McNair Scholars Program
McNair Scholars Alumni 2006
- Stephanie Ebnet
Biology and Psychology
The Evolutionary Potential of the TrpA gene of Escherichia coli
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ralph Seelke, Biology, Department of Biology and Earth Science
ABSTRACT: For bacteria to evolve, mutations must occur which impart a selective advantage to the organism. An ongoing evolutionary question is the capability of mutation and selection to produce an advantageous change, when two or more mutations are needed. We investigated this question using Escherichia coli RS202-5 containing two inactivating mutations in the trpA Tryptophan biosynthesis gene. RS202-5 was grown by serial transfer under conditions selective for evolution of TrpA+. After approximately 2000 generations, TrpA+ evolvants have failed to appear. However, RS202-5 has evolved to grow faster under low Tryptophan conditions. We conclude that, when evolution of a Trp+ phenotype requires two independent mutations, it is not observed. Long-term selection when Tryptophan is limited does result in improved growth rates. The reversion rate of single inactivating mutations was also investigated.
- Pasia Her
Elementary and Middle School Education
Factors Contributing to Hmong Persistence and Retention
Faculty Mentor: Mr. Koua Vang, Director Asian Pacific/Islander Resource Center, University of Minnesota-Duluth
ABSTRACT: At the University of Minnesota - Duluth, there are many Hmong students who have decided to continue their education after high school. Even though they are in college, they are facing many barriers that have factored into their lives determining whether to continue their education. In spite of these barriers, many of the students chose to continue their education. The students are motivated to pursue higher education because of their parents' struggle adapting to life in the United States.
- Jamie Houk
Parental History and Current Romantic Attachment
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nancy Minahan, Psychology, Department of Human Behavior and Diversity
ABSTRACT: Recent studies have looked at how parental attachment is related to several dimensions such as parental divorce or family structure, romantic relationships including intimacy, emotional adjustment, and overall psychological well-being. These studies have found that having a secure parental attachment is beneficial. The following study attempted to discover if there was a correlation between an individual's parental history and their current romantic attachment. Seventy Introduction to Psychology students completed the Experience in Close Relationships Scale - Revised (Fraley, Waller, & Brennan, 2000) and a parental history survey (Kearney & Baron, 2003), plus additional items. Romantic attachment was significantly related to being in a current relationship of more than 6 months duration. Romantic attachment styles were not found to be significantly related to continued family stressors, parental divorce or remarriage, hostile arguing among family members or parental depression.
- Robin Krawza
Adult Co-eds: The Nontraditional Struggle
Faculty Mentor: Ms. Laura Jacobs, Library Science, Information Literacy/Archivist
ABSTRACT: Technology has changed the way in which people work. As a result, many adults are returning to the classroom to remain competitive in the workforce. Referred to as nontraditional students, adults face many challenges including those relating to computer and technology skills. In many instances, colleges and universities assume that students already are technology competent. However, unlike most traditional students who have had a certain amount of technological training, a large number of nontraditional students have had little, if any, computer instruction. As a result, they find themselves in the precarious positions of being expected to already know what they enrolled in school to learn.
- Brenda Kunkel
Modeling Deer - Vehicle Collisions
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Steve Rosenberg, Mathematics, Department of Mathematics & Computer Science
ABSTRACT: Deer-vehicle collisions are occurring in larger and larger numbers. One way to better understand why they are happening is through mathematical modeling. Using a Markov Chain to model deer movement, we can factor in information of deer movement and traffic patterns to create a sound model that can plausibly be applied to real life. Through this technique, we can find the probability of driving down a given Wisconsin road in 2002 and colliding with a deer and potentially see where roads can be built to minimize deer-vehicle collisions.
- Shannon Martin
Young Children's Comprehension of Pictoral Humor As Related In False Belief Understanding
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Fay Maas, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota-Duluth
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to expand on the area of research of children's theory of mind, specifically in the area of false belief, by exploring whether an understanding of another's intentions and beliefs are correlated with the ability to understand humor due to the child's developing cognitive processes. The hypothesis proposed is that children with a better understanding of other's intentions of false beliefs will also be more likely to recognize and understand incongruent stimuli with a humorous intent.
- Chaw Moua
Retention of Hmong Students at the University of Wisconsin - Superior
Faculty Mentor: Ms. Liz Blue, Social Work, Department of Human Behavior and Diversity
ABSTRACT: This study was designed to find out what number/percent of Hmong students entered UW-Superior, were retained as students and graduated in the time period from 1990 to the present (2006). It was also designed to find out what Hmong students who attended UW-Superior in that time period could tell us about their experiences at the University. From 1990 to the present, there were 10 Hmong students who graduated and 12 other Hmong students who had previously or were currently attending UW-Superior. Students noted that their level of self-confidence affected their experience at the University. They also noted that certain programs and services at the University were useful and helpful to them; those they identified as most helpful included the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Financial Aid Office, the Health and Wellness Center, the Parking Service, and the student computer labs around campus.
- James Paine
Stronger Than Us: The Historical Development of Nationality Among the Bosnian Muslims
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Karl Bahm, History, Department of Social Inquiry
ABSTRACT: Compared to neighboring Serbian and Croatian National movements, the development of a sense of nationality among the Bosnian Muslims has been relatively recent; becoming truly apparent only in the later half of the 20th Century. Nationality is a distinctive form of group identity and its development among the Bosnian Muslims has been a process spanning the past 500 years. The culture of the Bosnian Muslims, as well as their claims of distinction from their neighbors, is primarily the result of the distinction accorded them by the different governments that have ruled the region.
- Kristy Smith
Binge Eating, Stress, and Coping Strategies Among College Men and Women
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lara LaCailee, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota - Duluth
ABSTRACT: The object of this study was to investigate the relationship between binge eating, stress, and coping among college men and women. Previous research has suggested that binge eating is correlated to perceived stress (Striegel-Moore, Silberstein, Frensch, & Rokin, 1989) and may be a means of coping with stress (Koff & Sangani, 1996). To date, the relationship between these variables is not well understood in the college-aged population, especially men. Given the changes and stressors associated with the transition to college living, it seems possible that binge eating habits may develop in response to stress, particularly when more effective coping strategies are not in a student's repertoire. In order to better understand the relationship between these variables, the present study was conducted. One hundred and ninety-six students participated in the study, which involved completing questionnaires on binge eating, determining the degree of stress experienced, and using a variety of coping strategies. The results indicated that participants who reported greater binge eating tendencies also reported more perceived stress. Binge eating was also found to be correlated with avoidant-type coping strategies (such as behavioral and mental disengagement, and use of alcohol and drugs). On the other hand, problem-focused coping (active coping and planning) was negatively related to binge eating. In this study, binge eating was not found to be correlated with a higher BMI. In terms of male-female differences, women were found to binge eat more than men and use somewhat different coping strategies (such as seeking social and emotional support and venting emotions). On the other hand, men were found to cope by using drugs and alcohol more than women. The implications and limitations of these findings are discussed and suggestions for future researcher are provided.
- Jessica Unkelhaeuser
Too Young To Be Homeless
Faculty Mentor: Professor Elizabeth Twining Blue, Department of Human Behavior and Diversity
ABSTRACT: The issue of homelessness among youth today is a phenomenon that is not sufficiently acknowledged. However, it is too important to ignore. This study examines homelessness among youth in Duluth, MN, served by Life House, Inc. in the past year. The study consisted of two parts: 1) Secondary analysis of data collected through Life House housing programs; and 2) Structured interviews of youth currently utilizing resources through Life House and who had, at one time, experienced homelessness. Females and youth with minority backgrounds were over-represented in the study. The study identified a need for more affordable housing, transitional housing, and housing services to serve this vulnerable population, and to prevent the spread of long-term homelessness or chronic homelessness.