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Celebration of Learning 2017: Oral presentations and performances session II

SESSION II        11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

[OLIN AUDITORIUM] 11:45-a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Sara Diemer, Ali Kerr, Samantha Pacha and various Viking Pups handlers
Viking Pups: Pups, People, and Passion

What does it mean to be a part of Viking Pups? Why are our handlers so invested in the club? Is this just a club or has it shaped our futures? Hear the stories of the dogs, handlers and clients to get a glimpse into what it means to be a part of Viking Pups!

SESSION II-A [HANSON 102] 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. 

Debo Balogun
Project advisor: Jeff Coussens, theatre arts
A Survivor Story: Othello’s Past, Present, and Future

11:45-12:15 p.m.

An exploration of the holistic process of piecing together and portraying one of Shakespeare’s most complicated characters by analyzing the breadth of human existence on a continuum. This character study of Othello within a modern context utilizes knowledge of psychology, world history and dramaturgy.

Debo Balogun
An Elephant Never Forgets

12:15-12:45 p.m.

Debo Balogun, first-time director and producer, reflects on a year-long journey that started in May of 2016 with the founding of The Elephant Project, an independent theatre initiative currently based in the Quad Cities. With a production team composed entirely of young theatre artists, The Elephant Project has raised nearly $3,000 through crowdfunding alone for its production of George Brant’s drama: “Elephant’s Graveyard.”

SESSION II-B [HANSON 304] 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Luke Robinson 
Project advisor: Dr. Heidi Storl, philosophy
Implementing Shared Decision-Making Visits in a Lung Cancer Screening Program

11:45 a.m.-noon

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The disease is especially dangerous because of the difficulty of making an early diagnosis. Because of this difficulty, low dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening is used to detect the disease early in high-risk patients. However, the decision to undergo lung cancer screening is still a complex one due to the associated risks. A team of researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center have developed a decision aid to be used as a part of a shared decision-making visit between a doctor and a patient before the patient chooses whether to undergo screening. In this project, I compare pre- and post-implementation time and motion data in lung cancer screening visits to gauge efficacy and feasibility of a shared decision-making visit.

Ali Rabeh, Dr. Matthew Baker 
Project advisor: Dr. Matthew Baker, applied mathematics and engineering physics
Cryo-EM Imaging of Protein

Noon-12:15 p.m.

Cryo-EM modeling has been gaining popularity for being a powerful tool in structural biology. Unlike crystallography techniques, cryo-EM enables the observation of proteins in their native nature state and at high resolution, without the need of large quantities of the studied specimen. After constructing a 3D map of the specimen, modeling of the specimen is then possible with the help of several cryo-EM modeling tools like Gorgon, Coot and Phenix. These modeling tools enable us to produce a full atomic refined model of the specimen, which enables us to see the secondary structures of the specimen such as alpha helices, beta sheets and loop regions. After determining the 3D structure of the specimens, the study of its chemical and functional properties becomes possible. The aim of my research was to model a certain protein called VP3A, which is part of the Mud Crab Reovirus (MCRV) and which was imaged at ~3Å. I also created a tool for a program used for visualization and analysis of molecular structures called Chimera. This tool, coded using Python interface, is called (“PathWalking”) and enables the user to create an initial path of the map by interacting with EMAN2/Pathwalker through a terminal command line.

Alex Ahmann 
Project advisor: Dr. Heidi Storl, philosophy
Endoplasmic Reticulum Ca2+ Signaling in Rotavirus Replication and Viroplasm Formation

12:15-12:30 p.m.

Increased cytosolic calcium serves as an important signal in rotavirus replication and maturation of viroplasms. This rise in calcium levels is achieved by non-structural protein 4 (NSP4), which acts as a viroporin, depleting the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In this study, a genetically encoded calcium indicator (GECI) targeted to the ER was employed to investigate calcium signals during rotavirus infection, and viroplasm formation on a single cellular level. Long-term live cell imaging was utilized for characterization of calcium loss. Results have indicated significant, dynamic decrease in ER calcium stores. In addition, GECI fluorescence was detected in membrane bound vesicles which materialize one to two hours after initial calcium drops. Western blot analysis, immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy display that these vesicles are viroplasms. These results indicate that ER calcium release is not a simple leak caused by NSP4, but rather a dynamic depletion marked by many substantial drops. Furthermore, viroplasms are surrounded by ER membranes, and formation arises one to two hours after initiation of ER calcium spikes. These findings may play an important role in rotavirus maturation and replication processes.

Austin Anderson 
Project advisor: Dr. Heidi Storl, philosophy
Oncolytic Adenovirus Delta-24-RGDOX Expressing Immune Co-Stimulator OX40 Ligand Induces Effective Melanoma Immunotherapy in Mice

12:30-12:45 p.m.

Oncolytic viruses selectively replicate within and lyse cancer cells while avoiding damage to normal cells. Oncolytic viruses also have displayed the ability to induce anti-tumor immune responses. We constructed Delta-24-RGDOX40L (∆24-RGDOX), an oncolytic adenovirus that expresses the immune co-stimulator OX40 ligand, to enhance the antigen-presenting function of the cancer cells. We hypothesized that the ∆24-RGDOX adenovirus treatment would increase T cell infiltration within the tumor and consecutively lead to effective tumor immunotherapy. We tested the hypothesis in a B16F10-Red-Fluc-C57BL/6 mouse melanoma model. The virus efficiently infected the melanoma cells, which was indicated by E1A expression within the melanoma with intratumoral viral injection. Compared to the treatment with PBS, ∆24-RGDOX injection induced higher levels of T cell infiltration within the injected tumor. PBS injection had a mean of only 1.58 CD3+, 0.667 CD4+, and 0.917 CD8+ T cells per high-power field, while ∆24-RGDOX injection had a mean of 36.54 CD3+, 14.75 CD4+ and 16.08 CD8+ T cells per high power field. These results suggest that ∆24-RGDOX treatment transforms the tumor microenvironment from immune suppressive to immune active. Importantly, ∆24-RGDOX mediated regression of both the injected and uninjected distant tumors whose growth was monitored with bioluminescence imaging, and consequently prolonged the survival of the melanoma-bearing mice (survival: 40% versus 0%; median: 39 versus 27.5 days). Collectively, our data demonstrates that ∆24-RGDOX induces effective melanoma immunotherapy in mice, indicating this strategy may be an option for patients with metastasized melanomas.

SESSION II-C [HANSON 305] 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Bennett Tomlin
Project advisor: Dr. Patrick Crawford, chemistry
Mechanisms of Resveratrol Action and Implications for Health

11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

An analysis of the mechanisms of action of the antioxidant polyphenol resveratrol and the implications for human health. 

Robert (R.J.) Nicholas 
Project advisor: Dr. José Boquin, chemistry
Environmentally Friendly Approach to Organic Synthesis

12:15-12:30 p.m.

There are several methods to achieve halogenation with organic molecules. Most synthetic routes involve the use of harmful chemicals that are dangerous to the environment and the experimenter’s health. By changing the solvent system, we were able to minimize these risks while achieving successful halogenation. Our continuing research is to optimize this reaction by maximizing the conversion ratio between starting materials and products in the least amount of time.

Hussam Ibrahim 
Project advisor: Dr. Francois St-Pierre, physics and applied mathematics
Automated Microscopy Platform for High-Throughput Analysis of Cellular Characteristics

12:30-12:45 p.m.

Existing microscopy platforms allow analysis post-hoc, but not in real time. This is an issue in the world of bioengineering because you are limited to performing further analysis on the specimen. The aim of my research was to design a sophisticated system whereby information can be exchanged between the software that acquires images and the software that analyzes the images immediately after acquisition. In this system, images would be acquired by the microscope and analyzed by customized scripts (MATLAB, Mathworks) in real time. Specifically, MATLAB would wait for new images to be saved on the hard drive, import these images and perform image segmentation—that is, identify individual cells. This system would be essential for many applications; rare cancer cells could be further monitored or perturbed ontogenetically. Moreover, a fluorescent protein can be further examined based on brightness and photostability as a proof-of-principle that you can image multiple modalities and can distinguish, at a single-cell level, between cells that express different fluorescent proteins.

SESSION II-D [OLIN 305] 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Lan Dang, Dat Tran
Project advisor: Dr. Andrew Sward, applied mathematics
The Skyrim Problem

11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

In the game of Skyrim, players collect herbs that can be mixed together to form potions. There are 93 different herbs, each herb has four traits from a list of 56 total traits. The traits are initially hidden from the player. The player may mix two or three herbs together to try and form a potion. A potion is created if two or more herbs share a common trait(s). All traits that herbs have in common are revealed on the corresponding herbs. The question becomes: How many mixes will it take to reveal all the traits on all of the herbs? To answer the question, we turn this problem into an integer linear program and explore its structure. We also discuss and implement a general greedy probabilistic algorithm to solve the problem for the list of 93 herbs in the original game of Skyrim.

Vecna, Dr. Andrew Sward, Dr. Forrest Stonedahl
Project advisors: Dr. Andrew Sward and Dr. Forrest Stonedahl; applied mathematics, computer science and mathematics
Data Embedding in the Bitcoin Blockchain

12:15-12:45 p.m.

This presentation is on research by Dr. Sward, Dr. Stonedahl and Vecna on how data can be stored (permanently) in Bitcoin’s underlying data structure, its blockchain. The presentation will briefly discuss Bitcoin and how it works before focusing on the script-based language used to make Bitcoin transactions and how different scripts can be used to store data permanently in the blockchain.

SESSION II-E [OLD MAIN 132] 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Jordan Brown
Project advisor: Dr. Roman Bonzon, philosophy
For I Love You, O Eternity!: A Critique of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence

11:45 a.m.-12:05 p.m.

The 19th-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche has influenced many fields of study, including psychology, theology and political science, namely because of the profound way that he both writes and sees the world. One theory that Nietzsche delves into deeply is his idea of eternal recurrence, or the idea that time itself will repeat forever; each event happens in the same sequence, with the exact moments following one right after the other as it has done an infinite number of times and will do so into the future as well. Nietzsche says this knowledge is the “heaviest weight” and people will either accept this eternal recurrence, or choose to remain blind. However, when looking at this idea in context with the remainder of Nietzsche’s philosophy, we notice certain inconsistencies. In this presentation, I will show how his theory of time is inconsistent with parts of his moral philosophy. Using textual evidence, I will suppose its truth to show how it creates logical inconsistencies with his theories of free will, his so-called übermensch and his famous mantra “God is dead.”

Biniam Anberber
Project advisor: Dr. Roman Bonzon, philosophy
Friedrich Nietzsche: The Harmony Between Men and Women

12:05-12:25 p.m.

Throughout his works, Friedrich Nietzsche gave his accounts on the differences between men and women. While many of Nietzsche’s readers are quick to disapprove of his explanations, we should take a more meaningful and deeper approach by reading between the lines, so to speak. Taken out of context, his ideas may appear derogatory and sexist, but when viewed objectively and in the context of his complete philosophy, they offer an interesting perspective on the world.I will argue that Nietzsche is teaching us readers a powerful lesson regarding the harmony of men and women through the use of his concept of appropriate distance.

Ethan Higginbotham
Project advisor: Dr. Roman Bonzon, philosophy
The Genealogy of Suffering

12:25-12:45 p.m.

Central to Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy is the belief in what is known as the “wisdom of Silenus.” This is the claim that the best thing for a human being is never to have been born, and the next best thing is to die quickly. The implication is that human life is full of unremitting misery and suffering. We have found many ways to fight this “wisdom” at various times in the past, including through Greek tragedy and Christianity, but it was not until very recently that we found a way to kill suffering altogether—with the advent of modern medicine. This is not something to be celebrated however, because without suffering, we can no longer experience the greatness that was once possible. In this presentation, I will explain the kind of suffering and greatness that we can no longer experience, how we were able to kill suffering itself, and what this means for us.

SESSION II-F [OLD MAIN 28 & 21] 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Devyn Absher, Trevor Allbert, Aliyah Bailey, Eddie Beckom, Shelby Burroughs, Benjamin Corona, Kalyn Engel, Amanda Esparza Estrada, Jack Fan, Atticus Garrison, Kayla Gasper, Giselle Gaztambide, Sydney Gilbert, Julia Harris, Jacob Herman, Riley Kenning, Sarah Reese, Abigail Rogers, Amanda Schar, Ashley Shropshire, Isabel Vallejo, Buck Webb, Matthew Zimmerman
Project advisor: Dr. Eric Stewart, religion
Museums of Masculinity

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Students from WGST 302: Masculinity in American Culture will provide audio-visual presentations related to the various ways masculinity is performed, displayed and recognized in various pop culture media.

SESSION II-H [BERGENDOFF, LARSON HALL] 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Lizzy Warkocki, Jenn Darby, Katie Hayes
Project advisors: Lucas Street and Virginia Johnson, Learning Commons; Dr. John Delaney, accounting
Auditing Your Writing: A Collaboration Between Departments

11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Who knew accountants and writing tutors could learn from each other? In 2014, the Reading/Writing Center (RWC) was invited to work with accounting classes on professional writing. Building on work by Dr. Laura Greene (English), Dr. John Delaney (accounting) and RWC faculty tutors collaborated to develop a writing program for two classes required for accounting majors: ACCT31: Auditing and ACCT442: Ethics. The writing program currently involves tutors co-leading “Writing for Accountants” in-class workshops, facilitating group conferences on written reports, and critiquing students’ drafts of professional emails. This partnership has proved mutually beneficial. Accounting majors reported that, through working with tutors, their writing in other classes and in their professional lives has become more concise and error-free. For example, one student now working at a marketing firm expressed how useful skills learned from the RWC are in writing reports, while another credited this writing instruction with helping him create a winning cover letter for an internship. Some tutors were apprehensive about working with an unfamiliar discipline, but afterward expressed a newfound appreciation for business writing as well as interest in working with other departments. Tutors also faced a learning curve conducting group conferences on co-authored papers, but this atypical dynamic necessitated a “hands-off” approach that ultimately allowed writers to identify and correct their own errors. Ultimately, the accounting/RWC collaboration has benefited--and will continue to benefit--students and tutors alike. This interactive presentation will include discussion of specific editing techniques and a chance for attendees to try “auditing” some written excerpts themselves.

Dr. Jacob Romaniello, Ninna Mendoza, Stefanie Bluemle, Robert Williams
Project advisor: Dr. Jacob Romaniello, Learning Commons
Writing an Award-Winning Research Paper: An Interactive Panel Discussion

12:15-12:45 p.m.

What does it take to become a published author as a first-year student? How can the skills you learn in your FYI and Honors classes apply to your future years at Augustana and beyond? The annual Tredway Library Prize gives first-year students a chance to showcase the skills they have developed during the FYI and Honors sequences by recognizing an exceptional research paper written by a first-year student. Probe the mind of a Library Prize judge to see what qualities distinguish the winners, and get the inside scoop from two past winners to gain further insight into how you can write the next award-winning research paper. Through an interactive presentation, discover the ins and outs of the research and writing processes by picking apart the past winners’ papers, and learn about the greater implications this experience has had for them beyond the prize.


Erin Runde 
Project advisor: Dr. Catherine Goebel, art history and geography
Preserving Women’s History in Rock Island County

11:45 a.m.-12:05 p.m.

A few of the major locations within Rock Island County that provide public history are generally locations where high-/middle-class white males are at the forefront. In my Senior Inquiry, I describe ways to be more inclusive through programming, storytelling and community engagement in the county. Inclusive programming creates a dynamic, authentic and engaging approach to presenting history to the public. Minority voices often are more relatable to audiences and create a story and scale to the environment. I focus on the roles of women in 19th-century households as a foundation. This includes the matriarch, nannies and servants who all coexist within the same space, but usually have very different roles within the home. This is not meant to erase or neglect any history that is usually mentioned on a tour but rather provide deeper context to the day-to-day lives of the people who were essential to having a successful home in that time.

Audrey Johnsen, Riley Kenning, Lauren Clapp, Emma Brutman, Kaylee Stewart, Keila Saucedo, Melissa Conway, Micaela Cushing, Jonathan Meir, Scott Brick, Melina Herman, Thea Gonzales, Mikaylo Kelly, Alexis Downey, Jonathan Quigley, Ian Magnuson
Project advisor: Dr. Jennifer Popple, theatre arts, women’s and gender studies
‘Stop Kiss’: The Trans Experience In Performance

12:05-12:45 p.m.

Diana Son’s play “Stop Kiss” is a heart-wrenching narrative of two women who experience a gay bashing in New York City at the turn of the century. But in the 18 years since its publication, things have changed. Director Audrey Johnsen uses “Stop Kiss” to illustrate today’s violence facing trans women, currently one of the most vulnerable demographics in America. Through performance of some select scenes and a brief talk-back with the cast and production team, Johnsen aims to challenge the traditional narrative of trans women in media and bring awareness to trans issues both on campus and in our society as a whole.

SESSION II-K [WILSON CENTER] 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. (previously scheduled: Evald 17-18 [1:45-2 p.m.])

Raven Hoffman, Savi Jayawardana, Tharakie Pahathkumbura, Cindy Morales, Ian Magnuson
Project advisors: Dr. Jason Mahn and Dr. Dan Morris, religion
The Micah Experience 2017

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

The residents of Micah House will provide a unique insight to what it means to live in an intentional community while balancing the social and academic demands of being a senior at Augustana College. PIZZA LUNCH WILL BE SERVED!

SESSION II-L [LIBRARY 2ND (MAIN) FLOOR NORTH] 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Emma Albers-Lopez, Monica Gil, Sarah Rebban, Yawei Zhou
Project advisor: Augustana Center for the Study of Judaism and Jewish Culture
Geifman ‘Response to the Holocaust’ Prize Winners

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Geifman “Response to the Holocaust” submissions could take the form of an essay, research paper, poem, drama, film, artwork, musical composition or other creative expression. Each year, award winners present their work at Celebration of Learning. This year’s winners are: Emma Albers-Lopez–poem: “Nothing”; Monica Gil–musical composition: “Belsen Silence: A Holocaust Remembrance Piece” for clarinet, cello and speaker; Sarah Rebban–essay: “To See in Color”; and Yawei Zhou–photograph: “Endless Grief.”