Abstracts of Student Projects

April 16th, 2015
Multi-Purpose Room
Camden Campus Center


The Role of Emotional Support in Stress Reactivity Among Married and Unmarried Adults with Diabetes

Tiara Adriatico and Reid Hlavka
Majors: Tiara – Psychology; Reid – Psychology
Minor: Tiara – Sociology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kristin August, Assistant Professor of Psychology 

Individuals living with type 2 diabetes may encounter stress directly related to their illness, as well as general life stress, both of which may elicit negative emotions (i.e., stress reactivity). Social network members may help reduce stress reactivity by providing emotional support, but it is unclear whether this association differs for married versus unmarried individuals. This study thus sought to examine how emotional support provided by network members may impact emotional responses to two different types of stress (i.e., general life stress and diabetes-specific stress) that middle-aged and older adults with diabetes may experience. We examined this idea in a racially-diverse sample of adults over 45 years old with type 2 diabetes (N = 50 unmarried, 50 married) through in-person interviews and self-administered questionnaires. Results from multivariable linear regressions that controlled for age, sex, and years diagnosed with diabetes revealed that among unmarried patients, there was a main effect for general life stress and diabetes-specific stress predicting depressive symptoms (both ps<.02), but emotional support only buffered the effects of diabetes-specific stress on depressive symptoms (p=.007). Among married patients, in contrast, there was no main effect for general life stress or diabetes-specific stress and depressive symptoms (both ps>.10), suggesting that being married may prevent patients from appraising their experiences as stressors at all. The findings from this study highlight the importance of understanding the role of marital status and emotional support in reactivity to different types of stress, which can be used to tailor diabetes interventions that involve social network members.


Imprudent Minority Homicide by Whites

Amber Alexander, Calvin Clark, Denise DeLeon, Michael Kaklamanos, and Christian Emilio Rodriguez
Majors: Amber – Criminal Justice; Calvin – Criminal Justice; Denise – Criminal Justice; Michael – Criminal Justice – Christian Emilio – Criminal Justice
Childhood Studies
Minors: Amber – Childhood Studies and Sociology; Christian Emilio – Security Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stacia Gilliard-Matthews, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Although the media often focuses on blacks who kill whites, whites do in fact kill blacks.  Therefore, we examined sixty cases between 1990 – 2015 to determine common indicators. In these cases, whites often cite that the death was accidental. We find differences and similarities in these cases regarding the background, age, and location of these defendants and victims. 


The effect of sexual activity on self-esteem among college students

Madeliene Alger, Kaci Mial, and Reid Hlavka
Majors: Madeliene – Psychology; Kaci – Psychology; Reid – Psychology
Minor: Kaci – Women’s and Gender Studies
Faculty Mentor: Mr. Douglas Zacher, Part-time Lecturer of Psychology

The current literature suggests that college students frequently engage in risky sexual behavior, which can lead to adverse health outcomes. However, the nature of sexual behavior among college students is an understudied area of research. The present study examined the effect sexual activity has on college students’ self-esteem, and how that relationship is moderated by gender. It was hypothesized that increased frequency of sexual activity is associated with higher self-esteem. However, while moderating for gender, it is predicted that men will have a higher self-esteem than women as frequency of sexual activity increases. Undergraduate students filled out a survey that assessed their global self-esteem as well as their sexual activity and behaviors. The results of this study will be instrumental in adding to the existing literature on the sexual activity and behaviors of college students. This research would also have implications for treatment and prevention programs that target college students’ sexual health.


Colorblind: Police Officers of America: Exploring Minority Homicides by Law Enforcement in America, 1990 – 2015

Paige Allgood, Keturah Golden, Traven Harris, Dominic Kurpaska, and Alyssa Smith
Majors: Paige – Criminal Justice; Keturah – Psychology; Traven: Psychology; Dominic: Criminal Justice; Alyssa: Criminal Justice and Psychology
Minor: Keturah – Criminal Justice
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stacia Gilliard-Matthews, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

This paper will explore minority homicides by police officers, between the years of 1990 to 2015 in America. Minority victims of homicide being killed by police officers have been a prominent issue in the country for the last few decades. Therefore, we will utilize content analysis, in which data will be collected through newspaper articles and other public records to assess minority homicides by the police. Scholars have previously agreed that there is a disproportionate number of minorities, mainly African Americans, killed as a result of deadly police force (Goldkamp, 1976; Chilton & Chambliss, 2014).  The Center for Disease Control (1990) reported that homicide is the leading cause of death for young African American males. Our research question seeks to understand if a victims’ race or ethnicity plays a role in the use of deadly force by police officers, and the frequency of this occurrence.


Poor, Minorities & Justice

Aymara Aquino, Luis Cruz, Ami Hinchliffe, Tim Holder, & Andrew Lado
Majors: Aymara, Criminal Justice – Luiz, Undeclared – Ami, Criminal Justice – Tim, Criminal Justice –Andrew, Criminal Justice
Minors: Ami, Sociology – Andrew, Sociology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stacia Gilliard-Matthews, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

“Hot Spots” are areas typically where crime occurs most often within an inner-city neighborhood; these areas are often riddled with poverty, drugs, and house the majority of inner-city minorities. The media tends to follow the stories that highlight these high crime areas and racial issues; thereby, displaying a greater likelihood to report stories that involve police killing minorities as opposed to whites. Growth shown in previous research, examined, in media coverage will portray the disproportionate numbers of deaths cataloged throughout media coverage of minority victims killed by police opposed to white victims, in a twenty-five year period. The research conducted will conclude with establishing that the disproportionate numbers, of whites victims killed by police, is because they are less likely to be in deadly situations; whites will be proven less likely to living in inner-city neighborhoods, and demographics like it, where events such as being killed by a police officer can happen.


Physiological Properties of the Caulobacter Crescentus Stalk

Michael Bamimore
Major: Biology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Eric Klein, Assistant Professor of Biology

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

The variety of bacterial cell shapes and sizes found in nature are largely determined by the structure and composition of the peptidoglycan cell wall. The cell wall provides structure and shape to the cell and also protects it from osmotic forces. The general focus of our lab is the regulation of cell shape in Caulobacter crescentus. Caulobacter crescentus synthesizes a long thin stalk appendage at one pole that grows in response to phosphate limitation. The objective of this research is to characterize the differences in the stalk peptidoglycan versus the cell body peptidoglycan. The analyses will extend to identifying the proteins involved in the synthesis of the stalk peptidoglycan. In a preliminary study, we tested the lysozyme-sensitivity of cell body and stalk peptidoglycan. Interestingly, treatment with lysozyme resulted in the lysis of the cell body with the stalk unaffected. This experiment supports the hypothesis that the stalk produced by Caulobacter crescentus has a different peptidoglycan make-up than that of the cell body. Since the cytoskeletal protein MreB is known to regulate peptidoglycan synthesis in the cell body, we examined its role in stalk elongation. Using a novel MreB-GFP fusion protein, we determined that MreB localization to the cell pole is critical for stalk synthesis. Currently, we are using the MreB inhibitor A22 to disrupt MreB polymerization in order to determine whether MreB polymers have an effect on the stalk length of Caulobacter crescentus. Future studies will focus on the mechanism of MreB-dependent peptidoglycan synthesis in the stalk.


Appeal for Life

Devin Bauman, Louis Davey, and Bill Schindler
Majors: Devin – Criminal Justice; Louis – Criminal Justice and Sociology; Bill – Criminal Justice
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gail Caputo, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

Our project touches on an important issue in the criminal justice system. We propose to give death-row inmates who claim they are innocent three appeals.  They go to the first appeal and a judge determines if there is enough evidence to sentence the defendant to life. Then this person goes through another appeal process and goes either before a judge or jurors, and they also determine if there is enough evidence. Then, there’s the final appeal process, and this is the last chance the defendant has. If all three judges don’t agree that there’s enough evidence to sentence the defendant to life, than it goes back to trial. This is where the defendant may be able to plead their case and show that there isn’t enough evidence to sentence him/her to death, but they may still serve a jail sentence or probation. There are many people on death row who are innocent and with this proposal it will help many get to plead their case that they are innocent.


Homelessness in a shelter for women and their children: The correlation between positive parenting discipline and executive functioning

Rosetta Beltran
Major: Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. JJ Cutuli, Assistant Professor of Psychology

This study tests for connections between parent discipline behaviors and child executive functions among families who stay in temporary shelters. This study seeks to learn how positive parenting discipline behaviors support children’s developing executive function skills, like concentrating and staying on task. Participants were recruited from two shelters for families experiencing homelessness in West Philadelphia during eight months in 2014. Nineteen families with eight to eleven year old children who participated in five weekly assessments. Caregivers reported on the children’s typical behavior and responses to a variety of situations designed to measure children’s inhibitory control and other aspects of executive functioning via the Children’s Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ-SF-EF+). Parents also described their positive parenting discipline behaviors each week on the Parents’ Weekly Report. Child executive functions also were measured using an observation assessment tool, the Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS). Hypotheses were tested using multiple regression analyses, controlling for adversity and child demographic characteristics. First, positive parenting discipline behaviors were positively related to observed executive functioning on the DCCS task at week one. Over the course of a month in shelter, positive discipline behaviors were not related to DCCS scores at week five. Conversely, positive parenting discipline parents were negatively related to parent-reported executive functioning on the CBQ measure at week one, and similarly not related to CBQ scores at week five. Positive parenting discipline behaviors appear to support observed child EF, and it might be that children with lower EF cause parents to use more discipline in real world situations.


The Absence of Whites in Police Victimization

Nancy Brown, Misty Corsey, Mitch Larson, Molly Moskowitz, and Sean Tabiri
Majors: Nancy – English; Misty – Criminal Justice; Mitch – Criminal Justice and History; Molly – Criminal Justice; Sean – Criminal Justice and English
Minor: Molly – Sociology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stacia Gilliard-Matthews, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

In recent years, we’ve seen an alarming number of citizens who have been killed by law enforcement officers. Therefore, we examined homicides committed by law enforcement officers against white citizens, and the adjudication of these cases. By collecting data and utilizing news and print publications, we’ve compiled a list of white victims  from 1990 to 2015, and researched whether the victims were armed or unarmed. Throughout our findings, we’ve discovered that there is not nearly enough information, or academic research, available on white victims killed by law enforcement officers. The objective of our research was to clearly state that closer attention must be paid to the increased number of white victims, and that organizations which track crime data, such as the FBI, should incorporate clear and succinct numbers of all victims of police homicide. Furthermore, we argue that on the state and local levels, there is a necessity for more detailed records being kept of these incidents. 


The New Pictorialism

Kelly Budesa
Major: Art (Photography)
Faculty Mentor: Mr. Ken Hohing, Assistant Instructor of Art

Photography was not always thought to be an artistic medium.  During its early years of invention, the camera was used for the sole purpose of capturing images of reality.  It wasn’t until about 1885 that the Pictorialist Movement began.  Photographers fought to convince the world that photography was more than just an objective reproduction of reality.  It was also a creative performance. 

Pictoralists of the time used traditional darkroom techniques to create images that were soft, painterly, and romantic.  Around 1930, photographers grew tired of pictorialism and reverted back to sharp images of reality.  Photography grew further in that direction with the invention of digital photography.  As the digital camera advanced, it seemed that sharp, hyperrealism was dominating the photographic world.  However, the cycle continues, and the world is once again growing tired of images of reality.  The ideals and standards created by the pictorial photographers of the past are resurfacing due to an age of smartphones and Instagram filters.  The world is unknowingly plunging photography into an age of New Pictorialism.

My creative process is aimed toward bringing attention to this New Pictorialism, as well as emphasizing the many modern and alternative techniques that can achieve it.  I used Photoshop to perform digital manipulations, photographic transfers requiring the use of inkjet prints, iPhone photography, and the many applications available to alter images, and photoencaustic techniques.  Each of these techniques is aimed at creating the soft, dream-like artistic images similar to that of the first Pictorialist movement.      


White Police Officers versus White Victims

Alexandrea Carrigan, Jose Colon, Connor Hurff, Jeff Manley, and Jasmin Parache
Majors: Alexandrea – Criminal Justice and Psychology; Jose – Criminal Justice; Connor – Criminal Justice; Jeff: Criminal Justice; Jasmin – Criminal Justice
Minor: Jeff – Political Science
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stacia Gilliard-Matthews, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Police officers committing the crime of homicide have become a widespread problem in the United States of America.  Police officers have the only job in the country with the authority to use lethal force to apprehend an alleged criminal.  Thus, we will examine Caucasian police officers use of lethal force against Caucasian victims.  We reveal that the justication of the crime by Caucasian offers along with monetary compensation to the victims’ families is prevalent among these cases.  In our examination of 100 cases of white officers killing white victims, in 90% of cases the officers’ actions were justified.  However, 60% of these cases resulted in monetary compensation.  Our results indicate that, while in many cases the officers’ actions were justified, the victims’ families received monetary compensation, which contradicts the justifiable homicide claim and highlights a flaw within the US criminal system. 


Student Alcohol Consumption

Brianna Chrzanowski, Kaitlin Sell, and Shelby Tucker
Majors: Brianna – Criminal Justice; Kaitlin – Criminal Justice and Sociology; Shelby – Criminal Justice
Minors: Brianna – Sociology; Shelby – Urban Studies
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jane Siegel, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

Prior research has shown that several characteristics differentiate commuter students from residential students. These factors in turn have been found to be associated with an increase or decrease in the frequency and intensity of undergraduate trends in drinking. However, scant prior research has actually investigated differences in drinking between residential and commuter students. To address this gap in the research, this study investigated the difference in alcohol consumption, including frequency and intensity, between commuter and residential students at Rutgers–Camden.  Data for the study come from a survey administered both on-line and in person to a sample of students aged 18-24 during the spring semester 2015. This poster presents results focused on patterns of drinking behavior of the two groups and highlights differences between them.


Whispering Woods: Doing Archaeology in South Jersey

Jessica Ciesclewicz, Tiara Adriatico, Danielle Fischer, Levi Ford, and Samantha Muller
Majors: Jessica – History; Tiara – Psychology; Danielle – Sociology; Levi – History; Samantha – History and Applied Anthropology
Minors: Jessica – Anthropology and Museum Studies; Tiara – Sociology; Danielle – Anthropology; Levi – Political Science
Faculty Mentor: Ms. Kimberlee Moran, Part-time Lecturer of Anthropology

In 2012 a preliminary archaeological survey conducted at the Whispering Woods site yielded both historic and prehistoric (Native American) artifacts. A further excavation was required by the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection.  Through a partnership between the Rutgers-Camden Department of Sociology, Anthropology, & Criminal Justice and the Fredric Rieders Family Renaissance Foundation, this Phase II excavation was transformed into a two-semester undergraduate class.  The result is that Rutgers’ students have had the opportunity to take part in a real archaeological excavation and to learn about the history and prehistory of South Jersey.  Through this project students have learned various aspects of cultural resource management (CRM) archeology including traditional archeological techniques, mapping, artifact handling, and artifact identification.


Grief through Greeting Cards: Expressions of Condolence Through Paper, Words, and Symbols in the Contemporary United States

Jessica Cieslewicz, Kelsey Mignogna, Samantha Muller, Laura Rathof, Francesca Rosado, Meagan Slingluff, and Sandra Vazquez
Majors: Jessica – History; Kelsey – Psychology; Samantha – History and Applied Anthropology; Laura – Psychology; Francesca – Pre-Nursing; Meagan – Criminal Justice and Sociology; Sandra – Sociology
Minors: Jessica – Anthropology and Museum Studies; Laura – Sociology; Francesca – Anthropology; Sandra – Anthropology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Cindy Dell Clark, Visiting Associate Professor of Anthropology

In a time of changing media habits, how has the practice of sending sympathy cards changed, if at all?  The study uses greeting cards as artifacts to explore themes of death and condolence, in a rapidly changing culture. This will be explored through student-collected data from 2015 in comparison to data collected in 2011.


Culture as a Gateway to Enhancing Second Language Learning and Development

Caridad Cloud
Major: Spanish
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Próspero García, Assistant Professor of Spanish

Culture is a fundamental concept in learning a second language (Omaggio 2001: 105), and is listed by the Department of Education of the state of New Jersey in its World Language Standards and by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, ACTFL (2006), as one of the prominent components for achieving complete linguistic competence in a second language.  Although Ommagio (2001) and ACTFL (2006) indicate that culture is a key to proficiency, many teachers and professors at the K-12 and University levels fail to incorporate the teaching and learning of culture in the second language (L2) classroom.  Blell & Doff (2014), and Warford & White (2012) indicate that it is possible to attribute this issue on some of the difficulties that arise when attempting to integrate culture into the Foreign Language curriculum.  Based on this research, this presentation proposes that 1) language educators should develop a more comprehensive integration of culture into the second language curriculum and 2) that teaching the culture of the target language does not only help to achieve a more tolerant classroom atmosphere, it also promotes L2 linguistic competence.  Working within a Sociocultural perspective (Vygotsky, 1978), this presentation will also showcase an operationalization of the Second Symbolic Competencies model (Warford & White, 2012) to exemplify how culture can be more comprehensively implemented in the Spanish classroom to foster L2 learning and development in the area of surface interactional differences, politeness formulas, and kinesthetics.    


Defender or Aggressor?

John Coffey, Felicia Harrison, Mia Marchetti, Lucas Nguyen, and Joseph Tyrrell
Majors: John – Criminal Justice; Felicia – Criminal Justice; Mia – Psychology; Lucas – Criminal Justice; Joseph – Criminal Justice and Psychology
Minors: Mia – Sociology; Joseph – French and Security Intelligence and Counter-TerrorismFaculty Mentor: Dr. Stacia Gilliard-Matthews, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Does the “Stand Your Ground Law” make it easier to justify an unjust homicide?  With our research, we are going to look at four different states: Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York. Our objective is to see if there is a correlation between minorities killed by whites who were not found guilty in criminal court cases due to the Stand Your Ground Law, and those who were found guilty. Our method of research is to compare cases from each of the four states and look for a repeating pattern that happens throughout the cases. We are also going to research if there is a correlation between southern and northern states when it comes to hard and soft laws due to minorities being killed by whites. To determine hard and soft laws we will look at each of the four states’ definitions or documents that constitute hard or soft laws. Through our research we hope to better understand if the Stand Your Ground Law is effective or detrimental to our Criminal Justice System when handling white on minority cases.


Characterizing Transhydrogenase Activity of the Flavin-bound Enzyme Diaphorase

John Collins
Major: Chemistry
Minor: Biology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jinglin Fu, Assistant Professor of Chemistry 

Diaphorase is a FMN bound enzyme belonging to the class of enzymes known as oxioreductases. This enzyme has been known, for some time, to catalyze the energetically favorable (?G < 0) oxidation of the reduced forms of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP), with dye molecules typically acting as the electron acceptors. In more recent years, this enzyme was found to also function as a peroxidase, and reduce molecules of oxygen (O2) to form hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). In the lab, we have discovered that Diaphorase may also have the potential to function as a transhydrogenase when it is subjected to an anaerobic environment. A transhydrogenase is an enzyme that can transfer electrons between NAD and NADP, in which one of the two substrates acts as the electron donor, and the other as the electron acceptor. What makes this interesting, is that this process occurs at thermo-equilibrium (?G = 0), which means that energy is neither gained nor lost from the system. If Diaphorase can function as a transhydrogenase, then it can be used to engineer highly energy efficient enzymatic fuel cells, powered by fuels such as sugar or alcohol. Here we will show direct evidence with quantitative analysis to support the claim that Diaphorase has the potential to function as a transhydrogenase.  


Police as Victims: The Untold Truth

David Cruz, Danielle Dwyer, Alyssa Heier, Megan Propati, and Michael Rivera
Majors: David – Criminal Justice; Danielle – Criminal Justice and Psychology; Alyssa – Criminal Justice; Megan – Criminal Justice; Michael – Psychology
Minors: David – Religion; Danielle – Security Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism; Alyssa – Philosophy; Megan – Sociology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stacia Gilliard-Matthews, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Through an examination of four states, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida, we will compare the differences among intentional police homicide deaths. The data collection will include any intentional police homicides between 1/1990-2/2015, demographics of victim and offender, sentences, time of day, officer’s tour of duty, and motive. Additionally, we will examine the type of response call (e.g. robbery, traffic stop, domestic violence) the officer was on when killed. According to previous research, it is more likely for an officer to be killed by gunfire, so we will also examine the gun laws in the four states. To conduct this study we will use newspapers, scholarly articles, and government websites, as well as a few others. The purpose of this research is to determine whether or not southern law enforcement officers are more likely to be killed than northern states law enforcement officers.


Who Goes to Jail…to Visit?  Gender and Race Differences in Prison Visitation 

David Cruz, Matthew Hackman, Rashni Stanford, and Brenna Stone
Majors: David – Criminal Justice; Matthew – Psychology; Brenna – Criminal Justice and Psychology
Minors: David – Religion; Matthew – Women’s and Gender Studies; Brenna – Childhood Studies
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jane Siegel, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

Incarceration rates remain highest in the United States throughout the world. Those that are incarcerated are often mothers, fathers, children or siblings of citizens who wish to remain in contact with their loved ones. Visitation challenges quickly become a reality for these friends, family and children on the outside in the form of various institution’s geographical location, public transportation schedules and the strict rules, which must be followed at each institution. Our team ran an analysis on a subset of data focusing on gender and race to decipher possible differences in visitation patterns, needs and grievances for visitors of the Philadelphia Prison System.  Through this analysis we hope to form a better picture of exactly who is traversing the difficulties associated with visiting those incarcerated. Additionally, through qualitative analysis, we plan to show what concerns these individuals have most about the process to which they must be subjected.


The Relationship between Extraversion and Impression Efficacy 

Michelle Dixon
Major: Psychology
Minor: Biology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Christopher Nave, Assistant Professor of Psychology

People interact with various individuals daily.  After interactions, individuals may form opinions about how they were viewed by the person with whom they interacted.  Impression efficacy is an individual’s confidence in their ability to make a desired impression.  The current study seeks to determine if extraversion correlates with impression efficacy.  The relationship between extraversion and impression efficacy is important because it can help individuals assess crucial interactions.  Previous research suggests that there is a positive correlation between extraversion and impression efficacy.  Participants completed surveys involving the HEXACO60 and the Social Motivation/Social Efficacy Scale.  Preliminary results show that there is a strong positive correlation between extraversion and impression efficacy (r = 0.538).     


Accuracy of Thin Slice Judgments Among Lesbian Couples

Michelle Dixon
Major: Psychology
Minor: Biology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Christopher Nave, Assistant Professor of Psychology

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

Research suggests that people are remarkably accurate at making snap judgments (i.e., first impressions) about others’ personalities, relationship success, and sexual orientation. The present study utilizes direct behavioral observation to examine self-observer agreement in lesbian couples. This project examines a unique sample, as lesbian women are understudied in the field and stigmatized in the general population. This study recorded 47 lesbian couples (N = 94) while they completed a structured health goals task with their partner. The items examined are related to body image, relationship satisfaction, and self-esteem and were correlated with undergraduate raters’ 30 second thin slice video observation ratings. Fourteen items were analyzed, and statistically significant ( p < 0.05) correlations were found for six items including: finds his/her relationship rewarding ( r = .36) and satisfied with his/her body appearance ( r = .35). These findings suggest that lesbian couples are not subject to highly stigmatized judgments when implicit judgments are made.


Pollinators and Biodiversity

Aisha Dorley
Major: Biology
Faculty Mentor: Ms. Elizabeth Demaray, Associate Professor of Art, and Dr. Simeon Kotchoni, Assistant Professor of Biology

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

This research intends to reintroduce pollinator species (bees, butterflies, moths, etc.) into the Mid-Atlantic region by planting an array of pollinator plants that attract various species. The research also tests the effects of these pollinator plants on the soil composition. In essence we will test how the composition of the soil is changed by the introduction of biodiversity.


Perceived Safety at Rutgers–Camden

Danielle Dwyer, Brigette Forte, Alyson Howe, and Alyssa Smith
Majors:  Danielle – Criminal Justice and Psychology; Brigette – Criminal Justice and Sociology; Alyson – Sociology; Alyssa – Criminal Justice and Psychology
Minor: Danielle – Security Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jane Siegel, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

This study seeks to examine students’ perception of safety at Rutgers–Camden. Specifically, we are interested in exploring how the perception of Camden as a dangerous city impacts how safe or unsafe students feel attending Rutgers–Camden. Undergraduate students were administered an online 46-item survey, measuring their perceptions of safety, fear, media exposure, and other demographic variables. We plan to explore what factors contribute to how safe or unsafe students feel on the Rutgers–Camden campus.


Ex-Post Analysis in the Courtroom

Danielle Dwyer, Joshua Gilliano, and Michele Markey
Majors: Danielle – Criminal Justice and Psychology; Joshua – Criminal Justice; Michele – Criminal Justice
Minor: Danielle – Security Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gail Caputo, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

The purpose of this research is to evaluate three actors of the courtroom. Specifically, we will be analyzing the Judge, Prosecutor, and Public Defender. The book Courtroom 302 will be used as a strong influence determining an ethical issue each actor faces. In addition to that, scholarly articles will also be used to help analyze the proposed ethical issue. By applying a current policy to the issue, we will be determining its effectiveness. This ex-post analysis will take into consideration all areas of the policy: defined problem, proposed solution, environment, and outcome. This analysis would be fulfilling the ‘feedback’ part of the policy analysis.


Testing DNA regulatory elements using two different GFP reporters

Vesile Ekiz and Nayab Kazmi
Majors: Vesile – Biology; Nayab – Biology and Psychology
Minor: Nayab- French
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Nir Yakoby, Associate Professor of Biology, and Ms. Nicole Pope, Computational and Integrative Biology Doctoral Candidate

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

Gene expression in tissues is regulated by DNA elements, which together with regulatory proteins, control the time and location of expression. While the genes’ expression has been vastly documented, the regulation of these genes is mostly unknown. The analysis of the genetic regulatory elements is a difficult task due to the lack of information on where these elements are localized. The goal of the project is to utilize a collection of already confirmed regulatory elements, found by Nicole Pope, a graduate student in the Yakoby Lab, to determine whether the type of reporter gene used for the original screen affect the final expression patterns. Specifically, Nicole screened her lines with a Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) construct that localizes to the nucleus of the cell (pStinger2), and we found a different pattern when a cytoplasm-localized reporter was used (EGFP). Drosophila oogenesis was used as a model system. During oogenesis, the egg chamber, the precursor to the mature egg, undergoes a series of fourteen morphological defined developmental stages before reaching maturity (Spradling, 1993). The egg chamber consists of an oocyte, surrounded by a monolayer of epithelial cells, or follicle cells (FCs). These FCs are intricately patterned by non-uniform genes before forming the mature eggshell.


Rene Descartes’ Rational Method Applied to Graphic Design

Ruben Garcia-Ramirez
Major: Art (Graphic Design)
Faculty Mentor: Mr. Allan Espiritu, Associate Professor of Art

Rene Descartes is considered the father of modern philosophy thanks to his achievements as a rational philosopher. He discovered that the mere act of thinking serves as a proof of our existence. He relied on mathematics to prove his philosophical discoveries and developed a method from which he would base his research:

  • Never accept anything except clear and distinct ideas.
  • Divide each problem into as many parts as possible in order to find the easiest solution.
  • Organize your thoughts starting from simple to the complex
  • Always revise your conclusions firmly to assure you have not omit anything

I was inspired by rationalism to find a similar method for design. Since in our visual world we find many different styles and approaches to design, I wondered if there was a truthful approach to design.  Throughout my research, I discovered that there is a truthful approach. However, it goes beyond stylistic movements. It is, instead, an approach of justification of form. It combines the knowledge of the subject, creative concept, rational organization, and artistic sensibility. In my approach, I rely on mathematics, philosophy and art to find a balance between Modern and Postmodern design. 

Children’s Voices in Q-Methodology 

Danielle Gemerek
Majors: Childhood Studies and Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Ms. Ines Meier, Part-time Lecturer of Psychology

This poster will introduce Q-Methodology, which allows children to become an involved partner in a research project. As an example of child-centered Q-Methodology, we will report on a recent project investigating children’s views on their opportunities. Children defined the survey language, ranked the statements and were interviewed. Q-Methodology has been used primarily with adults; however, as this research will show, it is one possible answer to the quest for more child involvement in research.


Police Homicide: Myths Concerning the Face of Cop Killers

Trey Gilliard, Gaylene Gordon, Monica Johnson, Nick Racobaldo, and Christina Schnyer
Majors: Trey – Criminal Justice; Gaylene – Criminal Justice; Monica – Criminal Justice; Nick – Criminal Justice; Christina – Criminal Justice and History
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stacia Gilliard-Matthews, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

We seek to understand whether police officers are more likely to be killed by minorities? A common myth concerning cop killers is that minorities are at the forefront of police homicide. However, our analysis of US based news publications, including The Washington Post, between 1990 and 2015, indicates that white offenders committed the majority of police homicides. Further analysis illustrates that police officers are not more likely to be killed by minorities. The purpose of this research is to dispel the stereotypes and myths regarding police homicide.


Stand Your Ground Laws Create Racial Bias Both in Killings and Court Procedures

Andrew Gottstein, Brandon Knauss, Micheily Marcado, Noelia Salas, and Corey Williams
Majors: Andrew – Criminal Justice; Brandon – Criminal Justice; Micheily – Sociology; Noelia – Criminal Justice and Sociology; Corey – Psychology
Minors: Andrew – Business Administration; Micheily – Criminal Justice; Corey – Criminal Justice
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stacia Gilliard-Matthews, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

The United States adopted the Stand Your Ground law in 2005. Since the enactment of Stand Your Ground laws, there has been more white on black homicides as opposed to white on white homicides, which used this law as a defense.  It states that citizens are authorized to protect and defend one’s self from others and do not have to retreat from others, and are allowed to use lethal force in doing so.  This is most common, as stated above, with Caucasian and African American citizens living in those states.  Previous research has indicated that the law promotes racial violence. Further, the law has been increasingly used over the past few decades as a defense.  Thus, we examine cases between 1990 and 2015 where the law has been enacted as a defense.  With the idea of racism being involved as a defense, Stand Your Ground laws are being questioned as being fair, even when some Stand Your Ground cases are necessary to use force such as murder.  Throughout the course of this research, we will examine the correlations and indications of homicides between states with and without Stand your Ground laws.  We will seek to understand the justice that comes with Stand Your Ground laws or if it is just a reason for racial violence.


Drug Abuse: Pathways to a Better System

Monica Gore, Megan Propati, Jeanine Sandoval, and Lennara Still
Majors: Monica – Criminal Justice and Sociology; Megan – Criminal Justice; Jeanine – Criminal Justice; Lennara – Criminal Justice
Minors: Megan – Sociology; Jeanine – Sociology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gail Caputo, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

Throughout the United States, substance abuse has been deemed an up and coming epidemic with no indication of letting up. Drug and alcohol abuse has many negative effects and is a detriment to the abuser, the family of the abuser, and society. This research project focuses on and proposes ideas for improving substance abuse issues inside of prisons and various treatment programs throughout the community, such as half-way houses, rehabs, and other treatment facilities. This project also addresses the effects of substance abuse on families, as well as analyzes family intervention programs. Finally, we discuss the casual factors for one’s dependence on psychoactive and illegal substances. We recommend an already proposed and semi-functioning program be implemented and mandated in all 50 states as well as explain how this policy could potentially reduce drug abuse rates, significantly.


Investigation of the Influence of Solvent on MEHPPV Films

Molly Grasmick
Major: Biochemisty
Minor: Biology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Georgia Arbuckle-Keil, Professor of Chemistry

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

Poly (2-methoxy-5-(2’ethylhexyloxy)-1,4-phenylene vinylene) (MEH PPV) films are of particular interest because of their electroluminescent characteristics which make this type of polymer desirable for many applications. 

MEH PPV polymer films were prepared by dissolving MEH PPV powder in different solvents (chlorobenzene, dichloromethane, chloroform, and toluene) under specific conditions (such as inert atmosphere (argon), in air, or in a vacuum desiccator).  In order to investigate the effect that the solvent had on the polymer, Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA), Infrared Spectroscopy (IR), and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) were used to evaluate the influence of solvent and film casting conditions on MEH PPV films.  Using TGA-IR instrumentation, the weight loss and decomposition of the polymer was measured during heating at various ramp rates in the TGA, while the gases expelled during decomposition were spectroscopically evaluated to determine the spectrum of gases released.  DSC techniques were used to determine what effect different solvents had on the thermal properties and behaviors of the films.  Understanding the thermal and mechanical properties of MEH PPV films is important when using MEH PPV films in various applications.  



Steven Gussman
Major: Individualized Major – Video Game Development
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robert Emmons, Associate Director of the Digital Studies Center

Nightmare is a video game that I developed as a part of a collection of related pieces (a personal essay, video game, comic, and film) for Dr. Emmons’s Iterative Digital Storytelling honors seminar.  The assignment was to produce works that were autobiographical with an emphasis on illness.  My work has been based mainly on the last couple of years of my life with a focus on OCD as well as themes such as anxiety and depression.  It was created using the Unity game engine.  The visuals are all photographs that I either took for the project or that I had already taken in the past, and they all have special meaning in terms of their subjects and uses.  Likewise, I recorded all of the audio for this game and it has special meaning, as well.  Finally, I scripted the game in C#.  It is essentially a resource management game meant to make the player feel anxious and frustrated as they perform repetitious behaviors while surrounded by an unpleasant aesthetic.


Visiting a Parent in Jail: Barriers to Families Maintaining a Relationship 

Matthew Hackman, Brenna Stone, and Candace Talley
Majors: Matthew – Psychology; Brenna – Criminal Justice and Psychology; Candace – Psychology
Minors: Matthew – Women’s and Gender Studies; Brenna – Childhood Studies; Candace – Criminal Justice
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jane Siegel, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

Studies have shown the importance of attachment and parent-child relationships and of parent-child contact during incarceration. The effects of having an incarcerated parent on children may include increased rates of physical and mental health and behavioral problems. The Philadelphia Prison System houses thousands of parents of Philadelphia-area children for months or years at a time, yet little is known about the extent of parent-child contact there or what issues might prevent such visitation. To address this gap, a survey that included 466 visitors at multiple jails ages eighteen and over was conducted.  Participants were asked a variety of questions concerning their experiences and children’s experiences at the jails. This poster highlights the barriers to maintaining a relationship with an incarcerated parent, such as age of child, transportation, caregiver employment, visiting hours, and visiting policies. These barriers need to be addressed for the wellbeing of both the children and their parents.



Sara Hawken
Major: Art
Minor: Museum Studies
Faculty Mentor: Ms. Margery Amdur, Associate Professor of Art; Mr. Bruce Garrity, Part-time Lecturer of Art; and Mr. Ken Hohing, Assistant Instructor of Art

Society norms often conflict with cultural upbringing and religious standards, and instead lean toward a materialistic and shallow surface. From an early age we are trained to look and act a certain way by the media. My own background is one of mixed beliefs as a first-generation Egyptian blended with Native American and German ancestry. The idea of identity first derived from veils, the physical coverings that women wear in Arabic culture dictated by Sharia law. When researching further, it is interesting to note that what the outside public views as a constriction is ironically believed to be a freedom by the women who wear them. In my paintings, I use layers to create the metaphorical veils we often mask ourselves with in order to appeal to the outward perspective. As a woman I am constantly applying makeup to cover flaws, putting on a face for society, covering up while also revealing what I want them to see. The women depicted in my work are doing the same. They are a reflection of myself, both literally and symbolically. Layers of transparent washes are used to create the veils, while bold, contrasting stripes cover the figure. The solid, clean lines are juxtaposed against the illustrative body forms seen in the background, further alluding to the distortion of self-image. Cecily Brown, Erik Jones, Bridget Riley, Willem de Kooning, and Beatriz Milhazes influence my art based on their aesthetics, processes, or cultural inspiration.

Natural and Regenerated Biomass Materials

Joseph Hess
Major: Chemistry
Minor: Mathematics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Salas-de la Cruz, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Most synthetic commercial and consumer based goods are derived from petroleum constituents establishing the need for sustainable and renewable technologies. The renewable nature of biological materials have led to an increase in the study of biomass components and there potential to be a valuable resource of a sustainable future. This study will evaluate naturally formed and regenerated biomass structures to better understand there structural morphology.

The materials being observed in the images from this study were taken with the LEO1450EP SEM at Rutgers–Camden. The natural products were treated with acetone, sulfuric acid or chloroform as well as thermal drying. The ionic liquid used for the polymerization of the biomass components is 1-allyl-3-methylimidasolium chloride. One of the main obstacles for economically viable bio-products is the high complexity and cost of pretreatment and fractionation processes, which depend on the structural complexities and properties of the biomass components. Understanding the morphological changes based on the regenerated biomass components will allow for a better understanding of the physical appearance of the component in nature.


Evaluating the Availability of the Female Condom in Urban Areas Disproportionately Affected by HIV in the United States

Mara Jefferies, Kaci Mial, Nina Murphy, Nicole Podwats, and Brenna Stone
Majors: Mara – Nursing and Psychology; Kaci – Psychology; Nina – Psychology; Nicole – Psychology; Brenna – Criminal Justice and Psychology
Minors: Kaci – Women’s and Gender Studies; Brenna – Childhood Studies
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Courtenay Cavanaugh, Assistant Professor of Psychology

HIV continues to be a leading cause of death for women between the ages of 15-54 in the United States. One HIV prevention method that has been promoted to prevent the transmission of HIV among women is the female condom. While the acceptability of the female condom has been studied, little is known about this product’s availability, even though the availability of the female condom is critical to the sustainability of HIV prevention interventions that promote it. Information about the availability of the female condom is particularly needed in parts of the U.S. disproportionately affected by HIV.  This study sought to examine the availability of the female condom in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which are among the top ten states reporting the highest number of HIV diagnoses in 2011.

Data about businesses that sell/provide contraception (e.g., health departments, gas stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, family planning clinics and supermarkets) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Camden County, which is located in South New Jersey, was obtained from InfoGroup. These businesses were contacted and asked about whether they sold the female condom or male condom. Descriptive statistics and geographical information systems were used to describe the female condoms availability.

Less than 1% of the 1000 businesses contacted reported selling/providing the female condom. Some employees confused the female condom with other contraception methods such as the diaphragm. Some employees also made derogatory comments to female research assistants that inquired about the availability of this product.

Women who rely on obtaining contraception in-person within the areas studied are unlikely to be able to obtain the female condom. The lack of availability of the female condom raises serious questions about the sustainability of HIV prevention interventions that promote this product. If this product is going to be considered as a serious option for reducing transmission of HIV, its availability must be improved and other factors that may influence women’s access to obtaining it (e.g., harassment and derogatory comments from providers) must also be considered.


D/deaf Writing Does: Defining D/deaf Writing as Modality

Brynn Kairis
Major: English
Minor: Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. William FitzGerald, Associate Professor of English

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

Who we are is who (and how) we write. For those populations who use script-based approaches to literate practice, their ability to communicate, share ideas, and construct their identity easily fits within traditional paradigms of what it means to be literate. Yet such definitions of “literacy” as purely script-communication can be exclusive as well as inclusive. Members of the D/deaf community often utilize a variety of non-traditional, non-script based methods to write, connect, and construct meaning. For them, the traditional definition of “literacy” has the potential to not be just exclusive, but oppressive, in its implicit denial of multimodal and performative approaches as legitimate literate practices.

“D/deaf Writing Does: Defining D/deaf Writing as Modality” seeks to identify the specific ways in which D/deaf writing pushes back against prescriptive definitions of literacy. It grounds itself in a literature review of the current and historical academic conversation regarding D/deafness and literacy, but also seeks to include the voices of D/deaf writers themselves. As such, the project utilizes primarily archival methods, examining the literacy narratives of D/deaf individuals on Ohio State’s Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives. In doing this, “D/deaf Writing Does” aims to describe the specific ways in which D/deaf writing characterizes itself as a literacy modality.


MOST – Visualization: Software for Creating Diagrams of Reaction Networks to Assist in Engineering Microbes

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

Diagrams of the chemical reactions in organisms provide a valuable visual representation of these reactions and how they interact, and hence these diagrams are widely used in biological research. Knowledge of these chemical reactions is important, for example, in biotechnology, where bacteria and other microbes are genetically manipulated to produce valuable products cheaply. There are many sources of these diagrams in textbooks and on the internet that are produced manually. Since the number of reactions that occur in organisms is very large, producing one of these diagrams manually is very time consuming, and because of this, most diagrams are generic and not organism-specific.

Mathematical models exist for many organisms and using computer programs to produce diagrams from these models would reduce the time required to produce diagrams and lead to a larger selection of diagrams for specific organisms. Programs exist that produce diagrams from these models, but most of the programs produce diagrams that are confusing and do not adequately show the interactions between reactions.

MOST-Visualization is an extension of MOST (Metabolic Optimization and Simulation Tool), a software package for engineering microbes. MOST-Visualization produces diagrams from mathematical models that are similar to those that are manually drawn, and adds additional features such as using line thickness to show the magnitudes of reaction rates, allowing the effects of genetic manipulation to be observed. MOST-Visualization produces detailed diagrams of the reaction networks of E. coli, an organism of great industrial importance, and yeast and human diagrams are under development.


Have Charter Schools Improved Outcomes for Camden Children?

Lisa Kenney and Margaret Stridick
Majors: Lisa – Psychology; Margaret – Psychology
Minor: Margaret – Human Resource Management
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Bill Whitlow, Professor of Psychology

This is longitudinal, archival research that analyzes standardized test scores for Camden students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 from 2004 through 2014 and examines the effect of Charter School funding on the Camden City School District budget.

Drawing information from the State of New Jersey, Department of Education’s archive website (http://www.state.nj.us/education/archive/assessment/) standardized test scores in all grades and all Camden schools were compiled and charted over a 10 year period. Budget information was retrieved from the Camden School District’s OPRA website and student population information was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau website. 


Improving Aspect Ratio and Angle Bounds for Elements of Quadrilateral Meshes

Fahim Khan and Mark Moore
Majors: Fahim – Computer Science; Mark – Computer Science
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Suneeta Ramaswami, Associate Professor of Computer Science

A mesh is a discretization of a geometric domain into small simple shapes. While any polygonal shape can be used to construct a mesh, triangle and quadrilateral (quad) meshes are preferred in practice for their simplicity and effectiveness.

Although triangle meshes are more widely used and understood, quad meshes offer certain advantages in particular applications that require numerical approximations for simulations of physical phenomena. For example, in applications such as medical imaging, 3D models composed of quadrilateral elements can lead to better interpretation of test results, and therefore more effective patient treatment.

Provable angle bounds and aspect ratios on the quadrilaterals which collectively comprise these quad meshes is of interest because they provide a greater level of numerical accuracy in the computational methods used for simulations. Quads that more closely resemble a square, i.e. angles closer to 90 degrees with aspect ratios closer to 1:1, are more desirable than quads that deviate from this ideal. One of the goals of our research is to develop algorithms that improve upon currently known methods of generating quad meshes with provable angle bounds and aspect ratios. The development of provably good algorithms is not only of practical importance, but also poses interesting theoretical questions.


Fitness and Mobility of Drosophila to Colder Temperatures

Mohammad Ali Khan and Alessio Russomanno
Majors: Mohammad – Biology; Alessio – Biology and Chemistry
Minor: Mohammad – Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nir Yakoby, Associate Professor of Biology

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

Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP) is the major source of energy for living organisms.  The thermoregulatory systems and physiological functions of the cell depend on the availability and metabolism of ATP.  These processes include energy utilization, growth, lifespan, locomotion, and reproduction.  A change in temperature can affect these processes, and animals leaving in different endemic climates have adapted accordingly.  To study these effects, we have chosen the mesophilic organism Drosophila.  Specifically, we focused on four species, D. melanogaster, widely spread, D. virilis, subtropical fly, D. funebris, endemic to Alaska, and D. mojavensis, endemic to desert. We specifically monitored their ATP levels, fitness, mobility, and survivability at low temperatures as an indicator of cold tolerance.  Fitness is the ability of an organism to survive and reproduce in its environment. Mobility is an organism’s ability to acquire resources necessary for survival and perform physiological functions. Survivability is the measure of the organism’s lifespan. Here, we show that as temperature decreases flies are able to increase their lifespan while down-regulating ATP production, decreasing number of progeny produced, and decreasing movement.  Of particular interest is the significantly lower ATP levels in D. funebris in comparison to the sharp decrease in D. melanogaster when transitioned from 23ºC to 13 ºC.  This trend is consistent with the mobility assay for D. funebris when transitioned from 13 ºC to 11 ºC.  Also of interest is the decline of eggs laid and progeny produced for D. melanogaster as temperature is decreased. 


Promoting Protective Factors: Testing the effects of a martial arts program on cognitive functioning of children experiencing family homelessness

Thomas Klemash
Major: Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. JJ Cutuli, Assistant Professor of Psychology

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

This project aims to understand and promote protective factors important for resilience among children experiencing family homelessness, a group that experiences high levels of adversity. Cognitive functioning, especially executive functioning, is an important factor in predicting which children do well despite experiencing homelessness. Participants were staying in an emergency shelter for families at time of participation. Relevant to the current study, parents and children (age 8 to 11 years) participated in assessments two times one month apart (Time 1 N = 19; Time 5 n = 14). The child completed cognitive assessments consisting of subscales from the Wechsler Intelligence Scale and the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WISC-4/WASI). Standard computerized assessments were also given to assess executive functioning skills. Parents reported on child demographic characteristics and how long the family has been in shelter. Attendance information detailed whether each child participated in a routinely offered martial arts program in shelter. Results did not indicate an effect of martial arts participation on cognitive functioning, neither at the initial assessment nor four weeks later.


Directly Observed Behavior is Associated with Relationship Satisfaction Among Gay, Lesbian, and Heterosexual Couples

Clair Kotula
Major: Psychology
Minors: Biology and Sociology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Christopher Nave, Assistant Professor of Psychology

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

Research on romantic couples has demonstrated the predictive relationship of observed behavior to relationship success. Previous studies have utilized highly objective measures of communication and affect scored by expert raters, with overwhelming focus on heterosexual partnerships. The present study included 198 couples of varied sexual orientation. The participants (N=396) completed the Marital Interaction Scale (MIS) and were recorded in conversation with their partners about everyday life or future health goals. The behavior of participants was coded by non-experts using the 68-item Riverside Behavioral Q-Sort (RBQ). Individual MIS scores were correlated with RBQ items within three groups (Heterosexual N=176; Gay Male N= 126; Lesbian N=94). Significant correlations were found for 25 items in all (p <.05; p <.01), with common correlations across all groups for only 2 items (“Acts irritated.” and “Exhibits condescending behavior.”) Discussion will include limitations, directions for future research, and implications for social and clinical support of couples.


Adaption of Temperature Compensation at Different Latitudes

Parth Lalakia
Major: Biology
Minor: Chemistry
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kwangwon Lee, Associate Professor of Biology

In the research study, we tested the hypothesis that temperature compensation (TC) of the circadian clock plays role in adaptation at different latitudes. To test this hypothesis, a multiple strains of Neurospora collected from different latitudes, Alaska (high) and Ivory Coast (low) were selected. To examine the molecular oscillator of the selected strains, we transformed the natural strains with a translational luciferase reporter of the key clock gene FREQUENCY (FRQ). The developmental overt rhythm was examined using the inverted race tube assay. The luciferase assay was used to measure the molecular rhythm of the transcription, translation oscillator (TTO) that is a convenient way of measurement compared to the normal race tube analysis. The results concluded from the research: temperature compensation played a role in adaptation and the decoupling mechanism of molecular oscillator and developmental rhythm is shown by experimental data.


Wax Extraction Protocol: The Use of Organic Solvents to Remove Epicuticular Wax Layer

Ashley Lewis
Majors: Biology and Philosophy
Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Salas-de la Cruz, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

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

The extraction of the wax is essential in order to accurately observe and analyze the cellular structure of the plant cell wall.  This project observed and analyzed the effects of various concentrations of acetone, ethanol, and chloroform on Dale Sweet Surghum in order to see the morphological changes of the cell wall.  ATR-FTIR, SEM and LUMOS Reflective imaging was used to gather spectra and microscopic images of the untreated and treated samples and the results were compared and analyzed.  For most concentrations, chloroform had the most impact on peak intensity and position at all key wax regions.  However, results also indicate that chloroform has interactions with plant cell walls due to its change in peak position and the images of the plant surface, thus changing the morphology.  From this, it is concluded that for samples intended for further plant cell wall study, ethanol at concentration of .6 M should be used as a sampling wax extraction, for ethanol appears to reduced wax concentration without manipulating the cell structure. 


Regenerated Tricomponent Lignocellulose Films Using 1-Allyl-3-Methylimidazolium Chloride

Ashley Lewis
Majors: Biology and Philosophy
Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Salas-de la Cruz, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

In making regenerated films, cellulose has been used in the past both for its effectiveness and its abundance as a renewable resource. However, in the natural world, cellulose interacts with other components, such as lignin and hemicelluloses, to for the structural and morphological features of plants. The regeneration of all lignocelluloses components-lignin cellulose and hemicellulose- into films has yet to be fully explored. Understanding the interactions amongst these components can give knowledge for producing films that do not necessarily need to extract cellulose but can rather incorporate all three natural components, which would create more efficient procedures for biomedical applications of regenerated films, such as scaffolding. The purpose of this investigation was to compare the structure of regenerated films with varying proportions of lignin, hemicellulose and cellulose using the ionic liquid, 1-allyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride in order to reveal further the interactions that occur between the three components once regenerated.  ATR-FTIR, SEM, TGA, and AFM were used to study whether modifications to the films structure occurred depending on the proportion of the components.  The results from these tests display that the addition of lignin and hemicellulose to the cellulose films result an increase in ionic liquid concentration within the film.  The spectral analysis showed the correlation between 1-allyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride and the regenerated film in the fingerprint region had higher similarity when the concentration of lignin was increased with a constant high level of cellulose. SEM also depicted traces of ionic liquid in the films with higher lignin content and the TGA displayed a similar trend with higher decomposition points for higher lignin and cellulose films. The increased entrapment of 1-allyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride in the regenerated lignocellulose films suggests that the high content of lignin and cellulose have strong bonding interactions during regeneration, illustrating that successful film production is contingent on the appropriate proportions of lignocelluloses components.


War, Democracy, and Terrorism: Western Globalization and Ethno-Religious Warfare in the 21st Century

Samuel Lewis
Majors: History, Political Science, and Religion
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Shaheen Ayubi, Instructor of Political Science

In recent years, the American war on terror has taken a new approach to soft-power diplomacy in the Middle East.  U.S. foreign policy, while not engaging in an isolationist foreign policy reminiscent of the 1930s, has made drastic cuts to its defense budget, thus rationing its military resources in the region.  The American withdrawal from Iraq in the mind of the terrorist was victory against its western oppressor, and as a result, this power vacuum allowed for the creation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

This terrorist organization is motivated by religious zealotry; however, it is not the only of its kind.  This project examines the terrorist mind, strategic goals, religious doctrines, and the compatibility of Islamic culture to coexist with western traditions.  Is democracy the cure to the world’s problem of Islamic fundamentalism, or is it the catalyst by which terrorist are motivated to commit acts of violence to contain the threat of western democracy and preserve the sacred precepts of Islam?


Competitive effects of a native and nonnative fish in larval salamander behavior and growth

Tiffany Lutz
Major: Biology 

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

Spring salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus) larvae are confined to streams until metamorphosis into adults. This confinement can result in intense competitive interactions with a variety of other stream organisms. These interactions can occur via exploitative or interference mechanisms with native and nonnative species. We conducted a study in artificial streams to examine the competitive effects of a native fish, Salvelinus fontinalis, and non-native fish Lepomis gibbosus, on growth and behavior of larval G. porphyriticus and survival of a shared prey, larval Eurycea bislineata. In order to separate the exploitative and interference mechanisms, we deployed four fish treatments with each fish species either free-swimming or confined with only chemical cues. A control treatment had G. porphyriticus alone. We hypothesized that competitive interactions would be strongest with the free-swimming native competitor and weakest with the chemical cues of the nonnative competitor. G. porphyriticus avoided areas with either fish competitor and growth was reduced in all treatments except in controls. Eurycea bislineata survival was reduced in all treatments, but was reduced the greatest in free-swimming S. fontinalis treatments. These results demonstrate that larval G. porphyriticus will alter their behavior to reduce encounters with both native and nonnative fish competitors. Interestingly, the free-swimming L. gibbosus effects on E. bislineata survival were not statistically different from G. porphyriticus alone treatments suggesting that the nonnative fish may not be as efficient of a predator. Overall, our findings show that competitive interactions between fish (native and nonnative) and salamanders can be complex and warrants further investigation.

Alphonse Mucha’s Job: Jean Bardou’s Legacy

Diana Maddison
Majors: Art History and History
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Pilliod, Visiting Professor of Art History

Alphonse Mucha’s Job (1896) is a lithographic color print depicting a woman with cascading locks seemingly loosing herself in a cigarette. Scholar’s interpretations immediately correlate her sexuality with the act of smoking. The Job woman’s ecstasy has been associated with the progressive movements of the femmes nouvelles in fin-de-la-siècle Paris. The equation of feminine sensuality with the act of smoking a masculine cigarette distinguishes the woman in the Job poster as a symbol of women’s liberation or independence.  The eroticized Job has also been classified as portraying a chauvinistic mindset of the predominately male Parisian consumer market. Women were commonly the subject of tobacco advertisements, associating their illicit sexuality with consumption and pleasure. As described by critics, Job thus remains an objectification of the female form. Other aspects of the poster, namely those of the stylized repeated letters “J.O.B” adorning the background of the smoking woman being advertised and the accomplishments of the company which produced the commodity, have been neglected in the literature. Overlooking Mucha’s stylization of the repeated brand name, “Job”, the social and historical significance of both the poster, Job (1896), and the cigarette paper company become sequestered by anachronistic feminist scholarship. The letters “J.O.B.” repeated throughout the backdrop of Mucha’s poster emphasize the commercial significance cigarette paper held in late 19th century France, and the Parisian pride and prosperity of modern industrial manufacturing in fin-de-la-siècle Paris. 


From Spoiler to Batgirl: Stephanie Brown’s Road to Agency

Alann Mancao
Major: Biology
Minor: English
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robert Emmons, Associate Director of the Digital Studies Center

Since her introduction in Detective Comics #647 in August of 1992, Stephanie Brown has often been seen around Batman and his associates. Stephanie is the daughter of Crystal and Arthur Brown, also known as the criminal Cluemaster. Stephanie’s vigilante career begins with her simply trying to thwart her father’s plans. Once Arthur’s plots were foiled and he was sent back to Blackgate Prison, it was thought to be the last time readers would encounter Stephanie. The character was later reintroduced in Chuck Dixon’s Robin series. Originally a supporting character, Stephanie rose to the occasion and eventually became a vigilante in her own right. However, her journey was filled with hardships, from teenage romance to starting a citywide gang war. Coming from a broken home, Stephanie Brown turns to vigilantism and finds a surrogate family with the Bat Family. Ultimately, she finds her agency by overcoming the expectations attached to male authority figures with the assistance of nurturing mother figures within the Bat Family.  


Erté’s Cover Girls

Darragh Nolan
Major: Art History
Faculty Mentor: Ms. Anabelle Rodriguez, Part-time Lecturer of Art History

In a comparison of two seasonal issues of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, this research will document 1920s fashion trends and their inspirations as they were illustrated and explained by the artist, Erté. Because the artist had simultaneously worked in fashion and theater costuming, the garments described in the Winter Fashions issue from November 1922 and Spring Fashions issue from April 1923 possess their own theatricality in visual and written contributions by Erté. The artist’s biography is largely significant to this research because his written word is consistent to a unique comprehension and explanation of memories and clothing, sometimes both appearing in a single sentence. What may be determined about his identity might also speak to the influence of contemporary artistic movements occurring in art and theater, which he also occupied.

Erté’s Harper’s Baazar illustrations will be looked at as stepping blocks from costume to fashion to fine art to determine a comparable legitimacy to the latter. In theorizing, I want to show fashion illustration has a heritage in fine art and that Erté is emerging as a corporately sponsored practitioner of the Art Deco movement.  Anthropological theory from Alfred Gell will first show Erté’s agency in nexuses with theater costume, fashion, and fine art. Sociological theory from Howard Becker and Arjun Appadurai will then consider the social and cultural recipients of Erté’s works, including him.


Logic-Gated Multienzyme Pathways Circuits

Sung Won Oh
Major: Biochemistry
Minors: Biology and Mathematics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jinglin Fu, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

In biochemical pathways, many enzyme functions are regulated by inhibition byproducts, or product feedback inhibition. In this project, artificial swinging arms are designed to channel the transfer of intermediates in multienzyme reactions. Swinging arms play important role in multi-step, catalytic transformations in multienzyme complexes. DNA logic-gated circuits will be implemented to swinging arms to control the release and activation of swinging arms to control the transport of intermediates in enzyme reactions. Logic gate circuits are composed of single-stranded DNA molecules to regulate the pathway activities and specificities. In order to regulate the multienzyme pathway, logic gate circuits will be implemented on DNA nanostructures for controlling and switching pathway activities to produce different final products depending on specific inputs. An ‘AND’ logic-gated swinging arm is designed then native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) is used to characterize the opening and closing of logic-gate circuits for release of swinging arm. Currently, DNA-based logic gated circuits for controlling swinging arms has been created with toehold design for DNA strand displacement, resulting in releasing of swinging arm. After logic-gated circuits are controlled, it will be characterized using FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer microscopy) to evaluate the release of the swinging arm and the activation of enzyme pathway by input of two key strands. Eventually, logic-gated NAD-swinging arm will be implemented onto 2D rectangular DNA origami structure and formation of structures will be characterized using AFM (atomic force microscopy) and TEM (transmission electron microscopy).


Nonresidential Father Parenting Quality and Child Outcomes in Low-Income Families

Krista Ragone
Major: Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. JJ Cutuli, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Relatively little is known about how nonresidential fathers influence their children’s development and psychopathology, and even less from the father’s point of view.  Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, I examine the longitudinal relations between nonresident father parenting quality across the child’s life, and child outcomes at age 9, namely symptoms, social skills, academics, and cognitive functioning at age nine in low income families. Father parenting quality was defined in terms of responsibility, interaction, accessibility, and warmth. Families had a child who lived with their mother in a low income household from birth until age nine and also a nonresidential father present in their life during that time. Included families had complete data from birth through age nine assessments (N = 45). Fathers self-reported parenting quality while mothers also reported on fathers’ parenting quality. These reports were uncorrelated (r = .07, ns). Controlling for mother parenting quality, child gender, average household income, and child race, father parenting quality significantly predicted child academic achievement (B = 3.49; StdErr B = 1.56; p = .03) and child cognitive functioning at the trend level (B = 0.15; StdErr B = 0.09; p = .09). Father parenting quality was not related to child psychiatric symptoms nor to child social skills. Findings are discussed in terms of family systems.


The Sierra Club and Agenda-Setting Theory

Tamari Ramishvili
Majors: Philosophy and Political Science
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Richard Harris, Professor of Political Science

The Sierra Club, the nation’s largest and most influential environmental organization is a highly visible actor in the development and implementation of environmental legislation. In order to explain the Club’s success in defending (and conservative failure in deregulating) environmental policy, I test its behavior in areas of broader policies and institutions using Non-Decision and Agenda-setting Theory. Peter Bachrach and Morton Baratz found the two most dominant theories in the study of community power, elitism and pluralism, inadequate, and famously called for a new approach to the study of power. They proposed that studying non-decisions, rather than decisions, may prove to be more useful. The agenda-setting theory, which is typically used to analyze the influence of business and economic elites, is a major contribution to the study of community power since it applies to various groups including environmental organizations. To understand this, I review the literature on non-decisions and agenda-setting and apply it to the case of the Sierra Club’s role in the 2000 national election cycle and its efforts to prevent the Reagan and Bush Administrations from weakening the Clean Air Act.


Media Policing Law Enforcement

Chelsea Reed and Heather Staley
Majors: Chelsea – Criminal Justice; Heather – Criminal Justice
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jane Siegel, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

This study was designed to determine if the media has an effect on the public’s perception of law enforcement. Through survey-based research we used a convenience sample of Rutgers University–Camden students. Participants consisted of a variety of majors, ages, races, political affiliations, as well as educational levels. The participants were asked questions about how often they watched the news or read the newspaper, where they received their news (the source), and how they felt about law enforcement- in regards to respect, fairness, honesty, treatment of minorities, treatment of wealthy, excessive force, and deadly force. Our analysis focused on whether the media had an effect on the public’s perception of law enforcement. Influential variables such as race, political affiliation, college major, and previous encounters and arrests-of the participant or someone close to the participant- affected the opinion of law enforcement.


Adsorption and Desorption of Anti-Cancer Drug 5FU on F300 MOF

Farzana Nushin Rezvi
Major: Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alexander Samokhvalov, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

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

My project proposes new fundamental experimental mechanistic research on encapsulation/adsorption and controlled release/desorption of major anti-cancer drug 5-Fluorouracil from F300 MOF.  Studies include adsorption, determination of stoichiometry and structure of adsorption complex of 5-Fluorouracil with F300, spectroscopic characterization by complementary methods, kinetic studies of controlled release of 5-FU to biological fluids.


Period-Phase Relationship in a BCI Population

Kristiana Rivera
Major: Biology
Minor: English
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kwangwon Lee, Associate Professor of Biology

When understanding and treating most circadian-rhythm-based disorders, scientists have focused and analyzed metabolic diseases based on the individual’s period as opposed to their phase. To further explain, period is the endogenous and self-sustaining biological rhythm which has a cycle persisting of roughly 24 hours under constant conditions. On the other hand, phase represents the circadian clock’s ability to be synchronized and entrained by external time cues such as a change in light and temperature. In order to measure the circadian clock regulation, this experiment will use the fungal Neurospora crassa which can be analyzed based on its asexual conidial production.

The objective of this study is to analyze the period-phase relationship using the BC1 population and classical mutants. Based on past research, this topic has grounds to disprove the dogma that period determines phase and instead show how phase acts as the driving force that determines period which would be characterized as the by-product. Several studies on the relationship have already shown flexible and wide ranged period values accompanying a more fixed and stable phase value. By focusing primarily on the phase phenotype post entrainment, this study aims to provide evidence supporting how period is but a varying byproduct dependent on a precise phase and furthermore emphasizing the need to better understand the molecular mechanism behind phase.


The Emoji Bridge

Allison Scherer
Major: English
Faculty Mentor: Dr. William FitzGerald, Associate Professor of English

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

The Emoji Bridge explores how social composers use these, originally Japanese but now world-wide “picture – (e) characters – (moji),” to articulate their social compositions. This research was conducted in response to “The Writing Lives of Students,” a survey published by Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE) which revealed, “contemporary college students are highly literate, but we lack clear and comprehensive portraits of how writing works in their lives” (Grabill et al. 2). These results mark the disparity between “millenials” and their professors, and add to a litany of problems with teaching the current comp curricula. “Gen-Millen,” is the first to be raised in a predominantly visual/digital culture, which is why I chose to analyze the emoji characters, as they have fluidly integrated themselves into our digital prose.

The avenues for gathering quantitative data were: A Facebook survey and an iMessage prompt. The Facebook survey asked users to respond to their interpretations of six popular emoji faces. The data was then organized into six pie charts which document the various emotions attached to each image. The iMessage prompt asked participants to share “good or bad news” using emoji, and was then coded to determine the syntax of emoji. Additionally an archival approach was taken using the site www.emojitracker.com, which allows visitors to view the usage and frequency of each emoji character in real time, as it is posted to Twitter.


Cellular respiration of fungal mitochondria: Neurospora crassa mutant phenotype’s correlation with mitochondria

Rameez Shahid
Major: Biology
Minor: Childhood Studies
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kwangwon Lee, Associate Professor of Biology

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

Neurospora crassa is a fungal organism that naturally grows after wildfires.  The wildtype of this species exhibits a 22 hour period of growth and a rhythmic production of ATP.  The mutant strain of this organism, characterized as the prd-1 strain, exhibits a longer period phenotype as well as a slow growth rate.  This mutant strain is not glucose compensated meaning that regardless of varying levels of nutritional media, this mutant strain will still exhibit the aforementioned phenotypes.  The underlying cause(s) of why the mutant strain exhibits this phenotype is not yet known.  Our previous hypothesis revolves around mitochondria and the metabolic oscillator as possible sites of mutation and causes of the phenotype.  With mitochondria as the main focus, respirometry was performed.  By broadly examining the cellular respiration of both wild type and prd-1 strains, we are able to either confirm or deny the hypothesis of the prd-1 strain containing mutated mitochondria.  Using different mitochondrial complex inhibitors and chemicals that assist in respiration, we examine how the effects of these chemicals differ between strains.  By determining if the cause of the prd-1 phenotype and erratic ATP production is mitochondria-related, we can come closer to finding out the true origin of this mutation.    


Directly-Observed Behaviors and Self-Esteem Among Gay Males, Lesbian Women, and Heterosexual Individuals

Alyssa Smith
Majors: Criminal Justice and Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Christopher Nave, Assistant Professor of Psychology

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

Very little research has been conducted on self-esteem and directly-observed behavior. This study seeks to explore the relationship between individuals’ reported self-esteem, and observers’ ratings of behavior. 63 gay male couples, 47 lesbian couples and 97 heterosexual couples were videotaped while interacting during a health or weight-related task. They were also asked to complete various self-report measures, include the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Research assistants coded the behavior of the participants, using the Riverside Behavioral Q-sort. Correlational analyses were conducted between the participants’ reported self-esteem, and the 68 behavioral items of the RBQ. Out of all three populations, 13 behaviors for the gay males, 6 behaviors for the lesbian women and 10 behaviors for the heterosexual individuals were found statistically significant, in relation to self-esteem. Findings and implications are discussed.


Structure Property Relationships of Carbohydrates-Protein Composite Films

John Stanton
Major: Chemistry
Minor: Mathematics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Salas-de la Cruz, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Biomass polymeric films can be used in a number of different ways, especially in the medical field and energy sector. Using carbohydrates and proteins as biomaterials for 3D printing will led to the fabrication of artificial tissues, organs, and coating for implants in the future.  In this study, ionic Liquid (IL) is used to dissolve the polymer blend and make the biofilms composite. IL as a solvent is reusable, making it cost effective. Here, we use cellulose represents the carbohydrate material component and Mori silk represents the protein material component in the composites. The 1-Allyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride (AMIMCl) is used as the IL solvent to form a 10% silk-cellulose IL solution. Final films with different ratios of silk contents from 10% to 90% in the composite film were evaluated.  The results showed complete dissolution of the cellulose and protein materials into the ionic liquids. Upon coagulation and drying, the carbohydrate-based films were evaluated by FTIR, SEM, DSC and TGA. The FTIR results provided evidence of homogenous blending of the two materials. And the peaks of silk protein beta-sheet crystalline shifted to a higher band, which indicates a change in the blend morphological structure from crystalline structure to amorphous structure due to the addition of cellulose. Furthermore, FTIR data also demonstrated that the functionalized groups of ionic liquids have connected with the blended structure during the mixing process. SEM data confirmed that the surface topology of blends changed gradually with the change of Mori silk content. The data also provided evidence of possible topological changes from an amorphous to a cylindrical-type formation at a lower content of silk (30%~50%). It is seen that at 70% of silk, the surface remains amorphous, but as it goes to 50%, a more uniformed cylindrical formation can be observed. This is critical as it provides possible evidence of intermolecular structural interactions between silk and cellulose at different mixing ratios. The possible structural changes were also observed as the decomposition temperature changed as a function of silk percentage. The TGA results showed a reduction of the decomposition temperature as compared to pure microcrystalline cellulose and silk films. This indicated that the heat transfer coefficient increased as the percent silk decreased. The different results provided evidence of a possible path to control the structure-property relations of carbohydrate/protein films. In the near future, we will determine if this stable structure in carbohydrate/protein composites is a crucial variable in controlling material properties that will result in optimal strategy for 3D printing these composite materials.


Characterization of Lignocellulosic Biomass Fractionation

John Stanton and Joshua Waters
Majors: John – Chemistry; Joshua – Biology
Minor: John – Mathematics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Salas-de la Cruz, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Lignocellulosic biomass is one of the most abundant energy-rich resources on the planet; however its full potential as a source for materials and biofuels remains hindered by high fractionation and pretreatment costs. Lignocellulose is a composite of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin that confers stability and rigidity to plant cell walls. The structural complexity that provides utility in cell walls hinders the fractionation of lignocellulose into its component resources. To understand the structural-thermal stability of lignocellulosic biomass various plant species were subjected to chemical treatments followed by analysis and characterization. Samples were treated with 0.2M and 0.6M acetone, ethanol, or chloroform to remove extractives such as waxes, or 10%, 25%, 50%, and 72% sulfuric acid to remove lignin and hemicellulose. Treatment with small organics resulted in increased thermal stability, with increases in the temperatures required for onset of decomposition, and maximum degradation, along with increased weight% loss. Sulfuric acid treatment, on the other hand, significantly decreased temperatures for onset of decomposition and isolated distinct decomposition events, due to delignification and removal of hemicellulose.


Effects of laser polarization and linear surface features on nanoparticle synthesis during laser ablation in liquids

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

Laser ablation in liquids (LAL) has become a popular, reliable method for synthesis of colloidal nanoparticles, particularly over the last decade. While the process is straightforward and many results have been produced, there is a lag in the understanding of the laser parameters necessary to optimize both the process and the resulting particles. A major contribution to this lag stems from the lack of computational models capable of simulating the complex phenomena occurring, e.g., plasma confinement and the resulting shockwave/cavitation. In this study, we observe the effects of pre-existing surface structures in reference to the incident beam’s polarization state and its effect on the produced cavitation bubble during LAL. Due to the correlation of the bubble height with its internal temperature and pressure, there is also a link between the bubble height and the ablation efficiency along with the morphology of the synthesized particles. We find that when quasi-parallel scratches exist on a bulk target, due to the need for polishing pre-ablation for consistency, their direction in respect to the beam’s polarization has an effect on the ablation efficiency. This effect is explained by the change in the target’s reflectivity and the laser’s effective penetration depth which depends on the polarization of the incident light and the angle of the electric field relative to the microridges.


Effect of Race and Ethnicity on Perceived Neighborhood Safety and Attitudes toward Crime and Violence

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**

There is a widespread belief that neighborhoods, which contain a similar racial and ethnic composition, have greater social ties as a result of similar culture and values. The following research sought to understand if a respondent’s race/ethnicity affected the respondent’s experiences and perception on how crime, violence and safety were viewed in their city. This research resulted from data associated with previously recorded interviews conducted with respondents who grew up in one of the “most dangerous cities.”  Areas of exploration included the ecological dimensions of respondent’s neighborhoods and schools, informal social control factors, and other indicators of social organization. Research and policy implications are discussed.


Big Ocean, Small World: Material Culture Across the Waves

Mary Wirth
Major: Art History
Faculty Mentor: Ms. Anabelle Rodriguez, Part-time Lecturer of Art History

In examining the material culture (the means of expressing societal beliefs through what we westerners call art) of our indigenous peoples, many casual observers can identify “Indian art,” regardless of differing subjects and styles from one tribe to another.  The Hopi are famous for their Kachinas, the Navaho for blankets and silver work, the Zuni for their lapidary skills and the Dakota for their intricate beading patterns.  Despite the dissimilarities, it all shares a certain, sometimes imperceptible characteristic that connects each tribe with all of the others. 

That paradigm changes in northern California, and continues north along the coast through Alaska.  The material culture of that region mimics that of no other Indian nation in the United States or Canada.  Approximately forty-one clans occupy the Pacific Northwest, all of which display similar means of cultural expression; carving is particularly popular.  What is striking is that while their “art” does not look much like that of other North American tribes, it is quite similar to that of indigenous peoples on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.  The material cultures of America’s Eskimo and Siberia’s Chukchi and Koryak clans bear striking resemblance to one another.  This project, however, will compare and contrast selected handiworks of the Tlingit and Haida of British Columbia with those of the Ainu of Japan.  I hope to demonstrate that over the millennia cultural diffusion may have played a part in creating a common interest among them, in design, execution and choice of materials.