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An abstract gives a brief summary of your topic (75-100 words), with a stated argument or a clear idea of what your research is about. It should also state what your (expected) outcomes are or why your project is significant to your field. If applicable, state how it is part of a larger or ongoing project. The abstract is intended to give reader's a clear idea of what you are presenting. 

Please view the sample abstracts below. Should you need additional guidance, contact URS@SHSU.EDU

Helpful Tips

The URS is a multi-disciplinary conference (as opposed to a specialist conference); therefore, while you will be speaking to educated people, most of them will not be familiar with your subject or your field of study. Tailor your presentation so that anyone can understand it.

Imagine presenting it to your parents or to a professor in another department:

  • What terms do you need to define?
  • What contextual information do you need to include?

We strongly encourage all students to seek advice from your faculty advisor on your presentation.   

Multidisciplinary Sample Abstracts

Art & Science Abstracts

Mathematical Models of Invasive Aquatic Species

In this presentation, a dynamical model is formulated to describe the competition between two aquatic plants by using a mixture of Turchin’s regrowth model and the classical Lotka-Volterra model. This model is a system of differential equations that accounts for the belowground biomass, herbivory, and interspecific competition. There are two types of competing vegetation: one that is completely submerged with significant belowground biomass and the other which emerges from the water, but has negligible below-ground biomass. The model was analyzed in order to determine the relative parameter values where one species outcompetes the other.

Challenges of Curating Small Fossil Animals

The main challenges for curating microfauna are long-term preservation, space, cost, and accessibility for research. While the fossils are small, relative to macrofauna, to protect and organize them requires more relative space and materials per unit of fossil volume. The method of organization also has to take into account a way to catalogue the fossils and make sure they are accessible for later analysis and research. Poor methods of fossil curation can leave valuable specimens damaged. Long-term packaging also must be reversible; therefore, in this poster presentation, we examine other current methods of curating microfauna in a manner that allows for long-term preservation and utility, while addressing concerns over cost and space.

Building an Alternative Energy Training Unit

We live in an age of environmental awareness and alternative energy education. In preparing students for their future careers, real-world training is a plus. Renewable energy teaching tools can help students comprehend complex concepts with interactive educational training equipment. Renewable energy training units for educational purposes are very important for the hands-on laboratory sections of energy education. To reinforce the material covered in the classroom the students in the Technology program have designed, built, and tested a renewable energy educational training unit for the alternative energy-related courses.

Pulsing the Public: What Does Huntsville Know About Environmental Issues?

While many Americans remain in the dark about environmental issues, many others are taking steps to reduce, prevent, and reverse the harmful effects humans have had on the planet. Our study attempts to discover how environmentally informed the average citizens of Huntsville are. In our video presentation, we ask members of the general public about how they get their information on the environment in order to assess which informative tools are most utilized by people and to determine if there is anything that might encourage the average person to learn more about the environment. We also explore and assess the steps that the city itself is taking to accommodate such issues, particularly examining Huntsville’s efforts in the areas of transportation, solid waste/recycling, parks and recreational areas, and resource conservation.

Huntsville Recycling Initiative

SHSU is implementing changes to lower our waste production in accordance with the green movement that has overtaken most of the country.  The purpose of our "Huntsville Recycling Initiative" documentary is to examine recycling within the community; we also present a set of clear and coherent ideas supporting the significance of the conservation of resources and the positive impacts of effective resource management within a local ecology. Viewers will have the opportunity to learn about what they can do in order to contribute to the preservation of our environment, especially in the context of diminishing our garbage production, and thus reduce the size of our landfills.

Humanities Abstracts

The Significance of Epic Epithets in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey

One of the most important yet overlooked conventions in epic poetry is the epithet, a word or phrase that the poet ties to important places, things, gods, and heroes. The epithet is one convention employed by the poet Homer in his 8th-century BC epics the Iliad and Odyssey.  Through the use of the epithet, Homer offers important information about characters, places, and things, while enhancing his oral delivery and developing character for the stories themselves.  This strategy is significant to the success of his work, as it allows the audience to connect with key characters and places, ultimately bringing them to critique the cultural ideals they embody.  Homer also uses epithets to demonstrate artistic merit, namely his ability to make a story come alive.  

Learning and Acquisition of L2 (Second Language) at the High School level in Lufkin, TX

Lufkin High School bases its second language classes mainly on book-taught materials, starting with grammatical knowledge and then moving to the acquisition of verbal language. In this paper, I will argue that students are more likely to learn the second language if they are immersed in the language before learning the grammatical foundation of the language, and therefore, I will introduce a different approach that is not currently used in Lufkin High School but that has been used in schools around the world. My approach focuses on “total immersion,” where the teacher speaks to students in the second language at all times until students have a basic understanding. Once the fundamental building blocks have been established the teacher will proceed to teaching the grammatical aspects of a language.

Torture: Is it Effective? Should We Care?

In the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, the United States authorized both the direct torture, and through extraordinary rendition, the indirect torture of U.S.-held prisoners. The debate on this issue, when it finally came, focused almost exclusively on the effectiveness of torture to gain intelligence. Rather than question whether or not it works, in this paper, I ask, “what are the long-term consequences to our soldiers—to both those who are doing the torturing, and those in the future who must live with its legacy?” Ultimately this paper will explore the following question: “if we are willing to torture, then are we any better than those we condemn and fight?”

Differential Social Power: Positive and Negative Stereotyping--Illegal Immigrants' Overriding Status over African American Job Seekers

The purpose of this paper is not to ask if illegal immigration is hurting African Americans, but to research why illegal immigrant jobseeker status has apparently risen above that of low-skilled African American citizens and is now trickling up the employment chain. With millions of Mexican nationals illegally entering the U.S. looking for work, many employers have given them status over law-abiding African American job seekers. As seen in Devah Pager’s research on the effects of a criminal record on white and black job seekers, my research finds that employers base their hiring practices on stereotyping by unreservedly employing illegal immigrants as day laborers about whom they know nothing, while being very skeptical of African American day laborers about whom they also know nothing.  While my study was small, the implications are far-reaching; blacks already having a minority status, and this trend results in harsh consequences such as disproportionate unemployment, poverty, and higher crime which, in turn, leads to higher incarceration.

From Pew to Pulpit:  Religious Women Who Shaped American History

Religious authority eluded masses of women throughout much of American history.  Men were free to dominate their church hierarchies and set rules of conduct for parishioners, while women were admonished not to question religious authority or assert their own voices in a public forum.  Though historically outnumbering men in church congregations, very few American women rose to become church leaders or religious visionaries.  This project examines the lives of four women who became religious pioneers despite numerous obstacles.  It examines the many difficulties they faced and the important contributions they made.  These women not only forged individual paths in religious history but also influenced American history on a broader spectrum.

Accurate Self-Portrayal Within the World of Mass Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (M.M.O.R.P.G.s) are not only a billion-dollar industry, but they are quickly becoming a prime means of communication and interaction for millions of people. Because many of the relationships formed within the game are done so behind the veil of the fantasy characters and avatars, anonymity may be utilized to preen personal identity or to deceive. This poster presentation explores how accurately people depict themselves in their fantasy characters and shows results from interviews conducted with World of Warcraft players. While almost all players surveyed recorded that they were often given to exaggerations, about one-third were likely to often purposely lie, and all had purposely lied at some time within the game. These results reveal implications for online interactions when face-to-face interactions are replaced with avatars and instant messaging.

Business Abstracts

Perspectives on International Diversification from 1991 to 2008

The advantage of globally diversifying one’s investment portfolio to gain greater risk reduction has been changing over the last fifty years. This poster is an empirical study that analyzes the diversification benefits of the global equity market over almost two decades. Specifically it examines the advantage of global diversification from several perspectives: how it has changed over time, how it has changed across different regions, and the impact of the degree of diversification (proportion of domestic versus foreign investments). While there is still an advantage, albeit quite small, to globally diversifying one’s financial portfolio, the degree of this advantage has clearly suffered from international integration. This study is important because today’s investor needs all the tools and information possible to effectively and efficiently plan for the future and hedge against the risks of the market.

The Role of Organizational Behavior in Corporate Mergers: A Look at Four Mergers Since 2000

Companies spend millions of dollars and countless hours in an effort to increase corporate identity, and create “synergy” among their employees. Once a company announces a merger, upper management’s efforts to create synergy have been waster. For the company in the merger, they must focus their efforts on erasing one culture, while maintaining another. Often times, the public hears of failed or successful mergers, but often time, no very little of why it occurs. Many people assume they understand the concept of culture as it relates to organizations and believe it is not as powerful as studies have shown. This paper examines the role organizational behavior and corporate culture play in corporate mergers. Examples are drawn from companies that have merged since 2000, including Anheuser-Busch, InBev, Disney, Pixar, Compaq, Hewlett Packard, America Online, and Time Warner. Some investors see mergers as disasters, while others view them as stepping stones toward higher stock prices. This report examines the idea of defining success based on organizational terms and why it is risky to view financially profitable mergers as successful.

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