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21 Scholar-Citizen Presentations at the Student Engagement Forum

The sessions listed below showcase the power of undergraduate research and of highly engaging learning experiences more generally.  


Appalachian Teaching Project: Sustaining the Community Mind for Long-term Community

Resiliency: Appalachian Values Assessment in Floyd County, Virginia

Kasey Campbell

Victoria Curtis

Taylor LaPrade

Langley Looney

Sarah Wood

Ryan Woodson

Misty Daniels

Charles Salyers

Faculty Mentor(s): Melinda Wagner, Sociology

Wednesday, April 23 Heth 014 12:00 - 12:30

Floyd County Virginia’s Land Policy Task Force found that “What Matters Most” to Floyd County residents was “preservation of rural character, Appalachian heritage, and community identity.” This Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP) is researching what residents want to preserve and studying perceptions of potential threats to those values. Recent social science research has highlighted “narrative” and the identification of “core values” as critical elements that help sustain communities affected by cultural and economic change and persistent negative stereotyping. Better understanding Floyd County’s history and heritage (and defining what residents mean by that) will buttress a foundation for a positive trajectory. In the words of the Floyd County Development Director, “it would allow for

going beyond simply reacting to outside stressors as they arise. From a land planning and economic perspective, it would be valuable to know these answers.” The Project and the course in which it is embedded is teaching student researchers the skills to become more effective community leaders who understand the importance of community values. As globalization and culture change continue apace in the region, long-term sustainability requires sophisticated culturally-aware leadership with the skills to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their communities and to predict the effects of changes. These future leaders will “strengthen the capacity of Appalachian people to compete in the global economy,” in the words of the ATP sponsor, the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Imagining and Acting On Possibilities for Reforesting Abandoned Mountaintop Removal Sites: A Collaboration Between Green Forests Work, Radford University, and the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative

Victoria Curtis

Chris Wilson

Taylor LaPrade

Faculty Mentor(s): Theresa Burriss, Appalachian Studies; Christine Small Biology; Rick Roth, Geospatial Science

Wednesday, April 23 Heth 014 12:30 -12:50

Since fall 2011 three Radford University (RU) faculty members (representing Biology, Geospatial Sciences, and Appalachian Studies) have partnered with the nonprofit organization, Green Forests Work, and the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, an initiative of the Federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement in partnership with the seven Appalachian State Regulatory Authorities, to educate RU students about the forestry reclamation work occurring on abandoned mountaintop removal sites in Central Appalachia. The known reality of these MTR sites is environmental damage and destruction; yet the imagined possibility is one of healthy, productive hardwood forests. An alternative spring break trip to Eastern Kentucky in March 2013 allowed the students and faculty members to plant native hardwoods, including disease-resistant American chestnut seedlings, on a former mine site. The faculty members have received internal funding to lead another alternative spring break planting trip in March 2014. Not only do the students acquire scientific knowledge about the tree plantings, such as basic forestry and soil science concepts and mitigating adverse mine soil conditions, they also learn historical and cultural information in order to contextualize their tree planting activism.

Back Into the Woods- reconnecting children with nature

Victoria Scott

Faculty Mentor(s): Judith Guinan, Biology

Tuesday, April 22 Heth 043 5:30 - 7:00

“Nature Deficit Disorder” is a term coined by Richard Louv in his book The Last Child in the Woods, which describes the disconnect that currently exists between society and nature (Louv, 2009). In order to counteract this phenomena, I utilized a multidisciplinary approach incorporating education, biology, and technology. This was done by combining a smartphone app with an outdoor learning experience to appeal to the tech savvy youth of today.

First, animal pawprint molds were placed throughout Wildwood park in Radford, VA based on the habitat of that animal. A website was created, with the help of Radford University’s technology department, which leads visitors to explore the park further while directing users through a series of questions and informational text. These questions were designed using Virginia’s Standards of Learning to cover concepts such as habitat preference, food webs, and how humans affect living ecosystems. The objective is to help the user identify the animal while educating them and sparking their interest in the outdoors. A poster, displayed in a prominent location in the park, presents pictures, an answer key, and fun facts about the animals all in one location. The centralization of information allows those without smartphones to enjoy this activity. By giving children and adults a fun outlet to explore nature, I believe this project represents a first step in developing a more active Radford community. Government sites such as LetsMove.gov and the Center for Disease Control have laid out recommendations for developing more active communities, so this project will supplement these efforts.

Panel Discussion: War Posters and Advertisements: The role of gender

Megan Ligday

Ciara Banks

Kenna Crane

James Garofalo

Debra Lustig

Dakota Townsend

Faculty Mentor(s): Roann Barris, Art History

Wednesday, April 23 Heth 044 3:30 - 4:00

This panel brings together explorations by six students into the use of male and female imagery in posters for war and advertising posters. The approach used involved comparisons between the two types of posters as well as comparisons between three countries: Russia, Germany and the United States. The time frame for the posters included in the presentation was World War I and the decade after the war, and criteria for choosing posters specified that for each type,at least one poster featuring a male figure and one poster featuring a female figure had to be chosen. The bigger question we attempted to answer was the question of whether gender differences or national differences would be more significant in the design of the posters.

Appalachian Teaching Project: Sustaining the Community Mind for Long-term Community Resiliency: Appalachian Values Assessment in Floyd County, Virginia

Kasey Campbell Victoria Curtis

Taylor LaPrade Langley Looney

Sarah Wood Ryan Woodson

Misty Daniels

Charles Salyers

Faculty Mentor(s): Melinda Wagner, Sociology

Wednesday, April 23 Heth 014 5:30 - 7:00

Floyd County Virginia’s Land Policy Task Force found that “What Matters Most” to Floyd County residents was “preservation of rural character, Appalachian heritage, and community identity.” This Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP) is researching what residents want to preserve and studying perceptions of potential threats to those values. Recent social science research has highlighted “narrative” and the identification of “core values” as critical elements that help sustain communities affected by cultural and economic change and persistent negative stereotyping. Better understanding Floyd County’s history and heritage (and defining what residents mean by that) will buttress a foundation for a positive trajectory. In the words of the Floyd County Development Director, “it would allow for going beyond simply reacting to outside stressors as they arise. From a land planning and economic perspective, it would be valuable to know these answers.” The Project and the course in which it is embedded is teaching student researchers the skills to become more effective community leaders who understand the importance of community values. As globalization and culture change continue apace in the region, long-term sustainability requires sophisticated culturally-aware leadership with the skills to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their communities and to predict the effects of changes. These future leaders will “strengthen the capacity of Appalachian people to compete in the global economy,” in the words of the ATP sponsor, the Appalachian Regional Commission.

How Do Elementary Students Experience Skype Sessions in Making Real World Connections to Barrow, Alaska?

Erica Martin

Taylor Hardwick

Victoria Holdaway

Faculty Mentor(s): Mythianne Shelton, Physics

Wednesday, April 23 Heth 014 5:30 - 7:00

This presentation discusses the research findings relating to how elementary students experience Skype sessions in making real world connections to Barrow, Alaska. The researchers wanted to learn if Skype was a resourceful tool that could be used in classrooms to help students experience the world around them. This study involved two classes of fifth grade students. The research focused on how the students initially felt about science and what they thought a scientist looks like. Prior to Skype sessions being conducted from Barrow, Alaska, the participating students were asked to draw a picture of Cinderella so that the researchers could investigate the participants’ understanding of the Inuit culture.

Intraspecific and interspecific display behaviors by the crested anole (Anolis cristatellus) on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

Kelsey Wessman

Faculty Mentor(s): Jeremy Wojdak, Biology; Karen Powers, Biology

Wednesday, April 23 Bonnie Auditorium 5:00 - 5:15

The island of St. John, in the US Virgin Islands, has three different species of anole lizard (Anolis cristatellus, A. stratulus, and A. pulchellus). The Puerto Rican crested anole (A. cristatellus) is the largest species of the three, and thus I hypothesized that it would be the dominant when confronted by individuals of the other two smaller species. Also, I was interested in 1) how this species would act when it confronted another of the same species, 2) whether body size would predict dominance behavior, and 3) if the display behaviors (dewlap extension, pushups, tail wagging) would be the same as when they confronted different species. I spent three days (March 13 – 15, 2014) observing A. cristatellus respond to intra- and interspecific challenges. I used a video camera to record any interactions between lizards (n=25). I recorded each lizard for ten minutes and then moved on to the next individual. I recorded how many pushup, dewlap displays, and tail wagging events happened during those ten minutes. Also, I noted whether the observed anole would fight or flee from the other anole. Conclusions await further data analysis.

Analysis of Agave missionum population density and plant condition after known introduction of the agave snout weevil (Scyphophorus acupunctatus).

Allyse Fritz

Matti Hamed

Charles Ryan

Faculty Mentor(s): Jeremy Wojdak, Biology; Christine Small, Biology

Wednesday, April 23 Bonnie Auditorium 5:15 - 5:30

Agave missionum, commonly called corita, maguey, or the century plant, is found only on Puerto Rico and the British and US Virgin Islands. The agave produces nectar that provides a food source to local birds, insects, and bats. The plant is also used by locals as an ornamental plant, Christmas tree, and historically as a source for strong fibers. Previous studies indicate A. missionum populations are in decline, probably because of the invasive agave snout weevils (Scyphophorus acupunctatus). Snout weevils burrow near the base of the plant and promote bacterial growth that turns plant material into a brown paste on which their larvae feed. We sought to investigate the current abundance and condition of A. missionum plants on St. John in the US Virgin Islands. Data were collected on Yawzi Point, Lower Lameshur Bay, and Upper Lameshur Bay trails near the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station.

Each area represented one of three distinct habitats: arid scrub/shrubland (Yawzi Point), disturbed dry forest (Lower Lameshur), and intact dry forest (Upper Lameshur). In order to detect the presence of weevils, insect traps were placed near the base of randomly selected agave plants. Size of living plants was determined by measuring leaf diameter (m), stalk height (cm), and diameter of the stalk base (cm) of living plants. Size of dead plants was determined by measuring the diameter of the remaining stalk base. We also determined the density of plants in large plots along each trail. Hemispherical canopy cover photographs were taken to determine if A. missionum condition depended on canopy openness. We observed no visual evidence of weevils, and in general plants were in good condition. Statistical analyses of results are still in progress.

Biology Oral Presentations

An investigation of intraspecific behavior in the pearly-eyed thrasher, Margarops fuscatus

Tanya Schulz

Emily Clark

Faculty Mentor(s): Jeremy Wojdak, Biology

Wednesday, April 23 Bonnie Auditorium 6:00 - 6:15

The pearly-eyed thrasher, Margarops fuscatus, inhabits most of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, and has distinct white rings around its piercing black eyes. This bird feeds on fruits, insects, lizards, and the eggs and nestlings of other birds. M. fucatus is known to be aggressive in nature; males have been observed killing other male opponents over territory. We wanted to further explore the extent and context of intraspecific aggressive behaviors among pearly-eyed thrashers. Over the span of two days, on the island of St. John in the U.S Virgin Islands, we observed the pearly-eyed thrasher at VIERS (Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station) and the surrounding trails. We quantified “aggressive” behaviors such as chasing or flying at other birds, and “peaceful” behaviors included feeding near conspecifics and communicating vocally. Other behaviors noted were cleaning and hopping near the focal bird. We performed focal observations, in the morning and afternoon, on 75 birds either alone or in the vicinity of two or more birds for ten minutes, or until the focal bird flew from sight. Observed behaviors will be analyzed to see if the pearly-eyed thrasher is generally aggressive or conciliatory when confronted with others of the same species, particularly while feeding.

Habitat and depth preference of adult and juvenile Strombus gigas in Greater Lameshur

Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands.

Kristy Galloway

Timothy Hartless

Michelle Maurer

Timothy Stevenson

Faculty Mentor(s): Jeremy Wojdak, Biology

Wednesday, April 23 Bonnie Auditorium 6:15 - 6:30

Stombus gigas, a marine gastropod commonly known as the queen conch, has long been desired for both its meat and its shell for the tourist trade, leading to overfishing and declines in abundance throughout the Caribbean. Therefore, in 1990, the species was placed under international protection from over harvesting, by implementing limits of the number and size of conch that can be harvested per person per day. We investigated the abundance, size distribution, and habitat preferences of the queen conch in Greater Lameshur Bay of St. John, US Virgin Islands.

Data was collected in both morning and evening in both sea grass and sand habitats. We recorded the water depth where each individual was found, the habitat type, and the animal’s shell length. We also noted the proportion of conch shells occupied by S. gigas, by hermit crabs, or that were empty. We expected to find a higher density of conch found in the sea grass due to better supply of food and shelter from predation. Also, we also expected juveniles and adults to have the same habitat preferences. Because the population is subject to harvesting of large individuals (>22.9cm), we expected a size distribution skewed towards younger, smaller individuals with few mature adults.

Sea Ice Thermodynamics and Temperature-Measuring Equipment

Jessi Basham

Jesse Dodson

Faculty Mentor(s): Rhett Herman, Physics

Wednesday, April 23 Heth 044 6:00 - 6:20

This talk will detail the thermodynamic properties that led to the creation of “Whistler” as well as describe the inner workings of the device itself. A simplistic thermodynamic model of heat transport suggests that thinner ice over relatively warm seawater will lead to more heat being transferred through the ice. This leads to the assumption that thicker ice will have a lower surface temperature while the thinner ice, which is closer to the seawater, will have a noticeably higher temperature. Whistler is the name given to the device created to measure the ambient temperature of the air above, and the temperature of a small section on the surface of the ice. It was designed by Dan Blake of both the Southwest Virginia Governor’s School and Radford University. The Whistler unit incorporates a custom Arduino microcontroller board, an ambient temperature sensor, and an IR temperature sensor mounted to a mobile SmartCart™. An odometer wheel that could be read by Whistler was designed and fabricated based on neodymium magnets and a Hall Effect magnetic field sensor. This allowed the Arduino board to log the horizontal locations along the line at which the temperature data were obtained. The temperatures were analyzed to test for a possible correlation of surface temperature and sea ice thickness.

Data Collection and Analysis with Whistler

Cameron Baumgardner

Ashley Jordan

Faculty Mentor(s): Rhett Herman Physics

Wednesday, April 23 Heth 044 6:20 - 6:40

In our Arctic research we postulated that the warm water beneath the Arctic sea ice would lead to a higher temperature over thinner ice and a lower temperature over thicker ice. This talk will detail the collection and analysis of the temperature of both the surface of the ice and the air temperature right above the ice. A home-made device nicknamed Whistler was used to record these two temperatures, as well as the horizontal location of the data obtained. We discovered that a number of issues arose with the data collection. These included the fact that footprints affect the data by leaving a thermal “afterimage” and thus the operator would walk beside the Whistler cart as a precaution. Shadows cast from the uneven ice also affected the data. We analyzed the data using a spreadsheet, calculating the average temperature of 30 data points obtained at a spot on the ice approximately 25cm in diameter. These graphs can be compared to models of the ice obtained with resistivity surveys, as well as with ice drill data. This was used to determine whether or not the surface temperature of the ice correlates with the thickness of the ice. The correlation between surface temperature and ice thickness could potentially be useful because a simple thermal imager flown over the ice may be able to quickly determine ice thickness.

How Do Elementary School Students Experience Skype Sessions in Making Real World Connections Relating to Barrow, Alaska?

Erica Martin

Taylor Hardwick

Victoria Holdaway

Faculty Mentor(s): Mythianne Shelton, Physics

Wednesday, April 23 Heth 044 6:40 - 6:55

This presentation focuses on the scientific research experiences of elementary school student teachers from Radford University. The research concentrated on how elementary school students experience Skype sessions in making real-world connections to Barrow, Alaska. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education states, “The human brain processes information more effectively through short, focused lectures, followed by engaging activities that allow for reflection” (Kovach & Revere, 2011). Electronic programs such as Skype are tools teachers can use to ensure their lessons fall under this category. The student teachers conducted a two-week long study to evaluate the changes of the sea ice, communicate with their students via Skype, and evaluate the affects of the Skype sessions on classroom instruction. Collaboration experiences such as this have lasting advantages for both the investigators and the students involved by raising educational aspirations relating to science.

Using an Ohm Mapper resistivity array in Barrow Alaska: equipment and data modeling

Melissa Brett

Nicholas Aitcheson

Faculty Mentor(s): Rhett Herman, Physics

Wednesday, April 23 Heth 044 7:00 - 7:20

The OhmMapper is a capacitively coupled electrical resistivity array used in a recently completed sea ice research effort near Barrow, Alaska. The data obtained by the OhmMapper may be used to construct a cross sectional image of the electrical properties of the sea ice. This image may be refined to create a realistic cross sectional image of the ice itself in the manner of a medical CT cross section. This technique is shown to be particularly useful for sea ice studies due to the large contrast between the resistivity’s of the overlying sea ice and the saltwater beneath. This allowed our research group to construct approximate cross-sectional images of the sea ice in the Chukchi Sea, just offshore of Barrow. These images revealed the thickness, or rather the surprising thinness, of the sea ice in a number of locations. This talk will discuss the operation of the OhmMapper, and how the geometry of the OhmMapper’s components led to a number of challenges that the research team had to overcome. The abilities and limitations of the equipment will be presented. Two primary pieces of software, Res2dinv and MagMap2000, were used to process the raw data. The benefits, drawbacks and limitations of the software will be discussed, including illustrative examples of the output of each piece of software. Final images will be presented showing attendees the structure of the sea ice made from our surface measurements.

Troubleshooting Resistivity and Thermal Scans

Andrew Cohen

Faculty Mentor(s): Rhett Herman, Physics

Wednesday, April 23 Heth 044 7:20 - 7:30

This talk aims to explain the data collection process of the OhmMapper capacitively coupled resistivity system and the challenges that the research team had to overcome. Some of the issues faced on the arctic sea ice were the low temperatures that caused hardware failures, batteries draining much quicker than in a warmer climate, and the OhmMapper transmitter and receiver cables losing contact with the ice due to the rough surface. This last issue seemed to have a particularly clever solution to this particular problem through the implementation of the “Swifter.”

We also deduced which of the 5 receivers and 12 batteries were more or less temperature sensitive through a careful process of elimination. Finally, we discovered through data analysis that the unexpectedly thin ice itself was the main source of data loss. We attempted to correct for this by moving further out on to the ice. The problems that were encountered over the two week period were overcome; however, it did take a toll on the amount of usable data obtained.

How Do Elementary Students Experience Skype in Making Real World Connections to Barrow, Alaska?

Taylor Hardwick

Victoria Holdaway

Erica Martin

Faculty Mentor(s): Mythianne Shelton, Physics

Wednesday, April 23 Heth 044 7:30 - 7:45

This presentation focuses on how a Radford University elementary student teacher experiences scientific research and how those experiences can help foster K-12 students’ understanding of research being conducted in Barrow, Alaska. During a two-week research study of changes in sea ice, a student teacher and a science educator participated in literature and science research activities while communicating with students via Skype. The presentation will also highlight the influence of conducting Skype sessions on the books read by students.

Arctic Geophysics Oral Presentations

Software Modeling OhmMapper Data with Res2DMod

Sarah House

Faculty Mentor(s): Rhett Herman, Physics

Wednesday, April 23 Heth 044 7:45 - 7:55

Res2DInv is a piece geophysical modeling software that reads two-dimensional subsurface data recorded by the OhmMapper, calculates the electrical resistivity of pseudosections, and creates an image of the subsurface based on electrical resistivity. The electrical imaging generated by the software provides researchers with a visual depiction of the undersurface of arctic sea ice. The software discussed in this talk, Res2DMod, allows researchers to set boundaries of resistivity data, and remove miscommunications of signals from the OhmMapper which result in unrealistic electrical imaging. Some of the data collected by the OhmMapper was lost due to loss of signal in the highly-electrically conductive ocean water beneath the ice. This resulted in images that had the ice extending off of the over-2-meter extent of the graphing area. Since we confirmed with an ice drill that ice was not thicker than 2 meters, we knew that Res2DInv needed to be supplemented by Res2DMod. The contribution of Res2DMod to the further analysis of the sea ice resistivity data will be presented.

Data Analysis from Ohmy

Jordan Eagle

Austin Owen

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Rhett Herman, Physics; Mythianne Shelton, Physics; Dan Blake, Physics

Wednesday, April 23 Heth 044 8:00 - 8:20

Data were collected in a just-completed study of the arctic sea ice and tundra near Barrow, Alaska. The equipment used included the OhmMapper capacitively coupled resistivity array. Final analysis of the OhmMapper data relies on the software Res2dinv. Results of processing this data will be presented, showing the ability of the software to generate realistic cross sectional images of the sea ice. As with all modeling software, some ground trothing was required in order to ensure that the images generated from the data accurately depicts the sea ice. Thus our teamdeployed a specialized ice drill in multiple locations to determine the proper modeling parameters to set within Res2dinv. Images that most accurately present the sea ice will be presented. Our results will be discussed in the context of the surprisingly-thin sea ice cover on this trip. On the tundra our goal was to possibly image the boundary between the active layer and the permafrost. While on the tundra we also saw that there was ground water under the permafrost. These findings will be also be discussed in this presentation.

How Do Elementary Students Experience Skype in Making Real World Connections to Barrow, Alaska?

Victoria Holdaway

Erica Martin

Taylor Hardwick

Faculty Mentor(s): Mythianne Shelton, Physics

Wednesday, April 23 Heth 044 8:20 - 8:30

This presentation is part of the research project How Do Elementary Students Experience Skype Sessions in Making Real World Connections to Barrow, Alaska. The presentation focuses on their understandings of different cultures. During the study, the students were read different versions of Cinderella and skyped with their student teachers from Barrow, Alaska. The students were then asked to draw what they believed Cinderella would look like if she lived in Barrow.

Arctic Geophysics Oral Presentations

Investigating correlations between resistivity & thermal data on the arctic sea ice

Sarah Montgomery

Corey Roadcap

Faculty Mentor(s): Rhett Herman Physics, Dan Blake Physics

Wednesday, April 23 Heth 044 8:30 - 8:50

Our presentation focuses on comparing electrical resistivity data from the OhmMapper resistivity array to thermal data from the Whistler sensor cart deployed on the arctic sea ice. We will use this comparison to draw conclusions about a possible correlation between the thickness of the arctic sea ice and the temperature of the surface of the ice. We used an ice drill to determine the true ice thickness in order to set the parameters that allowed the OhmMapper software to more accurately model the sea ice. The results from Whistler’s thermal data will be compared with images of the sea ice generated from resistivity data. We will discuss a survey we performed in collaboration with a staff scientist from the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research & Engineering Laboratory (CRREL). We will present ideas generated by this trip that may lead to new custom equipment or alternative data-collection techniques for the 2016 research trip. These ideas include the development of an Arduino-based device to measure the depth of the snow lying on top of the ice, along with a temperature array to obtain much greater information about the air temperatures above the ice and how these determine the overall thermal balance of the ice.

Is She Worth Less? Planning a Gender Pay Gap Workshop

Kasey Campbell

Faculty Mentor(s): Hilary Lips, Psychology

Thursday, April 24 Heth 014 2:00 - 2:25

“What is the average pay for men and women in my field?” “How do I negotiate my salary?” “What are the signs of workplace discrimination?” Questions like these are important considerations for female college students preparing to transition to professional workplaces, given the statistics on the gender pay gap. Today, a woman earns, on average, 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. Because of this, a woman loses $434,000 in income over her lifetime.

To bring awareness to income inequality on Radford University’s campus, “Is She Worth Less? Gender Pay Gap: A Day of Talks and Workshops” on March 31, 2014, was the objective of a collaborative interdisciplinary effort through an applied gender studies independent study. This presentation will discuss the process of planning the event and how it contributed to further knowledge about the current disparity.

Apr 22, 2014
Erin Webster Garrett
540-831-7149
ewebster2@radford.edu