Changing Gears – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Changing Gears

“What are you laughing at?” Cross cultural investigation into international Chinese students’ understanding of US minority group humor

Sherry Xia | Changing Gears

Listening courses in graduate EAP curricula typically focus on academic listening, such as in lectures and seminars (Flowerdew 1995). However, much listening occurs outside of the classroom, with students frequently expressing frustration at not being able to understand or participate in peer conversations about cultural issues such as current topics and humor. To expose international students to diverse voices and content in a non-academic listening course, we utilized examples of US minority group humor, Key and Peele videos, from the Chinese media platform Bilibil. We present our first findings from small listening groups discussing one Key and Peele video, showing that students draw on home culture interpretations when encountering unfamiliar US culture and humor. Chinese students specifically are using an internet practice already familiar to them, live commenting (Danmu), as a tool to deepen their understanding of English, general US culture and minority group culture. We hope to create materials for the new culture class by evaluating students’ depth of understanding of important current aspects of US (minority) culture.

A Review of People’s Perceptions of COVID-19 and Adherence to Public Health Policy

Hanzi Zuo Ms | Changing Gears

From early 2020 to 2021, the unprecedented outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan has evolved into a pandemic. As coronavirus impacted people’s daily life, public transportation and recreational facilities worldwide, countries implemented various public health guidelines to help their cities recover from the virus attack. To understand international differences and similarities in people’s thoughts about the novel coronavirus and associated public health guidelines, I conducted a literature review to examine: 1) people’s perceptions of the coronavirus; 2) people’s adherence to public health policies (e.g., face masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene); and 3) potential reasons for the differences (e.g., cultural beliefs). I reviewed research articles related to the effectiveness of general public health guidelines in major countries in North America, Europe and Asia (e.g., the U.S, U.K., and China respectively) and the opinions of residents regarding the current rules they need to follow. My findings indicate that even though residents in eastern and western nations share basic knowledge about the coronavirus, people from western countries still have some misconceptions about the coronavirus. If people are more optimistic, they are more willing to adhere to public health policies. Based on these findings, future research can focus on the development of new tailored strategies to combat transmission of the coronavirus, such as raising people’s awareness.

Active for Life: The effect of a low-intensity functional circuit training program on endurance among COPD patients

Emma Petersen | Changing Gears

Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) often lead inactive lifestyles due to breathing difficulties, and sedentary behavior may worsen both symptoms and mortality. The moderate-to-vigorous-intensity exercises emphasized by most fitness programs are not feasible for patients with COPD, but increasing time of light-intensity exercise may be an effective alternative. In this study, a randomized-controlled trial is used to determine whether a light-intensity fitness program called Active for Life (designed by Principal Investigator [PI] Janet Larson) is effective in improving aerobic endurance among COPD patients in the long term (after 52 weeks). Qualified participants are randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups: the Active for Life intervention and the control group. Both groups are guided through physical and behavioral activities with the goal of educating participants about health, but the Active for Life group is focused on functional circuit training (FCT), while the control group involves chair-based movement. All participants undergo ten weeks of lab-based activities according to treatment group, followed by one year of follow-up appointments and self-paced at-home videos. Aerobic endurance is measured by distance walked during the six-minute walk test at baseline, ten weeks, three months, six months, and one year into the program. We hypothesize that engaging participants in the Active for Life program will increase distance walked during the six-minute walk test.

Adolescent Eating Habits and Motivation at the Initiation of an mHealth Behavior Study

Xiaoli Zhu | Changing Gears

Background: In the United States, obesity is the most common chronic illness among adolescents, and it is especially prevalent in Black/African American and Hispanic/LatinX populations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of obesity for children aged 2 to 19 years old was 25.8% for Hispanic youth and 22% for non-Hispanic Black youth, compared to only 14.1% for non-Hispanic White youth. Excess weight has put millions of Black and Hispanic/LatinX adolescents in the US at risk for morbidity and premature mortality. However, communications technology offers a novel way to deliver tailored health behavior interventions for these youth. As part of a larger project to design an app to help adolescents make healthy choices at fast food restaurants (FFR), we assessed participants’ fast food eating habits and their willingness to consider making changes when eating out.

Analyzing how to redesign the University of Michigan website for the higher education of First Generation students

Yining Li | Changing Gears

The First-Generation program has grown tremendously within the past few years. One of the key resources is the First Generation website that provides a plethora of information to University of Michigan first-generation students. Ideally, the website is designed for students to build connections and seek support. Our project explores if the website is performing to students’ standards and if the needs of University of Michigan first-generation students are being met. The overall purpose of this project is to improve the performance based on the feedback we get from our participants.

Application for Cardiac Signal Visualization and Annotation

Yuzhao Heng | Changing Gears

Massive amounts of data are being generated at a high velocity in the medical industry, at a rate and dimension that humans cannot catch up understanding them. Machine learning (ML) has the potential to analyze the medical time series data to support physicians in clinical decision making. However, in order to build useful machine learning (ML) algorithms, it is important to have annotated medical data set that can be used to train ML models. This project at the start is about building a viewer for surface ECG and intracardiac electrogram signals acquired during cardiac ablation procedures. Building the framework at early stages to support basic functionality is engineering-oriented with design decisions. We are currently developing a web application in Python. Specifications were created based upon the needed functionality of the application after talking with multiple cardiologists. The next step would be inviting medical students and cardiologists to use the app and gather feedback. Eventually, we want to build a platform/infrastructure that allows for development and evaluation of ML algorithms, and to improve cardiovascular disease management and treatment. By working with cardiologists and intelligent algorithms, we want to build a tool that can quickly review, search, annotate and analyze signals at high throughput. The end goal is that researchers across the country can use our tool to review their own data, and also deploy a real-time graphical decision support tool to assist cardiac procedures.

Audio to Phone Transcription — Illustration with Mandarin

Yingjie Qu | Changing Gears

Generally, linguists’ first step in analyzing any language is to transcribe audio files into written representation. This is an extremely time-consuming process because the committed time to audio length ratio for an experienced linguist is about 100:1, which slows down the analysis of language tremendously. In addition, despite many advances in language technology, there does not exist such a tool with which any audio file in any language could be converted into transcribed phones automatically. Our research project focuses on developing a method to convert audio files of speech to transcribed phones (consonants and vowels), without prior knowledge of the target language.

Bioinformatics study on protein modeling

Jordan Davis | Changing Gears

Determining the structure of proteins can be a long expensive task. However, using new applications of deep learning ai it is possible to formulate a protein structure using its sequence. Through many supporting applications the final goal is becoming more attainable.

Boards of Directors – A Behavioral Analysis

Grace Fabbri | Changing Gears

This project is related to the psychology of Boards of Directors. We are attempting to find out why certain companies allow or promote unethical behavior from their employees, and/or engage in it themselves. The purpose is generally to seek knowledge on the subject, but also to begin to lay down a framework for how companies can establish a healthy work environment. Our methodology is literature review, the findings from which have been put into a paper. The driving force behind unethical behavior is broadly capitalistic – our research has shown that many companies are willing to cut corners for the sake of saving money. These results are extremely relevant, especially when considering how to regulate this behavior moving forward. Calling more attention to the ways in which companies take advantage will hopefully help put better protections in place for employees and discourage further unethical behavior in the future.

Bronze Age Metallurgy in Ayia Irini, Kea, Greece and Dhaskalio-Kavos, Keros, Greece

Paul Young | Changing Gears

During the Bronze Age much metallurgical activity and trade occurred throughout the Cycladic archipelago in the Aegean Sea. In this island cluster there is currently only a limited amount of knowledge of metallurgical activity. Overall this study aims to analyze how the Cycladic site Ayia Irini, Kea, Greece–which appears to be a major hub of metallurgical significance throughout much of the Bronze Age–compares with recently investigated sites. To test the hypothesis that Ayia Irini is a metallurgical output and trade hub, the site was compared with recent finds from other Cycladic sites. An extensive search of the last 20 years of Cycladic finds in the British School at Athens’ Archaeological Reports journal was conducted. Additionally a case study specifically comparing Ayia Irini with a well-known major site–Dhaskalio-Kavos, Keros, Greece–was undertaken. Ultimately the results show that Ayia Irini seems to be a major metallurgical site of the Cyclades archipelago, with both similarities to and differences from Dhaskalio-Kavos, which also preserves extensive evidence for metallurgical activities. Since metallurgy was of paramount social and economic importance in the Aegean region during the Bronze Age, Ayia Irini and other sites in the Cyclades should be further investigated.

Building A Simulated World

Sumaiya Ferdawsi | Changing Gears

Due to the high demand for motor vehicles, one of the key concerns for the automotive industry is to make vehicles accessible and safe. Both real test vehicles and driving simulators are used to assess the quality and performance of vehicles. However, many driving simulators are too expensive to purchase, too complex to use, take too long to run the software, and sometimes lack the desired functional characteristics. The goal of the research is to build a virtual world and an easy-to-use virtual driving simulator platform through the creative use of free software like CARLA and RoadRunner. This driving simulator will be suitable to support research on driver distraction, driver workload, and driver interfaces for partially automated vehicles. This will also inspire qualified people to use the simulation and work on safety on roads. Keywords: simulator, accident, driver distraction, 3D- map, RoadRunner.

Can a growth mindset-based syllabus improve students’ perceptions of taking challenging coursework?

Michael Hicks | Changing Gears

Research methods/statistics is a challenging requirement that many psychology majors are reluctant or anxious to take. This study examines if a syllabus designed to facilitate a growth mindset?the belief that abilities can be developed as opposed to being fixed?can improve students’ perceptions of and willingness to take a challenging course on research methods in psychology. Many studies now support the benefits of a growth mindset, such as greater perseverance in the face of challenges (Hochanadel, A., & Finamore, D., 2015) and improved academic performance, even in advanced mathematics (Yeager et al. 2019). Studies also demonstrate that course syllabi can markedly affect students’ perceptions of the course and instructor (Saville, Zinn, Brown, & Marchuk, 2010). In this study, participants were randomly assigned to read either a conventional or growth-mindset based syllabus and then report their course perceptions, motivation to take, and perceived ability to succeed in the Research Methods in Psychology course after a brief growth mindset measure. Analyses of variance should reveal that students who read the growth mindset-oriented syllabus report significantly greater both motivation to enroll and perceived ability to succeed in the course as well as more positive perceptions of it and more of a growth mindset than do students who read a standard syllabus with the same requirements. Simply designing a syllabus to facilitate a growth mindset may thus be a brief and cost-effective way to increase students’ enrollment and self-efficacy in challenging courses.

Career and Educational Concerns Over Time

Gillian Wheatley | Changing Gears

History serves us in many ways as a society. It allows researchers to peel back decades and peer into what could have never been seen without careful documenting and archiving. The Center for the Education of Women is home to a wealth of information dating from 1964 until now that paints a picture of the life’s women led at a time when education was not as welcoming or as accessible as it is now. The first and foremost goal of this project was to dust off all of the old files and give them new life in a database that was designed to lend ease of access to future researchers. As one can probably imagine, this task was a lot easier said then done. Sifting through decades worth of counseling records, scholarship applications, and many other types of documents was a tedious and time-consuming task that required a concise plan of attack and well-designed spreadsheets. But, through plenty of hard work and determination our team was able to preserve history for many years to come.

Changes in Health Behaviors After the Onset of Covid-19 and Differences Between Men and Women

Emily Noyer | Changing Gears

With the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic, many people’s daily lives and routines changed dramatically. Several studies have looked at how these changes impact health behaviors but seldom have looked at how changes in health behavior differ by gender. This study aims to examine changes in health behavior and identify if there are differences between men and women. Health behaviors are defined as anything that could have a negative or positive impact on health, specifically we looked at sleep, diet, exercise, smoking and drinking. Participants completed a survey asking how their health behaviors have changed since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic. SPSS was used to analyze the data. Research will still need to be done on how we can address these differences and why some populations are more likely to have changes in health behavior. However, these results will help guide public health efforts to target specific populations.

CHEAR Research Project

Darryl Herring III | Changing Gears

Background: Obesity is prevalent among adolescents living in the United States, and Black/African American and Hispanic/LatinX adolescents are disproportionately affected. Between 2018-19, the prevalence of obesity for Caucasian youth aged 10-17 years old was 11.5%, while the prevalence for Hispanic youth was 20.7%, and for Black youth the prevalence was 22.9%. Recent studies have shown that fast food franchises target areas with a high density of minority youth, leading to increased fast food consumption. However, with the emerging use of technology, mobile applications can help encourage adolescents to make healthier food choices and improve daily health habits. Tailored app content including images that are viewed as appealing and personally relevant provide a promising way to increase the effectiveness of mHealth applications. Yet little is known about Hispanic/Latinx teens’ preferences regarding images to be used in a health promotion app.

Computed tomography reconstruction of fossil vertebrates

Matthew Palumbo | Changing Gears

In our research project we are studying CT examination of ancient vertebrates. Understanding morphology can illuminate the possible relationships between ancient fish vertebrates and the niches they inhabited. The fish species that will be examined for this are lungfishes, which are often described as “living fossils.” A “living fossil” is a broadly applied term but can be generally understood as an organism exhibiting a close resemblance to its older relatives found in the fossil record. This project utilizes 3D reconstructions of fossil sarcopterygian fishes to enhance our understanding of their place in the phylogenetic tree. We acquired fossils from various universities and museums across the country, and segmented out their lower jaws using the program Materialize by Mimics. By doing this our work will be turned into 3D models in the program Blender. These 3D models will then be used to “landmark” or flag important differences between the jaw structure in both the same and different species. Based on Landmark data we can better understand their place in the phylogenetic tree and the relationship between morphology, diversity, and the environmental niches of these fishes.

Consentful Messaging

Weikun Lyu | Changing Gears

In the offline world, people’s communication with others revolves around networks. People tend to communicate more with people they have a strong tie with, which is easy to accomplish in fluid and nuanced ways. However, current social media systems lack such mechanisms for controlling interaction and communication based on network strength, which often leads to massive online harassment and abuse. A major example is Twitter, a social platform well-known for its openness. In this work, we present a system called NetRule, a Chrome extension that augments Twitter and gives users the ability to author network rules to control incoming messages and notifications. Through NetRule, users can easily combine and apply network-based rules on Twitter accounts that initiate interactions, such as whether the number of mutuals is high enough, whether the account has been blocked by one’s following, etc. Users also have the freedom to decide what happens to the accounts flagged by the rules, such as muting, blocking, or visibly coloring the accounts on the interface as a warning. Our evaluation of the system, a field deployment study on Twitter, showed that XXX.

Coronary artery segmentation for automatic stenosis detection

Xinyu Cui | Changing Gears

One type of coronary artery disease (CAD), stenosis, is characterized by the narrowing of the coronary arteries, which is the leading cause of death in the United States. One of the most popular ways to diagnose stenosis is the coronary angiogram, from which a doctor can diagnose stenosis by finding places of narrowing in the arteries with the video or the pictures acquired. A lot of studies are currently focusing on automatic coronary artery segmentation, a critical step of a computer-aided system that assists doctors in detecting coronary stenosis. Here we propose a deep learning pipeline using DenseNet-backbone U-Net for coronary artery segmentation in angiogram images, which could be combined with pre-processing and post-processing steps for stenosis detection.

COVID 19 Tracking and Modeling

Yitao Huang | Changing Gears

To build the model for COVID-19 confirmed and death cases, our group used several approaches to predict the data. We first build the model by Ridge Regression and it turns out to be pretty good on ordinary input. However, for states like MI which have a large fluctuation in data, Ridge Regression performs poorly. Then, we start to use the Neural Network approach and it turns out to be better at unordinary data; however, it has the problem of overfitting. After discussion, we add the social mobility data into account and it greatly reduces the error. Currently, we are working on the approach to predict state-level and add all the models up to predict the whole US.

COVID-19 bioinformatics research

Peiling Tan | Changing Gears

Bioinformatics has been a powerful method to study COVID-19 and our project look at ontology-based application in rational drug design. In our previous study (, the Coronavirus Infectious Disease Ontology (CIDO) was used as an ontological platform to represent anti-coronaviral drugs, drug targets, host-coronavirus interaction (HCI), and their relations. A “HCI checkpoint cocktail” strategy was further proposed to interrupt the important checkpoints in the dynamic HCI network and ontologies support this design process. However, the users such as drug researchers might not have the required ontology knowledge to use the information represented by the CIDO. Therefore, our project aims to design and build a user-friendly tool/website to allow basic queries and facilitate rational drug design using “checkpoint cocktail” strategy. We have developed a MySQL relational database that systematically represent the drugs, bioentities, interactions, pathways, and their relations. A set of real life data were added to the database. MySQL queries were performed to demonstrate our capabiliities to query different contents from the database to support the query of anti-coronaviral drug information. A web interface is being developed in order to further support online query and analysis of anti-coronaviral drugs, leading to rational anticoronaviral drug cocktail design.

COVID-19 hidden stories

Kelly Ortega | Changing Gears

Despite the vast studies that exist concerning marginalized populations and discriminatory concerns within the healthcare system, there are little to none focusing on the first-hand narratives of Hispanic individuals who face barriers to accessing healthcare services. Most importantly, there is not enough research that delves into the perspectives of Hispanic immigrants who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, this study, “COVID-19 Hidden Stories,” served to extensively analyze and investigate the various factors that play a role in accessibility to healthcare that has yet been captured by the media. This investigative study was a platform for Hispanic individuals within the Detroit and Grand Rapids communities of Michigan and from Chicago, Illinois, to share their experiences with COVID-19. Through non-contact interviews covering aspects of COVID-19, substantial journalistic research was gathered and analyzed to draw commonalities between the respective recounts of the interviewees; by far, there were high relevance of themes such as loss of family, strained health, financial constraints, and fear of deportation amidst the pandemic. Through this research, there were several barriers and factors that resulted in the silencing of Hispanic immigrants during this difficult period, suggesting a systemic fault in the American healthcare system. Their stories humanize existing statistics and add nuance to the understanding of the intersectionality between immigration policies and health care services. In documenting first-hand accounts of Hispanic individuals, these stories will be compiled to create a podcast that will help the Hispanic community trudge through isolation during the pandemic.

Creative Writing & Publishing

Elijah Neumann | Changing Gears

My project is a creative writing mentorship. My mentor holds weekly workshops with me and my peers to help us improve our creative writing. Two of us, including me, focus on poetry, while the other two write fiction. In addition to workshops, the other side of the project involves researching literary journals and compiling them into a database to use as a reference for when we are ready to submit our finished works to them for potential publication. The purpose of the project is to improve my creative writing skills and potentially become a published writer.

Data Gathering Data Analysis Toward Better Air Quality Outcomes in SW Detroit

Damien Sutton | Changing Gears

In support of the ongoing initiatives by community advocates to cut diesel emissions in Southwest Detroit, this research aims to gauge the effects on air quality that commercial vehicles have in residential areas when using their streets as routes. SW Detroit has some of the highest levels of PM and toxic pollutants measured in Detroit, with Detroit having the worst air quality conditions in Michigan. This study accesses the ambient air quality in residential areas that have a high frequency of commercial trucks traveling their streets. We want to know how each passing truck contributes to the air pollution on the street it is using.

Data is asset – Evaluating the market value of databases

Matthew Durocher | Changing Gears

The topic of research concerns where SEC-licensed broker-dealers send their securities trades to be executed by financial services companies and if the payment for this order flow (PFOF) depends on the broker internalization’s market power and/or the broker-dealer’s trading volume. This research seeks to answer why certain broker-dealers send their trades to certain financial companies to execute their orders and if this reveals anything about trade practices. The SEC 606 reports that track this information are newly revised as of 2020 so this is fairly untouched public information that has had little-to-no analysis currently preformed on it. The main methodology used for data collection was simply searching through the broker-dealers websites for their 606 report which details where they send their trades to be executed and how much it costs to route orders to each firm. I tracked every broker-dealers information on an Excel spreadsheet and we will use this information to draw conclusions. We hope to find meaningful connections between broker-dealers order routing practices and the amount of market power they hold. We think there will be some connection between the amounts paid to certain companies and the amount of influence these firms have over the financial system. We don’t have any conclusions yet but we hope to start the data analysis soon. We hope to find patterns in our research that point to some conclusion on why certain companies behave the way they do with financial institutions and the implications that may have. This project hopes to shed some light on financial practices between institutions and to better explain how our financial system is structured as a whole and how much market power influences financial transactions. The results we find may help public policy makers, economists, politicians, etc., who all may use data such as this to have a basis for the functioning of our financial system.

Data is asset – Evaluating the market value of databases

Xihao Liang | Changing Gears

The project aims to evaluate how the market value reflects the value of the firms’ data accumulation. Traditionally, the market value can be estimated using the discounted cash flow (DCF) method. This approach is flawed because the prediction of future cash flow is always inaccurate. This project uses firms’ data accumulations as inputs. Regression models are fitted to quantify the results.

Demographic Impacts of Covid-19 in the US and Europe

Noah Williams | Changing Gears

The Covid-19 pandemic has had disproportionate impacts across the globe. When comparing the impact of the pandemic on different nations, researchers rely on metrics such as national excess mortality which often fail to capture demographic differences between populations. This study aims to construct a comparative framework of excess mortality in the US and select European countries which accounts for age and sex. In this context, excess mortality is the difference between the observed number of deaths during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic from the expected number of deaths based on historical data. To construct this framework, monthly mortality data from 2015-2019 segregated by age and sex was analyzed from the US and EU. This data was used to estimate the mortality of specific age and sex cohorts by country, which was compared to the observed monthly mortality of those cohorts in 2020. When compared to the reported deaths attributed to Covid-19, a robust and nuanced comparison of the relative impacts of Covid-19 in the US and EU is possible.

Disability Justice and Technology

Jasmine Duong | Changing Gears

Blind people use commercially available visual description services powered by either human agents or artificial intelligence in their daily lives to alleviate access barriers. However, few works discuss the security risks for Blind people when inadvertently exposing private content during the use of these services. From the personal narratives of Blind people, this study seeks to inform the design of privacy preserving and equitable technologies for and with Blind people. Through semi-structured interviews with Blind people, this study unearths the current privacy-preserving practices they use, and the values and considerations to be included in emerging technologies. This work offers the conceptualization of image obfuscation techniques in upcoming design iterations of visual description services.

Does the diagnosis of idiopathic Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder require an overnight sleep study?

Trinity Coates | Changing Gears

In an integrated health care system, in what sort of clinical settings do people receive their initial diagnosis of iRBD? Idiopathic Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Disorder (iRBD) is a sleep disorder characterized by dream re-enactment. RBD is referred to as idiopathic when it occurs in isolation (i.e. without a co-existing neurodegenerative disease diagnosis). A majority of iRBD patients will go on to receive a diagnosis of an a-synucleinopathy, a family of neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB). A confirmed diagnosis of iRBD requires the use of video polysomnography (PSG), but screening surveys, such as the RBD Screening Questionnaire, have shown good comparative validity compared to PSG. In this project, we aim to test whether people who are diagnosed with RBD without a sleep study differ from those diagnosed after a sleep study.

El Problema con el Marianismo: ERI and Intragroup Discrimination in Latinx Women

Julia Tokatlian | Changing Gears

Past research asserts that Latinx children receive differential treatment and socialization based on their gender, and this likely relates to their ethnic-racial identity (ERI) in adulthood (Raffaelli & Ontai, 2004). The present study aims to understand the relationship between Latinx adult women and how they perceive discrimination. The study also examines other ways that discrimination and ERI may affect Latinx women. This study focuses on the topic of marianismo (defined as a gender norm in Latinx culture that emphasizes familism, dependency and submissiveness in women (Sanchez, Smith & Adams, 2018) as opposed to machismo) and the ways in which traditional values and intragroup discrimination towards women in the Latinx community affect self-esteem and other mental health factors. Marianismo also encourages passivity in women while machismo emphasizes assertiveness in men (Nuñez et al., 2015). Data were collected using a Spanish-language Qualtrics survey completed by a large sample of adult Latinx women from the United States. I hypothesize that Latinx men will score more positively on measures of ERI affirmation and resolution than women and will likely have higher self-esteem and less depressive symptoms. Measures used for this Spanish-language study include a Self-Esteem Measure, a Depressive Symptoms Measure, and an ERI measure. The ERI measure assesses the topics of ERI exploration, affirmation, and resolution (Douglass & Umaña-Taylor, 2015). Projected results provide insight into the relationship between Latinx women’s ERI and their mental health, while also delving into the complexity of intersectional identities as they pertain to overall well-being. Key words: Latinx, marianismo, Ethnic-Racial Identity, depressive symptoms, self-esteem, gender, discrimination

Evaluating computational methods for predicting protein stability changes upon mutations

Eunjin Kwon | Changing Gears

Protein-protein interactions (PPIs) are central in biological processes. Most proteins are marginally stable to perform their functions such as binding. Amino acid mutations taking place on proteins may change the protein stability and the affinity of a binding process, which further affects their biological functions. It is reported that amino acid mutations at protein-protein interfaces are frequently implicated in many diseases, including cancer. Therefore, it is of great significance to quantitatively predict the change of protein stability and binding affinity upon mutations, denoted as ddG_stability and ddG_binding. Many tools have been developed for ddG prediction, but there is lacking in a comprehensive comparison of their predictive powers. This study aimed to evaluate the predictive accuracy of a variety of widely used tools for ddG_stability and ddG_binding estimation on a large scale benchmark, placing a guidance on choosing the most accurate tool for ddG prediction.

Examining the co-seasonality of historical respiratory infections

Xiazi Yuan | Changing Gears

Scarlet fever and diphtheria are two historical infectious disease in 20th century. It has been shown that the occurrence of influenza outbreak has seasonal pattern.The occurrence of Scarlet fever and diphtheria also have this characteristics. We want to fins such pattern based on the data gained from each states of the United States from 1928-1951 for scarlet fever and 1928-1948 for diphtheria. Though one is bacterium while the other is virus, researchers found there is link between them. In order to understand these two pathogens better, we plot many different kinds of graphs of these two separately and together, weekly and yearly in R, based on the weekly data of number of infected people in the United States. We will also plot some wavelets and cross-wavelets to find the co-seasonality within states and between disease. The expected result will be that some patterns between these two pathogens that deserve further research and study do exist. Though these two are historical infectious disease, studying these two pathogens may provide us with more information on the potential link between them and many other disease, which will benefit other disease study or even help find potential method to forecast other diseases forecast and take them under control.

Finding New Planets Around Ancient Stars

Fahin Rahman | Changing Gears

The observation of exoplanets orbiting ancient stars allows us to understand not only distant solar systems inhibiting these worlds but our own solar system as well. In particular, the method of locating and analyzing these exoplanets allows us to delve into a deeper understanding of host stars and planets themselves. However, there are a limited number of methods in finding these exoplanets, as well as difficulty in overcoming observing inaccuracies when perceived from Earth. With the transiting lightcurve method and the collection of data from the Transiting Exoplanet Surveying Satellite (TESS), we are able to more efficiently observe details of transiting planet events through the change in flux of a host star. This results in thousands of stellar light curves to examine in order to detect planet candidates, binary stars, variable stars, and other stellar phenomena. The successful finding of an exoplanet through this method allows a multitude of future investigations to take place such as atmospheric analysis and astrobiological implications.

How Do Companies Respond to Consumer Boycotts? A Deeper Understanding of the Interplay between Social Movements, Corporations and Political Actors.

Xinyue Cao | Changing Gears

Impact of School Policy Change on School Enrollment: Evidence from Mozambique

Chenhao Yu | Changing Gears

Enrollment in primary and secondary education in Sub Saharan Africa has lagged behind much of the rest of the world. Amongst numerous potential reasons, the fees to attend school is often considered a prohibitive barrier in accessing public education. In 2018, the government of Mozambique introduced legislation abolishing the fees for school enrollment in grades corresponding to the school-ages of 6 to 12. Previously on average, the fee for primary school is 21,410 meticas ($354 USD) per child per year for grades 1 to 5 and Mt 60,013 ($992 USD) per child per year for grades 6 and 7. This study explores the efficacy of this policy change and its external validity with respect to education in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Is sympatric speciation more important in the ocean?

Xiaoyang Song | Changing Gears

In evolutionary biology, the importance of geographical isolation and allopatric speciation has been emphasized for several decades. However, different from the terrestrial environment, there is no such absolute geographical barrier in the ocean because most marine species, even larvae, can easily disperse great distances due to its mobility and the ocean current. More sympatric speciation is expected in marine species since allopatric speciation is hard to realize in the ocean. This project mainly focuses on evaluating the importance of sympatric speciation in the ocean through analyzing the dataset that we created. The sympatric speciation requires range overlap rather than isolation. The importance of sympatry is evaluated by examining the range overlap among sister species in the ocean. Phylogenetic trees are constructed based on both morphological (i.e. character matrix) and genetic information (e.g. DNA sequences) using the Principle of Parsimony. Complete phylogenies and evolutionary tree of marine species are useful to identify the existing sister species pairs. Additionally, phylogenies are collected from articles published on academic journals and are selected based on its consistency with WoRMS. (World Register of Marine Species) Biogeographic data records the living range of existing species. Combining that with identified sister species pairs, the range overlap of certain marine sister pairs can be determined, and the pattern of sympatry is expected to be recognized. The result are compared with the importance of sympatry of terrestrial organisms to emphasize the significant role of sympatry in the ocean.

Mapping Innovation Ecosystems in High-Tech US Metros

Zephyr O''Donnell | Changing Gears

A study was undertaken to investigate the relationships between the U-M Business Engagement Center (BEC)’s relationships with societal and industrial organizations. The goal of this study is to analyze the varying relationships (units of analysis: hard ties, and soft ties) between U-M and innovation institutions within the modern high-technology sectors of the world-system. In order to operationalize the units of analysis (hard ties, and soft ties), we collected over 10,000 Twitter accounts in the social network of the U-M BEC, the U-M Office of Tech Transfer, and the U-M Office of Vice President for Research, and expanded the database with further meta-data. Thus, our units of observation were Twitter accounts and their associated primary and secondary meta-data. In the current phase of work, we aim to use these units of observation to analyze the institutional social network of the U-M through a focus on: industry, region, and human capital. After the analysis, we found that many of the connection’s affiliated institutions are established a long time ago and the main industry of U-M BEC’s connection is university institutions. The advice for U-M BEC is to connect with more startups as these companies which started their business need more resources to carry out research. U-M BEC can, therefore, connect and create cooperation opportunities with these institutions. In conclusion, this study helps U-M BEC to understand their own connections better in order to create more cooperation opportunities between the University of Michigan and other societal and industrial organizations.

Mapping Prehistoric New World Hunter-Gatherers

Kaitlyn Poe | Changing Gears

This project aims to map hunter-gatherer sites in the Americas and compare them to environmental variables such as NPP. The goal is to see if there are areas where hunter-gatherer density appears inconsistent with environmental sustainability. The aim of this research is to determine if there are places researchers should look for hunter-gatherer sites currently being neglected, which would not be considered with current knowledge. My role in the project involves mapping hunter-gatherer sites starting in Peru, using previous databases and existing literature (via google scholar) about sites in Peru. This is what is ultimately compared to models of environmental sustainability. My research so far suggests there will likely be numerous hunter-gatherer sites near the Pacific coast of Peru. Whether this is based on environment or archaeological bias is uncertain. I hypothesize that there will be areas with environmental sustainability that have few hunter-gatherer sites and the same vice versa.

Méliès and the Modern World

Bo Pang | Changing Gears

This project looks in depth at the work of early filmmaker Georges Méliès who was a pioneer of special effects and story films during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Furthermore, we are looking to highlight the importance of Madeleine Malthête-Méliès, who had perhaps the longest active career of any film historian and whose main concentration was documenting her grandfather Georges Méliès, including locating his many lost films. Our focus has been supporting the publication of a translation of a key historical source that has long been unavailable in English, the late Madeleine Malthête-Méliès’ biography, Georges Méliès, L’Enchanteur, which is under contract with the University of Michigan Press. This book will make Méliès’ work better known to a wider audience including readers of English. We have worked to document the author’s work by arranging English subtitling of a video interview with Madeleine Malthête-Méliès, and have compiled a complete bibliography of the research publication connected with the organization she founded, Les Amis de Georges Méliès. We are summarizing relevant articles for discussion in the introduction to the biography and assisting in the publication of another book, Méliès Boots: Material Contexts for Early Film Manufacturing (University of Michigan Press, under contract). To further show how Georges Méliès has impacted the modern world, we are preparing a short film that will summarize research on Méliès at the University of Michigan undertaken since 2011 told from the point-of-view of a new generation of media makers who draw continuing inspiration from learning about Méliès and his work.

Méliès and the Modern World

Rose Albayat | Changing Gears

This project looks in depth at the work of early filmmaker Georges Méliès who was a pioneer of special effects and story films during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Furthermore, we are looking to highlight the importance of Madeleine Malthête-Méliès, who had perhaps the longest active career of any film historian and whose main concentration was documenting her grandfather Georges Méliès, including locating his many lost films. Our focus has been supporting the publication of a translation of a key historical source that has long been unavailable in English, the late Madeleine Malthête-Méliès’ biography, Georges Méliès, L’Enchanteur, which is under contract with the University of Michigan Press. This book will make Méliès’ work better known to a wider audience including readers of English. We have worked to document the author’s work by arranging English subtitling of a video interview with Madeleine Malthête-Méliès, and have compiled a complete bibliography of the research publication connected with the organization she founded, Les Amis de Georges Méliès. We are summarizing relevant articles for discussion in the introduction to the biography and assisting in the publication of another book, Méliès Boots: Material Contexts for Early Film Manufacturing (University of Michigan Press, under contract). To further show how Georges Méliès has impacted the modern world, we are preparing a short film that will summarize research on Méliès at the University of Michigan undertaken since 2011 told from the point-of-view of a new generation of media makers who draw continuing inspiration from learning about Méliès and his work.

Mental Health & COVID-19

Keion Harris | Changing Gears

The purpose of this research is to understand the experience of COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic-related stress and the factors that exacerbate or buffer stress. This study is important simply due to the fact that COVID-19 has overall put more stress on the average person, so it is important to gather data during these trying times in order to see how much rates of stress, depression, hypertension, mania and other mental health ailments have taken a toll on the average person. With the pandemic in full effect, we are seeing a rise in mental health crises among minority populations. It is important to analyze this data and see what solutions can be implemented to combat this vital situation here in the United States.

Mentoring, Induction, and Professional Development for Music Teachers

Thomas Hodgman | Changing Gears

This study focuses on experienced music teacher’s perception of professional development throughout 20 years. The participants in this study are previous students of Dr. Colleen Conway, professor of music education at the University of Michigan. The participants have been studied previously in 1999 and 2009 regarding their experiences with teacher professional development. The purpose of the 2019-2020 study was to see what has changed or is currently changing in schools regarding profession development. This information is critical in order to give music teachers the proper assistance and knowledge in order to allow the students the best experience musical experience possible. The profession needs to know more about how to support music teachers and their work. Other researchers have studied this phenomenon as well. These studies have been published in journals like the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Education Review Policy, Journal of Music Teacher Education, and more. Our key question we are trying to answer with this study is “Based on their 20 years in the field, what can these experienced teachers tell us about music teacher mentoring, induction, and professional development?” My involvement has included transcribing the May 2020 interviews, and assisting in the presentation of the findings for conferences in February and April.

Methods of exploring the effects of verb causativity on reaction time

Yizhi Tang | Changing Gears

Our research focuses on methods of studying how causativity of verbs affect our processing of them and therefore our reaction time, and how these reaction time effects can be isolated from other sentence processing effects like general lexical prediction. In a previous study conducted by Dr. Levinson, it was found that there is an added level of complexity in transitive variants of causative verbs as compared to transitive variants of non-causative, or activity, verbs. This was concluded by measuring reaction times in self-paced reading tasks of sentences with verbs of transitive and intransitive, as well as causative and non-causative variants. For example, a causative transitive verb appears in the sentence “The sun melted the ice”, whereas an example of a causative intransitive verb appears in the sentence “The ice melted”, which differs from an activity verb, such as “ate”. The complexity of causative verbs vs. non-causative verbs is something that has long been debated, and helps to better understand linguistic processing. Our research mainly focused on using different methods of studying this causativity phenomenon other than self-paced reading tasks, as well as determining the best methods for disentangling verb representations from lexical confounds.

Mid-Life Interventions to Reduce Age-Related Fragility Fractures

Chandan Kadur | Changing Gears

The average age of the general population is increasing with the number of positive correlations that showcase an increase in the number of fractures then an individual can experience with increased age. This review study aims to determine the interventions that should be implemented at the midlife or earlier in order to stabilize the bone mass density throughout the course of an individual’s lifetime. This study was conducted from the analysis of literature regarding a large depth of peer-review journal articles that have been conducted in an attempt to provide a clear picture to reduce the reduction of bone mass density later in life. We are able to see that continuous physical interventions as well as increased supplementation in key areas are able to hold the longevity of bone mass density. It is recommended that by using these techniques, we are able to accrue as much bone mass and then maintain the density to offset the likely-hood of a fracture occurring throughout a lifetime.

Modeling Depth of Interaction: A Neural Network Approach

Yonghuan Hu | Changing Gears

One of the key elements underlying successful second language (L2) learning is the interaction with other language users in the target language (Gass & Varonis, 1985). While the expectation exists that learners will use their linguistic skills in theStudy Abroad (SA) context (e.g., Fraser 2002; Freed, 1990; 2000; Hernández, 2010; Martinsen, 2011; Mendelson 2004; Vande Berg et al., 2009, Whitworth, 2006), it is also known that many SA learners interact substantially less with native speakers (NSs) than they initially anticipate (DeKeyser, 1986; Dewey et al., 2014; Rivers, 1998; Wilkinson, 1998a, 1998b; García-Amaya, 2017). Recent research further shows that SA learners’ target-language use decreases over a six-week SA experience (García-Amaya, 2017; forthcoming). While interaction in the L2 is essential for achieving L2 gains, research has found that learners must negotiate meaning to notice gaps in their acquisition and benefit from their interlocutor(s)’ efforts to adjust interaction and facilitate comprehension (Long 1981, 1983, 1986).

Modelling Specialists and Generalists in the Task Allocation Problem

Jojo Lee | Changing Gears

Successful teams have a balanced range of skillsets. Agents – those autonomous entities responsible for completing tasks – are often functionally diverse, with different strengths and capabilities. Some will be generalists, completing a wide range of tasks. Others will be specialists with narrower capabilities, but higher performance at the tasks they’re capable of. We hypothesise that problem-solving teams attempting task-allocation problems can strike an optimal balance between specialists and generalists. Too many specialists may leave certain agents overloaded and tasks incomplete. Too many generalists may keep everyone busy, but slow the team down. We anticipate that peak performance will make use of individual strengths while ensuring no skill gaps exist. Our agent based-model allows us to selectively manipulate generalist-specialist ratios under different task allocation strategies. The computational approach looks at functional diversity from a theoretical perspective, making our findings generalizable over many fields. We hope our insights about team performance optimization can guide processes in science and management in an increasingly intricate world.

Murdering the Leviathan: State Death since 1815

Tate Delgado | Changing Gears

This project seeks to further the literature on state death, focusing on the period beginning with the establishment of the new international system by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and continuing until present. The research attempts to establish a complete databank of state death that expands upon current literature which experts in the field find helpful but inadequate. Much of this is built off Correlates of War by David Singer. The data includes several parameters that allows for a more thorough study of state death, including military and economic factors. Information is gathered from various primary sources such as government records and accounts, as well as secondary sources from other academics who have explored this topic. The research on state death is being complimented by additional data on military conflicts during the time period to build a complete picture. The goal is for this research to assist social scientist looking at international politics over the past two decades and provide a framework of data that can be accessible those interested in this topic.

Neurophysiological correlates of language processing

Matthew Button | Changing Gears

We examine the N400 as a response to single words. Prior to each target word a prime word is presented that may be semantically related to the target anomalous word. We then measure the brain wave response through the scalp using EEG to look at the electrical activity in the time for the duration of the stimulus. After cleaning data of artifacts such as those due to blinking, heartbeat, or saccades we then take compute the average event-related potential (ERP) for each subject and condition. Beyond the existence of the N400 and its relative amplitude with relation to conceptual similarity of the primed and target words we are particularly interested in the latency of the N400 which has hitherto only been influenced by subject age. Specifically , the speed of the priming words’ utterances could affect the brain response. We concluded from these measurements and subsequent analysis [Data is still being analyzed and no conclusion have been made at this stage yet]. This conclusion however has implications for our current understanding of semantic memory and underlying natural language processes of the brain.

Offline complementors’ decision to join entrant platforms

Antong Zhu | Changing Gears

Two-sided platforms, which rely on participants from the distinct network (users and complementors), heavily depend on the existence of complementors. For many platforms, like Lyft, the entrance of complementors brought benefit to the platform. There’s a great amount of research that already finds out the importance of complementors but they paid little emphasis on the complementors’ heterogenous decisions to collaborate with a particular platform. In the research, based on the food delivery platform data especially in LA from 2016 to 2017, we analyze the restaurants’ decision to join the food delivery platforms. Based on their decisions and the characteristics of the restaurants, we discuss how complementors’ organizational attributes influence their decisions to adopt an entrant platform. Our preliminary results show that restaurants which already entered some platforms will be more likely to join a new platform. This paper provides implications on how entrant platforms can establish an initial population of complementors, preparing the ground to compete with incumbent platforms. Keywords: Two-sided platforms; offline complementors; food delivery platforms; adjustment costs; inter-firm relationships

Offline Complementors’ Decision to Join Entrant Platforms

Tyler Shea | Changing Gears

Two-sided platforms, which rely on participants from the distinct network (users and complementors), heavily depend on the existence of complementors. For many platforms, like Lyft, the entrance of complementors brought benefit to the platform. There’s a great amount of research that already finds out the importance of complementors but they paid little emphasis on the complementors’ heterogenous decisions to collaborate with a particular platform. In the research, based on the food delivery platform data especially in LA from 2016 to 2017, we analyze the restaurants’ decision to join the food delivery platforms. Based on their decisions and the characteristics of the restaurants, we discuss how complementors’ organizational attributes influence their decisions to adopt an entrant platform. Our preliminary results show that restaurants which already entered some platforms will be more likely to join a new platform. This paper provides implications on how entrant platforms can establish an initial population of complementors, preparing the ground to compete with incumbent platforms. Keywords: Two-sided platforms; offline complementors; food delivery platforms; adjustment costs; inter-firm relationships

On the Crossroad of Gendered Experience: Women, Memory, and Revolution

Muhtamim Khanam | Changing Gears

Experience and narratives of violence and injustice within pre-revolutionary, revolutionary, and post-revolutionary societies shape the memory of people who live them. We seek to understand the role memory plays in the context of protests and how people employ it to achieve justice and delegation. Our goal is to tie the concept of memory with women in revolution to show how it lends insight to their gendered experience and their demands for rights. By collecting data from different perspectives and reviewing existing literature on memory, we aim to reflect on the concept of memory using diverse frames of reference. The findings indicate a fluidity in how people employ their memory and illustrate a strong correlation between gender identity and women’s fight for justice. How does individual memory impact collective memory in the post-revolutionary setting? What is the role of memory in helping individuals and community members face traumatic experiences of injustices and how do they use these memories to question the present and to predict a better future in a similar context.

ORBIT: Online Resource for Building Intercultural Teams

Ramez Ibrahim | Changing Gears

The ORBIT project is aimed at launching a platform that encourages collaboration between people pursuing projects or researching similar topics of interest. The platform overcomes international borders and language barriers by encouraging intercultural connections. My contribution to this project has been investigating how to extend the existing research to a new audience of middle school students and their teachers. To this extent, we are developing a version of the platform based on the existing beta platform. Because the current platform was created with faculty in mind, we are conducting new research to reconfigure some of the elements to support the middle school student audience. Working in partnership with middle school teachers and administrators, we seek to provide a medium which effectively creates an engaged virtual or hybrid project-based learning environment where students can collaborate and build interpersonal skills. The literature shows that these activities support social-emotional learning, which is particularly critical for students in this age group. We have found that students enrolled solely in remote learning feel disengaged from their peers and their classes (compared to in-person instruction) causing them to face negative repercussions in their academics and personal lives. We have developed an IRB proposal to further investigate these students’ needs and how to best accommodate them in a collaborative virtual environment. As a next step, once the proposal is approved, we look forward to gaining insights from interviewing the students directly and involving them in a series of design-based research activities.

Personality, Sexuality, & Externalizing: A Review of the Literature among Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex With Men (GBMSM)

Marley Warren | Changing Gears

Background: This literature review explores the publicly available scholarship relating to personality, the externalizing spectrum of psychopathology, and sex-related substance use in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM). Method: Academic articles dating back to 1981 were identified using keyword searches on databases such as PsychInfo, Google Scholar, and JSTOR. Studies that exclusively utilized open-ended unstructured interviews or grouped GBMSM with women were excluded. Results: A general pattern across a majority of the identified scholarship on personality is that GBMSM men score equal to or slightly above heterosexual men on all of the Big Five Personality Domains. Literature also suggests that GBMSM males partake in specific maladaptive substance use, sexual, and suicidal behaviors at higher population levels than heterosexual men; these behaviors are correlated with particular personality domains. The two-factor Externalizing-Internalizing model offers one framework with which to understand these behaviors. Discussion: These findings have important implications for de-pathologizing and de-stigmatizing GBMSM men’s sexual and substance use behaviors and can increase clinicians’ understanding of the underlying pathways by which minority stress and stigmatization lead to potentially maladaptive behaviors.

Rapid Understanding of Best Practices in Rural Intensive Care (RUBRIC)

Palak Hazrati | Changing Gears

The U.S. has had great disparities between rural and urban hospital resources – particularly with intensive care. Rural ICUs have much less resources as compared to urban ICUs and as such, have been impacted differently by the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aims to work on characterizing adaptations made by rural ICUs in response to COVID-19 along with setting up for further studies which contribute to the development of a toolkit of methods used by high-functioning rural ICUs. This toolkit will provide knowledge and understanding of ways in which rural ICU care can be made more effective. The toolkit will be created by conducting a randomized, nationwide survey of ICU administrators who can answer questions regarding their ICU’s changes to resources including capacity, staffing, policies, and workflow in response to the pandemic. We hypothesize that high-performing rural ICUs have made particular adaptations that have aided them in providing effective patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly, we predict that hospitals will respond by 1. Reducing barriers to inter-hospital transfer and 2. Expanding alternative care strategies. In order to identify these adaptations, we are conducting a randomized nationwide survey of ICU administrators at rural ICUs about their adaptations in response to COVID-19. Upon completion of the survey, the responses received will be analyzed and a toolkit of resources will be developed and rapidly disseminated. Our toolkit of resources will allow rural ICUs to prepare for future public health emergencies by optimizing resources and maximizing patient care.

Resilience in Crisis

Olive Jayakar | Changing Gears

Immigrants in the United States play an ambivalent role in the public health crisis of COVID-19. They are especially vulnerable to economic burden, health risk, and mental health issues due to lack of access to affordable healthcare. On the other hand, immigrant healthcare workers play a vital part in fighting against the pandemic and providing culturally sensitive care (Tayaben and Younas 2020). Focusing on immigrants’ challenges during the public health crisis, this creative arts project further recognizes their under-representation in the depiction of such challenges by the mainstream media. Through collaboration with Chicago-based community arts group CIRCA-Pintig (CP), this project provides immigrants with a voice for storytelling via theatre arts.

Safety Applications from Connected Vehicle Trajectories

Sion Pizzi | Changing Gears

Connected Vehicle (CV) technology allows road users and the transportation infrastructure to maintain constant communication. This technology is anticipated to increase safety, enhance mobility, and curb the environmental footprint of the transportation sector. However, for these benefits to be realized, data-driven applications need to be developed. This project focuses on using CV data to develop a safety application with a focus on pedestrians–the most vulnerable road users. The goal of this study is to predict a pedestrian’s trajectory so as to intervene and prevent dangerous scenarios that pose safety risk to pedestrians . In order to develop our application, we use data gathered in the form of multi-dimensional trajectories in a variety of contexts. We take into account several kinds of time-series data such as latitude, longitude, velocity, acceleration, rotation etc. This data is then processed to be used as input to a deep learning model that can predict the future trajectory of an agent according to its history trajectory. Deep learning is selected because it allows for predicting future trajectory without making modeling assumptions. To predict the future trajectory, we define a reachable set for each sub-trajectory. Next, we develop a framework called step attention composed of multiple deep-learning models, the output of which is the trajectory of an agent in the next few seconds. The ultimate goal of this application is to alert pedestrians or vehicles of imminent high-risk situations and possibly recommend actions on how to avoid such situations altogether, or reduce the severity of an upcoming incident if it cannot be avoided.

Sentiment Analysis of International Trade Agreements

Daniel Tafoya | Changing Gears

The aim was to examine the changes in sentiment that occurred within trade agreements over time using rule-based sentiment analysis. In this case, the sentiment of a text was measured by the degree to which it expresses or implies an opinion. The focus was on a collection of English hundred trade agreements written within the last few decades. Before analysis, a dictionary of trade terms was created using seminal texts. Terms were categorized based on if they expressed a cooperative, punitive, or bureaucratic sentiment. The analysis entailed assigning sentiment scores to trade agreements based on the number of categorized terms within. There is no clear expected result, but there will likely be some observable change in overall sentiment over time, whether it is more or less sentiment.

Simulation of intracardiac electrograms to aid in the study of cardiac arrhythmias

Tianyi Cheng | Changing Gears

The main task of my project is to study the electrocardiogram(ECG) of human hearts, by building a model that can simulate the heart beats and then train it to be able to read in data from patients in real-life and give a diagnose through machine learning. The human heart Myocytes beats under the flow of ions(in-and-out and among cells) causing changes in voltages on cell membranes, which can be measured(through ECG). Under abnormal conditions, these regular changes will be disrupted, causing chaos in the electric flows in certain pattern(based on the specific illness). The change of voltage based on time can be expressed in mathematical ways using a set of differential equations. The features of the cells can be captured through object oriented programming: they all have periodic pulses but in different patterns due to their specific role in heart. After building such model, we can train it with data from real patients so that it will give a primary judgement on new patients. This tool is meant to help doctors, especially who works in emergency, with a relatively reliable suggestion which may improve the efficiency of giving a medical diagnose.

Social comparison and self-esteem: A vicious cycle

Ingrid Worth | Changing Gears

Why are some people exasperated by social comparisons while others find comparisons negligible? Past research has identified self-esteem as a key individual difference coloring the experience of social comparison. This research reveals that social comparison and low self-esteem share a vicious, circular relationship: people with low self-esteem are more inclined to compare themselves to others, and upward comparisons tend to lower people’s self-esteem (Gibbons & Buunk, 1999; Hoffman et al., 1954; Tesser, 1989; Wood et al., 1985). Yet, it remains unclear what psychological processes perpetuate this process; why do people with low self-esteem engage in social comparison? We propose that people with low self-esteem have both less motivation to regulate their emotions and a smaller toolkit for regulation (Gross, 2015). Accordingly, people with low self-esteem may be more likely to enter environments where comparisons are likely (e.g, social media), fixate on available comparisons, and perceive comparisons as meaningful. We report two studies examining how emotion regulation processes shape the experience of social comparison among people with low self-esteem. Study 1 examines whether emotion regulation capacity and regulatory flexibility mediate the relationship between social comparison orientation and self-esteem. Study 2 employs an experimental design to test whether one can mitigate or nullify the negative relationship between social comparison and self-esteem via a brief reappraisal exercise. This research will shed light on how best to intervene in the cycle that perpetuates low self-esteem.

STEM Advanced Placement: Examining Variations in Policies Among AAU Institutions

Jack Crandall | Changing Gears

Since the first Advanced Placement (AP) tests were given in 1952, the approach to awarding collegiate credit for these examinations has greatly fluctuated. While the grading scale for these exams ranges from 0 to 5, the amount and type of college credit equated with these scores is highly subjective. In this study, we examined the institutional policies of the members of the Big Ten conference and the Association of American Universities (AAU) in order to understand how institutions differ in their credit policies for STEM AP exams. Given the proliferation of AP courses, this project is paramount in educating high school students about how their success in AP exams can result in very different amounts and types of credit depending on their enrolled institution. The investigators also hope to inform future policy decisions in providing more transparent and fair credit policies across higher education institutions.

Student Learning of Qualitative Methods in a Team-Based Tiered Mentorship Approach Through Analysis of Police Role in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest

Gabrielle Dietz | Changing Gears

Qualitative analysis, and an associated team-based approach in learning these methods, has grown increasingly popular. However, many students find learning qualitative analysis difficult due to limited exposure in early higher education and the absence of a standardized process for qualitative inquiry. Prior studies on teaching and learning qualitative methods highlighted the importance of group work, asking questions, and openness to discussions. However, to the best of our knowledge, there is not much in the literature about the role of a tiered team-based mentorship program in it’s teaching. We sought to foster improved understanding of qualitative research for undergraduate trainees, as well as conduct exploration of the influence of a team-based approach on learning qualitative analysis. A core team of research mentors conducting qualitative analysis of data collected on police role in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) led trainings for four undergraduate students over the course of seven months. These training sessions leveraged data from the OHCA study to facilitate presentations and group discussions dedicated to qualitative methods. Mentors and trainees convened on a weekly basis for one hour to discuss aspects of qualitative research.

Testing and Formulation of Icephobic Coatings

Michael Zahran | Changing Gears

The buildup of ice on surfaces can be detrimental to the performance of essential infrastructures, technologies, and transportation systems such as aircrafts, ships, turbines, powerlines, and more. Icephobic coatings can act as a shield against the accumulation of ice on surfaces, providing a cost-effective way of protecting the integrity and safety of systems and reducing or eliminating potential maintenance costs created by ice damage. There are numerous combinations of reagents, solvents, and catalysts that, when reacted together, form a product exhibiting icephobic properties. An ideal icephobic coating will have an ice adhesion strength, defined as the force required to debond a specified area of ice from a substrate, of less than 100 kPa. Additionally, it is desired for these coatings to be optically clear and to have fast curing, or drying, rates. The purpose of this research is to find a formula that provides low ice adhesion strength, optimal optical properties, and a fast curing rate. Low adhesion strength and clear coatings are relatively simple to produce, but these properties in conjunction with a fast curing rate (ideally of just a few minutes) poses a challenge. Making use of polyurethane as the base polymer for icephobicity, the amounts and choices of reagents, solvents, and catalysts were changed to produce different formulas. Ice adhesion numbers were tested for all samples, and the samples were compared to one another to determine which gave the most desired results. By changing the amounts of one variable (such as solvent, catalyst, oil, or diisocyanate amount) and keeping all others constant, the affect that each variable has on the icephobic properties of the formula could be studied.

The Effect of Disaster-induced Displacement on Social Behaviour: The Case of Hurricane Harvey

Stella Shi | Changing Gears

Natural disasters have deleterious effects on public health and individual behaviors and are not uniform between different groups of individuals. Hurricane Harvey, which brought unprecedented levels of flooding, property damage, and displacement to the greater Houston area in late summer 2017, allows us to study pre- and post disaster behaviors of affected individuals. Specifically, we use tweeting patterns as a measure to see how people react to the disaster. In order to compare pre- and post-displacement behavior, we use a variety of measures to capture social and political engagement, starting with tweeting frequency. We expect that individuals subject to physical displacement will demonstrate abnormalities in their tweeting behavior, and that these effects differ across ethnic groups, with visible minorities most substantially affected.

The Effects of Out-of-Pocket Payments on Emergency and Trauma Surgery Patients’ Livelihoods

Nirali Patel | Changing Gears

Every year, 3 million US residents suffer from injuries leading to needing medical care. The trauma care system has greatly improved saving lives from the time of injury, but many patients are left with out-of-pocket (OOP) payments whether or not they had insurance coverage. We do not know what the burden of these OOP payments are, including the long term financial, mental, and physical impact. The specific aims of this study are to 1) measure the OOP payments for patients who had an emergency surgical procedure, 2) quantify whether these OOP payments change on average by the type of insurance a patient has (private, Medicaid, Medicare, uninsured), and 3) understand the hardship caused by OOP payments for these emergency surgical procedures on the patient and their family. This study reports the findings from in-depth qualitative interviews of 30 patients =18 years of age sustaining a traumatic injury requiring treatment at the University of Michigan Hospital trauma center. We expect our mixed-methods analysis to elucidate the downstream effects of large OOP payments not otherwise able to be captured in available databases. Our findings will be one of the first to describe the long-term burden of trauma care and estimate the out-of-pocket payments trauma patients face from patient-level data.

The Impact of COVID19 virtual learning in Children Literacy

Julio Roque Buenrostro | Changing Gears

Changes in the school environment drastically affect children’s ability to learn. In the middle of March 2020, there was a nationwide closure of all schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This specific event caused most children to have a reduction in their classwork to accommodate for the new virtual school format. The decrease in schoolwork and the unstructured learning format can be compared to a similar educational phenomenon known as “summer slump”. Summer slump is known as the loss of student knowledge caused by the long summer break in between school years. In this study we are trying to explore how effective virtual learning is for the development of children’s reading skills. We are also looking at the impact of learning in a home setting, which is full of distractions . In order to assess this, we compared the results of children’s reading abilities before the pandemic and throughout it. We analyze the data of 69 participants. The study’s participants are from different backgrounds and are between the ages of six to ten. Each participant was recruited from southern Michigan and began online school at the end of September 2020.They were previously enrolled in another study where they were tested on their reading skills using Woodcock-Johnson IV. The raw scores from each participant were standardized to accurately compare the progress of the participants over time. We predict that there would be no change of a decrease in the children’s ability to read.The main purpose of this study was to bring awareness in the school systems and to the parents about the students progress in reading.

The Impacts of Nuclear Radiation on DNA Repair Machinery

Yeniselis Morales | Changing Gears

The field of nuclear radiation has been analyzed through time in order to further quantify the effects of nucleotide ionizing particles both in the environment and humans. The focus is often to not only understand the health impacts of radiation exposure, but to also innovate preventive measures for a heightened risk for cancer development during long-term physical exposure to high levels of ionizing radiation. To date, researchers have focused on a wide range of organisms and exposure levels for radiation-focused studies, making it difficult to quantify and summarize the status of this field to date. We aim to produce a useful review that summarizes the status of this research while focusing on the DNA repair pathways currently used to improve radiation cancer therapy. In our review, we found that the ability to optimize DNA repair mechanisms can lead to a higher chance of radioresistance in our cells and can potentially serve as a clinical treatment for ionizing radiation-induced damage in our genomic DNA. Ultimately researchers feel this should allow enough time for the DNA repair mechanisms to correct the damage in an error-free and timely manner.

The Israeli Palestinian Conflict

Daniel Sokolin | Changing Gears

My topic of choice is an examination of the current political conditions regarding the Israeli Palestinian Conflict, particularly the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Specifically, I would like to develop a deep understanding and concise summary of notable historic events relating to this issue within the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On top of that, I would like to develop a prediction for future events relating to this issue and a framework for how a peace agreement could be pursued given the results of previous ones and historical context. The problem which I am trying to address is the inability of both the State of Israel and the Palestinian leadership to reach a peace agreement and the notable role of the West Bank and East Jerusalem holds in the conflict.

The Politics of Eliminating Poverty: An Investigation of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs in Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa.

Sara Gleason | Changing Gears

Conditional Cash Transfer Programs (CCT) are cutting edge welfare programs, as they aim to eliminate poverty through direct governmental payments, provided that the recipients abide by certain conditionalities. When analyzing the outcomes of these programs, it is essential to address their interplay with politics. However, current research does not fully take into account how political changes over time influence the impacts of CCT programs. Throughout my guided research, I have helped to strengthen this connection through a comparative CCT literature review, analyzing World Bank data, and tracing how CTT implementation has varied under various presidential administrations within Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa. As part of the literature review, I evaluated articles that compared Brazil and South Africa to strengthen our research’s transcontinental analysis. Then, I compiled and sorted World Bank data to identify CCT performance under a variety of conditions and helped identify data changes and inconsistencies among each country. Finally, I analyzed articles and reports that identify CCT implementation across various presidential administrations in Mexico and Brazil. My research of CCT programs in Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa is crucial to identify their relative effectiveness, in spite of political changes over time. Although CCTs are relatively new policies, their targeted approach shows that these middle-income countries are global trendsetters in successful poverty elimination.

The Relationship between COVID-19 Racial Discrimination and Mental Health among Asian Americans

Aleezay Khan | Changing Gears

Racism and discrimination is a persisting dilemma that has affected people of color in the United States on many levels, including employment, housing, and health. Specifically, there is multiple evidence that indicates cultural racism (including stereotyping) connected to an increased prevalence of mental health concerns and poor overall wellness. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an influx of anti-Asian racism and violence towards Asian American populations. In addition to the implicit and explicit bias that Asian populations have been facing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this current anti-Asian sentiment has the potential to have a toll on their mental and physical health. This research project explores the relationships between encountered racism during the COVID-19 pandemic and mental state among Asian American populations. The method used in this study is a quantitative survey; data collected were based on online survey questions that include demographics, experiences related to racism and/or discrimination after the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, mental state, and actions taken as results of racism experiences. The results and conclusion of the survey are yet to be reviewed and determined. I expect to identify an association between negative COVID-19 racism encounters/heightened fear for one’s safety and worsened mental health. With these results, we can address the need for prevention and intervention strategies to eliminate acts of racism/discrimination and to provide safe and comfortable environments for Asian Americans.

Tolerance of Toxicities of Oral Anticancer Agents among Older Adults with Advanced Cancers

Ankita Chittiprolu | Changing Gears

This project is focused on older adults taking oral anticancer agents, OAA. Specifically, capecitabine, an oral chemotherapy, is studied for its use in older adults with advanced cancer. Potentially, older patients may less tolerate OAA toxicities, which will impact the treatment effects and their quality of life. The overarching purpose is to explore the occurrence and effects of OAA toxicity-related symptoms in older adults taking capecitabine using real-world patient data from EHR. We will examine the potential differences in side effects of patients aged more than 65 years and patients less than 65 years from the use of capecitabine. From this data analysis, we will identify determinants through demographics, clinical characteristics, performance status, and the impact of OAA toxicity on treatment plan and performance status changes.

Understanding Graduate Student Perspectives of Mental Health

Dynasia Tran | Changing Gears

Mental health challenges are rising in higher education across the United States. We investigate doctoral students’ experiences concerning mental health in academia and their perceptions of university responses to wellbeing concerns. Through 30 semi-structured interviews with students enrolled in all levels of the PhD, we find that while participants are aware of wellbeing resources offered by the university, their perceptions suggest the short-term nature of counseling is not fit for graduate students’ needs. Although participants from all backgrounds reported feeling anxiety and impostor syndrome on account of their academic experiences, such problems are exacerbated for members of minoritized groups, many of whom do not see themselves reflected in role models or the canon of literature in their field. We identify tensions among expectations of knowledge construction and faculty advising. Our findings have implications for stronger institutional relationships with external counselors, increased peer group support, and effective communication about doctoral expectations.

UX Best Practices for Engaging Libraries in Culturally Responsive STEM Programming

Ruoran Li | Changing Gears

This research project focused on conducting a literature review and synthesizing the results into a set of user experience (UX) best practices for designing a user-friendly curriculum website. The website is targeted at librarians who offer CompuGirls, an informal computing education program.

Vaxign 2: Web-based Rational Vaccine Design based on Reverse Vaccinology and Machine Learning

Michael Cooke | Changing Gears

Reverse vaccinology (RV) is a technique that allows the prediction of vaccine candidates from a pathogen’s genome enabling the more efficient development of new vaccines and improvements on existing vaccines. Vaxign2 is the second generation of the first web-based vaccine design program leveraging reverse vaccinology with machine learning via Vaxign-ML. Validation benchmarking has shown Vaxign-ML’s superior prediction performance compared to other RV tools. Vaxign2 has also implemented predictive analyses workflows to empower users to quickly refine prediction results based on different vaccine design rationales. A use case is presented with the successful analysis of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Vision Zero implementation and how to improve its effectiveness in underserved communities

James Tran | Changing Gears

The Center for Health Disparities Innovation and Studies (CHDIS) team at EMU has begun working with the city of Hamtramck, a predominately ethnic and minority city on the outskirts of Detroit, in a mission to address public health deficiencies and disparities in underserved communities through policy change, community outreach/education, and general health promotion.  A core part of their proposal to the city is the implementation of a Vision Zero (VZ) strategy to combat the growing numbers of traffic accidents that has disproportionately affected the pedestrians/civilians of Hamtramck. VZ requires a complete overhaul on the relationship shared between road/transportation infrastructure and pedestrians/.

Wearable technology for evaluating asymmetries of the lower limb musculature

Andrew Phillips | Changing Gears

Asymmetries in strength and mobility can be detrimental to performance and may contribute to the development of musculoskeletal injuries. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of using surface electromyography (sEMG) to detect imbalances between muscles of the lower limb during air squats. An additional aim was to determine the effect banded hip mobility exercises may have on decreasing muscle imbalances. To begin exploring these aims, one participant was evaluated during a series of lower body movements. Muscle recruitment patterns were evaluated using a commercially available “smart garment” with embedded sEMG sensors. The sEMG sensors were used to calculate the percent difference between left and right training load of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Validation of the sEMG sensors to detect differences in load was conducted by performing single leg controlled movements. Air squats were performed before and after banded hip mobility exercises to observe any effect on muscle recruitment patterns. When used to calculate differences in load, sEMG sensors appear to be an effective way to evaluate asymmetries between muscle groups of the lower limb.

What is on the table? Peer effects within A Large Canadian Restaurant Chain

Jianglai Zhang | Changing Gears

Whole Health Educational Resource Development and Evaluation for Veterans and VA Staff

Holly Antal | Changing Gears

The Veterans Association (VA) is one of the largest integrative healthcare systems in the country. Its success in patient outcomes is contributed to the widespread practice of Whole Health in the VA system. Whole Health is known as “Personalized, Proactive, Patient-driven Care” and it focuses on several areas of health and well-being while empowering the patient to take an active role in their healthcare alongside providers. The impact of Whole Health and use of its techniques and practices among veterans and patients who receive this healthcare is not widely known. This study aims to assess how many skills and practices from the Whole Health system are being used and applied by patients (Veterans) in their everyday lives. Specifically, questions are designed to reflect practices from the 8 modalities of Whole Health. To conduct our test, we created an online survey using Qualtrics and distributed it among colleagues, students, patients, and veterans in association with the VA Ann Arbor. We collected basic demographic information including sex, age range, and Veteran status and asked a series of questions designed to assess the practice of mindfulness and other techniques among respondents and also to assess how much of the Whole Health practice they have experienced. At the time of publication of this abstract, the data has been collected and preliminary analysis is in process. Specific, detailed, and final results will be available at the time of the Symposium presentation.

Why Fight? The Causes and Consequences of Joining a Tyrant’s Army

Brendan Chen | Changing Gears

What role does military service have in the behavior of oppressed minority groups after wars? Current knowledge states combat experience empowers veterans’ organizational skills and ability to engage in collective action. However, there is little information that further elaborates how wartime skills and abilities are utilized by individuals and groups once the conflict ends. Furthermore, it is unknown if there is a significant difference in post-war behavior in members of elite groups and members of minority groups and how such a difference contributes to the stability of an authoritarian regime. This study uses 19th and 20th century data from official Russian records to explain how military service impacted the behavior of minority groups towards the state after World War I. We use records of the Russian Imperial Army during World War I, the Red Guard during the Russian Civil War, and the 1897 Russian Census in analyses at the individual and community levels. We use the Imperial Army and the Red Guard datasets in a Bayesian Nonparametric Spatial Regression Discontinuity design at district borders to empircally identify the post-war behavior of World War I veterans. The 1897 Census dataset is used to establish district borders and other aspects of the Russian nation and state at the time. Early results suggest soldiers belonging to disenfranchised minority groups were more likely to oppose the Tsar and align with the Red Guard. Additionally, inhabitants of districts with high percentages of oppressed minority groups were more likely to align with the Red Guard. The overall results suggest military service among disenfranchised groups is crucial for engaging in significant resistance to oppressive regimes

Wicked Solutions Domain: Building a Data Modeling and Visualization Tool

Tawsif Habib | Changing Gears

The solutions to the problems that plague our society today arguably are rooted in data. This research will go through the development of a platform that allows for the collection, analysis, and interactive display of data as it relates to societal issues, similar to the Hopkins Medicine COVID-19 platform. To do this, scholarly articles relating to similar projects were assessed to understand what frameworks to use/what functionalities were important and then replicated to match the problems being focused on by the WISDOM research team, which are sustainability, obesity, and poverty. As a result of this, a website-based platform was created where users could interact with data collected about these issues with the intent that it would inform users about the problem and provide insights to enable change. This allows for smarter problem-solving for issues that impact large groups of people and will be accessible to the masses. This will likely help make huge strides in solving problems because it will provide evidence to inform the methodology upon which users can act. The main purpose of the research project is to help users find interventions to wicked societal problems and in return enable them to add their interventions. A digital platform that enables participants to find the solution to their problem will also help designers refine the solution to wicked problems and implement it in the digital platform.

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