2013 Diamond Research Scholars
Kathryn Antonelli, Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Mass Media, School of Media and Communication
Mentor: Jack Klotz, Media Studies and Production
Producing Representations: Independent Bands and the Recording Process
Nicole Beck, Film and Media Arts & Art History, Division of Theater, Film and Media Arts
Mentor: Elizabeth Bolman, Art History
Heavenly Machines: Activating Memory in Sacred Space
Julieann Berg, Kinesiology, College of Health Professions and Social Work
Mentor: Casey Breslin, Department of Kinesiology
The Impact of Music on Locomotor Skill Performance in Children
Facilitating timely motor skill development is essential to keeping children healthy and active. The continuous interaction between the learner and his/her environment can determine the competency of skill performance that is achieved (Clark, 2007). Music and movement education programs emphasize the importance of rhythmic ability to locomotor skill performance. This study’s purpose was to examine the impact of music on the performance of locomotor skills in children ages 9-12 years. Participants performed the six locomotor skills included on the TGMD-2 in two conditions (music and quiet). It was hypothesized that performing locomotor skills in the presence of music should improve the performance of those skills. A paired samples t-test revealed no significant differences in locomotor performance between the two conditions, t20 = .142, p = .889. Teachers of movement programs are encouraged to incorporate a rhythmic component in their classes, since there is evidence to suggest that music is motivating.
Corinne Bishop, Metals/Jewelry/CAD-CAM, Tyler School of Art
Mentor: Stanley Lechitzen, Department of Metals/Jewelry/CAD-CAM
Context and culture give meaning to how objects are valued. Over time, the value of materials has changed. These changes develop from different impetuses, including supply and demand, inflation and cultural values. As a jeweler, I realize that the different materials, such as metals and gems, have the possibility of enriching the significance of a piece of art. These materials have developed historical significance; similarly, genealogy imparts meaning for each individual. I have collected and researched my personal genealogy to discover my family’s past values and cultural traditions while also researching the differing traditional significance of metals and gems. I am culminating my research with the creation of several jewelry pieces that speak to the different branches and history of my family with the usage of three dimensional modeling software to concentrate on the distinct form languages specific to the different generations.
Louisa Dehart, Middle Grades Math and Language Arts, College of Education
Mentor: Tom Waidzunas, Department of Sociology
Just because it’s not highly visible doesn’t mean it’s not there: organizations defining and approaching the social problem of child sex trafficking in the context of uncertainty
The study explores how anti-trafficking movement organizations based in the United States define the problem of child sex trafficking, and how they make meaning within an uncertain landscape. I discuss these organizations’ various approaches and how each measures the efficacy of their work. My findings are based on analysis of relevant literature, audio-recorded interviews, and images used by the organizations in movement documents. By comparing organizations that work abroad and those that are purely local, I find patterns indicative of contrasting worldviews in the rather contemporary anti-trafficking movement. I argue that in the context of uncertainty, movements define and evaluate the problem on the basis of success stories and numbers of people served, as well as qualitative measures of public awareness. However, I observe the global anti-trafficking organizations are more likely to define trafficked youth as slaves, whereas local organizations operating in the US view them as unstable individuals.
Mark Esher-Hagel, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Megan Mullin, Department of Political Science
Analysis of Impact on Agricultural Subsidies on Federal Healthcare Spending
The “Farm Bill”, a series of bills passed every five years by Congress, currently provides subsidies of approximately $16.3 billion annually, assists agricultural businesses and reduces the cost of goods such as corn, wheat, soybean, rice, sorghum, dairy and livestock. Medical research shows that many foods produced from the goods receiving the subsidies are lacking in nutritional value and contribute to obesity and related diseases. The price of food produced by subsidized agriculture programs is affected by these subsidies, as is consumption behavior. As a result of increased consumption of unhealthy products, cases of obesity and nutrition related medical conditions increase. Government programs such as a Medicaid and Medicare incur a large portion of this expense-- approximately $800 billion on obesity-related medical expenses annually. This research aims to identify the strength of these relationships and determine the extent in which the current distribution of agricultural subsidies affects federal healthcare spending.
Aleksandr Fisher, Political Science & History, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Sean Yom, Department of Political Science
Hidden Forces: Role of Historical Legacy and Informal Institutions in Russia’s Transition to Market Capitalism
In the early 1990s, Russia transitioned from a state controlled to a market-oriented economy. In the process, Russia’s experienced a dramatic economic downturn including falling GDP, skyrocket inflation, the explosion of crime and corruption, and falling living standards. By extensively studying secondary literature, utilizing primary sources, and carefully examining survey data from the Levada Center, I was able to show how Russia’s historical legacy, including the structure of the Soviet economy and the continuity of the Soviet-era political elite, made a successful transition to market capitalism unachievable in the short-run. I argue that informal institutions in Russia, including: paternalistic managerial practices, the barterization of the economy, and client-patron relationships hindered Russia’s economic transformation. Finally, I find that informal institutions were both remnants of Soviet practices as well as contemporary adaptation to the weak Russian state in the 1990s.
Jeremy Gradwohl, Geography and Urban Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Jeremy Mennis, Department of Geography and Urban Studies
Modeling the Desirability of Tax Delinquent Properties in Philadelphia
While the City of Philadelphia faces tough budget decisions in order to maintain funding for the School District, unpaid property taxes are an oft overlooked source of revenue. Property tax delinquency is endemic in Philadelphia, with nearly 100,000 properties that owed the city over $550 million in 2012. The offending properties are diverse in land use and size, ranging from entire blocks of vacant row homes to some of Philadelphia's most prominent buildings such as the Penn Center. The problem of property tax delinquency is particularly acute in Philadelphia, as its average collection rate of 85.5% between 2008 and 2011 is ten percent lower than the average rate of the nation's top 20 cities. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), this project will interpolate spatial data sets to determine the property and socioeconomic indicators that correlate with high rates of tax delinquencies within Philadelphia neighborhoods. Using statistical analysis, I plan to determine the differences between predictive indicators of delinquency and collection practices throughout Philadelphia neighborhoods. The findings from the statistical analysis will be helpful in creating policy to target specific neighborhoods or property types for tax collection or property seizure.
Pepin Hazan, Mathematics and Computer Science & Philosophy, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Rolf Lakaemper, Department of Computer and Information Sciences
Expressive Game Design
Over the last decade, videogames have increasingly been acknowledged as “a pervasive medium, one as interwoven with culture as writing and images." Nevertheless, an appreciable segment of the population continues to view games as incapable of being more than mere mindless entertainment. As most games aim to be just that, the prevalence of such views is unsurprising; the capacity of the videogame medium to enable fun experience has been well established. This project seeks instead to explore the capacity of the medium to enable meaningful experience. What could a game express through its underlying mechanics? What considerations might constitute expressive game design? This project explores such questions through the design and implementation of games with expressive aims.
1. Ian Bogost, How to Do Things with Videogames (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), 7.
Felicia Henry, Social Work, College of Health Professions and Social Work
Mentor: Nicole Van Cleave, Department of Criminal Justice
How Can Non-profit Organizations Supplement or Act As A Surrogate In the Development of Social Capital For Children of Incarcerated Parents?
The United States of America houses the largest population of incarcerated persons out of all the developed countries in the world. This population, though highly publicized, steals the limelight from a more vulnerable population: their children. There are over one million children of incarcerated parents in the U.S., and without adequate services, these children fall into the cycle of incarceration that claimed their parents. To combat this cycle, nonprofit organizations have mobilized to help these children by increasing their social capital, which is diminished because of parental incarceration. I will show how non-profits make an effort to repair social connections, supplementing or acting as a surrogate in the development of social capital. I will look at one nonprofit organization, The US Dream Academy, through a single case analysis, critically examining how their services help to foster social capital, leading to positive skills and resources for change.
Jaeseon Kim, Biochemistry, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Eric Borguet, Department of Chemistry
UV-Vis characterization of a metal-ligands coordination toward single molecular switch
The investigation of single-molecule conductivity is essential to understand charge transfer in both chemical and biological systems. Therefore, study of single-molecule conductivity (SMC) naturally became a popular subject for researches by the end of the last millennium. Electron transport through single molecule can be investigated by building a metal-molecule-metal (m-M-m) junction and measuring conductance of the junction. This project is a pre-work of SMC study for newly synthesized N, N’ bis(4-pyridyl)piprazine (BPP; the ligand) and manganese(II) (Mn2+; ion) complex that employed ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy to examine the effect of metal-ligands coordination on the electronic absorption, because the electrical conductance of a molecular system is associated with its electronic properties that are reflected in the UV-Vis spectra.
Raffaele Longo, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Gaetano Restivo, Mechanical Engineering
Using Digital Image Correlation for Measuring Mechanical Properties of Biomaterials
Olivia Menta, Painting and Drawing, Tyler School of Art
Mentor: Mark Shetabi, Painting and Drawing
Human Perspective in Relation to the Universe: An exploration of the Human Condition
Jay Oatis, Dance , Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: Merian Soto, Department of Dance
Parasitic Politic: AIDS In New York City, 1980-1985
This research focused on the emergence of the AIDS epidemic in New York City from 1980-1985. This fascinating time period of struggle in the LGBT community has been the subject of countless artworks. This project’s source materials included graffiti by Keith Haring, photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, “And The Band Played On” by Randy Shilts, and “Paris Is Burning” by Jennie Livingston. The finished work reflects the movement present in partying and social dance that is part of the gay male experience. The dancers are in constant motion, pushing their bodies harder and faster until there is nothing left to give. The goal was to create a visual metaphor that contrasted the initial ignorance of the threat of AIDS from 1980-1985 with the Generation Y gay males of the present.
Matthew Reigle, Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Damien Stankiewicz, Anthropology
Reimagining Fandom: An Ethnography of Soccer Fans, Social Media, and Identity in Philadelphia
Kaitlin Reilly, Media Studies and Production, School of Media and Communication
Mentor: Mark Rosenthal, Film and Media Arts
Writing the Pilot: The Untitled Kaitlin Reilly Project
It is often said that we are currently in the “golden age” of television. With the rise of non-traditional television platforms and innovative new programming, television has become an increasingly powerful storytelling medium. Through my studies as a Media Studies and Production major, I have studied various scripted television programs and the ways in which they reflected the culture and time in which they were created. As a writer, I became interested in writing my own scripted television pilot, which could fit into today's television landscape. My project – an original television pilot – is the result of studying the current media market and my own storytelling interests.
Christopher Schelb, Flute Performance, Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: Cynthia Folio, Department of Music Theory
Confronting Silence: Toru Takemitsu And Postmodern Music
Postmodern composition is full of profound silences—John Cage’s pianist suspended before the piano without playing a note, Morton Feldman’s atmospheres where each tone reverberates sensually and is enveloped in silence, or generative silence of Toru Takemitsu that recalls the emptiness of traditional Japanese brush painting. Postmodern music is also unthinkable without a broadening of timbre in musical compositions, with silence accenting the particular sensual qualities of sound and allowing them to resonate fully in their own being. The work of Takemitsu exhibits the centrality of both rough timbre and silence in his music. Influenced by Cage’s Zen and Dadaist experiments, as displayed most fully in Silence, he sought to overturn tradition, yet his music also embodies the fundamental tenets of classical Japanese aesthetics. In particular, the study will examine how Takemitsu employed compositional techniques to evoke this traditional Japanese aesthetic. I will end this project by using my newfound understanding of silence to write my own musical composition and record it. I will also do a performance of six Takemitsu pieces highlighting silence in his music at the Boyer School of Music.
Denise Snook, Horticulture, School of Environmental Design
Mentor: Sasha Eisenman, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
Assessing the taxonomy of Triantha (Nutt.) Baker populations in New Jersey
The genus Triantha consists of two species found in North America: Triantha glutinosa and T. racemosa; both herbaceous, perennial plants. T. glutinosa has a distribution across Canada and into the northern United States, and is found in wetlands with calcareous soil. T. racemosa, a more southerly species, is found in wetlands with acidic soils. NJ populations are described as T. racemosa, though it is hypothesized that hybrids of T. glutinosa and T. racemosa exist in NJ and that the two species once had overlapping ranges. The NJ populations are now genetically isolated from the nearest T. glutinosa and T. racemosa localities and have survived as viable populations. Comparison of nuclear ITS and plastid trnH-psbA and matK sequences confirms hybridity between T. glutinosa and T. racemosa for NJ populations. A holistic evaluation of morphological characteristics, genetic variation, and genetic isolation suggests that they should be recognized as an independent taxonomic entity.
Shilpa Soundararajan, Communications & Political Science, School of Media and Communication
Mentor: Robin Kolodny, Political Science
Media and Policy on the Philadelphia Soda Tax: An case study of the relationship between news media and policy-making in the defeat of the soda tax proposal
Grace Spring, Anthropology,College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Jayasinhji Jhala, Anthropology
Sacred or Supper?: The Roles of Animals in Religion and Society
Eric Stahler, History, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Travis Glasson, Department of History
U.S. Foreign Policy Regarding the Democratic Revolutions in Haiti and Egypt
Since its independence from the British monarchy, the United States has aimed to stand as the ultimate symbol of democracy for the rest of the world. However, the U.S. has not always safeguarded the ideals of democracy for other nations. At times the United States has even inhibited, through injurious foreign policies, democratic movements from taking place in foreign countries. One example is the U.S. diplomatic response to the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), where trade embargoes and the refusal of political recognition deterred the population of Haiti from breaking free from French colonial rule. By examining U.S. legislation and policies, in addition to scholarly works on U.S. foreign policy, my project will compare the United States’ diplomatic reaction during the Haitian Revolution to current U.S. policies in response to the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. Similar to the Haitian Revolution, the Egyptian Revolution and the surrounding Arab Spring have raised serious economic, social, and geopolitical concerns for the United States. Many scholars have studied U.S. foreign policy in response to both of these revolutions, but have examined each event independently. The comparison done in my research will shed light on underlying similarities and differences that provide insight into the larger discourse of U.S. foreign policy vis-à-vis international democratic development.
Samantha Stella, Psychology major, College of Liberal Arts
Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms and the Risk for Psychosis
Mentor: Lauren Ellman, Department of Psychology
Schizophrenia is a debilitating psychotic disorder that negatively affects multiple areas of functioning. Individuals exhibiting attenuated psychotic symptoms have been found to be at high risk for this and other psychotic disorders. There has been little research conducted on borderline personality disorder symptoms (BPD-S) in individuals who are at risk for psychosis, even though BPD and psychotic symptoms often co-occur. This study examined the relationship between BPD-S and the risk for psychosis, and whether this relationship would be changed by perceived stress, ego resiliency, depression, and anxiety. Young adults (N=933) completed validated questionnaires on the aforementioned constructs. Analyses indicated that BPD-S were related to an increased odds of being at risk, after controlling for perceived stress, ego resiliency, depression, and anxiety. This finding highlights the need for continued research on the types of symptoms found in those at risk for psychosis, to facilitate earlier identification and more targeted interventions.
James Sullivan, Economics, Fox School of Business
Mentor: Joseph Schwartz, Political Science
Neoliberal Capitalism and the Rise of Personal Indebtedness: Feasible Policy Responses
Andie Taylor, Music Composition , Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: Matthew Greenbaum, Department of Music Composition
sad boy: toward a queer concert music
In recent years, the work of gay and lesbian composers has been gaining considerable traction in the world of contemporary music. Despite this, music that explicitly discusses transgender experiences remains relatively invisible. To combat this trend, I have composed a work for soprano, string quartet and video using poetry that explicitly discusses facets of trans identity. The work does not navigate this material solely on a surface level, however: its internal structure creates a vastly complex discursive web, exploring the ways that our identities are formed and mutated through the interaction of a multiplicity of narratives. My music creates an examination of identity centrally tied to the experience of queer gender in both its surface material and its structural organization, radically recentering the focus of concert consciousness on trans embodiment and lived experience.
Kevin Yoo, Biology, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Won Suh, Department of Bio-Medical Engineering
Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis
Stem cells hold the future of an advancing medicine where an individual's needs, whether those may be organs, skin, etc., can be met by a single stem cell. Although in theory most of the groundwork with stem cells are well known, in practice the study of stem cells becomes much more difficult because of the fact that we humans are multicellular. In addition to this, humans are three dimensional, making an analysis of stem cells in a 2-d structure less ideal. In this project, the goal will be to engineer and produce peptides using the method of solid phase peptide synthesis. The peptides will then be introduced into a cellular environment and be analyzed of characteristics such as cell adhesion and intracellular activities through the likes of microscopy (electron microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, and live-cell imaging).