Honors Conference Abstracts, Posters, and Presentations

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    Effects of ethnicity on hearing screening failure rates in a newborn, well baby clinic
    (Wichita State University, 2014-02-13) McKeown, Ali N.; Fowler, Stephanie; Downs, David
    Researchers have reported a higher prevalence of hearing loss among Hispanic school-aged children than among children of other ethnicities. The purpose of this study is to measure if a higher risk of hearing loss is already present at birth among Hispanic well babies. Specifically, in this retrospective study, investigators will review hearing screening and demographic records of over 22,000 well babies born at a Wichita hospital from 2009-2012, and: 1) statistically compare the screening failure rates of Hispanic well babies versus well babies of other ethnicities; and 2) analyze if screening failure rates are associated with risk factors at birth.
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    How university students continue to live in a bilingual society in Puerto Rico
    (Wichita State University, 2013-04-09) Williams, Chandler; Gaunt, Philip
    One of the most critical questions for Puerto Ricans today is whether or not to become the 51st state of the United States of America. In a recent interview with Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rican commissioner to the U.S. Congress, he discusses the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a sovereign state. One of the biggest disadvantages is that Puerto Rico would have to make English their primary language while currently Puerto Rico functions as a bilingual society. Why is the question of language so important? What role does language play in Puerto Rican culture? How does one culture survive with two national languages? Is one language used more than the other and why? I want to know in what social settings Puerto Ricans use Spanish and in what other social settings they use English. To do this I will compare how Puerto Rican college students use literature and social media inside and outside of their university.
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    From dropped out to checked in: a snapshot of alternative education
    (Wichita State University, 2013-04-09) Williams, Monica; Bakari-Cozart, Shukura
    Many high schools today employ a conventional model of schooling for students in grades 9-12. This model includes traditional, lecture-style classes that follow a typical schedule of two semesters (four, nine-week terms), midterms, and finals. Although many students are able to conform to this model, for those who do not, research shows that alternative education can meet their needs. The purpose of this study was to determine the structure and effects of an alternative high school in a small, but growing, Midwestern school district. After a review of the literature, researchers completed a case study of this high school in order to review its history, necessity, student population, structure, and effects. This research encompassed both qualitative data (student surveys and principal/superintendent interviews) and quantitative data as it sought to determine why these students were in alternative schools as well as their outcomes. The results of this research may help pinpoint the continued need for these types of environments in districts and how they can be used effectively to serve nontraditional students as they find success. Keywords: dropouts, alternative education, nontraditional students, school structure
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    Management of invasive species: sericea lespedeza insights from an optimization model
    (Wichita State University, 2013-04-09) Lampe, J. Tanner; Buyuktahtakin, Esra
    Native grasslands in the Great Plains are threatened by the spread of Sericea (Lespedeza cuneata). Sericea is a non-native legume originating from Asia. Sericea infestations negatively impact the forage value and hay production from grasslands resulting in substantial economic losses to landowners. Furthermore, this invasion threatens the integrity of native and restored prairies as it chokes out native flora and alters the habitat. Although herbicides are available, effective control can be expensive because of the scale of the problem and the necessity of iterated application to combat the plant’s long-lived, extensive seedbank. Herein proposed is an optimization model to find economically efficient strategies to control the invasion of Sericea. Using empirical data, the model accounts for population growth rates, carrying capacity, seed dispersal, treatment costs, and economic loss due to invasion. The model is then utilized to minimize the discounted sum of damages, prevention/restoration, and control costs over time subject to two constraints: the spread of invasive species over space and time and the cost of resources to control and prevent Sericea. Results from model reflecting the outcome of different management scenarios are presented to give insight to economically efficient strategies for controlling Sericea in the Great Plains.
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    Growth and differentiation of neuronal cells in injectable collagen hydrogel for neural regeneration
    (Wichita State University, 2013-04-09) Pichetsurnthorn, Pie; Yao, Li
    Injury to the central nervous system including brain and spinal cord causes neuron death and demyelination and these tissues have limited intrinsic regenerative capacity. Transplantation of neuronal cells to the lesion of the injured neural tissue may generate therapeutic effect. However few cells may survive in the hostile environment. Injectable hydrogel serving as cell carrier may overcome this challenge by providing the cells a permissive environment to generate function locally. In this study, we tested the ability of collagen hydrogel as a carrier for neuronal cell transfection and differentiation. PC12 cells were seeded in the collagen hydrogel and differentiated with nerve growth factor (NGF) stimulation. To study PC12 cell transfection and differentiation in the hydrogel, plasmids encoding NGF-ires-EGFP were complexed with Fugene transfection reagent. The complexed pNGF-ires-EGFP was incorporated into the hydrogel seeded with PC12 cells. We observed that PC12 cells were transfected in the hydrogel and expressed EGFP protein. PC12 cells differentiated and generated neurites. To investigate axonal myelination, we isolated oligodendrocyte progenitor cells and dorsal root ganglion (DRG) from neonatal rats. We characterized the phenotype of OPCs and induced OPCs differentiation into oligodendrocyte in cell culture. Myelination of axons in the co-culture of OPCs and DRG was observed. In the future studies, we will co-culture OPCs and DRG in the hydrogel to study the myelination of axons in this 3-dimentional cell culture system.