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Spring 2008 BYU-Idaho Undergraduate Research Conference

Conference Poster (pdf 56Kb)

 

Schedule

Friday, March 7

 6:00 pm                     Welcome Reception                                                                  Taylor 170

 7:00 pm                     Plenary Session                                                                         Taylor Chapel

                                        Welcome:      Dr. Brian Pyper, Conference Chairman

                                       Remarks:       President Kim B. Clark, President, BYU-Idaho

                                        Keynote:       Dr. Joyce Kinkead, Associate Vice President for Research,
                                                            Utah State University, Logan, Utah.

9:00 pm                     Planetarium Show                                                                          Romney 107

 Saturday, March 8

7:00 - 8:00am             Registration                                                                             Taylor foyer

8:00 - 10:00 am        Poster session                                                                              Taylor 170

 10:00 - 12:00 am      Concurrent Paper Sessions by Discipline

                                        Social Science and Humanities                                              Taylor 130

                                        Science and Mathematics                                                       Taylor 120

 12:00 - 1:00 pm        Judging / Lunch Break                                                                 Taylor 130

 1:00 pm                            Awards Ceremony                                                                      Taylor 120

 

Poster sessions will have presenters available at their display for the hour to answer questions and explain their presentation.

Talks in the paper sessions will be 15 minutes - 12 minutes for the talk and 3 minutes for questions.

Recruiters and grad schools will have booths set up in the poster hall.

Awards to top three papers in each session.

Direct questions to: Dr. Brian Pyper, BYU-I Dept. of Physics, ROM 116, Rexburg, Idaho 83460-0520 (208)496-1925 pyperb@byui.edu

  

UGRC Program 2008

Poster Session

 

Room             Start Time

170

                  8:00 am

 

Benjamin Brenning                                                                   Chemistry

 

Characterization of Non-aqueous Capillary Electrophoresis as a Separation Technique for Neutral Compounds

 

Capillary electrophoretic methods are traditionally used for the separation of charged species.  A neutral compound is often used as a background (electroosmotic flow) marker.  The assumption made is that no significant interaction occurs between neutral compounds and the various ions moving through the capillary.  This is true for aqueous environments because the very polar nature of water overpowers any interactions that might occur.  However, in a non-aqueous solvent such as methanol some interaction might occur between a neutral compound and ions in solution.  This analysis was performed to determine the extent of these interactions between neutral species and ions, if any.  These interactions, if significant, indicate that capillary electrophoresis could also be used for the separation of neutral species.

 

Ben Davis and Jason Potwora                                            Psychology

 

The Effect of Personality Factors on Achievement in Peer Learning

 

Research has shown that Peer Learning Groups (PLG)s are positively correlated with an increase in achievement. While there has been some research on how PLGs are effective in boosting achievement, few have looked at PLGs as an extension of the classroom experience to create more extensive learning. There are no studies looking at the overall effectiveness of PLGs and the effect that introversion and extraversion play in achievement in PLGs. There are two independent variables, (1) self-directed PLGs versus individual study and (2) introversion/extroversion of the students. The dependent variable was the achievement on the quiz that covers the material that was given to the subjects to study. Sixty students from two Introductory Psychology classes were used. A 3x2 mixed factorial design was used to analyze the relationship between PLGs versus individual study and achievement as well looking at how introversion and extroversion moderate achievement. In this study no statistically significant results were found, indicating no relationship between PLGs and individual study and introversion/extraversion.

 

Derek Osborne                                                                             Physics

 

Electron Transfer Mechanism in RNR

 

Ribonucleotide Reductase (RNR) reduces RNA residues converting the RNA to DNA which is the rate limiting step in the production of DNA.  This reaction is driven by a tyrosyl radical located over 30 Å away from active site.  During the process there is an electron transfer from the substrate in the active site to the tyrosyl radical.  Our studies focused on the peptide chain near the tyrosyl radical and its role in mediating the electron transfer using Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy.

                 

Daniel Schaeffer                                                                          Physics

 

Super-hydrophobic Behavior on Nano-structured Surfaces

 

Super-hydrophobic behavior has been observed in various natural occurrences such as the leaves of the lotus plant and has been thoroughly studied over the past few years.  Water repellant properties of water drops on uniform arrays of vertically aligned nano-cones were investigated to determine the highest achievable contact angle (a measure of water drop repellency), which is measured from the reference plane on which the drop sits to the tangent line of the point at which the water drop makes contact with the reference plane.  At low aspect ratios (height versus width of the nano-cones), surface tension pulls the water into the nano-cone array, resulting in a wetted surface.  Higher aspect ratios reverse the effect of the surface tension, resulting in a larger contact angle that causes water drops to roll off the surface.  Fiber drawing, bundling, and redrawing are used to produce the structured array glass composite surface.  Triple-drawn fibers are fused together, annealed, and sliced into thin wafers.  The surface of the composite glass is etched with H2O:NH4F:HF etching solutions to form nano-cones through a differential etching process and then coated with a fluorinated self-assembled monolayer (SAM).  Cone aspect ratios can be varied through changes in the chemistry and concentration of the etching acid solution.  Super-hydrophobic behavior occurs at contact angles >150° and it is predicted and measured that optimal behavior is achieved when the aspect ratio is 4:1, which displays contact angles ≥175°.  Super-hydrophobic behavior on uniform arrays of vertically aligned nano-cones demonstrates synthetic fabrication of super-hydrophobic surfaces is genuinely achievable by this process.

 

Galen Woodward                                                              Agribusiness

 

Composting Effects on Intensive Cultivated Low Organic Matter Soils in Southeast Idaho

 

Intensive cultivation in a potato/grain rotation system in southeast Idaho has reduced soil organic matter and subsequently crop yields and potato tuber quality. Application of soil amendments (e.g., compost and manure) can improve yield potential and increase soil fertility and organic matter content. A study was conducted to determine the effects of soil amendments on organic matter (OM), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), yield, and tuber quality. A four year rotation (winter wheat, winter wheat, alfalfa, and potatoes) with compost added before planting was compared to the same rotation without soil amendment. The compost source was steer feedlot manure (11.2 g kg-1 N and 7.0 g kg -1 P) and was applied before planting at the rate of 6.7 Mg ha-1 for wheat and alfalfa and at 11.2 Mg ha-1 for potatoes. Research plots were located on two intensively cultivated soils which were a Blackfoot silt loam and a Pocatello variant silt loam near Rexburg, Idaho. Soil samples were taken before planting and compared with native soils which included undisturbed soils from the same soil type as the research plots and similar soil types under native vegetation. For the research plot soils, CEC ranged from 12 to 15 cmolc kg-1 and historical yields of 4.0 to 6.7 Mg ha-1 for wheat and 33.7 to 39.3 Mg ha-1 for potatoes. Soil OM varied from 19.3g kg-1 for the research plots to 43.3g kg-1 for the native soils. This study is ongoing, and data from the first year reported yields which did not show any statistical difference and future results should clarify any findings.  It is expected that composting will increasing soil carbon levels and provide nutrients to the plant which will reduce the amount of fertilizers need to obtain optimal crop yields and quality.    

 

Bryan Jensen                                                                                 Psychology

 

A Phenomenology about Friendships that Last over Time and Long Distances

 

To understand friendships that last over time and long distances this research seeks to understand the essence of keeping these relationships close. Friends, family, and acquaintances were interviewed and an exhaustive description of the phenomenon's essence was developed. Communication, strength and frequency, enjoyment, and togetherness were common themes found in the interviews. Some future implications apply to cohort studies of friendships and cross cultural friendships.

 

Eric Westergard                                                                          Biology

 

CCR5, A co-receptor for HIV-1 and a marker of susceptibility to West Nile Virus

The immunological relationship between HIV and West Nile Virus has created an intense interest in the gene CCR5.  This gene codes for a chemokine receptor protein which acts as the doorway allowing HIV into the cell yet as an immune defense against West Nile Virus.  In this study, we isolated, sequenced and analyzed the CCR5 gene from 39 human DNA samples.  This was done in order to find and analyze polymorphisms in the human population.  We also sought to determine the rate of adaptive evolution in CCR5 for humans compared to other closely related species.  We found the gene to be evolving significantly faster in human than in its close relatives.  Our results were be submitted to NCBI online DNA sequence database and will potentially be used by other researchers to enhance treatments for HIV and West Nile. 

 

 

UGRC Program 2008

Concurrent Paper Sessions

Science & Mathematics

 

Room             Start Time

120

                  10:00 am

 

London Jenks                                                                                Physics

 

Barriers to Learning? Gender, Beliefs, and Reasoning in Physics Education

 

Gender plays a unique role in science education affecting choice of subjects studied, perceived ability to succeed, and overall success. This is especially true in Physics. Current and ongoing research conducted through the BYU-I RISE (Research in Science Education) group involves student responses taken from four introductory courses on campus with students from various backgrounds, majors and experience. Preliminary results regarding gender from this research may have implications for classroom practice in physics and science education.

 

                  10:15 am

 

Michelle Klingler                                                                        Chemistry

 

Barriers to Learning? School, Beliefs, and Reasoning in Physics Education

 

Prior research has shown that scientific reasoning skills (cognitive ability) and attitudes about science (affective beliefs) can significantly impact learning. Do students who have taken more advanced math and physics classes have better scientific reasoning skills and physics comprehension? Do these courses improve their attitudes about science learning and affect how much they can learn? Four different physics classes from Brigham Young University-Idaho are being studied by the BYU-I RISE (Research in Science Education) group through the administration of several surveys. Pretesting has shown that there might be correlation between the level of math that a student has taken and their ability to understand both physics and general science concepts. As yet no data support that having taken higher levels of physics classes improves sciencetific reasoning ability, conceptual understanding or attitudes towards science.

 

      10:30 am

 

Allison Shaffer                                                                              Physics

 

Barriers to Learning? Age, Experience, Beliefs, and Reasoning in Physics Education

 

There exists the possibility that cognitive ability in science reasoning may limit potential conceptual understanding in physical science. Current and ongoing research conducted through the BYU-I RISE (Research in Science Education) group is looking at the impact that age and experience might have on these domains. Although some confounding variables may affect the outcome, preliminary data suggest a correlation between year in school and both reasoning ability and conceptual understanding, although the correlation between reasoning ability and conceptual understanding is stronger.

 

                  10:45 am

 

Daniel Schaeffer                                                                          Physics

Super-hydrophobic Behavior on Nano-structured Surfaces

 

Super-hydrophobic behavior has been observed in various natural occurrences such as the leaves of the lotus plant and has been thoroughly studied over the past few years.  Water repellant properties of water drops on uniform arrays of vertically aligned nano-cones were investigated to determine the highest achievable contact angle (a measure of water drop repellency), which is measured from the reference plane on which the drop sits to the tangent line of the point at which the water drop makes contact with the reference plane.  At low aspect ratios (height versus width of the nano-cones), surface tension pulls the water into the nano-cone array, resulting in a wetted surface.  Higher aspect ratios reverse the effect of the surface tension, resulting in a larger contact angle that causes water drops to roll off the surface.  Fiber drawing, bundling, and redrawing are used to produce the structured array glass composite surface.  Triple-drawn fibers are fused together, annealed, and sliced into thin wafers.  The surface of the composite glass is etched with H2O:NH4F:HF etching solutions to form nano-cones through a differential etching process and then coated with a fluorinated self-assembled monolayer (SAM).  Cone aspect ratios can be varied through changes in the chemistry and concentration of the etching acid solution.  Super-hydrophobic behavior occurs at contact angles >150° and it is predicted and measured that optimal behavior is achieved when the aspect ratio is 4:1, which displays contact angles ≥175°.  Super-hydrophobic behavior on uniform arrays of vertically aligned nano-cones demonstrates synthetic fabrication of super-hydrophobic surfaces is genuinely achievable by this process. 

 

                  11:00 am

 

Rebecca Bodily                                                                             Physics

 

Physicists of Today

 

The purpose of this research paper was to look into the backgrounds of the top physicists of today to find out what made them great physicists, and what drew them to science early on.  This information was researched in order to better understand the type of guidance and education that should be instilled into the children of our day who have tendencies towards science.  The decided top physicists were contacted through e-mail, which apart from for one exception was the sole way the men were contacted; the exception was through a phone interview.  The remainder of the research was collected from the autobiographies of the men and from online sources.  The research concluded that it was because of family influences, the type and approach to education and experimentation, and to personal qualities such as imagination, optimism, and persistence were the major similarities between the physicists.  By this information that sort of environment would be beneficial to a child who liked science.

 

              11:15 am

 

Galen Woodward                                                              Agribusiness

 

Composting Effects on Intensive Cultivated Low Organic Matter Soils in Southeast Idaho

 

Intensive cultivation in a potato/grain rotation system in southeast Idaho has reduced soil organic matter and subsequently crop yields and potato tuber quality. Application of soil amendments (e.g., compost and manure) can improve yield potential and increase soil fertility and organic matter content. A study was conducted to determine the effects of soil amendments on organic matter (OM), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), yield, and tuber quality. A four year rotation (winter wheat, winter wheat, alfalfa, and potatoes) with compost added before planting was compared to the same rotation without soil amendment. The compost source was steer feedlot manure (11.2 g kg-1 N and 7.0 g kg -1 P) and was applied before planting at the rate of 6.7 Mg ha-1 for wheat and alfalfa and at 11.2 Mg ha-1 for potatoes. Research plots were located on two intensively cultivated soils which were a Blackfoot silt loam and a Pocatello variant silt loam near Rexburg, Idaho. Soil samples were taken before planting and compared with native soils which included undisturbed soils from the same soil type as the research plots and similar soil types under native vegetation. For the research plot soils, CEC ranged from 12 to 15 cmolc kg-1 and historical yields of 4.0 to 6.7 Mg ha-1 for wheat and 33.7 to 39.3 Mg ha-1 for potatoes. Soil OM varied from 19.3g kg-1 for the research plots to 43.3g kg-1 for the native soils. This study is ongoing, and data from the first year reported yields which did not show any statistical difference and future results should clarify any findings.  It is expected that composting will increasing soil carbon levels and provide nutrients to the plant which will reduce the amount of fertilizers need to obtain optimal crop yields and quality.    

         

                  11:30 am

 

Susan Denker                                                                                            Biology

 

Mutations for the Better

 

The following report was prepared to explain the foundational ideas leading up to and supporting the development Knock-Out Technology created by Doctors Martin J. Evans, Oliver Smithies, and Mario R. Capecchi, winners of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology.

 

                  11:45 am

 

Carl J. Grafe                                                                                 Mathematics

 

Modeling of Malarial Spread in Madison County, Idaho

 

Malaria, one of the deadliest diseases on the earth today, affects millions of lives every year.   Utilizing a system of differential equations, the spread of malaria in Madison County, Idaho can be simulated, allowing specific planning for prevention and intervention.

 

Several assumptions were made in the formation of the model, including constant population sizes for mosquitoes and humans, a set 184 day "mosquito season" from mid-April to mid-October, and the restriction of the mosquito population to only adult female Anopheles freeborni, the dominant malaria vector in Idaho.

 

The final form of the model was

 

 

using constants obtained from various medical journals and other sources.

 

A qualitative analysis of the nonlinear autonomous model showed that of the two critical points (0, 0) and (7,882, 92,774), the first can be used to show that points close to the origin form a saddle-point, and the second can be used to deduce a threshold condition of 276,754 for malaria to become endemic to Madison County. 

 

A numerical approximation of the model using the Runge-Kutta technique and the trapezoidal rule showed that the introduction of a single infected individual to Madison County would result in 312 cases of malaria by the end of the 184 day "mosquito season," giving a total of 609 cases throughout the year - about 2% of the current population.

 

The threshold condition for endemicity was easily surpassed, indicating that once introduced, malaria would recur in Madison County every year unless some action were taken to change the status of the threshold condition.  One possible method would be to decrease the population of mosquitoes in the county to below 126,646 using insecticides and draining standing water. Another would be to reduce the transmission rate of humans to mosquitoes to 0.251 by encouraging the use of insect repellents and mosquito fog.  Either of these solutions (or their combination) would bring the overall threshold value below 276,754, preventing the threshold condition from being satisfied and thus restoring Madison County to its malaria-free state.

 

 

UGRC Program 2008

Concurrent Paper Sessions

Social Sciences & Humanities

 

Room             Start Time

130

                  10:00 am

 

Alison Gutierrez                                                                          Humanities

 

Visions of the Apocalypse: A Review of Apocalyptic Fear in Film

 

In the 1954 science-horror film Them!, the first test of the atomic bomb in the desert of New Mexico produces giant mutated ants that emerge and wreak havoc on humankind. My review of this film both confirms and further complicates Spencer R. Weart's idea of nuclear anxiety. In his book, Nuclear Fear A History of Images, Weart argues that our nuclear fears are more based on images than in actual facts. Weart also discusses the fear of mutation due to nuclear fall-out and how it was portrayed in film. I seek to argue that it was not only mutation fears, but also apocalyptic fears that were personified in these films. I will review the film Them! with a brief reference to other films, such as Day the World Ended (1956), to confirm Weart's argument and discuss my own.

 

                  10:15 am

 

 

Jeffrey Howard                                                                            Psychology

 

Beyond the Boundaries of Determinism

 

We view as free will and determinism as complete opposites. Because of the polarization of these two seemingly incompatible approaches to decision-making, we feel constrained to believe in one or the other. The deterministic viewpoint is detrimental to belief in moral responsibility and justice, but yet it is a necessary perspective. When we understand the role of determinism in the context of the individual life, we will better understand that the marriage of deterministic philosophy and the idealistic belief in free will is indeed possible. Application of this principle in the event of catastrophes such as terrorist attacks and school shootings can be helpful to victims and observers alike.

 

                  10:30 am                                   WITHDRAWN

 

 

                        10:45 am

 

Steve Stokes                                                                                    Political Science

 

The Successes and Limitations of Microcredit-lending in the Alleviation of Extreme Poverty

 

This paper examines the successes, as well as the current limitations of microcredit lending as a form of extreme poverty alleviation in the world's poorest countries.  I argue that providing financial services like microcredit lending to the world's poorest individuals and families can, and often does tend to improve their economic and social well-being, as well as their standard of living and overall quality of life.  The gains that are being made against extreme poverty by microfinance institutions are severely hindered, however, by rampant government corruption which costs millions of dollars every year due to immense inefficiencies, and a lack of sufficient physical infrastructure which discourages trade and isolates economic activity and growth.  These two impeding factors continue to limit long term nation-wide economic growth, despite the fact that many individuals, families and isolated communities are benefiting from the effects of increased access to financial services and microloans.  I do not make the claim that microfinance is a panacea, nor am I suggesting that government corruption and lack of infrastructure are the only factors that hinder the economic growth brought on by microfinance institutions and other forms of poverty alleviation.  I am suggesting, however, that in order for the influence of microfinance to be felt on a more national and perhaps regional level, a decrease in government corruption through respect for the rule of law and an increased investment in physical infrastructure will be necessary. 

 

                  11:00 am

 

Anna Tew                                                                                      Recreation Leadership

 

Leadership Ideals among Different Majors

 

To explore the ideals of leadership among the different majors on BYU-Idaho campus an email was sent to 250 different students in Business, Biology, Elementary Education, Nursing, and Recreation Leadership.  The email contained a link for their specified email address to a survey site where they were asked questions regarding leadership qualities and ideals.  The hypothesis was that each major will have different views regarding qualities and ideals of leadership, with those who specialize in leadership roles to have the better understanding.  The results will help faculty evaluate their teaching of leadership skills on campus.