Recent Diamond Research Scholars
Chavisa Arpavoraruth, Mathematical Economics, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Pedro Silos, Economics
Accounting for the 2010s Recovery: A Business Cycle Accounting Approach The goal of this project is to analyze the U.S. 2010s recovery through a standard growth model augmented with time-varying shocks and wedges. These wedges are constructed in a way that makes the model replicate the behavior of real gross domestic product (GDP), investment, consumption, and the employment rate. I use a Business Cycle Accounting method, which allows me to isolate each individual wedge from the model in order to evaluate its influence during the recovery. The result shows that output is mostly driven by the efficiency wedge. However, government consumption and the investment wedge have a sizable impact on output later in the recovery.
Rachel Berson, Communication Studies and Political Science, Klein College of Media and Communication
Mentor: Scott Gratson, Communication Studies
World Pride’s Rhetorical Vision: A Fantasy-Theme Analysis This paper analyzes the evolution of World Pride’s identity between the first occurrence of World Pride in 2000 and contemporary celebrations of World Pride using a Bormannean fantasy-theme analysis. Specifically, this paper seeks to understand the way in which World Pride has rhetorically transformed from an event conducted for the purpose of staking claims on contested spaces to celebrating existing pre-established gay spaces. Ultimately, this paper concludes that World Pride’s rhetorical identity has been fundamentally reimagined in a manner that is detrimental to both World Pride’s central mission and the global queer community overall.
Alefiyah Bookbinder, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Karin Wang, Bioengineering
Analysis Methods for the Quantification of Cell MorphologyCells sense physical cues from their microenvironment and translate them into biochemical signals that modulate their behavior. The extracellular matrix (ECM) is the microenvironment that surrounds the cells, providing them with a network of macromolecules, such as collagen and glycoproteins, which provide structural and biochemical support to the surrounding cells. The stiffness of the ECM is a major physical cue that influences cells in many aspects, and although recent research explores the connection between ECM stiffness and migration, little to no research has been done on the influence ECM stiffness has on cell shape and morphology. Therefore, the goal of this research project was to examine the influence of varying extracellular matrix (ECM) stiffness on cell shape (morphology) and migration.
Nicholas Carmack, Sociology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Kimberly Goyette, Sociology
Students and Race: Understanding How Undergraduate Students Discuss and Comprehend Race and Racism
Devlin Eckardt, Neuroscience, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Vishnu Murty, Psychology
Behavioral Mechanisms of the Adaptive Communication of MemoryMemories are not veridical representations of our past, rather they are adaptive, serving future goals. One adaptive function of memories is communication. We do not only store memories for personal recall, but also to share information to others. In this study, we investigate how individual’s goal states to retrieve memories or communicate them to others changes the content and structure of free recall. We study healthy participants in a purely behavioral paradigm. Critically, half of our participants are experts at communicating memories to other individuals (i.e., improvisors and storytellers). Participants play an exploratory game where they discover a new environment. Later, during free recall, individuals recall their memories to themselves or as if to a friend. We analyzed these free recall narratives using the autobiographic interview. This work provides a deeper understanding of how we transform memories in order to communicate information to others.
Nikki Fackler, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Jamie Reilly, Communication Sciences and Disorders
The Moderation of Individual Differences on Physiological Arousal while CursingNeurogenic cursing is characterized by the excessive or involuntary production of taboo words. This is a problematic behavioral symptom present in numerous neurological disorders and interferes with communicative functioning. As the mechanism behind cursing is not fully understood, I investigated whether individual differences in profanity use/exposure, anger, and impulsivity moderate physiological arousal while producing taboo. Participants engaged in three reading/speaking tasks consisting of taboo and non-taboo (control) stimuli. Individual differences were measured using self-report questionnaires. Physiological arousal was measured through a multitude of vocal parameters that have been hypothesized to be indicators of physiological arousal (i.e., fundamental frequency, amplitude, jitter, shimmer). Using this novel methodology, physiological arousal was significantly higher during taboo word production than non-taboo word production. Some trends were found supporting the moderation of profanity use/exposure, anger, and impulsivity on the relationship between tabooness and physiological arousal. Future research is needed to draw conclusions.
Sid Feinberg, Sociology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Max Andrucki, Geography and Urban Studies
“We Went Out There and Turned His Town Upside Down”: The Use of Domestic Space in ACT UP Philadelphia Home ProtestThis research focuses on the AIDS activist organization ACT UP Philadelphia from 2000-2020. It relies on online archives and oral histories, and specifically looks at ACT UP’s ‘home protests,’ which occur outside the domestic spaces of local government officials. The actions help to illustrate the ways that queer Black people, unhoused people, and poor people living with HIV are made vulnerable to illness and death. The actions further show how the home spaces of the political elite, and the reproductive labor that takes place in them, are connected to the maintenance of structural inequalities, and disrupt the illusion of the autonomous and apolitical home.
Michelle Joyce, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Andrew Spence, Bioengineering
Gait Control for Obstacle Negotiation in CaninesUnderstanding the biomechanics of how animals overcome complex environments has significant implications in biology and engineering. Here we examine how flexibly controlled quadrupedal obstacle negotiation is constrained by the structure of typical animal gaits and the environment. Past research shows that interactions from a quadrupedal robot moving over a regular obstacle array results in stable locomotion with a systematic change in direction. As dogs have additional locomotor flexibility, we hypothesized that in a similar array, dogs would change gait parameters including duty factor, limb phase, stride length, and direction of locomotion. To investigate the effect of space between obstacles, we quantified the natural step length of eleven dogs, and normalized spacing for body size. We hypothesized that longer spacing would correspond to a lower duty factor. Continuing analysis of additional parameters will further investigate a dog’s ability to cope with obstacle fields and provide insights to enhancing robotic locomotion.
Jessica Levine, Religion, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Elizabeth Alvarez, Religion
If American Civil Religion Really Existed, It Would Be Necessary to Abolish It: Towards a Critical Sociology of American Civil ReligionThis paper contends that the sociological study of American civil religion, which has descended primarily from the work of Robert Bellah, has been beset by an essentialized, Protestant understanding of religion and a naturalized perspective of American exceptionalism. It proposes a series of new analytical frames which could be used to construct a critical sociology of American civil religion. These frames emphasize behavior over belief, without reference to divinity or other traditional markers of Christian religion, to better analyze the role of American civil religion in legitimating the American state. This effort composites the work of marginalized sociologists of religion and critical scholars outside the field to suggest new conceptualizations and operationalizations of American civil religion that are better suited to that analysis, in order to support efforts to challenge that legitimation.
Alexandra Margolin, Environmental Science, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Erik Cordes, Biology
Differences in Habitat and Species Distributions of Seep-Associated Fauna Based on Underlying Geology at Active and Passive MarginsCold seeps harbor massive reservoirs of hydrocarbons that fuel their associated ecosystems. These inventories of organic compounds are susceptible to exploitation by offshore oil and gas operations. The factors that control species distributions at cold seeps is not well understood. A study determining which environmental variables most influence the distribution of three important seep-associated fauna at a passive and an active margin was undertaken, producing a model that showed that the distribution of bacterial mats, bathymodiolin mussels, and vesicomyid clams — key habitat-forming species present at cold seeps worldwide — is influenced by temperature and seafloor terrain features. Specifically, the distribution of bacterial mats is most influenced by its Bathymetric Positioning Index (BPI), or its elevation relative to other points within 1 km. Bathymodiolin mussels and vesicomyid clams are most influenced by aspect of the seafloor, or the direction it faces. Mussels occupying the Blake Ridge seep on the passive margin of the US east coast prefer to settle on a slope that faces North. Clams at Blake Ridge prefer slopes that face South, and at Jaco Scar, the seep on the active margin of Costa Rica, prefer slopes that face North. This study has implications for conservation and exploration, where the methods outlined would be useful for predicting cold seep and fauna presence. This study is the precursor to a broader study that aims to predict the presence of cold seeps and associated fauna at a higher resolution than ever attempted before.
Gillian McGuire, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Peter Lelkes, Bioengineering
Mathematical and Computer Modeling of 2D Stem Cell Growth for Potential Future Application into 3D Organoid SystemsThere is a bit of interest into understanding the mechanisms of which stem cells proliferate and divide since understanding these processes can generate better clinical outcomes when it comes to tissue engineered constructs and cell-based therapies. For my research, I was interested in mathematically and computer modelling for cell count N and several parameters that effect stem cell growth such as: cell density, doubling time, lag phase, asymmetrical division, mitotic fraction, and cell death. Through literature review mathematical models were constructed and modified to explore these parameters and their effect on cell count N over time. All models were solved and used within the program MATLAB. The exploration of these models leads me toward future work in generating more complex models in 3D environments such as stem cell organoids. With these models, the goal is to make better hypotheses about 3D behaviors and mechanisms that can later be confirmed experimentally.
Jediael Peterson, Global Studies and Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Benjamin Talton, History
War Is War: Ethnicity and Nation Building in NigeriaSince its independence, Nigeria has been tasked with answering the question of what their national identity is. From its disastrous civil war and rise in militant forms of ethnic nationalism to the present day #EndSARS movement, the country is continuously reconstructing what it means to belong to Nigeria with ethnicity as a political tool. Through interviews, secondary materials; such as academic journals, and literary texts, we can see the role ethnicity plays in Nigeria's political mobilization while also wondering if it is a sustainable method.
Claudia Tangradi, Secondary Education and English, College of Education
Mentor: Sarah Cordes, Policy, Organizational, and Leadership Studies
An Investigation of Differences Between Teachers of the School District of Philadelphia and Teachers of Suburban Districts Surrounding Philadelphia Funding inequities and the differing qualities of education that students receive as a result have been heavily studied in recent years. With the acknowledgement that teachers are one of the primary factors that influence student academic outcomes, this study seeks to investigate the differences of former teachers of the School District of Philadelphia and current teachers of suburban districts surrounding Philadelphia in terms of overall quality and satisfaction. Utilizing interviews with both former teachers of the School District of Philadelphia and current teachers of districts in suburban counties surrounding Philadelphia, this study illustrates how these inequities play out in this specific area through the achievement gap and attests to the need for new educational policy. Findings of this study support the hypothesis that teachers of suburban districts are generally older, more educated and experienced, and satisfied with their jobs than teachers when they taught in the School District of Philadelphia.
Daniel Taratut, Biology, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Brent Sewall, Biology
Ecological Changes Brought on by Fungal Invasionand Pathogenesis: An OverviewFungal epizootics are on the rise, and the variety of biological invasions associated with human influences continues to put stress on ecosystem health. Emerging mycotic diseases have cascading impacts on biodiversity, rapidly shifting and destabilizing the community structure of ecosystems. What promotes or limits the spread of many pathogenic fungi remains an elusive concept to wildlife managers, inhibiting adequate and timely responses to effected host species. I first consider here why fungal invasions have long been overlooked in terms of multi-host susceptibility, and how indirect effects through species interactions increase pathogenicity within an ecosystem. I then review several case-studies underlining the success of invasion for certain fungal pathogens in diverse species groups. Highlighting the adaptive and evolutionary changes of host-pathogen interactions, I discuss how specific characteristics of fungal invasions lead to drastic transformationsin ecosystems. In hopes of shining light on ecological changes attributed to fungal invasions, my aim is to provide a comprehensive analysis of emerging mycotic diseases, and how their ultimate effects on other species within ecosystems is often overlooked.
Anabella Thompson, Jazz Studies Performance, Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: James Earl Davis, Urban Education
Gender and Jazz: The Experience of Young Women in Jazz EducationThe number of young women who participate in instrumental high school jazz education programs peaks in middle school, then drops precipitously throughout the high school years. With most high school jazz bands populated by only a small percentage of female instrumentalists by the later years of high school. While this disparity is well documented, efforts to understand and address the issue have often lacked the perspective of the young women themselves. This qualitative research study, based on in-depth interviews conducted with 16 female instrumentalists, from different regions of the US and Canada, examines ‘band culture’ from the perspective of young women taking part in it. The result is a portrait of their experience and how they make sense of it, offering valuable insight into the challenge of creating music education environments that sustain and support young women.
Allison Amodea, Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Lindsay Craig, Philosophy
The Evolution of Female Focused Care: Linking the Hidden History of Women's Medical Care to Today's Failures
Selena Baugh, Sociology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Kimberly Goyette, Sociology
Understanding the Black-White Achievement Gap: Academic Achievement by Race and Parents' Education
Researchers have long puzzled over the Black-White achievement gap and its relationship with family income and parents’ education. Findings from previous studies indicate that education and income are positively correlated with academic achievement, however the extent to which they account for the achievement gap is still debated. Therefore, using the High School Longitudinal Study 2009-2016 dataset from the National Center for Education Statistics, this study seeks to clarify this issue. Results from a bivariate crosstabulation of race and GPA reflect previous research which shows that Whites outperform Blacks academically. A tri-variate analysis controlling for parents’ education reveals that as parents’ education increases, so does the strength of the relationship between race and GPA. Furthermore, among those with a GPA exceeding 3.00, the gap remains largely constant regardless of education. An interaction model controlling for both parents’ education and income reflects the crosstabulation results with the additional finding that White GPAs are predicted to suffer more when their parents lack a college degree. The study therefore calls for further exploration of the connection between parents’ education and the relationship between race and GPA as well as the unique effect lower education has on White students.
Kiana Burton, Physics, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Matthew Newby, Physics
Main Sequence Turnoff Star Properties of PanSTARRS Globular Clusters
Using data from the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS), we define the absolute magnitude distribution of main sequence turnoff stars (MSTOs) for 45 globular clusters in the Galactic halo. We follow the method of Newby et al. (2013) and fit all clusters with two half-gaussian functions centered at 3.74 with bright side 0.14 and faint side 0.27. We also obtain a set of distances, ages, and metallicities for all 45 clusters.
Dylan Chirman, Biology and Sociology, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Nancy Pleshko, Bioengineering
Evaluation of Chemically Induced Hypoxia in Porcine Tissue Engineered Cartilage
The purpose of this study is to identify the optimal cell culture conditions that will enhance thedevelopment of tissue engineered cartilage. The physiological environment of articular cartilage is bothavascular and hypoxic with oxygen tensions between 1 and 5%. Previous research has indicated that whenculturing cells in vitro, hypoxia improves chondrogenic commitment and more closely replicates thephenotypes of in vivo articular cartilage. This study aims to investigate the effects of chemically inducinghypoxia with a hydroxylase inhibitor, dimethyloxalylglycine (DMOG), in engineered articular cartilage,providing an inexpensive alternative to cell culture in hypoxia chambers.
Leah DeFlitch, Neuroscience, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Susan Patterson, Biology
Distinct Differences in Hippocampal Gene Expression Patterns in Aged vs. Young Rats Following an Acute Immune Challenge
Aging increases the risk of an abrupt cognitive decline, termed delirium, following an injury or illness. An episode of delirium is associated with a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, yet very little is known about the underlying mechanisms. Data from rodent models suggests that aging primes cells of the innate immune system in the brain to produce a dysregulated response to immune challenges. To more closely examine differences in young and aged animals’ responses to an acute immune challenge, genetic expression of whole hippocampal fractions of young (3-month-old) and aged (24-month-old) rats was studied. mRNA samples were screened against a curated gene expression panel of over 700 genes, which were selected for their involvement in immune responses and neuronal structure and functioning. A time-course was used to ask whether aged animals display different inflammatory mechanisms from young animals or if their mechanisms are similar but follow a delayed time course. Results show that aged animals may mount a distinct and more limited response to infection than their young counterparts, suggesting aged animals’ inappropriate immune response is associated with abrupt cognitive failure.
Niko Di Caprio, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Evangelia Bellas, Bioengineering
Collagen Stiffness and Architecture Regulate Fibrotic Gene Expression in Engineered Adipose Tissue
Adipose tissue (AT) has a dynamic extracellular matrix (ECM) which surrounds adipocytes, allowing for remodeling during metabolic fluctuation. During obesity, AT has increased ECM deposition, stiffening, and remodeling resulting in a pro-fibrotic dysfunctional state. Here, incorporation of ethylene glycol-bis-succinic acid N-hydroxysuccinimide ester allowed for control over 3D collagen hydrogel stiffness and architecture to investigate its influence on adipocyte metabolic and fibrotic function. Upon stiffening and altering ECM architecture, adipocytes did not exhibit any dysfunctional metabolic markers. However, they did increase in presence of actin stress fibers, pro-fibrotic gene expression, ECM deposition, and remodeling within a stiffer, 3D collagen hydrogel. Furthermore, inhibition of actin contractility resulted in a reversal of pro-fibrotic gene expression and ECM deposition, indicating adipocytes mediated mechanical cues through actin cytoskeletal networks. This study demonstrates ECM stiffness and architecture play a regulatory role in adipocyte fibrotic function and contributes to the pro-fibrotic dysfunctional state of AT during obesity.
Chau Do, Neuroscience, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Mathieu Wimmer, Psychology and Neuroscience
Molecular Underpinnings of Opioid Craving in Rodent Models of Addiction
The opioid epidemic is a national health crisis and relapse contributes as a major factor to the ongoing crisis (Hostin, Hodge, and Noe, 2017). Relapse is often precipitated by intense drug craving following extended abstinence, a phenomenon known as incubation of craving (Grimm et al., 2001). Identifying the underlying biological mechanisms of drug craving may prevent relapse and improve treatment outcomes for patients suffering from substance use disorder (SUD). This project used a pre-clinical rodent model, the self-adminsitration paradigm, and RNA sequencing to study incubation of morphine craving and accompanying changes in gene expression. The nucleus accumbens shell was analyzed for changes in gene expression, following short-term or long-term abstinence from chronic morphine taking. This project delineated divergent patterns of gene expression elicited by chronic morphine and extended abstinence in males and females that lay the foundation for further experimental validation and potential new gene-directed treatments.
Madeline Dunne, Speech, Language and Hearing Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Gayle DeDe, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Development and Assessment of a Theater Group for People with Aphasia
The Philadelphia Aphasia Community at Temple (PACT) utilizes a group therapy approach for people with aphasia (PWA) by providing opportunities for PWA to enhance communication skills in an interest-driven setting. Recent research demonstrates how theater can improve the communication of ideas through both non-verbal and verbal means and can offer a medium through which PWA can interact and share their experiences. The main goal of this project was to examine how theater has been used with PWA and how theater games and experiences can be adapted for PWA at PACT. Existing studies were reviewed in regards to the benefits of theater for people with communication disabilities and the theories underlying different theater games. These concepts were applied to a pilot theater group at PACT. Nine PWA attended six weekly sessions throughout Summer 2019. Sessions incorporated different theater games and activities to gauge interests and skills, with support from Physical Therapy. Pre-/post-group testing included the Communication Confidence Rating Scale for People with Aphasia and a theater survey examining participant’s interests, skills, and knowledge of theater. Results from pre-test and post-test were compared to determine changes in perception of theater, enjoyment, and overall benefits of a theater group for PWA.
Steven Hamilton, Economics, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Dimitrios Diamantaras, Economics
Social Welfare Functions: Ethical Categorization and Usage
In this article I discuss social welfare functions (SWFs). These are mathematical functions that represent the welfare of a society. Within economics,SWFs are used by fictitious individuals called social planners whose only job is to maximize a SWF for their society. I suggest that this concept of social planner needs to be expanded,as whether a social planner is simply fictitious or is approximated by certain elements of technocratic or authoritarian decision-making,this planner is expressing a preference over both ethics and informational availability with their choice of a SWF due to the inherent normative value judgments built into these functions. I am not attempting to justify the use of a SWF in making policy decisions (see Adler (2012) for such an attempt), Iam instead recognizing that SWFs (and other technical tools) are used in policy-making and analysis and that it isreasonable to move towards more transparent decision-making. The fact that SWFs are actually used in policy analysis in the United Statesand other countries make this issue more than just theoretical. The contributionof this paper is to emphasize the ethics inherent in the use of these tools and to offer a way forward –this is done through a clear analysis of the ethics underpinning common SWF and then showing that it’s possible to organize them using a flow-chart model so as to be useful for non-expert, actual social planning exercises.
J. Anderson Harris, Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Lara Ostaric, Philosophy
Craft, Surface, & Function: An Interpretation of Kant’s Notion of Adherent Beauty
There are three major interpretations of Kant’s notion of adherent beauty in the Critique of the Power of Judgment. Currently, to make sense of adherent beauty, philosophers agree that the constraint model, additive model, and interactive model all have an equal interpretive grounding in the text. I find this conclusion incorrect. Instead, I argue that the interactivemodel is the only correct reading of adherent beauty in Kant’s work. To do this, Imovebeyond the current literature on the interactive model by drawing attention to works of craft as paradigmatic examples of interaction by their possession of both surface beauty and practical function.My argument concludes with my suggestion that theinteractive modelI propose nullifies the constraint and additive models.
Christopher Hsieh, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Roselyn Hsueh, Political Science
Understanding Yuanzhumin Identity In Relation to Taiwanese Self-Determination Movement
Janessa Hughes, Speech, Language and Hearing Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Lisa Bedore, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Tres Tristes Tigres and Error Codes: Understanding Bilingual Language Processing Through Tongue Twister Analysis
The purpose of this study was to analyze the errors produced by bilingual children with and without Developmental Language Disorder as they repeated tongue twisters in both Spanish and English. It was hypothesized that patterns of error-production would emerge. Fifty participants between Grades 1 and 5 completed the task over the course of 2-3 years, and their responses were transcribed, coded, and analyzed. Descriptive results indicated that there were between-group differences for the TD and DLD groups in the frequency of errors, as well as for the participants’ performances in Spanish and English. Longitudinal changes in relative frequency did not emerge as predicted; the groups demonstrated similar trajectories over time.
Jarryd Kainz, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Lauren Farmer, Political Science
The Kurdish Question: Pathways to Autonomy and Unification
The Kurds of Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran have fought for an independent Kurdish state since the colonial division of borders in 1923 that placed the historically inhabited Kurdish lands under the control of the Iraqi, Turkish, Syrian, and Iranian states. The Kurds of each state have faced a near century of repression under these states with Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran each using different methods of repression to prevent Kurdish autonomy. This paper will track the political developments of the Kurds since the division of their lands into Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran and provide a contemporary overview of the Kurdish dilemma by state followed by proposals to resolve the intra- and interstate conflicts. Then, this paper will examine the requisite preconditions towards various levels of political unification, how the Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish groups currently satisfy or fail to satisfy these preconditions, and how the Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish groups can make progress on these preconditions to further political unification between the groups.
Nina Mucciolo, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Chetan Patil, Bioengineering
Development of a Coherent Raman Microscopy Protocol for Imaging of Engineered Adipose Tissue
We present the development of a multifunctional nonlinear optical microscope designed to perform Coherent Anti Stokes Raman Scattering (CARS) microscopy, in addition to Second Harmonic Generation (SHG) and two-photon fluorescence (TPEFF). CARS microscopy is a type of imaging that can perform biochemically specific label-free imaging of cells and tissues, with well-established sensitivity to lipids. Prior work in our lab resulted in a 1st generation microscope platform and demonstrated ability to perform label-free imaging of lipids in engineered adipose tissue samples, however identified limitations with microscope configuration, spectral resolution, image channel-crosstalk, and a lack of environmental controls for living specimens. Here, we report developments in redesigning microscope physical and optical configuration, as well as initial results in SHG and TPEF imaging as well as their ultimate potential for CARS imaging of engineered adipose tissue.
Makayla Peterson, Dance, Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: Sherril Dodds, Dance
A False Narrative: The Hypersexualization of the Caribbean
The cultural richness of the Caribbean is expressed through dance as it navigates and combats the interplay between a history of colonization, societal structure and politics. The interactions between culture and structure inform how the Caribbean dancing body exists in relation to the evolution of Caribbean dance, history of enslavement and dehumanization of Africans at the hands of European colonialism. The politics of religion and colonization has resulted in the construction of stereotypes about and hypersexualization of the black body through the overlapping lenses of race, gender, class and sexuality. The dance forms of soca dance, traditionally performed at Carnival, and dancehall and are rooted in slavery and social and political upheaval in the islands of Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica. By examining the dichotomy that exists between the Euro-American and Caribbean view of sexuality that permeates American society and pop culture, one can understand its relation to stereotypes of the Caribbean.
Jared Radichel, Jazz Performance, Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: Greg Kettinger, Jazz
Muses: Richard Davis and the Synthesis of Tradition and Innovation
Joseph Salzer, Mathematical Economics, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Douglas Webber, Economics
Institutional Responses to State and Local Appropriations
Economists, educators, and politicians alike have attempted to explain the surging cost of college in the United States. Most notably, as the 2020 U.S presidential election rolls around, Democratic candidates have advocated for several different policies to change the post-secondary education landscape of America. However, as we examine different policy responses, we must consider how public institutions respond to one of their main sources of revenue: state and local appropriations. Given a shock to previous year appropriations, institutions might adjust their tuition revenue or total expenditures. Since tuition costs and institutional spending play significant roles in enrollment and attainment rates, as well as post-education outcomes, estimating responses to state divestment is critical for future policy. Data comes from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and specifically the Delta Cost Project that has made the data longitudinally consistent. To reduce biased estimates, an instrumental-variable fixed effects model is utilized that accounts for non-random appropriation allocation. I find that for every $1,000 decrease in per student appropriations, an average student will pay $303 more in direct tuition and fees. Moreover, the institution will cut per student spending by $563 including a $247 per student decrease in instructional spending.
Megan Shaud, Psychology and Criminal Justice, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Jeffrey Ward, Criminal Justice
Normalization of Violence in an Urban Youth Sample: Gender Differences
Exposure to violence (ETV) in youth has been observed to have a wide range of negative effects on individuals over time, including depressive symptoms and aggressive behavior. The Normalization of Violence model introduced by Ng-Mak and colleagues (2002) attempts to explain the role that moral disengagement plays in the relationship between ETV, depressive symptoms, and aggressive behavior in urban youth. There is significant empirical support for the overarching model, but there is still a question of whether there are significant gender differences in this model. In the current study, data from the Pathways to Desistance study is utilized to empirically test whether the model is tenable. Structural equation modeling is utilized to identify the impact that moral disengagement has on the relationship between exposure to violence, depressive symptoms, and aggressive behavior across gender. According to the present study’s findings, the Normalization of Violence model seems to be both theoretically and empirically sound when it is applied to a sample of high-risk youth, with significant gender differences. In comparison to females, males display significantly higher levels of normalization of violence. Further research is needed to empirically explore this model and determine whether it is applicable to the general population of urban youth.
Kyra Skoog, Speech, Language and Hearing Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Edwin Maas, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Predicting Intelligibility: An Investigation of Speech Sound Accuracy in Childhood Apraxia of Speech
The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between the accuracy of speech in children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) and the intelligibility of their productions. CAS is a neurological disorder in which children have difficulty coordinating the oral movements needed to produce speech, but typically have no muscle weakness. The study was executed through having adult listeners, who were unfamiliar with children with CAS, listen to recordings of children performing the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation and type what they thought the child said. The responses were then compared against the target to determine intelligibility. Separately, the children’s utterances were also scored for accuracy using various methods by a trained research assistant. The relationship between these accuracy measures and intelligibility were examined using correlational analyses. Preliminary findings suggest that there is a relationship between intelligibility and accuracy among children with CAS.
Sean Starosta, Economics, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Douglas Webber, Economics
Responsibility Centered Management at Temple
Responsibility Centered Management (RCM) is the budgeting model in place at Temple University along with many other public research universities and private universities. This paper sought to answer questions about RCM’s effects on student outcomes and student body demographics. In the process of investigating these questions, RCM presented considerable obstacles for research. It was found that RCM itself, along with the opaque nature of universities, presents considerable obstacles for paper seeking to identify a causal relationship between RCM and meaningful outcomes. This paper proposes that RCM might create perverse incentives by placing faculty in positions where they have conflicts of interest in regard to student’s interests and their own. It also suggests potential paths forward for RCM researchers in the future.
Ellen Taraskiewicz, History, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Lila Corwin Berman, History
Avukah: Student Zionism on Temple University’s Campus (1925-1941)
The landscape of American Zionism shifted slowly and significantly over the course of the early to mid 20th century, culminating in the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. In that tumultuous period of history, American Zionism was not one single traceable ideology, but a great mass of intersecting and opposing ideologies, formed in the shadows cast by a desire for American Jews to assimilate and in the pervasive anti-Semitism in the United States and Europe. One particular student Zionist organization, known as Avukah, cultivated its own Zionist ideology and attempted to inculcate its message in universities across the country. However, as American Zionism transformed and took root in normative American Jewish society, Avukah struggled and ultimately failed to instill its Zionist ideology into the mainstream. Avukah’s strict adherence to its singular, yet ultimately unclear Zionist ideology and inability to adapt to the shifting tides of American Zionism provide a unique lens into the world of early American Zionist culture and the limitations of organizations founded on pure ideology. The study of Avukah’s rise and fall through the prism of the Avukah chapter at Temple University offer a close examination and microcosm of the limitations of Avukah’s Zionist ideology in the face of American Zionism’s period of great change.
Hibby Thach, Sociology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Adrienne Shaw, Media Studies and Production
A Cross-Game Look at Transgender Representation in Video Games
Despite a history of tracking, analyzing, and discussing transgender representation in media (GLAAD History and Highlights), research on video games is lacking. In this project, I analyzed 63 games from 1988 to 2019 documented on the LGBTQ Game Archive (Shaw, 2016) as having transgender characters. A textual analysis revealed four overarching tropes in how video games represent transgender characters (dysphoria/physical transition, mentally ill killers, trans shock/reveal, and ambiguity), with each noticeably changing across time or country. I also demonstrate how transgender representation in video games manifests in similar ways to film/television. Three out of four tropes in transgender representation appear in videogames, film, and television, but gender ambiguity, mostly from Japanese translations, only appears in video games. As video games are not the only media consumed transnationally, this signals a possible lack of research on gender ambiguity in both media and game studies.
Aurora Trainor, Public Health, College of Public Health
Mentor: Heather Murphy, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Exploring the Survival of Enteric Viruses in the Public Water Distribution System
This research aimed to evaluate the efficacy of the chlorine disinfectant residual on MS2 bacteriophage inactivation in the Philadelphia public drinking water distribution system. Six annular reactors (ARs), which simulate the flow of water through pipes, were assembled. Three contained cast iron material, and three contained cement, representing two common pipe types in Philadelphia. These were connected to the distribution system in Ritter Hall, and then inoculated with a known concentration of a harmless virus called MS2 in order to simulate a pipe break and the subsequent influx of microbes. I monitored viral decay over time in the water flow through machines (bulk water) and on the build up of organic material on the pipe surface (biofilm) using bacterial culturing methods and found that the MS2 survived for between 4-6 days in the bulk water of the ARs and between 4-14 days in the biofilm. In both cases, the virus survived longer in the cement pipes, despite higher chlorine residuals. This indicates that pipe type may be more important in disinfectant processes than previously identified.
Madeline Colker, Media Studies and Production, English, Klein College of Media and Communication
Mentor: Steven Newman, English
Art for Television's Sake: Feminist Aestheticism Dramatized
Creating a bridge between Media Studies script writing and English-based research, my project focuses on the female writers of the Aesthetic movement. Although writers such as Oscar Wilde are widely recognized for their contributions to the literary movement and hailed for their radical thinking, women Aesthetes were making equally radical statements about gender, sexuality, and social conventions. My research looks at how these writers were affected by the Aesthetic movement and how, in turn, their perspective as women in a highly patriarchal society contributed to or critiqued Aesthetic doctrines. This central question is the basis for the deliverable of my research: a completed television pilot script. Drawing inspiration from Aesthetic writers such as Amy Levy and Vernon Lee, as well as television writers such as Daisy Goodwin and Amy Sherman-Palladino, the script dramatizes the lives of the women of the Aesthetic movement in 1885 London and explores how academic research is best transferred onto the small screen.
Ariana Davis, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Lauren Alloy, Psychology
The Relationship Between Social Anxiety and Stress Generation Among Adolescents
We examined the relationship between social anxiety symptoms and stress generation in adolescents. We hypothesized that participants reporting greater social anxiety symptoms at Time 1 (T1) would be more likely to report more peer victimization and interpersonal dependent life events at Time 2 (T2). The sample consisted of 249 12-13-year-old youth diverse in sex, race, and SES. At T1, participants reported on their depressive symptoms and social anxiety symptoms, and at T2, 7 months later, they reported on peer victimization and negative life events. Linear regressions were conducted, controlling for depressive symptoms at T1 and demographic variables that were significantly associated with peer victimization and interpersonal dependent events. Consistent with hypotheses, greater social anxiety symptoms at T1 predicted more interpersonal dependent events at T2. Social anxiety symptoms marginally predicted interpersonal independent events. These results suggest that social anxiety symptoms uniquely predict interpersonal dependent events above and beyond the effects of depressive symptoms.
Peter Dennis, Jazz Performance, Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: Gregory Kettinger, Jazz
Tapestry In Sound: Meditations on the Tones and Life of James Emory "Jimmy" Garrison
This document is the product of my research on the bassist James Emory Garrison. "Jimmy" Garrison was John Coltrane's longest collaborator, a Philadelphia native, and a pillar of the avant-garde movement in jazz and American music. James Garrison's unique and beautiful bass playing created richly textured landscapes in sound through the use of non-traditional techniques combined with the universal soul blues. Within this project, a variety of topics are covered; primarily, it is a combination of his biography and an analysis of his highly influential, astoundingly creative unaccompanied solo bass improvisations.
Tanya Dhingra, Public Health, College of Public Health
Mentor: Heather Murphy, College of Public Health
Understanding Menstrual Hygiene Management Among Adolescents in Indian Urban Slums
Menstruation is perhaps the most important change during a young girl's adolescent years. In resource-poor countries like India, menstrual hygiene is heavily compromised and steeped in silence, myths, taboos, and stigma due to its common associations with impurity. Many girls are uneducated about menstruation and how to manage it. They lack access to social support resources, both at home and at school, that could provide them with access to adequate menstrual hygiene management. Insufficient sanitary facilities, safe spaces, clean water, and pads are additional environmental barriers. The most stressful psychosocial factor, however, is the inability to address and discuss these matters openly.
Melissa Eisgrau, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Sean Yom, Political Science
The Power of Place in Modern Day Ukraine
External forces, rather than internal efforts, will be the cause of unification in Ukraine. Large scale, successful protest movements were not the catalyst needed to unite Ukrainians into one sovereign, democratic nation. Corruption and political sabotage consumed the Soviet-era, and the implications are still evident today. Few people trust the government, and most want distance from Russian influence. When Moscow ordered the invasion of the Crimean peninsula, Ukrainian public opinion favoring Russia diminished. The resulting displaced persons crisis forced eastern Ukrainians from their homes towards western oblasts. In western cities such as L'viv, known for their activist culture, eastern Ukrainian are shedding the historical narratives of their Soviet past. Through interviews, historical analysis, and data, this research frames the importance of regional spatial identities in Post-Soviet countries. Ukrainian regional identities are crucial to understanding an individual's interpretation of and response to issues of national salience.
Talia IrgangLaden, Linguistics, Computer Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Edwin Mass, Communication Sciences and DIsorders
Proportional vowel duration as a tool in diagnosing apraxia of speech
Apraxia of speech (AOS), a neurological speech disorder, remains poorly understood, making diagnosis difficult. Differentiating between AOS and aphasia is challenging because perceptual judgments, the basis of clinical diagnosis, have limited precision. This research attempts to use current theories on the underlying processes that cause AOS and develop materials that can facilitate differential diagnosis of AOS. This study examined the so-called vowel shortening effect, in which stressed vowels get shorter as the word gets longer (e.g., the vowel in zip is shorter in zipper and zippering). In this study, we examined the vowel durations in a set of words that get progressively longer, as produced by 8 people with AOS and 4 people without AOS but with aphasia. The findings suggest that people with AOS have abnormal vowel shortening effects, particularly with respect to 3-syllable words. As such, the vowel shortening effect may hold promise for diagnosing AOS.
Courtney Jones, Speech Language and Hearing Sciences, College of Public Health
Mentor: Gayle DeDe, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Effects of Conversational Treatment on the use of Enactment and Correct Information Units
Although aphasia treatment is administered in individual therapy sessions, group conversational treatment is also said to reduce social isolation and improve communication among individuals with aphasia (IWA). Participating in conversation with other individuals with the same language impairments, as well as learning other methods of communicating in everyday interactions may give IWA the confidence to effectively and functionally communicate outside of clinical settings. The main goal of this study was to determine whether people with aphasia improve the quality of their spontaneous speech through group conversational treatment. This was addressed by comparing pre and post treatment speech samples in both experimental and control groups. The experimental group consisted of 13 IWA, who received 10 weeks of conversation treatment in the summer 2017. The control group consisted of 6 individuals who did not receive treatment until fall 2017. Two picture description tasks within the samples were the main focus for this specific study. Samples were analyzed using Correct Information Units (CIU), which measures the informativeness of discourse. We also analyzed use of enactment before and after treatment. We predicted that the experimental group would improve in informativeness in conversation as assessed by CIUs in comparison to the control group, and that the experimental group would use enactment more frequently after treatment. The results showed no consistent pattern of changes across the groups. The variability in the data could be due to the several physiological and cognitive changes that may occur within a participant between and within the testing sessions.
Pearl Joslyn, History, Global Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Alan McPherson, History
Barriers to Conflict Resolution in International Organizations: A Case Study of the Falklands/Malvinas War
The Falklands/Malvinas War proved to be an extremely difficult problem for the international community, with no clear solution. Shrouded in legal ambiguities surrounding questions of sovereignty and decolonization, no effective diplomatic solution was reached and the outcome of the war was instead determined by Britain's military victory. The ability of the international community to lead Britain and Argentina in negotiations was greatly complicated by issues within the United Nations and the Organization of American States, as well as cooperation issues between the organizations. These issues raised serious concerns about the effectiveness of both of these organizations, and their ability to function in complex legal situations. This paper draws upon sources from the United Nations and Organization of American States, along with US, British, and Argentinian Government and secondary sources to investigate these cooperation issues.
Patrick Kelly, Public Health, College of Public Health
Mentor: Heather Traino, Public Health
A Scoping Literature Review of Transgender Experiences with Kidney Transplantation from Evaluation to Post-Transplantation Care
Despite existing literature demonstrating significant disparities by racial and ethnic identity related to kidney transplant and documented healthcare disparities across the life course of transgender individuals, the experiences and health outcomes of transgender individuals pursuing kidney transplantation has gone understudied. This scoping review aimed to examine and summarize existing literature on transgender individual's experiences with kidney transplant. A scoping literature review was conducted using three thematic search strings regarding transgender identity, kidney transplant, and hormones to search Embase, PubMed, and Scopus databases. Of 5,003 article records identified and screened for inclusion, only 2 were relevant to the objective of the study. The first article presented a guide for the management of end stage renal disease in transgender individuals. The second was a case study of a transgender man who was evaluated for kidney transplant. Both articles are limited in scope, study design, and methodology; neither examined the kidney transplant experience from the perspective of a transgender individual. The dearth of empirical research on the intersection of transgender identity and kidney transplantation indicates that more research is needed. Avenues for future research are explored, with suggestions for ensuring high quality, culturally sensitive care for transgender persons from evaluation to post-transplantation.
Demetrius Lee, Neuroscience, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Debra Bangasser, Psychology
Early Life Stress Has Lasting Effects on Development and Sex-Specific Effects on Cognition in Rats
Early life stress (ELS) is associated with the development of psychiatric disorders, which have cognitive deficits embedded in their symptomatology. Unfortunately, the processes that lead to disease is unclear. To study this we induced ELS in rat pups by limiting bedding and nesting materials from rat dams. This stresses the dam inducing stress in the pups. The data has shown that stressed mothers spend more time on pups and less time on themselves, but their pups still develop at a slower rate. Once the pups mature into adults, some were chosen for chronic variable stress (CVS), which consists of 6 days of 3 stressful activities. Cognitive deficits were measured using the novel object recognition task. Data has shown that only males exposed to ELS and CVS showed impairments. These findings indicate sex-specific stress-induced cognitive deficits and may explain why men are more likely to suffer from these deficits clinically.
Monica Lessen, Neuroscience, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Eric Borguet, Chemistry
Detection and Removal of Iodide on Stabilized Gold Nanoparticles and their Effect on Catalytic Ability
Deciphering the viability of gold nanoparticles as reusable, efficient catalyst is important for industrial uses like energy production. Contact is essential for catalysis. Substances that layer onto gold will obstruct the catalytic process. Such blockage is seen when iodide interacts with gold nanoparticles. Due to the ubiquitous nature of iodide in the water supply, this is a problem that needs to be resolved before gold nanoparticles can be used economically. To understand this phenomenon, UV-vis spectroscopy was used to monitor the stability of gold nanoparticle and the accumulation of iodide over exposures. After contact with a dilute sodium iodide solution, gold nanoparticle peak intensity decreased. After introduction of a dilute silver nitrate solution, gold nanoparticle peak intensity increased to a similar value as before iodide contamination. The nanoparticles recovered because of the reaction of the silver and iodide layer on gold to create a precipitate.
Alleh Naqvi, Political Science, English, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Alexa Firat, Arabic
In a world where global warming has eradicated agriculture production and led to an increase in desertification, the Catastrophe took place. Eventually, it was decided that agriculture would be produced on space. While water still exists on Earth, though in limited capacity, it is currently under the control of Leviathan, who has an iron fist on the land of what was originally Cannan. Now with rising crackdowns on the Canaanites and dissent brewing everyday, the Farad subsequently open fire in Cadasa city and cause eighteen year old Somaiya to flee for her life. However, betrayal, loss, and friendship are all tested as Somaiya learns to not only survive but live. She goes on an adventure to escape arrest with the help of her newfound friends, family, and even a Droid, as she embarks on an intergalactic journey to undermine the regime that took away her right to exist.
Micaela Robalino Teran, Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies; Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Rujuta Mandelia, Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies
Document-Deportation Pipeline: The Production of Legible "Aliens"
Stereotypes are explicit representations of assumptions made upon limited information. Documents, as the institutional counterpart to stereotypes, also simplify the complexities that make up a human being. Nevertheless, government-issued documents and forms are taken as neutral tools for the sole purpose of bureaucracy. For this reason, the institutionalized forms of those stereotypes and their implications need further investigation, particularly within the construction of an "immigrant other" in today's political climate. It is the object of this study to understand how booking processes in immigrant detention centers function as deportation pipelines delivering necropolitical consequences to immigrant communities. Drawing from Michel Foucault's contributions on disciplinary power, Achille Mbembé's concept of necropolitics, and the work of activist organizations such as Freedom For Immigrants, this study examines government forms that are used during booking processes, which (1) contain othering language, (2) have the potential to turn someone into a "crimmigrant," and (3) are key to the flow of the deportation pipeline. In this way, the simplification of identity, the lack of due process, and the racialization of immigrants comes to light through the objectifying quality and the streamlining capacities of interoperable documentation. This study concludes that the production of legible people has necropolitical consequences and racist undertones.
Adelia Scheck, Music History and Music Theory, Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: Jeffrey Solow, Instrumental Studies
Mechanik und Ästhetik des Violoncellspiels, by Hugo Becker and Dago Rynar: A Partial Translation and Summary
In 1929, Hugo Becker, a prominent German cellist, and Dago Rynar, a medical doctor, published Mechanik und Ästhetik des Violoncellspiels, or The Mechanics and Aesthetics of Cello Playing. Perhaps the most comprehensive account of the nature of cello playing during the time that exists, the book has never been translated from German into English. Further, it is the first book about cello technique that seeks to combine the anatomical and physiological aspects of cello playing with the musical requirements of the craft. I have summarized and partially translated the expertise of Becker and Rynar to provide an analysis of cello playing that has previously been unavailable to English-speaking audience. Also, I have researched the accounts of other cellists from Becker and Rynar's time to compare their ideas about performance and technique in order to fully depict the ideas about cello performance and technique in the early twentieth century.
Alanna Watters, Linguistics, Classical Literatures and Languages, College of Public Health
Mentor: Robin Aronow, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Vowel Reduction in Salasaka Kichwa: A Pilot Study
Salasaca Kichwa (SK), an under documented dialect of Ecuadorian Quechua (EQ) (ISO 639-3 =qxl), is spoken in the Andean Highlands. Underlying forms of the native vowel inventory consist of /a, i, u/. Initial observations of natural speech samples of native speakers showed vowel reduction tendencies in surface forms. Since vowel reduction is a salient phonological process in languages across the world it would be expected that SK would show the same tendency. Thus, it is anticipated that vowel reduction and the distribution of schwa in SK will be constrained by phonological environments. Schwa is a reduced, centralized vowel which can be a ‘default' vowel with stable qualities, or a more variable vowel based on prosody and phonological environment. This study examines the latter, which tends to have the properties of being centralized, shorter in duration, and an overall weak quality.
Tyler Wong, Geology, Mathematics and Computer Science, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Jonathan Nyquist, Earth and Environmental Science
Monitoring Stormwater Infiltration in a Vacant Lot Using a 24/7 Electrical Resistivity Tomography System
Stormwater runoff has become a major agent for the pollution of Philadelphia's waterways due to urbanization. In Philadelphia, there are over 40,000 vacant lots, and although these lots are typically grassy and covered with soil, they may not infiltrate runoff very well due to compacted soils and debris. This study investigates the ability of a long-term electrical resistivity tomography system to record infiltration responses from storms of varying intensity and duration in a vacant lot. Soil resistivity depends on water saturation and fluid conductivity which change during storms. To automate data processing, I developed a Python-based computational workflow. Early issues with telemetrically transferring data, powering the system, and configuring the system limited our ability to obtain a substantial dataset. However, newer data show a complex pattern of wetting, recovery, and pore water chemistry in the studied lot, demonstrating the potential of geophysical techniques to study stormwater infiltration in urban settings.
Evan Calvo, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Lauren Ellman, Psychology
Impulsivity, substance use, and subthreshold psychotic symptoms in a non-clinical population.
Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are debilitating mental conditions that affect every area of functioning including thought, perception, language, emotion, cognition, and behavior. Rates of substance use among psychosis samples are high, with nearly half of individuals with schizophrenia having a comorbid substance use disorder. Additionally, recent findings suggest that schizophrenia patients are more impulsive than non-psychiatric controls, especially schizophrenia patients that have comorbid substance use disorders. While there has been considerable research regarding substance use and the onset of psychotic disorders, research regarding impulsivity among those at risk for developing a psychotic disorder is lacking. Thus, it is worthwhile to determine whether or not impulsivity impacts the relationship between substance use and psychotic-like experiences (PLEs), which are symptoms of psychotic disorders that are subthreshold in terms of clinical and diagnostic significance. Specifically, the current study's hypothesis is that impulsivity will mediate the relationship between substance use and PLEs. Data on PLEs, substance use, and impulsivity have already been collected by Dr. Ellman, whose current study investigates risk factors for psychosis in a non-clinical sample of undergraduates. In further characterizing those at risk for psychosis, we may help to prevent conversion to serious mental illness within individuals at risk.
Chia-Mei Chang, Biology, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Michael Wilhelm, Chemistry
Time-resolved second-harmonic light scattering (SHS) as a method for characterizing Antimicrobial peptide (AMP) action on bacteria cell membranes.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are a diverse group of molecules produced by many plant and animal species and have long been viewed as promising candidates for new drug designs. However, the exact mechanism(s) and specific timing in which AMPs interact with cell membranes and damage bacteria is still a topic of active debate. In this project, we will use time-resolved second-harmonic light scattering (SHS) to characterize the time-dependent and surface-specific interactions of AMPs with bacterial cell membranes. While AMPs are likely not SH-active, we propose that their induced changes to membrane permeability can be monitored as a perturbation in the previously deduced MG transport response. Using E. coli as a model organism, we will establish time-resolved SHS as a means of characterizing AMP antimicrobial activity. We will repeat the MG transport experiments using bacteria samples treated and untreated with an AMP. By varying the concentration of the AMP, as well as the dose duration, we can interrogate the associated kinetics of AMP induced pore-formation in E. coli membranes. We also hypothesize that different College of Liberal Artssses of AMPs would exhibit different interactions with cell membranes, and we would test this hypothesis by characterizing the activity of different College of Liberal Artssses of AMPs against E. coli. Using time-resolved SHS, we intend to quantitatively monitor the different AMP/membrane interactions.
James Cunneen, Kinesiology & Anthroplogy, minor Psychology, College of Public Health
Mentor: Judith Stull, College of Education
Understanding Prevailing Attitudes Toward HIV in Uganda
While HIV is relatively common in Uganda, is a taboo subject among the local community members. This project seeks to analyze the prevalence and perception (knowledge, communication, and attitude) of HIV among community members. Clients of the Buseesa Community Development Centre in Kiryabicooli, Uganda will be administered a survey to begin to understand the prevailing norms and values toward HIV and those who have contracted it. The goal is to collect both quantitative and qualitative data to capture the broad picture of what is continuing to happen.
Daniel Deegan, Biology, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Erik Cordes, Biology
Studying Anthropogenic Threats on the Cold Water Coral Lophelia pertusa from the Gulf of Mexico
Lophelia pertusa is an important cold-water coral that is found in the deep sea at depths between 200-1,000m. This crucial species is one of the few corals that's able to build reef structures in the deep sea. Unfortunately, Lophelia is extremely susceptible to several anthropogenic threats, including ocean acidification, rising sea temperatures, and oil spills. Using four experimental tanks, the coral will be exposed to either a low pH of 7.6 or a high temperature of 12°C for a two week period and then placed into jars containing seawater with optimal pH (7.9) and temperature (9°C) and an oil mixture for varying lengths of 24, 48, or 96 hours. The findings of the experiments will be analyzed according to the variable being tested. For the acidified conditions, the skeletal weight of the coral will be measured before and after the exposure period and for both oil treatment and high temperature, polyp health and activity will be recorded. The expected results of the experiment are a decrease in skeletal weight for the low pH treatment due to reduced calcification rates and an overall decline in health along with polyp death in the high temperature and oil spill conditions.
Julia DeVoto, Biology, Neuroscience: Cellular and Molecular, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Mahmut Safak, Neuroscience
Mapping all the Splicing Products of JC Virus Early Transcripts
JC virus (JCV) is the etiological agent of the fatal neurodegenerative disease of the human central nervous system (CNS), known as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). PML primarily occurs in patients with underlying immunosuppressive conditions, including leukemia, lymphoma and AIDS, where JCV destroys the myelin producing cells, oligodendrocytes, in CNS. In recent years, however, PML is also steadily increasing among patients with autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease, who are treated with antibody-based drugs (natalizumab), which makes JCV as a risk factor for autoimmune disease populations. Many viruses, despite their limited genomic size, amplify their coding capacity by an RNA splicing event where various combinations of exons from pre-mRNA molecules are joined together to generate multiple mRNAs encoding different protein isoforms. The splicing process mostly takes place within a single RNA precursor molecule called cis-splicing. However, there are various reports indicating that exon joining can also take place between two independent pre-mRNA molecules. This mechanism was first observed in Trypanosome brucei and later in the nematodes (C. elegans) and was designated trans-splicing. In both organisms, a species-specific non-coding small leader RNA (SL RNA) with a singular 5' splice donor site was detected to be spliced to various 3' splice acceptor sites on separate pre-mRNA molecules. The complete splicing patterns of JCV early and late genes are currently unknown. However, predictions and experimental evidence suggest that early and late genes produce several known regulatory and structural proteins. Recently, Dr. Safak's lab at Neuroscience Department, the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University has discovered two novel open reading frames (ORF1 and ORF2), generated from the JCV late transcripts by trans-splicing. This new discovery provided a new idea that perhaps JCV genome generates additional novel splice products. To achieve this goal, we propose to map the complete splice variants of JCV early transcripts by employing various biochemical and molecular biology techniques. These include, but not limited to, viral infection of SVG-A cells by JCV and isolation of total RNA, amplification of the early transcripts by RT-PCR using various combination of PCR primers, resolving the PCR-amplified products on agarose gels, subcloning of the PCR products into specific vectors and sequencing of the inserts. Finally, sequencing data will be analyzed by bioinformatics approaches to map all the splicing products of the JCV early genes.
Marcus Forst, Physics, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Maria Iavarone, Physics
Investigating few layers thick Molybdenum Disulfide Films
Since the discovery of graphene in 2004, there has been a large interest in two-dimensional (2D) materials. This is because, when materials are only few atomic layers thick, they exhibit exotic electronic properties very different from bulk. As silicon-based technology reaches its minimum size, 2D materials have the potential to be the future of nanoscale electronic devices. For this project, I will be growing thin films of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2)—a semiconducting 2D material that can be used to harvest energy and to make optoelectronic devices. I will then characterize these films using atomic force microscopy (AFM), low energy electron diffraction (LEED), and scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy (STM/STS). In particular, I will examine how different defects impact the electronic properties of MoS2.
Samantha Gilbert, Music Education/Jazz Studies, Boyer College of Music
Mentor: Gregory Kettinger, Jazz Studies
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Memory, and its Effects on Improvisation: A Look into the Music and Life of Keith Jarrett
Musical improvisation is the spontaneous composition of music without prior conscious planning or preparation. Although the process is chronologically spontaneous, the action of improvisation is heavily reliant on working memory. Improvisation involves the statement and development of a motive or theme. Impairments to working memory suggest a decrease in thematic development during solo improvisations. Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett (b. 1945) began publicly performing solo improvisations in 1973. His solo concerts, also termed "spontaneous improvisations", derived from no preconceived ideas or structures. At the pinnacle of his career in 1996, Jarrett was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis, later referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). CFS is characterized by severe fatigue as well as impaired working memory over an extended period of time. During the peak of his symptomatology, Jarrett took a two-year hiatus from performing, playing, or actively listening to music. When he returned in 1998, his solo improvisations were shorter and less developed. Despite extensive literature addressing Jarrett's unique approach to compositional organization and thematic development, very little has been studied to reveal how impairments in working memory affected his ability to develop themes. To reveal this relationship, I am transcribing and analyzing the thematic development of three solo improvisation concerts from before, during, and after Jarrett's diagnosis. I predict that his musical output before his diagnosis will have more new and recurring material than during and afterwards, indicating change in working memory. Because CFS impairs only working memory, the underlying organizational techniques used in his improvisations should remain consistent as indication of long term memory. This project seeks to College of Liberal Artsrify the relationship between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, memory and the spontaneity of improvisation. Through this symptomatic review, one can begin to further understand the cognitive processes associated with memory and its influence on musical and language-based improvisatory activities.
Owen Glaze, Biochemistry, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Graham Dobereiner, Chemistry
(Z)-Selective Isomerization of Terminal Alkenes using Phosphine-Ligated Mo(0) Catalysts
Terminal olefin isomerization with transition metal catalysts has emerged in the past decade as a useful means of generating regio- and stereo-selective internal alkenes. In this work, an array of characterized and uncharacterized molybdenum(0) phosphine complexes were synthesized and tested by their ability to catalyzed olefin isomerization for a variety of reagents. These catalysts generally produced an excess of the higher energy (Z)-2-alkene isomer from terminal olefin substrates with reasonable selectivity. Importantly, the phosphine Mo(0) complexes discussed here are air-stable, simple to produce and isolate, and demonstrate activity with low catalytic loading (0.5%) and under mild conditions (66 °C in THF). These efficient catalysts offer unique access to these materials often without generating significant reagent or solvent waste.
Nicholas Hall, Music Education and Instrumental Performance, Boyer College of Music
Mentor: Deborah Confredo, Music Education
A Common Thread: Uniting General Music Practices with the Wind Ensemble Repertory
Lillian Ham, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Elizabeth Gunderson, Psychology
The Influence of Familiarity on Children's Proportional Reasoning Knowledge
Previous studies have found proportional reasoning knowledge to be correlated with fraction knowledge and later math achievement (Siegler, Thompson, & Schneider, 2011). Children's development of proportional reasoning depends on how proportions are represented as discrete or continuous units (Boyer College of Music, Levine, & Huttenlocher, 2008). Interestingly, this development may also depend on a child's familiarity with the context in which the proportions are introduced. The proportional reasoning equivalence task used in Boyer College of Music and colleagues (2008) is a computerized task involving discrete and continuous, unidimensional proportions. Elementary-aged children were instructed through a narrative to choose the proportion that is equivalent to the one displayed. In the narrative, a character named "Wally-bear" makes juice mixes by combining various proportions of juice and water. Because this computerized, juice narrative may be abstract or unfamiliar to children, our study implements 3-D blocks and an alternative narrative which we hypothesize are more familiar to children. Our alternative narrative consists of the same "Wally-bear" character who builds skyscrapers by combining various proportions of doors and towers. Because the structure of the 3-D blocks is discretized, only discrete units will be administered. Four between-subject conditions will be randomly assigned to 2nd and 3rd graders in surrounding Philadelphia schools.
Hoang Ho, Mathematical Economics, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Douglas Webber, Economics
Difference in Education Attainment and Returns among Racial Groups
The paper investigates households' investment in higher education and their returns between racial groups. Using data from Current Population Survey collected by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 1990 to 2016, I build a linear regression model to analyze what exogenous variables affect higher educational spending and returns of different ethnic groups. The paper gives results on how much each exogenous factor cause difference in educational investment and returns for different ethnic groups. The paper also analyzes changes in higher education spending and returns among races from 1990 to 2016. My project should provide results that may have policy implications regarding eliminating racial discrimination, equalizing employment opportunity, decreasing barrier to higher education, and improving lower education.
Tammy Huynh, Jazz studies; voice performance, Boyer College of Music
Mentor: Thomas Lawton, Jazz studies
Jeanne Lee and the Reinvention of the Jazz Vocalist
The fundamental purpose of this project is to revive the legacy of Jeanne Lee and discuss how she subverted the role of the jazz singer. According to Lee, "as an improvising singer, there was always be the option to scat, thus imitating the jazz instrumental sounds. There were also jazz lyricists who set words to instrumental solos. Neither of these options allowed space for the natural rhythms and sonorities or the emotional content of words" ("Narratives"). Lee also states that "the voice is a very important instrument, it's part of the body and can emulate bodily feelings […]. When your body is working you don't have to think of a horn but you can think of body movement" (Riggins 5). I argue that Lee challenged the banalities of the jazz singer through her improvisation, multi-disciplinary practices, and vocal experimentations. The final product will be a tribute album that re-imagines Lee's works in a way that embodies her art and celebrates her life. I will be analyzing her recorded works (musical content and style) through transcriptions and performance practice. In addition, I will be examining key events in Lee's life and how it correlates with her musical development. This project seeks to encourage more openness and variety in approaches to jazz singing.
Joshua Jenkins, Piano Performance (Spanish Minor), Boyer College of Music
Mentor: Noriko Manabe, Music Studies
Rhythms of the Gods: The Batá Patterns of Rodriguez and Díaz Alfonso
Batá drums are a set of three double-headed percussion instruments used in many aspects of the Yoruba religion, and subsequently in the Santería/Regla Lukumi tradition. Their primary role is in connecting practitioners with the Orishas, or gods. The instruments are ceremonially consecrated and are believed to please the Orishas, and there is a corresponding rhythm/group of associated rhythms for each Orisha. Players of a batá ensemble facilitate spirit possessions, worship ceremonies, and other rituals. Giraldo Rodriguez (1920-?) and Amado Díaz Alfonso (1908-1989) were two master percussionists of the batá tradition. They each made landmark recordings of the music of the Orishas, praise music that worshipped these entities. I will choose three Orishas from the Lukumi tradition (Elegua, Ogun, and Changó) and will be transcribing and analyzing their patterns as executed on the recordings of Giraldo Rodriguez and Amado Díaz Alfonso, comparing and contrasting their polyrhythmic structure, placement within the song as a whole, complementation of the voice, and manner of progression and/or development. I will then discuss how these rhythms can be perceived as metaphors for understanding the function of the Orishas in the daily lives of Lukumi practitioners. Changó, for example, represents thunder and lightning; my goal is to convey the diverse ways in which his patterns constitute a symbolic depiction of storms. The result of this research will be a more complete understanding of the differences and similarities between two seasoned batá drummers, and how their executions of the Orisha patterns can help even an outsider to the culture understand the musical conception of these complex divinities.
Julia Kay, Painting, Sculpture, Tyler School of Art
Mentor: Gerard Brown, Foundations Department Head
Ambiguous Spatial Dimension
Working with a physical and digital library of geometric shapes, I assemble paintings with a symmetrical organization of visual elements, such as lines, color values. The shapes are taken from various sources such as Philadelphia hex signs, the internet, a movie clippings, kids toys…etc. I choose a shape based on its ability to push the boundaries of geometry and if I can easily replicate it to create a pattern. Creating a collage or a drawing out of number of these shapes helps me see the final grouping. I decide intuitively what color arrangements would work with the shapes and how they would interact with each other. It is not until the final painting is completely painted and assembled together that one can see the kaleidoscopic effects. After I decide on the final design, I disassemble the painting and trace each shape on illustrator so they can be laser cut out of acrylic. This painting includes easily a hundred shapes or more and each is painted and glued to one another to form a symmetrical painting. The process is intuitive and meditative for me and the outcome is for the viewer to interact with on an aesthetic level.
Christopher Lazzaro, Music Composition, Boyer College of Music
Mentor: Maurice Wright, Music Studies, Boyer College of Music College of Music and Dance
Visualizing an Original Musical Composition in Virtual Reality
Throughout the 20th century, College of Liberal Artsssically-trained composers have in various capacities attempted to visualize their works of non-rhetorical music. The recent development of virtual reality technology presents a fascinating new medium and unique opportunity for composers interested in this pursuit within academic music and beyond. The focus of this project is to create an emotionally captivating multimedia composition by leveraging techniques found in Impressionist music and the immersion offered by virtual reality. A piece will be written in standard notation software and subsequently exported into a DAW for production using professional sample libraries. It will then be mapped into binaural space and synchronized with a game engine, which will facilitate the construction of a 3D visual "scene," featuring moving objects and images that reflect the developing characteristics of the piece. The final version of the project will be optimized for output on a VR head-mounted display, resulting in a listener experience that is augmented by visual stimuli in an isolated and fully immersive setting. It will also demonstrate the artistic effectiveness of writing a piece of concert music for a "performance" not limited by the physical, logistical, cultural, or other assorted inhibitions to accessibility imposed by the traditional concert venue space.
Dana Macfarlane, Biological Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Heather Murphy, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
The Impact of Water Quality on Flesh Decomposition
The research will be conducted using euthanized mice and water samples from the Delaware River, as well as a pure water sample for control. The rate and style of decomposition will be monitored over several months until the flesh is almost or completely decomposed. Several trials will be done per sample and at various temperatures to mimic real life scenarios. The trials will be done in glass containers so monitoring the decay does not interrupt the experiment, as one may simply peer inside to determine the stage of decomposition. The parameters of the water will be taken upon initial retrievement of the water and throughout the experiment. Additionally, the water will be tested for heterotrophic bacteria to understand the level of microorganisms present in the water supply. Stage of decomposition, water quality variables, and time will be analyzed in Excel to determine what relationships exist between water quality and the rate and characteristics of decomposition. This research has the potential to aid forensic investigators by helping to identify the alterations to the normal rate and style of decomposition to decomposition in alternate water environment, specifically those affected by heavy pollution.
Mary Mash, Speech-Language-Hearing Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Gayle DeDe, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Effect of Group Size on Language Outcomes Following Conversational Treatment for Aphasia Therapy
In the United States, approximately one million people are living with aphasia. Aphasia is the reduction or loss of language following brain damage. Despite a diverse literature addressing the elements of conversational therapy for aphasia, not much has been studied to reveal the optimal number of members that should be present in a group during treatment. The dosage hypothesis predicts that dyadic groups, which consist of two individuals with aphasia (IWA) and one clinician, will exhibit more improvement following conversational treatment due to the greater number of turns taken in conversation within therapy relative to larger groups consisting of 7 IWAs and two clinicians. This is a reflection of the expectation that the IWAs will have more practice trials within treatment when fewer clients are present. This study will compare the language outcomes in seven IWAs who participated in a large group and 4 IWA who participated in dyads. The primary outcome measures will be performance on the Comprehensive Aphasia Test (CAT), specifically on naming and picture description measures. Results will provide a clearer understanding of differences in language outcomes following conversational treatment for aphasia as a function of group size.
Katia Matychak, Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Brad Rothberg, Medical Genetics and Molecular Biochemistry/Medicine
Determining T. volcanium K+ channel structure through x-ray crystallography
Potassium (K+) channels are proteins that gate the flow of K+ ions across cell membranes in nearly every living cell. In bacteria, K+ channels modulate physiological functions that include electrolyte balance, cell movement, and signaling, and in humans, these channels control the duration and frequency of neuronal action potentials, as well as muscle contraction, hormone release, and kidney function. My research is focused on determining the atomic structures of K+ channels and their regulatory domains. The initial focus of this work will be on a calcium-activated K+ channel cloned from the thermophilic archaea Thermoplasma volcanium. This channel is a member of a large family of channels that includes the human calcium-activated K channel (BK channel) found in nerve and muscle cells. The archaeal K+ channel serves as a model system that can be readily expressed, purified, and crystallized, to yield structural insights that contribute to our understanding of human K+ channels. I will determine the structure of the channel's regulatory RCK domain using X-ray crystallography, and I will use this structure to identify changes in protein conformation that may underlie channel activation.
Aaron McLeod, Chemistry, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Katherine Willets, Chemistry
Super-resolution Imaging of Fluorophores Bound to Silica-Coated Gold Nanorods
Gold nanorods are coated in silica shells of different thicknesses, which are functionalized with fluorophores via a (3-aminopropyl)trimethoxysilane linker. These particles are utilized in a super-resolution imaging technique where the attached fluorescent dye molecules are excited using a laser. The conditions of these experiments are controlled such that only one dye molecule fluoresces at any given time, producing diffraction-limited emission. Movies of these individual fluorescence events are recorded using an EM-CCD camera and are processed using MATLAB. Each diffraction-limited spot is fit to a 2-dimensional Gaussian function and the center position of the function in the x and y directions is recorded. Compiled center positions from each fluorescence event are mapped onto a histogram, recreating the underlying structure of the silica- coated gold nanorod. Reconstructed images of rods with silica coatings of different thickness lend insight into the effect of rod-dye spacing on coupling between dye fluorescence and plasmon modes of the gold nanorods.
Omar Mustafa, Bioengineering, Engineering
Mentor: Mohammad Kiani, Mechanical Engineering/Bioengineering
A Novel Microfluidic System for Developing Anti-inflammatory Therapeutics
I am investigating the effect of a novel anti-inflammatory therapeutic (PKC-delta-TAT inhibitor or PKC-delta-i) on both human and murine neutrophil-endothelial interactions. PKC-delta is a molecule that has demonstrated meditation characteristics in systemic inflammation processes, where neutrophils roll and adhere to endothelial cells, and finally transmigrate across the endothelium where they cause tissue damage. As endothelium display significant heterogeneity, I will characterize the impact of endothelial cell phenotype on neutrophil-endothelial interaction. I am currently researching the best method to quantify the rolling events of neutrophils, and then characterize how PKC-delta-i affects velocity or number of rolling neutrophils. To conduct experiments, I will utilize microfluidic devices that are imprinted with anatomically realistic vascular and tissue models consisting of various compartments (e.g. microvascular compartment, tissue compartment, blood-brain barrier, etc.), along with the methodology to co-culture various cells in these compartments, depending on the tissues/organs investigated. The broader impact of my research encompasses developing an alternative way to modulate inflammation for patients who, for example, undertake cancer treatments (e.g. radiation) or suffer from autoimmune diseases.
Jaclyn Navarro, Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences, College of Public Health
Mentor: Gayle DeDe, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Patient Reported Outcomes and Language Ability in Aphasia
Aphasia, a communication disorder typically resulting from a stroke, is associated with impairments in expressive and/or receptive language. Past research has shown that aphasia can also lead to decreased life participation in avocational activities and less engagement with loved ones. Although clinicians tend to focus more on standardized language assessments, occasionally patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) are administered in order to quantify quality of life and self-perception in people with aphasia (PWA). Since PROMs are relatively infrequent, there is little knowledge on how language impairments specifically influence the way PWA rate themselves in terms of quality of life. The goal of this study is to examine the relationship between PROMs and standardized measures of language ability in individuals with aphasia. Ten PWA will complete the Lubben Social Network Scale and the Aphasia Communication Outcome Measure as PROMs and the Comprehensive Aphasia Test (CAT) as a standardized language assessment. Evaluation of specific language measures such as naming ability, auditory comprehension, connected speech, and repetition will then be compared to the individuals' PROMs. It is predicted that there will be a positive correlation between the specific measures of the CAT and PROMs, with the exception of repetition.
Anh Nguyen, Journalism/IST, Klein College of Media and Communication
Mentor: Jillian Bauer, Journalism
"After the fact" - Seeing beyond Fact Checking Donald Trump's Twitter and Fake News in Journalism
While there is still much attention paid to the partisanship of newspapers, a big gap exists when it comes to our understanding of how journalists handle misinformation and debunk lies to their readers. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, fake news dominated social media and were perpetuated by false College of Liberal Artsims made by then Republican candidate Donald J. Trump's Twitter account. A great deal of time, space and commitment were spent by national newspapers to stop the spread of "alternative facts" and inform voters, yet the effectiveness of fact checking during the election was questionable, as we have seen with the rise of Trumpism. Specifically, my research looks at the activities on Trump's Twitter between Trump's nomination and his election. Factors such as the originality of the tweets, accuracy of his College of Liberal Artsims, likes, and retweets will be examined for significance. Based on these data, my research seeks fact checking articles from well-known newspapers and unravels how journalists respond to fake news that spread on Twitter. Is fact checking an intuitive reactionary component or a strategic decision put in place to guarantee maximum impact? Is fact checking the shortcut to winning back public trust? The results of this study might provide valuable input to standard journalistic practice and potentially change how we perceive truth in the news.
Spencer Nitkey, English, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Douglas Greenfield, Intellectual Heritage
From Sisyphus to Dexter: Tracing Camus' Absurd Hero through Contemporary Television Antiheros
The explosion of high quality television in the 21st century has been driven, and in many ways defined, by the proliferation of the "antihero," typified by characters like Walter White, Dexter, Don Draper, and Jackson Teller. This project will investigate a number of prominent series and their protagonists, including Dexter, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, UnREAL, The Young Pope, and The Leftovers. It seeks to comprehend these antiheroes through the lens of French philosopher Albert Camus's concept of the Absurd, whose symbolic hero is Sisyphus, reimagined as a paradoxically hopeless yet happy toiler. I will explore the contemporary crisis of meaning and purpose giving rise to these entertainments, whose shared types, themes, narrative trajectories, and tropes might describe a struggle with, and triumph over, meaningless labors. Finally this project will consider what it may mean that we are facing the absurdity of experience through the medium of television. What does it mean to wage a rebellion against meaning, mediated reality and determinism by escaping in darkened rooms into the bright screens we are letting tell these stories?
Jerry So, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Chetan Patil, Bioengineering
Optical Phantoms for Mobile Phone Based Bilirubinometry
Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, or neonatal jaundice (NNJ), is a common condition in newborns that is easily diagnosed and treated in high-income countries, but all too often leads to severe neurosensory deficit and even death in low and middle income countries (LMIC) where access to technologies for diagnosis and treatment is limited. Transcutaneous Bilirubinometry (TcB) is an established non-invasive optical screening device that can provide quantitative estimation of serum bilirubin levels based on diffuse reflectance. In an effort to expand access to TcB in LMIC, efforts to develop a mobile phone camera-based TcB are ongoing. The objective of this work is to develop stable, low-cost silicone phantoms of neonatal skin for the purpose of accelerating development of the novel approach. Optical properties of neonatal skin phantoms were characterized conventionally using integrating spheres as well as mobile phone based approaches. Spectrometer and phone images will be used to iteratively develop multi-layer phantoms to localize chromophores in their respective skin layers, and incorporating additional chromophores to mimic hemoglobin and melanin to match physiological absorption and scattering coefficients of neonates. MATLAB will be used to determine absorption and scattering coefficients with Inverse Monte Carlo Method analysis.
Vivek Trivedy, Biochemistry/Mathematical Economics, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Charles Swanson, Economics
Analyzing the Economic Effects of the Influx and Integration of Automative and Learning Technologies in the Financial Sector
The influx and integration of technology within the financial sector has led to alterations within the economic makeup of the industry, sparking changes of economic variables such as structural unemployment and firm productivity. A large result of artificial intelligence and such technologies being introduced into speculative driven financial markets is the augmented ability to compute large amounts of data and make decisions on investments and portfolio management. The use of artificial intelligence technology appears to be driving a trend toward a larger benefit for firms utilizing its decision making technology, while simultaneously reducing the prevalence of the unskilled labor force within the financial sector. This first part of this project analyzes and identifies the extent to which the proliferation of automation and learning technology within the financial industry accounts for variables such as unemployment, duration of new training, and field of reintegration within the work force. The second part of this project delves into the benefits of firms within the financial industry, computing data on how revenue, capital growth, and productivity are increased as a result of the decision making and analysis power of artificial intelligence, as well as the input cost reduction that comes with automation.
Daniel Turner, Environmental Science and Spanish, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Jocelyn Behm, Biology
Biological control strength by natural arthropod predators across a land cover gradient
Pollution runoff in and surrounding cities stresses local water and terrestrial ecosystems, introducing pollutants such as pesticides at a geographically broader scale. Increased resources have been invested into urban farming initiatives in an effort to localize food sourcing. However, ecosystem services related to urban farming, like natural pest control, are not fully understood and studied in the context of local plant community structure and surrounding land cover variation. Here, I observe the abundance and diversity of ground-level arthropod communities and their responses to baited trapping versus non-baited trapping. In this analysis ranging from the urbanized center of Philadelphia to the rural farms of Chester County, I will determine how various plant communities and land cover types play a role in the efficacy of natural pest control in urban, suburban, and rural farms. If certain community and land cover types favor crop pest control without the use of pesticides, the results can guide urban farming planners to mimic environmental conditions that facilitate the greatest pest predation.
Abigail Whitehead, Global Studies, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Kevin Arceneaux, Political Science
Democracy, Liberalism, Philadelphia
The results of the 2016 election show that location is closely linked to voting patterns. Rural areas tended to support the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, with more densely populated areas supporting his Democratic opponent, Hilary Clinton. Pennsylvania is no exception; though it contains Philadelphia, one of the largest and most liberal cities in the country, the state voted red in the 2016 election. Philadelphia itself is remaining liberal, in fact, leaders have become increasingly liberal, despite both the state capital and Washington turning to conservative leadership. There are many reasons that explain why cities are consistently more liberal than the suburbs; often, it is a question of nature versus nurture: why do people who prefer urban homes also prefer politics that are left of center? This study focuses on Philadelphia in particular, drawing from political patterns demonstrated through voting and policy changes within the city as well as its outlying suburbs. Because of the city's historic importance, as well as its status as a sanctuary city, Philadelphia introduces unique variables to the question. Why do Philadelphians vote liberal, while being in the proximity of many very conservative counties? More importantly, what does this mean for the future of Philadelphia?
Benjamin Winkler, Spanish and Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Sean Yom, Political Science
Revolutionary Aesthetics: Art and Politics in Modern Cuba
Cuban culture since the Revolution, and even prior, under the Bautista regime, is best understood not through a Western model of civil society, in which the government stays out of the way of art production, at least in terms of content, but through the lens of cultural hegemony. The regime views itself as the defender of the arts and sciences against imperialism, and exercises control to guide artistic production on the island. This is sometimes done with a light touch, and other times, as in el quinquenio gris, with more of a heavy-hand. This tendency towards a hierarchical understanding of the role of art means it is left to diaspora artists to explore modern issues of identity, at least, in the ways in which American audiences tend to grasp them. The Cuban government appears to operate in a cyclical manner in cultural policy. Currently, we are in a period of some liberalization, contra the right-wing dissident community in this country. There has been a proliferation of alternative cultural spaces since the Special Period, from la azotea de Reina in the ‘90s to underground magazines like La Noria today, which relies on the state only for the physical printing of editions, with the idea that content is not censored. Further, even in media produced by the state press, writers like Marcelo Morales find they can discuss more controversial subjects with greater openness, as in his poems exploring dissidents in modern Cuban history. However, Internet penetration on the island remains poor, limiting access to this alternative media. By understanding the motivations of the Cuban government in guiding arts production on the island, we can avoid surface-level historicist analysis that posits more creative openness today will necessarily lead to liberal democracy tomorrow. Instead, we can arrive at a fuller understanding of the triumphs and struggles of artistic creation on the island.
Evan Wise, Community Development, Tyler School of Art
Mentor: Elizabeth Sweet, Geography and Urban Studies
The Effects of Uber and Lyft in Low-Income Communities
Transportation options have recently evolved into the sharing economy; however, not all communities have access to it due to multiple historical and contemporary barriers. Is the sharing economy inaccessible to low-income communities? In the context of major transportation, hospitality, and marketplace branches evolving due to new ventures, how will low-income communities adapt to changes in established public transportation modes? The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of Uber and Lyft on low-income communities. Specifically, the services, or lack thereof, being provided to these communities and testing their feasibility as a mode of transportation in comparison with higher-income communities. Six randomly selected low-income and high-income census tracts will be used to explore the service coverage and accessibility of Uber and Lyft. The data collected from low-income census tracts will be compared to those from high-income census tracts using a t-test to determine similarity or difference of service coverage between the tracts. Results are expected to display disparities between high-income and low-income census tracts. Low-income census tracts are predicted to have less service coverage.
Aiste Cechaviciute, Neuroscience, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Crystal Reeck, Marketing
The Effect of Affect on Intertemporal Choice
In order to achieve long-term goals, people must typically forego smaller, sooner rewards for larger, later rewards. However, people tend to discount future rewards, leading them to choose smaller, sooner rewards and undermine their long-term goals. While this temporal discounting varies individually based on a number of different influences, we hypothesize that emotion in particular significantly influences intertemporal choice based on its ability to influence other types of decision making. We propose an experiment designed to assess how different emotions (anger, anxiety, sadness, and happiness) influence intertemporal choice.
Ross Divers, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Tania Giovannetti, Psychology
Tracking the Occurrence of Errors in Everyday Actions in Older Adults: Implications for Understanding Cognitive Aging, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Dementia
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) precedes dementia and is associated with subtle functional decline. However, the extent to which MCI disrupts daily functioning is poorly understood. The nature of mild functional difficulties in older adults is also poorly understood (i.e., do functional difficulties result in failure to complete tasks, inefficient task sequencing, etc.). In order to examine mild functional difficulties in healthy older adults and individuals with MCI, our group has recorded micro-errors during the performance of everyday tasks. We have shown that micro-errors occur significantly more frequently in older adults relative to younger adults and that they are associated with performance on cognitive tests in older adults and people with MCI. However, little else is known about micro-errors. This study will focus on the timing of micro-errors (i.e., when they occur during the performance of an everyday task). There are reasons to expect that micro-errors might be more common at the beginning, middle, or ending portion of the task due to interference and fatigue respectively. Additionally, errors may be more likely between the sub-tasks of everyday tasks, where competition for object selection is greatest. To examine these questions, healthy older adults and those with MCI will complete the Naturalistic Action Task (NAT), which requires them to complete an everyday task while videotaped in the laboratory. Video analysis of micro-errors will include a detailed assessment of when micro-errors occur (i.e., beginning, middle, end; between sub-tasks, within sub-tasks). Statistical analyses will examine difference between healthy and impaired adults on the timing of micro-errors. The clinical nature of this study could help inform interventions, including the optimal timing of cues and use of adaptive technologies for adults struggling with everyday tasks.
Margarita Faykina, Marketing, Fox School of Business
Mentor: Laura Goetzl, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine
Developing Novel Non-invasive Maternal Blood Testing to Measure Early Human Fetal Brain Injury
In-utero exposure to hypoxic brain injury can disrupt fetal brain structure, deplete subpopulations of neurons or adversely affect the formation of normal synaptic connections. Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is a strong risk factor for long term disabilities including cerebral palsy, which can result from white and grey matter injury. Head cooling as a neuroprotective tool, can improve an outcome although optimal biomarkers are not yet fully developed. We have developed novel, non-invasive, exosome based assessments of real time fetal neurodevelopment. We hypothesized that HIE requiring head cooling would be associated with reduced neonatal neural exosome levels of neuronal survival factors and the head cooling would be associated with improvement. Our work supports that head cooling is associated with normalization of the neuronal injury marker SYNPO in neuronally derived exosomes.
Jason Fontana, Sociology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Shanyang Zhao, Sociology
The Immigrant Parent Disadvantage: Linguistic Capital of Parents and Students' School Performance
Researchers, teachers and policy makers continue to wrestle with understanding the discrepancies in student performance and outcomes. Investigations into why some students do better in school than others have revealed demographic patterns of academic achievement that lead to occupational and economic inequality. Parental involvement in children's education has previously been analyzed as one of the more crucial indicators of student success but positive, negative, and non-significant effects have been noted in the literature by varying scholars. The impact of English fluency on parents' ability to be actively engaged in the education of their children has not been previous explored in a quantitative manner and may provide insights as to why children of immigrants have been observed as performing more poorly than their counterparts with native born parents. This study found that parental involvement in the school yielded positive results but this impact was reduced when language abilities of the parents were considered. Parental involvement through checking of homework displayed a negative correlation with student performance, but this relationship became spurious after including the effects of parental English proficiency. This study reveals that English language abilities of parents have direct effects on student performance and can impact the effectiveness of parental involvement in relation to a student's academic achievement. Bridging the gap in communication between the educational institution and the home through language education and cultural awareness may reduce bias in institutional education and the severity of such effects for children of non-native English speaking parents.
Paul Gehret, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Won Suh, Bioengineering
PC12 Culture in a Modified 3D Gelatin Matrix
The desire to engineer different types of human cells is at an all-time high as the life expectancy of humans is steadily climbing, and the vast majority of these unique cells, if not all, are effectively impossible to engineer from molecular building blocks utilizing the currently available state-of-the-art technologies. Current cellular engineering protocols include the creation of stem cell-like cells by incorporating them with generic codes that transform the cells. Stem cells and stem cell-like cells can therefore serve as an alternative to human harvested cells and tissue since they can be transformed into functional cells and tissue. Our team developed a natural polymer-based three-dimensional (3D) hydrogel system to provide an environment that promotes neural cell differentiation and make the transplantation process more biocompatible. Hydrogels, as their name suggests, are commonly incorporated with 99 % water while the rest are polymeric sources such as collagen, gelatin, chitosan, alginate, and hyaluronans (all naturally occurring polymers). The large aqueous liquid capacity for such hydrogels offer synthetic microenvironments that match both the chemical and physical properties of extracellular matrices in our body. Incorporated into this hydrogel system are the materials hyaluronic acid (the brain's core material), irgacure (a photoinitiator), and custom peptides [to promote adhesion and biocompatibility]. Additionally, gelatin was utilized instead of HA to perform identical materials screening experiments. Each of these hydrogels are imaged via live-cell microscopy (involving PC12 or neural stem cells) coupled with live-dead cell staining methodologies, image analysis using ImageJ, cell counting, and biostatistics.
Jennifer Jovinelly, Neuroscience: Cellular and Molecular, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Gregory Smutzer, Biology
Predicting the Behavior and Personality of Shelter Dogs in Adoptive Homes
Six to eight million dogs enter the shelter system each year and three million are euthanized. The adoption process as it stands is overwhelming, disorganized and unscientific. There are two main problems hampering the process. First, shelter animals carry a stigma because they come with unknown, and unwanted, behavior problems. Second, people cannot search for a particular personality when looking for a dog to adopt. The goal of my research project is to determine the extent to which two Philadelphia area shelters can accurately predict sixteen personality and behavior traits of dogs two months post-adoption based on in-shelter evaluations and observations. Shelter 1 used a combination of Match-Up I and SAFER evaluations while Shelter 2 used Match-Up II. Shelter 2 considered both the intake evaluation and on additional field observations by staff and volunteers when rating each dog whereas Shelter 1 relied mostly on the intake evaluation results. Adopters completed the Monash Canine Personality Questionnaire-Revised and the 42-Canine Behavior Assessment and Research Questionnaire two months post-adoption. Shelter ratings were significantly positively correlated with adopter ratings for Neuroticism, Stranger-Directed Fear, and Nonsocial Fear for both shelters indicating that a dog's fear response in the shelter is representative of what they will display in the home. Shelter ratings for Amicability were significantly negatively correlated with adopter ratings for Stranger-Directed Fear indicating that a dog's propensity to act in a social manner towards the evaluator and handler during subtests of the evaluation is representative of how they will act around strangers in a home. Training Focus scores were significantly positively correlated for Shelter 1 and their respective adopters but not for Shelter 2. The majority of trait scores given by the shelters did not significantly correlate with adopter scores (12/16 for Shelter 1 and 13/16 for Shelter 2). Notably, no correlations were found for aggressive traits despite the multitude of research devoted to the area. Possible explanations for the discrepancies are explored in the discussion.
Nicholas McMenamin, English, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Stanley McDonald, English
From This Side of the Fence
From This Side of the Fence tells a story centered on the family, and specifically the ability for birthplace, among other factors, to contribute to the prolonging of systemic prejudice. Through the development of characters from different backgrounds, the reader is able to identify differences in ways of thinking based on a given character's upbringing. For better or for worse, I believe that these differences directly influence, and in some cases limit, a character's ability to think from a singular perspective. Birthplace, and more the climate of that place, has this enormous ability, if a person is not willing to actively seek other experiences. It is my hope to explore nuances in smaller, everyday interactions where this occurs through the characters in From This Side of the Fence.
Sumaiya Nusrath, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Heather Traino, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Influence of Medical Mistrust on Renal Patients' Progress Toward Transplant
This study sought to test the hypothesis that patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) reporting higher levels of medical mistrust will be less willing to discuss their transplant options with their social circle and less willing to request living kidney donation. We examined ESRD patients' (n=184) knowledge, communication confidence and competence, levels of medical mistrust, transplant preferences and whether or not they had ever discussed their transplant options or requested a living donation with members of their social circle. All information was collected through semi-structured telephone interviews. The findings revealed weak correlations between patients' medical mistrust and transplant knowledge and transplant preference, and between communication confidence and race. Future research should focus on increasing minorities' communication confidence and transplant knowledge to appropriately engage their social circle in order to achieve comfort in holding successful conversations about kidney transplantation.
Edward Olson, Mathematical Economics, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Moritz Ritter, Economics
The Effects of Income Inequality
This project sought to determine if the levels of income inequality in the United States have any explanatory power over certain concrete, tangible inequities we see around us. To accomplish this, the income inequality of each metropolitan statistical area within the United States of America was recorded for the first year of each decade from 1950 to 2010, where income inequality is the difference between the 90th and 10th percentiles of earners. Indicators of people's well-being within these metropolitan statistical areas during the same time frame was also collected. The changes in each of these indicators was modeled against income inequalities and other potential explanatory variables using linear regression techniques. With this model, we determined what association existed between the movement of each indicator and the movement of income inequality in the nation. Ultimately, this examination found a statistically significant association between income inequality and most inequities we tested.
Dariel Peniazek, Jazz Composition, Boyer College of Music
Mentor: Greg Kettinger, Jazz Studies
El Tres Cubano
For an island roughly the size of Pennsylvania, Cuba and its culture has had a rather significant effect on the world. From literature and paintings to medical and educational advancements, Cubans are known for being fiercely resilient and unique; however, no part of Cuban culture is as important or as well known as its music. My project aims to engage in a comprehensive study of the profound tradition of Cuban music through learning the instrument known as the Tres Cubano (Cuban Tres). The Tres is a little known instrument, originating in el Oriente, the eastern province of Cuba, and while seldom seen outside of Cuba its sound is known to the world. During the course of my project, I will be purchasing a Tres, and traveling to Cuba for a total time of two weeks, during which I will study with some of the most accomplished Treseros in Havana, as well as delve deeply into the history of Cuban music and the traditions that accompany it. I plan to return with enough knowledge to begin working professionally playing Cuban music, as well as fusing Cuban idioms with my love for jazz and contemporary American music.
Madeleine Salvatore, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Debra Bangasser, Psychology
Alvaro Sanchez, Psychology, Spanish, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Robert Weisberg, Psychology
The Tradition of Jazz: A Quantitative Analysis of Creativity and Continuity in Music
Musicians, educators, and casual listeners often speak about music as if it's conveying a message. This research aims to show there is indeed verifiable data which establishes an improvisational vocabulary, a musical language of sorts. The Tradition of Jazz focuses on jazz improvisation in an attempt to measure objective similarities, and dissimilarities, in the solos of Charlie Parker and Lester Young – two of the greatest jazz musicians of the 20th century. Their solos will be analyzed in order to determine if there are repeated patterns of musical notes — formulas — within and between the solos of these two great musicians.
Joshua Santeusanio, History, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Sandra Suarez, Political Science
The Legitimacy Lacuna: How Agrarian Revolt Delegitimized the Allende Regime
This inquiry presents a new approach to studying political legitimacy. While recent contributions to the literature have challenged our understandings of the modality of legitimacy; little attention has been paid to the aggregate components that comprise legitimate power. Here, I seek to answer a glaring question that few have formally taken up – does legitimacy come in degrees? Using the final 11-year process (1962-1973) of land redistribution in Chile as a backdrop, I examine the influence of agrarian revolts on the legitimacy of the Allende regime. In doing so, I explore how varying degrees of legitimacy influence the governing capacity of a polity. I advance four integral components of legitimacy (e.g., access, responsiveness, participation, normative validity) – and three loci for the diffusion of each component (e.g., leader, regime, state) – to operationalize my approach. I conclude with a general discussion of the implications of this approach and offer suggestions for future research.
Chanyang Seo, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Alexandra Guisinger, Political Science
The Trans-Pacific Partnership: The U.S.'s Concern for Economic and Political Rivalry with China
As China has emerged as a global super power, the U.S. has worked on the Trans-Pacific-Partnership (the TPP), a trade agreement with 11 nations including both small developing and developed Asian nations such as Vietnam and Japan but notably not including China. If ratified, the TPP would be the third largest trade agreement in history. Like previous multinational trade agreements between the U.S. and other countries (such as NAFTA and CAFTA), the TPP has faced opposition from various domestic political and economic groups (interests) in the United States. Nevertheless, the fast-track authority given by Senate to the President on June 24, 2015 was expected to accelerate the negotiation, but ultimately the process was side-tracked as the TPP became a salient issue in the 2016 Presidential election campaign. While controversy during the campaign centered the TPP's as a source of trade liberalization, the purpose of the TPP is still under debate. The orthodoxy of free trade argues that trade is beneficial for every country and that lowering the cost of trade via removing trade restrictions is a global and national good irrespective of the countries involved. Politically however, trade regulations serve to maintain national security, privilege friends and allies, and punish current and potential foes. The exclusion of China from the TPP, suggests that more than just an economic policy, the TPP is a U.S. foreign economic policy aimed at suppressing China, a rising rival in world economy. Furthermore, for the U.S., trade can also help to preserve its strong authority in international relations and guard growing influence of China by expanding its political influence to Asia. Broadly, I am interested in the connection between trade agreements and security. In this current paper, I also analyze the role of political campaigns in shaping American's views of China as an economic and political threat.
Marni Shore, Neuroscience, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Debra Bangasser, Psychology
Chronic stress effects on morphology of cholinergic neurons
Chronic stress impairs learning and memory, in part, by decreasing the length and complexity of dendrites, which are branch-like structures on neurons that receive information from other neurons. Chronic stress can also decrease spines, which are small protrusions on dendrites that specifically receive excitatory input. However, it is unknown whether similar changes occur in neurons involved in attention. In order to test this, we developed a new technique to virally label cholinergic attention neurons in the basal forebrain of rats to visualize dendrites and spines. With this method, we were able to begin to assess whether or not chronic stress changes the length of dendrites and number of spines on cholinergic neurons that mediate attention. Initially, we characterized the basic morphology of basal forebrain neurons and discovered that there are both spiny and aspiny neurons. As spines are sites of excitatory contact, this result suggests some cholinergic neurons integrate more excitatory inputs. Within the nucleus basalis region of the forebrain, we compared cholinergic neurons of rats exposed to chronic stress to cholinergic neurons of unstressed rats. Our preliminary findings reveal that chronic stress decreased the complexity of spiny cholinergic neurons in the nucleus basalis. This result suggests that stress-induced changes in cholinergic neuron morphology is a process by which chronic stress can alter attention.
Caitlin Sullivan, Sculpture, Tyler School of Art
Mentor: Mark Shetabi, Painting and Sculpture
Night Light and an Imminent Winter
I have produced two bodies of work, both comprised of paintings that explore the interaction of light and place, while investigating how these spaces can operate as either phenomenological remembrances or as symbols of a foreboding future. The Stella Elkins Gallery installation of my work provides a place to examine and contemplate the nature of memory, and the phenomenology of light and weather.
Alex Trinh, Biochemistry, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Gregory Smutzer, Biology
Calcium flux in an ameloblast-like cell line as a means to monitor biomineralization
Ameloblast cells are epithelial cells that regulated enamel development in mammalian teeth, and secretory ameloblast cells are critical for enamel formation. Although tooth enamel is rich in calcium, the source of this calcium is not clearly understood. The goal of this study is to analyze the flow of calcium from ameloblasts when ameloblasts stimulate enamel formation during the biomineralization process. The fluorescent probe calcium green-1 was used to monitor cytoplasmic calcium levels in a fluorometer. The calcium pump inhibitor thapsigargin was added to labeled ameloblast cells in order to identify calcium release from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of these cells and treated with the cell membrane permease saponin. Amelobast cells were then induced to undergo differentiation by addition of b-glycerophosphate and ascorbic acid to the growth media, forming three-dimensional structures. These differentiated cells were then labeled, and treated with thapsigargin and saponin to identify calcium release by fluorescence microscopy. These results indicated that calcium was concentrated in cellular nodules of ameloblasts, suggesting that ER calcium stores play an important role in the biomineralization of enamel tissue.
Elizabeth Baber, English, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Pattie McCarthy, Department of English
Rhiannon Bell, Visual Studies, Tyler School of Art
Mentor: Leah Modigliani, Department of Visual Studies
Cultural Property Repatriation: History, Legality, and Ethical Precedents for Museums in the United States
Cultural property repatriation has become a controversial area of international diplomacy. Countries throughout the world that were subject to archaeological desecration are now reclaiming illicitly exported artifacts from foreign museums. Because museums in the United States operate as private institutions, the legality of their collections isn't subject to external oversight, so enforcing a consistent repatriation policy is impossible. This paper theorizes a legislative model that would regulate the acquisition and repatriation policies of federally-funded museums in accordance with established legal precedents. This model is constructed through analyzing the effectiveness of existing measures designed to deter the activity of the illicit antiquities market, as well as through evaluating the efficacy of the the federal government and museum community's response to prior repatriation movements for Native American cultural property and Holocaust-Era artworks.
Cody Bluett, Painting w/ Teaching Certification, Tyler School of Art
Mentor: Philip Glahn, Department of Painting and Drawing
Bathysphere: Immersion of the Self
Daniel Clark, Painting & Drawing, Tyler School of Art
Mentor: Susan Moore, Department of Painting and Drawing
Peter Conti, Chemistry, English, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Michael Zdilla, Department of Chemistry
Colin Emrich, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Ryan Vander Wielen, Department of Political Science
When Should Extreme Candidates Run for Office?
This paper examines the effects of ideological extremity on electoral returns for U.S. House candidates, predicated on timing of election (i.e., presidential versus midterm). We propose that candidates in presidential elections will receive an electoral boost for ideological extremity, as voters are ideologically primed by messages from the presidential candidates. Moreover, candidates of the president's political party (in-party candidates) should benefit more than candidates from the opposing political party (out-party candidates), for their presidential candidate was more successful in disseminating messages. These effects are not present in midterm elections, for the presidential candidates are absent. Therefore, we expect Downsian moderation in midterm elections. Every House candidate from 1994-2012 is included in our analysis. Using ideal point estimates for House candidates, we find that in-party candidates behave in accordance with this theory, benefiting electorally from ideological extremity in presidential elections. Moreover, midterm elections encourage moderation for both in-party and out-party candidates.
Jasmine Forde, Psychology and Neuroscience, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Vinay Parikh, Department of Psychology
Differences in Neural Activation Between High and Low Aged Performers on an Attentional Task
Previous research has found variability in cognitive capacity in the elderly, specifically involving attention. The attentional network involves the basal forebrain and its cholinergic projections to the prefrontal (PFC) and parietal (PPC) cortices. Neuroimaging research has shown that high performing older subjects tend to recruit a larger amount of these frontal brain regions compared to young subjects, which indicates that these frontal brain regions serve as compensatory mechanisms. Neuroimaging also suggests that occipital activity decreases overall which supports the decline of sensory processing in cognitive aging. My thesis focuses on the differences in neural activation of these cortical regions, specifically the PFC, PPC, and occipital (specifically V2) cortices, between high and low performing aged rats completing a sustained attention task. Specifically, this study seeks to further understand the roles of the attentional network, the PFC and PPC, and how they contribute to this enhanced frontal recruitment in the elderly.
Russell Galanti, Horticulture, School of Environmental Design
Mentor: Sasha Eisenman, Department of Horticulture
Water relations of trees growing in a Green Infrastructure (GI) storm water trench
Storm water management is a major concern for cities with outdated combined sewer systems. Uncontrolled storm water pollutes urban watersheds, and impairs the ecological function of streams and rivers. Storm water interception using urban green infrastructure (GI) installations planted with street trees will be a major contributor to improving overall runoff control. Evapotranspiration by trees should contribute greatly to diverting excess water from sewer systems. It is important to assess the performance of these trees to better understand their contributions to storm water management.
James Gang, Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Matthew Lucas, Department of Philosophy/Bioethics, Urban Health, & Policy
How to be a good physician: A virtue ethics approach to pre-medical education
Susan Gramlich, Chemistry, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Sarah Wengryniuk, Department of Chemistry
Innovative Method for Asymmetric Ring Expansion of Secondary and Tertiary Alcohols Activated by Hypervalent Iodine Reagents
A compound containing a cyclic ether is well known to be a common framework in natural products. Currently, the formulation of methods for the synthesis of cyclic ethers exists but also remains an ongoing sought out discipline in current research studies. We hypothesize that the reaction of a tertiary alcohol with a hypervalent iodine reagent will generate an iodic ester with an electrophilic oxygen atom, promoting a carbon to oxygen alkyl migration and leading to the generation of a cyclic ether. In testing the hypothesis well will synthesize a variety of hypervalent iodine reagents (HVI reagents), different tertiary alcohol substrates, and screen different additives, solvents, and temperatures. We will then also screen different nucleophiles for the addition to the oxonium. The target synthetic product for the enantioselective synthesis is (-) – apicularen A which contains the cyclic ether. This product is a low nM IC50 against cancer cells. It prompts death in cancer cells and provides a treatment for those plagued with the disease.
Robert Lindgren, Philosophy and Mathematical Economics, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Dai Zusai, Department of Economics
An Evolutionary Signaling Model of the Emergence of Norms
Anuj Mehta, Biology, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Madesh Muniswamy, Department of Center for Translational Medicine
MCU Knockout in Zebra fish model system using CRISPR/CAS9 Technology
There is accumulating evidence that environmental stressors can increase levels of Reactive Oxygen Species during development, leading to oxidative-induced stress. The role of oxidative stress in endothelial cell dysfunction and vascular diseases has been the subject of extensive study. Cellular ROS are derived mainly from Mitochondrial metabolism and Regulated NAD(P)H oxidase (NOX) activity. Thus, in the project we intend to create an understanding for the relationship between calcium overload and oxidative stress. The way we plan to approach this is by focusing our attention on the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU). We are using a zebrafish model system. With the help of CRISPER/CAS9 technology derived from bacterial cells we plan to create a knockout gene for the MCU, inhibiting MCU protein production, thus drastically impacting the calcium uptake in the mitochondria. Then we plan to create biological sensors that allow us to target specific sites inside of the mitochondria, and observe the changes present in ATP, Oxygen, Calcium, Carbon Dioxide, and NAD(P)H uptake in a global cell system. We will monitor the levels of our sensors using GFP and RFP positive sensors. Overall this project will help us better understand the relationship between calcium dependent oxidative stress.
Quinton Meil, Philosophy, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Cathy Rosen, Department of Criminal Justice
Amish and Criminal Law: The English Response to Amish Crime and its Implications on Due Process
The isolation in which the Amish place themselves separates them from the surrounding English community. While this separation is substantial, room for shared interaction remains. In fact, as the Amish population increases, interaction between the two groups has also increased. As a result, the nature of these interactions often spill over into ambiguous territory and raise questions of law. While legal exceptions for the Amish are rare, discretion is not. The result is a growing application of law inconstant with that of the surrounding community. This Note will examine the interactions between the two communities with regards to specific laws and practices. Areas of tension will be isolated, and the implications will be manifested. Reform will then be proposed for the Amish and English to continue their growing trend of interaction, while nurturing a consistent application of law. This study draws reference from literature, philosophy, legislation, court-rulings, media, and interviews.
Colin Murphy, Chemistry, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Svetlana Neretina, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Patterned Arrays of Gold Nanoframes Using High Resolution E-Beam Lithography
Nanostructures of various geometries offer unique optical and catalytic properties. Such structures are typically synthesized in solution, which rely on surfactants to prevent aggregation of the nanostructures; however, these surfactants can dampen the catalytic potential of the nanostructure. By synthesizing the nanostructures on a substrate they can be immobilized, allowing easier handling and improved catalytic ability. Using nanolithography techniques, we are attempting to pattern arrays of ultra-thin gold nano-frames. Employing the photoresist poly(methyl methacrylate), (PMMA), we can use e-beam lithography to create rectangular pedestals of PMMA protected silver, allowing for the controlled deposition of gold. The resulting gold nano-frames can then be characterized by their optical and catalytic properties, such as the reduction of 4-nitrophenol to 4-aminophenol.
Vincent Romett, Biochemistry, Neuroscience, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Susan Patterson, Department of Biology
The Complex Effects of Aging and Inflammation on Synaptic Plasticity
Mounting evidence suggests that the peripheral immune system not only has extensive communication with the central nervous system (CNS), but also a significant effect on behavior and cognition. Importantly, ageing appears to increase cognitive vulnerability to immune challenge; even cognitively sound elderly individuals that face an immune challenge often develop a transient period of cognitive dysfunction followed by increased probabilities of developing dementia. Rodent models of this phenomenon have shown that a peripheral immune challenge produces a more robust and longer lasting immune response in older rats. This exaggerated response correlates strongly with both behavioral deficits in measures of hippocampal-dependent learning and memory, and memory-circuit deficits in a form of synaptic plasticity known as late-phase long-term potentiation (L-LTP) in the hippocampus. L-LTP requires intricately orchestrated reciprocal communication between neuronal processes and the nucleus. Therefore, an understanding of where and how this dialogue is disrupted is integral for understanding the detrimental effects of inflammation on memory. Immunohistochemistry and Western Blotting were used to investigate the distribution and levels of molecules essential for intracellular communication (protein kinases) and synaptic remodeling (gene products). This may lead to novel treatment options for neuroinflammatory conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs).
Christopher Rumbough, Political Science, Global Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Nyron Crawford, Department of Political Science
Contemporary scholarship related to disability and disabled people is fraught with issues of credibility, validity, and relevancy. This stems from an academic paradigm which centers abledness as the most (or only) desirable, valid, and legitimate human experience. The paper examines and dissects the ways that abled-centric assumptions work in usually-unnoticed ways to undermine scholarship related to disability. The paper concludes by offering recommendations for a new academic paradigm that is applicable to disabled people's experiences and calling for further discourse on the topic.
Lauren Schumacher, Neuroscience, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Rhonda Nelson, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences
Effects of Recreational Music Making on Cognitive Function, Mood, and Engagement in Assisted Living Residents
This study examined the effects of recreational music making activities on the cognitive function, mood, and engagement of older adults residing in an Assisted Living facility who presented with mild to moderate cognitive decline. Using a pre-test post-test experimental design, participants were randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 8) or control (n = 7) group. Results indicated a statistically significant improvement in cognitive functioning (p <.05) for individuals receiving the intervention, which consisted of five 30-minute recreational music making sessions using the Beamz interactive music system and structured activity protocols. During sessions, participants were all rated as being moderately or highly engaged, and a positive correlation was found between level of engagement and improvements in cognitive functioning (r = .79, p< .05). Although no significant differences in mood were recorded, individuals indicated they enjoyed participating in the recreational music making sessions.
Austin Wagner, Music Education/Jazz Instrumental Concentration, Boyer College of Music
Mentor: Nathan Buonviri, Department of Music Education
Creating Creativity: The Art of Teaching Jazz
The goal of this research is to provide music educators with a streamlined resource to help teach jazz and improvisation. This research is intended to help bridge the gap between jazz professionals and music educators. To reach this goal, it is necessary to observe and analyze the techniques of master jazz educators. This procedure is modeled after Robert Duke's study of master classical teachers. In Duke's research, multiple master instructors' lessons were filmed for 25 hours. At the end of the study, Duke found 19 commonalities among the three teachers. These qualities were then analyzed and published for the music education community. In addition to adapting Duke's techniques to observation of jazz instruction, teaching materials were compared and analyzed to gain a deeper understanding of each educator's approach. Interviews were conducted with each educator in order to provide triangulation of data.
Katherine Ament, Environmental Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Deborah Howe, Department of Community and Regional Planning
Analyzing Philadelphia's Food System: The Presence of Food Hubs
In recent years Philadelphia's food system has evolved. It now features the offerings from regional producers more prominently and seeks to educate more consumers about healthy lifestyles within a healthy food system. This research aims to illustrate the ways in which supplemental elements of a food system, such as food hubs and community food centers, are contributing to improving Philadelphia's food system. This paper will do so in two parts. First, it will identify a comprehensive list of organizations in Philadelphia that serve as food hubs or CFCs. Second, an in depth analysis of a selected organization will reveal the process it took for the organization to become an effective agent of change for Philadelphia's food system within the context of its neighborhood settings.
Bridget Amponsah, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Jodi Reich, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Fluency and Phonological Awareness of Ghanian Children
Despite a significant percentage of all languages being spoken in Africa, not much is known about the languages spoken there. Little is known about the acquisition of language and reading. Furthermore, a large concern exists for the education of children in many African countries as there tends to be a disconnect in the languages spoken at home and the languages used in school. Existing literature shows that there is a connection between phonological awareness and literacy. The influence that these two topics have on one another has led to greater research in more uncommon languages, to compare what is found, to what is known of more common languages like English. Among this literature there is an opportunity for further exploration of the specific contributions that both phonological awareness and fluency have to reading comprehension, as well as the decoding of words. Datasets of assessments given to schoolchildren in Ghana, will be analyzed. The three languages looked at will be Ewe, Gonja, and Twi. Factors such as performance, home life, education setting, environment, age, and gender, will be examined for significance. The analyses performed allow for the identification of effective methods to promote literacy among the country's citizens.
Hallie Avizad, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Lauren Alloy, Department of Psychology
The Moderating Effect of Gender between Negative Life Events and Depression
Much literature has shown that women present higher levels of depression than men, however the reasoning behind this phenomenon is disputed. Previous research has found correlations between negative life events and depressive symptoms, but longitudinal data is lacking. The current study will elaborate on this deficiency by using a sample of longitudinal data to investigate whether gender predicts the amount of independent and/or dependent negative life events an individual experiences. It will also test whether gender moderates ensuing depressive symptoms following negative life events. The present study will employ data from multiple time points so as to predict increases in depressive symptoms over time, as previous research has been limited by cross-sectional analyses. It is hypothesized that women will experience more dependent negative life events than men, and that women will experience a higher amount of depressive symptoms following these dependent life events as compared to men. Results will provide valuable input to the field and may have the potential to contribute to treatment methods for individuals struggling with depression, as clinicians will be more aware of the differential impact of life events on depressive symptoms.
Bethany Burns-Lynch, History, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Ralph Young, Department of History
Women's History in Museums: Examining the Deradicalization of Social Justice Movements
This study examines the way women's history is presented in museums as both the separate category of 'women's history' and in the broader context of American history. With the recent approval of funding for the National Women's Museum, this study will look at the gaps in representation of the various incarnations of the women's rights movement in museums. While there is usually a heaver focus on diverse voices in women's history museums and historical projects, with notable women of color included far more frequently than in traditional museum settings, there is a notable focus on the early suffragette movement and the 'first wave' of feminsim. In the online proposed exhibits for the National Women's Museum, there is not a single exhibit focused on second wave feminism, which is the more radical and currently relevant branch of women's historical activism. This project will examine the ways museums contribute to the deradicalization of the women's rights movement and the historical diminishing of radical women's activism.
Christopher Cotteta, Marketing, Fox School of Business
Mentor: Jack Klotz, Department of Media Studies and Production
Competing Against Free: Music Business in the Age of Streaming
I will engage Philadelphia's professional musicians in in-depth discussions about music business in todays' enigmatic and still-changing industry. This qualitative study will consist of interviews with music industry professionals from both the live and recorded music fields, focusing more on those "behind-the-scenes. Recorded music went digital in the 80's, but it wasn't until the turn of the century that Napster and iTunes made digital downloading a common reality. In the fifteen years since Napster, the industry has undergone sweeping changes in the way consumers access recorded music. Amid consistently shrinking revenues, the industry has undergone drastic restructuring. Now, it seems that sales revenues have stabilized, but many pieces of the puzzle- such as legal regulation and evolving technology- have yet to fall into place. My area of inquiry revolves largely around how professional musicians have adapted to this changing climate on a microeconomic level. I will analyze the interview texts to discern commonalities, which will form the basis for a broad understanding of best practices that will best serve the music industry moving forward. My findings will hopefully be equally relevant to the academic, business, and music communities, as well as other industries that are based on intellectual property.
Benjamin Deck, Neuroscience: Systems, Behavior and Plasticity, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Tania Giovannetti, Department of Psychology
Everyday Functioning in Mild Cognitive Impairment: Understanding Impairment Through Analysis of Action and Language Errors and Comparison to Alzheimer's Disease
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) precedes dementia and is associated with subtle functional decline. The goal of this study is to improve assessment methods and the current conceptualization of everyday functioning in this population. In order to examine subtle functional disability in MCI our group has examined microerros during the performance of everyday tasks. However, the relation between action planning and execution and language planning and execution has not been explored, although both neuropsychological studies and developmental research have suggested domain general control processes. If indeed, microerrors in everyday action and microerrors in language are related, then this would suggest a more straightforward assessment of functional abilities in older adults and would also imply a single deficit that contributes to both functional and linguistic impairment. To examine these questions, at least 28 individuals with MCI will complete both the Script Behavioral Test (SBT) and the Naturalistic Action Test (NAT). A linear regression model will examine the relation between the error variables from both tests. The clinical implication for this overlap would imply that verbal reports, which are more efficient to administer and score, could be used as a proxy for actual task performance.
Thomas DiAgostino, Women's Studies and Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Rujuta Mandelia, Department of Women's Studies
The Queer American Dream: Race, Class, and the Trans* Identity
"The Queer American Dream: Race, Class, and the Trans* Identity" is an ethnographic study analyzing why it is so difficult for a Trans* person of color, who is impoverished, to achieve the American Dream. This study will be accomplished through in-depth interviews with Trans* people in Philadelphia as well as a comparative survey distributed to people who live and/or work in the Philadelphia. In analyzing the data received from the interviews and surveys, The Queer American Dream will use concepts from queer, feminist, and sociological scholars to interpret common trends and statistically significant correlations of the lived experiences of Trans* people that are tangential to the American Dream. This study's goal is to tackle the endogeneity surrounding previous research about the Trans* identity as well as to help expand the new and rapidly growing field of transgender theory.
Danielle Gross, Secondary Education and History, College of Education
Mentor: Bryant Simon, Department of History
Roadblocks to Integration: Vandalism, Violence and Intervention
Vandalism and violence characterized the transformation of many of Philadelphia's racially-changing neighborhood in the 1950's and 1960's—as white communities banded together to preserve the racial homogeneity of their streets. My research explores the limits of housing integration in Philadelphia through evaluating the role of the city's institutions in incidents of tension surrounding Philadelphia's racially changing neighborhoods. Philadelphia's Commission on Human Relations and Fair Housing Commission stood on the front lines in conflicts often ignored by a discriminatory police force. Their efforts came through private negotiations and settlements rather than direct action. It was not oppressive housing statutes, rather failure to abide by the city's Fair Housing Ordinance and lack of comprehensive civil rights policy that created the context for housing violence during this period. These incidents of housing violence represented a crucial social roadblock to desegregation—far more complicated to surmount. This historical analysis deals with vandalism and violence surrounding racially-changing neighborhood within a larger trajectory of the distinctive struggle for rights and equality in the urban North. These incidents epitomize the successes, limitations, and failures of Philadelphia's diluted anti-discrimination policy in ameliorating community tensions and advancing civil rights.
Taylor Kaminsky, Spanish and International Business, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Thomas Morton, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
This is America: Speak "American"
What does it mean to "speak American"? For many, it means English only. Coca Cola's recent commercial where "America the Beautiful" was sung in different languages prompted outraged citizens to respond with comments such as #SpeakAmerican via social media. This event illustrates the popular myth that the United States is a monolingual English-speaking nation. This event illustrates the popular myth that the United States is a monolingual English-speaking nation, thus, leading to the following questions: Do negative documented reactions towards multilingualism portrayed in mass media influence bilingual Mexican and Puerto Rican perceptions of their heritage language? What are the significant factors constraining Spanish use among Puerto Ricans and Mexicans in Philadelphia? This project focuses on the largest Hispanic groups in Philadelphia: Puerto Rican and Mexican Spanish speakers. Both communities are compared by examining language use and attitudes towards Spanish and English amongst two generations to identify factors influencing the maintenance or loss of Spanish amongst heritage speakers. A linguistic questionnaire is utilized to collect information on the following factors: demographics, bilingual proficiency, reports on language use, and attitudes towards Spanish and English followed by semi-directed interviews to further assess attitudes towards Spanish. The results will reveal if negative views towards multilingualism affect trans-generational Puerto Ricans and Mexicans as well as clarify significant factors that constrain or maintain language use for both communities.
William Kelly, Philosophy and Criminal Justice, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Nicole Van Cleve, Department of Criminal Justice
Religion and Re-Entry: How Does Contact with the Criminal Justice System Affect Religiosity?
A person's set of religious beliefs, or lack thereof, can mold their system of moral, political, and social views. In other words, many parts of a person's larger identity borrow directly from their religious identity. It may also be the case that a severely traumatic event like coming into negative contact with the criminal justice system transforms this identity by altering how religious messages are digested. This research intends to investigate the relationship between the increasing presence of the criminal justice system in one's life and the role of religion. This shift in identity, if there was one, will be discussed in a variety of ways via interviews with re-entry program members that have had contact with the criminal justice system in the past.. Through a series of semi-structured interviews the transformation in the person's overall religiosity, religious denomination, personal value of practicing religious tenants, the framework by which religious messages are taken in, and many elements of their overall religious identity will be recorded. Through an analysis of these interviews in total, considered in the context of the person's pre-contact religiosity and the nature of the contact, this research will shed light on a new way of evaluating the transformative power of criminal justice system.
Mathew Knudson, Economics, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: William Stull, Department of Economics
Buying Better Schools: Resource Use and Economies of Scale in PA Public Schools
Education policy in the US is often concerned with the impact of resources on student performance as a result of our unique, local funding system. However, until recently, it was very difficult to separate out the impact of spending from the income and socioeconomic status it was derived from. Due to the passage of many new state and federal initiatives to reduce inequity in district funding, the institution of standardized state testing, and the economic collapse of 2008, there is a wealth of very detailed information on school district spending, student performance, and substantial enough variations in student poverty and spending to provide a rich dataset for inference, without the issues of collinearity that have faced previous research. Using a panel of 496 school districts over a six year period, we find statistically significant support for a positive relationship between resources and performance, and for economies of scale in district size. However, the magnitude of the impacts reveals that much of school district performance is determined by factors completely outside the current school policy toolbox.
Max Kraus, Jazz Instrumental Performance, Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: Gregory Kettinger, Department of Jazz Studies
Footprints in Jazz: The Musical Voice and Legacy of Wayne Shorter
The purpose of this project is to study the music of Wayne Shorter as a means of developing my own compositional voice. Shorter's career has spanned from the 1950's until the present and his artistic contributions have heavily influenced American music. As a music director and sideman for both Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and the Miles Davis Quintet, Shorter's compositions transcended those of the bandleaders and commanded the direction of many albums. Later in his career, he recorded chart-topping albums with Weather Report, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, and Milton Nasciemento. During this time he also released numerous albums as a leader and many of his compositions have become standard repertoire for jazz musicians. His writing is of a rare breed in that it is both prolific and truly original, with an ability to infiltrate various genres. My research will investigate this talent to further my understanding of his music to a point that my own compositions can pervade the atmosphere of Shorter's work.
Kelly McArdle, Classics and Religion, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Karen Hersch, Department of Greek and Roman Classics
St. Lucretia? Gender Performance and Martyrdom in Livy's Ab urbe condita 1
Much of the current scholarship concerning gender in Book 1 of Livy's Ab urbe condita presents female characters as exempla, whose stories, we may presume, Roman men and women used to shape their own lives. Classicists have recently reconsidered the complexities of the female body politic in Book 1 (e.g. Joshel 1987), especially in the context of Augustan rule (31 BCE-14 CE). However, discussions of Lucretia seem to miss an important issue—Livy's proximity to the emperor Augustus, who was eager to impose traditional gender roles on Roman society by means of elites' constant performance of these roles for the public eye. In this paper, I first consider gender in the age of Augustus to place Livy's Book 1 in its historical context. Next, I examine how some of the important female characters in Book 1 perform gender (e.g. the Sabine Maidens, Horatia, Tullia). Does Livy portray them as successful or not? How do we know? Finally, I compare these female characters to the Roman matron Lucretia, the last woman in Book 1. Ultimately, I argue that Livy's female characters are not merely pawns in the story of Roman history, but fully capable actors who choose to perform correctly (or not) on behalf of the state. Thus, Lucretia is unique in that she is not only an exemplum for Livy, but a character Livy portrays as the ultimate performer—a martyr for correct gender performance according to Augustus.
Kailey McCrudden, Dance, Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: Jillian Harris, Department of Dance
Talking about Bodies
Issues of female body image and self-esteem are complicated by the mixed messages implied in popular media's depiction of the female body. Everyone should embrace their bodies, but only certain body parts are deemed attractive by society. In an effort to strip the female experience from these images, I have created a survey inspired by Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues. Through the unedited stories of females of varying ages and walks of life, I aim to present a dance piece which is an honest work about women and their bodies. The survey has served as a launch pad for ways of manipulating and composing movement through themes of being natural, being dressed up, ownership, and the extremity between small versus large. Movement generation will occur through observing women's gestures when looking at themselves in mirrors and reflective windows. In addition to creating a dance piece which will premiere in December 2014, a website I have created will be updated through the process. These compilations of my research aim to create a dialogue around the issue of female body image.
George Pantelopulos, Chemistry, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Vincent Voelz, Department of Chemistry
Simulation of the p53-MDM2 Binding Interface
In an effort to advance computational prediction and design of peptidomimetics that can bind to and disrupt protein-protein interactions, we are studying the well-characterized p53-MDM2 interface using molecular simulation. p53, a protein integral to the prevention of oncogenic mutation in cells, is downregulated by MDM2. We established the accuracy of several recently published forcefields via comparison of apo- and holo-MDM2 against experimental NMR data. The optimal forcefield was chosen to simulate the binding of peptidomimetics to MDM2 using the Folding@home distributed computing platform. This work may ultimately lead to the computational design of novel compounds with anti-cancer therapeutic properties.
Peter Rowe, Environmental Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Robert Mason, Department of Geography and Urban Studies
Development on the Outer Banks: A Case of Public Perception
The proposed study explores public perception of development on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, dealing specifically with the question of whether the Outer Banks are "overdeveloped". This study will employ the use of surveys and personal interviews to determine public opinion concerning the rate and extent of development on the Outer Banks. Through engagement with both full-time and part-time residents, as well as tourists, the study seeks to engage a diverse population, thereby obtaining a broad understanding of perceptions of development on the Outer Banks. The proposed study will make a contribution to knowledge in several ways. First, this study will provide policy makers with a current baseline understanding of the public opinion of development. Second, this study will provide a useful framework for policymakers as they address the issue of development. Third, the results of the study can contribute to the basis for a more sustainable development plan to be devised for the region. In essence, the proposed study seeks to answer two main questions; first, do different towns/people (i.e.- locals vs. tourists) along the Outer Banks have different perceptions concerning development? And second, why do such differences in perception occur?
Olivia Scanlon, Speech Language Hearing Science, College of Health Professions and Social Work
Mentor: Francine Kohen, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Authors with Aphasia
Many people with aphasia experience co-existing chronic deficits with their reading and writing abilities. Recently, at Temple University a therapeutic program entitled, Finding the Words: Authors with Aphasia was created. It is an eight-week program in which a person with aphasia creates a literary work with the supportive assistance of an undergraduate or graduate speech-language pathology student. Written language is beneficial to this population because it lessens the effects of verbal-short term memory deficits on communication while promoting a positive self-concept. An evaluation of each participant's language abilities, specifically a spoken and written narrative was administered preceding the program, and the same evaluation was given upon the program's completion. By the end of the summer, 14 people with aphasia will have completed a literary work as well as both the pretest and post-test. The participants range in age, degree of impairment and have all have acquired aphasia from either recent or long-term stroke. Using Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT) Software, transcriptions from each pretest and post-test will be analyzed measuring several language components including content information units, total spoken words and mean length of utterance. All of these components showed improvement in a preliminary case study of Finding the Words.
Rebecca Sheriff, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Tom Waidzunas, Department of Sociology
Birth Intervention in the United States
Approximately one in three women in the United States receive a cesarean section during labor despite the World Health Organization's recommendation that any c-section rate over fifteen percent is harmful to the health of the mother and child. Although the United States has a powerful and rich national status, our maternal health care system is seriously lagging, with a higher maternal mortality rate than all of Western Europe and much of Eastern Europe. In the 1970s the cesarean section rate in the U.S. was five percent and has been climbing, reaching thirty three percent in 2011. In comparison to vaginal deliveries c-sections have undesirable health outcomes for both the mother and child and far more costly, so I am investigating why this high c-section rate continues. My hypothesis is that changes in the U.S. health care system coupled with insurance policies have led to a new medical standard that embraces surgical birth over vaginal deliveries. I find this trend startling because this is not serving the best health interest of the mother and child. I will conduct my research by interviewing maternal health care providers (ob-gyns, nurses, and midwives) in the greater Philadelphia area. Then I will analyze hospital data in the greater Philadelphia area.
Kelly Slater, Criminal Justice, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Aunshul Rege, Department of Criminal Justice
The Palermo Strategy: Incentivizing Organized Crime Testimony
In recent years, Palermo, the capital of Sicily, has received attention for its success in dramatically reducing the city's organized crime presence. As part of this reform, Palermo has become more effective at eliciting testimony from former organized crime members, known as "pentiti," who have provided valuable data for researchers and investigators alike. Existing literature has examined the reliability, cultural changes, and court dynamics of pentiti testimony in Palermo. However, minimal research has specifically examined the role of the state. The first phase of this paper involves secondary source analysis on approximately twenty-five legal, media, and academic documents to outline recent government reforms relating to pentiti. In the second phase, it uses in-depth interviews with academics, legal experts, antimafia activists, and journalists to analyze the strategies Palermo implemented to incentivize organized crime pentiti testimony. By analyzing Palermo as a case study, this research intends to outline a set of strategies, and the conditions which allowed them to work, which may be of assistance to other countries seeking to encourage testimony.
Christopher Sohnly, Landscape Architecture, School of Environmental Design
Mentor: Eva Monheim, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
Spirit of Gheel Landscape Management Plan
The first stage of the Landscape Management Plan is analysis of the site. I have begun a desktop survey to evaluate rights of way, easements, aerial photographs, soil, planning permission, and other site evaluations. We have completed preliminary site surveys that include a habitat survey, tree survey, and vegetation survey. We have also created a Flora database to compare Chester County with Warwick County Park, the reference site for Spirit of Gheel. This document will serve as a key guide for future plant selection for the site and will be included as an Appendix in the completed Landscape Management Plan. A planning meeting has been scheduled with the Executive Director and A preliminary agenda for the meeting has already been submitted. A survey of the collective aims and objectives will be developed after interviews with all stakeholders involved including; the residents, executive director, professional staff, and others because Spirit of Gheel is a residential psychiatric care facility interviews with staff and residents must be carried out with proper medical protocol.
Haley Velletri, Art History, Tyler School of Art
Mentor: Jonathan Kline, Department of Art History
The $60 Million Ballon Animal: Contemplating Connoisseurship in the Contemporary Art Market
Since the Renaissance, the art system has consisted of a genius creator and a patron or collector with a discerning eye for talent. The contemporary art market of the 21st century shows a significant shift in this system. Through investment speculation, economic booms and recessions, and the actions of specific individuals, the contemporary art market has reached a fully volatile nature. Using economic principles and specific tools such as auction data from 2004 to present and the Mei/Moses Index, we find that, based on the nature of this market, high net worth individual collectors seem to have been replaced with "speculators" who behave much in the same way as stock speculators. These collectors/speculators are buying art in a consumptive manner and the artists are responding as workers or producers. This has resulted in the overall commoditization of contemporary artworks. We are utilizing case studies of collectors, artists, and institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum, Sotheby's, Charles Saatchi and the Saatchi Collection, Oscar Murillo and Jeff Koons, in addition to interviews with active dealers and gallerists, to demonstrate the trajectory of this shift.
Anlin Wang, Economics, Fox School of Business
Mentor: Joseph Friedman, Department of Economics
Public Banking - Comparing Efficiency and Returns of the Bank of North Dakota and Foreign State Banks
Public banks are banks owned and operated by the state. While the United States has only one of these, the Bank of North Dakota, state-run banks are neither new nor infeasible: BND has existed since 1919 and the prevalence and success of foreign state banks such as the Brazilian Development Bank and the Industrial Development Bank of India demonstrates that the public sector can frequently provide capital when the private sector is unwilling or unable to do so. This project aims to examine the performance and economic impact of the provision of capital in geographic areas in which both public and private banks play a significant role in economic development. Since public and private banks frequently lend to different areas of the economy, both quantitative and qualitative analysis are necessary. Profitability measures such as returns on assets and operating profit ratios are examined along with efficiency measures such as net interest margins, operating profits to staff expenses, operating cost ratios, and staff expense ratios. Qualitatively, various reasons such as an absence of a market or high costs of gathering information underlie why public banks provide necessary capital when private banks do not.
Christine Yim, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Lauren Alloy, Department of Psychology
The Mediating Effects of Regulatory Capacity on the Relationship between Emotional Reactivity and Depressive Symptomology
The influential role emotion plays on psychological well-being has been recognized in the literature. Recent work has shown that certain psychological disorders, particularly mood disorders, may stem from difficulties in regulating emotions. One construct that is relevant to emotion regulation, but distinct and relatively understudied, is emotional reactivity (ER), which describes the tendency to experience emotions of strong intensity, in response to a variety of stimuli, and for a prolonged period of time. Elevated ER has been theorized to predispose individuals to emotion regulation problems; indeed, past studies of ER have found that adolescents with mood or anxiety disorders have self-reported significantly higher ER compared to individuals without such disorders. The present study examines the mediating effects of regulatory capacity, both cognitive and physiological, on the relationship between ER and depressive symptomology. A target number of 185 participants will complete a series of validated questionnaires that measure cognitive regulatory ability along with physiological measures of regulatory capacity in response to a series of validated film clips.