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Celebration of Learning 2023 Poster Presentations I

9-10 a.m., Gerber Center Gävle rooms


Public Health

Siksha A. Ramchurn
Gwendolyn Flannery
Sadie M. Burton
Melea Banaszak
Abigail E. Griffin
Brigette Ricaurte
Hector Lozano Escamilla
Eric Reinertsen
Caroline M. Hurst
Jacob Reusch
Nicolas A. Reese
Abdul S. Kamara
Amanda L. Walljasper
Kira A. Banks
Nadia DeCastris
Liliana L. Peterson
Silas Gilklay
Shannon C. Kenney
Madeline F. Herwig
Selam K. Zergaw
Caitlyn C. Carlson
Jocee D. Bloyer
Seth A. Rohr
Bree K. Turner
Lindsay Saulsberry
Kailey M. McCabe
Sophia Alexander
Madison A. Knutsen
Rebecca Yimam

→ "KiddoWell": A Toolkit to Help Parents Better Understand their Children's Wellbeing at Best Brains (Ramchurn)

Presented by Siksha A. Ramchurn; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 1; Public Health

The wellbeing of children is vital for their healthy development. Promoting good mental health and ensuring they receive adequate nutrition are two ways to influence this development. However, many parents struggle to understand the specific needs of their children, often relying solely on teachers for support. To address this issue, this Senior Inquiry project utilized the Ecological Model to create a web-based toolkit accessible to parents of preschool children. A 14-week-long observation at Best Brains preschool informed the toolkit design. The toolkit provides parents with essential knowledge about their child's wellbeing and the resources necessary to support them in two key areas: nutritional health and mental health. By addressing these areas, parents can gain a better understanding of their child's overall wellbeing and implement appropriate strategies to support their growth and development.

→ Taking Health into their Own Hands: Implementing Health Handouts for Pre-Literate Afghani Women with World Relief Quad Cities (Flannery)

Presented by Gwendolyn Flannery; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 2; Public Health

World Relief Quad Cities assists refugees and immigrants during resettlement through housing, education, and healthcare support while meeting their cultural and personal needs. Of the individuals served, female Afghani refugees need extra support due to minimal literacy abilities from limited access to education. Pre-literacy not only affects their ability to communicate and learn a new language, but forces them to depend on others to help with healthcare needs and concerns. Utilizing the Social Cognitive Model, this Senior Inquiry Project used social and cultural understandings to develop health handouts about mental health, emergency care, and women's healthcare for pre-literate refugees. World Relief will provide these handouts to Afghani women refugees to empower them to take control of their wellbeing through medical care and support.

→ "Escape the Vape": A TikTok Toolkit to Inform Geneseo Middle School Students on the Harmful Effects of E-cigarettes (Burton)

Presented by Sadie M. Burton; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 3; Public Health

The number of middle school e-cigarette users has increased 48% in the last five years and is steadily rising each day as more young people are exposed to and experiment with vaping. This startling increase is an epidemic and demonstrates a need to educate youth populations on the harmful effects of e-cigarettes. This Senior Inquiry Project utilized the Social Cognitive Theory to create a series of educational TikToks to increase awareness and knowledge of the negative health effects of e-cigarettes for the Geneseo youth community. These videos were posted on a TikTok page and can be shown to students in health classrooms, posted on the district website, and sent out to parents so students can be properly educated to make healthy decisions.

→ Consent is Cool: An Organizational Toolkit to Increase the Effectiveness of the Augustana Office of Sexual Assault Prevention Education (Banaszak)

Presented by Melea Banaszak; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 4; Public Health

The Augustana College Office of Sexual Assault Prevention Education (OSAPE) is responsible for hosting events, workshops, and activities on campus in hopes to increase student engagement and decrease the incidence of sexual assault. The beginning of this Senior Inquiry project featured planning, graphically designing, and launching the corresponding office Instagram page to share resources and events for the students of Augustana. This Senior Inquiry project used the Communication Theory to create a framework that increases OSAPE's effectiveness and decreases disconnect between faculty and students on Augustana's campus. After implementation, student workers and leaders will work in unison with OSAPE's director to increase campus education around sexual violence and decrease stigma faced by survivors.

→ Plan B Made Stress Free: Increasing Community Knowledge through Targeted Advertising about Emergency Contraception at Bridgercare (Griffin)

Presented by Abigail E. Griffin; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 5; Public Health

Emergency contraception (EC) is 89% effective in preventing pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse. However, limited pharmacy and clinic hours, price, and weight restrictions due to efficacy make it difficult for working people or those who weigh more than 165 pounds to purchase EC over-the-counter. Bridgercare, a reproductive health clinic in Bozeman, Montana, offers various affordable EC methods, including levonorgestrel, or Plan B. They also provide online prescription services for those who cannot visit the clinic in person. While these options are available, public knowledge that levonorgestrel is less effective depending on weight, as well as alternative options for EC is lacking. This Senior Inquiry project used the Theory of Harm Reduction to analyze age, location, and services used at Bridgercare. This data informed the development of targeted advertising focused on EC, how to obtain it at Bridgercare or through online services, and where to learn more. These ads increased public knowledge of EC for Bozeman residents.

→ Notoriously Nutritious: Educating the Rock Island Community about NEST Café (Ricaurte)

Presented by Brigette Ricaurte; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 6; Public Health

NEST Café: Nourish Everyone Sustainably Together. The ultimate goal of NEST Café is to provide everyone in the Quad Cities area with nutritious, locally and sustainably sourced meals at a pay-what-you-can price. However, it is equally essential to thoroughly educate the public about the importance of proper nutrition. Rock Island has the highest percentage (21.5%) of persons in poverty in the Quad Cities as of 2021 at 21.5%. This Senior Inquiry project used the Transtheoretical Model to create a PowerPoint presentation to educate the public about the importance of nutrition in an everyday diet. To increase information retention for attendees, NEST Café's Executive Director delivered this presentation in small discussion groups held at the restaurant. Listeners were encouraged to stay and enjoy a delicious meal that illustrated the nutritional information shared during the presentation. This entertaining, yet informative presentation helped introduce healthy habits to Rock Island community members.

→ Addressing Social Determinants of Health: Designing an Infographic for the Scott County Health Department (Escamilla)

Presented by Hector Lozano Escamilla; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 7; Public Health

Scott County Health Department provides a wide array of services to their community, including tracking annual data for their health equity assessment. The assessment tracks detailed information about the county's social determinants of health. This Senior Inquiry project utilized the Freire's Model of Adult Education to create an infographic that highlights key points from the assessment, which will lessen the time needed for health department staff to assess social determinants issues within Scott County. This infographic is available to staff members and to the public on the Health Department's website.

→ Map My Harm Reduction: Community Outreach Mapping at QCHR (Reinertsen)

Presented by Eric Reinertsen; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 8; Public Health

Opioid overdose is an ever-growing threat to public health in the United States, claiming over 130 lives daily. In response, organizations like Quad Cities Harm Reduction (QCHR) have stepped forward to distribute naloxone, sterile syringes, and other supplies to reduce harm in the community. QCHR distributes supplies from their office in Davenport, Iowa and through regular outreach in the Quad Cities. This Senior Inquiry project aimed to increase community knowledge about outreach by leveraging the models of Harm Reduction and Community Geography to implement an outreach map through Google MyMaps. Extensive text guides support QCHR staff's ability to independently update the map as outreach needs change. This free and accessible map empowers QCHR to visually display their outreach, aiding outreach planning and increasing community awareness.

→ Helpful Horses: Increasing Awareness about Therapeutic Horseback Riding with an Informational Video for New Kingdom Trailriders (Hurst)

Presented by Caroline M. Hurst; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 9; Public Health

New Kingdom Trailriders (NKT) is a non-profit therapeutic horseback riding facility located in Sherrard, Illinois. Its mission is to empower individuals of all ages and abilities to reach their full potential through equine-assisted activities. The use of popular media platforms, particularly videos, helps enhance the effectiveness of health communication and increase visibility, especially for misunderstood healthcare practices like therapeutic horseback riding. This Senior Inquiry project utilized the Health Belief Model to create an informational video about New Kingdom Trailriders. This informational video was posted on the NKT website and aimed to educate viewers and increase involvement with the organization's services within the Quad Cities community.

→ A Guide to the Mind: A Toolkit for Efficient and Effective Peer Support Groups at Vera French Mental Health Center (Reusch)

Presented by Jacob Reusch; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 10; Public Health

Studies show that toolkits for mental health programs increase their effectiveness. "A Guide to the Mind" is a toolkit produced to create well-rounded and effective peer support groups at Vera French Mental Health Center. This Senior Inquiry project utilized the Friere's model of adult education theory to create a toolkit that increases the efficiency of peer support groups at Vera French Mental Health Center. Creative tools such as Canva helped to efficiently provide information within the toolkit that includes take-home mental health assessments, physical health resources, and a universal guide for peer support leaders to follow week by week. This toolkit will increase organization, education, and resource availability to better the physical and mental health of those involved in Vera French's peer support groups. 

→ Sustainable Systems: Hydroponic Gardens Combat Food Insecurity at Tapestry Farms (Reese)

Presented by Nicolas A. Reese; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 11; Public Health

Refugees are at greater risk for negative health outcomes such as food insecurity due to the lack of accessible, familiar, and nutritious foods. Food insecurity can cause malnutrition and lead to negative health effects. The Social Ecological Model (SEM) targets an individual's environment so that they are supported within that environment. This senior inquiry project used the SEM to design and construct a hydroponic garden to grow accessible, familiar, and nutritious foods year round for the refugee clients at Tapestry Farms. Refugees are more likely to seek and find support on their own when they have a higher rate of social connectedness. By participating in food growing, maintenance, and harvesting, the garden also provides the ability to increase refugees' social connectedness. Access to familiar and nutritious foods as well as strengthened skills in seeking support led to positive health outcomes in Tapestry Farms' refugee clients.

→ Burst the Augie Bubble with the Hilltop Crawl: An Educational and Physical Activity Initiative to Foster the Town-Gown Relationship Between Augustana College and Rock Island (Kamara)

Presented by Abdul S. Kamara; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 12; Public Health

Six in ten Americans have at least one chronic illness, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and stroke. These and other chronic diseases are the leading causes of mortality and disability in America and are the primary contributors to rising healthcare costs. Research shows that physical exercise can significantly decrease the risk of chronic diseases and associated risk factors. This Senior Inquiry project used the Social Cognitive Theory to develop the "Hilltop Crawl," a walk-to-store event that encourages Augustana College students to explore the Hilltop area in Rock Island on foot.  To facilitate this, a new mobile map created to educate students about the Hilltop premiered at the event. The Hilltop Crawl aimed to promote walking, enhance the overall health of Augustana students, and establish relationships between the college and the surrounding Rock Island community, ultimately bursting the "Augie Bubble" and strengthening the town-gown relationship.

→ The Earth is Not Your Garbage Can: A Toolkit to Reduce Litter through a Site Adoption Program at the WCSC (Walljasper)

Presented by Amanda L. Walljasper; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 13; Public Health

Land and waterways are polluted with trash in Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa. The Make it Yours Program (MYP) began in 2015 at the Waste Commission of Scott County (WCSC) to address a community need to keep areas of land litter-free. This program empowers groups to adopt various sites around Davenport and Bettendorf, and conduct a minimum of two cleanups per year. Over the years, the program's participation has declined. This Senior Inquiry project utilized the Social Marketing Theory to create an informational toolkit and conduct community outreach through presentations, flyers, and events. These resources helped MYP recruit new participants who will help the Davenport and Bettendorf areas become cleaner, safer, healthier environments to live in.

→ A Better Community for a Better Opportunity: Informational Guides for Increasing Organ Donor Education at the Gift Of Hope (Banks)

Presented by Kira A. Banks; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 14; Public Health

As of 2022, there are approximately 105,000 people on the national transplant waiting list. Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network has a multitude of partnerships that help promote organ and tissue donation education and awareness. This Senior Inquiry project used the Diffusion of Innovation Theory to strengthen existing partnerships, ease the addition of new partnerships, and create a series of one-page guides based on different types of community partners. Each partner guide included general information about organ and tissue donation, target audience information, and talking points for staff members approaching new partners. These guides allowed greater and quicker access to information about organ and tissue donation, which helped individuals make informed decisions.

→ The Power of Representation: A Social Media Toolkit to Promote the Importance of Women & Marginalized Gender Groups in Policy-Based Roles (DeCastris)

Presented by Nadia DeCastris; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 15; Public Health

While the United States is made up of 50.5% female-identifying people, only 27% of the members of the 117th Congress identify as female. Women and marginalized gender groups are underrepresented in the field of policy and policy-based leadership positions. Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that educates women and marginalized gender groups about different policy-based topics and leadership roles through hands-on learning opportunities. This Senior Inquiry project used the Communication Theory to create a Social Media Ambassador Toolkit equipped with graphics and information that can be easily dispersed across all social media platforms for PLEN. This toolkit provides resources on PLEN and its purpose, the importance of policy, and an emphasis on educating and empowering women and marginalized gender groups for getting involved in leadership roles. Effective communication, education, and increasing the influence of women and marginalized gender groups will strengthen the role between public health and advocacy.

→ Librarians Make Shhh Happen: A Naloxone Training Toolkit for Quad Cities Librarians (Peterson)

Presented by Liliana L. Peterson; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 16; Public Health

Deaths due to overdose are at a record high nationwide. Quad Cities Harm Reduction (QCHR) is a non-profit organization committed to working in respectful collaboration with those who use drugs, specifically persons who inject drugs (PWID) and the general Quad Cities community. QCHR provides a variety of aid, including naloxone distribution and training. QCHR's Rock Island office recently closed leaving a large portion of the previously-served population unable to receive care. Harm reduction practices make a clear, significant, and sustainable difference in decreasing mortality rates associated with injection drug use. Research shows public libraries are an important part of our health system as they are community-level resources that reach a wide range of the population. This Senior Inquiry project utilized the Diffusion of Innovations Theory to create a toolkit that trains local public librarians on how to use naloxone to reverse overdoses. To decrease overdose deaths, librarians should be equipped with knowledge and empowered to use naloxone in situations where administration is necessary.

→ What's in Your Genes?: An Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Approach at NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative (Gilklay)

Presented by Silas Gilklay; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 17; Public Health

Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynecological cancer in the United States, affecting approximately 21,000 women per year. While risk factors such as age, genetic mutations, and hormonal imbalances are associated with ovarian cancer, having a family history of the disease is one of the strongest risk factors. Genetic assessment can identify women who have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer due to hereditary factors. Educating women and their families about the importance of genetic testing and identifying a family history of the disease is essential for early detection and treatment of ovarian cancer. This Senior Inquiry used the Health Belief Model to update NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative's website by providing access to up-to-date videos, news articles, and research findings that recognize hereditary ovarian cancer risk, outline genetic testing options, and emphasize the importance of seeking genetic counseling. Using an educational approach, this website aims to improve ovarian cancer survival rates by raising awareness of genetic predisposition and empowering women to know their bodies and take charge of their health.

→ Vikings Vote: An Educational Pamphlet to Increase Augustana College Student Voting Engagement (Kenney)

Presented by Shannon C. Kenney; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 18; Public Health

Due to decreased access to voting resources and educational materials, the United States voting process can be both confusing and frustrating for college students. This has led to a lack of involvement in elections and a general underrepresentation of college-age voters. Vikings Vote targeted this issue on Augustana College's campus through the distribution of informational voting pamphlets and by holding tables that aimed to help Augustana students through the voter registration process. This Senior Inquiry project used the Health Belief Model to ensure student barriers to voting are understood and addressed. The more comfortable college students are with the voting system, the more confident they will be to participate in elections during college and throughout their lives.

→ This is Our Shot: Assessment of Minority College Student Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine (Herwig)

Presented by Madeline F. Herwig; advisors Dr. Lena R. Hann, Ellie Kenney
Poster 19; Public Health

Despite a nationwide drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the coronavirus pandemic remains a large threat to the health and safety of minority communities. One of the safest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is through vaccinations and boosters. However, only 19.3% of Illinois residents meet current vaccination and booster recommendations. Additionally, marginalized populations historically face increased difficulties accessing the vaccine due to issues with transportation, misinformation, and more. This Senior Inquiry project used the Health Belief Model to determine the accessibility of COVID-19 vaccinations among minority college students through six focus groups hosted on college campuses around the Quad Cities. The focus groups targeted minority college students to better understand how their dual college student and minority identities impacted access to the COVID-19 vaccination and to find ways to improve accessibility. Community Health Care, Inc., and the Illinois Department of Public Health will use the collected data to increase vaccination rates within this target population.

→ Anticipating Ebola: A Toolkit to Prepare Frontline Healthcare Workers at UnityPoint Health Hospital (Zergaw)

Presented by Selam K. Zergaw; advisors Dr. Lena R. Hann, Sarah Castro
Poster 20; Public Health

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rare but severe disease that can be fatal if untreated, with an average fatality rate of 50%. A person can only spread Ebola to others after developing symptoms, but Ebola symptoms are often misdiagnosed with other common infectious diseases like malaria and typhoid fever. Ebola has an unpredictable incubation period of 2 to 21 days, which makes identification difficult. At frontline hospitals like UnityPoint, public health preparedness is necessary to identify, isolate, and inform Ebola patients. This Senior Inquiry project used the Social-Ecological Model to create an Ebola preparation toolkit for healthcare providers. The educational toolkit includes the current landscape for the Ebola outbreak, a travel history checklist, proper patient placement rooms, personal protective equipment (PPE) checklist, and safe transportation guidelines. Healthcare workers will utilize this toolkit to identify and isolate a potential Ebola patient without risking their own and others' safety if and when an Ebola outbreak occurs in the Quad Cities.

→ Save the Dates: An Informative Schedule for Peer Support Group Activities at Vera French Mental Health Center (Carlson)

Presented by Caitlyn C. Carlson; advisors Dr. Lena R. Hann, Jamie Nowlin
Poster 21; Public Health

People who struggle with mental illness still face stigma, even with increased mental health awareness. The COVID-19 pandemic created an increase in psychological stress that has declined overall health. Vera French Community Mental Health Center provides weekly peer support groups for adults and teenagers that discuss difficult topics and introduce new coping mechanisms. This Senior Inquiry project utilized the Planned Approach to Community Health (PATCH) Model to create a Fall session calendar where special guests lead various activity-based group sessions to create a lighthearted and active environment for the participants, enhance engagement, and increase attendance. These guest-led sessions allow clients to learn new ideas and tasks with peers in order to take a break from their struggles and loneliness, while helping Vera French facilitate new relationships with area organizations. Social connectedness facilitated through these groups will improve the overall mental health of those involved.

→ Act Fast At Home: A CPR Training Event for Parents with Infants and Small Children (Bloyer)

Presented by Jocee D. Bloyer; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 22; Public Health

More than 12,000 children in the United States die every year due to emergencies in the home. When a human heart stops beating, blood stops circulating, and the brain no longer receives oxygen. It takes only nine minutes for brain death to occur if circulation is not restored, but this can be prevented with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Project Nest is a volunteer, point-based system for new and/or young parents who need educational resources. This Senior Inquiry project used the Community Organization and Other Participatory Models to educate and train parents on what to do in an emergency situation at home since they are typically the first adults on the scene. Act Fast At Home is a public training program hosted by Project Nest where interested parents can learn how to administer CPR to children and help decrease the amount of infant and small child deaths each year.

→ In This Together, No Longer Alone: A Zero-Suicide Prevention Toolkit for the Quad Cities Open Network (Rohr)

Presented by Seth A. Rohr; advisors Dr. Lena R. Hann, Preceptor Cecelia Bailey
Poster 23; Public Health

Deaths by suicide continue to rise at alarming rates among youth and young adults in Illinois, Iowa, and the Quad Cities (QC). Suicide prevention is an important tool because it decreases deaths by suicide, strengthens mental health, and creates a stronger community. The Quad Cities Open Network (QCON) is a non-profit organization focused on decreasing deaths by suicide in the Quad Cities. This Senior Inquiry project used the Community Coalition Action Theory to create a toolkit with infographics, evidence-based suicide prevention training, and other materials. This toolkit is designed to educate students at different education levels, and will aid to achieve QCON's goal to be 'Zero-Suicide' by 2025. Using the toolkit to increase suicide prevention education in the Quad Cities can help decrease suicide rates amongst the most vulnerable populations.

→ Urgent or Emergent?: An Online Tool to Help Augustana College Students Understand and Obtain Appropriate Health Services (Turner)

Presented by Bree K. Turner; advisors Dr. Lena R. Hann, Sara Swartz, NCMA
Poster 24; Public Health

The Augustana campus clinic provides various healthcare services to Augustana College students. However, many students come to the clinic with health concerns staff cannot address with the clinic's limited resources. Students often need to travel to a different healthcare facility when this occurs, increasing students' time searching for and obtaining appropriate healthcare. This Senior Inquiry project used the Health Belief Model to conduct focus group research and create an online tool based on student feedback. This tool assists students with finding health services that best suit their needs, thus decreasing the time dedicated to obtaining healthcare. By empowering students and reducing wait times, their access to healthcare will improve and reduce the burden on clinic staff.

→ On the Road to Texas: An Augustana Student Preparation Handbook for the Texas Medical Center Summer Research Internship Program (Saulsberry)

Presented by Lindsay Saulsberry ; advisors Dr. Lena R. Hann, Dr. Heidi Storl
Poster 25; Public Health

The Texas Medical Center Summer Research Internship Program (TMC-SRIP) is a 10-week program based in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Of the 10-15 Augustana students who participate in this program every year, all are responsible for planning their transportation and other logistics of moving to a new city. This Senior Inquiry project used the Health Belief Model to conduct surveys and focus groups that assessed past and future TMC-SRIP student preparation concerns. Results informed the design of a handbook that consolidates internship preparation resources to one location and helps students navigate the process of moving across the country. Handbook contents include information on gathering paperwork before the internship, navigating the city and workplace during the internship, and using this experience for students' Senior Inquiry requirements. This resource bridges the gap between the experiential knowledge of past interns and the pre-internship anxieties of future interns, and will continue to enrich each Augustana student's living experience in the diverse city of Houston.

→ Spread the Knowledge: Help Teach Augustana Health Literacy for Better Long-Term Outcomes (McCabe)

Presented by Kailey M. McCabe; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 26; Public Health

When starting college students make more decisions on their own, and for many, it is the first time that they are solely responsible for making health decisions. In 2020 Augustana College opened the Convenient Care Clinic to help students who would otherwise not have access to healthcare in the area. Since then, clinicians have noticed that many students don't understand how to treat basic health problems and don't know when to escalate care. Additionally, international students and students who do not have their own vehicles have even more difficulty finding care in other places in the area. This Senior Inquiry project used the Transtheoretical Health Model to create a pamphlet to educate students on health literacy, understanding the importance of treating basic health problems, and to know when to escalate care. Future campus clinic interns will be able to maintain and improve this pamphlet as health literacy on campus improves and health concerns change.

→ Painting Positivity: Cancer-Focused Art Therapy for Gilda's Club Members (Alexander)

Presented by Sophia Alexander; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 27; Public Health

One-third of cancer patients suffer from common mental health distress during their diagnosis, treatment, or remission, but are not offered adequate support to cope with both illnesses. Individuals with cancer who also experience mental health symptoms, often find a decrease in adherence to chemotherapy or radiation, which prolongs their cancer journey and increases their mental health distress. Previous art therapy approaches have helped cancer patients process their emotions, resulting in improved moods and lowered anxiety levels. This Senior Inquiry project utilizes the Theory of Planned Behavior to carry out art therapy sessions to reduce the prevalence of untreated mental health symptoms among cancer patients. This unique public health approach aimed to communicate to inform the Gilda's Club members of mental illness distress to educate them on more mindful solutions. While there is no cure for cancer or mental health, this program is designed to bring awareness to the mental health struggles faced during the cancer journey to promote more positive well-being, resulting in better compliance with cancer medications among the members of Gilda's Club.

→ Health Equality Starts Here: Informational Brochures to Increase Ethnically Diverse Research Strategies at Storch Lab (Knutsen)

Presented by Madison A. Knutsen; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 28; Public Health

Ethnic minority groups experience a greater burden of disability from mental disorders compared to individuals of European descent, yet minorities are systematically excluded from mental health research. To provide useful, evidence-based treatments for members of all ethnic groups, researchers must learn techniques to effectively recruit participants from diverse populations. This Senior Inquiry project utilized the Health Belief Model to create an evidence-based brochure that provides researchers with concise information on successful ways to recruit diverse participants, and methods to increase cultural competence. Dissemination and presentation of this brochure aided new recruitment strategies, which will support successful enrollment of ethnically diverse research participants for mental health studies in the Storch Lab at Baylor College of Medicine.

→ Harm Reduction in Action: An Educational Tool to Raise Awareness and Accessibility of Drug Assisted Treatment Centers (Yimam)

Presented by Rebecca Yimam; advisor Dr. Lena R. Hann
Poster 29; Public Health

Heroin overdoses have had a rapid increase in the last decade in most US states, fueling the opioid epidemic. Quad Cities Harm Reduction (QCHR) is a non-profit organization that has been fighting the opiate crisis by promoting health equity and rights and works towards advocating for harm reduction services. After working with QCHR participants for 14 weeks and observing the lack of awareness of- and the need for, an informative tool to access information about drug treatment centers, a pamphlet that holds all the necessary information for individuals to start their treatment was created. The Assisted and Accessible Treatment (AAT) is a resource designed to improve awareness and access to medicine-assisted drug treatments in and around the Quad Cities for the participants of QCHR and more. This SI project utilizes the Theory of Planned Behaviour and helps individuals who decide to start leading healthier lifestyles by making it easier for them to find treatment centers within their areas. This pamphlet used Public Health tools to communicate effectively and educate participants of QCHR about drug use disorder treatment centers and options as well as promote health and safety in our community.



Genevieve Berryman, Megan Markiewicz, Michelle Pacheco, Courtney Thames, Mason Zaccardi and Dr. Rupa Gordon
Isaiah Valentine, Lucas Fahnoe, Breonna Culver, Katherine Callahan and Zachary Vandragriff
Isaiah Valentine, Dawit Desta and Amen Bekele
Sierra White, Mukupa Lungu, Amen Bekele, Lucas Fahnoe, Rachel Blankenship, Constance Krupa and Zachary Vandagriff
Morgan R. Schroeder, Megan Markiewicz, Julia Gromm, Paige Kubon, John Le and Shelby Homan 

→ The Impact of Delaying Feedback for Mutual Understanding: implications for flipped teaching (Berryman, Markiewicz, Pacheco, Thames, Zaccardi, Gordon)

Presented by Genevieve Berryman, Megan Markiewicz, Michelle Pacheco, Courtney Thames, Mason Zaccardi and Dr. Rupa Gordon; advisor Dr. Rupa Gordon
Poster 30; Neuroscience

An integral part of learning involves students asking questions and receiving feedback from their instructor in order to develop knowledge and comprehension (Chin & Osborne, 2008). After the pandemic, flipped classrooms have grown in popularity where students learn material independently, and then ask questions and receive feedback on their understanding later (Gopalan et al., 2022). However, research suggests that removing the ability to ask questions during collaborative learning impairs comprehension as individuals are unable to share perspectives (Schober & Clark, 1989). Specifically, real-time feedback during learning helps establish mutual understanding (Schober & Clark, 1989). The impact of delaying question-asking and feedback to after the initial learning period, akin to the flipped classroom, has not been well studied. If feedback is delayed, we predict learning will be impaired because participants cannot share perspectives compared to those who can provide feedback in real-time.

Participants were assigned the role of director or matcher and played a computerized collaborative referencing task where they repeatedly described and matched 12 abstract shapes across 4 trials (Clark & Wilkes-Gibbs, 1986). As predicted, the immediate feedback condition, where both participants could freely speak, was more accurate than the other conditions. There were no differences in accuracy in the no feedback condition (matcher was not able to speak at any time) and the delayed feedback condition (the matcher was not able to speak during the first 3 trials, but had 5-min where both participants could ask questions before performing the 4th trial). These results suggest that once feedback and question asking is delayed, it does not significantly improve learning.

→ The Effects of Social Exclusion on Responses to Social Media Images (Valentine, Fahnoe, Culver, Callahan, Vandragriff)

Presented by Isaiah Valentine, Lucas Fahnoe, Breonna Culver, Katherine Callahan and Zachary Vandragriff; advisors Dr. Ian Harrington and Dr. Heidi Storl
Poster 31; Neuroscience, Philosophy

With social media, social interaction has taken on a different, less personal form. As a result, the ways in which individuals can be connected to, or disconnected from, their communities have changed. Research has shown physiological and psychological consequences for those who experience social exclusion (ostracism), including a tendency to alter expressed preferences to avoid such a conflict. One issue, however, is that many studies have attempted to induce ostracism through ecologically invalid means (i.e., Cyberball). We hope to provide a more accurate representation of modern social interaction using a mock social media platform. In our study, participants will first complete a personality questionnaire while being prepared for recording of skin conductance responses (SCR). To explore the consequences of ostracism, participants will indicate baseline preferences for images of the sort commonly shared via social media using a novel but naturalistic social media environment while SCR and heart rate are measured. Randomly assigned peer-similarity feedback will be used to induce social ostracism. In short, participants will be told that their preferences are considerably like or unlike those of a large sample of peers. Thereafter, participants will again indicate their preferences for the same images, although this time in the presence of ostensible average ratings provided by the same sample of peers. We anticipate that those in the ostracized condition will have an elevated physiological response to the similarity feedback and be more likely to adjust their image preferences to align with peer ratings. We also expect that these differences could be mediated by personality factors.

→ Analyzing the Effects of Website Design and Time-Induced Stress on EEG Correlates of Cognitive Load (Valentine, Desta, Bekele)

Presented by Isaiah Valentine, Dawit Desta and Amen Bekele; advisor Dr. Shara Stough
Poster 32; Neuroscience

Website design strongly impacts the user experience, and one aspect of this is cognitive load (Kumar & Kumar, 2016). Websites that use inconsistent fonts, high contrast colors, and have many elements to interact with on the same page contribute to higher cognitive load than websites with a good interface design, simpler fonts, and natural, complementary colors. Cognitive load is related to the limited capacity of working memory when processing novel information. Complex tasks place more simultaneous demands on working memory and thus result in increased cognitive load (Antonenko et al., 2010). Placing time constraints on participants is a manipulation that adds additional cognitive load to a task (Shapkin et al., 2020). The location and nature of neural changes associated with cognitive load vary widely depending on the task. In our study, we have chosen to focus on alpha and theta waves as two predominant neural signatures of cognitive load. Alpha waves (8-14 Hz), highest during an eyes-closed resting condition, are inversely related to cognitive load, while theta waves (4-8 Hz) increase in direct proportion with task difficulty (Antonenko et al., 2010). As students who are interested in neural functioning during human-computer interactions, we have designed this experiment to gain experience using electroencephalogram (EEG) to study how the brain responds when humans are interacting with technology. Our hypothesis is that participants who complete tasks on a poorly designed, complex website under time constraints will show the highest levels of cognitive load using EEG measures (low alpha, high theta), and participants who complete tasks on a well-designed website with no time constraints will show the lowest levels of cognitive load (high alpha, low theta).

→ Investigating the Impact of Enriched Environment on Detour Learning in Young Male Chicks (White, Lungu, Bekele, Fahnoe, Blankenship, Krupe, Vandagriff)

Presented by Sierra White, Mukupa Lungu, Amen Bekele, Lucas Fahnoe, Rachel Blankenship, Constance Krupa and Zachary Vandagriff; advisor Dr. Shara Stough
Poster 33; Neuroscience

Early life experiences play a critical role in establishing a developmental foundation for later learning, emotion and socialization, and problem-solving skills. The present study was designed to test the impact of rearing environment (enriched versus control) on detour learning and memory in young Barred Plymouth Rock chicks. The detour learning task analyzes chicks' spatial problem-solving abilities by requiring the subject to navigate around a three-sided barrier to receive a social reward (reaffiliation with goal chicks, or ""conspecifics""). Originally, we wanted to study sex differences in these chicks as previous research indicated differences between male and female chicks that could impact their motivation and performance in the detour learning task. Female chicks demonstrate higher motivation for social reinstatement than male chicks (Cailotto et al., 1989) and male chicks demonstrate higher levels of baseline fear and arousal (Jones, 1977), which can reduce exploration of a novel environment. Unfortunately, chick shortages at the hatchery prevented us from ordering both male and female chicks, so we turned our focus to investigate the impact of enriched environments in male chicks only, as previous research had also indicated enriched environments lowered fearfulness in chicks in new and potentially stressful environments (Jones, 1980).  We hypothesized that chicks raised in an enriched environment may adapt to new settings and challenges more quickly and would perform better on the detour learning task. This study provides insight into the social cognition and learning abilities of Barred Plymouth Rock chickens.

→ A Neurophysiological Basis of Morality (Schroeder, Markiewicz, Gromm, Kubon, Le, Homan)

Presented by Morgan R. Schroeder, Megan Markiewicz, Julia Gromm, Paige Kubon, John Le and Shelby Homan ; advisors Dr. Ian Harrington and Dr. Heidi Storl
Poster 34; Neuroscience

This project is meant to explore questions at the intersection of philosophy and neuroscience by looking for relationships between brain activity and moral decision making.  Previous studies have suggested that asymmetrical frontal lobe activity might be used to predict the way people respond to emotional events. However, these studies were not uniform in their expectations. In our study, after recording baseline frontal lobe activity at F3 and F4, participants will be presented with non-moral scenarios, and moral dilemmas that do or do not involve physical harm. Each scenario ends with a question (“Would you ________?”) that is worded such that saying ‘yes’ indicates an intention to act to bring the greatest good to the greatest number of people, even if those actions cause some harm. We will record reaction times, decisions (yes/no), and skin conductance (a measure of physiological arousal) for these 9 scenarios. Participants will also complete the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, a self-report measure of empathy with four subscales (i.e., perspective taking, empathic concern, fantasy, and personal distress). We hypothesize that frontal lobe asymmetry can be used to predict a participant’s self-reported empathy, willingness to endorse utilitarian actions, reaction times, and physiological arousal while considering these dilemmas. With this work we hope to begin to bridge the gap between neuroscience and philosophy by experimenting with the practices of neurophenomenology.



Quincy Gibeau
Bethany Abrams, Cinthia Duran, Quincy Gibeau, Abigail Harris and Emmeline Kenealy
Dr. Jamie Nordling, Austin Ioerger, Brianna Bryant
Dr. Bohdan Dziadyk

→ The Moderating Effect of Future Time Perspective on The Relationship Between Attachment Style and Self-Regulation Presented (Gibeau)

Presented Quincy Gibeau; advisor Dr. Dan Corts
Poster 35; Psychology

A secure attachment style has been found to positively influence the way that someone behaves and interacts with the world. Securely attached individuals tend to have better self-regulation, which can strengthen self-control through the use of self-monitoring, self-evaluation, and self-reinforcement. Similarly, those who possess a future time perspective describe individuals who are goal-oriented and are able to delay gratification for better outcomes by anticipating the future. I am interested to determine if having a future time perspective can strengthen the relationship between attachment style and self regulation. This study will ask participants via Google form to complete three self-report surveys that measure these constructs. The analysis of these results will expect to find that those with a secure attachment style will have better self regulation skills, especially if they have a future time perspective.

→ The Mediating Role of Negative Interactions in the Association Between Depression and Perceived Support (Abrams, Duran, Gibeau, Harris, Kenealy)

Presented by Bethany Abrams, Cinthia Duran, Quincy Gibeau, Abigail Harris and Emmeline Kenealy; advisor Dr. Austin Williamson
Poster 36; Psychology

In this study, first-year college students reported on their symptoms of depression and their perceived support from and negative interactions with three friends. In accordance with previous research, we hypothesized that students who are more depressed will believe that less support is available from their friends. The second aim of this study was to determine if that association is mediated by negative interactions with friends. We found that being more depressed led to having more negative interactions with friends, which in turn led to diminished beliefs in the availability of support from those friends.

→ Educational Achievement through Social Emotional Learning Strategies (EASELS) (Nordling, Ioerger, Bryant)

Presented by Dr. Jamie Nordling, Austin Ioerger, Brianna Bryant; advisor Dr. Jamie Nordling
Poster 37; Psychology

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions” ( Research has revealed that chronic stressors early in life and systemic biases can affect the development of SEL skills (Kim et al., 2013). This study focuses on first-year students from marginalized and disadvantaged backgrounds. Research has shown that faculty mentors can be key players in helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds manage their emotions and impact retention (e.g., Chan et al., 2016). In this intervention, advisors were given recorded lectures, readings, and mock sessions to review for each of five SEL topics (i.e., self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision-making), and they led five 30-60 minute sessions with their advisees during Fall Term. Students were given homework to practice SEL strategies. Survey data was collected at three assessments: beginning of fall, end of fall, and end of spring. It was hypothesized that students’ emotion regulation skills, self-awareness, coping skills, decision-making skills, and interpersonal relationships would improve as an outcome of this SEL intervention. In turn, these positive changes to SEL skills were expected to positively impact mental health, academic competence, and retention rates. Data collection is still underway; we would like to present our methods and current results to share the project and recruit new participants for Fall 2023. This is Dr. Nordling’s sabbatical project.



 Joe Marcucci
Thomas (Trey) Schmidt

→ Improving the Human Capital of Developing Countries with the Help of A.I. (Marcucci)

Presented by Joe Marcucci; advisor Dr. Chris Marmé
Poster 39; Economics

Having explored the relationship between technological advancement and human capital in the development of the United States, I turn to looking at how recent A.I. developments might similarly improve the capacity of labor in developing countries.

→ The Role Migrant Workers Play in Promoting Development in Host Countries and Their Countries of Origin (Schmidt)

Presented by Thomas (Trey) Schmidt; advisor Dr. Chris Marmé
Poster 40; Economics

The topic I chose for my Economics Senior Inquiry was migration, and I want to continue in that direction to learn and speak about migrant workers. I will focus mainly on the United States and where most migrant workers are from. I go more into depth with certain states like California and other southwestern states. It also describes why these workers are coming to the United States and how that benefits them and the country they are coming into. Adding to that, I will share why it also either hurts or benefits the countries that the migrant workers are from.



Dr. Bohdan Dziadyk

→ Five year summary of muskrat population studies at two Audubon Society nature preserves in Lee County, north central, Illinois (Dziadyk)

Presented by Dr. Bohdan Dziadyk
Poster 38; Biology

From 2018 to 2022 I studied selected characteristics of muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus, Cricetidae) populations at the Illinois Audubon Society’s 160 ha Gremel Nature Preserve and the adjacent 119 ha Amboy Marsh Nature Preserve both in Lee County, north central Illinois. The direct observation method was used, when possible, to estimate muskrat numbers and to record behavior. During deep freeze episodes each winter when walking on the frozen ponds was possible, I counted muskrat leaf nests and bank dens. Leaf nests, typically constructed of cattail or sedge leaves and mud mounded up to a meter or more in height, are more reliably counted than snow-covered bank dens, nevertheless useful information can be gained by estimates of bank dens where and when possible. At Main Pond of the Gremel Nature Preserve the number of muskrats counted per two hour visit on alternate weekends from spring to fall averaged from 4.08 to 4.57 to 3.18 to 5.27 to 2.36 (df = 4, @ = 0.95, X2 = 1.34) across the five years, respectively. Also at Main Pond the number of leaf houses counted in winters of the same years decreased 24, 19, 19, 13, 13, respectively (df = 4, @ = 0.95 = X2  = 12.16) showing significant differences in house numbers unlike that for average number of animals observed. At the Big Marsh of Amboy Nature Preserve the number of leaf nests decreased even more significantly in the five years 27, 17, 3, 4, 9 (df = 4, @ = 0.95, X2 = 56.62). Because of the heavy presence of lily pads and other vegetation it was not possible to make counts of active swimming muskrats. Bank dens estimated on these two frozen ponds also indicated significant variation across the years 2019 to 2022: at Main Pond 9, 10, 20, 10, respectively (df =3, @ = 0.95, X2 = 13.66) and at Big Marsh 8, 0, 3, 3 (df = 3, @ = 0.95, X2  = 14.26). Ecologists stress that long term monitoring of natural phenomena are essential for deep understanding; accordingly this study will continue.