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Posters at the Capitol 2019

Posters at the Capitol 2019

Seven students have been selected to represent the University of Tennessee, Knoxville at the 2019 Posters at the Capitol event, February 26, 2019 in Nashville, TN.

Amanda BryantStudent: Amanda Bryant
Faculty Mentor: Christine Shepardson and Erin Darby
Project Title: The Slave Woman and the Free: Hagar and Sarah as Exegetical Strategy in Galatians 4:21-5:1

Abstract: Over the past twenty years, scholarship on Paul’s letter to the Galatians has shifted to focus on Paul’s central theological question: how is it possible for gentiles to be incorporated into the Jesus movement without converting to Judaism? A separate body of scholarly literature explores Paul’s reinterpretation of Hebrew Scripture in his New Testament letters. When Galatians 4:21-5:1 is cited in scholarly literature, however, scholars rarely examine the exegetical strategies Paul employs in his attempt to apply Hebrew scripture to his particular theological problem. Nevertheless, the uniqueness of the allegory of Hagar and Sarah, in addition to a quotation from Isaiah 54, make Galatians 4:21-5:1 an interesting test case in Paul’s exegetical strategy.

To that end, this poster investigates Paul’s interpretation of Hebrew scripture using exegetical methods known from the wider Rabbinic world.  Specifically, the poster systematically examines the application of the figures of Hagar and Sarah and the quotation of Isaiah 54:1 in Galatians 4:21-5:1 in light of stated rules of exegesis from Rabbinic literature. In doing so, this poster demonstrates the unique role that the allegory of Hagar and Sarah plays in Paul’s mechanics of gentile incorporation into the Jesus movement.


Kyle FreemanStudent: Kyle Freeman
Faculty Mentor:Tessa Burch-Smith
Project Title: Role of Cell Wall Modifying Enzymes in Intercellular Trafficking in Plants

Abstract: The global population is currently 7.6 billion and is projected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050. To meet the ever increasing food demands of the public, farmers must constantly look for ways to increase resource efficiency to maximize crop yields. We therefore seek to better understand how plants regulate nutrient transport between cells and tissues via pores called plasmodesmata. Knowledge of how plasmodesmata form and how they function in controlling nutrient partitioning between tissues could facilitate engineering of plants capable of more optimal nutrient transport to fit human needs. Because these pores are essentially holes within the cell wall, we hypothesize that cell wall-modifying proteins are involved in the regulation nutrient transport via plasmodesmata. Here, we examine the xyloglucan endotransglucosylase/hydrolase (XTH) family of cell wall modifying enzymes to determine their function in cell-to-cell transport. Working in the woody tobacco Nicotiana benthamiana, we have silenced expression of the genes encoding a subset of these enzymes and examined the effects on intercellular transport. These results could identify new targets for engineering seeking to optimize resource utilization in crops.


Clayton HaleStudent: Clayton Hale
Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Buckley
Project Title: Planting Patterns and Species Mixtures for Enhancing Biodiversity During Reforestation

Abstract: During reforestation, heterogeneity in the composition and spatial distribution of planted trees will lead to a mosaic of microclimates, which should increase the diversity of resident flora and fauna. We investigated the hypothesis that spatial heterogeneity in several microclimate variables would be greater in mixed plantings of white oak (Quercus alba) and loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) at different spacings than monocultures of each species planted alone. To assess microclimate heterogeneity, we measured six microclimate variables: relative humidity, soil temperature, soil moisture, soil surface temperature, light, and canopy cover.  Each microclimate variable was measured in each of four treatments established in three blocks: white oak and loblolly pine planted together at two different spacings, loblolly pine planted alone, and white oak planted alone. There was a slight trend towards greater variability in several microclimate factors in the mixed species treatment with greater spacings, patterns in variability often changed across blocks and time periods. Volunteer shrubs and tree saplings likely obscured the effects of the planting treatments. As canopies begin to close, the variability in microclimates will likely increase. If so, land managers may be able to use mixed-species planting practices as a tool to increase microclimate heterogeneity and overall biodiversity.


Mackenzie HobbsStudent: Mackenzie Hobbs
Faculty Mentor: Lynn Sacco
Project Title: Sammye Up to Bat: Spectacle and Empowerment within the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League

Abstract: Beginning with entrance into World War II, the world of sport for Americans shifted drastically, specifically for women. Players within Major League Baseball [MLB] abandoned their jobs as professional athletes for the war efforts. Through fear of his entertainment industry collapsing, gum connoisseur and Cubs owner, Philip K. Wrigley created a national women’s baseball league dubbed The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League [AAGPBL], made famous through the 1992 film “A League of Their Own”. The AAGPBL,1943-1954, exhibited the experiences of women managing being both athlete and female. One particular player, Doris “Sammye” Sams, peaked my interest because she was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and traveled to Muskegon, Michigan to become one of the most acclaimed players of the AAGPBL. Doris acquired accolades such as Player of the Year in 1947, induction into the Knoxville Hall of Fame as well as the Tennessee Hall of Fame, and also donated personal belongings to the the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Throughout this thesis, I investigated the foundations and history of the league through the perspective of Doris Sams, as well as the notions of masculinity and femininity that are interconnected within America’s favorite pastime.


Grace MaloneStudent: Grace Malone
Faculty Mentors:Matt Harris
Project Title: The Effect of State Mental Health Care Spending on Imprisonment Rates

Abstract: The national trend of increasing incarceration has persisted since the 1970’s. Among the incarcerated population, the incidence rate of mental illness was 200-400% (24%) higher than mental illness in the general population. As far back as 1996, the Department of Justice estimated an annual cost of $14 billion to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in incarcerated individuals. Access to health care, specifically mental health care, has been well documented to lower incarceration rates. However, little to no research has been done to evaluate the impact of state mental health care expenditures on corresponding state incarceration rates. To address this gap, we perform an econometric analysis on imprisonment rate and per capita state mental health care expenditures in community and inpatient faculties. Preliminary findings indicate that increased state per capita inpatient mental health expenditures result in a significant decrease in incarceration rates. The potential savings from funding mental health care in place of incarceration costs for each individual warrants attention from mental health practitioners and legislators to promote the most cost-efficient and effective course of action going forward.


Aiden RutterStudent: Aiden Rutter
Faculty Mentor: Steven Young
Project Title:Adaptive Wireless Communications through Deep Learning

Abstract: Traditional physical layer protocols for communication, like those of IEEE 802.11 used for WiFi, are well established and optimal for most applications under most conditions. However, these protocols are static; they don’t adapt based on their environment. Traditional signal processing is replaced with a machine learning graph. This ‘language’ between devices is possible through advances in machine learning; algorithms that learn to complete tasks without explicit instructions. Neural networks are composed of basic units called neurons. Deep learning uses many layers of neurons. As more layers are added, the algorithm can recognize increasingly abstract features. We are comparing two approaches to this problem. The first is a convolutional network, and the second is a recurrent neural network (RNN). RNNs allow improved resilience channel interference. RNNs are naturally suited for processing sequential data. With the recurrent model, training difficulty scales linearly with larger sequences of bits. On the other hand, training times with the convolutional model increased exponentially. The considerable reduction in training time of the RNN-based model enables transmissions at a much higher baud rate and on resource constrained hardware.


Alexander TrippStudent: Alexander Tripp
Faculty Mentor:Richard Pacelle
Project Title: Modern Chinese Development of Latin America

Abstract: China, a rising global hegemon, has become increasingly interested in close economic and political relations with Latin America since the turn of the century. These relationships have been centered around two traits, foreign direct investment (FDI) and the export of raw materials. China has fully invested itself into the region in order to develop and maintain the production of certain goods necessary for upkeep of its massive population and industrializing economy. I test the significance of four prominent raw materials in Chinese trade with Latin America to determine their impact on Chinese FDI. Using this method, I gather and gauge the strength of Chinese relations with certain Latin American countries, explaining the specific features of China’s greatest partners in the region, as well as nations with lesser, though more unique, relationships, and finally some nations with no relations (or recognition) of the Chinese superpower whatsoever. My findings explicate the massive significance of Chinese investment into the region, hinting at what these relations could mean for the future of the region, and whether or not Chinese investment is as beneficial as it seems