Skip to main content

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

Hannah Heinemann

The Political Economy of Upward Bound

This research endeavor studies the initial years (1966-1969) of Upward Bound, a federally funded War on Poverty program designed to increase college attendance and preparedness for low-income and first-generation high school students via tutoring, mentoring, and additional enrichment activities.
The method of inquiry was regression analysis to determine which political and poverty factors motivated program funding per capita. Our paper was modeled after Bailey and Duquette (2014), which sought to understand the factors that influenced funding for the War on Poverty Community Action Programs. We applied their regression formula using the program data that we merged with the relevant political and poverty variables to assess the economic and political climate of each county.
The main findings of the analysis reveal the poverty indicators, specifically for each level of income below the poverty line (designated at $3K) were statistically significant, increasing funding for each share per capita. For each share of nonwhite residents, a county received a greater amount of funding. For political variables, the size of population per capita was not found to hold any significance. For counties that experienced a change in the share of Democratic voters between the 1960 and 1964 elections, it received greater funding; meanwhile, counties that voted democratic in the 1964 election were linked to receiving slightly less funding. The presence of a major committee member/leader in the 89th Congressional House allocated greater funding to their home districts.

Continue reading »

Monday, April 11th, 2022

Harrison Quinn

Evaluating Dutch Acceptance
The Netherlands has a legacy of tolerance. This tolerance earned the small, lowland provinces economic and social advantages over ideologically and religiously-torn larger powers. But since the Eighty Years’ War concluded with Dutch independence, tolerance has become less exclusive. The United States has heralded tolerance as a new global status quo and a base value of a modern liberal democracy. But, the rise of populism in the Netherlands as a response to unprecedented social change in the early twenty-first century has casted doubt onto the virtue of tolerance in the Western world today. Many accept that to ‘live and let live’ is no longer enough to counter intolerance and now seek a culture of acceptance. Multiculturalism, a product of tolerance, has been disowned in favor of integration, a product of acceptance, following political murders and the subsequent rise of populism. But in the Netherlands, the divide between tolerance and acceptance is often blurred, leading to vague social objectives. This paper will distinguish between acceptance and tolerance and demonstrate that the latter is unsatisfactory in stemming the populist rise that the Netherlands faces. This paper will review Dutch progress on social acceptance from the perspective of both native and recent immigrant groups in the Netherlands. This will be accomplished using survey data on beliefs regarding integration. Using these opinions and recent historical trends, this paper will determine if the Netherlands is still leading the world in progressiveness.

Continue reading »

Saturday, April 9th, 2022

Anqi Zang

Using bioinformatics to identify putative ORs in the Photinus pyralis transcriptome

Animals use diverse signals to find mates. Some signals are simple, and are emitted in a single mode, for example, visual or acoustic; while others are really complex, with multiple signal components transmitted simultaneously or sequentially over different modes. When we think about fireflies, we usually immediately think of an image that shines like stars in the night. Fireflies, which fall under the Lampyridae family of insects in the Coleoptera order of beetles, produce a chemical reaction inside their bodies that allows them to light up and they mainly use this ability to find a mate. But in fact, contrary to popular belief, not all firefly species are bioluminescent as adults. The unlighted-adult fireflies are day-active, and females may attract males over long and short distances by pheromones. Pheromones are detected by the firefly’s odorant receptors (ORs), which are heteromultimeric ion channels consisting of an evolutionarily conserved odorant co-receptor (Orco) and a variable non-Orco. Together, they form an OR complex that facilitate odorant binding and signal transduction. Previous work in the lab using a conservative homology-based approach found 27 ORs, including Orco, in Photinus pyralis, which is a lighted species with the most continuous genome assembly in fireflies. However, ORs can be very divergent and thus, missed when searching using conservative parameters. This project sought to develop a more expansive search strategy for ORs using both homology and structure-based predictions. Using this strategy, we identified over 100 putative ORs in the P. pyralis genome. The results of this study will provide a basis for future studies on the expression and evolution of ORs in fireflies.

Continue reading »

Monday, April 4th, 2022

Katie Phillips

Analgesic Effects of Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation focuses on being aware of the present moment and prior research suggests it can modify the perception of pain. When used as a coping strategy, mindfulness meditation has been shown to increase pain tolerance and threshold. However, most mindfulness techniques focus on a single sense at a time. In other domains, multisensory input enhances perceptual processing, and adding a multisensory component to standard mindfulness meditation might increase the analgesic effects. The present study examined the effects of an added multisensory component to mindfulness meditation on pain perception during a cold pressor test. Three groups, a control group, a mindfulness meditation group, and a multisensory mindfulness meditation group, completed a baseline cold pressor test and a second cold pressor test where pain threshold, tolerance, and intensity were measured. Between the first and second tests, the mindfulness groups were given instructions to practice mindfulness meditation. We hypothesized that while a standard mindfulness technique would increase the duration for acute pain threshold and tolerance, an added multisensory component would show a longer duration for pain tolerance and threshold than a standard mindfulness technique and the control groups. Preliminary results have not supported this hypothesis; thus, we consider alternative explanations for our results.

Continue reading »

Monday, April 4th, 2022

Rachel Anello

Approach Behavior to Species-Specific Sounds in Domestic Cats (Felis catus)

There have been studies to support that cats respond to cat-specific auditory stimuli. Researchers have found that cats listening to “cat music” respond with a shorter approach latency, more orientation, and more contact with the speaker than cats listening to regular classical music. Other studies have found that listening to “cat music” lowers stress-related behaviors of cats during a veterinary exam when compared to classical music and silence. In this study we focused on which elements within cat-specific music are most attractive to cats. These elements include an isolated purring track, an isolated suckling track, an isolated instrumental track, and the original track that combines these three elements. Subjects were thirty-two domestic cats (Felis catus) housed at The Scratching Post Cat Café in Lewisburg, PA. A speaker was placed in the center of the room, and one of the sounds was played for 10 minutes. We recorded all individual behaviors for one cat per trial, as well as distance from the speaker for all cats at one minute intervals. Three trials of each of the five conditions were conducted at night (8pm) over a span of five weeks. Cats approached the speaker significantly more in the isolated purring condition than in any other condition. Cats additionally approached the speaker more quickly in the isolated purr and suckle conditions. This suggests that cats’ interest in “cat music” may be best explained as an interest in species specific sounds such as purring and suckling.

Continue reading »

Saturday, March 26th, 2022

Nicole Reddig

Supporting Teacher Retention Through a Trauma-Informed Lens

This poster explores the relationship between trauma-informed practices and teacher burnout and retention. Trauma-informed practices recognize the traumas that students may bring into the classroom and their influence on students’ behavior, social and emotional health, and ability to learn. By utilizing trauma-informed practices, teachers can help children who have experienced trauma build resiliency and overcome their experiences. While teachers play an important role in the support system of these students, they are also at risk for experiencing secondary trauma and burnout. For the past decade, schools across the United States have seen high levels of burnout and turnover amongst their educators. This poster discusses two studies of trauma-informed practices in education: (1) A systematic review finding that few states require pre-service teachers to be trained in trauma-informed practices and, (2) a mixed-methods study of the effect of a grant program in Pennsylvania funding trauma-informed practices on teacher burnout and turnover. The results indicate that teachers in Pennsylvania are experiencing burnout, particularly emotional exhaustion, but that there were no differences in burnout levels or intended turnover between teachers who taught in schools with the grant for trauma-informed practices and those that did not. Implications for further policy are discussed, including suggestions for implementing tiered whole-school models of trauma-informed practices to support both students who have experienced trauma and the teachers that work with them.

Continue reading »