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Professional Enhancement Grants fuel research on campus

Professional Enhancement Grants (PEG) are awarded and administered through the office of the Provost to encourage projects that show potential for significant research, scholarly, creative or instructional contributions and that can serve as the base to acquire additional funding from external sources. The PEG program provides benefits to faculty members in support of the University's mission to embrace high quality teaching, engaged learning, faculty research and creative activities.

2014-2015 awardees

Paul E. Richardson, Chemistry/Physics

Title: Identification and characterization of naturally occurring bacteriophages in Horry and Georgetown’s coastal communities

Abstract: Bacteriophages are a class of viruses that only infect bacteria, but have the potential to be used to help control the bacterial problems that face mankind. At present we have limited knowledge of the prevalence and distribution of these harmless viruses in our community and lack the techniques to characterize and classify these bacteriophages when discovered. Our lab will collect water samples and ear/nose swabs from the community and develop techniques to detect the presence of these viruses in these samples. This study will also develop an electrophoresis procedure to characterize these viruses to understand the diversity and distribution in our community. These bacteriophages have been shown to useful in detecting and destroying fecal contamination, and fighting bacterial skin infections that are resistant to antibiotics. A library of these bacteriophages would be of great value to the scientific community for future study and potential humanitarian value in fighting bacterial problems. 

Cynthia Port, English

Title: Age, Culture, Humanities: Funding Student Support

Abstract: Age, Culture, Humanities is a peer reviewed, print and digital journal of age studies in the humanities, launched in January 2014, which is published by Coastal Carolina University’s Athenaeum Press. As co- editor of the journal, I am seeking funding to support an undergraduate Editorial Assistant who will help manage the submission website, communicate with authors, copyedit manuscripts, upload and maintain digital copy, promote the journal, and seek grant opportunities that will help fund the journal’s future development. This will provide a valuable educational opportunity for the student and will help ensure the sustained excellence and continued growth of this new publication, which is helping to consolidate and galvanize the emerging field of age studies while raising the profile of Coastal Carolina University among an international network of scholars. 

Daniel C. Abel, Marine Science

Title: Do Cardiovascular and Osmoregulatory Adaptations of Deep-Sea Sharks Represent a Paradigm Shift?

Abstract: The physiology of deep-sea sharks is very poorly known, even though approximately 60% of sharks occur at depths > 200 m. Recently, while dissecting a seldom-encountered deep-sea shark, the bigeye sixgill (Hexanchus nakamurai), I made a serendipitous observation of a visibly smaller blood volume, heart, and rectal gland (an organ that excretes salts diffusing into the shark from seawater) than shallow-water counterparts. I will collect hearts, rectal glands, and blood samples from dead deep-water and shallow-water sharks captured on longlines (live sharks are released). Hearts and rectal glands will be weighed and examined microscopically, and blood will be analyzed. These would be the first studies of cardiovascular and osmoregulatory physiology of deep-water sharks, and could answer for the first time the question of whether the physiology and internal anatomy of deep-sea sharks differs significantly from widely-held models based on shallow-water species. 

Mariam Dekanozishvili, Politics/Geography

Title: Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic Aspiration and Energy Transit Role in Light of the Ukraine Crisis

Abstract: The on-going crisis in the Ukraine is one of the most pressing concerns in the world today, augmenting new security threats and fears on the European continent. “Sanction race” between the West and Russia jeopardizes Europe’s much needed natural gas supplies. This new reality raises Georgia’s strategic importance as a crucial energy corridor for the Caspian energy resources to reach European markets. Has the crisis in the Ukraine affected Georgia’s EU and NATO membership aspiration? This question calls for timely, on-the-ground research. I will examine Georgia’s energy transit role and continued commitment to the EU and NATO membership against the new geo-political context by conducting in-depth interviews with relevant public officials, foreign policy makers and civil society representatives in Georgia. I will analyze pertinent data from the International Energy Agency Database. Research findings will serve as a basis for policy recommendations geared to the European and Georgian decision makers. 

Kevin McWilliams, Chemistry/Physics

Title: Development of an Upper-level Organometallic Chemistry Course

Abstract: This project is aimed at the eventual development of an upper-level chemistry course that is primarily experimental in nature and that covers topics normally encountered in organometallic and computational chemistry. Students involved in this project would be helping to lay the framework for this course by:

  1. Performing an extensive literature survey of articles related to the project’s main goals detailed in the activity plan.
  2. Synthesizing a large macromolecule from purchased starting materials and trouble-shooting any problems encountered along the way.
  3. Developing molecular modeling methods via computational software (Gaussian) for use in both visualizing many of the large molecules that will be synthesized during the project and providing theoretical spectroscopic data that would be compared to that obtained experimentally.

Results from this project would be combined with curriculum materials developed from the primary literature to offer students an experiment-based course which should better prepare them for post-undergraduate endeavors. 

Cheng-Yuan Corey Lee, Foundations, Literacy & Technology

Title: An Automatic Assessment and Advising System for Students’ eLearning Success

Abstract: This study is an expansion of an internal Assessment Grant project awarded in 2013 by CCU to develop a system, called eLearnReady (http://elearnready.com/), which assesses students’ readiness for taking an online course and supports them by providing useful study strategies based on their learning preferences. Although this system is in place to serve general population, there is a need for an improvement to better serve greater CCU students, teachers, advisors, and university administrators. A series of improvement plans are proposed in this new study. These plans include 1) integrating this online system into CCU Moodle system and CCU Advising Dashboard; 2) developing engaging multimedia tutorials (study tips) to prepare students to take online courses; 3) adding effective online teaching strategies for the instructors’ adoption; 4) identifying predictive variables for students’ persistence, perceived satisfaction, and performance; and 5) verifying if this system is proven effective resource for students and teachers. 

Kyle J. Holody (PI), Christina Anderson, and Mark Flynn, Communication, Languages and Cultures

Title: Building a “Mentally Fit” Population: Analyzing the Success of an Eating Disorder Prevention Program

Abstract: Unhealthy eating habits and eating disorders are widespread among adolescents, especially in South Carolina. The Mental Fitness program provides nationwide eating disorder training for middle school students, parents, faculty, and staff. This Spartanburg, SC-based nonprofit organization previously attempted to measure program success but did not design instruments systematically (e.g., data cannot determine if girls’ and boys’ experiences were different) and has no resources to analyze data. CCU investigators will analyze existing data, redesign instruments, and collect and analyze data from future training sessions. Investigators will travel to and attend training at Mental Fitness offices, and Mental Fitness representatives will travel to CCU to provide training to faculty, students, and community members. This project will engage the community, service populations in need, and provide investigators research to present at conferences and publish in journals, using data from non-college student populations. The project will also directly impact health communication course content. 

Brandon Palmer, History

Title: Koreans in the American Military, 1917-1953

Abstract: I am requesting $3,410 to conduct research on the ethnic Korean minority’s service in the American military from 1917 to 1953 (in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War). The funds will pay for three weeks of research at the National Archives at College Park, MD, National Archives in Washington, D.C., and the George C. Marshall Library in Lexington, VA. These three archives hold a variety of materials (personal papers, government documents, unit performance evaluations, and so forth) that are critical to our understanding of the experiences of Koreans in the American military.

This three weeks of research are intended to be the beginning of a new line of research that intend to explore over the next several years. This research project, once completed (as an article at minimum—but I hope a book), will be the first academic publication on Koreans in the American military. 

Scott Mann (PI), Easton Selby, Jacob Cotton, Logan Woodle, Visual Arts

Title: UNcommon Press Project

Abstract: Students and faculty in the Department of Visual Arts are building an exact replica of the “common” printing press from the 18th century. The press will be built across various art studio courses (woodworking, forging, casting, etc.) over at least two years. It is the only project of its kind in the nation. Faculty and students will document the process in HD video, and design and code a website to post updates, videos, plans, and other resources. We have filmed several hours of the use and physical de-construction of the press at Colonial Williamsburg, and we have acquired the plans to the Franklin Press at the Smithsonian. With this grant application we hope to visit the best-preserved Isaiah Thomas press at the Antiquarian Society of America in Worcester, MA and the Museum of Printing in Andover, MA to interview the curators of those collections and compare construction techniques. 

Juliana Harding, Marine Science

Title: Naked goby PIT tag retention and survival

Abstract: The naked goby (Gobisoma bosc) is a small bottom dwelling estuarine fish that relies on oyster shells within South Carolina tidal creeks for foraging, refuge, and nesting habitat. Ongoing research in North Inlet seeks to describe nesting site fidelity and habitat use of these fishes. Interpretation of the tagging data set in hand requires knowledge of goby tag retention and survival. Funding is requested to support a CCU undergraduate student project investigating naked goby passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag retention and survival post-tagging in Crabhaul Creek, North Inlet. The study will be conducted during Maymester 2015 coincidental with the peak of seasonal goby nesting activity. The student will evaluate naked goby PIT tag retention and survival for 2-3 weeks post tagging in controlled flow-through laboratory tanks. The results will quantitatively describe the effects of tagging on gobies and offer necessary context for an ongoing multi-year site fidelity study. 

Terri Sinclair (PI), Amy Hardison Tully, Music

Title: The “Music” of William Shakespeare: Original Perspectives on Renaissance Themes

Abstract: Two Coastal Carolina University faculty composers will be commissioned to write original music for the University Concert, Chamber and Flute Choirs, directed by Terri Sinclair and Amy Tully. These compositions will be based on texts by William Shakespeare and may include other instrumentation such as piano, guitar or percussion. This new music will be the centerpiece of an on-campus concert, as well as several subsequent off-campus tour performances. Our project involves four music faculty members as well as all voice and flute majors. Depending on the compositions, the possibility for involvement of other faculty members and instrumental majors exists. The project, therefore, is designed to showcase a broad spectrum of the Department of Music, which encompasses large and small ensembles, applied studios and academic areas. Additionally, our long-term goals for this project include proposals for presentation and performance of the two commissioned compositions for a state, regional or national conference. 

Crystal Cox, Computer Science

Title: eZadvising – Creating an experiential learning testbed for software development activities (and making course planning easier!)

Abstract: The current process of academic planning is time-consuming, error-prone, and unnecessarily manual. The proposed project aims to create a multi-interface, multi- tier web service-based software product (eZadvising) to better support the academic planning aspect of advisement. The software will provide a user-friendly, updated, informative tool to help students and advisers quickly make an academic plan, considering prerequisite chains, semester offerings, degree requirements, and graduation goals. Even more importantly, the process of creating this product will enable the investigator to update her professional skills while developing new instructional materials for use in four courses (CSCI 150, 330, 444, and 490), impacting approximately 100 students per year. Along with the new instructional lab materials, the codebase of the product will enable enhanced student learning opportunities by serving as a live educational testbed and experiential learning platform for information systems and computer science students in these four courses. 

Kate Faber Oestreich, English

Title: Commence work on The English Classroom 2.0: New Media Theory for Reading, Writing, and Analyzing Texts, an edited collection of academic articles.

Abstract: I propose to use this grant to support the initial labor involved in editing a collection of scholarly articles, entitled The English Classroom 2.0: New Media Theory for Reading, Writing, and Analyzing Texts. The ubiquity of new media technology and content means more and more English scholars are engaging critically with digital texts as well as print. English professors and students have long benefited from edited collections contextualizing the humanistic critical theories of Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Jacques Derrida. What is needed, but does not yet exist, is an array of articles elucidating and illustrating the application of seminal new media scholarship—such as that by Alan Turing, Donna Haraway, and Marshall McLuhan—to the study of literature and film. If I am fortunate enough to win funding, I will buy out one of the three courses I am scheduled to teach Spring semester so as to solicit contributors, write a proposal, and court a publisher. 

Susan Bergeron, Politics/Geography

Title: Reconstructing the Rice Kingdom: developing an immersive virtual landscape for historic Hampton Plantation

Abstract: The proposed Reconstructing the Rice Kingdom: developing an immersive virtual landscape for historic Hampton Plantation project will be the first phase of a multi-year digital humanities project centered around an immersive virtual reconstruction of historic Hampton Plantation, on the South Santee River in South Carolina which will serve as a platform for exploring the natural and cultural features of an 18th and 19th century rice plantation landscape. Work during this first phase will be focused on 1) conducting site visits and an initial survey of the site to develop a GIS database of the current landscape and its natural and cultural features; 2) literature review to include historical sources, previous scholarly work, and existing multimedia; and 3) development of a draft 3D model of the Hampton main house c.1809 as the first feature in reconstructing the historical landscape of the plantation. 

Erin Burge, Marine Science

Title: Endemic species of Lake Waccamaw: Fish hosts of mussel glochidia

Abstract: Conservation of imperiled aquatic animals such as fishes and molluscs is hampered by a lack of basic ecological and biological knowledge of many species. Lake Waccamaw in Columbus County, North Carolina is home to many rare species, including three fish and two bivalves found nowhere else in the world (endemic species). Each of these species is currently classified by governmental and/or non-governmental organizations (IUCN, US Federal, State of NC) as vulnerable or threatened. Freshwater bivalves have an unusual mode of reproduction that produces larvae which are obligately parasitic on fish. In a recent study it was demonstrated that one of the lake-endemic fish serves as a host of unidentified mussel larvae, possibly itself an endemic species. The objective of this study is to use ecological and molecular techniques to determine the relationships between endemic fishes and the parasitic larvae of endemic mussels of Lake Waccamaw. 

Douglas Van Hoewyk, Biology

Title: Mechanisms and metabolic consequences of impairment to the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway in plants

Abstract: Plants inevitable confront a variety of stress imposed by their environment, which can result in misfolded proteins that are cytotoxic. The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway (UPP) alleviates stress by removing misfolded proteins in cells. However, the UPP can become impaired, which is associated with neurodegenerative diseases in humans, and delayed development in plants. The mechanisms and metabolic consequences of UPP damage are not well understood. This hypothesis-driven project performed by CCU students seeks to better understand the cellular pathways that cause UPP impairment in canola plants and the resulting metabolic adjustments that necessitate cellular homeostasis. Understanding on a cellular level the mechanisms and response of UPP damage in plants may ultimately result in new crop cultivars aimed to improve food security in the face of global climate change. 

Keaghan Turner, English

Title: Remediating Holmesmania: The Technologies of Connoisseurship in Sherlock Holmes

Abstract: I will research, write, and edit a scholarly article on the function of collections in the 1890s adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous sleuth Sherlock Holmes and their most recent multimodal incarnations. The various remediations of Holmesmania (print, cinematic, televisual, digital) become rich cultural archives that offer important convergences and divergences across centuries and cultures, from the late Victorian period to the present. This project examines literary artifacts—especially the technologies of writing—throughout the Sherlock Holmes canon, and illustrates how these artifacts are reimagined in contemporary adaptions (as a blog, for instance in the BBC’s series Sherlock). My work promises to move beyond established Conan Doyle scholarship by applying emerging object theories to the tales, which demonstrate how pervasively the nonhuman environs impacts the human world. I plan to expand this article into a chapter for a developing larger project on literary and material artifacts in late- Victorian texts and their modern and contemporary remediations. 

J. Daniel Hasty, Becky Childs, English

Title: The Old is New Again: Linguistic Change Among Young Appalachian Speakers

Abstract: Within the past two generations the social and linguistic landscape of Appalachia has greatly changed. Communities that lived mainly in isolation now see residents frequently travel out of the community and welcome others from surrounding Appalachian communities and the broader South. With this geographic openness come new language features and social practices. These changes however are adapted and integrated differently by community members, with some residents having a more Appalachian based identity and traditional language practices while other residents exhibit broader Southern or ethnically affiliated linguistic practices. We seek to study the ways that identification with Appalachia can affect a community member’s linguistic practice. Moreover, we consider ways that a community or landscape in change, such as Appalachia, can be reflected in the language behaviors of community members. We carefully observe young speakers whose sense of community and identity is currently forming and who are socially and linguistically negotiating what it means to be Appalachian today. 

Jason Ockert, English

Title: Dedicated Writing Time for Completion of a Novel and Commencement of a Short Story

Abstract: While I am currently finishing a novel titled, In Back with the Loudmouths, I am also sketching story ideas for the first short story of my next collection. My short story ideas are still being developed, but the piece I propose to write will offer a continuation of some of the ideas examined in the last story, “Echo,” from my collection Neighbors of Nothing. “Echo” follows an Alzheimer patient through his day as he struggles to create a simple but meaningful gift for a wife that he does not remember has died. The story tries to offer a close-up look at some of the small and often futile ways the characters deal with love, loss, and memory. While the new story I plan on writing will differ significantly in character and conflict (and perhaps tone), it will continue to work with notions of grief, nostalgia and aging. 

Chris Hill, Biology

Title: Finding the breeding grounds of wintering sparrows through stable isotope analysis

Abstract: Conservation of migratory birds requires knowledge of breeding grounds, wintering areas and migratory corridors between them, but we still lack that information for many birds of conservation concern. Stable isotope analysis can help trace the movement of birds. Seaside Sparrows both breed and winter in South Carolina tidal marshes, but generally wintering and breeding take place in different marshes. We do not know if the birds that can be found wintering in numbers at the coast (e.g, at Waties Island, North Inlet and Cape Romain) are birds that breed nearby, or if the coastal wintering birds are winter visitants from migratory populations in the northeastern U.S. I propose to collaborate with another biologist, Aaron Given of Kiawah Island, SC, to collect feathers from wintering and breeding seaside sparrows at multiple sites throughout South Carolina and analyze stable isotope ratios in those feathers to connect sparrows with their breeding grounds. 

2013-2014 awardees

Cara Adams, Department of English

I propose to use this grant support to fund research, writing, and revision time necessary to complete my first book, a short story collection entitled At the Appointed Hour. The book explores loss in its various guises through darkly funny stories that work in two veins: realist and magical realist. Specifically, I will research and revise three stories: “The Most Common State of Matter,” about a young woman whose best friend is diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and skin cancer; “Practice,” about a girl whose baby brother dies and whose mother becomes attached to the family’s pet rabbit; and “At the Gates,” about a town that hires
watchers for surveillance. I will also research and write a new story about a blind Canadian painter. These four stories will join the other nine in the collection to complete the manuscript. Completing my first book is a crucial step in my professional growth.

Elena Andrei, Department of Foundations, Literacy & Technology

Teaching second language writing to English Language Learners (ELLs) in public schools is a developing field in need of more studies. Writing is an important skill for students to be college and career ready and even more important for ELLs who are learning English, yet many teachers are not well prepared to teach writing to ELLs (Larsen, 2013).  The purpose of this pilot project is two-fold. First, teachers’ writing instructional practices will be improved. A local teacher discussion group will be organized during which teachers will explore their students’ writing and their writing instructional practices using knowledge they gain from an in-common text, The ELL Writer by Ortmeier-Hooper. Second, the investigators plan to assess teacher discussion groups (using an in-common text) as a viable means for professional development (PD). The project has the potential to impact teachers’ teaching practices and identify teacher discussion groups as a viable PD option.

Shaowu Bao, School of Coastal and Marine Systems Science

Atlantic  tropical cyclones can give rise to devastating hurricanes. Based on the cyclone’s energy  and  the  number  of  hurricanes,  the  Atlantic  tropical  cyclone  activity  has  been  below average through September, contrary to most pre­season statistical model predictions. In this study,  a  recently  developed  global  climate  model  will  be  used  to  perform  a  season­long ensemble  study  to investigate  and  assess  the  impact  of  climate  factors  (e.g.  oceanic  and atmospheric variations) on the current Atlantic tropical cyclone activity. The requested fund will provide a stipend support for a recruited student researcher and data storage. Most importantly, this  investigation  will  allow  the  student  and  faculty  members  to  extend  their  knowledge  of atmospheric/oceanic processes, to support our university’s vision of experiential learning, and to contribute to current understanding of hurricanes which has great societal importance.

Miranda Brenneman, Department of Psychology/Sociology

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the US and number one cause of adult long-term disability.  The presence of cognitive impairment after stroke is one of the best predictors of poor long-term outcome. With more individuals under age 65 having strokes, it’s unknown whether older and younger patients show the same time-course of cognitive improvement. A previous study used linear and logarithmic modeling to predict cognitive impairment one month post-stroke with success, however, failed to assess executive function, which is most likely to be responsible for rehabilitation interference. We propose to assess stroke, including executive function in older and younger patients at Waccamaw Hospital, multiple times in the acute phase and once in the chronic phase to predict long-term outcome using linear and logarithmic modeling. The ability to predict long-term cognitive impairment in the acute phase can help identify patients that may benefit from early intervention therapy.

Jeff Case, Department of Visual Arts

A professional enhancement grant would enable me to travel to Thailand to gather materials necessary for producing a signficant body of cultural heritage multimedia work suitable for gallery shows and scholarly artistic presentations.  Thai folklore is central to the local cultural heritage and is often used by the elders to teach morals and ethics to the younger generation.  My aim is to construct juxtaposition, using art and design, created with new media technology tools, to retell these ancient tales and traditions in an innovative way that conveys meaningful messages and customs to the rising generation.

Stephanie Danker, Department of Visual Arts

As a result of her scholarly reassignment research in spring 2013, CCU painting professor Maura Kenny created a series of watercolor paintings on location at Hobcaw Barony that will be exhibited in the Bryan Gallery, March 10 - April 4, 2014.  The exhibit, "Out of Hobcaw," has significant implications for educating about local historical, scientific and sociological issues through visual imagery.  In an effort to strengthen relationships with local PK-12 art educators (including MAT students in their field placements), a studio workshop will be offered on Saturday, March 22, 2014, from 9-3 p.m.  The workshop will provide time to discuss the artwork series in the gallery space and then practice techniques in the studio.  Further implications for developing interdisciplinary, content-driven art lessons will be discussed.  Additionally, CCU undergratudate art education students will plan and implement a modified version of the workshop for home-schooled children in the week following the workshop.

Carolyn Dillian, Department of History

Since 2006, I have worked at Koobi Fora in Kenya on sites dating to approximately 2-4,000 B.C., but I now propose to use this Professional Enhancement Grant to begin new research on much older sites in a new area of the country, within a geographic region known as the Karari Escarpment. This proposed study dates to a geologic time called the Early Holocene, a period beginning approximately 10,000 years ago, when the environment of East Africa was startlingly different, marked by a wetter climate, higher lake levels, and flowing streams. The archaeological record for Early Holocene people, who were often fishermen, remains largely unstudied, and we have an incomplete understanding of how these populations interacted with each other and their environment. This proposed project will extend our knowledge back into deeper prehistory and gain a more thorough understanding of human cultural development in East Africa.

Diane Fribance, Department of Marine Science

Winyah Bay is the fourth largest estuary on the east coast of the United States, yet there are relatively few studies focusing on its circulation. This lack of information makes it difficult to verify model predictions in this area, including possible impacts of pollutants. To increase our understanding, I propose a new hydrographic sampling program. Winyah Bay includes two regions of curvature, with the curves going in opposing directions. This curvature should act to either enhance or reduce the asymmetry of the flow due to the Earth’s rotation. By measuring density and water velocity over several tidal cycles at each of these locations, two undergraduate students and I will confirm whether the northern region shows enhanced asymmetry of flow relative to the southern region. This knowledge about what is driving the flow will improve estimates of mixing and transport, improving our ability to maintain estuarine health.

Sharon Gilman, Department of Biology

The Colleges of Sciences and Education propose a joint research effort with the Universidad de San Francisco in the Galapagos.  As part of this project, a biology student will spend a semester abroad at the GAIAS institute.  The student will conduct environmnetal education research under the direction of Drs. Gilman and Scott.  The purpose of this project is: (1) To support Galapagos community members and GAIAS in developing an educational outreach program focusing on local environmental issues and (2) to examine current community perspectives on environmental issues and what changes may emerge as a result of the developed outreach program.  There are three expected outcomes: to establish a joint, on-going research program with GAIAS institute; to train an undergraduate student to develop and conduct environmental education programs; to monitor the effectiveness of and changes resulting from community outreach in shapng the understanding and attitudes of people toward their environment.

Jane Guentzel, Department of Marine Science

Most data regarding mercury cycling has been collected from freshwater and open ocean environments .This project seeks to investigate the bioaccumulation of mercury within small forage fish living in SC estuaries. All estuaries along the SC coast have consumption advisories for tilefish, cobia, and king mackerel (http://www.scdhec.gov/environment/water/fish). Mummichogs and Atlantic silversides reside within estuaries and are prey to these commercially important fish. Silversides are more likely to consume copepods found within surface waters while mummichogs are more likely to feed on amphipods within the sediment (Vince 1976),
which can be sources of methylmecury in estuaries. Amphipods assimilated more methylmercury than copepods in a laboratory setting (Lawson 1998). This suggests that in the natural environment mummichogs will have higher concentrations of methylmercury than silversides. By comparing mercury levels in these 2 fish we seek to determine the importance of each species with regard to the bioaccumulation of mercury in larger fish.

Allison Hosier, Kimbel Library

Information literacy is the ability to find, use and evaluate information in a research context. Recent studies have shown that students lack information literacy skills when they enter college and that they often carry this deficit with them into their professional lives after they graduate. Kimbel Library is expanding its information literacy program to include credit-bearing courses, which will be taught by librarians, who often learn pedagogy and lesson design on the job rather than through coursework. The Association of College and Research Libraries Immersion Teacher Track Program gives attendees the opportunity to develop and hone their pedagogical skills in a formal setting. Acquiring funding to attend this workshop will lead to improved teaching methods that will benefit students by giving them a classroom experience that is thoughtfully tailored to their needs so that they can better learn and demonstrate information literacy skills in their academic and professional lives.

JongHan Kim, Department of Psychology/Sociology

One of the occupying questions for college educators and administers is how to improve students’ academic performance and retention. Recent findings indicate that brief psychological interventions in education are promising ways to address these questions. The current project is aimed at developing 3 academic intervention studies that fit the students at Coastal. In study 1, Freshmen will participate in a value-affirmation intervention session explaining that poor academic performance is normal as students’ transition to college and it is not an indication of their ability. In study 2, transfer psychology majors will participate in an intervention that encourages feelings of belongingness to the university. Student GPA and intentions to continue at CCU, along with other psychological measures, will be collected. In study 3, students will participate in focus group interviews to discuss focused questions such as what obstacles they experience and what they want to be after graduation.

Donald Rockey, Department of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sports Studies

The economic hardships over the past decade brought about financial challenges for many government sponsored programs including municipal and county parks and recreation agencies. One of the repeated concerns to sustainability expressed by parks and recreation administrators is the availability of sufficient finances (Crompton, 1999). With the financial challenges, these agencies have had to become creative and more business oriented to continue to provide services and facilities. The purpose of this research project is to explore the financing strategies for selected parks and recreation agencies throughout the state of South Carolina. Through focus groups and agency visitations the researchers will gather qualitative data to serve as a starting point for a larger scale nationwide study that will attempt to determine best practices for financing parks and recreation.

Gwendolyn Schwinke, Theatre Department

I will be rehearsing and performing the role of Margie in the play Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire as a professional guest artist with Talking Horse Productions, a theatre in Columbia, Missouri. As part of my preparation, I will be learning a South Boston dialect.

Jason Smith, Department of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport Studies

Static stretching is often used as part of a thorough warm-up in the hopes of improving performance and/or reducing the risk of injury for fitness and athletic populations. Prolonged static stretching (> 45 seconds of stretching per muscle group) impairs a variety of athletic parameters including strength, power, agility, and speed. Interestingly, most individuals employ a shorter duration (e.g., 30 seconds) of static stretching as part of their warm-up. Information regarding this limited-duration static stretching protocol’s effect on performance is scarce and conflicting. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to evaluate the acute effect of 30 seconds of static stretching on vertical jump performance, which is an indicator of lower body power. Power is the most important athletic parameter in most sport performances. Results from this study will be used to advance our knowledge of designing an appropriate warm-up to enhance performance in collegiate athletics.

Bryan Wakefield, Department of Chemistry/Physics

Malaria has a major impact on people who live in tropical climates around the world. Due to the prevalence of the disease and increased instants of drug resistance there is a need to develop new treatment options. The flinderole alkaloids have been shown to inhibit the growth of a chloroquine resistant strain of the parasite responsible for causing malaria. While possessing promising activity, these compounds need to be
optimized through chemical synthesis to become effective drugs. The goal of this project is to synthesize flinderole analogs to determine the effect of changes to one structural region of the molecule on the biological activity of flinderole. This data will allow for new, improved flinderole analogs to be synthesized.

Brian West, Department of Chemistry/Physics

Data transmission and processing requirements are increasing exponentially, driven by recent applications such as high-definition video and "e-health care."  While optical transmission systems have long ago replaced electronic ones for high-bandwidth transmission, routing and processing of data is still primarily performed in the electronic domain, due to the lack of suitable nanoscale, low-power all-optical switching devices; this places severe limits on the overall speed and efficiency of the switching architecture.  To eliminate the "electronic bottleneck." we propose to develop data switching structures based on the recently-described Hybrid Plasmonic Waveguide.  Our aim is to utilize contemporary electromagnetic modeling techniques to design optimized all-optical switches. These results will be of great benefit to the international photonics community in the creation of switching modules.  Closer to home, this project will permit an undergraudate student to learn important skills of computational modeling and experimental design & analysis, and possibly to co-author a research paper.

Rachel Whitaker, Department of Chemistry/Physics

Drinkable water is a luxury for most of the world’s population. Heavy metal contamination of drinking water is common and is becoming more of a problem as world-wide pollution continues to rise. Exposure to heavy metals is harmful to human health and in high concentrations can lead to neurodegeneration and eventually death. The current methodology for testing metal contamination in drinking water requires a specially trained technician and expensive equipment. Furthermore, the testing protocol itself generates chemical and plastic waste. Therefore, we propose developing a biodegradable biosensor that would allow anyone the
ability to test water quality easily and effectively. The biosensor would be made from RNA molecules that have the ability to bind to metal ions while tethered to a nanoparticle bead.

Clayton Whitesides, Department of Politics and Geography

Hiking the highest natural point in each state is a popular recreational activity in the United States. Little is known, however, about the origin of hikers or common hiking periods. Knowledge of hiker origin and popular hiking seasons is essential to proper management of mountain environments. Although most highpoints contain summit registers that document the date, name, and origin of hikers, registers are commonly maintained by individuals or recreational clubs. Consequently, records are often fragmented and difficult to access. To better understand origin and seasonality of hikers in the southeast, I propose visiting state highpoints
and recording hiker data from both archived and active summit registers. The data will be analyzed with GIS software to identify spatial patterns and temporal trends in hiker origin and frequency. Understanding hiker origin and common hiking periods is crucial for proper policy and management of tourism in mountain environments.

Min Ye, Department of Politics and Geography

Can active learning in International Relations (IR) classes at Coastal Carolina University improve student learning and increase enthusiasm for such classes? This pedagogical research project will evaluate this question through the use of active learning simulations of international events in two cornerstone IR classes of the discipline in the Politics and Geography Department. To do so, we will use digital simulation tool called International Communications and Negotiation Simulations (ICONS) in the course assessments in one section of POLI 315 and one section of POLI 318 in Spring 2014. Two sections of POLI 315 in Fall 2013 that do not include such active learning components are used as the control group. Through pre- and post-test surveys and content analysis of reflection papers, the researchers will determine the impacts of
active learning simulations on student learning outcomes and enthusiasm in International Relations—as represented by the two courses.