Tara Greig (U): Centering Black Student Voices in a Nested Model of Racial Battle Fatigue

Winner: Student Affairs (Undergraduate)

Co-authors: Kish Parikh, Cole Fontenot, Kennedy Coleman

Racial Battle Fatigue (RBF) among college students at predominantly white institutions (PWIs) is an issue of high concern. While higher education research has examined RBF concerning its prevalence, manifestations, and impact on various affective and academic outcomes, relatively few studies have sought to conceptualize this construct within an ecological systems model. This presentation presents findings that examine contributors to racial battle fatigue among Black undergraduate students in a nested environmental model. The study also sought to uncover how these relationships relate to student-level outcomes and how students utilize coping strategies to navigate these systems.

Student Affairs Undergraduate Research Team
Mentor: Allison Kanny

Sara Hatcher (U): Gait Mechanics with Single Leg Elongation

Winner: Simmons (Undergraduate)

It is common thought that structural asymmetries result in a running disadvantage, and that anatomical and mechanical symmetry is the preferred condition. Our opposition to this stance began in observation of Usain Bolt, who exhibits a 13% force difference in striking with his right versus left leg due to a leg length difference. But there are few studies on gait asymmetries to explain this phenomenon: how can the fastest man in history be asymmetrical? To investigate this, we have created a study in which we lengthen the right leg of athletes and observe the response of both legs. We propose that the body compensates by altering vertical force and contact time in the opposing limb, resulting in an adjustment to both legs. Our subjects ran a control and experimental condition where an 27mm insert was attached to the right shoe at 3, 4, 5, and 6m/s. We hypothesized that the lengthened leg would have a decreased vertical ground reaction force and increased contact time and the unlengthened leg would have an increased vertical ground reaction force and decreased contact time. We further hypothesized that the two-leg average would not change between conditions. We determined both hypotheses to be correct. These findings show that asymmetries are not an inherent disability, but rather, functional asymmetries can increase the body's effectiveness in motion.

Sara Hatcher
Major: Applied Physiology and Health Management
Faculty mentor: Peter Weyand

Jonathan Lindbloom (U): A Bayesian Gaussian Process Model for COVID-19

Winner: Undergraduate Top 3
Winner: Dedman III (Undergraduate)

We present the Bayesian approach to parameter inference for SIR ODE models using Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods, along with its computational implementation using the PyMC3 probabilistic programming library. We show how changes in the transmission rate over time can be captured by change-point models. However, these change-point models fail to learn the underlying dynamics of the time-dependent transmission rate. To overcome this pitfall, we demonstrate how using Gaussian processes to place a functional prior over the time-dependent transmission rate does a better job at characterizing uncertainty in forecasts. Our approach removes the need to specify priors over change-points, captures uncertainty in the dynamics of the effective reproduction number, and flexibly fits county or state-level data without modification. To validate our model, we evaluate the accuracy of our model’s forecasts using scoring rules and compare its performance with that of other competing models submitted to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Jonathan Lindbloom
Mathematics, Finance
Faculty Mentor: Alejandro Aceves

Robert Mirr (U): #BlackAtSMU

Winner: Meadows (Undergraduate)

This documentary is important because it will serve as an exploration into the issue of systemic racism and white supremacy that is deeply ingrained in our SMU community which so necessarily needs to be talked about. Our documentary will also serve as a mode of education and a dialogue starter to promote better understanding of these issues and create meaningful change in the actions of those on campus. The community being served by this project is vast, but one highlighted community is that of the black students, faculty, and alumni of SMU. Our goal with this project is to create a pedagogical tool to be used to spark conversation around all areas of SMU, from the residential commons to PRW I classes, to administration meetings. We aim to create dialogue around how people of color are treated in all areas at SMU and spark change to create a more inclusive, diverse, and accountable community. I personally hope to create a change and a dialogue within the SMU community. These issues have gone both unnoticed by the administration and student body for too long. By sparking this dialogue I hope to ensure a change so students can no longer feel this white supremacy. I hope to see a change that benefits the greater SMU community for good and forever.

Robert Mirr
Major: Film production; Minor: Graphic Design and Advertising
Faculty mentor: Amber Bemak

Fidelia Nawar (U): Covid-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) Extractor

Winner: Undergraduate Top 3
Winner: Lyle (Undergraduate)

The Covid-19 Open Research Dataset is a growing resource of coronavirus research and scientific papers on Covid-19. CORD-19 is designed to facilitate the development of information retrieval systems through its collection of structured full-text papers. This study aims to contribute to the SMU AI Club's efforts to develop a search engine that parses through CORD-19 articles in order to extract relevant data about protein, compound, chemical information, and more. In the study, we describe the mechanics of dependency parsing, highlighting challenges and key design decisions, and discuss tools and upcoming shared tasks related to the search engine project. We hope this resource will introduce a new way to search for desired data related to Covid-19 and further bring together the computing and biomedical community on campus.

Fidelia Nawar
Major: Computer Science
Faculty Mentor: David (King Ip) Lin

Bibiana Schindler (U): Hegemony over Human Rights: The Politics of U.S. Genocide Recognition in the al-Anfal Campaign

Winner: Dedman I (Undergraduate)

The United States is often perceived as the moral authority of the world, defending human rights and supporting fundamental American values abroad through its foreign policy. However, despite this elevated status in the political arena, the United States often distances itself from issues pertaining to human rights such as genocide, taking decades to sign the United Nations Genocide Declaration and consistently failing to recognize crimes against humanity and genocides as they occur. The rationale behind this moral failure can be understood through the lens of the 1980s Kurdish genocide in Iraq known as the al-Anfal Campaign. The United States provided Iraq with supplies and support during the Iran-Iraq War, failing to fully acknowledge Iraq's crimes until after their relationship deteriorated in the early 1990s. The United States' awareness and evaluation of Iraq's bombing campaigns can be analyzed through numerous recently declassified documents. The findings of this research suggest that the United States weighs its interests against its values in its foreign policy decisions. It appears that the U.S. often chooses its strategic interests over its moral obligations, using genocide recognition as a political tool to maintain its hegemony.

Bibiana Schindler
Majors: History and Psychology; Minors: Public Policy & International Affairs, Russian Area Studies
Faculty mentor: Sabri Ates

Megan Sham (U): Immigrant Identity Through Food Culture

Winner: Dedman II (Undergraduate)

The main goal of this research study is to look at integration of Chinese-American immigrant families through the specific lens of their domestic culinary practices (cooking at home) as a lens of understand the food practices of immigrants in the United States. The participants in this study will include SMU students and their families, as well as other members of the Chinese-American immigrant community in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area and Houston.The study aims to understand how immigrant communities in the United States adapt to and resist mainstream American culture, starting with food and cooking in the home. Interviews will be conducted to gather qualitative information concerning attitudes towards cooking certain cuisines and the effects on the family unit. The research will be funded partially by the John G. Tower Center's Henry S. Miller Undergraduate Research Fellowship, as well as the Fry Undergraduate Research Award from the SMU Anthropology Department.

Megan Sham
Faculty Mentor: Nicolas Sternsdorff Cisterna