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ARS Nova Participants

ARS Nova Participants M-Z

Kaur Mandeep

Kaur Mandeep '20

Major: Natural Science and Sociology
Title of Research: Righting and Burrowing Behavior of Juvenile Crabs in Different Sand Substrate
Mentor: Dr. Mark L. Botton

Bio: Kaur Mandeep, born and raised in rural Punjab of India, was exposed to differing economic and social disparities that ultimately led her to her interest in the medical field. She came to the U.S. with the desire to make a difference and applied herself to both medical and non-medical volunteer services, constantly immersing herself in different aspects of medicine, such as optometry, emergency medicine, and primary care. As an aspiring optometrist, she hopes to apply the skill she learns in her research to give back to her community.

Abstract: We conducted a laboratory study to understand if the burrowing and righting behavior of crabs can explain the distribution of juvenile Limulus at Plumb Beach (Brooklyn, NY). Righting and burrowing behavior of eighteen juvenile horseshoe crabs (average prosoma width=43.2 mm) was observed in aquaria (36 x 22 cm) with 5 L of artificial sea water and 2 cm of either coarse (> 2 mm) or fine (250 μm) sand. For the righting experiments, each animal was placed in an aquarium with either no sand, coarse sand, or fine sand. To begin, the juvenile Limulus was placed upside down in the aquarium and timed until it righted. A trial was terminated if the crab failed to right within 5 min. For the burrowing experiments, the crab was placed right side up on either coarse or fine sand, and timed until it burrowed to its lateral eyes. The treatment order in both experiments was randomly selected using Randbetween in Excel and each treatment was run in triplicate. Results indicated 92.6% success rate in burrowing in fine sand compared to 24.1% success rate in coarse sand. The righting success of Limulus was the same (33.3%) in both coarse and fine sand, but no crabs were able to right themselves in the absence of sand. Juvenile Limulus are vulnerable to predation, and the ability to burrow quickly is advantageous. Most juvenile crabs at Plumb Beach are found on fine sand, which is consistent with the findings of our laboratory burrowing experiments.


Michael Migliaro

Michael Migliaro '20

Major: Natural Sciences
Title of Research: Literary Review of Epigenetic Biomarkers of Air Pollution Exposure (Focus on Time Path of biomarker response)
Mentor: Dr. Martin Digrandi

Bio: Michael Migliaro is from Brooklyn, New York. He studies the Natural Sciences and hopes to go to medical school one day and focus on orthopedics and sports medicine. His research involves analyzing different air pollutant exposure biomarkers and the impact the exposure has on our short term health.

Abstract: A biomarker is a measurable substance in an organism whose presence is indicative of some phenomenon such as disease, infection, or environmental exposure. By using these biomarkers, it is possible to analyze the impact of environmental exposures, such as air pollution, on humans and see how long it takes for a biological response to occur. By reviewing multiple scientific pieces of literature, which use different biomarkers for use in air pollution epidemiology studies, it will be possible to assess which biomarkers can be used to analyze short-term air pollution exposures. By gathering this data, it is possible to find new ways of collecting data on environmental air pollution exposure by having substances to measure post-exposure to air pollution.


Luke Momo

Luke Momo '19

Major: Philosophy
Title of Research: The Water Man NYC
Mentor: Mark Street

Bio: Luke Momo grew up in Princeton before moving to New York to pursue a degree in Philosophy and a minor in Visual Arts-Film. He is an award-winning filmmaker who founded the successful filmmaking club at Fordham Lincoln Center. He hopes to continue making films after graduation.

Abstract: As a young filmmaker and artist, I set out to make a film meditating on what being ‘Men and Women for Others’ means, given the slogans’ emphasis in our Fordham education. I wondered: could such a film be made? If it were, what form would it take? Would it have a script, actors, and a beginning, middle, and end? Or would it be a documentary that makes grand, definitive and all-encompassing statements? Ultimately, I had to abandon all of those pre-existing cinematic structures and make a ‘living’ film like no other person has done before. I had always been emotionally sensitive to the homeless I encountered in New York City. I saw them as oppressed, and in need of love and care. So, I decided to set out to find one particular person who could embody their struggle and do so with such memorable kind-heartedness that ultimately I discovered Victor Hill- the subject of the film. “The Water Man” is his nickname, and he is a real-life superhero that spends his days going through the subways looking to give suffering people water to drink or to raise money by selling through the sale of water. This film is a testament to his humanity and the spirit he bears for others. I believe through contemplating his situation, one may grow on their journey about learning how to be “Men and Women for Others”.


Sultana Morioum

Sultana Morioum '19

Major: Integrative Neuroscience (Cell and Molecular Concentration)
Title of Research: Synthesis and Toxicity of Cellulose- Processing Ionic Liquids
Mentor: Marie Thomas & Alma-Rodenas Ruano

Bio: Sultana Morioum is a native Brooklynite that plans to pursue a career in the medical field. After graduation, she plans to work as a medical assistant in a rehabilitation center before applying to medical school. In her free time, she loves watching cartoons and going sky-diving.

Abstract: Cellulose is the most abundant organic compound on Earth. It can be processed into materials that are bio friendly alternatives to non-degradable materials such as plastic, films etc. However, this requires the breaking down of cellulose’s rigid structure. Few solvents are capable of dissolving this polysaccharide without causing harm to the environment. Ionic liquids (IL's) are non-volatile organic salts that can achieve this readily. While some chemists regard ionic liquids as an eco-friendly alternative, this claim is still unclear, particularly in regard to their impact on water ecosystems. Our aim is to assess the validity of IL's being "green solvents," by testing their toxicity on the aquatic species Zebrafish (Danio rerio). Herin is reported the synthesis and purification of two types of ionic liquids that can dissolve cellulose: 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride (C6mim+/Cl-) and 1 allyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride (amim+/Cl-). We assess the efficiency of using both conventional bench-top and microwave methods. Microwave methods proved to be the most efficient with a ninety-two percent yield of amim+/Cl- after purification. We also tested their impact on the viability of zebrafish. Zebrafish were exposed to various IL concentrations and lethality assays were done over a four-day period. Preliminary data shows that the largest amount of zebrafish viability within IL concentrations were lower than 30mg/L.


Samantha Norman

Samantha Norman '19

Major: Art History
Title of Research: The Future is Our Domain: The Arts of Action and Interruption in Contemporary Art Institutions
Mentor: Dr. Glenn Hendler

Bio: Sam (she/they) is an art worker, documentary filmmaker, and art historian. She co-organizes a reading group on Palestine and has been involved in student efforts to promote campus free speech, sexual health and reproductive justice for women and LGBTQIA+ students. Sam is currently pursuing a certificate in Documentary Studies at Duke University in Durham, NC.

Abstract: I began this project in early 2018 with the goal of making a documentary film that explored the sociopolitical climate of fine arts in the United States by consulting museum curators, artists, museum executives, museum-goers, and most vitally, the many individuals historically and systemically cast out of contemporary canon(s). Ironically, I was denied access to curators, artists, and board executives.

I have since reoriented my research into a collaborative film and oral history project, centering community organizers, non-artist activists, and public-facing artists in and around New York City. This project aims to collect and anthologize commentary on the power structures that buttress Contemporary art and its market, beginning with questions of access to art and the museums that house it in the greater New York City area. Such commentary and history come in the form of still-materializing labor unions of art workers, community-based collectives protesting gentrification and displacement, and public interventions into the philanthropy of contemporary “robber-barons” who profit from prison labor, weapons manufacturing, environmental degradation, and the healthcare and opioid addiction crises. The histories of protest, liberation, and decolonization in the capital of the art world are presently unfolding. This project cannot yet be complete. In its current stages, resources and interviews are transcripted and compiled for free, open-access web release.


Carolyn Ogden

Carolyn Ogden '20

Major: Mathematics
Title of Research: Binomial Degenerations and their Applications to the Geometry of Ribbons
Mentor: Dr. David Swinarski

Bio: Carolyn Ogden, Cici for short, is a junior from Tampa Florida. She is a member of the Lincoln Center Honors Program and a Clare Boothe Luce Scholar. She is working towards a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics, and hopes to work in the non profit sector after graduation.

Abstract: Algebraic geometry has been a prominent field of study since the 19 th century. Its primary concentration is on the study of algebraic varieties : geometric representations of the solutions or set of zeroes, to a system of polynomial equations. One of the most prominently studied type of varieties are Riemann Surfaces. They have become especially important in recent years because of their role in the study of string theory.. These surfaces also contain a complex structure, which is a set of rules for doing calculus with complex numbers on them. What’s more, these complex structures are not unique; there are an infinite number of complex structures for a surface with at least one hole. One of the most interesting ways to study Riemann Surfaces is to observe how they change as you change their complex structure. Another important way to study Riemann Surfaces is by looking at their degenerations: related surfaces with simpler equations.For example, in his 2015 paper Dr. Swinarski and his team studied a degeneration called the Balanced Ribbon, and its syzygies in order to learn about the geometric invariant theory (GIT) stability of canonically embedded Riemann Surfaces. The first major paper in this field was written in the late 90’s by Bayer and Eisenbud, who developed the idea of using the syzygies of a ribbon to study the syzygies of a Riemann Surface. They showed that Riemann Surfaces and ribbons of the same genus have the same number of syzygies. However, those syzygies have never been fully described.


Luke Osborn

Luke Osborn '21

Major: Integrative Neuroscience
Title of Research: Ionic Liquids as Antimicrobial Surfaces
Mentor: Dr. Marie Thomas

Bio: Luke Osborn moved from Connecticut to New York to pursue a degree in Neuroscience and his love of chemistry. He envisions going to medical school after graduating Fordham in hopes of becoming a research physician. He also dabbles in journalism.

Abstract: Ionic liquids are “greener” solvents that have melting points below 100 degrees Celsius and very low vapor pressures. Certain ionic liquids have shown antimicrobial properties. We synthesized seven quaternary ammonium salts (QAS), which may be ionic liquids, to test their antimicrobial abilities when incorporated into polymers. These QASs had a 1,4-diazabicyclo[2.2.2]octane (DABCO) head, an alkyl chain, and a halide counter ion. We hypothesized salts with longer alkyl chains would have more of an antimicrobial effect than shorter chains. This is consistent with published reports regarding materials of this type, so we varied the length of the alkyl chain from seven to sixteen carbons. Preliminary data suggests that polymer surfaces which incorporated a DABCO salt with a chain length of twelve carbons were most effective in inhibiting the growth of Escherichia coli. However, long reaction times were required for reasonable yields of these QASs. In this report, we discuss the synthesis of these compounds and strategies for increasing the yield, while decreasing the reaction time.


Lauren Pagano

Lauren Pagano '19

Major: Dance
Title of Research: Widdershins
Partner: Sarah Grace Houston
Mentor: Emily Hein

Bio: Lauren Pagano grew up in South Florida, and graduated from Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts as a dance major. She currently is a senior in Fordham College at Lincoln Center and will be graduating this May with a double major in dance and history.

Abstract: The title of our work is titled Widdershins. The word means to move counter clockwise. The word is quite emblematic of our work in the investigation of paradigms, and things that exist “counterclockwise” or rather counter to the expectations we have subconsciously designed for them. Through this dance, we will investigate movement in atypical fashions and work to break molds that have been built within the dance community that deign what is “serious dance” and what is not. Moving counterclockwise to the expectations thrust upon us.


Casey Parham

Casey Parham '19

Major: African and African American Studies
Title of Research: "Mood Indigo": Examining Black Women's Mental Health Through the Eyes of Nina Simone
Mentor: Dr. Amir Idris

Bio: Casey Parham is a senior studying African and African American Studies at Fordham University. Parham’s passion for black history and personal experiences with her own mental health allowed for this project to come to fruition. Parham plans to attend graduate school in the future and dreams of becoming a full-fledged scholar.

Abstract: Mental illness in the black community in America has been a largely contested issue, as a large stigma against mental health exists in the black community. Statistics show that African Americans are 20% more likely to have psychological distress or mental health issues than adult whites. The intersectional experience of the black woman, however, only permits these numbers to increase. With less access to mental health services, the issue of mental health has become an area of discourse that I wanted to further examine. For my project, I chose to focus on Nina Simone, who provided music to the Civil Rights Movement and who also lived with depression and bipolar disorder. By using Simone as my focus, I was able to further research and examine the ways in which black women’s mental health is understood and how Simone and her struggles with mental health were treated both during and after her life. For the longest time, Simone had been left out of narratives surrounding the Civil Rights Movement and jazz history. While this has changed in recent years, Simone did still experience a moment of scrutiny, which I believe is related to her mental health and the ways in which her mental health often became the focus of how people constructed their opinions of her. In the end, I was able to further shed light on the mental health stigma that exists in the black community and provide new ways that black women’s mental health can be understood and treated.


Billy Recce

Billy Recce '19

Major: Theatre
Title of Research: The Perks of Being a Snowflake - Making Satire Through Song
Mentor: Matthew Maguire

Bio: Billy Recce is a senior in the playwriting program. Fordham writing credits include The Charlatans (Book, Music and Lyrics), Wally Weasel’s G.O.P. Jamboree! (Book, Music and Lyrics), These Missing Parts (Composer) and Shadows (Orchestration/Arrangement). Off-Broadway: A Musical About Star Wars (Music and Lyrics), NEWSical (Additional Musical Material) Various writing credits include: Balloon Boy: The Musical (NYMF’s Youngest Ever Writer at 17, The Green Room 42 New Writer’s Series), Songs To Pop Balloons To: The Music of Billy Recce (York Theatre Company), and HAPPY(Kennedy Center). His Snowflake Songbook series has played at Feinstein’s/54 Below, The Metropolitan Room, The Green Room 42, and The Duplex. He is the recipient of a 2018 MAC Award, a 2017 NEO Award, a VSA Playwright Discovery Award and the Thespian Musicalworks Award. Please visit billyrecce.com.

Abstract: Making Satire Through Song “The Perks of Being A Snowflake” began as a research-based dive not only into satirical song-making, but a rich learning experience in writing and producing an album. With no prior experience in the field—save for having songs written, orchestrated and previously performed live—I gathered my merry band of snowflakes (as I call my collaborators), and headed to a recording studio on Long Island, creating a musical kaleidoscope of comedy songs and touching ballads, all deeply rooted in political and social critiques. Through this experience, I gained both
a fantastic marketing tool for myself as a writer (with a gloriously silly and colorful illustration for the cover), and the knowledge that a high quality recording can be made and distributed on a small budget. Now available on all music platforms—including iTunes and Spotify—“The Perks of Being a Snowflake” will begin my career as a songwriter in a physically manifested way that simply putting on shows never could have. In short, concerts disappear, but albums are forever. The 11 songs—performed by 8 singers and 9 musicians— has instantly achieved, at the very least, a forever statues all thanks to Fordham.


MaryBeth Rodgers

MaryBeth Rodgers '21

Major: Dance and Economics
Title of Research: Las Naranjas
Partners: Leila Bershad, Kate Mantyh, Mollie Petrizzo, Roxanne Potes, Lauren Frances Wood
Mentor: Sevin Yaraman

Bio: MaryBeth Rodgers, a Jersey native, has always seen the world through the lense of movement, and after being inspired by Swan Lake at age three, took to rigorous dance training including the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program. Her experience with JUNTOSCollective has allowed her to perform and teach workshops to young people in Mexico where she sees their own creativity and inspiration be unlocked. She will be traveling to Guatemala with JUNTOS in June.

Abstract: I choreographed “Las Naranjas” after traveling Oaxaca, Mexico with JUNTOSCollective, a nonprofit that works to create unity through movement by recruiting BFA students to teach workshops and perform for underserved communities internationally and domestically, primarily at hospitals, foster homes, and youth programs. The five dancers in the cast start as a disjointed bunch, but learn to work together throughout the piece while finding their own voices and sharing the space with each other. It is a pattern that I found in Oaxaca as young students learned to let loose and explore movement as a confidence builder. After one event at an after-school music program, the students were gracious enough to offer all the JUNTOS participants oranges while they performed music they had been working on. Being able to present different art forms that day was incredibly inspiring, and is one small example of the unity that comes from teaching and learning from others.


Stephanie Sabido

Stephanie Sabido '21

Major: Natural Science
Title of Research: Engineering a UAS-fried-V5 transgene for phenotypic analysis and rescue of fried
Partner: Milana Stein
Mentor: Dr. Jason Morris

Bio: Stephanie Sabido grew up nearby in Staten Island before attending Fordham to study natural science. She is particularly interested in the cell and molecular field of research. A member of the 2021 Honors Program, Stephanie aspires to continue her education through medical school after graduation.

Abstract: The Drosophila melanogaster fried gene was previously identified as the CG31320 gene that encodes the 845 amino acid HEATR2 protein (Diggle, Morris). Drosophila fried mutants exhibit varied phenotypes such as darkening of the trachea, precocious wandering, larval arrest, and death within 7 day after egg deposition. To correlate rescue of fried phenotypes with expression in particular tissues, we engineered a UAS-fried transgene with a V5 tag using a donor 9kb plasmid, LRPCR of fried, and insertion of fried sequence into the donor plasmid via Gibson cloning to produce pUAS-fried. UAS-fried-V5 are currently being injected into the fly embryos, and the transgene will be incorporated into the germline to produce a strain of UAS-fried-V5 flies. It is predicted that the HEATR2 protein’s subcellular localization will be determined after our transgenic flies are crossed to several strains of flies with different tissue specific expression of Gal4. Gal4 will bind to the UAS sequence and activate transcription of the UAS-fried-V5 sequence in all the tissues where Gal4 is expressed. We will then correlate the rescue of the various fried mutant phenotypes with expression of the transgene. In addition to the UAS-fried-V5 experiments, we briefly discuss other current and future directions for this project.


Thomas Sandoval

Thomas Sandoval '19

Major: Natural Science
Title of Research: RAD51B is not essential for cell survival but promotes homologous recombination in human mammary epithelial cells
Mentors: Dr. Rohit Prakash and Dr. Maria Jasin

Bio: Born and raised on Long Island, Thomas Sandoval is pursuing a major in Natural Science with a concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology on the Pre-Med track. After Thomas completes his undergraduate studies this spring, he plans to spend a year continuing to research DNA double strand break repair by homologous recombination in Dr. Maria Jasin’s laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center while applying to medical school. Thomas hopes to one day unite his love for medicine and research into a meaningful career centered around providing quality care for his patients.

Abstract: Homologous recombination (HR) is a major pathway for the accurate repair of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) in mammalian cells. HR machinery includes BRCA2 and five canonical RAD51 paralogs (RAD51B, RAD51C, RAD51D, XRCC2, and XRCC3), which are critical for stable assembly of RAD51 onto single-stranded DNA, an important intermediate for homologous strand invasion. Although RAD51 paralogs were identified two decades ago, we still do not know the specific functions of the five RAD51 paralogs as the knockouts of these in mice results in embryonic lethality. To determine the function of RAD51B in HR, we created a RAD51B conditional knockout (KO) in the non-transformed human mammary epithelial cell line MCF10A by first inserting RAD51B cDNA into the safe harbor locus- AAVS1. Next, we deleted the two copies of the RAD51B in the endogenous locus using CRISPR/Cas system. The Cre recombinase was expressed in these conditional RAD51B cells to catalyze the recombination between the two loxP sites, thus removing the RAD51B cDNA from the AAVS1 locus. Surprisingly, we found that RAD51B mutants were viable after Cre treatment and showed two-fold defect in HR using a DR-GFP assay. These mutants also displayed growth defects when assessed by a clonogenic survival assay and sensitivity to the PARP inhibitor olaparib. Since we were able to generate viable RAD51B knockout using a conditional approach, we have now generated a direct KO of RAD51B in MCF10A cells. In future, we will further characterize these mutant RAD51B clones for their contribution to HR, sensitivity to DNA damaging drugs. Furthermore, this cell line will provide a valuable tool to determine the impact of the patient derived mutations in a normal human cell line setting.


Lela Seekwar

Lela Seekwar '19

Major: Integrative Neuroscience (Cell and Molecular)
Title of Research: Studying the lysosomal disease Niemann Pick C1 (NPC1) in a zebrafish model
Mentor: Dr. Alma Rodenas & Dr. Steven U. Walkley

Bio: Lela Seekwar grew up in Queens, NY. She is currently a Senior pre-med student, and hopes to attend medical school in the near future. She is an avid member of her community, currently volunteering at the local ambulance corps.

Abstract: Niemann Pick Type C1 commonly known as NPC is a rare genetic lysosomal storage disease that results in the accumulation of unesterified cholesterol and gangliosides such as GM2 in the liver and neurons. The disease usually impacts the juvenile population. Under the supervision of Dr. Steven U. Walkley at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, my study focused on using the zebrafish, Danio rerio as a model for the disease. Using zebrafish as a model for NPC offers many advantages, including enhanced imaging due to transparency of fish, and in vivo recording from neurons to test functionality. Adult zebrafish brain were dissected out and sections were obtained by using a vibratome. With vibratome sections I performed the Nissl Stain and was able to characterize the neuron morphology in the fixed npc1 knockout zebrafish brain. I also imaged the sections of the brain using Electron Microscopy. Preliminary electron micrographs show neuron organelles, including lysosomes. This information is critical as it shows feasibility of using EM to compare and quantify lysosomal structural differences in wild type and knockout zebrafish. For future directions we hope to identify that storage bodies are in fact seen in the npc1 knockout zebrafish. In addition, we hope to perform immunofluorescence on the knockout and wild type zebrafish using Filipin (stain used to identify accumulation of unesterified cholesterol) and GM2 (ganglioside marker).


Rocio Sergio

Rocio Sergio '20

Major: Anthropology, Digital Technologies and Emerging Media
Title of Research: Sonic Segregation: Shopping in NYC
Mentor: Margaret Schwartz

Bio: Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina where her family resides, and bred in Miami, Florida with just her two parents, Rocío is a first-generation college student in the U.S. who is full of gratitude and curiosity. She is most interested in the intersection of her two majors, Anthropology and Digital Technologies & Emerging Media, and sees herself engaging in this field through post-graduate study and professional practice in ethical management of digital technologies.

Abstract: In urban environments, fences create borders – both physical and abstract – defining boundaries between public and private spaces. These barriers affect how we navigate through the city, understand our neighbors, and determine our sense of belonging. The urban elite are encouraged to shop at expensive stores in ways that the working class are simply not, and I will attempt to showcase this sense of belonging (or non-belonging) in the way it is manifested through the sonic environment. Guided by the work of Juliette Volcler, I examine what she coins “sonic fences” as they exist in areas of commercial shopping in New York City. I focus on the paradigm of listening and attempt to understand how not only different types of sounds, but also different encounters with sound, contribute to systems of control and exclusivity. The goal of examining the soundscapes of different New York City shopping environments is to uncover clear “sonic fences” in New York City, or at least less clear, but nevertheless present and clandestine, mechanisms for class segregation through the means of sound.


Caroline Shriver

Caroline Shriver '19

Major: Dance and Latin American and Latino Studies
Title of Research: Becoming an Agent for Positive Change. (Youth Development of Self Efficacy and Agency through Social and Emotional Dance Education In Aguas Frías, Colombia)
Mentor: Edward Bristow

Bio: Caroline Shriver grew up in Maryland before moving to NYC to pursue her passions for dance, education, and social justice. She has performed works by renowned choreographers as well as taught and performed in the United States, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Colombia. She looks forward to continuing to develop her curriculum for social emotional education through dance and exploring dance and theatre around the world.

Abstract: Around the world, young people seek confidence, relationship and leadership skills, and the self-efficacy necessary to gain personal and cultural agency in their communities and beyond. In under-resourced, post-conflict communities, a young person’s fight for agency is all the more challenging. In this paper I seek to demonstrate how Colombia’s tumultuous history and identity of conflict pervade present-day Colombia and therefore demand an emphasis on social emotional learning. After teaching dance-based social emotional learning classes in the rural community of Aguas Frías, Colombia, I found that a physicalized form of social emotional learning gave students the opportunity to develop a degree of self-efficacy. Employing my own research in Aguas Frías as well as that of others in the field, I conclude that physicalized social emotional learning offers an effective strategy to combat Colombia’s social order of conflict and provides a vehicle for young people to develop personal and cultural agency.


Ian Sokolowski

Ian Sokolowski '20

Major: Environmental Science
Title of Research: Strides to be Made: An Analysis of Two Weeks Spent Working With the Gdansk Zoo’s Carnivores
Mentor: Dr. Mark Botton

Bio: Ian hails from Hinsdale, Illinois. He came to Fordham hoping to learn how the urban, built environment interacts with ecology and the natural world. After graduation, he plans on staying in the city and applying his education.

Abstract: In this paper, the current state of animal housing facilities and animal husbandry practices employed at the Gdansk zoo are compared against the ideal practices a zoo should follow as outlined by relevant scientific literature, with the conclusion that the zoo should prioritize increasing habitat space and cognitive enrichment for its animals to ensure more humane and beneficial conditions. Descriptions of conditions within the zoo as well as training, feeding, and safety regimens are based on the author’s own experiences as an intern at the Gdansk zoo, and comparisons with peer-reviewed articles and official zoological organization publications were only employed in cases where the author considered himself to have been sufficiently exposed to the zoo’s procedures to make a judgement about them. A holistic analysis which considered cognitive enrichment, enclosure space, training practices, diet, and safety measures was thus only applied to the grey seal, siberian tiger, angolan lion, meerkat, and brown bear exhibits.


Milana Stein '19

Milana Stein

Major: Natural Science
Title of Research: Engineering a UAS-fried-V5 transgene for phenotypic analysis and rescue of fried
Partner: Stephanie Sabido
Mentor: Dr. Jason Morris

Bio: Milana Stein grew up in Brooklyn, New York and had always wanted to pursue a career in medicine. She hopes to continue with a research program in order to integrate being a scientist and doctor. Currently she is in the process of achieving her bachelor's degree in Natural Science with a concentration in Organismal Biology and a minor in Sociology.

Abstract: The Drosophila melanogaster fried gene was previously identified as the CG31320 gene that encodes the 845 amino acid HEATR2 protein. Drosophila fried mutants exhibit varied phenotypes such as darkening of the trachea, precocious wandering, larval arrest, and death within 7 day after egg deposition. To correlate rescue of fried phenotypes with expression in particular tissues, we engineered a UAS-fried transgene with a V5 tag using a donor 9kb plasmid, LRPCR of fried, and insertion of fried sequence into the donor plasmid via Gibson cloning to produce pUAS-fried. UAS-fried-V5 was injected into fly embryos, and the transgene was incorporated into the germline to produce a strain of UAS-fried-V5 flies. It is predicted that the HEATR2 protein’s subcellular localization will be determined after our transgenic flies are crossed to several strains of flies with different tissue specific expression of Gal4. Gal4 will bind to the UAS sequence and activate transcription of the UAS-fried-V5 sequence in all the tissues where Gal4 is expressed. We will then correlate the rescue of the various fried mutant phenotypes with expression of the transgene. In addition to the UAS-fried-V5 experiments, we briefly discuss other current and future directions for this project.


Shelby Stinson

Shelby Stinson '20

Major: Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Economics
Title of Research: A Political, Economic, and Social Analysis of “Crisis” in the Dutch Republic of the late Sixteenth Century and Seventeenth Century
Mentor: Christopher Maginn

Bio: Shelby grew up in the New York area but studied in Germany before transferring to Fordham where she’s now pursuing her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics. While Shelby hopes to pursue a career in macroeconomic research in the future, she has a special interest in European history and politics.

Abstract: The crisis theory of the seventeenth century has divided historians due to the diverse yet unstable nature of European society, the economy, and politics during the seventeenth century. The Dutch Republic is often used as a counterexample to the crisis theory due to the commercial success of the Republic that brought about prosperity and the Dutch “Golden Age”. In my research, I’ve analyzed the Dutch Republic to determine whether a crisis developed in the political, economic, and/or social spheres during the middle third of the seventeenth century. My research suggests that the Dutch Republic exhibited characteristics of a social crisis during this period. Although the political and economic events alone may not be considered indicative of a crisis, they contributed to this culminative social distress found in seventeenth-century Dutch society. These findings challenge the basis of arguments against crisis theory and provide an alternative view of Dutch society in the seventeenth century.


Alexa Tovar

Alexa Tovar '19

Major: International Studies
Title of Research: Chinese Infrastructure Investments in Africa: A Case Study of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway in Ethiopia and Djibouti and the Abuja-Kaduna Rail Line in Nigeria
Mentor: Dr. Susan Berger

Bio: Alexa Tovar was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. She graduated in February 2019 from FCLC with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. She currently works at the New York City Bar Association, Justice Center as a Project Coordinator.

Abstract: In recent years, China has emerged as a large infrastructure investor in the African continent, which has incited controversy among the international community in regards to the impact that these investments could have. A part of the literature on Chinese investments in infrastructure in Africa argues that these investments are adverse to the environment, local employment, and the dissemination of technology. This thesis contributes to this debate by exploring the question: what are some of the effects of Chinese infrastructure investments in Africa in terms of the environment and use of local natural resources, local hiring, and technology transfers? The analysis of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway in Ethiopia and Djibouti and the Abuja-Kaduna Rail Line in Nigeria as case studies shows that, to this date, these projects (1) do not seem to have had negative effects on the environment, and, in fact, have the potential to make a positive environmental impact by reducing land use and air pollution, (2) do not appear to have exploited local natural resources, (3) employed African workers during their construction, operations, and maintenance, and (4) fostered technology transfers by training local workers and planning to hand back operations to locals. Based on this analysis, this thesis argues for the importance of case-by-case evaluations and a more nuanced understanding of Chinese infrastructure investments in Africa.


Paula Ustilovsky

Paula Ustilovsky '19

Major: Natural Science
Title of Research: Microwave-Assisted Heterogeneous Catalytic Gas-Phase Oxidation of 2-Picoline
Mentor: Yevgenia Alkayeva

Bio: Paula Ustilovsky was born and raised in New York City. She is an aspiring veterinarian, and enjoys dancing in her free time.

Abstract: Oxidation of methyl pyridines has important uses in the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. These reactions typically occur in a large batch in the liquid phase. Exploration of oxidation of methyl pyridines in the gas phase has been done using a conventional oven. This work explores microwave-assisted heterogeneous gas-phase oxidation of 2-picoline using vanadia-containing catalysts with titania, alumina, and zirconia supports. Most catalysts tested
showed good conversion of 2-picoline, and low selectivity for the by-products CO2, pyridine, pyridoin, and cyanopyridine. The desired product, picolinic acid, was found in most trials, though it was polymerized in many cases. Blank experiments without a catalyst were conducted with picolinic acid and pyridoin. These experiments showed that the products are polymerized as a result of contact with the microwave energy, and not as a result of the oxidation reaction.
A new reactor design that decreases contact time of the products with microwave energy should decrease polymerization.


Haley Williams

Haley Williams '20

Major: Dance and Theology
Title of Research: Movement is Prayer
Mentor: Andrew Clark

Bio: Haley Williams is a junior in the Ailey/Fordham BFA program pursuing a dual degree in Dance and Theology. This is her third creation for the ARS NOVA Arts and Research Showcase.

Abstract: In this solo, I am expanding upon movement ideas I developed during an improvisation. The task I presented myself with was to feel and experience many sensations and emotions within the movement. I challenged myself to create content without censoring or judging it. So often there is pressure for artists to be innovative or palatable or sane, so I wanted to put my crazy on display. Freeing myself from the pressure to put up a façade or performance, I wanted my movement to reflect my inner state. In the same way that prayer exposes the dialogue of my heart, I wanted my movement to embody this dialogue. This solo is the beginning of an independent study in choreography that I will further develop senior year. The inspiration for that project will be thinking of movement as prayer and exploring the ways that thinking of dance in this way will allow dancers and audiences to reflect and express the landscapes of our hearts, minds, and bodies.


Kayla Wolf

Kayla Wolf '19

Major: Political Science and Theology
Title of Research: The Separation of Church and State: Reactions of the Catholic Church to the 2016 Presidential Election
Mentor: Dr. Christina Greer

Bio: Kayla Wolf is from Kunkletown, Pennsylvania and moved to New York City to study business. After realizing that the corporate life was not her path, she fully embraced the academic life and picked up majors in two controversial topics: Political Science and Theology. In the summer of 2017, she received the Dean's Summer Research Grant and spent months talking politics with Catholic priests. Kayla will pursue her PhD in Political Science starting in the Fall of 2019.

Abstract: The 2016 Presidential election was particularly divisive and the beliefs of the Catholic Church did not align with the platform of either of the major candidates. In this study, I analyze the opinions of Catholic priests across New York City about the election, the candidates and popular issues to establish their relationship with Catholic social teaching. I interviewed twenty-five priests about their political activity prior to the election and the issues of immigration and climate change. The responses of the priests varied and many priests instead brought up issues of abortion and their undocumented congregations. Ultimately this paper asserts that the Catholic Church does not offer a consistent message to its followers regarding modern political issues and therefore leaves total discretion to the priests and their own political leanings.


Sara Zakrzewski

Sara Zakrzewski '19

Major: Environmental Science
Title of Research: Injuries in a Limulus polyphemus Population and its Significance in Understanding Biology of Extinct Trilobites
Mentor: Dr. Mark Botton

Bio: Sara Zakrzewski grew up in Brooklyn and has pursued environmental science throughout her education. She hopes to continue environmental research and become the first in her family to get a PhD.

Abstract: Abstract: Known as “living fossils,” modern horseshoe crabs are related to extinct trilobites, a diverse and well-represented arthropod in the fossil record. Trilobite fossils indicate similar reproduction and molting behavior to that of modern horseshoe crabs. In horseshoe crabs, reproduction and molting may be affected by injuries which can be related to those trilobites. The evolutionary relationship between modern horseshoe crabs and extinct trilobites may be considered in understanding the prevalence of injuries in trilobites. The purpose of this paper is to examine horseshoe crab injuries as a model for the prevalence of injuries in extinct trilobites. In our study, we examined adult Atlantic horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) in Jamaica Bay, New York for injuries pertaining to the prosoma, telson, eyes and claspers/legs during the mating season in Summer 2018. Lateral eye injuries were the most frequent in the Jamaica Bay population, consisting of missing, eroded or covered eyes. We found clasper/leg damage was greater in male horseshoe crabs compared to females. Shell condition, as an indicator of horseshoe crab age, showed that older individuals are more prone to injury. There was a low percentage of mating pairs with one or more individuals with an injury. Damage in older horseshoe crabs, such as lateral eye and clasper injuries, would inhibit the extant arthropods, and possibly the trilobites, from mating.

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