Presenters • Oral Sessions


3 Room 801 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Nhi Hue Lang
Zaur Rzakhanov (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Accounting and Finance, UMass Boston
Opportunistic Financial Reporting: An Analysis of Meeting-or-Beating Earning Firms versus Consistent Earning Increases Firms

In the attempt to contribute to the existing knowledge of earnings management, we propose to study the difference between two sets of firms. The first set of firms has a history of consistently meeting-or-beating analysts’ forecast over the prior 20-quarter period or more; we called these the MBE firms. The second set of firms has a history of consistent earnings increase over the prior 20-quarter period or more; we called these the CEI firms. First, we predict that CEI firms have stronger economic fundamentals than MBE firms because firms can sustain MBE strings by guiding analysts’ expectation downward, also known as expectations management, but they cannot sustain CEI string through expectation management simply because time-series forecasts are predetermined before earnings announcements. Second, we predict that MBE firms are more likely to experience the SEC enforcement actions than CEI firms. In doing so, we will gain insight into the economic fundamentals of MBE and CEI firms. In addition, we will identify a set of firms that use a more opportunistic financial reporting to sustain the string of positive earnings.  


4 Room 162 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Nicholas Alexander Ozorowski
Gretchen Gerzina (Faculty Sponsor)
Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Not Your Protest Writer: James Baldwin and the 20th Century Black Radical Challenge

In the spring of 1987, author, essayist, and scholar James Baldwin taught a course titled “The Afro-American Cultural Experience” in the W.E.B. Dubois Department of African American Studies here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As thirty years of time and space have created a metaphysical distance from his work, Baldwin’s legacy of literary resistance remains salient in discussions of contemporary racial politics – from policing to the polls. Introducing the course as a dialectic between A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, he constructs race in the US in his time as an impossibility - an obstruction to justice caught in the ideological and literary fictions of western civilization. Moving beyond these configurations, this presentation will analyze Baldwin’s construction of and resistance to the taxonimization of “The Protest Writer” as capturing the essence of his vision: a case for black futurity that demands interiority, complexity, and a critical understanding of a distinctly American experience in the greater Black Atlantic. I will argue that Baldwin, who maintained a complicated and at times precarious relationship to the social movements of his time, refused to compromise the contours of his identity commonly erased by modalities of resistance ultimately inherited from the West. In doing so, he temporally redefines the praxis of “radicalism” in the 20th Century – effectively precipitating contemporary movements that both center and prioritize non-normative experiences of race and gender in their organization. Through a literary and historical exploration of Baldwin’s haunting relevance, I intend to suggest that a reassessment of his legacy could reveal a myriad of implications for current intellectual analytics as well as social movements currently challenging global oppression and injustice. In a world beyond his living imagination - of social unrest, of democratic failure, and of mass-mobilization – Baldwin’s cultural voice retains its unapologetic commitment to truth and justice, existing as a guide for navigating the infinite futures that lie ahead.


8 Hadley Room 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Stephanie Julia Crowley
Jesse Mager (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Veterinary Science, UMass Amherst
Analysis of Differential Gene Expression during Gastrulation

Onset of gastrulation marks a critical and dynamic period in development of the mammalian body plan. Examination of differential gene expression during murine gastrulation may provide insight behind the mechanisms of cell lineage commitment and pluripotency. To identify both temporal and spatial gene regulation during gastrulation (murine embryonic days 6.5-8.5 dpc), RNAseq of specific embryonic tissues was performed. The data was subsequently screened for differentially expressed gene candidates; approximately 150 candidates were filtered for potential novel characterization and ultimately, 13 genes were prioritized for further examination. We began the process of verifying this bioinformatic data in embryonic sections by creating DIG-labeled, antisense RNA probes. These probes will be used to visualize gene expression via section in situ hybridization (SISH). The results of these studies will identify novel differentially expressed genes during development that may play critical roles in lineage specification, differentiation or pluripotency.


9 Hadley Room 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Rosemary Joan Huggins
D. Joseph Jerry (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, UMass Amherst
Genetic Modifiers of Mammary Tumor Susceptibility in BALB/c and C57BL/6 Mice

Trp53+/- BALB/c mice frequently develop mammary tumors, similar to women with inherited mutations in TP53.  However, Trp53+/- C57BL/6 mice do not develop mammary tumors.  Genetic crosses between C57BL/6 mice and BALB/c have identified a linkage to a locus on chromosome 7, designated SuprMam1. Recombinant congenic mice were selected that are nearly genetically identical to BALB/c mice except for a small region of chromosome 7 that corresponds to the C57BL/6 genome.  This 20Mb region, spanning from 122-142Mb of chromosome 7, is associated with a difference in rates of homology-directed repair (HDR).  HDR is important for maintaining genomic integrity through accurate repair of DNA double-stranded breakage.  However, susceptible BALB/c mice have altered rates of HDR, which may be associated with less efficient DNA replication.  DNA fiber assays help determine the effects of slowed replication on maintaining replication forks in proliferating cells.  By integrating the fluorescently labelled IdU and CldU nucleotide analogues into the replicating DNA, fluorescent microscopy is used to analyze the different modes of replication carried out by cells after exposure to replicative stress.  Different patterns of IdU and CldU labelling can represent different replication events.  Preliminary data supports the idea that susceptible BALB/c mice exhibit more cases of stalled forks and inefficient replication.  With this information, we can further analyze the 20Mb SuprMam1 region for genes involved in maintaining replication forks and promoting efficient replication.  If a gene is found that is responsible for the difference in mammary tumor susceptibility in mice, there may be a similar gene in humans to serve as a therapeutic target for women with inherited TP53 mutations. 

10 Hadley Room 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Natalia Trikoz
Karen A. Dunphy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, UMass Amherst
The Effect of Activin and TGFβ on Breast Cancer in vitro and in vivo – Assessing Epithelial Differentiation and Tumorigenesis

Parity is the most significant factor that can modify breast cancer potential. Epidemiological studies have established that there is a life-long protective effect associated with pregnancy.  Activin and TGFβ are cytokines of the Transforming Growth Factor superfamily and are thought to have similar function, however their temporal expression patterns and functions during pregnancy suggest otherwise. TGFβ is expressed during involution of mammary epithelium after cessation of lactation, and is responsible for cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Activin, on the other hand, is present throughout pregnancy and peaks during lactation, and is presumed to be responsible for differentiation of mammary epithelium. Women who suffer from preeclampsia during pregnancy have higher levels of serum Activin and an increased protection against breast cancer relative to women that have undergone a normal pregnancy. Results from the Jerry/Dunphy lab showed that in vivo, CDβGeo cells pre-treated with TGFβ undergo Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) and developed into mammary tumors in 100% of the mice. In contrast, Activin-treated cells had poor outgrowth potential when transplanted into mice, and tumor potential could not be defined. We hypothesize that Activin is part of the protective effect of parity and functions to promote epithelial cell differentiation and decrease the stem cell population. Therefore, we will compare proliferative responses and progenitor activity of mouse mammary epithelial cells in response to Activin-treatment in vitro and in vivo.


11 Room 163 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Abigail Hupfer Anson
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Reforming Mass Incarceration: The Benefits of a Ten-Year Maximum Sentence for All Crimes

The United States criminal justice system is one of the most extensive in the world, and is viewed by American citizens as completely immutable. This honors thesis discusses the problems inherent in the system of mass incarceration, looking at the racial history of the prison industrial complex and racial and other discriminatory structures that frame it today. Also discussed is the financial burden of this system, as well as “aging out of crime” trends and the impracticality of death-in-prison sentences. These factors, combined with the lack of substantive rehabilitation and focus on vengeance, as well as the extensive collateral consequences for prisoners, their families, and communities, call for a dramatic reduction in the length of sentencing policy. It will argue for a universal ten-year maximum sentence for all crimes.

12 Room 163 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Benjamin Worthington Colman
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
The World’s Largest Correctional Officer: America’s Desperate Need to End the War on Drugs in Lieu of Substance Abuse Treatment

Drugs and crime are synonymous to each other, with substance abuse often being the lead cause of an individual’s criminal behavior and subsequent incarceration. However, incarcerating an offender for a drug-related crime only addresses the consequence of substance abuse, namely the criminal act, whereas, in order to prevent drug-related crime, the criminal justice system needs to address the source of an addict’s criminality, their addiction. Through America’s War on Drugs substance abusers are aggressively arrested and incarcerated for non-violent crime, with minorities in particular disproportionately targeted. Furthermore, America’s four-and-a-half-decade long drug war is costing American taxpayers significantly more than they can afford, but it has not decreased rates of substance abuse. This is evident as America is now facing an opioid epidemic that killed more people from drug overdoses in 2014 than ever before. Court-mandated rehabilitation programs are a substantially better option for preventing drug induced crime, because they address the environmental and psychological factors that cause an addict to commit crime in the first place. Furthermore, treatment helps prevent recently released addicts from reoffending by providing them with methods for staying sober and away from crime. In this paper, I analyze all the faults of America’s drug war to prove why it is ineffective. Then I provide sufficient evidence to prove that treatment is more effective in reducing substance abuse and criminal behavior among recently released drug offenders. Finally, I conclude with a platform for how treatment should operate to be successful. 

13 Room 163 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Jeffrey Martelli
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Prisoners of War: The Mass Incarceration of African-Americans and Latinos at the Hands of the War on Drugs

Inmates convicted of drug offenses make up half of the prison population in the United States. The War on Drugs created the problem of mass incarceration, which has done irreparable harm to the already disadvantaged. Politicians branded the War on Drugs as the necessary step to clean up the streets of dangerous drugs. Mandatory minimum sentences enacted as part of the War on Drugs increased the severity of punishments. More importantly, mandatory minimum sentences have given virtually complete sentencing power to prosecutors, taking it away from judges. What has resulted is African-Americans and Latinos being sent to prison at extremely high rates. In this paper, I examine the connection between prosecutorial power and the disproportionate amount of blacks and Latinos in prison on drug offenses. What I find is that this may not be an accident. Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan benefitted from appealing to the racial sentiments held by Southern Whites in the rhetoric utilized in creating the War on Drugs. Politicians that want to appear tough on crime, as well as the Supreme Court, have allowed for law enforcement to target poor, minority communities. Once arrested and charged, prosecutors use mandatory minimum sentences as a bargaining chip to force guilty pleas from defendants who cannot afford a proper attorney. African-Americans and Latinos are disadvantaged at all steps of the criminal justice system. Mass incarceration continues the oppression that African-Americans and Latinos have all but become accustomed to over the course of the history of the United States.

14 Room 163 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Eliza Morog
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Mass Incarceration of the Marginalized: The Disparate, Negative Effects

In this work, I explore the impact of mass incarceration on traditionally marginalized groups, including ethnic minorities and women. After a brief overview of the historical events that allowed for the framework of mass incarceration, I analyze the impact of the War on Crime and the War on Drugs, along with the militarization of law enforcement that accompanied the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) and its successors. While this work intends to include the marginalized groups most disparately impacted by mass incarceration, it focuses predominately on African American men because statistically they are the most effected. Regardless of socioeconomic status, the odds are 50-50 that young black urban males are imprisoned, on probation, or on parole. Those at the intersection of inclusion in an ethnic minority and having a low income are especially prone to interaction with carceral control. Aside from the act of violence that results in a criminal conviction, there are many acts of violence that impact an offender while incarcerated and upon release which require analysis. Post-carceral discrimination serves as a substantial barrier to successful reintegration into mainstream society, and thusly so warrants consideration. 

16 Room 163 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Nathaniel Fair
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
The Canal Chronicles: A Case Study in American Greatness

If the human brain were a computer, a language would be the code for operating all of its higher-level functioning. Languages are simply sets of symbols that allow the transmission of information for interpretation by individuals. As such, in the wake of the 2016 election, what does greatness look like? The rise of a demagogue like Trump is a crowning example to the tyranny of the central authority. In order to unmask the demon masquerading as Uncle Sam, it is necessary to deconstruct the narrative of American greatness that has been its license for all manner of evils. As the internal problems of race and class eternally fail to shake the unfathomable faith in the capitalist democracy, an investigation of American greatness abroad will reveal they are not simply accidents of time and place. With 150 years under the weight of the Colossus, Panama is a perfect case study. An unlawful treaty created a U.S. colony inside the protective neo-colony buffer of the Republic of Panama. From 1846-1931, the U.S. military played a direct role in restricting Panamanian self-government. From the stronghold of the Canal Zone, military operations were carried out all over Latin America. In doing so, the Colossus regularly allied itself with brutal dictators. In Panama, these were Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega. These strongmen helped the U.S. pursue hemispheric dominance from 1968-1989 and the rhetoric surrounding the 1989 invasion of Panama to oust Noriega is an example of the Colossus trying to cover up its bloody footprints.

17 Room 163 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Sara Hickey
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Mandatory Vaccinations: A Look at the Acceptance in Public Schools

In this work, I explore the various perspectives on whether vaccinations should be mandatory in public schools, and find that, because it is nearly impossible to find consensus between the various views, vaccinations should be mandated. However, exemptions should be accepted for those students who feel the need to be exempted. The public health perspective presents arguments such as a need to maintain herd immunity and protecting the health of entire populations, and comes off as very pro-vaccine. The legal perspective could be used to argue both for vaccination mandates as well as against them, depending on which detail is brought up. This perspective may argue that it is not legal to take away the bodily autonomy of an individual, but may also argue that many court cases have upheld the legality of vaccination mandates. Lastly, an ethical perspective may question the morality of putting the interests of one family above another or administering a vaccine that is only potentially effective. While each perspective has a very different outlook on the issue at hand, there are many intersections of these viewpoints, making it impossible to come to a simple yes or no decision on vaccination mandates if looking through only one lens. It is for this reason that the closest to a fair agreement would be to make vaccinations mandatory for all public school children, but accept that some exemptions should be granted if families request them. 

18 Room 163 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Carly Brooke Messitte
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
The Beauty Community versus the Beauty Industry: The Globalization of Makeup and the Effects Cosmetics Have Had on Social Norms and Women’s Health in the US

Although the makeup community currently provides its members with a creative outlet and inclusive access to cosmetics today, in large and throughout history, the makeup industry has not had their consumers’s best interests in mind. Through the lens of the past and present, explaining how major beauty companies have gained leverage over time demonstrates their priority of monetary gain over people’s health. In contrast, the beauty community has always been skeptical of unsafe products, has called for social inclusion during later periods of activism, and, today, uses technology and social media platforms to prioritize a community of people over products. In this honors thesis, I will show how companies have the ability to change social norms for the better, and thus to push for a change in current business practices that turn creative processes into daily chemical warfare.

21 Room 163 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Kayara Burnett
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Innocent until Proven Poor: The Relationship between Race, Poverty, and Crime in the United States

In this work, I will explore the connections between race, poverty, and crime in the United States. The primary objective in this research is to highlight the fact that the huge disparities that exist between rates of crime by race, rates of wealth by race, and rates of crime by wealth. It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the disproportionalities in the representations of the races in nearly every aspect of life. This problem was studied through careful library research of each individual aspect of race, poverty, and crime, and then the synthesis of two or more aspects with each other. Sources consulted include contemporary work such as Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow to sources as old as 1975 to illustrate that the inequalities that were present in the past are still present today, though they may manifest themselves differently. Mass incarceration is one of those manifestations that has evolved from as far back as slavery in the United States. And it was the policies and practices put in place during the Nixon/Reagan presidencies that can account for the disproportionate representation of minorities in jails and prisons today. A serious restructuring of America’s criminal justice and welfare systems is needed if we are to see equity.

22 Room 163 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Joshua Edward Freund
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Fully Loaded: Police Militarization and Social Movements

In this research paper, I explore a critical analysis of police militarization as it relates to systems of racialized-gendered social control and social movements in the United States. A Critical Race survey of US law and economic policy shows how structural barriers were installed along lines of race and gender, creating a society with seemingly permanent racialized-gendered disparities in power, wealth, and life chances. The task of enforcing these racialized-gendered social control systems has fallen within the purview of local and state police, as the US Constitution sets strict limitations on the use of the federal military for domestic affairs. An intersectional-revisionist interpretation of United States history reveals how indigenous nations, radical women of color, and oppositional social movements have challenged capitalist white-male hegemony, and have imagined and created alternatives to the oppression of heteropatriarchal white supremacy, settler colonialism, and global imperialism. This research draws from multidisciplinary sources within the social sciences to articulate how the technological, psychological, and legal advancements in police militarization are in response to these social justice movements. This research serves to contribute to the scholarly illegitimization of US law, policy, and criminal justice systems, and sheds light on emerging solidarities in the manner in which social movements can draw upon historical precedents of resistance.

24 Room 903 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Sarah Jean Welch
Krista Harper (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Anthropology, UMass Amherst
Journeys through the Library: Applied Design Ethnography in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library

The tallest library in North America contains a wealth of resources across its many floors, and students who use the W.E.B. Du Bois Library have many stories about how they found their way to them. Interviews with undergraduates at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst reveal what resources are the most important to them, how they access the resources and spaces they need, and the importance of ethnicity/nationality-specific spaces within the library. Areas of study include how students were first introduced to the resources and spaces they use; physical pathways individuals take through the library; traffic patterns the library sees on an everyday basis, and what kind of resources tend to draw the most traffic. This ethnographic data as situated within broader contexts of social identity provides the basis for design recommendations to Du Bois librarians as well as insights into the social and political significance of libraries as community resources.

25 Room 917 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Erica Lee Wolencheck
Sonya Atalay (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Anthropology, UMass Amherst
A Reworking of UNESCO World Heritage Criteria for an Inclusive Heritage Model

The goal of my thesis is to outline an improved model for UNESCO World Heritage site nomination through creating criteria that are more inclusive to minority and Indigenous heritages.  This will require a critical analysis of the term “value” UNESCO criteria utilize, and will deconstruct this concept of "value" through an analysis of Western and Indigenous forms of knowledge production.  I will also outline current power structures at work in UNESCO framework, comparing top-down to bottom-up approaches, advocating for a bottom-up approach in order to make Indigenous and minority voices heard in the process of site nomination.  I will discuss the overall importance of UNESCO World Heritage status to larger efforts of nation-building and why the increased visibility provided through this outlet can be useful to Indigenous and minority groups.  In conjunction, I will also critique the existence of UNESCO World Heritage status, questioning the need and desire for a framework that places an arbitrary worth on heritage.  UNESCO legislation will also be considered as a means for reimagining current narratives of Indigenous lives, past and present.  An emphasis will be placed on the community-building potential of archaeology and the non-tangible repercussions of the archaeological record through case studies.  I will identify the shortcomings in UNESCO World Heritage framework and suggest a course of action for reworking it into a more holistic model for site nomination.


27 Room 911 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Devin Dekang Liang
Stephen Schreiber (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Architecture, UMass Amherst
The Research of Chinese Traditional Garden and the Usage in Modern Architecture Design

In the 21 century, architecture has developed in a very diverse environment. There are multiple approaches to designing sustainable buildings, including those that consider cultural and humanist aspects. Chinese traditional gardens, from my home country, could be an inspiration for modern architecture design. I will use simple qualitative comparative analysis to start my study. I will consider peer review articles to compare data and fundamental ideas. I will use graphic analyses to arrange and organize many different types of garden components-- plan and elevations. After I got a large sample of the typical element of a garden, I will relate them to the garden history or other influential factors (such as natural environment or climate factor).  The goal is to learn whether or not the ideas behind Chinese gardens can be useful in modern architecture design.

28 Room 165 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Corey Louis Coleman
David Keith Chenot (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Industrial Technology, Fitchburg State University
Using Urban Design to Reshape Refugee Infrastructure

At the end of 2015, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported more than 65 million humans as being forcibly displaced. Natural disasters, armed conflicts, terrorism, along with religious prosecution, will increase this population in years to come. Initial emergency response to this displacement has been extremely effective in protecting those who need swift relief. However, this model fails to meet the social and economic consequences of widespread displacement over extended periods. This prolonged period of habituation along with the lack of social stimulation and structure is detrimental to the integration and development of future generations. An in-depth case study into the settlement at the Öncüpınar Accommodation Center in Kilis, Turkey provides validation of this current model’s shortfall. By exploring current conditions supporting the refugee population of Öncüpınar and cross-examining such conditions against urban design rationale, it is feasible to create a reasonable planning procedure for the development of semi-permanent cities created from massive surges of displacement. Research into the works and theories of urban design innovators, such as Jane Jacobs and Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., paired with evolutionary traits of humanity, have refined how spaces should be examined, utilized, and ultimately suited for the humans who inhabit them. Understanding how we use our built environment can positively affect not only temporary design, but long term infrastructure.


33 Room 174 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Aimee Chang
Catherine Wilcox-Titus (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Worcester State University
Dear Mama

I believe that people and religion can impact one’s life. My grandma has always been someone I looked up to, and she has influenced my life in so many ways. She has also brought Buddhism into my life at a young age, so I always want to include my cultural background in my art. My art is a tribute to her. I create my art because she has struggled so much in life, she deserves something that can remind her she has survived and she is strong. My artwork consists of three large painted canvases, but I also use other mixed media. Each painting will represent something important for my grandma, but it also connects with the symbols of Buddhism. One canvas is an outline of Buddha’s face in graduated tones in my grandma’s favorite color, because Buddhism has played a role in my life and my grandma’s. The second canvas is a three-dimensional Lotus flower reflecting her calm strength. The last canvas is the Golden Fish symbol. The meaning behind this symbol is happiness, freedom, and unity.  I chose this symbol because my grandma has struggled through her life and these symbols represent her present life where she has attained peace and happiness. My three canvases flow together as one piece, but they can each stand alone.    

34 Room 903 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Lissette Marie Fuentes
Jessica Thelen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Art Influence

Seeing an art piece physically can create a connection to the viewer and draws a better understanding of how the piece was made and its meaning. Examining art pieces at art galleries gives the viewer a better understanding of how the artist expresses their work and their techniques in creating their pieces. Faith Lund is the artist I researched. Her inspiration to develop her work is nature. A painting, Evolution I, was displayed in the Arno Maris Gallery during a Faculty Art show in December 2016. This was to get students at Westfield State University to appreciate the purpose of an artist's work. The techniques and materials used and the process to develop their pieces is not valued as much as the finished work. By attending the Faculty Art show, I was able to get a personal view on Lund's artwork. Evolution I used cool acrylic colors which were stained onto the canvas and this can be shown very clearly by examining the piece in person. Evolution I was a piece that captivated me the most with its patterns, shapes, and values of color. Desiring more information about Lund's work, I researched.  I noticed that paintings can give the viewer more experience when they view the piece in person rather than through media. A person visiting art galleries can value an artist's work rather than scrolling through web. To truly appreciate an artist's work, it's best to look around art galleries to experience a connection towards art.

35 Room 903 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Caroline Whelan
Martha Taunton (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Art, UMass Amherst
Human Perception and Art

This research investigates the different ways in which people, engineers and artists in particular, view and perceive abstracted art.  This investigation utilizes information drawn from four separate interviews that analyze detailed responses, from both engineers and artists, when asked to answer questions regarding two hand-drawn, abstracted, black and white drawings.  Textual references were also used to support conclusions derived from the interviews. At the conclusion of the interview process, the different ways in which engineers and artists perceive art was revealed, as well as why these groups perceive art in such specific ways and the results and level of accuracy that their methods of perception bring. It was found that engineers take a more logical approach when perceiving art, as they tend to conceptualize what they see and compare things to their prior knowledge of the real world. For this reason, abstracted art that is unusual in relation to our real world experiences tends to challenge engineers and their understanding of art. Artists tend to take a more narrative based approach when perceiving art. They use their personal memories, beliefs, and experiences in order to build these narratives, as they strive to further understand the art. This investigation shows that artists are able to identify the subject matter within an abstracted art piece more quickly than engineers are. With information from this investigation and further understanding of individual human perception, Art Education teachers may discover more effective ways of bringing children of different backgrounds to understand and appreciate art.

40 Room 801 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Kezia Miller
Md. Imranul Islam (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Fashion Design and Retailing, Framingham State University
How Non-traditional Applications Can Better the Textile Industry and Society

Background: The application of textile and fashion industry is comprehensive, even though most people think of fashion as just runway, magazines, and high end designs. Technology has become a major part of industry as of late. The extensive use of technology made this industry more diverse such as enhancing fibers to perform better than they currently do, or helping in healthcare to better our society. Objectives: (1) Find which fibers are best to enhance for healthcare. (2) Find end uses of the most popular enhanced fibers. (3) Come up and create our own enhanced fibers and end use. Method:  A literature review will be conducted on enhanced fibers and how they have been used in textiles and technology as fashion and smart textile. Also, content analysis of secondary data will be applied to how the fibers are made to create our own enhanced fiber. Expected Findings: An enhanced fiber can improve durability to perform textiles the best in certain high performance task. Conclusions and implications: This study will help both fashion and healthcare industries succeed using technology to create enhanced fibers to wear, heal, and protect the body. Also, this study can help consumers, retailers, and designers understand how the two worlds of fashion and technology have come together and help improving their brand images to the world.

48 Room 904 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Brittany Florence Cormier
Stephanie Grey (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Art and Music, Framingham State University
Who Are We? Engaging Communities through Design for Social Change

Designing for social change is more than just visual problem solving. It gives designers the ability to bring awareness to causes that may have otherwise gone unnoticed and been overlooked. Using their unique perspective concerning the awareness of these causes, designers are able to establish meaningful methods of communication that will benefit any organization. As a graphic designer, asking myself the question “What bothers you?” is a powerful way to gauge every step of the design process. Working to design a new brand identity for the Out-of-School-Time programs, offered by Framingham Public School’s office of Community Resource Development, provides the opportunity to connect two of my passions: graphic design and education. My past experiences include working with at-risk youth from Framingham to support and encourage them to pursue higher education, as well as with first-year students at Framingham State University to ease their transition to a college environment. The key hours of after school time are crucial to a student’s development, which provides the purpose to take action and give children the resources they need to be successful. I strive to recognize and render this purpose through the design of a new brand identity for the Out-of-School-Time programs. This brand identity will not only engage a community of faculty, parents, and students, but will also shine a design light on the growth of these students that will resonate as part of their identity.

49 Room 911 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Deborah Karen Uller
Vanessa Martinez (Faculty Sponsor)
Honors Program, Holyoke Community College
The Body as Representation in Feminist Art of the Late 1960's-1970's and Its Influence on a Contemporary Feminist Artist

Feminist artists of the 1960’s and 1970’s created resistance to the patriarchy of the time through their artwork. They attempted to change the perceptions of the cultural stereotypes of women by reclaiming the power and presence of the female body. This essay examines the history of the feminist movement as well as its effect on the feminist art movement. I will highlight the evolving role of the female artist in the art world by focusing on the lives and artistic expression of five major artists, Judy Chicago, Ana Meindeita, Carolee Schneeman, Hannah Wilke and contemporary artist Nona Faustine, in their efforts to use their bodies as a powerful tool against the social constraints of gender.  The artists presented their own bodies as the subject of their own artwork maintaining representation and control rather than relying upon the objectification of the male gaze dictating to the female passive female form. All of these artists have been successful in influencing the perceptions of the culture as evidenced by the fact that female artists are now well represented in in art books and in art history. Previously female artists had been marginalized as a result of men being in charge, with limited options and restricted freedom of expression of their own sensuality and sexuality. Female art students now have more choices, having female art professors as role models and many various ways of expression and being shown in art galleries. This thread of feminist influence supplied a resistance to the patriarchy a changing of new perceptions, with new and different portrayals of the female body. Women, in general, and female artists in particular have become empowered to make their own choices and possess freedom of expression.


50 Room 903 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Victoria Fletcher Fiske
Nancy Noble (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Art History, UMass Amherst
Mabel Dwight: A Focus on the Body and the Gaze

Mabel Dwight was an American print artist of the early-to-mid twentieth century. Although recognized for her work during her lifetime, since her death in 1955, she has undeservedly been overlooked by art historians. Using lithography as her primary medium, Dwight showcased her work across the United States in gallery exhibitions as well as through reproductions of her prints published in national magazines. Dwight’s most common subject was everyday life in New York City. My paper focuses on Dwight’s depictions of the body and the gaze—both human and animal—and my analyses of how Dwight’s portrayals of everyday life in an urban setting convey to the viewer her distinct perceptions about human behavior, especially social interactions between genders, races, and species. By comparing Dwight’s prints to works by several of her contemporaries such as Reginald Marsh, Paul Cadmus, and Isabel Bishop, I demonstrate how Dwight developed a unique caricature-like style to depict the body such that she communicated empathetic depictions of white women that subvert the objectifying male gaze, at times incorporated stereotypical images of African Americans into her artwork in both complex and ambiguous ways, and promoted social equality between animals and humans.   

51 Room 803 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Mariah Tarentino
Pamela Karimi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Art History, UMass Dartmouth
Artistic Responses to the 2016 Presidential Election

One can gain greater understanding of a culture’s socio-political climate through examining artistic responses. The United States’ 2016 election cycle was the most polarized in recent memory and brought many issues to the forefront of the country’s consciousness. Political art is not a new tradition and by analyzing the political art of the past, one can contextualize the political art of today. In the past, we have seen political art become iconic and synonymous with ideologies, such as Warhol’s Vote McGovern or Fairey’s Hope. Historically art has been especially important to progressive causes, and this correlation seems even stronger presently as tensions increase between the left and fringe groups such as the “Alt-Right.”  Much of today’s art, however, varies from the past in its accessibility. Today’s art varies from Jessica Bennet’s now iconic Pussy Grabs Back to anonymous memes of the internet. Social media and public art provide a platform in which anyone can become an artist and have their art widely seen. This provides more comprehensive insight into the general public’s opinions. Through examination of digital art on social media, graffiti, and protest signs in relation to the election and inauguration, one can find trends in what messages are communicated and how artists choose to communicate them. These trends in turn represent and influence public opinion and values. As this research is visually based, an exhibition of local political art will be held in at UMass Dartmouth’s Fredrick Douglass Unity House in April 2017 to supplement an academic paper.

52 Room 911 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Lucia Ocejo
Damian LaVoice (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Library, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Earth Mother and Holy Mother, The Virgin de Guadalupe

The power of the Virgin of Guadalupe to the Mexican people is unquestionable. She is the “Great Mother of Mexico,” “Empress of the Americas,” “Our Lady.” Her image preceded the insurgent army when Miguel Hidalgo gave El Grito de Dolores in 1810 to trigger the Independence movement. Emiliano Zapata and his agrarian rebels fought under her emblem during the Mexican Revolution a century later. Today, her image adorns house fronts and interiors, churches and home altars, taxis and buses, streets and restaurants. She is the epitome of a spiritual Mexican community. She is the Catholic contemporary manifestation of the ancient Mexica female deity Tonanzin. It is the fused hypostasis of Tonanzin with the Virgin de Guadalupe that transforms and binds together the diverse cultural streams of Mexican society. She encompasses all within her earthly reign. As the Old World was consumed by the wonders of the New World, the image of Guadalupe became a response to a cosmic conflict produced by the cataclysm of two cultures: European and Native Mesomerican. The Virgin of Guadalupe established a spiritual democracy that allowed only under her figure to unite Indians, mestizos, and creoles into one nation. This paper investigates the historical and cultural configurations of the Virgin of Guadalupe as a powerful and central figure straddling the ancient worship of Tonanzin and contemporary Catholic practice in Mexico.


56 Room 165 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Daniel Thomas Borden
Stephan Martin (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Astronomy, Bristol Community College
Analysis of TRAPPIST-1 Planets Located in the Habitable Zone

The TRAPPIST-1 is a red dwarf located 39 light years from Earth. NASA has announced the discovery of seven Earth sized planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1. NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope confirmed two of the planets and discovered five other planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1. Three of these planets (e, f, and g,) have been confirmed to be in the habitable zone of TRAPPIST-1. There is evidence that shows planets e, f, & g might be habitable for carbon based life. All seven Earth sized planets are likely to be tidally locked. This would make any development of carbon based life a challenge as all of the energy from TRAPPIST-1 would be absorbed by only one side of the planet. This creates a large temperature difference which sets conditions for powerful winds to circle the planet. There is a mild-twilight zone which would be the best location for carbon based life to exist. An XMM-Newton X-ray study explains that due to the close proximity of planets e, f, and g, to its host star, each planets has been exposed to sufficient X-ray and extreme ultraviolet (EUV/XUV) irradiation. Any primary and secondary atmosphere that the planets have will be altered. Planet’s e, f, and g are less likely to host carbon based life with these disadvantages. There are only certain areas that might be habitable on each planet. (EUV/XUV) irradiation would further decrease any chance of these planets being habitable.


73 Room 174 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Johanna P. L'Heureux
Dong Wang (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biochemistry, UMass Amherst
Characterizing Novel Genes Crucial to Nitrogen Fixing Symbiosis

The symbiotic interplay between rhizobia and the legumes that allows for the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen into usable ammonia is essential for the advancement of sustainable agriculture. Researchers want to harness this symbiosis to optimize and expand its role, but as of now, there is a lack of knowledge in mechanisms essential to nitrogen fixation. To understand the mechanism, the first step is to analyze the proteins involved. This leads to the need for an effort to identify and understand critical proteins in the symbiosis process. One of the best ways to discover how a gene and the encoded protein operates is to observe the organism when that gene is knocked out. Using this forward genetic approach, hundreds of ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) mutated seeds of the A17 ecotype of Medicago truncatula were screened for a fix minus (-) phenotype, typified by nonfunctional nodules that remain white. To further characterize this mutation, several verified fix- mutants were examined at the microscopic level through staining nodule tissue. To map the mutation, genetic crosses were performed between the mutant and A20 wildtype lines of M. truncatula. Pooled DNA from the fix- mutants of the F2 mapping population was used for PCR with genetic markers across the M. truncatula genome. Based on a marker that appeared to co-segregate with the mutation, a specific genomic region of the target gene was identified. 

74 Room 174 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Milo Ray
Dong Wang (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biochemistry, UMass Amherst
Characterizing Nitrogen Sensing and Signaling in Medicago truncatula Nitrogen Fixation

Legumes are responsible for much of the biochemically accessible "fixed" nitrogen entering the nitrogen cycle. Legumes form a root organ in which to house their symbiont called a nodule supported by photosynthates and nutrients from the phloem and with leghemoglobin. Leghemoglobin maintains the necessary oxygen levels for nitrogen fixation and gives nodules their characteristic pink color. Medicago truncatula is a model organism used to study the symbiosis between legumes and nitrogen-fixing bacteria (rhizobia). 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. The bacteroids produce ammonia which is exported from the roots to support the host plant. To aid in the study of this unique process, a genetic approach in M. truncatula is employed. When an inoperative gene results in nodule formation without nitrogen fixation, this class of mutants are known as defective in nitrogen fixation (dnf). They typically have small white nodules in comparison with the large pink nodules seen in wild type, as once the plant senses nodules are not providing nitrogen it stops supplying them with nutrients and leghemoglobin. Recently, we made the surprising discovery that some late stage dnf mutants maintain large pink nodules, similar in outward appearance to wild type, when the plants are grown with low levels of external nitrogen. Although these nodules provide no fixed nitrogen, the plant expends valuable resources towards their maintenance, seemingly unable to distinguish between internal and external sources of nitrogen.  

75 Room 917 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Rachel Maria Levantovsky
David A. Sela (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Nutrition and Food Science, UMass Amherst
Prolongevity and Healthspan of Caenorhabditis elegans is Promoted by Bifidobacterium spp.

The model organism Caenorhabditis elegans is widely used in studies of host-microbial interactions at the intestine, but the bulk of the existing body of work examines pathogenesis, not interactions with beneficial or commensal microbes. Previous work studying probiotic effects by Bifidobacterium spp. has demonstrated that C. elegans grown on certain strains of bifidobacteria experience prolongevity, or extended lifespan. This study seeks to discover if previously untested species and strains of bifidobacteria exert the same effects in a C. elegans model, and to ascertain which species or communities of these bacteria best promote worm survival. The second aim of this work is to assess the promotion of healthspan in response to bifidobacteria – asking if the probiotic not only increases lifespan, but the proportion of worms which live healthier, rather than longer. To address these questions, a lifespan assay of growth synchronized, adult C. elegans (N2 strain) was performed, with growth on either the control Escherichia coli OP50, or on single culture or co-culture Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis, Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum, Bifidobacterium longum subsp. suis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, or Bifidobacterium breve. Survival curves were established. Adult C. elegans were also subjected to a series of stress assays (heat, heavy metal, and oxidative) to determine whether exposure to bifidobacteria, either in single culture or co-culture, would promote increased healthspan. The outcomes of this prospective study may guide future discovery of the mechanism by which probiotic effects are exerted, and elucidate functions of host-commensal relations at the physiologically similar human intestinal epithelium.

79 Room 905 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Sachita Ganesa
Scott C. Garman (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UMass Amherst
The Pharmacological Chaperoning of CG85 on a Chimeric Alpha-Galactosidase Dimer

Mutations in the GLA gene, which encodes the lysosomal enzyme α-galactosidase (α-GAL), lead to a build up of the substrate globotriaosylceramide (GB3) in affected tissues, ultimately resulting in Fabry disease. Mutations in the NAGA gene, which encodes the lysosomal enzyme α-N-acetylgalactosaminidase (α-NAGAL), result in Schindler/Kanzaki disease. These lysosomal storage diseases lead to progressive deterioration of organs, including the liver and kidney, and eventually result in death. Because lysosomal storage diseases are caused by defects in single proteins, they are in principle repairable and thus active topics of clinical research. To date, enzyme replacement therapy, pharmacological chaperone therapy, substrate reduction therapy, and gene therapy have been approved or tested. Pharmacological chaperones (PC) stabilize their target proteins to increase the amount of enzyme activity in the lysosome. Previously, we have engineered the human α-GAL dimer to contain two α-NAGAL-like active sites (α-GALE203S/L206A).  Extending from this result, we have designed a chimeric version of the α-GAL dimer, with one α-GAL active site and one α-NAGAL active site. We hypothesize that the chimeric molecule can be chaperoned in one active site, increasing the activity of the other active site of the heterodimer. We have designed the chimeric molecule to have two distinct affinity tags, allowing purification by tandem affinity chromatography, using nickel and streptavidin columns. Then, we will test our chaperoning hypothesis, using the PC CG85. We have predicted and shown that binding of chaperone to one half of the chimeric molecule increases enzymatic activity in the other active site, 50Å away.

80 Room 905 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Natalie G. McArthur
Lila M. Gierasch (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UMass Amherst
Allosteric Relationships between Human Hsp70 and its Mutants

The Hsp70 family, a group of heat shock proteins present in almost all living organisms, comprises essential molecular chaperones responsible for a wide range of protein related cellular functions.  In bacterial Hsp70, termed DnaK, the allosteric mechanism, whereby substrate binding is modulated by nucleotide binding, is well understood and consists of interconversion between a docked and an undocked state resulting from interactions of the two functional domains.  However, human inducible cytoplasmic Hsp70, termed HspA1, although similar in some aspects to DnaK, is not as well understood in its allostery.  In this poster, the behavior of HspA1 is studied by observing the effect of single point mutations in locations thought to be allosterically critical.  Through structural analysis by nuclear magnetic resonance, the effect that these mutations have on the allostery can be observed, regardless of the severity of change.  In this poster, effects of one particular mutation of HspA1 of a glutamic acid to a lysine, a location forming a salt bridge, are tested and the data suggests, that this destabilization causes HspA1 to favor domain docking. Contrary to DnaK, through NMR analysis, this mutant has been observed to 100% favor the undocked state even with substrate, which tells us that this particular salt bridge contributes to the allosteric mechanisms of HspA1.  In the future, understanding allosterically important sites and how they affect allostery in HspA1, may help discover sites for therapeutic small molecule candidates to bind and modulate Hsp70 function.

83 Room 805 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Benjamin Ari Sadok
Yeonhwa Park (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Food Science, UMass Amherst
Effect of Insecticides on Fatty Liver

The liver is a vital organ that filters blood, metabolizes drugs, detoxifies chemicals, and plays a critical role in lipid metabolism. Improper balance of lipid metabolism results in the accumulation of triglycerides in liver, which causes fatty liver disease, a common condition among the obese and type 2 diabetes. It has been reported that the exposure to certain environmental contaminants, including insecticides, is linked with the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The goal of this study was to determine the role of insecticides on the development of fatty liver. HepG2 cells, human hepatoma cells, are used as a model for testing various insecticides, such as permethrin and imidacloprid. The HepG2 cells were plated at 30,000 cells per well in a 96 well plate and were treated with palmitic acid, a saturated fatty acid that can cause fatty liver in these cells, and various concentrations of insecticides. Then, Nile Red was used as the marker for total fat measured by a fluorescence spectrophotometer. It was confirmed that treatments of palmitic acid resulted in significant increases of fat accumulation in this model. This study furthers tests different types of insecticides on fat accumulation along with the palmitic acid treatments to determine the effect on fatty liver.


127 Hadley Room 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Jonathan Adam DiRusso
Michele Markstein (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biology, UMass Amherst
Novel Characterization of the Response of Stem Cells to a Ubiquitous Irritant: Methylmercury

In the United States approximately 80,000 synthetic chemicals used in common foods, household products, and building materials remain completely untested for their effects on human health. This is in part because there are no established high throughput toxicology assays to assess their impact on human health. To help address this problem, we partnered with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to test the impact of 80 common compounds on our in vivo Drosophila model for intestinal stem cells. This has been a powerful model to study chemotherapeutics, so we thought it could likewise be used to probe similar chemical-stem cell intereactions. In our screen we identified one compound, Methylmercury, as having a growth-inducing effect on normal stem cells. This is a concern because unregulated cell proliferation is one of the first steps in cancer development. I will present the results of our screen as well as my follow up work to determine whether evolutionary conserved signaling pathways are triggered by Methylmercury. I am investigating the JAK-STAT inflammatory pathway, the JNK stress pathway, and the Hippo growth pathway using molecular markers and RNAi. Any link found between these pathways in Drosophila suggests a similar process may occur in humans. This would open a door into further understanding the toxic nature of methylmercury, which is currently best understood for its role as a neurotoxin. Our results suggests that methymercury may also be a carcinogen, and my current work aims to determine the molecular pathways that it triggers in stem cells.

128 Hadley Room 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Kit Kolbert
Michele Markstein (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biology, UMass Amherst
Characterizing the Role of an ABC Transporter in Stem-Cell Drug Resistance

A major problem in the treatment of cancer is that tumor cells become drug resistant over time. This resistance is driven in large part by the high expression of efflux pumps called ABC transporters in cancer stem cells. Understanding the transcriptional regulation of these transporters in stem cells therefore holds great therapeutic promise. However, in mammals ABC transporter genes typically span hundreds of thousands of base pairs, making it prohibitively difficult to dissect their transcriptional regulation. We therefore decided to test whether ABC transporters have a similar role in Drosophila stem cells, since Drosophila is much more amenable to the dissection of regulatory elements. Here, I report my findings that an evolutionarily conserved ABC transporter belonging to the C family of transporters plays a role in drug resistance in Drosophila stem cells. I show this with a dye assay as well as will the chemotherapeutic Bortezomib. I am now using quantitative fluorescence confocal microscopy to quantify these results to determine how much this ABC-C transporter contributes to overall drug efflux in stem cells. These results are exciting because they are the first demonstration that Drosophila stem cells are multidrug resistant, like their mammalian counterparts. This opens the door to using Drosophila to dissect the transcriptional regulation of ABC transporters, which will hopefully shed light on therapeutic targets to reduce the acquisition of drug resistance in tumor cells. 

140 Room 162 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Anna Yeaton
Michele Markstein (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biology, UMass Amherst
Investigating Possible Drug Targets to Optimize Response to Chemotherapy

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. While chemotherapies are widely used to combat the CRC, our current arsenal of drugs ultimately fails to contain the disease. One of the underlying reasons for this failure is drug resistance due to expression of high levels of efflux pumps called ABC transporters. The literature has been unclear whether cancer cells intrinsically express high levels of these pumps or can react to drugs such as chemotherapeutics by expressing higher levels of these pumps. The aim of this research is to study published transcriptome data sets from colorectal cancer tumors and colorectal cancer cell lines before and after treatment of chemotherapeutics to determine whether cancer stem cells and their normal counterparts constitutively express high levels of ABC transporters or do so mainly in the wake of chemotherapy treatment. This analysis will determine potential drug targets to reduce multidrug resistance in cancers. My approach is to obtain mRNASeq and miRNASeq data provided by The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database and published experiment data set GSE77533 to identify the patterns of expression of ABC transporters and their potential regulators (transcription factors and miRNAs) using Machine Learning techniques, such as Random Forest, Neural Network and Support Vector Machine. Preliminary results identify potential transcription factors involved in ABC transporter regulation specifically in cells subject to chemotherapy.  

141 Room 165 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Helen Chow
Paula Stamps (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
No More Neglect: An Analysis of Marburg and Ugandan Society

Marburg (Marburg marburgvirus) is a hemorrhagic fever virus that currently plagues the countries of Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Kenya. Marburg is a single-stranded filovirus that resides in fruit bats. Exposure is limited because people rarely travel into caves harboring fruit bats however small Marburg outbreaks still happen. This thesis connects the Marburg virus with poverty by using the concept of neglected tropical diseases and a case study on Ugandan population. I choose Uganda because it is the prime location of most recent outbreaks and is also one of the most impoverished countries in the world. My research is conducted through analyzing scientific journals about Marburg, Ugandan health and government records, historical journals, and current news topics. The aim of this thesis is to classify Marburg as a neglected tropical disease, raise attention to its threat level, and describe a plan to maintain the virus given the fiscal constraints of the Ugandan environment. A new classification of Marburg distinguishes a reason that the virus reoccurs and has not been controlled. Also, Marburg is considered a dangerous threat since its cousin virus, Ebola, famously caused a large epidemic lasting between 2014-2016 and it was allegedly included in the Soviet Union’s biological weapons program. Therefore, Marburg presents a global threat simple from one travelling. Although weaponizing Marburg is unlikely, it is still a virus that affects a portion of the world that cannot afford it.

142 Room 165 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Daphne Nakawesi
Mark Beaumont (Faculty Sponsor)
Honors Program, Bunker Hill Community College
Heart Disease in Uganda

The purpose of this paper was to study heart diseases in Uganda, a low income earning, developing country in Africa. My main focus was mainly on rheumatic heart disease, which is very prevalent in the country in comparison to other parts of the world and to address the reasons why this easily preventable and curable disease has persisted in one country and is almost nonexistent in others around the world. With scarcely any data and statistics available online about the severity of the disease and what is being done to address the situation, the little data was obtained from a few online resources and compounded with experience  as a national of the country. Knowing the economic status of the country was an added bonus as I could relate and understand why. The most significant factor contributing to the prevalence had to do with a lack of income to sustain basic needs of people, let alone the ability to afford health care and doctors’ visits. Efforts to get in touch with physicians in the county proved futile as phone calls were not answered or returned. A lot more information is expected to be obtained with a physical trip to the country in March as it will permit face to face communication and interviews with the physicians and caretakers that will in essence provide more information and data. This is expected to be more fruitful than phone calls and outcomes from the trip shall be updated. There seems to be a correlation between low socioeconomic status, unemployment and low standards of living and the high prevalence of communicable and heart diseases like rheumatic heart disease in developing countries like Uganda. A lot of these diseases are otherwise preventable and curable, but with no access to medical insurance and no income to afford to pay for doctor visits and medications, this is almost a lost cause. Illiteracy has also left many people ignorant of the ways they can protect themselves from some of these diseases that are otherwise easily treated and preventable with simple antibiotics and standard hygiene. Living in inaccessible villages and rural areas doesn’t help the plight for them to have access to any resources either. If some of these diseases are to be eradicated in the country, basic education and affordable medical care has to be afforded to the people in the country especially those living in rural areas that are most susceptible.

143 Room 174 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Marcello Orlando
Jason Roush (Faculty Sponsor)
Honors College, UMass Boston
A FRET-based Approach to Understanding the Physiological Role of Aggregation of the Prion-related Protein TIA-1

There is a large prevalence of stress-related illness within the United States, many of which, are not being treated effectively; a biological solution that blocks the core of what is causing these illnesses is needed. Prions, special folding proteins, can be beneficial to the body by possibly driving basic biological functions in the human body. The TIA-1 aggregate, a prion-like protein, is thought to drive biological stress; manipulating TIA-1 aggregation, could serve as a tool to controlling stress. The goal was to find a way to probe TIA-1 aggregation through use of its prion-related domain. It was hypothesized that blocking TIA-1 aggregation may perturb stress formation. First, the prion-binding domain of TIA-1 was determined. Secondly, the peptides were inserted back into its sequence in order to observe changes in the formation of aggregates through a FRET procedure. This procedure consisted of fluorescent protein-tagged TIA-1 treated with peptides at different concentrations in order to view changes in FRET signal, which directly correlates with changes in aggregation. The results of demonstrated that certain sections of the prion-related domain of TIA-1 caused changes in FRET signal compared to the control. In the future, a gel-filtration chromatography procedure should be performed in order to view physical, qualitative changes in TIA-1 rather than quantitative. Ultimately, the peptides that demonstrated an ability to alter TIA-1 aggregation through these procedures may serve as a powerful tool for controlling stress levels per specific patient and stress-related illness. 

144 Room 168 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Benjamin Robert Estabrooks
Randi Darling (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biology, Westfield State University
Male versus Male Territorial Interaction in Red-jointed Fiddler Crabs

Red-jointed fiddler crabs (Uca minax) range along most of the Eastern seaboard of North America in low salinity coastlines.  Their habitat consists of muddy shores where they dig burrows up to 60cm deep (Mienkoth, 1995).  Burrows are guarded by the males and, like other fiddler crabs, Uca minax, males have a highly ritualized aggression sequence used to defend their territory that involves displaying their singular enlarged claw.  There are three primary steps in the escalation of male confrontation starting with males facing each other, then leading into them aligning their enlarged claw, and finally concluding with grappling.  Grappling is the highest escalation of male display and consists of the males interlocking their enlarged claws together (Clark, 2016). We tested the hypothesis that larger males (based on body and claw size) will establish dominance when placed in a tank with other smaller males.  We predicted that if the largest dominant male was removed from the group then the next largest male would become dominant.

145 Room 174 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Anastasia V. Chobany
Geng-Lin Li (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biology, UMass Amherst
Phase-locking Precision is Maintained in Auditory Hair Cells following FALI Mediated Ribbon Destruction Despite Disruption of Post-Synaptic Response Density

The auditory system encodes complex temporal information through phase-locking, or the synchronous firing of nerve fibers to acoustic stimulation. Auditory hair cells employ synaptic ribbons to facilitate vesicle mobilization and the timed release of their neurotransmitter content to corresponding afferent fibers. Because of the ribbon's role in facilitating neurotransmitter release, we examined how ribbon destruction affected phase-locking precision via paired patch clamp recordings of hair cells and their corresponding nerve fibers. FITC-labeled ribbon binding peptide (fRBP) was used to destroy ribbon function following fluorescence assisted light inactivation (FALI). The fRBP [10 μM] was dialyzed into hair cells during whole cell voltage clamp recordings with the patch clamp pipette. Cells were then subject to sinusoidal stimulation (20 mV peak to peak at 400 Hz) to mimic sound wave stimulation. By itself, fRBP showed no effect on the vector strength of phase-locking precision. A 10 s flash of light (480 nm) resulted in a progressive and significant reduction in the density of post-synaptic response after 2-3 simulations, in contrast with the untreated control hair cells. Vector strength initially showed marked reduction in these stimulations as well. However, vector strength then recovered to levels comparable to control. These results suggest that phase-locking precision, unlike the strength of the post-synaptic response, is achieved independent of the synaptic ribbon.


159 Room 163 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Ashley Louise Kaiser
Christos Dimitrakopoulos (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Chemical Engineering, UMass Amherst
Low-Temperature Graphene Growth by Plasma-enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition

Graphene is a promising material for electronic applications due to its excellent carrier mobility and atomically-thin, two-dimensional structure. When high-quality graphene can be produced at low cost, this carbon nanostructure could serve as a diffusion barrier in the copper interconnects of integrated circuits, thereby advancing computing technology as circuit sizes continue to decrease. Although high-quality graphene can be grown by thermal chemical vapor deposition (CVD) using methane, this process occurs at high temperatures (~1000°C) that are not suitable for microelectronic integration. To address this problem, it is proposed here that the plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) of aromatic carbon precursors can be used to produce continuous, monolayer graphene on copper at low temperatures (~400°C), as the high-energy plasma can stimulate the reactions. Three main objectives are covered in this study: first, the established growth of high-quality graphene on Cu foil is experimentally confirmed by performing 1000°C thermal CVD with methane; then, amorphous carbon films are deposited on Cu using low-temperature PECVD with methane, and finally, the low-temperature growth of PECVD graphene from toluene is investigated. Hydrogen and argon are used as carrier gases, and the parameter space involving gas flow rates, temperature, pressure, plasma power, deposition time, and substrate material is investigated by experimental design. Raman spectroscopy is used to characterize the chemical bonding of the carbon films. Here, graphene’s structural character is identified by a sharp 2D peak at 2700 cm-1, a G peak at 1590 cm-1, and a minute D peak at 1350 cm-1, indicating few defects.

160 Room 163 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Davis J. Miller
Caitlyn Butler (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Civil Engineering, UMass Amherst
Pel Exopolysaccharide Quantification for Studying Effects of Biofilm Structure on Nanoparticle-Biofilm Interactions

Pel is an exopolysaccharide produced by many strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It is an important structural component of the extracellular polymeric matrix, which gives biofilms structural integrity. The presence of ionic cross-linking, as a function of pH, has been demonstrated between Pel and extracellular DNA. The objectives of this research are: 1) to develop a direct quantification method for pel and 2) to examine the relation between Pel quantity and biofilm structural properties. It is proposed to quantify Pel based on its chemical composition, being mainly composed of N-acetylgalactosamine (72.5 ± 3.6 mol%) and N-acetylglucosamine (14.5 ± 2.6 mol%). Secreted Pel is extracted using ethanol precipitation and further enzymatic treatment to remove impurities. Purified Pel is analyzed using a well-documented method of alditol acetate derivatization. Pel is converted to its monosaccharide constituents through acid hydrolysis and then derivatized to alditol acetates. These volatile alditol acetates may then be analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. By using an internal standard with known Pel composition, the total amount of Pel may be quantified. However, this is a relatively time-consuming method. We are currently developing a faster method of quantification through simple staining (with crystal violet) and absorbance measurements. This new method enables us to correlate the total biomass with the Pel produced. 

161 Room 163 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Andreas James Mueller
Edward Bryan Coughlin (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, UMass Amherst
The Effectiveness of N-Methylpyrrolidine (MP5) and N-Methylpiperidine (MP6) as Quaternization Agents for the Fabrication of Polyisoprene-ran-Poly(vinylbenzylchloride) (PI-ran-PVBCl) Based Anion Exchange Membranes

Photo cross-linked anion exchange membranes (AEMs) for use in anion exchange membrane fuel cells (AEMFCs) have been fabricated from solvent-processable polyisoprene-ran-poly(vinylbenzylmethylpyrrolidinium chloride) (PI-ran-P-[VBMP5][Cl]) and polyisoprene-ran-poly(vinylbenzylmethylpiperidinium chloride) (PI-ran-P-[VBMP6][Cl]) in order to ascertain the effectiveness of N-methylpyrrolidine (MP5) and N-methylpiperidine (MP6) as quaternization agents with respect to resultant membrane morphology, ion conductivity, water update and mechanical robustness. These results will be compared to previous works concerning membranes fashioned from polyisoprene-ran-poly(vinylbenzyltrimethylammonium chloride)  (PI-ran-P-[VBTMA][Cl]). Thus far numerous quaternization experiments have been performed in order to produce PI-ran-P-[VBMP5][Cl] and  PI-ran-P-[VBMP6][Cl] from polyisoprene-ran-poly(vinylbenzylchloride) (PI-ran-PVBCl). According to IR-scan and H-NMR data it has been found that PI-ran-P-[VBMP5][Cl] can be prepared utilizing the same methods described previously to make PI-ran-P-[VBTMA][Cl]. On the other hand, ways to completely quaternize (PI-ran-PVBCl to PI-ran-P-[VBMP6][Cl] with MP6 are currently under investigation as previous methods do not yield complete quaternization— presumably due to the lower solubility of MP6 in the polar solvents used. Membranes have recently been fabricated from the PI-ran-P-[VBMP5][Cl] and are currently undergoing water uptake analysis, with plans to perform SAXS scans and ion conductivity analysis in place.  

162 Room 163 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Sydney E. Foster
Wei Fan (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Chemical Engineering, UMass Amherst
Inexpensive Synthesis of Chabazite, SSZ-13

Aluminosilicate crystalline solids, called zeolites, are used the world
over for their regular repeating micro-pore structures, which can act
as scaffolds for efficient catalysis, as catalysts, or as molecular sieves. Some
zeolites, while occupying large portions of usage markets, can still
make a positive impact on industries motivated by the desire to increase
efficiency. One of these is CHA zeolite SSZ-13, which is used extensively in
NOx reduction from diesel engine emissions, and shows good selectivity
for methanol-to-olefin conversions. The limitation on the development
and usage of these more advantageous zeolites is the excessive cost of
manufacturing required to produce even small amounts of pure crystals.
The kinetics of synthesis, and crystallization conditions are studied
for a new method that is significantly less
expensive than methods widely accepted for manufacture of CHA zeolite,
and allows for more flexible feed sources.

163 Room 163 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Adam Daniel Murphy
Sarah L. Perry (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Chemical Engineering, UMass Amherst
Improving the Tumor Microenvironment In Vitro

In the advancement of biomedical therapeutics for human disease and cancer, the transition from lab bench in vitro experiments to in vivo animal trials is often inevitable. Research over the past decade, however, has shown that results in vitro do not automatically translate to similar results in vivo. Therefore, development of techniques and systems that produce more accurate, reliable in vitro models is a key component in progressive research. The research lab, run by primary investigator Dr. Neil S. Forbes, seeks to develop novel cancer therapeutics and analysis techniques using core chemical engineering principles. To aid in this research, a microfluidic system has been designed and developed to facilitate testing on three dimensional tumor spheroids. This microfluidic system has significantly increased experimental throughput and alleviated time spent on the tumor packing process. The system, also, generates consistent sample size to allow for responsible statistical analysis. Furthermore, the design has enabled diffusion-focused experiments that better mimic a drug’s or engineered-bacteria’s effect on tumor tissue due to blood vessel flow. Efforts have been made to automate the tumor packing process and image acquisition and analysis. As this microfluidic system is optimized and automated, a higher volume of in vitro experiments can be achieved to screen for effective therapeutic techniques, resulting in more efficient use of time during in vivo trials. 


188 Room 162 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Michael J. Hanley
Yi-Chen Ethan Yang (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Civil Engineering, UMass Amherst
Evaluating Effects of Flood Mitigation Measures with Agent-based Modeling

The frequency and severity of extreme flooding events are expected to rise in the near future due to the impacts of climate change, potentially resulting in significant and costly damages to communities around the world. To reduce impact from these floods, many communities have implemented flood management strategies in which individuals decide to what extent they are willing to protect their property from flood damages. Since human behaviors are involved in these strategies, it is difficult to create a pure process-based hydrologic model to evaluate hydrologic patterns that could affected human. Agent-based models address this complexity by explicitly connecting physical processes with human decision making in a single modeling framework. These types of models have been successfully applied to disaster mitigation and emergency response scenarios, but very few have been used to model the effect of collective flood mitigation practices. This thesis addresses this gap by developing a conceptual agent-based modeling framework that will quantify the reduction in flood damage across a watershed resulting from the collective interactions, mitigation decisions, and sociological behaviors of different agents defined at sub-basin scale. In this model, agent behaviors and interactions are characterized using empirical rule-based functions, and the resultant effect on the system is measured using empirical flood damage functions. The complete development and utilization of this model could improve our understanding of complex human-natural systems and help communities develop adequate flood management strategies.

189 Room 911 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Brendan Thomas Knickle
Simos Gerasimidis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Civil Engineering, UMass Amherst
Stiffness-based Optimized Design of Steel Diagonal Members of a Diagrid-Structural System for High-Rise Buildings

The evolution of structural engineering over the last 100 years has led to some of the most astonishing building designs the world has ever seen. However, as buildings progress higher into the sky, the need for safer and more effective structural systems is emerging, leading to the evolution of the diagrid structural system. The diagrid structural system is being implemented into tall building design for its unique ability to combine structural efficiency and architectural appearance. This paper seeks to present a simple approach to optimizing the geometry of steel diagonal members in the diagrid system. The optimizing method is based on a virtual work approach in which the volume of the steel tubes are minimized. Constraints come from a stiffness design, where tip deflection is restricted to current regulative limits. Furthermore, this paper pursues to open the discussion of optimization and constructability for high-rise buildings.


197 Room 801 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Vanessa O'Donnell
Emanuel Nneji (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Worcester State University
Fashion Magazines Reflection of the Changing Attitudes and Opinions of Women in America

Magazines aimed at women have often questioned women’s intellect and integrity, making them appear more as objects than normal human beings. As magazines strive to convince women of the true necessity of a product, man or lifestyle, women seem to be presented with images of their inadequacy. By showing only certain characteristics of women, both physical and non-physical, though photographs and stories, the risk is the public will assume that the media portray an unachievable ideal. What influence do magazines really hold over women’s sense of self as well as the attitudes of the American people? This research will seek to answer this question and investigate whether the objectification of women in magazines is in any way changing. This study will explore several magazines in the media to answer this question. A content analysis of three major women oriented magazines (Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Seventeen) will be sampled and analyzed for positive and negative elements through front cover photos and stories in order to analyze women objectification. The content analysis will include the front covers of magazines that includes a systematic and convenience sampling of the past twenty-five years. The analysis is centered on women in the media, specifically magazines, and how they have been scrutinized for what they look like. This is a reflection of the American public and what they value. In the past twenty-five years the content has changed as Americans progress into the future, our ideals about women alter to be a representation of how women are viewed.  

200 Room 162 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Jacquelyn Diane Collins
Leda Cooks (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
A Case Study of the Springfield Thunderbirds: How Sports Teams Can Effectively Use Social Media to Promote Their Brand

Social media has become an important communication tool for sports teams to connect with their fans. It gives fans instant access to information about their favorite teams, and gives teams the opportunity to build a deeper connection with their fan base. The Springfield Thunderbirds are an American Hockey League team located in Springfield, Massachusetts that recently moved to their new location in 2016. The 2016-17 season is the first for the Thunderbirds, formerly called the Portland Pirates and formally located in Portland, Oregon. The Thunderbirds had to reach out to their new community in Springfield to create a fan base in order to sell tickets. This thesis project is a case study of the Springfield Thunderbirds and how they are using social media to relate to and communicate with their fans. The goal of this study is to learn what makes the most effective social media strategies, specifically applied to the Springfield Thunderbirds. The results of this research can be applied to teams at any level. 

201 Room 168 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Kacie Helen Quinn
Lynn M. Phillips (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
Effects of the Media on Youth

Over the course of my three years at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I have studied film, education, media literacy, and communication. I have combined these fields into my Bachelor’s Degree with an Individual Concentration (BDIC) major: Media for Children and Young Adults. I have researched the effects that the media has on young people when it comes to their social, emotional, and intellectual development.  Despite common perceptions about the negative effects of the media on children, I will also be pointing out the benefits that the media has, drawing from sources such as Dafna Lemish (2015), Ellen Seiter (1995) and the late Fred Rogers, of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame. Finally, I will also be talking briefly about my own creative work on an animated children’s television program “Partners In Time,” which received an honorable mention in the Michael S. Roif Award Ceremony. This award is presented to an undergraduate Film Certificate student for “exceptional creativity and accomplishment.” The series is made up a cast of diverse characters, with a variety of races, cultures, and body types being represented. Additionally, the show is educational, teaching young viewers about the cultures of the past as the characters travel back in time together. Due to my research within as well as outside of the classroom, I will be able to connect my knowledge about children’s media to my own creative project, weaving together my research with my creative project.

202 Room 801 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Stephanie Saba
Robert Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Culture of Fast Fashion

In our current society, the price and quality of clothing have gone down significantly leading to a more wasteful and throwaway industry. This kind of “Fast Fashion” consumerism increases textile waste and the use of synthetic fibers, leading to more pollution in our environment. What does it say about the values of consumers if they are allowing this kind of pollution to continue just to keep up with the latest spring trend? Fast Fashion has become a specific culture within our society and reflects our values of buying, wearing and discarding clothing. It has also posed the question of what the fashion culture is like in other societies and how we interact with fashion consumption differently than others. Fashion in 1940’s U.S and fashion in the Amish community provide huge contrast to present day fashion in style, quality, trends, and self-expression. Studying these fashion cultures presents ways that we can look at our own fashion values and shift them to promote a cleaner industry. Through interviews with actual consumers I was able to understand what draws to participate in the industry. Looking at chain clothing stores also gave insight on how they enable fast fashion consumerism. With all of this research, my goal is to compare the different cultures and see what social ideologies we can learn from in order to step away from Fast Fashion. As a way of displaying my results I have created a poster series that expresses our values and the clothing that represents them.

203 Room 903 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Melanie Elizabeth de Souza
Donald J. Tarallo (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communications Media, Fitchburg State University
Transience: The Illusion of Stability

Ideas, beliefs, and philosophies do not exist in tangible forms because they are purely conceptual. However, through experimental art, it becomes possible to express these concepts by manifesting them physically. This project will explore the concept of transience and humanity through the medium of image making. Although meaning ultimately resides in the eyes of the beholder, my work seeks to emote the notion of transience and its bearing on humanity. I will be presenting a series of small warm-up studies where I have searched to find the right visual style for my images. This will involve gathering and experimenting with different visuals as they pertain to meaning and representation. These images will later be made into my final thesis book.

204 Room 903 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Emily Zollo
Robert Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
My Lens, Her Mirror

There is no debate that photography has been proven to be an impactful tool, contributing to education, art, advertisement and propaganda. However, I am here to prove it can be used as a tool to empower. To demonstrate, I have taken dozens of boudoir-styled photo shoots with young women. Each volunteer has spent some time with me in a studio or on location, creating photographs in a seductive, yet empowering way. I have collected my data through means of surveys, interviews and photographs. This data has shown that each subject has reached a greater level of confidence and self-love following the experience. Being able to see themselves in a way that they often not, or maybe even ever, see themselves, can be extremely powerful to the individual’s self image. This experience was crafted to be light-hearted and fun, while showing, physically, how beautiful they really are, from an outside perspective. Cooley’s “looking glass self” theory states that individuals use the perceptions and opinions of those surrounding them to create their own self-identity and I am using my photographs to create an additional, positive, and impactful reflection in which they use to create a self-image.To exhibit my outcome I will showcase “before and after” photographs of a few subjects, alongside a video that will give insight to the subjects’ thoughts and feelings: before, during and after the experience. Today’s society gives women many reasons to think negatively on her looks, including the media, Internet and current social issues, which can be detrimental to self-confidence. My experience and research is made to challenge some of these thoughts.

205 Room 904 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Anne N. Dooley
Erica Scharrer (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
Letting Women Press Start: Researching and Creating a Feminist Video Game

In the gaming community, it is easy not only to find hostility, but also sexism. These kinds of negative comments are vastly popular when discussing the plots of single-player plot-based games such as Uncharted or God of War. This project not only delves into the research of how sexism affects the larger gaming community, but also uses this as a springboard to create a feminist-friendly video game script. This script features a woman main character and her journey to discovering herself. This project aims to provide themes to which anyone, no matter who they are, can relate. The script was derived from studies conducted on the effects of sexism in video games as well as some original research. 

206 Room 904 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Isaiah Jeremie Fanfan
Robert Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Marriage in the Millennial Generation

This research was conducted to explore the social construct of marriage, its evolution and the current view of marriage in the millennial generation. According to Meg Murphy a writer says. In 1960 it was recorded that women married at age 20 and men married at age 23. In 2017 the average age for women to marry was 27 and the average age for men to marry was 29. Research indicates that not only is there a change in the age that people marry, but also amongst millennials that marry at all. With that being said the millennial generation want to seek independence and wealth before settling down or marrying at all. But with economic and societal conditions playing a part in the decrease of marriage amongst millennials. Does this really have anything to do with waiting until the millennial are established or are the millennial shutting out the idea of marriage because they cannot fathom the idea of making the decision to get married due to being known as the trophy generation. Being coddled, you were told you can do anything and never having the opportunity to fail. The issue is important because marriage has been looked as something to obtain, because of its value. That is not the case anymore through analysis using data from research, interviews and examining online outlets such as twitter, instagram and through memes on how millennial are viewing marriage. My research will provide a different perspective to the way millennial think about marriage.

207 Room 905 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Kaitlyn Amuso
Shirley Acquah (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Westfield State University
Intercultural Communication in Higher Education: A Case Study of Faculty and Staff Interactions at Westfield State University

Neuliep (2017) posits that the likelihood of having daily intercultural interactions has greatly increased in all contexts of life, but especially in the workplace and in education. Intercultural communication competency skills are becoming vital for faculty and staff due to the growing diversity of most higher education institutions in the United States. This study sought to understand the intercultural communication practices among faculty and staff at Westfield State University (WSU), Massachusetts. The research questions included (a) how do the faculty and staff at WSU perceive their level of comfort with intercultural communication and interactions, (b) how do the faculty and staff at WSU perceive the quality of their intercultural communication and interactions, and (c) what is WSU doing, if anything, to facilitate intercultural communication. Data was collected through semi-structured qualitative interviews and purposeful sampling. A total of 21 faculty and staff participated in the study. Data analysis is on-going and the findings will highlight the nature of intercultural communication competency between faculty and staff, and how this is reflected at the institutional level.

209 Room 168 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Zachary Britten
Robert Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Communication in Podcasts

Many podcasts challenge the perception of traditional media by being informal and conversational. Through this aesthetic, listeners establish a connection; not only to the podcast host(s) but to each other. I looked at popular podcasts that fall under this category and explored their methods of communication, impact on their audience, and the general personality of said audience. I looked at host behavior, creative tactics, and audience interaction; more specifically I analyzed the effect audience engagement has on a podcasts performance as well as audience interaction outside of the podcast. My research in the merits of informal conversation in podcasting brought me to a whole new understanding of listener engagement: community. The idea of being friendly in a podcast sets the stage for listeners to keep the same tone when interacting with each other, creating a community many podcasters did not realize they could make. I applied my research regarding creative strategies and community building to focus groups and one on one interviews. I focused on individuals ages 18 to 30 because I believed they make up the bulk of “podcasting communities.” I wanted to understand what a prospective audience responds to and how that can lead to the formation of a communal audience. To do so I provided clips of several podcasts and asked questions regarding their disposition and listener involvement. These participants responded positively to podcasts that featured friendly conversation and active listeners, many even wanted to get involved themselves. The participants felt it was so accessible because there were no walls up; the open style of the podcasts encouraged listeners to take part, both on and off the show. Through my research, I discovered the potential a podcast has outside of standard entertainment; podcasts have the ability to create a strong community.

210 Room 168 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
James Taylor Lalli
Robert Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Has There Ever Been a Truth?: Click-Bait and the Lies We Tell Ourselves

I have observed that news media outlets such as internet presence of major newspapers and social media integration of current events, have recently come under fire as source of untrustworthy information, citing "fake news" and "alternative facts". Some phenomena of distrust between consumer and news media could be attributed to clickbait and a supposed "post-truth" world. Studying specific psychoanalytical theories of selective exposure and perception, one can observe major trends in how news media and technology has changed our world. The relationship between news media and fact can be used to support these theories of cognitive dissonance in public psychology, and explain niche tribalism forming "alternate realities". My research is centered on consequences of unknowingly large portions of society having alternate perspectives of reality. After outlining these reasons for distrust and misinformation between society and news media I will introduce a potential alpha build or concept website that pulls news media out of social platforms of Twitter and Facebook. A website or application that allows for established news outlets and networks to reach wider audiences, maintain a subscription base, and provide consumers a "related news" section comparing sources with alternate views of current events. The main intention of this platform is to provide easy opportunities for comparison of news sources, theorizing that more sources brings a stronger relationship to truth and collective intelligence. Accomplishing this by contributing to passive fact checking and showing people related news from sources with different world perspectives.

217 Room 168 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Dominic Boisvert
Robert Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Film of Tomorrow (or: There's an Elephant in the Screening Room) (or: The Old Dogs and New Tricks of Cinema)

In my research, I seek to explore how new technological developments in digital cinematography will effect independent filmmaking in the years to come. The development of my study mainly comes from the perspectives and philosophies of filmmakers from various experiential backgrounds. Engaged in a discussion about where independent film stands today, it is my goal to now direct the conversation towards what we can expect in years to come. To accompany my research, I have prepared a “Cinematic Tour”, which showcases the evolution of filmmaking technology within the last century, using bits of American Cinema as examples. My research has made it apparent that new developments in digital photography have made cinema quality video increasingly easier to achieve. Considering this, I am inclined to think that there is a wave of bold American independent cinema around the corner. Over the life of my study, I hope to have instilled a hopeful curiosity in the future of filmmaking, and encourage everyone, not just film buffs, to consider the effect cinema has in society, and in our personal lives.

218 Room 917 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Charles David Barbera
Robert Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Dragon Egg: A Study in Character Archetypes

Dragon Egg is a fictional, young adult novel that takes place both in the real world and in a fantasy realm called Vyrena and is based around the classic concept of the Hero’s Journey and how this affects the typical character archetypes that are often seen in this genre. The protagonist is a young man named Gillian who, like the classic character, has lost his parents and is an orphan. However unlike the typical protagonist who is typically a common, relatable and typically socially outcast character, Gillian is a confident, attractive, athletic individual whose sheer overconfidence leads his character to resemble what would more aptly be described as a bully. The arc of his character therefore is vastly different from the typical protagonist and is less an evolution of becoming a hero and much more an evolution of becoming a good person. These character archetypes become much less of what they are in a typical hero’s journey, because in this story the characters arc is much more essential than the incredible quests and adventures that occur. This novel is an ideal way to show a world in a deeply troubled time that it is only by remembering that those who bully and do terrible things may have no idea of how deeply hurtful the things they have done are. With a protagonist like Gillian it’s much easier to see just how quickly one can become the villain. 

219 Room 803 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Emma Martin
Leda Cooks (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
Food Waste in American Households

Each year, American households waste up to half of the food that is produced in the country. Americans know that wasting food is “bad” (for various reasons), yet little to no improvements are being made in limiting the egregious amounts of waste. This study was conducted to gain a more thorough understanding of the American mentality concerning food waste and its effects. Consumers' grocery shopping habits, food storage habits, food disposal habits, and beliefs concerning environmental impacts of food waste were investigated through a series of interviews and written questionnaires by residents of Massachusetts. Ten people were interviewed from a range of ages, disposable incomes, and levels of education, yet all interviewees held a significant responsibility in their household for the provision of food. A limitation of this study is that all participants were white and came from a middle class background, although some of the literature reviewed discusses food waste in low income and non-white communities. This study found that consumers do, in fact, care about wasting food, but they tend to view it as a necessary evil of purchasing perishable food items. They are more influenced by the thought of wasting money on food that is thrown out instead of, for example, the environmental impact of decomposing food in landfills. Participants had not encountered any formal education on food waste (on a high school or college level), and food waste was not a significant factor taken into consideration when voting for public office or legislation. Understanding consumers' mentality and beliefs concerning food waste is essential to any efforts being made to reduce the amount of food waste in the United States. 

220 Room 803 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Ruijia (Rose) Wang
Leda Cooks (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
Reducing UMass Dining Hall Food Waste and Combating Hunger Using Food Trucks

In the United States, 40% of all the food produced goes to waste. More than 22 million pounds of uneaten food is thrown away each year on college campuses. However, college dining operations can serve as an educational tool to cultivate awareness around food waste reduction. At UMass Amherst, the pre-consumer food wasted during the production process in the kitchens accounts for 25 percent of total compostable waste. Therefore, UMass Amherst should strive to reduce the amount of food “over-produced” and expand the surplus food donation to the low-income local communities. This project proposes a strategic plan to cope with the oversupply of food at UMass Dining by using food trucks. These trucks would serve as a mobile food rescue platform to save otherwise wasted food from composting and landfills. Food trucks have the potential to play an important role in redistributing the overproduction of cooked meals from the dining halls to low-income families who are in need in the community. The intended outcome is to create mobile kitchens to facilitate access to healthy foods, divert food waste from composting and landfills, and reallocate pre-consumer food waste to the local communities in western Massachusetts.

221 Room 805 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Christine Elena Coutts
Robert Harris (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communications Media, Fitchburg State University
I'm Not Racist, But . . . A Documentary

This documentary will explore racial prejudice through the experiences of six different people, one of those being myself. This small group of people varies in race, culture, gender, and interest. As the filmmaker, I will be seen and heard on screen as a participant in the interviews in order to establish inclusivity between the film and the audience. I believe that I qualify as the narrator of the film as my role as producer and director as well as a woman from a bi-racial family. In addition to interviewing this group, I will also be talking to other groups and individuals that encounter prejudice in their everyday lives. Through in-depth group and one-on-one discussions, viewers will be able to understand participants’ experiences as it relates to the nation’s climate. The final edit of the piece will delve into themes of identity, racism, and culture and throw light on issues that Americans today may be hesitant to talk about.


231 Room 805 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Zoe Arnold
George W. Layng (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Limited Development of Minority Owned Businesses in Boston Despite Diverse Population Demographics

In “Limited Development of Minority Owned Businesses in Boston Despite Diverse Population Demographics,” historical data of both population and economic demographics in Boston is analyzed. The main conclusion of this analysis reveals that despite Boston’s historical trend of demographic diversification, the development of minority-owned businesses remains hindered by the inability of minority groups to attain adequate income and wealth. In this analysis, statistical and demographic data from Boston Redevelopment Authority, the U.S. Small Business Association, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, The Mayor's Office of New Bostonians, and the Boston Small Business Plan was obtained. This research reveals that Boston’s increase in overall business creation does not correlate with the limited expansion of minority-owned businesses. More specifically, as of 2016 sole proprietorships represent 95% of Boston’s 40,000 businesses. However, only 32% of these small businesses are minority owned. The answer to why fewer minorities own businesses lies in statistical economic data revealing that nonwhite minorities proportionally hold far fewer assets and far less wealth than their white counterparts. Liquid assets, which are easily converted into cash, include money in savings accounts, checking accounts, stocks, money market, and government bonds. Helping explain the correlation between race and business creation, nearly all whites –96%– owned liquid assets. However, only 85% of Caribbean blacks and Cape Verdeans, and only 83% of blacks born in the U.S. at least held a liquid asset. Subsequently, nonwhite people are far more disadvantaged in their attempts to construct and operate businesses. 

232 Room 917 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Corey John Pooler
Katheryn L. Bradford (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Education, Westfield State University
Service Learning in Nicaragua

Our trip to Nicaragua was designed as a Global Service Learning Project. Service learning can be defined as a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. This form of learning differs from any other due to one critical characteristic. Unlike a typical learning environment, service learning focuses on a balance between both student learning and addressing real-life needs within a community. Learning objectives zero in on giving back in many ways, including human, safety, educational, and environmental needs. We spent our trip building a storage room and teacher office for a school and community in need. Not only will this new addition to the school benefit the students of today, it will benefit the students for years to come. It will help to continue giving opportunities to those who may not have otherwise had them. At the same time, helping this community also taught our class some valuable lessons along the way. To be appreciative of what we have in life, to be thankful for the opportunity to give back, and to be able to experience such an amazing culture. We were able to enhance our commitment to global awareness, and deepen our appreciation for the diverse culture of Nicaragua and other countries that may be similar. I know this trip was truly inspiring for me, and has lead me to want to participate in service learning trips in the future.


239 Room 917 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Hilton N. Carboo
Muhammad Sohaib Muneeb
Hao Loi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, Quinsigamond Community College
Implementing a Template-Driven Programming Palette Tool

Bearing in mind the difficulty of building the Programming Palette Tool, as well as the long and painful process programmers experience in adding palette items, amends are made by using Template Metaprogramming. While most of the problems come from having to recreate major files, a Graphical User Interface (GUI) is built and used in an automated process to create these files. Thus, the palette items are generated. The GUI regenerates the files needed, reducing the pain of the creation process. This procedure allows programming individuals to create their own palette tools for any programming language through generating a temporary source code. Files that are needed to be created in the first method, are automated in the second—cutting the necessary efforts by a considerable amount. Our tool can be used in commonly-used programming languages, such as C++, Python, and Ruby, and many others. Providing such a tool to advanced programming students will allow them to create palette tools for themselves. We conducted a user study on the effectiveness of our tool. The user survey furthers the view that the earlier method of creating items for the palette was largely tiresome.

240 Room 917 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Kyle N. LaPointe
Hao Loi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, Quinsigamond Community College
Polygon Filling Using Triangulation versus Quadtree

My project involves algorithms that relate to filling polygons with many vertices. For a given polygon, a path is drawn from inside the polygon that exits and reenters the polygon without crossing itself. The closed region is added onto the polygon, replacing the border between the edges it intersects. It needs to be able to determine whether any point is inside the polygon and find the edges that the path intersects. Filling in the polygon is the most computationally intensive problem. I will compare the complexity of two methods for filling in the polygon, one involving polygon triangulation, and the other using a quadtree data structure to fill using squares. When the polygon's area changes, the process of filling it in should only involve redrawing the areas that change, rather than redrawing the entire area every time it changes. I will prove through induction that quadtree is more efficient than triangulation. I will demonstrate these algorithms by creating a game where players walk around and begin drawing a path once they exit their area, adding the enclosed space to their area once they reenter. If a player draws a path that goes inside of another player's area and captures that space, the edges of both polygons need to be redrawn. If another player crosses the path they have drawn before they close it, the first player loses and has to start over. The aim of the players is to have the largest area.

241 Room 917 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
John Adam Roman
Bradley Pudsey
Hao Loi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, Quinsigamond Community College
Creating a Multi-Platform Controller in Java to Improve Ease of Use for NAO Robots

Creating an application can be difficult, especially having to write that application in multiple languages just to make it work on multiple platforms. Currently, NAO robots use the C++ programming language as an interface for developing applications, which is not as flexible as other languages. To get around this problem we made a Java application for NAO robots. We installed a JVM onto the NAO robot and built an application using the Java programming language to run on multiple platforms. The reason we used Java instead of C++ is because Java is more portable, allowing our application to be run on multiple platforms, and because there is less Java code around for NAO robots. In our application, users are able to connect to their NAO robot wirelessly and select a series of commands for the robot to execute. This tool was presented to our local high school robotics club, which is comprised of students with varying degrees of experience in robotics. To measure the intuitiveness and effectiveness of our application, we had them use the application with the NAO robot and surveyed them afterwards. To get a better understanding of who benefited the most from our application, our survey asked them about previous experience in robotics and using NAO robots. Our survey also asked about the layout and ease of use of my application on both a PC and android.

246 Room 168 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Abdillahi Shakur Hussein
Jessica Thelen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Humans and Machines Negativity

Humans have reached a generation full of technology. Men’s fixation with tablets, smartphones, and iPods, has not only changed the way they spend time, but the way they think and feel. There is no doubt that machines have made changes for the better, however, the changes are not so great for society. Despite the overall positive feedback from people, the risk of its dependability is far more vulnerable, due to their excessive interactions with such technologies. The use of machines affects people's mentalities and interpersonal behaviors in negative ways. Men may struggle having a normal conversation due to feeling awkward. In some occasions, men have benefited from the use of machines, which begs the question of how its use is affecting men mentally, physically, emotionally, and their interpersonal behaviors. Communicating through machines is argued to be very addictive. Therefore, the interpersonal communication of human interaction is being challenged. Machines appear to be destroying the quality of human interactions. Currently, men struggle to find someone to talk to in person; they depend on machines, ignore one’s emotions, and easily jump onto tech equipment to find someone whom shares the same interests. Are men affected by machines, and, if so, how? This paper will discuss the affects machines have on men throughout their daily life and how their interaction with it is causing affects, as well as outlining possible solutions to avoid the constant use of technology and improve interpersonal communications. This information can be presented using PowerPoint and visual demonstrations. 

247 Room 917 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Charles John Harwood
Hao Loi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, Quinsigamond Community College
Using Raspberry Pi to Track Wi-Fi Devices

Utilizing the basic structure of a Raspberry Pi computer allows for simple programming to create complex projects. Raspberry Pi computers can use a variety of different languages. This allows for multi-platform programming. By linking multiple raspberry pi computers, it is possible to create field in a building that can track objects that use a Wi-Fi signal. Using Wi-Fi extenders at different positions in the selected area create a tracking field. The tracking field can be expanded or condensed depending on the location of the Wi-Fi extenders. The purpose of this, is to allow for the locating of Wi-Fi enabled devices in a localized field. Some grocery stores already use this technology. These stores rely on cellphones that have their Wi-Fi enabled. The Raspberry Pi will have a program that will store a variable assigned to each Wi-Fi enabled device that enters the field. When the Wi-Fi is enabled the signal pings off multiple extenders. The cellphones can be located by checking the amount of time it takes for the ping to go between each extender. After a set amount of time, the data will be moved to a new storage area, that will analyze the data for basic patterns. These patterns will change the amount of processing power that will be used by lesser used area.

248 Room 917 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Anthony Ramos
Hao Loi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, Quinsigamond Community College
Immersing into a Robot’s Perspective in Virtual Reality Using the Oculus Rift

The human eye and brain combination has immense capabilities of surveying the environment. Artificial intelligence and computer vision is not advanced enough to make critical decisions for us. My project ChiisaNAO allows us to immerse our mind to the eyes of a robot using virtual reality. With the Oculus Rift and the robot’s camera lens, the user is able to view what the NAO robot can see. While wearing the headset, the user would be able to analyze an area without physically being there. This comes in handy for situations where it is difficult for a person to be there themselves such as dangerous places or spots that are too cramped for a human to fit. I have developed a software interface that creates a simple server for the NAO robot and Oculus Rift to communicate with each other. The interface is written in C++. Using the open source Robot Operating System (ROS), the project transmits a video stream from NAO’s camera to the Rift over a local network. The ROS runs on an Ubuntu virtual machine which is hosted on a Windows PC. Using the Oculus Rift’s SDK, I have created a virtual world in which the video is broadcasted for the user to view. A user study was conducted to get feedback on the user’s perception. Overall I’ve received positive feedback from the user’s wearing the Rift headset to see through the NAO robot’s cameras.

249 Room 917 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Brendan Lee Russell
Hao Loi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, Quinsigamond Community College
Autonomous Room Mapping Robot

I have come up with an idea for a relatively cheap autonomous room mapping robot (ARMR) that will send live mapping data to a cell phone over bluetooth. The initial prototype of ARMR will have a 360 degree rotating LIDAR sensor, an accelerometer, and a bluetooth module. These will all be mounted on a 3D printed chassis similar to a remote controlled car. The ARMR will be controlled by an Arduino with code written in C++ (or later a single board computer if the Arduino lacks computational power). The companion app that will be used with the ARMR will be developed for Android using Android Studio and the Java language. ARMR will generate a 2D overhead map of the ground floor of a building along with objects inside while autonomously driving through each room and will send the map to an Android app. While generating the map ARMR will simultaneously use the data from the LIDAR sensor to drive to unexplored areas of the room and avoid obstacles. My initial plan for tracking the ARMR’s position in the room will be based off of the data from the accelerometer, along with the signals sent to the servos and motors. Using this data ARMR will estimate the distance, and direction traveled. My plan is that ARMR will be able to do this with great speed and agility. The app side of ARMR’s interface will display the map being drawn out and will be pinch zoom-able.

250 Room 165 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Michael Anthony Ascenzi
Komalpreet Kaur (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, Salem State University
Controlled Learning for Autonomous Flight

By exploiting the close relationship between a labyrinth board and a quadcopter, this project is a proof of concept for a device and software that tests autonomous quadcopter flight through the utilization of aerial/satellite photography in a controlled environment. The project aims to replicate flight through geographic areas with obstructions that form maze-like pathways. Using the four corners of the labyrinth board as reference points, mimicked from a quadcopter, there is a direct correlation between the movement of the marble on the board and the flight motion of a quadcopter. With this relationship in mind, autonomous flight is tested using the labyrinth board design built into a mechanism that allows for viewing the maze from above by a camera. Strategically-placed motors and a gyroscope manipulate the board. Feedback signals are applied to maze recognition, maze solving, object recognition, and motion tracking algorithms used by the Matlab programming language and various OpenCV libraries to generate control signals for manipulating the motors. Through the integration of hardware and software, the ability to replicate drone flight in a controlled environment using aerial/satellite imagery is mirrored in the labyrinth board concept. Through image recognition, both the maze and the marble are recognized. Based on the results of applying maze-solving algorithms, the motors are affected to manipulate the marble through the maze to its ultimate exit at its end position. 

251 Room 165 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Shane Colton Murphy
Komalpreet Kaur (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Computer Science, Salem State University
XLA Calculator

Visual aids are often used to abstract complex systems into a form that is more immediately familiar to the viewer. In the context of Computer Science, and more specifically Boolean Algebra, the student familiar with propositional calculus will find few barriers to entry, while the student with no formal background in mathematics may immediately find themselves struggling with basic notation. The “X-Stem Logical Alphabet” notation (Developed by Dr. Shea Zellweger) is visually consistent and uses familiar Latin characters to represent each of the 16 binary truth operations found in Boolean logic. There are sparse resources for utilizing this notation despite its potential in acting as a learning supplement to those who respond well to visual aids, or to those who experience a learning difference. I have built an “XLA Calculator” Hardware/Software package that provides the user with both visual feedback and physical interaction. The hardware’s design acts as an input keypad for interaction with the Software application in addition to an XLA notation reference. The Software allows the user to view the output of all 16 operations in real-time as they enter input from the device. The user can build more complex expressions by saving previously generated expressions into variables and using  them as input for the next operation. The software provides the user with equivalent expression syntax in multiple programming languages for practical application in a programming environment. 


254 Room 163 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Elyce Celine Hall
Jennifer Hartsfield (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Criminal Justice, Bridgewater State University
Rehabilitation or Social Isolation? The States' Struggles with Juvenile Sex Offender Laws

In 2006, the Adam Walsh Act (AWA) was signed by then President George W. Bush, ushering in a new set of federal standards on how states were to deal with convicted sex offenders. One of the most controversial measures in the AWA required that a subset of juveniles register as sex offenders. Prior to this law, states were left to use their discretion to decide if this was appropriate, with many states excluding children from their sex offender registration program. The new federal mandate contradicted several other public safety measures (such as the shielding of juvenile court records), and the purpose of the juvenile justice court, which focuses on rehabilitation. This mandate left states confused as to whether or not to comply and if so how. This undergraduate study seeks to determine if they are any common patterns in how states handled the registration of juvenile sex offenders. 


264 Room 165 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Zachary James Andersen
Leonce Ndikumana (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
Capital Flight from Africa in the Development Financing Discourse

The project aims at investigating the evolution of capital flight and its influence on development financing in Africa. The objective is to assess the attention and importance accorded to capital flight by policy makers and the general public, specifically regarding its adverse effects on financing for development in Africa. This will help assess the opportunities and challenges faced by policy makers and civil society in their efforts to combat capital flight from Africa. The study will identify the milestones achieved in documenting and raising awareness on the problem of capital flight as well as the challenges faced in generating knowledge on the issue. The study will also address opportunities available regarding research and advocacy to advance the fight against capital flight. It will identify the key players (actors, facilitators, beneficiaries), the associated costs and losses (and who are the losers) from capital flight from Africa. This will be accomplished through the investigation of key issues surrounding capital flight including, tax evasion, financial secrecy, and trade mis-invoicing. The project will be focused specifically on Angola, South Africa, and Cote d’Ivoire and the ways in which their development has been disrupted capital flight.

265 Room 165 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Marvin Balan
Diane Flaherty (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
Global Currency: Future of Trade?

In July of 1944 a conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, established the Bretton Woods system of monetary and exchange rate management. Forty-four nations gathered to create a new international monetary system focused on international cooperation instead of isolation. There were two main arguments. First was Harry Dexter White’s plan for an inconvertible paper money made legal tender by a government decree known as fiat money. The second was John Maynard Keynes’ plan for the establishment of a supranational currency known as the Bancor. In the end the conference decided to follow White’s plan to create the current fiat money system along with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The purpose of this thesis is to analyze whether Keynes’ rejected proposal for the establishment of a new international currency and a global central bank would have been the better decision for international economic stability. The methodology used incorporates historical analysis and empirical analysis applying correlation and regression techniques to determine if the right choice was made. The historical analysis will track the history of money and trading and identify the costs and benefits of successive systems. The empirical analysis will track the volatility of a national currency vs. a regional currency, specifically the US dollar and the Euro. Measuring volatility from the establishment of the Euro to the present, will help assess which currency is more stable and how much of an economic effect there is on the respective nation or region. The correlation and regression analysis estimates the effects of volatility and uncertainty in the exchange rate system. The expected result of the investigation is that if a global currency is adopted it will lead to an increase in trade, an increase in foreign direct investment and a reduction in inflation. This would lead to more cooperation among nations and the creation of institutions such as the International Clearing Union to prevent a financial crisis on a global scale from occurring again.

266 Room 165 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Daniel Gould
Michael J. Harrison (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Business, Framingham State University
The Economic Impact of the Olympics on Host Cities

This paper examines past Olympic Games to determine what factors successful or unsuccessful financial outcome. Using this evidence the paper develops specific criteria to more accurately predict the potential of a bid city hosting a financially successful Olympic Games. Additionally, the paper retrospectively analyzes whether or not Boston should have bid for the 2024 Olympics. The ability to pin point the aspects that make for successful Olympic Games will help future bid cities to be able to more accurately predict whether or not they will have a successful Olympics before even putting in a bid. In order to solve this problem we use economic analysis to identify the main factors in having a successful Olympic Games. Using economic analysis we are able to take into account the opportunity cost of resources as well as measure the costs and benefits for Boston to host the Olympics in 2024. Analysis of past Olympic Games using an economic model indicates that hosting the 2024 games would result in Boston incurring costs in excess of projected benefits.

268 Room 801 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Kevin O'Rourke
Katherine Jewell (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, Fitchburg State University
Economic Culture

This work will highlight major effects of The Great Recession and seek to identify trends amongst millennials in the years following. It will then examine mass culture and determine whether or not these trends are reflected in it, and, if so, how well those narratives align with the facts. Primary research will consist of economic and behavioral data, especially data generated by field studies conducted in the years since 2008. There will also be some examination of primary source material via news and user-driven content (i.e. YouTube, Reddit, etc.) to reinforce the accuracy of survey data. Having established major threads or themes in said data, a critical analysis of cultural sources including television, movies, and other mass culture will establish examples of those themes (or lack thereof), and offer a discussion about the accuracy of those themes’ portrayal. At a basic level it appears that a good deal of influence is being exerted on mass culture by economic events and trends, creating new character arcs, settings, and conflicts in the media we consumer for entertainment.

275 Room 165 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Shailja Agarwal
Diane Flaherty (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
A Comparative Analysis of the Impacts of Globalization on Poverty across Developing and Developed Countries

While it is a common belief that globalization has had a positive impact, especially in developing countries, by improving standards of living, there still remain many international challenges such as poverty reduction. Through increased foreign investment and openness of economies, many countries have worked towards reducing their poverty levels but some have benefitted through globalization more significantly than others. This thesis examines the differences in impacts of globalization on poverty levels across six developing and developed countries, through a comparative analysis of openness, foreign direct investment (FDI), poverty levels, and development indicators. The thesis hypothesizes that globalization, indicated by increased openness and increased FDI, results in a reduction in poverty. The thesis compares import and export levels and FDI for India, Bangladesh, South Africa, Czech Republic, Australia and Israel from 1980-2014. By comparing Human Development Indices for each country, the thesis also aims to correlate the extent of development in the country with its corresponding decline in poverty. Preliminary results indicate that developing countries have seen a larger change in their development and poverty levels, but these levels still remain much lower than those of developed countries. 

276 Room 165 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Jiayi Dong
Diane Flaherty (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
The Relationship between the Volatility of Exchange Rate and Foreign Direct Investment Inflows in Developing Countries

This thesis investigates the relationship between the volatility of exchange rate and Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) inflows in developing countries. Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) has become an important component in development, especially for developing countries which have continued to attract significant FDI inflows. These inflows contribute to improving domestic economic growth, exports, employment opportunities and international competitiveness. The research hypothesis of this thesis is that exchange rate movements and volatility are determinants of decisions to invest abroad through FDI. Most theories of the relationship between the fluctuation of the exchange rate and foreign direct investment are either controversial or inconclusive. This research is based on empirical data analysis from 2007 to 2014 for nine countries in three different developing regions, Asia, Latin America and Africa. This study employs both regression analysis and correlation analysis to examine the impact of exchange rate movements on the level of inward FDI. Variables including the real exchange rate, gross domestic product(GDP), corruption index, openness, fiscal policy will be introduced in the economic model. The expected result is a negative relationship between the volatility of exchange rate and foreign investment inflows, and the depreciation of exchange rate in developing country positively affects foreign direct investment inflows.

277 Room 177 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Elsa Pikulik
Nikolaos Artavanis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Finance, UMass Amherst
An Analysis of Incentives and Sectoral Repercussions of British Exit from the European Union

The objective of this paper is to analyze the possible economic implications of Britain exiting the European Union, especially for the labor market, international trade, the financial service sector, and the knowledge economy. It is shown that in each of these sectors, the impacts for Britain will depend on the exit conditions that are negotiated. Using the model of Alesina et. al. (2001) for the equilibrium size of an international union, the paper evaluates the incentives of Great Britain and other key European players in exit negotiations. Consistent with the views of leading economists, the study offers a framework for the negotiation of possible conditions and their effects on topics of primary importance.

278 Room 801 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Jon Anton Johannesson
Christa Michelle Marr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, Fitchburg State University
Interest Rates and Demographics

The United States is in the midst of an unprecedented decline in labor force participation as compared the total population. This occurs as "baby boomers" are retiring from the workforce in an era where life expectancy is at an all-time high. This has led to changes in saving behaviors which in turn affects the short and long term interest rate of the country. This paper seeks to explore how the declining relative workforce impacts not only interest rates but also monetary policy in the U.S.  I will do this by examining the working age population as a percentage of the total population against short and long term interest rates, as well as 10-year bond yields. I will control for fluctuations in the interest rates through monetary policy variables, GDP, non farm payroll growth, and the CPI. Further, I compare the results in the U.S. to Japan, who is reacting to a similarly changing demographic, to further understand the determination of interest rates significance of monetary policy and the global macroeconomic effect of secular growth in the population on the interest rate.

279 Room 903 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Olivia Erin Love
Robert Paul Musgrave (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
Massachusetts Community Shared Solar

Massachusetts is a leading state in progressive solar energy implementation. Community Shared Solar farms have become popular among Massachusetts residents who do not have suitable rooftops for solar arrays or do not want to make a large investment for a long run return on investments. Community Shared Solar farms provide benefits for many stakeholders due to federal and state incentive policies. It would be expected that with community solar farms providing large monetary benefits along with environmental benefits, a new community solar farm would be in the pipeline each day with construction starting immediately for the towns within Massachusetts. This is not the case: only about a third of towns in Massachusetts have implemented Community Shared Solar farms. This paper will examine the ease of constructing a Community Shared Solar farm from a developer’s standpoint due to: differences in towns regarding zoning bylaws, demographic features, political structures, financial models of solar farms, and location of the solar farm. This paper will offer policy and incentive design suggestions for other states who are looking to develop and further the success of Community Shared Solar farms for their residents. 

280 Room 165 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Alianza Jade Hagenburg
Diane Flaherty (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
The Effects of Globalization on Economic and Political Risk in Saudi Arabia and China

Globalization has changed the political and the economic climates in the different regions of the world.  Operating under the assumption risk has globalized since the 1990s, this thesis compares the risks in two countries, Saudi Arabia and China.  The hypothesis is that risk varies between the two countries due to their differential exposure to various elements of risk, including political, economic, country, banking, currency, sovereign, and business climate risk.  Specifically, the thesis will examine whether increased globalization increases the political risk levels in Saudi Arabia due to simultaneous globalized terrorism in the geopolitical region, and increases the political risk levels in China but to a lesser extent.  In addition, it is hypothesized that the economic risk levels will increase in both countries as well, but also to a lesser extent in China because of its flourishing economy, stable government, and strong national currency.  The methodology used will be quantitative and qualitative research.  Quantitative analyses are based on data over the time period of 1970 to the present, where this time period acts as the bounds of a period of increased globalization.  The statistical analyses will be used to identify patterns and connections between different economic and political indicators measured by variables including GDP per capita, government systems, and representation in government. From previous literature, the expected results are that both China and Saudi Arabia maintain average levels of both political and economic risk, but Saudi Arabia’s risk is more elastic and dependent on its oil economy and its geopolitical conditions.  

281 Room 801 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Jonel Christine Thebeau
Christa Michelle Marr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, Fitchburg State University
Determinants of Political Polarization

Political polarization and income inequality are growing issues within the United States, and data shows that they have been rapidly increasing.  McCarty, Poole, and Rosenthal (2006), for instance, show that increases in income inequality at the national level is strongly positively correlated with increases in the divergence between political parties since the 1970s. On the heels of a particularly polarizing election, I seek to explore how increases in income inequality over time affect the polarization of our representatives.  I further consider the source of the polarization as demand-side, or coming from the electorate, as compared to supply-side, or stemming from the emergence of extreme candidates. Following Garand (2010), I explore how changes in state-level income inequality, constituency ideology, and demographics impact changes in senators’ partisanship from the 91st Congress to the 114th Congress. I measure income inequality using state-level GINI coefficients and political polarization using DW Nominate Scores from McCarty et. al. (2006). I hypothesize that states who not only experience higher income inequality but also inequality that increases over time are represented by (increasingly) more partisan senators than those who do not.


282 Room 165 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Carlos Armando Vizcardo Benites
Katherine Nunez
Aileen Ortiz
Ester Shapiro (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, UMass Boston
Understanding Pathways for Latino Student Success at an Urban Public Institution: Organizational and Student-Centered Perspectives

This research examines academic experiences of Latino students enrolled at an urban public institution, to identify resources for success and how to improve points of access at both institutional/organizational levels. The study uses a multi-contextual model for diverse learning environments in broad access institutions (Hurtado, 2013), which argues for attention to the organizational/institutional environment as providing resources or barriers as well as a student-centered perspective on navigating educational, family workplace and community settings and obligations. Additionally, the research applies an intersectional perspective on culture as multi-faceted (Villaruel & Fuentes, 2012); and culturally specific approaches to understanding Latino student strengths and contextual challenges along educational pathways during key transitions, to explore how institutional programs can incorporate culturally sensitive/high-impact educational practices (student-family engagement, holistic health promotion practices, culturally-sensitive career development and research opportunities addressing lived experiences of inequalities) can better support student success by mobilizing strengths (Nunez et al, 2013; Rendon et al, 2014). The mixed-methods study will conduct individual interviews and 2 focus groups with diverse Latino students at different stages of their education. Lastly, interviews will be conducted with key faculty, staff, and community experts in Latino educational success policies. What challenges/barriers do Latino students identify in their UMB studies, and how are some of these challenges gendered and/or culturally specific? Life experiences including national origin/immigration status, disability, or mixed-race status? What are the personal, familial, academic and non-academic resources Latino students utilize?  What do Latino students recommend to improve their access and utilization of these resources?

284 Room 905 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
David Michael Youngerman
Paige Marie Hermansen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
University Academic Centers to Help Students Succeed

Banacos Academic Center at Westfield State University offers academic support, tutoring, and technology services for students with disabilities. The Banacos Center and on-campus support services for students with learning disabilities at other colleges and universities provide valuable and necessary accommodations to help students succeed. Based on research about on-campus disability accommodations and first-hand observations and interviews with Banacos Center staff and students, this project explores how such centers prepare students for success after college. The project also considers how Banacos teaches students how to receive the skills that helps them to prepare themselves for the real-world jobs. I need to know what the goal of the Banacos program is and how they help students develop skills for the real world in attaining a good job and a secure life.


299 Room 165 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Catherine A. Bulikowski
Henry C. Theriault (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Philosophy, Worcester State University
Non-Native English Writers in College Communities

Despite being described as a “melting pot” of different cultures, identities, and languages, US universities do not accommodate non-native English speaking students as well as they do native English speakers. My presentation will be discussing the challenges faced by non-native English speakers face with typical college-level writing assignments. My specific focus is on how writing support facilities and programs on campus, such as the Writing Center at Worcester State University, work with non-native English speaking clients. I will argue that the key to success is recognizing the special potentials and unique linguistic strengths multilingual students can bring to writing in English even as they are developing English fluency. I will approach this issue through certain key philosophical concepts of language use from phenomenology and post-modernism, especially Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature. I conclude that multilingualism is a valuable asset in college communities.

300 Room 162 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
James Flynn
Jason Roush (Faculty Sponsor)
Honors College, UMass Boston
Racial Roots of Romanticism

Using a Trans-Atlantic critical lens, this project will uncover the latent racial thinking in the Romantic narratives of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “Ligeia” and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Christabel”. The short story “Ligeia” depicts a man’s interactions with an intelligent, mysterious woman named Ligeia, a woman whose mental prowess and other-worldliness go beyond her death to possess the narrator’s thinking and life. “Christabel” is set during an indistinct medieval period and depicts a maiden named Christabel’s strange encounter with the mysterious and subtly malevolent Geraldine. I will examine the latent racial thinking in these two texts to prove that Coleridge and Poe shared a process of depicting feared racial others in their Romantic texts. Neither “Ligeia” nor “Christabel” explicitly discuss race, but both texts contain strange otherworldly women with foreign traits that prove both alluring and destructive. My thesis’ point is to propose that the American Romantic concepts of whiteness and black others, discussed by Toni Morrison in Playing in the Dark, have counterparts in English Romantic work. To establish this connection I will explore what others have written about the influence that English Romantic authors, such as Coleridge, had on American Romantic authors, like Poe. To further strengthen this connection I will place the authors firmly within the social context of their days through an examination of their biographical information and its relevance to their work. Michel Foucault’s ideas on bio-ethics will be used to reveal the greater historical racial mechanisms that influenced the writing of these texts.

301 Room 801 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Jessen Nicole Foster
Joselyn Almeida-Beveridge (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, UMass Amherst
"Woman on the Field of Battle": Retaining Agency and Femininity in a British Romantic Warzone

The transformative politics during the age of revolutions created questions about the place of women in society, specifically when it came to females in and around a war zone. Literary examples of these women provide a starting point in order to discuss this changing attitude. This paper is part of a larger project focusing on changing perceptions of women in a military setting during this change in political and social ideologies. My presentation will be centered on the depictions Agustina de Aragón during the Peninsular War in Spain, and how she subverts the meditation on the warrior woman as a fictional character, or in fictionalized accounts. Two notable representations of Agustina are Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and Francisco de Goya's Los Desastres de la Guerra, which reject the images of past warlike women and present Agustina as a woman fierce enough to defend herself and her family if need be. At the same time, they allow her to retain their femininity and identity. By engaging specifically with Byron and Goya, this paper will take two very different narratives of a specific example of female participation in war and use them to prove the idea that women on the battlefield had become far less taboo during and after the age of revolutions. By engaging with the scholarship of Diego Saglia, Simon Bainbridge, Charles Esdaile, and Adrian Shubert, I argue that the participation of women in battle exceeds patriarchal regulation and becomes transformed into an act of female agency.


305 Room 177 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Kelley Elizabeth Barrett
Kathryn Evans (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Bridgewater State University
"How Do You Squash a Cricket?": A Collection of Essays

This is a compilation of creative non-fiction essays that utilizes humor to illuminate particular topics that I have deemed worthy of discussion and perhaps even further inspection. Each essay is seen through the lens of my own experience as a college-aged female, while simultaneously delving back into the past, highlighting the persistent and often cyclical nature of certain phenomena. Each essay subtly evokes a different message on a variety of topics, including: body image, religion, anxiety, gender norms, and others. I have pinpointed certain instances ranging from childhood to adulthood, and expanded on these particular moments to illustrate a greater meaning that I feel readers are able to relate to. 

306 Room 904 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Ruben Manuel Circelli
Sarah Hamblin (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, UMass Boston
Sexual Violence, Gender, and Sexuality in HBO's Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones has become a landmark in both fantasy and larger culture over the past two decades from its original (and ongoing) book series to the massively successful HBO show to the world of Westeros’ legions of fans and critics. The HBO show has earned special ire from many with its graphic portrayals of violence and particularly sexual violence, the show being known for its many depictions of rape. However, for as popular as it is, the HBO show has relatively few instances of critical engagement, allowing for the almost uncontested popular categorization of the show as simply ‘feminist’ or ‘anti-feminist.’ In this paper I will seek to engage critically with the HBO show as a standalone piece of content and complicate traditional interpretation, examining choice instances of sexual violence (between Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo, Jamie and Cersei Lannister, and Sansa Stark and Ramsay Bolton) and looking to discover the ways in which the show approaches larger issues of not only sexual violence, but gender and sexuality as well. Feminist film theory and examinations of the many portrayals of rape and sexual violence in film and on television will be my critical entry point to the project. Not only will I seek to better understand the show’s portrayals of sexual violence, gender, and sexuality, but I will look deeper into the ‘culture of HBO’ as a specialty network and examine how Game of Thrones’ status as a 2011 HBO show influences the show’s ability to handle these portrayals.

310 Room 174 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Amanda J. Harfst
George W. Layng (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Confessions of Lowly Home Health Aide: Instructions Not Included

For many years, caregiving has been a profession that has often been depreciated and spoken about condescendingly in conversations regarding goals or career aspirations. To some, it is thought of with disgust or arrogance rather than with the positive credit it deserves. What people do not see is that it is much more involved and complicated than one could imagine. Being a home health aide is a careful balance between compassion, patience, assertiveness, and ability to do the tasks required of you correctly in a safe and calm manner. In this first chapter of my second memoir, Confessions of a Lowly Home Health Aide, I will uncover the true nature and the struggle that those in my profession go through. It is a narrative of my first week ever working as a home health aide at the age of twenty-one fresh out of training, as I am just realizing the complexities of the work and discovering that the work is very different than reading things out of a manual. The chapter uses a mixture of compelling recollections of the challenges I faced with clients ranging from simple dilemmas such as burning somebody’s breakfast by accident to watching a woman I had grown to deeply care for die right before my eyes. The ups and downs of this piece will leave readers both laughing and crying over the emotional depth of the situations but also over the complex relationships. This first chapter, “Instructions Not Included,” is both heart-felt and entertaining.

311 Room 903 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Erin Elizabeth O'Brien
Jessica Thelen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Public versus Private School

Many parents encounter the struggle of deciding what is in their kid’s best interest, school being the main topic. Parents, if they are able, try to figure out if public or private schools will benefit their kid’s lives for the future. Studies show that many parents have their own opinions on schools, but either type of school will give them the education they need to succeed. Statistics show that 37% of charter schools do worse than public, 17% do better than public schools, and everyone else, 46%, does about the same. Both public and private schools receive kids that struggle academically, which seems to stem back to the life they have at home, not the education they are receiving. Some may argue that a smaller private school allows for a better learning environment, but the material kids are learning is the same. It has to do with how motivated the kid is to want to succeed improving their education. Learning this through recent articles and experts like John S. Kiernan makes me, as an education major, evaluate the decision of where I would want to teach someday. Some benefits of public schools are the cheaper cost, availability, diversity, and extracurricular opportunities, while the advantages of private schools are parental involvement, resources, and smaller classes. Both schools have their benefits and disadvantages, but as long as kids are getting the education they need, I do not see why there is such a controversy over the topic.

314 Room 163 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Tori McCandless
Holly Jackson (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, UMass Boston
A Queer Sense of Place: Elizabeth Bishop's Poetic Cartography and the Resignification of Environments

My project explores what it means to have a queer sense of place and how queer authored poetry can provide us with an interstitial, textual landscape through which we can resignify environments imbued with heteronormative ideologies. To question one’s relationship to a landscape, to understand it differently, relies on the idea that one does not have a seamless, congruent relationship with the place to begin with. To have a queer sense of place, perhaps, depends on feeling out of place. As a foundation to my study on a queer poetic cartography; on how queers feel at home, out of place, orient themselves, and turn through space, I turn to Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry. Bishop is a poet of place, not merely a traveling poet as she is so often described. Her motifs of geographical displacement, coupled with a strong and insistent attachment to landscape exemplify what it means to queer environments. Subsequently, by incorporating queer theory and ecocriticism into Bishop’s work, this paper explores how queer bodies throughout the majority of historic and scientific discourse have been written off as transgressive, out of place, and against nature. Ideologies, specifically heteropatriarchal ones, physically manifest themselves onto landscapes. However, I argue that Bishop’s poetry of place, in conversation with others such as Adrienne Rich, can provide us with the tools necessary to reappropriate landscape and can alternately resexualize constructs of the environment against heteronormativity.

315 Room 903 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Hadley Anna Cook
Kelly Matthews (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Framingham State University
Contemporary Irish Poetry: "Elegies for Northern Ireland" by Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, and Frank Ormsby

Northern Ireland has long been a victim of violence stemming from conflicts of national identity as well as internal struggles of communities riven with political and religious tensions. Not long after the twentieth century battle for independence from England, Northern Ireland became caught in the violent division of communities and families living through the bloody reality of The Troubles. Though the violent beginnings emerged early in the 1960’s, The Troubles continued to affect the lives of countrymen and women alike throughout the 80’s and 90’s, creating a ripple effect that has continued even into today. As W.B. Yeats, among other Irish poets, did throughout the intensity of the Irish fight for independence, so have contemporary northern Irish poets worked to subtly portray the harsh realities of The Troubles in their work. Though many poets have suggested that their work has largely remained apolitical, the reality of poetry is that it inevitably becomes infused with a mixture of imagination and reality. This paper will explore the elegies of contemporary Irish poets Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, and Frank Ormsby, identifying the interconnectivity of their often similar themes of paternity, war and proleptic imagination, which all work similarly to convey the tangible feeling of a country lost. While their elegies often hinge on the death of the father, soldiers and masculinity, the collective works of Heaney, Longley and Ormsby truly elegize the loss of their Northern Ireland.   


316 Room 903 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Brianna Leigh Hynes
Ellen Scheible (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Bridgewater State University
The Celtic Tiger and Ireland's Cultural Identity

This thesis explores the relationship between the Celtic Tiger in Ireland and the ongoing struggle to define and develop an Irish identity. The main question of this thesis is to examine the relationship between economic success and the harmful effect it had on cultural memory. Tana French’s novel In the Woods, and Paul Murray’s novel Skippy Dies, are important to examine the relationship between economy and identity, because the novels take place in Celtic Tiger and Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland, respectively. In French’s novel, there is both personal and cultural tension between history and modernity, and the investigative process demonstrates the difficulty in attaining a balance between preserving history and progression. In Murray’s novel, Ireland’s focus on attaining economic success causes blindness and repression of the past. Attempts to recover from the economic recession following the Celtic Tiger result in an obsession with economics, and the commodification of areas of life that should remain separate from the economic sphere. Both French and Murray suggest that Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland is facing an internal problem that is halting their progression towards modernity. The Irish have constructed a large part of their identity as an independent nation around the success of the economy during the Celtic Tiger. Instead of trying to rebuild the economy with the rapidness of the Celtic Tiger, a new identity should be created that is not dominated by economics.

317 Room 801 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Nicolas Blaisdell
Joselyn Almeida-Beveridge (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, UMass Amherst
A Continuum of Free and Unfree Labor: The Condition of Laborers across the Atlantic in the Nineteenth Century

The undeniable legacy of genocide, murder, slavery, capitalism, and colonialism perpetuated by the British ruling elite in the nineteenth century through their reliance on concomitant and complementary economic infrastructures, such as merchant, industrial, and financial capitalism, the transatlantic slave trade, and plantation slavery, consequentially produced an intersectional component to the capitalist exploitation of enslaved people, agrarian peasants, and wage-laborers. In analyzing the historiographical development of the ‘rise’ of capitalism, the bourgeoisie, the proletariat, the enslaved, and private property, the principal inquiry of this research project has been to uncover how free and unfree laborers both suffered from an extractive form of exploitation that directly resulted from a capitalist mode of production. The conclusion to this research seems to suggest that both free and unfree laborers were jointly essential to the development of capitalism and shared in an oppressive and dehumanized relationship to the bourgeoisie and private property, as the products of both of their labor were wrongfully expropriated and converted into profits for the same ruling class. With the binary opposition between free and unfree labor dissipated, an exploration of the degrees of exploitation occurring on the same spectrum yields a more substantive analysis of the consequences of capitalism as an economic system overall. Disrupting the romanticized narrative of capitalism explicitly relying on “free labor” through the incorporation of enslaved laborers into such paradigm still reverberates today, as it remains the predominant system governing our global economy.

318 Room 805 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Morgan Alyse Stabile
Shirley Lau Wong (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Coming Out of the Cannabis Closet: Stopping the White Washing of Weed Culture

While marijuana has been recently legalized in Massachusetts and several other states, the consumption and growing of marijuana is still stigmatized--particularly for women and people of color. It is well known that arrest rate for marijuana possession is highly racialized. Moreover, because "stoner culture" is highly masculinized, women of color are especially marginalized. This paper examines women's changing roles in both weed culture and business and also the representation of women and weed culture in popular media such as Broad City, Weeds, and Mary + Jane. I argue that while gender barriers in weed culture are breaking down, there is still a lack of representation of women of color in weed culture. This prevents the newly legalized marijuana industry from being fully accessible to women of color, who have been disproportionately targeted by the war on drugs.

319 Room 911 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Nicholas A. Trieber
Malcolm Sen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, UMass Amherst
Social Justice and Hip Hop

Hip hop, a culture built around beats and raps, influences popular culture in a very peculiar way. While many people consider hip hop nothing more than a genre defined by vulgarity, masculinism, and tales of sexual prowess, several scholars argue that it is actually the musical companion to a larger social movement: the hip hop movement. Currently, the hip hop movement is ill-defined as there is no national platform on which constituents of the movement may speak. To further complicate matters, neither scholars nor critics can decide exactly who makes up the hip hop movement. This paper aims to define the hip hop movement and identify its members by analyzing black popular movements and music from the mid-nineteenth century through to the present. One major facet of hip hop is its ability to include participants of all races, genders, and sexual identities. The current hip hop landscape is dominated by straight black men and appears homophobic and misogynistic. This thesis will explore how such hypermasculinism and homophobia crept into hip hop, which was otherwise extremely progressive and accepting during its foundation in the 1970s and 1980s. It will also argue that hip hop is becoming more progressive with feminism becoming a popular subject in songs and gender pronouns becoming a way to express one’s own sexual identity in music. This increasing acceptance of all people, which still has much room to improve, is creating a path that the hip hop movement can follow to become a multicultural and multi-issue movement. 


321 Room 162 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Sarah Dianne Fender
Matt Bell (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Bridgewater State University
Race Impulses and Their Degenerative Effect on Trina in McTeague

This essay places Frank Norris’s 1899 novel McTeague in historical context by paralleling its depictions of ethnic types to portrayals of those same ethnicities in progressive journalist Jacob Riis’s 1890 How the Other Half Lives. When it was released, Norris’s novel was declared vulgar and ultrarealistic which to some made it groundbreaking but to others made it demoralizing. Recent scholars have reviewed it and analyzed the blatant racist stereotypes involved in the novel. Through character analysis, plot breakdown and an examination of significant symbols in the novel, paired with a close reading of Riis’s text, I find that both authors subscribed to a theory on race that degraded non-Anglo Americans and accused Jews of corrupting communities. In Norris’s novel, the main female character Trina experiences depravity that is marked by her German-Swiss heritage, her marrying an Irishman, and her exposure to a Jew. Ultimately I show that by the end of the novel Trina assumes the corrupting, selfish, destructive characteristics both Norris and Riis associate with Jews. I show that in doing this Norris asserts that not only do certain ethnicities inherently possess specific characteristics, but that these qualities contaminate and pervert susceptible persons. Meanwhile, Riis claims to blame the horrendous living conditions of the immigrants on the tenements themselves, but also maintains that Jews are the irresponsible owners of those tenements, indirectly faulting them for these repulsive neighborhoods.

323 Room 177 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Quinn Elizabeth Staley
Robert Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Feminist Literature: From the 19th Century to the 21st

Women have a long history of voicing their concerns regarding the inequality they face, often expressing this inequality through feminist literature which reflects the struggle of women during the time in which it was written. My research analyzes The Awakening by Kate Chopin, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. Each work follows female protagonists and how being a woman during their time shaped the way they view female sexuality. This analysis advances from 19th century literature, where the sexual desires of women are beaten down by societal pressures, to 21st century literature where women embrace their sexuality and are praised for fighting back against sexual misconduct. These shifts in literature uncover the real life feminist issues surrounding society, from the limited options women have, to the stigmas they face in 21st century rape culture. Using multimodal rhetoric to compare and contrast feminist literature from three different centuries reveals how female sexuality is treated in feminist literature, and also how this shift in literature mirrors the struggles and changes facing society. Multimodal rhetoric was also used to create a blog based on my findings. This blog opens a dialogue about issues surrounding female sexuality and serves as a catalyst for progressive change, much like the works of feminist literature that I examined. This research is important in understanding how attitudes towards female sexuality are changing and how literature inspires women to act on or fight against these sexual revelations.

325 Room 162 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Daniel Law Bazarian
Todd Tietchen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, UMass Lowell
The Corrosion of the Individual in a Postmodern Culture: David Foster Wallace’s "Infinite Jest"

The concept of the “self” in postmodern thought is that of a fractured being, an incoherent and contradictory collection of assumed personae which alternate unnoticed under the guise of a “whole” individual. For David Foster Wallace, though, this notion was erroneous in that it posited the interior experience of being human as subordinate to theoretical concerns. Much of Wallace’s fiction, especially his novel Infinite Jest, attempts to find a way of moving beyond this conception of the self to a more centered and experiential one. Most of the scholarship dealing with Infinite Jest acknowledges that the major thematic stakes of the book involve the tension between these two ideas. However, the novel’s use of social criticism, especially in its engagement with "dystopia" fiction, often goes unaddressed in favor of examining its attempt to construct what Lee Konstantinou terms a "Postironic ethos." In a book that takes pains to depict a transnationalist consumer culture pushed to its absurd conclusions, this seems to me to be a glaring oversight. In my paper, I argue that Infinite Jest, taken in relationship to both dystopic fiction and to theories of multinational capitalism, is really a novel not so much about two competing theories of the human self as about how society writ large is capable of perpetuating a certain notion of the self, and how (or whether) it is possible to carve out space in such a society to live positively as an individual, or if that notion proves to be a destructive one.


340 Room 168 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Virginia Sowers
Allison H. Roy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Conservation, UMass Amherst
The Effect of Calcium Supplementation on the Growth and Survival of a Freshwater Mussel

As of 2013, over 65% of freshwater mussel species were considered endangered, threatened, or vulnerable. Where dispersal limits freshwater mussel populations, reintroduction and augmentation using propagated mussels has been considered an ideal conservation strategy. Mussel propagation has been successful at multiple culturing facilities; however, methods are still being refined to develop best practices. Our study assessed the effect of increased calcium on the growth and survival of a common freshwater mussel. Freshwater mussels require calcium to grow shells, yet field studies indicate that freshwater mussels occur across wide ranges of calcium carbonate.  Although lab studies have linked decreased calcium availability to impaired growth and survival of numerous freshwater fauna such as crustaceans, amphipods, and gastropods, to date only one study has experimentally examined the role of calcium carbonate in mussel development. To our knowledge, our study is the first to experimentally test the effects of calcium on juvenile development. We had 5 treatments: 2 levels of calcium created using a coral media calcium reactor, 2 similar levels of calcium chloride, and a control treatment with natural levels of calcium. Each treatment had four replicate chambers of 750 juvenile mussels that were housed for 8 weeks in downweller chambers. Live mussels were counted and measured weekly to calculate growth and survival rates. If calcium supplementation is related to increased growth rates, calcium may be used to decrease culturing time in a laboratory setting, leading to reduced expenses and increased production.

352 Room 803 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Stephanie Persilla Gill
Derek R. Lovley (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Microbiology, UMass Amherst
The Effect of Geobacter sulfurreducens on Juvenile Lampsilis radiata Growth and Survival

Bacteria are some of the most extensive and important organisms on Earth, living in relatively high densities within the aquatic ecosystem, yet their influence on juvenile freshwater mussel growth and survival is largely unknown. In the wild microbes are important food sources for freshwater mussels, however most aquaculture facilities propagate mussels with an algae-based diet. The objective of this study is to determine the importance of bacteria in the diet of juvenile Lampsilis radiata by measuring growth and survival rates over a period of 4-6 weeks. Freshwater mussels can selectively digest food, preferring smaller organisms, not too spherical or spiny,  that have a negative electrostatic charge. Genetic sequencing of gut bacteria from wild mussels using the 16S Diversity tool in Geneious© 2005 revealed an array of genera, with Geobacter in a majority of them.  A comparison of the size, shape, and electrostatic charge of various Geobacter species resulted in selection of Geobacter sulfurreducens as an experimental food source. Downwelling rearing chambers containing 300 juvenile Lampsilis radiata (Bivalvia:Unionidae) mussels were assembled. Differences in mussel survival and growth were tested amongst four diets: high density bacteria, low density bacteria, Instant Algae® feed (Instant Algae® Shellfish Diet 1800™, and Nanno 3600™, Reed Mariculture, Campbell, CA, USA) and a mixture of bacteria with Instant Algae® feed. The results will provide a better understanding of the importance of bacteria as a food source for early juvenile Lampsilis radiata, and whether the high mortality often observed in juvenile mussels can be reduced through dietary changes.

353 Room 803 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Czarina Alexandra Shartle
Jennifer Rivers Cole (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Liberal Arts, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Dine, Design, and Disposal

In the Nineteenth Century, Americans made decisions about food based on visual cues. We looked at texture and color to see if the meal would give us pleasure or pain. For example, we knew the smooth, bright, colorful fruit would be fresh and nourishing. Today, we still follow similar visual cues, but they are hurting more than helping. When you walk through the average American grocery store, you are welcomed by aisles of shiny, appetizing plastic. Processed “food-like” products now overwhelm our fridges and pantries. Our hungry eyes are tantalized by the bright, fruitful colors and gorgeous design. In fact, Packaging makes up one third of consumer decision making. And every time we return home with our colorful bounty, we take these beautiful objects into our home, and into our garbage cans. Containers and packaging alone contribute over 23% of the material reaching landfills in the U.S. If you think the designers don’t know what they are doing, you are wrong. I should know, because I am one of them. As designers, we are spending years decoding the human brain and how it responds to color, shape, and composition. We know what will make you happy, what will make you anxious, and what will make you hungry. In this presentation, I will show how these "food-like" products mimic natural food, and will show how to return to more natural food as the center of food consumption.

358 Room 168 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Kyle D. Grasso
Adrian Jordaan (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Conservation, UMass Amherst
Testing for Differences in Juvenile Growth Rates between Anadromous Alewife and Blueback Herring

Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) and blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis), collectively known as river herring, are important, anadromous, forage fish distributed along the northeast coast of the United States. Currently, both species are managed together due to geographic overlap in range and difficulty in identification to species level. Until now, most species level divergence is equated to small differences in preferred temperature and migration timing, although there is substantial overlap in these characteristics and both species co-occur during the period of freshwater habitat use. Little is known about differences in growth rates of juvenile alewife and blueback herring. This study aims to fill these data gaps by investigating individual growth rates for the two species. Fish were collected from four coastal lakes (Great Herring Pond, Upper Mill/Walkers Pond, Santuit Pond, and Coonamessett Pond) in Massachusetts. Individual fish of approximately the same length were genetically identified to species and their sagittal otoliths were imaged and aged using ImagePro Software. Age and total length were used to calculate growth rates. Preliminary results show no differences in growth for two ponds (Coonamessett Pond and Upper Mill/Walkers Pond) and differences in growth for one pond (Great Herring Pond). Species-specific assessments of growth are critical for developing appropriate management targets for mortality and understanding the variation in responses to environmental conditions. The results of this study will contribute to our understanding of life history traits that are selected for through evolution, may help predict early life history responses to climate change, and facilitate development of restoration strategies.

359 Room 168 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Ana V. Maroldi
Rafael Fissore (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Animal Sciences, UMass Amherst
Large Mammal Distribution and Density in Yaeda Valley, Tanzania

In this study, we evaluated the status of wildlife populations in the Yaeda Valley of northern Tanzania. To assess wildlife densities, we conducted line transect surveys over two short rain seasons of 2015 and 2016 in the area. As part of a line distance sampling design, we walked 115 transects in four distinct strata – Endanaishi plains, Kideru plains, Southern woodlands and Western woodlands. Density estimates were based mostly on animal signs because direct sightings of wildlife were less frequent. To estimate densities, the five most frequent animal sightings – cattle, donkey, sheep and goat (grouped for analysis as “Shoat”) Thomson’s gazelle (Gazella rufifrons) and Kirk’s dik dik (Madoqua kirkii) – and twelve signs were chosen. Data was fit to four detection functions – Half-normal, Uniform, Hazard-rate and Negative exponential. Density estimations per stratum were chosen from the best fit detection function and plotted. Z-tests were run to establish significant changes between the two monetary years. Livestock densities continued to stay above wildlife densities in the area, which remained low over both years. Woodland habitats contained the highest densities of wildlife but livestock densities out competed wildlife in the plains. Based on the high species richness present in Yaeda Valley, the area holds high conservation value. Nevertheless, several measures should be taken to maintain its conservational value and potentially increase wildlife densities in this area. For example, increased community involvement in conservation, reduced livestock densities, more effective anti-poaching measures and no-hunting zones should be implemented along with continued wildlife monitoring.

360 Room 903 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Dominik N. Raczka
Francisco Vivoni (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sociology, Worcester State University
How Anarchism and Syndicalism Can Save the Environment

As the world begins to move at an ever-changing rate of social change, the environment is often suffering the effects of devastation thanks to human mismanagement of natural resources. However, a complex web of social problems have arisen like environmental racism damaging families in polluted areas (many of whom are single mothers), political backlash from corporations, hierarchical economics, and anti-environmentalism. Much of the research shows that corporate policies towards the environment displaces much of the natural world, but also affects the people who are unable to leave polluted neighbourhoods or who depend on the environment as their only source of living. As the public deals with the mistakes of the corporate community, there is a way to remedy this situation; we have to change the way the economy and the political system is structured. A growing movement to create a more democratic and sustainable future is slowly gaining ground; utilising Anarchism and Syndicalism as a way to decentralise the economy and make it work for both nature and the proletariat. While the developed world has its resources, the developing continents of Asia, Latin America, and Africa face a greater challenge of having less technology at their disposal but also, how to create a participatory economy when much of their infrastructure is held under corporate or foreign control. Eventually, these mass movements of decentralised workers' self-management allows global society and the environment to create a sustainable future and an equal economy without the need for a political state.

361 Room 168 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Anthony Dangora
Forrest Joseph Bowlick (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Geosciences, UMass Amherst
Exploring Environmental Conservation Research through Interactive Mapping

Engaging citizens with scientific efforts allows community exploration of research, an important aspect of today’s current status of science in society. This project explores the different platforms to host an interactive map, collect spatially-enabled research data, and build a database of easily accessible information. Currently, few interactive maps exist that highlight such research. The goal of this project is to highlight environmental conservation research and share it with interested parties inside and outside of the university. The product will be applicable for academia, connecting researchers and citizens, to those eager to explore what research has been done in their region. Research was carried out through exploring different platforms to host, gather, and map the data. Then, a community geo-tagging effort of identifying research articles to both the affiliated school/research facility and to the exact location of the study area was executed. The challenge of platforms was a big factor in the project along with data extraction/collection. This project was highlighted by a proof of concept, mapping research of the UMass Amherst Environmental Conservation department. Although, there is a need for automation of several steps. The project serves as an important connection of environmental research to citizens. The map can have an array of implications to society and academia.

362 Room 168 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Andrew Martin Grant
Allison H. Roy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Conservation, UMass Amherst
Investigating the Effects of Interannual Differences in Streamflow and Temperature on Macroinvertebrate Assemblages

Climate change has the potential to alter patterns of precipitation and temperature, which in turn could have effects on benthic macroinvertebrates. Benthic macroinvertebrates are aquatic or semiaquatic organisms that spend all or part of their life cycle in water and are important components of aquatic food webs. Many studies have compared macroinvertebrate assemblages among streams with different flow and thermal regimes, but few studies have examined changes in macroinvertebrate assemblages over long periods of time.  We seek to quantify the effects of stream temperature and flow on benthic macroinvertebrates over a 13-year period at West Brook in Whately, MA. Macroinvertebrates have been collected annually in late June since 2003, from three sections (approximately 300-400 m apart). We calculated several streamflow and temperature metrics related to frequency, duration, magnitude, timing, and variation of events. Macroinvertebrates were identified to genus (except Chironimidae), where possible, and used to calculate metrics including taxa richness, Shannon diversity index, abundance, and % abundance of EPT (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera) taxa. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to determine the strength of the relationships between macroinvertebrate assemblages, streamflow, and temperature. We expect that in years of low flows and high temperatures, macroinvertebrates will have lower richness, Shannon diversity indices, abundance, and % abundance of EPT taxa, and that by altering patterns of precipitation and temperature, climate change could have direct effects on macroinvertebrates. 

363 Room 168 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Tara M. McElhinney
Rick W. Harper (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Conservation, UMass Amherst
The American Elm in Massachusetts: Restoring the Official Tree of the Commonwealth

Ulmus americana (American elm) has long been an important cultural and historic symbol in forest and urban environments of the Northeast. It’s graceful form, wood strength and resilience against harsh growing conditions made it ideal for widespread planting as a suburban and urban street tree. However, with the introduction of Dutch elm disease (DED) in the mid-20th century, caused by the non-native fungal pathogen Ophiostoma novo-ulmiU. americana populations drastically declined. Due to the destructive effects of DED, urban foresters have struggled to find resistant varieties of U. americana capable of withstanding the disease. Recent research using disease-resistant genotypes has created optimism that this iconic tree species can once again be restored to the landscape. In January 2016, U. americana seed obtained from the USDA Forest Service research station in Delaware, OH, was germinated in the UMass-Amherst CNS greenhouses by undergraduate students in the UMass Arboriculture/Urban Forestry program. These saplings were then transplanted to the Dakin Field at the UMass Agricultural Learning Center in Autumn 2016. These elms represent crosses of U. americana varieties (‘Valley Forge’ x ‘R18-2’) that have demonstrated high resistance to DED in previous inoculation trials. As part of this long-term research endeavor, we will collect initial growth and survival data during their first season of establishment in the Northeast (Spring - Fall 2017).


364 Room 803 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Justin Lordito Marcelino
Raminder Luther (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Finance, Salem State University
Academic Performance of Student Athletes

Numerous studies have been conducted over the years to find out exactly what factors play a primary role in determining the academic success of student-athletes in college. The purpose of this paper is to conduct a survey on existing writings and literature pertaining to this relationship. Using secondary data from the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and various academic journals, this paper examines the factors and conditions that affect academic performance as well as their level of impact. One would generally expect that participation in collegiate athletics will lead to better academic performance because the learning from organized regimen of the competitive season may carry over into the student-athlete’s academic life.  However, research findings show that this is not always the case. Studies have shown that student-athletes participating in a high-profile sport with high time demands such as basketball and football are found to perform better academically in the off-season despite taking fewer courses during the season. Although the NCAA reported that graduation rates of Division I student-athletes had gone up considerably over the last 15 years, a closer look at the report indicates that the rates differ based on other factors. Based on the literature, factors that may impact academic performance are type of sport, high school GPA, race, gender, and university ranking on U.S. News’ “Best Colleges.” 

365 Room 911 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Kexin Yu
Zaur Rzakhanov (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Accounting and Finance, UMass Boston
Ownership Structure and Fund Performance – Evidence from China

This research will examine the relationship between the ownership structure of fund management companies and fund performance in China. It will do so by evaluating the return of equity funds, and using a multiple regression to find the relationship between fund performance and concentration of ownership. The question to be investigated is whether the concentration have a direct relation with the fund performance; that is does high concentration of ownership structure has a positive, negative, or no effect on fund performance? 

367 Room 163 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Rachael Lynne Dooley
Catherine Gardner (Faculty Sponsor)
Honors Program, UMass Dartmouth
The Importance of Professional Equality

LGBTQ+ equality and acceptance are increasingly prevalent societal issues. Through compilation and analysis of the LGBTQ+ equality ratings and return on assets of Fortune 500 companies, my research aims to show whether gender diversity and LGBTQ+ inclusion and acceptance lead to better financial performance. In order to quantify the effects of workplace equality on firm performance, I analyze the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index and measure it against the profitability of firms in the Fortune 500. The Corporate Equality Index provides a thorough report detailing the LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination policies and overall attitude toward LGBTQ+ issues among Fortune 500 companies. After collecting data spanning the past decade, it was concluded that there is not a strong correlation between return on assets and a company’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) rating, as provided by the Human Rights Campaign’s CEI Report. Despite this, the ten-year span of corporate LGBTQ+ equality data is a valuable tool for future research on the financial effects of LGBTQ+ equality.

368 Room 801 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Zachary Steven Golub
Zaur Rzakhanov (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Accounting and Finance, UMass Boston
California Dreamin'

According to a 2016 survey conducted by Bloomberg, 56% of all startup companies that received at least $20 million in venture capital funding between 2009-2015, decided to base their company in California (Busso et al., 2016). Despite high business taxes, strict environmental regulations, and high cost of living, California continues to play a central role as the hub of the venture capital economy. In an investment environment where the average deal for a U.S.-based IPO since 2010 is a staggering $198.5 million (Busso et al., 2016), it is imperative that investors and founders alike be able to identify the various factors that can impact a VC investment’s probability of success. As the forces of globalization and technological advancement reduce the impact of geographic distance within the business world, our research looks at whether the choice to locate a startup company in California increases the odds of reaching a successful exit. Using instrumental variable analyses, we find a causal effect of California location on successful outcomes. Overall, the results indicate that it is important to consider the high number of venture capital firms, and seasoned expertise found in California when choosing a location for your startup firm.

369 Room 801 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Wenyan Yang
Zaur Rzakhanov (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Accounting and Finance, UMass Boston
Does Waste Management Affect Firms’ Financial Performance

Per previous research, bad environmental performance which could be attributed to legally emitted toxic chemicals, is negatively correlated with the intangible asset value of firms (Konar and Cohen, 2001). As a result, many regulations and standards, for instance, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, have come into effect to reduce toxic waste emissions. However, not much research has been done focusing on the impact of environmental performance in waste management of non-toxic packaging material waste on a firm’s financial performance. Thus, this thesis would focus on how company’s management of non-toxic packaging waste relates to company’ financial market value. If penalties imposed by regulatory agencies are sufficient or if investors value non-toxic waste management programs, then markets award greater value to firms that effectively manage non-toxic waste.  

370 Room 177 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Brendan Francis Hastings
Nikolaos Artavanis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Finance, UMass Amherst
Government Debt and Agency Costs

This paper aims to explore the accumulation and effects of debt around the world. The agency costs associated with representative democracy contribute significantly to the accumulation of national debts. As the debt held by the public increases and long-term liabilities mount, it is important to examine the underlying causes of debt accumulation and the impacts they have on the overall economy. These results can be used as the basis for creating a budgetary framework that promotes long-term debt reconciliation and economic growth.

371 Room 801 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Kimberly Liu
Nikolaos Artavanis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Finance, UMass Amherst
The Impact of Brain Drain on Countries Recovering from Economic Crises

International migration has been a growing trend for many decades and the aim of this paper is to study the forces driving the movement of high skilled migrants and the impacts such migration may have on sending and receiving countries that are recovering from economic crises.  Tracking economic indicators, such as employment rates, GDP growth, productivity growth, and FDI as well as social indicators, which include education and inequality among others, in sending and receiving countries during periods of economic recovery will provide insight as to how high skilled migration may contribute to the varying paths to recovery that countries experience. I hope to analyze the previously mentioned short and long term indicators following periods of economic crisis; and expect to find that receiving countries will display stronger indicators both socially and economically as compared to sending countries. Understanding the economic and social impacts of high skilled migrations carries many implications as the trend of international migration continues and findings will impact the ability of future migration policies to maximize the benefits of all countries involved. 

372 Room 165 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Hanyu Xiao
Nikolaos Artavanis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Finance, UMass Amherst
Financial Liberalization and Transparency as Determinants of Economic Growth in South East Asia

This paper examines the role of financial liberalization and transparency on economic growth for South East Asian economies. Consistent with the previous literature, I find that both liberalization and transparency have a positive effect on future growth. However, economies can effectively weather financial crises and exhibit accelerated recovery only if both elements exist. Liberalization without transparency exposes the economy to additional risks, during turmoil periods, while transparency without liberalization undercuts the growth potential of the economy. I use regression to analysis to show the relationship between financial liberalization, transparency and economic growthin nine South East Asian countries over the past three decades.

373 Room 177 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Odin Enzmann
Nikolaos Artavanis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Finance, UMass Amherst
The Evolution of Credit Default Swaps

This essay seeks to examines the evolution of the Credit Default Swaps markets and trading patterns over the past few decades, with emphasis on the 2008 Financial Crisis, and the Dodd-Frank Act. Here the paper evaluates the effects of imposed regulations and the role of Credit Default Swap markets on efficiency, transparency, spreads, and how they trigger financial crises. This study compares pre- and post-crisis Credit Default Swap market framework to determine what type of settings are susceptible to morally hazardous behavior, and were more likely to generate another event of global contagion.

374 Room 177 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Soumya Karra
Nikolaos Artavanis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Finance, UMass Amherst
Financial Literacy, Optimism Bias, and Student Over-Indebtedness

This paper examines the role of financial literacy and optimism biases among college students on outstanding student over-indebtedness. I extend the findings of previous literature, that indicate lack of financial literacy among college students and over-optimism regarding post-graduate events, by surveying a large number of college students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I evaluate the financial literacy of the participants and test how it relates to over-indebtedness in conjunction to two biases; the overestimation of expected starting salary and the underestimation of future loan payments. Overall, the paper underlines the importance of financial literacy in helping students make sound financial decisions.


375 Room 905 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Daniel Riecker
Timothy Lang (Faculty Sponsor)
Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
France's Vulnerability to Terrorism

In the past two years, dozens of terrorist attacks have occurred on French soil, claiming hundreds of lives. My thesis aims to explain why France has become such a vulnerable target. Extensive literature exists on the subjects of decolonization, French integration models, and its geopolitical positioning in the world today. I draw from each of these fields in order to argue my case. I find that news-making controversies like headscarf bans and military air strikes wrongfully dominate the discussion on France and terrorism. I argue to the contrary that these are not causes of attacks, but rather unsurprising developments in a story that has been unfolding for decades. I find the Algerian War of Independence to be the critical starting point, as it fractured the society into many parts that each maintain their own often mutually exclusive memories, thus making the events impossible to process. I consider moments of civil unrest, notably the October 1961 protests in Paris and the 2005 riots in the banlieue, while also analyzing France’s perspectives on diversity and integration. I survey France’s contemporary geopolitical maneuvers in order to understand its relationship with its former colonies and its apparent stance as a war hawk. I synthesize all of this under the hypothesis that processes of memory and exclusion involve many constituents each with their own agency. Only in understanding the deep and complex undercurrents of French society and their roots in recent history can its vulnerability to terrorism be fully grasped.


376 Room 162 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Stephen Clark Lukas
John Gartner (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Geosciences, UMass Amherst
Flooding, Channelization and Restoration: Predicting Geomorphic Responses and Channel Stability at the Chickley River, MA

River restoration projects are seldom analyzed rigorously and quantitatively after completion. Here, I test a quantitative method to characterize a standard goal in river restoration projects: channel stability. Channel stability is the ability of a stream to transport flows and sediment such that the channel dimensions and profile are maintained without severe erosion or deposition. Established geomorphic theory shows that stable channels have a Shields parameter (θ) of ≈ 0.05 and may adjust slope, grain size, and depth to meet this value. However, θ has seldom been used to predict channel stability, based on a corollary hypothesis that if θ ≠ 0.05 then the channel is unstable. The Chickley River (Hawley, MA) provides a natural laboratory to test this hypothesis, with a series of events that altered geomorphic conditions, including Tropical Storm Irene (2011), subsequent channelization (2011), and restoration (2012) with a series of repeated channel surveys (2011, 2012, 2016). I use 1-dimensional HEC-RAS modeling to calculate θ at 15 survey cross sections at three different timeframes: channelized pre-restoration (2011), post-restoration (2012), and subsequent post-restoration (2016). Results show θ = 0.08 ± 0.03 in channelized conditions (2011), and field observations indicate unstable conditions with knickpoints and bed erosion. Post restoration (2012), θ = 0.06 ± 0.02, and field observations plus repeat surveys indicate channel stability with minimal adjustments in channel dimensions between 2012 and 2015. This research contributes to recent paradigm shifts in river management to restore river systems to natural states and tests technical approaches to predict channel stability.


382 Room 911 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Kayla Cox
David Boutt (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Geosciences, UMass Amherst
Using Heat as a Groundwater Tracer to Constrain Evapotranspiration in the Salar de Atacama, Chile

The Salar de Atacama (SdA) is a topographically-closed, hyper-arid basin located in northern Chile. The watershed of the salar is recharged by the adjacent Andean Plateau. A thick evaporitic crust on the basin floor provides the world’s largest lithium mineral reserve. As the global demand for lithium increases, it becomes more critical to understand groundwater flow, evapotranspiration and solute transport in this region. The massive evaporite deposits suggest high rates of evapotranspiration, however at the Transition Zone (freshwater-brine interface), lagoon complexes remain preserved and indicate varying rates of evaporation. This study uses heat as a groundwater tracer at shallow depths to constrain evaporation. In January 2015, eight temperature rods were installed for a six-day period. Each rod contains five sensors which record temperature profiles at different depths. At shallow depths, the time series should reflect the diurnal temperature signal, however this signal may be dampened with a upward groundwater flux. Four rods were installed in locations where the water table was below the ground surface, and four were installed where the water table was at or above the surface. Vertical Fluid Heat Transfer Solver (VFLUX) extracted phase shift and amplitude differences in the time series and employed heat transport processes to produce estimates of evapotranspiration. Results reveal that evaporation is not homogeneous throughout the Transition Zone, and that the lagoon complexes experience high evapotranspiration rates. Using heat as a tracer is an effective tool for constraining evapotranspiration in other regions of SdA and similar hyper-arid environments.

383 Room 911 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Megan Elizabeth Thompson-Munson
Isla S. Castaneda (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Geosciences, UMass Amherst
Understanding the Environments in which Early Humans Lived: Insights from Organic Geochemical Analyses of East African Rift Valley Paleolakes

The idea of climate as a driver of human evolution has become significant in recent scientific studies. However, many different hypotheses about human evolution drivers exist, and there is much debate surrounding this issue. Our knowledge of climate and environmental conditions at the times that our ancestors lived is poorly constrained, and often the nearest paleoclimate records are located thousands of kilometers away from fossil hominin and artifact sites. The Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP) aims to resolve these outstanding issues by reconstructing past environments through examining sedimentary archives located near key hominin archaeological sites. In this study, we use organic geochemical techniques to reconstruct the vegetation and temperature from two lake basins in the East African Rift Valley. We reconstruct temperature from bacterial membrane lipids, and vegetation from ancient plant leaf waxes preserved in lake sediments. These sediments come from the West Turkana (Kenya) and Northern Awash (Ethiopia) Basins, which are areas of great anthropological significance. The West Turkana Basin spans from ~1.9 to ~1.45 Ma and has yielded some of the most complete Homo habilis/rudolfis and H. ergaster fossils. The Northern Awash Basin spans from ~3.6 to ~2.9 Ma and has one of the greatest abundances of Australopithecus afarensis fossils. Our study provides new constraints on temperature and vegetation at these critical intervals in human evolution.


385 Room 803 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Jessica Campaniello
Tona Hangen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History and Political Science, Worcester State University
The Life of Children at Manzanar: Education and Recreation

The purpose of my research paper, “The Life of Children at Manzanar: Education and Recreation,” was to gather information on the educational and recreational experiences of the young Japanese American citizens that were interned at the Manzanar War Relocation Center during World War II. I was originally drawn to the topic of Japanese American internment during World War II, because it is a piece of the history of the United States that I feel is neglected in our traditional educational experiences. However, I knew that there was a story within the history that I wanted to explore some more. While we may be familiar with why over 110,000 people were forced into these camps, and why it was wrong for this to happen – we don’t typically learn much about their experiences while there. Manzanar is the most well-known of the ten War Relocation Centers, therefore, I decided to focus my research on the youth that were at Manzanar. How were they able to continue their education, while interned. What activities were they involved with? What did they experience? What were their concerns? As seen through an an analysis of the camp newspaper, The Manzanar Free Press, Manzanar's young people tried to achieve lives of normalcy despite their unique circumstances as Japanese-Americans in a War Relocation Center, in California, during World War II.

386 Room 803 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Graham Steele-Perkins
Kevin A. Young (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, UMass Amherst
The Phoenix Program: Tracing the Origins

The Phoenix Program was created during the Vietnam War in 1967 in response to the recognition by American military leaders that they needed a counterinsurgency plan to defeat the Viet Cong. It was becoming clear that conventional warfare was unable to win the “hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese rural population, which was to be crucial if there was any hope of the South Vietnamese government surviving without American assistance. The Phoenix program hoped to accomplish this goal by targeting and eliminating suspected civilian supporters of the Viet Cong (VC), known as the “Viet Cong Infrastructure” (VCI). This paper will examine the two main factors that played a role in the creation of the Phoenix program. The first is the failure of previous pacification efforts by the U.S. and the Government of South Vietnam (GVN) such as the strategic hamlet program. The second factor is the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and how their expertise in paramilitary operations led the agency to focus on counterinsurgency, rather than intelligence gathering. This paper will argue that the CIA’s failure to accurately assess the motivations and level of commitment of the Viet Cong fighters was directly responsible for the agency’s decision to implement the Phoenix Program as a drastic solution to the insurgency created by a series of blunders committed by the American military, the CIA, the Johnson Administration, and the United States’ GVN allies. 

393 Room 801 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Ashley Ann Fongeallaz
Sarah Wiggins (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, Bridgewater State University
Accessorizing Agency: Nineteenth-Century Women's Fashion Adornments

The parasol, the fan, the gloves, and the chatelaine were popular staples of nineteenth-century women’s fashion. Women used these items in numerous ways—from intentional uses such as covering their fair skin to the unintended, using subtle romantic and flirtation language by direction and movement of their accessories. Even the materials of these accessories were stimulating to the senses. Fashion embellishments bestowed women sensual agency within the public sphere. The accessories allowed women to play with their sensuality in ways that challenged Victorian society’s perception of women’s sexuality. Unfortunately, there was often a backlash from male peers. Newspapers and Punch cartoons mocked women’s fashion accessories with biting words and demeaning visual depictions. However, men simultaneously had their own hands in the business of women’s accessories; they were the creators and producers of many of these vilified items. Femininity was seen as inferior, and the more women sought autonomy, the more their material culture was criticized. With the compartmental and gendered ideology of Victorians being pushed and challenged, much of the patriarchy fought to control and uphold the ideas ingrained within society, because they were less complex and easier to understand than the changes women pursued, especially in regards to sexuality.

394 Room 803 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Morgan Lin McDonough
Emily Redman (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, UMass Amherst
An Imperfect System: Policy, Pensions, PTSD, and the US Civil War

While the Civil War is one of the most well studied subjects in United States history, the topic of mental illness among soldiers during this time period has not been widely researched. Drawing on extensive research on pension and census records, contemporary publications, and records from the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C., this paper describes the process by which individuals, interest groups, and politicians pushed the federal government to expand its medico-legal responsibilities to include soldiers who had suffered mental illnesses in the line of duty. This effort began with reformers pushing the government to create the Government Hospital for the Insane for the treatment of soldiers, continuing throughout the war with civilian asylum directors demanding that the army and the government take responsibility for the soldiers the Government Hospital and other like institutions had been forced to treat. It continued after the war had ended, with the massive expansion of the Civil War pension system and court cases that acknowledged and codified the government’s responsibility to “insane” soldiers. While the army’s system was flawed, it was a step forward in the government’s acceptance of the responsibility of care for mentally ill soldiers. These early improvements in the military’s mental health system would lay the foundation for modern policies in military mental health. 

395 Room 803 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Kieran Gianni Shakeshaft
Maria Alessandra Bollettino (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, Framingham State University
The Ill-Fated City on a Hill: Civilian Identity and the Siege of Boston

This paper investigates the impact of the Siege of Boston (1775-76) on the personal identities of those civilians who endured the siege. Analysis of correspondence, diary entries, and other sources written by civilians reveals that their experience of the siege crystallized and affirmed their communal, provincial, and political identities. Confronted with the horrors of war, civilians were prompted to make definitive statements about who they were as individuals. Whether the siege pushed civilians to stand by their communities or to become more active politically, the opening chapter of the American War for Independence was a significant event in the lives of Bostonians and played a decisive role in shaping how they saw themselves. Though military historians have examined the Siege of Boston, the plight of civilians has not been the focus of their attention. Likewise, historians of identity have been predominately focused on the development of national identity, instead of the maturation of more local and personal identities among revolutionary era civilians. This paper offers a fresh perspective on the siege and on the effect of the American Revolutionary War on the evolution of personal identity.

397 Room 163 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Brooke C. Parziale
Timothy Lang (Faculty Sponsor)
Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Transnational Desires: Globalization and the Evolution of Sex Work in Modern Korea

This thesis examines how globalization has shaped Korea’s sex industry through three phases: the Japanese colonial period, the US military occupation, and post-1988 Olympics.  Scholars of Korea have usually focused on military occupation as the main context in which prostitution flourished during the period from 1910 to 1980.  Following the Seoul Olympics, Korea loosened its migration policy, causing an influx of Southeast Asian migrants to fill labor gaps in the manufacturing sector.  Filipina women also migrated to Korea, eventually settling in US camptowns, where they were employed as sex workers in local bars. While previous scholarship focuses on sex work from a colonial perspective, scholars have not linked the military periods to a larger process of globalization. My thesis seeks to fill in the gaps.  Drawing on historical monographs, newspaper articles, government reports, and current policies, I place these separate narratives into an overarching theory about the process of globalization.  While most scholarship locates the start of Korea’s globalization around 1988, I pinpoint it to the beginning of the Japanese colonial period in 1910.  I show that sex work in Korea has developed through three phases.  First, the Japanese military government transformed the previously pseudo-feudalist sex worker system into a commercialized industry.  With the United States military presence in Korea, the sex industry consolidated and moved to surrounding camptowns near US bases.  After migration policies were relaxed in the early 1990s, Russian and Filipina migrants made up the majority of camptown women. Keywords: Globalization, Korea, US Military, Japan, Prostitution, Sex Workers, Migration, Philippines, Russia, camptowns

398 Room 905 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Christina Mary Price
Annette Renee Chapman-Adisho (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, Salem State University
And All That Jazz

It is the 1920s in America; you want NOTHING more than to pursue what you love which is performing on stage. However, you are an African American girl living in the south, which makes that dream a little (immensely) difficult to achieve. Let us travel across the world for a second to 1920s France; you are living in a slum outside of Paris and your mother is trying to make it big as a singer.However, the public hears you sing and immediately falls in love with your mystery. In order to make it big, you assume you must sleep your way to the top. Josephine Baker, an African American woman, and Edith Piaf, a greasy poor girl living in the streets, lived these two dreams. They were two very different women who shared a lot in common throughout their lives as entertainers. Despite the fact both women never met, Baker and Piaf are two woman that demonstrate fighting for what you believe in and accepting your whole life and regretting nothing will get you to your dreams and goals. 

403 Room 905 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Justin Patrick McKinney
Brian Williams (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, UMass Dartmouth
Tarek Mehanna and the Evolution of Cyber-Jihad

As countless news outlets around the world document the growing threat of ISIS attacks, it is impossible to not ask ourselves how this can be happening. How can thousands of bright young people, from both western and eastern nations, be throwing their lives away in order to wage jihad against the world? To put it simply, using the technological advancements of the past decade or so as catalyst, ISIS has created a terror global terror network beyond comprehension. However, their methods in waging what many experts have dubbed “cyber-jihad” are nothing new for Islamic terrorism. As early as 2004 a young man from Salisbury, Massachusetts named Terek Mehanna was responsible for establishing a New England based terror network, with purpose of recruiting and possibly committing acts of terror in the name of Al-Qaeda. This study examines the eerie similarities between Mehanna’s cyber-jihad from 2004 until his capture in 2008 and the current one being waged by ISIS. It also dives into the ways, in which ISIS has taken Mehanna’s method of cyber-jihad and evolved it into something far more sinister with the use of modern technology. The study grounds itself in FBI evidence from Mehanna’s cases, firsthand accounts from Mehanna’s confidants, propaganda produced by ISIS, as well as countless studies conducted by groups such as the FBI. While the study sheds light on the evolution and possible future of cyber-jihad, it offers solutions on how western governments can combat the growing threat of cyber-jihad.

404 Room 804 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Hallie Helm Dunlap
Jennifer Fronc (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, UMass Amherst
The Evolving Carceral State: The New Faces of Mass Incarceration

This thesis examines the replicating political and carceral trajectories of the War on Drugs in the criminalization of immigration. By analyzing political rhetoric and policies, I argue that the United States’ penal response to drug use after the 1960s was not an isolated reaction to a racialized social issue but the beginning of a trend in which politicians’ attract voters using “tough on crime” rhetoric to suggest that the United States can incarcerate its way out of various complex social problems by incapacitating minorities. In the course of my research I will use political speeches, election data, public opinion polls, and reports by government agencies and NGOs. This presentation will demonstrate that the United States’ response to nonviolent drug and immigration offenses are related. Politicians pursue incarceration and prison privatization despite its fiscal and human costs because voters favor ineffective punitive measures over confronting collective responsibility for poverty, racial inequality, and exploitative foreign policies. 

405 Room 905 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Miles Cipriano
Mara L. Dodge (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Humanities, Westfield State University
Khomeini's Establishment and Consolidation of Power in Post-Revolutionary Iran, 1979-1989

This paper describes the methods and tactics used by Ayatollah Khomeini to establish and consolidate power in the first decade following the revolution, 1979-1989. The research focuses on the perspectives of Iranians in revolutionary and post-revolutionary Iran and the obstacles Khomeini had to overcome to establish and consolidate power, as well as his attempts to curb economic and political exploitation by Westerners. The sources researched include scholarly journals, vetted surveys from historians, and Khomeini’s speeches and lectures during his 14 year exile from Iran. Through examination of these texts it becomes clear that Khomeini had a well-thought out plan to seek and garner popular support to help him overthrow a powerful monarchy and operationalize the country’s transition into an Islamic State.  Khomeini was able to harness the Muslim faith to rid Iran of a long-standing system of monarchy and to establish a governing structure and system that is still functioning after 38 years despite harsh sanctions from the West as well as internal discontent. Khomeini’s treatment of his opposition was harsh and unforgiving. In the end the revolution and Khomeini’s consolidation of power came at a great cost to the people Iran and their way of life.


407 Room 177 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Stephanie Marie Teixeira Collins
Amy Beaudry (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Quinsigamond Community College
The Domestication and Devaluation of Women Captured in Dystopian Literature

This presentation will connect ideas from a work of dystopian literature, Wither, with historical facts.  A mysterious “virus” is killing the population, an internal self-destruct that causes them to have a lifespan of twenty years for females and twenty-five for males.  Wither shows the reader the necessity of feminism within a patriarchal society.  Written from the perspective of a young woman named Rhine, the reader is offered insight into the treatment of women and the expectations placed upon them in this society.  Rose and her sister wives, Jenna, Rhine, and Cecily all exemplify different facets of feminism and the expectations women face in a patriarchal society.  Wither also shows that, despite the progress made in women’s rights in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, circumstances can lead to regression.  Progress is a fluid concept. No matter how many steps forward are taken, any lapse in forward momentum can cause progress to be lost. In the case of Wither, the shortened lifespans that everyone faces necessitate a return to a time when the primary purpose for women is to breed the next generation. Due to decreased life expectancy, there is a limited amount of time for women to bear children and thereby preserve the human race. Progress can be unraveled more easily than anyone wants to believe.  The impact of patriarchal society on women is captured in Wither by Lauren DeStefano, shown through Rhine’s progression from life as a free woman to life as a captive. 

411 Room 905 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Emilia Dora Beuger
Audrey L. Altstadt (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History, UMass Amherst
Counter-Terrorism in the East and West

Islamic terrorism has been at the forefront of world news with attacks in Europe and all over the world. The purpose of this research is to examine how states respond to extremism and the degree of effectiveness of these measures. Counter-terrorism efforts are due to widespread fear of radical Islamic terrorism. Using scholarly sources about terrorism and the universality of human rights, as well as independent reports from human rights organizations, this paper seeks to compare counter-terrorism efforts in Germany and Uzbekistan. At the heart of the research is the Security concerns in counter-terrorism versus individual rights, which is crucial to studying counter-terrorism around the world. My goal is to examine the motivations, punishments, and implications of the counter-terrorism efforts of democratic Germany and authoritarian Uzbekistan. Legal and political structures are implicated in these counter-terrorism policies. The judiciary strive to act as an independent body to keep the government in check, but it can also act as an ally to the government in allowing these policies to continue. The implications of counter-terrorism laws do not only apply to the individual citizen, but apply, and alienate, Muslim populations in Germany and Uzbekistan. How will these counter-terrorism measures change in response to the perceived threat of radical Islam? How will Islam and personal freedoms fare as countries adopt these policies?

412 Room 917 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Jacob C. Cohen
Yehudit Heller (Faculty Sponsor)
Honors College, UMass Amherst
The Downfall and Redemption of Anakin Skywalker: Star Wars Episodes I-VI Understood as Tragedy

My interdisciplinary honors thesis presents a new conception of the literary genre of Tragedy, involving the concepts of loss and sacrifice, the ennoblement of the Tragic Hero, and the improvement of society. I argue that the highest function of Tragedy lies in offering us the hope, tempered by sorrow and wonder, that the great depths of human suffering are meaningful. In my literature review, I analyze and build on key theoretical works, including Aristotle’s Poetics, G.F.W. Hegel’s lectures on Tragedy in the Aesthetics, Normand Berlin’s The Secret Cause: A Discussion of Tragedy, and Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth. In my fiction analysis section, I examine four Tragedies from different time periods and cultures to defend my claims, including Sophocles’ play Oedipus at Colonus, Albert Camus’ novel The Plague, George Lucas’ film series Star Wars: Ep. (I - VI), and the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica by the Magica Quartet. In my presentation, I will first establish a vocabulary of some of the most important theoretical concepts in Tragedy, including Aristotle’s hamartia and katharsis, Hegel’s emphasis on ethical conflict and reconcilliation, Berlin’s discussion of mystery, and Campbell’s understanding of hero’s journey. With that foundation, I will focus specifically on the core narrative of the Star Wars Saga: how the good Anakin Skywalker becomes the evil Darth Vader, and how Vader regains his humanity and fulfills his role as the “Chosen One.” Through Anakin’s painful journey, I hope to illustrate my thesis on Tragedy and highlight the genre’s modern relevance.

414 Room 174 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Nicholas M. Blauch
Michael Tarr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, UMass Amherst
On the Modularity of Mind and Brain: Insight from Simulations of Deep, Convolutional Neural Networks

Dating back to Fodor’s Modularity of Mind (1983), many scientists and philosophers have proposed the existence of mental modules, devices of the mind dedicated to automatic processing of a certain restricted class of information. In cognitive neuroscience, mental modules have been reframed as cortical modules, in order to account for preferential activation of a certain expanse of cortex by a certain class of stimuli. The most influential example of a theorized cortical module is one for the processing of visual faces, located in a sub-region of the brain’s fusiform gyrus, termed the Fusiform Face Area (FFA) (e.g. Kanwisher et. al, 1997). Others have argued that the FFA is not a face module but instead is part of a distributed, topographical representation of visual information (e.g. Haxby et. al, 2001). These authors have demonstrated that, for example, activation patterns across the FFA allow for decoding whether a participant is viewing one of two non-face visual categories, suggesting that non-face stimuli may be processed in the FFA (Haxby et. al, 2001; Hanson et. al, 2011). Here, we define two levels of modularity to determine whether cortical modules should produce the type of evidence used to argue against modularity: 1) localized object category representations in a neural network trained for 1000-way object categorization, and 2) a deep layer within a neural network trained exclusively for expert facial recognition. Both types of modules produce decodable information about non-preferred categories. Thus, current evidence in neuroimaging can not rule out the presence of cortical modules.

415 Room 805 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
James Nepenthe Frank
Nicholas C. McBride (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Journalism, UMass Amherst
Engaging Whiteness through Critical Contemplative Action

What is Whiteness and how is it constructed? In this session we will explore the origins and development of White identity construction and the detrimental effects of Whiteness as a racial identity. Through the use of contemplative practices, participants will be encouraged to critically examine the ways in which whiteness as a social identity perpetuates individual and greater systems of oppression. We will work to create an understanding of how contemplative practices can help inform anti-racist activism and provide grounds for radical identity transformation.


416 Room 803 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Shea Elizabeth Kelly
Timothy Lang (Faculty Sponsor)
Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Russian Intervention in Ukraine

For my thesis, I have researched and analyzed what motivated Russia to invade and annex Crimea in 2014.  Russian policy toward Ukraine merits study given that the annexation of Crimea presents a clear threat to regional and international stability.  My research also offers insight into Russia’s future foreign policy and suggests that it will become more aggressive as the liberal world order faces internal and external threats. My research draws on scholarly works analyzing the annexation, Russian foreign policy, and realist theory in order to gain a nuanced understanding of Russian actions and to establish a theoretical framework in which to interpret them.  Many scholars view the annexation as either premeditated, in which case Russia is an absolute aggressor, or as an act of self-defence after explicit Western provocation. My thesis concludes that the annexation has three tiers of causes:  The first includes deep causes, such as NATO expansion and geopolitics.  The middle tier includes energy policy and consolidating domestic power.  The third tier, or trigger causes, includes the Euromaidan movement and ousting of Yanukovych.  I interpret the annexation, using defensive realism, as a rational yet spontaneous calculation by Russia to protect its influence and security interests in the region.  I also predict that in the near future, Russia is likely to use military intervention when it perceives a threat to its influence in post-Soviet territories. KEYWORDS: Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, Geopolitics, Annexation, Putin, NATO, Defensive Realism, Military invasion

417 Room 911 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Stavros Atlamazoglou
Michael Dubson (Faculty Sponsor)
Honors Program, Bunker Hill Community College
China into Angola: A Quest for Oil and Legitimacy

Along with China’s stupendous economic growth of the past decades--consistently around 10% in terms of GDP--comes an ever-growing appetite for natural resources and international legitimacy.  Angola, a country rich in oil and with a corrupt government, offers China the opportunity to quench to a certain degree both of these goals.   The purpose of this research is to observe the methods with which China attains its goals in Angola and their impact on this African country.  Employing scholarly articles, books, US, EU, and transnational actors’ reports and data, and international newspaper articles, this research project analyzes  the extent of the Sino-Angolan economic, political, and military relationship.  Particular attention is paid to the oil-tied loans, where funds are exchanged for barrels of oil, and China’s investment strategies.  The results of the research reveal an alarming reliance of Angola’s regime to China, which, in return, ensures that the Chinese goals are met, but to the overall detriment of Angola’s sustainability and the quality of life of the Angolan citizens.   Such Chinese initiatives, moreover, are not pertinent to Angola only but indeed widespread throughout the African continent.  In conclusion, from all the available evidence, it seems that China has achieved a nearly-complete dependency relationship with Angola. 

418 Room 905 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Julia Marie McLaughlin
Timothy Lang (Faculty Sponsor)
Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
An Investigation into the Psychology of Terrorism

For my senior thesis, I researched the overarching and complex issue of terrorism, specifically surrounding the Paris attacks of 13 November 2015.  For the world at large, this topic is unfortunately becoming ever more pertinent.  Therefore, I used my experiences studying abroad in Paris during the attacks to help shed light on this controversial issue.  To tackle this project, I researched the psychology behind the mind of the terrorist. From there, I looked at how individuals and governments respond to terrorism.  I have also conducted interviews with Americans, international students, and French friends, all of whom were in Paris at the time, in order to tell their stories and show how they were affected by these horrific events.  Finally, I added my own personal reflection in response to the attacks in order to further humanize the problem. The questions I am ultimately trying to answer surround the historical, psychological, and social dimensions of terrorism.  Why do terrorists do what they do?  What motivates them?  How does terrorism then affect individuals on a personal and social level?  How does the government respond to terrorism and why?  I want to look at the relationship between war and terrorism, how terrorism has evolved over time from attacking political figures to attacking innocent lives, what is actually considered to be terrorism, and what ultimately separates us, everyday typical humans, from them, the terrorists. 


419 Room 903 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Anna Kadinoff
Doris Gertrud Bargen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Japanese, UMass Amherst
Honorific Deviance: Lady Ichi and the Female Samurai Code

This presentation examines honor and self-sacrifice as perceived by Japanese women in Kobayashi Masaki’s Samurai Rebellion (1967). The film is set in the middle of Japan’s Tokugawa period (1603-1868), an era that marked the transition of Japan from warring states to a bureaucratic state with a formidable hierarchy and a peace forced upon the people. I study the expectations for female conduct during this period by referencing Onna daigaku or The Great Learning for Women, a code of morals for women that is sometimes attributed to Kaibara Ekken. This influential work, based on Zhu Xi and Neo-Confucian ethics, notably states that “The Way of the woman is to obey her man.” Although many women followed those guidelines, what about those who found themselves at the center of a conflict that tested their sense of honor? I focus on the female protagonist of Samurai Rebellion, Lady Ichi, and her adherence to and deviance from the expectations of her gender.

420 Room 903 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Robert J. McCabe
Doris Gertrud Bargen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Japanese, UMass Amherst
Performance and Ritual Violence in Tokugawa, Japan

The rise of the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan at the turn of the 17th century saw a fundamental restructuring of Japanese society. Chief among the affected were the samurai, a warrior class whose collective identity was built on violence and martial prowess and that was suddenly confronted with the Tokugawa government’s sweeping prohibition on violence. This presentation will interrogate the changing cultural and social contexts that defined the samurai during this transformational period and grapple with the question of how a warrior culture endured under a system in which violence was illegal. Injected into this complex historical landscape are the concepts of ritual violence and performance, which formed the backbone of the samurai identity. Through the interrogation and analysis of contemporary literature featuring samurai legends and eyewitness accounts, as well as secondary scholarship and jidaigeki (period-drama) films, I will examine the unique identity of the samurai as a performer-warrior. I scrutinize these sources for their performative elements and test them for their possible integration into my hypothesis about violence-as-spectacle. Furthermore, the topics of state-sanctioned vendettas and duels during the Tokugawa period reveal a framework built upon the battlefield conduct and military values of samurai of the earlier Heian period. The question is whether the spectacular behavior displayed by some heroic figures represents, influences, or even distorts the cultural consciousness of Tokugawa-era samurai.

421 Room 903 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Neven Santos Recchia
Doris Gertrud Bargen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Japanese, UMass Amherst
Kenka Ryōseibai: A Double-sided Punishment for the Samurai

Throughout the Japanese Warring States (sengoku) period and the Great Peace of the Tokugawa period, samurai accepted the law of kenka ryōseibai which demanded equal punishment to all sides in a quarrel regardless of innocence or guilt. The law appeared at a time when warlords and officials sought to reduce the unauthorized use of violence and the private means of resolution among the samurai while promoting discipline and also furthering absolute authority. My research examines the law of kenka ryōseibai and how its demands clash with the culture of the samurai, in which the exercising of violence was necessary when honor was at stake. Were rebels against the law by definition doomed to lose their honor? In order to answer this question, I dissect recorded historical events and accounts which involved administering kenka ryōseibai that provide crucial details essential to my analysis and understanding of the relationship between lords and vassals and the dynamic between honor, loyalty, and power. I showcase historical conflicts in which samurai desired to address provocations that had damaged their honor, forcing them to defy the local authority and violate the law of kenka ryōseibai. In some cases, violators were forced by the authority to commit seppuku, saving them from public exposure to shame and granting them an honorable death. The analysis of kenka ryōseibai and its effect on samurai culture provides insightful perspectives on samurai honor and loyalty.

422 Room 917 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Patrick T. Spellman
Amanda Seaman (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Japanese, UMass Amherst
The Past, Present, and Future of Doujinshi

Imagine being able to walk into a bookstore in any major city in America and purchase fan fiction - original, fan-made works based on copyrighted properties. This is the reality in Japan, where a popular medium for creative expression in fandom is the doujinshi, which, unlike American fan fiction, is sold for profit. Doujinshi, to be specific, tend to be fan comics produced without permission from the copyright holder of the original work, or are original work, distributed independently. In this presentation, the history of doujinshi will be examined, beginning with the precursors to the medium and the social factors that gave rise to the modern usage of the term. Moving forward to touch on doujinshi-kai (doujinshi fairs), I examine the evolution of the community of both producers and consumers of doujinshi, analyzing some larger trends within Japanese fandom that had an influence on the production of doujinshi. This analysis continues through to the present-day, where special attention will be paid to how the internet has affected the doujinshi, a primarily physical medium, and the medium's unstable relationship with copyright laws. Even as fandom studies becomes a more respected branch of scholarship, doujinshi remain a relatively under-explored topic. The effect they have had on English-speaking fans through translation and 'scanlation' is immediately visible within anime-focused fan communities, and they provide an example to look to for coexistence between fan productions and copyright holders.


425 Room 804 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Melody Chalvin
Sarah Witkowski (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Kinesiology, UMass Amherst
The Effects of Physical Activity and Menopause on Quality of Life in Women

It is unclear whether quality of life (QOL) differs in peri- and post-menopausal women and whether cardiovascular (CVD) risk factors, including physical activity (PA), are related to QOL in this population. PURPOSE: To determine if there is a difference in QOL in high vs. low-active peri- (PERI) and late post-menopausal (POST) women, and whether CVD risk factors are associated with QOL. METHODS: Participants were healthy PERI (n=19) and late POST (n=15) with different PA (HIGH, n=17, >300min/wk of moderate-vigorous PA; LOW, n=17, <150min/wk of moderate-vigorous PA). PA was assessed with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and QOL with the Utian Quality of Life Questionnaire. CVD risk factors were measured by standard methods. Differences in QOL by group (PERI vs. POST) and PA (HIGH vs. LOW) were assessed with a 2-way ANOVA. Relationships between QOL and CVD risk factors were assessed using Pearson correlations. Data is presented as mean±SEM. RESULTS: QOL differed by PA (HIGH: 95±2 vs. LOW: 79±2, p=<0.001) within both menopausal groups (PERI HIGH: 95±3 vs. LOW: 80±3, p=0.002; POST HIGH: 95±4 vs. LOW: 77±3, p=0.001). Menopausal status was not related to QOL (PERI: 87.6±2 vs. POST: 86.2±2, p=0.661). In all participants, body fat percentage (r=-0.550, p=0.00042) and VO2 peak (r=0.594, p=0.00012) were related to QOL. CONCLUSION: Our data suggests that PA is related to QOL in PERI and POST women, independent of menopausal status. QOL was related to the CVD risk factors, body fat percentage and VO2 peak, providing potential targets to improve QOL in this population. 

426 Room 804 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Christopher Carter Moore
Catrine Tudor-Locke (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Kinesiology, UMass Amherst
Sex Differences in the Cadence (Steps/Min) and Intensity Relationship in 21 to 40-Year-Old Adults

Cadence (steps/min) is strongly correlated with ambulatory physical activity (PA) intensity. A heuristic value of 100 steps/min has emerged for moderate-intensity (3 metabolic equivalents, [METs]) ambulation, inclusive of adults from various demographics. PURPOSE: To examine sex-differences in the cadence-intensity relationship. METHODS: Ten males and 10 females from each 5-year age group between 21-40 years (i.e. 21-25, 26-30, etc.) were recruited, for a total of 40 males (mean age #±# years; BMI #±# kg/m2) and 40 females (mean age #±# years; BMI #±# kg/m2). Participants completed a series of 5-min treadmill bouts from 0.5-6.0mph (in 0.5mph increments), with a 2-min rest between bouts. The test was terminated when participants naturally selected to run, reached 75% of their maximum heart-rate, gave a rating of perceived exertion>13, or by volition. Steps per bout, assessed using direct observation, was divided by 5-min to derive cadence. Intensity was measured using indirect calorimetry. RESULTS: Preliminary analysis demonstrates lower oxygen consumption in males at low cadences (40-80 steps/min) with intensities<2.5 METs. Females demonstrate lower oxygen consumption at high cadences (120+ steps/min) with intensities>4 METs. Males and females have similar oxygen consumptions at normal walking cadences (80-120 steps/min) with a cross-over point at ~100 steps/min and 3 METs. CONCLUSION: This preliminary analysis confirms that 100 steps/min is a reasonable heuristic value for moderate-intensity (3 METs) ambulation for both males and females. However, heuristic values associated with vigorous-intensity (6 METs) may differ for males and females. This may have implications in PA prescription and data processing from PA monitors. 

427 Room 804 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Annalisa Webb-Gordon
Patty Freedson (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Kinesiology, UMass Amherst
Validation of the StepWatch Step Count in Free-Living Environments

Walking is a daily activity that can be objectively measured by counting steps. The StepWatch (SW) is a research-grade device used for this purpose. Most studies of the SW have been conducted in controlled laboratory settings. Wide variability of movement volume and movement type in free-living environments may affect device step count. The purpose of this study is to examine the accuracy and precision of the SW step count in free-living environments compared to criterion measured steps. Total steps were manually counted (n =8) free-living participants for 2 hours. The directly observed (DO) step count was compared to the SW step count. The SW step count did not differ significantly from DO criterion step count (p=0.74). Although the difference was not significant, the SW underestimated mean two hr step count by 388 steps (mean ±SD=3416 ±2156) compared to DO step count (3803± 2549). There was a strong positive correlation between the DO and SW step counts (r=0.98). These data show that the SW is accurate for estimating steps under free-living conditions. Specifically, there was a strong correlation between the SW and DO step counts but a consistent underestimation by the SW. Variations in walking velocity and multidirectional movements typically performed in free-living settings, may affect the accuracy of the SW. The inaccuracy arising from free-living movement variability may compromise the efficacy of the SW in certain situations where step rate is highly variable. Inaccuracies in device step count may lead to misclassification of step volume that is used to determine achievement of physical activity guidelines or misinterpretation of the effectiveness of a rehabilitation program.

428 Room 904 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Lauren Nicole Richardson
Sarah Witkowski (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Kinesiology, UMass Amherst
Blood Flow Shear Stress Patterns in Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women

Menopause is related to adverse changes in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Increased retrograde blood flow shear rate (RSR) and lower antegrade blood flow shear rate (ASR) are related to greater CVD risk. Differences in blood flow patterns in women at different menopausal stages and in response to exercise have not been investigated. The purpose of this study is to evaluate peak RSR and ASR at rest and in response to increased blood flow before and after an acute bout of exercise in perimenopausal (PERI) and postmenopausal (POST) women. Healthy low-active PERI (n=7) and POST (n=8) exercised for 30 min at 60-64% VO2peak. Peak ASR and RSR were measured in the brachial artery twice before and 30 minutes following exercise. ASR and RSR were assessed at rest and in response to an increase in blood flow induced following 5 minutes of forearm blood flow occlusion (200mmHg) and calculated as [(8*velocitymean (mm/s)/artery diameter (mm)]. Data was analyzed using a 3-way ANOVA and Holm-Sidak post-hoc testing and presented as mean±SEM. There were no significant differences in RSR by group (PERI vs. POST, p=0.496), condition (pre- vs. post-exercise, p=0.64), or trial (1 vs. 2, p=0.72). There was a trend for an effect of trial for baseline ASR (trial 1:349.77±24.15s-1 vs. trial 2:285.22±24.08s-1, p=0.065), with lower ASR in trial 2 post-exercise (trial 1:360.71±35.68s-1 vs. trial 2:266.71±35.12s-1, p=0.067). There was a post-exercise trend for lower post-occlusion ASR for POST (pre-ex:1218.86±112.06s-1 vs. post-ex: 955.17±112.06s-1, p=0.10) and a trend for greater post-occlusion ASR for PERI versus POST (PERI:1240.21±117.94s-1 vs. POST:955.17±112.06s-1, p=0.087). We have previously shown reduced vascular function following acute exercise in POST compared to PERI (Serviente et al., 2016). The differences in ASR at baseline and post-occlusion with repeated trials and following acute exercise may contribute to these observed differences, increasing CVD risk in POST.

430 Room 804 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Tyler Kelleher
Steven P. Dion (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Exercise and Sports Science, Salem State University
The Functional Movement Screen and Prediction of Injury Risk in CrossFit Athletes

The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between scores on a functional movement screening (FMS) assessment, and injury development in CrossFit athletes. The functional movement screen is a series of physical assessments used by trainers and coaches to assess an athlete’s potential for injury. These tests are specifically designed to identify asymmetries and imbalances in an athletes movement patterns. A functional movement screen featuring seven assessments (Deep squat, Hurdle step, In-line lunge, shoulder mobility, active straight leg raise, trunk stability push up, rotary stability) will be administered to 20 participants and the total FMS composite score will be recorded. Participants will then take part in regular training at a local CrossFit gym for a period of two months. During this time Participants will be monitored for injury development both by weekly check-ups with the researcher, as well as self-monitoring. Following two months participants will undergo another FMS test. After the testing period is concluded, composite scores will be compared with those who experienced an injury and those who did not. To compare these data, a Pearson correlation will be drawn. Data collection will begin in Early March and continue through April. Preliminary data will be ready to present at the UMASS Amherst Conference. 

431 Room 804 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
David P. Manning
Jason Gillis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Exercise 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 both single and repeated skin 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, this requires confirmation. Ten 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 applying the intervention, and 30-minutes thereafter. Perceptual measures include thermal sensation, thermal comfort, and irritation. Thermoregulatory measures include skin blood flow (laser Doppler flowmetry at index finger), rectal temperature, skin temperature (supraclavicular, chest, forearm, thigh, calf), and electromyographic muscle activation of the trapezius, pectoralis major, and sternocleidomastoid as surrogates 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 acute and chronic effects of menthol on thermoregulation and energy expenditure. As of February, all pilot testing is complete. Data collection will commence from February through March. Data analysis will be complete by early April.

432 Room 804 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Shannon Christine Weisse
Kayla Marie Morgan-Pitman
Jason Gillis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Exercise Science, Salem State University
The Influence of Menthol on Recovery from Exercise Induced Muscle Damage

The purpose of this study is to assess the influence of menthol on muscle soreness and gross measures of physical performance for five days following exercise-induced muscle damage. Two weeks of testing will occur with 55 healthy male participants who will be randomized to one of three interventions: Placebo (n=18), Control (n=19) and a 4.6 % Menthol condition (n=18). Week one features three familiarizations of a testing battery including: vertical jump, agility t-test, hip flexion/abduction, perception of muscle soreness using an algometer and a 0-100 scale for soreness. Week two consists of five consecutive testing days beginning with 40x15m repeated sprinting protocol to induce muscle damage. The testing battery will occur immediately afterwards. Following this, participants will undergo their intervention: P and M gels will be given a syringe of respective intervention and apply 10mL to hamstrings and quadriceps and 5mL onto calves, rubbing into skin until it is absorbed with no excessive rubbing/massaging of gel. Interventions will be applied at time of testing and in the evening on test days. Data will be analyzed using two-way repeated measure ANOVA based upon conditions and time. Data will be compared with baseline values before introduction of menthol interventions. 45 participants completed testing as of February (19 in C, 13 in P and M respectively). 10 participants will be recruited and proceed through testing. Statistical analyses of data will be completed in the months following. All data will be ready for presentation in April.

434 Room 804 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Colleen Suzanne Good
Heather Heim
Melissa Molloy
Anthony D'Amico (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Exercise and Sports Science, Salem State University
The Influence of Foam Rolling on Recovery from Exercise Induced Muscle Damage

The purpose of this investigation is to assess the physiological effects of foam rolling (FR) on recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage compared to a control condition (CON). Twenty males and females (40 total participants) aged 18-35 years will complete two weeks of testing. Week one will include familiarization. Each participant will come three times to go through the testing battery including hip abduction/hip flexion ROM, vertical jump test, agility (T-test), perception of muscle soreness, heart rate variability, pulse wave velocity, and urinary markers of muscle damage. Monday of week two, each participant will complete a repeated sprinting protocol to induce muscle damage. Participants assigned to FR condition will undergo the FR protocol once/day Monday-Friday. Those assigned to CON will not undergo a recovery intervention. Then, testing battery will be completed by each participant once/day Tuesday-Friday. Everyday, urine samples will be taken from each participant. Participants will be instructed on how to properly ensure euhydration. The urine samples will be analyzed with reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography for quantifying EIMD. All data will be assessed for normality using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. Dependent variables will be compared to the baseline-measure within each condition. The area under the curve will be calculated by summing the scores Monday-Friday, and an independent T-test will compare FRvs.CON with an alpha level of 0.05. Data collection will take place February-March. Data analysis and interpretation will be completed in March/April. Data will be available for dissemination by late April.

435 Room 804 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Greg J. Petrucci Jr.
John Ronald Sirard (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Kinesiology, UMass Amherst
A Consumer Activity Tracker is Sensitive to Changes in Steps during Simulated Free-living

Noted as the top fitness trend for 2016 and 2017, activity trackers are expected to continue to increase in popularity. Forecasts predict that by the end of 2021 over 560 million units will ship, compared with 82 million units that were shipped in 2015. Moreover, there have been inclinations toward adopting consumer activity trackers in intervention research, despite limited validation efforts. The purpose of this study is to determine the sensitivity of a consumer activity tracker (AT) to detect changes in step counts using a research grade accelerometer (RA) to assess concurrent validity. Twenty participants wore the AT and RA, on the right and left wrist, and hip, during three one-hour lab sessions: sedentary session (SS), sedentary plus walking (SW), and sedentary plus jogging (SJ) session. For the SW and SJ sessions, participants performed 30-minutes of sitting and 30 consecutive minutes of walking or jogging at 5.15 and 8.0 kph, respectively. Total step means and 95% CI’s for the 3 sessions and monitor locations were used to assess significant differences in steps.  Across all sessions, no significant differences were observed between hip AT and RA estimates of total steps. There were significant changes in total steps across conditions, indicating the AT step measure can detect change as activity dose increased.  However, during activity conditions, wrist-worn AT devices yielded significantly greater estimates of steps than the RA. While these results are promising, the sensitivity of the AT in detecting changes in usual physical activity volume should be examined under free-living conditions. 

436 Room 804 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Kavita V. Shah
Nency Sangani
John Ronald Sirard (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Kinesiology, UMass Amherst
Analyzing Intra- and Inter-rater Reliability through Direct Observation

The purpose of this study was to calculate intra- and inter-rater reliability from direct observation videos of children engaged in physical activity. Determining the intensity and duration of physical activity in children is an active area of investigation. These reliability assessments inform a larger study, the Movement Observation in Children and Adolescents (MOCA) Study. Observations were recorded using the GoPro HERO+LCD™ camera and analyzed using customized software for video coding (Noldus™). This system enables the analysis of video recordings at an accuracy of within 0.1 seconds. Undergraduate Research Assistants (URAs) spent 60 hours training to use the coding scheme to identify activity type, intensity and duration. After training, the URAs independently coded (in duplicate, 1-week apart) the same 30-minute video of a 9 year old child during indoor unstructured free play. The outcome variables from the URAs were compared to their own for intra-rater reliability and to a master coder (criterion measure) for inter-rater reliability. We anticipate high percent agreement (>90%) and intraclass correlation coefficients (> 0.80) for key variables. These results will be very crucial for significant ongoing research in measurement of activity and sedentary time in youth and supporting the reliability of direct observation. Specifically, it will be a very important criterion for the larger MOCA study which will serve to explore new techniques for estimating physical activity in youth.


463 Room 911 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Kimberly Beaudreau
Rebecca Hamlin (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Legal Studies, UMass Amherst
Mexico's Programa Frontera Sur: Border Externalization and Decentralization as Deterrence along the Mexico-Guatemala Border

This thesis examines border externalization, defined as the systematic engagement between popular immigrant destinations and third countries to apprehend migrants and prevent migration. In particular, the thesis examines Programa Frontera Sur, a Mexican immigration policy created in direct response to the United States’ request for an increase in Mexico-Guatemala border security. This case study reveals how border externalization has transformed policy creation and immigration enforcement within a decentralized federalist government. While many studies focus on border externalization’s effect on migrants’ rights, I focus on the inner workings of the partner state. I attempt to determine what factors explain Mexico’s promise to fulfill the United States’ expectations of border externalization and how that translates to immigration enforcement. I also examine Mexico’s commitment to and motivations behind accepting border externalization. I answer my research question by examining three data sources: Mexico’s public dialogue about Programa Frontera Sur before its implementation including the United States’ response; the policy itself and its implementation model; and Programa Frontera Sur’s implementation and enforcement. Drawing on government documents and scholarship on the Central American migrant experience, I argue that the Mexican government is using its decentralized government and policy to implement border externalization by increasing the discretion of enforcement agents and continuing violence towards migrants as a deterrence factor. I conclude by examining the consequences of these actions, particularly Mexico’s adoption of a new role as an immigration enforcer, the impact of Mexico’s relationship with other Central American countries, and the “trickle-down” effect of border externalization.

464 Room 911 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Cheyevna Beckedorff Duarte
Michael Dubson (Faculty Sponsor)
Honors Program, Bunker Hill Community College
Legalization of Driver's Licenses for Illegal Immigrants in MA

The purpose of this research project is to recognize and critically analyze the current situation of illegal immigrants living within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts without basic privileges, specifically without the right to obtain a Driver's License.  Those who oppose the legalization of Driver’s Licenses to undocumented immigrants believe that allowing this privilege would be a tacit approval of their illegal immigration status and would provide an incentive to attract illegal aliens to the state. This research presents arguments that challenge the opposing opinions by citing previous judicial decisions from other states based on similar cases, Constitutional rights based on the 14th Amendment in regards to equal protection and liberty to all people before the law, and the correlation of the term “Sanctuary cities” based on the Christian-Judeo values with undocumented communities. Denying a driver’s license to undocumented immigrants restricts them from having a personal identification, liability, access to RMV tests and their duty to pay mandatory fees required by the State. Upon examination of the facts, this research clearly demonstrates that to withhold a driver’s license from undocumented immigrants provides no advantage for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts preventing the State to tax and profit from driver’s license issuances, to improve public safety and other improvements reported. It also shows the importance of standing for the U.S. value system of offering opportunity for everyone willing to work hard and live within the laws, and representing their value and contributions to society since this is the foundation of the United States of America. 

465 Room 904 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Hui Chen
Shoshanna Ehrlich (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, UMass Boston
Amicus Facts: A Friend or Foe of the Court?

In 2007, the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 in Gonzales v. Carhart. Carhart is one in a series of cases that chipped away at women's abortion right set out in Roe v. Wade (1973). The purpose of this paper is to investigate and analyze the Carhart Court's use of an amicus curiae brief that was filed by a legal advocacy group with a deep-rooted religious and pro-life background. Through a critical analysis of scholarly literature drawn from law reviews and Supreme Court decisions, this paper reveals the flaws in the Court's reliance on this amicus brief.  First, as discussed, the Court blindly relied on the brief without a proper procedure to evaluate its credibility. Second, the amicus brief contains neither medical nor scientific facts but rather draws upon stories from women who claimed abortion regret and therefore this paper rejects those stories on the ground of unreliability. Lastly, the Court's citation to the amicus brief constitutes a religious endorsement of this group’s divinely inspired anti-abortion views and thus violates its own establishment clause jurisprudence.  In conclusion, this paper suggests there are inherent deficiencies in the current legal structure governing the admission and use of amicus briefs. Scholarship should aim towards a broader and more systemic study to determine if the flaws are prevalent in the legal system, particularly where such important rights are at stake.      

468 Room 803 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Arianna Monet Lewis
Jim Ben-Aaron (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
Run(t) of the Mill

While laws are initially crafted as textual pieces of legislation, the true nature of their implications is determined largely by their effect in practice.  In light of this fact, I am interested in the relationship between what is technically the law and what is reflected in practice, as well as potential weaknesses/loopholes in either or both.  My objective with this assignment is to research the regulations currently in place regarding puppy mills, breeders, and shelters, their intersection, the interconnection thereof, and the ultimate impact - both on the animals, and on the people to whom they will ultimately belong.  Upon conducting this research, I intend to represent it in a format tantamount to a graphic novel; my final project should be a piece of graphic nonfiction that reflects a comprehensive demonstration of my arguments and findings.

469 Room 803 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Amanda Pinto
Jim Ben-Aaron (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
Legal Decision Making in the United States: Judge versus Jury

Juries have always been prevalent in the United States. They are even guaranteed in the Constitution. Despite their long legal history, there has always been concern about the correctness of jury’s legal decision-making. This paper examines the arguments against jury legal decision making to determine the validity of the arguments as well as to propose areas of reform. This has been accomplished using peer-reviewed scholarly articles and journals accessed through the University of Massachusetts Amherst library database to compare juries to judges, the primary legal decision maker. To better determine patterns of decision making behavior studies using different methods of comparison, such as the rates of judge-jury agreements, experimental simulations, and archival analysis, are used. The examination of these studies find that while the decision making process and justification may be different the decisions reached are largely the same. That does not mean however that there is no evidence of difference or that the jury has no issue in fulfilling its duties as a legal decision maker. Many of the studies have shown that jury instructions are often the biggest factor in jury-judge disagreements. To mitigate this issue jury instructions can be rewritten and the mode they are delivered in can be altered. Understanding the differences between judge-jury decisions making reinforce the validity of juries as a legal institution in the U.S. as well as provide insight to the challenges juries face as a decision making body and potential areas of reform to address these challenges. 


470 Room 165 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
John M. Duff
Lyn Frazier (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Linguistics, UMass Amherst
That Punk!: An Experiment on Epithets and Perspective Dependence

Some phrases in English, like "wow", "damn", and "that idiot", convey expressive information about emotional and attitudinal states. Recent experimental evidence demonstrates that in some utterances, the party whose emotions this expressive content describes can be ambiguous. Sentences like (1) have two possible interpretations, (2) and (3). 1. Speaker: Kate said that Josh, that barbarian, walked by a dog yesterday without petting it. 2. Kate said that Josh walked by a dog yesterday without petting it, and the speaker thinks negatively of Josh. 3. Kate said that Josh walked by a dog yesterday without petting it, and Kate thinks negatively of Josh. Findings from Harris and Potts (2009), Harris (2012), and Kaiser (2015) all suggest that the language processor interprets expressives as displaying the attitudes of the current Perspective Center (PC), which is set using a variety of pragmatic cues. The experiment I will present seeks to identify some of these pragmatic cues. I find that perspective assignment appears to be sensitive to whether a party's mental faculty has been implied in the prior discourse through verbs which necessitate cognitive function (e.g. "look", "notice"). Subjects of such verbs are more frequently adopted as perspective centers than subjects of other verbs. These findings help inform our understanding of the process by which perspective shift occurs in natural language.

471 Room 165 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Emma Jane Merritt
Lyn Frazier (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Linguistics, UMass Amherst
How Does the Presence of Shape-based Classifiers in Mandarin Chinese Influence Speakers’ Object Categorization Compared to Speakers of English?

A classifier is a bound morpheme that is inserted between either numerals or demonstratives and a target noun phrase. Classifier languages, such as Chinese, require speakers to be aware of each noun’s specific classifier, whereas non-classifier languages like English have no such requirement. This raises the question, does the presence of unique elements (in this case, classifiers) in some languages affect speakers’ cognition, based on the inherent linguistic properties of each element? In 2007, Jenny Yi-chun Kuo and Maria D. Sera conducted an experiment assessing the degree to which shape-based classifiers in Mandarin might influence native speakers when categorizing objects. Findings supported their original hypothesis that Chinese speakers would rely on object shape more often than English speakers (who sorted primarily based on functional similarity) when asked to determine whether certain objects were similar. Here, in a more open-ended version of Kuo and Sera’s original task, Mandarin- and English-speaking participants were asked to sort twenty different objects into smaller groups, using whatever method they deemed fit to categorize the objects. When they finished, they were asked to label each group. While both Mandarin and English speakers sorted primarily based on object function, Mandarin speakers were considerably more diverse in the methods used to sort when function was not an option. In the end, 9% of Mandarin-speaking subjects and 5.5% of English speakers sorted their objects based on shape, indicating that while shape may not be Chinese speakers’ primary consideration, it may still be relevant to the task of object-sorting.

472 Room 911 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Kerin Regina Towne
Sandra M. Lygren (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Deaf Studies, Bristol Community College
Bridging the Gap: The Case for Increasing Support to Families of Bilingual Deaf Children in Massachusetts

Hearing parents of deaf and hard of hearing children face a surprisingly controversial decision very shortly after receiving a diagnosis of hearing loss: what language and modality their child will use to communicate. Though many studies have shown early acquisition of sign language to significantly benefit all children and not to impede the acquisition of listening and spoken language skills, parents are given conflicting information and too few support resources in Massachusetts to help with the uphill battle of learning a second language and finding a way to fit in with the Deaf community. Using scholarly literature accessed through the Bristol Community College library, I will assess existing research regarding bilingualism to show the need for support, then survey parents in Massachusetts regarding services offered and utilized as well as data gathered from state agencies in order to determine gaps in offerings. I will be implementing a monthly program, utilizing an existing model offered through Gallaudet University, at Bristol Community College that will connect hearing parents of Deaf children to volunteer members of the Deaf community to teach them how to read books to their children in ASL and offer social networking time as well. After the initial program meeting I will survey attendees to see if this fills an identified gap in the region and helps parents feel more connected to the Deaf community and supported on their journey to bilingualism. With positive feedback, the program will continue and help to bridge the Deaf/hearing gap.

474 Room 163 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Vishal Sunil Arvindam
Lyn Frazier (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Linguistics, UMass Amherst
Processing Singular They with Discrete Referents: A Study Contrasting Gender-nonconforming with Gender-conforming Individuals

This paper reports the results of a study on they, used as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. Previous work has looked at the processing cost of they when used to refer to stereotypically gendered singular antecedents (eg. nurse) but none have looked at they’s behavior when used to refer to stereotypically gendered names (eg. Liam). They has been taken into new grammatical territory by gender nonconforming individuals, who use it as an alternative for he or she (1). (1) Lucy loves their dog. (2) Lucy loves her dog. Although this usage is included in the style guides of the New York Times and Washington Post, (1) sounds unnatural to some but not all speakers. Since they is adopted as the personal pronoun for gender nonconforming individuals, we expect from them a greater acceptance of sentences like (1). A grammaticality rating experiment tested sentences like (1) and (2) contrasting a group of gender nonconforming individuals with a group of gender conforming individuals.  The group containing nonconforming individuals treated they and gendered pronouns alike (Mthey=6.5, Mhe/she=6.75). By contrast conforming individuals strongly preferred gendered pronouns (Mthey=3.25, Mhe/she=6.4). (3) Suzy told the band that their guitar was out of tune. To explain the findings, the paper tested whether they activates both genderless singular and plural antecedents for nonconforming individuals. To test this, participants were asked to assign they to an antecedent in a sentence like (3). As predicted, only nonconforming individuals were equally likely to pick the singular and plural antecedents.


477 Room 805 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Merrie Margaret Gardner
Elizabeth Osborne (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of World Languages and Cultures, Worcester State University
Los dos lados: Nosotros y ellos en “A Roosevelt” y “Coney Island” / Two Sides: Us and Them in "A Roosevelt" and "Coney Island"

En los fines de los años 1800 después del comienzo del imperialismo, los EE.UU se transformó en la nación más poderosa del hemisferio occidental. Esto creó preocupaciones por el porvenir, la prosperidad y la independencia de Latinoamérica. Mediante la investigación escolar de artículos por la base de datos de Worcester State University, este trabajo examina las angustias que aparecen en “A Roosevelt” de  Rubén Darío y “Coney Island” de José Martí. Es importante notar que este tema no es ampliamente investigado. Los dos escritores comparan los EE.UU y Latinoamérica a través de perspectivas distintas. Aunque los dos escritores se enfocan en aspectos diferentes los dos llegan a la misma conclusión identificando la fortaleza espiritual de los latinoamericanos, lo que consideraron una flaqueza para los estadounidenses.

At the start of American imperialism in the late 1800’s, the United States rapidly became the most powerful nation in the Western Hemisphere. Latin Americans, concerned about the aggressive power of the U.S., feared for their land, prosperity and independence. Using scholarly articles accessed through the Worcester State University library database, this paper examines how Latin Americans felt about the U.S. through the eyes of two Latin American writers: Rubén Darío, author of “A Roosevelt”, and José Martí, author of “Coney Island”.  It should be noted here that this topic is a sparsely covered subject. Both writers focus on different aspects of the United States, however, they both arrive at the same conclusion: condemning the spiritual poverty of the U.S.

478 Room 805 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Erica D. Remillard
Elizabeth Osborne (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of World Languages and Cultures, Worcester State University
El papel activo del lector en los obras de Jorge Luis Borges y Julio Cortázar

El propósito central de una obra es diferente según cada autor y su cuento. Por eso, el papel del lector puede ser diferente también. Usando una combinación única y intencional de eventos, ambientes, personajes y técnicas literarias, cada autor crea un cuento que involucra el lector como desea. Mediante el análisis de los textos primarios, "Borges y yo" por Jorge Luis Borges y "Continuidad de los parques" por Julio Cortázar junto con literatura y artículos académicos accede desde la base de datos de la universidad de Worcester State, este trabajo explora cómo ambos Borges y Cortázar escribieron para involucrar el lector en el cuento en una manera specifica con una variedad de técnicas. En "Borges y yo", Borges usa dos formas de una persona, lagunas en la información y el intercambio entre la primera y la tercera persona para mantener un lector activo. Dicho de otra forma, el lector esta pensando a través de todo el cuento. En "Continuidad de los parques", se pueden observar técnicas como cambios intencionados en el tiempo del verbo, descripción del escenario y el lector que sirve de testigo, ya que Cortázar usa para crear un cómplice de los personajes. Tantas cosas afectan qué hacer y piensa el lector y es el autor talentoso que crea la perfecta combinación de eventos, ambientes y personajes hasta el mínimo detalle para formar un cuento que involucra al lector exactamente con la intención original.

479 Room 805 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Crissostomos Constantino Villarreal
Elizabeth Osborne (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of World Languages and Cultures, Worcester State University
Challenging Stereotypes in a Patriarchal World: Clorinda Matto de Turner and Rosario Castellanos / Desafiar Barreras en un Mundo Patriarcal: Clorinda Matto de Turner y Rosario Castellanos

Latin American norms have been dominated by patriarchal ideologies concerning women’s roles in society. Historically, women in Latin America have been cornered into traditional roles that patriarchal notions suggest are to exclusively deal with beauty, household, marriage, and childcare. Using scholarly literature from research derived from the Worcester State University library database, this Spanish-language presentation explores how two influential feminist Latin American writers Clorinda Matto de Turner and Rosario Castellanos defy traditional roles placed upon women by the patriarchal paradigms that dominated most of Latin America’s modern history. The work of Matto de Turner and Castellanos provided the impetus for a wave of feminism to start to dismantle the preconceived concepts of women’s roles as they pertain to society in Latin America. Using various literary devices and distinct styles, Matto de Turner and Castellanos approached challenging the barriers women face in different manners. Matto de Turner placed education as the focus of her argument to dispel misogynistic stereotypes to equate women’s roles in society to those of their male counterparts, while still supporting the traditional roles of women as caretakers, wives, and mothers. Castellanos completely renounces traditional roles of women especially in regards to marriage to advocate general gender equality. Taking different standpoints on how women should be viewed amidst a patriarchal culture, Matto de Turner and Castellanos became pioneers of gender equality and women’s rights. Their work empowered Latin American women to take part in roles outside of the traditional roles preconceived by a machismo driven culture. 

484 Room 903 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Daniel Rattelle
Shirley Lau Wong (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
"McNicholl's Pigeons": Seamus Heaney, the Cosmos, and County Derry

This paper seeks to understand how the Irish poet Seamus Heaney’s work relates to and is informed by place. I look at a representative sample of his career, focusing primarily on the collections Death of a Naturalist (1966) North (1975) and Human Chain (2010) and test three different ways of reading them. Firstly, I will argue that a reading of Heaney's poetry as "cosmopolitan" fails to take into account the rootedness of Heaney’s work in County Derry. Secondly, a "nationalist" framework of analysis fails because Heaney’s poetry operates on a smaller scale than the nation-state. Lastly, to destabilize the charge of tribalism, I refer to poems such as “Punishment,” and “The Flight Path,” his translation the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, and other poems that are not set in County Derry or even Ireland; such examples eschew an insular, reactionary worldview. Having found none of the above descriptions adequate, I argue for a new understanding of the relationship between Heaney’s poetry and place, which I refer to as “Poetics of the Body.” Poetics of the Body is rooted in sensory observations of the natural world rather than abstract concepts like “the nation-state.”


486 Room 904 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Christine M. Newcomb
Zaur Rzakhanov (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Accounting and Finance, UMass Boston
Breaking through the Glass Ceiling: Why Some Female CEO's Fail

The purpose of this report is to understand why some female leaders are successful and why others are not in today’s business world. To analyze, I will focus on the leadership of four prominent businesswomen. Two women, Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo., and Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Kraft Foods, are highly successful CEOs, who have made significant improvements to their companies during their tenure. On the other hand, Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and former Republican nominee in the 2016 Presidential Election, and Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, are two female executives who were not successful during their tenures. I will analyze the similarities and differences between these leaders. Factors that will be considered include education, state of the company prior to their appointment as CEO, leadership style, reactions during moments of controversy and/or crisis, and former mentors, and career paths. I expect to find that the success, or failure, of these women is mainly due to their styles of leadership. Indra Nooyi and Irene Rosenfeld have both exhibited a transformational style of leadership during their tenures, whereas Carly Fiorina and Marissa Mayer did not. Carly Fiorina and Marissa Mayer failed to adapt to the organizational culture of their organization.

487 Room 803 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Andrew Snow
Audrey Pereira (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Business, Fitchburg State University
Competitive Market Analysis of Niko's Pizza

The literature suggests that restaurants smaller in size fail at higher rates than larger sized restaurants, and, similarly, independently owned restaurants fail at significantly higher rates than chain restaurants. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess the competitive environment to determine how a small, independently owned pizza shop (Niko’s Pizza) compared to a national pizza chain restaurant and another similarly small local shop, all located in the Worcester, MA area, to help analyze and improve Niko’s Pizza’s competitive advantage. The research methods included gathering data including foot traffic, information from marketing materials, company websites, and customer reviews and feedback. Data was analyzed using multiple models including SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), Strategic Options, QSPM (Quantitative Strategic Planning Matrix), SPACE Matrix (Strategic Position and Action Evaluation), Internal/External SWOT, and Competitive Profile. Preliminary results of the analysis indicate that Niko’s Pizza is in a weak competitive position compared the national chain and the other local, small competitor, and, therefore should implement measures to improve their competitive position. Initial recommendations based on analysis of the collected data, and supported by the literature, suggest that Niko’s Pizza should increase their online presence by updating their website to include online ordering as well as invest in a Google ad to ensure that they are the first result when people within a given radius search for keywords pertaining to ordering pizza (as well as separate themselves from other pizza shops with the same name in other areas).

488 Room 803 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Paul Kenneth Zarrilli
Jennifer Merton (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Management, UMass Amherst
Arbitration in America: Dispute Resolution Vehicle of the Future or a Relic of the Past?

This paper is a study of arbitration, an increasingly common form of alternative dispute resolution that many companies in America are invoking in contracts they enter into with consumers and employees.  The goal of this study is to inform the reader what arbitration is, why it came to be, present arguments for and against it, and finally determine its future place in our nation.  The first two sections give a detailed definition of arbitration and the Federal Arbitration Act and familiarize the reader with its history and ascension into mainstream use.  Section Three covers the pertinent federal cases, focusing on DirecTV v. Imburgia.  All other pertinent cases are detailed afterward, chronologically.  The fourth section examines empirical evidence about the costs of arbitration versus litigation, and concludes that more studies must be done.  Section Five details the inherent dangers of arbitration, and cites an extreme real-life example, where justice may not have been served to people who deserved it the most.  Section six presents academic studies which have taken various positions on arbitration, while the seventh section presents the media’s outlook, specifically the New York Times, which has taken a keen interest in the arbitration discussion.  The eighth section provides analysis of all the presented information and attempts to find solutions.  Section nine examines the latest Supreme Court case that deals with arbitration in employment contracts, using new journal articles and applying concepts developed earlier in this study to predict its outcome this spring. The tenth section provides concluding remarks.


492 Room 162 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Zackery Mitchell
Robert Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Marketing eSports to all Generations

Esports, or electronic sports, have been around for years but more recently have started to become an integral part of the gaming world. Gaming is now leaking into more people’s lives due to the growing popularity of Esports—but there is a noticeable lack of interest from people older than mid-twenties. I believe this has to do with a continuing stigma around gamers that they are antisocial, lazy, and wasting their time. Finding ways to bridge this generation gap will broaden understanding and appreciation of a major culture and more importantly bring new demographics to the growing Esports community. In my study, I have interviewed people who are aged 40-70 to show the varying personal opinions on Esports, recording responses with a microphone. Using the professional gaming scene of Super Smash Bros. Melee as an example, I have given visual presentations to interviewees and provided a station where they could try the game out themselves. After giving them this tangible connection to the subject, I recorded their new varying opinions. My analysis of the data collected across several age groups could be used to improve Esports marketing toward a wider audience. 

493 Room 801 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Kevin Joseph Tomasetti
Renee Scapparone (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Business, Fitchburg State University
Vertical Marketing Strategy of ACT

To better help a company achieve sales, a marketing plan has many advantages. To specifically target a niche and apply a definitive strategy, a vertical marketing strategy would be a better tool to utilize. Using a Vertical Marketing Strategy would utilize both long term and short term activities and analyze the business's goals while using information gained from its distributors. This will enable the company to better control the information flow throughout the company, down the distribution channel, and help enable the distributors to have more information to service the customer. Using scholarly articles accessed through the Fitchburg State University library, market research, industry reports, and competitive analysis; this thesis looks at how ACT would be able to capture and lower costs, utilize the information flow back and forth to and from the distributors, and create a partnership to help ACT and its distribution channels better service their customer base, along with examining new markets or achieving more market share in existing markets. Information flow is key to help understand customer relations with the distributor and with the manufacturer. Creating a partnership with the vertical marketing plan between the manufacturer and its distributors, will help establish both with services and products, preferring satisfaction to customers and presentation of a partnership; rather than a maker, buyer, and seller relationship. By creating a vertical marketing plan, it would give direction to the company and its distributors, thus opening the door for more opportunities for growth, and sales.


502 Room 805 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Muhamad Haziq Bin Mustapha
Ileana Vasu (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Holyoke Community College
Exploring Intriguing Mathematical Properties by Using Calculus

The purpose of this project is two-fold. First, I wish to write a Math research paper and to explain mathematical ideas clearly to people. The second purpose of my Mathematics project is also to apply methods learned in the courses that I have taken such as integration, series, differentiation, trigonometry identities to several questions in mathematical analysis. In particular, I consider the following Calculus problem: A is a point on the cubic graph y=x^3. The tangent at A crosses the curve at B, and P is the area between the curve and the segment AB. Similarly, the tangent at B meets the curve again at C, and Q is the area between the curve and BC. What is the relationship between the two areas?   Can this relationship be generalized to other curves? To accomplish my goal, I will use the property of integral to find the area under the cubic curve and apply ratio division to obtain the relationship in determining the relationship between the geometry of a cubic curve and the calculus, then try to generalize using some linear algebra techniques. A second part of my presentation will focus on deriving properties of the sinc function. This is a function defined as (sin (x)/x).  I use properties of limits, continuity, series, etc. to derive these properties.


508 Room 805 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Ganzhong Ma
Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, UMass Amherst
Influence of Variable Stiffness on the High Accelerations of Fast Starting Fish

An experimental study is conducted to understand the effect of tail stiffness on increased acceleration in mechanisms designed to emulate fast-start fish maneuvers. The maximum acceleration of the Northern Pike fish has been observed to be 250m/s2. The variable stiffness is characterized by the directionality of loading. As load is applied in one direction on the fin the structure is flexible, simulating the preparatory stage of the maneuver, and as load is applied in the opposing direction the fin rigidly maintains its shape during the propulsive stage. A 3D printed fin structure is used to achieve the directional stiffness and is tested dynamically. Thrust is measured at various rates of rotation studying the influence of timing on peak acceleration. High-speed cameras and flow-visualization techniques are used to capture the videos of the flow.

509 Room 805 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Nicholas Robinson
Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, UMass Amherst
Biomimetic Ultrasonic Whistle to Be Used for Bat Deterrence at Wind Farms

Wind turbines pose a significant threat to at-risk and endangered bat populations in North America, particularly those threatened by white-nose disease. Past experiments have shown that bats can be deterred from areas with the use of electronically generated ultrasonic pulse signals with a frequency of between 20-55 kHz. These pulses lasted for between 5-10 milliseconds and were emitted at a rate of between 10-50 Hz. Due to size and structure of wind turbine blades, it would be impractical to use an electronically-powered speaker to emit this signal. However, a set of whistles mounted directly to the blade of the wind turbine were to be designed in such a way that they produce this ultrasonic signal passively by the air conditions on the surface of the blade. Most species of bats, as well as some species of frogs, are capable of producing these ultrasonic signals naturally using the passage of air through their own vocal folds. This study analyzes the effectiveness of using models of the larynxes of these animals as the basis for the design of this passively-powered ultrasonic whistle.

510 Room 805 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Alexander Francis Smith
Rune Alexander Percy
Juan M. Jiménez (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, UMass Amherst
Measuring Potassium Using DNA-based Sensors to Improve Dialysis Treatment

In the USA alone, approximately 661,000 patients suffer from kidney failure (KF) with 117,000 new yearly diagnoses and a 28% mortality rate. More than 71% of KF patients require frequent hemodialysis to filter their blood artificially and without dialysis, the patient will survive at most several weeks. Hemodialysis aims to remove waste from the blood and maintain equilibrium of body fluids, functions naturally performed by the kidneys. In contrast to kidneys, which function and adjust molecule concentrations continuously, hemodialysis protocols are adjusted infrequently due to costs and blood loss associated with blood draws. Infrequent blood tests, about once per month on average, are utilized to adjust hemodialysis protocols and as a result, thousands of patients die yearly nationwide from treatment complications, such as cardiac arrest due to potassium imbalances. Here we show preliminary proof-of-concept results of DNA-based fluorescent probes which were successfully used to measure potassium concentration in a solution. This technology, when combined with a microfluidic device, can be integrated with routine hemodialysis sessions by measuring potassium and eventually other blood contents multiple times throughout a session, enabling protocol adjustment similar to a healthy kidney.  Given that hemodialysis can lead to blood loss, additional blood draws to assess kidney function and blood markers are limited. However, sampling multiple drops of blood per session has the potential to reduce costs by limiting medical complications, avoids unnecessary pokes with needles for blood draws, and provides a more comprehensive assessment of the patient’s health.

512 Room 805 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Victor Kenneth Champagne III
Alejandro Briseno (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, UMass Amherst
Cicada-inspired Antibacterial Organic Nanopillars Grown on Pencil-drawn Graphene

One of the greatest challenges of this century is to cease the over-use of antibiotics which has led to the rise of antibiotic resistant ‘superbugs’ while at the same time reducing hospital acquired infections which kill almost 100,000 people per year in the United States alone. Researchers have identified potential solutions to this problem in nature, namely, insects like cicadas and dragonflies have nanopillar-covered wings that effectively kill some strains of bacteria. Scientists have created surfaces to mimic the antibacterial surfaces found in nature and have found that these surfaces effectively kill gram-negative bacteria (such as E. coli), while gram-positive bacteria (such as S. aureus) which have cell membranes that are 4-5X thicker than gram-negative bacteria cell membranes are more resistant to mechanical rupture and death. We have developed an organic antibacterial coating that is also easy to fabricate and has achieved killing efficiencies of >95% in E. coli. This surface is created by growing a semiconductor material, Zinc phthalocyanine, on pencil-drawn graphene using a physical vapor transport method. This cicada wing mimicking surface is also useful in the field of organic electronics, specifically for sensor applications. 

513 Room 805 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Duy Nguyen
Juan M. Jiménez (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, UMass Amherst
Stent Strut Geometry and Hemodynamics Affect Endothelial Cell Migration

In order to increase perfusion to distal cardiac tissue, stents are implanted via balloon angioplasty in CAD patients radially compressing and/or displacing atherosclerotic plaques. The process of deploying stents, however, can denude the blood vessel of endothelial cells (ECs). Wound healing via cell migration is especially important in wound healing after stenting in coronary artery disease (CAD) patients. Cells migrate under the influence of mechanical, chemical, and biological stimuli. Given that the endothelium serves as an anti-thrombogenic surface, damage to the blood vessel EC lining can lead to thrombogenesis and is a risk factor for stent therapy. Post-stenting injuries to the blood vessels can be healed by ECs that migrate from adjacent sites. While circulating progenitor ECs have been shown to play a role through the use of capture stents, they are not the subject of this study. Through a setup that simulates the blood vessel environment, we have studied the role that stent strut geometry and local hemodynamics play on EC migration by exposing human umbilical-vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) to the local flow form present in the coronary artery (pulsatile flow, Reynolds numbers, wall shear stress, etc). Regardless of flow conditions, ECs failed to re-endothelialize 150 micron thick stent struts. Streamlining and/or reducing the stent strut height down to 50um significantly improved EC migration onto the stented region. Surprisingly, ECs on the distal side of the stent strut migrated against the flow and populated the stents. 


532 Room 917 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Jonah Eric Einson
David A. Sela (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Nutrition and Food Science, UMass Amherst
The In-house Microbiomes of an Industrial Food Production Facility

Microbial communities establish themselves on virtually every surface on earth. Massively parallel DNA sequencing has informed the reciprocal interactions between humans and our microbial neighbors. In this project, we investigate the microbiomes in several areas of an industrial food production facility. This facility is unique in that its product is produced solely by natural fermentation. The quality and marketability of the product is determined by how effectively lactic acid bacteria naturally present on vegetable skins can convert the vegetables to pickles and sauerkraut. This process has been used for several thousand years to produce safe and palatable foods. However, the mechanisms by which human activity in an indoor environment influences the fermentation trajectory on an industrial scale remains largely unexplored. Our study seeks correlate the microbiomes of the factory environment, where employees work and raw vegetables pass through, to the beneficial content of the food product itself. Our results indicate that a distinct community of microbiota, dominated by species of lactic acid bacteria, establishes itself in areas of the plant where fermentation is taking place. This community structure is significantly different from that of an environment within the factory where raw vegetables are processed. Structural heterogeneity between factory environments suggests microbial transfer between humans and the food product. This survey method could help food production plants asses the environmental factors affecting their product. 


547 Room 905 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Lydia Barrett
Erinn Knyt (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Music, UMass Amherst
Globalism and "Othello in the Seraglio"

There has been little written about globalism in music; in fact, because it is a recent trend, there have been almost no scholarly papers written on the subject. Globalism in music is hard to define because it encompasses everything from the use of non-Western subjects and plots to the allusion to non-Western musical traditions, usually created with extensive research and an emphasis on authenticity. Non-Western born composers can explore non-Western music of their background from a very different place than someone from Europe or the United States. Instead of using a foreign style to evoke globalism, non-Western composers can return to their roots to do this. The globalist music of non-Western composers is much closer to the neoclassical tradition of the early twentieth century, as the methods used by the composers to look back to traditional music of their homelands is strikingly similar to that of German, French, and Italian neoclassicists looking back to past European music to create new work. Mehmet Ali Sanlikol's opera, Othello in the Seraglio (2015), exemplifies globalism with its blend of Western and non-Western styles, but Sanlikol’s identity as a Turkish composer, paired with his use of neoclassical trends such as commedia dell’arte figures and varied instrumentation, also makes the non-Western elements of the piece resemble some neoclassicist traditions of the twentieth century. The synthesis of Sanlikol’s national heritage with older historical elements evokes a synthesis of widely divergent styles.

548 Room 905 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Christine Mann
Erinn Knyt (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Music, UMass Amherst
An Overview of 21st Century Cello Pedagogy and Repertoire

Art music has constantly evolved over centuries.  The 21st century is no exception, in that art music of past two decades has brought about new compositional styles and performance techniques. These changes have in turn affected music pedagogy, as several schools and teachers have sought to modify curricula and pedagogical practices to account for this new repertoire. This study focuses on 21st-century solo and chamber works for cello and how this repertoire is taught in conservatories and universities in the United States. Up to the present very little has been written about this topic. There are books for conductors and composers that provide overviews of contemporary techniques for instruments including the cello but there are no scholarly books that address these techniques for cellists. This dearth does little to support the teaching of this repertoire categorized by extended techniques, which go beyond standard pedagogy, developed in the past two centuries. There are supplemental online resources, but none about current pedagogy in higher education, so this thesis includes an example of how to teach a composition with extended techniques. The research also includes compiling a list of 21st century cello works, as currently there exists no comprehensive catalog of this music. Through a survey of college professors about how they teach 21st century repertoire, my study reveals just how undeveloped pedagogy is in this area. This thesis provides more literature for current and future cellists on 21st century repertoire and extended techniques, as well as easier access to recent musical works.


585 Room 917 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Stephen Paul Kheboian
Jerusha Nelson-Peterman (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Food and Nutrition, Framingham State University
The Paleolithic Diet: A Systematic Review of Its Applications and Most Suitable Implementations

The Paleolithic Diet, first introduced in 1985, has gained popularity and support from the theory that human bodies have not evolved enough from the Paleolithic Era to healthily function with a modern diet consisting of agricultural and processed foods. Variations of the diet restrict foods developed or cultivated after the Paleolithic Era, including grain products, dairy products, and domesticated crops such as potatoes and legumes. Studies link the diet to improved weight management and a reduction in the risk and severity of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, various autoimmune disorders, and cancer, among others. This thesis reviews the current literature on different variations of the Paleolithic Diet, and the relationship of Paleolithic dietary patterns with health and disease by using cross-sectional studies, case control studies, and other reviews of Paleolithic Diets. Various cross-sectional studies of Paleolithic dietary patterns found significant links between some markers of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and Paleolithic dietary patterns. Reviews link the Paleolithic Diet to reduction in both dietary risk factors of cancer and exacerbation of multiple sclerosis. However, limited research exists for long-term effectiveness in healthy individuals, and research generally ignores environmental, social, and lifestyle differences between the Paleolithic Era and the present. Paleolithic diet patterns may increase risk of some deficiencies, especially Vitamin D and calcium, due to its restriction of fortified foods succeeding the Paleolithic Era.


590 Room 917 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Sydney Garrabrant
Jessica Thelen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
The Lost Ideals for Food and Health

The ideals displayed in Will Allen’s book, The Good Food Revolution, and Michael Pollen’s book, In Defense Of Food, has opened humanity's eyes to consumption and western diseases. In his chapter “The Aborigine In All Of Us”, Pollen shows evidence that the western diet is killing us. Pollen outlines the food we need to consume to live a long and healthy life; he also shows us the food we are wrongfully eating every day. Alongside Pollen, Allen guides society to change their lifestyles from unhealthy to healthy, while bettering the community. He also educates his readers on our corrupt food system, showing Americans that our government is not supporting our health. People have lost their way with food and their health. Pollen found that if humans stop eating the western diet, “all of the metabolic abnormalities of type II diabetes were either greatly or completely improved or completely normalized” (87). Pollen took a group of people and separated them from the western diet. In order to fix the food system, our country needs to start with smaller changes and eventually grow on a larger scale. These smaller changes start with helping your community learn how to farm, especially if you live in a food dessert. Using Allen’s expertise and Pollen’s knowledge of the western diet, society has a perfect road map to fixing the food system.


594 Room 903 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Elizabeth Lea Bridleman
Henry C. Theriault (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Philosophy, Worcester State University
Precisionism: A Brief History and Comparative Application of Kant’s and Collingwood’s Aesthetic Philosophies

Precisionism made significant contributions to the establishment of the United States’ cultural identity, yet the art movement is generally unknown. To celebrate and shed more light on this under recognized art movement, the purpose of this research was to explore the historical contexts surrounding Precisionism, identify the main figures and themes belonging to the art form, and apply the contrasting aesthetic philosophies of Immanuel Kant and R.G. Collingwood to interpret the art. The historical context of the 1920s and 1930s provides a look into the movement’s artistic inspirations and motivations, while the philosophies of Kant and Collingwood offer two sharply different ways to interpret the aesthetic value of the art form.  Utilizing scholarly resources consisting of journal articles accessed through the Worcester State University database, art history texts, philosophy texts, and the writings of Kant and Collingwood have supplied a variety of viewpoints to illuminate and critique the essence of Precisionism. Historically, the seeds of this movement were planted by Cubists, however the Precisionist’s roots blossomed in North America. These artists captured the glory of Second Industrial Revolution and the Machine Age. Through the application of Kant’s Critique of Judgment, the aesthetic principles enacted by the Precisionists are harmoniously supported and valued. Distinctly contrasting, the application of Collingwood’s The Principles of Art, points to the movement’s flaws and perhaps a reason for its end. While the aesthetic value is open to interpretation, culturally, the Precisionist movement dynamically influenced art in the United States and set the stage the next generation of artists, giving good cause for its celebration.

595 Room 174 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Karen Huu
Henry C. Theriault (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Philosophy, Worcester State University
A Business Man's Promises: Donald J. Trump

Donald Trump won election to become the 45th President of the United States through what many consider an unconventional campaign. During that campaign, many commentators and others expressed doubt about his ability to run a country without any background in politics. His unconventional campaign rhetoric reinforced these doubts. My paper argues that the form of his rhetoric was crucial to his electoral appeal. Specifically, I contend that Trump's business background, with public relations as an important aspect, was the basis of a kind of communication that appealed to masses of average Americans while at the same time being somewhat nonsensical to journalists and political analysts who were boxed into expectations of standard political discourse. Thus, because his communication approach was not of a form they recognized as political, they failed to understand its potential political impacts and sometimes even dismissed it as politically ineffective. This “tunnel vision” focus on traditional political discourse helps explain not only why candidate Hillary Clinton and her supporters were unable to respond effectively to the impacts of Trump's discourse, but why observers sharing this tunnel vision failed to recognize the full measure of Trump's electoral popularity and likely win before the election. In the paper, I will examine the ways in which Trump's discourse resonated with disaffected voters in a way that Clinton's did not, with a focus in his repetitive use of simple phrases, such as “Make America Great Again” and the nature of his approach as business communication to "consumers" as opposed to communication strategies of a traditional politician.

596 Room 803 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Madeline Weinreb
Maureen Eckert (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Philosophy, UMass Dartmouth
The Second Amendment: A Tracing of Its Origin, Influence, and Purpose

The United States Constitution through the Second Amendment does not prohibit gun control, which is the limiting of use or ownership of guns by United States citizens. Rather, its place in the Bill of Rights was highly influenced by philosophical ideas of rebellion against the state. Today guns are commonly seen as protecting the individual against others rather than against the state. Paradoxically, guns harm more than then they help. We need more gun control in the United States that protects us from the many dangers of loosely regulated weapons. This paper will examine the founding fathers' intentions behind the Second Amendment. I will discuss the philosophies influencing the written Second Amendment. Next, I analyze how our court system has interpreted the Second Amendment. Finally, I address the polarizing contemporary philosophies regarding gun control and ways our nation can implement a gun control policy. Through tracing the origin, influences, and modern purpose of the Second Amendment, our country can enact proper gun control policy.   


597 Room 162 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Sean Christopher MacLean
Heike Schotten (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Boston
The Will to Power

This essay examines the confrontation of the living with nothingness. It is this fundamental essence of the tragic—namely, the confrontation of life with death—that underscores Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy and the development and consequent conceptualization of his will to power and will to nothingness. I think, that the will to power is the foundation of Nietzsche’s entire philosophy which reciprocates Nietzsche’s central observation and critique, which is of an anti-historical, self-denying, and repressive culture and race; a reciprocity which serves the purpose of saving the European race from its foreseeable demise as it takes the shape of the spirit of the tragic hero par excellence. From an analysis that suggests the value of Equality is but one of the values among the plethora more mobilized in the deployment of the will to nothingness, a value which is the decadence of Life to an ethics which provides a Life affirmative means to the question “Why Man at all?,” this essay offers an interpretation of Nietzsche’s will to power in five separate cases. The first interpretation offered is my own through which I seek to resolve the problem of the nothingness—or, philosophically speaking, Metaphysics—that is improperly attributed to Nietzsche’s fundamental doctrine. The proceeding interpretations, respectively, by Bernard Reginster, Alexander Nehamas, Maudemarie Clark, and Gilles Deleuze are brought into conversation with one another and with my own interpretation so as to invite a plurality of perspectives which might better answer the question: “Is Nietzsche’s entire philosophy undermined by his fundamental doctrine or must this fundamental doctrine necessarily share an intimate connection with that which would undermine the entirety of it?” The former of these two questions, itself, asks the question of the nature of the will to power; if it is that the will to power in fact takes on a metaphysical character, then the will to power does undermine Nietzsche’s position. The latter, however, acts as a safeguard against the affirmative answer to the first of these two questions; that is, that the will to power, in what it fundamentally teaches, may require a metaphysical character, but that the way in which it appropriates and takes on that character shields the body of Nietzsche’s work from destabilization—indeed, destruction.

598 Room 168 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Ryan Porter Lindsay
Henry C. Theriault (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Philosophy, Worcester State University
Inhibition of Nuance in a ‘Fast-food Facts’ World

There has never been a time in history where information was more accessible and more widely distributed. Information is being rapidly and unapologetically thrust into the palms of our hands on a minute by minute basis. Unfortunately, with this eruption of knowledge production, there has been an oxymoronic affect where people have become increasingly uninformed and misled. Through social media sites like Twitter, ideas are delivered hastily, in short form, lacking room for nuance.  We have become a fast-food nation consuming ‘fast-food information,’ wherein the material is delivered in such a concise manner that it allows only for ideological “good” versus “bad” arguments, leaving no room for the context and substance which the issue may demand.  In this paper I will discuss the effects of ‘fast-food information’ and the roles it plays on our social consciousness.

599 Room 917 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
David Monteserin Narayana
Shaman Hatley (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Asian Studies, UMass Boston
Metaphorology of Consciousness in Indian Thought

This project is an attempt to construct a form of inquiry based upon conceptual metaphors in Indian philosophical discourse. The objective is to understand key themes and ideas in early Indian thought related to the phenomenon of consciousness. For this purpose, this research draws upon the methodology developed by the German philosopher and historian Hans Blumenberg in his work entitled Paradigms for a Metaphorology (1960). Blumenberg intended to rethink the intellectual history of the West by focusing on some of the central metaphors that have guided philosophical discourse over the centuries. It is the aim of this research to adapt this revolutionary way of looking at the history of ideas to the field of Indian philosophy. For this adaptation to take place, first the method and scope of Metaphorology will be laid out, along with a brief introduction to the state of the contemporary study of metaphors in the Humanities as well as in Cognitive Science. Then, this metaphorological approach will be applied to some of the metaphors that early Indian philosophical discourse produced in relation to the subject of consciousness. Special emphasis will be placed on metaphors that occur in the Upaniṣads, for these reappear in different forms in later Sanskrit texts. This project aims to contribute to the study of Indian philosophy by offering an alternative route into the history of ideas by considering the metaphors from which they arise. Keywords: metaphor, Metaphorology, Indian philosophy, consciousness.

601 Room 804 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Elijah Grant
Henry C. Theriault (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Philosophy, Worcester State University
Exploring and Defining Black Identity in America Today

How do we distinguish between having a central idea of culture and identity without adhering to stigmatized stereotypes? Does black identity have a tangible description that is pure in its essence or is its essence a sum of external determinations based on public perceptions, societal standards, and socio-economic classism as well as racialist social theories and prejudices? Drawing on black Existentialist theories such as Franz Fanon's as well as other relevant Existentialist and Phenomenological insights, this paper seeks to determine whether there can be claimed to be a genuine essence and root of black identity in America today and, if so, what its key features are. Interpretation of the internal factors of identity and the relationship they share with external determinants of identity is of key importance, as is how cultural development is influenced by both. The research on which this paper is based focuses on these determinants and relationships to as a means of understanding what is to be black in America today. The paper will conclude with a consideration of the ways in which current black culture and external determinants affect discourse and process in black American communities.


603 Room 801 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Kai Kharpertian
Monica Poole (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History and Social Sciences, Bunker Hill Community College
The Resiliency Venn Diagram: Science, Economics, and Policy

The capacity of a city to be resilient during an economic downturn is dependent upon that city's level of scientific investment, its ability to produce complex outputs, and the ease with which government policy allows the two to coincide. The disruption of a city's economic activities is correlated with how easily those activities can be automated or reproduced elsewhere, thereby driving the need for highly specialized outputs from diverse sectors in order to maintain long-term economic viability. Innovation hubs and innovation-friendly policy centered around scientific investment, (bio)technology, and computational sciences are critical to positioning a city at the "top of the stack," a term which this study’s author has chosen to describe the economic advantages that are captured through scientific innovation. In addition, proactive government policy that fosters the creation of new scientific endeavors and the integration thereof into the local economy is crucial to spurring the investment needed to make a city economically robust. A city's resilience, therefore, lies at the intersection of this confluence of factors — in the Reuleaux of its Resiliency Venn-Diagram. This proposed theory will be applied to four case studies which include: Boston, MA; San Francisco, CA; Frankfurt, Germany; and the city-state of Singapore. This study seeks to provide a set of criteria from which policymakers may draw a more nuanced understanding of their city’s capacity for resilience.

612 Room 163 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Liam Christopher O'Brien
Narayanan Menon (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Physics, UMass Amherst
How Do Rigid Plates Attach to a Fluid-Fluid Interface?

We study experimentally the dynamics of a rigid plate settling towards a fluid-fluid interface. We sediment rigid plates at low Reynolds number in silicone oil, toward an interface with a water subphase. For plates made of material that can be wetted by water, sedimentation is followed by a two-step attachment to the interface. The plate first slides along the interface until it becomes nearly parallel to it. Thereafter, instead of squeezing out the remaining fluid, a wetting foot from the water underneath spreads over the plate.  We report the time-dependence of both these stages of attachment, as well as the dependence of the time of attachment on  the dimensions of the plate. We also show experiments in which the plate is not wetted by water, and a thin layer has to be expelled before attachment can occur.


613 Room 174 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Nicole Theresa Foley
Paul R. O'Connor
Daniel R. Cooley (Faculty Sponsor)
Stockbridge School of Agriculture, UMass Amherst
Precision Plant Disease Management: Image Analysis Software Facilitates Tracking the Maturation of Apple Scab Inoculum

Apple scab is a fungal plant disease (caused by Venturia inaequalis) that is particularly devastating to apple trees in temperate regions of the world, including the northeastern US. To efficiently and effectively manage the disease, growers and crop advisors depend on evaluations of ascospore maturity, an estimate of the relative amount of disease inoculum available at key points in the early growing season, which is an indicator of infection risk. The identification of V. inaequalis spores under a microscope for maturity and number is a time consuming and laborious task with significant variability between human observers. The main objective of this research is to improve both the speed and accuracy of the evaluation of ascospore maturity using imaging techniques such as color thresholding, spot detection, and object recognition. The ascospore maturity information with its implications for apple scab management will then be communicated to stakeholders via the Integrated Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (iPiPE) platform. The iPiPE platform shares data increasing public accessibility to time sensitive information on economically significant crop pests. After deriving data from our image analysis and processing algorithms, we will utilize iPiPE to communicate the infection risk, incidence and severity of apple scab to local growers.


617 Room 165 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Elizabeth Eve Sullivan-Hasson
Kevin L. Young (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
The Effects of IMF Programs on Economic, Social, and Political Indicators within Developing Countries

Over the past few decades there has been much debate within the academic community about the effect that International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs have on a range of economic, political, and social indicators. While many IMF scholars find a positive relationship between IMF programs and development indicators such as GDP growth and government health expenditure, individuals not affiliated with the IMF or other international financial institutions tend to find more nuanced results. However, much of this literature from both pools of scholars only focuses on one or a few indicators at a time. In this paper I aim to evaluate the effect that IMF programs have on a range of economic, political, and social indicators for developing countries in order to better understand the impact the programs have for a given society as a whole, rather than focus on one sector at a time. Using statistical models, I control for problems of endogenous selection bias into IMF programs and use multivariate multiple regression analysis in order to assess the impact of IMF programs on a range of indicators including GDP growth, inflation, life expectancy, level of political stability, and level of civil conflict for developing nations from 1970-2010. My hypothesis is that IMF programs will have a net neutral effect on the economic and political indicators, yet have a negative impact on many social indicators including life expectancy, poverty head count, and Gini coefficient. 

618 Room 165 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Maham Ahmed
Jamie Rowen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Legal Studies, UMass Amherst
The Politicization of Economic Resources in Transitional States: A Study of Post Arab Spring Tunisia and Egypt

After an uprising, when faced with the immediate challenge of instilling stability, transitional governments use policy, particularly economic policy, as a means to establish authority. This paper examines the extensive use of economics as a political tool by the post-Arab Spring Egyptian and Tunisian transitional governments and whether it indicates a larger theme in the motives of the new regimes. Since the Arab Spring, Egypt has undergone two prominent regime changes after Mubarak, with the Morsi and Sisi governments. The case of Tunisia offers important insight in that, prior to the revolutions, it was deemed a model of success in terms of economic development and growth within the MENA region. However, it was 27-year-old street vendor Mohammad Bouazizi’s self-immolation that sparked the series of revolutions that led to the larger Arab Spring. In the case of Egypt, this paper specifically studies the politicization of economic resources through government aid policies and how the government allocates funds towards highly visible infrastructure megaprojects. I also analyze the pressure exerted by the Egyptian government on officials and organizations to support certain economic policies, despite its detriment to the state’s long-term economic growth and development. The Tunisian case study examines the government’s preference for regional aid. Additionally, I look at the long-term economic ramifications of the adoption of short-term appeasement policies regarding minimum wage and public sector expansion. The two case studies reflect patterns of how transitional governments act to restore order and establish authority. 


621 Room 801 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Kaitlin M. Wright
Samantha Pettey (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Too Little, Too Late: Is Political Representation Suffering Because of Suffrage Laws?

While the number of women in elected office has grown dramatically since the Year of the Women (1992), women’s descriptive representation is still comparatively low. To explore the differences among state-level gender representation, this paper proposes looking at female suffrage laws and its effect on women in state legislatures. While previous research explores why women run for office, this paper will address a new, institutional, explanation as to why women's representation differs across the states. I argue that states which enacted more lenient and early women's suffrage laws (prior to the ratification of the nineteenth amendment) have a greater number of women in elected office today. The more lenient suffrage laws create a political culture that promoted gender inclusiveness in the world of state politics. To test the effect of suffrage on the number of women in office, I will conduct a linear regression. Overall, this paper will add to our knowledge of how past laws have had unintended but negative, long-term consequences on women’s descriptive representation in politics. 

622 Room 911 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Philip McLaughlin
Paul Kowert (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Boston
Exploring the Legal Claims of China and Japan to the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands

In the East China Sea, disputes over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands by Japan and China have the potential to develop into armed conflict. Much of the world’s focus is on the South China Sea, where China and a list of other nations claim various parts of the ocean and islets. This oft-overlooked dispute in the East China Sea however is hardly understood by many people, including even many foreign policy experts. By utilizing treaties, diplomatic documents, internal government documents, scholarly works on international law, and secondary scholarly research, this paper examines the legal claims of China and Japan to the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Much of the facts of the dispute are themselves disputed, and this paper aims to sift through the clutter to get at the underlying legal claims of China and Japan. It looks at the foundational ideas and rules of international law, including agreements by China and Japan. This paper also looks at the historical narrative to explain both sides’ legal claims., and seeks to incorporate the perspectives of legal scholars to further explain the dispute. This paper aims to fill a gap in the scholarly literature by incorporating multiple perspectives and ideas to explain the legal claims of the respective sides. As the dispute has flared up recently, with the militaries of China and Japan coming into contact, this literature comes at a time where more people should be aware of the dispute. 

626 Room 163 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Elizabeth Sing Nicole Woods
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez (Faculty Sponsor)
Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Welfare Reform in the United States: A Mechanism for Government Control of Marginalized Groups

This paper examines the effects of welfare policy, particularly the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, on marginalized groups in the United States. Welfare has a long history of racialized and gendered rhetoric and policies that culminated in the drastic changes in 1996. This thesis presents information based on careful review of the existing literature from the library. Conclusions from this research establish that the post-1996 welfare system has further marginalized already disadvantaged groups. Single mothers and immigrants were targeted the most through these punitive welfare policies. The racial and gender biases embedded in the welfare system, paired with the connection between welfare reform and the War on Drugs, have led to this ineffective method of combating poverty. Negative rhetoric surrounding dependency and ideals of self-sufficiency helped form negative perceptions of welfare recipients, also adding to the support for stringent reforms.

627 Room 168 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Aaron Edward Beaulieu
Robert Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Effects of Social Media News

My research examines the effects of getting news exclusively from social media. My theory is that social media websites are creating “information bubbles” where users are only exposed to information that confirms their beliefs. These websites, are notorious for tailoring the feeds to their users, based on the interests, and believes of the user. What I’ve noticed from the feeds of friends and family members, is that feeds will eventually become echo chambers. Liberal users only become exposed to left wing sources and stories, and conservatives only become to right wing ones. The danger comes from not becoming exposed to all the information out there, most right wing outlets don’t talk about the backgrounds of Present Trump’s cabinet picks, or the details of his Trump University Scandal, what gets shared instead, is often misinformation, such as the “3 million undocumented voters” story. The misinformation often gets circulated around inner circles, while outside information can’t penetrate that bubble. Because of this, liberals and conservatives see reality itself very differently, because the information they receive is so different. To demonstrate this theory, I have made two Facebook accounts, one made for someone with left leaning ideas, and another one that is right wing, and study the feeds over time, including content of followers, recommended followers, and advertisements. Not only that but I will couple that researching studies on social media, and fact checking sites on the reliability of the stories in the feed. 

628 Room 174 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Katie Marie Commerford
Henry C. Theriault (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Philosophy, Worcester State University
Is the Electoral College Ethical?

This past election was determined in part by the U.S. Electoral College as Donald Trump lost the majority vote but won the presidency. Is the Electoral College ethical, or could it be defined as a system of gerrymandering? Should each vote count as just that, one vote? Or would this misrepresent the desires of each individual district? Should the votes be tallied throughout districts and then brought to the state level? Should presidential winners be decided by a state plurality rather than numerous district pluralities? Or does a statewide election improperly represent the people? If each citizen has the power of one single vote, as in a national popular election, would largely populated states, such as California, hold too much power over the needs of states less populated? On the other hand, as long as smaller states have their own state governments and district representatives, are they not still properly represented and cared for? If each American vote held equal weight, Hillary Clinton would have been elected 2016 president by nearly 3 million votes. Consequently, how ethical is it that the candidate who lost the popular vote won the presidency? Does the Electoral College properly represent the needs of the people? Based on the view that fairness determines what is ethical in politics, after defining the nature of electoral fairness, I will argue that reliance on the Electoral College to determine the presidential election results is in fact unfair. In doing this, I will consider the various questions posed here and examine possible revisions of the electoral process, including complex proportionality approaches.

629 Room 174 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Alexandria Rita Murphy
Tona Hangen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of History and Political Science, Worcester State University
The Era of the Political Woman: The Overdue Demand of an Equitably Represented Government

Now, more than ever, there is a need for qualified and motivated women to campaign for elected office in the United States of America.  For a nation, which claims to be the free world, the U.S. is severely lacking in the equitable representation it so dearly claims it has. Women have been historically underrepresented in the U.S. as long as this country has existed.  While women make up the majority of the country's citizens, only an appalling twenty percent of the 115th Congress is made up of women.  This presentation will delve into the social, racial, and economic issues and events that transpired throughout the nation's history to discover just how women have been disadvantaged in achieving true equality in the representation of their government.  The presentation will explore not only why this has happened in the past, but will further discuss why it is essential that women use their knowledge and experience and campaign for elected office themselves in this new age, and the impact that this will have on future generations.  The findings of this presentation will also trace the increased number of women running for office over time. 

630 Room 803 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Amanda Mae Mark
Daniel Mulcare (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, Salem State University
Donald J. Trump: A Voter Case Study

The purpose of this research is to determine whether the recent literature on the Trump phenomena explains the motivation behind college student Trump supporters. Between October 2016 and January 2017, ten college students were interviewed and asked to provide the main reasons why they supported Donald Trump. The information gleaned from these interviews show overlaps that further support the scholarly and journalistic conclusions of why people voted for Trump. Additionally, as the scholarship had not focused on younger voters, this study adds new information to help determine the driving force behind Trump support.

631 Room 903 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
George Chay Atupem
Melinda Rae Tarsi (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, Bridgewater State University
Applying John Kingdon’s Three Stream Theory to the Policy Idea of Universal Preschool

The aim of this project was to use to create a policy matrix to compare Florida, Oklahoma, and Georgia the three states that already have universal preschool programs. Providing every child with a quality preschool education is an issue which should have a prominent place on Massachusetts political agenda. This project is part of a larger thesis which uses John Kingdons’ theoretical framework of agenda access to determine if the idea of universal preschool will find its way onto the agenda in Massachusetts. Kingdon claims that for a policy to be placed onto the agenda, there are three streams which must be flowing. The streams are the problem, the politics and the policy each stream flows independently from the other, but all must converge at the same time for a window of opportunity to form. For the policy stream to be flowing there needs to be a policy that has been tried and tested which policy makers can replicate. The results from the policy matrix in this project show that there are viable policy solutions to this problem; the matrix also provides a comprehensive overview of each program along with a comparison so Massachusetts policy makers can take the best parts from each program. The overall goal of the thesis is to assess the final two streams, and provide proponents of the idea a roadmap of what needs to occur before a universal preschool program is available for every child in the state of Massachusetts.

633 Hadley Room 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Elizabeth Rose Wallace
Elizabeth Sharrow (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
The Impact of Title IX on Women in the Workforce

On June 23, 1972, President Nixon signed the Education Amendments of 1972, including Title IX, one of the most important pieces of sex discrimination legislation in history. In the ensuing 45 years, opportunities for women have dramatically increased, especially in the domains of athletic participation and educational attainment. Since the middle of the twentieth century, women have also expanded their participation in the workforce. This paper explores the question:  “Is the increase in women’s career achievements, as defined below, proportional to the impact of Title IX, as measured by the increase in women’s athletic participation and graduate educational attainment?” For the purposes of this discussion, women’s career achievement is defined as working in a historically male-dominated, skilled industry or holding a leadership position in government or business. I will analyze studies which look at the link between athletic participation and career advancement. To develop a numerical metric for the impact of Title IX, I will use these studies as well as statistics gathered from the National Federation of State High School Associations and the NCAA. Additionally, data collected by the Department of Labor, National Center for Education Statistics, and Bureau of Labor Statistics will be analyzed to determine numerical values for women’s career achievement. I hypothesis the impact of Title IX, as measured by the increase in women’s athletic participation and graduate educational attainment, is not proportional to the increase in women’s career achievements. Furthermore, I predict the impact of Title IX to exceed the growth of women’s career achievements.

634 Room 162 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Angelika Katsinis
Paul Kowert (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Boston
The Massachusetts Opioid Epidemic

Opioid usage in Massachusetts as well as the U.S. as a whole has drastically increased in the past decade. The alarming increase has led to attempts by legislators to act and try to find solutions on how this epidemic may be lessened if not stopped. The goal of this thesis is to explore whether current and past legislation in Massachusetts as well as the U.S. has been able to help those who are unaware of the potential dangers of opioid addiction and those who are already facing those dangers. Legislation has allowed for regulations and laws to be implemented to the general public in an effort to decrease usage and give governmental assistance to those who cannot afford addiction treatment. Certain laws and acts that will be mentioned throughout this thesis were created solely to help the public. The question that always remains is whether or not legislation alone is enough to stop the epidemic indefinitely. This thesis will also explore the history of the emergence of opioids in Massachusetts and the U.S., how heroin, fentanyl, and prescription pain medications continue to be the most popular opioids; data on where Massachusetts stands in regards to other states, and on the importance of the media in broadcasting the alarming reality of the epidemic.

635 Room 904 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Abigail Sophie Alfaro
Alexandrina Deschamps (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, UMass Amherst
Empathy in Social Movements: Psychological and Theoretical Perspectives

Many of the institutions in our society are increasingly focused on privatization and profit, with emphases on productivity and capital over interpersonal relationships. This thesis outlines the importance of empathy as a radical and transformative way of practicing political resistance, and offers possibilities for the growth and development of empathy as essential strategy within activist communities. My approach is both psychological and theoretical, examining implicit biases and biological origins of empathy as well as its impact on interpersonal relationships in relation to outcomes and productivity. I am specifically examining two organizations, Movement for Justice in El Barrio in East Harlem and Carry That Weight out of Columbia University, as case studies, as well as student activism at UMass Amherst.  My research is primarily textual and encompasses the research and writings of authors, inter alia, Chantal Mouffe, Audre Lorde, Patricia Hill Collins, and Olga Klimecki, to locate the use of empathy across difference and propose possibilities of embodying empathy in social movements.

642 Room 903 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Brian Joseph Bushard
Robert Paul Musgrave (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
When Oil Runs Out: A Counterfactual Analysis of Economic Diversification in 1986 and Today

Oil windfalls have been accredited to having profound effects on citizens’ political actions (Paler, 2013), on dutch disease, through currency appreciation, making the country's other products less price competitive on the export market (Ross, 2012), and on either fueling authoritarianism or representing a blessing toward democracy (Ross, 2012; Haber & Menaldo, 2011). Oil has undoubtedly had a nontrivial effect in the states that extract it; however, what will happen when oil runs out? Furthermore, which states will be better prepared for life after oil? Have states already begun making preparations to protect themselves, if so which ones, why, and how? Although there is extensive research on the effects of oil on the Gulf States, there is little research on its future. This article develops a theory saying that states that have already begun to prepare themselves for this future without oil will be more politically and economically stable than those who have not. To test this theory, I will look for a relationship between a country’s natural resource dependence as a percentage of total exports as well as a metric for economic diversification, and its GDP, likelihood of bankruptcy, and military expenditure. Furthermore, I will analyze this relationship as it exists today and in 1986, following the collapse in the price of oil. The latter approach allows me to see which countries handled the crash poorly, and determine if a lack of preparation via economic diversification was at fault.

643 Room 903 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Laura Margaret Handly
Robert Paul Musgrave (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
Ownership Structure and Development in Resource-rich States

Though we might expect oil wealth to unify countries by providing a massive budget for development projects, we find instead that oil rich developing countries spend their wealth in starkly different ways, with some investing in industries like manufacturing and others focusing largely on the oil industry. Many scholars propose that oil-rich countries suffer from a “resource curse”, in which an abundance of natural resources stifles development and democracy. This theory is widespread but flawed, generalizing oil rich developing countries and ignoring differences in the economies and policies of these states. Recent research proposes that oil ownership structure is partially responsible for disparate outcomes in these states, as the form of ownership influences the types of institutions that emerge in resource-rich states. However, that research misidentifies state ownership with control as the form worst for development outcomes. Using economic diversification as a dependent variable, this research seeks to determine which factors influence oil rich developing nations’ diversification choices. This research employs oil ownership structure and levels of foreign direct investment as its independent variables of interest, and finds that on average, states with private foreign ownership and higher levels of foreign direct investment have less diversified economies. This is meaningful to respond to the popular and inaccurate notion of oil wealth as a “curse” and to understand the causes of unequal economic outcomes in resource-rich states.

644 Room 903 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Elizabeth Rose McDermott
Robert Paul Musgrave (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
Female Employment and Oil Revenue: A Study of Women's Education and Career Prospects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

By Western standards, Saudi Arabian women live under some of the most gender-segregated conditions in the world today. Despite this, they surpass Saudi men in education attainment at all levels. Though currently far less integrated into the Saudi labor force than men, women attain university degrees in fields ranging from engineering to law. Some contend that the general limits placed upon Saudi women are purely cultural or historical phenomena, others argue that this patriarchal dynamic comes from oil wealth. I theorize that, although oil has made it possible to maintain authoritarian governance and has perpetuated traditional standards within the public sector, the modernization that accompanied this extreme wealth has not precluded women from advancement within other arenas. In this paradigm, women are permitted to attain education because, unlike employment, schooling is viewed as non-threatening by those in power. In order to test this, I analyze women’s representation in both public and private sector jobs in Saudi Arabia. Within these two categories, I also analyze the numbers of women entering careers that require an upper-level university degree versus more traditionally-accepted “female” occupations that typically require less education. I will compare these statistics with nations which do not derive a significant portion of income from natural resource extraction. This project will shed important light upon the ways that government funding impact the rights of historically oppressed groups within a nation. Additionally, it will provide insight upon the links between different societal entities, including academia, the labor market, and large-scale resource trade.

645 Room 917 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Matthew Davis O'Keefe
Jamie Rowen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Legal Studies, UMass Amherst
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia: A Case Study on the Future of International Law

Following its four-year long genocide in the late 1970s, the Kingdom of Cambodia is now in the process of reconciliation, a process that includes a specially designated tribunal to investigate and prosecute violations of international law. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is a hybrid tribunal, established within the framework of Cambodian law but which specifically calls for support and participation by the United Nations. This model, the result of years of negotiation between the Cambodian government and the U.N., is largely experimental, as past U.N.-established tribunals have typically been independent of domestic government involvement and taken place outside of the countries themselves. My research attempts to determine what effects the ECCC may have on the future of international law, and more specifically, what role the U.N. is likely to play in its enforcement. In order to answer this question, I have reviewed and considered extensive historical and theoretical literature with respect to Cambodia, international law, and the U.N. Additionally, I have conducted interviews with multiple stakeholders in the tribunal over the course of two trips to Phnom Penh. I discuss this research and the conclusions that I've drawn throughout this paper, concluding with my predictions about where the field of international law will go next, as well as my recommendations for further research on this topic.


678 Room 168 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Megan Georgia MacCorkle
Matthew S. Murphy (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, UMass Lowell
Transitive Inference in the Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris)

Transitive inference is a type of deductive reasoning in which an individual cognitively infers the relative ranking of several targets. For example, if A is greater than B, and B is greater than C, then A must be greater than C.   In previous studies testing for transitive inference, an ordered set of stimuli (A>B>C>D>E) are presented in adjacent pairs and differentially reinforced based on the relative rank (e.g., B+ and C-).  After learning the relational task, the subject is tested on the non-adjacent B vs. D pair.  The correct selection of B indicates the subject used transitive inference.  Transitive inference has been demonstrated in humans as well as many non-human species; however, there is still some debate over what mechanisms allow for this ability. While some researchers propose that a cognitive map or spatial representation is involved, others suggest transitive inference can be explained by simpler mechanisms, such as value transfer theory, symbolic distance effect or reinforcement history. The purpose of the current study was to investigate whether dogs are capable of transitive inference.  This is the first study of transitive inference in dogs. Six domesticated dogs complete a 5-item visual transitive inference discrimination task. To control for value transfer, all items in the series are reinforced fifty percent of the time, as opposed to previous designs that reinforce A all the time and E never. I expected the subjects would perform above chance level on the transitive inference task. Results will be discussed.

679 Room 803 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
David Ignatius Colarossi
Jane E. Theriault (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, Salem State University
A Shooter's Touch: An Examination Involving Pre-shot Routines and Basketball Free-Throw Shooting

This study was designed to see if there were any correlations between pre-shot routines among basketball players and the free-throw shooting percentages. Three hypotheses were tested for this study: athletes who dribble the basketball at least twice prior to shooting the ball would have a higher free-throw percentage than those who dribble the basketball either once or not at all; athletes who took longer than five seconds to perform their pre-shot routine from the time they approach the free-throw line to the time they release the basketball would have a higher free-throw percentage than the athletes who took less than five seconds; and athletes who noted that they had a specific pre-shot routine would have a higher free-throw percentage than those who did not. Four participants were chosen and data was collected based on the number of free throws they performed over the course of three years. All results and implications will be discussed. 

711 Hadley Room 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Grace Elizabeth Smith
Jessica Thelen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
The Impact of Exercise on Patients with Anixety and Depression

People who suffer from mental disorders such as anxiety or depression are at risk for low levels of physical activity. Inversely, people who lack physical exercise are at risk of developing these types of disorders. Studies have shown that physically active people rated their quality of life higher than those who were less active. An experiment was conducted on patients with anxiety and depression from five private psychiatric clinics in Jutland, Denmark. The goal was to see if a rise in physical activity would increase their quality of life rating. This thirty two week experiment involved scheduled and supervised work out sessions for twenty two weeks and optional non supervised sessions for the remaining ten weeks. When compared to a control group who had no work out sessions and no restriction on existing exercise habits, both groups had an average increase in quality of life rating. Since exercising decreased in the unsupervised portion of the experiment, there were no results indicating that exercise actually decreases the effects of anxiety and depression. However, if sessions were supervised longer, the patients would have continued to exercise and the results would have shown a greater increase in their happiness. Many people use exercise as an outlet to relieve stress, so it could have the same positive impact on people who suffer from greater mental disorders. More research should be done on this subject because if exercise could replace medication, a person would be able to heal more naturally and avoid excess medical expenses.

712 Room 905 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Victoria Anne Sobotka
Anne Noonan (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, Salem State University
Future Educators' Preparation and Well-being

This qualitative study will examine the retrospective accounts of junior and senior undergraduate students enrolled in a teacher preparation program. A phenomenological research approach (Creswell, 2013) will be utilized during the data collection process. Ten to 15 students will be interviewed to determine their overall well-being during their academic experiences, their experiences with test anxiety, and their experience with test preparation methods for the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL). These conditions may reveal high or low well-being ratings during various points of enrollment within the preparation program. Results will assess how well students believe their experiences helped them achieve passing scores on licensure examinations. Results will be discussed in terms of measures that can be taken to improve the overall well-being scores of students while they are enrolled within the preparation program.

737 Hadley Room 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Amber Lynn Figueiredo
Mitchell Anthony Estaphan (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, Bristol Community College
Human Perspective of Immortality

The purpose of this study is to gain new perspective on the way human beings feel about the subject of immortality. With those perspectives in mind, it will also show the way that immortality is portrayed in literature and media, and see if a few individual perspectives match with the portrayal. The idea of immortality and just what it means will be studied via online resources, and to gain these human perspectives, people with pre-existing opinions on immortality will be interviewed, and historical figures will be studied. Taking these studies, literature will be read and analyzed as well as various media (movies, or television shows) to see how these perspectives match up to portrayals of immortality and opinions surrounding it. 

738 Room 162 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Matthew James Luz
Timothy Jay (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Freudian Censorship: Taboo, Totem, and the Psyche

Sigmund Freud’s book Totem and Taboo (1919) explains the origin of the Polynesian word taboo, meaning “sacred or holy, or dirty or uncanny,” and it denotes morality or uncleanliness. Freud believed primitive tribes lacked an adequate social or moral system, having no reason to guard against the incest taboo. Wundt refers to incest as “the oldest unwritten code of law of humanity.” Freud discovers that primitive tribes created boundaries to prevent incest: maintaining distance between siblings, mothers, and in-laws under the same totemic system. Totemism is a symbolic religious or social institution guiding all aspects of life. The smaller clans under the totemic system take up the name of their totem, which is an animal, like a kangaroo or emu one must not offend, harm, or kill. The totem is believed to possess magical powers. Acting on the incest taboo contaminates the violator. The person is treated for the transgression using a systematic ritual. In Australia, the punishment for incest is death. In New South Wales, the man is killed and the woman is beaten to the point of near death. By engaging in the incest taboo, one poses a threat to all members of the tribe. Ritualistic measures are used to protect the tribe from the wrath of the totem. My essay explains how applying Freud’s psychoanalytic theory explains how someone would prevent themselves from engaging in the incest taboo. Freudian defense mechanisms and an explanation of the psyche will help to explain this internal process.

739 Room 174 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Michelle Katherine Raffi
Ben Miller (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, Salem State University
The Effects of Stereotype Threat on Elders’ Memory Performance

Elders often do poorly on memory tests compared to younger adults, but this may be due in part to elders believing that memory declines with age. Previous research has found that elders who are aware of this negative stereotype freely recall and recognize fewer words than elders who are not aware of this stereotype (Chasteen et al., 2005). In a meta-analysis of previous research, young adults and elders in non-threat groups had a more liberal response criterion and produced more information about what they believe they remembered, whereas elders in the threat group had a more conservative response criterion and produced less uncertain information. In the present study, elders aged 60+ watch a short video of an elder putting on winter gear in preparation for a walk outside. The elder threat group is then told that they are being tested on their memory ability and that young adults generally do better with this task. Elders in the non-threat group are told that the study is concerned with how relatable the video is. A group of young adults aged 18-26 are told they are completing a memory test. All three groups are given 20 recognition questions, using original and altered images from the video. From the responses we compute measures of memory performance and response bias. We hypothesize that the non-threat group will have a more liberal response criterion than the threat group.

740 Room 911 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Gabrielle Mae St Pierre
Alexandra Jesse (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, UMass Amherst
How Listeners Adjust to an Unfamiliar Speaker: Does it Matter Where We Look on the Face?

Speakers vary widely in how they produce the sounds of their language: Listeners therefore need to take the idiosyncrasies of a speaker into account in their interpretation of a speech sound. In face-to-face communication, listeners can use information obtained from seeing someone's talking face to disambiguate an idiosyncratically produced speech sound. How much visual information listeners can obtain about speech, depends, however, on where on the face they look. In this study, we will therefore test whether the location of the listeners' gaze on the talking face also modulates listeners' ability to adjust to the idiosyncrasies of a speaker. During exposure, participants hear a sound ambiguous between /p/ and /t/ while they see the speaker produce a /p/ or a /t/, thus disambiguating the sound. Participants are asked to look either at the forehead or at the mouth of the speaker. Their eye fixations will be tracked to verify their compliance with the instructions. At test, participants categorize steps from an auditory /p/-/t/ continuum as "p" or "t". We predict that listeners adjust to the speaker, that is, that they will categorize more ambiguous steps as /p/ when they previously saw the speaker's facial motion disambiguate the exposure sound as /p/ than as /t/. In addition, we predict that this adaptation to a speaker is reduced in conditions where listeners were asked to look at the forehead rather than the mouth.

748 Room 162 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Sara Malicka
Anna S. Flanagan (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, Framingham State University
Perceived Effects of Sex of Deceased and Type of Death on Stigma

Both popular belief and research literature indicate that people with mental health and addiction problems are viewed more negatively by society. Despite these issues being serious health conditions, many individuals are stigmatized when it comes to the perceptions of them. Past research suggests that people who died from suicide or drug overdose were viewed more negatively than those who died from cancer. However, with the recent drug epidemic, it is possible that these views have changed. This study will examine the perceived effects of type of death (drug overdose, suicide, or accidental drowning) on perceptions of the associated stigma on the victim. A sample of 150 undergraduate students, of both sexes, will be randomly assigned to one of six scenarios in which the victim's sex and type of death will be manipulated. Two measures investigating perceived levels of stigma will be utilized and examined through a series of ANOVAs. It is predicted that participants will show more stigma towards men who died regardless of the type of death than women. It is also predicted that a higher degree of stigma will be given to individuals who died from a drug overdose than any other type of death. The findings will be discussed relating stigma to those experiencing different types of death. 

749 Room 174 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Daniel Z. Nussbaum
Nikolaos Artavanis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Finance, UMass Amherst
Protecting Public Mental Health during an Economic Crisis

Economic crises are significantly related with increases in suicide rates and incidences of mental disorders; however, public mental health does not deteriorate in all countries during crises. Previous studies have examined the factors that protect populations from deteriorating mental health during an economic crisis, but the efficacy of these potential solutions has yet to be established. This paper examines the differences in government responses across countries to determine what response or combination of responses is most effective in protecting or improving the population’s mental health during an economic crisis. My findings in this paper can be applicable to countries that are currently experiencing economic contraction, or countries with high unemployment and can inform governments on how to best protect or prevent deterioration of public mental health during future economic crises.

750 Room 904 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Mao Mogami
Ronnie Janoff-Bulman (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, UMass Amherst
Perceptiveness and Justice Sensitivity

This research explored the relationship between perceptiveness and justice sensitivity. Perceptiveness was assessed by subjective self-report as well as objective measures. Pattern recognition tasks and the Reading the Mind in the Eyes task were included to assess how cognitive perceptiveness (reasoning ability) and social perceptiveness (theory of mind; TOM) might be associated with self-reported perceptiveness, justice sensitivity, and noticing injustice. Several interesting relationships were found. Both cognitive and social perceptiveness (reasoning ability and TOM) were positively associated with perpetrator sensitivity, and those high on perpetrator sensitivity were more likely to be aware of social struggles faced by marginalized groups of people. In addition, political liberalism was positively associated with reasoning ability. Furthermore, reasoning ability was a better predictor of perpetrator sensitivity than TOM or political orientation, implying the potentially important role of cognitive ability for justice sensitivity. Implications of this research (i.e., possible interventions to foster a social justice orientation) and how the current research might relate to past work on intelligence and prejudice are discussed.

751 Room 911 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Fitaw Beyene
Eric Bressler (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, Westfield State University
Religious Relations in Poland

Research has shown that interacting only with others who are similar to ourselves promotes discrimination, prejudice, and division. This can be true of interacting only with racially and ethnically similar others, but may also occur when we have little experience with those of a different religious faith than ourselves. I hypothesized that one manifestation of this ‘in-group bias’ would be that individuals from an overwhelmingly homogeneous religious region (Krosno, Poland, 98% Catholic) would tend to see positive messages as originating from their own religion's text (the Bible), but would tend to see negative messages as coming from another religion's text (the Quran). I examined this by administering a survey, which consisted of 12 quotes drawn from either the Bible or the Quran. Three from each source were positive messages, three negative. Each participant was asked to report which religious text they believed was the source of each statement. In support of the hypothesis, I found that participants more often chose the positive verses as originating from the text of their own religion (the Bible), and attributed negative statements to the text of the religion they don’t belong to (the Quran) These results suggests that we need to extend diversity globally.

752 Room 911 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Kennedy M. Damoah
Henry C. Theriault (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Philosophy, Worcester State University
Phenomenologies of Religious Beliefs

Religion has existed with the human race since the dawn of civilization, thus human beings have always being religious. Many people have argued that the content of religious beliefs cannot be analyzed through an empiricist lens. To the extent that phenomenology can be seen as an empiricist approach to the functioning of the human mind, this rejection would seem to extend to a phenomenological point of view on religion. The work of phenomenologists such as Franz Brentano, Edith Stein, and Martin Heidegger indicates, however, that the content of religious beliefs can be productively studied from the phenomenological stand point. Edith Stein's emphasis on the will, soul, and body as the key components that constitute the acts of the person are the starting point of the paper. The relationship between religion as experiential phenomenon and a practiced phenomenon will be established. The core of the paper will be discussion of Brentano's concept of "intentionality" and the connection with an external object. According to Brentano, every act points to an object that is outside of the body. This object can either be real or a product of the imagination which results from the associative principle of intentionality. Brentano's emphasis on the inner reality is key to understanding the phenomenology of religious beliefs. According to Brentano there is only one reality and that is the inner being; but this inner being or self or consciousness is always attached to an external object. Therefore, these external objects, whether they exist or not, can be viewed as the focal points around which human beings focus their energies and life projects. The paper will extend this analysis to Heidegger's somewhat distinct notion of "intentionality" as it pertains to directing human activity towards something. Religion in itself is the direction of a belief towards a superior object or being.

757 Room 174 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Elsa Rose Mastico
Sharon Claffey (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
The Neuroscience of Love

Recent research in the field of neuroscience reviews emotions and how they develop and function in the brain. This presentation will look at the past and current social neuroscience studies about the emotion love; specifically location and function. I will also discuss where we are currently with our hypotheses on how love works in the brain, the different types of love, and the ways we can carry this information forward for the future. Likewise, the presentation will discuss a student project that I am conducting in the fall and how it will relate to and potentially expand our ideas about the neuroscience of love. Emotional Stimulation will be recorded via EEG from the frontal lobe as participants picture a scene of passionate love with their partner, a neutral scene of a couch, and a scene of intense jealousy. Jealousy will be measured in the research to see if people who are passionately in love also experience other intense emotions. The results of the EEG will then be compared to a self-report survey that was filled out by the participants prior to recording. We will then see if people who report having high passionate love or who report higher jealous tenancies will have higher emotional responses when asked to think about their partner. The presentation will explain further implications that this research may pose and the possible results that may be found. 

758 Room 905 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Samia Habib
Bernhard Leidner (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, UMass Amherst
Biases in Media Portrayals of Muslim Americans

Research has found that the media tends to report that majority group members commit crimes due to mental health but that minority group members commit crimes due to culture or religion. This issue has especially affected Muslims. After 9/11 an increase in negative media portrayal of Muslims led to an increase in prejudice against Muslims. This experiment investigated to what extent negative bias towards Muslims affects how people understand and interpret media portrayals of crimes committed by either Christians or Muslims. After reading information about a crime committed by either a Christian or Muslim, 248 journalism and psychology students, as well as 1,115 American adults, wrote a brief report about the crime and filled out a survey about their attitudes toward the offender and toward Muslims. Preliminary results show that participants’ pre-existing attitudes toward Muslims affect how they make attributions to, and construe, offense and offender based on the offender’s religion. These results will be discussed in terms of both how negative attitudes toward Muslims can shape media portrayals of Muslims and also how those media portrayals of Muslims can shape stereotypes of, and attitudes toward, Muslims in contemporary American society.

759 Room 917 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Sarina Ponte
Veronica Everett (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sociology, UMass Amherst
The Relationship between the Peer-Support Model and Eating Disorder Recovery

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate among all psychiatric disorders and over 30 million Americans will suffer at some point in their lives. Recovery is often a lifelong battle for these individuals and certain situations can trigger relapse, one such trigger being college. This project looks at the connection between the peer support model and the maintenance of recovery in college. Through six weekly sessions, female students have the opportunity to attend a peer led support group focused on eating disorder recovery. Past research has shown that peer support can have a positive influence on adolescent decision-making and behavior, particularly in regards to body image and food choice. Themes discussed during group sessions include college life triggers, living away from home, social relationships, body image and the media, motivation, and relapse prevention. The project not only analyzes the effect peer support has on recovery, but also provides female students with an additional resource on campus.


792 Room 174 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Katherine Davis
Michael J. Constantino (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, UMass Amherst
The Indirect Effect of Alliance Convergence on Posttreatment Outcome through Homework Compliance in Two Treatments for Generalized Anxiety

A recent study demonstrated that patients and their therapists became more attuned in their alliance rating over the first half of treatment, and this perspective convergence was associated with greater subsequent patient symptom reduction (Coyne, Constantino, Laws, Westra, & Antony, 2016). However, the mechanisms through which alliance convergence relates to more positive treatment outcomes remain unknown. One possibility is that greater alliance convergence, which inherently reflects dyadic agreement on treatment tasks and goals, might promote greater engagement in those tasks and goals in the form of greater homework compliance. Such compliance might, in turn, relate to better subsequent treatment outcomes. This study will test this hypothesized indirect effect, as well as explore whether treatment type moderates it (i.e., moderated mediation). Data will derive from a randomized controlled trial in which 85 patients with high severity GAD were randomly assigned to receive either 15 sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or CBT integrated with motivational interviewing. Alliance convergence was modeled across the first half of treatment based on patient and therapist ratings following each session. Patients rated homework compliance after even-numbered sessions, and reported on worry and distress at posttreatment. I will use asymptotic bootstrapping procedures to test the indirect effect, and whether treatment condition moderates it. The results will provide the first test of a putative mechanism through which patient-therapist dyadic alliance convergence translates into more patient improvement.

793 Room 174 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Lauren Harnedy
Katherine L. Dixon-Gordon (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, UMass Amherst
The Role of Emotion Regulation Difficulties in Self-damaging Behaviors among a College-Student Sample

Self-damaging behaviors have been linked to increased risk for suicidal behaviors. As well, self-damaging behaviors may co-occur, and are thought to be driven by poor emotion regulation. Theories suggest that the number of self-damaging behaviors one engages in may increase acquired capability for suicidal behaviors, although this has not been addressed in the literature. Thus, the aim of this work is to examine the association between frequency of forms of self-damaging behaviors and emotion regulation and suicidal risk. Participants in this research will be college-aged women, half of whom have a history of direct self-injury. Participants will complete questionnaires assessing self-destructive behaviors, including NSSI, eating disorder behaviors, and substance abuse behaviors, as well as suicidal risk and emotion regulation. We will use multiple regression to examine the association between frequencies of self-damaging behaviors, ER difficulties, and suicide risk. Findings from this study can help us to better identify high-risk groups of individuals. 

794 Room 174 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Robert Kurtz Sommer
Michael J. Constantino (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, UMass Amherst
Examining Existential Isolation as a Risk Factor for Clinical Distress and Negative Beliefs about Psychotherapy

Interpersonal isolation (II) has long been implicated as a correlate of various negative psychological and psychosocial outcomes. However, less is known about how existential isolation (EI), or the feeling that no one can truly understand your subjective experience, relates to psychological maladjustment. The first aim of this study is to examine the association between EI and (1) specific domains of clinical distress (i.e., depression, anxiety, stress), (2) prospective beliefs about psychotherapy (i.e., intention to seek therapy, stigma tolerance, therapist expertness), controlling for global distress, and (3) past/current satisfaction with psychotherapy (for those who have engaged in it), again controlling for global distress. The second aim will be to explore the interactive effect of EI and distress on intention to seek therapy. Data will derive from a study of 585 adults who completed relevant measures via the Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) platform. I will conduct partial correlations and multiple regression analyses to test the cross-sectional associations between EI (main and interactive effects) and the outcome domains. The results will help address the current gap in the research regarding the clinical and attitudinal (regarding mental health treatment) repercussions of EI, an understudied element of social isolation. 

795 Room 801 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Sameera Chippada
Maureen Perry-Jenkins (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychology, UMass Amherst
Paternal Mental Health and Child Development: The Case of Working-Class Families

A large research literature points to the negative effects of maternal depression on children’s development (Correia & Linhares, 2007; Galler, Harrison, Ramsey, Forde, & Butler, 2000); however, far less attention has focused on the relationship between fathers’ depression and child outcomes.  Recent findings on mothers’ depression suggest that depression in the first postnatal year may be especially harmful for children.  The present study addresses gaps in the literature by examining the relationship between first-time fathers’ depression during the first postnatal year and child outcomes at age 6. The sample consists of 153 working-class, two-parent families expecting their first child.  They were interviewed five times from pregnancy through the first year of parenthood, and again when the child was in the first grade. Fathers’ depressive symptoms were assessed throughout the first year, then again when the child was 6, using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D).  Children’s internalizing problems (emotional disorders), externalizing problems (behavioral problems), and health outcomes were the dependent variables assessed in the six-year olds.  To determine if fathers’ early depressive symptoms uniquely predict children’s developmental outcomes, above and beyond fathers’ concurrent depression, a hierarchical linear regression will be conducted, with concurrent paternal depression entered in step 1 and early paternal depression at step 2, predicting children’s internalizing problems, externalizing problems, and health outcomes. This study is unique  because it focuses on how paternal depression during a critical developmental period relates to children’s long-term outcomes within an understudied population of new working-class parents.

796 Room 905 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Andy Long Bui
Bernhard Leidner (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, UMass Amherst
Physiological Responses to Intergroup Violence

Over the last few decades, the tension between the U.S. and the countries in the Middle East have led to a lot of intergroup hostility and conflict. This research seeks to investigate collective trauma and intergroup conflict by understanding how people react to perpetrators, of different backgrounds, committing the same acts of violence against a Middle-Eastern individual. Using electrocardiography and drawing on the psychological theory of threat and challenge, I recorded the physiological responses of American participants reading about an American or Australian soldier interrogating and torturing an Iranian man. Afterwards, participants completed a brief survey measuring his or her perceptions of the story events as a threat or a challenge to the U.S., psychological defense strategies, his or her attitudes towards torture, different conflict resolution strategies in the U.S.-Iran context, and their attachment to and glorification of the U.S. I will present how participants physiological responses are linked to these self-report/survey measures, and how these links are affected by the fact of whether the perpetrator/soldier belongs to the same country as the participant (U.S.) or not (Australia).


799 Room 162 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Anastasia Ivanova
Chul Park (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Civil Engineering, UMass Amherst
Presence of Cyanotoxins in Waters Treated by the Oxygenic Photogranule Process

Recently, with climatic changes and ever growing energy demands, the need for energy efficient technologies in all sectors of industry has pushed utilities to reduce energy waste. At wastewater treatment plants, aeration for the secondary treatment, also known as the activated sludge (AS) process, consumes the most energy, accounting for approximately 50-60% of the total power usage. These economic and environmental costs can be reduced by replacement of the AS process with new technologies that eliminate the need for aeration. One new promising technology is the oxygenic photogranule (OPG) process; The OPG process saves energy by eliminating the need for aeration through the syntrophic growth of phototrophic (cyanobacteria) and heterotrophic microorganisms while also recovering solar and chemical energy in wastewater in the form of biomass as an alternative bio-feedstock. However, it is still unknown if the OPG process produces cyanotoxin byproducts. The objective of this research was to determine the presence and type of cyanotoxins in effluent wastewater treated by the oxygenic photogranule process, and a literature search was conducted to determine preliminary health effects of cyanotoxins for cyto and genotoxicity. Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) and rapid receptor-binding assay kits were used to a) determine the overall presence and b) specificity of cyanotoxins in influent and effluent waters. A literature search for cyto- and genotoxicity methods for these cyanotoxins was completed for future research on toxicology. The presence of cyanotoxins indicates the need for advanced tertiary wastewater treatment such as filtration or activated carbon after the oxygenic photogranule process.

800 Room 168 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Alexandra Fallon Clancy
Megan Harvey (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Effects on Children Born to Opioid Addicted Mothers

Women who use opioids during pregnancy are at risk of giving birth to an infant with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). NAS occurs when an infant is exposed to opioids while inside the womb. Research indicates that 60-80% of fetuses exposed to opioids in the womb get NAS. The infant goes through withdrawal and requires treatment. Symptoms range from sneezing, sniffling, and high-pitched crying to rapid breathing, trembling, and seizures. Children born to drug-using mothers are at a greater risk of premature birth, seizures, and birth defects. NAS is associated with lower test scores in grade school and declining academic performance throughout high school.  Socioeconomic status and prenatal care are major risk factors because pregnant drug-users are less likely to receive adequate prenatal care due to financial and geographic barriers. A literature review will be conducted using PubMed and including search terms such as neonatal abstinence syndrome, opioid addiction, pregnancy, socioeconomic status, and prenatal care.This review will explore the risk factors for NAS, its lifelong effects, and the effectiveness of available treatment plans. This project summarizes the findings of potential dangers to children when opioids are used during pregnancy, including birth outcomes, NAS, and lifelong problems. We identify the most appropriate policy changes and effective treatment options that could result in a decreased number of children born to opioid addicted mothers, as well as methods to reduce negative lifelong effects associated with NAS. 

801 Room 168 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Meghan Brittany McInnis
Robert Anthony Rigo
Penelope Pekow (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst
Addressing the Opioid Epidemic in Massachusetts

Opioid addiction and overdoses are a current public health epidemic in the U.S. claiming over 33,000 lives in 2015. Massachusetts was among the top ten states in deaths via drug overdose in 2015. In addition, the Department of Public Health found that the age-adjusted opioid-related death rate in Massachusetts for 2015 was 23 fatal overdoses per every 100,000 residents compared to 8 fatal overdoses per every 100,000 residents in 2005. This problem continues to escalate and increase the burden on the communities in Massachusetts. We will use databases such as PubMed, as well as key health organizations’ online resources to gather information about the current opioid epidemic. By reviewing the literature, we will identify key risk factors for opioid addiction and identify evidence-based strategies to address them, with the ultimate goal of identifying programs and policies that help prevent and treat opioid abuse. Based on our research, we will recommend intervention programs and policies that have been proven to alleviate opioid addiction. We will also review the efficacy of current programs and policies in order to make recommendations for improvement in Middlesex County. Through our research we hope to reduce the impact of opioid addiction and enrich communities in Massachusetts with a means of prevention that is accessible to all. Furthermore, through evidence-based methods of intervention, we intend to assist in the rehabilitation process of addicts with a key focus being that addicts do not relapse following treatment.

802 Room 168 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Annie Margaret Miller
Catherine Bridget Callanan
Elizabeth Paige Whitcher
Megan Harvey (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Opioid Use: An Epidemic in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is currently facing an opioid epidemic. Last year, two-thirds of the cities and towns in MA have experienced opioid related deaths. Opioids are drugs that act on the nervous system to relieve pain, and include illegal drugs, such as heroin, as well as powerful pain relievers that can be obtained through prescriptions. According to, 2014 was the first year since 1999 that the fatal overdose rate was four times the national average, which makes Massachusetts an epidemic ridden state. The age group with the most reports of an opioid overdose are people who range from ages 25-34. Some common effects of opioid use include addiction, greater risk for infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis and an increased cognitive decline. A review of literatures was conducted using PubMed and data from state and national agencies such as the CDC & The goal of this literature review is to understand risk factors for initial opioid use, both prescription and illegal. We will also examine current research on opioid use prevention programs, and make recommendations regarding effective prevention programs particularly among individuals ages 24-34.  

803 Room 904 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Raymond Lamothe
Aleksandra Miljanic
Elizabeth Donohoe Cook (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst
Defunding Planned Parenthood: A Serious Public Health Problem

Founded by Margaret Sanger in 1916, Planned Parenthood is now a leading provider for affordable health care for women in the United States. Many women have become reliant when it comes to the benefits of this organization, with 1 out of 5 utilizing it. Our research plan is to look at the benefits of sex education and funding for abortions that is provided through Planned Parenthood across the U.S. Using a variety of data sources such as PubMed and Academic Search Premiere, we expect to find certain areas of people with a lower socioeconomic status to benefit the most from the organization’s services, due to the affordability. We predict that people of lower socioeconomic class will most likely utilize the readily available access to sex education and abortions that is provided because these areas are least likely to receive further sex education or be able to support a family adequately.Thus, having access to abortions and sex education would minimize child and/or maternal health issues. Planned Parenthood services aims to decrease the prevalence of pregnancies through sex education, and in accordance, decreases the need for abortions. Planned Parenthood is a huge contributor to public health and the recent risk of defunding federal funds will result in a major public health issue, especially in poor maternal and child health in different areas of the U.S. 

804 Room 904 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Rebecca Fowler
Samantha Blake Berman
Megan Harvey (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Impacts of Inadequate Access to Reproductive Health Care in Rural Areas

According to WHO, reproductive health care is the medical care of the processes, functions, and systems involved in reproduction. Reproductive health care is an important part of the WHOs model of complete physical, mental, and social well being. Research has shown that rural areas of the United States have disproportionately low access to reproductive health services, compared to other areas. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, only 6.4% of obstetricians and gynecologists work in rural areas. Even though rural America is home to 22.8% of U.S. women aged 18 years and older, it remains a place with little access to reproductive healthcare. This is an important public health issue because a lack of access to reproductive health care can possess a variety of health risks that could be avoided with proper healthcare. Some risks include teen pregnancy, high incidence of sexually transmitted diseases and infections and late detection of female reproductive cancers. We will conduct a literature-based review using databases such as PubMed and Web of Science, as well as material from national and global public health organizations such as CDC, WHO and ACOG. Search terms will include reproductive health, rural, America, contraception, socioeconomic status, birth control, women’s health and access. Our project will first examine the negative health effects that a lack of access to reproductive health care poses and then determine effective strategies for increasing access to reproductive health care in rural area.    

805 Room 904 8:30-9:15 Panel 1
Savannah Joy Stuitje
Elizabeth Donohoe Cook (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst
The Effects of Accessibility and Affordability of Contraceptives on Women in the United States

Since its controversial beginnings in the 1960’s, a woman's right to control their reproduction has come a long way. However, women in the United States still face obstacles in the areas of affordability and accessibility. Health policy in the United States has been consistently under fire, with women’s health and women’s rights being at the center of the debate. If federal funding is not allowed to help pay for birth control costs, millions of women will lose their contraceptive coverage. According the Centers for Disease control (CDC), about 62% of women who are of reproductive age use some form of birth control, with 28% or 10.6 million women from this group using oral contraceptives. If the current policy in place covering co-payments for birth control is removed, low income women across the country will be impacted regardless of accessibility. To research this topic, library resources will be used, along with information found in government databases and peer reviewed journals such as PubMed and the Guttmacher Institute. It is expected that the information comprised from this material will answer the question of whether or not states that facilitate access to affordable birth control to see less unwanted pregnancy in low income areas. Brought forward by this debate, attention should be focused on creating policies that facilitate access to affordable contraceptives.

806 Hadley Room 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Meghan E. Berry
Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst
Health Perceptions versus Health Realities among Adolescents Living in Mamelodi, South Africa

The worldwide population of adolescents is growing, especially in the developing world, and faces a largely preventable burden of disease. Through conducting adolescent health concern inventories, health professionals may have the tools necessary to develop relevant programming that adolescents will respond to, effectively preventing a good portion of the global burden of disease. The aim of this research project is to investigate the subjective perceptions of health versus the objective realities of health among black South African adolescents who live in townships. During Winter Session 2017, I traveled to South Africa and conducted a mixed-methods study to gather information on adolescents’ health concerns and perceptions. I worked with the Mamelodi Initiative, a nonprofit organization (registered in both the U.S. and SA) which serves youth in the township of Mamelodi, to collect my data. I administered 45 surveys and conducted 3 interviews with 7th-12th grade students participating in the Mamelodi Initiative’s January holiday break programming. In my results, I compare my survey and interview findings with data accumulated in my literature review in order to determine where there are discrepancies in the perceptions versus realities of adolescent health. The results of this study help to identify South African adolescents’ major areas of concern regarding their health and help determine where current health education in SA is succeeding and where it is falling short in order to improve what and how information is conveyed to adolescents, especially within schools and other academic programs, like the Mamelodi Initiative.

807 Hadley Room 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Brittany Pine
Krystal J. Pollitt (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, UMass Amherst
Evaluation of the Role of Trace Metal Exposure on Male and Female Fertility Outcomes

Total fertility rates have decreased in the past 100 years. While there is evidence linking occupational metal exposure to adverse reproductive health, there is limited information relating low-level, non-occupational metal exposure to reproductive outcomes in humans. Much of the research that has been done has conflicting outcomes and focuses on female exposures. However, males account for 50 percent of infertility problems. Exposure to metals occurs from many sources including inhalation of polluted air and ingestion of food and water. The objective of the study is to investigate the relationship between trace metal exposure and in-vitro fertilization outcomes in males and females, namely sperm and oocyte quality. Measures of semen quality include sperm concentration, motility and morphology. I used biological monitoring techniques to evaluate concentrations of heavy and essential metals in urine samples collected from couples participating in in-vitro fertilization treatment. Participants include 100 couples using Baystate Medical Center in Western Massachusetts. Inductively-coupled mass-spectrometry was used to evaluate the urinary metal concentrations of 15 metals: antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, iodine, lead, magnesium, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, titanium, vanadium and zinc.  I will present the relationship between urinary trace metals concentration and reproductive outcomes for males and females. The results of this study may potentially impact current environmental public health recommendations for select trace metal exposures aimed to enhance sperm and oocyte quality.

808 Hadley Room 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Nathan Christopher Whitcomb
Andrew Lover (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Factors and Intervention Methods to Increase Vaccination Rates of Children in the Pacific Northwest

Herd immunity is essential in public health to protect individuals not with immunity to infections. Low rates of childhood vaccinations recently gathered from communities in the Pacific Northwest pose great threats in creating this herd immunity. Our goal is to review and analyze possible strategies to increase the overall rate of childhood vaccination. According to Oregon Health Authority, the overall childhood vaccination rates in Oregon are 10% lower than the national average in 2013. The Center for Disease Control states that vaccination is one of the best ways for parents to prevent their children from potentially contracting many serious infections. We will collect relevant literature reviews through a semi-systematic approach, and aim to have this analysis inform potential program approaches using interventions that have been successful elsewhere in the US. Throughout exploratory research we observed a trend of low immunization rates the Pacific Northwest. We then narrowed our search to low childhood vaccination rates in that specific area. After reviewing published journals and case studies we intend to find successful interventions that were implemented in different parts of the United States. Through this analysis, the methods which successfully increased childhood vaccination rates were any approaches that frequently reminded the parents of children who were due for their vaccines. To implement this strategy we suggest that clinics and doctor’s offices gather information from their databases to compile a list of infants and children who are due to receive their next vaccine with active follow-up. We will propose an evidence-based set of research that states the factors currently beings used and ways to increase vaccination rates in the Pacific Northwest. 

809 Room 168 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Danielle Snider
Paula Stamps (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Clostridium difficile: A Threat to Public Health and National Security

A biological weapon is defined as a “highly pathogenic organism or their toxic metabolic byproducts that are used in a way to cause disease or kill humans, animals, or plants, or to cause harm to materials”. Numerous organisms fulfill those criteria to varying degrees, so several U.S. regulatory agencies have compiled a categorized list of organisms that pose a threat to national security. Although the list is extensive, it is not exhaustive, and it is not set in stone. Clostridium difficile is one organism that potentially deserves a spot on the biological watch list. This gram-positive bacteria usually causes gastrointestinal infections of mild to moderate severity in immunocompromised patients. However, a highly virulent strain of C. difficile (ribotype 027) has recently emerged, and it causes high levels of mortality and morbidity in a diverse patient population. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the traits of C. difficile that make it amenable to weaponization, and compare it to representative organisms from each category of the watch list to determine which category this organism might belong to. An in-depth analysis of review articles and primary literature will be performed. Once completed, this thesis will make one of two possible conclusions. The first is that C. difficile ribotype 027 is a legitimate potential biological weapon, and belongs to one of the categories in the watch list. The alternative is that C. difficile lacks the qualities required to make it an effective weapon, but is nevertheless a significant public health threat.

810 Room 803 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Jacob James Mullins
Jessica Thelen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Concussions in Football

Football players from the youth level, all the way to the NFL, have run into issues with concussions. During the earlier days of football, concussions were supposedly nonexistent. If you could identify how many fingers your coach or teammate was holding up, you were good. Today, many claim that concussions are better diagnosed, but, this is far from the truth. Full time starters take anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 hits to the head a season.  As a fourteen-year football player, I have never come off the field from a hit to the head. The football culture implanted long ago of never showing weakness still exists in most long-time football players. For not just my own health and safety, but that of others, I researched long-term effects of concussions, the symptoms, and when to come out of a game. Using several sources, including Anthony Petraglia’s Handbook of Neurological Sports Medicine: Concussion and other Nervous System Injuries in the Athlete, I was able to put together some important information about the long-term effects of concussions, like CTE, which stands for, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. The sources also state the symptoms of concussions, and the best time of when to come out of a game after a serious hit has occurred. I believe that using a power point and elaborate using personal stories is the best way for me to present the research, and to get across the seriousness of concussions.

811 Room 904 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Sevan Mahdasian Dulgarian
Melody J. Slashinski (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Guarded Voices: The Adverse Effects of the HPV Gardasil Vaccine as Told by Testimonies of Young Women

The purpose of this study is to explore and compare independently made claims of side effects resulting from inoculation with the HPV Gardasil vaccine by collecting independently created YouTube testimonials of girls who believe themselves to be victims. This research endeavors to answer the question of how the phenomenon manifests in the lived experiences of these young women. It also compares their claims against one another to ascertain if they may offer insight into a trend that may have yet to reveal itself to the point where it reaches statistical significance. The vaccine has yet to stand the test of time so it is imperative to not write off claims of negative effects simply because it seems otherwise safe. The videos used must meet a set of parameters to qualify and their statements are analyzed and coded and handled in a way that ensures protection against risks to participants. Their reasons for creating such testimonials in the first place was to spread awareness of what they feel is valid but disregarded by medical professionals and a plea for awareness so others can be more informed. This study hopes to help ensure that it receives the attention it deserves. Conclusions at this stage indicate that there does seem to be a consistent trend among the testimonies. This trend in the research therefore indicates a need for further and more widespread study on this issue to help pinpoint its true cause, and to help find a way to mitigate it.

812 Room 904 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Jessica Amanda Rambharose
Nicole Elisabeth Waterman
Megan Harvey (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Increasing HPV Vaccinations through Health Education

In the field of public health, vaccinations are an important factor in preventing and eradicating disease worldwide and are considered one of the most successful health interventions in the last century. When multiple individuals are vaccinated in a community, the overall risk for contracting the disease is decreased (known as herd immunity). Cultural beliefs, lack of health education, and misconceptions surrounding the issue are some of the factors known to influence individual decisions to abstain from vaccination. The CDC estimates that nationwide 37% of females and 50% of males are not vaccinated. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) has come to the foreground of public health research as the HPV vaccine has been shown to decrease transmission of the virus from males to females and the risk of cervical cancer in females. Lack of health information among parents is a commonly cited reason for not initiating vaccination. The most common misconception that parents have regarding the HPV vaccine is that vaccination will lead to an early initiation of sexual behaviors in their children. In this literature review, we will examine data concerning the benefits, misconceptions and consequences of the HPV vaccine using relevant search terms and peer-reviewed articles published within the past ten years. We will also examine research related to policy and programs that attempt to increase vaccination rates. We will recommend a public health advocacy program to increase confidence in the HPV vaccine and increase vaccination rates among male and female adolescents in the US.

813 Room 905 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Alyssa Benalfew
Mickaella L. Perina (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Philosophy, UMass Boston
Healthcare as a Human Right: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The issues of healthcare access, affordability, and distribution are complex and divisive all throughout the world. Article 25 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care…” By virtue of the nature of UN Charter, there is an expectation that member states will follow suit and promote the rights of human beings everywhere. However states often create policies that do not, or do not completely, satisfy the mission stated in the article above.  In 2010, president Barack Obama signed The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (known as the ACA or Obamacare) into law to, among other things, provide a federal mandate to increase healthcare affordability, lower the overall cost of healthcare, and require insurers to accept applicants regardless of preexisting conditions. The purpose of this essay will be twofold: (1) to argue that there is indeed a right to healthcare; (2) to argue that the ACA, if efficiently achieved, via the means of healthcare access, affordability, and distribution, would satisfy the above mission statement. Through a documentary analysis of human rights discourse and the history of medicine, this essay provides a philosophical argument in favor of a right to healthcare in the United States.

815 Hadley Room 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Michael Benjamin Lichtenstein
Penelope Pekow (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst
Suicide Prevention of College Students

Suicide is a growing public health issue in the United States.  It is the 10th leading cause of death in the US with an annual rate of 13 people per 100,000, or about 44,000 people in the US.  Mental health among college students is of particular concern, as the rate of suicide has tripled in the 15-24 age demographic since the 1950s and is the third leading cause of death among that age group. In order to accurately assess the severity of the issue, we will be looking into suicidal risk factors specific to college students including depression, stressful environments, and social troubles. We will also be looking to solutions carried out by universities across the country, and analyzing how those practices have changed the outcomes relative to that campus as well as similar institutions. We will assess programs currently in place at universities across the United States in order to build a set of recommendations with the goal of reducing the incidence of suicide among college students. We will compare these findings with a similar age demographic, but those who do not attend school. Our goal is to build a set of recommendations that can be effectively and adequately implemented across college campuses. This will include looking at what programs are already being implemented and comparing the outcomes to other institutions as well as policies that universities should pursue with regards to student health.   

816 Hadley Room 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Miranda Anne McIntosh
Adelise Jamilah Roberts
Penelope Pekow (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst
How Health Disparities Contribute to Cervical Cancer and What We Can Do to Lower the Risk

It is estimated that about 11,771 new cases of HPV-associated cervical cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year. More black and Hispanic women get HPV-associated cervical cancer than women of other races or ethnicities. From 2006-2012, the median age of cervical cancer diagnosis was 49. Research shows that cervical cancer is extremely preventable when certain screening and preventive treatment measures are taken early on. In 2012, 50% of women diagnosed with cervical cancer were never screened, and an additional 10% were not screened five years before diagnosis. We will conduct a literature search to document some of the causes for disparities of diagnosis, as well as in preventive care. We will research programs and policies that have been shown to be effective in reducing cervical cancer rates, such as improved screening, and increased vaccinations. We will recommend policies and programs that will be effective in reducing cervical cancer rates, particularly in populations at highest risk.   In particular, we will work to reduce rates in women at highest risk, and will develop recommendations for a specific community that has a high risk of cervical cancer.

817 Room 805 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Kevin Michael Feltz
Penelope Pekow (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst
Childhood Obesity Epidemic within Urban Environments

According to the CDC the percentage of obese children in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970s. Now it is estimated that one in five children are obese. Children who reside in urban environments are likely to be obese due to a handful of factors such as the inability to access healthy food options, lack of physical activity due to traffic or crime, more exposure to fast food and television, and other contributing factors. Campaigns such as Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ as well as the ‘penny per ounce’ tax have been shown to be effective at managing obesity among children. We plan to research factors that contribute to high rates of childhood obesity, as well as specific prevention strategies that are aimed at reducing childhood obesity within areas of high population density. These may include programs providing children of urban environments with more recreational areas, more nutritional food options, and more safety at existing recreational facilities. We will build specific recommendations for the city of Boston based on the success of interventions previously put in place in cities that are showing a reduction in childhood obesity rates.  Interventions need to be made on individual, institutional, and community levels in order to manage the growing epidemic of childhood obesity.

818 Room 805 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Brianna Zani
Nina Keery (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Massachusetts Bay Community College
Investigating the True Roots of the Obesity Epidemic and the Most Suitable Solutions

This paper explores the epidemic of obesity in America and its relationship to poverty. The research dispels popular myths about the underlying causes of metabolic disease, particularly in working-class and poor communities. An analysis of data shows that systemic inflammation leading to insulin resistance is the true culprit behind the rise of hypertension, diabetes, and related conditions. Furthermore, this public health crisis is a result of food insecurity. Because this epidemic has been attributed to an overconsumption of calories, government officials have debated the merits of a tax on soft drinks to combat obesity. However, this project reveals the error in that line of thinking. Instead, this solution-oriented conclusion lays out public policy recommendations such as stricter regulations on sugar content in food products and the elimination of subsidies for corn farming.

823 Room 174 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Tyler James Fernandes
Elizabeth Donohoe Cook (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst
Assessment of United States Geriatric Care to Determine Improvements in Employee and Patient Satisfaction

Life expectancies for both men and women have increased tremendously over the past century, from 46 years in 1900 to 78 years today. The expansion of the elderly population has a significant impact on health care. The National Council on Aging states that as many as 92% of adults live with at least one chronic disease, and 77% have at least two. Consequently, aging populations utilize the most health care, particularly in nursing homes. Increases in nursing home residents and a lack of resources has created an environment where residents do not receive sufficient care, and staff members feel over-worked and underpaid. A 2012 survey revealed that clinical nursing staff report having the lowest satisfaction in regards to stress on the job and pay, and that a correlation exists between worker and resident satisfaction. By comparing the U.S. health care system with those around the world, this paper critiques the infrastructure of United States geriatric care and identifies improvements that can be made. Reviewing and analyzing health care systems internationally will help identify differences in patient demographics, staff training and resource funding. This research will help in understanding which health policies need review. A system centered around patient and employee well-being and effective usage of funds will improve the satisfaction rates in United States nursing homes. Finding a solution that better serves geriatric patients and improves worker satisfaction will ensure efficiency in our healthcare system.

824 Room 805 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Robert Connor Brogan
Andrew Lover (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Accessing Interventions for Childhood Obesity through Beverage Choice in Public Schools

Childhood obesity impacts about 12.7 million children in the United States. In part because many children lack nutrition education when it comes to dietary choices. This includes children’s access to alternative beverages with high sugar content preferable to water. Drinking water has been shown to have health advantages including increased energy and cognitive benefits. More than 31.6 million children access a lunch program for meals across the country. The Healthy Hunger Free-Kids Act of 2010 requires these public schools to provide water as a drink choice during meal times. Mississippi was determined to have the highest prevalence of childhood obesity, specifically Holmes County. This school district serves approximately 3,500 students in which 99.86% are African American and 93% of these students are eligible to receive free lunch through the National School Lunch Program. A semi-systematic literature review will be used to identify the relationships between childhood obesity and access to drinking water in elementary schools. We will search school-based interventions that have looked at intake of sugary beverages during school meals and how students access water in the public schools and potential impacts on health outcomes. We will examine evidence-based strategies to support interventions.  These interventions could be implemented in public schools where children are at an increased risk for obesity and have limited access to water during the school day.  By providing an intervention to increase water consumption among elementary school students, we ultimately want to decrease alternative beverages during school meals impacting childhood obesity.

825 Room 805 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Audrey Foster
Elizabeth Donohoe Cook (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst
Implications of Socioeconomic Status on Childhood Obesity in Massachusetts

Low socioeconomic status is a major factor affecting childhood obesity, which is an increasing public health epidemic in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, one in three American kids and teens are considered overweight or obese. Springfield, Massachusetts has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the state at 43.6%, which is significantly higher than the statewide rate of 24.3%. The purpose of this study is to investigate underlying factors including income, education, nutritional habits, and physical activity that contribute to disparities in obesity rates among Massachusetts children and to use this information to identify ways of addressing the problem through primary prevention efforts. Resources to be utilized are databases such as UMass Amherst Libraries, PubMed, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the CDC. We expect to see that communities of low socioeconomic status will have lower quality food choices, limited access to grocery stores, and less physical activity due to fewer and less safe public places to exercise. We will be looking at household incomes, education level, and family size specifically in Springfield and Andover, Massachusetts. We predict that local and statewide policy changes, wellness initiative grants, community programs, school- and work-based programs, and healthy food options at more facilities will best address the health disparities that affect thousands of children in Massachusetts.The results we achieve will elucidate some of the reasons that these disparities exist and promote further research and intervention within heavily affected communities.

826 Room 805 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Derek Patrick Vozzella
Charlotte Olivia Bruce
Emily Nicole Coderre
Breanne Hickey
Megan Harvey (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Familial Background, Food Security, Physical Activity, and Subsequent Childhood Risk of Obesity: A Review

Obesity, defined by the NIH as having extra body weight contributing to a BMI over 30, is a growing public health concern in the United States with an estimated one third (36.5%) of adults currently categorized as obese. This condition can lead to major preventable health and economic consequences including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and increased medical costs. The CDC estimates that 17% of children in the US are obese, resulting in immediate and lifelong health risks.  Incidence of obesity is particularly of growing concern among youth aged 6-11, as the childhood obesity rates have doubled since 1980.  In this literature review we explore the burden of childhood obesity and risk factors including familial background with nutrition, access to healthy foods, and physical activity levels. We will also investigate recent policies that may impact childhood obesity. Finally, we will propose potential solutions for the epidemic of childhood obesity. This literature review will be conducted using databases such as PubMed and JSTOR using articles published in the past five years, as well as data available from national health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH).

827 Room 917 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Olivia Charles
Andrew Lover (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Assessing Interventions for Suicide Prevention in Young Alaskan Native Men: A Review of the Literature and Proposed Interventions

Suicide has been one of the top causes of death in the United States for over a decade, in spite of it being a preventable public health problem. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, in 2013 the rate of suicide in the United States was 12.57 suicides per 100,000 people. Young Alaskan Native men commit suicide at much higher rates than the national average, specifically an average rate of suicide 141.6 suicides per 100,000 people each year from 2000-2009. In this study, we aim to examine the socio-economic factors, cultural factors, and how geographic location affects the rate of suicide among young Alaskan Native men through analysis of available data and interventions. We will examine how socioeconomic factors related to unemployment, cultural disconnect, and substance abuse affect suicide rates in native populations.This information will be collected based on a semi-systematic literature review of suicide and interventional programs in both young Alaskan men, and similar populations in other regions. Ultimately, we hope to identify effective interventions for similar populations experiencing high rates of suicide in comparable settings, and apply these evidence-based strategies to build an intervention for young Alaskan men. 

830 Room 165 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Jackson Ronald Porter
Penelope Pekow (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst
Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) leads to approximately 17.5 million deaths in the world every year, according to the World Health Organization. Approximately 375,000 deaths are related to CVD in the United States each year, making it a leading cause of death in the US. There are a plethora of societal factors that are strongly associated with cardiovascular disease. Many of these such as, lack of health care access, high rates of unhealthy behaviors (such as smoking), lack of access to healthy foods, and jobs that are physically stressful are more frequent within lower income communities. We are going to research stressors that are considered to be risk factors for CVD, especially within lower income urban areas, such as Springfield, MA. According to Partners for a Healthier Community, Inc., which is located in Springfield, MA, heart disease was the leading cause of death in Springfield in 2011. We will research programs and policies that have been shown to address these stressors and improve cardiovascular health. We aim to recommend programs associated with decreasing disparity and policy initiatives that are known to promote healthier life choices, specifically for implementation in Springfield, MA.



831 Room 174 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Angela Kou
Oladipo O. Olaogun
Ashley M. Truman
Penelope Pekow (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, UMass Amherst
The Problem of Mental Health in Incarcerated Females in the US

According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, 61.2% of female inmates in federal prisons are faced with mental health issues. Current prison systems lack programs able to mend this problem, leading to an increase in or failure to reduce recidivism. These inmates are also prone to joblessness, homelessness, and loss of custody of their children after being discharged. A comprehensive literature review will be assembled in order to research programs that can address and lessen the impacts of mental illness by helping women cope, and define the problem more succinctly. In particular we will define the scope of the problem in Hampden County Women’s Correctional Facility as well as Massachusetts Committing Institution (MCI) Framingham, and build a specific set of recommendations that can be applied. We will then research existing international and domestic programs that address and lessen the impacts of mental illness. A better understanding of how to resolve problems of mental health in incarcerated female populations can lead to improved treatment and better facilities in the U.S. The most prevalent types of mental health issues stem from traumas associated with physical or sexual abuse, depression, and substance abuse. These key risk factors affect the psyche and educational performance of children and those connected to the incarcerated individuals. Solutions may be modeled after international and federal prisons that implemented successful programs that greatly improved the mental health of inmates and lowered the rates of recidivism as well as impacts on individuals related to the inmates.

832 Room 804 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Hadiya Nekaybaw Nzinga Williams
Dean E. Robinson (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Political Science, UMass Amherst
Black Health Inequalities in the United States: Genetics, Health Care, or Structural Violence?

Blacks in the United States trail whites on a number of indicators of morbidity and mortality. This thesis takes up various explanations for this persistent trend: genetics, health care, and structural violence. Drawing on an analysis of secondary literature in biology, anthropology, health services research and social epidemiology, this thesis finds no support for the first explanation, some support for the second, and considerable support for the third. It concludes with policy suggestions that address some of the fundamental sources of racial inequalities in health.

846 Room 162 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Charlotte D. LaPlante
Laura N. Vandenberg (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, UMass Amherst
Xenoestrogens and Their Influence on the Protective Effects of Pregnancy in the Mouse Mammary Gland

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can mimic the effects of hormones and disrupt development in animals, including during pregnancy and lactation. Pregnancy has been shown to have a protective effect on breast cancer, decreasing lifetime risk in females by inducing tumor suppressor pathways. The objective of this study is to determine the effects of two xenoestrogens, oxybenzone (BP-3), found in sunscreen, and propylparaben (PP), found in personal care products, on the protective effects of pregnancy in the mouse mammary gland. Because it can act via estrogen receptor (ER) alpha, we hypothesize that BP-3 will diminish the protective effects of pregnancy; because PP acts via ER beta, we hypothesize that it will support the protective effects of pregnancy. To address our hypothesis, female mice were exposed to either vehicle or one of three doses of each chemical during pregnancy and lactation. A nulliparous group was used that received the vehicle treatment for further comparison. After weaning, involution in the dams was allowed to occur and mammary gland tissue samples were obtained five weeks later. Preliminary analyses indicate that treatment with both BP-3 and PP can alter mammary gland histoarchitecture and change the morphology of the mouse mammary gland after pregnancy. BP-3 induces a mammary gland that more closely resembles a nulliparous one than controls. Studies are in progress to measure RNA and protein levels in the mammary gland using qPCR and immunohistochemical staining. These results suggest that estrogenic EDCs can alter mammary gland development in the mother with effects that are long-lasting. 

847 Room 162 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Mary C. Morcos
Laura N. Vandenberg (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, UMass Amherst
The Effects of Gleevec on Pregnant Mice

Gleevec is a drug widely prescribed to patients diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Patients are warned not to take Gleevec during pregnancy, but the effects of this pharmaceutical on the developing embryo and the mother herself are not well described. Because Gleevec is thought to disrupt cell proliferation, we hypothesized that it would alter the mammary gland of mice exposed during pregnancy and lactation. We evaluated the effect of Gleevec exposed female mouse mammary gland after two exposure paradigms: 1) Mice were exposed for 6 weeks prior to pregnancy, or 2) Mice were exposed for 6 weeks prior to pregnancy and then exposure continued through pregnancy. All mice were euthanized and evaluated at the pregnancy day 12.5. A variety of methods were used to process and analyze the tissue including Hematoxylin and eosin staining (H + E) and immunohistochemistry paired with morphometric analysis. Both treatments were associated with decreased numbers of mammary ducts, although a definite conclusion cannot be made due to the small sample size. Based on our limited findings, we conclude that further studies are needed. Such studies are needed to evaluate the long-term effects of Gleevec on the mammary gland in pregnancy. 

848 Room 162 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Aastha Pokharel
Laura N. Vandenberg (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, UMass Amherst
Evaluating Left-Right Asymmetry in the Developing Mouse Mammary Gland

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can affect the development of hormone sensitive organs including the mammary gland. Many studies have evaluated the effects of EDCs on the mammary glands of female rodents. The male mouse mammary gland is not typically studied because these animals lack nipples and the very small ductal trees can be challenging to isolate. In our studies of the male CD-1 mouse, we identified a noticeable disparity between the left and right mammary glands at several stages of development. The goal of this study was to identify the mechanisms by which the left- right bias in mammary gland growth parameters are established. We quantified mammary gland growth using morphometric analytical tools in male mice at prepuberty, puberty and adulthood. Females were also examined at the first two ages.  Our analyses revealed that the right mammary gland is typically larger and has more branching points than the left mammary gland. There was also a non-significant difference in proliferation rates on the left and right sides. To determine if the left-right bias is established early in development, mammary glands were examined in mice at embryonic day 16 to determine if the bias is present during that window of time. Finally, left- right biases were also examined for animals exposed to estrogenic EDCs to determine if there were differential effects on the left and right glands. Completion of this project may shed light on why women experience left-right biases in breast cancer risk.

849 Room 803 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Gabriella Danielle Bauer
Megan Harvey (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
The Association between the Consumption of Antibiotic-raised Meat and Antibiotic-Resistance in Humans

Antibiotic-resistant infections are more difficult and expensive to treat than non-resistant bacterial infections, and there is a higher mortality rate associated with them. The CDC estimates that over 400,000 antibiotic-resistant infections occur annually in the United States directly resulting from the consumption of antibiotic-raised meat. Antibiotics are given to farm animals in large quantities in order to prevent the inevitability of sickness to compensate for the unsanitary, inhumane, and unethical methods used to mass-produce livestock in factory farms. Out of all the medically-imported antibiotics that come into the US, 70% of them are given to farm animals in order to prevent sickness and foodborne illnesses when these animals are consumed by humans. According to the Statista newsletter, by 2050 there will be an estimated 10 million deaths per year if this issue is not properly addressed. Background information for the consequential impacts of antibiotic overuse in farm animals is found through the CDC and relevant terms regarding the topic are used to search for peer-reviewed literature from PubMed, Google Scholar, American Journal of Public Health, and JAMA. These terms include: factory farms, meat consumption, antibiotic use, and human antibiotic resistance. We recommend policy changes that will prohibit the overuse of antibiotics on factory-farms in order to reduce the possibility of antibiotic resistance in people.

850 Room 904 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Viola Bame
Maria Alice Ribeiro Manetas
Gloria DiFulvio (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Food for Thought: Tackling Food Insecurity in Massachusetts

Each year across the United States, an estimated 40 million people, 6 million of whom are children, are food insecure. The United States Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as households or individuals who have uncertain access to adequate food. As a general trend, Hispanics and African Americans are more than twice as likely to be food insecure than White, non-Hispanics. In Massachusetts, approximately one in ten people are food insecure. Some contributing risk factors include geographic location, low socioeconomic status, high unemployment rates, and high costs of living. Previous studies have shown that food insecurity is associated with an increased risk of low birth weight, cognitive developmental delays, low academic achievement and behavioral challenges among children, while chronic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes, are observed in both children and adults. Although there are resources in place, such as federal food assistance programs for those vulnerable to food insecurity, there are still large disparities in accessibility to these resources among different population groups. Access to sufficient and proper nutrition is a crucial component of physical and mental health among populations of all ages and backgrounds, and thus, widening accessibility to existing food assistance programs, implementing additional programs, and passing legislation will aid in combatting food insecurity across the country. In our presentation, we will review current literature on food insecurity in the United States. We will review the best practices and policies to address food insecurity and make recommendations as to how communities in Massachusetts might address this problem.

851 Room 904 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Emma O'Malley Forget
Gloria DiFulvio (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Health Care in the United States with Focus on the Affordable Care Act

The United States spends far more on healthcare than other high-income nations, but has worse health outcomes. Average spending per person in the United States is over $9,086 annually; Switzerland spends the next highest amount with $6,325 but their citizen’s life expectancy is 4 years longer than that of Americans (82.9 years compared to 78.8). In an attempt to address this problem, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. The objective was to expand coverage to uninsured or underinsured Americans, and lower health care costs. Since its signing, the ACA has made much progress, providing coverage to about 20 million Americans. However, about 29 million Americans still lack coverage, and many enrollees are seeing increases in costs, such as premiums. Today, the ACA is in danger of being repealed by Congress, which would result in millions of Americans losing their health insurance. We will use search engines such as PubMed to find information on the impact of the ACA and compare its successes and shortcomings to that of health systems in other countries. We will also research the potential impacts on the health market and individuals if the ACA is repealed by Congress without a replacement. Finally, we will make recommendations based on our findings about how the United States could improve the ACA to achieve more coverage and better health outcomes at a lower cost.

852 Room 904 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Chiamaka Ogechi Nwanekezi
Molly Aron McCabe
Gloria DiFulvio (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Cervical Cancer Mortality and Morbidity Disparities

Cervical cancer mortality rates among U.S. women have gradually decreased since the 1970s, yet disparities exist between Black, Hispanic, and White women. According to the most recent age-adjusted statistics on cervical cancer mortality per 100,000 women, Black and Hispanic women have rates of 3.9 and 2.5 respectively, whereas White women have a rate of 2.2. Disparities also exist in incidence rates; Black and Hispanic women have similar rates of 9.0 and 9.2 respectively, and White women have a rate of 7.0. These disparities are influenced by access to healthcare and services, access to health education, and socioeconomic status. As a result, there are lower completion rates of HPV vaccinations and Pap smear screening rates in Black and Hispanic populations in comparison to their White counterparts. HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus, is estimated to cause 91% of all HPV-related cervical cancers, making the vaccine an essential tool for lowering morbidity. The Pap test is a simple and reliable method for detecting pre-cancerous cells and lowering mortality. For our presentation, we will discuss key risk factors for cervical cancer, the factors associated with screening and vaccination disparities, and identify evidence-based strategies to prioritize and develop recommendations for reducing the health disparities associated with cervical cancer.

853 Room 904 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Zachary P. Rice
Gabrielle Bailey
Katherine Cairns Goldberg
Gloria DiFulvio (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Assessing Quality of Care in Nursing Homes in the US

According to the CDC, there are approximately 1.4 million people living in the 15,600 nursing homes in the United States. For those living in these facilities, quality of care is important and is often taken for granted. Most states do not assess patient satisfaction when licensing nursing homes. Efforts to improve the quality of life for residents may fall short in some nursing homes. Nursing home quality of care can be directly correlated with resident safety. Thirty three percent of nursing home receive citations for environmental safety concerns and 47% receive citations for care safety related issues. What is more surprising is that 16% of nursing homes have received citations for safety violations  that have caused or have the potential to cause serious injury or, at worst, death. Structural problems within nursing facilities that can greatly decrease quality of care and cause harm to residents include short staffing, low reimbursement rates, and high staff turnover rates. In the US, quality scores are notably low for conditions such as elderly abuse, neglect, depression, dementia, osteoporosis and malnutrition. In this presentation, we will provide an overview of elder care in the US, specifically looking at nursing home care. We will review best practices in elder care, and make recommendations for strengthening care in nursing homes.

854 Room 917 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Katherine C. Leddy
Aline Gubrium (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
"What's Eating Katie?" The Musical: Utilizing Theater as a Means of Eating Disorder Education

Eating disorders are stereotypically thought of as a white, heterosexual women’s disease. They are often stigmatized and misunderstood in our current society, leading many people to believe that they are a choice rather than a disease. This public health honors project over the course of the fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters has focused on the effectiveness as well as the process and obstacles of eating disorder education through theater performance. The project itself is the production of the musical “What’s Eating Katie?” written by PhD psychologist Dina Zeckhausen, founder of the Eating Disorders Information Network. Anorexia nervosa, which Katie struggles with in the show, has the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness and it is an enormous public health problem on college campuses. Through the production of this show as well as activities and interviews with the cast and audience, the results of this project will demonstrate the need for further discussion about the highly multifaceted subject of eating disorders beyond broad lectures in health classes. 

892 Room 162 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Durga Kolla
Laura N. Vandenberg (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, UMass Amherst
Developmental Exposure to Xenoestrogens and Their Effects on the Female Mouse Mammary Gland

The mammary gland undergoes different phases of development in the embryonic, pre-pubertal, pregnancy, lactation, and involution stages of a mammal’s life. During these time periods, the mammary tissue is strongly influenced by hormones; for this reason, scientists have hypothesized that synthetic chemicals with hormonal activities could disrupt gland development and contribute to diseases like breast cancer. Bisphenol S (BPS) is an organic compound that is used in many everyday consumer products and human exposure is widespread. BPS has been used to replace Bisphenol A (BPA), which is known to affect the mammary gland. Ethinyl Estradiol (EE2) is a pharmaceutical used in contraceptive pills. Our study examines the effects of early life exposure to BPS or EE2 on the mammary gland of female mice at pre-puberty and puberty.  To assess effects on the mammary gland, growth parameters in whole mount glands are quantified using volumetric morphometrics. The histological appearance of mammary glands is also assessed using standard histological methods; proliferation and protein expression is quantified using immunohistochemistry. These assessments will allow us to better understand whether environmentally relevant doses of two synthetic estrogens disrupt development of the female mammary gland. This study is especially important because although BPS exposures are widespread, this compound is poorly studied.

893 Room 162 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Brian D. Martin
Laura N. Vandenberg (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, UMass Amherst
The Effects of Gleevec on Lactating Female Mice

Many recent studies in the field of environmental health sciences have focused on how exposure to chemicals at various stages of life can affect the development of hormone sensitive organs, specifically mammary glands, using mice as a model system. Gleevec is the brand name of the drug imatinib and is used to treat different types of cancer, specifically types of leukemia. Gleevec is a highly effective treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia, but there is some evidence that it is a teratogen, and thus women are warned not to become pregnant while taking this drug. Because many young women on this drug would like to have children, these patients will cease exposures to become pregnant and throughout the pregnancy. The goal of this research was to evaluate the effects of Gleevec exposures prior to pregnancy (6 weeks) or prior to pregnancy plus the period of pregnancy and lactation. We specifically evaluated the effects of these exposures on mammary tissue in lactating mice. We found that mice exposed to Gleevec prior to and during pregnancy/lactation had more dense whole mounts, with a greater fraction of lobules (the functional units of the mammary gland). Both Gleevec treatments reduced proliferation. Because of the small sample size evaluated, none of these effects were statistically significant. For this reason, additional studies are needed to fully understand the effects of Gleevec on the lactating mammary gland. 

894 Room 801 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Joseph Ursus Dailey
Ina Ganguli (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
The Hidden Dangers of Charity and Volunteerism

The purpose of this research project will be to critically analyze the modes and methods by which charitable work and volunteerism is conducted. Often prompting a knee-jerk positive reaction, many crucial aspects of charity work are overlooked, and the nuances of the execution of seemingly beneficial programs can have devastating effects on a country's population, health, and economy. Drawing upon primary as well as secondary sources, specific case studies of nations, non-profits, and socially conscious businesses will be praised, critiqued, and in some cases condemned for the execution and implementation of their initiatives and ideas, however well-intentioned they may be.

895 Room 904 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Haley Ann Root
Breanna Heroux
Gabrielle Rainville
Gloria DiFulvio (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Improving Access to Women's Reproductive Health Care

In the United States, there are significant disparities in women’s access to reproductive health care. For example, abortion clinics across the U.S. are closing their doors, providing an added obstacle to women seeking services. Since the 1980s, women have become increasingly more informed about sexual health, their options, and their access and rights to healthcare. However, racial and socioeconomic disparities continue to exist in health outcomes such as unintended pregnancies, abortion, and unintended births today. Women have unique healthcare needs, higher rates of chronic illnesses, and utilize the healthcare system more than men, making their access to healthcare extremely important. In this presentation we will provide a review of the literature on access to reproductive care in the United States. We will discuss current policies, existing disparities and barriers to care, including the implications on the health of young people aged 18-24. We will then present research on best practices for improving access to reproductive care through a case study of two different states, Massachusetts and Mississippi. Finally, we will make recommendations to ensure that young adults in the United States have adequate access to quality healthcare regardless of race or socioeconomic status.

896 Room 904 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Tiana R. Tower
Audrey Donohue
Gloria DiFulvio (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
The Impact of Palm Oil on Environmental Health

According to the World Wildlife Fund, rainforests across the world are being cleared at a rate of 300 football fields per hour to farm palm oil. This results in mass deforestation, the extinction of multiple species, and contributes to greenhouse gases. The accumulation of carbon dioxide and other gases become trapped in the atmosphere causing the global temperature to rise, as stated by the Environmental Protection Agency. This rise in emissions is accelerated by deforestation; with fewer trees, less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is converted into oxygen. Palm oil farms replace forests in West Africa and Southeast Asia to fulfill the demand for palm oil that is found in almost half of packaged foods in the U.S. Safe living conditions and the public health of communities are at risk for many populations around the world dealing with climate change. Potential risk factors include heat waves, wildfires, air pollution, water wars, crop failures and infectious diseases resulting in severe health consequences. By examining peer reviewed articles we will determine the health effects of palm oil on the environment and human health and elaborate on the effects and importance of limiting air and water pollutants. Our findings will highlight how significant the forests and rainforests are to maintaining a healthy planet by showing the effects of deforestation through data and attempt to identify a way to limit palm oil usage. As natural resources diminish it is critical to conserve what we have and find alternatives to support the growing population.

897 Room 904 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Alyssa Lynn Wiseman
Angelo Cruz
Althea Rose Garivaltis
Gloria DiFulvio (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
Opioid Epidemic: Affecting Massachusetts

The United States is currently experiencing one of the worst, rapidly growing crisis in history. Similar to the US overall, the state of Massachusetts is also experiencing among the worst of the rapidly increasing opioid crisis. The Massachusetts state government reports that deaths from opioid usage has increased from 355 deaths per year to 1,747 annually, increasing almost by a factor of five.  This crisis has become so extreme that there are currently five opioid-related deaths per day. One contributing factor to this epidemic is that in an effort to control pain, doctors, pharmacists and dentists are in inadvertently over prescribing these medications to their patients. Due to the fact that 661,555 Massachusetts residents are currently prescribed opioids, there is still significant risk of an increase in number of deaths due to opioid overdose or addiction. In this presentation we will review opioid abuse, rates, and the differences among counties within the state of Massachusetts. We will then provide information regarding the appropriate practices for reducing both morbidity and mortality rates associated with opioid use. Opioids have changed the way the healthcare force manages and treats pain. Due to the potency of these pills, they become extremely dangerous if they are misused. It is important for the public to grasp a better understanding of this epidemic and become aware of ways to combat the issue at hand. This project seeks to engage in the public health concerns regarding opioids within the two major healthcare areas: prevention and intervention.

898 Room 911 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Diana Rose Lemczak-Loomis
Andrew Lover (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Public Health, UMass Amherst
A Systematic Review of the Cholera Epidemic in Haiti

In 2010, Hurricane Tomas introduced a cholera epidemic in Haiti that was responsible for around 800,000 reported cases, and the deaths of at least 10,000 people. Cholera had still not been eliminated nearly six years later, with 29,000 cases reported before Hurricane Matthew subsequently destroyed many resources available to the Haitian population. This created a perfect environment for cholera transmission, followed by a resurgence of the epidemic, in October of 2016. The research will assess the factors contributing to the resurgence, and evaluate potential evidence-based interventions to stop the epidemic, and to support the elimination of cholera in Haiti. This research will be focused on the entire Haitian population. Since cholera is a gastrointestinal disease transmitted mainly through contaminated water and food, all demographics in Haiti are vulnerable to infection. The studies included in this research will be retrieved through comprehensive databases including Pub Med, MEDLINE, and Google Scholar. Searches were focused on articles published since 2016. The keywords used included; “cholera” “epidemic”, “Haiti”, “effects”, “statistics”, and “interventions”. Hurricane Matthew acted as the catalyst for many of the key risk factors contributing to the endemic, including; widespread flooding, shortage of non-contaminated drinking water, food insecurity, and extensive damage and resource depletion in many hospitals and health centers. It is imperative to explore effective and affordable ways to reduce the incidence of cholera in Haiti. We will propose an integrative and comprehensive intervention platform targeting effective water sanitation and educating communities, aimed towards controlling the cholera epidemic in Haiti. 


900 Room 803 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Emily B. Raymond
Robert Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
Saturday Night Live in the Donald Trump Era

Saturday Night Live walks a fine line between comedy and reality, in terms of how it deals with the topic of politics. For decades, it has made a habit of injecting humor into the often fairly bleak landscape of both American and international politics, which it has done mainly through the use of both satire and impersonations, which are quite often spot-on (see Will Ferrell’s George W. Bush and Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump). In the past, SNL’s political sketches have always been based more in comedy than in reality; the ridiculousness of the impersonations, sketch situations, and occasional cameos of other impersonated politicians and celebrities all effectively lent themselves to a hyperreal version of reality that we (thankfully) didn’t find ourselves in. In the past year, however, the political sketches have drifted closer to reality than ever before, thanks to the unique brand of unhinged lunacy that Donald Trump has brought to the political stage. By comparing political sketches and their real-world bases from the first month of Trump’s presidency with selections from the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, I am detailing the ways in which the peculiarity of the SNL brand of humor has had less and less outright fiction interjected into its unique political narrative in response to the current state of political affairs. I am displaying this information through an oral presentation paired with visual aids.

902 Room 911 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Sara Virginia Prygocki
Mary Baker (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communications Media, Fitchburg State University
"Living": A Student Thesis Film

This thesis is in the form of a short film. “Living” is the tale about two young women in college from two very different worlds trying to find their way back together after years of built up tension. The main theme is about having to decide what are the important things in life and how to truly be alive. This is a coming of age story that a wide audience will be able to relate to. From a creative research standpoint the plan is to engage in diligent study of motion picture production from four perspectives: screenwriter, producer, director, and editor. This thesis will synthesize the production knowledge gained from classes in producing, directing, and writing the short film in order to develop a cohesive project and expand my filmmaking portfolio. In an artist statement there will be reflection on the challenges and experiences of this thesis as well as personal growth as a filmmaker. In addition, admitting the finished movie to film festivals would help to cement the learning outcomes and solidify it as a unified project.


904 Room 905 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Arno Paul Noack II
Graciela Monteagudo (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Social Thought and Political Economy, UMass Amherst
Framing the Subject: The Politics of Representation and Categorization of Refugees in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings and Syrian Revolution

This is an investigation into the institutional categorization and representation of populations by particular concentrations of political and economic power. In particular i will deconstruct the methods and language which dominant media, government, and NGO statements deploy in discussion of refugees and immigrants from the middle east to the EU, Switzerland, and the USA. I will investigate the way these narratives are internalized and reproduced by populations. I will highlight the political and social consequences of these perspectives and clarify the relationship between power and representation.


906 Room 911 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Jillian Carmel
Sandra M. Lygren (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Deaf Studies, Bristol Community College
Domestic Violence within the Deaf Community: Overcoming Access Barriers

Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) victims of domestic violence face uniquely difficult barriers beyond those faced by their Hearing counterparts. Utilizing data gathered from research as well as interviews with domestic abuse agencies in New Bedford, this project will investigate what services are currently available to the DHH community. It is predicted that many agencies are ill equipped to serve such populations. Bridging the gap between the DHH and Hearing community is central to this project, the intended outcome is to raise awareness with individuals and agencies who would be able to provide increased or improved access and services to the DHH population. Through testimonials, informal interviews, and review of existing literature, the reader will gain a better understanding of Deaf culture, domestic violence victims, and the plight of the Deaf survivor.


929 Room 165 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Cynthia Elizabeth LaPan
Francisco Vivoni (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sociology, Worcester State University
(Luxury) Neighborhood Welfare: Gentrification in the Heart of the Commonwealth

Post-manufacturing districts in urban centers are undergoing "revitalization efforts," often featuring 'mixed-use development' and high-end residential options. This presentation is a case study of the writer's lived experience in The Canal District in Worcester, Massachusetts. It explores the role of nostalgia that motivates this gentrification, and the neoliberal economic strategies that drive it. Though tenants are co-producers of cultural and commercial value, their economic disadvantage reduces their own opportunities in this built environment.

936 Room 911 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Angelica E. Merino Monge
Raúl D. Gutiérrez (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of World Languages and Cultures, Holyoke Community College
Voices Unheard, Without a Place to Call Home: The Outsider Experiences of Undocumented Women

This research essay will evaluate and highlight the hardships and the circumstances that led undocumented immigrants to make the dangerous journey to the United States. It focuses especifically on the pilot project named “Planting Literacy” created by the organization Head Start, Springfield MA and the Latino International Student Association club at Holyoke Community College. The participants confront a doubly exacerbated outsider status as a result of being outsiders in both, their homeland and in the United States. Underneath that broader experience are yet other layers of outsider status such as, illiteracy, gender and poverty that have multiple consequences for the lives of the illiterate immigrant women. Such as, integrating in the mainstream society, acquire decent jobs and an education in the United States.  

938 Room 168 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Mattie Virginia Woodside
Robert Carr (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Communication, Fitchburg State University
The Secret Life of Ballet

Mainstream media paints a picture of drama, chaos, and complete mental and emotional instability through movies and TV series that depict ballet dancers and their lives offstage. Most do not know or understand the ballet culture from a perspective that isn’t on the TV or in the movie theater. While there are some chaotic and dramatic moments for ballerinas, many of these depictions are false, and show a complete exaggerated look on who ballerinas are, how they interact with one another, and what life is like when the curtain is down. Underneath the costumes, makeup, and layers of hairspray are men and women engaged in a community far different from the one they leave when they enter the studio, or go on stage. Ballet is a culture all on its own, cultivating an exclusive and elite group of athletes constantly striving towards perfection but perhaps misinterpreted by those who are not part of their close circles. Through interviews of ballet dancers at the professional level along with secondary research, this paper explores the stereotypes and cliches of the ballet culture such as: health, relationships, and expectations and reveals the truths behind them. This allows a better understanding of a ballet dancer’s internal identity vs. his or her external relationships on stage and off stage, after they've stepped back into the "real world". 

939 Room 804 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Maija A. Hall
Moon-Kie Jung (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sociology, UMass Amherst
Walking the Tightrope: Black Women and Gender in the Black Panther Party

This presentation seeks to examine Black women in the Black Panther Party from 1966 to 1975. Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale created the Black Panther Party in 1966 to organize “brothers on the corner.” However, by September of 1967, the majority Black Panther Party members were women. Black women’s involvement and leadership were crucial to the organization’s operations, historical relevance, and relative success. I analyze three areas of Black women's labor in the Black Panther Party: leadership and operations, reproduction and sexual labor, and motherhood. My thesis draws upon Black power literature, Black feminist theory, and memoirs to highlight the experiences and work of Black women and how they leveraged the organization to assert and claim Black women's liberation.

940 Room 177 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Nathaniel K. Green Jr.
Nikolaos Artavanis (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Finance, UMass Amherst
Xenophobia: Stimuli & Ramifications

This paper examines several potential stimuli and their relationships to levels of xenophobia within member countries of the European Union. I relate changes in unemployment, GDP, terrorism, and refugee flows to changes in xenophobia to determine if xenophobia is responsive in nature and to show changes in levels of its expression are predictable. This study extends past literature on the causes of xenophobia's expression by contributing statistical modeling to test which stimuli have the greatest impact. Considering its relevance to current and past political climates, xenophobia has been exploited as a popular political technology and shown to be culturally and economically destabilizing, rendering this research important.

941 Room 804 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Evan Masashi Saito
Vanessa Martinez (Faculty Sponsor)
Honors Program, Holyoke Community College
Compstat Policy: Police Policy in Modern America

Comparative Statistic Policy (or Compstat) has greatly altered the way in which law enforcement agencies protect their communities and view crime in the United States. Though in many ways effective in lowering violent crime rates across the country, Compstat Policy has begun to pit communities against law enforcement. But how does a system designed to protect communities from crime become a system that destabilizes those same communities? This presentation focuses on the findings of the Ferguson Report published by the US Department of Justice in 2015, which observes the ways in which the City of Ferguson, Missouri, and its Police Department adopted policing strategies using comparative statistics that would generate more revenue for the city through steep fines, fees, and bail. This presentation describes how compstat policy was implemented in the City of Ferguson’s police department, and how racial bias became key in its implementation. Understanding the broad challenges facing law enforcement in this country cannot be achieved through a single presentation. But this presentation’s goal is to look at compstat as a specific aspect and challenge facing law enforcement in this country. This presentation will briefly explore options for policy reform for compstat and how reforming this strategy of policing could greatly improve relations between the police and the communities they serve and protect.

942 Room 804 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Scott C. Smyth
Randall Grometstein (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Criminal Justice, Fitchburg State University
War on Drugs in America

After now a half century of having the War on Drugs our country needs to evaluate where we are and where we need to go. I believe we have done little to correct the problems that we initially set out to fix and have only creating new, unintended problems. Drugs became top priority of our criminal justice system and we have militarized our police to combat this problem. Due to this it, our prisons became over populated and our system has over sentenced people, specifically poor minorities, for non-violent offenses. This has become known as mass incarceration. Examining a past example of prohibition we can see similar negative effects that only get solved when we reverse the course taken. In the 1920's we cracked down on alcohol and due to that we saw similar negative, unintended consequences with little success of the intended consequences. Portugal legalized drugs back in the early 2000's, and their model is one we should look at if we were to do the same. If we were to keep this course of drugs being criminal we will only make the issues we have in our country worse, we need to make a change and that change needs to be legalization. 

943 Room 805 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Dana Rose Siskind
Jonathan Wynn (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Sociology, UMass Amherst
Nature’s Accessibility: An Examination of Race in College Outdoors Clubs

My research focuses on the question of why there are a disproportionate number of white college students who participate in nature-based recreational activity compared to students of color. Existing data shows there are less people of color who visit national parks and participate in outdoor activities, such as hiking, rock climbing, and backpacking. Based on research that nature has numerous mental and physical benefits, scholars have noted that this represents a major concern on a variety of levels, from improved health to a more general appreciation of the environment, when people engage in nature-based activities. Current explanations for the lack of participation, include financial resources, cultural background, association with history and slavery, fear of discrimination, and lack of knowledge. Keeping these factors in mind, what motivates college students to access the outdoors? College outing clubs across the country, including at UMass Amherst, lack diversity, but with leaders willing to teach beginners, accessible gear and transportation, and little financial costs, what stops students of color from joining? Through a series of interviews with UMass students and students from other college outing clubs, I have established some answers to why some students are more likely to participate in outdoor activity through their school’s outing club, than other students. Furthermore, with the knowledge of why students of color may be less inclined to participate in outing clubs, I have developed possible policy solutions which outing clubs should implement to allow for more equal participation across all identities.


944 Room 162 11:45-12:30 Panel 3
Shawn Matthew Bergeron
Diane Flaherty (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Economics, UMass Amherst
Do Discrepancies in How Teams are Able to Acquire International Players Damage Competitive Balance in Major League Baseball?

In Major League Baseball, like in every other sport, the quality of entertainment relies heavily on the uncertainty of outcome. The league is at its best when the standings are tight and fans in more cities still have hope that their favorite team could make the playoffs, or even with the championship, late in the season. Maintaining competitive balance, or relative equality of winning, is one of the most important issues the league faces today. However, working against balance is that several avenues for player acquisition give disproportionate access to talent to teams that operate in larger markets. An important one of these avenues is the international player market. This thesis will analyze effectiveness of the Major League baseball market in maintaining competitive balance. The core research hypothesis is that the current system in place regulating the international market gives a competitive advantage to large market teams. Contributions to team success from each of the major acquisition methods will be compared using Wins Above Replacement (WAR), the most all encompassing and centralized advanced performance metric in baseball today, and will be paired with win totals from each team for the last 10 years to perform a correlation analysis. The results will show which avenue for player acquisition has been most effective over the last several years and whether the current international system has a significant negative effect on competitive balance. The anticipated result will find internationally signed free agents to be among the top sources for disparity. 


961 Room 174 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Kim Collazo
Catherine Wilcox-Titus (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Worcester State University
"Los Hijos de Borinquén" Play

In this self-directed, original play, Los Hijos de Borinquen, the narrative follows a contemporary Puerto Rican family affected by the current economic and humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. Borinquen, the indigenous name of the island, is a United States colony, but it's still ignored by the United States government. The problem is Americans aren't educated about Puerto Rico. The island is facing a 70.5 billion dollar debt in vulture funds and the country is not allowed to declare bankruptcy. The Puerto Rican Government has stated that they don't have the money to pay the debt and have pleaded with the US Congress for relief. Congress presented “The Promesa Bill” that consists of a control board that will take over governing the island and look out only for the creditors. The board undermines many democratic rights in order to pay Wall Street. The action in the play centers around the family's store, and the larger problems of Puerto Rico drive the problems in the store and affect all interpersonal relationships. The store becomes a microcosm of the plight of Puerto Rico. The family’s dying grandfather becomes a metaphor for the larger fate of Puerto Rico, as the situation becomes increasingly desperate. Inspiration for this play is personal, as a Boricua born and raised. Besides personal history, some of my other research sources include: interviews, articles and journals, speeches by legislators, critical commentary to the "Promesa Bill," experience with healthcare crisis and original film shot in Puerto Rico.

962 Room 174 10:45-11:30 Panel 2
Nathen Wheeler
Catherine Wilcox-Titus (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Worcester State University
Almost Love; Almost, Maine

At the basic level, John Cariani’s Almost, Maine is a beautiful narrative of intertwined stories about people almost finding or almost having a romance. As the director, it is my responsibility to unite the voices of our team and guide them to one cohesive production. Each character in the play yearns for a romance- that emotional expression and reception of love- but the characters’ given conditions limit their ability to achieve what they want. Almost, Maine is a comedy that weaves the characters’ relationship with their world and with one another alongside their individual struggles with romantic love. Although there are times where the play may be logically unrealistic, the play feels real and generally understood and accepted - much reminiscent of love itself. The play is driven by the heart, so the task of staging the play is to get the audience to allow themselves be drawn in and, in turn, enjoy the ride. Audience members, like the characters, are individuals with their own expectations of romantic love that inevitably get in the way of communicating this love involved. The collaboration of designers and actors creates such a world that appeals to the audience's empathy and sympathy. In so doing, they banish apathy from their minds. I strive to achieve what Cariani wanted his play to be and with great reverence, find my own way to weave his words, his characters, and his world into our production to create something unique, memorable, and enjoyable.

964 Room 163 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
William Edward Luce Jr.
Harley Erdman (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Theater, UMass Amherst
"All Shall Know the Wonder...": The Direction of Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik's Spring Awakening

The theatre, a combination of both visual and performing arts, allow humans to engage and connect with elaborate, provocative storytelling that encourage progressive, forward thinking. Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik's musical adaptation of Frank Wedekind's Spring's Awakening, immerses its audience in late 19th-Century Germany: a period with oppressive social and political policies that mirror the current United States. The characters, similar to modern adolescents and young people across the country, struggle to connect with the older generations surrounding topics of education, access to sexual education and health care, and mental health. I am directing a production of the musical Spring Awakening in order to expose modern audiences to the harmful effects of the aforementioned issues as well as parent-child relationships that lack communication and trust. Like the young adults in the show, we, as college students, are in a period of transition where interactions with adult figures are pertinent to success. Throughout the directorial process, I have created an open discussion with my actors regarding their own personal connections to the characters they are playing. While on stage, the actors are able to see the audience react to these performances. I, however, am responsible for interacting with the audience post-show through the use of talkbacks and mingling to create a dialogue surrounding the content and artistic choices made within the show. The results of theatrical research are in the hands, minds, and hearts of the audiences who see the production, who then become moved and inspired, and take action.

966 Hadley Room 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Andre Ismael Ruiz
Jessica Thelen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Fight for Equity

From the beginnings of time, women have been oppressed and treated as second class citizens compared to men. Gender roles are instilled in our brains from birth- boys must be strong and never show emotions, and women must be gentle and stay at home to tend to a man's needs. This kind of socialization is evident in all sorts of medias in the workforce and in the American system itself. In my research, an important quote I found from Bell Hooks described the situation women face when going to work; on average, women make seventy-three cents to every man’s dollar. This way of living, that has just been tolerated and not changed, keeps women from being seen as equal to men. The more accepted way of life is a man and woman getting married and eventually having children. The American system normally gives women more time off work to go home and take care of that newborn child, while the man is supposed to keep working and take care of his family financially. But this archaic behavior only encourages the stereotype of women staying at home and taking care of the family, when that doesn’t have to be the case. This obsolete culture in our society is long overdue for a change. Women need equal pay, and need to be treated as equals to men. These changes need to happen in the American system.

967 Room 168 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Alison Marie Kerr
Gina Kaufmann (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Theater, UMass Amherst
Creating an Original Piece of Physical/Dance Theatre through a Devising Process

My Honors Project is in creating an original piece of theater in which the plot is further primarily thorough movement, either through crafted naturalistic movement, or through dance which abstracts what the characters are doing or experiencing. Devising theater involves working with a group of artists who are working toward a common goal of a final production. As the artistic director, it is my job to spearhead this collaboration and guide the process of bringing this show to life. In my research, I found different technique and exercises from industry professionals to encourage actors to take risks making bold physical choices. My process involves experimenting in rehearsal with the different techniques I've encountered, communicating with my actors about their life experiences that are applicable to the story we are trying to tell. This year's piece functions as a "slice of life" portrayal of a city corner. It takes place at a bus stop at which a group of people who are unfamiliar with one another slowly start to open up to one another and develop a sense of togetherness and community for the brief moment in time where they interact at this stop. One at a time, each character will have a dance in which we explore their character's conflict. Moments appear in which two seemingly unrelated characters with unrelated narratives can intersect and relate to one another. The goal of this piece is to examine how we make assumptions about one another, how we do not know what people are going through just by seeing their surface, how we have more in common than we believe, and how we can help one another through our capacities to empathize. Hopefully, after seeing this piece, audience members will be inspired by how communities can develop through caring for one another in a time where we are especially divided. We are collaborating not only with our fellow performers, but also with student musicians and designers to create a full production incorporating lighting, sound, original music, costumes, hair and make-up, and set.


974 Room 904 1:30-2:15 Panel 4
Destina Agar
Theresa Ann Kelleher-Palmarin
Shoshanna Ehrlich (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, UMass Boston
“Pro-life Feminists”: Contemporary Misinterpretations of Early Feminist Views on Abortion

As exemplified by the recent decision to exclude antiabortion feminist groups from partnering with the Women’s March on Washington, there is a simmering debate over whether one can be both feminist and antiabortion. Current “pro-life feminists” assert that historically feminism is more compatible with the antiabortion agenda even though recently today’s feminist movement is largely pro-choice. Today’s pro-life feminists look to first wave feminists, like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, whom they claim opposed abortion, to promote their antiabortion agenda. Using primary and secondary sources, we examined 19th century feminist discourse surrounding abortion to evaluate the validity of their reliance on these historical sources. As discussed in this paper, our examination of the literature suggests that contemporary interpretations of early feminist views about abortion are largely misinterpreted. First wave feminists viewed abortion as benefiting men by allowing them to exploit women sexually without having to deal with the consequences. Rather than viewing abortion as being intrinsically wrong, these women argued in favor of ‘voluntary motherhood’ which would allow women to control when they wanted to be mothers by deciding when their husbands had access to their bodies. While the precise views of early feminists on abortion are disputed, our research suggests that rather than opposing abortion altogether, first wave feminists fought for women’s control over when they wanted to be mothers. Accordingly, as we conclude, contemporary pro-life feminists are distorting what early feminists fought for in the realm of reproductive rights in order to promote their antiabortion agenda.

975 Hadley Room 2:30-3:15 Panel 5
Stephen Salvador
Jessica Thelen (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of English, Westfield State University
Equal Pay

Throughout the history of our country, women have always been paid less compared to men. The US Women’s National Soccer team (USWNT) is a clear example of this issue. In years past, the members of USWNT have been underpaid compared to their male counterparts despite greater performance. They have filed lawsuits against the US Soccer Federation for discrimination against women. On average, the women make about one fourth as much as the men’s team and are not accommodated the same. The accommodations include travel conditions, hotel rooms, equipment facilities, and the fields themselves. The players have been on the record in interviews, many times, stating these issues and the Federation has done nothing about it. Using their first hand accounts and many credited sources within the organization, clearly there is some type of discrimination within this program. A lot of people view women’s sports as unequal to men’s sports to justify the difference in pay. The USWNT has won multiple World Cups, including the most recent one, and the World Cup is the ultimate goal within the sport of soccer. The USMNT has never even been to the final match. Women at the top of their profession are getting paid less than men who are underperforming. This example of gender discrimination applies to every aspect of working. If the culture of women getting paid less is not dealt with in all fashions, women can never be truly equal.

976 Room 903 3:30-4:15 Panel 6
Alexandra Jane Conrad
Banu Subramaniam (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, UMass Amherst
UMass Undergraduate Climate on Climate Change and Population Growth

Most scientists conclude that green house gas emissions play a large role in climate change. Many organizations and public policy experts, however, have translated this conclusion into an exclusive focus on calls for population curbing practices as a means to reduce the threat of alleged overpopulation. How has the focus on overpopulation remained such an enduring legacy of Malthusian thinking? In this study I survey undergraduate students to explore their beliefs about climate change and population. Through student surveys, I examine their views on the relationship of population and reproductive justice, their level of political commitment and the actions they are willing to take to address these issues. I find that students have deep ideological beliefs. Despite what courses might teach them about overpopulation and the control of women's fertility in other countries, students still want to retain control over their own bodies.

977 Room 805 4:30-5:15 Panel 7
Aviva Richardson
Kirsten Leng (Faculty Sponsor)
Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, UMass Amherst
Teaching Normality: Sex Education and the Reproduction of Whiteness

Around the turn of the century, ‘normality’ came to mean ‘ideal’ rather than average. This thesis argues that sex education reproduced and reproduces white supremacy and heteronormativity through the discourse of normality. Though many of its goals since its invention, including the reproduction of normal sexuality, have stayed relatively stagnant, its inception into public schools is indicative of a new turn towards the policing of sexuality, specifically adolescent sexuality. As I argue in chapter one, this would not have been possible without G Stanley Hall’s publication of The Psychology of Adolescence in 1904, which created the category of adolescence as a crucial period of life for instilling values of morality and normality and thus, a time where policing is necessary. In chapter two, I argue using the work of Sally Markowitz and Ladelle McWhorter that understandings of gender and sex are racialized and thus sex education has been and continues to be differentiated, not only by gender, but by race as well. I use Julian B. Carter’s problematization of “normal” in The Heart of Whiteness as a framework in deconstructing the heteronormativity, cisnormativity and white supremacy reproduced within early sex education outside of schools in chapter three. I will move on to arguing that “normal” sexuality is defined by marriage, an institution that is intrinsically exclusionary, and compulsory monogamy. In chapter four, I argue that most of the people arguing for sex education in public schools believed strongly in eugenics, advocating sex education for white people to save the white race through a definition of sexuality that exists solely within monogamous reproduction. This research aims to acknowledge the ways that normality is exclusionary and is constantly policed and reproduced within schools in sex education curricula and argue for the use of generative utopias in organizing community based alternatives to sex education.