Undergraduate Research Symposium

Students from all disciplines and majors will present their research and creative work at the Undergraduate Research Symposium on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016 in locations all across campus. This Undergraduate Research sampler will give you a small taste of the impressive projects being presented:

Biology: Subspecies Determination in Hellbenders
by Emily Ackley, Liam Baglivo, Michelle Henson and Amy Hoogendoorn

Ackley, Baglivo, Henson and Hoogendoorn performed and analyzed DNA sequencing from a sample of slime collected from the Hellbender held at the WNC Nature Center to solve an identity mystery: is it an Eastern Hellbender, or an Ozark Hellbender? Hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) are large aquatic salamanders endemic to eastern North America that are currently in decline due to habitat loss. They can grow up to 2 feet long, and live their entire lives underwater—and, as you may have guessed, they are quite slimy.

Sociology: How They Hate: An Investigation Of Hate Websites From The American South
by Ricardo Hernandez

In order to discover how hate is justified and perpetuated online, Hernandez’ study examines and analyses the content of hate websites from five southern states along the Eastern Coast: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Variables of interest include: to what degree the websites promote hate; the targets of their hate; and how the websites perpetuate instances of hate. Ultimately, this analysis explores how and why hateful speech and acts may be perpetrated online.

Music: Aphex Twin, Blank Banshee, And The Modern Sonata Form
by Elijah Brown

Where does classical music meet electronic music? Brown’s analysis suggests that they meet in the sonata form. Using the theory of sonata form analysis as put forward by such theorists as Hepokoski and Darcy, Caplin, and Cook, Brown analyses electronic compositions from disparate subgenres of electronic music to show that this form applies to more than just one obscure subgenre of this field of music. Sonata form, Brown has discovered, is not just a cookie-cutter mold or a musical structure of the past—it is used to build musical compositions we still hear today, even in unexpected places.

Mass Communication: Cult Radio
by Lindsay Miller

Cult Radio is Miller’s pre-produced hour-long, interview-format podcast that deals with exploring pop culture phenomena that have managed to gather a unique fan following throughout history. This episode explores the “cult” of One Direction, a boy-band from the UK, through interviews with a fan of the group. Miller will also discuss the scripting, audio, and editing while creating this particular podcast.

Economics: An Econometric Analysis Of The United States’ Trade Embargo On Cuba
by John Olsen

Olsen’s analysis uses the Gravity Model, an econometric model designed to predict the expectation of trade flows between trade partners based on the size of their respective economies and the geographic distance between them. With the relationship between the United States and Cuba beginning to warm, and the recent death of Fidel Castro, Olsen’s paper seeks to determine what the economies of the United States and Cuba, specifically in terms of trade imbalance, U.S. imports, and U.S. exports, would look like if the United States lifted the embargo, and what growth may be expected if and when the embargo is ends.

Computer Science: Ashdeals
by Lucas Clarke

Asheville is well known for it’s food scene—but the key to enjoying the great food this city has to offer is often special offers and deals that make the meal less expensive. Clarke’s program is a data-driven website that allows users to search Asheville’s weekly food and beverage deals with different keywords. Organizing the data by day allows users to search for deals on a specific day across the city. Bon appetit!