The Office of Undergraduate Research hosts the Fall Symposium of Student Scholars

The Office of Undergraduate Research at Kennesaw State University hosted the Student Scholars Fall Symposium through Microsoft Teams on Thursday, Nov. 17, in person and virtually on the Marietta campus.

Here’s a look at a few research projects from the event.

Veteran suicide in the United States

Carson Merritt, Major in Geospatial Sciences

At one point, the national suicide rate for veterans was reported to be 22 per day.

Carson Merritt’s project aimed to plot suicide rates by state, then compare that data to Veterans Affairs.

“It’s just something I’m passionate about,” Merritt said. “I’ve had friends who have attempted suicide and things like that. I play a big role in supporting veterans. “In general, veteran suicide is a topic I’m very passionate about, so I thought it would be good to do a project on it.”

Merritt gathered data from ArcGIS, a web-based mapping program that shows results across the country.

“Some states with lower populations, like in the Midwest, actually had higher rates, and I don’t know if that’s because the population is so small,” Merritt said. “Most of the states with really high rates went with fewer VA places.”

Stretching to Reduce Chronic Low Back Pain in Nurses and Care Partners

Jennifer Monyhan, Nursing

Many nurses and care partners develop work-related chronic low back pain due to the constant repositioning of sedentary patients, changing sheets, and bathing patients. These strenuous work demands include bending and lifting, as well as standing for long periods of time during long shifts.

Jennifer Monyhan’s proposal examines the effectiveness of a targeted, 30-second stretching session included at each shift change for workers starting a shift, as well as workers ending their shift, on reports of back pain.

“In my previous career, I worked for UPS and was in operations where all the truck drivers were,” Monyhan said. “Every morning we’d gather in a little place as nurses and do a quick stretch every morning for 30, 45 seconds to get them ready to carry these packs.”

“So I thought, we have a captive audience of nurses and care partners, so why not include a quick extension?”

To ensure accurate results, Monyhan will focus on care partners and nurses reporting back pain and provide a predetermined list of targeted exercises to be performed on a designated medsurg/telemetry unit during each shift.

Next, Monyhan will interview the participants and ask them to rate their back pain on a 10-point pain scale, then compare those results with the answers given at the beginning of the study.


Effects of Changing Insect Availability on European Starling Parental Behavior

Cole Bourque, Biology major

Populations of birds that eat insects in the air are declining in North America.

Urbanization may contribute to this decline indirectly through negative effects on populations of insects, an important food source in the insect diet, where low insect abundance can be particularly difficult for birds during breeding season.

“We don’t know what effect it has on insect availability, and I wanted to see how the level of insect availability actually affects their behavior,” said Cole Bourque.

Bourque studied three different behaviors in European starlings: provisioning, brooding, and guarding. Her study showed that males changed their ability to care for young, showing less parental care when insect availability was higher and increasing their effort only when insect availability was low.

“If urbanization reduces the availability of bugs, we might see these guys actually complete their brood and maybe they’ll be fine,” Bourque said. “It’s hard to say whether urbanization has increased or decreased insect availability.”


An Investigation of Eating Disorder Characteristics in Male Athletes

Caitlin Callahan, Psychology major; Abby Doster, Psychology major

When talking about eating disorders in athletes, male athletes are often left out of the conversation because eating disorders are not generally associated with men.

Past research has found that eating disorders have increased in men in recent years, and this project wanted to see if there were effects in male athletes.

Caitlin Callahan and Abby Doster used a dataset from the National Library of Medicine that measured restraint, eating anxiety, weight anxiety, and shape anxiety from athletes aged 18 and older.

“At first we thought, ‘Well, the stereotype is women and eating disorders.’ The two always go together,” Doster said. “Especially in skinny sports like ballerinas, they’re pressured to lose weight, but when we ran the t-test, it was surprising at first that men were significantly higher on the global eating disorder score. .”

Their study found that male athletes scored significantly higher than female athletes on all subcategories of the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q). They also found that when looking at the interaction of gender and sport, male athletes in non-lean sports scored higher on shape and eating anxiety.


Pyrolo[3,2-b]pyrrole-based Anodic Dyeing Molecules

Julia A. Mauro, majoring in Chemistry; Valentino S. Sorto, Biochemistry major; Perry Skiouris, majoring in chemistry

Cathodic painting electrochromes have been used primarily for organic electronic applications in anti-glare mirrors and windows, smart windows, and smart sunglasses. However, in practice, these materials have the ability to absorb residual red light, leaving a blue tint in the films.

Anodic dye electrochromes (ACE) provide a solution to this problem because they are colorless in the neutral state and become colored upon oxidation.

“Anodically dyed electrochromes start out colorless and become colorful when you apply a potential,” said Julia A. Mauro. “So like a smart window, that’s the remote control: you press a button and it applies a potential and the molecules in the glass change color and darken.”

1,4-Dihydropyrrole was used in this research project[3,2-b]Pyrroles (DHPP) because they are synthetically simple and highly tunable, thus highly applicable to organic electronic applications.

“All of this together basically suggests that more research should be done on pyrrole pyrroles as anodic dye electrochromes, and especially energy-efficient anodic dye electrochromes,” Mauro said.


The effect of the game on novice pilots

Asia Douglas, Public Relations Specialist; Tristan McMichael, majoring in Industrial and Systems Engineering

Global aviation is suffering from a pilot shortage, and by 2032 international aviation is expected to have a shortage of 80,000 pilots.

Researchers have found that the game has a positive effect on cognition and hand coordination. In particular, the skills of people with a level of expertise in video games have significantly improved their performance in many flight simulators.

This study examines whether prior gaming experience affects novice pilots’ flight performance using a large sample size, flight simulator, and eye-tracking measures.

“We’re currently collecting data,” Tristian McMichael said. “So we got a group of students in and we set them up with a flight simulator and walked them through the basic process of what’s going on. We collect the data based on their flight, and then after we get the data from all these different students, we will crunch the numbers and come up with the final results.”

The results will help determine if there are statistically significant differences in how people with video game experience and people without experience learn to fly.


How to escape with a big head

Sedona Griffith-Tesch, majoring in Biology

When animals begin to grow, they usually do not maintain a one-to-one ratio between different body lengths and widths.

For example, humans have large heads in proportion to their body sizes as babies, but as we grow, our bodies get bigger and our heads get smaller in proportion to our bodies.

Ants differ in that, as the ant grows, its head also grows.

Sedona Griffith-Tesch’s research measured the walking speed of worker ants of varying sizes to show how body proportions affect the size of fire ants.

“What we found is that the larger heads on these ants actually hinder their speed,” Griffith-Tesch said. “They run at a slower pace than you’d expect. But what we found is that they have more weight, which means they can pick up things like seeds or food, and they can move faster than other small ants.”


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