Sessions and Abstracts

2023 Mason Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference Header

Use the links below to navigate the 2023 Mason Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference website.

All titles, authors, and abstracts for the 2023 Mason Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference are listed below in order of presentation time.

Oral Presentations: Session I

10:15-11:30 am | Merten Hall, Rooms 2500 & 3300

Presentation instructions: Presenters have 15 minutes each to present their work. After everyone has taken turns presenting, the discussant will use 5 minutes to give general feedback to the presenters. Then the last 10 minutes will be used for Q&A with the audience led by either the moderator or the discussant.

Technology and Infrastructure Development
Merten Hall, Room 2500

Intent-to-Treat in the “Cheating” Paradigm: A Meta-Analysis

Mary Catlin, Allison D. Redlich, Ph.D., & Talley Bettens, M.S., College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Objectives: The “cheating” paradigm is an often-used experimental procedure in the field of legal decision-making that randomly assigns participants to cheat (guilty) or not cheat (innocent). However, not all participants conform to their assigned condition as some participants refuse to cheat and others initiate cheating on their own accord. We investigated the potential impact of including non-conformers in analyses under an intent-to-treat model (ITT) on legal decisions. Methods: Using meta-analytic approaches, we examined studies that (1) used the cheating paradigm to study legal decisions, (2) focused on mock-suspects, and (3) provided enough statistical information to calculate rates of legal decisions for all participants. Results: Overall, non-conforming guilty participants had lower odds of a cooperative outcome than conforming guilty participants, whereas non-conforming innocent participants had higher odds. Importantly, including non-conforming participants under an ITT model attenuates, but does not eliminate, the effect of guilt status on legal decisions. Conclusions: These findings highlight how one’s willingness to cheat influences legal outcomes and that researchers need to more carefully consider non-conforming participants.

Why is there a contrast between officially successful public infrastructure and negative community outcomes?

Judith Efouefack Lewetchou, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

The World Bank (WB) is one of the leading development institutions in the World. The Bank lends money to governments to support poor economies, builds infrastructures and orients policy reforms. There have been debates around the efficacy of WB projects to achieve positive outcomes for the poor in borrowing countries. In this paper, I am using the case of a toll highway construction in Dakar-in the Republic of Senegal to present the contrast between officially successful infrastructure and negative community outcomes, in the dimensions of poverty reduction and access to services (education, transportation and health care). This study uses semi-structured interview data and documents review to explain why the opinions differ about the project outcomes. The main finding of this research supports that the outcomes of the World Bank project in Senegal is historically related to the institution’s article of creation and its development theory and practice overtime. These fundamental aspects are leading the WB development works to be less participatory, top down and geared toward a negligence for outcomes.

Distributed multi-robot target tracking via virtual pheromones using LTA Agents

Joseph Prince Mathew, College of Engineering and Computing

Using a team of robots to find targets of interest in an unknown or disaster recovery environment would allow emergency responders for instance to quickly survey a region of interest and get to targets as fast as possible. Building a team of robots that can move into a never-before-seen, potentially hazardous environment that can effectively search and find targets in the space with no pre-deployed infrastructure means they need a way to coordinate with one another and keep track of which areas have been searched and which ones haven’t. Inspired by ants in nature, we have devised a practical implementation of pheromone based navigation, where these robotic agents quickly search areas that that were previously unexplored thereby increasing the chances of finding the target. To show the effectiveness of the system devised, we first simulated the desired behavior in computer aided simulations and found that our system performs on average 5 times better than the baseline algorithms commonly used today. Next for real robotic system, we use a team of Lighter than air (LTA) robotic agents that are tasked with searching for green balls (a proxy for any desired target to be found). One of the main reasons for choosing this platform is the huge power efficiency improvements over traditional quad-copter systems which means that they can search for an increased duration. LTA agents are up and coming in the robotics research community and we have built our own in-house agents. These robotic agents will be demonstrated at the Eagle bank Arena on Mason Day as part of the Defend the Republic competition.

A Framework of Vehicle-Human Communication Features at Traffic Intersections to Enhance Trust and Situation Awareness

Liam Kettle, Kayla M. G. Herrera, Pawinee Pithayarungsarit, Kassidy L. Simpson, & Yi-Ching Lee, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Vehicles equipped with automated driving systems (ADS) are on the rise with manufacturers testing level 3 ADS features resulting in drivers’ reduced control inside a vehicle. With reduced involvement, the driver may focus attention away from the driving scene leading to reduced situation awareness of the road environment, slower response times, and potentially fatal impacts. To mitigate these potential effects, previous research supports integrating virtual driving assistants to improve driving performance and attitudes. Alongside these agents, augmented reality displays that communicate areas of interest in the driving environment or vehicle actions show favorable impacts. However, the type of information conveyed significantly influences drivers’ trust, situation awareness, and workload. Vehicles need to convey succinct information about why and how the vehicle makes decisions and what the vehicle sees. Yet, presenting all information increases cognitive workload by demanding additional visual and verbal processing. Additionally, research has yet to distinguish what information drivers want communicated across different driving events. Therefore, the current study aims to explore drivers’ desired verbal and visual communication features across different driving scenarios at traffic light intersections that would improve drivers’ trust of ADS and situation awareness of the roadway. Participants read text vignettes and watched corresponding simulated driving videos before answering open ended questions. Thematic analysis of the 128 participants found key communication features relating to crosswalks, pedestrians, traffic lights, and vehicles. These findings can support future researchers to design communication methods distinct to specific driving situations to improve trust, situation awareness, and safety, while reducing cognitive workload.

Society and Globalization
Merten Hall, Room 3300

Negotiating Identities and Mental Health for Non-native English Speaking Graduate Student Instructors

Munira Mutmainna, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

With an increasing awareness around racially-culturally relevant pedagogies, community literacy and informed teaching-learning practices, writing program/administration researchers now often highlight their teachers as a critical research component. While there has been a significant amount of work around Teaching Assistants (TA) and their experiences/perceptions, very little is found on international, non-native speaking (NNS) TAs, their narratives and mental health. This proposal focuses on international graduate student TAs in the writing/composition programs in the US colleges. Ates and Eslami (2012) have shared the challenges NNS TAs face in order to be acknowledged as “legitimate and competent instructors” in their classes. Although some of the recent scholarships focus on international student TAs, the goal of this paper is to propose a study design in order to extend the discussion further and explore the areas where international TAs have to negotiate their individual-professional identities in a setting/culture foreign to them. Additionally, it examines potential connections between their identities and mental health and how one might be influencing/being influenced by the other. This paper proposes a study design to explore the following questions: 1. How do international graduate student TAs negotiate aspects of their identities as writing center/graduate instructors in the U.S. context? 2. What are the implications of these negotiated identities in regards to mental health of these graduate student TAs? According to Llurda (2005), thousands of non-native teachers of English “struggle with the language and overcome the threats to their self-confidence posed by the perceived inferiority of non-natives in lieu of native teachers” (p. xi). This study design, therefore, aims to generate conversation around the many lives of NNS graduate student TAs and their mental health as they navigate these lives.

Storying Global Foodways in Crying in H Mart

Tyler Martinez, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Michelle Zauner’s memoir Crying in H Mart exemplifies a new genre of storied food that disrupts those categorized by Mikulak’s 2011 The Politics of the Pantry. Neither a commodity biography nor a foodshed memoir, Crying in H Mart showcases the meaning of cultural, global foodways that accounts for generational habits of eating and the ethic of care necessary for equitable food access. Crying in H Mart is a memoir of the interpersonal connections fostered by a shared love of food between the author and her mother before, during, and after losing her mother to cancer. Interspersed throughout the narrative is a celebration of Korean cultural foodways. Zauner creates a new genre of storied food that compellingly illustrates the significance of global foodways while challenging the popular injunction to “eat local.” According to Mikulak (2011), Kingsolver (2007), Carolan (2011) and other scholars focused on the science, politics, and semiotics of food, eating local is not only the best way to ensure that individuals’ habits of consumption are environmentally sustainable, but it is also a way to resist the distance, created by global foodways, between producer and consumer. Dialogical narrative analysis (Frank 2010) informs my reading of Crying in H Mart; dialogical narrative analysis asks after the ways in which narratives become material semiotic companions in people’s lives. Narratives of eating well and enjoying the embodied experiences of Korean foodways afford Zauner a connection to her mother and her Korean heritage while displaying how an ethic of care fosters equitable food access.

The impact of parental involvement on children’s integration into the US school system: A proposal to study families who settled in Connecticut from Ecuador between 2015- 2019

Gabriela Larkin, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

In recent decades, a significant number of Ecuadorians have left the country to settle in Spain, Italy and the United States scaping the collapse of the economy. Many Ecuadorians have chosen Connecticut as their destination because of the existing community and work opportunities to support their families. This study aims to address a gap in the literature by investigating how parental participation impacted Ecuadorian children’s integration into the elementary school system between 2015 and 2019. By conducting group and individual interviews with parents and school stakeholders, this research will add to the expanding literary discourse on the impact of parental involvement on children growing up in minority communities.

Posters Session

12:00 – 12:50 PM | Merten Hall, Rooms 1202, 1203 & 1204

Presentation instruction: Presenters will pitch their research in 2 minutes multiple times to participants who stop at their posters. After pitching, participants can ask follow-up questions for a deeper understanstaning of the research topic. When done conversing with the researcher, participants may move to the next poster so that other audience can engage with the presenter.

Merten Hall, Room 1202

A learning design analysis of an online course

Cynthia Cuellar & Jehad Halawani, College of Education and Human Development

“Learning in the digital age is characterized as engaging, relevant, self-directed, on-demand, hyperconnected with large analytics, and multidimensional in a way that combines formal and informal types of learning (Chasse, 2017). Adult learners populate a large segment of online learning. Coursera, a massive online open course platform with over 250 university and industry partnerships, has 70 million registered learners (Coursera, 2020). About half of Coursera users “signed up say that they’re taking courses for job-related reasons” (Jue, 2013). This reality of continuing professional education “intended to enhance and maintain the competencies of professionals” (Curran et al., 2019) made us, the learning design researchers, curious about the learner experience, pedagogical layout, and affordance of such technology-supported learning environments. The poster presentation will reflect our analysis of a Coursera course titled How to manage a remote team. Our theoretical framework used Warweg, McCabe, & Halawani’s (2022) Learning Design Checklist developed for the EDIT 802 course at George Mason University. The checklist included seven categories: supportive environment, usability, dialogic, exploratory learning, critical thinking, self-regulated learning, and assessment and evaluation. Each category included subcategories that further nuanced the process of analysis.

A reversed form of public goods game: equivalence and difference

Chaoqian Wang & Attila Szolnoki, College of Science

According to the public goods game (PGG) protocol, participants decide freely whether they want to contribute to a common pool or not, but the resulting benefit is distributed equally. A conceptually similar dilemma situation may emerge when participants consider if they claim a common resource but the related cost is covered equally by all group members. The latter establishes a reversed form of the original public goods game (R-PGG). In this work, we show that R-PGG is equivalent to PGG in several circumstances, starting from the traditional analysis, via the evolutionary approach in unstructured populations, to Monte Carlo simulations in structured populations. However, there are also cases when the behavior of R-PGG could be surprisingly different from the outcome of PGG. When the key parameters are heterogeneous, for instance, the results of PGG and R-PGG could be diverse even if we apply the same amplitudes of heterogeneity. We find that the heterogeneity in R-PGG generally impedes cooperation, while the opposite is observed for PGG. These diverse system reactions can be understood if we follow how payoff functions change when introducing heterogeneity in the parameter space. This analysis also reveals the distinct roles of cooperator and defector strategies in the mentioned games. Our observations may hopefully stimulate further research to check the potential differences between PGG and R-PGG due to the alternative complexity of conditions.

An agent-based model of the spatial mismatch hypothesis: Exploring the mechanisms of poor labor market outcomes of urban Black workers in the US

Unchitta Kan, College of Science

As a result of globalization, the US economy shifted from manual labor to information technology and services, leading to (1) a change in the skills needed of the labor force and (2) the decentralization of jobs from city centers to the suburbs. Sociologists have hypothesized that these consequences—especially the latter of the two—combined with racial discrimination, led to poor labor market outcomes of urban Black workers in the US. Previous research, which has largely relied upon traditional statistical or economic models, has been unable to conclusively confirm the hypothesis. In this work, I bridge computation, social science, and GIS to build an agent-based simulation model of spatial mismatch to offer a more flexible test of the hypothesis and study its mechanisms. In the model, firms and workers are represented as individual agents who are capable of making autonomous decisions such as to relocate or to find a job based on their circumstances and preferences. GIS can then be utilized to geographically model and represent a target city and spatially place the agents into various locations. Supporting the hypothesis, the model shows that decentralization of jobs does lead to differences in the labor market outcomes between populations, although its mechanisms may be a complex web of factors encompassing transportation constraints and income segregation. Currently at early proof-of-concept stage, the model serves as a starting point for a flexible framework to test other mechanisms such as skills mismatch as well as to test tangible potential policy solutions.

Application of Metabolomic Analysis towards the Discovery of Biomarkers of Immunogenicity and Efficacy of Parasitic Vaccines

Nazli Azodi, Hannah Markle, Timur Oljuskin, Parna Bhattacharya, Nevien Ismail, Greta Volpedo, Abhay Satoskar, Sreenivas Gannavaram, & Hira Nakhasi, College of Science

“Background: Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease that is prevalent in approximately 88 countries, and yet no licensed human vaccine exists against it and treatment options remain limited. Towards control of leishmaniasis, we have developed Leishmania major Centrin gene deletion mutant strains (LmCen-/-) as a live attenuated vaccine, which induces a strong Th1 response to provide IFN-γ-mediated protection to the host. However, the immune mechanisms of such protection remain to be understood. Purpose: Metabolic reprogramming of the host cells following Leishmania-infection has been shown to play a critical role in pathogenicity. Therefore, our goal was to study the metabolic changes associated with the LmCen-/- strain to identify the immune mechanism of protection and biomarkers of immunogenicity Methodology: C57/BL6 mice were infected with wild type L. major (LmWT)and LmCen-/-. The infected ear tissues were collected 7 days post infection and analyzed by untargeted LC/MS mass spectrometry, and the data were analyzed with the Metaboanalyst 5.0 for pathway analysis and Metscape 3.1.1 for integrative network analysis. To verify the results from MS analysis, murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells, were infected with LmWT and LmCen-/. BMDCs were cultured with inhibitors or agonists of tryptophan metabolism, and the expression levels of genes of interest were measured via qRT-PCR. Results: Our results show that distinct metabolic reprogramming occurs in the host cells infected with virulent or live attenuated Leishmania parasites. We have identified that Tryptophan metabolism is differentially regulated between the LmWT infection and LmCen-/- immunization. The LmWT infection promotes the anti-inflammatory Kynurenine-AhR and FICZ-AhR signaling, while the LmCen-/- immunization uses tryptophan for the increased synthesis of the pro-inflammatory vaccine-adjuvant, melatonin. Conclusion: Application of metabolomic analysis to vaccine studies identified immune mechanisms of protection or pathogenicity and may help identify novel biomarkers of vaccine efficacy of a live-attenuated vaccine candidate for Cutaneous Leishmaniasis. “

Applying Dynamical Adjustment Techniques to Quantify Contributions of Variability to North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature

Douglas Nedza & Dr. Timothy DelSole, College of Science

Quantifying the relative contributions of external forcing and internal variability to North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperatures (NASST) has important implications for attributing and predicting climate changes around the North Atlantic basin. Virtually all previous methods have approached this problem by estimating the externally forced signal directly, either from climate models or using statistical filtering methods. These methods make strong assumptions about the forced variability which are not universally accepted. In this work, we approach this problem in a fundamentally different way that avoids controver- sial assumptions about the externally forced variability. Specifically, we estimate internal variability directly and then compute the forced variability as the residual. This method uses a machine learning model to estimate the internal variability of a pattern, namely the NASST basin mean, based on other spatial patterns orthogonal to it. The machine learning model is trained on a multi-model set of pre-industrial CMIP simulations. This technique is a form of dynamical adjustment, although our implementation differs from previous versions. Dynamical adjustment mades no assumptions about forced variability, but it does make strong assumptions about internal variability. This method is applied to a suite of CMIP historical simulations and the resulting estimates are compared to other methods that directly estimate the forced signal.

Beyond a binary: Investigating criteria of insiderness in peacebuilding

Hannah Adamson, Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution

Peacebuilding efforts around the world often struggle to achieve their aims, yet alone become self-sustaining initiatives that maintain societies transformed from cycles of conflict. These struggles may be related to the limited investigation, understanding, and support of insiders working to affect peace within their own communities. While existing literature has begun investigation of the unique roles of insider peacebuilders, there has not yet been sufficient theoretical analysis to understand the nuances of insider dynamics as a spectrum. Addressing this gap, this research project explores a) which criteria determine an individual’s “insiderness” within conflict contexts and b) how these insider criteria interact with conflict dynamics to contribute towards peacebuilding practices. Through open-coding and thematic analysis of 14 sources addressing the nexus of “insider” and “peacebuilding”, two key areas of findings were identified: a) criteria of insiderness (e.g. trust with communities, geographical association, traditional knowledge or customs, etc.) and b) the abilities needed to utilize this insiderness for peacebuilding processes (e.g. maintaining trust, improving information flows, integrating traditional practices, cultivating peer networks, etc.). Identifying and evaluating these criteria can enable practitioners to better understand their roles in a peacebuilding process and their proximity to the conflict can be mapped according to salient criteria of insiderness in their specific context. Ultimately, this increased awareness of insiderness dynamics can contribute to more effective peacebuilding practices which champion local agency, overcome shortfalls of existing peacebuilding frameworks, and foster sustainable conflict transformation.

Bird Feathers As a Method of Reconstructing Historical Exposure to Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

Matthew Badia, College of Science

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are of growing concern for their potential adverse environmental and human health effects. PFAS compounds demonstrate remarkable environmental stability and are globally dispersed. These compounds have been detected in a variety of biological samples, including bird feathers, which have proven to be a reliable indicator for the bioaccumulation of heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants. Our study aims to establish a chronology of PFAS exposure in birds from the Amazonian and the South American Atlantic Rainforest and determine if the rainforest bird populations are impacted by PFAS. Feathers, composed mainly of keratin, accumulate PFAS, which has a documented affinity for proteins. Feather samples were sourced from museum collections at the Smithsonian Institute and the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Samples were selected among fish-eating, insect-eating, and fruit-eating trophic guilds. Feathers collected prior to 1935, representing preexposure conditions, after 1935, representing postexposure conditions, and the 2000s, representing current conditions, were used to establish a chronology of PFAS pollution in the Amazonian and Atlantic Rainforest. Feathers are digested in 1.0 M sodium hydroxide, extracted according to EPA Method 1633, and analyzed for 40 legacy and emerging PFAS compounds. A Shimadzu Triple-Quadrupole Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometer in Multiple Reactions Monitoring (MRM) mode was used to determine PFAS concentrations. PFAS concentrations are compared by species, feeding guild, age, and collection location. Bird specimen samples have been analyzed, and preliminary results show PFAS concentrations vary through time in some species. The results of this study have significance in determining the pervasiveness of PFAS in both developed and undeveloped regions of South American rainforests. Other researchers will use the chronology of PFAS introduction into the rainforests established in this study to determine if PFAS is a contributing factor in declining biodiversity.

Brick by Digital Brick: Memory and 3D Modeling of Historic Space

Hayley Madl, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

In the last decade, archaeologists and historians have begun to incorporate 3D modeling technology more deeply into their work. Such digital reconstruction projects have been done on archeological sites and historic monuments to better understand historical techniques and cultural interaction with physical space and objects. These projects have allowed historians access to new data even at long-studied sites like Pompeii, and have introduced new approaches to history and memory studies. However, while the vast majority of these projects maintain the goal of reconstruction in order to understand spaces in their historical context, very few have utilized digital reconstruction to understand the remembrance of spaces. This project intends to develop a methodology to apply 3D modeling and digital reconstruction to memories of spaces, particularly lost spaces, in order to explore how individuals recall physical space and factor it into their narratives of the past. This project uses the William B. Dunlap Mansion of Bridgewater, Pennsylvania as its experimental focal point, and blends historical archival research with community engagement and 3D modeling to digitally reconstruct a representation of the memory of the Mansion. This ongoing reconstruction continues to provide insight into how physical space factors into memory and interpretation of past events, as well as into the distinctly unique methods of recall when the physical space is no longer available or accessible. This poster does not represent a completed project, but is an attempt to share what work has been done and request feedback.

Cervical cancer screening with HPV test among U.S. women: At the intersection of disability and high-risk for HIV infection

Amarachukwu Faith Orji & Michelle Sharonda Williams, College of Public Health

Purpose: In our previous analyses, we identified that women with disabilities were less likely to receive cervical cancer screening with HPV test. Previous studies have shown that women with disabilities are among key populations at a higher risk of HIV infection. The HPV test was recently recognized as the preferred method of cervical cancer screening by the American Cancer Society. The purpose of this study is to examine the prevalence of cervical cancer screening with HPV test among women at the intersection of disability and a high risk for HIV infection. Methods: Our sample of 76,732 women with disabilities came from the 2018 and 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Modified Poisson regressions were conducted to estimate the crude, adjusted prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals of cervical cancer screening with HPV test to determine differences between women with and without a high risk for HIV infection. Multivariable analyses adjusted for covariates including age, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Results: The prevalence of cervical cancer screening with HPV test was 37.4% in the overall sample. Our adjusted regression analysis showed that women with a high risk of HIV infection had a higher prevalence of cervical cancer screening with HPV test than women without a high risk of HIV infection (aPR = 1.19; 95%CI 1.18, 1.20). Older age, non-heterosexual women, married and formerly married women had a lower prevalence of cervical cancer screening with HPV test. Conclusions: Women with disabilities and a high risk for HIV infection reported higher prevalence of cervical cancer screening with HPV test. Further research is needed to understand why women with disabilities without a high risk for HIV infection have a significantly lower prevalence of cervical cancer screening.

Comparing climate model variability with observations using an improved statistical methodology

Nikki Lydeen & Timothy DelSole, College of Science

Climate models are essential tools for making climate change projections and informing mitigation and adaptation efforts. Hence, understanding where and how climate models differ from reality is vital. However, conventional approaches for comparing models with observations have important limitations, such as their lack of significance tests and their neglect of autocorrelation. We used a statistical method which does not have these limitations to compare the variability in a Community Earth System Model (CESM2) historical simulation with the Extended Reconstructed Sea-Surface Temperature (ERSST5) observational dataset. In this application, the method determines where and how CESM2 (the model) and ERSST5 (the observations) disagree by testing differences in the autoregressive, periodic, trend, intercept, and noise components. The results provide insights into areas where CESM2 can be improved.

Comparison of GEDI and ICESat 2 Terrain and Canopy Height Estimates in African Savanna Vegetation

Xiaoxuan Li, Konrad Wessels, PhD, John Armston, PhD, Laura Duncanson, PhD, Mikhail Urbazaev, PhD, Steven Hancock, PhD, Renaud Mathieu, PhD, India Russell Main, PhD, Laven Naidoo, PhD, Barend Erasmus, PhD, College of Science

The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) and Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) have great potential to improve the estimation of aboveground carbon stocks globally through billions of global vegetation structure measurements. This study provided a baseline comparison of ground elevation and canopy height estimates between GEDI L2A metrics and ICESat-2 vegetation metrics across 11 sites in South Africa. The GEDI RH98 and ICESat-2 canopy height metrics were also validated using collocated 98th percentile of the canopy height model (CHM) metrics derived from Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) reference data. After quality filtering, 11545 GEDI footprints and 2763 ICESat-2 ATL08 segments were selected, producing a total of 167 orbital crossovers with a 100 m radius area centered over the intersection of the GEDI and ICESat-2 tracks for direct comparison. GEDI footprints within each crossover zone were aggregated to derive the maximum RH98 compared to the ICESat-2 canopy height. The results suggest a moderate relationship (R2 = 0.44) between GEDI and ICESat-2 canopy height estimates and the ICESat-2 canopy height estimates are higher than GEDI RH98. Using the ALS CHM 98th percentile as reference, GEDI RH98 had a R2 = 0.68, bias = -0.42 m, and RMSE = 2.42 m. ICESat-2 had very similar results: R2 = 0.64, bias = -0.37 m, and RMSE = 2.14 m. GEDI and ICESat-2 ground elevation estimates were very accurate, with an R2 of 0.95. These results suggest that GEDI and ICESat-2 products perform similarly relative to ALS reference data in South African savannas.

Did Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Prolong Unemployment But Reduce Covid Deaths?

Sungbin Park, Dr. Kyung Min Lee, & Dr. John S. Earle, Schar School of Policy and Government

We estimate the impact of pandemic unemployment insurance (PUI) on unemployment-to-employment (U-E) transitions. Exploiting cross-state variation in the timing of the reduction in PUI benefits during summer 2021, using longitudinally linked Current Population Survey data, and controlling for other individual and state characteristics, we find the U-E rate rose 10 percentage points, 37 percent of the unconditional mean U-E rate for experienced unemployed in states ending the program early versus states continuing the additional benefits. We estimate an elasticity of 0.3 for U-E with respect to the PUI replacement rate. Hazard function estimates imply qualitatively similar patterns. The increase is similar for job losers, who are likely PUI recipients, but smaller for job leavers and re-entrants. The impact is negligible for placebo groups – nonparticipants and new entrants to the labor force – and it arises only during the treatment period, disappearing immediately after. The increase is slightly higher for women and much higher for Blacks, both of which experienced relatively slow recoveries in employment from the pandemic recession. Covid-related deaths also rose in the states ending PUI early, with the covid death rate estimated to triple over the three subsequent months, and additional deaths estimated at about 18,000.

Merten Hall, Room 1203

Do symptoms of depression mediate the association between immigration-related stress and positive parenting among undocumented Central American immigrant mothers?

Rafael Hernandez, Bethany Letiecq, Tara M. Chaplin, Colleen Vesely, Rachael Goodman, & Marlene Marquez, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

In the context of “illegality,” undocumented Central American immigrant mothers can face immigration-related stress (e.g., deportation threat, state-sanctioned family separation, poor housing conditions, social marginalization). Immigration-related stress can be considered structural in nature because they are fomented by U.S. immigration laws, policies, and practices and are not easily remedied at the individual level. Structural stress can interfere with mothers’ parenting practices, which can negatively impact children’s wellbeing. Guided by ecocultural and family stress theories, we postulate that immigration-related stress experienced by undocumented Central American immigrant mothers may lead to heightened emotions, including depressed mood. These feelings may affect family life, including the ways in which immigrant mothers are able to parent their children. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether immigration-related stress are associated with positive parenting and whether this association is mediated by depressive symptoms in undocumented Central American immigrant mothers. The sample for this study included 117 undocumented Central American Latina immigrant mothers of children (3 to 11 years-old). Controlling for age of child, mother’s education, and relationship status, simple mediation analysis revealed that immigration-related stress was associated with heightened levels of symptoms of depression. However, symptoms of depression were not associated with positive parenting. Additionally, no association between immigration-related stress and positive parenting was found. Findings are contrary to extant research using these constructs and as discussed, suggest that mothers may deploy resistant mechanisms to protect their children from structural stress related to immigration experiences in the U.S.

Does the 52-hour workweek policy reduce the firm’s occupational accidents and illnesses?

Hyeseon Na, Schar School of Policy and Government

Long working hours have been associated with various health problems. In particular, long hours of work can decrease the attention level of workers and thereby expose workers to more occupational accidents. So, regulating working hours can be one of the important government policies to reduce the incidence of occupational accidents and illnesses. With the goal of improving the health of workers and reducing occupational accidents, the Korean government reduced the maximum working hours per week from 68 hours to 52 hours (statutory 40 hours’ legal work + 12 overtime work hours) in 2018. This paper intends to research how the Korean government’s reduction of maximum working hours per week influences firm-level occupational accidents and illness using Korea’s Workplace Panel Survey from 2015 to 2019. Using the variation in the starting date of implementation of this policy depending on the size of the firms, this paper uses the difference-in-differences method to estimate the treatment effect of the policy on occupational accidents and illness. The estimated coefficient of the policy’s effect is negative as expected but statistically insignificant. This result shows that the policy did not exert a statistically significant impact on firm-level occupational accidents and illnesses. So, we can conclude that the 52-workweek policy does not achieve the intended policy effect.

Evaluation of Fragmentation Techniques for Intact Peptides

Amy Carfagno, Dr. Paul Russo, Dr. Liana Chafran, & Dr. Barney Bishop, College of Science

Biofluids represent a rich natural resource for discovery of endogenous peptides with potential activity against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Peptide enrichment in combination with advanced liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) techniques allows for high-throughput analysis of low abundant intact plasma peptides. However, especially for species lacking a reviewed proteome, high-quality MS/MS spectra are required to support accurate peptide identification. The value of electron transfer dissociation (ETD) for analysis of peptides with high charge density is well established, though lower sensitivity compared to higher-energy collisional dissociation (HCD), a technique also widely employed in peptidomics studies, has been observed. Analysis of HCD data is also generally more well supported by identification software compared to ETD. Here, fragmentation techniques were compared for peptide standards as well as for plasma peptide samples and evaluated in terms of sequence coverage and de novo sequencing accuracy. The effects of settings such as ETD reaction time, use of supplemental activation, and adjustment of HCD collision energy were also explored. Results were consistent with studies in the literature supporting the versatility of ETD fragmentation with supplemental HCD activation for intact peptide analysis. However, the analysis also supports the potential value of continued improvements in de novo sequencing software specifically tailored to ETD fragmentation.

Examining the Mental Toll of Racism: Associations of Race-Based Stress and Psychological Inflexibility among Black Americans

Shane A. Stori, M.A., College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Numerous studies to date have identified racial stress and racial trauma as serious and prevalent reactions to racial discrimination among Black Americans that are associated with adverse physical and psychological outcomes. Preliminary research suggests that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and its’ unified conceptual model of psychological flexibility may act as a buffer against the harmful effects of psychological stress and trauma. Furthermore, as a transdiagnostic tool, ACT contends that assessments of psychological (in)flexibility (PIF) may be effective in detecting distress across mental health disorders. ACT research to date has focused primarily on linking PIF to conventional psychological distress and trauma. This study examined whether experiences of racial discrimination and ensuing racial stress and trauma symptoms were associated with PIF. A sample of 86 self-identified Black/African American adults completed an anonymous online survey on racial discrimination, stress reactions to racial discrimination, and PIF. Consistent with predictions, bivariate correlation results revealed that more frequent experiences of racial discrimination, increased racial stress, and heightened racial trauma symptoms were related to greater PIF (all p’s < .001). Regression analyses indicated that racial trauma symptoms were a significant predictor of PIF above and beyond experiences of racial discrimination. t tests results revealed that PIF was significantly higher among younger generations of Black Americans relative to older generations (p < .001). Findings of this study expand upon prior research connecting experiences of racism to adverse psychological outcomes and lend further support for PIF as a useful tool in the assessment of distress and trauma.

Examining the Relationship between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Having a Rheumatic Disease or Condition Among United States Adults

Carolyn Hoffman, MPH, College of Health and Human Services

Rheumatic diseases are autoimmune and inflammatory diseases “often grouped under the term ‘arthritis.’” Adverse childhood experiences are defined as “potentially traumatic events” occurring in childhood. This secondary analysis of data reported from the 2021 BRFSS survey explores the relationship between experiencing ACEs and having a rheumatic disease or condition among adults in the U.S. The research question is, “What is the relationship between experiencing at least one ACE and having a rheumatic disease or condition as an adult in the U.S.?” The outcome variable is “been told by a doctor, nurse, or health professional that they have a rheumatic disease or condition.” The independent variables included experienced at least one ACE (comprised of 13 individual ACEs), demographic variables, and healthcare variables. Analyses were conducted in STATA/MP 17.0. Adults who reported experiencing at least one ACE had 1.10 greater odds of having been told they have a rheumatic disease or condition, controlling for all other factors, compared to adults who reported “otherwise.” Individuals who, as a child, experienced someone at least 5 years older or an adult forcing them to have sex had 1.84 greater odds of having been told they have a rheumatic disease or condition, controlling for all other factors, compared to individuals who reported “otherwise.” Findings align with previously conducted studies showing experiencing early-life stress may lead children to develop a proinflammatory state in adulthood, potentially manifesting through rheumatic disease development as well as suggests experiencing sexual abuse during childhood may also play a role in disease manifestation.

Exploration of Low-level Physiological Properties in Simulations of Rodent Spatial Navigation

Nate Sutton, Dr. Holger Dannenberg, & Dr. Giorgio Ascoli, College of Engineering and Computing

A deeper understanding of the neuroscience involved in spatial navigation can be achieved through advancing current approaches to simulating the cognition with lower-level physiological detail. A wealth of data about neural properties can be found in (HCO). Research in this proposal applies HCO neural characteristics, along with high-performance computing in the form of graphical processing unit (GPU) computing, to form new levels of in-depth investigations of spatial navigation. GPU computing makes practical the computing power needed for simulation of the intricate properties. Some neural properties that will be studied are how the types of neurons, including their shapes, affect signaling. How neurons respond when specific neuron types communicate together and in which directions communications flow between groups of neuron types will be researched. The use of rodents in simulations brings their scale to a computationally reasonable one, and findings in the animals may translate into insights into human cognition. Alzheimer’s disease has been indicated to have spatial navigation deficits early in the disease, and understanding spatial cognition better may help diagnostic and treatment approaches. General principles of learning and memory may be gleaned from findings created by the simulation. The software will be released as open source, and that can help accelerate the research community applying the results of this work to a greater number of studies.

Health at the Margins: Health Narratives of Multilingual Immigrant Communities in the U.S.

Munira Mutmainna, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

In the last few decades, research on healthcare access, policies and practices have grown significantly in the field of public health and medicine. For a country as diverse as the U.S., such research is of prime importance as it is indicative of not just the healthcare system but the communities that function within this system. The U.S. is home to more than 40 million people that were born in another country (Budiman, 2020). Despite the ever-growing number of immigrants in the country, its healthcare system does not seem to make the most use of its diverse communities and how they view/approach U.S. healthcare. As Singh, Rodriguez-Lainz and Kogan (2013) shared, many of the U.S. national data systems do not maintain routine reports and analysis of health statistics of immigrant communities. Immigrants coming to the U.S. already face several obstacles in terms of language, sociocultural practices and varying ideas around acceptable/non-acceptable social-interactive behaviors etc. To add to that, their identities as immigrants and countless federal laws and policies tied to these identities pose unique challenges in their lives, including legal repercussions, deportation, being banned from re-entering and so on. Navigating the healthcare system in the U.S. is one such aspect that impacts and is impacted by the identities and lived experiences of these immigrant communities. The aim of this study is to examine the health narrative surrounding immigrant communities in the U.S. using a narrative interview based study. In doing so, it attempts to uncover how these communities approach health and healthcare in the U.S., how health communication works for them, what their experiences are as patients, caregivers, information-seekers and so on as well as their overall narratives around health. The research questions this project addresses are: 1. How do immigrant communities in the U.S. view the U.S. healthcare system? 2. What are some of the biggest challenges immigrant communities experience in approaching and/or accessing healthcare? Using a narrative interview based approach, I intend to examine the health narrative of multilingual immigrant communities in particular. As my initial review of research indicates, scholarship in this specific area that deals with immigrant health narratives is largely lacking, especially in the field of humanities. In order to foster a healthcare system where patient-centered care and relationship-centered care are given importance, building respectful and authentic relationships with patients is crucial, which can come from listening to the narratives of patients and caregivers. Conducting research in the field of health rhetoric and humanities that prioritizes immigrant health narratives and brings forth features and issues of the U.S. healthcare system that are overlooked/unaddressed otherwise can play a critical role in creating such environments and therefore, I intend to situate this work at the intersection of health rhetoric and technical communication to generate conversation and create scope for further research in the field.

Identification of Urinary Peptide Indicators of Chagas Disease in Congenitally Infected Infants

Kathryn Cassels, Alessandra Luchini, & Amanda Haymond, College of Science

Chagas disease (CD), caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, is rapidly becoming a global public health concern due to increased immigration. It is estimated that around 25% of new CD infections occur via congenital transmission. Detecting and treating CD in these infants, when treatment is most efficient and before tissue damage progresses to an irreversible stage, is critical for the improved management of CD. We seek to improve current diagnostic tests for CD, which lack sensitivity. The introduction of a sensitive, low cost, and non-invasive test for CD would assist in diagnostic testing in endemic areas and allow for universal screening for CD in newborns at risk of congenital infection. Our study presents a novel non-invasive nanoparticle-enhanced method for sensitive detection of T. cruzi peptides in the urine of CD-infected infants. Nanoparticles harvest and concentrate low abundance protein markers, preventing their degradation while excluding abundant, high molecular weight proteins. These peptides are then analyzed via protein mass spectrometry and detected in urine samples using western blotting. 193 T. cruzi derived peptides were identified in the urine of 30 congenitally infected infants living in endemic areas. Of the identified peptides, mucin-associated surface protein and trans-sialidase were highly represented in the urinary peptidome of these infants and seem to serve as indicators of CD positivity. In this study, we demonstrate that nanoparticle-enhanced assays for particular urinary T. cruzi peptides can be used to distinguish between CD-positive and CD-negative urine samples.

Is it Funnier to Be Rude? Grammatical Politeness in Japanese Comedy

Arlee Jade Pearlswig, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Due to the presence of social taboos in Japanese comedy, the pragmatic features of humor are expected to play a role in the subversion of social norms. This study searched for a pattern of incongruous linguistic politeness present in Japanese humor and sought to determine whether this incongruity was preferred by speakers. The crossroads of humor and linguistics has yet to be approached in the Japanese language. To open this discussion concerning both humor and linguistics, a study was conducted in which Japanese L1 speakers were presented with three clip excerpts of manzai comedians and asked a series of questions about the humor and politeness within these clips. They were then asked to read a selection from each excerpt to select one of three politeness forms to either maintain or replace an existing line of dialogue; one form was the maintained form from the excerpt, and the other two changed the grammatical politeness. Impolite, informal, and formal forms were used as choices. The study revealed that speakers most frequently chose to maintain the level of politeness within the excerpt. Incongruous linguistic politeness was attested in manzai comedy, and participant selections suggest that impoliteness may be an expected form in manzai with regards to certain schema, a subjective preference for impoliteness in humor, or an anticipated use of media language by male comedians.

Perceived Cultural Competencies of Music Teachers

Scot R. Ward, MeHaley Babich, & Dr. Charles R. Ciorba, College of Visual and Performing Arts

The purpose of this study was to describe music educators’ perceptions of cultural competency (a) within themselves and their curriculum, (b) among their students, (c) from their administrations, and (d) from the availability of professional development on the topic using the Ward Cultural Competency Measure. The measure was administered to music educators (N = 204) through social media and e-mail solicitation. Participants reported confidence when teaching their curriculums to students representing various cultures within virtual and in person learning environments. Participants also indicated a need for additional professional development in cultural competency from their administration.

Preliminary Investigation of Captive Red Pandas’ (Ailurus fulgens ssp.) Activity Patterns

Sarah M. Huskisson, M. S., Kristina M. Delaski, DVM, DACZM, Nucharin Songsasen, DVM, PhD, & Elizabeth W. Freeman, College of Science

Red pandas (Ailurus fulgens ssp.), endangered and commonly characterized as “nervous,” are managed in zoos for conservation purposes. In these environments, red pandas are susceptible to myriad stressors, which may be connected to the prevalence of gastrointestinal distress. My dissertation, in part, represents a novel approach to linking behavior, personality, and gut microbiome composition to better understand red pandas’ gastrointestinal problems and stress responses. The primary goal of this portion of my study was to understand red pandas’ activity patterns such that they could be compared to gut microbiome patterns. In this pilot work, I observed behaviors of red pandas housed at Smithsonian’s National Zoo (n=2) and Conservation Biology Institute (n=4). For 30 minutes twice weekly (July to December 2022), I used focal animal sampling and continuous recording methods of behaviors broadly categorized as inactive, anxiety-related, exploration/locomotion, and self-maintenance. Analyses to compare differences between facilities (Mann-Whitney U-test) found no differences in behavioral patterns (p=0.82) and allowing me to group all individuals. To date, behavior of individuals did not vary except for self-maintenance (One-way ANOVA; p=0.002). Data will continue being collected for a year, during which time I expect that stronger behavioral patterns will emerge. Going forward, the study will be expanded to include more red pandas, along with microbiological, physiological, and environmental data (e.g., climate, husbandry, diet). Exploring these streams of data in greater depth may uncover the extent to which certain factors and biochemical processes influence one another, helping animal care practitioners better manage captive groups of red pandas.

The Use of an Educational Aid and Workplace Toolkits to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening at a Primary Care Clinic

Deborah Sackey, College of Public Health

Often a silent disease, colorectal cancer is identified when detected with screening or unfortunately, when a patient becomes symptomatic. A needs assessment completed at a primary care clinic explored an adult patient population’s compliance with screening. Further assessment revealed that low compliance was due to the provider’s limited communication with patients regarding their eligibility and the associated benefits of screening. This project aims to enforce clear communication and screening completion using an evidence-based workplace toolkit utilized by the provider and a handout provided to the eligible patient. The toolkit guides the provider in communicating effectively with patients using evidence-based information regarding family history, current or past related symptoms, age, and personal medical history in addition to guidelines supported by the United States Preventative Services Taskforce (USPSTF). The handout serves as a supportive aid for further understanding. Both tools are to help reiterate the importance of screening and most importantly, guide the conversation to promote compliance. The conceptual framework, Knowledge-to-Action, is used to support the continual process of problem identification, determining areas of knowledge gaps, and exploring methods for knowledge sustainability. This ongoing project continues to utilize this framework to support the process for this project. The provider continues to maintain effective use of the toolkit and distribution of the handout. I anticipate findings to be consistent with an increase in screening compliance and utilization of the workplace toolkit amongst the provider and other practitioners.

Merten Hall, Room 1204

Reduced-Order Computational Modeling of Catheter Insertion in Elastic Blood Vessels of the Cerebral Vasculature

Aseem Milind Pradhan, College of Engineering and Computing

Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. The recommended time to treat a critical stroke patient is 2 to 3 hours from the onset of symptoms. The treatment involves removal of the obstruction in the blocked artery by catheter insertion. Along with the arterial obstruction, the catheter also contributes to reduced blood flow and could cause further damage to sensitive brain tissue. A computer simulation to systematically plan such patient-specific treatments needs a network of about 10^7 blood vessels. The existing computational fluid dynamic (CFD) solvers are not employed for stroke treatment planning as they are incapable of providing solutions for such big arterial trees in a reasonable amount of time. This work introduces a novel reduced-order mathematical formulation of the insertion of a rigid catheter in an elastic blood vessel. The governing equations are solved using the Discontinuous Galerkin method to obtain the required hemodynamic variables. We compared the solution of this reduced-order model to a validated 3-dimensional CFD solver. In the context of cerebral blood flow, the results showed a negligible difference in the steady flow cases (~2mmHg) and the time required to obtain the solution using these reduced-order models (seconds/minutes) was significantly less as compared to the 3D CFD solver (hours/days). The accuracy and speed of this computational model offer the option of including CFD as a stroke treatment planning tool. This could provide clinicians with more data and better insight into the treatment options and improve stroke treatment outcomes.

Social Change and Reconstructionist Philosophy

MeHaley Babich, College of Visual and Performing Arts

This project represents the initial phase of research in understanding how music teachers use Charles Fowler’s Reconstructionist Philosophy of music education to enact social change practices in the classroom. Objectives of this philosophy underline the importance of equality, inclusion, and representing all cultures in music. The purpose of this research is to explore the guiding objectives of Reconstructionist Philosophy of music education and their impact on music teacher’s use of multicultural music education as a vehicle for social change in their classrooms. The need for this study is to highlight how and why teachers incorporate social change practices in their curriculums, through Reconstructionist Philosophy objectives, despite having no formal education or requirement to adhere to guiding objectives. Previous research suggested that most participants look positively on incorporation of social change practices in curriculums but have societal influenced reservations. Gaps in current research include lack of research literature from the United States, little research that incorporates students’ perspectives, and a shortage of contemporary literature. Several key findings are needed to understand the full extent to which Reconstructionist Philosophy may impact music educators use of multicultural music. To understand who is important to this research, demographic data are needed to identify teachers that are championing these objectives. To understand how those teachers use these learning goals, interviews with teachers that show high implementation of the objectives will be conducted. Finally, to understand why teachers use these objectives, a path model and analysis can be used to understand causal relationships between events.

Sorption of Per-polyfluoroalkyl Substances on Clay Minerals

Aamir Ahmad, & Dr. Kuo Tian, College of Engineering and Computing

Per-polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are an extended family of over 4,000 chemicals synthesized by the partial or full fluorination of aliphatic organic compounds which are highly recalcitrant and carcinogenic chemicals that are found in household and industrial products such as food packaging materials, carpets, non-stick cookware, water-repellent paints, and firefighting foams. These products ultimately end up in the environment and are a source of soil and groundwater contamination. The motivation of this study is aimed at understanding the partitioning behavior of PFAS with different types of clay minerals and developing a model which will help environmental scientists to predict the transport of these carcinogens and the potential hotspots in the environment. To achieve this objective three pure clay minerals i.e. kaolinite, illite, and montmorillonite were thoroughly investigated. The sorption coefficients (Kd) of multiple PFAS compounds with varying physiochemical properties (chain length, functional group, degree of fluorine saturation) have been measured for the aforementioned pure clay minerals. The Kd values were fitted with corresponding PFAS’ properties (molar weight, carbon chain length, functional group, pKa, and solubility) and mineral properties (specific surface area (SSA) and CEC) using multiple non-linear regression. The regression model yielded insight into the sorption behavior of PFAS on clay minerals and provided a prediction method for sorption coefficients of PFAS derived from physicochemical properties. The results of this study will help directly in calculating the PFAS concentrations present in a particular area of concern and will help environmental scientists develop an effective remediation/management plan.

Structural Analysis of Amylin and Amyloid β Peptide Signal-ing in Alzheimer’s Disease

Longsheng Xie, College of Science

Amylin and amyloid β belong to the same protein family and activate the same receptors. Amy-loid β levels are elevated in Alzheimer’s disease. Recent studies have demonstrated that amy-lin-based peptides can reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in animal models. Replica exchange molecular dynamics simulation machine learning, and other computational analyses were applied to improve understanding of the amino acid residues in these amylin-based pep-tides. Comparisons were made between amylin, amylin-based peptides, and amyloid β. These studies converged on the residues 10Q, 28S, 29S 30T, 31N, 32V, 33G, 34S, and 35N (residues 10 and 28-35) being ranked highest meaning that they were the most likely to be involved in activating the same targets as amyloid β. Surprisingly, the amyloid β signaling domain most closely matched amylin residues 29-35 in the simulated structures. These findings suggest important residues to consider when designing peptide drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease. In this study replica exchange molecular dynamics simulation was combined with machine learning, and other computational analyses to identify the amino acid residues in these amylin-based peptides that activate the same targets as amyloid β. Comparing amylin, amylin-based peptides, and amyloid β suggested that the residues with 27-35, were the most likely to be involved in activating the same targets as amyloid β. Such an understanding of the residues and structures is needed for designing peptide drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Targeting mechanisms of resistance to endocrine therapy in combination with Cdk4/6 inhibitors in ER+ metastatic breast cancer

Emna El Gazzah, College of Science

Breast cancer, the most common cancer among women, accounts for around 25% of all malignancies worldwide. It is estimated that at least 30% of all breast cancer cases will develop into metastatic disease, with an average 5-year survival rate of 28%. Out of the three molecular subtypes, Estrogen Receptor-positive (ER+)/ HER2-negative (HER2) breast cancers represent up to 70% of all cases and are traditionally treated with endocrine therapy (ET). Unfortunately, almost 50% of all ET treated tumors develop resistance resulting in progression and metastatic disease. While the new standard treatment for ER+ metastatic breast cancer (MBC), combining ET with CDK4/6 inhibitors, has shown great clinical success overall, 20-30% of MBC patients show short term benefit (PFS < 6months) and rapidly develop resistance. Currently there are no reliable predictive biomarkers to help identify patients that could benefit from this treatment and those destined to develop resistance. Preliminary findings collected by the Side Out 3 (SO3) trial ( ID: NCT03195192) have shown that increased phosphorylation of CDK 4/6 downstream effector, Rb, is associated with a lack of response to treatment. Furthermore, along with lack of Rb activity, tumor samples from resistant patients also showed increased expression of PNUTS. PNUTS is a subunit of the Protein Phosphatase 1, it affects the activity of the tumor suppressor Rb by preventing its dephosphorylation. Stemming of these findings, in this ongoing study, the role of previously unexplored, PNUTS, as a predictive marker of response to ET and CDK4/6 inhibition in MBCs is investigated.

The Effectiveness of School Resource Officers Based on Situational Awareness and Task Load: A Phenomenological Study

Beth Hosek M.S., Dr. Stephanie Dailey, & Dr. Heather Walter, College of Education and Human Development

Examining the lived experiences of school resource officers can inform both preventative and mitigation measures around school active shooter events. Furthermore, examining the lived experience of an individual acting as a perpetrator can further our understanding of how to keep members of a school community safe during school shootings. To this end, we used virtual reality simulations of a school shooting to explore the lived experiences of school resource officers and perpetrators. Results emphasized the responsibilities of the school resource officers and their duty of balancing many responsibilities and following a rigid protocol to take care of them, and the perpetrator in contrast had a singular premeditated goal or plan and could make flexible decisions to reach said goal. Recommendations are made to support the situational awareness of school resource officers and engage in threat prevention using school threat assessment teams. Our study provides evidence that modifications of school active shooter policies will result in a safer school community. By enacting school threat assessment teams, school communities will be better able to stop school shootings before they start by blocking a perpetrator from setting a goal and a plan to reach that goal. Furthermore, adaptations to protocol and use of the threat assessment team will better enable school resource officers to use protocol to mitigate the threat and keep school community members safe from harm.

Training Strategies of CNN for Land Cover Mapping with High Resolution Multi-spectral Imagery in Senegal

Minh Tri Le, Konrad Wessels, Jordan Caraballo-Vega, Margaret Wooten, Nathan Thomas, Mark Carroll, Christopher Neigh, College of Science

Regional land cover mapping has been relying on medium resolution multi-spectral data (10-30m GSD) such as Landsat and Sentinel-2. However, very high-resolution (VHR) multi-spectral imagery (1-2m GSD) (WorldView-2,-3,WV), is becoming more accessible, allowing detailed land cover mapping, including small agriculture fields and individual trees. There has been a massive proliferation of deep learning methods like convolutional neural networks, notable U-Net, for satellite image segmentation. However, there are major challenges in scaling-up the training process for U-Net models using a patchwork of hundreds of VHR images to create a seamless land cover map. Firstly, the U-Net is a fully supervised learning method that requires significant resources to create training labels for large regions. Second, the availability of archived VHR imagery (2011-21) is highly irregular in time and the multi-spectral signatures of various land cover classes change drastically due to phenology and variable imaging conditions. Third, the study area of Casamance, Senegal experiences rapid changes in vegetation greenness and widespread burned area of various ages, making it hard to distinguish natural vegetation and croplands (active, fallow or burnt). The overall goal was to test various strategies to scale-up U-Net models to classify large amounts of WV imagery to produce land cover maps. The training and validation sets consisted of randomly sampled sets of small tiles from each 5000×5000 pixel WV image. The training set size varied from 5 to 20 images, with a separate 10 images for testing. The U-Net model continuously coped with the increasing image variations in the growing training set with accuracy >90% for all training images. However, the accuracy dropped to 40-80% when applied to test images, due to unique image conditions of some imagery. These are the preliminary results of the capability of U-Net on available training images. Ongoing research is investigating strategies to further scaling-up training set with increase image conditions and to attempt to standardize spectral properties of problematic images to improve regional application of U-Net models

Understanding the Social Emotive Potential of Music and Its Relationship to Conflict Transformation: The Benefits of a Craft Analysis

Audrey Williams, Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution

Scholarship on the role of music in conflict transformation has expanded in recent years but remains focused primarily on what music does in conflict without properly attending to how music’s impact comes about (Bergh and Sloboda, 2010). This interactive poster session—which will include QR codes to allow audience members to listen to the music at the center of the study—advances the argument that studies of music and conflict transformation must attend to both the narrative and sonic craft of songs in order to attain a more well-rounded understanding of music’s conflict transformation potential. I argue that music must be understood both at the level of story—the characters and plot-points contained in the lyrics of the song—and mood—the state-of-mind-and-body created through the sonic dimensions of the song. Through a craft analysis of music from The Kominas, a Taqwacore (Muslim punk rock) band formed in the wake of 9/11, I examine how the mix of story and mood can create complex “emotional song-worlds” that stretch one-note understandings of both punk rock and conflict transformation alike. These findings add to the literature on both narrative approaches to conflict and the role of social emotions in conflict. This analysis demonstrates that attending to the craft of music is essential for building greater understanding of music’s conflict transformation potential by way of its social emotive potential, which is itself a precursor to understanding the actual impact of music on conflict transformation.

Variety in Economic Clusters: The Case of Europe

Caroline Wesson, Schar School of Policy and Government

Economic clusters have increasingly captured the attention of governments and industries as tools to increase economic and innovative output. Following this interest, we should look to understand how clusters are structured in different social, political, and cultural contexts – and thus the different types that exist. To do this, this paper seeks to answer two questions. The first is: do economic clusters vary in structure? If variation is present, I then ask the question: what are the key factors that determine the type of cluster that results in a specific geographic space? Methodologically this paper takes an inductive approach (following grounded theory), by applying a density-based clustering method to determine what patterns emerge naturally among clusters. Once cluster types are determined, I will then perform multiple case study analyses to better understand the characteristics of each cluster type and how these types interface with policy, governance, and institutions. This paper hypothesizes that cluster types are primarily determined by the level of government management, the intensity of innovation networks (defined as the linkages between researchers, firms, global knowledge flows, and research support institutions) within the cluster, and in some cases industry specific characteristics. Finally, this paper will establish a typology of economic cluster structures and work to understand what factors result specific cluster type. This information will hopefully be useful to policymakers, government officials, and industry organizations interested in economic clusters and development.

What the White Savior Forgets to Save

Briana Davis, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

When communication in urban classrooms ceases to be effective, learning will not occur. Studying the educator, ‘White savior’ dynamic in classrooms composed of primarily black and brown students and the differences between teacher’s identity and the student is the key to understanding teacher-student relationships and their role in learning. The ‘White Savior’ assumptions serving fails to account for the cultural, social, and economic differences between their identity and their student. The premise of these assumptions misrepresents the communities that educators attempt to serve, portraying them as people in need of “saving,” by a White heroic figure. By utilizing an intersectional approach considering both the gender and racial identity of the educator and the racial makeup of the student body, researchers must consider an interdisciplinary analysis of the teacher-student relationship and the position communication plays in teacher attitudes, beliefs, and pedagogical practices. Teachers’ attitudes, beliefs, and pedagogical practices are mitigating factors to how effective classroom communication occurs, as well as the achieved learning goals. In this research, I will take an interpretive approach, conducting narrative-style interviews with White K-12 educators in urban schools to understand how their attitudes, beliefs, and pedagogical practices impact their student relationships. If completed, this research may demonstrate that teachers who embody a “White savior” identity in the classroom could have more negative teacher-student relationships and classroom experiences. My lens to examining the ‘White savior’ within classrooms may widen the gap in how present scholars view classroom engagement in low-income urban schools.

λMDS: Scaling Distributed File System Metadata Service using Serverless Functions

Benjamin Carver & Runshou Han, College of Engineering and Computing

The metadata service (MDS) sits on the critical path for file system operations and is key to the overall performance of a large-scale distributed file system (DFS). Common “serverful” MDS architectures, such as a single server or cluster of servers, have a significant shortcoming: either they are not scalable, or it is difficult to achieve an optimal balance of performance, resource utilization, and cost. A modern MDS requires a novel architecture that addresses this shortcoming. Serverless computing, or Functions-as-a-Service (FaaS), provides an appealing environment for hosting and scaling the MDS of large-scale DFSes. Specifically, the platform-managed, elastic auto-scaling and pay-per-use pricing offered by FaaS enable the construction of an elastic MDS that can dynamically adapt to workload shifts while improving cost effectiveness and resource utilization. The aforementioned challenges pertaining to MDS efficiency and the emergence of FaaS together raise a research question: Can we use FaaS in a novel way to build a high-performance, cost-effective, elastic, and resource-efficient MDS? To answer this, we design, implement, and evaluate λMDS, the first FaaS-based MDS for large-scale DFSes. λMDS scales a metadata cache on a FaaS platform and synthesizes a series of techniques to overcome the obstacles encountered when building large stateful applications using FaaS. λMDS takes full advantage of the unique benefits of FaaS – elastic auto-scaling and massive parallelism – to realize a highly-optimized MDS capable of sustaining up to 4.13× higher throughput, 90.40% lower latency, 85.99% lower cost, and better resource utilization and efficiency than a state-of-the-art DFS for a real-world workload.

Oral Presentations: Session II

1:00 – 2:15 PM | Merten Hall, Rooms 2500 & 3300

Presentation instructions: Presenters have 15 minutes each to present their work. After everyone has taken turns presenting, the discussant will use 5 minutes to give general feedback to the presenters. Then the last 10 minutes will be used for Q&A with the audience led by either the moderator or the discussant.

Social Identities and Idioms
Merten Hall, Room 2500

Gender and Foodways on Eating Disorder Twitter

Kathryn Casey, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

This project takes an interdisciplinary approach—adopting methods and theory from folklore, cultural studies, gender studies and nutrition studies—to investigate the characteristic foodways of online eating disorder (ED) communities, analyzing the function of food symbolism in the formation of a culturally-distinct ED identity. Across disciplines, recent scholarship has added ethnographic research on pro-ED online communities to existing explanatory models of ED. Foodways examines how food takes on symbolic meaning tied to identity through informal group practice. Within a global network, embodied identities are supplemented, displaced, and/or altered in online communities. Folklorist Michael Owen Jones argues that foodways research often downplays individuals’ varied and conflicting identities by overemphasizing commensality, forgoing nuanced analyses of food-related disorders. He thus urges folklorists to produce scholarship with clinical implications about how food meanings across identities affect individual dietary practice. In an ethnographic investigation of the ED community on Twitter I distantly observed public ED-based accounts, checking in daily over a four-week period, collecting over 650 screen-captured tweets. Content analysis of this data in a discursive-psychoanalytic framework finds that ED communities use social media to negotiate abject relations between food and the gendered self. Food represents a gendering technology where gender is practiced, in groups and individually, through rituals around restrictive eating. Abject threats of food, body, and self are contained within ambivalent online spaces which simultaneously encourage ED and support recovery. Ethnographic research into the foodways of online ED communities brings folklore and nutrition studies in conversation to provide insight into culturally-informed ED treatment models.

“Emotion and Narrative in Sport Games?” An analysis of Kris Bowers score for Madden 21

Calvin Evans Jr., College of Visual and Performing Arts

Topic theory has aided ludomusicologists in describing and understanding the sweeping, sweet melodies heard when flying over the kingdom of Hyrule, or the militaristic percussion accompanying a mission in Call of the Duty. However, what topics support a head coach meeting or a training camp practice? The Madden franchise has been popular since the 1980s, yet virtually no ludomusicology scholarship discusses it, perhaps because historically, the franchise relied heavily on licensed music. However, in 2019, African American film composer Kris Bowers was brought on to compose original music for Madden 20 and 21. This presentation will use topic theory relate this score to those composed for open-world video games, discussing the “Face of the Franchise” mode of Madden 21. Madden’s recent games distinguish themselves from earlier editions by making the off-field experience more realistic, especially in the career modes. In Madden 21, the player is a high school quarterback encountering struggles and triumphs as they advance to college and finally the NFL. Cutscenes illustrate not only career-related events like the player choosing their college team or the experience of draft night, but also personal struggles: whether to speak up about a sick player, tension with a rival teammate, and transferring schools. In the original music used in these scenes, I define and show how musical topics like the hero, the villain, personal growth are used in Bowers’ score. It’s time to break the huddle and discover the meaning of music in Madden.

Shadows & Solid Things: The History of Religion and Archaeology

Kristofer Stinson, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

My research examines the relationship between religion and archaeology in Anglo-Atlantic world in the 18th and 19th centuries. I explore the implications of excavations on ancient historical and religious sites: in Italy, Egypt, Iraq, and Palestine. By examining the written accounts and archaeological discoveries of these early excavations, I show how archaeology influenced textual interpretation and religious beliefs. From the Bible to the classics, readers throughout the Atlantic approached ancient stories with a posture of trust that reflected a pervasive literalism which shaped notions of religion and history. Specifically, it formed a sense that the places people read about existed beyond their libraries, armchairs, and sanctuaries, in the real world. These ancient, often sacred books came to matter so much as history that devout readers went looking for the places they read about in their own world. With the Bible, Herodotus, and Homer in one hand and a shovel in the other, many set off to prove that these works were history in the most real sense. Yet what they found often left them with more disturbing question than comforting answers. I argue that the rise of archaeology challenged the literal interpretation of ancient texts, including the Bible, even as it formed a new kind of “empirical literalism,” for both religion and other fields. Archaeology became the ultimate mediator between myth and history – between shadows and solid things – in a way that had previously been the function of sacred texts like the Bible.

Merten Hall, Room 3300

The Undersea Balance in the Pacific: Understanding the Current State of Play and the Role of Geography

Michael Sweeney, Schar School of Policy and Government

This presentation has two parts. First, it relays the findings of my forthcoming paper on the importance of the submarine in the military balance between China and the United States. The paper explores how trends in modern warfare have increased lethality to surface ships thereby placing renewed emphasis on the importance of undersea forces. China and the United States each face challenges in this area. For China it is a question of mastering advanced acoustic quieting technologies to develop better quality submarines; for the United States the issue is quantity – can it field enough submarines to meet operational requirements. This discussion, in turn, serves as an introduction to my broader study of undersea warfare and geography. In the second half of my presentation, I lay out the taxonomy on which I am basing my approach: the interrelationship between surface features, oceanic topography, and proximity to land-based air forces, which collectively help define “undersea geography” from the operational standpoint of submarines. In general, undersea warfare is an under-discussed aspect of maritime power theory, perhaps due to the immaturity of the submarine at the time several foundational texts (Mahan, Corbett) were written. My research aims to help address that gap by explicating the domain in which submarines operate, or the “gameboard” on which the modern undersea competition plays out. I am not presenting final results, but rather seek to illuminate the Mason community regarding the nature of my research and receive feedback on my conceptualization of the issue.

Subsurface Migration and Transport of Per-polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

Aamir Ahmad & Dr. Kuo Tian, College of Science

This study is aimed to understand the transport of Per-polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) across the typical landfill liner systems. PFAS are highly recalcitrant and carcinogenic chemicals that are found in household and industrial products such as food packaging materials, carpets, non-stick cookware, water-repellent paints, and firefighting foams. Landfills are the end destination of various household and industrial wastes that contain PFAS. Municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills in the US exhibit an alarmingly high abundance of PFAS compounds. The motivation of this research is to investigate and determine whether the existing landfill liners are providing safe containment of these environmental contaminants or not, and if leakage is, occurring then what is the transport phenomenon governing flow? To achieve these objectives the landfill liner components including geomembranes (GM) and compacted clay liner (CCL) are being thoroughly investigated. The sorption and diffusion of multiple PFAS compounds with varying physiochemical properties (chain length, functional group, degree of fluorine saturation) have been measured with two types of GM, CCL, and three types of pure clay minerals. These parameters are being incorporated into a transport model to predict the mass flux of PFAS across landfill liners.

Where Was That Whale? Paleobiogeography of the Early Baleen Whales

Nickolas A. Brand, Jess Miller-Camp, & Mark D. Uhen, College of Science

Two previously published phylogenetic datasets of fossil baleen whales (mysticetes) were combined into a single dataset and downsampled to only include 61 specimens, mostly from outside the crown group Mysticeti. A phylogenetic analysis resulted in 48,918 most parsimonious trees, and a 50% majority rule consensus tree was produced. Location data from the Paleobiology Database was used to bin taxa into eight oceanic geographic regions based on fossil mysticete clusters. Two analyses were performed in RASP 4, which calculate ancestral ranges for common ancestors of clades using the recovered phylogenetic trees. Bayesian Binary Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) analysis was capable of handling polytomies recovered in the consensus tree. This analysis was limited to reporting only a single region for each nodal taxon. Statistical Dispersal-Vicariance Analysis (S-DIVA) was utilized with an altered formula that better handles datasets with unstable groupings. These results were limited to three regions per nodal taxon. Results from both analyses generally agreed with each other. Neoceti and Mysticeti were recovered as most likely originating on the Atlantic Coast of North America. The last common ancestor of the Mammalodontidae and Llanocetidae most likely originated the South Pacific, while the Aetiocetidae most likely originated off the Pacific coast of North America. The Eomysticetidae likely arose from either the Pacific coast of North America or the Atlantic coast of North America. The last common ancestor of all baleen whales crownward of Eomysticetidae most like originated in the South Pacific.

Analyzing the phase-change of water molecules at the nanoscale using molecular dynamics

Sajad Kargar & Jeffrey Lawrence Moran, College of Engineering and Computing

Phase-change heat transfer processes involving water are widely used in various societal applications, such as power generation, heat exchangers, cooling microelectronics, and desalination. Molecular dynamics (MD) is increasingly used to simulate these processes, especially when they occur on nanostructured surfaces and in nanoparticle suspensions. These studies must use water molecule models that accurately predict water’s thermophysical properties, particularly its enthalpy of vaporization (h_fg). Our work uses MD to derive the h_fg for four common water models with four different cutoff radius values. The analysis reveals several important insights. First, a longer cutoff radius generally resulted in more accurate predictions, but artifacts occurred if the radius exceeded 12 Å. Second, the most accurate prediction of h_fg (within 2% of the tabulated ASHRAE value) is made by the TIP3P-Original model with a cutoff radius of 12 Å. Third, if the effective charge on the hydrogen and oxygen atoms (and thus the electrical dipole moment magnitude of the water molecule) is increased, the predicted value for h_fg increases because of the increased electrostatic attraction among water molecules (mimicking stronger hydrogen bonding). Additionally, we conducted a preliminary study of the variation of the h_fg with pressure, and found reasonable agreement with tabulated ASHRAE data (<7% error). Physical insights into how changes in atomic-level properties affect the predicted macrophysical properties of water are provided in this work, which will be useful for future MD-based studies of phase change processes in water, particularly in nanostructured surfaces and nanoconfined geometries at elevated pressures.

Oral Presentations: Session III

2:30 – 3:45 PM | Merten Hall, Rooms 1202, 1203, 2500 & 3300

Presentation instructions: Presenters have 15 minutes each to present their work. After everyone has taken turns presenting, the discussant will use 5 minutes to give general feedback to the presenters. Then the last 10 minutes will be used for Q&A with the audience led by either the moderator or the discussant.

Culture and Society
Merten Hall, Room 1202

A New Noble: Creating Stories for Men to Live By

William Applegate, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Misogyny has been marketed as a way for men to reclaim their masculinity in various online communities that make up the “man-o-sphere”. This collection of communities aim to convert men to a worldview and a purpose based on a foundation of anger, distrust, and violence. As a tool for the analysis of the mansophere, this paper will ground its historical understanding in the works of two thinkers: Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault. This is for a couple major reasons. First, the kind of relationship to life being cultivated in the manosphere bears a great resemblance to the valuation of life Nietzsche forcefully critiques and names ressentiment in On The Genealogy of Morals. In order to more fully understand, and hopefully provide questions for self-reflection for the men in these communities, this paper will undergo a genealogical evaluation of the values of the manosphere. Second, by conducting a genealogical evaluation in Nietzsche’s style, this paper will be primed to utilize a Foucaultian line of incorporating of thinking about sexuality and political life in order to more fully understand contemporary communities of ressentiment as political forces. If young men are feeling ostracized by political and economic realities in new ways, then they will look for someone or something to help them cope or change their reality. By undergoing a genealogical critique of the manosphere, this paper will conclude with helping create new stories that better orient these young men to the forces actually impacting their lives.

Hidden Figures in Film Music Examining the Lives and Work of William Grant Still and William Vodery.

Calvin Evans Jr., College of Visual and Performing Arts

This presentation highlights the musical contributions of William Grant Still and Will Vodery, who laid the foundation for a rich legacy of black composers, arrangers, and orchestrators in the visual media industry. The research presented establishes them as the first Black composers to work for a major motion picture studio. Archival documents from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University and the Rubenstein Library at Duke University will reveal the studios, films, and musicians that both Vodery and Still had a major impact on yet were not given recognition. Vodery’s experience as a prominent orchestrator for Broadway and Still’s success composing for major orchestras gained Hollywood’s attention and moved them to the West Coast. Will Vodery and William Grant Still went uncredited on historical films such as Pennies from Heaven (1936), and The Ziegfeld Follies (1945) and worked alongside celebrated composers Dmitri Tiomkin and Oscar Hammerstein. Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Duke Ellington, and others have broken monumental ground and opened closed doors for Black film composers of the future. However, who gets the credit for pioneering these champions of film music? Will Vodery and William Grant Still’s time as composers, orchestrators, arrangers, and musical directors for prominent film studios of the early 20th century gave hope to a generation of composers of African descent and their impact is still relevant today. The time to shine a worthy spotlight on this essential slice of lost history about African American composers in the film industry has come.

La Ausencia

May Santiago, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

There is a dearth of Puerto Rican films across a century of filmmaking despite the fact that some of the earliest US-shot films were captured during the invasion of Puerto Rico in 1898. With the presentation of La Ausencia, I will explore the implications of this abyss for the Puerto Rican film industry and its independent filmmakers, especially through intersections of class, gender, and national identity. La Ausencia is a research-based film project/installation that will bridge together footage I gathered from abandoned Puerto Rican film palaces, the Universal Pictures newsreels located at the National Archives in College Park, Puerto Rican films housed in the Library of Congress, virtual exhibitions by Puerto Rican filmmakers, and original research related to my dissertation answering the qualitative questions of Puerto Rican cinema as a whole. This presentation will be a multimedia exploration of aesthetics and finding answers through absences, though it will also present concrete results from investigations conducted in archives between the US and Puerto Rico and first-hand interviews with Puerto Rican filmmakers.

Environmental Policy and Climate Activism
Merten Hall, Room 1203

Evaluating effects of meteorology and recent policy implementations on major pollutant concentrations over Beijing, China

Shreya Guha & Dr. Lucas Henneman, College of Engineering and Computing

Air pollution is a major contributor to adverse health outcomes, with particulate matter of aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5um (PM2.5) and tropospheric or surface ozone being the dominant sources for premature mortality globally. The concentrations of these pollutants are highly dependent on both source emissions and meteorological factors. In 2013, China launched the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan to cut the PM2.5 source emissions, which helped in reducing its concentrations in Beijing. However, the city also experienced an increase in ozone concentration since 2013. This study aims to evaluate and quantify the effects of daily meteorology and long-term policy implementations on these heterogeneous changes in ambient air pollutant concentrations in Beijing from 2011 to 2020. For this, other than relying on a specific dataset, we have assessed and combined several datasets ranging from ground observations to model reanalysis products. This study employs detrending technique in combination with the application of an array of models with increasing levels of intelligence to develop the best possible model for separating out meteorological influences. Thus, we can successfully identify the trend for the anthropological contributions to the changing air quality levels in response to the recent policy implementations in Beijing. Having this information can help in extending the use of this model across various other locations and building more effective environmental policies in the future.

The Different Faces of Climate Change Movement Leaders in Indonesia

Hilyatuz Zakiyyah, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Indonesia, one of the largest GHG emitters in the world, currently plans to double the operating coal-fired power plant, making it the fourth largest coal pipeline in the world. Public concern about climate change is also limited. A study found that Indonesians are among the least concerned in the world about climate change. The combined lack of political will and limited public demand has made it difficult for Indonesia to increase climate ambitions. Young voters in Indonesia consisted of 40% of the total population. There has been a slow but steady grow of movement among the young people on climate and environmental issue. This qualitative study has conducted in-depth interviews with 20 climate movement leaders from various geographical and socioeconomic background to understand their unique self-interest, social identification, and value relevance impacted why and how they work to advance the movement. The result showed that the participants’ self-interest were mostly the one that triggered them to learn more about climate change and environmental issue. The social identification helped them give a sense of meaning towards what they do. The value relevance helped them keep the movement on course. This study also found several challenges they have met along the way and how they would like to be supported. This study aim to contribute to scientific literature in advancing the understanding the process of individual evolution into climate activism. Also, to inform policy makers and support network of how they can create a more effective movement leaders on climate issue.

Hyperspectral Signature-Based Differentiation of Altitude of Aircraft-Induced Clouds

Amy Tal Rose, College of Science

Aircraft-Induced Clouds (AIC) form from the emission of soot from jet engines in cruise flight in favorable atmospheric conditions. AIC absorb, scatter, and reflect shortwave and longwave infrared radiation. This radiative transfer has a cooling effect during the day and warming effect during the night, leading to an overwhelming warming effect of Earth, contributing to anthropogenically-propelled climate change. Reducing AIC significantly mitigates aviation’s contribution to the climate crisis by reducing disruption of Earth’s radiation budget. Researchers have proposed AIC Abatement Programs (AAP) to increase cruise flight levels without additional fuel burn. In order to effectively implement AAP, it is crucial to be able to accurately identify AIC from publicly available imagery. This study aims at the determination of AIC altitude, and thus microphysical properties, based on hyperspectral signatures. This study provides a case study describing the development of an in-scene hyperspectral signature for AIC from aerial imagery. The results show that adaptive coherence estimation and matched filtering are successful in isolation of the AIC from other cloud types and the background with altitude discrimination. An introduction, literature review, methods, results, and future work are provided.

Assessing Thermodynamic Changes of Extratropical Cyclones and their Resulting Extreme Winter Precipitation in the Mid-Atlantic United States

Austin T. Reed & James L. Kinter III, College of Science

Throughout the Northern Hemisphere winter, the continental United States (CONUS) receives a substantial fraction of its mean and extreme precipitation originating from synoptic-scale Extratropical Cyclones (ETCs), with East Coast land areas owing greater than 80% of its winter-time precipitation climatology to ETCs. Previous work has shown that a warming world is conducive to a broadening of the subtropical Hadley Cell circulation, along with enhanced warming at the highest latitudes (polar amplification). The net result of these effects is to shrink the region of midlatitude baroclinicity due to a weakening temperature gradient, which could lead to diminished frequency or intensity of ETCs. Fewer or weaker ETCs would be able to transport the same amount of latent heat to polar regions even if the circulation is unchanged. Previous work has shown that the East Coast of CONUS is expected to see increases in cyclone intensity despite decreasing baroclinicity, due to diabatic processes such as latent heat release from the most extreme precipitation. This study employs a cyclone-following algorithm to track all winter season ETCs in the vicinity of CONUS from 1980-2022. However, a special focus on the Mid-Atlantic region is applied in order to further investigate regional statistically significant changes in mean and extreme water vapor, temperature, snowfall, and precipitation resulting from ETCs. These results will provide adequate resources for risk assessment and flood prediction and improve understanding of ETC-induced extreme precipitation in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Economics of Social Constructs
Merten Hall, Room 2500

The Right Way to Use the Wisdom of Crowds: Analyzing Solvers’ Responses to the Introduction of Marketplace in a Crowdsourcing Platform

Fanshu Li, Dr. Shun Ye & Dr. Pallab Sanyal, School of Business

Crowdsourcing platforms leverage the wisdom of crowds to help organizations solve challenging business problems. While crowdsourcing contests have been a popular way to harness the wisdom of the crowd, the introduction of a “Marketplace” provides instant and readily available solutions, where solvers can sell their ready-made logos on the platform. This study investigates how the introduction of the Marketplace impacts solvers’ contest behavior in a crowdsourcing platform. On the one hand, the introduction of Marketplace may distract solvers’ attention and thus negatively impact their contest performance. On the other hand, solvers may also improve their contest performance by learning from others in the Marketplace. Using a unique dataset from a logo design platform, we analyze the performance of solvers who participated in contests both before and after the introduction of the Marketplace. Leveraging propensity score matching (PSM) with difference-in-differences methods (DiD), we find that solvers who are attracted to the Marketplace become less likely to win in the contests although their average submissions did not change significantly. Digging deeper into the underlying mechanism, we further examine the image quality they submitted for the logo design context based on Deep Learning models. The findings provide valuable insights for organizations seeking to understand solvers’ strategies and provide implications for crowdsourcing platforms to effectively utilize the wisdom of crowds.

Monumental Effects: The Lost Cause & Confederate Symbols in the Post-Reconstruction South

Alexander Taylor, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Symbols of the Confederacy have become central to debates over racism and discrimination in America. Recent work has shown that symbols of the Confederacy, specifically Confederate street names, are associated with worse economic outcomes for Black Americans in the present day. But what was the effect of these symbols when they were first dedicated, and why were they erected in the first place? To assess these questions, I situate Confederate symbols in the context of public art and cultural revivals. I argue that public symbols are cultural items that shape social behavior by sending signals about the values of their society. Next, I combine data on Confederate symbol dedications from the Southern Poverty Law Center with election and census data from ICPSR to create a congressional election-year panel dataset of former confederate states between 1878–1912. I then use Two-Way Fixed Effects and event study models to explore symbols’ effect on voter turnout, voting for Democrats (the anti-Reconstruction party), and the Black population. I find that newly dedicated symbols led to a decrease in voter turnout, an increase in the percentage of voters voting for Democratic congressional candidates, and a decrease in the Black population relative to counties without symbols in this time period. There is little measurable suppression of Black political activity by Confederate symbols, as much of it was already formally suppressed by restrictive voting laws. The results have implications for current debates over Confederate symbols in the United States.

You Can’t Develop What You Don’t Know: How Hayek Predicted Limitations on the Mission Economy

Kathryn Waldron & Dr. Christopher Coyne, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

There has been a recent resurgence in the ideology that governments should intervene in the economy to promote grand “missions” in the national interest. This position is exemplified by the work of Mariana Mazzucato. Her latest book, Mission Economy, identifies seven key pillars designed to ensure successful economic mission. In this paper, we assess the economic theory behind these pillars and identify two problems government officials will face during implementation. The “knowledge problem”, as identified by F.A. Hayek, tells us that much of the knowledge necessary to coordinate social economic action is by nature dispersed and tacit. As a result, it is impossible for government officials to harness this knowledge since it does not exist outside the market process. Meanwhile, the “incentive problem” tells us government officials are utility-maximizing individuals who will seek to use their government positions in pursuit of their own goals. We look at previous U.S. efforts to develop the local economy and establish new political institutions in three different states: Japan, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. We analyze the successfulness of each mission by assessing government officials’ ability to overcome the “knowledge problem” and the “incentive problem”.

Expanding Marx Ecologically: Nature, the Grundrisse, and the Social Metabolic Order

Blake Vullo, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

“Nature” is an extraordinary concept. While it remains a complicated term that seems firmly situated in various arenas of social scientific inquiry and research, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels—both collectively and, at times, independently within the course of their lives and works—have been long underappreciated in their ecologically-minded critiques of philosophy, economics, and political economy. This work seeks to expand existing understandings of the overall vision and utility of Marxian thought, as it relates to an ecologically informed understanding of the social metabolic order under capitalism. Through a careful examination of the foundations of a materialist ecological critique, Marx’s Grundrisse, and Georg Lukács’s contested contributions to “Western Marxism,” the author seeks to convey a more dynamic interpretation of Marx’s and Engel’s respective sociologies in relation to “natural” and social science. In this effort, it is argued that there exists an expanded moral imperative within Marxian thought which remains largely unrecognized within classical, and contemporary, theory and research.

Conversations in Public Health and Healthcare
Merten Hall, Room 3300

Do chatbots improve health applications patient engagement and treatment adherence?

Kevin E Cevasco, Rachel E Morrison, Rediet Woldeselassie & Dr. Seth Kaplan, College of Public Health

Clinicians and patients seeking electronic health (eHealth) applications face challenges in selecting effective solutions due to a high market failure rate. Conversational agent applications, or “chatbots”, show promise in increasing healthcare user engagement by creating bonds between the applications and users. However, it is unclear if chatbots will improve patient adherence or if chatbot development is due to technology hype dynamics’ competitive pressure to innovate. The goal of this review is to identify if user engagement indicators (UEIs) are published in eHealth chatbot studies. Assessing eHealth application engagement requires an interdisciplinary investigation across complex health, technology, and business domains. We conducted a systematic literature review using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) methodology on health chatbot randomized control trials (RCTs). A meta-analysis examined patient clinical trial retention of chatbot apps. Our approach to indirectly capture UEIs through loss to follow-up rates showed no chatbot arm patient retention effect. The small number of studies suggests a need for ongoing eHealth chatbot research, especially given the widespread use of chatbots and the claims regarding their effectiveness made outside the scientific literatures.

COVID and beyond: COVID-19 interventions and power plant emissions in the United States

Munshi Md Rasel & Lucas Henneman, College of Engineering and Computing

Short and long-term changes in electricity generating unit (EGU) emissions were observed during COVID-19 public health interventions in the United States. In a generalized synthetic control framework, we employ weekly EGU SO2, NOx and CO2 emissions data from EPA’s Clean Air Markets Database and location-specific meteorology from 2010-2019 to estimate each EGU’s hypothetical business as usual (BAU) emissions throughout 2020. We find that over 60% (covering >50% of total electricity generation) of EGUs saw SO2, NOx and CO2 emissions increases relative to BAU, with most of the increases occurring in the eastern U.S. We find increases relative to BAU in March-April, stringent lockdown, for SO2, NOx, and CO2 of 44% (4,500 tons/week), 23% (2,200 tons/week), and 14% (2.3 million tons/week), respectively, with similar results from March-December 2020. We find EGUs using coal as primary fuels are the main driver of increased emissions due to increased operations, and SO2 emissions increases at coal EGUs led to a 28% increase in PM2.5 related to coal SO2 emissions relative to BAU across March-December. The increased emissions compared to BAU possibly due to slower electric power sectors coal consumption reduction in 2020. Our results highlight that COVID-19 intervention observed during and after the lockdowns led to increased EGU emissions and PM2.5 concentrations in 2020.

Lighting Up A Lipid: Fluorescence of Cardiolipin in Estrogen Treatment Conditions

Nadege Lebert, College of Science

A variety of lipid classes play important roles in neuronal structure and function. One of these lipids is cardiolipin, a phospholipid exclusive to the mitochondria and important to processes such as mitophagy and apoptosis through its differential oxidation. Estradiol (E2), a steroid sex hormone, is known to exert antioxidant effects in various cell types. I used confocal microscopy to fluoresce the fluorescent label nonyl acridine orange (NAO) after estrogen treatment or removal in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. Analysis of the fluorescence of cells in these conditions could contribute to understanding of how hormonal changes can impact neural cell health and neurodegeneration.