CASCon2017 Program

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Presentation Abstracts

2:00-2:55 pm (UC105): Rhetoric and Recognition

David Shaenfield (Psychology), “Valuing Argumentation”
An overview of an intervention designed to foster argumentation and metacognitive skills in young adolescents in an academically at-risk urban school. Focusing on how adolescents develop the value for argumentation.

Bill Yousman (Communication and Media Arts) and Colleen Butler-Sweet (Sociology), “Black Lives Matter and the Public Imagination”
Black Live Matter (BLM) is a controversial social phenomenon, one that commands significant media attention and elicits strong emotional reactions from both supporters and skeptics. This interdisciplinary panel utilizes both social scientific and cultural studies methodologies to examine its social impact and public reception.

Derek Brian Brown (Social Work), “The Effects of Discriminatory Stress on Sexual Minority Health: Implications for Interprofessional Collaboration to Advance Social and Economic Justice”
Sexual orientation discrimination and its subsequent minority stress have deleterious effects on LGB persons’ psychological health, minimized their ability to receive help, or social support, and may be associated with negative physical health outcomes through its direct effect on health risk behaviors. As with the general population, the most vulnerable LGB persons, who are poor and young, may be most at risk.

2:00-2:55 pm (UC106): Technology and Values

Fran Grodzinsky (Computer Science), “New Trends in Augmented Reality and Autonomous Agency”
This presentation considers the attempts on the part of developers to move robots, and bots in the direction of becoming fully modifiable artifacts. Important issues that arise are those of deception and trust, socio-technical context that AA ethics researchers ought to consider, mis-characterizations of human traits assigned to robots, and ethical problems with the very nature of learning software.

Stephen Lilley (Sociology) and Amanda Moras (Sociology), “How Callisto, an Online Site for College Sexual Assault Reporting, Promotes Social Values”
We offer our case study of Callisto, an online site for sexual assault reporting designed to increase reporting rates of sexual assault on college campuses. We compare Callisto to ordinary reporting systems and discuss its use of technology to fulfill its mission of empowering survivors and promoting social justice.

June-Ann Greeley (Religious Studies and Theology), "Finding My Religions?: Faith and Community in the Virtual World"
This paper will focus on Muslim women and their engagement with each other in online-religious (specifically Sufi) Muslim communities that are redefining and revitalizing the roles and rights of Islamic women and subverting the accepted patriarchy.

2:00-2:55 pm (UC107): Vampires, Super Villains, Teenage Girls, and other Scary Things:  Popular Culture in the Lives of Millennials

Andrew Miller (Communication and Media Arts), Super Heroes and Stranger Things: The New and the Nostalgic”; Sally Ross (Communication and Media Arts), “Yes. Forever 18: Millennials and the Resuscitation of the Vampire”; and Lori Bindig (Communication and Media Arts), “Pretty Little Liars: The Frightening Truth Behind Post-Feminist Teen Television”
Though youth-oriented media is often derided as superficial and trivial, the profound effects that these wildly popular programs have on our children, family, society, and culture are undeniable. This panel explores several iconic millennial media texts that serve as indicators of dominant beliefs, industry practices, and cultural values.

2:00-2:55 pm (UC109): Chemicals and Particles

Penny Snetsinger (Chemistry), “Multi-regression Factors Influencing Textile Dye Adsorption on Activated Carbon”
This work describes the investigation of collective factors with the goal of generating multi-regression equations to predict carbon absorption capacity in wastewater effluents from textile industries.

Linda Farber (Chemistry), “Microwave Assisted Organic Synthesis”
Organic synthesis has been enhanced by the use of laboratory microwaves. Several organic reactions are now able to be performed at a fraction of the time and often with increased yield. Our research has focused on oxidation reactions of secondary alcohols using a relatively mild and environmentally friendly oxidizing reagent. The focus of this talk will be on our research that is being done to improve the methodology of these oxidation reactions as well as the investigation into the effectiveness of the oxidizing reagent.

Eid Alkhatib (Chemistry), “Simulation Study of Factors Influencing Metal Partitioning in Aquatic Systems”
For the eight metals tested in this study, multiple regression equations are generated to predict the partition coefficients Kd of each metal between the suspended sediments and water under the various conditions of the five factors tested. The most significant factors influencing partitioning of each metal is evaluated.

Marlina Slamet (Physics/Chemistry), “Study of a Quantum Dot in an Excited State”
We have studied the rst excited singlet state of a quantum dot via quantal density functional theory (QDFT). The quantum dot is represented by a 2D Hooke’s atom in an external magnetic eld. The QDFT mapping is from an excited singlet state of this interacting system to one of non-interacting fermions in a singlet ground state.

2:00-2:55 pm (UC110): Catholic Studies

Daniel Rober (Catholic Studies), “Catholic Studies in a Secularizing Culture”
This paper analyzes secularization and its impact on Catholic higher education. It proposes Catholic Studies as a model that can, in a pluralistic milieu, can expose students to Catholic culture in a way that ties together mission and intellectual rigor.

Jennifer Reek (Catholic Studies), “The Lands Between: Working in Interdisciplinary Spaces”
The British Catholic theologian Gerard Loughlin has referred to interdisciplinary scholars as “those who work at the edges...who wander, though determinedly, in the lands between, in places that are disconcertingly different.” This presentation explores such borderline places in the work of Hélène Cixous and Clarice Lispector.

Brent Little (Catholic Studies), “More than Charity: Developmental Disabilities and the Invitation to Friendship”
A better theological approach than the conventional charity model begins with the observation that people with developmental disabilities possess the agency for friendship. Although one can force care upon a person, one cannot force friendship. Friendship assumes that each person—those with and without developmental disabilities—possesses the freedom to enter into the relationship with the other.

Tara Flanagan (Catholic Studies), “Nostra Aetate and the Interfaith Context of the Health Care Professions”
This research examines the significance of Nostra Aetate in the context of contemporary medical care, specifically in the work of health care chaplains. It examines the ways the 1965 document expanded the concept of religious connectedness in a way that directly affects patient care.

3:00-3:55 pm (UC105): Sustainable Tourism

Mark Beekey (Biology), Enda McGovern (Marketing), Gerald Reid (Sociology), John Roney (History), Joshua Shuart (Sport Management), and LaTina Steele (Biology)
The coastal environment is complex and where tourism constitutes a key player in the economy, it fosters uncertain interactions between environmental and socio-economic processes. This panel will present an overview of an interdisciplinary project focused on the development of sustainable tourism in Dingle, Ireland.

3:00-3:55 pm (UC106): Prevention Research

Andrew Martinez (Social Work), Bronwyn Cross-Denny (Social Work), and Jessica Samuolis (Psychology)
The session will include examples of three methods of prevention and feature research on three key public health issues that impact different developmental age groups. Dr. Martinez will review his policy-based work, which focuses on bullying prevention and creating safe school environments among school-aged children. Dr. Cross-Denny will discuss her data analysis to support a community-based model of prevention of depression in older adults. Dr. Samuolis will discuss her research on a suicide prevention program for college students.

3:00-3:55 pm (UC107): Designs and Dimensions

Jon Walker (Art and Design) “The Growing Creativity Crisis: How Our Educational and Advisement Practices Are Actually Working Against Our Students' Chances for Success”
DesignThinking begins with teachable skills in creativity and places these tools into the hands of people who have not considered themselves Designers. It allows them to apply DesignThinking to a vastly greater range of problems. DesignThinking is a critical skill for a students’ future but is currently dismissed by today’s university curriculum.

Deirdre Yeater (Psychology) and Dawn Melzer (Psychology), “A Test of Creative Thinking in Marine Mammals and Children”
Our current research project applies human creativity tests to investigate innovative capabilities in dolphins. Our goal is to compare abilities in marine mammals and young children to provide insight on the evolution of cognitive abilities. The modified dolphin creativity tasks may enable us to assess creativity in very young children and those with developmental delays in future research.

Andrew Lazowski (Mathematics), “Fractional Dimension”
The concept of dimension is easy to think about for dimensions 1, 2 and 3. Amusement parks and entertainment companies now offer 4 dimensional shows which add another element of excitement. The concept of dimension can actually be expanded to include objects that have fractional dimension. We will introduce the formulas and history of fractional dimension and provide examples of spaces with these characteristics. In case you are curious, broccoli has dimension 2.66 and the coast of Norway has dimension 1.52.

Bernadette Boyle (Mathematics), “The Index of a Numerical Semigroup in Four Generators”
The index is a numeric value which describes certain properties of numerical semigroup. In a 2013 paper, O. Veliche develops a formula to compute the index of a family of numerical semigroup rings in three generators. In this talk, we will discuss an extension of Veliche’s results as we create a formula to compute the index of a family of rings in four generators. This formula differs from previously known results as it is closed and the computation only requires knowledge of the generators.

3:00-3:55 pm (UC109): Literature in Action

Rick Magee (English), “The Haunted Muse: Gothic and Sentiment in American Literature”
Drawing from fields like anthropology and sociology, Dr. Magee’s literary scholarship examines the Salem Witch Trials as well as the gendered fears that these trials influence American horror and Gothic literature.

Michelle Loris (English), “Biblical Analogues in Joan Didion’s Play It as It Lays”
This presentation will focus on gender and spirituality. Furthermore, Dr. Loris will discuss innovative ways in which her classes involve students in her work on literature and trauma theory.

Peter Sinclair (English) “Time and Trauma”
This presentation considers literature through the interrelated topics of time and trauma. It includes the literature of 9/11, Faulkner and memory, and material from Sinclair’s current book, which examines a relationship between religion and literature, as well as trauma theory.

Cara Kilgallen (English), “Sport, Sustainability, and America’s Evolving Literary Landscape”
This presentation brings together elements of physical culture, public health reform, and environmentalism as reflected in early twentieth-century American literature and culture.

3:00-3:55 pm (UC110): Plants and Animals

LaTina Steele (Biology), “Stranger in a Strange Pond: Interactions between Native and Invasive Aquatic Plants in Coastal Ponds”
Non-native plants are often assumed to have adverse effects on the communities they invade, but that may not always be the case. The processes causing invasive aquatic plants to dominate some waters but not others are poorly understood. My research students and I have been working to clarify the effects of invasive plants on local ponds by exploring differences in chemical deterrent production, palatability, and predation rates between native and invasive aquatic plants.

Suzanne M. Deschenes (Biology), “Of Chromosomes and Toxins: A Tale of Limulus”
Recent data from Project Limulus suggests a decline in the percentage of young adults in the Long Island Sound population of Limulus polyphemus, the American horseshoe crab. In an effort to better define the Sound population’s age structure, we are using telomere length analysis to hopefully distinguish between individuals of different ages.  In a separate but related project, we are investigating the molecular processes by which horseshoe crabs protect themselves so well against the toxic effects of heavy metal pollutants such as cadmium.

Jo-Marie Kasinak (Biology), “Who Gives a Crab about Horseshoe Crabs? Actually Hundreds of Volunteers!”
Your good health depends on horseshoe crabs and yet their population is declining in Long Island Sound (LIS) due to loss of habitat and overharvesting. For 18 years, we have been studying their ecology with the help of a citizen scientist investigation (CSI) program called Project Limulus. Through this community based research program, CSIs help gather data and increase public awareness of horseshoe crabs and their connection to the LIS ecosystem and human health.

Jennifer H. Mattei (Biology), “Build a Wall--The Wrong Solution to a Number of Problems, Including Coastal Resilience.”
Global climate change, coastal erosion, human development in coastal habitats, and overfishing, what can be done? Nature-based coastal protection is superior to seawalls allowing the land-sea connectivity essential for fish and wildlife. A “living shoreline” restoration project in Stratford has successfully capped heavy metals, allowed for 30cm of sediment deposition, and protected well the shoreline and newly established marsh.

4:00-4:55 pm (UC105): Psyched Out

Deirdre Yeater (Psychology), “The Effect of Observing Research on Visitor Behavior in an Aquarium Setting”
Research has indicated that the most important feature of a zoo or aquarium exhibit is its level of interaction or engagement with the visitor. Visitors were able to observe interactions such as training demonstrations, behavioral research, and visitor-led environmental enrichment activities in public viewing areas. Observing these types of interactions at an aquarium may increase the educational value of exhibits for visitors and is a first step to communicating the message of conservation.

Susan Gannon (Psychology) and Dawn Melzer (Psychology), “The Effect of Growth Mindset Training on Children’s Academic Abilities”
In contrast to fixed mindset, or the belief that intelligence is static, growth mindset interventions focus on perseverance, flexibility and the ability to use feedback as tools to improve student performance in the classroom. Our research focuses on introducing growth mindset stances in Bridgeport elementary school children between first and third grades.

Maureen Conard (Psychology) and Robert Marsh (Management), “What's Personality Got to Do with It?”
The presentation reviews research assessing the role of individual differences in predicting performance. Specifically, the research examined the roles of internal (e.g. personality traits, other individual differences) and external factors (e.g., incentives, workload, multitasking) on performance and related outcomes (e.g., stress, leadership, participation, retention). Personality traits operate through behavior to affect performance, sometimes in unexpected ways that have implications for college students and universities.

4:00-4:55 pm (UC106): Brains!

Rachel Bowman (Psychology), “Bisphenol-A, the Brain, and Behavior: How Everyday Objects may be Harming You"
Bisphenol-A (BPA), a known endocrine disruptor, is used in the production of polycarbonates (e.g., bathtubs and countertops), epoxy resin (e.g., lining of food and beverage containers), and ordinary household objects. My lab examines the effects of BPA during adolescent brain development. We have shown that this exposure changes memory, anxiety levels, and brain structure in rats. This talk highlights the need to better understand the adverse effects of BPA exposure far below the current accepted government levels.

Benjamin J. Alper (Chemistry), “Shake It and Break It – Strategies for Amyloid Plaque Disruption and Proteolysis as Potential Alzheimer’s Disease Therapies”
Cerebral accumulation of plaques made up of neurotoxic amyloid beta peptides is a primary event in Alzheimer's disease pathology. We are developing novel methods to disrupt amyloid plaque formation, and to promote destruction of neurotoxic amyloid beta peptides.

Mark Jareb (Biology), “Protein Targeting of L1CAM Mutants in Cultured Neurons”
We explored the cellular distribution of known L1CAM mutant proteins in cultured neurons to test the hypothesis that aberrant protein targeting of these mutants plays a role in the developmental abnormalities associated with a developmental syndrome.

Stephen Briner (Psychology), “The Impact of Prior Knowledge on the Hemispheric Processing of Metaphors: A Divided Visual Field Study”
In this study, adults with high and low general knowledge viewed and responded to 25 well-known metaphors presented to either the right or left hemisphere using the divided visual field technique. High- knowledge participants showed equivalent accuracy rates in both the right and left hemispheres. Low-knowledge participants were more accurate for metaphors in the left hemisphere than the right hemisphere. These results are consistent with the coarse coding theory of language processing.

4:00-4:55 pm (UC 107): All About Animals

Geffrey Stopper (Biology), “Evolution and Development of Tetrapod Limbs”
Currently I am approaching the questions of evolutionary biology and genes within the context of the evolutionary transition from fin to limb, and the subsequent radiation into the diverse limb morphologies found in land animals. My current work is investigating the dynamics of the function of the morphogen Sonic hedgehog in the development and evolution of the morphologies amphibian limbs.

Tom Terleph (Biology), “The Evolution of Vocal Duetting in Gibbons”
I am currently engaged in a multi-year collaborative project that involves the recording and analysis of vocalizations from a wild population of white-handed gibbons in Thailand. For this talk I will speculate as to how the gibbons’ complex “great calls”’ may have evolved from a simpler vocalization, and thus influenced duetting behavior, in the common ancestor of all gibbon species.

Barbara Pierce (Biology), “The Fat of the Matter: How Dietary Fat Composition Affects Energy Expenditure in Migratory Birds”
Birds are endurance athletes and perform an extremely high rate of fat metabolism during long-distance flight. This high rate of fat metabolism during exercise substantially increases the bird's oxidative stress (amount of free radicals). Birds might avoid the cellular damage associated with this oxidative stress during exercise by up-regulating their internal antioxidant capacity or by consuming diets containing antioxidants. My research examines the impact of dietary antioxidants on birds exercise performance and oxidative stress.

Nicole M. Roy (Biology), “Glyphosate Induces Cardiovascular Toxicity in Danio Rerio”
Here we utilize the zebrafish vertebrate model system to study early effects of glyphosate on the developing heart. We also investigate cardiomyocyte development and find alterations in the Mef2/mef2ca staining patterns during early cardiac patterning stages.

4:00-4:55 pm (UC109): Stereotypes and Stigmas

Mary E. Ignagni (Psychology), Eman Abdelfattah (Computer Science), and Christina J. Taylor (Psychology)
Stereotypes are overgeneralized and inaccurate attitudes that often affect our beliefs and behavior in unconscious ways. They can be very resistant to change. This panel will discuss different stereotypes regarding mental illness and the stereotypes of women. Questions include: How can the stereotypes of mental illness be used to impede or facilitate efforts to destigmatize mental illness? How do the stereotypes of women impact them in their selection into the STEM fields as well as into leadership roles?

4:00-4:55 pm (UC110): Imagination and Intervention

Al Wakin (Psychology), “Love Variant: Limerence”
This research attempts to examine an atypical love-variant called limerence from the perspectives of substance dependence and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Limerence is an involuntary interpersonal state that involves intrusive, obsessive, and compulsive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are contingent on perceived hope of emotional reciprocation from the object of interest.

Isil Akbulut (Government, Politics, and Global Studies), “Collaborating for Peace: Inter-Organizational Networks in Peace Operations”
Drawing on a multidisciplinary framework bringing together insights from international relations, social network analysis and organizational studies, this presentation explores whether formally structured through time or ad hoc in each conflict will have a moderating effect on network effectiveness.

Nathan Lewis (Art and Design), “Myth Making: Sighting and Reciting Stories in Paint”
This presentation will focus on the creation of a single painting or painting series, revealing the conceptual and technical process behind them. Inspirations as well as connections to history, literature, mythology, and contemporary life will be explored.

Closing Reception (University Commons Auditorium): 4:30-6:30pm

Please join us to continue the conversation with food and drinks.


Conference Information