West Over Rest: How US Self-perception of Superiority Infiltrates News of Syrian Refugees
Performing Arts Center
The Syrian Civil War, which started in 2011, has now displaced nearly 13 million Syrians, or 60 percent of Syria’s pre-war population. Most refugees have fled to neighboring Middle Eastern countries, while the US has admitted very few. In order to understand why the US is unwilling to accept Syrian refugees, this paper turned to language in popular newspaper publications to uncover American perception of Syrian refugees. Rhetorical analysis revealed that US news articles dehumanize, homogenize, and subjugate Syrian refugees, while praising Americans for their generosity. These findings illuminate a frightening realization: American self-perception of superiority is so powerful it has infiltrated the very mediums from which we form opinions and make decisions.
Western Imperialism of Psychology: A Potential Threat to The Conceptualization of Depression in Japan
Before 2000, depression wasn’t recognized as a psychological distress that could lead to suicide in Japan. This lack of psychological history leads to a greater need to spread awareness into Japan, but with what cost? And to what end? This project works to understand psychology across cultures through the lens of depression in order to discover the extent to which the West is influencing the conceptualization of depression in Japan. The use of thematic content analysis to analyze the qualitative and statistical data of case studies, journals, and the DSM-IV allowed this research to find that Japan views depression extrinsically while the West views depression intrinsically, creating a barrier in the assimilation of psychology. The solution to whether a beneficial dissemination of Western psychological knowledge into non-Western cultures is possible can be found in the differences between the understanding and treatment of Depression in Japan and the West. The differences in the understanding of depression between Japan and the West prove to be too vast to make room for Western intervention without detrimental results, which is why a culturally sensitive approach much be utilized.
Genetic and Cell-Based Study of Infantile Myofibromatosis to Develop a Targeted Treatment
Infantile Myofibromatosis (IMF) is a rare, inherited autosomal dominant disease characterized by the growth of solitary or multiple tumors in the skin, muscle, bone, and sometimes organs. IMF is associated with two different mutations in the Platelet-Derived Growth Factor Receptor Beta gene (PDGFR-ß). In March of 2017, a young female was diagnosed with IMF and underwent surgery to remove painful, limiting jaw tumors. At that time, blood and tissue samples were collected for a detailed molecular investigation of her disease. DNA sequencing analysis identified a new PDGFR-ß mutation, Phe864Leu (c. 2590T>C). With the ultimate goal of treatment, this study will investigate the effects of her specific PDFGR-ß mutation on cell growth and behavior. The growth of BaF3 cell lines engineered to express this PDGFR-ß mutation will be compared to control cells to help establish if the mutation is either gain or loss of function. Western blot analysis of cell lysates will be used to investigate which specific proteins in PDGFR-ß’s signaling pathway are activated/inhibited due to the mutation. Based on the outcome, additional experiments to better characterize the mechanism of activation/inhibition are planned. Data supporting or rejecting the gain-of-function hypothesis will be important to better understand candidate treatments for this disease since both inhibitors and activators of PDGFR-ß are known.
Imagining the Immigrant: The Precarious Role of Photojournalism in the 21st Century
Center for Global Studies (Room G113)
The United States is a country comprised of immigrants, yet throughout its history we have debated the issue of who has the right to live in this country. One of the most contentious debates around immigration and citizenship involves the southern border and Latin American immigrants. Since 2016, the Trump administration's immigration policy and rhetoric have been restrictive and dehumanizing. As a result, the government held almost 15,000 immigrant children in custody as of December 2018. In a country as large and populous as the United States, many people experience the immigration debate exclusively through the news and social media, and in particular, photojournalism. These omnipresent images are often the first things people see and help form their perceptions of Latin American immigrants. This study analyzes images shown in the mainstream media depicting Latino immigrants in 2018. Through an analysis of framing techniques such as the placement of the subjects of the images, who is included in the images, and what the subjects of the images are doing, this paper explores the extent to which subjects are portrayed as one of two common types: threats or innocent victims. This study finds that photojournalists portray Latino immigrants as innocent victims, but victims who lack political agency. Such depictions serve as a check on the Trump administration by humanizing their subjects, but also show a selective part of their humanity and reality. The incomplete portrayals of Latin American immigrants, disguised as the truth, highlight the precarious role of photojournalism.
Nelson Graves, Founder of News-Decoder
History Wing, Room G114
Interviews are a fact of life, not only for newsmakers but for anyone applying for admission to a new academic program, for an internship, or for a job. They are also a means of gathering information, much as a student compiles research. An effective interview requires planning, skill at listening, and an ability to build trust with the subject of the interview. In this workshop, students will learn to build an effective interview plan, to select the right kinds of questions, to use fair verbal devices to elicit information and to dodge the pitfalls of telephone interviews – all worthwhile lessons as they face their own next challenges. Young people today are tempted to believe that the Internet envelopes the entire universe. By mastering interviewing techniques, students gird themselves to explore the “real world” around them, deepening their understanding of people, society, and events.
School Violence in 21st Century America: The Effect of Academic and Social Pressure on the Psyches of Adolescent School Shooters
History Wing, Room G116 30
Within the first 21 weeks of 2018, there were 23 school shootings in the U.S. where at least 1 person, not including the shooter, was injured or killed on school property, creating a national average above one shooting per week. School rampage shootings are committed, almost exclusively, by adolescents. High school is a place more susceptible to erratic behavior than most others, and the 21st century has new driving forces that make life for adolescents competitive and stressful. College acceptance rates continue to lower and social media maintains an expansive popularity unmatched by any other time in history. Pitted against friends for college acceptance, grade point averages, and accomplishments, students must constantly compete with fellow peers. Also, extensive use of social media encourages comparison of body image, and other superficial values by adolescents. The resulting increases in depression and anxiety rates among young adults can exacerbate the mental states of already unstable character types. Through a psychological lens, this paper investigates why adolescent shooters choose to target the school environment and why such violence has increased in 21st century America.
The Impact of Increased Calcium Intake Levels on the Presence of Alzheimer’s Disease in C. Elegans Carrying the APP Gene
Science Wing, Room G110
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is one of the leading causes of death in America, primarily affecting those 65 years and older. The amyloid-beta protein, found in humans, forms plaques in the brain killing neurons and ultimately leading to memory loss and cognitive dysfunction. Researchers have developed many hypotheses on what could potentially lead to AD in humans. This research assesses one of these hypotheses: that increased levels of calcium throughout one’s life can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. C. Elegans were purchased already expressing the APP gene, which was tagged with the fluorescence protein GFP. Four groups of plates with different calcium concentrations were made, and assays will be performed to determine the appropriate calcium concentration for use in future experimentation. I plan to assess the aggregation of APP by using fluorescence as an indicator of the protein. I predict that the worms living on more concentrated Ca2+ plates will have the most aggregation, and those on the control plates will have the least. Findings from this project could potentially uncover a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s disease, as well as influence other researchers’ hypotheses and experiments. If calcium is found to cause an increase of protein aggregation, it will be important to consider the implications of calcium intake in our diets.
GFA Robotics in FIRST Tech Challenge 2018-19 Season: Rover Ruckus
Alex Galik, Amy Petschek, Willem Schuddeboom & Eva Zhang
STEAM Shop (Room G019)
The FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is designed for students in grades 7–12 to compete head to head by designing, building, and programming a robot to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The Dragonoids, team 4286, have been competing in FTC for eight years and build a robot each year for different challenges. This past season, the challenge was called Rover Ruckus where teams had to drop from and latch to the center lander, deploy the team marker, and collect silver and gold minerals. The team has three groups that work together: the build, code, and outreach teams. The build team prototypes and builds the physical robot. This year they used a mecanum drive train and designed a lift, a collection arm, and a shooter. The code team writes code for both the autonomous and the driver-controlled period. They allow the team to use Xbox controllers to drive the robot and the robot to drive around the field itself. Lastly, our outreach team plans events that reach out to our community such as Pack the House, Lower School STEAM Night, and International Beach Cleanup. Although we had a rough start at the beginning of this school year, we ended the season being number 2 in Connecticut. The robotics team always welcomes anyone interested to join. We have fun building robots and going to Home Depot.