OSU - Honors College Theses


Recent Submissions

  • Publication
    Investigating the relation between INI-1 and mononucleosome movement
    (4/25/2024) Maguire, Brianna
    Atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors (AT/RT) is a type of cancer that is typically seen in pediatrics. AT/RT is known to contain a mutated version of INI-1. INI-1 is a core protein within the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex whose function is to move a mononucleosome up and down the strand of DNA (Allen). INI-1 has the ability to bind both to the mononucleosome DNA and to free DNA, which has already been proven by experiments facilitated within our lab. Once bound, the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex then has the ability to move the mononucleosome along a strand of DNA which is important in cells, as it allows DNA to be properly read. I hypothesize that due to its role within the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex and the mutations that come from INI-1 to create AT/RT cancer, INI-1 will play a vital role in proper mononucleosome movement via the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. This was tested through plasmid preparation, polymerase chain reaction, nucleosome assembly dialysis in order to assemble mononucleosomes to test the hypothesis, and then was continued through enzyme digestion and SWI/SNF remodeling to further understand mononucleosome movement. The results are expressed through various agarose and native PAGE gels to allow visualization of the length and location of the mononucleosome. To proceed further, the SWI/SNF remodeling will need to be repeated on the same in vitro mononucleosomes by using SWI/SNF without INI-1 to understand the differences and how it could possibly lead to further cancerous mutations.
  • Publication
    Cowgirls call the shots: A social media campaign highlighting OSU's women's sports
    (4/11/2024) Bwolf, Leah
    "Cowgirls Call the Shots" is a social media campaign involving a series of mixed-media animation videos highlighting every Cowgirl sport in their most recent "big moment." The goal was to help OSU Athletics promote Cowgirl sports equally and highlight them as a whole during Women's History Month. The animation process included printing out and physically manipulating frames of video clips through cutting and pasting or drawing elements on top. After releasing during the last week of March, the series has garnered over 120k impressions across Instagram, X, and Facebook.
  • Publication
    Permutations of the 4D Rubik's Cube
    (4/30/2024) Bazzell, Collin
    In 1988, Don Hatch and Melinda Green designed MagicCube4D, a piece of software simulating a four-dimensional analog of Rubik's Cube. In this paper, we examine this 4D puzzle and determine how many ways it can be scrambled.
  • Publication
    Balancing the books: A reflective analysis of my academic journey through Oklahoma State University’s School of Accounting
    (5/7/2024) Blumer, Sarah
    This thesis aims to provide a comprehensive and reflective exploration of my educational journey within the Oklahoma State University School of Accounting, emphasizing the crucial role played by active participation in student clubs and internships. This essay seeks to uncover the transformative effects of academics, extracurricular and experiential learning on my personal and professional development.
  • Publication
    Analysis of body language in political communication
    (5/10/2024) Young, Seth
    Barring party identification, is the verbal message delivered by a political candidate our primary consideration when determining vote choice? Is it possible that the communicative techniques we evaluate in a conversational situation are parallel to our political evaluations? Given the significance of political positions, voters will place heightened consideration upon the verbal and non-verbal communication of a political candidate in an effort to better determine their capability to hold office, or evaluate the efficacy and/or morality of their proposed policies. The question being answered by this work is as follows; how do the non-verbal communicative techniques of a political candidate alter the vote choice of the electorate?
  • Publication
    Balancing tradition and innovation: A study on the design process
    (11/27/2023) Bice, Isabella
    This project is a research project on how to combine modern esports design and traditional business design into one cohesive website for a specific client. Utilizing project management elements, UX design software, and various branches of research, our small design team efficiently managed a 5-month long project and successfully completed the website redesign to business and academic specifications.
  • Publication
    Investigating mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in microbes from cystic fibrosis patients
    (9/15/2023) Wilson, Rebecca
    Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a lethal genetic disease, characterized by polymicrobial lung infections that are near impossible to treat due to the high level of antibiotic resistance of the pathogens. Though the multi-drug resistance of pathogens has been previously documented, the mechanisms for antibiotic resistance acquisition are still largely unknown. A prior screen of CF sputa identified the most resistant and multidrug-resistant bacterial candidates. This project aimed to identify the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) and minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) against antibiotics used in CF treatment at the time of sample collection for several bacterial isolates with subsequent genome sequencing to determine the genetic basis for their resistance mechanisms. Each isolate was tested in an MIC broth dilution assay with various concentrations of each antibiotic to determine the minimum amount needed to inhibit the growth of each isolate, then plated to determine the minimum concentration to kill the isolate. Genomic DNA was isolated and sequenced with the genomes assembled by external company, SeqCenter. With collaboration from a bioinformatics specialist, the assembled genomes were searched for genes known to confer resistance mechanisms to the antibiotics screened for. Results indicate that resistant microbes including Staphylococcus aureus and fungi are able to persist in CF lung despite aggressive antibiotic treatment.
  • Publication
    Investigation of multimodal aspect based sentiment analysis using a Crossmodal Model
    (5/3/2024) Williams, Jacob
    Multimodal aspect-based sentiment analysis, the task of identifying a target aspect and obtaining its sentiment, has begun to gain more and more attention in the natural language processing community. Although the field started with simply focusing on textual data, there are many datasets such as Twitter 2015 and 2017 that require models to apply both textual and visual focuses. In this work, the model we propose is the Cross Modal Model (CMM). This model contains a BERT model and a CNN, which extract textual and visual features from the dataset, then obtaining the attention on features, and finally concatenating the features together to obtain the sentiment prediction. We saw significant performance gains with this model that achieve breakthrough results on the Twitter 2015 and Twitter 2017 datasets. These results demonstrate how useful our method could be applied to other multimodal datasets and potentially other multimodal problems.
  • Publication
    Consideration of neuroplasticity and anxiety
    (4/25/2024) Watkins, Paeton
    Anxiety is one of the most prevalent disorders that impact people in the world today, and is continuing to become even more common. While treatment options exist, their aim is to treat the symptoms, not to fix the underlying problem. And even so, many of these treatments result in negative side effects, or are inaccessible. For this literary review, a search for scholarly articles was conducted through EBSCO Host, PubMed, PsycInfo, and others. These searches were fielded using keywords related to the topic, such as “neuroplasticity,” “neural plasticity,” “brain plasticity,” “anxiety,” and other similar, synonymous terms. At this point, the general mechanisms of anxiety and its processing are known. Additionally, it has been consistently found and replicated that patients with anxiety, as well as other mental health disorders, show functional changes in the neurons, neuropathways, and neuroplasticity of their brains. Research utilizing drugs that target neuroplasticity as treatment is often combined with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and have had promising results. Neuroplasticity-focused treatment through new methods has also had promising results in trials with rodents. Some of this research has included methods which do not yet have enough of a clinical understanding for it to be ethical for human trials, such as psychedelic treatment. However, with further investigation and understanding, these treatments could eventually move on to human trials. Despite our immediate negative inclination towards methods such as the aforementioned, they hold promise. Perhaps those preconceived biases have prevented researchers from pursuing avenues of research that could bring about major discoveries. Moving forward, research on specific methods aimed at increasing neuroplasticity in humans could be extremely valuable, and lead to a medical breakthrough of the century, impacting millions of people worldwide.
  • Publication
    Synopsis of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome
    (5/6/2024) Williams, Cooper
    Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a condition that affects millions of people all over the world. There are three main types of POTS: neuropathic, hypovolemic, and hyperadrenergic. Some of the main symptoms of POTS are shakiness, dizziness, fatigue, and elevated heart rate and mostly occur when your body position changes. POTS is hard to diagnose because of the variety of symptoms and the range of times it can occur. The main way to diagnose POTS is by using the tilt table test. Doctors commonly recommend exercise, eating healthy, and avoiding things that can trigger the symptoms, but there are also medications that can be taken to help with some of the symptoms. Some of the more common medications used to treat the symptoms of POTS are fludrocortisone, pyridostigmine, midodrine, and beta blockers. There is a lot of research to be done into the causes of POTS and how to treat it better. One possible area of research is blood circulation and how to increase it either with drugs, such as pentoxifylline, or without the use of medication, such as using compression garments.
  • Publication
    Model of a coral reef with stoichiometric and temperature constraints
    (4/19/2024) Ward, Nathaniel
    This paper explores a model of coral reefs which aims to better understand the relationship between key reef species and to discover critical thresholds that determine the survival of the various coral reef ecosystem species. We investigate how variations in light, temperature and nutrient levels affect population dynamics.
  • Publication
    Forward outlook on artificial intelligence in business and accounting 
    (4/17/2024) Thompson, Nathan
    This paper explores the expanding role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the realms of business and accounting, analyzing its current applications, potential benefits, and inherent challenges. It delves into how AI, driven by advancements in machine learning, has become increasingly integrated across diverse industries, reshaping operations and amplifying human capabilities. Through interviews with accounting professionals, it highlights AI's role in streamlining tasks, enhancing efficiency, and prompting a shift towards collaborative human-machine workflows. However, it also underscores the ethical considerations, technical limitations, and potential pitfalls associated with AI integration, emphasizing the need for responsible usage, ongoing education, and coexistence between humans and AI.
  • Publication
    Comparative law analysis of aspects of the hiring process of the United States and South Africa
    (11/30/2023) Tidwell, Katie
    This essay compares the regulatory environment of the hiring process in the United States and South Africa, two countries with different cultures, legal systems, and economic conditions. The essay begins with information about the structure of the governments and legal systems of both countries. Later, I analyze statutory and case law relating to anti-discrimination, employee privacy and employee contracts. This paper seeks to compare the effectiveness of regulations in these two countries when it comes to addressing deep societal issues including poverty and unemployment. I conclude that more progressive employment law and protection of employee rights does not directly translate to decreased unemployment and poverty. Employment law is only a first step in solving these issues.
  • Publication
    Effects of resistance training of the ankle-foot system on dance-related exercise and performance
    (12/7/2023) Tutor, Alexandra
    Dancers have a 90% injury rate compared to 20% observed in rugby and football athletes. Preventative equipment or techniques, such as braces or taping, are less available to dancers to maintain the aesthetic appeal of the sport.
  • Publication
    Preparation of recombinantly expressed T-cell Receptor-Protein α (TCRα) for structural studies
    (4/16/2024) Thompson, Moriah; Ogunleye, Tiwalola; Cook, Gabriel A.
    T-Cell Receptor Protein (TCR), a single-pass transmembrane protein found in T-cells, is involved in the signaling pathway in immune response. TCR binds antigens, activating the T-cell through signal transduction. The two chains of the receptor, alpha and beta, connect through a disulfide bond. While this is an essential protein for the immune system, the function and structure of TCR is not fully understood because the hydrophobic transmembrane region makes it difficult to study in typical sample conditions. Hydrophobic proteins like this receptor must be incorporated into detergent or lipid environments to run experiments that are commonly used to determine their function and structure. Our lab is developing methods to incorporate this hydrophobic protein into samples so that we can use Electron Resonance Spectroscopy (EPR) to study these properties. For this work, we are concentrating on expressing and purifying the alpha chain (TCRα). To run EPR on TCRα, we must attach a nitroxide group to the protein. TCRα was mutated at four positions, in four separate sequences, to replace a wild-type amino acid with a Cysteine residue. These Cysteines will form a thiol linkage with the nitroxide group. This presentation will explain the methods used to express, purify and concentrate Alanine 18 to Cysteine (A18C) and Lysine 14 to Cysteine (L14C), for the preparation of samples that can be measured by EPR.
  • Publication
    Physicians' experiences with patients involved in foster care system
    (12/4/2023) Terry, Huntyr C.
    Going to the doctor at least once a year is a recommendation for every individual to ensure they are healthy. Most individuals follow through with this, but some may not be able to take advantage of this. Furthermore, nontraditional families such as foster care have been identified as being at risk for poor health outcomes in adulthood and developing chronic health problems (Rebbe et al., 2018). Several research studies have examined foster care and the adult outcomes; however, there are not many that cover the topic of healthcare and its relation to the foster care system. The current study aims to investigate the relationship between caring for patients with involvement in the foster care system, how physicians are trained, and influences that may affect the type of care given to these patients. We hypothesize that these individuals are treated differently than other patients and are often a group that goes overlooked. Furthermore, we hypothesize that there is little training offered to physicians to learn more about this group of individuals or how to provide better care for them. This study proposes that the link between involvement in the foster care system and the healthcare system is weak, and that there are several ways it could be strengthened in the future.
  • Publication
    Passing to play: Examining student-athlete academic motivation
    (4/26/2024) Berry, Elsa B.
    Student-athletes at all levels are tasked with managing academic success and athletic performance simultaneously. Many of these students may only achieve passing grades in order to remain eligible to participate in their sport. This is when the idea of “passing to play” comes about (Lapchick, 1989). To gain insight on this, I conducted a survey with Oklahoma high school students who are or were student-athletes, and the professionals who work with these students. Within the survey it asks for demographic information and questions about their academic performance and its relationship to their athletic participation. It also included the opportunity to be interviewed and answer further questions to examine personal motivations and influences on academic performance. This study was conducted and once the data was collected, it was coded for common themes across the participants' answers. Knowing what motivates this population of students can influence teaching practices, administration, and school policies, as well as how teachers, coaches, and other staff members frame academics in relation to these students’ athletic endeavors. By understanding how students are motivated, their experience and success in school can be improved.
  • Publication
    Use of a heme biosensor to detect intracellular heme in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
    (4/27/2023) Steichen, David; Singh, Padam; Mitra, Avishek
    Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of human tuberculosis (TB), is transmitted through aerosols and successfully replicates in the human lung. Before the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Mtb was the leading cause of death worldwide from a single infectious agent. In 2021, 11 million people were infected with Mtb resulting in 1.3 million deaths. The WHO estimates that globally 3.3% of new cases and 18% of previously treated cases were multidrug resistant TB in 2021. A general goal in our lab is to understand essential biological systems of Mtb so that we can develop new ways to block these essential systems and treat Mtb infections.
  • Publication
    Effect of dietary insulinogenic amino acid restriction on glucose metabolism in neonatal pigs
    (5/7/2024) Speer, Sydney
    Many commercial human infant formulas contain a protein content greater than what is naturally found in human breast milk. Prolonged consumption of protein greater than nutritional requirements in early infancy has been linked to increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, which is characterized by decreased insulin sensitivity and impaired glucose homeostasis. Due to the negative impacts of low-protein diets on infant growth, their use in commercial formula is limited. Alternatively, dietary restriction of insulinogenic amino acids (IAA, i.e., Leu, Ile, Val, Thr, Phe, Arg, and Ala) may be considered. This study aimed to determine the impact of IAA restriction in formula on glucose and lipid metabolism in a neonatal piglet model for human infants. 32 seven-day-old Yorkshire barrows were randomly assigned to one of three dietary treatment groups for 21 days: 1) NR: 0% IAA restriction; 2) R50: 50% IAA restriction; and 3) R75: 75% IAA restriction; with each diet being isonitrogenous and isocaloric. After 21 days, all animals were sacrificed, and liver, skeletal muscle, and white adipose tissue (WAT) samples were collected. Using RT-qPCR the expression of glucose and lipid metabolism and insulin signaling genes in target tissues was determined. Data were analyzed with Univariate GLM with Dunnett’s post-hoc (SPSS®). Relative to NR, the R75 treatment group increased the mRNA abundance of key rate-limiting glycolytic enzymes and glucose transporters including hepatic glucose transport 1 (GLUT 1), hepatic pyruvate kinase (PFKL), hepatic pyruvate kinase liver type (PKLR), and WAT glucokinase (GCK). R50 increased the mRNA expression of hepatic and muscular PKLR. Insulin signaling markers significantly improved via increased mRNA of muscular serine/threonine kinase 1 (AKT) and insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1) when R75 was compared to NR. IAA restriction by 75% increased the mRNA expression of hepatic fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF-21), with R50 increasing the mRNA expression of hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (HADH). In conclusion, restriction of dietary IAA improved glucose and lipid metabolism in a neonatal piglet model likely through increasing the rates of glycolysis via upregulation of key glycolytic pathway enzymes, and gene expression of key enzymes involved in lipid metabolism.
  • Publication
    Passive treatment of mine drainage and the behavior of manganese
    (5/6/2024) Souders, Scotland
    Non-point source pollution poses a significant threat to the environment and can be difficult to prevent and remediate. One contributor to this is mine drainage, which can contain numerous contaminants of concern. Passive treatment systems have been developed as a method of remediating mine drainage. The behavior of manganese within these systems has raised questions regarding its ability to be retained by the organic substrate used for remediation, with a prior study showing manganese sometimes being released in higher concentrations than when it entered the system. The goal of this current study is to further research on the behavior of manganese and determine if there is a pattern of its release within treatment systems. For this study, cubitainers are set up containing an organic substrate and a manganese solution. Biweekly testing is currently being conducted to measure pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, and oxidation-reduction potential. Along with this, samples of water from each container are being analyzed for manganese concentrations. This is an ongoing project, and samples will continue to be taken into the next academic year. At the end of the semester, three of the containers will be sacrificed to analyze the manganese content within the organic substrate itself. This information will be used to determine in which part of the substrate the manganese is retained. This will provide further insight into improving passive treatment systems for a variety of contaminants.