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McNair Scholars Program

Summer 2012 Research Projects

Scholar: Joshua de Bonilla
Mentor: Jessica Falcone, Ph.D.

The Influence of Andalucían, Catalonian, and Basque Folk Music on the Impressionist Composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel

Although the use and influence of folk music in the realm of Art Music is by no means a new concept, as music moved into more modern eras this seems to occur more and more. The influence of Andalucían, Catalonian, and Basque Folk Music (which from here on out will be referred to as 'Spanish' only when referring to all three at once as a general group) can be seen in the music and style of the Impressionist Composers, most notably Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. The use of distinctly 'Spanish' rhythms, musical modes, forms, and textures all shows the influence that Spanish folk music had on these composers. Firstly, the separate folk traditions of Andalucía, Catalonia, and the Basque Region will be studied. Lastly, Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel will be studied to show examples of 'Spanish' influence within their music, Debussy for his notoriety as an Impressionist Composer and Ravel for this as well as his Basque heritage.

Scholar: Simóne Dorsey
Mentor: Sandra Stith, Ph.D.


Gender Differences in Motives for Using Violence in Bilateral Situationally Violent Relationships

This study used thematic analysis (Braun and Clark 2006) to analyze transcripts of semi-structured interviews with 10 couples previously identified as engaging in situational couple violence. The purpose of the study was to understand, from the perspective of male and female partners, gender differences in the motives for using violence in these relationships. Findings suggest that there are multiple motives for violence for many of the couples. No motive was specific to one gender over the other. Research and treatment implications are identified and discussed.


Scholar: Olivia Eller
Mentor: Ted Morgan, Ph.D.


Functional Tests of Candidate Genes in Rapid Cold Hardening and Developmental Acclimation in Drosophila melanogaster

Drosophila melanogaster inhabits many different environments throughout the world and has adapted to a wide range of variable temperatures. One explanation of how organisms respond to and survive in variable climates is phenotypic plasticity. My project is focused on understanding the genetic basis of phenotypic plasticity in Drosophila melanogaster by testing the effects of both developmental (long-term) and rapid (short-term) cold acclimation. Previous work using the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel has identified a set of genes that could be involved in long- and short-term acclimation processes through the use of association mapping. With these genes, I quantified long- and short- term cold acclimation in mutant and control lines. This was done by performing screens on lines reared at two different temperatures (18 and 25 C) and scoring the suvivorship after each screen. Results suggest that the gene CG32111 plays a role in short term acclimation in flies reared at 25 C while the genes Eip74Ef and CG30069 play a role in short term acclimation in flies reared at 18 C.


Scholar: Isaac Falcon Campos
Mentor: Karen Myers-Bowman, Ph.D.


Parent-Adolescent Communication and Cell Phone Use

How does cell phone use affect parent-adolescent communication? To investigate this question, ten parent-adolescent dyads who have used cell phones for more than six months participated in 15-20 minute interviews consisting of open-ended questions about how they use cell phones to communicate. Transcripts of interviews were analyzed for main themes. In general, parents and their teenagers communicate by cell phone at least once a day, and text each other more than they call. They use it to communicate for practical reasons, safety/checking in with each other, and for fun. These devices help make the parents and adolescents available to each other, facilitate quick yet flexible response times, and allow parents to teach responsibility. However, they also face challenges of overuse (with friends), which can hinder parent-adolescent communication, and can lead to some miscommunication. The parents and teens provided recommendations for cell phone use.


Scholar: Angelique Foye
Mentor: Brenda McDaniel, Ph.D.


The Influence of Positive Family Member Role Models on Empathy and Pro-Social Behaviors in Emerging Adulthood

This study examines a positive family member role model influence on emerging adults' levels of pro-social behavior and empathy. Specifically, moral trait integration, the level of how important moral traits are to self-identify, was measured in emerging adults' perceptions of a positive family member. Utilizing Dr. McDaniel's grant-funded project "Structure and Consistency of Character", regression analyses were conducted in order to examine the possible influence of positive family member role models. Results indicated that the positive family member's moral trait integration moderated the relationship between emerging adult moral trait integration and pro-social behavior or empathy. It was found that a stronger match between emerging adult and family member role model on level of moral trait integration (either low-low or high-high), the better the emerging adult outcome (pro-social behavior and empathy). However, the highest levels of pro-social behavior were found for emerging adults with high levels of moral trait integration who had family member role models with the same match. The impact of these findings is discussed.


Scholar: Jeremy Gast
Mentor: Kristin Mulready-Stone, Ph.D.


The Consequences of the Introduction of Firearms on the Culture and Politics of Palau

The islands known as Palau were first sighted in 1522, and first visited in 1542. As with every other incident of European "discovery", the culture of Palau would forever be changed. Despite these early visitations, Palau remained largely untouched by foreign influences until 1783, when a British ship wrecked off its coast. The survivors of this wreck changed the culture and politics on Palau forever by introducing firearms. This introduction caused a previously unheard of centralization of power and irreversible shifts in the traditional dynamics of the islands, through which two rival leaders, the Ibedul and the Raklai struggled to gain total control. This rivalry would persist for over 100 years until German Imperialism eliminated Palauan self governance-was in 1899. When Palau again became an independent nation in 1980, the power and importance of the Ibedul and the Raklai that were established in 1783 were still to be found.


Scholar: Sierra Martin
Mentor: Michael Chilton, Ph.D.


Examining Security Measures of Voice over IP

Consumers and businesses are attracted to Internet telephony because of its many benefits such as: low cost, flexibility, and calling features, and because it can be implemented with existing Internet connections. This technology is called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP telephones are digital but to the user, they look and function exactly as their analog counterparts. Since VoIP is a simple Internet application, However, VoIP's benefit of attaching directly to the Internet also makes it susceptible to the same kind of threats and attacks that are associated with the Internet in general.
This study will investigate VoIP security: how do certain threats render a VoIP system vulnerable and how attacks can affect a VoIP system; how these threats can be dealt with, and how commercially available VoIP software and services implement security to protect against attacks. Practitioners, consumers and researchers need a method to help classify threats, attacks and vulnerabilities of VoIP systems that can aid in identifying, classifying, developing and evaluating safeguards for this technology. The intent of this paper is to develop a decision matrix to assist in this regard and to show how it can be utilized in VoIP security research and practice.


Scholar: Anthony Meals
Mentor: Shannon Washburn, Ph.D.

A Delphi Study of High School-based Outdoor Education Programming in Kansas

Outdoor education (OE) is a general term that is a blending of two different educational areas: adventure education and environmental education. Using this organization a literature review was conducted from 1992 to 2012 that collected 149 journal articles, theses, and dissertations. The literature review was then broken into four topics: definitions, program components, expected educational outcomes, and barriers for OE programs. A global perspective of the current discussions within the field OE is laid out within the above four topics. Only two academic papers have researched OE within Kansas, both of which occurred in the 1950's. A Delphi Study will be conducted this fall to provide a consensus view on the above four topics amongst 30 recognized outdoor education experts in Kansas. We will use the results of the literature review as a conceptual foundation of comparison to how outdoor education is conducted in Kansas.


Scholar: Marian Mersmann
Mentor: Mary Cain, Ph.D.

Amphetamine-Induced c-fos Expression in High and Low Responder Rats: Differential Involvement of the NAcc and mPFC

While it is well established that the response to novelty predicts sensitivity to low unit doses of amphetamine, the underlying neurobiological mechanisms remain unclear. Previous research has focused on the expression of dopamine within the mesolimbic pathway. To gain a more broad understanding of the activity within this circuit, the current study examined acute amphetamine-induced c-fos expression in rats previously screened for their response to novelty. Analyses revealed a significant interaction between treatment and novelty preference but only in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc). HR rats showed increased amphetamine-induced c-fos expression compared to LR rats in the NAcc but not in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), supporting regional specificity in the response to amphetamine in HR and LR rats.


Scholar: Marilyn Ortega
Mentor: Shireen Roshanravan, Ph.D.


Waging War on Our Children: Compulsory Education and the Prison Industrial Complex

The United States of America is in an era of mass incarceration and at-risk youth find themselves being siphoned into a pipeline leading from their cradles to jail and prison cells. Along this pipeline, at-risk youth pass through the School-to-Prison Pipeline. The School-to-Prison Pipeline is the collusion between the Prison Industrial Complex and the current compulsory education system where existing criminal policy is superimposed on already faulty school policy. Through textual analysis and auto-ethnography I explore how social factors such as race and class converge to create the pipeline. I conclude by initiating a discussion on ways to dismantle the pipeline at a grass-roots level.


Scholar: Mercedes Perry
Mentor: Brian Niehoff, Ph.D.


Diversity within Colleges’ of Business Mission Statements

Research has shown that mission statements provide organizations with purpose and direction. Mission statements for business colleges have become important because the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (the accreditation body for schools of business) expects all of the actions for a college to flow from their mission statement. The AACSB also places a point of emphasis on diversity within their guidelines. The present study aimed to determine whether or not a college of business is conscientious about the importance of diversity. Content analysis was used to analyze mission statements gathered from seventy- four AACSB and a rubric was developed to measure each individual mission statement. About five percent of the schools contained information regarding diversity but fifty-seven percent had no mention of diversity at all. About twenty-four percent of the schools contained quality information pertaining to diversity while fifty percent contained poor quality of information. Recommendations for the findings were presented within the report.


Scholar: Stephanie Skinner
Mentor: Maria Soledad Ferrer, Ph.D.

Expression of Cathelicidins in the Urogenital Tract of Mares

Host defense peptides have antimicrobial properties and may be a therapeutic option for endometritis caused by drug resistant bacteria. Three cathelicidins are expressed by myeloid cells and mature neutrophils in the horse, with antimicrobial activity against common equine pathogens. Our working hypothesis is that cathelicidins are present in the urogenital tract of the mare. Tissue was collected from the urogenital tract of two reproductively healthy mares post-mortem and stored in liquid nitrogen. Total RNA was extracted using the TRizol method. The mRNA was isolated from the total RNA with SuperScriptTM III (Agilent) oligo(dt)s and then transcribed into cDNA. The cDNA was amplified with conventional PCR and analyzed with a 2% agarose gel. During standardization, eCATH-1 and 2 were expressed in the kidney cortex, and eCATH-3 in the kidney medulla, oviduct, uterine horn, and uterine body. Further work is needed to quantitatively assess the expression of cathelicidins throughout the urogenital tract.


Scholar: Logan Wark
Mentor: Elizabeth Davis, Ph.D.

Humoral Antibody Production in Healthy Foals Following Vaccination at 90 and 180 Days of Age

The time at which maternally derived antibodies start to diminish puts any young animal at risk for a pathogen challenge, increasing the chances of acquiring disease or infection. Closing this interval between functioning maternal antibodies and antibodies derived from active immunity because of vaccination is beneficial to the health of the animal. In this study we investigated an accelerated vaccination regimen and its effect on foals born to properly vaccinated dams. Twelve foals were divided into two groups; experimental foals were vaccinated at 3 months of age, while control foals were vaccinated at the AAEP recommended age of 6 months. A SNAP test was used to confirm colostral ingestion within the first 24 hours of life.
Serum neutralization (SN) tests were used to determine at what titers foals were at, specifically for EHV-1 in this study. Experimental group was measured for SN antibodies at 3, 7, and 11.5 months of age; control group was measured at 3, 6, 9 and 11 months of age. In both groups, moderate to high levels of SN antibodies were seen at 3 months, waned around 6 to 7 months, and steadily increased around 11 months of age. This data suggests that foals can safely and effectively be vaccinated at 3 months of age without the hindrance by maternal antibodies or producing any adverse effects.


Scholar: Ruddy Yañez
Mentor: Bronwyn Fees, Ph.D.

Urban and Rural Preschool Children's Attitudes on Conservation and Comfort with Nature

Daily engagement outside may promote healthy physical and psychological development as well as a respect and appreciation for nature. This explanatory study examined the relationship between preschooler's personal comfort with nature (biophilia) and their attitudes toward conservation in urban and rural areas. Urban and rural areas may offer different opportunities for exposure and engagement with water, trees, and animals. A comparison between the two settings may determine if different amounts of exposure change the attitudes and personal comfort of children. Thirty-seven children (28 urban [M= 4 years of age; 16 males] and 9 rural [M= 5 years of age; 4 males] participated in one-on-one structured and recorded interviews about their attitudes toward and experiences with nature (Kahn & Kellert, 2002). Results showed no difference in personal comfort between urban and rural children. Common themes emerging in children's attitudes toward conservation were: understanding that personal pets need constant care and attention, understanding personal responsibility for water quality, and understanding that fish may be harmfully affected by trash in the water. Children's personal preferences and experiences with families may better predictors of attitude than setting alone with direct implications for teachers and parents.