Covid-19 Outreach to Refugee and Immigrant Communities in the Southern Tier
Immigrant communities are disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic for a number of reasons, such as limited access to affordable healthcare, higher poverty rates, and exposure to pre-existing conditions which worsen the effects of the virus. Non-profit organizations like the American Civic Association (ACA) in Binghamton have been fighting for immigrant and refugee rights since 1939. Naturally, the ACA has shifted their focus from citizenship classes and English language classes courses to more health care programs, such as Covid-19 vaccination outreach and educational workshops. The goal of this outreach is to educate the misinformed about the Covid-19 vaccine and make it available to as many members of these vulnerable communities as possible. In order to understand the extent of barriers to vaccination access in the Southern Tier, I am interning at the ACA to put immigrants on the list to get vaccinated, as the ACA has served as a pop-up vaccination spot. I also assist in educational outreach, such as contacting institutions which cater specifically to immigrant communities, and also creating slides for informational Zoom presentations. Previous research has shown that over 50% of Latino immigrants in New York experienced Covid-19 symptoms, but did not seek medical care due to fear of deportation and/or lack of insurance. Additionally, due to Covid-19’s high infection rate, many healthcare providers worldwide have shifted almost entirely to virtual consultations. This effectively combats the spread of Covid-19, but the majority of the migrant population does not have access to the technology required for these medical televisits. This has caused misinformation to run rampant, and members of these communities are more hesitant to receive the vaccine. All in all, I will compare this research to my findings done through participant observation and see what the common threads are, as well as any possible solutions.
Victims on Trial: New York’s Response to Sex Trafficking
In 2019, New York State had a reported 454 cases of labor and sex trafficking. It had the fourth most cases of any state in the U.S. behind California, Texas, and Florida, the three most populous states. Sadly, there are likely far more trafficking cases than were reported. In the 21st century, New York State has taken considerable action to combat human trafficking by passing legislation including the Human Trafficking Act (2007) and the Safe Harbor for Exploited Children Act (2008). But in 2013, the state began using the criminal justice system to combat sex trafficking. New York established the Human Trafficking Intervention Courts (HTICs) which receives and evaluates prostitution cases to identify victims of sex trafficking who were mistakenly arrested as voluntary sex workers. This is the first state-wide system of intervention courts in the United States. Once victims are identified, they are provided with various services including job training and medical care. However, many have raised the question of whether people who have been trafficked are being treated as victims or criminals. For example, the HTICs have been criticized for being able to identify victims only after they have been arrested and charged with a crime. This research aims to examine the benefits and drawbacks of the intervention courts by analyzing current and proposed legislation and corroborating secondary source reports on the courts. By evaluating the HTICs, this research can guide reformations made in New York’s response to human trafficking.
Path to Citizenship: The Financial Dilemma of the Modern Day Immigrant
The United States is currently undergoing an immigration crisis. Thousands of undocumented adults, families, and unaccompanied children attempt to cross the border on a monthly basis. In a country that once encouraged mass migration to its land, it is now increasingly difficult for migrants in the modern day to obtain citizenship, particularly for those who are not financially well-off. While immigrants face a plethora of issues, one of the primary issues they face are the increasing monetary requirements and setbacks when attempting to obtain citizenship. This presentation examines immigration policies from the Trump and Obama administrations, deportation and immigration statistics throughout both administrations, current naturalization requirements and the personal experiences of undocumented individuals to highlight the citizenship dilemma that immigrants face in the United States today. The information on immigration policies gathered from government websites and archives highlight the citizenship requirements of prospective immigrants, which show that with increasing demand, the policies have adapted to weed out the less wealthy. The experiences of undocumented individuals were gathered through interviews and newspaper articles, those of which explain the financial insecurities and difficulties moving forward on the path to citizenship due to the policies. Throughout the research process, my findings conclude that the application and processing fees of relevant applications continue to increase, negatively impacting the ability for those who simply cannot afford it to obtain citizenship.
Western Adoption of Ancient Egyptian Art and the Narratives it Perpetuates
Ever since Napoleon’s late eighteenth-century conquest of Egypt, Western collectors, both institutional and private, have looked upon its ancient material culture with admiration and desire. Acquisitions were robust throughout the brief French occupation and subsequent British occupation of Egypt nearly a century later. This project is concerned with Western acquisitions of Egyptian art and architecture, large-scale in both quantity and size, that were collected by many museums, and the way in which they were employed to facilitate a narrative of ancient Egypt in relation to the West. In particular, this study will address the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition of its Egyptian collections, specifically the gallery devoted to the grand Temple of Dendur. Through analysis of this exhibition and its display I will show how this narrative is developed and communicated within the museum’s galleries. Central to my interest is furthering an understanding of how museums participate in shaping popular perceptions of ourselves in relation to the world around us. With these exhibitions, the West co-opted ancient Egypt in its own narrative of Western Civilization, while simultaneously proclaiming themselves as inheritors of this now-fallen civilization. Institutions like the Metropolitan Museum implicitly assert an impression of dominance of modern Western culture, in an attempt to rewrite history and forever alter the future.
Improving the Performance of Fuel Cells using Pt-Based Nano-Crystalline Catalysts
Reduction of global carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emission necessitates the use of energy conversion devices that generate electricity directly without involving the combustion of fossil fuels. The fuel cell meets this criterion by producing electricity through an oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and fuel (e.g. hydrogen or methanol) oxidation at the electrodes. However, the efficient functioning of a fuel cell requires the use of catalysts that are a) highly active, b) exposing a large surface area for the reactions and c) being chemically stable for long cycles of operation on the electrodes. The study shows that Pt-based nano-crystalline catalysts alloyed with 3d-transition metals such as Fe, Ni, Co can produce desired facets through manipulation of their noncrystalline shape and meet all three basic criteria. Furthermore, the size and shape of the nano-crystals can be accurately controlled by optimizing the precursors and tuning the synthesis conditions, thereby facilitating the growth of a wide variety of nanocatalysts with designed structures that may be well suited to improve the ORR performance that is the bottle-neck in the fuel cell development. These catalysts show great promise in not only achieving high ORR activity but also lowering the materials cost in the fuel cell technology, potentially enabling mass production of the new generation fuel cell catalysts with some earth-abundant metals.
Correlation between Arm Sales and Migration in Central America’s Northern Triangle and the United States during the Obama and Trump Administrations
This presentation investigates the relationship between Central America’s Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras) and the United States in terms of both arms sales and migration during the Obama and Trump administrations. One of the primary reasons for migration is the high rate of gun violence, and as the U.S. is the biggest contributor of arms to the region it is natural to argue that there is a direct correlation between the U.S.’s sales of arms to the Northern Triangle and the migration from the region to the U.S. This presentation also analyzes, from a historical context, the United States’ responsibility to aid the Northern Triangle, through the implementation of legislation controlling gun sales to the area. Utilizing U.S. legislation, news articles, UN resolutions, and scholarly articles, this paper explains the importance of the correlation between arms sales and migration to the United States. The sources would also be used to establish precedence as to how a form of legislative intervention would affect the migration to the United States. The Obama and Trump administrations employed different strategies to mitigate the “migrant crisis”, but neither administration made efforts to mitigate the violence in the region. By contrasting the legislative action during the administrations, this presentation helps distinguish the actions that were beneficial and harmful to decreasing migration from the Northern Triangle to the U.S. Migration from the Northern Triangle has caused controversial conversations to arise throughout the United States. This presentation aims to determine the potential consequences of legislative actions from the United States and the impact it would have on both parties. The paper develops a course of action that would best help the Biden Administration decrease the violence in the Northern Triangle and, thus, the migration to the U.S.
The Effect of Visual Media on General Perceptions of Healthy Bodies
Brooke Biernacki, Elijah Goldenberg, and Laura Miller
Visual media play a significant role in people’s daily lives. The increase in visual media associated with by the internet and social media fuels our curiosity about the media’s influence on perceptions of healthy bodies. For the purposes of our research, we are defining a healthy body as a sustainable level of nutrition and exercise as reasonable with respect to a person’s ability. We are collecting data through an online survey that asks participants to view various images of celebrities and Olympians and determine whether they would consider their bodies as healthy or unhealthy on a Likert scale. The participants will not be given any prior information on the diets and exercise habits of the individuals in the photos, and must base their judgments strictly on the visuals presented. Our prediction is that there will be some discrepancy between perceived health and the appearance of the subjects’ bodies. We expect that the gender, age, and/or sexual orientation of the participants, as well as the gender presentation and race of the subjects will affect how these bodies are perceived.
The Role of Teacher Self Disclosure in STEM Undergraduate Students’ Levels of Emotional and Behavioral Engagement
The available literature suggests that teacher self-disclosure and classroom engagement can play a significant positive role in the learning process across disciplines have classified the dimensions of teacher self-disclosure as amount, relevance, and negativity; however, few studies make use of these dimensions to examine their effects on classroom engagement among undergraduate students in STEM fields. This study addresses the following research question: What is the relationship between teacher self-disclosure and classroom engagement of undergraduate students enrolled in STEM courses? Participants in this study were undergraduate students enrolled in the three-semester First Year Research Immersion (FRI) program at Binghamton University (300 first year students and 260 second year students). The participants completed a survey that included questions about their experiences with instances of teacher self-disclosure, and their levels of emotional and behavioral engagement within the program. A relationship between the constructs was studied through structural equation modeling using IBM AMOS software. We hypothesized that perceptions of teacher self-disclosure of research mentors within the FRI program will have a significant direct relationship to undergraduate students' levels of emotional and behavioral engagement. It is expected that findings from this study will generate recommendations that will contribute to the development of teaching and learning within higher education STEM research courses.
In Transition: A Microhistory of Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) 1986-1996
Shermont Bradwell, Danielle Kinches, Dan Pergel, and Eden Lowinger
Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) formed in NYC in response to the stigma, discrimination, and insufficient governmental assistance in the beginning years of the AIDS epidemic. Individuals and groups affected by AIDS were being denied critical resources such as healthcare, social services, and housing. Many lost their jobs, the support of their families, and were dealing with increasing social isolation. GMHC’s staff and volunteers responded by providing a range of services, including: medical, legal, and financial information, counseling, and advocacy, as well as social and emotional support. Although GMHC began as an organization primarily focused on the needs of the gay male community, the clients who came to the agency for services were always more diverse than the name implied and, as the years went by, became even more so. As the virulence of the epidemic intensified and the number and diversity of those affected rose, the challenges of developing, prioritizing, and allocating agency resources and services magnified. This emerging reality exposed schisms between those most in need of GMHC’s services and the organization’s history, identity, and organizational culture. This was also happening at a time when the agency was becoming more professionalized and bureaucratic, as pursuit of funding forced it to shift away from its movement-based roots. The current project presents a microhistory of GMHC from 1986-1996, a decade in which significant transitions and intergroup conflicts occurred within the organization. Analysis of archival data from this period, including GMHC newsletters, meeting minutes, results from internal agency reports, and other related documents highlight conflicts within and surrounding GMHC during this transitional period.
Targeted Delivery of TLR-Agonists Using ADC Technology
Brittany Brems, Emmanuel Olawode, and Siteng Fang
Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) are a method of targeted drug delivery that transport a payload to a desired cell type. By directly targeting the cell type of choice, off-target effects experienced by non-diseased cells can be mitigated. Currently, the majority of clinical-stage ADCs are directed to tumor cells and contain a cytotoxic payload. In contrast, this work focuses on the design and evaluation of ADCs that deliver Toll-Like Receptor (TLR)-7/8 agonists to B-cells. TLR-7/8 agonists activate an intracellular cytosolic receptor that leads to the activation of NFκB, which results in the production of proinflammatory cytokines. This forms a link between the innate and adaptive immune system by promoting T cell activity. We will present work that focuses on 3 aspects of these TLR-activating ADCs: 1) Evaluation of payload and linker-payload efficacy in B-cells; 2) Understanding ADC stability and catabolism; and 3) Evaluating the specificity and activity of the TLR-activating ADCs. Nine payloads were synthesized and evaluated and found to exhibit sub-µM potency: Resiquimod, E66, and E104. Of these three, E104 had the highest potency followed by Resiquimod. Each payload was evaluated using three different linkers: mc, mc_ValCit, and mc_ValCitPABC. Mc has been shown to be a non-cleavable linker via catabolism studies, while mc_ValCitPABC has been shown to be cleavable. Quanti-blue assays in Ramos Blue cells demonstrated that mc_E104 is the most potent linker-payload when attached to a B-cell targeting antibody. This non-cleavable ADC was significantly more potent than the corresponding cleavable (ValCitPABC) ADC. We will present catabolism and permeability data that may explain this unexpected finding.
Why ICE’s Role in Immigration Enforcement Needs to be Re-Examined
This presentation investigates how Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) helps or does not help the United States live up to international standards of how countries should enforce immigration policies. This presentation argues that ICE ultimately does not aid the United States in establishing more humane and fair immigration policies. Furthermore, ICE’s actions are often detrimental to the goal of treating immigrants, whether they are documented or undocumented, according to international standards established in the United Nation compact on migration. The compact details multiple goals that signatories have pledged to work towards regarding the fair and humane treatment of migrants. This argument is based upon reporting and detailing various ICE controversies. Many of the primary sources focus not only on these controversies, but also the lack of accountability ICE faces even after the bureau’s questionable actions become public knowledge. The secondary sources utilized for this presentation examine ICE’s actions in a larger scope. Most focus on one particular area that ICE can improve, including eroding political trust in minority communities, over-criminalizing immigration, and employing potentially illegal tactics in tandem with local law enforcement. Many of ICE’s controversial decisions and policies seemingly get swept under the rug as the bureau is routinely praised by public officials, especially during the Trump presidency. This paper ultimately aims to prove that when one closely examines ICE policy and its ripple effects, heaping praise on ICE as an effective immigration enforcement mechanism becomes much more difficult.
Optimization of Growth Parameters of WS2 Synthesis: Effects on Crystallinity and Optical Properties
Semiconducting transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) are a specific class of two-dimensional (2D) materials with the chemical structure MX2. A transition metal, represented by “M”, is positioned between two chalcogen layers, represented by “X2”. The specific system of interest in this research is tungsten disulfide, WS2, which has applications in optoelectronics. This work focuses on synthesis of WS2 via chemical vapor deposition (CVD) using a liquid precursor. In this process, argon gas carries gas phase sulfur through a quartz tube. The Si substrate that has been plasma cleaned and spin coated with the liquid precursor is placed in the center of the tube furnace, downstream from the sulfur. The sulfur is usually heated to about 250 °C, while the furnace is heating to around 800 °C. The influence of growth parameters (such as growth time, gas flow rate, and temperature) on the crystallinity of these atomically thin layers is also studied. Raman spectroscopy and photoluminescence (PL) are non-invasive techniques that are commonly used to analyze TMDs. The epitaxial relation between both crystals will be studied along with variation in number of layers and optical fingerprint of the WS2. The choice of substrate is expected to change the properties of the sample. Thus, future work will investigate the growth of WS2 and Fe-WS2 on highly ordered pyrolytic graphite (HOPG).
Researching Broome County Farmers Markets in the COVID-19 Pandemic
The value of farmers markets has been shown through their contribution to community building by providing consumers with local food and giving farmers direct access to consumers. The direct connection between farmers and consumers can only be found at places like farmers markets. Having values such as the interaction between farmers and consumers and supporting locally grown food makes farmers markets important to their communities. However, the impact of farmers markets in their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic is unclear. By conducting interviews with people closely involved in farmers markets, I aim to find out how farmers markets in the Broome County area have been affected. These interviews will consist of questions targeting the atmosphere of farmers markets before and after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through interviews with public officials, vendors, and market organizers I aim to collect views on the markets from people involved before and during the pandemic to analyze its effects. Findings could range from a noticeable decrease of people involved with farmers markets around the time the pandemic began to continued or increased involvement in farmers markets. Reasons why consumers and vendors felt safe or unsafe at farmers markets, as well as if they felt motivated to attend or not, will be explored to better understand the place of farmers markets in the community and how direct connections have either been valued or discontinued as a result of the pandemic.
Racism and Medical Care: Intersectional Analysis of Covid-19 Treatment
Hudson Burrows, Gabrielle Mazza, Debra Perlmutter, and Emily Vega
It is crucial to analyze the ways in which Black women are discriminated against in the United States healthcare system. As a nation, we are witnessing in real-time the ramifications of the inadequate care Black women commonly receive during the Covid-19 pandemic, however this is historically only one stage of many where Black women suffer at the hands of prejudiced medical treatment. Leading research on the subject presents quantitative data and patient interviews that provide evidence for systemic, discriminatory treatment on the part of healthcare providers. We are looking at patient/health care provider interaction, levels of satisfaction in the care that Black women receive, and differential medical outcomes as a result of varying levels of care. We structured this information around interviews with researchers at Binghamton University to gather personal narratives and advice for the trajectory of our research. Further, we have conducted a meta-analysis of womanist literature on the subject. With this information we provide an updated synopsis of the inequities in medical outreach, treatment, and the care that Black women receive, specifically regarding Covid-19, which manifests in lower confidence in medical professionals, higher infection rates, and higher death rates. Our data collection will assist in delineating this problem and in working towards solutions within the scope of the pandemic and beyond. Black women who face these disparities in health care are left to manage their health without the help of the very people tasked with that responsibility, and it is therefore imperative that we shine light upon the racism and sexism within the United States healthcare system to supply data in support of the demands for reform.
Child Domestic Laborers’ Vulnerability To Horizontal Inequality
Human Rights Watch issued a report in 2005 which “documented domestic work [in Morocco] by girls as young as five years old, some of whom worked for as little as US4¢ an hour, for 100 or more hours per week, without rest breaks or days off.” This report would become the basis of a follow up report conducted in 2012 that addressed the exploitative conditions of child domestic labor. How do these conditions create an environment that prevents these child laborers from attending school? How does this contribute to future inequalities? Employment of these children violates the ratification of international covenants and laws on child labor, and minimal advancement has been made to protect child laborers in the countries of North Africa. Young girls are continuously abused and forced to work long hours for indecent wages in private homes in North Africa. Horizontal inequalities are inequalities among groups with a similar social, political, or economic identity. The study of human rights violations occurring in North Africa consists of identifying how the exploitation and powerlessness of child domestic laborers make them uniquely susceptible to structural oppression and how minimal educational opportunities for these children forces them into the unprofessional sector of labor and leads to increased horizontal inequalities. The examination of the US Department of Labor’s labor rights reports and US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices from 2009 to 2019 provides the necessary data to analyze the level of government respect for internationally recognized worker’s rights. Analyzing how child labor violations in North Africa has been damaging to children and informing the world of the atrocities occurring in other countries will bring these violations to the forefront, and allow governments and other stakeholders to put pressure on violators to change their policies and actions.
Connecting Uyghur Forced Labor to the Fashion Industries
Kandice Chandra, Zarina Roy, and Summer Farriss
“The happiest Muslims in the world” is the absurd saying issued by the Chinese government describing the estimated one million Uyghur Muslims held in detention camps in Xinjiang, China. In the past few years, Uyghurs and Turkic Muslim minorities have been disappearing into what the Chinese government formally labels as “re-education camps.” In these camps there has been evidence that exploitative forced labor is occurring. The factories that Uyghurs work at in Xinjiang, have been proven to supply chain ties to some of the most popular U.S. fashion brands such as ZARA, Calvin Klein (PVH), and Victoria’s Secret (L brands). Many of these companies currently do not have any clear plans to disassociate themselves. To combat the human rights violations that restrict the freedoms of the Uyghurs, we explore specific ties to supply chains from Xinjiang and the use of Uyghur forced labor. Our report will examine specifically how supply chain tracing in the industry is conducted. Pressuring the government to reveal answers requires targeted arguments about how they are failing to uphold the law. Specifically, for over 90 years, U.S. legislation through the Tariff Act of 1930 has explicitly made it illegal to import “goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labor” into the United States. Companies are getting away with goods tied to Xinjiang whether it is intentional or not. The purpose of this research is to uncover undeniable, indisputable evidence and information of forced labor in which groups and nations can utilize to further investigate their own supply chains. In understanding which factories and companies display red flags, there is an opportunity for change in practices to begin starting in the U.S., then on a global scale.
Biogeographical Patterns in Oak Gall Wasp-Parasitoid Communities Associated with Oregon White Oak, Quercus Garryana, Under Anthropogenic Change
Rachel Chen, Dylan G. Jones, and Aly Milks
Species are expanding their ranges poleward as a consequence of global climate change. However, natural enemies may lag behind range-expanding hosts, facilitating “ecological release.” A species that has experienced a recent poleward range expansion is Neuroterus saltatorius, an oak gall wasp (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) that expanded its range from mainland western North America to Vancouver Island, BC. In its expanded range, it is threatening oak savanna ecosystems. This species induces gall structures on its host plant, Quercus garryana. Parasitoid wasps are attracted to galls and feed on developing insects in galls, acting as population control agents. We examine how interactions with enemies and competitors change over the range of Q. garryana and in the native and expanded range of N. saltatorius, and if changes in interactions relate to ecological release. Parasitoid wasps were reared from cynipid species collected from Q. garryana at 18 sites from Northern California to Vancouver Island, BC and identified to morphospecies using taxonomic keys. We found 21 cynipid morphospecies that co-occur with N. saltatorius on Q. garryana throughout its range, with a subset of cynipids (9 morphospecies) in the expanded range. We have identified 16 species of parasitoids from N. saltatorius. Preliminary results suggest a different composition of parasitoid enemies in its expanded range compared to its native range. This is likely due to a change in the composition of known generalist parasitoids that attack the range-expanding host that may not be effectively switching other from other competitors, rather than from a loss of known specialist parasitoids. We have also identified parasitoid morphospecies from a co-occurring competitor cynipid, Andricus quercuscalifornicus, and found no overlap in parasitoids with N. saltatorius. This suggests that A. quercuscalifornicus is not a competitor and does not contribute to the release of N. saltatorius. Uncovering how species interactions with range-expanding hosts are altered is important to predict outcomes of anthropogenic range expansions.
Poker Bluff Detection Dataset Based on Facial Analysis
Umur Ciftci, Jacob Feinland, Jacob Barkovitch, Dokyu Lee, and Alex Kaforey
Poker is a high-stakes game involving a deceptive strategy called bluffing and is an ideal research subject for improving high-stakes deception detection (HSDD) techniques like those used by interrogators. Multiple HSDD studies involve staged scenarios in controlled settings with subjects who were told to lie. Scenarios like staged interrogations are inherently poor data sources for HSDD because the subjects will naturally respond differently than someone who actually risks imprisonment, or in the case of poker, loses great sums of money. Thus, unstaged data is a necessity. Unlike traditional HSDD methods involving invasive measurement of biometric data, using video footage of subjects allows for analyzing people’s natural deceptions in real high-stakes scenarios using facial expressions. Deception detection generalizes well for different high-stakes situations, so the accessibility of data in videos of poker tournaments online is convenient for research on this subject. In the hopes of encouraging additional research on real-world HSDD, we present a novel in-the-wild dataset using four different videos from separate professional poker tournaments, totaling 48 minutes. These videos contain great variety in head poses, lighting conditions, and occlusions. We used players’ cards and bets to manually label bluffs and then extracted facial expressions in over 31,000 video frames containing face images from 25 players. We used the dataset to train a state-of-the-art convolutional neural network (CNN) to identify bluffing based on face images, achieving high accuracy for a baseline model. We believe this dataset will allow future in-the-wild bluff detection research to achieve higher deception detection rates, which will enable the development of techniques for more practical applications of HSDD such as in police interrogations and customs inspections.
Recognizing Facial Mimicry In Virtual Group Conversations
Umur Ciftci, Jennifer Yuan, Shiya Bolton, Gracia Xu, Calia Kugler, and Simon Weintraub
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, group communication is often restricted to virtual video-conferencing platforms like Zoom in order to inhibit the spread of the virus. The virtual communication environment affects our ability to assess group emotion and support verbal messages through nonverbal communication. Because virtual meetings create visibility restrictions due to limited camera view, body language is occluded, and faces are now at the forefront of social interactions within groups. Since faces are still visible, it allows for some key components of interpersonal interactions to still occur, such as facial mimicry. Facial mimicry occurs when one person mirrors another person's facial expressions. Most research on facial mimicry has been conducted on face-to-face interactions. Further studies have also shown that facial mimicry exists when an individual is reacting to a recorded video containing different expressions. However, there is limited research on facial mimicry within video-conferencing conversations. Our research aims to use facial expression recognition techniques to analyze if facial mimicry exists during group conversations over virtual platforms through facial action units and expressions. For this purpose, we used current state-of-the-art methods to recognize and analyze the activation of eye gaze, seven universal facial expressions, and seventeen commonly presented facial action units over time for each participant within various Zoom meetings that were uploaded on Youtube to measure facial mimicry. From observing the simultaneous activation of facial action units, our findings suggest that facial mimicry, specifically in reaction to smiling and positive facial expressions, does exist in video-conferencing group conversations. We plan to conduct future research to determine whether this positive facial mimicry improves group emotion and productivity.
Sense of Belonging among Minority Groups at Binghamton University
Leah Cingranelli, Jamie Vong, and Nusrat Islam
Although Binghamton University and institutions alike put forth certain rules and efforts to ensure that students of the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community, people of color, and students who are religiously affiliated feel safe, the reality is that many of these students feel unwelcome and different due to their social identities. The aim of this non-experimental study is to investigate if there is a significant difference in sense of belonging among minority groups of undergraduate students who attend Binghamton University, as well as between undergraduate students who self-identify within a minority group, with those who do not. We hypothesize that sense of belonging amongst different minority groups will be lower when compared to the Binghamton University student population that does not self-identify within a minority group. A survey was sent to undergraduate students across the university campus, and inferential statistical analysis was used to compare the means of the different subgroups. We contend that results from this study may highlight how offering various supports for minority students may not be enough to create a sense of belonging within academic institutions and that more research needs to be conducted to have effective safeguards in place.
Beyond The Rhetoric: Asylum In The Obama And Trump Administrations
This paper contrasts the asylum policies in the Trump Administration to those of the Obama Administration. This research performs an intersectional analysis of rhetoric, political affiliation, direct and indirect policy initiatives, and enforcement across these administrations. This paper finds that although rhetoric can alter public opinion, it is often unrelated to the development of policy initiatives and enforcement. The same conclusion is drawn regarding the dissociation between political affiliation and detention practices. The human experience related to asylum is explored, specifically relating to policy implementation in both administrations, including family separation, the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), and the “Muslim Ban.” Migrants’ firsthand experiences, as presented in scholarly journals and periodicals, are collated to conclude that harsh detention practices that are often associated with the Trump Administration through public opinion and the media, were developed during the Obama Presidency and continually perpetuated in President Trump’s term. This paper also searches for parallels and variances between executive orders in both administrations, concluding that President Trump signed more extreme executive actions against the asylum system. To support this analysis, both Presidents’ White House press releases and social media posts are examined to conclude that the rhetoric and real policies do not consistently coincide. This research deciphers various scholarly journal articles, news sources, publications from nonprofit organizations, and think tanks from across the political spectrum. As the tides of political control have recently changed, it is vital for constituents to understand the real impacts that these most recent administrations had on the development and implementation of asylum policy in the United States. Via an intensive comparison of both administration’ asylum initiatives, this research will provide a retrospective view that can help the American populous make conclusions about the past and informed decisions about the future.
Investigating the Anti-dyskinetic Effects of Serotonin- and Glutamate-acting Compounds, Vilazodone and Amantadine, in Hemiparkinsonian Rats
Sophie Cohen, Michelle Terry, Emily Wheelis, Samantha Smith, Michael Coyle, and John Glinski
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative movement disorder caused by loss of nigrostriatal dopamine (DA) neurons. DA replacement therapy using L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) improves motor functioning but often results in L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia (LID) typified by abnormal involuntary movements (AIMs). In this state of DA depletion, serotonin (5-HT) neuron hyperinnervation and glutamate overactivity are heavily implicated in LID. This study investigated the anti-dyskinetic effects of Vilazodone (VZD), a 5-HT transport blocker and partial 5-HT1a agonist, and/or Amantadine (AMAT), an NMDA glutamate antagonist. It was hypothesized that alone each would reduce LID, while co-administration at low doses would synergistically reduce LID without compromising L-DOPA efficacy. Hemiparkinsonian Sprague-Dawley rats were given L-DOPA (6mg/kg, s.c.) for 14 days to establish LID. VZD (0, 1, 2.5, 5mg/kg) and AMAT (0, 20, 40, 60mg/kg) were administered in a within-subjects counterbalanced design with L-DOPA to ascertain effective anti-LID doses (n=9). AIMs were monitored for 3 hours following injections to measure LID expression. Before examining potential treatment synergy, doses exhibiting minimal effect on AIMs scores were selected (VZD 1.0, 2.5mg/kg; AMAT 40mg/kg). The following cohort (n=8) received 6 counterbalanced treatments consisting of L-DOPA (6mg/kg) and either VZD (1, 2.5mg/kg), AMAT (40mg/kg), or both. Results revealed a significant decrease in AIMs and maintained motor performance with VZD (2.5mg/kg) compared to those receiving only L-DOPA. AMAT prolonged peak AIMs without maintaining L-DOPA motor efficacy when co-administered with VZD or L-DOPA alone. These results suggest co-administration of VZD and AMAT with L-DOPA does not synergistically reduce LID in hemiparkinsonian rats. Rather, our results suggest that AMAT may reduce the efficacy of VZD. However, our results suggest very low doses of VZD (2.5mg/kg) reduce LID severity and duration while maintaining L-DOPA efficacy.
Exploring The Effects Of State-Sanctioned Torture On Human Rights In America
Since 2002, detainees in Guantanamo Bay have been subject to egregious human rights abuses, but a lesser-known aspect of the torture they suffer is the use of extraordinary renditions, or the forced kidnapping of a person to another location to avoid a country’s laws regarding interrogation or torture. In Johnston County, North Carolina, the CIA used charter company Aero Contractors Ltd. to aid these renditions by flying planes out of the county airport with the intent to transport (render) detainees from foreign countries to CIA detention centers, such as Guantanamo Bay. Because of methods used on detainees such as beatings and stress positions, these rendition flights were torture in and of themselves and played a key role in the mental breaking of a detainee. Since North Carolina supported this program knowing it was illegal and morally wrong, we must ask ourselves what consequences this acceptance of torture could have on both NC and the United States.
The Impact of Illicit ADHD Medication Use on Dietary Choices and Mental Distress Among College Students
Dennis Cregin, Courtney Hinkley, and Julia Horowitz
Students on college campuses use ADHD medications illicitly, often to increase their focus, concentration, and memory in an attempt to better their academic performance. These psychostimulants have an appetite suppressive effect that make them attractive for use by many college students. Psychostimulants impact the brain circuitry in a way that impacts mental health, which in turn impact eating behaviors that may lead to disordered eating. The brain reward circuits affected by ADHD medication may play a role in “pleasure-seeking behavior and food cravings.” Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between ADHD medications, dietary choices and mental distress. Data has been collected from over 600 undergraduate students from several U.S. colleges. Data collection is ongoing. The survey included questions on dietary patterns, exercise practices, frequency of specific food group consumption, mental health, and ADHD medication use. Data was collected using a Google Survey and analyzed using Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient in SPSS, Version 25.0. Our results suggest that there is a bidirectional relationship between ADHD medications, dietary choices and mental distress.
Gender Differences in Children’s Prior Play Experiences as a Predictor of Success in Engineering Tasks
Sophie Criss, Samantha Cintron, Kara Gately, Sophia Geisser, Zoe Geisser, Samantha Herlands, Ariel Kachuro, Vanessa Uhteg, Kimberley Williams, Danielle Wolfe, and Kayla Yim
Studies have shown that female student’s science and mathematical achievements are consistent with those of their male peers. Nevertheless, women are dramatically underrepresented in STEM professions, with women making up just 12 percent of working engineers. Since it has been found that early exposure to STEM concepts and practice leads to later success in the field, it is important that we understand the differences in engineering skills and levels of interest in young children. This study examines gender differences between young children in multiple measured variables of building tasks at an engineering exhibit in a museum. The sample consists of 68 families, child M age = (5.5 years). In this study researchers asked children to fix a wobbly skyscraper or bridge, and also asked parents to complete a questionnaire regarding their child’s play interests. Children’s attempts at fixing the structures were coded from videotape records at the museum. It is hypothesized that parents will report male children having greater prior experience and interest with engineering games than females, which may predict greater success in the building tasks. We will report results on potential gender differences in children’s prior play experiences and interest as a predictor of success in these building tasks.
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