A Celebration of Research

A Celebration of Research in the Klingler College of Arts & Sciences

The College held its annual Celebration of Research Poster Presentation on November 9, 2021.  This event showcases the rich variety of research taking place in our college. Here you will find a complete listing of poster presentations, including poster title and research description, organized by department/program. 

All Presenters

Department of Biological Sciences

Potentiated Hsp104 Alleles are not MItotically or Meiotically Sustainable in the Presence of [PSI+]
Hannah Buchholz

Prions are infectious, misfolded proteins that are the underlying cause of disorders such as chronic wasting disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. There are no current treatments for prion diseases, and cellular mechanisms involved in the transmission of prions are poorly understood. Molecular chaperones remodel misfolded proteins, and their expression is increased in patients with prion diseases. Our lab uses the yeast prion [PSI+] to study prion transmission. Yeast have conserved and unique chaperones that are involved in prion transmission. The Hsp104 molecular chaperone is a hexameric AAA+ ATPase that has several functions, including disaggregation of prions for propagation, protection from thermal stress, and clearance of age-associated aggregates during sporulation. Certain engineered mutations in HSP104 are considered ‘potentiated’ in that they have enhanced dissagregase activity (Jackrel et al., 2014). Intriguingly, these mutations have been shown to alleviate toxicity of misfolded peptides associated with ALS and Parkinson’s disease (Jackrel et al., 2014), but are toxic in the presence of [PSI+] when expressed at high levels (Gohkale et al., 2005). While these potentiated alleles work well with heterologous human aggregating proteins, they do not exist naturally. This poster addresses why potentiated Hsp104 alleles haven’t evolved, through my assessment of how they reduce Hsp104 functions that impact cell survival.

Fluoridated Water Pollutants Effect on Apis Mellifera Linguistica
Macnessa Fidlin

Fluoride is a common pollutant found within the environment and in various water sites. Over the summer and throughout the semester, I have been studying how different fluoride concentrations (ranging from 0-1000ppm) effect honey bees cognitive behavior. I have conducted an LD50 to test what concentration of fluoride will kill 50% of my sample size--this data helps to determine what concentrations I should use for my other assays. I have also conducted PER, a behavioral assay, to test how fluoride effects bee's cognitive behaviors. I am currently studying the acute effects of fluoride on behaviors, so I will be presenting preliminary data on this new assay.

Understanding How Molecular Chaperones Influence Transthyretin (TTR) Aggregation
Lauryn Flannagan

Transthyretin (TTR) is a tetrameric protein produced in the liver that plays a vital role in transportation of thyroxine and retinol via the bloodstream. As we age this tetramer can lose its integrity, which can allow a monomer to dissociate and expose its hydrophobic regions. This monomer will attach itself to other like monomers until it forms an aggregate. These fibrils can attach themselves onto the myocardium of the heart and can lead to heart failure for patients above the age of eighty. There is no cure for this disease, so a therapeutic is needed to remove these aggregates and improve their quality of life. While it is known that chaperones can disassemble some type of aggregates, we do know their know whether they act on TTR aggregates. I am testing how a molecular chaperone from yeast, Hsp104, influences TTR aggregation and disassembly. I assessed, using fluorescent microscopy, whether over expression of Hsp104 affects aggregate formation as well as TTR expression. I will be presenting results of my analysis.

Aggregates of Misfolded Proteins are "Cured" by Mutations of a Protein Chaperone Leading to Variable Prion Loss
Samantha Guereca, Anita Manogaran

Protein misfolding causes aggregation leading to prion or amyloid diseases in the aging human population. These diseases are progressive, have no known cure, and are thereby fatal. Yeast models are used to study prion loss (also known as curing) with the help of a protein chaperone, Hsp 104. Hsp 104 can disaggregate these misfolded proteins and “cure” the yeast. Previous efforts to genetically engineer a more efficient Hsp 104 were successful in a test tube, but our data is suggesting this may not be universally true.

Effects of TRP Channel Agonists on Honey Bee Behavior
Meghan Higgins

We fed bees sucrose solutions containing TRP channel activators and inhibitors and observed their behavior. We then compared that behavior to bees who had not been fed TRP agonists to see how activation of TRP channels changed bee behaviors. Previous research examined the behaviors of different types of bees (e.g. fanners, foragers, etc.) at different temperatures. This research examined the gap in understanding of how bees gather information about their environment.

Tools From Yeast Influencing the Aggregation of Human Transthyretin
Adam Knier

While we know that fatal disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease are associated with proteins clumping together and depositing in the body, how to break up these clumps is still unknown. The data presented here supports the idea that Hsp104, a molecular chaperone found in baker’s yeast, can remodel these protein clumps, thereby hinting at future strategies to combat these terrible disorders.

Perturbance of the Gut Microbiome Does Not Influence Honeybee Thermoregulation
Justine Nguyen

A crucial goal in behavioral ecology is to understand how organisms interact with and respond to environmental stressors. Social animals are well equipped to mitigate challenges by working together to accomplish tasks an individual could not do on their own. An often-overlooked aspect of social behavior are gut microbial communities. Recent evidence suggests that gut bacteria regulate the individual behavior of their host, but we know little about their role in collective behavior. To investigate this topic, I use the Western honeybee (Apis mellifera). Honeybees must work together to maintain optimal colony temperature to ensure proper development of their brood. They do this by collectively fanning their wings, and this behavior is facilitated by social interactions. We know that gut microbes impact honeybee social interactions and nestmate recognition. Therefore, it is possible that the perturbance of the honeybee gut microbiome would affect their ability to fan in response to heat stress. My preliminary results suggest that honeybees with a perturbed microbiome can still fan, but it is possible that my methodologies in disturbing the gut microbiome are flawed. Therefore, future directions will be focused on re-evaluating my current methodologies and exploring other possible variables that impacted these preliminary data.

Antibiotics Improve Learning Behavior in Apis Mellifera
Hannah Oas

The gut microbiome has been shown to impact health and behavior in humans as well as honeybees. Antibiotics are often used on honeybee colonies to prevent bacterial disease, but we don’t know how this treatment impacts bee behavior. To understand how antibiotics may impact honey bee behavior, we created four experimental groups to distinguish the effects of the gut microbiome and antibiotic treatment on Apis mellifera. We then measured learning behavior of individual bees using a proboscis extension reflex (PER) classical conditioning assay and found that bees treated with antibiotics learned better than bees not treated with the antibiotic. This result is important to society because honey bees are critical pollinators and essential to our food supply and by understanding bee behaviors beekeepers can better care for their colonies.

The Social Environment of the Apis Mellifera Mediates Fanning, a Thermoregulation Response
Kyara Vazquez

In my research, I studied how the social environment of the Apis mellifera, which are western honey bees, mediates fanning, a thermoregulation response to rising temperatures. Honeybees are an organized, complex society, a colony is composed of a queen, drones (which are male bees), and worker bees which are all female bees. There are typically 20,000-80,000 worker bees in a colony; an individual honey bee can not survive without a colony, since they are eusocial insects. In order to keep themselves and their colony alive, each bee has a role and duties to fulfill. Fanning is one of these duties. Fanners flap their wings to control the temperature and humidity in their hives.  Their optimal temperature is 36 degrees celsius which keeps them alive and keeps their larvae from developing malformations. When this optimal point is exceeded, the fanners start to fan creating airflow, bringing down the temperature. How do they know when to fan? What communication are they using to know when to fan? Which leads me to my question that I studied Do honeybees interact with their antennas and use it as a form of communication on when to initiate their fanning response to temperatures above 36℃? With all the data observed, it looks like honeybees with antennas are more likely to fan than honeybees without antennas most likely due to their ability to communicate more efficiently with attenuation.

Department of Chemistry

Copper-Catalyzed Transfer Hydrodeuteration of Aryl Aklynes
Isabella Alansari

Deuterated small molecules have a wide range of applications, such as standards in high resolution mass spectrometry, in studies that probe reaction mechanisms, and in performing kinetic isotope effects. In recent years, deuterated small molecules have been of interest in drug discovery because of their ability to alter the absorption and metabolism of drug molecules. The metabolic site of a number of drug molecules is the benzylic site; however, an implication of this discovery is the ability to selectively and efficiently synthesize small organic molecules where deuterium is installed at the benzylic site. This work demonstrates a means for the incorporation of two deuterium atoms at the benzylic site from an aryl alkyne to an aryl alkane through a copper-catalyzed transfer hydrodeuteration with exceptional chemo- and regioselectivity across a variety of functional groups.

Understanding How R-loops Interact With Chromatin-Remodeling Enzymes
Sara Craig

The way cells regulate themselves is very important to maintain the function of an organism. There is a need to understand how these mechanisms use their parts to create a whole. These parts have become the direct target of many different therapeutics that could lead to possible cures. In this case, an enzyme called the lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) has been found to be over-expressed in some cancer cells (Burg et al., 2015). This enzyme is considered an epigenetic regulator because it is known for its regulatory functions in both chromatin remodeling and transcription. There are new links as to how this enzyme influences transcription and how it gets recruited to specific regions in the cell. Specifically, it has been shown to interact with structured nucleic acids. One unique nucleic acid structure in the cell is called an R-loop. An R-loop is a DNA/RNA hybrid structure that can form at the end of a transcribed gene, and it can act to either silence or activate transcription (Pinter et al., 2021). 

The connection between LSD1 and R-loops suggests that nucleic acid structures can influence or direct the action of a chromatin-remodeling enzyme. This relationship will be fully investigated in the coming year.

Nonheme Iron-Thiolate Complexes as Sulfoxide Synthase Models: Synthesis, Characterization, and Dioxygen Reactivity
Danushka Ekanayake

Known as sulfoxide synthases, EgtB and OvoA are mononuclear nonheme iron enzymes that catalyze O2-dependent steps in the biosyntheses of ergothioneine and ovothiol A, respectively.  The enzymatic reactions result in the formation of a S-C bond between His- and Cys-derived substrates, along with monooxygenation of the sulfur atom.  The active sites of both enzymes contain an iron(II) center facially coordinated by three His residues, which provides three cis-labile sites for the binding of imidazole, thiolate, and O2 ligands. We have generated and characterized a series of five-coordinate iron(II)-thiolate complexes that serve as structural mimics of the EgtB and OvoA active sites.  These models are derived from Fe(II) precursors that feature a tetradentate N4 ligand with one or two pendant imidazole donors.  Further attachment of a monodentate aryl or alkyl thiolate provides a N4S coordination geometry that resembles that substrate-bound active site prior to dioxygen binding.    Exposure of these complexes to O2 and nitric oxide (NO) at low-temperature yields metastable intermediates that have been characterized by electronic absorption, FTIR, electron paramagnetic resonance, Mössbauer, and resonance Raman spectroscopies.  The observed species provide synthetic precedents for putative intermediates in the catalytic cycles of sulfoxide synthases and other nonheme enzymes with iron-thiolate units. 

Biomolecular Interactions of LSD1 Enzyme and SP2577; Towards Understanding Effects on Ewing’s Sarcoma
Joceline Helmbreck, Aashay Mardikar, Dulmi Senanayaka

People diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma develop metastatic tumors that overproduce the lysine specific demethylase 1 enzyme (LSD1). The overproduction of LSD1 is proposed to be a major contributor of growth in cancer cells. The function of the LSD1 enzyme is to demethylate histone 3 lysine 4/9 positions (H3K4 and H3K9) on nucleosomes and this chemical reaction causes an alteration of cellular transcription rates. When transcription rates are misregulated, abnormal gene expression occurs and can cause cell proliferation. A new treatment has been developed to limit tumor growth by targeting the LSD1 enzyme. A recent FDA-approved inhibitor, Seclidemstat (SP2577), was demonstrated to stop LSD1’s function and thus stop tumor growth. In this study experiments were performed to examine SP2577’s ability to inhibit LSD1’s rate of demethylation and define the kinetics of the LSD1-SP2577 binding interaction.  A coupled enzyme assay on a model substrate and on nucleosomes allowed us to monitor the rate of demethylation at different inhibition concentrations. Analysis of the kinetic data reveal that SP2577 is a tight binding, competitive inhibitor (Ki ~ 59 nM) of LSD1 catalyzed demethylation. This biochemical study serves as a first step towards understanding how the Ewing Sarcoma drug Seclidemstat influences LSD1’s mechanism of action.

Flipping the Script on Carbon Dioxide: Can it be Useful?
Jier Huang, Daniel Streater, James Nyakuchena, Kevin Choe

Use conjugated polymers to perform photochemical reduction of carbon dioxide then develop an understanding of what properties can be controlled to make the reaction more favorable.

Investigation of Photobase Initiation for a Urea-Urease Autocatalytic Propagation
Ofer Kedem, Patrick Holland

Chemical signaling is extremely important for coordination of cellular processes and communication between cells. Integrating chemicals signals into nanomachines could allow smaller scale technology with the ability to respond to a stimulus in a predictable way. We are exploring components of a surface-based chemical communication system, composed of a photobase and the urea-urease autocatalytic reaction. We synthesized a photobase suitable for surface patterning and observed the quasi-2D and 3D stirred urea-urease systems.

O2 Binding Studies of Redox-active Cobalt Complexes
Praveen Kumar

Metal-superoxo and -peroxo species are commonly proposed intermediates in the O2 activation mechanisms of metalloenzymes, including nonheme iron enzymes that incorporation both atoms of O2 into the substrate (i.e., dioxygenases). However, detection of metal/O2 adducts has proven difficult in studies of enzymes and related model complexes, and thus there is a lack of understanding regarding the structural and electronic factors that govern their reactivity.  Recently, we have succeeded in generating synthetic cobalt-dioxygen adducts that resemble those proposed for thiol-oxidizing enzymes (cysteine, aminothiophenol dioxygenase) and ring-cleaving dioxygenases.  The identities and structures of these intermediates have been probed using multiple spectroscopic techniques, including electronic absorption, electron paramagnetic resonance. X-ray crystallographic analysis also revealed an unprecedented cobalt(III)-alkylperoxo structure generated by O2 addition to a cobalt(II) center and ligand-based radical. The implications of these biomimetic studies for our understanding of metalloenzyme catalysis will be discussed. 

Probing Charge Transport Mechanisms in Photoconductive Metal Organic Frameworks
James Nyakuchena

Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs), a class of highly porous crystalline materials, which are constructed from zero- or one-dimensional inorganic chains in combination with multitopic organic ligands, have received great attention due to their extensive properties, easy preparation and a host of applications including gas storage and separation, sensing, catalysis and drug delivery.  Despite this versatility in MOFs, very few have appreciable electrical conduction and very little is known about the transport mechanisms in these materials. In this work we turn to spectroscopic techniques aided by material design to probe the transport phenomena in these hybrid materials.

Computational Research: Stability of SNAP and NACNO Molecules
Rustam Sabitov

S-Nitrosothiols(1) play a significant role as donors of nitric oxide molecules. Nitric oxide is an essential molecule that affects many physiological processes: improving blood pressure (heart health), vasodilation, and enhancing blood movement. Nitric oxide can be produced in the body by nitric oxide synthase enzymes(2). However, nitric oxide production reduces with aging. Thus, to compensate nitric oxide reduction in the body, pharmacological related S-nitrosothiols should be used, which are not stable at room temperature(3). For example, SNAP (S-Nitroso-N-Acetylpenicillamine) and NACNO (S-Nitroso-N-acetylcysteine) have got a lifetime of 2 h and 500 h, respectively(4). These molecules and their derivatives are widely utilized in the medical sphere. There are some papers where SNAP and NACNO molecules were studied(4,5), but there is a lack of information on how Sulfur Nitrogen chemical bond (i.e., stability of Sulfur Nitrogen bond) behaves upon non-covalent interaction change in SNAP and NACNO compounds. The goal of this research is to understand how non-covalent bonds may affect the stabilization of a sulfur nitrogen chemical bond. It was revealed that SNAP molecule stabilizes by the interaction between sulfur and oxygen atoms through σ-hole of sulfur, while in NACNO molecule – this bond is stabilized by a hydrogen bond between the oxygen of SNO group and hydrogen of NHCOCH3 group. This research can be used to design nitric oxide donors (S-nitrosothiols) in the future.

Nucleosome Reconstitution From Recombinant Human Histone Octamer and Wisdom 601 DNA Sequence
Owen Schneider

In every human cell, our chromatin is packaged in a way that allows for easy access to genes for transcription while silencing the genes that are unneeded at any point in time. This is done through compaction proteins called histones. A pair of each of the four core histones (H2A, H2B, H3, and H4) make up the histone octamer. From here, 147 base pairs of DNA is wrapped around the octamer to form the nucleosome. The accessibility of genes is determined by how tightly bound the DNA is to the octamer. Chromatin-remodeling factors can bind to the nucleosome and make conformational changes to affect gene transcription in a specific sequence of the genome. A region of interest in the nucleosome is the 'acidic patch', an area of negatively charged amino surrounded by the overall positively charged histones. This makes the acidic patch an attractive area for chromatin-remodeling factors. The goal of this research is to study various binding complexes of short peptides and proteins to the acidic patch of the nucleosome through x-ray crystallography.

Synthesis of Ru-Bipyridyl Complexes for Light-Driven Heterocycle Functionalization
Dian Wang, Liam Bandura

Our research has focused on the synthesis of bipyridine-supported ruthenium-pyridine complexes. These complexes represent ideal model compounds and catalyst precursors for light-driven functionalization of nitrogen-containing heterocycles, such as pyridine, via metal-to-ligand charge transfer. Pyridine is of particular interest due to its abundance in numerous bioactive molecules but poor tendency to functionalize under mild conditions. We have so far successfully developed two synthetic pathways to produce mono-pyridine and bis-pyridine complexes. Our goal is to employ the complexes in the proposed light-driven catalytic reactions to achieve functionalization of the pyridines and potentially other heterocycles.

Department of Computer Science

Causal Fusion From Pragmatic Clinical Trail and Observational Study With Structural Causal Models
Riddhiman Adib, Mohammad Adibuzzaman, Sheikh Iqbal Ahamed

We aim to estimate the causal effect of treatment interventions from pragmatic clinical trials and observational studies under the rubric of structural causal models (SCM). We propose representing pragmatic trials through structural causal models, building selection diagrams, and applying transportability methods from a source population (pragmatic trial) to a target population (observational study). We showcase our proposed framework for a real-world healthcare practice problem, i.e., to estimate the causal effect of antipsychotic drugs in treating delirium-induced patients in the ICU. We leverage an experimental dataset (source population) from a pragmatic clinical trial conducted on delirium-induced patients and an observational dataset (target population) of patients with Delirium extracted from a publicly available large healthcare dataset.

Emplowering Those Who Seek to End Hunger
Walter Bialkowski, Ganhua Lu, Jen-Li Ko, Bob Parsons, Paula Papanek, Malcolm Charles, Aishwarya Sanganalu Mattha, Jason Palmer, Marita Stapleton

Thirteen million U.S. households face food insecurity (>10% of all U.S. households) representing uncertainty in having, or inability to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of household members due to insufficient money or other resources. Facilitated through the prestigious ‘President’s Challenge’ award, Marquette University faculty and students have formed a unique alliance with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin (FAEW) leadership that brings together the field of data science and the mission to end hunger. Through experiential learning, faculty-mentored students have developed the business intelligence, business analytics, and visual analytics tools FAEW needs to end hunger more effectively in our communities.

Time Series Donation Forecasting: A Partnership with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin
Walter Bialkowski, Aishwarya Sanganalu Mattha, Jeff Joslyn, Bob Parsons, Jen-Li Ko, Paula Papanek, Ganhua Lu, Jason Palmer, Marita Stapleton

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin (FAEW) experienced an 81% increase in food distributed during the first year of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic relative to pre-pandemic distribution amounts. The vast majority of food distributed is collected as donations from corporations, businesses, cooperatives, farmers, and individuals, introducing uncertainty in food availability. Facilitated through the prestigious ‘President’s Challenge’ award, Marquette University faculty and students extended their unique alliance with FAEW leadership to develop forecasting models using historic donation data. 

An Investigation and Exploratory Analysis into Capturing Nutrient Value at the Point of Consumption
Andrew Noecker, Walter Bialkowski, Randall Gretebeck

Obesity prevalence in the United States was 42.2% in 2017-18 (CDC) with disparities existing across Race, Ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Sugar and fat are both significant contributors to obesity and researchers lack knowledge on how much is being consumed by individuals.  Researchers need accessible and efficient tools to measure nutritional value at the point of consumption. Our team created a codebook to enhance the creation an organized dataset to support data integration across image decomposition, hyperspectral imaging technology, brief action planning, and nutrient content. Visual analytics solutions were utilized to perform exploratory data interrogation in support of a forthcoming grant submission. 

Classification of Heart Diseases by Analyzing Heart Sound
Sayeda Farzana Aktar

This research proposes a new method to classify heart diseases by analyzing heart sounds. The proposed system is aimed to design software known as a heartbeat audio classifier. This software should be able to differentiate an abnormal heartbeat and classify the probable disease type.

Incentivizing Student Submissions with TA-Bot
Alexander Gebhard, Jack Forden

We've developed a system called TA-Bot to automatically grade students' homework submissions in computer science courses.  TA-Bot enforces a novel dynamic rate limiting system to incentivize early students to submit early and often.  TA-Bot also implements a form of gamification in an attempt to lower the dropout rate, improve the quality of student code, and improve students' final grades in Marquette's introductory computer science course.

mCARE: A Mobile-Bsed Care for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for Low-and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs)
Masud Rabbani, Md Ishrak Islam Zarif, Anik Iqbal, Sheikh Iqbal Ahamed

Non-Invasive White Blood Cell Counting System From Smartphone Video of the Fingertip
Nafi Us Sabbir Sabith, Kazi Shafiul Alam, Md Hasanul Aziz

We propose a white blood cell counting that does not require blood to be drawn. We have combined optical and magnetic properties of white blood cells to curate a real-time White Blood Cell (WBC) counting and reporting system. We applied state-of-the-art image processing and machine learning algorithms. The portable, smartphone-based white blood cell estimation system will be able to measure critical physiologic data to provide a ’snapshot’ of the condition of a person from home.

Department of English

College Writing Writ Large
Jenn Fishman

Most research that informs writing instruction focuses on students as academic writers. In my work, I take a broader, more holistic view. Most recently, I talked with a dozen college seniors about the full range of their college-time writing experiences, and I collected academic and nonacademic writing from the same group. As a result, I can offer unique, genuinely student-centered insights into their learning. I can also offer related ideas for instruction that not only meets college writers where they are but also has the capacity to go with them everywhere they go as writers during their college years.

Student Perceptions of Grades and the Grading System
Amelia Zurcher, Lexi Harwick

In the literature of assessment it is often said that student assessment has more effect on student learning than any other aspect of the teaching and learning process. But very little is known about how students perceive grades and grading as a system in which they are immersed for 17 or more years of their lives. This research seeks to understand what a particular population of college students believes that grades should and do measure and what the functions of the grading system are, by means of a survey which has produced rich quantitative and qualitative data. 

Department of History

Voting Rights of the Freeman in New York during The Early American Republic
Avery Farmer

The sacred principles of democracy in America created by the Declaration of Independence holds that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. Voting is the power invested within the people of the United States and that responsibility has neither been given equally nor easily to all residents. African Americans have been a victim of this withholding of rights from the very conceptualization of American democracy. Built upon the fundamentally immoral practice of slavery the Early American Republic, the rights of black freemen were not addressed in the Constitution or any other federal statutes. Therefore, voting rights were left to state governments to decide the role of black men in their society. Freemen in the State of New York in the early Republic from 1800 till 1850 were caught in America’s emerging struggle to define citizenship and political power, increasing the importance of enfranchisement in the most populous state in the country. Black voters gravitated towards parties that would allow for their participation in democracy that would further shape America’s ideas on race, poverty and slavery leading up to the Civil War.

Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Remembering the Past: Chicago's Chinatown Resembles a Living Museum
Ganhua Lu, Jen-Li Ko

The ethnic and cultural differences have been used by minority groups as a strategy to make political claims and generate profits. An ethnic museum is a powerful vehicle to publicly display ethnic identity and showcase cultural uniqueness. I argue that Chicago’s Chinatown resembles a living museum and offers a representation of the “actual life” of a Chinese American community which has successfully maintained traditions from old times. The traditional Chinese culture and an “oriental” atmosphere re-created in Chinatown are detached from the complexity and dynamic nature of the contemporary Chinatown community. As a result, the development of Chinatown is distorted and frozen in time, similar to culture displayed in museums. It is this exotic and oriental ethnic experience that is used to market Chinatown to the expectations of outside visitors.

Counternarratives of Slavery from Cuba and Brazil: Rewriting Racism and Nationality
Julia Paulk

Only two first-hand accounts of slavery in nineteenth-century Latin America survive today, Juan Francisco Manzano’s Autobiografía del esclavo poeta and Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua’s Biography of Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua. Each of these texts serves as a “counternarrative” to much of what was written in Latin America about slavery in the nineteenth-century by challenging stereotypes and definitions of national identity.

Sociolinguistic Perception of L1 and L2 Spanish in the University Classroom
Maryn Schaefbauer, Sonia Barnes

University Spanish courses are taught by instructors who speak in many Spanish language varieties, including Spanish as a second language (L2). Because of widespread attitudes toward non-standard and L2 language varieties, these instructors might be evaluated differently from those for whom Spanish is their first language (L1), based solely on their speech. These evaluations can, in turn, affect their scores in course evaluation surveys completed by students and used by universities to determine merit evaluations and promotions. The goal of this study is to find out how the variety of Spanish spoken by instructors influences their perceived comprehensibility, proficiency and other characteristics that students highlight as positive traits in their instructors. In addition, the language background of the listener will be tested to determine if it significantly affects their evaluations. A survey was completed and the top 15 most valued characteristics of a language professor were determined. A second perceptual survey will involve Heritage Language Spanish Speakers and L2 Spanish Speakers that are enrolled in Spanish classes at Marquette, evaluating different L1 and L2 Spanish voices according to their perceived comprehensibility, proficiency and the 15 most frequently mentioned characteristics from the first part of the study. The results of this project will further contribute to our knowledge of sociolinguistic perception regarding perceived accent, and how listeners use linguistic cues to evaluate language competence and other social traits.

Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences

Quantitative Multidimensional Stress Assessment From Facial Videos Using Deep Learning
Lin He, Piyush Saxena, Sheikh Iqbal Ahamed

Earlier detection of the stress can prevent a short term health problem become long term detrimental conditions. It is important to monitor the stress status to reduce the health impact from the negative stress. We proposed a deep learning framework that that utilize both the convolutional LSTM to extract facial features that is relative to the stress. The framework could provide personalized assessment because it computes the differences of the same subject in different stress states. The framework could provide a multidimensional quantitative results for stress assessment.

Autonomous Pipeline for Large-scale Time-Sync Video Date Collection
Jiachen Ma

Time Sync Video Comments (TSCs) is one of the most critical social media research data sources. Many studies have used it, such as video recommendation, segmentation, and audience behavior analysis. Unfortunately, TSCs collection is usually challenging and expensive due to the limitation of the traditional hand-labeling strategy. This research tries to address this problem with an autonomous pipeline by using existing public online resources, specifically from YouTube, on a large scale.

Department of Philosophy

Celebrated Author, Maligned Philosopher: Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and Objectivist Philosophy
Zelda Kieser

This project explains how Ayn Rand came to be a philosopher and author, what her philosophy of Objectivism entails, and her literary work functions as a vessel for that philosophy. By taking a critical look at Rand's philosophy and novels in context we can understand why her books and philosophy are so popular.

Department of Physics

Biophysical Studies on Nitrile Hydratase: A "Green Chemistry" Enzyme
Brian Bennett

Nitrile hydratases (NHases) are metalloenzymes that catalyze the conversion of nitriles to amides. Although biological nitriles are manifold, the precise biological roles of NHases are under-explored. They are, however, of great biotechnological interest in the chemical feedstock and pharmaceutical industries as "green chemistry" catalysts, and in bioremediation of pesticide (bromoxynil) contaminated land. To expand the applicability of these enzymes by engineering tailored substrate specificity, we must first understand the post-translational modification and bioassembly mechanisms of their very unusual active site, and characterize the catalytic mechanism of the active holoenzyme. We use a combined biophysical and computational approach to address these questions.

Development of a Monte Carlo Simulation Code to Model Light Propagation in Biological Tissues
Declan Donahue, Annie Carani, Natanel Monosov, Mackenna Clayton, Sarah Erickson-Bhatt

Monte Carlo (MC) simulations are a useful tool for modeling light propagation in biological tissues. A Monte Carlo code is built in MATLAB which models a photon packet traveling through normal and tumor tissue. Future goals are to model multiple photon packets and simulate fluorescence.

Custom-build of a Confocal Microscopy System ot Study Human Disease
Zach Vansickle, Natanel Monosov, Declan Donohue, Annie Carani, Ryan York, Sarah Erickson-Bhatt

Confocal laser scanning microscopy is an optical imaging method which provides higher resolution than standard light microscopy as well as three-dimensional imaging. A custom confocal microscope is currently being built in house which will be used to image various cancer tissues and other diseases. 

Histopathological Analysis of Cancer and Other Human Diseases
Nicole Abalde, Alyssa Kraft, Patricia Vushaj, Sarah Erickson-Bhatt

Analysis of histopathological slides of cancer and other human disease tissues is presented. The various features of diseases such as breast carcinoma and lung carcinoma are analyzed. This analysis will be used in the future for comparison to images of these tissues using a custom-built confocal microscope. 

IceAct: Studying the Cosmic Ray Composition of the Universe From the South Pole
Larissa Paul

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory build at the South Pole detects billions of cosmic ray events per year. Over 100 years after their discovery the origin and composition of this cosmic rays is still mostly unknown. The low energy extension IceAct, an imaging air Cherenkov telescope, further improves the capability of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory to study those cosmic rays.

Confirming a Possible Circumstellar Interaction in Three Radio-Detected Type I Supernovae
Christopher Stockdale

A part of a larger collaboration, I recently undertook a ground-based, narrow-band imaging survey of old Type I supernovae (SNe) in Halpha in order to detect signatures of late-time interaction between the SN ejecta and circumstellar material (CSM) from the progenitor system. Of the many dozens of SNe observed to date, we identified eight very promising candidates. We made joint Chandra (X-ray) and Very Large Array - VLA (radio) observations of these candidates to both confirm and further study the CSM interaction taking place in these SNe. We discovered radio emission from three of these Type I Supernovae, SNe 1937D (Ia), 2004dk (Ic), and 2005kl (Ic). Following those discoveries, we proposed and were awarded additional follow-up observations with the VLA to confirm these discoveries and to measure their spectral indices across multiple VLA observing bands, and we now present the results of this radio search. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

Department of Political Science

Torture in America: Why Systematic Human Rights Violations Can Persist in Liberal Democracies
Mark Berlin

Between the early 1970s and mid 1990s, Chicago Police detectives are thought to have tortured close to 200 criminal suspects – virtually all African-American men – mostly for the purpose extracting confessions that could be used against them in court. Regularly used techniques included electrocution, suffocation, sexual violence, and mock execution. Today, these abuses are now widely acknowledged. For example, in 2015, the Chicago City Council officially apologized and approved a historic and unprecedented reparations package that provided financial and other forms of compensation to survivors and their families. Nevertheless, for nearly two decades, judges, prosecutors, elected officials, journalists, and civilian oversight bodies all mostly ignored public allegations of torture. The aim of this study is to understand why they did so, as well as what changed that eventually prompted each to change their behavior.

Farms Causing Fallout
Madelyn Davenport

Citizens of Kewaunee County are fighting for solutions to the problem of water run-off from local farms. There are currently no legal regulations that require farms to filter this run-off or prevent it from contaminating local drinking water. My research group is documenting the conversations occurring in Kewaunee County, and supporting the activists in their fight.

Defending Democracy: Civil-Military Relations and Influence in Politics
Lisa Gandolfi

This project explores challenges to civil-military relations in democracies, focusing on the increasing influence in domestic roles and its involvement in politics. The role that military forces play in democratic countries has been transforming, especially as a result of their growing involvement in the recent Covid pandemic. Militaries are also very popular in societies around the world. It is therefore crucial to prevent the military from gaining new influence and interfering in politics, thereby endangering the state of democracy. In our research, we have been analyzing instances in established democracies (such as Italy, France and Australia) in which militaries have been acquiring new prerogatives or engaging in political activity that undermined the authority of the elected civilian leaders and government.

Political Science Research: Civically-Engaged Research
Department of Political Science

This poster explains recent civically-engaged research of political science department faculty. Civically-engaged research brings political science expertise on the causes and consequences of conflict, cooperation, participation, and deliberation to the places where individuals and groups work to overcome collective action problems. The poster features examples of faculty engagement with community-based organizations and work on collective efficacy and civic engagement.

Political Science Research: In the News
Department of Political Science

This poster features recent media appearances by political science faculty related to their areas of research. Examples include interviews with local and Wisconsin media outlets, national and international media appearances, and online chats and podcasts.

Political Science Research: Public Policy
Department of Political Science

This poster illustrates a sample of recent books and articles written by MU Political Science Department faculty on issues related to U.S. domestic and foreign policy, as well as relevant policy issues occurring outside the United States.

Political Science Research: Public Scholarship
Department of Political Science

This poster highlights recent public scholarship by MU political science faculty. Public scholarship works are relatively short, often online publications that distill political science research for policymakers and the general public. Public scholarship articles are typically published by well known sites with editorial oversight, often with links editorial oversight. These works frequently contain links to research publications on the topic written by the author or other political scientists.

Gender Differences in Local Leadership during COVID-19: The Case of Scientific Expertise
Amber Wichowsky, Riley McAdams, Kaley Gilbert

Throughout 2020, as Covid-19 surged and spread across the country, the U.S. federal government largely left it to state and local governments to manage the pandemic. While partisanship has been one of the strongest predictors of state and local responses to the pandemic, gender differences in leadership have also drawn media and scholarly attention. This project leverages over 23,000 tweets posted by U.S. mayors (N=213) between March 1 and December 31, 2020 to examine gendered differences in political communication about the pandemic. We apply a machine learning approach to extract and code these data. We observe a clear gender gap that cannot be explained by differences in Covid-19 case rates or other factors. Rather, we find that Republican women mayors, all else equal, were more likely to reference data and scientific information in their social media communications, a gender difference that we hypothesize is rooted in gendered stereotypes of women and leadership.

Democratic Deliberation at Marquette: An Experimental Study
Amber Wichowsky, Shir Bloch

This study reports the results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of democratic deliberation conducted in Spring 2021. Nearly 100 Marquette students were recruited to participate in an hour-long discussion about securing economic security and opportunity for Americans. Students completed a pre-survey and were randomly assigned to deliberate in politically like-minded (enclave) or diverse groups. We report results from this study and their implications for pedagogy at Marquette.

Department of Psychology

Perspectives on Help-Seeking for Youth Mental Health Issues: The Influence of Parents' Religiosity
Alexandra Bowling, Lindsay Holly

Research with adults suggests that religiosity is related to increased likelihood of seeking help for mental health problems from a religious or spiritual healer, compared to a formal mental health professional. Because parents play an important role in accessing mental health care for youth, research on the influence of parental religiosity on child mental health help-seeking and service use is important. The current study addresses a gap in the literature by examining how parents' religiosity is related to mental health help-seeking perspectives and provider preferences. Findings from the current study may advance our understanding of barriers and facilitators of parental help-seeking and inform programming to increase service utilization.

Marquette Irenaeus Project
Christopher Krall, Stephen Molvarec, Catherine Melesky Dante, Ed de St. Aubin, Alexi Colburn, Henry Licht

This study investigates the biopsychosocial impact of maintaining either a contemplative prayer or a meditation practice daily for a ten week period.  Participants wear MUSE Headbands during their sessions so that we can collect data regarding 5 brain patterns. Each also completes psychosocial surveys focused on wellness – lengthy batteries before and after the study and brief weekly ones. Findings from a pilot study were mixed but include a statistically significant increase in one’s ability to calm the brain. The current study is in week 6 and engages Marquette undergraduates as participants.  Funded by the Marquette Beyond Boundaries Explorer Grant. 

A Mixed-Methods Investigation of Self, Strength, and Trauma in Black Women
Ed de St. Aubin, Jessica Krukowski, Alexi Colburn, Lizzie Porter, Deziray Moore

This is a large research endeavor that explores the resilience of Milwaukee Black women.  It is the self-defining stories of participants that guide this work. We seek to discern patterns of strength and resilience for those living at the intersection of two (sex; race) identity markers associated with discrimination and oppression. The particular investigation described here focuses on the women’s “low-point” narrative  – a story about a difficult life episode. We analyze the manner in which recurrent themes and salient images that exist in the stories relate to quantitative measures of psychosocial well-being, anxiety, stress, and depression.  This research funded by Marquette University Institute for Women's Leadership and through the Summer Faculty Fellowship/Regular Research Grant program  

Who Will Tend to the Shepards?
Ed de St. Aubin, Jessica Krukowski, Matthew Evans, Peg Flahive, Stephen Jenkins, Susan Mountin, Sheila Stafford

The Companions in Ministry (CIM) program, Funded by The Lilly Endowment, Inc., provides Pastors with two years of activities designed to provide respite, increase resilience/well-being, and engender networking.  Previous research provides evidence that congregational Pastors are at a greater risk of experiencing certain negative consequences (e.g., compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, stress) due to the nature of their work. Most Pastors also possess strong faith, which provides resilience in their work. The research team seeks to discern whether the CIM program significantly benefits participating Pastors. We are collecting both interview (qualitative) and survey (quantitative) date before and again after a Pastor’s participation in CIM.  

HIV Prevention Among HIV-Negative Latino Males: Identifying Sociocultural Factors Associated with Pre-exposure Prophylaxis
Juan Zapata, Ed de St. Aubin, Laura Rodriguez, Jose Salazar, Jacob Stanley

HIV is a significant public health concern affecting U.S. Latinxs, with infection rates three times higher than non-Hispanic Whites. While Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been one of the most successful biomedical advances in HIV prevention, uptake among at-risk Latinx men is considerably lower compared to non-Hispanic Whites. This study seeks to understand how Latinx sociocultural variables may impact the implementation of PrEP in order to inform a culturally sensitive prevention program. The first study identifies specific barriers and facilitators to PrEP within the Latinx community by interviewing 25 community stakeholders. The second study administers surveys to 150 Latinx men at risk for HIV. Combined, this data will be integrated into a theoretical framework to inform the development of a community-based PrEP prevention program. The work is funded both by a TL1 grant from the Clinical & Translational Science Institute and by the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center.  

Formerly Incarcerated Citizens Living in Transitional Housing: Guiding Principles and Trajectories Towards Independence
Ed de St. Aubin

This project, which was funded by a grant from Marquette’s Office of Community Engagement, is a collaboration with Table of the Saints (TOS), a Milwaukee non-profit that provides transitional housing to formerly incarcerated individuals during the reentry process. We are creating a document that specifies “principles of healthy living” to which residents adhere and lists milestones along a “trajectory towards independence” that residents take towards self sufficiency. The “we” here includes Marquette undergraduate Psychology Interns, a faculty member, the Executive Director of TOS, and formerly incarcerated folks with relevant lived experience.

Describing Parents' Beliefs About the Causes of Child Mental Health Issues: Differences Across Race/Ethnicity
Madeline Buchanan

Beliefs about the causes of mental health problems have been shown to influence help-seeking attitudes and service utilization in adults. Understanding parental beliefs about the causes of child mental health problems may be especially relevant given parents’ role as gatekeepers to services for youth. Research examining cross-ethnic differences in parents’ beliefs about causes of mental health problems is limited and may help explain the disparity observed between help-seeking and service utilization among minority populations. Thus, the current study seeks to describe parental beliefs about the causes of child mental health problems across racial and ethnic groups.

Who Supports #MeToo and the Kavanaugh Confirmation? Exploring Young Adults' Tolerance for Sexual Harassment
Erick Herrera Hernandez, Debra Oswald

Young adults have become increasingly involved in political and social movements centered around sexual harassment. This involvement likely reflects political identity as well ideological beliefs about sexual harassment. We examined how young adults’ ideological beliefs and political party identity are associated with their tolerance of sexual harassment, support for the #MeToo movement, and the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh.

Predicting Parents' Expected Barriers to Participation in Mental Health Treatment: The Role of Parenting Stress and Family Income
Maia Karpinsky, Nora Wood

In parents of children who are seeking psychological help, it has been found that higher parental stress is correlated with a greater number of perceived barriers to treatment and higher treatment drop-out rates. Additionally, past research has shown that low socioeconomic status is a significant predictor of parenting stress, and may also contribute to increased barriers during their child’s treatment. The current study seeks to understand how the degree of parental stress is related with perceived barriers to treatment, and how it may be moderated by household income. The findings from this study may help explain why some parents are less likely to seek out mental health care for their child, as well as provide suggestions for clinical interventions that seek to decrease perceived barriers among families of lower socioeconomic status.

Work in Progress: Honors in Psychology Student Independent Research Projects
Astrida Kaugars

This poster will highlight the six ongoing independent research projects conducted by undergraduate students in the Honors in Psychology program. Brief project summaries and descriptions about the unique contributions of the research will be provided.

The Influence of a Defendant's Race and Gender on Outcomes for a Defendant Pleading Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI)
Mira Soldon, Simon Howard

Past research has shown that a Black male defendant is more likely to be acquitted using a Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) plea than a White male defendant (Poulson, 1990). The present study is the first to investigate the influence of a female defendant’s race in NGRI pleas. The present study examined the influence of a female defendant’s race (Black/White) on mock juror decisions for a schizophrenic defendant pleading NGRI. Online mock juror participants (N=138) read a fictional felony assault and battery case and were asked to respond to a set of questions regarding the case and render a verdict of guilty or NGRI. Mock jurors were marginally more likely (p=.07) to find the Black female defendant NGRI as compared to the White female defendant and were more likely to perceive the Black female defendant as dangerous. The results imply that society may views Black women as less mentally stable and more dangerous than White women, leading to racial bias in insanity trials. Limitations, future directions, and implications are discussed.

Emotional Synchronization: A Measure of Friend Quality
Joia Wesley, Keara Kangas, Nakia Gordon

The success of a relationship is related to how closely connected individuals are. One way to measure interpersonal connection is by quantifying their emotional synchrony.  Our research explores friendship dyads engaged in conversation. This approach strengthens the understanding of how friendship quality impacts their emotional connectedness. 

Depressive Symptoms and Familismo in Mexican-American Mother/Child Dyads
Valeria Zendejas

Children with mothers with depressive symptoms are at risk for developing internalizing/externalizing problems. However, minimal research has investigated cultural differences within vulnerable groups. Familismo, a core value in Mexican collectivist culture, is the belief that family comes first. Differences in maternal depression are associated with differing adherence to traditional Mexican culture. However, few studies have investigated whether familismo impacts the relationship between maternal and youth depression. We hypothesized that among mothers with high familismo, maternal depressive symptoms will not be related to depressive symptoms in preschool-aged children. Mothers (N=58) of Mexican descent completed questionnaires measuring maternal and children's depressive symptoms along with mothers' adherence towards familismo when children were between 3.5 to 5 years of age. Results showed that mothers with more depressive symptoms reported more internalizing symptoms in their children. This relationship was moderated by familismo such that when mothers had fewer depressive symptoms and reported higher adherence to familismo they also reported less child internalizing symptoms compared to mothers with more depressive symptoms. Our findings highlight the importance of the association between maternal and child depressive symptoms and the potential role culture may play in Mexican-American mother-child dyads.

Department of Social and Cultural Sciences


Neighborhood Ecological Models of Alcohol Outlet Density and Intimate Partner Violence
Thomas Johnson, Aleksandra Snowden

Alcohol outlets have a differential effect on intimate partner violence (IPV). This study examines on - and off-premise alcohol outlets in Milwaukee and their contribution to rates of intimate partner violence at the neighborhood level. Unlike previous research, it takes into account the role of surrounding neighborhoods as well. Off-premise alcohol outlets and measures of economic disadvantage were found to contribute to greater rates of IPV, as well as the economic disadvantage of surrounding neighborhoods.

Community Archaeology in Chicago's Bronzeville Neighborhood
Jane Peterson, Noel Hincha

Archaeology is uniquely situated to examine historical developments of urban spaces.  Through time, Civil War-era Camp Douglas and Bronzeville's early history faded from public memory.  However, archaeological excavations in a backyard, school yard, and park have produced tangible artifacts that, when coupled with documentary sources, fill historical gaps and provide nuance to reconstructions of life on the Near South Side from 1860-1950.  

Association Between Alcohol Outlet Density and Homicide
Riley Keating, Aleksandra Snowden

Despite declining rates of crime across the United States, the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin has routinely reported consistently high levels of crime. Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett recently called violence a “public health crisis” with Milwaukee experiencing an all-time high of 190 counts of homicide in 2020. With homicide primarily being clustered northwest of Milwaukee's downtown region, it is important to look at which factors may contribute to this problem. Previous studies have looked at how alcohol-selling establishments may act as crime attractors in city regions. However, less research has been done specifically looking at the association between homicide and these same alcohol-selling establishments. This study, while also accounting for socioeconomic measurements, will explore this association. Additionally, the results of these findings will be compared against other types of crime.

Department of Theology

Discerning Dark Transcendence
Ryan Duns, S.J.

The research I have undertaken with Marquette students is an attempt to discern the presence and nature of what I call “dark transcendence.” In an era suspicious of traditional claims about God and increasingly skeptical of religious practices, our research seeks new and admittedly unusual ways of rekindling a sense of the divine. Our poster captures our efforts to discern these openings within the genre of horror fiction. The wager: horror as a genre, and specifically supernatural horror films, can serve as a doorway leading spiritual seekers to reconsider their theological convictions. Supernatural Horror and Theology are united in a belief in “things visible and invisible,” and our goal is to understand the way the two disciplines intersect and illuminate one another. The guiding question: how can the irruption of “dark transcendence” that makes horror fiction horrifying, when interpreted through a theological lens, give us a new way of approaching what theologians regard as the rupturing and redeeming advent of Holy Mystery?

Called by Their Gifts: A Phenomenological Study on the Parish Directors of the Milwaukee Archdiocese
Jonathan Metz

Since the mid-1960s, the number of Catholic priests in the United States has decreased by 20,000 (CARA, 2014).  This is problematic because each Catholic parish has to have a priest pastor, and priests are the only ones who can administer the sacrament of Eucharist that is the source and submit of Catholic life (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2000, para. 1324).  The purpose of this study is to analyze the current state of leadership of parishes in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee specifically the parish directors that lead parishes under canon 517.2.  Canon 517.2 states that if a priest is not available that a lay or deacon may be entrusted with the pastoral care of the parish (Can. 1985, 517.2).  This alternative form of leadership is when a lay or deacon parish director assumes the spiritual and administrative leadership of a parish.  This study focuses on the experience of this alternative form leadership for parishes in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee know as parish directors.  The primary research question of the study was: What are the leadership experiences of lay and deacon parish directors in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in light of the impending crisis of the priest shortage?
The researcher of this phenomenological study interviewed the 11 parish directors of the Milwaukee Archdiocese to better understand their experiences.   The study yielded several themes that described the parish director experience: The parish director model is working, these parishes have seen renewed vibrancy, parishes are seeing vibrant leadership, parish directors are more successful if they are placed proactively rather than reactively, the assisting priest model is working, the history of the Archdiocese has been a challenging and significant part of this story, parish directors are sometimes undervalued, and there is a need for further education and training for parish directors.
The implications of this study are that as priest numbers continue to drop, more parish directors should be utilized.  In addition, the Archdiocese needs to continue to develop shared leadership with its laity and continue to evaluate the role of women in the Church.  Finally, the current crisis has created an opportunity to evaluate vibrant leadership.

Interdisciplinary Programs

Erasure and Empire: The Uighur Genocide and Cultural Resistance
Ibtisam M. Abujad, Benjamin Lizzy

In his seminal work, Ralph Lemkin describes genocide as an active localized and diffuse cultural, social, and political violence. This is ever so visible in the erasure to which the Uighur people have been subjected at the hands of the Chinese government. The “transformation through education” initiative targeting Uighurs is, in reality, a colonial mechanism for the physical eradication and cultural negation of the Uighur peoples. However, these attempts to eradicate the Uighur people are not limited to “internal colonialism,” but are rooted in global conceptions of migrancy that situate Uighurs as perpetual foreigners to the nation-state, thus also subject to deportation from Middle East nations. In our collaborative paper, forthcoming in the journal *Geneology,* we seek to explore the embeddedness of the Uighur genocide in a history of imperialism and, ultimately, argue that cultural resistance and protest uncover and challenge these power dynamics. We use historical approaches that situate twenty-first century genocide in the span of the longue durée, and move beyond localized approaches to examinations of cultural resistance that engage the transnational.

Human Purpose Initiative
Andrew Kim, Kate Ward

We are a faculty research collaborative meeting under the auspices of the Center for the Advancement of the Humanities (CFAH) to investigate traditions across the disciplines that help us understand meaning and purpose in human life through and beyond paid work. Our poster will introduce the community to our work and highlight some of the big questions we are investigating.

Historical Watersheds: American Muslims During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Enaya Othman, Stefan Reutter, Leeza Ong, Abir Bekhet, Omar Irfan

Over the past academic year, our research team has conducted and transcribed 35 interviews with members of Muslim communities throughout the U.S. These interviews are compiled in our digital archive in addition to reports written by faculty team members including Dr. Enaya Othman, Dr. Irfan Omar, and Dr. Leeza Ong. These interviews offer personal insights into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on American Muslims, including healthcare providers and individuals with differences of ability. We aim to present our findings on how the pandemic has affected Muslim religious practices, personal lives, and beliefs. The data also includes statistical analysis of a Qualtrics survey (N=83) from Muslims living across the United States. This survey focuses on the emotional and psychological impacts of the pandemic, utilizing both the Pandemic Emotional Impact Scale (PEIS) and Muslim Perceptions and Attitudes towards Mental Health Scale (M-PAMH).

Resisting Mafia Through Children's Literature
McKenzie Quillin, Woodrow Anderson

Through interdisciplinary research and inquiry, we aim to investigate and discover methods and solutions for resisting the Mafia oppression. We investigate four children’s books with the purpose of educating children in the dangers of the Mafia phenomena.  Through studying lawfulness culture and education present within children's literature we formulate a strategy to process the complex socio-political landscape of the Mafia within Italian culture as well as the intergenerational trauma it has cause and proliferates.

MU 4 Gold Scholars

Someone is Always Watching
Cameron Fronczak, Michael Zimmer

My project is about the dangerous spike in proctoring software during the COVID-19 pandemic and the rushed production of new and potentially dangerous proctoring software that steals private information, promotes racial profiling, ableism, and even reinforces the socioeconomic divide. These programs, theater intentionally harmful or not are hazardous to their users most of which are forced to use them or fear failing the class.

Violence Against Women: Decolonizing Honor Killings
Fiona Kelly-Miller, Enaya Othman

A comparative study between the practice of honor killings in Palestine and crimes of passion defense in the United States through the lens of legal, social, and cultural contexts. This study will demonstrate that these crimes, while culturally and geographically distant from one another, share universal patriarchal values that socially normalize violence against women.

Structural Basis of Substrate Selectivity in Urea and Guanidine Carboxylases
Jordan Mewhorter, Martin St. Maurice

After discovering that a large number of enzymes previously identified as urea carboxylases react preferentially with guanidine, we seek to identify which structures near the active site differentiate a urea carboxylase from a guanidine carboxylase by performing mutagenesis on the few residues that are not conserved between the two enzymes and assaying their activity in the presence of each substrate.

Pray the Gay Away; Resilience in Christian LGBTQ+ Young Adults
Stephanie Waldschmidt, John Grych