Students say ‘yes’ to research

The Jeffrey R. Holland  Centennial Commons and Gardner Center were teeming with knowledge Friday as students from all over Utah congregated for the ninth annual Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research. 

UCUR gives students the opportunity to present their undergraduate research to peers, faculty and field specialists. 

The Gardner Center was abuzz Friday morning, and the ballroom quickly filled. Novice researchers waited patiently for the keynote speaker to take the stage.

Lincoln Nadauld was introduced to the crowd by his father and former DSU President Stephen Nadauld before he took the stage. Then, he explained to the crowd that he too was in their position as an undergraduate researcher. His speech then explained the steps he took to get where he is, and he continually put emphasis on a question he was asked by his would-be mentor David Jones at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

“He said to me [something] I’ll never forget,” Nadauld said. “He said, ‘So, you have an interest in research?”’

He said he couldn’t have imagined what lies ahead of him when he said “yes” to that question, and that is what he wanted to share with the crowd.

“What you study, it turns out, is not nearly as important as doing the study or participating in research,” Nadauld said.

UCUR was composed of 125 poster presentations and 133 oral presentations that were held on the fourth floor of the Holland Building.

RonJai Staton, a senior psychology major from Naha, Japan, said he was nervous to present to such esteemed peers and professionals, but he thinks he did well in delivering his oral presentation.

“Any opportunity to get more experience in something, whether it’s [my] work or education, I jump on it,” Staton said.  

Stephen Armstrong, Undergraduate Research Committee chair and an associate professor of English, said he was pleased with the turnout and that all the speakers were there.

An institution of higher learning within Utah is chosen each year to host the UCUR, and shortly after DSU became a university, the UCUR committee decided it was time for DSU to host it, Armstrong said.

“With hard work, smart people and dedication from DSU employees and students, we’ve had this come together,” Armstrong said. “And I couldn’t be happier.”

He said the event was meticulously planned, and, as a result, the participants knew where to go for each of the presentations. 

Erica Armstrong, a senior psychology and speech and hearing sciences major at the University of Utah from Salt Lake City, said she is working toward her Ph.D., and the research she has done will look good when she applies to graduate school. But, she said she wasn’t so concerned with grad school when she started doing research three years ago. She only got into researching because she found out that the University of Utah had a program were she would get paid to do it.

William Christensen, vice president of academics, said the little things that come from undergraduate research are where the value is. It is working with teachers and learning in a hands-on way that creates that value.

“For a student to be involved in this sort of thing sets them apart on their resume and their transcript if they seek to go to either graduate school or into the work place,” Christensen said. 

Some students who attended the conference as spectators were only there to complete a class requirement. But, others were genuinely interested in what it had to offer. Nicholas Coulter, a senior biology major from St. George, plans on doing research in the future, so he was excited to hear the UCUR was being hosted at DSU.

“One of my class requirements is the poster and another is the oral presentations,” Coulter said, “but I would have done them anyway.”

Vitamins, drugs for cognitive enhancement unappealing to students

Originally developed by two Harvard students, a newer vitamin created to help students mentally is starting to become more popular among the college students.

NeuroFuse is composed of 13 ingredients that claim to increase dopamine levels in the brain, and some of these vitamins claim to even help with memory retention. However, none of these claims have been scientifically proven by researchers. 

These vitamins were created and are being advertised specifically toward college students. 

The creators are saying NeuroFuse is supposed to help reduce stress, increase memory retention, concentration and focus. It is being described as an amphetamine-free form of Adderall by some health professionals. The prescription drug Adderall is used to treat many different strange disorders such as narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactive disorder. Even though NeuroFuse is being so closely compared to the Adderall, the vitamin is supposed to have no amphetamine related risks, but again it has not been scientifically proven. 

Valerie Haycock, senior criminal justice major from St. George, said she would never take the drugs or vitamins similar to NeuroFuse.

“I have no need to take the [vitamin],” Haycock said. “I have seen what kind of effects they can have and [the effects] are not good.”

Even with it being compared to the drug Adderall, NeuroFuse is not FDA approved. It is not required to be approved because it is classified as a dietary supplement. 

Carole Grady, dean of health sciences, said with any new/old dietary vitamin or supplement, everyone should proceed with the caution. 

“Uncertainty often exists with dietary supplement use safety including potential long-term effects,” Grady said. 

This drug has only been on the shelves since later 2013, so knowing what the longer term effects could be is totally unknown.

“It has not been scientifically studied for its therapeutic effect,” Grady said. “We don’t know if it really does what it claims to do: improve mental proficiency, cognition and memory.” 

According to FDA standards, a vitamin does not have to go through all the requirements that the prescription medicine would have to go through. That makes it easier to sell the vitamin, because there are no guidelines that are stopping anyone from making and selling the vitamin. 

“FDA approval of medication takes several years,” Grady said. “The medication is carefully tested on animals and humans before any approval for the use in the general population.”

Instead of using a dietary vitamin or supplement there are better and more effective ways to improve your health. Grady listed a few being exercise on a regular basis, eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough sleep, avoiding excessive amounts of caffeine and avoiding alcohol.

“[To] manage stress, in other words, be as healthy as you can possibly be,” Grady said.  

Weight lifting crucial for athletes

Before, during and after the season, Dixie State athletics teams put in countless hours of work to prepare for their time in the limelight. 

Throughout the season, student-athletes are often seen throwing down alley-oops or reeling in one-handed catches. Something that isn’t usually seen is the effort and dedication it takes to be able to perform those tasks.

Just walk in to the school gym and you’ll see exactly where that effort and dedication takes place, not only in football and basketball, but also in tennis, volleyball and numerous other sports. Countless hours are put into the gym by the athletes. Bryce Patterson, Dixie State strength and conditioning coach, is at the helm of all of it. His extensive career throughout the NCAA ranks is a testament to his experience in the field. Patterson is a certified USA weight lifting coach.

Patterson oversees all student-athletes workout regiments, specializing exercises for each specific sport. There are three daily lifting sessions, at 9 a.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Junior basketball player Robbie Nielson, a business administration major from Gresham, Oregon, says the attention paid to each sport is extremely effective. 

“We usually alternate between lifting cycles, and that helps us maintain our overall strength throughout the year,” Nielson said. “I think it’s really helpful for the demand of each sport.” 

The demand Nielson is talking about is answered by the variations in lifts and workouts that Patterson assigns to each athlete. He said every player is different, and it is a constant struggle to maintain balance in their workouts. Balance is Patterson’s main focus as the strength and conditioning coach. Junior linebacker Robert Metz, an integrated studies major from Tucson, Arizona, confirmed that. 

“We do a lot of different exercises that work different muscles,” Metz said. “His [Patterson] programs are designed to make you stronger and more athletic, not necessarily bigger.” 

To achieve that balance, Patterson employs five different techniques in his lifts: Pushing, pressing, pulling, squatting and hinge workouts are all designed to create different movements for different muscle groups. 

“I try to fit every athlete with lifts and workouts that help them in their particular sport,” Patterson said. “Basketball players need more focus on lateral explosiveness and single leg workouts, while football players can focus on speed and strength.”

You can see the programs’ effect in action year-round. Look for the teams schedules on the school athletic site.

Trending Now: ‘Sliding in the DMs’ doesn’t work

Direct messages on social networks have become the call sign of the creep.

The direct message, or DM, featured on networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, allows users to send messages without having to post them publicly like a regular comment or reply to a post. This means as long as you are connected with someone on these networks, you run the risk of having someone you might not know very well trying to talk to you, usually to make romantic advances. 

Obviously this feature can be utilized in non-creepy ways, but it’s easy to see how it could appeal to certain groups of weird or desperate people. People you might not normally give your number to have found a way to contact you. 

The act of trying to woo a girl by direct messaging her is prevalent enough that it has become known across the internet as “sliding into the DMs.”

Tia Lyman, a sophomore business administration major from Cedar City, had nothing good to say about getting direct messages.

“DMs are definitely not normal,” Lyman said. “No guy or girl has been successful in hitting on me. Like, I have never made a friend… because they direct messaged me.”

Likewise, Kaylie Anderson, a sophomore general education major from Sandy, said she had one particularly bad experience with a message. 

“It was from someone I didn’t even know, and it was straight up pornographic,” Anderson said. “I just blocked and reported the person, but I get less creepy ones from guys I barely know a lot. Just like, ‘hey [heart emoji]’ and stuff like that.”

Of course, after hearing all of that, I had to try sliding into the DMs for myself. I took a moment to swallow my pride, kissed my dignity goodbye and began the task.

Generally I don’t connect on social networks with lots of people I haven’t met before, but I found some prospects I decided would work. Before I started messaging them, I felt like I needed to build some type of rapport, so I spent some time favoriting some of their tweets or liking some of their pictures, depending on the network. I felt like this would at least introduce the idea that I existed, which I hoped would make my initial messages seem less creepy.

Not surprisingly, after the messaging began, it didn’t last very long.

One girl I messaged took her time answering my first message but was cordial. After exchanging a few messages with hour breaks in between, the conversation came to a halt. I had struck out.

Most of the others reacted similarly. They varied in amounts of messages and time or I never got a reply. 

I had failed to solicit female attention by using the method generally looked down on by my peers. What a blow to my self-esteem, I think.

There could be a brighter side to sliding into DMs, though.

Kassidy Waddell, a junior English major from Gilbert, Arizona, said she has had some positive experiences with DMs despite the stigma. 

“I don’t mind it,” Waddell said. “I usually just end up being friends with them, but its flattering to me.”

So maybe “sliding in the DMs” isn’t the best way to try and hit on someone, but if people are getting married to their Tinder matches then anything is possible. Maybe the girl of your dreams is just waiting for a DM. I wouldn’t count on that, though. 

Dixie Fest features DJ battle

A disc jockey battle will be bringing local talent, music lovers and fans to Dixie State University as part of Dixie Fest 2K15.

The Dixie State University Student Association usually brings two artists to DSU as part of the annual Dixie Fest, but this year it will be trying something new with the DJ battle. Members of DSUSA will pick six finalists who will take turns flaunting their skills in front of the audience for a chance to win $1,000 on March 27. The DJ battle will be the opener at Dixie Fest for the featured artist — OCD: Moosh and Twist.

Jill Wulfenstein, a senior integrated studies major from Pahrump, Nevada, is the DSUSA vice president of student life and has been organizing the event.

“[The DJ battle] is a good way to create buzz for the concert and the local talent coming to Dixie,” Wulfenstein said. “It’ll also give the DJs a good opportunity to perform and get their name out there.”

Each DJ will have ten minutes to perform on stage. The winner will be decided by the audience.

The battle will be a great way to gain exposure for aspiring DJ artists, said DSUSA Marketing Manager Matt Devore, a junior integrated studies major from Mesquite, Nevada.

“It won’t be easy for [the DJs] to put themselves out there and get judged by their peers,” Devore said. “But it will be a great résumé builder for them. It’s a great way to get DJs involved in what they love.”

The DJ battle has also attracted some DJs from all over Utah. Dallin Keil is a DJ from Provo who owns his own DJ business and will be coming down to St. George for the battle. Keil attended DSU for a semester in 2013. He has been a DJ for three years now and has done parties, dances and weddings.

Jordan Nelson of St. George is another aspiring DJ who will be competing.

“DJ-ing and mixing is my passion, and I love being on stage more than anything,” Nelson said. “I entered to show St. George that DJ-ing isn’t just downloading illegal music and playing it off iTunes, but it’s a real art and a skill.”

Nelson said he hopes to walk away with a bunch of new fans.  

A DJ battle in St. George will be especially good for DSU and the community, Keil said.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about DJs and what they do,” Keil said. “We do a lot more than just push buttons and change songs—we can make music too. St. George is kind of a closed-minded community as a whole, so it will be good for them to see what we really do.”

Keil is coming to compete in the DJ battle to have fun and showcase his talents, he said.

“DJ battles are always really fun for everyone,” Keil said. “[Dixie Fest] will be different with a DJ battle instead of having a second artist, but I think it will be worth it for everyone that comes.”    

The other contestants failed to comment before this article’s deadline. 

Tattoos beginning to lose negative stigma

I sat in a chair in a laundry room in some guy’s house in southern California and got my first tattoo six years ago.

Obviously this is not ideal, nor is it exactly legal as far as health issues are concerned. However, at this time in recent history, most tattoo shops in my city were in some way run by the local chapter of one of the world’s largest (and most dangerous) motorcycle clubs. In turn, they weren’t necessarily places I wanted to go to. So I went to a known tattoo artist in the community who wasn’t associated with these shops, or any shop for that matter.

There is a stigma in our society about tattoos and that tattooed people are in some way associated with malevolent things like prison gangs or dodgy clubs that burn down rival tattoo shops, but we are not. In the past, this may have been the case, but the type of people who get tattoos today is changing, as are the shops they can go to. I can cover up my tattoos if I want to, but I don’t. I have always been fascinated with them as an art, and I think society is starting to accept the fact that they can indeed be beautiful.

According to a poll from Harris Interactive, one in five adults in America now has a tattoo, which says to me that over 60 million people in this country are starting to realize that tattoos are not a taboo to shy away from or judge people about.

“The community of tattooed people I think is growing dramatically,” said Jasen Workman, tattoo artist and owner of 314 Tattoo in St. George. “[They] have more of a relationship with other people because of tattooing … [and] that’s the community of tattooing versus the industry of it.”

It’s been a while since I’ve been asked with distaste why I have tattoos, but I still feel slightly uncomfortable walking through Target in St. George with shorts and a tank top on when I can feel others’ eyes on my tattoos. I can literally see people staring at my shoulders and legs with judgment, though probably not looking hard enough to see the majority of the tattoos are Harry Potter illustrations and literary references. If I had on pants and a sweater I would still be the same person but they wouldn’t know I have tattoos.

Deon Kennedy, a junior computer and information technology major from Chicago, said he doesn’t regret his tattoos because they have symbolism and personal meaning.

“I couldn’t describe someone who has tattoos because everyone has them nowadays, so to me there isn’t a typical type,” Kennedy said. 

Workman said many of his customers are in their late 30s and 40s because they feel like it’s more socially appropriate now. I love having tattoos and I wish more people would accept them more often, although I think we’re on the right path. As a society we should appreciate the beauty in each other rather than what may have once been seen as faults.

Swearing is soothing

Sorry mom and dad, but soap in my mouth didn’t work; I’m still a cusser, and much of that is because swear words don’t harm anyone.

Spoken too often, dirty words lose their impact, like effective pickup lines on Tinder. Place one — or two, or five — of them in dialogue with purpose, though, and any joke, work story or speech becomes better.

Also, let’s face it: Swearing is like smoking for healthy people because it just calms you down.

Cussing relates to larger issues as well — particularly on college campuses. University administrators tangling with students over their Constitutional rights makes national headlines often. Those who oppose profanity say it leads to an unsafe classroom environment. On the other side, swearing proponents wonder how productive people can worry about four-letter words when larger issues loom.

Both Dixie State University student opinion and scholars back up the latter.

Cordell Pearson, a junior psychology major from Circleville, said swear words are like fists: Don’t go flinging them around carelessly, and fellow students should not be bothered. 

“I don’t think it’s an issue,” he said. “ … we are all mature adults, and we should handle hearing those things as long as they are not [hostile] toward someone.”

Pearson also said campus-imposed rules in regards to cussing seem unnecessary because we all have the tool that makes line-crossing obvious, well, hopefully.

“I think common sense decides what’s crossing the line,” Pearson said. “People should be educated enough to know where it’s OK to say those things.”

And not only do academics agree with Pearson; they highlight swearing’s benefits. According to the psychologicalscience.org article “The Science of Swearing,” the action has surprising health benefits.

Stub a toe or bite a tongue and swear away, authors Timothy Jay and Kristin Janschewitz said.

“Recent work … even shows that swearing is associated with pain tolerance,” they said. “This finding suggests swearing has a cathartic effect, which many of us may have personally experienced in frustration or in response to pain.”

Is it just me, or did dirty words never sound so healing?

So DSU community, you took my cigarettes, but don’t snatch my freedom to express myself. Without these words, I struggle to communicate and excel in social situations. With them — in moderation — I have a tool to utilize when stuck in a difficult situation, to break the ice with group project partners and to deploy when “freaking” or “darn” just don’t some up my feelings.    

Gay-Straight Alliance welcomes everybody

For years at Dixie State University, there was no place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students to meet with like-minded people until the Gay-Straight Alliance was established on campus.

Beginning as the Pride Club in 2006, the GSA celebrates diversity in individuals, especially concerning gender identity and sexuality.  Not only are LGBT students allowed to join, but also heterosexual and cisgender (people who accept their biological sex) students are more than welcome to join in, plan and participate.

As written on the GSA Orgsync page, the club seeks to provide:

  • Support to those who need it and facilitate networking.
  • An outlet for further understanding of LGBT issues.
  • A safe atmosphere to disclose in.
  • Information on the outside LGBT community.

GSA meetings are a fine balance of formality and frankness. During event planning forums, the members speak their minds, accept new or alternate ideas for events and show their excitement to help DSU be a better, safer place for LGBT students.

GSA leadership strives to create a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

“[Students] benefit from [the GSA] because they can [meet] other people and form a support system of students who are accepting and open to other people’s situations [and lifestyles],” said Kristian Johnson, a senior biology major from Hawthorne, Nevada, and GSA president. 

GSA’s events have informative themes on gender identity and sexual orientation to create public awareness of LGBT issues.

“Most universities have had GSA-like student groups for decades,” said Matthew Smith-Lahrman, sociology program head and GSA adviser, in an email. “Our GSA has only existed for maybe eight years.”

Smith-Lahrman also said the difficulties that LGBT students face regarding their identity are challenging.

“LGBT students are often afraid to come out, yet they also want hang out with other LGBT students,” Smith-Lahrman said.  “[GSA] gives them a space to interact with friends without [worrying] about their LGBT identity getting in the way. They know they are accepted for their whole self.”

To recognize the mélange of DSU students, one of the events GSA organizes is the Diversity Wall, three white canvases, where students can write and display what makes them unique during Diversity Week.

“It really shows that there is diversity here,” Johnson said. “Even when people think there isn’t. It’s good [for it] to be visible and see it.”

Last week’s Wednes “D” event, a speed mingling social, was co-hosted by GSA.

“[The event was] super fun and a great way to meet people,” said Sascha Wirth, a freshman general education major from Salt Lake City, who attended the social.  “I [wasn’t] expecting to meet my true love, but new friends [definitely].”

Wirth also expressed interest in joining the GSA.

“It’s nice to know there’s support out there in the community [for LGBT students],” Wirth said.

Along with activities, GSA honors the National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, and The Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20.

On National Coming Out Day, GSA places a closet on campus and addresses what is like to come out of it metaphorically. Students use the closet to literally come out and declare themselves LGBT or as an ally of LGBT rights and ideals.

To memorialize those killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice, GSA hosts a candle-light vigil on The Transgender Day of Remembrance.

GSA is for all students, no matter their sexual orientation, to come meet new people, have fun and be themselves.

“No matter which sexual orientation we fall under, we are all human first,” said Doug Gubler, a continuing education student from St. George and one of the club’s founders, during the Monday meeting in the Gardner Center in conference room B at 4:00 p.m. “[We] never stop being human.”

Utah should re-think firing squad

The Wild West, times of war and a totalitarian government are what may come to mind when one thinks of execution by firing squad.

It’s a little closer to home, though. The Utah House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would revive the firing squad as an option for the death penalty, reopening the complex debate of the role execution should play in our modern society.

Utah has a long history with the firing squad. While the rest of the country committed its last execution by firing squad in 1913, it has been the preferred form of execution in Utah until 2004, when it was last banned.

If the bill passes in the state Senate, Utah would join the notorious list of countries that still execute by firing squad — including North Korea, China, Vietnam, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

As college students in Utah, the future of issues like this will be decided by our generation.

“[Execution by firing squad] is a really inhumane way to die,” said Hailey Foster, a freshman biology major from Henderson, Nevada. “It’s horrible not only for the inmate, but also for the firing squad members — having to live with someone’s death on your hands.”

In comparison with other methods of execution, the firing squad may not be as inhumane as it may seem. The preferred method of execution in the U.S. is the lethal injection. There have been many cases of botched lethal injections, where the inmates suffer before dying. The firing squad can be quick and painless if the executioners are accurate in their aim. Otherwise, the inmate can be left to bleed to death.

No matter how we administer it, execution will never be perfect.

Criminal justice professor Mike Tatum said the death penalty is necessary because it provides a deterrent for would-be murderers, closure for victims and family members, and protection for the public.

“But why do we kill people who kill people to teach them not to kill people?” Tatum said. “If you look at it that way, the death penalty is almost hypocritical.”

Although the U.S. is the last western country that still uses the death penalty, its intentional homicide rate is over twice as high as most places in Europe, where the justice system tends to seek rehabilitation for criminals rather than punishment.

Whether or not the firing squad is more humane than other forms of execution, reintroducing it in Utah is a step in the wrong direction. As proven in Europe, we need to move toward a more progressive justice system, where criminals are rehabilitated rather than crushed. No matter what a person has done, a human life is still a human life. 

Local artist speaks on sculpting at Dixie Forum

Dixie Forum speakers are distributors of knowledge and creativity, and last week, an award-winning, 87-year-old sculptor shared her story of the process behind her bronze works of art.

St. George artist L’Deane Trueblood spoke at Dixie State Universi ty on Feb. 24 about how a bronze sculpture is made and how much work actually goes into making one. Trueblood was chosen after art faculty suggested her in a list of potential presenters. 

John Burns, Dixie Forum committee chair, is in charge of putting the forums together. Burns finds people to present by looking at different media outlets such as Ted Talks, university web pages and newspapers. He also gets feedback from faculty on who they think would be good. Burns said he doesn’t get much input on ideas for forums, but he is willing to hear from students because in the end the forums are for students.

Burns has been putting the forums together since fall semester 2013. He knows that there were at least three other coordinators before him, but he isn’t sure how long the forums have been running for.

“The forums are for the students and so it is important to find topics that would interest them,” Burns said. 

The only subject that isn’t covered by the forums is business because the business department does its own forums. Burns aims to hold a forum for every other department at DSU, but the art department usually has the most related speakers because there are so many different topics that can be covered.

Trueblood, a Purchase Prize award winner in 1988, is known by many DSU art professors, and that is how she was chosen. She has two sculptures on campus: one in the Val A. Browning Learning Resource Center and another in the Dolores Eccles Fine Arts Center. 

Trueblood has 26 bronze sculptures in St. George, but one of her more famous pieces is her statue of Vicki Van Meter, which is on display at the St. George Municipal Airport. Out of the many sculptures that Trueblood has created, her favorite piece is in Tonaquint Cemetery. It is of two soldiers called “The Price of Freedom.”

“The piece shows the love our military personnel had for each other,” Trueblood said.

Trueblood is very passionate about the process of how a bronze sculpture is made, and she said that most people don’t know what goes into it. From a silicon mold on a clay statue to pouring bronze into hardened shells made from the mold, the depth of artistry dives further than the piece itself. 

“When the pieces need to be welded back together, it is very difficult,” Trueblood said. “They have to get each piece welded smoothly together, so you can’t see that there is a difference in pieces.”

A chemical process called patina, where the bronze is sprayed with chemicals and heated repeatedly, is used to get the desired bronze color. 

“The beautiful thing about bronze sculptures is that they are eternal,” Trueblood said. “They will last you forever.”

Dixie Forums are Tuesdays at noon, with exceptions of summer semester and holidays. For a full forum schedule, visit the Dixie Forum website at http://dixie.edu/humanities/dixie_forum.php.