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2012-2013 Student Research

OSCAR Office
Jack Croxton, Ph.D.
Thompson Hall W349
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
Phone: 673-3123

Fall 2012

Student: Kazlin Mason, Communication Disorders and Sciences
Mentor: Dr. Bridget Russell, Communication Disorders and Sciences
“Velopharyngeal Insufficiency”

Velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI) is a disorder that results from the improper contact of the soft palate, lateral pharyngeal walls, and posterior pharyngeal wall. These muscle groups make up what is known as the velopharyngeal sphincter. This closure is necessary for speech in order to accurately produce a variety of speech sounds.

Standard assessment measures for VPI include nasometry, perceptual ratings, nasoendoscopy, and videoflouroscopy. Following these assessment measures, surgical repair and/or speech therapy is often recommended. Surgical repair can consist of a superiorly or inferiorly based pharyngeal flap procedure (also known as a pharyngoplasty), sphincteroplasty, double-opposing Z-plasty, or the Furlow Z-plasty. For the purpose of this study, only patients who received a pharyngeal flap procedure will be analyzed.

Oftentimes, these procedures require surgical revision. The goal of this study is to determine if pre-operative oral-sentence nasometry scores and velopharyngeal closure pattern, along with gap size, correlate with higher revision rates in patients with Velopharyngeal Insufficiency (VPI) who received a pharyngeal flap procedure.

If the findings of this proposed study indicate a relationship between higher nasalance levels and a specific closure pattern per surgery, these clinical measures may provide health care professionals who work with patients who have VPI a pre-surgical indicator for those prone to surgical flap revision.  The data collected in this study may also improve the pre-surgical decision making process as to specifically tailoring the pharyngeal flap to decrease the need for revision surgeries.

HIST_499_Sr_Honors_Seminar.jpgStudent Project in HIST 499, Senior Honors Seminar
Submitted by Dr. Ellen Litwicki, History Department

The students of HIST 499, the Senior Honors Seminar in the History Department, are researching the history of Chautauqua County this semester. Some of their research projects include the steel industry and the railroad in Dunkirk, the Women’s Political Equality Clubs, Thomas Lake Harris & the Brotherhood of the New Life, the WCTU, urban renewal in Jamestown, and the impact of World War II on the Fredonia campus and on residents of Dunkirk and Fredonia.
The students will be compiling their essays into a self-published book on the history of the county, and they are contributing to the book’s design, layout, and editing. The book will be given to the campus and community partners with whom the students have been working on their research, including the McClurg Museum & Chautauqua County Historical Society, the Dunkirk Historical Society, the Fenton History Museum, the Reed Library Archives, and the Chautauqua County Historian’s office. The book will be published over break (using Lulu, a self-publishing web site), and we will have a book reception after publication.

JillianBerowski-StudioStudent:  Jillian Berowski, Visual Arts and New Media
Mentor:  Dr. Alberto Rey, Visual Arts and New Media

This semester my series is about the different dynamics of anxiety and coming to terms with the development of an anxiety disorder. I wanted the paint to literally represent certain feelings and show certain facets of calmness and anxiousness through my brushwork. My series is composed of four triptychs; each with a small painting that is partially blurred displaying a night in a bar, a large painting of a self-portrait, and then an abstract painting. One of the hardest parts about dealing with an anxiety disorder is that emotions take over that do not represent my true personality. When I am anxious and worried I don’t feel like myself, and this feeling of my own betrayal is particularly hard to shake sometimes. The series of triptychs moves from happiness to anxiousness with two emotions in the middle that show the confusion and varying states of anxiety.

The most forward paintings are the self-portraits that show the direct facial emotion, and then the small paintings, which also show my facial expression changing. In the large ones the brushwork becomes much more intense in the most anxious paintings. In the small paintings, the blurred motion becomes more confusing, imitating a state of intoxication. Alcohol is a big contributing factor to anxiety, which is something I realized long after developing the disorder and consequently made it worse. This was very important to communicate in this series because these particular scenes are memorable to certain anxieties and at the same time represent the larger problem. The abstract paintings are meant to show the distortion of reality in my emotions. Anxiety disorders are based on illogical fears that take over, and I felt that abstraction was the best way to represent this irrationality and mixed emotions. The overall goal was to show that the anxiety disorder does not make me who I am, and I will not let it. My personality is very different from the fears that I have and I wanted to communicate this through the various emotions and painting techniques.



Student:  Tara Courtney, Visual Arts and New Media
Mentor:  Dr. Alberto Rey, Visual Arts and New Media

When we are young children, we are innocent beings. We innocently play with our toys. As we grow older, we start to lose that innocence we’re born with. In my series, I play around with the idea of losing our innocence (in a dark humorous way) by using the innocent toys we would play with so innocently, and portrayed some sinful actions we partake with them.



Student: Tricia Butski, Visual Arts & New Media
Mentor: Dr. Alberto Rey, Visual Arts & New Media
“The Love Canal Revisited”

The Love Canal; home of an environmental catastrophe. A tragedy that left permanent damage on the land and the hundreds of people who once resided in the neighborhood. The nearly 22,000 tons of buried chemicals that oozed beneath the homes left everlasting scars on the many residents, who were unaware of the dangerous toxins seeping beneath their feet.

This series focuses on the physical and emotional damage that the Love Canal tragedy left on the residents and the land. The series was inspired by my mother and her stories of the place she once called home. Like many others, she and her family lived in the neighborhood for several decades before the fence went up and they were suddenly evacuated.

While frequently visiting what remains of the demolished neighborhood; collecting pieces of the broken homes that once stood on the empty patches of land; I attempt to construct a visual memorial for the neighborhood. Through my paintings, research, and found objects from the site, I will be displaying the memories of former Love Canal residents, evidence of the destruction, personal stories and struggles, as well as the current state of the land and those who continue to suffer from the perpetual scars of a place they once called home.



Student:  Kimberly Thomas, Visual Arts and New Media

Mentor:  Dr. Alberto Rey, Visual Arts and New Media

I have four siblings and often times, it can be difficult to get along. So for this series I made four abstracts one for each person, illustrating how I feel about them. This painting in particular is titled Brandon, for my younger brother. The massive shape if red and gold indicates how well we stay in touch and get along. The purples and blues represent the difficulties and misunderstandings we have. The green represents our inability to relate to one another and the lack of communication.


MeganWirth-Painting.jpgStudent:  Megan Wirth, Visual Arts and New Media
Mentor:  Dr. Alberto Rey, Visual Arts and New Media
"Painting III"

My series is a work which embodies the ephemeral. I am a firm believer in energy and feel that every being, object and thought is essentially energy. When humans pass away I believe, because energy cannot be created or destroyed, that it expands throughout the earth and creates new life elsewhere.

Chakras are energy points stemming throughout the body and come from Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. Although they correspond to physical points in the body, being able to clear the chakras, or energy points, can help improve mental and spiritual growth and balance as well as physical health. There are seven chakras running throughout the body beginning at the base of the spine and ending at the top of the skull.

I have chosen to represent chakras and their locations in diagrams of the skull and spine. The chakra colors follow the traditional color spectrum (colors of a rainbow) and each carry a different symbol and affirmation. For example, the first chakra, the root (“muladhara”) is a glowing red color located at the tailbone. It represents instinct, connection to the earth, and survival. It is the basic, animalistic form of our spirit. Clearing this chakra can improve our relationship with nature, our physical surroundings, and stability within ourselves. Each chakra holds various meanings and can awaken our conscious awareness, or being completely present in each moment of our lives.

Once a person moves on into the afterlife their chakras move on as well. They can travel to other life sources of the earth aiding in time and growth of our planet. I feel as though every one of us has a purpose in life and a purpose even after we have lived. We are all equally essential, connected and have a responsibility to respect all life and everything we have.

MalachiBlundonn.jpgStudent: Malachi Blundon, Biology
Submitted by Dr. Scott Ferguson, Biology Department

Malachi traveled to a national conference to present his research on the mechanisms of development and how DNA damage can affect this process. This work provided insight into the development of cancer and diabetes.

Page modified 12/7/15