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.