Arts & Humanities
1st Place: Jennifer R. Anderson, Scenic Design:Largo Desolato
Mentor: Kristina Tollefson (Theatre)
Project Objective:The scenery I designed for Vaclav Havel’s Largo Desolato, based upon extensive historical and artistic research, helped prepare the audience for the realistic and abstract elements of the production to better undertand Havel’s message of the negative ramifications of giving in to an oppressive government.
2nd Place : Alex V. Zelenin, Come Back to the Fair
Mentor: Lori Walters (History)
Objective: Come Back to the Fair is a three-dimensional recreation of the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair that serves as a virtual portal to the 1960s. It is a melting pot of interdisciplinary knowledge, showcasing primary source documents, photographs, videos, and oral histories while also reopening the Fair and the era to all.
Honorable Mention: Heidi V. Fleming, Creating a Mechanized World for the Stage: Machinal
Mentor: Vandy Wood (Theatre)
Objective: This production of Sophie Treadwell’s Machinalnecessitated a scenic design that reflected expressionist themes, the director’s unique vision, and a modern audience’s sensibilities. This project demonstrates my design process, from initial meetings, research, and model building to the fully realized production.
Honorable Mention: Tristan J. Reiniers, The Persistence of Self
Mentor: Mason Cash (Philosophy)
Objective: Are you the same person from year to year? If so, why? In other words, what conditions must be met in order for one’s self to persist over time? This project evaluates various criteria proposed by philosophers and it attempts to construct a principled answer to the question.
Physical Sciences, Mathematics, Computer Science, & Engineering
1st Place: Amy K. Hoover, Automatically Generating Drum Tracks for Existing Songs With a Computer
Mentor: Kenneth Stanley (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)
Objective: A major challenge in computer-generated music is to produce music that sounds natural. This project introduces NEAT Drummer, a program that takes steps toward natural creativity. NEAT Drummer automatically generates drum tracks for any human-composed song and produces compelling results that suggest a new path to computer-generated music.
2nd Place: Rene O. Diaz, Plasma Sprayed Chromium Carbide Reinforced with Carbon Nanotubes
Co-Author: Virendra Singh
Mentors: Sudipta Seal (Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center), Suresh Babu (Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering)
Objective: A new method of reinforcing carbides was explored using a relatively new processing method and reinforcing material. The plasma spray method was used for processing and carbon nanotubes were used to reinforce this wear-resistant coating. Microhardness, crystalline structure, porosity, elemental composition and processing procedure were researched in this project.
Honorable Mention: Cassandra A. Carpenter, Vibrational Properties of LaGaO3 Single Crystals
Mentor: Nina Orlovskaya (Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering)
Objective: The vibrational properties of  and  single crystals have been explored to characterize structural changes that are experienced during a first order orthorhombic to rhombohedral phase transformation occurring at ≈143°C.
Honorable Mention: Simon Mostafa, Catalytic Decomposition of Alcohols Over Supported Pt Nanoparticles: A Study of Activity, Selectivity, and Stability
Mentor: Beatriz Roldán Cuenya (Physics)
Objective: The objective of this project is to study the decomposition of alcohols over ZrO2-supported platinum nanoparticles for hydrogen production. The reactions were enhanced by the presence of the catalyst and monitored to determine their selectivity toward different products and catalyst stability over long term exposure to reactants.
Life & Health Sciences I
1st Place: Celines Martinez, Development and Functional Analysis of Novel Genetic Mouse Models to Study the Role of Adrenaline Production in the Embryonic Heart
Mentor: Steven N. Ebert (Biomolecular Science Center)
Objective: The objective of this project is to study the role of adrenaline in the regulation of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) expression in the developing mouse heart.
2nd Place: Angelica M. Barrero-Tobon, Evidence for Prenylation-dependent Targeting of a Novel Ykt6 SNARE Homologue from Plasmodium falciparum
Co-Author: Lawrence Ayong
Mentor: Debopam Chakrabarti (Molecular Biology and Microbiology)
Objective: This study is focused on characterizing the role of SNARE family proteins in vesicular mediated protein trafficking in the malaria parasite. This knowledge is essential for understanding protein flow in the parasite, which in turn can reveal possible drug targets.
Honorable Mention: Khaled T. Abu-Ihweij, Apoptosis-Induced Alkalinization by the Na+/H+ Exchanger Is Mediated Through Phosphorylation of Amino Acids Ser726 and Ser729
Mentor: Annette Khaled (Biomolecular Research)
Objective: Four possible phosphorylation sites of the sodium hydrogen exchanger (NHE) protein were determined using an in vitro p38 MAPK assay and confirmed by deletion analysis. Using mutant cell lines with a mixture of null sites, the in vivo activation sites of the NHE protein were discovered.
Honorable Mention: Sasha A. Brodsky, Strangers in a Strange Land: A Study of Cold Thermal Tolerances of the Invasive Mussel Mytella charruana
Mentors: Linda J. Walters (Biology), Eric A. Hoffman (Biology), Kimberly R. Schneider (Biology)
Objective: We are running experiments to determine the minimum temperature for survival of the invasive bivalve mussel Mytella charruana. This information is needed to determine the potential range for this new invader.
Life & Health Sciences II
1st Place: Ashley N. Startzman, Inhibition of STAT3 Protein as an Approach to Sensitizing Ovarian Cancer Cells to Cisplatin
Mentor: James Turkson (Biomedical Research)
Objective: The objective of this project is to investigate the responsiveness of Ovarian cancer cells to the chemotherapeutic drug Cisplatin, as well as the role of STAT3 protein in Cisplatin resistance. This project will determine the potential therapeutic benefits of inhibiting aberrant STAT3 protein to enhance the sensitivity of Ovarian cancer cells to Cisplatin.
2nd Place: Ruth Strakosha, Fluoroquinolone Degradation by Bacteria Isolated from Municipal Wastewater
Mentor: John P. Sutherland (US FDA National Center for Toxicological Research)
Objective: The objective of this project was to quantify fluoroquinolone resistance and degradative capabilities of bacteria isolated from municipal wastewater.
Honorable Mention: Joshua J. Silvestri, How Does Your Garden Grow? Quantification of Novel Restoration Techniques for the Seagrass Halodule wrightii in the Mosquito Lagoon
Co-Authors: Kristen Gaffney, Erin Walker, Ben Forshee, Sarah Brodsky, Justin Bridges, Katherine Grablow
Mentor: Linda J. Walters (Biology)
Objective: The objective of this experiment is to quantitatively determine the effectiveness of three different restoration techniques (garden staples, rope lines, and burlap-covered quadrats) for the seagrass Halodule wrightii in the Mosquito Lagoon portion of Indian River Lagoon system, located along the east coast of central Florida.
Honorable Mention: Elizabeth N. Sizemore, The Evolution of TMM-like Genes Based on a Divergence of Phylogeny from Physcomitrella to Arabidopsis
Mentor: Jeanette A. Nadeau (Biology)
Objective: To gain a better understanding of plant molecular evolution, we are studying the TOO MANY MOUTHS (TMM) gene of Arabidopsis thaliana, a model organism for flowering plants, and the divergence of the moss species, Physcomitrella patens, which contains conserved TMM-like genes after its deviation 400 million years ago from angiosperms.
Social Sciences I
1st Place: Ashley K. Harper, The Myth of the Crazy Cat Lady: Exploring How Loneliness and Connectedness Influence Attachment to Pets
Mentor: Karen Mottarella (Psychology)
Objective: This study investigates the effects of loneliness and existential connectedness on pet attachment to better understand the connection that humans have with their pets.
2nd Place: Alexis A. Greenberg, An Examination of Training on States of Goal Orientation and Mentoring Relationship Success
Co-Authors: Jocelyn Reyes, Kenneth Michniewicz, Shannon A. Scielzo
Mentor: Kimberly Jentsch (Psychology)
Objective: The current study examined the effects of a formal preparatory training intervention, given to both mentors and protégés, on mentoring relationship processes and outcomes. Specifically, the training was designed to elicit desired states of goal orientation utilizing a formal, academic peer-mentoring program.
Honorable Mention: Micah G. Allen, Linguistic Correlates of the Self and Psychopathology
Mentors: Jeffrey S. Bedwell (Psychology), Shaun Gallagher (Philosophy)
Objective: This study represented an exploratory partnership in the spirit of cognitive science, seeking to connect contemporary philosophy of mind and clinical psychology. Autobiographical narratives were recorded, linguistically analyzed, and correlated to scores on an inventory of psychopathological symptoms. A positive relationship was found between positive feeling words and psychological distress.
Honorable Mention: Daniela Jaramillo, Driver Distraction: A Bio-behavioral Analysis
Mentor: Mustapha Mouloua (Psychology)
Objective: This study aims to empirically examine the effects of iPods on driver distraction. Previous research showed that driver distraction is a leading cause of traffic accidents (Stutts et al., 2001). However, little empirical research has documented this claim. This research aims to further examine driver distraction using a bio-behavioral approach.
Social Sciences II
1st Place: Kevin M. Palmer, The Effect of Physical Context of Previous Stress Expsoure on Stress Response Habituation
Mentors: Shannon N. Whitten (Psychology), Karen Mottarella (Psychology)
Objective: This study investigated the effect of the environment on stress response habituation. Animal studies have shown that habituation to stress is modified by the environmental context of previous exposure to stress. This study sought to identify this effect in humans so that the health detriments of stress may be avoided.
2nd Place: Maria F. Ricci-Twitchell, Exploring the Relationship Between Patients’ Health Locus Of Control and Perception Of Physician’s Support
Mentors: Karen Mottarella (Psychology), Shannon N. Whitten (Psychology)
Objective: This study explores the relationship between patient’s Health Locus of Control and their perceptions about the nature of their physician-patient relationship. It is expected that patients who exhibit an internal health locus of control will report better relationships with their physicians.
Honorable Mention: Kenneth S. Michniewicz, Ordinary Cruelty Televised in a Just World
Mentor: Randy Fisher (Psychology)
Objective: Using clips from “American Idol” and “Maury Povitch,” a study was designed to measure enjoyment of televised teasing, humiliation, verbal abuse, gossip, and ridicule. The influence of victim deservingness, aggressive tendencies, just-world beliefs, socially desirable responses, parasocial identification, and television viewing habits on measured enjoyment will be investigated.
Honorable Mention: Iris Daniela Narvaez, Impact of Speech Delivery Vs. Content upon Voter Perception of Transformational Leadership
Co-Authors: Jennifer Ciancio, Laura Burkstrand, Annette Cheney
Mentor: Leslie DeChurch (Psychology)
Objective: The purpose of this study is to compare the effect of speech content (in terms of information specificity) to that of speech delivery (in terms of language) upon follower perception of transformational leadership.