Humor and Incivility on Social Media: Karleigh Lopez ’20

Karleigh Lopez '20

Karleigh Lopez ’20

When a politician says or does something you don’t like; what do you do? You rush to your favorite social media site armed with your passion and wit, of course! Perhaps you may take a moment before posting: Karleigh Lopez Summer Scholar project, which studies humor and incivility on mass media and their effect on society, might change your mind.

“The public is concerned about social behavior on online platforms,” says Lopez. “Increased political polarization is often associated with incivility, but recent research has shown the problem may be more of a widespread characteristic of our society.”

Lopez, a communication studies major from Shamong, New Jersey, is exploring the role of on social media as a response to significant newsworthy events and the extent to which it is marked by politeness or discourtesy. More specifically, she is exploring the reaction across the political spectrum to President Trump’s (June 1 2017) announcement that the United States’ would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

From about two weeks since the date that it was announced, Lopez and her mentor began to study tweets, using programs like TAGS (Twitter Analytics Google Sheets), Tableau, and NVivo to search positive and negative key terms, such as “amazing,” or “poor.” In addition to looking at reactions from everyday people, Lopez scans celebrity responses and tallies retweets from new sources. She analyzes whether the posts use humor that is merely humorous vs. humor that crossed the line into incivility.

Lopez met her mentor,Ken Weidner, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, while taking LEO 150, Serious Comedy and Social Justice. Her interest in the topic led her to observe the effect of mass media on the political climate in the past year. From there, she created her Summer Scholars project.

“This kind of scholarship is exploratory, so there are many challenges as there are successes,” says Weidner. “Lopez is not discouraged easily, and her perseverance seems endless.”

Lopez hopes to publish her work in an academic journal, or write an op-ed article on her findings. She says that having an opportunity to read about social media, politics and egoism is helping her to understand the political climate and how modern media affects our way of thinking.

“The whole saying, ‘laughter is the best medicine,’ isn’t even a choice nowadays. Everywhere we turn we see potential political conflict,” says Lopez. “Humor gives power to the individual, and it makes the political climate easier to comprehend.”

Lopez is a member of the Honors program and Phi Sigma Phi Honors Fraternity. She is on the SJU cheerleading teaming and is an opinions writer for the student newspaper, The Hawk.

Project Title: Humor and Incivility on Social Media

Mentor: Ken Weidner, Ph.D., assistant professor of management

Hometown: Shamong, New Jersey

Follow @sjuartssciences @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP

Issues Facing Workers Post Incarceration: Jacob Diehl ‘18

Jacob Diehl '18

Jacob Diehl ’18

Jacob Diehl ’18 , a managing human capital  and leadership, ethics and organizational sustainability double major, has always strived to exemplify Jesuit ideals, from his work in iSJU, which introduces incoming freshman to Jesuit Education, to his community service trips like APEX and PSIP. He wanted his Summer Scholars project to reflect his values, which is why he is spending his summer examining the issues that men face in reentering the workforce after incarceration.

“The main focus of my research will be the stigmatization that these men face and the factors that lead to employment discrimination,” says Diehl.

Just one of the ideas that Diehl has for his project is creating a form that will display what opportunities are available. He also wants to study the discrepancies between the available spaces in Philadelphia re-entry assistance programs and the number of men who apply to those them.

“If society views these men as criminals, rather than people, even after they serve their sentences, then their views of themselves and what they can achieve are compromised,” says Diehl.

His research includes about 10 interviews with men reentering the workplace, to whom Diehl has reached out through professors at SJU. He will ask them to relate their stories through a personal memoir-type dialogue.

Diehl became interested in this topic after attending a workforce diversity class taught by his faculty mentor and advisor, Eric Patton’s, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of management. Patton has studied those with psychological issues in the workplace and assists Diehl in the interview process.

“In this era of mass incarceration, a two-year prison sentence for drugs can become almost a life sentence of unemployment or underemployment,” says Patton. “A great deal of research shows that gainful employment is key for ex-offenders to remain free and not re-offend, which is also an incentive for society as a whole to care about this issue.”

Diehl wants to understand how this process affects ex-offenders as individuals, rather than as a collective unit.

Says Patton, “This project involves many different perspectives and weighs the rights of different groups, for example, the right of individuals to work vs. the rights of companies to decide who they hire. Jake’s project tackles a big issue, and he is ideally suited for it.”

Diehl hopes to contact Women’s Law Project, a website that has a re-entry forum for women. From there, he wishes to either create a similar forum for men or use his research to spread awareness.

“Someone needs to listen to these men who are re-entering, in order to value their journey and the issues that they face, as they rejoin society,” he says.


Project Title: Examining the issues that men face trying to reenter the workforce after being incarcerated

Mentor: Eric Patton, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of management

Hometown: Dedham, MA

Follow @sjuartssciences & @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP

New Trends, Longstanding Study: the Media and the Pharmaceutical Industry: Kayla Herbert ‘19

Kayla Herbert '19

Kayla Herbert ’19

For 13 years, researchers at Saint Joseph’s have been tracking how the pharmaceutical industry is portrayed in mainstream media. This year, the students and faculty working on the team encountered a unique trend.

“For the first time in the project’s history, a topic that was once insignificant in terms of the data jumped from obscurity to the number two industry-connected topic being discussed,” says Steve Porth, Ph.D.’80, professor of management and co-lead for the research.

The topic? Opioid addiction.

“A large percentage of the articles we’ve been assessing have been related to the opioid crisis, whether the industry’s role in the crisis or its ability to help solve it,” says Summer Scholar Kayla Herbert ’19, who is participating in the research for the first time this summer.

Herbert, a native of Robbinsville, New Jersey, is analyzing the slant of pieces toward the pharmaceutical industry — positive, negative or neutral.

“It’s been interesting to see how the data and healthcare topics intersect,” says Herbert, a pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing major who was drawn to the project after interacting in a class with George Sillup, Ph.D, professor and chair of pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing and Porth’s co-author on the research.

“The work is different from typical classwork because it is very analytical and entirely based on real life situations,” says Herbert, adding that the hands-on experience has taught her about how pharmaceutical industry topics overlap with matters of health, government policies, culture and more. Regarding the opioid crisis, and the number one topic (eight years running) — drug pricing — this is especially true.

According to Herbert, the process of collecting data on issues related to the industry has changed her perspective on these often complex topics. “By observing a variety of viewpoints and approaches, we’re challenged to consider them from every angle,” she says.

“Participating in research like this gives St. Joe’s students an advantage,” Herbert says. “We have opportunities to dive deep into the industry and to understand all of the factors at play while developing skills that will help us in the job market.”


Project title: Analyzing the Pharmaceutical Industry through Media Coverage

Mentors: George Sillup, Ph.D., professor and chair of pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing and Steve Porth, Ph.D., professor of management

Hometown: Robbinsville, New Jersey

Follow @sjuartssciences & @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP

Education, the Equalizer of Opportunity: Alex Velazquez ‘20

Alex Velazquez ‘20

Alex Velazquez ‘20

For Alexander Velazquez ’20, the value of education has always been a topic that resonated. After taking a class at Saint Joseph’s this past fall that focused on public education in America, his interest grew – but he still had many unanswered questions.

“As a low-income student, I feel this overwhelming motivation to do something that could educate people on the growing inequalities in higher education,” says Velazquez.

A risk management & insurance and economics double major, Velazquez decided to embark on a research project through the Summer Scholars program as a way to meet this goal. He is researching how a student’s family income relates to individual college readiness and the overall college admission process with respect to GPA scores and extracurricular activities.

His research aligns with the work of his mentor, Laura Crispin, Ph.D., assistant professor of Economics.

Crispin had previously analyzed trends in outcomes between low-income high school students and their peers with respect to such activities and time allocation. She found that students from disadvantaged backgrounds have less access to extracurricular(s), are more likely to work, and have higher high school dropout rates and lower college attendance and completion rates than their peers.

“Given the recent push toward college attendance, it is important to understand barriers in the pathway to college, specifically for first-generation college-goers and for students from disadvantaged backgrounds,” says Crispin. “Alex’s research focuses directly on these barriers to understand what types of resources are available to students to provide policy suggestions on increasing college readiness for low-income students.”

“The answer to the problems in American education policies is not always money; low-income students are in desperate need of adequate primary and secondary education,” says Velazquez.

A 2020 Deans’ Scholarship recipient and member of the SJU Honors Program, Velazquez says that earning the scholarship is one of the reasons he decided to explore this topic.

In addition to gaining a better understanding of the American education system, he hopes the work will help him develop time management skills and a more independent work ethic. He also plans to share his findings with the University community once they are complete.

Velazquez was involved in the SJU Theatre Company as a cast member in the most recent casts of “Carousel” and “Tommy” and participates in SJU’s student theatre company, Followed by a Bear. He is also the student communications chair of the Business Leadership Council and a Hawk Host.

Project Title: The Equalizer of Opportunity: An Examination of Income’s Effect on Education

Mentor: Laura Crispin, Ph.D., assistant professor of Economics

Hometown: Blackwood, New Jersey

Follow @sjuartssciences & @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP

Marketing Trends and Consumer Choice: Jessica Olszyk ‘19

Jessica Olszyck

Jessica Olszyck ’19

Most people don’t question what makes them pick a certain product off the shelf, or even what draws them to buy a blue and pink coffee drink for $4.45, but food marketing major Jessica Olszyk ’19 was so interested in this process that she dedicated her summer to it.

Olszyk decided her topic, consumer psychology within the food industry, based on the research of her faculty mentor, Ernest Baskin, Ph.D, an assistant professor of food marketing who is an expert in consumer judgment and decision making, particularly consumer biases.

“It is important to understand how shoppers make decisions in order to understand more about consumer psychology,” says Baskin. “Jessica is working on several projects related to how retailers market products that will help us understand how customers function and how they should be approached in the future.”

One part Baskin’s research to which Olszyk contributed included a survey conducted with SJU students and family members. The goal was to analyze purchasing habits when choosing for oneself versus choosing for others. The participants had the choice between one higher quality mint and two lower quality mints; the control group choosing for themselves and the experimental group choosing for a friend.

“It was interesting to note how those in the experiment made the decision for themselves; how they weighed quality vs. quantity, how they rationalized [their choice],” says Olszyk, who has maintained Dean’s List honors since coming to SJU.

She is still analyzing the results of the experiment; however, previous research suggests that individuals choosing for themselves would select a higher quantity based on monetary concerns, while those choosing for a friend would select the higher quality due to social pressure.

The experiment led her, under Baskin’s guidance, to write case studies, or lesson plans, about trends in food marketing through SAGE publication, which creates lesson plans that universities can use. Her most recent topic was the Unicorn Frappuccino, released by Starbucks in early May this year. Her case studies center around flashy products in the market that dramatically generate consumer interest.

“My goal is to have some of my work used in the classroom to help professors effectively teach about the industry,” Olszyk says.

Outside of the classroom, she is a distinguished member of Villiger Speech and Debate Society and Dean’s Leadership Program, an RA, and a sister of Alpha Gamma Delta.

According to Olszyk, Summer Scholars was a perfect choice to continue her interest in food marketing. “It is a great way to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom and translate it into real world experience… [In this project], I am strengthening my style of writing while gaining insight from a professor who is an expert in consumer psychology.”


Project title:  “Consumer Purchasing Behavior of Arrogant Food Brands”

Mentor: Dr. Ernest Baskin, assistant professor of food marketing

Hometown: Mountain Top, PA

Follow @sjuartssciences & @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP

Corporate Social Responsibility & Impact on Native Americans: Cameron Kenworthy ’18



Cameron Kenworthy ’18 and Dr. Nevia

“Most people give a firm handshake or sign on a dotted line in an attempt to prove they’ll keep their word in an agreement,” says Summer Scholar and SJU junior Cameron Kenworthy. “But how are businesses really held accountable?” Cameron is spending the summer trying to answer this question.

Her research focuses on the impact of a plant operated by Nestle Waters, producer of the brand Arrowhead, that is located on a reservation in Southern California. Despite operating under a mission of environmental and social responsibility, the plant has been under scrutiny for the amount of water they have used amid severe droughts in the region over the last four years.

“Indigenous people who reside on the reservation, as well as those across the world are being affected by this,” says Cameron, a psychology major with a minor in Leadership, Ethics and Organizational Sustainability (LEO) from Hagerston, Maryland.

“I am investigating the inconsistencies between the company’s promise and its action,” says Cameron, “as well as the trying to identify ‘greenwashing’ practices.” Greenwashing occurs when a company spends time and money in an attempt to present an environmentally responsible image to consumers, often deceivingly.

Cameron’s mentor for the project, João Neiva de Figueiredo, Ph.D., associate professor of international business and LEO, was one of the first to encourage her to explore her interest in issues of corporate social responsibility.

“Dr. Neiva’s passion for the topics he teaches sparked my interest in the business world,” says Cameron. “He strives for each of his students to acquire passion for learning and a higher understanding of what interests them. He’s the best mentor I could ask for.”

“Cameron is a very dedicated student and summer scholar,” says Dr. Neiva. “She is a hard worker and is genuinely interested in researching differences between companies’ corporate social (and environmental) responsibility stated intentions and observed actions.”

“As consumers become increasingly focused on sustainability, it is in companies’ interest to project a socially and environmentally responsible image. The important question is what corporations do when there are conflicting incentives among the people, planet, and profit dimensions,” he says.

“I chose this topic because I think all too often people tend to accept big business for what it is, without questioning how the business interacts with the communities it may be affecting,” says Cameron. She hopes that the people who read her work will become just as passionate about these issues.

“[Through the Summer Scholars Program] I have learned more about the research process,” she says. “Like most summer scholars, I’ve never done anything like this before, and I have been eager to learn.”

— Colleen Sabatino ’11 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

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Summer Scholars Project Title: “An Investigation of Corporate Social Responsibility in Relation to Rights and Resources of Native Americans”

Mentor: João Neiva de Figueiredo, Ph.D., associate professor of international business and LEO

Follow @sjuartssciences @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP

Hybrid Organizations and Competing Priorities: Meaghan Cherewka ’18

Meaghan Cherewka ’18

Meaghan Cherewka ’18

Summer Scholar and SJU rising junior Meaghan Cherewka is studying what happens when companies fail to balance competing priorities — like social consciousness and the bottom line.

Her research focuses on hybrid organizations, defined as companies that “combine the social logic of a nonprofit with the commercial logic of a for-profit business” (Working Knowledge, Harvard Business School).

In particular, she is studying Ben & Jerry’s, a company equally as famous for its social justice platform as for its delicious creations. Founded more than 20 years ago by creators who defined their mission through a lens of corporate social responsibility, the business has faced challenges to maintaining this identity as it grew. After becoming a publicly traded corporation in 2012 and experiencing a series of leadership changes, Ben & Jerry’s struggled to balance its mission focus with its profit growth.

“My research examines the institutional logistics that make up this hybrid organization and how future companies can learn from Ben & Jerry’s mistakes when balancing these competing goals,” says Meaghan.

Her project was inspired by her mentor, Kenneth Kury, Ph.D., assistant professor of family business and entrepreneurship, who also helped guide her course of study in HSB. After taking his freshman seminar, Meaghan decided to double major in entrepreneurship and marketing and apply for the Summer Scholars Program.

“Dr. Kury told me about the program after I wrote a research paper for my freshman seminar class, which was focused on social entrepreneurship,” says Meaghan. “He thought we could expand the topic, and it could potentially lead to a publication of the paper.”

Having researched and delivered talks on the topic himself, including a presentation, “The Relationship Between Social Capital and Resource Acquisition in Social Entrepreneurship,” at the Satter Conference on Social Entrepreneurship in New York in 2009, Dr. Kury has been a great partner for Meaghan’s project.

“[Summer Scholars] allows you to work hand-in-hand with a professor on multiple drafts, collaborating to come up with ideas you may not have otherwise,” says Meaghan.

Meaghan and Dr. Kury will be submitting the paper, once completed, to be considered for presentation at the National Convention for Entrepreneurship.

A member of the SJU cheerleading squad, the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and the American Marketing Association, Meaghan is a volunteer with Make-A-Wish and Relay for Life.

— Colleen Sabatino ’11 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

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Summer Scholars Project Title: “Hybrid Organizations and Institutional Logistics”

Mentor: Kenneth Kury, Ph.D., assistant professor of family business and entrepreneurship


Follow @sjuartssciences @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP

Understanding Cybercrime: Philomena Faia ’17

Philomena Faia

Philomena Faia

“Today’s fast-growing business world functions because of instant connectivity,” says summer scholar and rising senior Philomena Faia. “However, its that same connectivity that has allowed cybercrime to become the second most committed economic crime worldwide. (PricewaterhouseCoopers).”

According to PwC’s Global Economic Crime Survey, published this past February,  54 percent of U.S. companies that responded to the survey have experienced some type of cybercrime, but close to half of those companies do not have or have not yet implemented a plan to respond to attacks.

Philomena is studying why businesses often downplay the threat of cybercrime, even as they lose millions of dollars and experience significant damage to their  reputations as a result of these incidents.

“My goal is to study how many businesses are affected by cyber-attacks each year and how much money they lose as a result,” she says

The vice president of SJU’s accounting society was turned on to this topic at a networking event where she had the opportunity to speak with forensic accountants about cybersecurity. She brought the topic to her now summer scholar mentor, accounting chair and professor Joseph Larkin, Ph.D., who encouraged her to run with it.

“Her research will grab the attention of the reader and hopefully raise society’s awareness of this important threat,” says Larkin. “The project will be to provide recommendations as to how we can manage this problem going forward.”

“I hope this research will give me a better understanding of how companies in the US globe deal with intelligence threats, as well as companies across the globe” says Philomena. “I want to see if there is one universal solution to help put a stop to this, or what level of collaboration between countries needs to take place.”

“Cybercrime should absolutely be a concern of not only the business world, but also for the entire world, as it impacts all of us,” adds Larkin.

In addition to her summer scholar work, Philomena is a sister of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and an intern with Vigilant Compliance, LLC.

— Colleen Sabatino ’11 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

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Summer Scholars Project Title: Examining Cybercrime: Security Challenges for 21st Century Businesses

Mentors: Joseph Larkin, Ph.D., chair of the accounting department

Follow @sjuartssciences @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP

Media Coverage of the Pharma Industry: Caitlin Smith ’17 and Olivia Capperella ‘18

160621-Sillup Porth Team_Summer Scholars-008Many SJU Summer Scholar projects are born of a single student’s curiosity or a moment of inspiration in the classroom. But others, like the work of pharmaceutical marketing majors Caitlin Smith ’17 and Olivia Capperella ’18, contribute to bodies of academic research years in the making.

Along with rising junior Claudia Barbiero, who serves as the group’s database administrator, Caitlin and Olivia are members of a research team examining the media’s portrayal of the pharmaceutical industry. Led by Associate Dean of the Haub School of Business and Professor of Management Stephen Porth, Ph.D. and Chair and Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, George Sillup, Ph.D., the scholars analyze articles from the previous year that ran in top national newspapers and included mention of the industry.

The project is in its 13th year.

Caitlin, who has been working alongside Dr. Sillup and Dr. Porth for the past three years, says they examine the articles in batches and determine the slant and key topics. “We note the companies, healthcare systems and drugs mentioned and the ethical issues discussed or implied in the articles,” she says.

“When we look at the top issues in the industry or questions of ethics, we use a legend that has evolved with the study and add new matters as they make headlines,” adds Olivia, who also has a major in business intelligence and analytics.

For example, the group tracked the peak in news coverage of the Ebola crisis (the first US case of which was reported in September 2014) and in issues related to the Zika virus, the news of which broke in early 2015.

Though a longstanding project, the study has evolved over the last decade as both the pharmaceutical and media industries have changed.

“This year, we’ve added social listening to the study, examining Google trend analysis, keywords about the industry and hot topics,” says Dr. Porth.

Results of the study are published annually in Pharma Executive, a major publication for the pharmaceutical industry, according to Dr. Sillup.

“It’s been eye-opening,” says Caitlin. “Even if you watch the news, you probably miss the quantity of these stories or aren’t tracking the conversation the way we are. It’s great insight into the industry we’ll be working for.”

In addition to working on this research, Caitlin and Olivia are also both interns at Aztra Zeneca and members of SJU’s chapter of PILOT (Pharmaceutical Industry Leaders of Tomorrow), of which Olivia is vice president.

“[The Summer Scholars program] offers a different way to review and learn material about the industry outside of the typical classroom setting,” says Olivia. “I feel it has also helped me with my internship because I am able to come in with a better background and in-depth knowledge of the pharmaceutical world.”

— Colleen Sabatino ’11 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

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Summer Scholars Project Title: Analyzing the Pharmaceutical Industry through Newspaper Coverage and the Media

Mentors: Steve Porth, Ph.D., HSB  associate dean and professor of management; George Sillup, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing

High Schools: Pottsgrove (Caitlin); Gwenydd Mercy (Olivia)

Follow @sjuartssciences @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP

Clothing & Social Responsibility: Meghan McDonald ’17

Meghan McDonald '17

Meghan McDonald ’17

“Sustainability and social responsibility within the garment industry are more than desirable objectives,” says Summer Scholar and international business major Meghan McDonald ’17, “this industry is overloaded with issues and puzzled for solutions.”

In pursuit of those solutions, Meghan, who also has minors in Spanish and economics, has been spending the summer exploring issues of corporate social responsibility within clothing companies. She hopes to gain a better understanding the complexities of the industry and assess strategies for encouraging conscientious consumers.

On the consumer side, Meghan’s research is focused mainly on the need for increased awareness among millennials.

“I took interest in this topic after watching a documentary on the apparel industry,” says the scholar, who is a native of Berwyn, Pennsylvania. “My questions continued to develop and I discussed them with my sister, Mary Catherine, who witnessed many issues firsthand when she lived in Southeast Asia teaching English.”

Meghan’s eagerness to learn more about these issues led her to apply for Summer Scholars.

“The Summer Scholars Program is a unique opportunity to explore an academic topic in depth with both independent freedom and guidance from a well-respected professor,” she says.

Meghan is working with João Neiva de Figueiredo, Ph.D., an associate professor of management at Saint Joseph’s who has a background in business economics and teaches courses on topics such as organizational sustainability and global business strategy.

“Along with his incredible knowledge, he brought passion to the subject and took the material further than just theory,” says Meghan. “Dr. Neiva shows the value of a global minded education, while building the necessary business skills and cultural awareness to work in an international setting.”

“Global sourcing in the apparel industry has been fraught with issues of fair treatment of labor,” says Neiva. “Meghan McDonald’s summer research project explores the need both for increased social sustainability awareness among young consumers and for corporate responsibility on the part of producing companies. In particular, she is investigating the evolution of company responses to labor conditions abroad since the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh. This is an important inquiry because we hope findings will help deepen understanding of how consumer responses may encourage companies to address stakeholder needs and increase social responsibility.”

Meghan hopes their research can contribute to the call for better labor standards and more sustainable practices internationally.

She just returned from a semester abroad in Madrid, where, in addition to completing coursework, she was able to continue her weekly service participation. Back at home, Meghan is reengaged with her roles as an active ELS volunteer, a big sister with the Soith Eastern chapter of Big Brother Big Sister, a member of the SJU International Business Society and an intern for Profugo, an international development nonprofit in Ardmore.

— Colleen Sabatino ’11 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

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Summer Scholars Project Title: Corporate Social Responsibility: the Effects on Millennial Consumption

Mentor: João Neiva de Figueiredo, Ph.D., associate professor of management

High School: Academy of Notre Dame

Follow @sjuartssciences @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP