2020 Academic Conference

The annual Academic Conference provides an opportunity for Saint Vincent College students to publicly present their research and creative works. At the Saint Vincent College Academic Conference, students present, in oral or poster format, on their senior thesis research, significant class projects, service learning activities, internships and study abroad experiences. Students and faculty also organize sessions of musical performances and poetry readings and many visual arts students display paintings and sculptures.

This event showcases the magnificent work our students do and celebrates their accomplishments. In addition, the Academic Conference accentuates much of what makes Saint Vincent a special place, providing evidence of close student-faculty relationships, highlighting research opportunities and representing the many facets of the liberal arts.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic and the shift to remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester, this year's presentations were completed virtually. Despite the circumstances and in true Saint Vincent fashion, our students embraced the challenge and delivered fantastic presentations. The sections below contain information and links to view a number of this year's presentations, and more will be added throughout the remainder of the spring semester.

  • Anthropology
    • Helena Zrile

      Project Title: The Effects of Food-Related Stress and Food Insecurity on College Students
      View Presentation Here
      Abstract:
      Over the past few years, researchers have measured food insecurity, a limited access to nutritious foods, on college campuses and the reasons student face this issue. The colleges and universities that were studied for this research were large urban schools and community colleges. At Saint Vincent College, a rural college, food insecurity is not as prevalent, since most students live in the dormitories. While food insecurity is still present at Saint Vincent, students who live on and off campus face food-related stress, which can vary between snacking and missing meals, to not having the financial stability to purchase food. This research is to understand why food-related stress happens on campus
      Primary Advisor:
      Dr. Elaine Bennett
      Primary Discipline:
      Anthropology


  • AR330 Digital Photography & Post-Production
    • Br. Placid Sellers

      Project Title: Fibonacci Project Poster Description
      View The Project Here

      Project Title: Fibonacci Sequence & Golden Ratio
      Click Here To View The Project
      Abstract: I am a monk and professor, grateful for the opportunity to share insights in capturing and presenting images of beauty and creativity that might otherwise be overlooked.
      in this presentation i wished to provide the students of the Saint Vincent College Digital Photography & Post-Production course the opportunity to present their interpretations of: "Fibonacci & Mathematics presented in the Beauty of Nature and Imagery: A Blending of the Arts and Science".
      brother placid sellers
      Primary Advisor: Mr. Thomas Octave
      Primary Discipline: Other
      Secondary Discipline: Digital Media
    • Lauren Gamble
      Project Title: A Rosey Fibonacci Sequence
      Click Here To View The Project
      Abstract: Lauren Gamble is a sophomore Communication major with a minor in Marketing and Digital Arts/Media at Saint Vincent College. In high school, Lauren photographed various sporting events and school activities, in addition to working as an editor on the yearbook staff. From these roles, Lauren’s creativity was further ignited. Today, she works on campus as the photographer and social media coordinator for the women’s basketball team!
      This photograph showcases how a rose is nothing without its sequence... In this case, The Fibonacci Sequence!
      Primary Advisor: Br. Placid Sellers
      Primary Discipline: Art Administration in Performing Arts/Art Education/Art History
            
    • Courtney Maffit 
      Project Title: Lacrosse Fibonacci Project
      Click Here To View The Project
      Abstract: This project is an example of the Fibonacci sequence and equation as a real life example. In this case i took a photo of my sister playing lacrosse and edited to show how the Fibonacci cure matches the picture.
      Primary Advisor: Br. Placid Sellers
      Primary Discipline: Art Administration in Performing Arts/Art Education/Art History
    • Connie DiFrancesco
      Project Title: The Fibonacci Sequence
      Click Here To View The Project
      Abstract: Connie DiFrancesco - Studio Art Major
      Primary Advisor: Br. Placid Sellers
      Primary Discipline: Graphic Design
    • John Ryan McGlinn
      Project Title: Natures Face
      Click Here To View The Project
      Abstract: My name is John McGlinn and I present to you "Natures Face." My sister is the model for my photograph while I used the Fibonacci sequence to show the construction of a face. I am excited to see your reactions and would love to hear your feedback or questions. Thank you for the support!
      Primary Advisor: Br. Placid Sellers
      Primary Discipline: Marketing

    • Abel Taylor
      Project Title: "Fibonacci & Mathematics presented in the Beauty of Nature and Imagery: A Blending of the Arts and Science"
      View The Project Here
      Primary Advisor: Br. Placid Sellers
      Primary Discipline:  Criminology & History
    • Andrew Deaton
      Project Title: "Fibonacci & Mathematics presented in the Beauty of Nature and Imagery: A Blending of the Arts and Science"
      View The Project Here
      Primary Advisor: Br. Placid Sellers
      Primary Discipline: Studio Art

    • Jermel Ward
      Project Title: "Fibonacci & Mathematics presented in the Beauty of Nature and Imagery: A Blending of the Arts and Science"
      View The Project Here
      Primary Advisor: Br. Placid Sellers
    • Joshua Bigelow
      Project Title: "Fibonacci & Mathematics presented in the Beauty of Nature and Imagery: A Blending of the Arts and Science"
      View The Project Here
      Primary Advisor: Br. Placid Sellers
    • Marcus Heredia
      Project Title: "Fibonacci & Mathematics presented in the Beauty of Nature and Imagery: A Blending of the Arts and Science"
      View The Project Here
      Primary Advisor: Br. Placid Sellers
      Primary Discipline: Digital Media

    • Maura Williams
      Project Title: "Fibonacci & Mathematics presented in the Beauty of Nature and Imagery: A Blending of the Arts and Science"
      View The Project Here
      Primary Advisor: Br. Placid Sellers
    • Zachary Paullet
      Project Title: "Fibonacci & Mathematics presented in the Beauty of Nature and Imagery: A Blending of the Arts and Science"
      View The Project Here
      Primary Advisor: Br. Placid Sellers
      Primary Discipline: Communication & Graphic Design
  • Biochemistry
    • Jacob Lex
      Project Title: The Effects of Polymeric Coatings on the Antioxidative Abilities of Cerium Oxide Nanoparticles
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: This experiment was designed to determine the impact that different polymeric coatings can have on cerium oxide nanoparticle’s ability to reduce reactive oxygen species within an in vitro testing environment. The experiment consisted of synthesizing cerium oxide nanoparticles (CeNPs) using three distinct methods each which utilized a different polymeric coating. The experimental method involved synthesizing the CeNPs using polyethylene glycol (PEG), polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), and dextran (DNC) as the different polymeric coatings. After the synthesis of the CeNPs, their ability to reduce reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a constant high ROS environment was tested. This was performed by using Buthionine Sulfoximine (BSO) treatments and 2,7-dichlorofluorescein diacetate dye (DCFDA dye) in an in vitro testing environment.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Steven Gravelle
      Primary Discipline: Biochemistry
    • Robert Lynn
      Project Title: Zirconium Oxide: A Nanoparticle for Antimicrobial Agents?
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: In the following study, the effect of zirconium oxide nanoparticles as an antimicrobial agent on Staphylococcus epidermidis and Escherichia coli was investigated to determine if the heavy transition metal zirconium oxide (ZrO2) can inhibit bacterial growth. Although organic antibiotics were introduced in the mid-20th century as agents to treat bacterial infections, metal compounds like silver have been used for thousands of years. Now that the use of organic antibiotics has reached complications with bacterial evolution, metal-based antimicrobials (MBAs) are again significant to medicine and the scientific community. Over the last decade, researchers have provided evidence for MBAs being effective treatments to prevent bacterial growth. Antibacterial efficacy for ZnO and ZrO2 nanoparticles were determined by a disk diffusion method against Staphylococcus epidermidis and Escherichia coli. A MIC assay was used to determine the sensitivity of the nanoparticles to inhibit bacterial growth.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Steve Gravelle
      Primary Discipline: Biochemistry
  • Bioinformatics
    • Grace Noel
      Project Title: Differential Gene Analysis and Annotation of Genes Involved in the Nephrotoxicity Response
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: Around 3-7% of hospitalizations in the US are due to adverse drug reactions (ADRs), and during hospitalizations these ADRs can occur in 10-20% of cases. The renal system filters bodily wastes (including drug compounds) in order to maintain the proper level of electrolytes, pressure, and pH of the blood. The goal of this study was to generate a list of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) by analyzing the rat kidney microarray files publicly available from the Toxicogenomics Project-Genomics Assisted Toxicity Evaluation system (TG-GATEs) and investigate the biological functions of the resulting DEGs. We analyzed the microarray data from five drugs: acetaminophen, amphotericin B, cisplatin, rifampicin, and omeprazole, and found 63 DEGs between them. We classified these 63 DEGs using Reactome, Pathway Commons  and Gene Ontology. We found that two drugs, cisplatin and omeprazole, had DEGs associated with aflatoxin-processing pathways, indicating a possible source of nephrotoxicity.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Michael Sierk
      Primary Discipline: Bioinformatics
    • Morgan Elrick 
      Project Title: Secondary Structure of the M2 Region of Influenza Virus and Its Potential Effect on Mutation and Evolution
      View Project Here
      Abstract: Influenza is a single-stranded, negative-strand RNA sequence, which makes it different than DNA in the aspect of DNA (Bouvier & Palese, 2008). Based on research done by Gultyeav et al, the goal of this research was to identify if the loops within a predicted secondary structure of the RNA sequence had any effect on mutation rates (Gultyeav, Richard, Spronken, Olsthoorn, & Fouchier, 2019). Areas of the structure that contained loops were hypothesized to mutate more than areas that were not within a loop area. In this study, structures were looked at in both in M2 and the RS1 region of the influenza sequence. Points of loops were compared to percentages of conservation among numerous compiled sequences. Of all points looked at, only three points had low conservation in the M2 research and zero points of low conservation at loops in the RS1 segment. Therefore, the initial hypothesis of a relationship between loops and mutations can be refuted.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Michael Sierk
      Primary Discipline: Bioinformatics
    • Nicholas Chadwick

      Project Title: Comparing Photolytic Repair Mechanisms Between the Tardigrade Species Milnesium tardigradum and Ramazzottius varieornatus
      View The Project Here
      Abstract:
      Recently, the study of tardigrades has gained increasing popularity.  Of particular interest is the process in which tardigrades can survive, called cryptobiosis, since they can potentially be used to bolster survivability of crops and other organisms. Each tardigrade species has differing levels of tolerance to different environmental stressors. Milnesium tardigradum is known to be considerably well rounded in survivability to different environmental extremes. Ramazzottius varieornatus, on the other hand, has been noted to survive high levels of radiation. We sought to find explanation for the difference radiation resistance between these species by analyzing their photolytic repair genes. Analysis revealed the presence of a complete Type II CPD photolyase present in R. varieornatus.  However, M. tardigradum only had a partial Type II CPD photolyase domain in the sequence leading to inconclusive evidence for determining the cause of different resistance levels between the two species.
      Primary Advisor:
      Dr. Michael Sierk
      Primary Discipline:
      Bioinformatics

  • Biology
    •  Kaitlin Ackinclose
      Project Title: Antimicrobial Peptides on Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus Contact Lens Biofilms
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Ocular tissues release antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) as an innate immune system response to protect against infection (Peters et al, 2010). This study investigated two AMPs, human beta-defensin 1 (hBD-1) and human neutrophil peptide 2 (HNP-2), on Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus growth and biofilms.
      Preliminary studies showed mostly no difference in volume alteration, some biofilm differences across bacteria, and some affect of AMP solvent acetic acid. Even at the highest AMP concentration tested (50 µg/mL), no zones of inhibition were seen and no HNP-2 MIC was determined between 1.6 and 12.5 µg/mL. However, the HNP-2 lowered bacterial growth for P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, and the mixed culture. Testing on contact lenses showed similar results: little or no decrease in growth or biofilm formation with HNP-2. This suggests AMPs are not a practical treatment option for ocular infections.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Koehl
      Primary Discipline: Biology
    • Morgan Casto
      Project Title: Determining The Effects Of Metals Present in Acid Mine Drainage On Plant Growth
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Acid mine drainage and the metals contained with it serve as a major environmental concern. The acid mine drainage can harm water quality and be detrimental to plant health. High concentration of metals within acid mine drainage reduces plant growth. Five types of plants were grown:radishes, tomatoes, alfalfa, garden nasturtium, and lacy phacelia. They were divided into three concentration groups: a control that lacks any metals, a low concentration of metal solution, and a high concentration of metals in solution. These solutions consisted of  cadmium chloride, iron (II) sulfate, copper (II) sulfate, lead (II) nitrate, and zinc chloride. Each group was watered daily with their respective treatment for a period of two weeks. After the treatment was completed, the plants were dug up and their roots were cleaned and measured.  At the conclusion of the experiment, the high concentration simulated AMD had the lowest amount of root growth, indicating the metal impact plant growth.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Michelle Duennes
      Primary Discipline: Biology
    • Julian Metro and Moriah McGuier
      Project Title: Electrochemical Detection of Exogenously Administered Melatonin in the Brain
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Melatonin (MT) is an important electroactive hormone that has many different physiological purposes, such as one’s circadian rhythms. Previous studies have found that controlling the concentrations of MT in the brain can help with sleep disorders as well as neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. With the ability to accurately detect MT concentrations in the brain, further applications can be studied to enhance therapeutic effects. Detection of MT has been demonstrated before; however, it has not been in real time as concentrations are altered. In this study, square wave voltammetry (SWV) is optimized to allow detection of MT at various concentrations using Carbon Fiber Electrodes (CFE), both in vitro and vivo. At a peak of 0.7 V, a MT current peak was isolated for detection from the other interferents in the brain. More importantly, there was an optimal waveform used in this study that can now be used in the future for further experiments on MT detection.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. James Kellam
      Secondary Advisor: Dr. I. Mitch Taylor
      Primary Discipline:
      Biology
    • Stephanie Vaughn
      Project Title: Reestablishment of the Gut Microbiome following Antibiotic Treatment with Probiotic Bacteria
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: A disruption, or dysbiosis, of the homeostatic conditions of the gut microbiome can occur from infection or subsequent treatment like antibiotics (Buret, et al, 2019; Francino, 2015). Probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus species, can restore the gut microbiome (Khavari-Daneshvar, et al, 2017). In this study, probiotic supplement on antibiotic-treated rats was tested to see if the microbiome could be restored. Sixteen rats were separated into: no treatment, probiotic supplements, antibiotic-injections, and probiotic-plus-antibiotic injection. Two bacteria colonies were discovered. Colony 1 had significantly higher concentration (p=0.0015) than Colony 2. However, contrary to predictions, rats injected with antibiotics had a higher concentration of bacteria found in their cecum compared to the other three groups. The data also showed a positive correlation between the cecum weight and number of cecum bacteria. Overall, this study did not offer positive support for probiotic use.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Koehl
      Primary Discipline: Biology
    • Austin Sige
      Project Title: The Effects of Crude Oil on the Fitness of Mollies (Poecilia latipinna) and Zebrafish (Danio rerio)
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Oil pollution is a major problem in oceanic environments as it often goes unreported and has deleterious effects on marine life. I hypothesize that crude oil exposure negatively impacts the fitness of marine animals. I will use mollies (Poecilia latipinna) and zebrafish (Danio rerio) as model organisms to test the effects of crude oil on behavior, nutrition, and strength. Fish will be placed in a brackish solution (6% seawater) to represent a marine environment and help void disease. Crude oil will be added in 1 ppt and 10 ppt concentrations. The fitness of the mollies and zebrafish will be assessed via endurance swim testing, behavior and feeding analyses, PCR relative gene expression, and protein assays. The objective of my research is to promote the cleanup of oil in a timely manner by observing the negative effects it can have on marine animals within a relatively short time frame.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Michelle Duennes
      Primary Discipline: Biology
    • Hannah Wheeler and Makayla McCandless
      Project Title: The Effects of Infrasonic Sound Waves and the Administration of Probiotics on Stress, Anxiety, and Brain Physiology through Social Defeat in Female Mice
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Chronic stress over time can lead to symptoms of anxiety in humans. Many sources have cited how prescription drugs can help alleviate symptoms, but the field of research on holistic approaches to treatment is just beginning. This study researched the possible anxiolytic effects of Infrasonic sound waves as well as treatment through the administration of a probiotic yogurt containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus. The mechanism of social defeat was induced in female mice to observe the physiological stress response. Behavioral, chemical, and physiological tests were performed to test changes in the mice throughout the experiment. It was hypothesized that both treatment methods would decrease the physical stress response. Infrasonic sound waves would decrease corticosterone levels. Probiotics were hypothesized to increase peripheral serotonin and decrease corticosterone levels. Results showed that while some expected trends were followed, there was some deviation, which was inconclusive.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Michael Rhodes
      Primary Discipline: Biology
    • Natalie Pavlick  
      Project Title: The Effects of Jasmine Essential Oil, Methyl Jasmonate, and Passiflora Incarnata on Memory and Stress in Mice after Sleep Deprivation
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Sleep deprivation is a common symptom of sleep disorders, which affect millions of Americans year-round, and even more individuals throughout the world. Sleep deprivation is often characterized by increased depressive behavior and stress, as well as decreased memory function. This experiment attempted to determine the effect several treatments have on memory and stress following sleep deprivation. This was attempted through the administration of treatments during or before sleep deprivation before using common behavioral tests to determine the treatments’ effects on memory and stress, the results of which were compared to data from the control groups, which received placebos. The behavioral tests used were the novel object recognition test (NOR), the holeboard test (HBT), and the forced swim test (FST). The broader implications of this study provide indications as to the effectiveness of traditional/homeopathic substances on the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation in mice models.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Michael Rhodes
      Primary Discipline: Biology 
    • Rachael Sarnowski 
      Project Title: The Relationship Between Manganese Concentrations in Tufted Titmouse Feathers and the Distance from a Metal Processing Plant
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Human exploitation of manganese has led to an increase in manganese pollution in industrial areas. Overexposure to manganese can cause manganism in humans and detrimental behaviors in chicks. This paper looked to see if higher concentrations of manganese in feathers would be found in areas with known manganese pollution than in areas without known manganese pollution. The concentrations of manganese were assessed using feathers of Tufted Titmice, collected within two areas in western Pennsylvania. One area was in close proximity to a known manganese polluter and the other area was not in close proximity to a known manganese polluter. Using the microwave plasma-atomic emission spectrometer, it was found that Tufted Titmouse tail feathers in industrial areas had a significantly greater concentration of manganese than the tail feathers collected in areas without industrial pollution.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. James Kellam
      Primary Discipline: Biology
    • Nicolena Girvin
      Project Title: Using DNA to Explore Disease Transmission From Trout Hatcheries to Wild Fish
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: With an increase in commercially farmed fish, the spread of specific diseases, including Flavobacterium columnare, is becoming more common. Through genetic analysis and comparing it to previously known genetic markers, testing fish from both the wild waterways and hatcheries will annoy the gathering of qualitative data on the spread of disease. With the access of several species of fish, the amplification and sequencing of a color gene was done in order to compare the species to susceptibility to getting this pathogen. PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, allows for the amplification of the targeted gene. Following PCR, gel electrophoresis is done in order to identify different size particles, such as proteins and to ensure samples were testing positive for bacteria.In the end, comparison between the presence and absence of genetic markers will be done between hatchery raised trout, which will lead to the ability to determine the start of disease.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Michelle Duennes
      Primary Discipline: Biology
    • Joseph Heath
      Project Title: Development of a Cost Effective CRISPR/Cas9 Transfection Protocol for use in Danio rerio
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: CRISPR/Cas9 is a cutting-edge genome editing tool with a variety of uses and applications. Though the theoretical applications of this technology are easily accessible, the process of utilizing it in a laboratory setting is somewhat daunting. This study examines the use of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing in zebrafish (Danio rerio), which are an ideal model organism for this technique. The CRISPR/Cas9 components (gRNA and Cas9 RNA) were delivered through the novel use of a lipofectamine reagent. The genes edited during this investigation were IGF-1 and SLC45A2. IGF-1 was mutated in the region of the genome encoding the protein’s E-Domain, highlighting its importance. The SLC45A2 gene generated a mutation that impacted a solute carrier commonly found in melanocytes, leading to a form of oculocutaneous albinism. Each of these mutations provided insight on both the developmental process of the zebrafish and the utilization CRISPR/Cas9 in the species
      Primary Advisor: Br. Albert Gahr O.S.B.
      Primary Discipline: Biology

    • Justin Hoffman
      Project Title: Characterization of Semaphorin 3A Based Motor Neuron Degradation Via Quantitative PCR and Axonal Growth Cone Assessment
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a lethal, progressive neurodegenerative disease. In the familial form of this disease mutation and overexpression of SOD1 and increased intracellular signaling by Semaphorin 3A results in motor neuron degradation. It was hypothesized that blocking Semaphorin 3A signaling would decrease the expression of mutant SOD1 gene and protect motor neurons . To test this, Semaphorin 3A protein was added to cultured wild type or mutant SOD1 mouse motor neurons in the presence or absence of either a blocking antibodies to Semaphorin 3A or its receptor Neuropilin-1. Interestingly, treatment with Semaphorin 3a protein did not upregulate SOD1 expression or substantially enhance the expression of downstream genes NADH, GUC1A1, and PLXNA1in either cell type. Blocking antibodies decreased expression of these genes, to a greater extent in wild type than mutant cells. Antibody treatment maintained neurite growth cones, while Semaphorin 3A alone reduced growth cones.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Bruce Bethke
      Primary Discipline: Biology
    • Louis Bou Samra
      Project Title: Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid Acts to induce Wound Healing
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a large chain polymer found throughout extracellular matrix. It exists in low or high weight forms depending on states of injury. This experiment tested the effects of high and low weight HA on wound healing in HFF-1 (Human Foreskin Fibroblast) cells in culture. We utilized scratch assays, immunofluorescent receptor capping, and gene expression of genes implicated in wound healing. Low weight HA was hypothesized to have a significant effect on wound healing, receptor compartmentalization, gene expression. Monocultures were scratched and given high or low weight HA, and wound void repopulation was analyzed at 24 and 48 hours. Receptor compartmentalization of TGF-βRI at 24 hours was analyzed by immunofluorescence. Expression of ID-1 and ID-3 at 24 and 48 hours were measured by real-time PCR in low and high weight-treated cells. Low weight HA was found to have significant effects on void repopulation, receptor compartmentalization, and gene expression.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Bruce Bethke
      Primary Discipline: Biology

    • Sabrina Defeo
      Project Title: Probiotic Organisms as Mitigators of Intestinal Enteropathy in a Rodent Model of Celiac Disease
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Celiac disease is an illness that affects 1% of the human population internationally. The disease manifests due to an autoimmune response triggered by gliadin, a grain protein in the gluten family, and leads to intestinal enteropathy and malnourishment. This study investigated the protective role of gut mycobiota and microbiota in the development of an induced celiac state. It was hypothesized that the consumption of the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii and the bacterium Bifidobacterium longum by neonatal Wistar rats fed gliadin protein would reduce gliadin-induced intestinal enteropathy compared to rats fed gliadin alone. This was expected to be manifested through increased intestinal villus lengths, decreased villus widths, and decreased gastric expression of the hormone ghrelin. The data indicates that litters treated with probiotic organisms gained a greater amount of weight than untreated animals, but less than that of pups who solely received gliadin. Ghrelin expression was expected.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Bruce Bethke
      Primary Discipline: Biology
  • Chemistry
    • Morgan Rittenhouse
      Project Title: Antibacterial properties of anthocyanins in elderberries
      Click Here To View The Presentation
      Abstract: There is an increasing global trend toward the efficient, inexpensive, and environmentally reasonable consumption of agricultural and food byproducts. y. Specifically, phytochemicals can have health promoting or medicinal properties in fresh fruit.  Among berries, fruits of the Sambucus species have the highest total phenolic and anthocyanin contents. Column chromatography separated the anthocyanins from the filtrates of the elderberry produced. The separated anthocyanins were analyzed through HPLC to determine which flavonoid compounds were extracted and the percentages obtained.Kirby-Bauer disk diffraction was executed to measure the zone of inhibition to conclude the antibacterial properties of elderberries. If the results prove effective, the prospective outcome of this experiment would support environmental concerns and potentially assist a healthy environment by using more sustainable ingredients rather than synthetic.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Daryle Fish
      Primary Discipline: Chemistry
    • Gina Coldren 
      Project Title: Enzyme-Assisted Extraction of Anthocyanins from Strawberry Matter + Sample Cleanup Study
      Click Here To View The Presentation
      Abstract: Antioxidants are important in the human body for their ability to reduce free radicals, which cause harm to cells, by donating electrons to unpaired electrons.  Anthocyanins are a form of antioxidant commonly found in fruits and vegetables. The purpose of this research is to optimize an enzyme-assisted extraction to remove Cyanidin-3-glucoside from strawberry matter. The procedure for this experiment includes prepping 100ppm aliquots of the enzyme β-glucosidase and adding it to 10 grams of a frozen strawberry puree.  The enzyme will act as the catalyst to break down strawberry matter and remove anthocyanins in a Soxhlet extraction that runs for 24 hours with methanol as its solvent.  The methanol will be evaporated off of the product with the use of a rotary evaporator, and the sugars will be removed from the sample through the use of a solid-phase extraction C8 column. The extracted anthocyanin will be analyzed using an HPLC.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. I. Mitch Taylor
      Primary Discipline: Chemistry
    • Jenna Answine
      Project Title: Synthesis of a Local Anesthetic Derivative
      Click Here To View The Presentation
      Abstract: Local anesthetics such as benzocaine have great utility in medicine. Benzocaine gets metabolized in the body to produce p-amino benzoic acid (PABA), which causes some people to have allergic reactions. This project aimed at synthesizing and characterizing a local anesthetic derivative by altering the structure of the lipophilic ring on benzocaine. The lipophilic ring was chosen because it is typically the area that is more likely to cause side effects. Such modification of the target molecule should prevent it from being metabolized into a chemical that can cause an allergic reaction. The synthetic scheme was a 3-step process that utilized a click reaction. In particular, the design used the Huisgen 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition of an azide and a terminal alkyne in the final step of the synthesis due to its high product yields and simplicity. The products were isolated and characterized using H-NMR and GC-MS.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Jason Vohs
      Primary Discipline: Chemistry
    • Alexander Kidwell
      Project Title: Synthesis of Ni-Pd nanoparticles for use as a catalyst in the hydrogenation of Carvone
      Click Here To View The Presentation
      Abstract: Bimetallic nanoparticles are important to catalysis due to their larger surface area leading to more possibilities for varying the structure of the product in a reaction. In reduction reactions with a catalyst one or more functional groups undergo selectivity changes that usually result in one or more double bonds in the structure being reduced. Carvone is used in reduction reactions as it contains three double bonds capable of selective reduction. The three double bonds of carvone allow for a better insight to simulate how a double bond reduces when exposed to a bimetallic surface.The overall goal of this experiment is to synthesize Ni-Pd nanoparticles, design a magnetic support, use the supported bimetallic nanoparticles that are prepared as a catalyst in the hydrogenation of carvone, and simulate what occurs when two metals are used in a hydrogenation reaction.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Jason Vohs
      Primary Discipline:
      Chemistry
    • Tyler Foradori
      Project Title: The Effects of Combining Caffeic Acid with Selenium Nanoparticles on Their Ability to Inhibit Amyloid-β Aggregation In Vitro
      Click Here To View The Presentation
      Abstract: In this study the effects that combined caffeic acid selenium nanoparticles have on the aggregation of amyloid-β fragments were investigated. The synthesis of these nanoparticles was attempted by reducing a mixture of caffeic acid and sodium selenite with sodium borohydride. The analysis of how these nanoparticles affected aggregation was done through a Thioflavin T assay. Normal selenium nanoparticles and a simple caffeic acid solution served as controls. The primary goal of the study was to observe if combining antioxidants onto the surface of the nanoparticles enhanced their aggregation inhibition capabilities. Based off the results of this study, a combination of the antioxidant caffeic acid and selenium nanoparticles is not as effective at inhibiting aggregation as the antioxidant alone. These results could have significant implications on the future treatments of diseases involving the aggregation of proteins, in particular Alzheimer’s Disease.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Steven Gravelle
      Primary Discipline: Chemistry
    • Zelie Hummer
      Project Title: Synthesis of Thiazole Analogues of Fluoxetine
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: The structures of antifungal and antidepressant drugs have surprising similarities, although they are used for very different purposes. However, this link has not been fully investigated. Imidazole analogues of the antidepressant fluoxetine, commonly known as Prozac, have been shown to exhibit antifungal properties. Thiazole has also been used in compounds that exhibit both antidepressant and antifungal properties. Therefore, thiazole analogues of fluoxetine may have potential as either antifungal or antidepressant drugs. The synthesis of three thiazole analogues of fluoxetine with different aromatic substituents was done over the course of a 4-step procedure, first constructing the skeleton of fluoxetine and then replacing the amine group with a thiazole group. The results of the synthesis of the three compounds will be presented.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Jason Vohs
      Primary Discipline: Chemistry
  • Computing and Information Systems
    • Christian Caruso, Martin de Ribeaux and Jordan Wenturine  
      Project Title: Saint Vincent College Weather Station
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: When it comes to the weather, a few degrees of variance can signify a big difference on a college campus, where walking to class can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. At present, the Saint Vincent community relies on outside sources to provide weather data. The Saint Vincent College Weather Station (SVCWS) senior project group has built a functioning weather unit capable of measuring the wind speed, wind direction, humidity, temperature, and rain fall directly on campus. To accompany the unit, the SVCWS has designed and implemented a database for long term storage of weather readings, as well as a website to display the readings and provide a repository of data to viewers. The database repository will support anyone interested in past data or in developing skills in classes such as, data analytics.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Cynthia Martincic
      Secondary Advisor: Dr. Anthony Serapiglia
      Primary Discipline: Computer Science
    • Ryan Marks, Sophia Sommers, Nicholas Winter and Matthew Wojtechko 
      Project Title: Hamplify: The Amateur Radio Companion
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: This project is a prototype developed to make amateur radio more accessible. Currently, amateur radio requires hobbyists to take on a steep learning curve of technical proficiency and equipment—something that Hamplify will overcome. When fully implemented, Hamplify will be an application that accesses server-side radios to allow users to have friendly conversations with strangers all over the world and band together regardless of distance. As an initial proof of concept, this project implements a social media platform that serves as a companion tool for amateur radio hobbyists. Hamplify streamlines the social, non-radio tasks that hobbyists do, like keeping track of friends, coordinating meetup times, and finding people across the world currently available to talk. The Hamplify development team made the front-end with EJS and created an SQLite database for the backend. Users of the project are authenticated by querying the FCC’s database of those licensed to use amateur radio.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Cynthia Martincic
      Secondary Advisor: Dr. William Birmingham
      Primary Discipline: Computing and Information Systems
  • Criminology, Law, & Society
    • Tayia Bush
      Project Title: Juvenile Delinquency, the General Theory of Crime, and ART Curriculum
      View The Project Here
      Read The Presentation Notes Here
      Abstract:  Aggression Replacement Training (ART) has been proven to reduce the rates of crime among juvenile offenders. Juvenile delinquents that participate in the ART curriculum often begin with low levels of self-control based on pre-test scores. The youth participate in three different tests; the How I Think (HIT) Questionnaire, the Skillstreaming Checklist, and the Anger Questionnaire. Once the 10-week program is complete, the juveniles participate in a post-test. The post-test will show the effectiveness of ART. ART has been found to increase scores in all three tests. After completing ART, 82% of participants do not re-offend after release. This information can be used to implement policies regarding the ART curriculum in residential and community-based facilities for juvenile delinquents everywhere.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Bruce Antkowiak
      Primary Discipline: Criminology, Law, & Society
    • Jessica Gibbs
      Project Title: Social Learning Theory, the Media, and Decarceration Progress: An Analysis
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: The United States incarcerates more individuals than any other country in the world and, because of this, many states are now experiencing a financial crisis and overcrowding in their institutions. This has led to a bipartisan recognition that something must be done to reduce prison populations--yet progress is being made on a very small scale. In this paper, I discuss how the media contributes to the slow pace of decarceration through social learning theory. I also discuss what decarceration could look like if done on a larger scale, combining a variety of methods to reduce prison populations.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Bruce Antkowiak
      Primary Discipline: Criminology, Law, & Society

    • Adam Paredes
      Project Title: Areas Susceptible to Violent Crime: A Social Learning Perspective
      View The Project Here
      Read The Presentation Notes Here
      Abstract: The continuance of violent crime in America has undergone drastic fluctuation when assessing the total number of occurrences annually. Though occurrences have both increased rapidly and decreased dramatically, one consistency remains the same, which is the continuously high rate of violence within areas of certain major cities like St. Louis, Oakland, Baltimore, Detroit and Memphis. There is the combination of factors which elude to why such cities continuously dwarf national rates of homicide, rape and aggravated assault. Why are such cities havens for this type of behavior? The answer to such lies within the identifying factors of these areas and provides opportunity for such behavior to desist. If there is the evaluation of the most dangerous and prolific locations in violent crime there will be opportunity to address the issue nationally, furthering our progress in combatting violence.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Bruce Antkowiak
      Primary Discipline: Criminology, Law, & Society

  • EL165 Literary Dublin
    • George Howard, Millicent Caffrey, Irina Rusanova, Olivia Williams, Tanner DeTesta, Chloe Todd, Kolby Hanan, Halle Blair, Meghan Horrell, Jacob Snizik, Elijah Urban, Laura Horn, Kim Horn, Paige Thatcher, Johanna Philips, Jared Holmes and Andrew Vecchio
      Project Title: Literary Dublin: A Live Presentation
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Student presentations for the course Literary Dublin, which included a Spring Break trip to Ireland in March 2020, were given by students on April 22nd via Zoom.  The topics of the student presenters are listed below.
      George Howard: Overview of the Ireland trip
      Millicent Caffrey: Irish Architecture
      Irina Rusanova: A History of Celtic Oral Traditions
      Olivia Williams, Tanner DeTesta, Chloe Todd:  County Sligo: Yeats Country
      Kolby Hanan and Halle Blair: Patrick Pearse and the Easter Rising.
      Meghan Horrell: Women of the Easter Rising.
      Jacob Snizik and Elijah Urban: Kilmainham Jail--Historical and Literary Elements.
      Laura Horn and Kim Horn: The Gaelic Revival.
      Paige Thatcher, Johanna Philips, Jared Holmes, and Andrew Vecchio: The Abbey Theater
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Dennis McDaniel
      Primary Discipline: Literature

  • ENG 115 Introduction to Engineering Computation
    • Leonel Cuello

      Project Title: Half Torus-Shaped Clear Apartment Enclosure
      View The Project Here
      Primary Advisor:
      Br. David Carlson O.S.B.
      Primary Discipline:
      Engineering

  • Engineering
    • Salvatore Zuber, Anthony Berardelli, Nicholas Banko, Jake Mortimore and Brandon Reno
      Project Title: Academic Conference Poster Holder
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Saint Vincent College currently uses custom made poster hangers to hang posters for their annual academic conference. These hangers have begun to wear down and break with no way to repair or replace them. This design report outlines the design process and designs of new hangers to be used by Saint Vincent College. No commercially available options are viable for the needs we need to fulfill. Four designs were created as possible solutions to this design problem. After completing a decision matrix and discussing our options the screw clamp design was determined to be the optimal solution to the problem. This design uses a screw to hold a poster against a flat plate. This design is designed to fit perfectly onto the wall molding and can be easily fixed with 3-D printing. This design is easy to use as well as easy to store. This report will further document our design process as well as inputs we received from stakeholders and peers.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Derek Breid
      Primary Discipline:
      Engineering Science
    • Tyler Condrasky  
      Project Title: Ideal Gas Law MATLAB Script
      Presentation Links To Come
      Abstract: Assuming that a sample of an ideal gas contains 1 mol of molecules at a temperature of 273 K,
      A) The program calculates and prints out the volume of this gas as its pressure varies from 1 to 1001 kPa in steps of 100 kPa.
      B) The program calculates and prints out the volume of this gas as its temperature ranges from 270 to 320 K in 50 increments
      Primary Advisor: Br. David Carlson O.S.B.
      Primary Discipline: Engineering Science
    • Lauren Serafin, Sydney Green, Grace Tavitas, Mary Maceda and Carlie Neiderhiser
      Project Title: Simplifying Trash Bag Tying
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: For our Engineering Design class, we were tasked with applying what we learned in lecture to design a device that can help Bearcat B.E.S.T. students tie a full trash bag. We mainly focused on the issue of the level of dexterity of some of the students’ hands, and the obstacles they encountered while tying a trash bag. In order to develop a solution to this problem, our team began to conduct research that would be useful in forming possible devices. We met with the program’s supervisor, Amy Hildebrand, to receive input that would help us define the problem. From there we developed our problem definition and started to brainstorm ideas that would address the customer needs. After our initial ideation process, we built a few prototypes to be tested and improved to successfully solve the problem at hand. Finally, we narrowed down the selection to one potentially successful design, but unfortunately, we were unable to produce this design due to the current circumstances (COVID-19).
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Derek Breid
      Primary Discipline: Engineering Science
    • Jordan Joseph, Amanda Michel, Austin Bertok, Nicholas Pietrusinski and Reese Capo

      Project Title: Designing the B.E.S.T. Bag Tying Device
      View The Project Here
      Abstract:
      This project involved working with the Bearcat B.E.S.T. (Building Excellence through Skills Training) program, to create a device which assists disabled individuals with tying multiple types of trash bags while being discrete and easy to learn. Our work involved engaging stakeholders through staff meetings and observing different Bearcat B.E.S.T. student’s bag tying techniques. These observations helped illustrate each student's disability and its impact on this component of their vocational training. After doing some market research, we came up with a few initial design concepts and presented them to our stakeholders during a progress meeting and presentation. Stakeholder feedback influenced the House of Quality analysis which helped direct a more effective brainstorming session. The COVID-19 Pandemic presented many obstacles to prototyping and testing our device. Our final report includes the newest SolidWorks design and schematic drawing as well as suggestions for prototyping and testing procedures conducted by next year’s design team.
      Primary Advisor:
      Dr. Derek Breid
      Primary Discipline:
      Engineering Science

    • Austin Reder, Tanner Yard and Collin Neville

      Project Title: An Analysis on Power Generation and Cost Effects from Solar Panel Arrays Installed at Westmoreland County Food Bank
      View The Project Here
      Abstract:
      Westmoreland County Food Bank (WCFB) is a non-for-profit organization which supplies food and household necessities to 16,500 disadvantaged residents of Westmoreland County per month. All donations are stocked at the food bank’s 40,000 square-foot facility. Utility costs in running refrigeration and lighting systems continue to diminish yearly profits. Recently, WCFB board of directors proposed an investment in solar panel arrays to reduce monthly utility expenses and the total electricity consumed from local power grids. This project scope focused on a cost-benefit analysis comparing the array’s total cost with its yearly electrical output. This analysis should help the board of directors decide on the value of an alternative energy investment. Research was conducted on solar panel mechanics, inverter effectiveness, product and installation costs, safety protocols, and design drafting to rationalize the investment. Agreed decisions on a sufficient array system remain inconclusive.
      Primary Advisor:
      Dr. Derek Breid
      Primary Discipline:
      Engineering Science

    • Emily Kraisinger, Nathan Rizza, Michael Eric, Pennella Moresea and Zachary Kuzel
      Project Title: Clips R Us
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: The purpose of the project is to design reusable clips that will hold posters for the Academic Conference which occurs every year in the Dupre Science Pavilion. The clips that were previously used had design flaws which caused them to break after a certain number of uses. The design that our group came up with used part of the old design and a new one.
      We designed two iterations of the reusable clips, one was a bendable version, and the other was a corkboard designed to be used with thumbtacks. Each iteration was designed on SolidWorks with the idea of eventually printing 3D models, in which we intended to use during this year's Academic Conference. Using a software like SolidWorks would allow the consumer (SVC) to produce more clips whenever they are needed.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Derek Breid
      Primary Discipline: Engineering Science

    • Matthew Bohrer, Morgan Smith and Justina Whipkey
      Project Title: Development of a Soft Robotics Pole Climbing Device
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: The implementation of adaptive materials in robotics in recent years has led to a subcategory known as soft robotics. The goal of this project was to create a functioning soft robotics pole climbing device. Originally, the device was intended to be used to research soft robotics implementation in the construction field. After development of an initial prototype, the goal became researching how the device could be used for repairs to portions of infrastructure. Research was conducted on the properties of soft materials, actuators, and climbing mechanics. The team created blueprints and developed the Origami Stepper design. Using modeling software, 3D printers, and silicone, the team created a successful prototype. To improve functionality, automated pumps were implemented. The plan was to then coat the plastic bag grips with a layer of silicone. Unfortunately, the team could not create a successful automated device due to the unforeseen effects of SARS-CoV-2.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Derek Breid
      Primary Discipline: Engineering

    • Jordan Joseph, Claire Galvin and Taylor Boring
      Project Title: Reducing Household Air Pollution through Improved Cookstove Interventions and High Impact Household Improvement Programs
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Traditional three-stone fires used by Guatemalan families produce harmful levels of household air pollution which have social, environmental, and economic impacts. Guatemalan families spend up to 40% of their household income on firewood and both the deforestation rate and price of firewood have surged in recent years. The ONIL improved cookstove has been shown to decrease wood consumption by up to 70% and significantly reduce household air pollution attributable to traditional cooking methods. Our project involved working closely with the Organization for the Development of the Indigenous Maya (ODIM) to assist them with the air quality component of their High Impact Household Improvement (HIHI) program. Analyzing pre-installation and post-intervention air quality data from 12 participant family homes showed notable reductions in both small and large particulate matter. The findings of our study may support ODIM in acquiring additional grant funding and inform them of other low-cost, high impact mitigation strategies.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Derek Breid
      Primary Discipline: Engineering
  • Environmental Science
    • Emanuel Flores
      Project Title: A Comparison of Pesticide Toxicity in Zebrafish
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: The effects of the commercial herbicide atrazine on invertebrate and aquatic animal species is well documented, and its widespread use raises concerns about its effect on the environment, especially aquatic ecosystems. Neem Oil and other organic pesticides are widely used in organic agriculture and like atrazine, it is important to analyze the potential ecological effects of these pesticides on local freshwater ecosystems. In this study, 30 Danio rerio (zebrafish) were used as a model organism to assess the potential effects of acute exposure to atrazine and neem oil in a freshwater aquatic ecosystem. Zebrafish were exposed to sub-lethal concentrations of neem oil and atrazine for 96hrs, exercised using a swimming endurance test, given a 96hr recovery period, and finally sacrificed for cortisol, in order to gauge stress on the zebrafish. The results showed there was no significant difference in cortisol levels or endurance test times between the control, atrazine, and neem groups.
      Primary Advisor: Br. Albert Gahr O.S.B.
      Secondary Advisor: Dr. Peter Smyntek
      Primary Discipline: Environmental Science
    • Casey Markle
      Project Title: Comparing the Efficiency of Phosphate Removal in Lake Water of Two Iron Treatments
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Oxidized iron is known to precipitate phosphorus out of water via adsorption. Methods reported the use of iron oxide or iron hydroxide to treat an abundance of phosphorus as phosphate in water. A concise comparison of both iron oxide and iron hydroxide and their capacity to precipitate phosphorus out of solution has yet to be reported. Further, there is limited review determining the effects of the removal of total phosphorus on algal abundance in lake water. This study investigated both iron species and their capacity to remove phosphorus from spiked Saint Vincent Lake water samples and monitored the concentration of chlorophyll a as an indicator of algae abundance. While phosphate was effectively removed from samples treated with either iron species, algae remained prevalent in lake water samples. Phosphate was removed from the lake water below the lower detection limit of the ion chromatogram. Iron hydroxide appeared to visually precipitate phosphorous faster than iron oxide.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Peter Smyntek
      Primary Discipline: Environmental Science
    • Niah Wolfe
      Project Title: Effects of Electronic Cigarette Liquids (e-juice) on Pea Plants
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Nicotine consumption through electronic cigarettes has become a widespread habit across many age groups in the United States.  This has caused more waste from these products to be introduced into the environment. Many of these products are littered into the environment around us. The purpose of this study was to observe the effects of  electronic cigarette liquids (e-juice) on the growth and health of pea plants. Substantial effects from this e-juice liquid on the plants were observed during several experiments, including rapid wilting and death. The potential dangers to the environment from this e-juice waste are discussed in this presentation.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Peter Smyntek
      Primary Discipline: Environmental Science
    • Joshua Soliday
      Project Title: Pheromones in Pest-Control
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: Pest-control typically involves a reduction in population for insects resulting in changes to the ecology of the habitat.  Ant pheromones have insect repelling properties, a compound in these pheromones: 3-Ethyl-2,5-dimethylpyrazine, is also present in coffee which may be able to repel insects when applied to crops.  In this experiment one plant is sprayed with a coffee solution and another is not.  The insects (Manduca sexta) are then added to the tanks to determine which plant is the most likely to be consumed and if so, to see how pronounced the effects are.  The results of the study showed that the Manduca sexta were more likely to consume the leaves that did not have a coffee solution applied to them.  The coffee solution deterred the Manduca sexta from the experimental plant, protecting them in the process.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Caryl Fish
      Primary Discipline: Environmental Science

    • Kaitlin Essig
      Project Title: Phytoremediation: Soils Contaminated with Organochlorine Pesticides
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: This research study examined the scientific technique of phytoremediation for environmental pollutants. Soybeans were proposed as possible phytoremediators of chlorobenzene, a persistent organic pollutant. This study lasted approximately 18 weeks. Subjects were grown in the controlled environment of a greenhouse and samples were analyzed in an analytical chemistry lab setting. Quantitatively, soybeans were unable to phytoremediate the chlorobenzene from the soil. Qualitatively, plants exposed to a higher concentration of chlorobenzene withered and browned more easily than those exposed to a lower concentration of chlorobenzene. This study is relevant in the field of environmental science, especially in agriculture, bio-dynamic food production, and environmental remediation.
      Primary Advisor: Ms. Angela Belli
      Primary Discipline: Environmental Science

    • Matthew Balas
      Project Title: Remediation of Acid Rain in Plants and Soils using Coffee Grounds
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: The damage done to plant life after exposure to acid deposition, due to climate change, is a growing issue for the international environmental and farming community. Damage occurs in plant tissues and soil via the loss of calcium. The global scale of this issue requires a low impact, low cost remediation technique. Both organic and low cost, used coffee grounds have been explored as bio-remediators of waste waters with reported success. My study examined the effects of coffee grounds placed in soil to determine if nutrient loss in soil and plants could be prevented. Soil, plant tissue and drainage water was analyzed for changing or constant calcium content over time due to the presence of coffee grounds during acid rain exposure. There was no conclusive indication that coffee grounds prohibited the loss of calcium in soil. However, calcium uptake occurred in plants exposed to acid rain indicating further research is needed to determine the effectiveness of coffee grounds in other soil.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Peter Smyntek
      Primary Discipline: Environmental Science
  • Graphic Design
    • Jessica Pendrick
      Abstract: Jessica Pendrick is a freshman studying graphic design. She works with programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, while also focusing on traditional methods, such as pencil and charcoal. Her variety of work shows a wide range of ability and passion for the arts.
      Primary Advisor: Mr. Ben Schachter
      Primary Discipline: Graphic Design

      Project Title: Character Breakdown
      View Here

      Project Title: Holding Hands
      View Here

      Project Title: Saint Vincent Poster
      View Here

      Project Title: Tucked Away
      View Here

      Project Title: The Water Glass
      View Here
    • Ellie Powell
      Project Title: Conversatio
      View Project Here
      Abstract: A Saint Vincent College travel poster designed to highlight one of the ten Benedictine hallmarks: Conversatio, or devoting oneself to a life of simplicity and conversion. Created in Adobe Illustrator.
      Primary Advisor: Mr. Ben Schachter
      Primary Discipline: Graphic Design
  • History
    • Victoria Badar
      Project Title: German Resistance Towards Hitler
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: The topic of German resistance should be investigated further in order to determine what motivated people to resist Hitler and the National Socialist Party, either through mental or spiritual means, and to give those people the recognition they deserve.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Tim Kelly
      Primary Discipline: History
  • Integrated Science
    • Eddie Kiliany
      Project Title: Cardiovascular Consequences of Sleep Apnea
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: Because cardiovascular disease (CVD) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are becoming increasingly prevalent in developed countries, it is necessary to establish whether or not there is a causative relationship between these two diseases which often present as comorbidities. Through a review of current relevant literature, it is clear that indeed obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Additionally, because this relationship between these two diseases has been established, the next step is to research if treatment of obstructive sleep apnea will lead to better cardiovascular outcomes. The main type of treatment researched was continuous positive airway pressure treatment (CPAP), as it is considered to be the first line and most effective therapy for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. While there is some evidence that treating OSA leads to improved cardiovascular outcomes, there are also several studies which refute this evidence.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Caryl Fish
      Primary Discipline: Integrated Science
    • Leah Memmo
      Project Title: Effective Treatment Options for Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: Multiple sclerosis is known as the most common neurological disease among young adults. It is caused by the destruction of myelin sheaths of nerve fibers in the central nervous system and therefore results in inhibited communication between the brain and body. Although no cure has been discovered yet, there are various treatment options to manage the debilitating symptoms of multiple sclerosis. The purpose of this research paper is therefore to determine how physical therapy, the muscle relaxant intrathecal baclofen, and the muscle strengthener dalfampridine compare in terms of improving the gait of multiple sclerosis patients suffering from either spasticity or muscle weakness. The findings in many of the primary and secondary articles state that all three treatment options are safe and effective. However, to obtain the greatest improvements, both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic approaches should be utilized.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Caryl Fish
      Primary Discipline: Integrated Science
    • Juliana Ruggiero
      Project Title: Increased Levels of Leptin in the Absence of Obesity, with Ovarian Cancer
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: Ovarian cancer is one of the most lethal cancers specific to women partially because it is typically diagnosed in the advanced stages. Some symptoms of ovarian cancer include abdominal distention, feelings of fullness and frequent urination. There are some known risk factors of ovarian cancer, such as genetic predisposition and obesity, but increasing knowledge on potential risk factors may aid in earlier detection of the disease. This paper explores the associations between leptin, obesity and cancer. Leptin and obesity have a known association, as does obesity and cancer. This paper analyzes the possibility of an association between leptin and ovarian cancer in the absence of obesity. Through analysis of current literature in the field, it is hypothesized that leptin does not have an association with ovarian cancer in normal-weight women. With the addition of more research regarding ovarian cancer, there are hopes for better prevention, early diagnosis and an eventual cure.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Caryl Fish
      Primary Discipline: Integrated Science
    • Marissa Anderson
      Project Title: Preventing the Effects of Metabolic Syndrome Associated with Type II Diabetes
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: Diabetes has reached alarming rates in America and those diagnosed with diabetes don’t completely understand the complications that arise due to Metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of cardiovascular risk factors that act together to increase the risk of cardiovascular events. The complications that can arise and be detrimental to a diabetic’s quality of life are cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, foot damage, etc. The purpose of this research was to determine different interventions associated with diabetes to reduce the effects of complications that can occur throughout a diabetic’s life. The findings in the various research articles show diet, physical exercise, medications, and insulin therapy as being beneficial in preventing complications without interventions. The research studies highlighted the benefits from diet and exercise. This information is important for diabetics trying to delay the effects of complications from diabetes through various interventions.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Caryl Fish
      Primary Discipline: Integrated Science
    • Danielle DeRienzo
      Project Title: The Best Preventative Measures to Avoid Complications After Total Knee Replacement Surgery
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: Millions of people suffer from osteoarthritis. Many patients diagnosed with end-stage osteoarthritis undergo total joint replacement surgery. A total knee replacement occurs when the damaged joint is removed and a new, prosthetic knee replaces it. After several weeks of intense physical therapy, patients can resume daily activities and gain full range of motion back in their knee. The new joint allows patients to continue doing the activities they love. Risk factors associated with a total knee replacement have been identified by several researchers, but I believe there are two risk factors that are most important. Obesity/BMI and diabetes are the most important risk factors for physicians and patients to watch for. Obesity and diabetes can cause complications after surgery, that could delay the recovery and rehabilitation process. I propose several preventative measures to help eliminate some of the risk factors associated with a total knee replacement.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Caryl Fish
      Primary Discipline: Integrated Science
    • Bryanna Musser
      Project Title: The Combination of Animal-Assisted and Cognitive Behavior Therapies for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is often diagnosed in young children because parents notice developmental delays, and a better understanding of ASD has allowed diagnosis to be made earlier. Children with ASD can have a range of severity for their symptoms and can attend therapies to help them learn to work with these difficulties. A large variety of therapies and interventions exist, and some parents find it difficult to know which options they should choose for their children. Combining techniques can be successful in helping a child improve their behavior, social, and/or emotional reactions. One possible combination is cognitive behavior therapy and animal-assisted therapy which can help increase a child’s engagement in environments where the animals are involved. This is significant because it provides another method to be used in therapy, classrooms, and homes since animals can help children learn how they should react and grow away from their maladaptive behaviors.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Caryl Fish
      Primary Discipline: Integrated Science
    • Casey Kalp    
      Project Title: Effective Treatment for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has become a significant issue in today’s youth. In fact, 31% of children with ASD have an intellectual disability (“Data & Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder” 2018). Since this is a prevalent problem, parents and families who have children with autism need to have relevant information on the various treatments that are available for them. The purpose of this research paper is to determine which treatment is most effective in helping treat children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The findings in many of the articles researched show that Sensory Integration Therapy may be a better alternative to any form of Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy. It is important to note that Applied Behavior Analysis treatments have been linked with negative side effects that have lingered even into adulthood. Overall, Sensory Integration Therapy can help manage symptoms.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Caryl Fish
      Primary Discipline: Integrated Science
    • Jeffrey Cella
      Project Title: Physical Therapy vs. Surgery in terms of Pain Relief for Patients with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: Jeffrey Cella is a junior Integrated Science Major Who is continuing his Physical Therapy program at Duquesne University next year. He has put many hours into his academic success, striving to make education his priority. He has spent time outside of his studies with the Activities Programing Board, Campus Ministry, Marching Band, Concert Band, and Residence Life. These activities and the education St. Vincent has provided have helped to shape him as an individual and prepare him for further academic success. He has enjoyed his years at Saint Vincent and will always be a Bearcat.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Caryl Fish
      Primary Discipline: Integrated Science
  • Liberal Arts
    • Blaise Venturini
      Project Title: The Increased Frequency of Hurricanes and Climate Change on Recreation and Tourism in the Greater Miami Area
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: For this project I chose to research on how climate causes an increased frequency of hurricanes and climate change in Miami. I chose this area because Miami is located on the east coast between the Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes otherwise know as tropical cyclones start over the ocean but dissipate as they hit landfall. Climate change is a result of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which causes both the air, and the sea temperature to rise. Miami is major stop for tourism due to beach, and various industries like cruise lines. What I found through my research was that rising sea temperatures caused the amount of hurricanes in Miami to increase every year. I found that areas like the Everglades, which are protected land has affected by the amount of hurricanes, and that places like beaches lost revenue due closures from hurricanes. Many places in Miami are still rebuilding from hurricanes. I found that climate change has contributed to hurricanes.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. John Smetanka
      Secondary Advisor: Ms. Marisa Carlson
      Primary Discipline: Liberal Arts

    • Michael Wright
      Project Title: How Do the Physical Properties of Honey Contribute to Increased Health Benefits?
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Honey isn't just a simple super food; it also contains over 200 different types of chemical compounds. This presentation shares insights from studies on the physical properties commonly found in medical-grade honey. The presenter explains his observations from testing a wide variety of honey, specifically Manuka, Acacia, Heather, Melipona, Clover, and Wildflower. The presenter then discusses the uses of food science technology to investigate the biological and chemical differences of these types of honey and how specific physical properties of honey can bring health benefits, such as with wound treatment.
      Primary Advisor: Ms. Marisa Carlson
      Secondary Advisor: Dr. Michelle Duennes
      Primary Discipline: Liberal Arts
  • Philosophy
    • Ryan Farrell
      Project Title: A Faith and a Science: Kierkegaard and Nietzsche on Living Existentially
      View Thesis Here
      Abstract: It is often claimed that Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, though both early influences on existentialism, disagree so fundamentally on issues of morality and faith that their philosophies can never be truly reconciled with one another. I argue that Kierkegaard and Nietzsche are in fact in firm agreement when it comes to how existing humans can find great creative energy and joy in even the most ordinary circumstances of daily life. After first analyzing the philosophers’ criticisms of absolute systems of knowledge, I outline and compare the significant ways in which Kierkegaard’s and Nietzsche’s philosophies complement each other. Most importantly, both speak to the heart of human concern: the search for joy and meaning in our limited, often confusing existence.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. George Leiner
      Primary Discipline: Philosophy
    • Katherine Palko
      Project Title: Facing Biotechnology Today with the Perspectives and Unexpected Theology of Leon R. Kass
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: As American citizens living in an age of modern biotechnology, we have confronted many challenges to our human dignity. A modern-day example is the 2018 CRISPR scandal when Chinese Scientist He Jiankui claimed to have successfully edited the genomes of two human embryos. Events like these cause fundamental questions about our humanity to surface. I introduce the philosophical reflections of Dr. Leon R. Kass in his work his titled Life, Liberty, and the Defense of Dignity: The Challenge for Bioethics as he addresses the challenges of bioethics and modern science, and how, by taking up some ancient perspectives, we may authentically revive our sense of human dignity in a virtuous manner. While favoring Kass’ approach, I ask that Kass move one step further into the realm of Christian theology, for his approach already has intrinsic qualities of it. These two methods together become a compelling framework for addressing human dignity.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Michael Krom
      Secondary Advisor: Br. Albert Gahr O.S.B.
      Primary Discipline: Philosophy

  • Philosophy and Politics
    • Alex Rosa
      Project Title: "The Unfading Beauty of the Inner Self": Beauty and Faith in Sartre and Kierkegaard
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: Beauty in the post-modern world largely remains constricted to reaffirming subjective experiences without signaling an objective ‘beauty.’ Faith in this worldview creates itself anew within a person, and beauty only has power in the reaffirmation of this subjectivity. Faith in God, however, finds beauty to signal to objectivity, namely God, as a response to God’s will for a person. It thus stands opposite to and irreconcilably against post-modernity. I explore the post-modern view of Jean Paul Sartre against the view of faith of Soren Kierkegaard, and argue that the creative view of faith is inferior to the responsive view because the creative view rejects the experiences of beauty necessary for pursuing human meaning in life. I examine these views side-by-side, analyzing the character of Antoine Roquentin from Sartre’s novel Nausea and the Knight of Faith from Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling as epitomizing each author’s idea of faith.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Michael Krom
      Secondary Advisor: Dr. Eric Mohr
      Primary Discipline: Philosophy and Politics
    • Mary Popp
      Project Title: Chemical Contraception and Families in America
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: My name is Mary Popp. I am a junior Psychology and Politics major. I am looking at the predictions of Pope Paul VI regarding chemical contraception and its potential effect on the family in light of the now existing research and statistics on contraception use. With support from the social sciences, I am trying to understand the moral and ideological shift in the nature of family and each of its units by reading such thinkers as Helen Alvare, Erika Bachioci, Alexis de Tocqueville, Mahatma Gandhi, Edith Stein, and others.This is hopefully the beginning of my politics thesis as a senior next year.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Jerome Foss
      Primary Discipline: Philosophy and Politics
    • Paul Weisser
      Project Title: Go Your Own Ways
      View Thesis Here
      Abstract: It has been the contention of several thinkers that the early 1900s were a period of tremendous upheaval in which the traditions and guidance of millenia were overthrown and destroyed. Given this loss of metaphysical and political authority, Friedrich Nietzsche and Hannah Arendt suggest that modernity's hope must be placed in individuals rather than systems. Nietzsche's prediction of the 'death of God' heralds the beginning of an age in which individuals can step into their own as creative powers without the need for divine authority. For Arendt, whose thoughts are colored by her experience of totalitarianism, the risk inherent in Nietzsche's approach is that it is not sufficiently political. She prefers an approach which emphasizes the life of community as an antidote both to a godless world and to the appearance of totalitarianism. But in both cases, these thinkers seek to understand how individuals can fill the massive void left by the destruction of tradition and authority.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. George Leiner
      Primary Discipline: Philosophy and Politics
  • Physics/Physics Education
    • Lawrence Machia
      Project Title: Seeking to correlate ultraviolet colors of quasars with luminosity and black hole mass.
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: We calculate the median far-ultraviolet (FUV) minus near-ultraviolet (NUV) colors for ~137,000 SDSS quasars observed with the GALEX satellite out to a cosmological redshift (z) of 3.  The sample is divided into various z ranges wide enough to include 15,000-20,000 quasars, centered particularly on z  = 0.44, 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5, which are optimal for studying the continuum spectra and extreme ultraviolet properties (EUV) of quasars.  Each sub-sample is further divided by bolumetric luminosity and central black hole mass into as many as 100 bins, and the median color calculated in each bin.  We find a moderate reddening of the population (corresponding to lower EUV flux) with increasing luminosity and black hole mass.  The amount of reddening is about half a magnitude at low z and gradually increases to 2 or more magnitudes at high z.  However, the population size is low at large z and more rigorous analysis is ongoing to confirm statistically significant trends in the data.
      Primary Advisor:
      Dr. Daniel Vanden Berk
      Primary Discipline: Physics/Physics Education
    • Garrett Stadler
      Project Title: UltraSonics Testing
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: Ultrasonics testing is a widely used form of Non Destructive Testing to test for deficiencies and faults in work pieces. Ultrasonics is able to be highly automated which gives it a wide range of uses that some other testing methods would not be able to do. This testing is done mainly in mills and manufacturing plants to detect the faults in the product before it fails or becomes unusable. The use of ultrasonic testing and other methods are still new for when it is used on work pieces such as steel rolls that are being moved on machines. Working with employees at KMPHerkules, we tested out some of their new experimental ultrasonic testing heads.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Daniel Vanden Berk
      Secondary Advisor: Fr. Michael Antonacci, O.S.B.
      Primary Discipline: Physics/Physics Education
    • Nicholas Bono
      Project Title: The effect temperature has on the dissolute
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: I examined the effect that the temperature of a solvent affected the time it took for a solute to dissolve in order to examine the effect temperature had on the solvent’s molecular random motion. In the experiment, I inserted red food coloring into a beaker of still water, which would have been heated with a heating plate. This was done for many temperatures, and pictures were regularly taken as the dye dissolved. ImageJ was used to obtain a % transmission for a white background light, and also to find the time it took for the average % transmission at a set height to be within a 5% difference of the latest picture taken. I found that, while there was some convection, diffusion was mostly responsible for the dissolution, which did speed up as the temperature increased.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Daniel Vanden Berk
      Primary Discipline: Physics/Physics Education
    • Sarah Wozniak
      Project Title: Close encounters with giant planets
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: We study the outcome of small bodies, called planetesimals, after close encounters with the giant planets during a simulation of the early evolution of the Solar System. We separate the planetesimals by those which were ejected from the Solar System and those which remained after one billion years. The surviving objects are further broken down into KBO’s (Kuiper Belt Objects) and OCO’s (Oort Cloud Objects) depending on the area in which they end the simulation. We find that KBO’S, OCO’s and ejected particles with lower densities have roughly the same chance of being tidally disrupted, or torn apart, during their close encounters. Differences are seen with planetesimals of higher densities, as KBO’s were tidally disrupted 0.488% of the time, OCO’s 0.047% of the time, and ejected particles 1.3% of the time.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Daniel Vanden Berk
      Primary Discipline: Physics/Physics Education

    • Nathan Porter
      Project Title: Preliminary Analyses of Shielding and Detector Orientation Effects on Scintillation-Based Muon Detection in Saint Vincent College Cosmic Shower Detection Array
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: We conduct a preliminary characterization of cosmic showers in the beginning stages of a Saint Vincent College Cosmic Shower Detection Array project. Using prototype scintillation detectors and beginning construction on subsequent models, we analyze natural ionizing radiation, with particular interest in muons, elementary particles dispersed by the interaction of high energy cosmic rays with the Earth’s atmosphere. Using detector pairs to record coincident radiation counts, mostly indicative of cosmic muons (compared with other sources of natural radiation), we study the effects of various levels of shielding, as well as detector pair orientation, on count rate and energies. We find decreased coincident count rates for detectors placed in a thick lead shield and for detectors oriented with a reduced effective angle range. Additionally, we find the energy distribution for small angle detection to be shifted toward higher energies.
      Primary Advisor: Fr. Michael Antonacci, O.S.B.
      Secondary Advisor: Dr. Daniel Vanden Berk
      Primary Discipline: Physics/Physics Education
  • Politics and Political Science
    • Alex Rosa
      Project Title: "I Have Called You Friends": The Role of Language in Forming Political Friendship
      Presentation Links To Come
      Abstract: Contemporary political discourse suffers from a damaging individualism which isolates, rather than unites, individual people. Such individualism occurs through lackadaisical speech, but has the ill effect of fostering ‘orthodoxy,’ which George Orwell notes is the uncritical acceptance of political norms by individuals. A consequence of such speech and isolationism is an inherent mistrust of one individual for another, and the subsequent suppression of free expression. Friendship, however, challenges such individualism and uncritical thinking, especially when two friends love each other for each one’s goodness rather than for any incidental good provided by the relationship. Friends correct and challenge one another, and prove a firm opponent to individualism and orthodoxy. In this paper, I argue that a truly free democratic society has a moral responsibility to foster friendship among its citizens through its language, for law cannot completely be separated from morality.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Jerome Foss
      Primary Discipline: Politics and Political Science
    • Ryan Farrell
      Project Title: Rights and Individualism
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Incorporating work from my George Washington Fellowship Project and my Senior Thesis in Politics, I argue that there was a fundamental change in the American conception of rights beginning during the Progressive movement and culminating in FDR’s presidency. This can be understood as a shift from negative rights to positive rights, or from the freedom from constraint to the freedom to have a particular education, income, occupation, level of comfort, etc. I also consider whether Tocqueville might have predicted this issue in Democracy in America and conclude that this shift in our understanding of rights can be interpreted as another form of the individualism that Tocqueville so passionately warns against. If not checked, the problem could hasten our fall into despotism.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Bradley Watson
      Primary Discipline: Politics and Political Science
    • Kaleb Wilson
      Project Title: We the Lethal: American Extremism and the Constitution
      Presentation Links To Come
      Abstract: This project focuses on an overview of extremist groups in American history and to what extent they are compatible with the Constitution. To do this, I started with a historical overview of various groups in order to reach a working definition of extremism. I then shifted to an analysis of freedom of speech jurisprudence in order to develop an answer to where extremists currently stand in the light of the First Amendment. I used this analysis to develop my own answer on where extremism should stand legally through the use of various 'tests' in Constitutional law that have been applied by the Supreme Court throughout the years.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Jerome Foss
      Secondary Advisor: Dr. Jason Jividen
      Primary Discipline: Politics and Political Science
    • Jonathan Meilaender 
      Project Title: Religiosity and Integration in the European Migrant Crisis
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Much of the difficulty surrounding integration of Middle Eastern migrants to the EU can be explained through the interaction between differing traditions of religion and public religious display. In this project, I analyze the effect of religiosity on the part of both the host country and the individual migrant to propose a template for more successful integration of Muslim migrants.
      Primary Advisor: Mr. Nathan Orlando
      Primary Discipline: Politics and Political Science
  • Psychological Science
    • Jessica Brinker 
      Project Title: A Correlational Study on Intact Versus Nonintact Family Structures and Life Decisions
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: This study examined the relationship between childhood family structure and young adults’ life decisions. Family structure was divided into two categories: intact families and nonintact families. Life decisions included attitudes towards marriage, intent to get married, desire to have children, and likelihood of attending graduate school or a higher level of education. Participants’ mental health was also assessed. Participants were 256 Amazon Mechanical Turk workers who completed the questionnaires in a random order. Participants from intact families reported greater intent to marry and more positive attitudes towards marriage than participants from nonintact families. Women also reported greater intent to marry, more positive attitudes towards marriage, and a greater desire for children than men. Women from nonintact families reported the highest levels of anxiety. Family structure did not affect reported desire for children or likelihood to attain a higher education.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Kristine Slank
      Primary Discipline: Psychological Science
    • Megan Miller
      Project Title: An Exploratory Study on the Implicit Parenting Styles of College Students
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: This study was designed to create a methodological procedure to assess the implicit parenting style of individuals who are not yet parents. Implicit parenting was defined as “the care style of an individual who is not currently a parent” and was measured using a uniquely developed procedure: Participants viewed a video of a misbehaving child and rated the likelihood that they would use each of 14 disciplinary techniques. A qualitative measure of implicit parenting was also administered and coded. Correlations were examined among the variables of implicit parenting style, the parenting style participants experienced during childhood, and their current attachment style. Results indicated a relationship between the parenting style participants experienced during childhood and their current attachment style. No significant correlations involving implicit parenting were found.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Kristine Slank
      Primary Discipline: Psychological Science
    • Arianne Winkleblech
      Project Title: Athletes and Non-Athletes: Comparing Stress and Coping Strategies
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Participating in sports can help with personal aspects like developing interpersonal skills but playing sports may be a primary cause of stress for student-athletes. In this study, I examined the differences in stress and coping strategies between athletes and non-athletes. Students at a Division III NCAA college were asked if they participate in a NCAA sport on campus. Participants then completed the subscales from the College Student-Athletes’ Life Stress Scale that pertain to non-sport related stress. They also completed the Academic Coping Strategies Scale which measures coping strategies in an academic scenario. Athletes were expected to report more stress from academic performance than non-athletes, and non-athletes were expected to report using more positive coping strategies. In contrast to the hypotheses, athletes reported lower stress on three of the four non-sport related stress subscales. Gender differences were found on two of the three coping strategies subscales.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Kristine Slank
      Primary Discipline: Psychological Science
    • Kaylee Gojkovich
      Project Title: Effects of Diagnosis and Response Style on Social Distance and Perceived Dangerousness
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: In the present study, I investigated the effects of different diagnoses (depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and asthma) and response styles (education, secrecy, and withdrawal) on social distance and perceived dangerousness. The response styles were developed from the modified labeling theory of mental illness. Participants read a vignette depicting a dorm neighbor suffering from one of the four diagnoses who then responded with one of the three response styles. Depression produced a lower social distance score than bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Educating was deemed less dangerous than being secretive, but neither differed from withdrawing. High social distance in the asthma/withdraw condition resulted in a significant interaction. Lastly, social distance was found to be positively correlated with perceived dangerousness. My results are consistent with the previous literature on the effects of different diagnoses on social distance.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Mark Rivardo
      Primary Discipline: Psychological Science
    • Victoria Monstrola
      Project Title: Experience with Mental Disorders: The Relationship Between Closeness, Empathy, and Life Satisfaction
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Participants’ degree of closeness to an individual with a mental disorder was determined and its association with empathy and life satisfaction were assessed. Undergraduates (N = 196) called to mind the person closest to them who has a mental disorder, including themselves. Participants answered questions about the type of disorder, severity of symptoms, and closeness of their relationship with the person with a disorder. Participants also completed measures of empathy and life satisfaction. Empathic Concern and Personal Distress increased as degree of closeness increased. Life satisfaction scores decreased as degree of closeness increased. These findings support previous literature and suggest that people with very close relationships with individuals with mental disorders should be provided with more support and treatment options.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Kristine Slank
      Primary Discipline: Psychological Science
    • Katherine Luetkemeyer
      Project Title: Perceived Parenting Styles and Personal Adjustment of College Students
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: The parenting style children are raised with have impacts that last into adulthood. This study examined the correlation between college students’ perceptions of the parenting style they were raised with and their personal adjustment. Personal adjustment was defined as students’ levels of self-esteem, self-efficacy, and friendship quality. A sample of undergraduate students (N = 253) were recruited and administered a set of questionnaires. Students with authoritative parents had better personal adjustment: Relative to students with authoritarian parents, they had higher levels of self-esteem, self-efficacy, and the safety component of friendship quality. No significant differences were found between students with authoritarian and permissive parents
      Primary Advisor:
      Dr. Kristine Slank
      Primary Discipline: Psychological Science
    • Rachel Seamans
      Project Title: Similarities in Motivations for Alcohol and Marijuana Use Among College Aged Individuals
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: Motives for alcohol and marijuana use are similar. This study examined differences in motives between participants who use both alcohol and marijuana and those who use only alcohol. 347 participants were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk and undergraduate classes. They completed the Drinking Motives Questionnaire, the Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test, and demographic items. Differences in magnitude of motivation to use varied across motives and by substance. Results indicated that participants who use both substances reported higher motivations for use overall than those who use only alcohol. This study also investigated adding an additional motivational dimension: expansion. Motivation for expansion motives was low for alcohol use supporting the theory that expansion motives are more closely related to marijuana use. These findings expand on existing substance use literature and suggests implications for future research.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Mark Rivardo
      Primary Discipline: Psychological Science
    • Jessica Ray-Marino
      Project Title: The Effect of Advertisement Content on Attitudes Towards Products
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine the way consumers form attitudes about products when they are ego depleted and when the quality of the advertisement differs between weak and strong arguments. We also want to determine whether Need for Cognition (NFC) has any relationship with the participant’s attitude development and the level of depletion. Advertisement scripts were adapted from Darley and Smith (1995). Participants listened to one strong and one weak advertisement. They rated the satisfaction, favorability, likelihood to purchase and goodness of each advertisement. They also completed the NFC scale and a brief mood assessment. We found that participants rated the products in the strong argument condition more positively than those in the weak argument. We also found that level of NFC had an effect on the level of depletion a participant faced. Ego depletion had no significant effects on the overall product ratings of either argument type.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Mark Rivardo
      Primary Discipline: Psychological Science
    • Elliott Campbell
      Project Title: The Effect of Sterotypicality in Online Dating Profiles of Transgender Individuals on Social Distance and Implicit Bias
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: I examined the effects of picture stereotypicality (neutral and high) and profile stereotypicality (low, neutral, high) to determine participants’ (N=599) explicit bias of transgender individuals using a social distance scale. Participants competed the Go/No-Go Association Task (GNAT) to determine their implicit biases on transgender individuals. Profile stereotypicality and picture stereotypicality produced a more negative social distance score on female-to-male transgender individuals than male-to-female transgender individuals.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Mark Rivardo
      Primary Discipline: Psychological Science
  • SVC Students Abroad - India
    • Mary Anand, Sade Fullard, Rya Jones, Marisa Metropoulos and Claire Sirofchuck
      Project Title: India 2019
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: Student reflections on their experience in India in the summer of 2019 are included with their photos in this presentation. Here is one example from Claire Sirofchuck:
       “I walked this street every morning with Dr. McMahon on our way to Nirmal Hriday, the Missionaries of Charity's house for the dying. The roads were littered with vibrant colors reflective of the crowded market stalls displaying goods for the local Kali temple. As a Catholic, I was impressed by the way that religion permeated the lives of the people; I wish the unity between daily life and spirituality were more prominent in America. Kali is a Hindu goddess; the booths selling her wares had everything from brilliant flowers to brightly-hued images of her, and devotees of her flocked to the merchants bearing bright red and orange powders to mark their devotion. It was a somewhat strange experience to walk through such a lively place and then arrive, in the midst of it all, at the dying house (which is best compared to a bustling, yet simple, nursing home), where so many lives were fading away. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the bus ride and short trek to our work site with the other volunteers. For the first time ever in my travels, I felt like I had a place in a foreign country--I had a job to do, and I belonged.”
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Christopher McMahon
      Secondary Advisor: Ms. Kelly King
      Primary Discipline: Study Abroad
  • Theology
    • Elizabeth Elin
      Project Title: Universally Accessible and Innately Personal: The Significance of Relationship in St. Benedict’s Humility
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: The Rule of St. Benedict, a foundational wisdom text for Benedictine communities, and particularly for St. Vincent, is often hard to understand. Modern audiences’ confusion surrounding the Rule is prominent in RB 7, Benedict’s chapter on humility. The initial distaste we feel for this chapter is further magnified by our cultural preconceptions of humility. Though Benedict borrows liberally from the Rule of the Master, he exhibits a fine editorial hand in drafting his own Rule. This paper examines some of the presuppositions which contribute to the current conception of humility and uses textual advances to provide a more nuanced understanding of Benedict’s humility. It gives examples of redaction analysis between the Rule of the Master and the Rule of St. Benedict, which better allows us to appreciate Benedict’s humility.
      Primary Advisor: Fr. Nathan Munsch O.S.B.
      Primary Discipline: Theology
    • Anna Tatham, Abby Kyle, Brennan Valladares, Gabrielle Sadekoski, Andrew Scott, Kelsey Myers, Antonio Noble, Carly Belich, Danny Whirlow, Lorenzo Nave, William Varesio, Matthieu West, Marena Mathe, Maura Skelley and Zeke Makule
      Project Title: TH346 - Thomas Merton: Monk, Writer, Spiritual Master
      View The Project Here
      Abstract: The Spring 2020 Honor’s course, TH 346H-01: Thomas Merton: Monk, Writer, Spiritual Master explored Merton’s life and thought primarily through his writing but was enhanced by an interdisciplinary approach that included the study of Merton’s artistic practices. With coursework moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students were challenged to create photographs using Merton’s method of imaging-making within their home environment. As shelter-in-place mandates affect millions throughout the world, Merton's reverence for often overlooked beauty and the monastic practice of solitude take on new relevance. The photographs and writing displayed here are the fruit of a semester-long study and reflection on Merton’s contemplative vision of life as meaning hidden in plain sight.
      Primary Advisor: Dr. Patricia Sharbaugh
      Secondary Advisor: Mr. Andrew Julo
      Primary Discipline: Theology Course
  • Writing Center
    • Alyssa Mountan
      Project Title: Annotated Bibliographies Tutorial
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: My name is Alyssa Mountan, and I am a junior English major at Saint Vincent College. The tutorial topic I have chosen for the writing center is how to write annotated bibliographies. This topic is important to me because I myself have not learned how to write annotations until fairly recently. My experience has taught that this skill is undervalued, underused, and that some people may not have even been taught this skill before their college career. I figured if people are not learning how to write annotated bibliographies, then there should be user-friendly online tutorials for them.
      Primary Advisor: Ms. Sara Hart
      Primary Discipline: English
    • Cara Garland
      Project Title: Considering Audience
      Click Here To View The Presentation
      Abstract: My name is Cara Garland and I am currently a second semester freshman at Saint Vincent College. I am an Integrated Science major with a focus in physical therapy. In addition to science, I have a love for writing and always have. I chose the topic of considering audience because I think that it is very important to understand and can be a difficult concept. In addition, having different audiences for assignments can be fun and is a way for the writer to get creative.
      Primary Advisor: Ms. Sara Hart
      Primary Discipline: English
    • Aimee Stillwagon
      Project Title: Cover Letter Workshop
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: I am a Sophmore English and Secondary Education Major, working toward becoming a high school English teacher. I am an active participant on campus and enjoy my responsibilities as the Student Government Association Faculties Management Office Committee Chair Representative, as the Secretary of Education Club, as a member of the Kappa Delta Pi Education Honors Society, as a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society, and as a Library Assistant. I am excited to be participating in Academic Conference and sharing my knowledge about writing. I chose to conduct a workshop on writing a cover letter. The task of writing a cover letter can be daunting and confusing for many job applicants. My workshop breaks down the steps of composing an eye-catching cover letter into digestible pieces. I hope that my workshop can lessen the stress of the hiring process and help applicants obtain their jobs.
      Primary Advisor: Ms. Sara Hart
      Primary Discipline: English
    • Annie Trader
      Project Title: Guiding Your Reader: Titling, Thesis, Topic Sentences, Transitions
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: My presentation focuses on the crafting of titles and thesis statements, as well as the use of topic sentences and transitions. While these four elements are incredibly important components of essays and papers, often individuals find themselves complexed in crafting or using them. In hopes of assisting those whom find themselves struggling with these elements, I chose to create an online tutorial based around them, which they can reference when writing.
      Primary Advisor: Ms. Sara Hart
      Primary Discipline: English
    • Julia Wise
      Project Title: Handling Quotations
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: My name is Julia Wise, and I'm an English major with a concentration in creative writing at Saint Vincent College. I chose the topic of quotations because I've always enjoyed finding ways to creatively incorporate quotes into researched essays, and I wanted to offer a quick tutorial for students who may want to spice up their own assignments by finding more interesting ways to weave quotes to fit into the flow of the rest of their papers.
      Primary Advisor: Ms. Sara Hart
      Primary Discipline: English
    • Madison Powell
      Project Title: Writing A Gripping Thesis Statement
      View The Presentation Here
      Abstract: My name is Madison Powell and I am a sophomore history and theology major at Saint Vincent College. My presentation, "Writing a Gripping Thesis Statement," is a guide to writing clear theses in academic papers, a topic I chose because I have struggled with forming good thesis statements in the past and I hoped to bring some clarity to the process for other students who may not know where to begin with their own papers.
      Primary Advisor: Ms. Sara Hart
      Primary Discipline: English
    • Mary Popp
      Project Title: Writing a Research Proposal in APA Format
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract: My name is Mary Popp. I am a junior Politics and Psychology major. My project is an online tutorial on writing a research proposal and abstract in APA format. I chose this topic for my online tutorial because I have thoroughly enjoyed all the research experience I have had at Saint Vincent College, especially in my Research Methods course as a psychology major.
      Primary Advisor: Ms. Sara Hart
      Primary Discipline: English
    • Kailey Harvey
      Project Title: Proofreading and Editing bootcamp
      Watch The Presentation Here
      Abstract:
      Kailey Harvey is a freshman English secondary education major. She is a part of the advanced writing class for future tutors at the SVC writing center. This presentation is a bootcamp for anyone who needs more clarification on proofreading and editing, and will be available at the SVC writing center page later on.
      Primary Advisor: Ms. Sara Hart
      Primary Discipline: English