Thursday, May 31, 2018
At the Eastern Communication Association Convention, I was granted the opportunity to present a year-long worth of research on " The Effectiveness of Social Influencers on Instagram." The experience helped me gain confidence about presenting research and also gave me the chance to meet Graduate Processors and other fellow researchers in the Communication field. I greatly appreciate the OSCAR program for helping me be able to jump out of my comfort zone and share my interests with the other people in the Communication field.
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
USTF Student Emiliano Santin Participates in the 6th 'Palaeo-Arctic Spatial and Temporal Gateways' Conference
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
URSP Student Tovga Haji Evaluates the Association between Household Consumer Behaviors and Dietary Intake of U.S. Children aged 2-19
Monday, May 28, 2018
URSP Student Faith Ryan Examines the Effect of Musical Tempo on Performance in the Sustained Attention to Response Task
Friday, May 25, 2018
URSP Student Senya Donkor Researches How Short-term NGO Projects Create Long-term Impacts in Jamaica & Ghana
Thursday, May 24, 2018
URSP Student Anaam Avant Looks at How the Unite the Right Rally that Took Place in Charlottesville Effected Black Students at GMU
My daily schedule varies depending on what stage of the study I am in. Currently I am collecting data in the form of semi-structured interviews, which means that although I have prepared questions I will ask, there is room for the participant to talk about what is especially important to them. I am trying to complete as many as 30 interviews in the month of April so I will be spending a lot of time sitting and learning from my participants. Once concluded, I will analyze my data using a coding scheme that seeks to identify common themes in my results. From here I will hopefully be ready to share what I learned with my peers and maybe influence future policy the school develops towards increasing inclusion and student well being.
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
URSP Student Jordan Keller-Martinez Writes a Series of Poems That will be Made into a Handmade Artists Book
Much of this project’s writing process has been informed through reading. I have most thoroughly studied Susan Howe and Mina Loy, who both radically employ different elements of language to help establish content. They have been integral in focusing my attention on form and structure. I have been mostly considering how association can be worked in different ways, which I am involving mostly through repetition and signification. I am also inspired by C. G. Jung’s Studies in Word Association and other studies in linguistics. I am especially interested in Saussure’s notion that language is a system of arbitrary signs attached to a sound-image and concept.
In my writing thus far, I have put significant work into developing the form, such as voice, structure, and motifs. I am working a lot to push the image, which comes heavily inspired by Surrealist poetry. The surrealist process of abstraction often illuminates the signifier, sound-image, and concept by distancing each component from the others. This notion of abstraction is evident in Dada conceptual music, Magritte’s word-image concept, and Marcel Duchamp’s experiments with absurd language, such as his 1915 poem “The” which detaches concept from the text signifier. I believe these formal abstraction techniques have been suitable in representing the experiences of being deployed.
I have gone through several mock drafts in the development of the artists book, which I think I have come to a concluding form. The book plays to the form of the poetry, as there will be multiple reading itineraries. I am excited to start finalized the text of the book so I can begin construction.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Long-term I plan on making movies, in what capacity – I’m not entirely sure yet. But I think this research project will hopefully show potential employers that I’m passionate about the entertainment industry and that I care about the kind of messages we’re sending. Who knows – maybe I even end up doing this kind of research for major studios to make sure they’re creating characters who can be strong role models for our next generation of leaders.
On a weekly basis, I watch superhero movies. I’ve got about 18 superhero films I need to code ranging from Tim Burton’s Batman to more recent films like The Guardians of the Galaxy. In addition to coding I’m working closely with my professor to edit my final research paper, reading more articles about representations of masculinity in mainstream media and thinking about ways to analyze my data that can help me draw some conclusions.
One thing that I discovered this semester other than how bad George Clooney is as Batman is that Superman is a cry baby. So far, my fellow coder and I have managed to get through almost all of the Batman and Superman movies. And Superman is almost always driven by these irrational emotions – he literally spins the earth in reverse to save the life of Lois Lane in the Original Superman. Batman on the other hand is extremely reserved and hardly ever expresses any kind of emotion. So DC comics has two extremes here, either your emotions really take control of all of your actions or you pretend like you don’t have any.
Monday, May 21, 2018
While working with this organization, combined with my studies in the fellowship, I started to question why this incredible nonprofit organization had to provide these services to these families, though I felt these services are due to these people as a function of the healthcare system. I believe that these standard comforts are deserved because these families, and in fact all people who struggle with disease and disability.
As a philosophy major, I decided to approach this question through a lens of existentialism as well as through social justice theories. In this light an argument can be made that because of the lack of day-to-day aid, people who are affected by disease or disability are being structurally oppressed by the healthcare system and the financial burden of illness or disability. This is the basis of my research and the origin of my thought, which has produced the beginning to a paper that includes philosophical analysis as well as arguments for change.
I am very pleased with my results so far! My research mainly consists of reading, and writing. My favorite part of the process is working with my mentors, who have guided me by suggesting various sources and essays, as well as writing advice throughout the vigorous process. I’m excited to have a completed paper that I can use to apply to graduate school, and possibly submit for publication.
Friday, May 18, 2018
URSP Student Linda Azab Develops a Computational Model of Microparticle Interactions for Lyme Disease Detection in Urine
Bioengineering with a concentration in signals and systems. For my OSCAR URSP project I am working on developing a computational model of microparticle interactions for Lyme disease detection in urine. The concept for this project was developed in lieu of one of my professor’s research in micro fluid dynamics. The goal of the project is to detect the presence of early stage Lyme Disease in urine samples. This project is of strategic value for my post-graduate career path in diagnostics research in Biomedical Engineering, and after consulting with my professor of micro-fluid dynamics, Dr. Nitin Agrawal, I believed this research was going to provide me with an invaluable learning opportunity while advancing empirical research. My goal was to use my engineering foundation to advance a career that contributes to the bridge between engineering and medicine, and this project is a significant investment in that long-term commitment. I go to the lab two days a week; in the lab I develop simulations of the urine sample’s potential environment in a software called COMSOL. In the software, I implement different micro fluidics theorems by varying the conditions the sample is in, for example; the temperatures at the top and bottom of the container, the number of particles in the sample, and the container dimensions. One thing I discovered this term is that no matter the level of difficulty of a research project, you still have to devote a significant amount of time and effort to the process in order to yield results.
Thursday, May 17, 2018
URSP Student Damian Cavanagh Learns How to Successfully Design, Troubleshoot, and Report on a Sequence of Experiments
The other main inspiration was a ‘Phage Genomics’ course that was offered last Fall. This course, taught by Professor Anne Scherer, focused on the software aspects of bacteriophage discovery and classification. Much time was spent analyzing and ‘labeling’ bacteriophage genomes using unique sequencing software. Having worked in a ‘dry-lab’ setting on phage discovery, I was now interested in a more hands-on experience. My current project allows me to develop bacterial and bacteriophage cultures under the (loose) supervision of Dr. Scherer and Professor Charles Madden, and provides me with an opportunity to work semi-independently.
The main goal in undertaking this project is to learn how to successfully design, troubleshoot, and report on a sequence of experiments. In the long term, I plan to pursue a graduate degree in the life sciences, and so will need to develop the skills necessary to manage my own projects with minimal supervision.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about my experience thus far is the amount of time spent on the logistics of ordering and maintaining stocks of bacteria, phages, reagents and equipment. I was previously unaware of how much effort goes into coordinating the exchange of materials, especially living organisms.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
URSP Student Christian Malias Researches the Relationship between Leaders Who Embrace Altruistic Behavior/FACCT and Organizational Performance
My project titled “What is the relationship between a leader who embraces altruistic behavior and “FACCT” (fondness, affection, caring, compassion, and tenderness) and organizational performance, particularly in high results-oriented industries?” Having this experience and bringing it to a employer has been the biggest advantage this opportunity has given me. I have been able to collaborate and rely on my professor for guidance and advice while also being able to work independently and research an answer to this complex problem. I mainly work with a program called RapidMiner trying to find correlations between large sets of data. It has been a challenging and rewarding experience.
If you have any interest in learning more about the program, I would suggest you get in contact with a professor and ask as many questions as you can before applying.
Monday, May 14, 2018
URSP Student Devon Nelson Researches How Symptoms of a Common Hormone Disorder Known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Influences Personal Care Product Use and Self-Esteem
Personal care products contain chemicals that are known to mimic and/or inhibit hormones. Research on the long-term effects of these chemicals is still being conducted, but there isn't a lot of data on how these chemicals may affect hormone disorders. That's where my research comes in. I'm looking at whether individuals with PCOS symptoms use more personal care products. Most of the symptoms of PCOS are physical (persistent acne, coarse hair growth), so individuals with the disorder might be using more personal care products to cover these symptoms.
On a weekly basis, I work to promote my survey through social media and local advertising avenues such as bulletin boards. Now that data collection is coming to a close, my time is spent analyzing and cleaning the data. Since a portion of my participants don’t live in the USA, I'm also spending time researching how beauty standards differ per region.
Friday, May 11, 2018
URSP Student Rebecca Schmidt Follows the Chemical Processes Involved with Changing the Vesuvius Megaporphyry to Unakite
Like many scientific questions, you go into it with an idea of what you expect to see. It is not until you really start to get up close with your data that you realize things do not always progress as they should. This has been the most interesting part about the whole project, in that, even though the minerals behave predictably, they do so under specific conditions that can not always be easily inferred. Always evolving, this research has only helped to spark my curiosity regarding other scientific questions that hopefully will be used to create a thesis project and/or eventual publication.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
URSP Student Marcela Villeda Researches Federal Grants and Their Effectiveness in Providing Equitable Educational Opportunities for Immigrant Students
As a sociology major, I am naturally curious about the inner workings institutions that are responsible for the socialization of the masses. And as a (hopeful) future law student, I am especially curious about education policy reform. This project will allow me to explore the institutions in which I want to make change in, and gain better insight into how they are actually run. On a weekly basis, I focus on literature and research. I work through my paper, as well as retain interviews, conduct interviews, and transcribe interviews. I meet with my advisor weekly also. In these meetings, I tell her my success of the week as well as my goal for that week. One thing I have discovered through this semester, is that people will always surprise you. When it comes to interviews, regardless of how much I have shaped the protocol to get the answers I want / need, nothing will ever go the way I have imagined it. It is both exciting, and terrifying at times.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
This research will not only help me personally understand how social influencers have affected millennial lives, but will benefit me in my career. As a Communication major with a concentration in Public Relations, I will be using social media in the office frequently. By having an understanding on how social influencers affect the Instagram users, I will be able to understand how to successfully reach a target audience when working on advertising campaigns. This will help me throughout my career when brainstorming with colleagues on the best way to reach the audience of a company or brand.
I began my research in Fall 2017. Between the beginning of Fall to mid-winter, I conducted research to learn about the history behind Instagram, social influencers and what has already been studied about the two. Since then, I have been working weekly on my Introduction, Literature Review and Method of my project. In the past month, I have been collecting data via a survey. Once this data is collected, I will begin putting my research paper together with graphs and other visual tools to help come up with a conclusion to how effective social influencers can be on millennials.
One thing that I have learned/discovered throughout this project is time-management. It is very important to stay on top of my research even though I am a full-time student at Mason, graduating in May. I believe that this research has helped me grow individually and has made me become a more organized person.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
URSP Student Aslihan Imamoglu Investigates the Neural Mechanisms Behind Implicit Biases through Brain Stimulation
our individual control over implicit biases. As a highly efficient way of categorizing the world, implicit biases have always amazed me with their tendency to lead to over-generalizations and irrational errors when applied to social settings. Although most people do not like to admit to it, all people have implicit biases. Thus, it is important for us researchers to investigate them in a scientifically sound manner in an attempt to better understand how they function. This thought process led me to design a study that investigates the neural mechanisms behind implicit biases through brain stimulation. I eventually want to take my research a step further by pursuing a PhD. in Clinical Psychology with a specific focus on neuropsychology. Working on this OSCAR project and designing my own study from scratch have been really helpful for me to concretely decide on my long-term goal of pursuing a PhD. in clinical neuropsychology and sharpen my skills to prepare for this goal. I am currently in the process of collecting data. So, a regular week for me involves scheduling participants for appointments through the SONA system, administering transcranial direct current stimulation to participants, and monitoring the participants as they perform the study. I am also actively preparing to present by research in an academic setting. This semester, I was able to discover that a good research project is not about having one really good idea, but requires multiple really good ideas to work well together in a coherent way.
Monday, May 7, 2018
URSP Student Deepthi Jayakumar Researches The Relationship between High School Mathematics and Testing and College Performance
For my research project, I am working under Professor Laurence Bray on a continuing project. The project is to look at the relationship between high school mathematics and testing and college engineering performance. The reason behind this project is that there has been a misconception that students with a strong foundation in math and sciences perform better in an engineering major and are successful in the same career. The purpose for this project is to find if there is a correlation between mathematics and engineering performance in order to better serve and prepare students.
As a bioengineering major, I have always been interested in math and what is has to offer. My knowledge of math from before joining the university has carried me through my higher lever math and engineering courses. There are two main reasons that this project interested me. First, I was interested in learning about what the correlation between math and engineering and how that can be used to better help those students who don’t have the necessary education to do well in engineering courses. And second, I was interested in the idea of doing research in a subject that I have not explored, education. It was new to me and gave me a challenge to something that I only started looking into. So through this project I expected to not only better my skills and experience in research and computational analysis skills, while learning new software platforms , but also to analyze the results and devise a plan that can better help students who lack the necessary mathematics knowledge from falling short in engineering.
On a weekly basis, I am focusing on doing literature review about previous similar projects and looking into the demographics of student in schools and George Mason University. Currently, we are in the process of getting the data from the Registrar’s Office. So far, due to previous preliminary data, students who have a lower math education have a greater chance of repeating courses, switching majors, or leaving the university.
Friday, May 4, 2018
URSP Student Monserrat Perez Hernandez Researches How to Reduce Gender-Based Harassment in Male-Dominated Fields
When I first started this project, a lot of my time was spent in literature review, as information regarding this topic has been difficult to find. This gave me the opportunity to learn about studies done in this subject and gave me a better understanding of what anti-harassment initiatives are lacking. Monitoring news daily has also been an extremely important part of my research, as there have been many unexpected changes and announcements within the past few months. My mentor and I have been working on a possible instrument to prevent and end gender-based harassment and have attempted to get in contact with Fairfax County leadership.
Thanks to this project, I have learnt that I have a passion for research and I have grown to appreciate the incredible opportunity OSCAR offers by funding out projects. I believe this research will benefit me in the long term as I continue to pursue research on my own, and it further encouraged me to pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Health in the future. I hope that with this research, someday I can make a difference in empowering women who experience gender-based harassment in male-dominated fields.
This project has taught me that leadership within organizations can change unexpectedly. The Chief of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department announced his retirement midway through our project, which caused the direction of this research to change. Additionally, there were other leadership changes that may have impacted communication with Fairfax County. I also discovered how many resources are missing for those facing gender-based harassment and the importance of the role of bystanders in the prevention of gender-based harassment.
Thursday, May 3, 2018
URSP Student Leonel Cabrera Researches the Pathogenic Effects of Ethanol on the Embryonic Zebrafish Stage
The goal is for the findings from this project to go to the Mason and general scientific literature as a means to advance basic research on the effects of different concentrations of ethanol on 24 hour and 48 hour embryos and encourage other students to extrapolate novel future findings using the past research as a sound platform. The applied laboratory techniques and most importantly, the ability to develop the knowledge on how and why to execute the hypothesis of interest gained from this project has helped me to become better prepared to work in a clinical laboratory environment in the future.
On a given week, the project consists of a three day phase usually from Wednesday to Friday, where I categorize the current developmental stage of the embryos and administer the concentrations of ethanol, whereas on the next day, I analyze the results from the treatments and prepare the fluorescent solutions to image them on the microscope. The last day is for going over the results and interesting findings with my mentor, where she helps me with advice on how to improve the design of the experiment, and troubleshoot any potential limiting factor in the protocol.
One of the exciting things discovered during this experiment was a growing trend between certain ethanol amounts, particularly 1% with the positive control and the increasing rate of abnormalities along with the decrease of heart beats per minute and attention span. These results seem to support that there is a certain concentration of ethanol where its effects are more prevalent and the change in physiology in newborns is more pronounced.
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
My name is Madeline Illar and I am a senior majoring in biology and minoring in math. I began working with my mentor, Dr. von Fricken, last semester for the Biology Research Semester program. I analyzed hospital records and wrote a case series report about Lyme disease presentation in Mongolia. Researching Lyme in Mongolia sparked my interest in tick-borne illnesses in Northern Virginia. Climate change is likely impacting the number of tick species present in the region, so new tick-borne illnesses may be introduced to the region. The aim of my project is to collect ticks from parks using tick drags that I built, organize them by species, stage, and sex, and then break down the ticks chemically, extract their DNA, and run Real-Time PCR using different bacterial primers to determine which diseases the ticks are carrying. The data can be helpful in determining the density and spread of ticks and tick-borne illnesses in Northern Virginia.
So far this semester I have been doing lots of literature review to design my lab and field protocol and determine which sequences may be successful for primers. I have also worked on grant applications, so that this project may be continued for multiple seasons, so we can begin to track change over time. In a few weeks, when the weather is warm enough for ticks, I will begin collecting in parks and testing the samples in the lab.
After I graduate, I plan to go to medical school, and I believe that conducting research about human disease will be a valuable experience as I work toward my career goals. Working on this project has shown me how much scientists have learned about Lyme disease in a short period of time, and how much there is still to learn about Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
URSP Student Michael Hudgins Measures and Compares the Changes of Morphology in Dinosaurs and the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary
My current research has guided me to develop scientific skills, such as, formulating hypotheses, designing experiments, analyzing data, interpreting data, and technical writing. This has allowed me to delve deeper into the paleontological field and acquire a greater understanding for it. My project has provided me the opportunity to develop scientific skills for conducting research before attending graduate school.
What I do varies week to week when I am working on my project. For the first couple of weeks I would search for peer-reviewed articles from the Paleobiology Database (PBDB) about the anatomy of Theropoda and Paracrocodylomorpha that I could add to my data set. I collected the presence or absence of the pneumatic bones in the vertebral column of both groups. I then collected pCO2 from the Triassic and compared it with anatomical data over time.
Over the semester I have learned that my research provides insight on the evolution of respiratory systems in early Theropoda and Paracrocodylomorpha, and the relationship between Paracrocodylomorpha and Theropoda at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary. Overall, I have learned research takes time and patience to be successful, and have learned how many doors it can potentially open.