McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal, 2011, Vol. 3

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    Zipf ’s Law and Its Correlation to the GDP of Nations
    (2011) Skipper, Rachel K.; Rosenberg, Jonathan
    This study looks at power laws, specifically Zipf ’s law and Pareto distributions, previously used to describe city size distribution, income distribution within firms, and word distribution within languages and documents among other things, and Gibrat’s law describing growth rate. This study seeks to discover if Zipf’s law can also be used to model the distribution of GDP’s worldwide using Gibrat’s law as a justification. The simplest method to determine Zipf's law’s applicability, and the one used in this study, was to create a log log plot, plotting rank versus size of the GDPs. Using that plot, Zipf ’s law was verified through two criteria. First the plot must appear linear and second it must have a slope of -1. For the purpose of this study, the data looked at was for all countries and then countries split into categories of emerging economies and advanced economies for the years 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. The results of this study showed that all countries and countries with emerging economies did not appear linear on the log log plot while advanced economies appeared linear with a slope roughly -.70, suggesting that GDP distribution of advanced economies instead follow a Pareto distribution. Advanced economies also showed a significantly smaller variation in growth rates over the four years as implied by Gibrat’s law. This was used as a possible explanation for the distribution discovered.
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    Does Situation Type Moderate the Relationship Between Maternal Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Symptoms and Observed Parenting?
    (2011) Santana, Erin Marie; O’Brien, Kelly; Chronis-Tuscano, Andrea
    Previous research has found associations between parental attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and maladaptive parenting. In contrast, some suggest a “similarity-fit hypothesis,” in which equal levels of ADHD symptoms between parents and children may be associated with a shared behavioral tempo, which may result in a better “fit.” However, this theory has only been tested in a free-play situation (Psychogiou et al., 2008a). This study tested the “similarity-fit hypothesis” using two samples of children with ADHD and their mothers across two tasks to examine the extent situational context is associated with ineffective parenting. Mother-child dyads were observed in an unstructured free-play task and a structured homework task in two studies of parent-child interactions consisting of a total of 175 elementary-aged children with DSM-IV ADHD. A significant main effect for situation type on positive parenting and ineffective commands was found in Study 2. Mothers displayed higher rates of positive parenting and ineffective commands in the homework task compared to the free-play task. A trend-level interaction (Situation Type x Maternal ADHD symptoms) was found in Study 1. Probing the interaction revealed that higher levels of maternal ADHD symptoms predicted higher levels of ineffective commands in the homework task, but not in the free-play task. Although, our results were both consistent and inconsistent with the literature examining families where ADHD is present in children and parents, our study’s findings may contribute to the limited literature using observational measures to examine associations between maternal ADHD symptoms and parenting. Our results suggest the challenging nature of the structured homework task may tax a mother’s core symptoms of ADHD, which contrasts with the “similarity-fit hypothesis.” Further research testing the “similarity-fit hypothesis” is needed to determine the extent situational context impacts the relationship between maternal ADHD symptoms and parenting.
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    Decline and Disparities in Mammography Use Trends by Socioeconomic Status and Race/Ethnicity
    (2011) Rattanawatkul, Kanokphan; Carter-Pokras, Olivia
    The second leading cause of death in women in the United States is breast cancer. While it remains the most common type of cancer in women, early detection through mammography screening has been used to combat and treat breast cancer. But after the 2000, the rates of mammography have been declining. The purpose of this study is to examine whether or not the decline has continued and whether all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups experienced the same rate of decline. The study further explores the reasons why there are greater decline rates and breast cancer disparities among African American women, and women with lower income and education. Data from the National Health Interview Survey (2003 to 2005) and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2002 to 2004) were used to calculate the percent decline for the total population and by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Mammography rates declined between 2003-2005 (NHIS) and 2002-2004 (BRFSS). Data from both the NHIS and BRFSS show a greater rate of decline for African American women, and women with lower income and education. An expert sampling method is used to recruit participants to explore their views on the reasons why breast cancer disparities existed among African American women, women with lower income, and women with lower education. These results differ from previous studies which examined broader time interval (2000 to 2005). Further research is recommended to explore whether the rates of decline have continued, the impact of the decline in mammography rates on breast cancer incidence, mortality, and stage of diagnosis, as well as the underlying reasons for the observed decline in mammography rates and for disparities in the rates of decline.
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    Understanding the Abscisic Acid Pathway Using Guard Cell Specific Genes and the Anti-Aging Drug Spermidine
    (2011) Pearson, Deryck; Kwak, June M.; Villiers, Florent; Jammes, Fabien
    Plants must respond to environmental stress including drought and harsh winters. Overcoming these stresses depend heavily on timing of stomatal closure and seed germination. My research focused on both chemical and genetic aspects involved in the abscisic acid pathway that controls both stomatal closures in leaves and seed germination in Arabidopsis thaliana. My first study focused on recognizing specific proteins involved in the abscisic acid pathway for stomatal guard cell closure. Given specific promoters for their respective proteins, it is possible to determine whether or not proteins are guard cell specific. GatewayTM technology utilizes a series of reactions to create a clone containing a promoter of interest called an expression vector. By injecting this vector directly into the leaf of Arabidopsis, the plant will use the promoter to create the guard cell specific protein. The second study examined the effect of the anti-aging drug Spermidine on seed sensitivity to abscisic acid concentration during seed germination. By varying the concentration of Spermidine and abscisic acid exposure to seeds then observing the number of surviving seeds, the effects of Spermidine on seed germination can be measured. Spermidine is expected to reduce seed sensitivity to abscisic acid leading to increased seed germination.
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    A Comparison of the Inhibition of Nucleocytoplasmic Trafficking by Viral Effectors from Cardioviruses and Rhinoviruses
    (2011) Okafor, Obiageri; Palmenberg, Ann; Basta, Holly
    Cardioviruses and Enteroviruses of the Picornaviridae family exhibit similar infections. Viruses from the two genera inhibit nuclear import/export through the nuclear pore complex (NPC), a channel between the cytoplasm and nucleus. However, the diseases caused by viruses within these two genera vary in severity. Encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV), a cardiovirus, uses a small potent protein called Leader (L) to inhibit trafficking through the NPC, thereby causing encephalitis in pigs and other animals. Human rhinovirus (HRV), an enterovirus, uses a protease, 2A, to inhibit trafficking through the nuclear pore and infection is associated with the common cold. It is unknown why cardioviruses and enteroviruses cause diseases of varying severity. In addition, little information is known about whether the mechanism of these viruses’ toxic proteins in inhibiting nuclear transport through the NPC, may correlate with the severity variation of the disease phenotypes of these viruses. To test this, we would compare the rates of nuclear efflux by three different Cardioviruses and three serotypes of HRV. Molecular techniques would be used to clone and express recombinant L proteins of the cardioviruses. Both nuclear efflux and nuclear import assays would be performed using recombinant green fluorescent protein (GFP) to track infection in HeLa cells for the effects of either L protein or 2A protease. This is done to determine the extent of inhibition of nuclear trafficking at the NPC. Knowledge of the kinetics between cardioviruses and HRV could hint at the different pathogenicities of these viruses. Also, it could add to our understanding of whether the genotype of a virus can infer the phenotype of the disease it causes.
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    Does Parental Sexual Behavior Influence “Parental Fitness” and Child Custody Determinations?
    (2011) Norrington, Janette; Chateauvert, Melinda
    Family Law typically promotes a nuclear family model and rules against parents who exhibit alternative sexual practices. The family court system uses the “best interest of the child” standard to guide custody decisions but the standard is vague so judges may consider nearly any kind of evidence or insert personal biases. This study examines the relationship between parental sexuality and child custody determinations, and specifically focuses on homosexual and sex worker parents. The courts and legislation have a tendency to rule against gay and lesbian parents in custody cases because there is fear that the children will grow up to be homosexual or experience social stigma. Sex worker mothers are at risk of losing their children to the State because there is concern that the children will lack morals and decency. Studies show virtually no difference between the children of homosexual parents or legal sex worker parents compared to normative heterosexual parents, so the arguments used to limit parental involvement in custody cases often lack merit. The current legislation and custody process does not solely focus on the best interests of the children involved, but instead impose moral biases and stereotypes on parents’ lifestyles. The study explores previous research and cases to examine the patterns concerning child custody and non-nuclear family models. The study will follow a mixed-methods approach to measure social workers’ attitudes and approaches to child custody decisions, and will also document sex worker parents’ experiences and difficulties regarding their occupations as sex workers and roles as parents.
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    Exploring the Genetic Basis of Root Mucilage in Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.)
    (2011) Massimino, Christopher; Muchero, Wellington; Roberts, Philip; Ehlers, Jeffrey; Close, Timothy
    Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) is a member of the legume family, Fabaceae. Cowpea varieties are vital agricultural crops in arid and semi-arid environments in Africa, Asia, India, and Central America. Cowpea sold in the United States is commonly known as black eyed peas. Breeding for specific cowpea varieties depends on environmental conditions where phenotypic traits may relate to drought tolerance, and resistance to fungal and bacterial pathogens, aphids, nematodes, viruses, and many others. The agricultural production of a variety with desirable traits is an important economic consideration that ultimately determines yield and quality of a harvest. The objectives of this study include phenotyping diverse germplasm for the mucilage trait, testing one or more candidate genes for polymorphisms, and the chemical quantitation and characterization of root mucilage. Phenotypes of several hundred cowpea germplasm accessions were compared to their existing SNP haplotypes spanning the region of interest to categorize haplotypes containing different alleles for the root mucilage trait. The gene sequences of different alleles for two candidate genes were determined for comparison between lines. Root mucilage will evenutally be analyzed for protein and carbohydrate content and specifically for arabinogalactans and proteins (Moody et al. 1988).
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    The Effects of Brain Drain on Haiti
    (2011) Joseph, Whitney; Zeigler, Ronald
    This study was conducted in the form of a historical analysis to understand and determine the various ways that human capital flight, better known as brain drain, has impacted Haiti and how occurrences such as political events, have influenced brain drain in return. The first research question seeks to identify determinants in Haiti that contribute to brain drain. An analysis shows that the three main contributors are the economy, healthcare, and education. Brain drain has impacted political development because there are not enough policies to address many of the issues faced by Haiti, while economic development has been effected because the output of human capital is not enough to sustain the lost capital from highly-skilled emigrants. The development of education has been impacted by brain drain in the same way that education has influenced brain drain through the absence and lack of necessary educational resources, which is a result of the very low funding allocated to post-secondary education. The lack of job and career opportunities, as well as opportunities to advance in education, motivates Haiti’s educated professionals to leave the country.
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    Delineating the Differences in Veterinary Treatment between Domestic Companion Pets and Production Animals in the United States: Implications for Policy
    (2011) Johnson, DeKarra
    People’s attitudes toward animals impact the quality of veterinary treatment provided for domestic companion animals and production animals. The value of certain animal species in society is dependent on how humans can relate to and benefit from animals. In the United States, some domestic animals such as dogs and cats are held in high-esteem and are given near-human status. On the other hand, domestic animals like cattle and swine, which are primarily used as food sources, are given the status of inanimate objects to be treated as property. As a result, the allocation of resources, including capital and labor, is not proportionally distributed between companion animal medicine and production animal medicine. There are negative consequences of this uneven distribution that threaten the security of the United States’ food supply and human health. The spread of foodborne illnesses and antibiotic-resistant pathogens can be linked to weak food safety and antibiotic regulations for production animals. Such weaknesses enable diseased animals to enter the food supply contaminating millions of ponds of animal byproducts consumed by companion animals and humans. By understanding what factors influence people to continue providing inferior veterinary treatment to the production animals they depend on for subsistence, scholars and practitioners in the field of animal husbandry can create new and effective strategies that encourage sympathy toward production animal wellness for the sake of human wellness. Building upon a completed review of the literature, research addressing the aforementioned issues will be developed and implemented to satisfy requirements in the McNair Scholars Program.
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    NCLB and Accountability: How Do Testing and Teachers Impact Retention?
    (2011) Harrison, Brittany; Costanzo, Richard; Gulemetova, Michaela
    This study seeks to uncover the role that high-stakes testing mandated by “No Child Left Behind” legislation and student-teacher ratio has on the retention of the traditional high-school student with an emphasis on the retention disparity between minority students and their White peers. This empirical, quantitative analysis uses school level data from the Common Core of Data. This data set was used to observe national trends between minority students and their White counterparts because minority students are generally the group plagued by underachievement and high dropout rates. Given the already expansive body of work surrounding what we refer to as the achievement gap, which can include issues of achievement ranging from grades to standardized test scores and even the issue of retention rates which this study focuses on, this study seeks to approach the issue from a different direction with a broader data set. Analyses showed that for minority male students (Black and Hispanic) a lower-student teacher ratio greatly contributed to their retention yet conversely White females’ retention seemed to be somewhat unaffected by student-teacher ratio fluctuations and high-stakes testing. Therefore, this study suggests that although student-teacher ratio and testing do have an impact on retention, this impact is primarily only for minority students, impacting minority males at the highest level.
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    Effective Practices and Principles of an Internal College Readiness Program Based on Literature, School Staff and Student Perceptions: A Mixed Methods Analysis
    (2011) Evans, Khrysta A.; Southerland, Wallace, III
    This triangulated mixed methods study explores the effective elements of college readiness programs by analyzing the existing literature and also school staff and alumni perceptions of their experiences in an internal college readiness program. This study’s significance lays in its ability to answers the call for empirical research on the specific factors of these programs that promote successful college access. While existing studies effectively incorporate either quantitative or qualitative research methods both are somewhat inadequate indicators of effective principles, a combination of the two research methods would provide a more comprehensive explanation of the effective practices and principles of college readiness programs by making note of trends and generalizations as well as an exhaustive knowledge of the participant’s perspectives (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007). For this reason this study will be incorporating a triangulation mixed-methods approach. The school staff perceptions will be collected in qualitative focus group interviews while alumni student perceptions will be collected through a quantitative survey. The keys findings from the literature show that the important components of an internal college readiness program are: academic preparation; the guidance counselor; teacher involvement; parental involvement; and college publicity. Continuing this research agenda, the researchers will gather data on school staff and alumni student perceptions of their experiences in the chosen internal college readiness program: KIPP Pride High, Gaston. In order to create a blue print for successful internal college readiness programs the following recommendations would be valuable: a comparison of two or more internal college readiness programs to discover more essential components; and a study of students who attend a high school qualifying as a n internal college readiness program but are also enrolled in an external college readiness program to assess if the access to higher education is heightened for that student.
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    The Art of Appreciation: The Value of Art and Its Role in a University Community
    (2011) Duvra, Mara; Ramani, Geetha
    The visual arts play an important role in the aesthetic environment. The condition of the aesthetic environment has the potential to have positive or negative effects on people. Understanding the importance the visual arts play in enhancing an academic and social environment within a university campus is important in order to maximize the role of the university. The university today has become the chief agent in formulating and handing on our cultural tradition- this is what its visual environment should make visible. By providing visual artwork which represents social responsibility and artistic substance, as well as by offering an educational forum in which dialogue between artist and viewer and art and community is encouraged the university can provide outside learning experiences for students and faculty to be continually engaged in critical thinking about abstract concepts and academic issues. Research surrounding the possible negative or positive effects the conditions of an aesthetic environment can have on individuals is lacking and the scope does not extend as far as college, rather focusing on the visual environments of elementary schools. When considering the role of the visual arts in terms of its display within the buildings of a university community the value and importance can often be overlooked or greatly misunderstood. The purpose of this research inquiry can be defined in with three progressive goals; identify key characteristics to evaluate tangible attributes which make a visual art piece “valuable” and thus significant for an academic community, find research and literature which will support an understanding of the value and importance of viewing and purchasing art in a tangible context for a university, and finally developing a measure to discover and recognize how members of the university community perceive the role of the arts in their environment. With this proposal I hope to bring attention to the importance of the visual arts in higher education and the role of the arts in enhancing an academic environment.
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    Understanding Great Britain: A Case Study of Britain’s Asian Female Muslim Population
    (2011) Cooper, Korpo; Zilfi, Madeline
    This qualitative case study research project examines the perceptions towards Muslim women in Great Britain after 2001. This study is based upon a historical framework that seeks to determine the historical developments of perceptions, both positive and negative,—after determining what said perceptions were—that ranged across all aspects of life: the political, social, public, and private. The women in this study range, in majority, from Pakistan, and are anchored in its discussion about young Muslim women ranging from 18 years of age to 30 years of ages that reside in Great Britain. This qualitative case study answers one main research question that serves as an umbrella effect for the smaller four subset questions that guided and constrained this project. These questions reveals an extreme lack of discussion about the different and distinct experiences of Muslim women from Muslim men living in the West, specifically Great Britain for the constraints of this paper, the almost complete lack of appearance of Muslim women in the public sphere, especially women whom chose to wear the veil. These findings are supported by evidence collected from many forms of media, demographic and statistical evidence all of whom is based and firmed by modern scholarship. The findings of this study revealed key conclusions: 1) There is complete absence of Muslim women outside of the veil issue; 2) Muslim women are seen as a threat to “Western lifestyle” and 3) gives insight into the growing Islamic Feminist Movement through the actions of young Muslim women. Through the use of literature, media, politics, and the historical process this study focuses on the perceptions towards Muslim women in all walks of life.
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    The Migration of Salvadoran Social Activists into the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area: A Research Proposal
    (2011) Centeno-Melendez, Jose; Rodríguez, Ana Patricia
    Various factors lead to the “unprecedented” migration of millions of Central Americans, and more specifically, Salvadorans, to the United States (Lungo Uglés, 1996). One of the factors was an ongoing civil war in El Salvador throughout the 1980s and early 1990s that quickly gained U.S. support, and contributed to the deaths of at least 80,000 people and the displacement of roughly 20 percent of the total Salvadoran population (Cordova, 2005). This study looks at a specific subset of Salvadorans that migrated to the United States during and after the conclusion of the war. Through qualitative methodology, the use of case studies, and a literature review on texts highlighting social activists in Latin America, this study attempts to examine what the motives were for Salvadoran social activists to migrate to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area after participating in a 12-year civil war. By interviewing individuals that immigrated to the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area after participating in the Salvadoran civil war as social activists, this study will reveal information about this subset of Salvadorans such as: (1) their immigration process, (2) their current living situation in the U.S., (3) their ties with El Salvador despite leaving that country, (4) their experiences within the war as social activists, and (5) their thoughts on the result of the war. Moreover, this study will also reveal information about the social movement itself in El Salvador before and during the war, along with its distinct characteristics.
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    Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Domestic Violence Course: Change in Knowledge and Civic Attitudes
    (2011) Castro, Janice E.; O’Brien, Karen
    The effectiveness of a domestic violence course was evaluated to investigate whether changes occurred in general knowledge about domestic violence and in civic attitudes as a result of participation in the college course. Knowledge on support needed for survivors of intimate partner violence, and about the role of the advocate when working with intimate partner survivors were subscales investigated from the general knowledge about domestic violence. This study is significant because we cannot assume that the course is effective in teaching students about domestic violence unless we empirically evaluate whether change in knowledge occurred over the semester. A total of twentytwo participants completed the pre and post surveys. The findings indicated that students gained knowledge regarding general understanding of domestic violence and knowledge regarding the role of the advocate when working with intimate partner survivors. There were no changes in knowledge about the support needed for survivors of intimate partner violence and in civic attitudes. This evaluation of the effectiveness of the course contributed to the literature about educational programs focused on intimate partner violence for adolescents as programs exist that are focused on educating students in middle school and high school, but not in college. Many programs have been offered outside of educational environments; this study indicated that a course provided at a university was effective in educating college students about domestic violence. Increase in knowledge might lead to fewer IPV incidents which have demonstrated to cause health consequences. Future research may provide ways of how to teach college students about domestic violence and possibly reduce future involvement in violent relationships. Recommendations include to replicate the study with larger number of participants and include a service learning component would be critical to measure for changes in civic attitudes.
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    Two-Photon Characterization of Substituted (T8) Cage Silesequioxanes
    (2011) Carter, Marcus; Goodson, Theodore, III; Clark, Travis; Zhang, Jin
    An efficient source of alternative energy has yet to be developed. Solar energy, the most viable and sustainable source of renewable energy, remains less effective due to limitations in absorbing materials to convert direct sunlight into useful solar cell devices. However, this flaw can be circumvented if solar panels had the capability to convert infrared radiation into useable energy. The focus of this study is the evaluation of the non-linear optical properties of silsesquioxane (caged {T8}) molecules through ultrafast two-photon spectroscopy to determine their applicability in creating more effective solar energy devices (Laine et al, 2010; Sulaiman et al, 2008). The two photon absorption measurements were carried out using 770 to 830nm, 30 femto-second pulses. The results revealed that there are maxima for the cross sections near 800nm for the different caged molecules studied. The increase in cross section is correlated with increasing substitution of electron donating groups on the cage. This data provides further support for these materials to be used in applications of near infrared solar absorption devices.
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    Terramechanics: Testing Wheel Designs for Planetary Surfaces
    (2011) Cage, Kailyn; Bowden, Mary L.
    Planetary Exploration Missions have been an ongoing aspect of the NASA tradition since 1957. In an effort to better understand the surfaces, atmospheres, and geographic properties of planets in the solar system, the planetary rover was invented. In 1997, the Pathfinder landed on Martian terrain. The Pathfinder contained an important robotic vehicle, the planetary rover Sojourner. Sojourner, developed by United States scientists and engineers, was the first rover to land on the surface of Mars. On soft, usually sandy, rocky surfaces the planetary rover has engaged in loss of traction and wheel slippage. In order to investigate wheel-surface interaction, an automated test simulation system was designed and built in the Space Systems Laboratory and the Manufacturing building at the University of Maryland. Experiments that tested the draw-bar pull produced at varying weights with multiple wheel designs in a manual test simulation system state were conducted in an effort to confirm previous assumptions. In an effort to measure the force required to pull a weighted cart through the sandy surface, a series of tests were conducted in which the force was measured over a short period of time using the test simulation system. Wheel-slippage occurred in several cases as the weight increased on the more narrow wheels. After the force was measured and recorded with the force gauge and the Logger Pro III software, the depth of the tread was measured. This process of collecting data was repeated for three different wheels and each wheel was tested under four and then six different weight conditions. In a continuation of the current experiment, a second experiment will be conducted in the near future to determine the draw-bar pull produced from varying wheel designs in an automated test simulation system with varying weights. Also, future experiments will test the torque produced from the wheel-surface interaction.
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    Knowing Your Name: Hearing and Recognition in Infants
    (2011) Ali, Candace S.; Newman, Rochelle
    Infants are constantly placed in situations where they are exposed to multiple sources of sound including orators, music, television, or other causes of background noise. Young infants have the ability to separate streams of speech and selectively attend to speech signals, however little is known about the performance of infants and the cues used to recognize speech in the presence of background noise. In order to comprehend language development in infants, we must be able to understand how they acquire language despite noisy situations. This quantitative study seeks to examine how well infants from 3.5 – 5.5 months pay attention and process speech when in the presence of a competing background noise. The head-turn preference procedure was conducted, and stimuli were created based on the infants own name and a foil name, presented in constant and varying-amplitude noise in order to test the infants’ ability to recognize their own name (a familiar word) despite the opposing noise. Preliminary results indicate that infants displayed a preference for their own name under the constant-amplitude condition only . This suggests that the varying-amplitude condition is too distracting for infants to recognize speech and may not be as useful for their language acquisition in comparison to constant-amplitude. However, due to the lack of participation, further testing must continue to gain significant results and to draw further conclusions among infants of this age group.
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    Mutant Transformation of Pathogenic Neisseria Strains
    (2011) Ajudua, Emmanuel
    Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a bacterium that produces ~700,000 new gonococcal diseases in the US each year. While gonorrhea is localized to the urethra in men, in women it can spread to the cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes. Lipooligosaccharide (LOS) is a surface antigen embedded in the outer membrane of all Neisseria strains that causes disease. However, with commensal Neisseria strains disease does not occur. The commensal strains, with the exception of two, all contain a third heptose attached to their core. We hypothesized that if a third heptose could be added to the LOS Beta chains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, then the LOS would become less virulent. The proposed gene sequence that codes for the HepIII transferase (enzyme that adds heptose) was located. The DNA was extracted and run in a PCR reaction to amplify the proposed gene sequence, which was then purified. PLES2 plasmid DNA was introduced to competent DH5aMCR cells by heat shock transformation to make multiple copies. The resultant cells were plated onto LB+Ampicillin+Xgal for selectivity and restreaked for growth. As research continues the plasmid will be isolated from the E. coli and the purified gene will be inserted into the plasmid. After a few tests, the plasmid with the gene will be inserted into Neisseria gonorrhoeae to observe effects.
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    Economic and Social Barriers to HIV/AIDS Testing in African-American College Men
    (2011) Acheampong, Abenaa; Voorhees, Carolyn Clymer
    In the United States currently, African-American men are now the subgroup in society to be disproportionally affected by HIV/AIDS. Although African-Americans represent 13% of the population in the United States, they represent almost half of the one million people living with AIDS (Hall, 2005).Through this research one will gain a deeper understanding of why African-American college men are not getting tested for HIV/AIDS at higher rates. Using the Health Belief Model, this study aims to address what could be potential barriers to HIV/AIDS testing. Because the aim is to identify root issues on why African American men in college are not getting tested, the best method to use is a focus group. Questions were developed that addressed possible social and economic barriers to HIV/AIDS testing. Five participants were recruited specifically to participate in a focus group, which lasted about 50 minutes. Additionally, 25 surveys were administered to a sample of African American undergraduate men around campus. The survey consisted of short answers and multiple choice questions. The results suggested that social factors such as isolation, invincibility, and stigma may be the biggest barrier to HIV testing. The results also suggested that interventions targeted towards communication in intimate relationships and families were needed to promote safe-sex practice and ease the fear of social isolation.