Class of 2018

In a variety of ways, colorism impacts the lives of African Americans. Scholars define colorism as a process that attributes privileges to lighter-skinned people in various domains, from income and education to marriage. For example, Hunter (2003) finds that “lighter skinned Blacks are viewed as more appealing applicants/employees to White employers” (pg. 6). This research posits that colorism is also reinforced in social media spaces, especially visual platforms like Instagram. This study answers the question, (how) does colorism manifest in photos associated with popular Instagram hashtags? In addition, this paper also provides background and literature on colorism's societal effects. This project explores colorism and shows its presence in the realm of social media, which is an increasingly integral part of American society.
The purpose of this micro-study was to examine the tone of coverage by The New York Times regarding the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements. Research focused on the first 30 days after the two events burst into the news pages of newspaper. The research focused on the headlines, overall tone of the articles and the lead paragraphs using framing and agenda-setting theory. The goal was to ascertain, in a mini-study, if coverage was subjective or objective. The results found 50.3 percent were subjective and 49.7 were objective according to the analysis.
Through the use of the Python programming language’s Scikit-Learn and Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK) modules, a program to teach a computer to recognize song genres using only the lyrics was created. A dataset found on Kaggle was put through rigorous preprocessing to ensure that all the data inside was complete and relevant.

Five genres were included in the final dataset: Rock, Hip-Hop, Country, Pop, and Metal. Using Scikit-learn and NLTK, the data was provided to a program that repeatedly split random subsets of the data into two parts: a training set for the program to learn from and a testing set to evaluate the quality of the models developed. Five different learning algorithms were used with ten random subsamples to test how much the program “learned”. The results have shown that the learning algorithms all have very respectable success rates in terms of predicting genres from test data, with each having at least 50% accuracy across all samples in both training and testing sets.
How do black women TV viewers respond to racialized and gendered stereotypes in the media that they consume? This project addresses this question by examining public discourse around a popular television show that depicts contemporary black American life. In particular, in this project this researcher analyzes popular hashtags and social media discourse focused on the Netflix series Dear White People. In general, research on the stereotypes of black women have focused on a small set of recurring stereotypes—the Mammy, the Sapphire, the Jezebel. This is to say, most work in this area focus on how black women are represented, giving less attention to how black women, themselves, perceive and respond to popular representations of race and gender. This project extends this early work by examining how black women audiences respond to popular representations of black women and will aid in broadening understanding of how black women are depicted in media. Ultimately, this work raises important questions about how the media depicts black women and how black people negotiate potentially harmful stereotypes in their everyday lives.
Adrenal glucocorticoids (i.e., “stress hormones”) have recently been implicated as important factors regulating the expression of male sexual traits. However, how variation in circulating glucocorticoid levels among males affects mate choice by females remains poorly understood. Here, this researcher examined these relationships using the green treefrog, Hyla cinerea, as a model system. Males of this species engage in aggressive vocal interactions that increase circulating levels of the stress hormone corticosterone (CORT) in rival male contest losers. Changes in hormone levels associated with male contests are known to alter various vocal parameters that are potentially important in mate choice by females. Using dual speaker playback experiments, whether females show a preference for vocalizations characteristic of males with low versus high CORT levels was examined. Results from a total of 30 phonotaxis trials revealed that 24 females exhibited phonotaxis towards the speaker broadcasting calls characteristic of males with low CORT levels while only 6 females exhibited a preference for the calls characteristic of males with high CORT levels. These results indicate that females show a strong preference for courting males with low stress hormone levels, suggesting that elevations in circulating stress hormones during male contests can diminish the probability of attracting females.
Virtual Reality (VR) research has been very expensive over the past years. Researchers have struggled to find a more cost-effective way to conduct their research. However, the recent emergence of off-the-shelf VR gaming systems with built-in motion tracking has given researchers an inexpensive alternative. Examples of such VR systems include the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. In this paper, the HTC Vive’s Lighthouse tracking system is examined. The Lighthouse system uses small base stations that provide room-scale motion tracking by scanning the room with infrared (IR) laser beams at a frequency of 60 Hz while also flashing an IR strobe. Tracked devices use the timing between infrared pulses to calculate their 3D position. Before researchers can rely on these low-cost systems, their accuracy and sensitivity must be ascertained. The current work builds upon a previous study to quantify the Lighthouse’s tracking accuracy and presents an examination of its tracking sensitivity. This is accomplished by constructing a high-precision, Arduino-controlled positioning robot that can move a tracked object over a range of specific distances. Positional data reported by the tracking system is collected and compared with the robot’s known movement. The goal is to determine the threshold below which the Lighthouse system can no longer reliably detect movement.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the degree to which people stigmatize individuals with unconcealable, visible, intellectual disabilities as compared to individuals with concealable, invisible, intellectual disabilities. Additionally, the study aimed to discover if people with higher psychological flexibility scores would show less bias towards individuals with apparent intellectual disabilities. This study presented 19 participants with three self-report surveys: the Attitudes Towards Disabled Persons survey, the Multidimensional Psychological Flexibility Inventory, and a demographic survey. Participants also completed the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure, which measures the accuracy and responding time of the association between images and target words. Generally, participants had an easier time saying that every individual had positive qualities and a harder time saying that any individual had negative qualities. Although statistical significance between the self-report measures or of the self-report measures and the last three trial types of the IRAP were not found, slight statistical significance between the ATDP and the Apparent- Negative Trial Type of the IRAP were found.
Specific exploration is motivated by novelty or a lack of information about the direct environment, and hence is driven by curiosity. Interestingly, many animals lose specific exploration when kept in captivity. Researchers conducting this study are interested in knowing how confinement in small areas can produce a reduction in specific exploration. To address this question, the Drosophila model system was used. Drosophila kept in confined environments display a reduction in specific exploration. Interestingly, increasing serotonin signaling within the brain mimics this reduction in exploration. The hypothesis that confinement decreases exploration by increasing serotonin signaling within the Drosophila brain is currently being investigated.
In addition to their mandated responsibilities, the district attorneys-attorneys who investigate and prosecute criminal cases-have broad discretionary authority. This prosecutorial discretion can lead to racial disparity within the criminal justice system. This paper examines the relationship between prosecutorial discretion and racial injustices and assesses several proposed reforms that address racial disparity.
The purpose of this study was to discover the most effective solutions to narrow the income achievement gap present in public education today. In this research, a systematic literature review was used to formulate research question and create an explicit search to yield results for this question. Through the research and studies acquired, five possible solutions to narrow the income achievement gap were discovered and their effectiveness in increasing low income students’ academic achievement was examined. The results indicated not all five solutions were effective; and the most effective solution was the implementation of economic integration in neighborhoods and schools. As a result, it was concluded more studies must be conducted utilizing economic integration to prove to policymakers and schools districts that it is an effective solution to narrowing the gap.
This mixed-method sociological study analyzes 26 of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermons, speeches, letters, and telegrams about the Vietnam War from January 1966 to December 1967 to assess whether King’s writings were altruistic. King’s documents were scored based on the Altruistic Personality Scale for Leaders and Protest, which was created for leaders and activists. The study showed that all but three of King’s writings expressed altruism. In fact, the majority of King’s writings, detail his altruism even in the face of opposition from the press, supporters, and civil rights organizations. While King’s personalism and nonviolent ethic informed his decisions to be altruistic, his “conscience” dominated his motives.
Spanning six generations, At the Full and Change of the Moon presents a non-romanticized account of the intergenerational effects of traumatic experiences resulting from slavery. Set along the Caribbean archipelago where “nothing disappears with finality,” many of the characters are influenced by physical and metaphysical trauma that limits their agency.
This study explores the impact of data visualization on juror judgments of auditor negligence. Data visualization is more commonly being used by auditors to identify risky areas of financial statements and to search misstatement to those financial statements. However, little is known about how data visualization affects jurors’ decision making when auditors are sued for alleged negligence. In an experiment, whether juror judgments about auditor negligence differ when historical client financial performance is more versus less volatile was tested. Then, if those judgments depend on whether the auditors prepared workpapers that presented the client’s historical financial performance in graphical form versus when the client’s historical performance is presented in tabular form was tested. It was found that jurors’ auditor negligence judgments do not differ depending on the volatility of the client’s financial performance regardless of whether that information is presented in a graphical or tabular form.
African American women bear the burden of keeping their families and communities intact in the absence of their men who have been lost to the prison system. During this research, five women between the ages of 35 and 40 in Oxford, Mississippi were interviewed, to explore the effects of having an incarcerated son, father, or brother. The interviews suggest that black women tend to cope together and grow strong in their faith as they go through tough times. However, the severity of the effects of having an incarcerated loved one depends on the nature of his relationship with his loved ones and his community ties. Future research should include more than women with incarcerated husbands, because a woman with any relationship to an incarcerated man is bound to experience some negative effects of his incarceration.
Olfactory dysfunction and hallucinations are commonly found in Schizophrenia. Here, it is examined whether olfactory functional connectivity is associated with hallucinations. Olfactory functional connectivity was analyzed using resting state functional connectivity data from 82 individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder with the assessment of hallucination severity. Among four olfactory regions examined (the olfactory bulb, olfactory tract, anterior piriform cortex and posterior piriform cortex), the functional connectivity between the anterior piriform cortex (APC) and right pars opercularis showed inverse association with the hallucination scale. The results suggest that the APC’s functional connectivity may inhibit the emergence of hallucination.
Crude oil spills are one of the most destructive disasters that can occur, and they are extremely difficult to recover from. Many studies focus on what can be done to clean these crude oil spills, but more research should be focused on means of prevention. For example, how does the moisture content levels and packing density of the soil contribute to the effect of an oil spill? These two factors can offer a variety of information to environmental agencies, manufacturers, and refineries. Through utilization of a chemical engineering lab, a recording mechanism, and Image-Pro software, data was collected and analyzed. This study simulated, on a small scale, the conditions of an oil spill. The study focused on the differences in the oil spill spreads for petri dishes containing various moisture content levels and packing levels. Each dish contained the same percentages of soil, clay, and sand. The first major finding was that areas with high levels of moisture are more likely to have separable spills and are not likely to experience spills in which the oil penetrates the soil extensively. The second finding is that areas with densely packed soil are less likely to be susceptible to deep penetrating oil spreads. The last finding was that drier areas will experience more rapid rates of spreading. The conclusion was made that water or compactness caused an interruption in travel time or space for the oil and led to a decline in the areas of the spreads for dishes with those variables.