Peter Wiese participated in Celebration of Learning PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Keri Rursch   
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 12:41

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:

Peter Wiese, a senior from Davenport, Iowa, majoring in neuroscience and mathematics. Wiese presented two research projects. The first project was titled Using Conditioned Place Preference to Investigate Rewarding Stimuli in Young Chickens. Chickens are readily used as models in learning, as they demonstrate a variety of behaviors and the ability to learn at a young age. The objective of our study was to determine if young chicks would have a stronger preference for social contact with other chicks or a food reward. Our experiment tested this question by exploring whether chicks could be conditioned to prefer a certain environment over another based on a learned association. Using a conditioned place preference paradigm, chicks were exposed to a colored environment paired with one of two rewards. We predicted that chicks would spend more time in the environment paired with the stimulus that they found most rewarding. Our results showed that, in contrast to previous studies, the chicks preferred the red side of the box, independent of conditioning. We are currently considering reasons as to why this occurred.

The second project was titled Parametric Equations for Video Games. Danmaku, or "manic shooters," are a genre of video games that feature intricate patterns of bullets that the player must avoid. The motion of the bullets is determined by parametric equations of varying complexity. Using a game engine, we will explore how various patterns can be produced through the use of parametric equations using both polar or Cartesian coordinate systems.

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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