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2019 Graduate Research Showcase

List of Posters & Presenters

Research Poster Presenters

  Laptop station 1 Laptop station 2 Laptop station 3 Laptop station 4
1:30-1:45        
1:45-2:00 Radhika Mehta Sarah Harris Kolina Koltai Anish Acharya
2:00-2:15 Lore Benson Jase Kugiya Chan Yu Korede Akinpelumi
2:15-2:30 Jason Derr Yookyung Lee Sydney Landers Suraj Rajendra Pawar
2:30-2:45 Naman Katyal Ingrid G Ristroph Pratik Shah Doug Sassaman
2:45-3:00 Yogesh Vohra Zhong Wang Lynn R Wills  
3:00-3:15 Ayse Gursoy Yookyung Lee Mengxuan Wu  
3:15-3:30   Ciera Jones Miguel Valenzuela  

Radhika Mehta, Chemistry

Title

Fluorescent Probes for Zinc Metalloproteins to Explore Cellular Zinc Homeostasis

Abstract

Metals in biology mainly exist in two forms- labile, or ‘free’ metal ions and as metalloproteins where the metal ion is ‘bound’ to the protein. Metalloproteins require a metal to perform essential structural and catalytic functions. While the human genome encodes up to a million proteins, nearly 30% of these are metalloproteins and about 10% of those contain zinc as the metal ion co-factor. The metalloprotein activity, localization and quantity vary in different cells and diseases. The ability to study and image these metalloproteins in real-time would help us understand their role in maintaining metal homeostasis. This would, in turn, open up avenues to link metal homeostasis to diseases and develop metalloproteins-targeted therapies for the same. In mammalian cells, we are studying carbonic anhydrase (CA), a mono-zinc enzyme that catalyzes the reversible conversion of carbon dioxide to bicarbonate and hence is responsible for respiration, ion transport, and pH balance. CA has various isoforms that are expressed in diseases including glaucoma and some forms of cancer. While CA has been extensively studied in the past, there is limited work reporting its role in metal homeostasis within cancer cell lines (including HeLa, A549 and HEK 293). Thus, elucidating the role metals play and how they affect overall cellular balance will help in developing metalloprotein-targeted therapies in future. In bacteria, we are targeting New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM), a di-zinc enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of beta-lactam moiety in commonly used antibiotics like penicillin making them inefficacious against bacterial pathogens, and eventually leading to antibiotic resistance. NDM affects people in South Asian countries like India and Bangladesh- making it one of the leading causes of hospital-related deaths. When bacterial pathogens invade hosts, the immune system’s natural response is to lower metal availability to the bacterial cells via a process called nutritional immunity. Yet, NDM enzymes get converted to their active zinc form within the bacterial cell making this an interesting metalloprotein to track in cells. Moreover, NDM isoforms are evolving and becoming active in low zinc environments which makes them key enzymes to study with regard to zinc homeostasis.

 

Lore Benson, School of Information

Title

The Ethics of the use of Artificial Intelligence and Mathematical Models in Airline Scheduling

Abstract

AI and Mathematical models are currently being used to create efficient and profitable schedules and resource management. However, the health of the crew is not factored into these algorithms. The research seeks to understand how current scheduling practices impact the health of airline crews and what the ethical implications are. In not only understanding the details of how these algorithms work, but understanding how the actual cabin crew members are affected by it we will be able to make recommendations for more ethical practices in the future.

Jason Derr, Physics

Title

Substorm Onset from Sheared Zonal Flow Vortices and Interchange Dynamics

Abstract

The onset of magnetic substorms is often preceded by a spatially periodic chain of weak latitudinal brightenings along the auroral arcs, with a characteristic length scale of less than 100 km. Only recently have we been able to spatially and temporally resolve the auroral features using the all-sky imagers of the THEMIS mission. Kalmoni et. al. propose a theoretical model to interpret an extensive statistical analysis thereof. The aim is to determine which of several magnetotail instabilities is the source of the characteristic growth rates associated with the auroral beads. The two main candidate instabilities are the cross-field current instability and the shear flow ballooning instability. We obtain stability wave equations for the dispersion relations which differ from those referenced in the Kalmoni analysis of the shear flow ballooning instability. The differing terms combine Kelvin-Helmholtz meridional sheared flows with interchange dynamics in the magnetic fields of the auroras. Our model gives growth conditions for the auroral beads and the energy release from local pressure gradients, and should bear on the characteristic growth rates associated with the beads. The results will extend conditions for the onset of the beads, and the substorm dynamics more generally.

Naman Katyal, Chemistry

Title

Computational Modeling of Optical Response in Metal-Organic Frameworks from First Principles Methods

Abstract

Through this project, we study the photoisomerization of azo-benzene molecules inside Mg-CUK-1L MOF using experimental and computational techniques. Experimentally, photoisomerization was studied using UV-Visible spectroscopy in diffuse reflectance mode while computationally, frequency dependent polarizability matrix was calculated to model the absorption spectra from ground state configuration using ab-inito methods. Trans azo-benzene photoisomerizes to cis azo-benzene at 310 nm and cis azo-benzene photoisomerizes to trans azo-benzene at 460 nm that was correctly modeled both experimentally and computationally. The ground state geometry for this MOF adsorbed with cis azo-benzene was obtained from simulations.

 

Yogesh Vohra, Pharmacy

Title

A Systematic Review of Validated, Disease-Specific Quality of Life (QOL) Tools in Patients with Pancreatic Cancer

Abstract

Background: Pancreatic cancer originates as an abnormal growth of ductal epithelium cells and evolves into invasive cancer. Due to the presence of debilitating symptoms and manifestations, pancreatic cancer is often associated with high morbidity, poor prognosis, high mortality rates, and decreased health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

Objective: To identify validated tools used for measuring HRQOL, and to examine the disease burden on overall HRQOL in patients with pancreatic cancer.

Methods: The search was conducted using PubMed/MEDLINE, and Web of Science databases. Controlled search terminology included “Pancreatic Neoplasms,” in combination with PRO-related keywords such as “self-report” and “quality of life.” Non-English studies, non-human studies, case reports, clinical trials, review studies, and studies not assessing HRQOL as an outcome are excluded. Further, we reviewed PROQOLID database to identify any other additional tools. The PRO instruments used to assess HRQOL of pancreatic cancer patients were identified. Studies published between 1950 to 2019, reporting psychometric properties, or the process of validation were included in the final review.

Results: Out of 1196 abstracts, 62 full-text articles are examined to identify 14 QOL tools. Among these, seven tools are validated among different types of pancreatic cancers. The final review included 10 studies reporting validation process. The abstracts and full-text articles are reviewed by two researchers independently. The disease-related instruments identified are European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Pancreatic Cancer Module (EORTC-QLQ-PAN-26), Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Hepatobiliary(FACT-HEP), FACT-HEP Symptom Index 18 (FHSI-18), FACT-HEP Symptom Index 8 (FHSI-8), Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index (GIQLI), EORTC QLQ Gastrointestinal Neuroendocrine Tumor-21 (EORTC- QLQ-GINET21), and Norfolk quality of life questionnaire (Norfolk QLQ NET). EORTC-QLQ-PAN 26, FACT-HEP, FHSI-18, and FHSI-8 are validated among advanced pancreatic cancer. GIQLI is validated among periampullary neoplasms. EORTC-QLQ-GINET21 and Norfolk QLQ NET is validated among pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. FHSI-8 and FHSI-18 consisting of 8 and 18 items, took the least amount of time, and therefore appropriate for in-clinic settings.

Conclusion: Several validated tools are available for researchers and clinicians to measure disease-specific HRQOL of patients suffering from different types of pancreatic cancer in various settings. Further assessment of the measurement properties of these tools using COSMIN or EMPRO guidelines is recommended.

Ayse Gursoy, School of Information

Title

Investigating Player Practices of Information Seeking in League of Legends

Abstract

I conducted interviews with 18 players of the online game, League of Legends, and asked them to name any sources of information, such as news sites or YouTube videos, they used to find out more about the game. I also asked players to explain their habits with each of these sources to better understand how using these sources was a part of their gaming life, and how different players look to different sources. I am interested in habits players have around information sources because I think these habits are an important part of play that we haven’t studied much.

Sarah Harris, STEM Education

Title

The Role of Overnight Events on Learning at Informal STEM Education Sites

Abstract

Statement of purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine how children and families learn STEM topics when participating in an overnight event hosted by an informal STEM education site, like a museum or zoo. This study will address literature gaps surrounding learning at overnight events. Few studies use analysis methodologies that go beyond quantitative accounts of visitor behavior and reactions. These studies focus on the amount of time spent at an exhibit or Likert style surveys about the quality of the visitor’s experience. Making use of a sociocultural framework, this study will explore learning qualitatively at a finer grain of detail that is captured in timed experiences or surveys.

Significance of Study

Today, substantial scientific concerns abound in modern life, and many young people are being encouraged to pursue STEM careers. As such, people need a basic scientific background to participate fully in solutions for global concerns. However, K12 settings may not be able to adequately meet the science education needs of children to prepare them for STEM careers. Furthermore, there is a disconnect between museum practice and research. Numerous sites are hosting overnight events, but more events have not been matched by more research publications. These findings will hopefully influence informal STEM education practices as overnight events become standard program offerings for more sites.

Research questions

Although researchers have made headway in understanding how learning happens at informal STEM education sites, it is not clear how these findings extend to overnight. Given this, the study was guided by three research questions:

  1. What are the unique characteristics of learning during an overnight event?
  2. What do overnight events afford children and families that normal business hours do not?
  3. What factors influence learning during overnight events?

Methodology

Given the novelty of overnight events at informal STEM education sites and the exploratory nature of this study, a case study approach is an appropriate research strategy. This methodology allows for comprehensive understanding of learning during these events as well as highlights awareness of the experiences of marginalized populations. This approach is particularly well suited to gather the rich descriptions that are necessary to understand the learning taking place during overnight events.

Study Context

I will be conducting my study with youth attending overnight events at informal STEM education sites, i.e. museums and zoos. These overnight events are special after-hours access events where groups spend the evening doing special activities and visiting exhibit spaces before sleeping on site, usually in a classroom or auditorium.

Data Collection

Data for this study are audio and video recorded observations and written field notes, as well as staff and family semi-structured interviews. To collect audio and video recorded observations, visitors will be outfitted with GoPro-style cameras and lanyard microphones to continuously capture the movements and conversations visitors have as they move through the museum space. Data collection will take place over a 9-month period.

Jase Kugiya, Educational Leadership

Title

Leveraging the Role of Mentoring: Understanding the Impact of Mentoring on Latino Male Mentors

Abstract

This poster presentation examines the role of mentoring relationships on Latino male students, more specifically the impact that it has on the mentors. Literature has primarily focused on the mentees, their experiences and the outcomes it has on them. This study adds to the body of literature by examining how the mentoring role impacts Latino male undergraduate mentors. The poster presentation specifically looks to understand how participating in a mentoring program serving middle school and high school men of color influences these mentors' outlook on their higher education experiences and their career goals or aspirations. We employ a qualitative approach to help understand these experiences, including using a survey to gather demographic information of our participants as well as individual and focus group interviews. The researchers leverage their scholar-practitioner lens, as well as their positionality as graduate male students of color for the process of data analysis and interpretation. Ultimately, this study aims to inform future implications for research, praxis, and policies for advancing Latino male students through the educational pipeline.

Yookyung Lee, Educational Psychology

Title

The Roles of Father Involvement and Maternal Marital Satisfaction in Children’s Depression, Anxiety, and Aggressive Behaviors

Abstract

Earlier studies showed that father involvement and marital satisfaction affected children’s development. Specifically, greater father involvement was positively related to greater maternal marital satisfaction, and to higher levels of children’s emotional security, self-control and happiness. In addition, higher levels of maternal marital satisfaction led to fewer children’s behavior problems. However, little research has examined how these aspects might influence maternal marital satisfaction or children’s internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. To fill this gap, the present study evaluates the relations among father involvement, maternal marital satisfaction, and children’s behavior problems. A total of 1,666 families with four-year-old children (851 boys, 815 girls) participated. Four questionnaires were used to measure father involvement (reported by fathers), maternal marital satisfaction, children’s anxiety/depression, and children’s aggressive behaviors. These main results imply that greater father involvement does not directly impact children’s behavior problems, but when maternal marital satisfaction plays a role as a mediator in this relationship, father involvement indirectly affects children’s anxiety/depression and aggressive behaviors via mothers’ marital satisfaction. This emphasizes the importance of maternal marital satisfaction in the relationship between fathering and child development. Also, mothers with lower marital satisfaction might have depressive symptoms and might perceive boys’ externalizing behavior problems more readily than girls’ behaviors. Investigating whether maternal depression mediates the relationship between marital satisfaction and children’s aggressive behaviors could improve future studies.

Ingrid G Ristroph, STEM Education

Title

Teachers' Use of Visualizations to Foster Algebraic Thinking in Elementary School

Abstract

In this poster, we discuss analyses of classroom observations in which elementary teachers from three large school districts taught the same set of early algebra lessons, documenting variations in their use of visual representations. The large-scale nature of this study provides a unique opportunity to identify differences in teachers’ use of visual representations and to identify aspects of the practice associated with positive classroom outcomes.

Zhong Wang, Kinesiology

Title

Neural Mechanisms in Knee Pain: Why Female is More Susceptible than Male

Abstract

Two muscles-- Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) and Vastus Lateralis (VL) are in a rivaling relationship similar to tug-of-war, in order to keep the intermediary-- patella or kneecap gliding in the middle and balanced position. Lateralized patellar sliding is thought to be the primary mechanism for knee pain. On the other hand, female suffers from multiple times higher likelihood of knee pain than male. In this study, we investigated the VMO-VL relationship during fatigue between female and male by measuring muscle electricity from VMO and VL. We found that, as subjects' fatigue grows, VMO and VL begin to de-couple in female compared with in male. After a closer look at the activities of VMO and VL, respectively, it was found that VL activation is more pronounced in female while VMO and VL are equal in male. What happens in female VMO-VL relationship turns out to be very alike to the patterns of knee pain patients. Hence, our conclusion is female exhibits "knee pain-ish" neural control on muscles surrounding knee joints, which provides mechanism for female susceptibility.

Yookyung Lee, Educational Psychology

Title

The Interplay among Paternal Warmth, Maternal Depression, and Young Children’s Aggressive Behaviors across Three Time Points

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that maternal depression is one of the strongest predictors of young children’s behavior problems. Yet parental warmth is associated with fewer behavior problems. Most studies on the relationships between these variables have focused on only maternal warmth and have been limited to either one or two time points. Consequently, we have very little knowledge of the influence of paternal warmth on children’s behavior problems over time, especially in the context of maternal depression. To address this gap, the present study examines the relationships between paternal warmth, maternal depression, and children’s aggressive behaviors across three time points. A total of 1,824 families with a three-year old child (in 2011) participated over the course of three years. The results showed that paternal warmth, maternal depression, and children’s aggressive behaviors were associated with one another at each time point. Also, greater maternal depression at the first year predicted more children’s aggressive behavior problems at the second year, and these more children’s aggressive behavior problems again predicted greater maternal depression at the third year. Furthermore, greater paternal warmth at the first year predicted fewer children’s aggressive behaviors at the second year, the this fewer behavior problems subsequently predicted lower maternal depression at the third year. These results highlight the importance of positive fathering behaviors for maternal psychological well-being as well as children’s development throughout the lifespan.

Ciera Jones, Kinesiology

Title

Hot and Cold Spots of Youth Lacrosse: How Utilizing GIS Can Identify Opportunities and Barriers to Participation

Abstract

For the first time in 30 years, participation in high school sports declined in the 2018-2019 school year, mirroring trends observed in youth sport participation. Despite the overall dwindling numbers, especially in traditional sports like football and basketball, participation in lacrosse has continued to increase. Once considered a more regional sport restricted to the east coast, growth in the popularity of lacrosse has coincided with the westward expansion in opportunities to participate. Although youth sport participation is seen as a rite of passage of youth in the United States, no all children have the opportunity to play, and children of families with lower socioeconomic status are often left behind. Programs targeted to increase inclusion are inconsistent. In order to effectively reduce barriers to sport, it is crucial to further our understanding of patterns of the cultural trends of where sports are being played. We propose to utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a computer system that uses spatial data, such as addresses, to analyze patterns of participation. GIS is widely use in other fields but is still in its infancy in sport management. We have participation information from a national governing body registration database and will produce maps to analyze where lacrosse participation is growing. By identifying where lacrosse is growing or remaining popular, we can further investigate those areas to understand why. This innovative approach can provide evidence to inform policymakers about participation trends, insights about potential trajectories and location of change, and to identify potential areas to allocate resources for a greater chance of future growth. This investigation may reveal promising application for further research questions and management decisions.

Kolina Koltai, School of Information

Title

Questioning Science with Science: The Evolution of the Vaccine Safety Movement

Abstract

Purpose: This research sets out to understand the values that motivate vaccine safety advocates who question the safety of vaccines and oppose vaccination mandates. As is generally the case for public scientific controversies, the vaccination debate is uneven The vast majority of medical researchers support vaccination mandates. While a some of the general public also supports vaccination mandates, vaccination mandates are opposed by a vocal and growing minority. This minority is generally ignored by most mainstream voices in the scientific literature and the mass media as uninformed and irrational. However, efforts to sway these individuals through public health campaigns have been largely ineffective to date.

Methods: To understand the factors that motivate individuals within the vaccine safety movement, we recruited ten participants to be interviewed from an autism conference, an online forum, and through snowball sampling. Interview questions covered topics from how they came to hold their beliefs about vaccines, the sources of information they trust, their interactions with others about vaccines, and their values. iInterviews lasted on average for an hour (45 - 80 min) and were recorded to facilitate transcription. We used an analysis technique called "thematic analysis" to identify themes and trends in the data. We also employed respondent validation (checked with our participants) as a means for validating our results

Findings: Our findings suggest that there is more to the vaccine safety movement than what current theories and models propose. We identified four emergent value-laden themes: benevolence toward children, intellectual curiosity about vaccines, skepticism toward scientific elites, and respect for the scientific method. There is an assumption that the vaccine safety community is inherently anti-science and that they are selfish in caring only about their own children. These interviews indicate an evolutionary development to their beliefs that go against these assumptions. Our participants express deep care not only about their own children but about children everywhere. Their desire to protect and improve the health of all children spurred their interest in exploring more about vaccines. This exploration and examination of vaccine information is done with a highly critical lens, particularly of scientific elites and financial conflicts of interest. Our participants expressed a high value and appreciation for science and the process of questioning and discussing scientific issues and concerns.

Conclusions: The results of this study can help us to understand how values motivate individuals to take positions outside of the mainstream in public scientific controversies, such as climate change and genetically modified foods. Further, the findings help to demonstrate that enhanced understanding of the values that motivate vaccine safety advocates can help us to create shared dialogues that unite rather than divide factions within the vaccination debate, moving from conflict to consensus.

Chan Yu, Economics

Title

The Role of Immigrants in Chinese Import Competition and the US Labor Market

Abstract

In this paper, I suggest that the existence of immigrants facilitate the adjustment of the labor market to the Chinese trade shock. In this paper, I find that immigrants are more mobile than natives to the trade shock. Additionally, the labor mobility of immigrants is closely related to immigrant's behavior that immigrants want to achieve higher future income. I show evidence that immigrants move and achieve better labor outcomes. Also, the departure of immigrants mitigates the native employment and wage outcome which are adversely impacted by the trade shock. Natives who are surrounded by more immigrants have fewer declines in employment and wage rates compared to natives who are surrounded by fewer immigrants.

Sydney Landers, Historic Preservation

Title

Austin, Texas: Green Book Sanctuaries in the Capital of Texas during the Jim Crow Era

Abstract: 

Being in the south, Texas had a reputation for being behind in the times when it comes to repealing segregation and Jim Crow era laws. Green Book locations were especially critical in a state like Texas as they ensured safety for African American travelers as they hold their breath for a majority of the journey. In 1928, the Austin Master Plan found a loophole to push African American communities into East Austin via discriminatory zoning and planning practices. This master plan becomes very visible when identifying the green book sites in Austin as they are all exclusively in East Austin. This poster serves as a snapshot of life in Austin during the Jim Crow Era. The eight buildings highlighted in this publication were prominent in the African American community at the time. Roughly ½ of the buildings listed are still standing, primarily serving a new and evolved purpose. Extant or not, these structures speak to a community and its perseverance against institutional discrimination.

Pratik Shah, Advertising

Title

A Study on Motivations to use Mobile Augmented Reality and How it Leads to Learning, Recall, Persuasion, and Experience Sharing

Abstract

This research focuses on mobile augmented reality (MAR) as an interactive platform. Augmented reality (AR) is a system that enables adding digital elements to the natural surrounding through interactive technologies like head-mounted displays (HMDs) and handheld devices. MAR is a form of handheld AR devices (smartphones and tablets). This research is divided into two studies. Study one tries to determine how the motivation like experiencing fun and pleasure as well as finding the tool useful leads to developing positive attitude towards using MAR. It also looks at how the attitude changes when the users have privacy concerns and when they believe using the platform would be more pleasurable or just useful. The second study, through a lab experiment, looks at how MAR (compared to non-MAR, i.e. conventional graphics like 3D animation) lead to realizing that the virtual graphics are a part of the users real environment and facilitate a clearer visualization of the real scenery with the help of virtual graphics in MAR. It further tries to determine whether the clearer visualization through MAR (compared to non-MAR) lead to better learning of the message, recall, persuasion towards the message of the visual in MAR, and lastly, sharing the experience of using the MAR. This study’s implications are – users give privacy concerns and enjoyment prime importance when planning to use a MAR app. Hence, the designers should take that into consideration. It will also indicate the strength of MAR compared to non-MAR to the marketers when they plan to reach out to their target audience with the objective of learning, recall, persuasion and experience.

Lynn R. Wills, Liberal Arts - Human Dimensions of Organizations

Title

Giving Everyday Resistance Voice - How Work gets Done

Abstract

The world has always been complex, but in an age where information spreads rapidly, successful leaders and employees are faced with a new set of choices, must ask different questions, and must understand their entire business as opposed to simply their part of it. As organizations struggle with complexity by becoming decentralized, flexible, and performance-oriented, employees must respond by becoming more creative and innovative in how they work. Formal organizations have rules and processes that are necessarily designed to align employee behavior with the organizational goals. Unfortunately, those rules and processes lack the flexibility to adapt to the new and complex age we're in. Therefore, strict obedience to those rules and processes often leads to painful dilemmas for both employee and leader: do I follow a dysfunctional rule or process, or do I do what makes sense to get the job done? Positive workplace resistance - that is, resisting processes and rules for the good of the organization and its members - may offer a path to accelerate innovation, increase organizational competitiveness, and foster positive organizational change. This research analyzed interviews with managers to understand why they disagreed with certain rules and processes, how they decided to resist those that they disagreed with, and how they actually went around them to get their job done. It also looked into the managers' attitudes toward people who write rules, top leadership who implement the rules, and how they network with their peers. The research concluded that the resisters were pretty prudent. Rather rather than blatantly resisting rules and processes, the participating managers found creative ways to either cope with the ones they didn't like, or work around them through various different activities in order to get their work done.

Mengxuan Wu, Communication Sciences and Disorders

Title

Word Spelling and Icon Identification across four Brain-Computer Interface Displays

Abstract

Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technology has potential to serve as a written communication tool for people with complete paralysis as a result of either a brain stem lesion (e.g., Locked-in Syndrome) or a progressive neurological condition (e.g., Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) (Brumberg et al., 2018). These individuals have no means of producing speech, limb, or facial movements and are candidates for technology that captures and decodes neural signals. The P300 speller is one such technology that has been tested with typical individuals and with individuals with no functional speech as a result of a brain injury.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate intendiX (www. g.tec.at), a commercially available visual P300 BCI device marketed as a tool for written communication for people with severe motor impairment. The intendiX Speller system uses a visual evoked P300 paradigm to determine which target letter is being attended by the user. In this paradigm, rows or columns of the on-screen keyboard flash in random sequence at a rate of 5.7 Hz. The randomized flash between columns and rows elicit the P300. After about 5-minute training, the device created an individualized classifier for the user, which enables the user to spell words by “focusing” on the target.

Materials include a computer with two monitors, intendiX personal spelling system, four keyboards and a word list comprising of 8 concrete and 8 abstract words. The keyboards are as follows: standard Intendix board (black and white letters and icons specific to Intendix), pure letter board (words and letters presented in black and white), black and white smart phone board (words and letters presented in black and white and smart phone icons), and color smart phone board (words and letters in color and smart phone icons). The last three keyboards were developed by the authors for the purposes of this study. These keyboards were tested and found to be compatible with intendiX. Preliminary data analysis for 13 typical participants (age M=28.16, SD=7.52, gender ratio M: F =5: 8) indicated that mean accuracy for single words for across four different keyboards were as follows: Intendix (M=.86, SD=.18), Pure word (M=.86, SD=.25), Black and White Smart Phone (M=.88, SD=.18), Color Smart Phone (M=.87, SD=.15). Mean accuracy for concrete words (M=.88, SD=.17) and abstract words (M=.85, SD=.22) did not differ. Order effect was found in the preliminary study, which may indicate the fatigue effect. The mean accuracy of icons across keyboards ranged from .73 to .85 with greatest accuracy for the original keyboard. These results indicate that BCI has potential to facilitate written communication in persons with total paralysis of voluntary muscles.

Miguel Valenzuela, Economics

Title

Impact of Occupational Stress on Teachers' Probability of Divorce

Abstract

Using survey data from the GSS, I found that nurses reported feeling stress at work often or always about 22.2% of the time while nurses claimed to be feeling stress often or always more than 39% of the time from 1989 to 2010. Based on this survey data, I classified teaching as the relatively “low-stress” career and nursing as the “high-stress” career. Since it is assumed that a career is more stressful if one works longer hours, I also look at how divorce rates increase within these two careers as the number of hours worked rises. If there is a correlation between higher stress levels and a higher chance of divorce, then it means that marrying someone who is in a high-stress career could make the marriage more likely to end in divorce. By looking at a 5% sample of census data on IPUMS of female nurses and school teachers in the United States for 1990 to 2010, I found that the more hours nurses worked in a week, the higher the divorce rate of nurses. For instance, the divorce rate of nurses working 19 to 28 hours was lower than the divorce rate of nurses working 39 to 48 hours per week from 1990 to 2010, meaning that nurse’s divorce rate increases as they work more hours in a week. Like nurses, the divorce rate of teachers also increases as the number of hours worked rises. Teachers who worked 19 to 28 hours a week had a lower chance of divorce than teachers who worked 39 to 48 hours a week for all years between 1990 and 2000, showing that the divorce rate of teachers also rises as the number of hours worked goes up. I compare groups of female nurses and female teachers who had the same age, who worked similar hours, and who had the same amount of college education. I control for the number of hours worked since nurses tend to work more hours than teachers, and differences in hours worked could affect the divorce rate. I also control for differences in ages of teachers and nurses by only comparing teachers and nurses who were 30 to 50 years old. I control for differences in income by only looking at women who had a household income between 40,000 and 75,000. Nurses tend to earn higher wages than teachers so differences in their wages could lead to differences in divorce rates. When the number of hours worked increased, the divorce rates for both teachers and nurses rose, but the divorce rates of nurses were more sensitive to increases in working hours per week since there was a larger change in the divorce rate of nurses when comparing nurses who worked 19 to 28 hours to nurses who worked 29 to 38 hours. The sensitivity of nurses’ divorce rates has been increasing over time since the gap in divorce rates of nurses working less than 28 hours and nurses working 39 to 48 hours was higher in 2000 than the previous decade. Thus, my research suggests that nurses have higher divorce rates than teachers due to a higher level of stress from their careers, but other factors could also affect stress levels and the chance of divorce meaning a causal interpretation of the findings are not possible at this time. It is important to note the possible source of endogeneity that results from the fact that nurses who are divorced may choose to work more hours. One way to overcome this problem is to look at a subset of nurses who have less flexibility in terms of changing the number of hours worked, similar to the rigid 8am to 5pm schedule of teachers. I believe one should only look at nurses who recently changed careers from a profession that was less stressful to see whether changing to the more stressful career leads to an increase in the chance of divorce. The negative impact of stress from the workplace could possibly cause conflict between the wife and the husband which can help us better understand the reasons people tend to divorce. Linking higher levels of stress from a married woman’s career to higher rates of divorce can help working women become aware that stress from their careers could increase their risk of divorce.

Anish Acharya, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Title

Online Embedding Compression for Text Classification using Low Rank Matrix Factorization

Abstract

We explained how huge neural networks tend to slow down the performance of a system. The proposed paper called ‘”Online Embedding Compression for Text Classification using Low Rank Matrix Factorization”, includes a method to compress embedding tables that often compromises the NLU network’s performance thus slowing down AI based systems like Alexa. This will help Alexa perform more and more complex tasks in milliseconds. We covered the following topics within the paper: A compression method for deep NLP models to reduce the memory footprint using low-rank matrix factorization of the embedding layer. This lead to accuracy through further fine tuning. They depicted that their method outperformed baselines like fixed-point quantization and offline embedding compression for sentence classification. They provide an analysis of inference time for their method Introduce CALR, a novel learning rate scheduling algorithm for gradient descent based optimization. They further depicted how CALR outperformed other popular adaptive learning rate algorithms on sentence classification.

 

Korede Akinpelumi, Chemical Engineering

Title

A Mitigation Strategy for Solvent Emission in Post Combustion Carbon Capture

Abstract

The combustion of fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide and a mixture of other gases. Carbon dioxide, if released to the atmosphere, forms a blanket that traps heat and slowly warms the earth over time. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as global warming and its resultant effects as climate change. If we must burn coal, natural gas, and other fossils for energy, then we must do so in the most environmentally sustainable way. Amine scrubbing is a post combustion carbon capture technology that uses a solvent to trap the carbon dioxide molecules. The deployment of this technology is however hindered by long-term demonstration of process reliability and reductions in capital and operational expenses. Several pilot plants have reported the presence of the contacting solvent (amine) in the scrubbed gas in concentrations up to 1000 ppm. Although these amines are great for CO2 absorption, they are also toxic and their degradation products form ozone and carcinogenic substances upon exposure to the atmosphere. More so, it is expensive to continually replenish the solvent inventory. My research tries to understand the key operating issues resulting in volatile solvent loss in the CO2 scrubber. I do this by running experiments on small bench scale setups and much larger pilot scale plants at the UT-SRP and the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC) in Alabama. The composition of the gas is measured using an optical device that measures absorbance relative to the wavelengths of the gases, while particle distribution is measured using plates that have sieves to filter various particle size bins. In this poster, I will be presenting a mitigation strategy for volatile emission for Piperazine (PZ) solvent from a recent campaign at the NCCC. I will show a 97% reduction in PZ emissions using a combination of controls on the solvent temperature and gas residence time in the water wash.

Suraj Rajendra Pawar, Mechanical Engineering

Title

Estimation of Systemic Vascular Resistance Using Built-In Sensing from an Implanted Left Ventricular Assist Device

Abstract

Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death globally, and in recent years the demand for transplants of healthy hearts into critical patients with weak hearts has been rising. As the demand of healthy hearts increases, a proportional rise in the supply is yet to be seen. Patients who are still waiting for the healthy heart to arrive are then often implanted with a pump to help the weak heart. These devices are called Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVAD) because they help the left ventricle (the main pump of your body). Over recent years, several variations in the type of pump design have been developed and their adoption as a viable option to heart transplants is increasing. The new generation of these devices have the capability to incorporate algorithms embedded in the device, which can provide additional information about the health of the patient with such a device implanted. For instance, the blood pressure is a very common parameter of interest to physicians and can indicate abnormalities with your cardiovascular health. New designs of LVADs have the capability of using their own signals to provide an estimate of the blood pressure. Another parameter which can be used for early signs of abnormalities in the cardiovascular health is the Systemic Vascular Resistance (SVR). This parameter is indicative of resistance that your heart faces when it is trying to pump blood to your body. An increased value of the parameter might be accompanied with a rise in the blood pressure. Similarly, a decreased value of the parameter might be accompanied with a fall in the blood pressure. In either cases, persistently low or high values of SVR are indicative of abnormalities in the cardiovascular health and must be investigated by a physician. The ability of the LVAD to provide estimates of these parameters, using nothing but its own signals alone, is attractive for multiple reasons. Firstly, these parameters can now be continuously monitored on the patient even as they are discharged from the clinic, without the use of additional sensors. Secondly, these parameters can now be used by the LVAD itself, to perform more intelligent tasks to improve its functionality. This work presents an approach to use signals from an LVAD to estimate SVR. Preliminary simulations and experiments show that the SVR can be estimated with an accuracy of 1.3 %.

Doug Sassaman, Mechanical Engineering

Title

Improved Carbon Capture and Sequestration by Additive Manufacturing

Abstract

Climate change is almost ubiquitous in current discussion, and a large component of that is carbon reduction or capture. However, carbon capture/reduction can be quite costly or energy intensive. One type of carbon capture device is called a solid-gas contactor, and can be imaged as a simple honeycomb with liquid flowing through it. The amount of carbon that these devices capture is a function of the design of this honeycomb. Unfortunately, conventional manufacturing techniques do now allow for these devices to capture as much carbon as needed or as efficiently as needed. This project is exploring creating these carbon capture devices by additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing (another almost ubiquitous discussion topic). AM allows for the construction of much more complex and “engineered” honeycomb structures that will hopefully make carbon capture economically feasible.

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