Oral Presentations: UC 326
|Friday, April 28th|
Habitual Intravenous Drug Use and the Connection to Self-Medication
9:20 AM - 9:40 AM
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) about one-third of people living with mental illness in the US also experience substance abuse. It’s becoming apparent that dual diagnosis is common in our nation. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) insists that one doesn’t simply cause the other.
The purpose of this study is twofold. First, to examine the relationship between mental illness and intravenous drug use as self-medication among clients visiting the non-profit, Open AID Alliance (OAA), in Missoula, MT. Second, to explore the barriers to seeking mental health care among intravenous drug users who report mental health issues.
This descriptive study will use a quantitative approach to data collection. Quantitative data will be collected via a Qualtrics survey containing sex questions inquiring about drug use and mental health self-medication. Participant recruitment will take place at OAA where individuals visiting the syringe exchange program will be invited to volunteer for the study. Volunteers will be provided an electronic tablet upon which they can link to and complete the survey. Once submitted to the Qualtrics platform, the responses will be anonymous. Quantitative data will be analyzed descriptively and will include frequencies, means and cross-tabulation calculations. Charts and graphs will be used to display data.
The results from this study will provide staff at OAA an estimate of how many intravenous drug users accessing their services suffer from mental illness, diagnosed or undiagnosed. It will allow OAA to evaluate their clients’ barriers to mental health support. Further, it will allow them to address these barriers with their clients and assist them in accessing services. Hopefully, results from this study will encourage some of Missoula’s mental health support systems to enhance their outreach to the intravenous drug community.
Vulnerable Vietnam: Climate Change In The Mekong Delta
9:40 AM - 10:00 AM
My “Vulnerable Vietnam: Climate Change in the Mekong Delta” photography storytelling project is an effort to communicate the significance of climate change effects on the people and environment of the Mekong Delta in a creative and effective way. It will not only focus on the effects of climate change in the Delta, but also include current adaptation and mitigation strategies.
The visual presentation of this project is still in progress, but the research was conducted during my recent time in Vietnam as part of the “Wintersession in Vietnam” study abroad program. In Vietnam, I learned about current and projected effects of climate change on the Mekong Delta and various adaptation and mitigation strategies from field experiences and lessons at Can Tho University. The field experiences included visits to rice, aquaculture, and biogas farms, mangrove forests, and national parks and I took documentary photographs during all of these excursions.
By presenting at UMCUR and likely other locations in Missoula and Alaska, I will share the story of how climate change is affecting the Mekong Delta and the urgency needed for adaptation and mitigation. The story will also be featured on my personal website; therefore, it can be shared with a larger international audiences. Participation in the Vietnam study abroad program facilitated cross-cultural connections between my country, a large contributor to climate change, and a country contributing significantly less to the problem, but dealing with major effects. I hope to extend these connections to a larger audience, helping to inspire collective awareness and desire to sustain our planet and the livelihoods of all global citizens.
Integrating Cellular Percolation Fire Spread into an Existing Landscape Model
Michael D. Kinsey, University of Montana, Missoula
10:00 AM - 10:20 AM
The U.S. Forest Service uses the Simulating Patterns and Processes at Landscape Scales (SIMPPLLE) application to simulate landscape ecological processes and evaluate treatment options on National Forests in Montana, Northern Idaho, and the Dakotas. Wildfires are an influential process on the landscape; therefore, the model must accurately simulate ecological processes over long time periods. OpenSIMPPLLE, an open-source version of SIMPPLLE, contains an algorithm that spreads fire in all directions, regardless of wind and elevation, resulting in rectangular fires, which does not reflect realistic fire behavior. We integrated a more accurate cellular percolation spread algorithm developed by Keane et al. (2006) into the OpenSIMPPLLE application. The more accurate algorithm uses wind speed, wind direction, and terrain slope to compute fire spread in all directions to produce a more realistic fire shape. We extended existing file formats, updated the user interface, and implemented the new algorithm to be used alongside the existing logic. We leveraged software engineering techniques to implement new features while preserving existing functionality. Fires simulated with the new spread algorithm result in fire shapes that more closely mimic naturally-occurring wildfires. Integration of the fire spread algorithm developed by Keane et al. allows the Forest Service to make more informed management decisions for millions of acres of National Forests.
An Analysis of How Different Types of Capital Can Be Used to Mitigate the Impacts of Natural Disasters
Jared Halvorson, University of Montana
10:20 AM - 10:40 AM
According to the UN, natural disasters have killed 700 thousand people, injured 1.4 million people, and left 23 million people without homes since 2005. When natural disasters occur in developing nations, international organizations like the United Nations and the Red Cross have historically provided much needed aid. This type of aid occurs after the fact. Perhaps it would be better to take a more proactive approach to relief, providing tools to mitigate loss beforehand.If these outside parties invested in capital that would allow the stricken country to more adequately mitigate risk for severe weather events, would it be more cost effective than paying for cleanup afterward? More importantly, would doing so save more lives and make for a quicker economic recovery for these nations? I use panel data to test human capital and physical capital, ultimately determining what can be used to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters.
Protectors of Hegemonic Masculinity: An analysis of masculinity and gun legislation
10:40 AM - 11:00 AM
In the year of 2016, 15,050 people died at the hands of firearms. In the same year there were 385 mass shootings. With so much gun violence and tragedy crossing the news screens, many citizens have become increasingly concerned over the issue of gun violence in the country. Others either deny the problem exists, or claim that their gun ownership is not a part of the problem. In wake of this, gun regulation has become an evermore-contentious debate. This research argues that there exists an underlying reason for our country’s inability to pass stricter gun regulations: the threat it poses to hegemonic masculinity.
Drawing from current research, political opinion polls, and political rhetoric, this paper will demonstrate that the fundamental obstacle to pass gun control legislation has to do with upholding the culture of American masculinity. I present current evidence that establishes guns as symbols of masculinity, as well as research affirming the ownership of guns as a method of upholding such masculinity. Through analyzing current pro-gun rhetoric, as well as poll results on gun ownership and popular opinion, I show that behind the arguments in opposition to gun control, there are connections to maintaining traditional masculinity and masculine stereotypes. Furthermore, I will examine the political process to show how these attitudes influence the laws and policies that are passed (or shot down). The research concludes by calling for further research as well as education and political discussion on this topic. No matter a person’s stance on gun legislation, it’s important to understand the root forces at play.
Metathesis of /ɹ/ and /ǝ/ as a Language Variation in American English Speech
1:40 PM - 2:00 PM
Language variation exists in all facets of human languages, and can be influenced by a number of factors, including but not limited to age, geographical location, and social class. Often, these variations can be overshadowed by an idealized language standard that prescribes how people should speak rather than how they do speak. My research project focuses specifically on the factors that make /ɹ/ and /ǝ/ metathesis more or less prevalent in spoken American English. I first became aware of the existence of this particular metathesis through observation of my own speech and how words that I pronounced differed from the dictionary pronunciation (as defined by the phonetic pronunciations listed on dictionary.com). I discovered that I pronounced over 50 words beginning with the letters pro and pre with the initial /ɹ/ and /ǝ/ metathesized. To test the prevalence of this metathesis in American English, I created three data sets each containing five different words of the above criteria. I then placed the words into sentences to mimic a more natural form of speech, and listed the lone words below the sentences. I then had 21 anonymous participants read the sentences and then the lone words below them, and I recorded if the /ɹ/ and /ǝ/ metathesis was present in the participants’ speech. I discovered that gender had no influence on the rate of metathesis, and that age also had minimal influence. Overall, participants metathesized the the words consistently in in the test sentences, indicating that this metathesis is a feature commonly found in natural speech, and should not be perceived as a pronunciation error.
Iggy Azalea's Dialectal Disguise: A pursuit of power through speech and privilege
Caroline JH Allen, University of Montana
2:00 PM - 2:20 PM
White Australian hip-hop artist Iggy Azalea has been the subject of recent criticism forher use of African American English (AAE). Eberhardt and Freeman (2015) demonstratethat Iggy, a native speaker of Australian English who uses Australian English in all of herpublic speech, makes consistent and context-sensitive use of AAE throughout her entirediscography. In order to account for this unique behavior, Eberhardt and Freeman use thetheoretical notion of linguistic appropriation (Hill 2008) which describes the powerimbalance evident when outgroup members (e.g. Iggy) benefit from the use of certainvarieties of speech that ingroup members (e.g. speakers of AAE) are stigmatized forusing. Drawing on their research, this study explores Iggy’s linguistic patterns, examiningthem through the lens of Communication Accommodation Theory, or CAT (Giles et al.1991). CAT explains speech adaptations made by individuals in varying contexts,particularly with regard to power dynamics and prestige in social settings. CAT arguesthat in any given speech interaction, individuals make choices designed to maximize,minimize, or maintain social distance between conversation participants, or interlocutors.This is achieved by communication techniques referred to as convergence and divergence.Convergence occurs when a speaker alters their speech to be more similar to that of aninterlocutor. In divergence, a speaker uses a different speech variety or style than that ofan interlocutor. This project expands the study of Iggy’s language use by analyzing it inthe theoretical framework of CAT as it interacts with linguistic appropriation. The projectadditionally takes into account data collected from a short survey taken by 30 UMstudents about their impressions of Iggy and AAE. Through an examination of Iggy’s anguage use, I hope not only to enhance our understandings of CommunicationAccommodation Theory and linguistic appropriation, but by doing so, to contribute tonational conversations of racial justice.
Linguistic Imperialism and Volunteer English Teaching in Latin America: A Neo-colonial Practice?
2:20 PM - 2:40 PM
Colonial era tactics of oppression may seem obsolete, however the United States continues to exploit the same peripheral nations that it, and other world superpowers, have dominated for centuries. In Latin America, the influence of the American hegemony world penetrates every aspect of life. Unable to escape the grip of the capitalist system, Latin America has become culturally subservient to the United States, whose hegemony has, over time, led to the extinction and endangerment of hundreds of indigenous languages and cultures. Through years of exposure to American mass culture (i.e. television, music, media, and consumer products), and an unyielding economically dependent relationship, Latin American cultures have become increasingly assimilated with that of their colonizers. This neo-imperialistic practice is a commonly called “colonization of the mind” by indigenous rights organizers with whom I worked in Guatemala and it is my assertion that volunteer English teaching is major component of this psychological process. Latin Americans are motivated to learn the language in hopes of becoming part of the global economy, learn English to fulfill dreams of migrating north to make a better life (as seen on TV), to find a job within their own countries, or to simply communicate with tourists that visit their communities.
My research culminated in an analysis of the role of English in Latin America and a critique on American volunteer English programs. Last summer, I filmed a documentary in Guatemala and Costa Rica interviewing students, teachers, and parents, both local and foreign, about their views on learning or teaching English and whether they believed it to be a neo-imperialistic practice or a necessary part of an inevitable fate, i.e. globalization. Through personal testimonies and academic sources in the field of sociolinguistics, I have come closer to understanding the characteristics and effects of colonization on the mind and continue to contemplate whether awareness of this colonizer versus colonized dichotomy can help create a relationship that is complementary to the existing languages and cultures.
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Shifts in Gendered Rhetorical Style
Mackenzie Lombardi, University of Montana
4:00 PM - 4:20 PM
Hillary Rodham Clinton is arguably the most visible and controversial female political figure of our time. As First Lady, the Senator from New York, the Secretary of State, and a two-time Presidential candidate, the rhetorical space around Clinton is saturated with cultural assumptions of gender, power, and politics. In many ways Clinton is emblematic of the infamous “double bind” that all women who seek to challenge normative gendered roles must inevitably face. Much academic and cultural focus has been centered on the ways in which Hillary Rodham Clinton is a subject of gendered rhetoric. This project, instead, builds on the vein of scholarship that examines the ways in which Clinton herself has used gendered rhetoric across her career as a candidate for public office. By examining the public addresses that Clinton has given at the beginning and end of each of her four campaigns for office, I examine how she embraces and rejects a traditionally feminine rhetorical style over time. This analysis provides insight into the ways that Clinton has adapted her rhetoric across almost two decades as a political candidate and provides clues as to the cultural tone set by Clinton for other women seeking public office. Taken holistically, shifts in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s gendered rhetorical style are illustrative of both her personal struggle with the double bind, and the larger cultural understanding of women in politics.
The Role of Wilderness Orientation Programs: What purpose do they serve?
Reid M. Hensen, University of Montana
4:20 PM - 4:40 PM
Understanding the Freshman Wilderness Experience (FWE) at the University of Montana provides insight into the resilience of first-year college students. Prior research on the effects of outdoor orientation programs in student retention suggests positive outcomes from these experiences. The extant literature concerning orientation programs suggests that the successful adaptation of students, a sense of belonging, social adjustment, self-efficacy, goal orientation, and positively responding to rapidly changing circumstances are all key mediators of understanding student resilience. The present study looked specifically at resilience and self-efficacy. Students were asked to participate in a survey before and after FWE and again at the end of their first semester. A comparison group of students who only attended the standard fall orientation was also sampled at the beginning and end of the semester. Two main constructs were used in the survey; the CD-RISC Resilience Measure and a college self-efficacy measure (Gore et. al, 2005). No significant differences in resilience or self-efficacy were found over time or between the two orientation groups. This is not, however, insignificant data. Prior research demonstrates the beneficial effects of outdoor orientation programs on students, and the FWE program has high regards from many of its students. The program also boasts higher retention rates than the average at UM. The question then remains, if not resilience and self-efficacy, what mediators are at work in this program? A second wave of data collection through semi-structured interviews with students who participated in FWE three years prior provides some insight. These data suggest that a sense of place and strong connections to social groups are two crucial parts of the program that could be leading to a stronger ability to navigate stressors. These findings are important in continuing to understand how to promote successful adaptation and navigation of the first semester of freshman year.
Silk Adhesives for Biomedical Application
Alexander S. Riffey, University of Montana, Missoula
4:40 PM - 5:00 PM
Silk fibroin, extracted from the cocoon of the silk worm Bombyx Mori, is a versatile protein polymer that is relatively easy to process into a variety of biomaterials including solutions, foams, and films. Silk has been used for years in medical applications due to its high strength, low cost, and biocompatibility. When processed into an aqueous solution and concentrated, silk fibroin has exhibited adhesive properties making it a desirable platform for the production of tissue adhesives. Currently, tissue adhesives are used in the medical field for a variety of surgical applications, including to aid hemostasis during surgeries and, in some cases, as replacements for suture and staple methods. Surgical separation of large tissue areas often leads to complications such as seroma, a build-up of fluid in a tissue or organ, which require placement of surgical drains. Complications such as this can cause additional visits to specialists, increase the cost of procedures, and introduce further risk of adverse effects. Biocompatible, strong, and cost-effective tissue adhesives that could approximate separated tissue surfaces and accelerate healing would have a significant impact on current surgical procedures by reducing the risk of seroma-associated infections, eliminate the use of surgical drains, and speeding up healing time. Due to the adhesive properties of silk solutions, the biodegradability of silk in vivo, and the biocompatibility of silk fibroin, silk-based biomaterials are being investigated as large surface tissue adhesives for biomedical applications.