Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students (ACES)

Example Abstracts

Unlike many academic conferences, which are quite often organized around a single discipline, ACES attracts an audience made up of individuals from a range of academic fields: students and judges come from all of UT Arlington’s nine colleges and schools. Given this important fact, students participating in ACES should strive to write abstracts and presentations/posters that can effectively communicate to a general but well-educated audience. To this end, all work submitted to ACES should be (relatively) free of discipline-specific jargon.

The following are abstracts specifically chosen by the Abstract Selection Committee as good examples for students to understand the style of writing for and presenting to a more broad audience.

Two Forms of Leishmaniasis: How PKDL Contributes to the Spread of VL
Presenter: Ryan Landrith, Biology Senior
Mentor: Kribs Zaleta (Math)
Group members: Andrea Calderon, Nhan Le, Ileana Muñoz

Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is a fatal disease caused by a parasite that is spread by the bite of the sandfly. This disease is a health problem for the poor and results in the death of thousands and illness of hundreds of thousands every year. Post-Kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis (PKDL) is a non-fatal manifestation of Leishmaniasis characterized by a relapse following incomplete treatment for VL, and contributes to the spread of the disease. Some countries, for example India and Bangladesh, have started programs to reduce the cases of VL by focusing on early diagnosis and complete treatment for VL. This study focuses on the relationship between cases of VL and the percentage of PKDL cases treated into remission. We use a mathematical model of VL and PKDL infection dynamics to evaluate the effect of PKDL treatment on reducing new cases of VL. This study indicates that with the current treatments available, PKDL treatment alone cannot stop the spread of VL. At half of the maximum treatment level considered VL cases were reduced by less than 10%. However, the control reproductive number, the spread of the disease, at the same treatment level can be reduced by as much as 25%. Our analysis suggests that while PKDL treatment alone would not be sufficient, combined approaches that include PKDL treatment may be.

This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation NSFUBM-Institutional Grant DUE#0827136 through the UTTER program.

Reliability and Validity of the UTA Intergroup Compromise Inventory in Democratic, Republican, and Independent Samples
Presenter: Jarryd Willis, Psychology Graduate
Mentor: William Ickes

Compromise is largely based on being able to sacrifice marginal ingroup inputs and allowing a reconciliation of outgroup offers that produces a unilaterally unobtainable output. Due to the absence of an established Intergroup Compromise measure in the extant political or social Psychology literature, I attempted to develop and psychometrically examine such a scale within the political psychology domain.
I collected data from 298 undergraduates who were self-identified Democrats (n = 128), Republicans (n = 64), and Independents (n = 106) (Mage = 20.58).
An exploratory factor analysis retained 32 of the initial 49 items to form four stable factors: (a) respondents who score high in Compromise (alpha= .83) see it as more rewarding than loyalty to their party (Independents scored higher than Republicans); (b) those who score high in Distrust (alpha= .87) believe that the opposing party doesn’t value compromise and cannot be taken at their word (Independents scored lower than Democrats); (c) participants scoring high in Perspective-Taking (alpha= .79) express empathic concerns about the other party (Independents scored higher than Republicans); and (d) respondents with high scores in Retrenchment (alpha= .81) are willing to reject their own ideas if people in the opposing party support them (Independents scored lower than Republicans). The Intergroup-Compromise Inventory (ICI) demonstrated construct, criterion-related, and incremental validity with measures included in the nomological network.
As social scientists, we should view America's lack of compromise as a social problem. The ICI is an initial attempt at assessing the issue in the realm of political and social psychology.

Population Seasonal Growth Dynamics of the Invasive Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) in Lake Texoma, Texas
Presenter: Catherine E. Greene, Biology Senior
Mentor: Robert F. McMahon

Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) are an ecologically and economically damaging invasive species. After initial introduction to the Great Lakes from Europe in 1986, it has since spread throughout United States and southern Canada watersheds east of the Rocky Mountains, reaching its southernmost limit in Lake Texoma (LT) (Texas and Oklahoma) in 2009. In LT, mussels survive water temperatures ≥30°C, 2°C above its recognized 28°C long-term upper thermal limit suggesting adaptation to the lake’s elevated temperatures. I studied mussel growth dynamics in LT, relative to that recorded in Europe and NA.
Mussel samples were periodically collected from brick substrata suspended at 2.5m depth in LT. Bricks were deployed during June 2011 and April 2012 to allow mussel settlement and growth after subsequent spawning periods. Mussel shell lengths (SL) were measured (nearest 0.1 mm) with digital calipers or a dissecting scope stage micrometer, analyzed for distinct generations (i.e., Spring 2011 and 2012) and mean SL’s plotted against sidereal collection day to estimate growth rates.
Mussels in LT attained a mean SL of 23 mm after a 400-day (1.01 year) life span, compared to European and NA populations where similar SL’s are attained after 3-4 year life spans.
Rapid growth and short life spans account for rapid development of dense mussel populations in LT after initial discovery in 2009 and will also allow mussels in Texas to rapidly establish in other lakes and quickly foul power stations, water treatment plants, and raw-water systems.

(Mis)Understanding the Indulgence: Conceptual Notions of Hell in the Middle Ages and Their Importance in the Crusading Movement
Presenter: Erin S. Lynch, History Junior
Mentor: Stephen Reinhardt

Early conceptualities of Hell had an acute influence on the behavior of medieval man, an example of which can be seen in Western European involvement in the crusading movement. The concept of Hell was widespread yet imprecisely defined in the Middle Ages; nonetheless, medieval man sensed the threat of Hell as a reality. What he failed to understand was how exactly he was supposed to avoid the fate of Hell. The complex theological mechanisms of sin, grace, and redemption, were, at this time, undergoing a process of transformation and definition. As a result, these crucial yet murky concepts perplexed the non-elite laity. When, however, in 1095, Pope Urban II issued his call for crusade, these same simple and pious people believed they had finally found their answer. Regardless of the qualified intentions of the papacy, many of the participants in the crusades understood the crusading indulgence granted them for their service in the Levant simply as an escape from a future in Hell. By analyzing primary accounts of the call to crusade, preaching instructions and accounts, as well as the songs of the crusaders themselves, I will demonstrate that, between 1095 and 1198, this reciprocal arrangement between the papacy and laity was the most influential factor in creating an army of penitent pilgrims.

The Effects of a Nintendo® Wii™ Exercise Intervention on Gait in Older Adults
Presenter: Anna Lee, Kinesiology Graduate
Mentor: Christopher Ray
Group members: Ketaki Deo, Dr. John Biggan, Wyn Taylor

Falls are one of the leading causes of serious injury and accidental death in older adults. Exercise interventions have been found to be effective in improving gait and, therefore, reducing fall risk. However, the use of interactive video games to reduce fall risk has not been well explored. The object of this study was to compare spatiotemporal gait changes following an exercise intervention using an interactive video game technology which provides immediate biofeedback (Nintendo Wii) with a traditional seated group exercise intervention in older adults.
Eighty-two older adults were randomly assigned to either a traditional fitness or Wii group. Both 10-week interventions involved 45 minute exercise sessions (3 days/week). Pre- and post-testing gait measurements were taken.
Both groups demonstrated significant improvement in velocity, stride length and frequency, cadence, swing time and decrease double support time (p<.05). In addition, there was significant difference in gait parameters between two groups (p<.05). Double support time in the Wii Fitness group was significantly lower than Group Fitness, and swing time in Wii Fitness was significantly higher than Group Fitness. However, there was no significant difference in Coefficient of variance (CV) in stride length and CV in swing time (p>.05).
In conclusion, our study indicates that an intervention using Nintendo Wii improved gait parameters resulting in reduced fall risk in older adults and the overall improvements were similar to that of a traditional seated exercise. Therefore, interactive video games offer a promising alternative to traditional group exercise for older adults.

© 2014 Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students (ACES)
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