Purdue program bridges gap between college to profession


Purdue senior Rachel Kunnen tackled a complicated subject on fungi and bacteria as part of her research, and it took her nearly a year to complete.

Kunnen was one of dozens of students at Purdue University Northwest who presented their projects during Student Research Days.

Supported by the Honors College, the research days are designed to provide students from disciplines across PNW's two campuses the opportunity to present the results of their work in the format and climate of professional conferences that students likely will be attending in the future.

Undergraduate research has been identified by the National Survey of Student Engagement as a "high impact" educational practice that promotes critical thinking, learning through practice and knowledge in encouraging advanced study in the major.

Student Research Days took place March 28 on the Westville campus and March 29 on the Hammond campus.

Kunnen is a senior at the Westville campus majoring in biology. She plans to attend graduate school and eventually provide medical aid to developing nations. She said her project looked at the interaction among fungi, plant cells and bacteria to better understand how bacteria are infecting plant cells to prevent E. coli outbreaks in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and lettuce.

Kunnen worked on her project with a little assistance from her faculty adviser, Lindsay Gielda.

"Other students will take the research that my faculty adviser and I have started and will continue this work," she said. "This work has implications for developing novel techniques in preventing outbreaks of E. coli in the food industry."

Purdue senior Rebecca Keller, a nurse at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, is working on her bachelor's degree in nursing at the Westville campus. She worked on a project with Maia Marusak, Ashley Sosbe and Brianna Winter titled, "Suicide Assessment."

The group compared two different types of assessments to see which one better assessed the risks of suicide.

"We found out that both assessments had their advantages and disadvantages," she said.

"It's kind of dependent upon the facility and which assessment tool they want to use. It will be important to have experienced, trained and knowledgeable staff to interview patients for suicidal ideations."

Financial, economic research

Shyla Huppenthal, a student at the Hammond campus, put together a carry-trade analysis project.

According to her abstract, she analyzed carry trade between the Mexican peso and the U.S. dollar. Carry-trade is an international transaction in which the trader borrows money from a country with low interest rates and invests it in the financial assets of another country with higher interest rates, profiting on the difference between the two rates.

While taking advantage of the difference in interest rates, the trader also is betting the value of the currency of the borrowing country will fall over the investment period.

Huppenthal found Mexico interesting to analyze because of the so-called Donald Trump Effect. As Trump's popularity went up in the presidential polls during the campaign, the Mexican peso depreciated steadily against the dollar.

On the day Trump was elected president, Nov. 8, the Mexican currency tanked, losing about 12 percent of its value, she said in her abstract.

Anna Duley researched diabetes' effects on patients and their families.

According to her abstract, diabetes mellitus is a major health concern in the United States, with approximately 9.3 percent of the population living with the disease in 2012. A diagnosis of diabetes mellitus can be a serious blow to the patient and family, primarily due to the lifestyle changes associated with managing the disease.

She said nurses are in prime positions to teach patients how to manage their disease. Complications of diabetes mellitus range from minor to life-threatening, and many complications may be avoided or reduced by simply teaching the patient how to self-manage the disease, Duley said in her research.

She also concluded that people of different cultures will sometimes require slight variations in teaching to address their cultural norms, particularly regarding food.


Source: The (Northwest Indiana) Times,


Information from: The Times,

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