Breanna Dragseth, Matt DeSmith, Emily Robinson, and Abi Bartlett
Nitrates and phosphates exist naturally but are present in elevated concentrations in many areas primarily due to agriculture; these elevated concentrations are concerning for human and environmental health. The project considered the ability of four different materials used for adsorption (adsorbents) to adsorb nitrate and phosphate. All adsorbents had a silica base with an amine (NH2) group and were further functionalized with different ligands consisting of an aromatic ring functionalized with electron withdrawing groups, creating a partial positive environment to help attract the anions of interest. We also synthesized control materials to determine how effective our engineered materials are. The controls are the base silica, silica functionalized with an amine group, and materials further functionalized with an aromatic group that is not electron deficient. The goal of this project was to confirm adsorption of nitrate and phosphate to positively charged adsorbents for their extraction from aqueous solutions. The materials were designed, synthesized and properly characterized. The materials must be tested for their adsorbent ability via a contact test in a known contaminant solution, which is currently underway. If results suggest that the adsorbents work sufficiently at removing contaminants, the implications of this project could provide a removal pathway for the anionic contaminants from aquatic solutions.
Asymmetric catalysis, where a metal catalyst is used to transform a substrate into a single enantiomer of product, has become a popular synthetic technique in both academic and industrial settings. An enantiomer is a single molecule with a unique three-dimensional shape with a mirror image not superimposable on the original. The chirality, or right or left-handedness, of compounds lead to applications important in the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries. Commonly, a metal complex’s ability to create a product of a certain enantiomer relies on a chiral group being attached to the metal. However, having the chirality of a metal complex depend on the attached ligands being unsymmetrical is an underexplored area. Such a complex would be considered “chiral-at-metal,” where the metal itself would become a chiral center. This type of complex would allow for the usage of achiral phosphines, which are cheaper and easier to synthesize than chiral phosphines. Ruthenium complexes have shown great catalytic activity in transfer hydrogenation reactions, demonstrating product yields of 100% in one study. Such complexes can thus be analyzed in asymmetric catalysis with differing ligands. We will synthesize chiral-at-metal complexes and their catalytic success will be explored through the transfer hydrogenation of acetophenone. The future of this research lies in creating effective complexes using metals such as ruthenium, and eventually iron and cobalt or other more affordable metals.
Language learning does not occur in a political, social, cultural, or historical vacuum. To learn a foreign language is to learn another way to see the world and to gain a glimpse into another’s perspectives, history, and culture. Since their inception within the United States, far too many world language programs have not strayed from teaching vocabulary, grammar, and stagnant interpretations of culture due to a perceived lack of space in the curriculum or low linguistic abilities of their students. In the last two decades, multiple world language educators and scholars (e.g., Johnson & Randolph, 2017; Glynn, Wesley & Wassell, 2014; Osborn, 2006) have pointed to the importance of recognizing the political nature of language study and using a critical approach to curriculum development by teaching world languages through the lens of Social Justice. In this project Professor Roberts and I use this existing claim as a foundation to highlight the importance of teaching Social Justice in the introductory world language classroom. We argue that as students are being introduced to Spanish, Social Justice pedagogy creates a space where language is acquired alongside intercultural competency and an understanding of past and present injustices seen within and directed towards the diverse Spanish-speaking world and its communities. In addition to researching and studying the existing theoretical frameworks and literature relating to the topic, I am also creating a curriculum that accompanies the Spanish 1001/1002/1003 introductory courses to demonstrate how Social Justice pedagogy can - and should - be used to guide and enrich the early stages of language acquisition.
Greenhouse gas emissions are one of, if not the major cause of global warming. With CO2 emissions rising annually, it is paramount to selectively capture and remove CO2 from flue gas. One method of capturing CO2 gas is via porous materials. Covalent organic frameworks (COFs) are porous materials which have been explored throughout this research. Two important features of COFs are the base unit linkage types (BULTs) and the functional groups attached to the organic linkers (OLs). The BULT used in this research was a covalent triazine framework (CTF) and the main functional group used in the OL was NH3. Both CTF and NH3 when used in other COFs improved overall selectivities for CO2. NH3 in tandem with electron withdrawing groups would theoretically make the N-H bonds more acidic, thus increasing the overall affinity further of the COF. In this research the process in synthesizing the COF is explored in detail as well as the affinity of molecules with CO2.
The 2019-2020 flu season is regarded as one of the most serious ones in decades. Previous researchers usually studied the effects of different factors on seasonal flu separately instead of their conjugate impact, so we wanted to find how multiple factors combine to affect the spread of influenza in the 2019-2020 flu season in America. We chose types of virus (A and B), environmental factors (temperature, precipitation, relative humidity), population density, and influenza vaccination status for different age groups which are statewide data containing monthly information from Sep. 2019 to May 2020. By principal component analysis, we could see the importance of different factors as well as the general relationship between them. Furthermore, using path analysis enabled us to investigate the causal relationship between factors more precisely than the previous method. We found that two virus types have different relationship patterns with other remaining variables: Type A virus is strongly negatively related to temperature (lower temperature tends to cause more cases), and is also somewhat related to some vaccination groups, while the significance of any vaccination group doesn’t show up in Type B virus. Moreover, there are relationships between factors, like the vaccination rates for different age groups are strongly correlated to each other. Our findings could provide general advice to you during flu season. For instance, if the temperature is relatively low one year, then you could be aware that it’s more likely for you to be infected. In addition, since the influenza situation is somewhat similar to COVID-19, our findings might also be helpful for you to protect yourself.
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