Monday, February 06, 2006

Eight Fairmont State University students were invited to present their research findings as part of the third annual Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. The event's purpose is to familiarize state legislators with research activities involving undergraduate students on campuses across the state and the educational impact of those activities.

FSU students invited to attend were Andrew Baer, Jacob Brozenick, Patrick DeSimone, Melinda Huff, James Mou, Meghan Phillips, Kabir Shakya and Michael Ware.

Baer and Shakya, Computer Science/Information Technology students, presented "Steganography Research." Their faculty advisor is Don Tobin. Steganography is the art of hiding information in digital files. Their research focused on ways to detect and extract embedded messages using novel procedures and techniques. With the help of their research, a tool has been built that can analyze files on a computer for the presence of steganography and extract embedded messages. The tool will be used by law enforcement agencies to gather information about illegal activities.

Brozenick, Mou and DeSimone, Computer Science/Information Technology students, presented "Sharing NASA's Vision with the Community." Their faculty advisor is Roger Wilson. Through the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, five FSU students were awarded the NASA Space Grant Scholarship, which provided them the opportunity to take in-depth learning tours of the NASA facilities of their choosing. At the NASA-Langley Research Center, they learned about real-time flight simulators, wind tunnels and virtual reality space environments. The Goddard Space Flight Center gave the students an in-depth tour of its engineering and research facilities. They also visited the National Air and Space Museum/Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. After their trip, the students gave a presentation on their experiences to a Rotary club and two high schools in Fairmont.

Ware, a Computer Science/Information Technology Student, presented "Using the Common Criteria to Elicit Software Security Requirements." His faculty advisor is Don Tobin. His research focused on building quality, vulnerability-free software. His approach to satisfying the need to address security issues in the software development process is the use of an international standard, the Common Criteria, to specify security requirements in addition to normal software requirements.

Huff, a Biochemistry student, presented "Gene Mutations May Lead to Higher Risk for Heart Disease in Obese West Virginians." Mark Flood is her faculty advisor. The predominance of coronary artery disease (CAD) continues to rise. Contributing factors for CAD include lifestyle, genetics and high levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and homocysteine. Huff studied the homocysteine levels of an obese West Virginia patient population to determine if a mutant form of a gene caused their higher levels of homocysteine.

Phillips, a History student, presented "The French and Indian War in Transmontaine Virginia: Viewing Local Events in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio as a Microcosm in Pre-American Revolutionary History." Her faculty advisor is Gerald Bobango. She found that individual contributions to the French and Indian War and its outcome are not introduced into instruction in West Virginia history courses because the information is not readily available. The object of her project was to look at the course of events leading up to the French and Indian War and the war in its entirety and then look at settlement patterns and primary documents to show the actions and efforts of local individuals and how they aided the outcome of the war.

Other participating colleges and universities were Bethany College, Marshall University, the University of Charleston, West Liberty State College, West Virginia University, West Virginia Wesleyan College, West Virginia Institute of Technology and Wheeling Jesuit University.