Listed below will include this year's winning competitors, after they are announced.
Idaho State University
Critical trauma theory in literature posits that trauma is both unremembered and unspeakable. I argue that the problem with trauma communication isn’t a problem with the expressive language of trauma survivors, but with the receptive language of non-survivors who are uncomfortable hearing spoken trauma.
This leads to social shame for survivors who attempt to speak, and robs the opportunity to learn from their experiences. Trauma can be remembered and spoken. When will we allow it to be heard?
Mel Anderson is a master's student in English at Idaho State University, studying under Dr. Alan Johnson.
Boise State University
“Plasma Jet Printing of Electronics on Flexible, Low-Temperature Substrates”
When the benefits of 3D printing were realized, it revolutionized much of how plastic prototyping and manufacturing were done. In a similar way, additive manufacturing for electronics has made manufacturing of electronics and prototyping much cheaper and easier. I am researching parameters and materials for plasma jet printing of flexible electronic devices.
Plasma jet printing has many advantages over other additive methods. The plasma promotes adhesion of the printed films, can print without the need for gravity, and sinters the film, in situ, as it is being printed. The latter is especially important for direct fabrication of devices without the need for thermal or another post processing step. This allows for printing electronics onto flexible and low temperature substrates like paper and plastic that could not be easily achieved before.
Jacob Manzi is a master’s student in Computer Engineering at Boise State University, studying under Dr. Harish Subbaraman.
University of Idaho
“Intercropping: An Approach to Sustainable Agriculture”
Growing a single crop in a field can deplete soil health and compromise agricultural productivity. Intercropping—the practice of growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same plot of land may be a more sustainable alternative. Intercropping mixes often include pulse crops which can fix their own nitrogen, a critical nutrient. These crops may reduce fertilizer demand without damaging yields, resulting in economic and environmental benefits. Additionally, intercropping may support a more diverse soil microbial community, a key component of healthy and resilient soils.
As the global population continues increasing, sustainable agricultural practices will be critical to support the rising demand for food, fuel, and fiber. This research assesses measures of soil health such as nutrient status, resource allocation, and microbial diversity in intercropped fields in southern Idaho. The results of this work will help to assess the merit of intercropping as a sustainable production practice.
Torrey Stephenson is a master’s student in Environmental Science at University of Idaho, studying under Dr. Zachary Kayler.
Idaho State University
“Altered Microglia the Gardeners of the CNS may Potentially Lead to Atypical Feeding Behaviors in a Valproic Acid Rodent Model of Autism”
Autism, a neurodevelopmental condition, is thought to be due to hyperconnectivity in the brain. The cause of this is unknown; however, it is well established that microglia are key players in synaptic connectivity. The antiseizure medication valproic acid is a risk factor for autism and therefore our aim was to investigate the effect of this drug on microglial numbers.
Our studies in the mouse model showed a dramatic reduction in microglia by valproic acid, which may likely lead to brain hyperconnectivity.
Allison Loyola is a master’s student in Pharmaceutical Science at Idaho State University, studying under Dr. Prabha Awale.