Program for the Spring 2005 Multidisciplinary Research Day


Monday May 2, 2005


DEPARTMENT OF Biology

Empirical Projects

Arney, Bret and Hunter, Jeremy, Dr. Seeger. The effects of L-Arginine on the Vascular System and Morphology of Developing Chick Embryos.
In vivo studies have demonstrated that, under certain conditions, e.g. hypercholesterolemia, supplemental L-arginine could enhance endothelial-dependent vasodilatation and NO production. This was studied by administering L-arginine to developing chick embryos up to 14 days development. After removal from the egg shell on day 14 of development, test embryos were compared to control data of the same background. We measured umbilical arterial diameters, heart size, and overall appearance of vascularity in the yolk sac. This study showed that L-arginine increased the arterial diameter of umbilical arteries as well as increasing heart size and overall vascularity.
Faculty Sponsor:
Arnold, Adam. The Antibiotic Effect of Bacitrin on Three Species of Bacteria.
Prevention of bacterial infection following an injury to the skin is important. This study focuses on the effect of Bacitrin, a common antibacterial agent found in ointments and creams used to prevent bacterial infections. Three species of Bacteria: S. epidermis, E. coli, and B. subtilis, were used to test the effectiveness of Bacitrin in inhibiting bacterial growth. Results indicate that Bacitrin does inhibit bacterial growth in a dose dependent manor.
Faculty Sponsor:
Arnold, Adam. The Biotic Diversity of Skaggs Cave.
Skaggs Cave is located in Pulaski County, Missouri. It is an extensive cave with long passages and many species of troglophiles and troglobites. In this cave we conducted biomonitoring studies and collected abundance data and size data on populations of common species. We also recorded observations on less common species The most common species found were: cave crickets (Ceuthophilus sp.) and aquatic isopods (Caecidotea sp). Other species encountered included: big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus), eastern pipstrelle bats (Pipistrellus subflavus) , pickerel frogs (Rana palustris), and grotto salamanders (Typhlotriton spelaeus). Census data were compared to data from previous trips to the cave.
Faculty Sponsor:
Ashley David Dr., Gilbert William. The Mushroom Cave Aquatic Zonation Study.
Mushroom Cave (Franklin Co., MO) is a permit-cave located within the borders of Meramec State Park. We have accumulated observations during visual bioinventories on cave stream fauna since 1993. Park officials (since 1996) schedule no trips into the cave during the winter bat hibernation period, but park officials and volunteers visit the cave every other year during the winter to census bats. During the last two visits into the cave in January, we also conducted a visual inventory of biota found in the cave stream. A meter tape was stretched along the stream and counts of all organisms within each five meter zone were recorded. This report summarizes the major trends we have noted to date. Distribution of stream biota are not evenly distributed throughout the streambed but are concentrated at specific microhabitat conditions. Distribution during spring and winter surveys are comparable. May amphipod populations seem to have increased since limited winter access began in 1996. This pattern was not seen in the salamander larvae (Eurycea type) visual censuses.
Faculty Sponsor:
Benefield, Amanda, Baker, Jason C., Ph.D.. Antimicrobial Effectiveness of Laundry Detergents.
Laundry detergents have been widely characterized for their ability to remove dirt, oils, and stains. However, little is ever mentioned concerning the ability of these detergents to destroy or inhibit microbial growth. Microorganisms, such as bacteria, are found everywhere in our society and some of these can be pathogenic. These pathogens can be carried on clothing and other surfaces and introduced to others, potentially causing disease. This investigation set out to evaluate the effectiveness of 19 commonly available laundry detergents at killing two model bacteria, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Escherichia coli, representing the Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria groups. Conditions were developed to mimic detergent use under typical washing machine conditions. We discovered that the cost of the detergent had no bearing on the antibacterial effectiveness and, in general, powdered detergents were more effective than liquid forms of the same detergent brand.
Faculty Sponsor:
Aaron. Characterization of an Echinoderm-Like Microtubule-Associated Protein (EML) in Zebrafish.
Cells are comprised of three major cytoskeletal filaments; microtubules, microfilaments, and intermediate filaments. Proteins are known to associate with these filaments and ultimately help carry out the filament’s respective function. Microtubules in particular carry out essential functions such as chromosome segregation during cell division. A 77 kD microtubule-associated protein (MAP) has been previously characterized in sea urchin eggs and developing embryos. This echinoderm microtubule-associated protein (EMAP) is found on the mitotic spindle where it co-localizes with protein kinases important for cell-cycle regulation (reviewed in Suprenant and Daggett, 1995, Brisch et al. 1996 and Daggett et al. 1998). In this study, a protein homologue of EMAP or an echinoderm-like microtubule-associated protein (EML), was identified and is currently being characterized in zebrafish. Protein samples from various zebrafish tissues were isolated and subjected to SDS-PAGE and Western blot analysis. Preliminary results indicate the presence of a protein found in the gonads and eyes of zebrafish that cross-reacts with an antibody generated against the sea urchin EMAP. We are continuing to characterize this possible zebrafish EML (ZEML) in order to establish its role in zebrafish cell division and development. Therefore any knowledge gained by proteins such as ZEML and its homologues may provide new insights into the unregulated cell division seen in cancer. (Supported by the MWSC Undergraduate Research Summer Institute, Department of Biology, and EMAP-specific antibodies by Dr. Kathy Suprenant, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS)
Faculty Sponsor:
Cook, Alexa and Proffitt, Tabatha and Dr. Seeger. Estone-Laced Tap Water Promotes the Development of 7,12 Dimethylbenz(a)anthrazine-Induced Mammary Tumors in Mice.
Exogenous estrogens, both natural and synthetic, have been found in tap water and foods. It Has been shown that increases in estrogen concentration in the body can induce mammary gland tumors to grow more rapidly. Because of this we have examined the effect of estrone 3-sulfate potassium salt in water on 7,12-Dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA)-induced mice. Using DMBA induction, the drinking water of five female FVB mice was laced with varying concentrations of estrone sulfate. Preliminary results suggest that tumor growth is enhanced by increasing estrogen concentrations in a tap water diet.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF biology

Empirical Projects

Crowe, Rich. Herbicide metabolism by bacteria in deciduous forest, loess hill prairie, streambed, and cropland soils.
Glyphosate is an active ingredient in Roundup® herbicide. Microorganisms, such as those belonging to the family Rhizobiaceae, are known to digest glyphosate in concentrations of up to 19 mM. These bacteria are important for removing the herbicide from the soil after it has been applied. The purpose of this experiment was to test for the possible presence of glyphosate-digesting microorganisms in soil samples of deciduous forest, loess hill prairie, stream bed, and crop field habitats. The habitat types with less glyphosate-degrading activity may be more sensitive to herbicide treatments. Soil samples from each habitat listed above were collected. Half of each of the soil samples were autoclaved, both the autoclaved and standard halves of the soil samples were treated with a Roundup solution at 180 ppm. The treated solutions were then used in a corn seed bioassay. Results indicate that Roundup’s effectiveness at reducing radicle (root) growth in corn seedlings was diminished in the presence of soils containing microorganisms when compared to the “sterile” soils. In the future, the bacteria responsible for the glyphosate degradation may be isolated and used to treat soils for herbicide metabolism.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Biology

Empirical Projects

Crowe, Lindy. Cyclopia Induction in Danio rerio Through an Ethanol Treatment; Procedure Verification.
Reproducibility is very important in scientific disciplines. It is what gives scientific concepts and procedures validity. Previous research that was done by P. Blader and U. Strähle produced results of over 70% of zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos exhibiting cyclopia after a brief ethanol treatment during specific developmental stages. Replication of the described procedure did not produce similar results. The procedure given by Blader and Strähle was found to be inaccurate.
Faculty Sponsor:
Divelbiss Windy. Probable Horizontal Gene Transfer.
Probable horizontal gene transfer Windy Divelbiss Mwsc The subject of my project is the probability of horizontal gene transfer of protein sequences between bacteria and the human genome. Horizontal transfer is where humans and bacteria have protein sequences that are in common. With my project I will be able to show how these bacteria and the human genome are related. This is an important study in biology to show the relationships that humans and bacteria share. To research my project I used two articles from “Nature Magazine” that listed 30 bacteria in one of them and 28 in the other. I used the two bacteria that were left out of the 30 in the second article. I then used Bioinformatics data bases, NCBI, Narure.com and Clustalw to find the protein sequences in the human and some of the other organisms that these sequences were found in and then compared them to the protein sequences in the bacteria themselves and entered these sequences into the Clustalw data base to make a phylogenetic tree that showed the relationships. My conclusion was that these organisms do share sequences that are in common since they are all related. I hope that my project will promote more research in this area and that it will be helpful to others.
Faculty Sponsor:
Files, Kelly. The Effects of Copper Sulfate on Lactuca sativa L. Germination.
Abstract Studying the effects of copper sulfate on lettuce seeds is important because copper is a heavy metal that also acts as a fungicide. This study allows us to see the toxicity of this naturally-occurring inorganic salt on a common organism in our environment; the lettuce seed. The objective of this experiment is to discover the effect of certain concentrations of CuSO4 on lettuce seed germination to determine levels of toxicity. Lettuce seeds were grown with 5 different concentrations of CuSO4 for 5 days. The stems and roots of each seed were measured and averaged for each concentration of CuSO4 to test the toxicity of the metal. Seed germination slowly declined with the increased concentration of CuSO4. With the lowest concentration of CuSO4, no change in germination occurred. With the highest concentration of CuSO4, no germination occurred. Contamination was present in all seed dishes. In conclusion, high concentrations of CuSO4 are highly toxic to lettuce seed growth and also was not successful as a fungicide.
Faculty Sponsor:
Rebekah Fisher. BIO355 MINIPROJECTS: Drift of Stream Biota from Tumbling Creek Cave..
Tumbling Creek Cave is registered as a National Natural Landmark because of its unique physical structure and because it harbors the greatest biodiversity of any cave west of the Mississippi River. Furthermore, three species (Myotis grisescens, Myotis sodalis, and Antrobia culveri) onthe US Federal Endangered Species List are found in this cave. Two additional species (Chaetaspis aleyorum and Brackenridgia ashleyi) are endemic only to this cave. A variety of researchers study this cave to better understand factors affecting cave life and the impact of environmental perturbations on cave natural history. This report deals with a study recently initiated in Tumbling Creek Cave by a research team from MWSC. We hope to examine the phenomenon of stream drift as it affects the displacement of cave biota. Stream drift is the downstream drift exhibited by some surface species as a normal aspect of their behavior or as a response to periods of flooding. Few studies have been conducted to determine if subterranean species typically drift from those isolated and limited cave microhabitats which provide nutrient sources.
Faculty Sponsor:
Freel, Sara and Phillips, Bart and Seeger Sandie, Dr.. The Effects of UV-B Radiation on Newt Limb Regeneration.
Effects of ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation on the regenerative abilities* and growth rate** of amphibians have been widely studied in respect to embryos and larvae. However, experimentation on adult amphibians has not been widely done. In this study we investigated the limb regenerative capabilities and growth rate of one species of adult newt, Triturus viridescens, while exposed to UV-B radiation. We found that UV-B exposure had no effect on growth rate, but did impact the regenerative capabilities of the newt limbs. *Blastema formation and wound healing **limb length and newt weight
Faculty Sponsor:
Gnuschke, Tara. Ibuprofen Toxicity on Zebrafish Embryonic Development.
Drugs manufactured for use in mammals, including humans, are often tested for toxicity before being distributed. Drug dosage can also play a role in drug toxicity. Zebrafish embryos can develop quickly and be used as a model organism in testing for drug toxicity during early embryonic development. This study reports on the use of zebrafish in testing the toxicity of different concentrations of ibuprofen. Results indicate that ibuprofen in small doses has no immediate effects on early embryonic development in zebrafish. Specifically, embryos were found to hatch in all concentrations of ibuprofen tested. Previous studies by others, have indicated significant toxic effects on the kidneys, liver and gastrointestinal tract. Further studies at the molecular level, could provide additional information regarding ibuprofen toxicity.
Faculty Sponsor:
Hart, Steven. 4 Letter Palindromes in Signal and Mature Polypeptide mRNA Sequences.
Biological palindromes are interesting phenomena and investigations of them are classical bioinformatical exercises. In this study, the frequency of 4-base palindromes was evaluated in nine arbitrarily chosen signature and mature polypeptide sequences found in human genes. Signature sequences act as a flag that target the ER and start protein synthesis while mature sequences are the exact boundaries for the mature protein. All 16 possible palindromic combinations were evaluated for each sequence. The results were then analyzed for G+C content and occurrences based on random and pre-determined expected values. Results were also compared between the signature and mature sequences directly. For instance, the â2M gene differs in sig/mat G+C content by up to 17% while the average deviation was 4.2%. The 4-base palindrome “GGCC” occurred 3X more often in 22% of the tested sequences based on randomness. This is not as interesting however, as to how often it should have occurred based on pre-existing calculations of normal frequency. In fact, “GGCC” should have occurred 75 more times than it was observed, indicating some biological inference to mechanisms not yet understood. This research indicates a need for further understanding of what biological implication 4-base palindromes have on human gene expression.
Faculty Sponsor:
Hart, Steven. Effect of Quaternary Ammonium Compounds on Microorganisms.
Keeping areas clean and free of microbes is an endless quest in any laboratory setting. There are numerous protocols for keeping the number of unwanted organisms to a minimum. This study will evaluate the efficacy of antimicrobial products with the active ingredient of quaternary ammonium compounds. Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) have previously been shown to display antimicrobial properties in 15 genera and 17 species of bacteria . Recently, two new products from WAK-Chemie Medical GmbH have hit the market. These two products boast antimicrobial properties and permanent disinfection for up to two weeks. This research aims to gather data from two of WAK-Chemie Medical GmbH’s newest products, “Biocidal ZF™” for sterilizing incubators used for cell cultures and “AquaClean” for keeping water sterile in incubator conditions. Growth of microorganisms was measured over a two week period and compared to controls. Growth was observed initially, but deteriorated after a week of exposure. When Gram stained, the microorganism in question was determined to be Saccharomyces cerevisia (yeast). No bacteria were observed in control or experimental conditions, but this research does show that QACs can provide an inhospitable environment for yeast after one-week exposure.
Faculty Sponsor:
Hovey, Janessa. The Effects of Road Salt on Seed Germination.
The Street Department of the City of St. Joseph uses four main types of salt during the winter seasons. These salts could possibly contaminate the soil in the area, limiting the growth of crops. The purpose of this study was to observe the effect that various salts had on lettuce seed germination. Each of these four salts were diluted to various concentrations. These solutions were added to the lettuce seeds to observe the germination. Previous studies in BIO215 showed that lettuce seeds did not germinate in a concentration of 2M NaCl. Results for this study are still pending. Further testing could be to analyze the effect of the additives on the salts on seed germination.
Faculty Sponsor:
Kiehl, Katie. Effects of Dehydroepiandrosterone on Danio rerio embryos.
Embryos from all species have different developmental rates. There have been studies conducted to see how growth hormones affect the developmental rates of embryos. For this study, the main objective was to test the effects of DHEA on the development of Zebra Fish embryos. For this experiment, I applied five dilutions of dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEA and a control solution to zebra fish embryos. The results of the experiment concluded that the dilution of 1400ppm had a negative effect on the development of the embryos resulting in the death of the embryos.
Faculty Sponsor:
Knadler, Judy, Ashley, David C., Baker, Jason C.. Additional Studies On Microbes Identified From Missouri Cave Waters.
We continue our project to examine water samples from Missouri caves in the hopes that we can generate baseline data from a number of caves in a variety of geographical regions concerning the presence of cave microbes. We are utilizing standard microbiological procedures to determine coliform counts as a quantitative assessment of water quality and we are also utilizing a computer-assisted identification system to determine microbial diversity associated with underground habitats. We attempt to collect triplicate water samples at each sampling location within a cave. Preliminary results include coliform counts from seven Ozark caves. In addition, we have isolated more than 80 separate samples from cultured colonies. These samples have been frozen for future identification. Ten species have been tentatively identified. This report summarizes our results to date.
Faculty Sponsor:
Lewis, Melissa. The Effects of Using Different Wavelengths of Electromagnetic Radiation on Seed Germination, Total Growth Rate and Pigment Biosynthesis..
Certain wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation are known to have an effect on germination, growth rate and biosynthesis of pigments in plants. This study investigated the role of different wavelengths of visible light on the germination and growth rate in corn, lettuce and tomato seeds. Knowing which color causes the seeds to germinate and grow at healthier, faster rates will allow for further studies to be done on full grown plants in a more timely manner. Seeds were placed under each of the individual wavelengths of light. Preliminary results show that all seeds germinated within the same time period, while growth and pigments patterns show a wavelength dependent variation.
Faculty Sponsor:
Malloy, Kelly. The Effects of Glyphosate on the Germination.
The increase of herbicide use over the years have scientist and farmers concerned about its short term and long term effects. The truth is that pesticides lay dormant in the soil long after their use. To add to this trouble, weeds have been showing an increase in resistance to herbicides leaving farmers stumped about what to use next. Round up ready seeds have been genetically engineered to bypass the trouble of “weed only” treatments that have been used in the past, but nobody is aware of the long term effects these genetically modified seeds may have on humans after ingestion. This experiment was designed to determine a concentration at which glyphosate will initially inhibit seed germination and what effects certain concentrations have on seed germination. Four different concentrations of glyphosate (active ingredient in Roundup) were applied to both tomato and lettuce seeds and allowed to grow for five days. The seeds were then measured for root length and number of seeds germinated, if any. It was found that increasing amounts of glyphosate didn’t have an effect on the amount of seeds germinated, but definitely had a negative effect on the growth of the radicle root length. More interestingly though, it was found in three out of four cases that a very small amount of glyphosate had a positive effect on the growth of roots when compared to the treatment of water alone. It would have been beneficial to add another treatment with a higher concentration glyphosate to see if the herbicide will not allow for the germination of seeds.
Faculty Sponsor:
Miller, Lisa and Rushin, John. A PRELIMINARY STUDY OF PLANTS AT THE LOWER HAMBURG BEND CONSERVATION AREA PRIOR TO FLOODING WITH A REOPENED CHUTE OF THE MISSOURI RIVER..
The Lower Hamburg Bend Conservation Area (LHBCA) contains approximately 3,000 acres of wetland habitat located on the east side of the Missouri River just south of the Iowa border. As part of a joint project of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), a chute was reopened through the LHBCA to form an island, sloughs, and backwater areas during the summer of 2004. Within a 300-acre study area that will be primarily affected by the new chute, 232 evenly-spaced permanent sampling plots and 18 randomly located permanent sampling plots were used to sample herbaceous plants, woody seedlings, saplings, and over-story trees according to the Vegetation Monitoring System (VMS) of the MDC. All sampling was done in June and July of 2002, 2003, and 2004. The chute was under construction during the summer of 2004 but it was not completed until after 2004 sampling was finished. This study describes 74 species of herbaceous and woody plants collected from all of the study plots. It compares VMS Importance Values of the top herbaceous species in all three years including Solidago altissima, Setaria faberii, Bromus inermis, and Lippia lanceolata. In addition, it was found that most of the plants sampled during these preliminary surveys are introduced and/or generalist species (according to MDC’s Coefficient of Conservation). This three-year study shows evidence that Populus deltoides was the primary woody species that survives to maturity. Salix nigra showed dramatic increases in seedling and saplings, but showed a decrease in over-story trees, the three years of this study. Salix interior demonstrated its typical role as a pioneer species by having high importance values during the first year of the study (2002) and showing dramatic decreases in importance values in 2003 and 2004. Slight changes in bare ground, litter, and water were due to a 2002 later winter burn, beaver dam construction in 2003, and a prolonged drought in the spring of 2004. It is expected that native wetland species will increase as the marsh habitat expands after the river chute is reopened and backwater areas are established.
Faculty Sponsor:
Miller, Lisa. Effect of Boron on Radicle Growth in lettuce/tomato seeds.
Research has shown that boron and calcium are necessary components of the radicle surroundings for the growth of roots. Varying concentrations of boric acid were placed on lettuce seeds. The concentrations were as follows: 1, 0.1, 0.01, 0.001, 0.0001, and 0.0 ppm. After a week’s growth, the roots were measured. The averages of the root growth were as follows: 13.8, 20.4, 17.4, 20.0, 14.2, and 20.4 mm accordingly. The results showed no significant difference in the root growth of any boron concentrations.
Faculty Sponsor:
Miller, Nathan. The Determination of the LD50 value for Potassium Cyanide on Danio rerio Populations.
The LD50 stands for the value of the chemical agent that will kill 50% of the target population. The LD50 values for different chemicals are determined through the use of mice or rats and are listed as gram of chemical per kilogram of body weight. This will change from species to species and will also differ depending on the vector of admission to the test population. In the study the listed LD50 value for Potassium Cyanide was tested on Danio rerio. It was determined that by submersing the Danio rerio in diffferent concentrations of Potassium Cyanide, the LD50 value was much lower than the listed LD50 value.
Faculty Sponsor:
Mohamed, Angela. Effect of Coumarin on Growth of Cucumber, Wheat, Rye Grass, and Sunflower Seeds.
Coumarin is a naturally occurring plant growth regulator, commonly found in lavender, woodruff, sweet clover, strawberries, apricots, cherries, and cinnamon. It has been shown to have a retarding effect on the radicle growth of some plants, but has also been used to increase flowering in others. It is also widely used medicinally as a blood thinner. Cucumber, wheat, rye grass, and sunflower seeds were treated with coumarin and allowed to germinate for three days. Preliminary information shows that coumarin does have a retardant effect on the growth rates of radicles.
Faculty Sponsor:
Monheiser, Aden and Conant, Marjorie and Jack, Earl and Dr. Seeger. Developmental Biology Project.
Caffeine and nicotine are two substances that have been widely studied due to their effects on the body. Mecamylamine is presently used in a patch form to prevent abstinence syndrome in cigarette smokers. In this study we tested the receptor blocking capabilities of an antagonist mecamylamine on nicotine and caffeine receptors, and the presence of or lack of behavioral symptoms caused by abstinence syndrome. We used a t-type maze to quantify the results as well as observational techniques to define dependency, tolerance and abstinence syndromes. We found that mecamylamine did block dependency, tolerance and abstinence syndromes in nicotine and caffiene induced mice.
Faculty Sponsor:
Pettaway , Schanavia. Cytochrome C Oxdiase Subunit IV.
Bioinformatics is the computational branch of molecular biology. In this research bioinformatics methods were used as a research tools for finding related material on Cytochrome C oxidase. The purpose of finding related material on Cytochrome C Oxidase in different organisms is to see how these structures are related to each other. This type of knowledge is essential to biologists and chemists who want to predict or make a molecular model of a structure that of Cytochrome C Oxidase. The methods used in this research focus on finding the 3-D structures, and making comparing between them at the level of folding and individual amino acids. In this research project Cytochrome C Oxidase subunit IV was studied in four different species. Visual 3-D structure was not available for other species. What was found in this research is that all structures posses B turns and a variety of tertiary structures. However each structures codes for a different function
Faculty Sponsor:
Phillips, Bart. Analysis of Promoter Regions of Human DNA for Sequence Specific Drug Binding Sites.
Promoter regions of DNA that code for genes are potential drug therapy targets. However, the difficulty is identifying a sequence specific drug candidate that will bind only the promoter of interest and not other promoters which would detrimentally effect gene expression. With a database identifying promoters of the human genome, it is now possible to scan the promoter regions for specific sequences in order to make predictions on what genes will be possible targets of site-specific drugs. One such drug, a conjugate of Hoechst 33258, binds 9 contiguous base pairs of A or T. Therefore, the promoter regions of the human genome were analyzed for such possible drug binding sites and for such characteristics as A/T content. It was discovered that the promoter regions of human DNA have a much higher A/T content then genomic DNA. It was also determined that 811 of 1,871 listed promoters have at least one possible binding site for the drug while some promoters have as many as 50 or 60. The genes most likely to have promoters affected by drug interaction have no pattern; they range in location and function.
Faculty Sponsor:
Schneidervin, Jamie. Effects of Calcium chloride on lettuce seed germination.
In previous studies, it has been shown that salt concentration has a detrimental effect on seed germination. This may be useful in fighting unwanted growth of plants and weeds. Usually, it has been found that higher salt concentrations produce a lower percent of germinating seeds. In my experiment, I found that CaCl concentrations ranging from 1 part per million to 0.0001 part per million produced no significant difference in the percent of seeds that successfully germinated nor in the length of the root grown.
Faculty Sponsor:
Sobbing, Jackson. Preliminary Study To Initiate Characteristics Of Tick Protiens.
Preliminary Study to Initiate Characteristics of Tick Proteins Abstract Ticks serve as the vector to many human such as Lyme disease, Babiosos Erlichiosious and Tularemia, and is a reason why the Missouri department Health is conducting a year long campaign on tick awareness. Gathering information of Proteins will allow for further research in the future on the proteins of specific disease causing agents. Live ticks were collected from Buchanan and Andrew County. Ticks where then used to make an SDS-page to analyze similar proteins. The SDS-page showed that the examined ticks had similar proteins even though they were different species. The information found on SDS-page will allow us to use anti-bodies to look for proteins specific for Erlichia proteins.
Faculty Sponsor:
Toalson, Jennifer. Effects of high level concentrations of Sodium Nitrate on the growth of Lactuca sativa seeds..
In previous studies, various levels of salt concentrations have been studied at different temperatures to distinguish the correlation between the two, yet certain species of plants produce a higher germination rate at greater levels of sodium concentrations, within specific soil regions; regardless of temperature. In this experiment, Lactuca sativa seeds were exposed to four different concentrations of Sodium Nitrate, 50ml NaNO3: 50ml of stock solution, 70mL NaNO3: 30mL stock solution, 90mL NaNO3: 10mL stock solution and 100mL NaNO3: 0mL of stock solution. 2mL of each concentration, stock solution and NaNO3, was dispersed by pipette onto filter paper, placed into petri dishes with approximately 10-12 Lactuca sativa seeds per dish. The preliminary results show no growth from seedlings grown at concentrations of 70mL NaNO3: 30mL stock, 90mL NaNO3: 10mL stock or100mL NaNO3:0 concentrations. After 1 full week of growth, the only germination of Lactuca sativa seedlings, is one seed exposed to the 50:50 solution and is not yet measurable.
Faculty Sponsor:
Toalson, Jennifer. Effects of high level concentrations of Sodium Nitrate on the growth of Lactuca sativa seeds..
In previous studies, various levels of salt concentrations have been studied at different temperatures to distinguish the correlation between the two, yet certain species of plants produce a higher germination rate at greater levels of sodium concentrations, within specific soil regions; regardless of temperature. In this experiment, Lactuca sativa seeds were exposed to four different concentrations of Sodium Nitrate, 50ml NaNO3: 50ml of stock solution, 70mL NaNO3: 30mL stock solution, 90mL NaNO3: 10mL stock solution and 100mL NaNO3: 0mL of stock solution. 2mL of each concentration, stock solution and NaNO3, was dispersed by pipette onto filter paper, placed into petri dishes with approximately 10-12 Lactuca sativa seeds per dish. The preliminary results show no growth from seedlings grown at concentrations of 70mL NaNO3: 30mL stock, 90mL NaNO3: 10mL stock or100mL NaNO3:0 concentrations. After 1 full week of growth, the only germination of Lactuca sativa seedlings, is one seed exposed to the 50:50 solution and is not yet measurable.
Faculty Sponsor:
Warner, Brenda. Effect of Acidification on Tomato Seed Germination.
Acidification is essential in the germination of tomato seeds. Tomato seeds germinate more readily in an acid environment. Studies regarding acidification are important to agriculture in the continuation of improved crop success. In this study, seeds of two tomato varieties were set in increasing concentrations of pH ranging from 4.5pH to 8.75pH and allowed to go through imbibition and dark germination for later observation. The data was collected on days 7 and 9. Seeds were observed for the appearance of its radical; indicating germination. The results showed that germination did not occur in all concentrations of pH. The lower pH concentrations offered a better germination environment for the tomato seeds. It is interesting that these results are in-line with the natural acidification that seeds go through by animal dispersion. Given that this was a short period of observation and experimentation, this study could be continued using yet, even lower pH concentrations than used in this experiment. Continuing this experiment should focus on finding the best success at the lowest pH for these two varieties of tomato seeds as well as other varieties.
Faculty Sponsor:
Wenzel, Megan and Prokop, Brian and Pettaway, Shenavia. Exposure of Lead Acetate to Zebrafish Embryos.
Zebrafish have been a well studied organism in developmental biology in conjunction with heavy metals for 10 years. However, few studies have been done on embryos exposed to lead. We investigated the effects of lead acetate on Zebrafish eye cup development and found that lead decreases the length of the eye cup at 7 days development.
Faculty Sponsor:
Wright, Deborah. Homologous Amino Acid Sequences and Allelic Variants of Sarcoidosis Candidate Genes.
Sarcoidosis is a human granulomatous inflammatory disease that has the designation of being the most common fibrotic, interstitial lung disease. It occurs worldwide in any combination of five characteristics; gradual/sudden onset; mild/debilitating symptoms; slow/fast progression; acute/chronic form; remitting/non-remitting form. To date, research attempts to definitively identify causative environmental agents or genetic mutations and variations directly responsible for onset, progression, and susceptibility to disease have been unsuccessful. Discovery of a suitable research organism could lead to new drugs and treatment therapies. Homologous amino acid sequences and allelic variants could facilitate identification of a research organism, development of effective drugs, or a cure. Although the possibility remains that polygenic inheritance is responsible for onset and progression of Sarcoidosis, recent research has identified several genes that warrant further investigation. Using freely available bioinformatics software and databases, a study of four genes (CARD15, CC10, SLC11A1, and STAT4) revealed one with 100% amino acid identity to that of another organism and at least one organism with greater than 90% identity for each of the other three. These results further reinforce the need for more extensive research.
Faculty Sponsor:
Zoubek, Joseph. The Effects of Nitrogen Limitation on Plants.
Abstract The Effects of Nitrogen Limitation on Plant Growth. A good source of Nitrogen is essential to the growth of plants, especially cereal crops. In most cases farmers cannot depend on the soil alone to provide Nitrogen for their crops because the Nitrogen levels in soil are quickly depleted with continuous farming. The solution is to add Nitrogen to the soil by the use of fertilizers. This experiment will focus on how much nitrogen is necessary. This would be very important information for farmers so that they are not wasting money by over fertilizing. In this experiment I will measure the growth of lettuce seeds that were grown in modified samples of Bold’s medium. Each sample will have different amounts of Nitrogen including one group with no Nitrogen added. The control group will have the standard amount of Nitrogen outlined in the ingredients for Bold’s medium. The results showed no difference in the growth between the different groups including the group with no Nitrogen.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF communication

Empirical Projects

walters chon. What is the relationship between deindividuation and conformity within large and small groups.
The major research topic that will be discussed is a relationship between deindividuation and conformity within large and small groups. The emphasis is applied to individuals who become selfless in large crowds. Everyone has witnessed a protest or a concert where a crowd has turned violent. A nonviolent person amongst a rioting crowd is more likely to participate. For instance, if an individual go to support a nonviolent protest against abortion and the other protesters begin to throw rocks the nonviolent person will likely join in. The central idea is that large groups lead to deindividuation. When a person loses their personal awareness in a crowd and succumbs to mob behavior or any public action without thinking about the consequences is deindividuation. Deindividuation is mainly negative concerning herds of people because individual lose responsibility for their actions, therefore acting in a socially unacceptable manner. This causes a person to lose their identity and become a part of the majority not believing that they can be held accountable.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Communication Studies

Empirical Projects

Anderson. The Consumer Behavior of College Students.
College students have been targeted by retailers as a whole in order to promote and sell their products. College students, largely set the trends that are considered “in style” by their peers and other groups. The spending habits of college students have been scrutinized not only by their parents, but also by their peers. The time that retailers target college students is during the back-to-school shopping period. They inundate consumers with sales in order to keep them ahead of the curve, and also to keep money in the retailers pockets. The research determines what Western students deem important in back-to-school shopping.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Communication studies

Empirical Projects

Cross, Lisa. The Difference between Athletes and Non-Athletes.
The goal of this research paper is to determine whether there is a difference in the attitudes of athletes and non-athletes towards education. There is gathered information that has been put into a review of literature that discusses the many studies and views of athletes and non-athletes attitudes towards school. Some of the articles suggest that being more involved in school makes you a better student. On the other hand, some suggest that athletes only go to school to continue playing their sport, and non-athletes go to school to get an education. With the study that has been conducted at Missouri Western, it will determine if athletes and non-athletes have different attitudes towards getting an education.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Communications

Empirical Projects

Ahlvers, LeAnn. It`s not just in the classroom anymore.
Is a traditional class more effective than an online course? The online format allows students to pursue their studies entirely on the Internet with out attending classes in person (Mupinga). By surveying students at Missouri Western who have taken online courses and comparing their experience, relationship, and their grades. This is to prove whether online classes are as effective as traditional classes.
Faculty Sponsor:
Elder, Tari. The Demoralization of America.
The goal of this research project is to determine how sexually explicit certain cable television shows are. The research problem to be noted is that there is far too much sexually explicit material on cable television today. The research in this area is significant because of all of the problems that stem from the activities that are being allowed to be shown on television. Kids are starting to experience with sexual acts when they are younger because this is what they are seeing on their television sets. The following research will help determine what the basic perception of sex is on cable television.
Faculty Sponsor:
Foster Craig. Whole Grains in the supermarket.
The goal of this research project is to determine whether or not there is a difference between consumer behaviors and whole grain foods. This research in this area is significant because it has been proven that consuming whole grain foods is a healthy way to eat. It is also important form the standpoint of the producer should they spend the extra time and money making sure that grain products are healthier for consumers. Do consumers actually care whether the food product that they are eating is healthier or them?
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF communications

Empirical Projects

Saxton. Truth and Deception.
In the study being conducted here, an attempt will be made to measure the level of motivation of deception and the level of motivation of deception detection. The researchers will make the attempt to stay in the realm of low motivation and will work off several assumptions. First, people are likely exposed to more low motivation lies than any other type of deception. Second, because of this, people are not likely to be very motivated to detect such lies. This may be because not every deception has a noticeable impact. Third, little white lies may have little or no effect on the deceivers or their targets. An example of this would be telling an acquaintance that you like spinach even though you do not. Fourth, such lies have a low level of motivation for success both for the deceiver and the target. The acquaintance may not care if you like spinach and you may not care if they believe you or not. In this situation the issue is trivial and spinach really doesn’t matter to either of you. However, people may use such deceptions for the basis of determining later truth or the potential success or failure of a deception. For instance, Fred may recall past experiences with Bob when attempting to determine if Bob is presently being honest with Fred or not. If Bob has continually told him white lies and Fred knows that he was lied to, then Fred may not trust Bob, even if Bob is being honest.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Communications

Empirical Projects

White, Jessica. When Others Just Don`t Understand.
The goal of this research is to determine whether or not there is a difference in the way that men and women display emotion. The significance to this research question is to determine whether or not there is a notable difference in the way that males and females display emotion. There are many theories that state that there is no significant difference that can be noted in the way that males and females display emotions through expressed behaviors, but the goal is to complete research to either support or argue against the recorded opinions. Completion of the research will allow a better understanding of why emotions are expressed the ways that they are and will enable problems in relationships to be stopped before they even start. Throughout the process, the research should show that as the gender gap is becoming closer to becoming non-existent, so are the differences in the ways men and women display emotion.
Faculty Sponsor:
-None-. Violence on Television.
My paper tested George Gerbner`s theory of Cultivation. I used students from the Missouri Western State College student union building and asked them to participate. I gave them the survey that was developed by Gerbner to test their perceptions of world violence and their chances of being involved in a criminal act.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Communications Studies

Empirical Projects

Washington, Tanisha. Does the Past Come Back to Haunt College Students.
The goal of this research is to determine whether or not there is a difference in relationship between social structures and behaviors in past lives before college and college students performance during college. The research problem is many children have behavioral problems and social difficulties when they initially begin school because of different social atmospheres. This causes children to perform poorly in college. The research in this area is significant because concerns about communication, behavior and atmosphere affect college retention. The following research is important because they play together to develop the “perfect” child. If children are missing one or more of these components or are missed while learning any stages, their ability to communication are also altered. Many children approach school with either positive or negative attitudes, which can affect them throughout their life disrupting their ability to function properly among other students. This is especially true for children who may be the only child. They may have more difficulty communicating with others because they have not adapted to more than just getting what they want from their parents. On the other hand, many children who come from larger families communicate more and have better structures socially. Their behaviors may be broader than those of smaller because there are more influences surrounding them; however, all behaviors can differ as well as be changed.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Criminal Justice

Empirical Projects

Brackman, Seth. The PATRIOT ACT in Regards to Privacy as Seen by the Missouri Western State College Community..
As shown on poster: The purpose of this study is to determine how knowledgeable the Missouri Western State College community and the St. Joseph Police Academy is of their personal privacy rights. Then this study will determine how the students of Missouri Western State College compare to the men and women in training at the police academy view the PATRIOT Act, and its affect upon the police enforcement agencies abilities in regards to a citizens right to privacy.
Faculty Sponsor:
Brandon, Charles. Why Do Individuals Join Gangs.
In attempt to gain an understanding of why youths join gangs,or what some of the contributing factors may be, research was completed that drew upon the findings of some of the top researchers across the world. In addition to studying the theories and results that other researcers have compiled, an original survey was created to poll the publics perception concerning the motiviators behind gang activity. The survey was given to a set number of participants in four differnet age groups. Overall, the results failed to link particular trends of thought, with any particular age group.
Faculty Sponsor:
Kendrick, Pamla. Racial Profiling: Is there really a relationship between race and crime?.
Racial profiling is a widespread problem and has been for many years. It is something that was supposed to stop when the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964. This made whites and blacks equal and discrimination was to cease. Still today in the United States blacks experience racial profiling of some form or another every day. There is a lot of controversy as to why blacks are more prominent in the criminal justice system. There are arguments that say blacks are targeted by police and therefore are arrested more than whites because their skin is black. Other arguments suggest that blacks break the law more than whites do and deserve to be treated the way they are. A survey was conducted on the campus of Missouri Western State University to view the opinions of the students on the subject of racial profiling. The survey tested the students’ knowledge of the subject and their personal views on discrimination.
Faculty Sponsor:
Shipp, Tina. A Comparative Analysis of Elderly Abuse Between Different Demographical Areas of Missouri.
The purpose of this study is to determine where elderly abuse is more prominent in the state of Missouri. To do this, the researcher will collect data from different geographical areas within Missouri to establish a differentiation in the ways that elderly abuse is perceived. The goal is to determine which region in Missouri has the highest rate of elderly abuse.
Faculty Sponsor:
Spears, Erin. Student.
Abstract The purpose of this research project is to obtain a better understanding of how the Amber Alert system works and is used in Northwest Missouri. The goal of this research is to find out if the system needs to be changed and how helpful law-enforcement agencies feel the Amber Alert system is. Society portrays the Amber Alert system as a very helpful and effective system. Knowing this it is anticipated to find out if the agencies who use the Amber Alert system in Northwest Missouri also reflect this opinion. The goal is to obtain adequate information from law-enforcement agencies and broadcast agencies to accurately answer the research question. It is hypothesized that the Amber Alert system is a very effective system when it is used.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF CSMP

Empirical Projects

Hand, Therese. How Close is Close Enough?.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) provides a comparison, or a group of comparison engines under the title of BLAST. The idea behind BLAST is to provide a query sequence to be compared to all the biological sequences in the database. BLAST provides a list of the "most related" sequences in the database. As a technical person, I automatically thought, "what makes them so similar?" My project is based on how this process of comparison works. In short, a number of sequences called a "basic, trusted alignment" is taken from nature and probabilities of each amino acid occuring at random in any two given sequences is computed. A score is created for each pairwise comparison of amino acids. This score is placed in a matrix which is used to accumulate the "bit" score which is providd by blast. The higher the bit score the better the match is claimed to be.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Department of Biology

Empirical Projects

Lewis,Melissa. Seasonality in biota of Hercules Glade Tower Cave.
Hercules Glade Tower Cave is located in the Hercules Glade Wilderness Area in south central Missouri (Taney County,). Biodiversity noted for this small cave is impressive. Common biota include several species of salamander (Eurycea lucifuga, Plethodon albagula, Typhlotriton spelaeus), cave crickets (Ceuthophilus sp.), scalloped owlet moth (Scolyopterix libatrix), eastern pipistrelle bats (Pipistrellus subflavus) and pickerel frogs (Rana palustris). We conducted a zonation study examining the linear distribution of fauna in the cave system and we collected morphological measurements that allowed us to evaluate seasonal growth of certain species.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Engineering

Empirical Projects

Miller,Dustin. Bracket for Cold Draw of Steel.
Building this project had its goods and bads. With a few steps and patience I accomplished what needed to be done. First I thought of different ways that the project could be built. Then I started with a rough draft sketch of what I was going to build. When I got to building the project that is when it started getting bad. Things would not go together like I wanted them to. So with a little more research and patients things began to go smooth. The end result was not what I wanted, but there is no time for a second shot.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Engineering Technology

Empirical Projects

Ott, Jessica. Design and Manufacture of a Model.
Design and Manufacturing of a Model Jessica D. Ott Department of Engineering Technology The Stock Bracket has a total of seven pieces, six of which are different from one another. The design process was built around given dimensions of the roller. The roller was then laid out in AUTO CADD form. The next step was to design a set of uprights to withstand the movement of the roller. An upper bracket was then drafted so that it was large enough to support the roller and uprights. The sliding mount had to be strong enough to hold the weight of the upper half but not bulky. The stem needed to hold the sliding mount, but also needed space to include a hole for a pin to adjust the height. Finally in the design process is the base, it needed to be large enough to keep the entire bracket system stable. The manufacturing process began with cutting down a piece of plastic block to a 75mm X 60mm X 25.4mm rectangle. In the CNC mill the block received a 25.5mm diameter pocket at 10mm deep. The stem was cut to length then faced off and a 10mm hole was cut 20mm deep also on the CNC mill. The sliding mount was made by cutting the round plastic stock to 38mm, on the mill the diameter of the stock (20mm long) was reduced to 10mm in diameter, and then taken out to 25.4mm in diameter using and external arc. The upper bracket was cut to size then 2 programs were written to make a total of three pockets: two square pockets on the top and one round pocket on the bottom. The two uprights were cut to a 30mm X 33mm rectangle then placed into the mill first extruding out the top center then shaving away the outsides on the bottom. The roller design was programmed into the computer using all of the specified measurements. This information was then transferred to the CNC lathe to perform the necessary steps.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Manufacturing engineering technology

Empirical Projects

Massie,John. Computer aided manufacturing and design of wire roller support.
The requirements for this roller stand were given to the class. The specific`s and the design we as a class where responsible for. 360 degree rotation, adjustable height, and a picture was all the information we where given. Each part had to be designed, measured for fit with the other parts, drawn and then cut using the school`s Boxford CNC mill-lathe station. I started with the base and milled a 25mm diameter hole in the top of the block at 10mm deep. Next I checked the fit of the stationary post and cut a 10mm diameter pocket at 20mm deep in the top of the stationary block. While I had the machine in the mill position, I designed and cut the top cross block. It was machined with a 25mm diameter 8mm deep hole in the bottom to fit on the adjustable post. On the top two pocket`s were cut 10mmx12mmx10mm deep to hold the uprights. The uprights were cut on the bottom`s to fit in the pocket,s of the top cross block and notched at the top to hold the roller. Then with the machine in the lathe postion the adjustable post was designed and cut with a 25mm diameter top to fit the cross block and a 10mm shaft to slide up and down in the stationary post. Finally the roller was drawn and designed to fit in the uprights and spin freely. It was V notched in order to keep the wire from jumping off the stand. This project was enjoyable and challenging as we as a class took it from idea to finished model.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Psychology

Empirical Projects

Clark, Sarah. Graphology: Predicting Intelligence.
This study questioned the predictability of a person’s intelligence by analyzing the style of their handwriting. The study was conducted at a university in Northwest Missouri. Forty-five students, 32 females and 13 males, were recruited from two general psychology classes and given an IQ assessment test containing ten questions and a sentence at the end for each participant to copy for purposes of the handwriting analysis. The handwriting was analyzed on things like the slant of the writing, the size of the letters, how hard the subject copied the sentence on the paper, and whether the subject dotted i’s or crossed t’s. The subjects were also asked their age, gender, and grade point average to determine whether those factors contributed to predicting their intelligence. There seemed to be no significance with regard to any of those factors except for GPA. A person’s intelligence could be predicted by their GPA score. In conclusion, this study was not consistent with previous research that holds evidence for handwriting as a predictor of intelligence.
Faculty Sponsor:
Collins, Darcy. Missouri Traffic Stops: Ticket or Warning..
Racial profiling by police of minority citizens is a controversial topic. The purpose of the research is to analyze the traffic stop data reported by Missouri law enforcement to find a correlation between the race of the citizen and the results of the traffic stop: ticket or warning. The data from 60 police departments was retrieved from the Missouri Attorney General’s website and analyzed using multiple regression. In this study there was no significant relationship between the race of the citizen and the results of the traffic stop. Although non-significant, the data revealed that African Americans stopped were less likely to receive a citation and more likely to receive a warning than Caucasian or Hispanic citizens.
Faculty Sponsor:
Dalrymple, Stefanie. The Difference in Test Anxiety and Memory Between Men and Women.
This experiment looked at the relationship between men and women and the effects of anxiety on memory recall. The study consisted of 53 total undergraduate students at Missouri Western State College, with 32 being female and 21 being male. The variables being measured are sound with the movie and amount of words recalled for both male and female. It is hypothesized that the participants who receive sound with the movie will recall fewer words than the participants that do not receive sound. It is also hypothesized that there will be a difference in memory recall between men and women. The results did not support the hypotheses. There was not a significant effect for gender or sound.
Faculty Sponsor:
Farmer, Lisa M.. Parenting Satisfaction: Single Income Families Vs. Dual Income Families.
For the past twenty years the satisfaction of parents who both work outside of the home has been questioned in comparison to the satisfaction of a family where one parent is able to stay home with the children. The purpose of this study was to compare the parenting satisfaction scores of dual-income families with the scores single-income families. Parents who were married with children under the age of six living in the home were given a 10-item questionnaire and asked to fill it out. The results comparing gender and satisfaction level was not significant, as well as the results of the employment groups were not significant. The interaction also produced results that were not significant. While this study did have several limitations it did however indicate that the level of parenting satisfaction did not depend on whether one parent was able to stay home or not.
Faculty Sponsor:
Finley, Shanan. Self-Esteem Among College Students With Respect To Gender.
Abstract Self-esteem among college students is a hard aspect to determine. One researcher found self-esteem to be how one views themselves according to their personal constructs on how they feel about themselves internally. The purpose of this study is to measure the self-esteem level among college students with respect to gender and to see if there is a significant increase or decrease of levels of self-esteem based on their gender. For the method, data was collected from 40 total undergraduate males and females. The results were done with an Independent Samples t Test. It was shown that there was no significance between gender and the level of self-esteem among college students.
Faculty Sponsor:
Lyday, Rachel. Tattletales: A Study on Conformity and Bystander Intervention in Cheating.
When in a group situation, individuals are likely to conform and unlikely to intervene. A study was done to see whether individuals would tell an experimenter about a cheater. A confederate was placed in a group of people taking a difficult IQ test. He cheated on the test and the reactions of the individuals were noted. The independent variables were the sex of the participant and whether or not he or she knew the experimenter. The hypothesis was that females that knew the experimenter would be most likely to inform her of the cheating. The results showed that females most often informed the researcher of the cheating, although whether the participant knew the researcher was not significant, nor was the interaction between the two.
Faculty Sponsor:
Mike A. Nold. Will Playing Music and Feeding Beer to Cows Cause Them to Produce More Milk.
In today’s day and age it has become harder and harder for dairy farmers to survive and make a living at the same time. One thing they are trying to do to increase the amount of money they get from milking is by adding things to their daily supply of food. The purpose of my experiment is to see if dairy cows would produce more milk if they were stimulated with music and fed beer with their daily supply of feed. To get my results I played a radio and fed beer to seventy dairy cows. The results of my project showed that playing the radio and feeding the cows beer has significant effect on the cows. As it turns out, no matter what you change with a cows daily routine it always seems to cause an increase in milk production.
Faculty Sponsor:
O`Dell, Amanda. The Effect of Surrounding People on Body-Esteem.
Body dissatisfaction is a big problem among the teenage and young adult demographic, and it is of pressing social importance to uncover what specifically influences how we think about our physical appearance. The purpose of this study was to see how a person’s self-reported body-esteem and his/her physical attractiveness as perceived by others is affected by the mean physical attractiveness of the surrounding subjects being given a series of questionnaires regarding body type. Nineteen participants from four psychology classes at a northwestern Missouri four-year college were given the Body Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults and a Physical Attractiveness Scale. The only correlation found was that one’s self-reported physical attractiveness was highly associated with one’s body esteem score. Interestingly, the way other participants evaluated the individual had little to no effect on the participant’s reported physical attractiveness or measured body esteem. These findings are very preliminary, but suggest that further inquiry into this topic is warranted.
Faculty Sponsor:
Rieks, Waynette. Collective Self Esteem Scores, Gender, and Religious Denominations.
Involved members of an organization score higher on collective self esteem scales then inactive members. The purpose of my study is to compare collective self esteem scores among active member of different religious denominations. Members of three different religious denominations who have been identified as active were asked to take a collective self esteem scale and their scores were compared. I found a main effect for religious denomination, no main effect for gender, and no interaction between religious denomination and gender. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints scored significantly higher than members of the Assembly of God church and members of the Southern Baptist church.
Faculty Sponsor:
Rachel Smith. The Effect of Analogies on Problem Solving.
The purpose of this study was to see if informing participants about the use of an analogy would increase the likelihood that they would use an analogy to solve a problem. Students enrolled in Psychology 101 and Math 110 served as participants. Data from 39 participants were used in the results. The results showed a significant main effect for Math 110, however there was no significant main effect for being told to use an analogy. There was no significant interaction between the two variables. Being enrolled in a problem solving class seems to have an effect on the ability to recognize and use an analogy.
Faculty Sponsor:
Smith, Richard. Effects of Combinatory Play on Problem Solving Ability.
In our search for ways to increase our problem solving ability, we have looked to many methods for an answer to this quandary. The focus of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a potential solution, combinatory play, and the possibility of its ability to enhance our problem solving faculties. In this study, data concerning the results of combinatory play on the problem solving ability of students at a northwest Missouri college was collected. Students were asked to complete a session of combinatory play in order to evaluate its effectiveness on post-combinatory play problem solving. No research has been found concerning the effects of combinatory play on problem solving after an exhaustive search of the literature was conducted.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Social Work

Empirical Projects

Armstrong, Roxanne. A Closer Look at Teen Pregnancy.
The objective of this study was to assess sexual behaviors surrounding teen pregnancy. Pregnant and parenting teens within the JUMP (Journey to Uniting Mentors and Parents) program at the YWCA were given a questionnaire. Questionnaires were handed out at the JUMP meetings and complete anonymity was maintained as surveys were returned in a sealed envelope. Of the questionnaires completed and returned the results showed that the majority of teenagers became pregnant due to the absences of birth control and are continuing not to use birth control even after having an unplanned pregnancy. Results also showed that one hundred percent of teens completing this survey feel that they became pregnant during the evening hours sometime after 6 PM.
Faculty Sponsor:
Asher, Emily. Job Satisfaction of Generalist and Specialist Social Service Workers.
The objective of this study was to explore the job satisfaction of social service workers both generalist and specialists within the Division of Senior Services in the region 4 area from several different aspects of their job. The survey design method was used to complete this task ensuring anonymity for the participants. All 29 of the social service workers in region 4 were e-mailed surveys to complete and mail back with no return address. Of those surveys returned the results showed employees rate high satisfaction with their co-workers and supervisors, however, they rated low satisfaction on items such as job security, degree to which they felt valued, motivation and career opportunities.
Faculty Sponsor:
Bruce, Jennifer. Students` Experiences: Mainstream vs. Alternative Schools.
The objective of this study was to explore the perceptions, experiences and values of high school students who were currently enrolled in an alternative high school in a Midwestern town. Face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted with five high school students who were selected based on the diversity of rationales for attending the alternative high school and because each was considered “information-rich.” With cross-case analysis, themes that emerged regarding the alternative high school included the following: teachers and counselor were caring and supportive, getting individual attention and being treated as an adult, enjoying the flexibility in scheduling classes, family attitude toward alternative school, classroom environment, and sentiments towards sending-school and friends.
Faculty Sponsor:
Christmas, Lisa L.. "Living in Transition:" Experiences of high school students in the St. Joseph School District..
Contrary to popular belief, many teenagers DO NOT live at home with their parents. Even though these teens may not be living on the streets, they are “doubling up” with friends or other relatives, and hence, may not be counted in the “homeless” population. Since it is difficult to identify those teens who are “doubling up” or “living in transition” with others, the objectives of this study were to a) examine the rate of homelessness in the St. Joseph School District’s adolescent population, b) examine the reasons adolescents leave their parental homes, and c) understand in some detail their entire experience of “living in transition” or “doubling up.” Using a survey design, a questionnaire was distributed to randomly selected high school classes in the three local schools. Case study methodology was also employed to inquire into the lives of teens “living in transition”—a subset of the original sample. Eighteen percent of the sample mentioned “conflict with others” as the main reason for leaving home. Eleven percent were currently “living in transition” and 5.1% of the sample was considered “precariously housed” i.e., they had lived in 3 or more places in the past 12 months. This study has implications for the social work profession and the Department of Education in the State of Missouri.
Faculty Sponsor:
Traci. Foster Care; Perceptions of Kinship & Nonkinship Care.
The objective of this study was to explore the perceptions, experiences and values of foster care children who were currently placed in either kinship or nonkinship foster care. Face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted with six foster care children. Three of these children are placed in nonkinship care and three are placed in kinship care. Comparative group design is used to take a closer look at the realities of the two placements. Topics that were explored throughout the interview process included information about current relationship’s with caregivers, feelings about being in foster care, and relationship with biological parents.
Faculty Sponsor:
Contreras, Traci. Foster Care; Perceptions of Kinship & Nonkinship Care.
The objective of this study was to explore the perceptions, experiences and values of foster care children who were currently placed in either kinship or nonkinship foster care. Face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted with six foster care children. Three of these children are placed in nonkinship care and three are placed in kinship care. Comparative group design is used to take a closer look at the realities of the two placements. Topics that were explored throughout the interview process included information about current relationship’s with caregivers, feelings about being in foster care, and relationship with biological parents.
Faculty Sponsor:
Lower, Robin. Formative Evaluation of an "Adjustment to Life" support group.
This article deals with the formative evaluation of a support group on an acute rehabilitation unit of a Midwestern hospital. A convience sample of 12 older Americans who had been inpatients on the rehabilitation unit for an average of 1-2 weeks, participated in this study. Using a case-study design, through face-to-face interviews, participants answered questions on two main topics: 1. Identifying strengths of the group as it is currently structured and implemented. 2. Recommending structural and procedural changes to enhance its effectiveness and meet the expectations of the participants. The subjects indicated that the group was beneficial and assisted in their recovery at the hospital. A majority of the group members expressed that sharing their life experiences and discussing coping skills assisted them in adjusting to their new situations. As most of the participants were never involved in a support group prior to the one in question, they had no specific expectations from the rehabilitation based group, and hence, could not make any significant recommendations. Other detatils of the findings are explained in the paper.
Faculty Sponsor:
Wood Heather. Family Members/Friends/Legal Guardians Perceptions Regarding the Quality of Sevice in a Midwestern Nursing Home..
The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of family members/friends/guardians regarding the quality of services received by residents at one Midwestern nursing home. Using a survey design, a questionnaire containing 22 likert scale items and 3 open-ended questions was mailed to all eligible individuals listed as responsible party for the residents in the nursing home; 44 persons returned the completed questionnaires. The key findings are as follows: Most respondents rated the quality highly. Frequency of visits and length of resident stay were not related to perception of quality of service. The importance of role in caregiving as perceived by family member/friend/guardian and perception of quality of service had a statistically significant association. In other words, those respondents who perceived their roles as important were satisfied with the quality of service; those who perceived their roles as unimportant were dissatisfied with the quality of service. Social workers can use the information as a quality assessment tool in order to attain knowledge of areas of service which are lacking in quality of service. Future research should be conducted to study the relationship between frequency of visits and importance of roles in caregiving as perceived by family members/friends/guardians, before these variables are associated with the quality of services.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Speech Communication

Empirical Projects

Haahr, Noah. "Will My Friends and I Actually Stay in College?".
This project was done to analyze what factors affect students in their retention rates in college. There has been past research done on this specific problem but this test was done specifically to target Missouri Western Students.
Faculty Sponsor:
76 submissions listed.
BIOLOGY36
COMMUNICATION1
COMMUNICATION STUDIES2
COMMUNICATIONS6
COMMUNICATIONS STUDIES1
CRIMINAL JUSTICE5
CSMP1
DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY1
ENGINEERING1
ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY1
MANUFACTURING ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY1
PSYCHOLOGY11
SOCIAL WORK8
SPEECH COMMUNICATION1
EMPIRICAL76