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Celebration of Learning 2017: Oral presentations and performances session III

SESSION III        1-2 p.m.


Dr. Paul Olsen, English and Africana studies
Racial stereotypes: history and consequences

Several years ago, I asked an Augustana student whom I knew very well to describe his college experience. He was an excellent student, a respected athlete elected captain of the track team, a three-time All-American and conference champion in track, and he was also a starter on the winning basketball team. He is also African American. His answer: “It was often uncomfortable.” This from a student who experienced LOTS of success! My words today are partially motivated by his response. They are also driven by the increased racial unrest that has characterized our country the last few years and by learning and teaching the literature that writers call the “Black Experience in America.” First, I would like to take you way back to an earlier time in my own life when I began to find my way on a journey that could be the journey of many of us.

SESSION III-A [HANSON 102] 1-2 p.m.

Dr. Mary Biggin, Valeria Melo, Scott Shaw, Meagan Woodard
Project advisor: Dr. Mary Ellen Biggin, chemistry
The Quest To Covalently Attach Carbohydrates to Gold Surfaces Using Click Chemistry

1-1:20 p.m.

This work focuses on the covalent attachment of carbohydrates to gold surfaces for biological purposes. Ellipsometry, contact angle measurements and polarization modulation infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy were used to characterize the surfaces before and after modification.

Dr. Jessica Nodulman
Exploring Meditation and Mindfulness Practices

1:20-1:40 p.m.

In the summer of 2016, with funding from the New Faculty Research Fund and the Faculty Research Fund, I became a certified meditation and mindfulness instructor. I became certified in this area so that I could develop meditation and mindfulness health communication interventions for our community. In this presentation, I will share some simple meditation and mindfulness practices that anyone can use to help improve their own health and wellness.

Dr. Christopher Strunk, Dr. Brian Leech, Irene Mekus
Project advisor: Dr. Chris Strunk, geography
Urban Gardens, Migrant Incorporation, and Civic Agriculture in the West End of Rock Island

1:40-2 p.m.

Despite people’s tendency to see agriculture as a rural activity, urban gardening has been a continuous feature of cities since urbanization began, even as it simultaneously shifts locations and purpose over time. This presentation is based on a paper that is a preliminary exploration of the historical differences and continuities in gardening in the West End of Rock Island, the city’s primary site of urban agriculture. At the turn of the 20th century, local philanthropists at a settlement house provided poor immigrant children with 20 x 12 garden plots in the city’s West End and downtown. Truck farms, or small-scale commercial gardens with extensive networks connecting local markets, grocery stores and residents, dominated land use in the city’s southwest corner until the 1970s. Today, refugees from Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have started gardens in the vacant lots that are a central feature of the neighborhood’s landscape. Gardens often have attracted the support of civic actors because of their role in promoting the incorporation of marginalized residents into the city and the nation through food, a cultural practice central to American identity but also perceived to be a relatively non-controversial way of connecting across difference. But while there has been lasting support for urban agriculture, we suggest that gardens also can transform local histories, identities, and physical and cultural landscapes of the region in unexpected ways.

SESSION III-B [HANSON 304] 1-2 p.m.

Kelsey Gorsch
Project advisor: Dr. Heidi Storl, philosophy
Medical Illustration–Cardiothoracic Surgery

1-1:15 p.m.

In the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery of the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, the patients are treated for coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, aortic aneurysms and dissections, and other conditions. The focus of my projects was on aortic aneurysms and dissections. An aneurysm is the ballooning of the aorta in a localized spot caused by weakening of the vessel’s wall, while dissection is the separation of the aortic wall layers occurring from a tear in the inner layer that allows blood to leak, or dissect, between the wall layers. While interning with Scott Weldon, medical illustrator for Dr. Joseph S. Coselli in the division, I had three projects to introduce me to the role of a medical illustrator. Part of the role of a medical illustrator includes conducting background research and observing surgeries to create an image that is detailed and anatomically and clinically accurate. The primary goal of my position was to create artwork that can be used for education. The artwork can be used in, but not limited to, informational brochures, textbooks, journals and presentations. My Senior Inquiry project presents a background of the field of medical illustration and the process an illustrator goes through to create artwork for cardiothoracic surgical cases.

Katrina Friedrich, Michelle Fingeret
Project advisor: Dr. Heidi Storl, philosophy
Comparing the Psychosocial Outcomes of Women Who Have and Have Not Yet Completed Breast Reconstruction after 18 Months

1:15-1:30 p.m.

Breast reconstruction is an important part of the treatment process for women who undergo a mastectomy. The purpose of breast reconstruction is to rebuild a woman’s breast mound(s), which can be done by using implants, autologous tissue or a combination of the two. Based on the type and timing of reconstruction, this complex process can take two or more years to complete. During this extensive period of time, women may undergo several procedures and revisions. The first objective of this study was to identify patients who have completed and not yet completed breast reconstruction after an 18-month time period. The second objective was to compare the body image, quality of life and satisfaction outcomes of those who have completed breast reconstruction versus those who have not yet completed breast reconstruction.

Christian Garcia 
Project advisor: Dr. Heidi Storl, philosophy
Ronin (Thap11) Is Required for Proper Brain Development

1:30-1:45 p.m.

One of the main objectives of Dr. Ross Poché’s Lab is the study of brain development, specifically involving the transcription factor, Ronin along with its cofactor, Hcf1 and its down-stream target, Mmachc. When Ronin is knocked out, the embryos die before implantation. Surprisingly, however, a cobalamine-deficiency-like patient was recently identified carrying a mutation in Ronin. It is a missense mutation that causes a phenylalanine to turn into a leucine at position 80. This mutation is associated with intrauterine growth retardation, brain defects such as microcephaly, and hydrocephaly, as well as renal and cardiac defects. My goal was to identify differences in brain development of embryos, specifically to identify the difference between ventricles in the brain as well as the cortex. I collected embryos at embryonic day (E)14.5 and processed them for micro CT. Then I constructed a 3D visual of each embryo in which I was able to create a movie and take screenshots of the embryo. I also dissected embryos at age E18.5 and processed them for cryo-sectioning. Once I embedded the embryos, I sectioned them for immunohistochemistry that I stained with DAPI, Phalloidin and Fibrillarin as biomarkers to identify the structures. I was able to compare the difference between control and mutant embryos, and I determined that the mutant embryos exhibited hydrocephalus. I utilized Surveyor-digestion PCR and gel electrophoresis to genotype the embryos. I also performed a neuronal cultural isolation following a protocol in which I had to dissect the brains out of (E)18.5 embryos and isolate neurons.

Brenna Whisler
Project advisor: Dr. Heidi Storl, philosophy
Public Health, Infectious Disease, and Social Media in a Connected World

1:45-2 p.m.

Global health has become increasingly important as our world becomes more and more interconnected. Both public and global health were hot-button terms during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa during 2015 and 2016. This summer, I worked with Baylor Global Initiatives to help develop an innovation specifically designed for the Ebola outbreak, the Emergency Smart Pod. The pod is a portable medical facility originally designed to combat the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Sarah Michel and the Baylor Global Initiatives team worked to increase the Emergency Smart Pod’s versatility since the Ebola crisis subsided in January of 2016. The Baylor Global Initiatives team ideally wants to commercialize the Pod to generate revenue to invest in designing new innovations. To successfully commercialize the Emergency Smart Pod and other innovations, Baylor Global Initiatives was interested in exploring social media platforms to promote their efforts. I created a communications strategy by researching five of our top academic peers: Yale, Harvard, Duke, Johns Hopkins and Stanford. Then I completed a communications strategy specifically for Baylor Global Initiatives, including: a statement of purpose, current social media trajectory, competitor analysis, organizational and communication objectives, stakeholder identification and a work plan. I was able to provide Baylor Global Initiatives with the information necessary to begin a successful social media and communications platform.

SESSION III-C [HANSON 305] 1-2 p.m.

Lauren Johnson 
Project advisor: Dr. Joshua Dyer, engineering physics
DNA Nanotechnology: Propeller Project

1-1:20 p.m.

The DNA origami method has brought nanometer-precision construction to bioengineering labs, offering myriads of potential applications. This past summer I participated in the University of Illinois’ REU program where I utilized DNA self-assembly for the design and development of a DNA propeller. I performed all-atom MD simulations on the solvated DNA nanostructure propeller designed and developed via DNA origami assembly method. I investigated the equilibrium structure, physical variations, and the reaction to external electric field. Analysis of the MD simulations will allow us to determine if the propeller rotates and to ultimately calculate the mechanical efficiency of the nanomachine. Subject to a hydrostatic pressure gradient, the DNA propeller was successfully able to rotate. However, my results indicated the structure and design of the propeller were unstable under the water flux produced for rotation.

Miguel Rodriguez 
Project advisor: Dr. Joshua Dyer, engineering physics
Engineering and the Constant Process of Learning

1:20-1:40 p.m.

I am an engineering physics major. People ask me how I chose to pursue engineering and the sciences, and I tell them it’s just been a natural passion of mine. And by natural passion I mean, I played with Legos nonstop when I was younger. I occasionally messed around with wood and screws, and I used duct tape at the same rate avid drivers go through gasoline. I guess I just really liked to create things. And to this day I enjoy making things. But there was a point at which I wanted to take it a step further and learn how to make things that were intrinsically more complex. And so it seemed natural that I pursue engineering.

Nicholas Misner
Project advisor: Dr. William Peterson, physics
TeraHertz: Interpreting and Modelling Radioastronomic Data of the Algol-AB Binary

1:40-2 p.m.

When many people think of astronomy, they may limit their observations to purely optical light—only a fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum! In my presentation, I explain where the data I examined came from, the processing of the data and the underlying concepts that connect these observations to modeling the magnetosphere of the close-binary of the Algol star system.

SESSION III-D [OLIN 305] 1-2 p.m.

Ali Rabeh, Dr. Andrew Sward, Dr. Forrest Stonedahl
Project advisor: Dr. Andrew Sward, applied mathematics
Predator-Prey Radiodrome Model

1-1:30 p.m.

This presentation is a summary of my research with Dr. Andrew Sward that involves numerical analysis and algorithms to model a real-life situation. The project that I will present is a study of a radiodrome model following a target moving under a constant acceleration by a predator going at a constant speed and always heading directly at the prey. The aim of my project is to numerically find a relationship between the critical predator’s speed, target’s acceleration and their initial separation distance in case of a successful catch using Java.

Allan Daly 
Project advisor: Dr. Jon Clauss, mathematics
The Peaks of Topology

1:30-2 p.m.

The session will be a journey into the mountain range of topology; covering the material learned in Allan Daly’s Senior Inquiry during the past two terms. The session will cover what is topology, where did the field come from, and what is a topological subspace. From there, the session will go over open and closed sets, and the part they play with topological subspaces on the real line. Once an open set has been defined, we will move on to epsilon balls in any real space, and what a basis in topology is. The session will end with a peak experience of the Senior Inquiry, applications of topology in the real world and questions from the audience. No mathematical knowledge of topology is needed.

SESSION III-E [OLD MAIN 132] 1-2 p.m.

Steven Mondloch 
Project advisor: Dr. Mischa Hooker, Classics
The Death of Priam and Subversion in Book II of Vergil’s ‘Aeneid’

1-1:15 p.m.

Priam’s murder at the hands of Neoptolemus, as seen and retold by Aeneas during the legendary Fall of Troy in Book II of the “Aeneid,” is as gory as it is glorious. Allusions to the rich tradition of Greco-Roman literature as well as to events during Vergil’s own time combine to show the potentially subversive motivations behind Vergil’s poem.

Nathan Payne 
Project advisor: Dr. Mischa Hooker, Classics
The Classical Roots of the Jacobean Memento Mori Theme

1:15-1:30 p.m.

During the early 17th century, after the death of Queen Elizabeth and the accession of King James, England went through an obsession with death. The literature of this period is filled with reminders of the fact of human mortality, and is thus closely associated with the memento mori trope. My Senior Inquiry investigates the extent to which this trope had roots in the classical world, and to what extent it is a medieval or early modern concept. This project pays special attention to the work of the lyric poet Horace and the Stoic philosopher Seneca.

Dr. Mischa Hooker, Henry Roderick, Blake Erquiaga
Project advisor: Dr. Mischa Hooker, Classics
Video Game Development in an Academic Context

1:30-2 p.m.

This presentation will describe and demonstrate ongoing efforts to bring together skills and interests from different disciplines to foster and use video game development in an academic environment, with three parts: (1) digital game projects to facilitate Latin language learning (Mischa Hooker); (2) graphic design used for asset creation in the development of this project (Henry Roderick); (3) experiences and in-progress projects of the new student group focused on video game development (Blake Erquiaga).

SESSION III-G [EVALD 17 & 18] 1-2 p.m.

Ian Magnuson 
Project advisors: Dr. Adam Kaul and Dr. Carrie Hough, anthropology; Dr. Jason Mahn, religion
Jesus Leans Left: A Christian Intentional Community’s Path to Revolution

1-1:15 p.m.

This presentation is based on a paper that investigates the historical relationship between anarchy and Christianity through the ethnographic study of the members of a small Christo-anarchist intentional community in Minneapolis, Minn., called the Mennonite Worker. This community finds itself in a country widely controlled by a misinterpretation of the Gospels that propagate empiric rhetoric and dominance over its people. In contrast of this Church-Empire union, I propose that anarchism offers Christians a more radical way of viewing power structures and challenges them to live to address issues of dominance in the United States. Through descriptions of a ritual concerning death and transition as well as interviews conducted with community members, I focus on a community attempting to reform its identity while simultaneously navigating what it means to be a queer Christian.

Brianna Meyer 
Project advisors: Dr. Adam Kaul and Dr. Carrie Hough, anthropology
Riding in Circles: Horse(wo)manship in the American Saddlebred Community

1:15-1:30 p.m.

Not many people know about the very small, yet very dynamic sect of intense sport culture of the American Saddlebred show horse. Even those who do could always learn more since, like any subculture, it constantly evolves and changes through time. This presentation is based on a paper that outlines the historical changes since the advent of Saddlebred showing with a focus on female involvement and feminist revolution. Gender has been an important but relatively unseen factor within the community itself—female participants today do not know the history of female involvement. But based on an emergence of women professionals and amateurs in the past 50 years, gender obviously has power in the training and showing aspects of the Saddlebred community. Until now, no one has taken the time to analyze the history or the current changes being made involving men and women equestrians. Stories, quotes and memories from trainers, exhibitors and archives alike were gathered and analyzed over a period of nine months. Viewing this data from a historical and feminist lens, the paper analyzes how being an equestrienne has changed over time, and how those who grew up in the horse industry completely changed the way the community worked. In doing so, they have helped pave the way for female equestrians two and three generations after.

Lauren Clapp, Janelle Norden
Project advisor: Keri Bass, CORE community service coordinator
Does College Student Food Insecurity Really Exist? ‘Lettuce’ Talk About It

1:30-1:45 p.m.

Think of the stereotypical college student diet. Do Ramen Noodles and Easy Mac immediately come to mind? Whether you thought of that or not, this session is still for you. In this presentation, members of the Augustana Campus Kitchens Leadership Team will discuss what food insecurity actually is, and then we will explore what it looks like to students in our country, in the Quad Cities and at Augustana. This session will educate faculty and staff in understanding how to handle issues of food insecurity and enable them to be resources for our students. It also aims to educate Augie students on the food insecurity problem surrounding them and ultimately, to start a dialogue to #starvethestigma about food insecurity.


Camilo Duarte
Project advisor, Dr. Mark Salisbury, institutional research
Heywire: Behind the Scenes

1-2 p.m.

We will discuss what it takes to run a student organization, and how it all comes together. Everything from training new members to performing and marketing will be discussed; but fret not, as we will make sure to entertain and keep everyone engaged. If you are required to go to a Celebration of Learning session for class, this is a great way to fill that requirement as improvisation applies to all. 


Paul Lewellan, Brett Benning, Jordan Brown, Mariah Coachman, Cassidy Fauser, Nora Graehling, Ryan Kilroy, Jenna Lawrence, Brandy Mathews, Silas Metternick-Jones, Kaitlin O’Brien, Selena Romano, Maggie Sampson, Elizabeth Warkocki, Margaret Williams
Project advisor: Dr. Paul Lewellan, communication studies
Performance Studies: Women’s Stories

1-2 p.m.

Historically, women have been silenced by male-dominated systems and institutions. Even today, women are underrepresented in legislative bodies, boardrooms, courts and other positions of power. The stories of strong women have smaller audiences than the stories of girlfriends, sex objects and entertainers. Women’s issues are co-opted by men. Women’s sports triumphs may go unrecognized compared to World Series, World Cup and Super Bowl stories. This performance seeks to give voice to women and to invite the audience members to participate in positive dialogue. The primary texts for interpretation will be memoirs, blogs, scholarly texts, interviews and news reports. The three groups presenting will use found text to create a unique and unified performance dealing with the issues of female identity, sexualized media and women in sports.


Hena Thakkar
Project advisor: Dr. Charles Rice-Davis, French
Enlightenment Values in a Post-Truth World

1-1:20 p.m.

For all the gains that digital technology provides, there have also been some grave losses. Technology has affected adversely our attention span, our ability to judge the vast amounts of information that is disseminated, and perhaps, if not engendered, then encouraged the sort of partisanship that feeds on confirmation bias. This is particularly relevant and consequential in the era of fake news and alternative facts that have created a breeding ground for right-wing populism and that have endangered the Enlightenment ideal of an independent, free-thinking, informed citizen. We will present and examine key parts of the work of the philosopher Bernard Stiegler, who considers technology as remedy and poison, and Kant’s “What is Enlightenment?”.

Layne Porembski
Project advisor: Dr. Taddy Kalas, French
‘Qui suis-je?’ Identity in Jean Racine’s Tragedies

1:20-1:40 p.m.

A 17th-century French dramatist, Jean Racine presented characters and plots that were complex and often led to unfortunate conclusions. The research presented here focuses on the identities of the characters from Racine’s nine tragedies and how the characters often met identity crises that tied closely with the tragic ends of the plays. Starting from the earliest tragedy “La Thèbaïde” and ending with the last “Athalie,” we see different identities, from fixed and monstrous to elusive and devoted and more. From our observations and our research from academics such as Sigmund Freud, we see the complexity that Racine instilled in his characters, as well as the effect upon his tragedies.

Michael Partyka 
Project advisor: Dr. Taddy Kalas, French
Exploring the Role of the Divine in the Theatre of Jean Racine

1:40-2 p.m.

This is an investigation as to what extent the divine (whether that be the Greek gods or the God of Abraham) plays a role in the works of the 17th-century playwright Jean Racine.


Rebecca Wee, Emilie Antolik, Jason Carey, Jessica Estes, Alyssa Froehling, Andrea Grubaugh, Elena Leith, Emma Smith, Emma Stough, Nathan Wendt
Project advisors: Rebecca Wee and Dr. Kelly Daniels, creative writing
Distorted Lullaby: Creative Writing Senior Reading 2017

1-2 p.m.

Augustana College’s creative writing students present a group reading of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction from their final Senior Inquiry manuscripts/projects. Each will read for approximately five minutes and, if they wish, briefly introduce their project and genre.

Dr. Robert Elfline 
Terry Riley’s ‘In C’

1-2 p.m.

Terry Riley’s “In C” is widely regarded as the first musical composition to incorporate stylistic elements that later would be described as “minimalism.” Augustana students enrolled in MUSC 213 perform the piece each year in class as part of a detailed investigation of the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. This year, we will be presenting the work in public performance involving the current MUSC 213 students as well as other music students and faculty members.