The Broken Chain
Mentor(s): Thomas Clifton
The first chapter of The Broken Chain, a fantasy comic which uses fantasy tropes to deconstruct the genre.
UALR Multi-Purpose Tornado Shelter
Mentor(s): Hollis Bray
While entering the final year of the Civil and Construction Engineering degree program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock the senior class of 2016-2017 was faced with a very realistic senior design project. They were presented an intricate assignment from the industrial advisors from Cromwell Architects and Engineers, and CDI Contractors in the early weeks of August 2016. This project was to design a sustainable, FEMA quality refuge shelter in parking lot 8 at the university. The seniors were split up into three design teams that were made up of four individual students. These teams were all designing a different building due to the fact that they were all designing for very different wind speeds. The wind speed options were 160 miles per hour, 200 miles per hour, and 250 miles per hour.
Data Analysis of Consumer Complaints
Michelle Poroshine, BINS
Logan Vickery, Economics
Mentor(s): Ravi Thambusamy
From debt collection to student loans, thousands of complaints are filed to companies every year by consumers. However, since 2014, the numbers have decreased which shows that companies have utilized mass collected data and implemented policies in order to satisfy customers.For the sake of determining which company gave a timely response to customer complaints we wrote the IF(d7>=7,”no”,”yes”) formula. The days formula was used to calculate how long it took the company to resolve an issue. Furthermore, to determine which company had the most issues we used conditional formatting and the top ten companies that had the most issues are highlighted in red. We also looked at the geographical aspect, more specifically looking at which states had the most/least complaints. We used multiple tools such as Power View, Power Map, pivot tables, pie charts, trend lines, macros and IF formulas to analyze the data.
Identifying the Key Social Infrastructural Factors in School Buildings That Affect 12th Grade Students’ Standardized Test Scores in 3 school districts
Mentor(s): Amin Akhoukh
This study identified and assessed 8 factors of social infrastructure that affect the built learning environment: Noise, Lighting, Elevation, Crowding (Building & Classroom), Indoor Air Quality, Color, and Building Age. Assessing and analyzing the data collected from all the high schools in the Pulaski County Special, Little Rock, and North Little Rock School Districts in relation to the Average Composite ACT scores for the high school seniors in each school, lead to certain conclusions. Relationships between these infrastructural components and student performance were identified, but more qualitative type research is required in order to explicate the inferences more concretely.
Funding: Arkansas Department of Higher Education
Life Science/Human Science
Algal Oculata Biotemplated Water-Splitting Nanocatalysts Nickel/Iron Oxides
Mentor(s): Wei Zhao
Electrolytic water splitting for hydrogen production is the highlight among the research efforts to develop efficient, low-cost methods to utilize and store renewable energy to combat the climate change from high emissions of CO2. A water-splitting reaction is divided into two half reactions that consist of production of hydrogen (hydrogen evolution reaction, HER) and oxygen (oxygen evolution reaction, OER). For practical applications on a large scale, however, both OER and HER require low-cost, low over potential, and earth-abundant catalysts to enhance and speed up the reaction. Here, we report nanostructural Ni/Fe oxides NiFeOx grown on three-dimensional (3D) carbon nanostructures as efficient OER electrocatalysts. Oculata algal cells were used as a biotemplate to synthetize 3D carbon nanostructures as oculata-derived carbonized cells (cCells). NiFeOx nanoparticles were then grown on the cCells by a hydrothermal reaction, forming a NiFeOx -cCell composite (NiFeOx@cCells). The structure of the composite was analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and the OER electrocatalytic properties were studied by cyclic voltammetry (CV) and linear sweep voltammetry (LSV). Further discussion will be given on the enhanced OER performance and stability of NiFeOx@cCells, in comparison with Ir/C benchmark OER catalyst.
Physiological Relationships Between Salivary Expressed Metabolites and Dancer Fitness
Mentor(s): Samantha E. Johnson
Our long-term objective is to develop physiological indicators that lead to a greater understanding of the biology related to longitudinal fitness training. Specific aims for this proposal are to determine: A) the concentrations of metabolites before and after a dance class (specifically cortisol, heat shock protein 70, glucose, lactate, and non-esterified fatty acids), with consideration of gender, race, and a self-reported fitness level, B) the effects of acute and chronic conditioning over 14 weeks on the salivary concentrations of metabolites, and C) whether dancers’ answers to survey questions regarding perception of health and stress are reflected in their biomarkers.This project is currently in process and our presentation will reflect our results thus far.
Funding: Arkansas Department of Higher Education: Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Nannochloropsis Oculata Biotemplated Water-Splitting MoS2 Nanocatalysts for Hydrogen Production
Mentor(s): Wei Zhao
This work is built on our previous research which has shown the capabilities of microalgae cells as templates for nanomaterial synthesis. There is an ongoing search for sustainable, cost-effective catalysts for use in hydrogen evolution reactions (HER) for hydrogen production. Here, we used carbonized Nannochloropsis oculata cells (cCells) as three-dimensional scaffolds for the synthesis of molybdenum sulfide (MoS2), which has been previously shown to have HER electro-catalytic properties. Sodium molybdate and the amino acid L-cysteine were used to form the MoS2 precursor solution. Hydrothermal reaction was used to synthesize the MoS2@cCell sample. Scanning electron microscopy images were taken to confirm the structure of MoS2@cCell. The HER electrocatalytic properties of MoS2@cCell were studied by cyclic voltammetry and linear sweep voltammetry, and the HER performance and the stability were compared with Pt/C benchmark HER catalyst.
Petrographic examination of the El Hammami H5 meteorite from the UA Little Rock Meteorite Collection
Mentor(s): Michael DeAngelis
The focus of this study is the El Hammami H5 meteorite from the UA Little Rock Meteorite Collection. The objective of this research was to prepare an epoxy mount and thin section of a small piece of El Hammami to confirm its mineralogy and to generate photomicrographs for use in future educational programs. A small piece (~1 cm in diameter) of the meteorite was obtained from Dr. Tony Hall, curator of the Meteorite Collection. This sample was mounted in epoxy, sliced using a thin blade saw, and prepared as both a thin section and polished epoxy mount using equipment available in the UA Little Rock Department of Earth Sciences Rock Preparation Lab. Petrographic analysis confirmed that El Hammami is dominated by metamorphosed olivine and pyroxenes within an iron-nickel matrix. Barred olivine and rimmed radial pyroxene textures are also present, and are key to verifying the metamorphic history of this meteorite.
Social Sciences/Professional Studies
Determining a Champion: Economic Analysis of NFL Teams
Mentor(s): Sarah Quintanar
This research measures the performance of National Football League teams by using a linear regression model to determine the effects of statistical performance measures’ effects on the point differential. Performance measures from the offense, defense, and special teams were used to determine the magnitude of how each effects the scoring margin. All of the factors that were tested were statistically significant at the highest level, and collectively, they were responsible for roughly 87% of the overall scoring differential of each team. The model developed by the linear regression was then used to evaluate stats of each team through the first 14 weeks over the 2016 NFL Season. The results showed that the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons would end the season with the highest point differential. These two teams would meet in the Super Bowl at the end of the season.
2nd Place Tie
Evaluation of the Readability, Validity, and User-Friendliness of Aphasia Written Web-Based Patient Education Materials
Mentor(s): Samuel Atcherson
For written health educational resources to be beneficial they must be intellectually accessible. The purpose of the project is measure that accessibility for those suffering form a language impairing disorder known as aphasia by evaluating the top associated websites. This study looked at a total of 90 webpages from Google, Yahoo, and Bing for the terms: “Aphasia,” “Aphasia Treatment,” and “Aphasia Help.” The readability, validity, and user-friendliness were evaluated through Readability Formulas, SPAT, and SAM assessments respectively. A majority of the readability measures averaged at least twice the 5th grade reading level recommended for those with aphasia. A third of the websites did not meet the SPAT’s quality standards and the average SAM score was calculated to be 27.4 out of 52 total points. From the accumulation of data a clear discrepancy can be noted for aphasia written web-based patient education materials found online.
2nd Place Tie
An Investigation to Document Interjudge Reliability of Two Standardized Measures of Social Skills
Kiana Manning (Speech Language Pathology)
Mentor(s): Betholyn Gentry
The term Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a term used for a group of complex disorders of brain development. One hallmark characteristic of this population is problems with social skills. Social skills are an integral part of human communication and are used any time individuals want to interact with others. These skills usually develop in children during early childhood and tend to happen over a number of years, typically without a lot of instructions. Examples of these social skills include: conversational skills, friendship skills, understating emotions play skills, and dealing with conflict. Speech language pathologist are often called upon to assess social skills using various tests, questionnaires and observation tools. Several procedures have been used in the literature to document interjudge reliability when using these assessment protocols. Interjudge reliability is defined as the consistency of measurement obtained when different judges or examiners independently administer the same test to the same subject. The purpose of this research was to document the interjudge reliability of two standardized measures of social skills. The investigator scored pre and post administrations of the Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) and the Test of Pragmatic Language 2 (TOPL-2). The data obtained was analyzed using ReCal, an online module to compute interjudge reliability. . The results will reveal agreement among examiners and the best statistical procedure to calculate interjudge reliability of social skill assessments.
Funding: UALR Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program
Blake Johnston (Civil and Construction Engineering)
Sam Kincannon, Civil Engineering as well
Mentor(s): Larry Blackmon
The concrete canoe was built by a team of students from the student chapter of the ASCE. Every year, the are regional ASCE Student competition’s, we are in the Deep South region. The concrete canoe Competition is held every year, but this was the first year for UALR to compete.
The Influence is an entrepreneurial business venture that provides creative individuals with a platform to express their creative works in Little Rock.
Measuring Data Quality of Global Earthquakes
Mentor(s): Kenji Yoshigoe
In this era of big data, data quality of global earthquakes will be increasingly important because people need high quality data to make decisions, analyze earthquake patterns, and discover quake knowledge. So, measuring data quality of earthquake sensors is a vital mission. However, it is challenge job because different quake sensors in different countries, stream data with large volume, and long-distance translations. In this research, after reviewing literature, author illustrates how to discover potentially important data based on a reference algorithm, a frequency algorithm, and an entropy algorithm; the author offers a concise five-layer data quality framework to measure stream data quality scorecards for global earthquake; the author shows how to visualize data quality scorecards through a three-dimensional impact model. Finally, the author compares performance results between single thread in one machine and parallel threads on a cluster platform.
Novel Mechanism for Object Manipulation and Grasping for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Mentor(s): Andrew Wright
An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has significant advantages over an autonomous ground vehicle (AGV) and great potential to operate in otherwise unreachable locations. Several mechanisms for grasping and manipulation have been proposed trying to manipulate different sets of target objects. We created and implemented a novel mechanism for object grasping and manipulation which has the potential to be mounted on an UAV. For our mechanism, the target object is a corrugated packaging box. The force that this mechanism can exert is designed to be less than the crushing force of the box. These forces were verified experimentally by placing different sets of weights on each side of the cuboidal boxes until the surface showed first signs of failure. The mechanism uses two pairs of perpendicularly mounted linear actuators to independently move grippers at the end of the arms. The gripper’s unique three-degree-of-freedom hand accommodates orientation misalignment between the UAV and the payload. The mechanism can be controlled with very few control inputs increasing the simplicity in its overall control.
Improving Data Quality Through Machine Learning
Mentor(s): Kenji Yoshigoe
Machine Learning is very important technology for data quality control because customers and engineers need it to discovery, recognize, and identify data quality problems. However, traditional data quality control methods are based on users’ experience or rule engineers, resulting in limited performance and unacceptable time consuming. At the big data era, we should leverage computing resource and leading technique to overcome these challenges and shortages. In this paper, we first review relevant works and discuss machine learning techniques, tools, and software. Second, we offer a new data quality framework with statistics models and deep learning modes for improving data quality. Third, the paper presents how to build a demo system via these models. Fourth, authors use Arkansas officer salary as testing data to demonstrate how to identify and improve data quality via machine learning. Finally, authors discuss future works.
SNP IMPUTATION AND CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH STUDY (CHS)
Mentor(s): Mohammed El Faramawi
We plan to combine genetic data from the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) – an NIH funded study to detect risk factors for development and progression of cardiovascular diseases in people aged 60 years and older – with genetic data from other studies. However, different platforms were used to genotype SNPs in the studies that we will combine the CHS with; therefore, if we pool the CHS data with the data of the other studies without imputation, we have to exclude hundreds of thousands of SNPs, because they were not genotypes in the CHS (loss of statistical power). Our goal was to impute the genetic data of the CHS. The genetic imputation will 1) increase the statistical power required to detect significant associations, and 2) enable us to combine genetic data from genetic studies that use different genotyping platforms: Meta-analysis. We used a three-stage approach (pre-imputation, imputation, and post-imputation) to impute SNPs in the CHS. Our study included 3,802 participants: Caucasian, (n=3,207); African American, (n=557); American Indian/Alaskan native, (n=8); Asian/Pacific Islander, (n=4); other, (n=14); and missing, (n=12). We imputed 46,793,627 SNPs located on the 22 pairs of autosomal human chromosomes. The genetic imputation of the CHS had a high accuracy rate: r^2 = 0.98. Our work has three advantages. First, after imputation, we will have the ability to combine CHS genetic data with those of other studies. Second, when we combine the genetic data from different studies we will gain more statistical power to locate genetic SNPs associated with phenotypes of interest. Third, this project provided a good practical training for researches to learn how to impute Genome-Wide-Association-Studies. This training aligns with the objectives of the Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) Program (R 15), which is supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [1R15HL126074-01A1.]
Oral Health Access in Arkansas
Mentor(s): Jess Porter
There is an expected nationwide shortage of 15,000 dentists by 2025. Already, Arkansas is ranked last in the number of dentists per residents with 1 dentist for 2338 people. This poster highlights some geographic and socio-economic factors influencing dental access shortage areas for adults between 18 and 64 years of age in Arkansas.
Evaluating access within Arkansas’ 75 counties, the location and frequency of practicing dentists, dentists accepting Medicaid, and Community Health Centers with dental clinics were identified and mapped. Community Health Centers without dental services and emergency rooms were similarly evaluated. Socioeconomic and health factors such as poverty, transportation infrastructure, insurance coverage, and community fluoridation were mapped for contextual purposes. Six counties were identified with acute dental care shortages where no access to a dentist accepting Medicaid or an emergency room are available. These counties are characterized by high poverty levels, lack of access to public transportation, and lack of access to fluoridated water.
While programs such as ARKids, Medicare and Medicaid help, more emphasis should be placed on improving avenues to adequate adult dental care. Some suggestions include providing incentives to dental providers to serve under-insured or Medicaid-dependent adults and increasing the number of community health centers providing dental services and increasing access to preventative services such as fluoridated water. Additionally, broadening the scope of allied dental health professionals by collaborating across health disciplines could improve dental workforce shortages.
Dictyostelium discoideum Senses Inositol Polyphosphate-Mediated Programmed Cell Death Mechanism Following Exposure to Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes (SWCNTs)
Mentor(s): Nawab Ali
John M. Bush
Programmed cell death (apoptosis) maintains tissue homeostasis in higher multicellular organisms. Inositol polyphosphates (InsPs) play a crucial signaling role in this process. The role of InsPs in apoptosis in lower organisms such as dictyostelium discoideum (D. discoideum) is not well understood. In this study, we examined whether InsPs bring about apoptotic changes in this NIH-approved unicellular model organism. Additionally, we studied whether single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT), known to affect apoptosis in mammalian cells, also influence InsPs-mediated apoptosis in D. discoideum. Studying effects of SWCNTs on apoptotic mechanism has significance in their applications in biomedical field particularly cancer treatment. MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) assays demonstrated the cytotoxic effects of SWCNTs on D. discoideum in a dose and time dependent manner. Differential fluorescence staining of live and dead cell with ethidium bromide/acriding orange and Flow cytometry results confirmed that SWCNTs increased the rate of apoptosis. Further, SWCNTs disrupted mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) as measured by JC-1 dye and exerted oxidative stress due to the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) as detected by DCFH-DA. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis was used to detect the level of InsPs. Our results showed that SWCNTs inhibited the cellular levels of InsPs. In summary, our results provide, for the first time, a probable mechanism of action of SWCNTs on InsPs-mediated apoptosis in D. discoideum.
Humanities /Socials Sciences/Education
Dorothea Lange and Ben Shahn: Separate Paths Lead to Similar Mother Figures in Farm Security Administration Photography
Amy Cole (Studio Art)
Mentor(s): Floyd Martin
During the Great Depression in the late 1930s, the American federal government funded agencies called the Resettlement Administration (RA) and the Farm Security Administration (FSA) with the primary goal of helping poor, rural, American farming families become self-sufficient. However, one of the most memorable outcome of the RA and FSA agencies was the collection of photographs from their eleven photographers documenting the effects of the Depression on struggling members of society.
In this presentation, we will explore the photographic work of Dorothea Lange (1895 – 1965 and Ben Shahn (1898-1969) and) hired by the FSA to share with the rest of the country how their fellow man – and woman – was surviving in this hostile and desperate time. Often, mothers were the primary subjects in these photographs, possibly because mothers were traditionally considered one of the most stable elements of a society, especially in transient places such as migrant camps. The women we see in Lange and Shahn’s photos are individuals who represented much larger groups of people – one migrant (California), one stationary (Arkansas), both grappling with destitution and hunger. Using six mother images, we will compare how Dorothea Lange and Ben Shahn had different experience and training with photography, were influenced by distinct photographic styles such as Clarence White (Lange) and Walker Evans (Shahn), and employed individual techniques in their FSA work. Yet, despite these differences we will see striking similarities in their photos of Dust Bowl-era American mothers.
Disproportionate Sanctions: A Comparison of Judicial Handling of Male and Female Southern Minority Youth
Mentor(s): Tusty ten Bensel
Previous sentencing research has found judicial disparities for adult offenders; however, the examination of sentencing outcomes has been rare for juveniles. Although limited, studies have found minority males are more likely to receive severe sentencing outcomes, while females receive some leniency. The purpose of this study was to understand factors that contribute to judicial mishandling of juvenile minority offenders. We used data from the Arkansas Office of Corrections and the Arkansas Crime Information Center to understand what factors contribute to plea-bargaining and charge reductions for minority juvenile offenders. Based on our findings, we will provide research and policy implications.
Life Science/Physical Science
Temporal and Spatial Changes in the Water Quality of the Arkansas River Through the Little Rock Metropolitan Area
Mentor(s): Laura Ruhl
The Arkansas River flows through almost 19 miles in the Little Rock Metropolitan area, receiving runoff and discharges from the city of Little Rock and central Arkansas, including discharge from the Fourche Creek watershed. The river is utilized for hydroelectricity, treated wastewater discharges, recreation, and transportation in central Arkansas. Water samples were collected along the river upstream of Murray Lock and Dam, downstream of Little Rock before the Terry Lock and Dam, and within Little Rock on seven separate occasions over an eighteen-month period. One of these occasions includes the sampling of a downstream site over three days during a major storm event. During sampling water parameters were collected, such as pH, salinity, conductivity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen; and water samples were analyzed for anions, cations, alkalinity, and trace metals. Concentrations were compared to water levels in the Arkansas River, upstream activity, and with identified effluent discharges to the river from the Little Rock area to understand the chemical changes in the Arkansas River in the Little Rock area. Each sampling event revealed a gradient from lower to higher concentrations in most constituents as it flowed through Little Rock, such as F, Cl, SO4, Mn, and Fe. Samples from June 2015 were collected during the highest water level during our project (13.22 ft), and had zinc concentrations of 1.52 ppb upstream which increased to 13.64 ppb downstream. Despite having the highest water level, the concentration of chloride almost doubled from the previous sampling events (from 39.2 to 76.7 ppb). The highest concentrations of cations and anions occurred during September 2014 with almost 3 times the concentration of Ca, Na, Cl, and SO4 relative to other sampling periods. These extremely high concentrations coincided with lower water levels and a much drier time of year. The 3-day storm event (March 2016) showed an increase in concentration of constituents shortly after rainfall began, followed by a decrease in concentration as precipitation continued. This investigation revealed the dynamic effect of spatial and temporal changes as well as anthropogenic influences on water quality.
2nd Place Tie
Removal and Recovery of Phosphate from Wastewater Using Novel Reusable Renewable Resource-based Nanocomposites
Water runoffs containing phosphates pollute large bodies of water leading to algae growth. Death of the algae blooms leads to hypoxic water conditions, resulting in the death of aquatic life and disruption of the aquatic ecosystem. In this project, we used waste pine wood chips (a renewable resource) to create reusable nanocomposites, useful for phosphate remediation. The media synthesis is both economically viable and environmentally friendly. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and Brunauer Emmett Teller (BET) were utilized to determine the shape and size of the nanoparticles as well as elements present on the surface of the media. Kinetic and adsorption studies were performed to determine the capacity and mechanism for phosphate removal by the media. The results of this study indicate that phosphorus levels in water can be brought down from 1000 ppb to 10 ppb or less. We also demonstrated that the phosphorus can be desorbed and the media can be regenerated for repeated use without loss of efficiency.
Funding: Abtech Industries
2nd Place Tie
Regulation of productivity of Ornamental crops by Carbon-based Nanotechnological Approach
Mentor(s): Mariya Khodakovskaya
Ornamental crops are those plants that are grown for the decoration of home, garden, and landscape design project. According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis Personal Consumption Expenditures (2016), floriculture items sale was 31.1 billion in 2015. The good ornamental crops should possess aesthetic features such as higher flower number, larger leaves and bigger flower size as well as scent. We have successfully demonstrated the possibility to use a Carbon based nanomaterial(CBNs) to enhance the productivity of model plant species (Khodakovskaya et al,2009) as well as valuable food crops (Lahiani et al 2013). Here we tested the impact of two types of CBNs: MWCNTs and graphene on seed germination, seedlings growth, flower productivity and overall growth and developments of model ornamental crop Catharanthus roseus. The application of MWCNTs and graphene led to early seed germination as well as higher seed germination in Catharanthus. Furthermore, CBNs positively regulates the seedlings developments. The long-term exposure of CBNs to Catharanthus results in early flowering and a higher number of flower production. The application of MWCNTs accelerated the flower productivity by 35% whereas graphene led by 36 % as compared to untreated Catharanthus plants. Thus our results indicate a higher possibility of CBNs to induce flower production in Catharanthus roseus. This provides a new avenue in the floriculture industry in order to get desirable traits in ornamental crops.
Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) for TiO2 nanorods with SWCNTs/Polyaniline
Mentor(s): Tar-Pin Chen
TiO2 nanorods are prepared as a working electrode and single wall nanotubes (SWNTs) mixed with polyaniline (PANI) as a counter electrode. Dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are fabricated by using TiO2 nanorods included with SWNTs/PANI hybrid solar cells. The morphology and the structure of the devices have been examined by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), x-ray diffraction (XRD), and optical absorption (UV). IV measurements are used to calculate the energy efficiency. The energy efficiency of the TiO2/PANI-SWNTs device was found to be better than other devices that use only SWNTs or PANI under the same conditions. The counter electrode was improved, by mixing SWNTs with PANI. The efficiency of the device was then increased from 1.59% to 1.99%.