Office of Research

UWB Undergraduate Research Symposium 2013

UWB 2013 Undergraduate Research Symposium


Poster Session #1 from 11:30am – 1pm

Kar Yan Mok, Environmental Science (BS)
“Temporal Variability of Nitrate Concentrations”

The goal of this research is to develop a new methodology for measuring the release of nitrate from soils using the Satlantic SUNA nitrate sensor and soil core samples from around the UW Bothell wetlands.  Preliminary data shows that nitrate concentrations diminish as percolation and runoff continue.  The new methodology we develop will be employed to answer additional questions and applied to different sites.
Mentor: Rob Turner, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Amy Vondette, Environmental Studies (BA)
“Spatial Modeling of English Holly Invasion in St. Edward Park”

English holly (Ilex aquifolium) is an increasingly prominent invader of Pacific NW forests but little is known about the spatial pattern of invasion at a local level.  With the aid of a geographic information system (GIS) we aim at modeling the spatial distribution of this plant species in St. Edward Park.  One factor that could explain the distribution of this plant species is its relationship with the presence of other vegetation types.  Thus, we will map the different vegetation types found in the study area with a resolution consistent enough with local level analysis and to use it as a base map.  We will identify native and invasive species in the study area.  We will also validate this information with in-situ data.  With these data and other spatial layers we will spatially model the dispersion of English holly.
Mentor: Santiago Lopez, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Marc Vrana, Biology
“Rare Advantage”

This research explores the peculiarities of coevolution, in which two species interact in a way that causes one to affect the fitness of the other.  In ideal coevolution, the affected species will change in such a way that the first species is reciprocally affected, and so on. After culturing two microbes in an environment that required the two species to work together in the absence of sulfate, we expected that after 1000 generations, the microbe with a metabolic function that involves sulfate reduction would have eliminated the sulfate-reducing function.  What was unexpected was that while many strains of this microbe experienced mutations that removed their ability to reduce sulfate, some retained the sulfate reduction function.  Could this be a rare advantage in which a gene is selected for at low levels because of some fitness advantage?
Mentor: Kristina Hillesland, Biological Sciences, STEM

Nazanin Shobeiri, Biology
“Transforming STEM education: Inquiry, Innovation”

After completing introductory biology, student attitudes about biology often shift toward more novice-like perceptions rather than toward expert-like thinking.  A hybrid introductory biology class was created that utilized four learning environments: face-to-face classroom instruction, small breakout sessions lead by peer facilitators that occurred during class time, a classroom blog, and laboratory exercises.  A new emphasis on experimental design was stressed and students were encouraged to connect biology with their daily lives through the use of blog assignments.  Novice-to-expert-like perceptions about biology as assessed using the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey for Biology (CLASS-Bio) increased in student-matched percent-favorable score (percent agreement with experts).
Mentor: Bryan White, Biological Sciences, STEM

Rena Kawasaki, Community Psychology
“What can you tell from a Kanji Character?”

The year 1946 is a significant point of divergence for Japanese history.  Immediately following the end of World War II, many Western policies were implemented and Japan underwent a chaotic era of transformation.  One of the major changes was the language transformation policy which simplified and reduced the number of commonly used Kanji characters and changed the pronunciation of the phonetic Kana characters.  By examining 1946 issues of the Hokubei Hochi, a Japanese American immigrant newspaper in the Seattle area, this research will elucidate how language, both native and foreign, plays a role in the ways people (1) acculturate or adapt to the host culture, and/or (2) enculturate or maintain ties to their heritage culture.
Mentor: Kristin Gustafson, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Ali Hussein, Electrical Engineering
“Comparative Studies of Beamforming Techniques”

In this research, we intend to study the performance of various beamforming techniques and compare them.  Beamforming for an array of microphones can be sued to enhance signal quality, track signal source movement, and extract information about the source, such as position and number of sources.
Mentor: Tadesse Ghirmai, Engineering & Mathematics, STEM

Sean Forde, Media & Communications Studies
“Immigrant Journalists”

I am transcribing interviews about journalists that are not included in the American Journalist Study.
Mentor: Kristin Gustafson, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Oral Abstracts from 1:00pm - 2:30pm 

1pm  Nathan Duncan, Computing & Software Systems (BS)
“Collecting Software Project Information”

Software development teams often operate under tight deadlines.  They must reach decisions on which features to include in the next project release and which products are ready for release. Information must often be obtained from various sources, including source code written in different languages and documentation stored in different formats. This paper explores a technique, FACTS PT, which automatically extracts, aggregates, and visualizes change entries and other relevant software metrics.  According to the results of our case study, with an undisclosed organization, the project information provided by FACTS PT is helpful to both project managers and developers.
Mentor: Hazeline Asuncion, Computing & Software Systems, STEM

1:15pm  Joey Crotty, Community Psychology; Andrzej Montano, Community Psychology
“Why Consciousness?”

Consciousness is a multidisciplinary inquiry into the nature, dynamics, and functions of the mind.  It introduces students to new paradigms of consciousness informed by depth psychology, neuroscience, quantum physics, and contemplative practices, and ask them to consider the impact of this inquiry on their personal and professional lives.  To date, several hundred students at the UW Bothell and Seattle campuses have taken a course about consciousness with the majority reporting powerful and transformative effects.  We explore the breadths of their experiences in an effort to understand more fully the impact of studying consciousness on undergraduates’ intellectual and psychological growth.
Mentor: Kathleen Noble, Biological Sciences, STEM

1:30pm Lynn Hovey, Environmental Studies (BA)
“Citizen Science: A Call for Epistemic Justice?”

Are people involved with community based air monitoring, or “citizen science,” ethically demanding the need to be acknowledged as having credible knowledge which Miranda Fricker refers to as “epistemic justice?”
Mentor: Gwen Ottinger, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

1:45pm Jianshen Xu, Business Administration
“How teams handle task disruptions”

Teams have become the basic building blocks of organizations and are often responsible for much of an organization's performance. However, the work performed by teams to create products or conduct services occurs in a dynamic environment that is rife with uncertainty and can be disrupted by anything from small interruptions to severe crises that impact the way teams carry out their work. To understand the types of disruptions teams face and how teams handle disruptions, we examine processes and outcomes of teams in healthcare. Healthcare teams are responsible for treatment and improvement of human life and must overcome all manner of disruptions. Background about the study of disruptions and progress of data collection and analysis to date is presented.
Mentor: Deanna Kennedy, Business

2pm  Bradley Stafford, Computing & Software Systems (BS); Simone de Rochefort, Culture, Literature and the Arts

“Creating a student-run website and publishing machine”
The Center formerly known as Serious Play recently launched The Next, a student-driven digital media blog. The website was designed, built, and is now being run mostly by students. It serves as a student-moderated publishing platform that engages with issues of technology, social justice, media analysis, and more. We will present the journey of The Next from idea to thriving website, and how student engagement was fostered both in development and post-launch. This presentation will explain the design processes that the students went through in designing the website; from the initial research into user types and layouts, brand development, as well as the eventual implementation of the site itself. Finally it will demonstrate the use of the website in the UWB community and how students can use the site to engage in a discourse about digital media and technology in an interdisciplinary context. Overall we hope to showcase how student involvement and passion can drive projects in the undergraduate environment, as well as touch on how best to engage student interest.
Mentor: Jason Pace, Executive Director, Digital Future Lab

2:15pm  Godwin Hong, Biology; Jenia Ostrovskaya, Biology
“Light stimulus on regenerating photoreceptors”

Planarians are flatworms with the ability to regenerate and exhibit negative phototaxis, a tendency to turn away from light. Amputation of the head inhibits both light detection and negative phototaxis until axons from the photoreceptors properly connect to the cephalic ganglion. Planarians can recruit stem cells to the severed body part through complex signaling and regrow fully functional photoreceptors within seven days. In mammals, activity-dependent regeneration of axonal connections from eyes to the brain is necessary during early stages of development. Our study asks if light stimulus is required for planarians to establish proper photoreceptor connection to the brain. Results suggest light stimulus is NOT required for connecting photoreceptors to the cephalic ganglion and regaining their functionality. Future studies on mechanosensory and chemosensory would enhance understanding of the processes during regeneration of the brain.
Mentor: Bryan White, Biological Sciences, STEM

Poster Session #2 from 2:30pm – 3:30pm

Nils Frankauer, Global Studies
“Piscinas Vazias: The Material Realities of European Union Subsidies and Austerity Measures in Portugal’s Southwest”

This poster describes preliminary research to an ethnographic study of the transformation of place and culture along Portugal’s southwest coast, a region characterized by agriculture, tourism and fishery. This paper explores the human consequences – positive and negative – of long-term infrastructural subsidies and recent austerity measures by the European Union (E.U.). Drawing its academic foci and theories from the fields of socio-cultural anthropology, political science and European studies, this paper ultimately argues that the produced material realities have transformative and lasting impacts – visible and invisible - on the internal structures and identities of these coastal communities.
Mentor: Bradley Stafford, Computing & Software Systems (BS); Simone de Rochefort, Culture, Literature and the Arts

“Creating a student-run website and publishing machine”


Godwin Hong, Biology; Jenia Ostrovskaya, Biology
“Light stimulus on regenerating photoreceptors”


Laura Sheridan, Community Psychology; Justina Wu, Community Psychology; Aarshin Karande, Media & Communication Studies
“Why Consciousness?”


KJ Hiramoto, Media & Communication Studies
“Japanese American Communities after WWII”

This research investigated two recurring themes of marriage and religion and their prominent role in the community as seen in the Japanese American press during the post World War II era. I conducted an archival style of research.  Ultimately, the findings from the primary documents and the literary sources contribute to the research field of social sciences, as this research brings implications to the idea that the Japanese American communities endured a major cultural shift following the events that occurred during World War II.
Mentor: Kristin Gustafson, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Alan Hoerst, Biology
“Adaptation to Osmotic Stress by Desulfivibrio vulgaris”

Syntrophies are interactions in which one species consumes the toxic byproducts of another. They play an essential role in the anaerobic breakdown of organic compounds. In the syntrophic interaction studied here, Desulfivibrio provides hydrogen as a toxic byproduct that a methanogen consumes. The evolved lines of D. vulgaris show mutations that may be adaptations to increased concentrations of ions in the environment. The functionality of these mutations is not yet clear, but they may improve the accumulation of osmoprotectants or prevent the transport of harmful ions into the cell.
Mentor: Kristina Hillesland, Biological Sciences, STEM

Jessica Manfredi, Global Studies
“Feminist Activism and Research in the Americas”

Feminist activism can flourish across time, space, and mediums. Yet one aspect is almost always a constant: the risk-taking nature of such work.  Professor Julie Shayne sheds light into this topic in her newest book, Taking Risks: Feminist Activism and Research in the Americas. This edited collection of essays narrates the stories and scholarly research of feminist activist-scholars in Latin America and the diaspora. My research within this framework focuses on finding the main underlying themes and drawing connections between the essays in each of the book's sections. The final product will be introductions emphasizing the overarching themes in each of the section's chapters, which will be showcased at the conference to synthesize the entire book.
Mentor: Julie Shayne, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Vince Dihn, Biology
“What is going on in BIO220 lecture?”

Bio220 at UW Bothell, the third quarter of the introductory biology sequence, has been able to shift student attitudes toward expert-like thinking regarding biology and problem solving. This is rare and has not been documented in the literature. The norm is for students to slip back toward novice-like thinking after experiencing large introductory classes. Our initial analyses seem to uncover at least two salient practices that we report here: 1) the instructor creates a two-way dialog between teacher and student and 2) the instructor modulates the pitch of his voice to signify important take home messages and keep the attention of the class. Future work will begin to analyze if these practices do indeed influence the attitudes of the class and help students develop more expert-like ways of thinking even in a large introductory class.
Mentor: Bryan White, Biological Sciences, STEM

Oral Abstracts from 3:30pm - 5:00pm

3:30pm Kasih Tatum, Biology
“Measuring shifting student perceptions of biology from novice to expert”

The first exposure to college biology is sometimes focused on content at the expense of introducing scientific practices and the real world connection to biology.  A new hybrid introductory biology class was created that utilized four learning environments: face-to-face (F2F) classroom instruction, small breakout sessions lead by peer facilitators, a classroom blog, and new laboratory exercises.  This talk will report out on analysis of pre/post testing comparing results of the Experimental Design Ability Test (EDAT) that was given in this revised course as well as in a previous iteration of this class in a traditional format. Further studies are planned to tease apart the contributions of the various learning environments to the gains in student perceptions toward biology.
Mentor: Bryan White, Biological Sciences, STEM

3:45pm Adriana Arghira, Biology; Shane Kathireson, Biology
“Blocking Ca2+ Signaling in Planarian Regeneration”

Regeneration, the redevelopment of lost limbs and organs, is a complex process based on several molecular pathways and interactions of specific signals within cells.  Freshwater planaria, Dugesia Tigrina, are one of the finest model organisms for manipulating signals of this process during regeneration due to their broad central nervous system (CNS) network and marvelous composition of stem cells.  In this study, calcium (Ca2+) signals were manipulated throughout the CNS using Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), a drug known for its ability to prevent Ca2+ signaling by sequestering Ca2+ molecules.  Analysis of planarian trunk fragments exposed to EDTA and regenerated in spring water showed a convincing correlation between the inhibition of Ca2+ signaling with double-headed regeneration.  Further speculation suggests that there is high importance of calcium signaling for normal regeneration of a head and tail region (differentiation) within planaria.
Mentor: Bryan White, Biological Sciences, STEM

4:00pm Christopher DuBois, Pre-Major
“Social Movements and Arab Revolts: Understanding State-Society Dynamics”

The present research discusses various typologies of social movements as put forth by social movement theorists, revolution theorists and sociologists alike.  It attempts to extract the essential elements of the causes for social movement uprisings from a multitude of theoretical backgrounds and reveals through the literature that there is not an agreed upon supposition.  Rather, the determinants for a social movement involve a more complex process than one theory is able to provide.  With an emphasis on Relative Deprivation theories of social movements, this project will form a tentative hypothesis pertaining to the eruption of social movements.
Mentor: Karam Dana, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

4:15pm Alyssa Morgan, Society, Ethics & Human Behavior
“Violence Against Women Act: Passion & Purpose”

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was developed through grassroots efforts, beginning in the late 1980s, as a legislative effort to protect and eradicate violence against women.  Through VAWA, the U.S. Congress funds $659 million over five years via grant programs administered primarily through the U.S. Dept of Justice.  As of 2012, the bill was expanded to include new protections for Native American women, undocumented female migrant workers and LGBTQ victims and survivors, as well as focus on more significant prevention efforts.  Many who oppose the bill have argued that it promotes divorce while being anti-marriage and should not include the under-supported populations mentioned.  Additionally, critics argue that domestic violence issues are better dealt with on a local level while federal funding is essentially being wasted.
Mentor: Julie Shayne, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

4:30pm Meghan Hawkins, Community Psychology
“Limited English Proficiency patients in the U.S. healthcare system”

Most medical centers offer services in one language: English.  Regulations to offer services in more than one language are frequently unenforced.  Why, if the United States has no official language, are Spanish speakers struggling to receive adequate health care simply because they cannot understand their doctors?  Despite hospital efforts to accommodate individuals with limited English proficiency, a dramatic rise of immigrants seeking health care exceeds the capabilities of the US healthcare system.  Inadequate health care for patients with limited English proficiency is a social injustice and discrimination in medical treatment.  One solution is for the US government to establish a national standard and enforce accommodations to aid patients with limited English proficiency.
Mentor: Julie Shayne, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

3:45pm Abigail Carey, Computing & Software Systems; Fernando Arnez, Computing & Software Systems
“Learning Computer Science Through Game Creation”

In many colleges, introductory Java classes are taught by lectures coupled with monotonous homework assignments that have a heavy emphasis on applying what you learned, but a negligible emphasis on fun.  This project aspires to instead teach these rudimentary concepts through games that encourage creativity and application of what the student has learned in class.  Our responsibilities on this team include testing Java tutorials for difficulty and clarity by actually completing them ourselves, providing feedback to the team so that the tutorials can be adjusted to be more informative, concise, and fun for students, and helping out with game design.  If implemented correctly, this new way of teaching could not only be fun for the students, but also encourage those who have been put off by how difficult uniform programming can be.  This could be the future of teaching introductory computer science.
Mentor: Kelvin Sung, Computing & Software Systems, STEM

May 10, 2013 Schedule

10AM: UW1-050
Research in Action
Marcus Johnson, Mary Gates Research Scholar

11AM: UW1-220
US Congresswoman
Suzan Del Bene

11:30AM – 1PM: 2nd & 3rd floor vistas

1PM – 2:30PM: UW1-110
10 minute oral abstract presentations

2:30PM – 3:30PM: 2nd & 3rd floor vistas

Schedule and description document is available for download here.