Pursue: Undergraduate Research Journal

Pursue (Online)
ISSN 2575-159X

Pursue (Print)
ISSN 2473-6201

Pursue Undergraduate Research Journal

Aim and Scope

The scholarly journal, “PURSUE”, provides undergraduates an avenue to publish their original research articles in the following areas: (but not limited to) psychology, sociology, biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, computer science, mathematics, humanities, agriculture, architecture, business, and education.

The original research articles included in this journal are peer-reviewed and selected by the journal’s Editorial Board. The review process allows undergraduate researchers to receive feedback from notable scientists in their field of study and teach them about the publication process. Publishing their work will not only inform the scientific community but also impact the greater society.

The journal is housed at Prairie View A&M University, a Historically Black University, and is available to all young scientists conducting research. This journal also serves as a means for faculty to extend knowledge beyond the classroom and encourage other students to conduct quality research. All undergraduate research is produced in conjunction with a faculty mentor and is peer reviewed. The journal is open to undergraduates from all Colleges and Universities.

Volume 1, Issue 2, 2018

Full Volume 1, Issue 2, 2018
Full Volume 1, Issue 1, 2017

Contents

An Analysis of the 2015 Nigerian Presidential Election

Uduak-Obong I. Ekanem, Ole J. Forsberg

Much time has gone into analyzing the 2015 Nigerian Presidential election, a veritable repeat of the 2011 election between incumbent Goodluck Jonathan and retired General Muhammadu Buhari. Previous elections in Nigeria have been fraught with violence and charges of electoral fraud. While the Nigerian electoral commission worked hard to ensure that these elections were fair, violence and charges of fraud materialized.

Electoral forensics applies statistical techniques to elections, frequently testing for evidence of fraud or of unfairness. Using binomial regression, we tested the official results from the 2015 Nigerian Presidential election for evidence of differential invalidation. Differential invalidation involves invalidating ballots based on whom they are cast.

The results do not strictly indicate evidence of this type of electoral unfairness. The marginal p-values (0.1420 and 0.0346) only suggest that there may be a problem. Furthermore, the invalidation process in Ebonyi state appears to be completely different from that in other states. This leads one to wonder why that difference exists.

Reflection, Calibration and Achievement In Introductory Calculus

Taylor Kline and Rebecca Dibbs

Studies indicate that calculus acts as a filter for students entering into a STEM discipline, pushing some students to leave their field of study due to failure or disheartenment after going through the course. Since the demand for STEM-trained graduates grows, it is imperative to determine how to prevent more students from switching away from their STEM disciplines. The purpose of this project was to investigate whether the concept of calibration could increase student performance in introductory calculus in order to retain as many students as possible. This was a quasi-experimental study, conducted in calculus I and II courses, imploring CLEAR calculus, which is a nontraditional class style. Results indicated that in calculus I, with data from the first four classroom exams, the calibration could predict performance on the final exam. With calculus II, however, GPA was the only contributing factor to the final exam score. This implies that calibration may be more important in the first course, though further investigation is needed.

Outcomes of Advancing Women Faculty in Engineering and Technology at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: A Retrospective Analysis of ADVANCEPAID Participants

Brittani Turner, Angel Lyles-Grayer, Rochelle L. Williams, and Felecia M. Nave

Keeping up with their historic missions, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have selected and granted progressively more number of degrees to women over the past few decades. From 1993 to 2006, the number of black women undergrads receiving degrees at HBCUs increased by 24%. For example, in 2002, 75% of black women awarded doctorates in Biology had baccalaureate origins from HBCUs. In 2006, data revealed that there were 900 black women faculty in STEM disciplines at HBCUs and 2,810 black women faculty at non-HBCUs. They accounted for 22% and 2% of the faculty at HBCUs and non-HBCUs.

The ADVANCE-PAID project, Advancing Women Faculty in Engineering and Technology at HBCUs, was a collaboration between Prairie View A&M University and Texas A&M University that received National Science Foundation funding from September 2009 through August 2014. The project implemented four key activities: (1) annual workshops; (2) seed grants to support research efforts; (3) professional career coaching; and (4) weekly writing groups. Forty-seven women faculty from 14 HBCUs attended at least one annual workshop, 13 from 9 HBCUs received seed grants, 11 from 9 HBCUs participated in career coaching, and between 4 and 6 women attended weekly writing groups.

A retrospective analysis was conducted to determine the long-term impacts of the four activities. One-on-one, semi-structured interviews were conducted with past participants to determine the impact activities had on their careers. Current faculty rank and position of each participant were compared to the rank and position held when they initially participated in ADVANCE-PAID activities. Surveys were sent to participants to assess how this project impacted their success, informed their decision or interest in pursuing administration, and how the various activities helped them overall. Group averages were compared by activity or combination of activities.

The Effects of a Selective and Non-Selective Organic Herbicides on Amaranthus speciesi

Chonique S. Long, Nayel N. Novelo, Hanna Derecho and Yolander Youngblood

The Amaranthus species has adaptive abilities that give them competitive advantages and invasive tendencies. Their high seed production, seed viability, quick growth rate, and C4 metabolism have allowed some of the species to become resistant to some types of herbicides, causing soybean, corn, and cotton crop yield losses in North America. For this investigation, different organic herbicide solutions were analyzed to determine their affects on the Amaranthus species. Different concentrations of acetic acid, eucalyptus volatile oil, and okanin were combined to test the hypothesis that the unique characteristics of each organic herbicides should safely and effectively deter Amaranthus growth, even at low concentrations. The organic herbicide cocktail significantly affected the growth rates and germination percentages of resistant A. palmeri , susceptible A. palmeri, A. viridis, and A. tricolor. Spouts died when the solution was applied daily, and seeds did not germinate after application. The solution did not have a large effect on A. hypochondriacs and A. caudatus, but most of those sprouts’ length was diminished, and growth ceased.

Evaluating alternative crosslinking agents in poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogels membranes

Naomi Deneke, Sarah Dohadwala, Quincy Moore, Felecia Nave, Audie Thompson

Hydrogels are a network of polymer chains with properties that absorb, store and transport solutions. A hydrogel membrane has a permeability that allows influx and excretion. Therefore, it is the ideal material for medicated membranes. This study investigates the crosslinking of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) hydrogel membranes using different agents and explores the usability of the candidate membranes as drug delivery systems. The model protein, bovine albumin serum (BSA), was used to test the stability and controlled drug release rate characteristics of the candidate hydrogel membranes. This investigation also evaluated the stability different crosslinkers for hydrogel membranes. Glutaraldehyde (GA) and an alternative crosslinking method of ultraviolet irradiation with the sensitizer, sodium benzoate (SB), were used to crosslink PVA containing BSA. In GA crosslinked membranes, BSA release diffusion experiments showed 48%, 45%, and 63% recovery of protein at pH 6.5, 7.4 and 8.0, respectively; this confirmed that this system is suited for physiological conditions and controlled release. Although SB has been used for membrane fabrication, our Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) results indicate that UV(SB)-crosslinked films are not suited for drug delivery, despite the release of BSA.

Managing Editors & Co-Founders

For more information, please contact us at pursue@pvamu.edu.