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ARS Nova Participants

ARS Nova Participants A-L

Maya Addie

Maya Addie '21 & Reche Nelson '21

Title of Research: perspective MINDS
Mentor: Emily Hein

Bio: Maya and Reche are both sophomores in the Ailey/Fordham BFA program. They both started dancing at a very young age, are trained in various styles, and have choreographed multiple works on their peers at home. This is their second time collaborating on a dance project for the ARS Nova Arts & Research Showcase and hope to continue to work together pursuing their dreams as professional dancers and choreographers.

Reche Nelson

Abstract: We wanted to highlight the inner dialogue that is constantly flowing throughout our minds, good and bad. Naturally, we tend to wonder what people think about us and often make decisions based on how we think people will perceive us. While it’s good to have a filter and be mindful of our demeanor and our actions, we should not allow over-analytical and obsessive thoughts to consume us. It will stunt your growth if you are constantly seeking approval from others. It can be challenging to shut off these internal thoughts, but just like the muscles in our bodies we have to train our minds to reject negativity. Each day brings another opportunity to perfect the art of mindfulness and to ground ourselves in our own intuition. Sooner than later, we will realize that everything we aspire to be comes from within. Sooner than later, we will notice a shift in all aspects of our lives positively.

Dancers: Gabby DiNizo & Téa Pérez


Fikir Kilole Aklilu

Fikir Kilole Aklilu '19

Major: Psychology
Title of Research: Cellphones in Motion: Attitudes Towards Texting and Driving and Their Associations with Self-Efficacy and Self-Esteen
Mentor: Mark Mattson

Bio: Fikir Kilole Aklilu is a Senior at FCLC studying Psychology and Marketing. She has a strong interest in the social sciences and hopes to enter into the field of consumer behavior and neuro-marketing research.

Abrtract: The objective of the study was to examine individuals' attitudes to texting and driving behavior. Data has shown that individuals in the United States hold unfavorable attitudes towards texting
and driving, yet distracted driving accounts for a major part of accidents and fatalities. This discrepancy led the researchers to further examine attitudes towards this dangerous health behavior.
In this study, participants were asked about their attitudes regarding texting and driving. Measures that were included in the study examined the relationship between self-esteem (Rosenberg
Self-Esteem Questionnaire) and self-efficacy (General Self-Efficacy Scale) on attitudes regarding texting and driving. The survey also examined the impact of SmartPhones, mobile phones
often characterized by their QWERTY keyboard and data plans, as a factor that may impact attitudes about texting and driving. Pearson correlation tests were run on the sample data and the
results indicated a significantly positive relationship between perceived self-efficacy and confidence in the ability to drive safely while accessing text messages (Question 6), r(162) = 0.18, p =
.02, r2= .03. Results showed a significantly positive relationship between self-esteem and Question 8 (If I do not send/receive text messages when I am driving, I feel as if I am missing important
notifications that I need to be attending to), r(165) = 0.18, p = .02, r2= .03. The results did not show a significantly positive relationship between SmartPhone capabilities and positive attitudes
towards texting and driving as expressed on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, r(165) = . 08, p = .27, r2 = .00, the General Self-Efficacy Scale, r(165) = .03 p = .63, r2 = .00, or Question
7 (I think that it is easy to send/receive text message when driving...), r(165) = .21, p = .00, r2= . 04. Research was pursued in an effort to understand and examine the high rates of texting and
driving behavior in the United States, despite massive public health and federal initiatives like AT&T's It Can Wait Campaign to reduce the staggering rates of fatalities and injuries that result
from texting and driving.


Andrew Haste

Madeline Albanese '20 and Andrew Haste '19Madeline Albanese

Major: Natural Science (Madeline)
Major: Integrative Neuroscience (Andrew)
Title of Research: Interpreting Large-Scale Neural Responses to Cochlear Implant Stimulation in Rodents Using Micro-Electrocorticography
Mentor: Dr. Badr Albanna

Bio: Madeline grew up in Syracuse, New York and is now a junior at Fordham College Lincoln Center studying Natural Science.
Bio: Andrew Haste is a senior Integrative Neuroscience major from Anapolis, MD. He is passionate about research and hopes to get a job in a laboratory setting or the data science field post-graduation before pursuing a Master's or Ph.D.

Abstract: Cochlear implants (a type of auditory neural prosthetic) have the potential to restore the hearing of deaf persons with damaged cochleas. They can significantly increase a patient's hearing ability, but require steep learning curves. Even experienced users have difficulty filtering out background noise and interpreting complex auditory input such as music. However, the understanding of how the auditory system adapts to cochlear implant stimulation is limited and constrains their potential. In this study, we examined micro-electrocorticographic data from the auditory cortex of 54 rodents to compare activity from normal hearing rodents to those implanted with cochlear implants. Rodents implanted with both mECoG arrays and a cochlear implant simultaneously represent a novel animal "double-bionic" rat model for studying the activity induced by cochlear implants. Rodents were stimulated either directly or acoustically in various recording sessions. The data consisted of 326 recording sessions which were organized and documented, and subsequently run through a software package for various analyses including tonotopic mapping, average response per channel, and array evoked potentials. Following a quality appraisal of the rodents' responses, the data was run through spectral analyses and looked at in the context of cross-frequency coupling. We will present preliminary results demonstrating systematic differences between the evoked potential in rodents implanted with the cochlear implant and those with normal hearing.


Michael Appler

Michael Appler '19

Major: American Stuides, Journalism
Title of Research: As Good as You've Been to This World: Racial Performance and the Aesthetics of Blackness and the Blues in the Music of Janis Joplin
Mentors: Shoshana Enelow, James Fisher, Kathryn Reklis, Scott Poulson-Bryant

Bio: Michael Appler is a senior at Fordham University, studying American Studies and Journalism. His work in the American Studies department focuses on racial performance in American popular music and the gender and racial aesthetics of the American blues; outside of Fordham, he is a theater journalist and critic whose writing has appeared in the Village Voice, Variety and The Theatre Times, where he is a regional editor and Broadway critic.

Abstract: When Janis Joplin sang the blues, audiences across the country heard a shocking break of racial and aesthetic boundary. She belonged to a trend in popular music that saw the transformation of traditionally black musical forms, like the American blues and rock n' roll, into an artistic medium dominated by white artists, bathed in the countercultural revolution of the late 1960s. This is a project that analyzes the public discourse over Joplin's music during the first year of her career, roughly from June of 1967 to the release of Cheap Thrills in August of 1968, chronicling a vast debate over racial performance, minstrelsy and changing boundaries of musical-cum-racial aesthetics in American popular music. That so many (white) journalists developed a distinct racial anxiety, a panicked cultural consciousness over Joplin's performance of the blues - many figured her as a minstrel, both positively and negatively, on the pages of America's most read newspapers - signaled a frightening rigidity in the American imagination of race and music. Conversely, many black writers saw in Janis Joplin the thematics of popular cultural plunder. Analyzing this debate as it appeared across the country's media, this project, completed as a part of the honors American Studies thesis program, considers what happens when those American racial boundaries that have buttressed our cultural creations, entwined inevitably with our music, are challenged as Janis Joplin challenged them.


Katrina Aruntunyan, ARS Nova, Student

Katrina Arutunyan '19

Major: Art History
Title of Research: Exploring Design Function and Symbolism in the Round City of Baghdad
Mentor: Maria Ruvoldt

Bio: Katrina was born and raised in New York, frequenting the city's museums from an early age and growing to find a true passion for art history. She has found experience as an intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Islamic Art Department, and currently works as an Operations Manager for an antiques dealing company. After graduation, she will be pursuing a career in museum administration.

Abstract: The purpose of my research was to determine whether the plan for the Round City of Baghdad was based in contemporary understandings of the cosmos. The construction of a new capital was a clear attempt at a display of power that was made by the first Abbasid caliph, Al-Mansur. While most of the research about the city up to this point has been focused on political and anthropological circumstances surrounding its construction, there is far less about practical reasons for its peculiar design. This initially led me to believe that the city's design may have served a more symbolic function than a practical one; that the caliph may have tried to represent a new kind of power (and thus a new caliphate) by constructing a revolutionarily designed city that represented cosmological perfection. I hoped to find evidence to support this reasoning by discovering whether Al-Mansur patronized astrologists in the design of his city, if he explicitly mentioned the structure of the universe when planning it, and whether there were any truly practical reasons for having a round city.
My research consisted mostly of histories of caliph Al-Mansur and his court, documents about construction of the city, and analysis by other art historians and anthropologists about the design's significance. The original hypothesis that the design was inspired by cosmological symbolism found no concrete evidence. However, I was able to uncover a previous round city in Persia that may have served as inspiration for Baghdad, and I was also able to find more evidence for practical reasoning of the design. Though the research was unable to support the thesis of cosmological inspiration, it did not directly contradict it and showed a few examples of Al-Mansur's evocation of symbolism. There was, however, substantial evidence that the unique design of the city served the purpose of military defense.


Shirin Braun

Shirin Braun '19

Major: Sociology
Title of Research: Social Support, Stress, and Familial Caregivers of Alzheimer’s Patients
Mentor: Dr. Matthew Weinshenker

Bio: Shirin Braun is a pre-health student at FCLC. Dedicated to improving the lives of others from a very young age, at 11 years old she found the non-profit "Art 4 Alzheimer's" which has raised thousands of dollars to date to help find a cure for the disease. She hopes to go to physician assistant school after graduation.

Abstract: Previous research on the stress-buffering theory and familial caregivers to Alzheimer’s or dementia patients offered conflicting results on the effectiveness of social support as a moderator for caregiver-stress. I designed this study to explore the stress-buffering effects of specific types of social support from various sources in order to gain some clarity as to which aspects of support are most helpful for relieving the stress of primary caregivers. I hypothesized that 1) tangible support would be the most effective form of social support at buffering caregiver stress, followed by belonging, and then lastly, appraisal support; and 2) that belonging support would be most effective from friends as opposed to family or similar-experience peers. To perform this study, I surveyed and conducted interviews with 5 subjects who I found using a snowball sampling method. The results of my study supported my hypotheses, and shed light onto other factors such as cultural background and financial standing that influence caregivers’ level of social support acceptance, and, thus, level of stress. These findings may be used to help caregivers better understand the impact of their social interactions on their stress and, ultimately, to help them develop more effective coping strategies.


Hongyi Chen

Hongyi Chen '20

Major: Mathematics
Title of Research: A More Efficient Way to Study Respiration Through Motion
Mentor: Dr. David Swinarski

Bio: I was born in China but came to the US when I was 10. I am hoping to start my PHD in mathematics after I graduate.

Abstract: This project is a study of Optoelectronic Plethysmography (abbreviated OEP), in collaboration with Columbia University Medical Center. OEP is a method of measuring respiration using motion capture. In OEP, 8 cameras capture the positions of 89 markers while the subject undergoes an exercise test. OEP is non-invasive, and more natural for studying exercise than other traditional respiration measurement methods. Each of the 89 markers used in OEP have an x, y, and z coordinate, giving us 267 coordinates of data with each test. Unfortunately, this data is expensive to collect. My project is to explore whether we can reduce the number of markers while maintaining accuracy, thus making the system more efficient. In 2017, David Swinarski and Alexander McCauley (FCLC ’17) wrote software to apply a statistical technique called Principal Component Analysis (abbreviated PCA) to distinguish between respiratory and non-respiratory motion. PCA also showed that the data sets can be reconstructed with 99% accuracy from only 20 dimensions, rather than 267 dimensions. Swinarski and McCauley’s work suggests that it may be possible to redesign the system with fewer markers while maintaining the same level of accuracy. I attempt to identify the least and most important markers in the current OEP design and study the effect of removing the least important markers. Reducing the number of markers required for OEP should reduce the total cost of each OEP system (currently $100,000 per system) and thus facilitate more widespread use of OEP as a diagnostic tool in the future.


Emma Childs

Emma Childs '20

Major: New Media and Digital Design
Title of Research: Childs Play Magazine Issue No. 5
Mentor: Dr. Amy Aronson

Bio: Emma Childs grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts before moving to New York to pursue a degree in New Media and Digital Design and a minor in Fashion studies. Emma is the Founder and Creative Director of Childs Play Magazine, a fashion and art publication that focuses on self-expression and provides young creators with the opportunity to collaborate.

Abstract: In Jeanette Winterson’s essay, “Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery,” she elaborates on the freeing capacity of art. Winterson believes that art “coaxes out of us emotions we normally do not feel” (173) and because of this ability, it is one of our world’s most powerful aspects. Art, in all forms, encourages the examination and “breakdown of fellowship, of trust, of community, of communication, of language, of love” and once these have been explored, “we begin to break down ourselves” (109). Winterson’s analysis of art accurately reflects my experience with my own art magazine, Childs Play. Just as Winterson says art can expand the artistic experience and cause self-reflection, I hope to do the same by bringing Childs Play out into the wider world.

With this grant, I will investigate the liberating power that artistic outlets can provide to young college students by including contributors and exploring relevant themes of my generation. I aim to professionalize my amateur magazine by creating a fifth issue that will be used as a pilot when applying for funding so that I may bring Childs Play to market after I graduate in 2020. I will utilize a Squarespace website service to create an online platform that acts as an interactive space for other aspiring artists. With this grant, I will create a professionalized, pilot edition of the magazine, complete with an established mission statement, and a thorough marketing and business plan in order to elevate Childs Play onto the professional realm.

Communication is a fascinating, calculated exchange, and I felt that there was no way Childs Play Magazine could continue to share an abundance of perspectives without examining how and why we share them. Communication is at the inherent core of all of us— in the novels we read, in the way we kiss, or in my case as a young tot, in the way we choose to refrain from speaking all together—and it’s time we explore it. Childs Play Magazine has the potential to become an expressive community for young, achieving artists which will further the identity exploration of my generation and represent the reflective capacity of art that Winterson values.


Lucy Clancy

Lucy Clancy '19

Major: Anthropology
Title of Research: What Extent Does Music Trigger Memories?
Mentor: Dr. Aseel Sawalha

Bio: Lucy Clancy was raised in Dallas, Texas. She is passionate about helping others and has a great love for life, thus she wants to pursue a career in medicine.

Abstract: Music and how it functions with memory has been a favorite topic to study among many researchers. Music is easily interweaved with life and has a special meaning to people. For example, if you listen to a song, you will be carried to another world or back to where you first heard that song and that piece of memory could be unique and triggers a specific memory from your past about that particular song. I researched how music correlates with explicit memories. The results of my research have shown that music has a tremendous effect on the mind.


Abigail Cross

Abigail Cross '19

Major: Integrative Neuroscience
Title of Research: HSP90 inhibitor correction of Niemann-Pick Type C phenotype in cultured mammalian cells
Partners: Nina Pipalia, PhD, Aisha Al-Motawa, and Kunal Garg
Mentor: External Dr. Frederick Maxfield. Internal Dr. Jason Morris

Bio: Abigail Cross is a graduating senior in FCLC's Honors and Integrative Neuroscience programs. Outside of the lab and classroom, she enjoys dancing (primarily ballet and modern dance) and is the costume mistress for the Jetés, Fordham Rose Hill's student ballet company. After graduation, she intends to pursue a career in neuroscience research with a focus on the cellular and molecular bases of neurodegenerative disease.

Abstract: Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC) disease is a genetically inherited lysosomal storage disorder that is phenotypically characterized by lysosomal accumulation of cholesterol. The majority of human cases of NPC disease are caused by mutations in the NPC1 gene, which codes for a lysosomal membrane protein of the same name that is necessary for the export of cholesterol from lysosomes. Previous work in the Maxfield lab has shown that the mutant NPC1 protein is functional if properly localized to the lysosome in the most common NPC1 mutation, I1061T. Therefore, one of the major targets for potential NPC therapies is manipulating the trafficking of the NPC1 protein to the lysosome. The current project involves testing the effects of inhibiting HSP90 (Heat Shock Protein 90, a molecular chaperone) with small molecule inhibitors in cultured NPC human skin fibroblasts. We have found that HSP90 inhibitor treatment: partially corrected the cholesterol accumulation phenotype, increased measurable levels of both the HSP70 (Heat Shock Protein 70) and NPC1 proteins, and increased lysosomal localization of the NPC1 protein in some conditions. This data supports the hypothesis that HSP70 is chaperoning (increasing the stability of) NPC1, and therefore facilitating NPC1’s lysosomal localization.


Lydia Culp

Lydia Culp '19

Major: Philosophy and Political Science
Title of Research: Free Speech: A Natural, Positive, and Societal Right
Mentor: Fr. Christopher Cullen

Bio: Lydia Culp is passionate about people, and has found a fulfilling outlet for this passion in her studies of philosophy and political science. After graduation, Lydia will enter the working world before beginning law school.

Abstract: In today’s America, some say free speech is under attack. Many feel that political correctness has eclipsed their right to speak. Meanwhile, others suggest that those who bemoan the ideal of political correctness simply dislike the newfound accountability for their words. This debate raises the question of whether individuals should maintain their legal right to free speech. If words can be “weaponized,” as some in public discourse claim, then should the government regulate speech as it does other weapons? To answer this question, it is important to consider whether free speech is a natural right or simply a legal privilege in some jurisdictions. If it were a natural right, then regulating free speech would be, some might suggest, oppressive. In my research, I address the questions of whether free speech is a natural right, and the role of the government in protecting it. I employ the Federalist Papers to discuss the founders’ intent for free speech and the role of the American government as it relates to this right. Then, I draw upon the works of John Locke, Aristotle, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Richard Hooker to discuss the natural and positive right of free speech. The founders and the aforementioned philosophers provide for my conclusions. First, governments must protect our natural rights through creating positive rights. Furthermore, rationality is distinct of human beings and the means of achieving our purpose in a virtuous life. Finally, the freedom to speak is both a fundamental right and a practical solution to societal divisions.


Noelle Curtis-Joseph

Noelle Curtis-Joseph '19

Major: Natural Science
Title of: Research: A General Approach Toward the Construction of Chromenes, Coumarins, and Flavanones
Mentor: Dr. Martin Di Grandi

Bio: Noelle is Rhode Island native who moved to New York to pursue a bachelors degree in Natural Science

Abstract: Background: Chromenes, coumarins, and flavanones, broad categories of aromatic heterocycles commonly found in natural products, are known to have a wide variety of biological activity. Our group has interest in Calanolide A and 6,8-Diprenylaromadendrin, two natural products possessing anti-HIV activity. Purpose: Our interest in these compounds led us to propose a tandem palladium-catalyzed cyclization sequence—a one-pot conversion that combines a Suzuki coupling with a Tsuji-Trost allylation reactions, that putatively would allow access to these cores in short order. The advantages of this proposal are a) relatively short but flexible synthetic sequences, b) potentially mild reaction conditions, and c) a broad tolerance for a wide variety of functional groups. Results: With preliminary data supporting the feasibility of the proposed tandem cyclization reaction, work has focused on improving the reaction conditions. In particular, we were able to improve the synthesis of the requisite Z vinyl halide and broaden the scope of the reacting partners. Future plans will explore the necessity of the Z stereochemistry of the alkene.


Matthew Di Vitto

Matthew Salvatore Di Vitto '20

Major: Environmental Science
Title of Research: Plant species composition of riparian buffer zones with differing ecosystem characteristics
Mentor: Dr. Mark Botton

Bio: Matthew Di Vitto was grew up in Pelham, New York. Upon moving to Fordham, he began studying ecology and natural science. He hopes to become an environmentalist and establish a career performing research to advance sustainable initiatives.

Abstract: In this biodiversity study, I investigated the composition of flowering plants in two riparian buffer zones at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Tarrytown, NY throughout the month of June 2018. The two areas (Woodland Pond and Bowl Pasture) span a total of approximately 2.11 hectares. Weekly data collection included the species of plants observed and the relative abundance in which they grew. Measure of relative abundance was
compiled under the family to which it belonged. Using this information, the success of each family between the two buffers was compared by species richness and relative growth density. A family’s success was found to be dependent on a number of ecosystem characteristics such as the intensity of sunlight, vicinity to a water source, flow rate of the water source, history of animal grazing, and a combination of such factors that determined the “invasibility” of each area by non
native species. Limitations include the fact that I only studied one of each specific type of ecosystem. I believe that I could better ascertain the trends in species composition between pastures and woodlands if I had observed multiples of each. In addition, some of the plants that I identified were likely planted for an aesthetic or other functional purposes. While this would not limit my determination of the success a species within its environment, it does impact my comparison of invasibility between buffers.


Nicole Drepaul

Nicole Drepaul '19

Major: Early Applicant of Masters of Ethics Program and Communications
Title of Research: Environmental Conservation in The Era of Ineffective Governance: How to Implement Environmental Conservation Laws in Brazil?
Mentors: Dr. Timothy Kittel, PHD in Ecology, Columbia University: The Earth Institute: Summer Ecosystems for Undergraduates and Dr. Thomas McCourt, PHD related to Communications and Media Studies, Fordham University

Bio: Nicole Drepaul is a rising student in the Master of Arts and Science Ethics Program
and Matriculated in her Undergraduate Studies in Communications and Economics. She has
previously participated in research related to plant biology and marine, land, and forest
ecological studies within regions such as Bermuda, Colorado, and Brazil. She was granted as one
of the finalist articles in Fordham Undergraduate Research Journal.

Abstract: How can society implement conservation laws in eras of ineffective governance? Research has often been used to support the application of environmental laws by the government. However, in eras of dysfunctional or ineffective governance, alternative perspectives on their implementation may be required. I propose new conservation approaches that are necessary for future generations to implement, strengthen, and improve conservation laws or efforts in eras of poor governance. In doing so, I suggest that good governance may be achieved through non-conventional means involving other bodies: environmental police forces, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), media, and educational and research facilities. Brazil offers a case study for the promotion, implementation and enforcement of conservation laws. This case study addresses the following questions: How does good governance protect the environmental resources of Brazilian communities, and what are its successes and failures? Keywords: governance, environment, environmental policy, environmental law, conservation, environmental resources of Brazilian communities, and what are its successes and failures?


Audrey Fenter

Audrey Fenter '19

Major: Visual Arts
Title of Research: Natural Runaways: Showing Up for Our National Parks
Mentor: Carleen Sheehan

Bio: Audrey Fenter is grew up outside of Boston, and moved to New York to pursue an education in Film/Video. She has driven over 20,000 miles across the USA over the past two years, using landscapes and climate change as the central theme to her work. Post graduation, Audrey hopes to find her niche creating meaningful digital content for a record label or creative agency somewhere in the beautiful USA.

Abstract
In my sophomore year of college, I took two road trips with three of my best friends. The first was 5,000 miles during spring break, down to south Texas, up through New Mexico and Colorado, then back to NYC. The second was 8,000 miles across the northern half of the country from NYC to Cupertino, CA. During these trips, I was unintentionallyiInspired. I went out on the road just to experience the great outdoors that I’d only seen in photographs. I did not expect to become enamored of the land. I did not expect to become a tree hugger in the process. But I did. So, my friends and I dedicated 2018 to finding a way to communicate Our message to as many people as possible. Here’s our message:

The climate is undeniably in danger. The meta-problems our environment faces, like glacial melt, global warming, and dying species are hard to consider from an individual standpoint. It all seems bigger than us, sure. Maybe we feel detached. Maybe we’re voting in representatives that don’t make changes to the big problem. But you, and all your friends, are part of the problem. Is your iPhone charger plugged in at home right now? Did you bring a reusable cup to Starbucks today? Did you uber home last night? In spring 2019, natural runaways will show you the landscapes that the United States was built on and make sure you, and all your friends, become tree huggers too.


Katherine Greenberg

Katherine Greenberg '19

Major: Psychology
Title of Research: Examining Dissonance-Induced Memory Distortion
Mentor: Dr. Karen Siedlecki

Bio: Katherine Greenberg is a current senior at Fordham University, pursuing a career in forensic psychology. She currently works as an intern at a forensic case management organization, and hopes to attend graduate school to obtain her PhD. Her research interests include memory distortion, neurological functioning, criminogenic needs, and personality disorders.

Abstract: Cognitive dissonance is a well-known phenomenon occurring when an individual’s thoughts, actions, and beliefs are inconsistent. While the phenomenon itself has been empirically established, there is little research on the factors that impact one’s likelihood to experience cognitive dissonance, and its influence on memory. Extending previous research by Rodriguez and Strange (2013), the present study examined cognitive dissonance-induced memory distortion. Participants (N = 37), who were against the death penalty, were asked to answer questions regarding their opinion of the death penalty during session one, and, during session two, were asked to write a counter-attitudinal essay (e.g., in favor of the death penalty) before repeating the day-one questionnaire from memory. In addition, participants' scores on the Big Five Aspect Scale, Right Wing Authoritarianism Scale, Preference for Consistency Scale, Sense of Self Scale, and Levenson's Psychopathy Checklist were assessed to determine any potential factors that could affect one's likelihood to experience cognitive dissonance or memory distortion. The presence of cognitive dissonance was confirmed, (t(17) = 2.25, p < .05), such that those who wrote in favor of the death penalty experienced cognitive dissonance compared to those who wrote against the death penalty. However, there was no evidence for the presence of memory distortion due to cognitive dissonance. Additional results showed that experiencing cognitive dissonance was negatively correlated with the openness facet of the Big Five personality questionnaire (r(15) = -.55, p < .05). While the present study does not confirm the link between memory distortion and cognitive dissonance, the results indicate a connection between personality factors and cognitive dissonance.


Sarah Grace Houston

Sarah Grace Houston '20

Major: Computer Science and Mathematics plus Dance
Title of Research: Persist
Partners: Rebecca Light, Morgan McDaniel, Alison Welch, Samara Steele, Lauryn Masciana, Katarina Smith, Ashley Simpson, Elizabeth Weinstein
Mentor: Andrew Clark

Bio: Sarah Grace Houston grew up in Dallas, Texas and is a part of the Fordham/Ailey BFA program while also pursuing a joint major in Computer Science/Mathematics. She has always loved choreography and any story-telling medium, and she hopes to one day choreograph for Broadway.

Abstract: Pursuing a dream is always a harrowing task. The fear of failure is ever present, sometimes even when it seems as though you have already achieved your goal and all your fears should be behind you. “Persist” is about being inspired to go after a goal and the journey that inspiration can take you on. The piece mainly highlights the emotional strength it takes to achieve get what you want and how that comes from within and without.

“Persist” served as a way for me to look back on the ways my own dreams and aspirations changed the path of my life and never really went the way I thought they would. At first, the piece was just about my goal to get into the Ailey/Fordham BFA program. But then, as the plot of the piece unfolded, I found that the second section came from my own journey in Computer Science where I was out of my element but asking for help helped exponentially. Allowing yourself to ask for and receive help is always more beneficial than struggling to do everything on your own out of pride and turned out to be a big part on the path of helping my dreams become reality. The emotional strength it takes to go after something (the drive, the discipline, the work ethic, and trying to keep the dream alive) is always increased and often easier to maintain when supported on the journey.


Stephen Howard

Stephen Howard '20

Major: Natural Science
Title of Research: SODs are Here!
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Grace Vernon ad Dr. Mary Hamilton

Bio: I grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut and came to Fordham University as a Natural Science major to pursue a career in medicine. My concentration is in Organismal Biology and I have an interest in Classical Civilization, which is my minor. I am looking to go to medical school and become a physician, seeking to benefit the lives of others.

Abstract: Superoxide Dismutases (SODs) are enzymes that effectively alter reactive oxygen species and play a significant role in innate immune systems. We studied SODs in the hemocytes of Homarus americanus (American Lobster). Past experiments revealed the presence of SOD 1, a copper zinc SOD, and SOD 2, a manganese SOD, in the cytosol of lobster hemocytes. One objective of this research project was to find and develop methods of locating SODs using confocal microscopy. A second objective was to study the comigration of SODs with hemocyanin. We did this by extracting the hemocytes from the ventral sinus of the lobster. We implemented cellular experiments and biochemical experiments, enabling us to localize these enzymes. In doing so, we were able to localize SOD 1 and SOD 2 using immunofluorescence techniques in conjunction with confocal microscopy. We concluded that SOD 1 and SOD 2 are in the cytosol granules of the hemocytes, and that the SODs are bound to the hemocyanin in the hemolymph.


Brielle Intorcia

Brielle Intorcia '20

Major: Environmental Science
Title of Research: Airborne Pollen Collected by Gravity Trap Yields Similar Results to Volumetric Method
Mentor: Dr. Guy Robinson

Bio: Brielle Intorcia grew up in Staten Island and moved to Manhattan to pursue an education at Fordham University. She hopes to use her research experience in Environmental Science to break new ground in public health. She plans to attend medical school after her gap year.

Abstract: In the New York City (NYC) region, airborne pollen is abundant mainly from the beginning of March through the end of October. 20 years of daily air sampling using a volumetric Burkard Spore Trap have shown that each pollen taxon will typically appear, rise to a peak and then decline at a characteristic time each year. However, little is known about how the amount of pollen or its taxonomic composition varies across the region. The question is of public health interest.

For the entire 2014 pollen season, Shaikh and colleagues studied pollen deposition across NYC’s 5 boroughs by deployment of 45 modified Tauber Traps (non-volumetric gravity samplers) on light poles at 2.5 meters above street level, a height relevant to human health. Sites were chosen at random among those used in the NYC Community Air Survey. Preliminary results register a real and substantial variability of allergenic pollen influx over NYC

To compare methods, we deployed two additional Tauber Traps, one alongside the Burkard Trap operated by Fordham University at our campus on 60th Street in midtown, the other at Fordham’s Calder Biological Station in Armonk.

We found a broad correlation between the spectrum of pollen types registered by the Burkard Trap at 60th Street and by the Tauber Trap located alongside it. Both recorded Mulberry and Oak as the major types, followed by Sycamore and a range of lesser taxa. We had similar results at Armonk, where Oak and Birch were the major types.


Nevin Kelly-Fair

Nevin Kelly-Fair '19

Major: English
Title of Research: American Dolls: A Short Film
Partners: Drewy Disalvo, Kat Wanger, David Moses, Grant Lowenstein, Mana Pinto, Joe Scanlon
Mentor: Mark Street

Bio: Nevin Kelly-Fair is a graduating senior at FCLC, who is pursuing his dream of writing and directing films. During his time at Fordham he co-founded the filmmaking club, took a short film he made to Cannes International Film Festival, interned for acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky, and created a program for young filmmakers at IFP, the largest and oldest not-for-profit dedicated to independent film.

Abstract: American Dolls: A Short Film is a senior thesis film that is an experiment in form and function, a reflection of relationships past, and an amazing time I had with friends and family over the past year. Subtitled Zoe and James , it is a romantic comedy that becomes a horror film. David Moses stars as James, an unsure introvert who is swept away by Zoe, played by Kat Wanger. What starts out as a perfect daydream romance turns into a nightmare, as James and Zoe are forced to face their demons and come to term with them. Researching for a short film is very different than other mediums, as research is rooted in the experience of creation. Research becomes words in the script, lessons learned on set, edits, re-shoots, and learning how to keep morale always high. From losing funding, to casting actors, to recording original music, to all the other aspects involved in making a film, I experienced it all, and in doing so researched how to do it better for the next one – and believe me, there will be many more!


James Kenna

James Kenna '19

Major: Theatre
Title of Research: Italian Rose
Mentor: Dawn Saito

Bio: James Kenna is an FCLC senior graduating Cum Laude in May. He has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, Equity Regional Theatres, and across New York City--frequently at the 52nd Street Project where he is a regular volunteer and a former playmaking associate. He is currently developing a solo show on growing up and a contemporized adaption of Beowulf, he is looking forward to being an Education Intern with Steppenwolf Theatre this summer.

Abstract: Italian Rose is a solo show accompanied by an assembly for young adults to encourage self-driven pursuits and increase accessibility to creative ventures. Utilizing interviews, archival research, and workshops Italian Rose was devised and workshopped the show/assembly--which is approaching a final iteration. The play follows a generation of New Jersey Italian-Americans as they explore fulfillment, essentialism, and the scope of life. The play was created with a repeatable structure, much like the scientific method, transposable across creative mediums. The assembly takes the core idea of creating with structure to provide young people with tools and confidence to pursue their own creative endeavors. With an emphasis on process over product, the assembly—by merit of creating a solo show in eight weeks—demystifies the creative process and gives an honest structure to follow. This project sprung from the lack of government funding of the arts within public schools, the initiative for artists to foster the growth of the next generation, and the immense power young people wield as the creative leaders of tomorrow.


Megan Leary

Megan Leary '19

Major: Psychology
Title of Research: The Impact of Structured After-School Activities on At Risk Middle School Students’ Social Learning Skills
Partner: Neshat Yazdani
Mentor: Karen Siedlecki

Bio: Megan Leary is a Connecticut native who is currently a graduating psychology major at FCLC. Leary hopes to continue on in her educational career post graduation to be a pediatric psychologist.

Abstract: After-school programs are known primarily as a place to occupy children at school while parents may still be at work. However many recent studies have shown that these programs can aid students with both academic success and social learning skill building. These programs are a place where students are able to continue their learning in a different way outside the classroom, but still in a structured and motivational setting. A recent meta-analysis showed that after-school programs that are conducted with an adult leader in an after-school setting leads to an increase in social skills improvement (Durlak, Weissberg, & Pachan, 2010). The current study will use the DASH Project Achieve data set, which is comprised of longitudinal data on a group of 784 students in Texas who were categorized as academically “at risk” prior to enrollment in kindergarten. The purpose of this study is further examine the relationship between participation in after-school programs and social learning skills in children who are attending middle school, with a specific focus on type of afterschool program (structured versus unstructured).

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