Jennifer Dumdie, a senior biology and mathematics major from Selby, S.D., and Hanna McElroy, a junior political science and criminal justice major from Sioux City, Iowa, are among a select group of students from colleges and universities in South Dakota invited to display their research, in poster form, during the Pierre Poster Session, which is co-sponsored by the Research Affairs Council of the South Dakota Board of Regents, the South Dakota EPSCoR Office and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Dumdie’s poster, “Modeling Endometriosis,” illustrates her research in endometriosis, an inflammatory gynecological condition that affects 6-10 percent of the general female population. Her research includes the development of a mathematical model to understand and analyze the dynamics of some of the quantifiable elements of the disease. The model analyzes the effect of specific genes on disease development. The laboratory experiments and the mathematical representation will enable researchers to better understand the involvement of specific genes and make predictions about the development and progression of endometriosis.

McElroy’s poster, “Sharia Law in America,” seeks to determine if Sharia law, the moral code and religious law of Islam, is being used in America to the detriment of the judicial system. There is increasing concern that American courts are following the trend identified in other countries by applying the rule of Islamic law over traditional American jurisprudence, thereby compromising the judicial system. McElroy’s research looked at the opinions in five well-known cases of this and then applied the findings to identify other cases where there was a conflict between Sharia law and American jurisprudence. The findings indicate the belief that Sharia law is “creeping” into the American judicial system is unfounded, and further that legislation targeted at this specific religious code may lead to undue discrimination.

The Pierre Poster Session is an opportunity for undergraduate students to showcase their research and for universities to highlight the state’s investment into research and graduate education. In addition, research collaborations between various state institutions, industry and federal agencies will be exhibited with undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and faculty researchers available to answer questions and meet with legislators, media and visitors to the capitol building.

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