Hastings College is celebrating excellence at 5:00 p.m. Central on Sunday, May 3, 2020, with Honors Convocation!

During Honors Convocation, students and faculty are recognized for their achievements throughout the academic year. Awards, which are kept secret until the event, will be announced by faculty and students via pre-recorded videos.

Honors Convocation is also when the Who’s Who and Bronco Award recipients are announced.

📹 The stream begins at 5:00 p.m. Central » Facebook or YouTube

📃You can also download the program (.pdf)

Hastings College is celebrating excellence on with Academic Showcase!

Each spring, members of Alpha Chi (the collegiate all-discipline national honor society) coordinate Academic Showcase.

During Academic Showcase, students, faculty, staff, parents and community members enjoy and learn from fascinating student presentations about individual research projects, experiential learning, study abroad experiences and creative endeavors.

Academic Showcase is a chance for students to share their passions and to show off their impressive work. It also gives students a chance to engage in dialogue and discussion as they answer questions about their project.

For 2020, all presentations are posted below as videos or posters for you to enjoy. Student emails are included so you can reach out with questions and congratulations.

2020 Academic Showcase Presentations

Curious Case of Serine Biosynthesis: Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Metabolic Reprogramming on Cancer Aggressiveness

Robert Hernandez, a biochemistry major from Salinas, California; robertramiro.hernandez17@hastings.edu

Dr. Amanda Solem

Abstract

Metabolic reprogramming is one of the vital cancer hallmarks. It confers cancer cells an ability to grow under limited nutrient condition during their growth and spread. Therefore, various metabolic pathways are often dysregulated in cancer; serine metabolism is one such metabolic pathway. However, the role of serine metabolism in cancer is not well understood. There are mixed reports on its functions, where some reports indicate its pro-tumorigenic effects while others have demonstrated that its inhibition has no or growth-promoting effects on tumor growth. Serine pathways enzymes are often overexpressed in pancreatic cancer. Therefore, we aimed at identifying the role of serine biosynthesis in pancreatic cancer cells. 

We created transient knockdowns (KD) and knockouts (KO) of PHGDH, and utilized pharmacological inhibitors to identify very-short term, short term, and long-term effects of PHGDH inhibition in Capan-2 pancreatic cancer cells. It was observed that short-term inhibition (pharmacological inhibition or transient KDs) of PHGDH leads to growth inhibition, which diminished in long-term (<20 passages) cultures. Short-term PHGDH inhibition also reduced tumor sphere-forming potential, which was rescued in long-term cultures. These observations indicate that the growth inhibitory effects of PHGDH are somehow being reversed in long-term cultures. Therefore, we next profiled the metabolomes of these cells to detect metabolic differences. 

We observed changes in nucleotide metabolism and TCA cycle metabolites on short-term PHGDH expression/activity inhibition. However, most of these changes were rescued in long-term cultures, indicating a metabolic shift. Nucleotide metabolism and TCA cycle play essential roles in the cells function and growth, and therefore suppression of both simultaneously could explain the observed reduction in cell growth under short-term PHGDH inhibition. However, eventually, cells managed to overcome the metabolic suppression and the metabolic reprogramming can rescue the cell growth, as observed with long-term PHGDH inhibition. These results indicate that there could be various outcomes of PHGDH inhibition, where short term changes might indicate anti-cancer properties, and long-term inhibition could indicate a contrastingly different phenotype. Therefore, it is important to explore it further in other cell and animal models to delineate the roles and effects of serine metabolism on cancer.

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“But I saw it on TV?”: A rhetorical analysis of sexual assault narratives on Grey’s Anatomy

Samantha Burke, a communication studies major from Denver, Colorado; samantha.burke17@hastings.edu

Dr. Austin McDonald and Dr. Kittie Grace

Abstract

Stories of sexual assault have long been taboo for prime television. The #metoo movement opened a dialogue of sexual assault narratives within both real life and on-screen (Lemiski, 2019). Unfortunately, many of the stories rely heavily on stereotypes; attempting to create a “digestible” version of assault. Media representations attempting to combat these stereotypes are worth examining. Thus, this paper analyzes a 2018 episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “Silent All These Years,” inspired by Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony against Brett Kavanaugh (Piester, 2019). Using a method of rhetorical criticism, this paper demystifies the ways the episode disrupts the metanarrative, surrounding sexual assault. Metanarrative is an overarching story that is used to help shape the cultural understanding of an issue (Horton, 2011). There were four types of disruptions: the disruption of victim-blaming, the disruption of required self-disclosure, showing the consent to administer a rape-kit following an assault, and the time frame in which the story is told. By analyzing how mainstream TV shows tell sexual assault narratives, I will provide insight into how the general public may further understand these experiences.

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Lahinch Lassies: Hastings College Becomes Galway Girls

Samantha Burke, a communication studies major from Denver, Colorado; samantha.burke17@hastings.edu

Emma Redinger, a communication studies and digital design and development major from Hastings, Nebraska; emma.redinger17@hastings.edu

Delany Feezell, a studio art major major from Walla Walla, Washington; delaney.feezell17@hastings.edu

Mackenzie Waltemath, a business administration and strategic communications major from Omaha, Nebraska; mackenzie.waltemath17@hastings.edu

Morgan Stromer, a studio art major from Bladen, Nebraska; mstromer16@hastings.edu

Dr. Rob Babcock

Abstract

What happens when you place five American college women in a seaside town in Ireland for three weeks? Research, adventures and some good-natured shenanigans. Please join us for a conversation about our experiences of research abroad, school-appropriate stories, and lots of pictures. In the process, our audience will learn more about the Irish Fellows program and about both the benefits and pitfalls of undergraduate research.

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Shrinking Icons: Raising Awareness of Modern Day Celebrity Wasting Syndrome

Courtney Hanson, a communication studies and philosophy and religion major from Brookings, South Dakota; courtney.hanson17@hastings.edu

Alli Kennon, a communication studies major from Spicer, Minnesota; akennon16@hastings.edu

Dr. Kittie Grace

Abstract

In their 1998 book FAT!SO?, researchers Sondra Solovay and Marilyn Wann developed the term “Celebrity Wasting Syndrome,” which describes the infectious trend of celebrities losing weight as they achieve success. While this term was popularized for skinny celebrities losing even more weight, fat stars were excluded from a term developed for them because any weight loss was seen as beneficial. Now, as Adele, Melissa McCarthy, and countless others continually lose weight, the toxic epidemic of celebrity wasting syndrome is more apparent than ever. Two decades later, these celebrities distance fat people in the audience by ignoring the struggle they freely left behind. Through historical research of this vicious cycle constricting the fat liberationist movement; expressed through a partner performance of poetry and prose, we attempt to raise awareness of the celebrity wasting syndrome plaguing fat celebrities before they all fade away.

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Ganar o perder; Latino Candidates in a Post Obama America

Brook McCurdy, a political science and sociology major from Lexington, Nebraska; bmccurdy16@hastings.edu

Dr. Robert Amyot

Abstract

Approximately twenty-two percent of Congress is made up of ethnic and racial minorities. One ethnic group, in particular, Latin(x) have shown record numbers yet again with thirty-six members of the House and four senators. While this accomplishment is noteworthy, we as a group still have a long way to go as the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States. Latin(x) makes up a little more than 17% of the U.S. population of about 57.5 million and growing according to the New York Times on February 19, 2019. To make these record gains at Capital Hill, we have first to widen our scope to explore Latin(x) representation at the local level as that is where the majority of members of Congress start locally. My research examines Latin(x) candidates on the local scale to explore what factors affect a Latin(x) candidate’s success and loss of state Legislative seats.

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Design, construction and testing of an ultra-open acoustic meta material

Joe Jahn, a physics and math major from Columbus, Nebraska;
jjahn16@hastings.edu

Dr. Steve Bever

Abstract

An acoustic metamaterial (AMM) is a subwavelength material that acquires its acoustic properties predominantly from its structure rather than the properties of its constitutive materials. Originally conceived to achieve greater sound isolation than traditional materials of comparable mass and density could provide, AMMs have been developed with several interesting properties such as negative refractive index and super resolution. This study focuses on an ultra-open AMM. The ultra-open AMM maximizes the open space of the material allowing for forced ventilation at the expense of the width of the stopband. Despite this disadvantage, the material’s attenuation peaks are harmonic in nature, thus making it well suited for attenuating mechanical noise of a predetermined frequency. During this project an ultra-open AMM was constructed and its acoustic properties were measured. This type of material may provide a lighter, smaller, less expensive, and less restrictive noise control option for fans, mechanical exhaust, and other situations where airflow is critical.

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Trouble Afar: Hidden Crisis of Sexual Violence Overseas

Alli Kennon, a communication studies major from Spicer, Minnesota; akennon16@hastings.edu

Dr. Kittie Grace

Abstract

College-aged individuals who study abroad are three to five times more likely to be raped than their domestic counterparts (Northwestern University Law Review, 2017). However, most victims are repeatedly told they cannot prosecute their overseas assailant and are forced to drop the idea of justice entirely. Enabled through confusing laws, the tourism industry, and an alarming lack of awareness, this crisis remains hidden from public view and leaves victims in the dark. Due to these disturbing facts, I present qualitative, interview-based research culminated over five years, uncovering traveler’s trauma. Additionally, this research was shared with all student travelers for block 5, in an attempt to raise awareness of sexual violence overseas and empower the rights of student travelers. Essentially, these findings push us towards accessible solutions to ensure we are protecting our community and helping survivors not only in Hastings but everywhere.

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Fractional Calculus

Joe Jahn, a physics and math major from Columbus, Nebraska;
jjahn16@hastings.edu

Dr. David Cooke

Abstract

Traditional calculus is concerned with taking whole number integrals and derivatives in order to determine the area under and slope of a function. Use of the Cauchy formula for repeated integration and the gamma function, which extends factorials to a continuous domain, allows for fractional integration. The fractional derivative is similarly defined. It is possible to generalise this farther by combining fractional integration and fractional differentiation into a single operation, differintegration. In this way, fractional calculus is developed. Unlike traditional calculus, fractional calculus does not have an immediate geometric interpretation. However, it has applications ranging from describing acoustic wave propagation in complex media, to fractional quantum mechanics, to modeling fluid flow when flux within the control volume is non-linear. The purpose of this study is to develop the basis of fractional calculus, provide a few computation examples and present an application.

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Attempting to End Fat-Shaming by Fat-Shaming?

Courtney Hanson, a communication studies and philosophy and religion major from Brookings, South Dakota; courtney.hanson17@hastings.edu

Dr. Austin McDonald

Abstract

On September 12, 2019, James Corden, the host of The Late Late Show, responded to Bill Maher’s fat-shaming comments on his show Real Time just a few days prior. Corden responded with an almost eight-minute segment on his show attempting to call out the prevalent fatphobic comments Maher held. Corden spoke out because he is a fat man with a platform to do so, and while his response had good intentions, through a rhetorical analysis of his response, elements of fatphobia were found within his message. Scholar Charlotte Cooper (2010) argues “the cultural production of fatphobia” is worthy of analysis (p.1). 

Thus, this rhetorical analysis uses ideological criticism (Foss, 2018) to conduct the following steps: identify presented elements, identify suggested elements, formulate the ideology, and identify the functions served by the ideology. Corden’s blatant internalized fatphobia prompted the research question: How does one’s own internalized bias impact how they share their world view with others? Three main ideals were found throughout Corden’s response, tackling fatphobia, enabling fatphobic ideals, and fatphobia internalization.

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Synthesis of a linear 6,6’-biazulenic pi-linker terminated with mercapto junctions

Lauren Feden, a chemistry and studio art major from Papillion, Nebraska; lfeden16@hastings.edu

Dr. Neil Heckman

Abstract

Azulene is a nonbenzenoid isomer of naphthalene, C10H8.  Its scaffold is composed of fused 5- and 7-membered sp2-carbon rings.  Linearly terminated azulenic and oligoazulenic molecular linkers have been of increasing theoretical and experimental interest in the design of functional materials for applications in molecular and optoelectronics.  The Barybin group has recently established coordination and surface chemistry of 6,6’-biazulenic -linkers linearly terminated with two isocyano (–NC) or an isocyano and a mercapto (-SH) groups at the 2 and 2’ positions of the biazulenyl framework.  This presentation will introduce the first example of a 2,2’-dimercapto-functionalized 6,6’-biazulene derivative.  An efficient synthesis, spectroscopic characterization, and initial electrochemical profile of this molecular linker will be discussed.  The synthesis and characterization of this pi-linker was carried out over the course of a summer REU in the Barybin group at the University of Kansas.

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Beyond the printing bed: a discussion of large-scale woodcut techniques

Lauren Feden, a chemistry and studio art major from Papillion, Nebraska; lfeden16@hastings.edu

Turner McGehee

Abstract

This presentation will cover techniques I have found useful for printing large woodcuts as well as some of the motivations for my senior thesis work. I have utilized different techniques to achieve large scale works for my thesis projects. My senior project includes a 9’x5’ print taken from a recycled dinner table. This is likely the largest print achieved at Hastings College and it could not have been done without a team of 5 people helping, using improvised methods. This demonstration will provide insight as to how a very large print that exceeded the size limitations of the studio was accomplished.

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Cinderella Who?: Expanding Children's Understanding of Diversity through Multicultural Children's Literature

Jordanna McCauley, a accounting and communication studies major from Trenton, Nebraska; jo.mccauley@hastings.edu

Chloe Carson, a marketing and communication studies major from Eagan, Minnesota; chloe.carson@hastings.edu

Dani Lizarraga, a health systems and sociology major from Denver, Colorado; danielle.lizarraga17@hastings.edu

Dr. Jessica Henry

Abstract

Our society in the United States is getting more diverse, especially in classrooms. Multicultural children’s literature is a vehicle through which we can represent different socio-cultural experiences of underrepresented groups in our society while also validating and acknowledging different people’s experiences (Gopalakrishnan, 2010). For this project, we wrote and illustrated our own multicultural children’s book. Our book, titled Color Me Beautiful, was about celebrating diversity among students and accepting each other for who we are. Teams of students in Dr. Henry’s Intercultural Communication class wrote books and each team read their completed book to the third-grade classes at Longfellow Elementary School as a service-learning project. Topics from the books in class included culture, food curiosity, sexuality, and inclusion. Our book will also come to be published by Dr. Oman’s book publishing course during Block 5. During our presentation, we will discuss the importance of multicultural children’s literature, the process of writing our story, and the benefits for children when they have a chance to read about different cultures. By writing these stories, we can help start these conversations that are oftentimes difficult.

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Six Feet Away

Amelia Amicarella, a history and theatre arts major from Littleton, Colorado; amelia.amicarella17@hastings.edu

Greer Anderson, a theatre arts and communication studies major from Colorado Springs, Colorado; handerson16@hastings.edu

Kiley Logan, a elementary education major from Colorado Springs, Colorado; klogan16@hastings.edu

Basil Rabayda, a theatre arts major from Phoenix, Arizona; brabayda16@hastings.edu

Dr. Annette Vargas

Abstract

As part of our senior thesis, our Theatre Capstone Class has worked for the past few weeks on researching, creating, and developing monologues based on the current COVID-19 events called Six Feet Away. We created the monologues and testimonies by using personal experiences and researched scenarios in order to portray global reactions during a pandemic. Our monologues are designed to explore different points of view in order to inform and promote empathy within a worldwide audience, while also providing a bit of comic relief. Through these unique characters and storylines, we aim to inspire hope and community among all of us separated by distance, but not experience. Our presentation will include these monologues which we performed and recorded individually followed by group editing together as a means of creating art during social isolation.

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“I Do Wanna Talk About It”: Using narrative to destigmatize forms of termination

Jadah Morrison, a communication studies major from Chaska, Minnesota; jmorrison16@hastings.edu

Dr. Austin McDonald

Abstract

Abortions exist. Through the movements of #youknowme and #healmetoo, women have shared their narratives in attempts to neutralize such stigma (Safronova, 2019). Clearly, narratives are meaningful and bear the power to effect social change. Thus, using the framework of mystoriography as described by performance studies scholars Ruth Bowman and Michael Bowman (2002), I offer a performance text illuminating the importance of using narrative for the destigmatizing termination. Bowman and Bowman (2002) define the mystoriography by three layers of discourse: the professional or formal knowledge, the popular, such as music, television or books, and the personal, such as personal narratives and memory. This performance text explores the intersections of these types of discourses and offers implications on the notions of agency, empathy, and public policy.

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White Women and Slavery: A Hidden History of White Supremacy

Natalie Watson, a criminology major from Franklin, Tennessee; natalie.watson@hastings.edu

Dr. Kittie Grace

Abstract

While our history textbooks teach us that white men were the main, and only, aggressors during slavery, our historical narratives consistently leave out white women’s involvement. Most current historical language paints white women as passive bystanders who only attempted to help enslaved people rather than harm them. However, this rhetoric effaces white women’s key role in slavery while also excusing them from any and all lasting implications. This project explores the political and rhetorical consequences of our lack of education concerning white women’s prominent involvement in slavery. Most historians have perpetuated an inaccurate representation of white women’s actions within the slave era that inadvertently preserves white supremacy. White women have gained benefits from slavery that are continually, and unconsciously, used today. In order to dismantle white supremacy, it is critical we paint a more nuanced picture regarding the hand white women had in perpetuating slavery and anti-Black violence.

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Fly Little Bird, Fly: Using Social Penetration Theory to Examine Mentoring Relationships in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program in the Life Sciences

Emily Grant, a biology and communication studies major from Columbus, Nebraska; egrant16@hastings.edu

Dr. Austin McDonald

Abstract

When undergraduate students participate in research, significant outcomes occur, including gains in the ability to think like a scientist (Hunter et al., 2007), retention of underrepresented students in science majors (Espinosa, 2011), and the decision to pursue careers in scientific research (Hathaway et al., 2002). Mentoring is considered a key component of such research experiences, as mentoring relationships may influence the quality of these outcomes  (Aikens et al., 2016). Drawing on Altman and Taylor’s (1973) Social Penetration Theory, this case study utilized ethnographic-participant observations and semi-structured interviews to understand how communication between undergraduate and faculty mentor shapes the mentoring relationships present in a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates program. Several themes from the semi-structured interviews emerged through qualitative content analysis, including mentors varying in their willingness to form personal relationships with mentees, mentors helping students gain clarification of career goals and confidence, and students going on to diverse career paths. Mentoring relationships tended to stay in the early stages of Social Penetration Theory, as these relationships are task-focused over a short timeframe.

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Biodegradable Chitin Based “Plastic” Utilized as a Plant Fertilizer

Brittany Rutt, a biochemistry major from Hastings, Nebraska;
bkeller-rutt16@hastings.edu

Dr. Kevin Robb

Abstract

The accumulation of plastics in our landfills is a significant problem. Plastic does not easily break down, and when it eventually does, it produces toxic gases and microplastics which pollute our Earth. Additionally, the accumulation of food waste (e.g. crustacean shells) in our landfills produce an abundance of CO2 gas which contributes to global warming. Being able to utilize these shells as a biodegradable alternative to plastic can cut down on waste production and reduce the amount of useful waste going into landfills. This project looks into how to extract chitin (a biopolymer) from different natural sources (such as crustacean shells) and use it to create a biodegradable “plastic” that is safe for the environment. The plastic will then be utilized as a fertilizer to see its potential effects on plants. This research will not only show how we can eliminate unnecessary waste, but how to use new methods to benefit our planet and plant life.

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Hammock Henge: Creating a new outdoor space on the HC Campus

Emma Downing, a history major from Colorado Springs, Colorado; emma.downing@hastings.edu

Max Griffel, a history major from Papillion, Nebraska; max.griffel@hastings.edu

Savanah Ellis, a studio art and international relations major from Beaver City, Nebraska; savanah.ellis@hastings.edu

Ashley Pedersen, a special education and elementary education major from Pierce, Nebraska; ashley.pedersen@hastings.edu

Dr. Eleanor Reeds

Abstract

As part of a Collaborative Project for our CORE 101 class, we decided to address the idea of ‘Care of All Things’ by creating ‘Hammock Henge’ – a specialized outdoor green-space for Hammocks and Tire-Swings – on the Hastings College campus.  A space like this would encourage students to spend more time outside, and provide opportunities for community interaction and individual meditation by creating a permanent space for year-round outdoor recreation! Although this is an ongoing project, we have learned a great deal about collaboration and teamwork, as well as on the spot problem solving and networking skills as elements of our project changed. We are presenting to advertise not only the project itself, and the extensive amount of work we have already done; but also to give us a platform to talk about our experiences with the Honors program and with the CORE programming as part of Hastings 2.0.

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Honors Program Capstones

A note from Dr. Bob Amyot, director of the Hastings College Honors Program

The Honors Program at Hastings College requires all its scholars to do individual capstone projects outside their major. The purpose of the honors capstone is to get students who may be used to excelling in a narrow field to explore new skills and techniques and perhaps spend time in disciplines and literatures very different from those they’ve become accustomed to over the last few years.

For example, science and social science majors who are familiar with gathering and exploring data might do a creative project, while artists and humanists may find themselves learning how to set up an experiment and methodically measure outcomes before analyzing the results.

While the goal of any academic project is to expand knowledge, a second goal of the Honors capstone is to grow the scholar’s sense of who they are and what they can do. In Block 6, five students have been working on their capstone, and despite the tight timeline, have still managed to produce some very interesting projects.

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The Implications of Public Policy on Cultural Identity

Emma Redinger, a communication studies major from Hastings, Nebraska; emma.redinger17@hastings.edu

Dr. Robert Amyot

Abstract

Culture, as defined by Robert Kohls, consists of the “integrated system of learned behavior patterns that are characteristic of the members of any given society; it includes everything that a group of people thinks, says, does and makes — its systems, attitudes and feelings” (Kohls, 1979). Policies are often created as a direct reaction to changes in a country’s culture or attitudes, but we know less about the inevitable effects that the institution of public policies has on cultural identity. This research provides insight into the correlation between public policy and the notion of cultural identity in various countries; particularly, the United States, Ireland, Germany, and the Czech Republic will be examined. This cross-cultural analysis brings to light the cultural differences between countries and the ways in which our elected officials can alter our perception of identity.

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The Impact of Teaching Methods on Student Perceptions of Learning in Online Biology Courses

Emily Grant, a biology and communication studies major from Columbus, Nebraska; egrant16@hastings.edu

Dr. Robert Amyot

Abstract

As part of the requirements of HONR 400, students have been tasked with completing an interdisciplinary research or creative project. With the sudden shift to online learning during Block 6, as well as my background in biology education research, I decided to do a qualitative study on how various teaching methods impact student perceptions of learning in three of the online courses offered in the biology department. Previous research has found students in an online course were less satisfied with self-perceived knowledge gains, the instructor’s ability to establish rapport, and the instructor’s ability to foster student interaction, than students taking the same course in a traditional college classroom (Hale, Mirakian, & Day, 2009). As a teaching method, active learning can be highly effective in facilitating development of student’s conceptual knowledge (Freeman et al., 2014). However, the outcomes that students achieve in active learning based biology courses vary (Andrews et al., 2011). Student outcomes vary in part due to differences in how active learning is implemented (Smith et al., 2009). Although this research will not be completed by Academic Showcase Day, this presentation will provide an update on the interview data that I have gathered thus far.

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Composing Background Music for Academic Achievement

Jessica Trad, a English major from Hewitt, Wisconsin; jtrad16@hastings.edu

Dr. Robert Amyot

Abstract

Students study in a wide variety of environments ranging from silent library corners to loud coffee shops, but students can be found everywhere listening to background music while studying. There is a great deal of debate over what kind of music is most beneficial or whether music is an overall distraction. For my capstone project, I researched the effect that background music has on concentration and academic performance. Furthermore, I looked into what deems background music appropriate and beneficial. 

My research found that specific factors determine whether music is appropriate for studying such as tempo, genre, and familiarity. The most beneficial background music is familiar soft pop between 70-110 bpm. These findings are culminating in an original song I am composing to serve as an example of appropriate background music to enhance academic achievement.

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Plantable Portraits

Becky Cox, a biology major from Blue Hill, Nebraska; becky.cox17@hastings.edu

Dr. Robert Amyot

Abstract

For HONR 400, students were tasked with creating an interdisciplinary project. To do so, I have created portraits of important people in my life. Each portrait is made with specially chosen seeds that are unique to the subject. A number of methods were used to manipulate the seeds as a medium to properly execute the pieces. In addition to the creative process, I have kept a journal describing this process and the effects it has had on my personal life. Once all portraits have been completed, a number of them will be planted with hopes of the seeds sprouting, thus having the project come to completeness.

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The Development of Zoos and Zookeeping

Ian DeBoer, a wildlife biology major from Bennington, Nebraska; ian.deboer17@hastings.edu

Dr. Robert Amyot

Abstract

When people think of the word “zoo”, they most likely would think of animals behind bars, or in a cage. While this depiction may be proper for zoos of the past, within the last century much has changed. Zoos now host a diverse array of animals, not held in cages, but in vast open exhibits that mimic their own wild habitats. These exhibits function as beneficial for both the guests and the animals, as the animals get to have space and comfort, while being given space to both hide and interact with the guests. And the guests get to see animals in realistic settings, acting as they would in the wild.  Zoos now also teach the public and guests about the animals, what the zoo and world are doing to try and help them, how the animals get cared for, and how the public can help the species in the wild; some zoos even offer direct interaction with animals.  How the animals are cared for has also changed, including how the keepers get access to them, interact with them, and keep the animals entertained. They also manage breeding programs to keep populations genetically diverse.  In this presentation I address the changes in zoological theory over the last century and use virtual models to compare modern versus historic zoo exhibits.

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