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Spring 2017 - Winter 2018

Applicant: Prashanth Anekal

  1. Title: Impact of Supply Chain Competency on Economic Complexity and Economic Development
  2. Co-Applicant: Kaustav Misra
  3. Department of Study: Management/Marketing
  4. Proposal Abstract: Over the years, business and industrial activities have become increasingly competitive and global with operations spanning across national boundaries. Countries are striving to create value and gain an upper hand in the global marketplace. In such an environment, a nation’s competitiveness is largely dependent on certain institutional, infrastructural and technology factors that collectively constitute the Supply Chain Competency of the nation. This study explores the role of Supply Chain Competency in the economic development of a nation. The study proposes Supply Chain Competency to be an enabler of complex economic activities at the national level, which is proposed to have a positive impact on economic development. This study intends to highlight the importance of supply chain competency and identify the various components of supply chain competency and their effects on economic development. It is intended to serve as a road map for institutional and organizational stakeholders in their quest toward regional and national economic growth.

    The undergraduate research scholar will be (a) introduced to existent literature on supply chain competency, economic development and related topics; (b) introduced to the basics of research methods, instrument development and data collection. The undergraduate research scholar will be required to work with faculty in developing and writing an article that can be presented at a reputed conference. The developed article will be targeted for publication in a peer reviewed journal.

Applicant: Veronika Drake

  1. Title: Title: X or Y: Alternative question formats in everyday interaction
  2. Co-Applicant: Not applicable
  3. Department of Study: English
  4. Proposal Abstract: Linguistic resources of a particular language such as syntax and lexis afford different interactional outcomes while also "essentially defin[ing] the possibilities for social action accomplished through talk" (Sidnell, 2009: p. 4). I will be conducting a qualitative study of English alternative questions such as ("Is he American or Spanish?"), drawing on Conversation Analysis and Interactional Linguistics. Through careful and detailed analysis of recorded and transcribed ordinary conversations, my aim for this study is to analyze the sequence organization and interactional functions of alternative questions. This includes documenting the formats of alternative questions and the response types given to them. Alternative questions, while studied from a variety of perspectives, have not been studied from an interactional linguistic or conversation analytic perspective. My study would address this gap and add to our understanding of how talk is organized through sequences of actions (questions and responses to them). Analyzing interactional functions and formats of alternative questions adds to our understanding of how grammar is fundamentally a language-in-use phenomenon, talked into being jointly by co-participants in conversations. As a faculty mentor to an undergraduate student, my goal is to serve as a role model to this student and to help them develop various skills. For example, the student would learn about the conversation analytic research method by being directly engaged in it. They would be introduced to the field, the kinds of questions work in this area can help answer, and the kinds of questions it can't answer. The student would also continue to develop skills not immediately tied to this research project as such, for example time management skills, presentation skills, and communication skills. Overall, my goal for mentoring a student would be to assist them in their development as a professional. My anticipated outcomes include at least one submission to a peer-reviewed conference.

Applicant: Sylvia Fromherz Sharp

  1. Title: Determining the Role of the Neurotrophin-3 Signaling Pathway in Vitamin B6-Induced Death of Sensory Neurons
  2. Co-Applicant: Not applicable
  3. Department of Study: Biology
  4. Project Abstract: Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin sold in vitamin supplements. Under some circumstances e.g. with a ‘more is better’ mentality, certain individuals consume mega-doses of vitamin B6 and relatively high doses of this vitamin are recommended for pregnant women. Unfortunately, high doses of vitamin B6 over sustained periods can lead to permanent neurological damage. Such neurological damage manifests as a type of sensory neuropathy, where the ability to sense movements and positioning of the body (proprioception) is disrupted. Previous research in chick embryos has demonstrated that high doses of pyridoxine results in the selective death of proprioceptive (“spatial-sensing”) neurons. Intriguingly, in the rat, co-administration of a signaling peptide known as neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) blocks the vitamin B6-induced neuropathy. NT-3 is normally secreted by muscle cells that associate with proprioceptive neurons; NT-3 is in fact required for survival of these neurons. Thus, vitamin B6 may exert its toxic effects through disruption of the NT-3 signaling pathway. The proposed research will support the training and research efforts of three students to help test the hypothesis that loss of sensory neurons due to toxic levels of vitamin B6 occurs through disruption of the NT-3 signaling pathway.

Applicant: Aneesha Gogineni

  1. Title: Power Generation and Heat Transfer Analaysis of Compact Heat Exchanger With Shell and Conical Tube Heat Exchanger
  2. Co-Applicant: Not applicable
  3. Department of Study: Mechanical Engineering
  4. Project Abstract: The current research objective is to determine the power generated from the temperature difference of two fluids that will flow through a compact heat exchanger with conical coil. Waste heat from several applications is major problem in our day-to-day life. Heat exchanger remove this excess heat and is converted to useful work. High temperature gas or fluids are sent into the heat exchanger from one side of the heat exchanger and to reduce this heat, low temperature fluid is sent through the other side. However, the difference between the high and low temperature fluids can generate electricity. Thus, the proposed research determines the power generated by these fluids before entering the heat exchanger. This research is conducted with the help of an undergraduate student. Guidance will be provided to student in setting up the equipment. In the second phase, student will help me with collecting results and in presenting them in a conference.

Applicant: Amy Hendrickson

  1. Title: Testing the Emergency Alert System: An Examination of the Regulatory Requirements
  2. Co-Applicant: Not applicable
  3. Department of Study: Law & Finance
  4. Project Abstract: This project is an examination of the regulatory requirements related to the Emergency Alert System. This system was created by the Federal Communications Commission to provide the President with an outlet to communicate with the nation during times of crisis. It has never been used. However, at the state level, the system is regularly used for everything from storm warnings to amber alerts. The functionality differs dramatically from one region to another, limited by outdated technology and a largely volunteer workforce. This project will include three components: (1) examination of the Michigan system within the context of the Flint water crisis; (2) evaluation of the ongoing FCC rulemaking process intended to modernize the system; and (3) comparison with international approaches.

    Students will learn about transparency requirements and the availability of public documents by working with the faculty member to catalog public safety messages related to the Flint water crisis. They will be introduced to research strategies for using government documents including the public comments filed with the FCC. They will practice how to construct an effective search using legal databases and become familiar with the Bluebook citation style. Students will also learn about the ethical requirements for lawyers working for the government.

Applicant: Garry Johns

  1. Title: Using Experimental Mathematics to Investigate the Signal Detection Problem
  2. Co-Applicant: Not applicable
  3. Department of Study: Mathematical Sciences
  4. Project Abstract: Experimental mathematics is a newly developed approach to discovering mathematical truths by using computers to run computations, look for patterns, or develop conjectures that may then be proved with traditional methods. In this project we propose using experimental mathematics with a computer algorithm we developed to continue our work on an application of the theoretical area of closed modular graph colorings known as the signal detection problem. This cell phone security problem determines the channel to use when making a call based on preset signals emitted from nearby cell phone towers to insure privacy. Our goals are to determine the smallest number of preset signals that are needed and which towers should emit which signals given various tower configurations.

    The students will participate in a literature review and report on their findings in order to deepen their background understanding and see the proof methods used. They will review existing results, make generalizations and conjectures, and test them using the computer algorithm we wrote. We will attend a professional meeting so that the students may observe what research presentations look and sound like. Finally, they will write formal proofs for the conjectures we show to be true. This research problem includes several parts, so I am confident that we will be successful in accomplishing at least partial results. These results will be included in a paper that we will co-author and present at a national meeting in the fall.

Applicant: Natalia Knoblock

  1. Title: Online Feedback in First Year Writing Courses at a Regional University: A Study of Effectiveness for Second-Language Writers.
  2. Co-Applicant: Not applicable
  3. Department of Study: English
  4. Project Abstract: The project aims to identify the features of effective online feedback given to Second Language (L2) writers to help them improve their English composition skills. Studying abroad and in a foreign language is extremely challenging for international students. English composition is one of the hardest subjects they need to master, and many of them struggle in Engl 111, which is required for graduation and serves as a prerequisite for many other classes at SVSU. Because of that, investigating the most useful feedback strategies is of great importance for our program and department.

    This proposed study will analyze the effect of online feedback on the quality of the revision by the students, identify the feedback features that resulted in the maximum improvement of students’ drafts, and produce a list of recommendations concerning successful feedback strategies helpful for L2 writers. The student researchers will be mentored in the data coding methods, cataloging and documenting the findings, and analyzing and interpreting the results.

    The results are expected to contribute to the understanding of the features of feedback that the students best respond to during revision. Ideally, they will result in some practical recommendations and guidelines for First-Year Writing faculty who work with international students be those students in the “sheltered” sections of Engl 111 or mainstreamed and taking that class with native speakers of English.

Applicant: Kaustav Misra

  1. Title: Impacts of Race and Gender of Family Business Owners on Regional Economies
  2. Co-Applicant: Not applicable
  3. Department of Study: Economics
  4. Project Abstract: The phenomena of family business is not at all an old idea, but increasing attention to family business research has risen during the last decade. There is no doubt that family business helps to grow the economy, but not all family businesses are equally productive. Previous literature looked at the family business ownership’s characteristics, such as race, gender, and other demographic factors to understand issues starting up a new business or surviving in businesses, but what has not been explored is how family business owner characteristics determine firm’s performance, hence the effect on the whole regional economy. There are millions and millions family businesses operating in the USA under various types of ownership. It is interesting to observe that there is a regionally focused pattern of ownership in family businesses. More explicitly it is quite distinctly visible that some regional areas have more Chinese family business owners than any other racial groups. There are some areas where most family businesses are owned by the white population, but there are also regional locations where we see that owners of family businesses are coming from diversified backgrounds. So it will be interesting to see how these regions are different in terms of their economic performance. We plan to use longitudinal county and/or city level data for the entire country for at least five consecutive years: 2010-2015 and use two performance related indicators, GDP per capita and unemployment rate to measure the impact of diversified family businesses on regional economies. We are hoping to show that a diversified economy is better than a non-diversified economy. We believe results from this project will help urban planners, government officials, and family business scholars to understand the importance of diversity among family business ownerships and developing various policies to encourage other racial groups to become entrepreneurs or business owners. Engaging a student in this project will provide hands on experience and helping the college to maintain its accreditation are the other objectives of this project.

Applicant: Christopher Nakamura

  1. Title: The Development of an Integrated Lab-Lecture Design for Teaching an Upper-Division Optics Courses
  2. Co-Applicant: Not applicable
  3. Department of Study: Physics
  4. Project Abstract: The proposed research seeks to develop a set of optics laboratory activities that will form a starting point for lab manual and/or physical optics curriculum. The activities will be appropriate for a junior/senior physics class, and will be deployed and evaluated via a case study research design in the Winter of 2018. Two paid students will actively work, primarily over the spring and summer of 2017, with the faculty PI to develop and test the lab activities. The project goal is to highlight the connections between optical theory, which is necessarily mathematical and abstract, and optics applications and experiments, which are also of central importance. The project will be based on established theoretical ideas from a constructivist perspective on learning and will benefit from lessons learned via established and successful curriculum-development projects at the introductory undergraduate level (e.g. Workshop Physics and Studio Physics). At the same time, it seeks to push further into new territory, exploring how theory and experiment can be interwoven at the upper-division level.

Applicant: Tami Sivy

  1. Title: Partnerships with local health departments to validate rapid bacterial testing
  2. Co-Applicant: Not applicable
  3. Department of Study: Chemistry
  4. Project Abstract: Health departments rely on testing that requires an overnight incubation period to determine whether a beach should be closed due to microbial contamination. It is necessary to adopt methods that make this determination in a timelier manner to eliminate the possibility of human contact with contaminated waters during the incubation time. We have been working for several testing seasons with the EPA and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to develop such a method. This testing relies on extracting amplifying the DNA from particular fecal indicator bacteria in order to determine the levels for potential pathogens in water. It significantly reduces the testing period, to about 4 hours, but it requires dedicated instrumentation and substantial expertise by the laboratory personnel conducting the analysis. SVSU students have played an important role in the adoption of the rapid testing and will continue to do so. In the coming summer, we plan to continue conducting paired comparisons between the rapid method and the standard method in order to complete validation of the rapid testing protocol. We will run samples from 20-25 freshwater sites each week, paying particular attention to quality control and reproducibility. This testing will be done in collaboration with the health departments from several area counties.

Applicant: Adam Warhausen

  1. Title: Development of Synthetic Models for metal-containing Biomolecules Containing Hydroxamte Ligands with an Emphasis on Understanding their Redox Behavior
  2. Co-Applicant: Not applicable
  3. Department of Study: Chemistry
  4. Project Abstract: The project “Development of Synthetic Models for metal-containing Biomolecules Containing Hydroxamte Ligands with an Emphasis on Understanding their Redox Behavior” will be carried out in assistant professor, Dr. Adam Warhausen’s inorganic chemistry research lab. The interactions of nitric oxide (NO) with bioavailable metals are a very well-studied field of chemistry. However, there is much to be learned about organic molecules that have the ability or capability of generating NO in vivo. Promisingly, hydroxamic acids, which are well known organic molecules that have been suspected to be NO donors are a prime example of a system that is ripe for investigation. Hydroxamic acids are unique compounds that are utilized by lower organisms to sequester iron and by humans in a pharmaceutical capacity. If these compounds bind iron and are being utilized as drugs and are present in the body, do they also have the ability to interact with iron containing porteins/enzymes or donate NO in a redox environment. Also, hydroxamic acids have been known to have antimicrobial activities. This project aims to test if the newly synthesized metal-hydroxamate complexes possess this ability as well. The research carried out by undergraduate students will be directly supervised in order to teach critical laboratory skills and safety. Such skills include air-sensitive synthetic techniques, spectroscopic analysis, reading and reviewing scholarly journals, notebook keeping, scientific writing, and verbal communication by presenting results at a local or national scientific meeting. This work aims to study how hydroxamic acids interact with synthetic models of metal-containing biomolecules and how they respond to oxidative conditions through analysis with cyclic voltammetry and explore any antimicrobial character.

Contact Us
(989) 964-4295(989) 964-4295
(989) 964-7037
(989) 964-2729

Director Undergraduate Research

Jennifer McCullough


Mail Address:
Undergraduate Research Program
Saginaw Valley State University
Wickes Hall 314
University Center, MI 48710
Visit Office:
Wickes Hall 330


Advising Info
Tuesday 9:00am - 12:00pm
Thursday 9:00am - 12:00pm