Research Across Disciplines: Fall 2018 Conference | Webster University

Research Across Disciplines: Fall 2018 Conference

Conference Overview

Friday, December 7

9:20 am – 2:45 pm

9:20 am WebEx Session I
East Academic Building (EAB), Room 133
11:00 am Keynote Speech
James Spain, Vice President for Undergraduate Studies & E-Learning at University of Missouri-Columbia
Browning Hall (ISB) 160 Auditorium
12:00 pm 
Oral Presentation Session I - EAB 234
Oral Presentation Session II - EAB 238
Oral Presentation Sesssion III - EAB 239
Oral Presentation Session IV - ISB 160
First Year Seminar Poster Session - EAB 137
WebEx Session II - ISB 140
1:00 pm 
Oral Presentation Session V - EAB 133
Poster Session -  ISB 2nd Floor Commons
2:00 pm 
Oral Presentation Session VI - EAB 136
Oral Presentation Session VII - EAB 137
Large Creative Display - EAB 134
WebEx Session III - EAB 133

Lunch available for presenters and sponsors after Keynote Speech.

Parking - Park at the Garden Park Plaza parking garage (all levels are open for visitors on conference day) across the road from the EAB. Browning Hall (ISB) is connected to the EAB. There is also a Nerinx section of the parking garage NOT open to Webster guests. If the garage is on your right, you'll take the first entrance to the garage. If the garage is on your left, you'll use the second entrance.

Address - Garden Park Plaza, 574 Garden Ave, Webster Groves, MO 63119 

Presentation Schedule

Friday, December 7

9:20 am East Academic Building | Room 133
• Capturing Culture: Reality as Seen Through an Outsider's Lens
Ilayda Edali via WebEx from Cha-am, Thailand
• The Effect of Selected Intrinsic and Extrinsic Cues on Perceived Quality of Textbooks Sold Online
Ruslan Tagiev via WebEx from Vienna, Austria
• Normal versus Natural
Kendall Cygan via WebEx from Leiden, Netherlands

KEYNOTE SPEECH: 11 AM | Browning Hall Auditorium

12:00 pm East Academic Building | Room 234
• Conscientious Tourism: A New Approach to "Ethical" Tourism using Thailand as a Case Study
Alexandra Lubbe
• Does Minimum Wage Drive Unemployment?
Michael McSwain
• Recycling or Relegating? Examining the Effects of the International Second-Hand Clothing Trade using the Greater Accra Region of Ghana as Case Study
Lauren Handley 

12:00 pm East Academic Building | Room 238
• Predicting the Avocado Market
Seth Marek
• Differential Conditioning to Test Olfactory Memory and Retention in Pogonomyrmex Occidentalis
Tucker Hively
• Learning Photography in the Age of YouTube: Self-Directed Skill Building Using Social Media
Patrick McGuirk

12:00 pm East Academic Building | Room 239
• Eliminating Opposition: The Belt Road Initiative and Security Implications for the Mediterranean as China Leverages Economic Influence
Dayla Ramsey
• Lack of Menstrual Equity in Missouri's Female Prisons 
Alexis Pettay
• Analysis of U.S. School Shootings
Erika Valenzuela

12:00 pm Interdisciplinary Science Building | Room 160 Auditorium
• Effects of Instrumental Music on Stress
Alexandria Bentley
• An Experimental Examination of Trauma-Informed Touch: Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) and Cortisol Reactivity
Carrie Burnett
• Stigma and the Spectrum: Measuring Undergraduate Perceptions of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Damian Deener

1:00 pm
Does Personality Have an Effect on Who Gets Promoted? An Analysis of Introverts and Extraverts in the Job Market
Rachel Downey
• Diet choice as a predictor of personality:  An expedition to clarify the personality trait differences between a sample of Vegetarians and a sample of non-Vegetarians
David Gunderson 
• Diving into the Uncanny Valley: Perceived Human Qualities of Robotic Stimuli
Jenna Metzger

2:00 pm
• Opening Minds, Changing Lives: A Single-Case Examination of Art Therapy among Individuals with Alzheimer's Disease
Reese Moore
• Social anxiety and response to touch 
Madeleine Cain and Rachel Fredrick

12:00 pm Interdisciplinary Science Building | Conference Room 140
• An Analysis of Political Discourses Relating to the Border Modification of Kosovo
Brian Ruth
• The Economics of Happiness: A case study comparing Finland to the United States
Usha Palaniswamy

1:00 pm
• Sex positive attitudes of university psychology students
Catherine Schook
• Effect of Corporate Governance on Stock Buyback
Samuel Obatusin
• The Impact of Government Control On International Trade
Samuel Obatusin

2:00 pm
• Success Strategies Saudi Entrepreneurs Used to Navigate Through Regulations in Jeddah
Farah Spencer


12:00 pm East Academic Building | Room 137

1:00 pm East Academic Building | Room 133 
• Is Restorative Justice a Viable Solution to Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline?
Heather McCord
• KEYS 4019: The Art of Social Engagement Showcase
Carol Williams
• Dismantling the Delmar Divide 
Joshua Krakos

1:00 PM Interdisciplinary Science Building | 2nd Floor Commons
• Validity and Reliability of the Verbal Naming Test 
Kathleen Lamb, Annie Sha, Matthew Wynn, Brian Yochim, and Brian Carpenter
• Working With Refugees: What To Know and Why It Matters
Chelsea Mayo and Jehan Ganachaud
• Characterization of Novel Bacteriophage using the host Microbacterium foliorum
Abigail Barker, Lauryn French, Camryn Paulik, Jarred Bailey, Cody Ruhl, and Manuela Garrecht
• Greater Positive Psychology Traits Predict Improved Psychological Outcomes for Women
Amelia Dorsey and Elizabeth Street
• Comparing PO and IV acetaminophen for Reducing Postoperative Narcotic Requirements in Bariatric Surgery
Matt Cummens and Wade Cramer
• Mechanisms involved in the synthesis of allelopathic chemicals in Lonicera maackii 
Alisa Coralic
• Exploiting Polyfluorophenyl-Phenyl Interactions to Achieve a Series of Quantitative Cross-Photodimerizations in the Solid State
Fayeshun Brown
• Turning Experiential Learning into Transformative Experiences for Webster Students
Rea Bedalli

2:00 pm Interdisciplinary Science Building | Room 136
• The Ability to Take up Space as an Indigenous Woman Through Ecofeminism 
Elizabeth Stanza
• Coherent Marijuana Messaging
Ryan Quinones

2:00 pm Interdisciplinary Science Building | Room 136
• Predicting the Spread of Disease with R Software 
Kris Hickman
• The Social Construction of Marriage 
Patti Hayes
• The Lyric Lab: Inspiring the Next Generation of Songwriters
Annalyse Crowdus

2:00 pm East Academic Building | Room 133
• The Power of Words
Suzanne Preston-Mroz

2:00 pm East Academic Building | Room 134
• United States History in the Twentieth Century
Christian Hargas


Normal versus Natural
Kendall Cygan, Leiden Campus

When did “normal” become more important than “natural”? Even more so, when did we allow normal to take more priority over natural? Autism is a lifelong disability, affecting the brain functioning and resulting in atypical social-emotional engagement/connectedness and play, and abnormalities in language and communication. These two areas show deficits where a neurotypical child would not, therefore, society would now deem autism as being NOT normal, because normal is commonly seen as a person without any problems or illnesses. Nonetheless, can we blame society for these labels, even when society itself yearns for labels to better find a sense of meaning? Yet, with the risks and benefits to having a label, society is walking a fine line from having the label fully consume the person’s identity. People with Autism may experience a different world than the so-called neurotypical person, but they still experience life, and that is what makes them human. Each person is different in their own way and that does not make them less than or abnormal, it makes them human. Each human in this world has the right to live freely and without bearing the chains of society’s expectations. Equally so, every human being is imperfect. Well then, autism is being uniquely human. Seeing it through a different lens, is autism a disorder that stems from a diagnosis or is it simply an identity?

Faculty Mentor Paul Rakowski

An Analysis of Political Discourses Relating to the Border Modification of Kosovo
Brian Ruth, Leiden Campus

A proposal for the “correction” of parts of the border shared by Kosovo and Serbia – a land-swap – was discussed recently between Brussels, Belgrade and Pristina. As an instrument of International Law (IL), border modifications and settlements; not only in their legality, but in their usefulness as a tool for conflict resolution, have produced mixed results when examined by a survey of the literature. In order to clarify this series of discussions then, the exercise described herein endeavors to parse what has been suggested by politicians in the past weeks through analyzing the discourses among the main actors; investigating whether the forces in-play were in compliment, or contradiction to, standing or customary IL. The resulting media-discourse analysis produced an inventory of themes which reflected a general distrust of border-modification mechanisms among the actors. In general, the political discourses pointed to the acknowledgement of border-modification as the sole-legally definitive mechanism available to the states, with little mention of a binding, ratifiable agreement in the form of treaty. The political contexts in which the debate occurred made this avenue only a future possibility; there were no affirmative discourses indicating a predilection toward treaty-making among any direct parties to the issue.

Faculty Mentor Jill Adler

Sex Positive Attitudes of University Psychology Students
Catherine Schook, Leiden Campus

Sexuality is a time-honored awkward conversation and contributor to life fulfillment and urges. Clients struggling with sexual issues rely upon therapists’ comfort and knowledge, yet research indicates challenges in the form of institutional barriers, professional training, and practitioner discomfort on sexual dynamics. Sex-positivity as an educational approach has been proposed to inform therapists of their culturally-rooted biases, yet few interventions have been researched to address this deficit. The Sex-Positivity Scale (SPS) consists of 40-questions of sex-positivity agreeableness. Participants were declared psychology majors at Webster University Leiden. A sample of 52 students (85% female; 38 undergraduates) completed an online questionnaire. Higher SPS scores were found in undergraduates (5.8 on a seven-point scale). LGBT participants’ SPS scores resulted in a 42% mean difference from heterosexuals. Cultural identities were found to be statistically significant in terms of SPS with LGBT sexual practices and relationships. Results provide strong indication for the need to integrate sex-positive training for therapists at a tertiary training-level as seen by low SPS scores and low awareness of sex-positivity benefits in working with clients holistically. A continuation of this research at the graduate-level will investigate sexual attitude changes after participating in a sex-positive workshop for training and trained therapists at international university campuses.

Faculty Mentor Sheetal Shah


Effect of Corporate Governance on Stock Buyback
Samuel Obatusin, Orlando Campus

Corporate Governance has been in existence since the 16th and 17th centuries but became very popular when the possibility of conflict between business owners and managers sprung up. The advent of creative accounting and the failure of business managers to discharge their duty in the best way possible brought about the need for caution in the financial world. The economic lifeline of any nation hovers around the successes and failures of business entities as their actions and inactions affect every aspect of the economy. This brought about the review of corporate governance designed to prevent a re-occurrence of the varied scandals such as that of Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco that almost crippled the World’s economy at different times. Business managers in the discharge of their stewardship responsibility are seen to be creative for personal gains against the increase in shareholders’ value. Recent and projected increase in stock buy-back as negatively impacted research and development needed thereby causing a decline in innovation and subsequently job loss. There is a need for a review of the existing code of corporate governance which requires the collaboration of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), regulatory authorities, government institutions, and professional bodies.

Faculty Mentor Jaichand Sewkarren 


The Impact of Government Control on International Trade
Samuel Obatusin, Orlando Campus

International trade and government control can be described as an inseparable Siamese twin that has no choice but to do all things together. International trade has its history dated back to the barter system when an item owned was used in exchange for an item needed. Its history gained more relevance with separation based on geographical location. Due to scarce and limited resources, there was an increased rate in need for the exchange of goods and services and also arise to protect the interest of people that lived in the same geographical location. A representative of a people with a common interest brought about what is known today as a government, with a responsibility to adequately protect the interest of those it represents. Unfortunately, individuals vary in beliefs and approach. This variation is a fundamental factor that has made the government have a direct impact on international trade. It is of utmost importance that international trade is standardized in a way that government has little or no influence, just like the Federal Reserve System. Also, international trade policy amendment or changes should be designed to outlive any one administration.

Faculty Mentor Jaichand Sewkarren


The Power of Words
Suzanne Preston-Mroz, Vienna Campus

Words are an inescapable, vital part of life, from daily interactions to global events. But just how powerful are words, for example, in such cases as swearing and slander, positive suggestion and priming? It was hypothesized that negative words have a negative effect and positive words have a positive effect on participants’ behavior, physiology, and interaction satisfaction. The researcher examined participants’ response to words in differently-valenced stories: positive, negative, and neutral. Six, two-minute stories were created (two different stories per valence). Participants were filmed and physiological measures were taken while participants took turns reading and summarizing one positive, negative and neutral story. Self-report measures were taken in the form of questionnaires after each story summary. Nonverbal, physiological and self-report data were collected and analyzed with Noldus FaceReader, BioTrace, and Observer, and statistically analyzed with repeated measures ANOVAs. Results showed strong effects of story valence on facial expression and self-report, however physiological measures showed little to no effect of story valence. This research strongly suggests that the valence of spoken words influences the emotional climate of a social interaction. Although further research is necessary, implications include the constructive use of words in school, occupational and therapeutic or healthcare settings.

Faculty Mentor Marc Mehu


The Effect of Selected Intrinsic and Extrinsic Cues on Perceived Quality of Textbooks Sold Online
Ruslan Tagiev, Vienna Campus

Previous research on cue utilization in e-commerce used secondary panel data and therefore, it remained unclear how online consumers were utilizing the cues. To address this discrepancy, the present study empirically examined the contemporaneous effect of textbook sample as an intrinsic cue and the average user rating as an extrinsic cue on perceived quality of printed textbooks sold online.

The experiment was a 2 by 2 between-subjects factorial design with four conditions. The data was gathered through an anonymous online survey from a sample of 504 American consumers.
The results confirmed the findings of previous studies that the average user rating strongly affects perceived product quality. However, the main effect of the textbook sample as well as its moderating effect on the relationship between average user rating and perceived textbook quality was not found.
The study contributes to the existing literature on perceived product quality and the cue utilization theory by uncovering how online consumers tend to use intrinsic and extrinsic cues to judge the quality of textbooks offered by e-tailers. Based on the results of this study, practical recommendations are suggested for individual online consumers, e-tailers, and new, unknown authors of textbooks.

Faculty Mentor Maria Madlberger


Capturing Culture: Reality as Seen Through an Outsider's Lens
Ilayda Edali, Cha Am Campus

For the past 9 months that I have studied in Webster University Thailand, I have used photography as a way of understanding the culture I live in, by venturing into the streets often not visited by “outsiders” like myself. I have learned to communicate with gestures, when there was no other common language. I have experienced becoming the first “Caucasian” person a young Thai boy had ever seen, or viewed as an intruder a Vietnamese man threatened violence. I documented “locals” daily lives by visiting their homes and places of work, with the intention that my photographs showcase raw emotions and realities. Through my pictures, I aim to present a different, less seen, side of South East Asia with a primary focus on Thailand.

The purpose of this project is to capture lives, emotions and events of “locals” living in the district of Hua Hin, Thailand. An important aspect was developing a deeper understanding of the local cultures, while discovering the cultural differences and similarities in the form of visual ethnography, as well as  trying to avoid interfering in my subjects everyday lives. Images are captured through the medium of photography using Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras, edited in post-production using digital darkroom techniques.

Faculty Mentor Thomas Groves 


Turning Experiential Learning into Transformative Experiences for Webster Students
Rea Bedalli, Webster Groves Campus

Webster students have the opportunity to be transformed by their study abroad experience. How might students display this transformation in a beneficial way after they come back -- to employers and in professional settings? This project demonstrates how through self-reflection and creative processes, students can enhance their learning and communicate their experiences, thereby heightening the transformative potential of study abroad. Drawing on David Kolb’s learning styles model and experiential learning cycle (1984), this project focuses on learning as an integrated process of experience, reflection, conceptualization, and testing. By incorporating Kolb’s model with theories of high-impact educational practices, this project provides specific examples, questions, and templates within a WorldClassRoom toolkit. Students then use this as a tool to reflect on their unique experience and destination, accessing even higher levels of learning in the process. This project also briefly includes illustrations of how Adobe InDesign can be used to create artifacts that display students’ experience in a visually compelling way, that can communicate with diverse audiences, and that can present important issues they faced while abroad. Furthermore, there are limitless applications to these reflective practices, and these strategies can help students better explain their undergraduate research, internships, or employment experiences.

Faculty Mentor Erik Palmore


Effects of Instrumental Music on Stress
Alexandria Bentley, Webster Groves Campus

Problem: College life is associated with a host of stressors, which are associated with a variety of measurable consequences. Thus, it is important to identify and assess techniques for managing stress among college students. Objective: The current study sought to experimentally examine whether various types of instrumental music differentially affect levels of stress among college students. Method: Approximately 70 university students completed a Stress Rating Questionnaire on three different occasions throughout the study: (1) before the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) was administered, (2) immediately after the TSST was completed, and (3) after students listened to either classical, heavy metal, or rap music, or sat in silence (Edwards et al., 2015; Birkett, 2011). A One-Way ANOVA with post-hoc comparisons was utilized to analyze the data. Hypothesis: Based on previous research, it was predicted that classical music would reduce the stress of students more than the heavy metal, rap, or silence (Labbé et al., 2007 & Scheufele, 2000). Implications: Results contribute to the current knowledge regarding effective stress reduction techniques. Such findings could be used to design low-cost, accessible interventions that improve student welfare by promoting feasible stress management techniques aimed at minimizing stress and increasing overall well-being among this population.

Faculty Mentor Heather Mitchell 


Exploiting Polyfluorophenyl-Phenyl Interactions to Achieve a Series of Quantitative Cross-Photodimerizations in the Solid State
Fayeshun Brown, Webster Groves Campus

In recent years, the ability to align olefins in the solid state that undergo [2+2] cycloaddition reactions has continued to be an active area of research.  To properly position reactant molecules in solids, a template approach has proven to be very successful in the formation of a number of molecular targets.  In nearly all examples, the photoreactions have involved two identical reactants.  A second possible and less investigated outcome is a cross photoproduct where two different molecules undergo the light induced reaction.  While the ability of perfluorophenyl-phenyl interactions as a driving force to align different olefin-containing molecules has been reported, currently there are no systematic study on a series of cross photoproducts.  To this end, we report on a series of cross photoproducts based on a unsymmetrical stilbene trans-1-(2,3,5,6-tetrafluorophenyl)-2-(2,3,4,5,6-pentafluorophenyl)ethylene.  Crystal structures before and after photoreactions will be presented as well as the non-covalent interactions observed in each co-crystal.

Faculty Mentor Ryan Groeneman 


An Experimental Examination of Trauma-Informed Touch: Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) and Cortisol Reactivity
Carrie Burnett, Webster Groves Campus

Cortisol has long been used to study stress, yet few studies have considered the broader presentations stress can have in relation to one’s history with trauma. The current study experimentally examined stress levels around the perception of touch in relation to participants’ Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). Participants provided hair and pre-test saliva samples, then completed an ACE questionnaire evaluating both the amount of and age at which various ACEs were experienced. The experimental group was then told they would receive a “touch assessment”, while the control group was shown a video demonstrating the next assessment item without the use of the words “touch assessment”. Participants then provided a post-test saliva sample following the non-contact touch assessment. It was expected that those with higher ACE scores would have a higher reaction to perceived touch and that the baseline from which that divergence happens will be lower for those who had earlier trauma during formative years of HPA axis development. These findings underscore the complex nature of how early trauma can impact a person’s comfort with touch in professional, therapeutic settings and hold implications for creating more inclusive spaces to accommodate a diverse range of life experiences. 

Faculty Mentor Stephanie Schroeder


Social Anxiety and Response to Touch
Madeleine Caine & Rachel Fredrick, Webster Groves Campus

Social touch is an essential part of daily interaction. Various studies indicate that social touch facilitates bonding, influences attitudes, and modifies compliance behavior (Gallace & Spence 2010). The current study replicated prior research from Wilhelm, Kochar, Roth, & Gross (2001), in which participants had their hands held for 10 seconds and one minute to reflect social touch. Self-report measures were taken prior to the touch through questionnaires, including the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS), and the Social Touch Questionnaire (STQ). Physiological measurements were found through a smartwatch, measuring respiratory and heart rates, and a galvanic skin response sensor, measuring skin conductance and nervous system activation. Measurements were taken before and after each touch. With an understanding of past research, including Wilhelm et al. (2001) research, the current study expects to find that social touch facilitates increased self-consciousness, embarrassment, and anxiety in individuals with social anxiety. In addition, it is expected that perceived emotional aversion will differ from the body’s physiological response. This study is beneficial because it gives further insight into how the length, duration, and gender of social touch impacts social anxiety. Further, research will indicate how social touch impacts participants physiologically and psychologically.

Faculty Mentor Michael Hulziser 


Mechanisms involved in the synthesis of allelopathic chemicals in Lonicera maackii
Alisa Coralic, Webster Groves Campus

Invasive plants such as honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) synthesize allelopathic chemicals which can greatly disrupt their non-native ecosystems. These chemicals consist of secondary metabolites that inhibit growth of other plants, but the exact mechanisms involved are unknown. Knowing these mechanisms would allow us to control the spread of these invasive plants and open the door for natural herbicide that will help crop control in agriculture. Many studies have focused on the inhibition of Arabidopsis thaliana when grown in different concentrations of Lonicera maackii extract. The results showed clear inhibition of flowering, germination, nutrient uptake and seed production. We want to see what exact genes in the Arabidopsis thaliana are being affected. To do that Arabidopsis thaliana mutants will be tested for ability to resist inhibition by the honeysuckle extracts and further characterized. A mutant screen is being performed to determine if specific genes that play a role in growth inhibition can be identified in the presence of honeysuckle extract.

Faculty Mentor Mary Preuss 


The Lyric Lab: Inspiring the Next Generation of Songwriters
Annalyse Crowdus, Webster Groves Campus

In my proposal, I will introduce research on the pedagogy of songwriting and the positive effects creativity has on developing adolescents. As an extension of my research, I have developed an educational, week long clinic for aspiring songwriters between the ages of 12-18: The Lyric Lab. As funding for the arts is being cut from public school systems across America, so is the creative outlet that adolescents need in order to activate and engage the left side of their brains. My business proposal, The Lyric Lab, provides an alternative, unconventional opportunity for students to take part in creative time that is otherwise not offered to them. This summer intensive is designed to guide students through the creative process, addressing topics such as idea development, song form, and writing melodies. The Lyric Lab will implement bodily kinesthetic approaches, group writing, and hands on musical experience to engage the young creative mind in a way that is not provided through mainstream educational pathways. The Lyric Lab will not only be a place to learn, but also a place for students to share their voice, discover their capabilities, and join a community that cultivates and encourages creativity.

Faculty Mentor Matthew Pickart 


Comparing PO and IV acetaminophen for reducing postoperative narcotic requirements in bariatric surgery
Matt Cummens & Wade Kramer, Webster Groves Campus

BACKGROUND: Opioids are the standard for post-operative pain management. While they are proven analgesics the possess relevant side effects that can equal increased hospital lengths of stay and cost. The obese patient is vulnerable to the respiratory depressant effects of opioids.  The purpose of this study was to compare oral acetaminophen (POA) with intravenous acetaminophen (IVA) in reducing post-operative opioid use in bariatric surgery patients. METHODS: A randomized prospective cross-sectional study design was utilized to determine efficacy between oral and intravenous acetaminophen in reducing opioid consumption in subjects undergoing bariatric weight reduction surgery.  RESULTS: Comparison of postoperative opioid consumption between the POA (n=10) and the IVA groups (n=10) demonstrated no significant differences in demographic data: age (p = 0.5763), weight (p = 0.6570), BMI (p = 0.7936), gender (p > 0.9999), ASA scores (p > 0.9999).  A  t-test was performed to compare group means showing the POA group had a mean morphine equivalent unit of 7.25 mg, and an IVA had 6.95 mg (p = 0.8909).  CONCLUSION: No significant difference was noted between the study groups. The incidence of bariatric weight loss surgery on the rise, alternative pain management strategies requires ongoing research to determine best outcomes for the obese surgical patient.

Faculty Mentor Jill Stulce 


Stigma and the Spectrum: Measuring Undergraduate Perceptions of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Damian Deener, Webster Groves Campus

Enrollment in Postsecondary Education among people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is increasingly common. The present study investigated the stigma and social distance of hypothetical students with ASD as a function of (1) college major and (2) prior exposure to individuals with ASD. Approximately 200 university students completed an online survey protocol. Participants were first presented with three hypothetical vignettes depicting various characteristics common among individuals with ASD who would be enrolled in college. Next, participants were asked to complete measures of personal and perceived stigma, as well as to rate their willingness to engage in typical college activities with the hypothetical students depicted in the vignettes. The differences in perceived and associative stigma between majors and school and colleges were examined. These findings support the recommendation that more education around ASD and other developmental differences be included in general curriculum and in orientation seminars geared toward students, staff and faculty.

Faculty Mentor Victoria McMullen


Greater Positive Psychology Traits Predict Improved Psychological Outcomes for Women
Amelia Dorsey & Elizabeth Street, Webster Groves Campus

The present study utilized an existing dataset (Grotewiel & Marszalek, 2016) to explore the relationships among three positive psychology trait-level variables (i.e., dispositional flow, mindfulness, and self-compassion) and three mental health risks (i.e., disordered eating, depression, and sexual dysfunction) that disproportionately affect women (American Psychological Association, 2007; Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997). We hypothesize that women with higher levels of dispositional flow, self-compassion, and mindfulness will exhibit lower levels of disordered eating and depression as well as higher levels of sexual functioning. Data from 500 women were collected and de-identified as part of a larger project approved by the IRB of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The measures used to collect data were the Eating Attitudes Test-26, Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Short Form, Female Sexual Function Index, Dispositional Flow Scale-2 Long Form, Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory-Short Form, and Self-Compassion Scale-Short Form. Scores on these scales were analyzed using t-tests for the Pearson correlation coefficient. Discussion will focus on theoretical and clinical implications. This research will provide foundational understanding for further research into these areas and creates a bridge between two flourishing fields of positive and feminist psychology.

Faculty Mentor Morgan Grotwiel 


Does Personality Have an Effect on Who Gets Promoted? An Analysis of Introverts and Extraverts in the Job Market
Rachel Downey, Webster Groves Campus

Personality tests have been used within the field of industrial organizational psychology to determine which candidates are the right fit for the job; such tests are used in a multitude of personnel decisions, including employee selection, promotional decisions, and more (Love, 2007). While past research has largely focused on the Big Five personality traits as being positively related to job performance (Bernerth, 2006; Fisher, 2017), few have focused exclusively on introversion and extraversion as factors affecting promotion. The present study sought to investigate whether introversion or extraversion in the workplace has an effect on who gets promoted. Students enrolled at Webster University and employees at Clarkson Eyecare were administered an online survey measuring personality type, self-monitoring skills, and number of promotions they have received. Additionally, participants were asked whether they thought their personality had an effect on whether or not they got promoted, as well as whether self-monitoring accounted for this relationship. It was hypothesized that more extraverts than introverts would have received promotions, as well as that high self-monitors will be more likely to have been promoted than low self-monitors. Discussion will focus on implications for prospective job seekers as well as human resource professionals.

Faculty Mentor Michael Hulziser


Analysis of U.S. School Shootings
Erika Valenzuela & Stephen Gross, Maryville University

This project describes a quantitative and qualitative analysis for the number of casualties, reason for the shootings, location citings, shooter status and other related facts on school shootings in the U.S.. Every year, in many states all across America, shootings have been occurring in schools from elementary level to college or university level. Over the years, school shootings have increased with a significant number of casualties. Research has shown that, in less than 18 years, deaths related to school shootings have been more than the deaths related to school shootings in the whole 20th century. The increase of technology, such as iPhones, can cause teenagers to have aggressive behavior from social media like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, due to cyber bullying. The project will also discuss facts about other causes related to aggressive behavior that leads to school shootings, and how we can be more aware of future shootings. 

Faculty Mentor Dushanthi Herath


Diet choice as a predictor of personality:  An expedition to clarify the personality trait differences between a sample of Vegetarians and a sample of non-Vegetarians.
David Gunderson, Webster Groves Campus

Vegetarianism is a widely adopted set of behaviors, values, and beliefs that are shared by a significant portion of the world population. By using popular personality trait measures, this investigation sought to define the various trait differences between a sample of Vegetarians and Non-Vegetarians. Objective: This study investigated the relationship between Vegetarian diet choice and rates of cooperativeness and competitiveness using a Prisoner’s Dilemma measure. The Big Five Aspect Scale was used to examine covariates in this investigation. Method: University students completed an online survey including a demographic questionnaire, the Big Five Aspect Scale (Deyoung, 2007), and a Prisoner’s Dilemma Scenario (Waddell, J. C., & Peng, W. 2014). Hypothesis: If an individual identifies as a Vegetarian, then they will exhibit a difference on performance in a one-shot Prisoner’s Dilemma scenario compared to non-Vegetarian persons. Also, that there will be covariation between the BFAS results and the behavior of Vegetarians on the PD trial. Discussion: These findings elucidate the schism between the individual who chooses a lifestyle of Vegetarianism and the individual who does not. Results hold implications for those who study lifestyle and personality. The detailing of the subcategories within Vegetarianism provides data for more detailed examination of the “Vegetarian” personality.

Faculty Mentor Linda Woolf


Recycling or Relegating? Examining the Effects of the International Second-Hand Clothing Trade using the Greater Accra Region of Ghana as Case Study
Lauren Handley, Webster Groves Campus

In many countries such as Britain and the United States, it is common practice to quickly cycle through fashions and donate unwanted clothing to thrift stores or NGOs. The majority of donated items are sold and resold through various parties and eventually arrive in bulk to countries of "the global south". In many places, used clothing now dominates most marketplaces, creating an economy of its own. Despite its global prevalence, the second-hand clothing (SHC) trade is often excluded from textile production and recycling value chains. Using Accra, Ghana as a case study, this research analyzes the SHC trade in relation to global patterns of production and consumption. This research seeks to investigate the claims that the second-hand clothing trade in Ghana is driven by consumer demand in importing countries by arguing that instead it is driven by Western consumer demand for cheap and rapidly changing fashions.  This thesis relies on observational data and literature review to analyze the class divide that has resulted from the influx of cheap SHC, rather than the preference gap.

Faculty Mentor Kelley-Kate Pease 


The Social Construction of Marriage
Patti Hayes, Webster Groves Campus

Based on semi-structured interviews with 15, US-raised, millennials, ranging from 20 to 40 years old, this research examines how millennial's beliefs and attitudes towards marriage are shaped by current and past social norms. This research is significant to the field because it is getting the perspectives of millennials on the institution of marriage, which has been understudied thus far. Millennials are the generation that will start making changes to society, so having their perspectives is helpful to predicting what societal or institutional changes will happen, if any. Participants were asked about the importance of marriage, factors that affect their beliefs, the purpose of marriage, and their views of the legal workings of marriage. Topics reveal the way participants were socialized to negotiate the underlying social beliefs they hold, and how these beliefs are prominent today The findings will explore what social values millennials hold concerning the institution of marriage and thereby explain how the institution of marriage has been upheld or is now being challenged by these social beliefs.

Faculty Mentor Andrea Miller 


Differential Conditioning to Test Olfactory Memory and Retention in Pogonomyrmex Occidentalis
Tucker Hively, Webster Groves Campus

Studies indicate that olfactory memory is a key tool used by many ant species when foraging. Different approaches have been used in the past to investigate ants' ability to differentiate odors and retain olfactory memory. In this study, we hope to provide support for an alternative method of testing the olfactory receptors in ants using Western Harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex Occidentalis). Numerous studies have been conducted on various species of ants, most of which require a large population size, making it difficult to control for various outside factors. Our study, however, will provide support for an innovative approach by testing one motivated ant at a time. The process will be used in an attempt to minimize both the population size as well as the outside variables. Using this methodology, we hope to achieve findings comparable to previous studies supporting the hypothesis that western harvester ants use olfactory memory and retention as mechanisms for location-based foraging. We hope that in the long run, this novel approach can be used to test many different species of ants in an effort to attain the most accurate data possible.

Faculty Mentor Ravin Kodikara


Dismantling the Delmar Divide
Joshua Krakos, Webster Groves Campus

Abstract: St. Louis is well known for the very distinct line drawn throughout our city and county. Delmar Boulevard divides the region north and south. That division, sometimes identified as socio-economic, is also obviously racial. In any case life is sharply different on either side of the divide. 

My research asks three main questions.  

What programs our current city planners and leaders draw on that has worked and what has been effective?
What have been some of the most effective methods for other cities?
Historically, what has best worked for St. Louis?
On the basis of my research, I conclude that the best way to help desegregate St. Louis is to improve our public transportation and to change how public education is funded. I base this conclusion on expert opinions and the statistical evidence of the success of these programs in other cities. I offer a practical action plan, to address these issues. 

Faculty Mentor Bruce Umbaugh


Validity and Reliability of the Verbal Naming Test
Kathleen Lamb, Annie Sha, Matthew Wynn, Brian Yochim, and Brian Carpenter, Webster Groves Campus

Word finding difficulty is a common symptom in many neurological disorders and cognitive impairments. There are several well validated instruments in use today to assess for word finding difficulty but most have some limitations in clinical applications. The current study provides data on a new word-finding test, the Verbal Naming Test (VNT), which is administered orally. This test is useful for people with impaired vision, as well as color blindness, and may also be administered by telephone. Eighty-three healthy older adults completed the 52-item VNT, the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery (NAB) naming test, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), and the Sentence Repetition section of the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test Third Edition (WIAT-III). This study found strong correlations between the VNT and previously validated naming tests, particularly the NAB (r = 0.730, p < 0.001). This measure was also shown to be an accessible measure of naming that can be useful in both clinical and research settings.

Faculty Mentor Linda Woolf 


Conscientious Tourism: A New Approach to "Ethical" Tourism using Thailand as a Case Study
Alexandra Lubbe, Webster Groves Campus

Tourism is a fast growing industry around the world, especially because of its high levels of contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in many countries of the Global South including desire and increasing ability of tourists in the Global North to travel internationally. While the economic benefits of tourism are noteworthy and should not be dismissed, it is important not to overlook the damage that tourism can cause to a host country. Increasing rates of tourists of affluence from Western states who visit countries of the Global South can have negative economic, environmental and social consequences. As tourists and host countries have begun to recognize these consequences, an “alternative tourism” industry has developed in hopes of promoting more “responsible” and “ethical” tourism. In order to combat the negative effects of all types of tourism, a philosophical definition of “ethical” tourism is needed. Virtue ethics paired with Buddhist ethics can be used to create a more fluid definition of what it means to be an ethical tourist, which I rename a conscientious tourist to differentiate it from the more popular term. Using Thailand as a case study, in this paper I argue that tourists should engage in conscientious tourism in order to help minimize the negative effects that tourism has on a host country.

Faculty Mentor: Kate Parsons 


Predicting the Avocado Market
Seth Marek, Webster Groves Campus

Avocados are notoriously expensive, and the price of an avocado is determined by many factors. Analyzing a set of data on Hass avocado sales may provide some useful insight to estimate the per-unit cost of an avocado in the future. This information may assist organizations and even thrifty shoppers in budgeting costs. It may also provide a basis for reflecting future market trends. The data for this research is aggregated from the Hass Avocado Board’s historical data on Hass avocado prices. The set samples the average price of a single Hass avocado in a time range from 2015 to 2017 with samples collected in a frequency of approximately once a week in different regions around the United States. This data also includes information denoting the type of Hass avocado (organic or conventional) and the number of avocados sold per region. Developing a Multiple Linear Regression model might provide an estimate for future avocado prices. Accuracy may be improved by weighing the relative influences of these factors, and the goal is to predict the average per-unit price of avocados in a future timeframe given knowledge of the other factors such as sales, region, and avocado type.

Faculty Mentor JiangPing Wang 


Working With Refugees: What to Know and Why It Matters
Chelsea Mayo & Jehan Ganachaud, Webster Groves Campus

Refugees will always be part of our society and it is in our ethical obligation to be knowledgeable on how to help them adjust, integrate and contribute to society while they wait for their home country to be safe. This presentation pertains to working with refugees in regards to counselors having the skills in helping them tell their horrific stories, attend to the intersection of their multiple identities, and educating them on the significant adjustment required as they resettle into the United States. We offer here the first overview of what counselors should know to work effectively with this population. 

Faculty Mentor Hemla Singaravelu 


Is Restorative Justice a Viable Solution to Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline?
Heather McCord, Webster Groves Campus

The United States is faced with the overwhelming issue of increased numbers of high school students dropping out of the public education system for repeated bouts of discipline infractions (Schiff, 2013). The data trend shows African American, Hispanic and Special Needs students to be the main culprits, especially compared to their White counterparts (Kafka, 2011).  Zero tolerance policy enactment, suspension, and expulsion rates have increased exponentially across all student populations, but especially for students of color and students with disabilities (Lustick, 2017). What if these students never had a chance at an equal opportunity education in the first place due to geographic location of their urban school district? 

When the odds are stacked against you with lack of qualified teachers, curriculum and resources is Restorative Justice the answer?  In this oral presentation, the use of Restorative Justice, defined from Gonzalez (2015), as education by teaching accountability, restitution, and restoration of a school wide community, will be analyzed to determine if this is a valuable tool to implement with students or just a Band-Aid for a much larger problem plaguing our public-school system. This encompasses the beginning research which will be the platform for my Transformational Learning doctorate dissertation.

Faculty Mentor Kathy Smith


Learning Photography in the Age of YouTube: Self-Directed Skill Building Using Social Media
Patrick McGuirk, Webster Groves Campus

If you ask photographers nowadays what helped them, many will mention YouTube. The invention of YouTube brought with it the potential for learning with a different modality. While video learning has been around since the 1950s, and internet videos have been around since the days of dial-up, YouTube was the first to offer a wide variety of videos, easily, to anybody with a computer and internet. Much of YouTube’s potential in the academic setting has been realized, with peer reviewed research supporting the use of YouTube in classrooms. However, in nonacademic settings, there is much to be studied as to how YouTube and social media apps, like Facebook and Instagram, can help the self-directed learner. This project focuses on self-taught artists, specifically, self-taught photographers, and how social media allows photographers to learn in new ways. Using myself as a case example, I walk through the process I used to learn photography, I discuss the advantages and challenges I found in using social media to learn a skill, and I discuss how social media helped me assess and improve my work. Finally, I analyze current research on social media and self-directed learning, and I create a guideline for future research.

Faculty Mentor Ralph Olliges


Does Minimum Wage Drive Unemployment?
Michael McSwain, Webster Groves Campus

Minimum wage increase is a highly-discussed topic today.  Many believe that minimum wage should be increased, at the federal level, to as much as $15 per hour.  While thought to improve the lives of affected workers, economic principles tell another story.  Accepted economic principles forecast a short-term improvement for workers that may simply yield a price increase of goods followed by greater unemployment through replacement of said worker by automation.  The minimum wage is anticipated to increase in the future and has been increased in some states above the federal wage with mixed results.

Workers will be assumed to be homogeneous and possess enough mobility to seek better employment.  Workers will also possess the information to know if they are being undervalued and if they could earn more with current skills somewhere else. 
The goal of this research is to use readily available economics data to forecast the future effect of the wage increase.  This data will include but not limited to US and State GDP, Consumer Price Index, Federal Aid participation rates, Unemployment and Workforce Participation Rate.  Using multiple linear regression models, a predicted unemployment level can be compared to historical data.  Externalities such as global policies, war, gender and ethnicity may be omitted as these may make the model overly complex. 

Faculty Mentor JiangPing Wang


Diving into the Uncanny Valley: Perceived Human Qualities of Robotic Stimuli
Jenna Metzger, Webster Groves Campus

Objective: Robots are becoming more prominent in our daily lives. The present study sought to investigate perceived human qualities of various robotic stimuli. The Uncanny Valley theory states that humans’ affinity for an entity increases as its humanness increases; once the entity reaches a certain point of not-quite-human, this affinity dramatically drops and increases again once an entity is human (Ho & MacDorman, 2010). Method: Participants were randomly presented with videos depicting one of three different robotic stimuli (i.e., an android, an industrial robot, and a prosthetic), then asked to rate the stimulus using the Human Qualities Rating Scale (Ho & MacDorman, 2010) and the Negative Attitudes toward Robots Scale (Nomura, Suzuki, Kanda, & Kato, 2006). Hypothesis: Analyses will examine negative attitudes and human quality ratings across the three different robotic stimuli through the use of ANOVAs. It is expected that the android would correspond to the highest eeriness ratings, with the prosthetic having the highest humanness and attractiveness, and the industrial robot having the lowest eeriness and humanness ratings. Implications: Results provide valuable insights into how to improve prosthetics, robots, and even artificial intelligence.

Faculty Mentor Amanda Kracen 


Opening Minds, Changing Lives: A Single-Case Examination of Art Therapy among Individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Reese Moore, Webster Groves Campus

Alzheimer’s disease is extremely prevalent in today’s society, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases.  With no known preventative measures or cures, it has become increasingly important to identify ways to increase the quality of life of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.  One promising avenue for improving quality of life is the intergenerational art therapy program known as Opening Minds through Art (OMA).  The present study examined the extent to which the OMA program could affect (1) volunteers’ attitudes toward individuals with dementia and (2) close family members’ perceptions of behavior change within their loved ones.  It was hypothesized that (1) volunteer attitudes would improve after completion of the 10-week art therapy program and (2) close family members would notice positive behavior change in their loved ones’ with dementia during their participation in OMA.  Results of the proposed study contribute to our understanding of how non-invasive procedures such as art therapy can benefit individuals with dementia and related disorders. These findings hold important implications for those who share an interest in identifying efforts to decrease the negative symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and promote quality of life among individuals and caregivers impacted by this devastating disease. 

Faculty Mentor Eric Goedereis 


Baseball: That Grand Old Game ----- First Year Seminar
Ralph Olliges’ First Year Seminar Class, Webster Groves Campus

Posters depicting the impact that the FYS:  Baseball, That Grand old Game has on their learning. Each poster will be made by 3-4 students. So a total of 5-6 posters for the class.

Faculty Mentor Ralph Olliges


The Economics of Happiness: A case study comparing Finland to the United States
Usha Palaniswamy, Online Student

Applying the tools learned in BUSN 5620: Current Economic Analysis course the study examines the Happiness Index (HI) 2018, as it relates to Finland (ranked 1st) to the USA (ranked 18th).  The HI of a country considers six key variables that support the well-being of its population: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support, and generosity. 

 While Finland lags behind the U.S. in per capita GDP (-27%) and GDP per hour worked, its value system has achieved greater equity in the growth of personal wealth for its population. While U.S. GDP has risen nearly 13-fold since 1975, nearly all gains in household income have alluded to 80% of the population. While the total spending on healthcare in the U.S. outpaces the GDP growth, the Fins spend less than half on healthcare per capita and enjoy a longer average life-expectancy. Finland’s educational system has developed a highly educated workforce more resilient to technological advancements while the educational disparities in the US has led to a "two-tier labor market” where a large portion of the workforce lack the necessary professional/technical skills to secure steady employment. While Finland faces the challenge of a rapidly aging population, its more robust social safety net ensures a more secure retirement for its citizens and greater access to resources for the average newborn. The proposed research aims to analyze how the US economy can benefit from implementing the Finland social economic policies.

Faculty Mentor Nikolay Megits


Lack of Menstrual Equity in Missouri's Female Prisons
Alexis Pettay, Webster Groves Campus

In the United States, women in prison do not have adequate access to menstruation products. Women must utilize the limited sanitary products which are given to them by regional prisons to the best capacity. This situation often leaves women reusing sanitation products, forfeiting their menial finances in order to buy menstrual products versus buying other hygiene products, or making the choice to go without any sanitary products at all due to a lack of accessibility or affordability. These issues lead to a multitude of problems such as: bacterial infections, permanently soiled clothing, and even abuse and punishment from prison officials. For my research I examined menstrual product accessibility in the Missouri Women's Eastern Residential Diagnostic and Correctional Center. I also conducted research on menstrual product accessibility in women's prisons across the United States and compared my discoveries to find similarities to the Missouri Eastern Residential Diagnostic and Correctional Center.

Faculty Mentor Anne Geraghty-Rathert


Characterization of Novel Bacteriophage using the host Microbacterium foliorum
Abigail Barker, Lauryn French, Camryn Paulik, Jarred Bailey, Cody Ruhl, Manuel Garrecht

In our Phage Discovery class, students worked to isolate and characterize novel bacteriophage from the St. Louis area.  Bacteriophage capable of infecting the host Microbacterium foliorum, a common soil bacterium, were identified through plaque assays.  Following purification and amplification, the bacteriophage were imaged using transmission electron microscopy.  Isolation of DNA from the phages allowed for restriction digest analyses to characterize the phage genomes.  In the next steps the phage genomes can be sequenced and annotated to see what kinds of genes are present and how this phage compares to other identified phages. Overall these studies help to further our understanding of bacteriophage-host interactions within the environment.  This work is part of the larger SEA-PHAGES research program supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

Faculty Mentor Mary Preuss

Dayla Ramsey, Webster Groves Campus

China is expanding its global economic influence through infrastructure projects known as the Belt Road Initiative (BRI) and while the development is welcome and necessary, the security implications involved with such expansive ambitions can be disruptive to current political structures in Europe and Mediterranean. Chinese lending practices for infrastructure projects raise concern about the unstated intentions of the BRI; the political influence gained through investment and debt-trap diplomacy exploit vulnerabilities of countries with smaller struggling economies and weaker governance that can potentially sustain or create illiberal political structures in the periphery of Europe.

This thesis explores the security implications of Chinese acquisition of the Piraeus Port in Greece and the financial implications of Chinese lending practices. Political influence gained through investment into the struggling Greek economy facilitate an enticing deviation from austerity and mandatory reforms dictated by the EU. As a historic cleavage zone Greece is pivotal to European security and as the EU grapples with the financial and refugee crisis in Greece it is evident that China is willing to assist Greece to gain a southerly foothold for the BRI in Europe.

Faculty Mentor John Nomikos


Success Strategies Saudi Entrepreneurs Used to Navigate Through Regulations in Jeddah
Farah Spencer, Online Student

Saudi Arabian entrepreneurs face major difficulties with the country's complex regulatory system. Based on Schumpeter's theory of entrepreneurship, the purpose of this phenomenological study was to reveal the lived experiences of Saudi entrepreneurs in navigating regulatory procedures in Jeddah. Data were collected through prolonged, face-to-face phenomenological interviews with 22 Saudi business people who started successful businesses. The van Kaam method and member checking helped validate the transcribed data, which were subsequently coded into 4 themes. Four themes emerged from the data analysis: (a) obstacles in regulatory processes, (b) lack of information, (c) cumbersome procedures and need for alternatives to stringent protocols, and (d) persistence strategies needed to maneuver through inflexible regulations. For entrepreneurship progress among these individuals, business rules needed to be comprehensible, shorter, and less bureaucratic. These findings also suggest that, once entrepreneurship rules are transparent, Saudi Arabia may become a choice country for international businesses. These findings have implications for positive social change by informing the efforts of governmental authorities in their work towards effective regulatory processes as roadways to the economic well-being of businesses and communities, and could be a catalyst to boost foreign investments in the country.

Faculty Mentor Deniz Saral


The Ability to Take up Space as an Indigenous Woman Through Ecofeminism 
Elizabeth Stanza, Webster Groves Campus

Through colonization, Indigenous women have been dominated alongside nature by a patriarchal framework, hence creating a strong link in oppression between women and nature. Due to this oppression, indigenous women have not been allowed to take up space, both physically and philosophically. Ecofeminist theory can aid Indigenous women in claiming space by focusing on women’s ability to shape their own communities. With organizations such as, APWLD (Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development) and AIPP (Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact), understanding Indigenous women’s issues within an ecofeminist frame can give Indigenous women the recognition they need to be seen as individuals deserving of space in a patriarchal society that characterizes them as insignificant.

Faculty Mentor Katherine Parsons and Dani MacCartney 


KEYS 4019: The Art of Social Engagement Showcase
Students from KEYS 4019:02

The Arts and Social Engagement will present a music video that they created in response to their concerns regarding voter suppression.  Their presentation will highlight the ways in which societal pressures impact Muslim, Autistic, African-American and the LGBTQ communities in their intentions to vote.  Presenters will share their personal experiences and their knowledge of historical precedents that have discouraged people from exercising their right to vote.

Faculty Mentor Carol Williams


Coherent Marijuana Messaging
Ryan Quinones

Background: Before 1996, marijuana was prohibited in every state. In 2018, 31 states have legalized marijuana with several likely additions coming in the 2018 midterm elections. Initiative and proposition campaigns have been largely responsible for this shift in state policy and have demonstrated what a broadly appealing legalization campaign message looks like. Method: This research evaluates legalization messaging through the initiatives’ efforts to target voter’s core partisan values, social concerns of legalization, as well as fiscal concerns of legalization. Common strategies and their apparent impact are discussed across state legalization campaigns in Washington, Arizona, Nevada, and California with the margins of victory noted to illustrate the effectiveness of the campaigns. Results: Republicans and Democrats find some commonality in their political philosophies when deciding to support legalization and voters’ perception of the fiscal impact of legalization guides support more often then social concerns, however the evolution of social concerns has contributed to the overall broadly palatable campaign message of compassionate care. Conclusions: The broad strokes of this campaign strategy are evident across state initiative campaigns to legalize marijuana and illustrate what has been most convincing to voters when deciding for drug legalization.

Faculty Member Gwenyth Williams