Abstracts of Student Projects
April 17th, 2014
Multi-Purpose Room
Camden Campus Center

Romantic Red

Catherine Adams, Rebecca Davis, Sonjanit DeFrank, and Joshua Piccoli
Major: Catherine – Psychology; Rebecca – Psychology; Sonjanit (LEAP Academy Student); Joshua – Psychology
Minors: Rebecca – Sociology; Joshua – Sociology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Bravo, Associate Professor of Psychology

Elliot and Niesta (2008) found that the color red influenced men’s perception of women, but women were not influenced by the color red. We attempted an exact replication of this study using 61 undergraduate students from Rutgers University. We sampled both male and female participants to see if the color red affected their judgment of a women’s attractiveness. Each student viewed the same black and white photo and rated the woman’s attractiveness on a questionnaire. Half of the students viewed the photo with a white border, while the other half viewed the same photo with a red border. Elliot and Niesta (2008) reported that students who viewed the red bordered photo found the women more attractive compared to those who viewed the white bordered photo.  Overall our results were consistent with the pervious study by Elliot and Niesta: the color red enhanced the attractiveness of the woman.


Walt Disney and Barney – World of Imagination

Megan Applegate
Major: Childhood Studies
Minors: Psychology and Sociology
Faculty Mentor: Ms. Cyndi Maurer, Graduate Student of Childhood Studies

**Recipient of the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Conference Travel Grant**

Barney and Walt Disney excel in bringing the magical world to life through imagination. This presentation explores the ways in which both Disney and Barney won over the hearts of adults and children alike through imagination, and became household names, even today. This presentation will also look at the role imagination plays in childhood and how brands like Barney and Disney exploit this concept for their own gain.


Difficulty of Different Patterning Tasks Relative to Each Other

Matthew Aruta
Major: Psychology
Minors: Biology and Mathematical Science
Faculty Mentor: Dr. J. William Whitlow, Professor of Psychology

There are many theories about how we, as humans, learn. Each theory has its own interpretation of how learning is achieved and how the processes involved relate to each other. As a result, many of these theories conflict with each other. This study is attempting to expand the understanding of bidiscrimination and negative patterning. Currently, the research that has been done is conflicting and does not give a clear indication of how bidiscrimination and negative patterning relate to the theories that exist. We are trying to get a better understanding of these processes by testing different variables such as whether novel pairs are always positive or always negative.


Short-Term Auditory Damage

Gabrielle Aslanian, Rui Cabido, Kara Pyne, and Janie Jones-Waddell
Majors: Gabrielle – Psychology; Rui – Psychology; Kara – Psychology; Janie (LEAP Academy Student)
Minors: Rui – Sociology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Bravo, Associate Professor of Psychology

We tested the auditory abilities of 32 Rutgers undergraduates and LEAP Academy students. We compared the effects of ear buds and headphones on short-term auditory adaptation. Sixteen participants used the headphones and sixteen participants used the ear buds. We first measured hearing thresholds at 8 hertz , 90 hertz, and 750 hertz using the program available on the website: https://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/jw/hearing.html. Then the participants listened to a pre-selected playlist of rock music for about 18 minutes. The headphone volume was placed at a level of sixty-five percent loud and the ear bud volume level was one hundred percent loud. We chose these volumes because  they subjectively similar.  Immediately after listening to the playlist, the participants retested their thresholds to detect a short-term change in auditory abilities. Based on our finding from this experiment, our data does not support our hypothesis because the headphones caused greater short-term auditory adaptation. 


Citrus Self-Down: The Effect of Task Load on Taste Perception

Evona Barna, Lauren Gebhard, Samuel Kaslon, and Sidia Mustapha
Majors: Evona – Psychology; Lauren – Psychology; Samuel – Psychology; Sidia (LEAP Academy Student)
Minors: Evona – Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies; Lauren – English; Samuel – Sociology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Bravo, Associate Professor of Psychology

Our research set out to replicate a study entitled “Leaving a Flat Taste in Your Mouth: Task Load Reduces Taste Perception.” The original experiment investigated how performing concurrent activities affects taste perception and how that relates to actual consumption. Participants in the original study tasted sour, sweet and salty substances in various concentrations under differing task loads. The original experiment found that when people were focused on the high task load, they preferred stronger tastants, suggesting that taste perception was weakened under this condition, relative to the low task load. We ran the experiment in the same fashion as the original study, focusing on the sourness experiment. We tested twenty-four undergraduates using a high concentration lemon solution, as well as a low concentration lemon solution. We used both a high digit task load, a randomized seven digit number, and a low digit task load, a three digit randomized number. Our findings did not show a significant difference between taste perception and task load, calling one to reconsider the validity of the original experiment.


Relationship Experiences Among Lesbian Women and Gay Men: The Role of Gender Identity

Susanna Battiston, Gianna Bowler, and Megan Stellman
Majors: Susanna – Psychology; Gianna – Psychology (Graduate School); Megan – Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Charlotte Markey, Associate Professor of Psychology

This study explores the role of gay men and lesbian women’s comfort with their sexuality, self-esteem, and gender identity as predictors of relationship intimacy and commitment. Results revealed that gender identity, specifically femininity, consistently and uniquely predicted women’s intimacy and commitment in their relationships. Additionally, femininity among gay male participants was related to reports of relationship love. Further research is needed to better understand positive relationship outcomes among same-sex couples.


You Are Always On My Mind: The Influence of Attending Together on Remembering Together

Ryan Bednarik and Lisa Zappley
Majors: Ryan – Psychology; Lisa – Childhood Studies and Psychology
Minors: Ryan – Anthropology and Childhood Studies
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robrecht van der Wel, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Previous studies have suggested that individuals working on a task together with another person often take into consideration their partner’s task, even when they had compelling reasons not to (Eskenazi, et al, 2012).  To gain a better understanding of the process by which such co-representation emerges in joint tasks, we manipulated whether participants attended to the same or different locations during a memory task.  We recruited 96 undergraduate Rutgers-Camden students and asked them to perform a memory task in pairs, with each participant having their own word category. They did so in either a separate screen, divided screen, or shared screen computer condition. To probe the co-representation effect more strongly and examine differences between conditions, the task was tripled in length compared to previous studies.  Results were consistent with previous studies by Eskanazi, et al. (2012) in that individuals had a propensity to memorize words for their own task the best, but also memorized more words related to their partner’s task than words related to the unassigned, random category; indicating a tendency for co-representation. The effect of jointly attending will also be discussed.   


Enhancing Microfluidic Device Reusability

Sarah Belh
Major: Chemistry
Minors: Mathematical Science and Religion
Faculty Mentor: Dr. George Kumi, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

There are now numerous examples where microfluidic devices, which manipulate small (less than 10-6 L) volumes of fluids, exhibit significant advantages over more established conventional methods of synthesis or analysis. For example, these devices have enabled blood processing times to be reduced from about an hour to a few minutes. The reproducibility of these devices is one of the attributes that makes them particularly attractive for crystal synthesis. However, in order for this trait to be realized, such systems have to be reusable. Crystal formation within microfluidic devices can lead to crystal adhesion onto the microchannel walls, and thus devising ways to remove these particles after device use is an important aspect of ensuring reusability. To this end, we have explored the ability of certain common chemicals to remove calcium oxalate (CaOx) crystals adhered to the channel walls of microfluidic systems. Our choice of CaOx stems from its importance in many biological, geological, and industrial systems. Of the four (hydrochoric acid (HCl), sodium hydroxide (NaOH),sodium bromide (NaBr) and potassium hydroxide (KOH)) chemicals used, we find that HCl is the most effective CaOx remover with NaBr being the least effective. These results suggest that pH strength alone cannot account for the cleaning capabilities of these solutions. Instead, we will present other plausible mechanisms for our observations.



Koraly Grace Bertrand
Major: Biology
Minor: French
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alisa Belanger, Assistant Professor of French

**Recipient of the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Research Grant**

A creative child from a town called Port-de-Paix in Haiti, Rosmata lives with her aging grandfather, Papi-Mé, after her family never returns from a trip to Port-au-Prince due to the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010. Two years later, her grandfather must make a decision about her future. Now that it is time for her to start attending school, he fears that he cannot guarantee her the bright future she deserves due to his failing health.  Rosmata, also called “Ti-Zé”, is fond of the bond that they share, although she wonders why her loved ones never came home. With her active imagination, she convinces herself that the goudougoudou is a monster in Port-au-Prince that consumed her parents and siblings, rather than another word to describe the natural disaster. Day by day, Rosmata hopes for an opportunity to cross paths with that monster in the capital city. Meanwhile, thanks to a friendly neighbor, Papi-Mé may have found an opportunity to give her a better life in the United States. Will he send her away or will she stay with the only family she has left?


The Harm-Made Mind

Vincent Besaw, Gabrielle Colon, and Mayra Martinez
Majors: Vincent – Psychology; Gabrielle – Psychology; Mayra – Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Bravo, Associate Professor of Psychology

It is typical for people to attribute a mind to an unconscious entity after observing harm directed toward the entity (Ward, Olsen, & Wegner 2012). We had 56 participants read 1 of 3 scenarios about a patient in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). Immediately after reading the vignette, participants filled out surveys. A Likert scale was used in each of the questions to see if the participant attributed a mind to the patient they read about. We hypothesized that the perception of intentional harm would lead people to attribute enhanced capacity to experience pain for PVS patients. In the first scenario, pain was not evident in the PVS patient and the patient’s nurse was feeding and taking care of the patient regularly. In the second scenario, pain was evident in the PVS patient, but the pain was not due to the lack of care from the nurse. In the third scenario, pain was evident in the PVS patient due to the lack of care from the nurse and that the nurse was intentionally not taking care of the patient for a personal monetary gain from the patient’s Living Will. Our results did not replicate the original study by Ward, Olsen and Wegner.


Dolphin City Vice

Brandon Borrelli and Miles Dunlap
Majors: Brandon – Art; Miles – Art
Faculty Mentor: Mr. LiQin Tan, Professor of Art

**Recipient of the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Research Grant**

The project was started with cluttered brainstorming and storyboarding, followed by character design and greater art development.  The artwork for the project was able to be created using a graphics tablet along with Adobe Photoshop, while other visual work was created using Illustrator.  Decade-appropriate music was created using a USB MIDI keyboard and character voiceovers were then recorded using a hi-fidelity USB microphone.  Finally, the animation was created in Adobe Flash before it was compiled along with the audio.  The purpose of this project is not for it to be finished, but for it to be started…as a pilot episode of an internet-based animated series set in the 1980s.


Health Literacy of Rutgers Students: A Successful College Life

James Boyle
Major: Economics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tetsuji Yamada, Professor of Economics

**Recipient of the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Research Grant**

Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Limited health literacy skills lead to increased demand for healthcare services and an unproductive college life. A reduced quality of life for college students will subsequently impede academic achievement.  

This research project hopes to boost our understanding of health literacy and health-related behaviors amongst students who attend Rutgers University Camden.  This project will analyze health-related environments and the quality of life of college students. It will also examine which factors have the greatest impact on health literacy and health behaviors of college students.

Approximately 500 students will complete the health literacy survey. The survey will include questions regarding gender, age, current grade point average, health status, health knowledge, behaviors, and quality of life.  As well, this survey will measure the information technology literacy of students to examine the relationship between computer literacy and health literacy. Once the data has been entered, a descriptive and econometric analysis will be conducted to reveal the distributional health properties.

The results will likely show a strong relationship between health literacy level, health status, college achievement, and student quality of college life.  The outcomes will be applied to a student orientation/workshop designed to promote a healthier college life. This is vital for the continued success of college students, especially as universal healthcare is an ongoing issue in our current economic climate.


Carnival in Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas

Margaret Brining
Major: English
Minor: Communication
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Holly Blackford, Professor of English

A number of theories apply to Burton’s works such as Bakhtin’s theory of carnival, and the influence of this theory is substantial in The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). The idea of carnival originates from medieval times in which society’s hierarchy was flipped, and people of the lower class could live in anarchy for a day. This paper explores the purpose of carnival in The Nightmare Before Christmas and what it suggests about citizens of Halloween Town, particularly Jack. The carnivalesque suggests there are two opposing worlds:  Halloween Town and Christmas Town. Halloween Town can be understood as a lower-class society, and Christmas Town can be seen as an upper-class society or as government. The carnivalesque highlights Santa as a patriarchal figure that is overthrown by Jack Skellington, a trickster that rejects his own identity as the “Pumpkin King” to adopt a new identity as the new “Sandy Claws.”


Gender Differences in Humor Confirmed by Personal Ads

Derek Burns, Megan Castro, Courtney Louis, Leighanna Milby, and Alexandra O’Donnell
Majors: Derek – Psychology and Sociology; Megan – Psychology; Courtney – Psychology; Leighanna – Psychology
Minors: Megan – Political Science; Courtney – Sociology; Leighanna – Childhood Studies; Alexandra – Sociology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sean Duffy, Associate Professor of Psychology

A very common belief is held that men are generally funnier than women, and previous studies show evidence of people across gender and sexual orientations perceiving this conviction as true.  Evolutionary psychologists often argue that humor preferences stem from sexual selection theory. Given that humor signals intelligence, women use humor as a way to discriminate between potential mates. The current study aims to look at how men and women market their sense of humor by use of personal ads on the Internet via the dating website OK Cupid. By looking across a wide variety of profiles throughout America, which included both men and women of all sexual orientations, we were able to find consistent sexual differences in how humor is marketed. We differentiated this by placing users into two groups: those who explicitly state that they are funny, and/or those who explicitly state that they are looking for someone who is funny. Our findings have been consistent with previous literature: Out of 106 profiles viewed, the ratio of females to males explicitly stating that they are looking for someone who is funny is 17:3. The congruency of this data with sexual selection theory is discussed in light of these findings. 


Cognitive Overload and the Category Adjustment Model

Derek Burns, Megan Castro, Leighanna Milby, and Alexandra O’Donnell
Majors: Derek – Psychology and Sociology; Megan – Psychology; Leighanna – Psychology
Minors: Megan – Political Science; Leighanna – Childhood Studies; Alexandra – Sociology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sean Duffy, Associate Professor of Psychology

The category adjustment model is a Bayesian model of memory that proposes that fine grain memories of stimuli can be improved in accuracy by introducing bias toward the center of a category. The model is tested by having participants reproduce a series of lines. Over the experiment they induce the distribution of lines and use the central value as the point towards which the lines are adjusted. We place people under situations of low load (remembering 2 digit number) and high load (remembering a 6 digit number). We find bias is greater under situations of high load, which implies that it is possible that people are even more accurate when under high load because the extent to which people bias responses is greater than when under low load. 


Priming and Facial Recognition

Nicholas Cacio, Shalaya Lopez, Saul Morales, Gwendolyn McLemore, and Briana Renshaw
Majors: Nicholas – Psychology; Shalaya – LEAP Academy Student; Saul – LEAP Academy Student; Gwendolyn – Psychology; Briana – Psychology
Minors: Nicholas – Ethics; Gwendolyn – Criminal Justice; Briana – Criminal Justice
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Bravo, Associate Professor of Psychology

People like to believe that common stereotypes do not influence our own actions and behaviors.  They do not like to admit that they allow typical stereotypes of race, gender, hair color, culture, etc. to affect their way of thinking.  In this experiment, we aimed to determine if college students were influenced by socio-economic related pictures when identifying ambiguous bi-racial faces.  We split 84 participants into two groups; one group to be primed with images of high socio-economic status, and the other group to be primed with images of low socio-economic status. Then both groups identified the same set of 10 bi-racial faces as either black or white.  Results showed that priming of socio-economic status had little effect on the identification of bi-racial individuals, contrary to our hypothesis.  In retrospect, it is gratifying to know that a typical racial stereotype of socio-economic status did not significantly influence the identification of bi-racial faces for these college students.  Future studies should include a wider range of participants other than psychology undergraduate students who may have more knowledge of the concept of priming than the average individual.


Sex, Sexual Orientation, and Preferences for Humor Produced By Men or Women

Megan Castro, Courtney Louis, Leighanna Milby, Alexandra O’Donnell, Lindsay Russo, and Namrata Wunnava
Majors: Megan – Psychology; Courtney – Psychology; Leighanna – Psychology; Alexandra – Psychology; Lindsay – Psychology; Namrata – Biology
Minors: Megan – Political Science; Courtney – Sociology; Leighanna – Childhood Studies; Alexandra – Sociology; Lindsay – Childhood Studies; Namrata – Biology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sean Duffy, Associate Professor of Psychology

It is a common belief that men are funnier than women.  Many evolutionary psychologists have found evidence to agree with this belief and compare it to sexual selection theory.   Humor indicates intelligence, and women consequently use humor to discriminate between potential mates.  This implies that men should be skilled producers of humor, while women should be skilled perceivers of humor.  This study focuses on humor perception rather than existing research that focus on humor production.  In addition this study focuses on how sexual orientation plays a role in humor perception.  Men and women identified the most humorous professional comedian or actor and individual they personally know.  Large differences were discovered.  Heterosexual men strongly preferred humor produced by other men, whereas women showed smaller or no sex differences.  Homosexual men and homosexual women overwhelmingly preferred humor produced by women.


Valentine’s Day: Multi-Method Research

Jessica Cieslewicz, Brigette Forte, Shawanna Freeman, Cecilia Gross, Christine Javonillo, Kristen Petri, Shannon Reale, and Shalita Suarez
Majors: Jessica – History; Brigette: Criminal Justice and Sociology; Shawanna: Criminal Justice and Sociology; Cecilia: Childhood Studies: Christine: Psychology; Kristen: Nursing; Shannon: Nursing; Shalita: Sociology
Minor: Jessica – Anthropology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Cindy Dell Clark, Visiting Professor of Anthropology

We did a random selection inventory and transcription of Valentine’s cards (for adults) sold in 18 different stories.  We also conducted, recorded, and transcribed 69 unstructured informant interviews with persons over 16 years old who celebrated Valentine’s Day.  A student team analyzed this data using theme analysis and quantitative analysis.  Results confirm past research that reactions to Valentine’s Day rituals are filtered by gender.  Findings show a complex interplay at work between attitudes and actions at Valentine’s Day, and the role of this festival as a model of and for personhood within the conventions of romance in contemporary U.S.


Students’ Rights Uncensored

Lisa Costello
Major: History
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kriste Lindenmeyer, Dean of FASC and Professor of History

I have been researching the history of censorship during World War II, which has spilled over into the civilian realm, such as public libraries, the entertainment industry, and most notably, public schools across the nation. My research focuses on the trends regarding school censoring on-campus from educational material to schools censoring student speech, which limits the rights of young American “citizens.” I am examining the Supreme Court cases including the Tinker and Hazelwood cases, as well as current court cases involving schools violating student rights by disciplining student’s off-campus behavior.


Belief Tracking

Rebecca Davis and Donovan Miles
Majors: Rebecca – Psychology; Donovan – Psychology
Minor: Rebecca – Sociology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robrecht van der Wel, Assistant Professor of Psychology

For this experiment we are questioning to what extent people automatically track the beliefs of the other people around them. Participants either had the same or different belief as another agent. We accomplished this by showing short movie segments in which a ball and a cube would enter the scene and disappear behind to occluders at the top left and right side of the screen. These objects either stayed in their original position, or they switched positions. This happened while the agent was not either present or absent, creating cases where the participant and agent had either the same or a different belief about object locations. At the end of the movie, participants had to move the mouse towards where they believed the ball to be. As they moved closer, the occluders would drop and reveal the true location of the ball. The ball would sometimes be where they thought it would be, but sometimes it would be on the opposite side. This would come as a surprise to the participant, the agent, both or neither. The participant would do the short movie segments over a 100 times, which would allow us to measure how quickly they moved to the ball and also the trajectory, or how they moved the mouse to where the ball is.


Awesome Starlings Drone

Scott Davis
Major: Biology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. William Saidel, Associate Professor of Biology

**Recipient of the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Research Grant**

Aerial based dynamic analysis of starling murmurations via two camera pixel mapping, allows for the understanding of how flocks of starlings interact with each other independently to form cohesive groups with seemingly unified movements.  To aid in this an eight motored drone was invented and will carry the cameras to the flock for video capturing.  This video will then be analyzed to calculate the 3 dimensional placements of each bird in each frame and each subsequent frame.    The difference from frame to frame will allow for the vectors for each bird to be calculated.  From these calculations the directions and magnitude of each bird, can be referenced to that of every other bird.  With that the variations will be processed and relative observational rules can be noted.


Moral Embodiment: Paying the Price

Dale Daywalt, Colleen Donahue, and Lisa Zappley
Majors: Dale – Psychology; Colleen – Psychology; Lisa – Childhood Studies and Psychology
Minors: Dale – Sociology; Colleen – Women’s and Gender Studies
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Bravo, Associate Professor of Psychology

Previous studies have suggested that accompanying a misdeed with physical cleanliness tends to reduce one’s guilt from committing an immoral act (Schnall, Benton, & Harvey, 2008). This study replicated a previous study by Lee & Schwarz (2010), which suggested that immoral impurity can be embodied specifically through the motor modalities used to commit immoral acts, and that individuals who commit an immoral transgression through a specific motor modality will want to purify the guilty (dirty) body part above all others.  We postulated that the hypothetical immoral act of lying to a classmate would leave the offender feeling immoral, and that this immorality would be embodied through the motor modality used to commit the transgression.  In particular, participants lying over voicemail would be willing to pay relatively higher prices for mouthwash, while participants lying through text messaging will be more willing to pay relatively higher prices for hand sanitizer.  Forty -ive undergraduate Rutgers Camden students and Leap students participated in our study.  Our prediction that participants in the unethical condition who left a voicemail or a text message would have an increased desire for mouthwash was not supported.  However, there was an effect of increased desirability for hand sanitizer for unethical grouped participants who left text messages, supporting one of our two hypotheses.  We conclude that moral impurity embodiment is stronger for the motor modality of hands than mouth.  


Point and Shoot Memory

Melissa DellaVecchia, Kristie Le, Louis Santiago, and Mackenzie Walker
Majors: Melissa – Psychology; Kristie (LEAP Academy Student); Louis – Psychology; Mackenzie: Psychology
Minor: Louis – Biology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Bravo, Associate Professor of Psychology

In this experiment, we tested whether observing and photographing versus solely observing an art piece impacted participants’ ability to remember details about that piece. We attempted to replicate a study by Henkel (2013) in which she found that participants who solely observed rather than photographed the pieces showed higher recall of visual details. In this current study, participants were shown art pieces in the Stedman art gallery on campus. Two days later, their memory of the pieces was measured using free recall and multiple-choice questionnaires. The results showed no significant difference in recall for the two conditions. Therefore, we were unable to replicate the original finding that recall is better for objects that are observed rather than photographed.


African Americans in the American Military

Anthony DiGiovanni
Major: History
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Wayne Glasker, Associate Professor of History

Since the dawning of the American Revolution, African Americans have devoted their lives in an endless search for a better life in a country plagued by de jure and de facto racism. Many African American men sought to achieve this through constant enlistments in the United States military, in the hopes to disprove the negative stigmas placed upon them. This search was for a better life, something every American should have been promised at birth, and that something was freedom. Through my research it became evident that although proper recognition was not given to all of those who devoted their lives to the dream of freedom through military service, it seemed to most that hope was never lost. If the predecessors of the following generations did not gain what they hoped for, they surely hoped that their efforts and dedication created another step in the right direction of change for African Americans in the United States.


Naturalism in Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth

Laura Edwards
Major: English
Minors: German and European Studies
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Carol Singley, Professor of English

Class discussions of Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth led me to pursue Edith Wharton’s use of naturalism in the text.  Although most discussions we had in class and articles I read referred only to the main character when discussing naturalism in the novel, I concluded from my research that Wharton’s naturalistic argument was represented through two characters: Lily Bart and Simon Rosedale.  As the main character and protagonist, Lily Bart’s fall from society and eventual death is a result of her inability to adapt to New York society in the early 1900s.  Simon Rosedale is an antagonist in the text, but he is able to rise in society and he is successful because he adapts.  I believe that Wharton comments on the frivolity, destruction, corruption, and immorality of the society through its acceptance of Simon Rosedale and its destruction of Lily Bart.  She also uses Darwin’s theories of evolution to describe naturalism in the text through Lily’s death and Rosedale’s survival.


Comparison of Contemporary Health Economics Role: Emerging Eastern European and Mature Markets of U.S., Japan, and EU

Bryan Gachomo
Major: Biology
Minor: Economics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tetsuji Yamada, Professor of Economics

Mature healthcare markets provide higher quality, equity and accessibility of services than middle-to-low income societies can afford. However, the situation continues to evolve in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Japan. These nations have been facing rising demand for healthcare services with aging populations and an increase in affordable, accessible healthcare services in the past decade are stagnating because of slow economic growth. The quality, equity, and accessibility of services are partially due to financial constraints, reimbursement strategies, inefficient soft/hard resources, and the healthcare system. World leading communities possess their adaptive methods to achieve policy targets by using different models of delivering health and medical care services. The authors compared a health economics pluralized framework to analyze healthcare delivery under the different organizational management systems. In addition, the authors compared societal and cultural representations of diverse economic regions: U.S., Western vs. Eastern Europe, and Japan. In conclusion, both high-income Japan and middle-income Eastern Europe need to introduce health economics as an essential methodological tool for resource allocation.


Perceived Level of Competence on Self-Performance

Sandra Garcia-Bonilla, DaNesha Phillips, and Edily Santos
Majors: Sandra – Psychology; DaNesha – Psychology; Edily – Psychology
Minors: Sandra – Biology; Edily – Childhood Studies
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Bravo, Associate Professor of Psychology

Individuals who are unskilled tend to overestimate their performance as they are not capable of understanding their own limitations (Kruger & Dunning, 1999). Our experiment aimed to evaluate the Kruger & Dunning effect on multitasking by evaluating people’s performance in the Stroop effect test while watching a music video. We focused on multitasking because many college students believe they are able to study while listening to music without affecting their academic performance. The participants’ main task was to complete a computerized Stroop test (a demanding cognitive task). They performed this task twice, once while watching a music video and once without the music video (the order of conditions was counterbalanced across participants). Afterwards, the participants were asked to fill out a survey in which they rated their multitasking ability on a Likert scale from one to seven and also answered two questions regarding the content of the video. The results were inconsistent with our initial hypothesis regarding how individuals who were unskilled would have inflated self-assessments of their capacity to multitask. The students who were the most impaired by the music video reported that they were poor at multitasking. Therefore, this study demonstrated that the Kruger & Dunning effect is not applicable to the concept of multitasking.


The Effect of Social Influence on Charitable Donations

Ashley Gartland, Christopher Milane, Raquel Ortiz, and Kristina Phillips
Majors: Ashley – Psychology; Christopher – Psychology; Raquel – Psychology; Kristina (LEAP Academy Student)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Bravo, Associate Professor of Psychology

Previous research has shown that a person’s actions are influenced by the proximity of others. In this experiment we tested whether the presence of others would influence charitable donations. We gave 36 participants the hypothetical choice of whether to allocate $4 across several charitable organizations or to keep all or part of it for themselves. We found that in a crowded room, slightly more money was donated than in an uncrowded room (t=0.3301; p=0.7434). However, this difference is not significant, so our hypothesis was not confirmed.


Social Support and Control of Eating Behaviors Among Lesbian Women and Gay Men

Lauren Gebhard
Major: Psychology
Minor: English
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kristin August, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Social control has been shown to have positive effects on health behaviors, and negative effects on emotional responses. Research on the dual effects of social control and support has primarily focused on heterosexual relationships; however, little is known about such attempts within same-sex couples.  This study examines how often individuals in same-sex relationships engage in positive social influence attempts on their partner’s dietary health behavior, whether differences occur in frequency of these attempts between lesbians versus gay men, and the behavioral and emotional effects of such social control interactions.  Participants were administered two gender specific self-report surveys to assess their partners’ social influence tactics and the individuals’ behavioral and emotional responses. The sample (N = 279) was composed of 144 gay men and 135 lesbian women in same-sex relationships with a mean age of 34.11 years (SD = 11.7 years).   Multilevel analyses revealed significant differences in both behavioral and emotional responses of lesbian women from those of gay men.  Consistent with previous research, lesbian women respond more positively to a partner’s health-related social support and positive social control tactics, and respond more negatively to a partner’s negative social control tactics.  In contrast, gay men did not demonstrate a consistent pattern of responses to a partner’s support and control attempts.  Gay men report both positive and negative behavioral and emotional responses, regardless of the tactic used by their partner to influence their dietary health behaviors.  The results suggest that gender differences exist in the effectiveness of social support and control tactics on health behaviors.  As romantic relationships have strong ties to health behavior and health outcomes, the findings of this study have the potential to increase awareness of the importance of partner involvement on health behaviors in same-sex relationships. 


Does Enclosing Regretful Decisions Relieve Emotional Guilt?

Patricia Gordon, Leeahna McFadden, Christina Roman, Rosemary Simpson, and Andrea N. Thompson
Majors: Patricia – Psychology; Leeahna – LEAP Academy Student; Christina – LEAP Academy Student; Rosemary – Psychology; Andrea – Psychology
Minor: Patricia – Children’s Studies
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Bravo, Associate Professor of Psychology

This study investigated whether people can achieve closure through the act of enclosing a regretful decision in an envelope. According to the findings of a 2010 experiment, participants who sealed their decision in an envelope experienced lower rates of negative emotions than the participants who did not seal their decision. Attempting to replicate the 2010 experiment, we asked 62 undergraduate students at Rutgers University-Camden to write about a regretful decision. Half of our participants sealed their regret in an envelope, the other half did not. The results showed no effect of enclosing the decisions on reducing negative emotions. The original study was performed at a large Asian university, and so the inconsistent findings might be attributable to cultural differences in the samples.


Toontown: The Mental Delusions of Eddy Valiant

Francesca Greenwald
Major: English
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Holly Blackford, Professor of English

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is not only the heartwarming tale of a hero saving many innocent lives, it’s delusional. Eddy Valiant has gone mad after the loss of his brother, Teddy, and the viewer is thrown into his state of mind, and is forced to see the world from his mental state. Toon Town is a psychological construct of Eddy to help him deal with the death of Teddy. All the toons he sees are characters from his childhood, a time when he was happier and was with his brother. Eddy cannot cope with the fact that his brother is gone so he reverts back to a time when he and his brother were happy; their childhood. He drinks to maintain this frame of mind. He wants to remain here because it not only explains the death of Teddy, but it also places blame on someone or thing, an outlet for Eddy to focus his anger.


Sodium Hydroxide Effects on the Surface Properties of Cross-Linked Polydimethylsiloxane

Todd Grover
Major: Chemistry
Faculty Mentor: Dr. George Kumi, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

**Recipient of the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Research Grant** 

Polydimethylsiloxane is a polymer widely used for making prototypical miniature fluidic devices because it is relatively inexpensive and cheap. Thus, there have been several studies characterizing the properties of this material. For example, concentrated sodium hydroxide (NaOH) has been found to be an effective an effective solution for flushing out certain solids (e.g., crystals) that adhere to PDMS channel walls. However, there is a lack of understanding about how this ‘cleaning’ occurs. As a result, we have examined the effect of concentrated NaOH on the surface properties of PDMS by measuring the contact angles of water droplets on PDMS surfaces treated (i.e., soaked) in concentrated (~ 2 M) NaOH for various times. To further our understanding of this influence, we have also carried out contact angle measurements on PDMS surfaces that were chemically functionalized (i.e., amine functionalized) prior to being treated with NaOH. We find that NaOH appears to irreversibly alter the surface properties of PDMS and that this modification increases with increasing soaking times. Similar experiments were carried out using other common chemicals, namely hydrochloric acid and sodium bromide. Reasons for the choice of the aforementioned chemicals as well as possible explanations for our observations will be presented.


Kennedy Webb and the Multiverse

Maya Hanks
Major: Art
Faculty Mentor: Mr. LiQin Tan, Professor of Art

The project looks into different styles of animation as well as some original concepts.  The character is drawn, inked, scanned, and then digitally colored.  It is more about finding how various styles can really make a character and at the same time make them memorable.  Some variations are vastly different from one another, but are all still the same character. 


Synthesis and Application of Ni Magnetic Nanoparticles

Christine Hatter
Major: Physics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sean O’Malley, Assistant Professor of Physics

Nanotechnology has become a growing field due to the various applications such as biomedicine.  Magnetic nanoparticles are of particular interest due to their paramagnetic properties. For instance, used as a contrast agent in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) the particles produce better images of internal body structures. Creating the magnetic nanoparticles through laser ablation as opposed to chemical processes, can potentially produce purer particles with less oxidation and therefore stronger magnetic characteristics.


Ablation Threshold for Metals by Picosecond Lasers

Christine Hatter and John Tomko
Majors: Christine – Physics; John – Computer Science and Physics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Daniel Bubb, Professor of Physics

Nanoparticles can be used in numerous optical, medical, and electronic applications. In order to optimize such applications, the process of synthesizing these particles, as well as the particles features, must be optimized. This synthesis of nanoparticles can be performed through laser ablation in liquids. Determining the threshold laser fluence at which ablation of material occurs allows us to maximize the efficiency and control of the ablation process.


The Ambiguity of the Fairy Tale in The Turn of the Screw

Rachael Hinlicky
Major: English
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Carol Singley, Professor of English

Doing research for this project was an extensive but interesting process.  Many of the sources I read focused on The Turn of the Screw from the standpoint of it being a fairy tale, much as Henry James describes it to be in his preface to the novella.  However, most of the focus was on looking at the story from one fairy tale narrative and many of the sources differed on what that narrative is.  So part of my research became looking back to what James said about the text himself.  After reading his preface to The Turn of the Screw and incorporating what I read from my other sources, I decided to focus on the novella as a manipulation of the fairy tale archetypes that suggest to the narrator and consequently to the audience a variety of different fairy tale stories.  The result of my research and my further reading of the text is presented in my project where I attempt to argue that the inability of the governess in The Turn of the Screw to interpret the ambiguous nature of her fairy tale narrative causes the uncertainty and anxiety that pushes her story from her desired rag-to-riches Cinderella story to the Hansel and Gretel story in which she becomes not the protagonist but the antagonist against the development of the children at Bly. 


Adolescent Sexuality in Powerpuff Girls

Sara Hopely
Major: English
Minor: Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Holly Blackford, Professor of English

Shown in the Powerpuff Girls there are themes revolving around maturing, sex, and homosexual tendencies.  In the episode “Rowdyruff Boys” the Powerpuff Girls explore sexuality and crossing the threshold.  Different imagery like flowers and bees shown in the beginning and kissing at the end proves this episode to be thought-provoking in respect to the adolescent searching for sexual understanding and acceptance.  In the Powerpuff Girls, Bubbles, Blossom, and Buttercup use the theme of sex to discuss experiencing sexuality for the first time in adolescence. 


Operation: PBSUCCESS

Andrew Ingersoll
Major: History
Minor: French
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lorrin Thomas, Associate Professor of History

My research centers on the political coup that occurred in Guatemala in 1954. It explores the reasons for the coup, as well as the major players of the coup, including the CIA. The coup was the final chapter of a democratic revolution that began in 1944 in Guatemala. The CIA, through a puppet army, overthrew the democratically elected president of Guatemala in 1954, from fear that the Soviet Union was secretly controlling Guatemala. The coup and the CIA’s involvement perfectly highlight the political tensions of the Cold War, as well as the applications of Cold War Policy.


Non-communicable Diseases in Developing Countries: Causes and Health Policy/Program Assessments

Winston Jordan and Huong Tran
Majors: Winston – Economics; Huong – Accounting
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tetsuji Yamada, Professor of Economics

This study focuses on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and evaluates the effectiveness and efficiency of government public health policies on cardiovascular diseases and diabetes deaths South Asian and African countries.

The study employed theoretically well founded PRECEDE-PROCEED model to assess effectiveness of public health programs. Three causal factors of NCDs and three policy issues constituted the core of this model. The causal factors included: body mass index (BMI) 30 & over; systolic blood pressure; and total cholesterol. The policy issues included: health-related economics; health-related infrastructure; enabling, reinforcing and predisposing factors. Multiple regressions with robust methods were used to assess effectiveness and concentration index for efficiency. The data for this study was taken from World Heath Statistics: 2008-2010.

One percentage increase in BMI 30&more raises 3.829 deaths from NCDs per 100,000 populations by country and the increase in NCDs depends on the size of population. One dollar per capita per year increase in government healthcare expenditures reduces NCDs by about 791 persons per 100,000 per year. An increase of 10% in government healthcare expenditures leads to 0.54% reduction in deaths from NCDs. The cost of this reduction in deaths from NCDs is $12.15 per capita per year.

In general, government policies and programs are found effective against NCDs. However, policies and programs focused on the reduction of NCDs are more efficient than general public health initiatives. A well-constructed tax system for financing policy/program to deal with NCDs and related deaths is required.


The Global is Social: Exploring Worldwide Literacy on a Socio-Local Scale

Brynn Kairis, Jacqueline Manni, and Allison Scherer
Majors: Brynn – English; Jacqueline – Undecided; Allison – English
Faculty Mentor: Dr. William FitzGerald, Assistant Professor of English

**Recipients of the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Conference Travel Grant**

Our research is comprised of an ethnographically inspired study of English language learning among college students for whom English is not their first language. The study focuses on how learning English has impacted the students’ academic, social, and professional lives. Our original aim was to explore how the individual functions within primarily English-speaking social circles and university studies, as well as the influence of English speaking family members. Yet, we found several correlations among interviewees that support common themes regarding these various spheres, including: social learning, oral versus written language, and the use of technology/social media.

Interviews have been conducted with international students at a mid-sized arts institution in an urban setting that caters to a mostly undergraduate population. Home countries include South Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, and Germany. Questions were designed to explore the students’ literacy practices in both their home language(s) and English. Interviews were studied both individually and as a part of a greater whole, viewed through the lens of literacy theorists and researchers. These conversations have corroborated Gere’s findings regarding the importance of the extracurricular (social media, popular culture, family and friends) for literacy acquisition. Our interviewees have provided a human face to Bartholomae’s concepts of academia as a gatekeeper, magnified more so by their tenuous relationship with the English language. Additionally, this research supports Moss’ notion of orality experienced in a social environment as an asset to further literacy development. Brandt’s theory of literacy sponsorship was also present among the students interviewed.


MOST: Software for Engineering Microbes

James J. Kelley
Major: Computer Science
Minor: Biology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Desmond Lun, Associate Professor of Computer Science

Bacteria and other microbes can be used to produce fuels, drugs, and other biochemicals. Naturally they produce small amounts of these products, but they can be genetically engineered to produce larger amounts. Bacteria can live off of sugars, plant matter, or just carbon dioxide and solar energy. Therefore microbes provide an inexpensive way to create these valuable products.

MOST (Metabolic Optimization and Simulation Tool) is a software package that can be used to create mathematical models of these organisms and run analyses on these models to predict strategies for engineering these microbes to produce desired products in greater abundance. Other software exists that can build models and perform similar analyses, but MOST is easier to use than much of the software that exists today in that it employs Microsoft Excel-like spreadsheet editing functions, as well as functions geared towards the purpose of creating and editing these models. MOST also implements a technique called GDBB that calculates these predictions many times faster than other methods and produces better results. For example, one particular analysis that requires 24 hours using another method is performed by GDBB in 81 seconds! Until now, GDBB was only available in a command line program that requires programming knowledge to use. MOST is the only software package available that implements GDBB in an intuitive user-friendly interface.


Mobility and Survivability of Drosophila Species in Different Temperatures

Mohammad Ali Khan, Daniel Ricketti, and Alessio Sanzio Russomanno, and Nuray Sariaydin
Majors: Mohammad – Biology; Daniel – Biology (Graduate School); Alessio –Biology; Nuray – Biology
Minor: Alessio – Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nir Yakoby, Assistant Professor of Biology

**Recipient of the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Research Grant**

Animals have thermoregulatory systems to adapt their physiological functions in response to the wide range of changes in ambient temperature. Such thermoregulatory systems include energy utilization, growth, reproduction, and locomotion. Temperature affects the physiology and evolution of organisms. We took advantage of the wide dispersal of the fruit fly Drosophila in different niches to investigate evolutionary tolerance to lower temperatures. In this study, we used multiple species. In particular, two Drosophila species, D. melanogaster and D. funebris, were studied due to wide and cold environments, respectively, they were isolated from. We monitored specifically their survivability, mobility, fitness, and ATP levels at low temperatures as an indicator of cold tolerance. In all species tested survivability increased in 13°C compared to 23°C. Interestingly, when compared to D. funebris and D. melanogaster had a sharp initial decrease in survivability after transitioning from 23°C to 13°C. All species tested exhibited a decrease in ATP levels as temperatures decrease. Of particular interest is the significantly lower decrease in ATP levels in D. funebris in comparison to the sharp decrease in D. melanogaster when transitioned from 23°C to 13°C. This trend is consistent with mobility assay for D. funebris when transitioned from 13°C to 11°C.  


Ritualistic Behavior and Consumption

Thomas Klemash, Nicole Ossowski, and Marcia Manire-Tucker
Major: Thomas – Psychology; Nicole – Psychology; Marcia – Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Bravo, Associate Professor of Psychology

The experiment attempted to replicate a study by Vohs et. al.(2013), who tested the effects of ritualistic behavior on chocolate consumption. Forty participants were randomly assigned to a ritualistic or a non-ritualistic condition and run individually. The ritualistic group was asked to perform a series of tasks before consuming the chocolate, while the non-ritualistic group was simply asked to consume the chocolate without performing any tasks. We predicted individuals in the ritualistic group would savor, value, and perceive the chocolate to be more flavorful and enjoyable than those in the non-ritualistic group. Savoring was measured by the duration it took participants to consume the chocolate. Participants completed a survey measuring enjoyment and flavor on Likert scales, and value by asking participants how much they would be willing to spend on the chocolate.  Overall, our findings did not support our hypothesis. Flavor was the only variable that had a significant difference.


Facial Feedback Hypothesis

Amirah Matthews, Rasuwl Medina, and Gabriella Tilelli
Majors: Amirah – Psychology; Rasuwl – Psychology; Gabriella – Psychology
Minors: Rasuwl: Criminal Justice; Gabrielle – Childhood Studies
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Bravo, Associate Professor of Psychology

We investigated the Facial Feedback Hypothesis, which proposes that one’s emotional responses are influenced by facial activity. For example, if one’s facial muscles were inhibited, then the response would be somewhat suppressed, whereas if the facial muscles remained uninhibited, then the emotion would be experienced more powerfully. We attempted to replicate a study by Fritz Strack, Sabine Stepper, and Leonard L. Martin (1988), which included 80 participants holding a marker in their mouth in a condition that either impeded or promoted the muscles associated with smiling, and asked them to record the funniness of each of three, short video clips. The original study concluded that participants who held a pen in a position which promoted smiling reported higher rates of funniness than the participants who held a pen in a position which inhibited smiling. However, our results did not support the Facial Feedback Hypothesis, as we did not find a significant difference between the ratings of the two groups.


Storage and Discharge of Electrons through the Interface TiO2/supported Copper Metal Nanoparticles: Understanding Photocatalytic Reforming of Alcohols

Mihir Mehta
Major: Chemistry
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alexander Samokhvalov, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

**Recipient of the John C. Collier Research Scholarship in Chemistry** 

As the economy moves towards greener solutions, it needs to transition to a clean renewable fuel energy source. In 1972, Fujishima and Honda discovered the photo-catalytic properties of titanium dioxide; an important outcome of this discovery is the ability to produce hydrogen and oxygen via splitting water by ultraviolet radiation. Subsequent research has resulted in the Metal-doped titanium oxides which can split water under the UV and visible radiation. Understanding the chemical, physical, and photo catalytic processes behind titanium oxide compounds could help finding the effective photocatalysts. Molecular mechanisms of charge transfer and formation of reactive intermediates in photocatalitic production of hydrogen from sacrificial donors are not well known. The nanocolloid of Cu-TiO2 was in-situ prepared from the precursor under the ultraviolet and visible light in presence of Cu(II) nitrate and sacrificial electron donor ethanol. This materials system serves as a model photocatalyst prepared in-situ under the reducing conditions of hydrogen evolution. The identity of the in-situ prepared Cu/TiO2 nanomaterial is proven by the accumulation of negative charge and the discharge upon oxidation with air, as observed via the absorbance UV-Vis spectroscopy. Chemical kinetics of the in-situ reduction of Cu(II) precursor to Cu/TiO2 follows the zeroth order rate law. The in-situ prepared Cu/TiO2 also exhibits the fluorescence in the visible range that vanishes upon an oxidation of the supported Cu nanopartices with air. The set of reference experiments allow distinguishing the spectroscopic properties of the in-situ prepared Cu/TiO2 from those of TiO2 and photoreduced form of Cu.


A Study on the Formation of Bimetallic Nanoparticles Using Pulsed Laser Ablation in Liquids

JJ Naddeo
Major: Physics
Minors: Economics and Mathematical Science
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Daniel Bubb, Professor of Physics, and Dr. Sean O’Malley, Assistant Professor of Physics

Bimetallic nanoparticles have numerous applications in fields ranging from biomedical to electrochemical. Specifically they can be used in medicines, chemical sensors, optical probes, bio imagers, and also as antimicrobial agents. It has been shown experimentally that if you mix solutions containing both gold and silver nanoparticles both of their individual surface plasmon resonances (SPR) can be seen in the extinction spectra. This is considered a nanoparticle composite and does not produce a single SPR like a nano-alloy. Nano-alloys attract great interest due to the fact that one can “tune” the SPR of the particles by manipulating the concentration of each metal. Our present research is focused on the formation of noble metal (Au and Ag) alloys because they tend to not oxidize and remain stable in colloidal solutions. These inert properties allow for us to constrain variables and hone in on the processes pertinent to the formation and structuring of the nano-alloys. In the case of a silver /gold system the SPR absorption peak may be tuned from 400 (predominately Ag alloy) to 530nm (predominately Au alloy). Recent results suggest that the varying of post-irradiation wavelength, fluence, pulse duration, and repetition rate also play a strong role in the composition of the alloys. These recent results, paired with the ambiguity in current literature on laser ablation synthesis of alloys, show that there is still much to be learned about what mechanisms determine the composition and structure of nano-alloys. So far we have developed several different methods for the production of gold-silver nano-alloys. The simplest involves the mixing of two separate metal colloidal solutions together and then irradiating the mixed solution with a pulsed laser. Currently all of our procedures require at least three steps (ablation of each bulk target along with post irradiation). Moving forward we will attempt to use sequential pulsing of two lasers along with a target made of multilayer thin films of gold, silver, and other metals/polymers to synthesize alloys in one step. This new procedure should help give us more insight into the mechanisms of alloy formation. Also, we are currently running tests to see if the alloys we are making have any bacteriostatic and/or bactericidal properties.


Construction Coordination in English and Japanese

Tamika Ono-Knight
Major: English
Minor: Linguistics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Richard Epstein, Associate Professor of English

As the infamous episode of School House Rock suggests, the typical background knowledge that is associated with the term “conjunction,” is that it is a grammatical structure which aims to conjoin or link a variety of words, phrases, or clauses. It is taken for granted that in the English language, there are 2 main basic types of conjunctions; coordinating and subordinating. For my project, I have been doing a cross-linguistic analysis of the various coordinating constructions across both English and Japanese, and delving into the similarities and differences between them which can be seen through many factors, namely their position as well as their ultimate function. By examining the positions of conjunctions in a language, it can be seen what types of structures were the origins of certain conjunction types; that is, which types of words (free-standing vs. bound), phrases (noun phrases, verb phrases, prepositional phrases etc.), and clauses (main and subordinate, as well as their types) gave birth to which specific conjunctions. And through exploring the function of conjunctions in a sentence, one can learn which elements, or conjuncts (words, phrases, or clauses), are in fact allowed to be conjoined by means of these coordinating constructions.


Costume Design

Sean Quinn
Major: Theater
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kenneth Elliott, Associate Professor of Theater

Over the past couple of years senior I shadowed costumer Kristina Sneshkoff on the costume design process beginning with script analysis and research, sketches and final renderings, ending in a finished product. This semester I was fortunate enough to use what I learned to costume the student-written ten-minute play Numbers in the Air. The play takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where civilians patrol the streets and keep citizens safe from drug addicts and religious fanatics. The story covers a young man and his radio-obsessed uncle who insists they are soon to be attacked. My process began by reading and analyzing the script, and using research and inspirational photos to inform my utilitarian-based sketches. Patrick and his female companion Bran have makeshift uniforms that protect them from the elements, but mark them as part of the civilian force. Jim, Patrick’s uncle, wears clothes that reminisce of his life before the government disappeared, but that are in such poor shape you see he has let himself go. Vanessa, Patrick’s mother, is addicted to a flesh-eating drug called Krokodil and lives on the streets. Her clothes are torn and unsuitable for the weather, while her neck is covered in wounds due to her drug use. In executing these designs I was able to use my skills in leatherwork, distressing clothing, and stage makeup. 


Antimicrobial Effects of Metal Nanoparticles

Matthew Ratti
Majors: Biology and Physics
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Daniel Bubb, Professor of Physics, and Dr. Sean O’Malley, Assistant Professor of Physics

Multidrug resistant bacterial infections are increasingly becoming one of the largest public health risks today. This calls for new antibiotic drug development. Inorganic nanoparticles may prove to be the next step in fighting bacterial infection. The antibacterial effects of metal nanoparticles have been researched extensively over the past few years. Silver nanoparticles prove to be very toxic to bacterial cells such as Escherichia coli, but they also show toxic effects in mammalian cells as well. The mechanism behind the antimicrobial properties of the silver nanoparticles is still uncertain. Copper nanoparticles have shown antimicrobial properties as well. However, it is still uncertain which form of copper nanoparticle is antimicrobial, and by which mechanism it is causing cell death. The pure copper particles, Cu2O particles, or CuO particles may effect the bacteria in different ways, or some may not effect the bacteria at all. Using the laser ablation in liquids (LAL) technique, it is possible to create a wide range of silver and copper nanoparticles, varying in size and concentration. Using LAL the size of the particle can be adjusted, and the desired copper oxide particle can be produced, all at a relatively fast rate. LAL also allows for the absence of harmful byproducts that would be obtained by using a wet chemistry method. Using these LAL formed nanoparticles, along with chemically made store bought nanopowder, growth curves were ran in Lysogeny broth (LB) media. The store bought and LAL silver nanoparticles both inhibited the growth of the E. coli. However, the copper did not show any negative effects in the growth rate of the bacteria. Serial dilutions were ran and colony growth was inhibited in the silver nanoparticle solutions, as well as the stock copper solution. More tests are to be ran in this same fashion, using varying sizes of silver and copper nanoparticles, as well as the different oxides of copper. After determining which nanoparticles are antibacterial, different assays will be ran to determine the time it takes the nanoparticles to induce cell death, how many nanoparticles it takes, and how size and concentration effect the rate of cell death. In doing this, a better understanding of the mechanisms behind the antibacterial properties of nanoparticles will be determined.  


Whaling in Japan: Is It A Cultural Smokescreen For An Economic Special-Interest Advantage?

Jessica Saulnier
Major: Political Science
Minors: National Security and Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Mr. Timothy Knievel, Instructor of Political Science

Through memberships of multiple international organizations and highly dependent on global trade, Japan has worked to becoming an active member in the international community such as the United Nations.  The single entity in Japan that seems to deviate from their norm of international cohesion, is their divergence on the issue of commercial whaling.  This leads to posit the question:  Why does Japan persist in this practice, despite international criticism? 

Three hypothesized explanations from previous studies can be seen as attempting to explain Japan’s whaling policy. First, an economic model is premised on the assumption that Japanese whaling policy serves particular economic interests in Japan.  Second, a cultural model assumes that the primary motivator of Japanese whaling is advancing or maintaining the cultural autonomy of Japan. Finally, a third model operates under the assumption that Japanese whaling policy is primarily concerned with maintaining the sovereignty of Japan.

This study looks to suggest that a fourth hypothesis may: first provide the missing piece of evidence that would interconnect these established models.  Secondly, looks to analyze these established models to determine if there is enough evidence to supported or disprove them as being applicable to Japan.   This hypothesis suggests that whaling is not embedded as deeply into the Japanese culture as the government continues to emulate.  Instead, it is postulated that the whaling issue may be the shrouding issue covering an international/domestic-conglomerate-economic-interest story, with a potential to influence international politics, and a conjecture that money from whaling is cycling back into Japan’s political system.


Effects of Various Bone Morphogenetic Proteins on Eggshell Patterning During Drosophila melanogaster Oogenesis

Gabrielle Slater
Major: Biology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nir Yakoby, Assistant Professor of Biology

**Recipient of the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Research Grant**

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are a group of growth factors that belong to the transforming growth factor beta (TGF?) superfamily. BMPs are responsible for morphogenetic signaling that defines tissue structuring throughout the bodies of many vertebrates. BMP-type ligands signal during oogenesis and to instruct eggshell spatial patterning in Drosophila melanogaster. These ligands signal by binding to heterodimeric receptors composed of a type I receptor (Thickveins or Saxophone) and a type II receptor (Punt or Wishful thinking) as homodimers or heterodimers. The binding of the ligands to the heterodimeric receptors stimulates phosphorylation of the co-Smad called MAD, which then binds to R-Smad Medea and moves together to the nucleus and act as transcriptional factors to regulate (Araujo, Fontenele & Rodrigo, 2011).

Using EGFP and GFP along with GAL4 as a driver as well as balancer chromosomes, the various effects of these proteins can be studied in detail in terms of spatial patterning and expression. In order to efficiently study the effects of the different ligand, virgin females (females that are less than eight hours old) are required to ensure that the quality and purity of the experiment. Furthermore, materials for observation of the fly eggs must be provided.


Cis-regulatory Analysis of Sea Urchin Univin Gene

Gabriele Stankeviciute
Major: Biology
Minor: Physics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jongmin Nam, Assistant Professor of Biology

**Recipient of the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Research Grant** 

This project involves the study of function and evolution of conserved DNA sequences within cis-regulatory modules (CRMs) of sea urchins. Cis-regulatory modules are DNA sequences that control gene expression patterns by interacting with regulatory proteins known as transcription factors. Of many developmentally important genes, the focus was on the univin gene, a member of transforming growth factor (TGF) gene family that ensures correct ectoderm maturation in sea urchins. While highly important to the development of sea urchin embryos, the TGF-beta also to direct a vast number of functions in humans, such as the regulation of cell growth and differentiation and controlling other important cellular functions. Additionally, this cytokine is a protein that plays a pivotal role in diseases ranging from AIDS, cancer, heart disease among many others due to its regulation of the immune system, the cell-division cycle, as well as its induction of apoptosis, which is of a cell death.                                                          

During the early stages of sea urchin embryo development, univin is essential for proper ectoderm maturation, which includes the development of the organism’s nervous system, and it is broadly expressed in ectodermic cells. In prior research, it has been found that univin is present during the embryogenesis of sea urchins, but its levels peak during the very initial stages of embryology prior to cell differentiation; this is an implication that univin directs how the organism is going to develop from the onset of its development. Univin has two CRMs and some of functional sequences within these CRMs have been mapped.


Camden High Schools: A Comparison of HSPA Proficiencies

Margaret Stridick
Major: Psychology
Minor: Human Resource Management
Faculty Mentor: Dr. J. William Whitlow, Professor of Psychology

The City of Camden’s Board of Education is being pressure to allow more charter schools to open within the district.  It was hypothesized that longitudinal tracking of 11th grade, first-time HSPA test taker scores would identify trends at all the city’s high schools to determine if improvements are being made.  It would also serve as a means of comparing progress in the city’s public schools against progress in the city’s charter schools.  While charter schools are able to deny enrollment, public schools may not.  Therefore, test results themselves are not good indicators of program success but trends showing either improvement or decline over time are more indicative of programs that are successful at boosting student academic achievement.


Cavitation Bubbles Induced By Laser Ablation in Liquids and Their Role in Nanoparticle Synthesis

John Tomko
Majors: Computer Science and Physics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sean O’Malley, Assistant Professor of Physics

Gold nanoparticles can be used in numerous optical, medical, and electronic applications. In order to optimize such applications, the process of synthesizing these particles, as well as the particles features, must be optimized. This synthesis of gold nanoparticles can be performed through laser ablation inliquids. When an intense laser pulse is focused into a liquid, it induces optical breakdown through nonlinear absorption, leading to plasma formation at the laser’s focal area. The plasma’s expansion inpair with rapid thermal change causes the emission of a shockwave and the formation of a cavitation bubble. Within this bubble is thought to be the growth of nanoparticles. Through understanding the dynamics of the cavitation bubble, we aim to alter this growth, thus alter and optimize the synthesized nanoparticles.


Success and Resilience: Coping Strategies of At-Risk Youths in High Crime Areas

Shelby Tucker
Major: Criminal Justice
Minor: Urban Studies
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michelle Meloy, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

**Recipient of the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Conference Travel Grant**

Youths who live in high crime areas are likely to suffer direct and indirect victimization at important points in their lives. Previous research has found that these youths are likely to fall into two categories of coping: avoidance coping and approach coping. Normally, avoidance coping is characterized by ignoring the victimization, which normally leads to high amounts of anxiety. Approach coping is characterized by directly approaching a problem with the idea to solve it, while avoidance coping is internalizing behavior (depression) or externalizing behavior (violent/aggressive actions). However, in the case of youths in high crime areas the effects seem to be opposite the definitions above. Each of these categories has their own outcome for life course. Youth in high crime areas using avoidance coping strategy are more likely to continue on a positive path compared with an individual using approach coping. Using interviews of youths who experienced indirect and direct victimization in a high crime area and previous research the author shows how the different coping strategies employed depend heavily on personal control and self-worth, support systems, and gender. Policy implications include greater support for the victim and his/her family. Policy recommendations also include the improvement in self-worth/self-esteem among youths to encourage avoidance coping.


Sex Differences in Preferences for Humor Produced by Men or Women: Is Humor in the Sex of the Perceiver?

Nhuan Van, Nicase Tchana and Patience Willis
Major: Psychology
Minors: Childhood Studies, History, and Political Science
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sean Duffy, Associate Professor of Psychology

It is a common belief that men are funnier than women. Recently, this belief has received modest empirical support among evolutionary psychologists who argue that humor results from sexual selection. Humor signals intelligence, and women thus use humor to discriminate between potential mates. From this, it follows that in addition to men being skilled producers of humor, women should be skilled perceivers of humor. Extant research has focused on humor production; here we focus on humor perception. In three studies, men and women identified the most humorous professional comedian (Studies 1 and 2) or individual they know personally (Study 3).  We found large sex differences. In all three studies, men overwhelmingly preferred humor produced by other men, whereas women showed smaller (study 1) or no (studies 2 and 3) sex preference. We discuss biological and cultural roots of humor in light of these findings.


Trash Trees

Victoria Widener
Major: Art
Minor: Ecology
Faculty Mentor: Mr. Ken Hohing, Assistant Instructor of Art

A project that I worked on over winter was the creation of sculptures I refer to as “Trash Trees,” that I created in North Philadelphia. This project came about as a direct response to the need for trash removal from the streets on the block that I live on. The process entailed a full day of collecting garbage in the surrounding area, stringing the pieces together, and attaching them to an armature that was also composed of found objects. The sculptures possessed a performance aspect, as many people passing by would stop to watch me collect the garbage and assemble the pieces. Some even inquired, wondering if someone had been killed on the corner and if I was creating a memoriam.