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  • The Social Dimensions of STEM Culture: How Does Lack of Diversity and Inclusivity Affect a Student’s Socialization?

    Conlin, Luke; Mendoza, Gisady A. (2023-05-01)
    Diversity and inclusivity matters in STEM and without them, STEM would fall apart. In the United States, Latine and African American students are severely underrepresented in STEM fields and they obtain fewer STEM degrees compared to their white counterparts (Hall, Nishina, Lewis 2017). The reasoning behind this can be due to societal, social, individual issues, or ethnic discrimination (Wiedemann 2019). This can affect retention rates, academic outcomes, self-efficacy, and one’s socialization (Estrada 2021). Students and educators need a sense of belonging to be able to thrive in the rigorous STEM environments. Students from underrepresented backgrounds need experiences of love, kindness, and a sense of belonging regardless of their diverse backgrounds. For many students and educators, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of stress and only increased the need for compassion and kindness. Students are working from home, “juggling pets, children, elderly relatives, economic pressures, unstable internet, health disparities, political unrest, climate disruptions, racism, violence, and death” (Estrada 2021). While efforts are being made to reduce this large disparity in STEM, it is not enough. Trends in the STEM fields can also be seen at Salem State University (SSU). This presentation will describe a study that attempts to understand how SSU fosters a more inclusive STEM environment for minorities and how students can find support from others like themselves. This study employs a mixed methodology that will study the institutional diversity statement and policy at SSU, and current students will be asked to fill out an anonymous survey on their sense of belonging, experiences at SSU, and how well students feel that they are supported. At the end of the survey, there is an option where students can participate in a personal interview to learn about their experiences on campus.
  • An Investigation Into The Role Of Gamma Oscillations In Alzheimer's Disease And Future Treatment Options

    Chen, Changqing; Moge, Serena (2022-05-01)
    Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia and involves the deterioration of memory and other important cognitive functions. Despite 1 in 3 seniors dying from AD or another form of dementia, there still remains no cure. An accumulation of amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques and tau protein aggregates are what characterize AD. There have been medicines developed that target Aβ and tau protein in order to improve symptoms, but these can neither stop nor delay the progression of AD. Instead, most of the medicines available only aid in symptom control and patient comfort. Researchers have begun to search for new theories of pathogenesis, which may assist in creating new treatments that might cure this disease. One novel area of research in this field is the role of gamma oscillations. It is believed that a disruption in gamma brain waves could be a cause of the formation of Aβ and tau protein aggregation. Although changes in gamma wave activity have been linked to several neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders, treatments that restore gamma oscillations to their normal activity have not been investigated widely. The goal of this research is to investigate the current knowledge on AD pathogenesis and treatments, with special emphasis on the impact of gamma oscillations and the exploration of treatments that target restoration of gamma waves.
  • Evaluating The Antibacterial Activity Of Greener Synthesized Silver Nanoparticles As An Example Of Sustainable Nanoscience In Early Undergraduate Curriculum

    Yatin, Mustafa; Biv, Kelly (2022-05-01)
    Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) can damage and destroy bacteria upon contact with each other, illustrating their ability to exert antibacterial properties. Traditionally, AgNPs are synthesized using sodium borohydride to reduce silver nitrate to metallic silver and a polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) coating would be used to further stabilize the particles. To develop a more sustainable and economical AgNPs synthesis, lemon extract was substituted as the reducing and stabilizing agent. Furthermore, these AgNPs were characterized using the ultraviolet-visible (UV-vis) spectrophotometer over time, to evaluate the stability of the particles. Then, the AgNPs were tested against Gram-negative bacteria, Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Gram-positive bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) to which their inhibition rings were measured. In this thesis, our preliminary data have shown that the greener synthesis of AgNPs using lemon extract had been effective against both type of bacteria. Additionally, the greener synthetic method was developed using a hot water bath, over the usual use of either an ultrasonic or thermostatic bath. Because of that, this budget- and eco-friendly alternative method could potentially be used in a first-year chemistry laboratory class to introduce students to the multidisciplinary field of nanotechnology by merging green chemistry and biology.
  • SSU Water Quality

    MacTaylor, Christine; Asselin, Trisha (2013-12-01)
    The purpose of this research was to see how the water around Salem State University's campus fared with that of national standards. Since water can contain many contaminants such as metals, pesticides, and toxins, it is important to know if standards are being upheld. The metals copper (Cu), iron (Fe), calcium, (Ca), and zinc (Zn) were tested, along with the non-metal fluoride (F). The atomic absorption machine (AA) was used to find the concentration of each metal in parts per million (ppm). A new fluoride ion-selective electrode was used to determine the concentration of the fluoride in ppm in the water samples. The water tested was taken from each residence hall and campus building, and from multiple sources in each building. The main objective was to see if Salem State University's water was up to standards.
  • Polycaprolactone And Its Use As A Biodegradable Trash Bag

    Yatin, Mustafa; Canale, Paige (2021-05-01)
    The Earth is choking from the pollution of man made plastic and the environment is in desperate need of a solution that will aid in the fight against climate change. The emerging research and production of biodegradable polymers offers hope of an environmentally safe alternative that will be able to be used in place of standard plastic. This study aims to strategize a substitute for the linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) trash bags using polycaprolactone (PCL), a biodegradable polyester. Specifically, this research investigates PCL’s manufacturing capabilities and molecular effectiveness as a LLDPE replacement. These investigations bring into question PCL’s capability to be used as a trash bag and feasible modifications of PCL are theorized to mimic the molecular properties of LLDPE. To examine PCL as a LLDPE substitute, this research study details the molecular properties and material characteristics of both materials and future experimentation. Trash bag manufacturing methods are also described in order to determine the ability for PCL to be a replacement from a production standpoint. There is a probable need for a modification of PCL in order for it to be a feasible alternative and multiple solutions are explored, including a branch addition polymerization synthesis and various polyester blends. This study also gives recommendations to fix grave concerns in regards to biodegradable plastic production. The theory of this eco-friendly alternative presents possible and adequate results as a LLDPE substitute.
  • Effect of Electrolyte Concentration on the Performance of Batteries

    Ranga, Jayashree; Gmyrek, Krystal G. (2014-05-17)
    This project is geared towards the design of a greener battery. The current battery design consists of Copper and Zinc electrodes with an electrolyte composition of Copper Sulfate (CuSO4), Zinc Nitrate (Zn(NO3)2), and Potassium Chloride (KCl). The performance of the battery with Copper Sulfate and Potassium Chloride was comparable to the performance of the battery with Zinc Nitrate, as such we eliminated use of Zinc Nitrate. Next we attempted to replace Potassium Chloride with a greener solute Sodium Chloride (NaCl), common table salt. We optimized the concentration of NaCl in our batteries. Batteries with optimized concentration of NaCl resulted in significantly higher power density. Our final product – a greener battery, now consists of Zinc and Copper rods with Copper Sulfate and Sodium Chloride as the electrolyte.
  • A Strategy to Promote American Undergraduate STEM Programs to International Students

    Dietrich, Sarah; Mesnaoui, Mohamed Amine (2016-05-01)
    In this project, STEM education in the United States and other parts of the world was analyzed. There has been an increasing number of international students studying STEM programs but not at the undergraduate level, with the exception of China and other countries. To understand what shapes the destination of students to a specific program various factors were taken into consideration: Financing, Language barrier, culture, and standardized testing.
  • Analysis of Wheatgrass Endophytes

    MacTaylor, Christine; Clapp, Kimberly (2014-05-17)
    Endophytes are of particular medical interest due to their production of antibiotics. Wheatgrass endophytes were analyzed using a combination of MIC, Gel electrophoresis, GCMS, and TLC. Cultures were successfully grown in gel agarose plates and in sabouraud dextrose broth. All colonies were observed using a dissection microscope. Colonies from the white samples seen on the seed (sabouraud dextrose agar), leaf (sabouraud dextrose agar), seed (coffee agar) and seed (agar) plates were gram stained, with gram negative rods were observed in all samples. Gram positive cocci we observed in the seed (agar) plate. Presence of a long chain methyl ester was observed from the GCMS analysis of samples extracted in methanol. An inhibitory effect was observed on the growth of E. coli and S. aureus after inoculating methanol extracted samples in broth.