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Recent documents in Wyoming Scholars Repository
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Locating ground water with electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) in the Eocene and Oligocene White River Formation, Converse County, Wyoming

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

The resistivity method of shallow geophysical analysis is an inexpensive and effective method of locating shallow reservoir rocks that may contain significant groundwater in terrestrial fluvial systems. The White River Formation studied contains 90-95% very conductive clay-rich mudstones and siltstones representing over-bank floodplain deposits along ancient river systems. The formation also contains highly resistive lenses of coarse grained quartzofeldspathic sandstones and minor conglomerates, representing ancient stream channels often compose less than 5% of the formation and hence are difficult to locate by random drilling methods. The team at Casper College used the Advance Geoscience, Inc. SuperSting R8 with a 56-passive electrode array equidistantly placed at five meter intervals. Geolocating was performed with Garmin GPS and ArcMap by ESRI. Changes in elevational grade along the transects were measured with a Brunton hand transit, Jacob’s staff and tape measure. The acquired data was processed using AGI SuperSting Administrator and AGI EarthImager software. The initial processing of data from 2016 was not accurate as to depth caused by non-unique solutions. Shallow extremely resistive sandstone bodies represent air filled pores and are dry reservoirs. Close proximity of multiple anomalies within the target area processed together as one anomaly. By reprocessing our data with previous and post drilling measurements, we were able to improve the geophysical imagery and location of the aquifer. This formation, covering hundreds of square miles of dry surface lands in Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota often contains unrecognized and undiscovered ground water resources.

Moms Go Wild: Facebook, Female Empowerment, and the Outdoors

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Aided by social media communities and contests, there has been a reemergence in the popularity of mothers engaging with their children in outdoor adventure activities such as hiking. While the effect of participation in outdoor activities on children is well documented, effects on mothers and their social groups is less explored. Through ethnographic fieldwork conducted using methods of participant-observation surveys, and interviews, this paper aims to understand how hiking groups and interaction with these groups on social media platforms such as Facebook shape the identity and self-perceived empowerment of mothers involved with the Little Laramie Hikers.

Synthesis and Properties of Transition Metal Carbides from Structured Carbon Precursors

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

As the world’s energy demands continue to increase the search for efficient and renewable means of generating power must grow to meet them. A significant portion of this research aims to develop improved electro catalysts, which could serve as a replacement for traditional precious metal catalysts in hydrogen fuel cells. One class of materials under investigation is transition metal carbides. These materials show high catalytic activity and are vastly less expensive than precious metal catalysts such as platinum and ruthenium. Regardless of which catalyst is being used good control over the composition and structure of the material is necessary to produce high activity. Carbide materials are typically synthesized by a high temperature solid-state reaction, making control over the morphology of the product very difficult. This investigation seeks to develop techniques to control the morphology of metal carbides by structural variation of the carbon precursor. Through a salt flux mediated high temperature synthetic route we have demonstrated that the variation of the morphology of starting materials does affect the morphology of the product. Moreover, we observe that at sufficiently low temperatures (<1000˚C) we can maintain the morphology of the starting material throughout the reaction. We have demonstrated this with a variety of structures including carbon buckypaper, graphene nano-platelets, and carbon microspheres.

Migration and Far Right Politics in Eastern Central Europe

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

This research seeks to deconstruct how the fear of migrants from Muslim majority countries into the Central European countries of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia bolstered far right political parties in the three respective countries. This paper looks at the how the themes of xenophobia, nationalism and Islamophobia have led to the increase of presence of far right and extreme right groups across Europe in response to the so called Refugee Crisis. Understanding that populist rhetoric influences policy and human behaviors, we seek to understand how this rhetoric informs attitudes and policy regarding migrants and refugees in these countries. Lastly, we propose policies changes that would decrease the rise of hate speech and rhetoric and increase the quality of life for refugees, migrants and minority populations in Central Europe.

Personality and Problem Solving in Zebra Finches

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) are often used in studies of social learning, personality, and communication. However, few studies have addressed the potential influence of an individual’s personality on their cognitive abilities, or how personality combinations can affect the success of pair-bonded mates. Our research aims to investigate these questions. We began by assessing personality in zebra finches. To evaluate an individual’s personality, we measured five different behavioral traits. These traits include: dominance, neophobia, aggressiveness, fearfulness, and obstinacy. Personality traits were tested individually and across multiple trials. Next, individuals were given a series of three problem-solving tasks with a food reward. This was used to measure an individual’s problem-solving ability. We then asked whether an individual’s personality predicted its performance on the problem-solving tasks. Future work will aim to address whether pairs of mates with similar personalities perform better than pairs of mates with dissimilar personalities on two coordinated skill-pooling maze tasks.

The Mustangs’ Coming of Age: A History of Western Wyoming’s Two-Year College

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Appalled that only 20 percent of the 1957 Rock Springs High School graduates planned to attend college, Wyoming Legislator Elmer Halseth wrote a passionate editorial to the residents of Sweetwater County. In the June 12th edition of the Rock Springs Daily Rocket, he argued that the lack of a local college prevented many Sweetwater County students from advancing in social or economic status. Halseth insisted that depriving the region’s youth of this opportunity was fundamentally unjust, and that it was not only the county residents' right, but their moral responsibility to create a place of higher education within the region. This 1957 article started an initiative to charter a regional college in Western Wyoming, and within two years Sweetwater County was home to Western Wyoming Junior College. By 1965, this school transitioned into Western Wyoming Community College and began providing educational opportunities not only to graduating seniors, but also concurrent or dual-credit high-school students and adult non-traditional students. It soon expanded its reach to a larger audience by building a new campus, and adding outreach centers throughout the southwest region of the state. During this growth, Western’s employees endeavored to emphasize change and adaptability, while still adhering to their mission of providing quality education at an affordable cost. After six decades, the school has changed its location, mascot, and name, yet still maintained its identity as the community’s institution of higher education and center of cultural enrichment.

Cokeville’s Real Miracle: Reconciling Traumatic Memory

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

As the explosion filled the classroom with smoke, third-grade student Jamie Buckley King curled up in a corner awaiting death. Suddenly, someone threw her out of the burning schoolhouse and an ambulance rushed her to a hospital. Her physical injuries consisted of a severe burn on her arm, yet her emotional injuries were much more extensive. Plagued with trust issues for nearly two decades, Jamie was unable to move past this traumatic event, until a friend pointed out that by not moving on, Jamie had died in that school in 1986. This honesty allowed Jamie to reconcile her avoidance of the traumatic memories, inspiring her to turn to religion and begin healing. One of several survivors of the Cokeville Elementary School Bombing, Jamie King, as the others, has coped with the emotional scars of this traumatic memory. According to the Lewiston Daily Sun, this experience emotionally scarred most of the children in the small, rural, Wyoming community. They never forgot the events of that fateful day, and the media’s constant interviews only made the situation ever present. As the news outlets celebrated that no lives were lost, survivors had to cope with living with constant fear and mistrust. Many of them managed to overcome this trauma by turning to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and coming together as a community. Through therapy, acceptance of the media’s intrusion, and church support, survivors of the Cokeville Elementary School bombing slowly managed to reconcile their traumatic memories.

Lignin to Adipic Acid

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Lignin is a heterogeneous mixture of aromatic polymers found in plant cell walls. Cellulosic ethanol plants, whose feedstocks are made up of plant materials such as corn stover, produce lignin as a coproduct along with ethanol. Currently, that lignin is burned as a low energy fuel, but since the production of ethanol from cellulosic feedstocks is expected to increase significantly in the next few years, alternative uses for lignin are being researched. The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) has demonstrated that lignin can be converted to adipic acid, a precursor to nylon-6,6, which has many uses. Using a genetically engineered strain of P. putida to funnel lignin to muconic acid and then hydrogenation to produce adipic acid, NREL’s production of adipic acid is more environmentally friendly than the current petrochemical method. The goal of this project was to analyze NREL’s lab scale procedure of making adipic acid and determine if it could be viably industrialized. This was accomplished by designing and building an industrial process model based on NREL’s methods and data and the current availability of lignin. Economic and sensitivities analyses were completed and safety and environmental concerns were researched and addressed. All of this was taken into consideration in order to determine if industrializing the production of adipic acid from lignin is feasible, and if the process could compete with the current petrochemical method.

Effect of High Salt Diets on Reproductive Organs of the Rat

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Infertility rates among women all over the world are on the rise. What factors might cause this? Many differences in peoples’ physiology are due to diet. With the promotion of westernized cuisine people are consuming more salt. The negative effects of a high salt diet are understood to be harmful, but could they be responsible for the increase in infertility? Recent research has determined a high salt diet can postpone puberty in a rat significantly. Taking a closer look at the how female rats’ sexual organs are affected by a high salt diet might help us determine what is going on in humans. By looking at specific features in the ovaries of rats that have been fed different percentage salt diets, we might be able to broaden our understanding of morphological changes caused by a high salt diet. Sprague-Dawly rats (Rattus) act as a great model of human physiology. Female rats’ completion of puberty is determined by vaginal opening. In recent research, the number of days that had passed before vaginal opening occurred was recorded in rats being fed different concentrations of salt in their food. The rats being fed higher concentrations of salt showed a delay in puberty. By taking a closer look at these rats’ ovaries, a difference could be detected. This discovery could yield a better understanding of the consequences of a high salt diet. It is important to find causes of infertility in women, and modeling using a rat is a great place to start.

Firm Mechanisms for Export Price Determination

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

The "shipping the good apples out" effect—free-on-board (FOB) average unit values (AUV) increase with geographical distance—is well established and has profound implications for understanding the composition of trade flows in vertically differentiated products. While the literature also finds within-products FOB AUV increases with the importing nation's GDP per capita and decreases with the importer's market size (GDP), the exact firm-level mechanisms of these adjustments are not precisely known. In this paper, transaction-level data for Chilean exports is used to show that the positive effect of distance on the firms’ FOB AUV of exports depends crucially on destination coverage of exports by the exporting firms. Firms that sell multiple products to multiple destinations do not adjust their prices in response to distance. The adjustment occurs primarily due to single product-destination firms that sell more expensive goods to more distant markets. However, all firms raise FOB AUV with the GDP per capita of the destination and decrease for market size. Similar destination catering effects emerge when categorizing firms by low- and high-quality, where the low-quality firms adjust FOB AUV for destination distance and the high-quality do not. These mechanisms suggest a close link exists between quality upgrading and the success of exporting firm's development.

Body Building Bumblebees: How Exercise Affects Bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) Flight Muscle

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Insect flight muscle is the most metabolically active tissue known, allowing for production of the large forces necessary for flight. Flight ability varies among insects and with insect age, which is partially due to differences in muscle. However, very little work has examined whether and how insect muscle may respond to exercise. One key response may be a change in the amount of flight muscle relative to body mass ("flight muscle ratio", FMR), analogous to bulkier muscle in bodybuilders. We examined differences in FMR among bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) sisters differing in body size and in "training". We trained the bees by periodically having them lift beaded strings during flight. This approach allows direct observation of how many weights are being lifted (their performance), and ultimately, provides a starting point for determining how exercise may affect insect flight muscle. Aside from changes in FMR, bees that regularly exercise may have elevated mitochondrial density and increased enzymatic activity.

Overcoming Childhood Trauma: Long-Term Effects of Early Maltreatment

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Child maltreatment is a worldwide problem, often overlooked by the general population. Each year in the United States of America, about 3.6 million referrals are made to Child Protective Services, reflecting 6.6 million individual cases of maltreatment. The short- and long-term effects of abuse and neglect have drastic consequences on individual children and society as a whole. In order to combat these outcomes, it is crucial for victims to demonstrate resiliency after the trauma has occurred. The goal of this project was to review relevant literature pertaining to the subject of child maltreatment and resilience. After examining several research studies and cases, six main long-term effects began to emerge. These include poor academic performance, psychological disruptions, physical health problems, substance abuse, violence, and decreased quality of life. Additionally, recent research has found many coping strategies designed to increase resilience, which are further discussed in this literature review. By bringing more attention to the long-term effects of childhood trauma and strategies for resilience, state and local governments may one day be able to implement policies which seek to improve the lives of child maltreatment victims.

The impacts of post-fire succession on native bee diversity within the Rocky Mountain Ecosystem

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Allowing natural fires to occur in Rocky Mountain forests may be an important factor in increasing native bee populations, as larger populations of native bees have been found in early successional stages of post-fire forests in other forest systems. Burned dead trees are preferred nesting sites for cavity-dwelling bees and the bare ground from fires is important to ground-dwelling bees. In this work, I examined how the two recent fire disturbances on Casper Mountain (2006 and 2012) impacted native bee diversity and abundance. Since fire opens up more area for flowering plants, I hypothesize that more native bees will be found in early post-fire succession than later post-fire succession or nearby non-burned (control) areas. I tested this hypothesis by collecting 4690 native bees within burned and non-burned areas of the mountain then counted and identified the collected specimens using morphological and molecular techniques. Overall, bees were more abundant and more diverse in burn areas than in the control areas. This is important information for fire management practices in regards to native bee conservation.

Reverse Genetic Screen in Toxoplasma gondii

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Toxoplasma gondii is a eukaryotic parasite that can infect a wide array of hosts multiple times and cannot be eradicated. Effects can lead to blindness, brain inflammation, and fatality in immunocompromised patients by developing toxoplasmosis. By understanding the nature of Toxoplasma gondii infection, future research could lead to treatments or complete removal from the host. The parasite invades a host cell by specialized organelles secreting proteins called rhoptries, micronemes, and dense granules that facilitate active invasion. Mechanisms of parasitic lifestyle such as replication, immune invasion, and nutrient acquisition within the host cell are not fully characterized. To understand genes involved with these aspects of fitness, a reverse genetic screen was employed. A double stranded break was introduced at targeted sites of the genome using CRISPR-CAS9, which causes mutations as the parasite attempts to repair the induced double stranded break. To select for these mutants, we hijack the repair mechanisms to insert a resistance cassette in place of our targeted gene, resulting in a null mutation. We asses contribution of fitness of the selected gene by monitoring growth, replication, motility, and invasion. After analysis of genes involved with parasite fitness, these gene candidates will lead to future research into the mechanisms they are involved with.

Lifestyle Health-Related Self-Concept in the Context of a Lifestyle Intervention

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Past research indicates self-efficacy and supervised exercise are effective interventions for prevention of chronic conditions. Despite well-known health improvements associated with moderate (MPA) and vigorous physical activity (VPA), less than 20% of US adults meet physical activity guidelines. Examination of psychosocial factors provide additional insights into lifestyle intervention participation and, subsequently, desired health outcomes. Health-related self-concept (HRSC) indicates positive (i.e., promote well-being) and negative (i.e., decrease adaptive health behavior) perceptions of health. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between Lifestyle-HRSC questionnaire and physical activity. The Lifestyle-HRSC scale (79-items) was implemented within a 12-week type 2 diabetes prevention intervention. Data were gathered from 71 participants. Linear regressions were calculated to predict physical activity based on Lifestyle-HRSC items. From pre-intervention results, problem solving items predicted increased MPA. (e.g., F(1, 68) = 4.23, p = 0.04, R2 = 0.06). Physical activity, problem solving, and self-monitoring items predicted increased VPA (e.g., F(1, 68) = 10.97, p = 0.001, R2 = 0.14). Post-intervention data are being analyzed. Physical activity effectively prevents chronic conditions, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Psychosocial factors could enhance our understanding of adherence to physical activity guidelines. Physical activity, diet, social support, and behavior change techniques have been proven to contribute to greater success in interventions. To ensure successful participation and adherence to physical activity, it is important for providers to understand these factors. Lifestyle-HRSC may provide an innovative screening to distinguish among participation in moderate and vigorous physical activity.

EOR Screening

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) is a very important process in the life of an oil field, it aids in extracting the largest quantity of oil possible. When it comes to enhanced oil recovery there are many techniques that are available to choose depending on the characteristics of the reservoir. These characteristics are then used to screen for an applicable EOR technique, at which point in time you factor in whether there is an economic benefit. The goal of this project is to assess 1400 fields/reservoirs provided by Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute (EORI) which will be viable candidates for EOR application in the state of Wyoming. This will be done using many characteristics such as permeability, porosity, viscosity and the type of formation. These characteristics will then be used as screening criteria to determine which EOR technique is the best fit for that field/reservoir. Our project will also involve using specialized EOR software obtained from a Norwegian company, International Research Institute of Stavanger (IRIS). This software known as SWORD will rank our prospects and allow us to pick the appropriate technique such as CO2 injection, chemical flooding, polymer and thermal recovery.

Microgravity Testing Platform – Controls Team

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

The NASA Microgravity Project consists of Mechanical Engineering Senior Design projects that aim to develop a new process for testing CubeSats in a microgravity environment below 10−3G. To accomplish this, five senior design teams are working on various aspects of a small drop package, released from a weather balloon, to test CubeSats by simulating microgravity conditions in freefall. The monocoque will fall from 100,000 feet during which the testing platform will experience about 20 seconds of quality microgravity. The goal of the Controls Team is to develop a proof of concept control system that corrects for any perturbations during the fall; this prolongs the period of acceptable microgravity. Implementing a reaction wheel system within the drop package achieves this goal. The system consists of a flywheel driven by a DC motor that applies a corrective torque to the monocoque. An inertial sensor determines the absolute orientation of the package using a 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer. An Arduino Uno running a Proportional Integral Derivative control loop outputs appropriate commands to the motor. This control system allows for responsive attitude control of the monocoque during freefall and maintains the microgravity environment throughout the CubeSat test.

Improved Nitrogen Containing Graphitic Material (NCGM) Membrane Fabrication for the Production of Effective Large-Area Membranes

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Recent advancements in synthetic chemistry have brought about the possibility of creating custom nanopore materials. Graphene systems are highly ordered 2-dimensional crystals with a distinct pore size in their structure. With the introduction of nitrogen into the graphene structure, the nanopores can now be lined with nitrogen atoms that are more chemically reactive with another species. These nitrogen containing graphitic materials (NCGM) are unlike normal graphene material in that, through chemical modifications, the pore size can be changed to fit a specific function. The goal of this project was to determine an appropriate method to fabricate large-area membranes from a synthesized NCGM. Multiple fabrication techniques were attempted on various membrane supports. The fabricated membranes were analyzed for in-plane proton conductivity using a Scribner Associates Inc. 850e fuel cell system and a BT-112 membrane conductivity cell, also from Scribner Associates Inc. The through-plane proton conductivity was later measured using a custom-built U-tube set-up. These measurements were done in liquid solution with quaternary ammonium cations of varying sizes. The membranes were further analyzed using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Research is ongoing on both NCGM synthesis and membrane fabrication/analysis techniques.

Rochelle Athletic Center Addition – Structural Analysis

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

For architectural engineering, the senior project was to follow the design process for structural engineers while designing a portion of the addition to the Rochelle Athletics Center. It was the responsibility of myself and two other students to provide our interpretation and solution to the structural challenges that the addition posed. My responsibilities on this project included collaborative work in positioning the columns and designing the beam and girder layout. Once a general design was determined, each member of our group was responsible for calculating loads and capacities of members. Throughout the entire project, we had a collaborative effort to design the building, seeing as three minds are better than one. However, I went beyond what was required for the project itself and used a structural analysis program to validate our pencil and paper solution we had come up with.

The Blue French Horn: Intertwining Origin Stories in How I Met Your Mother

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

This study investigates the intertwining origin stories in the television show, How I Met Your Mother. The TV show follows the main character, Ted Mosby, as he tells his future children about his search for their mother with the help of his best friends – a commonly asked relationship question. While minimal research regarding origin stories exists, this popularized show enables a wider audience and room for investigation. Therefore, this study bases its conceptualization from Sternberg (1986), who proposed love be portrayed in triangles encompassing intimacy, passion and decision/commitment. Through application of intersecting love stories in How I Met Your Mother, origin story research will be expanded to include fictional familial and romantic love. Ted, the narrator, tells the story of how he met the mother to his future children to reaffirm his love for the Mother, while subtly using it to position himself close to another main character, Robin. The narrative analysis demonstrates key components of non-fictional love in a fictional analysis and allows the audience to explore the antenarrative in which Ted re-lives his husband-wife origin story and explores how he ignited a flame for an old love.

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