Presenting: Honors Projects

Stacey Dach, Highland Chronicle reporter

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Their number was in the single-digits, but they were a devoted group. Nine went the extra mile. Three even went two miles! Yes, these HCC students went above and beyond their regular classwork to complete honors projects this fall. The nine students completed a total of 11 projects with three students each doing two separate projects and two students combined their efforts to complete one.   

In order to earn title “honors graduate,” students must complete classes with 12 or more credit hours that include an honors project for those courses.  While students can choose which classes they want to do the projects for, they must apply and be accepted into the program. They must gain instructor approval and work closely with that instructor along the way. The projects need to be relevant to the coursework and include at least 25% more work than the other students in the course do.  They must demonstrate strong written and/or oral communication skills, strengthen the student’s research abilities, require proof of critical thinking, and have objectives that can be measured.   

The projects completed this semester were on a wide variety of topics. Abigayle Endress, of Pearl City, who has aspirations of becoming involved with agriculture law in the future, did her project on comparing “clean” meat (grown in a petri dish), vegetarian meats, and traditional meats.  Since she was raised on a cattle farm, Abby is very familiar with the traditional meats. However, she learned a lot about the other two types of meat. “The vegetable-based meats actually have some different health benefits, so depending on dietary restrictions, that might be the better option for people,” Endress said. With this type of meat, which contains less fat and cholesterol and some forms even have more protein than traditional meat, they use an iron-containing compound called heme.  “They extract that and put it in the vegetable-based meat to make it tender and juicy to replicate traditional meat,” Endress explained.  While “clean” meat is ‘cool’, Abigayle said, she is not sure how effective it will be in the future. When it first hits store shelves, which won’t be until at least 2021, it will be ridiculously expensive, she said.  Endress explained the interesting concept of “clean” meats.  “They take a stem cell from an animal and then they grow it.” She also commented on how they shape it as it grows and even try to get it to look as close to traditional meat as possible- even though the difference is clearly apparent in pictures. 

Caroline Martin, an elementary education major from Lake Summerset, was a member of the two-mile club.  Her projects were done on dreaming for her Intro to Psychology class and in her Education as an Agent for Change class, she worked with a fourth- grade class on putting together a history book as a class research project. As a person who has had a lot of strange dreams and nightmares her whole life, Martin thought it would be interesting to study the effects of a couple different environmental factors on her dreams.  “The point was to see every time I wake up from a nightmare I am sweaty, so I was wondering if the increased body temperature affects what I dream about,” Martin explained. For a month, she charted her room temperature when she went to bed. “Most of the time it was consistent that the warmer my room temperature was, the more often I would dream- not just nightmares, but dreams in general,” Martin said.  She also looked at whether a medication she took had any effect on the situation either, but she could find no correlation with that.  For her second honors project, with a fourth-grade class at Tri-County, they compiled a hard-cover history book for a research project. “They picked a topic and they filled out worksheets for me… they drew a picture for me, which we used on the front cover, and then they did a little journal entry which ended up in the back as a little ‘about the author’ section of our book,” Martin explained.  While they don’t know it yet, each child in the class will also be getting their own copy of the book.

Nursing student Rhonda Pokoj, of Apple River, opted for a project on the stress levels of college students as a result of being on their phones and using technology for several hours each day. “In my research I learned that stress and anxiety are the number one mental illness now in college-age students,” Pokoj said. With the wide release of smart phones beginning in 2007, Rhonda explained today’s college students would be among the first that grew up with technology in the palm of their hand all the time.  “There is a huge increase in students seeking, even on their campuses, treatments for stress and anxiety. Part of it is the instant gratification and a lot of that can be related back to the fact they have it in their hands all the time, they never get out if it. They’ve never known a world without the internet,” she said. Another interesting fact she learned through her research was that teens date much less now than they did in prior generations. “They say that’s because kids live their entire social life on their phones- they don’t need to go out,” Pokoj said. As part of her project, she created an educational tri-fold brochure for college-age students that gives them tips on how to reduce their stress by unplugging from technology.

Below is a list of the other students and a brief description of the honors projects they completed. All were presented in the Clarence Mitchell Library at noon on December 1st

Miranda Goeke- Course: Biology I; Instructor: Karla Giuffre A plant experiment was conducted comparing different species of plants watered with different solutions of salt. The data collected was compared to determine which species could regulate salt concentrations better than others and determine the cellular damage that occurs. 

Taylor Haag- Course: General College Chemistry I; Instructor: John Sullivan The project consisted of completion of iodometric titration of cysteine utilizing the Lambda Biot UV-vis spectrophotometer. For this project, the student used a starch indicator to combine the amino acid building blocks to form a larger molecule cysteine, a disulfide, using a spectrophotometer. 

Taylor Haag- Course: Biology I; Instructor: Karla Giuffre An analysis of personal DNA was performed using the National Geographic Genographic Project. After the testing of DNA, the individual was able to determine the origin of common ancestors through the maternal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) line. The mtDNA was able to be traced from Africa all the way to West Asia and Northern Europe. This mtDNA was compared to Neanderthal DNA, which accounted for more than 1% found in the DNA results.   

Michelle Johnson- Course: Introduction to Art; Instructor: Bob Apolloni An art project that involved three forms of expression was created.  The first part incorporated the art of photography and how an image can show an event or expression, make a statement, or simply please the eye. The second part is a representational painting of a horse. Representational art takes objects that viewers recognize from the natural, everyday world. 

Madeline Kuhl- Course: Introduction to Art; Instructor: Bob Apolloni A photography portfolio was created showcasing different art forms and the actions done to complete the art forms. The final project included traditional Mexican dance, musical instruments, and/or painting. Photographs were included for each subject.  

Madeline Kuhl- Course: Introduction to Fiction; Instructor: Donna Tufariello  Intensive research into the criticisms of Great Expectations was performed. A 1500 word literature paper was written that includes the work of professional critics. 

Jenna Lafferty- Course: Organic Chemistry I; Instructor: Dr. Brendan Dutmer A collaboration project was conducted with another Honors student to study the energetics of a pericyclic, concerted reaction between a reactive aminoborane containing a tetravalent boron and alkenes with trifluormethyl substituents in varied locations.  One student focused on the energetics of the transitions state and the other student focused on the products.  The work will be presented in a poster session during the 255th American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana in March 2018.  

Keaton Lawson- Course: Organic Chemistry I; Instructor: Dr. Brendan Dutmer A collaboration project was conducted with another Honors student to study the energetics of a pericyclic, concerted reaction between a reactive aminoborane containing a tetravalent boron and alkenes with trifluormethyl substituents in varied locations.  One student focused on the energetics of the transitions state and the other student focused on the products.  The work will be presented in a poster session during the 255th American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana in March 2018.  

·         Source for other projects – Juliet Moderow, Honors Project Coordinator

 

Jenna Lafferty and Keaton Lawson explain their honors project on December 1st in the Clarence Mitchell Library

 

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Presenting: Honors Projects