Summer Research & Creative Activity Fellowships

Kelly Bielonko will be working with her mentor Dr. Bachiochi on a research project titled “The Relationship Between Employee Resource Groups and Occupational Health Outcomes.”  

This project will address the impact of employee resource groups on occupational health related outcomes such as work-life balance, burnout and work-stress. ERGs are an example of an inclusion tool that is used to enhance organizational support. Resiliency will be investigated as a moderator of the relationship. Participants will be recruited using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to  include employees across a broad range of industries and workplaces. We expect that people who are members of ERGs will have less work-stress, burnout and better work-life balance than those who are not members of ERGs. Resiliency will moderate each of these relationships. The model of our hypothesized relationships will be tested using Structural Equation Modeling. Findings will be used to expand the literature on employee resource groups, a relatively under researched area. Findings will also contribute to the growing body of occupational health psychology research.

Emily Miclon will be working with Dr. Calissi on a project titled “The Preparation and Performance of Advanced Precision Repertoire.” 

The project will focus on allowing her to prepare a diverse concert of percussion repertoire including marimba, snare drum and timpani. This is an advanced repertoire, including transcription and original works for the marimba, rudimental and orchestral snare drum etudes, and timpani etudes and solos, along with excerpted orchestral repertoire that requires the extra time from the  summer fellowship to  properly understand  how to approach the instruments in a musically effective manner to be presented in front of audiences.


5th Consecutive Year Eastern Student Selected to Present at Posters on the Hill


Tess Candler represented Eastern at the prestigious Posters on the Hill (POH) Conference. This conference has an acceptance rate of approximately 8% and is unique in that students meet with members of Congress to discuss their work and and how it impacts their undergraduate education. Tess’ poster was titled “When Reds Go Green: Determinants of Conservative Support for Environmental Policy”. This is Eastern’s 5th consecutive year of  one of our students being selected to present at POH.

Her poster sparked interest among many of the other presenters, their faculty, and university administrators. There were funders present as well. NSF had a couple of representatives talking with students and mentors. The rep was surprised that Tess conducted her work without federal funding and indicated that NSF is on the hunt for undergraduate projects in both the hard and soft sciences. POH is also looking to expand in the social sciences and humanities since it has been historically dominated by BIO and CHEM projects. Below is the abstract for her poster:

Abstract: For the first time in years, Republicans have control of the House, the Senate, and the presidency. Since the start of this united government in early 2017, there have been rollbacks of several major environmental policies. This current trend is consistent with the literature, which finds that conservative ideology is negatively correlated with support for environmental policy. Nonetheless, some of the most significant environmental legislation was passed under Republican leadership, including the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in the 1970s. This study sought to determine the conditions under which conservatives demonstrate high levels of support for environmental policy. Understanding the rationales of conservative support for environmental policy can help those interested in passing this type of legislation be better equipped to shape policy in a way that increases its likelihood of enactment. A mixed methodology approach was used to create a holistic picture of the role of partisanship in determining environmental support. The quantitative analysis examined the effects of party control, polarization, economic conditions, and public opinion on aggregate congressional support for environmental legislation. The qualitative analysis examined environmental policies that had high levels of support during periods of Republican control in Congress. Results show that party control is the only statistically significant determinant of environmental support in Congress. However, conservatives demonstrate support for environmental policy when there is no States’ Rights concern, no unnecessary extension of government, and the policy protects the rights of citizens.

New Media Studies Showcase Work

The following students presented interactive media works developed in the programming language Max during the New Media Studies End of Year Celebration and created for THE 375 under the mentorship of Dr. Houldcroft:

Eumir Abela

Connor Coffey

Aubrie Curcio

Emma Kellermann

Halie Poirier

Rachel Pryde

Ryan Strange

The following students participated in an event where their work was featured:

Ben Wasilefsky & Kassandrah Banks – Documentary Film, “If I Never See Another Butterfly”

Jeff Simmons – Feature Film Trailer, “Graduation Baby”


Sociology Student Accepted to Present Research

Julie Szamocki has been accepted to present her research in August 10-11 at The Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction to be held at the Center City campus of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).  She is will be presenting her research paper entitled “Wicca as Both Individual and Communal: How New Religious Movements Are Personalized.” Her is a qualitative study was created with the mentorship of Dr. Nicolas Simon. 

New Media Studies Students Participate in Summer Research Institute



Motion capture (mo-cap) is a digital process by which movement of people and/or objects is recorded. Mo-cap has many applications, from analyzing kinetic movement in sports, to robotics, military, and medical use. In the entertainment industry, mo-cap is used to create life-like skeletal structures for animated characters in film, video gaming, and virtual/augmented reality. In this Summer Research & Creative Activity Institute carried out by Dr. Morgan and Dr. Houldcroft, students learned how to set up and operate the OptiTrack motion capture system, participated in an overview of Motive software, and received hands-on instruction in exporting data to Blender or other rendering software. In addition to the detailed study of mo-cap to digital rendering, students were introduced to the fundamentals of animation post-production, such as an introduction to character visual design, voice-over recording for animation, and the use of diegetic sound in an animated environment. Students worked with the faculty and Peer Mentor Zach Parisella to write a two-character storyline and produce a short film using performance capture data and digital tools learned at the beginning of the week. Below is a list of student participants and their completed work. 

The short film produced by the students can be seen here.

Jenique Blair

Aubrie Curcio

Wasan Hayajneh

Rebecca LohVenQei

Emma Kellermann

Tristan Perez

Math and Computer Science Students Participate in Summer Research Institute

The Summer Research Institute conducted by Dr. Heenehan and Dr. Dancik with the assistance of Peer Mentor Haley Knox was a week-long summer program where students learned graph theory, computer programming, and network analysis while carrying out supervised research in network science. Network science is an interdisciplinary and growing field that combines elements of graph theory with computer and data science in order to better understand the connections and relationships that are all around us. During the Summer Institute, students gained foundational concepts in network science, including basic programming (scripting) for data collection, statistical concepts for summarizing and analyzing data, and graph theory for measuring important network characteristics. Common tools for network visualization and analysis were described, and students completed hands-on training of all aspects of the network analysis process (data collection, network construction, visualization, and analysis). Students used their newly acquired skills to complete a supervised research project in network science in order to analyze the social structure of a movie. Below is a list of student groups and copies of their completed poster presentations. 


Narnia Presentation

Jafet Aparicio

Chase Oliver

Anayancy Ramos

Group 2 – Mulan


Allison Gagliano

Robert Johnson

Stefanos Stravoravdis

Group 3 – Matrix Trilogy

The Matrix Network

Cole Johnson

Sawyer Marchand

Nataliia Romanenko

English Students Participate in Summer Research Institute

For many new English majors, it’s difficult to imagine just what literature scholars do besides reading books: what is research in literature? This research institute helped students discover the answer to that question for themselves by focusing on two major techniques upon which literature scholars rely to craft meaningful arguments: connecting works of literature to other works of literature and art and applying secondary sources. This workshop assisted students to make thought-provoking pairings, to select a single work of literature and put it in conversation with a variety of other texts, in order to ultimately propose a valid research project that arises from these intertextual analyses. Students focused their individual research on the literary texts of their choice, as the aim of this workshop is to help students develop skills in research and analysis that they can employ in a wide range of contexts. This allowed students both to master our departmental learning objectives and to discern their own scholarly interests with one-on-one support from the instructor Dr. Speicher and peer mentor Jessica Maloney. Below are the titles of the research projects created by each student. 

Riley Bancroft    Eugenics and religion: A biographical reading of Brave New World

Kaylee Blackwood. Fahrenheit 451 in the twenty-first century: Bradbury and contemporary debates about censorship and technology

Madeleine Case  Emotional impact, historical facts, and the functions of childhood in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Alicia Labrecque  Sexuality and book banning: The Perks of Being a Wallflower in the high school classroom

Julia MacKinnon  Americans’ views of Afghanistan: A Thousand Splendid Suns as protest novel

Zoe Marien  Eating disorders and class privilege in Wasted and other contemporary memoirs

Ashlyn O’Boyle. Narration and adaptation: The use of the first person in The Great Gatsby novel and film

Jenna Petitti. Ecocriticism and ethics: Generational differences in The Road

Olivia Sidman  Unreliable narration and mental illness: Mechanical and metaphorical thinking in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Rachel Videira  Hermione Granger’s feminist identity development in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

9 Students from Psychological Science Department Complete Summer Research Institute

From May 14 to May 18, nine students participated in the 4th annual Psychology Summer Research Institute (Montserrat Amieva-Ramos, Mia Black-Graham, Ashley Cubberly, Taylor DeJulia, Ryley LaPointe, Brooke Lemons, Olivia Mott, Genesis Ramon, and Colleen Warner). Along with our student mentor, Malvina Pietrzykowski, who completed the SRI two years ago, Luis Cordón and Dr. Lyndsey Lanagan-Leitzel introduced students to topics in sensation, perception, and cognitive neuroscience. The students dissected cow eyeballs, explored perception of taste by determining if they were “supertasters” and by blocking perception of sweetness with the herb gymnema sylvestre, and explored visual processing by working with an eye-tracker. They also learned how to search and review peer-reviewed literature, develop a research question, and design an empirical study to answer that question. After data collection, the students analyzed their results using SPSS and developed research posters to share their results with each other and the university. Completing all of this within five days was a massive undertaking, and despite having small sample sizes, some of the students were even able to obtain statistically significant results. 

Below are the posters created and presented on the last day of the institute:

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23 Psychology Students Present at CSU Psychology Day

On May 4th, 2018, students from the Department of Psychological Science participated in the annual CSU Psychology Day. Below is a complete list of presenters:

Trevor Adams, Relationship among employment hours, gender and college students’ stress

Daphne Botteron, Childhood protective and risk factors linked to educational experiences and academic outcomes: Examining family and contextual factors

Mandi Charette, Correlations among absorption, anxiety and depression

Alysia Daneult, Yohan Krumov & Lauren Leavy, Social evaluation associated with choosing “healthy” snacks for preschool aged children

Kaylee Defelice, The social and academic effects of inclusivity on children with Autism

Brian Duffany, Does personality mediate the effects of stress on cognitive

Nathan Edwards, How year in college relates to perceived control and optimism

Jessica Henowitz, Relations between leadership style, masculinity and

Melissa Henowitz, Effects of eye gaze on perceived trustworthiness and intended helping behavior

Alexandria Hollwedel, Campus police and stopping at stop signs

Kaylee Kimlingen & Sabrina Mcfarlane, Reducing electricity consumption within Constitution Hall on Eastern ‘s campus

Danny Lee, How religion relates to happiness and relationship satisfaction

Allison Lundy, Exploring the relationship between risk taking, casual sex and attitudes toward online dating applications

Luis Martinez, The correlation between self-regulation and aggression levels

Katelyn Murray, The impact of families on eating disorders

Taylor O’Rourke, Effects of personality and preferred emotions on psychological well-being in college students

Antonio Pereira 

Molly Smith, Well-being in college students: The role of social support and humor

Angela Vining, The relationship between parenting styles and childhood outcomes

Morgan  Winship,  Nicole Lenares & Joseph Dracobly, A descriptive assessment of activity based variation in pre­ school children

2 Performing Arts Students Place at Regional Competition

Two singers have placed in the top 5 in their respective categories in the New England Regional NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) Competition. 

Hannah Bythrow, soprano- 5th Place Upper College (women)
Austin Stone, tenor- 2nd Place Upper College (men)

By placing in the top 5 in their category they are now through to the preliminary round for the National Competition. Austin Stone, tenor, has made it to the National Semifinal Round to be held at the NATS National Conference in Las Vegas from June 22nd-26th. Austin is one of sixteen Upper College Men to be selected from across the country to participate in this semifinal round.