THE OFFICE OF RESEARCH PRESENTS
Research and Creative Activity at Appalachian
With support from University Libraries, the Office of Student Research, and the Center for Academic Excellence
Research & Creative Activity at Appalachian is an event that celebrates all research, scholarship, and creative endeavors of Appalachian Faculty and Staff. The event consists of virtual sessions held synchronously and asynchronously throughout the week, where faculty and staff present digital posters, oral presentations, art and performances. The week will end with an awards ceremony to present the Chancellor's and Provost's Awards for Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity.
Schedule of Events
Listed below is the full program for the week's presentations. Zoom links are provided for live, virtual presentations. Recordings will be uploaded after the day's events. Digital art, recorded performances and posters are available to view asynchronously, with a suggested viewing schedule listed below.
Monday, September 13, 2021
Dr. Elizabeth Davison, Interdisciplinary Studies; Dr. Kristan Cockerill, Interdisciplinary Studies
In 2017 an untitled, silent 16mm film reel from the 1970s was discovered in storage in Boone, NC. The heavily spliced film, made by local photographer George Flowers, juxtaposes images of idyllic Appalachian landscapes with piles of trash, rusting vehicles, black smoke, dirty water and a pig. When Flowers made the film, he was clearly influenced by the psychedelic culture of the day as well as by views at that time about environmental conditions. The 1970s were a watershed moment in American environmental history. Partly because of images like those that George Flowers captured, the Federal government enacted sweeping environmental laws. Now, 50 years later, what might a Flowers-like film reflect? DocuAppalachia compares scenes from the Flowers film to those same scenes in the 21st century and reflects on what has changed and what has remained the same in the rural southern Appalachian mountains.
Creating A Metric to Identify Rural-Serving Postsecondary Institutions
Dr. Andrew Koricich, Executive Director, Alliance for Research on Regional Colleges
Get Outdoors!: Promoting healthy outdoor play and exercise through the HOPE Lab's interdisciplinary approach
Dr. Brooke Towner, Recreation Management & Physical Education; Dr. Heather Wensil Vernick, Nursing; Dr. Rebecca Battista, Health & Exercise Science; Dr. Robert Broce, Social Work; Dr. Richard Christiana, Health & Exercise Science; Dr. J. Joy James, Recreation Management & Physical Education
Many people in the Appalachian region are at greater risk for chronic illness and have high inactivity rates. Spending time in nature settings and being physically active have positively impacted physical and mental health. Health care providers are now encouraged to ask patients about their physical activity habits and prescribe outdoor physical activity across the country and internationally. By exploring innovative strategies, collaborative teams encourage children and adults to be physically active in public outdoor spaces. The Appalachian State University interdisciplinary Healthy Outdoor Play and Exercise (HOPE) Lab aims to investigate the role of outdoor physical activity, exercise, and play on health, the environment, and human development. A focus of the HOPE Lab is to form sustainable partnerships to get more people active outdoors to improve health and well-being. This presentation will discuss the health benefits of time spent outdoors and the interdisciplinary work of the HOPE Lab to promote outdoor physical activity and present its partnerships and projects within the Appalachian community.
Bridging the Gap: Cultural wealth and college transition
Dr. Ashley Carpenter, Leadership & Educational Studies
Often when assessing the success of minoritized students, deficit models place the weight of low achievement on students’ cultural identities, thus blaming them for their lack of success. However, many minoritized students combat this erasure by using their cultural capital, wealth, and identities to transition and persist through college. Using Yosso’s (2005) Community Cultural Wealth model, this study explored the ways 20 first-generation, low-income, Black and Latinx Upward Bound alumni implemented their cultural wealth to transition and persist through the postsecondary pipeline, and investigated the role of an Upward Bound program preparing them for college. Through artifact/photographic elicited, semi-structured interviews, this study found that these Upward Bound alumni used their cultural wealth, comprised of their (1) Familial Influence and (2) Resistance to transition and persist through college. This study also found that this Upward Bound program prepared them for college, by illustrating the importance of forming (3) Community and the development of their (4) College and Culture Predisposition. These findings significantly contribute to transition and persistence literature, as it furthers research surrounding the complexities of navigating the educational pipeline for first-generation, low-income, Black, and Latinx college students. Additionally, this study adds to the discourse on Upward Bound programs and the necessity of providing students with holistic college knowledge, comprised cultural and academic provision. This study can be used to inform policies, practices, and programs with best practices to support the success of minoritized college students. Students' images and artifacts from the project will be presented at the event.
Making the Grade: Conducting nursing research in the school setting
Dr. Tammy Haley, Nursing; Dr. Dana Brackney, Nursing
Traditional nursing research textbooks and training describe research methods, ethics and applications well. However, these resources provide little information on how to gain access to research settings including community settings such as schools. Early career researchers need information on navigating the complexity of research in academic settings. We provide guidance on this process with two case examples highlighting access to school-based research settings. Both case examples illustrate real-world experience with access to and completion of research in school settings. Specifically these cases demonstrate considering the school/community’s priorities and values, identifying key informants, building relationships with gatekeepers, recognizing resource scarcity and allocation, principles of reciprocity, engaging ethically, and communicating findings. Early career researchers can learn how to engage in school-based research from study of social network theory and application of these strategies drawn from real-world experiences.
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Beemon: Honey Bee Monitoring and Studying with Computing Tools
Dr. Rahman Tashakkori, Computer Science
In recent years beekeepers have faced significant losses to the population of managed honey bees due to various causes. Some research efforts have focused on the analysis of beehive audio and video recordings to better understand the behavior of bees and the health status of the hives. To provide data for such research, it is important to have a means of capturing audio, video, and other sensor data, using a system that is reliable, inexpensive, and causes minimal disruption to the bees’ behavior. Beemon was designed and built in the Visual and Image Processing lab at Appstate for data collection and analyses. This system automatically captures sensor data and sends it to our server for analysis. With the ability to operate continuously in an outdoor apiary environment, it allows for constant, near real-time data collection. The results of several years of real world operation and studies using image processing, signal processing, and machine learning will be presented.
Early Childhood Teachers' Sensitivity to Literacy Learning in Play
Dr. Teressa Sumrall, Family & Child Studies; Dr. Rebecca Payne Jordan, Reading Education and Special Education
Public Health Preparedness
Ms. Jennifer Tyson, Health & Exercise Science
The primary purpose of this opportunity is for people to get trained in public health preparedness skills including mitigation, planning, response, and recovery competencies like case investigation and contact tracing through the experience of scholars at Appalachian State University. We will explore a yearlong opportunity for undergraduate students to be trained with a collaborative team focused on public health preparedness. Through an interactive platform we will explore the use of a Mastermind platform to spark engagement and provide opportunities for undergraduate students in public health to broaden their knowledge around the COVID-19 global pandemic and public health preparedness. We will walk through an interactive website, virtual platforms, and reflect on scholars' experience.
QR code link from poster: https://sites.google.com/appstate.edu/phpfellowship
Taking Care of the Public Purse: The effects of news coverage of spending taxpayer money on citizens' demands for government accountability
Dr. Volha Kananovich, Communication
Paying taxes allows people to directly relate to their governments. By contributing their share, taxpayers become the ultimate sponsors of the government and should be motivated to hold authorities accountable for their (mis)spending decisions. But here is the rub. As research has repeatedly shown, ordinary citizens lack basic knowledge about taxation, which makes it possible for policy makers to obscure the origin of the government funds. For example, they can refer to taxpayers’ money as “government spending.” As a result, citizens may underestimate the leverage they have in claiming greater accountability from those in power. Indeed, this tactic is used by government officials and can subsequently make its way into media discourse. Yet, although previous research has repeatedly suggested that the news coverage of government spending may facilitate taxation’s effect on citizens’ demands for government accountability, these effects have never been put to empirical test. This project contributes to filling this gap. In a series of experiments on nationally representative adult samples of the U.S. population, made possible thanks to a URC grant, this study tested if various ways to describe government expenditures in the news (as either “government funds/ spending,” “public funds/ spending” or “spending taxpayers’ money”) can influence citizens’ demands for government accountability. The findings show that the mere rhetorical changes in describing the funds can increase the perceived ownership of “taxpayers’ money” (but not “public funds”) as opposed to “government funds,” which makes citizens more motivated to hold the government accountable for its spending decisions.
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Internal Funding Recipient Lightning Talks
The following topics are presented as 5-minute lightning talks. Each of these four research projects was supported by an internal grant.
Moderate Malnutrition Exacerbates Plasmodium chabaudi Induced Gut Epithelial Damage and Reduced Mucosal Innate Immunity in Mice - Dr. Michael Opata, Biology
Plasmodium falciparum is a protozoan parasite which causes malarial disease in humans. Infections commonly occur in sub-Saharan Africa, a region with high rates of inadequate nutrient consumption resulting in malnutrition. The complex relationship between malaria and malnutrition and their effects on gut immunity and physiology are poorly understood. Here, we investigated the effect of malaria infection in the guts of moderately malnourished mice. We utilized a well-established low protein diet that is deficient in zinc and iron to induce moderate malnutrition and investigated mucosal tissue phenotype, permeability, and innate immune response in the gut. We observed that the infected moderately malnourished mice had lower parasite burden at the peak of infection, but damaged mucosal epithelial cells and high levels of FITC-Dextran concentration in the blood serum, indicating increased intestinal permeability. The small intestine in the moderately malnourished mice were also shorter after infection with malaria. This was accompanied with lower numbers of CD11b+ macrophages, CD11b+CD11c+ myeloid cells, and CD11c+ dendritic cells in large intestine. Despite the lower number of innate immune cells, macrophages in the moderately malnourished mice were highly activated as determined by MHCII expression and increased IFNγ production in the small intestine. Thus, our data suggest that malaria infection may exacerbate some of the abnormalities in the gut induced by moderate malnutrition.
This research was funded by a University Research Council (URC) grant.
Modeling the Spread of Disease on a College Campus - Dr. Quinn Morris, Mathematical Sciences
One difficulty in modeling the spread of disease in a population is often lack of information about individual interactions within that population. This often leads to broad assumptions (such as homogeneous mixing of the population) which are unrealistic in a general population. We present a model for the spread of disease on a college campus, where a specific contact network is determined from enrollment data and used to predict the scale of outbreaks and to test the efficacy of public health interventions. Specifically, we will look at the spread of COVID-19 on the Appalachian State University campus.
This research was funded by the App-COVID-19 multidisciplinary research cluster mini-grant.
The Karma of Love - Dr. Cuong Mai, Philosophy & Religion
With URC and BOT research grants (2019) I was able to conduct library and archival research in Hanoi, Vietnam and Taipei, Taiwan on premodern Chinese texts written in 14th-18th century Vietnam. These neglected texts encompass various types of narratives (myths, legends, and local lore) which talk about the deeds and lives of gods, goddesses, spirits, ghosts, monks, and ritual specialists. With funding, I have been able to work on several papers, one of which has been published and focuses specifically on the theme of "love karma," a kind of karmic bond which is said to bind lovers across lifetimes, through life and death. For this presentation, I will argue that in such narratives we see literary traces of a general moral metaphysics important in the social world of premodern Vietnam, a religious worldview which described karma in social terms, using the language of emotion, passion, and love. Additionally, I argue that these genre of Chinese texts composed in Vietnam can shed much light on premodern Vietnamese culture and religion, though they remain largely unstudied and under-theorized.
This research was funded by a University Research Council (URC) grant and a Board of Trustees International Research Travel (BOT) grant.
Black Male Brilliance: A brief highlight - Dr. Will Sheppard, Assistant Director of University Housing, Director of Black Male Excellence Initiative; Dr. Brandy Bryson, Center for Academic Excellence; Leadership & Educational Studies
Dr. Will Sheppard and Dr. Brandy Bryson highlight key findings of their focus group study with 26 high-achieving Black male students. These strengths comprise what the authors have coined Black Male Brilliance. A virtual oral presentation of their full study with implications for educators will be offered after the lightning talk.
This research was funded by a Scholarship of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (SDEI) grant.
Black Male Brilliance: Garnering the strengths of Black male students
Dr. Will Sheppard, Assistant Director of University Housing, Director of Black Male Excellence Initiative; Dr. Brandy Bryson, Center for Academic Excellence; Leadership & Educational Studies
The brilliance and strength of Black male students has been understudied and invisibilized while a focus on the deficits of Black men permeates the literature and discourse in education. To counter this deficit narrative and highlight the strengths of Black male learners, this focus group study examined the skills, habits, characteristics, and relationships to learning and achievement of 26 high-achieving first-year Black male students at five HBCUs in North Carolina. This research is important and timely as it counters the long-lived deficit narrative told about Black men and Black male learners and instead, elevates Black Male Brilliance. Black Male Brilliance comprises common attributes of academic success such as high levels of academic ethic—or pro-school values (Chee, et al., 2014; Sheppard, 2017)—along with motivation, persistence, sacrifice, and discipline. Most importantly, Black Male Brilliance is the composition of these high-academic success attributes layered with persistence through violent racial stereotypes and racism, while maintaining a strong and positive sense of identity as Black men. We conclude with implications for higher education institutions and recommendations for educators and make connections to the newly created AppState Black Male Excellence Initiative.
Characterizing the Gut Microbiome’s Role in Toxin Tolerance in Mushroom-Feeding Drosophila Species
Dr. Clare Scott Chialvo, Biology
The evolutionary arms race between herbivorous insects and their hosts has long fascinated biologists. Plants and fungi evolved a wide variety of secondary chemicals that are hypothesized to provide defense. While these compounds render them distasteful or toxic to many herbivores, some insects retain the ability to use the plants/fungi as hosts. Understanding the mechanisms that allow herbivorous insects to consume chemically defended hosts remains an active area of research, and recent studies have begun to highlight the significant role of the gut microbiome in the detoxification process. In this study, we examine the potential contribution of the gut microbiome to toxin tolerance in mushroom-feeding Drosophila. These flies and their larvae feed on a wide range of fleshy mushrooms including edible and toxic species, such as the death cap and destroying angel. Very little is known about the mechanism(s) of toxin tolerance in these flies beyond the fact that the species do not have mutations that would inhibit the toxins’ mode of action. To assess the role of the microbiome in detoxification, we reared larvae of six tolerant fly species on diets with and without the toxin α-amanitin after significantly altering their microbiome. We quantified the contribution of the microbiome by measuring several phenotypes associated with performance, including survival to adulthood and thorax length. Our results demonstrated that the gut microbiome does not play a critical role in cyclopeptide tolerance in mushroom-feeding Drosophila.
The Integration of SUD EBP Counseling Applied to the Transgender Population
Dr. Geraldine Miller, Human Development & Psychological Counseling; Mx. Tuesday Feral, Human Development & Psychological Counseling; Ms. Kirsten Cole, Human Development & Psychological Counseling; Mr. Miller Faw, Human Development & Psychological Counseling
Purpose: To provide counselors with current information about Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs) theory and techniques that can be used with a transgender substance use disorder (SUD) population. Results: While research is limited on the rates of SUD in the transgender population, there is evidence that they: have a heightened risk for substance abuse, are more likely to seek SUD treatment than the non-transgender population, have greater frequency of mental health problems (i.e. depression, suicidality, self-harm, eating disorders), and have unique factors such as homophobia/transphobia, family problems, violence, and social isolation (Day et al., 2017; NSDUH, 2015) as well as a tendency for this population to leave SUD treatment early and abruptly. The four main points are: 1) transgender population research is limited, 2) the therapeutic relationship is a cornerstone (e.g. use of the EBP of Person-Centered Therapy, 3) therapy needs to target maladaptive thoughts/behaviors (e.g. use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and 4) a need for treatment policy development that has an affirmative, whole person-centered approach.
What Happened During COVID-19?: Understanding time, use and location for physical activity of parents and children
Dr. Brooke Towner, Recreation Management & Physical Education; Dr. Robert Broce, Social Work; Dr. Rebecca Battista, Health & Exercise Science
Rural parents (N=181) completed a survey about the duration, use, and location of physical activity (PA) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents' PA levels remained consistent during COVID-19, with more PA at parks/trails and home. Over half achieved 30 minutes of PA per day at parks/trails, and 64.1% did at home. Children's PA levels significantly decreased as less time was spent in recreational sports, fitness facilities, and physical education while home-based PA increased. Parents fared better during COVID-19 as they found ways to maintain or increase PA while children's PA suffered. Improving PA resources in or near the home is warranted.
This research was funded by the App-COVID-19 multidisciplinary research cluster mini-grant.
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Allay for Solo Piano
Dr. Nicholas Cline, Hayes School of Music
Welcome Home: Nursing simulation for home and palliative care
Dr. Rebecca Turpin, Nursing; Ms. Kristen Morgan, Nursing
Kent State: Then, and again
Dr. Raphael Miller, Theater & Dance; Ms. Cecilia Chan, Theatre Studies
I wrote a play entitled: Kent State, Then and Again. This play begins with the announcement by President Nixon to invade Cambodia on April 30, 1970 and concludes with the killing of four students and the wounding of nine others on the Kent State University campus on May 4, 1970. I was a student and witness to these events. In the spring of 2021, I directed a zoom production of this play with 20 actors and 10 designers and technicians. I would like to discuss the process of the historical research that culminated in this production. Equally important, however, is to discuss the impact on the students who participated in this production. Their experience coming out of the pandemic, the economic challenges of some of their families and their concerns and engagement with Black Lives Matter fueled their engagement with this project. Faulkner's famous quote: "The past is never dead. It's not even past" echoed throughout the writing, directing and performance of this play. The student actors, designers and technicians were integral in learning how to create a meaningful zoom theatrical presentation of this play. Their familiarity and past experience with creating zoom theatre throughout the year came to bear on the creative choices made in this production. It wasn't just their technical expertise that was important, it was also their emotional response to the world they were experiencing for themselves that was crucial in doing this production.
Recruiting and Retaining Underrepresented Students in Communication Sciences and Disorders: A community based participatory research approach
Dr. Jennifer Buff, Communication Sciences & Disorders; Dr. Joseph Klein, Communication Sciences & Disorders, Ms. Lucy Comello, Communication Sciences & Disorders, Ms. Hana Gobran, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Roots and Routes: Immigrant voices in the High Country
Dr. Shanan Fitts, Curriculum & Instruction; Dr. Greg McClure, Curriculum & Instruction
Friday, September 17, 2021
RIEEE CONCERT Program Showcase
Hosted by Dr. Christine Hendren, Director RIEEE; Ms. Grace Marasco-Plummer, RIEEE
This session includes short presentations from each of five 2021 CONCERT grant recipients, highlighting collaborative research on sustainability-related topics, preceded by a brief overview of RIEEE and the CONCERT program.
Chancellor's and Provost's Awards for Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity
The Chancellor's and Provost's Awards for Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity honor faculty members for superior achievement in their fields. Recipients are either nominated by faculty, chairs, deans, or self-nominated, and are chosen by a committee of faculty members. Two awards are given in this category each year.