2017-2018 GSAS Grant Recipients

Spring 2018 GSAS Grant Recipients

Round I

Charlie Hodgman - Travel - Health and Exercise Science - The GSAS travel grant will help me with the costs associated with travel to the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego, in April. At the conference I will be presenting recent results of an ongoing project assessing the effect of 20-ecdysterone, a plant steroid, on muscle function in old mice. My research will be presented during the poster session on the nutritional regulation of sarcopenia and muscle regeneration.

Tyler Pyle - Travel - Biology - Tyler is currently studying the bacterium Mycoplasma Gallisepticum (MG) in Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis). MG is a pathogen known to cause chronic respiratory disease and conjunctivities in poultrys. Recent discoveries have shown that other avian species are able to contract the disease without showing any physical symptoms. Preliminary studies have shown a 20% mortality rate within 2 weeks and weight loss for all individuals. Additional screening at the field sight in Watauga County have shown that 45% of the eastern bluebirds have tested positive for MG. The goal of my research is to determine how the disease spreads between individuals and over time, how bluebird personality is impacted by MG, and hopefully to prevent future outbreaks and epidemics.

April Young - Travel - Project Description: Studies compared the driving decisions of humans and autonomous vehicles (AVs) faced with a moral dilemma. Results revealed that people attributed more blame and anger, and less morality and trust to AVs. However, perceptions of “mindedness” moderated these effects such that minded AVs were judged similarly to humans. I am presenting this research at the Annual Southeastern Society for Social Psychologists conference in Atlantic Beach, FL this November. 

Byron Burrell - Travel - Biology - My recent travel consisted of traveling to the Association of Southeastern Biologist Regional meeting that was located at Myrtle Beach, SC April 28th – April 30th. At this conference, I gave a presentation on my work focusing on “Habitat preference and herbivory effects in a rare plant preserve with reduced human interaction”. During my talk I discussed the creation of the Tater Hill Plant Preserve and how most conservationist view anthropogenic effects as the greatest threat to rare species but sometimes forget to evaluate the internal threats to rare species after land has been protected. I described how camera trap photos could be used to distinguish activity levels and actions by herbivore species of interest. The results of my study show that we can determine not only where activity is occurring, but also when this activity is occurring and to what intensity this activity is taking place.  The overall goal of this section of research is inform land mangers operating with reduced or definite budgets where they  can focus resources for exclosures, population reduction, or even boundary marking in the case of trespassing.



Fall 2017 GSAS Grant Recipients

Round I

Emily Riffe - Research materials - Biology - Project Description: I am studying the invasive plant species Elaeagnus umbellata, also known as Autumn Olive, and its ability to invade a forest understory. My hypothesis for this species is that it is taking advantage of an extended leaf phenology, allowing it to have access to highlight in the early spring and late fall. This high light allows the plant to have excess carbon gain during these times, which helps it survive the deep shade of the summer. I have been taking phenology and gas exchange measurements on this plant throughout the 2017 growing season in the Appalachian State University Nature Preserve. These measurements include taking diurnal measurements of photosynthesis rates, once a month, throughout the season. These measurements will allow me to compare the photosynthesis rates of the species throughout the season to access the fluxes in carbon gain. This information will allow for better understanding of this invasive species so we can better manage it in the future.

Hannah Snyder - Research Materials - Project Description: The prevalence of exercise induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) is greater among swimmers than among other summer sport athletes and most winter sport athletes (Matsumoto et al., 1999). The repeated exposure to disinfectant by-products in swimming pool environments may contribute to the increased risk and worsen symptoms of EIB in swimmers. Fish oil supplementation, however, may exhibit protective benefits to airway function in swimmers with EIB. The purpose of this study is threefold: 1) to asses whether or not spirometric indicators of pulmonary function change over a swim season, 2) to assess if a decrease in FEV1  in swimmers with a decrease in FEV1 of greater than 10% worsen over the course of a swim season, and 3) to assess if  fish-oil supplementation abates the worsening of FEV1 in swimmers with a decrease greater than 10 percent over the course of a swim season. It is hypothesized that 1) airway hyperresponsiveness will increase over the course of an indoor swim season in competitive swimmers with EIB, and 2) fish oil supplementation will attenuate airway hyperresponsiveness, as compared with placebo, in competitive swimmers with EIB.

Michael Paolino - Travel - Project Description: The work I presented at IONS this fall is a collaborative effort between the Appalachian State department of Physics and Astronomy and the department of Chemistry. The big picture goal of the project is to better understand the mechanism by which sulfate aerosols are produced from their sulfide molecule pre-cursors. In our case, the production of the sulfate methane-thiol by means of the degradation of dimethyl sulfide is being studied. This reaction occurs by means of a two-step process. We focus our work on the first step in the reaction which involves the conversion of FMN to FMNH 2 , a necessary component in the second step of the reaction. The conversion of FMN to FMNH 2 is catalyzed by a protein whose identity is as of yet known. Identification of this protein is the primary goal of this work, which we will achieve using fluorescence emission measurements. FMN is a naturally fluorescent molecule, while FMNH 2 is not. When exposed to a proper catalyst, along with the other necessary reactants, conversion to FMNH 2 will be marked by a decrease in fluorescence emission from the sample. By attempting to perform such a reaction in the presence of a variety of potential catalysts, we can use this observed change in fluorescence to identify potential reaction catalysts. By doing so we will increase the body of scientific knowledge and better understand a chemical reaction of interest.

Bahareh Shirkhanloo - Travel - Project Description: My research is about energy modeling. To verify the energy model, a case study was conducted using energy data collected from the Watauga County Detention Facility Jail in Boone, NC. two energy models with different complexity (i.e., basic input and advanced) for the jail facility were created and the results compared. These energy models were developed using IES VE, and were verified with actual energy usage data from the facility. The process highlighted the problems often encountered when using energy models to predict real-world building energy performance. The research concluded by identifying the input parameters that significantly influenced the results. For the continuous of the research, a new case study, Mountaineer Hall will be compared with the same idea with Watauga County jail. The scope of this research is to find out if comparison of simplified and advance model will tell us the same conclusion that we got for Watauga County jail.

Sandipty Kayastha - Research Materials - Project Description: Matrix attachment region binding filament like protein 1 (MFP1) is a large coiled-coil protein present within the thylakoid membranes of plant chloroplasts. MFP1 protein contains a conserved N-terminal targeting domain, central coiled-coil domain, and a C-terminal DNA-binding domain. There is limited knowledge about plant specific coiled-coil proteins and it is predicted that they might be involved in plant specific processes such as photosynthesis, cytokinesis or plant defense mechanisms. It is known that coiled-coil domains function via protein-protein interactions. The objective of my research work is to: 1. Identify chloroplast-localized interacting proteins for MFP1. 2. Study the function of MFP1 based on its protein-protein interactions.

Laura Johnston - Travel - Project Description: I am very grateful to have received a travel grant from GSAS, which will help support my participation in the Community Food Systems Conference in Boston this December. Several members of AppalFRESH are presenting a workshop there titled "Gaining Strength in the Rural Appalachian Food System through Multidisciplinary Collaboration"; Our panel-style workshop will focus on the development of a community-based coalition consisting of faculty, staff, and students from Appalachian State University and community-based food agencies. I am currently the only student member of the collaborative and will be discussing the benefits of being part of a group like AppalFRESH from a student’s perspective. While presenting the workshop, I expect to have the opportunity to share my important research on food insecurity in Appalachia, helping conference attendees to realize the severity of the problem of food insecurity and ideally inspiring them to help improve food security in their communities. Attending the conference will give me the opportunity to network with others studying sustainable food across the United States. I have no doubt that I will meet people and will hear presentations that will give me fresh perspectives and new ideas about how to effectively continue my research and make a positive impact on food security in our community.

Corey Magaldino - Research Materials - Project Description: Rotational inertia, the force required to change the velocity of an object rotating on its axis, has been well documented to inform the haptic system about object properties. Commonly, participants judged lengths of wielded rods, with access to inertia about all the rods’ principal axes. We examined whether people can identify another property, disk diameter, using an apparatus that restricted rotation to a single axis, providing information solely through rotational inertia. Participants rotated visually-occluded disks in opposite directions by pulling up and down on two strings, each operated by a single finger. Participants identified diameters of 5 disks from a 7-disk display, with unlimited sampling time. Participants readily differentiated disks. Judgments accurately and reliably tracked actual disk diameters. A second experiment added earplugs to reduce possible sound information; results replicated the first experiment. These results extend previous findings that inertial forces inform haptic perception of objects.

Megan Norris - Travel - Project Description: I am presenting research pertaining to young children's use of stereotypes for different traits such as epistemic (accuracy) traits or social (benevolence) traits.   Previous literature suggests that learning traits associated with a social category can aid children in making inferences about novel exemplars of that social category (Gelman & Coley, 1990).  Additionally, labeling of different groups can facilitate children's categorization processes (Gelman, 2003). I am also assessing whether labeling will increase stereotyping.  In a sample of 4- and 5-year-olds collected thus far, children are only stereotyping epistemic traits when the groups are labeled.  These results indicate that children trust informants who provide accurate information and continue to trust strangers who appear to be members of the accurate group.

Emily Jorgenson - Travel - Project Description: My research presentation topic is pretend play as both a deficit and an effective intervention for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. I will be conducting an hour-long interactive workshop at Kappa Delta Pi’s 2017 Convocation in Pittsburgh, PA. Kappa Delta Pi is an international honor society in education that promotes educator excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. GSAS generously awarded me with a travel grant to present this research based on my undergraduate honors thesis, a requirement of the University Honors College. The conference also allows me to hear from numerous other researchers and teachers during the three-day event and represent Appalachian State in both my attendance and presentation. The Lambda Iota chapter of Kappa Delta Pi at Appalachian State has scheduled for me to present at a chapter meeting upon my return from Convocation 2017. I am grateful that GSAS, along with other partners at ASU, is making this research presentation in Pittsburgh possible.  

Samantha Shireman - Travel - Project Description: I am traveling to Atlantic Beach, Florida to co-present a poster "How do rape myths and violations of the sex role script affect mock jurors' perceptions of sexual consent?" at the annual meeting of the Society of Southeastern Social Psychologists. 

Kaci Ausmus and Amy Johnson - Travel - Project Description: We have spent the past year studying Generation Z students, the generation that follows millennials, and what their specific needs are regarding orientation programs. There is not much research on this generation of students, so my partner and I decided to present an educational session at the National Orientation Director's Association Conference, and were approved! The travel grant we were awarded will go towards hotel costs as well as travel, as the conference is being hosted in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Kelsey Wagner - Travel - Project Description: In September 2017, I traveled to Lviv, Yaremche, and Rahkiv Plai in the Carpathian region of Ukraine. At the third international Appalachian/Carpathian conference, I presented creativity in community-based research from partnerships with the Appalachian Regional Commission, New River Conservancy, and the Turchin Center for Visual Arts at Appalachian State University. My presentation emphasized the importance of linking arts and sciences through sustainability and visual communication, which has been applied through my visual art practice, resulting in 2 ecological art exhibits on campus in 2017 and a forthcoming 2018 TCVA exhibit about elephant conservation and ivory trade.

Cassandra Smith - Travel - Project Description: My specific area of interest involves the how individuals use information to make decisions when a preferred option is present. My past findings have shown that when given additional information, people tend to be more biased towards their preferences. This phenomenon will henceforth be called the information effect. The research I presented at the conference for judgment and decision-making in 2016 involved manipulating the amount of information available to the participant with regards to making decisions. This information manipulation was used to measure changes in the wishful thinking effect. Wishful thinking is our bias to inflate the perceived likelihood of outcomes that we find desirable, and to decrease the perceived likelihood of outcomes we find undesirable. This bias is measured through gathering data on how much more likely someone is to pick a more desirable option (despite other optimal choices being present). My current poster expands on this research by manipulating the type of information that participants have access to, and measuring how much bias is exhibited in the face of additional (and sometimes counter to their interests) information regarding Major League Baseball games. The results show that when given summary information (versus identical statistical information), people are more biased by their preferences. 

Zach Kopkin - Travel - Appalachian Studies - In Fall 2017, Zach collaboratively developed and facilitated “Our Appalachian Community,” a first-year seminar for first-generation college students. To make sense of divergent experiences of community and belonging in relation to Appalachian places, he engaged with and created multimedia texts, personal photography, autobiography, acts of community service, and outdoor events. In addition to regular classes, students participated in “Appalachian Community Hour,” a weekly opportunity for active, student-led creative learning in which, among other things, we attempted flatfoot dance and participatory theater. Although the students primarily hail from non-Appalachian sections of NC, they applied the lenses personal and civic identity to grapple with the social and cultural worlds of the Appalachian region and of first-generation college students.

Congratulations to all of our Fall 2017 grant recipients! 


Spring 2017 GSAS Grant Recipients

Round I

Brandon AdamResearch Materials – $483.00 – Physics and Astronomy – Title: Balloon Telescope Stabilization

Byron BurrellTravel - $200.00 – Biology: Master of Science – Association of Southeastern Biologist Meeting – Project Description: I will be presenting a poster based on my research of the Tate Hill Bog Preserve and vertebrate census techniques at the Association of Southeastern Biologist Annual Meeting. 

Ben Duvall-IrwinTravel - $200.00 – Center for Appalachian Studies – Appalachian Studies Association Conference – Project Description: I will be involved in two presentations at the annual Appalachian Studies Association Conference. First I will be delivering a presentation of my own research paper on the topic of gendered violence in the Appalachian ballad, titled “Amongst the Ladies All”: Gendered Violence in Appalachian Balladry”. Second, I will participate as a respondent in a panel discussion (titled “River Voices: Arts and Development in the Upper New River Valley”) about my work related to Arts and Community Development as part of the Appalachian Teaching Project.

Catherine EdwardsTravel - $300.00 – Psychology – National Association of School of Psychologists Annual Convention – Project Description – The first presentation, “Getting It Right: Treatment Fidelity is a Game Changer,” will be a paper presentation. The second and third presentations will be in poster format, and will be presented at the Trainers of School Psychologists annual convention. Both conventions will be held in conjunction with one another in San Antonio, TX. 

Kitt FranseResearch Materials - $472.00 – MS in Cellular and Molecular Biology – Project Title: The enterendocrine morphology of the developing zebrafish intestine.

Marie Hale – Travel - $200.00 – MA in Appalachian Studies – Appalachian Studies Association – Presentation Title: The panel will include the experience of other ASU students who have worked on community collaboration projects to build digital archives.

Nikolai Hay – Travel - $300.00 – Master of Science in Cell/Molecular Biology – Association of Southeastern Biologists – Project Presentation – Geum radiatum Michx commonly known as Appalachian Avens, is a high elevation rock outcrop, federally endangered. 

Laura Johnston – Travel - $348.00 – Appalachian Studies – Appalachian Studies Conference – Presentation Title: I will be presenting my paper, “Feast or Famine: Food Insecurity in Affluent Appalachian Tourism Communities.”

Zachary Hopkin – Travel - $200.00 – Appalachian Studies (Sustainability Concentration) – Annual Conference of the Appalachian Studies Association – Presentation Title: Building Digital History: The Challenges and Rewards of Community Collaborations.

Corey Magaldino – Travel - $200.00 – Experimental Psychology – South Eastern Psychological Association – Presentation Title: “Can Rotational Inertia Alone Identify Disk Diameter?” “College Persistence Questionnaire Improves Retention at a Small Private University.”

Paige Rice – Travel - $500.00 – Exercise Science – American Society of Biomechanics – Project Description: I will present the research from my Thesis to inform people about different morphological and performance characteristics of dancers. 

Tyler Rice – Research - $200.00 – Exercise Science – Project Title: 20-hydroxyecdyone and anabolic signaling following in vivo eccentric skeletal muscle damage.

Kaila Skelly – Travel - $300.00 – School of Psychology – NASP 2017 Annual Conference – Project Description: What Percentage of Programs Actually Have Additional Credentialing?

Roberta Seamon – Travel - $500.00 – MA Appalachian Studies – 40th Annual Appalachian Studies Conference – Presentation Title: Mountain Religion and Healthcare in Appalachia: What Healthcare Providers Need to Know?

Jessica Udry – Travel - $297.00 – Experimental Psychology – Southeastern Psychological Association – Project Title: Normative Information and Reflection Time in Milgram’s Obedience to Authority.

Drennan Williams – Travel - $300.00 – School of Psychology – National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Annual Conference – Presentation Title: A System Analysis of School-Based Consultation Across Doctoral and Specialists Programs.


Congratulations to all of our Spring 2017 grant recipients!