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Track 11A - Poster Presentations

IMPACT OF BODY MASS INDEX (BMI) ON MOIST DECOMPOSITION IN HUMAN REMAINS

Presenter(s): Logan Mason

Faculty sponsor(s): Melissa Connor

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The purpose of this research was to determine whether there is a correlation between a decedent’s body mass index (BMI) and the moist stage of human decomposition. Previous research demonstrated no significant correlation between BMI and the complete trajectory of human decomposition, but no research evaluates whether BMI effects specific stages of decomposition. Twenty-two male cadavers and seventeen female cadavers ranging in BMI from 14.4 to 49.5, were used. These were donated to the Forensic Investigation Research Station (FIRS) between January 2014 and August 2018. The FIRS defines moist decomposition as the desiccation of tissues while retaining significant moisture. The total body score (TBS) method scores the head and neck, the trunk, and the limbs as three individual anatomical regions and combines these scores to give values to each stage of decomposition. A total body score of 20-22 was used as the standard score range for remains in moist decomposition. Temperature was normalized using accumulated degree-days, calculated using temperature in Celsius with a threshold of zero and then plotted in relation the BMI. A two tailed T-test (t=2.125), significant at p=0.02, indicates that BMI has a statistically significant effect on the moist decomposition stage of human decomposition.

MYSTICAL EXPERIENCES: IDENTIFYING VARIABLES ASSOCIATED WITH HAVING HAD A MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE

Presenter(s): Elias Acevedo, Donald Flynn, Frederick Horn, Vy Quinn

Faculty sponsor(s): Jeremy Tost, Chelsie Hess

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Mystical experiences have existed alongside many philosophies throughout history. These experiences have been characterized along the lines of unity (internal and external), transcendence of time and space, noetic quality, sacredness, positive mood, and ineffability/paradoxicality. Such experiences have been synonymous with feelings of awe, mindfulness, love, and other peak experiences. The benefits of mystical experiences have been speculated for some time, though the interest in the long-term effects of mystical experiences has been renewed. Previous research suggests outcomes of a mystical experience that include increased subjective well-being and a decreased us-against-them mentality. The current study examines the prevalence of having had a mystical experience and the relationship between having had a mystical experience and an array of variables including personality, spirituality/religiousness, and moral foundations. Findings from this study will provide the foundation for future experimental work.

Track 11B - Oral Presentations

THE COLORFUL HISTORY OF ROSS BUSINESS COLLEGE

Presenter(s): Montana Moore

Faculty sponsor(s): Sarah Swedberg

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The history of a checkwriter found in Special Collections at the Tomlinson Library led to uncovering a historical connection between Colorado Mesa University and the Ross Business College. Ross Business College was founded in 1905 and moved to Grand Junction in 1907. Ross Business College advertised itself as a place to get the necessary business skills needed in the workforce. World War II left the Ross Business College without men to fill their classes, so they accepted a proposal from Mesa College to purchase Ross and its inventory. An inventory list with serial numbers verified that not only the check writer but other items in the Tomlinson special collections were in fact owned and transferred from Ross to Mesa in the 1943 sale. But even more intriguing was the fact that the founders, administration, and faculty of the Ross Business college are directly related to the history of not only Colorado Mesa University, but of Grand Junction itself. This colorful history is the foundation of the names of our campus buildings and sports facilities which may lead us to rethink what those names represent and whether we should consider renaming them.

CRITICAL THINKING AND PERSONALITY: INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN A CONCERN FOR TRUTH

Presenter(s): Elias Acevedo

Faculty sponsor(s): Chelsie Hess

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Critical Thinking (CT) is an empowering factor in all facets of one’s life, given it provides the basis for what is reasonable for an individual to believe and do. CT consists of skills and dispositions. CT dispositions are a network of attitudes, intellectual virtues, and habits of mind. CT dispositions influence the way individuals approach a thinking task and motivate the appropriate application of CT skills. In other words, CT dispositions characterize the willingness to think critically. Although factors of CT disposition are described in similar terms to personality traits, very little research has looked at the relationship between factors of CT disposition and personality. Truth-seeking, one of seven factors that comprise CT disposition, is described as eagerly seeking knowledge, courageously asking questions, and honestly pursuing evidence. Unfortunately, several studies have shown students are generally not inclined toward truth-seeking. The present study examines the prevalence of a concern for truth and its relationship with the big five factors of personality in students at Colorado Mesa University. Religious and political ideology, field of study, class rank, and other demographic information are also considered.

HOMELESSNESS IN MESA COUNTY: A POINT IN TIME

Presenter(s): Dawn Schadegg, Hayley Smith, Kimberly Smith

Faculty sponsor(s): Jina Lewallen

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This presentation will display the data collected from the Point in Time count conducted in January, 2020, for Mesa County’s homeless population. This data reflects sheltered as well as unsheltered individuals and is further broken down by age, race, gender, length, and frequency of the individual’s homelessness. This homeless count is crucial for the accurate representation of the homeless population in Mesa County. The count helps establish the amount of funding allocated to homeless resources that are made available in the community. The data collected from Mesa County were then added to the national report, which allows for a more representative picture of the homeless population for the nation. It is essential for the community to be aware of the implications of local homelessness because the lack of sufficient funding would hinder the quality of life within the community and put significant strain on current public safety capital. Resources for the homeless are available in the community and heavily depend on surveys such as these for future funding.

THE MORAL CASE FOR NUCLEAR ENERGY

Presenter(s): Anthony DeNardo

Faculty sponsor(s): Terence Casey

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There are few issues as polarizing in the modern environmental movement as nuclear energy. There are those who feel we should not be investing in nuclear energy because of a perceived history of danger. I will seek to address some of these concerns as well as explore the social, economic, and environmental benefits nuclear energy can provide, if we choose to look past an intimidating facade and see the wonder within.

REINTEGRATING/TRANSITIONING BACK INTO SOCIETY

Presenter(s): Jordan Ausman

Faculty sponsor(s): Michael Delaney

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Reintegrating back into society for ex-offenders is not an easy process. Communities do not always prepare ex-offenders for the hardships that are to come with their newfound freedom. Through reentry programs that help prepare offenders while in prison, programs that help with immediate resources after being released from prison, and programs that offer long term support, ex-offenders would have a better chance at succeeding in life and lower the recidivism rate. There are many factors that influence the success of an ex-offender’s journey when integrating back into society. What is considered daily life behavior for most, can be foreign to ex-offenders. Not every offender knows of the resources that the prisons provide for reintegration. However, if society helped with the process rather than turning a blind eye, the ex-offenders could have more of an opportunity to flourish in becoming a citizen of the community without the extra stress. This presentation will address the reintegration concerns from both the inmate and non-offender perspectives.