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McNair Scholars Program

Summer 2010 Research Projects

Scholar: Crystal Aranda
Mentors: David Stone, Ph.D. & Heather McCrea, Ph.D.


Socialism and Communism in Art in Post-revolutionary Mexico with Influences from Russia

The importance of understanding art is great, especially when trying to understand a direction of a culture” it is, however, even greater when that culture is in a post-revolutionary state. By understanding the art, it is easy to see what that culture hopes to achieve and the general direction of their state. The focus of this paper was to understand Mexico's post-revolutionary socialist art movement and the influences that shaped its direction. By analyzing, Russia's Revolution in 1917 to see if there were any shared influences between Russia's and Mexico socialist art movements. In addition, this research studied the communication and travel of the most well known revolutionaries and artists in each country, such as Diego Rivera, David Siquieros, Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Mayakovsky, as well as the formation of Communist groups within Mexico and the propaganda associated with each. Due this research, it can be inferred that there were definite connections, concerning art between Mexico and Russia during their post-revolutionary years. It is also apparent that Mexico adopted Soviet ideologies to fit their own identity, resulting in a natural developing of Soviet roots and influence in the minds of Mexican artists that persisted through its post-revolution.


Scholar: Anthony Garcia
Mentor: Michael Kenney, Ph.D.


Mechanisms Mediating Blood Pressure Complications to Bacillus anthracis toxins

Bacillus anthracis infection is produced by two endotoxins, lethal toxin (LeTx) and edema toxin (ETx). In recent years investigators at the National Institutes of Health have shown that LeTx and ETx produce significant cardiovascular alterations in infected individuals, which play an important role in the lethality of B. anthracis infections. However, the mechanisms by which these alterations, specifically hypotension, occur are still unknown. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) plays a prominent role in the moment-to-moment regulation of the cardiovascular system during basal conditions, as well as in response to acute and chronic stressors. Despite the important role that the SNS plays in maintaining homeostasis, the effects of LeTx and/or ETx on sympathetic nerve discharge (SND) regulation is not well understood. We hypothesized that LeTx and/or ETx would produce sympathoinhibition, resulting in significant decreases in mean arterial pressure (MAP). There were four groups in which LeTx , ETx, LeTx+ETx, or vehicle was administered via an intravenous infusion in anesthetized Sprague-Dawley rats. SND, MAP and heart rate (HR) responses were measured throughout the experiment. Rats who received LeTx infusions displayed attenuated renal SND responses along with simultaneous decreases in MAP after two hours. The results suggest that LeTx produces sympathoinhibition in infected individuals, which contributes to the hypotensive response.


Scholar: Heber Garcia
Mentor: Joseph Ugrin, Ph.D.


Exploring the Effects of Recruitment Efforts on Changing Perceptions about Accounting: The Effects of Web-based versus In Person Presentation Methods

Accounting has notoriety for being a dull and repetitive field that has been challenged to attract enough workers to meet global demand. The profession has also recognized that perceptions have limited its ability to lure creative thinkers with the aptitude to solve the complex business issues that modern accountants face. As such, the profession has invested millions of dollars into recruitment efforts, most recently, the “Start Here Go Places” web-based campaign. This study was conducted to test the effectiveness of this campaign at changing potential students’ perceptions about accounting and find out how it compares to a conventional face-to-face presentation about the field. An experiment was performed on 15 non-accounting students enrolled in the introductory accounting course at Kansas State University. Although the web-based message had a significant effect on students’ perceptions about accounting, the results suggest that a traditional face-to-face presentation results in a higher affective response from students, which results in their paying greater attention to the message and eventually a larger change in their perceptions about accounting.


Scholar: Tamica Lige
Mentor: Douglas Dow, Ph.D.


The Black Magus in Dürer’s Adoration of the Magi: Frederick the Wise and the German Attraction to the African Image

Albrecht Dürer’s Adoration of the Magi, commissioned by Frederick the Wise, features a black African King, an iconographic motif that only appeared in the mid fifteenth century. Before he commissioned this altarpiece, Frederick took a pilgrimage to Magdeburg where he was introduced to St. Maurice, a prominent black African figure in Germany’s eastern empire. While in Venice, Dürer was exposed to black Africans and took an interest in representing them. The black Magus in the Adoration of the Magi's evidence of Frederick’s and Dürer’s attraction to the African image, which northern Europeans adapted in visual imagery for artistic and religious purposes.


Scholar: Keshia McAfee
Mentor: Randall Phebus, Ph.D.


Evaluation of Efficacy of Phosphoric Acid, Acidified Calcium Sulfate, and Boxyl Powder as Food-Grade Antimicrobials

Food safety can be enhanced through the effective use of food-grade antimicrobials. Three antimicrobials were tested in this study: phosphoric acid, acidic calcium sulfate (ACS), and Boxyl powder. The objectives of the study were to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration for each antimicrobial, and to obtain preliminary data on how each antimicrobial effects the hyperspectral images of the bacterial cells using a high resolution CytoViva® microscope. Eleven concentrations were prepared for ACS, seventeen for phosphoric acid, and twenty-one for Boxyl powder, all in tryptic soy broth (TSB). pH values were obtained for each concentration. Each concentration was inoculated with 1.0 mL of Salmonella Montevideo and Staphylococcus aureus, individually. The MIC for 4.4 N phosphoric acid for S. Montevideo was at a concentration of 2.5%, and the MBC was at a concentration of 3.5%. For S. aureus, phosphoric acid had a MIC of 3% and a MBC of 3.5%. For the ACS (10 N solution) , the MIC was determined to be 0.45%, and the MBC was 0.50% for both S. Montevideo and S. aureus. Boxyl powder had a MIC at 300 ppm, and the MBC was at 400 ppm for S. Montevideo. For tubes with S. aureus, the MIC was at 500 ppm, while the MBC was at 600 ppm. The hyperspectral images of S. Montevideo and S. aureus showed that the bacterial cells without any antimicrobial had lower maximum peak values compared with the maximum peak values of the bacterial cells from MIC and MBC.


Scholar: Stefani McCluney
Mentor: Elaine Johannes, Ph.D.


Worklife Quality of Private Human Services Contractors Serving Army Service Members, Families, and Communities

The number of contractors who are supporting the US Army's missions abroad and "at-home" continues to grow. The purpose of this research is to study the quality of worklife of private human services contractors. With the private human service contractors caring for the needs of others and being in a position of support for military-connected individuals, the work-related stress associated with these responsibilities is an uncharted area of study. If the study reveals pervasive low worklife satisfaction within the sample, recommendations may include further research and support for private human service contractors embedded in the US Army active and reserve components.


Scholar: Kristi Mendenhall
Mentor: David Thompson, Ph.D.


Attachment and Conflict Resolution Styles of Emerging Adult Romantic Relationships: An Inter-Generational Link?

Several factors affect the formation and quality of relationships of emerging adults. This study examines three: self-construal (the view of yourself as separate or in conjunction with others and relationships), conflict resolution/management styles, and attachment in the context of emerging adult romantic relationships. A point of particular interest was the possibility that these three variables were transmitted intergenerationally and thus consistent between parent and child. Also, this study sought to investigate Attachment and Self-Construal as determinants of Conflict Resolution style. Conflict resolution/management styles were measured using the Rahim Organizational Conflict Inventory-II. The 24-item Self-Construal Scale and the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised Scale were also used. This last scale was used to measure the two dimensions of attachment: Avoidance and Anxiety. After gathering data from a convenience sample of students (N=323) and their parents (N=6l3) via a written survey, the results were compiled and analyzed. Data analysis regarding the possibility of a correlation between certain attachment styles and self construals with certain conflict resolution/management styles in emerging adult romantic relationships is currently incomplete. Also incomplete is analysis regarding the intergenerational transmission of self-construal and conflict resolution styles; however, analysis regarding the transmission of attachment is conclusive. Attachment displayed a strong correlation from mother to child, and therefore, it can be concluded that attachment is transmitted intergenerationally. Options for future research as well as applications for helping professions are provided.


Scholar: Anthony Riggins
Mentor: John Fliter, Jr., Ph.D.


The Constitutionality of the Arizona Immigration Law

Recently Arizona has passed a very divisive Immigration law; (Arizona SB 1070) that many supporters feel is needed and many opponents believe is illegal. The law orders immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there's reason to suspect they're in the United States illegally. The Arizona law gives local police greater power to check the immigration and citizenship status of people they stop. From the time of the bill’s passing the new law has caused Federal and State governments to examine immigration and the need for reform. The purpose of this report is to review and provide a brief history of US immigration law and Supreme Court cases, discuss the provisions of SB 1070, and evaluate the constitutionality of the law. The report will also focus on examining if the bill promotes racial profiling. The bill raises difficult issues of federalism, race, and interaction with existing law. The bill creates many new crimes and duties, some of them previously unknown not only in Arizona but also in federal or state law. Through Congressional acts and Supreme Court case precedents it is clear to see that the federal government is responsible for immigration. Many states are making the call for immigration reform and Arizona a state with a large amount of illegal immigrants took it upon itself to increase their immigration laws. States cannot mandate new laws or crimes concerning matters of immigration otherwise not given to them by the federal government.


Scholar: Perla Salazar
Mentors: Charles Moore, Ph.D. & Marianne Korten, Ph.D.


Extinction Times of Solutions to a Degenerate Parabolic Equation

We find radial similarity solutions to the equation ut = div(um|grad u|n-1grad u). Using these solutions, a comparison theorem, and radial solutions of other authors, we give close upper and lower estimates of the extinction time of entropy solutions for a large class of initial data.


Scholar: Karre Schaefer
Mentor: Laurie Johnson, Ph.D.


For the Good of Mankind and the Glory of God: A Study of the Connecticut Kansas Colony and Its Involvement in the Kansas Territory

This research examines the Connecticut Kansas Colony and its relationship to Henry Ward Beecher, its purpose for its 1856 migration to Kansas, and its decision to use violence to prevent Kansas from entering the Union as a slave state. Known as the Beecher Bible & Rifle Church, the Colony has gained the reputation of being directly connected to Beecher and having a willingness to use any violence as necessary to end slavery, contrary to the non-violent principles adhered to by Christianity in general. However, little scholarly research has actually been done regarding the Colony.

By examining the original record books of the Colony and the Church, which have not been previously reviewed in any serious way by scholars, certain preliminary determinations were made, including: (1) The purpose in emigrating to Kansas was to establish the Institutions of New England -- the Puritan model of John Winthrop’s “City on a Hill”; (2) The Colony accepted rifles from Beecher and the Plymouth Congregational Church, but intentionally minimized its links to Beecher; (3) The Colony did not act irrationally or haphazardly in decisions of warfare; and (4) The Colony saw the taking up of arms as self-defense, which included defense of America and God’s Word.


Scholar: Lindsey Worcester
Mentors: Carolyn Ferguson, Ph.D.


Documentation of cytotype variation in Phlox pilosa L. ssp. pilosa (Polemoniaceae) in the Great Plains region

The genus Phlox L. (plant family Polemoniaceae) ranges across much of North America and is a taxonomically difficult group. Researchers have used different methods and have looked at different aspects of species in Phlox to understand the complicated relationships. The P. pilosa species complex exhibits hybridization and polyploidy. The patterns of cytotype variation of P. pilosa ssp. pilosa are of particular interest in the Great Plains region. Previous reports from the core of the range in the eastern US were of diploid (2x) populations, but two tetraploid (4x) populations were reported in Arkansas and in Texas. For the present study, flow cytometry was used to determine DNA content and infer ploidy level for newly sampled locations in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Results show that diploids occur along the far eastern part of the sampling range in KS and OK, and tetraploids occur just west of where the diploids occur (papatry). A single hexaploid population has been detected. This pattern of cytotype variation is interesting and does not correlate with obvious morphological differences, nor with any taxonomic distinctions. The pattern shows some correlation with altitude, and future work will address precise ecological differences.