BLOG#4: Cosmopolitan Identity in Chinese Comics: Representations of Traditional Clothing (Hanfu)

Abstract

This research project explores the revival of a unique traditional clothing trend (Hanfu) among urban youths in contemporary China. This report draws on a critical analysis of both scholarly literature and social media sources, to argue that this Hanfu clothing fashion blends skillfully the broader East Asia popular culture with the Chinese tradition, inspiring Chinese millenniums and post-millenniums to develop a sense of confidence on their cultural heritage and to reevaluate the various components of Chinese tradition, which have been dismissed by urban, western-educated elites in the past thirty years. More importantly, the emergence of the Hanfu fashion, as a new cultural movement, has greatly contributed to the younger generations of Chinese artists’ creativity and their pursuit of individualism. The preference for the Han Chinese culture is shaping the contemporary Chinese popular art market, resulting in an unprecedented popularity of the circulation and consumption of domestic Chinoiseries Animation, Comics and Gaming. This project also explores an ongoing social media movement, entitled Chuang-zuo-bu-si (Creativity Should Never Die), launched by young artists and their supporters to empower creativity, encourage critical thinking, and rethink the making of national identity in response to social and public health crisis.

Overall Experience

I enjoyed this year-long research project because it enriches my professional career as a young Chinese artist. I employed the methodology of fieldwork in Shanghai, eastern China last summer. As a cosmopolitan city with its long history of interactions with the West and Japan, Shanghai’s rich cultural scene allows me to collect qualitative data from fellow fashion artists and arts companies. Upon my return to the U.S., I further analyzed various case studies of the Hanfu products and tested my findings against the scholarly literatures. I worked closely with my mentor, Prof. Joseph T. H. Lee, who helped me to contextualize my research in relation to broader political, social and economic transformations of China. As a post-millennium Chinese, I was exposed to the appeal of the Hanfu fashion since the 2010s, and had made and sold some of my artistic designs to advance this significant popular cultural trend.

Observations at the Contemporary Chinese Popular Art Community

While looking at the resurgence of the Hanfu fashion this academic year, this project came across three associated incidents of social media debates among Chinese Hanfu artists over the escalation of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests against China, the outbreak of Coronavirus, and the spread of a social media campaign known as the Chuang-zuo-bu-si(Creativity Should Never Die). Chinese young artists are major participates in responding to these three spontaneous events through a wide range of Chinese social media platforms. I find many of these young Hanfu artists to be quite innovative in expressing their social and political critiques through entertainment materials such as animation, short movies, and manga. These creative works, once published online, immediately appeal to their fans, and become a force of opinion in their own social media circles.

Challenges that I Faced as a Popular Culture Artist

Because this project sets out to situate my analysis of the Hanfu fashion in a wider historical context, the challenge for me is to maintain certain degree of objectivity while analyzing my fieldwork data. Through the help of my mentor, I explore the symbiotic relationship between post-millennium artists and social media ecology in China. This investigation challenges me to critique the widespread practices of “borrowing” from Japanese artistic designs and styles, without proper acknowledgement, among young Chinese artists. While the young social media artists are genuinely keen to reconcile Chinese tradition with global modernity, their tendency to “copy” from artists of neighboring countries poses an ethical and legal problem. When appropriating advanced artistic designs from Japan, do these young artists intend to entertain their readers only? Or do they try to make themselves appealing so as to gain popular attention and seek professional fulfillment in an oppressive environment?

Accomplishments

To avoiding being too subjective is a challenge at first, especially when I study the continuity and change in modern and contemporary China. Accounts of wars, revolutions, and regime changes depress me because I am a sensitive and emotional artist. However, I learn to be critically objective about historical controversies and to be more open-minded about the politics of state-controlled nationalism and that of grassroots activism among artists. This awareness leads me to observe a latest shift in the Chinese social media landscape after the outbreak of Wuhan Corvaid-19. Shocked by the scale of deaths and sufferings, more and more young artists are driven to transform their creative arts work from a commodity to an instrument of public dialogue and civic engagement.

This research project shapes me as an artist really. Many of these artists under study are self-made, and do not have access to proper training in the academies. Since China has the largest population of social media users in the world, it is necessary for the artists to express their creativity and ideas in a more constructive and reflective manner because their audiences are mostly teenagers who would need positive guidance from the society. It is the new generation of Chinese artists’ responsibility to be more aware of their far-reaching influence on the youths.

Initiative

It is necessary to problematize the social and cultural impacts of popular artworks on teenagers. Three issues can be discerned from the current development. The first concerns the excessive consumption of popular artworks among urban teenagers. The second concerns the intense emotions and anxieties that some art works are shaping the views of their recipients, and this is particularly true for those widely-circulated online flyers and videos that demonized protesters in Hong Kong, and any dissidents critical of China’s crisis management in the latest pandemic. Unless everyone has free access to credible information in the Chinese media landscape, it is hard for the readers to distinguish reliable news from faked ones. The third challenges concerns the availability of sexualized materials which might perpetuate and even reinforce the existing gender biases in a patriarchal society. I plan to author with my mentor a publishable article on the rising Hanfu fashion in China’s social media landscape, and submit it for peer review this summer.

Reflection

This research project provides a significant lesson for me as an artist and as an analyst of the impacts of social media on young Chinese artists. It is essential for creative ones who have the ability to influence and shape opinion to utilize their online platforms for the common good, because the social media interactions could easily contribute to intense exchange of opinions among passionate fans of artists. Despite this challenge, old cultural boundaries are crushing down, and cosmopolitan trend, as shown in the revival of the Hanfu fashion, is becoming an integral part of the Chinese Internet culture.

Blog 4: Getting Dirty in Isolation

The research that I am currently working on has been an exciting, and sometimes frustrating,  learning experience that has taught me more than I could have imagined about pursuing a career involving biological research. I think that the research project showed me all the benefits and rewards associated with research that is only experienced by overcoming the many complications and obstacles. I started this research project in August 2019 by traveling to the Monteverde region of Costa Rica with Dr. Eaton and several other peers. The experience allowed me to develop skills in field research, independent laboratory practice, and multivariate statistics.

This experience has shown me the wonderful opportunities associated with scientific research.  The research experience gave me the opportunity to travel internationally and observe the local culture. Being able to travel internationally is a huge opportunity that I had never experienced before that allowed me to have a first hand experience to local culture. The opportunity also allowed me to interact with local farmers and researchers who discussed their concerns about the effect of deforestation on the native landscape. One of my favorite parts of the trip was walking through the Cloud Forest in Monteverde and seeing the native plants and animals. During that experience a portion of the trail was completely destroyed through industrial deforestation which left a somber feeling for the extensive and irreversible impact left by humans.

This experience has also taught me the motivation required to accomplish the goals of a research project. One of the skills I  developed during this experience was problem-solving. In the field, much of the research conducted required long confusing conversations on hypothetical approaches to develop our experimental designs and procedures. It involved trying one approach and discovering various issues ranging from running out of paper towel to discovering holes in the experimental approach and having to restart. I also had to learn how to maintain focus and motivation as much of the statistical analysis was endless staring at numbers and running tests you’re not yet fully confident in discussing. Another challenge from the experience was the ongoing pandemic and lack of resources. The closure of schools prevented access to computers with the necessary programs to run the multivariate tests and limited contact with faculty and advisors. The main motivation to finish the research was knowing that this research will help to further research on climate change.

Blog 4: End of the year report

Over the course of the past academic year, I was lucky to have a unique opportunity to conduct research with Dr. di Gennaro on a subject of gender and linguistic reforms.  Over my entire college career, this has been one of the most rewarding experiences; I developed my skills as a researcher, gained useful experience of persevering for a long period of time, as well as achieved a feasible result with the project itself.

In my opinion, it is safe to say that our project was successful. At the beginning of the year, we set out to provide insight into which of the linguistic reforms in the past were successful and why. Our specific focus was devoted to the concepts of visibility vs inclusivity in the language. Also, considering that English is a naturally gendered language, we wanted to find out if the prescriptive rules of grammar still have their influence over the way people use language today.

We have developed and distributed a survey focused on different linguistic reforms: usage of generic “they” vs  “he” or “she”, use of neologisms, and gender-neutral labels. Upon analyzing the result, we found the following:

1. Most participants (around 70-80% in each question presented) are okay with using neutral terms like “their”, “they” and “themselves” when it is used broadly and gender is not specified in a sentence.

2. There was an average distribution of preference towards generic “him or her”, “he” or “she or he”; the same happened for use of generic “they” when gender was specified. For example, since Jane is generally considered to be a girl’s name, a fewer number of respondents liked using “they” to refer to Jane.

3. The concept of “visibility” vs “inclusivity” proved not to be important when it came to terms for gendered professions and vice versa. That is, there was no visible preference towards “congressperson” vs “congressman/congresswoman”,  “waiter” and “waitress” vs “server”.

4. However, we discovered the overall dislike of neologisms like “waitron”(instead of “waiter”), “ze” as a general pronoun, and Mx. instead of Ms, Mrs, and Mr.  About 80 %  of respondents said that they “would never use that phrase”.

This has been a very rewarding experience, and I would gladly do it again. I had a wonderful mentor, working with whom has been a profound pleasure. I learned exactly how to conduct academic research, how to predict the possible bias when answering certain types of questions, as well as how to analyze quantitative data. It has been a wonderful experience, and I’m happy to have been selected to participate.

 

BLOG 4: Final Blog Post

Unfortunately with COVID-19 taking over and closing school, most of the research work we had done could not be completed. This semester I got the chance to work with Professor Deng on finding drug candidates to screen against the HIV virus. We started the year using molecular dynamics and programs such as “Amber Tutorials” to assist us. Throughout the semester, research did not go as planned and I ended up reading articles and research papers on my topic to better understand how previous researchers analyzed data and targeted the virus. 

Drug discovery is very important in today’s society as new healthcare issues arise new drugs are needed. Structure based drug design is one of the very few techniques that uses 3D structures to target receptor proteins. Structure based drug design was introduced in the late 1970s, scientists did not have many resources or computational methods at that time and had to stick to combining chemical synthetic methods and factorial screening. Nowadays, computer based drug design is used along with comparative models and being able to derive complex protein structures with the help of prior knowledge. Knowing the structure of the protein model lets scientist make changes to build a more effective drug. Protein binding can be reversed whether it involves hydrogen bonds, ionic bonds, or van der Waals forces. For example, a specific protein can have water molecules bounded and if the drug was redesigned to have electrostatic interactions we can change the way it binds in that specific area.There are four stages to drug discovery which include; discovery phase where the target gene is cloned,  developmental phase where you synthesize, optimize, and test for affinity as well as determine the 3D structure, and clinical trials which need to be passed before the structure can move onto the registry phase. MD stimulation play a huge role in designing drugs because they can track system behaviors with accuracy, provide flexibility, visuals of molecular processes as well as estimating binding energies.

Blog 4: Improving Microaggressive Attitudes in CSD Programs

My experience as a member of the UGR program at Pace University has been extremely fulfilling. Through conducting research on cultural humility and microaggressions, Dr. Gregory and I were able to connect with a range of like-minded professionals who shared salient perspectives on the topic. This program also provided me the opportunity to connect with other students and obtain a better understanding of the research being conducted throughout the university. The UGR program provides the ideal community that enforces bridging the gap between researchers in different fields.

Our initial project, Examining Microaggressions to Improve Clinical Encounters was our biggest accomplishment yet. The aim of this research addresses the need to decrease microaggressions within clinical encounters to help guide practicing clinicians toward sustaining meaningful relationships with their clients. Having our research be selected to be presented at the American Speech-Language- Hearing Association (ASHA) conference, was an unforgettable moment in my academic career. While ensuring that this project touched upon the negative affects that microaggressions place on people from culturally and linguistically diverse groups, we were able to grasp the attention of speech-language pathologists, audiologists, teachers, professors, and professionals around the nation. The constructive feedback we received from ASHA meant that our work exploring microaggressions had just begun. Though this particular project is not yet published, we are still working toward completing the necessary steps for our checklist to be referred to in clinical settings nationwide.

As we move forward in our journey toward cultural humility, both Dr. Gregory and I recognize the importance of dismantling microaggressive behaviors in Communication Science and Disorders (CSD) communities as a whole. Our proposed follow-up research project includes an interview portion that would highlight the experiences of students enrolled in CSD programs at accredited institutions both in undergraduate and graduate programs. However, we decided to focus on creating a survey that will yield similar responses in hopes that we are able to gain a greater amount of participants. The aim of our follow-up research is to examine knowledge on microaggressions, what these experiences look like, and how they are handled within the program. Due to Dr. Gregory’s extensive career in research, working together on this project was enjoyable, enlightening, and challenging in the best way. With her guidance I feel that my skills in analyzing and writing research material have improved immensely. We plan on continuing to work together even after I graduate from the undergraduate program at Pace University in May.

Currently, Dr. Gregory and I are working on submitting an IRB while we work toward sending the survey out to students nationwide via social media. Our research study will focus on not only a survey to understand microaggressive behaviors but provide recommendations for students and programs dealing with microaggressions within the environment.  By formulating the basis of our research and reviewing multiple research articles, we are confident that our results will bring solutions to individuals in higher education and students that enforces appreciating students from culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

 

Blog 4: Polynomial Anonymous Dynamic Distributed Computing without a Unique Leader

Since the last blog post, more data has been gathered compared to the last. We (me and my professor) have submitted the full version of the theory to journals with all the details now fixed. Also, 10 of the 13 pending executions for the deterministic algorithm have now finished!

As a result, we now have a lot more data. So in order to make our research and the paper more “story-able,” we need to make small modifications and run those simulations. The next step will be for me to plot the data using the GNU plot and find a relationship or correlation/causation that can be made story-able. The hope of the small modifications in phases in our research is to find the sweet spot that can find reduce the speed by reducing the rounds and number of phases for the algorithm. After all these modifications are made we can remotely run it for the HPC computer in the university virtually.

For me personally, from the undergraduate research experience, I learned much about working and communicating regularly with my professor and the ins and outs of working with an HPC computer along with learning new APIs such as Java aparapi along with now currently with learning GNU plot to plot the data in a way that is optimal for the paper. The initiative for the project was to give me hands-on experience and make me learn through taking action on figuring out and theorizing relationship and ideas with the research.

I have learned numerous languages and theoretical concepts from the experience and I plan to learn more by hopefully completing this research with the professor after the program and then trying to publish the work in a journal hopefully. The overall school year has to lead me to accomplish a lot and I am looking forward to accomplishing even more in the time to come.

Blog 4: End of Year Report

Although my research was halted due to the pandemic, from my completed work I have preliminary data indicating that diet impacts overall microglia morphology during early development, a topic that has yet to be discussed in published research. I already presented this research at a conference in February and will present these findings once more for my honors thesis and UGR presentations. 

During my time conducting research, I found that I most enjoyed the ability to learn firsthand about neuroscience as a scientific field rather than a just subject, as I felt that I was able to be an active participant in the application of my learning. Additionally, I also enjoyed learning about the scientific method in a more personal rather than theoretical way, as researching revealed alot to me about how science is conducted as well as the immense amount of work it takes to conduct and publish a scientific study. Most of all however, I enjoyed the possibility of discovering novel findings that could not only add to my prior knowledge and understanding, but also the knowledge and understanding of others both in and outside of the neuroscience field. It was this possibility of discovery and the improvement it could make to people’s lives, that enabled me to push through any obstacles I faced in designing and conducting my experiments, and what drew me to research in general. 

I am very fortunate to have Dr. Sally Marik as my faculty mentor, as she taught me so much about the scientific process as well, from writing grants, to designing experiments and data analysis. I appreciate that she allowed me to design my own project, take initiative in conducting my experiments, and work independently while she provided guidance. I also deeply appreciate her support in encouraging me to present my research and her guidance on how scientific conferences function. I think my experience working with Dr. Marik has one that has definitely confirmed my interest in the scientific field, as doing research with her really exposed me to how science is conducted in the real world. Overall, I am very grateful for the learning experience I got from participating in the UGR program and will definitely use this learning experience in the future endeavors.

 

Blog 4: Final Blog Post Report

As both a peer mentor and a researcher, I was able to fully immerse myself and learn from both the experience I had directly with the student-athletes and what we found from the data gathered. Before I began this journey, I was completely unaware of all the work that needed to be invested in the research process. I believe that this research experience has allowed for me to grow as a well-rounded Dyson scholar. I am a Global Studies major with a concentration in Political Science and I have never had to conduct investigative research that spanned over two years during my studies here at Pace University. The project was also somewhat relatable to what I was able to do in my everyday life. In that, I was taking the practices I used as a mentor and I was able to evaluate them from a research based standpoint. I think it made me more passionate about the work I was doing with the students I was meeting with on a weekly basis. 

From the research aspect, I have a newfound respect for the process of collecting data and processing it. I was fortunate enough to have enough data that spanned over two different years making our conclusions more reliable and giving us the ability to compare the two semesters side by side. I think that that process allowed for us to be more aware of the flaws we might have had in data collection. The discrepancies in the data gave us more of an understanding of why it might have come out this way. Two years gave us a better understanding of why there might be flaws in the data because we were pulling information from a larger group of students rather than simply one group of first-year students. This also gave us more data to analyze which was more time consuming. 

Overall, we found a significant difference between those who attended a majority of the sessions versus those who did not. Thus, we can conclude that academic peer mentoring had an affect on the outcome of the mentee’s GPAs. For nearly all the areas that we have conclusive data for currently, we have found that mentee’s participating in the program did have certainly positive experiences. Further review on behalf of the mentors participating in the program needs to take place. We wanted to do focus groups on students who had already participated in the program during the Spring 2020 semester, but with the current impending pandemic, we were unable to finalize it. 

Being able to collect data from two separate years was very beneficial for us and our analysis since we could compare the two years. We had five main questions that we asked the mentees and we kept referencing back to their progess made throughout the semester with regards to their planner. The five questions were: how many textbooks did the student have? how much time did the student average on social media per day? how many final exams do they have? Do they or do they not get nervous prior to exams? Did you start studying for finals?   Based on the answers to these questions and keeping a planner we were able to analyze their answers with respect to their GPAs; it is important to note that the conclusions made from the planner data is still pending and hopefull will be finished by research day. The research findings reflect student-athletes that were simultaneously receiving mentoring with regards to their academics. Since the mentors were typically able to meet with their mentees once a week, the mentors were able to ask them one question each time they met with the students.  The questions the mentors asked were relevant to topics that might help encourage them to prepare ahead of time academically with respect to the timeline of their classes. Therefore, the following five questions were asked consecutively. 

The first question we analyzed was: how many textbooks did the student have? We found that in 2018, the more textbooks the students had, the higher the GPA of the student. On average, those who had 2.5 or more textbooks, had higher GPAs than those who did not. In 2019, students with the highest percentage of textbooks, or those who had every book per class, show a GPA higher than those who didn’t get a majority of the books. Another way we chose to approach the data was to look at the number of textbooks per GPA. The top 50% of students by GPA have an average use of 3 books while the lowest 25% had less than 2 textbooks in total.

The next question we asked the students was how much time they averaged on social media per day. The activity that the mentors did with the mentees showed not only how much time they spend on social media networks per day, but also how that number amounts to the amount of time they spend a year. The exercise was conducted by the mentors helping the students add together the number of hours spent on social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook, iMessage, Twitter, Youtube, TikTok, and Snapchat in the last 7 days. The total number of hours was added up and divided by 7, so the student could see the number spent per day on these social medias. Some of the strongest data came from this area; as students spending more time on social media their average GPA goes down for both years. In 2018, 25 students who were ranked with the highest GPA have the lowest time spent on social media per day of 1h 58min. The time spent by the top 25 students versus the bottom 25 students differs by nearly an entire hour. What we found to be particularly interesting was the difference in time between the fall of 2018 and of 2019. The highest GPAs in 2019 spent an average of 3h and 48 min and those with the lowest GPA spent an average of 4h and 29. The highest GPAs in 2018 only spent 1h 58 min and the lowest GPAs spent 2h 57min. If we were to compare the highest GPAs in 2018 versus the highest GPAs in 2019, we would see a difference of about an hour more spent on social media. This trend can be attributed possibly to the evolving culture of technology in society. We have found that between the years of 2018 and 2019, the use of the social media platform TikTok has spiked tremendously with the first-year students of 2019, whereas in 2018 we had hardly any reports of usage on that application. We can also note that social media is a fairly relevant platform for politicians, such as our own POTUS to use to reach a large number of his followers or supporters. 

During the eighth week of the semester, the students were asked: how many final exams do you have? The question forced the students to begin to think about the fact that final exams were less than a month away. The highest GPAs came from students who had either 1 or 5-6 exams in 2018. We can attribute this data to the fact that those with only one exam only had to focus on that single exam. During 2019, we found that the complete opposite happened to these students. Those who fell in the range of 2-4 had the highest GPAs whereas those who fell on the outer margins, only having 1 or 5-6 exams, had the lowest recorded GPAs.Those who knew the number of exams they had should be more prepared than those who didn’t. Overall, it was indicated that the number of exams is not permitted to accurately determine how well a student does due to the change of assessment over the years. 

For the following week, the students were asked whether or not they get nervous prior to exams. The idea was that this question might further the students’ process of studying ahead of time in regards to their final exams. The 2018 data was collected a bit differently than that of 2019; 2018 was measured on a scale of 1-4 (1 being never and 4 being always) whereas 2019 was measured by yes or no question. This specific section shows how the GPA for those claiming they are nervous (3-4) is higher by 0.071565934 than those who claim to not get as nervous. This may be because those students who get nervous are those who actually care about the outcome of their exams. Those who never got nervous prior to exams were the next highest because they had the confidence to succeed. Using yes/no answers, we found in 2019  those who did get nervous achieved 0.364230769 higher of a GPA than those who were not. 

In week 10 of the semester, or 2 ½  to 3 weeks from their fms, the students were asked if they had started studying for their finals. This data shows how the average GPA of students who claim to have started studying prior to their finals show a slight improvement on GPA than those who responded that they didn’t study ahead for both the years of 2018 and 2019. However, the difference in GPA between yes and no in 2019 is greater than that of 2018 with the amount of 0.384503676.

Lastly, we were able to analyze the attendance of students in relation to their GPAs. We can conclude that the attendance shows fairly consistent data. As soon as we reach below 69% of attendance we see a decrease with the average GPA of 0.31633 in 2018. This means that students who stop attending the sessions either care less about their grades and/or struggle more. Those students with more than 89% attendance clearly show the best GPA. Here is where the data between 2019 and 2018 are nearly exactly the same. 2019 demonstrated that those who attended less than 69% of sessions had the lowest GPA of those attending mentoring while those attending more than 89% were amongst the highest GPAs in the study. Here we saw that attendance showed value to the overall mentoring program; those who showed up were responsible and actively took steps to improve their academic standing. Those that were committed to the program saw academic growth according to their GPA. 

As for our preliminary results, we have found that there were 3 categories in their planner involvement that are highly active in student success. In keeping a planner, the mentees were able to see active engagement with their academics. In 2018, we got 65 out of 98 mentees to adopt using a planner for 4 or more detailed items weekly by the end of the semester. All the items Students were more successful when they added grades, objectives, and achievements to their planners. Those who added their grades averaged a 3.34 GPA, objectives were a 3.5 GPA, and achievements were 3.59 GPA. This data is based on 113 students who participated in mentoring in the fall of 2019 . We are still in the process of analyzing the data over the coming weeks, thus this is the rough outcome of it. The purpose of mentoring was to get a student to actively take part in where they were with their academics each week. 

Due to the pandemic that impeded our plans for further research, we did not get to finalize the remainder of the topics covered during our mentoring sessions. One of the most important being how students utilized their planner. Hopefully, we will be able to have preliminary data by research day. We have seen with the data presented that there are some effects seen by peer mentoring on first-year students. 

The biggest issue I faced during the first semester of the research was ensuring that all the mentors were inputting data uniformly; initially, some were using notations different from the structured format. I chose to speak with the mentors individually since sometimes the message could get lost in translation through email. Another less consequential issue was collecting data from students who had missed their mentoring session. Mentoring sessions were conducted weekly, hence collecting missing data did not require finding or searching for the participants. Fortunately, the mentors were able to meet with the students weekly so if they missed one week  they were then able to gather data the following week or during a make-up session within that same week.

Besides the occasional procrastination on my part, the second semester seemed to flow a bit easier without any issues prior to the pandemic. Before the University closed, Professor Buffone and I were able to meet at least once a week, if not more, to conduct research and dissect it. Since I have moved back to Hawaii during this trying time and Professor Buffone remained in New York, we have been able to make zoom calls but the time difference has been difficult to plan around. I have been fortunate enough to be able to work around his schedule and vice versa. 

I got past the procrastination with the help of my faculty mentor and the promise of finding new information that might help future incoming first-year student athletes. I found that if we were able to find valuable information that might help that next class, maybe we could help everyone’s GPAs to rise in the coming years. I also found that I had initiative to help my fellow mentors because I want them to be the most prepared as they can. 

The relationship I had with my faculty mentor was crucial in the success of this project. Being able to meet weekly was beneficial to myself as the researcher and for the research itself. If I was lost one week on what point I should have been at, Professor Buffone was able to correct me when I was wrong or challenge me to further analyze the data after it had been processed. Since I have worked with my faculty mentor on other work before, it was really easy to contact him and he would respond rapidly. Without Professor Buffone, I would have most likely not been so punctual with my work. He expected me to have these assignments and data collected ahead of time, so I was really focused on not letting him down. Professor Buffone made sure that I was pushing myself at every step of this journey. Besides his rapid responses via email, his knowledge on the collection and analysis of the data was unparalleled. Teamwork with my faculty member was definitely needed since my strong suit is mostly the assembly of words rather than comprehensive analysis of numbers and data.

 

Blog 4 End of Year Report

In September 2019, I worked with other students for Professor Pajo on “Environmental Discourse in Urban Setting.” Each team member will collect data across individuals and environment-related organizations in order to find how they practiced their environmental discourses. To find research subjects in this project, I focused on business perspectives, such as environmental-friendly shops. For example, I would look via Airbnb or Tripadvisor for sustainability tours or environmental activities. After I participated in the tours, I would approach the hosts asking if they would like to talk a little bit more about their thoughts on the environment; how they evaluate the relationship between individuals and nature in urban settings like New York City.

In terms of data collection, this research presents more challenging to analyze the data because of its qualitative nature. Conversations were collected with a loose structure, allowing each individual to demonstrate their perspectives in the most applicable pathway. Accordingly, the data is organized by finding common threads of reasoning: what inspires the business owners to do the work they do? What is it about environmental business which creates this sense of dedication?

As a case study, the horticulture community that I discovered in Brooklyn offers an interesting perspective on the relationship of people living in the city and nature. The owner showed great dedication to take care of the plants which decorated the whole apartment; she treated the plants as her equal and full of personalities. In this way, she not only created the sense of family in the space, but also reached the balance of self-care and environmentality. We also talked about how the horticulture community strived in NYC and what problems they faced. For example, since people kept moving around, oftentimes they would abandon the plants and left them to garbage. The community therefore developed their own “plant adoption” and “plant doctor,” as counterparts of “pet adoption or vet”, in order to rescue the plants. For me, this case presents ethnographic details on how individuals develop and adjust their relationships to nature in the urban environment.

Blog 4

This academic year, I had an great opportunity to conduct research with Dr.Xu. Our goal of this research was to see if Taylor’s law is able to forecast the future stock prices and if it is possible which type of Taylor’s law produces the most power projection. During this research, time management was definitely a challenge for me,since I have both school work and internship to care about also. But from this semester’s experience, I did learn a lot about how to balance things out.

During this research project, since we are using R(programming language)as the researching tool, I need learn more about R on my own to know what function and what package would be useful for my research. In addition, I have learned more statistics concept throughout this research, such as exponential smoothing, ARIMA model, and etc.

For the outcome of our research, we have started using some more advanced model in order to forecast future stock prices. However one of the disadvantage of those model is that we cannot predict unforeseen situation that has great impact on the market such as the COVID-19 situation. So our goal is to predict the market price if the market still operate as normal.