North Central College - Naperville, IL

Poster Presentations

Harold and Eva White Activities Center
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Communication in Guatemala
Morgan Brown
Advisor: Dr. Matthew Krystal, Anthropology

Communication facilitates interactions among people and the exchange of information. Although there are different methods of communication, language is the most vital catalyst that aids the process of communication. In Guatemala, I observed how people interacted through the use of language. I made structural observations but I also gained first-hand experience by becoming a participant in certain situations. My research revealed a rationale on how communication occurs among indigenous Guatemalans, nonindigenous Guatemalans and foreign visitors in similar social settings, including the use or choice of a particular language. I realized that people communicate for two reasons: out of necessity and/or to socialize. The key component when initiating communication and selecting a language is assumption. I discovered that people chose to communicate in the language they assumed would best facilitate the communication process.

The Role and Importance of Motivation in the Acquisition of Foreign Languages in the European Countries of Poland and Spain
Claudia Chlebek
Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Anstine, Management

In the highly globalized world in which we find ourselves, there is no doubt that knowledge in foreign languages is vital. Furthermore, a global perspective and cross-cultural competence are crucial for success in today’s world because of the increase in international dependency of the world’s market and the constant cultural exchange between nations. The nature of this study, funded by the Richter program, was to learn what factors motivate students to study foreign languages and examine in depth these various factors and how important these motivations are to students during the acquisition process in two European countries, Poland and Spain. The research has been compiled by conducting interviews with students, professors, and directors of international programs and/or foreign language departments and through the completion of surveys by students.

The Systematic Genetic Analysis of the Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Genome for Gene Deletions Producing Synthetic Lethality With YAK1 Deletion or Overexpression
Ashley Collins and Bethany Stark
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Johnston, Biology

In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, YAK1 encodes a kinase responsible for signal transduction in the RAS/cAMP pathway. YAK1 deletion or overexpression is not lethal, indicating that there are other genes able to perform the functions efficiently enough to survive. We sought to identify these genes using the Synthetic Genetic Array (SGA) approach of Tong et al. (2001). We built two “query strains” in which YAK1 is deleted or overexpressed and mated them with the nonessential deletion collection made by Winzeler et al. (1999). We made the cells sporulate to form tetrads, and then used selection media to obtain only haploids that contain both the query mutation and the systematic gene deletion. Though the YAK1 overexpression SGA is ongoing, we have found 110 genes that show a synthetically lethal interation with the YAK1 deletion. Of these genes, those involved with nitrogen assimilation, acidification of the vacuole or localized to the mitochondrion are overrepresented.

Hiring and Qualification Ranking of Male Applicants, for Managerial or Managerial Training Positions, With Physical Disabilities
Ashley Crettol, Kim Brook and Jennifer Carlson
Advisor: Dr. Lisa Whitfield, Psychology

Although it is prohibited for individuals with disabilities to be to be discriminated against when applying for employment under the Americans with Disabilities Act, there may still be altered perceptions as to how qualified these individuals are for the position. Previous research suggests that workers with disabilities were less likely to access benefits such as health insurance; possibly due to lower income positions (Lustig, Strauser, & Donnel, 2003). The current research examines how individuals will rank applicant qualifications and hire-ability based on the type of job being applied for (e.g., manager or manager trainee), and whether the applicant provides information about being disabled or not being disabled or simply provides no information. We predict that there will be no effects of job position or disability information on hire-ability. In contrast, we expect that the disabled applicants will have lower qualifications ratings overall, but more specifically for the manager position.

Investigation of Plastic Polymer Degeneration in Indy Racing League Fuel
Abigail Farning and Kathleen Gongaware
Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Jankowski, Chemistry

The 2007 season marks a year of change for the Indy Racing League as it switches its fuel from methanol to the corn-derived ethanol. This new fuel is actually l00 percent fuel-grade ethanol, which is denatured with approximately 2 percent gasoline. Initial reports have suggested that the new fuel mixture is degrading the quality of the fuel bladder. One of the goals of this research is to determine if the fuel used can cause degeneration of plastics, rubbers and/or other compounds. After a viable test method was determined, our testing turned toward a specific series of plastics, some of which are used in the manufacture of fuel bladders, to determine if there was any trend in degradation. These investigations of the plastics, which were identified by the recyclables coding system, have shown that the plastic polymers did indeed leach into the fuel mixture. Further investigation using the actual fuel bladder is now necessary.

Measuring Science Interest and Acquisition of Process Skills Across Gender and Three Cultures
Deanna Furlano and Cassandra Peterson
Advisor: Dr. John Zenchak, Biology

A student’s ability to learn science depends on many factors, including culture, gender, and the method used to convey the scientific material. However, when teaching techniques are developed outside a culture and then superimposed on that culture, students may turn away from the current schooling process due to cultural and/or gender differences. The hypothesis was that a specific science inquiry methodology would increase science interest and process skills across cultural and gender barriers in as few as three exposures. Participants were predominantly Native-American, Hispanic-American, and white American and attending grades 4-6 in two high-need elementary schools in Flagstaff, Arizona. Over the three weeks of the study, science interest increased significantly and the process skills remained the same, suggesting a longer exposure to the methodology might be necessary to improve science process skills.

If Calculus Students Got What They Wanted, and Why We Wouldn’t Like It That Way: A Foray Into the Methodology of Research Mathematics
Charles Gatz
Advisor: Dr. David Schmitz, Mathematics

The undergraduate mathematics curriculum can unfortunately seem disconnected and abstract to those who don’t quite grasp the mathematics paradigm. In exploring this paradigm, many subtleties are glossed over due to the complexities involved in using symbolic notation. The particular question attracting my attention lurks in calculus texts, where the inverse function y = f^(-1)(x) is introduced. Most authors simply caution against confusing the notation with that for the same superscript (-n) used to denote a negative power (e.g., (2^(-3)) = 1/(2^3) = 1/8). Thus inspired, I set to work investigating the conditions to be met for a function’s inverse to be equal to its reciprocal. Interestingly enough, it’s profoundly rewarding to apply rudimentary mathematical techniques to derive significant results with a little bit of guidance. This essay documents my first attempt to shine some light on one of the many curious oddities in symbolic mathematics.

Perceived Competence of the Disabled in Collaborative and Noncollaborative Settings
Christin Goetz
Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Mueller, Psychology

This study is investigating perceptions of working with the disabled in social and non-social settings. Participants are given a sheet with personality traits and a short description of a person with whom they will be asked to imagine they will be working. The sheet reveals a physical handicap, mental disability, or no disability (control condition) in a collaborative or noncollaborative setting. Then participants will rate their partner by filling out a short survey assessing attitudes toward working with this person, including interpersonal skills and task performance. According to previous research done in the hiring field, participants should rank the person with a physical disability higher than the person with the mental illness. The ratings should be more favorable to both disability types in the non-social setting than in the social setting because the participants will not have to directly interaction with the disabled person.

Slowed Growth Due to YAK1 Overexpression is Restored in the Presence of High Concentrations of Camp
Scott Halkyard
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Johnston, Biology

In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the RAS/cAMP/Protein Kinase A (PKA) pathway is responsible for cell cycle progression and proliferation. YAK1 is a negative regulator of the RAS/cAMP/PKA pathway and thus a negative regulator of growth. Previous work in our laboratory discovered retarded growth when YAK1 is overexpressed and that this phenotype is fully dependent on the MSI1 gene. MSI1 is known to be a negative regulator of this pathway. Therefore, is the increase in cAMP concentration responsible for blocking the YAK1 slow growth phenotype? PDE2 encodes a high affinity phosphodiesterase responsible for converting cAMP to AMP; thus, strains with pde2ÿ will have higher concentrations of cAMP and an activated pathway. It was found that the slow growth phenotype caused by YAK1 overexpression was restored to normal in the pde2ÿ strain. This study supports the hypothesis that increased concentration of cAMP blocks the ability of YAK1 to slow growth in S. cerevisiae. 

The North Central Review: YOUR Undergraduate Literary Journal
Rachel Hamsmith, Regina De Iorio, Stephanie Addington, Sara Bartelt, Rebecca Bonarek, Jill Campbell, Christine Fearnley, Julia Fornek, Brigit Goudie, Ashley Hazek, David Seguin, Breanne Steffes and Crystal Tullis
Advisor: Dr. Anna Leahy, English

The North Central Review is a national college literary magazine that welcomes submissions in all literary genres from undergraduate writers. Each term, students undertake various responsibilities, ranging from editorial and production duties to budget and publicity work. In order to create the finished publication, students make use of the most up-to-date editing software and innovative techniques, which shape the magazine in both content and unique style. The final product merges the team’s publication efforts with the literary talents of undergraduate students nationally.

Caligula: On Becoming a God (or Insane)
Jessica Hart
Advisor: Dr. Steven Killings, Classics

Demonstrating the applicability of Humanities study to Interactive Media is increasingly important in the Information Age. “Caligula: On Becoming a God (or Insane)” presents the life and times of Gaius (Caligula) Caesar, the 3rd official emperor of Rome, in the form of a multimedia website. The website supplements primary and secondary textual sources with video, images and sound clip and provides information about Caligula’s appearance, rule, public opinion, family, divine relations and sanity. This website is one of the few devoted to the study of this mysterious Caesar and depicts not only his infamous “crazy” side, but also demonstrates that Caligula was not all bad.

Chinese Medicine: Cultivation and Innovation Within the World System
Debra Hayes
Advisor: Dr. Brian Hoffert, Religious Studies & History

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has always seemed mysterious. It has often been described as a “knowing practice” (Farquhar: 1996) because its diagnostics include pulse and tongue diagnosis and four different “interviews” including smell and inspection (Wiseman: 2002). Yet, persons throughout the world are studying its methods and scientists grapple with its seemingly simplistic terms. Furthermore, the transmission of knowledge between doctors and students and its practice has always seemed mystifying. Through my onsite study, I learned how doctors “see” conditions and patients, and, ultimately, cultivate themselves. I discovered how this 5,000-year-old method (WHO: 2002) has transformed from its origination through continuous innovations, despite adversity.

Why Foreign Patients Explore Traditional Chinese Medicine in Huai Hua, Hunan Province China
Debra Hayes
Advisor: Dr. Matthew Krystal, Anthropology

Midst modernity and globalization, difficult and chronic diseases are exponentially increasing worldwide (WHO: 2005). As these illnesses rise and the tales of experience travel across borders in the blink of an eye, so do cultural adaptations and the number of persons exploring Other’s ethnomedicine (Baer: 2003:5), particularly Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Through my six-month field study, I discovered why patients from more than 200 countries sacrifice inevitable linguistic, cultural and geographic separation, and endure the physically and emotionally arduous journey to mid-south China to explore the options TCM offers them at the Huai Hua Red Cross Hospital for Difficult and Chronic Conditions. I learned about the liminal existence that chronic illness co-authors and how this experience within a traditional Chinese hospital in a semi-closed city illuminates the patient’s stay as a process, a Rite of Passage (Van Gennep: 1909).

Effect of Music on Memory Recall Performance
Jillian Hentschel, Staci VonHolten,
Advisor: Dr. Mary Jean Lynch, Psychology
Katie Knapczyk and Kelly McKay 

Previous studies have shown that background music can affect the ability to remember and recall information (Baddeley & Salamé, 1989). Groups of North Central College students enrolled in the Introduction to Psychology classes were given a memory task during different kinds of music. This study investigated what kind of effect different kinds of music may have on the ability to remember and recall information. Five music conditions were used: familiar with lyrics, familiar instrumental, unfamiliar with lyrics, unfamiliar instrumental, and a silent control condition. We hypothesized there will be interference with the ability to recall to some extent when the music is familiar, with participants in the familiar lyrics condition having worse recall performance than those in the familiar instrumental condition. We predicted the participants in the unfamiliar instrumental condition will have the best recall performance. The results will be discussed in the context of distraction and activation.

Effects of 2.5 Molar Urea in Cultures of Stationary Phase E. Coli MC1000 and JV1068
Ana Jensen and Matthew Sorenson
Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Visick, Biology

A protein repair enzyme, the L-isoaspartyl protein carboxyl methyltransferase (PCM), is used to help cells survive in times of stress, such as oxidative stress, heat stress, pH stress, methanol stress, and osmotic stress (Visick, 2005). We used the chemical urea to see whether PCM is needed to survive urea stress in Escherichia coli. Urea is a chemical that denatures proteins, and therefore causes stress on the cell. Urea was applied to two different strains of E. coli: wild-type E.coli that contains PCM and a mutant E. coli strain lacking PCM. The presence of PCM in a cell should help the cell survive while experiencing stress, such as the stress from the urea. However, we showed that with the use of 2.5M of urea, the E. coli lacking PCM (ÿpcm mutant) survived better than the E. coli containing PCM. Further research will hopefully help us to explain these results.   

Fuzzy Logic Programming and Combinatorial Multi-Objective Optimization
Robert Krzyzanowski
Advisor: Dr. Godfrey Muganda, Computer Science

Logic decisions often involve multiple criteria or objectives. These objectives often cannot be modeled by a binary set of two truth values, but rather, take values in a more general lattice. For example, a committee of faculty selecting a student for a meritorious award may consider a GPA criteria (with values in a linearly ordered lattice [0, 4.0]), as well as involvement in extra-curricular activities. These types of situations cannot easily be modeled by traditional logic programs. We define a syntax and semantics for a more apt approach, a fuzzy logic programming language that can model combinatorial multi-criteria optimization problems in a natural manner. The language allows users to define multiple types of lattices, as well as logic predicates assigned truth values from these lattices. We provide a semantic description of this language, describe the implementation of an interpreter, and give examples of applications to multi-criteria decision making.

Communications Technology and the War Reporter: 150 Years of Developing Interaction
Aileen Morrissey
Advisor: Dr. Amy Grim, Speech Communication

Communications technology, in the last 150 years especially, has assisted humankind in making the world a smaller place. These advancements have not only allowed information to move more quickly, they have created new options to present messages themselves. This research divides communication advancement into three technological eras in order to discuss the telegraph, photography, newsreel film, radio, television, and integrated media. These eras are illustrated by tracing war reporting and the communication methods available and utilized during those periods of history. Parallels may then be drawn between these technologies, their implementation through war reporting, and the effects the technology had on the reporting itself. By considering these developments, one may begin to appreciate how communications technologies have affected reporting in the past, and what trends they suggest for our future understandings of war coverage.

Presenting Stimuli in Novel Context Increases the Attention Required for Automatic Processing
Rachel Mount
Advisor: Dr. Lisa Whitfield, Psychology

This study concentrates on the role of familiar versus novel context in automatic processing. Using versions of the Stroop test, color words were presented in a canonical orientation versus novel orientation. Because novel stimuli receive some sort of processing precedence and familiar context promotes automatic processing, then reading color words printed in canonical orientation will be more difficult to inhibit than reading color words printed in novel orientations. The Stroop effect was stronger for canonical orientation. Reporting the color ink in the novel context took significantly less time than reporting the color ink in the familiar context. Therefore, stimuli that are unfamiliar require more attention and slow automatic processing. This study has resulted in some intriguing questions and further research is needed to elaborate on our current findings.

Demystifying the Cattle Call: Multiple Perspectives on the Process of Regional Auditions
Megan O’Neil
Advisor: Dr. Deborah Palmes,Speech Communication/Theatre

The nature of this research, funded by the Richter program, is to give the students of North Central College an awareness of and an inside look at the phenomenon called “cattle call” or general auditions. Normally, in the theatre realm, performers and technicians audition and interview for individual companies where they can cater their audition material to the needs of that company. In general auditions, casting directors in attendance represent a wide variety of theatre companies, ranging from dinner theatres to Shakespeare festivals and universities. Usually, you have less than two minutes to appeal to everyone in the room. Through a video documentary featuring inside information from myself as an auditioner and interviews with casting directors and actors, each individual audition is examined and “demystified” in hopes that our students will be aware of these professional opportunities and that they will use this priceless “how to prepare” information to aid any audition they might encounter.

The Relationship Between Globalization and Sports
Jacqueline Ottens
Advisor: Dr. Robert Moussetis, International Business

As most businesses explore the international environment, the effects of globalization are becoming apparent. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of globalization on sports. The research satisfied the hypothesis that globalization has a direct affect on the world of sports just as it does with other businesses. This is proven by multiple examples, such as international recruiting and the increased availability to view any sporting event via satellite anywhere in the world. Through updated technology and increased worldwide popularity of sports, globalization will continue to significantly impact the characteristics and business aspects of all sports, especially those of basketball, baseball, and soccer. This preliminary research may be used in the future to predict opportunities in different businesses connected to sports.

Family Values Amongst Missionary Kids
Paul Rollet
Advisor: Dr. Heather Coon, Psychology

How does growing up in a country other than a one’s parent’s place of origin affect a child’s upbringing? And even more, growing up in a religious household? In order to unpack these questions, this research discusses the value of family to the missionary kid or MK (kids of any age up through college), both during and following their experience abroad. Through a compellation of previous research, as well as five in-depth interviews with missionary kids from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, the results proved fascinating. Though there were many similarities amongst the interview participants (including what defines them as an MK), each one differed depending upon their schooling, socialization process, influences of Christian growth, sense of connectedness with the local culture, and personal value for family.

Influencing the Chemical Profile of Beer Through Genetic Manipulation
Jesus Salazar, Timothy Kauffmann,
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Johnston, Biology
Jason Karpus and Sheri Starks 

The goal of this research was to explore genetic methods of affecting the flavor profile of alcoholic beverages and discover mutations beneficial to the brewing industry. The two pathways investigated were the RAS/cAMP and FGM. Alcohol acetyltransferase enzymes, Atf1p and Atf2p, catalyze ester synthesis. ATF1 is controlled by the RAS/cAMP pathway, which includes the P DE2 enzyme, a phosphodiesterase that hydrolyzes cAMP into AMP. Deleting the PDE2 gene activates the RAS/cAMP pathway, while overexpressing PDE2 inactivates the RAS/cAMP pathway. ATF1 is also controlled by the FGM pathway which is cAMP independent, and is controlled by Gap1p, acting as an amino acid sensor. ATF2 is hypothesized to be controlled by the same pathways as ATF1. Saccharomyces cerevisiae was transformed to make all combinations of activated and deactivated RAS/cAMP and FGM pathways. Current NMR analysis didn’t detect chemical differences in the fermentation products between the deletion of PDE2 and the wild type.

Effects of Forewarning on Test Performance
Jenna Sheldon, Rebecca Veldman,
Advisor: Dr. Mary Jean Lynch, Psychology
Sarah Homan and Elizabeth Konrad 

The current study measured how the immediate forewarning of test difficulty and trait anxiety affects test performance. Prior to forewarning, a personality test was administered to detect the general level of anxiety in each participant. Half the participants were told that the test would be easy (positive forewarning). Half the participants were told the test would be difficult (negative forewarning). The tests consisted of 20-sample ACT questions: five each from English, Math, Science and Reading. We hypothesized that the group receiving negative forewarning would have lower test scores and the group receiving positive forewarning would have higher test scores. We further hypothesized that negative forewarning would have a greater negative impact on people with higher trait anxiety than those with less anxiety. After the results are calculated for our study, the implication of it for the education environment will be discussed.

Inhibiting Automatic Processing in Directional Tasks
Jaclyn Sprawka, Jennifer Spathelf and Carrie DeLange
Advisor: Dr. Lisa Whitfield, Psychology

The current study examined the inhibition of automatic processes, which required participants to identify directions. Our study asked participants to complete two tasks. One task asked participants to state directions of a series of arrows on a page (e.g.,↑ ↑ ) responding “up,” “right,” “left” or “down.” The other task required participants to state directions of arrows with an incongruent directional word before it (e.g., LEFT ). We hypothesized that the incongruent word with arrow would force an inhibition of automatic processing, thus causing longer response times on response times. We hypothesized females would have slower response times than males overall, but especially in the arrow and word task. Our hypotheses were partially supported.

The Relationship of Globalization and Malaria in Africa
Calaya VanDreel
Advisor: Dr. Robert Moussetis, International Business

Every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria in the world. Annually, 300 million people are infected with or die due to malaria. Globalization has had positive and negative effects on relief efforts for malaria through funding, prevention methods and international responsibility. Many international groups and programs have spent millions of dollars funding malaria relief. However, the majority of the money is not distributed correctly resulting in relief not reaching those who need it the most. Through globalization, not only have new technologies and medicines been created but also at a very low cost. One of the challenges facing this expansion is there’s little to no education on how to distribute the technology. Once again, those suffering are left without necessities to survive malaria. The fact of the matter is, if funding and prevention methods could be adequately applied, malaria could be completely eradicated from Sub‑Saharan Africa.

What Makes a Mecca? A Tour of What Makes “Great Public Places” Great
Rachael Young
Advisor: Dr. Louis Corsino, Sociology

As the world population continues to grow and towns expand, there is a struggle to find inviting public places. Great public places are locations that combine function, aesthetics, geography, and community in a manner that attracts people. William H. Whyte, an urban researcher, set out the criteria of what he concluded made “great public places.” My research, funded by a Richter grant, examined five specific world cities — London, England; Prague, Czech Republic; Venice, Italy; Rome, Italy; Chicago, Illinois — and identified “great public places” in these cities in light of Whyte’s criteria. Through observations, interviews and photographic analysis, the goal of this research was to determine if Whyte’s criteria were in effect and to determine what really makes “great places” great.

A Market Research Study: Developing Story Time at Anderson’s Bookshop
Rachael Young, Michelle Grabowski, Chrissy Bereta,
Advisor: Dr. Mary Galvan, Marketing
Derek Coleman and Amy Domagala

This market research study focused on improving sales at the local Anderson’s Bookshop. After a brief meeting with the manager of the store, those within this group project developed a survey aimed at teachers of Naperville’s school districts 203 and 204. The purpose of the survey was to attract teachers and younger children into the store, as sales in children’s books were declining. After receiving the e-mail survey, teachers were asked their opinion on the development of a new program, Story Time at Anderson’s Bookshop. Included were questions about the genre of the book, who the storyteller should be, how long the program would last, and what times would work best for scheduling. Although the idea of this program was accepted by some, the overall results of the research concluded that it may be best to wait until a different season to start up Story Time at Anderson’s Bookshop.