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Notre Dame College is recognizing student and faculty research in its Seventh Annual Celebration of Scholars.

The two-day showcase of academic projects takes place Wednesday, April 6, from 1:30-4:30 p.m. and Thursday, April 7, from 1:30-4 p.m., both in the Performing Arts Center on the ground floor of the College’s Administration Building. The program also will feature student poster presentations Wednesday from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and Thursday from 2-3 p.m., both in the Administration Building lobby.

The program is free and open to the public. Enter campus at 1875 S. Green Road.

During Celebration of Scholars, members of the Notre Dame campus community share their original research projects, findings and experiences in arts and humanities, business administration, education, nursing and science and mathematics.

Student presentations this year will range from studies of Streptococcus bacterium to the pathology of malaria to probiotics in yogurt. Scholars will discuss diversity in the fashion industry, an original wind symphony composition, sports advertising, history of the German settlement of Gottschee in Europe, stages of muscle contraction and the mathematics of tennis, among other topics.

This year, faculty mini-lectures cover the art of Avant-guard music, music composition in real time, graphing calculator technology, microscopy and entrepreneurship studies.

The week kicks off with the Notre Dame 2022 President’s Lecture. Kelley A. Pesch-Cronin, Ph.D., professor of public service and security studies, will discuss “Building Resilient Communities in Times of Uncertainty: The Need for Interdisciplinary Research and Action” on Tuesday, April 5, at 5 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center

The College’s Celebration of Scholars began in 2015. Student and faculty research were acknowledged in 2020 without a campus program due to the pandemic.


Notre Dame Celebration of Scholars 2022 Presentation Schedule

Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Poster Session 1: 1:30-2:30 p.m., Administration Building Lobby

  • Zita Chao Lara
  • Sheina Cundiff, Kayla Thomas, Maddy Cataldo, Zachary Frye, Zita Chao Lara, Logan Reedy, Riccardo De Stefani, Ryne Lewis, Davis Patterson
  • Alexa Chaplar
  • Emily Gimmel
  • Emily Marsh
  • Emma Martcheva

Presentation Session 1: Performing Arts Center

2:30 p.m., A Beginning Exploration Using TI84CE with Python Graphing Calculator Technology, Donna Morlani

3 p.m., 10 months for 7 minutes, Reilly Cipullo

3:30 p.m., Education in the Making: Taking College Level Courses and Applying Them to the High School Level, Hannah Ford

​​​​​​​4 p.m., Entrepreneurial Studies Program Update, Peter Corrigan


Thursday, April 22, 2022 1:30-4 p.m.

Presentation Session 2: Performing Arts Center

1:30 p.m., The Art of Avant-guard Music, Mike Kreuger

Poster Session 2: 2-3 p.m., Administration Building Lobby

  • Brooke Dobrzanski
  • Megan Jackson, Jordana Markovic, Josephine Sharp
  • Ronan Johnson
  • Lily Staley
  • Em Zoeckler

Presentation Session 3: Performing Arts Center

3 p.m., Simple Magnifiers to the Electron Microscope – Microscopy at NDC, David J. Kirby

3:30 p.m., The Mathematics Behind the Tennis Serve, Hayliegh Tucker


Abstracts in Alpha Order by Presenter

Oral Bacteria and Competitive Survival
Alexa Chaplar

Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus salivarius are bacteria in the mouth that have an important effect on oral health. S. mutans is the main cause of dental caries in the mouth while increased levels of S. salivarius prevents them. Biofilms, an extracellular matrix that make them less susceptible to host defenses, are the main component. In order to investigate how the competition between these bacteria is affected by pH of the mouth, the bacteria were grown in isolation to determine their optimal pH range under specific growth conditions. After this is established, a competition assay will be set up to determine how the two bacteria affect each other at the varying pH levels. To help distinguish between the two bacteria, Streptococcus mutans will be transformed with gsfPurple. The two bacterium will then be mixed together in the same broth and comparative growth will be determined using a serial dilution assay.

10 months for 7 minutes
Reilly Cipullo

Over the past year I wrote my first wind symphony piece. It took me 10 months just to write 7 minutes worth of music. I want to talk about the journey of arriving to the end.

World of Sports Advertising
Brooke Dobrzanski

This presentation will provide research on Nike, Adidas, Puma, Reebok, and Under Armor’s advertising campaigns. This will include a brief description of the company, how the company advertises their product, what is their competitive advantage (if they have one), and any improvements the company can make in advertising. How the company advertises their product will include the methods and types of media the company uses to reach their consumers. The companies will be compared to see how the different sports brands advertise to their customers and what they could do differently to beat the competition.

Education in the Making: Taking College Level Courses and Applying Them to the High School Level
Hannah Ford

Fall of 2021, I honorized EN 462: Shakespeare’s Histories and Tragedies. My Honors Project consisted of taking material learned in the class and using the material to create High School level lesson plans as a way for me to practice lesson planning. This project helped me develop a deeper understanding of what it takes to be a teacher and how I was able to take what I learned in college and teach it at the high school level.

Influence of bacterial metabolites on human genes and obesity
Emily Gimmel

The CDC states that obesity is prevalent in about 42% of Americans in the years 2017-2018. It can lead to many other serious health problems such as type two diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Recent studies have connected the gut microbiome with obesity and how microorganisms can affect an individual becoming obese. There are some types of foods that people eat that can alter the genetics of the microbiome. For example, after eating fucose such as seaweed or mushrooms, the gut bacterium Roseburia inulinivorans can produce butyrate. This short chain fatty acid can have effects of alleviating obesity. The goal of this presentation is to connect research of the gut microbiota and obesity and show how genetics can be affected through this.

Pathology of Malaria and Babesiosis
Piper Hammond

Malaria and babesiosis are both blood-borne diseases caused by single-celled protists that infect humans, and impact health in different parts of the world. The disease-causing protists are both passed to humans through an arthropod vector (mosquito or tick), and the effects on human red blood cells can be similar, and often leads to babesiosis being misdiagnosed as malaria. The focus of this research is to understand how two protists, Trypanosoma brucei, and Babesia, infect host cells to cause the diseases known as malaria and babesiosis respectively, and their impacts on human health. Pathology studies the science of cause and effect of diseases and how a disease enters the body. Through this, the main research of this project includes how both T. brucei and Babesia enter the body and their life cycles. Once one of these diseases-casing protists enters the body, it starts to infect red blood cells for multiplication processes to then further invade other red blood cells. There have been some human adaptations that help with protection against malaria, including the sickle cell gene mutation, which affects the shape of a red blood cell, and can reduce malaria severity. This genetic mutation leads to other health problems but can provide protection against overall mortality. For babesiosis, humans have used antibiotics, such as clindamycin, but some cases have shown parasite drug resistance. Understanding the pathology of diseases have allowed humans to develop drugs and ways of treatment and prevention.

Probiotics in Yogurt and Bifidobacterium Isolation
Ronan Johnson

Bifidobacterium are bacteria found in the gut microbiome of humans, but are also commonly used as probiotics in yogurt and other dairy products. There are several different species of Bifidobacterium that are classified by their metabolic properties. Using these different metabolic properties, and different environmental factors, they can be isolated from one other, which has uses in research and medicine, such as the development of specific probiotics. A mixed culture of three strains of Bifidobacterium, along with a strain of lactobacillus, and streptococcus was used to make yogurt which acted as an “environmental sample”. The three strains: Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium infantis are closely related, but differ in specific metabolic processes and those processes would allow isolation between them.  Bifidobacterium longum, and Bifidobacterium infantis are especially important in infants, as they make up a large portion of the helpful bacteria within their gut microbiome before it fully develops into one fit for an adult. If these strains are able to be isolated and grown in a lab, there could be a steady supply to help with infants who might have had an infection and taken antibiotics which eradicates both the good and bad bacteria in the body. It could help bring balance back to their microbiomes and protect them from future infections.

Development of a Redox Titration Method for the Analysis of Silver Nanoparticle Uptake and Distribution by Plants
Megan Jackson, Jordana Markovic, Josephine Sharp

The breadth of the field of nanotechnology has been continually growing since the first nanoparticles (NPs) were synthesized. The ability of the community to synthesize and chemically functionalize NPs in controlled ways has led to a wide variety of applications including an expansion into agriculture. In this arena, nanoparticles hold the potential to serve as or deliver fertilizers, pesticides, or fungicides. However, an understanding of the uptake and distribution of NPs throughout specific crops is necessary to discern how and why certain nanoparticle/coating combinations are effective. Furthermore, knowledge of the uptake and distribution of particles within a plant may help prevent adverse effects down-the-line for consumers or livestock. Current methods to analyze plants for NP content include inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy. These have shown fascinating and important results but are often financially prohibitive to undergraduate students and small liberal arts colleges. This poster will detail the work done to develop a wet chemical titration method to identify the presence of metal nanoparticles in different plant species as a cost-effective and undergraduate-accessible alternative. At Notre Dame College, biology and chemistry students continue to collaborate to synthesize/functionalize/characterize nanoparticles, develop a hydroponic growth platform for the rapid growth of plant samples, and work to explore the limits of titration analysis. As this work represents the start-up of an undergraduate research lab, this poster will also explore some of the challenges of bringing nanotechnology to a small liberal arts institution.

Creating Something From Nothing: Composing In Real Time
Michael Krueger

Using only the people and the room around us, I will work with the audience to compose and perform a “concept” piece of music. We will create new music with no parameters while using our combined creative forces.

Diversity in the Fashion Industry
Zita Chao Lara

I created a social media plan to address the problem of the lack of diversity in the fashion industry. It is a research project containing background information, goals, objectives, audience analysis, key messages, delivery channels, publishable samples, content, and an editorial calendar.

Atrial and Ventricular Septal Defects in Newborns
Emily Marsh

A septal defect is a hole in the septum, which separates the left and right chambers of the heart. There are two kinds of septal defects: atrial and ventricular. These are congenital, which means they are present at birth. Although some of these defects have genetic links, most septal defects happen by chance. A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a hole between the right and left ventricles of the heart. Most septal defects close on their own, especially if they’re in the muscular portion of the heart. They rarely cause health problems, and doctors notice them when they hear an extra heart sound called a murmur. Large septal defects can cause symptoms of congestive heart failure that must be treated. Babies that show symptoms of congestive heart failure are usually put on diuretics to help get rid of extra fluid in the lungs. Other forms of treatment include digoxin, a medication to lower blood pressure, a feeding tube, or a surgical closure of the defect. The other type of septal defect is atrial septal defects (ASD), which is when there is a hole between the left and right atria. These can happen on their own or can occur in children born with other congenital heart defects. There are four major types of ASDs: secundum atrial septal defects, primum atrial septal defects, sinus venosis atrial septal defects, and coronary sinus atrial septal defects. Treatments of ASDs include medicine, surgery, and device closure. Similar to VSDs, ASDs usually close on their own and do not cause many long-term problems unless they are larger and not monitored.


Enzymatic Assays of Beta Glucurondiase
Emma Martcheva

The bacteria in the human gut microbiome play a significant role in controlling digestion and other aspects of gut health. Lactobaccili are one group of bacteria that live in the gut. Two enzymes that play an important role in the metabolism of Lactobacillus are b-glucosidase and b-glucuronidase. These enzymes break down the tight bonds between glucuronic acids and toxins. When the bonds are broken, the toxins can be reabsorbed by the intestines, which may be a precursor to GI issues. In a normal human gut microbiome, these enzymes have an optimal activity at an acidic pH ~4.5 and are thermally stable up to 70°C. By manipulating the growth conditions of the bacteria and measuring enzyme concentration and activity in cell extracts, we aim to learn more about how the gut microbiome environment plays a role in b-glucosidase and b-glucuronidase concentration and activity in Lactobacillus.


Four Stages of a Muscle Contraction
Emma Martcheva

In order to have a physical muscle contraction, there are four stages the body must preform before the action is completed. The first stage is excitation; the process in which action potentials in the nerve fiber lead to action potentials in the muscle fiber. The second stage is excitation-contraction coupling; events that link action potentials on the sarcolemma to activation of the myofilaments, thereby preparing them to contract. The third stage is contraction; the muscle fiber develops tension and may shorten. The fourth and last stage is relaxation; when the nerve fiber stops stimulating and the muscle fiber relaxes and returns to its resting length. This poster explores the depth of each stage with a visual representation.


A Beginning Exploration Using TI84CE with Python Graphing Calculator Technology
Donna Morlani

Graphing calculator technology is an important tool in the visual teaching of mathematical concepts. The new classroom set of TI84 CE with Python graphing calculators that was purchased from the the Geier Grant can allow students to dig into mathematical topics deeper and investigate topics that may not otherwise be accessible.  We will cover a basic example of problem solving with graphing, explore a cool graphing topic that many may not have the math background to observe otherwise, then look at the Finance App.


Welcome to Gottschee
Lily Claire Staley

This PowerPoint presentation will focus on Gottschee which was originally a place in Europe. It will also focus on the history and attractions of the place.


Centennial Research
Kayla Thomas

Primary and secondary market research was collected for the Notre Dame College Centennial event. Competitor and environmental analysis investigated how peer organizations celebrated similar milestones. In-depth interviews were conducted with members of the centennial committee. The information from both primary and secondary research attempts informed the creation of online survey questions. This survey was sent to a convenience sample of the entire NDC student body with a return rate of 12% (n = 142). The data has been analyzed and will be used to build an effective public relations plan and communication strategy for the Centennial Committee. The project reflects the skills of the advanced Strategic Communication & Public Relations students.


The Mathematics Behind the Tennis Serve
Hayliegh Tucker

When examined thoroughly, tennis, especially the serve, is composed of physics and mathematics. Racquet components such as the racquet head, tension, and type of string will effect the serve. The head contains parts called the sweet spot, vibration nodes, center of percussion, and the dead spot. The tension is directly correlated to the rebound speed and amount of control. The ball toss is the motion done exactly before striking the serve. There is a proper toss technique, and this plays into the proper height and toss placement. When examining the kick serve specifically, it is possible to calculate topspin generations as well as the spin due to the ball toss. Next, the serve itself is effected by things including, but not limited to, gravity, drag, friction, and the Magnus effect. The Magnus effect changes where the serve is flat, having topspin, or having backspin. Lastly, it is possible to calculate the necessary speed in order for a serve to clear the net and enter the box.


The Impact of Teduglutide on Pediatric Patients with Short Bowel Syndrome
Em Zoeckler

As research and understanding of different medical conditions increases, the treatment of those expand as well. Short-bowel syndrome (SBS) is a condition in which the small intestine is unable to absorb the nutrients it needs to sustain the body. There are many causes of this condition in pediatric patients, and as research expands into the pediatric population, treatments of this condition are improving their quality of life. The report below is a literature review of the efficacy of Teduglutide, an absorption-increasing medication, in increasing the quality of life of pediatric patients with SBS. The measure of success with this medication, in most studies, is based on the decrease of parenteral nutrition and the decrease in SBS-related symptoms. Based on the findings below, it is necessary to continue the expansion of research into pediatric short-bowl syndrome.


April 2022


About Notre Dame College

Notre Dame College is a private, Catholic, liberal arts college in South Euclid, Ohio, committed to teaching students how to make a good living and live a good life. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. For more information, visit