Community-Engaged – Page 3 – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

UROP Fellowship: Community-Engaged

Women’s Wave: Participation and Success by Candidates in Congressional Elections, 2014 to 2020

Despite the plethora of analysis on individual candidates of all political affiliations in national elections, it is unknown which identities are most salient in determining the successes or failures of congressional candidates. This study has examined the success of women in elections. We investigated whether female candidates present themselves as activists, which we defined as taking part in protests, volunteering for a cause, or founding a group to solve an issue. This study recovers biographical, financial, and experiential information on every documented Congressional candidate in the election years 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020. An analysis of these candidates reveals characteristics of importance when predicting the outcome of an election: 1) affiliation with the main political parties; 2) campaign expenditures; and 3) experience as an activist. The results expressed by this study highlighted attributes to pay attention to in future election years when predicting wins for female candidates.

Creating a Hybrid Education Program: Best of Both Worlds

Due to COVID, educational programs have had to quickly change to an online format and many were unprepared for the drastic change. During this past year many of us have personally experienced the pros and cons of online learning, and nobody knows what the future will be like. My project for 826michigan was to find, through data collected from participants, what the strengths and weaknesses have been for both the online and in person versions of their programs in order to create a hybrid version for the future.

Using Google Earth to assess neighborhood features in the built environment: Inter-Rater Reliability results

Relevance: The built environment plays a significant role in contributing to health outcomes. The Environment and Policy Lab (EPL) is researching the association between the built environment and health outcomes in a cost-effective, accessible way by using Google Earth to assess neighborhood features. However, there are challenges in assessing certain neighborhood features. This study assessed the inter-rater reliability of several features of the built environment.

The Resilience Project: Earthquake threats to Mid-west and Northeastern regions of U.S.

Whereas the number of earthquakes per year remain steady, modern society faces increasing threats to life, infrastructure and economic activity. In order for communities to improve their resilience against inevitable earthquakes, information is needed on how they will affect their regions and how they can build resilience against a largely unstoppable natural disaster. Using public data, this undergraduate research study investigates the earthquake patterns and threats to both Midwest and the broader northeastern regions of the U.S, with a focus on the societal impacts of earthquakes in these regions. Earthquake data over a 45 year period establish that the number as well as magnitude of earthquakes in this region is quite small, compared to regions of the western US. The data reveals that the average annual injury and the earthquake damage costs for this region are relatively low. It is expected that, with this information, people can reliably predict earth occurrences and decide whether their regions need to build a costly earthquake resilient infrastructure, which may exceed the regional damage of natural events.

COVID-19 and the Community

The goal of this research project has been to collect stories about the health experiences of people living in Washtenaw County, Michigan during the time of COVID-19. We used document analysis, semi-structured interviews, structured observations, and statistical analysis to understand how people in Washtenaw discuss the health, social and economic problems stemming from the pandemic as well as the ways in which they attempt to confront and solve these problems. We are using this data to advise policy decisions in Washtenaw County.

The effect of a decedent’s mental health status on protests following police killings

In 2015, 1,146 Americans were killed by the police, and some of these killings were followed by protests. It is important to investigate why some killings led to protests while others did not. The existence of a protest could be due to numerous factors, such as location, the age of the decedent, the existence of cell phone footage, etc. Specifically, this research investigates whether people are more likely to protest a police killing if the decedent had mental health issues. In order to answer this question, we gather data on each police killing in 2015 using Google search, local newspapers, and social media. This data included whether the decedent had a history of mental health disorders, whether they were behaving erratically at the time of their death, and whether there were any protests following their death. Then, a random sample of 701 of the deaths was taken to investigate whether the decedent’s mental health affected the existence of a protest. We will use the R statistical software and t-tests to determine whether a decedent’s mental health status affects the existence of protests. We expect that there will be more protests if a decedent has mental health issues. These results will reveal more information about protests following police killings in the United States, an important topic because protests have the potential to alter the aftermath of a killing and lead to a heightened awareness of social issues.

Studying the Impact of Mentor Feedback on Preservice Teacher Satisfaction

Feedback has been pointed out as a prerequisite for professional growth for experts and novices alike. In the education field, researchers have argued that preservice teachers, or student teachers, need high quality feedback to become exemplary teachers for their future students. One of the goals of the Mentors Matter initiative was to study what constitutes quality feedback during clinical placements from mentor teachers and university supervisors. In our project, we coded 4,010 comments to 394 student teachers for the content and quality that student teachers received as part of their clinical assessments. In our presentation, we will discuss how comments on Teacher Attributes (TA), Connections across Observations (CaO), Data Driven Feedback (DDF), and Actionable Recommendation (AR) relate to student teachers’ satisfaction with their clinical placements. Our results can help establish a guideline for having mentor teachers and university supervisors to provide high quality feedback to student teachers to train and prepare stronger teachers.

Online Homophobic and Racial Discrimination and Cardiovascular Health among Young Sexual Minority Men: Preliminary Evidence

Background Much research documents the deleterious impact of discrimination on health outcomes of minority populations. In particular, emerging evidence suggests that experiences of discrimination can lead to physiological dysregulation which, in turn, can lead to poor cardiovascular health outcomes among racial/ethnic minorities. However, experiences in online environments (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) have been underexplored in the research literature despite the fact that they are pervasive among young adults. In particular, young sexual minorities may experience discrimination online due to their racial/ethnic identity and/or sexual minority identity. This, in turn, may impact processes of mental and physiological health among this population. The current study seeks to bridge the gap in the literature by exploring the association between experiences of homophobic and racial discrimination online and cardiovascular health among a sample of young sexual minority men (YSMM).

Seeing Heritage Algorithms in Fiber Art

Underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is evident among underrepresented communities, particularly racial minorities, women, and lower-class individuals. Middle and High School students’ level of exposure to STEM arguably determines their pursuit of a STEM major or career, but many students in lower-class and racial minority groups have very low levels of exposure to STEM. CSDT.org was created to show the existing heritage algorithms embedded in culturally-situated artifacts and processes to increase the motivation among underrepresented students toward STEM majors and careers. With the Seeing Heritage Algorithms workshop conducted using CSDT.org, students are taught about the background of culturally-situated traditions like AfroFuturism, shown examples of visual programming language to generate these cultural patterns, given a chance to simulate their own patterns using the same software, and finally given materials to make their own physical art representing their simulated design. This workshop (to be conducted April 5th-9th) is expected to increase students’ knowledge of computing with a pre/post survey.

The Hall Family and Their Impact on Astronomy

The Detroit Observatory is planning for a reopening in the Fall of 2021. In preparation for the new building additions and exhibits we are gathering information on influential astronomers associated with the University of Michigan. Two such astronomers are Asaph Hall and Asaph Hall Junior, both of whom spent time working at the Detroit Observatory during their lengthy astronomy-based careers. Their important work and life stories have also been documented to the public through updated Wikipedia articles.

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