Fall 2013 Senior Theses & Capstone Projects

On Monday, December 2, 2013, honors December graduates presented their senior honors capstone projects to the Sacred Heart community. We are very proud of their accomplishments and wish them well on the next steps of their journeys!

Investigation of Cognitive Representations in Belugas Using an Expectation Violation Paradigm Principal Investigator

Hayle Boyle, Deirdre Yeater, Sacred Heart University;  Heather Hill, St. Mary’s University;  Stan Kuczaj, University of Southern Mississippi

Relatively little cognitive research has been conducted on cetaceans.  The extent to which non-human species possess certain cognitive abilities, such as the ability to categorize objects, is largely unknown.  In this study, the representational capacity of belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) was assessed.   Specifically, we expect that belugas should look longer at unexpected outcomes than at expected outcomes, whether those outcomes involve humans or objects.  Moreover, we expect that the animals will respond differently when examining stimuli that are human (social stimuli) or objects, if they distinguish between these stimuli as separate categories.  While gaze duration is the primary measure of interest, we also predict that the animals may also exhibit an eye preference for these tasks.  The results of this proposed series of studies will increase our understanding of the cognitive representations of familiar and unfamiliar stimuli along with advancing our knowledge of how belugas represent their worlds. 

The Coca-Cola Company: Interpreting the competitive strategy by developing insight into methods behind growth and profitability.

Christina Gode

Every company has to remain strategic in order to combat competition and lead the market. This presentation gives insight into the current competitive issues facing The Coca-Cola Company and provides executive level suggestions for immediate execution. The presentation will also include extensive analysis into the internal and external conflicts facing the organization as well as some insight into the successes of the largest beverage company in the world.

Unorthodox Monetary Policy and the Great Recession

Anthony Pascarella

The Great Recession delivered a modern day history lesson on how to react in the midst of a crisis. How the country got into such a mess is up for debate, but the urgency to implement an emergency plan was mutual. This paper will examine the effects of expansionary monetary policy enacted by the United States Federal Reserve in response to the financial crisis. It will observe the economy over the past six years and put forth each implemented policy’s positive and negative results. Ultimately, this paper will analyze the economic theory, history, and econometric models to settle on guidelines to follow if a similar panic ever strikes again.


The Subtle Yet Powerful Effects of Technology in Individuals with Disabilities 

Kristen Sullivan

In a world where technology is a prominent component in communication, it is easy to forget the role it plays in the lives of people all over the world. Human beings encounter many technologies on a daily basis and often downplay their significance. The Apple iPad is a tablet computer with a touch screen, and the benefits of introducing this specific technology to young adults with a range of disabilities, both psychological and physiological, are astounding. A new intern program at the Kennedy Center in Trumbull, CT utilizes iPad applications to promote not only a comfort with technology, but communication and reasoning as well. This presentation will discuss not only the impact of technology, but also the potential for growth in individuals with disabilities.

The Dangers of Aggressive Trade Liberalization: Why the Washington Consensus is Not a Global Consensus

Steve Hanshaw

Due to the fact that the world is becoming more and more interdependent and interconnected each and every day, the necessity for a global market emerged in the early 1990’s. The Western response to globalization in many cases was dubbed the “Washington Consensus,” of which trade liberalization is a huge part. I posit, through research of both historical examples and studies of other noted economists and scholars, that this policy misinterprets precisely how markets must be liberalized, and leads to unsustainable growth within the developing economies. However, there are countries which have strayed from the path less travelled, and their successes may provide the answer for just how trade liberalization should occur. As aggressive liberalization may not provide the sustainable growth we are looking for, it is of grave necessity to determine what does work, so that future developing economies may grow and be competitive on the global stage.

Mediterranean Diet Helps Treat Type 2 Diabetes in Adults

Amy Bois

Type 2 diabetes has been a health issue for many years, and as more people throughout the world become obese or overweight this issue becomes more serious. Type 2 diabetes is called insulin resistance which means the body does not use insulin properly. At first the pancreas will make extra insulin, but over time the pancreas is not able to keep up and cannot make enough insulin to keep blood glucose at normal levels. Type 2 diabetes is most common in adults who are obese or overweight, and this health problem can be life-threatening. There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but eating well, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight can help manage the condition. The Mediterranean diet was tested in these studies, and all of them had the same result; these studies had a variety of adult participants and these studies were tested in a variety of countries from the United States to Israel. The studies required the participants to make lifestyle changes by altering their diet and adding physical activities. All of these studies concluded the Mediterranean diet helped the participants and is recommended for all diabetic patients.