2006 McNair Scholars at UW-Superior

2006 McNair Scholars Program Research

Stephanie Ebnet
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ralph Seelke, Natural Sciences Department

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 dows result in improved growth rates. The reversion rate of single inactivating mutations was also investigated.


Jamie Houk
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nancy Minahan, Human Behavior, Justice and Diversity Department

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 attachments 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
Faculty Mentor: Ms. Laura Jacbos, Writing, Reading and Library Science Department

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
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Steve Rosenberg, 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.


Chaw Moua
Faculty Mentor: Ms. Elizabeth Twining- Blue, Human Behavior, Justice and Diversity Department

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
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Karl Bahm, Social Inquiry Department

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.

Jessica Unkelhaeuser
Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Twining Blue, Human Behavior, Justice and Diversity Department

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 overrepresented 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.