2017 McNair Scholars

Diana Arreguin

Research Title: "A Deeper Look at Sex/Gender Microaggression"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ed de St. Aubin

Abstract: The term microaggressions is a phrase that is becoming more prevalent in today’s society. As the use of the term increases, it is important to analyze what a microaggression is and the effect it has towards the person receiving them; as well as the difference between microaggressional awareness and microaggressional empathy. The present study analyzes the differences between identity status for gender (male/female), sexual orientation (straight/non-straight), and race (white/non-white) as compared to their microaggressional awareness score and microaggressional to their microaggressional awareness score and microaggressional empathy score. Regarding a person’s personal attributes, the present study also analyzes the participant’s sexual knowledge, anti-gay attitudes, anti-lesbian attitudes in correlation to their microaggressional awareness score and their microaggressional empathy score. Results indicated that while women were more empathetic to microaggressions compared to men, men were more aware than women. Findings showed that while sexual minorities were more aware of microaggressions as compared to sexual minorities were more aware of microaggressions as compared to heterosexuals, there was no significant differences in microaggressional empathy. However, the results do show that white people compared to ethnic minorities were both more aware and more empathetic of microaggressions. Additionally, the results show that there is a positive correlation between sexual knowledge and both awareness and empathy, while there is a negative correlation for both anti-gay/anti-lesbian attitudes with awareness and empathy.

Andrea García

Research Title: "Acoustic Analysis of Spanish Vowels: Explicit Instruction for the Acquisition of Phonological Proficiency in a Second Language"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Todd Hernández

Abstract: The goal of the study is to gain a better understanding of the differences between the English and Spanish vowels and the ways in which these differences affect vowel pronunciation for English learners of Spanish (L2). To study the differences between English and Spanish vowels and English learners of Spanish attempt to master Spanish vowel pronunciation, this study collected audio recordings from both native Spanish speakers and English learners of Spanish. When the vowel pronunciation from both groups were analyzed, the researcher found that L2 speakers groups were analyzed, the researcher found that L2 speakers mispronounce all Spanish vowels to some extent with the Spanish /u/ mispronounced a higher rate than the others. With these results, this study analyzes and advocates for strategies that can be used to address the differences between English and Spanish vowels and teach the Spanish sounds more effectively. This study finds that explicit pronunciation instruction and the use of technology can aid L2 learners of Spanish attain native-like phonological production, or if not to rid them from their foreign native-like phonological production, or if not to rid them from their foreign accent, at least improve their comprehensibility and prevent fossilization of erroneous pronunciation.

Fatema Atshan

Research Title: "Supportive Family Relationships as Protective forChildren Exposed to Violence: Underlying Mechanisms"

Faculty Mentor: John Grych

Abstract: This study examined the supportive relationship with family as protective for children exposed to violence. To understand how familial support can promote resilience, research focuses on a number of underlying mediators, two of which are put in the spotlight: adaptive coping and secure attachment. An at-risk sample of 107 predominantly African American students (71% male), between the ages of 8 and 19 years (M = 15), recorded their measures of exposure to violence, support, attachment security, and coping ability. Resilience was evaluated using a number of measures, including self-esteem, competence in various domains, and lower levels of internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Support from families generally accounted for significance in resilience measures. The main mediators that were assessed, adaptive coping and secure attachment, also served as significant predictors of resilience. In looking at the mediators, having a secure attachment and being able to cope adaptively mediated the relationship between resilience and familial support. Support from the family relationship between resilience and familial support. Support from the family predicted resilience through exposure to violence, but it did not buffer the effects of violence on youth outcomes. That is, protective factors promote resilience by enhancing health and proper functioning, but they do not reduce the adverse effects of violence on future adjustment.

Alex Halloway

Research Title: "Gathering Place? Intercultural Engagement in the Milwaukee Area: Perspectives from Emerging Leaders"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Amber Wichowsky

Abstract: Cultural diversity is considered an advantage for cities because it tends to benefit them both economically and socially. Research demonstrates, however, that cities with more inclusive institutions and that provide more opportunities for members of different cultures to interact tend to make the most of the "diversity advantage." This study is an attempt to get an indicator for meaningful cross-cultural interaction within the Milwaukee Area so that there is a better understanding of how the region can improve upon it. That indicator was obtained by conducting in-person interviews with people indicator was obtained by conducting in-person interviews with people deemed as emerging leaders by the Milwaukee Business Journal. Preliminary findings suggest that intergroup contact played an important role in shaping these leaders understanding of cultural diversity and that there is a lack of collective efforts among actors in the Milwaukee Area to promote intercultural engagement. The findings of this study imply that research should begin to focus on how cities come together collectively to address culturally related issues and promote intercultural engagement. culturally related issues and promote intercultural engagement.

Erick Herrera Hernandez

Research Title: "Discrimination, Depression, & PTSD: A Look Beyond Race and Gender"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lucas Torres

Abstract: Though there has been an increase in the amount of empirical studies that focus on microaggressions and the detrimental effects that these experiences of discrimination have on mental health, there is very little research that exists that delves into the complexity of the relationship between discrimination and negative mental health outcomes, such as depression and PTSD symptoms among people of color. Previous studies have helped us understand that the connections between hope, discrimination and depression are not as clear as one would initially discrimination and depression are not as clear as one would initially believe. The main objective of this study was to examine the ability of hope and self-efficacy to predict depression and post-traumatic stress disorder above and beyond race, gender, and experiences of microaggressions, as quantified by the REMS scale. It is hypothesized that hope and self-efficacy will be able to predict depression and PTSD symptoms above and beyond the ability of race and gender. Although the results of the study did not support the hypothesis to the full extent, hope was able to predict did not support the hypothesis to the full extent, hope was able to predict depression above and beyond race, gender, experiences of microaggressions, and self-efficacy. Furthermore, when testing for the ability to predict PTSD symptoms, the REMS scale, had a greater ability to predict post-traumatic stress disorder above and beyond the gender, race, hope, and self-efficacy. By gaining a better understanding of the underlying relationship between discrimination, depression, and PTSD symptoms, we can continue to address the mental health disparities that exist among can continue to address the mental health disparities that exist among communities of color today.

Victor Ike

Research Title: "Exonerees in Black and White: The Influence ofRace on Perceptions of Those Who FalselyConfessed to a Crime"

Faculty Mentor: Simon Howar

Abstract: Exonerees released from prison face many of the same personal, social, and economical challenges as individuals with criminal records, although they have committed no crimes. Numerous research has found that exonerees are perceived differently from others depending on factors that led to the conviction (e.g. jailhouse snitch, eyewitness misidentification, and false confession). Despite the discrepancies at the rate in which Black Americans are wrongfully convicted (47%), no studies have explored how the race of an exoneree may influence how they are perceived, how they the race of an exoneree may influence how they are perceived, how they are emotionally reacted to, how deserving they are of government assistance and how likely they are perceived to end up back in prison. One hundred and twenty-seven participants (M = 37.26, SD = 12.47) were recruited to participate in this experiment. Results illustrated that the race of an exoneree does influence how they are perceived. Black exonerees were perceived to be more aggressive, less deserving of government assistance, and perceived as more likely to go back to prison. Given these assistance, and perceived as more likely to go back to prison. Given these findings in combination with literature on negative perceptions of Black individuals, our research sheds light on the contemptuous prejudice experienced by Black exonerees. We conclude that in addition to perceptions associated with factors that led to the wrongful conviction, Black exonerees experience additional negative perceptions than White exonerees.

Manuel Hurtado, Jr.

Research Title: "Reasons and Remedies for the Omission of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data in Randomized Controlled Trials for Anxiety and Depression"

Faculty Mentor: Dr.Nicholas Heck and Dr. Annesa Flentje

Abstract: Sexual orientation and gender identity data are not reported in psychotherapy and substance abuse literature despite lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals being at higher risks of multiple negative health outcomes such as anxiety and depression. Objective: The purpose of this study is to identify under which conditions researchers will be more likely to assess sexual orientation and gender identity data, while identifying barriers and factors that will assist researchers to assess. Method: The www.ClinicalTrials.gov databases were searched for clinical trials with an outcome measure of anxiety and depression not yet recruiting, or currently recruiting, with adult samples. Principle investigators were asked to complete a survey containing demographic questions, and questions regarding information collected in their clinical trial. Preliminary results: Participants indicated that they are not currently, or planning to, collect sexual orientation data. Additionally, the only reason indicated thus far for not collecting or assessing was that both variables “not pertinent to their research study”, and researchers would be more likely to include questions if they were “easily understood by participants”. Discussion: to further health equity, sexual orientation and gender identity data must be embraced as regularly collected information.

Jeffrey Kopaniasz

Research Title: "The Perception of Teachers in a Large, Urban Public School District on Their Ability to Identify and Intervene for Mental Health Issues"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Ohlendorf

Abstract: In evaluating the mental health situation in children, especially when in the United States, there is glaring numbers that stand out in terms of work that needs to be done. For starters, 1 in 5 of all children with the United States are finding themselves with a mental health issues. In conjunction with this fact, 50% of mental health diagnoses are being made before the age of 14 and 27% of the issues are so severe that one’s ability to function is significantly impaired (“Children,” 2017). It is clear that the issues are there and with that needs to raise the concern what can be done to help these children cope and manage these issues moving forward into their life. If a mental health issues is not addressed, it can have serious implications in terms of the quality of life that that child will have as he or she transitions into adulthood. It must be considered that 36.7% of children have at least on disorder diagnosed by age 16 and those that have a disorder are more than three times more likely to develop a co-morbid disorder going into late adolescence through early adulthood (Fazel, Hoagwoogd, Stephan & Ford, 2014). Early identification is thus becoming a necessity for mental illness in children because it can make a significant impact on not only there own health, but also their trajectory as members of society. In a review of the literature by Climie and Altomare (2013), a study done by the US Department of Education published that 50% of the children that have a diagnosed mental health disorder by age 14 will then drop out of high school. Statistics such as these are what raise a lot of questions as to what can be done in order to make sure these numbers reduce and that the spoiling of the trajectory of several children never comes to fruition due to a treatable mental illness. The logical place to look for several current researchers and this research study is the schooling system in the United States. This has become an issue of public health, especially as mental healthcare presents obstacles in access for children given that of the 15 million children with formal diagnosis only 7% of them see legitimate care and treatment (“Why is Children,” 2017). Not to mention, given this lack of treatment in association with the academic turmoil that these children go through, there are many of these individuals that were once children that went undiagnosed now struggling with the transition to adulthood. Without being probably managed, the stresses of adulthood could be challenging, leading to an increase in risky behaviors. These can land an individual in prison, where 15% of males are presenting with a mental illness and 30% women (“Jailing People,” 2017). This is what can be avoided with early identification and the finger now points at schools to spearhead what is becoming a public health crisis.

Saul Lopez

Research Title: "¿What Impacts Nuestra Escritura?"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rebecca Nowacek

Abstract: This research examines the stressors of First-Generation students. Specifically, stresses that tax to a student’s motivation to perform within the institution. This paper will use a variety of sources, including literature surrounding the topic and data collected from students, to answer the question: “Does there exist a generational tax on students and how does this impact their writing?”. The central theme of the research will be the effects of student’s transition to college, and their perception of their work in a setting where they are the minority.I will be using a combination of both primary and secondary sources pertaining to the topic of First-Generation and motivation within post-secondary institutions. Along with a review of the literature, a two-part interview format will provide a healthy well of primary sources and personal experiences that will enhance the data. This research will have a strong emphasize on qualitative data collection. In the (30 min. to 1 hr.) interviews, student will review their writing and provide a personal account of their journey through high school and college. The potential outcomes of research include: a growth of First-Generation students within Marquette Univ., a direct correlation between the “tax” of college and their perception of their work, a deeper engagement with their work and a shift in their motivation. But more importantly, this research will try to find ways in which Marquette Univ. can help future First-Generation students. The research will help the institution extend their outreach to students. There even exists the possibility of a longitudinal study, if given more time, resources, and noteworthy findings.

Eliza Luvianos

Research Title: "Drug Treatment Courts: The Paradox of Therapeutic Jurisprudence"

Abstract: This summer project aims to examine the factors that allow individuals to partake in a successful drug treatment court program. Both literature and field agents hold varying opinions on what defines the role of drug treatment courts in the judicial system. On one side, drug courts are proactive institutions that serve to remedy the current mass incarceration issue and opioid drug epidemic. In this approach, the operational goal is to ensure that individuals have the resources to rehabilitate, therefore, the establishment of networks that facilitate such process is essential. There are others who believe that drug treatment courts alleviate the individual from their criminal actions, thus, undermining the legitimacy of the judicial system. Furthermore, this project will look at the role of the individual and their participatory contribution in drug treatment courts. This secondary analysis project is a compilation of past studies and examines drug treatment courts.

Joenny Lopez Cuevas

Research Title: "Rewriting Mexican Women’s Oppression Through Malintzín and La Virgen de Guadalupe"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Heather Montes-Ireland

Abstract: A traditional Mexican family is structured under a patriarchal social system where the man holds the authority in the family domain. Within this structure, women are to be submissive and suppress their sexuality. In her novel, Borderlands La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Gloria Anzaldúa states, “If a woman rebels she is a mujer mala. If a woman doesn’t renounce herself in favor of the male, she is selfish. If a woman remains a virgin until she marries, she is a good woman. For a woman of my culture there [are] only three directions she could turn: to the Church as a nun, to the streets as a prostitute, or to the home as a mother” (39). Women are taught that males make the rules and laws, and females must transmit them.This belief is exemplified through Malintzín and La Virgen de Guadalupe, two archetypes that are prominent within Mexican culture. These two figures have reduced Mexican women to only a symbol, rather than acknowledging the complexities of womanhood. This paper explores the ways in which Mexican1 women resist machismo and stereotypes of their sexuality through the works of Chicana authors, such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Sandra Cisneros, Elizabeth Martinez, and Norma Alarcón etc. Though machismo has rendered the Mexican woman vulnerable, and further enhanced cultural tyranny on their womanhood, I call to attention to the ways Mexican women resist these norms in Sandra Cisnero’s The House on Mango Street. The cultural norms under which Mexican women are brought under prevent them from recognizing and grasping their sexuality in fear of not only being shunned by their male counterparts, but by their cultura and familia, more largely.

Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street demonstrates the illusions of what the perfect Mexican woman should look like. She challenges the forms in which the traditional female archetypes of virgin, mother, and whore are represented. Malintzín, the Mayan princess who became a translator for Hernán Cortés, is one of the most condemned figures in Chicano literature. Malintzín is known for her betrayal of the Mexican race and that of female sexuality. “La Chingada” because she betrayed her race and gave her body to a strange man that was not of her same race. She gave her body to a strange man, giving her sexuality to the conquistador who ruined the indigenous peoples. Because of Malintzín’s betrayal, women were taught to not sexualize their bodies because one must show commitment to the value system of men. On the other hand, instead of a corrupted or failed womanhood is La Virgen de Guadalupe. La Virgen encompasses the pure Mexican woman. A docile, religious, virgin woman who follows the rules and stays within her submissive role. These traditional views of these two female archetypes have morphed an unrealistic embodiment of what a Mexicana/ Chicana woman represents.

Itzel Matamoros

Research Title: "English-Accented Spanish Vowel Acoustic Analysis"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sonia Barnes & Dr. Jeffrey Berry

Abstract: According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), only 6,594 certified Speech-Language Pathologists (SLS) provide Spanish language services, and of these 6,594 SLPs, only 39.4% of them identify as Hispanic/Latinx descent. Given this, providing optimal care for Spanish speaking patients is problematic. This study focuses on the questions: is there a significant influence of English on Spanish articulation of non-native Spanish speakers (L2)? And, if so, how does it influence L2 speakers’ Spanish and can it be fixed or adjusted? The literature review offers information on the background of Spanish vowels and English vowels studies. It also informs the reader of the importance of accent modification in modern day society and gives a possible solution for this problem. The literature review is the foundation for the methodology of this research – to record L1 and L2 Spanish speakers and compare their vowel production acoustically through spectrograms using TF32. Given the data already found on the predominant vowel sounds in English and Spanish, it was expected that the L2 speakers would have very specific vowel differences from native speakers. The study found that while there were some acoustic differences in /a/, /e/, /i/, and /o/ between L1 and L2 speakers, /u/ had the most variability. In the long run, this research aims to be the basis for an auditory feedback training program that will reduce an L2 speaker’s accent. This program would allow for the modification of non-native SLP Spanish vowel production, and therefore improve the quality of care provided for the Hispanic community.

Halee Newby

Research Title: "Increasing High School Graduation Rates for Minority Students at MPS"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Amber Wichowsky

Abstract: Restorative justice, which is a victim- focused disciplinary practice, seeks to resolve conflict and improve future relationships between those involved in an offense. Implementing restorative justice practices within high schools has been proven to be very advantageous to both students and administrators alike. Milwaukee, which is persistently ranked as one of the nation’s most segregated and crime- ridden cities in the country, seems to have done very little to address this problem. The public school system, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), has consistently ranked number one in the United States for the widest graduation-rate gap between white and black students. 93% of white students will graduate from MPS in four years, whereas just 54% of black students will earn their diploma in that time. Much of this discrepancy is due to the harmful effects traditional disciplinary methods have on minority students. Minority students are given detention, suspended, and/ or expelled at disproportionately higher rates compared to their white counterparts. However, studies and reports taken from different schools across the country, in addition to analyses of the effects restorative justice has on students, suggest implementing these practices may benefit all types of students. Through quantitative research methods and a thorough secondary analysis, it is expected the findings will suggest a successful endorsement of restorative justice practices instead of retributive justice (i.e. zero- tolerance policies) will positively impact more students than just white students. This discovery will thereby allow subsequent research about the benefits of various restorative justice practices to be conducted, leading to schools that will cater their disciplinary programs to their students, rather than the other way around.

Sara Pardej

Research Title: "Sensitivity and Specificity of Two D-KEFS tests in a Typical Sample"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. James Hoelzle

Abstract: The existing body of literature on neuropsychological measures lacks a body of work that is consistently both valid and reliable in addition to well characterized sensitivity and specificity. This study sought to characterize the sensitivity and specificity of two commonly used executive function measures, the Color-Word Interference Test and the Trail Making Test in the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS). The sample consisted of 335 young adults (Mage=19.16 years; 87 males, 248 females) and was divided into two groups: group 1, the average and below average group (IQ ≤ 110) and group 2, the above average IQ group (IQ > 110) based on IQ. Independent-samples t-tests revealed Group 1 performed significantly lower on nearly all tasks than Group 2. Chi squared tests of independence were conducted to determine where there was a difference in the probability of obtaining a low score between group 1 and group 2. High IQ individuals had a higher probability of scoring in the typical range on most of the Color-Word Interference tasks, but none of the Trail Making tasks. Clinical implications are discussed.

Rawan Oudeh

Research Title: "The Influence of Socialization on Intermarriage Practices Among Second Generation Muslim Women in the Greater Milwaukee Area"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Enaya Othman

Abstract: Recently, there has been an increase in the intermarriage rates among Muslim women in the Greater Milwaukee Area with men of either a different ethnic or religious background. There are many factors that can be associated with this increased rate. A specific factor I would like to explore is the influence of socialization on intermarriage, specifically among the second generation Muslim women in the Greater Milwaukee Area. The Muslim women in the Greater Milwaukee Area are a very unrepresented population.Therefore, conducting oral interviews with the Muslim women in this area is vital information in order to construct a historical archive of their life experiences and perspectives. It is important to note that the term ‘socialization’ in this context refers to interacting with people of other national, ethnic, or religious groups in places like work, school, or even in common public areas. The term ‘second generation’ refers to the Muslim women who were born and raised in the United States, however their parents were first generation immigrants from a different country. Also, when referring to the ‘Greater Milwaukee Area’ I am referring to Milwaukee county in southeastern Wisconsin. Finally, the term ‘intermarriage’ is considered marriage among two individuals from different cultural or religious backgrounds.

Tishyra Randell

Research Title: "Power in Protest: An Examination of the Fight for $15"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael McCarthy

Abstract: With a Federal minimum wage of $7.25 unchanged since 2009, state and local level legislatives have taken the initiative to set higher minimum wages within their jurisdiction. Since 2012, the occurrence of local minimum wage ordinances has increased as cities become more responsive to the Fight for $15 movement. This study focuses on the 34 cities increasing minimum wage since the start of the Fight for $15 to examine the conditions under which the Fight for $15 has been successful in influencing policy. Using three social movement theories to inform the study: grievance, resource, and political opportunity theory; the study provides preliminary research on the conditions of success for the Fight for $15 movement. Results show the importance to further examine the effects living wage gap, union membership, and political environment have on the Fight for $15.

Mohammad Saleh

Research Title: "Renal Cyst Pseudoenhancement"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Taly Gilat-Schmidt

Objective: Recent findings of renal masses have increased resulting in the extensive use of the CT and MRI. The purpose of this experiment was to determine the amount of iodine contrast material required in a kidney phantom to attain the desired attenuation values needed to enhance the visibility of internal renal cysts. The purpose of this experiment was to also collect non-attenuating materials that represent water filled cysts which can be used in phantoms pertaining to the research of renal cyst pseudoenhancement. Methods: Kidney phantoms were constructed using gelatin infused with varied amounts of iodine contrast material corresponding to final iodine concentrations of 1.5, 5, and 10 mgl/mL. Six different materials were also used to represent potential cysts, which included a small water filled balloon, a grape, a clear gelatin sphere, and three small solid plastic spheres consisting of Nylon, HDPE, and Polypropylene. Results:  Attenuation values of 103.10, 247.41, and 431.88 HU were calculated for the dilutions of 1.5, 5, and 10 mgl/mL. The attenuation values for the water balloon, grape, gelatin sphere, nylon, HDPE, and polypropylene were 61.70, 130.75, 63.81, 46.84, -198.19, and -145.88, respectfully. Conclusions: After obtaining the measured attenuation values for the kidney phantoms, their presumed dilutions of 1.5, 5, and 10 mgl/mL used to obtain values of 45, 150, and 250 HU were concluded incorrect. However, the attenuation values of 103.10, 247.41, and 431.88 HU corresponding to the dilutions of 1.5, 5, and 10 mgl/mL were indeed linear as expected. The equation plotted from the trend line was used to calculate the amounts of iodine needed in such solutions to obtain attenuation values of about 45, 150, and 250 HU, which were 0, 2.63, and 5 mgl/mL. The most precise material used to represent simple cysts was also the water balloon.

Ricardo Vega, Jr.

Research Title: "Reduced White Matter Integrity in Ipsilesional Cerebrum and Contralesional Cerebellum"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Brian Schmit and Miguel Sotelo

Abstract: This project utilized diffusion weighted imaging to analyze the effects of ischemic lesion on local and distant structural brain connectivity. Studies have shown a reduction in white matter integrity within the ipsilesional white matter tracts after stroke both locally and in distant voxels [1]. For example, downstream effects attributed to Wallerian degeneration have been elucidated in pontein nuclei when the corticospinal tract was damaged [2]. Additionally, the influence the cerebellum has on behavior, movement, and rehabilitation has recently been highlighted, and its change in structural integrity is yet you be explored. The study analyzed 17 subjects: 8 healthy control subjects and 9 chronic stroke subjects.T1 and diffusion weighted images were acquired (150 gradient directions). Preprocessing was done in FSL (https://fsl.fmrib.ox.ac.uk/fsl/fslwiki/ ), T1- images were corrected for field inhomogeneity, and diffusion images were eddy-corrected. All subject images were registered to MNI using an affine linear registration followed by a non-linear warp. The simple partial volume for crossing fibers (bedpostX) was implemented, and probabilistic tractography outlined the bilateral dentate-thalamic cortical and the cortico-spinal tracts in the eight control subjects. Afterwards, a 50th percent overlap for all white matter tracts was identified as the region of interest. The obtained diffusion parameters such as the classical FA and MD, in addition to those determined from the ball-and-sticks model were averaged in the region of interest to assess 1) changes in white matter integrity in the cortico-spinal tract and the detanto-thalamic-cortical tract 2) if the contralesional dentate nucleus also expresses these changes. Significant reduction within the ipsilesional white matter tracts was found within the chronic stroke patient group. However, in addition to this a significant reduction in structural integrity of the contralesional cerebellum was found. Significant decreases in FA and F1 (P<0.05) were observed when implementing statistical analysis on the diffusion parameters associated with the right dentate nucleus. However, it is important to note there was no significant change in the F2 parameter ßwhen observing the contralesional cerebellum, this show reduction in integrity in only the F1 orientation. Overall, these results showed a decrease in structural integrity in the right dentate nucleus despite not being a lesion in this area in any of the observed patients. This study demonstrates the clinical applications of utilizing diffusion weighted imaging and benefits of utilizing the ball and stick modeling method. This methodology may prove beneficial for future analysis of the effects of neurodegenerative diseases on direct and indirect brain connectivity.

Ayaa Shanaa

Research Title: "Using Unnatural Amino Acids to Track RPA Dynamics"

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Edwin Antony

Abstract: Replication Protein A (RPA) is a protein that binds to single-stranded DNA (ssDNA). RPA is a heterotrimeric complex composed of three subunits- RPA70, RPA32 and RPA14 and plays an important role in orchestrating the process of homologous recombination (HR). During HR, it binds to the 3’ end resected ssDNA, prevents formation of secondary structures and is a key mediator for progression of HR.

While much is known about HR, the information of the exact steps of HR progression is yet to be understood. Having used the strategy of incorporating unnatural amino acids to generate a fluorescently labeled protein such that upon binding to DNA a signal change is present. This symbolizes the protein binding to DNA. In this experiment we will talk about the development of this application and the way it has carved a path for future understandings of DNA binding domains (DBDs) in the presence of other proteins.