Apply to be a part of the Black Hills Research Symposium


Black Hills State University announces the 15th Annual Black Hills Research Symposium. The Black Hills Research Symposium is an interdisciplinary conference to showcase undergraduate research activity in the Black Hills region.

We invite submissions from undergraduate and graduate university students in the Black Hills to present posters or to give oral presentations describing completed scholarly work. Student work must be done in collaboration with a faculty research mentor. An interdisciplinary faculty committee will review submissions for acceptance.

During the Black Hills Research Symposium, a panel of experts will judge student presentations and offer awards and recognition for the Top Presentations.


  • First Call for Submissions

November 11, 2014

  • Abstract Submission Deadline

February 27, 2015

  • Participants notified by email

March 9, 2015

  • Final Posters Due

March 24, 2015

  • Keynote Speaker and Awards Ceremony

March 26, 2015


Abstract submissions must include the following information:

  1. Name of presenter
  2. Name of Faculty Research Mentor
  3. 200-350 word abstract that includes:
    • Title
    • Complete list of authors
    • Email address of presenting author
    • Discipline
    • A complete description of the research to be presented
      1. Background
      2. Methods
      3. Results
      4. Conclusion
      5. Indication of preference for poster or oral presentation

Guidelines for poster presentations will be included in the acceptance notification. Research presented at the BHRS must be approved by the BHSU Animal Care and Human Subjects Committee. Details can be found at:  

The BHSU logo "should be prominent and be immediately noticeable on all publications." The link for the correct logo and information about usage is:

Submissions must be sent via email to: Dr. Holly Downing




  1. Name of presenter: Joanna M. Vandever
  2. Faculty Mentor: Scott F. Stoltenberg

    b.  Authors:  Joanna M. Vandever, Scott F. Stoltenberg, Dan Bergey, & Parthasarathi Nag
    c.  email address:
    d.  Discipline:  Psychology
    e.  Description of Research

BACKGROUND:  The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) models decision-making under ambiguous conditions. Various clinical populations exhibit poor IGT performance. In non-clinical populations, women perform worse than men. Poor IGT performance may be broken-down into three psychological components: attention to gains, attention to recent outcomes, and erratic choosing. METHOD:  Because the serotonin system innervates brain areas associated with decision-making, this study examined IGT performance and variation in (a) 5-HTTLPR, a widely-studied promoter region polymorphism in the serotonin transporter; and (b) TPH2, the serotonin rate-limiting enzyme expressed in neurons. College students (N=188, Caucasian) donated cheek cells for genotyping and completed the IGT. RESULTS:  For each block of twenty cards (5 blocks total), IGT net scores were calculated by subtracting the number of disadvantageous choices from the number of advantageous choices. A repeated-measures ANOVA, with IGT net score as the dependent variable, revealed a main effect for gender (F = 4.25, p = .002) and an interaction effect for 5-HTTLPR and gender (F = 3.89, p = .004). The interaction was strongest in the first block, where conditions are highly ambiguous. Men with at least one short allele (S/_) made fewer advantageous choices than men homozygous for the long allele (L/L). Women L/L carriers made fewer advantageous choices than S/_ carriers. A gender main effect was observed for recency (F = 5.96, p = .02), with women more likely to pay attention to recent outcomes. TPH2 was not associated with IGT performance. CONCLUSION:  Results support evidence for gender differences in IGT performance. Furthermore, results support growing evidence that for men and women, 5-HTTLPR-variation is differentially associated with cognition. (poster)