A Celebration of Research, Scholarship, and Creative Endeavors

Northern State University is thrilled to unveil the inaugural "NSU-Con," a vibrant showcase highlighting the 

Student discussing her research poster with two judges

university's rich tapestry of research, scholarship, and creative endeavors. Scheduled for April 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., this event promises to captivate audiences with the diverse and innovative work of NSU's students, faculty, and staff.


NSU-Con offers attendees a dynamic and interactive experience, featuring an array of activities ranging from engaging talks and compelling poster presentations to captivating performances and stimulating round-table discussions. Hosted across two prominent venues – the Johnson Fine Arts Center (JFAC) and the Regional Science Center – the event guarantees an enriching and enlightening day for all.


Event Highlights:

  • Diverse Presentations: Immerse yourself in enlightening talks from experts across various disciplines, sharing their cutting-edge research and insights.
  • Interactive Poster Sessions: Delve into a multitude of topics through meticulously crafted poster presentations, offering a deeper understanding of current research endeavors.
  • Artistic Exhibits and Performances: Experience the vibrant creative spirit of NSU through captivating art exhibits and live performances, showcasing the university's artistic prowess.
  • Round-Table Discussions: Engage in thought-provoking conversations on a myriad of scholarly topics, fostering intellectual exchange and collaboration.


This year’s NSU-Con is a new approach to sharing Northern’s scholarly research and creative activities. Originally hosted by the Beulah Williams Library, our symposium has expanded to showcase the diverse facets of Northern’s campus and the Aberdeen community. The Student Research Committee is excited to showcase what Northern has to offer. The detailed agenda and more details for NSU-Con will be published soon, offering a flexible experience where attendees can join for individual sessions or stay for the entire event.


A detailed agenda and further information for NSU-Con will be forthcoming, providing attendees with a flexible experience where they can partake in individual sessions or immerse themselves in the entire event.


Open to All:

NSU-Con extends a warm invitation not only to the NSU community but also to the residents of Aberdeen and surrounding areas. This serves as a unique opportunity to witness firsthand the thriving academic and creative environment at NSU. Admission to NSU-Con is completely free, and we eagerly welcome everyone to join us in this momentous celebration.


We eagerly anticipate your presence at NSU-Con, as we come together to celebrate a day filled with learning, discovery, and community engagement. For further information, please contact Dr. Susan Citrak, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Student Research Coordinator, at susan.citrak@northern.edu.


Johnson Fine Arts Center Hallway

10:00 - 10:30 am: Light refreshments will be served in the Johnson Fine Arts Center hallway


Johnson Fine Arts Center Harvey and Cynthia Jewett Theatre

10:30 am: Please join us for the NSU-Con welcome and kick-off from Northern State University's Provost, Dr. Mike Wanous 

Break-out Sessions


Johnson Fine Arts Center Harvey and Cynthia Jewett Theatre

11:00 - 12:00 pm

Suzi Fitterer and Dr. Kane Anderson

Revisiting The Canonized Club at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

In August, Northern Theatre toured our first-ever production to the famed Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. Written by local playwright, Deena M.P. Ronayne, The Canonized Club: The Curious Lives & Deaths of the Saints, is an original script commissioned by the School of Fine Arts. After performing in Scotland and on Northern’s campus in Aberdeen, director Kane Anderson and actor Suzi Fitterer will talk about the process and share a small portion of the performance.    


Joshua Citrak

How Universities Can Use AI and Big Data to Increase Student Success and Enhance Resource Effectiveness


Kelly Pulis

From Dolphins to Dogs - How an Exotic Animal Training Made Their Way to South Dakota

This talk is about my career path of how I started as an exotic animal trainer and made my way to being a dog trainer here in Aberdeen, South Dakota. I will discuss my training philosophy and why that is important to successful animal training. Come listen about my background experience and what I have to offer our community and my outlooks on the future.

12:00 - 1:00 pm

Dr. Cheng-Hsien Wu

Fun Facts for the Teacher Education Program from SD, OK, and WV

This presentation will share information and differences about teacher education programs among West Virginia, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.  I will also share some examples of educational students from inquiry to research journey. 


Dr. Nicole Schutter

Novice Teacher Recruitment and Retention in South Dakota: An Exploration of Contextual Factors 

Teacher recruitment and retention continues to be problematic for school districts across the United States, and rural states are not immune to this growing issue. Teacher shortages have reached a critical point, and with the teacher pipeline continuing to decrease, a deeper understanding of factors impacting novice teacher recruitment and retention could unlock the knowledge necessary to recruit individuals to the profession, as well as recruiting and retaining them in rural areas. The present study aimed to lift novice teachers’ voices across rural areas of a South Dakota to better understand their experiences in a rural setting and add to the current knowledge base regarding novice teacher recruitment and retention in these rural areas. This qualitative phenomenological study interviewed 11 novice teachers to discover which contexts impacted their teaching experiences within the rural settings across South Dakota. The study revealed the need for additional and intentional support from both administrators and colleagues to create a stronger sense of belonging within the community and school setting was noted as imperative to novice teachers’ positive experiences. The need for appropriate preparedness regarding rural settings within their preservice field experiences and coursework, as well as intentional and robust induction and mentoring programs once hired, surfaced during the interviews. Grow-your-own programs for future teachers, apprenticeship-style programs, and partnerships between rural school districts and teacher preparation programs will continue to boost the teacher pipeline. Future research needs include surveying novice teachers across the state to learn even more about their perceptions of preparedness, as well as successful recruitment areas within rural school districts. Learning more about these areas, as well as additional localized contextual factors such as housing and salaries, will contribute to the overall knowledge of what influences these teachers to stay within South Dakota. 


Ann Paul

Children's Book - The Little Mermaid 

The children's book I will be presenting was developed for my childhood and adolescence class. The book-creating project was a fun and interesting way to learn about a child's development and the different types of cognitive development that can occur just by reading books. The book focuses on ideas like the centration of logic and theory of mind and explains how these aspects come together in the book.  However, this book needs to address multiple factors like gender distribution among characters and the stigmatized view towards a certain gender. This is a novice effort to make something new and creative.  


Lynn Klundt and Maren Williams

Generative Artificial Intelligence: Friend, Foe, or Both? 

Generative AI for text, images, and even video is developing at light speed – and with it, the potential for very convincing mis- and disinformation. Join us for a discussion of some generative AI concepts, real-world examples of how bot-made misinformation spreads online, and some fact-checking tools and strategies to protect yourself.

1:00 - 2:00 pm

Dr. Grant Manhart

Beyond the Classroom: Mastering Life Skills for Post-College Success 

In this talk, we will address crucial life skills and personal development areas often overlooked in college education, specifically focusing on the experiences of students at NSU. While academic growth is a key aspect of university life, many graduates find themselves unprepared for real-world challenges post-graduation. Topics will include practical skills such as tax filing after the first year of work, a vital yet commonly neglected area. We’ll also delve into personal life aspects, encouraging students to contemplate and understand their ideal relationships, recognizing and avoiding toxic or predatory personalities, and creating a plan for a fulfilling personal and financial future. The seminar will also explore the development of individual philosophies for life, independent of external opinions. Additionally, we will tackle regional behavioral patterns, like Midwest people-pleasing habits, and their impact on personal and professional growth. Finally, the discussion will address the reality of world expectations versus student perceptions, emphasizing adaptability and resilience. This seminar aims to equip NSU students with the essential tools for a well-rounded, successful post-college life.


Elinor Sayers, Blake Clary and Aiden McCafferty

NSU Broadcasting 

We will be showcasing our show "NSU Broadcasting" featuring news anchors Blake Clay and Elinor Sayers, as well as weatherman Aiden McCaffertey. We talk about sports, upcoming events on campus, and more. We can create a poster for you as well. Let us know if you need anything more from us. 


Jacob Ebling

VIDA Costa Rica Medical Mission Trip: Bridging Healthcare and Cultural Empathy

The VIDA Costa Rica Medical Mission Trip presents an invaluable opportunity for pre-health students to gain practical clinical experience in a culturally rich setting. This program is designed to immerse students in hands-on clinical training, working alongside local physicians in underserved areas of Costa Rica. Participants engage directly in the diagnosis, treatment, and education of patients, offering vital medical assistance while gaining real-world medical experience.

Beyond providing essential healthcare services, the core objective of this mission is to foster a transformative impact on the health and well-being of the communities we serve. This experience is not just about delivering medical care; it's about creating a meaningful change. It's an opportunity for volunteers to develop deep cultural empathy and build collaborative relationships with the local population. Participants leave with not only enhanced medical skills, but also a profound understanding of the challenges and rewards of working in global health.


Johnson Fine Arts Center Black Box Theatre

11:00 - 12:00 pm


12:00 - 1:00 pm


1:00 - 2:00 pm

Jayda Hunstad, Pianist

Rachmaninoff's “Etude-Tableaux in G Minor”


Suzi Fitterer, Mezzo-Soprano

Missy Nguyen, Pianist

“What Baking Can Do” from the musical Waitress


Previewing the all-ages play Peter/Wendy

Student-Directed by Anya Jones, featuring Northern Students and Community Members

Peter/Wendy is Jeremy Bloom's adaptation of the classic Peter Pan story where Wendy begins thinking happy thoughts as she takes flight with Peter to visit Neverland. The story comes to life with creative storytelling highlighting iconic elements like Tinkerbell, the lost boys, a mermaid, and Captain Hook. Free performances of Peter/Wendy will be in the Johnson Fine Arts Center’s Black Box Theater at 7:30 p.m. on April 12, and at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. April 13.



“Evermore” from Beauty and the Beast, and/or “Mattinata” by Ruggiero Leoncavallo.


Johnson Fine Arts Center Room 108

11:00 - 12:00 pm


12:00 - 1:00 pm


1:00 - 2:00 pm



Jewett Science Center Room 230

11:00 - 12:00 pm

Dr. Jessica Warns

A Scientist's Journey to South Dakota

Dr. Warns completed her undergraduate studies at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio and studied molecular biology where she completed an undergraduate research project. She then entered a PhD program at the University of North Dakota for five years. After graduating, she wanted to become more versed in different model organisms so completed a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Colorado Anschutz medical campus for four years learning about the model system zebrafish. She then joined the faculty at NSU in 2023. She has two main research project areas. One studying how malate dehydrogenase (MDH) is regulated by making CRISPR Knock-ins of WT and mutant MDH in kidney cells and eventually cancer cells. Another area of research is understanding how the caudal hindbrain is regulated in early zebrafish development using CRISPR knockouts in zebrafish and then examining a variety of outputs including phenotype.


Dr. John Long

The Science of Cryptids

Cryptids are animals or plants whose existence has been suggested but not “discovered” or documented by the scientific community. Scientists love a good mystery as much as anyone else, but as the saying goes, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”. Here a quick update on what we do and do not know about cryptids.


Sage Bultje

A Paruterinidae Tapeworm (Platyhelminthes: Cestoda) from Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)

This project focuses on the identification of cestodes (tapeworms) in sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), a species of significant conservation concern, collected from Montana. Tapeworms are parasites of a vertebrate host with a complex-life cycle involving an intermediate and definitive host. The tapeworms were stain, clear and mounted to access key morphological features, including proglottids, uteri, eggs, and testes, to accurately identify the species of tapeworm. Sections of the tapeworms were reserved for DNA extraction. These genetic sequences will be analyzed and compared with existing data in GenBank, assisting in understanding the tapeworms' evolutionary relationships with similar species. This study not only aims to identify the tapeworms in sage-grouse but also contributes to the broader understanding of the ecological dynamics affecting this conservation-sensitive species.


Zoe Boughton

Molecular screening and identification of blood parasites from some upland gamebirds (Phasianidae)

Haemosporida (Apicomplexa) are single celled obligate, intracellular, parasites that infect vertebrate host and are vectored by blood feeding macropredators, such as biting flies. These organisms can cause diseases, such as Malaria, in the host. In this study liver, spleen, and pancreas samples from Greater Prairie Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido), Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus), and Ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) are being accessed for infection with parasites using qPCR (qualitative or real time PCR). Samples determined to be infected will be sequenced to reveal the genetic linages of parasites infecting these gamebirds. This study will give us better understanding of the diversity and prevalence of parasite infection in upland gamebirds.


12:00 - 1:00 pm

Dr. Shalini Mathew, Dr. Junwei Jia

Suicide Risk Assessment and Safety Planning Training using Virtual Client Simulation in Crisis Counseling

Suicide is a major public health concern. Over 48,000 people died by suicide in the United States in 2018(CDC); it is the 10th leading cause of death overall. Suicide is complicated and tragic, but it is often preventable. Knowing the warning signs for suicide and how to get help can help save lives. Improving the identification of and intervention with clients at risk for suicide requires innovative training techniques that safely and effectively teach or enhance practitioners’ skills. This presentation will introduce the use of Virtual Client Simulations (VCS) in crisis counseling. Virtual Client Simulation is effective for training suicide risk assessment and safety planning because they allow for repetition in skill building as well as a safe space to practice difficult interactions with clients. Previous research has indicated that although synchronous interaction is lacking, the immersive experience of virtual client simulations (VCS) may be beneficial to counselors in training. 


Prancine Mendoza

Transvestic Disorder

This presentation will discuss Transvestic Disorder, including symptoms, prevalence, challenges experienced by individuals with clinical depression and their family members. 


Jayda Hunstad

Binge Eating Disorder

This presentation will discuss Binge Eating disorder, including symptoms, diagnosis, prevalence, challenges experienced by individuals with clinical depression and their family members. 


Miah Stone

Clinical Depression

This presentation will discuss Clinical Depression, including symptoms, diagnosis, prevalence, challenges experienced by individuals with clinical depression and their family members. 


1:00 - 2:00 pm

Sarah Keen

In the upcoming talk, I will share my enriching experience as an intern at Sanford Hospital under the guidance of Jacob Arechigo, where I specialized in summer strength and conditioning for middle and high school student-athletes. My presentation will detail the comprehensive process of designing, implementing, and supervising targeted workout programs for a diverse range of sports, including football, soccer, basketball, wrestling, and more. Emphasizing the unique approach of blending power-based programming with progressive overload, I will illustrate how these workouts were tailored to meet the varying needs of each sport and age group. For middle school athletes, my focus was on integrating fundamental fitness and physical education with interactive games to ensure engagement. I will also discuss the importance of monitoring athletic development through pre and post strength tests and other performance metrics at the high school level. These evaluations were vital in assessing the effectiveness of our conditioning program, providing insights and strategies for future athletic training. Attendees can expect to gain valuable insights into the world of sports conditioning and athlete development.


Chase Jacobs

Toe Yoga: An Intervention to Improve Intrinsic Foot Strength in College Athletes

This study investigates the potential effects of a brief two-week foot yoga intervention on intrinsic foot strength and flexibility, as measured by Y-balance testing and vertical jump performance, among twenty healthy participants. The participants were evenly divided into a foot yoga intervention group (n=10) and a control group (n=10). Pre-test assessments established baseline values for Y-balance testing and vertical jump height. The foot yoga intervention involved a daily routine of one set of twenty-five repetitions for each exercise, including single toe hallux extension, lesser four toe extension, all digitsextension, toe splay all digits, and toe curl all digits, performed once per day over the two-week period. Control group participants maintained their regular physical activity routines. Post-test evaluations will be conducted immediately following the intervention period. It is hypothesized that the intervention group will exhibit significant improvements in Y-balance scores and vertical jump height compared to the control group. If these preliminary findings are found true it could suggest that the foot yoga intervention may increase intrinsic foot strength and that there may be potential benefits that warrant further investigation.


Devin Bahr

Athletic departments play a crucial role in the overall success of collegiate athletes. Not only do athletic departments benefit athletes when it comes to providing them with endless opportunities competing, but they encourage athletes to grow educationally. Additionally, athletic departments boost the overall experience an athlete will have during their collegiate career. As a former collegiate athlete myself, I was given the opportunity to see how two different Athletic Departments functioned and support their athletes to the best of their ability. That is why I decided to intern for Northern State University’s Athletic Department, in order to understand the ins and outs of the department and what it takes to build a successful department. Additionally, I have aspirations to become a coach and ultimately become an Athletic Director in order to give back and provide the endless opportunities I was given throughout my athletic career.


Jewett Science Center Room 236 (Special Event)

12:00 - 12:30 pm

Aaron Johnson II

Glass Blowing Presentation

Aaron Johnson II has been blowing glass for several years, and will be talking about this very cool art form and doing a demonstration. Come check it out!


Jewett Science Center Hallway - Posters

Poster Session 1: 11:30 - 12:00 pm

Sierra Sweeney

Reactive Strength Index and Force Production in Triple Jump Athletes

The ability to quickly move from an eccentric muscle action to a concentric muscle action is imperative in the triple jump. This explicitly describes reactive strength index (RSI)1. Little research has been done investigating RSI, injury risk, and performance on triple jump athletes. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between RSI, lower extremity force, jump height, and max force production. It was hypothesized that a higher RSI would be correlated with increased jump height and force production. Four collegiate triple jumpers were recruited for this study. Participants performed 3 box-drop jumps onto force plates, and the average was used for analysis. Jump height/contact time was used to quantify RSI. All force calculations were analyzed during take-off. A Pearson-product correlation test was used to investigate the relationship between the variables of interest. A statistically significant positive correlation between RSI and right hip force was found (r = .951, p = .049). No other significant relationships were found with RSI. The increased forces may indicate that the athlete is landing ground stiffer with forces going through their lower limb, but has less ground contact time, essential for performance1. Thus, the results could indicate tradeoffs for injury versus performance. 


Brent Hokeness

The Relationship Between the Timing of Hip-Shoulder Separation and Hitting Performance

Recent technology advances allow the swing to be quantified using a Blast Motion sensor which is placed on the knob end of a player's bat. Some of the metrics of interest that can be gathered from a Blast sensor include bat speed and rotational acceleration. A popular metric analyzed in hitting mechanics is hip-torso separation. This study aimed to analyze the correlation between the timing of peak hip-shoulder separation, bat speed, and rotational acceleration. Fifteen collegiate baseball hitters participated in this study, which was conducted in the Northern State Biomechanics Lab. Participants performed five game-like swings, hitting a ball off a tee into a net. Data was collected utilizing a Blast Motion sensor and Vicon motion capture cameras and force plates synced with The MotionMonitor Xgen Software. Due to non-normally distributed data, spearman rho correlation tests were used to investigate the relationship between variables. Results revealed a significant negative correlation between the timing of peak hip-torso separation and the max separation value (r = -.806; p = .005). There were no other significant correlations. The results of this study found that greater hip to torso separation was associated with being achieved earlier in the swing. The results of this study indicate that the timing of max hip-torso separation is correlated, however its relationship to performance is still unknown. Additionally, future research is needed to investigate if this relationship remains when hitting off a machine or live pitch.


Jenna Hemls

Lower Extremity Strength is Correlated with Right Hip External Rotation of Motion in Track and Field Athletes

Hip range of motion (HRM) and lower extremity strength are both major components of track and field (T&F) athlete performance. Research has found that athletes with decreased HRM experience reduced flexibility and incorrect biomechanics, contributing to injury (Teichmann 2021). Current research lacks looking at the correlation between HRM and lower extremity strength in T&F athletes. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between HRM and lower limb strength in T&F athletes. Eighteen DII T&F athletes were recruited for this study. Bilateral hip internal and external range of motion (ROM) and bilateral quadriceps, hamstring, hip abductor, and hip adductor strength test were administered to all participants. A spearman rho correlation test was used to investigate any relationships between HRM and lower extremity strength. Results revealed a significant correlation with right hip internal ROM and left side 180°/sec hamstring strength (r = -.528, p = .024) and right hip external ROM with right side hip abduction strength (r = -.499, p =.035). Specifically, as strength increased HRM decreased. The results of this study indicate that there may be a specific range in which HRM should be between for optimal performance and decreased injury risk. 


Payton Melius

Education vs. Implementation - Inclusion of Students with Special Education Needs in Physical Education

This study examines the attitudes of physical education teachers towards including students with special education needs in general classes, focusing on the correlation between these attitudes, their preparedness, and years of experience. While current research, including Tarantino et al. (2022), indicates generally favorable attitudes, a gap in feeling adequately prepared for such inclusion persists. This research is crucial, given the significant role of physical education in the development of all children, including those with disabilities, in aspects of physical health, socialization, and belongingness. A survey conducted among elementary physical education teachers in South Dakota assessed their perspectives and preparedness levels for integrating students with special education needs. Preliminary findings suggest that although teachers, especially recent entrants to the field, demonstrate positive attitudes, they often feel unprepared for effective inclusion. The study highlights the need for enhanced training and continuous education in physical education curricula at the undergraduate level to better equip teachers for inclusive practices.

Poster Session 2: 12:30 - 1:00 pm

Eva Larson

The Risk of ACL Tears in College Soccer Players Throughout a Season

The project focuses on studying the risk of ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) tears in women college soccer players during a season. The ACL, connecting the femur to the fibula, is crucial for knee stability. Injuries, often requiring surgery, are devastating for athletes and common in contact sports, particularly among women. Last year, Northern State Women’s Soccer saw three ACL tears. This research aims to analyze data from the team members across the fall season, assessing risk factors and injury timing. Data collection will occur before, during, and after the season, allowing for identification of trends in susceptibility. The goal is to pinpoint times of increased risk, enabling targeted prevention strategies. Understanding these patterns could significantly contribute to reducing ACL injuries in women’s soccer, enhancing player safety and career longevity.


Darrian Hood

Relationship Between Functional Movement Screening and Well-Being in Athletes

Functional movement screening (FMS) scores have been used to look at sex-related differences (Johnson 2023) and injury prediction (Zarei 2022). A relationship between mental health and injury risk has previously been identified (Andersen 1988). However, the relationship between mental health and injury screening is scarce. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between well-being and FMS score. Thirty-two athletes from three different sports (football, soccer, and volleyball) participated in this study. The WHO-5 Well-being index was used to quantify well-being. For FMS screening only the deep squat, incline lunge, hurdle step, and rotatory stability tests were conducted.  All trials were scored in-person and were recorded using a go-pro device. Recordings were later scored again via a second review, and the results were averaged. A Spearman Rho correlation test was used to investigate any relationships between FMS and well-being. Results revealed a significant positive correlation between hurdle step on the right leg and answer to question "I woke up feeling fresh and rested" (r = .370, p = .037).  Those who reported higher scores to the question performed better on the right-side hurdle step test. The results of this study highlight a relationship between well-being and athletic performance.  


Christian Mundt

Spin Rate Differs Between Upper and Lower Classmen Baseball Pitchers

The biomechanical movements used to pitch can affect the health and injury risk of baseball pitchers. Lower and upperclassmen pitchers vary in experience, mechanics, and body composition but typically get grouped together in research studies.. The purpose of this study was to investigate if arm speed, elbow torque, spin rate, and pitch velocity differ between upper and lower classmen baseball pitchers. Twelve baseball pitchers participated in this research study. Seven were upperclassmen and five were classified as underclassmen. Each pitcher had a Driveline PULSE sensor to measure arm speed and torque. The bullpens were thirty pitches long but only had the Pulse on for fifteen of those pitches. Spin rate and pitch velocity were assessed by using a Rapsodo® device. An independent samples t-test was used to investigate any group differences for arm speed, spin rate, and pitch velocity.  Results revealed a significant difference in spin rate between the two groups (p = .032). Due to non-normally distributed data a Mann-Whitney U test was used for elbow torque. There were no other significant group differences. The result of higher spin rate in upperclassmen compared to lowerclassmen may indicate better outcomes on the mound and efficient biomechanical movements. 


Kaden Zimmerman

Comparative Analysis of Functional Movement Screen Scores in Football, Volleyball, and Soccer

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is useful for evaluating movement patterns and assessing the risk of injury in athletes. The purpose of this study is to compare FMS scores among football, volleyball, and soccer players to investigate any significant differences in scores. We had 18 participants for football, 9 for volleyball, and 5 for soccer. The FMS tests consisted of deep squats, hurdle steps, incline lunges, and rotary stability tests. Participants were scored on these tests from 0-3, 0 being the worst and 3 being the perfect score. All tests were recorded using a GoPro camera. To get an accurate score we had them score twice, one person doing it live and another watching it on the recording. Statistical analysis revealed no significant differences between the three sports. The similarity in results could be because of the dominance of football players in our sample, potentially influencing the overall outcome. Future research with more participants would be needed to determine if the lack of differences remains the same in a larger sample size. 


Poster Session 3: 1:30 - 2:00 pm

Dr. Shalini Mathew and Dr. Junwei Jia

Innovative Pedagogy in Counselor Education using High Impact Teaching Practices

Innovative pedagogy focuses on High Impact Practices or HIPS. This has been gaining a lot of popularity in higher education, since 2008 after HIPS were introduced for the first time by George Kuh and his colleagues at the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). According to Kuh (2012) HIPS are educational practices that have been widely tested and have been shown to be beneficial to college students. Previous literature provides evidence on the efficiency of HIPS in undergraduate studies. In this project , the researcher aims to use HIPS for graduate students by incorporating High Impact Teaching Practices (HITS) in counselor education. This proposal advocates for the integration of innovative pedagogical approaches grounded in high impact teaching practices to enhance the educational experience of future counselors.  


Lauren Walter

My Experiences at Secure Base Counseling

This past summer I had the opportunity to be a Mental Health Practitioner for Secure Base Counseling Center. As an MHP, I was able to work with children and adults on coping and life skills. Some of the skills for children included identifying when they were upset, practicing taking a deep breath, or utilizing a sensory tool as a way to relax. The life skills were used for the adults and consisted of organizing areas of their home, scheduling appointments, and doing other daily life things. Since I am not licensed to see clients, I needed to stay in my scope of practice which just involved coping and life skills. When I was doing my notes after each client, there could not be any mention of the emotion a client was feeling. One of my favorite parts of my internship experience was my weekly supervision meetings. During these meetings we had the opportunity to bring concerns to our supervisor and ask for help. This is where I learned how to properly handle most situations. I loved my internship experience at Secure Base and I plan on working with them again this summer.  


Dante Casanova

Beyond the Field: Analyzing the Relationship between Division I Athletics and Postsecondary Enrollment

Division I athletics are a prominent aspect in the landscape of postsecondary education; however, there is limited research on the widespread implications as it relates to enrollment. Using Division I football data linked to enrollment data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) over a ten-year timeframe, a rigorous analysis is carried out as an in-depth and up-to-date quantitative examination of the relationship between athletic success and enrollment. First, through unique data visualizations, enrollment patterns were documented along extensive and intensive margins, and showed that schools ranked within the top 25 experience significant enrollment increases in the following year. Secondly, fixed-effect regression models are employed to account for institutional factors that may also influence enrollment, such as financial aid variables and university selectivity. The results of this research aim to provide valuable insights for university decision-makers in evaluating how on-field performance may translate into the well-being of the institution.


Megan Fastenau

Isolation, Bioinformatic Characterization, and Functional Genomic Analyses of the Bacteriophage MossRose against Actinomycete Gordonia rubripertincta

This project centers on bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacterial cells, with a specific focus on their interaction with the bacterium Gordonia rubripertincta. The aim was to isolate, purify, and genomically annotate bacteriophages from various environmental samples. Using both direct and enriched isolation protocols, we employed techniques such as serial dilutions, 'pick-n-jiggle/pick-a-plaque,' and spot-plating to successfully obtain pure viral colonies. The genomic DNA extracted from these colonies was sent to the Pittsburgh Bacteriophage Institute for Illumina sequencing.

While the complete bioinformatic analysis is scheduled for completion in spring 2024, preliminary studies on host-virus range specificity and viral titers are currently underway, involving several Gordonia species. Furthermore, we conducted functional genetics experiments using a mutated strain of G. rubripertincta. These experiments are integral to understanding the complex dynamics of bacteriophage-host interactions.

The anticipated findings from this research are expected to provide significant insights into the mechanisms governing bacteriophages and their specificity towards their hosts, contributing valuable knowledge to the field of virology and bacteriology.


Summer Carlson

Two diagenetic trematodes (Platyhelminthes) from the American Wigeon (Mareca americana) and their phylogenetic affinities

Many of the digenean trematodes (Platyhelminthes) are transmitted to their definitive hosts trophically through intermediate hosts. For trophically transmitted parasites to persist on the landscape, these species interactions must be regularly occurring in time and space, thus can help us to understand the ecological interactions of the host species parasitized by the different stages of a trematode species during its life cycle. In this study we will be identifying the trematode parasites collected from the American Wigeon (Mareca americana) in South Dakota, USA. The American Wigeon is a medium sized dabbling duck with a bill structure that is specialized for grazing on aquatic and upland plants, thus it likely has less dietary overlap than most other dabbling ducks and its trematode parasites may be unique to the host or a sub-set of another species’ parasites. Comparatively few studies on the parasites of the American Wigeon have been published compared to other abundant ducks in North America and South Dakota. Our objective is to identify the trematode species sampled from an American Wigeon using morphological and molecular methods. Two trematode species collected from an American Wigeon in South Dakota are members of the Echinostomatidae Looss, 1899 and Strigeidae Railliet, 1919 families. Both species have been stained and mounted. DNA was extracted from hologenophores and a portion of the nuclear 28S, entire ITS region, and select mitochondrial gene fragments will be sequenced. Specimens mounted will be drawn and measured to compare with original descriptions and identify the species or will be described if new. These sequences will be used to differentiate lineages and estimate relationships using phylogenetic trees. Our current and future research will allow us to document the trematode diversity of the American Wigeon in South Dakota.  


Owen Douglas and Marcus Pollard



Jewett Science Center Lobby - Round Tables

2:00 - 3:00 pm

Abiah George


In this roundtable discussions on "Empathy Across Borders: Together for Trauma-Informed Care of Refugee and Immigrant Youth," students will engage in insightful conversations and collaborative problem-solving to cultivate a deeper understanding of the experiences and needs of refugee and immigrant youth. Through interactive dialogue and shared perspectives, participants will gain practical strategies and tools to support these vulnerable populations, fostering empathy and empowerment within our communities.

This roundtable session is designed to provide valuable insights into understanding and addressing the unique needs of young refugees and immigrant students. By sharing best practices and real-life case examples, this proposal offers practical insights into the implementation of trauma-informed care, focusing on the healing and integration of these youth. It demonstrates that by working together, we can create a nurturing, inclusive environment that fosters resilience, emotional healing, and academic success, ensuring that refugee and immigrant students can embark on a path of hope and opportunity as they navigate the challenges they face across borders. 


Ann Paul


Be part of an honors study on understanding how music can effect brain function during puzzle solving!

With students using music while studying more frequently, it is important to understand the effects of different aspects of the music used. This pilot study will help me find a good way to measure the difficulty levels of the word search puzzles I will use for my honors thesis. My honors thesis will focus on the effects that familiarity with the language of the background music will have on a person's ability to perform language comprehension tasks. Word-finding puzzles are a quick and easy way to find this effect in a population. The pilot study will also help identify and ensure that only studies with similar difficulty levels are used and that there are not many issues with the uneven difficulty levels used within the population of the study. 


Cheng Chen


Discussion about understanding how lithium medicine relates to mental health, neuroscience, pharmacology, and psychology, and its potential impact on their academic and career pursuits. Students interested in counseling and want to know more about lithium medicine can attend. 

Lithium is a widely used medication for the treatment of bipolar disorder, particularly in the management of manic episodes and the prevention of recurrent mood episodes. It acts primarily as a mood stabilizer by modulating neurotransmitter signaling pathways, particularly those involving serotonin and dopamine. Lithium is probably the most effective psychotropic medication available today because it improves not only symptoms but also the disease. In addition to treating bipolar disorder, lithium medication is also effective in treating unipolar depression, preventing suicide, emotional temperament, and preventing dementia. Dosages can be various according to client’s weight, age, and severity of symptoms. Its serum therapeutic dose ranges from 0.6-1.0 mmol/L, with slightly lower doses in the elderly (0.4-0.6 mmol/L). Overdosage can cause harm to clients, thus regular clinical monitoring is necessary for clients who choose to use lithium. The most common side effects of lithium include increased thirst, increased urination, rash, tremor, dry mouth, increased appetite with weight gain, nausea, bloating, diarrhea, edema, and thyroid dysfunction. Counselor should inform clients the side effects and potential risks of taking lithium and collaborate with psychiatrist to have a regular check of clients’ mood stability and their experience of taking lithium.  


Dr. Amy Dolan

Biology, STEM Education

Learn about how to be involved in STEM Outreach while doing some fun experiments!

Come find out about a great volunteer opportunity!  This is perfect for anybody interested in science, education or who is looking for a fun, monthly activity that looks great on your resume! We will also have some of our recent activities available if you want a project!


Dr. Chiara Wang

TRIO McNair Project

Learn about Graduate School preparation and an amazing new program to help you get there!

Director Dr. Wang and Coordinator Ms. Maillet from NSU McNair program invite you to the fun world of academic research! Are you the Scholars that they are looking for to fund to do research all year round with a Faculty Mentor and to go to graduate school campus visits? Please come join us and meet our newest McNair Scholars!