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Undergraduate Research Day 2022

OCU Honors Program Presents

Undergraduate Research Day 2022

Friday, March 25

All events free and open to the public

Poster Session, 10:00am-12:00pm in the Honors Hall (Gold Star Building)

Performances, 12:00-12:45pm in the Bass Center, B205

Presentation Sessions, 2:00-4:00pm in the Gold Star Building

Biological and Computer Sciences will be presented in GSN 115 from 2:00-2:45pm

Interdisciplinary Humanities will be presented GSS 114 from 2:00-3:00pm

Fine Arts will be presented in GSN 115 from 3:00-4:00pm


Lucie Cooper, “Birth Narratives in Matthew and Luke”

This presentation focuses on understanding the nativity story as it was written. While the nativity story that has been developed since its inception and the subsequent tellings of it are undeniably special and beautiful, there are some inaccuracies. Understanding the true history adds depth and appreciation to the story that most have lacked from church teaching and the traditional retelling of the nativity story.

This presentation takes a deep dive into Matthew and Luke, dissecting the accounts of Jesus’s birth, comparing and contrasting them to get the fullest picture of this extraordinary event. Each figure has a role, even those that are skimmed over when casually reading. When taking a closer look, the smaller details add a scope that enhances the understanding and experience of the reader.

Eve Doudican, “Comparison of Prevalence of Disordered Eating Among Male and Female College Athletes”

There is a perception that female athletes possess more disordered eating habits than male athletes. The purpose of this study is to evaluate if female collegiate athletes indeed have a higher prevalence of disordered eating habits than male collegiate athletes. A validated eating disorder survey (EAT-26; scoring 0-78, 0 = no disordered eating habits) was emailed to male and female collegiate soccer players asking for their voluntary participation in the study (OCU IRB approved). There was no significant difference in disordered eating habits in male and female athletes (12±19 vs. 10±11, respectively) determined by the EAT-26 (p = 0.88). The limitations of this study include 1) the uneven destruction of male and female athletes (4 and 16, respectively) 2) the variability in scores may indicate a bimodal distribution of disordered eating (disordered or not disordered) among athletes.

Kristin Oliphant, “Female Menstrual Cycle and Musculoskeletal Strength”

It is well known that there are physical, mental, and emotional differences throughout different phases of the menstrual cycle. Little research has been done looking at potential muscular strength differences between the follicular, ovulatory, and luteal phases of menstruation. Once a week for four weeks, seven female Oklahoma City University athletes volunteered to report their symptoms via a five-point rating and recorded a maximal handgrip score. The week in which the participant was in menses was recorded as week 1. The total symptom score and maximal handgrip was analyzed utilizing a 2x4 repeated measures ANOVA (measurement x time). Alpha was set to 0.05. There was not a significant main effect for total symptoms or handgrip but there was a significant interaction (p<0.05). There may be a significant effect of menstrual cycle symptoms on handgrip score but the different phases of the menstrual cycle does not appear to affect symptoms or handgrip strength.

Bailey Sartain, “Teaching the Holocaust”

I soon will be teaching History /Social studies, and my research aims to revisit ways to teach the Holocaust to school students. One of the biggest points I want to investigate further is looking at the victim’s life experiences before, during, and after the Holocaust. My paper will analyze Elie Wiesel’s A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy. Specifically, I want to focus on survival strategies during the Holocaust.

Francesca Savone, “Effective Dance Education: Bilingualism and Multiple Intelligences”

Humans learn information and acquire skills in several different ways using different senses and cognitive processes. Developmental psychologist Howard Gardner proposes a theory of “multiple intelligences” that suggests eight main intelligence categories that humans possess and through which they learn. Knowledge of Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences is not only beneficial to inform dance teaching, but it can also be applied more specifically to support teaching in a bilingual class environment. I explore the strategies dance teachers can use to implement the multiple intelligences theory, specifically in an English-Spanish environment, to support children’s dance learning to the fullest. These strategies include alternating between languages when giving directions, using different methods of demonstration, and including interpersonal activities in class. I also describe the benefits that young children obtain from having an environment outside of their home that embraces their bilingual development.

Jamie Welsh & Austin Worley, “The Mechanisms of Stress and the Body’s Response”

The purpose of this research poster is to understand the mechanisms of stress and its effect on the body. Though stress is stereotypically described as a state of tension and strain, stress can also present itself in a positive manner, by introducing the body to excitement, joy, or euphoria. No matter the circumstance, all types of stress stimulate the same biochemical and structural changes within the body. In humans, however, the most common stimulant is emotional arousal within the central nervous system. No disease is due to stress alone, because of the broad regulation of the brain and its response to an exterior environmental stimulant. In order to improve the body’s health in response to stress, it is important to understand the mechanisms that stress activates.


Francesca Savone, “Song for the Weary”

With music composed by David Dickenson, this dance is an exploration of self-love and mental well-being. The dancer begins unsure of herself but navigates her feelings through movement as the dance progresses. The piece goes through lows and highs—at times the dancer is hesitant and insecure; other times she is joyful and optimistic; and sometimes she is content but still longing for answers. This dance reflects reality by showing contrasts: feeling proud at moments while struggling for confidence at other moments. I choreographed using the motif of the diagonal path from upstage left (symbolizing insecurity and hesitation) to downstage right (symbolizing optimism and confidence). Self-love is not constant joy—it is a persistent, non-linear progression of learning about one’s own strengths, weaknesses, confidence, and insecurities, and embracing them regardless. Self-love is not an idea to be “achieved”—although difficult at times, it is a liberating journey to be experienced.

Kristen Olmsted, “Breaking the Rules: Mozart’s ‘Il Padre Adorato’

Mozart was a musical genius. At 24 years old, he wrote Idomeneo, an opera filled with tragedy that delivers “on the edge of your seat” drama. The aria “Il Padre Adorato” from Idomeneo deviates from basic elements of a sonata form that were commonly seen in the Classical period; therefore, many don’t consider the aria a sonata form. I believe “Il Padre Adorato” is a beautiful example of a composer combining his current musical knowledge and creativity to make his music unique and interesting. “Il Padre Adorato” should be classified as a sonata because it maintains the overall purpose and integrity of a sonata form even with Mozart’s added creative elements. In this aria, Mozart demonstrates music’s ability to live outside boundary lines. Music, like life, evolves in grey areas. We shouldn’t let our inability to understand the grey areas diminish our ability to create music that falls within them.


Biological and Computer Sciences (2:00-2:45pm in GSN 115)

Lacy Liter, “Assessment of an Unknown Organism”

Identifying microbial life on Earth is an opportunity to learn about the structural, physiological, and reproductive processes of microbial life, and by extension, our own cellular evolution. Accurate identification of microorganisms has large implications in epidemiological management of infection and is essential for timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

For the purposes of implementing testing methods to identify a microbial unknown, a swab of assumed growth was from the aqueous environment of a kitchen sink drying rack and quadrant-streaked on tryptic soy agar plates for isolates to undergo testing for identification.

The pathogenic nature of Klebsiella is an area of emerging research, including its inherent antibiotic resistance. Further classifying Klebsiella unknowns such as the one observed in this study is important for understanding the mechanisms of Klebsiella to aid in the development of better treatments for pathogenic infections in humans, as well as less pathogenic strains for therapeutic and economic use.

Alex Powell, “An Analysis of RSA Encryption”
I wrote a basic file in the fall. Over several weekends. It calculates the encryption and decryption exponents randomly. And it takes a given number for p and q. And a given statement to encrypt. Then the encrypted value is a number. It’s calculated based on the previous numbers entered. Then the decrypted value is the text I entered. I’m going to research how people are hacking into RSA level encryption successfully. Because it’s formulaic, it’s possible to isolate one variable at a time. Then all you need is to find the other values. And I would obviously expand on my original file. And then I’ve already found one research article so far

Ally Spear, “North American River Otters: Enclosure Usage at the OKC Zoo and Botanical Garden”
The North American river otters live in a variety of territories; therefore, otters in enclosure require appropriate space, a variety of substrates, and an abundance of vegetation. At the request of the Oklahoma City Zoo and under the supervision of Dr. Kauffman, I collected observational data on otters in captivity to ensure optimal conditions to increase their health and activity. I hypothesized that the otters would use the terrestrial portion of their enclosure and the area further away from he public more than the other sections. Supported by an OCU CAIRS grant, a total of seventy-five hours were collected and analyzed by video camera in the summer of 2021. I will present the results of this research as related to the welfare of captive otters.

Interdisciplinary Humanities (2:00-3:00pm in GSN 114)

Jacob Harrell, “Expanding Conversations Around Fowler’s Stages of Faith”

Thinking of faith development one story often gets shared; that of a cradle to grave Christian growing up in perfect conditions. The conversations around faith development needs to be expanded to include more stories and perspectives.

After researching James Fowler’s theory alongside Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, and Lawrence Kohlberg’s theories on psychological, and moral development I am able to describe my view on how to understand the faith development of the people I believe have been left out of the conversation. Including persons with developmental disabilities, people with memory diseases, dying persons, adults introduced to religion, and adults in the early stages of faith development.

The goal of my paper is to help religious educators better understand their congregation members and notice people on the margins on Fowler’s theory so they can best teach, preach, and help their communities.

Hannah Jacobs, “A Dangerous Path or No Path at All?: Why We Need Emotionality and Rationality to Make Ethical Choices”
In this paper, I explore the relationship between emotionality and rationality and their proper use in making ethical decisions. I utilize Milton’s Paradise Lost, Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality, Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, and an example from Watchmen by Alan Moore to ultimately argue that when determining the ethicality of a decision, we must feel our initial emotional reaction and then evaluate the emotion rationally to ensure that our choice is truly ethical. I argue that empathy is crucial to our first emotional reaction since it inspires us to initially engage with the ethical situation at hand, but sadly, empathy can also lead us astray. Since this is so, it is important to rationally evaluate our empathy, for empathy alone can lead us down a dangerous path, while pure rationality can lead us down no path at all.

Allie McMurry, “Why We Should Stop Teaching Children Substitutionary Atonement Theology”
My senior paper is titled “Why We Should Stop Teaching Substitionary Atonement Theology.” In the paper and presentation I review five theories of atonement and explain why the substitutionary atonement theories are harmful for children. They confuse a child’s understanding of grace, create divisions in society, enable violence, and create a cycle of sin, guilt, sacrifice, and forgiveness that limits a child’s ability to practice the love of God, and it encourages children to accept abuse or harm done to them. I begin my presentation by explaining my story with atonement theology, then explain the five theories of atonement, highlight why substitutionary atonement is harmful to children, show where atonement theology appears in American culture, and then conclude that if we teach children a variety of atonement theories we increase their chances of having a positive relationship with the Christian church as an adult if they find that they are confused by or disagree with the idea that Jesus died for their sins.

Katherine Witzig, “Una poeta olividada: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz”

Bornin 1648 Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz was a prolific pet and the last great artist of Spain's "Siglo de Oro," an explosive period of artistic creation. My presentation will cover the historical text in which Sor Juana was creating , the defining characteristics of her work, and (despite her relative anonymity) her continuing relevance to students and creators today.

Fine Arts (3:00-4:00pm in GSN 115)

Glory Curda, “Dynamite!: The Soft Power of K-Pop in the Face of Global Powers”
This presentation reflects how Korean popular music (K-Pop) such as that produced by BTS has become an instrumental part of Korea’s soft power and political influence. I argue that K-Pop manages to exert social power even without overtly referencing political conflicts and historical conflicts. I explore multiple musical examples of K-Pop songs that hold social power and examine their effects on fans through social media response and politics through various countries’ government responses. K-Pop has inexorably drawn in global audiences and, while a widespread and exciting form of entertainment, through the vessel of music contains a much deeper purpose

Viviana Goodwin, “Angelic Troublemakers: Black Classical Musicians Leading up to 1964”
King Jr., Pauline Murray, and Bayard Rustin were known for using their voices to uplift marginalized communities and left a lasting impact on American politics. When discussing his efforts with non-violent protest, Rustin once said, “We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers.” In this project, I have decided to analyze the angelic music of the community of black classical musicians between the years of 1897 and 1964 and discover how their careers not only made history but served as a distinctive form of non-violent protest leading up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the influence they have left on today’s generation of musicians.

Casey Kassal, “Thought and Free Will: The Characterization of Hamlet in Film”
Grigori Kozintsev and Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet films illustrate the power of thought and the
idea of free will through their respective characterizations of Hamlet, but, upon analysis of the
source text, films, and scholarly opinion, it is clear that Kozintsev’s film emphasizes the shift
much more effectively. Kozintsev’s Hamlet is characterized as a force of political and societal
change that gets assimilated; his thoughts suffocated by the restrictions of his life. Almereyda’s
Hamlet is characterized as a depressed outsider whose conditions are exacerbated by the
technological revolution, pushing him even deeper into isolation. Kozintsev’s Hamlet undergoes
a much bigger shift from free thinker to stifled hostage throughout the movie, illustrated in the revenge plot, whereas Almereyda’s Hamlet is a static pawn who seems to have never had any
true free will to begin with.

Emmett Reese, “Love Thy Doctor?: The Connections Between the Medical History of 17th Century France and Moliere’s l’Amour Medecin"
King Jr., Pauline Murray, and Bayard Rustin were known for using their voices to uplift marginalized communities and left a lasting impact on American politics. When discussing his efforts with non-violent protest, Rustin once said, “We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers.” In this project, I have decided to analyze the angelic music of the community of black classical musicians between the years of 1897 and 1964 and discover how their careers not only made history but served as a distinctive form of non-violent protest leading up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the influence they have left on today’s generation of musicians.