Thursday, September 24, 2020
Sept. 24, 2020

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WSU Vancouver students share wide-ranging research at event

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Anne Balsamo, a professor at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, uses a tracker device during a demonstration of the technology at Washington State University Vancouver.
Anne Balsamo, a professor at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, uses a tracker device during a demonstration of the technology at Washington State University Vancouver. Photo Gallery

Undergraduate students

Triana Collins, creative media and digital culture program, “A Children’s Market — Sex Slavery in Portland and Vancouver.”

Khon Truong, molecular biology, “Effects Of Tyrosinase-Related Protein 1b and Tyrosinase on Melanin Synthesis.”

Rebecca Bawal and Jocelyn Menefee, human development, “Core Health Messages: A Strategy to Improve the Health and Well-Being of Rural Low-Income Families.”

Graduate students

Jason Potwora and Wendi Benson and Dr. Armando Estrada, psychology, “Perceived Severity of Specific Types of Sexual Harassment: The Role of Gender Beliefs.”

Berk Gonenc, mechanical engineering, “Force Control With Hybrid Actuator for Virtual Needle Insertion.”

Undergraduate students

Triana Collins, creative media and digital culture program, "A Children's Market -- Sex Slavery in Portland and Vancouver."

Khon Truong, molecular biology, "Effects Of Tyrosinase-Related Protein 1b and Tyrosinase on Melanin Synthesis."

Rebecca Bawal and Jocelyn Menefee, human development, "Core Health Messages: A Strategy to Improve the Health and Well-Being of Rural Low-Income Families."

Graduate students

Jason Potwora and Wendi Benson and Dr. Armando Estrada, psychology, "Perceived Severity of Specific Types of Sexual Harassment: The Role of Gender Beliefs."

Berk Gonenc, mechanical engineering, "Force Control With Hybrid Actuator for Virtual Needle Insertion."

Rebecca Martin, science, "Dissolved Organic Nitrogen Export from Land to Surface Water: Hydrologic Controls and the N-Stream Fate."

Faculty

Dr. Stephen Kucer, teaching and learning, "Going Beyond the Author: What Retellings Tell Us About Comprehending Narrative and Expository Texts."

Rebecca Martin, science, “Dissolved Organic Nitrogen Export from Land to Surface Water: Hydrologic Controls and the N-Stream Fate.”

Faculty

Dr. Stephen Kucer, teaching and learning, “Going Beyond the Author: What Retellings Tell Us About Comprehending Narrative and Expository Texts.”

For more information on programs at WSUV

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching ranks Washington State University in its top tier for research institutions and in curricular engagements and community partnerships. That includes the Vancouver branch campus, which offers studies in topics as diverse as child sex slavery and sensor-based learning environments for local education groups.

On Thursday, 87 Washington State University Vancouver students and faculty showcased their array of research to the public. Stephen Kucer received the Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence for his work on reading mistakes and comprehension.

“This part of the world is having great economic problems,” said Dene Grigar, a faculty member with the Creative Media and Digital Culture program. “The only way we’re going to come out of it is new ideas. If we can get the community aware of what we are doing, it will be a marriage made in heaven.”

The showcase featured research from students on 16 subject areas. WSUV faculty also produced 14 separate presentations.

Slavery in America is not dead

Underage prostitution was a hot-button issue discussed. Students presented information on human trafficking in the United States, specifically along the Interstate 5 corridor between Oregon and British Columbia.

Triana Collins heard rumors that child prostitution was bad in Oregon. After conducting interviews and gathering information from such human trafficking and women’s organizations as Shared Hope International and Rahab’s Sisters, she said she discovered a combination of factors, including the state’s lax sex trade laws and location, with major highway and sea corridors. She said Washington has the same problems.

“The reason is the demand,” she said. “The pimps can make on average $400 per underage girl. Why wouldn’t they do it?”

She added that while there are main thoroughfares in Portland, most prostitution in Vancouver happens via the Internet through sites such as Craigslist, which services section in September.

Charvel Nelson also focused on the child sex trade, after hearing about a rest stop in Ridgefield identified as a pick-up and drop-off point for victims along I-5. She also gathered information from Shared Hope International.

“It brings awareness to people here that slavery isn’t over,” said Nelson, who presented a graphic on child slavery in the Pacific Northwest. “It blows your mind that this is happening in your own backyard.”

Streamlining community services

Rebecca Royce works for Clark County Community Services and studies business at WSUV.

“It’s important that we integrate all the projects that we offer,” she said. “If someone comes in, we can help them reach that end goal faster and more efficiently.”

Her research group conducted surveys and interviews and observed meetings with county employees, all anonymously. Royce identified two main areas of concern within community services: communication from upper management to staff and time management. She recommended e-bulletins to keep all employees informed, a strategic plan to help manage time spent on assignments and a weekly meeting among the department management. So far, the weekly meetings have already been adopted by community services.

Bull trout and the food chain

Bull trout, one of the few char species indigenous to the Pacific Northwest, are listed as threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Jon Anderson started researching them in 2004, around the time their populations peaked. He’s trying to make the connection between bull trout spawning and the availability of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

“I’m seeing that the fish are capable of spawning multiple times,” he said. “The frequency of spawning is determined by what they’re eating. Most food goes toward energy, and essential nutrients are critical to well-being.”

Anderson added that bull trout practice frequency-dependent feeding, which means that they eat suckers low in essential nutrients critical to spawning simply because they’re most available. He said that this same conclusion can possibly be applied to other animal species whose numbers are decreasing.

Historical adventures

As part of his Fort Vancouver Mobile project, Brady Berkenmeier maps the passage of historical figures in national sites for apps on smartphones and hopes to make exploring history more personal.

“We’ve got these spots throughout the (Fort Vancouver) site,” he said about the project. “It creates a more interactive learning environment. It’s the future of historic sites.”

At the project’s website, visitors can check out some of Berkenmeier’s videos detailing the wanderings of Paul Kane, an Irish-born Canadian painter who traveled to Fort Vancouver in 1846 and extensively throughout the Oregon Territory, depicting the lives of local Native American tribes.

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