2017 Presenters

3-Minute Thesis Competition

3-Minute Thesis Competition


Hosted by

David Lawrence

Assistant Anchor & Producer of GradTV


Meet the Competitors

Anup Bhattarai

Pursuing: MS in Biology

Presentation Title: A Computational Approach to RNA Sequencing for Secondary Structure Prediction

Abstract: RNA is not only a messenger of genetic codes from DNA to protein but also an active molecule in various biological functions. An RNA sequence and the structure formed determines the function. Prediction of secondary structure of RNA is useful in determining its functions such as regulation of gene expressions, sensing of ligand, enzymatic features, translational control in mRNA, and replication in single-stranded RNA viruses. Also, RNA structures will provide insights into evolution, biology, and design of therapeutics.In this thesis research, I used hydrogen bond maximizing algorithm to predict RNA secondary structure, hydrogen bond maximizing program designed by Rex A. Dyer to create a Nussinov matrix, and a recursive or an iterative algorithm to decode the Nussinov matrix, which gives RNA secondary structure. The Perl and Python programming languages have been used to solve the same problem in a recursive and iterative way. The comparison of execution time between an iterative and a recursive algorithm was done. The comparison between the programming languages Perl and Python gave an insight into speed, readability, and simplicity of these two programming languages, and comparison between recursive and iterative algorithms showed which one was faster in practice.


Talisha Hunter

Pursuing: MS in Nursing

Presentation Title: The Impact of Quality of Life among Night Shift Nurses with Vitamin D Deficiency

Abstract: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found in certain foods and dietary supplements and is internally activated from natural sun exposure. Night and shift nurses are less exposed to natural sunlight and have been found to be vitamin D deficient. Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency is often described as upper/lower back pain, joint pain, fatigue, and symptoms of fibromyalgia. Low vitamin D levels have also been linked to anxiety and depression. Night-shift has been shown to increase the risks for various health disorders, including cardiovascular diseases and endocrine cancers. A prospective study of night-shift nurses conducted in U.S.A. revealed that night-shift work was associated with an elevated risk of hip and wrist fractures. The class project was looking into a correlation between Vitamin D deficiency/awareness vs. Vitamin D level checkup among night-shift nurses. A questionnaire was developed by the students and the instructor. A total of 78 night-shift nurses participated in the survey. 51% nurses (N=78) did not check their vitamin level. The findings also revealed the amount of time (How long have you worked in nursing / How long have you worked in night shifts) the night shift nurses worked in nursing/night shifts is significantly related (p=0.000) to whether or not nurses have Vitamin D levels checked. This small class project may lead to future projects that examine the important issue of developing wellness and awareness program among night-shift nurses.


Alexandria J. Maloney

Pursuing: MA in International Studies

Presentation Title: Understanding the Paths to Freedom and Equality: International Influences and Global Effects of African-American Cultural and Political

Movements in the 20th Century

Abstract: The purpose of this research is to examine the international elements of African-American cultural and political movements and the global effects. While African-Americans have been involved internationally throughout United States history, the literature on the topic is considerably scattered. This paper contextualizes and provides a chronological framework for major historical events relevant to African-Americans. Through activism, academia, art, poetry, music, and sports, African-Americans have research communities and political leaders in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. In conclusion, a number of major historical events in the United States involving African-Americans contain transnational elements. This includes activism in transatlantic abolitionism, famous musicians from the Harlem Renaissance traveling abroad, the battle for human rights recognition at the United Nations during the civil rights era, using American jazz artists to reshape America’s image abroad during the Cold War through American jazz artists and sports teams such as the Harlem Globetrotters. These historical events and elements continue to evolve the African-American image abroad today.


Mojtaba Rashvand

Pursuing: M.Eng in Civil Engineering

Presentation Title: Stress-dependent groundwater flow model and its application in land subsidence simulation

Abstract: Soil compressibility and hydraulic conductivity of hydrogeological formations are conventionally assumed to be constant in groundwater flow simulation. Sedimentary material is not linearly compressible and deformable, so the assumption of constant parameters oversimplifies an aquifer system with stress-dependent parameters. In this research, an exponential model is introduced for hydraulic conductivity and specific storage to simulate the aquifer system response to change in hydraulic head due to groundwater withdrawal. The head-dependent hydraulic conductivity and specific storage lead to a nonlinear flow equation, and a new package NONK was developed for MODFLOW to run the numerical simulation. The considered conceptual model is a five-layer aquifer system comprising three aquifers and two aquitards as well as a pumping well fully penetrating into the second confined aquifer. Steady- state and transient flows were concentrated to understand how the initially homogenous aquifer system changes to a heterogeneous one after turning on the pump. The comparison was made based on the results of three-dimensional groundwater flow simulation for two different cases. One was modeled using MODLFOW with constant parameters and the other with the head- dependent hydraulic conductivity and specific storage using the modified MODFLOW with the NONK package. The magnitude of change of initially homogeneous layers to heterogeneous ones significantly depends on the ratio of compression index to hydraulic conductivity change index. For the considered model, results showed up to 30% difference between hydraulic head calculated by MODFLOW and the stress-dependent model. Therefore, the stress-dependent groundwater model can be used as the more accurate model to produce precise and reliable land subsidence model for aquifer systems with stress-dependent parameters.


Poster Hall


*Poster considered for competition.

Fadesola A. Adetosoye

Pursuing: Doctorate of Public Health

Presentation Title: Leveraging Remote Patient Monitoring to Impact Diabetes Self-Management


Samira Ahangari

Pursuing: Doctor of Philosophy in Transportation Studies

Presentation Title: On-Street Parking Pricing: Developing a Progressive Rate Approach


May Alabdulrahman

Pursuing: Master of Science in Bioinformatics

Presentation Title: An Automated Screening System for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Detection from Microscopic Blood Cell Images


Maisaa Alahmadi

Pursuing: Doctor of Philosophy in Psychometrics

Presentation Title: The Effect of Videogames and Television on the Growth and Development of Children


Rawaa Altameemi

Pursuing: Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering

Presentation Title: Lead contaminated the drinking water in the City of Baltimore


Zeinab Bandpey

Pursuing: Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial & Computational Mathematics

Presentation Title: A Study of Generalized Continuous Functions


Saeideh Bazargan

Pursuing: Doctor of Philosophy in Transportation Studies

Presentation Title: Intrusion Detection System for Vehicular Ad hoc Network


Shanice Brickhouse

Pursuing: Master of Landscape Architecture

Presentation Title: People & Landscape: An Inclusive Challenge


Bradley Deise

Pursuing: Masters of Landscape Architecture

Presentation Title: Unearthing the Healing Process: Regenerative Community Memorials


Mason Campbell

Pursuing: Masters of Landscape Architecture

Presentation Title: Healing Landscapes


Seyedehsan Dadvar

Pursuing: Doctor of Philosophy in Transportation Studies

Presentation Title: Complexity vs. Predictability: Evaluation of Different Levels of Highway Safety Manual Predictive Methods on Maryland Route 100


Vanecia L. Duggan

Pursuing: Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration emphasis Information Science and Systems

Presentation Title: Identification and Prediction of Influence in Online Review Communities


Carla Ray Jackson*

Pursuing: Education Doctorate in Community College Leadership

Presentation Title: For Those Who Endure: Portraits of the Emotional Complexities Experienced by African American Female Professors at PWIs – A Qualitative Study using a Portraiture Research Design


Alasan Jarju

Pursuing: Master of Science in Transportation Studies

Presentation Title: Drivers Behavior Analysis under Reduced Visibility Condition Using a Driving Simulator


Abigail Leonard*

Pursuing: Master of Landscape Architecture

Presentation Title: Research Fellowship: Cultural Preservation in Design – Case Study on Equitable Development in Baltimore


Elana Levine

Pursuing: Master of Science in Psychometrics

Presentation Title:


Alexandria J. Maloney

Pursuing: Master of Arts in International Studies

Presentation Title: Electronic Dance Music (EDM) as Cultural Diplomacy: The Cuban Youth Perspective on 21st Century American Pop Culture


 Zohreh Rashidi Moghaddam

Pursuing: Master of Science in Transportation Studies

Presentation Title: Understanding the Roles of Traveler Perception of Travel Time Information and Its Reliability on Route Choice Behavior Using a Driving Simulator


Oluwole Olaku

Pursuing: Master of Science in Bioinformatics

Presentation Title: Identifying Oncogenic Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Pathways in Urothelial Carcinoma of the Bladder


Mojtaba Rashvand

Pursuing: Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering

Presentation Title: Laboratory investigation of stress dependency of hydraulic conductivity of a volcanic clay soil


Zahra Williams*

Pursuing: Master of Architecture

Presentation Title: Urban design is the process of shaping the physical setting for life in cities, towns and villages. It is the art of making places and involves the design of buildings, groups of buildings, spaces and landscapes, and establishing the processes that make successful development possible



Doctoral Panels


Mathematical & Technological Solutions to Society

 Latha Suryavanshi

Pursuing: D.Eng in Electrical Engineering

Presentation Title: Home Automation Hardware Vulnerabilities and Exploits

Abstract: The Internet of Things (IoT) is a dynamic network that extends internet connectivity to a wide range of everyday things and devices.These devices/things are capable of connecting to the Internet, have an IP address and can communicate with each other wirelessly. Home Automation uses sensors for data collection and protocols like Zigbee, Z-Wave protocol for communication. Z-Wave is a proprietary wireless, low power and low cost protocol that enables reliable communication between all the Z-Wave enabled devices at home. Z-Wave devices offer interoperability and backwards compatibility of devices. Examples of Z-Wave devices include light switches, thermostats, door locks, security sensors and controllers. About 50 million Z-Wave devices have been already deployed and are expected to grow about 26 times by 2020. The proliferation of Z-Wave devices poses information security challenges. As a part of our research, a Z-wave home automation testbed has been created including primary controller, smart lighting with on off switch, security camera, motion sensor, door lock and smoke detector. The home automation network presents numerous attack vectors and allows for attacks such as capture/playback, Man-in the middle, and a variety of Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. For a capture/playback attack, we intercept the Z-Wave communications between the Z-wave HUB and the target Z-Wave enabled IoT device using a software-defined radio (SDR). The SDR is configured as a sniffer and injector tool especially for this purpose. We will also perform other attacks by creating malicious devices for insertion into the home automation network. Z-Wave protocol and packet exploits will also be investigated.


Paris Adkins-Jackson

Pursuing: PhD in Psychometrics

Presentation Title: Measuring Black Behavior: Factor Analyses of Resilience, Stress & Mindfulness Scales by Paris Adkins-Jackson

Abstract: Our changing world demands better research that integrates cross-disciplinary approaches to understand human phenomena. In order to achieve this purpose there must be a re-examination of research that has both advanced and limited our ability to measure the human experience. Factor analyses performed on popular resilience, stress, and mindfulness scales reflect the complexity of measuring subpopulations using instruments normed on one group. This presentation will use analytical processes from psychometrics to discuss the limitations of current behavioral scales in a sample of African American/Blacks living in the US. Through a dialogue on the true meaning of data produced through statistical approaches, this presentation seeks to advocate for better measures of behavior, better use of limited scales, and greater incorporation of diverse disciplines in understanding human experiences and conditions.


Zeinab Bandpey

Pursuing: PhD in Industrial and Computational Mathematics

Presentation Title: Jonathan Farley’s Mathematical Terror Theory: The Structure of the Perfect Terrorist Cells with a Single Leader

Abstract: Terror cells are modeled as finite partially ordered sets. This paper determines the structure of the terrorist cells most likely to remain intact if a subset of its members is captured at random, provided that the cell has a single leader and no member has more than b immediate subordinates. Farley solved the problem for the case of binary posets (b = 2).


Education Innovations impacting Student Performance Outcomes


Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman

Pursuing: EdD in Community College Leadership

Presentation Title: Key Components of Successful Implementation of Guided Pathways Model

Abstract: Colleges that implement a Guided Pathways model at the start of student intake are able to identify early-on positive measureable outcomes in the areas of retention, student morale and graduation rates. In the five years since implementation of the Guided Pathways model at Miami-Dade College, early results indicate a surge in retention rates for students with assigned advisors, impacting graduation rates and financial implications for the college. This research examines the implementation process of the Guided Pathways model at Miami-Dade, identifying key characteristics that have led to successful outcomes.


Maisaa Alahmadi

Pursuing: PhD in Psychometrics

Presentation Title: Elementary School Placement Testing: A Look at the Differences in Scores for Computer Version and Pencil-and-Paper Version for International Students and Domestic Students from a Lower Socioeconomic Status.

Abstract: When it comes to administering assessments, there are two major methods; pencil-and-paper tests and computer-based tests. The study will attempt to answer the following research question: Are there differences between scores on computer versions and pencil-and-paper versions of elementary school placement tests for international students and domestic students who are part of a lower socioeconomic status? The purpose of this study is to see whether test scores differ significantly in these individuals for a version of an academic placement test that is computerized and a parallel version of the test that is pencil-and-paper. The focus will be on kindergarten students who are preparing to take a placement test for the first grade. The goal is to have a sample of at least 150 kindergarten students from different ethnic backgrounds and income classes. The design for this study will be a 2×3 mixed design. A two-way ANOVA will be conducted to measure the main effects within the groups and between the groups and any possible interaction effects.


Rolonda L. Payne

Pursuing: EdD in Mathematics Education

Presentation Title: Case studies of high school mathematics teachers: How culturally responsive practices impact the mathematics performance of Black urban students

Abstract: Historically, Black students underperform in mathematics education in comparison to their White counterparts. Specifically, data highlights significant gaps in the academic performance of Black urban students in comparison to rural and suburban students. Research suggest that the challenges and dynamics of living in urban environments strongly impacts student’s performance and access to quality teaching. However, amidst the historic underperformance of Black urban students and the many challenges and dynamics of teaching and learning in urban schools, some mathematics teachers and students defied the odds, and mastered the ability to successfully teach and learn in urban mathematics classrooms. Research and literature of successful teachers of Black urban students declares that cultural awareness and responsiveness to the challenges and dynamics of urbanicity provides an avenue for teachers to use those challenges and dynamics as an asset for teaching and not an obstacle for learning. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative case study is to understand the culturally responsive pedagogical practices and approaches of successful urban mathematics teachers teaching Black urban high school mathematics students. Moreover, the objective of this study are to 1. Identify the characteristics of teachers who have been successful teaching Black urban mathematics students, 2. identify the culturally responsive practices of those teachers, and 3. distinguish any covert sociocultural interactions of those teachers and students as it pertains to delivery of instruction, grouping of students, and lesson assignments.


 Development Workshops



Financial Planning with InvestEd

Conference Room 316
Managing your money can be tough. Add in some unsolicited budgeting advice from your parents, friends or coworkers and you’re even more confused. Budgeting isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. I mean, how can we all have the same budgets if we all want to spend our money differently? In this seminar, you will learn how to budget for the things that matter most to you while living within your financial means. You’ll learn how to track your spending, determine what matters most to you (hint: Just take a look at where your money is going), create a personalized budget that you actually want to follow, and save for your future life goals through budgeting.


InvestEd is a Baltimore based Registered Investment Advisory Firm that practices fiduciary advising, with no minimum requirement to start investing and a .95% annual advisor fee. We provide monthly free educational seminars on topics ranging from budgeting to investing and anyone in the community is welcome to meet with us for free. Patrick Volk has presented hundreds of seminars for fortune 500 companies, Federal Reserve banks, and the Federal Reserve Board. He has 25 years in the investment and financial planning fields and has fulfilled various roles within the industry, from managing portfolios for high net worth individuals to executive counseling. Patrick is InvestEd’s Lead Investment Advisor and is always available to answer any money questions you have, or to meet with you in person for a complimentary financial planning session.



HBCU Allstar’s Brief & Work panel: Intersections of Race/Class/Gender in Careers in Research

Conference Room 210A
This panel will focus on the intersectional experiences of researchers. This Brief and the Work panel is part of a series of discussions that invite all participants to strategize on how to make necessary change. The Brief panel examines an issue from an interdisciplinary lens and The Work workshop will provide a space for exploration of solutions. Attendees are encouraged to participate in both. These activities are opportunities for the Morgan community to address key internal issues.


Paris AJ (Adkins-Jackson) is a doctoral student in the graduate program of Psychometrics and has been recognized as MSU’s 2016-17 HBCU All-star for the White House Initiative on HBCUs. She is a native of Los Angeles where she studied music and dance. Her love of multidisciplinary perspectives earned her a BA in Journalism, a MA in Cultural Anthropology, and a Master of Public Health in Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology. AJ has used diverse perspectives in her career as a breast cancer researcher, professor of Anthropology, and at MSU, where her research involves the development of a self-care assessment for Black women. After graduation she plans to continue using mixed methods to tell the stories of underserved people and translate such findings to inform stakeholders and future generations.


Communication I can Control… and Influence: There is a Difference!

Conference Room 210B
Workshop synopsis

Dr. Dorsey-Elson bio


Addressing Health Disparities with Entrepreneurship

Conference Room 316
Workshop synopsis

Juxtopia synopsis

Dr. Doswell bio