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Undergraduate Research Day 2021

This year's URD will occur during the week of March 12-17, 2021, with an application deadline of February 19, 2021. Applications will be accepted beginning January 3, 2021.

Research Day Application 2020 21 Final

Standard Presentations

Natural Sciences and Health

Alisha Asif and Alexa Beathard, "Equilibrium: increasing the quality of education surrounding le Chatlier’s principle"

Many students struggle to understand Le Chatlier’s principle at the college level, and there is not a sufficient demonstration exists at this level. Under the supervision of Dr. Prilliman, efforts have been made to develop a classroom demonstration that clearly and consistently demonstrates equilibrium (Le Chatlier’s principle). Multiple trials were conducted with various materials utilized. A demonstration has been developed that has proven to be repeatedly successful. Data has been collected and efforts to publish a research paper will be made. If trials continue to be successful it could greatly affect the education content at the high school and college level.

Lauren Behnken, "Activity Budget of Bennett’s (Macropus rufogriseus) and Tammar Wallabies (Macropus eugenii) at the Oklahoma City Zoo"

I conducted this study to better understand the daily activity levels of Tammar and Bennett’s wallabies. I hypothesized that Bennett’s wallabies would be more active during the morning, Tammar wallabies will be more active during the morning, and that the Bennett’s wallabies would be more active than the Tammar wallabies. I measured the wallaby activity using continuous focal sampling during time frames: morning, mid- day, and afternoon. I recorded their behaviors and was able to distinguish how long they spent performing active behaviors. I accepted my first hypothesis because the Bennett’s wallabies were most active during the morning time frame, but I rejected my second hypothesis because I found that the Tammar wallabies were most active during the afternoon time frame. I was able to accept my final hypothesis because the data showed that Bennett’s wallabies were more active overall than the Tammar wallabies.

**Elizabeth Gwartney, “Novel Antibiotics from Oklahoma Soil”

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2019 Antibiotic Resistance Threats Report, “more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result” (CDC). My research attempts to contribute to the ongoing race to discover new antibiotics from non-traditional sources. Bacteria and fungi from garden soil in northeast Oklahoma were tested for the ability to inhibit growth of pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus and Mycobacterium species. Four novel microorganisms were identified that secrete soluble substances which inhibited growth of common pathogens. I used DNA sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to further identify the novel microorganisms. Research on the antibiotic agents secreted by these novel microorganisms could be a valuable contribution to the race to develop new antibiotics and combat antibiotic resistant bacterial pathogens.

Drew Lucas, “Nurse Attitudes Toward Mental Health Clients: Does Bias Develop in Nurse Training?”

Mental illness affects many individuals in their lifetime, but stigma often prevents individuals from seeking care. Research on this topic has identified that stigma exists in healthcare settings and within providers of care, but not how or if it develops in the educational process. Identifying how stigma is developed and perpetuated in nursing students as they enter and complete the educational process may help change the course of provider interactions with the mentally ill for improved client outcomes. Because it has not been previously studied, a qualitative design is appropriate. Two time points will be explored to better understand student perceptions of mental health nursing and the meaning of bias experiences. The first time point will be on participants’ entry into nursing education and the second with participants nearing graduation.

Performing Arts

Paul Nguyen “The Magic of Sound”

Music plays an important part in our lives, and it contributes in ways that are not always obvious. Sound is something we often take for granted, but it does not always go unappreciated. Disney is a prime example of an entity that appreciates sound and its value. The “Disney Sound” is a unique phenomenon in its ability to attract and cast a spell on the listener. Why is this? In this presentation, I will be dissecting select songs from Disney’s vast catalog of musical works and identifying the importance of specific components that contributes to their success. Using Loyal Brave True from Disney’s Mulan (2020), Speechless from Aladdin (2019), and Go the Distance from Hercules (1997), I will play specific examples within each soundscape that each song utilizes to evoke a response from the listener’s ears, what it means to the listener, and its contribution to the “Disney Sound”.

Olivia Allen, “She Did Something Bad: Taylor Swift’s Reclamation of the Monstrous Feminine”

After a hiatus following the release of the bubblegum pop album 1989, Taylor Swift, a multi-award winning vocal artist, released reputation in 2017. Including tracks entitled “I Did Something Bad” and “Look What You Made Me Do,” Swift’s album and its corresponding music videos create a female villain character that reclaims Barbara Creed’s “Monstrous Feminine.”

reputation transforms bright, sparkly Swift into an enticing, yet dangerous, sexual being. After the internet’s submission of Taylor Swift to their “cancel culture”, Swift embraced her vilification by the public in reputation, using elements of Julia Kristeva’s abjection and Laura Mulvey’s male gaze to make the choice to embody Creed’s “Monstrous Feminine.” An examination of Swift’s song lyrics and music videos reveals that this contemporary reclamation of the Monstrous Feminine, traditionally used to categorize women as “other” and “disgusting” allows Swift to take back her sexuality and find liberation in her own needs.

*Sarah Schulz, "The 5 Stages of Grief and Recording Attributes in Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

In this project, I am analyzing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” from A Night at the Opera. Julie Taddeo notes in her article “Interpreting ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’” that the five sections of the song are connected to the five stages of grief (i.e. denial, depression, bargaining, anger, and acceptance). Using this framework, I am diving deeper to examine the role of recording attributes of the song. In “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the recording attributes are essential to the creation of the overall meaning and are just as vital as the lyrics and melody. They include directional location (left, center, right), distance location (location of the listener in relation to the performers), and environmental location (size of apparent venue). By combining this auditory analysis with the five stages of grief, it can enhance our understanding of the arching narrative of the piece. This project requires a computer with stereo sound capabilities as well as stereo headphones.

Shelby Parker, "Behold, the Queer-inator: Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Queerness in Phineas and Ferb"

Phineas and Ferb, a Disney Channel cartoon that aired from 2007 to 2015, features Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz as a main antagonist: a middle-aged, divorced mad scientist with a difficult past. Dr. Doofenshmirtz stands in direct contrast to the protagonists, who succeed in their projects every day, pursue heterosexual relationships, and are presently living out healthy childhoods. In his multiple monologues, his childhood and adult traumas are revealed, which often involve the queering of gender or otherwise humiliate Heinz by taking away some aspect of his manhood. In the present, he is unsuccessful in romantic relationships with women and is coded as having something akin to a homoromantic relationship. These aspects of his character and his struggle to fit into society at large make Dr. Doofenshmirtz the main representation of queerness in the show, and a perfect candidate for understanding how gender and sexuality are constructed in Phineas and Ferb.

Elham Younesi, "Music Therapy Awareness"

This paper reports the study testing the perception rates regarding music as a tool to decrease anxiety, depression, stress and music therapy and psychotherapy in general. The effect of the listening to the music and music therapy and psychotherapy on the reduction of stress and anxiety and decreasing the depression has been proved by many studies. A questionnaire containing 27 questions about music, music therapy, and psychotherapy was distributed between 62 participants aged 18-29 years. The results showed that acceptance of music therapy and psychotherapy is not related to the knowledge about those fields. In addition, results showed that people approach music often when they feel stressed and they mostly listen to classical, jazz, rock, folklore, and pop music.

Social Sciences and Humanities

*Rebekah Small, “Beloved Disciple of the Beloved Child? Identifying the Mysterious Figure of Jesus’s Affection”

My research was inspired by the late Dr. John Starkey and his hypothesis that the Beloved Disciple found in the Gospel of John is a young Jewish boy who was close to Jesus. I was intrigued by this idea and decided to explore it further for my senior capstone. Through exegetical work over the Beloved Disciple's presence and absence in the Gospels, historical knowledge of Jewish children under the Roman Empire, and developmental analysis of children, I constructed a compelling argument that the Beloved Disciple could indeed be a young boy around the age of ten who was fortunate enough to befriend Jesus and ultimately influence the author of the Gospel of John.

Rilee Sloan, “The Criminalization of HIV Transmission: A Noble Cause or a Violation of Fundamental Rights?”

Approximately 1.2 million people are currently living with HIV in the United States. Today, 37 states have statutes criminalizing the transmission of HIV. These statutes violate the fundamental rights of people living with HIV.

While present scholarship evaluates the history and constitutionality of HIV transmission statutes, no published work details the impact of these laws among gay and bisexual men. This community, however, remains among the most high-risk for HIV transmission. Consequently, this community is most heavily reported in the criminal record of cases related to HIV transmission; Unlike other papers on the topic, my research will answer the question: does the criminalization of HIV transmission have a discriminatory impact towards gay and bisexual men? Furthermore, my research will evaluate the individual impact of HIV transmission laws through personal interviews and testimony.

Laura Tapia, “Has internalized misogyny caused women to become biased against women?”

How do the societal biases held against women at large influence individual women and their outlook on femininity? Have women been taught to internalize misogyny?

I hypothesize that women will judge and critique other women more harshly than they will men, because of internalized misogyny that was taught to them by society.

The goals of this study are to have a better understanding of how women view other women and femininity. To understand where these beliefs stem from. To provide a basis on which to stand on in the quest of eradicating gender based biases.

Lightning Presentations


*Chassiti Oglesby and McKenzie McCoy, "A Comparison of Protein Intake Among Male and Female NAIA Collegiate Athletes"

Athletes reaching their daily relative macronutrient is an important factor for their performance. According to ACSM, athletes should reach the recommended 1.2-1.5g/kg/d of protein or 20% of their caloric intake. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a difference in relative protein intake between male and female athletes. METHODS: Fourteen collegiate athletes were recruited for this study. Participants were asked to record their food via MyFitnessPal™ over a successive three-day period (two weekdays and one weekend day). The relative intake was determined by the three-day average, then divided by the participants body mass. An independent sample T-test was used to analyze the difference in daily relative protein intake. RESULTS: There was no significant difference between male and female athlete’s protein intake. CONCLUSION: These athletes met the recommended daily protein intake. There is not a difference in protein intake when comparing body mass of the individuals.


Solo and Group

Katie Frieden, “Tonight”

The process for creating a piece in the annual Student Choreography Showcase (SCS) starts a year in advance with multiple proposal rounds, production meetings, research, costuming, lighting, casting, blocking, scheduling, and choreographing. After months of planning for a stage performance, the 2020 SCS turned to a virtual platform due to COVID-19. This pivot introduced new concepts/uncharted territory in the Dance and Entertainment School such as, storyboarding, filming techniques, camera/stabilizer equipment, uploading videos, editing software, and choreographing for film. Other restrictions included masks indoors, social distancing, limit of cast members, time constraints, availability of campus space, new proposal ideas, and the only absolute of unpredictability. All of the obstacles required each choreographer to challenge themselves in something unfamiliar through research, trial and error, collaboration, and the ability to adapt. Presenting choreography in a new medium allowed me the opportunity to gain perspective by creating a story through a completely different lens.

Luke Anderson, “Return to Sender”

Choreographing dance during the ongoing pandemic is something the entertainment industry is currently navigating. I confronted this relevant predicament as a student choreographer in OCU's first-ever Virtual Choreography Showcase last semester. After proposing several choreographic concepts to my professors, Elvis Presley's “Return to Sender” was selected. I choreographed, directed, and edited a filmed dance performance to this song. The story within the choreography takes place at Oklahoma City University in 1962. Much research went into preparing for this piece and informed the costume selection, movement choices, the usage of vintage postcards, authentic 1962 stamps, the filming locations, and the coloring of the video editing. The dilemma of maintaining safety protocols while maintaining the integrity of a historical piece was solved by implementing film techniques learned in class. Thus, dance on film and basic film and editing techniques, are invaluable tools to safely choreograph and produce dance during COVID-19.

Ivan Salas and Tomi Vetter, “Freedom”

When creating this piece, there were 3 sections: Purpose (A), Progress (B), and Peace (A’). These three sections were labeled to describe the process of following God.

The main theme in Section A is God sending a message to a lost soul. The person is to awaken from slumber and live according to their God given purpose. This is the call to be a peacemaker and advocate for righteousness.

Section B is approached by thunder and lightning to represent God and the person’s ambition to fight for good. To begin, the person is processing the void within their heart. Only then can good deeds pass from themselves to their community. Then, the people are awakened and passing it forward.

Section A’ is when they have finished the race. They have worked well, therefore are whole within and free. The birds represent peace and God’s natural love for His creation.

2021 Undergraduate Research Day Winners

Standard Presentations




Supervising Faculty

Humanities/ Social Science

Rebekah Small

Beloved Disciple of the Beloved Child? Identifying the Mysterious Figure of Jesus’s Affection

Dr. Lisa Wolfe

Health/ Natural Science

Elizabeth Gwartney

Novel Antibiotics from Oklahoma Soil

Dr. Greg Mullen

Performing Arts

Sarah Schulz

The Five Stages of Grief and Recording Attributes in Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Dr. Dave Easley

Lightning Presentations

Health/Natural Science

Chassiti Oglesby and McKenzie McCoy

A Comparison of Protein Intake Among Male and Female NAIA Collegiate Athletes

Dr. Jason Miller

Grand Prize (highest average score)

Elizabeth Gwartney – Novel Antibiotics from Oklahoma Soil

Thank you to all of our faculty judges: Christa Bentley, Dia Campbell-Detrixhe, David Engbretson, Toni Frioux, Lisa Kachouee, Jason Miller, Terry Phelps, Victoria Swinney, Kimberly Viers, and Justin Wareham

* indicates category winner

** indicates grand prize winner

To watch each of the videos in succession, click here.