2013-seniorsSenior research is the capstone experience for all science-related majors at McPherson College. Students typically begin the planning stages of a project during their junior year, capitalizing on classroom and textbook knowledge. As projects progress, students discover the challenges in conducting experiments, analyzing data, and presenting their findings.

The student research program was originally funded in 1981 with a grant from the National Science Foundation and continues to be supported primarily by alumni donations. One hundred percent of all science majors have completed a senior research project since 1983, distinguishing McPherson College’s program as one of the few and longest running undergraduate research requirements in the country.

In 1993, student research papers began being compiled annually in an in-house scientific journal entitled “Cantaurus” (a fictitious name derived from the Latin words “bull” and “dog”). As part of the curriculum, Cantaurus gives science majors the experience of writing for a scientific publication. Since its inception, more than 90 students have contributed to the journal.

Two types of awards are bestowed on McPherson College students who demonstrate excellence in senior research. The highest honor, the Burkholder Research Award, honors outstanding achievement. The Merit Research Award distinguishes significant achievement. Both awards are sponsored by the Natural Sciences of McPherson college and Midwest Oilseeds of Adel, Iowa.

For each award, the faculty of the Natural Sciences selects one or more candidates based on three criteria:

  1. selection and design of a senior research project;
  2. quality of the research, including technique, observations, and data analysis; and
  3. presentation of the research, comprising preparation of a scientific research paper and an oral presentation to students and faculty.

A certificate of Award is granted to each winner. Persons qualifying for the Burkholder Research Award have their name inscribed in a plaque and receive a year membership to the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a subscription to “Science.”

Cantaurus: Research Projects

The 36th Annual Science Research Forum: April 26, 2019 1 p.m.
Mingenback Theatre
2019 Research Forum Program

1:00-1:05pm   Dr. Jonathan Frye, Introduction and Welcome
1:05 – 1:20 Micaila Curtis: The Effectiveness of Cannabidiol as an Antibiotic against Gram-positive and Gram-negative Bacteria
1:20 – 1:35 Keisha England: Relationship between bacterial community structure and the performance of microbial fuel cells in Kansas soil samples
1:35 – 1:50 Jordon Henderson: The Effects of Varying Temperatures on the Viral Infection Rates of Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis
1:50 – 2:05 Nathen Jones: Investigating photosynthetic activity in response to increased atmospheric CO2 levels and increased leaf level temperatures in Ravenea rivularis
2:05 – 2:20 Sydney Lang: Exploring the effects of Pseudomonas aeruginosa on mating behaviors in the wolf spider Rabidosa punctulata
2:30 – 2:45 Samantha Nelson: The antibacterial activity of essential oils from Tagetes erecta and Thuja occidentalis
2:45 – 3:00 Cameron Oram: The effect of variable environments on aggressive behavior in Betta splendens
3:00 – 3:15 Devrie Sombers: DNA Fingerprinting
3:15 – 3:30 Kaitlynn Usdansky: Weight Lifting Affects the EMG Activity of the Flexors and Extensors of the Legs
3:30 – 3:45 Parkes Wolters: Measuring the Relationship Between Body Condition and Body Composition in Two Kansas Spider Species
3:45 – 4:00 Soren Yarnall: The affects of hydrocarbon contamination on the soil microbial consortia from Quivira National Wildlife Refuge

Dec. 2018
Alexis Lynn: Volatile compounds in wine before and after imbibition
Trenton Smith: How long after a carrion beetle feeds on a beef carcass can you recover identifiable beef specific DNA?


2018 Senior Research Forum Schedule
Friday, 20 April 2018, 1:00-3:00pm
Melhorn Science Hall, Rm 112

  • 1:00-1:05   Dr. Jonathan Frye, Introduction and Welcome
  • 1:05-1:20  Nora Grosbach, Mycoplasma pulmonus in Rattus norvegicus: isolation and microbial diversity
  • 1:20-1:35  Andrea Kadeba, The effects of stress-induced mutation using EMS on ethanol tolerance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • 1:35-1:50  Yann Kadeba, The effectiveness of oxytetracycline derivatives against bacteria
  • 2:05-2:20  Amy Makovec, Epigenetic effects of stress on survival in Caenorhabditis elegans
  • 2:20-2:35  Chantelle Theron, Colorimetric determination of acetaminophen degradation in blood samples stored at 24°C and 40°C
  • 2:35-2:50  Evan Willow, Efficacy of intravenous aspirin on blood clotting times after Vipera russelli venom injection
Volume 21 (.pdf)
Livestream video

  • Amanda Baxter
    Exploring Controlled Payload Release from Magnetoliposomes [ paper ]
  • Torey Fry
    Genetic and Environmental Variations in the Growth and Germination of Intermediate Wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium) [ paper ]
  • Dustin Hague
    Correlation Between Lower Limb Muscle Strength, Reflex Reaction Times of the Patellar Tendon and Lower Limb Dominance [ paper ]
  • Emily James
    The Effects of Genotypic and Environmental Differences on Germination and Seed Yield in Thinopyrum intermedium [ paper ]
  • Kasey Miller
    Isolation and Identification of Electricity Producing Bacteria from Lakeside Park in McPherson, Ks [ paper ]
  • Philip Moore
    Comparing a Untrained Panel Cheese Flavor Lexicon to a Trained Panel Cheese Lexicon [ paper ]
  • Taylor Roop
    Biophysical Characterization and the Effect of Biotinylation on the Physical Stability of GroEL [ paper ]
  • Jacob Snodgrass
    Effects of Altitude Acclimatization and Re-acclimatization on Cardio-Respiratory Fitness in McPherson College Football Players [ paper ]
Volume 20 (.pdf)
Senior Research Forum Program
Senior Research Forum (press release)

  • Daniel Barba
    Ethanol’s Influence on Habituation and Stress Response in Danio rerio [ paper ]
  • Kati Beam
    The Effect of Agrotain-Plus® on Strip-till Corn with Regards to N, P, K, Mg, Ca, S, Fe, Mn, B, Cu, and Zn Levels [ paper ]
  • Catherine Bettles
    EEG Analysis: The Effects of Music on Relaxation [ paper ]
  • Shelly Brandt
    Genetic Variability and Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in Humpback Whale DNA in Wilhelmina Bay, Antarctic Peninsula [ paper ]
  • Cody Compton
    Animal Behavior in Squirrel Monkeys in the Osa Peninsula: Eating, Sleeping and Travelling Patterns [ paper ]
  • John Davidson
    Measuring Reaction Times of McPherson College Football Players on the Basis of Sleep [ paper ]
  • Jorge Gomez
    Does Creatine Monohydrate Result into an Increase of Weight? [ paper ]
  • Ashley Huizar
    The Temperature Effects on Weight Gain and Wing Area of Drosophilia melanogaster [ paper ]
  • Audrey McTaggart
    A Rapid Assessment of Reptilian Diversity on Union Island, St Vincent and the Grenadines [ paper ]
  • Amber Novinger
    Comparison of Intake Levels and Sources of Dietary Calcium Among McPherson College Students [ paper ]
  • Anneliese Rotering
    The Sources and Intake of Vitamin B12 in McPherson College Students [ paper ]
  • Brelynn Schloo
    Variation of Seed Yield and Stem Number in Different Genotypes of Intermediate Wheatgrass [ paper ]
  • Savannah Sievers
    The Genetic Versus Environmental Effects on Seed Yield Traits in Intermediate Wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium) [ paper ]
  • Andrew Skinner
    The Effects of Increased CO2 Concentration on the Rate of Photosynthesis in Corn [ paper ]
  • Seth Williams
    Degredation of Celloboise via Bacillus stearothermophilus [ paper ]
Volume 19 (.pdf)
Senior Research Forum Program
Senior Research Forum (press release)

  • Amanda Aragon
    Abdominal Strength vs. Speed in Female College Athletes [ paper ]
  • Karissa Ferrell
    What is the Prevalence of MRSA in a Health Care Setting Compared to a Community Setting? [ paper ]
  • Austin Froese
    Isolation, Characterization, and Quantitation of Isoxanthopterin from Drosophila melangolaster Strains Wild Type and White Apricot [ paper ]
  • Kelley Green
    What is the Prevalence of MRSA in an Elementary School Setting Compared to a Hospital Setting? [ paper ]
  • Zachery Hlad
    Quantitative Survey of Zebra Mussels (Dreissna polymorpha) Within Wilson Lake and Kanopolis Lake [ paper ]
  • Dylan Jandreau
    A Comparison of the Prevalence of Tinea pedis in Morrison and Bittinger Shower Drains of McPherson College [ paper ]
  • Christover Lange
    What is the Distribution of Lung Capacity Amongst McPherson College Students? [ paper ]
  • Tecie Turner
    Comparison of Coping Self-Efficacy Levels Between Freshman and Seniors at Scott Community High School [ paper ]
  • Ashley Zodrow
    The Effectiveness of Multi-Purpose Solutions Against Clinically Isolated Micro-Organisms [ paper ]
Volume 18 (.pdf)
Senior Research Forum (press release)

  • Michelle Ducy
    The Effect of Low-Carbohydrate Intake and Exercise on the Rate of Weight Gain and Blood Glucose Fluctuation in Female Mice [ paper ]
  • Mallory M. Griggs
    The Comparison of Bacteria Populations under Artificial and Natural Nails, and the Effect of Hand Cleansing with Alcohol-Based Gels and Antibacterial Soap [ paper ]
  • Ashlee Jost
    What is the Prevalence of MRSA Carriers in the McPherson College Student Population? [ paper ]
  • Bryanna King
    McPherson College’s Comprehensive Carbon Footprint and a List of Ways to Reduce our Environmental Impact [ paper ]
  • Chelsie Kramer
    Evaluation of Decay and Microbial Growth in the Ictalarus punctatus (Channel Catfish) [ paper ]
  • Ashley McEndree
    What is the Effect of Weight Training on Leg Strength and Speed in College Athletes? [ paper ]
  • David Miller
    Testing the Methods of Dr. Willard Hershey in Historic Diamond Synthesis [ paper ]
  • Amanda Pangburn
    Sulfate in Wet Distiller’s Grain from the Kansas Ethanol, L.L.C., Plant [ paper ]
  • Stephanie Poland
    Population Growth and Its Effects on Water Demand in Arvada, Colorado [ paper ]
  • Nicolette Rodriguez
    The Effects of Unilateral and Bilateral Lifting Techniques on Unilateral and Bilateral Strength in Untrained Women [ paper ]
  • Nicole Sampson
    The Cation-Exchange Capacity of Crete Silt Loam Soil Compared to Charcoal [ paper ]
  • Cameron Snell
    The Effects of Temperature on the Rate of Conjugation in Escherichia coli [ paper ]
  • Colby Westbrook
    The Effects of Yoga on Muscular Endurance in McPherson College Athletes [ paper ]
  • Whitney Williams
    Effects of Altitude Acclimatization on Cardiorespiratory Fitness in McPherson College’s Women Soccer Players [ paper ]
2009 Senior Research Science Forum Program (.pdf)

  • Adam Horinek
    Antibiotic Resistance to Oxytetracycline HCL in Kansas Department of Wildlife Fish Hatchery of Pratt, KS [ paper ]
  • Nicole Laska
    Aerobic Methane Production from a Red Oak Tree Leaf [ paper ]
  • James Brandon M. Luter
    The Effects of Flood Irrigation on Groundwater E. coli/coliform Contamination [ paper ]
  • Sean B. McCrae
    Nutrient Composition of Livestock Feed and Its Impact on Farm Productivity [ paper ]
  • Jacob C. Simon
    The Effects of Temperature Increase and Presence of Light on Methane Production and Emission of Alocasia x amazonica [ paper ]
  • Erikka Viehman
    The Effect of Temperature on Aerobic Methane Production by the Fiddle Leaf Fig and the Norfolk Island Pine [ paper ]
  • Lezli Warkentin
    The Effects of Amikacin, Doxycycline, Erythromycin, Penicillin, and Sulfamethoxazole with Trimethoprim on Tylosin Resistant E. coli [ paper ]
Senior Research Forum (press release)

  • Adan Ghaffarian
    Aerobic Methane Production of Tropical Plants [ paper ]
  • Alan W. Grosbach
    The Effect of a Nutritional Supplement on Stillbirths in Swine [ paper ]
  • Joel Grosbach
    The Effect of Row Spacing on the Yield and Plant Growth of Popcorn (Zea mays) [ paper ]
  • Jessica L. Miller
    The Dispersion of Tamarix ramosissima on the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge [ paper ]
  • Andrew Paull
    The Effects of Atmospheric Contact on the Rate of Acetylene Breakdown in Azotobacter chroococcum [ paper ]
  • Landon Snell
    Isolation and Identification of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria from the Intestinal Flora of Feedlot Cattle and a Measure of Their Efficacy for Lateral Gene Transfer [ paper ]
  • W. Brett Whitenack
    The Use Of Electrolytic Reduction For The Removal Of Chlorides From Iron-Nickel Meteorites [ paper ]
  • April Woody
    The Effects of Yoga Conditioning for Athletes on Cardiorespiratory Endurance [ paper ]
2007 Senior Research Science Forum Program (.pdf)
Senior Research Forum to be held (press release)

  • Callie Crist
    The Interaction of Alcohol and Iron-Overload in the in-vivo Regulation of Iron Responsive Genes [ paper ]
  • Laura DeAnn Engquist
    Tracking Patient Habits: Gender Age, Financial State, and Health Education [ paper ]
  • Hannah Fisher
    Benzo(a)pyrene Induced Mutagenesis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae[ paper ]
  • Matthew W. Herber
    Development of a Novel Assay to Determine Nanoparticle Protection of Complexed dsDNA [ paper ]
  • Rhonda Hoffert
    Hershey Diamond Synthesis: an Attempt at Verifying Methods [ paper ]
  • Jamie Rodriguez
    Aerobic Methane Production by Banana Plant [ paper ]
  • Alicia R. Schoen
    Carbon Fiber Electrode as an Electron Acceptor for a Microbial Fuel Cell using Geobacter[ paper ]
  • Jamie Schropp
    Comparison of Effort for High-Velocity and Low-Velocity Bench Press [ paper ]
2006 Senior Research Science Forum Program (.pdf)
Senior Research Forum (press release)

    • Travis Allen
      Explaining Spatial Variation in Yields in Irrigated Corn [ paper ]
    • Timothy D. Cox
      Germination of Five Wheat Varieties over a Range of Salinities [ paper ]
    • Reuben May
      Observation and Characterization of Fullerenes in Soot Generated during Reproduction of Historical Diamond Synthesis [ paper ]
    • Ellie Miller
      Population Growth and Lag Time Assent in Lactose Induced Eschericia coli Stains [ paper ]
    • Lisa Sader
      Isolation and Identification of an Electricity Producing Microorganism from the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge [ paper ]
    • Eric Vrtiska
      Multi-Subject Assessment of Human Performance Using the DYFORMON [ paper ]
2005 Senior Research Science Forum Program (.pdf)
Senior Research Science Forum – followup (press release)

  • Joe Blas
    Expression and Purification of Tumor-Suppressor Protein Tip30 for Structural Studies by NMR Spectroscopy. [ paper ]
  • David Cockriel
    The Design and Synthesis of Pyrazine Ligands Suitable for Molecular Weaving with Octahedral Metal Ion [ paper ]
  • Dean Feasenhiser
    The Effects of Organic Selenium on Rumen Volatile Fatty Acid Production in Continuous Culture. [ paper ]
  • Jenny Harper
    Influence of Lactose Utilization and Population Dynamics of Eschericia coli var. mutabilis. [ paper ]
  • Dave Hoffman
    Human Performance Assessment Using the DYFORMON Exercise System. [ paper ]
  • Danielle Lucore
    The Mutagenesis of Benzo(a)pyrene on Yeast. [ paper ]
  • Tau Lyn (Johnston) Snell
    Synthesis and Characterization of a Cross-Bridged AMD 3100 analog. [ paper ]
  • John Andrew Berlanga
    Bacteria Isolated from an MTBE Mineral Medium Culture [ paper ]
  • Douglas J. Consaul
    The Effects of Kickoff and Compost on Yield and Economic Value of Double Crop Potatoes [ paper ]
  • Abida A. Hamud-Socoro
    Pseudomonas aeruginosa Resistance to Tetracycline and Triclosan [ paper ]
  • Lawrence E. Monte
    Identification of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Anthracene in Beach Sand Extracted from Matagorda Island [ paper ]
  • Melissa Osterloh
    Transfer of Antibiotic Resistant Genes between Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurum [ paper ]
  • Robert Ullom
    Linked Cross-Bridged Cyclams as Anti-HIV Agents [ paper ]
  • Cameron Coleman
    What are the Effects of No-till Farming on Soil Moisture and Soil Temperature Compared to Conventional Tillage in Rice County Kansas? [ paper ]
  • Adelina Cripe
    McPherson College’s Environmental Impact on Water Use, Energy Use, and Waste Generation/Disposal [ paper ], [ appendix ]
  • Wes Hoffert
    Synthesis and Characterization of a Chloro – Hydroxo Chromium 3+ Complex of Cross-Bridged Cyclam [ paper ]
  • Brett F. Jones
    How Sewage Foam Affects Grass Growth Compared To UAN Fertilizer Or No Fertilizer [ paper ]
  • Bryan Lucore
    Characterization of CD25+ T regulatory cells in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus [ paper ]
  • Trenton Parsell
    Synthesis and Characterization of 4, 11-dimethyl-1, 4, 8, 11, tetraazabicyclo hexadecane Chromium [ paper ]
  • Michelle L. Schulz
    The Effects Of Cover Crops In No-Till Systems On Microbial Activity [ paper ]
  • Michael Vrtiska
    The Effects of CRP on Earthworm Populations [ paper ]
  • Shawn Allen
    Characterization of Co (Am 2Bcyclam) PF6
  • Seth J. Good
    Operation and Methods Development for the Varian Saturn 2100D GC/MS [ paper ]
  • Adedamola Grillo
    The Synthesis and Characterization of Co(Am2Bcyclam)PF6 A model for new MRI Contrast Agents [ paper ]
  • Munira Abubakar Hamud-Socoro
    Is There a Difference in Hemoglobin Concentration Between Male and Female Horses? [ paper ]
  • Renata L. Lichty
    The Effect of Natural Selection on the Resistance of Escherichia coli to Triclosan [ paper ]
  • Caleb M. May
    Synthesis and characterization of Cu(1,1,3,6,6,8-Hexamethyl-decahydro-3a,5a,8a,10a-tetra-azapyrene)Cl2 [ paper ]
  • Elizabeth Stover
    In vitro cytotoxicity of the epothilone analog, BMS 247550, in pediatric malignancies [ paper ]
  • Amanda Behnke
    The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Binocular Convergence and Monocular Accommodation [ paper ]
  • Justin D. Fisher
    Evaluation of the Farm Credit Quick Loan Analysis as a Valid or Invalid Scorecard for Small Business Loans Between $100,000 and $250,000 [ paper ]
  • Sabrina Gallo
    The Effects of Wastewater Treatment Sludge on the Decomposition of Yard Waste [ paper ]
  • Ryan Hargitt
    The Nitrate Contamination of Private Well Water in Rural Northwest Kansas [ paper ]
  • Liberty J. Levinski
    Assessing the Scientific Evdence of Increasing Global Temperature: A Review of Literature [ paper ]
  • Jonas Lichty
    The Synthesis and Characterization of Co(AcBcyclam)PF6 23-26 [ paper ]
  • Jeremy Showalter
    The Effects of Nitrogen on Yield and Nutrient Composition of Alfalfa [ paper ]
  • Genelle Wine
    The Effects of Apis mellifica on Type I Hypersensitivity in Mice [ paper ]
  • Andrea K. Herrera
    The Effects of Slow and Fast Velocity Training on Vertical Jump Using the Dynamic Force Monitor [ paper ]
  • Nathan J. McLaughlin
    The Effects of Digoxin on the Recovery Rate of the Heart after Exercise in Mice [ paper ]
  • Jeffrey L. McPherson
    The Effect of Diethylstilbestrol on p53 Expression in Liver and Neural Tissue of the Female Hamster(Mesocricetus auratus) [ paper ]
  • Cheryl B. Norsworthy
    The Effects of Selenium on the Death Rate of Brine Shrimp [ paper ]
  • Paul Prose
    The Hamster’s Progesterone Receptor Levels According to the Menstrual Cycle [ paper ]
  • Eric Christian Reichert
    The Effect of Different Concentrations of Gingko biloba on the Memory of a Maze in Mice [ paper ]
  • A.J. Wilson
    The Selenium Levels in Non-irrigated and Irrigated Fields in North Central Kansas [ paper ]
  • Jennifer M. Amiot
    The Effect of Day Length on the Longevity of Drosophila melanogaster [ paper ]
  • Janet Bowen
    Develop a Quantitative Analytical Method for Low (. 1 ppm) Levels of Ammonium Sulfate [ paper ]
  • Justin W. Dennis
    The Effect of Echinacea purpurea on Stimulating IgM (Primary) and IgG (Secondary) Immune Responses in Male CD1 Mice [ paper ]
  • Matt Friesen
    A Comparative Analysis of Flue Gas Desulfurization Byproducts to Limestone in an Increase in the Soil pH [ paper ]
  • Damian Harris
    The Effects of Bacteria in Different Soils of Artificial Wetlands on Certain Contaminants [ paper ]
  • Sarah Hooton
    The Effect of Different Concentrations of Gingko biloba on the Memory of a Maze in Mice [ paper ]
  • Roy Johnson, Jr.
    Survey of Plasmid Transfer Containing Ampicillin Resistant Gene between Escherichia coli pGFPuv and Enterobacter aerogenes Intestinal Flora Varying Wastewater Treatment Plant Water Quality Standards [ paper ]
  • Cameron Koster
    Force Analysis of Individuals and Calibration of the Dynamic Force Monitor Prototype [ paper ]
  • Mandi McGoyne
    Effects of Exercise on the Respiration Rate of Mice [ paper ]
  • Willie Norman
    The Effects of Varying pH on Plasmid Transfer from Escherichia coli to Enterobacter aerogenes [ paper ]
  • Eric D. Putnam
    Groundwater Analysis of Triazine Herbicide Using Solid Phase Extraction and High Pressure Liquid Chromatography [ paper ]
  • Anna Katharina Schenk
    The Effects of Various Carbon Dioxide Concentrations on Lemna minor [ paper ]
  • Brooks R. Thode
    The Effects of Human Presence on the Texas Tortoise (Gopherus berlandieri) in Southern Texas and Northern Mexico [ paper ]
  • Levi Torrison
    The Effect of Microwave Radiation on Polypropylene Used in Food Containers [ paper ]
  • Jasmine Zitnik
    Bayesian Inversion of Simply Modeled Magnetic Anomaly Data [ paper ]
  • Joseph A. House
    Adaptation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Kansas oil fields for use in tertiary oil recovery [ paper ]
  • Brandon Johnson
    The development of the Function Generator and the Digital Multi-Meter to be used with LabVIEW© [ paper ]
  • Cameron W. Mahler
    Effects on nodulation and early growth of soybeans grown in sewage sludge-amended soil of McPherson [ paper ]
  • Terry S. Phillips
    Effect of microorganisms and nitrogen on the allelopathy of sorghum residues and the germination of wheat seeds [ paper ]
  • Rebecca L. Standafer
    The effects of elevated carbon dioxide concentrations on the stomata of Spartina patens and Scirpus olneyi [ paper ]
  • Ryan Wenzel
    Atrazine runoff from corn fields using high pressure liquid chromatography and solid phase extraction [ paper ]