2020 Virtual Expo

Business, Economic, Education, Behavioral and Social Sciences
Judging Round

Are Your Needs Met? An Analysis of Basic Necessities of Guilford County Older Adults in Nepali/Bhutanese and Congolese Refugee Communities

Student Author(s): Alisha Baity, Senior (Social Work), Ireti Adegbesan, Post-Bac (Human Development and Family Studies)
Faculty Mentor(s): Sudha Shreeniwas (Human Development and Family Studies)


Many refugees in the US are living in poverty and fall into the gaps in services provided by the welfare state safety net, such as Food Stamps, SSI benefits, and affordable housing, despite being eligible for these benefits. These needs and gaps may be greater for older adult refugees due to their age and other factors. We conducted a needs assessment of older adults in the Congolese and Nepali/Bhutanese refugee communities in the Guilford County area. The study was conducted using semi-structured interviews, to aid in understanding the needs of older adult refugees. This presentation will highlight the stories of refugee older adults in the area and how their basic needs for housing, food, and clothing aren’t being met. We will identify gaps in services and include key community recommendations pertaining to the two refugee communities.

Effects of Relationally Salient Labels on Children’s Social Competence

Student Author(s): Nicole Fanatico, Senior (Psychology)
Faculty Mentor(s): Stuart Marcovitch (Psychology)


Increasing social competence to help children make and maintain relationships is an important developmental competency. Previous research has explored executive function (EF) and social information processing (SIP) as contributors to social competence behaviors. Reflective thinking, an ability supported by EF and used in SIP, is an effective way to help children respond competently to social provocation. Reflection can be increased with the use of labels that help to direct attention to a given stimulus, in this case a socially provocative situation. The current study will introduce labels of relation (e.g., friend, disliked peer) to an adapted version of the Challenging Situations task (CST) paradigm. Four- to 7-year-old children will be assessed using this measure for social competence. The children will also be assessed for hot and cold EF abilities with the Delay of Gratification task and the Flanker task, respectively. It is predicted that the labels of relation will help children to facilitate SIP, increase the influence of EF (specifically hot EF) on their behavior, and to provide socially competent responses to social provocation. The benefit of the labeling manipulation will differ depending on the age and sex of the children. It is predicted that social relationships are more salient to older children, who also generally display higher EF. It is also predicted that boys and girls will differentially handle various types of conflict, depending on the social counterpart.

Speak Up: Teaching Self-Advocacy Skills at the Speaking Center to Students with Disabilities

Student Author(s): Brianna Ferraro, Junior (Specialized Education Services, Elementary Education)
Faculty Mentor(s): Debra Holzberg (Specialized Education Services)


The use of academic accommodations is positively correlated with increased grade point average, higher persistence rates, and shorter time to degree completion. However, data indicate students underutilize accommodations for a number of reasons including a lack of confidence related to advocating for accommodations. Therefore, it is imperative to facilitate access to communication skills related to self-advocacy. Speaking centers (SC) are equipped with the expertise to instruct students to effectively advocate. Additionally, research indicates the efficacy of peer supports in teaching new skills – making the SC an ideal venue for teaching self-advocacy skills. The current study utilized a multiple probe across participants design to evaluate the effect of explicit instruction in self-advocacy, conducted in a university speaking center, on the ability of college students with hidden disabilities to request accommodations. Results indicated a functional relation between the use of the self-advocacy skills and students’ ability to request accommodations from their instructors.

Relating Strategic Memory Skills to Math Calculation Performance in Kindergarten

Student Author(s): Keichelle Joyce, Senior (Elementary Education, Special Education), Olivia Cook, Post-Bac (Human Development & Family Studies)
Faculty Mentor(s): Jennifer Coffman (Human Development & Family Studies)


Literature investigating the development of children’s deliberate memory has suggested that the use of mnemonic strategies is important for children’s success in school (Ornstein, Coffman, & Grammer, 2009).  Previous work has also highlighted how early strategic-like behaviors emerge in young children.  Although studies have been unable to link early strategic behavior to recall ability for children younger than 6 years old (Baker-Ward, Ornstein, & Holden, 1984), researchers suggest that these early strategy-like behaviors are precursors to appropriate techniques for remembering later in elementary school (Ornstein, Haden, & San Souci, 2008).  In order to better characterize children’s emergent strategic memory skills as they relate to recall ability –  as well as to other indicators of academic skills –  we assessed strategy use and recall in an Object Memory Task (Baker-Ward, Ornstein, & Holden, 1984) upon entry to Kindergarten and children’s math calculation skills (Schrank, McGrew, & Mather, 2014) at the end of the school year.  Preliminary analyses highlight associations between Kindergartners’ verbal remembering strategies to their recall performance (r=.33, p<.01) as well as behavioral remembering strategies with their later math calculation skills (r=.31, p<.01).  These and other results will be discussed in order to better understand the role of children’s strategy use for children’s recall ability and math skills.

Super Recognizer

Student Author(s): Cayla Kitts, Senior (Psychology), Myranda Cook, Junior (Psychology)
Faculty Mentor(s): Peter Delaney (Psychology)


While most neurotypical individuals exhibit proficiency in recognizing faces, there are inconsistencies between the levels of their abilities. Super Recognizers are individuals on the higher end of this spectrum who can recall thousands of faces after only seeing them once before. To expand on our prior research of Context Memory being learnable or automatic, we examined if facial recognition is a trainable skill that can be improved. To facilitate increased recognition, we also tested automatic mental context encoding during recall. By tracking the progress of a sole participant, we can begin to outline the methodological approaches that improve face recognition. This type of training can be applied to many domains like artificial intelligence, law enforcement, and medicine. 

Evaluating the Validity of a New Measure of Anhedonic Depression: Daily Experiences of Wanting and Liking (DEWL)

Student Author(s): Aanchal Lal, Junior (Psychology), Rachel Suresky, Post-Bac
Faculty Mentor(s): Blair Wisco (Psychology)


The Daily Experiences of Wanting and Liking (DEWL) is a new measure that assesses the ability, efficiency, potentials and functioning of depressive anhedonia. Depressive anhedonia is a loss of interest in activities formerly enjoyed. DEWL measure was created to provide an assessment of depressive anhedonia. Utilizing a different sample, and modified version of the DEWL measure, we sought to explore the internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and relationship between DEWL scores and depression and anxiety symptoms.

Using results from 2015, we examined the internal validity and test-retest reliability of the DEWL measure over a 7-month period. The study recruited 160 college students who completed surveys including the DEWL, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), and Mood and Anxiety Symptoms Questionnaire (MASQ). We predicted that DEWL scores would positively correlate with depression symptoms, while correlating less strongly with anxiety.

Our findings indicate that the DEWL measure has both strong internal consistency and moderate test-retest reliability. Findings also indicate convergent and discriminant validity showing that the questions in the scale appropriately relate to other items that are similar (BDI and AD) and doesn’t relate as much to items that are not similar (AA). These findings conclude DEWL as a promising new measure of anhedonic depression.

Building Resilience in Education

Student Author(s): Erika Lowrance, Senior (Art, Communication Studies)
Faculty Mentor(s): Kristen Christman and Roy Schwartzman (Communication Studies)


My experience in middle school was dreary, isolating and it made it harder to focus on my education even though our school motto was about creating lifelong learners. Many students got discouraged because they didn’t feel comfortable and engaged in a productive and positive atmosphere. At a young vulnerable age, middle schoolers seek approval, social validation, and attention. Positive Communication is critical in providing affirming and encouraging messages that help students recognize their strengths and reveal opportunities for growth and resilience.

I am working on a BFA in Painting and a BA in Communication Studies. I plan to combine these two disciplines as the basis of my service-learning/experience/research. I intend to show how using intentionality and creativity brings these disciplines together in a powerful way. My research involves leading students through artistic activities. Through my research and service-learning experience with Reidsville Middle and Hope Academy, I have been bridging the distance between the middle schoolers and college students, so that the former can have someone to look up to. For this project, I intend to incorporate painting into leadership development, community building, and positive communication. I hope to enrich the school with art that the students had a part of so that they feel like they contributed in building a positive environment for themselves and each other, reinforcing or giving them self-confidence.

Understanding Trust in Healthy Aging

Student Author(s): Alexander McGlamery, Post-Bac (Psychology)
Faculty Mentor(s): Brittany Cassidy (Psychology)


When meeting others, people make quick trust decisions that pose serious consequences for well-being. The extent to which people trust others, however, is not stable across the lifespan. Rather, older adults (OA) have excessive trust versus younger adults (YA). Why OA have excessive trust is poorly understood. One explanation for OA’ excessive trust could be that OA treat negative outcomes more positively than YA when learning trust information. To this end, YA and OA were given endowments and decided how much to share with the same trustees over multiple games. If shared, the investment was quadrupled, and the trustee could either earn trust by sharing or violate trust by keeping the money. All participants gave more money to trustees who were trustworthy than who were untrustworthy. OA, however, gave more money than YA to trustees who were untrustworthy. These findings suggest that OA treat negative outcomes more positively when making trust-based financial decisions.

“An Alternative Sense-making Collective”: A Rhetorical Analysis Of The Intellectual Dark Web

Student Author(s): Gabriel Parks, Senior (Communication Studies)
Faculty Mentor(s): Jenni Simon (Communication Studies)


This essay examines the roles of five Public Intellectuals from a group known as The Intellectual Dark Web (IDW) in current political discourse. Situated within the context of political polarization and declining institutional trust in the United States, this essay incorporates theories from political philosopher Antonio Gramsci and rhetorical critic Kenneth Burke to frame the IDW as central to an ongoing “Battle of Ideas.” The examination of prominent IDW figures, such as Ben Shapiro, Dave Rubin, Eric Weinstein, Joe Rogan, and Jordan Peterson reveals their rhetorical exploits as indicative of Gramsci’s definitions of traditional and “Organic” intellectuals that bridge different social dynamics, such as identification, commitment, and narratives, in an interplay to influence “sense-making” for both the IDW and their audiences. From a critical-rhetorical perspective concerned with audience empowerment, the paper argues that the IDW is a fragmented movement with subversive potential, maintaining hegemony and scattering opportunities for unification.

Examining Self-Efficacy, Sense of Belonging, and Science Identity Within a UNCG STEM Program

Student Author(s): Kellar Poteat, Senior (Communication Sciences & Disorders), Sharon Ladokun, Senior (Psychology)
Faculty Mentor(s): Ayesha Boyce (Educational Research Methodology)


The UNCG NSF-funded S-STEM: STAMPS project selects participants based on significant promise for success in the sciences/math and measurable financial need. The purpose of this study is to examine the program’s impact on student’s self-efficacy, sense of belonging, and science identity. These three affective factors have been demonstrated to be associated with persistence in STEM and the choice of a STEM career. Our research explores the impact of the UNCG STAMPS program on each of these three factors and identifies which components of STAMPS have the most influence. A mixed-method research design was utilized. The mixed-method approach includes participant observations, three surveys, two focus groups, and a participant Photovoice Project. Our key findings show that participation in the STAMPS program has increased STEM students’ self-efficacy, science identity, and sense of belonging. Furthermore, STAMPS field trips, interactions with program personnel, and faculty mentors contribute to students’ persistence in STEM and working towards STEM-related careers. We also found that student interaction with others with similar interests in STAMPS and within the science community validated feelings of choosing the right major, and feelings of acceptance at UNCG.

Implementation of Restorative Practices with Sport for Positive Youth Development

Student Author(s): Sarah Ragab, Senior (Kinesiology), Destini Hogan, Senior (Peace and Conflict Studies), Mahlik Conley, Senior (Kinesiology), Asha Moore
Faculty Mentor(s): Michael Hemphill (Kinesiology)


The authors lead a high school restorative practices program to positively impact rates school suspension, interpersonal conflict, and absenteeism. The purpose of this study is to implement and examine a student-led process of developing youth leadership and student empowerment.

This is a case study design to better understand youth development through qualitative methods including individual and focus group interviews, formal and informal observations, and reflective field notes.

Preliminary results suggest that 1) student empowerment enhances engagement and youth leadership 2) restorative practices promote deep reflection on life skills, and 3) life skills have potential for transference to promote positive changes in schools. At the time of this submission, the results were still in analysis. Therefore, preliminary results will be further contextualized by qualitative trustworthiness techniques including peer debriefing and member checks.

Youth development programs should consider student empowerment-based teaching methods in order to have a positive impact on student’s social and emotional learning. The application of restorative practices provides a way to build and strengthen relationships in a local high school that experiences high rates of interpersonal conflict. Circle processes are a fundamental restorative practice to help students repair harm and restore a positive school community.

Assessing the Risk and Protective Factors of Community Violence Within Greensboro

Student Author(s): Charmaine Randolph, Senior (Human Development & Family Studies), Ajah Haskel, Senior (Psychology)
Faculty Mentor(s): Jocelyn Smith Lee (HDFS) and Erica Payton Fo (Public Health)


Homicide is the leading cause of death for Black youth (ages 10-24 and it remains the leading cause of death for Black males through age 34. In 2017, Greensboro (GSO) experienced a record number of homicides and these victims were overwhelmingly Black males. The homicide rate for 2019 tied this record (44 homicides). Research indicates that factors such as residential segregation, poverty, educational inequalities, unemployment, racism, and a constellation of social and structural conditions (e.g. urban decay) combine to increase the propensity for community violence, including firearm violence.   Using a Community-Based Participatory Approach (CBPR), we conducted Windshield Surveys of the City of Greensboro and conducted stakeholder interviews to assess environmental factors that may promote or reduce community violence. We systematically observed all four quadrants (East, West, North and South) of Greensboro to understand contextual vulnerabilities to community violence. Our findings revealed that more risk factors for violence (e.g. liquor stores, vacant lots) are located throughout economically deprived neighborhoods, mainly East Greensboro where violence is concentrated.  Conversely, we found that protective factors such (e.g. little libraries, food pantries) were placed in resource-rich neighborhoods where they are not a necessity. Our findings suggest that strategic investment in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods may be a critical component to reducing and preventing violence in Greensboro. 

Factors Controlling the Mechanisms of Eating Behavior in Mammals

Student Author(s): Madeline Rees, Senior (Psychology)
Faculty Mentor(s): George Michel (Psychology)


Hunger and eating are behavioral states that are an integral component of the mammalian behavioral repertoire, yet the mechanisms that determine when and how one will experience hunger or engage in eating have yet to be fully elucidated. Various organ systems and cellular signaling mechanisms are thought to contribute to hunger experience and eating behavior, and these factors are modified by environmental influences (e.g. light, nutritional intake). In humans, and Western societies in particular, unprecedented, species-specific conditions including the prevalence of shift work, artificial light, processed foods, and even cultural mindsets and attitudes regarding hunger and eating affect eating behavior and may contribute to the prevalence of eating disorders and obesity. Considering the health risks posed by obesity, eating disorders, and poor nutritional intake, it is important to identify research questions that will advance scientific and medical understanding of the processes that underlie the motivation of hunger and eating behavior. In this presentation, the known physiological (e.g., glucose metabolism, hormone secretion, brain neurotransmitters), psychological (e.g., meal expectation, food-related attitudes), environmental (e.g., sleep patterns, nutrient intake, drug use), and developmental mechanisms that influence hunger and eating are outlined and discussed to identify where more research is required.

Relating Parents’ Elaborativeness to Children’s Strategy Usage in Remembering

Student Author(s): Sydney Revell, Senior (Psychology), Keadija Wiley, Post-Bac (HDFS)
Faculty Mentor(s): Jennifer Coffman (HDFS)


Although there is a rich literature on the development of children’s memory skills, less is known about contexts that support the development of these skills. Previous literature suggests, however, that conversations between parents and their children in which they reminisce together are influential to the development of children’s autobiographic memory skills, which has also been suggested to be linked to children’s performance in deliberate memory tasks (Langley, Coffman, & Ornstein, 2016; Reese et al. 2011). The work presented here extends these findings and highlights the importance of continued consideration of contexts that support the development of memory. A sample of 51 kindergartners from an ongoing longitudinal study was assessed at multiple timepoints, with various memory tasks designed to characterize their recall performance and strategy use. Children also completed a reminiscing task with a parent to capture parents’ elaborative style. At Timepoint 1, results indicate significant differences in children’s deliberate strategy use, such that children who have parents with higher levels of elaborativeness evidence greater strategic skills, including elaborations (p = .01) and category naming (p = .03). These findings extend previous claims that parents’ elaborativeness is associated with children’s recall and strategy use in a deliberate memory task.

Utilizing Technologies to Examine the Designed Environment and Perception of Crime

Student Author(s): Katherine Tardif, Senior (Interior Architecture), Margarito Martinez, Senior (Interior Architecture)
Faculty Mentor(s): Asha Kutty (Interior Architecture)


The goal of this project is to conduct a pilot study using innovative technologies, to examine the relationship between the design features of the built environment, and the occurrence and fear of crime in and around the UNCG Campus. The purpose of this study is to help designers and law enforcement to identify environmental features related to crime.

The project focused on crime that has occurred between January 2016 -2018 within the UNCG Campus and its neighborhoods. To collect data, the project used multiple tools, including a spatial analysis software program called SpaceSyntax and an emotion-sensing technological device called NeuroSKY Mindwave. SpaceSyntax was used to study the way in which streets, buildings, and landscape features interconnect to one another, and the degrees to which their relationships foster visual connectivity. NeuroSKY is a low-cost EEG (Electroencephalogram) and can be used to measure how our brain responds to various features in the physical environment as we move through it.

The experimental results show that the perception of crime (as measured through attention levels) were highest in the Spring Garden area, having moderate visibility. Results also showed that meditation levels were highest in the central campus area, having very low levels of visibility.

African American Perspectives on United States National Parks and Visitation

Student Author(s): Robert Tate, Senior (Geography)
Faculty Mentor(s): Selima Sultana (Geography)


National Parks have been coined as “America’s Best Idea” claiming to be a delicate environment where American’s and the greater outdoors can coexist. However, Black Americans comprise less than 3% of visitors to National Parks. Underrepresentation of Black visitors challenges the view that public land is open to all. African American’s or Blacks have prevailed their way through difficult and racial times throughout US history. Slavery, segregation, and current racial tension have left an imprint on society, calling for a process of unlearning and undoing by centering African American and Black voices. This research examines visitation motivations and hindrances of visiting National Parks using the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most attended National Park in the US, as case study. Focus groups and interviews were conducted to better understand the Black perspective of nature as a racialized space and National Parks, and identified perceived gaps in the National Park Service that has led to the lack of racial minority attendance. This research contributes to a broader understanding of how landscapes and institutions are racialized, and how the power of narrative can be used to dismantle racialization.

French Food Identity: Understanding Angevins’ Agro-Food Traditions

Student Author(s): Liliana Vitale, Junior (Anthropology)
Faculty Mentor(s): Susan Andreatta (Anthropology)


Historically, the French are linked to their haute cuisine and to their appreciation of creating and consuming quality foods, both nutritionally and aesthetically. What made French food the epitome of global cuisine? Why do the French adhere to their deep connection between the consumption and production of food as an art form, and not purely as a means of sustenance? During four-months of collaboration and fieldwork in Angers, France, I explored the connection between the people of the Loire Valley and their food identity. Forming continual relationships with locals at an Angers food market, provided me with a deeper insight into local food traditions. Ethnographic methods guided my fieldwork among the local Angevins. Bourdieu’s theoretical concepts of “Capital, Field, and Habitus” will provide the framework for this research exploring the access of food: the social, cultural, economic, and symbolic nature of the production, exchange, and consumption of French foods. This poster represents the embryonic stages of my data analysis.

Access presentations not submitted for the judging rounds through our program link on the virtual expo homepage.