Event Details

Tuesday, April 16, 2024
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Executive Conference Room, Campus Center
Registration Required:


2024 Award Winners

First place: 

Lauren Owens
“Chronic Stress Increases the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease”

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most prominent neurodegenerative disorder, affecting the lives of over six million people in the United States alone. This disease is characterized by a sharp decline in cognitive functions and impaired memory. With no known cure, AD is a disorder that is more prevalent as age increases. The pathology of AD is not fully understood, but the key factors are amyloid precursor protein (APP), its proteolytic processing into Aβ peptides (Aβ-40 and Aβ-42) and the formation of neurofibrillary tangles via hyperphosphorylated tau proteins. The molecular mechanism for neurodegeneration is a result of neurotoxic Aβ-42 plaque accumulation in the neurons by the dysregulation of Aβ transporters that excrete Aβ out of the brain into the bloodstream.

Many biological, genetic, and psychological risk factors that could contribute to the onset of the disease in late adulthood have been examined. One of these is chronic stress, in which the response involves complex networking between the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and the autonomic nervous system. Prolonged stress triggers hyperactivity and exhaustion of these systems, consequently increasing the release of cortisol, which binds to glucocorticoid receptors that enter the nucleus to increase transcription of APP. The mechanisms underlying the connection between stress response and Alzheimer’s Disease indicate that chronic stress increases susceptibility by increasing glucocorticoid receptor activity responsible for transcribing APP, which is then cleaved into neurotoxic Aβ-42.


Matthew Brodsky
“Youth Civic and Political Participation: How Camden City Can Build a Culture of Civic Engagement”

Youth civic and political participation is a challenging subject that no one seems to have an answer to solving. Voter turnout among youth populations in the United States has been pretty low outside of the 2020 and 2008 presidential elections. Specifically outside of 2020, New Jersey has seen pretty low levels of voter turnout elections. This paper seeks to examine publicly available data on youth voter turnout and engagement in Camden City, Camden County, and New Jersey. Furthermore the paper then examines three hurdles that currently exist when it comes to trying to increase civic and political engagement. The paper also looks at existing interventions that have soon some sign of success to increasing engagement among youth populations. Finally the paper seeks to find areas for further research and intervention to make improvements to civic engagement not just in the United States, but in Camden City as well.

Allison Night
“Visual Taboo Distractors in a Modified Short-Term Memory Task”

Prior research has established the consistent effects of taboo interference in a variety of tasks, regardless of the necessity of semantic processing. Taboo interference is used in the following study to examine the function of automatic semantic processing. The primary manipulation of the following experimental design involves trials differentiated between by either taboo distractors or neutral distractors presented during the retention period of a modified Sternberg short-term memory task. No significant differences in reaction time were observed between the two distractor conditions. Accuracy was lower in the taboo distractor trials. The results provide evidence of a cognitive inhibition response to taboo stimuli, but indicate that the process behind taboo interference cannot be fully attributed to slow attentional capture.



View 2023 award winners on the next page.