Active Study- Second Blog Post

Since the last update, along with continued development with the app, I have begun outreach to organizations in my field of research, and have begun working with them to gain more knowledge on the learning styles of these children, and how I can fine tune my application to more appropriately fit their needs. By talking with professionals who work alongside these children, I can gain more insight on how these children learn, from those who do so for a living.
Tech Kids Unlimited is an organization based out of NYC that provides workshops throughout the year for children that have learning disabilities and/or are on the autism spectrum. Recently, I have begun meeting with their founder, Beth Rosenberg, who has provided valuable feedback on the application, as well as given me an outlet to observe their students during their workshops. In the time I have spent in these workshops, I have already learned a great deal, and cannot wait to become more involved, which will not only allow me the ability to continue my research, but in conjunction, play my part in volunteering and assisting these children in any way I can. I believe given the ability to volunteer while I am researching is a great opportunity, and will allow me to make sure all time spent on this project is spend helping out this community; I started this project to play a part in improving these children’s lives, and this has showed me that even just being there to help them from time to time is immensely valuable to their growth.
In the coming months, I am planning to continue my work with TKU, In hopes to obtain a better personal understanding of these student’s learning styles. By understanding this, i will be able to better fine tune and expand my application in the future. I will also be submitting my app into the Spark for Autism Contest run by Seidenberg at the end of January, at which point I will have a completed prototype. From there, I will continue improving and updating the app, using knowledge I have learned while being with the children, as well as any feedback I receive from professionals. I will continue to reach out to anyone who might be able to provide me with insight, in hopes to have my application viewed by as many as possible, and get a variety of different opinions on future improvements. I am working hard to keep my scope manageable and realistic, and set deadlines and goals to keep me focused on production.

Blog #2- Progress of our research

When talking about research, it is important to recognize that it takes loads of time. You need to collect enough information to prove your experiment as a positive product as well as making sure that there are no outside variables affecting your experiment. When it comes to science, there are many different techniques to interpret results. Finding the correct technique to use is one of the most time consuming aspects in this field of study. Within our project, great strides have been taken to finally push our experiment forward. Before entering this research competition, Dr. Rizzo introduced me to her area of study for one whole semester prior. During that one semester only 1 batch of plates (about 15 surfaces) were able to be tested, with only 1 positive result. Waiting almost 4 months for just 1 positive result was not very ideal for us, especially in the demanding market of medicine. Finally, Dr. Melkonian, who tests our surfaces at a nearby college, was able to find an ideal procedure that is a faster and more effective way to test for antimicrobial effects. With this new finding, we were able to make 5 new formulations that were positive against fighting a common bacteria of the skin called S. aureus. Next, it was important for us to link antimicrobial surfaces with protection against UV light. This led our focus to turn to the positive results we achieved against bacteria and test those specific mixtures to be able to achieve double the benefits.

Testing for UV protection was tough since there are not many experiments that provide insight on a simple way to carry out this research. We knew that we needed color changing beads, which changed to a fluorescent color in the presence of UV light. The UV light would be provided by a UV light lamp which was taken from one of the labs. The first thought was to place the color-changing beads inside a ziplock bag and cover a small portion of the outside of the bag in our formulation. This was tricky since most of the formulations were liquid at room temperature. This caused them to run off the bag and a new idea emerged. What if we used clear scotch tape and boxed off a square as a border so the oils wouldn’t run? This idea is our latest test and actually worked a lot better, but still some of the oils ran in certain directions. Our latest question is figuring out a new procedure to test against UV light, some ideas may be sticking with a petri dish instead of a plastic bad. In all, we found that the oils used with our butters that concluded to be active against bacteria, were also active against UV light.

In the next couple of months, we will continue you to make new formulations as well as improved procedures. It is also important that we test all components of the mixtures alone first, to see if they have a better or worse effect then when they are added to a mixture. If the oil or butter has worse effects within the mixture than on its own, why could this be?

I am excited to find more new and exciting results and push our results to the population for others to start using a more organic approach to medicine.

Psychosocial Benefits to Marching Arts Programs Blog #2 – Results

It has been an eventful month since my last post. As planned, Dr. Rosenthal and myself conducted Hierarchical Linear Modeling in the statistical program SAS. We have found very interesting results about my sample, the Madison Scouts.

Using SAS, we analyzed trajectories, or patterns, of change over time, on average, for the Madison Scouts members who were participating in my project. We were able to find significant negative linear models for all of my outcomes (resilience, general self-efficacy, marching self-efficacy, goal orientation, and flow), but even more interestingly, we were able to find significant positive curvilinear models for all of the outcomes. Curvilinears are difficult to interpret until one creates figures to see the actual curve.

After creating graphs of all my curves on excel, I was able to see the unique curves for each outcome. For each of my constructs, there is a decrease from the start of the project, then a rebound after one point. After the rebound point, the constructs increase over time until the end of the project. Even though they all show this general pattern, they are unique in that some have differing rebound points, or that some do not increase to a point higher than where they started. Each curve is interesting on its own, but together they tell me a lot about how the Drum Corps season impacted the members of the Madison Scouts psychosocially.

Using my preliminary results, we were able to write up an abstract that I submitted to the American Psychological Association in hopes to present my projects’ finding at the APA’s annual Conference. For now, I am patiently waiting for their response, as well as cleaning up drafts of the manuscript so that we can potentially get it out to possible publishers by the end of January or early February.

2017-18 Blog #2

I have made progress with the sources that I want to use in my research. The sources that are directly related to the topic I am researching have been hard to find because there are not many peer reviewed papers posted on it, especially from the perspective that isn’t completely condemning Hitchcock. I have also seen some of the films that I am including another time and gained more insight from them by noticing different details.

I have obtained a book that in my opinion gives the widest opinion about my topic (as it includes multiple perspectives), and I have also discovered some peer reviewed articles that I think will be of great use for my research.

My biggest concern was finding the articles as there were so little that spoke about Hitchock supporting femininity, but by changing some keywords in my online search I was able to find better sources.

The Geographies of Food Justice: Urban Farming & Empowerment Through the Lens of Critical Race Theory

Data collection for my research project is heavily centered around harvesting season.  The project examines three urban farms in different boroughs of New York.  I have made a substantial amount of progress with researching context for each farm.  This would include population, demographics, health profiles, and more.  I have conducted three very useful interviews that I have transcribed.  I am making connections to my theory with the interviews, and exploring now more than my original chosen tenet of critical race theory to examine.  I could, however, improve on continuing to set up interviews, as the season is over for growing and harvesting, and most farm coordinators have their sights set on grant writing and spring planning.

 

From the data collected so far, I feel that I am experiencing theory in practice, making this experience as raw as ever.  I am pulling more nuanced questions from my interviews, like “Does having white managers reaffirm or denounce the basic claim of critical race theory, that racism permeates every aspect of life?  There is no yes or no answer for this complex question, but from what I am witnessing on these farms, it is highly situational.  Looking at managerial positions through a critical lens has been very interesting, but at the opening of harvesting season of early spring, I have community members on my radar for interviewing.  I feel that I need to incorporate many more stories, voices, and opinions in my research.  I want my examinations to be well-rounded, displaying polyvocality in my narrative.   This experience thus far has my ambitions high, and my sights set on presenting my research at a conference next year.

Fall Blog Post 2 “Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming Students & Retention: A Family Intervention Model”

This semester, I have been working on a research project titled “Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming Students & Retention: A Family Intervention Model” with Erin Furey, the Associate Director of Pace University’s LGBTQA & Social Justice Center and Emmett Griffith, a graduate assistant at the LGBTQA & Social Justice Center. This project is about retention for transgender and gender non-conforming students, specifically how that population’s retention is affected by factors such as stress-management, and close friendships and familial relationships. Currently, we as a society are lacking in support and research on transgender students in college, particularly in terms of retention. This lack of research leaves transgender and gender non-conforming students with no strategies to help them continue and succeed in school. It also makes conducting research on this topic difficult. We are instead forced to search for research with similar themes that we can connect back to our hypothesis surrounding the retention of transgender students, such as queer students, general retention, queer stressors and even anti-queer violence, rather than direct research on the subject of transgender retention itself.

So far this semester, we haven primarily edited and added to the annotated bibliography that I had started over the summer. A new addition to the annotated bibliography being, “Supporting Transgender College Students: Implications for Clinical Intervention and Campus Prevention” (Swanbrow Becker, Nemeth Roberts, Ritts, Branagan, Warner, Clark 2017) which analyzes the experiences of transgender college students in coping with stress from school and life, and compares them to their cisgender peers. It points out, “Transgender college students have the additional burdens of often coping with a cold, unaccepting environment in tandem with acts of verbal and physical assault as they develop their adult identities.” which contributes to our theory that implies that transgender college students face stressors that are unique to them due to their identity, which makes retention research for their population necessarily different to that of their cisgender peers. Another interesting article that was added is “Using Social Support Levels To Predict Sexual Identity Development Among College Students Who Identify As A Sexual Minority” (Brandon-Friedman, Kim 2016) which is a study that analyzes the impact of domains of social support on aspects of queer identity development of college students. They found primarily that support from either a queer-specific group on campus, or support from family members made the most difference, which backs up another part of our theory, that familial support is closely tied to the ease of success of queer-identified college students. Specifically, this study noted, “Given that family members represent the core components of most individuals’ microsystems, it makes sense that higher levels of sexuality supports from family members result in both lower levels of concern about others accepting the individuals’ sexual minority identities and reduced homonegativity.”

Our planned next steps include setting up focus groups on campus to receive direct feedback that will shape the final questions on the survey we intend to circulate on both the NYC and PLV Pace campuses, as well as finishing and distributing the survey itself. Additionally, we are in the process of seeking approval from the institutional review board (IRB) to share the impending survey with other schools as well. For the rest of the semester, Emmett and I will also continue to work on a literature review guided by the annotated bibliography we have been working on.

Glossary:

    • Cisgender: Those whose psychological self/gender identity does not differ from the social expectations for the physical sex with which they were born.
    • Gender Non-Conforming: Someone who does not conform to the ideologies of any one gender. Often considered to be outside the gender binary, or “nonbinary”
    • Homonegativity: a negative attitude towards homosexuality or homosexual people, to be used instead of the term homophobia, as the term “homophobia” has a strongly negative political meaning and is perceived by some as pejorative, loaded, and at times inaccurate.
    • LGBTQA: acronym standing for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Asexual, used to represent that community.
    • Queer: umbrella term commonly used to represent the LGBTQA+ community.
    • Retention: In this research, this word is used to refer to the amount of students who stay in school and graduate.
    • Transgender: Those whose psychological self/gender identity differs from the social expectations for the physical sex with which they were born. Acts as an umbrella term for both those who fit within and outside of the binary.

 

Works Cited:

  • Brandon-Friedman, R.; Kim, H. “Using social support levels to predict sexual identity development among college students who identify as a sexual minority” Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 2016
  • Swanbrow Becker, M.; Nemeth Roberts, S.; Ritts, S.; Branagan, W.; Warner, A.; Clark, S. “Supporting Transgender College Students: Implications for Clinical Intervention and Campus Prevention” Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 2017.

Blog Post 2

Professor Sean Daly and I have done research on multiple production and Industrial companies from across the Asian market which would benefit from the implementation of China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative. We are looking at the correlation between the companies to find if they have same pattern returns. If we can prove correlation between these companies it would lead to a benchmark to track and project future growth in China.

Currently, We are sorting through different international financial analyst reports on China’s largest environmental emissions protection company Lonking. The Company owns manufacturing plants in nine different cities in China and works directly with the Chinese Government in fund efforts for the initiative. Professor Daly has had trouble finding proprietary data on China’s bank loans, which has led to a missing piece in our research. He met with a machine-learning expert in the city to find out more information about China’s effort to mine and use crypto-currencies for funding. We need to find more data on how President Xi Jinping is funding the OBOR initiative and how it will affect the western world.

Mid-Year Research Update

For the past months, I have attempted to collect data for my research study. Collecting data was not fairly simple, because it was a retrospective approach to collecting data, meaning that I didn’t get to follow a step by step protocol in order to get preliminary results. It took some time trying to digest all the research papers available on my topic of interest and if any data would be able to provide me with feasible information on genes correlated to C.elegans and Glioblastoma multiforme.

I was able to successfully screen over 30+ human GBM linked genes to see if they were orthologous to C.elegans. I successfully found 10 possible C.elegans genes that could be correlated to GBM in humans. I was able to do this with the help of two high-density genome platforms called Ensembl and Ortholist. It is satisfying to know that I was able to retrieve a few, but significant number of genes, although I feel that I need to look for more genes, and perform more screens on more potential GBM human genes.  This will requite me to look through another vast number of papers which I am willing to do. This must be done, before any RNAi experiments can be performed to knock out any desired genes.

 

Trekking Through the World of Virtual Reality

For the past few months, I have immersed myself in a world of nonstop virtual reality and all the wonderful software available. Because this first semester was merely for me to familiarize myself with virtual reality, there isn’t much quantitative data that can be provided at the moment. All experimentation will be conducted in the Spring of 2018. While there aren’t numbers that can be mentioned, there certainly are innovative VR applications that can be. My research this semester primarily focuses on educational apps for students with disabilities. With this guideline in mind, I was able to work around the limited number of educational apps that were offered on a limited number of platforms.

Since I am only interested in the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, finding apps are much more difficult when limiting myself to these two VR headsets. My search started from the Oculus app store onto Viveport and even to the online gaming platform many know and love, Steam. After searching through hundreds of apps, I’ve listed a few that I thought would not only be interesting to use in a classroom setting, but also for anyone to experience, because after all VR is known for the immersive experience.

1. YOU by Sharecare:

YOU by Sharecare is a real-time simulation of the human body. It allows anyone to navigate and explore an anatomically accurate 3D model of the human body, its organs and, and their functions. You are able to visualize how your body works, customize physiology, and simulate diseases.

2. theBlu:

theBlu by Wevr is an immersive experience that allows audiences to explore and bask in the wonders of the ocean through different habitats and are able to encounter beautiful underwater species on the planet. The experience includes three episodes: Whale Encounter: An undersea encounter with the largest species on earth, Reef Migration: Witness the magnificence of an undersea migration on the edge of a coral reef, and Luminous Abyss: Venture into the deepest region of the ocean to discover the iridescent abyss.

3. Lifeliqe VR Museum:

Lifeliqe VR Museum by Lifelique Inc. is an interactive experience that allows teachers and students to learn K-12 science in an exciting and immersive way. There are 10 categories of 3D models that cover Life Science, Earth and Space Science, Physical Science or Math. Lifeliqe’s immersive learning experience empowers teachers and can help students visualize scientific concepts and environments that typically are not accessible.

These three apps genuinely piqued my interest while conducting research specifically because when I had spoken to educators who worked with students with disabilities, they had mentioned that students typically had a difficult time grasping concepts. With these apps and their immersive experiences for students and educators alike, they are a great way to help students visualize and put words into pictures to help them better understand difficult or confusing concepts. What I noticed and found rather interesting was that a majority of the educational VR apps out there were particularly focused on the sciences. When trying to look for mathematics or history, the number of those apps were slim to none. At some point I questioned why there were so few educational apps as well, but then remembered that perhaps it was the fact that virtual reality is still a rather new technology just like artificial intelligence that is going through a developmental phase. At the end of the day, I’ve learned just how difficult it really is for educators to be able to find VR software that really is educational and beneficial for their students. I’m looking forward the continuing on my virtual journey and hope to see more progress in my research as time goes on.

AN INVESTIGATION OF GENDER INEQUALITY IN COMPUTING

Throughout the research, I have been using a literature search to gather and review articles based on gender inequality in computing. As mentioned in the previous blog, my focus is to gain a better understanding of this issue through the literature. The purpose of the research is to investigate the possible reasons why so few females study computing and pursue computing careers compared to males. In addition, understanding college students’ perceptions about computing may help me identify strategies to help close the gender gap.

In my search for literature related to my topic, I found a research article that provides survey questions that might be adapted for my research study. I plan to finalize the survey and distribute it to undergraduate Seidenberg students. My advisor, Dr. Feather-Gannon, said I will need to contact the author of the article to seek permission to adapt her survey questions. At the same time, I am learning how to use Qualtrics, the online survey tool available to all Pace faculty and students. By mapping the survey questions to my research questions, I should be able to answer the following:

RQ1: What experiences do students have related to computing?

RQ2: How do student experiences relate to whether or not they are pursueing a computing

major?

RQ3: How does gender relate to students’ interests in pursuing a computing major?

My advisor, Dr. Feather-Gannon, and I has been collaborating on this research project since the beginning of this semester. Dr. Feather-Gannon will be providing guidance and suggestions so that my survey questions help to answer the three research questions. We have our meetings every week via Skype or in person to discuss the future strategies for completing the research project