Summer Independent Research Projects Presented

On Wednesday, September 27, 2017, the University Scholars Program and the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships proudly hosted the 4th Annual Scholars Research Symposium at the Curry Student Center. The event showcased the scholarship of 40 University Scholars working individually or collaboratively under the supervision of Northeastern faculty mentors. The 34 poster presentations fell into three categories: Scholars Independent Research Fellowship Projects, a new SIRF Climate Dialogue Research Cluster conducted in Singapore and India, and Other Summer Research Experiences.

Creating a Trauma Informed Care Environment for Pregnant Patients
Gaylen Alexander, Bouve ‘18
Project Mentor: Tiffany Kim, Assistant Clinical Professor, School of Nursing, Bouve College of Health Sciences
Survivors of childhood sexual abuse can experience long-term physiological and emotional sequelae to their assaults, particularly during the perinatal period. Given these implications, it is crucial for providers to understand how trauma impacts individuals’ perception of physical/emotional safety, relationships and behaviors. Unfortunately, there is still little evidence about how survivors experience the out-patient environment. This project uses a case study and key informant interviews to explore how providers can best create a trauma informed outpatient space for their pregnant patients.

Deploying the Playground Project: INDIGO Survey and Data
Durward Benham, CCIS ‘18
Project Mentor: Timothy Bickmore, Professor and Associate Dean
for Research, Computer Science, College of Computer and Information Science
Over the past 3 years, The Playground Project: INDIGO has developed a survey to evaluate the quality and inclusivity of playgrounds. This project makes the data gathered from this survey and the survey itself accessible publicly. Through this new website, partners will be able to see howplaygrounds they score perform against our dataset, and parents will be able to identify playgrounds near them that fit the needs of their children.

The Connection Between Executive Compensation and University Prestige
Ross Beroff, DMSB ‘18
Project Mentor: Jennifer Sartori, Associate Director, Jewish Studies, College of Social Sciences and Humanities
Every year the Chronicle of Education puts out a list of highest paid
University Presidents. Articles and thought pieces are published that make subjective value judgements on the salaries. This project attempted to objectively determine if there is a connection between how well a University does in terms of rankings and funds raised and the salary of the University president.

Fuse Diabetic Dress Shoe: Combining Medical Performance with Chic Style
Vidhan Bhaiya, COE ‘21
Project Mentors: Mark Sivak, Associate Teaching Professor,
Interdisciplinary Experience Design, College of Arts, Media and Design & Marc Meyer, Robert Shillman Professor of Entrepreneurship; Matthews Distinguished Professor; Co-Director of Northeastern University Center for Entrepreneurship Education, D’Amore-McKim School of Business
Over 60% of non-traumatic amputations in the lower limb are due to diabetic foot syndrome and 18% of patients don’t wear prescribed footwear because of the way it looks. Over 422 million people worldwide are suffering from diabetes and a quarter of them are likely to develop foot problems which could be prevented by the use of appropriate footwear. The goal of this SIRF is to create a prototype of a diabetic shoe which incorporates medical performance with chic style.

Predicting Emergencies: Determining the Variables that Affect the UNHCR Emergency Relief Demand
Alyssa Caganda, COE ‘19
Project Mentor: Ozlem Ergun, Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering
Every year, the number of refugees around the world grows higher and higher. The ability of large scale humanitarian organizations to support the millions of people displaced from their homes lie in effective logistical planning. This research project, in collaboration with the logistics department of the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency), sought to create a model that can better predict the emergency response demand of the organization using an in-depth statistical analysis of different variables.

The Effects of Labeling Digitally-Unmodified Advertisements on Body Image and Self-Perception Among Women
Elisa Danthinne, COE ‘21 & Francesca Giorgianni, CSSH ‘21
Project Mentor: Rachel Rodgers, Associate Professor, Applied Psychology, Bouve College of Health Sciences
This study focuses on body image perceptions among women, specifically after exposure to media campaigns that promote thin-ideal body standards through digital manipulation (i.e. Photoshop) of models in advertisements. One proposed policy to counteract the harmful effects of these edited advertisement images is to use ╥disclaimer╙ labels to inform viewers that the figures in the advertisement are retouched. This project involved first reviewing the existing literature to determine the effectiveness of these labels and then conducting an original experimental study to compare the effects of “positive” labels on retouch-free images and ╥warning╙ labels on retouched images.

School Discipline of Special Education Students in Boston
Sarina Dass, CSSH ‘21
Project Mentor: Natasha Frost, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Professor, Criminology and Criminal Justice, College of Social Sciences and Humanities
A topic of growing interest in education and criminology, the school-to-prison pipeline describes the positive correlation between exclusionary disciplinary practices, such as suspensions and expulsions, and entrance into the criminal justice system. This project examines disciplinary disparities between students with and without disabilities at the state and district level. In addition, a comparative case study of three Boston schools will be conducted to determine how different special education programs and school discipline policies affect disparities at the school level.

Conductive Heat Transfer during Spice Roasting: Designing a Parabolic Trough Solar Concentrator
Tavish Fenbert, COE ‘18
Project Mentor: Bridget Smyser, Associate Teaching Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering
The goal of this project is to determine relevant heat transfer rates for roasting spices in order to inform the design of a parabolic trough solar concentrator for spice roasting (solar roaster), a device currently under development at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay for use by women’s livelihood groups in Indian villages. The experimental setup mimics the the geometry and heating of the solar roaster. In addition to gathering useful heating data, this project will help inform other geometric design considerations of the solar roaster.

Multilingualism in the Workplace: Attitudes towards French, Flemish, and English at Multinational Companies in Brussels
Suraya Foster, COS ‘20
Project Mentor: Rob Painter, Senior Lecturer, Linguistics, College of Science
This sociolinguistics study in language attitudes used in-person interviews and online surveys to explore the perceived roles and attributes of the French, Flemish, and English languages and their speakers at multinational companies in Brussels.

The Effect of Ocean Acidification and Temperature on Microbial Communities Associated with the Atlantic Deep-Sea Scallop, Placopecten magellanicus
Itxaso Garay, COS ‘18
Project Mentor: Jennifer Bowen, Associate Professor, Marine Science and Biology, College of Science
Exploring the consequences of climate change in the ocean, this project uses projected increases in the temperature of the sea level surface and decreases in pH of seawater (in a phenomenon known as ocean acidification) to design an experiment to understand these effects on marine microbiota communities and the associated host interactions with other sea dwelling organism.

Bicycles in Berlin: Equal Access for All?
Gabrielle Kussmaul, COE ‘21 & Meghan McCallister, COE ’21
Project Mentor: Len Albright, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Public Policy, College of Social Sciences and Humanities
This project evaluates the equity of access to bicycling infrastructure across neighborhoods of differing statuses of development in Berlin. ArcGIS software was used to analyze the collected data points of bicycle storage facilities, and allowed for the creation of an interactive explanatory map that provides a unique perspective into environmental justice in Germany’s capital city.

Civil Society and Private Sector Influence in Singapore’s Sustainability Efforts
Ryan Maia, CSSH ‘19
Project Mentor: Daniel Faber, Professor and Director of the Northeastern Environmental Justice Collaborative, Sociology, College of Social Sciences and Humanities
In the mere fifty-four years since its independence, the Republic of Singapore has somehow established itself as a futuristic city-state. In sustainable urban planning specifically, Singapore has performed miraculously. However, the country’s rapid, technocratically-driven development might feasibly affect how much of a say nongovernmental entities get regarding the country’s sustainability efforts. Through literature reviews and interviews with key players, this project evaluates how civil society and private sector influence on Singapore’s sustainability processes has shifted in recent years.

Identifying Genes Involved in Oxidative Survival in C. elegans
Natalie McGowan, COS ‘21
Project Mentor: Javier Apfeld, Assistant Professor, Biology, College of Science
In order to better understand aging and aging-related disease in humans, we must first understand how it works on a molecular level in simpler organisms. I assess lifespan under oxidative stress in a type of worm called C. elegans to identify genes that improve lifespan and determine the ways in which they may interact.

Ecological Divergence, Evolution, and Conservation Challenges in Caribbean Reef Fish
Benjamin Moran, COS ‘18
Project Mentor: Kathleen Lotterhos, Assistant Professor, Marine and Environmental Sciences, College of Science
This project sought a comprehensive understanding of two Caribbean reef fish species, the blue and Maya hamlets, as new models for evolution in the ocean. Field work in Belize and the Florida Keys documented the behavioral and morphological separation between these species, while subsequent genomics will identify the genetic roots of their divergence. Based on observations of drastic population declines connected to coral reef death, evidence is being compiled to pursue an Endangered Species listing for the Maya hamlet.

Policy Regarding Natural Resources on the Moon and on Asteroids in Relation to Arctic and Antarctica Law
Mary Morrison, COE ‘18
Project Mentor: Brian Helmuth, Professor, Marine and Environmental Sciences, College of Science
Various nations and private companies are either writing the legal framework or are developing business development strategies to mine resources from the Moon and from asteroids, but have not secured the international approval or title to do so. Expert opinions have been gathered to explore if Antarctica or Arctic policies and treaties can serve as a model for outer space law, specifically regarding the exploitation of natural resources.

Humans of the John Muir Trail
Katie Owens, COS ‘20
Project Mentor: Elizabeth Bucar, Associate Professor, Religious Studies, College of Social Science and Humanities
An unprecedented compilation of the stories and photographs of the brave and adventurous humans that one meets when walking along the challenging 211-mile long John Muir Trail. Each story is documented on a website to engage and enlighten readers about long-distance hiking culture, and the humans that create and propel it.

Effective Actions for Creating University Campuses that are Inclusive of All Students Following Divisive Political Events in the US and the UK
Rachael Phillips, CSSH ‘20 & Anjali Nair CSSH ’20
Project Mentor: Greg Goodale, Associate Professor, Communication Studies,College of Arts, Media, and Design
Universities have a commitment to creating an inclusive and accepting campus environment that encourages students to be engaged. However, recent political events like the United States presidential election of Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom have both had a significant negative social impact as there was a reported increase in hate crimes after the events. The research documents solutions that the campus communities at four universities have claimed to be effective methods to increase acceptance and inclusiveness on campus and reduce discrimination, especially after major political events.

An Evaluation of the Environmental and Economic Sustainability of Pesticide Management: A Case Study of an Organic, Macrobiotic Farm
Isabella Ragazzi, CSSH ‘21 & Fizzah Shaikh COE ‘21
Project Mentor: Daniel Faber, Professor and Director of the Northeastern
Environmental Justice Research Collaborative, Sociology, College of Social Sciences and Humanities & Loretta Fernandez, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
As food scarcity and quality concerns grow, modern agricultural practices have come under scrutiny for their dependence on synthetic products, namely pesticides. This study sheds light on a possible alternative to environmentally damaging conventional farming. Research was conducted on a macrobiotic farm to evaluate its economic and environmental sustainability. The study investigated the methods used on this farm to compensate for the lack of pesticide use and their environmental impact and economic viability.

The Black Panther Party’s Brief but Unignorable Four Years in Boston
Prasanna Rajasekaran, CSSH ‘18 & Joe Tache, DMSB ‘18
Project Mentor: Nicole Aljoe, Associate Professor, English, College of Social Sciences and Humanities
This project explores the internal dynamics of the Boston BPP (which include an ideological split so severe that nearly twenty members were expelled from the Party), as well as the BPP’s profound impact on Boston’s Black community.

Public Transit Equity and Economic Outcomes in Boston
Monisha Reginald, CSSH ‘18
Project Mentor: Solomon Jekel, Associate Professor, Mathematics, College of Science
Access to affordable, reliable means of transportation is integral to individuals’ short-run quality of life and long-run prospects. I modeled the impact of access to employment opportunities by public transit upon the unemployment rate in the 160 US Census zipcode tabulation areas in the MBTA service area. The measures and estimates derived can be used to contribute insight into the potential impact of service adjustment targeted at better connecting low-income residents to centers of employment and to encourage such improvements.

Achieving Conservation through Sustainable Marine Tourism: Synthesizing Social-Ecological Outcomes of SCUBA Diving
Jodi Robertson, Explore Program ‘20
Project Mentor: Steven Scyphers, Assistant Professor, Marine & Environmental Sciences, College of Science
Diving fosters an intense connection with the environment and our fellow explorers. Consequences of the environmental, ecological, economic, social, mental, medical, scientific, and advocacy-focused aspects of diving in the international tourism industry were analyzed in a literature review. It was determined that divers largely have a negative impact. Researchers recommend analyzing the Leave No Trace movement in the backpacking industry as inspiration for a diving industry-wide initiative to limit the negative impacts of recreational scuba divers.

Normative Health in a World With Spectrums: Addressing LGBTQ Health Disparities in Minority Populations Through Sensitivity Training
Natalie Sadlak, COS ‘19
Project Mentor: Alisa Lincoln, Professor of Health Sciences and Sociology,
Director of the Institute of Urban Health Research and Practice, College of
Social Sciences and Humanities
This project examined whether the implementation of a provider sensitivity training session regarding queer healthcare and related issues alleviated institutional biases and changed the quality of care available to LGBTQ individuals. This study was conducted with the Department of Infectious Disease and Special Populations at Whittier Street Health Center in collaboration with The Fenway Institute.

Spent: An Examination of the Economic Impact of Pilgrims & Tourists on the Camino de Santiago
Sara Scott, DMSB ‘19
Project Mentor: Elizabeth Bucar, Associate Professor, Religious Studies, College of Social Sciences and Humanities
El Camino de Santiago, also known in English as ╥The Way of St. James,╙ is a network of ancient pilgrimage routes that extend across Europe and lead to the shrine of the apostle St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, located in northwestern Spain. Through survey-based responses, this study aimed to find out what differences exist in the behaviors and spending habits of self-classified pilgrims and tourists to help others understand the effect that each group has on the local economy in Spain.

Optimization of a Multiplexed Assay Platform for Comprehensive Profiling of Epigenetic Modulators
Kritika Singh, COE ‘20
Project Mentor: Oyindasola Oyelaran, Associate Teaching Professor, Organic Chemistry, College of Science
Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code. Epigenetics often involves small, site specific post-translational modifications to histones (proteins that pack DNA in the nucleus). This project established an assay platform that will allow the simultaneous profiling of the specificity of epigenetic modulators and the selectivity of their small molecule inhibitors in the context of a diverse set of histone modifications.

The TGF Pathway’s Role in Lifespan and Oxidant Resistance in C. elegans
Julian Stanley, COS ‘20
Project Mentor: Javier Apfeld, Assistant Professor, Biology, College of Science
Oxidants lead to the buildup of cellular debris that can speed-up aging (thus the rise of the “anti-oxidant” fad). Some small genetic changes can cause C. elegans to be more effective at dealing with oxidants, and so this project is trying to further understand how those genes work.

The Effect of Gene Interactions on Lifespan under Oxidative Stress in C. elegans
Stephanie Stumbur, Bouve ‘21
Project Mentor: Javier Apfeld, Assistant Professor, Biology, College of Science
The TGF pathway plays an important role in development and physiology of C. elegans, but scientists are still unsure of how the genes within and around the pathway interact with one another. When placed under oxidative stress, some genes in this pathway are able to cause prolongevity. This project focuses on trying to fill in the gaps between genes within and close to the TGF? pathway to better understand the mechanisms of ageing.

Informing Policy Reform for Sustainable Fisheries Benefits in Peru
Adar Laia Thau, COS ‘19
Project Mentor: Renato Molina, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California-Santa Barbara
This project documented the experience of small-pelagic fisheries (anchovy, herring, mackerel, etc.) managed using individual transferable quotas (ITQs). ITQs are a fishery management system which gives fishers, vessels and/or producers exclusive, divisible, and transferable rights to an allocated portion of the total allowable catch of a fishery. To inform policy reform and support decision-making in the Peruvian Anchoveta, the largest single-stock fishery in the world; benefits, challenges, lessons learned, and best practices of ITQs in small-pelagic fisheries were recorded and synthesized into an advisory document submitted to the Peruvian Ministry of Production.

The Politics & Science of Climate Change SIRFs Research Cluster & Dialogue
Taking Off: Sea Level Rise Effects on Airport Development in Singapore and Southeast Asia
Laura Blumenfeld, COE ‘18
Project Mentor: Daniel Dulaski, Teaching Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
Southeast Asia, specifically Singapore, is geographically-limited in terms of
transport for both cargo and passengers since most land formations are islands. This part of the world is set to have the biggest impacts of sea level rise and increases in water-induced disasters so this research is focused on the strategies of business and development for this vital transportation node. Studying how the coastal Changi International Airport in Singapore is planning to address both an increase in demand as well as addressing its vulnerabilities can serve as an example for the region and the rest of the world.

Sanitation and Hygiene Education Initiatives in Singapore and Indonesia
Lauren Enright, Bouve, COS ‘20
Project Mentor: Sharon Harlan, Professor of Health Sciences and Sociology, Bouve College of Health Sciences and College of Social Sciences and Humanities
2.4 billion people worldwide are currently denied the basic human right of
adequate sanitation and hygiene. In turn, they are also denied the right to good health, human dignity, and development. However, to catalyze change there must first be an increase of awareness regarding this public health crisis. This comparative case study analysis of sanitation and hygiene education initiatives in Southeast Asia strives to detail exactly what makes an education initiative effective, as well as existing barriers and how to combat them.

Mind the Resilience Gap
Shahed Najjar, COE ‘18
Project Mentor: Qi “Ryan” Wang, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
This project examined the resilience and disaster preparedness of communities in Indonesia and Singapore. This was done by surveying about 400 people in different areas in both countries and asking questions regarding education, preparedness, public awareness, and public perception. The goal is to see whether history is bound to repeat itself or if countries become more prepared post disaster.

Green Space and Livable Urban Development: A Comparative Case Study of Southeast Asian Cities
Michael Tormey, COE, CSSH ‘20
Project Mentor: Gavin Shatkin, Associate Professor of Public Policy & Architecture; Director, Asian Studies Program; Director, MS Urban and Regional Policy Program; College of Social Sciences and Humanities, College of Arts, Media, and Design
The benefits of urban green space are well understood, but the interdisciplinary considerations which make its implementation complex are still being understood. As cities continue to grow in size and relative importance globally, identifying methods by which they can be made efficiently and successfully livable will be increasingly vital. This study applies lessons from the experiences of green space development in Singapore and Jakarta, two vastly different but regionally significant urban areas in Southeast Asia, to contribute to this pressing modern challenge.

Attitudes on Anthropogenic Sea Level Rise Across Vulnerability and Climate Change Concern in Singapore and Indonesia
Rachel Dowley, COS ‘18 & Elisa Figueras, COS-CSSH ‘20
Project Mentor: Steven Scyphers, Assistant Professor, Marine & Environmental Science, College of Science
Sea level rise caused by anthropogenic climate change poses a serious risk to coastal megacities across the globe. As infrastructure and governmental priorities differ from country to country, flood risk threatens livelihoods to varying extents, yet perceptions of risk and favorable solutions vary from person to person within these countries. This study aims to understand the trends of flood risk attitudes of locals within Singapore, Jakarta, and Bali through survey-based responses.

Other Research Experiences
Radiation hardness of Cathode Strip Chamber prototypes in High-Luminosity LHC Conditions
Jameson O’Reilly, COS ‘19
Project Mentor: Darien Wood, Professor, Physics, College of Science; Emanuela Barberis, Professor, Physics, College of Science
Currently, the standard gas mixture used in Cathode Strip Chambers (CSC) by the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) collaboration contains CF4, a known greenhouse gas. This inclusion is known to significantly slow the breakdown of the CSCs in the high-radiation environment created by the LHC. A more environmentally-friendly substitute for CF4 is desired that will retain at least some of its lifetime-prolonging properties. This study aims to find candidates for replacing CF4 by monitoring the performance of small CSC prototypes (miniCSCs) containing different gas mixtures during irradiation equivalent to 10 years of high-luminosity LHC operation. Gas mixtures with lower levels of CF4 will be studied in the same way.

NuTells x Lambda Kappa Sigma
Cindy Wu, Bouve ‘19
Project Mentor: Alexa Carlson, Associate Clinical Professor, Pharmacy and Health Systems Sciences, Bouve College of Health Sciences
Health literacy affects many aspects of care, such as having the ability to understand the instructions of the medical care providers, reading consent forms, taking medication, and recovering without returning to the emergency room. Studies have shown that people with low health literacy utilize more healthcare services. Lambda Kappa Sigma, a pharmacy organization from Northeastern University, partnered with Northeastern University Teaching English Language and Literacy Skills (NUTells) to craft an interactive lesson on how to fill a prescription with Northeastern janitorial staff members. The activity was translated into Spanish, French, and Chinese to facilitate comprehension. The project was well received, and Lambda Kappa Sigma hopes to continue this collaboration to expand on various health literacy topics in the future.

Special thanks to our faculty mentors, as well as to Nan Regina, Janessa Barrett, Roxann Johnson-Nance, Garrett Margliotti, Joe Braitsch, and Professor Auroop Ganguly for making these students’ experiences a possibility through a collaboration with your offices.