Welcome to the 2022 Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity Virtual Conference! We’re thrilled to have a wide variety of topics and themes represented here. Thank you to Eastern Connecticut State University for hosting our first in-person URSCA since fall of 2019.
FPIES is a condition affecting young children that causes non-IgE allergic responses. The bacterial microbiome has been strongly associated with IgE-mediated allergies, and our group has previously demonstrated further associations with FPIES. Very little is known about the associations between the fungal mycobiome and general allergy. Our current study examines the association of the mycobiome within the GI tract with FPIES. We hypothesize that there will be differences present in the mycobiome in association to FPIES, like the microbiome. To test this, we analyzed the mycobiome of children with FPIES and children who have outgrown FPIES. Internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions from extracted DNA were amplified and sequenced. We used QIIME2 to produce the relative frequency of species present. This data can differentiate children with FPIES and children who have outgrown it, leading to a better understanding of what triggers the condition and how to better diagnose it.
Katherine Benjamin is a junior biology major from Andover, Massachusetts. She plans to continue with research and pursue graduate studies.
Foraging Preferences for Different Tree Species by Three Woodpecker Species in a Hardwood Forest Heavily Impacted by an Invasive Insect Outbreak Karyssa Cendana & Nathan LaDuke, Ramapo College of New Jersey
This study’s objective was to understand tree species preferences by three common woodpecker species during an invasive insect outbreak on white ash trees, which is a codominant tree species in a floodplain forest near Ramapo College. The tree species that woodpeckers selected during field observations and the time spent foraging on each tree were recorded and analyzed. Tree species preferences differed between hairy woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers and red-bellied woodpeckers. However, hairy woodpeckers were the only species that preferred foraging on white ash trees. Unfortunately, hairy woodpecker abundance is far too sparse to control emerald ash borers. Therefore, foraging woodpeckers are unlikely to help reduce the current high mortality rates of white ash trees. Furthermore, results suggest that the emerald ash borer outbreak is unlikely to bolster woodpecker populations. Before drawing firm conclusions, however, further research should examine whether similar patterns exist in other forests in the region & beyond.
Karyssa Cendana is an environmental science major from Livingston, New Jersey. She aspires to research coastal ecology in tropical regions. Nathan LaDuke is an environmental science major from Monroe Township, New Jersey. Following graduation, Nathan hopes to continue his study of environmental science in graduate school.
Effect of Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and PPAR / Activation
in a Human Carcinoma Cell Line Manuel Alfonso Gutierrez, Bloomsburg University/Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania
Skin carcinoma remains a consistently studied cancer due to human’s continual exposure to ultra-violet (UV) radiation and subsequent mutagenesis. Therefore, innovative new therapeutic approaches are of great importance. Emerging evidence suggests that ligands for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-β/δ (PPARβ/δ) inhibit carcinogenicity and are potential agents for skin carcinoma. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a major polyphenol component of green tea, has also shown promise as a cancer therapeutic. Thus, the present studies examined the effects of combining EGCG and a PPARβ/δ ligand (GW0742) in the A431 human skin carcinoma cell line. The assays applied (clonal expansion, cell proliferation, and anchorage-independent spheroid growth) demonstrate that A431 cells over-expressing PPARβ/δ are sensitive to the anti-proliferative effects of EGCG. These studies provide evidence suggesting that EGCG and ligand activation of PPARβ/δ could be combined for human skin carcinoma therapy.
From San Cristobal, Venezuela, Manuel Alfonso Gutierrez’s major is health science with a minor in
chemistry. For the future, Gutierrez plans to attend DeSales University Physician Assistant Program.
Social Media Use: How Your thoughts and Feelings about Social Media Affect Your Social Media Habits Charlotte Kane, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
In society today there has been an increase in social media use across all demographic categories, but its impact on the individual could vary for people of different ages and genders. In this study, we looked at age and gender differences in relation to social media use and how it might predict overall well-being. We analyzed the data using a variety of scales that cover many distinct aspects of social media use, including addiction, overall self-esteem, and life satisfaction. We did not end up finding that there was an age difference in relation to social media use, this conclusion being consistent with previous research. However, we did find that higher levels of Facebook Addiction were associated with higher levels of social media addiction. We also found that the higher the level of Facebook Addiction or social media addiction, the lower the participant’s self-esteem.
Charlotte Kane is a senior from Salem, Massachusetts with a major in psychology and a minor in social work . After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in counseling psychology or school psychology.
The Effect of Sex and Engagement with Influencers on an Individual’s Exhibitionism on TikTok. Joseph Morgan, Eastern Connecticut State University
The purpose of this study was to explore the dynamic between people who post on social media and social media influencers. It also set out to discover if sex influenced social media posting habits. Ten young adults were surveyed and given an Influencer Engagement Score and a TikTok Exhibitionism Score. Additionally, four open ended questions uncovered information about participants’ relationships with influencers and posting. Survey results indicated that sex influences social media exhibitionism. Female participants averaged higher TikTok Exhibitionism Scores than male participants. Results also demonstrated a positive relationship between influencer engagement and individual posting habits. Participants with high Influencer Engagement Scores had high TikTok Exhibitionism Scores. Qualitative data identified reasons for engaging with influencers. It also helped researchers develop a better understanding of individuals’ personal relationships with posting on social media. The implications of the study are social and behavioral, and are beneficial to motivation and social media theories.
Joseph Morgan is a senior studying communication. He is from Columbia, Connecticut, and plans on entering the entertainment industry post-graduation.
Collaborative Research: Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Big Data Analytics in Healthcare Issamar Ayala-Gutierrez, Maria Lara, Jordyn Szretter, Huimin Wang, and Edgar Omar Escutia ChagoyaEastern Connecticut State University
This study focuses on analyzing trends in readmission and length of stay (LOS) of pneumonia patients between 2010 through 2014 on a national scale, using the Nationwide Readmissions Database (NRD) provided by the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) in the U.S. The study also examines the impact of LOS on the likelihood of hospital readmission, emphasizing discharge disposition and patients’ underlying conditions. It also illustrates various readmission trends depicted by patients under different payers, medical comorbidity, and discharge disposition.
The Effect of an Adenosine Receptor Agonist on Stereotypy in Mice Shannon McElderry, State University of New York at Geneseo
The prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is rising in the United States. Associated with ASD, stereotypic behaviors are invariant movement patterns serving no apparent function. The ketogenic diet (KD) is a high-fat diet used to treat epilepsy, although the mechanisms by which KD is working are still unknown. Adenosine, a neuromodulator important in energy regulation, may play a key role in KD’s beneficial effects. Here, we used stereotypic FVB mice to assess the effect of weekly injections of an adenosine 2A receptor (A2AR) agonist (CGS hydrochloride) in mice fed KD or standard diet for 3 weeks. After 1 week, CGS moderately reduced stereotypic behavior. After 2 weeks, KD and CGS were able to decrease stereotypic behavior. Three weekly injections of CGS decreased stereotypic behavior for all mice. Week 2 results support a potential synergistic interaction between CGS and KD and suggest a role for adenosine in stereotypic behavior.
Shannon McElderry is a senior psychology major from Tappan, New York. After graduation, McElderry hopes to attend a masters program in either integrative neuroscience or addiction psychology.
Economic Exodus: How Major Companies Responded to the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine Allison Newey, Keene State College
The 2022 Russian military invasion of Ukraine received immediate, widespread, global condemnation. Seven months into the invasion, over 1000 major companies have scaled back or suspended their operations in Russia. However, several companies have not completely severed ties with Russia, while some actively continue their Russian operations. This project will analyze corporate responses to the invasion and question how and why companies choose to act against human rights violations or mass atrocity crimes.
Allison Newey is a senior from Pelham, New Hampshire majoring in Holocaust & genocide studies and political science. She plans to study Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding in graduate school.
Media, Ideology and Political Information: Ideological Selection Bias on Social Media and Other Digital Platforms Tashieka Sangster, Eastern Connecticut State University
As technology advances and information becomes more accessible, media plays a more significant role in political socialization as communication becomes easier and more accessible.The increase in digital production and mobile news consumption has led to more fractionalized information consumption. Social media especially has established platforms and has developed algorithms to connect with others who share similar beliefs. As the utilization of digital media continues to grow, it is necessary to look at selective exposure to political information and its impact on political socialization. This study will examine whether people are more likely to consume information that confirms their biases based on their ideology or partisanship. To test this hypothesis, a set of interviews were conducted on a sample population of five people in the northeast, ranging from college-aged students to middle-aged adults.
Tashieka Sangster is from Hamden Connecticut and is studying political science and criminology. After graduating Sangster plans to attend law school.
Examining the Relationship Between Gender and Field of Study Jake Wedge, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
The way that gender is perceived has changed rapidly over the past decade. There is a growing consensus that gender is not something that can be measured in the binary, but is instead a continuum on which everyone lies somewhere. Our study was conducted on college students to examine how their gender identity predicts fields of study. We found that students were most committed to their academic major in times where they felt like it fit them. Despite finding that gender identity was not correlated with choice of field of study, it was found that regardless of gender identity, there was a negative correlation between identifying with masculinity and fitting in with their academic major. It was found as well that non-binary college students were more likely to identify both with masculinity and with femininity than those who identified as male or female.
Jake Wedge is a fourth-year psychology student from Abington, Massachusetts. Currently, they plan to attend graduate school to pursue a career in psychological counseling.
Streamlining Diagnosis of Desmoplakin-Linked Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy Micah Yoder, Mansfield University/Commonwealth University of PA
Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM) is an incurable, inherited heart disease characterized by scar and fat tissue infiltration of the myocardium. The disease often presents asymptomatically until triggering a sudden cardiac death event, making ACM diagnosis particularly difficult. Desmoplakin is a desmosomal protein that functionally adheres the intermediate filaments of one cardiomyocyte to the plasma membrane of an adjacent cardiomyocyte. Our lab has previously identified a hotspot region of phenotypic ACM clinical mutations at the N-terminus of desmoplakin which serve to locally unfold the protein and expose a calpain target site, leaving desmoplakin susceptible to proteolysis. Our goal is testing a diagnostic process using both in silico modeling and in vitro biochemical assays to streamline personalized medicine in order to assess the pathogenicity of unknown point mutations in desmoplakin under this calpain-hypersensitivity pathomechanism.
Micah Yoder is a senior biochemistry major originally from Belleville, Pennsylvania. After graduating, Yoder wants to pursue a PhD program in protein biochemistry/cell and molecular physiology/molecular medicine and continue performing etiological research.
The Sickness Denisse Diaz-Sanchez, Eastern Connecticut State University
The Sickness, a poster design, focuses on how flawed and scary the American Health Care System can be. It is critical to recognize how an unprecedented ailment can put a family into incredible disparity. Without universal health care, the US health system makes the American people apprehensive to even call for an ambulance. Even if you do everything right, follow a healthy lifestyle and have a private insurance company, patients can still go into debt. The American health care system takes advantage of the helpless feeling of the people. There needs to be a Medicare for all system. We need to be able to unveil the system and push for the system to work for the people, not big pharma or private insurance. In terms of the design, typography was shaped into a medical syringe, along with a background full of real stories on the torn newspaper pieces.
Denisse Diaz-Sanchez is a senior digital art & design student of the Art & Art History Department. She is from Atlanta, Georgia and hopes to work as a graphic designer for independent film studios.
Consumed Tiffany Ferreira, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Consumed is a collage and mixed media piece that creates a portal into the feelings of anxiety and overthinking. They can be consuming, just as the bees are consuming the skeleton figure. As someone with anxiety, there are so many ways that it affects my life and sometimes results in spiraling thoughts. I wanted to use bees to create this image of the buzzing and swarming around just as the thoughts in someone’s head can be.
Tiffany Ferreira is from Bridgeport, Connecticut studying art and arts management with a minor in art history. After graduating she plans to continue making art and work.
Blossoming into Something Beautiful Amber Kirkpatrick, Keene State College
The human mind can be a dark place for most people, and the only way out of the darkness is by learning how to cope. Taking the concept of “you grow through what you go through” and turning it into a form of visual art has been very therapeutic. Healing is not linear, but there can be beauty from pain.
Amber Kirkpatrick is a senior studio arts major from Littleton, Massachusetts. After graduating, they plan on traveling full time in a van and making art.
Blades of the Red Tears Delano Mills, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
With this artwork, I aimed to push myself with the application of color and the story that this single image can tell. Influenced by anime and manga, I tried to show my own touch and flair of style. My main inspiration is from the raising talent of Nikolas Draper Ivey, a perfect representation of the influence of western and Eastern art styles.
Delano Mills is a digital illustrator, character designer, comic book artist, and photographer focusing primarily on bringing black representation and visual aesthetics like Afro-Punk, Afro Surrealism, and Afro-Futurism to the forefront of his stories and artwork.
Giavonna Lucianna Minoia, Mansfield University/Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania
Acid etch on paper and watercolor, 2020. My childhood dog, Giavonna, has been in my life throughout all my major changes growing up. Giavonna is an Australian cattle dog, also known as a blue heeler. She is 13 years old, going on 14. One day, she’s going to pass away, so I honor her through my art.
Lucianna “Lou” Minoia is from Nichols, New York and is majoring in graphic design. After a two year hiatus, Ms. Minoia decided to come back to complete her senior year.
Embroidered Self-Portrait Erin Ward, Ramapo College of New Jersey
In this painted self-portrait, I incorporate materials that are precious to me: pressed flowers, recycled fabric, and a sewing needle. This work is intended to be an interpretation of how I see myself and how I feel when I am creating work that I love. The embroidery and the act of stitching together the face became an important part of my process. Embroidery has been a more recent interest of mine. I am captivated with the idea of reclaiming it from being predominantly a “woman’s craft” to finally being recognized as a true form of fine art.
Erin Ward is from Point Pleasant, New Jersey. Ward is a visual arts major with a concentration in drawing and painting, following the art therapy track. The post-graduation plan is to get a Master’s degree to become a certified art therapist.
Dinner and Welcoming Remarks, Fine Arts Instructional Center Lobby
Saturday, 29 October
8:00 am-9:00 am
Breakfast, Student Center Cafe
9:00 am-10:30 am
Oral Presentation Session 1, Student Center
Oral Presentation Session 1 – Room 217
Wee Don’t Think It’s So Bad Campaign Proposal Emily Melvin, Ramapo College of New Jersey
The oral presentation “Wee Don’t Think It’s So Bad” is a campaign proposal that focuses on expressing the benefits of federally legalizing medical marijuana, destigmatizing the plant’s use and dispelling harmful misconceptions. The goal is to create a comprehensive informational campaign that aims to spread awareness on the topic, which can ultimately lead to behavior change. Because of its cultural and national relevance, now is the perfect time to conduct this campaign. With legalization and decriminalization of marijuana, the campaign aims to promote improved health benefits, lower crime rates, dispelling misperceptions and propagation of accurate information about the plant. The presentation highlights relevant and interpersonal research, outreach methods, audience analysis, anticipated programming, and grant funding, all in a persuasive and informational manner. “WeeDon’t Think It’s So Bad” presents as a real campaign proposal with the intent of raising funds and awareness about the proposed topic.
Emily Melvin is a senior communication arts: writing major from West Deptford, New Jersey. As the current Editor-in-Chief of Ramapo College’s school newspaper, she plans to take this experience into the real world and work as an editor for magazines, newspapers or other media outlets.
Drug Overdose Death Rates Across the Nation Could Reflect how Changes in Legislation are Affecting the Mortality Rate Lindzie White, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
In this research paper, a comparative analysis is conducted to observe if there is an effect on drug overdose rates as a result of changing marijuana legislation among American states. The political phenomenon is not distributed across the nation evenly; each state is different in their legislation. The goal of this paper is to flush out if there is a positive reduction in overdose deaths or a negative effect of contributing to drug overdose in the U.S as a result of legislation. In comparing states, those having legalized marijuana will be more likely to have fewer drug-related overdoses than having states who haven’t legalized marijuana.
Lindzie White is a senior concentrating in political science. She would like to work with drug policy in the hopes to one day have a positive effect on communities struggling to defend themselves against the opioid epidemic.
The Middle Ground of Gasoline Station Geography: A Buffalo Story Mailey Geiger, State University of New York at Geneseo
Historical appraisal of gasoline stations has previously been largely limited to their growing association with Big Oil in the twentieth century, branding and, architecturally, place-product packaging, and the attrition of small independent operators which reached a crescendo in the 1970s. The middle ground of multiple-station independent ownership in regional or metropolitan settings remains largely unexplored. This paper, based on oral sources, traces the emergence and growth of a 123-station ’empire’ of discount retail gasoline in a single city. The Geiger-owned stations achieved recognition without branding, canny locational choice, and impressive price competition. Their near-hegemony in 1970 could not however survive two subsequent global oil crises.
Mailey Geiger is a Buffalo area resident and a Sophomore majoring in geography. At this stage no plans are firm but Mailey is interested in pursuing a masters degree.
Reading Trauma: Narrative Strategies for Building Empathy in Contemporary Fiction Olivia Melillo, Eastern Connecticut State University
Contemporary literature continuously breaks the silence surrounding trauma, reflecting and contributing to the #MeToo movement. What literary strategies do authors use to depict the psychological effects of trauma to help readers understand survivors’ experiences? In order to address this broad question, I offer a case study focusing on two contemporary pieces of literature, Room by Emma Donoghue (2010) and The Liability of Love by Susan Schoenberger (2021). These novels present two different types of trauma via similar literary strategies, especially the use of “unreliable” narrators and focusing on long-term effects of traumatic experiences. By putting these novels in conversation with contemporary theories of trauma such as the emotional processing theory, I will be able to evaluate the extent to which these authors realistically portray the experiences of survivors. I argue responsibly-written fiction plays a crucial role in building empathy for trauma survivors by helping people understand decisions survivors make.
Olivia Melillo, a sophomore from Bethlehem, Connecticut, is double majoring in general psychology and English with a concentration in creative writing. After graduation, Melillo plans to go to graduate school to get licensed in occupational therapy.
Ain’t That A Bite? Trent Montgomery, Ramapo College of New Jersey
The concept for this digital story was originally inspired by my great grandfather’s life. Him and my great grandmother were separated early on in their marriage. The story itself focus on this character’s realization that his dreams won’t bring food home for his family. He sacrifices his passion to become a better father.
Trent Montgomery’s hometown is Asbury Park, and major is visual arts with a focus in drawing and painting, and a minor in creative writing. Montgomery’s goal for post-graduation is to get into a masters program.
Oral Presentation Session 1 – Room 221
BlueGreen Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo Clara Mbasisya, Keene State College
Climate change is a global crisis that requires everyone’s contribution, yet millions of people are still unaware of it. This lack of information keeps them from having the proper attitude toward the environment that sustains them. The Democratic Republic of Congo, my home country, is one of the many countries where environmental education is almost nonexistent. That is why the BlueGreen project aims to educate Congolese people on those topics through activities targeting various age groups. Our current activities are being conducted in the east part of the country, in the city of Goma and the village of Buzi-Bulenga. Through community collaborations, we have been able to plant and distribute more than 10,000 trees. We strive to establish trust with these communities which in turn allows us to help them address their own environmental challenges for the long-term.
Clara Mbasisya is an international student from Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a senior undergraduate student majoring in both environmental studies & sustainability studies. She is hoping to get funding to pursue her graduate education in the same field as well as expand her BlueGreen project in the Congo.
Does the Changing Season Affect the Soundscapes of Freshwater Ecosystems? Micah Hosley, State University of New York at Geneseo
A soundscape is all sounds within a landscape and includes sound produced by living organisms, by humans or by the abiotic environment. Previous studies have used soundscape data to assess the health and the biodiversity of terrestrial and marine areas. These same principles can be applied to freshwater pond environments. This study collected underwater soundscape data from four ponds in the Genesee Valley. Acoustic measures were used to determine change in the soundscapes across the season in our focal ponds, and to document differences between the four ponds. We found 22 unique sounds from biotic sources across our four ponds in summer 2022. Future studies should record pond soundscapes over a longer timeframe to get a clearer picture of long-term seasonal soundscape changes and capture the full biodiversity of sound-producing organisms. This study paves the way for future long-term research in small freshwater environments.
Micah Hosley is from Friendship, New York and is a junior biology major with a minor in history. Current post-graduation plan is to experience the field work side of biology before gauging whether to pursue a master’s degree.
mRNA Expression Analysis of Biosynthetic and Regulatory Genes in a Novel Deregulated Anthocyanin Pigmentation Mutant in the Model Legume PlantMedicago truncatula Megan Piechowicz, Eastern Connecticut State University
Anthocyanins are flavonoid pigments produced by plants. Consumption of anthocyanins is linked to health benefits to humans. We are using a forward genetics approach to find genes involved in anthocyanin pigmentation in plants. Previously, a novel deregulated anthocyanin pigmentation (dap) mutant was identified in Medicago truncatula. In wild-type (WT) plants, anthocyanin pigmentation is visible as red dots on leaves. In dap mutant, increased red dots occur throughout leaves. My project is to quantify mRNA expression using the reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) technique in dap mutant. Total RNA was extracted from WT and dap leaves, and treated with DNase enzyme to degrade genomic DNA. mRNA was converted into complementary DNA by reverse transcription and used as a template in RT-qPCR reactions. I will present data on quantification of mRNA expressions of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes and some of the known transcriptional factor genes in dap mutant.
Megan Piechowicz is from Bolton, Connecticut. Piechowicz is a biology major and plans to pursue a career in genetic counseling.
Digital Interaction in a Time of Social Injustice Ian Crombie, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
How do people’s generational and sociocultural identities influence language use online in relation to social justice topics? Some claim that younger generations interact with social media in a way that allows them to have a better understanding of objective and subjective identifiers than older generations. In contrast, others claim that younger generations are influenced by echo chambers which provide self-confirming spaces online and therefore do not have a better understanding of these topics compared to older generations. By surveying these communities, we can better understand these interactions with old and young generations, how language is used in these interactions, and find out if they are caused by self-confirmation bias or not. This paper aims to gain a better understanding of behavior and interaction in online spaces, language as it relates to culture, and generational values.
Ian Crombie is a senior studying sociology with a minor in anthropology. He originates from Canton, Connecticut, and plans to pursue a master’s degree in sociology next fall.
10:30 am-10:45 am
Break and Group Photo
10:45 am-12:15 pm
Oral Presentation Session 2, Student Center
Oral Presentation Session 2 – Room 217
Of Carrots and Turnips: School Rebellion in Nineteenth-Century Literature Melody Cabarroguis, Eastern Connecticut State University
In the nineteenth century, schooling began to rapidly expand and become a part of daily life. As an effect, literature for children often included schooling and education in the lives of the fictional characters. I will examine Anne of Green Gables (1908), David Copperfield (1849), Jane Eyre (1847), Rollo at School (1839), The Middle Five (1900), School Days of an Indian Girl (1899), and Indian Boyhood (1902) as they have moments where rebelling against the school is present. Although many scholars have analyzed these books, few have discussed school rebellion specifically. I am putting texts of white American, white British, and Indigenous authors into conversation and I argue that in these texts, children rebel against schools when their personality, gender, race, and ethnicity, ergo, their identity, is threatened. In conclusion, closely examining rebellion in school settings sheds new light on how children’s identities affect their actions and behaviors.
Melody Cabarroguis is from Montville, New London, Connecticut. Her major is English and she plans to get a master’s degree in library and information science after graduating.
Fleabag: Maneuvering Feminism & Performing Femininity Genesis Siverio, Ramapo College of New Jersey
Using ideas about self-surveillance originated by Michel Foucault, the paper analyzes the way the titular character in the series Fleabag performs. The unnamed protagonist breaks the fourth wall and speaks to the audience directly, making only her interactions with other characters the actual “performance.” Yet, as gender and queer theory denotes, femininity is a performance in itself. The protagonist both rejects conforming to femininity and is ineffectual in her various attempts at femininity. Women’s bodies are disciplined and policed to make sure the standards of femininity are being upheld and the protagonist is shown being judged on her performance of it; she is seen being upset at the comments of others while disliking the system that created the boundaries and standards for her gender. The protagonist is also shown attempting to maneuver feminism and its complexities. She is a “bad feminist” and overall complex, radical, and thrilling character.
Genesis Siverio will be pursuing a PhD upon graduation.
Classing Coraline: An Intersectional Look at Class and Age in Neil Gaiman’s Novella Marcus Grant, Eastern Connecticut State University
Discussion surrounding Neil Gaiman’s novella Coraline (2002) has largely focused on psychoanalytic and feminist theories, centered on the gendered antagonism presented as the titular character fights her “other mother” by the end of the story. Scholars have often overlooked an underlying issue that Coraline faces: her family’s lower-class status. My argument illuminates the heavy impact that classism has on the family dynamic within the novella, specifically the significance of working from home, which both of her parents do. I will demonstrate how the text fits into the general cultural zeitgeist around the “work from home” dynamic as it developed at the turn of the twenty-first century, especially the challenge it presents to the historical separation of “work” and “home.” In doing so, I examine the acceptance of class hierarchy as the border that the story places between childish immaturity and readiness for adulthood.
Marcus Grant is a third-year English major with concentrations in literary studies and creative writing. He is also the managing editor for the Campus Lantern and a tutor in the writing center.
Ni de Aquí, ni de Allá: The Visual Culture of Chicano Survival After Joaquin Erick Ramos-Jacobo, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
The 1967 epic, I am Joaquin, by Rodolpho “Corky” Rodriguez was the first time Mexican-Americans observed their existence written on paper. It ignited a visual culture revolution that is influential for Mexican-American identity today. I am Joaquin serves as an archived narrative that can contextualize Chicanx visual culture of the past and present. Through a presentation of historical imagery by La Raza Magazine closely read with contemporary Mexican-American immigrant poetry, I will analyze an identity crisis that would be resolved by the crafting of a Chicanx identity. The objective of this reading is to discuss the universal elements of Chicanx visuality: lament, past, and present, and the declaration of a new Mexican identity.
Erick Ramos-Jacobo is a Mexican-born arts management student with a focus on curatorship. His social practice incorporates immigrant visual culture, poetics, and community engagement to allow critical dialogue about the Newcomer experience.
Dramaturgy for “Oedipus the King: A True Crime Podcast” Rebecca Ristow, Eastern Connecticut State University
Oedipus the King is one of the most well-known of Sophocles’ work, recounting the story of a world leader whose willful ignorance threatens his community. Eastern Connecticut State University’s main stage production, from the translation by Bryan Doerries, attempts to craft a more contemporary retelling of the play, drawing parallels between the characters within the text and world leaders of America during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interspersed with different forms of media and introducing a new narrator or “host” character, this version of the story is both a play and a podcast taping, accompanied with live Chicago Blues music and video projections. As dramaturg, I assisted in historical research, collecting and analyzing video clips from political history, musical choices, various character parallels, and the life of Sophocles. My research on the original translation, along with the media, culminated in a twenty-page research document and presentation.
Rebecca Ristow, of Amston, Connecticut, is a theatre major with a double concentration in directing, dramaturgy, and cultural performance, as well as acting. Rebecca plans to attend graduate school for directing and arts administration.
Oral Presentation Session 2 – Room 221
Journal Entries of Spirited Depths Salimatu Bah, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
I propose a collection of journal entries exploring the mind and experiences of an African woman confronting her unconscious and finding her identity. Through a spiritual lens, she recounts the descent journey and the acceptance of these cycles. The collection contains narrative writing with themes of self-expression, escapism, and transformation. These pieces are inspired by folklore surrounding the journey of divine feminine archetypes and how the energy heals.
Salimatu Bah is from Randolph, Massachusetts and is a major in English with a concentration in writing and a minor in American ethnic studies. She wants to write Afrofuturistic fiction, research West African and Arabic Studies, and teach African History one day.
Through the Keyhole Madison Shiner, Bloomsburg University/Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania
“Through the Keyhole” is a calamitous tale of lovers seemingly bound for tragedy. Hidden under societal law and forced to live in a world fighting against them, readers leave the story with the question: Will their love survive? “Through the Keyhole” showcases and honors the struggles of queer women in the late 19th century. With the expansion of organized religion and government as well as social norms during the Edwardian period, homophobia increased. During the late 1800s, male homosexuality became illegal while female homosexuality was legal but not encouraged. Often queer female history is disregarded, yet prominent gender roles entrapped many queer women into heterosexual relationships. In the short story, Jennie is forced into an arranged marriage with Peter Sage. However, she expresses her sexuality outside her marriage with the unnamed, widowed narrator. The narrator describes the escalation of their relationship while Jennie remains with her husband.
Madison Shiner is from Berwick, Pennsylvania. Shiner is an undergraduate student majoring in creative writing and minoring in history, and after graduation, plans to become involved in publishing.
Love Jones: Love from the Perspective of an Overthinker Egypt Benjamin, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Within this series of poems, we’re invited to understand and conceptualize the idea of love through the lens of a chaotic colored lover, or rather a lover whose love is understood through fragments. Through this, we understand how social identity, gender, sexual orientation, and race play a role in the construct of the idea of what “loving” means in a heteronormative society.
Egypt Benjamin is an English major based out of New York. Post-graduation, she plans to continue to write into her identity and how her identity shapes her experience in a heteronormative society.
Sporadic Resurrections (A Poetic Memoir in Four Collections) Sara Green, Eastern Connecticut State University
The Temple: This collection features poems relating to her early childhood, including her withdrawals from narcotics as a born-addicted baby, her adoption, and the rural bliss of her childhood.
Help me help me: These poems explore her mental illness and identity-seeking in high school, and the experiences and meanings gathered from living at mental hospitals and therapeutic group homes during adolescence.
The Tempest: Sara finds her voice in poetry to confront questionable care from authority, while simultaneously working with children and the elderly. She explores her sexuality and the danger of being vulnerable with romantic partners.
The Optometrist: These poems resist cataloging events, and the impulse to end memoir with conclusion. Sara embraces the comedic undertones in over-sharing and virtue-signaling as a survivor of abuse. Sara explores and pushes formulaic poetry, and attempts to close-circuit the book, which is an ode to her own wickedness.
Sara Green (she/her) is a queer Connecticut native and spoken word poet whose poems appear in Cardinal Arts Journal and Outrageous Fortune Literary Magazine. Sara is a ‘late-blooming’ college student in the Secondary Education program, majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing. She plans to become a high school English teacher, and to continue working on several poetry manuscripts for publication.
Boxes: A Sculptural Exploration of Holocaust Memorials Yasmina Hinkle, Keene State College
Boxes was inspired by research on modern Holocaust art and whether it was created in its design to comfort victims or victimizers. Intentionality within Holocaust art can be seen through the use of motifs, primary sources, and responsibly selected materials that help to connect and represent the pains and atrocities of the Holocaust. This continuing project aims to create sculptures that allow the viewer the opportunity to delve into the resistance and resilience of victims within the Holocaust and create a space that allows viewers to analyze and discuss these atrocities and the way modern art and artists influence memory.
Yasmina Hinkle is a senior studio art major from Pelham, New Hampshire. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in art education and begin a career in teaching.
Closing Remarks, Student Center Theater
Lunch to go
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