McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal, 2010, Vol. 2

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    Analyzing the Dream
    (2010) Espinoza, Rossana; Huth, Paul
    The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, otherwise known as the DREAM Act, is a proposed bill under consideration in the US Congress that would give undocumented immigrant minors greater access to higher education opportunities while also providing them with a path to achieving full and legal citizenship. The bill was first introduced in 2001 and is now being reintroduced with new amendments in 2009. My research will center on questions regarding the social and economic effects that this proposed bill would have on the undocumented students if it were passed. Specifically, I plan to investigate the potential consequences of this bill in the country by examining case studies of California, Maryland and Virginia with respect to: a) increases in higher education levels and admissions, and b) economic opportunities. My research will center on a policy-analysis in a non-empirical format. I will mostly use qualitative methods of research, although I will collect and analyze some data and statistics on the undocumented community in the aforementioned states.
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    The University of Maryland McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal, Volume 2
    (2010) Southerland, Wallace III (Editor); Lewis, Jerry L. (Editor)
    The McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal is a collection of abstracts and papers written by McNair scholars at the University of Maryland ( This issue features papers from the summer 2009 research institute written by participants from the University of Maryland, College Park; Frostburg State University; and Saint Mary's College of Maryland.
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    Brain Behavior is Related to Motor Behavior During Competition
    (2010) Thorpe, Elizabeth; Hatfield, Bradley
    In this study the alpha band waves of low to moderately skilled pistol shooters are evaluated to examine the performance of the individuals under a competitive environment. The factors that cater to success in the autonomous stage of learning are different for the athlete. There has been investigation of the brain patterns of experts, while performing a task is efficient and in accord with Fitts and Posner’s claims of what it takes to be successful while in the last stage of motor learning (Hatfield & Hillman, 2001). The problem being addressed in the study is examining Fitts and Posner’s cognitive stage of motor learning. The first question being studied is how does low alpha power relate to variability in the performance of a pistol shoot? The second question being studied is how does high alpha coherence relate to jerk in the performance of a pistol shoot? The first hypothesis to prove is that higher cortical arousal (i.e. lower alpha power), will be associated with better performance (i.e., less variable pistol trajectories). The second hypotheses to prove is networking to the motor planning region (i.e. higher coherence) will be positively associated with increased levels of jerk. The results of the study find that those who performed better (less variability and more jerk) exhibited brain patterns associated with relying on external cues, events and responses.
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    Scholarship and Empowerment in the Age of the Video Vixen: Promoting Black Adolescent Females’ Academic Success
    (2010) Stevenson, Stephanie; Parks, Sheri
    Throughout American history, popular culture and some academic disciplines have created limited characterizations of low income, urban, Black adolescent females as hypersexual vixens who are at risk for early sexual activity and low academic achievement. The promulgation of these negative sexual myths may cause Black adolescent females to internalize these myths and perform sexually explicit roles at an early age; consequently increasing their chances of low academic achievement. The purpose of the future ethnographic/self ethnographic study is to explore the ways that cultural framers such as: families (with emphasis on Black mothers) and the media influence Black adolescent females’ motivation to obtain academic success, and resist or accept negative sexual myths. The researcher will use the framing theory and expectancy value theory to explore these relationships. The study will observe Black adolescent females that attend public middle schools in urban areas within the Baltimore/ Washington, D.C metropolitan area. The researcher will consider how racial, gender, and class socialization may frame the adolescents’ life experiences and the methods that they use to construct their identities, value systems, and resistance strategies to combat negative sexual myths.
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    Examination of Family Environmental Factors Associated with Obesity in African American Youth Resides in Baltimore City
    (2010) Stevenson, Nicole; Southerland, Wallace III
    Obesity is very prevalent in America, making it epidemic (Dalton, 2004). Obesity is the measurement of body fat based on an individual’s weight and height (kg/m squared). This measurement is called the Body Mass Index or (BMI). African Americans are at a high risk of developing obesity which is not considered a disease. The World Health Organization states differences in categorizing obesity across ethnicities. National Center of Health Statistics defines obesity for adolescence as a BMI > 95th percentile based on their age and sex (CDC, 2008). Obesity is defined for adults as BMI > 30 (NCHS, 2007). Obesity affects adult, adolescence and children alike. A study by Ogden et al. (2006) stated more than half of America’s adult population, 32.3%, is obese. Statistics for children and adolescence, male and female, are equally alarming at 16.4% (Ogden et al., 2006). Researchers Freedman et al. (2005) examined the relationship between childhood weight gains leading to adult obesity commonly known as tracking. It has been noted by various studies that adolescent obesity tracks into adulthood (Dalton, 2004; Dietz, 1998; Freedman et al., 2005). Obesity originating from childhood puts individuals at a greater risk for health concerns (Freedman et al, 2005). Understanding the importance of curbing obesity in adolescence so it will not continue throughout an individual’s life is crucial. In addition, it is commonly known that obesity leads to a rise in health cost (Dalton, 2004). Some of the health risk associated with obesity are both short and long term. Some health risks are diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and breathing difficulties or asthma (Dalton, 2004). As youth transition to adolescence, physical activity levels decline (Kimm et al., 2002) thus creating an ideal situation for weight gain. Weight gain is common during this transition. Moreover, overweight or obese African American adolescent began puberty earlier which leads to decrease activity levels (Dalton, 2004). High School years represent a life stage in which girls, and boys are not engaging in sufficient physical activity. The family environment also plays a huge role in the development of obesity (Kimm et al., 2002). It has been revealed there is a relationship between social environment and its influence in supporting or hindering physical activity. The following sections will highlight the general topic of the prevalence of obesity, health consequences and family environmental factors that relate to obesity.
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    Decline and Disparities in Mammography Use Trends by Socioeconomic Status and Race/Ethnicity
    (2010) 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. 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. 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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    The Use of 2-Bornanethiol for the Asymmetric Synthesis of Amines
    (2010) Peterson, Ana; Koch, Andrew
    The proposal to synthesize a camphor sulfinamide reagent using 2-bornanethiol was initiated. A novel disulfide for the synthesis of the reagent was produced through inexpensive means via three synthetic steps. Readily available (+)-camphor underwent thionation using phosphorous pentasulfide in excess. The resulting thiocamphor was reduced to camphor thiol (or 2-bornanethiol) and oxidized to yield camphor disulfide. Further investigation of the disulfide is necessary for confirmation and characterization. Oxidation followed by reaction of the purified sample of this product with ammonia and lithium amide could give camphor sulfinamide. It was determined that purification at the end of each step would help to give better results and cleaner NMR spectra to analyze. Limitations included difficulty with keeping reactions under dry conditions as well as large amounts of time required to run each reaction. From here, the purified disulfide will be used to synthesize camphor sulfinamide which could then be combined with chiral aldehydes and ketones to yield imines in high selectivity.
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    Improving Disadvantaged Adolescents’ Critical Reading Skills Using Direct Instruction
    (2010) Okeke, Ruth; McCaleb, Joseph
    The problem addressed in this research proposal is that students who are minority come from families with low socioeconomic status and attend urban-area high schools have a higher possibility of not developing critical reading skills that will help them succeed both in college and in prestigious careers. These students are more likely to fail because they often lack the support and resources that will increase their chances of academic success. Direct Instruction is a teaching method devised to close the achievement gap between disadvantaged and privileged students. This approach may help improve the critical reading skills of disadvantaged students. However, little empirical research exists on the use of Direct Instruction to improve such skills. The purpose of this proposed qualitative case study will be to determine how Direct Instruction can improve the critical reading skills of disadvantaged students. The study will consist of semi-structured interviews of four high school English teachers who work primarily with disadvantaged students at an urban-area high school. The study will involve examining the current practices used by high school English teachers who have improved the critical reading skills of their disadvantaged students. The study will also involve determining whether their practices align with components of Direct Instruction.
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    Spatial Analysis of the Environment’s Influence on Pediatric Asthma in Baltimore City using a Geographic Information System
    (2010) Oguamanam, Melissa; Luna, Ronald
    The problem being addressed in this proposed study is the tendency of residents living in low-income, inner city, and minority neighborhoods being exposed to poorer air quality than residents living in upper-income, suburban, white neighborhoods. As a result of the poor environmental conditions, poor urban dwellers experience higher rates of respiratory diseases such as asthma in their communities. The purpose of this proposed project is to study the environmental factors that are associated with an increase in pediatric asthma and identify which of these factors can be found in Baltimore communities using a geographic information system. The location of possible sources contributing to high concentrations of asthma occurrences in Baltimore City such as brownfields and major roadways will be examined. In addition, racial and socioeconomic conditions found in Baltimore will be analyzed to see if they can be linked to asthma rates. The proposed project’s methodology will consist of an exploratory analysis of the asthma geographic epidemiology in Baltimore. The literature currently states that areas of high urbanization experience more cases of asthma hospitalization than rural areas. Anticipated findings include having a high concentration of asthma occurrences in Baltimore’s predominately black, poor, and inner city neighborhoods. Furthermore, these disadvantaged Baltimore neighborhoods will be located right next to sources of environmental pollution.
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    Music of the African Diaspora: The Historical Reception of African American Concert Music
    (2010) Miller, Robert; Zeigler, Ronald
    African American concert music (AACM) has made one of the largest contributions to the establishment and development of American music. Black composers (and musicians) of this genre played a vital role in achieving the goals of the Harlem Renaissance, which were racial vindication and “re-representation.” Leaders of the Renaissance believed that African American composers would bring these goals to fruition because composers would remove barriers in education, and they would replace the negative images of Black people with the genuine, positive picture. Today, however, AACM is seldom heard, performed or studied in performances, academia, and in recordings. The lack of knowledge of this genre is a problem because only part of history is being told. This study will use the historical method of inquiry, and it seeks to explore how AACM was initially received and why it is marginalized today. The researcher will locate primary sources that will be analyzed first hand to find meanings and relationships that can provide answers to the research questions.
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    Metabolic Profiling of in vitro Cultured Medicinal Plants: Actaea racemosa L
    (2010) Massimino, Christopher; Brosi, Sunshine
    The use of Actaea racemosa L., black cohosh, as an herbal supplement has dramatically increased over the past decade. The rhizome is used for a variety of medicinal purposes involving premenopausal symptoms. This project involved the development of a protocol for establishment of in vitro callus cultures from excised tissues of racemes and leaves. Explants were grown on Murashige and Skoog medium (MS) with a variety of concentrations of growth hormones TDZ and NAA. The production of secondary metabolites by these callus cultures is being analyzed by ultra high pressure liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry UHPLC/MS. The first inoculation of racemes was observed after one week with a large growth of fungi in twelve of the sixteen plates. The project is ongoing and awaiting further results of callus growth in the plates.
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    Maternal Parenting Behaviors and Infants’ Receptive Language In Immigrant Families
    (2010) Erika, Magana; Jones Harden, Brenda; Denmark, Nicole
    Receptive language is known as the ability to listen and comprehend, and has been found to be one of the biggest predictor for academic success. With the increase in the United States, incoming immigrant population it is important to address the issue of immigrant children entering school less prepared then native children. There is a lack of research examining the link between mother-infant interactions in relation to the promotion of infant receptive language within the immigrant population. This study examines the relationship between immigrant mother’s early cognitive engagement and sensitivity with their infants, during mother-infant play and the infant’s later receptive language and the influence of maternal education. A total of 19 immigrant mothers of Latino, African, Caribbean and Asian Pacific Island background were videotaped playing with their infants in order to determine the level of cognitive engagement and sensitivity provided. Data analysis of the coding scores revealed that there was a distinctive difference in the level of maternal education in relation to cognitive engagement and sensitivity. Results determined that receptive language was not associated with parenting behaviors: sensitivity and cognitive engagement. Indicators of cultural variations within the sample could have influenced the results. Future research needs to extend this study in order to determine the longitudinal effects of parenting behaviors of immigrant mothers and their children’s receptive language.
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    African American Mother-Son Dynamics and their Effect on the African American Marital Relationship
    (2010) Law, Sharelle; Southerland, Wallace III
    This conceptual paper investigates the difficulties African American married couples are experiencing in an attempt to maintain stable relationships. The following questions are analyzed and answered: (a) how are African American mother-son relationships characterized in the literature? and (b) how does the bond between African American mothers and their sons affect their sons’ future relationship with their wives and marital satisfaction? The significance of this paper is to gain a broader perspective of the state of marriage in the African American culture. To identify and understand how African American mother-son relationships influence spousal unions and use the findings as an instrument to enhance African American marriages, and to gain a larger comprehension of African American male-female tension and provide a different perspective and knowledge in assessing the origins of the conflict. The Freudian psychoanalytical Oedipus complex will be used to discuss how African American men subconsciously choose a mate that resembles their mother. Olson and Olson’s five typologies of marriage will also be used as a guide in discussing marital satisfaction among African American married men. The conclusions are that there are certain things only a mother can teach a son, many African American marriages are conflicted, an African American man will subconsciously pick a mate much like his mother, and the martial union will most likely resemble the mother-son relationship and many African American-mother son relationships are most likely conflicted.
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    Low-Income African-American Fathers and their Feelings toward Fatherhood: In their Own Voices
    (2010) Jones, Andres; Cabrera, Natasha; Kondelis, Brianne
    Negative stereotypes of African-American fathers suggest that they are uninterested in, uninvolved with, and uncommitted to their children (Julion et al, 2007; Kismann, 1997; McAdoo, 1997). The research that exists on African-American fathers suffers from several limitations. It focuses more on their roles as breadwinners (Dubowitz et al, 2006; Rasheed & Rasheed, 1999) than on other roles they might play in their families (e.g., caregiver, teacher) and is based on information collected largely through mother’s reports rather than from fathers themselves (Cabrera et al, 2000; Shears et al, 2006; Tanfer & Mott, 1997). The feelings that African-American fathers have toward fatherhood are not often represented in this research nor have they shaped a public narrative about African-American fatherhood. This study examines how African-American men perceive the role of fatherhood. The study is framed by Identity Theory which posits that individuals identify with the roles they occupy in life and act accordingly (Stryker, 1980). For the purpose of this study, I draw on qualitative data that were previously collected for the HAPPI father study. Fifteen fathers were randomly selected and the responses to four open-ended survey questions were reviewed and analyzed for themes and commonalities. Findings from this study will challenge the negative stereotypes of African-American fathers and highlight the diversity within this group.
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    Latino Fathers’ Experiences of Parenting in the Context of Immigration
    (2010) Hernandez, Cindy; Roy, Kevin; Vesely, Colleen; Fitzgerald, Megan
    This is a qualitative study that explores how the immigration experiences of Latino fathers shape their parenting practices. For the purpose of this study, 19 life long story interviews of Mexican, Mexican American, Puerto Rican fathers were collected by a case manager researcher. The interviews were analyzed using three waves of coding: open, axial, and selective. Four narrative themes gave meaning to the fathers’ immigration experiences and involvement with their children: turning point, immigration, role models, and partnering and parenting practices.
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    Latino Fathers: Risk and Resiliency Factors Contributing to Mental Health
    (2010) Delgado, Brenda; Roy, Kevin; Fitzgerald, Megan; Vesely, Colleen
    Latino fathers are at risk for mental health issues for many reasons. In general men utilize support services less than women, even though studies have shown men experience mental health issues like anxiety, stress and depression just as much as women (Lee and Owens, 2007). It is widely known that immigrants face extra hardships than puts a strain on them and their families. For example the language barrier, acculturation, a new culture, poverty, low-paying jobs, education and many more all play a role in why Latino immigrants, illegal and legal face adversity once in the United States (Flores and Carey, 2000). It is this reason why Latino men are in need of more support whether it is from the government, non profits, or at a local level. This study took 19 Latino fathers from Chicago and interviewed them. Using grounded theory two main ideas emerged from the interviews. They are unique risk factors of Latino fathers and unique resiliency factors of Latino fathers. With the information we already know about Latinos and mental health and the ideas on risk and resiliency factors, human service providers can support the programs geared to this population. A literature review will provide information that is already available about Latinos, men and mental health. Finally, implications are offered for programs, practice and research for the future.
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    Visualizing Amine Groups Tethered to a Glass Surface
    (2010) Carter, Marcus; Kumi, George; Fourkas, John
    This study determined the viability of a new technique for visualizing micron (or smaller) sized areas of amines tethered to a glass substrate. The experiment utilized a methodology that requires the use of amine functionalization, plasma cleaning, and an elastomeric mold to pattern amines on a glass surface. Electro-less copper metallization was used to verify that the patterned amine region was indeed present on the surface of the glass. The results suggest that metallization can be used to detect amine groups on glass; however, more experimentation is needed to attain maximum selectivity in the devised visualization technique.
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    Experimental Proposal for Identifying the Role of Erythroid-Like Transcription Factor-2 in Caenorhabditis elegans
    (2010) Barnes, Andrea; Southerland, Wallace III
    Initially it was believed that when ELT-2 was knocked out in nematodes this caused the nematodes to become sick from all pathogens, even ones that were not previously pathogenic. However, an experiment conducted later suggested that in older cultures of bacteria the ELT-2 knocked out nematodes do not become sick from pathogens that were previously nonpathogenic. In order to clarify the role of ELT-2 in the immune system of nematodes this research proposal was developed. To prepare the nematode stocks, nematodes will be separated into two groups, ones with ELT-2 knocked out and ones with active ELT-2 transcription factors. Then, cultures of bacteria (Salmonella enterica, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterococcus faecalis) will be made with one of three varied lengths of incubation (24 hours, 48 hours, or 72). Then nematodes will be exposed to bacterial cultures nematodes in order to test their survival rate. Statistical analysis will first involve comparing the length of survival of ELT-2 knocked out nematodes to nematodes with active ELT-2 that were grown in the presence of the same bacteria. Second, analysis will involve comparing length of survival of nematodes to how long the bacteria were incubated. This experiment is designed to further understand the role of ELT-2 in the immune function of nematodes. Because of the similarity between ELT-2 in nematodes and transcription factors found in humans this experiment will indirectly help contribute to the greater knowledge of transcription factors in many organisms, including humans.
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    To Show How the Ozone Layer Can Be Destroyed as the Responsibility of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCS) for this Damage
    (2010) Amare, Abel; Southerland, Wallace III
    Ozone is a safeguard for the earth. Ozone protects the earth from a dangerous ultraviolet radiation. The ozone layer has been depleted because of chemicals used by human beings. When the concentration of the ozone layer decreases, the amount of UV light reaching the earth increases. As a result, when the amount of UV light reaching the earth increases the incidence of skin cancer and eye cataracts will increase. Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) is one of the chemical used by humans that cause ozone depletion. CFCs are man-made chemicals which are used as refrigerants, solvents, foam blowing agents, and outside the United States, as aerosol propellants. Since CFCs are volatile and water insoluble, they can easily escape to the upper atmosphere. Then, they can react with ozone and deplete the ozone layer. Therefore, in order to save the ozone layer from being depleted, we should use other alternative chemicals such as butane and propane.
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    Self-Identification Patterns of American-Muslim in Post 9/11 America
    (2010) Ali-Mubarak, Rashida; Feldman, Robert
    The United States, during the Presidency of George W. Bush, launched a seven-and-a-half-year “War on Terror”, aimed at fighting terrorism. The “War on Terror”, though ostensibly aimed at international targets, may have had a negative impact on Muslims living in America. The War on Terror has the very real potential of creating adversarial relationships between citizens of varying ethnicities. Domestic anti-terrorism activities may serve to cause Muslim Americans to feel marginalized and disenfranchised. It is not uncommon for the patriotism and citizenship of Muslim Americans to be questioned by other Americans, not because of criminal activity, but because of their immigration status, ethnic background, and religion. Therefore, this study will begin to examine how the patterns of self-identification of American-Muslims have been positively or negatively affected by the events of September 11, 2001. This exploratory study will consist of focus groups, segregated by gender, of American-Muslims aged 18-25 years old. Focus group participants will be asked about their experiences and the direct impact of September 11, 2001 on their lives, choice of college major, and choice of future career paths.