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Winter 2017- Fall 2017

Faculty-led Research Grants

Submitted October 31, 2016

1. Applicant: Michelle Randall

  1. Title: Provenance Research at the Saginaw Art Museum
  2. Co-Applicant: Hideki Kihata
  3. Department of Study: Art
  4. Proposal Abstract: Michelle Randall, Lecturer of Art at SVSU, is seeking a Faculty-led Undergraduate Research Scholar grant to support an SVSU student as Provenance Researcher at the Saginaw Art Museum (SAM) for the upcoming exhibition, Confronting Ideals: The Secular and Religious Ambiance of Western Europe, c 1520-1620 (scheduled for Fall, 2017). Under her tutelage, as well as that of SVSU Alumnus Eric Birkle, Associate Curator of Arts and Education at the SAM, the SVSU student Researcher will conduct provenance (history of ownership) research on all 25 Renaissance and Baroque objects in the upcoming exhibition as well as document and record all research for object files. The Researcher will also contribute to and enhance donor files, learn proper collections management procedures, and practice correct art handling techniques. As a major goal of the project, the student will learn how their research will be utilized to write catalog entries as they collaborate with museum professionals in the research, writing, design, and execution of the exhibition catalog. In the process the Researcher will experience the multi-faceted business of the museum profession and learn how art can become a catalyst for community involvement, as they become part of a team of professionals to inform and educate the public about the importance of the Arts in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

2. Applicant: Rhett Mohler

  1. Title: Calculation of Stream Rating Curves from Acoustic Doppler Current Meter and Radar Level Sensor Data for the Kawkawlin and Pinebog Rivers
  2. Co-Applicant: Not applicable
  3. Department of Study: Geography
  4. Proposal Abstract: This research will continue the development of stream rating curves for the Kawkawlin and Pinnebog Rivers. A stream rating curve is an algorithm that predicts streamflow (discharge) based on the stream’s water level. We are currently measuring water level continuously in three places on these rivers, but need more field-based discharge measurements in order to increase the accuracy of our rating curve. With enough measurements, we will eventually be able to calculate discharge rates without having to measure each time. The student who accepts this position will learn many new skills, including how to properly collect data in the field, how to process this data back in the laboratory, and how to report their research results. I will personally mentor the student through each step of this process. Eventually, the rating curves and discharge data that this project yields will be instrumental in modeling runoff within the Saginaw Bay Watershed, since stream gauges do not currently exist on these particular rivers.

3. Applicant: Rebecca Schlaff

  1. Title: Expanding Community-based Research to Target Postpartum and Mental Health Outcomes
  2. Co-Applicant: Not Applicable
  3. Department of Study: Kinesiology
  4. Proposal Abstract: Postpartum depression, a clinically diagnosable mental health disease, is a significant mental health disorder that impacts women, their children, and families. Depressive symptoms are common after childbirth, and due in part to the significant body changes occurring during pregnancy and postpartum. Previously published behavioral interventions during pregnancy (promoting physical activity and/or nutrition) have neglected to include targeted mental health components, and consider the impact of physical health behaviors (i.e. physical activity, dietary behaviors, frequent weight monitoring) on postpartum mental health (i.e. postpartum depression, body image, and body dissatisfaction). If interventions designed for pregnant women are to be maximally beneficial and maximize health outcomes, they should aim to incorporate elements that, ultimately, improve both physical and mental health through pregnancy, into the postpartum period. This application proposes methods to add to and strengthen a current behavioral pregnancy physical activity and nutrition intervention: 1) inclusion of mental health components and assessment of mental health within the intervention, 2) expansion of active intervention to the postpartum period, and 3) intervention delivery within the clinic setting. The data will be used for publications, presentations, an application for external funding, and add knowledge to the field to help pregnant women at this vulnerable time of their life. Student researchers will have the opportunity to lead/assist in participant recruitment, focus group facilitation and evaluation, community outreach with local OB/GYN clinics, and intervention development.

4. Applicant: Meghan Baruth

  1. Title: SELF: Supporting Healthy Futures
  2. Co-Applicant: Not Applicable
  3. Department of Study: Health Sciences
  4. Proposal Abstract: A majority of pregnant women do not meet physical activity (PA), nutrition, or weight gain recommendations, despite their efficacy in improving maternal and child health outcomes. There is a need for evidence-based behavioral interventions that focus on PA and healthy diet during pregnancy in an effort to promote appropriate weight gain. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to implement and evaluate an evidence-based, behavioral PA and dietary pilot intervention for pregnant women. The intervention includes three main components: (1) self monitoring of PA and weight via a FitBit and scale, (2) social support via a study website, Facebook page, and healthy lifestyle coaches, and (3) optional walking groups. The Exercise is MedicineTM initiative is utilized, whereby physicians from Valley OB/GYN (Saginaw, MI) assist in recruiting pregnant women to enroll in the intervention, by prescribing physical activity to the patient. Students play a major role in the recruitment (via presence in the clinic), delivery (via serving as ‘healthy lifestyle coaches’), and evaluation (via overseeing measurement sessions) of the intervention, and will present findings from the study at regional and/or national conferences.

5. Applicant: Annamalai Pandian

  1. Title: Robotic End of Arm Tooling (EOAT) Research Using 3D Printed Components
  2. Co-Applicant: Not Applicable
  3. Department of Study: Mechanical Engineering
  4. Proposal Abstract: This faculty-led research will help the students to get meaningful undergraduate research experience on robotic end of arm tooling (EOAT) using 3D printed components. This is a continuing research on the previous research project titled "Undergraduate research to enhance the CAD laboratory practice using 3D printing technology". A research paper titled "A review of recent trends and challenges in 3D printing" was presented and published in ASEE conference [1]. This funding will be used to continue the existing research work concluded in the Winter of 2016. This research project is proposed to expand the research on 3D printed components to design and develop robotic end of arm tooling. With the recognition of these research needs, students will develop 3D printed components to design and develop robotic EOAT. In this research activity, a) the student(s) would benefit from conducting a literature survey, b) the students would design and develop robotic EOAT under faculty supervision, c) fabricate 3D printed components to fit the robotic EOAT, and d) test the 3D components for robotic EOAT fit, form and function.

6. Applicant: Evelyn Ravuri

  1. Title: Attempts to Reduce Urban Blight in the City of Saginaw and its Effect on Crime and Property Values
  2. Co-Applicant: Andrew Miller
  3. Department of Study: Geography
  4. Proposal Abstract: We seek to determine the effect demolition of vacant buildings had upon the blight and crime in Saginaw, Michigan. This project will consist of two components. We will first examine through regression analysis and hot spot analysis whether blight reduction in the form of demolition of derelict buildings has had on the effect of reduction of crime in Saginaw. Second, we will assess the impact crime reduction and blight removal demolitions have had upon the market values of real estate in the Greater Saginaw Region.

7. Applicant: M. Patricia Cavanaugh

  1. Title: Expanding Horizons: Motivate Student Writers from Middle School to College
  2. Co-Applicant: Not Applicable
  3. Department of Study: English
  4. Proposal Abstract: Not applicable

8. Applicant: Dennis Gray

  1. Title: Identifying the Isoprene Synthase Gene from Abies sp.
  2. Co-Applicant: Not Applicable
  3. Department of Study: Biology
  4. Proposal Abstract: The goal of this faculty led undergraduate research project is to provide training for an undergraduate student in molecular biology techniques through the identification of the gene encoding the isoprene synthase enzyme in Fir trees native the Mediterranean region of Europe (genus Abies). Through this project the student will learn to extract RNA, synthesize cDNA, set up PCR and run gel electrophoresis, clone genes into Plasmid vectors, and to express recombinant proteins in E. coli bacterial hosts. The student will receive one-on-one training and mentoring in the lab and learn to work as part of a research team towards a common goal. The project will result in the identification of new gene sequences, provide data students can use in poster presentations, and may lead to a publication.

9. Applicant: Dennis Gray

  1. Title: Identifying the Isoprene Synthase Gene from Liquidambar Styraciflua
  2. Co-Applicant: Not Applicable
  3. Department of Study: Biology
  4. Proposal Abstract: The goal of this faculty led undergraduate research project is to provide training for an undergraduate student in molecular biology techniques through the identification of the gene encoding the isoprene synthase enzyme in Liquidambar styraciflua. Through this project the student will learn to extract RNA, synthesize cDNA, set up PCR and run gel electrophoresis, clone genes into Plasmid vectors, and to express recombinant proteins in E. coli bacterial hosts. The student will receive one-on-one training and mentoring in the lab and learn to work as part of a research team towards a common goal. The project will result in the identification of new gene sequences, provide data students can use in poster presentations, and may lead to a publication.

10. Applicant: Dennis Gray

  1. Title: Expression and Characterization of a Putative Linalool Synthase (ISH sequence) from Pinus sp.
  2. Co-Applicant: Not Applicable
  3. Department of Study: Biology
  4. Proposal Abstract: The goal of this faculty led undergraduate research project is to provide training for one undergraduate student in molecular biology & biochemistry techniques through the expression and functional characterization of a putative linalool synthase from Pinus sp. This undergraduate project is part of a larger project aimed at reconstructing the evolutionary history of hemiterpene emission within the conifers, and discovering structure/function relationships in the terpene synthase enzymes. Through this project students will use the protein expression conditions optimized by prior student researchers to express the target protein in E. coli, extract and purify this protein, and perform basic enzyme characterization analyses to confirm the function of the newly discovered terpene synthase gene. The student will receive one-on-one training and mentoring in the lab and learn to work as part of a research team towards a common goal. The project will result in identifying the catalytic activity of a putative linalool synthase, provide data students can use in poster presentations, and may lead to a publication.

11. Applicant: John Baesler

  1. Title: The American Occupation of Central Hesse, Germany, 1945-1991: The Informal Diplomacy of Citizen and Soldiers
  2. Co-Applicant: Not Applicable
  3. Department of Study:
  4. Proposal Abstract: This project is a continuation of faculty-led research I have been conducting in the fall of 2016 with two student researchers. Students will interview veterans and their dependents from mid-Michigan, who during the Cold War spent time in central Hesse, Germany. The goal of this research is to record and understand their experiences and the impact these experiences had on their subsequent lives and views. I am particularly interested in the ways in which living in Germany shaped the views of GIs and their families on Germany’s past, but also their views on their own country.

I plan to mentor the students by discussing with them historical background information and key scholarly texts on conducting oral histories. We will then collaboratively review questions and strategies for interviews with Michigan veterans. During the interview process we will collectively analyze and review the results. After recording and transcribing the interviews, I will donate the material to the SVSU archives (I have consulted with Thomas Zantow and Rose San Miguel and received their unqualified support; we are in the process of setting up the necessary server space to preserve and make accessible the interview recordings and transcripts through the SVSU archives).

The results of this research will support my larger project on gender and sexuality in German-American relations in central Hesse during the Cold War. For that project I am in the process of writing a scholarly article to be submitted in an academic journal. However, since the topics for questions will be broader, I strongly hope that the students who participate in the proposed project will be able to utilize the information as well, for example for papers they can submit at student conferences or as the basis for a writing sample in preparation for graduate school.

Ideally I would like to recruit two students again: one junior or senior without significant research experience, and a UGRP mentor with research experience. This way my project will serve one student as an introduction to scholarly research under close faculty guidance, while another student—particularly a student who is considering a career in public history or applying to graduate school—will profit from the additional experience in their chosen career paths.