diseases such as cancer. A popular methodology for detecting molecular substances from EVs is the development of microfluidic chip sensors; however, current fabrication processes are costly and require cleanroom facilities. Our work is on the development of a portable, quick, low-cost system that can detect and quantify miRNA from exosomes via the exponential isothermal amplification reaction (EXPAR). This system includes two acrylic microfluidic chips and a portable instrument that is built on an Internet of Things (IoT) platform. The microfluidic chips perform exosome lysis, template storage, and reagent mixing, steps that lead up to the miRNA amplification. The IoT instrument captures images of the amplified miRNA during the EXPAR in real-time for the quantification of target miRNAs. The system’s affordability, rapid assay, and the chip’s disposability make it a promising clinical device.
Andrew Mord – MechanicalEngineering
Premature Jetting and Rayleigh Instability of Millimeter-Scale Water Droplets Levitated by Liquid Electrostatic Levitator
Project Advisor(s): Jonghyun Lee | Advisor(s): Alyssa Stafne
Abstract (Click to view)Rayleigh Instability describes the tendency of charged liquid drops to restore equilibrium in terms of forces and maintain a spherical shape. A charged droplet, say, a cloud droplet, will balance its surface charges and surface tension to maintain its spherical shape. If the droplet evaporates and becomes smaller, the Coulomb force increases. If the droplet’s radius becomes less than its Rayleigh radius, the Coulomb force overcomes the surface tension and becomes unstable. The droplet may eject some of its charge to regain stability, or fall. Rayleigh Instability provides the foundation for food processing (such as chocolate coatings), drug encapsulation, oil-water processing, and the proliferation of supersatured samples. Rayleigh Jets must be understood well in order to establish a predictive theory, which would enable control of jets for LESL sample life.
Isaac Petersen – Mechanical Engineering
Design Exploration for a Fully Articulated Human Finger Model of Hand Prosthetics
Project Advisor(s): Li Shan Chou | Advisor(s): Alyssa Stafne
Abstract (Click to view)With over 1 million people in the United States with upper limb amputations, the need of functional hand prosthetics is growing to improve the well-being of the patients by allowing them to manipulate objects or improve cosmetic appearance. Therefore, emulating a biological hand in the design of hand prosthetics will enhance the quality of life of the amputees. This research was aimed to design an artificial finger that could be actuated similarly to a biological one to improve functional usability in future hand prosthetics. Current prosthetic devices are varied in function, but they all have issues with performing dexterous tasks such as typing and writing. There were two designs that came out of this research that allows for all joints on the finger to be actuated, each having their own advantages and disadvantages. The first is a gear and linkage design and the second is a wire pulley system similar to a biological finger. Looking to the future, designs similar to these may become very important to prosthetics since these will greatly improve the types of motion for the amputees.
Ryan Pretzer – Mechanical Engineering
Measuring the Density, Surface Tension, and Viscosity of Highly Supersaturated Electrolyte Solution Drop using Electrostatic Levitation
Project Advisor(s): Jonghyun Lee | Advisor(s): Mindy Heggen
Abstract (Click to view)As the initial step of the crystallization process, nucleation is important to many industries and research areas. Pharmaceutical manufacturers utilize crystallization to separate and purify compounds as active ingredients to medication. Fertilizer synthesis relies on evaporation and crystallization. The silicon crystallization process is vital to the manufacture of photovoltaic cells and semiconductors. The nature of the nucleation process impacts the result of these processes. Knowledge of the properties of deeply saturated electrolyte solutions is critical to understanding the chemical and thermodynamic aspects of nucleation. An accurate method by which the density, surface tension, and viscosity of supersaturated solutions can be obtained will aid in the understanding of crystallization. A measurement technique and apparatus has been designed to measure these properties in a container-less environment. A positively charged droplet of electrolyte solution is levitated between a negatively charged electrode and a grounded plate. The droplet is stimulated into resonance by applying a sinusoidal voltage pulse to the electrode. The response of the droplet is observed by passing a green laser through the droplet and into a photosensor. Post processing obtains the fluid properties from the damping ratio and natural frequency of the sample.
Zachary Rauth – Mechanical Engineering
Shared Discovery: The Novel Wood Wide Web
Project Advisor(s): James Raich | Advisor(s): Kirsten Hauge
Abstract (Click to view)This study was a focused research project exploring the novel perspective of symbiosis. Specifically, the study explored the idea that a vast network of mycorrhizae connects woodland forests, a relationship referred to as the Wood Wide Web. Through the review of professional scientific publications, this study produced a compiled source of research explaining how a network like this could exist and continue to thrive. By focusing on many unknowns, the Wood Wide Web was studied to understand the impact of the symbiotic relationship of mycorrhizae with plant species connected and unconnected to the network. This study defined and provided evidence verifying the Wood Wide Web exists and demonstrated how the mycorrhizae networks connect plants. Additionally, the study explored the future possibilities for research on this topic.
David Seals – Aerospace Engineering
Space Trajectory Design Using Pseudospectral Methods
Poster not available in the digital archive
Project Advisor(s): Ossama Abdelkhalik | Advisor(s): Nicole Gupta
Abstract (Click to view)The cost of space missions is directly related to the amount of fuel used to achieve a given trajectory. Therefore, spacecraft trajectory optimization is key to minimizing space mission costs. This project discusses direct methods for solving the optimal control problem (OCP) of spacecraft using high-efficiency, low-thrust electric propulsion engines. A shape-based method using finite Fourier series expansion can rapidly approximate spacecraft trajectories, making it useful in surveying broad design spaces. Additionally, implementing a genetic algorithm allows the shape-based method to approximate the optimal solution that minimizes the fuel needed. The result of this rapid approximation is used as an initial guess for an optimal control solver to improve the convergence of the solver. In this case, a Pseudospectral method is used to solve the continuous-time OCP by converting it into a nonlinear programming (NLP) problem. Both states and controls are approximated by Lagrange interpolating polynomials at Legendre-Gauss-Lobatto (LGL) nodes. Finally, an NLP problem solver, such as SNOPT, can be used to reach the optimal solution.
William Sibilski – Aerospace Engineering
To Leave or To Stay
Project Advisor(s): Melissa Chamberlin | Advisor(s): Brad Eilers
Abstract (Click to view)People leave their jobs for various reasons. No company wants to lose their employees as they are also losing valuable people and experience. Studies have been completed to understand what makes people committed in the work environment, but college students are the future of the workforce. Understanding the factors that encourage them to stay or make them want to leave can help prepare companies hiring recent graduates. I surveyed 498 Iowa State Students to gauge the importance of different factors as students prepare for the workforce. The results from the survey show that there are some changes between different students. There are differences between males and females, undergrads and grad students, and there are differences between engineers and non-engineers. Some of these differences are large while some are slight differences. The results of the survey can help understand what would make people leave or stay with companies when students enter into the workforce.
Emma Stobbe – Industrial Engineering
Development of Design Requirements for Telehealth Applications for Older Adults
Project Advisor(s): Michael Dorneich, Gul Okudan-Kremer | Advisor(s): Devna Popejoy-Sheriff
Abstract (Click to view)This honors project aims to identify design requirements for telehealth applications for older adults. These requirements are based on human-centered design principles to enhance usability and user engagement in telehealth apps. Interest in designing telehealth applications that cater to older audiences' unique challenges and needs has expanded with the increasing population share of persons aged 65 and up. Barriers to technology use by older adults are specifically addressed, including physical decline, mental decline, lack of technology knowledge or education, and general technology anxiety. Through literature review, design guidelines that cater to older users and possible barriers to use were identified. The study aims to explore how certain application and interface design decisions impact user perception of the application, influence application usability, and predict future adherence to consistent app use. Participants 65 and older will be engaged in exploratory interviews regarding their challenges, opportunities, and needs for telehealth applications. Then, the participants will interact with a preliminary prototype designed with initial design principles to provide feedback on usability, functionality, and predicted adherence. The results of the study will be used to refine the design requirements for a telehealth application for older adults that promotes adherence.
Alex Thayer – Materials Engineering
Recyclables for Music - PET Recycling
Project Advisor(s): Shan Jiang | Advisor(s): Andrea Klocke
Abstract (Click to view)Plastic is an amazing resource. It is inexpensive, reliable, widely applicable, and easy to mass produce. Unfortunately, plastic is the biggest culprit of single-use waste, as people use it once and dispose of it. While recycling programs exist across the country, they vary in effectiveness and consumer engagement, leading to significant buildups of plastic waste due to plastic’s lack of degradation. This project set out to begin addressing this issue through processing single-use plastic waste into 3D printing filament and was completed in cooperation with the REFORM (Recyclables for Music) student organization with the same goal. Specifically, this project set out to establish a process to successfully make 3D printing filament out of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the plastic most commonly used to make beverage bottles. The result was the successful establishment and documentation of processes for collection, decontamination, drying, extrusion, and printing of PET filament, as proven by the printing of a 100% recycled PET instrument. This success was presented at the 2022 Iowa State Student Innovation Center Ignite Innovation Showcase with other projects within REFORM.
Jeremy Tracz – Software Engineering
CanDo Interface for Virtual Reality Molecular Programming Editor
Project Advisor(s): James Lathrop | Advisor(s): Jason Follett
Abstract (Click to view)This project is part of a larger project to edit molecular DNA origami programs. These programs are small sequences of DNA material that combine with a large scaffold DNA strand to fold the scaffold into specific shapes. These shapes can then be used for various applications from drug delivery vehicles to molecular robots. While the molecular biology techniques are well-known, existing editing software does not utilize or take full advantage of a virtual interface. The overall goal of this project is to determine if virtual reality is helpful in designing and editing molecular programs of this nature, and if such a tool can be used in training and education of the workforce. A secondary goal is to provide new features in virtual reality that are not currently found or possible in non-virtual reality editors. Molecular dynamics is difficult and often requires significant compute time to simulate each molecule. Programs such as CanDo can perform this function and generate data that could potentially allow these dynamics to be approximately simulated with less computing power. This research will explore and evaluate this possibility by creating a prototype module to read and process the information from CanDo, and then use this data to realize these dynamics in the molecular editor and virtual reality. Evaluation of the effectiveness of the module together with the software and documentation constitute the deliverable for this project.
Braden Westby – Mechanical Engineering
Firefighting Robotics: Trials of Creating Viable Solutions for Automated Firefighting Assistance
Project Advisor(s): Richard Stone | Advisor(s): John Wagner
Abstract (Click to view)Firefighting is a dangerous, and necessary, occupation that kills dozens and seriously injures thousands. A common solution in the past few decades for similarly dangerous occupations has been the integration of robotics, but that has not been feasible on the proper scale due to the harsh conditions and the havoc they wreak on electronics. Another challenge that has been discovered in this same time frame is the application of bioelectric signals to the control systems of electronics and robotics. This study attempted to address both issues at the same time, by attempting to apply EMG control to a system capable of surviving in the environment caused by an in-building fire, proving an exhibition of the potency of these challenges. From updating the physical attributes of the system to integrating a custom EMG control into an existing infrastructure, problems abounded. This report is a survey of methods explored and found to be unsatisfactory for accomplishing our goals. Moving forward, the work in this study can be used to guide future studies exploring the same challenges. This work can be used to further the base of knowledge in creating custom systems relying on alternative control technology and those requiring budget heatproofing methods.
Axel Zumwalt – Computer Engineering
Project Advisor(s): Nathan Neihart | Advisor(s): Vicky Thorland-Oster
Abstract (Click to view)As one of the most unique musical instruments in the world, the nontypical Theremin sound has become synonymous with space, mystery, and the unknown in many works of concert, popular, and film music. The theremin produces a distinct ethereal tone which the player controls without touch, by moving their hands in proximity to antennas which control pitch and volume. This project unlocks the electrical secrets of the Theremin and help to illustrate how variable capacitance and oscillation are used to create and control sounds, how a theremin circuit is designed to take advantage of these elements, and how electrical circuits are assembled.
Emily DeDoncker – Apparel, Merchandising, and Design
Engaging Gen Z: Outdoor Apparel Industry’s Continued Growth and Potential
Project Advisor(s): Jessica Hurst | Advisor(s): Sarah Bennett-George
Abstract (Click to view)With the rise and peak of COVID-19, popularity in outdoor activities reached record levels, bringing in novice outdoor explorers. This influx of outdoor interest forced outdoor retailers to rethink their overall approach to product design, promotion, and marketing. In order to thrive, outdoor retail companies must take an inclusive and educational approach that is welcoming to all communities and abilities. As Gen Z continues to grow into a large force in terms of buying power and influence, it is important for outdoor companies to recognize this power and leverage it to continue to grow the outdoor apparel and product trend. With a focus on the Gen Z consumer, this research project develops an understanding of the trends related to both the onset of COVID-19 as well as its tailwinds in the outdoor retail industry. This project works to lay the groundwork for the development of a Gen Z consumer profile specifically tailored to brands within the outdoor retail industry. The goal of the research is to lay the initial foundation to develop specific marketing and business tactics catered towards outdoor retail companies to better equip these companies to engage the Gen Z consumer and transition them into loyal brand customers.
Brandon Gallagher – Kinesiology & Health
The Effects of Acute Resistance Exercise on the Endocannabinoid System
Project Advisor(s): Angelique Brellenthin | Advisor(s): Janessa Boley
Abstract (Click to view)It is well established that acute aerobic exercise activates the endocannabinoid system, a stress-adaptive biological system that may aid in several health benefits. However, no studies exist regarding the acute effects of resistance exercise on the endocannabinoid system. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether resistance exercise activates the endocannabinoid system in people engaging in different amounts of resistance exercise. It was hypothesized that acute resistance exercise would result in a greater increase in endocannabinoid concentrations (PEA, AEA, OEA, and 2-AG) particularly among trained individuals. Twelve participants (5 novice) and (7 trained) completed a one-hour resistance exercise session. Blood samples were collected to quantify the concentrations of endocannabinoids before and after resistance exercise. Results indicated a reduction in endocannabinoid concentrations (PEA, AEA, and OEA) among the novice group post exercise (all p<0.05), but there were no changes in the trained group. Negative affect decreased (p=0.02) in the novice group, while positive affect increased in the trained group (p=0.03). Since endocannabinoids have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, the decrease in endocannabinoids among novice participants suggests that information about pain and inflammation in muscle tissue may be critical in early strength training adaptations.
Kristen Heimgartner – Event Management
Major League Baseball Fan Engagement During COVID-19
Project Advisor(s): Carolyn Elbert | Advisor(s): Stacey Wertzberger
Abstract (Click to view)COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives in dramatic ways. This pandemic has impacted careers, socialization, and how organizations engage with their customers/fans. Research shows that the nostalgia piece, of specifically baseball, has become an extremely important part of the game. There is also evidence that viewership numbers have grown since the start of COVID-19 in March 2020.
Jace Leininger – Kinesiology & Health
Childhood Physical Activity Experiences and Affective Attitudes during Adulthood
Project Advisor(s): Spyridoula Vazou | Advisor(s): Janessa Boley
Abstract (Click to view)Transitioning from childhood to adulthood marks a substantial decrease in physical activity (PA) levels. Interventions aimed to increase PA through cognitive constructs have limited effectiveness. How we feel about PA could contribute to a better understanding of future PA behavior. This study examined if there are differences on current affective attitudes towards PA (e.g., attraction or dislike) based on childhood PA experiences. A retrospective, online survey was completed by 1739 adults (Mage=27.15; 60% college students) via a university contact system. Information regarding demographics, childhood PA experiences, and current affective attitudes towards PA were collected. Participants with higher levels of PA during childhood had significantly higher affective attitudes towards PA as adults. Further, participation in organized sports, as well as the quality of those experiences, contributed in shaping the affective PA attitudes as adults. Therefore, it is paramount that children are provided with supportive PA opportunities for lifelong PA participation.
Alyssa Pask – Elementary Education
The Awareness and Impacts of a Makerspace within a K-12 School Setting
Project Advisor(s): Denise Schmidt-Crawford | Advisor(s): Becky Koenen
Abstract (Click to view)My project draws attention to makerspaces and the impact they can create within school districts and communities around the state. A makerspace is a physical workspace that allows students to explore, build, create, and tinker. To start my project, I conducted specific crafted surveys to ISU teaching program students, and School of Education instructors. To follow the surveys, I have created a canvas course filled with tutorials on how to use technology that can be found in the makerspace in Lagomarcino Hall. This approach shows ISU instructors and future educators the power of makerspaces. Overall, my project highlights the importance of access to makerspaces for K-12 students and the overall effects it will create within their learning, building, and tinkering skills.
Lydia Schafer – Apparel, Merchandising, and Design
The Hidden Costs of Mass-Produced Clothing
Project Advisor(s): Ling Zhang | Advisor(s): Sarah Bennett-George
Abstract (Click to view)"The Hidden Costs of Mass-Produced Clothing" sheds light on the horrors of the lack of social responsibility of the fashion industry. Fast fashion is harmful to both the environment and those working in the textile and apparel industries around the world. The 3 ensembles of clothing in this mini collection have varying levels of complexity, sustainability, and ethical choices. The styles and silhouettes of each ensemble have an adjustable component and all pieces have felted applied art to showcase an artistic rendering of human trafficking awareness.
Isaiah Sents – Apparel, Merchandising, and Design
Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus, Queer Spaces, Collective Styles, and Activist Dress, 1984 to the Present
Project Advisor(s): Kelly Reddy-Best | Advisor(s): Kelsey Nation
Abstract (Click to view)To come
Emma Theis – Kinesiology & Health
Reproducibility and Effect of Sampling Depth on Laser Doppler Flowmetry Measures During the Reflex Cutaneous Vasoconstriction Response
Project Advisor(s): James Lang | Advisor(s): Lisa Phillips
Abstract (Click to view)Laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) is a widely used, non-invasive method of assessing cutaneous microvascular blood flow. However, data on the reproducibility of LDF at various sampling depths and during a cooling stimulus is limited. We hypothesized that LDF probes sampling at deeper skin depths would provide a reproducible measurement of cutaneous microvascular blood flow during whole-body cooling. Fourteen healthy, young adults completed two cooling bouts, donned in a water-perfused whole-body suit to reduce skin temperature from 34°C to 30.5°C over 30 minutes, and held at 30.5°C for an additional 10 minutes. LDF flux was measured continuously at five forearm sites using Dopplers measuring at depths of 4.0 mm, 0.66 mm, and 0.33 mm, respectively. A greater vasoconstriction response, as measured by percent change in cutaneous vascular conductance, was recorded using the deep Doppler at plateau compared to the shallower LDF probes. Additionally, test-retest reproducibility between visits displayed good reproducibility among all three Doppler probes. These results indicate that LDF provides reproducible measurements during reflex cutaneous vasoconstriction at different depths. However, deeper Dopplers, which analyze a greater area of skin, are more likely to discriminate differences in cutaneous microvascular blood flow than those at shallower depths.
Sierra Weldon – Dietetics (H Sci)
Examining Facilitator Usability and Perceived Effectiveness of Lesson Plans in Iowa SWITCH Virtual Cooking Classes
Project Advisor(s): Maren Wolff | Advisor(s): Maren Wolff
Abstract (Click to view)SWITCH is an evidence-based school health promotion program that aims to help children switch what they “do, view, and chew” by increasing physical activity, reducing screen time, and encouraging higher consumption of fruits and vegetables. The acronym stands for “School Wellness Integration Targeting Child Health” and was first introduced in 2003 to enhance school health and wellness programming and help Iowa schools meet federal requirements for school wellness. The SWITCH virtual cooking school is an extension of this bigger initiative and provides families with an opportunity to reinforce healthy living principles at home. Parents and children participate in live virtual cooking classes through two different platforms – Zoom and/or Facebook Live. This project compiles, analyzes, and communicates survey data and anonymous feedback collected from facilitators of the SWITCH Facebook Live virtual cooking classes. Open-ended questions were analyzed for themes using thematic analysis and frequencies of Likert Scale questions were determined. The findings and observations gathered from this survey will be used to help improve the design and delivery of the program for future SWITCH cooking school sessions.
Camille Wirkus – Dietetics (H Sci)
Mixed Methods Evaluation of Weight Bias Among Senior Level Dietetic Students
Project Advisor(s): Christina Campbell | Advisor(s): Christina Campbell
Abstract (Click to view)Weight bias is “the inclination to form unreasonable judgments based on a person’s weight.” These judgments are often related to one’s activity level, eating habits, intelligence, or motivation. Health professionals exhibiting weight bias have shown to be less respectful, build less emotional rapport, and communicate in a less patient-centered manner to patients with obesity. These patients are then less likely to adhere to recommendations or implement behavior change counseling strategies. Increasing awareness of weight bias issues among dietetics students is needed to create future solutions that mitigate further bias. Therefore, sixty-nine students in a senior-level dietetics class at ISU completed a survey regarding weight bias in Fall 2020. Questions resulted in data on weight bias attitudes, overall implicit bias and qualitative results addressing the question “can an overweight/obese dietitian be effective?”. Descriptive analysis was conducted for qualitative data and qualitative results underwent thematic analysis. Results indicate most students (72.88%) had moderate or strong automatic preference for thin compared to fat people. Themes associated with overweight/obese dietitian effectiveness include dietitians should practice what they preach, clients may lack trust in an overweight/obese dietitian, weight does not impact knowledge, and dietitians are expected from society to be thin.
Jazlyn Beeck – Geology, Environmental Science (LAS)
Loess Hills Carbonate Concretions: Paleoclimate Indicators?
Project Advisor(s): Elizabeth Swanner | Advisor(s): Em Kapler, Richard Williams
Abstract (Click to view)A unique feature to Iowa is the Loess Hills. Running the length of the state adjacent to the Missouri River, the Loess Hills are composed of windblown, fine-grained sediment from glacial meltwater plains. In these bluffs are carbonate concretions, and despite their prevalence, little is known about them. Radiocarbon dating, stable isotopic analyses, and comparisons to other work were used to investigate these concretions and to link their data to other related paleoclimate records and events in the Midwest, and Iowa specifically. We aim to explore the possibility of these carbonate concretions in being paleoclimate indicators or proxies to help determine past climate characteristics in western Iowa.
Cassandra Bucklin – World Languages & Cultures
Microaggressions and Latino/a/x Experiences at a Predominantly White Institution
Poster not available in the digital archive
Project Advisor(s): Megan Myers | Advisor(s): Alissa Whitmore
Abstract (Click to view)Students of Color attending predominantly white institutions (PWIs) have a higher chance of experiencing difficult situations that can result from lack of representation at the university. Students and Faculty of Color may also experience more challenges with microaggressions while being on campus. Microaggressions are subtle or unintentional insults toward people of a marginalized identity or background. The research regarding microaggressions is still somewhat new and there is little research of the effects (academic, emotional, and professional) microaggressions can have on Faculty and Students of Color, specifically Latino identifying people. This research-based project examined the perspectives and experiences of Latino identifying students and staff with microaggressions at Iowa State University, a predominantly white institution. Information was collected through personal testimonies and the previous studies conducted by other researchers from varying PWIs. This study also investigated the effectiveness of the definition of microaggression and provided more accessible education over microaggressions and the detrimental effects they have. The information is presented in the form of a video.
Allison Cadden – Biology (LAS)
Effects of Virtual Yoga Outreach on Motor Symptoms on People with Parkinson’s Disease
Project Advisor(s): Elizabeth Stegemoller | Advisor(s): Robert Wallace
Abstract (Click to view)Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by decreased dopamine levels in the brain. The lower dopamine levels can cause motor symptoms like tremor, bradykinesia, balance, and gait impairment. There is promise in the use of alternative therapies to treat PD. Previous research found that an eight-week in-person yoga intervention significantly reduced fall risk and improved motor symptoms for people with PD (Van Puymbroeck et al., 2018). However, it remains unknown if these results extend to virtual delivery of yoga. Thus, the aim of this study is to determine how long the effects of virtual yoga last in people with PD. We hypothesized motor symptoms would improve and remain improved for up to one hour after virtual yoga in people with PD. We collected data on five participants. Starting the hour before the virtual yoga outreach group, the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and all four parts of the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) were collected. We also collected the time each participant last took their medication. Most people with PD take their medication every four hours. Half of our participants last took their medication 2 hours before the first collection, and the other half took their medication 1 hour before the first collection. After completing the outreach group, the motor section of the UPDRS was collected immediately, 30 minutes, and 60 minutes after. After the collection, the videos of the motor section of UPDRS are scored by three different people. The average UPDRS score is taken for each collection. Results revealed an average decrease of 5 points after virtual yoga, indicating an improvement in motor symptoms. A critical difference in symptoms is denoted by a decreased UPDRS rating of 4 or greater; this study showed virtual yoga resulted in a decreased UPDRS rating of 5, supporting the idea that yoga can cause a critical difference in symptoms.
Amelia Dixon – Music (Major)
The Effects of Music Training on Fluid Reasoning and Cognitive Inhibition in Older Adults with Parkinson's Disease
Project Advisor(s): Elizabeth Stegemoller | Advisor(s): Kevin Judge
Abstract (Click to view)While motor symptoms are more noticeably experienced by older adults with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), they also experience cognitive issues. Fluid reasoning (problem-solving) abilities tend to decline with age. Furthermore, people with PD struggle with cognitive inhibition (the ability to stop a mental stimulus). However, previous studies have shown that music experience can preserve cognitive function in healthy older adults, and music therapy can help improve cognitive function in people with PD. There remains a gap in understanding the effects of music experience on cognitive function in older adults with PD. The purpose of this study is to fill this gap by examining the effects of music experience on fluid reasoning and cognitive inhibition in older adults with PD. This study was conducted over Zoom, and data was collected from 13 participants with PD with varying levels of music experience. Fluid reasoning was tested using a Card Rotations Test, and cognitive inhibition was tested using a Stroop Task. The PDQ-8 quality-of-life assessment was also given. After analysis of the results, there were no statistically significant correlations between music experience, cognitive inhibition, and/or fluid reasoning. This could be partly due to a small sample size, coupled with the many possible confounding variables.
Nathan Erickson – Meteorology
Analyzing Coupled Impacts of Economic Behavior and Climate Changes on Future Welfare of Iowa using a First-Order Model
Project Advisor(s): William Gutowski | Advisor(s): William Gutowski
Abstract (Click to view)We analyzed coupled trends of precipitation with agricultural yield during a contemporary climate period (1981-2001) over the state of Iowa. Crops analyzed included two staple crops in Iowa (corn and soybeans) and a control crop (wheat) to determine which showed the strongest correlations with precipitation trends over the period. Precipitation data was obtained from PRISM reanalysis data. Yield was analyzed against full-year precipitation and against growing season precipitation. In summary, no conclusive correlation was observed between annual precipitation and agricultural yield, or between growing season precipitation and agricultural yield. The lack of conclusion suggests the need for increased data resolution and for the use of a more sophisticated model that incorporates more meteorological/economic variables to discover combined impacts. Additionally, because of the lack of a relationship between precipitation and agricultural yield in the present climate, no relationship can be effectively predicted for a future climate with anthropogenic climate changes.
Emily Gehling – History, Anthropology
Reconstructing Maya Migration and Mobility: The K’inich Yax K’uk Mo’ Case Study
Project Advisor(s): Andrew Somerville | Advisor(s): Kevin Hill, Alissa Whitmore
Abstract (Click to view)Isotopic analyses of human bones and teeth have enabled studies of past migrations, particularly in the Maya region of southern Mexico and Central America. One drawback of Maya isotope research is the disjointed nature of the results and the lack of cohesive cataloging between published datasets. There is no centralized holding, and every study is arranged in a different way. This project aimed to create a studies on ancient Maya mobility patterns. Several data points for each individual, including but not limited to age, sex, the tissue sampled, and oxygen scale, were compiled when possible. This information was taken from several articles about stable isotopes in the Maya world. After the database was created, sites with at least three individuals with strontium and oxygen isotope values derived from enamel samples were compared. Pusilha, Copan, Calakmul, Tikal, Kaminaljuyu, Chaa Creek, Caracol, San Lorenzo, and Xunantunich met these criteria and were included in the study. The data points were then compared using Bayesian mixing models to discern possible outliers and track mobility patterns. Using the trends and value ranges for each site, the birthplace of the Maya king K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ of Copan was estimated.
Bryce Hall – Computer Science
ReversAI - Developing Intelligent Agents to Play Reversi/Othello
Project Advisor(s): Yan-Bin Jia | Advisor(s): Deborah Holmes
Abstract (Click to view)To come
Bailey Kaas – Biology (LAS)
Combinatorial control of regulatory elements reveal a mechanism of small therapeutic molecule
Project Advisor(s): Ravindra Singh, Natalia Singh | Advisor(s): Em Kapler
Abstract (Click to view)Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is the leading genetic cause of infant mortality. It is characterized by low levels of the Survival Motor Neuron (SMN) protein due to deletions or mutations in the SMN1 gene. SMN2, a nearly identical copy of SMN1 present in humans, cannot compensate for the loss of functional SMN1 due to skipping of exon 7 during splicing. An antisense oligonucleotide and small molecules that prevent SMN2 exon 7 skipping are approved therapies for SMA. Our previous work showed that small therapeutic molecules risdiplam and branaplam in addition to preventing SMN2 exon 7 skipping (as intended), produce many off-target effects on the transcriptome of treated cells. In particular, they change splicing of other exons, causing their aberrant skipping and inclusion. Such abnormal splicing can have serious side effects. Here I tested the effect of risdiplam and branaplam on splicing of a large number of SMN exon 7 mutants. My project is a part of a larger effort to decipher the molecular mechanism behind the off-target effect of risdiplam and branaplam. Understanding this mechanism has significance for devising better treatment regiments for risdiplam and branaplam as well as developing next generation of small therapeutic molecules aimed at splicing modulation.
Alicia Klimesh – Linguistics, International Studies
100 Strangers Project
Project Advisor(s): Clark Colby | Advisor(s): Taylor Barriuso, Taylor Stoeckler
Abstract (Click to view)For my 100 Strangers Project, I collected photos of 100 people that I did not originally know. I also collected their information regarding their communities on campus. The purpose of this project was to exhibit the diversity of the students and alum of Iowa State through appearances, majors, and extracurricular activities.
Anders Lie – Computer Science, Mathematics
Behavior of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Personalities in the Context of the Prisoner’s Dilemma
Project Advisor(s): Man Basnet | Advisor(s): Lauren Henry, Ignacio Alvarez
Abstract (Click to view)This study analyzes the behavioral tendencies of people with different Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personalities. Finding correlations between personality features and behavior would mean that in general, personality traits might be used as predictors for behavior or vice versa. Such predictions may be useful, for example, in the fields of Psychology or Game Theory. By surveying the MBTI personality types and testing the behavior of 900 ISU students in an iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma simulation, multiple correlations were found between having specific personality traits and various gameplay patterns. We find that those with higher Intuition (as opposed to Sensing) and Feeling (as opposed to Thinking) scores are more likely to cooperate with their opponent, whereas the Extroversion / Introversion and Judging / Perceiving trait pairs have no significant impact on cooperation rate. We also discover that the Thinking / Feeling trait can be predicted with about 60% accuracy from a given player’s gameplay actions alone using logistic regression. Additionally, the Extroversion / Introversion and Sensing / Intuition trait pairs can be predicted with some degree of accuracy from gameplay. Thus we determine that personality traits are somewhat predictable from behavior.
Benjamin Litterer – Data Science, World Languages & Cultures
An Improved Computational Approach to Predicting HIV Protein Functions
Project Advisor(s): Robert Jernigan | Advisor(s): Erin Valerio-Garsow, Alissa Whitmore
Abstract (Click to view)Genome sequencing is generating huge numbers of protein sequences, which can be used with sequence matching to derive their functions. Sequence matching is one of the common ways to learn about functions by searching for sequences that share a common ancestor (i.e. homologs). If the similarity in sequence is sufficiently high, then functional annotations can be transferred reliably from homologous sequences to the trial protein. Here, we demonstrate the utility of a new substitution matrix which accounts for inter-dependent amino acid substitutions. This matrix achieves higher accuracy and substantially broader coverage in homolog searches, resulting in large numbers of new functional predictions. In this work, we apply this novel approach to HIV virus protein sequences. The majority of these new functions are more specific and more informative than found from traditional sequence matching. To validate these predictions, we have searched for reports of these new functions in the HIV literature and are able to validate many of the new findings. These results suggest that our novel approach should uncover many new functional assignments for many proteins across a wide variety of organisms.
Matthew Millard – Performing Arts
Insight – A Screenplay About Modernizing Greek Myths
Project Advisor(s): Cason Murphy, Alexander Hall | Advisor(s): Flor Romero-De-Slowing, Amanda Petefish-Schrag
Abstract (Click to view)This project stemmed from my passion for Greek myths and my interest in theatre and film. I chose to write this as a screenplay because the medium of film transcends the limits of a theatre stage. I conducted research into the fine details of mythology to stay true to existing lore while reimaging how the characters would function within today’s society. I created material for ten unique characters that exist within the story and intermingle throughout, resulting in an all-ages comedy. I used a less known character to create my own rendition of the Hades and Persephone myth that explains the seasons, with an unexpected reveal at the end. This project culminated with a read through of the screenplay by my peers. This performance gave me the opportunity to hear my words come to life, so I was able to observe my creation and garner feedback from the participants.
Emma Miller – Genetics (LAS)
Testing the Impact of tp53R216W on Proliferation
Project Advisor(s): Maura McGrail | Advisor(s): Alison Esser
Abstract (Click to view)Tp53 suppresses tumor cell survival through the activation of multiple pathways that block cell division. One frequently recurring Tp53 variant in brain cancer is R216W, which results in a single amino acid substitution in the Tp53 protein that is predicted to disrupt its tumor suppressor activity. To test whether Tp53 cancer variants impact tumor cell division, wildtype tp53WT and mutant tp53R216W were overexpressed in zebrafish embryos and the frequency of cell division was measured. Messenger RNAs encoding tp53WT and tp53R216W were introduced into single cell zebrafish embryos by microinjection. Embryos were allowed to develop to 12 hours post fertilization, then fixed for processing. Cell biological immunofluorescence labeling and confocal microscopy was used to quantify dividing cells in injected and control embryos. Student’s t-test was performed to determine statistical significance of the results. The results showed there was no significant difference in the number of dividing cells in tp53WT or tp53R216W injected embryos compared to uninjected controls. This suggests the brain cancer Tp53 R216W mutant does not impact cell division. Additional analyses to further refine this study would include injection of higher levels of mRNA, injection into deletion embryos, or examination of brain cell division specifically in the developing neural tube.
Sydney Murphy – Criminal Justice
Ecological Effects on Criminality: Analyzing and Comparing Military and Civilian Crime
Project Advisor(s): Andrew Carper | Advisor(s): Mark Hagley
Abstract (Click to view)The purpose of this project was to compare and analyze the amount of crime between the city of Omaha, Nebraska and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska in order to apply existing criminogenic theories (primarily the strain theory, the social bond theory and the Chicago School’s theory of social disorganization) that examine social disorganization, social intimacy, homogeneity, and stability. This analysis also allowed additional examination of existing social programs and their direct effects on criminality. The result of this analysis identified several distinctive ecological and social differences between the military installation and the city of Omaha. These distinctions include differences in internalized socialization, social inequality, and fluctuation in the ability to withstand social pressure. Although the city of Omaha exists as a community, the level of social intimacy and homogeneity is not as high as within the military community. This follows the logic found within the strain theory, the social bond theory and the theory of social disorganization. The collective nature of uniformity and values within the military community is much higher as opposed to a regular city, which acts more as a conglomerate rather than a single unified system.
Emily Neitzel – English, Technical Communication
The Rhetorical Effects of Opening Statements in Criminal Trials
Project Advisor(s): Samantha Robinson-Adams, Shawn Boyne | Advisor(s): Samantha Robinson-Adams
Abstract (Click to view)"Behavioral scientist, Donald E. Vinson, has said that '80 to 90 percent of all jurors have reached their ultimate verdict during or immediately after the opening statements'" (Burke et al., 198). Opening statements provide the initial interaction with the jury in criminal trials and play a vital part in the outcome of a case. However, the opening statement is set to be informative rather than persuasive. Without using explicitly persuasive techniques, how can a criminal attorney utilize rhetorical strategies to set a biased thought in the minds of jurors? In this study, a method of evaluation is posed based on previous studies and then tested in four different criminal trials located in Iowa. The cases all are homicide charges. In two of the trials, the defendant was found guilty on all charges, in the other two, the defendant was found innocent or charged with a lesser sentence. These cases were chosen based on visibility and outcome. Overall, the objective of this study is to find effective strategies in opening statements to solidify results from previous studies.
Jackson Novak – Economics (LAS), Statistics
Commodity-Specific Regulation in the Rail Industry
Project Advisor(s): Peter Orazem | Advisor(s): Amani Elobeid, Ignacio Alvarez
Abstract (Click to view)To come
Nolan Pithan – Biology (LAS), Music (Curriculum)
Divine Universal Causation and Free Creaturely Action
Project Advisor(s): Annemarie Butler | Advisor(s): Alison Esser, Kevin Judge
Abstract (Click to view)In her 2003 paper "Why Christians Should Not Be Libertarians," Lynne Rudder Baker argues that the Christian doctrine of Divine Universal Causality (DUC) is irreconcilable with a robust version of libertarian free will. I try to answer this challenge, beginning with a survey of several accounts which attempt to solve this problem. Finding these accounts ultimately inadequate, I sketch an alternate account based on the distinction between actions and happenings. If any account affirms that creatures perform actions, rather than events merely happening to them, it must also show how this is possible. Therefore, by referencing the conditions action assumes I argue that one may be able to make room for a libertarian account of free will which operates subordinately under divine causation. Any creaturely action would be ultimately caused by God, but creaturely agents possess ultimate causation for the component they supply which makes an event their own action. Creaturely causes could therefore be held ultimately responsible for their actions. While more work must be done, this account may ultimately turn out to be libertarian in nature while also answering Baker’s objections, showing that DUC and libertarian free will may be compatible after all.
Euan Price – Genetics (LAS)
Molecular Docking Study of Hemagglutinin Protein and DNA Aptamer 7630
Poster not available in the digital archive
Project Advisor(s): Monica Lamm | Advisor(s): Marit Nilsen-Hamilton
Abstract (Click to view)This project was focused on the selection of an aptamer to be used as a biosensor for the Influenza virus. Previous research has shown that Aptamer 7630 has high affinity for the Hemagglutinin protein. However, under the specific conditions needed for the biosensor, the aptamer was shown to have little affinity at all. Therefore, this project used molecular docking techniques to determine the mechanism of binding for the aptamer to further understanding of how thus interaction can occur. In furthering understanding of the mechanism, it will hopefully be possible to use Aptamer 7630 in future development.
Sophie Sorenson – Psychology, Mathematics
The Effects of Bilingualism on Face Processing and Conflict: An ERP Study
Project Advisor(s): John Grundy, Ann Smiley | Advisor(s): Whitney Baker, Ignacio Alvarez
Abstract (Click to view)Previous research has shown that infants raised in bilingual environments pay attention more to the mouths of talking faces than infants raised in monolingual environments (Ayneto & Sebastian-Galles, 2017; Birulés et al., 2019; Pons et al., 2015). This focused attention on the mouths of talking faces is believed to be the result of trying to make use of the redundancy of audio-visual cues in distinguishing between two different languages at any given context. However, it is currently unknown how bilingualism affects these selective attention processes in adults. The present study examined monolinguals and bilinguals performing a task in which irrelevant information was sometimes present at the mouth. This was expected to be more difficult to ignore for bilinguals than monolinguals if bilingualism enhances attention to the mouths of faces in adulthood. On the other hand, bilinguals should have outperformed monolinguals on the task when the irrelevant conflict is not present, reflecting the general finding that bilingualism enhances domain-general cognition on conflict tasks (Bialystok, 2017). EEG (electroencephalogram) can be used to examine conflict processes that are evident when there are no behavioral differences in face and conflict processing (e.g. Grundy et al., 2017). The methodology involved individuals responding to a cartoon picture of a face, with the eyes looking one direction and an arrow for the mouth or the nose, exclusively. The arrow was congruent with the eyes or incongruent with the eyes. Participants were tasked with responding quickly with the direction of either the eyes or the arrow. With a mouth arrow, bilinguals are likely to have paid more attention to the mouth than monolinguals and have hindered results with incongruent conditions in comparison. Due to heightened inhibition of non-relevant information, however, bilinguals are likely to have performed better when the arrow is incongruent but on the nose.
Kennedy Spurlin – Biology (LAS)
Designing an Optimal mRNA Vaccine for HPIV-3
Project Advisor(s): David Verhoeven | Advisor(s): Lauren Ramos
Abstract (Click to view)Parainfluenza virus type 3 (PIV3) is a negative sense single-stranded RNA enveloped virus and a leading cause of lower respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis, in pediatrics and geriatrics. Moreover, PIV3 is the second leading cause of both hospitalization due to viral infection along with secondary bacterial infections in ears of infants. There is currently no licensed vaccine for PIV3 despite a need for one. mRNA immunization has demonstrated efficacy as evidenced by SARS-CoV-2 vaccines therefore we hypothesized that an approach targeting the viral attachment (HN) and fusion (F) glycoprotein would be protective from PIV3 infection. However, current mRNA vaccine technologies are cumbersome and expensive to manufacture thus we also hypothesized that one based on viruses that do not need 5’ methylated caps, poly(A) tails, or even the modified nucleotides would be a better approach. Using molecular techniques, I successfully generated mRNA vaccine constructs that generated mRNA within cells which eliminates costly steps to make mRNA vaccines. Cassettes successfully transfected cells with PIV3 HN and F and generated mRNA transcription and protein expression. Next, I will explore extracellular vesicles in our transfection system to deliver the mRNA into cells and eventually into murine vaccine models.
Miranda Tze – Economics (LAS)
Color-Blindness Among Iowa State Undergraduates
Project Advisor(s): Peter Orazem | Advisor(s): Amani Elobeid
Abstract (Click to view)Color-blindness, the belief that race does not and should not matter, is a modern form of racism that denies experiences of discrimination and prejudice (Neville, Lilly, Duran, Lee, & Browne, 2000). The Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale (CoBRAS) tests individuals’ degree of color-blindness by scoring them on a 20-item questionnaire. This study explores Iowa State undergraduates’ degree of color-blindness including awareness of white privilege, institutional discrimination, and general racial issues. My particular interest was whether students who grew up in less diverse, rural communities were more susceptible to color-blindness and whether length of time spent at Iowa State among a more diverse population mitigated color-blindness. Participants (n=595) were non-transfer, non-international Iowa State, undergraduate students. Surveys were merged with demographic data, provided by the Registrar, and population data from the 2018 U.S. American Community Survey. Analyses show that undergraduates from smaller towns had higher scores but that scores decreased from freshman to senior year. This finding is consistent with the presumption that color-blindness decreases as an individual spends time in a more diverse population. Whites and males tended to have higher total scores than nonwhites and females.
Allissa Van Steenis – Biochemistry
Dance Dance Romance
Project Advisor(s): Jonathan Claussen | Advisor(s): Dipali Sashital
Abstract (Click to view)When undergoing stress, there is a physiological response by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the autonomic nervous system (ANS). This results in higher cortisol levels, increased heart rate (HR), rapid blood flow to muscles, activation of sweat glands, and an increase in respiration rate. Romantic dyads have shown a potential for attunement (physiological reactivity correlation) when undergoing stress tasks. Virtual reality (VR) research uses novel stress environments that can be costly or impossible to research in the real world to probe if a stress response is triggered. This project proposal builds on literature about acute laboratory stressors, romantic dyads, and virtual reality by using components of a stress task- unpredictability, uncontrollability, and social evaluative threat- that has proven successful for stress response and will be one of the first romantic dyad stress tasks in VR. It will investigate if negative feedback from a romantic partner will result in a physiological stress response (increased heart rate and increased levels of cortisol) and if the romantic dyad will display attunement in response to one partner undergoing a stress task altered by the other. For this task, one partner will undergo a VR dance battle against a computer-generated avatar in front of a VR audience and the other participant will be in control of the audience's reactions.