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Week of Undergraduate Excellence Abstracts


Oral Presentations

Halleli Zacher

College of Arts & Sciences
Nominated by: Professor Jacqueline Sadashige

Am I a Feminist?

The word feminist has a lot of connotations in today's day in age some good and some bad. For my final project, I designed a BuzzFeed quiz that informs someone of what type of feminist they are. Within the first 24 hours of it being posted, it was taken by 60 people and now it has been taken by over 180 people. I used the core values and beliefs of each feminist movement to create questions that would determine which movement people aligned most with. The quiz allowed people to find out how their personal beliefs of equality and fairness aligned with the different movements. The purpose was to destigmatize the word as well as show how the term and meaning has changed over the years.

Monday, May 20 
11-11:15 am
Hagerty Library, L-33

Hannah Johnson

College of Arts & Sciences
Biological Sciences
Nominated by: Professor Susan Gurney

Isolating Mycobacteriophage InigoMontoya from a soil sample

Bacteriophages are a type of virus that infect bacterial cell hosts and can be found in soil. The Drexel SEA-PHAGES (Science Education Alliance – Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science) characterizes soil bacteriophages infecting Mycobacterium smegmatis through isolation, purification, DNA sequencing and genome annotation. A study by Sharath Srinivasiah et. al showed that soil is the most abundant resource for finding bacteriophage because soil is a bacteria-rich environment (2015). We have been able to isolate bacteriophages infecting M. smegmatis from soil samples which exhibited a range of different pH levels. Mycobacteriophage InigoMontoya was isolated from soil collected on Drexel’s campus. It is one of very few C1 cluster bacteriophages have been isolated by the Drexel SEA-PHAGE program. They are easily identifiable due to their long genome (InigoMontoya has 270 genes) and myoviridae morphology (large head and short tail) (Hatfull, 2012). InigoMontoya is genetically similar to Mycobacteriophage Pivoine, (isolated from soil from Annandale, Virginia). These two mycobacteriophages share 155,162 of 155,256 DNA nucleotides. Although when annotated 270 were identified in InigoMontoya, with only 267 being identified in Pivoine. Through the isolation and identification of bacteriophages, we can further understand bacteriophages diversity.

Monday, May 20 
Hagerty Library, Room L-33

Clara Rowlings

College of Arts and Sciences
Nominated by: Professor Mina Ratkalkar

Asexuality: Demystifying the Invisible Orientation

Asexuality is misunderstood by the public and medical community alike (Bogaert, 2015). A growing proportion of the United States population identifies as asexual. Asexual people often cope with societal unfamiliarity and discomfort with their identity, necessitating further education and research. This presentation delves into this topic and aims to give participants further understanding of asexuality and dispel myths about it. Despite previously being defined as a lack of sexual attraction, asexuality is often tied to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM 5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) diagnoses of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). Recent research indicates that asexuality is much more than that, encompassing a broad range of attitudes and experiences, and is better characterized as an identity rather than a condition (Prause & Graham, 2007). This presentation will cover some facts and fiction about asexuality, as well as how it has come to be viewed by some as a sexual orientation. Additionally, the stigma faced by individuals who identify as asexual, and how that stigma varies across the gender spectrum, will be discussed.

Monday, May 20 
Hagerty Library, Room L-33

Victoria C. Milano

College of Arts & Sciences
Nominated by: Professor Nomi Eve

The Imagination Prescription: One course that is preparing the next generation of medical professionals through Career Development, Civic Engagement, and Experiential Learning Drexel University’s Story Medicine course is an example of an applied humanities pedagogy that engages students in multiple aspects of the university’s core principles. Story Medicine Independent Study students exercise Career Development, Civic Engagement, and Experiential Learning. Students travel to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and meet with medically fragile and terminally ill patients. Story Medicine students guide patients in the development of detailed patient-authored short stories. Students then present these stories to a separate cohort of Drexel students who transform patient stories into animated short films. All stages of the process are facilitated by the independent study students (character/plot development, storyboarding, live action filming, and motion capture) Students must develop unique communication strategies tailored to each patient and must learn to communicate with chronically and terminally ill patients and families from different backgrounds. The community engaged learning that occurs within this course provides more than traditional discipline-specific learning outcomes; students acquire transformative personal experiences that give an inside look into future career goals. Students have immersive experiences in a clinical hospital environment, while impacting the lives of children and families at CHOP. Students must react to changeable circumstances, while working collaboratively as a team in a real-world setting.

Tuesday, May 21;
Hagerty Library L-14

Maria Natalia Noriega Pedraza

College of Engineering
Materials Science & Engineering
Nominated by: Professor Richard Knight

Chemical Stability and Environmental Storage Conditions of MXenes in Aqueous Media

Two-dimensional (2D) transition metal carbides and/or nitrides (MXenes) exhibit interesting properties, warranting their use in a variety of applications. [1] However, MXenes degrade when stored in aqueous media making long-term use difficult. Based on the various storage conditions and MXene compositions the chemical stability in solution varies, revealing the importance of characterizing and investigating methods to improve the stability of the produced solutions. [2] Here, we characterized the chemical and colloidal stability of molybdenum titanium carbide MXenes (Mo2TiC2 and Mo2Ti2C3) stored in different environmental conditions by observing changes in particle size and UV vis-spectroscopy. Free-standing films made from the solutions were characterized by Raman spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction and conductivity measurements. Results showed that time constants improved from 6.3 to 104 days (Mo2TiC2, Argon, 5 deg C) and 45.2 to 160 days (Mo2Ti2C3, Argon, 25 deg C). Additionally, the exposure to light/dark conditions, volume of headspace in the vial, and freezing conditions were also investigated. [1] B. Anasori, et al., Nature Reviews Materials 2017, 2 (2), 16098. [2] C. Zhang, et al., Chemistry of Materials 2017, 29 (11), 4848-4856.  

Tuesday, May 21
Hagerty Library, L-14

Mark Petrovic

College of Engineering
Materials Science & Engineering
Nominated by: Professor Michele Marcolongo

Biomimetic Nanofiber Scaffolds Facilitate Mineralization Analogous to Endogenous Bone

Bone is the second most commonly transplanted tissue after blood with 2.2 million transplants performed annually. The current standard for treatment are autografts wherein the patient’s own bone is used to repair the damaged site. This approach offers the optimum chance at tissue regeneration, however, it is often painful and requires a long recovery period. Recently, hybrid polymer biomaterials have emerged as a promising alternative strategy due to their biocompatibility and their resemblance to the nanotopography of natural bone. A subset of these biomaterials—nanofiber shish kebabs (NFSKs)—have been shown to nucleate the growth of polymer crystals that follow a periodic pattern with the period ranging from tens to hundreds of nanometers, analogous to collagen fibrils in natural bone. When mineralized in simulated body fluid, NFSKs were shown to be the first synthetic matrix that facilitated intrafibrillar mineralization similar to that found in collagen fibers of bone. Based on previous results showing that fiber alignment affects cell proliferation, these experiments were extended to explore the effects of crystal periodicity on mineral orientation in order to better mimic natural bone. Surface roughness is known to affect cell signaling and proliferation on solid substrates, so understanding how this characteristic affects the performance of porous materials is critical for the development of biomimetic bone scaffolds as an alternative to autografts.  

Tuesday, May 21 
Hagerty Library, Room L-14

Isabella Mendoza

College of Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering
Nominated by: Professor Richard Knight

The Mechanics of Dance: Utilizing Parametric Equations as Inspiration for Dance Choreography

img alt="" class="float-right percent-25 marg-1" src="/~/media/Images/pennoni/Week of Undergraduate Excellence/2019 WUE/Medoza Isabella1.ashx?la=en" />A novel approach to creating dance choreography was implemented with the use of parametric equations, known as Lissajous figures, instead of using immediate feedback choreographers are typically used to, such as with the use of mirrors or suggestions from the dancers. A Lissajous figure is created by plotting the coordinates of one wave versus the coordinates of another; and different Lissajous patterns can be created depending on the phase shift of the waves. This method was applied by using accelerometers wherein the acceleration of one dancer in a specific direction was plotted versus the acceleration of another. With the use of MATLAB analysis, partial Lissajous figures were formed from the motion of the dancers. Parametric equations such as Lissajous figures have often been found in music composition, however, this is the first time it is being investigated with respect to motion. The data collected was then used by the artistic director and choreographer to finish the rest of the dance piece, entitled "Lissajous," which was performed by the Bowen McCauley Dance Company last May 17th and 18th at the Kennedy Center, in Washington, DC.  

Tuesday, May 21 
Hagerty Library, Room L-14

Laura Chamberlaine

College of Arts & Sciences
Environmental Studies and Sustainability
Nominated by: Professor Debjani Bhattacharyya

The Indus River Basin: An Ever Fluid Relationship Between Humans and Water

The silt-laden waters from the Hindu Kush region and the powerful annual monsoon serve as crucial life support systems for the Indus river basin. However, serious environmental threats and new factors such as climate change creating an uncertain changing monsoon season, rapid population growth, and urbanization threaten water insecurity in South Asia. The Indus supplies water to Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and China and there are escalating tensions over water allocation and resource management of water use from the river basin.  


A framework that introduces water-sharing between co-riparian states India and Pakistan is the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) enacted in 1960. The IWT split the six major rivers between the two nations allocating the eastern rivers – Sutlej, Ravi, and Beas – to India and three western rivers to Pakistan – Jhelum, Chenab, and Indus. The enmity spurred by unfettered access to transboundary waters was an opportunity for the World Bank to step in as a third-party mediator for treaty negotiations. Despite chronic mistrust and acrimonious disputes over the bifurcation of the river basin, the IWT has withstood them and, to some people, it is the most successful water treaty in existence. Nonetheless, researchers have pointed out the weaknesses of the water treaty arguing the physical partitioning of rivers has created more controversy and division rather than cooperation between the nations. Besides climate change, new factors including population growth and rapid urbanization, and dam construction activities contribute to tensions.  


In dealing with the IWT, it is imperative to reexamine the water treaty and to introduce novel approaches in order to ensure the viability of the framework currently in place. Some researchers argue that the treaty should be completely scrapped and replaced with another agreement, but I believe that it would be in the best interest of both nations to keep the IWT. Instead, it would be better to redesign and modify the language of the treaty that fosters more cooperation and more transparent data sharing concerning water measurements and upstream/downstream riparian data. Without the true partnership, India and Pakistan will face similar challenges to water security and will endure irreconcilable damage.  


Now, there is also evidence of cooperation of the water basin between China and Pakistan that I will address with China favoring Pakistan over India by supporting developing in the Kashmir region. The experiment of the World Bank is a useful example of exploring opportunities for transregional use the Indus River system for all three countries.  

Tuesday, May 21 
Hagerty Library, Room L-14

Manjima Mahalanobish

LeBow College of Business
Economics, Finance
Nominated by: Professor Andre Kurmann

The Dynamics of Entrepreneurship: A study using the NETS Database

Economic literature has consistently found that small and young firms play a crucial role in job creation (Birch, 1987; Davis et al 1996a; Neumark et al, 2011; Haltiwanger et al., 2013) and so it follows that an empirical analysis of the associated concept of entrepreneurship can yield insights into one of the key drivers of economic growth. The purpose of this study is to analyze and estimate entrepreneurship and self-employment outcomes in the United States using National Establishment Time Series, a private sector database consisting of firm-level microdata. Recent research has found NETS to be helpful for studying overall business dynamism in the United States (Decker et al, 2017) but very little has been done to test the viability of NETS as a source of self-employment and entrepreneurship data. We address this by benchmarking NETS to public sector microdata from the Nonemployer Statistics (NES) and County Business Patterns (CBP), available through the United States Census Bureau, to identify and potentially reconcile any discrepancies. We then use the NETS to assess the dynamic nature of the entrepreneurial landscape, especially the role of location and agglomeration in attracting and retaining entrepreneurial talent.  

Tuesday, May 21 
Hagerty Library, Room L-14

Margaret McCurdy & Casey Lorimer

College of Engineering
Environmental/Mechanical Engineering
Nominated by: Professor Richard Cairncross

Drexel Engineers Without Borders—Building Relationships

The mission of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is to utilize engineering knowledge and expertise to assist international communities with meeting their basic needs. Productive relationships between organizations like Engineers Without Borders and the communities they partner with ultimately increase the community's investment in the project. Community-driven projects lead to more sustainable and long-lasting infrastructure solutions; for it empowers communities to understand, maintain, and duplicate systems independently. Drexel EWB has established relationships with communities in El Salvador and Ecuador, with the goal of working together to help meet the need of having a sustainable water supply. The partnership with the community in Miramar, El Salvador, was based on designing household bio-sand filters. Along with the implementation goal, there is a focus on ensuring that the community is able to repair and maintain the filters to increase longevity and ensure potable water for years to come. The collaboration is now in the process of expanding to the University of San Salvador, to adapt to the travel restriction placed on El Salvador by EWB-USA. In addition, Drexel Engineers Without Borders completed their first visit to the community of San Luis de Yacupungo in Ecuador during the spring break week of March 2019. Along with gathering the necessary data to assess their situation, Drexel EWB was able to build an important relationship with the individuals of the community. These relationships are the foundation of a successful international project.  

Tuesday, May 21
Hagerty Library, Room L-14

Solana Stratford

College of Nursing & Health Professions
Health Sciences
Nominated by: Professor Krista Rompolski

Near Peer Teaching Experience

Health Sciences, Nursing and other health professions majors are all required to take a series of Anatomy and Physiology courses. Because of how much I enjoyed this course series, I was interested in getting more exposure in the human anatomy lab, as well as teaching experience. I reached out to my anatomy instructor to see what opportunities there may be for me to accomplish both goals. My instructor created an independent study for two fellow students and me with similar interests. The independent study consisted of a weekly laboratory experience with current Anatomy & Physiology students serving as a a peer-to-peer mentor. The near peer mentoring model utilizes more experienced students acting as instructors to pass on their knowledge to the students. This experience provided me with the opportunity to spend multiple hours a week reinforcing previous anatomy and physiology knowledge in the human anatomy laboratory. This is a unique opportunity for undergraduate students, since very few undergraduate programs include human anatomy lab experience. As a supplement to the near-peer experience, I assisted in future curriculum development by trial-running virtual anatomy labs. As a result of both the mentoring in lab and reviewing the virtual labs. Throughout the independent study, I was required to keep a reflective journal of my experience, which taught me the skill of self-reflection. This independent study increased my confidence, professionalism and interpersonal skills, while simultaneously allowing me to support the anatomy students. Through this experience, the current anatomy students had an extra resource in the lab to answer any of their questions as well as explain concepts from a different perspective.  

Tuesday, May 21
3:45-4 pm
Hagerty Library, L-14

Paul De Santis

School of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health Systems
Biomedical Engineering
Nominated by: Professor Michele Marcolongo

Evolution of Biomimetic Proteoglycans—From Molecular Synthesis to Tissue Engineering Scaffold

Proteoglycans (PGs) found within the body are responsible for encouraging cell growth, organizing the extracellular matrix (ECM) of tissues, influencing collagen fibrillogenesis, and regulating skin tensile strength. These macromolecules are composed of protein cores with attached glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains. With aging, enzymes responsible for breaking down PGs become more active, reducing the overall concentration of PGs in the body. Therapy designed to increase the concentration of PGs in the body is challenging because natural PGs introduced into the body are still susceptible to enzymatic degradation. Biomimetic proteoglycans (BPGs) can be created using an enzymatically resistant polyacrylic acid (PAA) core with covalently attached natural chondroitin sulfate (CS) bristles that mimic the three dimensional bottlebrush architecture and hydrating properties of natural PGs. BPGs with PAA cores of varied molecular weight have been synthesized (PAA10kDa-CS, PAA250kDa-CS) and their distinct properties can influence their future applications. This research aims to explore the implementation of BPGs in tissue engineering scaffolds. When dissolved in solution, BPGs demonstrate viscoelastic properties which require rheometric analysis in order to characterize. Rheometric analysis of gel-like samples prepared using BPGs, water, and potential cross-linking agents provides a foundation for future tissue engineering applications, where mechanical properties, flow behavior, and cytocompatibility will be evaluated.  

Wednesday, May 22 
10-10:15 am
Hagerty Library, L-33

Grayson Deysher

College of Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering
Nominated by: Professor Yuri Gogotsi

Taking MXenes to the Next Atomic Level

Discovered here at Drexel in 2011, MXenes have been attracting the attention of more than 650 research groups around the world because of their unique properties. This family of 2-dimensional transition metal carbide/nitride materials has been shown to be useful for a large number of applications, including energy storage, electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding, catalysis, wearable electronics, and medicine to name a few. MXenes are a few alternating atomic layers of early transition metals and carbon/nitrogen stacked on top of each other. Currently, MXenes are categorized by having one of three types of structures, M2X, M3X2, or M4X3, in which 3, 5, or 7 atomic layers are stacked, resulting in a ~ 1-nm-thick 2-dimensional material, due to the structures of their precursor layered carbides and nitrides (called MAX phases). While almost 30 MXenes have been synthesized to date by exfoliating MAX phases, the number of possible MXenes has been limited to these three types. Here we present the first MXene of a fourth type with 9 atomic layers (M5X4); we have synthesized the 2-dimensional Mo4VC4 MXene. Thorough characterization of Mo4VC4 reveals unique optical and electrical properties that indicate this material could be useful for low optical loss electronics. In addition to the unique properties Mo4VC4 possesses, an even great significance of this discovery is the demonstration that stable 9-layer MXenes exist. Density functional theory calculations also show a great potential for many additional MXenes of this type to be synthesized. Thicker MXenes like Mo4VC4 have the potential to be used for stronger metal matrix composites, higher temperature applications, better EMI shielding, and greater battery and supercapacitor performance compared to other existing MXenes and other materials in general.  

Wednesday, May 22
Hagerty Library, L-33

Jinie Eom

College of Arts & Sciences
Biological Sciences
Nominated by: Professor Fraser Fleming

Alkene Isocyanide Synthesis

Isocyanides are unique functional groups with the ability to react with nucleophiles, electrophiles, and radicals. Functionalized isocyanides such as alkene isocyanides are extremely useful and versatile precursors for the construction of heterocycles and peptidomimetics, which are very important in the pharmaceutical industry today. There are many challenges to working with isocyanides that severely limit the development of improved isocyanide methodology. This presentation will delve into catalytic methods of alkene isocyanide synthesis, as well as some interesting results produced along the way.  

Wednesday, May 22
Hagerty Library, L-33

Lauren Kirk

Pennoni Honors College
Custom-Designed Major: Neuroscience
Nominated by: Professor Kevin Egan

A Retrospective Analysis on Autism Research to Develop Solutions to Barriers of Rare Disease Research 

Rare diseases, classified in the United States as a disease affecting less than 200,000 individuals, affect approximately 30 million Americans, the majority being children. There are around 7,000 known rare diseases, many of which are extremely debilitating and life-threatening. Of these 7,000 diseases, 95% have no known treatment, which can significantly affect patient quality of life. In 2018, rare disease research (RDR) accounted for less than 3% of the NIH funding budget, receiving approximately $5 million. Alzheimer's disease, which affects about 6 million Americans, equivalent to a sixth of the rare diseased population, received over $11 million dollars for research, or more than double the RDR allocation. There appears a large disproportionality between the population of rare diseases patients and the funding received to understand and treat these conditions. These more commonly known diseases like cancer or dementias  are themselves heterogeneous, much like the  rare disease population. However, I suggest that many rare diseases are not entirely separate entities, but share overlapping pathophysiological mechanisms that could be addressed as a whole. I seek to use autism research as a lens to understand the methodological and sociological barriers to RDR. Autism is effectively an array of rare individual pathologies, which through organized efforts over decades became known as a collection of associated disorders. The techniques applied in ASD research may provide a useful template when approaching fundamentally similar problems seen in RDR, and may define more effective research methods that can be implemented to increase the efficiency and success of the research.   

Wednesday, May 22
Hagerty Library, L-33

Isaiah Sauvageau

College of Engineering
Environmental Engineering
Nominated by: Professor Shannon Capps

Air Quality Modeling: Purpose and Improvements

Air quality models are used to represent the chemical phenomena that take place when we release substances into the atmosphere. Sensitivity analysis provides a way to assess the impact of emissions on pollutant concentrations. The Atmospheric Modeling group at Drexel uses and improves the tools that are used to perform air quality modeling and sensitivity analysis. By incorporating new computational methods into the EPA’s air quality model, the Community Multiscale Air Quality model, precious computational time and power can be conserved, and the accuracy of impact analysis can be improved. Augmenting this model can help inform decisions when creating policy and improve understanding of atmospheric processes.  

Thursday, May 23
Hagerty Library, L-33

Sarah Culbert

College of Engineering
Materials Science & Engineering
Nominated by: Professor Ekaterina Pomerantseva

New Stabilized Bilayered Vanadium Oxides as Electrodes in Intercalation Batteries 

Using a wet chemistry process, developed in the Materials Electrochemistry Laboratory at Drexel, a family of layered high capacity vanadium oxides with expanded interlayer spacings was synthesized. [Ref - Mallory] It was shown that the stabilizing ions, included in the interlayer region, lead to improved electrochemical stability during life cycle and rate capability experiments. However, the synthesis method is limited to only alkali and alkaline earth ions at certain concentrations. The goal of this research project is to first understand of how the variation of ion content in the interlayer region affects the electrochemical performance of stabilized bilayered vanadium oxides; and second, to get insights into the effect of chemical preintercalation of transition metal ions on electrochemical performance. Achieving this goal requires the understanding of the role of structural water in the interlayer region as well. Cycling performance of 𝛿 - MgxV2O5 â€¢ nH2O (x = 0.01 â€“ 0.37) and ð›¿ -TMxV2O5 â€¢ nH2O (TM = Mn, Co) in lithium-ion and sodium-ion charge storage systems will be presented and discussed.

Thursday, May 23
Hagerty Library, L-33

Tram Le

LeBow College of Business
Marketing, Technology Innovation Management
Nominated by: Professor Jodi Cataline

How has online banking/ payment (Venmo) affected how much cash people have on them? 

Cash is an excellent form of physical currency that we use to pay for our purchases. However, cash is not quite convenience. No one wants to carry a large amount of cash on them because they could easily be the target of a robbery and it takes a decent amount of time to acquire the right amount of cash especially when you have to pay with coins to get to the exact amount. Compare to credit and debit cards, cash takes up a lot of space, and it’s heavier than just having a card in your back pocket. For all of these reasons, people started to carry less cash on them. But without cash, there are many problems that you can’t solve with just credit/ debit card alone. How do you split the bills with your friends when you go to the restaurant? Do you give both of your credit cards to the waiter and ask them to split it for you? What if your friends want to use cash and you want to use a credit card? Situations like these lead to the demand for a solution to help person-to-person payment easier. According to a U.S. Bank Cash Behavior Survey, 47 percent of consumers surveyed say they prefer the use of digital apps to make payments versus cash (45 percent). The reason for this is because of the rise of online banking/ payment and especially Venmo. "Rather than going to the grocery store and paying with cash, for example," NerdWallet says, "people now order groceries online and pay electronically. These trends, combined with the now-widespread use of debit [and credit] cards, have made carrying cash a rarity for many." Because of how impactful online banking and apps are, this presentation aims to analyze the current trend relating cash and online banking/ payment. To understand how these payment methods impacted the cash people carries, we have to understand how online banking and Venmo work. Venmo links your credit/ debit card to an account and allows you to transfer money from your bank account to a friend Venmo account with just a click. You can also purchase items or order food from other online apps with your Venmo account. There is a .25 cents fee to transfer money from your Venmo account to your bank account and a 3% fee to draw money from credit card. What is positive about Venmo is it’s easy to use and understand. It allows people to skip bothering the waiter to have separate checks, or having someone cover the cost of a shared item, and you can request a friend’s money to ask them to pay if they forget to pay you back. The app is free itself, and sending and receiving money are mostly free as well. These are the reasons why many people, especially college students, barely carry any cash on them. According to Lisa Rabasca Roepe, a writer from The Week magazine, she no longer has to carry cash because: “More and more retailers and grocery stores are embracing Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay. PayPal's app is now accepted at many chain stores including Barnes & Noble, Foot Locker, Home Depot, and Office Depot. Walmart and CVS have both developed their own payment apps while their competitors Target and RiteAid are working on their own apps.” Some restaurants don’t even take cash anymore. The New York Times reported that the restaurant chain, Sweetgreen, no longer accept cash as a payment method because their cash purchase fell to less than 10% in 2016. These statistics show that cash is no longer the preferred method of payment anymore. Society, in general, is going to evolve into a cashless community. Online banking and apps like Venmo help further promote this idea by allowing consumers to make cash-free transactions everywhere they go.  

Thursday, May 23
Hagerty Library, L-33

Poster Presentations

Wednesday, May 22 | 4-6 pm | Bossone, Third Floor Atrium

Center for Food and Hospitality Management

Isabel Guerriero

Culinary Arts & Sciences

New Dairy Product Development and Sensory Analysis

Abstract: Isabel Guerriero, Center for Food and Hospitality Management, Faculty Advisers: Rosemary Trout, Michael Traud, Michael Tunick

Pennsylvania is sixth globally in total milk production and has the second largest number of dairy farms in the United States. In total, there are 6,650 dairy farms in the state, with approximately 525,000 cows, yielding 10.8 billion pounds of milk annually. Since 2016, the number of dairy farms in PA has decreased with 120 farms going out of business.2 Three decades ago, Americans were consuming 247 pounds of milk annually. As of 2016, the consumption rate dropped by almost 100 pounds per capita. Increased consumption of plant-based milk substitutes has added to decreased milk consumption, and increased milk supply that goes unused and unsold. As a result of these changes, dairy farming has become increasingly difficult and highly competitive.1 New food products have been designed in order to mitigate the oversupply of milk, and to increase market segmentation of milk products. By conducting market observations, utilizing online resources, and sampling a variety of dairy products, incite facilitation was conducted. Food protocepts were developed in The Center for Food and Hospitality Management, including buttermilk marinades, yogurt bars, dried milk creamer, and seasonal flavored milks. Sensory analysis of these products will be conducted as the second phase before final formulations can be completed.

1 "Estimated Fluid Milk Product Sales Report." USDA. N.p., 2019. Web. 14 Mar. 2019.

2 "Pennsylvania Dairy Industry Overview." Center for Dairy Excellence. N.p., 2019. Web. 7 Jan. 2019.

College of Arts & Sciences

Andrea Abanto


Sex, Society, and School: Where to Go with What We (Don't) Know

Sex, Society, and School: Where to Go with What We (Don't) Know is part of a series of public service posters exploring 1) how societal influences dictate sexual behavior, 2) public sex education in the United States and what is usually missing from schools' presentation, and 3) how these factors contributed to the #MeToo movement and the ambiguity of how the U.S. will move forward. This work was interactively and collaboratively created. The designer presents her perspective alongside Drexel students' responses to timely questions about gender roles and sexual behavior, sex education, and redemption for public figures implicated in #MeToo.

Keely Beyries-Powers & Leah Dobossy

Biological Sciences

Exposure of human T lymphocytes to nanosecond dielectric barrier discharge non-thermal plasma results in dose-dependent changes in viability and cellular stress

Immunogenic cell death (ICD) increases cell immunogenicity through the release of damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) (Galluzzi et al., 2017). We are studying nanosecond dielectric barrier discharge plasma (nsDBDP) for its capacity to induce ICD mediators and intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a T lymphocyte (J-Lat) cell line. These studies are the first steps toward a novel immunotherapy approach effective against the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). nsDBDP application increased the cell surface display of two known ICD markers, HSP70 and HSP90, and caused a dose-dependent increase in the generation of superoxide (Galluzzi et al., 2017). nsDBDP application also resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in J-Lat viability. However, nsDBDP application did not activate the integrated HIV-1 provirus in this cell line model of latent infection. nsDBDP induction of ICD in latently-infected T lymphocytes is conjectured to be part of a “shock and kill” immunotherapy, in which latent reservoirs of the HIV-1 are “shocked” in order to activate viral expression and then eliminated (“killed”) by an effective HIV-1-specific immune response (Walker-Sperling et al., 2016). Our goal is to combine nsDBDP with latency reversing agents to create a “shock and kill” regimen that is an effective therapeutic approach for HIV-1-infected patients.

Kelsey Capobianco

Environmental Science

Social network analysis to understand female reproductive opportunity in a eusocial paper wasp (Mischocyttarus pallidipectus)

Exploring how the interactions among females of Mischocyttarus pallidipectus, a neotropical social wasp, shape queen succession among monomorphic females all capable of reproducing will further understanding of reproductive opportunity and conflict in social animal societies. Females who are more dominant also have developed ovaries, but the queen is the only female who lays eggs1. Apart from differences in ovary size among developed females, all females look identical, including those who are sterile, and may all still be capable of reproducing1. Social network analyses have been used to describe social structures and test hypotheses about behaviors and interactions within species or populations2. These social dynamics can be displayed using social network diagrams created in Gephi, a software tool used for visualization and analysis of behavioral data3. Our goal is to use observation data collected in Monteverde, Costa Rica to visualize and reconstruct social interactions among females of M. pallidipectus. Social network diagrams constructed show females with developed ovaries had the highest number of interactions and the queen interacted most often with these females. The diagrams built from this data set will be used to analyze social dynamics and understand how nutrition flows through a colony and may affect female ovary development. 1. Molina, Y., & O'Donnell, S. (2008). A developmental test of the dominance-nutrition hypothesis: Linking adult feeding, aggression, and reproductive potential in the paper wasp mischocyttarus mastigophorus. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 20(2), 125-139. 2. Farine, D., & Whitehead, H. (2015). Constructing, conducting and interpreting animal social network analysis. Journal of Animal Ecology, 84(5), 1144-1163. doi:10.1111/1365-2656.12418 3. Bastian M., Heymann S., Jacomy M. (2009). Gephi: an open source software for exploring and manipulating networks. International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media.

Laura Chamberlain

Environmental Studies and Sustainability

River Restoration: Understanding "Successful" Indicators

Stream restoration has become commonplace for managing watersheds such as the Delaware Basin. We assessed paired sites at 18 stream and bank restorations that had been implemented in the Delaware and Chesapeake Watersheds in Pennsylvania in the last 7-20 years. Our aim was to use bioindicators and habitat to determine whether these projects had the desired effects of improving ecosystem integrity. We did not find statistically significant differences in the assemblages (biological communities) between pairs of restored and unrestored reaches, but we see more value in the site-by-site observations of change than the statistical analyses of the whole dataset. Our team worked closely with county conservation districts in southeast PA to identify priorities for what types of projects to study and specific site selection to ensure the utility of study findings to managers. Certain environmental variables indicate improvement, but it is difficult to decide which indicators must show improvement to label a project as "successful." In other words, changes are inconsistent among indicators including watershed size, habitat, and chemistry. We assess potential reasons for the effectiveness and success of a restoration project through quantifying habitat variables, watershed size, and chemistry using macroinvertebrate measures.

Justin Cicarelli


Can you C1? Genomic characterization of cluster C1 bacteriophage Phlegm

With more bacteriophages on Earth than stars in the Universe, bacteriophage genomic and proteomic diversity offer enormous potential for scientific research. Despite their abundance and ability to survive in almost any environment, by infecting and replicating inside bacteria, relatively little is known about the genomic sequences and gene functions, with only approximately 2940 actinobacteriophage genomes having been sequenced. Bacteriophage Phlegm was extracted from soil collected near the Papadakis Integrated Science Building at Drexel University. After rounds of extraction from the soil, and several steps of purification and amplification, a pure population of Phlegm was isolated, DNA was extracted, and the genome sequenced. Phlegm's genome is very large with 155,959 base pairs. During annotation of the genome 271 genes were identified. Phlegm is a C1 cluster phage and has a myoviridae morphology: a large capsid and short tail. It is one of just three C cluster phages isolated at Drexel. Genomic analysis of Phlegm's DNA revealed close genetic similarities with other sequenced C1 bacteriophages. The genome sequence of Phlegm presents an opportunity to better understand the function of genes within the genome, how the bacteriophage infects its bacterial host, for this individual bacteriophage, other phages within the C1 cluster, and other actinobacteriophages.

Mary T. Doan

Biological Sciences

Elucidating Mammalian Anabolic Three-Carbon Metabolism by Liquid Chromatography-High Resolution Mass Spectrometry

Anabolic metabolism of carbon in mammals is mediated via the one and two carbon carriers S-adenosyl methionine and acetyl-coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA). In contrast, anabolic metabolism using three carbon units via propionyl-CoA is not thought to occur. Mammals are primarily thought to oxidize 3-carbon units by shunting propionyl-CoA to succinyl-CoA for entry into the TCA cycle. We found that this may not be absolute and that in mammals one non-oxidative fate of two units of propionyl-CoA is to condense to form a six-carbon acyl-carrier trans-2-methyl-2-pentenoyl-CoA (2M2PE-CoA). Results consistent across multiple mammalian cell lines indicated that 2M2PE-CoA was generated in a propionate-dependent manner and underwent further metabolism over time. Additionally, this pathway is not dependent on entrance of carbon into the Krebs cycle. Using ex vivo isotope tracing we found that 2M2PE-CoA formed in human myocardial tissue incubated with propionate.

Jakub Gocal


Isolation and Characterization of the Mycobacterium Phage MichaelPhcott

Bacteriophages are viruses which are capable of infecting and killing bacteria. They have become a topic of interest over the last decade due to their possible role in phage therapy, the treatment of antibiotic resistant bacteria using bacteriophages. Mycobacterium Phage MichaelPhcott is a B1 cluster bacteriophage, which was isolated from a soil sample collected in Woodland Park, Philadelphia. After multiple rounds of purification, a pure population of phage MichaelPhcott was isolated. Phage MichaelPhcott was one of twelve phages annotated by the 2017-18 Drexel SEA-PHAGES students. Bioinformatic programs: DNA Master, Glimmer, Starterator, and GeneMark were used to identify gene start sites within the genomic sequence of phage MichaelPhcott. PECAAN software (including databases NCBI Blast, Phamerator, and HHPred) was used to identify and assign gene functions to each gene. MichealPhcott was found to be 68,494 base pairs long, with a G/C content of 66.4%, and exactly 100 protein-coding genes. It was also found that exposure to whey protein generated a protective effect and MichaelPhcott is able to survive and infect bacteria when grown over a range of different pH levels and temperatures. This protective effect seen by whey broadens MichaelPhcott's applications in phage therapy by widening its use more extreme environments. References 1. Apellido KA, Balchander D, Erlich MC, Gocal JK, Gocal WA, Haile S, Kang AK, Koduri S, Natrajan M, Parikh AA, Tata RK, Walor TA, Wong BM, Nako S, Tran T, Islam E, Mammen MP, Drexel University SEA-PHAGES annotators 2016, Drexel University SEA-PHAGES annotators 2017, Drexel University SEAPHAGES annotators 2018, Ball SL, Bollivar DW, Butela KA, Pope WH, McDonald MT, Tang CA, Dalia RR, Smith KPW, Little JL, Moyer AE, Gurney SMR. (2019) Complete genome sequences of 12 B1 cluster mycobacteriophages, Gareth, JangoPhett, Kailash, MichaelPhcott, PhenghisKhan, Phleuron, Phergie, PhrankReynolds, PhrodoBaggins, Phunky, Vaticameos, and Virapocalypse. Microbiol Resour Announc 8:e01387-18. doi. 10.1128/MRA.01387-18. 2. Geagea H, Gomaa AI, Remondetto G, Moineau S, Subirade M. (2015) Investigation of the protective effect of whey proteins on lactococcal phages during heat treatment at various pH. Int J Food Microbiol. 210, doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2015.06.011.

Selam Haile


The Adventure of the Philandering Phage: Isolating and Characterizing Phage Vaticameos

Bacteriophages are some of the most marvelously cunning microorganisms to ever infect bacteria, with an enormous potential to reveal still hazy pieces of the future such as better treatments for bacterial infections and life-threatening conditions through phage therapy. Under the microscope, phages conduct the perfect, elegant crime of utilizing their viral genes to infect and replicate within bacterial cells. One phage, in particular, was finally captured, isolated from a soil sample, enriched with broth, and plated on agar. The plates were searched for plaques, the population was purified, and eventually DNA was extracted from the phage. The DNA sample was sequenced and bacteriophage genome annotated. This particular phage named “Vaticameos,” was found to have a genome length of 66887bp. Using annotation software: Glimmer, GeneMark, Starterator, Phamerator and NCBI BLAST, 99 genes were identified, of which 21.2% were assigned known functions. Vaticameos is a B1 cluster phage and has many brethren; the majority of the bacteriophages isolated and sequenced by the Drexel Biology SEA-PHAGES program also come from this cluster, which leads to the question of why this is the case, and how evolution plays a role in this lack of diversity in phage cluster - another mystery to be solved.

Timothy Hanlon


Delayed Diagnosis of Popliteal Artery Injury After Total Knee Arthroplasty

Objective: Popliteal artery injuries after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) are reported to be rare events. Limb loss from these injuries is felt to be even more uncommon. The occurrence and diagnosis of ischemia that develops slowly after intraoperative arterial injury has only been reported anecdotally. This event is more common than has been reported and often leads to a devastating outcome and litigation.

Methods: The records of 24 patients who underwent TKA and developed ischemia postoperatively and resulted in malpractice claims over the course of ten years were analyzed to determine the mechanism of injury, the clinical course of the ischemia, why the malpractice claims arose and how practices could be changed to improve outcomes in the future.

Results: 14 men and 10 women, ages 50 to 78, were diagnosed with post-TKA ischemia up to 5 days after leaving the PACU. Pain was often reported to be non-specific or was masked by the use of some regional anesthesia in 16. All 24 developed numbness, which was usually attributed to a prolonged anesthetic block or tourniquet injury to a nerve. 18 were noted to have motor disfunction prior to the diagnosis of the ischemia. Pulses were documented in 8 patients and CRT was normal in all 24. There were 1 AVF, 6 partial or total transections, and 17 thromboses (10 with documented intimal lesions). 18 patients underwent major amputations and 6 remain with dysfunctional legs. All of the operating surgeons who were asked during deposition believed that popliteal artery occlusion would immediately cause profound ischemia postoperatively.

Conclusions: Contrary to the commonly held belief that intraoperative popliteal thrombosis rapidly causes symptoms, ischemia after TKA can present insidiously because of the presence of geniculate collaterals. CRT is a meaningless test that should not be relied upon. Pulse examinations are subjective and can be inaccurate. If a patient develops any signs or symptoms in the postoperative period after TKA that suggest ischemia objective testing should be immediately obtained so that revascularization can be performed before ischemia becomes irreversible.

Kent Hubert


Examining Prefrontal Cortex Contributions to Creative Problem Solving With Noninvasive Electric Brain Stimulation

Cognitive neuroscience studies of creativity typically employ divergent thinking tasks that prioritize bottom-up processes to generate novel responses. However, real-world creative problem solving is guided by top-down thinking that puts an emphasis on the goal to be achieved. Here, we introduce the Alternative Objects Task (AOT)—a novel task that incorporates both bottom-up and top-down thought during problem solving. Guided by functional neuroimaging findings, we employed transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over frontopolar cortex to investigate the impact of transient changes in activity in this region for problem solving performance on the AOT. Participants were presented with a series of goals and generated either a common or an uncommon object that could satisfy each, while undergoing either excitatory (anodal) or sham tDCS. Analyses of accuracy, reaction times, and semantic distance highlight the importance of goal-orientation during creative problem solving and its reliance on prefrontal cortex.

Constanza Jacial


Brain Activity Patterns During Creative Idea Generation In Eminent and Non-Eminent Thinkers

An influential model of the neural mechanisms of creative thought suggests that creativity is manifested in the joint contributions of the Default Mode Network (DMN; a set of regions in the medial PFC, including anterior cingulate and retrosplenial cortex, lateral and medial parietal cortex, and the medial temporal lobes) and the executive networks within the dorsolateral PFC. Several empirical reports have offered support for this model by showing that complex interactions between these brain systems account for individual differences in creative performance. The present study examined whether the engagement of these regions in idea generation is modulated by experience, as measured by one’s eminence in a creativity-related field. Twenty (n = 20) healthy participants eminent in their respective fields (i.e., writing, neuroscience, music, comedy) and twenty (n = 20) age- and education-matched non-eminent but successful in their profession control participants were administered a creative generation task (an adaptation of the Alternative Uses Task) and a control perceptual task, while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The participants’ verbal responses were recorded through a noise-canceling microphone and were later coded for accuracy and task compliance. Behavioral and fMRI analyses revealed commonalities between groups, but also a distinct pattern of activation in default mode and executive brain regions in the eminent relative to the non-eminent participants during creative thinking. We interpret these findings in the context of the well-documented contributions of these regions in the generation of creative ideas as modulated, in this study, by a lifetime of experience in creativity-related fields.

Sarah Jaczun & Kaitlyn O'Hare


#WhyIDidn'tReport: Do College Campuses Suppress or Support Survivors of Assault?

Sexual assault has long been a prevalent issue in the United States. Assaults on college campuses happen often and are frequently underreported (Germain, 2016). This presentation focuses on sexual assault on college campuses, the barriers and personal costs associated with reporting assault, and address the negative repercussions of reporting. This presentation will also discuss the merits and unintended consequences of Title IX legislation on college campuses. Under mandatory reporting guidelines, some colleges take actions that may put survivors in uncomfortable situations by forcing them to report something, even if reporting makes them feel unsafe. This can have a detrimental impact on a student’s education, health, and overall well being if a survivor's experience is handled poorly, if at all. Further, this presentation will inform audiences about the lasting mental and physical effects that sexual assault survivors face. Survivors may experience feelings of shame, guilt, or fear that contribute to why they do not report their sexual assault. This notion is perpetuated by mainstream media and is encapsulated by the hashtag #WhyIDidn’tReport. Lead presenter will explain the #WhyIDidn'tReport movement and its impact on bringing awareness to the significance of reporting sexual assault within the context of pervasive rape culture.

Gabriella Macera

Biological Sciences

A Study on the Effects of Clean Water on Physical and Mental Health in Malawi

Four million Malawians lack access to safe water, leading 30,000 citizens to die each year from illness related to unclean water. The WASH department of World Vision Malawi has taken on the initiative to provide reliable water sources across the country, already reaching over 500,000 people. This study focused on how access to clean water impacts the physical and mental health of both Malawian women and their children. Three different communities were surveyed: those without access to a borehole, those with one for a year or less, and those with one for over three years. In each community, thirty female heads of households were asked a series of questions regarding their water sources and the occurrence of illness among them and their children. Water’s impact on mental health was evaluated in women by stress levels regarding water and in children by school absences and the frequency of play time. Women in communities without boreholes were significantly more stressed, twice as likely to have malaria and their children were nine times as likely to suffer from diarrhea, when compared to borehole communities. The results of this study can lead to improvements in sustainable health outcomes.

Vida Manalang


A Mixed Methods Comparison of Creative Engagement in Theatre-Infused Education Cases

Creative engagement is necessary for rich and effective learning engagement in the classroom, demanding for new teaching methods like arts-integration (Anderson & Beard, 2018). A creative engagement framework was proposed to investigate creative behaviors in the classroom that posits four dimensions to engage adolescents in accessing their creativity: creative resources, autonomy, belonging, and competency (Anderson, 2018). This study analyzed 31 videos of teachers integrating process drama (i.e. tableaux vivants) into the teaching of science, social studies, and health. Additionally, 6 videos of teaching artists introducing theatre exercises to adolescents were coded for comparison. A mixed-methods research design using cross-case comparison (Creamer, 2018) was selected to examine salience for creative engagement indicators using a Likert scale of 0 to 3 to parse out evidence of creative behavior (Quantitative) (Altheide & Schneider, 2013), and to provide in-depth descriptions and exemplars of the strongest indicators and dimensions (Qualitative). A Kruskal-Wallis H-test was used to compare creative engagement indicators across cases. Preliminary results indicate that autonomy and competency indicators were most prevalent, and that the presence of creative indicators was similar between educational and exemplar theatre cases. Taken together, these results provide a much clearer understanding of creative engagement in theatre-based education.

Victoria C. Milano & Gianna Giordano

Psychology & Biological Sciences

The Imagination Prescription: One course that is preparing the next generation of medical professionals through Career Development, Civic Engagement, and Experiential Learning

Drexel University’s Story Medicine course is an example of an applied humanities pedagogy that engages students in multiple aspects of the university’s core principles. Story Medicine Independent Study students exercise Career Development, Civic Engagement, and Experiential Learning. Students travel to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and meet with medically fragile and terminally ill patients. Story Medicine students guide patients in the development of detailed patient-authored short stories. Students then present these stories to a separate cohort of Drexel students who transform patient stories into animated short films. All stages of the process are facilitated by the independent study students (character/plot development, storyboarding, live action filming, and motion capture) Students must develop unique communiation strategies tailored to each patient and must learn to communicate with chronically and terminally ill patients and families from different backgrounds. The community engaged learning that occurs within this course provides more than traditional discipline-specific learning outcomes; students acquire transformative personal experiences that give an inside look into future career goals. Students have immersive experiences in a clinical hospital environment, while impacting the lives of children and families at CHOP. Students must react to changeable circumstances, while working collaboratively as a team in a real-world setting.

Luke R. Miller


Adding Context to Concussion Symptoms: Is Narrative a Possible Route?

Background: Despite the high prevalence of acute physical and cognitive sequelae after SRC, 50-75% of SRCs are not reported to medical professionals. The two most commonly identified reasons to underreport SRC symptoms are lack of motivation to report and difficulties identifying concussion symptoms. The current study aims to improve upon traditional list-based methods of self-identifying concussion symptoms by identifying more ecologically relevant descriptions of symptoms (i.e., in a narrative format).

Methods: The present study aims to recruit 20 college students who report they have had a concussion in the last year. Data collection procedures will include the administration of the Post-Concussion Reflection Interview of Symptoms (P-CRIS). The P-CRIS measure is a novel, Drexel-developed semi-structured interview designed to collect concussion symptom narrative data. We anticipate data collection will begin prior to presentation date.

Results: The researchers plan to employ a qualitative content analysis (QCA) on interview responses to determine common components of concussion narratives using Atlas.ti software. Results will be compared to a standard list-based symptom approach utilized by the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) state-mandated Heads Up Concussion education program.

Conclusion: Findings symptom narrative analysis will address whether further investigation is warranted on narrative concussion symptom descriptors and educational reform.

Robert Newman & Eric Teunissen-Bermeo


Magnetic field and solar wind plasma in the Earth's magnetotail as seen by THEMIS spacecraft

Background: The distant magnetotail is the source of solar particle flows towards the Earth. These flows create beautiful Aurora Borealis, but also may fail satellites orbiting the Earth and disrupt radio connections. Therefore, magnetotail investigation of plasma and magnetic field is crucial for Space Weather predictions. Themis-B and Themis-C are two earth-orbiting NASA spacecrafts that continuously measured local particle and magnetic field data [1].

Main Thesis: Abrupt changes of the magnetic field in the magnetotail create localized structures in the plasma.

Objectives: Identify times when magnetic field undergoes abrupt changes. Describe the behavior of solar wind plasma particles during these events. Determine the correlations between magnetic field and plasma features.

Methods: We statistically analyzed magnetic field and main plasma properties recorded by Themis-B and Themis-C. We identified the localities of magnetic reconnections. Scatter plots of the plasma data (ion pressure, ion velocity) versus magnetic field data were created and investigated.

Results and Discussion: Observed correlations show an explicit relationship between the magnetic field and the plasma structure. Detailed study of the magnetic field-plasma interaction will reveal the initial state of the magnetotail prior to major particle earthward flow's onset.

Available Resources: THEMIS spacecraft home

Kaitlyn O'Hare & Sarah Jaczun


The Systemic Nature of Rape Culture

Throughout American history, America has been a patriarchal society in which sexism and sexual violence have been largely normalized. In recent years, many people have come forward speaking out about ways systemic gender and sexual inequality have impacted their lives in the #MeToo movement. This movement has directly addressed rape culture - an environment in which rape is prevalent and sexual violence is normalized and excused (Buchwald, Fletcher, & Roth, 1993). Gender norms and sexual scripts play major roles in the perpetuation of this phenomenon as they set certain expectations for people’s sexual behavior (Masters, Casey, Wells, & Morrison, 2013). The #MeToo movement has helped raise awareness, and offered a voice for those who need a space to discuss their experiences. This poster will inform audiences about ways that rape culture is upheld, how media attention on the actions of people in power can help identify these factors, and how the #MeToo movement affects societal expectations. The poster will also discuss the impact of holding people - especially those with higher social status - accountable, and the gravity of minimizing sexual impropriety. Lead presenter will provide the audience with terminology and language to accurately discuss rape culture, particularly in light of recent media coverage of #MeToo.

Kate Oliver & Jessica Jushchyshyn


Victim Perception: The Role of Observer Gender

Approximately 70% of adults in the U.S. experience at least one traumatic event in their lives (Sidran Institute, 2016). Even witnessing trauma can violate a person’s existing beliefs of order and justice in the world, generating negative emotions that can be managed and reduced by reframing behaviors (Doherty & Anderson, 2004). A plethora of research has been conducted on perceptions of trauma (e.g. Maurer & Robinson, 2008; Fischer, 2006), but rarely have these perceptions been considered together from a whole-person perspective.A systematic literature review examined the relationship between an adult witness’s gender and perceptions of others’ traumatic experiences. Nineteen articles published between 1985 and 2015 were retrieved from online databases, analyzed, and synthesized. Overall, men and women’s perceptions of observed trauma differed based on cognitive and social interpretation elements, including just-world beliefs, victim blaming, and gender stereotypes. Additionally, perspectives on and interpretation of another person’s trauma can obscure sexual violence, potentially affecting victims’ recovery and limiting the perpetrators’ accountability. Implications for witnesses, victims, the legal system, and cultural norms will be reviewed in this presentation and future research directions will be identified.

Alessandra Ortiz


Correlations Between Orthorexia Nervosa Constructs and Bulimia Nervosa Symptomatology in an Eating Disorder Treatment-Seeking Sample

Alessandra V. Ortiz., Kelsey E. Clark, B.A., Rowan A. Hunt, B.A., Adrienne S. Juarascio, Ph.D. The diagnosis/classification of orthorexia nervosa (ON; disordered eating characterized by obsessive, maladaptive fixation with “healthful” eating) as a form of psychopathology distinct from bulimia nervosa (BN) is under-researched. To explore this overlap/differentiation, we hypothesized that higher Food Life Questionnaire (FLQ) ON-consistent beliefs will be correlated with higher Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) “Preoccupation with Food, Eating, or Calories” and lower EDE Restraint subscale scores in a secondary data analysis from an ongoing BN treatment study (N=44; female=89%). We expect participants reporting ON-consistent beliefs (e.g., natural/organic foods are healthier, nutrition being more important than taste) will be more likely to endorse concerns about food/eating interfering with concentration than endorse dietary restraint related to shape/weight concerns. Analyses revealed small, negative correlations between ON-consistent beliefs and EDE Preoccupation (FLQ Natural Food Preferences r=-.20, p=.19; FLQ Diet Health Orientation r=-.17, p=.27) and small, positive correlations between ON-consistent beliefs and EDE Restraint (FLQ Natural Food Preferences r=.03, p=.84; FLQ Diet Health Orientation r=.06, p=.71). The results do not support the hypothesis, rather they suggest that ON-consistent beliefs correlate with lower food/eating preoccupation and slightly higher dietary restraint related to shape/weight concerns. Future studies examining shape/weight concerns in patients with ON-consistent beliefs will aid in defining/diagnosing ON.

Clara Rawlings & Prachi Gupta

Psychology & Chemistry

BDSM in the #MeToo Era: Safe, Sane, and Consensual

The surge in media attention on BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism) in series such as Fifty Shades of Grey (James, 2011) has resulted in increased popularity and reduced stigma surrounding BDSM. However, popular depictions of BDSM promote sexually coercive behaviors that are at odds with the fundamental consensual basis of the practice (Barker, 2013). Negative messages associated with the glorification of sexually abusive behavior are especially concerning within the context of the #MeToo era – a current movement in which survivors of sexual coercion are openly coming together to challenge societal norms that perpetuate sexual violence (O’Neil et al., 2018). // This presentation a) appropriately describes how “safe, sane, and consensual” BDSM can be a part of healthy sexual expression without causing emotional or physical harm and b) details guidelines that ensure consent and communication are part of the practice (Nichols & Fedor, 2017). Presenters will describe the tenets of safety in BDSM that include sobriety, safety signals, and mutual understanding of rules and risks. Presenters will then explain strategies that promote clear communication and unambiguous discussions about consent. Finally, presenters will summarize how deliberate and thoughtful methods that discuss safety, consent, and communication can reduce the risk of sexual coercion.

Saniya Soni


Learned Helplessness as a Predictor for Depression Among Drexel Undergraduates

Research has shown that depression among college students in the United States is on the rise. Academic success can be a major stressor during college and may cause students to feel out of control (Misra & Castillo, 2004). Learned helplessness is a perceived loss of control, which may be exhibited in an academic setting for students who have developed a loss of motivation and continue to face challenging tasks. Studies over the years have found a strong positive correlation between learned helplessness and depression (e.g., Garcia, 2017; Susic, 2015). However, less is known on whether learned helplessness is a significant predictor of depression, especially with college students. Developing a better understanding of the association between learned helplessness and depression will allow us to intervene and provide students with much needed help thus reducing their chances of developing depression. We examined the relationship between coping competency, parental emotional support, and depression. The data shows that coping competency and parental emotional support are significant predictors of depression. These findings suggest that it is integral to examine how students respond to stressful situations and emotional support provided at home in depression prevention efforts.

Amber Zafar


Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Over Prefrontal Cortex for Resting-state Brain Connectivity in Depressed and Non-depressed Participants

Neuroimaging studies have identified an impaired top-down regulatory network in depression that includes the dorsal and ventral prefrontal cortex (PFC), resulting in heightened activation in the amygdala and ventromedial PFC for negative stimuli during effortful emotion regulation tasks. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a noninvasive neuromodulation method that has been used successfully to induce measurable changes in mood in unipolar depression. Despite reliable findings, little is known regarding the precise effects of tDCS on brain connectivity in vivo in depression and how such changes relate to depression status and emotion regulation. Here, we attempted to address this question using tDCS with resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We applied excitatory (anodal) tDCS over left prefrontal cortex (PFC; area F3 per the international 10/20 electroencephalography placement system) together with inhibitory (cathodal) tDCS over the respective area over right PFC (F4) in patients with moderate-to-severe unipolar depression (n = 20) and gender- and age-matched control participants (n = 20). Participants were randomly assigned to receive either active or sham tDCS. They underwent resting-state fMRI prior to the onset of tDCS and following 20 minutes of tDCS, administered at 1.5mA with 5cm x 5cm electrodes. Connectivity analyses between prefrontal and mid-brain regions were differentially sensitive to active relative to sham tDCS. We discuss these results in the context of proposed mechanisms of action for tDCS as a treatment for depression.

Heidi Jane Zapotocky


Predictors of Violence Perpetration Amongst Individuals with Mental Illness

In 2001, The MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study published data on individuals who were patients discharged from psychiatric facilities over a one-year period. This study collected data pertaining to community violence in an effort to describe the association between violence and mental disorders. Using these data, researchers have shown that individuals with mental disorders do not exhibit higher rates of violence when compared to a community sample (Steadman et al., 1998). To better understand the violence that does exist in this population, researchers must investigate which factors influence violence. To reduce the rate of such violence, it is particularly useful to identify risk factors that could be lessened by outside intervention or supports. Previous research has concluded that violence within this population is increased when substance abuse problems and a history of victimization co-exist (Swanson, Borum, Swartz, & Hiday, 1999). Additionally, previous research using the MacArthur Risk Assessment dataset found that violent victimization and substance abuse influenced the likelihood of experienced homelessness (Van Dorn et al., 2017). The purpose of the present study's further analysis of the MacArthur Risk dataset--is to consider the association between violent behavior and three other variables: violence victimization, substance abuse, and housing instability. The following are hypothesized: (1) Individuals experiencing increased victimization during early and late adolescence will engage in higher rates of violence perpetration as an adult, (2) Individuals experiencing increased rates of violence victimization as an adult will engage in higher rates of violence perpetration, (3) Individuals experiencing higher rates of substance abuse will engage in higher rates of violence perpetration, and (4) Individuals experiencing increased rates of housing instability will have higher rates of violence perpetration, and (5) Individuals experiencing more than one of these risk factors will have the highest rates of violence perpetration. Results indicate that increased rates of violence victimization during early and late adolescence, violence victimization as an adult, and higher rates of substance abuse are all predictors of violence perpetration. Additionally, analyses indicate that rates of violence perpetration increase in individuals who experience more than one predictor, with each predictor indicating an increase in rate of violence perpetration. These findings contribute to our understanding of which risk factors contribute to violence prevalence within individuals with mental illness. By identifying significant risk factors, targeted interventions and supports may result in reduced violence within this population, as well as reduced stigma regarding the relationship between mental illness and violence.

College of Engineering

Samuel Engel, Alexander Foley, Frank Regal, Michael Kelly, Ryan August

Mechanical Engineering

D.R.A.C.O.S. - Drone and Augmented Reality Combined Operational System

Currently drones are commonly used for advanced visual inspections, remote sensing, non-destructive testing, and security purposes. However, drones have not yet been used as a visual aid in the design phases of new commercial and residential building development as well as industrial plant equipment design. This project aims to further tighten the gap between augmented reality and the physical world by allowing users to enter an augmented environment. Within this environment, users can view new designs as if they had already been implemented in the field.

The main deliverable of this project will be D.R.A.C.O.S. The complete package will include the drone, compatible with a Microsoft HoloLens, and the developed HoloLens software. The HoloLens virtual environment will pair with the drone to survey and project custom 3D models onto plots of land or superimpose them over existing structures. Drone camera feed, sensor data, 3D renderings, and property characteristics will be loaded in the virtual suite from the photogrammetry software. The software suite will be a toolbox for construction companies that will allow three dimensional renderings to be visualized in real space prior to construction begins.

With the HoloLens's ability to project multiple layers, the operator will be able to see and strip away segments such as: the foundation, framework, HVAC system, fire-protection systems, etc. The drone camera feed will provide a 360-degree view of the working space available to the builder and can highlight obstructions and property boundaries.

Brent Lee

Computer Engineering

Activity Segmentation Using Wearable Sensors for DVT/PE Risk Detection

Using a wearable electromyography (EMG) and an accelerometer sensor, classification of subject activity state (i.e., walking, sitting, standing, or ankle circles) enables detection of prolonged “negative” activity states in which the calf muscles do not facilitate blood flow return via the deep veins of the leg. By employing machine learning classification on a multi-sensor wearable device, we are able to classify human subject state between “positive” and “negative” activities, and among each activity state, with greater than 95% accuracy. Some negative activity states cannot be accurately discriminated due to their similar presentation from an accelerometer (i.e., standing vs. sitting); however, it is desirable to separate these states to better inform the risk of developing a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Augmentation with a wearable EMG sensor improves separability of these activities by 30%.

Maria Natalia Noriega Pedraza

Materials Science and Engineering

Chemical Stability and Environmental Storage Conditions of MXenes in Aqueous Media

Two-dimensional (2D) transition metal carbides and/or nitrides (MXenes) exhibit interesting properties, warranting their use in a variety of applications. [1] However, MXenes degrade when stored in aqueous media making long-term use difficult. Based on the various storage conditions and MXene compositions the chemical stability in solution varies, revealing the importance of characterizing and investigating methods to improve the stability of the produced solutions. [2] Here, we characterized the chemical and colloidal stability of molybdenum titanium carbide MXenes (Mo2TiC2 and Mo2Ti2C3) stored in different environmental conditions by observing changes in particle size and UV vis-spectroscopy. Free-standing films made from the solutions were characterized by Raman spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction and conductivity measurements. Results showed that time constants improved from 6.3 to 104 days (Mo2TiC2, Argon, 5 deg C) and 45.2 to 160 days (Mo2Ti2C3, Argon, 25 deg C). Additionally, the exposure to light/dark conditions, volume of headspace in the vial, and freezing conditions were also investigated.[1] B. Anasori, et al., Nature Reviews Materials 2017, 2 (2), 16098.[2] C. Zhang, et al., Chemistry of Materials 2017, 29 (11), 4848-4856.

Dhruv Shah & Kyle Moynahan

Mechanical Engineering & Chemical Engineering

Integrated Simulation-Experimentation-Analysis Approach to Advanced Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing represents a fast growing manufacturing approach that falls under the larger shell of advanced manufacturing (AM). The subject of the research was to understand the applications and furthermore, the limitations of additive manufacturing through computer simulations, fabrication methods, and testing procedures. Computer simulations were used to generate the optimal solution for a specified manufacturing process by reducing mass while maintaining mechanical properties. The parts were tested to ensure the accuracy of the simulations and the performance of the FDM 3D printers used for manufacturing. One medium to explore the AM processes was through a course-based research program where students were tasked with designing products that took advantage of such processes. The course covered manufacturing methods, material properties, and testing parameters in an accelerated 10-week span, where the final deliverable was a prototype that utilized AM. The Autodesk software suites including Fusion 360 and Netfabb were used to synthesize accurate simulations for 3D models, yielding information pertaining to potential temperature hotspots, distortions, and residual stresses. In terms of fabrication, multiple 3D printer units were constructed and used for prototyping purposes. Testing procedures such as Digital Image Correlation, dual-lens cameras, and Optical Microscopy were used to ensure quality of the manufacturing processes and monitor dimensional accuracy.

Yanni Tsetsekos, Daniel Erbynn, & Nom Phan

Mechanical Engineering, Computer Engineering & Mechanical Engineering

Drone in Engineering Applications

Formed under the Vertically Integrated Projects program, the DragonFly team—composed mostly of freshman engineering students—has designed, built, and flown a drone for the upcoming Vertical Flight Society’s 2019 MAV competition. The team’s drone is built to fly out of sight with an on-board camera system, pick up/drop off a package, and safely return—all while measuring about a foot in each dimension. The drone was designed with two major interdependent systems: structures and controls/sensing. The structures group worked on using 3D modeling software to design and 3D print the airframe that would house the electrical components of the drone and act as the main body, while the controls/sensing group was devoted to ensuring all of the electrical components were properly working and wirelessly communicating back to a remote control and laptop. The team met weekly starting in January and by mid-March had a flyable drone. The final competition takes place on May 13th at the University of Pennsylvania. Although the work is directed towards the competition, the team has devoted itself to work on drones to gain hands-on group project experience and an understanding of how aerial drones work while the market for drones is expanding faster than ever.

College of Nursing & Health Professions 

Clare Jocelyn Mangubat


Relationship Between Executive Function and Dietary Lapse Type

Weight loss failure is driven by dietary lapses (Forman et al., 2017), which are instances of non-adherence to a diet that may occur because one ate a large portion (Large Portion), a food intended to be avoided (Unintended Food), or at an unintended time (Unintended Time). Executive function (EF) (i.e., cognitive skills implicated in self-regulation) has been linked to dietary adherence (Nederkoorn et al., 2010), but relations between EF and specific dietary lapse types have not been examined. This study hypothesized and examined if EF differs by lapse type. 189 participants from a larger behavioral weight loss treatment study followed a weight-loss diet and reported 6 times/day if a lapse occurred via smartphone-delivered surveys. Baseline EF was measured using the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System Tower Task. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was conducted to assess if mean EF differed by lapse type. There was a statistically significant difference of mean EF by lapse type, F(2, 1434) = 4.31, p = .014, η2 = .01, specifically between Large Portion lapses (M= -0.147, SD= 3.86) and both Unintended Time lapses (M= 0.444, SD= 3.84), t(1014) = -2.45, p = .01, and Unintended Food lapses (M=0.461, SD= 3.87), t(1086) = -2.46, p = .01. Individuals with low EF may be susceptible to eating larger portions than intended, perhaps due to inhibitory control deficits. Our results imply EF may impact the type of dietary lapse that people experience, which can inform individualized tailoring of weight loss treatments.

Eun Bin Cho


Pediatric Palliative Care in South Korea and United States

The purpose of this project is to provide a review and comparison of pediatric palliative care practices in both the United States and South Korea. Despite advancement in medical research and technology, significant number of children continue to suffer and die from complex chronic illness. High prevalence rates of chronic illness and associated mortality and morbidity rates increase demands for long-term health management. Pediatric palliative care is still a relatively new concept in both United States and South Korea. In fact, the term “palliative care” is often used interchangeably with “hospice care”. Unclear distinction creates misconception about palliative care and eventually delays timely referral and participation in palliative care. An explorative literature review and an interdisciplinary, global simulation experience was performed at Drexel University to compare pediatric palliative care in the United States and South Korea. An enhanced understanding of pediatric palliative care practices and barriers to palliative care in both countries was identified. Ideas originated to increase the opportunity for more pediatric patients with life-limiting illnesses and their family members to benefit from higher quality of care and more cost-efficient healthcare services in both the United States and Koreas.

Jose Cuadros, Marielisa Otero, & Matthieu Kubli

Nutrition and Foods, Nutrition, Nutrition

Food Waste Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors: Vegetarians vs. Meat Eaters

There is sufficient data on the detrimental effects food waste has on the environment; however, there is no data on how the type of diet consumers have contribute to the production of food waste. The USDA estimates roughly 1.3 billion tons of food produced for human consumption is lost and wasted every year. The purpose of our research was to determine the differences in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors between vegetarians and meat-eaters, and if these differences influence the production of food waste. We adopted a survey from Neff, Spiker, and Truant’s research article: Wasted Food: U.S. Consumers’ Reported Awareness, Attitudes, and Behaviors. Using their survey as a reference, we tailored it for our needs using Qualtrics. The survey consisted of 37 questions targeting these attributions; 8 are correlated with knowledge, 11 with attitudes, 16 with behavior, and 2 to reassure that participants were ages 18 or older. The survey launched on March 5th, 2019 and concluded on the 15th of April. Participants were recruited with a letter overviewing the study via Facebook, Instagram, and email. Responses were analyzed via Excel and t-tests were run to find any significant differences between both groups.

Victoria I. Dennison

Health Sciences

Correlation Between Volume of Rescue Squad Calls and Township Demographic Characteristics

Purpose: This study investigated the correlation between the volume of rescue calls per township and the township population, population per square mile, median resident age, and family size. The analysis was performed on the Lambertville New-Hope Ambulance and Rescue Squad which provides medical services to two states (6 townships) and responds to approximately 2,000 calls per year.

Methods: A Pearson correlation analysis was performed on four variables; population, population per square mile, median resident age, and family size. These variables were compared to the volume of rescue calls in six townships from January to September 2018. Significance was set at 0.05.

Results: There was a significant positive correlation between township rescue calls and population per square mile with an r-value of 0.83 and p-value of 0.021 indicating a positive correlation. There was no correlation between township rescue calls and median resident age (r=0.61, p=0.100) or population (r=0.16, p=0.381). There tended to be a negative correlation for rescue calls and family sizer per township (r=-0.72, p=0.054).

Conclusion: Population density and family size were correlated with the volume of rescue calls per township suggesting that these demographic characteristics may be used as predictors of rescue call volume.

Parina Depani & Prachi Gupta

Nutrition and Foods & Chemistry

Beyond Fifty Shades: Fact vs. Fiction of BDSM

The popular series Fifty Shades of Grey (James, 2011) brought discussion and intrigue about BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism) into American mainstream media. However, subsequent depictions of BDSM have often included misrepresentations of the emotional, physical, and sexual aspects of the practice (Green, 2015). These misrepresentations have the potential for harm since people’s sexual behavior and attitudes are shaped by the media. Toward the goal of promoting safety, this presentation will compare the descriptions of BDSM in Fifty Shades of Grey and other popular media with facts about safe and consensual BDSM. First, presenters will describe each element of BDSM and distinguish between different interpretations of each in both theory and practice (Simula, 2019). Presenters will then enumerate problematic behaviors in Fifty Shades of Grey, including the romanticizing of abusive relationships and emotional control (Barker, 2013). Misconceptions about BDSM, such as mandatory gender roles and the inclusion of pain will be discussed (Khan, 2017). This presentation will elucidate differences between common perceptions of BDSM practice and individuals who engage in a consensual and safe BDSM lifestyle (Gemberling, Cramer, & Miller, 2013). Finally, presenters will briefly discuss a paradigm that emphasizes safety and clear communication in public discourse about BDSM.

Katherine Hurley, Madison Schmus, Jessica Pignatelli, Ryan Chiasson, James (Adam) Bilodeau, & Jenna Kessler


Cannabidiol Use in Pediatric Epileptic Patients

Investigation through a literature review revealed, interest in cannabidiol as a treatment for treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy has been growing; however, pharmacological shortcomings and legal restrictions have hindered data and prevented comprehensive research to be done. Of the limited studies that have been conducted, the data they have produced have been highly encouraging: a reduction in seizures and improved quality of life measures have all been seen. Additionally, patient safety has been assured in these trials, while also limiting adverse effects of cannabidiol.

Kaitlin Kelly

Health Science

Triathlon Performance for Self-Identified Athena and Clydesdale Athletes Compared to Other Participants

Background: According to the USA Triathlon national board, woman who weigh 165 pounds or more may self-identify as Athena and Men 220 pounds or more as Clydesdale. Purpose: To determine if there is a performance difference between participants in the Athena and Clydesdale categories during the swim, bike, and run portions of the race compared other men and women. This is an initial study on participation and performance that provides data relevant to current efforts to improve triathlon accessibility and participation across age, gender, and body image barriers.

Methods: In the 2015-18 Long Beach Island Triathlon there were 369 women and 605 men including 42 (13%) Athena and 46 (8%) Clydesdale athletes. The triathlon consisted of a 0.25-mile swim, 10-mile bike, and 3-mile run. An independent t-test was used to determine time differences between groups with alpha set to 0.05.

Results: Times for the swim were not significantly different between Athena (505+95 s) and non-Athena (474+102 s) women (p=0.06) as well as Clydesdale (469+122 s) and non-Clydesdale (455+114s) men (p=0.16). The bike and run times were significantly higher for Athena and Clydesdale groups compared to other athletes (p=0.03 to p<0.0001).

Conclusion: The run, which is a weight bearing activity, showed the largest difference between Athena/Clydesdale and other athletes. There were no significant differences in swimming performance.

Jenna N. Kessler


Global Immersion

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to provide a comparison of the Irish and American nursing education and healthcare delivery systems.

Background: Students were asked to prepare and gather background information regarding both the American health care system and the Irish health care system prior to the immersion.

Methods: Students participated in an international global immersion that addressed social, economic, and political factors related to health, health systems and nursing education, both domestically and globally. Students were immersed in the Irish culture, interacted with nursing students at Trinity College in Dublin, and participated in a health system debate.

Findings: Nursing Education, Nursing Practice, Health Care System

Implications: The immersion experience has significant impacts on nursing practice and directly correlates to the health care system.

Julia Maher & Qiuan Huang

Nutrition and Food Science & Nutrition

Development and Validation of a Method to Determine Nutrient Loss in Consumer Food Waste

Food waste in the farm to fork continuum is a growing problem. Food waste at the consumer level is estimated to be the greatest amount of food wasted but determination of waste at this level is very difficult. The direct weighing method and estimation through pictures are two methods often used in research of food waste at i.e. schools. However, there is limited research on the accuracy and validity of those methods. There is a need for a validated method to analyze the micronutrient and macronutrient content of food wasted at the consumer level. The purpose of this research was to develop and determine the validity of a new method to measure micronutrient and macronutrients lost in food wasted by consumers. The proposed method consists of two parts: 1) Weighing 25 pieces of food waste and taking pictures of the waste and 2) analyzing the macronutrients and micronutrients using the “My diet analysis” nutrient analysis tool. The method was completed independently by two student researchers using the same food waste. Interrater reliability between the researchers will be determined for the analysis of carbohydrates, protein, fat and fiber in the food waste. The pictures of the food waste will be distributed to 8 additional seniors in nutrition sciences to estimate the amount of the food waste and enter it into the nutrient analysis tool. Data will then be analyzed to determine validity of the use of pictures and the nutrient analysis tool to estimate nutrient loss in food waste.

Edwin McCulley & Benjamin Carlo

Health Science & Biomedical Engineering

Exploring Correlates of Sport Orientation and Self-efficacy with Plank Exercise Performance

BACKGROUND: Differences in individual exercise performance and perceived self-efficacy may be influenced by one’s exercise orientation (to compete, win, or master). We examined how exercise orientation may influence task self-efficacy ratings and exercise performance in college-aged males and females.

METHODS: Participants (n=157) performed 5 timed abdominal planks with 30-seconds of rest between each plank. Average plank time (APT) and task self-efficacy rating was computed from each participant’s estimate of their individual exercise performance. Sport orientation questionnaire (SOQ) responses were also calculated for each of three subscales related to how one may approach sport and exercise: competitiveness, goal- and win-orientation. SOQ sub-scale scores were grouped relative to the means: high or low for each orientation, and compared on task self-efficacy ratings and plank exercise performance.

RESULTS: Competitiveness (r=0.24) and goal-orientation (r=0.23) correlations with APT were significant and positive. A Mann-Whitney U analysis showed APT distribution significantly differed (p<0.05) across competitive and goal-orientation groups. Odds ratio comparisons revealed both high-scoring competitive and goalorientated participants were more likely to have a higher discrepancy between self-efficacy ratings and performance times, compared to low-scoring counterparts.

CONCLUSION: We found exercise orientation might be a meaningful correlate of perceived self-efficacy and plank exercise performance in college-aged students.

Briana Walsh, Emily Lim, Chwen-Ling Huang & Ye Ji Lee

Nutrition and Foods & Nutrition

The Impact of Food Date Labeling on Food Waste

The greatest amount of food wasted is at the level of the consumer. Research indicates that food wasted by consumers may be due to a lack of knowledge regarding the meanings of food date labels such as, “Use by”, “Sell by”, and “Expiration date”. These labels do not all indicate that food should no longer be consumed. This study sought to determine whether greater knowledge of what food-date labels mean results in consumers being less likely to report food wasting behaviors. A nine-question survey was developed which included questions regarding both knowledge of food date labeling and reported behaviors. The three-minute survey was administered to 1065 individuals via SurveyMonkey™. Results indicated that 57%, 78% and 68% of respondents correctly identified the meanings of “best by/use by”, “sell by” and “expiration date”, respectively. Twenty one percent, and 30% of respondents indicated that they would throw away food if it was past its “sell by” date and “use by” date, respectively. Both of which may result in food being wasted that could be consumed. Ongoing data analysis will determine whether consumers with less knowledge regarding date label meanings were more likely to report throwing away food that could still be consumed.

Dornsife School of Public Health

Anna Bostwick

Public Health

Retrospective untargeted analysis of dried blood spots for understanding early etiology of autism spectrum disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social communication and interaction, and the presence of restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior or interests (Baio et al., 2018). The etiology of the disorder is not fully understood, but recent studies have confirmed that it includes both genetic and environmental factors (Nardone & Elliott, 2016). Through retrospective analysis of dried blood spot (DBS) from newborns in a case-control sample constructed from 2010 California births and social services claims data, we can correlate molecules in DBS samples prospectively with outcome data, including ASD diagnosis.

For analysis, DBS cards were spiked with stable isotope labeled internal standards and analyzed by liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS). Data analysis was conducted on both a targeted panel of analytes as well via an untargeted metabolomics pipeline. We investigated the analytical parameters of measurement of molecules from DBS cards and the distribution of targeted analytes across the DBS samples. We then tested procedures to remove and reduce artifacts in the untargeted analysis such as batch effects by different data normalization strategies. This will allow investigation of the measured molecules from DBS cards in relation to ASD diagnosis in future work.

References: Baio, J., Wiggins, L., Christensen, D. L., Maenner, M. J., Daniels, J., Warren, Z., . . . Dowling, N. F. (2018). Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years - Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2014. MMWR Surveill Summ, 67(6), 1-23. doi:10.15585/mmwr.ss6706a1

Nardone, S., & Elliott, E. (2016). The Interaction between the Immune System and Epigenetics in the Etiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Front Neurosci, 10, 329. doi:10.3389/fnins.2016.00329

Mariah Menanno

Public Health

Surveillance of Birth Defects and Conenital Zika Virus Infections in Philadelphia, 2016-2018

Background: The first outbreak of Zika virus (ZKV) in the Western Hemisphere began in 2015 (Naccache et. al, 2016). Subsequently, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) established a birth defects surveillance (BDS) system tracking outcomes of Philadelphia-born infants with known and unknown exposure.

Design/Methods: Prospective and retrospective active surveillance was completed for both infants of mothers with positive prenatal ZKV testing and infants born with Zika-associated birth defects and unknown exposure. Mothers testing positive, probable, or suspect for ZKV who gave birth before March 31, 2018 were enrolled in the U.S. Zika Pregnancy and Infant Registry (USZPIR) and receive home visiting services from PDPH for two years (CDC, 2019).

Results: Preliminary analyses of the 41 mothers enrolled showed zero infants born with Zika-associated birth defects. Three infants tested PCR positive at birth, but PRNT negative at 18 months. 25 families have received home visiting services; 12 are currently enrolled. The BDS registry contains over 300 cases; preliminary analysis suggests none were exposed to ZKV in utero.

Conclusion: The development, maintenance, and expansion of a BDS registry generated partnerships with Clinical Champions at Philadelphia’s nine delivery hospitals. Additionally, home visiting connects families to services, linking surveillance data with community assistance.

References: Naccache, S., Thézeél, J., Sardi, S., Somasekar, S., Geninger, A., Bandeira, A., Campos, G., Tauro, L., Sabino, E., Pybus, O., & Chiu, C. (2016, September 20). Distinct Zika Virus Lineage in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 22(10), 1788-1792. for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2019, March 19). US Zika Pregnancy and Infant Registry. Retrieved from

Elizabeth Mintz

Public Health

Quality of Life in Chronic Venous Leg Ulcer Patients

Authors and affiliations: Elizabeth Mintz, BS, Drexel University; Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, RN, Drexel University, Michael S. Weingarten, MD, MBA, Drexel University; Michael Neidrauer, PhD, Drexel University, Leonid Zubkov, PhD, Drexel University, and Peter A. Lewin, PhD, Drexel UniversityBackground: Individuals with chronic leg wounds often experience chronic physical and psychological stressors, and decreased quality of life (QOL).Objective: This preliminary data analysis describes baseline disease-specific QOL in the first 44 participants with venous leg ulcers (VLUs) enrolled in a 5-year double-blinded RCT studying the effects of low-frequency (20kHz) low-intensity (<100mW/cm2 spatial peak-temporal peak intensity) ultrasound on chronic wounds (NIH 1R01NR015995, PI: Lewin).Design/Methods: Participants received 16 weekly ultrasound or sham treatments at the Drexel University Wound Clinic in addition to optical measures of wound healing, nutrition, inflammation and QOL. Disease-specific QOL was measured with the Wound QOL instrument (WQOL), a 17-item validated tool. WQOL and subscales (body, psyche and everyday life) scores range from 0 to 4, with higher scores indicating worse disease-specific QOL.Results: Participants (n=44) were primarily men (56.8%) and Black (63.6%), with a mean age of 58.78 (SD 12.92). On average, baseline WQOL was 1.96 (SD .97). Of all the subscales, the psyche subscale (mean 2.53 [SD 1.19]) had the highest mean, indicating worse QOL related to psychological concerns (unhappy, frustration, worry, fear). In addition, 70% of patients reported the VLU affected their sleep to a varying degree.Conclusion: Sleep and psychological stressors are areas that impact disease-specific QOL in patients with VLUs. The preliminary results suggest a need for providing comprehensive care to patients with VLUs. Future research will examine the impact of healing on QOL in patients with chronic venous leg ulcers.

LeBow College of Business

Manjima Mahalanobish

Economics and Finance

The Dynamics of Entrepreneurship: A study using the NETS Database

Economic literature has consistently found that small and young firms play a crucial role in job creation (Birch, 1987; Davis et al 1996a; Neumark et al, 2011; Haltiwanger et al., 2013) and so it follows that an empirical analysis of the associated concept of entrepreneurship can yield insights into one of the key drivers of economic growth. The purpose of this study is to analyze and estimate entrepreneurship and self-employment outcomes in the United States using National Establishment Time Series, a private sector database consisting of firm-level microdata. Recent research has found NETS to be helpful for studying overall business dynamism in the United States (Decker et al, 2017) but very little has been done to test the viability of NETS as a source of self-employment and entrepreneurship data. We address this by bench marking NETS to public sector microdata from the Nonemployer Statistics (NES) and County Business Patterns (CBP), available through the United States Census Bureau, to identify and potentially reconcile any discrepancies. We then use the NETS to assess the dynamic nature of the entrepreneurial landscape, especially the role of location and agglomeration in attracting and retaining entrepreneurial talent.

Sarah Malik, Krzysztof Mazur, Rakeen Rouf, Sadman Islam, Ishtiaq Shahriar

Business and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering

An IoT-Enabled Aircraft Safety System

The goal of the following project is using an Internet of Things approach to predicting the structural health of aircraft components. Structural Health Monitoring (SHM), defined as the process that involves sensing, computing and decision making to assess the integrity of infrastructure has been plagued by data management and data-driven decision-making challenges. The Internet of Things (IoT) provides a way to decisively address both SHM’s big data problems. The purpose of the IoT project proposed herein is to develop a framework that connects sensor data with processing and modeling to provide diagnostic/prognostic capabilities related to SHM. The team will leverage existing sensing, computing and data post-processing capabilities at the lab using an actual test case to demonstrate the performance of the proposed IoT framework.

Nina Olney


The Sociology of Modern Art Crawls

With a new focus on the arts as a mechanism for growth, cities around the country have begun to institutionalize and commodify cultural events like the modern art crawl. But while these art crawls are supposed to unite city residents in the appreciation of art, the socioeconomic class structure that underlies the art community continues to limit who can benefit from gallery access. Through ethnographic observation done at Philadelphia’s monthly First Friday crawl, this study examines how visitors act in perceived high-class artistic spaces as compared to lower-class galleries and shops. Building on prior analysis regarding the intersection of art and class, observation reveals that the social rules for galleries are often unclear for most visitors. In formal settings, patrons often stay in small groups out of discomfort, whereas the casual settings of shops encourage people to stay longer and interact more with their environment. While cities may have intended to legitimize cultural events to bring together the whole city, art crawls may be inaccessible for a wide variety of potential patrons due to an unfamiliarity with perceived high-class spaces.

School of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health Systems

Felix Agbavor

Biomedical Engineering

Visualizing and Exploring 16S rRNA Using A Deep Learning Model

Artificial Intelligence(AI) is the new age of the current technological revolution. We can train an AI to help us find out what bacteria is in our gut, a very important use case for disease prediction in the Healthcare industry[1]. We propose to develop integrated deep learning models that exploit convolutional networks [2], recurrent neural networks, and attention mechanisms to perform sample phenotype prediction and extract interesting features (e.g. genetic variants, informative taxa, predictive genes, etc.) from DNA and show that such a model can encode sequences or reads into dense, meaningful representations.

Using various standardized datasets for training and testing, we investigate the performance of various neural network architectures and compare these results with current Machine Learning libraries such as Random Forest and Logistic Regression. Operational Taxonomic Unit(OTU) tables were built to make further comparisons on different taxonomic levels namely the genus and species levels. We can visualize subgroups of genera that are associated with different body sites using intermediate layer output while the model only has access to the body site labels.

Pratishtha Guckhool

Biomedical Engineering

The role of Neurexins and Neuroligins in neurite structure and synaptic connectivity

Neural circuits are complex pathways within the nervous system that process information in the brain. Within each circuit, neurons are connected via synapses that enable the transmission of both electrical and chemical signals. For a circuit to be connected appropriately, neurons need to form the correct number of dendritic branches and establish fully functioning synapses on each branch with specific target neurons. The proper alignment of the synaptic components of adjacent neurons is controlled by the cell adhesion molecules, Neurexins (Nrx) and Neuroligins (Nlg). However, recent work has demonstrated that these two proteins may also be involved in the growth and refinement of the dendrite branches. Here, we investigated these dual roles in neural circuit development within the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. We analized dendrite branching and synaptic development within the well characterized Giant Fiber (GF) neuron. Our RNA sequencing data suggested that Nrx-1 and Nlg-4 proteins are highly expressed in this neuron. We next investigated how Nrx-1 and Nlg-4 participate in dendrite and synaptic development by knocking down their expression levels with RNAi. Following immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy, we quantified changes in synaptic density and dendrite morphology. We found that Nrx-1 and Nlg-4 may not be involved in establishing dendrite morphology, but found the loss of Nrx-1 causes a significant reduction in presynaptic densities. Our data support the role for Nrx-1 in regulating synaptic density. Since Nrx and Nlg have been implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, our data will enrich our understanding of their role in neural development and may enable the generation of more effective therapies.

Neha Kamireddi

Biomedical Engineering

A Speech-based Framework for Understanding Activity Performance in Extreme Action Teams

We propose a speech-based framework for analyzing and understanding how extreme action teams use verbal communication to relay activity performance during time-critical teamwork. To develop the framework, we situated our study in the emergency medical domain of trauma resuscitation and transcribed speech from 104 actual resuscitations. We used the transcripts to examine the nature and flow of speech during 34 most critical resuscitation activities. For each activity, we then developed a speech-flow model using the concept of narrative schemas. The schemas overall showed that the teams used four major forms of communication, including task or information requests, activity descriptions, activity reports, and decision-making exchanges. These forms occurred at three different stages of activity performance: before the activity execution, during activity performance stage, and after the activity execution. The final speech-based framework emerged by extracting and aggregating generalized aspects of all 34 schemas. We conclude by discussing the applications of the individual narrative schemas and the speech-based framework for the development of an activity recognition system for dynamic and speech-heavy collaborative workspaces.

Danielle Shoshany & Zhoumu Xiang

Biomedical Engineering & Biological Sciences

Evaluating Patient Adherence to Treatment Using a Mobile Health Application

Mobile health (mHealth) technologies are “designed to improve [patient health and adherence by saving] the time and cost [of visiting] a treatment center” (Boccalandro et al. 2019). Approximately 30-50% of individuals with chronic ailments abandon treatment before completion (Boccalandro et al. 2019). Evidence suggests that self-monitoring via electronic diary can increase adherence (Burke et al. 2012)(Wharton et al. 2014). However, there is limited research that evaluates factors related to patient adherence using mHealth interventions (deZambotti et al. 2019).

The objective of this study is to identify participants who were adherent with the mobile app during the treatment period and characteristics associated with adherence.

Participants were 65-90 years old and had sleep onset insomnia. Participants first completed study questionnaires and were instructed to complete a daily sleep diary using a mobile application for 1 week. Eligible participants received a structured meditation and sleep hygiene (n=21) intervention (open-label, no control arm) for 2 weeks. Participants then repeated the same study questionnaires. Analysis was performed using SAS 3.7 (Enterprise Edition).

95% of participants met the original goal of 70% adherence, demonstrating an overall high rate of adherence. For the purpose of predicting adherence criteria, we then adjusted the adherence criteria upwards to 90% which had 52.4% adherence.

Daniel Thompson & Andy Huang

Biomedical Engineering & Health Science

Physical activity in older patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

Thompson, D. Huang, A. Hanlon, A. Chi, L. Davis, E. Cheng, C. Rangu, S. Novelo, M. Rhodes, J. Nathanson, G. Wolk, D. Richards, K. Gooneratne, N. on behalf of the Memories 2 Study Research Team

Objectives: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that affects thirty-six percent [1]of older adults. OSA can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness which may decrease physical activity (PA). This study compares the activity level between patients with OSA and a Control group without OSA.

Methods:Forty-four OSA subjects (apnea-hypopnea index of ≥15) and twenty-six Control subjects from the Memories 2 research study, ages 55-85, wore an Actigraph GT9X Link for an average of 17 days. Accelerometer cut points used were from the Troiano[2] algorithm.

Results:Total Moderate PA time was 1,276 minutes (std=668.3) OSA compared to 1,050 minutes (SD=678.3) Control (p-value=0.18). Average BMI was 33.5 kg/m (SD=7.40) OSA versus 27.9 kg/m (SD=7.98) Control (p-value=0.004).

Conclusion:There was no statistically significant difference in Moderate PA between the OSA and Control. Power analyses suggests that a larger sample size of 230 subjects might find a statistically significant difference. A higher BMI was seen in OSA patients, which supports the fact that obesity is a risk factor for OSA. Future studies should focus on accelerometer cut points to measure older adult PA.

Sources 1.Heinzer, R., et al. "Prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing in the general population: the HypnoLaus study." The Lancet Respiratory Medicine3.4 (2015): 310-318.

2.Troiano, Richard P., et al. "Physical activity in the United States measured by accelerometer." Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise40.1 (2008): 181-188.

School of Education

Madison Restle, Hayden O'Rourke, & Kaitlyn Ferreri

Secondary Education, Education & Teacher Education

Literacy Alive : A Grassroot Program Seeking to Improve Literacy Skills

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), more than 60% of students in the fourth grade across the US are basic or below basic in reading (Reading Assessment, 2019). Kappa Delta Pi Drexel (KDP) has established itself as being a leading student organization in bringing awareness of the importance of reading through local partnerships in the Philadelphia area. KDP Drexel knows that literacy is an essential skill for academic and real-world growth and is learned in the early ages of adolescence. Because of this, KDP Drexel has taken the initiative to be a part of the solution by hosting Literacy Alive!, a day of literacy programming for students in grades Pre-K to 4. Literacy Alive!, is KDP’s Headquarters signature service initiative that over 200 chapters across America put together to promote the importance of reading, writing, and improving literacy skills in their own communities. The program is designed to meet the foundational skills for early literacy acquisition. Our chapter planned Literacy Alive! and created literacy-based activities and reached out to local groups to participate and provide resources to allow this event to happen. With the help of local partnerships, that include the community of West Philadelphia and teacher advocacy groups, parents were able to learn via a one hour workshop how parents can practice literacy techniques at home with their child(ren). This workshop is designed to empower parents to advocate for their child(ren) acquisition of literacy skills. Activities for children are centered around one book that is chosen to spread knowledge on a topic that is of interest to this age group and to keep the day cohesive. Using the book, various activities help build basic literacy skills. The hope is that as a service initiative event, Literacy Alive!, will allow students and parents to better practice and improve their literacy skills every day.

Reference: Reading Assessment. (2019, January 17). Retrieved March 23, 2019, from NAEP Reading website

Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

Anna Lee Johnson

Fashion Design

The Cable Exploration

This collection explores the visual impact of knit cable construction, specifically the volume, depth, and intersecting qualities of cable patterns as they move across the body. Varying sizes of three dimensional cables are knit using the Shima Seiki SSR 112 shaped panel knitting machine and the Shima Seiki APEX total design system. Through the research process Sandra Backlund’s knit designs were analyzed allowing a larger understanding of how voluminous knits could maintain their shape while on the body and helped in the process of constructing the large cable (Simpson). The cable is created by the transferring process of live stitches in the horizontal direction, creating surface texture at the point where the layers of yarn have been overlapped. Through the exploration of the crisscrossing technique the enlarged cable is brought to life and linked together using the backstitch bind-off technique (Stanley). By using mid-value color, the dimensional qualities are easily recognized from the contrasting shadows created. Structured shapes contrasting the movement of the knit by including linear lines of windowpane with tailoring elements allow the crisp lines to balance the organic movement with technical precision.

Bridgette Kiley

Fashion Design

Icelandic Landscapes Reimagined into a Knitwear Collection

My senior collection takes inspiration from the landscapes of Iceland. Diverse and untamed, I am drawn to the complex, unexpected shapes and structures found in these landscapes, such as the black sand beach and basalt columns. I aim to interpret these landforms into knitwear designs. Using the SSR 112 7 gauge flatbed knitting machine and APEX software, both from Shima Seiki, and a standard domestic knitting machine, I have developed my own textile combinations, such as closely knit 1x1 rib striped with voluminous drop stitch. Yarns for these textile designs were chosen based on drape and color, blending layers of smooth platinum colored viscose with soft merino wool of bright gold. The knitwear designs are paired with charcoal wool crepe wovens which provide a soft, yet slightly textured break between the knits. All elements combined, the final garments reimagine Iceland's natural beauty into a textile focused, salable knitwear collection.