2016 Undergraduate Research Award Submissions

EKU Libraries presented the third Library Research Award for Undergraduates at the 14th annual University Scholars Assembly held April 15, 2016. The Award, made possible by the Friends of EKU Libraries, recognizes students whose research makes expert and creative use of library services, resources, and collections to produce a scholarly or creative work.

David Aeh’s winning project, “Investigation of Hand Hygiene and Antibiotic Stewardship Program Effects on Hospital-Associated Clostridium Difficile Infections: A Retrospective Study” looked at Clostridium Difficile, the leading cause of healthcare-associated infections in the United States. Given that 1/6th of these patients die after one year, the importance of his work to the medical community is obvious. David looked at three different infection prevention strategies commonly employed at hospitals (hand hygiene, antibiotic stewardship, and preventing the transmission of C. difficile spores). According to his thesis mentor, Dr. Lindsay Calderon, “David found that real-time PCR [Polymerase Chain Reaction] should be used in hospitals to detect infection in patients, as it more accurate and provides faster results so a patient can be quickly screened and quarantined.” In this regard, his work represents a correction in the methodology hospitals should use to detect the potentially deadly Clostridium Difficile infection.

Rachel Gaines’ 2nd-place project is entitled “Capital Punishment at Home and Abroad: A Comparative Study on the Evolution of the Use of the Death Penalty in the United States and the United Kingdom.” In order to assess why the U.S. has retained the death penalty while the U.K. has eliminated it, Rachel analyzed the culture, the media, the differences between the two political systems, the execution of innocent persons, and the popularity of the death penalty with the public. In her nominating letter, Rachel’s mentor, Dr. Sucheta Mohanty, noted the importance of capital punishment to the legal field, and the difficulties associated with researching it. Dr. Mohanty concluded that Rachel’s work on this challenging topic is one of significance.

Madison (Maddy) Swiney’s 3rd-place project is entitled “The Effect of Personality on [Voter] Turnout of Felons.” It applied political and psychological theories to explain the voting behavior of felons. According to her faculty mentor, Dr. Karem Ozan Kalkan, Madison developed an effective research design that employed seminal and recent cutting-edge articles and books to form a research question, incorporate theoretical approaches, and derive key hypotheses. Dr. Kalkan noted that Madison’s idea was “original, potentially transformative, and innovative.”


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Bivalve Stories and Snail Tales: Reconstructing the Late Archaic Environment at the Tomoka Complex, Northeast Florida

Steven R. England, Eastern Kentucky University

Capital Punishment at Home and Abroad: A Comparative Study on the Evolution of the Use of the Death Penalty in the United States and the United Kingdom

Rachel Gaines, Eastern Kentucky University

Chronicling the Developments of The Double Reed

Jenna Sehmann, Eastern Kentucky University

Investigation of Hand Hygiene and Antibiotic Stewardship Program Effects on Hospital Associated Clostridium Difficile Infections: A Retrospective Study

David J. Aeh, Eastern Kentucky University

Pneumatics in Industry

Patric Bracco, Eastern Kentucky University

Political Science Research Paper

amber_wilcox3@mymail.eku.edu Wilcox

Raised Afraid: The Media's Influence in Heightened Fear of Terrorism

Paige Fetters, Eastern Kentucky University

Reconnecting With Our Roots: Farm-Life and Therapy

Spencer T. Hammond, Eastern Kentucky University

The Effect of Personality on Turnout of Felons

Maddy R. Swiney

The Relationship between Self-Construal and Parenting Practices

Michaela Herbig

Yes All Women: An Analysis of Gender and Culture in Mistaken Identity

Judsina Y. White, Eastern Kentucky University