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SXU Holds Annual Research Expo


Saint Xavier University (SXU) held its annual Research Expo the week of April 19. Held virtually in response to COVID-19, the expo was accessible to students, faculty and staff online, all of whom could view and post questions or comments about presentations and projects from across the University. The Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Initiative reflects Saint Xavier University's leadership commitment to excellence in teaching, learning and scholarship, and the student-faculty teams of the expo engage in meaningful work while also providing an opportunity to address research questions and contribute to the intellectual life of campus.

Students and faculty conducted research, engaged in peer-reviewed conference presentations or posters, developed reports used to inform policy or practice on campus or in the community, and produced the creative equivalent in the arts. Each school presented a series of projects complete with visuals and commentary on their research. While just a few are highlighted here, each project was outstanding and plays a part in helping Saint Xavier to advance its mission.

College of Arts and Sciences – Arts and Humanities

Project Title: Say Something, You Matter

Scholar: Farah Yaseen

Farah Yaseen, a graphic design and psychology major, created a project that discusses the history of psychology in Islam and shares stories in both English and Arabic of people who struggle with mental health without getting the help they need. Yaseen explores how inaccessibility to mental health resources is a cultural problem, and her project seeks to shed light on the issue.

Other projects from Arts and Humanities included a photographic thesis that explores the pressures society puts on women to act or look a certain way; a two-page spread of fictional "weird" advertisements; and a series of digitally-illustrated comics that communicate thoughts and emotions around mental illness and recovery.

College of Arts and Sciences – STEM Sciences

Project Title: Wine Drinkers, Caffeine Lovers and Nicotine Addicts: Your Odds of Getting Alzheimer's Disease

Scholar: Bridget Giblin

Mentored by the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Bindhu Alappat, Ph.D., Bridget Giblin, a biology pre-health and natural sciences major, examined the implications of wine, caffeine and nicotine on the incidence of Alzheimer's, exploring the effect of the three products on the aggregation and hyperphosphorylation of both Aβ and tau proteins. The findings of the research could help people who use the products to see the possible effects they have on brain tissue and their risks for Alzheimer's disease in the future.

Other projects from STEM sciences included research on how the COVID-19 pandemic might revolutionize future rapid vaccine development; synthesis and reactivity of carbon-centered radicals in environmental matrixes; the relationship between mutual help and student academic performance in the classroom; the genetic variation of Habrotrocha rosa and commercially-supplied Philodina; triclosan and its substitutes; identification of Rhodopseudomonas isolate in Sarracenia purpurea pitchers and evaluation of role in nitrogen economy of the pitcher inquiline community; wheat gluten and biofilms as a more affordable and biodegradable alternative for bandages; genetic architecture of a bdelloid rotifer metapopulation and DNA sequence variations; inhibition of protein tyrosine phosphatase 1-β and its responsibility for the negative regulation of insulin signaling; antibacterial activity of essential oils; identification of bacterial isolates from Sarracenia purpurea leaves and analysis of their role as prey for bacterivorous invertebrates; variation in survival and reproduction after freezing and anhydrobiosis and the effects of stresses on the philodina; virtual reality for computer science education; silver nanoparticles as catalysts for the reduction reaction of 4-nitrophenol; gold nanoparticles, synthesis, stabilization and catalytic activity for reduction reactions; and exploration of hyperbolic geometry.

College of Arts and Sciences – Social Sciences

Project Title: The Neurological Effects of Recent Cannabis Use on Processing Emotional Facial Expressions: An ERP Study

Scholars: Hadeel Damra

Mentored by psychology professor Robert Torrence, Ph.D., Hadeel Damra, a psychology major, examined the residual effects cannabis use has on neurological responses to fearful facial expressions, how cannabis causes acute effects that impair cognitive functioning up to 24 hours after use, and how cannabis has lasting effects in emotional processing.

Other projects from Social Sciences included research on differentiating the predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder and posttraumatic growth in a community sample; skin tones and perceptions of attractiveness; sibling versus child relationship type and adults' reactions to having an LGB family member; hypothetical parents' relationship to their child and their reactions to having an LGB offspring; social media and life satisfaction; and the impact of kindlin-3 deficiency on the relationship between cognitive, social and motor behaviors.

Graham School of Management (GSM)

Project Title: The Gamification of Dating Apps

Scholar: Natalie Davidson and Vincent Cicchirillo, Ph.D.

Dr. Cicchirillo, assistant professor at GSM, and Natalie Davidson, a marketing student, explored analysis of individuals' motives for using dating apps. Gamification is the employment of gaming mechanisms to non-gaming contexts. They examined gamified behaviors, which are the types of things one would do in a gaming system, like competing to get rewards, and how they are being used to incentivize people to use the services of dating apps. The two conducted focus groups with students at SXU within their project.

School of Nursing and Health Sciences (SONHS)

Project Title: Preparing Undergraduate Nursing Students to Provide End of Life Care: The Impact of the End of Life Simulation Experience

Scholar: Stephani Fabular

Mentored by nursing professor Mary Tiberg, Ph.D., RN, Stephani Fabular, a nursing student, explored nursing students' learning experiences with SXU's nursing simulation lab and examined how the simulation exercise shaped undergraduate nurses' perceptions as they provided care to patients at end of life. Study participants worked to offer specific and feasible recommendations for improving the end of life simulation's effectiveness for future nursing students.

Other projects from SONHS included research on the effects of self-disclosure on listeners' perceptions of adults who stutter; perspectives of speech-language pathologists serving culturally and linguistically diverse clients; employers' perceptions of residual speech sound disorders; caregiver experiences in collaboration with school speech-language pathologists during teletherapy treatment due to COVID-19; the older adult and health care resources via technology; differences in perceptions of concussion recovery between male and female athletes; factors affecting burnout among speech-language pathologists; and effect of load on the functional movement screen in-line lunge.

SXU is incredibly proud of the scholarly work of its students and faculty and looks forward to many more awe-inspiring projects!