Honors College Theses

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    Assessing the Balance of an Adult Idiopathic Toe Walker and the Effect of Adding Custom Heel Wedges: Case Report
    (2023) Racette, Olivia; Treanore, Tamara
    Idiopathic toe walkers present with a distinctly different walking pattern that, over a long period of time, can alter the development of the calf muscles and Achilles tendon, as well as decrease the stability one has while standing. While research has been performed on how to prevent toe walking, the focus has been on the pediatric population, who are more responsive to treatments, rather than adults whose bodies have adapted to an abnormal way of walking. This study reveals the benefits of creating custom heel wedges for an adult toe walker. The balance of the subject was first assessed using the BTrackS Balance Plate. Then, custom heel wedges were fabricated and the subject’s balance was reevaluated while wearing the heel wedges. The results illustrated an improvement in balance after using the heel wedges, because the subject has more plantigrade support when standing. Due to the successful results, this study offers an alternative solution for toe walkers who cannot or do not want to receive other types of treatment, and potentially decrease the numerous types of injuries they endure due to their lack of stability.
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    The Neurological Sites Impacted Post-COVID-19 Infection
    Whitaker, Micaiah; Kauhn, Christopher
    This literature review intends to prove that there is a correlation between anatomical and physiological effects of the brain that the patient exhibits post COVID-19. This will be achieved through identification and comparison of anatomical, biochemical, histological, and physiological sources of long COVID-related memory impairment as well as cognitive, motor, and visual deficits within the brain. From that information, this literature review will correlate each symptom to a set of structures that may produce long-COVID-associated symptoms in patients. With this knowledge, we may be able to formulate successful treatment plans based on the sites of infection. A strong understanding of areas of the brain generally worsened post long-COVID-19 infection could improve the accuracy of treatment and enhance its effects. Most favorably, treatment could one day better the daily lives of individuals suffering from cognitive, memory, motor, or visual deficits by reducing their symptoms. This literature review intends to find missing areas within today’s research about post-COVID-19 syndrome and subsequently prove that it is unadded knowledge to the field. The research will proceed with a specific set of research terms to incorporate the most relevant findings. All articles listed in this proposal are acquired from Oakland University’s Kresge Library or Google Scholar. Articles related to the disease in question are written within the past three years, and all articles included in this literature review are peer-reviewed and originally written in English.
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    The Use of Artificial Intelligence for Melanoma Detection
    Nayfeh, Omar; Hua, Ming; Alao, Damilola
    With an increase in the uses of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), the possibilities of computer science in other fields are endless. Therefore, having developed an application in Python (Programming Language), that uses AI and ML to detect if an image of a skin spot uploaded by a patient or doctor is or is not potentially melanoma with percentage certainty can aid in the early detection phase and save valuable time. Namely, Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) techniques have been implemented through the help of TensorFlow and Keras, open-source frameworks that aid the development of CNNs, since they are the standard for distinguishing the classification of an image. Through the application’s diagnosis, this means that doctors can reevaluate what the best course of action should be to save their patient’s life. This project provides a better understanding of how these Artificial Intelligence applications can be used within the medical field. This thesis will also aid others in the same area of expertise to build upon their own applications through this project as a reference.
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    Temperature effects on production of infectious zoospores from chytrid-infected Xenopus laevis
    Spengler, Kyle; Raffel, Thomas
    A leading cause of global declines in amphibian populations is chytridiomycosis, the temperature-dependent pandemic disease, caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochydrium dendrobadtidis (Bd). Temperature fluctuations caused by climate change could exacerbate this disease. Temperature-dependent models of Bd infections can provide important insights into Bd transmission dynamics in frog populations to help inform management actions. The Raffel lab has been working on a novel type of mechanistic model to predict Bd and host responses to fluctuating temperatures, based on a combination of metabolic theory and a type of dynamic model traditionally used to describe macroparasite dynamics. In this model shedding rate (i.e., the number of zoospore equivalents released per minute) of Bd zoospores from an infected host’s skin constitutes an important parameter which we were able to measure. We infected 124 juvenile Xenopus laevis and subjected them to acclimation temperatures of 10 °C, 15 °C, or 20 °C for 35 days. All frogs were inoculated the day of performance temperature switch which happened at the end of the acclimation period; however, 38 were also inoculated 35 days before the switch. During the performance period frogs were subjected to temperatures of 10 °C, 15 °C, 20 °C, or 25 °C for 35 days. Shed zoospores were collected 7 days and 35 days post performance temperature switch. On day 7 of the performance period, shedding rate differed between each performance temperature, but not with acclimation temperature (Table 3). A higher shedding rate was also observed with lower performance temperatures. Shedding rate on day 35 of the performance period did not differ between each performance temperature and acclimation temperature. Shedding rate was also significantly lower on day 35 (Table 3). Frogs inoculated 35 days before the performance temperature switch did not differ between frogs inoculated the day of the switch. We also found Infection intensity and levels of shed zoospores were correlated (Table 3), with filters having detected more zoospores day 7 of the performance period compared to swabs collected at the same time point. We conclude shedding rate from X. laevis is affected by temperature, and infection load. This research will help to inform the transmission parameter for the mathematical model our lab has been generating to untangle the complex temperature dependence of Bd disease dynamics in frog populations which will potentially help conservation programs.
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    Sutherland, Victoria; Latcha, Michael
    Creating autonomous robots in order to complete tasks has received increasing attention in recent years due to efforts to increase productivity and efficiency. The objective of this project is to create an autonomous table-to-floor-to-table robot. The robot will start inside a square on a table, travel to the floor, trace a square without hitting any cones, travel back to the table, and end up in the same square. The table-to-floor-to-table robot will be autonomously flown as a drone and then driven with a set of treads, wheels, and axles once on the ground. Through testing, the robot was successful in completing the ground course of the challenge, tracing the square in forty seconds, which is ideal given that the time limit for the entire course is five minutes. The total cost of all of the components that are used on the robot add up to $296, and the budget for the project is capped at $300. These two factors display that the robot meets the criteria of the challenge.
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    How the Processing of Juvenile Cases has Changed Based On COVID-19
    Gnatek, Sophia; Johnson, Wendi
    Over the past two decades, juvenile delinquency rates have been decreasing across the United States, coming to an all-time low during 2020. In the juvenile justice system, current research has found that race and gender play large roles in the processing of juvenile cases, as well as urban and rural areas. In fact, research has found that the population of a county affects the number of cases the juvenile justice system will have, both in their county and across their state. In Michigan, rural counties have a much lower amount of juvenile cases than urban counties, as they are more likely to settle things outside of the system, unlike their more urban counterparts. The study conducted in this research looks to see how the COVID-19 pandemic, between 2019 to 2020 changed the processing of juvenile cases in Michigan. Using data from the OJJDP, results found that across both urban and rural regions there were fewer cases processed between the two years, and moreover the greatest statistical difference being between White and Black juveniles. These results are able to show the adaptability of the juvenile justice system to a health crisis, both in Michigan, but also in the United States.
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    Studying whether C-C Motif Chemokine Ligand 11 (CCL11) Induces Reactive Oxygen Species in Microglial Brain Macrophages
    Nichols, Mackenzie; Rhee, Sang Hoon
    Neurodegenerative disease is a process in which cells within the nervous system are damaged or die due to conditions in the brain that influence their well-being. Elevated levels of CCL11, an age-related chemokine, have been linked to neurodegenerative disease. Along with CCL11, there is also the increased observance of excess reactive oxygen species (ROS); which are free radicals that damage cellular DNA, RNA, and proteins, leading to the death of cells. This study investigates the impact that CCL11 has in the production of ROS in brain macrophages, known as microglia. Along this line, we hypothesize that CCL11 would activate microglia and increase extracellular ROS in the brain. Leading to the damage of the neuronal tissues and the development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia. To study this hypothesis, we used in vitro cell culture techniques with the microglial cell line, SIM-A9. Results indicate a significant increase in the production of both intracellular and extracellular H2O2, the primary ROS investigated. Furthermore, a potential underlying mechanism that may regulate the production of ROS by CCL11 in microglia was proposed. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie CCL11-mediated ROS production in microglial cells, may provide valuable insight into the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative disorders. Leading to the development and use of potential therapeutic strategies.
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    Macron, Trump, and Biden: Shaping French Foreign Policy with the U.S. from 2016-2022
    Goss, Corrin; Cantir, Cristian
    This thesis will examine French foreign policy towards the United States starting in 2016 through early 2022, considering the entirety of Emmanuel Macron’s presidency in France, and spanning both the Trump and Biden administrations in the United States. The first goal of this investigation is to understand the primary directions of French foreign policy towards the U.S. The second is to establish who in France is primarily responsible for determining foreign policy towards the U.S. The third is to examine whether France’s behavior changes when working with a Republican or Democrat administration within the U.S. This research will aid academia, as part of an effort to provide a better understanding of French foreign policy towards the U.S., while also providing U.S. decision makers with information on what drives French foreign policy and whether the ideology of the U.S. President matters.
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    Alienation in College Students and Their Reasons for Travel
    Williams, Nina; Srauy, Sam
    People travel all over the world for a variety of reasons. During a student’s college experience, is a time for exploration and understanding one's identity and to a lesser extent discovering their historical roots amongst other college students. Some of these experiences allow students to study abroad, participate in class trips, and visit new destinations. However, limited research prevents the idea behind the reasons behind why college students yearn to travel to new destinations and if it plays a key role in solving identity issues. To fill this gap, this research will go into depth about the importance of identity among college students and why traveling to new destinations may pose a reason for clarity in understanding who they are. Cultural identity research amongst college students that live in America or students who have had family come to America overseas is an issue that is worth taking a look into in terms of young students and their ability to understand their cultural identity. This research will add to the questioning of identity in young adults and how it affects identity crisis in terms of travel. The benefits of this research may answer some of the questions that come with cultural identity issues among college students and how travel may come as a beneficial aspect in this department.
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    Their Side. A Hybrid Documentary Project
    Parker, Danielle; Reifert, Justin
    What began as a hybrid documentary project about decision making, became a journey that led to unrealized truth about the consequences that our actions have on those around us. "Their Side" explores the custody battle between two parents and the lasting effects on their children as they learn to cope with the truth and find closure on their own terms. In this critical analysis and reflection, the audience will receive an inside look into the complications and process that led to the final cut of the film.
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    Democratic Views in Islamist Groups
    Zahr, Mehdi; Landolt, Laura
    Islamist groups do not have the greatest reputation among supporters of democracy as they are typically seen as anti-democratic. While there are a plethora of Islamist groups that oppose democracy, there are some that see the appeal in at least a few aspects of democracy. The question then becomes: why do some Islamist groups support democracy more than others? In an attempt to answer the question, this paper provides a unifying definition of Islamism that allows the reader to understand what Islamists’ goals are, and what most Islamist groups have in common with each other to fit under the term “Islamism.” Furthermore, a minimalist description of democracy that highlights elections over measures of normative values will be defined to properly measure Islamist support or opposition towards democracy. The paper also highlights which Islamic symbols Islamists borrow from to justify their views of democracy. By using both a “most similar systems design” and a “most different systems design,” Islamist groups are compared based on their ideologies and views of democracy in order to find out how, and why these Islamist groups vary in their views of democracy.
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    Exploration of the Economic Repercussions of Climate Change
    Adams, Natalie; AlSalman, Zeina
    Global climate change has been largely amplified by human influences and can now be linked to more than just the changing weather conditions and worsening natural disasters. Research gathered and analyzed over the past several decades is now able to connect shifts in climate to changes in global economies through various economic factors. This paper will look at recent studies and model data spanning those economic factors to determine if there is a visible link showing responses of global economies to climate change. Through this data analysis there is evidence to support the claim that the climate change effects span farther than increased severity of weather conditions and often dip into varying sectors of economies. This information will help policy makers determine the best course of action in fighting the effects of climate change. In addition, it will also allow policy makers to curate proper prevention methods to suppress further damage from occurring. Helping the countries most affected by climate change will benefit all economies by protecting trade and supply chains on a global scale.
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    The Use of Virtual Reality as a Nursing Intervention for Anxiety in Patients with Cancer
    Espedido, Micaela Joi; Novak, Amanda
    Distractions help to decrease anxiety, and virtual reality is a new form of distraction with the potential to relieve anxiety (Glennon et al., 2018). The use of virtual reality as a nursing intervention is a potentially effective way of decreasing anxiety in patients with cancer. However, there is currently insufficient empirical evidence regarding whether this nursing intervention is correlated with decreased anxiety in patients, which constitutes a gap in the current knowledge. This thesis aims to answer what factors need to be evaluated in order to fill the knowledge gap and determine if a correlation exists between the use of virtual reality as a nursing intervention and decreased anxiety in cancer patients. Nursing articles about the intervention of virtual reality for anxiety relief were found through the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) along with set search terms and filters for relevancy.
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    The Mask Mandate Efficacy for Containing COVID-19 within Michigan
    Piwowarski, David; So, Hon
    This project extended previous research into face mask policy and the incidence of COVID-19 to be applied to the population of Michigan. With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, mask mandates seemed to be a necessary containment solution that can suppress COVID-19 cases and reduce pressure on health care services. To estimate the efficacy of the mask mandate in Michigan, we analyzed the COVID-19 datasets from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), focusing on Michigan’s counties. Furthermore, we also considered additional data sources to enrich the surrounding discussion regarding mask efficacy, namely how the rest of this country fared through the pandemic. We applied the Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMM) to compare counties when masks were mandatory in public and when masks were compulsory. We also provided recommendations to public health officials over the state of the pandemic within Michigan’s locale.
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    The Impact of Writing Center Consultations on Writing Self-Efficacy
    Lundin, Isabelle; Wynn-Perdue, Sherry
    This study sought to determine the impact writing center consultations have on student writing self-efficacy and to illuminate effective consultant strategies for fostering student writing confidence. As part of a multi-method study, a survey was administered for students to reflect upon and to assess their feelings of writing self-efficacy by describing experiences in writing center consultations. Selected respondents were asked to elaborate on the strategies used by their peer consultant(s) in an optional open-ended interview. Findings suggest that writing center consultations help increase writing self-efficacy. The effective consultant strategies described by study participants are synthesized into an overarching consultant framework of empathy-based tutoring, which includes four key consultant moves that work to foster writing self-efficacy, which are listening, translating, advising, and motivating. Results from this study have implications for further consultant training and/or professional development programs and reaffirms the value writing centers bring to student writing growth.
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    Moving Vulnerable Kernel Logic Into User Space
    Raymond, Ryan; Malik, Khalid
    Programs which run at ring zero are a security risk. Moving code into user space can mitigate this risk. As a demonstration, a simple kernel module with vulnerable logic was used as a control case. This module was capable of targeted data exfiltration from the kernel. It was shown that moving the application logic into user space decreased the severity of the vulnerability. Furthermore, rewriting the user space program in Guile – a very high-level language – removed the vulnerability entirely.
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    Analysis of the Evolution of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Its Effect on University Students
    Paricio Sunyer, Oriol; Oleksyk, Taras
    Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is defined by the CDC as a neurodevelopmental disorder which can cause inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity (Centers for, 2021). While this disorder has been studied from many angles, including characterizing the symptoms through many age groups, its causes from a genetic and environmental perspective, and what treatments can be most effectively used to treat people with it, one perspective that goes commonly unused is to view the disorder from an evolutionary perspective. Using data from genome-wide association studies such as the IMAGE project, two candidate genes were identified for association with ADHD (DRD4 and DAT1) which served as the basis for the study of the evolution of ADHD (Brookes et al., 2006). With the data on these genes pulled from the NCBI, GenomAD, ClinVar, and OMIM databases, the Evolutionary history of the variants of these genes which have shown statistical significance in their association with ADHD were analyzed. With that information, multiple testable hypotheses as to which situations and problems people with ADHD may have evolved to be better equipped to handle in the modern day were generated for testing in Alexis Albright’s section of this study.
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    A Post Institution Society: Adapting Respite for Caregivers of People with SMI
    Austin, Abigail; Espitia, Nicolaus
    Serious mental illnesses, or SMI, are illnesses that are debilitating and impact the activities of daily life (Whitney et al., 2015). Many of these people with SMI require caregiving which places quite a burden on the caregiver, especially since after deinstitutionalization. Respite care models have been found to be effective in other areas so this research will further address how these existing respite care models can be adapted for future SMI respite care. Background research was conducted on the role of deinstituonalization in shifting the care of people with SMI from institutions to families. As well as the prevalence of mental illness today, the increase in caregiving, what respite care programs have been effective so far, the current barriers to implementing respite care, and the overall importance as to why respite care should be further adapted for specific SMI respite care. An integrative literature review was conducted using online databases and keywords to fill in the gaps of the lack of best practices and curriculum surrounding SMI respite care. The review will look into if existing respite care models can be used to adapt future respite care for caregivers of people with serious mental illnesses. The results found that the similarities among caregiving across illnesses, needs of caregivers, existing respite care models, and best practices on behavioral crisis care show that SMI respite care can be further adapted and point out the lack of clear best practices of SMI respite care. These findings can lead into further development of these SMI respite care best practices, information dissemination on respite resources, longitudinal studies of respite care, and more needs assessments of SMI caregivers. Some limits of the review were finding articles with just SMI statistics and not AMI (any mental illness). Another limitation is some data found being outside of the US and that the results of the theory are subjective. This research will address the need for competency and emphasize the value of service in social work practice by finding literature that can contribute to best practices for SMI respite care to attempt to reduce the burdens of SMI caregivers.
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    Synthesis and Reactivity of Alkene Dioxygenase Model Complexes
    Creek, Allison; Dr. Ferman, Chavez
    Carotenoids are a family of molecules that are categorized by their alternating carbon-carbon double bonds, and are responsible for a variety of important processes in all forms of life. Carotenoid Cleavage Dioxygenases (CCDs) are iron-containing enzymes capable of converting carotenoids to biologically important molecules, which are critical for biological functions in plants and animals. CCDs cause specific carbon-carbon double bonds in carotenoids to break. In this study, the investigation of CCDs and similar structured enzymes using small molecule model compounds will help to determine the relationship between structure and reactivity. This relationship can be tested by using iron-containing compounds for enzyme modeling with continual structure adjustments and reacting said compounds with relevant organic molecules. This will result in further knowledge of enzymes and the creation of compounds that can be used as catalysts to assist in the determination of reaction mechanisms. This information will advance understanding of reactions previously proposed by experimental and theoretical investigators in this field.
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    Current Perspectives on Autism Spectrum Disorder: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
    Lillemoen, Faith; Liu, Zijuan
    Autism spectrum disorder (also called ASD) is a pervasive disorder that strongly impacts the lives of affected individuals and their families. While the incidence of the disease has been increasing, little is understood about the exact mechanisms behind the disorder or how to treat it. Research must continue to determine the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to ASD. The methods of diagnosing ASD must also be scrutinized. Developments in these areas could greatly impact the lives of people who have ASD. Knowledge of the underlying mechanisms could provide the key to biological treatment, while more specific diagnoses could allow for greater distinction between individuals on the spectrum based on their personal abilities and needs. Additionally, research into pharmacologic, therapeutic, and non-invasive treatments could improve the quality of life for individuals who have ASD. The present paper seeks to synthesize current research on the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorder, then propose directions for future research. Through a detailed examination of the current literature, new directions will be determined.