Important: To maintain the safety of our community and help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, this event has been canceled.

The Graduate School is proud to host its fifth annual Graduate Research and Creative Works Symposium, a part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences new Research Week. This is an opportunity for graduate students across all of our disciplines to present their independent research and creative pursuits to the campus community. The Poster and Digital Display session is open to the campus community and guests, and includes a wine and cheese networking reception. 

 

Abstracts:

 

Ethan Aaronson
Criminal Justice (MA)
Title of Project: Understanding Police Use of Force in New Jersey
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Richard Stansfield, Dr. Bryn Herrschaft, Dr. Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn

In recent years there has been increased scrutiny around the ways police officers use physical violence while carrying out their duties as officers of the law. Though force is often necessary for officers to use during arrests, there have also been innumerable cases of officers going beyond their mandate and inflicting unreasonable amounts of violence on civilians they are attempting to detain. In 2018, NJ Advance Media produced a groundbreaking report that detailed the ways New Jersey police officers use force while on the job. Prior research on this topic focused almost exclusively on police departments in large cities, which missed out on understanding how officers in smaller departments utilize force. The Force Report delves into this municipal level data and already has been used to write reports on how frequently police officers in New Jersey use force, who they use it against, and what types of force are most commonly used by police. This paper will dig into why officers use force the way they do by testing for relationships between demographic factors and use of force rates. Using multivariate regression analyses and GIS mapping software, the relationships between use of force rate and race, income, education, political affiliation, and violent crime rate in over 400 New Jersey municipalities will be quantified and visually displayed.

 

Elizabeth Blake
Psychology (MA)
Title of Project: Attachment, Social Goals, and Meaning in Life
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Andrew Abeyta
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

Previous research suggests that individuals with insecure attachment orientations experience deficits in meaning in life (e.g., Reizer, Dahan, & Shaver, 2013). We suggest that an individual’s approach toward relationships may explain the relation between attachment insecurity and meaning in life. To test this, we measured attachment orientations, social goals, and meaning in life. We hypothesized that individuals high in attachment-related anxiety would be more open to deficit-reduction goals, and would exhibit greater search for meaning, but less presence of meaning, relative to individuals high in attachment-related security. Critically, I expected that this increase in deficit-reduction goals would mediate the effect of attachment-related anxiety on search and presence of meaning, respectively. I also hypothesized that individuals high in attachment-related avoidance would be less open to growth-oriented goals, and would exhibit less presence of meaning, relative to the secure condition. Critically, I hypothesized that this decrease in growth-oriented goals would mediate the effect of attachment-related avoidance on presence of meaning. Results indicate that two of the predicted pathways were significant: attachment-related anxiety predicted greater commitment to deficit-reduction goals, which then predicted greater search for meaning in life, and attachment-related avoidance predicted less commitment to growth oriented goals, which then predicted less presence of meaning in life.

 

Ryan Bunch
Childhood Studies (PhD)
Title of Project: Valuing Musical Childhoods: Methods and Multiplicities
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Meredith Bak
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

Musicals have been influential in children’s culture. In a tradition inherited from musical fairy tales and English pantomime on the nineteenth century stage, musical conventions are integral to the films of Disney, televised family musicals of the 1950s, and children’s educational television programs like Sesame Street. These in turn have served as a major source of content for the children’s music market. Because of their emphasis on theatrical and musical performance, musicals might easily be seen as both constructing childhood in their representations and providing an embodied space in which children can engage with these constructions.

Thinking about childhood foregrounds the body and materiality in musical performance. Historical children’s songbooks emphasize movement, theater, and games as inseparable from children’s music. The practice of “bursting” or “breaking” into song is something which, conventional wisdom tells us, both children and people in musicals are apt to do. Because of its basis in the childhood practice of uncontrollably and spontaneously bursting into song, the musical itself may be seen as an inherently child-oriented genre. We should be careful, however, in privileging childhood in this way, to avoid an essentializing romanticism that assumes the child’s voice is readily accessible and inherently authentic. Representations of children in musicals like Peter Pan (1954) and The Sound of Music (1959) seem often to promote romantic, nostalgic and sentimental ideas of children’s natural musicality.

Children’s own bodily performances highlight their negotiations with these discourses and enact relationships between children and music, children and other children, and children and adults. As children’s literature scholars Robin Bernstein, Marah Gubar, and Victoria Ford Smith have noted, childhood emerges in sites of performance and collaboration between children and others. In the school or amateur theater, many kids perform their identification as people who can’t stop singing and dancing, just as characters in a musical do, and in opposition to adults who are less musically expressive. Kids take on the idea of their of natural musicality and talent for bursting into song and use it to perform their ideas of self and relationships, remarking on how they form friendships through participation in musical theater.

 

Bridget Burlage
English (MA)
Title of Project: Bestiary: Artificial Intelligence – The Taxonomy of Androids
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jillian Sayre

Science Fiction and Horror critics have long imagined a world where androids and humanoids will overtake and subvert mankind to its own industrial rules. “Artificial Intelligence Bestiary: The Taxonomy of Androids” is a multimodal Scalar project that takes these social and cultural anxieties and blends them with critical theory and digital media. More specifically, the bestiary attempts to discuss consciousness as a spectral object with agency in a digital multiverse, and how humankind haunts Artificial Intelligence right down to its code. Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomy and physiology sketchbooks and Reza Negarestani’s weird theory fiction, Cyclonopedia, the project focuses primarily on Artificial Intelligence as a byproduct in postmaterialist thought, posthuman uncertainty, and the horrors of genius. 

This bestiary is meant to puncture and infect the liminal spaces between material and digital artifacts, physical and virtual anatomy, and authorial ambiguity and passive readership. It will reduce the human body to its biodegradable parts and shine AI into its dark gooey recesses. In this way, the infective artifacts overwhelm, overstimulate, and question the real and the surreal. Will AI be as humans created them to be or will they self-program and create a consciousness so unlike their creator that mankind will not be able to recognize them at all? The user cannot escape the anxiety of what will be and what could be. All the user can do is click, scroll, and observe the horror.

 

Jerilyn Christensen
Psychology (MA)
Title of Project: China’s Extension of Influence on Chinese Immigrants in North America and Australia During the Umbrella Revolution
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Daniel Hart
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

An inquiry of if Chinese backed media can influence the opinion of Chinese Immigrants in North America and Australia during the Umbrella Revolution in 2014.  We searched for phrases in Chinese using Gtrends and Causal Impact for R.  Unfortunately, due to the limitations of the measures, we could only investigate one of our aims, if distance from China is a factor for interest in the event, which had significant results.

 

Heather Ciallella
Computational & Integrative Biology (PhD)
Title of Project: Deep Learning Modeling of the Estrogen Receptor Adverse Outcome Pathway
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Hao Zhu
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

Endocrine disruption is a vital toxicity mechanism for many chemicals, especially those of environmental interest, such as pesticides. Traditional experimental testing, both in vitro and in vivo, to identify toxicants that can induce endocrine disruptions are expensive and time-consuming. Computational modeling is a promising alternative method for chemical toxicity evaluations. The rapid generation of data obtained from high-throughput screening (HTS) assays and computational power increase advanced computational modeling into a big data era. New modeling approaches, such as deep learning, are being used for model development. In this study, an estrogen receptor (ER) adverse outcome pathway (AOP) was developed by a novel knowledgebase deep neural network (k-DNN) approach. 42 compounds with known activity in guideline-like rodent uterotrophic bioassays, the current “gold standard” test for estrogenicity in regulatory toxicology. Combined with chemical fragment information, assay data from 18 ToxCast ER assays were used to train a DNN to simulate the ER agonism AOP. The resulted k-DNN successfully inferred a higher importance of edges between nodes in the network that correspond to ERα and ERβ assay data and chemical fragments of known importance to ER binding. The k-DNN model developed in this study can be used to evaluate new compounds and prioritize new candidates for experimental testing. The results of this study pave the way for a promising future of modern computational toxicology with new mechanistically interpretable deep learning modeling.

 

Christina Curran-Alfaro
Biology (MS)
Title of Project: Mapping Spatial Learning in the Teleost Forebrain Through Behavioral Trials and Cytochrome Oxidase Histochemistry
Faculty Advisor: Dr. William Saidel
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

Spatial memories, memories of one’s environment in relation to spatial orientation, are vital for a species survival. The hippocampus is required in the mammalian brain for memory formation. The analog of the hippocampus of fish has not been established. Neuroanatomical developmental differences of the neural tube between fish and mammals make comparisons by topography difficult. Despite these developmental differences between these two species’ brains, we know fish make memories.

In an effort to locate the analog of the hippocampus, a learning task was conducted to force the formation of a memory to show regional changes in ATP demand in the brains of trained fish in comparison to the naïve. Each group was then stained for the activity of cytochrome c oxidase and the sections were photographed and analyzed with ImageJ for statistical differences in optical density.

Data has suggested an increase in demand for ATP in the regions of dorsalis telencephali (Dlv). However, an increase of ATP demand in the medial area of the dorsalis telencephali (Dm) (suggested by literature to be analogous to the amygdala) amongst the experimental group than observed in DLV.

 

Katrina DeWitt
Biology (MS)
Title of Project: Community Assembly and Trait Distribution Across Spatial Scales
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Angélica L. González
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

Trait variation among individuals in a community has become a fundamental component to understand how ecological communities are structured and function. Functional traits are morphological, biochemical, phenological, physiological, and behavioral characteristics measured at an individual level, which play fundamental roles in an organism’s performance. These traits respond to varying environmental conditions and also determine the influence that organisms have on ecosystem function. Among these functional traits, the elemental composition of living organisms relates and responds to its environment, playing fundamental roles in shaping community structure and biogeochemical processes. Despite these main roles, organismal stoichiometry has rarely been analyzed from a functional trait approach. This study aims to assess the stoichiometric trait distribution and diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates across spatial scales, from local to regional. To do this, we will use the aquatic communities inhabiting pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea), which are widely distributed across North America, and represent an ideal model to study community structure across spatial gradients. We will assess variation in stoichiometric traits across two hierarchical ecological scales: (i) local: between pitcher plants within a bog; and (ii) regional: among bogs within a region (NJ). Specifically, we will address the following two questions: (1) what the range of trait variation across spatial scales, and (2) to what extent does the functional trait structure of different communities change along with environmental conditions is? This study can help understand how organismal traits and the assembly of communities may respond to environmental changes and affect the structure and functioning of ecological communities.

 

Nayhelie Fermin Taveras
Teaching Spanish (MAT)
Title of Project: ¿Voy o vengo? ¿Llevo o traigo? A Conceptual Model for the development of L2 deixis in the Spanish Language Classroom.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Próspero N. García

Working from a sociocultural perspective to second language (L2) development (Lantolf, Poehner and Swain, 2018) this proposal aims to show practical ways in which a conceptual model for the development of deixis can be implemented in Spanish language classrooms to foster L2 development.  To illustrate this process, I first explore the notion of deixis-i.e. “the name given to those aspects of language whose interpretation is relative to the occasion of utterance: to the time of utterance, and to times before and after the time of utterance; to the location of the speaker at the time of utterance; and to the identity of the speaker and the intended audience” (Fillmore,1966: 220)-, then I identify issues that learners face when trying to internalize this subject, and propose a pedagogical model to foster the conceptual development of deixis by having L2 learners interact with concepts in a meaningful, coherent and systematic way to create meanings in their L2.  Finally, this research will provide results from the implementation of this model in two K-12 Spanish L2 classes to understand its role in the development of a deictic understanding applied to the communicative uses of the Spanish deictic verbs venir, traer, ir and llevar

 

Diana Carolina Garcia Gomez
Childhood Studies (PhD)
Title of Project: “There is no good or bad guys in this story”: performing cultural citizenship by Colombian youth in a collective memory museum
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Sarada Balagopalan
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

The lack of trust in political institutions and a history of ragged elections could explain the apathy to participate in the political process by Colombian youth. However, in a country in the midst of a transitional context, urban youth have found non-traditional ways to perform cultural citizenship. In this paper, I examine how young people from the city of Medellín, foster the strengthening of the social fabric and continuously rethink what it means to be Colombian as mediators of the Memory House Museum. I accompany them in their task to retell the armed conflict in the midst of post-conflict Colombian.

 

Nicholas Gattone
Biology (MS)
Title of Project: The role of tRNA-derived fragments (tRFs) in patterning epithelial cells
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Nir Yakoby

Many species of non-coding RNAs act as regulators of tissue development through post-transcriptional modification of mRNA. tRNA-derived fragments (tRFs) are a recently discovered group of small non-coding RNAs that seem to perform this function. We hypothesize tRFs have a role in the development of animal tissues. CRISPR/Cas9 was used to delete the tRNA gene Val-CAC-1-1, which encodes for a tRF computationally predicted to target sprouty (sty), a crucial regulator of the EGFR pathway. Increased sty would result in reduced EGFR signaling. If this is the case, our model system, the Drosophila eggshell should display morphological changes. Although eggs do have different morphologies, subsequent qPCR analysis revealed this is not a result of the EGFR pathway, but of the tRF’s modulation of Icarus, a gene involved in the JNK signaling pathway. RNA-seq data was also obtained to see transcriptome-wide effects of the tRF deletion.

 

Trista Harig
Psychology (MA)
Title of Project: Which Lives Matter?: Trends Surrounding the 2016 Presidential Election
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Daniel Hart
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

This study observed the effect of the 2016 presidential election on different movements throughout the U.S. Google Trends was used to analyze the search phrases “black lives matter,” “blue lives matter,” “all lives matter,” and “red lives matter” before and after the election. Results showed an increase in searches in July 2016 and following the election in November 2016 suggesting a relationship between current events and searches for culturally relevant movements.

 

Emily Helck, Roy Graham, Marie Scarles, Natasha Soto
Creative Writing (MFA)
Title of Project: Ecological Entanglements: Embodied Inquiry in Art Praxis
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jillian Sayre

“Where is the literature of climate change? Where is the creative response to… ‘the most severe problem faced by the world’?” Robert Macfarlane, 2005

We are four Creative Writing MFA students who are deeply interested in the environment, both as citizens of the world, and as makers of art. In Spring 2020, we’ve engaged in an independent study focused on environmental writing. As part of our joint study, which includes canonical works of environmental writing, eco-criticism, and contemporary responses to the climate crisis, we engage in in-situ practice: interacting with the ideas discussed in our texts in the field, quite literally. This approach of engaged pedagogy is particularly suited to creative work.

In our poster, we will share details of our in-situ practice, along with samples of the creative work we’ve generated this semester in response to the course materials.

 

Sonja Hunter, Anna D’Esposito
Psychology (MA)
Title of Project: Autism Awareness after Wakefield
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Daniel Hart
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

In 1998, a well-known British Journal, Lancet, published the findings of Wakefield and colleagues(redacted) who claimed that the vaccination for Mumps Measles and Rubella (MMR) increased the chances for children to develop autistic tendencies. In this paper, we use data from Google Ngrams to infer the effects of the publication of this article on public awareness.

Specifically, we assessed the frequency of these words: autism, autistic, vaccine, vaccines, MMR and Asperger’s in books published in the United States, parallel analyses were conducted for France and Russia. Our prediction was that the publication of Wakefield’s paper would increase the salience of autism-related words in the United States.

We used the causal impact program to assess the impact of Wakefield’s paper on time series for the words noted above. Essentially, the program infers whether the observed time series with the deflection occurring at the time of the publication of Wakefield’s paper would likely be observed by chance. Results for the causal impact analysis for the United States indicate that terms related to autism increased significantly following the publication of Wakefield’s paper (p= .003). In France, a significant increase of 41% was observed at a significance value of p=.003.

These results indicate term usage relating to autism increased after the publishing of Wakefield’s paper, and indicates that there is a good possibility that the Wakefield paper was a first introduction to Autism for many individuals, across countries.

 

Joshua Kates
Teaching Spanish (MAT)
Title of Project: The Effects of Heritage Speakers’ Interaction with Tactile Manipulatives on Reading Comprehension in the 8th Grade
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Próspero N. García
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

Vygotsky (1978) proposes that the relationship between humans and the world is not direct but mediated by culture and society. Although this theory was not developed specifically for developing reading comprehension in the language classroom, it helps in understanding how learners use physical and symbolic tools to mediate literacy development. 

With this in mind, this study attempts to explore to role of semiotic mediational tools incorporated within a conceptual model to foster learners’ literacy development in their heritage language. To do so, this research looks at the literacy development of 34 heritage learners (HL) with an Intermediate High / Advanced Low level of oral proficiency, divided into two different groups (experimental and control), over 5 consecutive sessions of 70 minutes each in two 8th grade HL classrooms (350 total instructional minutes).

While HL in the control group were exposed to a traditional pedagogical approach to reading (i.e. read/memorize, practice, feedback), participants in the experimental group engaged with an agentive conceptual framework to literacy development that provided them with physical tools (i.e. tactile manipulatives) as well as symbolic mediational tools (i.e. conceptual models) during peer interactions in a meaningful, coherent and systematic way that allowed them to create meanings through their social interactions with the readings as well as with their peers and mediational tools.  It is expected that this exposure to a conceptual model in HL literacy development will provide participants with a more critical understanding of the different readings and genres to which they will be exposed.

 

Kathleen Kellett
Childhood Studies (PhD)
Title of Project: With Love from Self to Self: Monstrous Doubling and an Ethics of Care in Adolescent Literature
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Meredith Bak
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

In Noelle Stevenson’s 2015 graphic novel Nimona, the titular shapeshifter is split in two by the “heroes” who seek to tame her monstrosity. In the forms of a small child and a towering, fire-breathing beast, Nimona attacks those who hurt her. When her one ally begs her to show mercy, both parts of herself – the child and the beast – assume a protective stance towards one another and respond, “No” (Stevenson, 237).

The hybrid composition of monsters allows storytellers to explore unmoored subjectivities that resist situation within the norm because its parts refuse to add up to a coherent whole. In Nimona as well as Patrick Ness’s Release (2017) and Eden Robinson’s Son of a Trickster (2017) and Trickster Drift (2018), adolescent monsters use their hybridity to address their own needs for care. Their ability to double allows these marginalized figures to enact both compassion and violent protection towards themselves in the absence of care from a hostile neoliberal society.

Using feminist theories of care alongside recent intersectional and postcolonial interventions into care ethics, I argue that the outwardly disturbing self-care modeled by literary adolescent monsters acknowledges the necessity of counterhegemonic care in the lives of marginalized youths, especially in a political climate that thrives off of the monstrosization of the Other. I explore the ways in which the hybrid monster models care-based reactions to oppression and trauma, as well as the potential for translating care for the fragmented self into a praxis of interdependent care within a community of monsters.

 

Keith Kelley, Laurene Dayton, Michael Doran, Georgette Birmelin, Victoria Cicalese, George Tillman, Megan Walter
English (MA)
Title of Project: Affy. Yrs. The Letters of Edith Wharton and Ethan Frome
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Carol Singley
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipients

Edith Wharton’s writing has enjoyed an academic revival in the past decade, bringing this profound author into a more well-deserved light. Studying under Dr. Carol Singley in her Digital Publishing and Editing class, we were presented unpublished letters written by Edith Wharton to her husband and brother-in-law, and transcribed these one-hundred year old, hand written letters into digital files.

The letters demonstrate a strained, failing marriage, centered on phantom illnesses, control, and money. Our course reading primarily consisted of Ethan Frome, Wharton’s breakout novel originally published in Scribner’s Magazine in serial form, from August to October of 1911. The novel underwent several revisions before the American publication was pressed. The similarities between Edith Wharton’s life and the life of her fictional Ethan Frome were sobering, exposing the pain and turmoil artists often endure for the sake of exceptional work, intentionally or otherwise. 

Our class was invited to Edith Wharton’s estate, The Mount, which she and her then husband Teddy had built as their home. We presented our research before members of The Mount’s faculty and members of the public, which was received by all with great enthusiasm. Our presentation is now archived on The Mount’s website as part of their growing archive collection.

 

Kristin Kelly
Psychology (MA)
Title of Project: Dinner for Two: Perceptions of Weight Change in Same-Sex and Opposite-Sex Romantic Relationships
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Charlotte Markey
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

Nearly 40% of U.S. adults maintain elevated weight statuses that may place them at a health risk. One factor that contributes to weight in adulthood is relationship status.  Research is needed to determine the extent to which romantic partners can accurately assess each other’s weight status. In this study, we examined same-sex and opposite-sex romantic partners’ (N = 500, Mage = 29.3) perceptions of their own and their partners’ weight at the beginning of their relationship and at the time of data collection (on average, 4.43 years later). Weight was measured by researchers, calculated to BMI. Perceived changes in weight status and concordance between actual and perceived weight status were compared, with results indicating that individuals are inaccurate in assessing their own weight status but better at assessing their partners’ weight status.  Individuals in longer relationships were more likely to be heavier.  Various factors, like relationship quality, relationship length, and sexual orientation, were all analyzed as possible predictors of change in perception.  Findings will be discussed in terms of social influences, such as gendered body norms and partner roles, as potential considerations in interventions with overweight patients.

 

Rashmi Kumari
Childhood Studies (PhD)
Title of Project: “Working with a shifting positionality in ethnographic (re)searching, (re)visiting, and (re)writing”
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Lauren Silver
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

This paper is a practice in thinking about positionality and reflexivity as an ethical researcher. I started thinking about these often-used strategies of researching back in 2015 when I set out to do my first ethnographic project. However, these concepts are still unsettling, and in the paper, I discuss the shifting positionality of the researcher vis-a-vis a perceived and often assumed inertness of identities of indigenous schoolgirls in Central India

 

Weiling Li
Psychology (MA)
Title of Project: Relation between MBTI personality and patterns of emotion expression on Twitter
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Daniel Hart
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

People’s personalities will influence the way they talk and write. It will affect the linguistic words people choose and their emotion expressions. As social media becomes more prevalent, more and more people transfer their social interactions from offline to the online world. Based on previous literature, we hypothesize that people’s personalities will affect the sentiment of their online posts.

To examine our hypothesis, we collected 3,995 twitter users with their self-report MBTI personality types, and 425,752 tweets these users posted, using the Twitter public API.

We use the pre-trained sentiment analysis model in the TextBlob package in python to extract the content sentiment of each tweet. For each user in our data, given the sentiment scores of his/her tweets, we extracted the mean sentiment score and the variance of sentiment score as our dependent variables. We use a set of binary variables that encode each dimension in the MBTI system as our independent variables. We then perform Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regressions by using people’s personalities to predict the mean and variance of the sentiment of their tweets.

The analysis results are in support of our hypothesis, that people’s personality will affect how they express their emotions on social media. We find that intuition-oriented, feeling-oriented, and judgment-oriented people tend to post more positive content and that intuition or feeling oriented people will have more fluctuant emotions than others.

 

Michelle Lyttle Storrod
Childhood Studies (PhD)
Title of Project: Digital Research Justice
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Lauren Silver
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

This poster will present a comparative assessment of qualitative research methodology conducted with an online component. I demonstrate how my research methodology has evolved over two research projects, one with gangs in the UK and the other with girls in the US Justice system. I explore the ways in which ethics approval and the concept of ‘do no harm’ prevented participants from fully engaging in research during my first digital ethnography and how my methodological approach has adapted to ensure a more inclusive approach. Inspired by feminist methodology through on and offline participatory methods, my most recent research provides girls with the opportunity to collectively explore their lived experience of criminalization and victimization by utilizing phone tours as a research tool.

 

Katherine Martin
Childhood Studies (MS)
Title of Project: Supporting the Whole Child Through Mindfulness and Process Focused Art
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Lauren Silver
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

The purpose of this presentation is to share an inclusive, process focused art approach developed through theoretical research and arts based practice. The program’s focus is typically for young children, and is a triangulation of process focused art, mindfulness practices, and Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Participants can expect to glean information and inspiration for their own art teaching methods, as well as gain insight into additional ways to incorporate Whole Child support through sensory awareness within the art experience.

 

Sung Won Oh
Computational & Integrative Biology (PhD)
Title of Project: Development of regulatory biochemical reaction circuits for molecular sensing
Facutly Advisor: Dr. Jinglin Fu
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

Nucleic acids based testing is widely used as confirmative assay for diagnosing various diseases. Current primary method to detect nucleic acids is polymerase chain reaction (PCR). However, there are different limiting factors in using the PCR method. Our lab has developed non-PCR nucleic acids test to potentially be used as point-of-care testing (POCT) diagnostic tool. The initial proof of concept consisted of DNA-mediated proximity assembly of biochemical reactions, which would sense various bio-targets and report easy-to-read signals. DNA hairpin-locked catalytic cofactor circuit would undergo conformational switch through toehold displacement and aptamer switching. Once the cofactor is exposed, enzyme/cofactor pair actuates the reaction to produce colorimetric or fluorescence signals. However, the nanosensor would have to be specifically designed for different targets, which is not cost effective and time sensitive. Since then, we have improved the design of the nanosensor to detect multiple targets. The improved system could potentially be applied to smart biosensing in molecular diagnostics and POCT field.

 

Ryan Pletcher
Psychology (MA)
Title of Project: The Role of Music in Drivers’ Time-to-Arrival Estimations
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Bill Whitlow, Dr. Sarah Allred, Dr. Lisa Payne

Prior research has indicated a consistent pattern of errors in drivers’ estimation abilities. Most notably, drivers have a tendency to robustly underestimate speed, by an average of 24% for both their own vehicle and other vehicles on the road (Schutz et al., 2015). In addition, estimations of speed have been found to be susceptible to influence from headlight arrangement and ambient lighting conditions, with motorcycle speed being underestimated by an average of 56 miles per hour at night (Gould et al., 2012). Time-to-arrival was overestimated, meaning that the target stimulus reached a designated location before viewers estimated that it had, by an average of half a second (Landwehr et al., 2013). It has also been shown that perception of time passage is easily influenced by external stimuli, such as the presence or absence of music (Droit-Volet et al., 2010). It is therefore not unreasonable to suspect that drivers may be susceptible to errors in time perception caused by the tempo of music playing in the background, nor is it unreasonable to imagine that such an error could influence time-to-arrival estimations. The current study seeks to examine the nature of this relationship by presenting subjects with videos of a vehicle approaching them, and asking them to estimate when the vehicle would have reached them, while manipulating the tempo of a song playing in the background during this process.

 

Heather Reel
Childhood Studies (PhD)
Title of Project: The Camera Tells the Story: Dr. Arnold Gesell’s “How a Baby Grows” Series
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Susan Miller
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

From 1924 to 1948, pediatrician and child psychologist Arnold Gesell regularly used photographic technologies to collect data on child growth and behavior. Use of the camera to record maturational milestones served child development’s professed need for “legitimate” scientific observational techniques.  At the same time, the camera was used to promote and widely disseminate ideas about developmental schedules among a lay audience.  In 1936, the Des Moines Sunday Register and the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin began publishing Gesell’s photos in a weekly series titled “how a baby grows.”  Viewers were invited to “See baby grow, month by month,” crawling or holding a pencil for the first time, and witness the maturational stages that Gesell claimed young humans moved through in essentially the same manner.  Readers were also encouraged to document their own children’s movements along these developmental continuums.   In this vein, the superintendent of the baby health department of the Iowa State Fair lauded the photos as a “technical record of the beginnings of mental life…[that], if they were to be told in technical terms would be much too involved to either interest or be within the grasp of the ordinary individual.” Gesell’s use of the camera thus offered both a method of precisely recording and measuring children’s development and a supposedly uncomplicated way of relaying his ideas to American mothers.

This paper will examine the relationship between the camera and popular ideas about child development in mid-century America. I will consider the ways in which Gesell’s “how a baby grows” series came to occupy a central role in how child development was represented as a familiar and expected course.  I argue that the camera’s promise of both an objective and knowable truth of child development allowed the artifice of visual representation and ideas about what constitutes a “child” to be mutually reinforcing.

 

Benjamin Rudolph, Sonja Hunter
Psychology (MA)
Title of Project: Political Hostility and Moralized Language in the Trump Era
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Daniel Hart

Hostility between the left and right political factions around the world is at one of its highest points in history. We hypothesized that these increases in hostility are attributable to the 2016 election of US president, Donald Trump. To test this hypothesis, we gathered data on the frequency of google searches containing words associated with intergroup hostility and outgroup moral condemnation in the US, Great Britain, and France. We then conducted a time series analysis which tested whether the frequency of google searches containing the target words increased after Trump’s election. The frequencies of google searches were compared to a counterfactual estimate of what their frequency would have been if Trump’s election had not happened. Results revealed significant increases of this moralized language in France but not in the US or Great Britain.

 

Nicole Santilli Doyle
Teaching Spanish (MAT)
Title of Project: A pedagogical proposal for the integration of emotion and cognition in the L2 classroom through the lens of Perezhivanie
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Prospero Garcia|

Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of the mind postulates that emotion and cognition are inseparable (Swain et at., 2015), and that vital events and experiences affect social and cognitive development. Furthermore, Swain (2013) indicates that “language learning is not just a cognitive struggle, it is a cognitive and emotional struggle” (p. 205). This interrelation of emotion and cognition is expressed through the notion of Perezhivanie’s, the idea that emotion and cognition occur through the same process rather than two separate processes (Vygotsky, 1971, p. 210). This emo-cognitive conflict, or perezhivanie, shapes the mind of the second language (L2) learner and their development. Hence, it seems essential to consider learners’ Perezhivanie when addressing L2 learners’ need to emotionally regulate their developing cognition.

Based on previous research in early childhood education (Fleer & Hammer, 2013; Veresov & Fleer, 2016), pre-service teacher education (Golombek & Doran, 2014; Johnson & Golombek, 2016; García, 2019), as well as in the effects of anxiety and motivation on L2 acquisition (Marcos‐Llinás & Garau, 2009; Prieto, 2010; MacIntyre & Vincze, 2017;), this proposal will explore the implementation of a pedagogical framework that considers the role of emo-cognitive processes in L2 learning in two novice-level Spanish K-12 classes. This study aims to contribute to our understanding of how emo-cognitive processes contribute to L2 acquisition, and to provide teachers and learners with the necessary mediational tools to identify, support and foster L2 learning through the student’s emo-cognitive development (García, 2019) through a coherent and systematic pedagogical framework for the L2 classroom.

 

Shwetal Sharma
Psychology (MA)
Title of Project: The Effect of Movies on Mental Health Awareness
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Daniel Hart
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

Research indicates that media has an impact on people’s opinions. We hypothesized that the release of a movie featuring a protagonist with Asperger’s syndrome would lead to increase in searches related to the condition. We used Bayesian structural time series which determines the significance of the external event, by comparing it to a counterfactual. To aid in the prediction of a counterfactual, we compare the time series of the target population to the time series of a location where the event would not have had an impact, called the control. In this study, we used trends data for the same words, “Asperger’s” and “autism” in the same time period in the United States as our control. Since the event is a Bollywood movie, released in Hindi, it is unlikely that it would have a significant impact in the United States, which is not predominantly a Hindi-speaking country.

The results of our analyses supported this hypothesis. There was a significant increase in google searches for “Asperger’s” and “autism” following the release of the movie in February, 2010. The awareness about mental health in India is quite low, resulting in people believing false stereotypes and discriminating against people suffering from mental disorders. The results of this study imply that, in India, movies can have a significant impact on people’s opinions and interests, and what they think is important. Therefore, movies can be used to make people aware of social issues like mental health, which otherwise have some taboo surrounding it.

 

Gabrielle Spence
Criminal Justice (MA)
Title of Project: Good Parents, Bad Kids:  Authoritative Parenting, Delinquent Peer Associations, and Juvenile Delinquency
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jane Siegel
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

The purpose of this study is to explore the moderating effect of delinquent peer associations on the protection of authoritative parenting, as it pertains to juvenile delinquency. I adopt and elaborate on Psychologists Eleanor Maccoby and James Martin’s (1983) description of the authoritative parenting model as that defined by a balanced combination of “high responsiveness” and “high demandingness”. Authoritative parents place high importance on responding to their children’s physical and emotional needs, but also institute structure through house rules and expectations of consequences. I investigate why, then, some juveniles from authoritative households become delinquent. I review past studies and analyze data from the National Longitudinal Youth Survey to test my hypothesis that the risk factor of associating with delinquent peers diminishes the protective factor of living with authoritative parents. I discover interesting findings about the relationship between the authoritative parenting style, delinquent peer associations, and juvenile arrests. I interpret these findings in terms of juvenile justice policy analysis and parenting style implications. 

 

Amanda Steele
Psychology (MA)
Title of Project: Strategies of Negative Interpersonal Emotions: Do Responses of Hatred Form a Distinct Strategy?
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Ira Roseman

According to some emotion theorists, emotion-specific response profiles (e.g., that encompass behavioral and goal aspects) distinguish discrete emotions from each other. In addition, these responses are thought to form an overall strategy for coping with particular situations. Prior research has found some evidence for characteristics of anger involving taking actions against someone, contempt excluding someone, and dislike avoiding someone. Hatred might also differ from each of these emotions in responses centered around destroying someone. However, there has been little empirical investigation testing this, and a recent study found hatred involved the same strategy as anger. Thus, the focus of this research is to examine if responses of (a) hatred are organized around destroying someone, (b) anger moving against someone, (c) contempt moving someone away from oneself, and (d) dislike keeping away from someone. In a between-subjects design, Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) workers will complete an anonymous online questionnaire that asks for a current experience of one target emotion: anger, contempt, interpersonal dislike, or hatred. Closed-ended questions will assess proposed phenomenological, expressive, behavioral, goal, and strategy characteristics for each emotion. Hierarchical multiple regressions will determine the amount of unique variance predicted by each emotion, and test if responses of hatred are dissimilar to those of anger, contempt, and dislike. Findings from this research have important social applications. For instance, if we identify the strategy of destroying someone mentally, socially, or physically is typical of hatred, then our results may improve prediction of when people are destroyed vs. attacked, excluded, or avoided.

 

Palak Vashist
Childhood Studies (PhD)
Title of Project: Identifying child labour: Revisiting State’s craft in Bombay Textile Mills (1880-1920)
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Sarada Balagopalan

This paper will examine the myriad official records and abundant paperwork that the colonial state produced to form the category of ‘child labor’ in the Bombay textile mills in India in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. I will examine the historical background of the industrial definition of childhood created by a rigorous process of identification in the absence of any legal age proof in India. An attempt is to explore assertions of authority and legal regulations to manage the ‘child’ inside the mill. For this, I inquire into a tripartite process of ‘formation,’ ‘deployment’ and ‘identification’ of child labor in Bombay textile mills. The focus of the study is to understand ‘who is a child’ by definition (created by the colonial state). I intend to present this in three stages. First, by analyzing the family patterns of children who constituted the child labor mass and highlighting their process of migration to Bombay. Second, by examining the legal regulations brought in for the welfare of the vulnerable child as a legal subject. Finally, an attempt is to grapple with how an individual child’s identity as a laborer was produced in colonial law. This paper argues that the interaction of regulatory processes and social relations of production in the mills provided the context within which “child labor” as a social category was produced. This paper attempts to locate the role of the colonial state in regulating child labor within the factory regime at the mundane level. The more significant part of the paper deals with issues of certification those child laborers faced at an everyday level, the concern of idle children, which parents and factory owners encountered with and the everyday violence of the colonial state. The subsequent attempts to regulate child labor were not exclusively about bringing an end to an egregious aspect of capitalist exploitation. They also entailed far-reaching struggles over who these children were, what their roles in the family were to be, how they were to be valued and cared for, and who had the power to regulate them.

 

Kiersten Westley, Lili Razi, Madeliene Alger
Public Affairs (PhD)
Title of Project: How safe is my neighborhood?: Non-profits impact on public perceptions of their communities
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Ross Whiting
Graduate Conference Travel or Research Grant Recipient

Crime impacts families, neighborhoods and communities. Violent crimes cause physical, social and emotional distress including but not limited to injury or death. In neighborhoods, perception of violent crime can produce insecurity, distrust, and a negative view of an individual’s community. Local non-profits in South Jersey have been found to impact and make positive changes for the individuals they serve and the community through resource sharing and community events.

This study explores the relationship between the work conducted by local non-profits and South Jersey resident’s perceptions of crime in their neighborhood. This study also explores the overall perception of crime of an individual’s neighborhood in relation to the official level of crime. Approximately 130 adults over the course of two years, all working in conjunction with non-profits based in the South Jersey community were surveyed.

Results show the perception of crime was related to the level of crime in the neighborhood over time, and their negative perceptions of their neighborhood decreased after working with the South Jersey non-profits. The work conducted by these local non-profits stresses their importance with the families they serve and in the South Jersey community as a whole.

 


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