Student-Faculty Research Projects, Spring 2011 Awards

The Creation of a Student-Centered Record Label
Jeff Snyder – Associate Professor of Music
Rachel Lightner, Nicholas D’Angelo, and Jackie Massey – Music Business Majors

The project will be a catalyst for creating an official student run record label at Lebanon Valley College. Three students will research successful college labels by visiting those institutions to observe and learn best practices. They will interview established record label professionals for advice and visit and interview other experts in music publishing, music marketing, music distribution, A&R, entertainment law, and all other related fields important to establishing a new innovative label. Students will create a report with its nucleus a functioning business plan consisting of best practices and recommendations for foundation of the new label. Once the research is completed, a new course will be created to establish and maintain the record label at the College.

Digital Publishing for Mobile Devices: Developing an Educational Reference Tool for Physical Therapy Students
Mike Lehr – Assistant Clinical Professor of Physical Therapy
Jeff Ritchie – Associate Professor of Digital Communications
Eight to Ten students majoring in Digital Communications
Five 6th-year Physical Therapy students

Students from the Digital Communications and Physical Therapy departments, working with Mike Lehr and Jeff Ritchie, will create a prototype of an instructional digital textbook on Manual Techniques and Skilled Interventions optimized for use on tablets/mobile devices to be used by 5th year doctor of physical therapy students.

Digitizing History: Building and Expanding an Interpretive Digital Archive on the Sandino Rebellion in Nicaragua, 1927-1934
Michael Schroeder – Assistant Professor of History
Katrina Wells – History and Historical Communications Major
Melissa Zellner – History and Historical Communications Major
Other TBD

The project continues to build a resource website about the Sandino Rebellion of 1927-1934. Students will collaborate with Dr. Schroeder transcribing and digitally preparing documents, including maps and photographs; translating documents and Web pages into Spanish; assisting in the development of curricular guides; conducting archival research; and related activities.

Read this research story here.

Effect of NADPH oxidase deficiency on T lymphocyte redox state
Courtney Lappas – Assistant Professor of Biology
Two biology students

Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) is an immunodeficiency disease that is characterized by an increased susceptibility to severe, recurrent bacterial and fungal infections. Although early diagnosis and aggressive treatment with antibiotics and intravenous immunoglobulin can be effective at combating life threatening infections, other significant complications of CGD, such as non-infectious hyperinflammatory manifestations and autoimmune-like syndromes result in a high associated morbidity. The mechanisms underlying the inflammatory disorders associated with CGD are largely uncharacterized. This project is aimed at defining a mechanism by CGD-induced dysregulated T lymphocyte activity may contribute to these pathologies, with the additional focus of utilizing a novel class of anti-inflammatory drugs, adenosine A2A receptor agonists, to regulate the immune system hyperactivity that is observed in CGD patients.


The Effects of Aerobic Exercise on the Academic Engagement and Stereotypic Behaviors of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Extending the Research to Real World Settings

Cheryl George – Professor of Education
Katie Oriel – Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy
Sheryl Ann Klus – Education Major
Chloe Skylakon – Education Major
Caitlyn Harman – Education Major

In partnership with the Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU) in Reading, PA, the team will study if aerobic exercise before classroom instruction improves academic engagement and reduces stereotypic behaviors in young children with autism spectrum. Classroom teachers and a physical therapist will at the BCIU will be actively involved in implementing this study. Three undergraduate students will assist with data collection and analysis, proposal and manuscript writing, and the presentation of the study at an international special education convention.

Expansin Evolution in Algal and Basal Land Plant Lineages
Robert Carey – Assistant Professor of Biology
Sarah Ann Beatty – Majoring in Biology
Nathan Kent Hepler – Majoring in Biochemistry

Expansins are plant cell-wall loosening proteins encoded by a several large evolutionary families of genes. These proteins show the ability to disrupt linkages between cell wall components and cause extension of isolated plant cell walls. In living plants evidence suggests that expansins play a role in facilitating growth, organ development, fruit ripening, and many other processes that necessitate cell-wall modification. Expansins have also shown potential as enhancers of ethanol extraction (for use as a fuel source) from cellulosic biomass, such as agricultural waste. The faculty member and students will collaborate on the following research questions: When did expansins first arise in plant evolutionary history? In what order did the different expansin families arise? Are expansins performing similar functions in plants that diverged earlier in the course of plant evolution as they do in the more well-studied flowering plants? Research methodology will include “mining” public domain DNA sequence databases from expansin genes to construct a more complete picture of the early history of this family of plant genes. The final stage of research will involve disrupting a gene of interest and observing the changes to the organism that result in the disruption. This will be done by genetically modifying Physcomitrella plants with a foreign piece of DNA.

The Lebanon Valley College Symposium on a Living Philosopher
Jeff Robbins – Associate Professor of Religion
Noëlle Vahanian – Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Bob Valgenti – Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Fifteen students, 2/3 majoring in philosophy and/or religion and 1/3 open to other majors

The project brings together members of the Lebanon Valley College academic community to study and discuss the work of a major living philosopher. Students and faculty will interact in a year-long workshop, which will culminate with a public Symposium in which the featured living philosopher will serve as a respondent to the workshop participants’ original research into the enduring legacy of the philosopher’s work in the field of philosophy of religion.

Multimedia Narrative as an Innovative Portal to Transformative Learning in Study Abroad
Marie Bongiovanni – Professor of English
Andrew McVey – Psychology Major
Caitlin Murphy – English Major

An interdisciplinary collaboration and pilot study that will break new ground investigating the potential of multimedia narrative to enhance critical thinking, personal development, and intercultural competencies within the realm of study abroad.

New Options for a Commuter Light Rail System Serving Lebanon and Dauphin Counties in Pennsylvania: A Preliminary Study
Philip Benesch – Associate Professor of Political Science
Three Students – TBD

The project is a preliminary study to investigate the feasibility of a Lebanon Valley light rail service from Annville to Hershey with the option of a link to the extant, under-utilized, independently owned Middletown-Hummelstown railroad. The project is designed as a hypothetical academic exercise to provide students with research experience in the formulation of public policy. Three undergraduate students will conduct research and analysis with Dr. Benesch concluding with presentations at suitable regional conferences in spring 2012.

Summer Program in Software Development: Location-Based Mobile Apps
Ken Yarnall – Associate Professor of Mathematics
Robert Hosler – Computer Science Major
John Makatche – Actuarial Science and Computer Science Major

The students and faculty will collaborate in the design, development, and publication of location-based applications for mobile computing devices. The goal of the project is to develop one or more networked applications that will allow mobile devices equipped with location tools to solve interesting problems using those location-based tools. Students will develop an understanding of software development, from initial design to public release and beyond to project evolution and maintenance. 

Read the story here.  

Valley Humanities Review
Laura Eldred (principal faculty) – Assistant Professor of English
Rick Chamberlin – Assistant Professor of French and German
Michael Schroeder – Assistant Professor of History
Grant Taylor – Assistant Professor of Art History
Robert Valgenti – Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Kristine Bova – German Major
Rachel Eck – Art and Art History Major
Tony Gorick – English Major
Tiffany Hubble – Philosophy Major
Mark Rosborough – English Major
Kathryn Skultlon – English Major
Missy Zellner – History major

The Valley Humanities Review is an online international journal devoted to publishing the best of undergraduate scholarship in the humanities. Students and faculty collaborate to develop selection criteria, review submissions, select works and edit for publication. The process also awards an annual scholarship for best scholarship submission by an LVC student and by a high school student.

Read the story here

Who’s Watching the Watchdog? Lobbying by the Mass Media in the Southern Cone
Diane Johnson – Associate Professor of Political Science
Ivette Guzmán-Zavala – Assistant Professor of Spanish
Gabriela McEvoy – Assistant Professor of Spanish
Four students majoring in Spanish
Two students majoring in Political Science

The underlying research question is whether the mass media’s role as guardian of their own economic and political interests jeopardizes their ability to serve as an effective public watchdog. Dr. Johnson will conduct approximately 25 interviews in Argentina and Uruguay with editors, journalists, government officials, and non-governmental organizations that monitor the media and media-state relations. Advanced Spanish students will assist in the transcription of these interviews, guided by Drs. Guzmán-Zavala and McEvoy. These students and one or two advanced political science students will work with the faculty to analyze and compare the interview data, and to write up the results.