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 Fall 2010: Recent Project Abstracts 



Recent Project Abstracts

1. Cubero, Christopher G., Alcohol & Other Drug Program, SRU Student Counseling Center  

Project Title: Dissertation entitled An Investigation of Master’s Level Counselor-In-Training Multicultural Skill Competence and Personality by Christopher G. Cubero (defended and accepted October 26, 2009 at East Carolina University in partial fulfillment of a Ph. D. in Rehabilitation Counseling and Administration). 

Abstract: Counselor multicultural skill competence when working with people of differing race, age ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation can influence the counseling relationship and therefore the overall counseling effectiveness. The current study aimed to expand our knowledge of Multicultural counseling competence (MCC) by focusing on the multicultural counseling skill competence (MCSC) of master’s level counselors enrolled in internship and practicum courses. The purpose of this study was to explore relationships between self-perceived multicultural counseling skill competency and personality among counseling practicum and internship students. Findings indicated that master’s level counselors-in-training perceived skill competence as above average. In terms of personality dimensions, the majority of the counselors-in-training scored as Responsible-Workaholics characterized by conscientiousness and responsibility. There was a significantly positive relationship between age and skill competence where for the most part older participants had higher perceived skill competence. In addition, MCSC was positively associated with higher levels of counselor satisfaction with supervision, previous number of counseling sessions, and previous number of multicultural-related courses. Stated differently, the current findings indicated that more previous experience in counseling, more training in multicultural issues via coursework, and a higher satisfaction with counseling supervision were positively related to higher levels of perceived skill competence. On average, Non-Caucasian counselors-in-training tended to have higher MCSC (p = .001). In terms of a relationship between MCSC and personality dimensions, there were no significant relationships at the p = .10 level. However, significance between some personality dimensions (e.g. Creative-Daydreamer) and perceived skill competence (p values < .20) may indicate possible relationship trends between personality and skill competence.

2. Hadley, S., Hahna, N. D., Miller, V. H., & Bonaventura, M., Department of Music (2010). The use of music technology as an adaptive tool in music therapy.  Ongoing research.  Grant source: Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA

3. Hahna, N. D., & Catino, C., Department of Music (2010, March 23). HeARTbeat of Haiti: Ethnographic research on Haitian culture. Performance. Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA. 

4. Hahna, N. D., & Feagin, M., Department of Music (2010). Are there best practices in music therapy for adults with autism? Investigating the relationship between interventions and outcomesOngoing research. Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA. 

5. Hahna, N. D., & Junker, A., Department of Music (2010). A survey on music therapy students’ song knowledge. Ongoing research. Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA. 

6. Hahna, N. D., & St. Ives, S., Department of Music (2010). A general survey of music therapy students’ practices and ideas. Ongoing research, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA. 

7. Lee Layton, a senior Biology major, has been doing research with Dr. DeNicola , Department of Biology, examining recovery of benthic stream-algae (algae that grows on rocks) following treatment for impacts caused by coal mining activities in The Slippery Rock Creek Watershed. 

Abstract: Slippery Rock Watershed has been severely impacted by acid mine drainage (AMD) for more than a century, predominantly from coal mining in a 70 km2 area at the headwaters of the stream. When minerals associated with coal seams are exposed to oxygen and water during mining, they undergo a series of chemical reactions to produce water that is highly acidic and has high concentrations of dissolved metals, both of which are toxic to aquatic organisms.  Treatment of AMD discharges in the headwater area of Slippery Rock Creek uses cost-effective, recent technology called passive treatment. Most passive treatment systems employ pretreatment of AMD by passing the discharge through buried limestone and/or organic substrates before it flows into an oxygenated pond or wetland. Since 1995, 15 major reclamation projects have been carried out in the watershed involving construction of passive treatment systems that treat approximately 30 discharges totaling 2.8 million m3/y of water. In previous research with students, Dr=s. DeNicola and Stapleton have shown that there has been a modest improvement in stream water quality in the watershed over the last 15 years resulting from passive treatment. 

A major energy source at the base of the food chain in streams is benthic algae, which grows attached to rocks on the stream bottom. The amount of algae produced in a period of time is called primary productivity. Lee measured primary productivity of benthic algae in spring, summer and fall 2009 at 4 types of stream sites in the headwaters; a heavily AMD- impacted site above all treatment, a site downstream of all treatment, and 2 unimpacted reference streams (small and large). Productivity was determined by measuring changes in dissolved oxygen produced by the algae on the rocks in sealed, recirculating chambers.  In addition, he examined the abundance of different types of photosynthetic pigments of the algae as a measure of algal abundance and health. He found that algal abundance and productivity was highest at the reference streams, lowest at the site untreated for AMD, and moderate at the site below AMD treatment. Similarly, pigment analysis indicated that the algal communities at the site below treatment were less stressed than for the 2 sites affected by AMD, but not as healthy as algae at the reference sites.  The results indicate that AMD drastically reduces the productive capacity and health of benthic algae, but that passive treatment systems have the potential to reduce impacts. Recovery of algae associated with passive treatment should benefit organisms higher in the food chain such as aquatic insects and fish. Lee has presented his research at the Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research Conference and The Westminster College Student Symposium on the Environment.   

8. Mitrik, Robert, Department of EnglishIn late February 2010, Robert Mitrik signed a publishing agreement with The Edwin G. Mellen Press. The agreement commissions his first book, which is based on his scholarly research: “Applications of Literary Semiotics for English pedagogies.”

Abstract: This research focuses on a pedagogical application for lower-division studies in English (beginning with a university’s service learning course for reading and writing), yet it addresses advanced composition, creative writing, literature, and English education pedagogies as well, since it projects a profound role for semiotic scholarship.  

The research offers a tested learning method, one that is established in the oscillation between philosophy and rhetoric provided by Literary Semiotics, one that is focused on texts: written, oral, visual, et al., one that is, therefore, approached in the student-scholar’s engagement with the texts of life and the texts of learning.  

The work offers a theoretical engine for learning to learn within a liberal approach to texts. Within this approach, students learn to gather an understanding of rhetorical power along with a philosophical ethic for knowledge acquisition and the generation of new ideas. The book will offer a learning environment where students and teachers work together so that English studies can regain its crucial role within the traditional ideals of a liberal education. 

These traditional ideals of a liberal education can be found in statements that ultimately all find their beginnings within ancient, classical texts, but the ideas remain relevant today for higher education efforts that strive to develop an enlightened view of the whole person in balance with the point where the modern university aligns itself with the corporate profit model, where training occurs for real jobs in a dynamic marketplace.  

In this book, Mitrik will argue that English in higher education must focus on the intrinsic or internal person, the liberal aspects of the soul that engage philosophical ethics in the recognitions and applications of rhetoric, and will show how Literary Semiotics accomplishes this focus with its theoretical engine based in texts as perceptions of truth in the world, as bases for ethical and persuasive action in our vibrant society.

9. Rehorek, Susan. Department of Biology

Project Title: Development of the nasolacrimal duct in rabbits

Abstract: The nasolacrimal duct (NLD) connects the orbit to the nose. That is why tears come out of our noses. The NLD is common to most tetrapod vertebrates (four-legged animals with backbones). In the orbital region, it drains the orbital fluids, produced by a variety of glands including the Harderian, lacrimal and palpebral (eyelid) glands. In mammals, the NLD opens out into the nasal cavity, passing through a bony canal. However, very little is known about the bones that contribute to this duct. Additionally, very little is known about when (in what fetal stages) and how (from which direction: from the nose to the orbit or vice versa) this duct develops. Previous developmental studies have examined only lizards and snakes, in these cases the duct starts at the vomeronasal organ (an accessory organ of smell which snake access when tongue-flicking). In the rabbit, however, it appears to develop in the opposing direction (from the orbit towards the nose). In all three cases, the duct is fully developed by birth. In the rabbit, what we found was that it was fully developed by the start of the third trimester (when the bones of the nasal region began to form). At this stage, the nasal cavity of the rabbit is much shorter than in the adult. As a result, the NLD is crooked, and as the nasal region grows, the NLD itself straightens out.  Thus, I have directed the students in this research to 1) document this growth (when do the bones form? how do they form around the tube? which parts are longer at which stage?) and 2) describe the structure of the bony canal itself in the adult (which bones make up the canal?).  There are scattered references to the NLD and it’s bony canal in the literature and there is nothing on the development of this structure.   

Listed below are the students who have presented their research on this topic: 

Jessica Johnson (faculty sponsors: Rehorek SJ and Smith, TD).  The nasolacrimal bony canal in the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).  Sigma-Xi undergraduate symposium.  

Jennifer Caprez (faculty sponsors: Rehorek SJ and Smith, TD).  Development of the nasolacrimal dust in the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).  Sigma-Xi undergraduate symposium.

10. Rehorek, Susan. Department of Biology

Project Title: Salamander faces

Abstract: This is an ongoing research project under the supervision Dr Susan J Rehorek, Department of Biology. Salamanders are thought to represent the most primitive form of tetrapod vertebrates (four-legged animals with backbones) and thus may give some information regarding the evolution of structures described in higher vertebrates. My area of expertise is the structure of orbital glands.  There are at least three large orbital glands in tetrapod vertebrates, located in different part of the orbit and not all are present in the same animals. 1) The Harderian gland. This is an unusual structure located in the orbit, near the nose.  It is associated with the third eyelid and is found in many tetrapod vertebrates including amphibians (frogs and salamanders), reptiles, birds and most mammals (but curiously not Humans, upper primates and several bats).  2) The lacrimal gland lies in the other side of the orbit (closer to the ear). It is present in most tetrapod animals. 3) A palpebral (eyelid) gland which lies in the lower eyelid of alligators. In order to attempt to unravel which glands evolved first, we need to examine the presumed primitive condition in salamanders. To this effect, I have directed several student projects with the aim of describing the orbital glands of salamander. There have been few publications describing the salamander orbital glands. These publications (in 1906 and 1887) are a little vague and do not take into account the variations observed in higher vertebrates. Thus, my students and I are describing the structure of these glands in several North American salamanders.  

Listed below are the student presentations regarding these descriptive efforts: 

Xenakis, N (faculty sponsor: Rehorek SJ).  2010.  Orbital and facial glands of the tiger salamander, Ambystoma tigirumum.   SRU Research Symposium 2010. 

Jewell, B (faculty sponsor: Rehorek SJ).  2010.  Orbital and facial glands of two species of Plethodontid salamanders.  SRU Research Symposium 2010. 

Constantine, J (faculty sponsor: Rehorek SJ).  2010.  Orbital and facial glands of an aquatic salamander, Notophthalmus viridescens.  SRU Research Symposium 2010. 

Jewell, B (faculty sponsor: Rehorek SJ).  2009.  Orbital and facial glands of the red salamander, Pseudotriton ruber (Plethodontidae).  SRU Symposium for student research, scholarship and creative activity.

11. Silva, J., Bailey Library, and Manning, M.

Project Title: The Role of Contemporary Archivists at American Colleges and Universities

Abstract: A survey of archivists working in American colleges and universities was posted on the Society of American Archivists (SAA) listserv and to the major regional archival organizations nationwide in November and December 2009. The survey was designed to determine how archives are administered and what roles the archivists perform both within and outside of the archives.  

Anecdotal evidence suggests that contemporary archivists are juggling an increasing variety of roles within their respective institutions. Our hypothesis is that this is especially true for archivists working at medium-sized colleges and universities. A review of job descriptions for archivist positions posted to the SAA Archives and Archivists listserv suggests more specialized job duties at larger-sized universities. Small institutions often do not employ archivists at all.  

Survey responses are broken down according to Carnegie Classifications and analyzed by professional responsibilities. The survey defines and quantifies the duties of archivists working in American colleges and universities including the extent to which archivists are involved with records management and institutional repositories. It also examines the hierarchical placement of archives within institutions, how archives are administered, the extent of scholarly activity undertaken by archivists and other related questions. In analyzing the survey data, we hope to discover both the benefits and the challenges related to having varied responsibilities. We anticipate publishing an article based on our findings.

12. Teodoro, Melissa. Department of Dance

Project Title: SRU dance majors participate in the research and re-construction of 18th century Afro-Colombian dances


Abstract: During the spring semester of 2008, Melissa Teodoro, Assistant Professor of the Department of Dance, worked with a group of 20 dance majors in the re-construction of four traditional Afro-Colombian dances. The semester long research process included lectures, video viewing, readings, cultural activities and movement sessions that all helped the students gain a solid understanding of the Afro-Colombian culture, its historic background, and its different artistic manifestations. 

Through existing written and audio-visual documentation, in addition to Professor Teodoro’s knowledge of Afro-Colombian dance forms obtained through ethnographic research, the students were able to embody the 18th century dances and their complex movement vocabulary and choreographic patterns. The resulting product was a 30-minute compilation of dances titled La Candela Viva that featured dances such as El Bullerengue, El Garabato, La Cumbia and el Mapalé.

During the 2009-2010 academic year, the Afro-Colombian ensemble performed in various venues on and off-campus.

In the fall of 2009, the ensemble performed at the Faculty and Guest Artist Dance Concerts, and the SRU Celebration of Giving.

In the spring of 2010, the ensemble was invited to the Latin American Festival in Pittsburgh and the SRU Kaleidoscope Arts Festival. The dances were also included in the Rock Dance Company’s 2009-2010 repertoire by invitation of company director, Jennifer Keller, who toured schools in the Slippery Rock vicinity.