Penn State Schuylkill's Faculty Research Series provides an opportunity for faculty to discuss their current research projects. Seminars will be held monthly and meet in person unless otherwise noted. Contact Valerie Schrader, series coordinator and professor of communication arts and sciences, with any questions.
Integrating Water Quality and Cyanotoxin Production to Combat Harmful Algal Blooms
Thursday, November 9 // 12:20 to 1:10 p.m. // C-101
Presented by Dr. Sarah Princiotta, assistant professor of biology
Water managers and citizens of the Pocono region have expressed concerns about the environmental implications of cyanobacteria blooms. This research seeks to assess the frequency and severity of blooms of potentially toxic cyanobacteria within recreational lakes as related to water quality parameters and phytoplankton communities. This research discovered better understanding of the biological drivers on a water quality issues that's pervasive across the Commonwealth, the development of harmful algal blooms, particularly by potentially toxic cyanobacteria. Princiotta's research discusses the guidelines used to monitor, respond, and therefore protect citizens and visitors of Pennsylvania. The data presented will better equip scientists and managers to face challenges of water quality knowledgeably.
"You Are More Than Just Your Gift:" Facework and Idealization in Disney's Encanto
Wednesday, December 6 // 12:20 to 1:10 p.m. // C-101
Presented by Janelle Gruber, lecturer of corporate communication and Dr. Valerie Schrader, professor of communication arts and sciences
Disney's Encanto, released in 2021, tells the story of the Madrigals, a family who experiences a miracle that results in each member of the family having a special gift – all except for one, the teenage protagonist, Mirabel. When Mirabel recognizes that both the miracle and her family is in danger, she works to uncover the problem, and discovers that her family is utilizing facework in order to fit in with the rest of their family members and the community. In this faculty research presentation, Gruber and Schrader argue that Encanto teaches lessons regarding facework and its different approaches. They also contend that the film provides a cautionary message for its young audience: facework should be used in moderation and that maintaining face, idealization, and front at the expense of one's emotions can have negative consequences on not only the individual engaging in facework, but also those around them.
Quirks film screening
Monday, October 9 // 12:20 to 1:10 p.m. // Morgan Auditorium
Presented by Cathy Fiorillo, teaching professor of theatre and speech
Quirks is a short comedic film/tv pilot that seeks to bridge the gap of our divided country by utilizing our common denominator – quirks. Quirks are the glue that binds humanity together! This tv pilot is one of 13 episodes which were written, created, and produced by Cathy Fiorillo. This particular episode being screened included additional screenwriters, Ray Cordova, from New York City, and Steve Kwasnik, from Philadelphia. Quirks follows protagonist, Cathy Singly, a middle-aged menopausal maelstrom played by Cathy Fiorillo, who sees major quirks in the men she dates and of others in her life. She, however, is quirky herself and seems to be blindsided by this, despite her quirks being very apparent to others. Four Penn State Schuylkill students worked on Quirks in different capacities. Erik Dubbs and Lily McDonald were set actors as well as production assistants, Maleeha Bano was a set artist, production assistant, content creator for social media and extra, and Monet Edwards, who was an extra in the film.
Faculty Lightning Talks
Tuesday, September 26 // 12:20 to 1:10 p.m. // C-101
At the first Faculty Research Series of the fall semester, a group of faculty members shared their research discipline, the ways in which they collect their research, and opportunities available to students to conduct undergraduate research. See below for the list of faculty members who participated:
- Marianne Adam
- Yelena Meadows
- Kelly Puzzi
- Jessica Saalfield
- Valerie Schrader
- Lee Silverberg
- Joseph Squillace
- Ping Wang
Crime Prediction Using Big Data
Tuesday, March 21 // 12:20 to 1:10 p.m. // C-101
Presented by Dr. Juyoung Song, associate professor of criminal justice
The crime phenomenon of modern society is more complex and diverse than in the past. There are many ways to predict and analyze crime phenomena. The current era of the fourth industrial revolution is experiencing innovative changes as cutting-edge information and communications technology are incorporated into all areas of the economy and society; for example, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things, big data, and mobile technology. Criminologists (crime-data scientists) play a very important role in this process. They create or assemble high-quality data that can be used to train machine-learning systems, find machine-learning algorithms that are suitable for the data, and perform modeling. The discussions of politics, economy, and culture posted on social media outlets represent the opinions of the era. The method of collecting and analyzing the unstructured data from online channels, including the Social Network Service, can interpret the actual phenomenon in our society. The current study uses structured and social big data to predict crime and preemptively respond to it. The result of this study provides a detailed description of the entire research process, which consisted of gathering big data, analyzing it, and making observations to develop a crime-prediction model that uses actual big data. The study also contains an in-depth discussion of several processes: text mining, which extracts useful information from online documents; opinion mining, which analyzes the emotions contained in documents; machine learning for crime prediction; and visualization analysis. Machine learning will be applied to finally suggest a prediction model. The results of the analysis and policy implication will be discussed.
Substance Use Amongst Geographically Diverse 12th Grade Students
Tuesday, February 21 // 12:20 to 1:10 p.m. // C-101
Presented by Dr. Jessica Saalfield, assistant professor of psychology
Epidemiological studies have demonstrated a well-documented effect of increased alcohol and marijuana use among adolescents and young adults; however, there is a paucity of research examining this effect in rural areas. This underrepresented group may be at heightened risk of substance misuse due to the unique stressors they experience including geographic isolation and lack of a large social community. What little research exists demonstrates that youths from rural areas are more likely to drink more per occasion compared to their suburban/urban counterparts. Conversely, existing literature holds the assumption that rural adolescents tend to use less marijuana (and associated products) than their peers from urban and suburban areas. Using data from the Monitoring the Future Study, participants were split into three distinct geographic categories and data was analyzed to three main effects. First, we examined differences in binge (4-5 drinks/occasion) and extreme binge drinking (10+ drinks/occasion). Secondly, the perceived risk of weekend binge drinking was assessed. Lastly, data was analyzed to examine differences in lifetime marijuana and hash usage. While the results demonstrated a trend for rural students to engage in increased binge drinking, they were significantly more likely to engage in extreme binge drinking compared to their more metropolitan peers. These students also reported less perceived risk of weekend binge drinking. Further, adolescents in large urban and suburban areas reported greater marijuana and hash usage compared to adolescents in medium urban and suburban areas and adolescents in rural areas. Additionally, rural adolescents in the Northeast and West regions used marijuana and hash products at the same level as their urban/suburban counterparts. This data reveals a non-homogenous effect of geography on the drinking and marijuana use behaviors of 12th graders, suggestive of increased risk taking/experimentation. It also highlights the need for further research into the effect of geography on alcohol use behaviors.
Burkean Identification and the “Ton:” A Rhetorical Analysis of the Netflix Series Bridgerton
Wednesday, January 18 // 12:20 to 1:10 p.m. // C-101
Presented by Janelle Gruber, lecturer of corporate communication, and Dr. Valerie Schrader, professor of communication arts and sciences
Bridgerton, a popular Netflix series produced by Shonda Rhimes and Chris Van Dusen, has garnered attention, much of which has been positive, for its diverse, color-conscious casting. Differing from the books on which it has been based, the Netflix series includes main characters of various ethnicities, though it maintains its original storylines that often concern issues of class in the Regency era. In this rhetorical analysis of the first two seasons of Bridgerton, we argue that Bridgerton’s success is connected to its ability to create consubstantiality between its characters and viewers. We apply Kenneth Burke’s concept of identification to several characters and storylines throughout the first two seasons, noting how common ground and dissociation in particular serve to create consubstantiality. Finally, we suggest that Bridgerton’s color-conscious casting aids in this creation of identification, even while the series fails to align with documented history of the Regency era and continues to incorporate issues of classism and homophobia into its storylines.
Multi-Sensory Pedagogy in a College Setting: What Is It, Why Bother, and How to Use It in Your Classes
Presented by Dr. Yelena Meadows, assistant teaching professor of mathematics
Thursday, October 20
12:20 to 1:10 p.m.
R. Michael Fryer Conference Center (101 Classroom Building)
The second presentation in the fall 2022 Faculty Research Series is ideal for educators interested in creating an environment for their students where learners are deeply engaged in their work, respectful of themselves and their surroundings, are self-motivated, and rigorously pursuing growth in all aspects (cognitive, emotional, social, and physical). In this presentation, Dr. Meadows will discuss multi-sensory pedagogical approaches developed by Orton-Gillingham and Maria Montessori and also present research on dyslexia, as well as its effects on individual learners and society. One in five school-aged children is personally affected by dyslexia, and as much as half of the nation's prison population is affected, as well. Research on college-aged learners is in its infancy, but preliminary findings point to benefit of this approach to all learners. Dr. Meadows will discuss this early research, including how these highly unconventional learners are creative and intelligent, yet disadvantaged by the current structure of traditional understanding of learning; they do not “outgrow” their neurobiological condition.
Dr. Gina Whalen
Wednesday, November 16 // 12:20 to 1:10 p.m.