How Blackness is Lived: Eric Adjei-Danquah ’17

Adjei-Danquah '17 (right) and Yates

Adjei-Danquah ’17 (right) and Yates

Eric Adjei-Danquah ’17, a rising senior biology major with minors in health care ethics and behavioral neuroscience, loves learning. “I like to learn in a way where I am in control, where I am deeply invested, and where my experience is self-driven,” he says. It’s no surprise, then, that Eric would apply to the Summer Scholars Program.

An aspiring physician, he’s spent much of his time at Saint Joseph’s studying the sciences, and deciding he wanted to step away briefly from pipettes and sterile technique, he elected as a Summer Scholar to work with Assistant Professor of History Brian Yates, Ph.D., whose expertise focuses on identity construction, Ethiopian history, The Oromo, African state building and modern African history.

With Eric’s interest in African culture and the Pan African diaspora in mind, he and Dr. Yates — who taught Eric in Forging the Modern World, HIS 154 — developed his project, which Eric says explores several dynamics, including perceived philosophical and value system differences within the black community, based on country of origin, generational length and self-identity. He’s also looking at the idea of a tangibly distinct culture as a comprehensive black community. Eric is analyzing national data to determine if socioeconomic outcomes and trends of persons considered black match their individual ethnic cultures, identities, philosophies and values.

“I had the pleasure of teaching Eric in my History 154 class for which he wrote an exceptional philosophically centered paper,” says Dr. Yates. “Since then, we’ve tried to connect on a class together, but his schedule precluded that, so I’m glad this project gives us the opportunity to work together again.

“We’re  looking at specific cultural practices, beliefs and values that are helping to answer Eric’s research question, and he is making significant progress,” he adds.

“I’m having fun with this project,” says Eric. “I wake up every day excited to be doing what I’m doing, and about where this work could lead. The Summer Scholar’s program allows me to be an adventurer, an explorer and a true learner,” Eric says.

A fellow of SJU’s Institute of Clinical Bioethics, Eric says he plans to carry the work he produces this summer into a paper analyzing the “legacy of mistrust in the African American community toward the medical profession related to end-of-life issues.”

Before he attends medical school, he would like to do service work in an inner-city, urban community. Eric is also interested in doing post-undergraduate work in philosophy.

A third year returning RA and a captain for the 2020 Student Orientation Team, Eric is involved with several Institute initiatives  and also teaches for the GeoKidsLINKS program. As a first year student, he received a travel grant to present research at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farms Research Campus. He has also presented at the annual Sigma Xi research symposium and at the American Society for Cell Biology.

–Patricia Allen ’13 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

***

Summer Scholars Project Title: “How ‘Blackness’ is Lived: An Exploration of Cultural and Economic Experiences Between Africans, African Americans, and Black Americans”

Mentor: Brian Yates, Ph.D., assistant professor of history

High School: Preparatory Charter High School of Mathematics, Science, Technology, and Careers (Prep Charter), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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

Soccer Salaries and Stats: Kevin Shank’ 18

160607-Kevin Shank Summer Scholar -003

Kevin Shank ’18

When avid soccer fan and mathematics and computer science major Kevin Shank ’18 learned about the sports marketing minor at SJU, he couldn’t pass it up. Combining his liberal arts degrees with the business-focused minor has allowed him to combine his interests, and inspired him to apply for the summer scholar program. “I wanted to spend my summer doing work that interested me,” he says. “This program gave me the opportunity to create my own project based on my own questions, and search for those answers.”

The questions Kevin decided to raise focus on player contribution in relation to salary. ESPN recently posted an article about salary discrepancy in Major League Soccer. “One interesting fact this article highlights is that two different players in MLS make more per season than the whole roster of 14 different teams,” says Kevin.

Alongside visiting instructor of sports marketing and sports writer Amie Sheridan, Kevin is evaluating the 2015 Major League Soccer season to create player rankings in an unbiased fashion.

“Past scholarly journals have shown through statistics which aspects are most important and strongly correlated with winning teams,” says Kevin. “With that information, and through collecting and organizing the raw data, I will also determine which players are most efficient in terms of salary and predict player/team performances based on recent results.”

“I am extremely impressed with Kevin’s genuine curiosity and work ethic,” says Sheridan. “He is an enthusiastic and smart self-starter, and his project will help to shine light on how Major League Soccer can effectively use data to make strategic roster decisions.”

“I want to enter this field of sports analytics,” he says. “I am hoping that this project will offer a sample of what it is like to analyze Big Data in the sports industry.”

A native of Broomall, Pennsylvania, Kevin is also a member of Saint Joseph’s club Gaelic football team, a leader for the Philadelphia Service Immersion Program, a community partner coordinator for the weekly service site at Our Mother of Sorrows soup kitchen/outreach, an APEX participant and a member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega.

— Colleen Sabatino ’11 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

* * *

Summer Scholars Project Title: “Analyzing Player Contribution in Major League Soccer”

Mentor: Amie Sheridan, visiting instructor of sports marketing

High School: Archbishop John Carroll HS

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

Social Justice and Social Media: Elizabeth Krotulis ’17

Krotulis

Krotulis

Hashtags have become such an ingrained part of our culture that we use them in our spoken conversation. In 2014, Merriam-Webster added the term to its dictionary. But what’s behind all the hashtags we see on social media, other than collecting all our thoughts on a particular subject into one stream?

English major Liz Krotulis ’17 is spending her summer researching just that. As part of a Summer Scholars project, Krotulis is studying the communities behind certain social justice hashtags — including #climatechange, #globalwarming, #sustainability and #keepphillybeautiful — on Twitter and Instagram.

“The goal for the study is to learn more about these communities by examining how and why members tweet and post the way they do,” Krotulis explains. She will use mixed research methods to gather information, including data collecting, interviews and “netnography,” a branch of anthropology in which a researcher observes life from the point of view of the subject to better understand their thinking.

Her mentor, Bill Wolff, Ph.D., assistant professor of communications studies, has performed similar research on how fans of Bruce Springsteen form a community through hashtags.

“The thing that I’ve learned studying hashtags is that there is no one-size-fits all model,” Wolff says. “Each hashtag is used in unique ways depending on the people using it. That’s why it is so important to look at the content of the tweets and posts themselves and not just focus on the fact that the hashtag exists.”

Krotulis says that she chose to participate in Summer Scholars because it gives her a chance to conduct in-depth research for the first time.

“I’m excited to experience conducting an academic study, because I’ve never done anything on this scale before,” she says. “The process itself is something I want to learn and understand. It sometimes feels intimidating, but [Wolff’s] guidance is extremely helpful and gives me confidence to complete all steps of the project well.”

During the academic year, Krotulis is a tutor at SJU’s Writing Center, a copyeditor for The Hawk student newspaper, a weekly service volunteer and an intern for the Office of University Communications. She has made the dean’s list in all but one semester during her college career and is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society.

— Jeffrey Martin ’04, ’05 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

***

Summer Scholars Project Title: “Social Justice and Social Media: The Use of Climate Change Hashtags on Twitter and Instagram and the Communities behind Them”

Mentor: Bill Wolff, Ph.D., assistant professor of communications studies

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

Animal Behavior and Experimental Psychology: Angelo d’Antonio-Bertagnolli ’18

d'Antonio-Bertagnolli '18 with Anderson.

d’Antonio-Bertagnolli ’18 with Anderson.

Summer Scholar Angelo d’Antonio-Bertagnolli ’18, a psychology major/chemistry minor from Mt. Laurel, New Jersey is spending much of his summer hanging out with fabled characters from Greek mythology. The antics of Achilles, Hector, Helen, Andromeda, Perseus, Medea, Jason, Narcissus, Penelope, Ariadne and Atalanta, fill his days and some of his nights.

Though it might be expected from his companions’ names, he’s not writing a classics paper. Rather, the subjects of his study are members of a small colony of 11 budgerigars (m. undulatus) housed in an aviary in Post Hall. Known more commonly as parakeets, or sometimes, budgies, this league of 11 were named from the Greek canon by Angelo’s mentor Matthew Anderson, Ph.D., associate dean of social sciences, an experimental psychologist who specializes in animal behavior.

Angelo’s Summer Scholar project is involving him in investigating the lateral preferences the small parrots exhibit and how these relate to subsequent performance in problem solving tasks, meaning he’s examining whether or not an individual budgie might use their right or left leg when scratching or perching — think handedness in people — and whether such preferences predict ability to achieve a goal.

“Studying laterality is interesting because it’s applicable to humans to some degree — people are left-footed or right-handed, for example — but overall, I’m hoping that this project will reveal some broad implications for avian behavior,” says Angelo, who is also the Speaker for the SJU Student Senate, plays lead guitar in SJU’s Jazz Band, and has earned Dean’s List honors for each semester he’s been a student at Saint Joseph’s.

Well known for his laterality research with flamingos, Dr. Anderson says that once they know a little bit more about how laterality works in the budgie, [which is somewhat understudied], he and Angelo might be able to infer possible evolutionary functions and reasons why the behavior shows up in other species.

“This research could help us make sense of bigger behavior questions,” Dr. Anderson says.

Guided by Dr. Anderson during the 2015-16 academic year, Angelo developed a sophisticated three-part study of the birds that begins with observations of side preferences. When that’s complete, he’ll test the colony on a tool-use task, and finally, train the birds to dig for food, testing their ability to remember which sand-filled cup contains the seeds that make up the birds’ diet.

“Angelo’s Summer Scholar proposal required him to write a protocol for the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, design an ambitious project and conduct a comprehensive literature review,” says Dr. Anderson. “It’s really akin to a master’s level thesis.”

Which, Angelo says, is what inspired him to apply for the Summer Scholars Program.

“It wouldn’t be possible for me to run this study during the school year unless I was a graduate student,” Angelo adds. “As a Summer Scholar, I don’t have to study for tests and follow another person’s deadlines. I’m able to pursue my own research interests, and hopefully, I’ll complete a publishable project.”

And being up close and personal all summer with mythological figures, even if they are of the feathered variety, is a bonus.

–Patricia Allen ’13 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

***

Summer Scholars Project Title: “Analysis of the Relationship Between Degrees of Hemispheric Lateralization and Cognitive Ability in Budgerigars Through Problem Solving Tasks”

Mentor: Matthew Anderson, Ph.D., associate dean of social sciences

High School: Saint Augustine Preparatory School, Richland, New Jersey

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

 

 

 

Food and Emotion: Jane Hooper ’18

jane Hooper '18Food marketing major Jane Hooper ’18 wants to know what happens when you get HANRGY. For her summer scholars research project, she’s studying the impact of emotion on food consumption — specifically the emotion of anger. “I have always been interested in emotions and how emotions affect human behavior,” she says, adding that currently, there is very little research on anger in relation to food consumption.

Jane’s mentor, associate professor of food marketing, Ernest Baskin, Ph.D., is an expert in environmental and emotional factors in food consumption, among other topics.

“Emotions and their effects on consumption behavior is a very important topic that spans the fields of psychology and marketing,” says Dr. Baskin. “However, most of the research on emotions has focused on happy and sad emotions and how they affect consumption.”

According to Baskin, researchers looking at this topic have typically lumped together all negative emotions, focusing mostly on sadness, resulting in predictions that people would generally want to use food to engage in mood repair.

By isolating anger and how it functions differently from sadness in terms of consumption, Jane’s topic explores new questions.

In addition to completing an extensive literature review, Jane has worked with Dr. Baskin to compose and conduct surveys and observational studies, and to analyze the resulting data.

“I love doing research and analyzing data which is why I decided to apply for the Summer Scholars Program,” says the Connecticut native who is also pursuing a minor business intelligence & analytics minor. “I want to go into marketing research and this project is allowing me to explore what that field is like.”

A member of the Dean’s Leadership Program as well as the Food Marketing and American Marketing Association chapters at SJU, Jane has earned a spot on the dean’s list each semester. She interned with specialty food company, Carl Brandt, Inc. in 2014 and worked as a Fancy Food Show representative for the company at the annual food show in New York City. She also co-hosted a radio show on the University’s station, Radio 1851.

Outside of academics, Jane is involved in service on campus. She a leader for the Magis Weekly Service Program, participates in the Collegiate Challenge and attended an Appalachian Experience Service Trip to Kentucky in 2015. She be studying abroad in Florence, Italy in the Fall.

— Colleen Sabatino ’11 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

***

Summer Scholars Project Title: “Is emotion a key factor in food consumption and food choice?”
Mentor: Ernest Baskin, Ph.D., assistant professor of food marketing

High school: Fairfield Ludlow High School, Fairfield, Connecticut

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