Honors Week | Albright College

Honors Week

HONORS WEEK PRESENTATIONS 2020

May 4 – May 8, 2020

To Our Senior Honors Students


Linden Bennetch
The Development of the Novel Utilization of Dental Lasers for Soft and Hard Tissue Procedures

    Under the direction of Professor John Pankratz (History)

Analyzing history is a beneficial way of incorporating previous knowledge into generating novel ideas for the future. The history of dentistry and the subfield of endodontics is extensive, going back thousands of years to the Egyptians. Building on the history of these important fields, researchers can look forward to new technological advancements that can benefit the dental profession. This paper focuses on the “internal history of ideas” where the research of dental experts and practitioners in the area of lasers in dentistry can be analyzed and reviewed. Dental lasers have been in development since 1960, but their utilization has only become more popular in the 21st century. The lasers can be used for soft and hard tissue applications in dentistry. The benefits of lasers in dentistry are numerous, and as pain-free care becomes more popular among the public, it will drive practicing dentists to purchase lasers for their practice.

Presentation (video)        Presentation (slides)


Marleen Berger
The Effects of Institutionalized Slavery on Enslaved Women in Jamaica

    Under the direction of Professor John Pankratz (History)

The study of demographics of the slave trade in Jamaica provides a valuable insight into the impact of slavery on the overall standard of living of enslaved women. Slavery is often characterized as a time of oppression that is expressed through the lives of men, ultimately leaving women marginalized. This generalization ultimately ignores the multi-layered forms of dehumanization many enslaved women faced across Jamaica. This research explores the impact of slavery on the lives of women across Jamaica through an arduous journey of labor, sexual abuse and reproductive complexities. As the lives of enslaved women were drastically uprooted, the dehumanized nature of slave plantations often destroyed their spiritual and maternal responsibilities. As various plantation owners and slave holders discovered maternity and fertility as an essential way to regenerate a laboring population, this ideology ultimately forced enslaved women to birth children, who, in successive generations, would become slaves themselves. Constantly faced with the fear of insurrection and found freedom, plantation owners unified in their ideology that enslaved women controlled the means of the population on slave plantations across Jamaica.

Presentation


Esther Borteye
Access to prenatal care and the impact on mothers and babies: A comparative study between Hinche, Haiti; Saint-Louis, Senegal; and Reading, Pennsylvania

    Under the direction of Professor Adam John (French)

Prenatal care is an essential part of healthcare that every pregnant woman should receive. However, due to certain barriers, some women’s access to prenatal care is limited. This thesis entails a comparative study of access to prenatal care in Reading, Saint-Louis and Hinche. In my study, I examine, for example, the important role midwives play in providing prenatal care, reasons for obstetric complications during birth, and the relationship between socio-economic status and access to prenatal care. I had planned to interview healthcare workers in each city to expand my research. However, I was only able to interview one in Reading and one in Pignon, Haiti (which is geographically close to Hinche) due to the COVID-19 outbreak. My analysis reinforces the correlation between access to prenatal care, healthy babies, and healthy mothers. There are, however, gaps in access to prenatal care linked to geographical and economic factors. My discussions with the two healthcare workers point to efforts to overcome certain barriers. In Reading, there are outreach programs to help first-time low-income mothers. In Haiti, there are accelerated midwife training programs that ensure that more midwives are available to help meet the demand for prenatal care.

Presentation


Ryan Brett
Population Response of Peromyscus Leucopus to Ectoparasite Density and Succession in Managed Forest

    Under the direction of Professor Steve Mech (Biology)

Peromyscus leucopus is a common species in the temperate deciduous forests of the United States. They serve forest ecology as seed dispersers and as food items for predators; they also are common hosts for ectoparasites. Peromyscus population density is dependent upon forest understory structure, and thus forest understory may affect parasite density. We examined the effects of temporal changes in understory structure on Peromyscus population size and ectoparasite load. Nolde Forest Environmental Educational Center, near Reading, Pennsylvania, conducted selective logging as a forest management strategy in 2012. Additionally, an invasive species, Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum), was introduced to Nolde Forest circa 2008 and spread throughout the forest. The introduction of M. vimineum poses significant consequences for natural succession of the forest understory and therefore for the population dynamics of P. leucopus. In this study, we analyze P. leucopus capture data for several years between 2004 and 2019 and compare capture statistics with contemporary vegetation surveys. Our results indicate significant changes in P. leucopus population size, and these changes are likely in response to alterations of the forest structure and as a consequence of succession post-2012. We further determined that infection of P. leucopus by ectoparasites was significantly different between the years of 2016, 2017, and 2019 and that sex and reproductive status of P. leucopus correlates with infection by fleas and ticks.

Presentation


Abbi Brown
Implications of Anthropogenic Habitat Disturbance on the Home Range Size and Habitat Selection of the Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene c. carolina)

    Under the direction of Professor Steve Mech (Biology)

The Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene c. carolina) is a vulnerable species with decreasing populations largely due to habitat loss from anthropogenic development. To determine the impact of powerline construction on the home range size and habitat selection of Terrapene c. carolina, we radio-tagged thirteen box turtles and located them weekly from April to November 2019. Once a week, we located turtles and made several habitat measurements at each location. We performed a Principal Component Analysis of the vegetation data and estimated home range size using 95% Minimum Convex Polygon (MCP), Kernel, and Brownian-Bridge methods. We found that turtles prefer shrub cover and avoid rocky areas. Despite the large variation in home range size depending on the estimator used, we argue that 95% MCP is the best estimator for turtles. While there was no significant difference between male and female home range size, a post-hoc analysis dividing females into right-of-way (ROW) and Non-ROW groups revealed a significant difference in female home range size. This may result from accessibility of higher quality nesting sites within the powerline ROW compared to the surrounding forest stands.


Amanda Bunn
A Comparison of Land Use and Large Mammal Communities in Eastern Pennsylvania

    Under the direction of Professor Steve Mech (Environmental Science)

Pennsylvania’s large mammals differ in habitat use and home range, and these differences are impacted by local habitat and competition. Increased human population density has greatly altered the natural landscape and therefore affected the distribution of these large mammals. This study aimed to assess the differences in land cover in two locations in Eastern Pennsylvania, assess the large mammal communities at the two sites, and compare the communities between sites, as well as assess the differences in communities between coniferous and deciduous stands within each site using camera traps. Geographic information system modelling was used to assess the differences in land use between sites. I found differences in land use patterns in the area surrounding the study sites and that multiple factors, as well as interactions between factors influence the number of animals observed. Some of these factors include species, location, and the location by forest type interaction. For example, white-tailed deer are more common in areas heavily impacted by humans whereas coyotes are more common in less impacted areas. Additionally, there were significant forest type by week interactions, which shows differing habitat use temporally. The findings of this study are consistent with and expand upon existing literature.

Presentation


Breiona Caldwell
“When Will My Life Begin”: A Content Analysis of Disney Princess Films

    Under the direction of Professor Heidi Mau (Communications)

The Disney princess line has been an important and active element of The Walt Disney Company and global media entertainment since 1940. Disney has released twelve princess films over the years. Many scholars have dissected the Disney princess animated features in hopes of shedding light on the way gender is portrayed through these films. This content analysis examines eight Disney films, attempting to determine how much agency each Disney princess has within her own film and how gender representation works over time. The results confirm that stereotypical representation of gender continued throughout the films, from the first princess Snow White through Elsa, Disney’s most recent princess. The analysis suggests that both the princesses and the princes fall victim to traditional feminine and masculine characteristics and gender roles. There is also an interesting result that suggests that princesses of color have less agency in their own films than secondary characters experience and certainly less agency than the other princesses. Since the Disney princess films are targeted toward young children it is important that we continue to examine the representation of gender in these films to combat the impact it could make on children learning about gender expectations through these films.

Presentation


Jamie Camano
Imaginary Friends: Outcomes for Young Adults

    Under the direction of Professor Julia Heberle (Psychology)

This study examined the relationship between having had an imaginary friend (IF) in childhood and its possible positive outcomes in young adulthood. To investigate this, the current study focused on whether the following positive traits hold true in adulthood: creativity, coping skills, perspective taking, and cognitive abilities. We hypothesized that participants who report having had an IF in childhood would score higher on the observed measures. Additionally, we hypothesized that a high child-IF relationship strength score would positively correlate with each of the observed measures. Results indicated that there were no significant differences between the groups, and there were no significant correlations of strength of IF with the measures. Similarly, participants with an IF did not score significantly different than participants without an IF on any of the observed measures. Our hypotheses were therefore not supported. It would be interesting to explore in future research why certain children have IFs while others do not.

Presentation


Grace Coleman
Happy, Sad or Hungry? Predictors of Emotional Eating in the Context of Emotional Affect

    Under the direction of Professor Bridget Hearon (Psychology)

Emotional eating in response to negative affect is associated with increased BMI, weight gain, low dietary restraint; however, fewer studies have examined eating in response to positive affect. In the present study, we examined emotional eating and dietary restraint in the context of induced positive and negative affect while also randomizing participants to a food or no-food condition post induction. To date, 67 participants completed informed consent, assessments of interest, and BMI measurements. Following these assessments, participants were randomly assigned to watch a sadness- or joy-inducing movie clip, and then were randomized to complete either a sham taste-test that included chocolate and potato chips or a time-matched task that asked participants to rate the aesthetics of non-food images. Positive and negative affect were assessed throughout. Findings indicate that regardless of affect induced, participants experienced greater positive affect when eating than when rating images, and that BMI, but not self-reported emotional eating, dietary restraint, anxiety sensitivity, or depressive symptoms, may influence the number of calories consumed when in a negative but not positive affective state.

Presentation


Sarah Connelly
Characterizations of Veganism in Online News Media

    Under the direction of Professor Kennon Rice (Sociology)

Despite its growing popularity in recent years, the public perception of veganism and its adherents remains overwhelmingly negative. This study seeks to catalogue and describe the ways vegans and veganism are characterized in online news media in order to identify the mechanisms driving anti-vegan sentiment. By analyzing 652 articles that mention the keyword “vegan” published in 2018 by the 6 most popular news media sites, and coding them into groups based on their characterization of vegans or veganism, this paper confirms that the public discourse surrounding veganism remains predominantly negative. This study also identifies eight dominant types of negative portrayals of veganism that appeared consistently throughout the sample: ridiculing vegans or veganism, characterizing veganism as difficult or impossible to sustain, characterizing veganism as a form of asceticism, characterizing vegans as oversensitive, characterizing vegans as hostile, describing veganism as faddish, characterizing veganism as a threat to culture or tradition, and characterizing vegans as hypocritical and/or dishonest. Neutral and positive characterizations of veganism were relatively rare, and almost never engaged with the moral, ethical, or political underpinnings of vegansim, thus symbolically divorcing it from its meaningful ideological roots. The results of this study suggest that veganism remains a marginalized practice due to the threats it poses to established cultural norms of meat-eating.

Presentation


Emily Curley
Japanese (American) Noir: Revealing the Underbelly and Discovering an Identity (A Commentary on Western Binary)

    Under the direction of Professor Al Cacicedo (English)

My paper studies the development and shift of the Japanese and Japanese American consciousness post-World War II. Through the close analyses of novels memoirs, and secondary sources, I conduct a deep cross-examination of the American mindset as it challenges the traditional Japanese execution of the Western binary. The paper begins with a study of Japanese philosophy, folklore, and cultural norms as they express an unhybridized, authentic Japanese sense of identity; then, it deploys an understanding of such an identity to examine the cultural differences that are prevalent between Western and Eastern society. Those differences that take the form of a “binary” will then create the basic formation of a post-World War II Japanese and– a more deeply troubled– Japanese American identity as expressed in fiction and non-fiction that depicts the Japanese/Japanese American struggle with the American notion of personal “freedom.”


McKenzie Derby
“I Don’t Drink That Much”: An Analysis of Student Drinking Perceptions.

    Under the direction of Professor Hilary Aquino (Public Health)

This paper will discuss the perspectives that college students have toward alcohol and their own drinking habits. This research uses survey on binge drinking on campus, as well as face- to- face interviews that measure standard drink sizes. Students’ perceptions are analyzed with the survey, interview results, theory, and historical as well as contemporary literature review. By understanding how college students perceive their drinking behaviors, more beneficial prevention methods can be developed in a harm reduction model of intervention.
To completely stop binge drinking on college campuses is implausible however, limiting students excessive drinking habits and providing access to services for students is more plausible.

Presentation


Tamanna Gupta
Depth Inversion Illusion with Eye-Tracking of Static and Video Facial Images

    Under the direction of Professor Keith Feigenson (Psychology)

This study examined the effects of guided directions of fixation via a depth inversion illusion, utilizing digital static and video depictions of a hollow mask with an eye-tracking device. Thirty-nine participants were recruited from Albright College, all of whom were undergraduate psychology students. Group condition (focus on nose or no focus) served as the independent variable, while the ability to correctly identify the curvature of the hollow mask (concave or convex) and gaze patterns served as the dependent variables. Results were unable to be analyzed due to extenuating circumstances. However, we theorized that participants in the focused gaze condition fixated mostly on the nose or nose tip, while also viewing the depth inversion illusion more strongly, compared to the general gaze condition. Additionally, the focused gaze condition is predicted to more accurately identify the correct curvature of the mask, compared to the general gaze condition. Future directions include adding a manipulation for anxiety, such as the social exclusion task, with physiological measurements, such as galvanic skin response or heart rate monitoring. Additional ideas include the use of alternate depth inversion illusions.

Presentation


Sarah Hohl
Fantasy and Reality Distinction in Young Children and Adults

    Under the direction of Professor Justin Couchman (Psychology)

Imagination is an abstract concept that children somehow have mastered at a young age. Experiment 1 examined what children understand to be real and imaginary and if this understanding is altered in any way by showing them the difference. A pre-intervention and post-intervention study was designed to test what children understand and whether showing them the difference between real and imaginary objects improves their understanding of the distinction. Participants categorized a set of ten pictures before an intervention by the researcher which demonstrated the difference between real and imaginary and categorized a separate but equivalent set of pictures after the intervention. Results supported previous findings showing that younger children have a harder time understanding real and imaginary. Experiment 2 examined preliminary research for adult perception of real and fantasy by using a categorization task in which participants categorized pictures of actors and movie characters into categories of real and imaginary. Results indicated adults accurately categorized both real and imaginary pictures but tended to have slower response times to imaginary pictures.

Presentation


Lauren Huber
Spanish Lessons: the Translation of Sally McKean

    Under the direction of Professor John Pankratz (History)

This poster examines Sally McKean as she moved from life as a prominent young woman in the “republican court” of early national Philadelphia into her marriage to an aristocratic Spanish diplomat. Born in 1777, Sally was the daughter of Thomas McKean – Representative of Delaware in the Continental Congress, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and Governor of Pennsylvania – and his second wife, Sarah Armitage. In 1798 she married Carlos Maria Martínez de Irujo y Tacón, the Minister of Spain to the United States. Sally had to negotiate a series of transitions, which are detailed in the poster: from Presbyterianism to Catholicism; from Philadelphia to Washington to Spain, from an evolving American elite to an established Spanish aristocracy, and from the Governor’s daughter to the Marquise de Casa Irujo. Family correspondence and the writings of contemporary observers help to trace these transitions, these translations, which shed light more broadly on female education, the role of women in the politics of the New Nation, and the influence of the Revolution on personal identity. Ultimately, the influence from her family, their ambition and lifestyle, influenced Sally and eased her transition into her new life.

Presentation


Sarah Kraushaar
From Reality to the Silver Screen: Indigenous Religious Representation in Film

    Under the direction of Professor Rob Seesengood (Religious Studies)

In contemporary film, Native American religion and culture is not always portrayed with the
same accuracy and attention as European or Euro-American religion and culture. There is a
general trend of the use of the same persistent stereotypes of Natives that have been present in
literature and film since the initial European exploration of the Americas. Moving through the
film eras, though, contemporary film has shown an inclination towards more open-minded,
well-informed perspectives of Natives. Through the examination of three 20th century films, I
will compare and contrast the approaches to Native religiosity and culture using film critique
methodology such as to analyze pivotal scenes in each film. My thesis is that there is the media
construction of a genre type that creates an easy way to perceive the differences. Ultimately, this
degrades the respect of the culture and the people as they are treated without sincerity, just
establishment of the culture, or a respect for the culture.

Presentation


Bryan Lineweaver
A Multinational Content Analysis of Print Media and its Framing on Immigration

    Under the direction of Professor Brian Jennings (Sociology)

This paper seeks to determine how media frames immigration in four countries: the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador. A content analysis of four newspapers (one from each country) utilizes ninety-four headlines to determine how media frames immigrants and immigration in each respective country. For this analysis, three frames were chosen, positive, negative, neutral, and all ninety-four headlines were assigned codes to fit them into subcategories of the chosen frames. Following this, a discussion and examples of the headlines and their frames is provided, as well as some statistics regarding frequency of each frame in each newspaper. The paper ends by discussing the findings and stating what further research needs to be completed. While the majority of newspapers are found to have neutral frames, there is an almost even split between positively framed headlines about immigrants (by referring to them as victims or changing their identities) and negatively framed headlines (that seek to associate immigrants with crime).

Presentation


Joseph Love
Gumby, Homey, and Jim Crow: The History of Racial Diversity in Sketch Comedy

    Under the direction of Professor Matt Fotis (Theater)

Many people have found humor in making fun of and/or laughing at the expense of people’s race and ethnic backgrounds. While many people within those group have found agency in their comedy by poking fun at what they know to be true to themselves about their own communities, it is the supposed humor that comes from people outside of those individual sections that aim to dehumanize and belittle minority groups and their racial backgrounds through the guise of comedy. While that is the bitter truth of how racial comedy in America began, the world today has taken those false caricatures and turned them into powerful comedic sentiments that represents the communities at large. Through the early times of blackface filled minstrel shows to the loud and boisterous television hits such as The Chapelle Show and Key and Peele, race has played an integral part in the story of American sketch comedy. This thesis aims to look at the individuals and projects that led the way to seeing race in a comedic lens without othering individuals in minority groups for the majority’s entertainment.

Presentation


Kaela O’Neill
Back to Reality: Prosocial Action Inspired by Games

    Under the direction of Professor Dan Falabella (Game Design)

Video games engage, teach, and change their players. Countless lessons can be taught through this persuasive form of media; most importantly, games inspire prosocial action in real life by encouraging empathy and sympathy. Several studies explain why games help people learn to be empathetic, but relatively few game designers have tapped into the potential for social good that this taught empathy creates. This paper culminates theories and studies about learning through interactive media, inspiring prosocial action through empathetic and sympathetic emotions, and utilizing game design methods to accomplish those tasks. By describing specific design techniques that increase the chances of players acting prosocially in their real lives, the paper provides information for the industry in hopes that more games for change, persuasive games, and prosocial games will be developed. Finally, the prototype concept and methodology surrounding the author’s game for change is explained.

Presentation


Samantha Philipps
Comics in the Classroom: Analyzing Comics and Their Applications in Higher Level Learning

    Under the direction of Professor Matt Fotis (Theater)

Comics refers to, “n. plural in form, used with a singular verb. 1. Juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer” (McCloud 9). The primary purpose of this analysis is to provide a more concise viewpoint of the various implementations of comics in education and what the outcome of each case does for the education of students by analyzing three different cases of comics in education. Other researchers have examined the application of comics in classrooms to help students struggling with denser texts, but for the benefit of comics, this essay will focus on their application as the primary text. Comics is a complex medium built as a mediator between the visual world and traditional literature. Over the years, many authors have found solace in comics, and each of their stories advocates for the reading of comics and the value of the medium. Now with the inclusion of comics into classrooms, this essay concludes that the use of comics has created a conversation far greater than their work, and that they are beneficial. However, they do require insight into how to read comics and to understand the author’s need for engaging the particular medium for their message.

Presentation

Blake Reed
Farms or Factories? A Study of Public Good Allocation in Rural and Urban Counties of Pennsylvania

    Under the direction of Professor Michael Armato (Political Science)

The purpose of this paper is to explore whether urban or rural counties are underfunded in terms of budgeted public goods. The paper utilizes data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Winter Service Guide from 2017 and 2018 to look at transportation funding, as well as the Pennsylvania Education Expenditures Report for the 2017-2018 school year from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to look at education funding. This paper argues that the resources budgeted to both urban and rural areas do not appear to be a political calculation, but rather a function of service delivery based on non-political factors. The paper also calls into question the justification of resentment from rural and urban residents to their respective counterparts.

Presentation


Sydney Robb
The Revenue Recognition Standard and the Impact on the E-Commerce Industry: Using Amazon, eBay and Alibaba as Discussion Points

    Under the direction of Professor Trudy Obazee (Accounting)

On May 28, 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2014-09, Topic 606 that affects how revenue is recognized on the financial statements. The purpose of Topic 606 was not only to bring transparency across industries but build a framework that would establish harmony between the United States and global accounting standards. This thesis examines the impact of the newly adopted revenue recognition standards on the e-commerce industry, an industry that is expanding due to the rise in technological progress. The companies that will be examined include Amazon.com, Inc., eBay, Inc., and Alibaba Group Holding Limited. The findings of this study will provide insights into the accounting field, as it relates to e-commerce, about the effectiveness of these new standards on financial reporting in the e-commerce industry.

Presentation


Allison Roberts
The Effect of Women’s Attire and the Level of Attractiveness of the Perpetrator on the Perception of Sexual Harassment

    Under the direction of Professor Gwen Seidman (Psychology)

The current study examined the effect of perpetrator physical attractiveness, victim attire, and participants’ ambivalent sexism on the perception of sexual harassment. Participants viewed a set of photos depicting either an attractive or average-looking male perpetrator and a woman dressed in either provocative or modest attire. After reading a hypothetical scenario of sexual harassment, participants were asked to evaluate the depicted individuals’ behavior and the woman’s motivation for wearing her attire. It was found that when the perpetrator was average-looking participants were more likely to perceive the situation as sexual harassment. Participants with lower levels of hostile and benevolent sexism were more likely to perceive the situation as sexual harassment and blame the perpetrator for the interaction. Participants with low levels of hostile sexism blamed the perpetrator more for the situation when the perpetrator was average-looking, whereas those high in hostile sexism blamed the perpetrator slightly more when he was physically attractive. Exploratory analysis showed that when the woman was dressed provocatively participants were more likely to attribute sexual motivations to her choice of attire. Participants high in hostile sexism and those low in benevolent sexism were more likely to attribute sexual motivations to the woman’s choice of attire.

Presentation


Cameron Rupert
Instructional Practices of High School Physics Teachers

    Under the direction of Professor Denise Meister (Education)

In this study, the researcher sought to solicit information from secondary physics teachers in Berks, Lehigh, and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania to ascertain their instructional practices. A questionnaire was adapted from the Grade 8 Teacher Questionnaire (Science) from Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2015 (TIMSS, 2015). Fifteen participants completed this digital questionnaire, which contained items related to their role as a physics teacher. Results provided insight into both instructional methods they implemented and frequency of use of these strategies. Results suggested that many different techniques, both traditional and constructivist in nature, were implemented by the teachers. Several issues related to instruction were also identified. A majority of the participants felt they needed more time to prepare for class and to help students individually. Furthermore, time spent in formal science-related in-service or professional development varied greatly with participants reporting zero to over 35 hours in the last two years.

Presentation


Isha Shah
The Toxicological Effects of P-Phenylenediamine (PPD) on Aquatic Insects Using Bean Beetles (Callosobruchus maculatus) as a Proxy

    Under the direction of Professor Bryce Brylawski (Biology)

P-phenylenediamine (PPD) is an aromatic compound, that when oxidized, is used in cosmetics such as hair dyes and black henna. The cosmetic waste containing PPD can pass through standard wastewater treatments, and thus aquatic life can be exposed to it. As a result, it is important to understand the toxicological effects PPD can have on key linkages in the food web, such as aquatic insects. Bean beetle larvae were used as proxy, and a trypan endotoxicological assay was used to determine the percentage of viable cells in samples tested at different toxin concentrations. Repeated trials were run at differing toxin levels to determine the LD50 of PPD. Because cosmetics tend to utilize oxidized PPD, which is present because of the addition of hydrogen peroxide, trials were conducted to test the toxicity of oxidized PPD. Percent mortality was significantly higher than that of unoxidized PPD and increased with the concentration of the toxin. Further trials were then conducted to determine toxicity of PPD over time; we observed that toxicity increased linearly as the sample incubated over time. This work has identified that PPD can have a significant endotoxic effect on larvae and the use may have negative ecological ramifications.

Presentation


Erin Smith
Effects of Meditation on ADHD Symptomology, Working Memory, and Stress

    Under the direction of Professor Keith Feigenson (Psychology)

This study investigates the effects of meditation on working memory, ADHD symptomology, and cortisol concentration. Sixty-four participants provided salivary cortisol samples before and after watching guided meditation or control videos. Participants were randomly divided into watching a 20-minute guided meditation video or 20-minute control video. Participants completed two working memory tasks: symmetry span and operational span. Participants were divided into “low” or “high” ADHD symptomology based on a 2017 self-report from DSM-5 (Ustun, et al., 2017). A second study included 20 participants who completed the same protocol as study one for three consecutive days. There was a significant main effect of meditation on symmetry span scores compared to the control group in study one. When hours spent awake was controlled as a covariate, there was a significant decrease in cortisol concentrations in the meditation group compared to the control group in study one. There were no significant effects or interactions of ADHD symptomology or meditation on working memory, stress, or cortisol concentrations in study two. These results indicate a single 20-minute meditation is a valid method for improving cognition and lowering cortisol levels.

Presentation

Elizabeth Starer
Painting Literature: A Visual Analysis of Written Narratives

    Under the direction of Professor Kristen Woodward (Art)

Paintings are often used as inspiration for literature due to similarities in the narrative understanding of the two mediums allowing the conversion from a visual to written interpretation. Intertextuality is commonly associated with the connection visual works of art have on written literature; this paper intends to display the opposite is also possible. Using color and depicting body language to display emotion, painting is able to present a literary analysis. For example, in creating a painting based upon Frankenstein, color can aid in depicting the negative aspects of fear and anger Victor holds against his creation while the creation tries to hold a calm conversation. Additionally, the body language of Victor can show his unease at his creature imploring him to have a discussion. The surrounding area of the painting allows the viewer to understand the lengths the creature went through to find Victor as well as the fact that Victor, with his back to a wall, has no choice but to listen. Ultimately, painting can convey just as much complexity as literature, it is simply forced to do so in a manner dependent solely on visuality.

Presentation


Sarah Tossman
“Be Careful How You Give Your Heart”: Tracing Toxic Relationships in Gothic Romance

    Under the direction of Professor Leslie Goodman (English)

Intense passion has long been one of the defining features of gothic romance, but over the course of the genre’s evolution, those passions have increased to a dangerous degree. Using Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho, Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, and Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith, this paper traces the degree to which shifts in gothic character types and increased passion lead to greater toxicity within the primary romantic relationships, beginning with the distinct good and evil of the eighteenth century and concluding at the end of the twentieth century, where the roles ultimately become so intertwined that the reader must question the nature of the genre itself.

Presentation


Mara Trifoi
Increased Sugar Ingestion Causes Premature Adult Stem Cell Loss Due to Increased PI3K-dependent Cell Proliferation in Drosophila melanogaster

    Under the direction of Professor Erin Ventresca (Biology)

The increase in obesity and obesity-related diseases has prompted an in-depth medical and scientific focus on the effects of high sugar diets on human health. Drosophila melanogaster were used to examine the role of high sugar diets on metabolism through activation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathways. This activation may lead to adult stem cell loss due to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cells leading to the development of aging or various other diseases. This study helped to emphasize the importance of the PI3K pathway in adult stem cell proliferation following ingestion of sucrose or artificial sweeteners and the potential harmful effects of high sucrose consumption in comparison to artificial sweeteners on adult stem cell health in the female Drosophila melanogaster.

Presentation


Allison Ulaky
Perceptions of Immigration and Emigration in Cuenca, Ecuador

    Under the direction of Professor Brian Jennings (Urban Affairs)

Cuenca, Ecuador is the home to thousands of expatriates from the United States who majorly retire to Cuenca, volunteer, or teach English to Cuencanos. Similarly, in 2017, over 1 million Ecuadorians left Ecuador and also sent over $1 billion in remittances back to Ecuador (Pew Research Center 2019). This relationship of migrants entering and leaving Cuenca creates a fascinating dynamic in the city, with each immigration and emigration causing positive and negative effects for the citizens of Cuenca. Both the Ecuadorians and expatriates have different perceptions of each other depending how they experience the effects occurring in Cuenca. Both also have differing opinions on immigration to the United States. Twenty interviews were completed in Cuenca, ten with Ecuadorians and ten with expatriates living in Cuenca. These interviews were then analyzed to determine each group’s views on immigration and how it affects the local culture. The purpose of this study is to research the perceptions that Ecuadorians and expatriates from the United States have of each other and of immigration in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Presentation


Cecilia Wishneski
The Age of Neoteny: The Perception of Childhood Cuteness as Related to Perceived Age and Autonomy

    Under the direction of Professor Susan Hughes (Psychology)

Perceptions of children’s cuteness was examined across two studies to see how it related to child age, perceived autonomy, and perceived facial neoteny (i.e., juvenile features). In Study 1, a community sample (n = 338) rated 140 facial pictures of male and female children differing in ethnicity and aged 3 months to 6 years. Child cuteness ratings decreased as ratings of perceived child autonomy and perceived and actual child age increased. Typically, children under 4 years were rated as cuter than children aged 4 to 6. In Study 2, participants were asked to partake in an experimental task where they selected which of two presented children of the same age, gender, and race they thought was cuter. Later, they rated how neotenous each child’s face appeared. Participants were more likely to select the more neotenous-looking child for each pair, and took longer to deliberate making that decision for older children. Further, as subjective ratings of neoteny increased, child cuteness ratings increased, whereas autonomy ratings and perceived and actual child age decreased. Both studies considered how factors such as raters’ gender, parental status, tenderness attitudes toward children, and frequency of interaction with children affected ratings. These findings suggest that younger children possess features that could elicit greater care and provisioning from adults and underlying evolutionary mechanisms may affect how we perceive children.

Presentation


Jessica Zamora
The Dark Triad of Personality and Moral Decisions

    Under the direction of Professor Gwen Seidman (Psychology)

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the dark triad of personality and utilitarian/deontological moral decisions. The dark triad consists of three traits, Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy. In two studies (total N = 234), participants evaluated a series of moral dilemmas that asked them to choose between a utilitarian and deontological moral decision and to rate their confidence in their choice. Participants experienced two experimental conditions and response times were recorded. In one condition, instructions prompted them to avoid active harm in their decision (i.e., make a deontological decision). In the other, instructions prompted them to maximize gains (i.e., make a utilitarian decision). Study 2 further examined the extent to which the association between utilitarian judgments and personality was explained by whether or not the utilitarian decision served the actor’s self-interest or was neutral to self-interest. Both studies showed that higher levels of Machiavellianism and psychopathy were associated with making more utilitarian choices. However, Study 2 showed that these associations were largely dependent on whether or not the utilitarian option served self-interest. Reaction time results showed that Machiavellianism and psychopathy were associated with quicker response times, regardless of whether they chose a utilitarian or deontological choice.

Presentation