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Symposium Proceedings


Session F:  Flash Talks and Performing Arts Video

3:30 - 4:30 pm

Various Disciplines (11 talks/videos)




F-01       Chapman Shields

Research Presentation Title:  Scenic Design: Arthur Miller's The Crucible

Faculty Research Mentor:  Eric Barker, Theatre


In western-culture theatre, there is always an expressive need for physical representations of scripts to come to life. Insert here the need for a design team, and one of the most key players on the team of designers is the scenographer, or scenic designer. My time studying theatre design and serving as scenographer for The Crucible, both at Oklahoma State University, has led to a research-based discovery of different techniques, practices, and modus operandi in which artists approach designs in the scrutinized world of the stage. As the saying goes: “Art is subjective.” This presentation examines the usefulness of these tactics within the world of stage design and how they begin to work together to provide concrete and foundational pathways when creating the visual storytelling elements of the stage, particularly in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.


F-02       Newlin Humphrey

Research Collaborators:  Bradley Coleman

Research Presentation Title:  Exploration of Students’ Perceptions of Leadership Competencies During a Short-Term Domestic Travel Experience

Faculty Research Mentor:  Lauren Cline, Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership


Although an increasing number of adolescent students in the United States engage in international travel experiences, most research focuses on young adult global leadership competency development. Globalization is an integral component of the agricultural and natural resources industry, increasing the need for developing leadership competencies within a global context. It is important to understand the competencies gained during short-term international and domestic cultural immersion trips to improve how global leadership is developed among adolescent participants. This study explored state FFA officer perceptions of leadership competencies developed through participation in the National FFA Organization’s (i.e., Future Farmers of America) International Leadership Seminar for State Officers (ILSSO). Participants were state FFA officers (high school seniors or college freshmen) elected to represent their state and toured California agriculture for 10 days. While this program is traditionally held abroad, California was selected for a domestic experience due to COVID-19. Participants identified the leadership competencies they developed as a result of the ILSSO experience, how those competencies were developed, and how participation in ILSSO was relevant to leadership within their home state and community. To understand expectations and perceptions for developing leadership competencies, the participants (n = 42) completed pre- and post-trip questionnaires. Participant questionnaires were coded using qualitative content analysis and revealed three emergent themes related to expected and perceived leadership competencies: a) expanded relationships, b) expanded understanding of diversity, and c) conflation of gained industry and technical knowledge as a leadership competency. ILSSO participants expanded their capacity to build relationships in the industry and expected to gain social capital through these relationships. They also expanded their knowledge of diversity in agricultural and natural sciences from a technical and production standpoint and gained an understanding of the social system paradigms within the industry. Although participants perceived the attainment of industry knowledge as a leadership competency, it was not reflective within global leadership competency frameworks. National FFA and those hoping to lead similar short-term study tour programs, should consider structuring the leadership learning outcomes of the program with a global leadership framework to better guide learning experiences and assess participants’ global leadership competencies.


F-03       Ashley Gin

Research Collaborators:  Melanie Whitmore

Research Presentation Title:  Epigenetic Induction of Avian Host Defense Peptides by Sirtuin Modulators

Faculty Research Mentor:  Glenn Zhang, Animal and Food Science


As bacterial resistance continues to challenge existing antibiotics, it is necessary to develop novel antimicrobial alternatives to maintain the health of animal production industries and minimize the zoonotic transmission of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens. Host defense peptides (HDPs), or innate peptides with immunomodulatory and antimicrobial properties, provide a promising alternative approach to indirectly target bacteria through host immune defenses. The epigenetic addition of acetyl groups and removal of methyl groups from histone proteins, or the proteins in which DNA wraps around, have known contributions to chromosomal relaxation, which enhances gene exposure, and therefore, gene expression. Among these epigenetic modulators, sirtuin proteins are known to regulate metabolism through histone deacetylation. Therefore, the objective of this project is to compare the potential for sirtuin activating (Resveratrol, SRT1720, and SRT2104) and inhibiting (EX527, Kaempferol, and Sirtinol) compounds to synergize with a known histone methyltransferase inhibitor (HMTi), BIX01294, to epigenetically upregulate HDPs as a promising poultry therapeutic alternative. These compounds were independently studied in chicken macrophage (HTC) cell lines to determine time (12, 24, 48 h) and dose (5, 10, 20, 40 µM) dependent induction of immunomodulatory genes. Using these optimal treatment dosages and times, synergy was studied by treating chicken macrophage cells with the HMTi in combination with each sirtuin activator or inhibitor. Following cell treatment, RNA was isolated, reverse transcribed, and analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR to quantify avian HDP, inflammatory, and barrier protective gene expression. Although it is hypothesized that sirtuin inhibitors will synergize with the HMTi to induce avian immune response, the results of this study indicate that under optimal dose and time conditions, both sirtuin activating and inhibiting compounds synergize with the HMTi to upregulate HDP gene expression. This unexpected dual induction by compounds with antagonistic effects on histone acetylation suggests that sirtuin activating compounds may induce avian HDPs by an alternative pathway. Although further studies are necessary to deduce this pathway, this study successfully demonstrates that sirtuin activating and inhibiting compounds in combination with HMTis provide a promising therapeutic alternative for the poultry industry.


F-04       Mason Egermeier

Research Collaborators:  Kyle Forsythe, Jorge Gonzalez Estrella

Research Presentation Title:  Microplastic Extraction from Oklahoma Freshwater Sediments with a Continuous Flow Elutriation Process

Faculty Research Mentor:  Jorge Gonzalez Estrella, Civil and Environmental Engineering


The extent of microplastic contamination in Oklahoma’s freshwater remains uninvestigated. Microplastics are polymers with a diameter less than 1mm. Microplastics enter the environment through recreational, agricultural, or industrial activities among other causes. Microplastics can be found in surface water and sediments of freshwater sources. For analysis purposes, microplastics can be extracted from sediments by exploiting differences in densities and settling velocities in a process known as elutriation. Current research generally applies a batch elutriation process for the extraction of microplastics which results in long extraction times and variable extraction efficiencies depending on the type of sediment being treated. We have developed a continuous flow elutriation process with a variable flow rate to increase microplastics extraction efficiency and decrease elutriation time. Samples of sediments were taken at several points along Boomer Creek through the city of Stillwater, OK and the Arkansas River through Tulsa, OK. Samples were elutriated with a continuous flow to extract the lighter particles. Samples were digested with 7.5% NaClO at 50 ºC for two days to remove organic matter. After digestion, Zinc chloride was used to further separate plastics and microplastics by density. Samples were filtered through 0.2 µm aluminum oxide filters. Microplastics were detected with Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy using a cooled ATR detector. This procedure has led to the identification of polyethylene and polypropylene in the sediments of Boomer Creek. We expect to find polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, and polyethylene in the Tulsa samples due to common usage. Further research is needed to continue optimizing extraction procedures and quantify the concentration of plastics in freshwater systems. Our results emphasize that understanding the abundance of microplastics in Oklahoma’s freshwater should be a priority because of their prevalence in the environment and the potential for dangerous health effects.


F-05       Chloe Guthrie

Research Collaborators:  Scott McMurry

Research Presentation Title:  Assessing Spider Predation on Frogs

Faculty Research Mentor:  Scott McMurry, Integrative Biology


Size of a predator and its prey are influential factors regarding successful predation and in general, larger predators can capture larger prey. Previous studies of spider predation of frogs tended to pair species of spiders with frog species of comparable body size. Results demonstrated that larger spiders were capable of depredating larger prey. For our experiment, we expanded on this idea by examining the predator-prey size relations within just one species of wolf spiders (Rapidosa punctulata). This approach eliminated the confounding variable of differing species-specific predation methods and allowed us to focus on how the body size of an individual species of spider influences its ability to successfully capture prey. The experiment was carried out in a system of glass aquaria, where fasted wolf spiders were paired with adult cricket frogs (Acris blanchardi) for 48-hour trials. At the end of each trial, frog condition was recorded as either alive and untouched, dead and untouched, or dead and consumed. It was assumed that frog death was due to spider predation. We did not observe a significant correlation (p-value= 0.0871, r= 0.3419) between spider and frog size. Rather, spiders of all sizes were able to depredate frogs. Indeed, spiders as small as 5mm body length successfully killed adult cricket frogs of 16mm. Further, we observed no evidence of frog predation of spiders, despite the expectation of such events given the size disparity in some trials and the generalist foraging behavior of anurans. We plan to next focus on the nutritional aspect of spider predation on frogs by assessing lipid concentrations in depredated and non-depredated frogs. These studies expand our understanding of the foraging and nutritional ecology of a North American Species of wolf spider.


F-06       Tanner Price

Research Collaborators:  Ryan Paul

Research Presentation Title:  Effects and Advantages of an Active Rear Wing Aero Package for Bullet Racing

Faculty Research Mentor:  Ryan Paul, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Computational and empirical studies were performed to analyze and present the effects and advantages of an active rear wing aero package for the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Formula SAE team, known as Bullet Racing. The study was made up of a series of 2D and 3D Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analyses of a three-tier rear wing system capped with large endplates. The third-tier wing features an adjustable deflaction angle to enable the driver to vary the amount of down-force based on the local curvature of the track. Of interest were the angles which created maximum downforce for high-speed cornering, minimum drag for straightaways where top speed is of the upmost importance, and maximum drag for increasing stopping power, allowing for later braking. CFD was performed at various in-flow speeds and third-tier wing pitch angles to study how lift and drag change in different driving conditions. After performing these studies, it was found that maximum drag occurred when the third wing was set at a -80° deflection angle, minimum drag occurred when the third wing was at a -10° deflection angle, and maximum negative lift (downforce) occurred at -60° deflection angle. The active system will have the high downforce mode as a default, switching to its low drag mode when a button on the steering wheel is depressed by the driver or the high drag mode when the brake pedal is depressed and the on board IMU detects negative acceleration past a prescribed threshold. These findings have been applied to the design of Bullet Racing’s car’s aerodynamics package to optimize lap times and efficiency.


F-07       Sarah Wettemann

Research Presentation Title:  My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys: Sport, Culture and Oklahoma State Athletics

Faculty Research Mentor:  Jared Johnson, Media and Strategic Communications


Since winning its first national championship in wrestling in 1928, athletes from Oklahoma State University have not only won 51 more national championships, the third best in the NCAA but has done so while creating an athletic culture built upon, as the OSU Alma Mater Hymn says, a tradition that is “Loyal and True.” Over time, this climate of integrity has come to be embraced and cultivated by athletes, coaches, and administrators alike in the way they coach their programs, develop student athletes, and respond to adverse events that impact the Oklahoma State athletic family. This desire to win with integrity, which has emerged as one of the defining characteristics of Oklahoma State University Athletics, has produced a cycle of tremendous pride, as Cowboy and Cowgirl athletes compete in orange and black, and are conscious of what it means to be a member of an award-winning program, return to teach and mentor the next generation of athletes, in the process stressing the importance and value of being loyal and true. Athletes and coaches spanning through the history of Oklahoma State athletics provide unique insight into how the culture originated, what it looked like during their time as Cowboys and transformed into what it is today. By conducting interviews with key players within Oklahoma State athletics, reviewing oral histories and archives I was able to define the “Cowboy culture” and how it was created. The culture of OSU is what brings people to the university initially and brings them back to Stillwater long after graduation. In defining the Oklahoma State University culture, coaches, athletes, administrators, fans and alumni encourage and develop the elements of it, making OSU a desirable program with a strong sense of belonging that wins championships and wins them with integrity.


F-08       Priscilla Chatman

Research Collaborators:  Priscilla Chatman, Brittney Conn, Emma Maritz, Toby L. Nelson, Karen L. Wozniak

Research Presentation Title:  Antifungal Activity of Novel Compound EIPE-1 against the Fungal Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

Faculty Research Mentor:  Karen Wozniak, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics


Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that affects immunocompromised individuals. Antifungal drugs have been used to treat fungal infections for many decades; however, due to similarities between fungal and mammalian cells, these drugs are often toxic. In these last few decades, the fungi have also become resistant to the antifungal drugs. EIPE-1 was synthesized from vanillin, and was shown to have activity against methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA), and other gram-positive bacterial pathogens. We hypothesized that EIPE-1 could be used to kill fungal pathogens. For this study, we tested EIPE-1 against C. neoformans  using a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) assay and an in vitro model of intracellular fungal growth using RAW macrophages. EIPE-1 has antifungal activity against C. neoformans in our MIC assay, with an MIC value of 1.749 µg/ml. In addition, following phagocytosis of C. neoformans by RAW macrophages, treatment with EIPE-1 had significant antifungal effects on C. neoformans compared to C. neoformans alone and compared to C. neoformans with RAW macrophages (without treatment). In further studies, we will perform RNA sequencing experiments to examine the direct mechanism of EIPE-1 antifungal activity and to determine how EIPE-1 enhances antifungal activity of RAW macrophages.


F-09       Alex Mason

Research Collaborators:  Jeffrey Hadwiger

Research Presentation Title:  Role of the Erk2 Phosphorylation Sites on the Translocation of GtaC in Dictyostelium

Faculty Research Mentor:  Jeffrey Hadwiger, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics


To better understand chemotaxis and development in our own bodies, the amoeba Dictyostelium is used as a model system. Dictyostelium feed on bacteria, which are found by sensing and chemotaxing to the folate released by bacteria. Dictyostelium also chemotax to cyclic AMP, which is a signal that allows amoeba to detect each other and form multicellular aggregates. Dictyostelium chemotaxis in both cases requires an atypical mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) known as Erk2. Erk2 is also essential for translocation of the GATA transcription factor GtaC from the nucleus to the cytoplasm in response to both folate and cAMP. By altering the transcription factor GtaC to remove various Erk2 phosphorylation sites, we were able to look at the translocation of the mutants to determine the importance of the sites. To visualize the translocation of GtaC, a green fluorescent protein (GFP) tag was used to show movement within the cell. By analyzing the fluorescence within the cells over time when exposed to folate, quantifiable data on the translocation in the cell was obtained. When each individual site on GtaC was altered separately, translocation was reduced each time but not eliminated. When all four sites were altered simultaneously, translocation was completely prevented. This leads us to believe that while no individual site on GtaC is essential, at least one site in general is necessary for Erk2 phosphorylation and translocation of GtaC. This is also the first demonstration that shows an atypical MAPK regulating transcription factors.


F-10       Caitlin McBride

Research Collaborators:  Bo Zhang, Courtney Dotterweich, Sue Fairbanks

Research Presentation Title:  Denning Chronology of American Black Bears in Eastern Oklahoma and the Effects of Changing Environmental Conditions

Faculty Research Mentor:  Sue Fairbanks, Natural Resource Ecology and Management


Our changing climate and rapid increase in human development strongly affect habitat use and behavior patterns in wildlife. These changes in infrastructure and animal behavior may lead to increased interaction between humans and wildlife, especially when food resources are scarce. Black bears (Ursus americanus) can cause extensive property damage and lead to high management costs when searching for anthropogenic food sources. Previous studies have suggested that warmer environmental temperatures are strongly associated with reduced duration of black bear hibernation, which may increase bear-human conflict. Many of these studies were performed in areas of high latitude and elevation, but the effects of warming temperatures on hibernation may be even more dramatic near the southern parts of black bear range. I am analyzing GPS collar data for a population of black bears in the Ouachita Mountains region of southeastern Oklahoma to determine the effects of environmental conditions on hibernation chronology. I determined denning duration, as well as den entrance and emergence dates, for denning events 2014-2021. I will compare these dates to the average daily minimum and maximum temperatures and precipitation around the denning period to determine the effects of environmental conditions on hibernation chronology, while controlling for the effects of sex, age, presence of offspring, and den type on denning behavior. If black bears in southeastern Oklahoma similarly adjust denning behavior in response to environmental cues, I expect that warming temperatures may result in the bears hibernating for a shorter period of time, or potentially abandoning hibernation entirely. If black bears continue to adjust denning behavior in response to environmental conditions, my study will serve as baseline data to detect these changes. Additionally, my results may help wildlife managers to better predict activity patterns in black bears, equipping them to help mitigate future human-bear conflicts.


F-11       Georgia Eastham

Research Collaborators:  Edralin Lucas

Research Presentation Title:  Evaluation of nutritionally active phytochemicals in selection for purple brancoat in bread wheat

Faculty Research Mentor:  Brett Carver, Plant and Soil Sciences; Edralin Lucas, Nutritional Sciences


Anthocyanins are plant compounds that cause the red and purple pigmentation in blueberries and raspberries. They can function as antioxidants which have been shown to have health benefits by protecting human cells from attack by free radicals and reducing inflammation. Hard Red Winter (HRW) and Hard White (HW) are the only market classes of wheat produced in Oklahoma differing in bran color; neither contain a significant amount of anthocyanins. This study is the focal point of a long-term germplasm introgression and development project with the goal of producing market-ready germplasm with enhanced nutritional value. Purple wheat might provide health benefits and generate additional value for the health foods marketplace. The genetic material in this study included 29 full sib experimental lines and their three parents. Grain was produced in three locations: Yuma, Arizona (2020), Stillwater (2021), and Lahoma, Oklahoma (2021). Wheat was milled into a whole-meal flour and extracted with acidified methanol for assays. Anthocyanin concentration, total phenolic content, and two radical scavenging assays were used. Compared to white phenotypes, purple genotypes had significantly higher anthocyanin concentrations (142 to 298%) in each environment and higher total phenolics (103.85 and 105%) in the 2021 environments. Additionally, delayed harvest appeared to be associated with decreased anthocyanin and phenolic concentrations in purple wheat, which could point to the importance of timely harvest to preserve pigments and nutritional functionality. Evaluation is ongoing with the expectation that one of the purple lines will be suitable for commercial production in the southern Plains states.


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