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2023 Award Winners

At GPSA Research Exposition

Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences

First place

Jonathan Puglisi

In vitro and in vivo characterization of pathogenic and saprophytic fitness costs in fungicide-resistant isolates of Penicillium expansum

Blue mold (BM), primarily caused by Penicillium expansum, is the most important postharvest disease of apple and pear worldwide and in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). BM is primarily managed through robust sanitation protocol and application of fungicides at harvest. Packinghouse surveys showed that P. expansum has begun to exhibit resistance to thiabendazole (TBZ), pyrimethanil (PYR), and fludioxonil (FDL), the three most used postharvest fungicides in the PNW. To better understand if the evolution of fungicide resistance alters the ability of resistant populations to cause epidemics of BM, P. expansum isolates sensitive or resistant to TBZ, PYR, and FDL were evaluated using several fitness parameters. Spore germination, mycelial growth, sensitivity to reactive oxygen species, osmotic stress, and resistance stability were assessed in vitro, while virulence, sporulation, and resistance stability were assessed in vivo. In preliminary in vitro trials at 1°C, resistant isolates exhibited reduced conidial germination on nutrient restricted media and susceptibility to osmotic stress. Resistant isolates showed virulence levels similar to those of sensitive isolates on detached fruit after 3 months at 1.5°C. Our preliminary findings indicate that while some fungicide-resistant phenotypes of P. expansum may incur fitness costs, their ability to cause BM in cold storage may not be affected. The goal of this research is to help fruit packers effectively assess and mitigate the risk of fungicide resistant disease populations.

Second place

Morgan Southern
Effects of Environmental Heat Stress on Potato Physiological Aging

Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) are a temperate, heat-sensitive crop that are particularly threatened by increased stress from abiotic factors such as heat. Both global and regional heat events are predicted to increase in intensity and frequency, causing significant decreases in potato production worldwide by the end of the century. The future of potato production is dependent on understanding the implications of heat stress on potato physiology and the potato industry’s ability to adapt grower practices to the changing environment. Heat has been demonstrated to play a critical role in physiological aging (PAGE) of potato tubers with alterations in PAGE resulting in measurable phenotypic responses such as stem count, size, and yield that directly impact the quality of the crop and subsequent grower returns. Each season’s expected spring warming patterns provide a window of opportunity for improved practices and crop performance across cultivars of varying maturity indices. Altered planting times have the potential for practical responses to heat stress by understanding its modification of heat unit accumulation rate and intensity, oxidative stress, respiration rate, and the tuber size and yield distribution. Findings from two years of study have shown evidence that delayed planting times contribute to the PAGE of tubers through increased basal respiration rates and changes in stem counts. Ongoing investigations into the molecular mechanisms behind these phenotypic changes include analysis of IAA oxidase which may explain a loss of apical dominance associated with increased stem counts, reactive oxygen species which may explain increases in respiration rates, and genome analyses of dormancy-related genes. Similar changes have been demonstrated to impact the subsequent year’s crop performance by altering the expected phenotype and associated grower returns. Continued understanding of heat stress as it relates to PAGE and planting timing may provide growers with an opportunity to maximize returns and minimize waste while potentially increasing food security both domestically and internationally.

Third place

Gabriely Maria Soncin Alfaro

Quick-cooking laminated white salted noodle development

This study developed a novel quick-cooking, fresh white salted noodle (Udon noodles) by combining the pasting characteristics offered by full waxy wheat and the texture provided by wheat with a normal starch profile in a three-layer laminated noodle. The different amylose/amylopectin ratios in varieties of wheat starch influence the pasting properties of flours milled from those varieties as well as the resulting food applications. Pasting properties are important in establishing optimal reduced cooking times. Developing a faster cooking process represents a benefit to the noodle industry, restaurants, and also home preparations, saving time and energy, and lowering production costs. Using waxy wheat flour to reduce the amylose content in white salted noodles increases the cohesiveness of the noodle; however, noodles created entirely from flour that is milled from full waxy wheat results in undesirably high softness in the resulting noodle.

Third place

Giulia Berzoini Costa Leite
Impact of improving the heat detection method on farm dietary costs, production, and profitability in Washington and Florida dairy operations

The herd’s reproductive performance vastly impacts the dairy’s efficiency. Throughout the years, authors gathered data about the chosen heat detection method and economic/productive indexes of dairy farms, but they never linked those results with their consequences on diet costs. We aimed to evaluate the effects of the heat detection method on the productivity and feed expenses of Florida (FL) and Washington (WA) dairy operations. A discrete Markov Chain model was used, assessing the probabilistic performance of dairy cows and heifers over 10 years, aiming to reach a steady-state herd. We used the non-linear solver tool of Excel subjected to constraints of a minimum of 900 and a maximum of 1000 cows, and a voluntary culling rate from 0 to 40% of 3 or more lactation cows. The computed data of the last year was used to compare WA and FL scenarios, highlighting the breeding detection used by the farm: visual observation (VO), rump/tail markers (RM), or electronic detectors (ED, collars, or pedometers). Prices were obtained from the USDA website (12/2022). The milk yield/cow increased by 0.8% and 2.3% (RM or ED, respectively) compared to VO in FL. In WA, this increase was 1.6 and 4.7%, respectively. The calving interval decreased from 13.1 mo using VO to 12.8 and 12.5 using RM and ED in FL. The same trend is observed for WA, decreasing from 12.7 to 12.4 (VO vs. RM) and down to 12.4 with ED. When analyzing feeding expenses with forage, we observed that the more modern the heat identification method, the fewer expenses with forages, regardless of the region. However, this relationship is inverse when we analyze expenses with concentrates. Overall, farms increased feeding costs by 2.4% when changing from VO to RM; however, profit increased by 1.2%. When switching from VO to ED, feeding costs increased by 5.8 and 22% for WA and FL, respectively, but profit improved by 8 and 38.7%, respectively. We concluded that the more specialized the heat detection system, the higher the dietary costs. Still, these costs are followed by increased milk production, improved reproduction, and higher profit.

Physical & Social Sciences

First place

William McLeod
The application of permanent magnets for controlling surface modifications of supercapacitor electrodes

Supercapacitors are energy storage devices useful for their rapid charging and discharging but limited by poor energy density. To increase their total energy storage, electrode conductivity and surface area are often increased. This is achieved with surface modifications such as electrochemical activation, electroactive polymer deposition, or nanoparticle deposition. It has been shown that the application of a constant magnetic field can influence electrode surface process such as these.

First place

Carolyn Pagan
Error monitoring in mild cognitive impairment: Cognitive correlates and relationship to an everyday task

Accurate error monitoring is important for successful completion of everyday tasks and use of compensatory strategies. This work examined error monitoring in individuals with amnestic MCI (aMCI) as compared to healthy older adults (HOA) using a computerized task. This work also examined cognitive domains associated with error monitoring and the contribution of error monitoring to objective and self-reported measurement of everyday functioning.

Second place

Mac Murphy
Examining the triarchic model of grit as a protective factor against narcissism and psychopathy in at-risk adolescents

Grit is an individual attribute that combines passion, or consistency of interest, and perseverance for long-term goals (Duckworth et al., 2007). It was developed as a non-cognitive explanation for differences in long-term effort and success aside from talent. A meta-analysis has questioned the impact of grit on success and whether the consistency of interest factor has criterion validity (Credé et al., 2017). Adding an adaptability construct might be more inclusive of collectivist cultures because it allows for sensitivity to situational demands and a context-sensitive self. Datu et al. (2017) developed and refined the Triarchic Model of Grit Scale (TMGS) using factor analysis to confirm inclusion of the consistency of interest factor and experimentally support the conceptual inclusion of adaptability. Grit has shown protective effects against a variety of negative outcomes. Psychopathy and narcissism were included in this study because they have been linked with adolescent externalizing behavior (e.g., Barry et al., 2007; Farina et al., 2018).

Arts & Education Sciences

First place

Haixia He
Non-native English-speaking undergraduate student task engagement in a blended writing class

The purpose of this case study is to explore how students studying in their second language engage in a blended writing class that employs both synchronous and asynchronous learning strategies and the teacher designs tasks based on an innovative task engagement (TE) framework (Egbert et al., 2022). Accordingly, the major questions of the present study are: 1) How do students perceive their task engagement in a blended writing class?; 2) What facilitates them to engage? The participants were an American instructor and 30 non-native English-speaking undergraduate students in two English writing classes. Data sources include a description of ten writing tasks, ten surveys of online task engagement, and one instructor and 60 student interviews. The descriptive data (open-ended questions and interviews) were coded according to the theoretical framework, and the close-ended questions were analyzed with descriptive statistics. The results indicate that the students strongly perceived the existence of authenticity, learning support, and autonomy in all tasks, moderately perceived the existence of interest and challenge, and somewhat perceived that social interaction existed during these tasks. Authenticity was the most important TE facilitator, which students perceived affected their feeling of engagement. In other words, students were more engaged when the tasks they were doing were meaningful to them and were applicable to their futures. Students also felt engaged when they received more support, had enough time to complete the task, and had more control of their learning. This study has implications for effective teaching across disciplines and future research in task engagement.

Second place

Oluwasola Oni
Effect of Concept Map Formats and Motivational Variables on Chemistry Map Quality

Research has found concept maps to be an effective strategy for meaningful learning in chemistry. Much of the research on the concept map focus on student transfer, and retention outcome. However, little is known about the effects of various concept map formats on map quality. The present experimental study investigates the effects of three concept mapping activities: map translation, fill-in-blanks, and map correction on map quality scores. Students (N = 204) enrolled in an introductory chemistry course were randomly assigned to concept map format and choice no-choice groups. Results found significant differences in concept map formats with map translation and fill-in-blanks outperforming map correction on map quality score. However, we found no significant difference in choice conditions on the map quality score.

Third place

Kevin Melendez
French and American Flute Methods: Case Study Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the differences in pedagogical approach between French flutist Michel Debost and American flutist Thomas Nyfenger, specifically regarding flute fundamentals. These flutists were chosen as representatives of the French and American flute schools respectively. As these informal flute schools are the most prominent in Western flute music, comparing approaches to fundamentals between two flutists’ methods with each is beneficial to flute players and instructors alike. Two high-school-age students from eastern Washington received instruction in these methods by a graduate student studying flute performance at Washington State University. Over the course of six weeks, each student was led through a series of lessons with methods from their respective pedagogue and were then asked to apply what they had learned to a solo performance. Throughout these lessons, students were assessed on the effect instruction had on their posture, embouchure, tone production, vibrato, and articulation. The instruction itself was also assessed to find differences in how the pedagogues taught fundamentals. Through this study, a variety of differences were found in how each pedagogue approached teaching fundamentals, how these procedures affected instruction, and how receptive students were to instruction. The study also provided insight into how different methods can be used within the context of a private lesson. This information could prove beneficial to flute instructors who are not familiar with these different schools of thought, and flutists in general who are hoping to diversify their understanding of fundamentals.

Business, Communication, & Political Sciences

First place

Ramin Sepehrirad
Diversion Risk in Prescription Opioid Supply Chain

Product diversion involves the distribution of products into markets other than those originally intended, adversely affecting society, especially in the case of hazardous products. While recent research shows oversupply in the prescription opioid market, the underlying mechanisms are still veiled. We focus on how supply chain structural attributes relate to the diversion risk. We draw on expectancy theory to develop and test hypotheses.

Second place

Jiyoon (Jennifer) Han
A Serial Mediation Model of Consumers’ Environmental Knowledge on Intention to Use: The Central Role of Environmental Contributions of Sidewalk Autonomous Delivery Robots for Online Food Delivery

This study discusses sidewalk autonomous delivery robots (SADRs), powered by zero-carbon electricity or solar energy, as the new delivery paradigm to tackle increased road congestion and carbon emission caused by the skyrocketing online food orders. Drawing upon Autonomous Vehicle Acceptance Meta-framework and the norm-activation theory, we examine the environmental mechanisms affecting the consumers’ intention to use SADRs, specifically highlighting the role of perceived SADRs’ environmental contribution.

Third place

Shirin Shahsavand
Developing sustainable apparel supply chains by clothing the loop

The apparel industry contributes significantly to increased carbon emissions and overflowing landfills across the globe. Americans produce 17+ million tons of textile waste each year, of which over 80% are incinerated or landfilled. The total energy expenditure associated with reverse logistics for used garments is estimated at 2.2% of the energy used for the original manufacture from raw materials. Despite the potential for considerable energy savings, sustainability researchers have largely focused on sourcing of raw materials, production, and transportation in the apparel industry rather than end-of-use/life (EOU/L) opportunities. My research addresses this gap by exploring the EOU/L initiatives in the apparel industry and developing an operational framework that promotes more environmentally sustainable supply chains.

Engineering & Environmental Sciences

First place

Zachary Colligan & Anna Post
We’re all in this together: A tenant engagement program to combat campus-wide energy consumption

The purpose of this study was to assess the scalability, energy reduction, and cost savings potential of a tenant engagement program and Smart Power Strips (SPS) in commercial office settings. The Energy and Comfort at WSU program is supported by three pillars: energy efficiency in buildings, full-time staff and faculty comfort and well-being, and creating a community of sustainable building occupants. This program included the installation of 200 SPS throughout targeted buildings on WSU’s Pullman campus. The goal is to broaden the scope of focus to include additional target buildings and thousands of additional staff and faculty, while maintaining the effectiveness of the procedure. This tenant engagement program is a social intervention campaign driven by routine in-person and remote communication to build relationships and encourage positive behaviors in university building occupants. The approach enables us to offer energy-focused interventions, including SPS installations, to address common comfort issues that building occupants experience and to conserve energy by eliminating plug loads. Campus-wide engagement, while maintaining established relationships with thousands of individuals, is impossible without the proper organization and infrastructure. This organization depends on volunteer representatives across campus. “Energy Champions” are volunteers who serve to disseminate our energy efficient solutions and materials to their coworkers in the various departments of our targeted buildings. These friendly faces are advocates for sustainable behavior, a resource for guidance, and support our program through recruitment and engagement. We have recruited 35 energy champions to participate and support this program leading to 200 installed SPS across campus. Departmental adoption and IT support of the installations are crucial next steps to completing hundreds of additional SPS installs and for conserving more energy. The SPS installation alone eliminates 41% of pre-strip plug loads. In addition to our other engagement efforts, it is estimated that annual building energy savings are between 1.5 and 10% depending on environmental conditions and user behaviors. This presentation will focus on the existing findings of the feasibility study conducted in years past, outcomes of smart power strip implementation to date, and plans for expanding the project to more of the WSU Pullman campus.

Second place

Jeffrey Eakin
Electrochemical Deposition with Redox Replacement of Lanthanum with Uranium in Molten LiCl-KCl

Electrochemical recovery of dilute concentrations of actinides from spent nuclear fuel would reduce the longevity of storing high-level nuclear waste in underground waste repositories. Electrochemical deposition with redox replacement (EDRR) is used in a molten salt medium for the selective electrochemical recovery of uranium in the presence of excess concentrations of lanthanum. In each EDRR cycle, after a short electrodeposition pulse, the deposited lanthanum is spontaneously replaced by uranium at the open circuit potential. After repeated cycles, uranium metal was obtained on a tungsten electrode immersed in a LiCl-KCl melt that contained 1 wt.% lanthanum chloride – 0.15 wt.% uranium (IV) chloride. Scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) analysis revealed uranium particles approximately 0.5 – 1 um with well-defined rectangular shapes; and with 20 – 60 times more uranium recovered on the surface of the electrode than lanthanum. This work may be incorporated into proposed process flow diagrams describing the recycling of spent nuclear fuel.

Third place

Abodh Poudyal

The US has incurred more than $1.5 trillion dollars in economic losses due to weather-related events. The primary reason for those losses is due to unanticipated events, also known as black swan events. Existing infrastructural planning frameworks for electric power systems focus on expected events rather than those with a lower probability of occurrence. However, climate change has played a significant role in the changing weather patterns across the globe. In this work, we aim to develop a multiple-resource planning framework that can optimize multiple resources for a limited system operator’s budget while analyzing the trade-off between several planning objectives.