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Undergraduate Research Day 2022

OCU Honors Program Presents

Undergraduate Research Day 2023

Friday, March 24

All events free and open to the public

Poster Session, 10:00 a.m. to noon, in the Honors Hall (Gold Star Building)

Student work in Natural Sciences, Nursing, and Statistics will be on display.

Presentation Sessions, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., in the Gold Star Building

Physical and Social Sciences will be presented in GSN 115 from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

History: Oklahoma and Beyond will be presented in GSS 101 from 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.

Theatre Studies will be presented GSN 115 from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Dance History, Pedagogy, and Choreography will be presented in GSS 101 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Music and the Macabre will be presented in GSN 115 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

POSTERS (10 a.m. to noon in Honors Hall)

Madison Altom and Samantha Sarmiento, “Magnetic Suspectibility and the Temperature Dependency of Diamagnetic and Paramagnetic Metals”

The focus of the project was to determine if different temperatures have an impact on the magnetic susceptibility of paramagnetic and diamagnetic metals using a Gouy scale. Magnetic susceptibility is how a material would interact with its magnetic field, creating magnetism. This interaction is different for paramagnetic and diamagnetic metals. As paramagnetic metals are weakly attracted to magnets, and thus interact with their magnetic fields. This is not the case for diamagnetic metals, as diamagnetic metals repel magnets and cannot interact with their magnetic fields. Throughout this study, we examined ten metals with different magnetic characteristics at different temperatures ranging from -67.5°C to 75°C. These ranges were chosen as it was determined that magnetic susceptibility is a constant that is dependent upon the temperature and the material being examined. Due to this notion, we hypothesized that the magnetic susceptibility would increase at higher temperatures and decrease at lower temperatures

Catherine Hurd, “The Effects of a Change in Religious Activities or Level of Income on Happiness”

As human beings are driven by their desire for pleasure/happiness, it is often referenced as an indicator for the well-being of a person. A vast number of studies have been conducted on variables that may contribute to happiness. I wanted to specifically explore the relationship between presence of religious activity or level of income and happiness. In my data collection from the World Values Survey, I specifically looked at questions that focused on how participants would describe their level of happiness, what level of income they would rate themselves at, and how important religion is to them. From these results, and after reviewing literature in the field, it can be concluded that there is a significant relationship between happiness and level of income and importance of religion. It can be concluded that as level of income or importance of religion increase, happiness increases in an individual.

Mikel Kendrick, “Examining LGBTQ+ Health Curriculum in Baccalaureate Nursing Programs”

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, plus (LGBTQ+) health education is a topic that is often missed or rarely mentioned in baccalaureate nursing programs. A national survey, completed in 2015, reported nursing faculty only spent 2.12 hours discussing this topic throughout the entirety of a nursing program (McNiel et al., 2017).

Many clients and even nurses have recognized the urgency and demand for LGBTQ+ health curriculum due to the high concentration of health disparities and maltreatment of queer people. Bosse et al. (2018) reported LGBTQ+ individuals possess a lower life expectancy compared to those who identify as heterosexual. Minority Stress Theory, which essentially means that the more times queer people are exposed to prejudice, discrimination, and stigma, is believed to contribute to the development of chronic stress leading to increased risky behavior and increased health risks (Bosse et al., 2018).

Ashley Nguyen, Kayla Nguyen, Morgan Wells, and Austin Worley, “Investigating Antimicrobial Effects of Aqueous Dandelion Extract”

Dandelion has long been consumed safely as part of Middle Eastern and Ancient Chinese Medicine due to their anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. Anticancer effects of aqueous DWE (Dandelion Whole Extract) have been vastly studied on HeLa cells and other cancer cell lines. This study aimed to further investigate the antibacterial effects of different dandelion extracts.

The Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method was utilized to test different types of dandelion extract, utilizing different parts of the dandelion plant. These extracts were tested against a variety of bacterial cultures to see if they exhibited resistance.

The results showed no zone of inhibition, indicating that all the bacteria utilized exhibited resistance to the dandelion extracts. In the future, broth dilution antibiogram assays will be conducted utilizing additional bacterial species and different formulations of dandelion extracts.

Jamie Welsh, “Spectrophotometric Analysis of Vicinal Diketone Metabolism by Saccharomyces cerevisiae”

In this independent research opportunity, the Hach 6000 UV-Vis Spectrophotometer was utilized to measure various parameters on VDKs, IBUs, and SRMs of different beers at Stonecloud Brewing Co. Each of these parameters gives a beer its own independent and distinct flavor. For the process of packaging and presenting the products to the public, quality control is crucial in order to keep the flavor profiles of each beer consistent and accurate to style. The purpose of this research poster is to present lab findings specifically on VDKs to explain the assay, how the assay works, and the consequences if the parameter is out of range. Each beer’s data will be mentioned, but the focus will be on a few of the core beers constantly on tap in the brewery.

Physical and Social Sciences (1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. in GSN 115)

Arnav Gautam and Jack Fruehwirth, “The Effect of COVID-19 on High School Students”

COVID-19 has impacted many aspects of students worldwide. The rapid appearance of COVID-19 led to unexpected changes in students' education and expectations, especially for graduating high school students. The purpose of this study’s focus is to evaluate the pandemic’s effect on high school students' educational and social experiences. We collected data through a Google Form Survey. A survey on a scale of 1-10 was handed out with five questions about the participant’s high school education, social life, standardized testing, and extracurricular activities. A score of one on the scale stood for negatively affected, five for neutrally affected, and ten for positively affected. Participants filled in the questionnaire individually, voluntarily, and anonymously. The beginning of the questionnaire had demographic details such as gender, age, current year in college (freshman or sophomore), and whether the participant attended a public or private high school. It also consisted of a privacy and consent form

Noah Paul, “The Effects of Psychedelics on Mental Health in College Students”

We will administer a retrospective study, asking participants to reflect on their past experiences of using psychedelics. The Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ-30) will be used to define different facets of the psychedelic experience. Four categories are included – Mystical, Positive Mood, Transcendence of Time and Space, and Ineffability. We will ask participants to reflect on their emotions during the past week. These questions will be using the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-12). We will ask them to additionally think of an unpleasant experience of emotional height, measured using the PTSD-8: a brief PTSD inventory. Following data collection and analysis, we predict a positive relationship between psychedelic drug use and mental health in college students. This retrospective study is apropos of psychotherapeutic medical applications of psychedelic substances, as well as the growing interest in the drug-assisted psychotherapy treatment model

Joseph Tillman, “Methodologies of Saponification”

Today many consumer brand soaps contain artificial fragrances and additives that may have negative health effects for consumers. More research needs to be conducted to determine potential adverse health effects from common house brand soaps. Historically, soaps were made with animal fat and lye. This academic year, I have been conducting saponification research to determine qualities of soap made from vegetable oils and Sodium Hydroxide.

History: Oklahoma and Beyond (1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. in GSS 101)

Andrew Barker, “African-American Towns in Oklahoma: History and Heritage”

African Americans settled into over 20 towns throughout Oklahoma which is more than any other U.S. state; their legacy lives on, and remains an important part of African American history. The former slaves created over 50 all-black towns and settlements throughout the mid 1800s on into the early 1900s. These communities were farming based and supported other businesses. For decades these all-black towns were seen as a safe haven because these towns provided protection, and an environment free from the racial discrimination, brutality, and prejudice that has been present for decades. Unfortunately, in 1907 shortly after Oklahoma became a state, the Oklahoma state legislature passed a series of laws known as the Jim Crow Laws, which essentially enforced racial segregation which led to violence and even more discrimination. Today, there are still thirteen all-black towns, and this presentation is all about bringing light to these towns that still exist.


Browne, Archiebald. “Oklahoma's Historic All-Black Towns: Built on Hope, Survived by Pride.” NonDoc, July 30, 2019.

Steven Bittle, “Tsar Nicholas II and the Road to Revolution”

The presentation will address several faux pas which the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, had done, including the tragedy of Khodynka, the blunders of the Russo-Japanese war, troubles to establish the positive relationship with the public. The Last Russian tsar was a tragic figure: being an outstanding father and devoted husband, he, nonetheless, blindly believed in his “divine destiny” to rule over Russia and not just overlooked, but even triggered the deep political radicalization of the Russian society. The presentation is based on letters of the Romanovs to his wife, the memoirs of the Russian ministers and is based on the extensive analysis of existing historiography on the subject.

Alan Bernhardt, “Forgotten Lessons of the Great War: Analyzing the Goals of the Central Powers”

With the First World War resulting in such great changing of the maps, the question is rarely asked, what were the goals of the Central Powers, Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottomans, and Bulgaria? My presentation will analyze this important although often forgotten historical question. The German Empire was an imperialist nation and wanted to expand the empire. Its SeptemberProgramm war desired to create a German economic sphere to compete with the Anglo and Russian economic spheres and to stretch from Belgium through Belarus. For the Habsburg Empire, Serbia was to shut down any aggression in their country and allow Austro-Hungarian administrators and soldiers enter their nation. The Ottomans hoped to regain old territories, and Bulgaria wanted to take lands they saw as rightfully theirs. My presentation will examine how these goals defined the dynamic of the war and which lessons we can draw from it to prevent further wars.

Cara Redding, “Bringing Victory: The Service of Women During the Great War”

Another way that women in the United States could contribute to the war effort was through a loophole in the Naval Act of 1916. Through this, women could enlist as non-commissioned officers in the U.S Navy as “Yeomen (F)”. These women worked stateside on naval bases doing clerical duties, as truck drivers, mechanics, radio and telephone operators, translators, munitions workers, and much more. They were vitally important because their work meant men that were previously doing those jobs could go overseas and fight on the front lines. In total, about 12,000 American women served under this title where they had the same responsibility and pay as their male counterparts. Some men in power saw the potentially vital role that women could play in WWI and seized their opportunity. In 1917 U.S General John J. Pershing created the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit to improve Allied communication on the front lines. This was a corps of women who had to be bilingual in both French and English and who would be telephone switchboard operators very close to the front lines on the Western Front.

Emily Trnka, “A Woman’s War: American Women During the Second World War”

About 350,000 American women served during the war in an official manner, and millions more contributed in other ways. The American Women’s Voluntary Service had grown to 350 chapters nationwide, with approximately 325,000 members. Around 6.5 million women took jobs during this time, increasing the percentage of working women from 25% to 36% by the end of the war. The advertisement campaign “Rosie the Riveter” was born. Women’s Auxiliary Service Pilots (WASP) was established on August 5th, 1943, this was a group of women who together flew a total of 60 million miles while on different missions. In the Army Nurse Corps, there were over 59,000 American women serving during the war as nurses, and many of them saw action right on the front lines. The women of the Second World War were crucial to the success of the Allied power’s victory, and they deserve that recognition.

Theatre Studies (2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. in GSN 115)

Preston Hunt, “Spectator: A Bad Word: An Analysis of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed and its Effects on Latin American Theatre for Social Change”

Of the varied impacts of theatre, many fail to credit it as a weapon for vast social reform. In the world of Latin American theatre in the 1970s, however, artists wanted to reform what it meant to practice theatre. This movement, called Nuevo Teatro, inspired deviser Augusto Boal to publish his work The Theatre of the Oppressed in 1974. I examine Boal’s works in context of the social climate and analyze his theories of theatre for change by splitting Boal’s text into three methods, Image, Invisible, and Forum Theatre. I then analyze tactics for elevating the audience member to the same status as the actor, removing the barrier between performer and spectator. Then, using the work of Latin American theatre scholars, I posit how these tactics are useful for social change outside of Latin America, and how Boal’s methods continue to be used to spur action through revolution and protest.

Madeline Pugh, “Her Legacy Onstage: The Portrayal of Women in Theatre”

Women have been portrayed as a variety of archetypes onstage throughout history, but where did these stereotyped roles come from, and are they a reflection of real women? In this paper I argue that throughout the history of theatre, women have been misrepresented because they were not included in the theatrical production process, nor given agency in their own lives. This paper explores three periods of theatre: Greek Antiquity, European Restoration, and Western Contemporary. I use existing opinion books or essays about each of my time periods along with a “case study” play that is analyzed for the popular stereotypes of that period. Through analyzing plays of various periods, I demonstrate that the portrayals of women reflect societal interpretation, and as the voices of women are lifted within a society, the women we see onstage are lifted as well. My paper is complete and can be presented in 10 minutes.

Sydney Sinclair Turbeville, “Let’s Get Intimate: A Look Into the World of Theatrical Intimacy”

Intimacy direction is the newest form of directing in the theatrical and film world and has become the talk of mainstream media as it makes its way into the world's biggest TV studios and well-known theatres. Yet, with so much coverage of this new industry, there are still so many questions to be asked about what it is and why it is important. It has not only changed the way artists look at planning, choreographing, and performing intimate scenes, but has also given actors a newly found voice over the use of their bodies and the health of their minds, which has often been pushed into the background. In order to get a full understanding of this industry and where it should go from here, this presentation will examine what it is, its development, its use in the industry, and what the future has in store for intimacy professionals.

Dance History, Pedagogy, and Choreography (2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in GSS 101)

Jordan Reynolds, “Touch the Sky – An Original Dance Choreographic Piece” (PERFORMANCE)

The story of “Touch the Sky” is centered around the overwhelming stages of life, and how even one little thing someone says or does to you, can affect how you perceive everything. In this piece, I want to portray a character to the audience, that is struggling to find peace and light in their life, and how this can lead to the destruction of a person and their happiness. This topic is an important representation of how negative thoughts and actions can lead to devastating results. The lyrics display the story in that my character wants to “touch the sky” and “leave this world behind”. In my vision, other dancers perform alongside this character, attempting to pull me out of the dark place I’m in. I created this piece to share an emotional life story with the audience, and I hope that it brings awareness.

Jordan Reynolds, “Endless Possibilities: What it Takes to Pursue a Career as a Professional Dancer”

The purpose of my presentation is to expose an audience that may have no knowledge of a dance career and educate them on what it takes to pursue this career path. My knowledge, along with knowledge from outside sources, has given me a platform to create a presentation on this topic that I’m incredibly passionate about. There is no doubt that the entertainment industry is filled with millions of starving artists that want to perform and pursue their passion. Hearing from artists who are skilled and have performed and worked in the entertainment industry, has allowed me to take what I have learned, and implement my knowledge to compose a paper, discussing what a person may encounter as a professional dancer. Within this presentation, I hope to share my research and my passion for this extraordinary art form.

Kelsey Drew, “Defining Ballet and its Cultural Significance”

Ballet as we know is a strictly codified style of dance that is often considered the basis for all other techniques. While it has a long, well documented history and the characteristics are easier to define than those of jazz, ballet isn’t one thing. The stylization, steps, and dynamics can change depending upon the style and methodology being used. However, just as the history of ballet elevates its status, it also limits it in many ways. The tradition of gender roles and teaching methods is burdensome to the art, and without continued adaptation people may still view it as an upper class symbol. Despite this, ballet is more than the aesthetic it was built on and more than the stereotypes we still bind it to. Look through the generations and you will not only see how ballet was shaped to fit the world, but how it molded the world itself.

Margaret Kubista, Stephanie McQuain, and Maile Oravitz, “Stifled Movement: Modern Dance and World War II”

Our presentation highlights three major innovators and one choreographic piece which encapsulates the Germanic zeitgeist of the 1930’s. The project includes a link to a brief video of the piece as restaged by the Dutch National Ballet. The main idea of our project is to convey how art reflects the society it was created in; modern dance was significantly suppressed by the Nazi party during WWII. The promotion of ideas like free thinking and individualism violently opposed the regime’s ideology of conformity, which stunted progression of the artform.

Maddie Pivonka, “The Artist”

The Artist is the piece I created in the Fall Semester of 2022 for the Student Choreography Show, which took place in a virtual format. I was one of 10 choreographers who were allowed the opportunity to choose a group of our fellow students and film a dance to focus on our choreographic and directing abilities. My piece follows the story of an artist, Aaron Fisher, who brings to life six other dancers. My intent was to show the power art possesses to break down barriers and express the thoughts and feelings we cannot always find the words to communicate. Through dance, we were able to create something truly magical.

Olivia Wiski, “Newfound Inspiration”

In my piece, “Newfound Inspiration”, choreographed for my Choreography Performance class, a woman is seen feeling hopeless and uninspired. “Newfound Inspiration” tells the story of a woman who becomes one with nature and finds her light again. I created this dance film as a reminder that life happens in front of you, and not down on your phone.

In this course, I discovered how to tell this story through movement. Stories like this are told through carefully picked dance steps. After months of research and work, I finally learned to adapt the dance from a stage setting to a video setting. Dance on stage is very different than dance on film. Rather than one audience with a stage, there are an infinite number of focal points to be used on film. In this project, I learned how to adapt my piece for the camera with videography and camera transitions.

Music and the Macabre (3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in GSN 115)

Courtney Conatser, “Horror Movies, A Man’s Rom: A Critical Look at Gender in Horror Films”

Why do men take women on dates to horror movies? In this paper, I argue that is it not only because horror movies are a male-dominated genre but also due to the negative stereotypes of women that are portrayed in movies. This research paper utilizes Carol J. Clover's groundbreaking book, "Men, Women, and Chainsaws," as a primary source to analyze the affect of gender roles in horror films. Furthermore, through close readings of specific films, the paper explores the visual and narrative elements that create gendered meanings in horror cinema. Arguing that horror movies present, to most men, a caricature of their ideal woman

Jane Heidkamp, “Sonic Painting of the American Pastoral: Lana Del Rey and Norman Rockwell”

This presentation analyzes the cultural construction of Norman F*cking Rockwell, the titular track of Lana Del Rey’s overwhelmingly vulnerable 2019 album. The song’s lyrical content—hyperbolic laments about romantic mistreatment from unresponsive boyfriends—fits in perfectly with Del Rey’s discography, rife with feminine tragedy. Del Rey’s lyrics play with social conceptions of gender, addressing the common platitude “boys will be boys,” which excuses the learned violent behavior in men. Titular allusion to American painter Norman Rockwell makes further reference to gendered expectation of American life. Rockwell, culturally, elicits images of an idyllic nuclear family lifestyle, aligning with gender roles strictly. Norman Rockwell and Lana Del Rey share this mirror-like quality in which they depict a heightened version of American culture for an audience to dissect. To some extent, whatever the critics resent about Del Rey’s or Rockwell’s work, is something they resent about the culture itself.

Jordan Iwuchukwu, “From Concept to Character: What I Learned Creating a Monster”

I’ll give a presentation about a sculpture of an Alien I made this summer. Though the final product is simply a cute little alien, the work I put in to bring this character to life has been an integral part of my development as an artist. It’s important for me both technically and personally because it serves as a first in the processes that are critical for my artistic development. From retopology to learning to follow concept art to level of detail, bounding boxes, rigging, brushes, and anatomy. All these skills are brought to life in this character either for my first time ever or at least one of the few times I’ve had the option to use these skills together. For my presentation I’d like to talk about the behind the scenes of the creation of this creature and why it is a technical milestone for me.

Landon Priess, “The Harmonic Dissonance of Wartime: Music in the First World War”

Music was such an integral part of World War I, shaping the minds of young soldiers and interacting with both the home and war front. However, it is, in truth, unspoken and still breathing memory. Music immortalizes that which we wish to forget and reminds us of that which we wish to remember. Trench songs, patriotic songs, pacifistic songs and classical music will be examined in their effect on war mentality; such songs include “Down by the Lane”, “We Gave ‘em Hell” and “When I Come Back to You”, and others. Music was to raise the spirits of the troops and bring cheer back to them. In a book containing a collection of trench songs, American Lieutenant Jack Frost wrote that the songs collected in the book show “the sentiment of the American boy in peace or in war, and shows a spirit which never failed in battle”.