Presenters • Oral Sessions


5 Room 903 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Wyatt Doyle
Zaur Rzakhanov (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Accounting and Finance, UMass Boston
Methods of Rating Corporate Social Responsibility and Their Effect on Firm Value - Proactive versus Passive

The purpose of this study is to expand the knowledge of the effect of different methods of rating corporate responsibilities on corporations.  We are specifically interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the effect of proactive action on firm value versus the effect of passive participation. Our sample consists of two sets of public corporations.  The first set is composed of companies that have sought out and received the B-corp Certification, this set is the “proactive” set.  The second set of firms are public corporations that have been listed on the KLD investment index, this set is referred to as the “passive” set.  We predict that the proactive set will see a positive correlation between achieving the B-Corp Certification and firm value.  Additionally, we predict that corporations in the proactive set will see a greater positive correlation between the B-Corp certification and firm value, than passive companies will see between listing on the KLD index and firm value.  Through comparing these relationships we will identify which type of rating has a greater positive impact on companies, and provide insight into the effect of proactive actions on firm value.


6 Room 168 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Zhane Rachard Burton
Annette Renee Chapman-Adisho (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, Salem State University
Insecure through the Lens of Black Feminist Thought

This paper takes the award-winning television series Insecure and analyzes it through a Black Feminist Thought perspective. Through using Patricia Hill Collins and other Black female scholars and historians, I will be showing how Insecure is an honest, valid portrayal of Black women. Throughout history, media depictions of Black women have been racist caricatures or steeped in oppressive stereotypes. Black women are rarely taken seriously in mainstream media. They are either the sassy Black sidekick or oversexualized. I will be taking select episodes from Insecure, and also from Issa Rae’s web series Awkward Black Girl and analyzing it through the lens of Patricia Hill Collins Black Feminist Thought.

The images of black women are monolithic and negative. White men, white women, and Black men have defined the role of Black women in society. Why ask everyone other than Black women? When Black women are defining themselves and using their voices they're debunking those stereotypes and myths. Black women are constantly seen as invisible and Insecure gives them visibility. Their voices are finally being heard.

The two seasons of Insecure result in having Black women talking about things that you normally don’t hear them discussing. Conversations about multiple partners, infertility, and having queer male partners. This is not what you see in mainstream white dominated shows.

Insecure is a show that humanizes Black women in a way that is rarely done. Creator Issa Rae shows the audience the complexity of being a Black woman navigating in a racist and patriarchal world.

7 Room 168 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Marco Tulio Moreno
Charles Prescott (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Berkshire Community College
An Exploration of the Links between the Harlem Riot of 1935 and the Ferguson Riots of 2014

This presentation explores unsettling similarities between the injustices that law enforcement has imposed on the black community in Harlem and Ferguson, and how these injustices were ultimately the causes of historical and violent riots. The Harlem Riot of 1935 occurred at the tail-end of an era now recognized as The Harlem Renaissance - a cultural, social, and artistic movement during what is considered a golden age in African American culture. It was Harlem's first race riot, and it started because the black community in Harlem were convinced that law enforcement had murdered a young boy of African American and Latin descent. The riots that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 also started due to the shooting of a young African American boy by a law enforcement officer. However, both riots occurred for reasons that go much deeper than just a singular event. The New York City mayor during the Harlem Riot issued a commission to investigate the causes of the riot, and the U.S. Department of Justice in 2014 launched an investigation into the events that surrounded the Ferguson riots. Using the information from these official report findings, as well as official news reports and scholarly articles, this presentation examines the similarities and differences between the riots that occurred in these two cities. Ultimately, the similarities are stark, marking monumental moments in history when the black community stood up against discrimination from law enforcement. 


15 Room 174 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Kaitlyn McGarvey
Rafael Fissore (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Animal Sciences, UMass Amherst
Role of TRPM7 in Embryonic Development

While it is well understood that spontaneous Ca2+ oscillations occur during the early stages of oocyte maturation, the mechanism by which Ca2+ influx occurs remains unknown. Transient Receptor Potential(TRP) channels are a family of ion channels present in many mammalian tissues. Due to our discovery that TRPM7 is functionally expressed in immature and mature oocytes as well as in 2-cell embryos, we hypothesize that TRPM7 plays an important role in regulating embryo development. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of pharmacological inhibition of TRPM7 on early embryonic development. Embryos were collected after fertilization and exposed to a TRPM7 specific inhibitor, NS8593; control embryos without exposure to the inhibitor were cultured. Another group exposed to Apamin was used to confirm that the effects of NS8593 were due to inhibition of TRPM7 and not due to inhibition of Ca2+-activated Kchannels. Cleavage rates were noted at 24 hour intervals post-collection. Addition of NS8593 at the time of collection resulted in delayed development and significant reduction in progression to the blastocyst stage when compared to the controls. This delay in development was not observed in embryos exposed to Apamin. These results indicate that TRPM7 plays an important role in early embryonic development. It remains unknown whether the reduced embryo progression is due to inhibition of Ca2+ influx alone or whether TRPM7 is required for permeability of other ions such as Mg2+ or Zn2+. Additional studies are in progress to provide insight into the temporal requirement of TRPM7 during development.

16 Room 174 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Jodie Leigh Berezin
Paige Warren (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Conservation, UMass Amherst
Social Dynamics of Male African Elephants, Loxodonta africana, in Northern Tanzania

Cooperative, non-kin male bonds are not often observed in nature, due intrasexual competition. However, bull elephants have often been observed to form bachelor groups with rare occurrences of aggression. This study focused on the dynamics of social structure within male groups across the wet and dry season within the Tarangire Manyara Ecosystem and Serengeti Ecosystem, each incorporating varying levels of protection. This study focused on determinants of group size, aspects of male social grouping and age cohort structure. Male elephant group size was dependent on protected area and season but not habitat. The largest group sizes were found in Manyara Ranch, suggesting its importance as a bull area. Average group sizes were higher in the dry season compared with the wet season.Small, medium and full adult bulls were all more likely to be found in bachelor groups, as opposed to solitary, indicating a high level of sociality among bulls. Small males were almost always found to be associated with older bulls within bachelor groups, suggesting the importance of older bulls in male society. Musth and the number of females was not correlated with male group size. Male elephant sociality appears to be complexwarranting future research to better understand the nature of these relationships. Information such as this will be valuable in constructing conservation plans, encompassing diverse aspects of male elephant dynamics.


19 Room 809 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Rusheika Tyneka Gordon
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
E(race)ure of Women of Color: The Invisible Genocide in the United States

The United States is currently in a state of genocide, even though the Colorblind Era in which we are currently refutes this idea. The continual policing of non-whites, particularly, Black and American Indian women through the criminal justice system, the media and in reproductive rights is a product of white supremacy whose plight is erased and dismissed. White supremacy maintains its core agenda of racial domination and the extermination of the Black and American Indian race by reshaping its tools of race, racism, patriarchy, and whiteness to adapt to the social context of what the state wants. Using available literature on mass incarceration, the regulation of reproduction and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement, I examine the historical and sociological framework of how race and gender still permeate to divide and conquer.  Additionally, I will showcase how detrimental the male-oriented focus on the effects of white supremacy in the Black American community, specifically, reinforces whiteness and patriarchy.

20 Room 809 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Irina Grigoryeva
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst

Fallen Women - Unchaste, Updated, and Uprising: Laws That Stigmatize Female Sexuality through the Guise of Female Protection

Women’s bodies have been politicized and rendered an issue of public concern; their rights to bodily autonomy, sexual expression, and reproduction have been overpowered by patriarchal norms of appropriate female behavior. These norms have historically upheld the standard of female chastity, labeling any woman who has sex or expresses her sexuality a deviant. In the United States, these norms continue to be utilized in the creation of laws that limit women’s right to choose how to exercise their sexual freedoms. Unfortunately, these limitations are often not seen as explicit ways of controlling women’s agency, because, in an attempt to remedy the discrimination that women face, the government enacted laws that appear to protect women from various harms upon their sexuality. In reality, these laws continue to uphold the standard of female purity that defined colonial America. While seemingly protecting all women, these laws view “unchaste” women as undeserving of protection, which continues the oppression that women have experienced since the conception of this nation. This thesis focuses on three of these laws: the reproductive right to an abortion, rape shield law, and revenge porn law. It discusses the histories in which these laws are rooted and illustrates how they came to be repressive. This thesis also comments on contemporary women’s rights movements and critiques the manner in which women’s rights advocacy emerges, burns brightly, and quickly disappears, leaving women once again marginalized in society.

21 Room 809 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Joshua M. Hendriks
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Minority Report: How Perceived Psychological Threat Has Shaped American Prejudice and Policy

The United States of America is marred by its historical and continued subjugation of its diverse ethnic communities. This subjugation, however, is not universal. It is dynamic and affects each minority community differently. From criminalizing the existence of Black Americans, politically co-opting the Asian American ethnic experience, and creating legal justification for stealing the lands of American Indians, to the cross-racial use of eugenics, each ethnic out-group community has faced a different form of terror perpetrated by the in-group government. This paper examines prejudice in America as a response to the psychologically perceived threat of minority groups. By using existing literature on the psychology of prejudice, the oppressive actions undertaken by the United States government, and our founding charters, I argue that prejudice is a fear of the cultural differences between individuals and a resistance to change. In concluding this paper, I argue that these prejudiced policies have served only to hurt America, as they stymie our growth and development as a society by cutting us off from the ideas, beliefs, and experiences of our fellow Americans. 

22 Room 809 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Jovanna Lee Mason
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Stop Being Poor: The Vilification of Black Single Mothers and 1996 Welfare Reform

Ideology has long-shaped policy in the United States, yet politics often hides the biased rhetoric that largely influences decisions. Racial, gender, and class stereotypes have been used over centuries to blame the poor for their economic position. Focuses on behavioral and moral explanations of poverty guide policy choices, rather than encompassing solutions to structural barriers. These arguments are heavily based in prejudice. Facially neutral policy hides racist, classist, and sexist claims. Welfare reform of 1996 clearly used an individual shaming process to enact policy in reaction to stereotypes about welfare recipients. Historical shaming of the poor coordinated with racial biases and gender illusions. Provisions directly followed prescribed beliefs about black single mothers on welfare in particular, leading to disparate policy outcomes condemning these women. The Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act of 1996 manifested these stereotypes under embedded rhetoric that emphasized work requirements, family values, and time limits for poor families on welfare. Using available literature on welfare reform and perceptions of welfare recipients, I conclude that black single mothers faced intersectional discrimination that materialized in 1996 welfare reform.

23 Room 809 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Samantha Teressa La Penna
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
"Death by Education": Systemic Racial Oppression and the School-to-Prison Pipeline

This paper examines the detrimental effects of federal policies, especially those within education, on minority youth in the United States. Termed the "school-to-prison pipeline," this phenomenon works in such a way that a door to a classroom has become a door to a prison cell. Landmark Supreme Court cases normalized violence in education toward African American youth. Policy changes, under the guise of striking down on drug activity, fostered the mass incarceration of minorities. Educational policies favoring security over literacy funneled youth into the very same pit of mass incarceration. Rates of racial bias, under these policies, have skyrocketed and contributed to a prison-for-profit industry. With such an abysmal situation fattening the pockets of those in charge, solutions seem nonexistent. And, yet potential tweaks to policy, methods of school resolution, and improving teacher education offer a start. 

24 Room 809 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Rachel Ann Lloyd
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Can All Students Succeed? Inequity in Education under the NCLB and ESSA

In 2015, President Obama authorized the Every Student Succeeds Act to replace the No Child Left Behind Act. The latest education policy significantly diminishes the decision-making power of the federal government and shifts power to the state level. The shift was instigated by the flawed NCLB legislation, which compromised the educational success and psychological well-being of marginalized students. Despite the ESSA’s attempt to remediate these concerns, inequity in education persists. This is due to provisions in the ESSA that allow for inequity in funding and disparities in high-quality educators. Using the available literature, I examine how the ESSA differs from its predecessor. Additionally, I analyze state implementation plans to illustrate how state discretion over education policy will not allow all states to attain the overarching goals of ESSA legislation, as state plans illustrate varying levels of commitment to minority student education. Ultimately, I conclude that federal education policy continuously fails to provide marginalized youth with the best education. In effect, the government must revise ESSA legislation in a way that will grant more power to the federal government to hold states accountable while allowing states to determine which pathway their policies should lead. Lastly, I suggest that until larger systemic issues such as social and economic inequalities are addressed, the achievement gap between non-marginalized and marginalized groups will not close. Until these issues are resolved, education policy will remain a short-term strategy to reduce disparities in achievement. 

25 Room 809 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Dillon MacInnis
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst

The War on Consciousness: American Policies Ignore the Nature of Drug Use

American drug policies fail to acknowledge pragmatic models of drug use and addiction. Most users do not harm themselves or others with their use, and in fact, many use drugs to deliberately induce mental states that they perceive to be advantageous in their lives. Drug use itself does not cause addiction. Furthermore, those struggling with an addiction to drugs remain able to make rational decisions and to live fulfilling lives. However, since the early part of the twentieth century, federal policies have tried to eradicate some drugs from America through criminalization while allowing pharmaceutical companies to sell equally harmful products. As a result, some people think of drug users and addicts as morally corrupt regardless of the real harm done to society by their use. A revamping of federal criminal policies during the Reagan Administration initiated the development of a system of mass incarceration in the United States that is unmatched in the rest of the world. Further, the percentage of prisoners that are minorities is much greater than their percentage of the whole population. It is only by ignoring the true nature of drug use and addiction that these policies have been possible. American policymakers need to rethink their positioning of drugs in society if they are going to prescribe rational legislation.

26 Room 809 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Carly Elizabeth Williams
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
In Whose Best Interest? How Public Universities Ignore, Oppress, and Exploit Black Bodies

State governments founded land-grant public universities with money raised from the sale of  land systematically stolen from American Indians, the theft of which was confirmed in shady and biased cases heard by the Supreme Court. However, the social contract of these public universities preaches accessibility and equity for all constituents of the states. This hypocrisy and innate disconnect between the reality of the creation of these public universities and the vision has perpetuated systematic and institutionalized white supremacy into the current day. Now, public universities have inadequate minority representation and fail to live up to their promise. This is examined in this honors thesis by using five land-grant public university case studies. The structure of these universities continues to oppress and exploit black students through the maintaining of racist imagery, special admissions procedure for ex-felons, and mistreatment of black male student-athletes.

27 Room 168 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Margaret Elizabeth Reynolds
Jason M. Kamilar (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Anthropology, UMass Amherst
Popular Education and Direct Action Related to Militarization and Nuclearization

This summer, I worked with The American Friends Service Committee as it transitioned to become The Resistance Center (TRC). One of my projects was uncovering the contract details of the federal discretionary budget for defense. I found that much of the budget and many of the jobs are allocated to weapons production. An irony is that Massachusetts - a state known for its leftism - receives disproportionately large funds for military projects. Residents are being employed by the military industrial complex in spite of their expressed political values.

My current project similarly deals with militarization. TRC has joined forces with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). ICAN accepted the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for their work done on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons - an international treaty which makes nuclear weapons illegal. I have been helping with research and popular education. I expand on existing knowledge of the connection between nuclearization, militarization, and international socioeconomic disparities/ social injustices and develop ways to effectively relay that information.

Through participation in the campaign by divesting from companies that are directly involved in nuclear weapons production (like Honeywell), individuals, organizations, municipalities, states, and eventually the nation will put pressure on the companies to switch to acceptable alternatives. The hope is that residents can be building solar panels instead of Trident Missiles. Part of the presentation will be on my experiences with the organization at a Peace March and possibly at a UN conference.

28 Room 809 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Jill S. Banach
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst

Thirsty for Access and Affordability: Drinking Water Disparities in the United States

The United Nations has declared access to drinking water and sanitation a human right; however, drinking water disparities continue to distress global geographic regions. These disparities, specifically access to safe, reliable, and affordable water, should not be isolated as problems of the developing world. Hundreds of communities throughout the United States are facing issues of water inequality as agricultural and chemical contamination increases, aging infrastructure degrades, and water scarcity intensifies. The prioritization of capital interests over human rights concerns intersects with historical marginalization and environmental conditions to create a disproportionate water accessibility burden on low-income and minority communities. Water is to be used as a medium through which we can observe and analyze the coexistence of environmental and social inequalities within the United States. This honors thesis focuses on the physical infrastructure that brings water to the tap, or does not, and the legal framework that shapes accessibility. Proposed solutions derived from public policy and strengthened community capacity are also addressed in the conclusion of this paper. As the United States continues to evolve, basic human rights, such as water, must be ensured through sustainable development that recognizes the importance of the economy, environment, and social equity.  

29 Room 809 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Mark Donald Hochberg
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Same-Sex Subjugation: A Heteronormative Legal Framework

This research compiles different sects of the judicial system in which gay men and lesbian women interact with the law, including criminal law and family. By understanding the different experiences, it quickly becomes apparent that the legal framework is built and maintained to marginalize the gay and lesbian community. In the strife for a more equal society, these laws must be understood, and, more importantly, their history must be understood. Institutional homophobia dates back to the roots of this nation. Using peer-reviewed journal articles and quantitative and analytical research, it becomes clear that the way in which gay men and lesbian women interact with the law differs from how heterosexual people interact with it. While the quick pace of societal change for the gay and lesbian community limit the availability of research pertinent to recent events, the historical record helps paint a telling picture. Combining the ideas of sodomy laws, marriage laws, and custody laws, it is understood that in order to reach equality under the law, judicial discretion must be limited, new legal definitions must be adopted, and new political actors must be put in place to advocate for change.

30 Room 809 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Benjamin Nitschelm
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Civil Forfeiture: Immoral and Corrupt

Civil forfeiture is a policy theoretically created to disincentivize drug trafficking. It gives law enforcement agencies the power to seize private goods without even charging their target of a crime. However, in practice, this process has been ineffective and in many cases unjust. Civil forfeiture as a whole has flown under the average American’s radar for far too long. It incentivizes misuse by the police and was founded on racist policies. The protections provided to citizens during a typical forfeiture proceeding are relatively nonexistent, and as a result many egregious cases of this law’s use have occurred in recent years. Throughout this thesis I examine the historical evolutions of this procedure as well as the backwards incentives it creates. In addition, I continue to outline arguments for and against this procedure on a moral and legal level, and finally, offer policy suggestions from both myself, and legal scholars.

32 Room 903 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Lisa Wirada Servaes
Timothy Lang (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Mixed-Heritage Identity in Thailand

My honors thesis explores the themes of national, cultural, and individual identity in the context of luk khruengs in Thailand. “Luk khrueng” is a Thai term that directly translates as “half-child,” and has been used to refer to anyone with part-Thai heritage, although it is most commonly used to refer to the child of a Thai and a Western parent. The luk khrueng identity is interesting to explore because it occupies the cross-roads between Thai and Western identities. Their heightened presence illustrates the results of an increasingly globalized world, and their presence is intriguing when considering Thailand’s historic love and hatred of Western influence. Western expatriates will never be accepted as “Thai” because their physical appearances directly mark them as “non-Thai,” but as they continue to have children with Thais, their children’s identities will be contested because of the ways Thai society will interpret their appearance and ancestry. The purpose of my research is thus to broaden understandings of how this group manages and experiences its identity in Thailand and abroad. Loosely structured interviews were conducted with five self-identifying luk khruengs who live either in Thailand or in the West in order to gain personal stories and perspectives. The analysis of these interviews shows how luk khruengs are able to take advantage of both their Thainess and their Westernness in varying contexts.


34 Hadley Room 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Kevin McManus
Jarice Hanson (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
Perceptions of Architectural Design in Social Media

Houzz is a U.S.-based website that contains both a collection of residential design ideas in the form of photographs and a community of homeowners and design professionals.  The website receives over 40 million monthly unique visitors and is seen as the 21st century replacement for traditional “home and garden” publications, such as magazines and books.  This paper will explore the role that Houzz plays in the realm of home design and the shortcomings of an online resource that privileges design ideas based on favorable Yelp-style reviews, likes, and paid sponsorship and results in a homogenized pool of design solutions.  The paper will make recommendations on improvements to the Houzz interface and business model in the interest of promoting a nuanced approach to architectural design.


35 Room 909 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Megan Knight
Brian J. Cruz Perez
Mary Beth Czupryna-Grodzicki
Samantha Harris-Lariviere
Kate Kaehn
James H. Kellner
Erick J. Velez-Feliciano
Kenneth Chatel (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Art, Holyoke Community College
The Tapestry Service-Learning Project: A Graphic Design Collaboration

The Tapestry Service Learning project offers the students of Art 257 an opportunity to align our design skills with the mission of Tapestry while gaining real world experience. The purpose of this project is to produce a catalog for Tapestry’s community outreach, education, and fundraising. Tapestry is a non-profit agency providing community-based health services, including sexual and reproductive health, overdose prevention, HIV health and prevention, syringe access and disposal, and WIC family nutrition: areas of healthcare that are vulnerable in today’s political climate. With sites in seven locations throughout Western Massachusetts, Tapestry’s services benefit a large community, providing respect and compassion to those in need. The finished project will be a 20-page catalog that includes a comprehensive company profile, as well as information about services provided, statistics, testimonials, a timeline of Tapestry’s 45-year history, and gifting opportunities. Elements of the catalog include icons, photography, copy writing, and information design, and will undergo an extensive revision and collaboration process. Learning to work alongside Tapestry’s corporate identity has guided our designs, and has provided us with a launching point from which to develop this project. Upon completion, we will provide Tapestry with a major marketing tool. With this, they will be able to tell their story and attract support for their mission, while also raising awareness. In practical terms, the catalog will also serve as a template which can be updated for years to come, offering a sustainable fundraising tool. Through this project, we hope to make positive change in our community while advancing our skills as designers.

36 Room 174 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Hannah Beth Ferrante
Brian Bishop (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Art, Framingham State University
Reconsidering Gender through Craft

This thesis paper will investigate the reasons why work associated with women’s craft is devalued. This theme will be explored through a history of art resulting from a heteronormative society, specifically through the exclusion of certain mediums in the fine arts world such as watercolor, embroidery, and fiber arts. The intersection of this tradition with that of domestic craft will also be examined in order to outline the stigmas that have evolved, which in turn lead women artists to re-appropriate craft as a feminist tool.

The employment of the same visual language in work produced by artists of other genders will be explored in order to discern if craft mediums carry the same impact when connected to various  gender identities. Discussion of contemporary art coupled with views of gender identity will make evident that this feminist proclamation of craft must progress past normative identity to something other than feminine or masculine.

37 Room 808 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Helen Nora Xi Austin
Martha Taunton (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Art, UMass Amherst

Teaching to Learn through Exploration

As an Art Education student, I have been concluding my spring practicum experience through teaching, writing lesson plans and attending Art Education Seminars. During my course of study, I have been enrolled in seminars that have introduced me to teaching approaches for art, specifically the Reggio Emilia approach. This greater interest in the approach began when I had the opportunity to complete a summer internship in the Art Studio at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art where the drop-in art space offers guests materials and tools that encourage open-ended exploration and projects that promote personal expression.

While experiencing a public school’s art curriculum, teaching has encouraged me to create lessons that work around restrictive elements such as limited materials. While creating these lessons I have taken some of the broad principles and ideas from Reggio and applied them to how I designed, introduced and documented projects.

During my Honors Project, I planned three art lessons where I adapted principles of Reggio Emilia and taught the lessons in three different environments. This project served as a self-evaluation of my art education knowledge, my ability to modify the concepts developed in the Reggio Emilia approach, and my understanding of children and the way they learn.  During my research, I reflected on how this approach worked with different ages, classrooms, and in different contexts. I will share my reflections, pictures and stories of how I have learned to facilitate art making with the Reggio Emilia Approach.

38 Room 917 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Elizabeth Anne Ogle
Jennie-Rebecca Falcetta (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Liberal Arts, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Odysseus: Much-Turned or Much-Turning?

Homer’s Odysseus is often presented as the quintessence of the war-weary soldier who just wants to go home. He’s a model leader, husband, and father—or is he? In a recent interview published in The New York Times, British Classicist Emily Wilson (the first woman to translate Homer’s epic into English), discusses the foundational implications of Odysseus’ ambiguous epithet, polytropos (literally “many turns”), and whether it is better translated as “much-turned,” or “much-turning.” This raises an important question: is Odysseus’ decade-long delay due entirely to the contrasting agendas of the gods and monsters, or is the man himself in part to blame?

To create dialogue surrounding this question, I designed and created an artist’s book with five illustrations recalling Greek red-figure vase painting in color, texture, and decorative border. The book is bound in meander style, and when spread flat, makes the shape of a Greek key, echoing the epic’s motifs of the meandering voyage and of the sea. Each illustration explores the nature of one of Odysseus’ many setbacks, depicting him as increasingly involved in his own detainment and thus encouraging the viewer to question whether or not Odysseus fully merits the veneration bestowed upon him by conventional scholarship. My presentation will discuss each illustration alongside the textual evidence upon which it is founded.

Analysis of Odysseus’ character goes straight to the heart of the western literary canon. Are we inclined, as the Homeric Greeks perhaps were, to exaggerate virtue and overlook vice in our literary heroes?

43 Room 803 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Shane Patrick Barlow
Robert I. Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Taboo in the Films of Yorgos Lanthimos

This research essay examines the films of Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos from the perspectives of film studies and psychoanalytical studies of taboo and mythology. Lanthimos uses various cinematic techniques to distance the world within his films from our everyday lives. This distancing from our everyday reality allows him to make profound connections to the deepest taboos within society and humanity as a whole. Through comedy and the creation of a seemingly unrealistic world, Lanthimos cuts deeper into the human experience, similarly to how ancient myths are clearly not real, yet can connect to the deepest elements of human experience. I have studied each of Lanthimos’s four feature films in detail, and have drawn connections between his work and the work of Sigmund Freud regarding taboo. Through this method we can understand more about human nature, our fear of addressing taboos, and the ways cinema can break through those fears and bring its audience to a greater understanding of human experiences and emotions which are usually undiscussed. This essay will help form a greater appreciation for Lanthimos’s great contributions to cinema, and for other great works which use similar methods to explore taboos which we can be too afraid to examine directly. 


51 Room 808 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Jacie N. Cloutier
Erika Schneider (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Art History, Framingham State University
Fuel for the Journey: Food, History, and Mexican American Identity in Betsabeé Romero’s El Vuelo y Su Semilla

In the installation El Vuelo y su Semilla (The Flight and its Seed), contemporary Mexican artist Betsabeé Romero utilizes modern and pre-Hispanic imagery along with the cultural power of food to represent the adversity faced by Mexican immigrants, while celebrating a shared history and cultural identity. Romero explores themes of migration, heritage, globalization, and the lives of Mexican immigrants, and attempts to make sense of this blend of cultures with her multimedia installation.

This paper examines Romero’s use of food in El Veulo y su Semillia as a symbol for the hardships faced by Mexican immigrants, as well as the enduring strength of Mexican culture. One work in the installation, Atropellando Maíz, juxtaposes a pile of kernels with rubber tires carved with relief images of Aztec glyphs to highlight conflicts over indigenous farming rights and the promise of a better life in encroaching urban centers. Another work, Meses el Aire, combines traditional Pueblan pottery and Mexican cookbooks with quotes from Gabriel García Máquez’s touchstone novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, illustrating the conflict that causes people to migrate, and the heritage that they bring with them when they leave their homeland.

Romero taps into our universal understanding of the joy and pain of food to communicate the complex emotional journey of Mexican migration, uniting immigrants in their struggles and finding strength in their shared cultural heritage. 

52 Room 808 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Constance Roberts
Christine Ho (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Art History, UMass Amherst

A Landscape in Flux: Emily Carr’s Zunoqua of the Cat Village and the Moment of Colonization

This paper examines the reception and understanding of First Nations culture in white colonizing society using scholarly writings about the reception of art from non-western art to analyze writings and paintings from Emily Carr’s contemporaries and photos from exhibitions that Carr participated in. Emily Carr is recognized as an iconic Canadian artist and writer, known for her paintings of the British Columbian landscape and her award-winning book Klee Wyck. During her lifetime, however, Carr did not receive national recognition for her paintings of First Nations culture. She worked alone in her home province of British Columbia, isolated from artistic circles in eastern Canada. In 1932, Carr painted Zunoqua of the Cat Village, showing an abandoned First Nations village overrun by vegetation.  The painting captures the colonization of British Columbia and expresses the tension between Carr’s position as a white woman and her genuine interest in ethnographic preservation of First Nations’ culture.  This tension enlivens her painting but undermined her aspirations for artistic recognition by subjugating her work to that of the Group of Seven, the predominant modern painters in Canada. Her position as a white woman undermined the ethnographic value of her work; as a member of colonizing society, she could not accurately portray the First Nations culture. Examining the expression of colonization in an iconic Canadian’s art draws attention to the exclusion of First Nations people from not only politics but also art.

53 Room 808 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Heather Walker
Erika Schneider (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Art History, Framingham State University

Paradise Found: Malinalco Monastic Iconography and the Concept of Heaven in Sixteenth-Century Mexico

The concept of depicting Heaven and heavenly space are tremendously diverse cross-culturally; however in post-conquest Mexico the philosophies of the native Mexica people and the Spanish friars united collectively in a unique way. The town of Malinalco, Mexico boasts a superior example of this distinctive vision, contained in the lower cloister walls of the Augustinian monastery built in the 1570’s. Monochromatic in color, the garden paradise murals depicted in the inner passageways of the monastery, combine both European and Nahua artistic styles as well as iconography important to both cultures. Flora and fauna native to both places are included in the iconography of the garden murals and highlight the imagined utopian world that represented Heaven for both the native and European contingencies that inhabited the area.

The native painters, in collaboration with the Augustinian friars, used the iconography sacred to the Aztec people in the space where the Catholic friars lived and worked. Close study of the images help define the hybridity of both the religious and cultural iconography that created a representation of heavenly paradise for both the Nahua and the Spanish. Color, so prevalent in examples of Heaven depicted in Spanish art, is rendered down in these murals to four basic colors. The selection of a restricted palette of colors from the perspective of the Aztecs is used to support the reasons why the murals encompassed so much of the Aztec iconography and symbols.


66 Room 174 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Lynn Chuong
Karen A. Dunphy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Animal Sciences, UMass Amherst

BALB/c Mammary Gland Proliferative Response to Acute Benzophenone-3 and Propylparaben Treatments

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the US and worldwide. Breast cancer is also a leading cause of death in middle-aged women [1]. Prolonged exposure to increased levels of estrogen is known to lead to a higher risk of breast cancer in women [2]. Recent concerns have emerged amongst the public about the possible negative effects of environmental chemicals that may have estrogenic effects.  Benzophenones and parabens are known xenoestrogens, and are believed to exhibit some estrogenic effects [3,4,5]. Both are common environmental chemicals used in pharmaceuticals, fragrances, plastics, cosmetics, and more [3,4]. These compounds are detectable in women at higher concentrations than in men, specifically benzophenone-3 (BP3) and propylparaben (PP) [4,6]. Therefore, these xenoestrogens have the potential to contribute to breast cancer risk.

My hypothesis is that treatments with BP3 and PP will elicit proliferation and other estrogenic effects. Therefore, our objective is to compare the proliferative responses of orally administered BP3 and PP relative to 17-b-estradiol (E2) and control oil in the mammary glands of ovariectomized mice. Our preliminary data show that treatment with E2 increases serum levels of estrogen and the expression of progesterone receptor and amphiregulin in the mammary gland relative to control oil. Surprisingly, neither BP3 nor PP treatments increased these proliferative markers. We conclude that BP3 and PP do not induce the expression of these two common estrogen receptor target genes.

67 Room 174 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Olivia Michaels
Sulaiman Abdul-Hadi
Deana A. Beaulieu
Daniel Keefe
Irene Barbosa Oliveira
Frankie Nelson Rodriguez
Kimberly Stieglitz (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Science and Engineering, Roxbury Community College

Inhibition of Monoamine Oxidases (MAOs) by Green Tea Extracts

Monoamine oxidase (MAO) performs deamination of amines and is located at the outer membrane of the mitochondria at high-concentration in neuronal cells. There are two isoforms of MAO: MAO_A which oxidizes serotonin, noradrenaline and adrenaline, and MAO_B which oxidizes dopamine, b-phenylethylamine (PEA), and benzylamine. Changes in MAO activity occur in some central and peripheral nervous system diseases. More specifically, heightened MAO_B activity in the brain occurs in Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s disease as well as normal aging. Abnormal MAO_A activity has found to be associated with depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders. Drugs have been developed and continue to be developed for both MAO_A and MAO_B as targets. MAO_A is inhibited potently by clorgyline and MAO_B is inhibited by pargyline. Using these inhibitors as controls, a fluorescent activity assay was performed with commercially available catechins (green tea extracts). p-Tyramine substrate was used for MAO_A and MAO_B.  The assay was performed to investigate and confirm recent studies that suggest that green tea catechins (polyphenols) may be preventative for certain degenerative diseases and emotional illnesses.  The commercial catechins tested were found to have IC50s in the low-to-mid µM range (~50-750 µM). Efforts to purify catechins are underway to repeat these studies. Molecular docking of specific catechins into the MAO_A and MAO_B active sites resulted in binding constants in the low µM range (in agreement with experimentally determined Km values for natural substrates). Crystallization studies of MAO/catechin complexes are in progress.

68 Room 174 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Milo Ray
Dong Wang (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UMass Amherst
Characterizing Nitrogen Sensing and Signaling in Medicago truncatula Nitrogen Fixation

The study of legumes - plants capable of entering into symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria to manufacture their own nitrogen fertilizer and enrich their environment - is a step forward on the path towards more sustainable agricultural practices through a decrease in reliance on chemical fertilizers.

Legumes form root organs called nodules to house their bacteria symbiont (rhizobia). The host plant supports the nodules with photosynthates and nutrients from the phloem and with leghemoglobin, a protein which circulates in the nodule maintaining the necessary oxygen levels for nitrogen fixation. Free-living rhizobia enter the nodule through tunnel-like structures called infection threads. Once inside host cells they elongate and differentiate forming symbiotic organelles known as bacteroids and produce ammonia which is exported from the roots to support the host plant.

To study legume-Rhizobium symbiosis, a genetic approach in the model plant Medicago truncatula is employed. M. truncatula fix-minus mutants have the capacity to form nodules when inoculated with rhizobia, but failure at any point in the process of symbiosis precludes them from fixing nitrogen. Fix-minus mutants typically have small white nodules unlike the large pink nodules seen in wild-type, as once the host plant senses the nodules are nonfunctional it stops supporting them with nutrients and leghemoglobin.

Recently, we discovered certain fix-minus mutants will maintain large pink nodules outwardly similar to wild-type when grown with low levels of exogenous nitrogen, despite symbiosis having failed and the nodules being incapable of producing nitrogen.

77 Room 803 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Jesse Taylor Arsenault
Elizabeth Vierling (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UMass Amherst

Mitochondrial ATP Synthase Subunit D, a Component of the Peripheral Stalk, Plays a Key Role in Normal Growth and Male Gametophyte Development in Arabidopsis thaliana

As global temperatures rise and crops are threatened by a changing climate, a thorough understanding of plant development, stress response, and energetic allocation is increasingly relevant.  As a major site of energy production in all cells, mitochondria play a crucial role in these processes, even in plants, where chloroplasts also produce energy.  Mutations in mitochondrial enzymes can have advantageous and deleterious effects on development and stress response.  We investigated the role of the d subunit of mitochondrial F1FO-ATP synthase in the modulation of pollen development and abiotic stress response. F1FO-ATP synthase is large protein complex comprising multiple subunits, and produces ATP for use in other parts of the cell. The d subunit (gene name:  ATPQ) is a structural component of the "peripheral stalk", linking the rotary and catalytic sections of ATP synthase.  We isolated a T-DNA knockout and generated RNAi knockdown mutants of ATPQ in Arabidopsis thaliana, and characterized transmission of the knockout allele between generations, its effect on pollen development, and its impact on the growth phenotype of Arabidopsis.  We also investigated the effect of the knockdown mutants on heat and oxidative stress responses.  Without exception, the T-DNA knockout causes premature death in the male gametophyte, and the RNAi mutation impairs normal growth significantly.  These results confirm the essential role played by the d subunit in plant growth and development, particularly of the male gametophyte.  

78 Room 803 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Constantine Petridis
Lila Gierasch (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biochemistry, UMass Amherst

Studying the Interaction between the Nucleotide-Binding Domain of DnaK and Its Nucleotide Exchange Factor GrpE

Hsp70s are a family of highly conserved proteins that assist a large variety of protein folding processes and help deter the onset of neurodegenerative disease. Hsp70s consist of a nucleotide-binding domain (NBD) and a substrate-binding domain (SBD) joined together by a flexible linker. Substrate accessibility to the SBD binding pocket is determined by the nucleotide-binding state of the NBD. In vivo, Hsp70s interact with nucleotide exchange factors (NEFs), which facilitate the exchange of ADP for ATP, and consequently peptide release.

The structural details of the interactions between Hsp70s and NEF’s have been extensively studied by x-ray crystallography. However, this method lacks the ability to observe conformational changes that occur within the proteins because of their interaction. Using solution NMR spectroscopy our goal is to identify the conformational changes that the NBD experiences. To study these interactions, we use DnaK, an E.coli Hsp70 homolog and its NEF GrpE.

Surprisingly the results from our NMR experiments suggest that the interaction between the chaperone and its NEF is different from observations in a previously published crystal structure of the DnaK-GrpE complex (PBD ID: 1DKG), pointing to an alternative mode of binding. To explain these discrepancies, we created single residue mutations in the NBD to observe their effect on the ability of DnaK to bind GrpE. Interestingly one of our mutants, A288E, which is located both away from the GrpE-NBD interface and the nucleotide-binding site of the NBD appears to inhibit ATP association. We are carrying out experiments to test how this residue affects GrpE-NBD complex formation and ATP affinity for the nucleotide-binding pocket. 

Constantine Petridis, Alexandra Pozhidaeva, Lila Gierasch

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, MA 01003


79 Room 908 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Ryan Abraham Durgham
Laura Reed (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
Why Tuberculosis Won’t Just Fade Away: The Rise of Multi-drug Resistant Tuberculosis

This thesis aims to raise awareness of the growing need for further research and funds dedicated to curbing the global tuberculosis epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  has developed a mathematical model published in July 2017 that projects that India, Russia, South Africa, and the Philippines – four of the highest burden tuberculosis countries – will be faced with an increasing portion of multi-drug and extensively drug resistant tuberculosis, even as the overall tuberculosis infection numbers are projected to drop. This model assumes that the level of detection and treatment efficacy remains constant in these countries. This thesis will offer a critical analysis of this model, and contrast what it offers to the fields of medicine and public health with what is needed to improve the management of tuberculosis. This thesis will also investigate the perception of tuberculosis in the United States via a systematic analysis of media coverage of tuberculosis. The key to controlling tuberculosis at this point, seems to me to be raising awareness of the magnitude of the disease’s burden globally and to translate increased awareness to increased funds for research and development.

80 Room 908 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Dylan Rogers
Liza Harrington (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Library, Greenfield Community College
Prescription Medications in the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

This Research will provide an explanation of the pathophysiology of Parkinson's Disease (including epidemiology) and the pharmacokinetics of the current treatments available. Parkinson's Disease is a neurodegenerative condition that affects the dopamine producing neurons in the substantia nigra. Researchers have gathered data about cross reactions and side effects of treatments. This information is reviewed in textbooks, research studies, and current information provided by a practicing pharmacist along with other resources. This research project is part of a directed study through Greenfield Community College. This information is relevant in my path to become a Pharm-D major, and to my current work as a pharmacy technician. This research project has been a useful opportunity to expand my knowledge on a current topic. According to the Parkinson's Foundation approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD every year. With a growing population of people with PD it is important as a healthcare worker to understand the disease and what treatments options are available.

84 Hadley Room 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Jillian Perl Oliver Manalang
Laura Reed (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst

Possible Emerging Infectious Cross-Species Diseases: Rindee Virus as a Case Study to Evaluate a Growing Threat to National Security

As the national rate of vaccination decreases for both animals and humans, the United States becomes a vulnerable target for a zoonotic-like disease outbreak.  This research proposal examines the threat of a newly emerging strain of Morbillivirus which incorporates features of Measles (MeV) and Rinderpest (RPV), the cattle version of measles. This study builds upon the fact that MeV and RPV are genetically similar, allowing RNA recombination events to occur and generate a functional progeny, nicknamed Rindee. This progeny could then evolve into a cross-species disease that could be catastrophic.  

This research project is time sensitive because roughly 25 states have less than 80% of their children vaccinated for the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine, no livestock in the United States is currently vaccinated for Rinderpest, and the vaccine stockpile is pending destruction. This thesis seeks to explore the question of whether the US government's program "Preventing Emerging Pathogenic Threats" (PREEMPT) in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) should undertake research into the feasibility of creating Rindee in order to advance understanding of viruses and their interaction between animals and humans. I argue that this research is necessary to accurately study the symptoms, pathogenesis, and transmission of this hybridized virus. In addition, this project will aim to identify possible target locations in the United States, identify potential agents who could synthesize and disperse the virus, and identify appropriate political and military response plans.

85 Room 909 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Aria Jordan
Jeffrey Blanchard (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biology, UMass Amherst
Illuminating Microbial Dark Matter in Soil

In 2002, a plot of soil at Harvard Forest was warmed to 5 °C above ambient temperature in the hopes of understanding how microbial processes contribute to climate change. Since then, microbial respiration and carbon cycling have been observed as well as changes in microbial diversity. Previous data has suggested serious disruptions of cycles due to changes in the soil community. In an effort to better understand these changes, we have been using metagenomics in order to gather genomic data from the soil. However, this method has left us with only a rudimentary understanding of soil biodiversity. In an effort to understand more, we have been assessing the use of cell sorted environmental genomics by comparing it to our metagenomic data sets. 

86 Room 909 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Jessica Levy
Gina Mineo Foley (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biology, Berkshire Community College
Bioluminescence: A Pilot Study Investigating the Growth and Proliferation of Panellus stipticus

The kingdom fungi is a mysterious frontier of research waiting to be explored.  The potential untapped applications that may exist in this kingdom's the vast expanse provide a valuable motive for better understanding the biological functions of these amazing life forms.  As the fields of health care, biotechnology and environmental science continue to search for natural innovations and solutions to modern problems, the compelling need to understand this valuable, renewable resource becomes apparent.  In this pilot study, a bioluminescent variety of basidiomycete, panellus stipticus is cultivated in a laboratory with the goal of observing the process of mycelial growth, proliferation and maturation.  Determining ideal growing conditions, preferred substrate, nutrient source and proper environment contributed to the successful life cycle of the panellus stipticus and were achieved resulting in brilliantly bioluminescent mycelium followed ultimately by fruiting bodies.  Chemical process, biological function and evolutionary development of bioluminescence is discussed along with theoretical speculation for why a fungi might have this biologically rare and energetically expensive trait. This wondrous phenomenon occurs as a by-product of a complex luciferin based chemical reaction.  One strong theory for bioluminescent fungi relates to the evolution of these species at a time when the atmosphere was drastically different from today.  The chemical process of bioluminescence is an oxygen dependent reaction that possibly developed as a way to utilize excess oxygen, emitting light as a byproduct.

106 Hadley Room 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Kristen Mackenzie Michaud
Lynn S. Adler (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biology, UMass Amherst

Differential Use of Wrack Resources Provides Niche Separation in Intertidal Consumers on California Beaches

Macroalgal wrack is a key resource subsidy to sandy beach ecosystems along the Pacific coast of North America, providing habitat and food for a remarkably diverse assemblage of intertidal consumers. Four talitrid amphipod species (Megalorchestia) and an herbivorous beetle (Phaleria) co-exist on many beaches. To allow coexistence, these species may utilize common resources differentially. We investigated the degree to which differential wrack resource use provides niche separation by measuring individual consumption rates of each invertebrate species on two abundant brown macroalgae, Macrocystis and Egregia, a green alga, Ulva, a red alga, Porphyra, and on surfgrass, Phyllospadix. Invertebrate consumption rates differed significantly among wrack species. Three of the Megalorchestia species exhibited significantly different consumption of the two brown macroalgae, preferring the less abundant Egregia. One of the larger talitrid species and the beetle exhibited no significant differences in consumption of macroalgae, indicating potential for generalist feeding in these consumers. In choice experiments, the two smaller talitrid species exhibited no preferences when offered combinations of algae while the two larger species demonstrated significant preferences. This suggests differential consumption of wrack types may represent an important mechanism for niche separation in this diverse guild of intertidal detritivores.  

108 Room 809 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Hailey A. Miller
Laura Reed (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
Factory Farming as a Major Economic and Biosecurity Threat

The American population has an annual growth rate of approximately 0.7%, and with this growth comes increasing need for food. American agricultural practices have become much more specialized, mechanized and drastically larger in size. These qualities have coined the nickname of factory farms as they operate similar to that of a mass production factory. However, this growth has led to various ethical and economic complications. In 2015 American agriculture and agriculture related businesses were determined to contribute approximately $992 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). With most of our livestock concentrated into very small portions of our country, it would be very simple to wipe out a large majority of them. Therefore causing tremendous loses to our economy. This thesis analyses past research on U.S. agriculture, U.S. population, animal ethics, and reviews a case study of the UK Outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in 2001. By reviewing this analysis this paper will attempt to approach the controversial issue of “factory farming” from the stand point of economics and biosecurity. Potential solutions to these problems were found to be the de-monopolization of factory farms, the increase of small local farms, as well as potentially alternative meat production methods. By eliminating factory farms and reverting to traditional farming practices, animals will be allotted more space and more attentive veterinary care which decreases the likelihood of major disease outbreaks such as foot and mouth from wiping out our livestock and disrupting our national economy.

125 Room 174 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Redi Metali
Jennifer K. Hood-DeGrenier (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biology, Worcester State University
Examining the Role of Twist1 Phosphorylation in Triggering the EMT in MDCK Cells

Metastasis is the spread of cancerous cells from a primary tumor to a second site within the body. The transition from the epithelial to the mesenchymal state (EMT) makes cells mobile and gives them metastatic potential. The EMT is controlled by several transcription factors, including Twist1, which is a member of the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) family. Twist1 has been shown to be phosphorylated on several amino acids, and it can form both homodimers and heterodimers with another bHLH protein, Hand2. Studies have shown that phosphorylation affects Twist1 dimerization and that altered balance between these two factors affects limb development in mice. The initial goal of this research will be to optimize an RT-PCR procedure to assess expression of epithelial and mesenchymal marker genes in Madin-Darby Canine Kidney Epithelial (MDCK) cells vs. MDCK cells in which the EMT has been triggered through expression of Twist. Different PCR conditions will be tested to achieve consistent differences between RNA levels for two epithelial markers (E-cadherin and α-catenin) and two mesenchymal markers (vimentin and N-cadherin). To examine the role of Twist1 phosphorylation in triggering the EMT, plasmids encoding phosphorylation site mutant versions of Twist1 (Twist1T125;S127A and Twist1T125;S127D) will be transiently transfected into MDCK cells. Cell morphology will be observed by microscopy, while marker genes expression will be analyzed using the optimized RT-PCR assay. Similar experiments will be used to investigate the effect of co-expression of Hand2 in MDCK/Twist1 cells. 

126 Room 801 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Michelle M. Heeney
Madelaine E. Bartlett (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biology, UMass Amherst
Understanding Grass Flower Development

USDA studies have ranked wheat third among U.S. field crops in planted acreage and production. Ability to exploit grain development will allow for increased production per plant, leading to decreased required farm acreage, and increased profit per acre. Grass flowers are contained within specialized branching structures called spikelets and an artifact of many grass spikelets is a bristile projected from the lemma, called an awn. Awns have been noted to contribute to photosynthate to seeds among other functions (Schrager-Lavelle et al, 2017).  To understand awn function in the context of agricultural crops the model system Brachypodium distachyon was studied due to the known close relation to wheat and barley. Experiments analysing whether awns contribute to grain loading in Brachypodium, and mapping the presence and function of awns within the Pooideae have led to intriguing results. In a larger context, once awn function is understood it may be manipulated to optimize floral development in grass crops. This can impact grain weight, seed nutritional content, and the number of seeds produced per plant. Understanding developed in a model is also significant in context because strong phylogenetic signal has been seen linking awn length across the Poaceae. Awn length has been described to be variable across the Poaceae however, large analysis of awn length has not been directly studied. Globally, the optimization of grain production would have effects in every major nation due to grain consumption.

127 Room 801 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Ariana McFarland
Lynn S. Adler (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biology, UMass Amherst

The Effect of Specific Pollen Diets on Crithidia bombi Infection in Bombus impatiens

Crithidia bombi, a common parasite of the bumblebee hindgut, has many negative effects on Bombus impatiens, the common eastern bumble bee. However, there are few solutions to reduce its impact. A study revealed that a diet of sunflower pollen has medicinal effects that dramatically reduce Crithidia infection in bumblebees. We further explored the effects of different pollen species diets on the infection of Crithidia bombi in Bombus impatiens, with hopes of finding additional medicinal pollen species. A diet of Nelumbo nucifera (lotus), Papaver somniferum (poppy) or Camelia sinensis (tea) pollen was compared to a positive control of Helianthus annuus (sunflower) pollen and a negative control of mixed wildflower pollen. We hypothesized that poppy pollen would reduce Crithidia infection, as poppy seeds have medicinal uses as an analgesic, while lotus and tea pollen would not. Lab reared bees were infected with Crithidia, randomly assigned a pollen treatment, and kept in containers with access to treatment pollen and a nectar solution. Crithidia cells were counted from gut samples after one week. Crithidia infection did not differ between lotus, tea, poppy and the negative control of wildflower pollen, but all these treatments had higher Crithidia than sunflower, the positive control. In conclusion, the novel pollen treatments did not have the medicinal effects of sunflower pollen in reducing the infection of Crithidia in bumblebees. These findings may be useful in furthering the search for medicinal pollen species that help reduce Crithidia infection in wild bumblebee populations.


144 Room 908 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Chee Meng Eugene Cheong
Jungwoo Lee (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Chemical Engineering, UMass Amherst
The Effects of Hydrostatic Pressure on Bone Demineralization

Demineralization of the bone involves submerging the bone in a 1.2M solution of Hydrochloric acid. This removes the calcium and other minerals of the bone and leaving collagen as well as preserving the overall structural features of the bone such as the blood vessels. The process of fully demineralizing a piece of bone usually takes 4 to 5 weeks. This process can be significantly sped up with the use of hydrostatic pressure. In this experiment, bovine bone was used and the organic material such as fat is cleared off using a 1 to 1 mixture of chloroform and methanol. The bone is then submerged in a 1.2M solution of hydrochloric acid and subjected to hydrostatic pressure of 1.5 bar with a cycle of 10 seconds of pressure and 10 seconds without pressure using a custom-made pressure chamber. This method is compared with a separate piece of bone exposed to the same conditions but without pressure. After 24 hours of acid treatment, the bone in the hydrostatic pressure chamber showed a significant increase in demineralization compared to the bone without pressure. With the use of hydrostatic pressure, the time taken to fully demineralize a bone can be significantly reduced to just 4 to 5 days.

145 Room 908 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Brandon Michael Johnston
Sarah L. Perry (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Chemical Engineering, UMass Amherst
The Effect of Polymer Architecture on Complex Coacervation

Complex coacervation is a liquid-liquid phase separation driven by electrostatic and entropic interactions, resulting in a dense, polymer-rich phase that can be used in applications ranging from food additives to cosmetics. Formed from aqueous solutions of oppositely charged polymers, coacervate properties can be altered by changing the ratio of polycation-to-polyanion, temperature, pH, and salt concentration. However, due to previous limitations in available polymers, the effect of polymer architecture on coacervation has only recently become an accessible topic for study. A model polymer system based on polypeptides was utilized to compare the effects of polymer architecture on complex coacervation in systems of linear vs. comb polymers. We characterized the phase behavior of coacervates using turbidity measurements of the amount of light scattered by the sample, along with optical microscopy. Experimental results, supported by simulations, find that the introduction of comb architecture does not affect the preferred stoichiometry of interaction. However, converting the long, continuous chain of charges from a linear polymer into a comb architecture affects the entropic driving force for coacervation from counterion release, as described by a ‘critical salt concentration,’ above which coavervates no longer form. However, the comb architecture establishes well-defined areas of local charge density that allow for the incorporation of a significant quantity of other functional comonomers, such as zwitterionic groups, without dramatically altering the resultant phase behavior. This work has identified polymer architecture as a new design parameter for the creation of complex coacervate materials.

146 Room 908 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Abdul Mughis Alam Paracha
Wei Fan (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Chemical Engineering, UMass Amherst
Synthesis of CHA Zeolite Using Inexpensive Organic Structure Directing Agent

Microporous aluminosilicate crystalline structures, called zeolites, are being used in the industry as catalyst. It has been found that small pore zeolites can act as an efficient catalyst for certain chemical processes such as methanol to olefin processes and catalytic reduction of Nitrogen Oxide compounds (NOx). One of the proven structure is high silica CHA (SSZ-13) zeolite. It is being extensively used in the industry in NOx reduction from diesel engines emission. The main limitation on the usage of this zeolite is the requirement of an expensive organic structure directing agent in the synthesis process. High cost makes CHA a non-viable option for methanol to olefin processes in industry. As a result, the study to find a cheap alternate organic structure directing agent has gained much importance.  Upon study, it has been found that TEA+ ion is able synthesize CHA zeolite with good quality and it considerably lowers the raw material cost. In order to optimize the synthesis, three parameters have been investigated in this study: yield, purity and quality. By optimizing this synthesis with TEA+ as the organic template, we can significantly improve the use of this zeolite in the industry and make CHA a viable option as the catalyst for methanol to olefin process

157 Room 165 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Sarah Marie Duquette
Shelly Peyton (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Chemical Engineering, UMass Amherst

Designer Hydrogels to Test Whether Breast Cancer Cells Have “Mechanical Memory”

Breast cancer occurs when healthy breast epithelial cells begin to grow out of control and form a solid tumor. Breast tumor cells can invade surrounding tissues and spread to other parts of the body, a process called metastasis. Cancer metastasis is the result of migration, affected by both properties of the cell and the surrounding matrix, such as microenvironment stiffness. As cancer progresses, the extracellular matrix (ECM) stiffens, and because of this, cancer cells in the body can experience dramatically different stiffnesses that drive differences in migration and proliferation. By studying breast cancer migration and proliferation, two of the fundamental behaviors of cancer cells, we hope to identify the characteristics associated with ECM stiffnesses that affect when and where the cells will metastasize. To study the effect of stiffness on breast cancer cells we cultured a highly metastatic breast cancer cell on the surfaces of hydrogels of stiffnesses 1 kPa, 41 kPa, and hard plastic tissue culture surfaces for 17 weeks. Cells cultured on the 3 environments (1 kPa, 41 kPa, or plastic) were each plated onto new surfaces with a different stiffness, and average cell speeds were manually tracked. Additionally, we measured cell growth over the course of 4 days to examine the proliferation rates of the three different cell cultures. The results show that cells cultured on soft hydrogels migrate faster when they are seeded back onto hydrogels relative to cells grown on plastic. This suggests that cells originating from soft environments have “memory” of that environment, and they may be more likely to migrate and invade into soft tissues during metastasis. Interestingly, cell growth on plastic and migration on hydrogels appear to be inversely correlated: culture environments that promoted fast movement had low growth rates. To study cell memory the three individual cell cultures (1 kPa, 41 kPa, plastic) were all put back on plastic for long-term culture. The cells originally cultured on the soft hydrogels still migrated faster on surfaces mimicking their original environment compared to new environments, suggesting that cells retain a memory of their original culture stiffness, even after 14 weeks back on plastic. Future work will involve examining gene and protein expression to understand what causes functional differences in cell migration and proliferation. By understanding the relationship between a protein’s activity, cell migration, cell proliferation, and metastatic potential, this protein could be targeted for breast cancer therapy.


167 Room 909 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
David Robert Nunes
Mathangi Krishnamurthy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biology and Chemistry, Fitchburg State University
Effects of Varying Derivatives of Coumarin Molecules with Respect to Bioluminescence Activation in Bedbugs

Scorpions are arthropods which produce the fluorescent molecule 4-methylumbelliferone in their cuticle tips in combination with carboline 1 and 2.  4-methylumbelliferone is considered a coumarin due to its core benzopyrone ring.  Coumarins are capable of producing visible fluorescence when irradiated by UV light in the range of 300nm - 400nm wavelengths.  Differently substituted coumarins were synthesized through Pechmann condensation reaction involving resorcinols with varying substituents and ethyl acetoacetate under acidic conditions.  The reaction was also extended to replace resorcinol with substituted phenols to afford a more diverse class of coumarin derivatives.  Reactions involving resorcinol derivatives and phenol derivatives with activating groups attached to the phenyl ring were carried out in the presence of acidic amberlyst resin and required shorter reaction times ranging from 1- 2 hours.  Reactions involving other phenol derivatives that were not activated enough required harsher acidic conditions and longer reaction times.  Several acidic conditions were tested to synthesize compounds derived from less activated phenol derivatives.  Finally, ethyl acetoacetate used in the original synthesis was replaced with ethyl benzoylacetate to synthesize coumarin derivatives with a phenyl substituent.  The structures of all synthesized coumarin derivatives were confirmed by performing proton NMR spectroscopy.  UV absorption spectroscopy was performed on the coumarin derivatives under neutral, acidic, and basic conditions.  Coumarins are known to exhibit fluorescence when irradiated with UV light under basic conditions and show no fluorescence in neutral and acidic environment.  The fluorescent properties of all coumarin derivatives synthesized in this project were also evaluated under acidic, neutral, and basic conditions.  This property can be utilized to detect bed bugs and other common household insect pests.


192 Room 174 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Leigh Hamlet
Baoshan Xing (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Stockbridge School of Agriculture, UMass Amherst
Effect of Aggregating Salts on the Detection of Silver Nanoparticles in Environmental Waters

The proliferation of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in the environment and resultant transport into aquatic systems have caused ecological concerns, which suggests the need for reliable methods to measure environmentally relevant AgNP quantities. This study couples a rapid pump filtration technique with a portable Raman spectrometer to achieve on-site detection of ultra-low AgNP levels in typical and complex aquatic systems. To extract and detect AgNPs, aluminum chloride and the fungicide ferbam were added for AgNP aggregation and labelling, respectively. This optimized method enabled detection of 1 µg/L AgNPs in ultrapure water and seawater. However, interference from natural organic matter (NOM) hindered sensitive detection in freshwater. This study seeks to optimize the aggregating salt for the surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopic (SERS) detection of AgNPs in freshwater with high NOM concentrations. The cations of sodium, calcium, and aluminum are being tested, with valency expected to affect aggregation ability. Our data suggest that AgNP aggregation is dependent upon salt concentration. In ultrapure water, aggregation "stabilized" and the highest SERS signals occurred when 10 mM to 50 mM calcium chloride was used, while 1 M calcium chloride decreased detection performance. Furthermore, calcium chloride (10 mM) performed better than aluminum chloride (10 mM) for detection in freshwater. Future studies will focus upon the mechanisms underlying the differences among aggregating salts. Evaluating the aggregation performance of these salts in samples of local NOM-rich environmental waters will assist in the method development for real aquatic systems.


193 Room 165 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Anthony Joseph Battista
Daiheng Ni (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Civil Engineering, UMass Amherst
Optimal Network Design for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-Based Transportation Systems

Unmanned aircraft systems, better known to the general public as “drones,” were once reserved for military applications. In recent times, though, their popularity has exploded among hobbyists and civilian users. As their popularity has increased, their potential applications have expanded to include new possibilities such as package delivery and firefighting. The number of unmanned aircraft systems operating at low altitudes is rapidly increasing, and new methods of air traffic management will soon become necessary to control their flights. Previous studies have proposed implementing pre-planned flight paths modeled after land highways. This study focuses on the optimal allocation of airspace for these paths to maximize the safety and efficiency of the system; the study presents an algorithm for optimized network design. This algorithm models a given airspace as a grid of discrete cells, and plans flight paths based on the "costs" associated with each cell. Costs include distance from the closest destination point, wind and weather conditions, and likelihood of damage to people and property below in the event of vehicle failure. Finally, as a case study, this algorithm is implemented to solve a theoretical last-mile drone delivery problem in a selected section of Amherst, Massachusetts.


196 Room 162 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Jenna Nicole DelVecchio
Erica Scharrer (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
How Gender Stereotypes Influence Voting Patterns

 The purpose of this research is to attempt to understand gender stereotypes and their relationship to the public’s perception of women in politics.  Specifically, I attempt to understand how United States citizens rely on gender stereotypes when limited information is presented about a candidate.  This work aligns with prior studies but is unique in its methodology.  In this research, I conducted an experiment where I acted as a journalist and wrote two fictional news stories.  The content of the story was exactly the same, except the first story featured a politician presented to research participants as male and the second featured a politician presented to research participants as female.  After my participants read the article I asked them a series of questions about how the candidate “seemed.” Overall, these questions attempt to prime them for the most important question, which candidate would they would vote for?  I predict that the results will be that the politician presented as female will be more likely to be categorized with traditionally feminine stereotypes, for example as bossy or family-oriented.  Whereas, I predict that the politician presented as male will be more likely to be categorized with traditionally masculine stereotypes, for example as assertive or aggressive.  My hope is that this research can be used to begin to understand why there is a limited number of women in politics.  Additionally, I hope this research can be used to the advantage of a much more diverse group of people attempting to run for public office; specifically, women, people of color, LGBTQA+ people and any other marginalized group who currently lacks influence in the political sphere.

197 Room 162 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Rachel Anna Walman
Erica Scharrer (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
Analysis of Responses to SpaceX Social Media Posts

SpaceX, a private company whose goals are to “revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets”, is active on many different platforms of easily consumable social media. Given the risky and innovative nature of its mission, SpaceX must manage and inform the masses about its failures as well as its successes on these platforms. This study was conducted to determine the ways in which SpaceX informs the public about their successes and failures on social media, and investigate the ways those posts from the company help shape responses from the general public. Using content analysis methodology, I coded responses by members of the general public to tweets and pictures posted by the official accounts of SpaceX on Twitter and Instagram following a mission that is characterized as a “success” or a “failure”. There are five tweets for “successful” missions, five tweets for “failed” missions, five pictures for “successful” missions, and five pictures for “failed” missions coded, as well as a systematic sample of the comments that follow. Comments were coded on a scale of 1 to 5 for tone; 5 being the most positive comment and 1 being the most negative. I found that positive comments were more common than negative comments, even if the post was about or after a “failure”. In conclusion, those who follow SpaceX’s social media (specifically Twitter and Instagram) appear to be more likely to comment positively no matter if the post concerns a successful or failed mission, further demonstrating the support that the company has among those who follow them.

198 Room 162 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Walter Duke Ammon
Erica Scharrer (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
Content Creators and Entrepreneurship

              YouTube is a platform that allows for everyone with access to the internet and a camera to produce, upload, consume, and spread content to a potentially very large audience.  Could involvement in this community, whether it be producing or consuming content, be associated with entrepreneurial tendencies? Could YouTube involvement be associated with the desire to have a career that is creative or fulfilling? This is significant as it has not yet been studied due to the recentness of the popularity of YouTubers. I will make use of a survey distributed online to college-age participants. The survey will use a variety of questions that will determine how involved with YouTube the participants are in terms of both producing and consuming content, whether they may exhibit entrepreneurial tendencies, and how fulfillment relates to their choices and desires for careers. From these questions we will see how strongly entrepreneurial tendencies are present in this sample of young participants who have grown up with YouTube. We will see how much content they watch and how closely they follow certain content producers. Finally, we will learn how a desire for fulfillment ties in with their views on careers. From these results I will determine if viewing of YouTube content creators makes emerging adults lean more towards entrepreneurship and a desire for more fulfilling work in their own career aspirations. This is clearly a vital aspect of the incoming workforce to examine from both a managerial aspect and a cultural aspect.

199 Room 162 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Monica Clancy Duggan
Erica Scharrer (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
The Internet's Role in Workplace Productivity

Internet is an essential tool in today's corporate America. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the perceptions of employers and employees about the use of recreational Internet use in the workplace. This research will then be analyzed to test whether or not these perceptions diverge. In order to obtain this information I have distributed two surveys. One survey is specific to employers. They will be asked to identify their rank in the company, to comment on their office's recreational Internet monitoring policy, and to predict how they believe their employees feel about the policies in place. The second survey is specific to employees. They will also be asked to identify their rank in the company, to comment on their office's recreational Internet monitoring policy, and to evaluate how they themselves feel about employers using this policy to control their recreational Internet use. After distributing these surveys to fifty employers and one hundred employees through LinkedIn, I expect to find that in offices with strong recreational Internet use policies employers believe that employees are more comfortable with electronic monitoring than they actually are. A study such as this allows for companies to reevaluate their communication when implementing major policy changes such as those on recreational Internet use.

200 Room 162 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Charlotte Hoff
Erica Scharrer (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
College Seniors’ Job-Searching and the Internet: How the Use of the Internet and Job-Search Self-Efficacy Impact Success When Looking for a Job

Gone are the days where job applicants would respond to “help wanted” ads in a printed newspaper. Instead, much job searching is now conducted through the Internet. As someone who wants to pursue a career in Human Resources, the intention of my thesis is to use my data to learn what platforms work best to recruit college students. Additionally, while there has been a fair amount of research done on how people look for jobs, there has been little research that focuses specifically on how the Internet plays a major role in job searches.

After reading other research on how people job search and how companies recruit applicants, I conducted a survey of college seniors about their job search processes. I asked about their use of the Internet and social media in job searching and their job search self-efficacy and looked for a connection between these variables. The results of my thesis will show how a student’s major, their job searching methods, and their job search self-efficacy correlate to how many jobs they have applied to, how many interviews they have gotten, and if they have accepted a job for after graduation. The results of my research will shed light on the ways that Internet has changed the job search process and will provide data on both the positive and negative consequences of those changes.

201 Room 162 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Serena Jethmalani
Erica Scharrer (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
Stop Looking in the Toxic Mirror: Social Media and Female Body Image

This study investigates the cause-effect relationship between media exposure and a negative effect on body image through the "thin ideal" on Facebook and Instagram on women aged 18-25 years. The study aims to determine if the exposure to these images causes body dissatisfaction and lower self-esteem. Further, the study explores the roles of the comments section on the images by comparing effects for those who see the social media images alone to those who see the images alongside the comments.

In this context, the “thin ideal” is defined as a concept of the ideally slim female body, slender, feminine physique with a small waist and little body fat.

This study was conducted by first exposing the two groups to images of women on social media, and later investigating the effect on body satisfaction and self-esteem through previous scales. Self-Esteem was measured as a favorable or unfavorable attitude toward the self through the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (1965) and Body Dissatisfaction as a person’s negative thoughts about his or her own body through the Body Appreciation Scale (2006).

The sample was comprised of female college students aged 18-25 years from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst’s undergraduate population irrespective of race, religion and economic background.

The results of this research can promote healthy and realistic body type images of women on social media sites as well as encourage advert companies to stop photoshopping and editing images of women to create the unattainable “thin ideal”.

202 Room 808 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
John Paul Colaianni
Robert I. Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
The Thurston Radio Podcast

Thurston Radio is an audio podcast series, created in association with the Fitchburg Art Museum, with the intention of yielding an engaging library of artist interviews. Each episode showcases a contemporary artist taking part in a long-form discussion of creative endeavors, and philosophy. Through the study of sociolinguistic interaction using the method of conversational analysis, this project reveals insights into how extemporaneity works between the multiple interlocutors involved in a podcast conversation. what can be can be gained from the analysis of interactive extemporaneous speech. In pursuit of learning how conversations work within the podcast, a realization of what the functionality of this interaction is emerges. The idea is not to bypass a social boundary, instead it is to connect by meeting in the middle at honest dialogue. Furthermore, how does cooperation of a conversation work in real time, including its cues, interruptions, and anecdotal moments? The method of conversational analysis, by transcribing and coding moments of dialogue. Armed with only a laptop, audio interface, and a pair of microphones, a recording session with a single host is scheduled. Followed by post-production editing and a deep analysis, the audio is curated into a narrative that is as concise, and clear as possible for the listener. In conclusion, this project breaks through into the inner-workings of dialectal acumen, and its achievements in podcasting. 

206 Room 162 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Jacqueline Berlin Cohen
Erica Scharrer (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst

Instagramming Africa: Measuring Narcissistic Motivations for Participation in Volunteer Tourism

This research explores the phenomena of the White Savior Complex and Poverty Porn on social media as a motivating factor for the participation in volunteer tourism abroad. In this context, the White Savior Complex is defined as a prosperous tourist providing services to underprivileged communities for self-serving purposes. This complex is often considered a form of Neo-Colonialism. In this situation, Poverty Porn is defined as any variety of media used to exploit impoverished communities to incite sympathy or related response to the post, in the form of donations, increased participation, both, or in the case of this study, interaction on social media posts. This study was conducted in two parts, first measuring the implications, expectations, and motivations for volunteer tourism, and later investigating the potential narcissistic tendencies of the volunteer tourist paradigm. The researcher hypothesized a relationship between strategic self-presentation on social media profiles, in an effort to maintain a particular aesthetic and carefully calculated perception of themselves, with participation in volunteer tourism abroad. The method of this quantitative research was completed via an online survey, targeting college-aged adults but accepting responses from adults of all ages and from diverse backgrounds. The results of this research can be used to establish a baseline for appropriate reasoning to participate in volunteer tourism, an important step in ensuring host communities are only positively affected by their visitors. This research measured narcissistic motivations as incentives to travel abroad to work in underprivileged communities. 

207 Room 162 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Max R. Epstein
Erica Scharrer (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
Doctor Fox for Everyone Else: Readability, Reception, and Educational Attainment

The perception that convolution is the mark of consummate academic prose is perpetuated by the many impenetrable articles that continue being penned, published, and emulated; the belief that unintelligible academic writing is impressive—not that it should be, necessarily, but that some substantial portion of academics find it so—has been codified in a long series of studies dating back to the '80s. As that body of research has been confined to confirming or denying a propensity in academia for being impressed by unreadable prose, the assumption that this propensity is exclusive to academics has remained unexamined. A survey of a sample of U.S. adults was conducted to determine if a preference for less readable texts is present in the public at large, and whether educational attainment is a strong predictor of that preference.

208 Room 162 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Kaitlin Nicole Hollinger
Erica Scharrer (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
Hope, Empowerment, and Climate Change

Climate change is the greatest threat facing our society today. However, corporations exert undue influence on both media and politics, effectively shaping the status quo around climate change narratives. Perhaps giving audiences the tools to think critically about messages, especially ones guided by powerful corporate interests, will change their attitudes about climate change. Therefore, this study will examine the media’s effects on individual feelings about climate change, particularly as this pertains to feelings of hopefulness and hopelessness about the future. Through application of framing theory, originally discussed by Goffman in 1974, it has been shown that exposing framing can reduce negative framing effects on climate change beliefs and climate-friendly actions. Many studies note the influence of identity and self-efficacy on the relationship between hope and climate beliefs; the present study wishes to uncover the effect that evoking feelings of self-efficacy has on individuals’ feelings of hope about a future with climate change. All participants were exposed to a message written with the underlying assumption that fossil fuels provide a benefit to society, and one group also read an explanation about framing in this context. All were then asked to provide information on their feelings about hope, self-efficacy, the future, and climate-friendly actions. The results of this study will provide context not only on how to inspire action in those more inclined to support climate-friendly actions, but will also provide strategies for addressing self-defense barriers in those less inclined to engage with climate change beliefs.

209 Room 162 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Matthew Joseph Locklin
Erica Scharrer (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
Investigating the Influence of Financial Media Sentiment on Securities Trading Behavior

Investors who buy and sell securities in the United States have access to a vast amount of financial news. Financial news can be found in journals, magazines, newspapers, on TV networks, and through many other platforms. This study was conducted to investigate how the sentiment of a financial news article influences investor securities trading behavior. Prior research on financial media sentiment suggests that aggregate media sentiment around the world influences stock market values. To further investigate this claim, this study measured the influence of different sentiments (positive and negative) on the security trading behavior of investors. The magnitude of influence was found by presenting three groups of investors with three artificial financial news statements that varied in sentiment, then determining whether the willingness of investors to buy and sell a specific security varied by group. Group one received a news statement about a fictitious company with a neutral sentiment, group two with a positive sentiment, and group three with a negative sentiment. A survey administered to a national sample of adult investors following exposure to the financial news statements determined willingness to buy or sell the security. Understanding the impact of financial news sentiment on the behavior of investors helps us better understand the determinants of stock market values, and also expands research on the negativity effect (the tendency for bad news to have more sway than good news) to investors.

210 Room 803 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Emily Boudreau
Robert I. Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Behind the Massachusetts DIY Music Scene and Safe Spaces

Being “lost” in college is natural for most, as young people are starting to look for a sense of community and belonging in adulthood. The do-it-yourself music scene in Massachusetts creates a home and sense of community for many, as well as a safe space for all to enjoy. Many members of the DIY music scene take pride and sanctuary in these safe spaces, which cater to their friends, acquaintances and strangers alike. The meaning behind the music and the intentions of the individuals who create it is often where these safe spaces begin to grow. I chose to delve deeper into these intentions by interviewing select band members that have contributed to the community through their production of meaningful music. I intend to bring awareness to these safe spaces and the subtle, yet powerful, musicians that stand behind them. While listening to music and watching a performance, there are coveted meanings behind the music and lyrics that are not always obvious to viewers. This project aims to dissect the motivation, meanings, and actual happenings behind creating and performing this music. Many people who take part in the DIY music scene identify with feeling “lost” and with nowhere to turn; these musicians have used their vulnerability to create a secure space through their music, for those who may not be able to do the same. Exploring and revealing the meanings behind the music and safe spaces will bring awareness to the power of local music and how it allows for growth and feelings of security that can last a lifetime.


211 Room 803 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Hannah Jane Geiger
Robert I. Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Protest through Music

One of the most universal ways to communicate with others is the message music can send to us. This project will research different artists, what message they are trying to convey in select songs, and how they influenced different generations. Select song lyrics will be dissected in chunks and explained to in more detail. I will be looking into different genres of music from rock, to folk, to rap and even pop. From the Vietnam era, we will peruse the genres of rock and folk and some of the artists that came along with it such as Bob Dylan, CCR, & Joan Baez. I will then move on to talk about Civil Rights and police brutality through the uprising of rap and hip hop in the 90s & 2000s and look at works of people like 2Pac, Beyonce, & Kendrick Lamar. Lastly, I am going to be discussing how music has been uplifting women and people of the LGBTQ+ community in the 2010s by studying the works of artists such as Janelle Monae, Julien Baker, & Lady Gaga. I want to express a point that when an artist sings about something that effects a large amount of people, they can have a huge following. I believe that this project will make people think more about what the artist is actually singing about and how the music is connected, personally, to the listener and to society at large. 

212 Room 908 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Maria Antonieta Benatuil
Sun-Young Park (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Boston
The Effectiveness of Advertising Appeals in Social-Marketing Campaigns: A Cross-Cultural Study between the US and Asian Countries

Social and environmental issues like recycling are rapidly becoming a global concern. As such, social marketing faces diverse challenges to address this, and possibly other similar, issues in an effective way that can reach a broad audience. Although recycling is a global need and desired behavior, marketers must consider their target audience and its particular characteristics to design a tailored campaign which will guarantee maximum impact and understanding of the message. This research study evaluates the effectiveness of advertising appeals in social marketing campaigns—specifically focused on recycling—regarding three cultural dimensions that are compared between the United States and Asian countries. Based on the Hofstede Cultural Model, these dimensions are: Collectivism, High power distance, and Long-term orientation. Both American and Asian students were randomly assigned to one of three groups that featured advertisements reflecting one of the cultural dimensions, followed by a series of questions that aimed to collect students’ attitudes toward the advertising, attitudes toward recycling behavior and intentions to recycle. The purpose of this research is to provide valuable insights regarding appropriate appeals in an intercultural setting for social marketing campaigns dealing with environmental issues. Moreover, this study is intended to be heuristic—leading to further questions that are meant to increase the existing knowledge on the subject of social marketing. Future research could evaluate other cultural dimensions from the Hofstede Model, or test the hypotheses using different theoretical frameworks.

213 Room 908 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Madison Elizabeth Sale
Robert I. Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Turning the Inside Out

Branding is the process of distinguishing a company from its competition, and personal branding is the process of distinguishing oneself from their peers or rivals. Over time, the “personal brand” has lost its personality, resorting to gimmicky choices like using square business cards because they are “cool,” rather than designing something truly authentic.Young professionals are faced with a lack of direction in how to brand themselves, coupled with a fear of venturing into the unknown creatively. The sum of these circumstances has brought about an age of frankly uninspired personal branding, an age in which these budding professionals choose their favorite color rather than researching color theory; where superficial choices rule without challenge. In my presentation I re-conceive the idea of personal branding, asking where the idea of aesthetic over substance fails us, and what we can do to create a more enriching and truthful self-brand. I examine Sir Ken Robinson’s and G. Richard Shell’s work, and build a new system following their lead by examining what is within before trying to design without. In my research I seek to teach others that to brand ourselves in a more natural, intrinsic way is more sustainable, and although some may fear the plunge, in the end they will learn how to portray themselves in a truer, and even easier fashion. Rather than falling into the habit of following “what works,” I want to help others succeed in finding their brand by following their roots.

217 Room 803 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Christopher Nicholas Pagnottaro
Robert I. Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Horror through Surrealism

Surrealism is an art movement that taps into the subconscious mind and brings it forward. This style is widely known for displaying very dreamlike visuals and disturbing audiences. Due to it’s out of the box and uncomfortable imagery, surrealism has been featured numerous times throughout different horror movies such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and more recently with Beyond the Black Rainbow. These films, among others, create visuals and utilize sound design in order to make the audience feel disturbed or uneasy. This style is very unorthodox to what horror movies usually are. It’s a different type of fear. This type of horror cares more about how uncomfortable it makes you feel rather than big scares. In order to better understand how surrealism works, I’ve examined paintings done by surreal artists such as Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. This art movement works in a very different way than say pointillism. It works primarily to shock its audience by using dreamlike imagery. Eraserhead is one of the most widely known examples of how surrealism works in horror. The film is recognized for its very disturbing and uncomfortable imagery, especially the deformed baby that appears in the films. The soundtrack is also known for how it was able to add dimensions to the surreal atmosphere of the film. This project highlights the various ways surrealism has played in the horror genre and what it does to the human mind.

225 Hadley Room 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Jay Winslow Reiss
Mary Baker (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communications Media, Fitchburg State University
Character Development in Short Films

A film is only as good as its script, and the script is only as good as its characters. Throughout the preproduction for my thesis short film, I have focused on the fundamental questions behind effective character development. While there is not one definitive answer to what makes a character effective, there are many right answers. The key to writing a character is to know what questions to ask. What purpose does the character serve? What is their dramatic need? How do you make the audience understand and relate to the character? These are just a few of the questions that lead storytellers towards a better understanding of the characters they create. My presentation will ask many of these questions, will provide brief case studies that demonstrate effective character development, and will address my own scriptwriting process and influences.    

226 Room 163 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Jennifer Marie Jordan
Kevin M. McCarthy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communications Media, Fitchburg State University
A Documentary: "The moment that changed my life..."

"The moment that changed my life..." is an interview style documentary focusing on exact moments that have changed or altered an individual's life.  I am interviewing a few people with varying stories.  Every single day each of us makes choices and/or has something happen to us that is completely out of our control. Typically, these things make little impact on the rest of our lives, it might be a bump in the road for the day but overall it doesn't affect our life plan.  However, every now and then something happens that entirely changes our course.  Whether it be the moment we decided we knew what we wanted to do with our lives and took action on it, or the moment we were diagnosed with a life altering illness, everything can change in an instant.
A cut version of this film will be viewed during my presentation.  I am making this film to show how we all connect as humans.  We pass people every single day, and make judgements on them based on the surface level of information that we know.  The stories they don't tell us could severely change how we view them. 

227 Room 909 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Maryanne Wesonga Ouma
Amy Beaudry (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Quinsigamond Community College
The United States Government and Google's Electronic Surveillance in the Twenty-First Century

After the 11 September 2001 attack, the United States government has been blamed for intruding on people's privacy through surveillance and technological control which has affected its relationship with the people. From the click of a button, technology has made personal privacy an open book that can be read by anyone. This paper is based on George Orwell's book 1984 which demonstrates and illustrates the effects of government surveillance, technology and totalitarianism. Peer reviewed scholarly articles and texts form the basis of an analysis of a variety of 21st - Century surveillance examples including the National Security Agency (NSA) and Google as main contributors to the eradication of personal privacy in the twenty-first century. In other cases, this paper considers monitoring and tracking devices installed in personal and business technological devices that have been used to monitor people and other nations during their daily activities and conversations without their approval sparking local and international protests. The Edward Snowden saga has contributed to changes in policies which have reduced the government's surveillance on its people. This paper attests that people are willing to surrender their personal information to the government and Google, but both entities must provide fair operating conditions.

228 Hadley Room 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Noah R. Godard
Jessica Thelen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Social Media and Our Identity

Social media has been redefining the way we see ourselves and others. There is currently a theory that states social media has caused problems with personal image. This identity-knock is caused by several factors. The first part of the theory explores likes. Generally, social media will have some form of likes, whether you are on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. The problem that arises is that people will feel inadequate when they see others get more likes than them. This grasp at relevance is seen in young people especially. A Huffington Post article called “Social Media’s Impact on Self Esteem” goes into this issue deeper. In it, they interviewed a group of people aged between 28 and 73, and found these findings; 60% of people find social media has impacted their self-esteem, 50% found that social media had negative impacts on their relationships, and 80% reported being deceived by social media. This deception idea is one of the reasons for all the social problems it can carry. What will often happen is this; people post the good side of their lives, and paint a picture that isn’t quite accurate. The article touches down on this idea in the world of dating. People will try to seem “more socially engaged, have a better social capital, and more popular, all the while masking their true persona.” Social media is a great tool for meeting others and sharing your life, but with all great things, there is a downside. 

229 Room 165 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Julia K. Getz
Robert I. Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Communication: The Topographical Use of the Human Face

  When we communicate we use both verbal and nonverbal communication. Recent research has shown that only 25 percent is verbal and 75 percent is nonverbal. We are taught the 25 percent from infancy. We first learn words then graduate to sentences and rules of grammar. However, we are never officially taught the 75 percent. In fact we hardly even think about it at all, it’s second nature to us. But what if there are rules that we automatically follow? Through the close study of actors and actresses and the use of freeze frame, this paper will reveal the basic grammar of nonverbal communication. With these tools, the features of expression will be clearly shown and organized into the structures we recognize as emotion. Often times miscommunication of these emotions can occur, this study will assist our understanding of those situations. With this detailed breakdown reading and expressing emotions will be as simple as reading a paragraph.

230 Room 903 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Jessica Lyn Coates
Donald J. Tarallo (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communications Media, Fitchburg State University
Beyond Constraints: Getting Out of My Own Way

In the world of design, there are principles set in place to guide the designer and help them make decisions. However, oftentimes we abide strictly by these rules and let them stifle our creativity. In this project, my goal was to take the learned conventions of graphic design and push past them, going beyond my own constraints. This process is important because it has allowed me to become more conscious of my limits, so that I can continually improve my creative practice. In order to do this, I researched artists and designers throughout history, such as Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Futurism, and Dadaism, in order to see what they had done to push the conventions of their time. For instance, although Van Gogh’s work was unappreciated during his lifetime, his heavy application of paint, coupled with a vibrant color palette, have served as a source of inspiration for many artists even today. Additionally, I discovered that these artists who sought after innovation were remembered for years to come, as they had created works that were truly unique. Parallel to this research, I took inventory of my own work and investigated through simple exercises how I too could advance my work into new directions beyond my own creative inhibitions. Through inspiration from these pioneers in art history, and learning to trust myself, I discovered that I could work beyond my own constraints; leading to a state of continual growth and development throughout my career.


231 Hadley Room 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Rebecca Haley Goodman
Richard Daniel Cavaliere
Ellen Correa (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Civic Engagement & Service-Learning, UMass Amherst
Crayons for Social Justice: A Project to Understand and Help Address Resource Inequality in Public K-6

Having access to writing and art supplies in Elementary School is often taken for granted. But the reality is, not all public school students have access to these important learning tools. For example, Morgan Elementary School in Holyoke, Massachusetts cannot afford to equip most of their classes with these supplies, while the classrooms at Crocker Farm Elementary School in Amherst, Massachusetts are well supplied. This project is a collaboration between two Boltwood Project service-learning student leaders, one serving at Morgan Elementary School and the other at Crocker Farm. Ronny Hernandez, Manager of Enrichment and Extended Learning at Holyoke Public Schools, says: “Research shows affluent schools have more enrichment opportunities totaling at about 6,000 more hours.” He further explains that one cannot have opportunities, like poetry club, if the students do not have pencils and notebooks. This project aims to understand the system that creates inequality and access to materials for students in neighboring communities, and to create a sustainable supplies bank for the students at Morgan Elementary School. Our presentation will report on the process we employed and our challenges and successes.

232 Hadley Room 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Olivia Lynn Wise
Joanna M. Ambeliotis
Giovanna M. Arcudi
Katelyn Lee Loring
Ellen Correa (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Civic Engagement & Service-Learning, UMass Amherst
Sex Education for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

This service-learning project is undertaken by five Boltwood Project student leaders.  The Boltwood Project is a UMass Amherst student-run service-learning organization that engages people with disabilities in recreational activities. Through the friendships we have developed with our program participants and our classroom learning we have realized that there is a lack of sex education to provide adults with intellectual disabilities the tools to have safe and rewarding intimate relationships. This lack of education puts people with intellectual disabilities at greater risk for harm, abuse, misunderstanding, and unsafe practices. This project engages scholarly research and best practices to create a curriculum for health and sex education that has the potential to be used in specialized programs for adults with intellectual disabilities. Some of the topics covered include education about the male/female anatomy, consent, safe sex practices, and appropriate means for finding a romantic partner. The project seeks to make this initiative sustainable and impactful by coordinating closely with local service providers. In this presentation we report on our process and outcomes, focusing on the successes and challenges of expanding sex education for adults with disabilities in the greater Amherst area.

233 Room 909 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Shannon Mary Flynn
Lincoln Sung
Lena Fletcher (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Conservation, UMass Amherst
Food Recovery Network: Fighting Waste, Feeding People

The Food Recovery Network is a registered student organization that takes leftover food from the dining commons and delivers it to local organizations. Our motto is "Fighting Waste, Feeding People" because food should not be going to waste if there are people right next door who can use it. The UMass Food Recovery Network has been recovering food from Worcester Dining Commons and delivering to Craig's Doors, the emergency shelter right near the UMass Visitors Center, since 2013. We now recover food five nights a week. In 2018, we began recovering food from Earthfoods, the student-run vegetarian cafe, to bring to Craig's Doors. We have also started picking up food from Berkshire Dining Commons. On Sundays, we bring the food to the Quality Inn in Northampton, which has been hosting people who are here on a FEMA voucher because they were displaced by the hurricane in Puerto Rico. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we bring the food from Berkshire Dining Commons to Not Bread Alone, a community meal downtown in the First Congregational Church. The UMass Food Recovery Network is a student-run project that collaborates with UMass Dining, our community partners, and various volunteers. We were able to expand to multiple other sites once recoveries from Worcester Dining Commons to be running smoothly, and decided to focus in on outreach and volunteer recruitment. 

237 Room 162 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Cora Marica
Kristen Cuccoli
Katelyn McCarthy
Julia Tinyszin
Cheryl B. Lucas (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Occupational Therapy, Worcester State University
Community Outreach Group for Refugee Women

It’s estimated that there are 65.3 million people in the world who are forced to flee their homes due to persecution or violence around the world (Falk, 2016).  In response to this, Worcester, Massachusetts has become a major city offering asylum.  From the 2007 to 2012 time period, Worcester welcomed 26% of all the refugees entering the state of Massachusetts (Fabos, Pilgrim, Said-Ali, Krahe, and Ostiller, 2014). In order to assist this group, junior occupational studies students, along with the help of occupational therapy graduate students, developed an integrative community outreach program that consisted of multicultural exchange, engagement in social relationships, and group activities specific to refugee women in the Worcester area. These women faced several challenges in obtaining basic needs such as housing, employment, and childcare, and their daily lives consisted of little to no social participation due to cultural and language barriers. Through this program, the women developed a sense of belonging as well as a source of social and emotional support. This project helped the students to gain perspective of their own lives and the resources that are available to them. Refugees are in need of more social support to become culturally engaged in the community and to learn how to participate in meaningful and purposeful occupations within Central Massachusetts. This research allowed us to discover that a college campus can be an important resource for this population.


241 Room 808 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Eric Paul Teall
Ileana Vasu (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Holyoke Community College
Identifying Function Families for Regression Model Selection

The modern abundance of data creates a need for rapid analysis requiring minimal human supervision. Tools that can accurately identify patterns in data are therefore of significant value. The intent of this project is to write a program, using Python, which takes a two dimensional collection of data in which there is an unknown relationship between the two values. The program will plot the data and create a best fit model that accurately fits the collection; Thus identifying  the underlying relationship, should one exist. Although many models already exist, they can be prone to overfitting their data, creating a complicated function when a simpler explanation is available. (A polynomial of a large degree may connect more points, for example, but is not always the best fit to show a true relationship.) This project will attempt to apply the simplest function available to accurately represent the trend between the relations in data. With outlier detection and removal, the program should be robust to "noise" and better able to identify simpler underlying functions. To do this, the program checks the relationship of any one point to its nearest sibling, removing anything too far removed. Using known patterns, this program will then compare several functions and attempt to declare whether or not the collection of data fits any one function family, and if so, which. The presentation will demonstrate the program, discuss the creation of the project, and display the inner workings of the code.

245 Room 911 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Alex Bickerstaff
Hao Loi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, Quinsigamond Community College
CUP - Protecting Linux Operating Systems

Alex Bickerstaff

Institute: Quinsigamond Community College

Advisor: Hao Loi

                In a world of constant technological progress there is always a new threat looking to steal user data.  CUP (Cyber-Security Undergraduate Project) will help to protect and monitor key files on Linux operating systems, one of the most commonly used server operating systems, against cyber-attacks at the file system level.  The program will be used to prevent hackers from gaining access and modifying key files, selected by the user, that are often left vulnerable and exposed due to a lack of monitoring.  When specific files are accessed an alert will be sent to designated contacts notifying them that a protected file has been accessed or modified and will “freeze” the file to protect it until further notice by altering the user permissions of that file.  The contacts can then choose from three different options.  The contacted person can confirm that the file was opened on purpose and it will unlock the file, they can hold the “freeze” on the file until further notice, or they can shut down the server/computer so that way the file can no longer be accessed by anyone until the server is turned back on.  This program can prevent stored personal information from being stolen, files and directories from being wiped, high traffic servers from being brought down by code manipulating attacks, and malware from being installed.  CUP will protect your valuable information and your future even when you’re not looking. 

246 Room 911 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Anthony Ramos
Hao Loi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, Quinsigamond Community College
Image Comparison Using Computer Image Processing

If a person were to be presented with two images, one a high quality photograph of a scene, and the other a grainy or maybe blurred low quality copy of the original, would be able to determine the two photographs are from the same scenery. A computer however, cannot easily arbitrate such a decision. Like all other digital media, digitally stored images are at the basic level composed of binary bits. If a computer takes two images that are identical to the human eye, but is off by just one bit, it would register as a different image altogether. There are many use cases of comparing digital. One of the most popular is Google’s own image search feature. The purpose of this research is to explore different techniques and their combinations for digital image comparison. Each technique has its own set of pros and cons. The use of the algorithms differ depending on the goal. I’ve used Linux as the operating system due to the availability of open source software for image processing and computer vision. I also used Python as the main programming language for its agility in rapid prototyping. OpenCV was the main image processing library used for handling and processing images. There are a number of image databases for use online found in By combining personal pictures and ones downloaded from these databases, I’ve created a 1000+ sample set to test out the various algorithms and techniques including using filter histograms, spatial filters, structural similarity index (SSIN), peak signal to noise ratio (PSNR), feature extraction using scale invariant feature transform (SIFT) and others. As expected, the more complex techniques were generally more accurate but at the tradeoff of performance and complexity.

247 Room 911 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Thomas Rokicki
Sean Doyle Fellows
Hao Loi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, Quinsigamond Community College
The Spud App

Thomas Rokicki

Sean Fellows

Advisor: Hao Loi

Institute: Quinsigamond Community College

There is deficit of tools for people with a green thumb to effectively record, track, and understand their plant’s health. Programs that exist do not go far enough in depth for a grower to know where adjustments are needed.

Spud, a software as a service tool, does just that. By using crowdsourcing, growers collaborate through our forums, database of plant types, and viewing the growth data of other users. Data input by users is plotted into intuitive graphs to track growth and bring understanding to how healthy a plant is. Spud also makes use of the data sent by a user’s sensors. Alerts may be set up then sent to the user’s phone and email if any sensors read an abnormal level. Spud makes it easy to know exactly what the plant needs. Users can track their plant from seed to perish.

Plant types, managed by the community, set the parameters for what a healthy plant is. Models are then created for what their plant needs in order to grow faster or bear more fruit. Users can track the process plant by plant, or large groups of plants.

The goal of the project is to have a prototype that implements the features listed above in the form of a web application. In the future a desktop and mobile phone application will be created for users to have access on the go and on their computer.

252 Room 801 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Victor Libro Zanardi
Jessica Thelen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Gender Ratio between College Majors

 My focus is on the gender ratio of the different types of majors. The four majors that I will be focusing on is Computer Science, Construction majors, Mathematics majors, and Nursing majors. In Computer Science the gender gap is favored by the male side by 85%. This shows that more men end up enrolling in computer science than females. However, in Nursing, the gender gap is favored by females by 88%. While doing future research, men just typically choose majors that are more towards construction or mathematics that tend to lead to higher pay. The data that I have gotten is strictly taken from U.S. colleges from the East and West coast. The average pay for the majors that men usually take are $61,700. Some outlying factors could be if a family member owns the business that you want to get into and so on. Let’s look at the pay gap when we uncontrol outlying factors. For example, there could be factors that could affect it slightly. Like experience in the work, and time within the job. When we control for these factors and look at the pays once again, we see that women earn just as much as men by 98%. This piece from the economists at the New York Federal Reserve says that their key finding is that men tend to care more about money and income potential when choosing a major, while women place a higher importance on non-pecuniary aspects.

253 Room 911 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Thinh Tuong Pham
Yesenia Mercedes
Raquel B. Penha
Hao Loi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, Quinsigamond Community College
Humanoid Interactive Guide: H.I.G.

Raquel Penha

Yesenia Mercedes-Nunez

Thinh Pham

Advisor: Hao Loi

Institution: Quinsigamond Community College

     Designing a campus robot that can interact with prospective students is the goal of this project.

     The robot, programmed to produce and deliver information about the Quinsigamond Community College computer science transfer program, will also be able to direct students and visitors to various departments on the main campus. In total, it will serve dual functions: it will be a complete and updated information bank featuring the College’s Computer Science Transfer program. It will be capable of offering thorough course description details such as course title, course number, class credits; information regarding the required courses and any prerequisites. It will also house information on how many semesters or years it takes to complete this transfer program, when classes are offered. 

     The secondary feature will be its ability to a describe various units within campus buildings and may specify parking lots, bus stations, and other campus navigation necessities. “QiChat” is the primary API needed to program the robot to guide the students with sequences of information. The secondary tool set is derived from a web application. It becomes operational by taking the input from the text box, then the robot will vocalize the script that was written in the first part of the project. JavaScript will enable this feature rather than “QiChat.” Working together, these two programs will help create Quinsigamond Community College robotic assistance. As a storehouse of College information, the robot will also be a timesaver in terms of human labor, freeing up personnel to attend to other tasks.

254 Room 911 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Brendan Lee Russell
Hao Loi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, Quinsigamond Community College
Automating Greenhouses for a Better Tomorrow

Imagine a world where crops are grown without the expensive, laborious care and manpower that limits food production around the world. The goal of this project is to improve the productivity of a greenhouse through the implementation of custom and experimental automation technology. A piece of experimental technology that will be tested is an invention that functions exclusively on solar energy. This mechanism extracts carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and pumps the gas into the greenhouse to aid plant growth and reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The fundamental automation of caretaking tasks will be accomplished in three phases. The first phase will be the installation of microcontrollers at key locations throughout the greenhouse. The microcontrollers, designated as nodes, will have novel programs managed via Bluetooth by a single-board computer. This computer will act as the brain of the system and will be officially denominated as “Mothership.” Phase two of this project will be to install an abundance of sensors to collect data for the prioritization of the automation processes. Mothership will use innovative techniques to gather data for further analyses and to be displayed on a public website. Finally, phase three will be to automate key processes in order to optimize the production and productivity of the greenhouse. This optimization will include the installation of mechanical apparatuses to automate systems of heating, lighting, and watering. Ultimately, this project will serve to foster interdisciplinary research on the college campus and paint a picture of a brighter future for the world.

255 Room 911 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Alec R. Turner
Hao Loi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, Quinsigamond Community College

Red Light/Green Light with the NAO Robot

            Robotics is becoming a booming industry throughout the world. It keeps growing and integrating new technologies as time goes on. One integrated technology that is becoming more and more prevalent is visual detection, which is used to recognize objects and perform a specific task based on what is detected. Currently visual detection technology on the NAO robot is still in a primitive state, meaning only basic colors can be recognized and simple tasks can be performed.

            The NAO robot is a good tool because it has that basic capability to visually detect color as well preform simple tasks based on what it detected. The robot will be programmed to respond to two specific signs, one green and the other red. When the green sign is held in front of it and recognized, the robot will begin a continuous walking cycle. When the red sign is recognized by the robot it will come to a complete stop. It will be able switch between the two states freely, as it recognizes one of the two designated signs.

            This project will be very expandable for future projects. The robot could be eventually programmed to detect more complex items and perform more complicated tasks, using the previous stated program as a base. It should be very accessible to build upon in the future.

256 Room 909 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Clifton Paul Robinson
Enping Li (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, Bridgewater State University
Cyber Law: Past, Present, and Future

Laws based on cyber crimes are a new trend in government. What should be regulated online? Should people be held responsible for what they do or post? Can your first amendment rights be taken away online? How are you affected by laws today? These are questions that are brought up and debated when discussing cyber laws and policies. Starting with a historical view, we look back at why these policies needed to be put into place and how it plays a part in society. We also look at the history of hacking and how it plays a part in today. As we take a step towards the future, we consider new laws that could be put in place and the freedoms everyone should have.

We live in the age where these laws and policies are being defined. In 2017 alone we dealt with two major political problems, Net Neutrality and the Russian Hacking Scandal, that were in the spotlight and will shape the landscape of politics that surround issues on the internet. There are already laws in place that protect people rights on the internet, such as your credit card information, but there are only a certain few. Moving forward, we will use current issues that we face today to create possible laws for moving forward to the future. Within the next few years, cyber laws and policies will become a larger issue. Being prepared and on this issue will be important when attempting to tackle laws surrounding the internet.

260 Room 809 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Craig Bertram Norton
Tim Richards (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, UMass Amherst
The Effects of Navigation on User Engagement

With SPIRE being one of the primary technologies used at Umass campus it is essential to understand its core features. With the new release of the responsive web version, IT hopes to bridge the gap and put SPIRE's use into a more mainstream modern direction. 

My study looks into the engagement that users have with this newly released version and what factors are affecting its use. The study utilizes surveys and One on One user experience tests to gain insight of how many students are using this new product and how we can improve it moving forward. The first survey is used to test general student body willingness to share ideas while the second focuses exclusively on navigation. The usability studies consist of timed exercises to determine how different placement and wording can affect a users cognitive map and learnability. 

The current findings show that the change in navigation is a major concern of users. Currently, around 85% of the 155 surveyed feel that the mobile application is difficult to use. The surveys so far have also expressed that they feel that they are unable to find core features that are offered on the desktop version. This is an extremely interesting finding since both interfaces actually offer the same navigation to both. From the usability studies, we have found that the cognitive map of users is also affecting their willingness and ability to learn the new interface. 

261 Room 909 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Youngkyun Lee
Sunghoon Ivan Lee (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, UMass Amherst
Tracking Finger Motion with RFID Wearable

It is known that effective recovery plan can improve the life quality of stroke survivors, who suffers from a long-term serious disability, such as upper limb hemiparesis, caused by the stroke. For that efficient recovery plan, we need a systemic and empirical way to measure the motor performance of the patients. The objective of this study is to develop an accurate, non-intrusive wearable device that monitors the motor performance of multiple fingers in stroke patients. This device will utilize Radio-Frequency Identification(RFID) technology. Each subject will equip plastic fingernails embedded with passive RFID tags and a smartwatch-like RFID reader on their wrist. In real-time basis, the device will collect RF phase and its signal strength(RSSI) from each tag and convert them into 3D coordinates of each finger. Using the generated 3D coordinates data, we will measure the motor performance of the human subjects.


275 Room 165 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Samuel I. Hostetter
Eve Vogel (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Geography, UMass Amherst
Econometric Analysis of Water Flow and Price in Hydropower Production

This study looks at modeling how hydropower facilities manipulate water flows in relation to energy prices, with a focus on hydroelectric plants in New England. Flow data is measured in cubic feet per second from two sites: Vernon Dam in Vermont and Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project in Massachusetts.  The price data is taken from two separate pricing markets, day-ahead and real-time. Day-ahead prices are forecasted prices given to energy production facilities 24 hours in advance, while real-time prices are updated to the minute to reflect real time demand. The model in this paper not only addresses the effect of energy prices on water flows but also seasonal and cyclical patterns within the data. In addition to seasonality and cyclicality, another special case of flow occurs at Northfield Mountain. Being a pumped storage hydropower facility, Northfield can record negative flows, indicating water being pumped back into the reservoir in preparation for generation. The model shows some correlation between price and flows at both a natural dam in Vernon and a pumped storage dam in Northfield. These results exhibit a relationship between the energy market and the rivers used by hydropower facilities and can be the first step in determining the environmental and economic effect of hydroelectricity in New England.

276 Room 168 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Zachary James Andersen
Timothy Lang (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst

Danish Universal Welfare: Lessons for the United States

Denmark and the United States both have capitalist market economies which feature high levels of pre-tax income inequality.  In order to combat this inequality, the United States has employed a system of means tested welfare provision. In recent years, however, these policies have proven largely incapable of effectively addressing the issue of inequality. The Danish government has assumed a much more central role in providing for its citizens, developing a comprehensive system of universal social programs to ensure economic security for all Danes. These programs have also enabled Denmark to pursue active labor market policies with the goal of protecting the unemployed from financial insecurity and retraining them to reenter the workforce. In recent years, this Danish system has been put forward as the utopia for other countries to follow. It is important, however, to understand which aspects of the Danish system have allowed it to succeed and whether this type of system can be applied to other countries. Many scholars have questioned the sustainability of this system and whether it can truly be applied to countries such as the United States, that have vastly different population demographics and political ideologies. The goal of this analysis is to examine the ties between the Danish welfare state and its pursuit of labor market policy and assess the sustainability of this system and its applicability to the United States.

277 Room 168 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Sabrina Chan
Itai Sher (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
Universal Basic Income as a Possible Solution

With the replacement of jobs for humans with automation and the increasing income gap, people have been looking at the Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a possible solution for these issues.  Although these problems may not affect some of us now, they will in the future.  Universal Basic Income refers to the policy in which people, no matter their income or status of employment, would get a sum of money sufficient enough to satisfy their living needs.  The concept of a UBI was formed more than a millennium ago, but only recently have people, companies, and countries started to take action to discover more information about the system through experiments.  This paper will examine some of the concluded and continuing pilot programs to compare the pros and cons of the Universal Basic Income and determine if it is an answer to some of the economic problems our society is facing.  So far, there have been more benefits than drawbacks from investigations and surveys of the finished experiments from the United States, Canada, and India.  This is also the case for the pilot programs that are currently being studied by corporations, such as Y Combinator and Give Directly, as well as in countries, such as Finland.  With the information from case studies, Universal Basic Income appears to be a possible solution for the economic issues even though there are some potential consequences that need to be heeded.

278 Room 168 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Ethan Harris Shapiro
Itai Sher (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
Effective Altruism: Where We Should Donate Our Money

Over the past couple decades, a movement called “effective altruism” has emerged in the world of philanthropy. Effective altruists pose a major question to philanthropists all over the world: where should we donate our money in order to save and improve the most lives? The purpose of this thesis is to compare two specific types of charities. These types of charities are exemplified by two particular foundations. The first foundation is the Against Malaria Foundation, a foundation that immediately and effectively helps save Africans who face the risks of malaria. The other foundation is the Future of Life Institute, a relatively speculative foundation that could potentially help save humanity in the case of existential risks. While the money raised by the Against Malaria Foundation is used immediately to help treat victims of malaria, the Future of Life Institute uses the money they raise mainly for research. Using scholarly literature written by highly esteemed philosophers and economists this thesis attempts to answer which of these two foundations uses donations more effectively. In order to answer this question, both foundations are analyzed. Several criteria are utilized to grade the impact that these foundations can have. I explore arguments in favor of charities that have immediate benefits and arguments for charities that are more speculative but have the potential for very large benefits. The goal of this thesis is for people to have a better understanding of where their money can be donated in order to maximize their potential impact on others. The effective altruism movement will continue to captivate philanthropists for years to come. 

279 Room 163 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Zack Richard Barrett
Nikolaos Artavanis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Finance, UMass Amherst
Marginal Tax Rates and Their Effect on Informal Economic Activity

This paper examines the effect of marginal tax rates on economic activity. An income tax rate change has two primary effects on economic activity: tax evasion and labor supply. The scope of this study is to examine these relationships down to their logical extreme at the implementation of a flat tax. The research method focuses on comparing tax evasion and labor supply rates before and after tax changes. Finally, using these findings, I will assess the potential impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on economic activity in the United States. 

281 Room 168 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Edward McCormick
Itai Sher (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst

Evaluating Policy Interventions in the Rural Credit Market of Sudan

Over the last forty years, Sudan has suffered from recurring famines that have devastated the lives and livelihoods of thousands of farmers.  Though food supplies remain relatively constant, the region suffers from a lack of purchasing power engendered by failures of rural credit policy.  Through a thorough review of scholarly articles on Sudan and comparable nations this paper seeks to discover how a policy intervention in the rural credit market could ameliorate the effects of famine during a period of drought.  The literature shows that there are clear connections between some credit channels' inefficiencies and farmer insolvency during drought.  My investigation argues that the two channels of credit with the greatest inefficacy are the informal "Shail" system, and the formal banking system.  Under the former system, lenders have market power, and use it to offer loans at predatory interest rates, while the latter system is incapable of effectively extending its loan services to rural areas.  Based on a Senegalese design, my solution is to propose a hybrid of the two, using Shail merchants' local access and symmetric information as well as the banks' oversight and fixed interest rates, my policy will use incentives to repurpose these Shail merchants as financial intermediaries for banks so that wide reaching loans may be fairly offered.  With this policy, there will be fewer insolvencies in the rural farming sector, thus strengthening famine resistance in times of agricultural hardship.

282 Room 168 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Alicia Faith Mortenson
Itai Sher (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
Valuing Foreign Life in Environmental Regulations

Valuing foreign life has been, and continues to be, a fraught and underdeveloped field of study in American economic and political analysis.  Moreover, as global environmental issues become more pressing, it is clear that there exists a lack of debate on how the United States incorporates the valuation of foreign life into environmental regulations.  This paper will analyze the moral implications of valuing foreign lives through the lens of philosophical theories of global justice, and apply this analysis to our current regulatory practices of cost-benefit analyses and value of statistical life (VSL) estimates for environmental regulations.  Drawing upon philosophical theories from philosophers such as John Rawls, as well as economic literature regarding cost-benefit analyses and environmental regulation, this study will ultimately make a recommendation as to how we should include foreign life into our cost-benefit arithmetic.  Considering these philosophical theories it is necessary to conclude that access to a clean and healthy environment should be considered a basic human right, and therefore government regulations should consider the impact of American environmental regulation on foreign life in some manner.  This necessitates the analysis of how foreign lives, or foreign mortality risk, is affected by proposed American environmental regulation through VSL estimates or otherwise.  As the United States is a major economic and political world power, as well as a top global polluter, it is necessary that the American government leads the way in respecting and accounting for the right to a clean environment for all.

283 Room 908 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Anya Priya Conti
Marta Vicarelli (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
Investing in Sustainable Development: A Cost-Benefit Analysis

Developed countries have historically contributed the most to global warming. However, in recent years their total emissions have stabilized while emissions from developing countries have been steadily growing and are expected to grow even further with projected economic growth. Our study analyzes the performance of sustainable development projects in developing countries, focusing on how effectively the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are either eliminated or mitigated as a result. For this research, we examine sustainable development projects from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) project database, and integrated this data with spatial information about project localities. These projects are part of the clean development mechanisms (CDMs) framework, which awards tradable GHG emission credits to developed countries that invest in climate mitigation projects in developing nations. Our analysis allowed us to evaluate which types of projects are most effective at mitigating GHG emissions, which are most cost-efficient, and how local characteristics (i.e. climate, geography, infrastructure, and population densities) may affect these outcomes. We explored how efficiently these projects create sustainable energy sources. More specifically, we examined how effectively projects contribute to climate change mitigation, while they simultaneously promote growth through the development of new sustainable energy infrastructure.  This study will provide useful policy recommendations on sustainable development project design. In particular, we will identify the most successful design strategies in relation to specific constraints including capital investment size, maintenance cost, project duration, and location characteristics.  By identifying the most successful designs we expect to highlight best practices for future climate change mitigation projects in developing nations. 

291 Room 168 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Lauren Kelley Humphreys
Itai Sher (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
Thinking 50 Years Ahead: Adapting Retirement Savings Platforms to Prepare Millennials

Saving for retirement is one of the most important financial actions an individual can take. Facing a high government deficit, the depletion of Social Security funds, and a decreased prevalence of pension plans, the millennial generation must depend “exclusively on personal savings and 401ks” (Ghilarducci 2015). Behavioral economics, the integration between economics and psychology, has contested the view that individuals make rational calculating decisions. Influenced by many behavioral factors, people make decisions that defy standard economic theory and go against optimizing outcomes. For example, many people exhibit status quo bias, sticking with the default option provided despite its lacking qualities (Madrian and Shea 2001; Choi et al. 2004). Through economic and behavioral economic analysis, I argue that the current structure of automatic enrollment 401(k) plans does not address the growing concern amongst millennials of having insufficient retirement funds. (EBRI 2017; Wells Fargo). The returns on investment are extremely low (+$8,956) and the total account balance is inadequate ($124,291). I argue that retirement choice architecture must include both participation and contribution focused mechanisms going forward. Therefore, I propose a government mandated automatic enrollment plan with a six percent default rate in a large cap stock fund with automatic escalation features. Under my proposed change, a millennial will retire with $1,415,226, quadruple the total 401(k) balance at age 70 under the current plan. Overall, this proposal seeks to identify and address the important characteristics of retirement savings frameworks.

292 Room 168 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Matthew Scott Harmon
Itai Sher (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst

The Path to Higher Ground: An Examination of Prison Education Methods and Outcomes

The United States’ incarceration system is famously costly to operate. It is therefore imperative to regularly re-evaluate the prison system and reform it accordingly. One essential function of prisons is to rehabilitate offenders so that they may return to society as productive, contributing members. This paper examines different prison and post-prison education programs and attempts to glean what makes an education program an effective rehabilitation tool. This paper synthesizes the findings of multiple prison education studies and evaluates what common program elements account for successful education programs. Where program studies often examine recidivism rates and post-prison employment status as metrics for success, these studies often neglect prisoner experience. To supplement this absence of information, this paper provides qualitative data from former prisoners through a survey that inquires about their notion of their education program and what value they garnered from their experience. With this added lens, the paper finds that effective programs are characterized as ones that build on the self-efficacy of prisoners, make prisoners feel more optimistic about re-entering the workforce, that supply prisoners with marketable skills that can be put to use in their communities, and that give structure to their lives. These findings better inform education program decision making and emphasize the value in considering the experience of prisoners when evaluating the success of a program.

293 Room 174 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Anders J. Dellasanta
William O'Brien (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Business and Economics, Worcester State University
The Effect of Negative Exogenous Shocks on Consumer Confidence in the Twenty-First Century

The Great Recession of the 21st century rocked the American economy from its stable foundation and left consumer confidence plummeting.  While the recession was unanticipated, the aftershock effect it had on consumer confidence was expected, as uncertainty left consumers feeling pessimistic about the economy. Similarly, when an external force outside of the economy occurs, such as a natural disaster or act of terrorism, their effects are unanticipated due to the sudden nature of them and negatively impacts consumers’ confidence, also without warning. These occurrences are known as negative exogenous shocks and have a draining effect on economic conditions based on the same principle of uncertainty. Negative exogenous shocks are expected to have an indirect relationship with consumer confidence, such that when a shock occurs, consumer confidence will lower and when no shock occurs, confidence will remain fixed on economic conditions. This presentation sheds light on the diminishing effects of exogenous shocks on consumer confidence after the Great Recession and is comprised of two time periods in the 21st century: before and after the recession. This thesis argues that the time period after the recession shows no difference in consumer confidence, whether or not a shock occurs.

294 Room 174 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
David DiBara
William O'Brien (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Business and Economics, Worcester State University

Can the Market Be Predicted? Econometric Analysis of Stock Market Returns

            This research paper uses an ordinary least squares model estimation to attempt to find a statistical relationship between U.S stock market returns and a number of assumed independent financial variables including: real disposable income per capita, population growth per capita, last year S&P 500 prices, dividend yield, P/E ratio, capacity utilization, commodity prices, VIX/VXO index, and external GDP.  In order to try to find any statistically significant relationships I review past research papers on similar topics and build my model based on previous research and try to add value by introducing slightly different econometric methodology. In picking my variables I use economic theory to back up my reasons for picking the variables I did. For example, last year S&P prices should lead to higher current year prices because investors and business owners should be confident in the state of the markets, thus investing more.  This paper, will also analyze different results during different business cycle stages in the U.S economy, such as pre-2008 recession and post-2008 recession to see if results differ given different economic stages.



295 Room 917 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Julia Mae Tassinari
Jessica Thelen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Changing for the Better

Gender and identity are intimately connected, however, one is given to you, and one you choose for yourself. Over the last decade, our country has come a long way in accepting members of the LGBTQ community. But why is it a community?  People of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer community are still perceived as different through the eyes of many, because in years past, being something other than straight was not considered the norm. Although it is now becoming more common for people to "come out," there are still people who abide by "tradition" and frown upon the idea of a young man or woman who seeks something that is, perhaps, different. Fortunately, a huge historical movement broke out on June 26, 2015: gay marriage became legal in all states. Although many people were in disbelief that day, gay marriage should’ve been legal all along. Today, some claim racism is over because it’s less common for whites to look down on African Americans, but what is it called when straight men/women look down on people for showing who they truly are? Homophobia. Homophobia still exists today because some feel as though they're above others. They are somehow privileged enough to judge people for loving someone of the same gender or wanting something different with their bodies. Now, some members of this community, are afraid to be who they truly are because they want to fit in, self-conscious of feeling they may not belong.

298 Room 163 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Phoenix Amber DeRuosi
Kenneth Reeds (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of World Languages and Cultures, Salem State University
Dual-Language Programs: The Most Beneficial Way to Teach ELL Students


This paper explores the benefits of teaching ELL (English Language Learners) students through Dual Language Programs. Dual Language is the instruction of course material in both the student's native tongue, and the language he or she is trying to learn. There is evidence that ELL students lack confidence in their learning. Because of their linguistic reality they are often perceived as different from other learners, thus leading to disappointing academic results. Examples of these results are: low achievement on test scores, increased dropout rates, low graduation rates, and inadequate reading and writing proficiency. This paper focuses on research that has proven that Dual Language Programs will boost test scores, reduce the dropout rate, raise the graduation percentage and enhance proficiency in reading and writing. The general argument is that long-term goals of developing the education of ELL students in the United States will improve with the implementation of Dual Language Programs. This paper exhibits how ELL students are marginalized and thus failed by the US education system. In other words, they are not given the opportunity to learn like their English-speaking classmates. The situation is such, that it could be said that these students are not prepared to succeed academically; and thus lack the opportunities to move forward beyond school. Dual language programs would allow ELL students to grow in many ways not solely academically, but will be given the opportunity to shine and use their linguistic reality as a resource instead of a language barrier.

300 Room 809 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Iliana K. Marentes Taradji
Torrey Trust (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Education, UMass Amherst
Using YouTube as a Tool to Increase Discussion around Mental Health

Mental health is heavily stigmatized in society, making it difficult for individuals to openly discuss their struggles and receive the help they require. The negative impact of mental health stigma is especially present on college campuses. YouTube’s rise as one of the most influential and widespread social media platforms offers a platform for increasing awareness of and discussions about college mental health topics. Although much research has been conducted pertaining to the use of videos in education, little research has been done to understand how YouTubers are able to captivate such large audiences. Even less research has been done on how to utilize these platforms to purposefully engage audiences in specific discussions. For this study, I examined YouTube videos, blogs, and research literature to identify common elements that shape the success of YouTube videos. I developed a video rubric based on my findings, which will be used to guide the design of YouTube videos focused on mental health for college students. Through a combination of understanding where the stigma surrounding mental health originates as well as key attributes of successful and engaging educational YouTube videos, I will be able to develop a YouTube channel focused on increasing discussion and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health on college campuses.

309 Room 168 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Zachary Anthony Santana
Michael P. Krezmien (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Education, UMass Amherst

Understanding Mentorship Programs in Urban Communities

The purpose of this study is to understand how to best serve ethnic minority low socioeconomic status youth through mentorship programs. This research focuses on understanding if the literature’s description of the average mentor (White, middle class, medium-high SES) is more effective than mentorship done by a more relatable figure who has experienced similar life challenges as the average ethnic minority urban based youth. This research is significant because the literature fails to examine these individuals as a viable mentorship option. The opportunity for a mutually beneficial program that fosters mentor and mentee growth is also discussed. Collected data will be mostly qualitative and obtained through interviews and surveys. Interpretation of data will be used to understand how to best connect with and help youth in similar urban communities. Though the results have yet to be fully interpreted, they are pointing towards reason to value the importance of relatability in a mentor-mentee relationship. This finding would be novel, as most research accepts the aforementioned typical mentor to be most acceptable, while these findings would suggest otherwise. The results of this research are important because understanding needed characteristics in a mentor are vital if mentorship programs are to be successful. Additionally, this research is examining programs that are mutually beneficial towards developing local men into mentors as it is with the youth themselves being mentored. This is significant because this research would aid in development of programs that serve two marginalized populations. 


310 Room 165 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Tristan Nikolai Koopman
Eve Vogel (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Geography, UMass Amherst

Synergy between Pumped-Hydro Energy Storage and Wind Energy in the New England Electricity System

Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) is a well-established energy generation technology with over 20 GW of installed generation capacity currently in the US. The main benefit of PHES is the additional flexibility and reliability it offers the grid. Grid variability caused by high levels of renewable generation sources can be mitigated through the integration of PHES. When operated alongside wind farms, a PHES plant can exploit the rejected or excess wind energy which is stored as potential energy in the form of water pumped to an elevated reservoir. This paper explores the relationship between high levels onshore and offshore wind penetration with PHES.  A computational model simulates the operation of a PHES facility in the electricity system. The results obtained indicate that introducing PHES into an electricity grid with high penetration of wind energy can result in increased capacity factors of wind generation technologies. With PHES, offshore wind in New England increases its capacity factor from 7% to 12%.


313 Room 917 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Rebecca Lynn Paul
Michael Filas (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Do You Taste Like I Do? A Fiction Piece for the Lonely and Hopeful

Loneliness has been a heavily combated emotion, one that ties everyone together in a universal empathetic grasp. This piece of fiction was written to confront those feelings, as well as reach out some hope that there are others experiencing the same thing. Nowadays, it is all too easy to feel isolated, so this story helps to bridge the ever growing gap between people. “Do You Taste Like I Do?” is based on personal experience. The main character fights with her own sense of self-worth and absence from the people around her, and in the process, meets a girl that seems so insurmountably different from her, yet they share the common thread of loneliness. Instead of closing herself off, the main character opens herself to this new girl, both of them sharing optimism when finding each other; another person who understands just how she feels. The story reaches one of the most simple instincts a person has - to find someone to connect and share with. It is able to instill a sense of bittersweet solace within its readers. It moves an audience to reach out and make a new friend. When living in a world so closed off and secretive, a story such as this is vital to keeping morale high and inspiring to do the unimaginable; to divulge in another person and give up a piece of themselves to dispel the loneliness.

314 Room 163 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Leticia Torres Rozo
Michael Perin Jaros (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Salem State University
Kanye West: Hip-Hop Martyr

Kanye West would be the first person to tell you that Kanye West is not ordinary.  He is an artist, a producer, a visionary. He is crude, egotistical, impulsive. My undergraduate thesis, from which the proposed paper is taken, examines how West’s music reveals that his albums are created for much more than entertainment. What sets Kanye West apart from many of the rappers of his time is his reluctance to commodify his art and his vision for profit. The proposed paper will examine how, in his first several albums, Kanye uses his platform to expose the trap of several prevailing ideologies through music. Soyica Diggs Colbert comments on his debut album as a rapper, “The College Dropout,” noting that it “decries alienated labor and incorporates bitter irony with notions of transcendence” (54). In the proposed paper I shall examine how Kanye mixes in his experience as a middle-class African-American to criticize the meritocracy in America, demonstrating that its real purpose is to create social hierarchies and further segregate people. Specifically, and because of how predominant racial commentary is in his music, I will focus primarily on the complicated race relations in the U.S. and how they contribute to what I call his “conceptual martyrdom.” His lyrics suggest fame, fortune, and success are empty dreams because they foster a false sense of security and happiness. Further than that, Kanye accuses black people specifically of being most oblivious to the emptiness in these dreams. For example, in the song, “All Falls Down” off “The College Dropout,” he raps “Things we buy to cover up what’s inside// Cause they made him hate ourselves and love they wealth” (West).  My proposed paper will argue that this reward system breeds a ferocious consumer culture that equates material possession with success. As Chris Richardson has asserted, “West recognizes that a university degree is necessary for attaining status and the hope of a well-paying career but is also a way for the dominant culture to judge others and legitimate social hierarchies and segregation” (102). By questioning what is otherwise widely and passively accepted by most, Kanye’s likeability suffers. Ultimately, the proposed paper argues that Kanye’s character suffers an unfair metaphorical death because his vision promotes radical thinking about the current state of American culture. The media mistakes his confidence for arrogance, and remembers his passion as mania. This paper is intended to recover his character as a radical social critic instead of a methodless madman, revealing how his work provides insight and inspiration to those willing to listen.

315 Room 174 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Stephanie Marie Teixeira
Michael James Gormley (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Quinsigamond Community College
American Military: Woman, Power, and Violence

The purpose of this research is to examine a new phenomena in American warfare. In 1994 the United States military officially lifted the ban on female soldiers serving in combat rolls. This means for the last several decades American women are fighting alongside of men. In war, historically constant racially sexualized violence against women has been used to punctuate the defeat and destruction of an ethnic group. American military women are now thrust into participating in a warrior culture they were previously partially separated from. For the first time in American history women are exposed to or participate in torture; are they victims or perpetrators of abuse? This complexity of violence raises cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other medical and societal implications. Also, violence against women, physically and sexually, has increased in the number of reports in the last two decades among military personal. The complex nature of the subject involving gender, the military, and aggression, lends itself to an interdisciplinary research approach.

318 Room 917 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Julia Caudle
Joseph Black (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, UMass Amherst
Eighteenth-Century English Mythography and Its Textual and Physical Re-imaginings

As long as people have been speaking, they have been telling myths. Our fascination with myth has never been limited to stories themselves. Rather, across cultures, languages, and time, people have been writing and analyzing myth through the practice of mythography: they retell, repackage, and repurpose these stories, and seek mythology’s origins, rationale, and connections within and outside itself, its divergences and changes over time, and its relevance to the mythographer’s own society. Since mythographic texts are often more accessible than texts in the original ancient languages, many authors use mythographies as their primary source for Classical myth. However, these mythographies come with their own biases and interpretations that make them worthy of their own scholarship. As such, my study aims to investigate eighteenth-century English mythographies as texts and as objects. Informed by perspectives on mythography theory, book history, contemporary scholarly debates, and relevant historical information, this study closely reads primarily Samuel’s Boyse’s The New Pantheon: or fabulous history of the heathen gods, goddesses, heroes &c. (1753), with consideration given to Thomas Blackwell’s Letters Concerning Mythology (1748) and an English translation of Abbé Antoine Banier’s The Mythology and Fables of the Ancients Explain’d from History (1739). By analyzing how these books speak about myth, establish “modern” texts, and use images that reflect eighteenth-century taste and style, this study finds that mythographers not only interpreted myth, but rewrote it to create a textual and physical object in their own literary tradition. With this understanding, eighteenth-century mythographers complicate the binary of the scholarly debate in this period that pitted the relative merits of the “moderns” against the “ancients.” For us, this study offers a critical perspective for understanding the various ways we continue to remake Classical myth and for what purposes.

322 Room 168 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Michelle Chen
Janis J. Greve (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, UMass Amherst
Charting the Outsider: Writing in an Age of Displacement

There is a critical importance for a body of creative work around many types of physical and mental displacement during an “age of displacement,” which is particularly apparent in the growing divide between people of different backgrounds in the current volatile American atmosphere. The perspective of the outsider, especially members of communities marginalized due to race, gender, class, religion, immigration status, or a number of other factors both major and minor, has been long undermined, devalued, or ignored altogether in popular media, and this limits representation and empathy. This causes a sense of displacement and further isolation from a society that, without exposure to the complexity of these perspectives, denies them just thought and compassion. Texts focusing on outsiders such as Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel, and Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, all of which include elements that emphasize and celebrate the individual, isolated spirit as a multilayered entity, inspired my usage of creative writing as a force for empathy. Particular themes of this collection include physical displacements in female coming-of-age and immigration, as well as the mental displacements of unsettling environments and experiences. This collection of creative writing aims to capture the implications of displacement and is an innovative solution to this issue of invisibility. More importantly, depictions in creative writing of both minor and extreme experiences of isolation and duality is fundamental if diverse perspectives are to be more accessible.

323 Room 168 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Jen-Chi Yao
J.D. Scrimgeour (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Salem State University
No English: My Experiences as an Immigrant

After living in Taiwan for the first nine years of my life, I moved to America with my family. I struggled with learning the language, adapting to the culture, and fitting in. Now that I have assimilated, I can see that some English speakers just didn’t understand how difficult life was for immigrants. My thesis, “No English,” is a series of creative non-fiction essays, attempting to help people understand what it’s like to be someone who struggles to learn a new culture. By recording my transition from being illiterate in English to an English major, I demonstrate the hurdles that immigrants must overcome as they adapt to the American way of living. Our schools and culture can impede an immigrant’s development. The adjusting can be made easier and faster when immigrants receive the proper help and support.  For this presentation, I will give readings from my manuscript about the struggles I went through and suggest the best way to help immigrants, especially those who cannot speak English.

328 Room 163 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Daniel Christopher Hein
Benjamin Arthur Railton (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Fitchburg State University
Brookdale: Songs of Youth and Innocence

Community is an important aspect that helps define us as individuals. Defining a person's community - and the effects of living in that community - gives us insights into that person's characteristics. My project is a short story collection that seeks to examine the community of the main character and its impact on his life. Pulling from events that happened in my own life (either to me or in my hometown), this collection details the life of the protagonist Adam, his descent into bitterness and depression, and his self-reflection. Adam is based primarily on myself, and characters he interacts with or describes are based on people that grew up around me. Drawing from these real-life influences, I created a community that is a reflection (and sometimes, a parody) of my own, as well as put to words my own struggles with depression and social alienation. The end project describes a man who is introduced in the story as misanthropic and depressed, then discovers more about himself through retelling the stories that make up the collection, ultimately resolving inner conflicts that have been brewing for decades. The perspective evolves throughout the collection, as Adam breaks down the persona he has molded for himself and realizes the damages his previous personality has caused. This change is the core of the project, and shows not only Adam's character arc, but a changing perspective on his community.

329 Room 803 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Hadiya Kimani Tuitt
Leah Carol Nielsen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University

"Sangre" is the Spanish word for "blood". This chapbook is an intimate exploration of the transition from adolescence to womanhood. Through self-observation, aspiring poet Hadiya touches upon topics surrounding depression, anxiety, feelings of love and loss, and several other "growing pains". With the use of prose and poetry, she manipulates difficult life experiences in a way that opens up discussions about self love, acceptance, and maturation. On one hand, this collection of poetry talks about the beauty of change and evolution of the self. On the other hand, she opens conversations about mental illness and the effects of society on mental health in young adults. She faces depression head on in her writing and is not afraid of showing her own vulnerability. In this raw, heartfelt collection of poetry, Hadiya talks about her own struggles with self-acceptance in society as well as her battle with depression in the hopes that her readers also find solace in self-expression. Each poem tells a different tail of trial and tribulation. The overall purpose of these works is to spark comfortable conversation among adolescents who struggle with themes discussed in this book. This chapbook is meant to make the hardships in life less scary by presenting them in way that the audience can relate to. Hadiya places a spotlight on the all-to-familiar feelings of insecurity and self-doubt.

331 Room 903 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Nina Marie Roxo
Len von Morze (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, UMass Boston

"A Steady Soothing World of Motion": The Manipulation of Time in Gertrude Stein’s “Melanctha"

Gertrude Stein’s novella, “Melanctha,” has a narrative structure that functions as a time experiment. She juxtaposes stasis with instances of rapid movement and repetition to create a work of art in her writing. One purpose of this project is to identify and evaluate the purpose and effects of intentional repetition in Gertrude Stein’s “Melanctha,” using the novella as the primary source, along with some of her explanatory speeches, namely “Composition as Explanation.” Another purpose of this project is to attribute the elliptical time aspect to the insistence seen in Stein’s repetition, as her repetition allows for her to control the passage of time in the narrative. One of the most puzzling things Stein does in this novella is write in a tense known as the “continuous present,” which also sets the narrative in an elliptical motion, counterintuitive to the more linear narrative with which readers are usually more comfortably familiar. Stein has defined “continuous present” as “beginning and beginning again” in her speech “Composition as Explanation.” This project will set out to identify parts of “Melanctha” where her writing in this tense is particularly influential, and relate those to relevant instances of repetition which contribute heavily to the elliptical feeling of the narrative. Stein’s cycle of “beginning and beginning again,” however, can be seen as almost stagnant, and this project will shed light on the way Stein propels the narrative forward while also seeming to force it to stall in some ways, especially in instances of intense repetition. Examples of this become especially clear in the negative, frustrating interactions between Melanctha and Jeff Campbell, with extremely pervasive repetition of more definitive words such as “truly” or “certainly,” placed in slightly varied contexts. This might give the reader a feeling that the words are supposed take on a slightly different meaning in each instance of varied context. Not only does this repetition affect semantic understanding, but it also adds a frustrating amount of lag to the narrative of “Melanctha.”

332 Hadley Room 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Eamon Joseph Galvin
Jessica Thelen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Social Media's Effects on Teen Identity

Whether or not you have social media, or whether or not you are a teenager, it is clear that the increasing popularity of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter has impacted teenagers’ identities. This idea is based in the truth that before social media rose in popularity, most of the influences on a teenager’s identity were positive ones. Social media however, is very often a negative influence. In a study run in 2011 by, researchers found that most of the influences on a teenagers identity before social media helped them develop a strong identity that gave them confidence in who they were. Some examples of these influences are parents, peers, local communities, schooling, and extracurricular activities. In the past, these influences have all been a part of shaping a teens identity. Some may have been positive and some may have been negative, but the beneficial influences almost always outweigh the negative ones. As of late, however, social media has taken the place of almost all of these influences. This is bad for two main reasons. First, no one influence should bear the total weight of creating a teenager’s identity. Second, it isn’t beneficial for a teenager’s identity to be born from how they are perceived online by peers or other people who they may follow. Now a teen’s identity may solely be shaped by social media, and in many cases this is toxic. In conclusion, social media has negative effects overall on a teen’s self esteem and sense of identity.

333 Room 162 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Nicholas Joseph Barry
Jessica Thelen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
The Negative Effects of Masculinity

Many people assume that patriarchy only affects women. This is not true, as cisgender, heterosexual men are also required to conform to certain gender norms. When people think of a man, they picture someone who is stoic,tough, and brawny. If a man does something that defies these expectations, such as cry, he is seen as weak . When men cry, they are told to “man up”. This kind of attitude forces men to hide their feelings, instead of letting them out in a healthy way.  Men are not only expected to behave in certain ways, but they are also expected to have certain interests. If a guy likes more feminine music, such as Beyonce, he is seen as “gay” and effeminate. While there is nothing wrong with being gay and liking these things, this stereotype hurts men because it does not allow them to be themselves.

Like other forms of discrimination, such as misogyny, standards regarding masculinity are so ingrained in our culture, that we start to believe them, and it can influence what opportunities men and women have. For example, many people think of a mechanic as a man, and a nurse as a woman. I know that this is not true, because there are both male and female mechanics and nurses where I live. In order to achieve true gender equality, feminists need to not only look at the ways that women are hurt by gender roles, but how men are as well.

334 Room 162 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Hanna Noel Smith
Jessica Thelen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Impact of Beauty Standards on Young Women

Why is it common for people to look in the mirror and dislike their appearance? Humans are not born inherently dissatisfied with themselves or others. This is a behavior that is learned through the process of socialization, which enforces what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable in terms of one's physical appearance. Contemporary American society’s beauty standards have the most impact on young women who experience many negative impacts as a result of not being able to meet the social ideals of being thin, having an hourglass-figure and having clear skin. These negative impacts include development of eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression and anxiety. In a recent study from Stanford University, it was determined young women who turn to dieting in an effort to control their bodies were at risk for developing disordered eating behaviors such as bingeing and purging (“Why Young Women Are Prey to Eating Disorders” Stephanie Gilbert 1996). Being incapable of meeting society’s beauty standards leads many young women to also develop low self-esteem. Low self-esteem causes these young women to feel like they are not acceptable enough to engage in activities they enjoy, which leads to feelings of anxiety and depression. To conclude, all Americans should work to not impose such strict beauty standards in order to prevent the development of eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression and anxiety in young women.

335 Room 903 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Bridget Hannigan
Don Vescio (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Worcester State University
The Power of Illustrations in Children's Literature

The Power of Illustrations in Children's Literature looks to breathe life into the illustrations present throughout children's books. While it cannot be argued that the purpose of illustrations in literature is to enhance the written word this essay looks to put the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words" into practice; how do these illustrations tell their own story and what impact does that have on their audience? The project examines the history of illustrations in childen's literature and their impact as well as showcases origional illustrated work. As the illustrations take over the research text, using a creative and hands-on method, the project literally shows how much the illustrations themselves have to say and how much power they truly have. 

336 Room 908 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Megan Elizabeth Simcock
Anupama Arora (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English and Women's and Gender Studies, UMass Dartmouth
The Things Left Unsaid

Technology is a tool, yet there is a huge disconnect between the online reality and the physical reality. While online, you may see people the way they want you to see them; while in person, you may see the fuller picture of an individual. That technology enables us to create and shield our true selves can be frustrating and powerful in its own right. Although technology seems an effortless and effective communication tool independent of location, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel, Americanah, presents a complicated vision of technology - it gives characters the power to create identities in space they've been denied in the physical world. At the same time, the use of technology deepens the rift between characters whose relationships are already strained by physical distance. Throughout the novel, Adichie presents an imperfect model of a relationship strung together through the virtual space, which demonstrates how technology is a poor supplement for emotional glue; specifically, Adichie illustrates this through Ifemelu and Obinze's various trials regarding self and romantic love across physical and emotional distance. 

For support,  I will address the characters use of communicative technologies to contact friends and relatives from whom they are geographically separated, and the impact technology has on their relationship. Furthermore, I'll discuss how new communication technologies, such as email, social media, technical devices and applications are utilized within Americanah and how they are an increasingly integral part of globalized African realities and consequently, find their way into literary representations of those realities. 


337 Room 801 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Erin Christine Dempsey
Kelly Matthews (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Framingham State University
W.B. Yeats' Public Persona during Conflict

      In this project, I explore two of W.B. Yeats's public responses to several Nationalist events that occurred in Dublin in the early twentieth century prior to Irish independence. I discuss his written reaction to Hugh Lane’s Art Gallery and the Dublin Lockout, as well as his response to the Easter Rising. The poems which were published as his public reaction are “September 1913” and “Easter 1916,” and I analyze them in the historical and political context of the events to which they respond. I examine the theme of nationalism within these works and explore how the support which Yeats displays for the nationalist movement shifts between the two poems.

      I argue that the nation as a whole felt the need to express conflicting opinions about the issues of nationalism and identity during a time of widespread tension, and that Yeats's work is an attempt toward that expression. My main goal for this project is to explore the role of the poet in society during a time of conflict. I chose to focus on the aspect of nationalism in Yeats’s public persona because I believe that at this point in Ireland’s history, nationalism was a widely debated characteristic of identity. I argue that his response to the Easter Rising is more ambiguous than his response to the Hugh Lane Gallery and Dublin Lockout, and that this shift is an expression of internal conflict about the contentious Irish Nationalist movement in general. I seek to understand the effect of Yeats’s public responses to nationalist events. 

338 Room 917 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Alisa Ferguson
Len von Morze (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, UMass Boston

"Speak Again" Revision, Reciprocity, and Social Relations in King Lear

In The One King Lear, Brian Vickers argues the 1608 Quarto of Lear is not a first draft of the later version released in the First Folio of 1623; but a butchered duplicate of the “true” edition that was reduced by the novice printer Nicholas Okes. Vickers argues, “The revisionists claim that the passages missing in the Quarto but found in the Folio were subsequently added by Shakespeare. I argue that they were, in fact, omitted by the printer, Nicholas Okes, because he had underestimated the amount of paper that he would need,” (Preface, x-xi). I agree with the revisionist theory that Shakespeare himself instituted the changes but that theory does not go far enough in the quest for answers behind the purpose of revision that I will expound upon; such as investigating the aspects of cultural anthropology that are prevalent. I explore the concepts of reciprocity, and gift giving (both are forms of exchange that build social connections, relationships and trust) and their influence on characters in King Lear. Looking at the two versions of Lear to explain that while Shakespeare made crucial edits, (removals and additions of entire passages, word changes and reassigning lines to different characters), between the two versions; the consistent parts offer much to be studied from an anthropological point of view. I explore what Shakespeare left behind that alludes to known and valued theories on social relations through a comparison with Marcel Mauss’s The Gift, surrounding relationships and forms of exchange.

339 Room 917 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
James Barnett Robotham
Malcolm Sen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, UMass Amherst

The Modernist Encyclopedia: Joyce’s Shadow on Infinite Jest

Since the publication of James Joyce’s highly experimental novel Ulysses, many authors have adapted aspects of Joyce’s virtuosic technique and encyclopedic style; in this thesis I argue that David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest is both directly influenced by Ulysses and indirectly indebted to Joyce via the mid-twentieth century novelists who incorporated aspects of Joyce’s style in their texts: Pynchon, Nabokov, and Delillo, to name a few. Joyce’s innovations that appear in Wallace’s work—“stream of consciousness,” parodic discourses, intertextual writing, and what some scholars call “encyclopedic form”—were, of course, adapted to some degree from his predecessors; however, in Joyce’s lifetime and in the decades after, these techniques became the Joycean trademark. Most importantly, these technical devices are not used as mere displays of talent, but rather shape both novels’ political themes of imperialism, ethnic discrimination, and the role of a citizen. Studying these novels in tandem links to scholarly threads about the significance of “encyclopedic narratives” for a nation’s culture; artists such as Goethe, Dante, Melville, and Joyce have produced long, “encyclopedic” works which aim to represent every form and discourse of their countrymen—I suggest that with Infinite Jest, Wallace attempts the same feat for a rapidly changing America at the turn of the millennium.

342 Room 903 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Julieann M. Jones
Anupama Arora (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English and Women's and Gender Studies, UMass Dartmouth
Writing Identity in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah

Americanah, a best-selling, award winning novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is rapidly approaching canonical status as it gains popularity both inside and out of the academic setting. Published in 2013, this postcolonial migrant diasporic novel follows protagonist Ifemelu over more than a decade as she moves from Nigeria, to the U.S., and back to Nigeria. This novel brings issues of race, class, and identity to the forefront of an engaging story, navigated by Ifemelu through her sagacious blog posts. In my paper, I will engage with, and extend, existing scholarship on the novel to focus on how both Ifemelu and her cousin Dike (raised in the U.S.), enter a space in which they must question everything they know about their identity and how it is shaped. I argue that in this text, with a weighted focus on Dike, Adichie is advocating for writing not only as a way to challenge oppressive social structures and attitudes, but also as a method of self-discovery in a world where who we are is so often defined by others. 

343 Room 803 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Keenan Joseph Provencher
Leah Carol Nielsen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University

My short story, “Abuse”, is a stand-alone piece that I wrote for a creative writing class. It calls to mind, through fictional circumstances, the horrors and difficulties that women have to deal with when married to an abusive spouse. It is not based off any experience of mine, rather it is a personification of society’s capacity to make the right decision in a tense or difficult situation. This piece also brings to mind the imperfections of society, through the protagonist and the antagonist. The goal of this short story is to shed more light on topics that need more attention.

344 Room 903 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Lucy Amanda Mitchell
Jennie-Rebecca Falcetta (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Liberal Arts, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Memory, Identity, and Autobiography through Metaphor in Virginia Woolf's The Waves and To The Lighthouse

In her novels The Waves and To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf weaves autobiography, memory, and identity together through metaphor and emotive prose. Using motifs of nature, most notably the ocean, Woolf engages deeply with identity through her use of autobiography to fuel character relationships. Her personal narrative and collected familial memory intertwines with the characters' narratives in both novels. Using evidence from autobiographical essays compiled in Moments of Being, the research in this paper examines how the motifs Woolf employs translate her experiences into the experiences of her characters spanning time. The most formative moments of Woolf’s childhood were the summers spent on the coast at her family’s home in St. Ives. To The Lighthouse focuses heavily on the dynamic of the Ramsay family while they are staying at their summer home on the coast. The characters are perpetually observing the ocean, seeing their emotions and relationships reflected in it. The Waves builds characters in the context of the ocean. The sun rising and setting over the ocean parallels the characters'​ lives and growth. Their identity also reflected in the vast ocean. Just as Woolf feels St. Ives is the base upon which all else in her life stands upon, the ocean is the base upon which The Waves and To The Lighthouse are built.


350 Room 163 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Renée Theresa Bouldin
Allison Roy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Conservation, UMass Amherst

Responses of Stream Fishes to Dam Removal in Massachusetts

Dams fragment river systems, alter discharges, store sediment, and affect stream water quality. Dam removal has the potential to remedy adverse impacts of dams on native fishes; however, the timing and spatial extent of responses to dam removal are not fully studied. Over the past 20 years, dam removal has become a leading tool of riverine restoration in Massachusetts, resulting in 60 removals since 2000. The purpose of this study is to explore the upstream and downstream effects of dam removal on fish assemblages. We used the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s database to compile fish data from surveys completed at sites upstream and downstream, before and after, 12 dam removals. In these 12 sites, we compared the presence and abundance of stream fishes before and after dam removal. We expect that fish composition will be more similar between upstream and downstream fish populations after removal compared to before removal. Where temperatures decrease from warmwater to cool or coldwater downstream of former dam sites, we expect that coldwater fish abundances will increase following removal. Our results may be used to inform managers about the potential responses of riverine fish species to dam removal. 

351 Room 163 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Holly A. Giard
Allison Roy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Conservation, UMass Amherst
Investigating the Effects of Winter Lake Drawdowns on Freshwater Mussels and Consequences for Water Quality

Freshwater mussels are critical components to aquatic ecosystem functioning, water quality, and food web dynamics, serving as sustenance for various animals and providing substrate for benthic invertebrates and algae. However, many populations of freshwater mussels have been declining due partly to habitat loss from urbanization and damming. Research suggests that annual lake winter drawdowns--a common practice for controlling invasive vegetation, among other purposes--may affect mussel densities because the rapid dewatering exposes mussels, resulting in mass mortalities. We aimed to quantify effects of drawdowns on mussel densities, and, consequently, water quality. Within 6 drawdown and 3 non-drawdown lakes, mussels were sampled through visual snorkel surveys along 20-m transects and excavation surveys within quadrats at 0.5-m and 1.0-m depths (whereby the 0.5-m was exposed during drawdowns) at 3 locations in late summer/early fall prior to drawdown. Post drawdown surveys were conducted at 11 drawdown lakes to monitor mortality. Preliminary results revealed higher densities of common mussel species, Pyganodon cataracta and Elliptio complanata, in non-drawdown lakes compared to drawdown lakes within transects that are exposed during drawdown. These data will be used to calculate loss in filtration from mussels and assess the impacts of drawdown-associated mussel declines on lake water quality.

352 Room 163 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Tansy T. Remiszewski
Allison Roy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Conservation, UMass Amherst
Impacts of Winter Water-Level Lake Drawdowns on Fish Growth

Winter water-level drawdowns are conducted in many New England lakes with the goal of killing nuisance aquatic vegetation, among other purposes. If winter drawdowns reduce vegetation, there may be negative consequences for littoral (shoreline) species, as the complex structure of vegetated lake habitat functions as a resource base for many species of fish. We asked whether winter drawdowns alter growth rates of three native fish species that use both littoral and pelagic (deeper water) zones of water bodies. Our pelagic species were the largemouth bass and yellow perch while our littoral species were the pumpkinseed and young-of-year (YOY) largemouth bass. Using boat electrofishing and a beach seine, we sampled fishes in 12 lakes with a range of annual drawdown magnitude and 2 non-drawdown controls. A subset of individuals were measured and aged using sagittal otoliths. Annuli widths were used to back-calculate growth for each year; wider widths correspond to faster yearly growth rates. Growth rates were then compared to a range of annual drawdown metrics (e.g. drawdown magnitude, percent of shoreline exposed). We expect that pumpkinseed and YOY largemouth bass growth will be negatively affected related to increased drawdown magnitude and percent shoreline exposed, as these fish feed on littoral macroinvertebrates that are likely to be impacted by drawdowns. Growth of older bass and yellow perch may be less impacted by drawdowns since feeding habits are more diversified among habitats and trophic levels. Our results may be used to inform management strategies that reduce impact to native fish species.

365 Room 165 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Caley M. Earls
Eve Vogel (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Geography, UMass Amherst
Investigating Changes in the Timing of River Herring Migrations to Manage River Flows

River herring – alewives and blue back herring – are anadromous fish native to New England

that rely on major river systems for annual upstream migration and subsequent spawning in lake

habitat. Human alterations to the landscape, primarily damming river systems, threaten river

herring survival and affect the timing of life history events. This study investigates the changes

in the phenology of anadromous river herring in relation to climate change and damming impacts

between the late 1800’s and contemporary times. The study analyzes differences in the timing of

upstream migration on Cape Cod, Massachusetts between 1865 to 1871 and 2012 to 2017.

Upstream migration to spawning grounds in Waquoit Bay on Cape Cod occurs at least 2 weeks

earlier than migration during historic times. Dams, particularly hydropower operations, tend to

alter the natural flow regime of freshwater systems. Understanding river herring migration

timing could lead to optimizing flows for transit through fish facilities with implications beyond

the case study area. For example, the Connecticut River has several dams on the main stem that

can impede access to suitable spawning habitat. Fish passage facilities are often closed or

impassible due to high or low flows, with significant impacts on migratory species like river

herring. Flow management may be necessary to allow for fish passage at the correct times, which

currently does not factor into flow decision-making by hydropower operators.

366 Room 165 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Sam Alexander Kefferstan
Eve Vogel (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Geography, UMass Amherst
Impacts of Hydropower Installations and Dams on the Distribution of Fish Communities within the Connecticut River Watershed

Efforts to reduce the production of greenhouse gas emissions through the burning of fossil fuels for energy production has pressed policymakers and the scientific community to explore the possibility of increased reliance on hydropower as a source of renewable energy. Hydropower energy generation certainly has the benefit of reducing emissions, but dams also create an impermeable physical barrier, change natural flow regimes and temperature profiles, reduce available spawning habitat (particularly for anadromous fish species), and increase habitat fragmentation. The impacts of dams in this regard have been studied at great length, but often procuring relevant information to conduct meaningful research requires the consultation of various regulatory agencies and NGOs. As we strive to rely on renewables to provide a larger proportion of our generation mix, it is imperative to facilitate access to these resources in order to succinctly answer questions regarding the impacts of hydropower, and dams generally, on the fitness of fish communities within economically and ecologically vital watersheds. A visual product has been created through the use of ESRI ArcGIS, MassGIS resources such as dam locations, surrounding land use, and extensive data management efforts undertaken by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife dating back to 1952 to expedite future research addressing pressing questions about dams, hydropower, and their impacts on aquatic organisms. This work will also serve to synthesize the known impacts of dams on fish community distribution, with an emphasis on the Connecticut River watershed within Massachusetts, which already has several operational hydropower installations.

367 Room 165 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Emily Chang
Josh Hartney Nolan
Eve Vogel (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Geography, UMass Amherst
Hydropower, Policy, and Ecology: A Case Study of Holyoke Energy

To create more sustainable and cost-effective energy production, national and local institutions urge consolidated ownership, competitive markets, and low-carbon solutions. Large-scale hydropower, popular for lower-carbon electricity generation, supplies relatively cheap baseload electricity demand.  At the same time, these dams negatively impact surrounding environments, via river flow volatility and concomitant impacts on riparian and aquatic ecosystems. For over 170 years, the Holyoke Dam has been the site of hydropower developments. Holyoke Dam changed from privately to municipally owned in 2001 and achieved LIHI certification for their sustainable development initiatives in 2012. We use an analytical comparative-historical approach to examine river management policy and practice: (1) under private ownership but pre-competitive markets (pre-1996); (2) after competitive markets and Holyoke Gas and Electric (HG&E) municipalization but pre-Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) certification (2001-2011); and (3) after LIHI certification (still with municipal ownership and competitive markets; 2012-present).  

Using interviews, field site visits, municipal and private licensing submissions, and historical and environmental documents, we examine Holyoke Dam policy and practice on the Connecticut River. We test a hypothesis that municipalization and LIHI certification have prioritized fish passage and habitat goals, greening Holyoke Dam’s electricity generation. However, with competitive markets driving production, there are conflicts of interest between economy and ecology. We seek to demonstrate whether municipal ownership, competitive markets, and LIHI certification could be a model for other large-scale hydropower in attending to the needs of fish and wildlife while staying competitive for ratepayers.

371 Hadley Room 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Jadziah Hannon-Moonstone
Andy Danylchuk (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Conservation, UMass Amherst
Age and Growth of Blueback Herring in the Connecticut River

Blueback Herring (Alosa aestivalis) is an anadomous fish that has experienced extreme declines in abundance in the Connecticut River beginning in the mid 1990’s. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission coastwide stock assessment in 2017 determined this species severely depleted. Beginning in 2013, a large-scale US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) data monitoring project was started in the Connecticut River to address data deficiencies for the species. This project will use fish sampled by the USFWS from 2013-2017 to look at Blueback Herring age and growth determined using otoliths. Back calculations of size-at-age will be conducted using measurements of annual growth increments for male and female blueback herring collected from five sites throughout the Connecticut River. Otolith measurements will be used to create a von Bertalanffy growth function for the population. This work will be help inform more complex fisheries models that assist state and federal agencies in the management of blueback herring in the Connecticut River. This data could also be used to explore possible factors that influence of at-sea growth of blueback herring. 


372 Room 163 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Shakil Rahman
Nikolaos Artavanis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Finance, UMass Amherst
Product Concentration and Economic Vulnerability

The paper examines the effect of product concentration on economic vulnerability at the economic level, during industry-wide or global shocks. The study measures concentration for a panel of countries, at the product or industry level, and compares product concentrated to diversified economies to assess effects of concentration on vulnerability. Afterwards, I focus on the effects of degrees of concentration on vulnerability of the economy, based on product-specific and global shocks, and how it is related to recession and recovery paths.

373 Room 163 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Jeffrey T. Spahl
Nikolaos Artavanis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Finance, UMass Amherst

Regulation of the US Shadow Banking System in the Wake of the 2008 Financial Crisis

One of the contributing factors to the 2008 U.S. financial crisis was the growth of shadow banking, which includes non-bank financial intermediaries that are not regulated as strictly as traditional commercial banks. In the years leading up to the 2008 crisis, shadow banks spread credit risk by trading subprime mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations. This paper examines the effectiveness of post-crisis regulations, such as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, in limiting the risk-taking behaviors of shadow banks. I focus on how legislation has affected hedge funds, mutual funds, and government-sponsored enterprises, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While the primary focus is on the U.S. financial system, this study also examines the evolution of shadow banking in Europe and Asia, in order to assess risks posed by foreign shadow banks in the global financial system.

377 Room 903 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Patrice Brantley
Zaur Rzakhanov (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Accounting and Finance, UMass Boston
Multinational Corporations and Stock Price Crash Risk

The purpose of this paper is to find out whether or not the degree of multinationality of a multinational corporation (MNC) has a significant effect on its stock price crash risk. Academic literature has shown that MNCs have a higher stock price crash risk when compared to domestic firms/single-nation firms (SNCs). A known fact is that higher agency costs are associated with higher stock price crash risk. The literature generally finds that effective corporate governance mechanisms can help reduce the agency costs associated with opportunistic managerial behavior in MNCs and thus lower their stock price crash risk. However, the literature doesn’t address what type of effect a higher degree of multinationality has on MNCs. Data from the transnationality index, as calculated by the UNCTAD, will be used to run regressions in order to analyze the effects of multinationality on stock price crash risk. This study will examine how different degrees of international operations affect a firm’s stock price crash risk. By finding out how the degree of multinationality of a firm affects its stock price crash risk, we will be able to better understand how MNCs are valued.  

378 Room 165 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Meghan Rose Dunne
Nikolaos Artavanis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Finance, UMass Amherst
Brexit and Its Impact on Cross-Border M&As

The objective of this paper is to examine the impact of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union on cross-border mergers and acquisitions. The paper identifies when mergers and acquisitions are most likely to occur, the underlying firm motivations behind this investment activity, the level of premium paid for targets, and the determinants of post-merger success to apply them in the setting of interest. This paper tests whether the propensity of British-originated M&As in the European Union and the respective premiums are affected, as these companies attempt to retain access to the unified market.

379 Room 165 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Viritpol Sunprugksin
Nikolaos Artavanis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Finance, UMass Amherst

Eurasian Economic Union: Motives, Challenges, and Expectations

In recent years, separatist movements have gained traction in Western Europe, whereas, in other areas of the world, countries are seeking closer integration, with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) being the latest milestone. This paper examines the incentives and challenges behind the economic reintegration in the post-Soviet states are, and whether this initiative has been beneficial and effective. My analysis starts from a historical overview of the underlying relationships among the former Soviet states during the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, and extend to case studies between countries that joined the EU and states that chose different paths. Finally, I examine the prospect of the post-Soviet economic reintegration and the EAEU in the context of a competitive global environment.

380 Room 174 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Jonathon Robert Ferreira
Michael H. Anderson (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Accounting and Finance, UMass Dartmouth
The Effect of Changes in Risk-Free Interest Rates on the Strength of Loan Covenants

The trade-off between risk and reward plays a key role in the investment decisions of market participants. By analyzing the strength of loan covenants and the level of risk-free interest rates, my research aims to show whether changes in risk-free yields are a determinant of the strength of loan covenants that creditors demand. To quantify these effects, loans that have received “Loan Covenant Quality” ratings are measured against both United States Treasury and LIBOR yields. Moody’s Investor Service’s “Loan Covenant Quality” rating framework provides a thorough measure of the strength of loan covenants and the level of protection they provide creditors. To facilitate this research, a dataset was constructed of 278 loans - from 2007 to 2017. The main finding, is there exists a weak to moderate correlation between loan covenant strength and the level of risk-free interest rates. This correlation can help explain how investor’s risk and reward preferences respond to changing interest rate environments.



384 Room 165 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Rylee Wrenner
Eve Vogel (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Geography, UMass Amherst
Analysis of How Hydro-Geological Concerns from Hydropeaking Are Addressed during Dam Relicensing Processes

Hydropeaking is the practice of rapidly changing the amount of water released from reservoir hydroelectric power stations in response to fluctuations in power demand. These rapid stage changes impact the physical habitat of reservoirs and rivers, changing the movement of water and sediment in the system. Due to increased concern about adverse impacts such as erosion, stakeholders have been demanding that more environmental studies be done during dam relicensing processes. Pumped storage dams, in which water is pumped uphill so that it may be released via hydropeaking when demand is high, as well as dams with large reservoirs, tend to have greater impact than run of the river dams. In this study, we compared environmental documents from the licensing processes of Fifteen Miles Falls dams, Holyoke Dam, and the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage dam, for the purpose of understanding how hydropeaking affects physical habitat and what measures have been recommended to mitigate adverse effects. 


394 Room 163 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Rebecca Ann Green
Annette Renee Chapman-Adisho (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, Salem State University
The Jewish People of Colonial-Era Newport, Rhode Island

During the course of history people are forgotten and as historians pick up the pieces of a story decades or centuries later those people are never again remembered. People lost their identities and maybe even their humanity; this is an attempt to return the identities to the Jewish people of colonial era Newport, Rhode Island.

Today, the community is thriving but in the mid-seventeenth century this was not the case. The community was small and had very little presence in Newport, using the city as a layover to their next stop.

Although an attempt to return identities to these Jews living in Newport, this paper is only a beginning. It examines the lives of only two, prominent and influential men in the community; Moses Seixas and Aaron Lopez, as well as their families. They were both merchants with large families but came from very different backgrounds; one was born in the colonies while the other in Europe, one was more successful than the other. Both men, however, were hit equally hard by the onset of the American War for Independence while being staunch supporters of the colonists.

395 Room 801 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Tianna Darling
Anthony Daly (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History and Political Science, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
The Impact of Soviet Secrecy on the Space Race

Between the end of World War II and the 1970s, the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a competition for control of the next frontier: outer space. Sergei Korolev led the Soviet effort; he was a brilliant rocket engineer who had survived imprisonment in the Gulag. Korolev dedicated his life to this public contest with the United States.  His opponent was Wernher von Braun; he had led the German rocket program under the Nazis and then became the head of the U.S. team after the war. However, these rocket programs and engineers did not operate in a vacuum. Within the context of the Cold War, the United States was incredibly open about the details of their space program; however, the Soviet Union closely guarded their scientists and methods. This paper examines the impact that the Soviet tradition of complete confidentiality had on their rocket program. It looks at the reasons and effects of concealment of important information, as well as the political context for this secrecy. Based on archival materials such as government and intelligence records, newspapers, interviews, and memoirs, in addition to secondary sources, this research suggests that the secrecy of the Soviet Union contributed to their early successes but ultimately limited their accomplishments in the rocket program and the space race as a whole. 

396 Room 801 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Erich Allen Leaper
Donson Andrew (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, UMass Amherst
Why the Presence of a Strong Polish National State in Post-WWI Europe Benefited the Leaders of the Weimar Republic

The period immediately following World War I was one of the most trying times the German people had ever experienced. Nevertheless, the attitudes and actions of the major players in European politics at this time portrayed the atmosphere in Germany in a significantly different light. The presence of a strong Polish state, while seemingly detrimental to Germany’s Central European dominance, actually helped the German leaders sustain Germany’s powerful position in Europe. Using a variety of secondary sources, accessed at the W.E.B DuBois Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and primary sources, primarily microfilms from the American Commission to Negotiate Peace and memoirs from delegates active European delegates, this paper takes into account a multiplitude of experiences. By analysing relationships between the different European nations and leaders, this paper provides an accurate depiction of Europe’s post-WWI political environment. A desire to both keep Germany in check and provide a buffer state from the growing Bolshevik threat led Western European countries to provide significant support for the reestablishment of Poland. Unfortunately, in order for Poland to properly function, it had to annex certain territories which had majority German populations, thus violating Woodrow Wilson’s self-determination principle. Germany’s presence as a potential countermeasure against the Bolshevik threat gave them a validation that they were still a power in Central Europe. Meanwhile, Poland’s undermining of the self-determination principle represented the misconception of Western Europe’s moral superiority.

397 Room 917 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Dylan Scott Arruda
Daniel C. Sarefield (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, History & Political Science, Fitchburg State University
The Mysteries of Mithras: Aspects of a Persian Deity in the Roman Empire

Mithras, also called Mitra or Mithra, is a god who had been worshiped for over 2,000 years by the time of the Roman Empire. To the Romans, this Indo-Iranian deity took on a new form as a god of the soldiers, as well as a god of personal salvation for his followers. Lacking a central text for Roman Mithraism, the manner in which he was worshiped is unclear from the surviving material and literary evidence. This project will investigate the origins of Mithras as well as how this deity came to be known in the Roman Empire. This project also discusses aspects of Mithras that are present in the art left behind in the Mithraea, underground temples used for religious ceremonies by the cult, as well as the imagery associated with Mithras in both Roman and non-Roman sources. The specific aspects involved include the sun, the harvest, the zodiac, and timeThe final section will posit a possible theology surrounding the cult of Mithras since no satisfactory belief system has been identified.


398 Room 917 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Nicolette P. Moriconi
Michele Louro (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, Salem State University
Salem State College: An Approach to the Issue of Rape during the Societal Shift of the Seventies

The seventies in the United States was a time that many historians would argue consisted of multiple societal shifts and events that shaped the way modern Americans think and act. Students at the Salem State College campus, took to the school newspaper, The Log, to voice their opinions and concerns about this turbulent decade. Among the many movements of the seventies, the second wave feminist movement was on the rise. Salem State students were no exception and took to their student led newspaper to use their voices. I will investigate primary sources from The Log, such as images, photos, newsletters, and columns to explore rape and sexual assault that was taking place on Salem State’s campus. The Log, which was overflowing with student written sources, gives insight to the opinions, supportive or not, about how the student body was dealing with these issues. I will then use this evidence to answer larger questions about the significance of the culture surrounding rape and sexual assault on college campuses. These larger questions being: what were women on Salem State’s campus writing about in the paper? What policy change were they advocating for, and did they receive it? Was Salem State an isolated case, or was this rise in rape and sexual assault a national issue? All these questions tie into the importance of a larger question that concerns many of us today: how have these issues impacted or changed the way we see rape culture in our existing society?

407 Room 174 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Clare Margaret O'Connor
Jon Huibregtse (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, Framingham State University
John F. Kennedy: Leading Up to Leadership

The influences that led to the political rise and legacy of John F. Kennedy were present throughout his life. Born into an already wealthy and powerful family that allowed ample opportunities for success, the young and often frail John Kennedy experienced a whirlwind of influences that eventually led to his role as the 35th president of the United States, consequently becoming a political and cultural icon for decades to come. Presented in a timeline format, these influences include his privileged youth, education, the effect of World War II on him and his family, and finally his terms as congressman and senator. These experiences prepared him for the strenuous 1960 presidential election and shaped his leadership as president.

408 Room 174 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Kara Jean Westhoven
Marla Miller (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, UMass Amherst
Wielding Art for the Vote: Three Women of the American Suffrage Movement

My research examines the participation by American women in the arts during the period of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, from the late 19th century through the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. I argue that women were making significant contributions during this period, and that their activities functioned on multiple levels. More specifically, I profile the lives of three individuals, each serving as a case study to inform a distinct area of the arts sphere during this period. Blanche Ames (1878-1969), an artist-cartoonist from Massachusetts committed to the causes of suffrage and birth control, created visual arguments through her widely distributed work.  Alice Morgan Wright (1881-1975), a sculptor and representative of the fine arts sphere, collaborated and with other suffragists, including the revered Emmeline Pankhurst of the Women’s Social and Political Union in London.  Third, Louisine Havemeyer (1855-1929), a major American art collector, as she supported the work of fellow suffragist and artist Mary Cassatt played a critical role in facilitating art exhibitions for the cause. I show the necessity of fusing a political framework with our understanding of these female artists and their work, and conversely, art with how we understand the politics of this movement. Further attention and proper recognition, which are so often denied to women in the arts, is provided to these figures, bringing their personal histories and contributions into greater focus.

409 Room 808 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Christina Mary Price
Annette Renee Chapman-Adisho (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, Salem State University
Journey to the Romanov's Past and Their Perfect Misunderstood Future

Growing up I was definitely charmed by the Disney Princess world; the beautiful dresses, their kindness to everything and everyone, and the captivating romances between an “ordinary” girl and a handsome prince. Warner Brothers came out with a film called Anastasia; a beautiful love story about an ordinary young woman who had no idea who her family was let alone her past. Anya stumbled upon two con-artists trying to win a large sum of money by trying to trick the grandmother of Anastasia, Dowager Marie, into letting her think they found her lost grand child after the Romanov assassination. This movie showed me that there was one young beautiful woman who was a long lost princess and got her happy ending, however, fast forward to high school and I learn the tragic truth about the bloody assassination of a family whom I thought was perfect. This led me to constantly think about this revolution; through historical context, the Russian Revolution was a horrible time filled with blood spilling left and right and the assassination of the royal family, the Romanovs. After the Revolution and assassination Europe is faced with a woman who is believed to be the youngest surviving Romanov daughter, Anastasia. Fast forward a little more and America is producing a Disney knock-off film, Anastasia. In this paper, I explore the transformation of a bloody revolution into a romanticized tale of lost and found identity. 

410 Room 808 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Michael R. Sholds
Annette Renee Chapman-Adisho (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, Salem State University
Rome Wasn't Built in a Day, and It Did Not Die in a Day

Alaric marching his troops into Rome in 410 CE was the first time since 390 BC the city of Rome had been sacked.  For three days Alaric and his barbarians took all that they could from the city of Rome and left.  The city of Rome was sacked because the Romans refused to let go of their notions of the barbarians, believing in their superiority to the barbarians, and took advantage of the barbarians instead of giving up their shortsighted views and allying themselves with the barbarians.  In my paper I examine Barbarian and Roman relations (mostly through Caesar's conquests), the relationship that Rome had with Alaric and his barbarians, and the events that led to Alaric sacking the city of Rome in 410 CE.  Through my research I came to the conclusion that Alaric was the true victim and not the city of Rome when Alaric sacked it and that the sacking was Alaric's greatest failure in his life.

411 Room 808 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Jaleel William Vazquez
Annette Renee Chapman-Adisho (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, Salem State University

A Push into War: Greek Politics in World War I

This paper analyzes the Greek government and the influences that propelled Greece to join World War One. Greece’s involvement in World War I came at a high cost.  Greece suffered a division in leadership, a constitutional crisis, the creation of an oppositional government, and an Allied invasion. All of which eventually create an internal strain on the nation and served as the root cause of civil strife for the remainder of the century. This paper examines the relationship between the Entente and Greece, and argues that the Entente manipulated Greece to join the war; a task that would not have been possible without Entente aid and intervention. Greece in World War One is a topic that has received little to no attention by western historians and few if any texts acknowledge the events that unfolded in Greece during the war.  

412 Room 908 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Aeffia Z. Feuerstein
Kevin Aylmer (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Social Sciences, Roxbury Community College
Remembering the Hidden History of Boston's Abolition Acre

Most visitors to Boston’s Beacon Hill and the area adjacent to City Hall Plaza are completely
unaware of the rich history beneath their feet. These locales were once enlivened by some of the
most contentious issues of former times: immigration, enslavement, taxes, women’s rights. This
presentation, Remembering the Hidden History of Boston’s Abolition Acre, focuses on an
area rich in abolitionist history from the period before the Civil War. Here are some of the lesser
known personalities and events which have impacted the course of American history. Designed
to entertain, enlighten and educate, my research brings to life the disturbing tale of Mark, Phillis
and Phebe, the enslaved servants of merchant John Codman, the gentle poet Phillis Wheatley,
the kidnapped Nahum Hazard, and Boston’s firebrand of human rights, David Walker.

413 Room 908 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Frances Mary Fleming
Teresa Ramsby (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Classical Language and Literature, UMass Amherst
Women’s Reception of Classics in the American Abolitionist Movement

The American republic was forged on a foundation of elite and privileged Classics-influenced philosophy and learning. Despite its high-flying rhetoric of equality, America, like its Greek and Roman models, was built on enslaved labor. This thesis researches how abolitionist women writers, especially women of color used Classics, foundational to the new country's creation, in ways that challenged the normalcy of slaveholding in the period between the American Revolution and the Civil War.  


These writers include Margaret Fuller, Phillis Wheatley, and Lydia Maria Child, as well as anonymous women writers. Their writing transcends genre, and includes editorials, plays, fiction, and non-fiction. Upon close reading of these texts, it becomes clear that these women, like many other Americans at the time, viewed Classics as a strong contributor to any argument. The accuracy of the historical facts they use is less important than how they engaged with this history. Their deployment of Classics often hinges around a moral invocation that was unusual among male writers. In this way, women brought their social role as 'moral enforcers' to the fore even as they wrote about Classical history in a very conventional way.  


As a whole, Classical reception is well-studied, but not among women or Americans of color, or the American abolition. This topic fills an essential gap and helps the modern reader understand the continuing impact of the Classics on social justice movements that fall outside the typical narrative of Classical scholarship.

414 Room 908 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Monique S. Manna
Tona Hangen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History and Political Science, Worcester State University
Levi Lincoln Jr., Stephen Salisbury II, and the Politics of Business

Not yet a city until 1848, Worcester, Massachusetts experienced a growth spurt, in population and industry. The industrial period of the mid-nineteenth century is where Worcester can be placed on the map of a growing and prosperous hub of exporting manufactured goods. This did not happen overnight, and it took many people to make this happen. This research focuses on two people who helped the growth of Worcester, which shaped Worcester to become a leader in the nation for exporting manufactured goods, Levi Lincoln, Jr. and Stephen Salisbury, II. Both involved in politics were wealthy and considered very influential in the community. They were involved with implementing the Blackstone Canal and Railroads for Worcester. The Blackstone Canal was a costly failure. However, growth in population increased during this time with an influx of Irish immigrants, which expanded during the construction of the railroads. Friendships formed between businessmen and workers, some that would play to the advantage of those looking to circumvent around local government. The primary sources researched for this history capstone paper were through the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester Historical Museum, Massachusetts Historical Society, the Library of Congress digital collection, and scholarly articles. The connections and influence these two men was quite evident through my research. I would like to extend this research, to bring forward a better understanding the depth their influence had not only over the industrialization of Worcester but, their own personal legacy and wealth too.

424 Room 162 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Julianna Bardon
Eric Charles Lintala (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Art and Design, UMass Dartmouth
The Evolution and Political Controversies of Figure Skating

Figure skating has come a long way from its early beginnings, to the point where triple and even quadruple rotation jumps are now commonplace at senior level international competitions. The first ever skating club, the Edinburgh Skating Club, was formed in 1742, which was the beginning of formalizing skating into more than just a mode of transportation, as it had been for millennia prior. Just a few decades later, in 1772, an instructional book was published, dividing skating into two main fields: speed skating and figure skating. At this point in history, skating was mostly restricted from female participation. It wasn’t until 1863 that American skater, Jackson Haines, began incorporating ballet and dance, rather than simply tracing figures on the ice. This innovative skater, in his efforts to intertwine different disciplines, sparked the evolution from stiff and rigid moves to the balance of art and athleticism. Throughout its complex history, skating also developed into one of the more political sports on the world stage. Figure skating became a way of sharing peace during the cold war Olympics, but also great animosity later on. Such animosity culminated in the 2002 Olympics when French judge, Marie-Reine Le Gougne, was allegedly pressured to place the Russian pairs skaters in first, in exchange for better marks for the French ice dancers later on. This, along with many other controversies, led to a complete upheaval of the judging system and the creation of a newer, less bias system.

425 Room 162 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Jordan A. Hill
Jamie J. Wilson (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, Salem State University
The Harlem Renaissance

In the spring of 2017, I was approached by a professor to join him in a writing project that will be published in 2019.  The project is a volume called: 50 Events that Shaped African American History.  My contribution to this project is a chapter on the Harlem Renaissance.  The Harlem Renaissance took place between 1920 and 1930.  Once the decade passed, the Harlem Renaissance ended as quickly as it had begun.  Using primary and secondary sources, I researched and learned about the various themes within the Harlem Renaissance.  Such themes include: politics, literature, music, and black identity and culture.  I had to write a chronology, a narrative, two biographies, and two sidebars.  One biography is about Langston Hughes, and the other, James Weldon Johnson.  The one side-bar comments on the concept of “The New Negro” and the other, comments on the Harlem Riot of 1935 and how that symbolized the end of the Harlem Renaissance.  The goal of this project was to write an unbiased view of the Harlem Renaissance. I encountered the arguments, victories, and defeats of the Harlem Renaissance. Writing about the Harlem Renaissance also caused me to ask questions.  One question was: “Was the Harlem Renaissance a success?” I intend to share what this writing experience has taught me and also hope to offer my own take on the questions offered above, and help to start an educated conversation of an influential moment in African American History.

426 Room 163 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Ryan James Buresh
Jessica Thelen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
"The Identity Crisis under the Ink" Summary and Abstract

Tattoos are not only fun and interesting to look at, but the meaning and reasoning behind each tattoo expresses an individual’s self and their identity. In the article “The Identity Crisis Under the Ink” by Chris Weller, he explains how individuals, more specifically millennials, believe that expressing themselves through art, is a more personal, symbolic, and cheaper way of expressing one’s identity. I say cheaper because Weller talks about how individuals will tend to express their identity to others by showcasing what they own, like clothes, cars, houses, and other material possessions. In the past few decades, tattoos have become more popular as we’ve seen society change to fit the current trends and popular media in general. People have the urge express themselves by doing something that is unique to them and only them. Yes, you can get the basic green Irish shamrock that you saw online, but that shamrock can mean completely different things to every person that gets it. We live in a society where if you tell someone what you’re getting a tattoo of, the very first thing that person is going to say is, “So what’s the meaning behind it?”. Every tattoo has some meaning behind it, whether it's a heart that's a symbol for your mom, or just because you think dragons are badass. Sociologists say people get these tattoos of people, stories, objects, places, etc., all to build a person’s identity, and to accept their “remembered past, perceived present, and anticipated future”.


427 Room 808 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Devon Thomas King
David Glassberg (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, UMass Amherst
Preserving History, Reviving Cities: The Heritage State Parks of Massachusetts

Established in 1978, the Heritage State Parks program was a response to deteriorating economic and social conditions in post-industrial cities across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Part historical site, part urban renewal tool, the parks attempted to leverage local histories in to order to drive private investment in urban centers. Relatively successful in meeting their programmatic and urban planning goals during their peak in the 1980s, the Heritage State Parks program was ultimately downsized, with many parks turned over to local control following the 1990-91 recession.

This work seeks to uncover the story of the Heritage State Parks program, tracing the system from its beginnings in Lowell in the mid 1970s, to its eventual downsizing in response to the fiscal crisis faced by the Commonwealth during the recession of the early 1990s. Supplementing this general survey are three case studies focusing on the Lowell, North Adams, and Holyoke parks. Chosen for their divergent histories, these case studies uncover each park’s development and operation, and analyze how effective the heritage parks were in revitalizing their host communities.

While ultimately unsuccessful in achieving their broader aims, the Heritage State Parks were unique in both scope and goal, and influenced similar programs in both New York and Pennsylvania. By revealing the Heritage State Parks program’s history and importance in the broader scope of urban renewal, we can better understand how to leverage local histories and public and private investment to revitalize our communities.

428 Room 917 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Brenna Michelle Durrah
Liza Harrington (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Library, Greenfield Community College
The Real American Drug Problem

Since their existence, humans have used psychoactive drugs. Since before and shortly after the 20th century, psychoactive drugs were have been widely available and used. It wasn’t until race and culture became connected with drug use that strict laws prohibiting their use, as well as stereotypes about who uses them, came about. These policies drastically changed how drugs and drug addicts have been treated; from the helpless to criminals claims David Courtright in Forces of Habit:Drugs and the Making of the Modern World. This presentation shows how over the past century, not much has changed with the drug-related policies that have caused massive disparities. As seen through primary sources from David Musto’s Drugs in America: A Documentary History, in the 18th century, doctors hailed the benefits of drugs and users were catered to. To the contrary, those who saw the dangers of drugs wrote about them and pushed for regulation. This fact seems to have faded from U.S. history and that has shown to be to it’s detriment. Worry about drugs and their dangers brought up questions of how to handle them. Many of the policies put in place caused more problems than they solved. The United States “tough on crime” mantra just isn’t working. Portugal decriminalized all drugs and offered support to addicts over twenty years ago and has successfully dropped drug abuse rates in that time. There are better ways of dealing with these dangers that have shown to work and the people of the U.S. deserve better.

429 Room 911 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Jenna Marie Henderson
Laura Lovett (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, UMass Amherst

Using History to Make the Drag Community a More Inclusive Space for Both Queer Women and Non-binary Individuals

The term “drag” describes dressing up as the opposite sex. Drag performance tends to consist of drag queens and/or drag kings.

I have noticed that the drag community is primarily occupied by queer men, and I want to examine this closer.

I am utilizing both primary and secondary historical sources to research ways to make the drag community a more inclusive space for both queer women and non-binary individuals.

I am currently working with three books, Roger Baker’s Drag: A History of Female Impersonation in the Performing Arts, Laurence Senelick’s The Changing Room : Sex, Drag and Theatre (Gender in Performance), and Esther Newton’s Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America.

I am still searching for resources that address women in drag – as both kings and queens.

I intend on examining when drag queens first emerged and when drag kings first emerged. I want to examine the historical context of these times and trying to identify ways to make drag more inclusive for more people.

I am also working with Taylor Mac’s piece of theater, The Lily’s Revenge as an example of a drag piece that is inclusive to all gender identities.

430 Room 917 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Nathan William Godard
Mara L. Dodge (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, Westfield State University

The Seven Years’ War: Setting the Stage for the French Revolution (1756–1789)

The Seven Years’ War (1756 – 1763), a conflict commonly known from the North American perspective as the French and Indian War, engulfed four nations and reached across the continents of North America and Europe. It is among the most critical wars in history, as it established a new balance of power in Europe and abroad--a fact that would affect the fate of millions for years to come. Greater still were the War’s implications for the French people. This paper focuses on the assertion that the Seven Years’ War set the stage for the French Revolution, that this War essentially weakened the already cracked ice on which the French monarchy continued to rule. It is important to clarify that this paper does not seek to prove that there is a direct causal link between the Seven Years’ War and the French Revolution, but rather that the great conflict caused much of the financial, political, social unrest which would later cause the fires of Revolution to be spread in 1789. This historical interpretation is explored through the extensive use of primary and secondary resources put into context with the contending or supporting perceptions of the historical community.

431 Room 917 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Benjamin Joseph Lerer
Barry Levy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, UMass Amherst
Tudor Treason or Stuart Stupidity: The Law and Politics of Treason and Sovereignty from Henry VIII to Charles II

The trial and execution of Charles I were unprecedented events in English history. English kings had been killed in battle or assassinated, but had never been put on trial and then executed. The most preposterous part of the charge against Charles I was the charge of high treason. The statutes, cases, and treatises on the law of treason prove this charge to be without merit. The regicides attempted to remove the sacred aspects from Charles I and the monarchy but failed. Charles I became a martyr. The failure of the Cromwellian experiment in creating a new sovereignty not based on the monarchy and sacredness, but instead on the law, vindicated the civil lawyers, a group of lawyers who practiced in the prerogative courts of the King. Never again, would a king of England be put on trial and executed.

432 Room 917 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Genevieve Weidner
Alice Nash (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, UMass Amherst
Building a Revolution: Comparing the American Revolution and the French Revolution through the Buildings That Symbolized "Anti-revolutionary" Ideologies

This presentation will compare the historical significance of King’s Chapel in Boston during the American Revolution and the Panthéon in Paris during the French Revolution. Both of these buildings symbolize old societal ideas as the rest of the city was enveloped in revolution. King's Chapel was the first Anglican church established in Boston. The chapel was a place of worship for loyalists, and as the American Revolution developed, it quickly became a symbol of the oppression of England to the revolutionaries. The Panthéon in Paris was constructed to be a Catholic church, but was converted to a mausoleum for great Frenchmen. King's Chapel still stands today as a church, but the Panthéon is no longer a symbol of religion in France. The reaction of the revolutionaries to the buildings that represented the old regime act as a case study of the nature of these two revolutions. I will demonstrate how the older ideas that were considered "anti-revolutionary", embodied by these buildings, had to do with the religion of the society before the revolution. Through my comparison, I hope to illuminate the nature of resistance to revolution, in the form of older concepts of societal expectations, and how revolutionary ideas and actions eventually pervade. 


434 Room 908 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Nathan Henry
Charles Foster
Muzzo Uysal (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, UMass Amherst
Using "Kiosks" to Expand Global Business in the Hospitality Industry: Uniguest Case

Not everyone can use their laptops to conduct business in their hotel rooms. The objective of this study is to develop a business plan that would help a business called “Uniguest” expand their kiosk business internationally. Uniguest kiosks are computer systems used in hotels for their guests to use. These kiosks wipe out all the accumulated history and data from the internet after a guest logs off. This benefits the hotel guest due to the fact that the next guest in line for the computer won't be able to view sites/ information that the previous guest had searched. Uniguest currently operates all over the world. By using the data Uniguest already has, the study will conduct research on different countries hotels within the data and outside of the data. Using Tableau and various other research tools, the study will generate new information that will lead to Uniguest’s international growth outside of the U.S and Canada. Some of the questions that need to be answered are:


438 Room 163 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Emily Resabala
Rita Nnodim (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Interdisciplinary Studies/BDIC, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
English-Language Learners, Identity, and the Classroom

Discourses on identity are often preoccupied with the impacts of identity-categories based on race/ethnicity, social class, religion, and gender. Language, by contrast, is often overlooked. And yet, language is central to the shaping of collective and individual identities, particularly in contexts of migration. My interdisciplinary paper focuses on ELL students (English Language Learners), and aims at opening up critical perspectives on current educational approaches in public schools that are intended to support ELL learners.

My paper will be using interdisciplinary frameworks that draw on insights from sociology, immigration studies, and education. The paper discusses current pedagogical and curricular models, analyzes the teacher- student-centeredness of given models, and critically considers methods and approaches to ELL students in the classroom (such as the creation of learner groups, the use of pre-teaching material and visuals). A central issue that distinguishes different approaches is whether ELL students are taken out of the classroom for separate instruction or remain within the classroom while attempts are being made to integrate English language teaching and learning. It is found that academic achievement is negatively affected when students are taken out of the classroom for ELL instruction, while missing central parts of the general curriculum. The discussion is framed by insights on academic success of ELL students and their socio-cultural development and well-being within the public school environment.

The presentation will conclude with reflections on how alternative pedagogical models, a well-designed curriculum, improved collaboration between schools and parents, as well as investment in teacher education can provide an environment that better meets the needs of ELL students.

439 Room 168 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Jo Raffauf
Traci Parker (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of African American Studies, UMass Amherst
Civil Rights Violations in the Fulton County Jail

Fulton County, Georgia is home to one of the worst, if not the worst, jails in the country. Constant overcrowding, understaffing, and poor conditions caused the jail to be under federal oversight from 2004 to 2015. However, even now, over two years later, there are still major problems in the facility. Using local news sources and docket reports from multiple lawsuits, this paper highlights the injustices faced by Fulton County inmates both before and after federal jurisdiction took effect. Inmates are regularly forced to sleep on the floor and in closets, guards are often not present when needed, and many people have died due to the lack of health care. Improper record keeping has allowed for inmates to be lost in the system, kept in jail longer than their original sentence, and in some cases even death. Overcrowding creates dangerous conditions, with constant threats of violence and disease amongst those being housed in the jail. Exposing these injustices is the first step in making more improvements and not allowing this case and all the people it affects to be forgotten about.


454 Room 174 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Tia Margaret Conover
John Ronald Sirard (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Kinesiology, UMass Amherst
An Improved Direct Observation System to Code Resistance Training

Resistance training (RT) is recommended by major health and sports organizations to maintain good health. In addition to aerobic exercise, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends individuals engage in RT two days per week. RT is difficult to measure due to its variety of movements and positions with frequent rest periods. It is important to have accurate measurement of RT in order to better understand its health implications. Accelerometers are often used as an objective measure of body movement to estimate physical activity, however a single accelerometer is limited by device placement and may miss crucial body movements during RT. The purpose of this study is to characterize accelerometer patterns during a RT session to create a new system to identify specific RT exercises from accelerometer data. Five college-aged individuals were equipped with ActiGraph GT3X accelerometers on the non-dominant wrist and right hip and were filmed during a RT exercise session. The recorded videos were coded with two direct observation systems: one that groups all RT exercises together (traditional), and another that allows for specific RT exercises and rest periods to be identified (new). The results will demonstrate a greater number of events reported in the new DO system, compared with the traditional system. Data from wrist and hip worn accelerometers will provide a preliminary description of unique movement patterns for specific RT exercises. These descriptive parameters will be used in future research that uses specific machine learning techniques to further improve measures of RT bouts.

455 Room 174 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Megan Anne Kelly
Jane Kent (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Kinesiology, UMass Amherst
Plantar Cutaneous Vibration Perception Threshold Asymmetry in People with Non-progressive and Progressive Multiple Sclerosis 

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system that can result in impaired cutaneous sensation. This impairment is more prevalent in the lower body and can affect one extremity more than the other, although the extent of such a bilateral asymmetry and whether this varies among MS sub-types is not known. Plantar cutaneous sensation and its asymmetry were determined in 31 volunteers with non-progressive MS (NP; 52.6±9.8 years, 90.2% female, 96.8% ambulatory), 31 with progressive MS (P; 59.2±8.8 years, 67.7% female, 74.2% ambulatory) and 29 controls (CON; 55.5±12.2 years, 75.9% female, 100% ambulatory). ​ A biothesiometer was used to measure vibration perception threshold (VPT) at 3 locations on the plantar surface of both feet (big toe, 5th metatarsal, and heel) and an asymmetry ratio was calculated as: absolute value of 100 * (Right−Left) / (Right+Left) for each location. Two-way ANOVAs (group, location) and post-hoc pairwise comparisons were applied. A significant non-zero value for mean asymmetry was evident for all groups at all locations (p<0.0001); there was no asymmetry interaction between groups and locations (p=0.62). Asymmetry did not differ between groups (p≥0.16) or between locations (p≥0.20). These results suggest that although VPT asymmetry is present, the asymmetry ratio did not differ between controls and MS sub-type. Future investigation is needed to determine if applying a different measure of sensory function to the asymmetry ratio calculation is more sensitive to distinguish MS sub-type.

467 Room 909 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Jessica Leftin
Cameron Michael Burke
Bilindoff Joseph
Anthony D'Amico (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Exercise Science, Salem State University
The Effects of Foam Rolling on Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage and the Nervous System

Introduction: The purpose of this study is to assess whether foam rolling will have an effect on the recovery of muscle soreness and performance of the nervous system following exercise induced muscle damage.

Methods: Participants, both male and female, will go through a testing battery that will consist of having their Pulse Wave Velocity (PWV), Heart Rate Variability(HRV), perception and scale of muscle soreness in the hamstring, quadricep, and calf, range of motion, and agility measured. We will conduct baseline testing for 3 days for familiarization, Wednesday to Friday, and then the following week 5 days of testing will be conducted Monday-Friday, with muscle damage induced on Monday. The participants will complete 40, fifteen-meter sprints with a five-meter deceleration zone to create the muscle damage needed.  The participants will get a 30-second break between sprints. The measurements being collected during the five days will be compared to the baseline testing to show the effects of foam rolling on exercise induced muscle damage.

Results/Discussion: Data collection is currently underway, and will be available April 27th

468 Room 909 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Glori Tolentino
Danielle Lee Dauphinais
Derek Makimaa
Adekunbi Oriyomi Oyaronbi
Anthony D'Amico (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Exercise Science, Salem State University
Does Low-Level Laser Therapy Have an Influence on Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage?

Exercise induced muscle damage and/or delayed onset muscle soreness has been shown to cause decreases in sports performance. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) may positively influence muscle fatigue and performance recovery (Machado et al., 2017). Forty male and/or female participants will be divided into two groups: an LLLT (n=20) and a control group (CON n=20). Each participant will complete a 10 day testing battery. During day one through three, Wednesday to Friday, participants will undergo a familiarization phase of the testing battery. Measurements will include vertical jump, flexibility, the agility T-Test, and perceptions of muscle soreness. The following Monday, day four, muscle damage will be induced through the sprinting protocol, followed by LLLT treatment (LR n=20) or a sham placebo treatment (CON n=20) on different sites of each leg including the rectus femoris, bicep femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and gastrocnemius. Day five through ten, Tuesday-Friday will include the laser therapy and placebo sham therapy prior to the testing battery. Data collection is  ongoing, and results will be available by April 27th, 2018.

470 Room 909 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Travis Lawrence Nadeau
Marbelk Andujar
Jason Gillis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sport and Movement Science, Salem State University
The Influence of Menthol on High-Intensity Exercise Performance

To date, the research assessing menthol’s influence on short term anaerobic performance and measures of muscular strength and power remains equivocal, and so this experiment will test the null hypothesis that acute application of menthol will influence neither anaerobic exercise performance, nor agility, nor measures of muscle strength and power compared to a placebo gel and a dry control condition. METHOD:  This within-participant repeated-measures study will take place in the Human Performance Laboratory in the Department of Sport and Movement Science at Salem State University. Fifteen participants will be recruited and complete three familiarization sessions consisting of a battery of tests including: a squat jump, counter-movement jump, the agility test, a one-repetition maximum leg press test (1RM test), and the 30 s Wingate test on a cycle ergometer. Following this, they will complete the testing battery (minus the 1 RM test, and now including 10 leg press repetitions at 35 % of the 1RM) under three separate conditions in a balanced order; once with a menthol gel applied to their lower body, again with a placebo gel application, and on another occasion without any such application. DATA ANALYSIS: Magnitude based inference will be employed to classify small, moderate and large effects between conditions. 

471 Room 909 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Kacey Nestor
Selena Capone
Jason Gillis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sport and Movement Science, Salem State University
The Influence of Menthol Dose on Non-shivering Thermogenesis and Energy Expenditure in Humans

In the United States, one in three adults and one in six children is obese. Although obesity and its related diseases are a major cause of morbidity and mortality, and represent a large economic burden, positive progress can be made. Recent research supports the hypothesis that skin surface applications of menthol, a cold receptor TRPM8 agonist, may influence non-shivering thermogenesis (NST) and energy balance in humans through the activation of brown adipose tissue; however, the precise dose that optimizes the response is not known. To test this hypothesis, twelve participants will be recruited and complete four conditions in a balanced order; placebo Control (CON), high dose menthol (MH), medium dose menthol (MM), and low dose menthol (ML). During each exposure participants will rest supine in an environmentally controlled tent (30°C, 50% rh) for 30-minutes before their intervention is applied, and 60-minutes thereafter. Perceptual measures include thermal sensation, thermal comfort, perceived exertion, and irritation. Thermoregulatory measures include skin blood flow (laser Doppler flowmetry at index finger), rectal temperature, skin temperature (chest, forearm, thigh, calf), and electromyographic muscle activation of the trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, and pectoralis major as a surrogate of shivering. Brown adipose tissue activation will be measured indirectly using supraclavicular skin temperature, oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production. A one-way ANOVA (alpha=0.05) will compare dependent variables between the four conditions to identify the influence of menthol dose on thermoregulation and energy expenditure in humans. 

472 Room 909 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Shanteliz Nunez
Jason Gillis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sport and Movement Science, Salem State University

The Influence of Model-Building on Learning of the Sliding Filament Theory of Muscle Contraction

The sliding filament theory of muscle contraction is difficult for students to grasp. Traditionally it is taught using assigned readings and two-dimensional textbook schematics; however, there are drawbacks to these approaches. The purpose of this study is to test whether participant learning of the theory is enhanced with a physical model building activity. It is hypothesized that constructing a physical model will improve learning compared to a control condition. Thirty-two participants will receive a standardized lecture and reading. Each participant in the model building condition (n=16, MB) will be instructed to build a physical model with provided materials. Participants in the control condition (n=16, CON) will draw a schematic of the concepts. Multiple choice questions will assess learning before and after the activity, and a learning retention test will be given one week thereafter. The percentage change in correct answers from pre/post assessments, and between pre/retention assessments. Data will be compared between CON and MB using an independent t-test, whilst the Chi square test will assess the frequency of correct answers. The alpha level will be 0.05. The outcome of this project will help educators in the allied health sciences choose the optimal pedagogical strategy to aid learning of this complex concept. 

481 Room 174 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Dhanya Kumar
Sarah Witkowski (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Exercise and Sport Studies, UMass Amherst

The Effect of Menopausal Stage and Cardiorespiratory Fitness on Endothelial Inflammation

BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk increases during the menopausal transition, but aerobic fitness reduces CVD risk. Endothelial inflammation is an initial step in the development of CVD. Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) is an inflammatory signaling molecule expressed on endothelial cells following vascular insult. It is unclear whether VCAM-1 increases with advancing menopausal stage and whether high levels of fitness or an acute bout of exercise influence VCAM-1 in women.  PURPOSE: To determine whether there are differences in circulating VCAM-1 in women at different menopausal stages, with high and low levels of aerobic fitness, prior to and following an acute bout of exercise. METHODS: Venous blood was collected from high-fit (47.1±1.36ml/kg/min VO2max) and low-fit (29.1±1.02ml/kg/min VO2peak) peri-menopausal (n=24, 47.8±2yr) and post-menopausal (n=26, 59±2yr) women before and after a 30-minute bout of treadmill exercise (heart rate corresponding to 60-64% of VO2peak). High fit pre-menopausal women served as a reference group (n=11, 44.5±2yr).  A human VCAM-1 immunoassay will be completed to quantify VCAM-1 levels between women of different menopausal stages and fitness levels before and after the exercise period. Data will be analyzed using two-way repeated measures ANOVAs (menopausal status x fitness x exercise) and post-hoc testing. RESULTS/CONCLUSION: It is expected that VCAM-1 levels will be higher with later menopausal stages and lower fitness. Women of higher fitness, irrespective of menopausal status, are expected to have lower VCAM-1 from acute exercise.




482 Room 174 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Olja Rapaic
Sarah Witkowski (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Exercise and Sport Studies, UMass Amherst
The Influence of Exercise on Arterial Stiffness in Pre-menopausal Women

Arterial stiffness is a measure of cardiovascular health and a strong predictor of future cardiovascular events. Augmentation index (AIx) using pulse wave analysis and carotid-to-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) are two measures of central arterial stiffness. Some of the cardiovascular benefits of exercise training may be due to the accumulated effects of acute bouts of exercise.  In men, PWV decreases after a single bout of exercise. However, to date, it is unknown if the same effect occurs in women. PURPOSE: To assess the effect of acute exercise on arterial stiffness in fit premenopausal women. METHODS: Participants are healthy women ages 18-40 with high aerobic fitness (≥ 80th percentile of age predicted VO2max). AIx and PWV are measured at rest before, and 30 minutes after an acute bout of treadmill exercise. These measurements are taken on days 2 through 5 of the participant’s menstrual cycle in order to control for the effects of hormonal fluctuations. Both AIx and PWV will be analyzed using paired t-tests. RESULTS: We expect that AIx and PWV will be lower after exercise compared with before exercise. CONCLUSION: If our results match our hypotheses, then our data will be in line with results that have been previously collected in men. These results could suggest that for women the benefits of exercise on cardiovascular health may be related to the reduced arterial stiffness that accompanies an acute bout of exercise.

Supported by: The Commonwealth Honors College Research Grant

483 Room 174 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
William Robert Staffiere
Michelle Varnell (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sport and Movement Science, Salem State University
William Staffiere: The Influence of Menthol on Flexibility

PURPOSE: To date, the research assessing menthol’s influence on flexibility remains equivocal, and so the purpose of this experiment is to test the influence of a menthol gel (M) on active range of motion (AROM) assessed at the ankle joint as it moves through dorsiflexion, compared to a Placebo gel condition (P). It is hypothesized that M will not influence joint ROM compared to P (null hypothesis). METHOD:  This within-participant repeated-measures study will take place in the Human Performance Laboratory in the Department of Sport and Movement Science at Salem State University. Fifteen female and male participants will be recruited and will first complete two familiarization sessions including a warm-up followed by an assessment of ankle dorsiflexion ROM, and measurement of neuromuscular activity using the Hoffmann Reflex (H-reflex). Participants will next complete the previously mentioned tests under two separate conditions in a balanced order; once with a menthol gel applied to their right gastric-soleus complex, and once with a Placebo gel application. During each testing day participants will first undergo gel application, warm-up, then complete a pre-testing, undergo a 6 x 60 s static stretching intervention through dorsiflexion, and finally, complete a post-testing battery. ANALYSIS: A paired t-test will assess significant differences between conditions with an alpha level of 0.05 and magnitude-based inference will be employed to classify small, moderate and large effects between conditions.

484 Room 808 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Amanda A. DuBois
Sofiya Alhassan (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Kinesiology, UMass Amherst
Effect of a Culturally-Tailored After-School Dance Program on Self-Esteem in Pre-adolescent African American Girls

Physical activity (PA) impacts many facets of preadolescent health, yet only 42% of 6-11-year olds meet PA guidelines, with African-American girls less active than Caucasians. Low PA has been linked to poor self-esteem in this age group, which has been associated with negative mental and physical health outcomes that extend into adulthood. This study aimed to determine the effects of a culturally-tailored afterschool dance program on the self-esteem of preadolescent African-American girls. Participants included 67 girls (age=8.2±1.3 years) from the Springfield area. The 12-week dance program was offered 3 days per week for 60 minutes. The intervention group (INT) participated in dance class while those in the control health education group (CON) received homework help. Self-esteem was measured using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), and change scores were calculated by subtracting participants’ baseline scores from their post scores. A two-sample t-test was used to determine differences between self-esteem change scores for INT and CON. Average change scores for the RSES for INT and CON were 1.43 and -0.83, respectively. Although the trend was in the anticipated direction, as self-esteem increased for INT, the difference between the groups was not significant (t=-0.93, p=0.36). High rates of attrition occurred due to the burden of transportation to the intervention site. Extending the length of the intervention and follow-up period, or providing transportation could lead to a more accurate evaluation of the relationship between an afterschool PA intervention and self-esteem. 

485 Room 808 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Casey Ann Noonan
Sofiya Alhassan (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Kinesiology, UMass Amherst
Change in Depressive Symptoms after a Culturally-Tailored Dance Program for African American Pre-adolescent Girls

Preadolescents, especially African-American girls, are at risk for childhood depression, which can have negative effects on a child’s health and can continue into adulthood. Research suggests that physical activity (PA) might be a viable option for alleviating childhood depressive symptoms; however, preadolescent African-American girls are also at risk for low PA. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a culturally-tailored PA program on depressive symptoms in preadolescent African-American girls. Participants (n=33, age=8.28±1.28 years) were recruited from Springfield, MA.  Throughout the 12-week program, the intervention (INT) group participated in a dance program for 60 minutes, three days per week, while the control (CON) group received homework tutoring. Depressive symptoms were assessed pre- and post-intervention using the Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI). Change scores for baseline and post-intervention CDI scores were calculated for the INT and CON groups. A two-sample t-test assessed change in depressive symptoms in the INT group compared to the CON group.

There was no statistically significant difference in change scores between the INT and CON groups (t=-0.53, p=0.60). Both groups experienced a slight increase in depressive symptoms that was not statistically or clinically significant. This increase could be attributed to the ceiling effect, since baseline CDI scores were healthy. Additionally, high attrition rates due to transportation difficulty limited the study. Future studies could overcome barriers to participation by utilizing mobile delivery, or by combining a PA intervention with mental health education.


486 Room 808 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Kayla Ann Rorke
Kimberly MacRae Ames
John Ronald Sirard (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Kinesiology, UMass Amherst
Changes in Psychosocial Variables following a Twelve-Week Fitness Intervention in Third- and Fourth-Grade Students

BACKGROUND: Physical activity (PA) in children is important for healthy growth and development. The purpose of this study was to determine how three psychosocial factors (PA self-efficacy, social support, and enjoyment) mediated the results of a 12-week school-based strength and movement intervention. METHODS: This pilot cluster-randomized control study took place in seven 3rd and 4th grade classrooms at a local elementary school. At the end of the intervention, two gender-separate focus groups were conducted (n=8 males, n=8 females) to understand the effect of the intervention on these psychosocial factors. Focus group participants were randomly selected and from intervention classrooms (2 male and 2 female per classroom).The discussions were audio recorded and transcribed. Surveys were also administered over the course of the study at baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks. RESULTS: Changes in survey response scores for both the boys and girls over the course of the study will be evaluated. The small group discussions were transcribed and will be analyzed using NVivo version 11 to look for trends in the responses related to the psychosocial variables. The results of this qualitative analysis of the focus groups will illustrate whether these psychosocial factors changed over time, and how the students express these changes in their own words. The implications of this study can be used to demonstrate the success of the intervention in increasing self-efficacy, social support, and enjoyment of PA, which is related to an increase in the participation of PA and change in behaviors.


496 Room 909 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Emilia Dora Beuger
Jamie Rowen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
The Evolution of Crimes against Humanity

Formal institutions of international law are relatively new. For most of history, these structures have existed temporarily and through the use of charters. Courts and tribunals have been the settings of international law. But, they are not all using the same legal principles and definitions. This paper seeks to examine and analyze why a specific legal concept has changed over time. Using textual analysis, I will be looking at why ‘crimes against humanity’ has changed over time in international and domestic law. The concept of ‘crimes against humanity’ exists in a unique space operating between a norm and a law. It has only existed as a concept for a little over a century. Using this specific example, I hope to observe why international legal principles change over time and what influences their changes. After completing a textual analysis of courts’ usage of this crime, I argue that the definition of crimes against humanity changes mostly due to the fact that it is being used in different courts and situations. This is due to the fact that international law did not have a permanent court institution until the early 21st century. This shows that law is fluid and constantly evolving, especially in international law. But, this law has not remained constant because it is a facet of international law. This research shows that international law is still young and has not established law in the way that traditional domestic courts have.

497 Room 168 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Olivia May Melanson
Itai Sher (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
Fairness in Anti-discrimination Law: Analyzing Ban the Box in Hiring Outcomes

Almost one-quarter of Americans have some form of a criminal record. In making hiring decisions, employers show aversion to hiring former offenders in the interest of risk mitigation and prevention of workplace violence. The Ban the Box movement, adopted by state and local governments, attempts to increase job opportunities for former offenders upon release from incarceration. The policy prohibits employers from asking about previous criminal offenses, or using “the box” representing a conviction on a job application. This thesis examines whether Ban the Box (BTB) ensures fairness in the labor market. While this policy provides protections to all individuals with a criminal record, it does not take into account the correlation between race and criminal convictions due to the overrepresentation of minorities in the criminal justice system. I first explore philosophical literature of fairness and discrimination in hiring practices. I then assess the empirical research related to Ban the Box, and fairness in hiring outcomes based on both race and criminality. Finally, I synthesize the philosophical criteria of fairness with current hiring outcomes with BTB. The discussed empirical research finds, in the attempt to reduce discrimination against former offenders, BTB may lead to statistical discrimination against racial minorities in hiring decisions. In other words, blindness to an applicant’s criminal history may encourage hiring decisions based on assumptions of criminality. This finding suggests that anti-discrimination law, in limiting bias based on criminal record, can strengthen stereotypical prejudices against young minority males.


498 Room 168 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Willow Faith Ross
Itai Sher (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst

Shaping Statelessness: A Comparative Analysis of Citizenship Law in Germany and the Dominican Republic

The internationally recognized definition of a stateless person is “a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law.” According to the UNHCR, there are over 10 million people worldwide who would fall under this definition. This paper is aimed at understanding the causes of statelessness by examining what compels states to have restrictive laws granting citizenship. Individuals often become stateless when they are born in countries that do not grant birthright citizenship. This paper will use the Dominican Republic and Germany as examples of states that have made dramatic changes to their principles of nationality conferral. In 2010, the Dominican government removed birthright citizenship from its constitution and retroactively revoked citizenship from a large segment of its population. In 1999, the German government established limited birthright citizenship for the children of immigrants for the first time in its history. Restrictive immigration policy often comes from political climates of xenophobia and nationalism, despite social justice implications and potential economic benefits from more inclusive policy. This paper will examine and analyze the intrinsic and external economic and political factors that led to these changes to determine the effects that supranational legal frameworks, changes in the labor market, and political bargaining have on statelessness. It will also examine different theoretical perspectives of jus sanguinis and jus soli citizenship. In conclusion, it will suggest how understanding these factors can help to ameliorate the problem of statelessness. 


501 Room 917 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Vishal Sunil Arvindam
Brian Dillon (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Linguistics, UMass Amherst
An Eye-Tracking Investigation into the Processing of Stereotypical Gender and the Singular "They" Using Reflexives

The purpose of the thesis is two-fold:

  1. To investigate the precise nature of stereotypical gender inferences using a computational model.

  2. To assess the viability of the ‘themselves’ as the reflexive form of the singular ‘they’.

Research across methodologies has shown that stereotypically gendered antecedents (e.g. nurse) that are definitionally neutral are not treated as such online. That is, people generally having a harder time reading masculine pronouns following a noun like nurse than they do with feminine pronouns. Alternatively, research has shown that the singular they pronoun is harder to process following stereotypically gendered nouns than gender known nouns. This counterintuitive finding motivated this study, particularly the not well understudied interaction between gender stereotypical and gender-known nouns and the singular they. To probe this interaction, I am currently running a 2x3 eye-tracking study using items in (1) and (2) that contrast stereotypical with known gender antecedents followed by syntactically bound reflexive pronouns.

1. The soldier camouflaged [himself/herself/themselves] carefully to hide from the enemy during battle.

2. The boy hid [himself/herself/themselves] stealthily while playing hide and seek.

I am testing the hypothesis that stereotypical gender is probabilistic. That is, certain stereotypical nouns are more likely to be of a certain gender and this, in turn, impacts the processing of gendered and gender neutral reflexives. To test the hypothesis, I have formulated a computational model that accounts for these probabilities and produces a metric (“surprisal”) that quantitatively predicts reading difficulty at the pronoun.

505 Room 163 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
John Duff
Lyn Frazier (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Linguistics, UMass Amherst
Somebody's Fool: Accommodating Perspective Shifts

Epithets, like "that jerk", express the attitude of a judge toward their referent. This judge is typically the speaker of the utterance. However, shifted interpretations with a non-speaker judge have been observed in certain contexts, including inside and outside of embedding under speech and thought. I present interpretation experiments demonstrating that the presence of speech and mental predicates in a preceding sentence increases availability of non-embedded shifted readings. The evidence further indicates that mental predicates most strongly promote shifts, contradicting the speech-centered predictions of accounts which rely on context-shifting operators in the grammar. Instead, I consider a new pragmatic explanation where many factors in a discourse, including but not limited to speech and mental predicates, can systematically promote shifted interpretations. In addition, I suggest a close relationship between these interpretations and cognitive representations within language-independent Theory of Mind systems in the brain. In sum, the results dispel possible grammar-internal explanations for shifted interpretations of epithets, and suggest that these readings are instead the result of general pragmatic decoding, influenced by a vested human interest in others' mental states.


507 Room 168 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Paul E. Egusquiza
Elizabeth Osborne (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of World Languages and Cultures, Worcester State University
Biutiful: El Reflejo de una Familia Marginal

Esta presentación explora el tema de la familia dentro de la película Biutiful (México, Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2010)   Este trabajo está centrado en las enfermedades que padecen los personajes principales, Uxbal y Marambra, quienes sufren de cáncer y bipolaridad respectivamente. Esta investigación  nos sirve de fuente para establecer como el cáncer de próstata del padre, lo lleva a cometer actos de corrupción en contra de inmigrantes africanos y la bipolaridad de la madre, la sumerge en un camino de auto destrucción.  De esta forma se puede demostrar que estas dolencias afectan el funcionamiento de esta familia marginal.   


This presentation explores the topic of the family within the film Biutiful (Mexico, Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2010). This work is focused on the diseases that the main characters go through, Uxbal and Marambra, who respectively suffer from cancer and bipolarity. This research serves as a source to establish how the prostate cancer of the father, leads him to commit acts of corruption against African immigrants, and the mother’s bipolarity places her in a road of self-destruction. This way, it can be established that these ailments affect the function of this marginal family.


Note: This presentation will be in Spanish.

508 Room 174 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Ken Conlow Jr.
Matthew Muller (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Berkshire Community College
Black Waters of Doubt: Historical Fiction Transformed into a Graphic Novel of High Adventure

          Black Waters of Doubt adapts an almost forgotten historical episode in the life of Theodore Roosevelt into a graphic novel format as a vehicle for the development of the artist's visual and literary shorthand, while providing a harrowing glimpse at heroism in a time gone by.
     The graphic novel was developed from the tale of Roosevelt’s trip down the then unexplored River of Doubt, located in Brazil, in the year 1914. Inspired by a segment of the Ken Burns documentary “The Roosevelts”, Black Water is designed to be an informative, and entertaining, read for all ages. A variety of sources were consulted in the crafting of this narrative, including President Theodore Roosevelt’s own account of the journey, Through the Brazilian Wilderness, Ornithologist George K. Cherries diaries, Candice Millard’s book The River of Doubt, along with countless photos from the expedition. The adaptation was an intense learning process that included weaving together the various sources, condensing time to improve pacing—emphasizing and enhancing moments of great drama and tension—along with combining minor participants into concise characters thereby avoiding long sections of exposition. By presenting a visual depiction of the events, along with a commentary not available in the primary sources, Black Waters of Doubt brings a new dimension to President Roosevelt’s undertaking. The use of the sequential art format to tell this story gives even the most casual reader an “easy in” to history, and the opportunity of enjoying a rollicking good adventure tale.

510 Room 162 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Dondre Kevin Scott
Leah Carol Nielsen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Steps of Becoming a Man

This braided essay has three strands, each revolves around the relationship between parents and their sons in different scenarios. One of the braids, focuses on my own high school graduation, a situation that exposed how my father mistreated an important occasion in my life. The other braid addresses the fear I felt taking care of my mother after she went through a serious surgery. These two threads focused thematically on masculinity and the shifting of roles in a young man's life. The third braid is a script from the television show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The scene in particular is when Will’s father walks out of his life for good, after being absent for fourteen years. Even though the show relies on comedic effect, this moment of raw emotion echoes the themes of the other threads: absent fathers and the pressure placed on a young man as he grows into an adult.

511 Room 908 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Kristin Ann Brouillette
Carol Y. Bailey (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University

Race and Gender in Art: The Impact of Representation on American Youth

My research explores various portrayals of gender and race in both high and low art forms in the United States’ present-day society. For years, African American women have typically been portrayed in some forms of “low art,” as well as more canonical texts as individuals who are less in worth and importance when compared to the Western-Caucasian man. Such portrayals include the story of the African American woman, Sara Baartman, and the horrifying experience that she endured as her body was objectified and displayed for exhibition in England and France. I am exploring the negative portrayals of African Americans, specifically women in pop culture as I analyze excerpts from Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, songs by the rapper Eminem, as well as an article by Denise Herd in the academic journal, Sexuality and Culture, to illustrate how the recurring objectification of women, and the discriminatory portrayal of African Americans as violent, and seemingly less than human can ultimately shape, and impact the beliefs and actions of American youth. By highlighting the impact of negative portrayals on youth, I aim to demonstrate how one’s mindset towards African American women can hopefully be altered upon viewing the degrading representations of those individuals, as well as showcase the necessity in limiting youth to the exposure to such forms of art. 

512 Room 911 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Beatriz C. Jimenez Medina
Antonio Guijarro-Donadios (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of World Languages, Worcester State University
Gender Deception and Carnal Desire in Tirso de Molina's Plays

During the 17th century, Spanish Golden Age Theater or comedia nueva marks the history of the baroque and its components. With its pessimistic themes, sense of hopelessness and chaos, it opens the door to innovative minds such as Tirso de Molina’s, in order to bring the spectators a variety of plays based on the deception and misguidance of other characters. In the plays El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra and Don Gil de las Calzas Verdes, Tirso presents to the audience two main characters whom through the means of lies and deceit, intend to get what they want. The difference between these two personas is that one is a man (Don Juan) and the other a woman (Doña Juana). Based on this key element, in this talk, I will examine how their frauds are different in nature and have possible divergent outcomes. Don Juan lies to please his carnal desires without fear of his actions while Doña Juana lies in a very calculated way to protect her honor, making it clear that a woman’s deception is more thoughtful and mischievous than a man’s.


519 Room 165 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Mohamed Walid Kabbaj
Anurag Jain (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Marketing and Decision Science, Salem State University
The Major Factors That Contribute to E-commerce Growth in the United States and China: Analyses and Adoption by Morocco

The purpose of this study is to first research and analyze the growth of electronic commerce (e-commerce) in the United States and China, then apply the insights to Morocco. This thesis will focus on the evolution of mobile commerce (m-commerce) which implies conducting business transactions online through wireless handheld devices such as cellular phones and tablets. Through a review of literature, our first goal is to determine the main factors that contribute to advancements in e-commerce and especially mobile commerce in each of these two countries. The next part is to apply insights gleaned to Morocco, a Northern African country that has yet to develop its Information Technology (IT) infrastructures and fully embrace electronic commerce. The aim of this thesis is to establish those success factors for mobile commerce in Morocco.

520 Room 165 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Nicole A. Moschella
Jennifer Merton (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Management, UMass Amherst
Business Ethics and Aligned Corporate Values

The complexity of ethics is shown through the many theories created by well-known scholars like Aristotle and Kant. While these theories are still taught today, ethics as a discipline has expanded to include more than just these philosophies. The discipline of ethics now includes a managerial concern for ethical decision making. However, there is a stigma within the business realm when it comes to balancing ethics and profits. There is a conflict between choosing a business strategy that promotes shareholder wealth maximization at the cost of acting ethically or sacrificing shareholder wealth to address ethical and social issues. The purpose of this study is to research the relevant legal authority that has been interpreted to create this stigma. This includes a primary review of legal cases, but also touches upon federal and state statutes, law reviews, and journals for supporting research. By applying and interpreting relevant legal theories, this paper discredits the sacrificing of corporate ethical values, while drawing attention to remedies which can mitigate the risk of acting unethically. Corporations have not struggled to act ethically due to legal restrictions. Instead, there has been a trend in unethical behavior which has had far-reaching consequences. Alignment between profit and ethical goals not only has a positive impact on the individual corporation, but also creates value for society at large. 


526 Room 903 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Emily Mae Pike
Robert Bruce Daniell (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Management, Salem State University

Professional Cuddling: Stigma, Market, Business Plan

Professional cuddling is an emerging business that has attracted media attention from major news sources. However there is little research on professional cuddling or its industry. A twenty-seven question survey designed to research potential stigmas, market, and opinions was distributed through social media and email. Based on preliminary results there is a market and interest for professional cuddling. Both the opinions and stigmas regarding professional cuddling are mixed. Through the presentation of the study and subsequent business plan, the business world will gain the knowledge of this burgeoning field and its feasibility. The world of business will also potentially gain a new company and new jobs. 


527 Room 808 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Cynthia Camacho
Ileana Vasu (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Holyoke Community College
Alternative Methods to Mathematics Education

Employment opportunities in STEM are predicted to continue to grow at a higher rate than non-STEM jobs in the next decade (USDC, 2017). To be able to take advantage of the economic needs and participate in a society that increasingly depends on mathematics and technology, students need a good background in advanced mathematics and science (Hill, Corbett, St. Rose, & Women, 2010). Unfortunately, our educational system fails many students when it comes to their mathematics preparation, where US students are drastically outperformed by students in other countries (National Science Board [NSB], 2016).

The hypothesis of this study, is that, as espoused by the Common Core standards, and by the National Council of Teachers in Mathematics (NCTM), using varied pedagogies are essential to learning complex mathematical concepts (NCTM, 2000). Using more tactile, real-life examples caters to students who learn outside of computation.  

In this project, I define “high-quality” lessons as lessons that are of high mathematical content via diverse approaches, such as graphs, tables, equations, contextual problems, that focus on students problem solving, rather than the teacher reciting information. The research proposes to examine how the enactment of “high-quality” mathematics lessons impact students’ interest, motivation, engagement, and comprehension of Calculus at a local university. The study will review the existing literature around the connection between student achievement in mathematics and pedagogy, then use classroom observations, surveys, and focus groups, to collect data to support the studies’ hypothesis.

528 Room 808 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Artem Vysogorets
Eric Sommers (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, UMass Amherst
Algebraic and Heuristic Approaches to Solving The Eight-Puzzle Game

Extensively used by search engines, navigation systems, and social networks, graph traversal algorithms are highly important in modern computer science. Frequently, actual problems involve search over immense graphs, which makes them difficult to research or solve without mathematical tools. One famous example of such a problem is the Rubik’s Cube puzzle, the states graph of which contains over 4 quintillion (10^18) nodes. Because of its size, its diameter was discovered only in 2010 by computer scientists Thomas Rokicki and Herbert Kociemba. Their algorithms relied on group representation of the cube’s graph, multiple sequence databases, and invariants. Inspired by their mathematical solution, we used similar strategies to solve the Eight-Puzzle game, which is another well-known combinatorial puzzle but with only about 180,000 reachable positions. The fundamental idea behind our solver is the algebraic representation of the puzzle’s states graph. In fact, its nodes can be viewed as elements of a permutation group on 9 objects. This model allowed us to use subgroups as reasonable intermediate steps in our search algorithm, which had significantly minimized the computational burden of the search. Based on thorough tests results, we concluded that our solver provides valid solutions to any instance of the puzzle within 50 to 200 milliseconds. Our solutions are suboptimal and rarely exceed 120% of the Eight-Puzzle’s graph diameter. We also attempted to improve this performance by using the A* searching algorithm based on several heuristic functions.

538 Room 809 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Melanie Marie Tummino
Wanchunzi Yu (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Bridgewater State University

Exploring the Use of Predictive Analytics in Banking and Finance Decision Making

Predictive analytics is a branch of advanced analytics that is composed of various statistical techniques where each contributes in making predictions about future scenarios and outcomes. Some of these techniques include machine learning, data mining, predictive modeling, logistic regression, etc., and the patterns found within the Predictive analytics is a branch of advanced analytics that is composed of various statistical techniques where each contributes in making predictions about future scenarios and outcomes. Some of these techniques include machine learning, data mining, predictive modeling, logistic regression, etc., and the patterns found within the results can be used to identify risks and opportunity. This project is focused on the banking and finance area, and the purpose is to create a list of targeted customers that are more likely to sign up for a credit card by using predictive analytics. I simulate my own data through R, and investigate the relationship between the binary response, the customers that should or should not be issued a credit card, and the predictor variables, the characteristics of customers. In the simulation studies, logistic regression models and a tree diagram are generated for targeting this specific group of customers using statistical software such as R, SAS, and BigML. The analysis of real-life data from a Portuguese banking institution is also presented.


542 Room 165 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Olivia Pfeiffer
Eve Vogel (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Geography, UMass Amherst
The Impact of Increased Wind Production on Hydropower Operation in New England

While renewables like solar and wind are environmentally friendly, they complicate operation of the power grid due to their intermittency. Hydropower plays a large role in providing flexibility and balance to the grid during these volatile times, making it a topic of great interest. This goal of this research is to understand the relationship between both onshore and offshore wind generation and hydropower operation in order to consider the impact of future changes to the energy system in New England. Changes in hydroelectric power plant operation are evaluated using an energy model based on historical hourly demand values and atmospheric data, where scenarios of varying generation capacity of each technology are defined as the model inputs. We investigate the impacts of increasing wind production in New England. Preliminary results suggest that increasing the installed capacity of wind leads to more energy generated by hydro, with offshore wind having a greater influence than onshore. The technologies that hydropower appears to replace are then investigated in these cases. 

543 Room 908 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Daniel Thomas Borden
Michael A. Marks (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Natural Sciences, Bristol Community College
Precious Plastic: The Newest Innovation of Recycling on College Campuses

Precious Plastic is an innovation created by Dave Hakkens that offers a series of devices that recycles plastic on-site into raw material that can be used to create different types of useful products. Shredder, Extrusion, Injection, and Compression Machines can be built using open source blueprints from Precious Plastic. These machines are designed to be module-based which can adapt to any work environment. Due to Precious Plastic being open-source, anyone can build an inclusive design that can work within any type of financial budget, including extremely limited ones.

The safety of the equipment used is very important. You need to ensure that any equipment built passes safety inspections as students would be creating new products from the recycled plastic with the machines. The equipment can be built from scrap parts. If you already have equipment on your campus that can be used in Precious Plastic, there is no need to build the same machine. Combining Precious Plastic with your campus's recycling program will enhance the capabilities of what products you can produce on-site. 

You can engage multiple departments to expand on related strategic initiatives your college is working on. Keeping these initiatives in mind can help your own college’s Precious Plastic program succeed. Creating products with plastic without transporting recycled material takes recycling on your campus to the next level of sustainability as you reuse the plastic onsite and produce revenue-generating products at the same time.

546 Room 909 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Eli Mattingly
Frank Sup (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, UMass Amherst
Design for a Human-Scale Magnetic Particle Imager

Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI) is a new medical imaging modality based on the non-linear response of Super-Paramagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles (SPIONs) to oscillating external magnetic fields. Unlike magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that images the magnetic response from body tissue water, MPI images an introduced or “tracer” magnetic material; the SPIONs are injected into the body intravenously. Because the magnetism of the iron particle is ~107 fold larger than the nuclear magnetism of water, MPI has a very high sensitivity to the tracer. Although MPI technology was introduced in 2005 and has been applied to rodent imaging, it has not yet been implemented at human scale. Unlike MRI, where the magnet is large but stationary, the MPI magnets rapidly rotate around the body similar to computed tomography (CT) scanners but with considerably more weight, creating mechanical difficulties and patient safety concerns. Our work evaluates a prototype MPI design consisting of two iron-cored electromagnets, constrained within a cylindrical aluminum and stainless-steel frame that rotates around the subjects head at 30 RPM on a series of rollers underneath the frame. I designed an assembly capable of rotating the ~2000kg gantry at 30 RPM without any significant eccentricities. It is designed from non-magnetic material and to withstand the magnets’ repulsion and weight, and to isolate the moving parts from the patient. Preliminary construction is currently underway, and success will allow for a system capable of imaging brain activation with substantially higher sensitivity than current MRI units.

550 Room 165 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Szeyeung Luk
Frank Sup (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, UMass Amherst
Prostheses Test Device

Robotic lower limb prostheses are creating a new way to restore locomotion for individuals. Before they can be tested with a person, they need to be tested under same control scheme and test parameters for further analysis. A prostheses test device is designed and built to test prostheses which produces motion and ground reaction force in human stance gait phase. The test station is designed to accommodate prostheses with different shank lengths and thickness. The test station is about 1.5 m in width, 1.3 m in length and 1.2 m in height and is designed to fit on top of a standard walking treadmill. T-slotted aluminum bar is the major component for the frame for ease of fabrication. The treadmill produces the horizontal movement of gait motion. A barbell bar and weight system is controlled by a linear actuator and pulley system to produce vertical movement of gait motion. The test station can simulate a body weight range from 60 kg to 85 kg which is within the range of an average person. The test station provides more precise test results and systematic testing of control parameters for robotic prostheses prostheses.


558 Hadley Room 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Caroline Xu Qin
Steven Sandler (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Microbiology, UMass Amherst
Factors That Modulate RecA Localization to Replication Forks

UV radiation causes DNA lesions that can result in daughter-strand gaps or double-strand breaks. Typically, excision pathways resolve these lesions; however, if a replication fork encounters an interruption before repaired, the fork collapses. In Escherichia coli, RecA plays a central role in DNA repair through recombination. RecA polymerizes onto ssDNA, forming a nucleoprotein filament that catalyzes strand exchange. This filament can also induce the SOS response by stimulating LexA autocleavage. Several recA mutants have previously been identified that induce SOS in the absence of external DNA damage. Among these mutations, RecA730(E38K) has been shown to have an increased binding affinity for ssDNA-SSB compared to RecA+, leading to the proposition that RecA730 binds to the lagging strand of the replication fork. We provide in vivo evidence for this model with ultraviolet time-lapse microscopy using recA-gfp. Since replication fork collapse is resolved through a RecA-dependent mechanism, RecA’s localization to the replication fork after UV is vital. We showed that while cells with recA+-gfp formed a significant number of structures after UV, recA730-gfp cells did not. We hypothesize that this is because RecA730 does not need to relocalize, as it is already bound to the replication fork prior to UV. Factors affecting RecA’s localization to the fork were examined in the context of dinI and uvrD mutants as well as in relation to SOS with lexA mutants and recA4142(F217Y). Our results support the model that RecA730 binds to the lagging strand of the replication fork and propose additional stabilizing and destabilizing influences.


575 Room 903 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Jane Viviano
Timothy Lang (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst

Palestinian American Expressions of Belonging and Identity in a Post-9/11 United States

My thesis focuses on the process of identity formation among young Palestinian-Americans. These young men and women have difficulties navigating a post 9/11 United States, where Islamophobia, stereotypes of the Middle East, and negative attitudes toward the “other” are prevalent. I explore how these young people constantly create, shape, and shift their identities and how they feel a sense of belonging to both Palestinian and American communities. I argue that the experiences of these young Palestinian-Americans are different from those of other young Arab-Americans and are complicated by the events of September 11, 2001. My research begins with a literature review covering broad topics of belonging, home, discrimination, and dual identity. These topics are then analyzed in the context of the Arab-American and Palestinian-American experience. The second half of my thesis presents and analyzes in-depth interviews that I conducted with young Palestinian-Americans living in the United States. The results of the interviews are then examined in light of the topics discussed in the literature review. By documenting and analyzing the experiences of young Palestinian-Americans in the United States, my thesis adds to the literature on how young people, especially Middle Easterners, navigate their identities as both American and Middle Eastern in a place where many people hold negative views of such people.


576 Room 163 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Anthony Curtis Martin
Peter Janson (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Music, UMass Boston
Jazz Music to Honor the Legacy of MLK


UMass Boston Student with member of the KING family (Mrs. Naomi Ruth Barber King) and Professor Babs Onabanjo, assistant to Mrs. King



Pay homage to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King on the 50th anniversary of his assassination with music and excerpts of speeches, and interview segments.


April 27th 2018 at the URC


UMass Amherst and follow up concert at UMass Boston – April 29th



Necessary dialogue on Social Justice and the need for community engagement



Live performances of 5 Jazz songs that speak of the Freedom struggle along with excerpts of an interview conducted by UMass students with Mrs. King, 2015.

 Lift Every Voice and Sing - Opening number

Come Sunday - Duke Ellington

Fables of Faubus - Charles Mingus

Music is my Sanctuary - Gary Bartz

We shall Overcome – Arrangement by Tony Martin


Support requested:  A small Jazz trio including bass player and drummer


577 Room 803 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Joshua Edward Miller
Robert I. Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
The Importance of Musical Hooks

Music is one of the most popular forms of media consumed by people every day and a huge reason that people come back can be summarized in the Blues Traveler song “Hook”, as “The hook brings you back”. The hook of a song is a major appeal of music and the better the hook, the more people will remember it for years to come. The hook of a song is basically the selling point and it varies from genre to genre and from country to country. This presentation's goal is to deconstruct how a hook can become an earworm to a general audience and the use of recent musical hooks that are popular in the United States as a point of reference. The examination of this hook shows a link to its country's culture as if it is providing a window to the country through this creative media. Culture and music are both ever-changing as time, so a window to keep track of it would help, and that's where hooks come in. The studies of deconstructing a hook to show the culture of the United States can be applied to different countries and helps people find a relationship between other countries through hook. Looking into the hooks of the most popular music from the reggaeton genre in Puerto Rico convey to the listener a feeling that relates to the current state of that nation, and this helps build an understanding of culture.

584 Hadley Room 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Kristen Renee Flanagan
Erinn E. Knyt (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Music, UMass Amherst

Beyond the String Quartet: How the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Contributed to the Late Twentieth-Century Chamber Music “Boom” in the United States

Apart from performances by renowned string quartets, chamber music was rarely performed in the United States in large public venues, such as concert halls, in the first part of the twentieth century.  Yet, throughout the 1970s and 1980s a chamber music "boom” occurred, which led to the inception of many chamber music societies that promoted varied concerts featuring a variety of instruments and composition types. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMSLC) played a large role in this rebirth of chamber music.  This thesis documents the origin and growth of the CMSLC, as well as how the CMSLC contributed to the chamber music “boom.” In addition, it describes how the CMSLC has acted as a model for other chamber music series.  

No such history has yet been written yet about the CMSLC.  Much of the literature to date is in the form of newspaper articles.  Using the programs from the CMSLC’s concerts, as well as reviews in the New York Times, this thesis examines how the CMSLC has succeeded through varied programming, stellar artist rosters, and the development of outreach programs.  This thesis also investigates how changes in artistic leadership affected audience reception and overall programming in order to reach and retain wider audiences.  By compiling the history of the CMSLC and analyzing programming methods, this thesis enriches understanding of the rise of chamber music societies in the United States and uses the CMSLC as a model for future chamber music organizations.


607 Room 163 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Daniel Pollak
Luke Remage-Healey (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, UMass Amherst

New Drivable and Open-Source Electrode Arrays for Awake Behaving Electrophysiology in the Auditory Cortex of Zebra Finches

Though many animals communicate with sound, songbirds learn to produce vocalizations by imitation, a trait they share with a handful of species, including humans. Thus, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) provides an opportunity to investigate the acquisition of vocalization for communication. The zebra finch auditory cortex, known as the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM), shows neural selectivity for birdsong and is likely involved in high-level processing of acoustic stimuli. In addition to representing conspecifics’ song, the NCM is involved in monitoring acoustic feedback from an individual’s own song concurrently with its production, which is essential to the acquisition and maintenance of its vocalizations. To understand how zebra finches integrate this feedback into their own song, neural activity must be recorded alongside the actual production of song in awake animals. Unfortunately, exploring behavior and neural activity simultaneously presents technical difficulties, limiting investigations to either anesthetized electrophysiology or external observations of awake behavior. Portable and drivable electrode arrays (“microdrives”) bridge this gap, allowing for neural recordings alongside behavioral observations. Unlike conventional microdrives, these devices must be lightweight to allow songbirds to fly. As such, we created two lightweight, inexpensive microdrive designs capable of recording up to 16 or 32 channels of population and single unit activity in anesthetized and awake zebra finches, which show potential for integration with technologies such as optogenetics and microdialysis. We obtained high-quality extracellular neural recordings with auditory-evoked activity in NCM of anesthetized zebra finches. These microdrives represent a new, inexpensive platform for electrophysiology in awake and anesthetized zebra finches.


631 Room 909 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Mackenzie Hamakawa Smith
Lindiwe Sibeko (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Nutrition, UMass Amherst
Community-Based Obesity Prevention Interventions: A Systematic Review of After-School Initiatives


Childhood obesity is a persistent public health concern. In the U.S. an estimated 12 million children are obese. Obese children are at an increased risk of poor physical, social and emotional health outcomes, and more likely to become obese adults. After-school programs provide an important opportunity for health-related interventions with children.The aim of this systematic review is to identify the impact of after-school obesity prevention programs on improving nutrition knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy and subsequent behavior change.


This systematic review used the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). PRISMA is a 27-item checklist designed to assist authors reporting systematic reviews, particularly those that evaluate interventions. Databases accessed include Web of Science, PubMed, Agricola, and ERIC, identifying community-based after-school nutrition interventions targeting children ages 15 and younger. Our search focused on interventions that demonstrated a change in children’s nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and self-efficacy.

Between 2000 and 2017, there have been 35 studies that meet the inclusion criteria. Physical activity was a variable in 17 of these studies, and the remaining 18 studies were exclusively aimed at changing nutrition related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Of these 18 studies, 54% (n=19) focused on behavior change, 17% (n=6) on self-efficacy, and the remaining 29% (n=10) aimed to impact a combination of knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Common strengths of interventions were large sample size, randomized-controlled trial design, and inclusion of follow-up studies.


Preliminary results indicate that multi-component after-school interventions may be most effective in changing children’s nutrition knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and increasing self-efficacy. This systematic review will be used to inform the development of a multi-state collaboration on after-school nutrition programing.


648 Hadley Room 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Michael Joseph McAndrew
David Kenneth Braden-Johnson (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Philosophy, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Moral Realism

The study of morality is one of the central pillars of philosophical inquiry. There has been a long standing debate between moral realists and anti-realists over the foundations of morality. Moral realists, such as Richard Boyd, claim that the source of morality lies in the relationship humans have to one another and the world. This paper aims to improve our understanding of the foundations of morality through the analysis and critique of various meta-ethical realist and anti-realist positions.

649 Hadley Room 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Holly E. Poissot
Daniel A. Soucy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Philosophy, Mount Wachusett Community College

Repurposing Unnecessary Medical Waste for the Good of Humanity

Americans, even the poorest class, have access to life saving medical care and supplies regardless of our income or ability to repay our healthcare debt. While us Americans rack up thousands of dollars in healthcare expenses for treatment of even the most minor wounds or illnesses here in the United States, there are politically vulnerable countries losing millions of people a year to death due to the lack of the most basic sanitary medical supplies and equipment. Repurposing our waste by sending it to these less fortunate countries would decrease the number of deaths due to lack of proper care and supplies in financially vulnerable third world countries. This would reduce our cost for disposing of excess waste in the hospital and clinic setting here in the United States, in addition to reducing the impact on the environment by decreasing the actual amount of landfill waste, all while simultaneously saving lives across the nation by providing the salvaged supplies to those less fortunate humans in dire need of sterilized supplies that would otherwise be discarded and ultimately hurt our world by overfilling our landfills versus saving lives of those desperate for what we take for grant and discard.

650 Hadley Room 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Jennifer A. Lamontagne
Brianna Faith Stevens
Daniel A. Soucy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Philosophy, Mount Wachusett Community College
Seismic Airgun Blasting

In this study, the effects of noise pollution are observed based on the habits of baleen whales, and other life that are vital to the ecosystem. Whale populations are negatively affected by the amount of noise pollution in the ocean. This can be proven through correlative studies of whale behavior, and changes in said behavior over time.

According to, “For whales and dolphins, ‘listening’ is as important as ‘seeing’ is for humans. Noise pollution threatens whale and dolphin populations, interrupting their normal behavior, driving them away from areas important to their survival, and at worst injuring or sometimes even causing the deaths of some whales and dolphins.” Noise pollution is seen to disrupt migration patterns, breeding, and cause increased levels of stress, as well as kill many larvae and plankton that serve as a main food source for marine life.

There are currently no international regulations of noise in the marine environment, although it is recognized as a form of pollution, according to the Animal Welfare Institute. Noise pollution is damaging to marine life, with the population of marine mammals being affected greatly based on their dependence of sound to life. Solutions to the noise pollution of the ocean such as adding silencing modifiers to ships and finding alternatives to seismic airgun blasting to protect our delicate ocean ecosystem.



651 Room 809 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Lisa M. Ferrara-Caron
Daniel A. Soucy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Philosophy, Mount Wachusett Community College
Liquid Gold: The Ethical Implications of Hive Maintenance

There are several factors that have contributed to the decline of bee populations over the last several years. The correlation between human impact on their environment and their decline is hard to deny. A movement to aid pollinators is in full swing, but is it doing more harm than good? Are small so called natural hives making an impact on the big business of industrial beekeeping? Using a widespread understanding of environmental ethics, this paper will examine the ethical implications of both industrial and backyard beekeeping in an effort to answer these questions.

652 Room 809 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Stephen Wallace Houchins
Daniel A. Soucy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Philosophy, Mount Wachusett Community College
Balance: Getting There with Respect to Nature

What should our environmental approach be? Are we a part of nature? How should we view nature? These are big questions, and this project will aim to explore them, and offer a meta-ethical perspective to answer them as best as can be done.

    Our approach to nature has been anthropocentric for quite some time now, with devastating aftermath. Documentation has been rich regarding the deleterious effect our domination of the earth has had upon nature, as this project will show. But now that we are realizing the damage we’ve done to nature, and the myriad ways in which that is wrong, we have opportunities abound to correct our errors. So what should our approach be?

    Deep ecology and environmental antinatalism may argue that we should abandon our claim to the earth if we are to repair it, or that we are too harmful to the environment to retain a major stake in its mending. This project will argue that the approach to guide our environmental repair must prioritize humanity to some degree because we are the origin of normativity, because humans have individual moral worth and deserve to live as a part of nature, and because the best chance for the most repair lies with us still being around. The ultimate goal would be for humanity to achieve a mutually beneficial balance between us and nature, and this project will assess how this goal can interact with previous ethical and philosophical positions on nature.

653 Room 163 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Thomas George Gleason
Elena Clare Cuffari (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Philosophy, Worcester State University
Ideology in Language and Thought Control

Languages are not formed democratically - did anyone sign up to learn English when they were born or agree to use the grammar and diction that they depend on for communicating with the world? Languages have their own inherent politics - languages have different ways of referring to the same concepts, and these differences presuppose political relationships between the speaker and the referent. A Marxist-Leninist analysis of language combines a critical examination of the institutions from which language spreads along with a precise description of examples of the ideology hidden behind words in the English language. This analysis is important because language dominates our thoughts and our speech - it dominates our relationship with ourselves and our relationship to the world. This analysis can be done by looking at how countries and groups are labelled in different languages, and what these labels signify on a political level. Examples include China, Burkina Faso, and the Ivory Coast. To taint language (and therefore thought) with pre-constructed ideology is to exercise significant control over a population by conforming their thoughts and debates to a mold. Being able to identify ideology in language and communicate and think outside of it is a vital skill for any population wishing to exercise true freedom of conscience. 


654 Hadley Room 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Jonah Christopher Chaban
Bela Indurkhya Nelson
Jennie Traschen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Physics, UMass Amherst
Evolution of Cosmological Black Holes in Inflation

We investigate the properties of quasi-statically evolving black holes during inflation driven by a classical scalar field. With the analytic Schwarzschild-de Sitter metric as a background, perturbative solutions to the Einstein field equations allow us to study black hole and cosmological horizon growth, as well as other quantities of interest. More recent work aims to map the energy density and determine its asymptotic (far field) behavior, and to compute fluxes of currents obtained through contractions of the stress-energy tensor. Additionally, quasi-normal mode solutions of the Klein-Gordon equation in the background spacetime are sought, with the eventual objective of describing particle production by a small quantum scalar field correction.

662 Room 909 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Anushka Shrivastava
David Kawall (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Physics, UMass Amherst
Study of NMR Free Induction Decays in the Presence of Inhomogeneous Magnetic Fields

The Fermilab g-2 experiment will measure the precession of muons in a magnetic storage ring. The experiment requires a precise measurement of the magnetic field to an accuracy of 70 ppb. This is done by measuring the Larmor precession frequency of protons using pulsed NMR. Since almost everything in the experimental setup creates a magnetic field, there are many small factors that affect the magnetic field and the precession rate of the muons. Even the pulsed NMR probes used to measure the field perturb the field. I’m using MATLAB to simulate how the Larmor precession frequency yields information about the local magnetic field. Eventually I am going to analyze real data, and look at some systematic effects such as the effect of the probe on the measurement.


668 Room 801 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Julie Kathryn Davis
Lynn S. Adler (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biology, UMass Amherst

Effects of Plant-Fungi Interactions on Floral Traits and Pollinator Disease

Plants interact with both their belowground and aboveground environments, but the interaction between these different domains is under-studied. The belowground environment can directly and indirectly affect plant aboveground interactions via changes in nutrient acquisition, biomass accumulation, defense against antagonists and floral traits. We examined how plant interactions with the belowground biotic and abiotic environment scale up to alter floral traits and, in turn, pollinator health. Soil-dwelling mycorrhizal fungi are considered plant mutualists, although the outcome of the relationship can depend on environmental conditions such as nutrients. In a 2x2 factorial design, I asked whether Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) plants grown with or without mycorrhizal fungi in high or low nutrients affect nectar and pollen alkaloids previously shown to reduce bumblebee disease. I collected pollen and nectar for analysis and to feed to bees infected with the common gut parasite Crithidia bombi. My results show that mycorrhizae delay flowering phenology and can increase pollen alkaloids, depending on nutrient conditions. Furthermore, tobacco pollen and nectar from plants grown under all conditions except AMF-/high fertilizer, reduced bee infection load relative to the control diet, to varying degrees. These results underscore the importance of whole-systems studies to predict ecological outcomes relevant to managing pollinator health.


669 Hadley Room 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Noosha Nahian Uddin
Robert Paul Musgrave (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
The Political Economy of Migrant Labor in the Arabian Gulf

Why do migrant laborers in the Gulf states still choose to work there, given the harsh living and working conditions that they suffer from? Since the oil boom in the Gulf, the Arab citizen populations have diminished due to the influx of expatriate labor from outside the region - notably of South Asian or Southeast Asian nationality. The circumstances of migrant laborers working within the kafala system in the Gulf have sparked international attention regarding the region's intent towards preserving and promoting human rights. However, the remittances that these laborers earn in their assigned states make up a considerable portion of their countries’ GDP, and can be the only source of income they have. What is commonly considered to be a “resource curse” in the Gulf states, where the rents of natural resource wealth of a state lead to more autocratic policies, might be considered to be a transnational phenomenon in the migrant labor market between sending and receiving states. Sending countries’ governments have been unwilling to reform domestic policies to generate economic growth, since they can use their expatriates as a means of revenue, which explains why migrants continue to endure working in the GCC. This project explores the relationship of Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Kerala with the GCC and their involvement in the kafala system, the power dynamic of the citizenry in the GCC that enable this system to be in place, and the external and internal motivations of expatriates who continue working in the Arabian Gulf.


674 Room 903 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Erin Lee Phillips
Dean E. Robinson (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst

The Social Causes and Health Effects on Homelessness

There has been a proven correlation between health and social status. This presents as a health gradient, health correlating with social status. The more prominent the social status, the better the health people find themselves in. There are a few populations who are more unique and do not fit into a typical social category. The homeless population is one of these unique populations. An examined look at the policies, housing opportunities, job opportunities, the economy, and the disadvantages experienced by the homeless population  allow for an understanding of how their health reflects the social determinants. Examining the approaches of other countries to combating homelessness provides ideas for how to formulate a comprehensive policy to assist the homeless population here in the Unites States, and thereby improve the health of that population.

676 Room 903 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Matthew James Martin
Rebecca Elizabeth Hamlin (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Legal Studies, UMass Amherst

Only a Matter of Crime: Immigration Politics and Executive-Judicial Relations in Argentina

This project analyzes Argentine immigration policy using discourse analysis of public statements made by the government of President Mauricio Macri. The case of Argentina provides an opportunity to understand the development of “crimmigration,” the intersection of criminal and immigration law, as a response to the “liberal paradox,” the tension between the economic logic of openness and political logic of closedness central to traditional liberalism. Liberal states use crimmigration to maintain sovereignty despite the constraints of the liberal paradox. The merger of criminal and immigration law consolidates legislative and executive power to implement restrictionist immigration policies. By comparing the experience of Argentina to United States, I argue that crimmigration is best understood as a deepening of the liberal paradox, maintaining economic openness while converging criminal and immigration law so as to gain greater control over undesirable immigration populations. These reforms aim to stifle the progression of contemporary rights-based liberalism so as to sustain the liberal paradox. The development of crimmigration in Argentina has also revealed how these reforms include a concerted effort to disempower the judiciary so as to hinder the courts from institutionalizing rights-based liberalism by protecting immigrants’ rights based on their personhood. I will examine how this discourse has served to legitimate and normalize restrictionist immigration policies in Argentina. Hegemonic norms of political discourse have previously promoted a more expansionist approach whereas the Macri administration has attempted to bend the judiciary to the will of the executive.

680 Room 165 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Stephen Hayes
Ahmad Rajjii Bakrin
Eve Vogel (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Geography, UMass Amherst
Municipal Ownership versus Private Ownership: The Case of the Holyoke Dam and Canal System

In 1847, a dam was constructed on the Hadley Falls of the Connecticut River to harness the available power for industrial production. The dam and canal system were privately-owned until recently, when they were sold in 2001 to the City of Holyoke, although small turbines within the system are still privately-owned. Holyoke Gas and Electric has been municipally owned since the early 1900s, but it should also be noted that while the system is municipally owned, it is not municipally operated. The firm functions outside of the city’s budget, and makes decisions via a board of directors, appointed by the city’s mayor. This could mean that Holyoke Gas and Electric’s interest align with its ratepayers and at odds with Holyoke residents. Our goal is to determine how the ownership structure of a hydropower asset affects its operating behavior and how this ownership structure changes the way the dam’s profits and electricity are distributed. We hope to see what this case reveals about the viability of municipally-owned hydropower in regards to sustainable, local economic development. We will be conducting interviews of members of the Holyoke community who are impacted by the dam and conduct an analysis of documents from the last 20 years. We aim to understand this case as an example of how municipally-owned hydropower may differ from privately-owned hydropower assets with regard to financial and electricity flows, and the implications these flows have for local development.

681 Room 911 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Sarah Maureen Bazir
Elizabeth Bussiere (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Boston
The Scalia Vacancy Confirmation Battles: An Evaluation of the History of the Judicial Appointments Process

The death of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia triggered a fourteen month appointment battle which spanned two White House administrations, two nominees, and two invocations of obscure senatorial practices. This appointment battle is often characterized as symbolic of the hyperpolarization and hyper-politicization of the current climate in Washington. However, when situated within the broader history of judicial appointments, it is evident that the Scalia episode is a continuation of, rather than a deviation from, guiding principles of judicial politicking. This thesis examines how the recurrent trends in judicial appointment history reveal the Senate’s role in shaping the federal judiciary. A study of records surrounding the United States Constitutional Convention suggests that the Founding Fathers fully anticipated a politicized judicial appointment process within which the Senate could exercise broad influence and authority. Moreover, an examination of various failed High Court nominations likewise suggests that the politicization of selecting Supreme Court jurists is not a modern trend. This thesis maintains that the Senate’s role in the appointments process has always been tumultuous, vacillating between blatant obstructionism and deferential timidity. These fluctuations are important because they illustrate the existence of a very real and absolutely crucial limit on executive power. This thesis concludes that the depiction of the Scalia confirmation battles as anomalous is a misnomer and that the episode following the Justice’s death was surprisingly ordinary.

682 Room 911 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Christopher Conley
Elizabeth Bussiere (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Boston
Neil M. Gorsuch and Neoconservative Thought

To many conservatives the greatest achievement of Donald Trump’s presidency was the appointment of Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States. As the youngest sitting justice (just 50 years old) Gorsuch will, barring an unforeseen catastrophe, help shape the positions of the Court for decades to come. It is therefore necessary to determine what approach or approaches he applies in his work in an effort to predict the likely outcome of some of the more controversial cases that he will inevitably rule on in his time on the bench.  By evaluating various works by neoconservative constitutional interpretational theorists and a brief evaluation of natural law theory as articulated by John Finnis (whom Gorsuch earned a Doctorate in Philosophy under), Conley seeks to construct a spectrum of neoconservative thought and thinkers. Conley then turns applying this spectrum to the academic and legal writings of Gorsuch himself to determine where he may fall on the spectrum. This discussion will allow academics, lawyers, jurists, and lay men to better predict Gorsuch’s positions and the arguments that may or may not sway him in a given direction. 

683 Room 911 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Matthew James Gately
Elizabeth Bussiere (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Boston
Should the Supreme Court Be Used as a Tool for Social Change?

In the wake of the aborted confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland and the impending Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission(2017), much attention has been given to the Supreme Court and its composition. Yet this thesis asks a broader question, what is the proper role of the Supreme Court when it comes to deciding issues of great social significance? In essence, this thesis questions the very assumptions that American's have pertaining to the Supreme Court. 

Organizationally, this thesis has three main sections. The first offers an analysis of the conflicting theoretical perspectives over the Supreme Court's proper role in American society, which will then establish the premises of the overarching models concerning how the justices ought to act in cases involving significant social change.  The second section analyzes scholars' competing empirical claims regarding the Supreme Court's role, if any, in promoting substantial social change.  The concluding section of the thesis outlines this author's proposed models for how the Court ought to act based on the type of social issues that litigants present to it.

By addressing the question of the proper role of the Supreme Court, the models presented could be used to add another lens through which scholars and citizens alike can evaluate Supreme Court decisions. At a minimum, this thesis should raise awareness and make scholars and citizens alike think critically about how much power the Supreme Court wields in deciding the direction of society.


696 Room 162 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Jenny Guo
Erica Scharrer (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
Mental Health and the Media: Changing Attitudes toward Mental Health Issues

The purpose of this study is to determine if educational media, in the form of positive video portrayals of mental illness and informational graphics, can reduce mental health stigma. As a highly influential force in today’s society, the media plays a powerful role in cultivating public attitudes, especially toward persons with mental illnesses. The media's continuous misrepresentation of mental illness allows for the spread of misinformation, the wrongful association of violence with illness, and negative attitudes and intolerance towards persons with mental illnesses. Following models from prior research studies, the current study utilizes an experimental design featuring two stimuli: a short video clip portraying a young adult with depression and an informational graphic of mental health statistics. Participants are randomly placed in one of three groups, signifying the number of stimuli they were exposed to. After stimuli exposure, participants’ attitudes toward people with mental illnesses are assessed, as well as public and self-stigma surrounding help-seeking behaviors. In comparison to no stimuli exposure, participants who saw both the video clip and the informational graphic are predicted to report more positive attitudes toward persons with mental illnesses and help-seeking behaviors. Exposure to the informational graphic is also predicted to have an additional increased positive effect on attitudes. This highlights the need for not only more realistic media portrayals of persons with mental illnesses, but also the importance of explicitly informing the public about these conditions to stop the spread of misinformation.

697 Room 903 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Kathryn Luo
Dean E. Robinson (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
Psychology and Inequality: Investigating the Relationship between Economic Insecurity and Mental Health Outcomes

Over the past decades there has been an increase in psychological distress in populations worldwide. While there has not been a significant increase in mental health disorder diagnoses, the incidence of mental health problems are higher for individuals with greater economic insecurity than those without. This thesis examines that relationship by identifying some of the most prevalent psychological effects and mental disorders that develop as a result of poverty, unemployment, and inequality. Additionally, this research will investigate solutions including policy changes that can be implemented to reduce inequality and economic insecurity, thus reducing the likelihood of developing psychological disorders.

714 Room 903 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Samantha R. Shorrock
Sara Pollak Levine (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, Fitchburg State University
Socialization in Chinese and United States Schools and Future Cult Involvement

This paper explores the basic aspects of socialization in Eastern and Western schools including the influence of authority dynamics, peer group dynamics, observational learning, and operant learning. It is proposed that cultural differences in school systems may make students more susceptible to recruitment by cults. Currently, it is estimated that there is a greater percentage of the population involved in cults in China (0.7%) than in the United States (0.025%).  Socialization processes involved in cult indoctrination and the similarities and differences to the processes involved in socialization in school are discussed.

716 Room 801 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Elizabeth Barry
Bonnie Strickland (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, UMass Amherst

A Qualitative Analysis on the Reasons Female College Students Return to Their Ex-boyfriends

This qualitative research is a consideration of relationships today in college from the female's’ perspective, and seeks to find reasoning as to why women return to their ex boyfriends. Using a selection of questions, this paper’s main content is conversations with eight different women, all of whom have experienced a relationship with a break in the middle of it. The questions aim to determine the nature of the relationship, breakup and reunion as well as to gather personal feelings throughout the same timeline. Patterns and anomalies were drawn from the stories and then compared with findings from past related psychological studies that either validated or refuted the conclusions from these accounts.

717 Room 801 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Jose Alexis Santiago
Greg Mullin (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, Bunker Hill Community College

"How You Doin'?": Examining the Importance of First Impressions on Initial Attraction

This present study will attempt to provide evidence that a positive first impression will lead to initial attraction, regardless of physical attractiveness. But considering the importance of physical attractiveness in past attraction research, physical attractiveness will be examined alongside first impression to determine if the two variables interact. A simple 2 x 2 factorial design, then, will expose participants to one of four possible groups containing one of the following stimulus profiles: positive first impression and attractive; positive first impression and unattractive; negative first impression and attractive; negative first impression and unattractive. After exposure to the stimulus profile, participants will fill out the Interpersonal Attraction Scale, a self-report measure that looks at three different dimensions of interpersonal attraction: physical, task, and social attraction. Only items relating to physical and social attraction will be analyzed and a simple 2 x 2 between subjects ANOVA will be performed to determine if any difference between group means is statistically significant. It is hypothesized that a positive first impression will lead to initial attraction regardless of physical attractiveness. However, it is also hypothesized that there will be significant interactions between positive first impression and attractive and negative first impression and unattractive.

745 Room 165 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Elsa Rose Mastico
Sharon Claffey (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Expanding the Definition of Love: Self-Report and EEG Analysis of Reactions to the Complex Emotion

The study of Love has overlapped among disciplines for thousands of years. As social beings we are driven to describe it and understand how it can be one of the most powerful emotions that we feel. In recent years, social neuroscience has dominated the study of Love and how it objectively functions as a cognitive emotion. With the heightened desire to remain objective, the field at large has lost the desire to intertwine our cognitive functions with our subjective experiences towards the emotion. It is also rarely compared to other emotions leaving little room for understanding how love and other emotions interplay. The current research is divided into two experiments that seek to understand how relationship satisfaction, jealousy, and passionate love intertwine through self-report and analysis of electrode frequencies using an electroencephalogram (EEG). The first study was a survey that looked at self-report responses on relationship satisfaction, passionate love and jealousy. Results showed passionate love was positively correlated with relationship satisfaction and negatively correlated with jealousy. The second study was an EEG analysis which looked at neural responses in the frontal lobe when passionate love and jealousy were elicited. Results for the second study showed that alpha wave averages positively correlated with passionate love and beta wave averages were higher throughout each participant. Both studies validate previous research on passionate love and imply a necessity for new research methods for studying the emotion in the future.

746 Room 165 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Danielle Victoria Mayblyum
Rebecca Ready (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, UMass Amherst
OSPAN Measures Predictive of Real-World Executive Functioning

PURPOSE: Executive functioning (EF) refers to higher-order cognitive processes that are essential to daily functioning. Literature suggests that “gold standard” performance-based measures of EF are not predictive of executive behaviors in everyday life (e.g., decision making, emotion regulation). However, research with young adults indicates that Operation Span (OSPAN), a working memory task primarily used in research settings, is associated with real-world executive behaviors; no research to date has explored these relationships in older adults. Determining the predictive nature of this performance-based measure on self-reported EF can aid in clinical evaluations with younger and older adults with cognitive complaints. This study will determine associations between the OSPAN task and self-reported EF in older and younger adults. I hypothesize that poorer OSPAN performance will be associated with greater self-reported executive difficulties in both groups.

METHODS: Healthy younger (aged 18–34, n=25) and older adults (aged 65+, n=25) will complete OSPAN and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Adult (BRIEF-A), a self-report questionnaire of EF.

RESULTS: If my hypothesis is supported, hierarchical linear regression analyses will indicate that poorer OSPAN performance predicts greater self-reported EF difficulties (measured by the BRIEF-A) in both groups, controlling for relevant covariates.

CONCLUSION: Significant associations between the OSPAN task and the BRIEF-A would suggest that the OSPAN may be a useful tool to include in clinical evaluations to predict functioning in younger and older adults with cognitive complaints. A lack of an association between these two measures may suggest that these measures assess different components of EF.

747 Room 165 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Shirley Thompson Plucinski
Rebecca Spencer (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, UMass Amherst

The Effects of Napping on Motor Memory in Preschool Children

Napping enhances declarative memory consolidation, emotion self-regulation, and attention allocation in preschool children. Nevertheless, whether naps enhance children’s procedural memory (i.e., motor skill learning rather than verbal recall) remains unclear. Thus, the aim of the present study is to examine the impact of mid-day naps on motor memory in preschool-aged children using a mirror tracing task. The study uses a within-subjects design with a nap condition and wake condition. In each condition, children were tested on a mirror tracing task, which provides a measure of motor learning, at three time points: in the morning, after the midday nap/wake condition, and 24 hours after encoding. Given previous research, we hypothesize that children will perform better on the mirror tracing task after a period of sleep and that this benefit will extend to 24 hours later after a bout of overnight sleep. Preliminary results suggest the benefit of the mid-day nap arises 24 hours after encoding despite children performing slightly worse after the nap than after an equivalent period of wake. It is possible that the children perform worse after the nap condition because the memory trace is being parsed apart during memory reactivation in the nap and is restructured/organized during the overnight sleep interval (where you achieve deeper stages of sleep that support the mechanisms of consolidation). These preliminary results suggest mid-day naps hold a unique function in motor memory consolidation and this information can be used to guide policy on nap regulation in preschools throughout the country.

748 Room 803 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Kennedy Martin Damoah
Benjamin Jee (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, Worcester State University
Intuitive Theories of Biological Concepts: A Literature Review

Knowledge acquisition depends on many factors that are conscious and unconscious. Material interactivity, learning atmosphere, cognitive load, and prior knowledge play a very important role in learning (Sweller, 2010). Shtulman (2017) demonstrates how tensions between intuitive knowledge and scientific knowledge persist across  the lifespan. We acquire many intuitive biological concepts that shape our lives and how we perceive the world as we grow from childhood to adulthood. These childhood intuitive knowledge help us to make sense of the world. Through the development of essentialist and teleological beliefs, we are able to interpret many biological concepts without any scientific basis. Unfortunately, as we grow and begin studying scientific theories based on empirical evidence, these intuitive theories continue to hang on and impede the learning process. For instance, research has shown that people who have taken college level courses in biology still experience cognitive conflicts in areas like evolution, germs, genetics, and physiology (Shtulman and Harrington, 2015). This paper examines the basis of intuitive knowledge, its persistence after we have learned scientific theories, and why we make poor judgments, and neglect scientific evidence during decision making process.

Key words: Intuitive theories; Essentialism; Teleology; Cognitive conflict; Scientific knowledge

749 Room 917 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Shelbie Alexandra Barney
Anne Noonan (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, Salem State University
College Students' Perceptions of Male Victims of Sexual Assault

The purpose of this research is to increase understanding of how college students perceive sexual assault when men are the victims. This focus is important because of the absence of literature about male sexual assault victims. I hypothesize that the results will show that participants will engage in a substantial amount of victim-blaming. This will be tested through a mixed-methods, anonymous, online survey of hypothetical scenarios in which participants will be asked to provide open-ended and closed-ended responses to the scenarios. The survey will be preceded by a disclosure/consent statement about the sensitive subject of the survey. The participants will be asked through Facebook to respond to the survey, generating a purposive sample. The only criteria are that they are over 18 years of age and that they are a college student. The results of this study will indicate the amount of victim-blaming that goes into perceptions of male sexual assault victims. The results will hopefully provide some insight into the dialogue that needs to take place and the attention that all victims of sexual assault deserve. These results will help formulate that dialogue and hopefully change previously held conceptions of sexual assault.

772 Room 165 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Emma C. Vaughan
Agnes Lacreuse (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, UMass Amherst

Hand Preference and Its Relationship to Social Stress and Cognitive Performance in Marmosets

Vaughan, E., Lacreuse, A., Workman, K.

 Hand preference is an expression of hemispheric lateralization and can correlate with cognitive functions and emotional traits associated with one brain hemisphere. Previous research in marmosets has indicated that left-handed individuals are more anxious than right-handed individuals. In the present study, we tested this hypothesis and also examined potential relationships between hand preference and cognitive performance in a sample of 28 males and female middle-aged (4-5 years old) common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). Hand preference was assessed in a simple reaching task with 50 trials. For each subject, a handedness index (HI) was computed by subtracting the number of left-handed responses from the number of right-handed responses and dividing by the total number of responses.  Stress reactivity was assessed through urinary cortisol levels during a temporary social separation task and a behavioral measure of stress.  Cognitive performance was assessed via a reversal learning task administered on touchscreen. We found that HI was positively correlated with baseline cortisol levels (r= 0.38, p = .05), indicating that more strongly right-handed individuals tended to have higher basal cortisol. Additionally, this relationship was strong in females (r = 0.717, p <.005) but not significant in males (r = -0.22, ns).  HI was not a significant predictor of reversal learning performance in either sex. These results support the idea that some aspects of the HPA axis are modulated by hand preference and biological sex but do not support the contention that left-handers are more anxious than right-handers.

773 Room 168 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Libybet Rueda Gynn
Itai Sher (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
Materialism and Subjective Well-Being: A Conceptual Meta-analysis

Since before the days of the ancient Greeks, theorists and lay people alike have questioned the nature of a desirable life – what constitutes a high quality of life; what is it that makes life worth living? Time and time again, answers to these sorts of questions seem to converge around the notion of subjective wellbeing (SWB), or in broad terms, whether a person is subjectively happy with his or her own life. At the same time it is popularly presumed – though debatably, groundlessly so – that the accumulation of material wealth (as measured by income level, GDP, and so on) is a sure route to enhancing SWB. The present paper draws from prominent literature on the psychology and neuroscience of SWB to outline its structural elements and examine the validity of material wealth as one of its primary determinants. A comprehensive literature review sets out the major distinction between the hedonic (emotional) and eudemonic (cognitive) branches of SWB, followed by a meta-analysis of several studies no more than a decade old that addresses specifically how materialism impacts each branch. The results of this analysis reveal that material wealth is generally a correlate of the eudemonic component of SWB, but that this correlation holds only in certain conditions and up to a certain level of wealth. More reliable indicators of SWB include physical health and the state of interpersonal relationships. It is the hope that these findings rouse some skepticism in readers about the value of material wealth.

774 Room 908 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Gwladys Sorelle Ngatchou Ndankam
Lisa Delano-Botelho (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, Bristol Community College
The Impact of Ethnically-Matched Role Model, Growth Mindset Theory, and Student Success

The correlation between academic achievement gap and poverty, specifically among ethnic and racial minorities, continues to be a critical issue in education and our society in general. Previous research on this topic identified a myriad of environmental and psychological factors that play a role in academic standings of American students living in poverty. Proposed ways to make improvements through environmental changes asserts that familial variables have greater impact on academic success and transcends the responsibility of the state and schools. This paper will focus on how we can attack the psychological variables. Bandura (1950) purports that the greatest impact on youth learning comes from role models with whom the youth identifies. Dweck theory of “growth mindset” (Dweck, 2003) on the other hand, asserts that if children are helped to understand that they can become “smarter” through effort, they will increase their effort and thereby achieve higher academic success. Assuming Bandura’s and Dweck’s assertions are correct, we can apply these concepts to academic learning as well. Examining the impact of role models and the growth mindset theory in education in particular, this paper suggest that the scarcity of minority role models and less efforts thwarts ethnic and racial minority students from striving at school. This paper therefore encourages parents, teachers and close member of student to be their primary role model and thereby increase the likelihood of academic success.


794 Room 803 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Lauren Hurley
Laura Vandenberg (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, UMass Amherst
The Effects of Prenatal Exposure to a Mixture of Twenty-Three Chemicals Commonly Used in Unconventional Oil and Gas Extraction on the Mouse Mammary Gland

Hydraulic fracturing (HF) is a relatively new process of unconventional oil and natural gas (UOG) collection. Currently, we know that there is a dramatic expansion of HF-UOG operations, in which leaks and spills of the chemicals used in these processes are of common occurrence. In fact, UOG chemicals have been detected in areas surrounding HF-UOG operations. Many of the individual chemical constituents found in hydraulic fracturing fluids are endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) which have shown immune, respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological, renal, reproductive, developmental and hepatic toxicity. Our exploration of prenatal exposure to HF-UOG chemicals builds off prior work from our lab and the lab of our collaborators. Here, we examine the effects of early life exposure to a mixture of 23 chemicals commonly found in HF-UOG operations on the developing mammary gland. My project aims to evaluate the effects of this UOG mixture on the expression of hormone receptors in the mammary gland, and evaluate the effects of exposure on the long-term morphology of this tissue. Prior studies found modest effects of UOG chemicals on estrogen receptor expression, but other receptors have been unexplored to date. Completion of this project will allow us to determine whether a complex chemical mixture alters expression of more than one receptor in the mammary gland, and whether the effects of UOG chemicals on the mouse mammary gland are long-lasting.

795 Room 803 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Charlotte D. LaPlante
Laura Vandenberg (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, UMass Amherst
Exposure to Propylparaben during Pregnancy and Lactation Alters Mammary Gland Morphology

It was long thought that hormones and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) produce long-term effects in animals undergoing rapid development (i.e. gestation), but not during adulthood. For this reason, many studies of EDCs examining effects during gestational exposures have ignored the mother, who is inevitably co-exposed. Recently, a small number of studies have suggested that pregnant rodents may be sensitive to EDC exposures during pregnancy and lactation, showing long-lasting effects. In this study, we evaluated the long-term effects of the xenoestrogen propylparaben (PP), found widely in personal care products, on the mouse mammary gland after exposures during pregnancy and lactation. PP is detectable in a vast majority of the population’s urine, with the highest levels observed in pregnant women. PP is known to bind estrogen receptor (ER)β, which may play a role in genomic surveillance in the mammary gland. We hypothesize that PP exposures interfere with mammary gland development, yielding permanent changes after mammary involution.  To address this hypothesis, we exposed female mice to PP or vehicle during pregnancy and lactation. A second control group of non-pregnant females were also included. Five weeks after weaning, mammary gland tissues were collected and evaluated for effects on mammary histoarchitecture, protein expression, and gene expression. Our analyses reveal long-term effects of PP on mammary gland morphology and gene expression. These changes are consistent with studies of other xenoestrogens performed by our lab, suggesting that estrogenic EDCs affect the mammary gland during pregnancy and lactation.  

796 Room 803 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Danny Barber McSweeney
Laura Vandenberg (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, UMass Amherst
Embryonic Exposure to Bisphenol S and Its Effects on the Developing Mammary Gland

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) like Bisphenol S (BPS), a structural analog of Bisphenol A (BPA), mimic the actions of endogenous estrogens, resulting in abnormal development of estrogen-sensitive organs like the mammary gland. Embryonic exposure to BPS is especially concerning when considering the key developmental stages occurring in utero. The goal of this study is to evaluate mammary tissue morphology at embryonic day 16 and determine whether low dose BPS exposure alters gland development in exposed male mouse embryos. Since male mammary glands are structurally less developed and highly sensitive to estrogenic EDCs, these organs act as a simple model tissue to evaluate the effects of putative xenoestrogens. We employed DNA extraction followed by PCR and agarose gel electrophoresis to sex each embryo. We sectioned fetuses exposed via their mothers to vehicle or one of two doses of BPS from pregnancy days 8-16 and performed immunohistochemistry to quantify the number of cells expressing estrogen-receptor α in the mammary tissue. Androgen receptor expression, responsible for the sexually dimorphic development of the mouse mammary gland, was also characterized using immunohistochemistry analysis. Dissection microscopy was used to measure overall mammary gland area and characterize any structural abnormalities. Including other data collected from pubertal and adult male mice exposed to low doses of BPS during gestation, we anticipate this work will address fundamental questions of how environmental estrogens can disrupt development of the mammary gland and contribute to mammary diseases including cancer. 

797 Room 903 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Andrew Do
Dean E. Robinson (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
Health Inequalities and Pharmaceutical Drug Costs in the United States

The United States is a world leader in biomedical research and the development of pharmaceutical drugs. However, high costs affect prescription drug accessibility for millions of Americans, and as a consequence health outcomes are worse than they should be. The costs of pharmaceutical drugs are rising in the United States and many other countries, despite the fact that the public invests substantially in basic science and research that leads to the development of these products. In comparison to other rich nations, the United States does less to control costs and guarantee access to pharmaceutical drugs. This research documents how widespread this problem is, especially for those who lack the financial resources to access the drugs they need.

798 Room 908 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Yibai Duan
Lorraine Cordeiro (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Nutrition, UMass Amherst
Application of Yin-Yang Principles in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

This study reviewed literature on and presented a digital case study of the application yin-yang principles in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Yin-yang theory can considered the Chinese correlative to cosmology, used to interpret the balance of the inner body. Dong Zhongshu (Tung Chung-Shu), a great theorist in the Han Empire, integrated yin-yang theory into Confucianism and transformed the perspective of the theory in TCM. Practitioners of TCM apply yin-yang principles when diagnosing illnesses and establishing treatment protocols for patients. For this study, we reviewed the literature on the application of yin-yang in TCM using textbooks and articles listed in the following databases: Google Scholar, PubMed, Science Direct, and HHS Public Access. Studies on TCM use in China, as well as those establishing a Western quantification of yin-yang, are included in this review. Digital story-telling was used to ground the literature review in the context of community TCM experiences with a case study of the lead author’s 100-year-old great-grandfather, a TCM practitioner. This approach builds on the inter-generational transmission of knowledge among traditional healer families. Literature supported claims that yin-yang principles are associated with benefits to human health, including prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, improved immune system functioning, and the control of hepatitis C. The application of yin-yang principles in TCM can potentially complement Western medicine in preventing, diagnosing, and treating illnesses. Further research is needed to understand the application of yin-yang in TCM and associated health benefits.  

799 Room 911 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Gaurav Dangol
Julius Omotunde Aduayi
Penelope Pekow (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst
Obesity in School-Aged Children in Springfield, Massachusetts

The CDC states that 1 in 5 school aged children in the United States are obese, a statistic that has tripled since the 1970s. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 30 kg/m2. Research has shown that childhood obesity is a precursor to a number of chronic health conditions such as teenage diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. Risk factors associated with childhood obesity are unhealthy lifestyle habits and environments, SES, and education.The overweight and obesity rate for children in the city of Springfield is 41% which is significantly higher than the state of Massachusetts at large. The median household income for Springfield is significantly lower than its surrounding cities. Though a racially diverse population, the majority of community members are Hispanic—a racial group that has been identified as being more susceptible to childhood obesity. A thorough literature review will be conducted in order to identify interventions implemented through schools and other community organizations in the U.S. that have been shown to be effective in preventing and combating childhood obesity. Using this research, we will develop a set of recommendations for programs and policies to address childhood obesity specific to the city of Springfield.

800 Room 911 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Rishi Gupta
Mohammed Khan
Penelope Pekow (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst
Diabetes Management in the Navajo Nation

The seventh leading cause of death in the United States is Diabetes Mellitus. This group of disorders impairs the body’s ability to metabolize glucose, and increases an individual’s risk of heart attacks, kidney failure, limb amputations, and blindness. Nearly 30.3 million people in the U.S. are affected by one of these metabolic disorders; approximately 7.2 million of those people are undiagnosed and unaware of their condition. National reports reveal prevalence rates are higher among Native Americans and continue to increase. Our goal is to identify programs for treating and/or preventing diabetes among Native Americans. Common risk factors can include financial and social strain, improper consumption of unhealthy foods and/or not eating meals on time. We predict Native American populations with low quality community programs will have higher prevalence rates. We will conduct a literature review to identify programs and policies shown to be effective in addressing risk factors for diabetes and to reduce rates of diabetes cases. We will build recommendations to be specifically made for the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona by examining programs directed at Native Americans. Early diagnosis and proper treatment is the key to living a healthy life, so high quality intervention programs should be able to help these populations manage their diabetes more effectively.

801 Room 911 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Antonia J. Katsiris
Megan Murphy
Penelope Pekow (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst

Reducing the Burden of Diabetes in New Orleans

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder in which the body cannot process blood sugar. The CDC estimates that approximately 30.3 million Americans (9.4% of the entire population), have type 2 diabetes. Diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. according to Healthy People 2020. If left untreated, this disease can lead to significant complications such as heart disease, stroke, and hypertension. These are not only burdens to the individual, but significant burdens to the healthcare system. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes in Louisiana has been growing steadily since 2005 to approximately 13.9% of the total adult population. In the New Orleans area specifically, the prevalence of diabetes in adults is approximately 12%.  We will conduct a literature review to study the scope of the issue as well as identify and recommend intervention programs to lessen the impacts of community and individual risk factors. These may include policy changes shown to be effective in urban populations. The results of our study will highlight the ongoing risk factors for diabetes in New Orleans and suggest interventions specific to this community.

806 Room 803 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Emma Kay Burnick
Brittany Nicole Rosen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
The Relationship between Acrylamide Exposure and Cancer in Disproportionately-Affected Populations

Acrylamide is a chemical belonging to the amide class of organic molecules that occupies a wide niche of uses, from research laboratories to the plastic, paper and dye industries. Acrylamide is also formed rapidly when starch is heated during the process of cooking, and newfound evidence has linked acrylamide to the development of certain cancers. When acrylamide is consumed, it is converted to glycidamide, which is known to cause DNA mutations in the body.  The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that the average exposure per person in the general population lies between 0.3 and 0.8 micrograms per kilogram of body weight, with children and certain populations having average exposure multiple times higher than the estimated values (WHO, 2002). Acrylamide exposure disproportionately affects certain populations such as industrial workers, wastewater treatment workers, or researchers working in laboratories. This research will examine the rates of acrylamide exposure and cancer development in disproportionately affected populations such as occupational workers. It will compare these rates to the average human’s daily dietary consumption of acrylamide. This paper will also determine the varying severities of exposure from acrylamide formed in heated starchy foods; i.e. frying and grilling. Further research will give insight into whether or not acrylamide exposure disproportionately affects populations of low socioeconomic status, as people of low SES or people in food deserts typically eat more fried fast foods than higher income populations.

807 Room 803 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Mary Morcos
Laura Vandenberg (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, UMass Amherst
The Effects of BPS on Mice at Lactation Day Two

Bisphenol S (BPS) is a widely used chemical often used as a replacement for BPA. It is found in products such as plastic containers, paper receipts, and canned food. Although the effects of BPA are well understood, BPS remains poorly studied. However, because of the related chemical structures of BPS and BPA, it is suspected that BPS will act similarly to BPA. The mammary gland has been shown to be sensitive to both BPA and BPS. Prior studies revealed that mice exposed to BPA during early development manifest lactation deficits in adulthood. Therefore, we hypothesized that exposures to BPS during perinatal development would alter the function of the mammary gland during lactation. We evaluated the effects of BPS exposed female mouse mammary glands on lactation day (LD) 2 and LD21 using morphological tools, histopathology tools, and immunohistochemistry. Significant effects on morphology and histopathology were observed at LD2 and LD21. Ongoing evaluations of proliferation and expression of hormone receptors are likely to shed light on the mechanism by which BPS affects function of the lactating mammary gland.

808 Room 803 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Aastha Pokharel
Laura Vandenberg (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, UMass Amherst

Effects of Early Life BPS Exposures on Lactation in Female Mice

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are chemicals that interfere with the function of the endocrine system. Some including Bisphenol- A (BPA) and Bisphenol-S (BPS), which are found in consumer products, mimic the actions of estrogen. Exposures to EDCs at vulnerable periods of life, such as during prenatal development or during puberty, can affect how organs such as the mammary gland function in later life.  Previous studies of several EDCs, including BPA, suggest that exposures during prenatal development can influence the production of milk in adulthood. The goal of this study was to examine the effects of developmental BPS exposure on milk production and composition in adult female mice. We hypothesized that early life exposures to BPS will impact the morphology and differentiation of the lactating mammary gland and disrupt the production of high- quality milk. Mammary glands were collected from perinatally exposed mice at lactational day 2 and analyzed with qRT-PCR. We are specifically focusing on expression of milk protein genes. Completion of this project will shed light on how exposures to xenoestrogens during a vulnerable developmental period can impact the milk quality produced in adulthood. Because breastfeeding is an important factor in the health of an infant, understanding how environmental chemicals interfere with breastfeeding could provide important opportunities for interventions that could have positive impacts on infant mortality and other childhood infections and diseases.

822 Room 801 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Dany Chhan
Helena Peterson
Brittany Nicole Rosen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Mental Health within the Refugee Population in the United States 

In the 2016 fiscal year, the United States admitted 84,995 refugees coming from all different parts of the world. Refugees are people that have been forced to flee from their countries due to the threat of persecution, war, or violence. Various studies have shown that 10-40% and 5-15% of refugees experience post-traumatic stress and major depression, respectively. Children and adolescents have higher rates ranging from 50-90% of PTSD, and major depression from 6-40%. The objectives of this study are to examine the factors that contribute to the prevalence of mental health within the refugee population and discuss preventive measures and mitigation strategies that exist in recent literatures. The University of Massachusetts Amherst Library database will be utilized to perform this literature review. Recent literatures indicate that pre-migration trauma such as war, violence and/or family separation predispose refugees to mental illness and further worsen by post-migration stressors such as lack of social roles, poverty, unemployment, etc. There needs to be a more holistic approach that includes social, economic and cultural considerations to addressing mental health issues among the refugee population in the US.

823 Room 801 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Stephanie M. Higgins
Sam Usifer
Brittany Nicole Rosen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Impacts of Inadequate Access to Mental Healthcare in Rural Areas

According to the Rural Health Information Hub, 18.7% of residents in non-metropolitan areas struggle with a mental health condition. Rural residents experience many barriers, such as socioeconomic status and access to transportation, that limit their ability to obtain the health care they need. Mental healthcare facilities themselves are sparsely located and scarcely available for at-risk populations. This leads to individuals having to travel for hours or across state lines to access services. People of low socioeconomic status are at increased risk of poor mental health outcomes because of factors such as unemployment, food insecurity, and homelessness. When mental healthcare is not accessible, individuals experience poor health outcomes such as stress, loss of social support and premature death. Rural areas also experience higher rates of suicide. Loss of social support can include loss of familial support and isolation within the community. Protective factors against mental illness in rural communities are high socioeconomic status, positive peer role models and supportive community relationships. Using databases such as the Rural Health Information Hub, PubMed and PsycInfo, this paper will review peer-edited journal articles to address this issue. Potential search terms include rural, United States, mental health, healthcare access, socioeconomic status, depression and stress impact. With this information, causes of these disparities can be identified and used for potential future public health interventions. These findings will allow the field of public health to better direct essential, efficient and targeted mental health services to rural populations.

824 Room 801 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Dorcas N. Mwathi
David Clark
Penelope Pekow (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst
Improving Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Haitian Refugee Communities in Florida

Refugee populations are at a higher risk of developing mental health illnesses such as major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Rates of PTSD are up to 10 times higher among refugees in the US than in the general population because of past traumas, forced relocation, discrimination, social exclusion and lack of opportunities in the country of resettlement. Since 1980, the US has admitted more than 2 million refugees. In 2015, the estimated number of Haitian immigrants and refugees in the US was 676,000. Refugees can find access to mental healthcare hampered by physical, language, and cultural barriers. The current administration’s new policy to terminate temporary protected status of Haitian refugees living in the US by July 2, 2019 could also exacerbate mental health issues. The primary objective of this study is to evaluate rates of depression and PTSD among Haitian refugees living in Florida and give recommendations to improve health outcomes using peer-reviewed journals from the University of Massachusetts library database, relevant research programs, and state and federal census data. We intend to look at evidence supported policies being implemented in other refugee communities that can be applied to limit the effects of these barriers on the Haitian refugee population. In order to address the heightened risk of depression and PTSD in Haitian immigrant communities, the United States healthcare system must be developed in specific areas targeting issues that may be preventing efficient care.

825 Room 809 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Brandi Leah Schoenthaler
Lisa Wexler (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Youth Leaders Curriculum for Suicide Prevention

The Youth Leaders Program increase protective factors including school engagement, feelings of competence, a sense of cultural identity, and self-efficacy. Likewise, this program aims to reduce negative health outcomes associated with substance abuse, relationship violence, and bullying. According to previous research, suicide is attributed to more than one cause, therefore, prevention strategies targeting multiple risk factors are more likely to be successful (Wexler et al., 2016). By focusing on wellness promotion rather than primarily offering training for suicide intervention alone, more Alaskan youth suicide could be prevented.

Databases such as PubMed and Google Scholar were used to find the peer-reviewed articles and studies for this research. The search words and phrases used include “bullying prevention,” “youth leaders,” “healthy relationships,” “substance abuse prevention in schools,” “youth development,” “student leadership,” “youth development in schools,” “suicide prevention,” and “suicide prevention in schools” and “peer mentoring programs,” looking for specific cases where the intervention had been successful. Once a broad spectrum of topics and curriculum ideas were identified, school leaders in Bering Strait, Alaska were consulted. These leaders and school counselors decided which areas require the most focus and which interventions will likely be the most successful in their school district. The curriculum will be developed for bullying prevention, substance abuse prevention, suicide prevention, healthy relationships, and youth development. The project will include several lessons for each topic that will be developed specifically with Alaska Natives/ American Indian populations in mind.  Additionally, we will create a facilitators guide. The presentation will provide an overview of this curriculum, and will describe one module in depth to give the audience insights into this youth-facilitated curriculum developed in collaboration with school districts in rural Alaska.

826 Room 917 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Marissa Kathleen Cassidy
Catalina Maria Arredondo
Brittany Nicole Rosen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Maternal Mortality in Sierra Leone and Potential Avenues of Improvement

Sierra Leone is home to the highest maternal mortality ratio in the world.  Most recent estimates show that for every 100,000 live births in the country, around 1,360 women die as a direct result.  The most common causes of maternal death are bleeding, pregnancy-induced hypertension, infection, unsafe abortions, and cases of anemia and malaria while pregnant.  The underlying factors that result in this significantly elevated risk of maternal death in Sierra Leone are linked to a severe lag in quantity, and most importantly the quality, of health facilities and services offered in the country.  Expectant mothers’ ability to access this care is also of paramount importance, with many women citing distance and unaffordability as deterrents in seeking and receiving care.  Maternal death is highly preventable, so long as qualified and skilled staff are available to assist mothers from antenatal through postnatal care.  The purpose of this research project is to explore existing literature regarding maternal mortality in Sierra Leone, and formulate recommendations of the most effective avenues in decreasing these figures.  These recommendations will be focused on increasing access to comprehensive, quality health care services for pregnant women in Sierra Leone that are affordable for all.  For this literature review we will utilize reputable databases such as PubMed Web of Science, and the WHO, potential search terms including “maternal mortality,” “Sierra Leone,” “healthcare access,” “health inequities,” and “prevention.”  This research will analyze the most accurate, up-to-date figures regarding maternal mortality in Sierra in order to formulate effective recommendations to alleviate the problem.

827 Room 917 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Staci Petros Christopoulos
Abigail Booth McCaffrey
Penelope Pekow (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst
Programs to Reduce Infant Mortality in Rural Mississippi

Infant mortality is defined by the Center for Disease Control as the death of an infant before his or her first birthday. According to the CDC, in 2015 the infant mortality rate in the United States was 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to Sweden, which was 2.5 in 2010. Within the United States, however, infant mortality rate is highly variable between and within states. According to the CDC, in 2016 the infant mortality rate in Massachusetts is 3.9 and in Mississippi it is 8.6 per 1,000 live births. Mothers in these rural areas have a higher prevalence of risk factors that lead to infant mortality such as maternal age, obesity, physical inactivity, excessive drinking, and teen births.  In low income and rural areas, access to proper health care may be limited. The lack of primary care can affect the mother’s education on proper prenatal care, and can lead to complications. Throughout the paper we will look further into access to health care, average education levels of mothers, single parenthood, and lifestyle factors that ultimately prove why SES plays such a major role in infant mortality. The goal of this paper is to research effective programs that currently exist and see how we can implement similar programs among mothers with low socioeconomic status in these communities, in hopes to reduce their risk for infant mortality.

828 Room 917 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Amy Hong-Duyen Bui
Jacquelyn Emily Cleary
Brittany Nicole Rosen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
The Effect of Opioids on Addiction in Massachusetts

In recent years, there has been a drastic increase in the number of Massachusetts residents who have become addicted to opioids. Thus, this poster will focus on the relationship between socioeconomic status and access to healthcare which can affect one’s likelihood of suffering from opioid addiction. This epidemic affects a wide array of people and populations from lower income to higher income. People are not fully aware of how addicting this prescribed medication can be and can suffer negative consequences as a result. Research has found that eight in 12 people within Massachusetts who have died from opioids were prescribed by a physician. Prescriber education plays a significant role in decreasing the prevalence of opioid dependence amongst Massachusetts residents. Additionally, it is important to examine where people are receiving their first dosage of painkillers, then keep in contact with people throughout their prescription journey. Thus, prescription-monitoring programs have had major success in helping to decrease the number of people who become in opioid dependence. More research is needed to support whether preventive strategies are more effective than allopathic treatment. Policy changes will be proposed to address the health disparities associated with opioid addiction.

846 Room 803 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Srinihaari Josyula
Rick Pilsner (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, UMass Amherst
Associations between DNA Methylation and Mitochondrial Copy Number in Sperm

Srinihaari Josyula1, Alexandra Olmsted1, Haotian Wu1, Cynthia Sites2, Rahil Tayyab2, J. Richard Pilsner1

1University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Environmental Health Sciences

2Baystate Medical Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

In the United States, up to 15% of couples are infertile and in approximately 40% of those couples, the male is either the sole or a contributing cause. The role of the mitochondrial copy number is increasingly recognized as a potential marker of oxidative stress. Epidemiological evidence suggests that during spermatogenesis, the mitochondrial DNA content is increased in infertile men. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene function that do not involve changes in the DNA sequence and one of the most common forms of controlling gene expression is methylation, which represses gene transcription. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between sperm mitochondrial copy number and DNA methylation. Sperm samples (N = 48) were collected from males going through ART at Baystate Medical Center as a part of the SEEDS cohort. Genomic sperm DNA was bisfulfite converted and employed on the 450 K Array, which provides genome-wide coverage of 485,577 methylation sites. A multiplex PCR approach with three targets was used to obtain mitochondrial copy number. We identified co-regulated regions by generating clusters of CpG sites and then identified differentially methylated regions from clusters associated with mitochondrial copy number. Our analyses showed that mitochondrial copy number was associated with 929 individual CpG sites and 301 differentially methylated regions. We also observed that 72.1% of the CpG sites showed an increase in methylation with mitochondrial copy number. Ontology analyses showed that these associated CpGs were located in genes involved in growth, development, as well as cell function and maintenance. In sum, our results provide evidence that sperm mitochondria copy number is epigenetically regulated. Such knowledge may offer opportunities for targeted therapies to reduce male factor infertility. 


861 Room 162 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Margaret Catherine Moffett
Dean E. Robinson (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
Assessing the Gaps in the Dental Safety Net: A Comprehensive Look at the Socioeconomic Disparities in Preventative Dental Care

Lack of access to preventative dental care leads to a higher risk of infectious diseases such as caries, gum disease, or greater infection. Since lower socioeconomic status is associated with reduced access to healthcare in general, this thesis looks at the defining relationship between the lack of insurance or personal coverage, and reduced access to preventative dental care. Analyzing data of United States dental care across the states, there are multiple public policies that inadequately support the needs of those of low socioeconomic status. This thesis examines the relationship between various insurance coverages and the frequency of dental problems, and thereby allows for discussion on the correlation between access to preventative dental care and reduced presence of greater dental issues. Lastly, this thesis offers practical solutions to improve the gaps in the dental safety net so that all Americans have access to a full range of dental care services.


862 Hadley Room 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Nicole Marie Nadeau
Ellen Correa (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Civic Engagement & Service-Learning, UMass Amherst
Exploring Three Policy Approaches for Cochlear Implantation for Congenital Hearing Loss/Deafness

The American Medical Association has no mandatory protocol regarding the implantation of cochlear implants in children with congenital severe to profound hearing loss/deafness.  The controversy regarding the medical procedure for children born with hearing loss/deafness begins with the difference between Deaf and deaf. Although the words seem to be same, the difference between the capital and lowercase “d”s indicate an important distinction. Deaf, with a capital “D”, indicates people who connect with the Deaf community, communicate with sign language and closely identify with Deaf culture. Deaf, with a lowercase “d”, are people with hearing loss who opt for ways to communicate through aural habilitation and hearing devices. Since there is no required protocol, when a child is born with hearing loss/deafness, the parents make the decision of whether or not to implant/use assistive devices. This presentation will analyze three public policy options proposing different ways to support a child born with hearing loss/deafness. Each policy alternative will explore the pros and cons from a medical standpoint and from a humanistic/social justice approach addressing the perspective of the Deaf community. Language learning, between verbal language and visual language, will be the main criteria for each policy argument. The alternatives include allowing parents to make the decision for the child; giving the child a choice of implantation at a certain age; and making implantation mandatory within the first two years for children who qualify for cochlear implants.

863 Room 168 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Cole Edward Garvey
Itai Sher (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
Applying Conceptions of Equality to Mortality Risk Reduction Policymaking

In the realm of public policy, there is perhaps no question more contentious and fraught with loaded ethical and moral questions than the one asking how government should value human life. Yet in a world with limited resources and unlimited problems, life must indeed be valued somehow. The current method, value of a statistical life (VSL), measures people’s willingness-to-pay (WTP) for gradual reductions in risk of mortality in different areas of risk. VSL estimates vary according to differences in WTP among different populations separated by demographic characteristics such as income, age, and occupation, raising questions on the ethics of valuing human lives at different prices. Exploring some of the most salient identifiable concerns stemming from these disparities, and then considering them in the context of established philosophical conceptions of equality and fairness, this paper argues that there is, in fact, inadequate distributive justice existing in the methodology of VSL as currently practiced by policymakers. The questions posed and issues discussed in this paper fundamentally speak to how we, as a society, allocate public resources, and how we define equality.

864 Room 168 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Hailey Rose O'Brien
Robert I. Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Urban Planning in a University City

Fitchburg State University has grown tremendously over the years since opening as the State Normal School in Fitchburg in 1894. As the school has evolved from a teacher school to a four year University, so have their policies and plans regarding urban planning. Both the City of Fitchburg and Fitchburg State University have different goals in mind, but how do they collaborate to better benefit the community? I am taking an in depth view to see how the progression of the school has affected the city’s urban planning in the past, how the current plans in action are playing out, and what the future projections are and how it may change the city’s future; alongside the University. 

More importantly, my research is looking into how a growing University has affected an old historic, industrial city and where the future will lie. Specifically, how the newly inducted President, Richard Lapidus, has been trying to expand the University into the city. He has begun to do so recently by purchasing the Theatre Block on Main Street in Fitchburg and is in the process of being redesigned into a game design space and entrepreneurship area above a newly renovated Theatre. I have extensively researched by conducting thoughtful interviews with the Mayor of Fitchburg, Stephen DiNatale, as well as his Chief of Staff, AJ Tourigney. I have compared my discussions between the city staff with Vice President of Finance and Administration at Fitchburg State University, Jay Bry. By interviewing these individuals, I have been able to delve deep into the urban planning process in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. 

865 Room 162 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Emma Grace Hibbard
Laura Reed (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
Forging Ahead in Puerto Rico: A Case Study in New Electric Grid Implementations for a Resilient System in the Face of Climate Change

In the past year Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, plunging the island into darkness and revealing the vulnerabilities of the island and the people. As a small island nation, sensitivities of Puerto Rico to climate change effects include sea level rise, varying temperatures and extreme weather events. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, the electric supply was especially hard hit due to an outdated grid, an in-debt utility company, slow-moving repairs and inadequate resources. Moving forward, Puerto Rico faces the challenge of restructuring the electric system in a way that embraces renewable and resilient energy sources, as well as improving the island’s economy. This thesis analyzes current proposals to privatize the island's bankrupt power utility (PREPO) and alternative proposals that call for expanded renewable energy and funding sources that would make a new, reliable electric system possible for the vulnerable island of Puerto Rico. In light of this analysis, this study calls for increased aid to support the initial costs of shifting the electric grid to renewable energy. The case study of Puerto Rico and its efforts to develop an effective and resilient system provide a promising framework for vulnerable countries that need to increase renewable sources and other innovations in the electric sector.


866 Room 162 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Kavita V. Shah
Laura Reed (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
The Dental Disparity: Lack of Dental Providers and Analysis of Potential Legislation in the Bay State

The United States has been admired as one of the wealthiest nations, yet one situation that has recently risen to prominence is the accessibility and affordability of dental care to all across the nation. As a result of this issue, a state in particular that wants to actively fix this issue is Massachusetts. Massachusetts in currently in the process of approving a legislation for the emergence of mid-level dental providers. However, currently, there are two mock versions of the legislation under debate. Through an analysis of the current dental care distribution, both legislation will be analyzed and recommendations for the future of this new field will be offered. More specifically, the analysis will show that there are heavier issues at the core of this problem rather than a lack of dental providers.

This paper aims to provide background on the economic state of the United States along with the current dental care and health care system. It also plans to analyze the legislation that are currently being proposed and offer recommendations for the future of this bill and the future of this field. The paper utilizes interviews and research from a variety of databases to analyze this timely and controversial issue.

867 Room 168 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Nikhila Nandgopal
Scott McCullough
Charles Michael Schweik (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Conservation, UMass Amherst
World Librarians: Education Outreach to the Developing World

Over 4 billion people do not have any access to the internet. Numerous organizations emphasize the role of the internet in providing information that can improve economic development and entrepreneurship in an economy. However, governments are faced with high costs and a lack of infrastructure when attempting to provide internet access to their residents. Companies are testing potential solutions using Wi-Fi emitting balloons and solar powered drones, but these solutions are in extremely early stages. While we wait for the future of the internet, the World Economic Forum predicts that 45% of the globe still lacks access to advanced information available through the internet.

This presentation demonstrates a work-flow designed to improve educational resources into areas of the world that lack internet access, as well as offers the opportunity to utilize technology implemented in Malawi through an interactive workshop. The World Librarians bridges the digital divide by providing open access information through a process titled Commons-based Peer Production. Peer Production means that people from a variety of organizations can participate in our project. World Librarians partnered with “ShiftIT”, a Malawi based non-profit and “World Possible”, a global non-profit, to develop a work-flow based on a “Requester”, “Courier”, and “Searcher” model, which allows institutions with internet to share content with those that do not via an entity in the Requester’s region. World Librarians believes that the sharing of educational resources through a democratic demand-based information sharing system is the solution to the digital divide. 




868 Hadley Room 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Jill Lehmann
Kevin M. McCarthy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communications Media, Fitchburg State University
Developing a Feature-Length Screenplay

In my presentation, I plan to explain how to develop a feature length screenplay. I will focus specifically on my own current process for writing a dramatic feature length screenplay, and explain what influences I had when coming up with the idea. My presentation will include references to texts that I have read in order to help me during the process, and an explanation of why I focused so heavily on character descriptions and character development. The presentation will be aided by the use of a PowerPoint slideshow. 


869 Room 903 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Melissa Leigh Myers
Timothy Lang (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Language Politics in the Moroccan Educational System

Following French colonization and the subsequent post-independence nationalist movement, the Moroccan educational system has struggled to reconcile educational curriculum in French and Arabic. During the Protectorate years, the colonial administration began to install French teachers and curriculum into public schools; however, during the post-independence nationalist wave, the government came under pressure to re-introduce Standard Arabic in schools. Today, in public schools, students begin by taking classes in Arabic and learning French as a second language, but in higher education, many subjects are taught entirely in French with little or no instruction in Arabic.

This thesis investigates academic outcomes, such as graduation and literacy rates, as well as professional outcomes for graduates entering the workforce. It uses a combination of original research and synthesis of literature to explore educational outcomes for Moroccan students; the original research is comprised of in-depth interviews with Moroccan students and educators about their experiences with public and private schools.

The thesis concludes that the implementation of Arabization language policy in the Moroccan education system has led to negative learning outcomes for students and decreased career opportunities. Both students and teachers find that students struggle with language acquisition, language differences in academic subjects, and the transition from Modern Standard Arabic in primary and secondary education to French in higher education. However, with the introduction of several policy changes, namely early and thorough bilingual education with high-quality instructors, Morocco has a bright future in terms of language in education.

870 Room 163 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Meir Yishai Barth
Stephen Olbrys Gencarella (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
A Call for the Formation of a Coherent Theory of Ability

The future progress of our global society depends upon our capacity to leverage human ability potential -- so that the maximum number of people develop and utilize their abilities to the greatest extent possible.  Yet, no academic field exists that examines this critical challenge from an interdisciplinary perspective.  This paper explores and advocates the inauguration of a new line of theoretical inquiry and discourse called “Ability Theory.”  Drawing from scholarship in fields as diverse as economics, philosophy, sociology, semiotics, rehabilitation psychology, disability studies, occupational therapy, developmental/cognitive psychology, business, and education, this study explores the various contradictions between different ability paradigms present across disciplines.  Further, it provides material evidence of, and clearly defines, the gaps these contradictions create.  It then examines the synthesis that can be achieved when these paradigms and conflicts are understood through a more integrated lens. This analysis explores various needs, both discursive and material, left unanswered by these theoretical gaps and speculatively describes the various anticipated benefits to society that would result from the development of this new conceptual approach towards ability. Particularly as new pedagogical and activist praxes are developed, proliferated, and implemented, this paper explores the potential to facilitate the direct application of the results of this theoretical work for as many people as possible. Finally, the paper lays out some early tenets designed to provide a foundation for future theoretical development and attempts to outline some fruitful trajectories along which that development might occur. 

871 Room 163 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Douglas Martin Hornstein
Deepankar Basu (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
Capitalist Development and Capital-Labor Relations: A Critique of Social Structure of Accumulation Theory

This paper advances a historical account of the specificity and transformation of capital-labor relations in the United States. It outlines one prominent Marxian theoretical approach, the “social structure of accumulation” (SSA) school, and argues that this approach is limited to describing the phenomena it seeks to explain, due to empiricist methodology. This limitation manifests in the framework’s identification of institutions (direct forms through which the indirect process of capital accumulation is organized) as the driving force in the process of capitalist development. As a result, the SSA approach is unable to explain the relation of national and global dynamics in the capitalist economy, the relation of the political and economic forms of capitalist society, and the processes which differentiate the working class. An alternative theoretical approach is put forward on the basis of two essential insights from the Marxian critique of political economy.  First, institutions are to be understood as forms of realization, and not determining factors, of the general indirect social relation of capital. Second, the dynamic of capital is essentially global, and national only in form. On this basis, an alternative historical analysis of capital-labor relations in the US is developed, which explains the changing institutional frameworks of capital accumulation as mediating forms of the production of relative surplus value on a global scale, the process in which capital achieves its historical potency.

872 Room 163 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Catherine (CD) Lefebvre
Fred Rose (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Policy, UMass Amherst

Changing Communities One Worm Box at a Time

This paper will examine the impact of  alternative trash reduction through Vermiculture composting. The goal is to assess whether or not alternative trash reducing methods along with recycling can have a positive impact on trash volume. This research evaluates how local policies around waste influence, or detract from alternative practices of trash management. This paper considers what impact Worms could have on communities if given access to food scraps and common scrap paper at community recycling centers.

Secondly, this paper considers alternatives to traditional methods of trash disposal through organic means such as food waste composting. Particularly relevant to this research is the use of worms to act as anaerobic composters of organic scraps. This paper considers what impact Worms could have on communities if given access to community recycling centers of food scraps and common scrap paper.

Finally, this paper hopes to establish a possible alternative method that can be introduced to any urban community, where multiple families and neighbors contribute and collect their daily food scraps for worm composting.  In addition to evaluating the benefit of this alternative waste management system, this research considers the side benefits of worm composting as a source of rich soil amendments through its liquid bi product sometimes called worm tea. This research will also evaluate the educational potential to transform neighborhood-levels understanding and implementation of small sustainable practices like composting to reduce carbon. 


873 Room 809 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Mary Korantema Thulare
Thomas E. Conroy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Urban Studies, Worcester State University
Juvenile Delinquency

Serious delinquency (minor crime, especially that committed by young people) is a major problem in American society. Past research indicates that many variables correlate with delinquency and that many Adverse Childhood Experiences tend to increase the risk of later delinquent behavior. Among these risk factors are birth trauma, child abuse and neglect, ineffective parental discipline, family disruptions, conduct disorder and hyperactivity in children, school failure, learning disabilities, negative peer influences, limited employment opportunities, inadequate housing, and residence in high-crime neighborhoods. This research paper explores the causes and prevention of Juvenile Delinquency. With that, i will like to indicate how schools deal with Juvenile Delinquents, the role society partake in preventing Juvenile delinquency, how does an adolescent get back to normal life after serving their time and how does the society help them not to get back into juvenile detention.

874 Room 917 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Jacquelyn Barri Saunders
Rebecca G. Mirick (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Social Work, Salem State University
The Path to 2030: Targeting Women and Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa to End the HIV/AIDS Epidemic 

HIV/AIDS remains a significant problem in sub-Saharan Africa, even though international efforts have been working in the region for the last fifteen years. This presentation examines HIV/AIDS data from four international health organization, the ONE Campaign, PEPFAR, the WHO, and the UN. Findings suggest UN’s Fast Track goals will not be met by 2020, which will jeopardize eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030, unless changes to programing are made. First, women and girls who are HIV positive in the sub-Saharan Africa should follow the WHO’s Treat All Approach to prevent HIV transmission and those who are HIV negative should be placed on pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent infection. Second, pregnant women should follow the WHO’s Treat All Approach in order to prevent mother to child transmission. Third, non-medical interventions such as reducing gender based violence and increasing access to education should be increased. Fourth, men’s health should be changed to help reach the Fast Track goals. These changes would include discrete testing services for men to encourage them to know their HIV status and get treated and an increase in voluntary make circumcisions to reduce infection rates. Funding is a major barrier to these recommendations. In order to close the funding gap, the US must keep its funding at current levels and G7 countries and middle and low income nations must increase their funding levels. 


877 Room 168 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Victoria Berry
Lisa Maya Knauer (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, UMass Dartmouth
Water Crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Issue of Environmental Justice

For many years, the people of sub-Saharan Africa have suffered as a result of insufficient water sources. This is due to physical and economic water scarcity. Though the water crisis affects everyone, there is a severe impact on women. Each day, women of sub-Saharan Africa are burdened by responsibilities related to water collection and provision for their households and community. The added role limits the social mobility and physical well-being of women. This issue needs to be viewed as a matter of environmental justice for substantial change to take place. When seen as an issue of environmental justice, the burden women bear can be observed at the individual, household, and community level. This paper draws on previous research and case studies to identify areas where women are disproportionately burdened by the water crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. Topics in this paper include health risks, impact on women as individuals and community members, benefits improved water sources would have on children, and how meaningful inclusion of women would positively influence the current problems. This paper also discusses what is meant by “improved” water sources and what these improvements result in practically. This paper offers that non-governmental, and governmental organizations should focus relief efforts on women as they are the most severely oppressed by the water crisis. As women benefit from these improvements, the community as a whole would benefit. Access to reliable and sustainable water sources would reduce health risks and complications that result from the current water crisis.

907 Room 162 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Jose Alexis Santiago
LaTasha K. Sarpy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sociology, Bunker Hill Community College

One Day You’re In and the Next Day You’re Out: Observing Group Dynamics in the Classroom as a Microcosm of Everyday Interactions

The present study used a classroom activity, based on the premise of the 2015 feature film "Circles", held in two different sections of Principles of Sociology as an opportunity to observe if in-class group dynamics could represent a microcosm of everyday interactions, in which groups constantly judge individuals as either being a part of their “in-group” or a member of their “out-group.” The initial hypothesis offered was that salient characteristics such as race, gender, and sexual orientation would play a key role in this decision making of who is in and who is out. However, the methodology used was grounded-theory approach in order to allow the data to inform the final conclusion. Data collection included semester long observations, group voting data, informal interviews, and a final exit survey of those voted out of the “in-group” at the end of the semester. After an exhaustive review of the data, the researchers found that salient characteristics such as race and gender did not in fact play a role in the students’ decision making. Rather, students’ voted for those who violated the informal norms and mores of the group by not succumbing to conformity expected by “in-group” members. Therefore, the researchers concluded that these in-class interactions do reflect larger social forces experienced by individuals in everyday life.

915 Room 162 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Jahaira Michaela Camer
Kari L. Dupuis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Human Services and Honors, Berkshire Community College
No 'Werk' without Pay: How Reality TV Stars are Pillaging House/Ballroom Culture

     Tamar Braxton, Kenya Moore and Nene Leakes are three of TV’s most notorious reality stars. Their razor-sharp wit and trendsetting catchphrases (“Shade” “You tried it” “Miss Thing”) have set social media ablaze and redefined the way that American society communicates with one another. But the birthplace of many of those catchphrases lies in House/Ballroom culture; the LGBT Black and Brown competition series and alternate familial structure that inspired Madonna’s hit song “Vogue.” 
     This presentation aims to highlight cultural appropriation at the intersection of gender, class, and what the author has deemed “palatability politics.” Utilizing participant observation, the goal is to identify the terminology founded in ballroom culture and subsequently track its’ success when presented through the lens of cisgender, heterosexual women who seek to make their mark on the cultural zeitgeist. A longtime participant who has attained superior social standing within the hierarchy of ballroom, the presenter seeks to illuminate those terms that were birthed from poor. Black and Brown, trans* and queer young people on the ballroom runway. Additionally, the presenter will respond to how ballroom terms have served to enhance the fame and social standing of cishet Black women on television who co-opt those witticisms from their stylists, YouTube, etc. From the Real Housewives to RuPaul, the "Tweetable" words of today have an origin and a journey. Those who would attend this lecture will learn where that journey began.

916 Room 808 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Janet Novack
Alex Briesacher (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sociology, Worcester State University
Implications of Participation in Policy Debate

The goal of this research is to explore the relationship of identity salience (Serpe 1986) and activism in policy debate. Policy debate is an academic form of debate that is research intensive and highly intellectual in terms of international relations, public policy, philosophy, and much more. Students who participate in this form of debate are trained to engage in higher order thinking and develop critical argumentation and thinking skills through this fast-paced and highly intellectual form of debate. This research analyzes not only the relationship between being a debater and becoming an activist, but also investigates the implications of participation in policy debate.

917 Room 808 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Peter Joesph Peloquin
Thomas E. Conroy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Urban Studies, Worcester State University

Welcome to Worcester?: Inclusion and Exclusion in the Public Spaces of New England’s Second-Largest City

Worcester’s public spaces are made for public use, but in some cases parts of the public are excluded from these spaces. This exclusion can happen by design, location, accessibility, or policy. Worcester, Massachusetts, along with many cities around the world, has come up with ways to include and exclude parts of its population. This paper will show where and how Worcester has created spaces that are inclusive and exclusive in three ways. Decisions made to accommodate the population's lifestyle needs in public spaces. Decisions made for accessibility in the city’s public spaces. Decisions made for citizen participation in the public process. Public spaces that will be taken into consideration include the Worcester Common, Elm Park, Crompton Park, and Worcester’s Public Policy. A better understanding of what is a public space, how "public" is the space, and how Worcester can be proactive in including more of the city’s population into those spaces.

918 Room 911 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Mendrick O. Banzuela
Francisco Vivoni (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sociology, Worcester State University
Struggles of Urban Exclusion: The Backbone of Industrial Worcester

With the rise of recent xenophobia, ethnic groups are exploited through exclusion. This paper discusses “the stranger” as ethnic groups throughout industrialized Worcester history and observes them through conflict theory and structural functionalism. This combination creates the “Yin-Yang theory”, which supports the importance of diversity seen in Worcester’s inclusive efforts as a leading example for other communities.

919 Room 911 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Ashley Dziejma
Francisco Vivoni (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sociology, Worcester State University

The Production of Queer Spaces as Social Movements: A Study in Gay Nightlife in Worcester

LGBTQ+ rights movements, actions, and trends in the United States in the 20th century have been strongly influenced by the social and political use of space. In this paper, space is studied through a Marxist lens where space is a product of social forces and serves as a tool of thought and action. The spaces examined tend to be public-private spaces as sites of contestation, struggle, transformation, liberation, and cooptation. Through a critical analysis of queer texts coupled with participant observations of gay nightlife in Worcester, this paper chronicles the importance of queer spaces, gay and lesbian bars, challenges to those spaces, and the internet as a platform of queer space. There is strong consensus that queer spaces are vital to safety and resistance. This paper contributes to past historical LGBTQ+ analysis by including the factor of the changing queer environment, considering new sites for queer spaces, and examining how queer people create spaces for freedom and expression.

920 Room 911 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Frankie D. Franco
Francisco Vivoni (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sociology, Worcester State University

"Trumpets of Eviction": Puerto Rican Poverty and Great Brook Valley in Worcester, Massachusetts

Puerto Ricans make up a majority of Great Brook Valley tenants. This paper will explore Puerto Ricans’ impoverished status in Worcester, the need for housing assistance, and the dangers of leaving or being evicted from an established Puerto Rican community. Great Brook Valley was constructed in the 1950’s to provide temporary housing for returning World War II veterans. A shift happened after an emerging Hispanic population in the 1970’s made Great Brook Valley their home. The social inequalities Puerto Ricans have endured in Worcester, Ma has created a dependence on the income-based rent provided. In 2011 Worcester Housing Authority (WHA) launched A Better Life Program, which mandates WHA tenants, under state subsidized family public housing, be forced to either work, go to school, or commit to 30 hours of community service per week. This paper will answer if the State and WHA should force people out if the systems already in place, which lead to the dependence on Public Housing, are not sustainable for Puerto Ricans to thrive.   

921 Room 911 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Colin Thomas Houle
Francisco Vivoni (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sociology, Worcester State University
Global Forces and Local Socioeconomic Impacts: Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Worcester, Massachusetts

The purpose of this research project will be to analyze and assess the socio-economic influences of immigrants focusing primarily on their roles in urban environments within the US. Using the city of Worcester, MA as a population sample we will be collecting and analyzing qualitative data through structured interviews with local immigrant entrepreneurs. Interviews will be recorded, transcribed and archived with the Urban Studies department for ongoing research. At a time where the political climate is hostile towards immigrants it is important to take an objective look at how exactly these immigrants are impacting the city. Part of doing this research includes training through the CITI Program where student researchers become certified to research vulnerable individuals to ensure safety of the volunteers.  

In Worcester 21 percent of the population are immigrants and 37 percent of local business is immigrant owned. From food service to information technology immigrant entrepreneurs in Worcester display great diversity and innovations. Not only do these individuals create revenue for the local economy through business but many of them are putting their children through local colleges. While considering the socio-economic impacts of our immigrant neighbors and the role they play in the city it will also be a goal of this research to highlight areas of strain within the community. By identifying common points of hardship among the immigrant business population we hope to provide potential mitigation through suggesting improvements with public policy.


922 Room 174 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Joshuea Chinedu Ogbuike
Emily M. Must (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sport Management, UMass Amherst
The Reboot of A League of Their Own

     The purpose of this case study is to determine the feasibility of establishing a women’s professional baseball league in North America within the next ten years. Thorough research has uncovered several common issues that have plagued both current leagues and defunct leagues: (1) Lack of sufficient sponsorship agreements, (2) lack of affiliation with profitable men’s professional clubs and (3) the role of women sports in US society, have all hampered growth of professional women’s leagues in the United States. The basic design of this study was interpretive; the researcher gathered information on all sports leagues around the world to find common themes and issues that occur across leagues. Key themes include:(1) leagues do not establish a proper idea of what operation costs are, (2) leagues do not identify and target appropriate sponsors, partners, investors, and television and media deals, and (3) they are founded on the back of Olympic success but lack foresight for creating a sustainable competition in the US Market. For a women’s professional baseball league to survive it will have to control and minimize costs, accumulate media rights deals, sponsors and investors early and often, establish a partnership and affiliation with baseball leagues and women’s baseball leagues overseas. Most importantly, the league must make a concerted effort to change the perception about women as baseball players and professional athletes.

923 Room 909 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Marco Sanabria
Daveth Duong Cheth
Chantel Fernandes
Xhuliano Pavllo Zyli
Anthony D'Amico (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Exercise Science, Salem State University
The Acute Effects of Exercising with Increased Breathing Resistance

PURPOSE: To assess the acute physiological, perceptual and performance implications of exercising with a commercially available training mask that increases breathing resistance. METHOD: This study will take place in the Human Performance Laboratory in the Department of Sport and Movement Science at Salem State University. Thirty healthy male participants between the ages of 18 and 35 years old will take part. Participants will complete four different cycling tests including: a VO2max test with normal breathing resistance i.e. no mask; a VO2max test wearing a mask that increases breathing resistance; a self-paced 5-km time-trial (TT) with normal breathing resistance i.e. no mask; and a TT wearing a mask that increases breathing resistance. DATA ANALYSIS: The normality of the data will be assessed using the Kolmogorov-Smirnoff test. The acute influence of increased breathing resistance on VO2max and TT performance will be determined by comparing VO2max and TT scores with and without breathing resistance using a paired T-test. The alpha level will be set at 0.05. HYPOTHESES: Performance on a VO2max test and TT will be negatively influenced when a commercially available mask that increases breathing resistance is worn, compared to when the same tests are performed with normal breathing resistance (alternative hypothesis).


949 Room 808 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Sabrina K. Victor
Priscilla M. Page (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Theater, UMass Amherst
An Examination of Black Acting Methods and African Ritualist Performance through a Theatrical Production

It is important for individuals of color to see themselves represented in entertainment, whether it be theater, film, or television. Research has found expressions of unequal power in media can be very damaging to viewers. George Gerbner coined the term “symbolic annihilation”, which points to the ways in which poor treatment can contribute to social dis-empowerment and in which symbolic absence can erase groups and individuals from public consciousness. Mainstream theater organizations have continuously struggled with including people of color in their narratives. In the 19th century, minstrelsy was a form of popular entertainment that did not allow black individuals to perform in visible mainstream channels. Black artists felt the need to combat the problematic images of black identity presented by white minstrel performers as primitive, unintelligent, and overly sensual. Through the use of black acting methods, my production of Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem, titled spell # 7: geechee jibara quik magic trance manual for technologically stressed third world people, will critique the practice of minstrelsy. Shange’s characters all struggle to examine and reconcile their identities, as an eclectic company of performers, who are all people of color. A choreopoem resists the rationality and empiricism of the well-made play, and the colonizer’s aesthetic. The characters reject the notion of symbolic annihilation, forcing the audience to recognize them. Developing multicultural theater methods can allow those who feel marginalized or unheard to create narratives of their own through movement and voice, and tackle the archaic stereotypes about black artists that still pervade society today.

950 Room 803 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Casey Linda Dubrowski
Leah Carol Nielsen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
The Dark Art of Marvel Netflix Series

This presentation, “The Dark Art of Marvel Netflix Series,” compares the title sequences of Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Daredevil, from the Netflix Marvel series. It examines the importance of these title sequences through theatrical elements of lighting and sound. These three shows possess fast-paced opening sequences that deviate from methods employed by other modern shows and films. I come to the conclusion that the title sequences present a gritty reality that separates the underlying dirty realism of the Netflix Marvel Universe series from the light-hearted, mass-produced commercial Marvel Universe films.


957 Room 801 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Julie Elizabeth McLaughlin
Cynthia Baldwin (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, UMass Amherst

Amplification of cDNA of Ovine γδ T lymphocyte WC1 Hybrid Co-receptor/Pattern Recognition Receptor Genes

Cells known as gamma delta T lymphocytes or T cells are a type of white blood cell that are important for protecting against infectious diseases including bacteria and viruses as well as parasites. Sheep and other ruminants such as goats and cattle as well as pigs have a large proportion of specialized receptors known as WC1 molecules on their γδ T cells. While we have defined these molecules and the gene family that codes for them in cattle, we know much less about them in sheep and do not have the full length sequences of their expressed genes nor do we know the number of genes in this multigenic array. We must rely on cDNA evidence to sequence these genes because there is currently no reference genome available for sheep that has this portion assembled. To do this, a PCR reaction is done with cDNA for the full length transcript and then subsequent observation on an agarose gel. The excised whole amplicon of adequate size of ~4400 nucleotides will be sent in for PacBio sequencing that has a high throughput and can sequence up to 60,000 bp from one DNA or cDNA molecule. Thus far, a single full length ovine WC1 expressed gene with a Type II intracytoplasmic tail and fourth partial full length WC1 genes have been sequenced from cDNA using high fidelity Sanger sequencing. Sequencing and assembling the repertoire of WC1 molecules will be useful for developing next generation vaccines that engage γδ T cells and reduce common diseases in livestock.

958 Room 801 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Yoonjin Moon
Jesse Mager (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Veterinary Science, UMass Amherst

Analysis of Embryo Orientation within the Uterine Lining

Placental mammals have a developed anterior/posterior (AP) axis prior to the early post-implantation stages. However, the precise timing and mechanism of axis formation and determination remains unknown. In the mouse, the anterior visceral endoderm (AVE), the first morphologically visible embryonic structure marking the anterior side, is present by embryonic 6.0 dpc (days post coitum). The AVE is significant in the eventual development of bilateral symmetry in the embryo. Embryos are collected within decidual tissue, and the orientation of the AP axis within the embryo is observed after fixation, sectioning, staining, and imaging to allow for visualization of each embryo. By this use of histological analysis of embryos in decidua during early stages of gastrulation, we will determine if all embryos have a particular orientation relative to the ovary-uterine axis of the mother. If embryos are observed to possess an alignment within the uterine tissue, this information can be used to work backwards towards identification of the mechanisms that determine axis formation. Here, I will present preliminary results and future directions of this project. 


963 Room 903 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Jason Sungjun Park
Claire Margaret Mahoney
Brittany Nicole Rosen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
The Significance of Urban Green Space in Promoting Community Health and Physical Activity

28.0% of Americans, or 80.2 million people, aged six and older are physically inactive. Physical inactivity is a risk factor correlated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, cancer, obesity, joint disease, and depression. Increasing evidence has shown an opportunity to control this modifiable risk factor through urban design. Parks within one kilometer of participants homes also resulted in increased physical activity. An increase in trees and cities has also shown a correlation with improved health outcomes, including lower obesity rates and better social cohesion. Although residents in urban areas benefit from easier access to health care and education compared to rural counterparts, the sedentary lifestyle and lack of green space act as constant threats to physical health. This research seeks to examine the connection between accessibility to parks and green spaces and physical activity outcomes in adult urban populations. Scientific articles from EBSCO Host, PubMed, and ScienceDirect will be used to gather data. We hypothesize a positive correlation between green space availability and overall physical activity. Further research should examine the effectiveness of organized intervention programs in green spaces that promote physical activity. This research provides a compelling argument for policy makers to fund initiatives that preserve and implement cost-effective parks in cities as a means of promoting physical activity.