Current Scholars

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We are quite proud of our current McNair Scholars. Meet these leaders of tomorrow:


Kaitlin Faust

Kaitlin Faust

Major: Animal Science

College: College of Agricultural Science

Mentor: Dr. Erin Perry, Animal Science Food and Nutrition

SRI 2019 Abstract: Regulations of Commercial Dog Food across America: A Review

The evaluation of foods used for the nutrition of domestic animals is a matter of great importance. A major function of feed regulation is to safeguard the health of animals, and a critical component of that function is to ensure that animal feed and feed ingredients are appropriately and safely used as provided by the product label. Prepared foods for dogs are no exception, and the pet food industry aims to provide safe, palatable, digestible, and nutritionally balanced foods for pet animals at prices affordable by the human owner. Although pet food falls under regulations, who enforces these regulations, and why are there so many recalls happening in the United States? The objective of this project was to investigate the mislabeling, regulatory guidelines, and the nutritional aspects of commercial dog foods. We found that the FDA controls the majority of the regulations with the help of the State Department of Agriculture. We also observed through available published research that mislabeling of products and false claims on pet food are the leading causes of pet food recalls. In a future direction to this research, a questionnaire will be sent out to Veterinarian offices of State Department of Agriculture for each state to assess the similarities and dissimilarities between their current regulations and guidelines for commercial dog foods.

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Nathaniel Jordan

Nathaniel Jordan

Major: Plant Biology

College: College of Science

Mentor: Dr. Jane Geisler-Lee, Plant Biology

SRI 2018 Abstract: Silver nanoparticles and their effect on Arabidopsis thaliana cell viability

Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are unique due to their anti-microbial efficacy and ability to be synthesized in various sizes. The scope of their industrial uses ranges from drug delivery and band-aids to cosmetics and socks. As research and development of AgNPrelated products increases, so does the bioaccumulation of AgNPs in the environment. This study was designed to test the effects of AgNP concentrations on plants, specifically A. thaliana cells to understand the effects of the increasing amount of AgNPs that are accumulating in the environment. Based on the data extracted from the experiment it is determined that the concentrations of AgNPs that were used had no significant impact on A. thaliana cell viability.

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Christian Rose

Christian Rose

Major: Mechanical Engineering

College: College of Engineering

Mentor: Dr. Jerzy Kocik, Mathematics & Dr. K.V. Shajesh, Physics

SRI 2019 Abstract: Organic-Inorganic Titanium Halide Perovskites for Photovoltaic Appliation (PDF)

SRI 2020 Abstract: Electromagnetic Scattering from Fractal Configurations

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Margaret Schlotter

Margaret Schlotter

Major: Psychology

College: College of Liberal Arts

Mentor: Dr. Lisabeth DiLalla, Psychology

SRI 2020 Abstract: The Impact of Socioeconomic Status, Parental Negative Talk, and Gender on Child Internalizing and Externalizing Behaviors

Mental and behavioral problems in young children can lead to anxiety, depression, impaired academic performance, or substance abuse in adolescence and adulthood. Negative parenting practices and economic stressors have been associated with increased mental and behavioral problems in children. Boys typically display more aggressive-type behaviors while girls display more depressive behaviors. Data from 147 4- and 5-year-old children were used to test the effects of parental verbal negative talk and socioeconomic status (SES) at age 4 on internalizing and externalizing behaviors at age 5. Regression analyses showed a significant main effect of SES on girls’ externalizing behaviors and a trending interaction effect for boys’ internalizing behaviors. Showing that boys with high negative parent talk and low SES show higher internalizing, as expected, but boys with low negative parent talk and high SES also show higher internalizing. Post-hoc regression analyses showed that higher negative talk and lower SES at age 4 significantly predicted age 4 aggression in boys only. The developmental pathway for internalizing and externalizing behaviors may differ for boys and girls. Negative parenting practices and lower SES are particularly important to examine as risk factors when creating treatment plans for externalizing behaviors in preschool-aged boys.

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Diamoneek Green

Diamoneek Green

Major: Political Science

College: College of Liberal Arts

Mentor: Dr. Randolph Burnside, Public Administration

SRI 2020 Abstract: The Impact of Generational Membership and Other Determinants of Racial Attitudes Pre and Post Obama

The post-Barack Obama era offers a chance to test the impressionable years hypothesis, which asserts that historical events happening during young adulthood, have a lasting impact on young adults’ political attitudes. Using data from the 2018 General Social Survey, we examine White Generation Z members, who came of age towards the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, to see if those individuals exhibit less racial resentment and old-fashioned racism than older generations of Whites. The findings suggest that Generation Z members are more resentful than the previous two generations. Thus, contradicting Nteta and Greenlee’s (2013) findings of continuing liberalization of younger generations. Additionally, other predictors that traditionally impact racial attitudes such as gender, income, education, and social contact, have similar effects on White racial attitudes. These findings indicate Barack Obama’s presidency did not have a lasting impression on the racial attitudes of Generation Z.

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Jocelyn Ortiz

Jocelyn Ortiz

Major: Psychology

College: College of Liberal Arts

Mentor: Dr. Daryl G. Kroner, Criminology & Criminal Justice

SRI 2020 Abstract: Unraveling the Link Between Protective Factors and Juvenile Delinquency

The prevalence of juvenile delinquency is a concerning issue to society due to its negative effects on communities, families, and youth success. Extensive research has been conducted to identify the risk and protective factors associated with juvenile delinquency. However, many juvenile justice programs have failed to reach their full potential as we continue to see large rates of recidivism amongst youth. The purpose of this study was to examine the unique contribution of protective factors on juvenile arrest in order to implement effective prevention strategies in rehabilitation programs. Using existing data, a partial correlation was administered to measure the statistically significant relationship between protective factors and juvenile arrest, after controlling for risk factors. Results showed a lack of correlation between protective factors and juvenile arrest, suggesting that risk factors are the sole predictor of delinquent behavior. This study has implications for improving prevention programs by emphasizing the use of risk assessments to help meet the treatment needs for juvenile offenders.

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Eeron Valdivia

Eeron Valdivia

Major: Biological Sciences

College: College of Science

Mentor: Dr. Sedonia Sipes, Plant Biology

SRI 2020 Abstract: What Factors Affect Reproductive Success in Tradescantia ohiensis?

Many plants rely on animal pollinators for reproduction. Traits that play a role in attracting pollinators, such as the number and size of flowers, and environmental factors, such as flower density, can affect a plant's reproductive success. Floral display size is known to affect visitation of bee-pollinated plants. Floral display can be quantified by the number of flowers produced, the number of flowers open at one time, or the height of an inflorescence. I studied the reproduction of the native wildflower Tradescantia ohioensis. T. ohioensis is a bee-pollinated plant that requires cross-pollination to set fruit and seed. I hypothesized that plants with taller inflorescences and more flowers will have higher pollinator visitation rates and higher fruit set than plants with short inflorescences and/or fewer flowers. I also hypothesized that T. ohioensis plants that grow near to other conspecifics will have higher pollinator visitation rates and higher fruit set than plants that are isolated. The relationship between height and fruit set was not what I predicted: shorter plants had higher fruit set, though a linear regression showed the relationship was not significant. Flower number had no significant relationship to fruit set. The relationship between the mean distance to 3 nearest conspecific neighbors and fruit set was as expected: plants close to other T. ohioensis plants had higher fruit set. This relationship was marginally significant.

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April Dawn Robinson

April Robinson-Kain 

Major: History Education

College: College of Education and Human Services

Mentor: Dr. Pamela Smoot, History

SRI 2020 Abstract: African Americans in Colonial Moravian Society

The Moravian church was formed by a cluster of protestant pacifists originating in Bohemia but driven underground for more than 300 years. A small party of Moravians settled on a 100,000-acre tract of land in west central North Carolina called Wachovia, believing they were called there, to build an exclusive settlement and bring honor to God. They developed a patriarchal plan which entailed renting parcels of land to each church member while building a town centrally located for artisans and craftsman. In addition, a central community was designed to attract Moravians, in other parts of Wachovia, to the center of their land. Experiencing a shortage of labor caused the Moravians to engage in the enslavement of African Americans on whose backs, labor, and talents built the Moravian divine community. Although the difficult and tedious work fell to the slaves, their most arduous task was to survive and forge connections within this society. The Moravians are heralded by scholars for their inclusive treatment of African Americans before the Revolutionary War. However, little is mentioned about their treatment of the enslaved after this war. This project focuses on the gap in the literature concerning the Moravian transition from a self-contained group linked together by strict regulations to an industrial society fueled by commerce, changing attitudes of Moravians toward free and enslaved blacks, and the opinions of neighboring whites who influenced the ideas of racial segregation on the Moravians.

 

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SIU picture of mackenzie rosario

Mackenzie Rosario

Major: Cinema and Photography

College: College of Mass Communications and Media Arts

Mentor: Dr. Angela Aguayo, Cinema and Photography

 SRI 2020 Abstract: Analyzing the Cinematic Representation of the Dominican Republic Post-Dictatorship

The purpose of this study is to analyze the cinematic representation in the Dominican Republic post-dictatorship. There was a 31-year gap of all independently produced media production during the regime of Dictator Rafael Trujillo which then led to an explosion of media making upon his assassination in 1961. During this process I was able to explore the differences other countries faced during their dictatorships and understand to what extent the amount of it was being censored by the government. This study seeks to answer the research question, how does documentary representation function in the post-dictatorship Dominican Republic? The goal is to decipher how documentary filmmaking plays a role on our collective memory and how it serves as a bridge to negotiate social change. I identify this through the analysis of documentary film After Trujillo, which revisits several memorial sites and ruins of Trujillo’s dictatorship from 1930 to 1961 in theDominican Republic.

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Carlos Danny Zarate

Carlos (Danny) Zarate

Major: Linguistics

College: College of Liberal Arts

Mentor: Dr. Katherine Martin, Linguistics

SRI 2020 Abstract: Professional Knowledge and Practices for Working with English Learners

As the number of English learners attending schools in the United States continues to rise, teachers across the country struggle to accommodate them in their classrooms. Often, teachers lack extensive multicultural and linguistic training which leads to many negative outcomes for English learners. The current study examined the prior preparation, current language acquisition beliefs, and classroom and communication practices of education professionals who may work with English learners. Specifically, this study targeted special education teachers, speech language pathologists, and other professionals with similar credentials employed at Brehm Preparatory, a boarding school located in Carbondale, Illinois, or other schools around the United States. Preliminary data were collected through surveys based on the SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) Model, a framework of best practices for teaching English learners with over 20 years of extensive research. Preliminary results reveal some of the strengths and weaknesses teachers have regarding working with English learners. The data will ultimately be used to develop a better understanding of teacher knowledge and design effective professional development training. 

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Martiece Arrington

Martiece Arrington

Major: Communication Studies

College: College of Liberal Arts

Mentor: Dr. Craig Engstrom, Communication Department

SRI 2020 Abstract: Well Spoken: A Neo-Aristotelian Analysis of Barack Obama's 2008 Victory Speech

The purpose of this study was to examine Barack Obama’s 2008 Victory Speech that was delivered from Giant Park in Chicago, IL. Obama is known for his use of rhetorical style of speech. This study used a neo-Aristotelian analysis to critic the speech by applying three of the framework’s five canons of rhetoric—invention, arrangement, and style—to identify the methodology behind a speaker’s rhetorical strategies that have persuasive impact on an audience. Findings from this analysis highlight Obama’s use of classic American tropes of personal struggle and perseverance. He combines his personal story with inclusive language and universal emotional appeals (pathos) that increase identification with the audience. Using these rhetorical devices in combination with stylistic delivery universalizes Obama’s central message of “hope, change, and unity.” This analysis contributes to rhetoric and speech writing by highlighting common ideas into poetic forms, which can be used by public speakers to enhance delivery of their message. Therefore, it is safe to be lured into what could possibly be, Well Spoken.

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Shawn Arreguin

Shawn Arreguin

Major: Zoology

College: College of Science

Mentor: Dr. Jessica Crowe, Sociology

SRI 2020 Abstract: Perception of Gardening with Native Plant Species Across the United States

Biodiversity has become a critical issue throughout the globe and more than ever it has become imperative to find a solution. An increase in native gardening is a commonly cited solution because it would create additional habitats for native animals’ species, thereby benefiting biodiversity. Home gardeners would need to be willing to plant native in order for this idea to work. This project sought to understand people’s perception of native gardening and their willingness to do so. Amazon Mechanical Turk was used to survey 707 adults in the United States and determine their perception of gardening with natives and what might motivate people to grow native species. Descriptive data finds that, overall, people are willing to plant native and would even be willing to go to workshops to learn more. In addition, people would be heavily motivated by financial incentives such as free plants, tax breaks, and funding. It is important to recognize and learn from this data so that we can begin to create incentives to gardening with natives in order to benefit native biodiversity. People are also motivated to buy plants for their beauty, so it would be important to showcase aesthetically pleasing native plants in order to motivate people to purchase them.

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Mya Tatum

Mya Tatum

Major: Microbiology

College: College of Science

Mentor: Dr. Vjollca Konjufca, Microbiology

SRI 2020 Abstract: Chlamydia Vaccines: a Review

Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) is a leading cause of bacterial sexually transmitted infections and preventable blindness worldwide. If left untreated, in women Ct infections can lead to reproductive tract pathologies such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. As it currently stands, there are no vaccines available to protect against Ct infections. A strong cellular immune response is desirable in a Ct vaccine. The role of antibodies in protection against a primary infection is unclear. In this study we have examined the humoral response induced in mice after immunization, either per orally or subcutaneously with inactivated Chlamydia organisms. We found that both forms of immunization induce high titers of Chlamydia-specific serum antibodies. Ongoing efforts are directed towards characterizing mucosal antibody responses and evaluating protective efficacy of antibodies against vaginal challenge with Chlamydia. This work has importance for developing vaccines against Chlamydia and possibly other sexually transmitted pathogens.

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Millien Regis

Millien Regis

Major: Crop, Soil, and Environmental Mgmt 

College: College of Agricultural Sciences

Mentor: Dr. Jason Bond & Ahmad Fakhoury, Agricultural Sciences

SRI 2020 Abstract: Plant Parasitic Nematodes Associated with Pigeon Pea (Canjanus canja (L.) Millsp.) and Integrated Management Approaches

Pigeon pea production is facing enormous disease challenges in many countries in South America, Africa, and Asia. These diseases are caused by different types of pathogens, including fungi, viruses, and nematodes. The plant-parasitic nematode has known as the most harmful pathogen to pigeon pea worldwide. Meloidogyne incognita feeds on plant roots and gives rise to root galls. Meloidogyne incognita attacks consequently cause poor growth and reduce yield. This study has objective to: 1) Develop tools to study the interaction between Meloidogyne incognita (Southern Root Knot Nematode RKN) and pigeon pea, 2) test the efficacy of a chemical seed treatment on this interaction, and 3) explore the efficacy of potential biocontrol agents on RKN. This research is conducted by 1) treated pigeon pea seeds by using (ILeVO, SALTRO, Pochonia, Tolypo) 2) stem, height, and chlorophyll are measured for each cultivar 3) root infection analysis. This study is needed in pigeon pea fields to select the possible treatments to reduce the damage Meloidogyne incognita can cause.

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