Summer 1998 - Vol. 3. No. 1

F.W. de Klerk
Undergraduate Research
Dr. Ruth Warner Towne

Around the Quad
Foundation News
Alumni News

Contact Us

Winter 1997
Summer 1997































"It's an


opportunity for

the whole

campus to

be involved,"

said David






"Not only


but faculty

can see

what's going

on in other



Expanding Horizons
Undergraduate Research at Truman State University

The 11th Annual Truman State University Undergraduate Research Symposium provided the University an opportunity to view scholarship from every facet of a liberal arts and sciences education.

Held on March 24 in the Student Union, this annual event afforded students involved in undergraduate research a chance to present the results of their faculty/student collaborative projects to the University. Each division on campus was represented this year as students presented their results through poster displays and oral presentations in front of a critical audience.

"It's an interdisciplinary opportunity for the whole campus to be involved," said David Lescynski, undergraduate research committee chair. "Not only students, but faculty can see what's going on in other disciplines."

Presentations included topics such as, "Ethics on the Information Super Highway" (Division of Business and Accountancy), "HyperStudio: Teaching Building Classroom Discipline With Multimedia Software" (Division of Education), and "Harmonic Foreshadowing and Motivic Unity in Schubert's Piano Sonata in A Major" (Division of Fine Arts).

When it first began in 1988, there were 30 student presentations. Since then, participation has increased greatly because of the University's focus on encouraging all undergraduates to participate in appropriate scholarly activity by the time they graduate. Participation increased from 152 presentations in 1997 to more than 200 this year, making the 11th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium the largest yet.

Truman's commitment to undergraduate research is emphasized in its Master Plan. All majors are encouraged to participate in scholarly activities, often with Truman faculty as mentors. As a result, intellectual discovery on all levels is stimulated by teacher-scholars of high caliber and by intensive study. Students are then encouraged to present the results of their research at the annual Symposium.

Research activities across the disciplines often result in scholarly papers, presentations, and other products of student/faculty collaboration such as literary productions, musical performances and compositions, and art work.

Involving students in meaningful research has become a hallmark of the University.

The Star-Wars of Today:
Using Technology in Speech-language Therapy

-Lisa Odorizzi,
senior communications disorders major
Division of Human Potential and Performance

Games using the Star Wars movie and current videodisk technology are commonplace at Truman's speech and hearing clinic on campus. Senior Lisa Odorizzi and two other students worked on this project during the fall and spring semesters under the direction of their acting mentor, Melissa Passe (while Dr. Paula Cochran was on sabbatical). This on-going project created for Truman speech and hearing clinicians facilitates the correct production of sounds in words and sentences utilizing a videodisk of Star Wars.

"I found this project fascinating. It forced me to adapt games to fit the needs of the client," Odorizzi said of the research. The group met once each week for almost two hours viewing the Star Wars tape, deciding which scenes to choose, and then creating bar coded cards. These cards are then used to view a particular segment of the movie which the child must explain. This assists children with either the pronunciation of certain sounds that are more difficult, such as "s," "r," "sh," "ch," "f," or "v;" or with the ability to use past tense verbs and/or descriptors. Many senior communications disorders students perform clinicals with actual clients. The Truman student has one or two clients that are either adults or children with special speech or hearing needs. Each client is seen for two 50-minute sessions per week.

Odorizzi has used the Star Wars videodisk technology with one of her clients this past semester. "He really loves Star Wars. Using the videodisk and bar coded cards helps to keep him interested without knowing that he's really even learning at the same time," said Odorizzi of her 5-year-old client.

Odorizzi will attend Eastern Illinois University in the fall to pursue a master's degree in speech pathology. She then hopes to work in a hospital setting.


A Preliminary Study of the
Effects of Colonization in Bolivia's Amazon

-- Brian C. Campbell,
senior Anthropology and English major
Division of Social Science

In the fall of 1996, Brian Campbell, went to Costa Rica to study at the National University of Costa Rica-Heredia for the sole purpose of becoming fluent in Spanish, his declared minor. During his stay, he lived with a family in the mountains and studied them for a sociology project. Intrigued by their lifestyle and customs, Campbell was determined to return to South America for further studies. "The experience of living with this poor family was the most important moment in my ultimate decision to declare anthropology my major," Campbell said.

As a dual major (Anthropology and English with International Studies and Spanish minors), Campbell returned to Truman for further studies. Campbell researched volunteer work and found a program at an ecological research station in the Bolivian Amazon. With the approval of the University and his mentor, Dr. Michael Davis, Campbell was granted independent study credit for his experience. He spent two months during the summer of 1997 working there and living with one of the many Amazonian colonies originally from the Andes. "I found Bolivia an intriguing country. The Amazon had predominantly been left alone other than the industrial capital of Santa Cruz. Outside of that, as you go further east toward Brazil, it's still an Amazon jungle," Campbell said.

He studied the interethnic stratification and kept notes while working in the fields for the ecological station. Upon his return, he did further research on the topic of social stratification built upon ethnicity. His presentation at the Undergraduate Research Symposium was the preliminary step in discussing his results. While there are numerous consequences of the colonization, Campbell focused on two: the environmental degradation caused by the unfamiliarity with the Amazon lowlands on the part of the highland colonists, and the interethnic social stratification which emerged due to the sudden combination of distinct peoples with radically different histories. "The 'civilized' nature of the new Spanish-Bolivian culture, originating in the Andes, in contrast with the violent tribal past of the Amazon creates the negative view of native Amazonian peoples," Campbell said. This in turn causes a divided society that is unable to function in cooperation. Therefore, each group continues to fall behind in terms of development since they do not choose to share their expertise with the other groups nor learn new skills from them.

In the future, Campbell hopes to return to the Amazon; "There exists a significant task in educating the current inhabitants of the Amazon about sustainable methods of agriculture to repair the environmental consequences along with the corresponding social restructuring."


A Developmental Study of Pollen and
Anther Morphology in the American Lotus

- Sarah Kreunen,
senior Biology major
Division of Science

Nelumbo lutea, commonly known as the American lotus, is a plant indigenous to North America that has historically been thought to be related to the Nymphaeales, or water lilies. However, recent studies have also linked it to the lower eudicots (a more advanced group of plants that includes the sycamore).

Dedicating over two years conducting a developmental study of pollen in the American lotus, Sarah Kreunen looks forward to a publication and an excellent future in graduate school because of her research experience at Truman.

Kreunen's love for biology was greatly enhanced when she took a microscopy course from her now mentor, biologist, Dr. Jeffrey Osborn. His enthusiasm inspired a similar passion within her. Since 1996, Kreunen has dedicated countless hours in the lab studying how the American lotus develops pollen. This involves studying the anther of the lotus. The anther is the portion of the stamen where pollen is produced. Each of the 50 lotus buds she collected in the summer of 1996 average 1.27 centimeters in length.

The anther is significantly smaller (between 2.5 millimeters and 38 millimeters in length - about the width of a blade of grass) and requires the use of a light microscope, a scanning electron microscope and a transmission electron microscope to conduct research on this minute specimen.

Painstaking hours were spent documenting pollen development in an effort to better understand the process and then, ultimately, coming to the conclusion that the American lotus, historically having been related to water lilies (believed to be primitive), instead demonstrates a relation to some lower eudicots. This conclusion is significant because this new knowledge can be used to gain a better understanding of the evolution of flowering plants. Charles Darwin referred to the origin of flowering plants as an "abominable mystery." Perhaps, through Kreunen's research, we can better understand the nature of flowering plants which are the most dominant type of plants on earth and most critical to humans for medicinal, agronomical and other purposes.

Kreunen's thirty-one-page thesis, a requirement for departmental honors, will be submitted for publication. Her final projects for this summer include fine-tuning her thesis, presenting at an international conference in London, and writing and developing protocol for the video imaging archiving system that will benefit future students enrolled in the microscopy course. Kreunen will then pursue graduate studies at Arizona State University.



Students Display Research at Capitol

Truman students participated in The Truman Experience: Undergraduate Scholarship, where they presented their research at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City. More than 50 students were at the Capitol April 8 to discuss their undergraduate research projects with Missouri legislators.

Senator Mike Lybyer listens to
Tracey Mertens as she presents her research at the capitol.

Senator Anita Yeckel with Carrie Auer,
senior economics major.