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Hispanic youth population and culture in Texas – 1990

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Evangelina Fuentes Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences

This research pursues a process of census data investigation. By using demographic data, the population case can be made for a Hispanic youth market in 1990. This map will demonstrate Hispanic youth by county as well as bilingual households.


Heat Severity Influence on Median Household Income Across Fort Worth, TX

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Audrey Haffner Environmental Sciences Blake Harrison Environmental Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences Brendan Lavy Environmental Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 13, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

This research identifies the relationship between heat severity and median household income across Fort Worth, Texas. As global temperatures continue to rise the urban heat island (UHI) effect becomes more severe, especially in low-income communities due to disparity to past discriminatory housing policies. This study utilizes the ArcGIS Pro software to create a series of maps using census data to acquire the objectives of this study.

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GIS in Precision Agriculture

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Will Hayes Geological Sciences James Hufham Environmental Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences Jason Faubion Ranch Management
Location: Second Floor, Table 4, Position 3, 1:45-3:45

Today’s farmers must grasp a wide range of topics beyond just planting, including soil composition, weed management, nutrient requirements, weather patterns, pest control, disease prevention, equipment use, and climate considerations. Precision agriculture, a tool that allows for the visualization of data in an agricultural view to help ranchers better understand their land and how to best supply resources to their land, can be a tool to increase efficiency and production to the agricultural industry as a whole. Precision agriculture can help farmers “more precisely determine what inputs to put exactly where and with what quantities.”(GIS lounge para. 3). In this proposal we plan to demonstrate how precision agriculture with the use of Landsat satellites analyzes the greenness of vegetation using indices like the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Using these tools we can use drones to collect plant height and plant count, biomass estimates, the presence of diseases and weeds, plant health and field nutrients, as well as 3D elevation and volumetric data.

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Facies Characterization of the De Grey River's Delta Plain

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Henry Henk Geological Sciences Jacinto Garza Geological Sciences Matt Kelly Geological Sciences Mackenzie Moorhead Geological Sciences Tripp Smith Geological Sciences Andrew Winch Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): John Holbrook Geological Sciences Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences Simon Lang Geological Sciences Victorien Paumard Geological Sciences
Location: Second Floor, Table 6, Position 1, 11:30-1:30

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Fluvial Architecture and Longitudinal Variance within the Castlegate Sandstone, Book Cliffs, UT

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Brayton Keith Geological Sciences John Holbrook Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): John Holbrook Geological Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 11, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

The upper Campanian Castlegate Sandstone in the Book Cliffs of Utah is a highly amalgamated fluvial sandstone well known as a reservoir analog for oil and gas. It comprises the lower Castlegate, the formation capping Bluecastle Tongue, and the floodplain-rich middle Castlegate deposits. The Castlegate is among the most studied fluvial deposits in the world. Despite this, there has yet to be a fluvial architecture analysis completed for these deposits which consider the longitudinal variance within the Castlegate fluvial system. This project assesses the average channel depth and discharge for the lower Castlegate, allowing analysis of the relationship between channel depth and discharge and their effect on facies distribution, depositional style and fluvial architecture in the outcrops. The lower Castlegate Sandstone is a tributary fluvial system with paleocurrents oriented primarily W-NW to E-SE comprised of stacked braided fluvial sands updip, and large, higher flow straight-meandering trunk channels downdip. Distal outcrops show three distinct depositional styles with the first representing a period of highstand during which carbonaceous floodplain and small channels of 0.5-1 m in depth and maximum 4 m in width were deposited; the second represents a localized tectonic uplift with large channels of ~15 m in width and depth and lateral accretion sets scaled accordingly, and finally the capping units of small amalgamated sands composed of classic braided style channels which represent a period of lowstand.

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Insights into Sediment Transport in the DeGrey River Delta: Cyclonic Influences and Bedform Persistence

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Matthew Kelly Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences John Holbrook Geological Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 15, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

This study characterizes the sediment transport dynamics of the fluvial portion of the DeGrey River delta, a dryland tide/wave-dominated delta along the Pilbara coast of northwestern Australia. The primary focus lies in the discernment of discrete deposits resulting from annual flood events in this ephemeral river, primarily driven by cyclones and tropical depressions during the austral summer.

Methodology combines water discharge data, digital elevation models (DEM), and Sentinel-2 change detection to model flow depth and flooding extent during storm events, linking it to riverbed shear stress and the formation of discrete flood deposits. A time series of DEM datasets, consisting of a 1-m aerial survey (2021) and drone photogrammetry surveys (2022 and 2023) were used to generate differential DEMs to accurately detect yearly morphological changes within the river channel. Field surveys of selected sites indicating presence of flood deposits enabled characterization of grain size, water flow, and structural elements.

Cyclone floods in the region cause propagation of preexisting dunes, unit bars, and compound bars. These events predominantly shape lower-flow-regime structures within medium-grained sand. Unit bars exhibit down-climbing cross-stratified sets, with variations in thickness contingent on their location within the channel ranging from 0.4-1.6 meters. Lower-flow-regime bar and bedform morphology persists and propagates between flows, despite the occurrence of intense flash floods, often generating discharges in excess of 100,000 ML/day. This challenges conventional expectations of channel excavation and the preservation of upper-flow-regime bedforms in the wake of such extreme events.

(Presentation is private)


Proximity to Major Water Sources and its Effect on Population Density in Texas

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Wilson Kelsey Environmental Sciences Nicole Kiczek Environmental Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: First Floor, Table 6, Position 1, 11:30-1:30

Surface water plays a critical role in meeting Texas’s water demands, particularly for municipal use. In the State of Texas, there are 188 major water reservoirs, 15 major river basins, and 8 coastal basins. These water sources serve as the lifeline of Texas’ urban and agricultural populations. In our study, we will be examining how proximity to these sources affects development, particularly focusing on population density to determine the type of population (urban or agricultural). Our findings have the potential to provide insights that can inform city water departments near major water resources with high population density and aid with water demand and scarcity management.

(Presentation is private)


Trends in Energy Consumption and Production by Source with Population Growth

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Kenna Mollendor Environmental Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Third Floor, Table 2, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

This study investigates the intricate relationship between population growth and energy demand, aiming to identify trends and patterns that inform future energy planning. Through comprehensive analysis, utilizing data spanning geographical regions of the US and the period 2000-2021, the study assesses the impact of population growth on energy consumption. Data from the US Energy Information Administration will be utilized for electricity and energy data, while data from the US Census will be used for population data. The analysis will focus on examining how population changes affect energy demand, and conversely, how changes in energy demand influence the sources from which energy is produced. This analysis aims to provide insights into predicting future energy usage, production sources, and demand patterns as the population continues to grow. The findings underscore the pressing need for sustainable energy solutions as the population continues to increase, providing valuable insights for policymakers and stakeholders to navigate the complexities of energy planning and management.

(Presentation is private)


How molecules in soil composition can determine climate resilience

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Isabella Moreno Environmental Sciences Tabby Pyle Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Omar Harvey Geological Sciences
Location: Second Floor, Table 7, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

Global climate change, due to increases in greenhouse gas emissions, is a prevailing issue that is projected to continue with heightened impacts on extreme weather events, desertification, and human health. Our project draws connections between resilience to climate change and the molecular composition of organic molecules found in soil.

Through assessments of the carbon (C), hydrogen (H), and oxygen (O) content and composition of organic molecules in soils can be determined. Specifically, through assessments of C-number (Cn), H/C and O/C ratios of organic molecules, we can determine how well different soils and soil types can sequester carbon and ultimately support climate resiliency. Higher Cn in organic molecules indicate more carbon storage capacity while lower O/C and H/C ratios in organic molecules indicate more stable carbon that is resistant to release as CO2 to the atmosphere. Our research will compare Cn, O/C and H/C data of organic molecules in soils from across the United States to identify possible trends in carbon sequestration potential across regions of the conterminous US.

The data to be used is raw Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTICR-MS) data from the “One thousand soils for molecular understanding of belowground carbon cycling” project (Bowman et al.). We first plotted the soil samples on Van Krevelen diagrams, which visualize each molecule as a point with O.C and H.C ratios, and we made frequency distributions to understand the largest organic molecular formula for each sample. We then plotted the maximum organic formula from each soil onto a new Van Krevelen diagram, where we compared the different samples to see which ones had higher overall carbon content. We hope to find a connection between soil composition and U.S. regions from which we will then make predictions on potential for carbon sequestration and, ultimately, the ability of these regions to remain resilient and sequester carbon during climate change.

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Microscopic Studies of Ancient, Potentially Rift-Related Plutonic Igneous Rocks in Colorado

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Isabella Nino Geological Sciences Richard Hanson Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Richard Hanson Geological Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 2, Position 3, 11:30-1:30

The regional geological framework of the area I am studying involves a possible major northwest-trending Cambrian to Ordovician rift zone with abundant igneous rocks in parts of Colorado. These igneous rocks may be related to large volumes of Cambrian igneous rocks located along the same trend in southern Oklahoma. My project focuses on plutonic igneous intrusions located in the Wet Mountains in the southern part of the Front Range and in the Powderhorn District farther west. The goal of this project is to discover whether the rocks in Colorado formed during the same major magmatic event as those in Oklahoma. I will be studying thin sections of rock samples from Colorado utilizing a petrographic microscope. I will describe and identify the main igneous minerals from the samples, some of which are rare. I will also study the igneous textures and alteration products in the samples. Geochemical studies in progress will build on these results and will allow detailed comparison with the southern Oklahoma igneous rocks.

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Type: Graduate
Author(s): Payton OBrian Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Richard Denne Geological Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 12, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

The Eagle Ford Shale (EFS) is an unconventional Cretaceous play producing crude oil and gas extending from northeast Leon County to the Mexico-American border in Southwest Texas. This Cenomanian -Turonian formation records the drowning of the Texas carbonate shelf and transgression of the Western Interior Seaway (WIS) into North America. Regional depositional patterns were affected by a series of changes in tectonic activity and eustatic sea level. The formation recorded a distinct change in oceanography during the Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (OAE2) between the lower and upper EFS sections. The Boquillas Formation, age equivalent to the EFS, is found west of the producing region in Big Bend State and National Park. Outcrops of the EFS can be found along the Ouachita orogen and in the Big Bend region due to tilting during the Laramide orogeny and intrusive igneous activity. The largest known EFS equivalent outcrops have been found within the state park, however, no data had been collected in these locations. Evaluation of the geochemical properties and redox indicators of the depositional environment is essential to understanding the potential for hydrocarbons. The main method to acquire this data has been through the X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRF). For this study I have utilized two handheld analyzers, the XRF along with the Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) for outcrop and core samples. Using both methods produces a more complete element suite including light elements not offered by XRF alone. Additionally, comparing LIBS data to the widely used XRF analyzer allows me to determine the practical usage of LIBS in petroleum geology.

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Binding Dynamics of Mono- and Di-carboxylates in a Boehmite-Bayerite Series: A Flow-Adsorption Microcalorimetry Study

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Caitlin Payblas Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Omar Harvey Geological Sciences
Location: Third Floor, Table 6, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

It is well documented that the major sorbents in soils are organic matter, silicate clays, and metal-oxyhydroxides. In particular, interactions between organic matter and fine-grained minerals, such as aluminum oxides, have been cited as important stabilizers of the humic matter in soils, which has large implications for the storage of anthropogenic carbon and pollutants (i.e., hydrophobic organic acids) in the environment (Keil and Mayer 2014). Utilizing simple organic acids containing functional groups present in humic compounds enhances understanding of metal-hydroxide and organic acid interactions at the mineral-water interface. The energetics of these interactions largely depend on the sorbate, the physico-chemical characteristics of the sorbent, and solution conditions (e.g. pH).
Ongoing work in our lab, using flow-adsorption microcalorimetry (FAMC) to directly and systematically measure energy dynamics of sorption at the oxide-water interface indicated that structural water in the lattices of boehmite and boehmite-bayerite mixed-phased samples increased binding energetics of acetate, propionate and butyrate at pH 5. The presentation will cover energy dynamics data collected for these mono-carboxylates and their respective di-carboxylate counterparts (oxalate, malonate, and succinate) binding onto a series of synthesized boehmites and bayerites. Focus will be placed on resolving effects of carboxylate carbon chain length, the number and acidity of carboxylates, and aluminum oxide surface properties on binding dynamics.

(Presentation is private)


Microscopic Studies of Ancient Igneous Dikes in the Front Range of Colorado

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Caleb Perkey Geological Sciences Richard Hanson Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Richard Hanson Geological Sciences
Location: Second Floor, Table 9, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

A major Cambrian rift zone containing abundant igneous rocks is present in southern Oklahoma and trends northwest from the ancient continental margin. Previous geologists have mapped numerous igneous intrusions in Colorado that follow the same trend, ranging from Cambrian to Ordovician in age, and have speculated that these intrusions may be a part of the same rift. These intrusions include abundant igneous dikes of various compositions that originated from deeper magmatic bodies, filling fracture systems in older igneous rocks and Precambrian gneisses. This study involves the microscopic analysis of samples we collected from different dike types, including diabase, trachyte, and lamprophyre. Diabase is a common intrusive basaltic rock that develops coarser grains due to slower cooling and represents partial melt from the mantle that fills fractures in the upper crust. For our samples, trachyte refers to igneous dikes containing large crystals of K-feldspar within a distinctive red-colored, fine-grained matrix. Magmas of this composition are typically associated with intraplate rift zones. Lamprophyre is a rare intrusive igneous rock that has large crystals of biotite and amphibole in a finer matrix of feldspar and mafic minerals. While rare, this rock is also associated with intraplate rift zones. We also sampled one significantly younger basalt dike that intrudes Cenozoic volcanic rock to compare with the much older diabase dike samples.
Nine of our samples come from the Wet Mountains in the southern part of the Front Range in Colorado, and we also have an additional five samples of diabase dikes along the Front Range ~100 km to the north. Analysis of thin sections of these samples under the petrographic microscope will provide insight into their exact mineralogical compositions as well as their igneous textures. This work will provide a framework for geochemical analyses of the dikes, which is currently underway. The results will help determine whether the Colorado intrusions are directly related to the southern Oklahoma rift.

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Potential Switchgrass Implementation Locations on Saskatchewan Agricultural Farms for Biofuel Production

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Emma Solomon Environmental Sciences Daphne Varmah Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Second Floor, Table 8, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

Switchgrass generates cellulosic ethanol, classified as an alternative fuel by federal definition. For switchgrass and other vegetation to become biofuel we have to look specifically at the cellulose microfibril and extract the glucose. This extraction leads to the fuel being produced. Switchgrass can deposit organic matter deep within the soil profile as the roots expand into the subsoil for nutrients and water. Not only is switchgrass a good biofuel product, but the carbon sequestration that comes along with planting this grass is highly beneficial. Due to the roots reaching deep into the soil, switchgrass is low maintenance while adding nutrients.
In this project, we will be researching possible farms in Saskatchewan, Canada preferably in close proximity to ethanol biorefinery plants for maximum switchgrass plantation, in order to seek possible expansion of biofuel production in Saskatchewan. We will be looking at farms, proximity of farms to biorefineries, and soil make up.

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Potential Switchgrass Implementation Locations on Texas Center-Pivot Farms for Biofuel Production

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Daphne Varmah Geological Sciences Emma Solomon Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Essayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 8, Position 1, 1:45-3:45

Switchgrass generates cellulosic ethanol, classified as an alternative fuel by federal definition. For switchgrass and other vegetation to become biofuel we have to look specifically at the cellulose microfibril and extract the glucose. This extraction leads to the fuel being produced. Switchgrass can deposit organic matter deep within the soil profile as the roots expand into the subsoil for nutrients and water. Not only is switchgrass a good biofuel product, but the carbon sequestration that comes along with planting this grass is highly beneficial. Due to the roots reaching deep into the soil, switchgrass is low maintenance while adding nutrients. In this project, we will be researching possible farms in Saskatchewan, Canada preferably in close proximity to ethanol biorefinery plants for maximum switchgrass plantation, in order to seek possible expansion of biofuel production in Saskatchewan. We will be looking at farms, proximity of farms to biorefineries, and soil make up.

(Presentation is private)


Raccon Habitat Prefernce in Fort Worth Park

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Justyn Wallace Environmental Sciences Kaitlyn Webb Environmental Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 10, Position 1, 1:45-3:45

Urbanization is an ever-growing problem that has led to habitat loss, habitat degradation, the spread of diseases, and so much more. Wildlife are slowly being pushed out of their historic home ranges, increasing human-wildlife conflicts. As a result, there has been a push to restore lost habitat and mitigate habitat destruction. However, this can be made tricky when managers are unaware of what makes a habitat suitable. Thus, there is an immediate need to determine ways of identifying environments favored by many species and implement conservation plans. Conducting present/absence surveys on animals and placing the sightings on a map is one way of determining where a species can be found. The purpose of this research will be to study the effects of urbanization on raccoons within parks in the Fort Worth area. Parks are valuable habitats for organisms in an urban environment as these parks have resources not found in highly human-disturbed areas such as neighborhoods or shopping districts. We will be comparing the raccoon sightings from iNatrualist, a citizen science platform, to different parks in the surrounding area to determine habitat suitability. We used GIS data from iNatrualist to compare raccoon sightings to habitat type. Habitat was divided into four categories: concrete, open field, water, and field with trees. Pictures of the study site were used to train Mulrispec, a multispectral image data analysis system, to identify areas that meet the habitat types. The distribution data was overlaid on top of the new map. Raccoon sightings were compared to habitat types to determine habitat preference. By identifying suitable habitats, we hope to learn how raccoons and other urban organisms are adapting to rising urbanization.

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Comparing Social Vulnerability to COVID-19 and Hospital Access in Tarrant County

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Amanda Whitley Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: First Floor, Table 1, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

This project uses GIS to take a look at multiple layers of spatial data to identify possible relationships between COVID-19 and a variety of social and economic factors impacting social vulnerability in Tarrant County, Texas in the year 2020. The purpose of this research is to better understand trends of widespread public health events and factors that may contribute their severity. A variety of techniques are used to map COVID-19 rates for each city and to visualize differences in social vulnerability across the county. Furthermore, GIS is used to analyze social vulnerability and access to hospitals in order to identify areas underserved by medical care. From there, recommendations for new hospital locations are established.

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Using ArcGIS to Identify Potential Urban Farm Locations in Tarrant County

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Amanda Whitley Geological Sciences Sarah Foxx Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Third Floor, Table 4, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

For this project, we used GIS remote sensing technology to locate and identify potential locations for urban farming. The purpose of this project is to recognize and assist in the issue of food deserts in areas such as the DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) metroplex. A food desert refers to any area with limited or no access to affordable, nutritious food. This may include a lack of access to farmers’ markets, vegetable shops, or fresh produce. This project aims to recognize and assist in the issue of food deserts in urban areas with a particular focus on the East Fort Worth/Arlington area of Tarrant County. Several relevant datasets including high spatial resolution commercial remote sensing and other relevant spatial (such as property appraisal datasets, land temperature data) and non-spatial datasets. These will be combined in a GIS environment to identify empty plots of land that could be used for the purposes of urban agriculture while assessing their potential for food growth. Once these plots of land are identified, we will use ArcGIS to assess ecosystem services provided by these urban farms, such as the impact on climate and urban heat.

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Saltwater Intrusion Along the Texas Gulf Coast: Tracking Wetlands Distribution, Adaptation, and Migration

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Robert Wright Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Basement, Table 6, Position 1, 1:45-3:45

Saltwater Intrusion Along the Texas Gulf Coast: Tracking Wetlands Distribution, Adaptation, and Migration


Climate change trends in recent decades have led to sea level rise (SLR) due to increased polar ice melting. As the sea level rises, saltwater concentrations increase inland, compelling wetland species to adapt or migrate. This added stress on wetland species hampers their ability to offer ecosystem services (ES). This study will investigate the impact of saltwater intrusion (SWI) on coastal wetland species along the Texas Gulf Coast. Supervised and unsupervised classification will be the primary methods used to accurately assess the loss, gain, or migration of different groups of wetland species over two decades. Additionally, the potential effect of wetland distribution and species changes on the ES will be investigated by analyzing the spatial extent of storm surge flooding resulting from land-falling hurricanes two decades ago versus the present.

(Presentation is private)


The Science of Fungi-Coffee Interactions and Implications for Global Climate Change

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Christopher Zamora Chemistry & Biochemistry
Advisor(s): Omar Harvey Geological Sciences
Location: First Floor, Table 4, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

Americans consume 146 billion cups of coffee per year. This results in 1.4-1.6 trillion grams of Coffee waste (713-808 tons of carbon) in landfills. From a climate perspective, this amount of carbon has the potential to release up to 2,963 tons of the greenhouse gas CO2 into the atmosphere per year. That is an equivalent mass of 237 school buses worth of potential CO2 emissions per year! Since coffee is decomposed by fungi but not bacteria, the limit on how much CO2 is released from coffee waste is largely dictated by the fungi-coffee interaction. Fungi-coffee interactions with high energy input hinder the process of CO2 emissions and fungi-coffee interactions with low energy input therefore facilitate the process of CO2 emissions. By assessing the energy inputs of fungi-coffee interactions, we can then predict their implications to global climate change. My research will assess energy inputs for fungi-coffee interactions towards making such predictions.


Crafts & Conversations

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Rima Abram Interdisciplinary Genevieve Aiwonegbe Interdisciplinary Erica Kaminga Interdisciplinary Alyssa Schexnayder Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Misha Galaganov Interdisciplinary
Location: Third Floor, Table 3, Position 3, 11:30-1:30

Crafts & Conversations was established to foster community among TCU students and the residents of a local retirement facility, Trinity Terrace. During monthly meetings, students and residents share their stories while collaborating on season-themed craft activities, including murals, cross-stitching, snow globes, suncatchers, decoupage, and upcycled terrariums. TCU students who volunteer in these monthly meetings build meaningful friendships, combat stereotypes against the elderly, and improve communication and leadership skills. In addition, each event opens with a performance by TCU music students, enabling them to cultivate their craft and share their talent. Even throughout the pandemic, Crafts & Conversations nurtured memories and connections through Zoom and masked in-person meetings. With a commitment to sustainability, this project will continue to enrich the lives of residents at Trinity Terrace and Brookdale Westover Hills, providing dedicated student volunteers with opportunities to strengthen the Fort Worth community.

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Exploring Educational Approaches in the Assessment of Self-Reported Empathy Scores in Emergency Medicine Residents

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Naomi Alanis Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Hao Wang Interdisciplinary
Location: Second Floor, Table 7, Position 1, 1:45-3:45

Empathy, defined as "the process of understanding a person's subjective experience by vicariously sharing that experience while maintaining an observant stance" (Zinn, 1993, p. 306) is a skill that can be challenging for many learners in post-graduate medical education. Numerous prior studies have emphasized the importance of empathy among healthcare physicians. They have shown that physician empathy scores are not only inversely correlated with physician burnout but also directly correlated with patient satisfaction (Byrd et al., 2021). Furthermore, research indicates that there exists an inverse correlational relationship between post-graduate years and empathy levels (Wolfshohl et al., 2019).

Acknowledging the significance of empathy as a crucial skill, efforts have been made to impart it to medical professionals using diverse instructional approaches. Batt-Rawden et al. (2013) conducted a systematic review of methods employed in teaching medical students, while Patel et al. (2019) examined empathy and compassion education in medical training. However, the findings from both reviews failed to conclusively identify a single, effective instructional strategy for enhancing empathy scores among graduate medical education learners. Nonetheless, they highlighted the potential for enhancing clinicians' empathy scores through specific educational methods and pinpointed five clinical behaviors as particularly influential on individual empathy scores. Moreover, they suggested that activities should adopt a "relationship-centered" approach (Batt-Rawden et al., 2013, p. 1175). In a separate study, Hojat et al. (2013) outlined a rubric delineating the three roles of a physician and their associated performance elements.

In this prospective multi-center survey study, forty-five (45) EM residents from an ACGME-sponsored three-year Emergency Medicine (EM) residency program will complete three educational sessions using team-based learning instructional strategies on empathy. The sessions will occur monthly across three consecutive months from in the spring and summer of 2024, each lasting for one hour in length during resident didactics. Empathy scores will be obtained from all participants via the Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSE) in a pretest-posttest manner. The pre-test questionnaire will be administered before (pre-test) the educcational sessions and after the residents have completed all of the team-based learning instructional activities (post-test).

While there has been no prior application of team-based learning to enhance empathy scores, Borges et al. (2012) employed a team-based approach to instruct third-year medical students on emotional intelligence. Given that this approach also incorporates similar "relationship-centered" tasks, we posit that team-based learning could serve as a suitable instructional strategy for improving empathy scores.

1. Batt-Rawden, Samantha A. MBChB; Chisolm, Margaret S. MD; Anton, Blair; Flickinger, Tabor E. MD, MPH. Teaching Empathy to Medical Students: An Updated, Systematic Review. Academic Medicine 88(8):p 1171-1177, August 2013. | DOI:10.1097/ACM.0b013e318299f3e3
2. Boisse, A., Porath, C. “Practice Empathy as a Team.” Harvard Business Review, (February 2023):
3. Borges, N., Kirkham, K., Deardorff, A. & Moore, J. (2012) Development of emotional intelligence in a team-based learning internal medicine clerkship, Medical Teacher, 34:10, 802-806, DOI: 10.3109/0142159X.2012.687121
4. Byrd, J., Knowles, H., Moore, S., Acker, V., Bell, S., Alanis, N., Zhou, Y., d'Etienne, J. P., Kline, J. A., & Wang, H. (2021). Synergistic effects of emergency physician empathy and burnout on patient satisfaction: a prospective observational study. Emergency medicine journal: EMJ, 38(4), 290–296.
5. Hardee JT. An Overview of Empathy. Perm J. 2003 Fall;7(4):51–4. PMCID: PMC5571783.
6. Hojat, M., Mangione, S., Nasca, T. J., Cohen, M. J. M., Gonnella, J. S., Erdmann, J. B., Veloski, J., & Magee, M. (2001). The Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy: Development and Preliminary Psychometric Data. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 61(2), 349–365.
7. Patel, S., Pelletier-Bui, A., Smith, S., Roberts, M. B., Kilgannon, H., Trzeciak, S., & Roberts, B. W. (2019). Curricula for empathy and compassion training in medical education: A systematic review. PloS one, 14(8), e0221412.
8. Wolfshohl, J. A., Bradley, K., Bell, C., Bell, S., Hodges, C., Knowles, H., Chaudhari, B. R., Kirby, R., Kline, J. A., & Wang, H. (2019). Association Between Empathy and Burnout Among Emergency Medicine Physicians. Journal of clinical medicine research, 11(7), 532–538.
9. Zinn W. The empathic physician. Arch Intern Med. 1993 Feb 8;153(3):306-12. PMID: 8427535.
10. Hojat, M., Erdmann J.B. & Gonnellak, J. (2013). Personality assessments and outcomes in medical education on the practice of medicine. AMEE Guide No. 79, Medical Teacher, 35(7), 1267-1301

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TCU Molding Melanin Magic Mentorship Program

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Madison Brown Interdisciplinary Hailey Williams Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Dr. Matt Chumchal Biology
Location: Basement, Table 3, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

The Molding Melanin Magic Mentorship Program is an organization seeking to empower minority female high school students at the Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences (TABS) through in-depth mentorship regarding apply for college, professional school, and pursuing a career in STEM. With the guidance of TCU’s Pre-Health Institute, the program connects high school and college students with similar interests and provides an engaging curriculum of workshops and activities to bolster information received in the classroom setting. Alongside mentorship, the program’s research utilized group audio recordings which were analyzed to capture motivations and themes that emerged from the mentees and mentors during facilitations. The initiation and development of near-peer relationships were widespread and extended beyond facilitations emboldening participants to apply for college and pursue a career in STEM.

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Can litter removal in urban parks improve water accessibility for bats?

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Katherine Davis Biology
Advisor(s): Victoria Bennett Environmental Sciences
Location: Third Floor, Table 7, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

Despite bats providing essential ecosystem services, such as pollination, seed dissemination, and pest control, bat populations are facing a global decline due to habitat loss from human activities, including urbanization. We can, however, enhance urban areas to support bat communities by ensuring that suitable resources, such as water, are available and accessible. While availability is associated with the abundance of water sources in an area, accessibility dictates whether bats can physically get to and drink from the surface of a water source. One factor that can influence accessibility is the level of clutter. Clutter represents any physical obstruction present on the surface of the water or in the immediate surrounding area, including vegetation, exposed rock, and debris. Yet, not all forms of clutter are natural. The presence of litter can negatively hinder water accessibility. Thus, in urban areas where litter is more prevalent, a simple litter or trash clean-up scheme could potentially represent an effective restoration activity that community groups could undertake to increase water availability and accessibility for bats in their neighborhoods. To explore this concept, we assessed whether such a community-based clean-up scheme could effectively improve water resource accessibility for bats. For this, we cleared water sources in local parks and neighborhoods of trash monthly during the bat activity season, while conducting behavioral surveys using thermal cameras to determine whether bats drank from these sources. We then compared bat drinking activity recorded at ponds from 2021-2022 prior (i.e., no clean-up) with activity post-clean-up in 2023 to establish if more bats drank. From our results, we hope to inform not only local wildlife conservation programs but also efforts to improve community health.

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La Clinica de Mujeres at Mercy Clinic of Fort Worth

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Alia Hannon Biology Madisen DeVries Biology Maryann Hernandez Psychology
Advisor(s): Mikaela Stewart Biology
Location: Third Floor, Table 1, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

Mercy Clinic is located in Fort Worth and it serves underrepresented minority adults who live in the 76110 and 76104 zip codes near TCU. It provides free care such as wellness visits, routine checkups, and monthly Women's Health clinics. Through collaboration with the Mercy Clinic staff and medical students at the Burnett School of Medicine, a sustainable approach was taken for the Women's Health initiative. The Women's Health Initiative aims to maintain and further the clinic's Women's Health approach and assist in education. Certain community clinics in the Fort Worth area can face disparities with inadequate funding, limiting the access and quality of patient care. Through a grant provided by the Pre-Health Professions Institute, the Experimental Projects to Impact the Community (EPIC Grant), remedial actions were able to take place for Mercy Clinic, not only improving the quality of patient satisfaction and care but also the sustainability of the clinic by reducing waste. The aid has been able to give access to reusable items such as metal speculums, lighting tools for examinations, and a more efficient way to keep up with patient check-in and management by using laminated paper sheets. This project aimed to aid Mercy Clinic's performance and quality output for the community it looks after.

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