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Honors Project

Honors Program

The Honors Project


This is the capstone educational experience for the Honors Program and the final step you must take to earn the honors certificate and honors medal.

Through this project, you’ll have the opportunity for a deeper educational experience, one in which you can work closely with a professor to explore a topic in a way of your choosing. You’ll explore a higher degree of scholarship specific to your future while still at the undergraduate level. In doing so, you’re better able to prepare yourself intellectually for your endeavors after graduation. 

We’ll encourage you to keep pushing your potential and incorporate your interests and experiences into your academic life. Past honors projects have crossed disciplines, ranging from analysis of post genocide states to critiques of classical film to the development of a web app for farm inventory. If you’re thinking about doing an honors project, your first step should be to contact Farah Combs, honors program director, at [email protected]. To fill out the Honors Proposal Project Form, please click here

Honors projects can be either a thesis or a creative endeavor (e.g., performance, film, web app) that reflects substantial scholarship. They should demonstrate your skills through the accurate and correct use of language, the clear presentation of concepts, and the logical organization and development of ideas. The completed project should also demonstrate how well you apply research and analytical skills appropriate to your chosen discipline and to the undergraduate level of inquiry. 

You’re expected to orally present your projects at the Honors Showcase. The honors project has two required parts: a written component and an oral presentation. As part of the oral presentation, certain projects may also involve a performance, demonstration, video, or other creative medium. Both the written and oral components are evaluated by your faculty mentor and Honors Program Council liaison, as well as by the Honors Program director. Collectively, these three parties determine if an project meets the standards of the program.

The written component is assessed by the following: 

  • Quality of question/objective 
  • Quality of methods/approach 
  • Quality of interpretation of results 
  • Quality of conclusions/discussion 
  • Use of appropriate literature 

The oral presentation, given at the Honors Showcase, is assessed by the following: 

  • Clarity of question/objective 
  • Methods or approach clearly defined 
  • Results or conclusions clearly presented 
  • Breadth and depth of treatment 
  • Knowledge of subject matter 
  • Responses to audience questions 
  • Presentation organization 
  • Presentation clarity

As with completing any project, important deadlines must be met and required items must be completed before the Honors Program Council may approve the project. Because of this, we strongly recommend that you begin your project at least one semester before you intend to present it. 

Below is a list of steps that you should take to complete your project in an efficient manner and that will help you keep track of your progress: 

  1. Explore topics and questions you wish to pursue, and select a faculty mentor who can guide you through your research or artistic process. 
    • The best place to start is with your major, but we encourage you to consider any other interests outside your area of study that you would like to explore as well. 
    • At this time, you and your mentor need to discuss and decide if the research will be completed for credit or not. 
  2. With your mentor, discuss and outline goals for the project, methods to obtain those goals, and a timeline for the project; with these in mind, write the proposal for your project. 
  3. Ask your mentor to complete the mentor’s statement. 
  4. Fill out a Project Proposal Form, and attach your proposal and the mentor’s statement; once the packet is approved by you and your mentor, turn it in to the Honors Program. 
    • A staff member will evaluate whether you are on track to completing certificate requirements, and all results will be sent to you in writing. This audit will not imply that you are cleared for graduation, only for Honors Program requirements. 
    • The director will at that point send your proposal to the Honors Program Council, which will select an Honors Program Council member to serve as project liaison. This liaison and your mentor form your project evaluation committee; information about contacting you and your mentor will be forwarded to your liaison. 
  5. Arrange to meet with your evaluation committee; this is your responsibility. At this meeting, the project requirements and the project will be discussed: 
    • Liaisons will provide feedback based on the council’s consideration of the proposal. 
    • The group will establish times and means of future contact with all involved. 
    • The group will establish roles and responsibilities of the liaisons and mentor. 
    • The committee will establish and distribute to everyone the criteria for evaluation of the project. 
    • The group will clarify the process for reviewing the polished draft (i.e., who forwards the draft to whom). 
  6. Continue your research and proceed to write a draft of your paper. Formulate your project and start working on its presentation. 
  7. Submit your polished draft to your mentor and liaisons. Feedback and revisions should occur as necessary once the draft has been reviewed and feedback has been given. 
  8. Any and all requests for the presentation, especially date, time, venue, and presentation equipment, will be made through the Honors Program. Contact the Honors Program at least 15 days in advance, preferably earlier, to ensure that enough time will be allotted to establish the reservations. 
    • Presentations must be given during the academic year, and the evaluation committee must attend the presentation. 
  9. Submit your final written project to the evaluation committee and the Honors Program for distribution to the rest of the Honors Program Council. As per Honors Program rules, this must be available at least two full business days before the presentation, if not more. 
  10. Give your oral presentation. Depending on the venue, your audience is presumed to be a general academic audience. As preparation, look at possible questions you may be asked during and after the presentation. There may be a bigger audience than solely the evaluation committee. 
  11. After the presentation, the evaluation committee will meet and recommend that the project be accepted, rejected, or amended by the Honors Program Council. If amendments are sought, the students will be required to respond to the evaluation committee by the set deadline. 
    • Submit your amended project to the evaluation committee, which will submit its recommendation to the council. The council will then make a final decision on the project. 
  12. You will be informed in writing of the council’s decision.

The role of the mentor for an Honors Project is that of an undergraduate thesis director. Along with the Honors Program director and the liaison from the Honors Program Council, the faculty mentor will evaluate the student’s project. Because the mentor has expertise in the subject of the project, the council will give the mentor’s views special consideration throughout the evaluation process. 

The Honors Program offers a list of steps the mentor should follow as they help students with Honors Projects:

  1. Work with the student in selecting and exploring topics for research, and to decide whether the project is to be completed for credit. 
  2. Help the student outline goals and methods appropriate to the chosen project. The student will develop a project proposal based on the goals and methods. Together, the mentor and student should establish a timeline for the completion of the project. 
  3. Complete the mentor’s statement. This document will clearly and succinctly explain why the project is worthy of Honors Program credit and how this project provides a unique challenge for the student. 
    • If the project is being done for credit, this document will also explain how the work will be evaluated and provide the criteria to be used for the final grade. Please note that the course grade is not linked to the evaluation of the project by the council. 
  4. The packet should consist of the mentor’s statement, project proposal, and Honors Project Proposal Form. Upon approval by the mentor and the student, the student should send the packet to the Honors Center.
    • This packet must be submitted no later than the fourth week of the semester in which the student intends to present the project. 
    • Honors projects cannot be presented during the summer. 
    • Honors Program staff will send the proposal to the Honors Program Council, which will select one of its members to serve as project liaison; Honors Program staff will provide the contact information for the liaison. Although it is the student’s responsibility to arrange a meeting with the mentor and the liaison (the evaluation committee), the mentor should try to facilitate the meeting. 
  5. Meet with Honors Program Council liaisons and the student: 
    • Liaisons will provide feedback based on the council's consideration of the proposal. 
    • The group will establish times and means of future contact with all concerned. 
    • The group will establish the roles and responsibilities of the liaisons and mentor. 
    • The evaluation committee will establish and distribute to everyone the criteria for evaluation of the project. 
    • The group will clarify the process for reviewing the polished draft (i.e., who forwards the draft to whom). 
  6. Continue guiding the student until completion of the project and the oral presentation. 
  7. Approve the written component of the project before it is submitted to the Honors Program Council for approval. The evaluation committee should have a final copy of the project at least two business days before the oral presentation. 
  8. Evaluate the final written component before attending the oral presentation. 
  9. Attend the oral presentation. 
  10. After the oral presentation, the evaluation committee will meet and recommend that the project be accepted, rejected, or amended by the Honors Program Council. If amendments are recommended, a deadline for resubmission will also be established. 
  11. The mentor should continue working with the student and the liaisons as needed. Amended projects will be resubmitted to the evaluation committee, which will submit its recommendation to the Honors Program Council; the council will then make a final decision on the project. 
  12. The mentor will be informed in writing of the council’s decision concerning the Honors Project.

Find all the forms you need for your honors project here: 

The Honors Project Proposal Form should be filled out online, please click here to get started. 

Honors student on stage at commencement.

Honors Showcase

An honorable finale.

The Honors Showcase is a semiannual event held in the fall and spring semesters that allows honors students who will soon be graduating the opportunity to present their research. Even if you aren’t presenting, be on the lookout for the upcoming showcase so you can see our students in action. 

Honors Showcase Archive

See those who came before you.


We’re exceptionally proud of our honors students. To recognize their hard work, we’ve put together this archive which spans the past few years. Take a look at what Mastodons before you did. It may even help inspire some ideas of your own.

Fall 2023 Honors Showcase Participant 

"Scholarly Research to Build a Successful Blog to Promote Attractions in South Korea" 
Major: Organizational Leadership
Minor: Hotel Management
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Haeik Park (Hospitality and Tourism Management)

Since COVID-19, the tourism industry has been negatively affected by fewer people traveling. Travel has decreased significantly for a couple of years and has recently picked up again. However, as the industry starts to pick up, the world has been introduced to a strong usage of technology for marketing. With the big Hallyu wave, South Korea has gained immense popularity internationally. This is shown through the increase in number of tourists visiting South Korea. This captured my attention back in the late 2000s while wanting to discover something new. In response to this, I became interested in South Korea and its culture. Through this project, I want to ultimately promote it to foreigners. Therefore, I did scholarly research about South Korea (destination image of South Korea, factors that contribute to destination image, motivation of travelers, behaviors of tourists, place identity, and destination loyalty) to get a better understanding. This project attempted to build credibility through 50+ scholarly articles, market research, and personal experience as a long-term tourist in South Korea. The objective of this research was to understand factors that impact the marketing of a destination. This project has helped me understand the marketing tools of South Korea and
Korea itself. Through the information gathered, I plan on creating a platform to communicate with new tourists of South Korea. This platform intends to create a friendly environment for potential travelers and first-time visitors to make them feel confident and comfortable navigating around the country. Understanding the process of tourists’ initial travel plans to execution, information such as detailed guidance to get around will be posted to give clarity to the traveler.

The expected outcome of the project was a strong foundation of factors that are significant to promoting travel and crafting the start of making the blog. This blog intends to have a focus market of young travelers traveling to South Korea for the first time to help them navigate around the country. Our results provide meaningful insights into destination marketing and place identity.

Danh Ngo is a senior student at Purdue University of Fort Wayne graduating in the Fall of 2023 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Organizational Leadership and minoring in Hotel Management. During her academic career, she had the opportunity to study abroad at Ewha Women’s University in South Korea. She has developed a strong desire to share her experiences and journey in South Korea through social media marketing. Throughout her academic journey, she obtained a strong understanding of leadership studies and
management in the hospitality and tourism industry.
In her academic career, she has been recognized on the Dean’s Semester Honors List. She is involved in the TRIO club where she is surrounded by other first-generation students and great faculty. She also has a passion for traveling and works at Purdue Study Abroad Office as a student peer advisor for students that are interested in studying abroad.
Although she was born and raised in the United States, she grew up in a Vietnamese-speaking household and had to learn English through the education system since pre-school. Her family owns a family restaurant called Kim Vu Vietnamese Cuisine in which she spent most of her academic journey working as a server. Whenever she is not working or in school, she is heavily involved in the local Korean community. She was an assistant director for the K-pop Showcase that had a turnover of around 3,500 attendees in their 2023 Korean Festival. As a first-generation student, she had to overcome challenges that most of her peers did not need to. She is a determined and passionate student that was blessed with a great support system.

Spring 2023 Honors Showcase Participants 

“Stock Performance Prior and After Federal Holidays” 
Majors: Economics, Public Policy 
Minor: Mathematics 
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Heather L.R. Tierney (Economics and Finance) and Dr. Daniel Boylan (Accounting) 

This study investigates the relationship between federal holidays and stock performance in the United States. The aim is to explore how the market reacts to U.S. federal holidays and whether they have a significant impact on stock returns. A sample of 91 stocks from the NYSE Top 100 was selected with daily opening and closing prices from December 31st, 2015, to December 31st, 2018. 

The methodology used in this study is based on an abnormal returns (AR) framework, which is a common tool used to measure the performance of stocks during specific events or periods. In this case, the AR framework is applied to analyze the impact of federal holidays on stock performance. A market model of the S&P 500 is used to derive abnormal returns, which are then analyzed on a pre-holiday and post-holiday basis. 

To determine the significance of federal holidays on stock performance, the study calculates the cumulative abnormal return (CAR) for the event window. The cumulative average abnormal return (CAAR) for the sample of stocks over the event window is emphasized using generalized sign tests. The CAAR is a measure of the average abnormal return for a group of stocks over a particular period.

The study uses a test statistic with normal approximation to the binomial distribution to identify positive cumulative abnormal returns. This is important because it allows the researchers to identify whether the impact of federal holidays on stock performance is statistically significant. 

Overall, the study provides valuable insights into the relationship between federal holidays and stock performance in the United States. By analyzing a sample of 91 stocks from the NYSE Top 100, the study shows that federal holidays do have a significant impact on stock returns. The findings of this study can be useful for investors and traders who are looking to optimize their investment strategies based on the impact of federal holidays on stock performance. 

Nikolas Albertson is an honors student graduating from Purdue University Fort Wayne in May of 2023 who studies economics, public policy, and mathematics. He is a research assistant for the Department of Economics working in the fields of industrial organization, microeconomics, and financial economics. Nikolas has published his research in various academic journals and has presented at multiple conferences. He has been recognized as a Top 50 student in 2022, has received honors for high scholastic achievement, and served as the treasurer for the economics club at Purdue Fort Wayne. Upon graduation, Nikolas plans to attend graduate school to receive his Master of Science in economics, and hopefully, his Ph.D. in economics.

“Blood, Plasma, and the 21st Century Immune System” 
Major: Organizational Leadership 
Minors: Event Management and Food and Beverage Management 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Kirchner (Organizational Leadership) 

Multiple myeloma is a rare type of blood cancer that develops in the bone marrow affecting plasma cells. Normal plasma cells are transformed into cancerous multiple myeloma cells which accumulate in the bone marrow crowding out the normal plasma cells that help fight infection. A nonbeneficial antibody called M protein is a byproduct of this transformation which can in turn leave the body susceptible to kidney damage, bone destruction, and a weakened immune system. As the cancerous cells multiply, there is less space in the bone marrow for normal blood cells, resulting in decreased numbers of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Multiple myeloma accounts for 1% of all cancers and approximately 10% of all hematologic malignancies according to The American Cancer Society. Roughly 35,730 new cases will be diagnosed in 2023 resulting in approximately 12,590 deaths. 

I will conduct a literary review consisting of scholarly publications and peer-reviewed medical journals which will assist in analyzing the progression of treatment options for patients suffering from multiple myeloma. Over the past twenty years research and treatment options have increased exponentially. I will research multiple chemotherapy drug combinations, stem-cell therapy, and (CAR)T-cell therapy. I will also administer a research questionnaire to local oncology and hematology clinics in the Fort Wayne area for the sole purpose of gauging clinical responses on current treatment options. 

Jason Bonar is an honors student graduating in May ’23 with a degree in organizational leadership (B.S.) and minors in event management and food and beverage management. He is the program coordinator of Military Student Services where he structures and organizes military themed events on the campus of Purdue Fort Wayne. He is also the secretary of the Student Veterans of America organization at PFW.

“Experiments with Correlated Photons” 
Majors: Physics and Mathematics Concentration in Optoelectronics and Photonics 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mark Masters (Physics) 

Light can be thought of as a steam of massless particles called photons. From an ordinary household light, photons are produced per second. We are doing experiments in the single photon regime in which we count single photons. To this end, we have completed two single photon experiments. These experiments are performed using correlated photons produced through a process known as spontaneous parametric down conversion in a beta barium borate crystal that creates two photons from a one, generated by a 405nm pump laser. Those correlated photons are detected using single photon avalanche photodetectors (SPADs). A critical aspect of the experiment is detecting the pair of correlated photons at the same time, as we are interested in explorations with single photons. We do this by detecting one of the photons, called the herald, and looking for the other, called the mate. In this way, the existence of the herald photon guarantees the existence of the mate single photon in the experiment. To detect the arrival of two photons simultaneously (known as a coincidence) we use the signal from the SPADs which goes to a coincidence counting unit (CCU). The CCU counts the arrival of photons at each SPAD and also counts the number of coincidences. An important part of the CCU is the detection window, Our first experiment is to determine which we found to be The next experiment determines the quality of our correlated photon source. We look at the number of true coincidences vs number of accidental coincidences resulting in 11 times more true coincidences than accidental. The third experiment, known as Grangier’s experiment, provides evidence that light is a photon by demonstrating the indivisibility of photons. The measurements from this experiment resulted in a parameter that strongly suggested indivisibility as it was 23 standard deviations away from indicating the opposite. Currently an experiment is in progress that seeks to demonstrate single photon interference (a photon interfering with itself). 

Austin Brandenberger is a senior at PFW, majoring in Physics and Mathematics with a concentration in optoelectronics and photonics. During his time at PFW he spent several semesters as a TA for introductory and intermediate physics labs and has been involved in various PFW Physics outreach programs. After his junior year he was selected to be a participant in the NSF physics REU program at Montana State University where he helped create a real-time particle tracking algorithm for laboratory use. During his senior year, Austin has spent his time working in Dr. Mark Master's lab on explorations into quantum optics. After graduation he plans to remain in Ft Wayne to work as a systems engineer for L3Harris Technologies where he hopes to apply his skills and knowledge to solve real-world problems.

“The Queering of Horror: The Analysis of Representation in Horror and Queerness” 
Major: History Minors: Political Science, English, and Philosophy 
Certificate: International Studies 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stevie Schuerich (Political Science) 

The representation of LGBTQ+ identities in horror films, and its effects of this representation, like increased homophobic attitudes and obfuscation of the truth about these communities, on the general population were examined in this study. The study draws from theories about the power culture has on the general populace, which reveals the link between representations of these identities on screen and the feelings of the general populace on these issues. Next, the methodology of encoding and decoding media is introduced, which will be the main way that these films are analyzed. Encoding involves the analysis of the screen text, while decoding focuses on the reception of these messages to the viewer. The next section of the paper analyzes three classic horror films: Frankenstein, Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs. To encode the messages that the makers of the films encoded within these films, articles about the films were consulted to see the messages that were placed within the films that involved LGBTQ+ identities (mainly homosexual and transgender identities). Scenes and dialogue from the movies themselves will also be examined to analyze the text without the influence of other writers. The last section of the project focuses on the decoding of these films by the audience. Sources like newspaper reviews are utilized to illuminate how these representations on screen have influenced the way that people view homosexuals and transgender people (which are the groups that are explicitly referenced in these films, but this reaction can apply to the whole community). This demonstrates how these representations are able to manifest real feelings about real people through their representation in film.

This project shows that even subtle representations are able to have major impacts on the reception of these groups to the public. These films, often hindered by the Hays Code which banned any explicit mention of homosexuality or other perceived abnormalities from the screen, had to include subtle references to these identities. However, these identities often manifest within the villains of these stories. These portrayals help perpetuate these negative traits to the communities, even if the films try to orient the viewer away from these connections. Audiences were still able to pick up on these messages being sent, which made many people further associate these identities as abnormal, subversive, and evil behaviors because of the way they were represented on film. 

Noah Cook is an honors student graduating in May '23 with a degree in History, with minors in English, Political Science, and Philosophy. He has worked as a mentor on campus for history students, and also has worked as a tutor for the History department. He has worked on many research projects throughout his time at PFW, with much of his research focusing on the historical realities of the LGBTQ+ community both nationally and abroad. He has also received many honors during his time at PGW, including the Withers Scholarship and was selected as one of the Top 50 in April 2022. He plans on continuing his studies about these topics in graduate school, where he plans on specializing on American cultural history, especially for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“The Consequences of Emotions and Limited Working Memory on Gambling” 
Major: Psychology 
Certificate: Behavior Analysis Techniques 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Bendele (Psychology) 

When thinking about decision making there are a variety of factors that can influence one’s decisions. Emotions, in particular negative emotions, are known to impact one’s decision-making such that one makes less than optimal decisions (Huh, et al., 2016). Another factor that can impact decision-making is how much working memory one has available (Pecchinenda, et. al., 2006). However, these two factors (emotions and working memory) have only been studied independently from each other rather than in conjunction with each other. The present research was designed to (a) explore the influence of emotion by looking at neutral, positive, and negative conditions on decision-making, (b) examine the effects of high or low working memory capacity on decision-making, and (c) looking at the effects of both emotions and working memory on decision-making. The decision-making task for this study involves playing a game of chance in which one decides on each turn whether to play or not. At the start of the study, one begins with an initial amount of hypothetical money. For each turn a circle (“spinner”) which is divided into three parts is shown. Each part of the spinner shows how much money could be added or subtracted from the hypothetical total if the arrow lands on that part. After seeing a spinner, the participant has the choice to “play” or “pass” on that round. Results of the spinner are then displayed. If one decided to play, then the amount indicated on the spinner is used to adjust the hypothetical balance. Two other tasks are completed during the study. Participants complete a writing task on either a positive, negative, or neutral situation, and a test of working memory capacity. It was hypothesized that (a) participants in the positive emotional state group produce advantageous decisions compared to their negative emotional group counterparts, while a third neutral group will have average scores compared to both. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that (b) high working memory capacity participants will choose more advantageously on the decision-making task than low working memory participants. The third hypothesis (c) stated that participants in the positive emotional valence group and high working memory group as well as the neutral group would correctly choose the “intermediate” decision spinner, while the negative emotional group will choose the good spinner but not the intermediate spinner. For the interaction of the variables, (d) participants in the positive emotional state group with high working memory capacity would choose the most advantageously out of all groups. The present findings may have important implications for decision-making in high emotion situations. The results may also impact PTSD clients and how they manage high-stress decisions in their life. These findings can be useful for all populations, clinical and non-clinical for assessing and handling hard decisions in one’s life. 

Haley Crouch is a senior, psychology major graduating from Purdue Fort Wayne in the spring of ’23 with a Bachelor of Arts. She is the current Vice President of the on-campus psychology honor society Psi Chi. She has also been involved in the psychology department as a teaching assistant, research assistant, and a psychology tutor. Haley is currently a resident assistant for student housing and works as a registered behavior technician at Child’s Play Plus. Haley is involved in multiple research projects with Dr. Bendele and Dr. Lundy, both in the psychology department. She has been accepted to multiple graduate school programs and plans to continue her education in counseling psychology at a program near Fort Wayne.

“Autoethnographic Approach on Classroom Management” 
Major: Elementary Education 
Minor: Spanish 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Isabel Nunez (College of Professional Studies) 

This project looks into Lydia’s lived experiences to see how they have shaped her. In this project, the author took an autoethnographic approach to highlight major moments within her education that stuck out to her as having an impact on her. Specifically, she will be looking at the way she was disciplined in the classroom while growing up and she will be aligning those to different classroom management systems. This project looks at key aspects of several classroom management styles with a brief description. Then they will be analyzed for which style of classroom management would work best for an individual based on their experiences and personality. 

Lydia Delagrange is an Elementary Education major who looks forward to beginning her teaching career. Right now, she is student teaching, but will only be there for a few more weeks. She was fortunate enough to be placed with her 2nd grade teacher. She enjoys teaching students and helping them make connections between what they are learning and real-life situations where they can use those skills being learned. She also enjoys studying languages and hopes to someday use her Spanish in her own classroom. She could potentially see herself teaching English to Spanish speaking students, or being involved in a Dual Language school. She is excited for what the future may hold.

“Healthcare Industry Day” 
Majors: Finance and Political Science 
Certificate: Bank Management 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. James Toole (Political Science) 

This project consists of two parts, a research paper and the organization of an event also titled Healthcare Industry Day. This event occurred on March 16th and brought together speakers from the wider healthcare industry and Purdue Fort Wayne and Indiana University Fort Wayne students so that the latter might learn about career paths within major anchor institutions in Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana. Speakers were chosen to give representation to non-medical fields in the healthcare industry that might otherwise be overlooked by students who are not coming from a medical academic background. These included an Administrative Specialist, a human resources specialist, a Public Safety Officer, a Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer, and an Assistant Chief Executive Officer. These speakers came from Dupont Hospital and Lutheran Hospital, and were asked to share with students in interactive half hour segments over the course of the day. Each segment began with the speaker sharing about their own personal and professional backgrounds. They then described their current positions and the importance those roles had in allowing healthcare institutions to operate and medical professionals to perform their duties. This was followed by the speakers walking students through the education and professional paths that would lead to similar roles. After the speakers concluded, students were given time for questions and the opportunity to receive the speakers’ contact information. The attendees also heard from the Director of Purdue Fort Wayne’s MBA program about the process of earning an MBA and the experiences of MBA students with medical backgrounds who have sought to move into administrative roles in their institutions. Business students in attendance were also awarded points towards the Doermer School of Business’ Passport to Success program. 

The research paper portion is a study of market conditions that may have an impact on the employment prospects of Purdue Fort Wayne students and others who are seeking to enter professions in the broader healthcare industry. The paper consists of analysis of data drawn from publicly available sources including state agencies, NGOs, county and city chambers of commerce, and other institutions with a vested interest in Northeast Indiana’s healthcare and educational infrastructure. This paper also seeks to put these labor trends in the wider context of developments across Indiana and at the national level. 

Steven Dellinger is an honors student graduating from Purdue Fort Wayne in May 2023 with duel degrees in Finance and Political Science as well as a Certificate in Bank Management. Steven has been involved with the Student Government Association in a variety of positions, sat on the university Allocations Committee and Campus Appeals Board, and held leadership roles in several student organizations while also participating in the Summit Scholars Program as the Doermer Distinguished Scholar. Steven is passionate about the overlap of private organizations and public needs, a focus strengthened by his time working full-time as a Policy Intern and Bill Reader for the Indiana House of Representatives during the 2022 legislative session. Steven has enrolled at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and will begin there in Fall of 2023.

“Sticks and Stones: The Changing Structure of Free Speech Protections and the Consequences of Hate Speech Jurisprudence” 
Major: Political Science 
Minor: Philosophy 
Certificates: Peace and Conflict Studies and International Studies 
Faculty Mentor: Professor Georgia Wralstad Ulmschneider J.D. (Political Science) 

This paper, in examining multiple seminal free speech and hate speech court decisions, investigates the changing nature and structure of free speech, and ultimately, hate speech jurisprudence in the American judiciary. Approaching this investigation through a philosophical analytical framework, this paper seeks to ask to what extent the shifting philosophical conceptions between individualism and communitarianism in the American Constitutional narrative affect the hierarchical ordering of values within a polity as it pertains to and plays out in speech jurisprudence. The paper begins by analyzing early speech trials such as Abrams v. United States (1919) and Whitney v. California (1927), which set the foundation for hate speech jurisprudence, before moving into second generation speech trials that deal with hate speech more specifically, including Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942) and Beauharnais v. Illinois (1952). Next, the paper examines the golden age of free speech, the Civil Rights era, in which free speech and racial equality are tethered. However, later cases, such as Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), see this trajectory warp, where advancement of equality and the advancement of speech are de-linked, resulting in dangerous implications for the health of speech and the state of democracy. Finally, this paper looks at more recent movements to counteract unbridled free speech, deals with the implications of the current standard of jurisprudential practice and what should be done moving forward. 

Alexandra Denning is graduating with a degree in Political Science, a minor in Philosophy, and certificates in Peace and Conflict Studies, International Studies, and Honors. She has been involved with Green Action Club, Philosophy Club, and Estudiantes for Change. Alexandra has also worked as a Teacher’s Assistant to Professor Hake Tarango for Introduction to Peace and Conflict studies, and more recently, Dr. Wolf for Intro to American Politics. Outside of school, she strives to be a committed member of the community. Alexandra coordinated and received a scholarship to host the Summer Screening Series, a community engagement program dedicated to raising awareness and education on important social issues in our community. She also founded a local, grassroots organization called Caring is Cool that she hopes to develop in the future. She started Caring is Cool in the summer of 2020 with a mission of supporting food and home insecure populations in Downtown Fort Wayne. More recently, Caring is Cool has grown to advocate for all marginalized communities. Alexandra is very grateful for her education at Purdue Fort Wayne and for the support and recognition of her professors, especially within the Department of Political Science. She was honored to receive multiple recognitions and awards throughout her academic career, including Top 50, two consecutive Ulmschneider Awards, Van Coufoudakis Scholarship, Donald F. Wood and Darlene M. Richardson Charitable Foundation Endowed Scholarship, Thomas W. Hey Endowed Scholarship of Politics and Culture, and Graduating with Highest Distinction.

“Nativism and the New American “Demos”: Right-wing Populism and Immigration in the United States” 
Major: Political Science 
Minor: Spanish 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. James Toole (Political Science) 

Who makes up the American “demos”? Philosophers and political scientists alike have grappled with the concept of who rightfully makes up the nation by which a democracy may be birthed. Similarly, discussions surrounding the proliferation of democracy and democratic consolidation have become of paramount importance in the field of Political Science. These discussions, however, take place at a time when we are seeing a global decrease in democratic rule and an increase in authoritarianism. In a seemingly connected fashion, populist movements on both ends of the political spectrum have seen a stark increase in support in recent years. I discuss in this paper specifically, how right-wing populist movements in the United States may act as an anti-democratic agent that erodes democratic consolidation, particularly when we examine the treatment of undocumented immigrants. Through examining several forms of quantitative and qualitative research, I concluded that the denial of citizenship, or certain political rights granted to citizens, does not inherently erode the democratic consolidation of the state as it does not exclude a portion of the population who are generally accepted as legitimate members of the citizenry from participating in the political society. However, the alienation of immigrants who are eligible and able to participate in the political society is highly undemocratic, and it is a nativist characteristic of right-wing populism that is discussed thoroughly in this paper. 

Saron Girma is an honors student graduating from Purdue Fort Wayne in May 2023 with a degree in Political Science as well as a Spanish minor. She is the president of the PFW Model United Nations team and led a team to the American Model United Nations conference in Chicago, Illinois for three years. She is an honors center employee, as well as a research and teachers assistant for Professor Georgia Ulmschneider. In addition to on-campus activities and research, Saron spent the spring semester of 2022 studying abroad in Athens at one of the premiere study-abroad institutions in the world, College Year in Athens (CYA). She was able to study in Athens due to the generosity of the Herr Scholarship which covered her tuition and room and board while in Greece. She was the first student at PFW to receive this distinction or attend CYA, and in addition to receiving the Herr Scholarship Saron is also an Ulmschneider Award recipient which enabled her to gain valuable life experience while studying abroad. She currently works as the Lawyer Referral Service Director at the Allen County Bar Association and plans to attend law school in the near future.

“Prestige vs. Stigma: How the Power Differential Among Languages Impacts the Life of Accented Speakers”
Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders 
Minors: Linguistics and Special Education Mild Intervention K-12 
Certificate: Gerontology 
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Naomi Gurevich (Communication Sciences and Disorders) and Dr. Talia Bugel (International Language and Culture Studies) 

Drawing parallels between the power differential among language varieties and that of world languages perceived as foreign accented speech in English, we examine the impact of such accents on individuals’ lives. Accentedness, as defined in language acquisition literature, is the extent of a foreign accent in one’s speech, which is thought of as depending on how much listeners perceive this speech to be different from their own variety. 

We surveyed multilingual adults regarding the various ways their foreign language accents might impact their lives, and examined the association between accent thickness, the extent of impact on one's life, and which languages or language varieties were involved. Results tell the story of very different experiences among speakers that do not depend on the "thickness" of the accent or how comprehensible it is (e.g., an Arabic speaker in the Midwest vs. a Russian speaker in NYC). We conclude that the impact of having a foreign accent relates to the power differential among languages as well as to the “thickness” of the actual foreign accent and that this relationship is context/situation-specific. Gaining understanding into the impact of sociolinguistic and sociocultural power differentials will empower clinicians and educators to provide ethical, culturally aware, services to individuals with wide backgrounds of cultural and linguistic diversity. This would impact much of our scope of practice as SLPs, from providing accent modification treatment, to assessing and treating developmental and acquired communication disorders, to advocating for refugee communities, to navigating client and family education and counseling for culturally diverse populations. 

Makaila Groves is an honors student graduating from Purdue University Fort Wayne in May 2023 with a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders (B.S.) with minors in Linguistics and Special Education Mild Intervention K-12 and certificates in Honors and Gerontology. Makaila’s research has been approved by several councils including ASHA -American Speech Hearing Association, ISHA - Indiana Speech Hearing Association, and JPUR- Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research, where she also holds an Editorial Board and Outreach Team Member seat. She is also President of SALT, an organization that promotes leadership among student athletes, a Resident Assistant in Student Housing, a member of NSSLHA - National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, and a Substitute Teacher in FWCS. She is also an Athlete, running Cross Country and Track & Field, earning school records in the 500-meter and 600-meter run. Makaila plans to attend University of Wisconsin - Madison beginning in the Fall of 2023 to earn a Master’s in Speech Language Pathology.

“Equity, Burnout, and Challenges to American Literacy” 
Major: English with writing concentration 
Minors: Creative Writing and Business Writing 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Suzanne Rumsey (English) 

American reading proficiency has been on a steady decline as of recently. About 130 million American adults read below a 6th grade reading level according to the US Department of Education. Additionally, about 66% of children studied by the National Assessment of Educational Progress have a reading level at or below a basic level, the lowest level of reading achievement designated by the NAEP. This is problematic for a number of reasons, including reading important government- or work-related documents, interpreting meaning and purpose from news articles, and reading published works with a critical eye. Clearly, something about the US education system needs to change, however, change at the federal level regarding education is difficult given that education is typically handled by state governments. The focus will be placed on what Indiana should do to increase the reading proficiency of its students through a series of equity policies, teacher support, and system restructuring. In order to determine what actions need to be taken regarding equity, common practices from Finnish education will be evaluated and adapted for the Hoosier school system. These common practices include free lunch for all students, mandatory meetings with a counselor, and a more flexible curriculum that focuses more on projects as opposed to testing. This would allow for students to explore specific topics that interest them and help them increase their understanding through the more natural experience of exploration as opposed to wrought memorization. In order to determine what actions need to be taken regarding teacher support, studies conducted in the United States will be analyzed to see what teachers feel are the most pressing of issues in their field. This will be done in combination with news reports on a variety of recent teacher strikes across the United States that highlight some of the issues that teachers are currently facing. This will solve the “teacher shortage” as some people will know it. While there is no shortage of qualified teachers available across the US, many of these teachers choose not to teach anymore for the many reasons that will be discovered and discussed by the sources used for these sections. Bringing back qualified teachers will decrease the overall workload on other educators and allow them to pay more personalized attention to students who are having trouble with their studies. Through a combination of policies aimed at supporting teachers and practices that introduce more equity into the school system, a plan for helping raise the reading proficiency of students in Indiana’s public school system will be laid out. The equity plans will help in ensuring that children of disadvantaged families receive the same learning opportunities as children of rich families while the teacher support policies will make sure educators have enough breathing room and fair pay to consider staying in the education field. 

Solomon was born and raised in the state of Indiana, attending grades K-12 in Fort Wayne public schools. He typically spent more time at home and had plenty of time to read as a result and received praise from his parents and teachers about his reading abilities, which he works into his love for stories and video games. Solomon enjoys having detailed discussions about how story and gameplay affect player experience and how profit-making measures such as micro transactions have had a profoundly negative impact on video games as both an art form and an enjoyable experience. Beyond this, he also thoroughly enjoys discussing general history and military history, especially as it relates to human rights violations and systems of power. 

Solomon has worked in a variety of workplaces that have gone from calm to chaotic. He has worked as a dishwasher at Panera, a security guard at the Coliseum, the Clyde, and many other venues, and a clerk for the United States Census Bureau. He has acquired many professional and personal skills as a result and enjoys organizing his workplace to ensure that it remains clean and efficient. Solomon started at PFW as a Biology major with the intent of becoming a veterinarian but quickly grew to realize that chemistry did not interest him at all. Instead, he chose to become an English major, drawing on his love for reading, writing, and storytelling when making this decision. He has expressed an interest in cross-cultural dialogues and stories that reflect the differences and similarities between how different cultures think. Solomon has expressed a special interest in studying the literature and culture of minority communities in the United States, seeing how their unique situations have shaped their livelihoods in the US. Solomon has recently been studying international political issues and social welfare, especially in regard to how the United States has fallen behind other western countries. During his downtime, Solomon has been attending dance practice with the PFW Japanese Club and assisting Professor Crisler with promoting his Student Reading event. After PFW, Solomon plans on working at the Coliseum as an event promoter, putting his writing skills to the test in communicating with clients. He is also currently writing a science fiction book with hopes that he will one day do some voice acting, story writing, or editing for a video game.

“Biomarkers of Ischemic Stroke: Are Predictors of Stroke in the Near Future?” 
Major: Biology 
Associate: Chemistry 
Concentration: Microbiology and Immunology 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jaiyanth Daniel 

Stroke has been a rising concern globally due to its high and increasing occurrence, mortality rate, and disability associated with stroke patients. Ischemic stroke arises from blockage in the arteries leading to the brain, which disrupts the delicate systems which keep the brain and associated cells in homeostatic state, leading to temporary and permanent cell damage (infarctions), neuroapoptosis, neurotoxicity, necrosis, autophagy, brain cell death, and even disabilities. The current approved and effective treatment for ischemic stroke is recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). The treatment window for tPA to be effective and not risk hemorrhaging is within 4.5 hours of ischemic stroke symptom onset, so early diagnosis or predictive strategies are needed to quickly treat ischemic stroke patients. Brain imaging is an effective diagnostic method, but equipment can be limited in areas with low income. Research currently looks to identify biomarkers that can be obtained easily, such as through serum samples, to diagnose ischemic stroke and administer treatment within the effective time frame. Many potential biomarkers specific to brain tissues such as S100B, GFAP, MMP-9, and hs-CRP have been identified and tested, however, the specificity and sensitivity is not reliable and varies between tests. Biomarker panels consisting of combinations of identified markers have been constructed with those containing more markers (ex. S100B, B-type neutrotrophic growth factor, von Willebrand factor, MMP-9, and monocyte chemotactic protein-1) having higher specificity and sensitivity. Platelets are another potential venue to find biomarkers, as research in platelet receptor and platelet-volume-to-lymphocyte ratio have been tested with varying degrees of success, although more research is required. miRNAs have also been found to be differentially expressed in ischemic stroke patients, and there are many miRNAs that have been investigated for their potential as ischemic stroke identifiers. The research on ischemic stroke biomarkers is still very limited, as many proteins and molecules have been identified in ischemic stroke patients, but not many have high potential to be effective and cost-effective biomarkers that can be utilized in early ischemic stroke diagnosis. 

Hannah Huang is an honor’s student graduating from Purdue University Fort Wayne in May ’23 with degrees in biology (conc. in microbiology and immunology) (B.S.) and chemical methods (A.S.). She is involved in microbiology club and conducted undergraduate research at PFW and currently IU in neurodegenerative disease. Hannah previously worked as a student tutor at the PFW tutoring center, and she is currently accepted to continue her education at the PFW Biology Master’s program with a position as a research assistant under Dr. Ivorine Yu and Dr. Jimmy Yen at the IU School of Medicine Fort Wayne in fall ’23.

“IoT Gateway” 
Majors: Electrical Engineering and Mathematics 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Chao Chen (Electrical and Computer Engineering) 

The industrial internet of things (IIoT) is a rapidly growing industry that enables wireless communication and remote monitoring and control of devices. In response to the demand for IIoT solutions, Franklin Electric has tasked its senior design team with building an IoT gateway to accommodate a wide range of use cases for its electric and diesel motors, including electric motor drives, residential wells, farmland applications, wastewater pumps, etc. 

The objective of the senior design team's project was to build an IoT gateway with an enclosure rated NEMA 3R to protect electrical equipment in various applications, including industrial, building, and utility. The team planned to shield the IoT gateway from electromagnetic and radio frequency interference and incorporate external antennas for better wireless range. Additionally, the team included an EMI shield for the cellular module and CANBUS hardware to communicate with Electronic Control Units (ECUs) and other devices reliably. Furthermore, the IoT gateway had featured an external sensing interface for temperature cycle testing, electrostatic discharge (ESD) testing, and hardware testing, along with SD card storage and a USB port for direct communication with other monitoring devices. Finally, the team implemented PCB changes using Altium Designer. 

The expected outcome of the project was a fully functional IoT gateway capable of monitoring and controlling devices remotely using Wi-Fi, cellular network, or USB cable connections while protecting signals from disruption and interference. This solution allowed Franklin Electric to monitor and avoid electrical, mechanical, and environmental faults in its motors and provide greater visibility and control to its customers. 

Ishrat Islam is a Bangladeshi currently pursuing a double major in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. Inspired by the character Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he chose to pursue electrical engineering as his career. In high school, Ishrat won the Best Speaker award and went on to receive an academic scholarship from Purdue University Fort Wayne. He has also been recognized on the Dean's Semester Honors List and as an Outstanding Senior Graduate in Mathematics. 

In his personal life, Ishrat enjoys playing football (not soccer) and counts Lionel Messi as his favourite football player. As a first-generation student from a third-world country, he appreciates the love and support of his parents as he navigates the challenges of studying abroad in the United States. 

Aside from his academic pursuits, Ishrat is also passionate about making a difference in his community. As a member of the Muslim Student Association, he has been working to combat negative stereotypes about Islam and promote a better understanding of the Muslim community. Through his involvement in the association, Ishrat has been able to connect with other like-minded individuals who share his values and aspirations. Looking ahead to his future career, Ishrat is excited about the possibilities and eager to make a meaningful contribution to society.

"Content-Based Instruction in the Common Classroom" 
Majors: English and Secondary Education 
Minor: Psychology 
Certificate: TENL 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lucas Rodesiler (School of Education) 

In ELL (English Language Learner) classrooms, there is discussion about the benefits of CBI (Content-Based Instruction) for the purpose of language learning. The goal of this type of instruction is that students are learning the language through the content instead of using English as the lesson itself. Research has shown thus far that this method is significantly faster and more productive in teaching the new language to these learners. While grammar is important when learning another language, through CBI students experience and experiment with the language first, then when needed, the teacher with elaborate on grammatical concepts when questions arise. I believe that there is something that ELA classrooms can gain from this research as well. The inquiry is this: How can we implement CBI in an ordinary classroom where the students are already fluent in English? How could a lesson plan or curricula change by having native English speakers learn and grasp ELA content, standards, and grammar by exploring content and hands-on practice like CBI suggests? In an ELL classroom CBI could look like the following: Students are told that they will be learning about nature preservation. They are given sentence starters (i.e., “I think ___ is a good idea because…”) to scaffold the language that they already know and introduce new grammatical concepts. From there, students read articles, watch videos, take observations of the nature around them, and collaborate with other students. If students decide that they want to take “real world” action, the teacher can guide them in doing so (i.e., how to write a strong letter to a waste management company or an elected official, build a community/school garden based on the research that they have gained, etc…). CBI can offer a way for students to try, fail, and learn this concept in a safe space. In an ELA classroom, this can look similar. Students are told that they will be studying nature preservation. The class can brainstorm together some ideas that they already have but would like to explore further. The teacher can then help students identify different resources. For example, a teacher might pose questions like the following: Casual language in a resource could indicate that we need to use more caution, but why? How does the language in a source change or guide our thought process? Similarly to the ELL context, if students decide that they want to take “real world” action, the teacher can guide them on what steps to take to accomplish that. The purpose of CBI is to teach students that language mastery is not the goal. The goal is to teach students about language context and discovery, which will lead them to a deep understanding of the language they use in everyday life. This project is to showcase that CBI can and does fit within the context of an ELA classroom. 

Jaden Johnston is a double degree candidate with majors in English and Secondary Education with a minor in psychology and a Teaching English as a New Language (TENL) Certificate. Jaden began her tertiary education with a passion for language and linguistics but as schooling continued, this transitioned into a love for English and teaching the language to others. This is the final semester for Jaden as she wraps up student teaching in the English Language Learner (ELL) classroom. This honors project will also finalize the end of her five-year journey through Purdue Fort Wayne. She hopes to continue her education at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez for a master's in English education.

“The Evolution of Labor Union Stratification and Its Impact on Political Power and Public Perception” 
Majors: Political Science and Economics 
Minor: History 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nodir Adilov (Economics and Finance) Dr. Heather L.R Tierney (Economics and Finance) 

The research paper for the honors project showcase, inspired by the literature review, focuses on "The Evolution of Labor Union Stratification and Its Impact on Political Power and Public Perception." The study aims to understand the changes in labor union structure and how these transformations have affected their influence in politics and their perception among the general public. 

A key concept in the research is the "theory of scarcity," which posits that union membership is influenced by the scarcity of resources and jobs. This theory, as discussed in the literature review, is supported by Selig Perlman's work and has been further refined by later economists. Another central element in the research is labor union stratification, which is analyzed using Nelson Lichtenstein's "State of the Union" and Joseph McCartin's "Collision Course." These sources provide a comprehensive historical account of significant developments in the American labor movement, highlighting the decentralization and fragmentation of the postwar bargaining system. 

The research paper will explore the evolution of labor union stratification and its impact on political power and public perception by examining the historical context and the role of scarcity in shaping the labor movement. Through the analysis of key events, such as the PATCO strike and the rise of alternative bargaining practices, the study will seek to determine the underlying factors that have contributed to the decline in support for collective bargaining. 

By investigating the various elements that have shaped the labor movement and union stratification, the research aims to provide valuable insights into the reasons behind the waning influence of unions in politics and public perception. Ultimately, the study will contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of labor union stratification and its implications on political power and public perception, offering potential avenues for revitalizing the labor movement and addressing the challenges faced by unions today. 

Shane Jones, an exemplary honors student, is set to graduate after the 2023 summer semester with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science, along with a minor in History. A proud member of the school's chapter of the International Honor Society in Economics, Omicron Delta Epsilon, Shane boasts nearly a decade of experience as a union member of the United Transportation Union (UTU) while serving as a freight conductor for both Norfolk Southern and Canadian Pacific Railway. Currently, he works as a non-union ironworker employed by Zumbrun Construction Company. 

Mr. Jones' role as a devoted father to his 8-year-old son, Eric, who lives with severe autism spectrum disorder, coupled with his time spent in both union and non-union workforces and his close connections to those affected by drug addiction, has fueled his passion for understanding the intricate mechanisms driving social inequalities. 

In addition to his honors showcase project, Shane has also embarked on a case study that delves into the paradox of the coexisting wage gap between union and non-union workers, the divergence in support for unionization efforts among these groups, and the increasing levels of public backing for organized labor. 

Upon completing his undergraduate studies, Shane intends to attend law school and pursue a career in public interest law, focusing on labor and employment law, criminal justice reform, financial market regulation, and social policy reform. Through his dedication and tenacity, Shane aims to make a lasting impact on the lives of those facing injustice and inequality.

“Difficulties in Music Streaming Royalties: Examining Revenue from Licensing Agreements and Big Data Accounting” 
Majors: Music Industry and Accounting 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Barton Price (Music) 

The development and rise in popularity of music streaming has changed the way people enjoy music around the world. It has also changed the structure of income sources, marketing, and operations in music industry. These changes have come with lots of critique from artists for the subsequent challenges of seeing revenues from these services at the end of the chain where streaming services pay labels, which then pay artists. This presentation will examine these concerns in the context of both licensing agreements for streaming services and the accounting methods that track and distribute revenues through the chain. The methods for investigating streaming revenue difficulties are first a synthesis of previous academic literature on the topic about the rise of streaming licensing, then an analysis of researcher experience with accounting for these revenues as a business manager for the university record label. There were a couple practical observations by the researcher and a synthesis of academic literature. When examining the accounting and licensing factors of the music streaming process, it can be observed that the landscape and outlook are improving in some way. However, the combination of difficulties observed in the research is not highly favorable to artists. The investigation found that there were difficulties with licensing agreements that minimized artist revenue, especially for smaller artists. Additionally, it found that accounting for these incomes from the many streaming services and splitting that to the different writers and performers was quite difficult given the abilities of current industry standard accounting software. 

Logan Lemon is graduating with an Accounting and Music Industry double major. As a student he has been the business manager of the PFW record label Gold Top Music Group, secretary of Campus Ministry, and a member of Accounting Society and the Music Industry Association. He has been a band leader for a performing rock group, a bookkeeper for several small businesses, and a tech assistant for a local church. In the future he intends to work in public accounting as a public auditor in Fort Wayne as he pursues CPA certification.

“A Small Business Analysis: Hop River Brewing Company” 
Major: Hospitality Management 
Certifications: TIPS and CHIA 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Wenjia Han (Hospitality and Tourism) 

The paper focuses on building a business plan to help small businesses connect to their primary source of revenue which is the local community. The bond between the local community and the small business depends on a variety of factors such as the type of business and its current presence in the community. 

Hop River Brewery Company was the model used in this project as a small business and the style of the writing was formed to target the business owners as a consulting report for their business. Hop River Brewing Company is a microbrewery business located in Fort Wayne who has been operating for five years. Consulting was done for them to determine what their biggest difficulties have been and provide solutions that could be applied to their business. 

Through in-depth research into their company, their local and national competitors, and their customer reviews on three different platforms a survey was then supplied to their consumers on site which was constructed on the findings of initial research. After the survey was conducted, the data was then analyzed to inform possible solutions. The more vital solutions provided were divided into three areas, beer, food, and service/environment as these were the areas which were found to need more attention. Solutions ranged from collaboration with local food trucks to productivity on social media, to collaboration with local artists. 

Valeria Lopez is an honors student studying Hospitality and Tourism Management. Valeria will graduate from Purdue Fort Wayne in May 2023. She is a first-generation college student. Valeria is fluent in English and Spanish, while in college she also studied Arabic. In which she earned an excellence in Foreign Language Study Award. She was the vice president of Hispanos Unidos on campus during her sophomore year. She participated in an internship at Cedar Point during the summer of her junior year. After graduation she plans to go back to Cedar Point to elevate her knowledge about event planning as she plans to have a career in event planning.

“Designing a Dynamic Assessment Task to Identify Language Impairments in Children” 
Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders 
Minor: Psychology 
Certificate: Behavioral Analysis and Techniques 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stacy Betz (Communication Sciences and Disorders) 

In the field of speech-language pathology, there are multiple assessments used to diagnose children with either speech or language disorders. Most assessments are static assessments that measure current skills at one given time point. Dynamic assessments are a less common type of test given to children to assist in diagnosis. This serves the purpose of determining how quickly children benefit from intervention, and it shows valuable information about children’s language learning abilities. Nonword learning has been used in prior studies as a type of dynamic assessment task, although not for diagnostic purposes. This study aims to develop an engaging task that could be used clinically. Several research studies were analyzed to design a theoretically effective task titled “Zarble”, a new dynamic assessment procedure that uses implicit teaching of nonwords to children. Three nonword nouns and three nonword verbs were methodically chosen and assigned to specific game pieces and actions to perform during the game. This task is theoretically sound because it is heavily research-based. Because it fits the typical time constraints of other current static assessments, it would be clinically feasible. Therefore, it would also be plausible for speech-language pathologists to use this task in a clinical setting to diagnose children with vocabulary deficits. Future research steps to validate this task would be to collect data and determine if children with typical language perform with higher accuracy than those with language impairments. 

Madeline Ludwig is an honors student graduating from Purdue Fort Wayne in May of 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She has also completed a minor in Psychology and a certificate in Behavioral Analysis and Techniques. She is the secretary of Purdue Fort Wayne’s chapter of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA). During her time at Purdue Fort Wayne, Madeline completed an on-campus clinical practicum, in which she provided articulation and language therapy to a child client throughout the semester with faculty supervision. She has also interned at Possibilities Northeast, a local autism clinic that provides pediatric therapy services. Madeline’s passion for working with children and her interest in child language development inspired her to pursue this honors project. She will be attending Purdue Fort Wayne’s Speech-Language Pathology graduate program which will begin in June of 2023. After completing graduate school, she aspires to become a certified speech-language pathologist and work with the pediatric population.

“Characterizing Genetic Modifiers of Obesity through the AKHR Pathway” 
Major: Biology 
Associate: Chemical Methods 
Concentration: Microbiology and Immunology 
Certificate: Biology Research 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rebecca Palu (Biology) 

Obesity poses a global health issue, affecting over 2.1 billion people. This complex metabolic disease can be attributed to both environmental and inherited factors. As the latter is less well understood, the genetic contribution to obesity poses a topic of interest. It is known that processes such as lipid metabolism and hormone signaling are often disrupted in obese individuals. However, there is limited understanding on what genes affect these processes and the extent in which they do so. Given this, the glucagon signaling pathway will be suppressed to model obesity in the fruit fly. Glucagon is involved in the stimulation of lipases, which are key enzymes responsible for the breakdown of fat. Inhibiting this action prevents this process from occurring and leads to obesity. This can be observed in Drosophila melanogaster through the loss of the adipokinetic hormone receptor (AKHR), the analogue for the glucagon receptor. AKHR normally induces a response to starvation and helps maintain metabolic homeostasis. Reducing expression of AKHR inhibits these responses, particularly fat breakdown. To determine if genetic background influences this phenotype, we are crossing a model of reduced AKHR expression with the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP), consisting of 200+ inbred, fully sequenced fly strains. This tool allows for the identification of variation associated with an obese or lean phenotype. To monitor variation in stored triglycerides and obesity, we use a larval density assay previously described in Reis et al. 2010 PloS Gen and other publications. As our quantitative readout we used the concentration of sucrose at which half the larvae for each strain float which is denoted as the FC50 value. Strains with lower FC50 values indicate higher fat content given that they float sooner because of lower density. The contrary can be observed for strains with higher FC50 values which are associated with a lean phenotype, floating later because of higher density. These values are used to run a genome-wide association analysis to identify candidate modifier genes. These modifier genes may increase or decrease one’s risk for obesity which can be targeted when designing treatment options. A preliminary GWA has already been completed allowing for a compilation of several candidate genes which are currently being investigated. Characterization of these modifiers will aid in determining which ones are most likely altering the disease model. The findings may be tested through density and biochemical assays in the near future. This will allow for further characterization of these genes, leading to advancement in therapeutics. 

Nay Maung is an honors student graduating from Purdue Fort Wayne in May 2023. She will be graduating with a BS in biology with a concentration in microbiology and immunology, AS in chemical methods, and a biology research certificate. She is currently the treasurer of MEDLIFE, a nonprofit organization that advocates for equal access to healthcare in impoverished communities in which she had the opportunity to partake in a service trip to Lima, Peru. Nay has also been a part of Dr. Rebecca Palu’s genetics lab for her junior and senior years at PFW. She is currently a laboratory technician and plans to continue working in a clinical lab by attending Parkview’s Medical Laboratory Science Program this summer to become a laboratory scientist.

“Predicting Regional Weather Patterns in the United States” 
Major: Actuarial Science 
Minors: Business Studies and Mathematics 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Yvonne Zubovic (Mathematical Science) 

The increasing frequency and severity of severe weather events have become a significant concern due to the potential impacts on human life, property damage, and economic losses. Climate change is believed to be one of the contributing factors to these changes in weather patterns, with rising temperatures and atmospheric changes altering the conditions that give rise to severe weather events. 

Predictive models are being developed to forecast weather patterns, specifically tornadoes. These models use a combination of historical weather data, satellite imagery, and real-time data to make predictions about the likelihood of tornado formation in a particular region. Machine learning techniques, such as neural networks, decision trees, and support vector machines, have been used to develop accurate and efficient models. 

One of the key challenges in developing predictive models for tornadoes is the complexity of the phenomenon itself. Tornado formation is influenced by a range of factors, including temperature, humidity, wind shear, and atmospheric pressure, making it difficult to accurately predict tornado occurrence. Additionally, the limited availability of data and the need for real-time data for accurate predictions pose significant challenges. 

Despite these challenges, predictive models for tornadoes have shown promise in improving the accuracy of tornado forecasts. By using advanced techniques such as machine learning, these models can analyze large amounts of data and identify patterns that can help forecast tornadoes more accurately. With further development and refinement, these models could provide significant benefits in terms of improving public safety and minimizing the impact of severe weather events. The machine learning model seen in this study analyzes the weather events recorded from 2010-2020 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA) Storm Weather Database. This database is comprised of multiple variables that are studied and used to analyze weather event frequencies, size, deaths, and economic costs. The predictive model found in this study looks specifically at tornadoes to determine if we can accurately predict the EF Scale using only the size of the storm without knowing the wind speeds. This model uses classification and regression methods to study the size and costs of these severe weather events. Furthering this analysis, the model is then used to investigate if storms are becoming more severe as time goes on. 

Nathan Mills is a senior at Purdue University Fort Wayne pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science with minors in Mathematics and Business Studies. He is a student-athlete on the cross country and track teams and a proud Eagle Scout. Nathan is a two-time member of the PFW Top 50 class as well as an Honor’s student. Nathan is involved in many clubs on campus including President of the Actuarial Club, Treasurer of Mastodon Catholic, and member of the Student-Athlete Leadership Team (SALT). While in school, Nathan has co-authored a paper with Dr. Alessandro Selvitella of PFW, Dr. Kathleen Foster of Ball State, and Kale Menchhofer where they applied data science methods to the COVID-19 pandemic. This research was accepted and presented at the prestigious GLBIO 2021 and ICLR 2021 Workshop "Machine Learning for Preventing and Combating Pandemics" conferences. He also completed a study that analyzed brain shape differences between schizophrenic and non-schizophrenic people where he earned third place at PFW’s Data Science Week Competition. His team was the highest placing group from Purdue Fort Wayne. After graduation, Nathan plans to continue at PFW in the Fall 2023 to obtain an MBA in Finance.

“ENTRE-U: Measuring the Entrepreneurial Orientation of Fort Wayne Universities (Purdue University Fort Wayne, Indiana Tech, Saint Francis)” 
Major: Accounting Faculty 
Mentor: Dr. Želimir William Todorović (Management and Marketing) 

The concept of entrepreneurship has long fascinated researchers and has been the driving force behind America’s growth since its birth. Universities have always been one of the biggest cultivators of the entrepreneurial spirit due to their committed professors and state-of-the-art technology. Nevertheless, over the past few years funding for collegiate research has taken a staggering hit. Furthermore, researchers no longer have the incentive to turn a concept into a physical product. Whether this is due to state budget cuts, enrollment declines, the federal portion of funding steadily decreasing, or faculty being awarded tenure and promotion based on measures such as how much research money they bring in and how many papers they get published versus the number of patents, startups, or licensing revenue they earn from commercialization, there is an apparent concern for universities turning away from being an entrepreneurial beacon of America. Therefore, it is critical for universities to have the ability to measure how entrepreneurially oriented they are to invoke change and encourage patents or spinouts. The way entrepreneurial orientation can be measured is with the utilization of the ENTRE-U scale. This scale is a set of 23 questions that focus on four different factors: research mobilization, unconventionality, industry collaboration, and university policies. These four factors that comprise the ENTRE-U scale accurately measure the entrepreneurial orientation of a university with regards to their likelihood to promote entrepreneurial commercialization through patents or spinouts. 

For the purpose of this study, the universities that will be researched are the University of Purdue Fort Wayne, the University of Saint Francis (Fort Wayne), and the University of Indiana Tech. The ENTRE-U survey was sent out to every department chair, department head, and program director of each of the stated universities. The heads of the departments received the survey because they are the most knowledgeable about what goes on in their department and have the most experience with what resources are available. This academic thesis will present the findings stemming from the ENTRE-U survey to help enhance the emphasis on entrepreneurship in Fort Wayne universities. Keywords: ENTRE-U, entrepreneurial orientation, entrepreneurial commercialization, universities, patents, spinouts 

Nicholas Mills is a senior accounting student attending Purdue University Fort Wayne. Nick is on track to graduate in May of 2023 with his Bachelor of Science in Business with a Major in Accounting. He plans to continue his educational initiatives at PFW by pursuing an MBA this coming Fall and is determined to take the CPA exam this summer. He is currently employed at Home Lumber of New Haven Inc. as an accountant. Nick has been greatly involved in PFW both athletically and academically. He is a runner on the men’s cross country and track teams and has placed All-Conference in the Horizon League. He has also been honored with many academic achievements as he was nominated by PFW professors as the outstanding accounting and finance student for the Fort Wayne chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI), represented PFW in their business school AACSB accreditation process as one of the Doermer Dozen, has been on the PFW Dean’s list all five semesters, and made the Horizon League Men’s Cross Country All-Academic Team. The men’s cross country team was also ranked thirteenth in the nation based on GPA for their 2022 season. In high school, Nick earned the distinguished title of valedictorian of his high school graduating class at Columbia City High School. The organizations that Nick participates in have shaped him into the person he is today. At PFW he has been the treasurer of the Accounting Society and president of Mastodon Catholic. Other organizations he was an influential member of was Scouts BSA where he held multiple leadership positions and achieved the highly esteemed rank of Eagle Scout. Furthermore, Nick’s family has been a foster family since he was young and has cherished his time assisting his parents in raising foster children. Overall, Nick’s academic achievements, athletic ability, and participation in a plethora of organizations all proffer an insight into who Nick is and what he stands for as a PFW honors student.

“Democratic Retrogression of Hungary” 
Major: Political Science 
Minor: Economics 
Certificates: Financial Economics and International Studies 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. James Toole (Political Science) 

This research seeks to evaluate the declining state of democracy seen in Hungary since 2010. As Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz government has evolved during its second term in office, elements of Hungary’s well-established democracy have begun to wither. This research will analyze three alternative reasons as to why this decline has taken place: economics, political culture, and elite political self-interest. Each element will be compared to the operationalized definition of democracy as given by Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan. Methods of the following work are focused on a combination of secondary literature and opinion polls. While each of these three elements are significant to Hungary’s democratic retrogression, this research has found that the most influential force at work is Viktor Orbán and elite political self-interest. In preventing another political defeat, Orbán was able to manipulate the constitutionality of the well-established Hungarian constitution and was also able to mobilize support for the Fidesz regime in various ways. In addition to this, this research proves that there is a third reverse wave of democratization, as originally outlined by Samuel Huntington, and that Hungary is an example of this phenomena. This answer is significant as the Hungarian case represents one with potential for replication in other nations. More specifically, Hungary maintained a strong democracy for nearly twenty years. During those twenty years, multiple political parties competed in free and fair elections with a democratic constitution ruling over the government as a whole. Through careful thought and manipulation, this system was gradually torn apart by the Fidesz government while Hungary’s economic and cultural sectors aided in the backsliding. Understanding the Hungarian case is essential to preventing further democratic decline in Hungary and in other nations alike. For the interests of the United States specifically, it is favorable to ensure that fellow NATO members do not fall to authoritarian rule in similar ways. 

Annie Nietert is an honors political science major graduating in May of 2023 from Purdue University Fort Wayne. In addition to her bachelor’s degree, Annie will be receiving a minor in economics and certificates in international studies and financial economics. Annie’s passion for politics began early in her life and later inspired her decision to major in political science. Her experiences at Indiana University and Purdue University Fort Wayne continued to catalyze her interest in international systems of government. After graduating in the top 5% of her high school class, Annie has maintained a 3.9 overall GPA throughout her college career. Annie is a licensed insurance agent and currently works part time at her family’s insurance agency in New Haven, Indiana. After graduation, Annie will be working full time at the insurance agency with plans of future ownership as the third generation.

“Supporting the Female Caregiver in the 21st Century Workforce” 
Major: Communications 
Concentration: Rhetoric and Public Advocacy 
Minor: Organizational Leadership 
Faculty Mentor: Professor Marietta Frye (Organizational Leadership) 

The amount of women in the workforce has significantly increased throughout the years. However, many women feel as if they are not properly supported in their professional careers in regard to women’s health issues, maternity leave, and family life. Thus, businesses are struggling to retain talent, specifically the female caregiver, due to this lack of support. This research study focuses on creating a cultural comparison of other countries' support systems for women across the world in relation to the United States’ policies. The study will explore the three areas mentioned above and provide a handbook for organizations to implement to increase retention. 

When discussing the “female caregiver”, it is important to note that this includes female-identifying individuals who are the sole caregiver for their family (whether that is spousal support, being a mother, or taking primary care of another family member) and who experience a menstrual cycle/related biological female health issues. Through a comprehensive analysis of the minimal amount of existing research in this field, a new policy will be proposed for those in leadership positions at any given organization that promotes gender equality and a more supportive work environment for the female caregiver according to those three categories. With the adaptation of these new policies, organizations can expect to build a more loyal staff and decrease the turnover rate for their business. 

Melody Nofziger is a soon-to-be 2023 honors graduate of Purdue Fort Wayne who majored in Communication (Rhetoric and Public Advocacy) and minored in Organizational Leadership. Throughout her academic journey, she has developed a strong foundation in social media marketing and leadership studies, which will serve her well as she begins graduate school at PFW for Organizational Leadership. She is excited to apply her knowledge and experience, with the ultimate goal of attaining her Master’s degree and being a consultant for communication and leadership-based issues within organizations. Melody completed a semester-long internship at a local hospital and is excited to announce that she will be onboarding as their Communication Specialist post-graduation. Previously, Melody worked for the majority of her undergraduate career at a private practice chiropractic office, Wellness Huddle, where she was able to recognize her passion for social media marketing and devote herself to this trade. In her free time, Melody enjoys teaching music lessons, reading, and traveling. She is incredibly grateful for the support of her family, friends, and most importantly, Jesus Christ, throughout her undergraduate studies and looks forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.

“The Effect of L-theanine on the Immunological Stress Response in Nile Tilapia” 
Major: Biology 
Concentration: Microbiology and Immunology 
Minor: French 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ahmed Mustafa (Biology) 

Fishes are one of the top sources of animal proteins. However, their protein contents can be reduced in various ways, one of them being stressed which eventually leads them to be immune compromised. Fish farmers try to solve these problems with the use of antibiotics and other chemical drugs. These chemicals can be harmful to fish, further reducing their protein quality. A safer and more natural alternative is the use of nutraceuticals. 

This project investigates the effect of L-theanine on lysozyme and macrophage activity of acutely stressed Nile tilapia and determined the best concentration for modulating stress. L-theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid obtained from Camellia sinensis. It is believed to be responsible for the relaxing effect found in green tea. The fish for this project were divided into 4 groups: a stress control group, and 3 treatment groups administered with different concentrations of L-theanine (0.0002%, 0.0004%, and 0.001% L-Theanine). The fish were subjected to hormonal stress by the administration of hydrocortisone (0.01% of their body weight). The lysozyme and phagocytic capacity were analyzed using the lysozyme activity assay (LAA) and the proportions of positive macrophages. Treatment groups showed lower lysozyme and macrophage activities, however, no significant difference was observed when compared to the stress control. Due to the trend observed in the data, I concluded that a higher concentration of L-theanine might be needed to significantly modulate stress. 

Michelle Selo-Ojeme is an honors student graduating with a degree in biology (conc. Microbiology and Immunology) (B.S), chemical methods (A.S), and a minor in French. She is currently the co-president of MEDLIFE, vice-president of AMSA Pre-Medical Club, a member of the African Student Organization (ASO) and the French club, as well as a Nurse’s aide at an assisted living. She also volunteers as a tutor at the Literacy Alliance where she tutors students working towards obtaining their HSE. Michelle has worked in Dr. Ahmed Mustafa’s Stress Physiology lab assisting with research since her sophomore year. Due to her academic success and community engagement, she was named among Purdue Fort Wayne's Top 50 students (in 2022 and 2023), Outstanding Biology Senior, and received the Excellence in Foreign Language Study Award (French). Michelle is currently applying for a 10-month teaching assistantship program in France and hopes to obtain her medical degree in the future.

“Theatre in Antiquity and its Relationship to Religion” 
Major: History and Theatre 
Minor: Sociology and Medieval Studies 
Faculty Mentor: Professor Mark Ridgeway (Theatre) 

The present study investigated theatre in antiquity and its relationship with religion; in addition, this study compared present-day theatre’s relationship with religion as a means to understand how theatre has changed over time. Ancient theatre serves as the foundation to theatre as it is known today, despite the seemingly strong differences between the two worlds. In addition, knowledge of ancient theatre in many aspects is lost and misunderstood as texts over time have become partially or completely lost to time. It was understood the intense relationship between theatre of antiquity and religion, but it was yet to be discovered the extent of this relationship as well as how deeply it affected the theatrical society around it. The focus of this study was to dive deeper into the knowledge of ancient theatre with a small glimpse into how theatrical society has been changed by the foundations of theatre. However, while there is much research defining and exampling theatre of antiquity and its relation to religion, there is little research examining how these factors have carried on into modern-day theatre. This study utilized information compiled by previous researchers as well as detailed through a few examples of primary resources from antiquity in order to portray a broad understanding of the theatre of antiquity accurately and effectively. Broad understandings of the culture and theatre of antiquity allowed for conclusions to be made about theatre that will help push research forward. Furthermore, discovered was how deeply theatrical antiquity has affected modern-day theatre—a point of research many do not take into consideration. Having a base knowledge of theatre in antiquity not only enriches the current research but provides a stepping stool for future studies. Overall, this study aims to provide a deeper understanding of theatre of antiquity in areas that are sparser in information as well as detail how this tradition of theatre has carried on into today’s world. 

Madison Phillips is a senior student at Purdue University of Fort Wayne graduating on May 10, 2023 with a Bachelor’s Degree majoring in History and Theatre as well as two minors in Sociology and Medieval Studies. Madison has had several opportunities to present her research to audiences including the History Conference of 2022 where she presented research on the presence of the arts in concentration camps during the Holocaust. She has also worked closely in the theatre department assisting with the creation of performance costumes where she discovered her love for designing and creating. From this discovery, Madison paved the way for an internship opportunity this summer to advance her knowledge of costuming and designing in order to be able to apply her knowledge in her future career. Outside of PFW, Madison has worked for several years as a dance teacher and choreographer for studios including ICON Dance Center, Center Stage Dance Academy, and En Croix Ballet. While Madison is still a little unsure of where life will take her, she is happy to utilize her degrees and internships after college to design and create her own costumes to utilize on her own dancers. In addition, she has already had the pleasure of utilizing knowledge from her degrees in her current life including opportunities to stage manage and research for the studios she works for. Madison is incredibly thankful to her parents and husband for the undying support they have shown her on this tumultuous journey of discovering who she is meant to be. She cannot wait to showcase her hard work and research this past semester to you all, and hopes this research fascinates you as it did her!

“Analysis of the Needs and Preferences of Food Pantry Visitors” 
Major: Biochemistry 
Minor: Psychology 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Haiek Park (Hospitality and Tourism Management) 

Dietary lifestyle changes are a major form of treatment for many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, celiac disease/gluten sensitivity, and lactose intolerance. Many people rely on restrictive diets to manage these diseases. The presence of these restrictive diets among food pantry visitors may pose barriers to food access, and their prevalence is understudied. Additionally, people with these diseases may not know what types of food choices they should make while selecting food. The goal of this study is to investigate health-based dietary restrictions among food pantry visitors. To accomplish this, self-complete surveys were administered at the Walb Student Union and Student Clubhouse locations of the PFW Pantry (n = 264). The survey collected self-reported health information, opinions on food selection, opinions on food preparation type, and some demographic information of the participants. The collected health information served to probe what preexisting health conditions and potential dietary consequences of these conditions exist in this community. The opinions on food selection and food preparation type served to question whether the food available at the respective pantries served the needs of the visitors adequately. Finally, the collected demographic information assisted in contextualizing the data collected. We report in this study, potential correlations between the health status of the pantry visitors, measured demographic information, and the perspective indicated by the pantry visitors. We note trends in demographic characteristics such as income and level of attained education with the prevalence of various diseases which influence the diet of the study participants. We also identified correlations between the presence of these diseases and the perspectives surrounding food the affected individual had. These observed correlations will be used to guide the policies of pantries to better cater to the population they serve. In general, the results of this study shed light on some of the potential challenges individuals face when trying to obtain food from a food pantry, and will hopefully guide decisions food pantries make in the future to foster inclusivity. 

Varun Shenoy is a biochemistry major at PFW (Purdue University Fort Wayne). He is known for his hard work and passion for learning, always striving to achieve academic excellence. Varun is also an active member of various student organizations, where he contributes to the community and develops his leadership skills. He is a part of various on-campus student organizations such as the Chemistry Club. He has also been performing research with Dr. Haeik Park for the past two years investigating the preferences and needs of food pantry visitors at the PFW Pantry. He is graduating at the end of this semester and hopes to attend medical school in the coming year.

“Eleemosynary: Flying with Costume Design” 
Major: Theatre with a concertation in Design and Technology 
Minor: Creative Writing 
Faculty Mentor: Professor Austin Rausch (Department of Theatre) 

“Charitable; the giving of alms.” This is Eleemosynary by Lee Blessing. The play follows the lives of the Westbrook women, Dorothea, Artie and Echo. The audience members are transported through the memories of these women and learn what makes them so different from each other and the ways that they are the same. Eleemosynary was a realized production from the Department of Theatre in the Fall Semester of 2022 and was directed by Professor Jeffrey Casazza. The main challenge of designing costumes for the production was creating distinct looks for each character while finding ways to connect them together. A particularly poignant element to consider is the construction of the wings from 1958, crafted by Dorothea herself. It had to maintain resilience and ease of movement while also appearing homemade. These problems were resolved through the design process. The design process begins with the play. It must be read through several times then analyzed by developing a research bible. The costume research was conducted during the time of the play, the Eighties, although the wings were inspired by contemporary sources. Several sketches were presented at the production meetings, which are a series of meetings that occur with the director, production coordinator, and the scenic, costume, and lighting designers. These positions are primarily held by the professors of the Department of Theatre. All departments collaborate together in order to resolve any potential issues before they occur. Once the director approves of the designs, final renderings are created with the casted performers. A budget sheet for all costume pieces required is made. Anything costume-related is relayed to the costume shop, run by Clinical Assistant Professor Jeanne Pendleton. Most costume pieces were either pulled from stock or bought online, then altered to fit the actress. Dorothea’s costume was entirely built in the shop by the students and the costume shop supervisor because it was too specific to find online or in stock. This was the same for the wings. The last step is observing the costumes and wings in rehearsals to solve any last-minute problems. Finally, the costumes and wings are ready for the production. The costume designs were well researched and constructed in a thoughtful manner. The costumes contrasted the scenic design but did not pull focus from it. The performers felt confident in their costumes and performed without any issues. Color and silhouettes became a major asset in defining each character. The idea of color interaction and color mixing drove the designs. Dorothea’s flowing clothes shows off her playful side. In comparison, Artie’s suit reveals her distant nature. Echo is somewhere in the middle because of the influences of both women in her life. The wings themselves are constructed like a quilt. Doing so made them lightweight and simple to wear. Costume design is a great communication tool to provide insight on a characters’ personality. Echo says that words gives her the ability to fly. The same happens with costumes. Costumes gives designers the opportunity to fly and reveal their voice. 

Stephanie Spotts is an honor theatre student graduating from Purdue University Fort Wayne in May 2023 with a degree in theatre with a concertation with design and technology (B.A.) with a minor in creative writing. Her main interest is in costume design, although she has participated as a playwright in The 24 Hour Plays during her freshman and senior year. She was the assistant costume designer for the productions of The Laramie Project and Dracula: An Act of Destruction. This past fall semester, Stephanie created the costume designs for the production of Eleemosynary, under the guidance of Austin Rausch. She is grateful to Jeffrey Casazza and the department of theatre for their trust in her abilities. Stephanie will be attending the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the fall semester to continue her education on costume design.

“Poetry and Photography” 
Major: Art and Design
Faculty Mentor: Professor James Gabbard (Art and Design) 

During my second year at Purdue Fort Wayne, I took a class with Professor James Gabbard titled, “Photo III: Conceptual Imaging.” In this class, students were given a list of poetry and quotes to create photographs that reflected the writing. Students were also given the option to switch out one of the writings if they wanted to. I decided to switch out my last writing with a poem I wrote for my mother based on a story from her past. The poem reflected a story about my mother and her siblings running down into the woods and creating a land full of imagination. A few months passed and it was time to schedule classes for my final semester. This was when Professor James Gabbard proposed the idea for an independent study with him. The idea was to create a series of poems that I would write while also taking a series of photos to reflect the poem. In my entire life, I have only written two poems so this was going to be a challenge. As part of this project, five poems will be written about different topics, along with a collection of photographs to accompany each poem. I have also created original costumes to match the theme of the poems for each photoshoot. By the time the project is finished, I intend to design a book that combines the poems and photographs. Writing creates this freedom that is not bound by others’ words and allows me to create any world or theme I want. Adding creative writing to photos allows me to connect to them on a more personal level. The photographs will provide a visual interpretation of the poems. The combination of both poems and photographs into a book will allow them to be presented in a unique way. As a result, I will be able to grow my creative process from the beginning to the end of this project. 

Lillian Stotlar is an honors student graduating from Purdue Fort Wayne in May 2023 with a degree in art and design (BA). She has been on the Dean and Honors List four times for her outstanding academic achievements. She also received the honor of Top 50 for this year. She has been an active member of the Photo Club for two years. She has also served as the head of marketing for the College Republicans for two years. Other than academics, she has also been an active student worker as a Resident Assistant for Student Housing for two years. She has also received the honor as RA of the Month for outstanding work, helpfulness, and putting extra work into her job. She has also been an active member of the community. Her work has been shown in the Garrett Museum of Art during their Open Call 2022 exhibit and displaying a ceramic mask during a Masquerade Ball in February 2023.

“Effects of Trap Position and Bait Age on Capture Success of Freshwater Turtles” 
Majors: Biology 
Concentration: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 
Associate: Chemical methods 
Certificate: Research 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mark Jordan (Biology) 

When foreign stimuli, or novelties are placed into a natural environment. These stimuli can then become normal to species of the environment, and thus make it less likely for species to interact with said stimuli. This situation becomes problematic for population surveys using traps. This trend was seen to be true during the 5-year population survey at Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve as duration of survey affected capture success. Earlier days are seen with higher capture rates that then decrease during the remaining days. The purpose of this study is to test if habituation and novelty are linked to capture success, first by identifying the trend from the previous 5 years and applying changes to methodology. Changes consisted of trap movement and rebaiting of traps. The analysis of the five-year study shows that turtles caught per trap per night of the combined years shows that there is indeed a negative trend of capture success decreasing each day consistently across years. In order to see if this could be changed, two different methodology changes were tested over two weeks with one method being tested each week. Over this two-week time period 21 painted turtles and 8 common snapping turtles were captured. Some results of this study are inconclusive, this is due to the combined factors of raccoon interference with traps which resulted in half the traps being pulled. 8 of the 21 painted turtles were obtained from collapsible minnow traps. Results of this study provide evidence that possible methodology changes could play a key role in increasing capture success rates, as capture success minorly increased with rebating in week two. 

Autumn Straessle is a senior biology student at PFW. She grew up in Indiana and spent much of her young life outdoors. This love of nature and wildlife led her pursing a bachelors in biology at PFW. During this time Autumn has dedicated her time to both her studies and extracurricular actives relating to both research and conservation. While in the PFW program, Autumn has worked with multiple reptile species, mostly including those of snakes and turtles. At the current Date Autumn plans to graduate and continue on to pursue a master's in biology with PFW.

“The Effects of Corruption on the Economy of Vietnam” 
Majors: Political Science and Economics 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Heather L.R Tierney (Economics and Finance) 

The effects of corruption on the economy of Vietnam at the provincial level are analyzed in this study. Between 2002 and 2021, the developing country’s GDP per capita increased 3.6 times, reaching almost US$3,700. However, it ranks 87th out of 180 countries in the Transparency International's 2021 Corruption Perception Index. The international literature provides ample evidence that corruption has a negative impact on the growth of the economy. Nevertheless, there has been only a limited number of studies done on the same topic for Vietnam.

A panel dataset for all 63 Vietnamese provinces and cities was built using data from the national General Statistics Office of Vietnam and the provincial competitiveness index (PCI). Nevertheless, since the country has only publicized economic data relatively recently, getting accurate and consistent data was a problem and the dataset could only include 2016, 2018, 2019, and 2020. The dependent variable is Monthly Income per Capita and control variables are Population, Area, Retail of goods and services, Non-farm individual Businesses, Index of Industrial Production, Fixed asset and long-term investment by Province. Measures of Corruption are answers from the PCI’s surveys based on Transparency, Unofficial Charges, and Legal Institutions criteria. Running GLS regressions on the panel dataset show that there are random effects for the 8 different models. However, they also show the necessity of complete data to test for unit roots within the variables. 

Viet Tran is an honors student graduating from Purdue Fort Wayne in May ’23 with degrees in Political Science (B.A.) and Economics (B.A.). He is the Vice President of Finance in Student Government Association, and the co-captain of PFW’s national semifinalist team in the College Fed Challenge Competition. He has worked as a student researcher on the economic impact study of the Poka-Bache hiking trails with the Economics Department and presented twice at the MBAA Conference in 2022 and 2023. Additionally, he has completed an internship with the City of Fort Wayne’s Economic Development Department and ran a deliberative forum on the Global Rise of Authoritarianism under the guidance of the Political Science Department. An international student from Vietnam and an aspiring policymaker, he will attend Johns Hopkins University – School of Advanced International Studies for the Master of Arts in International Economics and Finance in July 2023.

Fall 2022 Honors Showcase Participants 

"Mental Illness Attitudes Among Africans" 
Major: Psychology 
Minor: French 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Carol Lawton (Psychology) 

In this study, I will be exploring the mental illness attitudes in African communities in Fort Wayne, IN, USA. Much of the existing literature on mental health perceptions amongst immigrants focuses on Asian or Hispanic population groups. However, not much study has been conducted to examine the mental illness attitudes of African Immigrants. This new study will provide an insight into the attitudes of African immigrants towards mental illnesses and pave a way for future mental health strategies in this community. Mental Illness Attitudes (MIA) is defined as the general attitudes and knowledge participants have towards mental illness and people with symptoms of mental illness. In addition, MIA is defined as the participants’ perceived causes of mental illness and how receptive they are of people who have been diagnosed with mental illness. My hypothesis is younger Africans born in USA or born in Africa but have spent most of their years living in USA (came to US before the age of 8) will have less stigmatized attitudes about mental illnesses compared to immigrants born and raised in Africa. Research will be conducted through online questionnaires given to 40 younger Africans born in USA or born in Africa but have spent most of their years living in USA (came to US before the age of 8) and 40 immigrants born and raised in Africa. Participants will be recruited from local churches and organizations in Fort Wayne. Using social media platforms such as WhatsApp groups and emails, I will send questionnaires containing demographic information like age, gender, birthplace, when they arrived in USA, language, and education to each participant. Furthermore, the Mental Health Knowledge Schedule (MAKS), the Community Attitudes Towards Mental Illness (CAMI), the Reported and Intended Behavior Scales (RIBS) will be used to assess participants’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors towards mental illness. After data has been collected, I will compare responses from the two groups stated in the hypothesis. I expect younger Africans born here/ born in Africa but have spent most of their years in USA (came to US before the age of 8) to have less stigmatized attitudes about mental illnesses compared to immigrants born and raised in Africa.

Mimi Aretha Ahiakwo, a senior, is a Psychology major originally from Ghana, West Africa. She joined the Purdue University Fort Wayne campus and has been intrigued by the application of psychology research to African and children populations. Currently, she works as a research assistant in Dr. Brenda Lundy’s lab. Her love for research, especially in child developmental studies, led to her presentation at the 2022 Student Research Symposium on the topic, “Adoptive and Biological Parents Mind-Mindedness Toward Preschool Children” for which she and her co-author won the 2nd place award and the Sigma Xi Award for the Best Team Presentation. Mimi plans to take a gap year after graduation to focus on more research opportunities. 

“Large Sample Asymptotics for Correlated Random Variables”
Majors: Mathematics and Data Science and Applied Statistics 
Minors: Computer Science and Actuarial Science 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alessandro Selvitella (Mathematics)

Data Science is an interdisciplinary field at the intersection of applied mathematics, statistics, computer science, and engineering whose goal is to extract meaningful information from data. Data Science methods emerged as prominent in the study of very large and complex data sets often referred to as Big Data. Asymptotic theorems, such as the Central Limit Theorem, provide theoretical guarantees for the statistical analysis of data with large independent (or almost independent) samples. Data collected in many fields, especially those from the biomedical sciences, do not satisfy traditional assumptions of asymptotic theorems. A common paradigm is that of Supervised Learning whose goal is to produce accurate predictive models for labelled data. To measure the accuracy of such models, researchers use cross-validation which is a model evaluation method which assumes that the sample available is representative of the population under study, Cross-validation trains multiple models on exhaustive and mutually exclusive subsets and test them on the complementary set of each of those subsets. The accuracies of those models are then averaged to produce a final estimate. It is hard to produce asymptotic theorems for cross-validation accuracy, because the basic assumptions of the Central Limit Theorem do not apply. This honors’ project aims at the development of asymptotic theorems for cross-validation accuracy in the case of complex, dependent data. During this presentation, we hint at important examples from the biological sciences.

Derek Brown is senior at Purdue University Fort Wayne graduating in Fall 2022. He will be graduating with a degree in Mathematics and a degree in Data Science and Applied Statistics. Derek will also be graduating with a Minor in Computer Science and Actuarial Science along with a Certificate of Undergraduate Research. He is the current president of the Data Hub Club 1 and he served as the vice president during the 2021-2022 school year. Derek has worked as a teaching assistant or lab instructor for six different computer science and statistics courses, and he has enjoyed his time working as a tutor for the math and science tutoring center. Derek is planning on pursuing his PhD in statistics with a focus on probability theory. His dream career is to continue doing research and teaching as a professor. 

“Movement Based Therapy to Stimulate Language Recovery in Post Stroke Aphasia” 
Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders 
Minors: Spanish, Linguistics 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Christopher Grindrod (Communication Sciences and Disorders)

Aphasia is an acquired language disorder that affects an individual’s ability to communicate in terms of language production and comprehension. The use of Motion Based Therapy (MBT) in aphasia has been talked about for years, but very little work has been published on the topic. In an attempt to weigh the benefits and impact of MBT in aphasia, I conducted a literature review on this topic. My hypothesis is that MBT will show significant improvement compared to conventional Speech-Language Therapy in patients with aphasia. After looking at the connection between the language and motor systems, I found that although there is little research on this topic, there is significant evidence supporting its benefits and effectiveness. The idea behind MBT is that the motor and language systems are intertwined and could provide a mutual benefit when targeted simultaneously via one treatment. Significant evidence shows that when language therapy is combined with movements, such as having a patient mimic a therapist as they point, patients with aphasia are able to better understand and retain the language skills being targeted.

Skyler Garcia graduated from Westview Jr/Sr High School in May 2020 with an Academic Honors diploma and a 4.0+ GPA. She will be graduating from Purdue University Fort Wayne in December 2022. She is currently majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders with minors in Spanish and Linguistics, as well as an Honors Certificate. In August 2022, Skyler studied abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico where she took a course in Spanish after receiving an International Studies Scholarship from the Purdue University Fort Wayne Honors Program. After graduation, Skyler plans to pursue a Master’s degree to become a Speech-Language Pathologist. 

“The Impact of Mnemonics and EOL Judgments on Recall of Psychology Terms”  
Major: Psychology  
Minor: Human Services  
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Bendele (Psychology) 

Mnemonics are a widely known tool and seem to be effective in learning a variety of information including foreign-language words, definitions, and medical terminology (Dunlosky et al., 2013). However, some researchers (Dunlosky et al., 2013) review situations in which mnemonics appear to be ineffective or not practical (e.g., coming up with a mnemonic is difficult, amount of time to study the mnemonic takes up a lot of class time). The current study will encourage the learning of fourteen commonly known psychological terms and their definitions. In order to do this, participants will be assigned to one of the following learning conditions: (1) definition (rote rehearsal of information), (2) verbal keyword (study the definition with a keyword used in a sentence), and (3) imagery/keyword (participants are to image the keyword used in a sentence). Prior to participating in the learning phase, participants are asked provide Ease of Learning judgments for each item. The purpose of this study is to see: (1) if type of learning influences performance on a test of the learned material; (2) if Ease of Learning judgments predict later use of various mnemonic techniques, and (3) if there is an interaction between these two variables. Successful use of a mnemonic might depend on the type of mnemonic being used and the level of difficult of the item.

Rachel Ringler is an honors student graduating from Purdue Fort Wayne in December 2022 with a degree in psychology (BA) with a minor in human services. She has served as a Teaching Assistant for Elementary Psychology (PSY12000) and Freshman Success (IDIS11000). Also, she was a Research Assistant in Dr. Perkins’ psychology lab during her final semester. In her spare time on campus, she enjoys volunteering for the Student Activities Board. Throughout her time at PFW, she has been a student worker for the University Well-being and Recreation (WellRec) department and for New Student Programs as a Student Success Coach. She has been a supervisor for the Fitness Center and FRIENDS of the University Pantry since 2020. In addition to these responsibilities, she has taken on the role of intern for the WellRec department. In these on campus employment opportunities, she has found her true passion, being a leader. Rachel will be pursuing her Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership in the spring of 2023. During graduate school, Rachel will serve as a Graduate Intern for the WellRec Department. 

“Design Optimization of Heat Sinks in Central Processing Units (CPUs) by Numerical Simulation”  
Major: Mechanical Engineering 
Minor: Mathematics 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Zhuming Bi (Mechanical Engineering) 

Heats sinks are frequently used to increase the rate of heat loss in various devices and machines. A field where heat sinks are the most common are computer components. This investigation models two different heat sink designs with different fin shapes utilized for cooling a desktop CPU in a 3-D transient heat transfer analysis using the FEA method, a linear discrete mathematical model in the time domain. The heat sinks were constructed in SolidWorks while ensuring their overall mass and material remained constant. The thermal loads, boundary and initial conditions were applied to each design using the Simulation feature in SoildWorks. It was ensured that both heat sinks were analyzed under the same environmental condition of constant heat flux and natural convection on exposed surfaces. Following this, a 3-D transient thermal analysis was conducted over a period of 1000 seconds with a 10 second time interval. The CPU temperature at the base of the heat sinks were compared between the models as well as the amount of time taken to reach steady-state conditions. The results highlighted key differences in effectiveness of the different heat sink designs with one specific design reaching steady-state conditions much quicker than the other designs. Next, the model was verified by comparing to another computational model utilizing the finite element method created using Ansys, a multi-physics engineering simulation software package for product design. The results from the two models matched closely with a few discrepancies caused by how each software package meshes geometries. The difference in steady state CPU temperature between the two models was only approximately 0.294 %. To ensure that the obtained results were representative of real-world occurrences, a prototype of one of the heat sinks was constructed and validation tests were conducted. These tests showcased that the results obtained through numerical simulation was indeed valid. Overall, the investigation was conducted successfully. The different heat sink designs were compared, and their performance evaluated accurately. The mathematical and computational model was also verified using Ansys and a prototype was eventually used to conduct validation tests; consequently, proving that the results obtained were accurate and reliable.

Akshay Sathiyamoorthy is a Senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Mathematics. He is a certified Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Associate of Mechanical Design as well as Associate of Simulation. In school, he works as an Exam Proctor and Testing Assistant at Purdue Fort Wayne’s Testing Services. Furthermore, he is also currently involved in the redesign of a rotary test stand at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions. Akshay has been admitted to the Graduate School at Purdue University West Lafayette where he will be pursing Aeronautics and Astronautics, starting in January 2023. He aims to pursue a PhD in the same discipline as well. 

“Patterns in Forest Structure in a Second-Growth Hardwood Forest”   
Major: Biology 
Concentration: Ecology and Evolution 
Associate: Chemistry (Chemical Methods)  
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jordan Marshall (Biology) 

This study examined the relationships between dominant understory species and overall forest structure in a northeast Indiana second-growth hardwood forest. A forest survey consisting of 50 tenth hectare plots was conducted at the PFW Plex Forest in summer 2022 to obtain tree and shrub species identification, species counts, and canopy cover. Soil type data was obtained using the U.S.D.A Web Soil Survey. Linear regression, non-metric multi-dimensional scaling, and a maximum entropy species distribution model were used to identify how dominant understory species are related to species diversity and ecological parameters. Our results suggest that the survey area is a maple-basswood forest type, and that sugar maple (Acer saccharum), Eastern hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana), green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), black cherry (Prunus serotina), and Northern spicebush (Lindera benzoin) are dominant understory species. The proportion of conspecifics in higher forest layers had a significant correlation to understory abundance for only one species studied, suggesting that the occurrence of these species is not purely influenced by recruitment patterns. The understory distributions of these species were strongly associated with species diversity in higher forest layers.

Sophie Steele will graduate this semester with a degree in Biological Sciences (B.S.), concentrated in ecology and evolutionary biology, and a degree in Chemical Methods (A.S.). In her time at PFW, she has developed an interest in environmental conservation and forest ecology and hopes to continue in these fields following graduation. Her honors project is a summary of research she has done in Dr. Jordan Marshall’s plant ecology lab. Outside of school, she works at a crafts store and enjoys spending time with her pets. 

Spring 2022 Honors Showcase Participants 

“Towards Robustly Scalable RAN slicing Adaptive Algorithms and Machine Learning Models” 

With the rapid growth of new services and Internet applications, traditional cellular networks are now faced with a major challenge of supporting diverse applications to expand the wireless market. Going beyond the one-type-fits-all design philosophy, the future 5G radio access network (RAN) with network slicing methodology is employed to support widely diverse applications over the same physical network. ‘RAN slicing aims to logically split an infrastructure into a set of self-contained programmable RAN slices, where each slice built on top of the underlying physical RAN (substrate) is a separate logical mobile network, which delivers a set of services with similar characteristics. Each RAN slice is constituted by various virtual network functions (VNFs) distributed geographically in numerous substrate nodes. Failures may occasionally arise from substrate nodes due to reasons such as software fault occurrences, servers being powered down for maintenance, or misconfigurations of servers. This leads to malfunction and invalidation of the RAN slices that have VNFs embedded at the failed substrate nodes. To recover RAN slice functions, a RAN configuration scheme for the network is imperative to relieve VNFs from substrate node failures (remapping/re-embedding VNFs onto live substrate nodes). In this proposed research, the PI will explore a novel scheme of optimization models, adaptive algorithms, and machine learning models to enhance the robustness and scalability of RAN slicing by addressing the RAN configuration issue for slice recovery in a unified framework, referred to as RS-configuration. Specifically, the PI will perform the following research tasks: i) establishing the theoretical foundation for using RS-configuration to construct a VNF plan for RAN slice-recovery and configuration optimization; ii) developing highly scalable and adaptive algorithms, and machine learning models to enable autonomous slice recovery and self-configuration, and finally iii) applying our theoretical and algorithmic development to investigate the robustness and scalability of the RS-configuration paradigm for large-scale complex RAN. These research tasks will be carried out in a spiral fashion where practical issues and applications will further inform the development of theory and algorithms. Hence, this research on a new scheme and algorithms for RAN slicing will provide a computational basis towards building robustly scalable RAN slicing and contribute to the development of new networking technologies.

Kashyab Ambarani Is an undergraduate student at Purdue University Fort Wayne pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science (concentration in software engineering) and Mathematics, a research certificate in mathematics, and a minor in actuarial science. He has researched under Dr. Peter Dragnev, Dr. Tu Nguyen, Dr. Beomjin Kim, Dr. Bin Chen, and Dr. Yihao Deng since sophomore year to investigate problems within 5G network optimization, quantum entanglement routing, COVID-19 vaccine optimization, and CT-scan reduction using deep learning. This project presents some preliminary results obtained from the research conducted on building fault tolerant virtual radio access networks to bring positive impacts to researchers, internet users, service providers, and society at large. 

“The Psychology and Methods behind Memorizing Music for Performance” 
Major: Music Performance, Piano 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Hamilton Tescarollo 

Memorizing music is a multi-faceted process that involves encoding visual, auditory, spatial, sensory, and analytical information in the brain. Performing music from memory involves recalling all this information seamlessly. With the added stress of performance anxiety, this process can be challenging. Yet memorizing is a normal, even fundamental part of every musician’s career, especially for the pianist. This project will explore the methods and psychology behind music memorization in depth. How does the brain memorize music? What practice techniques lead to the most effective memory? Why does memory ultimately fail or succeed in a performance? Although many factors determine memory security, research suggests that intentionally reinforcing all aspects of the music– its visual, aural, and kinesthetic components– may be one of the most crucial.

Olivia Bressler is graduating this semester with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. She has been taking piano lessons for over 16 years and has been fortunate to study with Dr. Hamilton Tescarollo for the past four. In 2019 and 2021, she worked at the Purdue Fort Wayne Gene Marcus Piano Camp as a Practice Coach and performed solo recitals in the Festival. She was one of the winners of the 2021 Purdue Fort Wayne Concerto and Aria Competition, performing second piano in Poulenc’s “Concerto for Two Pianos” with her colleague. She has also performed in masterclasses with artists such Lise de La Salle, Liu Liu, Kevin Ayesh, and Qing Jiang, and has been a frequent competitor in IMTA’s Hoosier Auditions. She enjoys helping students learn and has worked as a music tutor at the University for the past few years. Olivia also plays violin and enjoys being a part of the Purdue Fort Wayne University and Community Orchestra. She hopes to teach privately after graduation. 

“Consolidating South African Democracy”  

Democratic regimes around the world have struggled to stabilize and deepen democracy internally. Using South Africa as a case study, this honors project focuses on the contemporary state of South African democracy in an attempt to outline its progress to date. The question motivating this study is how well South Africa’s democracy has consolidated attitudinally, behaviorally, and constitutionally from the early 2000s until now. As such, this research study adopts the framework of democratic consolidation set forth by Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan wherein consolidation is defined as the extent to which democracy is considered “the only game in town”. Attitudinally, South Africa appears to be struggling at consolidation as evidenced by a growing support for non-democratic alternatives. At the same time, South Africa succeeds in deepening democracy constitutionally through independent oversight bodies like the Constitutional Court that uphold the rule of law. Behaviorally, an increase in violent protest reflects poorly on the country’s democratic prospects. This analysis highlights poverty and corruption as the two major obstacles to consolidation in the case of South Africa.

Panashe Chakabva graduated in Spring 2022 with a B.A. in political science and a B.S. in organizational leadership with a concentration in legal studies. She was a research assistant for a professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership and worked as a teaching assistant in the Department of Political Science. Panashe was an active member of Model United Nations, MedLife of PFW, and College Democrats. In addition to being a Chapman Scholar, she was awarded the Van Coufoudakis Scholarship and an Honors Program scholarship during her time at Purdue Fort Wayne. Her academic success and community engagement led Panashe to be named among Purdue Fort Wayne’s Top 50 students in 2021. Panashe’s passion for helping immigrant communities led her, along with her project partner, to plan and host a health resource fair for immigrants who had recently relocated to the Fort Wayne area. The event was an effort to promote and increase awareness of health services and organizations available in the community. Panashe credits her academic and personal success to the support and encouragement she has received from her family, friends, and faculty. At the time of graduation, Panashe was looking forward to continuing her studies while living and working in Fort Wayne.

Cummins corporation has been a stalwart in the heavy machinery and equipment industry. For over a century Cummins has continued to drastically innovate the sources of power that we use every day not just in our vehicles, but in the equipment that helps make the world work. Through the modernization and continuous improvement of the diesel engine, Cummins has allowed its customers access to a powerful, reliable and dependable power source that gets the job done, safely and on time. As time has gone on, so have the needs of the planet and those who live on it. Cummins has worked relentlessly to improve and innovate not only their products but their company and operations as a whole. PLANET 2050 is an initiative that Cummins enacted by which they plan to have nearly zero local environmental footprint within the communities that they operate and serve. They plan to continue their history of transformative innovation by creating a line of carbon neutral products, that protect air quality. For over one hundred years Cummins has been able to innovate and recreate the landscape of the industry they work in, nearly eliminating any true direct competitors. This innovation mixed with bold endeavors has led to Cummins being truly one of a kind in the face of an oversaturated industry. As the needs of the world changes and adapts to fit the current perils we face, Cummins is at the ready to power the future we are all trying to achieve.

Sam Emley was born in April of 2000, here in Fort Wayne Indiana. He was raised by Joel and Kari Emley, Kari raised Sam and as a former teacher she elected to teach Sam and his brother, Luke herself. Joel worked as a division controller at Eaton Corporation in Van Wert, Ohio. Both parents played integral roles in Sam’s growth through his childhood years, particularly in the area of business, where Sam took a keen interest in the career of his father, Joel. With that interest, Sam decided at a very young age to pursue business like his father with a specific interest in the area of Finance. He was a driven student through high school, earning a high GPA and took that determination into college at Purdue Fort Wayne. Sam quickly took to the Honor’s Program as a way of further improving his academic experience and fell in love with the field of Psychology as he began taking his General Education courses. This new found love for Psychology manifested itself into a minor in the field. Sam is currently pursuing his dream job with the Walt Disney Company where he plans to begin work as a Financial Analyst for the Disney parks. Sam continued this chase for his dream, spending the past semester in Florida, with his girlfriend Ryleigh Weidenhamer, who is a doctoral student of Occupational Therapy at Huntington University. Sam is graduating in the Spring and hopes to be able to use his accumulated knowledge in both the Business field and the Psychological field to help those in the mental health community in tandem with his career with Disney. 

“Immunity Against SARS-CoV-2: Protection of Fetus and Newborn”  

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many problems for the nation as a whole. The focus of this study is to analyze the impact pregnant women contracting COVID-19 has on the safety of the fetus growing in the placenta and the protection that may be provided to them post-delivery. There is an increased risk of pregnant women becoming ill due to a weakened immune system during pregnancy. The risk of preterm delivery for women rises if they are hospitalized with COVID-19. Recent studies are addressed to look at IgG and IgM antibody levels that are spread from mother to child when infected with SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy. Very few studies have shown vertical transmission of infection from mother to fetus even though placental infection with SARS-CoV-2 has been identified. The level of protection the mother provides the fetus during pregnancy varies depending on when infection occurs. This also appears to carry over into the length of time anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies are present after delivery for both mother and newborn.

Alise Hale is an honors student graduating this May with a B.A. in Biology (conc. Microbiology and Immunology). She has also been a member of the Purdue Fort Wayne Softball team during her time at Purdue Fort Wayne University, recently receiving the Player of the Week Award through the Horizon League. She is a member and leader of the AMSA Pre-Medical Club and has been volunteering at Matthew 25 Health Clinic for two years. Alise has been the softball team’s representative for the Student Athlete Leadership Team (SALT) since her sophomore year. She has been numerous prestigious academic awards including 2019 and 2021 Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete as well as being on the Academic Honor Roll throughout her four years. Alise plans to attend medical school to become a physician after obtaining a master’s degree in Public Health. 

“Antibiotic Properties Identified from a Soil-Derived Bacteria”  
Major: Biology
Minor: Psychology 
Associate: Chemical Methods

Antibiotic resistance is an advancing medical threat as increased usage results in decreased efficiency over time. Individual research projects of soil sampling and testing for antibiotic properties create a database of bacteria from diverse locations. Small World Initiative™ seeks to utilize an international program for crowdsourcing by creating a database of these individual experiments to seek new antibiotics. By diluting the sample, colonies can be collected on a masterplate. Testing against ESKAPE pathogens to see if inhibition of growth shows antibiotic properties. Proof plates done using wagon wheel methods allow these to be more directly tested for antibiotic properties. Colony PCR is done to amplify the DNA and test for purification by Nanodrop. PCR allows DNA sequencing to be looked up in BLAST and RD databases. Biochemical and organic extraction is done to distinguish between species within the genus identified by DNA sequencing. Once identification is done, additional information may be looked up to fully understand the capabilities of the bacteria.

Sierra Mullins is graduating with a Bachelor's in Biology and an Associates of Chemical Methods with a minor in Psychology and Honor's certificate. She has an Associate's in General Studies from Vincennes University and served as Vice President of Legislation in Student Government Association in Spring 2022. She served as Public Relations Committee Chair, Curriculum Committee, and as a senator in the 2021 academic year. Sierra has worked as a substitute teacher, waiter, fast food manager, and retail salesperson. She has played in the Fort Wayne Community Orchestra, intramural soccer, and intramural volleyball. She also volunteers for hospice. Sierra aspires to become a pediatric physician and hopes to go to IUPUI's Pre-Professional Program: Anatomy, Cell Biology, and Physiology. She is interested in participating in more research in the future. 

“Impact of genetic variation on obesity in an AKHR loss-of-function model”

The ways the body manages nutritional content has been a topic of global interest for centuries, particularly when these are disrupted in metabolic disease, such as obesity. There is a large genetic component to the onset, severity, and progression of these diseases, but the identities and functions of those genes remains largely unknown. Drosophila melanogaster, commonly known as the fruit fly, provides a simpler model to help us better understand the synergistic contributions that genetic differences have on obesity in humans. We have employed the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP), a compilation of over 200 inbred Drosophila strains, as a tool to observe how genetic variation can impact complex phenotypes such as obesity and metabolic disease. We are using AKHR loss-of function as a model of obesity. AKHR is the Drosophila version of a human receptor that binds to the hormone glucagon, which activates the breakdown of stored nutrients under fasting conditions. In its absence, fat is not broken down and the flies therefore become obese. We are reducing AKHR expression in the fat to induce obesity. In this experiment, Drosophila larvae are generated by crossing the DGRP to our AKHR loss-of-function model. We monitor larval fat content using a previously developed density assay as a proxy for obesity. After determining the concentration at which 50% of the larvae float for the different DGRP strains, we assessed our data through a preliminary genome-wide association analysis and identified several modifier genes to be further studied.

Sophia Petrov is an honors pre-medical student graduating with a (B.S.) in biology with a concentration in microbiology and immunology, (A.S.) in chemical methods, and a minor in psychology. Sophia has earned the Purdue Fort Wayne Top 50 Award for two consecutive years for her academic achievements and outstanding contributions to her community. She is the President of TriBeta Biological Honor Society, member of Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology, and member of The National Society of Leadership and Success. Sophia has also worked in Dr. Rebecca Palu’s genetics research lab as an undergraduate research assistant during her junior and senior years at PFW and is an oncology patient care technician outside of school. Sophia’s interest and passion for oncology will lead her to pursue a medical degree after graduation. 

“Bioactive Effects of Marine Life Invertebrates: Focusing on Echinoderms” 
Major: Biology
Associate: Chemical Methods
Concentration: Microbiology and Immunology
Minor: French and Psychology
Certificate: Biology Research Certificate 

Bioactive compounds are defined as modifiers of metabolic processes which in turn encourages healthiness though interacting at the cellular level. These chemicals go by many different names, but can all be categorized as active metabolites capable of a plethora of pharmacological and nutraceutical effects. There are multiple sources of bioactive compounds where they can be secreted such as from plants, animals, and even bacteria as an antibiotic. Most functional foods only contain bioactive compounds in small amounts. Yet, extraordinarily animal echinoderms are a special interest for studies because they naturally contain very high amounts of these bioactive compounds: especially found in their blood called coelomic fluid. The Echinodermata phylum represents a specific group that houses several marine invertebrates. In Latin, “echinos” meaning “spiny” and “dermos” meaning “skin”. Primary creatures of this review’s discussion include sea cucumbers (class Holothuroidea), sea stars (class Asteroidea), and sea urchins (class Echinoidea). Sea cucumbers, sea stars, and sea urchins are all ecologically valuable creatures that are very important in regulating the cleanliness of our seas though nutrient cycling and/or the overgrowth of algae, kelp, or rocky minerals dependent on the organism. Overall, with their amazing biodiversity, these sea creatures are able to accomplish numerous vital marine and even terrestrial functions. In this framework, the present study is aimed at investigating the therapeutic, beneficial, and/or preventive activities of bioactive compounds found within these three echinoderms. Their bioactive compounds are found to have major antimicrobial, anti-neurodegenerative, anti-viral, anti-cancer, antioxidant, anti-stress, anti-inflammatory, and wound healing effects. Overall, these findings are significant to justify how seriously bioactive compounds should be incorporated into contemporary and holistic/functional medicine, thus perhaps solving many minor and life-threating diseases much more efficiently. Possible future uses though biotechnology and/or possible synergistic effects can further showcase and ameliorate the importance of these bioactive compounds. Keywords: Bioactive compounds, Nutraceuticals, Echinoderms, Sea Cucumbers, Sea Stars, Sea Urchins.

Soufanieh Pierre is a pre-medical student graduating in May 2022 with honors from Purdue University Fort Wayne. Her bachelor’s degree specification is currently in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Microbiology and Immunology. She will also be receiving an associate degree in chemical methods. Furthermore, she is minoring in French as well as in Psychology. With the academic advising of Dr. Tanya Soule, she was able to progress through her undergraduate better informed and prepared. Soufanieh is also passionate about language, playing piano, and the arts. Where she is implementing some of those creative skills during remote volunteering with Elara Caring Hospice center, and soon to be with Parkview Hospice center. Particularly, she received the Excellence in Foreign Language Award in French, after being selected by Dr. Nancy Virtue of the French program. She is a member of the Tri-Beta National Biological Honor Society and a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, where she has also earned a certificate for that. Furthermore, another credential that she will receive after graduation is the Biology Research Certificate. Soufanieh’s research supervisor is Dr. Ahmed Mustafa, who she started working with beginning senior year about projects regarding echinoderm sea creatures. Under which, she has continuously aided her several graduate teammates during their rigorous acute and chronic sampling sessions. Recently she has been graciously awarded the NASA Diversity Stem grant, nominated by Dr. Mustafa, where she will be co-presenting about the “Production of Quality Biomass using Nutraceuticals in Aquaponics” and relating it to space. She is currently applying to medical school and hopes to attend Indiana University School of Medicine, after completing a one-year Purdue University Fort Wayne biology master’s degree. Regarding professional plans, she hopes to focus on neuro-related issues. And of course, Soufanieh greatly thanks her mother for being her number one support and catalyst for success! 

“Barriers to Recruitment of Racial Minorities into STEM”  
Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders
Minors: Linguistics and Psychology
Certificates: Gerontology and Applied Behavior Analysis
Faculty Mentor: Naomi Gurevich 

Diverse populations are underserved by healthcare and underrepresented in STEM professions overall, specifically in communication sciences and disorders (CSD). The lack of recruitment and retention of racial minorities into CSD has resulted in an imbalance of representation. In the U.S. racial minorities constitute over 30% of the U.S. population, while minorities who are members and affiliates of the American-Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) represent only 8.3% of the over 200,000 members. The aim of the current study is to identify and compare possible patterns related to recruiting minority students into healthcare fields/CSD with students already in CSD. This study looks specifically at CSD undergraduate students at Purdue University Fort Wayne and Ball State University and is a continuation of research conducted by a former student. This research will help inform future practices in promoting STEM and healthcare professions to diverse populations in the U.S., which can lead to an enhanced representation in the field to better serve the diverse populations in the country.

Kayla Reidenbach is a senior graduating with a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders with minors in Linguistics and Psychology and certificates in Gerontology and Applied Behavior Analysis. She is the president of the American Sign Language Club at Purdue Fort Wayne and is active in the NSSLHA chapter on campus. Outside of school, she holds a part-time job at a local coffee shop as a barista. After graduation, Kayla will be pursuing her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology where she hopes to work within adult and minority populations. 

“A Border Apart: Media Portrayal of Mexican Immigration in the United States”  
Major: Communication with a Concentration in Journalism 
Minor: Spanish and Religious Studies 
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Heloisa Sturm Wilkerson 

The border is a hot topic in the news, and it is an issue that has been highly politicized. Documented or undocumented, those who cross the border go through a convoluted process to reach the United States. The media has a powerful role in society, especially when covering individuals who come to the U.S. daily to start a new life. This project analyzes how the media portrays immigrants arriving to the United States from Mexico. The study uses a quantitative content analysis of news stories published and broadcast between 2016 and 2021 from the New York Times, the Associated Press, CNN and FOX to examine how specific sources, frames, and tone of coverage help shape the narrative on immigration and the border crisis. News coverage has the power to tell the truth, and the power to distort it. The goal of this study is to, first, address a trend in the way news impacts narratives of immigration from Mexico to the U.S., and second, propose ways the media can improve narratives surrounding Mexican immigrants.

Lydia Reuille is a PFW senior majoring in Communication with a Concentration in Journalism, and minoring in Spanish and Religious Studies. As a freshman, she was inducted into the National Society of Leadership & Success and Phi Eta Sigma, and has consistently been on the dean’s list. Freshman year is also when she started freelancing with the Journal Gazette. Their leadership helped strengthen her journalistic writing skills, and after two years of freelancing, she interned with the newspaper her junior year. Lydia also worked at Costco for three years and left in the summer of 2021 to pursue a career with WANE 15, starting just before her senior year. She spends her weekends at the station, while weekdays are dedicated to the campus newsroom as the editor of PFW’s digital media outlet, the Summit City Observer. Lydia is coming up on her first wedding anniversary with her husband, Zach, a northeast Indiana native who has helped her feel at home in the Fort by making sure she knows all the best local (mostly food-related) places to explore. Besides local adventures, Lydia also loves to travel, learning about cultural traditions and listening to new perspectives. After graduation in May, Lydia is honored to continue reporting in the community she loves as a digital producer at WANE 15. 

“The Effects of Nutrition on Human Fertility” 

Infertility is problem that is faced by many people today. With factors such as increasing obesity rates, a higher average age at childbearing, and environmental toxins, people are at a higher risk of facing fertility problems than in the past. There are various assisted reproductive technologies such as in-vitro fertilization that serve as treatment options for people who face fertility problems; however, these treatments can be very expensive and are not often covered by insurance or easily accessed by lower income populations. Nutrition and various nutritional elements have been proven to have a significant impact on many different health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or stroke. It is possible that nutrition also has a significant effect on reproductive health. Since nutrition is something that can be altered by the individual, it could be an easy and inexpensive treatment option for infertility. The aim of this study is to determine whether nutrition has an impact on fertility. A literature review was performed on existing data surrounding the topic of various nutritional elements in relation to fertility rates in both males and females. Several observational studies were done on men and women who presented for in-vitro fertilization. A food frequency questionnaire was completed and the success of the fertility treatment was measured. The results were analyzed to determine if any of the individual food groups on the questionnaire had a significant correlation with fertility outcomes. Based on the data, nutrition does have an impact on fertility. High processed sugar, red meat, dairy products and excessive alcohol consumption were found to have a negative impact on fertility. Whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats such as chicken and fish were found to have a positive impact on fertility.

Taylor Schoenefeld is a pre-medical student graduating from Purdue Fort Wayne in the spring of 2022. She will be graduating with a bachelor's degree in Biology with a concentration in Microbiology and Immunology and a minor in Psychology. Taylor has volunteered at A Hope Center, a local pregnancy resource center, for the past 4 years. She is employed at Lutheran Hospital as a scribe and is also head lifeguard at the Summit Natatorium. She is a student leader for Campus Ministry, a member of the MEDLIFE club, biology club, and AMSA pre-medical club, and is also a member of the Tri Beta Biological Honors Society and the Phi Eta Sigma National Honors society. She served as vice president of her sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha for one year. Taylor has worked in Dr. Ahmed Mustafa's lab assisting in research for the past two years. She hopes to attend Indiana University School of Medicine after graduation. 

Fall 2021 Honors Showcase Participants

“The effects of variable biofertilizer concentrations on soybean and microbial growth”  

The effects of various concentrations of Biodyne USA, LLC's biofertilizer product, Environoc 401, on soybean and microbial growth were analyzed in this study. Biofertilizers contain a variety of live microorganisms, each of which uniquely benefit crops by simply completing their normal, daily tasks. As such, biofertilizers have been found to increase crop yields, help plants fight drought stress, improve crop thermotolerance, aid in bioremediation efforts, and protect against pathogens. Currently, Biodyne recommends that their customers use a 1:1 ratio of Environoc 401 to water in their field treatments. The purpose of this experiment was to determine which dilution—1:1.0, 1:1.2, 1:1.3, or 1:1.4—of Environoc 401 to water leads to the best plant growth, as indicated by biomass. Total aerobic counts (TACs), or bacterial counts, were obtained at four sampling points approximately 10 days apart: post-inoculation on planting day, when the radical emerged, when the first triplicate (3 leaf structure) appeared (V1), and when the 3rd triplicate appeared (V3) to look at culture viability over time to see if there is a correlation between TACs and plant health. Root, shoot, and leaf dry weights were obtained upon termination of the experiment. Throughout the study, all treatment groups followed the same general trend for average soil TACs and the 1:1.4 treatment yielded the greatest stem and total dry weights. A statistically significant relationship between soil TACs and plant health cannot be drawn based on the results.

Madelyn Buhr is an honors pre-medical student graduating from Purdue Fort Wayne in December ‘21 with degrees in biology (conc. in microbiology and immunology) (B.S) and chemical methods (A.S.) with a minor in psychology. She is co-founder of MEDLIFE of PFW, an international organization that promotes access to Medicine, Education, and Development for Low Income Families Everywhere, a student worker at the Honors Center, member and leader of Tri Beta Biological Honors Society, member of Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology, member and leader of the AMSA Pre-Medical Club, and a pharmacy technician. Madelyn has also worked in Dr. Tanya Soule’s microbiology lab during her junior and senior years at PFW and is nearing the end of the medical school application process. She plans to attend the Indiana University School of Medicine in the fall of ’22 if accepted. 

“An Analysis of Gender Pay Gap in Purdue University Campuses”  

This honors project attempts to analyze the gender pay gap in Purdue University campuses. My hypothesis is that female compensation is lower than male compensation. The data is obtained from Indiana Gateway website where the employee compensation reports for Purdue University are public data. The data is divided by three Purdue University campuses: Fort Wayne, Northwest, and West Lafayette. The total number of observations in the raw data were 33,820 for all Purdue campuses. From the 33,820 observations, 3,467 observations were filtered out by job title. After running two different regressions, one controlling for variation in departments and one not controlling for them, I find the results support my hypothesis for the West Lafayette and Fort Wayne campuses but not for Northwest campus.

Priya Garg is a senior, majoring in economics with a minor in business studies and a certificate of finance. She was involved in the economics club and was the treasurer for the Indian student association. In school, she has worked in the box office and as a peer mentor. She was also a teacher’s assistant for introduction to macroeconomics and introduction to statistical theory in economics and business. Outside of school, she holds a full-time job in Los Angeles at a family-owned jewelry manufacturing store. Throughout her time at Purdue Fort Wayne, she was inspired and motivated by her professors to pursue honors courses, participate in the research symposium and the federal reserve challenge. After graduating, Priya plans to move back to Los Angeles and work as a financial advisor. of the medical school application process. She plans to attend the Indiana University School of Medicine in the fall of ’22 if accepted. 

“Modern Antisemitism”  

Antisemitism is one of the several terrible strains of bigotry and hatred which have been afflicting the United States and the world for centuries and today threatens many of the founding principles of this democratic society. For too long now, public figures in the United States have been repeating old conspiracy theories or hateful tropes about Jewish peoples or encouraging supporters who have already displayed overt Antisemitism in the public sphere. To find an era in U.S. history which would be comparable to the contemporary levels of Antisemitic violence, an examination of the interwar period leading up to the U.S. entrance into World War II has been conducted, with a focus on powerful public figures of the time who used their prestige to defame Jewish people, even after Hitler and the Nazis began their reign of terror. Additional analysis includes an examination of recent statistical data taken from both the Anti-Defamation League’s annual reports on Antisemitic violence in the U.S. and the 2016 & 2020 American National Election Studies surveys, both of which suggest that the problem of Antisemitism in the U.S. is likely not improving but may be getting worse. This study wishes to help contribute to a clearer picture of the status of Antisemitsm in this country, in order to advocate for more resources and attention to be concentrated on one of the most serious threats to both democracy and civil society today.

Michael Gerardot is a senior who has completed his degree with majors in History and Political Science, a minor in Sociology and certificates in International Studies and Peace & Conflict Studies. This project will complete his Honors certificate and he will be graduating at the end of this fall semester. In addition to academic pursuits, during his most recent time at PFW, Michael has worked as a student mentor for the History Department, served as vice-president of the PFW History Club, attended the American Model UN (AMUN) conference in Chicago with the PFW Model UN club in 2019 and since then joined the AMUN staff for the 2020 and 2021 conferences and also worked in the Military Student Services Office at PFW from 2018 until 2020. But most importantly, Michael is a father to three children: Lucian, Abel and Cleo who are 9, 8, and 5 respectively and who are the motivation for why Michael has returned to school after dropping out in 2007 to leave on his second deployment to Iraq. Michael hopes to graduate magna cum laude.