Student Research

Participating in Undergraduate Research enriches students' learning experience by allowing them to cultivate a multitude of skills that will carry over into their future careers. These transferable skills range from critical thinking to problem solving to collaboration. Obtaining these skills will set these students apart and prepare them to enter the work force with a solid foundation.

Honors Student Research 

Honors Week Spring 2022

Each spring, the Honors College showcases the work of students who are completing one of the Honors College tracks and recognizes the faculty and staff members who have contributed to their success. Featured below are some interesting thesis projects that were presented this past spring:

Ali, Yeasmin

Yeasmin Ali in the Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology Honors Track presented a thesis entitled “The Influence of Cultural and Societal Norms on Beauty and Body Standards among South Asians.”

Many people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds suffer from eating disorders (ED) and body dysmorphia. Culture and the media have a significant influence on how people view their body image and appearance. South Asian culture, which encompasses Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Nepal has been vastly underrepresented in eating disorders and mental health research. Within these countries, beauty is characterized as having fair/light skin tone, minimal body hair, and a small figure. Therefore, the objective of this thesis is to understand how biological and sociocultural factors play an important role in eating behaviors and body appraisals among South Asian individuals through a review of the current research literature. This literature review drew primarily from data gathered through focus group methodology, empirical research, ED measure assessments, and analyses of prevention measures.

Kwiecien, Megan

Megan Kwiecien in the Business Honors Track presented a thesis titled “The Effect of Consumer Perceptions and Corporate Social Responsibility.”

Over the past years, corporate social responsibility has become more widely spread across companies in the US. These companies are expected by its consumers to act more ethically and sustainably to better improve society and the environment. In recent years, these companies have been able to use the implementation of corporate social responsibility to their advantage as a marketing strategy. If the perception of CSR among consumers is positive, it will positively affect their brand perception. This positive brand perception can then positively influence consumers’ purchase intentions. It also positively affects employee engagement at the company. The results will be included later in the presentation portion.

Bennett, Alexis

Alexis Bennett in the Global Public Health Honors Track presented a thesis titled “The Role of Intergenerational Trauma in Risk Factors and Health Outcomes of African Americans; an analysis of the public health literature.”

Intergenerational trauma has been a focus of many studies in recent decades and is a significant factor in public health issues. Intergenerational trauma can be understood as significant adverse events experienced by individuals that have such a profound impact, offspring of the individuals struggle with the post-traumatized state of their parents. Studies have examined intergenerational trauma among various populations, and more recently, African Americans. Other closely related issues contribute to how past traumatic experiences may impact the public’s health, including historical trauma, various forms of racism, skin-tone trauma, and developing theories examining pathways through which parental experiences of trauma may be passed on to their offspring.

This presentation will present findings from a scoping literature review focused on how concepts of intergenerational and related traumas are used in the public health field to understand and address health issues among African Americans. Recommendations for further research on intergenerational trauma will be shared.

Shahin, Emir

Emir Shahin in the Biology Honors Track presented a thesis entitled “Developing a Tissue Culture protocol for the disinfection of Epichloe ammarillans from its plant host, Ammophila breviligulata.”

‘Cape’ American beach grass, Ammophila breviligulata, hosts a fungal endophyte, Epichloe ammarillan. Studies in commercial grasses demonstrate that plant-fungal interaction can range from mutually beneficial to parasitic depending on environmental conditions or plant genotype. Since the ‘Cape’ strain is used almost exclusively in restoration efforts and is 100% infected with the endophyte, identifying the conditions under which the interaction is beneficial to the plant may help improve restoration efforts. Therefore, we propose to remove the endophyte from the ‘Cape’ strain using the triazole fungicide, propiconazole. This fungicide is located in a liquid solution known as tilt which will be administered to plant samples that were cut from the aboveground nodes either through a spray bottle, pipet, or dipping the plants directly in the liquid. These samples will then be examined throughout the treatments and stained to see if removal of endophyte has occurred in any of the trials.  

Rivera, Sebastian

Sebastian Rivera in the Cognitive Science Honors Track presented a thesis entitled “Creative, Experienced, and Fast: How cognitive factors influence Smash Bros. gameplay.”

Playing fighting games in a competitive setting, specifically one like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, could be influenced by reaction time, creativity, emotion regulation, and experience. With these concepts in mind, the goal of this research was to measure reaction time, creativity, emotion regulation, and experience as influences in successful game play. Initial analyses looking at hours played and reaction time show an inverse correlation (r=-.378) indicating that more experienced players have faster reaction times.

Criddell, Tekoa

Tekoa Criddell in the Humanities Honors Track presented a thesis entitled “We eat first with our eyes.”

“We eat first with our eyes” is a phrase attributed to the Roman gastronome Apicius, and it is perhaps the quintessential statement about how we view food. Everything from cooking shows to ancient paintings highlight how important the presentation and plating of food is to the enjoyment of those partaking. This, however, is not a new phenomenon. Since the times of Apicus down to the current era of social media food blogging, food and how it looks has been a symbol of power, wealth, and status. For a long time, only the rich and powerful could afford lavish feasts and ornate food presentations. Through this project, I hope to not only highlight these socio-political themes but also the hard work and creativity of the thousands of chefs and artisans who worked on these fabulous meals centuries before any of us were born.

Moran, Brenna

Brenna Moran in the Music Honors Track presented a thesis entitled “The Benefits of Yoga on Singing.”

Yoga has become a popular activity in many areas of the world, but is less well-known
for the positive effects it has on singing. Nonetheless, its intrinsic and extrinsic benefits on the
voice and performance are bountiful. The goal of this paper is to provide a catalog that
developing singers can use to aid in their study of the voice. The paper is divided into three
sections: how yoga helps aid breath support, how it helps with mindfulness/acceptance as
singers, and how it helps with posture/physical health. Each of these sections begins with a
presentation of research that illustrates how yoga benefits the aspect of singing being examined.
Subsequently, exercises are provided that can help singers improve this aspect of their singing,
along with examples of modifications for beginners. Each section ends with explanations as to
why each pose is beneficial for the singer.

Khatun, Nasima

Nasima Khatun in the Nursing Honors track presented a thesis entitled “To Explore the Impact of teach-Back Method on Teaching Patients Their Discharge Information and Reducing Readmission Rate: An Integrative Review of the Literature.”

 This integrative review of the literature aimed to explore the impact of the teach-back method on teaching patients their discharge information and reducing the readmission rate. The research question “How effective is the teach-back method on teaching patients discharge instructions and reducing readmission rate?” was examined. The PRISMA flowchart was used to guide this integrative review. The databases CINAHL, and MEDLINE via ProQuest and PubMed were searched for the literatures. The inclusion criteria included peer reviewed articles published in English between January 2000 to December 2021, studies conducted in any country around the world, and population samples included in the studies are 18 years and older with any type of illness. A total of 10 articles were analyzed for this review. The findings showed an improvement in patients’ understanding of the discharge information, and a reduction in disease specific unplanned readmission rate as a result of the teach-back method.

Gittings, Jonathan

Jonathan Gittings in the Performing and Literary Arts Honors Track presented a thesis project entitled “Jazz Album: Using Arranged Jazz Standards and Originals to Create an Album.”

This album, Rumination represents the musicianship of Jonathan Gittings and pays respect to the people that have played a large role in shaping him as a musician. The album includes arrangements, and transcriptions of songs for a sextet that includes trumpet, sax, trombone, piano, bass, and drums. The selection of tunes provides a strong stylistic contrast that creates an engaging listening experience. The music varies from fast be-bop, to ballads, to hard bop. The order of tunes on the album imitate that of a set list of a live performance. In the arranging and playing styles featured in the album, listeners can expect to hear the influence of Kenny Dorham and Freddie Hubbard, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, and Thad Jones. The arranger brings his own unique styles to some older standards by using modern arranging techniques and added shout choruses.

Gaffney, Shawn

Shawn Gaffney in the Social Sciences Honors Track presented a thesis project entitled “The Impact of Gentrification on the Black Community of Philadelphia.”

Literature in the field of urban planning describe the extent but only hint to the effects of gentrification on the African American population of Philadelphia. This thesis combines the historical patterns of accumulation of wealth with the impacts of gentrification on the Black community of Philadelphia. This paper comes to several conclusions, mainly that barriers to wealth serve also as barriers to renovation and lead to the displacement of Black community members. Although Philadelphia was a city with one of the largest free Black populations at its creation, racism in real estate practices, government funding, and violence from rival groups kept much of the Black community from meaningful economic opportunities. The Black community’s inability to take advantage of the restorative properties of gentrification is but another consequence in this ongoing pattern.

Northeast Regional Honors Conference 2022

Stephany Bolanos

Pictured above is Stephany Bolanos presenting her project at the Northeast Regional Honors Conference in Philadelphia in 2022 entitled “Assessing the Knowledge and Attitudes of Undergraduate Nursing Students Towards Providing LGBTQ+ Patient Care”

 Bhavya Yalamanchili 5

Pictured above is Honors student Bhavya Yalamanchili presenting her project at the Northeast Regional Honors Conference in Philadelphia in 2022 entitled “Is TikTok a Resource for Reliable Information on Chronic Pain for Young Adults?”

Undergraduate Research Symposium 2019 

  bio symp 2019

Pictured above is Honors Biology Track student Sabrina Galloza presenting her project “Detecting Differences Between Honey Bee Gut Microbiomes in a Quick Economical Assay” at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in Spring 2019.

In this event, the College of Science & Health at William Paterson University has provided a forum for undergraduates to present their original research to their peers and professors. This event provides students with essential research experience for a career in the sciences or science-related fields. The conference focuses on sharing and advancing new knowledge in the sciences that were created or discovered through collaborative faculty-student research.