The BASIS
Senior Projects 2017

The Senior Project at BASIS Oro Valley is a selective program that involves an off-campus research project or internship of the students’ choice and design. Students select a BASIS.ed faculty member as their advisor and work with a mentor at their selected research site. These projects may be completed anywhere in the world. At the end of the trimester, students return to campus and present an analysis of their findings to peers, staff, and parents.

BASIS Oro Valley is one of 10 BASIS charter schools participating in the 2017 BASIS.ed Senior Project Program. To view the details of a specific project, select a student below.

See all BASIS.ed Senior Projects

Alyza K.

Exploring the World of Cardiology

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Alyza K.

Exploring the World of Cardiology

BASIS advisor: Cheri Carswell
Internship location: Carondelet Medical, Tucson, AZ
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Navin Kedia, Cardiologist
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When asked what job they want to have after school, so many students instantly say, “doctor.” As one of these students, I took it upon myself to enter the world of medicine under the watchful eye of a doctor, in order to see if it’s actually the career I want to pursue. Exploring the world of cardiology is a two-part project for me: half of it is experiencing and recording the daily activities of a cardiologist, and the other half is selecting a patient and writing my very own case study. For the most part, my project will consist of shadowing Dr. Kedia at Carondelet Medical, and making notes on what he does and how he does it. I hope to sit in in as many procedures as possible, and by the end to have a case study that I can present. Hopefully, during this process, I will help not only myself but other students to decide whether a career as a practicing physician is the right choice.

Ashlyn S.

The Truth of Crime Labs: Television versus Reality

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Ashlyn S.

The Truth of Crime Labs: Television versus Reality

BASIS advisor: Brian McNerney
Internship location: Arizona State University Forensics
Onsite Mentor: Kim Kobojek, Clinical Associate Professor of Forensics, Arizona State University
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Crime shows are rapidly gaining popularity which is causing an increase in either accurate or inaccurate knowledge about how crime labs work. Since people tend to trust what they see on TV, it can be a problem if what they are watching is inaccurate. The technology of crime labs has changed dramatically over the years, but television shows have always shown crime labs completing unbelievable tasks with incredible speed and accuracy. I know that television shows are not always realistic, and crime labs in reality are probably much different, but I have always wondered how much of a contrast there is between the two. The goal of my project is to find out how different the two versions of crime labs are, and to analyze the accuracy of the crime shows. My project provides new insight into the difference between crime labs on and off screen. To determine the accuracy or inaccuracy of the crime labs shown in television, I need to gather data from television shows and from real life. I plan on studying the crime labs shown in: NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, CSI: New York, and Rizzoli & Isles. To learn about what makes up a crime lab, I will be talking with people who work, or have worked, in them. I also plan on going on a crime lab tour to learn about the machines and the environment of the workplace.

Benjamin C.

Creating a Detailed Diagram of the Arm for Medical Study

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Benjamin C.

Creating a Detailed Diagram of the Arm for Medical Study

BASIS advisor: Jake Wilhelm
Internship location: Telexis
Onsite Mentor: Mark Lawson, CEO
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My senior project has multiple goals that will contribute to one final product, a detailed interactive model of the human arm on a website. The first, most time-consuming goal is learning HTML and CSS coding languages. I am using Codecadamy and my internship at Telexis to learn these. The next step is to create models of the muscular, cardiovascular, and nervous systems in the right arm, as well as one model of a full arm. Next, I will be porting the three-dimensional model into a website hosted by Telexis. Ideally, I’d like users to be able to select which systems they want to see in the model by selecting the different layers on the side of the model. If time permits, and there aren’t too many bugs when the page launches, I also want to have the main tissue bodies be interactive in a way that shows the most common diseases that affect specific tissues in the arm. The main purpose of this diagram is for medical students to study anatomy by looking at a well-made model to get a sense of where each part of the arm is, instead of just memorizing the name and what the tissue looks like on its own. Until now, there is no well made, three-dimensional diagram of the arm for study, and I want to create one. If it is popular, I may make more models after the project is over.

Bodo L.

Analysis of Organic Farming and the Agricultural Industry

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Bodo L.

Analysis of Organic Farming and the Agricultural Industry

BASIS advisor: Cynthia Blackey
Internship location: Tucson Village Farm
Onsite Mentor: Elizabeth Sparks, 4-H Extension Assistant Agent/Pima County Cooperative Extension
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Recently, there has been a growing trend towards healthier lifestyles in America, as evidenced through the promotion of new diets, “super-foods” like kale, and the invigoration of “organic” and “all-natural” food production. Nonetheless, many Americans still lack a concrete image of where their food comes from; often, people living in urban settings especially feel a disconnect between the food on their table and its origins. Tucson Village Farm is a farm located in an urban setting near the University of Arizona. It has been dedicated to the youth in Tucson community, and it serves as an opportunity to educate all people about healthy food, including proper diets, responsible and wholesome food production, and nutritious food preparation. It offers numerous opportunities for youth from throughout the community to volunteer, learn, and participate in hands-on programs revolving around farming. My role at Tucson Village Farm is to participate in farm work such as preparing gardens, growing, and harvesting. In addition, I will be working with other Spring Interns in education programs like “Growing Forward” for our visitors, and I will volunteer at various events like our Farmer’s Market.

Brady M.

Brady Takes a Hike for Charity

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Brady M.

Brady Takes a Hike for Charity

BASIS advisor: Peter Newbegin
Internship location: Arizona Trail Association
Onsite Mentor: Matthew Nelson, Executive Director, Arizona Trail Association
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I have always loved backpacking and being outdoors, so I have chosen to hike the Arizona Trail over the course of this project. The Arizona Trail spans some of the most diverse ecology in America, stretching from the US-Mexico border 800 miles through the Sonoran Desert all the way through the Superstitions and up to the Grand Canyon. To give this trek added meaning, I have decided to collect donations for a cause: the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In doing this, I intend to gain an understanding of non-profit institutions and the protocols by which donations are admissible for non-profit organizations. Furthermore, I want to provide assistance to those with Cystic Fibrosis here in Arizona with the donations collected from my project. In completing this project, I will become the youngest person to hike the Arizona Trail.

Brian C.

Synthesizing Catalysts for Electrolysis

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Brian C.

Synthesizing Catalysts for Electrolysis

BASIS advisor: Robert Lee
Internship location: University of Arizona
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Dennis Lichtenberger, Professor at the UofA
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Obtaining and storing energy will always be a problem. There is a demand for machines to be faster and stronger, and that requires more energy. Hydrogen fuel cells will be able to provide this energy in a compact and safe manner. This research will focus on testing a Molybdenum complex that lowers the cost of making the Hydrogen, for the fuel cells. Hydrogen fuel cells’ waste is water vapor, which can be collected and used to create more hydrogen, or can be used as a clean water source. This makes them environmentally friendly, and reusable if we use the water to make more hydrogen. I am creating the Molybdenum complex in lab, so it can be tested for its efficiency in lowering the power required to make Hydrogen through electrolysis. I am doing this by learning how to create reactions in a waterless and Oxygenless environment. I expect my contribution will further the understanding of the Molybdenum complex and its properties as a catalyst for electroscopy in the scientific community.

Brian H.

Prenatal Nicotine Exposure

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Brian H.

Prenatal Nicotine Exposure

BASIS advisor: Eric Fetkenhour
Internship location: Department of Health Sciences, University of Arizona
Onsite Mentor: Scott Boitano, PhD, Associate Research Scientist, Professor
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When women become pregnant, the CDC highly recommends that they quit smoking. Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to variety of birth defects that can affect a child for the rest of his or her life. The major component of cigarettes that causes addiction is nicotine, so to get women to stop smoking during pregnancy doctors will recommend that they switch to nicotine gum or nicotine patches. These options are known to be far more safe for the child than smoking cigarettes. The researchers that I’m working with in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Arizona are attempting to determine how prenatal nicotine exposure affects a child after birth. By exposing pregnant rats to a concentration of nicotine that is deemed normal for an average daily smoker, then removing the neonatal rats once they are close to being fully grown, I can examine how the tracheas of the neonatal rats respond to the addition of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is vital in the process of maintaining a stable environment in the pulmonary system. The response to the acetylcholine is measured by a percent change in the internal short circuit current which is a reliable indicator of the response of the cells being exposed to the acetylcholine. The purpose of this research is to determine if nicotine exposure through methods other than traditional cigarettes can harm the development of the airway epithelium of the child.

Daniel M.

The Effectiveness of Retargeting Campaigns

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Daniel M.

The Effectiveness of Retargeting Campaigns

BASIS advisor: David Hughes
Internship location: Macallan Group NYC; DC
Onsite Mentor: Will Vanderveer, Co-founder, the Macallan Group
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The Macallan Group currently describes itself as a local online marketing company that helps local healthcare companies make themselves better known. I am studying the rebranding of this company to be farther-reaching through the use of webinars. Webinars are live videos addressing important topics or tutorials, which allow interaction with the audience. We believe that through messaging and answering questions live, our clients will not only become more engaged with the topic and our company, but also allow us to form a connection with our clients virtually. I will work on rebuilding the website, implementing the software needed to run webinars, and effectively marketing live videos. If we want to become farther-reaching, we need to be able to make deals and convince our clients that we are their best option without physically driving out to their location to meet. The method to study effectiveness of our campaigns includes demonstrated interest of our clients through willingness to do business with us, and the number of registrants and attendees of our webinars. The more registrants, the more initial interest, and the more attendees, the more connections we will make. The more clients that reach out to us to do business, the more effective our webinars are in building connections. Through these data, I will find the best way to rebrand a company to become farther-reaching through the implementation of webinars.

Duncan W.

Controllers and BLDC Motors

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Duncan W.

Controllers and BLDC Motors

BASIS advisor: Kolb Ettenger
Internship location: ASU
Onsite Mentor: Jens Eltze, Director of Marketing, Apex Analog
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How many people have electronics on them at all times, especially here in the US? How many people know how they really work or even how much work is put into every part of that electronic device? I want to teach people about the amount of work that is put into small electronics, ones that we even use every day, while expanding my knowledge to my future study of electrical engineering. The work I have been assigned at APEX allows me to work on a goal to implement a control loop on a heating element for a printer head and hopefully even a DC motor as well. The task I have been assigned is only a small part of a bigger whole. The printer head is only even a small part implemented into industrial printers. It is merely the part that ejects ink. The amount of work that is put into very small scale products can show the magnitude of work as a whole on its own. This is why people take the objects they use every day for granted. I am working on the software and understanding how the hardware works in order to simply heat the ink inside a printer head and control the shaft for a simple DC motor. The work will only touch the surface of complexity of electronics.

Eric B.

Creating a Program to Find Plantesimals

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Eric B.

Creating a Program to Find Plantesimals

BASIS advisor: Elizabeth Wheeler
Internship location: UofA Steward Observatory
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Steve Ertel, Astrophysicist, Res. Dir., Instrument scientist for the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI)
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Across the universe, surrounding millions of stars, are rings of rocky material spanning from a few micrometers to multiple kilometers across, colliding, smashing, and breaking. These rings are most commonly referred to as “debris disks” as they are the remnants of massive interplanetary collisions. These rings are difficult to observe as they do not produce light of their own, but transmit light from nearby stars. Dr. Steve Ertel has been studying a debris disk surrounding a white dwarf star, because they are the brightest, in the Helix Nebula. During observation, astronomers were not able to find this debris disk. The goal of my project is to create a program which will probe different parameters in order to determine where the debris disk can be found. I will also be attending some observations and examining some of the methods that astronomers use in their research, such as the different ways to observe astronomical bodies, how astronomers collect and process data, how the brilliant images of space are created, and what implications these observations have both for current studies and future research. Astronomy is a field in which any person with curiosity can partake. From small personal telescopes to groundbreaking observatories, astronomy is an ever-present field. However, not many people know the methods and tools used by professional astronomers. Knowing how the universe is studied gives a glimpse into a field for which many people have passion.

Erika S.

The Butterfly Effect: the 2016 American Presidential Election Edition

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Erika S.

The Butterfly Effect: the 2016 American Presidential Election Edition

BASIS advisor: Curtis Westbay
Internship location: Washington, DC
Onsite Mentor: Samara Klar, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Arizona
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On November 9th, 2016 many Americans woke up to unexpected presidential election results. We were bewildered that the media, history, and society had seemed to dictate entirely different results, but political scientists weren’t in the same boat. Many could point at evidence throughout the election, and even historically, that indicated Donald Trump would be elected President. I’m diving head-first into the ocean of information about this election to find out what clues the general public missed. My approach is focused on the concept of the butterfly effect, which emphasizes that small causes have large effects. I am looking at interpretations from political scientists, news coverage, and historical precedent to analyze the smaller events that took place during the campaign, in order to connect their impact to the overall results of the election. I intend to show how things like the debates, the 2008 Democratic primaries, and Brianna Keilar were small ripples that caused major waves in campaigns the nation thought would see smooth sailing. By proving the interconnectedness of all of these events, I am not intending to highlight how predetermined everything is, but rather how much effect a small act can have. Young people and minorities turn out to vote in low numbers because voting, and other means of political involvement, seem don’t seem big enough to change anything. I hope to fight this notion by showing that anything, no matter how small, can affect our future.

Georgie P.

Exploring Art Therapy

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Georgie P.

Exploring Art Therapy

BASIS advisor: Adrienne Fluitt
Internship location: Kylin Jewell Art Therapy
Onsite Mentor: Kylin Jewell, Art Therapist
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Art Therapy is a relatively new form of therapy that involves the process of art-making to help a patient express an experience, emotion, or problem. Patients then reflect on the artwork to better understand their personal thoughts. In my project, I am learning about the basics of art therapy, its history and many uses, and its impact of the field of psychology. Art therapy can help many groups of people; I am specifically studying its effect on individuals with stress and anxiety. Most people know that high school students at BASIS are under a lot of stress, so by starting an art therapy group at school, I will analyze stress surveys taken after group sessions to see if art therapy can help stress management in high school students. I believe that art therapy is a commonly overlooked treatment option that is beneficial to many different types of people, so with my project, I hope to bring to light this form of therapy and help others, as well as myself, to learn more about it.

Griffin O.

Hazelnuts: Development of an Animated Series

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Griffin O.

Hazelnuts: Development of an Animated Series

BASIS advisor: Brad Bultman
Internship location: Proctor Music Studio
Onsite Mentor: Laura Proctor, Director, Proctor Music Studio
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With the rise in high quality, family-friendly television animation in the last decade, and my hobbies of creating animation online and composing music, I have decided to create an animated pilot, and, if possible, a series. Studying the success of similar shows, I plan to replicate their quality and mimic their production development, including using professional animation software to achieve high-quality results. My goal for this project is to complete the animated pilot and to release it for online viewing.

BASIS.ed Senior Projects - Student not pictured

Isaac D.

Electric Bloodhound: Programming Brain Cells to Smell

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Isaac D.

Electric Bloodhound: Programming Brain Cells to Smell

BASIS advisor: Marguerite Ellis
Internship location: United States Military Academy Bartlett Hall 440-C
Onsite Mentor: Luis Alvarez, Academy Professor in the department of Chemistry and Life Sciences
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Biomedical engineering is currently one of the fastest-growing fields in all of STEM; the potential to utilize natural processes to engineer solutions to real-world problems is very promising and exciting. One example is the field of biosensors, which use living organisms to capture data that may be difficult to detect using traditional circuit-based sensors. My project attempts to develop one such sensor, particularly one that possesses the ability to detect volatile substances with high sensitivity and specificity. This sensor has been tentatively dubbed “eNOSE” and will monitor and characterize physiological responses from specially-designed mammalian cells in order to identify odorants. My role is to assist the researchers at the United States Military Academy within the University of Arizona who are attempting to utilize the biology behind this vision. Should this technology come to fruition as a result of this research, the applications are varied and substantial, ranging from concealed explosives detection to disease screening. Ideally, my efforts will help show that the bio-engineering required to produce a device like this is feasible, and eNOSE can be “scent” out into the world.

Ivy M.

The Children of Oracle

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Ivy M.

The Children of Oracle

BASIS advisor: Helen Baker
Internship location: Jade Beall Photography
Onsite Mentor: Jade Beall, Owner, Jade Beall Photography
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In a place that is often unknown due to its shared name with a road, there are children who are often overlooked. As someone who has lived in the town of Oracle for my entire life, I am here to share their lives with you. I am creating a book containing conversations and photographs that I have taken during time spent with these peers. It is my belief that art is a powerful form of communication. It is my hope that being faced with the children’s stories will leave a deep impact on the public. However, due to the sensitivity of the topics, all stories will be kept anonymous. The point of this book is not to judge but to reveal an honest, visual, personal presentation of their lives.

Jace O.

Relaxation and Stress Relief Through Yoga

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Jace O.

Relaxation and Stress Relief Through Yoga

BASIS advisor: Helen Baker
Internship location: BASIS Oro Valley
Onsite Mentor: Maria Mendola, Yoga Instructor
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My project is attempting to contribute to the BASIS Oro Valley community by creating a yoga class in the last month of school for students interested in relieving the stress of final exams, AP tests, and Comprehensive Exams. I believe that the last month of school can be very stressful for students; when operating with a lot of stress, people tend to perform more poorly than someone who is not as stressed. I am interning as a yoga instructor’s assistant in order to learn more about doing yoga and how to teach a yoga class. The majority of how I will address my topic is through self-guided research from books on yoga. I will address the issue of stress during the last month of school with an optional after-school class once or twice a week for an hour that students can come to in order to relieve some of their stress. I expect that students who do chose to go to my after-school class will be less stressed and have less anxiety on test days. I remember being very stressed about how I would perform on my final exams and AP tests; I would have greatly appreciated such a program when I was taking these tests. I believe that everyone would benefit from a little bit of stress relief.

Jared G.

Exploring Genetic Engineering

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Jared G.

Exploring Genetic Engineering

BASIS advisor: Robert Lee
Internship location: Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Monica Schmidt, Assistant Professor - The School of Plant Sciences, BIO5 Institute
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For a few years now, I have been certain that I want to become an engineer. However, one thing that I have not been certain of is what kind of engineer. I have decided that I will use my Senior Project as a means of further investigating one branch of engineering to see if it particularly drives my curiosity. I will be working with Dr. Monica Schmidt, of the Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation at the University of Arizona, on a project currently underway at her lab: a few types of plant seeds, namely soybean, are being precisely genetically edited, then grown in an attempt to create a plant that is able to produce more of a selected protein. With this project, I will gain a better personal understanding of genetic engineering and the methods and processes to undertake these tasks.

Jennifer X.

APPetizing: Creating an App to Find Restaurants

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Jennifer X.

APPetizing: Creating an App to Find Restaurants

BASIS advisor: Tommaso Cioni
Internship location: San Francisco, CA
Onsite Mentor: Eric Xiao, Software Engineer
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Food is the basis of life, and on the occasion when someone eats out, choosing a restaurant can be a surprisingly difficult task. This project aims to tackle that problem through an app centered on pictures of the dishes. Sometimes, all it takes to decide where or what to eat are pictures that can help users realize what they are really craving. With pictures, users know exactly what they will be eating before they even enter a restaurant. This focuses the restaurant-finding process on the actual dishes, so that users can discover lesser-known but delicious cuisine in a new, fun way. This project explores the mobile app development process from app concept design to app creation: user interface design, Swift foundational code, databases, and more. The final app product allows users to scroll through pictures of food found within a certain radius around them. Then, the user can select a photo to view details about the restaurant that serves the photographed dish. The app also features more search filters, such as by food type or cost. The app’s focus on pictures centers the restaurant finding process on the most appetizing part: the food.

Jeremiah P.

2017: A Space Odyssey

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Jeremiah P.

2017: A Space Odyssey

BASIS advisor: Kolb Ettenger
Internship location: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Onsite Mentor: Jason Reimuller, Author, Project PoSSUM
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2017: A Space Odyssey will examine how a new generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers plan to traverse the vast wastes of space and learn more about our place in the universe. Instead of learning about the engineering challenges that lie ahead, I plan to experience them first-hand. I will intern with the engineering team at R-3 Aerospace, who are building a novel rocket engine that will dramatically lower the cost of traveling into space. This will give me an understanding of the engineering involved at the nuts-and-bolts level of spacecraft. I will participate in the civilian astronaut training program, hosted by the Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesophere (PoSSUM) program. My training at PoSSUM will be a valuable insight into the human element of space exploration, a field known as bioastronautics. This foray into bioastronautics will include experiences ranging from high-g conditioning to learning how to use a spacesuit. Finally, I will explore cave systems in the American southwest to analyze the environment and life-forms likely to be found on the subsurface of Mars and other planets. Learning how to analyze these subterranean microbes, known as extremophiles, will be key to humanity’s exploration of space.

Kayla C.

12 Weeks in a Naturopathic Doctor's Shoes

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Kayla C.

12 Weeks in a Naturopathic Doctor's Shoes

BASIS advisor: Marguerite Ellis
Internship location: Blue Oak Clinic
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Stephanie Stark, N.M.D., Doctor of Naturopathy
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What would it be like to go to college, get a degree and not know what to do with it? My project is attempting to avoid this situation by answering the question of whether I should pursue a career as a naturopathic doctor or take a different path to become an allergist instead. This is an important question to answer as I would have to not only go to medical school after four years of undergraduate schooling, but would also have to attend a specialized naturopathic school to get an N.D, which would take roughly two to four years more. I’m also curious about naturopathy, as it falls under the category of alternative medicine. I am excited to see what people think of taking “supplements” instead of conventional medication and whether patients believe if they work or not. I am currently working on answering this question through an internship at Blue Oak Clinic, which is explicitly a naturopathic clinic, with three naturopathic doctors. I think that in the end, I will either decide to pursue an N.D. or become an M.D. and research the field of naturopathic medicine.

Kaylee P.

Marketing for Humanity

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Kaylee P.

Marketing for Humanity

BASIS advisor: Leigh Preuss
Internship location: Habitat for Humanity, Tucson, AZ
Onsite Mentor: Laura Sanchez, Habitat for Humanity Tucson Marketing and Communications Manager
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I am interning for the marketing and communications department of Habitat for Humanity Tucson. I am posting on social media to promote Habitat for Humanity Tucson and the Tucson HabiStore, interviewing volunteers and employees, taking photos for social media at build sites or at the HabiStore, and writing blogs/articles to promote programs within Habitat for Humanity. I am also exploring the career fields of marketing and communications, graphic design, and journalism. In addition to exploring these fields, I hope to become more involved in Habitat’s mission and to show people the great work that Habitat for Humanity does for the community by helping to build houses for families that need decent and affordable homes. I chose to do this internship for my Senior Project because I believe in the goals of Habitat for Humanity and I love what they do for the community. Habitat for Humanity believes that we all deserve to have a decent life, feeling strength and stability day after day. Habitat helps future homeowners realize that they have the power to take care of themselves and build their own future. At Habitat for Humanity, we are building not only decent and affordable homes, but also strength, stability, and self-reliance.

Kelsey K.

Santa Rita Mine Proposal

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Kelsey K.

Santa Rita Mine Proposal

BASIS advisor: Tarah Santilli
Internship location: Save the Scenic Santa Ritas
Onsite Mentor: Greg Shinsky, Board of Directors
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For my Senior Project I am researching the outcomes, both economic and financial, of the Rosemont Santa Rita Copper Mine Proposal. There are several circulating notions surrounding this topic; many are vague or contradictory, so most of the public is unaware of what is fact and what is fiction. The outcomes of this proposal have direct impacts on the city of Tucson and the surrounding areas, so it is important that the citizens have complete and correct facts. In an attempt to find the most facts and to be as unbiased as possible, I have secured contacts with both a group opposing the mine and with people in the company that is producing the mine, and even a few professors at the University of Arizona, who will help me to understand how the mine will affect the environment and how open pit mining really works. My goal in all of this is to find the most correct facts about the mine and the impacts it will have on the city and its surrounding areas, as this affects peoples’ homes. Community members deserve to have all of the correct knowledge of what exactly is going on in their own backyards.

Kenneth L.

Introduction to Medical Field Anesthesiology

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Kenneth L.

Introduction to Medical Field Anesthesiology

BASIS advisor: Lynn Davidson
Internship location: University of Arizona Medical Center
Onsite Mentor: Jessica Crosby, Senior Biomedical Engineer
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Anesthesiology is the practice of making a surgery less painful and traumatic for patients through the use of chemicals to block pain signals from getting to the brain. Because technology has become more advanced, and techniques used in anesthesiology are getting more complex, many types of equipment and many techniques are used when practicing anesthesiology. Since I am planning to become an anesthesiologist, it would be wise for me to get a head start on the basics, so I have a firmer grasp on it when I formally learn about it in medical school. I will be doing an internship with Dr. Samata Paidy at the University of Arizona Medical Center, as well as doing independent research. I hope to see the difference between theory and practice by the end of the project. I will also be volunteering in the hospital to become more adapted to the medical environment. The U.S. population is projected to get older and larger, which means that there would be a greater demand for highly-skilled people in the medical field. This project is aimed for me to be in that highly skilled set of people to help the projected aging population.

Krystin V.

BASIS Oro Valley's First Project Grad

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Krystin V.

BASIS Oro Valley's First Project Grad

BASIS advisor: Elizabeth Thies
Internship location: Oro Valley City Council
Onsite Mentor: Mary Snider, Oro Valley City Councilwoman
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Project Grad is a night dedicated to the graduates of the senior class, which will provide them a night of fun activities, food, and much more. Overall the main objective of Project Grad is to provide a safe environment for graduates to celebrate with their class for one last night. In order to carry out this event, the involvement of the school and local community is necessary. Over the course of this project I will determine who will be involved, who is volunteering, what food and beverage will be at the event, and what activities are at the event. Ultimately I will plan every step of the event from beginning to end, from the moment kids check into the event to the second they leave the following morning. I hope to see majority of the graduating class attend and enjoy themselves over the course of the night. This project is so important because it makes sure graduates are kept safe while allowing students to celebrate their high school accomplishments. High school graduation is a major milestone in teenagers’ lives and keeping them safe is a priority.

Lara E.

The Strength Behind Ballet, in Photographs

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Lara E.

The Strength Behind Ballet, in Photographs

BASIS advisor: Leigh Preuss
Internship location: Artifact Dance Company
Onsite Mentor: Katelyn Hill, Professional Dancer
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Ballerinas are experts at creating the illusion of floating and gliding through the air, of making themselves seem weightless as they drift on the tops of their feet; they are the epitome of grace. Yet, in reality, it’s not as easy as they make it look. Ballerinas are trained for years in their field, building up incredible muscle strength, learning to hide the pain that stings in their feet, creating the illusion of grace that the audience desires. In my senior project, a photography project, I want to expose just that. Throughout the time of this project, I am working in conjunction with Artifact Dance Company and dance photographer Ed Flores, using various lighting techniques in photography, to demonstrate the pain and strength needed in the disciplined art of ballet.

Lucas T.

Internship at Metal Works Precision Machine Shop

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Lucas T.

Internship at Metal Works Precision Machine Shop

BASIS advisor: Chester Clark
Internship location: Metal Works Precision Machine and Tool, Inc.
Onsite Mentor: Timothy Brown, Owner, Metalworks Precision Machine and Tool
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Despite the increasing use of software in everyday life, using machines to create products that start as raw pieces of metal remains vital to making designs in engineering a reality. Precision Metal Works Machine Shop is at the heart of this process, as machinists take concepts from engineers’ blueprints and replicate them with an accuracy of up to one ten-thousandth of an inch. The machines used to accomplish this are CNC vertical mills and lathes, which run programs written in G-code, and there are also hand-operated mills and lathes at the machine shop. As an engineer it is important to be familiar with where and how every design is realized. Through this project I hope that observation and hands-on involvement in this environment will help form a solid foundation in machining and its connection to Mechanical Engineering.

Luis O.

Demonstrating the Impact of Good Editing and Directing in Film

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Luis O.

Demonstrating the Impact of Good Editing and Directing in Film

BASIS advisor: Brian McNerney
Internship location: Evangraedavis
Onsite Mentor: Evan Davis, Professional Director of Documentaries
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When you make a movie, every frame is painstakingly crafted to convey a certain meaning, whether that is to reveal more about a character or introduce a certain plot element. This also means that each shot is deliberately set up to manipulate the audience’s emotions in some way. The directors and editors of a movie have complete control in what and how they allow their audience to view the subject of their film. For narrative films, this manipulation is normal, even welcomed by the viewing audience. It helps make the movies message and theme more clear if every aspect of the film is subtly pointing towards an overarching theme. However, for documentaries that provide factual record rather than pure entertainment, this manipulation is more heavily scrutinized. Documentarians have to balance making their films compelling while also not sensationalizing their subject. This is why I have decided to follow around a documentarian in Tucson and learn what factors on set might limit a shot and get a glimpse into the process of making a film both factual and interesting. By watching how he directs and edits his films I can see the process, unfiltered and in real time. Along with general research on composing a shot and editing, I hope to not only promote visual literacy but also highlight what is so great about when a filmmaker uses the basic conventions of good cinematography in a unique way to tell more with each frame.

Maren E.

An Internship in Biomedical Engineering

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Maren E.

An Internship in Biomedical Engineering

BASIS advisor: Cynthia Blackey
Internship location: UMC Heart Center
Onsite Mentor: John J. Jackson Sr., Assistant Director, Heart Center UMC
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Although medical technologies play an extremely large role in our lives, biomedical engineering has only recently become popular, and it is still considered a growing field. Because of this, there is a lack of understanding about how life-saving technologies are developed. This project involves interning at the Sarver Heart Center at UMC to observe the projects that are currently being developed in the lab, with the purpose of discovering how biomedical engineering is applied in a real-world setting. I will shadow research technicians and help with some of the more basic projects that are being developed. This internship reveals the intersection of engineering and medicine beyond the theoretical. Through this internship I expect to be able to develop a more well-rounded understanding of the field, which is something that I can take with me as I study biomedical engineering in college.

Matthew S.

The Current State of Water Analysis and Treatment

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Matthew S.

The Current State of Water Analysis and Treatment

BASIS advisor: Marguerite Ellis
Internship location: University of Arizona (Snyder Group)
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Minkyu Park, Researcher, Snyder Research Group
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Water treatment is one of the most fundamental necessities of any water distribution system. Generally, groundwater, having been filtered through layers of earth, has been the best source of water, but when considering using other sources, treatment becomes important. Reclaimed water has to be treated thoroughly for organic and inorganic components. In Arizona CAP water brought down from the Colorado River must be treated for “hardness”. The WEST Center, located next to the Agua Buena reclamation facility, specializes in wastewater analysis and treatment research. In cooperation with my onsite advisor, I will work in the lab on some of the projects currently ongoing at the WEST Center, and gain experience in two areas. The first area is technical – experience related to lab work, especially pertaining to analytical chemistry. The other area relates to the engineering process – experience with how projects are started, funded, and finished. Water is one of the most important resources for humans and life in general. The work that the WEST Center and other institutions like it are doing are immensely important to society.

Matthew S.

An Insight into the Goals and Workings of the American Legal System

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Matthew S.

An Insight into the Goals and Workings of the American Legal System

BASIS advisor: Robert Lee
Internship location: U of A; Marcus Engineering
Onsite Mentor: Joseph St. Louis, Attorney, Nesci and St. Louis
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The American legal system is complicated and convoluted with a multitude of laws, technicalities, procedures, and exceptions. In theory, the American legal system has simple goals and works in the best interests of the people, but beneath the complexity, who does it really serve? What are the real goals of the system, and how does it achieve them? How much subjective power do individuals have in executing the law on a local level? What duties and procedures must an attorney follow on a day-to-day basis? What duties must a lawyer carry out within a trial, and how does a lawyer execute his or her arguments? Some of these questions are difficult to answer definitively, but I intend to gain as many answers as I can to glimpse an insight into the American legal system. Nesci & St. Louis P.L.L.C. is a law firm in Tucson that deals with a variety of cases and processes a great volume of legal work. I plan to work with an attorney from this firm (Mr. Joe St. Louis) and discuss various Supreme Court decisions, cases, and other legal matters and their impact on various groups (e.g. defendants, police, judges, juries, etc.). I also plan to observe and analyze trials conducted within a courtroom to learn what methods lawyers use and to gain a grasp of the procedure.

Mea C.

With Liberty and Justice for Some: the Systematic Disregard of Native American Religious Freedom, How We Got Here, and How We Can Move Forward

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Mea C.

With Liberty and Justice for Some: the Systematic Disregard of Native American Religious Freedom, How We Got Here, and How We Can Move Forward

BASIS advisor: Jason Wright
Internship location: Annapolis; DC; Tucson
Onsite Mentor: Robert Hershey, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Education, University of Arizona Rogers College of Law
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Native American religious freedoms are not an issue covered or discussed often in the popular news outlets; however, this has changed with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the protests it has caused. More evidence has been shared with the general public that the protection of sacred land is often pushed to the wayside, as the US government does not always treat these protections as a priority. The topic of religious freedom has risen as a hot topic with the immigration ban under President Trump, and Native American religious freedoms have finally gained greater coverage with the DAPL issues and protests. Freedom of religion is a right held in high esteem in this country, yet somehow equal protection is inconsistently extended to Native American religious freedom issues because they are unique among other major religions within the United States. Through research and reading, the project will examine the history of legislation and judicial decisions that have made the violation of these religious freedoms more legally tolerated. Moreover, the project will look at how to add teeth to the American Indian Religious Freedoms Act in order to better protect religious freedoms for American Indians. It is of utmost importance that this freedom, this right, is extended to all people and religions, not just some.

Mitchell B.

The Pharmaceutical Research Process

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Mitchell B.

The Pharmaceutical Research Process

BASIS advisor: Cheri Carswell
Internship location: Pharmaceutical Sciences Department at the University of Arizona
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Nathan Cherrington, Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology
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My senior project is at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. When prescribing prescription drugs to patients, doctors do not test for disease history. This is an issue because some diseases can affect a person’s ability to metabolize certain drugs. The research that we are doing at the College of Pharmacy focuses on establishing a correlation between a liver disease called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and a person’s ability to metabolize morphine and the cancer drug SR38. In order to establish this correlation, we use rat livers. Some rats have been infected with NASH while others are healthy. Currently we are investigating the mechanisms that are responsible for this inability to metabolize certain drugs. Western Blot tests and IHC tests are used to test for transporter protein presence in the rat livers. If the transporter protein is absent, then the liver will be unable to metabolize certain drugs. IHC tests use a die to stain the proteins. Once the proteins are stained, a microscope is used to see how NASH has changed the protein configuration within the liver. I chose this project because I want to gain lab experience and to learn about pharmaceutical science. The goal of this research is to establish a connection between NASH and drug metabolism. This connection will likely save lives because once a connection is established, it is likely that disease history testing will become a mandatory part of drug prescription.

Muhammad Ali K.

An Internship in Nephrology

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Muhammad Ali K.

An Internship in Nephrology

BASIS advisor: Raylene Streuber
Internship location: Kingman Regional Medical Center
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Bassam Shakil, Nephrologist
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In the United States, certain medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are very common. Many people know how these conditions may ruin one’s health, but many do not know the impact they have on the kidneys. About one in nine adults suffers from Chronic Kidney Disease, or CKD, due to conditions such as these. When I found out about these astonishing numbers, I had to know more. Chronic Kidney Disease is a silent killer in America, and through this project I plan to learn as much as I can, while spreading awareness to my community. Once a larger number of people know about this disease, it may be more easily prevented through better lifestyle choices. I am working with Dr. Bassam Shakil, a nephrologist in Kingman, Arizona. With Dr. Shakil, I met and learn from actual patients who are suffering from CKD and trying to avoid further damage. I believe that it is very important for these patients to live a normal life, and that’s why further awareness is necessary.

Richard S.

Volume and Weight Effects on Strength Training

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Richard S.

Volume and Weight Effects on Strength Training

BASIS advisor: Mark Durfee
Internship location: LA Fitness Oro Valley
Onsite Mentor: Jimmy Dana, Personal Trainer
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My Senior Project investigates weight training methods and the effectiveness of different training regimens. I asked four students from BASIS Oro Valley to accompany me to the gym and lift weights for three months. During this time, the trainees will be put on a strict weight training regimen and a relaxed nutritional diet. The regimen breaks up weight training by muscle group (i.e. back, legs, arms, shoulders, chest). These muscle groups, as well as a cardio day and a rest day, will be cycled through on a weekly basis. I hope to establish concrete evidence on whether a high weight and low repetition training style is more effective than a low weight and high repetition style. There will be a control group of two trainees who lift with high weight and low repetition, who will be compared with two other trainees doing the same movements, but with low weight and high repetition. The results of the training will be determined with a powerlifting style competition with all the trainees. During a powerlifting competition, deadlifts, bench press, and squats are tested. The trainees will have three months to achieve personal records (or PR’s) and triumph over the rival group.

Ryan H.

Multilingual Parsing from Raw Text to Universal Dependencies

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Ryan H.

Multilingual Parsing from Raw Text to Universal Dependencies

BASIS advisor: Chester Clark
Internship location: University of Arizona
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Jungyeul Park, Visting Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Arizona
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In many programs such as search engines, translation programs and programs like Siri for the iPhone, computers use techniques to understand spoken language in order to better fulfill user request. One way a computer can do this is by breaking down a user’s sentence into what’s called Universal Dependencies. This format is especially useful because it can be used to categorize many languages all with the same grammar labels. The Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL) has announced a shared task to make a program capable of this. The goal of my project is to hopefully get the program, or the paper of our methods, accepted by the conference. By taking a base model that can parse sentences into this format and training it with sets of data from different languages, the model can be prepared to parse these languages. From there I will be able to take aspects of certain languages, and combine them to better analyze languages without training data.

Samuel W.

The Future of Flying

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Samuel W.

The Future of Flying

BASIS advisor: Chad Longoni
Internship location: Raytheon & Securaplane Technologies. Inc.
Onsite Mentor: Vince Jenkins, Field Service Engineer
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In aeronautics, batteries are very important. Usually, they provide power for many systems, and in some emergency cases the battery backup can be the thing that keeps the plane in the air long enough to land safely. As with all items on aircraft, batteries must be lightweight to be economical, but they must still be able to hold a lot of electricity. As a potential chemical engineer, I have decided to study the chemical battery systems of aircraft. I hope to research, both individually and through my internship at Securaplane Technologies, the different types of batteries currently available for use in aeronautics, and the types that are currently being developed and innovated. At Securaplane, I will actually get hands-on experience with aeronautic equipment to help me understand what is being used. Based on my current knowledge, I know that lithium batteries are commonly used, but I hope to be able to report on the pros and cons of other types of batteries by the end of this project. Improving the types of batteries we use in aeronautics can be significant, allowing for more efficient aircraft that saves resources and money. Improved aircraft will lead to cheaper ways of delivering supplies and transporting people. Aeronautics affect all of us today through the transportation of goods and people, and the batteries are an often overlooked but vital part of aircraft today.

Stephanie B.

Observing Classrooms, Before and After

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Stephanie B.

Observing Classrooms, Before and After

BASIS advisor: Elizabeth Wheeler
Internship location: University of Arizona
Onsite Mentor: Willam R. Roth, Director of Teach Arizona
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This project is designed to better understand how new teachers can best work in the classroom. While teaching is a respected profession in our society, novice teachers often struggle from a lack of resources or guidance, with twenty percent of new teachers at low-income schools leaving their positions within two years. As a hopeful future teacher, I want to know how best to prepare myself for the classroom environment and how to be the best teacher I can be. To determine useful information for new teachers, I will interview student teachers, or students of the Teach Arizona graduate program at the University of Arizona, and their cooperating teachers, or veterans who have had more experience working with students. Before interviews, however, I will observe the classrooms of the cooperating teachers in order to see how the choices and actions of the more experienced teachers affect their classroom, and get to know both the student teachers and veteran teachers better. I expect to find that more classroom time, feedback from experienced professionals, and observing others’ classrooms are incredibly valuable for developing skill and confidence in the classroom. I hope to learn what veteran teachers have found most useful and important in their jobs, and what lessons they can pass on to aspiring teachers.

Tyler K.

What's There to See?

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Tyler K.

What's There to See?

BASIS advisor: Peter Newbegin
Internship location: University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Tom Zega, U of A Planetary Materials Research Group
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Space is a mysterious place. It is full of unanswered questions and phenomena that scientists still try to answer today. That is why the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona studies samples of dust from space. At the LPL, scientists look at samples of space dust under microscopes. Details from space dust can tell us a number of things: what, when, where, and most importantly, how. During my time at the LPL, I will be working in the lab, gathering and analyzing data. At other times, I will be working with professors, asking questions and obtaining help in analyzing the data. Knowing what a sample is made of, when it was formed, and where it came from will lead to a better understanding of space. In the bigger picture, knowing all of this will eventually help us understand the mysterious phenomena and unanswered questions of the universe, such as where did we come from, and how did the universe come to be. Although these questions may not be answered during my stay at the LPL, my personal goal is to learn how to analyze the data I find at the LPL and ultimately find the significance in it.

BASIS.ed Senior Projects - Student not pictured

Vishnu K.

Drug Testing Cures for ALS on Drosophila Models

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Vishnu K.

Drug Testing Cures for ALS on Drosophila Models

BASIS advisor: Cheri Carswell
Internship location: University of Arizona
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Daniela Zarnescu, Associate Professor in the Departments of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Neurology
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ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the neurons of the muscles of the human body. It usually begins in humans after the age of 60, and causes death two to four years after onset. When motor neurons begin to die, the brain loses control of the muscles, eventually causing the inability to speak, breathe, eat, or move. Around 75% of human disease genes have a match in Drosophila (fruit fly) models. As such, these models can be useful in the lab to screen new drugs. The Zarnescu Lab at the University of Arizona collects and crosses flies in order to make fly larvae which can be used to test the drugs. These larvae are allowed to develop for some days and consume food containing the drugs being tested. For this project, I will put the larvae on gel plates and take three minute time-lapse videos. The videos are studied using a computer program which helps us analyze the movements of the larvae, from which we can conclude how helpful the drugs are. We expect that these drugs will allow the larvae with ALS to move easier and quicker than the control group. These studies are important to the scientific community because ALS is a serious and widespread disease; all contributions that can help us learn more about this disease are necessary.

William F.

Exploring Techniques in Art

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William F.

Exploring Techniques in Art

BASIS advisor: Jennifer Watson
Internship location: The University of Arizona Health Sciences
Onsite Mentor: Linda Allyn, Artist
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As an artist myself, I can sympathize with how artists sometimes find it difficult to gather inspiration for their work. With this in mind, I wanted to experience a different type of artistic medium with the idea that I could incorporate some new techniques into my typical methods. My Senior Project is interning at Fire Ranch Glassworks in Catalina with local artisan Lynda Allyn and in learning several techniques from her with three-dimensional artwork, a skill I have not yet developed. I am learning the basics of glass blowing and plan to create multimedia pieces of work. Currently, we are putting molten glass onto canvas to create burn marks which I can then work around to develop into unique works of art. I have a lot of experience with two-dimensional work, taking art as an elective every year of high school, but introducing the methods I learn from three-dimensional work can help my art stand out. I hope to present a way for upcoming artists to design with different principals in mind.