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Center for Teaching & Learning
Center for Teaching & Learning

2011-2012 Faculty-Led Projects

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Project Title
Drama, Theatre, Dance Mills
Manhattan Dance Project:  "Questions About Angels"
Joseph Mills
Abstract: "Questions About Angels" is an evening-length professional dance/theater work to be performed at Theater for the New City in Manhattan in January of 2012. Through this project I will offer students an opportunity to participate in this production as performers and in a variety of backstage roles. I will offer two co-listed courses (one for dance and one for drama/theater) in the winter session 2012. In this course I will work with students on interstitial choreography that will join the four larger works performed by professional dancers, and also with backstage aspects of the production such as costume and set construction, sound design and stage management. Students will have an opportunity to experience one possible trajectory for their careers by working closely with recent alumni (now performing professionally) and seasoned professionals alike, in a professional Manhattan Theater setting.
Media coverage: Taking a closer look at angels -- and danceQueens Chronicle, January 12, 2012
Mathematics Hanusa
Higher-order functional recurrences
Christopher Hanusa
The P.I. aims to include two undergraduate students in his mathematics research in combinatorics related to solving multivariate functional equations. The students will perform the research with the ultimate goals of presenting their findings at a regional undergraduate research conference and publishing their results in a joint paper.
Secondary Education & Youth Services Zevin
Text, Image, Sounds: Experimenting with pedagogical content to engage student learners in history
Jack Zevin
Abstract: This project is aimed at bringing student teachers into the research process while they are actively engaged in the second half of their major field experience as prospective teachers. Our program is arranged to provide research activities for graduates but rarely for undergraduate educators-to-be, a serious lack in their preparation because they need to acquire diagnostic tools that meet instructional goals. A traditional topic, The Great Depression, has been selected as the content for this research, in consultation with current student groups, because it is usually taught in spring terms of U.S. History, is not very familiar to students, and invites comparisons to current economic and social issues.
Linguistics & Communication Disorders Calandruccio
Sentence recognition test for non-native speakers of English
Lauren Calandruccio
Abstract: There are limited test materials available to evaluate English sentence recognition in the research laboratory. Over the past two years we successfully developed new sentence recognition materials (500 sentences in total) using a lexicon derived from the conversational speech of 100 non-native English speakers. We have collected sentence-recognition data on 80 non-native speakers of English using these materials. The goal of the current project is to investigate the error patterns of 100 participants so that a smaller subset of the sentences can be redesigned into a clinical test specifically designed for non-native speakers of English.
Art History Nelson
Preserving and Documenting a Roman Period Temenos Wall
Michael Nelson
Abstract: The proposed research project to be carried out by professor and student alike is the preservation and documentation of a frescoed wall surrounding a Roman period temple in northern Israel. The wall and its fresco are excellently preserved and provide the unparalleled opportunity to examine the details of its construction and decoration. Professor and student will work together conserving the actual fresco and documenting and recreating the methods used by the craftsmen to plaster the wall and then paint it.
Psychology Ranaldi
Effects of chronic heroin on brain reward and addiction systems
Robert Ranaldi
Abstract: We have found that chronic heroin enhances sensitivity to reward, increasing susceptibility to develop addictive behavior. Here we test the hypothesis that chronic heroin does this by enhancing the responsiveness of the brain’s natural reward (dopamine) system to reward stimuli. We will compare activity in dopamine neurons in response to a reward-associated environment (an environment associated with Lucky Charms reward) between animals previously treated with chronic heroin and animals previously treated with chronic saline. We predict significantly greater dopamine cell activity in heroin- versus saline-treated rats. These studies will significantly enhance our understanding of brain addiction processes.
Philosophy Grover
Private Langage and the Hard Problem of Consciousness
Stephen Grover
Abstract: The ‘hard problem of consciousness’ is how to explain phenomenal consciousness in physical terms. Our research will explore the relation between the hard problem of consciousness and Wittgenstein’s ‘private-language argument’.
Family, Nutrition, & Exercise Science Miner & Azzollini
Physical and Nutrition Improvement in Adolescent Rowers
Patricia Miner and Ann Azzollini
Abstract: The purpose of the study is to examine the effectiveness of nutrition education on nutrition knowledge, self-efficacy (confidence in one's ability to perform the behavior) and how these two elements affect behavior change of adolescent girls. It also evaluates physiological improvements from participation in a rowing program. Our hypotheses are: 
1. nutrition education addressing the importance of including fluids, iron rich foods and carbohydrates to support sport performance will improve knowledge of these topics. 
2. nutrition education involving food sampling of carbohydrate snacks will improve self-efficacy and behavior for eating carbohydrates. 
3. participation in an afterschool and Saturday rowing program will improve blood pressure, body weight (assessed as BMI), waist circumference and aerobic capacity.
Psychology Jones
Maximizing outcomes: Addressing early key impairments in children with Down syndrome and autism
Emily Jones
Abstract: The development of interventions specifically tailored to address key areas of impairment in young children with developmental disabilities has the potential to minimize impairments and associated negative consequences and maximizing more typical outcomes. In a series of projects we are addressing joint attention deficits in children with autism, specifically related to peer interactions, both areas of significant difficulty. In Down syndrome we are continuing to examine communication interventions as well as aspects of intervention that improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of intervention.
Chemistry  & Biochemistry Chen
Palladium-Catalyzed Cascade Synthesis of Naphtho[1,2-b]benzofuran Derivatives
Yu Chen
Abstract: Research on the synthetic methodology development for the biologically interesting naphtho[1,2-b]benzofuran derivatives is proposed. Three synthetic routes are designed towards the target molecules by palladium-catalyzed cascade reactions. Two undergraduate students, Igor Inoyatov and Abraham Perl, will participate in the proposed project by taking a three-credit undergraduate research course with Chen. One proposal for NSF (National Science Foundation) grant will be prepared based on the preliminary results obtained through the developed methodology. The full details of the new synthetic methodologies will be published in peer-reviewed journals.
Physics Vuong
"CUNY" in light, with a nanocomposite material
Luat Vuong
Abstract: The PI seeks UR/ME funds to manage a group of researchers to develop patterned solution-processed nanocomposite materials. Students will work on several efforts, involving the electromagnetic and optical characterization, materials processing, and computer programming to understand the evolution and morphology of nanocomposite materials.
Psychology Fienup
Concept Formation and Neuroanatomy Instruction
Daniel Fienup
This proposal will develop neuroanatomy instructional modules based on laboratory research that has been conducted during the last year. We have a working module for teaching the limbic system. This proposal will develop additional curriculum for an additional 45 brain structures that are taught in undergraduate neuroscience courses. Funds will be used to develop curriculum, develop stimuli for use in computer program, pilot work on the effectiveness of new modules, and presentation of findings at a regional conference.
Studio Art Weinstein
Graphic Design Internships for Klapper Hall Student Gallery
Kathryn Weinstein
Abstract: The Art Department is seeking $2,400 from Undergraduate Research and Mentoring Education (UR/ME) for the creation of two paid, credited, and supervised graphic design internships for the Spring 2012 semester. Working under the supervision of Kathryn Weinstein, Visiting Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, interns will design materials to promote Klapper Hall Student Gallery projects including graduate-thesis exhibitions, undergraduate group exhibitions and the annual MFA Artist Talk Series.
Psychology Brumbaugh
Mate Preferences across Life and across the World
Claudia Brumbaugh
Abstract: A body of research demonstrates that people adopt a more interpersonally positive orientation with age. The current study extended this line of research by examining how mate preferences shift as a function of age. Our world-wide sample rated their attraction to photographs and completed attraction measures. Based on our revealed preference measure, we found that older individuals preferred people who displayed communal characteristics. Our findings suggest that, in addition to becoming more agreeable with age, people are drawn to others with similarly agreeable qualities. This universal pattern indicates that mate preference shifts across the lifespan may be rooted in human biology and represent evolutionary adaptations.
Psychology Pytte
An investigation of the role of dopamine in prolonging neuronal lifespan
Carolyn Pytte
Abstract: The goal of this work is to test the hypothesis that the neurotransmitter dopamine prolongs the lifespan of newly formed neurons in the adult brain. To do this, we use the songbird model system, administer a dopamine blocking agent and compare new neuron numbers between treated birds and controls. The results of this work have implications for our understanding of new neurons survival in the human brain.
Chemistry & Biochemistry Saffran
DNA repair and genetic changes induced by interstrand crosslinks
Wilma Saffran
Abstract: Cancer is a genetic disease; normal cells can be converted to tumor cells when the genes that regulate cell growth are altered by mutations or DNA rearrangements. Chemicals that react with DNA can produce DNA damage, which is recognized and repaired by cellular enzymes. However, some repair pathways can introduce genetic changes. Psoralen, which produces interstrand crosslinks in DNA, is used to treat psoriasis, but has been found to induce skin cancer. The roles of specific DNA repair pathways in the generation of genetic changes after psoralen crosslinking will be studied in the well-characterized organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s yeast).
Biology Baker
Companion planting for natural enemy enhancement
Mitchell Baker
Abstract: Biological control uses predators or parasites to slow pest population growth, and can reduce environmental and monetary costs associated with insecticide applications. In this project, we study natural enemy enhancement in two systems, potato and cucurbits. We will study populations of pests and their predators and parasites with and without companion plantings that are believed to attract natural enemies. This study will combine fine grained monitoring of controlled experimental plots on my own farm in Ithaca along with trials in cooperating farms that will test the robustness and optimal temporal and spatial scale of natural enemy enhancements.
Sociology Weinberg
Publishing in the Digital Age
Dana Weinberg
Abstract: Students will work with statistical data on the publishing industry, interviews, blog posts, conference speeches, and industry news to examine the opportunities that digital publishing is creating for fiction authors. This work is part of a larger, ongoing study on the way the digital revolution is changing the relationship of the artist to the marketplace. Students will learn about the industry, attend writer and industry conferences, interview writers and industry professionals, augment an existing statistical database, and participate in constructing reports and presentations. The students’ work will yield blog posts, presentations to writers’ groups, and contribute material for a book.
Biology Lahti
Analysis of vocal development to distinguish nature and nurture
David Lahti
Abstract: We are just beginning to learn how genes and environment, nature and nurture, combine to produce behavior. We investigate this question in a songbird, the swamp sparrow. Our birds were reared in a laboratory, hearing songs that we have digitally manipulated to be different from those of their kin in nature. By tracing recordings of these young birds from their first “babble” to their adult song, we can distinguish what they imitate from what they inherit, and find out when in development these factors operate. In this way we can discover how learning and genetic influences on behavior are intertwined.
Psychology Storbeck
Emotion and Cognition Interactions Deplete Self-Control Resources and Impair Behavior
Justin Storbeck
Abstract: Positive affect promotes verbal abilities, whereas negative affect promotes spatial abilities. We hypothesized that one consequence of emotion promoting cognitive abilities is the regulation of mental resources. We hypothesize that when current task (e.g., verbal or spatial) demands are aligned with the cognitive ability promoted by the emotional state, mental resources are conserved. However, when emotion promotes an inappropriate cognitive ability for current task demands, mental resources are depleted. The depletion of mental resources will impair future behavior. Therefore, the goal of this proposal is to examine the benefits and costs for behavior following interactions between emotion and cognition.
Psychology Li, Lockerman, & Fowler
Effects of emotion on the visual perception of complex patterns
Andrea Li, Elliot Lockerman and Michelle Fowler
Abstract: This project aims to determine how an emotional state, specifically fear, affects the visual perception of complex patterns. Previous literature suggests that fear affects the visual perception of orientation of simple visual stimuli. This project aims to extend this work to determine how fear affects the perceived orientation of complex plaids and the perceived 3D shapes of textured surfaces. The goal is to determine whether the effects of an emotional state on a higher-level visual feature (3D shape) can be explained by the effects of the emotional state on a lower-level visual feature (orientation).
Linguistics & Communication Disorders Ijalba
Emergent-bilingual children within the context of multiple ethnicities in Queens, New York
Elizabeth Ijalba
Abstract: In this study we aim to learn about the early-language and literacy practices among Hispanics, Chinese, Korean, Greek and Bengali communities living in Queens, New York. Queens College students from each of these communities and who are fluent in each of the languages will survey 1st and 2nd generation families with children of preschool age. The aim of these surveys will be to determine how parents structure the early-language and literacy practices at home. As part of this study, we will also identify children with language delays and provide parent training focused on promoting use of the home-language. Students will adapt interactive picture books to each of the languages and train parents on how to use these materials to enhance language and literacy acquisition with their children at home.
Biology Short
Stable Transformation of the fern Ceratopteris richardii to Examine Photoreceptor Function
Timothy Short
Abstract: Light perception and responses are among the most important environmental cues for plants, but they have been difficult to study in ferns. We have developed a novel method for stable genetic transformation of the fern Ceratopteris richardii to study photoreceptors and their physiological implications in order to elucidate developmental, morphological, and molecular questions. Building on prior work, two undergraduate research students will be constructing the DNA required for transformation of this fern with photoreceptor constructs designed to increase and decrease their expression, will analyze the products, and present their data at a regional conference.
 History Wintermute
Oral History Methods and Practices seminar (HIST 392W)
Bobby A. Wintermute
Abstract: Funds solicited in this grant proposal are intended to provide essential material, personnel, and financial support for students participating in the Oral History Methods and Practices seminar (HIST 392W) I am offering this Spring. The course’s mission is to highlight the best practices in collecting oral history testimony, while also challenging students to develop an appreciation for the methodology that will help shape their future careers as educators working at various levels. The course introduces students to the world of oral history in a gradual, adjudicated manner, beginning with theory, ethical considerations, and methods and practices. Along the way they will apply their developing skills in a series of interview exercises and project planning exercises, culminating in a capstone project. The final project, developed in partnership with The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, will pair individual students with subjects across the Greater Metropolitan New York Area who are willing and prepared to share their life’s experiences as members of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, living, working, and thriving in an ever-vibrant and changing community that captures the essence of New York City.
Chemistry & Biochemistry
Aqueous Solution in a Gas-Phase Nano-Beaker
Jianbo Liu
Abstract: Recently we succeeded in generating reverse micelles-one of the most interesting nanostructures-in the gas phase, and found that gas-phase reverse micelles are capable of carrying cargo inside. Capitalizing on these findings, this proposal is to use gas-phase reverse micelles as nano-beakers, so that we can hold aqueous solution in the gas phase, and use gas-phase mass spectrometry to probe the properties of biomolecules solvated within. This project has the potential to offer chemists new practice to conduct solution reactions and redefine the boundary of gas-phase techniques. The project will involve two chemistry undergraduates.
Chemistry & Biochemistry
Rotenberg & Morris
Effect of Resveratrol Analogs On Metastatic Melanoma Cells
Susan Rotenberg & Valery Morris
Resveratrol is a substance found in red wine and other foods and occurs naturally in trans and cis forms. While the trans form has been studied for its anti-oxidant and anti-cancer activity, there is little known about the cis form. We will evaluate a series of cis and trans resveratrol analogues for their inhibitory effects on migration of mouse melanoma cells, a property related to metastasis. We will focus on protein kinase C as a potential target; this protein binds resveratrol and is involved in melanoma metastasis. Two students will be trained in standard techniques and presentation of the results.
Drama, Theatre & Dance
Presenting Three Works by Queens College Students at the 2012 ACDFA Conference
Edisa Weeks
Abstract: The Queens College Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance is arranging to take twenty students to participate in the American College Dance Festival Association Conference (ACDFA) on Friday March 2 till Monday March 5, 2012 at Pennsylvania State University. The Department will be presenting three student choreographed works at ACDFA. Funds are being requested to help support the registration fees, adjudication fees and travel expenses for students to attend the 2012 ACDFA conference.
Congregate Foster Care: The Path Saved Thus Far
Joyce Tang
This project will gather data and conduct analysis of the congregate foster care system in New York City. Drawing from existing literature, field observations, and interviews with congregate foster care personnel, this sociological study of a foster care agency will offer an in-depth understanding of the congregate foster care system in the United States: [a] describing the evolution of congregate foster care as an alternative means of guardianship and transition into other specific issues, [b] identifying the strengths of the current system, and [c] providing recommendations for improvement. Results of the study will lay the groundwork for future research on foster care in New York City.



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