North Central College - Naperville, IL

Poster Presentations

11th Annual Rall Symposium Research Abstracts
2008 Poster Presentations
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Harold and Eva White Activities Center

Identification of Genes Required for the Yak1 Kinase to Slow Cellular Growth in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae
Emily Albright ’10, Biochemistry
Dorothy Tran ’10, Biochemistry, Applied Mathematics
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Johnston, Biology
The Yak1 kinase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is homologous to the DYRK family of human proteins which have been associated with the pathology of diseases such as Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. When overexpressed, Yak1p is able to slow cellular growth. To better characterize the mechanisms by which this occurs, we sought to identify other genes that are required for YAK1 to slow growth by overexpressing YAK1 in candidate strains from the Saccharomyces deletion collection. The maximal growth rate of each strain was determined and the products of three genes: NPR1, CRF1 and RPD3 were identified as being required for Yak1p to slow growth. We also screened the deletion collection for genes whose loss resulted in death upon YAK1 overexpression. Four different genes were identified as having a synthetic lethal relationship with YAK1 overexpression. These results add to our understanding of the mechanisms by which YAK1 slows cellular growth.

The Effects of Islam on Education in Turkey and Tunisia
Jessica Schmidt ’08, Elementary Education
Advisor: Dr. Nancy Keiser, Education
Few countries that are predominantly Islamic are also secular. Tunisia and Turkey have steadfastly professed their adherence to secular practices. Yet elections in Turkey indicate the Islamist preferences of the political leaders as well as those of the general public, and the Turkish parliament recently rescinded the decades-old ban on wearing headscarves on university campuses. Turkey and Tunisia appear to be standing at a critical juncture. The purpose of this study was to provide a snapshot of the influences on education at this particular point in time in these two secular Islamic countries. Qualitative data was collected through interviews with teachers and resulted in a discussion of the impact of Islam on the curriculum and instruction inpublic and private schools.

Perceptions of Management Effectiveness as a Function of Gender Congruent Attire
Jessica O’Brien ’08, Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Karl Kelley, Psychology
It has been suggested that women face unique challenges in leadership roles due to a perceived incongruence between the characteristics of ideal leader and ideal female roles (Eagly & Karau, 2002). Other research has suggested that certain leadership characteristics are differentially prescribed to men and women based on their stereotypical gender roles (Prentice & Carranza,2002). In spite of these perceptions, the rate of females employed in leadership positions has increased. The goal of this project is to examine how a female’s managerial performance is rated as a function of gender congruent or incongruent attire and behavior. Participants viewed a prerecorded scene of a female manager interacting with an employee and a vendor. It was hypothesized that participants will rate performance as highest when her behavior is congruent with her attire and lowest when it’s incongruent. We are currently in the last stages of data collection for this project.

Quantitating Protein Damage and Protein Repair Enzyme Activity Using HPLCin Escherichia Coli
Amber Cibrario ’09, Biochemistry
Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Visick, Biology
L-isoaspartyl (isoAsp) damage is a common, spontaneous form of damage to proteins, which leads to biological problems such as aging and diseases like epilepsy. L-isoaspartyl protein carboxyl methyltransferase (PCM) is an enzyme that recognizes isoAsp damage and methylates the abnormal isoAsp amino acid, stimulating repair to normal Asp. The methyl donor for this reaction, S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), is converted to S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) in the process. We want to develop a method to measure PCM activity and quantitate isoAsp damage in Escherichia coli crude extracts using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) instead of a radioactive assay. We sought to measure PCM activity by quantifying SAH production in E.coli extracts using HPLC. We have optimized protocols and measured SAH levels in extracts with adetection limit of 150 pmol. We want to further refine our techniques and investigate differences in PCM activity and isoAsp accumulation in the different compartments of the E. coli cell.

24 Chinese Rock: A Critical Examination of an Emergent Subculture
David Sanborne ’08, East Asian Studies, Religious Studies
Advisor: Dr. Brian Hoffert, Religious Studies and History
A great deal of academic research has been performed on the burgeoning genre of rock and roll music in China. Unfortunately, this research has been limited to the political aspirations of rock and roll musicians and the negative governmental reactions toward rock and roll. My research seeks to redress this issue by examining Chinese rock and roll as seen by its musicians with information gleaned from previous research as well as lyrical analysis and interviews with fans of Chinese rock and prominent figures in the Chinese rock music scene. Through this research a group entirely unlike the standard academic vision of rock musicians as anti-establishment revolutionaries paints a more balanced picture of a rising cultural force that parallels the rise to prominence of China itself.

Outcome Effect on Responsibility Assignment
Ashley Crettol ’08, Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Karl Kelley, Psychology
Attribution theory refers to the ways in which people make inferences about the causes of different behaviors or events. A subset of this theory is responsibility assignment, which refers to how people decide to assign responsibility to others. The current study tests attributions of responsibility as a function of outcome (positive or negative) and of the object which the outcome affects (person or thing). Participants also partake in a personality test in order to see if the personality of the person making the judgments will affect how responsibility is assigned to the individual being judged. Ultimately, the findings will be linked to legal decision-making; more specifically, how jurors assign responsibility to individuals on trial.

Mullins Food Products: A Consulting Project to Improve Product Cost Determination and Reporting
Derly Vinchery ’09, Accounting, International Business
Liz Ruvalcaba ’08, Accounting
Advisor: Mr. David Gray, Accounting
Traditional financial reporting is designed for external users and often fails to provide adequate information for managerial decision-making. Managers faced with pricing, resource allocation and other critical business decisions often lack meaningfulor accurate product cost information. Through our consulting project, we assisted a family-owned manufacturer in the design of a system to better capture, report and analyze product and customer-related costs. By researching and applying activity based concepts, we enriched the company’s final system design and implementation plan. Our project activities included identifying general ledger and cost center structures, establishing key activity centers, and recommending techniques for improved application of material, labor and overhead costs to production activity. Implementation of our recommendations will help management better measure costs for decision-making purposes. Our report identifies key considerations for further costing system enhancements, improved management reporting, and application of results for pricing, staffing and production planning decisions.

Purposeful Production: The Goals and Ideals of the North Central Review
Christine Fearnley ’08, English
Ashley Hazek ’08, English:Writing
Elizabeth Wilks ’09, English
Julia Fornek ’10, Technical Theater
Regina DeIorio ’08, English
Rebecca Bonarek ’09, English:Writing, French
Rachel Hamsmith ’09, English:Writing
Sarah Kurpiel ’10, English
Stephanie Kuersten ’11, French, Japanese
Naomi Smith ’11, English
Lauren Marcin ’08, Creative Writing
Advisor: Dr. Anna Leahy, English
The North Central Review staffs focused on gaining a stronger awareness and understanding of the purposes behind the production of literary magazines and obtaining a greater knowledge of how to achieve our own production goals. To accomplish this, we looked at the history of literary magazines, researched literary magazine practices and procedures, and interviewed other undergraduate publications to see how they handled publication issues. We then applied our findings to ourown philosophy and everyday workings. Further, we gathered statistics on our publication, looking at the variety of genres we publish, the geographic locations of contributors, and the percentage of submissions accepted to better understand how to solicit the widest range of voices for the North Central Review.

Eleusinian Rites of Initiation
Marisa Ileana Delgado ’08, Classical Civilization
Advisor: Dr. Steven Killings, Classics
The Eleusinian Cult of Demeter from ancient Greece has withheld its secrets for thousands of years. It has been debated whether this cult, devoted to the Greek goddess Demeter (the goddess of the seasons), celebrated the secrets of a good harvest or whether it was a cult concerned about a good transition into the afterlife. The mysteries of this cult were taught to initiates during an extensive initiation ritual. All initiates were sworn to secrecy so that the only clues that remain about these ancient rituals come from archaeological evidence, historical writings, and poems from ancient authors who give a glimpse into the happenings of the time. Through the gathering and analysis of this historical data, the puzzle of the initiation rituals and what was worshiped and why is pieced together and the general knowledge of the mysteries is revealed.

Delivery of Heathcare in Guatemala
Jeffrey Cisowski ’09, Economics, Finance
Heather Erickson ’09, Athletic Training
Nicholas Warrens ’09, Physics
Tara Cobb ’08, Anthropology
Carlos Robles ’09, Anthropology
Advisor: Mr. Gerald Thalmann, Accounting
Receiving good healthcare is one of the hallmarks of a developed nation, and the availability and quality of healthcare is an important facet of the standard of living in any country. The project examined the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery in rural Guatemala. Our team interviewed both the supply and demand sides of the healthcare system to discover the true cost of healthcare and determine the effectiveness of the system in practice. Through observation, personal interviews and hands-on volunteering, we discovered the workings of a clinic founded on the principles of Partners in Health and a liberation theology philosophy. Run by a local parish, the clinic faces challenges on financial, practical and religious levels. The delivery of healthcare in Guatemala remains inadequate, and our research discovered many reasons for its shortcomings including cost, skepticism of Western medicine, and lack of resources.

The Battle for Space: The Effects of Gentrification on an Ethnic Enclave on Chicago’s Near West Side
Kristine Lipowski ’08, Sociology, Psychology
Jennifer Brennan ’08, Sociology
Adam Blackburn ’08, Sociology
April Gonzalez ’08, Psychology, Sociology
Advisor: Dr. Lou Corsino, Sociology
The focus of this research explores how gentrification and urban renewal have affected the face of Chicago’s Little Italy. This research examines the contrast between old and new real estate developments, and how these residential and commercial differences have created a battle for space. From September to November 2007, we engaged in a series of interviews and observations, which gave us an understanding of how gentrification impacts this ethnic enclave. Our results show a trend of economic upswing since the addition of the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, making the area appealing to a larger demographic. However, as the area becomes more in demand, a greater concern arises for long-time residents and the remaining culture. Our findings show that the invasion of commercialized real estate has displaced many residents and businesses because of their inability to compete in the battle for space.

Spatial and Temporal Variation in Nighttime Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Profiles in Mountainous Terrain
Nicholas Warrens ’09, Physics
Advisor: Dr. David Horner, Chemistry and Physics
Steve Blecker, Research Soil Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey
Dr. Kathleen Kavanagh, associate professor, University of Idaho
On clear nights, cold air sinks in mountainous terrain. This nocturnal cold air drainage contains high levels of respired CO2that can be used to assess nighttime respiration rates and estimates of ecosystem water use efficiency. However, the dept hand concentration of CO2 in this cold air pool varies with valley morphology, elevation and time of night. We attached tubing to a tethered helium balloon to investigate CO2 concentration and air temperature from 1m to 200m from dusk until dawn at two watersheds. At both sites temperature and CO2 concentration inversions were deep (100-150m); CO2 concentrations were steady during the night at Mica Creek but increased by 50-60ppm at Benton Creek. The depth of increased CO2 concentrations exceeded that of the cold air pool at Benton Creek. Interestingly, CO2 concentrations remained steady all night in the “river” of cold air but steadily increased on the site where a “lake” formed.

Greek Impact on the United States
Daniel Buys ’10, Social Science/History
Advisor: Dr. Bruce Janacek, History
The ideas behind the government we see in this country today are not original to the United States. Rather there is a large influence from the models set forth by ancient Greece and Rome. In my poster presentation I will discuss how and why Greece and Rome figured so prominently in the founding of this nation. I will speak to the ideas of why individuals such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were actively engaged by the ideas of antiquity. Also, I will argue that the Enlightenment and its ideas regarding the notion of basing human understanding in rational thinking were pivotal in inspiring Americans. Finally, in addition to my original research, I will be providing photographs of Greece that I took when I went there through a College sponsored trip over D-Term. Through these photographs and others of Washington, D.C., I will compare the architecture of both civilizations.

Scrapbooking and Gender Roles: Do Mothers Place Children in Gendered Categories When Creating Scrapbooks?
Kristine Lipowski ’08, Sociology, Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Keys, Sociology
This study looked at if, and how, mothers “do gender” for their children as was discussed by West and Zimmerman (1987) intheir landmark study. The focus of this research explored the ways in which mothers do gender for their children in designing scrapbooks. A content analysis of scrapbooking materials sold for newborn boys and girls in a local scrapbooking store was performed using a sample size of 698 materials; 340 boys’, 287 girls’ and 71 gender-neutral items were coded. To gain a better understanding of how mothers assemble scrapbooks for their children, a content analysis of uploaded scrapbook pages from two different scrapbooking websites was performed. If and how mothers assign their children to gender roles at birth is important to what activities they will engage in as they grow and may later challenge as they try to break free of traditional gender roles in society.

A Demonstration of Mathematic Principles in Art
Kristin Ulstad ’08, Mathematics
Advisor: Mr. Barry Skurkis, Art
Often people have the misconception that mathematics and the sciences have little to do with creativity and the arts. This study was designed to show the relationship between mathematics and art. More specifically, it was designed to show how mathematical concepts are portrayed in various artworks. Even through the different styles and expressions art allows, there is are presentation of some mathematical principles from the three-dimensional world in which we live. This study spent 10 weeks looking at examples of artwork from various artists to see how they included mathematics in their artwork. A portion of the research also included mathematic principles behind the art pieces. Along with this research, an art project was created for each different style of art and math used by these artists as a demonstration of the influence of math on primarily artworks, such as drawings, paintings and architecture.

Market Research Project on the Lumber GaugeTM
Kevin Scott ’08, Marketing
Stephanie Brown ’08, Marketing, International Business
Jeffery Bryant ’08, Management
Mary Weber ’08, Marketing, Management
Advisor: Dr. Mary Galvan, Marketing
This was a group project performed for a market research course at North Central. The group was assigned the task of conducting research for an entrepreneur who had created a specialized product called the Lumber Gauge™. The LumberGauge™ is a digital device that attaches to a table saw and allows for specific and precise measurements for box joints. Once objectives were determined, the team set out to create an unbiased survey instrument that would provide the information desired. Due to the specialized nature of the product the team conducted extensive research to locate possible users of the product. The end goal was to determine the target market for the Lumber Gauge™. The team administered the surveys across the Chicagoland area and compiled and interpreted the data using a statistical analysis program. The team then created a reporton the findings including recommendations for the entrepreneur.

Microfinance and its Practical Applications
Stephanie Brown ’08, Marketing, International Business
Advisor: Mr. Thomas Cavenagh, Business Law and Conflict Resolution
Microfinance as a means of alleviating poverty has been given a lot of attention over the last few years. The end goal of this honors thesis was to formulate what a microfinance program would look like offered through the school. Specifics such as loan amounts, selection criteria and student involvement are included in the plan. This study began by addressing what microfinance is and how it is used nationally and internationally today. Further research was performed in order to conduct a critical analysis of general microcredit and microfinance programs. A critique on specific aspects of different lending models was executed in order to determine what type of lending model and criteria would work best when implemented by the college.

Determining the Contributions of Two Signaling Pathways in Yeast to Secondary Metabolites Important in the Brewing Process
Benjamin Youel ’09, Chemistry
Tara Madziarek ’09, Biochemistry
Ashley Collins ’09, Biochemistry
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Johnston, Biology
Two metabolic pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the RAS/cAMP and the fermentable growth media (FGM) pathways,were manipulated to study their effects on secondary metabolites the yeast contribute during the brewing process. Mutation of the PDE2 gene can control the activity of the RAS/cAMP pathway, and FGM can be manipulated through the GAP1 gene. We produced six brews using mutant strains of yeast and one brew using the wild type strain. Quantitative 1HNMR spectra of mutant and wild type brews were compared to decide if our manipulations of the two pathways had any significant effect on the secondary metabolites produced by yeast during brewing. Inactivation of the FGM pathway lead to differences in the secondary metabolites in the beer. Manipulation of the RAS/cAMP pathway didn’t affect the composition of the brew. Our data was inconclusive for the effects of the activation of FGM on the secondary metabolites produced in the brewing process.