Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences 2021-2022 Projects

Click here to return to the main project listings page. Questions: Email our@kennesaw.edu. 

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Isabel Alford, Psychology; Alexis Newman, Psychology; Abiodun Akinleye, Biochemistry; Rayna Stallings, English; Hannah Henderson, English; Keyanna Schultz, Media & Entertainment

    • Ever notice on the credits of your favorite films that most of the screenwriters are men? You’re not just imagining it. The numbers are pretty dismal. Of the top 250-grossing films from 2020, only 17% were written by women.  

      There are many efforts underway to change these statistics and get more women’s voices on screen, but one thing is certain… we need to begin recognizing and celebrating women’s contributions to screen storytelling over the years. 

      If you’re interested in film and television, this project may be for you! Students working on this project will research critically acclaimed, commercially successful, and forgotten films and television programs written by women, compiling data and short biographies about the women writers who contributed to these screen stories. Students' research will include women screenwriters of color, global women screenwriters, and other marginalized women screenwriters, including writers whose work was influential, well-received, or in some way intriguing in retrospect but whose names may or may not be commonplace to those who create, consume, or analyze film and television.  

      The Women Writers of Film & Television project will culminate in a searchable, online database of women screenwriters and their work, including feature films, made-for-television movies, television mini-series, and television shows and episodes. This digital publication will serve as a much-needed scholarly resource for those studying the history of women writers of film and television. 

      Here’s something you should know: The first-year scholar who worked on the project last year took second place for her research presentation at the Symposium of Student Scholars! And she’ll be joining us again this year as a sophomore scholar. 

      This project is an excellent opportunity for students with an interest in film and television, screenwriting, or women's representation in media to explore online archives and obtain critical research skills. Students should be comfortable working independently, collaboratively with other student scholars, and under faculty supervision and the direction of a graduate research assistant. Most work will be independent, so students should be willing and eager to conduct most research on their own. 

      One student selected for this project will be working specifically on the website development and design. This student will build the website to host custom content and display the content in a searchable and sortable fashion. The website will be hosted through GoDaddy, which offers three of the most common CMS options (WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal). Students interested in this research position should have familiarity with all three options and should be willing and eager to work collaboratively with the supervising faculty member, graduate research assistant, and fellow student scholars. 

    • Research students will learn how to:

      1. Conduct scholarly research using online archives and databases
      2. Compile data in an organized, easily accessible format
      3. Critically analyze films and television shows (and their screenplays)
      4. Review previous research and synthesize findings
      5. Summarize research findings in written and oral presentations

      Web development student will have opportunities to:

      1. Design and build a website from the ground up.
      2. Work collaboratively with faculty and student content creators to devise the best framework to display the data.
      3. Use WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal to create a working CMS so users can search for key words and retrieve a sorted list of data.
    • Weekly duties for research students may include:

      1. Locating and reviewing previous research on women screenwriters
      2. Conducting new research through online databases and archives
      3. Viewing and analyzing films and TV shows, or reading screenplays
      4. Compiling research and summarizing findings
      5. Writing short biographies of women film and television writers (150-300 words)

      Weekly duties for web development student may include:

      1. Working with supervising faculty and GRA to design the look and functionality of the website
      2. Working with fellow undergraduate scholars to collect and input data
      3. Troubleshooting problems associated with the CMS or functionality
      4. Taking online tutorials to learn new web development and CMS skills
    • Anna Weinstein, aweinst6@kennesaw.edu

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Nasimul Labib, Mechanical Engineering; Serene Boudiab, Nursing; Shane Mays, International Affairs

    • The project is about accessible maps for both Kennesaw campuses. The goal will be to create accessible maps that will help those who have visual or mobility handicaps. For visual handicaps, the project goal will be to create 3D printed maps of both campuses where the student can feel the map that will have buildings and elevation at the actual height. For those with mobility handicaps, the goal will be to have maps that include data such as handicapped parking, curb cuts, ramps, stairs, elevators, etc. It is not required that the students working on this project will have GIS (geographic information systems) or mapping knowledge. The majority of the work will be research based - finding previous articles, examples, and other universities' maps in order to create a plan for Kennesaw's accessible maps.

    • By the end of the year (May 2022), the student will have learned to:

      1. Research sources related to accessible mapping
      2. Develop surveys to gather feedback from KSU faculty, staff and students
      3. Evaluate other universities' maps for their accessibility data and features
      1. Research - find articles about accessible maps.
      2. Check other university maps to see what accessibility features they include
      3. Check current KSU resources - do we have data about handicapped parking, curb cuts, elevation, etc. that might affect students, faculty and staff who have disabilities
      4. Find organizations that provide maps for visually impaired (with braille and textures)
      5. Develop a survey of KSU faculty, staff and students asking for feedback how they navigate the campus if they have handicaps.
      6. Develop a plan for KSU to build accessible maps (for visual as well as mobility handicaps)
    • Ulrike Ingram, uingram@kennesaw.edu

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Quinn McKeever, Nursing; Andrew Herman, Psychology; Kayla Alfaro Landa, Nursing

    • Existential anxiety has long been evaluated in terms of our ability to adapt and cope with our mortality (Burke et al., 2010). For most people, psychological, social, and cultural resources are readily available to reduce anxieties persistent when ones' mortality has become salient (Greenberg et al., 1997). According to Terror Management Theory (TMT) (Greenberg et al., 1986), exposure to reminders of our mortality can generate feelings of terror or extreme anxiety. To cope with this anxiety, people mobilize an anxiety-buffering system consisting of meaning-driven resources such as cultural worldview, self-esteem, and social resources (Pyszczynski, 2015). Anxiety Buffer Disruption Theory (ABDT) extends TMT and posits that traumatic and pervasive adverse life events resulting in existential stress can sometimes disrupt this anxiety-buffering system. When these buffers fail, people lack critical resources that reduce subsequent anxiety, depression, and persistent stress. In extreme cases, the resulting symptomology manifests in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Pyszczynski & Kesebir, 2011). The more adverse life events, and the greater their concern for future adverse events, the more likely they are to experience psychological distress.

      Paradoxically, adverse events such as disaster survival can also be associated with positive changes, including improved relations with others, a greater sense of personal strength, spiritual transformation, and a greater appreciation of life. Such changes, often referred to as Post Traumatic Growth (PTG), have been associated with reduced emotional distress following disasters (Platt et al., 2016). This variability may be due to the failure to assess relevant cultural factors. For example, in one of the few studies focused on Latino/a post-traumatic growth, it was found that Latina immigrants were particularly resilient and that their PTG was associated with religious beliefs, familial support, community support, and self-esteem (Berger & Weiss, 2006).

      The current project will examine the underlying mechanisms of resilience in the face of traumatic events by modeling the relationship between adverse events, anxiety, and post-traumatic growth while accounting for theoretical anxiety buffers that are predicted to moderate the detrimental effects of adverse events. Insights from this research will not only inform broader literature and provide evidence for the theoretical framework of ABDT, but it will lay the groundwork for research into interventions that target individuals' natural resources and the cultural foundations that shape them. Data will be collected through SONA and Qualtrics for validation and normalized data modeling. Further, experimental designs will be employed to evaluate how mere thoughts of death can elicit similar (albeit far less in magnitude) responses to alleviate the anxiety associated with such adverse events.

    • General Outcomes:

      This project is designed to help students:

      1. develop and use critical thinking skills to evaluate supporting and contrary evidence
      2. utilize the biopsychosocial approach to understand the human experience
      3. understand the vital component of culture for understanding the human experience
      4. understand the importance of ethics and rigor in research

      Measurable Outcomes:

      1. Compare and contrast competing theories to our theoretical framework through the completion of a literature review.
      2. Assist in the creation of data collection instruments to be housed on Qualtrics.
      3. Assist in the analysis and interpretation of data.
      4. Create and present the research at local, or if possible, regional or national conferences. 
    • Students will be expected to:

      1. Review the relevant research within the context of the theoretical framework and provide insights that could guide the creation of data instruments, inform research aims, and explore alternative explanations for our evidence.
      2. Take an active role in building study surveys or experimental designs on an online platform such as Qualtrics.
      3. Learn data cleaning techniques and assist in getting data ready for analysis.
      4. Assist in analyzing data, learning the fundamentals of rigorous data analysis.
      5. Assist in the inevitable write-up of results to be published.
      6. Design posters and PowerPoint presentations to be presented at conferences. 
    • Tyler Collette, tcollet1@kennesaw.edu

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholar: Samantha Cebelenski, Psychology; Yasmin Castaneda, Biology

    • Project Overview

      We will examine how human drivers behave when self-driving cars are malfunctioning using a driving simulator that has a steering wheel and brake/accelerator pedals. The simulator's moving base will provide a realistic driving feeling as it moves the seat according to the car that is controlled by the driver. It is also equipped with a virtual-reality headset to safely present various driving scenarios. By analyzing the participant drivers' behavior at the moment of the crash, we will learn how well human drivers recognize an upcoming hazard when a self-driving car malfunctions and how they react to avoid the crash.


      A self-driving car is a vehicle that can sense its environment and perform dynamic driving tasks with little or no human input. Self-driving cars are already on the road. For example, a driverless-taxi service has been commercialized in the Phoenix metropolitan area since 2018. The self-driving technology was developed with the promise of offering safer and convenient travel. However, the promise was betrayed by fatal crashes and unexpected handover of vehicle control from the car to the human driver, especially when the driving conditions are difficult to handle. Therefore, until full-self-driving cars are introduced, about which experts are pessimistic, human drivers are responsible for monitoring the driving status of the vehicle to manually control the car when it is necessary. However, humans are notorious for their poor monitoring ability regarding automated systems. There have been numerous fatal accidents of aircraft that are equipped with 100% automatization. Therefore, experts point the importance of research to support effective monitoring of the driving status of a self-driving car by human drivers and smooth transfer of control from the car to the driver.

      The Proposed Project

      In last year's first-year scholars program, we examined the effectiveness of showing the planned trajectory of a self-driving car to the driver through an augmented-reality line on the windshield. Specifically, when human drivers could see the path that the self-driving car would follow, they could predict a potential accident and takeover control of the car voluntarily before the crash, reducing the crash rate by 20% than when such a line was not presented. 
      One limitation of the previous study was that there were no other cars controlled by traffic signals. Such a lack of critical driving-related elements not only decreased the realism of the driving scenario but also made the participants' main task – monitoring the driving of the car – too easy. This year, we will add a traffic system and replicate our previous study. The newly added traffic system will allow us to study human driver's behavior in a more realistic driving context. Adding a traffic system is not an easy task. However, the faculty has a ready-made tool the first-year scholars can use. Under his guidance, the student will build a highly realistic driving simulator, have a valuable opportunity to observe how human drivers behave in driving scenarios they had developed on their own, and help with reducing the crash rate on the road.

    • By participating in the project, the first-year scholars will

      1. Learn the basics of programming language for building a driving simulator that could be also useful for generating any computer-based experiments*.
      2. Have hands-on experiences in collecting and analyzing data from human participants.
      3. Have experience in presenting the data via conferences or research papers.

      *Regarding the first learning outcome, students will learn a game-programming language called Unity. Unity is one of the most widely used programming languages for 2D/3D video games as well as virtual-reality games. Notably, many psychological experiments and video games have commonalities (e.g., presenting target objects on a computer screen and scoring the human performance based on speed and accuracy). Therefore, the benefits of learning this game language are not limited to a certain domain such as computer science. Students from social sciences would find the value of learning this specific programming language and conducting human experiments using the language. Therefore, the project welcomes students from any field who want to work on safer use of self-driving technology that requires interdisciplinary efforts.

    • Student duties are shown below. Student scholars will set weekly goals individually to achieve these monthly goals. Their progress will be evaluated by the faculty through weekly meetings.

      Stage 1 (approximately 2 months):

      1. Completing online training in ethics
      2. Assisting in the completion of IRB proposals
      3. Searching databases to identify relevant research
      4. Reading and evaluating research articles
      5. Writing article summaries

      Stage 2 (approximately 3 months – with an overlap with stage 1 and 3)

      1. Familiarizing themselves with the programming language (Unity and C#).
      2. Reading manuals / taking online tutorials for the software packages.
      3. Writing brief reports / make brief presentations on software and techniques.

      Stage 3 (approximately 3 months)

      1. Facilitating data collection.
      2. Performing data analyses using statistical software.
      3. Assisting in the reporting of results (e.g., poster presentation). 

      *The scholars will write a reflection essay after each stage.

    • Kyung Hun Jung, kjung2@kennesaw.edu 

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Adria Cosby, Biology; Zoey Coker, Business Administration

    • This research will identify individual-focused strategies that junior leaders can apply to 
      enhance their self-regulation competencies for critical work contexts/situations; identify 
      individual and contextual information junior leaders may attend to and may manipulate when self monitoring and self-regulating their own reactions to extreme work contexts to maintain and/or enhance performance; and develop, test, and refine formative assessment and feedback techniques, tools, and technologies to be applied to enhance junior leaders' self-regulatory competencies.

    • The selected mentee will work to conduct literature reviews, learn the IRB process, and general psychometric design principles.

    • The selected mentee will be required to attend lab meetings and work collaboratively with other lab members on this project as well as others based on the mentee's interests.

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Christina Fortson, Psychology; Edwin Trejo-Rivera, Psychology

    • This project explores how personal resources, which can be enhanced and promoted, are linked to individuals' mental health, positive behaviors, and well-being (e.g., stress, work engagement, job boredom, positive affect) in different settings (i.e., work, school, healthcare, employment). The project consists of translation, adaptation, and revision of two intervention programs related to personal resources and psychological well-being. The first intervention is a brief program that aims to develop four malleable personal resources: self-efficacy, hope, optimism, and resilience. Promoting these personal resources enhances people's ability to handle challenging situations, set and achieve goals, and engage in healthy behaviors. The second program aimed to reduce stress, improve emotional regulation, and psychological well-being among participants. Through the program, participants engage in exercises to cultivate an expanded awareness of the present, self-compassion and mindfully engage in meaningful behaviors. Participants are expected to develop skills to recognize and manage their emotions, increase their knowledge about personal strengths, and increase their emotional well-being. These programs were developed in Spanish and piloted with workers yielding promising results. The short-term goal is to translate and adapt the content of these programs to fit broader populations and pilot the initial English version. 

    • Students will have the opportunity to: 

      1. Learn concepts and theories related to occupational health, well-being, and health promotion.
      2. Identify gaps in the literature and develop research questions.
      3. Collaborate in the adaptation of an intervention program.
      4. Participate in the process of the evaluation design.
      5. Format questionnaires to collect data (paper and pencil, online)
      6. Develop skills to analyze data using statistical software
      7. Learn ways to report research findings (oral presentation/poster, or manuscripts)
      8. Work collaboratively with a research team to help to develop teamwork, communication skills, critical thinking, and collaboration. 
      1. Review and compile literature related to the project.
      2. Read relevant literature and participate in collaborative discussions related to the project.
      3. Collaborate in preparing intervention materials (participant's manual, facilitator's manual, presentations, questionnaires) and research protocols.
      4. Create questionnaires on online platforms to evaluate program implementation.  
      5. Assist in data collection.
      6. Collaborate in data analysis.
      7. Assist in the development of academic manuscripts for publication.  
      8. Participate in weekly research lab meetings.  
      9. Collaborate in administrative tasks related to the program.
    • Israel Sãnchez-Cardona, isanche7@kennesaw.edu 

  • 2021-2022: First-Year Scholar: Ameesha Narine, Psychology

    • Older adulthood is often still characterized as a time of loss and decline. Research grounded in the lifespan perspective of developmental psychology, however, provides evidence that older adults also experience gains and can experience resilient aging despite late life challenges. This project is guided by a life story approach and the resilient aging perspective. Specifically, one way which older adults may experience resilient aging is through reflecting on memories of challenges from their life story with a sense of purpose. Most previous work in this area has focused on older adults who identify as middle-class or higher and often have access to resources that may support the development or maintenance of their purpose. However, the ways by which these older adults develop a sense of purpose and draw on their purpose throughout their life may manifest differently than among older adults who identify as lower-income and/or are marginalized. As such, this project will extend previous work in this area to better understand the actual lived experiences of older adults from lower-income communities. 

    • Students who partake in this project will have the opportunity to be engaged in all aspects of the research process, including but not limited to:

      1. Receiving training regarding ethics in conducting human participants research
      2. Conducting and writing literature reviews to identify gaps in the literature and investigate findings in the field
      3. Disseminating study recruitment materials to local community organizations
      4. Contacting older adult participants to perform brief phone screenings and scheduling participant sessions
      5. Using statistical software (e.g., SPSS) to input participant data
      6. Engaging in training to learn how to administer one-on-one participant interviews
      7. Collect data through quantitative measurements
      8. Writing and presenting data in a poster or oral presentation and/or publication
      9. Presenting at the Symposium of Student Scholars in April
      10. Transcribing participant interviews 
    • This project will advance in stages and the student should come with an enthusiasm to learn and participate. The student will receive specific weekly tasks and will meet with me weekly to discuss progress on the tasks. The student will be treated as an active contributor in the full research process. 

    • Shubam Sharma, ssharm17@kennesaw.edu 

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Cortney Calligan, Psychology; Mallory Bowles, Psychology

    • GroupMe is a text messaging application used to facilitate communication among individuals. Only recently has the use of this app by students in higher education been noted (Carpenter & Green, 2017). Currently, there is very little research examining how students use the app and how its use may relate to various aspects of student experience (e.g., course satisfaction, relationship with peers, relationship with instructor, academic violations).

      There are four different projects for which the Scholar may elect to participate. In one project, we examine students' perceptions of various forms of cheating and their anticipated reactions to witnessing cheating via GroupMe. In a parallel project, we examine instructors' perceptions and compare them to students' perceptions to determine if there are differences in what behaviors constitute academic dishonesty. A third project examines students' actual behavior while using GroupMe. Students' posts will be coded in order to identify the benefits and drawbacks of students' use of this app. The fourth project involves conducting focus groups, interviews, and surveys to identify student motivation, perceptions, and experiences utilizing this app in their college courses. Scholars may also have the opportunity to participate in the development of subsequent studies.

    • Student Outcomes: As a result of engaging in this experience, scholars will:

      1. Identify, describe, summarize, and integrate published research
      2. Apply research methods to design materials and procedures in order to collect, code, analyze, and interpret data
      3. Communicate the results of one of the projects via an oral presentation
      4. Identify professional development goals and formulate strategies to connect this research experience to their goals
    • Student Weekly Duties: Scholars would be expected to engage in the following activities each week:

      1. Attending meetings arranged to be arranged with their mentor
      2. Completing tasks assigned each week which contribute to the research (e.g., reading articles, writing summaries, developing research materials, coding data)
      3. Engaging in professional development activities (e.g., resume/CV development, interview skills) 

      Activities may be conducted in-person and virtually, as mutually agreed upon by the mentor and the Scholar.

    • Jennifer Willard, jwillar3@kennesaw.edu 

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholar: Vladimir Hinojosa, Civil Engineering

    • Choosing to study engineering in college can be academically challenging for many students, which is one of the reasons behind the high "in-school" attrition rate among engineering majors. Even for engineering students who successfully complete their degree requirements, many of them choose not to work in their respective fields, resulting in a high "post-graduation" attribution rate in the engineering profession. The purpose of this project is to identify personal and environmental factors that contribute to a student's successful transition from an engineering student to a professional engineer. Based on the data collected from this project, our long-term objective is to design and implement interventions to help engineering job seekers better navigate the anxiety-provoking job search process. 

      We will recruit approximately 20 KSU engineering students who are close to graduation for structured focus group interviews. During each focus group meeting, participants will answer questions related to their job search progress, biggest challenges they face, current career support from the university, and support they would like the university to provide in the future. The research team will conduct content analysis on the qualitative data and identify major themes emerged in the interview responses. In the next phase, we will recruit more graduating engineering students (60-80) at KSU to participate in an online survey. The survey measures several psychological attributes of the students, such as their engineering identity, job search self-efficacy, optimism, and resilience. We will also measure their job search behavior and outcomes, including job search intensity, job search strategies, networking intensity, general health, and numbers of job interviews and offers. In the past Spring semester, we have already collected survey data from 50 KSU engineering graduating students. Collecting more data will allow us to have a larger sample and conduct more reliable statistical analyses. 

      Based on the findings from both qualitative and quantitative data analyses, we will identify data-driven solutions to help improve engineering education and career services at KSU and other comparable institutions. For example, the survey data we collected in Spring 2021 suggest that many KSU engineering students would like to have more coaching on networking. If that remains the case after we collect more data, the research team will work with the Department of Career Planning and Development and/or the College of Engineering to design networking workshops. 

      The research findings will be disseminated in academic conferences and journals related to engineering education and industrial/organizational psychology. The research team also plan on applying for the NSF Research Initiation in Engineering Formation program next year. This NSF grant supports social science research on the formal and informal processes through which people become professional engineers. In the past Spring semester, we have successfully involved two undergraduate research assistants in this project. We hope to recruit and train more student researchers who are passionate about research through the First-Year Scholars Program.

      1. Knowledge about the IRB process.
      2. Skill in conducting focus group interviews.
      3. Skill in transcribing interview data.
      4. Knowledge in qualitative analysis.
      5. Skill in theme identification in qualitative analysis.
      6. Skill in creating and administering online surveys in Qualtrics.
      7. Knowledge about basic statistical analyses, such as descriptive statistics and correlation coefficients.
      8. Skill in data cleaning and analysis using SPSS.
      9. Skill in literature search.
      10. Skill in academic writing.
      11. Skill in preparing a manuscript for conference presentations and journal publications.
      12. Skill in orally communicating the research findings at the Symposium of Student Scholars.
      1. Attend weekly lab meetings.
      2. Complete the assigned tasks, which can vary based on the phase the project is in. Typical tasks would include IRB application, reading peer-reviewed articles related to the project, data analysis, and writing up research findings. 
    • Dianhan Zheng, dzheng4@kennesaw.edu

  • 2021-2022 First-Year Scholars: Kirsten Davis, Nursing; Anicia Stewart, Biology

    • Good health depends on much more than just genetics or other biological factors.  For example, who someone is, how they grew up, how they currently live, and where they reside all play critical roles in how a person experiences health and illness.  Factors such as socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, gender, age, education, relationship status, family make up, religion, sexuality, geography, among others, greatly influence health and illness.  These types of health disparities are preventable differences in health status and outcomes that adversely affect certain populations. My research projects (funded by the National Institutes of Health) investigate issues related to health equity.  Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.  We look at reducing and ultimately eliminating disparities in health and its determinants that adversely affect excluded and marginalized groups.

      More specifically, my current projects primarily focus on low-income African American men; gender and sexual minorities; chronic conditions; and mental health issues (including substance abuse disorders).  My research includes both quantitative (surveys) and qualitative (interviews and focus groups) research as well as designing, implementing, and evaluating interventions aimed at promoting behavior change and healthier behaviors.  Other key topics that this research addresses include health literacy, health communication, biomedical ethics, vulnerable populations, systemic racism within healthcare, healthcare decision-making, and the use of technology within health education programs. Not only we will be working on conducting the actual research, but we will also be engaged in writing additional grants, publications (journal articles) and professional presentations related to the research.  Students will be involved with all aspects of this project as well as being able to pursue their own related research as they identify additional research questions and hypotheses.

      Overall, this research is a dynamic and multi-disciplinary field of science seeking to identify evidence-based approaches to reduce the unequal burdens of morbidity and mortality among disparity populations especially as defined by racial/ethnic minority, low socio-economic status, rural locations, and gender and sexual minority populations in the United States.  

    • Students will learn how to conduct both quantitative and qualitative research as well as how to design interventions aimed at health behavior change.  Students will also learn how to conduct literature reviews and present research findings through publications and presentations. 

    • Students will:

      1. Participate in regular research team meetings.  
      2. Review current literature on the topic.  
      3. Help design data collection tools.  
      4. Assist with data collection (surveys and interviews).  
      5. Summarize key findings for publications or presentations.  
    • Dr. Evelina Sterling, esterlin@kennesaw.edu