Fall_Gala_2020-WebPage-Extend 300ppi

Presentation Opportunities

2020 Virtual Fall Gala Presentations


The Virtual Fall Gala is an event to showcase and celebrate the research, scholarly and creative activities of the
University of Wisconsin-River Falls undergraduates. This year will look a bit differently than previous years before. Even so, we hope to create a similar environment as our inperson events and enable students and guests to interact normally. With our gala going virtual this semester, this has opened more opportunities for students to showcase their projects and research in creative methods to reach a larger audience. The Virtual Fall Gala is organized and sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate, Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity, and the Society for Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity (SURSCA).

If you have not yet signed up for our Virtual Fall Gala and there are questions you would like to ask or further discussed with our student presenters, we welcome you to register before December 14 to be able to ask them! Only registered personals will recieve the links to the event. 

Acronyms for the different colleges at UW-River Falls
CAFES -  College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
CAS - Animal and Food Science 
CBE - College of Business and Economics
CEPS - College of Education and Professional Studies

Group 1 -  CAFES

Karl Grebe

Indexing plantlets of Hydrangea Endless Summer® Summer Crush grown from isolated meristems for Hydrangea Ringspot virus and Hydrangea Chlorotic Mottle Virus

Hydrangeas are popular ornamental plants grown for their showy flowers. Hydrangea Ringspot Virus (HsRSV) and Hydrangea Chlorotic Mottle Virus (HdCMV) are plant pathogens that stunt and damage the growth of hydrangeas, which leads to strongly symptomatic plants being discarded. The viruses cause yellowing over the leaves in a ring or mottle pattern depending on the virus type. Symptoms are more pronounced under cooler temperatures, making it challenging to grow infected plants into bloom for sale in a cool greenhouse for Mother’s Day sales. HdCMV is spread by aphids, and both viruses are spread by cultural practices. The biggest problem is having propagation stock infected because once parent plants are infected the plants from cuttings from them will also be infected. This fact makes it apparent that there needs to be effective ways to clean and then maintain clean plants from infected plant stock to allow for a clean crop moving forward. In this experiment, meristems (small groups of ~20 microscopic cells at the uppermost tip of stems) from infected Endless Summer® Summer Crush Hydrangea plants were isolated and regenerated into plantlets in tissue culture. The youngest cells in the meristem typically are not infected with the virus yet and if they can be isolated, some of the plantlets may be clean of the virus. RT-PCR was used to test the 26 regenerated plantlets from unique meristem isolation events for these two RNA viruses, and specific primers for each virus from the University of Minnesota (U of MN) and South Korean researchers were trialed. Hydrangea Actin primers were used as an internal control to make sure the RT-PCR worked. Known positive and negative controls for each virus gave the predicted bands for the HdCMV primers from both the U of MN and South Korean researchers, while only the HdRSV primers from the U of MN worked. It was found that in all 26 cases that the plantlets from isolated meristems were clean of both viruses. This demonstrates that meristem isolation techniques used at UWRF are very effective in cleaning hydrangeas of these viruses. Clean plantlets of this popular hydrangea will be maintained in tissue culture and made available upon request from our industry partner.

Alyssa Sietz 

The Effects of Agglomerated Blood Plasma on Scour Incidence and Severity in Pre-Weaned Dairy Calves

Newborn dairy calves are predisposed to a number of health issues that can affect their long-term growth and development. The most common and detrimental of these is scours. Feeding agglomerated bovine blood plasma may decrease the incidence and severity of scours as observed in calves fed blood plasma over the course of 21 days shortly after birth. Four hundred forty dairy calves of assorted breeds from Hall’s Calf Ranch in Kewaunee, WI were used in this trial. Half (220) received blood plasma in their milk twice a day for 21 days starting shortly after birth. Calves were evaluated initially for vigor and scour incidence, and then scour scored three times a week over the course of feeding the plasma. Calves were weighed prior to starting the trial. Confounding factors such as weather, treatments, and palatability of blood plasma were also recorded, as was the mortality rate. 

Leaha Lindsley

Estrone Sulfate: Is it Related to Fetal Sex?

It is currently unknown if there is a relationship between the amount of equine pregnancy hormone, estrone sulfate, produced and the sex of the mare’s, a female horse, fetus. It is predicted that the sex of the fetus and the amount of the hormone present in the blood will correlate where males have a higher concentration of estrone sulfate over females. In this research the sex of each mare’s fetus will be determined, followed by a collection of a blood sample from each mare. Six quarter horse mares ages 7, 7, 7, 10, 11, 17 from the University of Wisconsin—River Falls Lab Farm 1 in River Falls, Wisconsin were used in this study. 

Jenna Schober

Access to an animal activated feeder: effective in reducing anticipatory behaviors in laboratory rats?

Anticipatory behavior can become a main concern with animals in managed care. Animals perform anticipatory behaviors when stressed or deprived of essential resources. These behaviors can be precursors to stereotypic behaviors, which are repetitive movements with no apparent function. With the use of an Arduino UNO microcontroller, a stepper motor, and a pushbutton, we constructed an animal active feeder to be implemented into three laboratory rats’ environments. Our hypothesis is that integration of the apparatus into the managed environment of the laboratory rats will help reduce anticipatory behaviors and stereotypic bar-chewing and redirect animal focus towards their living environment. Our intent is to develop an easily customizable apparatus, that may be used for different species and mass produced for installation in designed laboratories and zoo environments. 

Kendra Letch and Melissa Preston

The Effect of Dairy Manure and Digestate Application on Nitrate Leaching in Maize

The overall question, what is the effect of manure compared to digestate on nitrate leaching? On average corn requires around 150 pounds of nitrogen (N) per acre to support the plant through the growing season. Nitrogen is typically applied as N stored in manure or in inorganic fertilizer such as Urea. There are several ways N can be lost in the soil including immobilization, denitrification, volatilization, and leaching. Nitrogen can also be lost off the field due to runoff which ends up in local rivers and is no longer useful to the farmer. 

Since nitrogen can be easily lost, it is important to maintain its function in the soil. Educating farmers about nitrate leaching and runoff can help farmers make decisions about their nitrogen source and help protect the environment better from nitrogen runoff. When nitrogen leaches or runoff it is no longer beneficial to the plant which can cause stunting of deficiency. 

The objective of this study was to compare nitrate leaching from field plots treated with manure and anaerobic digestate.

There were five treatments replicated three times; treatment check was a control with no applications, treatment one of dairy manure at 50 ton/ac, treatment two with 5.35 ton/ac of turkey manure/oat hulls, treatment three with 5.3tons/ac of turkey manure/wood chips and two digestate treatments: treatment four with 37 ton/ac and treatment five with 74 tons/ac. The amount of nitrate leaching was measured by installing lysimeters in each plot. After the rainfall event, measurements were taken. Soil samples were taken at 0-6" and 6-12” depth, at pre-plant, V5, V10, and VT. Tissue samples were taken to measure nitrogen uptake at V5 and R4. 

Digestate did not increase nitrate in tissue, relative to dairy or turkey manure. Digestate treatments did not have higher soil nitrate in comparison to dairy and turkey manure. Further research where careful analysis of the digestate is done before the application is needed. Additional research will also have to investigate the gaseous loss of nitrate from digestate relative to manure.

Nathan Borowski, Chantell Damp, Hannah Elias, Karl Grebe, Samantha Haston, Bryce Hering, Molly Jeppesen, Lucy Kailhofer, Emily Karsten, Matthew Kieber, Mark Kortbein, Sonja Maki, Lacey Nelson, Mitchell Oswald, Leslie Owsley, Madison Poole, Melissa Preston, Kylee Roskom, Stetson Rueth, Liam Schultz, Reagan Schwoerer, Catherine Smith, Hayden Stecker, McKenzie Tingo, Arthur Vang, Morgan Wels, Nathan Welsch and Clarinda Yarish

Characterization of Flowering Locus T a1 Gene Expression in Different Lines of the Garden Pea (Pisum sativum)

Flowering time in pea is an important agronomic trait and varies between cultivars. This ongoing work highlights an upper level capstone crop physiology course research experience in phenotyping and modeling different unknown lines of peas to reinforce concepts learned in the lecture portion of the course. The main goal of the project this year was to develop an authentic biotechnology research experience for undergraduate students and foster a sense of exploration and discovery. Student groups were provided with an unknown cultivar of pea to characterize throughout the term. Seed characteristics, node of flower initiation, plant height, plant age (number of expanded nodes), flower color, number of flowers per node, response to the gibberellin exo-dihydro-GA5 and expression of the pea flowering gene FTa1 (also known as Gigas) was determined. Plants were grown under Philips LED greenhouse lighting under an 18 h photoperiod, a 70/66 day/night temperature regime and were fertilized weekly with 200 ppm 20-20-20. Students designed primers to the published gene sequence and used the primers to amplify the gene from cDNA produced from apex samples taken at age 10-12. Analysis of the different characteristics allowed students to identify their unknown. In general, expression of the FTa1 gene was observed in earlier versus later flowering plants, however there was one exception. In addition, one line remained vegetative under the LED lighting for an extended period of time and did not flower during the duration of the project.

Group 2 - CAS 

Mitchell Bugni, Timothy Gruenloh, and Natalie Nelson

Modeling Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

We will forecast the atmospheric carbon levels parts per million in three different ways.  First, we will use a system of dynamical models to forecast carbon levels in the next 50 years, for three cases.  Case 1: if carbon emissions stay the same, Case 2: if carbon emissions increase, Case 3: if carbon levels decrease.  Then we will forecast the seasonality of the carbon cycle using SARIMA.  Finally, we will construct a geospatial model that predicts carbon levels in different areas around the globe for the year 2021.  A summary of strengths and weaknesses of each of the models, along with how to improve on our research is also included. 

Jessica Swenson, Amanda Hannasch, and Leah Gross

Modeling Public Attitudes On The Cause Of Climate Change

Using survey data from the Yale Program on Climate Change, the movement of people accepting global warming and that global warming is mainly caused by human activities is modeled by using stochastic matrices. The
models were tested to determine how long it would take for 80% of the population to agree
with the scientific community that global warming is mainly caused by human activities.
Preliminary conclusions in evaluating the models showed that the 80% threshold was crossed approximately in the year 2040.

Samantha Alexander, Megan Brandt, and Jordan Colby

Mathematical Predictions on the Longevity of Chameleons on Tsaratanana Massif Using Geometry and Calculus

For our project, we looked at how climate change is forcing chameleons on Tsaratanana Massif in Madagascar to climb to higher altitudes each year to find suitable habitat. Our goal was to make predictions on how long we expected it to take for half of the current chameleons to be gone due to habitat loss. We made these predictions using a mixture of geometry and calculus and two mathematical models that each used a different set of assumptions.

Kaydan Geiger, Wade Rudick, and Sarah Stoffel

Comparing GHG Emissions of Land versus Air Travel Using Multivariable Calculus & Exponential Functions


In an effort to reduce the amount of harmful greenhouse gas emissions caused by transportation, we examined whether it is more eco-friendly to fly or drive on any given continental US trip in this presentation. We began by forming a linear equation for vehicle emissions using MPGs. Then, we developed piecewise functions for speed, fuel efficiency, and the rate of fuel burned by airplanes to compute the total gallons of fuel used during eight sample trips from the MSP airport. Finally, we formed an equation to generalize our results for any trip using a multivariable quadratic least squares fit. Our generalized equation demonstrates that air travel is more eco-friendly than land travel, but only for long and full flights.

Karyn Chukel, Jacob Langer, and Austin Smith

A Mathematical Model for a Carbon Tax to Offset the Cost of Climate Change

We created a mathematical model to propose a fuel tax on gasoline and jet fuel to offset the damages caused by carbon related disasters. We used historic costs of severe storms as a metric for calculating all carbon related disaster costs. Our methods include five-year moving averages, data smoothing, and fitting data with exponential functions. We modeled for both the cost of severe storm damages and for the cost of all climate related disasters in the absence of climate change. Our preliminary conclusions suggest a tax of 0.29 cents per gallon of gasoline, and $8.06 per gallon of jet fuel would offset the cost of all carbon related disasters.

Group 3 - CAS 

Ian Carter

Building a Fiber Optic Michelson Interferometer with a Piezoelectric Fiber Stretcher

Interferometers are used to make very precise measurements of length using light interference. Interferometers such as LIGO can measure distances 10,000 times smaller than a proton. I successfully built a Michelson interferometer with piezoelectric fiber stretchers for use in future Optics classes and research projects. A Michelson interferometer compares the distance that a light beam has traveled down two “arms” to find the difference in length of the arms. The fiber stretchers lengthen or shorten the arms of the interferometer and create an interference pattern. Additionally, a photodiode circuit was built to allow students to easily see the intensity of light coming from the interferometer. The fiber stretchers and photodiode circuit had to be packaged for safekeeping and allow for students to use in the future without too much fear of breaking the equipment. This semester, students got the opportunity to use the stretchers and circuit and they successfully completed a lab using the equipment.

Adrianna Kirckof

Amelia’s Anxiety: A Case Study of the Development of Anxiety Disorders in Adolescence

Problem-based learning is an inclusive and important mechanism to promote the retention and learning of course content while enhancing critical thinking skills in undergraduate education. For this project, I personally designed a multi-part case study that explores the development and symptoms of adolescent onset anxiety and its relationship to brain development, where students must utilize web-based resources to diagnose the condition, breakdown current primary research on the neurodevelopmental processes underlying this condition, apply previous class knowledge, and interact with their peers through discussion forums.. This case study is being implemented in an upper-level undergraduate Neurodevelopment course in Fall 2020, and I have designed assessments of its effectiveness that will be implemented in the online classroom this semester. This research is important for the betterment of education in neuroscience by using new and innovative methods for improving student learning.

Crystal Malagon

Race, Stigma and Asking for Help: How Attitudes Toward Mental Health Treatment Influence Help-Seeking by Race

This research explores how much these stigmas differ between racial communities and how that impacts an individual’s decision to seek professional help for mental health issues. For this study, a survey was developed based on different scales that measure stigma and experience with mental illnesses. The hypothesis was that the White community would report less stigma than any of the other communities studied; additionally, we anticipated that the more stigma would correlate with less likelihood of seeking help. We collected 32 viable surveys and our results indicated that there is no significant difference between the racial communities investigated.

Sarah Jewett

The Effects of GABA on Auditory-Related Functions in TLE

There are more than 6.5 million people who are affected by epilepsy; the fourth most common neurological disorder. Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is a focal epilepsy in which seizures happen in the temporal lobe. TLE is the most common focal epilepsy worldwide and thus further research to understand deficits and ways to treat dysfunction is important. While there are many studies on how memory is affected in those who have TLE, there is not a lot of research on the auditory-related functions in TLE patients. I am utilizing a rodent model in which epilepsy will be induced by intracranial infusion of pilocarpine into the entorhinal cortex. A control group will receive intracranial infusion of vehicle. Following the assessment of epilepsy by quantifying locomotor activity, animals will be tested in a Pavlovian-to Instrumental Transfer (PIT) task to see if they can associate a sound with a reward and thus be conditioned based on hearing a certain sound. A subset of rats will receive an infusion of GABA agonists into the entorhinal cortex during the PIT task. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, research on this matter was put on hold and thus we have not been able to collect any data yet. I hypothesize that a decrease in GABA will lead to auditory-related deficiencies such as hearing deficits, auditory reaction deficits, and even problems in the ability to be trained by using sound and difficulties reacting to sound. Therefore, if GABA is increased, it will help the ability to hear and react to sound. I also hypothesize that animals that receive GABA will have increased performance on the PIT task. Research on this topic can indicate that GABA may facilitate in helping the auditory dysfunctions that may be experienced by those who have TLE.

Andrea ‘Drea’ Lamphere

Perceived Employment Desirability of Non-white, Non-heterosexual Women: The Influence of Social Vocational comfortability

With slowly increasing protection related rights for women, persons of color, and the LGBTQI+ community, there is a need for further research as previously non-visible members of the community emerge as visible. Previous research shows that marginalized communities are oftentimes viewed as less desirable applicants within the career sector based on the social-vocational comfortability of other employees and consumers of services. However, what this previous research does not fully address is how multiple intersecting identities may affect translation into overall perceived employment desirability of prospective applicants. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to measure perceived employment desirability among non-white, non-heterosexual women. Data for this research project was collected using a survey with both qualitative and quantitative components. Participants for the study (n=43) were acquired using a convenience sampling of populations including students within higher education settings and direct care professionals currently working within a therapeutic setting. Results on the basis of whiteness, when transferred into a visible minority status, shows decreased functions as a protective factor within the social world. Those within caring industries, to no malicious fault, are still susceptible to colorblind tendencies such as utilizing experience and education as primary influences of candidate desirability with gender, or race and ethnicity as secondary or supportive influences behind candidate selection. The results produced by this study should be considered significant for organizations as well as instigate further critical analysis on intersectionality and its corresponding disparities of employment desirability of non-white, non-heterosexual women applicants.

Group 4 - CAS 

Mackenzie Weegman

Determining Host Ranges in Bacteriophages and Analyzing a Microbacterium Phage Shocker

Bacteriophages are very genetically diverse. For example, Shocker is almost completely different from all other phages. Its nucleotide sequence is so unique, that only two genes, which encode hydrolases, are shared with the phage, WaterT. Phages infect all different bacterial hosts, but they do have preferences for different strains of the same bacterial species. Shocker has most likely switched its bacterial host preference by picking up two genes with a hydrolase function from a Microbacterium phage that allows it to digest the Microbacterium cell wall and infect it. In order to study phages and to determine their host ranges, we used different methods, such as plaque assay, spot tests, and serial dilutions after the phage has been isolated. We annotated Shocker using PECAAN, where we found 66 protein-coding genes identified, 25 of which could be assigned predicted functions, and the genome consists of 45,431 bp long with a GC content of 63%.

Alyssa Kleven and Sam Olson

Identifying New Therapeutic Targets for Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Spinal muscular atrophy is a neurodegenerative disorder that targets motor neurons primarily in children and can be categorized by the loss of muscle function and eventual paralysis that becomes fatal if left untreated. Past experimental research has confirmed the connection between the Survival Motor Neuron 1 (SMN1) gene and the onset of symptoms in the early stages of the life of patients with SMA. The use of Drosophila melanogaster has accurately modeled the loss of motor function in patients and remains a significant tool in understanding the neuromuscular progression of spinal muscular atrophy. Using genes inserted in Drosophila DNA, the ability to target the signaling protein Traf6 is made possible and the genetic manipulation of these factors in SMA flies shows it is possible to experimentally correct the SMA-like locomotion and viability defects of this disease model using the Gal4/UAS system. Due to these outcomes, a better understanding of potential therapies can be developed.

Adalyn Maves

Testing of herbal compounds to inhibit proliferation of MCF7 cells

New drug discovery for a variety of cancers are essential to the study and success of cancer therapies. Many chemotherapeutic drugs are toxic to normal cells resulting in severe side effects. In addition to the inconvenience of these life altering side effects, many patients also risk developing drug resistance. Thus is it essential to find more therapeutic options for cancer patients. Currently, medical professionals have prescribed chemotherapy to patients -- the most common of these being Taxol, Doxorubicin, and Cisplatin. New chemotherapeutic drugs are being discovered every year, but with these new discoveries comes new drug resistance. The discovery of new compounds that can treat breast cancer is imperative to the progression of research to cure cancer. Thus, the foundation of this project is to identify a novel chemotherapeutic drug, derived from Chinese herbs, that targets breast cancer.

Christopher Daggett

Chemistry Club/Chem Demons

The purpose of the UWRF Chemistry Club is to further the interest in chemistry of its members, help bring recognition to the field of chemistry, participate in school activities, support the policies of the university, and further the knowledge of opportunities in the field of chemistry.

Jachus Sundby

Cecropia Larva Pathology and Treatment

This research focused on identifying the category of pathogen causing the disease Wet-Tail in Hyalophora cecropia larva. This information would allow breeders to take steps to prevent the transmission of the disease in their breeding facilities. Observations were made to further characterize the disease as being transmittable, with symptoms showing up in the first and second instar. To determine whether the disease-causing agent was a bacterium, we proposed treating the sick larva with a selection of antibiotics. If an antibiotic treatment was found to prevent the death of the larva, not only would this indicate the disease to be caused by a bacterium, but it would also give breeders a way to treat for the disease Wet-Tail. Our research found that penicillin was not able to prevent death in the concentrations used in this experiment. Further testing of concentrations indicated that higher dosages will be needed for future treatment using oxytetracycline. In the end, we did not rule out bacteria as being the cause of Wet-Tail disease, but we did gain valuable information on the concentration needed for antibiotic treatment and improvement of the experimental design.

Group 5 - CAFES

Karl Grebe

Laboratory seed development techniques using Chrysanthemums and Petunia

Plants use flowers to reproduce. Classic breeding programs work by allowing the seed to develop while flowers and resulting fruit are attached directly to the plant. It is possible to remove flowers and put them into a sugar solution with antimicrobials and have them develop and set seed. Seed development can happen faster than that on a regular plant. The development of new chrysanthemums has been shown to be accelerated using laboratory seed development techniques. Thirty years ago Dr. Neil Anderson showed the ability of a 1% solution of sucrose with 200 ppm 8-HQC (antimicrobial) to speed the development of seed in cut chrysanthemum flowers from 52+ days to 25 using laboratory seed development techniques. The benefit of using the sugar solution is the elimination of having the plant tissue to rely on photosynthesis for energy. By reducing the space needed for developing seed and generating new hybrids, breeding programs can be sped up, have seed development occur in a more uniform way, and increase overall efficiency. This experiment tested 8 different nutrient solutions in an effort to compare their effect on laboratory seed set in different cultivars of petunias and chrysanthemums. Eight treatment solutions were made, and the solutions were oxygenated using an aquarium pump. The solutions were changed once a week. No seeds were successfully produced in the chrysanthemums or petunias. All solutions except for one caused ovary development in petunias (n=24/trt), and the chrysanthemums (n=11/trt) had no seed formation in any solution. The early fall with cool temperatures as the flowers were collected, UWRF safer at home order delaying the experiment by two weeks, and possibly low pollen fertility of chrysanthemums may have contributed to lack of viable seed set. Repeating this experiment with blooms earlier in the fall is warranted.

Conner Geurts 

Crop Rotation Effects on Soybean Nodulation and Health

This study is aimed at determining how big of a factor the previous crop is to soybean health and nodulation. Using different field scenarios and multiple sampling methods, the goal is to learn what influences soybean nodulation, health, and yield in an effort to make better agronomic decisions moving forward.

Emily Kolbe

Determination of Rosa hybrida Floral Part Number Stability Based on Time of Season and Flower Position in Inflorescence

The variation or stability for petal, anther, and pistil numbers within flowers is unclear between flowers within an inflorescence and over the growing season for cultivated landscape roses (Rosa hybrida). Having stable petal numbers across blooms would be of value to provide consistency in floral effect no matter the bloom time or bloom position. In this research flower part counts were conducted in the beginning (June), middle (July), and end (August) of summer along with primary and secondary blooms within inflorescences at each date to see if these factors impacted floral part counts. Six roses were used in this study: Carefree Beauty™ (‘BUCbi’), Cherry Frost™ (‘OVEredclimb’), Music Box™ (‘BAIbox’), Kiss Me™ (‘BAIsme’), Polar Express™ (‘KORblixmu’), and ‘Sven’. The samples were collected at Lyndale Park Rose Garden in Minneapolis, MN. The samples were collected and counted, and the data was graphed to help identify trends of the floral part counts across inflorescences, and as the season progressed. With the completion of the data collections, statistical analysis using ANOVA was performed. It was found that there is a significant difference in the number of petals throughout the season, and that other interactions such as the cultivar by month and the interaction of each cultivar by month by position.

Lucy Kailhofer and Samantha Haston

The Effect of Different Light Qualities on Papaver sp. in Hydroponic Solution

It has been shown that various light qualities affect the growth of a wide number of crops due to the effect they have on perceived day length. Red and blue light result in the most efficient photosynthesis, and far red light changes the form of phytochrome which affects the biological functions in a plant. This experiment investigated how three cultivars of poppy flowers would respond to ambient lighting, blue and red LED strip lighting, and an LED strip and far red light combination. The poppies were placed in a vertical hydroponic system and left to grow for a month while their heights were taken on a weekly basis. It was found that the ambient poppies performed fairly average and grew roughly three and a half centimeters. The red and blue light poppies were primarily stunted and did not grow taller than one and a half centimeters. The red and blue combination with far red light showed excess elongation and grew to five centimeters at the tallest. This shows a likely conclusion that poppies require day and night light cycles to maintain proper growth in a greenhouse setting.

Melissa Preston and Kendra Letch

The Effect of Diary Manure and Digestate Application on Soil Fertility, Nutrient Uptake, and Yield in Maize (Zea mays)

Previous research has shown that the application of manure has beneficial effects on the soil and can increase corn yields. The study conducted will evaluate soil organic matter, pH, macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients, cation exchange capacity, bulk density, and microbial activity in soil to compare the effects of manure to a digestate. The objective of this study is to compare the application of manure to a digestate on soil fertility, nutrient uptake, and yield in corn. The study will be conducted at White Pine Berry Farm located in River Falls, Wisconsin. There will be five treatments, replicated three times and arranged in a randomized complete block design. The check treatment will have no application of manure or digestate applied. One treatment will have 10 tons/ac of dairy manure applied. Another treatment will have turkey manure at 10 tons/ac. Two treatments will have digestate applied at 1XN and 2XN rates. Throughout the study, soil samples will be taken at pre-plant, V5, V8, V12, and VT at two depths, 0-6” and 6-12”. Tissue samples will be taken at V5, V8, V12, VT, and at harvest time. Manure and digestate will be analyzed for macro-nutrients before application.

Group 6 - CAS & CBE

Austin Smith

The Elasticity of Gasoline Demand in a Response to a Hypothetical Carbon Tax Using Exponential Fitting

This project is an investigation of the effect a carbon tax would have on the consumption of gasoline by comparing the average yearly price and total yearly consumption of fuel in the transportation industry. I modeled the total gas consumption each year in the United States to compare the relative change in gasoline price and consumption year to year. The preliminary result is that gasoline consumption is somewhat inelastic.

Weston Hanson, Rachael Curl, Kassandra Pomroy, and Caruso Caradori

Consumption Function

The purpose of our project begged the question of how does aggregate income and aggregate wealth influence consumption. We referred to both Milton Friedman’s Permanent Income Hypothesis and Franco Modigliani’s Life Cycle Hypothesis. Previous research we found takes a closer look at the stock market and household spending that impacts consumption. After creating the model to be tested, C(t) = a+bY(p)+qW(H)+fW(F)+e(t), and three of our hypothesized relationships, all relating to an increase in consumption. Next, we obtained all of your data variables from FRED and ran the regressions. We were able to conclude that income has the strongest relationship with consumption, further supporting the Permanent Income Hypothesis and the Life-Cycle Hypothesis.

Samantha Jacques, Blake Anderson, Jack Kuivanen, and Langdon O’Geay

Phillip’s Curve Research

Our group looked at past studies done with Phillip’s Curve to look at its stability. We used data from the St. Louis Federal Government and looked at data on a quarterly basis. The data we used was natural unemployment rate, unemployment rate, crude oil prices, and consumer price index (CPI) to calculate quarterly inflation; all dating back to the first quarter of 1949 to the current quarter. We did regression analysis with inflation being the independent variable, unemployment gap, lagged inflation expectations, and crude oil prices as the dependent variables for the time periods of 1949-1969, 1970-1990, 1991-2000, and 2001-2020.

Anders Amadahl, Anthony Bednarek, and Brock Bune

Demand for Money Function

Can the central bank rely on a stable money demand curve to set the correct monetary policy, fulfill its dual mandate of maximizing employment, and keep inflation rates steady? Up until the 1980s, M1 was an appropriate measure of money. After intuitional changes, M1 was not a stable aggregate to measure the money supply. There is a direct relationship between real GDP and real demand for money, and there is an inverse relationship between real money demand and interest rate. Using data from the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED), we ran a regression using Log Real GDP and MZM Own Rate, which showed stronger marginal effects than using Log Real GDP and 3 Month Treasury. Using a new money aggregate, MZM, and M1, there is stable money demand.

Matthew Irwin, Taylor Schmidt, and Jack Stensgard

Housing Prices and the Federal Reserve Policy Actions

We believe that there may be some correlation between Federal Reserve actions of low rates and easy credit in artificially inflating housing prices especially in the years post 2000 into 2006-2007. We believe that this policy of low rates and easy credit in a relatively strong economy overall was one of many factors inflating the housing bubble in the early 2000s. Our goal with this project was to build off a limited  pool of knowledge on how the Federal Reserve's actions effected the housing market and potential issues with loose monetary policy especially around housing prices. We used a housing price variable and regressed it against, a federal reserve variable, income/macroeconomic variable, and an expectations variable to build a model that could show relationships between these actions.

Group 7 - CAS

Kiana Gilbraith and Stacy Tido

Influence of the Exam Environment on Test Anxiety and Stress Management

Our study aims to understand how the exam environment influences people’s anxiety during a test and how they cope with their stress management.

Crystal Malagon and McKenzie Baker

The Relationship Between Childhood Stress, Adult Parent/Child Relationships, and Coping

This study will try to find a connection between the amount of stress an individual experience in childhood and see if it has a correlation with the parent-child relationship by giving participants a survey that we created to assess childhood stress (Baker & Malagon, 2020), and giving them a survey that will assess the parent-child relationship (Peisah, Brodaty, Luscombe, Kurk, & Anstey). The same participants will then be given the Brief COPE questionnaire (Carver, 1997) to assess coping styles. We will take the scores from our childhood stress assessment and see if there is a correlation between childhood stress and the quality of the parent-child relationship, as well as coping styles. We hypothesize that participants with higher amounts of childhood stress will be more likely to report adverse relationships with their parents than those with lower amounts of childhood stress. As well as that, participants with higher amounts of childhood stress will be more likely to report maladaptive, or ineffective, coping strategies than those with lower amounts of childhood stress.

Olivia Watzke and Grace Petersen

How External Factors are Influencing the Academic Success of College Students

Our study drew from undergraduates attending the University of River Falls using an online survey to help better understand how students are impacted during Covid-19. This data will continue to be important as it is likely that the university will continue with on in the upcoming spring semester through a virtual platform, including a majority of fully online courses. Our online survey observed the participants’ past state in fall 2019 to their current state as so far throughout the fall 2020 semester through topics regarding academic success, financial support, university support, social support, coping, and perceived stress. Our research compares these factors from past to present and how these external factors due to COVID-19 are impacting academic success. As our study was only open for 11 days, it was only able to draw a response from 122 participants. However, if our survey was able to be sent out to the whole school, we would be able to get a much better participant pool to get a better overall estimate of how most students here at UWRF are being impacted.

Angela Boice Amari Rivers, and Angeline Watts

Sex Education & Sexual Satisfaction

Our study aims to look at the correlations between the comprehensiveness of sex education a student’s perception of their sexual satisfaction. Minimal to no research has looked at how sex education and sexual satisfaction are correlated and might impact one another. Factors such as sexuality, gender identity, religious affiliations, and sexual activity also have not been correlated with both sex education and sexual satisfaction in professional research studies (Mark, et al., 2018 & Sprecher, et al., 2008). The importance of the research we are conducting is that it can lead to the increased empowerment of youth and young adults regarding their sexuality (Levin, et al., 2012). Our correlational study consisted of one main part: a detailed correlational study that analyzed levels of sex education that an individual has received as well as reported levels of sexual satisfaction. Sexualities, gender identities, religious beliefs, ethnicities, and history of sexual activity have been analyzed in our correlational study. The NSSS inventory will be used to measure sexual satisfaction. An inventory that was made by the co-authors will be used to ask participants about the sources of their sex education and what topics were brought up from each source. Our sources of sex education include school, social media, family, friends, and other sources such as books. Our topics of sex education include sexual pleasure, self-advocacy, and inclusive LGBTQ+ information. We believe that our study will reveal that individuals with a more comprehensive sex education that include topics such as sexual pleasure, partner communication, and self-advocacy will have higher reports of sexual satisfaction in both an ideal situation as well as in an actual situation (Olmstead, Conrad, & Anders, 2017). Our second hypothesis is that those who receive more comprehensive sex education that includes sexual pleasure, partner communication, and self-advocacy from parents and grow up in an environment with parents who were more open about sex will have a higher report of sexual satisfaction (Levin, et al., 2012). Finally, we anticipate that those who report receiving more sex education predominately through media and peers will have a lower report of sexual satisfaction (Leonhardt & Willoughby, 2019). This project has been officially approved by the Institutional Review Board and has finished data collection.

Morgan Peterson and Alex Bowman

Differences in Viewing Workplace Satisfaction in College Students

This study’s aim was to see how recent events that are ongoing in our environment have affected college student’s perception of job satisfaction. Participants were asked to rate their level of agreement to sets of statements referring to their current state of employment, their employment a year ago, and their employment expectations post graduation on a six point Likert scale. Job satisfaction scores were made up of six factors: pay, promotional opportunities, employee respect, worker relationships, flexibility, and intrinsic work. We found the average job satisfaction scores were higher for future expectations as opposed to scores for current employment. We also found that job satisfaction for a year ago was higher than current employment job satisfaction scores. In accordance with other studies done on job satisfaction on Generation Z we too found that intrinsic work was the highest scoring factor, both for the current condition and the past.

Group 8 - CAS

Maxwell Kiernan

Cost-effective Free-space Optical Coherence Tomography

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an imaging method that utilizes low coherent light to obtain structural information under the surface of a sample. OCT is a useful tool for many areas within the biomedical field, yet many commercial systems are too expensive for many smaller labs. In my project, I have designed and built a simple and cost-effective version of free-space OCT that can be used in the lab setting.

Adrianna Kirckof

The Effect of Social Isolation on Serotonin Pathways in Raphe Nuclei of C57BL/6 Mice

In this research, I am seeking to understand the involvement of adaptations in the raphe nuclei serotonin system that occur during adolescent social isolation that could potentially impact the development of mood disorders. I hypothesize that social isolation will disrupt raphe nuclei structure and serotonin neuron activity as assessed by stress-induced neural activity. In my research, I am exposing C57BL/6 mice to social isolation or normal rearing conditions during adolescent neurodevelopment, followed by an acute stressor (forced swim). The animals will be observed for alterations in stress-coping behavior and serotonin neurons and c-fos, a marker for recent neural activity, will be immunolabeled to analyze differences in neural activity in response to acute stress. My research has the potential to demonstrate a link between social isolation alterations in the serotonin system function that may impact behavioral changes associated with mood disorders.

Amara Baja

Our Neighbors’ Place Animation Project

My URSCA project was Service Learning related to the River Falls’ non-profit organization Our Neighbor’s Place to produce an animated video to promote its thrift store services.

This project started with a series of meetings to create a script and vision for the video that resulted in recording a voice-over narration with the Executive Director Shelly Smith, filming some reference video of the location, and thrift store items that I did with my advisor Erik Johnson last January.

I then proceeded to edit the voice-over with music and added animation that I created with Adobe Animate, which was a new experience for me and required me to teach myself the program and workflow.

I had a series of remote meetings with my advisor and Shelly Smith to review my progress and discuss changes where I was able to share my screen and video.

In October, Shelly approved the final video which was then converted for online use and social media that has since been serving its intended purpose which was nice to see my work benefiting others. It was also great that I learned a new skill with animation that I plan to use on future projects

Gregory Peterson

Obtaining the Eye for Cinematic Storytelling

Although a screenplay and film are tightly interconnected, they are two separate avenues for storytelling. The main difference: a screenplay tells a story with words while a film tells a story with pictures. I wanted to study exactly what connects these forms of storytelling and demonstrate how understanding both processes will progress the storyteller’s writing ability in both areas. This project consisted of two phases. In the first phase, I conducted extensive literature and film reviews to better grasp the duties of multiple positions that contribute to the pre-production, production, and post-production stages of the filmmaking process. Currently, I’m still in the trenches of the second phase. My initial idea was to create my own original short film and assume multiple filmmaking roles to do so. By conducting these two phases, I had hoped to gain a better understanding of how to transition a story from script to film, or words to pictures. Obtaining this understanding would undoubtedly enhance my writing ability in both areas considering both formats are so complementary to each other, and I would ultimately have obtained the eye for cinematic storytelling.

Group 9 - CEPS

Ellie Gutteter

Exploring the Relationship Between Exemptions for Child Welfare Workers and CFSR Outcomes

Since 2000, the Children’s Bureau has been tasked with reviewing the outcomes for Child Welfare services in each of the 50 states through the Child & Family Service Reviews (CFSR). In 3 rounds of CFSR reviews, no state has been found to be in substantial conformity to achieving the expected performance levels on all 23 measures of Safety, Permanency, and Well-being, however all states have been found to be performing in at least some areas. When examining these outcomes, the reviewers spend a great deal of time considering the decisions and actions of the child welfare workers assigned to each child and family. At the same time, there is a wide variety of training, experience, and licensure expectations among states, with some states requiring child welfare workers to be licensed social workers, and other states not requiring any professional degree or experience. This presentation will examine the history and literature regarding the professionalization of child welfare workers as social workers, and will then consider and compare each state’s performance on their CFSR reviews in light of their licensure requirements for child welfare workers, looking for patterns across outcome measures. Findings are pending, but it is expected that exempting child welfare workers form social work education and licensure will result in lower performance overall on CFSR outcomes.

Morgan Anderson

Student Perspectives on Campus Climate and Inclusivity

Our qualitative study is conducting focus groups of minority groups on campus and their perceptions of how inclusive UWRF in terms of diversity.

Cassady Davis

Climate Change and Disabilities: How People with Disabilities are being left behind

In this presentation, I explore how preparedness for natural disasters is enacted and executed. I will also highlight the discrepancies that exist in help and information that is available to non-disabled people versus people with disabilities in the United States. We will also look at how other factors such as Socioeconomic status may lead to a lack of preparedness for natural disasters.

Ashlyn Werner

Stuttering and Mental Illness

My most recent research builds off the concern that I have for individuals and their mental well-being as they work towards overcoming their fluency disorders. While Fluency disorders, such as stuttering, are often under-researched and, in many cases, overlooked, Mental illness is at the forefront of many health professions. My research takes a deeper dive into the correlation between those who stutter and those who have diagnosed mental health problems. I worked under the supervision of a UWRF professor to create a pilot survey exploring the connection between stuttering and the development of a diagnosed mental illness. I distributed a pilot survey to a group of Speech language Pathologists in a small practicing clinic in the upper Midwest. After receiving their feedback, I refined my survey and plan to distribute it to a larger population of practicing speech-language professionals in the fall of 2020. My goal for this research was to determine if there is a steady correlation between people who stutter and have been diagnosed with a mental illness to see how one might affect the other. This research will be an important step in recognizing that Speech Language Pathologists would benefit from more comprehensive training on Mental illness response and counseling for their clients as part of their therapeutic work with their clients.