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Celebration of Student Scholarship: Student Talks

Enjoy student presentations by choosing any of the links, found below.  Each presentation is given in a slideshow, which includes audio/video of the presenter(s) giving their presentation.  Advance any slideshow (using the arrows near the button of the presentation's page) at your leisure.  These talks are given within multiple-slide presentations, lasting 12-15 minutes.

Questions for Presenters

The format adopted this year allows presenters and their audience to interact in an asynchronous fashion: 

  • If you have any questions to ask or comments to offer during a presentation, you must first create a free VoiceThread account (click here, using a non-FSU email account).
  • Once you open a presentation, use the 'sign in' button at the top right to log-in with your VoiceThread account (if aren't already signed in).
  • To ask questions or make comments during a presentation, you can choose the point in the presentation you want to add your question or comment, and then click the '+ Comment' button near the button-center of the presentation's screen to add a question or comment in any of a variety of formats. 
  • The presenter will be notified that you have posted a question or comment, allowing them to post their own response.  You will be notified by email once the presenter has responded.  (In any email from VoiceThread notifying you of responses being posted, you can manage notifications or even cancel them, if you like.)

Talks (in alphabetical order, by last name)

Zachary Arthur, Using Machine Learning Algorithms to Validate News Articles

Click to view presentation: https://fairmontstate.voicethread.com/share/17375475/

With the rise of “Fake News”, which affects our opinions, I wondered if machine learning could be used to make a fact-checker. I explored data science techniques, such as Random Forest and Recurrent Neural Network, for the validation of news articles. I also used text preprocessing with natural language processing, based on publicly available datasets, and built several models. These models are combined into a web browser with article validation. The complexity of the problem and the quality of datasets make it hard to say whether the problem is feasible for an individual, but the results are fascinating.

Majors: Math and Computer Science -- Faculty Mentor: Robert J. Niichel

Robert J. Barbera, Assessing the Ability of Tilapia to Metabolize Feed and Waste to Release Iron for Lactuca sativia in an Aquaponics System

Click to view presentation: https://fairmontstate.voicethread.com/share/17375499/

Chelated iron is usually added to an aquaponics system to maintain plant health; however excess iron can be found in uneaten food particles and waste. Observations of iron concentrations across a closed system, in a side by side control and test series of aquaponics systems, can help assess the possibility to decrease overhead costs of aquaponics. Initial assessments of the health of tilapia and lettuce in both systems currently display positive trends in tilapia biomass, plant growth, and water quality parameters.

Major: Biology -- Faculty Mentor: Stephen Rice

Kylie Bushko, The Effect of Toothbrush Contamination on Bacterial Growth

Click to view presentation: https://fairmontstate.voicethread.com/share/17375734/

Most people know and practice basic oral hygiene but disregard toothbrush disinfection, a step which can have significant impacts on oral and systemic health. The purpose of my research is to determine the most effective household method for toothbrush disinfection. The effectiveness of each disinfectant will be determined by comparing bacterial populations produced from toothbrushes disinfected by: antiseptic mouthwash, UV light, 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, a mixture of baking soda and water, and tap water. I predict that antiseptic mouthwash will be the most effective in killing bacteria. My research may identify effective and inexpensive way(s) of improving oral health.

Major: Biology -- Faculty Mentor: Stephen Rice

Allen Cervanek, Reclaiming Power and Agency

Click to view presentation: https://fairmontstate.voicethread.com/share/17375671/

Young adults, from the time they become teenagers, face a number of challenges. Between growing pains, puberty, and added responsibility, young adult fiction acts as a wonderful escape from the strange new world many teens find themselves in, as well as a guiding bar to adulthood through fictional teenagers and the struggles they face along the way. Yet, imbued in many young adult novels are rich, insightful themes that both reflect modern-day beliefs, and encourage introspection in its readers. Contemporary young adult fiction reflects the desire in young adults for freedom of self-expression and equal agency without the threat of societal norms confining them to traditional standards and expectations.

Major: English -- Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Savage

Blake ChaikcicApplying forensic kinesiology to a murder mystery

Click to view presentation: https://fairmontstate.voicethread.com/share/17378210/

Kinesiology is the study of body movement. Forensic kinesiology is the study of how body movement may affect a crime scene. This concept is helpful throughout the field of forensics as it brings different markers for identifying suspects into light. To test the concept of forensic kinesiology, I will observe a video recording of actors performing a murder scene. Watching the scene from multiple angles allowed me to analyze the way the suspects and victims moved. Using methods such as gait and posture analysis allowed me to gain significant information on the suspects to assist with identification. Preliminary results indicate that one can determine an increase of “intent” in a person’s posture when they are about to do something. With the increase of security footage and smart phone usage we may see an increase in the usefulness of forensic kinesiology and its role in forensic science. This research was made possible by NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Training Grant #NNX15AI01H.

Major: Forensic Science -- Faculty Mentor: Kristy Henson

Zachary Fancher, The Highest and Hardest Glass Ceiling: A Journey Complete or Unfinished?

Click to view presentation: https://fairmontstate.voicethread.com/share/17379319/

This presentation takes a broad look at the glass ceiling and its impact on women in American politics. We will identify what the glass ceiling is, the origins of the phrase, historical debate on its existence, and examine its existence through case studies of women and their candidacies for high executive office.

Major: History and Political Science -- Faculty Mentor: Robin K. Payne

Caomi Fitz, How to Understand Dissatisfaction and Corruption Through Genre

Click to view presentation: https://fairmontstate.voicethread.com/share/17375736/

“How to Understand Dissatisfaction and Corruption Through Genre” discusses the Young Adult (YA) genre within the context of three popular YA texts, and explains how due to the broad audience, and the turbulent nature of self-identity and lack of control that the audience goes through, the YA genre reflects these specific issues as themes and motifs. The varying reading levels that the YA genre expresses, and who the specific audience is for each YA novel can help predict what specific challenges and obstacles that the main characters have to overcome.

Majors: Psychology -- Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Savage

Dallas Freeman, Discrete Polylogarithms

Click to view presentation: https://fairmontstate.voicethread.com/share/17382087/

The polylogarithm is a special function of which a special case includes the famous Riemann zeta function, and it has applications to quantum statistics and mechanics. There has been recent interest in discrete analogues of special functions and considering the discrete analogue of the polylogarithm has led us to some interesting results. In this talk, we will define these functions, examine their similarity to the traditional polylogarithm, and consider some results that stem from their hypergeometric representations.

Major: Mathematics -- Faculty Mentor: Tom Cuchta

Rylee Laya, The analysis of antimicrobial properties of copper alloy weights compared to traditional weights in a gym setting

Click to view presentation: https://fairmontstate.voicethread.com/share/17375661/

The purpose of this research project is to analyze the antimicrobial properties of copper alloys for use in a gym setting, instead of traditional stainless steel. To test the effectiveness of copper alloys in the lab, a controlled environment was needed to eliminate any factors that could hinder results. A ten-fold dilution serial dilution was used in order to make the number of bacterial colonies present quantifiable, with this method non-pathogenic Escherichia coli was used. Both the copper and stainless-steel metals were incubated for 15 minutes to mimic the amount of time an individual would spend with a specific weight. After the 15 minutes the piece of metal was taken out of the solution and dried on a sterile plate for 30 minutes, to mimic the time between uses. After the drying period the metals were placed into fresh PBS baths and immersed for 10 minutes in order to recover leftover bacteria. After the PBS bath the ten-fold dilution was performed and then plated, and incubated at 37 degrees Celsius for 24 hours. Once the 24-hour period was over, the colonies on the plates of both the copper and stainless-steel plates were counted and it was determined that the plates of the copper metal had significantly less colonies. This research was made possible by NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Training Grant #NNX15AI01H.

Major: Forensic Science -- Faculty Mentors: Kristy Henson, Mark Flood, and Steven Roof 

Rebecca Luketic, Discrete Legendre Polynomials   

Click to view presentation: https://fairmontstate.voicethread.com/share/17367659/

In this presentation, we will discuss a discrete version of the Legendre polynomials. An important part of this will be the use of falling powers instead of the common monomial powers. This will include how we changed the normal recurrence relations along with other functions. We will also look at generating functions for these discrete Legendre polynomials.

Majors: Mathematics -- Faculty Mentor: Tom Cuchta

Peydan McVicker, The Development and Composting of Cellulose-Based Bioplastic Derived from Hemp Fibers

Click to view presentation: https://fairmontstate.voicethread.com/share/17366450/

The consumption and disposal of plastic products in landfills is drastically affecting our planet today. Though many of these plastic items can be recycled, most them are not. A demand for more sustainable products is imminent as the global rates of climate change continue to increase. An analysis of alternatives to plastic products indicates that a better option is the manufacturing and use of the cellulose-rich hemp plastic to increase rates of biodegradability. In this study, cellulose from locally grown hemp is extracted via acid hydrolysis and turned into bio-plastic sheets. The resulting sheets are composted and monitored to analyze and compare the rates of biodegradability compared to that of normal, everyday plastic products. Preliminary results indicate that the bioplastic is compostable and a better alternative to petroleum-based plastic products. This research was made possible by NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Training Grant #NNX15AI01H.

Major: Forensic Science -- Faculty Mentor: Kristy Henson

Hannah Nykole Moore, Adverse Childhood Experiences:  A Review of the Literature

Click to view presentation: https://fairmontstate.voicethread.com/share/17373958/

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are common, interrelated, and correlate with poor adulthood mental and physical health in what is considered a dose-relationship. This paper explores the extent to which adversity during childhood disrupts development and contributes to chronic disease in adulthood; the types of therapeutic treatments available for people exposed to ACEs, and prevention strategies for those at risk of exposure. Efforts to mitigate ACE exposures and/or their short and long-term repercussions remain cardinal; thus, progress in identifying protective factors in childhood is warranted in predicting vulnerability as well as resiliency. The implication of ACE research continues to be far-reaching.

Major: Psychology -- Faculty Mentor: Ann V. Shaver

Emma Richman, Action Research Project – The Effect of Anticipation Guides on Low Performing Seventh Graders Ability to Access Prior Knowledge

Click to view presentation: https://fairmontstate.voicethread.com/share/17375161/

This action research project focused on 12 low-performing seventh grade students’ ability to access relevant mathematical prior knowledge needed to solve equations.  Using the research-based strategy of anticipation guides, students practiced for 10 consecutive instructional days with formative assessments administered periodically.  A pretest and posttest design evaluated the impact of instruction and the use of anticipation guides to improve student scores.

Major: Elementary Education -- Faculty Mentor: Sharon Smith

Brittany Sharps, Extracting fingerprints using gun blue

Click to view presentation: https://fairmontstate.voicethread.com/share/17383116/

Sweat and oil, produced from eccrine and sebaceous glands, are secreted from the pores and distributed across the skin leaving latent fingerprints on objects we touch. If the fingerprint ridges are not properly hydrated with sweat or oil then the print will not have as much detail. Normal latent prints are extracted with fingerprint powder or superglue fuming. Gun blue is a chemical that is typically used to maintain and improve the metal finish of firearms, protecting against rusting and scratches. In preliminary studies gun blue helps enhance the ridge characteristics on fingerprints because once gun blue is dry its texture is similar to fingerprinting powder. For this project I tested the gun blue theory on gun cartridges collected from a local gun range loaded and fired by a male, female, and unknown. I collected 9mm and 12 gauge cartridges immediately and hours after firing. Cartridges were placed in a super glue fuming chamber then treated with gun blue. Preliminary results so that fingerprints were easier to view and lift after applying gun blue compared to commonly used fingerprint powder.This research was made possible by NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Training Grant #NNX15AI01H.

Major: Forensic Science -- Faculty Mentor: Kristy Henson

Caroline Thompson, Comparing Virtual and Face-to-Face Forensic Science Labs

Click to view presentation: https://fairmontstate.voicethread.com/share/17383106/

The primary goal of this project is to investigate potential forensic science online resources and virtual labs and compare these to similar in-person classroom experiences, specifically with regard to student performance on assessments and student perceptions about learning. This project is being conducted by teaching middle schoolers, both in person and virtually, and comparing the different environments. Two virtual software programs are being compared; Learn Engine’s Diablo Highway and Cengage’s virtual forensic science lab. In addition, surveys have been given to participating students for them to provide feedback about the methods. The data is still being collected for both of the virtual software curricula. This research was made possible by NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Training Grant #NNX15AI01H.

Major: Forensic Science -- Faculty Mentor: Kristy Henson