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Independent Learning Experience Presentations 2016

Students present their independent learning experience to peers and faculty. 

Friday, February 26, 2015, marked the beginning of student oral presentation. Students present on their independent learning experiences (ILE), such as internships, 4-credit research projects, and study abroad experiences. Approximately six students present every other friday.The audience consists of other students as well as the Ursinus College faculty.  Presentations are 8 minutes long and include a brief overview of the students respective ILE. The ILE allows students to gauge goals for their future in graduate school and/or the work force.  A summary of the students presented as well as their topics are as follows: 

Internship with Client Server Specialist, Inc. by Daniel Bekier 

Dan worked on a variety of different while employed at CSSI as an IT Support Intern this winter. The projects cover a multitude of computer science topics, ranging from making web pages for the company’s main website all the way to working with patch panels in the sever room. The main topics of discussion will include databases, HTML, PHP, security, disaster recovery, moving to the cloud, and much more. 


The Development of a Data-mining App for Andriod by Jonathan Green

Chatcoder is a research data-mining application for Android operating systems. Developing and maintaining distributed software for data-mining research relies on choosing a cost-effective platform that meets the project’s functional requirements, ensuring robustness, concurrency, portability, and performance. Constraints that the Chatcoder project faced included designing a data gathering application that is non-conformant with Google Play Store guidelines (in the face of restrictive native APIs). In my talk I will discuss the challenges of developing Chatcoder over the past year, the process of building towards alpha and beta releases, the possibilities and limitations of social media APIs for data analysis, and the importance of mobile security. 


The Importance of Travel to Mathematics Students: A Study Abroad Experience by Maxwell Bicking

It is not immediately obvious that studying abroad would have a direct impact on the academic life of a mathematics student. Max spent the fall semester of 2015 studying in Cape Town, South Africa. At the University of Cape Town Max had access to the myriad resources of a large research university. These resources allowed Max to focus on developing professional relationships with professors, and the marriage of these cultivated constant learning of mathematics and culture.


Constructing an algorithm of numbering Discrete Morse Function by Ian Rand

The goal of this project is to construct an algorithm for numbering a Discrete Morse Function in the shape of a tree, based on its Gradient Vector Field and desired Homological sequence. The algorithm will spell out the ordered numbering for the D.M.F. based on its critical and noncritical edges and vertices. The reader will be given different steps to be taken at different points to achieve the desired Homological sequence. Once we have constructed the algorithm, we shall create examples to prove that it works.


The Sixth Man at a SaaS Startup by Jamie Mauer

Jamie worked at a software startup called SETVI based in Philly.  Working for a startup required versatility similar to that of a sixth member of a basketball team. When working at a small startup, everybody needs to do a greater variety of tasks that may not match up perfectly with their skill set. Jamie worked on redesigning areas of their User Interface that most needed improvement, and was in charge of system testing which was a huge task as the company followed a continuous release schedule and would roll out changes (and break pieces of their software) frequently.  Jamie also created a set of user guides, and worked with a customer of theirs from Mexico City to translate the guides and recreate them for the Spanish-speaking market.


An Andriod & iOS App Designed to Assist People with Epilepsy by David Sinda

Epilepsy, a chronic condition of the brain, is characterized by seizures, which are physical reactions to sudden brief excessive electrical discharges in brain cells. Seizures are often brought on by triggers such as, bright lights, loud noises, sleep deprivation, and dehydration.  Anyone can experience a seizure at any time. David’s research has primarily focused on The Seizure Score project which utilized an individual’s own health information to identify triggering conditions that may result in a seizure. Applying technical skills attained from the seizure score app, to research the implementation of a therapist app for users with severe mental illnesses.  This app will help people in a time of intense stress and emotion, as well as improve communication with your doctor. 


Kizzle: Integrating Mobile Apps in the Classroom by Alexa LaMontagne

With the rising use of technology to supplement classroom instruction and the widespread prevalence of cellphone usage among students, Kizzle aims to bring the two together. Kizzle will give students the ability to improve their academic performance through a game-like app right on their phones. Alexa’s research this semester is in developing Kizzle for the iOS platform. Beginning with a database, the app not only fetches from and inputs to a database, but incorporating color-theory and popular game features to make a “studying application” fun and desirable to use. The app is using Apple’s new Swift language on XCode as well as standard PHP and MySQL for the backend and is being designed with the latest iOS version (iOS9) in mind.


Human Computer Interaction by Collin Sullivan and Pinhong He

Colin and Pinhong presented on their final project for Human Computer Interaction. The final consists of a mobile application that enables athletics trainers to track the progress of injured student athletes. The design process included interviewing athletic trainers and currently injured student athletes. Them, sketching out the prototype and finally implementing. Currently, we are working on improving our prototype to make it more user- friendly. 


Analysis of SQL Attack Methods by Noah Kaplan

Noah presented an analysis of SQL attack methods and countermeasures. Several attack methods such as tautologies, inference, and piggybacking were detailed, along with their intended purpose. The main methods of protecting against SQL injections were then detailed, including cyber security and fraud prevention. Additionally, a static analysis and runtime protection were expanded upon.


Web Development Internship for Gary’s Carpet & Flooring Depot by Serena Mease

Serena worked for a small business in Pottstown called Gary’s Carpet and Flooring Depot. The main job was to update their website, which was managed with Weebly. Some work with other websites as well, like Facebook, Promoboxx, and Yelp was done. Since it was such a small business, these tasks were done alone and required extensive research. The most important research topic was the methods for SEO. The implementations from the research for SEO purposes were html tags, adding text containing keywords to pages, and changing titles of pages. YouTube videos were added and edited by removing the related videos at the end, and making links to other websites open in a new tab. Serena completed analytic analysis from Google Weebly and edited the Google profile for the business. Serena found success SEO: for at least three or four search phrases put into Google, the website was in a higher spot on the results page after the changes were implemented. From this internship, Serena learned about how to use a CMS like Weebly. Additionally, Serena learned about the logistics of Google’s search engine and techniques a business can utilize to reach virtual customers. 


Choosing a Statistical Test for Data Analysis in Evolutionary Biology by Meghan Later

A lack of understanding of statistics in biology has led to some confusion when choosing a statistical test for data analysis, especially when sample sizes are small, or have a skewed distribution of the sample mean.  In the evolutionary developmental field of biology, the Wilcoxon rank-sum test is widely used because of its ability to test for locational shifts and its accuracy in small sample sizes.  Despite the Wilcoxon rank-sum’s wide use, there are still misconceptions: it should only be used when sample size is small, and that the permutation test should be used instead of the Wilcoxon.  In my independent study this semester I decided to investigate these misconceptions using type 1 error rates of three tests: the Wilcoxon rank-sum, a t-test, and a permutation test on four different simulated distributions: a normal distribution, a uniform distribution, a beta distribution, and an exponential distribution.  Meghan performed these simulations using R, a statistical computing software program commonly used in biology. Results demonstrate that the Wilcoxon rank-sum has the lowest type 1 error rate for all distributions with sample sizes under 10.  The permutation test falls to a type 1 error rate of .05 when sample sizes are greater than 10 in all distributions. Thus, the results indicated that that using the Wilcoxon rank-sum does have lowest possibility of falsely rejecting the null hypothesis when sample sizes are small, but across distributions, the Wilcoxon rank-sum type 1 error rate remains relatively unchanged.  


Study of Ca51 with Inverse Kinematics Proton Scattering by Sean Gregory 

Sean studied Ca51 using inverse kinematics proton scattering. The experiment was run at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) using the GRETINA gamma-ray tracking array and the Ursinus College/NSCL liquid hydrogen target. We used the UCGretina code to extract gamma-ray intensities from measured gamma-ray spectra. The reaction populated five excited states of Ca51. A new gamma ray with an energy of 3950 keV was observed. The measured probabilities for exciting these states tell us about the interplay between collective and single-particle behavior. Proton scattering tends to excite collective states, i.e. states in which many protons and neutrons participate. This suggests that the new gamma ray at 3950 keV de-excited a collective state.


Computations on Highly Excited Atoms at ?K temperatures by Jacob Paul

In this project we ran computations on a supercomputer to simulate experiments performed on highly excited atoms at ?K temperatures. At ?K temperatures the atoms are moving slowly so there are essentially no collisions of the atoms on the time scales at which we perform our experiments. In the absence of collisions the atoms exchange energy through long range dipole-dipole interactions. This exchange depends on the distances between and relative orientation of the atoms. The angular dependence between two atoms has recently been studied experimentally. Simulations of accessible spatial arrangements were ran to see if the effect of the angular dependence can be measured in the many atom case. Results show that the angular dependence has a measurable effect on the time evolution of the spatial distribution of the energy in the system.




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