Four outstanding seniors completed distinction projects this year in the Mazzuchelli Honors Program. Their projects are archived and made available through Constellation, our online repository of University scholarship. We recognize how hard they’ve worked all year and congratulate them on completion of their projects. Follow the links below to read the projects.
The Connection Between Ethnicity, Motivation, and GPA
Wojtach, Paulina (Clinical Psychology Major)
There are a number of factors found to predict grade point average (GPA), including parental attachment, college self-efficacy, and ethnic background (Aguayo et al., 2011; Dennis et al., 2005; Vuong et al., 2010; Yazedijan et al., 2009). Some evidence suggests that college self-efficacy mediates the relationship between parental attachment and GPA, but that the relationship is specific to white students (Yazedijan et al. 2009). The current study examines whether the relationship is specific to all white students, including Eastern European first-generation college students, and whether it generalizes to Hispanic first-generation college students. The proposed hypothesis, that parents affect GPA indirectly by influencing college self-efficacy, and that the effect differs by ethnic background, was not supported by the results; only the correlation between college self-efficacy and GPA was significant for the student sample as a whole. The possible reasons for the null findings are discussed.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Bipolar I Disorder in Children, Adolescents, and Adults: A Comparative Analysis
Nicole Fledderman (Neuroscience Major)
Previously known as manic depression, bipolar disorder was once thought to occur rarely in children and adolescents. However, between 1994 and 2003 there was a 40-fold increase in the number of U.S. children under the age of 20 diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This drastic rise is a cause for concern for several reasons. Specifically, despite the fact that there are important differences in the way bipolar I disorder presents in pediatric and adult populations, the current diagnostic and treatment guidelines in children and adolescents are largely based on and similar to those for adults. This study compares and contrasts standard diagnostic criteria and pharmacological treatment guidelines for bipolar I disorder in adult and pediatric populations and suggests guidelines for a re-evaluation and improvement of diagnosis, a process which requires conducting more careful and targeted research into bipolar I disorder in children and adolescents.
“Unoccupied”: An Illustrated Poetry Project
Gabrielle Lehmann (Painting and Psychology Major)
Note: Access to this project is restricted because of plans for future publication.
“Unoccupied” is the title of a year‐long exploration in poetry and illustration. Presented as a series of eight detailed prints, this project integrates writing and visual art into a cohesive narrative. Each visual borrows inspiration from traditional printmaking techniques, carried forward into a modern digital format that ties old art styles to the modern day.
Testing the Life- span of Caenorhabditis elegans using Sulfur- containing Compounds
Dalal Abuaqel (Neuroscience Major)
Aging is an unavoidable, universal, and biological phenomenon affecting all multicellular organisms. Although different hypotheses have been put forward to explain the cellular and molecular mechanisms of aging, recent studies have made it progressively clear that it is indeed possible for organisms to have an increase in life span through pharmacological intervention. This study is focused on investigating the interaction of genes controlling the rate of aging in wild type and DAF-16 Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) strains in order to understand the mechanisms of aging that could uncover new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of age related disease. In this work, I report that exposing C. elegans to sulfur-containing compounds increases the lifespan of C. elegans. These compounds work through a mechanism independent of insulin-like signaling and are not involved in increased resistance to free radicals.