Local students participated in Celebration of Learning PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Keri Rursch   
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 12:40

ROCK ISLAND, IL (05/07/2012)(readMedia)-- More than 75 Augustana students from all academic areas shared their advanced research projects on Saturday, May 5, at the Celebration of Learning. This on-campus research symposium annually gives students an opportunity to show off their academic accomplishments to their families and the Augustana community.

Among the students involved:

Alannah Golden, a junior from Davenport, Iowa, majoring in elementary education. The research was titled Expanding the Boundaries of Teacher Candidates in General Education: An Immersion Experience. Elementary education and communication sciences and disorders majors worked together to gather research for appropriate classroom accommodations when teaching exceptional children. Research was gathered during an immersion experience at The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. Students researched literacy, technology, and a variety of accommodations as they worked with students with special needs within the school. The two majors worked together in order to effectively research ways to better meet the needs of exceptional children.

Manisha Kumar, a junior from Davenport, Iowa, majoring in biology and pre-medicine. The research was titled Characterizing the Cold-Conditioning Response in a Vertebrate Ectotherm. Ectothermic animals rely on seasonal increases in cold hardiness to survive a thermally variable environment, but a more rapid and supplementary subzero chilling may elicit a better response to a subsequent extreme chilling. In the present study, winter-acclimated Chrysemys picta (painted turtle) hatchlings were put in groups that were cold-conditioned to -3, -7, and -10.5°C. These turtles were later chilled to a more extreme temperature (-12.7°C) and monitored for recovery to determine the magnitude of the cold-conditioning response. To determine the effect of the cold-conditioning, levels of glucose, lactate, and urea were assessed in blood plasma, brain, and liver. Results showed that cold-conditioned turtles fared better, offering higher survival rates than those in the control condition. Turtles cold-conditioned to -3.5°C, however, had both the highest concentration of brain glucose and the highest survival rate. Concentration of brain glucose may be an important factor in determining survival of turtles exposed to cold.

Melissa McGreer, a senior from Illinois City, Ill., majoring in biology. The research was titled Mapping Infection Prevention Factors in Hospital Settings: A Clinical SI for the BA/BSN Dual Degree Program. Augustana pre-nursing students have the option of completing a dual degree BA/BSN including a clinical Senior Inquiry experience coordinated by the Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences in Rock Island, IL. After junior year as Augustana biology majors, these "nurse-scientists" take a summer nursing skills course at TCON&HS, followed by a 100+ hour clinical experience that allows them to explore a question bridging biology and nursing research. During summer 2011, I shadowed different departments at two hospitals in the Quad Cities. After a week or two learning from hospital staff, I proposed the idea that the precautions taken do vary from floor to floor in each hospital. I then created maps showing the interaction of these factors, sometimes referred to as a "web of causation" in epidemiology studies. Such maps can be used as guides for staff education to help healthcare workers see the gaps in their own practices.

Crystina Mayfield, a senior from Coal Valley, Ill., majoring in French, africana studies, and classics. The research was titled Creole Language in the Works of Patrick Chamoiseau. While Patrick Chamoiseau writes primarily in French, he uses a certain amount of Martinican creole language in his works to enhance the effect of his writing style. What exactly are the effects of the inclusion of creole language in a text when many readers will not be able to understand these phrases? What are the effects of including translations of the creole versus leaving it to stand on its own? What are the difficulties a creole writer faces when needing to use French to document a society which is firmly rooted in creole? These and other questions are the basis of this inquiry.

Celebration participants presented their research through a poster display or an oral presentation. Many students expounded on the results of their Senior Inquiry, a multiple-term research project required for most academic programs. Other students shared honors capstone projects or student-faculty research findings. Because of the advanced level of research involved, most of the presenters are upperclass students.

Anne Earel and Stefanie Bluemle, Augustana reference librarians and the event's co-directors, said the Celebration of Learning provided an outlet for students to showcase their accomplishments.

Presentations topics varied greatly and included anthropology, biology, physics, geography, gender studies, theater and more.

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