Sneak Peeks URCAD 2017

Featured Students:
Haley Bast | Elena Beck | Ravi Bhatt | Renee Booker | Eryka Boyd | Richard Elliott | Debbie Farthing | Marshal Golden | Wil Hromek | Amy Huber | Melody Khosravi | Alison Larsen | Patrick McCarthy | Caleb Metcalf | Sarah Miller | Daniela Mujica-Martorell | Paul Oh | Himadri Patel | Sarah Pollock | Rosa Rada | Domineka Reeves | Shelly Ryan | Iman Said | Tae Song | Nerissa Vasconcells | Yadikaer Yasheng | Steph Zazanis | Yun Zheng | Takreem Zulfiqar

Haley Bast


“Challenges to Prehospital Care in Honduras”
Mentor: J. Lee Jenkins, Emergency Health Services
Location: UC Ballroom | Time: 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. | Poster 28

Honduras Emergency Medical Systems (EMS) had endured extreme disorganization due to the lack of funding and resource throughout the country. Therefore, the country has been unable to obtain necessary training needed to ensure adequate patient care. In 2001, Hurricane Mitch severely impacted the country of Honduras, wiping out most of the necessary resources needed for survival (Erich, 2001). In order to repair the damage, it is vital that structure is put into place so that medical processes can be consistent and effective throughout Honduras. Upon research, it was found that an academic study of prehospital emergency care in Honduras has yet to be published. Therefore, in this paper, the system is evaluated based on demographics, a specific analysis of the system, and possible solutions to problems.

Elena Beck


“Nightwish: The Global Fan Culture of a Finnish Symphonic Metal Band”
Mentor: Fan Yang, Media and Communication Studies
Location: UC 310 | Time: 2:15 – 2:30 p.m.

Since the formation of the symphonic metal band Nightwish in 1996, its hometown of Kitee, Finland, has felt the band’s rise to international fame and its impact on the local character and culture. At the same time, the folk culture of the village maintains its mark on the band itself, influencing the band’s music and visuals, and thus sharing that aesthetic with the world. Metal music fans flock to Kitee to visit the birthplace of their idols, leading to exchanges of music, culture, and local and global identities. Through ethnographic research, such as participant observation and interviews with locals and visitors to the town, I explore the impact of a globalized fan culture on a local community. I also examine the representations of the band and its fan culture as portrayed through global media, such as documentary video and social media. The growth, modification, reinforcement, and distribution of the culture of one Finnish town and the Nightwish fan culture around the world provides an illustration of how the globalization of music impacts the lives of many.

Renee Booker

AP Photo/Copyright 2001 The Record (Bergen County, NJ), Thomas E. Franklin, Staff Photographer

“9/11 Through the Eyes of the Millennial Generation”
Mentor: Michele Osherow, English
Location: UC 312 | Time: 2:00 – 2:12 p.m.

For my creative project, I collected various experiences and recollections from people who were children on September 11, 2001. Each of these individual stories illustrates not only different viewpoints of that day, but also how that day’s events continue to affect these members of the Millennial Generation. I have joined these stories with facts surrounding 9/11 to create a kind of narrative timeline. This project was inspired by the realization that 9/11 was a common point of brutal awakening among members of the Millennial Generation. Those few hours taught us things about our world that we were unprepared to learn. Our country and culture directed us to face those things, even if we could not understand them. Each of the stories in this timeline is both similar and different in many ways. Because of this, weaving them together creates an inclusive snapshot of how one event was experienced by members of a generation.

This work was funded, in part, through an Undergraduate Research Award from the UMBC Office of Undergraduate Education.

Richard Elliott

“It’s Just a Jump to the Right: The Tea Party’s Influence on Conservative Discourse”
Mentor: Kathy Bryan, American Studies
Location: UC 312 | Time: 3:00 – 3:15 p.m.

This study analyzes the correlation of speeches by members of the right-wing Tea Party caucus with mainstream conservative political discourse. The rhetoric of these politicians after their ascendance in the 2010 congressional elections was compared to the rhetoric used by John McCain, the Republican nominee in 2008, and Donald Trump, the Republican nominee in 2016 and current president-elect, to understand the correlation with other changes in conservative discourse. I studied this discourse shift using speech analysis to code for instances of negative discourse and establish a comparison between these election years while also noting rhetorical shifts evident among mainstream conservative politicians.

This work was funded, in part, by UMBC McNair Scholars Summer Research Institute

Debbie Farthing


“Unpacking Margaret: The Other Life of Margaret Patricia Killian”
Mentor: Amy Froide, History
Location: UC 310 | 11:30 – 11:45 a.m.

Margaret Killian, long-time head of the Home Economics department at the University of Omaha, seemingly represented the model image of the mid-twentieth century female academic. Never married and with no children of her own, her life appeared to revolve around the university and her students. This non-traditional honors thesis project focuses on using material culture to explore different aspects of her life using a visual format for the presentation. A digital exhibit will reveal another side of Margaret through a group of objects found in a steamer trunk that belonged to her. These objects, along with other outside sources, show how Margaret acted as an agent in building a vibrant and active life, rather than that of a lonely spinster academic. In her own words, Margaret “lived, rather than lasted for…” over 90 years,”… and enjoyed every moment of it.”

Marshal Golden


“Respectable Violence: Boxing and the Old Amateur Ethic in Late-Georgian and Victorian Britain”
Mentor: Daniel Ritschel, History
Location: UC 310 | Time: 1:00 – 1:15 p.m.

The amateur sports culture fashioned by the Victorian middle-class has been described as something entirely new for its time. Yet historians have puzzled over the sudden emergence of this new amateur ethic, since they believe that the middle-class had shown little interest in either watching or participating in athletics prior to the bourgeois sports craze which characterized the four decades after 1870. However, my research demonstrates that a multitude of middle-class voices were engaged in sustained conversation about the nature of popular sports since at least the beginning of the century. Significantly, such voices had long been promoting the virtues of amateurism as part of their efforts at moral education of the working-class. My analysis also demonstrates that at different points in the nineteenth century, the British middle-class advocated amateurism in sport for opposing ends. Prior to the sports craze, amateurism was recommended to instill respectable values in the working-class through the asceticism of athletic training, and to promote more civilized conflict resolution through rules-based competition. By contrast, after the middle-class began to take part in athletic competitions later in the nineteenth century, amateurism was used to exclude working-class participants.

This work was funded, in part, through an Undergraduate Research Award from the UMBC Office of Undergraduate Education.

Alison Larsen, Amy Huber, Ravi Bhatt, Melody Khosravi


“Age Friendly UMBC: Accessibility for All”
Mentor: Galina Madjaroff, Aging Studies
Location: UC 312 | 11:15 – 11:45 a.m.

There is a lack of accessibility for older adult students as well as older faculty and staff on the UMBC campus. After speaking to many older adults and touring multiple successful Erickson Living communities, it has become abundantly clear that UMBC must make improvements to the campus in order to improve accessibility both inside and outside the classroom. In order to gain knowledge on the accessibility issue, both students and older adults took a survey on how to improve the UMBC campus in order to make it a welcoming and inclusive environment for older students, faculty, and staff. The survey results revealed many issues on campus such as nonfunctioning handicapped doors, lecture halls without ramps, unmarked handicapped entrances, and unclear handicapped routes throughout campus. The research that was done will help to make positive changes to the campus in order to make UMBC as diverse in age as it is in culture and ethnicity.

Caleb Metcalf


“Boy Meets Girl, Boy, Girl: Subverting Master Narratives in the Web-Series MANN/FRAU”
Mentor: Edward Larkey, Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication
Location: UC 310 | Time: 10:00 – 10:15 a.m.

This research investigates how various modes of communication are utilized within the German comedy web-series MANN/FRAU (“MAN/WOMAN”) to bring underrepresented LGBT+ themes to a mainstream audience. Though the New Queer Cinema movement, since its development in the early 90s, has produced multiple breakthrough films and contributed to an increasing appearance of LGBT+ characters on film and television, these media still overwhelmingly favor heteronormative issues and identities. MANN/FRAU is atypical in its approach to New Queer Cinema, as the first season revolves around a heteronormative “boy-meets-girl” master narrative, which is subverted and developed into a counternarrative in the second season to explore various issues including polyamorous relationships and the view of sexuality as a spectrum. This structure makes MANN/FRAU a successful example of how to introduce LGBT+ issues to potentially wary audiences. Aided by the analysis of still frames that encapture the progression of the relationship narrative, the counternarrative was investigated in detail via a multimodal analysis, with respect to how various modes of communication (e.g., shot composition, lighting, etc.) contribute to the development of the counternarrative as it unfolds.

Sarah Miller

© 2017 Sarah Miller

“Aftermath: Daily Life and Community Organization Along the Rio Doce”
Mentor: Lee Boot, IRC
Location: UC Ballroom Lobby | Time: 10-11:30 a.m.

This project served to answer the question; how can photographs and interviews be used effectively as tools to seek justice and accountability for those affected by an ecological disaster? In 2015, in Mariana, Brazil, the collapse of a tailings dam caused ~50 million cubic meters of mine waste to spill into the Rio Doce, causing the largest known tailings spill in world history. Despite its magnitude, it was inadequately investigated by the Brazilian government and media, and little has been done to give sufficient aid to the residents of the area. We visited the Rio Doce Valley in June of 2016, photographically documenting and completing interviews with its residents. This collection of preliminary data in the form of photographs, short videos, audio, and text demonstrates that residents’ responses to the disaster were varied, complex, and at times conflicting, depending on individuals’ socio-economic status, occupation, etc. Furthermore, the work reveals the ways in which the mining company, Samarco, has perpetuated divisions within and among communities in the Rio Doce valley since the spill. Documentation of the Rio Doce disaster will be used to inform the public about the staggering impacts of large mine spills, helping to encourage vigilance toward this issue.

This work was funded, in part, through an Undergraduate Research Award from the UMBC Office of Undergraduate Education.

Daniela Mujica-Martorell


“More Than Just Pretty: Analyzing the Influence of Globalization on the Role of Design in South Korea”
Mentor: Kyung-Eun Yoon, Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication
Location: UC 310 | Time: 1:00 – 1:15 p.m.

Many are aware that over the past two decades, the Korean Wave — also known as Hallyu — has taken the international world by storm in a manner comparable to the popular cultural influence once attributed solely to America’s Hollywood. However, less is known about the unique processes that have contributed to its success. Design is fundamentally important to consider within the global setting: as an art, it is reflective of cultural values, and as a form of visual communication, it carries the potential to be a powerful tool, even across cultures. This research project assumed the premise that it has been precisely through an efficient and effective use of design principles that both South Korean entertainment companies and the South Korean government have been successful in exerting such a tremendous influence of Korean pop culture across a span of countries. Through a critical analysis of the definition of design and its history in both ancient and modern Korea, this research project determined how globalization has indeed played a role in influencing design standards in South Korea, how effectively design has been implemented in South Korean social cultural policy, and how this has influenced international relations by means of Hallyu.

Paul Oh

© 2017 Paul Oh

“Slight Murmurs”
Mentor: Cathy Cook, Visual Arts
Location: PAHB 210 | 1:15 – 1:30 p.m.

Cinema is a reflection of the real world. While some elements may be exaggerated, the internal core of movies mirror that of the human experience. In conventional narrative films, we, as audience members, experience the routine of a fictional character and if done correctly, empathize with the protagonist’s journey. The goal of this project is to produce a short film called, Slight Murmurs. The narrative is formed by loosely tied vignettes that attempt to capture the abstract landscape of dreams. This vast territory, closely reminiscent to the physical world, is difficult to linguistically define. The purpose of this film is to investigate this subjective boundary between clear reality and hazy fiction. Blending together various visual mediums including film, video, and animation, the intensions are to convey the lucidity of the unconscious. This film should raise philosophical discussion of why we as humans have the capacity to have dreams without fully understanding them.

This work was funded, in part, through an Undergraduate Research Award from the UMBC Office of Undergraduate Education.

Himadri Patel


“Brain Mechanisms of Stress-Induced Analgesia”
Mentor: Raimi Quiton, Psychology
UC 204 | 2:15 – 2:30 p.m.

Despite several decades of research into stress-induced analgesia (SIA), a pain-suppression phenomenon mediated by the nervous and endocrine systems, little is known about underlying neural mechanisms. This study tested the hypothesis that psychological stress leads to a decreased perception of pain through increased activation of the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex, and decreased activation of the cortical pain network. Eight healthy adults (5 females) were given painful heat stimuli before and after they performed a computerized task in the MRI scanner. Subjects participated in (1) a control session in which the task was not stressful and (2) an experimental session on a separate day in which the task was stressful. The stress task elicited increased activity during pain in the right amygdala (t = 2.43, p < 0.01) and the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (t = 3.64, p < 0.001), and reduced activity bilaterally in the thalamus (t = 5.09, p < 0.001), a key pain processing area; however, pain activity was not reduced significantly in the cortical pain network. The results of this study provide novel information of how stress alters the brain’s response to pain, leading to altered perception.

This work was funded, in part, through an Undergraduate Research Award from the UMBC Office of Undergraduate Education.

Sarah Pollock


“Implementers’ Attitudes about Health Homes for People with Serious Mental Illness in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programs”
Mentor: Beth McGinty, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Location: UC 240 | Time: 2:30 – 2:45 p.m.

The passage of the Affordable Care Act allowed states to create Medicaid health homes, focused on improving somatic care for high-cost, high-need populations like consumers with serious mental illness (SMI). Health homes are designed to improve health outcomes for persons with SMI by coordinating the delivery of behavioral and somatic healthcare services. Maryland is the only state in the nation implementing the health home model in psychiatric rehabilitation programs (PRPs), a community-setting serving a high-need segment of persons with SMI. The objective of this project is to assess implementers’ perceptions of facilitators and barriers to health home implementation in the PRP setting. We administered a 24-item, paper-and-pencil survey to 603 staff at PRPs in Maryland. The survey measured staff perceptions of the role of PRPs in improving physical health. The results show that 89% of the staff agreed that PRPs should incorporate improving physical health into their missions. 82% of the staff agreed that PRPs should monitor and manage health conditions like diabetes, and 87% agreed that PRPs should address all the health and social needs of their clients. These results suggest strong implementer buy-in to the health home program, which is an important factor in improving consumers’ health outcomes.

This investigation was sponsored by NIH/NIGMS MARC U*STAR T34 08663 National Research Service Award to UMBC, and by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grant K01MH106631 (PI: Emma McGinty).

Rosa Rada


“Information Flows and Food Assistance: Challenges to SNAP Program Provision in Baltimore City”
Mentor: David Lansing, Geography and Environmental Systems
Location: UC 310 | Time: 1:45 – 2:00 p.m.

In an effort to modernize and streamline service programs, governments are increasingly looking for ways to alter program delivery. Since 2015, there were two major changes implemented regarding the provision of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the State of Maryland: the launch of an online platform to automate SNAP enrollment and a new issuance schedule for benefits. These changes presented challenges in Baltimore City, particularly in regards to how information was communicated to SNAP recipients. This study explored how these changes were communicated to SNAP recipients, focusing on the areas of information design, technology inequality, and support services. An interdisciplinary literature review was supplemented with a qualitative interview analysis of five persons who work, in varying capacities, with SNAP recipients in Baltimore City. The results of this study reveal how the uneven geography of social difference presents challenges and opportunities for SNAP program provision in Baltimore City. This study concluded with policy recommendations for improving information flows regarding future SNAP program changes. Given the increasing automation and modernization of service programs like SNAP, this research contributes to a growing understanding of how to make these processes equitable and beneficial for all.

Domineka Reeves

© 2017 Michael Mower

“Together We Stand”
Mentor: Erica Rebollar, Dance
Location: Dance Cube (PAHB) | Time: 10:30 a.m.

Together We Stand, was created to explore the complex concepts of self-realization, fear, and empowerment. This dance distinctively presents the cohesiveness of these three commonly experienced phases in life, through videography, original musical compositions, and movement. This dance uses distinct sounds within each musical composition to create an environment filled with tranquility, uneasiness, and empowerment. Different intimate experiences from everyday life is what she uses to authenticate the reoccurring and expressionistic style of movement within this dance. By using some of these life experiences as inspiration, she can create movement that conveys honesty and perseverance. There is a powerful quote by Alvin Ailey which drives her to continue an in-depth exploration of her internal self through movement. He states that “Dance is for everybody. And I believe that dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people”.

Shelly Ryan

© 2017 Shelly Ryan

“Shifting Dimensions for Dummies”
Mentor: Corrie Parks, Visual Arts
Location: 216 PAHB | Time: 1:30 p.m.

Shifting Dimensions for Dummies is a one-minute film created by combining three different types of animation. My goal was to see if these techniques would mesh together into one bigger, more fascinating world. With strata stencil, stop motion, and progressive drawing, a ninja-in-training must break different dimensional barriers in order to save a poster board from an unknown foe. I chose to use strata-stencil to animate the main character in a photography book, because it was efficient and portable. Using stop motion, I made the book jump the desk and over to the wall the poster board occupied. The ninja then rockets upwards out of the book, up the wall, and onto the board as a 2-D progressively drawn character. I became very involved in the project because I had to figure out the technical processes for the three different techniques. Finally, my post-production work with compositing in After Effects and sound in Premier brought the techniques together in a satisfying way.

See my video here…

Iman Said


“The Impact of Religious Identity and Religious Practices on Behavioral Measures of Self Control”
Mentor: Esther Doyle Read, Ancient Studies
Location: UC Ballroom | 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. | Poster 13

Religion is said to play a large role in the lives of many; however, the role that it plays in our decision making has yet to be researched extensively. Religions may make future consequences (e.g., afterlife) more salient, and this may affect the extent to which delayed consequences affect choice during everyday life. Subjects included in this study are UMBC students over the age of 18. A demographics form is given to assess the participant’s religious identity and religious practice (e.g., frequency of prayer or attendance at a place of worship) to group them into either high, medium, or low religiosity. The participant then completes a monetary discounting questionnaire (Kirby, Petry, & Bickel, 2009) which assesses self-control (i.e., selection of a larger, delayed amount of money over a smaller, immediate amount of money). After recruiting a sufficient number of participants, we expect to find correlations between religious identity (e.g., Muslim, Catholic, Hindu, Atheist, Agnostic, and Other-Christian), the degree of religious practice, and behavioral measures of self-control. By identifying correlations between religious identity, religious practices, and self-control, we can see whether religious involvement can help increase self-control.

Nerissa Vasconcells


“Excerpt from Luminous”
Mentor: Erica Rebollar, Dance
Location: Dance Cube (PAHB) | Time: 11:00 a.m.

My creative project for URCAD, Excerpt from Luminous, is a dance piece that interplays elements of luminescent costuming, light, movement, and sound to create a multi-disciplinary landscape. My Senior Capstone Project, Luminous, which premiered Fall 2016, generates illusions of light and shadow while showcasing highly-charged movement to challenging musical rhythms. Thematically, the piece speaks to the co-dependency of light and dark; without one, the other cannot exist. In this work, I expose the different moods and movement inventions pertaining to the polarities of light and dark. Using solos, duets, trios, and group sections, Excerpt from Luminous explores interactions among the dancers. This work allows the viewer to experience new perspectives by embracing the lightness and darkness in our lives.

Yadikaer Yasheng, Wil Hromek, Tae Song, Patrick McCarthy


“Warlock War: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena”
Mentor: Eric Jordan, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
UC Ballroom | 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. | Poster 84

Warlock War is a warlock themed Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) developed with Unity3d engine and photon networking framework. In the game, each player controls his own warlock and fight till the end in an arena surrounded by burning lava. The battle between warlocks is fair but brutal. Each warlock possesses many powerful spells capable of destroying anyone in his way. Accurate casting of spells, extreme dodging of oncoming attack, or clever use of the surrounding environment, warlocks will use any means possible to stand to the last.

Our development team aimed to research on the trade-offs of different multiplayer networking architectures and understand the crucial aspect of balancing accuracy and responsiveness in multiplayer game programming. Working with our talented artist team with their finely crafted visual assets, we bring to you… Warlock War.

Steph Zazanis, Eryka Boyd

© 2017 Steph Zazanis

“Caffeine and Alcohol Use Are Associated With Pain Perception”
Mentor: Raimi Quiton, Psychology
UC Ballroom | 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. | Poster 32

Alcohol and caffeine are known to influence pain perception. Alcohol has been shown to reduce experimental and clinical pain, while caffeine’s association with pain is unclear. The effects of regular alcohol and caffeine use on experimental pain in healthy subjects has not been systematically studied. This study hypothesized that greater consumption of alcohol is associated with reduced experimental pain and improved function of endogenous pain inhibitory systems, while greater consumption of caffeine is associated with increased experimental pain and reduced function of endogenous pain inhibitory systems. Participants (N=83, 45 female) reported caffeine and alcohol consumption by questionnaire, and received painful heat stimuli on their arm to measure pain threshold, tolerance, and responses to suprathreshold pain. Conditioned pain modulation (CPM), a measure of the function of endogenous pain inhibitory systems, was measured by comparing heat pain ratings before and during application of painful pressure to the leg. As hypothesized, greater weekly alcohol consumption correlated with lower suprathreshold pain responses (r=.261, p=.027), and greater daily caffeine consumption was significantly correlated with less CPM (r=.381, p=.001). These results suggest that regular alcohol and caffeine use has effects on pain perception. Further research is needed to identify the mechanisms by which these changes occur.

Yun Zheng


“Broadcasting Eating: An Ethnography of Mukbang Consumers”
Mentor: Donald Snyder, Media and Communication Studies; Bryce Peake, Media and Communication Studies
Location: UC 312 | Time: 10:15 – 10:30 a.m.

This project focuses on Mukbang, the growing phenomenon featuring young attractive people broadcasting themselves eating large quantities of food on webcam, while textual chatting with their invisible viewers. The term Mukbang combines the two Korean words meokneun (eating), and bangsong (broadcast). Mukbang has been growing in popularity throughout Asia, with the most popular videos on YouTube reaching two million viewers. How does Mukbang as a cultural practice reflect culturally particular set of pleasures and connections among Chinese viewers in particular? I conducted ethnographic research in Shanghai, China with Mukbang audiences, which provided me with insights into the key elements of success among young Chinese adults. Mukbang allows these people gaining the capacity to overcome loneliness in the context of China’s One Child policy, as well as coping with hunger endemic to new mediated forms of “anti-obesity thin-inspiration” and body shaming.

This work was funded, in part, through an Undergraduate Research Award from the UMBC Office of Undergraduate Education.

Takreem Zulfiqar

“When East Dates West: A Study of Asian American Interracial Relationships in American Television Comedies”
Mentor: Tamara Bhalla, American Studies
Location: UC 312 | Time: 1:30 – 1:45 p.m.


Interracial relationships are symbols of assimilation that have helped Asians establish their significance and place in America. Television, specifically comedy programs, are a cultural forum that allow marginalized groups a platform where they can create and take part in the American narrative. There has been little analysis on what popular televisual representations of interracial relationships mean for Asian Americans. I bridge this gap by focusing on the post-2010 Asian television invasion, specifically four major television comedies, The Mindy Project, New Girl, Master of None, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, that have an Asian American lead character that engages in an interracial relationship. Through a semiotic analysis of media representations, I find that Asian American identity is very much still dictated by gendered tropes and stereotypes associated with Orientalism and the model minority paradigm, often with females perpetuating and males challenging these notions. This constructs images of Asian Americans that depend on age-old gendered and racialized stereotypes. Because television is an important tool in shaping American popular culture it affects perceptions of Asian Americans and restricts their role as Americans with agency and individuality.