2017 Graduate Research Symposium

Thursday, April 20, 2016, Liberal Art Center - Rotunda 3-5pm

Welcome to the 26th Annual Marywood University Graduate Research Symposium

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                We are proud to present the abstracts for the 2017 Graduate Research Symposium. Abstracts are in alphabetical order by the last name of the first student author. These research projects represent a wide range of disciplines, and demonstrate Marywood’s commitment to scholarly excellence.

                I would personally like to thank the members of the Graduate Research Symposium Committee:

Dr. Miguel Salve

Dr. Kerimcan Ozcan

Dr Christopher Brey

 

                We congratulate the graduate students for their fine work achieved through many hours of study and research, and thank the faculty who have supported this research.

Dr. Bruce Wisenburn

 


 

Longevity of wild-type, klf-2 and klf-3 mutants of Caenorhabditis elegans

Samia Alrabghi

Macy Decker

Sponsored by Christopher Brey, Ph.D.

Munley College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

 

Abstract

Krüppel-Like Factors (KLFs) is a family of proteins which plays a critical role in regulating gene expression specifically dealing with fat metabolism. In humans, there are 17 klfs, whereas C. elegans only have 3 orthologous klfs (klf-1, klf-2 and klf-3), making it an ideal model organism to study. In this study, we focused on three strains of C. elegans- the wild type and worms with a mutation of klf-2 and klf-3. These mutant worms partially lack the ability to metabolize fat due to their missing klf gene. In humans the inability to metabolize fat could cause metabolic diseases such as type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Preliminary studies have shown that out of the mutant worms tested, klf-2 mutants (ok1043) are more resilient than wild type worms when starved and placed in a buffer (M9). To continue this study, we have included the examination of klf-3 mutants (ok1975). We will be testing the longevity of these mutant worms to determine what gene may play the largest part in the development as well as the maintenance of the normal lifespan in C. elegans.

 

 


 

The Relationship Between Job Satisfaction and Burnout Among Healthcare Professionals in a Hospital Setting

Megan Barber, BSW

Kaitlin A. Caldwell, BSW

Mariah Hachan, BSW

Duncan Mayer, BSW

Sponsored by Dr. B. Lynn Hutchings, Ph.D., M. Arch., MFA

School of Social Work

 

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between healthcare professonals’ self-reported job satisfaction and work-related burnout. Previous research has found burnout to be a pscyhological syndrome understood to be a result of chronic job related and interpersonal stressors. Most scholars agree on the existence of three key dimension of burnout: exhaustion, depersonalization, and inefficacy. The instrument developed for this study consisted of 50 items derived from established measures, specifically, the Maslach Burnout Inventory and Spector's Job Satisfaction Survey. Responses were collected from direct service providers in hospital settings in Northeast Pennsylvania. The two scales were analyzed for differences and correlation, with implications for administrators, as well as direct service providers.

 


 

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Protective Factors and their Relationship to the Use of College Support Services

Dawn Beard

Kathleen Grasso

Michele Wadud

Sponsored by: Dr. Lynn Hutchings Ph.D., M. Arch., MFA

School of Social Work

 

Abstract

The purpose of this research study was to investigate relationships between the experience of adverse childhood experiences (ACE), and the use of college support services (dependent variable) among college students, and to identify protective factors that may modify the use of college support services. Adverse childhood experiences (independent variable) describes a traumatic experience in a person’s life occurring before the age of 18 that the person remembers as an adult. These experiences included physical, sexual, emotional abuse, mental illness of a household member, problematic drinking or alcoholism of a household member, illegal street or prescription drug use by a household member, divorce or separation of a parent, domestic violence towards a parent, or incarceration of a household member. The literature reports that characteristics in the social environment such as poverty and neighborhood violence may increase vulnerability to ACEs. However, social supports can serve to buffer adverse childhood experiences and the transition to college. Students who have quality support may develop trust and would be inclined to reach out for academic or interpersonal support in college. The researchers hypothesized that there is a negative relationship between students who experienced ACEs and the use of college support services and that protective factors may modify the use of college support services. Quantitative methods were used for this cross sectional study. The sample included 44 undergraduate students at Marywood University. The students were provided with a questionnaire and identified what college support services they utilized and what adverse childhood experiences they remember. The instruments used were the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey (BRFSS), which reported adverse childhood experiences and the Multi-Dimensional Scale of Perceived Support (MSPS) which assessed community support systems. Research limitations and suggestions for future research are considered, along with the implications of this study for social work practice. The results of this study may be useful in marketing college support services that target students who have experienced adverse childhood experiences.

  

Characterization of the Interaction between Mps3 and Cdc5 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Corinne Breymeier

Sponsored by Lisa Antoniacci, Ph.D.

Munley College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

 

Abstract

Mps3 is a nuclear envelope protein identified in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is involved in several chromosome functions such as sister chromatid cohesion, DNA damage repair, and telomere clustering. Mps3 is hypothesized to be involved in many of these processes through its association with several different chromatin associated proteins (Elg1, Htz1, Ctf18, Eco1). Recently our lab identified a physical interaction between Mps3 and the polo-like kinase Cdc5. Cdc5 functions in regulation of many essential cell pathways including several that Mps3 also functions. Our lab has generated a double mutant of Cdc5 and Mps3 to characterize the physical, genetic, and functional interaction of Mps3 and Cdc5.

 

The Antimicrobial Effect of Thymol on Biofilm Proliferation in

Hydroponic Lettuce Farming

Thomas Christopher

Sponsored by Deanne Dulik Garver, Ph.D.

Munley College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

 

Abstract

There are many well-documented benefits to hydroponic farming versus traditional farming methods, including reduced farming space, a controlled growing environment, and no use of harmful pesticides. One of the challenges associated with hydroponic farming is combating the bacterial biofilm that accumulates at the bottom of the reservoir supplying water and nutrients to the system.  While not comprised of pathogenic bacteria, this biofilm contains bacteria that can have a deleterious effect upon the development of the crops.  Currently, methods to eliminate biofilm include ozonation, copper ionization, and sodium hypochlorite, among others.  It is the objective of this research to utilize natural products that can be added to the hydroponic system in order to prevent biofilm adherence and growth.  A biofilm sample was obtained from a local hydroponic lettuce farmer and through DNA analysis; four bacterial species were isolated in the biofilm sample: Bacillus thuringiensis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, and Pigmentiphaga daeguensis.  Thymol, the major component of the essential oil of thyme, was used to evaluate antimicrobial activity against all four strains of bacteria in the biofilm.  A concentration effect was established in the isolates and proof of concept studies are in progress to demonstrate the effect of thymol on improved growth and health of lettuce plants.

 

Veteran’s Satisfaction with Access to VA Healthcare

Kristen Cummings

Kathleen Hildrendrand

Danielle Spadine

Sponsored by Dr. B. Lynn Hutchings, Ph.D., M. Arch., MFA

School of Social Work

 

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore Marywood University Military Veterans’ satisfaction level regarding the VA healthcare system. The researchers sought to determine which factors limited and/or facilitated certain levels of satisfaction.  A survey was sent to registered veterans collecting demographic information and responses to Likert scale items that provide a rating on levels of satisfaction for the VA healthcare system. The results of this study revealed that eleven of the 19 participants use the VA as their primary insurance. Of those veterans, 13 reported having service connected injuries, in which nine use the VA as their primary insurance provider. Unemployment and low incomes were also associated with higher uses of the VA. Veterans who utilized the VA Healthcare system the most stated that they were very dissatisfied or somewhat dissatisfied with the overall quality of services they receive from VA healthcare. However, the data showed 31.35% of participants who utilized the VA 10 times or less felt very satisfied or somewhat satisfied, while 6.25% of participants felt somewhat dissatisfied. While the researchers’ hypothesis was supported by the participants’ demographic responses, satisfaction rates were not. Based on previously reported research, it was predicted that veterans who use the VA more frequently would have higher satisfaction rates than veterans who used it less. However, the reverse affect was seen with this sample. This study will aide in further clarifying specific factors of the VA healthcare system that lead to dissatisfaction, augmenting previously published research. Limitations to this study included the relatively small sample size of 19 participants and the use of only Marywood University students. 

 

Examining klf-1 expression pattern in the intestine of Caenorhabditis elegans

Macy Decker

Sara Goodson

Sponsored by Christopher Brey, Ph.D.

Munley College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Krüppel-like transcription factors (klfs) are one of the most common transcription factors found in all living organisms. One of their key roles is in regulating fat metabolism. When fat metabolism is deregulated, this causes obesity, which leads to type 2 diabetes. In humans, there are 17 klf genes, whereas in Caenorhabditis elegans there are only three, making it the ideal model organism to study this gene family. In this study, we focused on the specific gene klf-1 and its gfp expression pattern in the worm’s intestine. Preliminary tests have shown the expression of vector pHZ337 of klf-1 is within the first 500 bp of the promoter, starting at the ATG start site. In deletion construct pMD337.395 which covered 370bp of the promoter starting at the 5’ start codon ATG, expression had ceased. The alteration between pHZ337 and pMD337.395 is ca.130bp of the promoter. The differences between expression and no expression leads us to speculate the 130bp are required for expression of klf-1. Thus, we are targeting the 130bp of the klf-1 promoter to gain a greater understanding of klf-1expression. After the 130 bp of the promoter is amplified, it will be cloned and microinjected into C. elegans to determine whether or not this region of the promoter is critical to klf-1 expression in the worm’s intestine.

  

Life Satisfaction Among Parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum

Daniel Farrell

Alice Spina

Sponsored by Dr. Lynn Hutchings, Ph.D., M. Arch., MFA

School of Social Work

 

Abstract

            This cross-sectional study sought to investigate the relationship between education and life satisfaction among parents of children on the autism spectrum.  A literature review found indirect relationships between life satisfaction and education among parents of children with disabilities.  Forty-five parents of children with autism responded to a survey available through Survey Monkey.  A link to the survey was posted on the web sites of several affiliates of the Pennsylvania Autism Action Center (PAAC), an organization that supports children on the autism spectrum and their families.  The instrument included items from the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS), the Life Participation for Parents scale (LPP) and the Post Automatic Growth Inventory (PGI).  Results may yield a deeper understanding of the potential of education to mitigate the impact of the stress associated with raising a child on the autism spectrum.  This may facilitate professionals in the field to better understand and provide beneficial resources for this population.  

 

Mandala Use for the Reduction of Test-Related Anxiety in

Pre-Adolescent Students

Kiley Moesta

Megan Menkis

College of Creative and Performing Arts

 

Abstract

This mixed method pilot study combines qualitative and quantitative research and focuses on art making and test-related anxiety. The purpose of the study is to determine if a structured mandala coloring activity will reduce test-related anxiety in pre-adolescent students. The results of this study may help art therapists and educators to better accommodate children who struggle with test-related anxiety in school, and offer a useful coping skill to those students who may experience test-related anxiety. The researchers utilized a pretest-posttest control group design to determine current levels of anxiety in students before and after art making or completing a word search activity.

Keywords: art therapy, test-related anxiety, stress, mandala, pre-adolescent, student

  

Students Preparedness and Efficacy of Supervision

Jamie Predmore

Elizabeth Winn

Sponsored by Dr. B. Lynn Hutchings, Ph.D., M. Arch., MFA

School of Social Work

 

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between preparedness and the efficacy of supervision among a sample of Marywood MSW students currently enrolled in field. Prior research has shown that students who receive positive feedback are more likely to perceive their supervision as effective. This cross sectional study utilized a convenience sample of nineteen participants who volunteered to complete an electronic survey. Participants responded to 35 fixed choice items describing their field experience. Results were analyzed using SPSS. Findings showed that 73.68% of respondents have a scheduled time for supervision and out of that group 44.4% respondents meet at their scheduled time. This study is important to Social Work education since all students enrolled in accredited Social Work Bachelor and Masters degree programs must participate in a field placement to graduate. This project will contribute to future research by deepening the understanding of students’ perceptions of the efficacy of supervision.