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2011 McNair Research Abstracts

Emotional Pain, Depression and Anxiety

McNair Scholar: Olutoba Adewusi

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Daniel McNeil

Discipline: Psychology

Emotional pain an affective state that involves both nociception and negative feelings; examined along with depression and anxiety, their interrelationships are explored. Theories of emotional pain are reviewed including psychache, mental pain, emotional pain, and social pain. Literature on comorbidity in affective and anxiety disorders is noted because of the likely involvement of depression and anxiety in emotional pain. Implications from this work may help to promote prevention and treatment of traumatic stress, dysphoric disorders, and anxiety disorders.


Synthesis of Chiral 1,2,3-Triazole Derivatives as Novel Ligands in Transition Metal Catalysts

McNair Scholar: Matthew Bologna

Faculty Mentor: Dr. X. Michael Sh

Discipline: Organic Chemistry

The ability of visible light to excite specific photocatalysts to initiate organic reactions is an ever expanding area in organic chemistry. Their use is specifically interesting due to their environmentally-friendly reaction mechanisms and broad range of manipulations. However, the inability of most organic compounds to absorb visible light has limited past research in the area. In this proposed investigation, we plan to create unique ruthenium and iridium photocatalysts by binding triazole derivatives to the metal. Experimenting with this narrow area of ligands on these metals can lead to the creation of new photocatalysts that have the potential to catalyze innovative chemical reactions.


Relationship Satisfaction and Resilience: Military Couples and Deployment

McNair Scholar: Joy Cox

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Melanie Booth-Butterfield

Discipline: Communication Studies

The study investigates the relationships between relationship satisfaction and resilience in military couples when one or both partners have been deployed. Surveys will be administered to a sample of members of the United States armed forces and their relational partners. With the foundation of previous studies, four research questions ask if and to what extent military couples are resilient during times of deployment and once a partner has returned, and also if one’s relationship satisfaction will remain consistent or fluctuate in military couples during the time of deployment and after one has returned.


The Fashion of Circumvention: Women and Sumptuary Laws of Fourteenth- and Fifteenth-Century Florence.

McNair Scholar: Nicole Fuller

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kate Staples

Discipline: Anthropology and History

The purpose of this historical analysis is to investigate the limitations placed on women through the use of the sumptuary laws in fourteenth-century Florence and women’s avoidance of these laws. Sumptuary legislation was often circumvented by merchant class women whose families were rising to prominence and had the means to monetarily rival (and occasionally outshine) the ostentation of the local nobility. This project considers that these women were attempting to break through the barriers of recognized social class, gaining a sort of autonomy through one of the few means available to them. Interpretation of primary documentation such as tax laws and levied fines will provide a rich description of the lives of these innovative women.


Development of an artificial gene promoter that is able to transcribe GUS reporter gene under gibberellin activation

McNair Scholar: Juan Franco

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Vagner Benedito

Discipline: Horticulture

To understand the ability of a hormone to regulate plant development processes, tools are required to allow plant scientists visualize where the hormone is present and active throughout the plant. This study aims at creating an artificial gene promoter with Gibberellic Acid Response Elements (GARE) capable of sensing gibberellins and transcribe a visible reporter gene in the model species Arabidopsis thaliana by engineering a biological vector that will introduce the conceived promoter in frame with the GUS (beta-glucuronidase) reporter gene. We expect to create a transgenic plant that specifically express GUS in cells exposed to endogenous and exogenous gibberellins.


The Relationship between Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Disease in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome

McNair Scholar: Michael Ibekwe

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Paul Chantler

Discipline: Exercise Physiology

A relationship exists between physical activity and several cardiovascular disease risk factors. Physical inactivity is a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease (Franco et al., 2005). Increasing physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease independently of other risk factors for men and women (Franco et al., 2005). The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of exercise training on cardiovascular disease risk factors in patients with metabolic syndrome. This study is significant because it will provide insights into therapeutic approaches to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in this high risk population and therefore the study has significant public health outcomes.


Ectomycorrhizal colonization of Quercus rubra seedlings in a mixed oak shelterwood

McNair Scholar: Shawn Jeffries

Faculty Mentor: Dr. John Brooks

Discipline: Forest Resources Management

Mycorrhizal fungi are important mutualistic symbionts of most plant species. The fungi provide plants with an increased ability to uptake nutrients, especially phosphorus, and in return the plants provide food to the fungi through the photosynthetic process. Several types of mycorrhizal fungi exist, with ectomycorrhiza being the major type associated with most forest trees. In this study, I will analysis the degree of ectomycorrhizal fungi colonization on 1, 2, and 3 year old northern red oak, (Quercus rubra L.) seedlings. To do this I will excavate the root systems of 9 total seedlings, and test the degree of ectomycorrhizal colonization.

Intentions, Obstacles, and Implementation of Education Reform Policy in Bolivia

McNair Scholar: Mikhael King

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Karleen Jones West

Discipline: Political Science

Bolivian president Evo Morales and his political party MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo) have begun reforming various social policies such as education. Morales’ government has done so through rewriting the constitution and creating a new education law. This study will examine the intentions of the changes in policy as indicated in the new constitution and new law and compare those intentions to the actual policy implementation and outcomes at the local level by conducting interviews with directors of schools in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Specifically, this study will assess whether Bolivian schools face obstacles in achieving outcomes such as decolonization and multiculturalism.


Surveillance of Environment: College Students’ Usage of Media during Natural Disasters

McNair Scholar: Kristen Meadows

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jensen Moore-Copple

Discipline: Journalism

Due to the inevitable occurrence of natural disasters and their ability to affect millions of people, it is increasingly important to understand how individuals prefer to gather information toward potential harms or threats. Approached from the hardwired for news hypothesis, developed by Shoemaker (1996), this research examines how college students gather information regarding natural disasters to serve surveillance needs. The use of Q-Methodology allows for surveillance types to emerge among college students based on attitudes toward use of traditional and social media during natural disasters. In the future, disaster communication plans may be re-designed to reflect findings obtained from this study. Keywords: social media, natural disasters, disaster communication, hardwired for news, surveillance


Failure to Advance Women’s Rights: An Analysis of Executives in the New Latin American Left

McNair Scholar: Shawnna Mullenax

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Karleen West

Discipline: Political Science

Although scholars tend to characterize the Latin American left as an advocate for social change, recent research has concluded that governments of the new left are doing very little to advance gender equality and women’s rights (Friedman 2009). This study investigates discrepancies between what executives promise and what they actually accomplish in the area of women’s rights in order to determine the barriers to achieving gender equality. This qualitative analysis examines the actions of four leftist presidents in Latin America: Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Chile’s Michelle Bachelet, and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.


Role of Team Identity in Consideration of Aggressive Behavior Without Accountability or Retaliation

McNair Scholar: Ciera R. Nicholson

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jack Watson

Discipline: Sport Sciences

Research exists showing a positive relationship between spectator team identification and a willingness to act aggressively towards opposing coaches and players in basketball (Wann, Peterson, Cothran, & Dykes, 1999; Wann, Haynes, McLean, & Pullen, 2003). The current study will expand upon this previous research, assessing this same relationship in fans of a contact sport. A random sample of 150 volunteer college football fans will complete the Sport Spectator Identification Scale and the Limits of Behavior Scale to further assess this relationship. Keywords: spectator, team identification, aggression, Sport Spectator Identification Scale, Limits of Behavior scale.


The Availability of Healthy Foods in Monongalia County

McNair Scholar: Hashmiru Sesay

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ruth Kershner

Discipline: Community Health

Due to the cost and availability of foods and their impact on the dietary habits of individuals, there has been a sharp increase in obesity in the United States. West Virginia in particular ranks among the highest in the country for obesity as well as other health related problems due to dietary consumption. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the eating environment of Monongalia County, by surveying various stores and restaurants. Depending on the research outcomes; a variety of future actions may be put into place to correct discrepancies within the food market.