AU’s 2018 Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium Set for April 11

AU’s 2018 Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium Set for April 11

4/5/18 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s College of Arts and Sciences is hosting the ninth annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (URCA) Symposium that will feature the works of more than 78 students from 16 departments in the College, as well as two alumni.

According to Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer, professor of chemistry, the April 11 symposium, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Myers Convocation Center. The symposium will feature oral presentations, performances, poster presentations and art exhibitions.

Weidenhamer notes, “New this year will be research presentations by two arts and sciences alumni, Mary Moeller and Dr. Josh Allen. Their presentations will be featured at the Oral Session I from 9 to 10:15 a.m. In addition, this year's URCA Symposium coincides with the celebration of Undergraduate Research Week by the Council on Undergraduate Research, of which Ashland University is an institutional member.”

Moeller graduated in 2015 with a degree in psychology. She is currently a third year graduate student in Clinical Psychology at Bowling Green State University. Her research interests include outcomes of mindfulness and acceptance-based interventions as well as finding ways to improve the quality of life and psychological health of nursing home residents. Her URCA presentation is titled “Addressing the Negative Impacts of Aging Stereotypes in Nursing Home Residents.” After graduation, she plans on doing clinical work and research, specifically within a nursing home setting. 


Allen graduated in 2007 with majors in both toxicology and psychology. In 2013, he completed his Ph.D. in toxicology from the University of Rochester in the Department of Environmental Medicine. He is a developmental neurotoxicologist and inhalation toxicologist and currently serves as a principal research scientist and study director at Battelle, where his focus is on inhalation toxicology and general toxicology. His research has focused on early life exposures to inhaled materials and later developmental outcome using a variety of rodent models and epidemiological approaches. His URCA presentation is titled “Neuropathological and Behavioral Consequences of Inhaled Ambient Ultrafine Particulate Matter Exposure During Development.” 

Dr. Dawn Weber, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will provide the welcome and opening remarks for the symposium, which she said will showcase the many and varied talents of the students in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Following the format of a professional conference, students will present original research, perform theatrical and musical selections, read original creative writing, and exhibit their artwork. CAS undergraduate students continue to make original intellectual and creative contributions to their disciplines early in their careers,” Weber said. “We are delighted to share with the public and campus community highlights of the outstanding work being conducted by our students in departments across the fine and performing arts, humanities, natural science and social science disciplines.”

Oral presentations for Session I from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. in the Trustees Room will include: Matthew McDonald’s “Developmental Changes in Zebrafish Lens α-crystallin Expression and Potential Connection to Cataract Formation”; a vocal ensemble’s performance of My Charming Mademoiselle from Act II of “The Consul” by Gian Carlo Menotti; along with the presentations by alumni Mary Moeller and Dr. Josh Allen.

Oral presentations for Session II from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Trustees Room will include: Alexis Lough’s “Investigation of Microplastic Ingestion by Daphnia magna in the Black Fork of the Mohican River in Ashland, Ohio”; Tasha Arnold’s “Exploring the Relationship between Men and Women in Eugène Ionesco’s La Leçon”; Jessica Dupee’s “Who Are You? A Dramaturgical Examination of Buried Child by Sam Shepard”; and Nathan Ahrens, Brady Douglas, Erich Berger and Brennan Kunkel’s “Self-Service Tool for Blackboard Instructors.”

Oral presentations for Session III from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Faculty Room will include: Amanda Wise’s “Starry Night”; Benjamin Cipa, Mohammed Bawazeer and Sebastian Vidika’s “Black Fork Wetlands Data Storage Web Application”; Keeleigh Myers’ “The Journey to Self-Actualization through Creative Expression”; and Dennis J. Clark’s “Machiavellian Faith and Foundings.” 

The Poster and Exhibition Session I from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in the Alumni Room will include: Natalie Bisignano’s “The Relationship between Cyan and Memory Performance”; Corianna Borton’s “Probing the Root Exudation of Harmala Alkaloids from Syrian Rue”; Brady Douglas’ “Learning Through Game Development”; Hannah C. Drake’s “Effects of Racially Typical Names on Level of Interpersonal Attraction”; Colton Hiner’s “Determining the Genotype of Some Known Polyploid Ambystomid Salamanders”; Kelsey Kidd and Lauren Bood’s “Determining the Effects of Water Hardness and Sub-Lethal Levels of Calcium- and Magnesium-Based Deicing Agents to the Toxicity of Sodium Chloride Using the Aquatic Amphipod Hyalella azteca"; Tyler McFarland’s “Synthesis of Eight-Armed Calixarene-Core Star Polymers Containing Polylactide/Polyethylene Glycol Arms”; Seth Morrison’s “The Responsibilities, Process, and Craft of Technical Direction”; Hayley Nininger and Jordin Vidmar’s “Development of a Rapid and Cost-Effective Method for the Extraction of Hydrophobic Pesticide Contaminants from Sediment”; Tiffany Pryce’s “How to Bypass Cognitive Dissonance in Habit Changing Behaviors”; Kaitlin Snider and Chelsea Myers’ “Potential Exposure to Lead and Cadmium in Decorative Glassware”; Erika Stevens’ “The Distribution and Life Cycle of Eubranchipus vernalis at the Black Fork Wetland Preserve”; Tyler Theaker’s “The Lead Analysis of Virginia Rails’ Feather Samples from the Black Fork Wetlands”; Corey Turpin’s “Investigation of Imidazole Based Drugs and Phosphazene Drug Delivery Systems”; and Keeleigh Myers’ “The Journey to Self-Actualization through Creative Expression.”

The Poster and Exhibition Session II from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. in the Alumni Room will include: Nicholas Bloxsom and Derek Rangel’s “The Effect of Hunger on Short-Term Memory”; Abigail Dingus’ “Density-Dependent Growth Responses of Arabidopsis to Copper Toxicity”; Krystle Etling’s “Cardiotoxic Effects of Atrazine in Developing Zebrafish”; Kelly Fullin’s “Identifying Influential Nodes in Weighted, Directed Networks”; Megan Harvey’s “The Job of a Producer and The 24 Hour Theatre Project”; Natalie Kracker’s “Effects of Phosphorus Enrichment on the Black Fork Wetlands Algal Community”; Emily Law’s “Optomechanics of a Levitated Nanosphere”; Savannah Lewis’ “What’s in a Walk?”; Adam Roan and Madison Olander’s “Genetic Analysis of Invasive Reed Canarygrass Populations in Ohio Wetlands”; Deric Roll’s “The Application of GIS to Better Understand Environmental Runoff Produced by Agricultural Lands”; Jacob Smith and Seth Ansell’s “Media and Ethical Communication During Crisis in the United States”; Hannah Stryker and Maggie Andrews’ “Patient-Centered Communication: A Catalyst for Disclosure”; Madison Endicott and Matthew Wilcox’s “Macroscopic and Microscopic Dissection of a Cadaver with Renal Failure”; and Victoria Roddy’s “FYI: I’m Not Alright.”

Oral presentations for Session IV from 2 to 3:15 p.m. in the Trustees Room will include: Emily  Nicholls’ “Documenting Changes in the Plant Community of a Marsh at the Black Fork Wetlands Preserve”; Jakob Demers’ “‘From Man’s Effeminate Slackness It Begins’: Masculinity in Milton’s Eden”; Dana Awlia and Emily Ledbetter’s “Meditation and Altruism”; Sabrina Maristela’s “‘To Justify the Ways of God to Men: ‘Just Punishment in Paradise Lost”; and Michael Woode’s “Predicting Changes in Scores and Earnings on the PGA Tour.”

Oral presentations for Session V from 2 to 3:15 p.m. in the Faculty Room will include: Corey Turpin’s “Investigation of the Supramolecular Chemistry of Calixarenes and Calixarene-Core Star Polymers”; Nathan Ahrens’ “Visualization of Binary Search Trees”; Jacquelyn Leigh Dambrosio’s “Aristotle and Machiavelli on Fortune as a Means to Happiness”; Brandon Andrew’s “Identifying and Characterizing Crystallin Knockouts in Zebrafish Using CRISPR/Cas9”; and Garrison Stima’s “A Conversation With the Late René Girard.”

Oral presentations for Session VI from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Trustees Room will include: Michael Cowan, Nick Hurst, Justin Wallace and Michael Woode’s “Colleague-Blackboard Integration Audit Tool”; Corinne Spisz’ “‘To His Coy Mistress:’ The Irony of Time and Love”; Sara Ludwig’s “The Oppressed Woman: A Look at Exceptionalism in the Treatment of Women in Americanah”; and Allison Tupps’ “The Effects of Glycerol, a Stabilizer of E-cigarettes, on the Respiratory Health of Mice.”

For a complete presentation schedule and abstract listing, go to:

Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2018, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.                                                                                ###