McNair Scholars Alumni 2007

See the posters created by the 2007 McNair Scholars

Adam McCauley
Art (Painting)
The Origins and Meanings of Non-Objective Art
Faculty Mentor: Pope Wright, Department of Visual Arts
ABSTRACT:  Through my research I wanted to find out the ideas and meanings that the originators of non-objective art had.  In my research I also wanted to find out what were the artists' meanings be it symbolic or geometric, ideas behind composition, and the reasons for such a dramatic break from the academic tradition in painting and the arts.  Throughout the research I also looked into the resulting conflicts that this style of art had with critics, academia, and ultimately governments.  Ultimately, I wanted to understand if this style of art could be continued in the Post-Modern era and if it could continue its vitality in the arts today as it did in the past.

Yoni Debesai (UMD)
Specific Genes Expressed in Nectaries
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Clay Carter (UMD), Department of Biology
ABSTRACT:  This lab research includes the studying of floral nectaries, specifically ones found in model plants called Arabidopsis thaliana and Brassica rapa (Figure 1).  The primary goal is to find what types of genes are expressed in nectaries.  Reasons for looking into this area of study are to see what types of genes are important and crucial in nectar production and to see whether there are any other similar genes in other living organisms.  The interest that drew the researchers is in the fact that no one tried to figure out what types of genes were expressed in nectaries to form nectar.

David Haines
Nonylphenol and Its Effect on Unhatched Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas) Eggs
Faculty Mentor: Mr. Matthew TenEyck, Lake Superior Research Institute
ABSTRACT:  Nonylphenol is believed to have an environmental impact on freshwater organisms.  The purpose of this study was to determine if nonylphenol would affect the hatch time of fathead minnow eggs.  It was hypothesized that the eggs ability to hatch would decrease as the concentrations increase.  Six exposure concentrations were utilized in the study with four replicates each.  The eggs were exposed to the chemical for seven days and during that period were carefully observed.  Measurements of nonylphenol, dissolved oxygen (DO), pH, conductivity and temperature were also made, all physical water characteristics were within acceptable test limits.  Measure concentrations are 6.8 μg/1, 12.2 μg/1, 20.6 μg/1, 36.1 μg/1, the highest concentration was 186.4 μg/1.  60% of the eggs in the control had hatched on day 4, while on day 7 72.5% had hatched.  55% percent of the 6.8 μg/1 concentration hatched on day 4, and then on day 7 80% had hatched.  For the 12.2 μg/1 concentration 40% hatched on day 4, while 70% had hatched on day 7.  67.5% of the eggs had hatched on day 4 for the 20.6 μg/1 concentration, while 82.5% had hatched on day 7.  For the 36.1 μg/1 concentration 45% had hatched on day 4 while 72.5% on day 7.  All the hatch data was recorded by counting the fish, which is why the 186.4 μg/1 concentration shows no hatching on the 4th day.  After the experiment had been completed the 186.4 μg/1 was examined under a dissecting scope and it was observed that fish had in fact hatched.

Katie Kemppainen (UMD)
Growth and Antibiotic Sensitivity of Mycobacterium marinum Biofilms: Development of a Rapid Antibiotic Screen with Almar Blue
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lucia Barker (UMD), Department of Medicine
ABSTRACT:  Mycobacterium marinum (M. marinum) is a nontuberculosis mycobacterium that has been found to infect fish and humans.  It is also closely related genetically to Mycobacterium tuberculosis.  Therefore, M. marinum is a safe, fast, and effective surrogate for the study of M. tuberculosis.  M. marinum will develop a biofilm structure that is thought to make the bacterium less susceptible to biocides and antibiotics.  Optimal growth conditions for M. marinum biofilms were determined by using the MBEC assay system to measure biofilm formation on rocking and stationary plates at 4 hours and at 7, 14, and 21 day points.  The antibiotic susceptibility for the biofilm (as compared to planktonic or free-floating organisms) was then assayed by growing the biofilm for 14 days and testing it with several antibiotics in two-fold dilutions.  Once treated with the antibiotics the biofilms were then sonicated and placed into solutions of 7H9 with OADC enrichment to determine growth as measured by the turbidity.  An Almar Blue assay was also performed to compare results to those of the turbidity assay to determine if Almar Blue can effectively be used for rapid screening of antibiotic sensitivity for M. marinum biofilms.

Heather Neu
Synthesis of a Cyanine Dye-Polymer
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Troy Bergstedt, Department of Chemistry
ABSTRACT:  A synthetic scheme is presented to produce a poly-L-lysine polypeptide which has been modified by the attachment of cyanine dye molecule.  The synthetic techniques and purifications steps are outlined.

Ryan Howes
Exercise Physiology
Assessment of a Conditioning and Training Program For Men's Collegiate Division 3 Hockey Players
Faculty Mentor: Dr. William Simpson, Department of Health and Human Performance
ABSTRACT:  Competition requiring both aerobic and anaerobic capacity is used while playing the sport of hockey.  In this pilot study, six Division III hockey players volunteered to complete an all-out thirty second sprint test using the Wingate Anaerobic Test (Want).  Our intention was to compare our dryland tests, the vertical jump and the shuttle run in correlation to the Want.  Although we had a small sampling of a few individuals, this is in no way representative of a team as a whole.  Further descriptive research is to be done in the near future with a relatively larger sample which will include other varsity athletes and teams.

Brandon Thomason
Exercise Science
Health and Fitness Profiles of University of Wisconsin-Superior Undergraduate Students
Faculty Mentor: Dr. William Simpson, Department of Health and Human Services
ABSTRACT:  For many young people in the United States, college is the first chance to live independently.  These individuals are now responsible for making a variety of choices about their behaviors including nutrition, exercise, and other health habits.  The purpose of this study was to investigate the self-reported health behaviors (smoking, drinking, and exercise) made by the average student and compare to a physical fitness assessment.  The expected outcomes were: there will be a high incidence of binge and heavy drinking, a high prevalence of smoking, and there will be a high correlation between those who drink heavily and smoke, and poor health assessment outcomes.  When compared to the national and state averages, results showed a slightly lower average of smoking and binge drinking.  However, heavy drinking was double the national and state averages for 2005.  No significant differences were found between those who practice healthy behaviors and those who do not regarding fitness levels.

Josef Siebert
First Nations Studies
Should We Genetically Engineer Wild Rice?
Faculty Mentor: Mr. Gary Johnson, Department of Human Behavior and Diveristy
ABSTRACT:  The purpose of this study was to examine the risks associated with genetically engineering wild rice.  Wild rice is an important traditional food of the Ojibwe people as well as commercial crops, so any possible changes should face additional scrutiny.  After three interviews and many reviews of various publications, it was concluded that the genetic engineering of wild rice, if grown outdoors, would inevitable lead to the contamination of native wild rice stands.  This would be harmful to the Ojibwe people culturally, economically, and spiritually.

Sheng Hang (UMD)
International  Studies
Rape: The Forgotten War Crime
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Khalil Dokanchi, Department of Politics, Law, and Justice
ABSTRACT:  This research is about what role rape plays in times of war.  Rape, as a weapon of war, is used as a form of power and control, torture, and genocide or ethnic cleansing.  The focus will be on the war in Bosnia because it was the first time that rape was recognized internationally and it was also the first time that the criminals were put on trial for their crimes.  Evidence will be given to support the statement that rape, during war, is used as a form of power and control, torture, and genocide or ethnic cleansing.

Erika Runstrom
Legal Studies
Predicting Oral Health Inequalities: The Possible Effects of Sense of Coherence and Social Capital
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Shevaun Stocker, Department of Human Behavior and Diversity
ABSTRACT:  This study  is an effort to understand why oral health inequalities exist at high rates, regardless of the policies and intervention that have been put into place to reduce oral health inequalities.  This study explores the public health theoretical approaches of sense of coherence and social capital in order to understand the relationship between social environment and oral health.  Researcher predicted a positive correlation between social capital, sense of coherence, oral health and perceived need.  Additionally, the study tested for a correlation between income, social capital and sense of coherence.  Thirty University of Wisconsin-Superior students were given a four-part survey, which included sense of coherence, oral health and quality of life, perceived need and social capital.  A correlation between sense of coherence and oral health was not statistically significant, however the relationship was in the predicted direction-as one's sense of coherence increases, so does one's oral health.  Data supported a correlation between sense of coherence, happiness, and overall health.  Data also supported a correlation between social capital and oral health.  However, sense of coherence and social capital did not act as a predictor of the perceived need for dental treatment.  Data did support a correlation between perceived need and oral health.  Income acted as a predictor of sense of coherence, but not as a predictor of social capital.  The research reveals there is a continuing need to reveal the dental inequalities in populations and a continuing need to adopt a more holistic approach to oral health promotion activities and public health policy.

Tegan Wendland
Political Science/International Studies
Political Cartoons Speak of UN Intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina: An Analysis of United Nations Intervention During the 1,000 Days of Siege in Sarajevo Through Political Cartoons
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Khalil Dokanchi, Department of Politics, Law, and Justice
ABSTRACT:  Throughout the 1,000 days of siege in Sarajevo the United Nations struggled to intervene and end the ethnic cleansing and aggression on Bosnian Muslims.  The UN played an important interventional role and strived to provide enforced safe zones, peacekeeping troops and humanitarian aid and drafted several peace treaties.  Yet the success of the UN's intervention strategy during the conflict remains controversial for several reasons.  Sarajevo's daily newspaper ran regular political cartoons that tended to portray the UN's actions as more destructive than constructive.  Analysis of these cartoons reflects how the citizens of Sarajevo believe the UN failed to intervene successfully during the siege, and how Bosnian people suffered immensely from this failure.  This paper analyzes three issues addressed by these political cartoons: UN complicity with the Serbian aggressor, the failure of UN-enforced "safe zones" and lack of success in the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Nicole Patnaude
Social Work
Youth in Foster Care
Faculty Mentor: Ms. Elizabeth Blue, Department of Human Behavior and Diversity
ABSTRACT:  This project was conducted with youth who have participated in the Northwood Children's Services Therapeutic Foster Care program since its inception.  It was a mailed survey to which nine youth responded.  Generally speaking, the youth rated their experiences positively.