19th Annual Celebration of Scholarship Symposium

Houston Christian University hosted the Nineteenth Annual Celebration of Scholarship Symposium on Monday, April 26th, 2021. The event showcased undergraduate and graduate student projects from courses that had a research component in order to generate enthusiasm for research and scholarship as we discovered what was already occurring all across our campus community.

On Monday, April 26, 2021, from 1pm to 5pm, a poster session was held at McNair Hall, Morris Cultural Arts Center.  During the hours of 4pm to 5pm students were by the their poster to present and answer questions.

Students displayed their research papers and projects in a poster format similar to what was often used at professional meetings. For students who were giving a paper, there was also paper sessions on Monday, April 26th from 1pm to 5pm in the Green Room of the Morris Cultural Arts Center with a new paper every 30 minutes.  The entire University community was invited to drop by during any presentations, view the projects, and speak with the students.

Symposium Winners in April 2021

Nursing and Allied Health

Poster Category

  • 1st Place: Rosaura Elias
  • 2nd Place: Axel Bermudez
  • 3rd Place: Christian Dumont

Education and Behavioral Sciences

Paper Category

  • 1st Place: Halee Porter
  • 2nd Place: Affton Coleman
  • 2nd Place: Lena Brown

Science and Engineering

Paper Category

  • 1st Place: Tristan Henderson

Poster Category

  • 1st Place: Ngyuen, Gay, Moritmer

School of Humanities

Paper Category

  • 1st Place: Samuel J. Mercoli
  • 2nd Place: Tyess Korsmo

Abstract Papers from April 2021

Tristan Henderson, “Man Versus Microbes: Is It Really a Competition?,” COSE, 1:00pm Green Room

All known living things are single cellular (the microbes) or multicellular (plants, animals, fungi, etc.). In recent years, biologists confirmed that most of life is microbial, with plants, animals, and fungi being the minority.  Microbes have been neglected for centuries, and we are only beginning to understand the true extent of their diversity, let alone their biology. Here I confirm the presence of a potentially new pathogenic strain of bacteria isolated from blood worms in Galveston Bay. Then I will set the record straight and fix the tarnished reputation microbes do not deserve.

Affton Coleman, “Technology Integration Using SAMR,” COEBS, 1:30pm Green Room

The purpose of this study is to examine first through fifth grade teachers’ beliefs regarding whether technology integration relates to increased student academic performance. This study was created to analyze what the most influential factors are when it comes to using technology in the classroom that could increase student academic performance. This study revealed what encouraged teachers most when integrating technology into their instruction. Things that encouraged teachers gave them the knowledge and understanding to implement technology into a lesson with the proper professional development, infrastructure and training. In this descriptive study, the researcher used a phenomenological qualitative research methodology. The researcher gained knowledge as the participants shared their feelings and described their perceptions from their own experiences. Approximately 40 current elementary school teacher participants in Texas addressed questions on the survey about these factors. The participants were purposefully selected and placed in categories based on their participation using technology and being a part of a district program called Innovate Academy/Level Up program. The instrumentation of the survey showed the variety of participants who gave their perceptions of how integrating technology affected them in the classroom, how it impacted student academic performance, and what programs, if any, were the cause of students excelling. The data collected came from two different means: (a) survey containing demographic questions and likert-type questions and (b) responses obtained in focus group interviews using the open-ended questions from the survey, as well as allowing participants to orally expand their thoughts through written responses. Information collected from the participants showed how teachers at this school taught evenly between students learning from the teacher directly and using technology as a tool with the curriculum. The participants showed how technology integration impacted student academic performance. Integrating technology has shown how it can be beneficial in so many ways for educators, administrators, students, parents, and society. As we continue to live in a world of constant change, it is shown that people will always need to be lifelong learners for the betterment of themselves and society.

Halee Porter, “School Administrators – Preventing Burnout,” COEBS, 2:00pm Green Room

Secondary school administrators are prone to experience stressors that stem from role conflict, accountability standards, student and parental relationships, staff development, and managerial issues.  The modern educational approaches to leadership in schools may cause the administrators’ perspective of effective leadership to shift due to the demands of the job.

Tyess Korsmo, “A Ruin Resurrected: The Value of the Body in the Anglo-Saxon Soul and Body Poems and the Western Conversation,” SOH, 2:30pm Green Room

“Gnosticism” has become a fashionable word in contemporary Christian theological circles, pinned onto any idea that seems to devalue the physical world in general and the physical body in particular. The perceived need to expose “Gnostic” thinking in the church should not be surprising. Tension between humans and their bodies hearkens back to Plato and continues through a centuries-long conversation including Cicero, the Apostle Paul, Athanasius, Augustine, and Gregory the Great. A pair of Anglo-Saxon poems, Soul and Body I and II, inherit that dialogue and contribute potently to it. In many ways, they appear to parrot Gnostic thinking, but Soul and Body I counterbalances hatred of the body with love. The poem reframes the revolting ruin of the wicked soul’s body in the context of the restored ruin of the righteous soul’s body, providing a powerful antidote to Gnosticism.

Lena Brown, “African American Women in Educational Leadership and Their Perceptions on Mental Health Interventions,“ COEBS, 3:00pm Green Room

The African American community has often been associated with low socioeconomic status. When seeking information regarding African Americans and mental health, there is a plethora of research on the many barriers that this community has faced. When narrowing one’s search to African American women, there is some inconsistency in the amount of mental health interventions that are sought after. There is even more limited research on the barriers that African American women in educational leadership roles face when seeking mental health interventions. “The barriers to mental health treatment services include mistrust, economic status, cultural differences, stigma, and sometimes a lack of awareness of available services” (Copeland & Snyder, 2011).

Samuel J. Mercoli, “Aseity and the Anti-Eunomian Theory of Divine Properties,” SOH, 3:30pm Green Room

here is nothing more essential to the doctrine of God than that which concerns God’s own nature, or so-called divine attributes. Traditionally, and even historically, the most fundamental of these attributes is divine aseity. Aseity is God’s property of self-existence. To exist a se is to exist uncaused and ontologically independent of anything else. The Cappadocian Fathers did not view aseity as a property belonging to the divine nature. Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory of Nyssa are explicit in their writings that aseity is a “personal property” of the Father, rather than a property of the divine nature. In this article, I explore the Cappadocian conception of aseity with the help of a Lewisian view of intrinsic and extrinsic properties. The finished product will be a model of God consistent with Eastern Orthodox triadology. On this model, aseity is seen as an extrinsic property of the Father alone and hence is not shared amongst the other Trinitarian persons.

Tia Caster, “Personalized Learning Utilizing Technology in Middle School,” COEBS, 4:00pm Green Room

This mixed-method study seeks to determine the perceptions of teachers and parents of students in personalized learning classes that utilize the Learning Management System (LMS) Schoology. The perceptions of student self-efficacy are evaluated based on the teacher and parent interactions and experiences with the students over the past academic year. The study uses the Technology Pedagogy and Content Knowledge, or TPACK, framework while incorporating personalized and small group learning. The instrument that will be used was created by the researcher; it includes 20 Likert-style items, optional demographic questions, and an open-ended response for participants to share additional thoughts, concerns, and successes that were not asked in the previous questions. Two analyses will be run for this study. One analysis was to compare teacher answers to parent answers while the other was to evaluate the internal consistency of the instrument.

Posters—All posters displayed in McNair Hall from 1pm-5pm.  Researchers will be with their posters from 4pm-5pm

Kristy Love, “Leadership Orientation Style and Its Effect on the Sustainability of Systems in Urban Elementary Turnaround Schools,” COEBS

The purpose of this mixed method study was to determine what factors contribute to the sustained success of schools after they have undergone the turnaround process and moved into the longer process of school transformation by identifying the relationship between principal leadership style and organizational structures that were implemented in schools that lead to sustained academic growth over time. Four research questions were answered to determine the following: 1. What frames of leadership are most common in principals working in transformational schools that have improved accountability? 2. To what extent is there a difference in frame dominance between current and past leadership of urban transformational schools? 3. How do principals working in urban transformational schools implement turnaround strategies that provided sustainability in campus success? 4. What is the connection between the frame dominance compared to turnaround strategy implementation that provided sustainability in campus success? Creswell’s parallel convergent mixed method process for analyzing qualitative and quantitative data was used to analyze Bolman and Deal’s Leadership Orientation (Self) Survey and the Implementation of Turnaround Strategies survey to determine turnaround school organizational systems implementation. The results showed current principals of urban elementary turnaround schools operate out of the Human Resources frame while former principals are most likely to not have a dominate frame and operate out of multiple frames depending upon the issue or situation. These results suggested the need to focus on building teacher capacity and teacher retention programs for highly effective teachers.

Victoria Mota, “Impact Heterocyclic Amines May Have on Developmental and Regenerative Abilities of the Zebrafish Embryo,” COSE

Heterocyclic amines have been hypothesized to form DNA adducts, which can lead to carcinogenesis. These DNA adducts can possibly induce mutations once affected DNA strands are replicated. Research that involved oral administration of concentrations between 0.01%-0.08% of HCAs observed that these HCAs were carcinogenic in rodents. Upon exposure, rodent model organisms developed intestinal cancers, colons cancers, liver tumors and displayed other tissue specific carcinogenesis. In our study, we used .5 – 12 μL doses of 98% 2-phenyl pyridine in our E3 medium , and submerged zebrafish embryos in 3ml well/cell culture plates. The embryos were incubated at 28 C for 2 hours, then later left at room temperature in their wells for observation. For observations,  we used invertedscope microscopy to obtain images and monitored crucial stages of embryological development in order to see the possible impact of HCA 2-phenyl pyridine. Images were obtained 2 hours post incubation and 5 days post fertilization. We observed some possible physical abnormalities and definite changes in motor response to external stimuli. We also made small cuts on the caudal fin 8 days pf to observe the possible impact these HCAs may have on regenerative abilities. Our data indicates that these HCAs may be disrupting the genetic integrity within these zebrafish embryos, but not impacting their ability to regenerate caudal fin tissue.

Jonathan Nguyen, Skylar Gay, Bryce Mortimer, “Quantum Heat Engines and the Generalized Uncertainty Principle,” COSE

The most common engines that people recognize are usually the same size as or larger than a human being. However, not much realization has happened about engines that are much smaller than us, so small that they cannot be seen from normal conventions. These quantized engines are theoretically more efficient than their larger counterparts and undergo quantized gravitational effects, a physical phenomenon that occurs when a pair or group of atoms and molecules share spatial proximity in a way such that they affect one another gravitationally, which we calculate through the generalized uncertainty principle. The efficiency of various quantum heat engines have been investigated in the papers by Ramezani, Bender, Kosloff, and Quan. However, such research is often non-generalized and ignores the effect that quantized gravity has on such systems. In this work, we calculate the efficiencies of both the quantum Carnot engine and quantum Otto engine. We also consider the effects of quantized gravity on the small, interacting particles and use the Generalized Uncertainty Principle (GUP) to extend the previously calculated efficiency for quantum gravitational effects.

Roberto Cruz, Mi Nguyen, “Teratogenicity of Caffeine on the Embryonic & Larval Development of Zebrafish,” COSE

The toxicity of caffeine is commonly overlooked as it has been established as a daily staple within our day-today consumption, as evidenced by its presence in a large variety of food products. It is most important to note that caffeine is largely detrimental to the health and well-being of the developing embryo. Socially, the harmfulness of caffeine towards the developing embryo is demonstrated through the stigmatization of caffeine consumption by pregnant individuals. Though counterintuitive, statistics have shown that caffeine consumption is not completely rare in the pregnancy community. In order to determine the severity of morphological abnormalities engendered by exposure to a variety of caffeine concentrations, experimentation was performed on zebrafish embryos (Danio rerio). Zebrafish are exceedingly valuable to biological research concerning humans as they serve as faithful model organisms. Anatomically, zebrafish are classified into the subphylum vertebrata and possess spinal columns, much like humans. Additionally, zebrafish embryos are nearly transparent and advance quite rapidly, offering greater optical clarity for easy visual observation of embryonic development. This study exposed thirty zebrafish embryos to a diverse range of caffeine concentrations approximately twenty-four hours post-fertilization for a total of ninety-six hours. From this population of thirty zebrafish embryos, 8 were exposed to 0.33 mg/mL of caffeine, 8 were exposed to 0.66 mg/mL of caffeine, and 8 were exposed to 1.00 mg/mL of caffeine. In order to credibly observe the impact of caffeine exposure to embryogenesis, embryos exposed to caffeine were then compared to ten control group zebrafish embryos that remained “caffeine-free” throughout the experimentation process. Though all zebrafish embryos exposed to caffeine showed developmental abnormalities, severity of these abnormalities was amplified in congruency with an increase in caffeine concentration. This experimentation is relevant to the general study of human health and embryology seeing as caffeine has become a commonly consumed and socially accepted biochemical. Monitoring of caffeine consumption would be most beneficial to the well-being of pregnant individuals and the children they carry.

Rosaura Elias, “Does Intermittent Fasting Alleviate Gastrointestinal Symptoms of General Female College Students?” SONAH

General female college students suffer from gastrointestinal problems. Gastrointestinal problems include constipation, diarrhea, gas, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting. By having these problems, some symptoms are common in general female college students, such as bloating, excessive gas, and abdominal pain, and cramps. Female college student’s lifestyle and body changes during their years in college. During these years, it is when they experience a rise of gastrointestinal symptoms. There are options to help reduce or eliminate GI symptoms, for example, change in diet, supplements, medication, and lifestyle. This study will investigate if intermittent fasting can help alleviate GI symptoms in female college students during the spring of 2021. Intermittent fasting is a diet that the participant will undergo fourteen hours of fasting and ten hours of eating. At the end of every week when subjects are undergoing intermittent fasting, subjects will fill out a survey where they rate their gastrointestinal symptoms. The data collected will help analyze if intermittent fasting alleviates GI symptoms.

Valeria Salinas, “A Quantitative Study on Lung Capacity of Collegiate Women Soccer Players,” SONAH

The efficiency and effectiveness of the respiratory system impacts the performance of the cardiovascular and the neuromuscular system. Athletes need the supply of oxygen to order to work their muscles and heart at an optimum level. However, there is a difference in physiological structure of the lungs between males and females who are participating in sports. Hence, the potential occurrence of a disadvantage between genders when revolving around the consumption of oxygen and its storage in the lungs. This research will use a spirometer to measure the lung capacity on female collegiate soccer athletes throughout their in-season. A consent form will be given to these athletes prior to the conduction of the study. The research will shed light into the lung capacities of these athletes as well as any correlation with their height, weight, BMI, age, and ethnicity in comparison with their lung capacity. With this information the research can conclude how well the coach is training their players, the effectiveness of their respiratory system and how it affects their performance.

Axel Bermudez, “Anabolic Intake and Its Effects on a Bodybuilder’s Mental State,” SONAH

This study will look into a bodybuilders mental state based on their intake of anabolics or performance enhancing drugs. There will be a minimum of 10 subjects that will all receive a survey that will measure their level of self-esteem in correlation to drug use and how others perceive them. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the past beliefs of bodybuilders such as: aggressiveness, impair judgement, jealousy, roid rage, etc. are accurate and if consuming these substances improve their lifestyle or diminished their self-esteem. The goal of the study is to shed light on the perceived effect of anabolic steroids to add to a very small body of literature.

Joshua Coleman, “The Effects of Exercise on Cognitive Functions in Elderly Populations,” SONAH

In today’s world research that involves the search for the answers to extending life, naturally or artificially is heavily supported. This paper will examine the connection between exercise, and its effect on cognitive function in elderly populations. During natural aging processes, mental and cognitive capacities naturally decrease over time “Brain neural networks undergo relevant changes during physiological aging, which affect cognitive and behavioral functions.” (Vecchio et al.,2020) The quote shows that this is a universal problem that all humans face and shows why research into cognitive function is so important. Many people may think that this problem can only be solved with complex experiments, and genetic engineering, but one solution is accessible for almost everyone “This study shows that even simple resistance exercise, using only body mass for resistance, may be an effective method for preventing age-related cognitive decline of inhibitory control and working memory among elderly people.” (Ikudome et al.,2017) This source shows that even a simple body weight resistance program shows promise for being an effective preventative for decline of overall cognitive function among elderly people. The problem is that a significant number of elderly people aren’t aware of the immense benefits a regular exercise program can do for their mind, and the goal of this paper is to educate and show a connection between exercise and cognitive function.

Christian Dumont, “Mental Health of College Students During COVID,” SONAH

The purpose of this study is to research how many college students, at a school in Southwest Texas, have suffered with mental health during COVID. COVID has impacted the lives of everyone in this country in a negative way. Many factors such as social distancing, school work, jobs, money, and many others have taken a serious impact on many people’s mental health. Subjects will be administered a survey that they will complete with questions regarding their mental health the past few months. The subjects will have two to three weeks to complete this survey, before it is collected for data. The researcher hopes to find data regarding the mental health of students, that can be used in a positive way somehow. Many are struggling during this pandemic, and help needs to be found for those who are suffering.

Daniel Leggett, “Self-Esteem in Children and Parkour,” SONAH

Parkour is an emerging, non-completive sport. With most of the focus being on the physical aspects, very little is observed of the psychological aspects. This research aims to evaluate the perceived self-esteem of children, ages 9-12, who regularly participate in parkour curriculum.

Jaren Ramirez, “Perceived Attitudes Towards Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape (KT Tape),” SONAH

In the field of kinesiology, many are familiar with the many issues that come with functioning of the body. Kinesiology tape also known as KT tape, was created to have increased benefits from use compared to other adhesive tapes or performance without any tape. This study will research how people perceive kinesiology tape and whether or not it has benefits physically and mentally or if the creation of kinesiology tape and its usage has a placebo effect on people that allows them to increase their performance. The reason for conducting the study would be to help add to the current knowledge that has been studied about kinesiology tape and eliminate the ‘gray area’ about the potential claims towards physical benefits and address the argument about kinesiology tape being used as a placebo. This study would provide further investigation about the claims towards the many proposed benefits of kinesiology tape as well as help identify whether or not the arguments against kinesiology tape are applicable as a fact rather than personal opinions.

Ricardo Rivera, “Arm Injuries Within HCU Baseball Players,” SONAH

To investigate within a D1 baseball team (HBU) how many players have experienced arm injuries and if they’re associated with the UCL. The reason for this is to find out how many players are truly affected by arm injuries. UCL injuries specifically because they’re the most common injuries when it comes to baseball players. This research is also being conducted to see how these arm injuries have affected the players after they recover when it comes to mechanics, performance, and pain (if any) in their arm.

Jacob Coats, “Lack of Functional Strength and Its Effect on UCL Injuries,” SONAH

Researcher hypothesized that lack of functional strength in college pitchers had a direct correlation on their likelihood to tear their Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) in their throwing elbow.

Jared Burch, “The Effects of Training with Weighted Baseballs,” SONAH

My research is about a baseball specific training exercise called weighted baseballs. The point of my research is to prove if training with weighted baseball will increase pitching velocity.