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2019 CROW


The CROW showcases the initiative and commitment of students at the University of  Washington Bothell to engage in their own research endeavors. As the reader, you will discover a myriad of topics ranging from the biological sciences to interdisciplinary arts and beyond. The multiple submission types and diverse writing styles are likely to capture the interest of any reader. Conducting research is a dynamic, influential learning practice promoted throughout the University. Research solidifies learning outside of the classroom setting by allowing students to think critically about the topics they desire to explore, and to practice producing knowledge for themselves and others. Having their research published will forever preserve their work while also transforming it into a powerful tool to be used by the next generation of academics. By taking the monumental and often daunting step of participating in the peer-review process, the authors featured in this journal have emerged as contributors to the academic discourse of their particular field of study. The Editorial Board was privileged to have the opportunity to review all of the incredible submissions this year. The selection process was undertaken thoughtfully with respect and sensitivity for all of the insightful, articulate submissions we received. We sincerely thank and commend all of the students for the dedication they put into their research and to everyone who submitted their work. We also thank the faculty and staff mentors who foster students’ passions and talents. In this volume we proudly present the work of a growing research community.

The Effect of BPA on Gene Expression

Rachel Calder

ABSTRACT: The levels of the plastic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) that leach into food via plastic in packaging have been deemed safe for public consumption in a final report by the FDA (2014). However, scientists have recently began studying how BPA affects gene methylation. Gene methylation occurs when a methyl group (CH3) blocks RNA from reading the DNA code which causes the gene to be switched “off.” When genes are not methylated, the gene is not blocked causing the gene to be turned “on.” RNA can then use the DNA as a template to make proteins and other structures in the cell. Therefore, the gene is expressed. Methylation is a way for the body to control when the DNA template is read so that the function of the DNA is only expressed when needed. BPA toxins absorbed in the body are found to cause gene demethylation where genes are then overexpressed. Such a result can be a problem when heavily regulated genes are affected. For example, cancer can occur when genes coding for replication and growth are not controlled by methylation. Many scientists have quantified these effects, but their focus is isolated on one gene where implications are only applicable to that gene. This review compares the percent of methylation change of genes between four studies before and after the treatment of 50 μg/kg of BPA: Sox2 whose protein regulates embryonic development (Prins et al. 2017),  β-Casein whose protein is found in milk (Altamirano et al. 2017), PGC-1α whose protein regulates cell metabolism (Jiang et al. 2015), and Dnmt1 whose protein produces methyltransferase (Ma et al. 2013). Sox2, PGC-1α, and β-Casein showed a decrease in methylation percent after treatment (Prins et al. 2017; Jiang et al. 2015; Altamirano et al. 2017). Dnmt1 was found to have increased in methylation. Ma et al. (2013) suggested that since methyltransferase causes methylation, a decrease in methylation could coincide with an initial decrease in methylation of Dnmt1. These findings support that BPA does decrease gene methylation. These findings could persuade the FDA to consider new regulations for standardizing BPA use. This knowledge also informs people’s decisions on whether or not to avoid products containing BPA.

Cosmic Strings: The Cracks in the Universe

Hannah Preisinger

ABSTRACT: This research editorial covers the topic of cosmic strings, theoretical one-dimensional faults in space-time formed in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang. Of particular note are oscillating cosmic string loops, which produce gravitational waves detectable by instruments such as LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory), and gravitational lensing, a visual distortion of distant objects potentially caused by the interference of cosmic strings in the foreground of images. While conclusive data on the phenomenon remains elusive, the potential insights into cosmology, particle physics, and other fields keep the search alive.

Education for Native Americans – Help or Hindrance?

Joyce Chester

ABSTRACT: Native American students taught using a Euro-centric educational curriculum/model continue to fail out of the PreK-12 system. We will explore how devaluing Indigenous culture, yet maintaining the expectation that Native American students will thrive and graduate, are harmful and ineffective. How can relationships between teachers and our Native students, with respect for and consideration of Indigenous culture, lead to student success?

Using Sci-Fi to Observe the Effects of Social Media and Reality TV

Brynley Louise

ABSTRACT: Science-fiction has a reputation for doing two things remarkably well. The first is creating commentary on present-day societies, and the second is being eerily good at predicting possible technologies and societies. This paper utilizes pieces of science-fiction from various mediums in order to establish an observable pattern amongst writers in the genre today, and what these pieces say about the current state of two media forms: reality television and social media. As well as questioning whether the ubiquitous presence of reality television and social media are perpetuating the normalization of using others as our own personal entertainment.

The Effects of Mass Incarceration on Individuals and Communities

Ashley Forsyth

ABSTRACT: Over two million individuals are incarcerated in the United States. This paper examines the negative impacts of incarceration on individuals and their communities. Since most of the individuals affected by high rates of incarceration are people of color, this produces harmful effects in communities of color. The negative impacts of removing individuals from communities and imprisoning them include decreased social control within those communities, higher rates of medical problems, decreased well-being, and relationship problems. Minimizing these impacts is a goal that doesn’t address the systemic racism and poverty perpetuated by incarceration. A widespread change in mass incarceration can be achieved through a change in attitude toward race, crime and punishment

Giving Up the Ghost: The Parallel Demotion of Spirits and Spirituality

Hannah Preisinger

ABSTRACT: This paper aims to examine the progression of Western attitudes towards ghosts and related concepts from ancient times through Europe’s age of Enlightenment. Through a study of folklore, literature, and religious beliefs, a gradual shift becomes evident: from the sincere respect of ancestor veneration, to demonic paranoia in the Middle Ages, to public scorn and private curiosity as Western scientific traditions gained dominance (with this final stage largely persisting to the present day). The author also proposes a parallel between this demotion of spirits and a diminishment in the societal importance of spirituality itself.

The Opioid Epidemic: Shifting from War to Peace

AJ True

ABSTRACT: The misleading and unethical marketing practices of pharmaceutical companies during the late 90s led to a health crisis referred to as the opioid epidemic. As the rates of opioid usage skyrocketed along with the rates of bloodborne illnesses due to needle sharing, the United States government’s policy of extreme criminalization served to worsen the problem. Faced with a growing crisis, research into alternative policies in efforts to reduce rates of death related to opioids yielded positive results. Separately, programs such as needle exchanges, rehabilitation, and decriminalization were effective in remedying the different consequences of the opioid epidemic. However, because of the complexity of this issue, the United States must implement most or all of these policies together with the shift from a private healthcare system to a public healthcare system.

Infallibility Through Duality

Jakob Johnson

ABSTRACT: This paper examines the puzzling interplay of Christianity and paganism in the English epic, Bēowulf, adopting a new psychoanalytical approach to explain the blending of two (seemingly) mutually exclusive faiths. Applying Saunder L. Gilman’s theory of stereotyping, an extension of Lacanian psychology, this essay analyzes the Bēowulf-poet’s motives for including such opposing religions, taking into consideration the time period’s rocky transition from Saxon paganism to Christianity. This a crucial step for scholars, since so few primary documents address the practicalities of Christianity’s adoption into Britain, and any inkling into how the common people (such as the Bēowulf-poet) responded to this shift would be greatly insightful to this virtually undocumented period of Western history. Bēowulf may in fact be the unique window into the battle between the faiths, a singular moment in history captured in the person of its stalwart protagonist.

How Mutations in Synapsin I and Synapsin II Contribute to Seizure-Like Activity and Episodes in Individuals with Epilepsy 

Atif Bhatti

ABSTRACT: Epilepsy is one of the most prevalent neurological disorders and has been associated with abnormalities in the functioning of synapse proteins known as synapsins. Here, we aim to further develop our understanding of how mutations in Synapsin I and Synapsin II may be correlated to seizure-like activity and episodes in individuals with epilepsy. In the quest to successfully establish an understanding, the work of three different articles will be synthesized together to provide a comprehensive literature review. Upon examining work done by an array of investigators and experts in this field, we see that mutations in Synapsins I and II, individually or simultaneously, can contribute to the seizure-like activity and episodes that individuals with epilepsy suffer in a chronic manner. This work is of vital importance to further understand how new methods, specifically pharmacological, can be created and devised to cure an epileptic individual’s episodes in the future.  

The Effects of Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) on Leadership Development Among Youth

Anna Tran

ABSTRACT: Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) is a critical form of action research used in educational curriculum that focuses and values on the youth point of view. YPAR stands for youth participatory action research. This learning process is based from action research, or research steps and techniques alongside community member action. YPAR can be a powerful process that unites youth and adults in research projects that improve our communities and conditions of youth lives. The information that results from the YPAR process is meant to be used to advocate for change in communities.

College Relationships and Grades

William Appel

ABSTRACT: Emerging adulthood is when many college students experience a reduced level of parental involvement and increasing adulthood responsibilities. Some of the responsibilities include being on one’s own for the first time, friendship, family, work and college responsibilities. This proposal explores the association of dating and grades in college among college-age students in Washington State’s universities. Using a cross-sectional design with an online survey, the proposal asks demographic questions, as well as dating-related questions, along with academic success questions such as grades received, and number of hours studied each week. The results are expected to yield differences among year in college, how long students have been in a relationship and academic success.

Do Socioeconomic Factors Contribute to A Patient Having a Hospital Acquired Infection in Washington

Michael Prothman & Alex Wang

ABSTRACT: Throughout history there has been a strong link between healthcare outcomes and socioeconomic status.  In spite of this during our research we found little to no data discussing how socioeconomic status affects hospital infection rates, even while hospital acquired antibiotic resistant infections become a greater threat each year.  To investigate this relationship we propose a broad sampling of 10 Washington State hospitals, randomly selecting patients admitted at the time of the study.  Patients selected who agree to participate would be given a questionnaire regarding socioeconomic status in the hospital and a brief follow up afterward to determine if they contracted an infection resulting from their hospital stay.  It is imperative that we continue to investigate and better understand the role socioeconomic status plays on our health and we believe this proposal is an important step in doing so.

Depression and Exercise: Does Exercise Help People with Depression?

Ameena Mohammed 

ABSTRACT: Depression is a worldwide health problem that is experienced by many individuals throughout all age groups and especially the youth. Depression can cause many social and emotional problems such as mood swings and low self-esteem. Unfortunately, if not managed, depression can lead an individual to commit suicide. Studies have shown that exercise is an effective alternative in the management and treatment of depression. This proposal will look into how depression in college and university students can be successfully managed with exercise. In this proposal, the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) will be used to study the levels of depression. It will also discuss various types and intensities of exercise and their effects. This proposal will reveal that individuals who manage their depression with exercise see positive results and have more control over their symptoms. 

The Effect of the Great Permian Extinction on Survival of Chemosymbiotic Bivalves: How Alternate Diets and Metabolic Processes Allow Organisms to Survive Marine Hypoxia

Katherine Lu

ABSTRACT: As fertilizer runoff and other nitrogen rich pollutants cause dead zones in the ocean, there are many implications of what types of organisms will survive modern marine hypoxia. The purpose of this project is to determine if the Permian-Triassic Extinction, also known as the P-T event, approximately 252 million years ago caused mass marine extinction via hypoxia. This is one of the most common theories regarding the Permian extinction. According to this theory, the meteor strike sent debris and smoke into the atmosphere, blocking out the sun. Marine plants and algae, which rely on sunlight for photosynthesis, produce less oxygen. Dissolved oxygen in the water is quickly consumed, and marine animals suffocate en masse. Chemosynthetic bacteria can live without light because they capture energy from chemical bonds instead. Multicellular organisms are incapable of chemosynthesis by themselves, but they can survive by hosting chemosynthetic bacteria within themselves. If this were the case, the Permian Extinction would not have affected the survival of bivalve species with a chemosymbiotic diet. The author of this paper determined the effect diet had on survivability by comparing the numbers of chemosymbiotic bivalves before and after the Permian Extinction using data from the Paleobiology Database, an online data archive of fossils including their contemporary location, species, surrounding rock matrix type, and other specific information. The numbers of bivalve species of various chemosymbiotic diets in two time ranges were compared: from 300 to 250 million years ago and from 250 to 200 million years ago. These time ranges cover the late Permian and early Triassic periods, respectively. The hypothesis was wrong in that the Permian extinction did significantly affect the number of chemosymbiotic species. The number and distribution of chemosymbiotic bivalves actually increased following the Permian extinction. 

Canid and Human Cohabitation: Canids did not Move into Caves with Humans

Lauren Kirk

ABSTRACT: It is not known how long dogs and humans have had a relationship. If dogs and humans coexisted in the past, then their fossils should be located in the place they both resided. As canids developed a relationship with humans, it would make sense that they moved into caves when humans did. Data was obtained from the Paleobiology Database and sorted by time period, Pleistocene and Miocene versus Paleogene, and further sorted depending on if the fossil was found in a cave and tested for a relationship with humans showing coexistence by a χ2-test. It was found that canids did not move into caves along with humans. In fact, there was a statistically significant difference that supports that there may be a negative relationship. Since canids were very recently domesticated with respect to the time periods evaluated, a coexisting relationship may not have existed previously. 

Microbial Susceptibilities and Resistances to Campylobacter Jejuni Isolates from Crow Fecal Matter in Washington State

Neha Chhabra

ABSTRACT: This research investigates the antimicrobial resistance profile of Campylobacter jejuni (C. jejuni) isolates obtained from crows within Bothell, Everett, Mercer Island and Factoria, Washington. While campylobacteriosis is a self-limiting disease, severe or prolonged cases of campylobacteriosis need treatment with antibiotics. However, antibiotic resistance (AR) can develop.  Antibiotic resistance is a growing public health issue because resistance to some antibiotics defeats the purpose of having antibiotics for treatment.  This study seeks to scrutinize the antimicrobial susceptibilities and resistances of forty Campylobacter jejuni isolates obtained from crow feces from different sites around Washington State. Crows were used during this study because they can serve as environmental indicators of the antibiotic usage of the places they visit during their daytime scavenging activities.  Kirby-Bauer method was used with eleven antibiotics, including tetracycline, ampicillin, ampicillin-calvulanic acid, ciprofloxacin, chloramphenicol, streptomycin, nalidixic acid, azithromycin, erythromycin, gentamicin, and clindamycin. The C. jejuni isolates showed maximum resistance to ciprofloxacin (34.21%) and to tetracycline (31.5%). Sixteen total isolates showed multiple drug resistance (resistance to three or more antibiotics). Two isolates, F18 and F19-2 obtained from the Bothell wetlands showed resistance to 6 antibiotics, including intermediate susceptibility. These results show that crows are capable of spreading antibiotic resistance through the bacteria C. jejuni.

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