Sponsored by the Higher Education Council of Berks County and hosted online by Albright College, undergraduate students from Albright College, Alvernia University, Kutztown University, Penn State Berks and Reading Area Community College present scholarly research at the 21st annual HECBC conference, Saturday, April 18. Read about Albrightian research (alphabetically) below, and click the title links to see full presentations.
Ronald Andanje, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Amy Greene
We studied the growth curve of Crithidia fasciculata. They have similar characteristics to Trypanosoma brucei which are the parasites responsible for the African Trypanosomiasis. Understanding how C. fasciculata grows and replicates may help us in understanding how its parasitic counterparts, Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense and Trypanosoma brucei gambiense may behave and grow in humans. We used OD600 to measure its optical density in a spectrophotometer. We also used a hemocytometer to measure the cell count. We used data from both to come up with a formula to predict the cell number using the OD600 for future experiments. The formula was OD600 = 0.0513(cells *106). This formula also provided a faster way of finding out how they divided. We also found out that they doubled every 4.3 hours. We plan to use the data to find other ways as to how the cells would grow in response to oxidative stress.
Josiah Belfield, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Pamela Artz
The intention is the combination of chemistry and art to create a lab science class. Inorganic pigments were made and tested with binders with varying abilities to suspend the pigments. In exploring the chemistry, students understand the energy transitions that result in different frequencies of electromagnetic radiation making different colors. We will use these and purchased pigments in making frescos with lime plaster on terra cotta. Students will explore fresco technique and understand base resistant pigments. Natural dyes were extracted from red cabbage and onion skin. Absorbance of these dye solutions was investigated at varying pH affecting color and absorbance. This experiment demonstrates the effect of pH on electronic structure impacting energy transitions, light absorbance, and color. The red cabbage juice transitions from purple to green as the pH increases. The onion dye color intensifies as the pH increases. We observed the fluorescence of red cabbage juice at pH 4.5 and 7.2 finding emission maxima at ~440 nm and ~515 nm for excitation at 300 nm and 410 nm, respectively. Using GC-MS, we found polyphenolic compounds that provide color and are putative anti-inflammatory compounds. The onion skin dye was used to color eggs with patterns using small plants as “resists.
Jamie Camano, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Julia Heberle
This study focused on examining the relationship between having had an imaginary friend (IF) in childhood and its possible positive outcomes in young adulthood. To investigate whether these IF positive outcomes hold true in adulthood, several assessment materials were used to assess participants on different traits including creativity (Creative Cognition scale and Magical Ideation scale), coping skills (Prototypic Coping Scale and Boredom Coping scale), and perspective taking (Interpersonal Reactivity Index and Social perspective taking scale). Additionally, an adaptation of Hurlock’s Imaginary Playmate Questionnaire was used to gather information on the imaginary friends of participants who indicated that they did have an imaginary friend during childhood. We hypothesized that participants reporting having had an imaginary friend would score higher on each of the measures observed in comparison to participants that report not having had an imaginary friend. In addition, we hypothesized that strength of IF would correlate positively with the various measures. At this point, our data analysis is still in process.
Grace Coleman, Essence Hall, Jubilee Soto, Jessica Zamora, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Keith Feigenson
Previous literature surrounding virtual reality and aromas suggests a link between them that can change human psychophysiology. In the current study, participants from a small liberal arts college were recruited for an in-person study in which they viewed neutral, calming, thrilling, and scary virtual reality simulations while being exposed to either lavender aromas or ammonia inhalants, also known as smelling salts. Participants then rated each simulation on how scary, thrilling, boring, calming, and enjoyable they found it to be. During each simulation, galvanic skin response, heart rate, and oxygen saturation were recorded. After all simulations, they completed the State-Trait Anxiety Index for Adults. Results showed that participants had higher galvanic skin responses and oxygen saturation during the calming virtual reality than the thrilling and scary simulations. However, the aromas had no impact on any physiology measures. These findings suggest that virtual reality can successfully manipulate human physiology, but aroma effects might not be as effective as previous research has suggested.
Grace Coleman, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Bridget Hearon
Emotional eating in response to negative affect is associated with increased BMI, weight gain, low dietary restraint; however, fewer studies have examined eating in response to positive affect. In the present study, we examined emotional eating and dietary restraint in the context of induced positive and negative affect while also randomizing participants to a food or no-food condition post induction. To date, 54 participants completed informed consent, assessments of interest, and BMI measurements. Following these assessments, participants were randomly assigned to watch a sadness-or joy-inducing movie clip, and then were randomized to complete either a sham taste-test that included chocolate and potato chips or a time-matched task that asked participants to rate the aesthetics of non-food images. Positive and negative affect were assessed throughout. Findings indicate that regardless of affect induced, participants experienced greater positive affect when eating than when rating images, and that dietary restraint, but not self-reported emotional eating may influence the number of calories consumed when in a negative but not positive affective state.
Bridgett Connolly, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Suzanne Palmer
Hemp and marijuana are both the plant species Cannabis sativa, so variations of the plants can be virtually identical to the eye; however, industrial hemp is distinct from marijuana in that it contains less than 0.3%, on a dry weight basis, of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating component of marijuana. Hemp was grown in the United States from colonial times, and its fiber used for rope and clothing. In 1937 Cannabis sativa, regardless of THC level, became illegal in the United States, when it was added to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Recently there has been federal deregulation of hemp and it is commercially available for use in all types of consumer and industrial products. In this context aspects of industry self-regulation will become important as producers and consumers have the expectation of certifications related to the manner in which the consumer product was derived and its underlying ingredients produced – thus, organic and sustainability certifications. Our research provides an overview and summary of the government regulation and organic and sustainability certifications applicable to the U.S. Hemp industry with a focus on Pennsylvania.
Carolyn Cortes, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Barton Thompson
By looking at hunter-gather bands it appears that there would have been selection pressures to cause the evolution of psychological tendencies to maintain and rely on the extended family social unit. Modernity and economic pressures during the course of the industrial revolution have made it harder to maintain the extended family. The strained family unit would likely result in uncomfortable and dissatisfying psychological feelings due to the expected rich social connections to members of the extended family failing to materialize. The hypothesis is that individuals who have less connection with their extended family, will experience greater feelings of loss, insecurity, and loneliness. A survey was administered to students to assess their satisfaction with their social connections to test the hypothesis.
Dylan Demko, Danielle Delcasale, Sadiq Sistrunk, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Amy Greene
We studied glucose metabolism in Crithidia fasciculata parasites using C-13 labelled glucose and NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) and a colorometric GO glucose concentration assay. The goal was to see how downstream glycolytic intermediates PEP and pyruvate effect glucose metabolism in parasites.
McKenzie Derby, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Hilary Aquino
I Don’t Drink That Much: An Analysis of Student Drinking Perceptions
This paper will discuss the perspectives that Albright College students have toward alcohol and their own drinking habits. This research uses a survey that analyzes binge drinking on campus, as well as face- to- face interviews that measure standard drink sizes are discussed. Students’ perceptions are analyzed with the survey, interview results, theory, and historical as well as contemporary literature review. By understanding how college students perceive their drinking behaviors, more beneficial prevention methods can be developed to combat excessive drinking.
Abigail Ensslen, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Sara Nelson
The Beat Generation was a social movement of the 1940s to the 1960s in the U.S and Europe consisting of specific fashions, literature, values, and attitudes that opposed mainstream culture. While popular culture mainly associates the Beats with wearing black turtlenecks and sporting goatees, there is a whole precursor to the movement that consists of a wide range of dress that includes shabby looks as well as business casual and semi-formal looks such as suits. My research into the evolution of the Beat style was organized and presented in a digital format using the Wix platform to create an intriguing and user-friendly website experience. This website showcases several different forms of media that illustrates this counterculture movement known as the Beat Generation as a whole, its subdivisions, and its array of fashions.
Sania Fontaine, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Julia Matthews
After over a month’s work of preparation, character development, and analysis, Sania Fontaine documented her journey of bringing the character of Rosaura from Calderon de la Barca’s Life is a Dream to life for the Domino Player’s production in February 2020, as well as reflecting after each performance. This six page monologue was a piece Sania and Julia spent a lot of time analyzing and working to be sure the message was clear to Sania and the audience and helped to drive the story forward.
Abigail Gray-Army, Albright College – Room 3B: 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Marian Wolbers
Side Effects: A Memoir of a Young Adult’s Journey with Cancer
The Side Effects: A Memoir ACRE focused on creative writing about the mind-body effects of cancer. Utilizing knowledge and experience from her 4 years as an English and communications major, Abigail Army wrote about her experiences with cancer and started mapping out a book of memoirs, which served as a precursor to an independent study in the Spring 2020 semester. Throughout the process of the ACRE, she shared work and developed a set of prompts that would inspire creative writing about cancer’s effects on self and loved ones. The main component of Army’s book is the process of being taken seriously by doctors as a young woman during diagnosis and treatment. Her presentation centers on reading her work and the prompts she developed.
Stephanie Griffin, Isha Shah, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Amy Greene
Crithidia fasciculata is a species of parasitic excavate. It has a single host lifecycle cellin mosquitoes. These cells can metabolize glucose through glycolysis. Crithidia fasciculata is aeukaryotic species that is still in the process of being researched. Sugars other than glucose have not yet been studied in this field of research; thus, the purpose of this experiment was to determine if the cells were also able to metabolize fructose. The cells were made in a solution of 33 mM labeled glucose or 33 mM labeled fructose with D2O, which was added as a solvent. Real timeNMR spectrometry was used to observe and analyze the production of labeled ethanol, showing that the sugar went through its metabolic pathway. There was a competition that was performed between labeled glucose and unlabeled fructose, vice versa. This provided information about preference of metabolism in C. fasciculata. The results showed that both glucose and fructose were able to be metabolized through glycolysis to ethanol.
Ann Marie Harkins, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Wendy Bartkus
This paper examines the many similarities and the single difference between muscle dysmorphia (MD) and anorexia nervosa identified in current research studies. The research provides evidence for heightened levels of obsessive-compulsive behavior, perfectionism, and dissatisfaction with physical appearance being present in both disorders. Both groups show significantly lower self-esteem and participate in situational avoidance due to potential body exposure. Stigma and the media’s glorification of hyper-muscularity prevents diagnosis of MD. Finally, this review criticizes the placement and categorization of MD in the DSM-5 and recommends categorizing the illness under eating disorders.
Jaquan Harley, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Amy Greene
The central purpose for this research is to determine how different drug concentrations affect the contractile vacuole in Vorticella convallaria and analyze how quickly the contractile vacuole cycles. A contractile vacuole is a sub-cellular structure that expels excess liquid when contracted to maintain osmoregulation. Vorticella are single celled eukaryotes that live in ponds and are part of the protist family I looked at the Contractile vacuole cycling in spring water that the standard deviation was 9.20 ± 3.05, n=5. The three different drugs chosen I plan on using are, tetraethylammonium chloride, tetramethylammonium chloride, and tetrapropylammonium chloride by putting them in a petri dish with spring water containing Vorticella. Tetraethylammonium chloride and tetramethylammonium chloride of 50 mM was used and was observed that the cells died. Once the drugs were introduced the cells started to expand which was an indication that the Vorticella’s osmoregulation was hindered. However, a question arose: Could we dilute the drug out and see if they went back to normal? More controls and lower drug concentrations must be done to determine whether the toxicity is due to the inhibition of the contractile vacuole.
Zachary Hendricks, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Justin Couchman
Cross-Cultural Differences in Memory, Beliefs, and Mental Schemas: The Stories We Tell Ourselves
Although it is self-evident that one’s memories are often fleeting, even sometimes seemingly nonexistent when attempting to be recalled, one of the most extensive faults in human memory is its reconstructive nature. It would not be necessarily true to state that people “recall” memories, as past experiences that are remembered in the present are never concrete reproductions of their original forms. The current research attempts to recapitulate Frederick Bartlett’s model of reconstructive memory (1932) to further understand the reliability of memory, the effect of individual cognitive schemas, and the pervasiveness of these factors in the interpretations of different narratives. It utilized two stories of different origins (one being a classic American tale, the other an ancient Incan myth) that acted as the objects for memorization. Participants were read the stories one at a time by the researcher, and then were asked to recall the content of the stories immediately, and then one week later. Memory was operationalized by categorizing the important concepts of both stories into ten distinct elements that occurred in both stories. The accuracy of participant’s responses significantly decreased when recalled one week later (M = 6.9, SE = 0.70) compared to the immediate recall in both stories.
Aaron Hinsey, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Mariam Wolbers
My story, Pine Cones and Cherry Blossoms, involves an American boy, named Ash, who transfers to a Japanese school and meets Hanako, a girl in his new class. The plot of the story also involves their friends Nakama, a rebel student who loves 1980s American culture, and Shien, Hanako’s best friend who has an upbeat personality, as they try to understand each other and their different social customs. Applying my knowledge of both American and Japanese societies, I had decided to include a number of comedic mishaps involving the misunderstandings of the characters’ different worlds. For instance, Ash has trouble entering his classroom day one because he is trying to pull the door open, whereas in Japanese schools most doors open from side to side. The characters are also mesmerized by each other’s lunches, since American lunches usually involve a sandwich, whereas in Japan their lunches include rice and vegetables. I had also taken the time to draw out all the characters of the story and certain scenes from the plot as well, formatted as short comic strips. I hope whoever reads my story in the future will come to enjoy the content of my work.
Sarah Hohl, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Justin Couchman
Imagination is not easily defined to children because it is an abstract concept that cannot be seen to be taught. When telling a child to “go play with their toys”, they need to understand what play is and how to make an inanimate object “come to life” in their minds. By making an inanimate object “come to life” for a child, they are developing their imagination while playing. We tested twenty-nine children on their ability to understand real vs. imaginary objects and attempted to improve their understanding with a short intervention. Results supported previous findings showing that younger children have a harder time understanding real and imaginary. Preliminary research for fantasy and reality distinction was conducted in a second experiment. Participants categorized pictures of actors and movie characters and reaction time was measured. Results indicated participants were more accurate when categorizing imaginary pictures but tended to have slower reaction times to imaginary pictures.
Lauren Huber, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor John Pankratz
This poster examines Sally McKean as she moved from life as a prominent young woman in the “republican court” of early national Philadelphia into her marriage to an aristocratic Spanish diplomat. Born in 1777, Sally was the daughter of Thomas McKean – Representative of Delaware in the Continental Congress, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and Governor of Pennsylvania – and his second wife, Sarah Armitage. Her marriage, in 1798, to Carlos Maria Martínez de Irujo y Tacón, the Minister of Spain to the US obliged Sally to negotiate a series of transitions, which the poster details: from Presbyterianism to Catholicism; from Philadelphia to Washington to Madrid, from an evolving American elite to an established Spanish aristocracy, and from the Governor’s daughter to the Marquise de Casa Irujo. Family correspondence and the writings of contemporary observers help to trace these transitions, these translations, which shed light broadly on female education, the role of women in the politics of the New Nation, and the influence of the Revolution on personal identity. Ultimately, Thomas McKean’s keen sense of ambition and Sally’s own eased and normalized these transitions and influenced the woman in her endeavors.
Kallie Lutz, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Susan Hughes
We examined perceptions of mood based on seasonal changes and activity levels. Overall, those shown engaging in active pastimes were rated as being more energetic and happier than if engaged in non-active pastimes. When a person was shown in a winter setting, they were perceived as being happier and enjoying the activity more if engaged in active pastimes as opposed to non-active ones. The opposite was true for those engaged in activities depicted during summertime.
Andrea Nguyen, Albright College – Room 3B: 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Doreen Burdalski
Cultural Appropriation: Cultural Homage or Cultural Theft?
What is cultural appropriation? It is the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, and ideas of one culture or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society. Through the years, designers have given the world memorable pieces that have had to be retracted due to cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation in designs in the fashion industry has been a recent discussion whether it pays homage to a specific culture or it is a cultural theft. Brands have made the mistake of appropriating a culture and have quickly apologized to only make a similar mistake again. The research on this topic provides cases of cultural appropriation and initiatives companies have taken to avoid cultural appropriation in their designs. To succeed in the future, brands need to learn how to celebrate a culture that pays homage without stealing from or degrading that culture.
Rachel Nye, Inayah Clay, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Amy Greene
Crithidia fasciculata are insect parasites, primarily infecting mosquitoes, that grow at an optimal temperature of 27 degrees Celsius, the body temperature of the mosquito. Growth and metabolism can happen at a variety of temperatures, and we are trying to find if 27 degrees is the true temperature for metabolism of these parasites. The test to determine this is to incubate the cells at specific temperature points ranging from almost freezing to a bit above room temperature with labelled C-13 glucose as the source of food for the cells. Every thirty minutes for two hours the cells were spun, and the supernatant was tested by C-NMR for the presence of metabolic wastes produced by the Crithidia fasciculata, which includes ethanol, succinate and glycerol. Overall, it seems that cells grown at our highest temperature point tested, 32 degrees Celsius, showed the most production of these metabolic wastes. The other temperatures tested were 5 degrees and 21 degrees. It makes sense that the 32-degree samples showed the most metabolic waste because it is the point we measured that is closest to the temperature of the literature optimal temperature of growth for Crithidia fasciculata.
Kenneth Orrego, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Brenda Ingram-Wallace
Adolescent suicide has recently received more attention with the release of the show Thirteen Reasons Why. The show was adapted from the book of the same name by Jay Asher, and this project draws information from both sources. Qualitative and quantitative data gathered from viewings of the show and readings of the book highlight several instances of romanticizing both the act of teen suicide and the aftermath of the action on those who knew the victim. There are also instances where factors preceding Hannah’s suicide are also shown in a negative fashion. These factors include sexual assault and harassment, physical assault, bullying, and psychopathology. Analyzing all of these factors highlighted that Thirteen Reasons Why has had an overall negative effect on decreasing adolescent suicide rates. Furthermore, the show has been linked to an increase in adolescent suicide rates since its release, showing that the show presents a real danger to the public.
Blake Reed, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Michael Armato
The purpose of this paper is to explore whether urban or rural counties are underfunded in terms of budgeted winter road maintenance costs. This paper utilizes data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Winter Service Guide from 2017 and 2018. This paper argues that the resources budgeted to both urban and rural areas do not appear to be a political calculation based on government actors rewarding their political bases, but rather a function of service delivery based on apolitical factors. Thus, our paper calls into question whether urban or rural resentment of state resources is justified, which should spark more research on this timely topic.
Tajae Reese, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Nick Ungson
The purpose of this study was to examine the psychology of blame and punishment among Black Americans. The current study builds on previous research that shows that individuals reduce blame of a moral transgressor (e.g., murderer, office bully) when exposed to a historicist narrative: a storied account of how a moral transgressor acquired their personality (e.g., troubled childhood). Furthermore, past research indicates that White participants were less likely to reduce blame for Black—but not White–transgressors in the presence of a historicist narrative. We replicated this study among members of the Black community at Albright College. Participants were asked to read a crime committed by either White or Black transgressor. Half of the participants also read a historicist narrative in addition to the crime. We then measured variable such as blame and punishment. The current study sought to replicate past work, as well as broaden the scope of this research question to Black participants. In other words, do Black participants exhibit a similar racial bias in the application of historicist information?
Sarajean Reinert, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Michael D’Errico
The music industry has always been a hostile environment for female-identifying workers. Following popular feminist campaigns such as the #metoo movement in 2017, many media industries started to make concerted efforts to address gender inequity and workplace sexism. Even as more women gain employment, though, many have trouble feeling comfortable within such male-dominated spaces, resulting in lower than average retention rates. By combining existing research on gender in the music industry, with the development of a community outreach and social networking website for women in the music industry, this project built on the excellent work of the non-profits and music products companies that have begun to think through gender equity following the #MeToo movement.
Cameron Rupert, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Denise Meister
In this study, the researcher sought to solicit information from secondary physics teachers in Berks, Lehigh, and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania to ascertain their instructional practices. Fifteen participants completed a digital questionnaire, adapted from the eighth-grade science teacher questionnaire from Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2015, to include items related to their role as a physics teacher. Results provided insight into both instructional methods they implemented and frequency of use of these strategies. Results suggested that many different techniques, both traditional and constructivist in nature, were implemented by the teachers. Several issues related to instruction were also identified. A majority of the participants felt they needed more time to prepare their lessons and to help students individually. Furthermore, time spent in science-related professional development varied greatly with participants reporting zero to over 35 hours in the last two years.
Bex Sammartino, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Jayanthi Rajan
For decades, the American music economy has relied on the nation’s youth to support its endeavors. Adolescents are the life blood of musical trends, feeding those that please them or starving them as they see fit. In the 90s, the internet was born and mobile listening devices revolutionized the landscape of the music economy. Business strategies, especially in the field of marketing, have had to adapt to this new landscape. The current generation, referred to fondly as the iGeneration, has grown up in this new era of music. They are raised on customization, tired of discrimination, and care much less about what is mainstream or popular. As a result, the music economy must shift to accommodate the adolescents it so desperately relies upon. Recent trends in the music industry reveal increased genre diversity among the iGeneration populace which suggests that the individualism and inclusivity of today’s youth may be driving the American Music Economy.
Sylvia Sarceno, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Joycelyn Burdett
This paper examines the different Guatemalan indigenous groups and how their clothing identifies the specific community to which they belong. It explains the types of fabrics, colors, and textures they use to achieve the specific patterns which help identify them. The paper goes in depth about how the women hand weave fibers together along with different accessories to help differentiate themselves. When the Spanish came and colonized Central America, they made the communities follow their rules, the men were more affected by this because they were the ones communicating with settlers. Since the women rarely had communication with the Spanish, they kept their “trajes”, which is what they call the women’s traditional clothes. The research elaborates on the traditional dress of Guatemalan women, what types of fibers and natural dyes that were used to create their fabrics and how the costume varies by the indigenous groups and regions. Also, how they have changed their dress but have remained the same throughout the centuries. Key words: Guatemala, indigenous group, fabric, textures, colors, fibers, traditional dress, trajes, communities, languages, hand weaving, natural dyes, patterns, identification, culture.
Brooke Schlott, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Gwendolyn Seidman
The purpose of this study is to examine how the sexual orientation of a couple influences others’ perception of the relationship’s success. Previous research has shown that the relationships of sexual minorities, such as homosexuals and bisexuals, are perceived as less stable. Past research also shows that bisexual men are perceived more negatively than bisexual women, yet little research has been conducted concerning the social perceptions of the quality of their relationships. The current study is an experiment in which participants read seven randomized scenarios describing a heterosexual couple, a lesbian couple, a gay couple, a same-sex couple consisting of a bisexual female and lesbian female, a same-sex couple consisting of a bisexual male and gay male, an opposite-sex couple consisting of a bisexual female and heterosexual male, and an opposite-sex couple consisting of a bisexual male and heterosexual female. Participants will rate the overall stability of the relationship, sexual satisfaction of each partner, and the commitment of each partner. I predict that the heterosexual couple with be perceived the most positively, followed by the gay and lesbian couples, followed by the opposite-sex couples containing a bisexual individual, and then followed by the same-sex couples containing a bisexual individual. Data for this study are currently being collected and have not yet been finalized.
Robert Schwartz, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Ian Cost
Birds make use of their lower limbs for functions such as grasping, climbing, and nest building along with many other actions. The tendon-locking mechanism (TLM) underlying the closing of digits of bird feet is essential for aspects of the avian lifestyle. A number of studies have previously investigated the mechanics of the TLM across multiples species. This project describes forces underlying the TLM mechanism. We use properties of the flexor muscles of the leg used for grasping behaviors in related avian species, Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) and Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperii) to address this mechanism. Using traditional dissection and muscle evaluation techniques, flexor muscles of the left leg were collected to estimate the physiological cross-sectional area (PCSA) and muscle force in Newtons. Muscles were removed at proximal and distal attachments. Pennation angles and mass for each muscle were measured before muscles were immersed in HNO3 to facilitate muscle fiber separation. Mean muscle fiber length, pennation angle, and PCSA were used to calculate forces muscles are capable of contributing to the TLM. A wider sampling of species is necessary to gain a better understanding of how the forces contributing to the TLM affect the lifestyle of various species of birds.
Isha Shah, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Bryce Brylawski
P-phenylenediamine (PPD) is an aromatic compound, that when oxidized, is used in cosmetics such as hair dyes and black henna. The cosmetic waste containing PPD can pass through standard wastewater treatments, and thus aquatic life can be exposed to it. As a result, it is important to understand the toxicological effects PPD can have on key linkages in the food web, such as aquatic insects. Bean beetle larvae were used as proxy, and a trypan endotoxicological assay was used to determine the percentage of viable cells in samples tested at different toxin concentrations. Repeated trials were run at differing toxin levels to determine the LD50 of PPD. Because cosmetics tend to utilize oxidized PPD, which is present because of the addition of hydrogen peroxide, trials were conducted to test the toxicity of oxidized PPD. Percent mortality was significantly higher than that of unoxidized PPD and increased with the concentration of the toxin. Further trials were then conducted to determine toxicity of PPD over time; we observed that toxicity increased linearly as the sample incubated over time. This work has identified that PPD can have a significant endotoxic effect on larvae and the use may have negative ecological ramifications.
Allison Ulaky, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Brian Jennings
Cuenca, Ecuador is the home to thousands of expatriates from the United States who majorly retire to Cuenca, volunteer, or teach English to Cuencanos. Similarly, in 2017, over 1 million Ecuadorians left Ecuador and also sent over $1 billion in remittances back to Ecuador (Pew Research Center 2019). This relationship of migrants entering and leaving Cuenca creates a fascinating dynamic in the city, with each immigration and emigration causing positive and negative effects for the citizens of Cuenca. Both the Ecuadorians and expatriates have different perceptions of each other depending how they experience the effects occurring in Cuenca, as well as both of their opinions on immigration to the United States. Twenty interviews were completed in Cuenca, ten with Ecuadorians and ten with expatriates living in Cuenca. These interviews were then analyzed to determine each group’s views on immigration and how it affects the local culture. The purpose of this study is to research the perceptions that Ecuadorians and expatriates from the United States have of each other in Cuenca, Ecuador.
Jieyu Zhang, Madelyn Loftus, Albright College
Faculty Sponsor: Professor Amy Greene
5-fluorouracil (5FU) has been used to treat cancer by preventing DNA synthesis. We used fluorine-NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) to investigate whether 5FU killed Crithidia fasciculata parasite cells, and whether the cells metabolized the drug. We saw no toxicity or metabolism of 5FU by the parasites.