10th Annual Westmont College
Undergraduate Research Symposium
 
 
April 19, 2006
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Kerr Student Center
Westmont College
 
 

A hallmark of Westmont College’s academic program is the opportunity for undergraduate students to work directly with faculty on research projects. Work presented here from all of the divisions is representative of student research conducted during the past year. The purpose of this symposium is to celebrate the research accomplishments of these Westmont students.


Greg Allen
Major: Chemistry
Allan Nishimura*
Poster #24
 
Cailin K. Andruss
Major:  Psychology
Wayne Iba*
Poster #15
 
Jeff Bednark
Major:  Neuroscience
Thomas G. Fikes*
Posters #7, #14
 
Kristen Bergman
Major: English
Research Dept:  English
Cheri Larsen-Hoeckley*
Poster #4
 
Jon Burdett
Major:  Chemistry
David F. Marten*
Allan Nishimura*
Poster #26
 
Caley Coulson
Major: Neuroscience
Thomas G. Fikes*
Poster #7
 
Ana Daugherty
Major:  Neuroscience
Thomas G. Fikes*
Posters #11, #12
 
Christina Duncan
Major:  Neuroscience
Thomas G. Fikes*
Poster #14
 
Michelle Evans
Major:  Chemistry
Allan Nishimura*
Poster #23
 
Kyle Gates
Major:  Psychology
Ray Paloutzian*
Poster #10
 
Daniel Hamm
Major:  Psychology
Ray Paloutzian*
Poster #9
 
John Hilp
Major:  Computer Science
Wayne Iba*
Poster #17
 
Kirsten Holshausen
Major:  Biology
Eileen McMahon*
Poster #22 
 
Daniel Hoss
Major:  Chemistry/Biology
Allan Nishimura*
Poster #24
 
Brad Jensen
Major:  Computer Science
Kim Kihlstrom*
Poster #16
 
Natalie C. Johnson
Major:  Psychology
Raymond Paloutzian*
Tom Fikes*
Poster #13
 
Lucas King
Major: Neuroscience
Thomas Fikes*

Poster #7

 
Valerie Lehman
Major:  Neuroscience
Thomas G. Fikes*
Poster #7
 
April Louie
Major:  Chemistry
Allan Nishimura*
Poster #27
 
Angie Mayfield
Major:  Chemistry
David F. Marten*
Poster #28
 
Justin Marks
Major:  Mathematics
Russell Howell*
Poster #18
 
Jane Messah
Major:  History/English
Alister Chapman*
Rick Pointer*

Poster #2

 
Shea Mosby
Major:  Physics
Warren Rogers*
Poster #20
 
Joshua Newton
Major:  Chemistry
David F. Marten*
Poster #28
 

Luke Oliver
loliver@westmont.edu
Major:  Religious Studies
Tremper Longman III*
Bruce Fisk*
Poster #6
 
Nicholas Price
Major:  Art and English
Tony Askew
Poster #1
 
Katie  Parsons
Major :  Psychology
Ray Paloutzian
Poster #8
 
Alaina Phillips
Major:  Neuroscience
Thomas G. Fikes*
Poster #11
 
 
Julie Ray
Major:  Chemistry
David Marten*
Poster #25
 
Dan Shank
Major:  Computer Science
Kim Kihlstrom*
Poster #16
 
Michael Strongman
Major:  Physics
Warren Rogers*
Poster #19
 
Greg Wadsworth
Major:  Music
Steve Butler*
Poster #3
 
Benjamin Watson
Major:  Communication Studies
Deborah Dunn*
Poster #5
 
Joel Wilcox
Major :  Biology
Eileen McMahon*
Posters #21, #22
 

________

* faculty mentor




 

2006 Westmont College Undergraduate Research Symposium
Kerr Student Center
April 19, 2006


Abstracts
 
 
Poster #1
Glass Family Solarplate Series
Nicholas Price and Tony Askew*
Art Department, Westmont College
 
Through trial and error I researched different ways of exposing solarplates to create different kinds of images.  I exposed the plates for different amounts of time, using different transparencies, and using different UV sources in order to find the way this would affect the final outcome of the image. 
 
 
 
Poster #2
Chaim Weizmann and the Holocaust, 1933-1945
Jane Messah, Alister Chapman* and Rick Pointer*
History Department, Westmont College
 
The persecution of the Jews under Adolph Hitler in the 1930s and 1940s (later known as the Holocaust) brought a new sense of urgency that caused some Zionists to abandon strategies which relied on Great Britain to transform its Mandate of Palestine into a Jewish Commonwealth.  On the other hand, Zionist Chaim Weizmann maintained his close relations with the British government and demonstrated willingness to compromise.  Through the papers and letters of Chaim Weizmann from 1933-1945, this research project explores Weizmann’s reaction to the persecution of the Jews from the rise of Hitler in January 1933 to the end of World War II in Europe in May 1945 and the subsequent evolving nature of his diplomatic relationship with the British.  Countering critiques of Weizmann as weak and pandering to the British, I shall demonstrate that Jewish suffering was at the forefront of his mind and that his methodology was both consistent throughout his career and a rational attempt to reach Zionist aims.
 
 
Poster #3
A Senior Recital
Greg Wadsworth and Steve Butler*
Music Department, Westmont College
 
Over the course of the past year I have been developing and planning a senior composition recital that included the debut of a one act opera. This research has greatly trained me in techniques of motivation, practice, and group psychology. I have experienced a great deal of growth in areas of leadership and foresight, as well as learning the difference between compromise and sacrifice, and the importance of taking performers into consideration when writing music.
 
Poster #4
Island, Imperialism, and Identity: Caribbean Women Novelists Respond to the Brontë Sisters
Kristen Bergman and Cheri Larsen-Hoeckley*
English Department, Westmont College
 
This project examines the works of Caribbean postcolonial novelists Jean Rhys and Maryse Condé as they respond to two nineteenth-centuries British novels by the Brontë sisters.  Maryse Condé’s Windward Heights re-imagines Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights on the island of Guadelope and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea is a prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.  Writing within societies affected by European political and cultural imperialism, Rhys and Condé confront the notion of a stable personal identity within the Brontë’s novels.  They explore the hybrid identities of people living between the cultures of the colonized and the colonizer and suggest that a stable and fixed personal identity may be a luxury of those in a position of some privilege and power. 
 
 
 
Poster #5
Imprinted Aggression: An Expose of Violence Against Women in Advertising
Benjamin Watson and Deborah Dunn*
Communication Studies, Westmont College
 
This project was the presentation result of several research projects conducted by myself, Krista Roberts (communication studies), and Leah Isaak (econ and business). We combined our research and various talent to make a 15 minute documentary, complete with narration, interviews, imagery, and video footage, all edited into an appealing DVD package for presentation. Project has already shown at several Southern California colleges as part of a psychology curriculum (both bachelors and masters) and received very positive reviews. Mode of presentation at symposium would be replaying it through the event, quietly, on a television at our booth.
 
 
 
Poster #6
Melchize-who?
Luke Oliver, Tremper Longman III* and Bruce Fisk*
Religious Studies Department, Westmont College
 
I have been researching the traditions (pseudepigraphal, apocryphal, qumranic, and others) surrounding Melchizedek, the preist-king of Genesis 14, from the original account in Genesis through to the Book of Hebrews and beyond.  I have developed a model for the development of the tradition and how it has branched out from the original story to the later material.  In the end, I have offered suggestions for how this research might inform the way in which we read the book of Hebrews, as it uses Melchizedek as a type of Christ, and how it might benefit our Christian faith to be aware of first-century traditional elements that have influenced the writing of the Bible.
 
Poster #7
Event Related Potentials and the Electroencephalography Method
Valerie Lehman, Jeff Bednark, Caley Coulson, Lucas King, and Thomas Fikes*
Neuroscience Program, Westmont College
 
Using methodology in electroencephalography, we studied various aspects about the voltage changes that occur in brain waves in response to various stimuli.  In particular, we studied event-related-potentials which are distinct brian patterns in response to stimuli that is distinct or novel in the context of the experiment.  The particular change we sought was the P300 wave which occurs approximately 300 milliseconds post-stimulus, signifies unpredictable or highly significant events, and can be used as an index of mental activity. 
 
 
Poster #8
A Comparison of Religious Coping Styles on the Well-Being of Terminally Ill Patients
Katie  Parsons and Ray Paloutzian*
Psychology Department, Westmont College
 
This project is a role-play in which participants fill out a questionnaire that will determine their religious coping style. They are then asked to fill out another questionnaire that measures their well-being at that time. Next a narration is read, and the same well-being instrument is repeated four additional times throughout the course of the study while the participants are transposing themselves into the story. My hypothesis is that participants with aggressive coping styles will have higher levels of well-being than those using the passive coping style.
 
 
Poster #9
Correlates of Reading and Tonal Sophistication
Daniel Hamm and Ray Paloutzian*
Psychology Department, Westmont College
 
This research attempts to reproduce the findings that academic ability is related to musical ability.  In the past this has been done with children learning to read that indicates a relationship exists between reading and musical ability.  Testing will be done to see if similar results occur with College students who are at a different stage of development.  Research will test what effect development has on the relationship between musical ability and reading ability.
 
 
Poster #10
How Religion Mediates Between Perceived Social Support and Friendship Formation
Kyle Gates and Raymond Paloutzian*
Psychology Department, Westmont College
 
This study examines the role of religion in forming friendships.  It is well known that shared interests facilitate friendship formation.  But is religion included, or is it roped off as something separate--not to be touched?  In our "don't ask, don't tell" society, the implications could be quite interesting. 

Poster #11

Acquisition of a Visual Discrimination Task In a Radial Arm Maze as Seen In a Long-Evans Hooded Rat
Ana Daugherty, Alaina Phillips, Thomas G. Fikes*
Neuroscience Program, Westmont College
 
Using principles of operant conditioning the current study has a dual purpose.  The first is to construct an apparatus utilizing the radial arm maze and projected visual stimuli to be used for visual discrimination experiments. Second, using the constructed apparatus, the intent is to develop a visual discrimination task without a working-memory component that would use spatial mapping to navigate the maze.  The designed task is a hybrid win-stay, forced win-shift task, in which an animal could not revisit an arm that had been completely explored.  Expectantly, following operant conditioning standards, the animals should decrease in performance error and trial time over the progression of the sessions.\
 
Poster #12
The Effects of Fimbria-Fornix and Caudate Nucleus Lesions On Long-Term Memory As Seen in a Visual Discrimination Task
Ana Daugherty and Thomas G. Fikes*
Neuroscience Program, Westmont College
 
The current study was meant to design a pure visual discrimination task in a radial arm maze, unique to the caudate nucleus functions.  The animals were be trained in the task in a radial arm maze and then were lesioned either in the fimbria-fornix or caudate nucleus, or were assigned to be a sham surgery.  After recovery, the animals were tested in the same task and apparatus.  After review of the animals’ performances and the histologies there should be evidence to support that the designed task is a pure caudal task. 
 
 
Poster # 13
Effects of Cerebellar Lesions on Response to Chronic Ethanol Treatment in the Rat: Proposed Role of the Fastigial Nucleus in Alcohol Addiction
Natalie C. Johnson, Raymond Paloutzian*, Tom Fikes*
Psychology Department, Westmont College
 
The cerebellum has historically been regarded as the brain\'s center for motor coordination, but recent research has implicated this structure in the integration of higher-level emotions and cognitive processes. The fastigial nucleus of the cerebellum - because of its role in mood regulation and neuropsychiatric disorders, anatomical connections to the limbic lobes, communication with dopamine supply nuclei, and activation by drug-related cues - is hypothesized to play a role in addiction-formation. Surgical, fastigial nucleus lesioned, rats and control rats were subjected to a thirteen day chronic ethanol treatment involving a once daily injection. Animals were compared based on the criteria for rodent models of alcoholism which include: 1. tolerance development as evidenced by righting reflex and tilted plane sensitivity tests (of the sedative/hypnotic and ataxic effects of alcohol, respectively), 2. ethanol preference as evidenced by consumption relative to water in a two-bottle free-choice paradigm, and 3. withdrawal-induced anxiety and depression as evidenced by performance on the elevated plus maze, open-field behavior, and inescapable shock reaction.

Poster #14

Multiple Memory Systems of the Rat Brain: Comparing the Roles of the Caudate and Fimbria-Fornix
Christina Duncan,  Jeff Bednark, Thomas Fikes*
Neuroscience Program, Westmont College
 
This project investigated multiple memory systems in the rat brain, specifically those systems involved with the fimbria-fornix of the hippocampus and the caudate nucleus of the basal ganglia.  Lesions were made in each of these areas and performance on a spatial task was compared before and after the lesions were made. 
  
Poster #15
Computational Modeling of the Movement of the T. Cruzi Parasite in a Three Dimensional Environment
Cailin K. Andruss and Wayne Iba*
Computer Science Department, Westmont College
 
Chagas’ Disease, caused by infection with the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite, is deadly and wide spread.  Unfortunately, very little is known about the parasite that could be used in treatment and prevention.  The goal of the Virtual Parasite Project (VPP) is to design an in silico laboratory that provides insight into the parasite-host dynamics of the T. cruzi parasite with its host by modeling the biophysical interactions (Witten, 2005).  To that end, this project seeks to expand upon the existing VPP model of T. cruzi parasites by adding modules for the parasites’ movement through their environment and interactions with their surroundings.
 
 
Poster #16
Starblab, "Connecting the Body"
Brad Jensen, Dan Shank, and Kim Kihlstrom*
Computer Science Department, Westmont College
 
A scalable gossip-based group communication protocol Starblab is a wide-area software communication module that includes a decentralized group membership protocol and a gossip-based communication protocol.  The protocols are scalable to a large number of processors, and are decentralized to provide tolerance to crash faults.  We have continued prior work on this project including both system design and implementation. This research is being conducted as part of an ongoing project to develop the Starfish system, which is a collaborative effort between Westmont and Carnegie Mellon University.  Starfish is a software system that provides survivability for middleware applications operating in an asynchronous distributed system.  While Starblab is being developed in support of the Starfish system, it can also be integrated into other systems that require scalable group communication.
 
 
Poster #17
Mouse Database Project
John Hilp and Wayne Iba
Computer Science Department, Westmont College
 
I am taking over a project that was already started.  The website is used by Westmont Biology students to enter in data from their studies about arthritic mice.  I made checks to make sure that for the various functions, the data must be valid before proceeding.  I also provided various functionalities to better interact with the data.
 
 
Poster #18
Kurt Gödel: Logical Genius
Justin Marks and Russell Howell*
Mathematics Department, Westmont College
 
Kurt Gödel is the mathematician responsible for the First and Second Incompleteness Theorems, two major results which shook the foundations of mathematics and continue to shape the broader philosophical landscape.  Briefly, Gödel constructed a proposition that says, of itself, "This proposition cannot be demonstrated."  On a meta-level, if the sentence is false then it can be demonstrated, but then mathematics is inconsistent, as it can demonstrate something that is false.  Thus, Gödel produced a true statement that cannot be demonstrated given the assumption that mathematics is consistent.  But meta-level arguments are not good enough for mathematicians, and my project focuses on diving beneath the surface of superficial comprehension to the depths of Gödel's mathematical masterpiece.  I begin with a survey of the life and times of Gödel, setting the stage for the moment his theorems found audience in the world.  Then I present both a general survey and a more rigorous explication of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems, followed by an inspection of the implications of these theorems.
 
 Poster #19
Automated Cosmic Muon Flux Measurement with CMDA
Michael Strongman and Warren F. Rogers*
Physics Department, Westmont College
 
The Cosmic Muon Detector Array (CMDA), constructed by Westmont students, consists of eight long scintillation detectors with photomultiplier tubes at each end.  Arranged with seven detectors in a circular arc with the eighth at the focus, the array acts as a "wide-angle camera" for the cosmic muon flux in the sky.  We demonstrate the method for long term measurements with the CMDA, which will yield information on temporal variations of the muon flux in the north and south skies.  The CMDA has been automated such that measurements are being taken continuously into one hour data blocks locked to sidereal time.  Also, work done to achieve corrections of instrumental variations via energy gating will be shown.


Poster #20

MoNA Calibration and Neutron Tracking
Shea Mosby and Warren F. Rogers*
Physics Department, Westmont College
 
The Modular Neutron Array (MoNA) at the NSCL consists of 144 2-m long scintillator-bars stacked 16 high by 9 layers deep. The array, used in conjunction with a large sweeper magnet, is designed to investigate properties of neutron rich nuclei near the drip-line. In order to properly track neutrons resulting from breakup reactions, it is imperative that all bars be carefully calibrated for position. While different PMT response times can be measured and corrected for by applying precise offsets to the data, there remains no method for measuring and correcting for slight physical misalignment of the individual bars. We’ve developed a method which uses the straight-line paths created by cosmic muons passing through the array to “tie'' all the bars together into one consistent position calibration. We’ve developed an algorithm which filters high-multiplicity muon events from the data stream and plots their individual tracks through the array. A least square fit is applied to each track and the resulting individual bar offsets from the fitted line are statistically compiled. This method can be extended to provide a tool for distinguishing multiple scatterings of individual neutrons from higher multiplicity neutron events, which will be important for future experiments. Results will be presented. Work supported by NSF grant #PHY05-2010.

 
Poster #21
Transfer of Immune Cells to Induce Rheumatoid Arthritis in Mice
Joel Wilcox and Eileen McMahon*
Biology Department, Westmont College
 
In a strain of mice that spontaneously develops rheumatoid arthritis, immune cells were collected from mice with moderate to severe arthritis.  In most cases, spleen cells were collected; in one experiment lymph node cells and immune cells circulating in the blood were also collected.  Cells were then injected intravenously or intra-peritoneally into non-arthritic mice of the background strain and mice were scored for symptoms of arthritis.  As of this writing, only intravenous transfer of 25 million splenocytes has proven sufficient to induce the disease
 
   
Poster #22
Continuing Study of Rheumatoid Arthritis in Mice
Joel Wilcox, Kirsten Holshausen, Eileen McMahon*
Biology Department, Westmont College
 
Serum antibody levels and immune cell activity were studied in a strain of mice that spontaneously develops rheumatoid arthritis.  Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) were used to compare levels of antibody isotype IgG2a in arthritic mice with those in non-arthritic littermates.  The intention was to determine any trends in IgG2a fold difference values and compare these results with those from earlier experiments with other isotypes.  Spleen cells were also harvested from arthritic mice and non-arthritic littermates to test the cells' disease-causing properties. One experiment also used immune cells from lymph nodes and blood.  Both the arthritic and non-arthritic cell suspensions were injected into groups of mice from the background strain, and the mice were then observed for signs of arthritis.  No mice receiving intraperitoneal injections developed the disease, but two mice that received arthritic cells intravenously developed very severe cases of arthritis within a day.
 
 
 
 
Poster #23
Optical Studies of the Disorder-to-Order Transition of 1,4-Dimethylnaphthalene on Al2O3
Michelle Evans and A.M.Nishimura*
Chemistry Department, Westmont College
 
Amorphous 1,4-dimethylnaphthalene, DMN, on Al2O3 exhibits strong excimer emission. Upon heating the surface, the adlayer undergoes a disorder-to-order transition, signaled by a decrease in excimer and an increase in fluorescence. Water, which has a lower desorption temperature than DMN, is vacuum deposited first, followed by DMN, forming a bilayer. When the surface is heated, water percolates through the DMN, forming a molecular H2O-DMN complex that desorbs simultaneously.
 
Poster #24
Dynamics of Disorder-to-Order Transition in 1,4-Dimethylnaphthalene: Formation of an Associated Complex by Percolation of p-xylene through 1,4-Dimethylnaphthalene Adlayer on Al2O3(0001)
Daniel Hoss, Greg Allen and Allan Nishimura*
Chemistry Department, Westmont College
 
Amorphous 1,4-dimethylnapthalene (DMN) vacuum deposited on Al2O3 exhibits strong excimer emission.  In a bilayer experiment, p-xylene was deposited first followed by DMN.  The surface was heated and desorption was measured using mass spectroscopy.  Unassociated p-xylene percolated through DMN to form a p-xylene-DMN complex.  The complex has been determined to be(DMN)7.9±0.1•p-xylene.


Poster #25

Preparation of Aracemic β-Lactams Using Organoiron Complexes
Julie Ray and David F. Marten*
Chemistry Department, Westmont College
 
The pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest growing fields and, thus, much interest is given to the area.  Consequently, it is important to continuously modify and perfect the synthesis of compounds already used in medicinal drugs and to create new compounds that are biologically important.  Compounds within the β-lactam family have particular pharmaceutical interest as they are used in medicinal drugs such as penicillin.  Experiments were performed in order to investigate and synthesize different derivatives of organometalllic compounds containing the η5-cyclopentadienyldicarbonyliron (Fp) complex.  The Fp complexes were then used to synthesize β-lactams.  Characterizations of all products were done using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), infrared (IR), and/or polarimetry.
 

Poster #26
Synthesis and ODMR Spectroscopy of 5-Chloro-2-Indanone
Jon Burdett, David F. Marten*, and Allan Nishimura*
Chemistry Department, Westmont College
 
There are two parts to this project; the first half is to develop a reasonable synthesis for the previously unreported 5-chloro-2-indanone.  After searching the literature for possible methods to use, Flash Vacuum Pyrolysis (FVP) of the phenyl propargyl ethers was judged to be the best option to explore first.  FVP of 4-chlorophenyl propargyl ether at 420° C produced a crude product of 5-chloro-2-indanone that was purified by distillation and chromatography on silica gel.  The purification was completed by repeated sublimation.  The second half of the experiment consists of taking a small crystal sample and producing and observing the triplet excited electronic state and irradiating it with specific frequencies of microwaves and analyzing the change in intensity of the emission process (Optically Detected Magnetic Resonance, ODMR)
 
 
Poster #27
Stoichiometric Relationship of 1,4-Dimethylnaphthalene and Water
April Louie and Allan Nishimura*
Chemistry Department, Westmont College
 
When amorphously dosed onto an aluminum oxide (Al23) crystal 1,4-dimethylnaphthalene exhibits several key transitions before desorption.  These transitions can be verified through optical interference experiments.  This experiment focused on studying the interaction between 1,4-dimethylnaphthalene (DMN) and water during these transitions.  When water is dosed beneath the DMN adlayer, the result is impaired desorption of water.  Water typically desorbs at temperatures around 150 K, while DMN typically desorbs around 240 K.  Therefore, the water is forced to desorb only when it is able to escape from underneath the DMN adlayer.  Data shows three key interactions observed (by mass spectrometry) between DMN and water.  The first peak is water desorption at ~207 K due to shuffling within the DMN adlayer.  The second peak (~230 K) is due to a disorder to order transition that occurs in the DMN adlayer.  At this point, the DMN becomes highly organized, and creates holes which allow all free water to escape.  The final peak (~250 K) is the remaining water that is associated with and therefore desorbs at the same time as DMN.
 
 
 
Poster #28
Studies in the Flash Vacuum Pyrolysis of Phenyl Propargyl Ether
Joshua Newton, Angie Mayfield and David F. Marten*
Chemistry Department, Westmont College
 
We have found that flash vacuum pyrolysis (FVP) of phenyl propargyl ether is an effective method for the synthesis of specifically deuterated 2-indanone (J. Luminescence 118 (2006), 21). In an attempt to fully understand the parameters that influence this reaction, we have begun to study the other side-products that are formed. Variables such as temperature of the pyrolysis and rate of vaporization have been studied. Also, deuterium labeling has been used to probe the possible mechanism for the formation of these side-products (benzocyclobutane, benzopryan, and benzofuran). Initial results in these studies will be presented and interpreted based on our proposed mechanisms.
 
 

_________

* Faculty mentor