What defines Danish design and how might the cultural concept of hygge, an atmospheric and social notion of “coziness,” influence the Danish aesthetic? Americans during the 20th century looked to Scandinavia as a leader in creating buildings and products with clean lines and functional forms that were both simple and beautiful. Danish modernism came to influence American designers and architects, who then created products and/or for consumers. However, American consumers have been largely unaware of the cultural context in which these products or structures were created, and yet, seem to desire them for this very uniqueness, a quality ineffable in the English language.
My research will explore the processes employed by Danish (and Scandinavian) designers and how they may incorporate the notion of hygge to achieve a culturally unique aesthetic. Further: How might this concept be integral to Danish design? Does this affect their regard of space? If this atmospheric and social notion of “coziness” is incorporated, how is it reconciled with modern attention to form, line, and color?Also, is the notion of a region-specific design aesthetic instituted in the classroom, through the product market, from the home? My research aims to shed light on the role of Danish culture in the design approach. In a more general sense, is there a more holistic approach to design in Scandinavia from which we can learn?
Though over half of all people over the age of 65 will use long-term care, only 5% of elderly people and 1% of the total population are estimated to currently have long-term care insurance. If so many people are estimated to need long-term care, why do so few people have long-term care insurance? I am researching the reasons for the gap between the need for long-term care and the purchase of long-term care insurance. Long-term care insurance is a relatively new product and thus insurers do not always have sufficient date to determine who poses a financial risk to their company. On the consumer side, people are not always aware of the risks they face or may not place much importance on these risks and thus see no need to purchase insurance.
I am currently researching how a consumer decides to purchase long-term care insurance and how an insurer decides to offer long-term care insurance. I plan on better understanding the insurance market from both the consumer and the insurer side in order to see what issues are present in the current system and possibly what changes could be made to the insurance market to make long-term care insurance more attractive and accessible to consumers.
Type Ia supernovae are extremely useful as distance indicators in cosmology. Not only are they extremely bright and easy to see, but they all reach roughly the same peak luminosity, meaning their distances can be determined by measuring apparent brightness and using the inverse square law. Type Ia supernovae were crucial in showing the accelerating expansion of the universe, a discovery which won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. My research focuses on understanding and possibly improving the uncertainty in SNIa distance measurements.
Specifically, I have worked on k-corrections, which account for errors in measured flux caused by cosmological redshift, and on characterizing infrared band features.
My project focuses on the development and potential applications of graphene. Graphene is a nanomaterial only one atom thick. It is made up entirely of carbon atoms, and forms a structure similar to a chicken wire fence. Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov earned the Nobel prize in physics in 2010 for their work with graphene, so it part of a highly active and evolving field of carbon nanomaterials. My work centers around the chemical vapor deposition, or CVD, growth of graphene. In addition, I attempted to make a resistive touchscreen using the material as a potential application. Since graphene is both optically transparent and electrically conductive, it could be used as a replacement for the indium tin oxide (ITO) conductors used in touchscreens. Transparent conductors also appear in other devices, such as solar cells. However, graphene is not limited to this single application, as it has many other uses in electronics and sensing. In future work, I hope to explore other ways that graphene can be applied, and continue to improve the methods of developing
“The Magnet Recognition Program: Diffusion of an Organizational Innovation for Hospital Quality”
My project aims to evaluate the diffusion of the Magnet Hospital program–a hospital accreditation process that formalizes quality improvement of nurses’ work environment and has been associated with improvements in patient outcomes. Despite the significant nationwide increase in the adoption of Magnet Recognition as an organizational intervention, little is known about its process of diffusion. By using geographic information systems (GIS) methods and spatial lag modeling to describe, map, and analyze the diffusion of Magnet Recognition over time, we will examine the structural, geospatial, hospital, and market factors that facilitate and impede the pattern of diffusion of this organizational reform innovation.
The goal of my research is to compare health systems in the United States (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) and a hospital in La Paz, Bolivia. To do this, I’m planning on working three days a week for the rest of the semester in the Neonatology department at CHOP, going on rounds throughout the department (and hopefully other parts of the hospital), as well as helping organize data collected from a research project conducted in the 1990’s. I feel as if spending time in one of the world’s better children’s hospitals will give me a fairly good view of how good health systems (especially pediatric ones) operate and what kind of care is provided to the patients. I hope to then spend my summer working in a pediatric ward in a hospital in La Paz, Bolivia. My advisor, Dr. William Fox (neonatology at CHOP) has spent a significant amount of time working at hospitals in Bolivia, and it is my plan to meet him there in mid June so I can get acquainted with the hospital through him. After that, I hope to spend around a month and a half living in La Paz and working in a pediatric ward of a hospital there. I feel as if this will provide a significant amount of observational data on the hospital, and I hope to even compare the statistics of patients (mortality rate of infants, rates of childhood diseases and how they are treated) to provide an in depth comparison between the health systems of the two countries. I feel as if the hospital in La Paz will also add an additional interesting component in the comparison between the two systems, as La Paz (at 12,000 feet above sea level) is a distinctly different physical environment from CHOP, which is at an essentially meaningless altitude. I think that it will be an interesting factor when comparing the medical statistics between the two hospitals.
Faith-based Community Service in Philadelphia—Constraints and Opportunities
There are hundreds of faith-based community service programs in the greater Philadelphia area. Inspired by the work of Professor John DiIulio, my study is two tiered: I will first review and analyze the laws and regulations pertaining to faith-based initiatives, and second, I will research these programs to measure strengths and weaknesses and discover how they can take better advantage of potential government resources. My hypothesis is that religious institutions are under-utilizing government resources for community-serving programs and that there are inefficiencies in the collaboration between religious institutions and government. I will construct an economic, business, and performance analysis in the hopes of developing some recommendations for how community-serving religions organizations can work within the framework of the legal system to maximize resources and funding for their service projects. One goal is to design a replicable analysis that can be applied to other communities outside of the Philadelphia area. I hope my research can be used to improve the amount and quality of charitable faith-based service work.
My research is comprised of a variety of different projects concerning paleontology. Currently, I’m working with Dr. Peter Dodson of Penn and Dr. Philip Manning of the University of Manchester. On campus, my work concerns the allometry of total tooth area and body size in a variety of different families of Dinosaurs. In mammals, the molar M1 has been shown to scale with body weight, Dr. Dodson and I will be looking at whether the same idea works in dinosaurs. My work will start with the Hadrosaur family, as it has many complete skeletons, making it ideal to test this idea on, it will continue through a variety of other families.
Over the summer, I will be traveling to China in June, and I will return to South Dakota. In China, I will be measuring specimens for my on-campus research as well as assisting Dr. Dodson in the field. In South Dakota, I will be the On-Site Curator of a new site in the Hell Creek Formation. This will be my second year in the field with Dr. Manning, and there is potential for co-authorship (at the least acknowledgement) in upcoming papers from the site.
This paper examines current community norms surrounding higher education in West Philadelphia and proposes both short-term and long-term solutions to shape norms to become more positive and encouraging of post-secondary education. In a city with high rates of poverty and a bankrupt, failing school district, community norms surrounding higher education are resigned to consistent failure and many believe education no longer remains a viable path to success. This results in a looping negative feedback cycle as students who were never invested in their own education become parents who raise their children without the social capital or knowledge of how to best navigate school systems and how to pursue a college education. Community norms are incredibly influential in shaping student success and in an ideal future scenario students, families and communities would be empowered partners in education.
Short-term solutions which center very much on empowering students to bring about greater change in their own neighborhoods will be piloted in the Urban Nutrition Initiative’s College and Career Readiness Summer Boot Camp. In the summer, students have more time to spend in programming, and because of the size and structure of this program, programming and curriculum changes will be the easiest to implement. Long-term solutions are more focused on institutionalized support from the University of Pennsylvania and parental outreach programs. Next steps for further research are also outlined.
My project is examining the frontier of the Roman Empire in northern Britain, which separated the province from native (Celtic) peoples further north. I will be conducting fieldwork in the vicinity of Hadrian’s Wall, which spans the peninsula between modern Scotland and England. My intention is to examine the experience of the frontier for the Romans living there, both soldiers and civilians, and their interactions with indigenous peoples both sides of the limes (fortified frontier). I will be comparing this zone to other frontier zones (especially the Roman frontier in modern Germany) and also to perceptions of frontier life from the center of the Empire. I will be integrating theories of frontier studies from other regions of the world, including America itself, into my studies. My investigation of the frontier will approach the subject through several different lenses, and I will be looking at these factors through the archaeological and written record. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship between the Romans and the native population and how it affected social, political, economic, and religious life.
I will be concurrently investigating a second subject entwined with this research topic: the archaeological process itself, its history, and how we use archaeological data to make observations about ancient cultures. Exploring this question will bring into focus the methods that I will be using myself to examine and discuss the perceptions and experience of living on the Roman frontier. I will be looking for ways to bridge the scholarly gap between Classical archaeology and Anthropology, examining complex art and artifacts, and critiquing ancient texts, as well as considering evidence of mundane life and settlement.
Shortly after his inauguration, President Obama announced his goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons. However, some critics have pointed out that it is very difficult to prevent states from obtaining a technology that is over 60 years old, and others have added that these weapons are actually a source of stability in the international system. My paper would explore some of the issues surrounding President Obama’s goal. First, I would investigate how feasible it is to prevent states from obtaining nuclear weapons. Second, I would explore the strategic difficulties of convincing states to relinquish their arsenals, especially the ideas that the decrease in the overall number of warheads would cause the value of each individual one to go up and would also make concealment easier. I would also discuss the dangers of nuclear proliferation at this point. Lastly, given the preceding considerations, my paper would weigh just how desirable the President’s goal is.
My project deals with the staging of goods in the middle of the cross dock floor. Cross docks are similar to warehouses, except they eliminate expensive storage costs for wholesale and retail businesses. There are receiving doors on one side of the cross dock at which incoming trucks drop off goods, and then there are shipping doors on the other side at which outbound trucks pick up the goods and take them away. Before goods are placed into outbound trucks, they are sorted and repackaged in the cross dock. They are usually placed into staging lanes on the cross dock floor between the two sets of doors. My goal is to do an economic analysis of the different ways of staging goods to see which one is most efficient in terms of labor, time, distance traveled, money, et cetera. Some main concepts I will explore are single stage, two stage, and free staging cross docks.
My research is focused developing an eye tracking system using openCVSharp and sharpGL, which are c# wrappers of the more commonly used c++ versions openCV and openGL. The main goal of my project is to fully incorporate this eye tracker into a game developed by a graduate student in Unity 3D (a 3D game development kit). I am using a webcam mounted on the computer monitor and Haar Cascade tracking to locate the user’s eye. Then, zooming in on each eye, I am manipulating that image so that I can find the user’s pupils. Once I have the pupil location, I will project a ray from that point to the computer monitor to communicate the pupil position with the computer. After I am able to incorporate the eye tracker into an existing game, I hope to use it in other applications in a more indirect method. Instead of the user’s gaze directly affecting the application, the application will use the data from where the user is looking to alter its behavior.
Owl monkeys (Aotus spp.) are one of the few primate species in which males provide the majority of postnatal infant care. I am interested in studying the level of paternal care and how it correlates to survivorship in a natural population of owl monkeys in the Argentinean Chaco. Using behavioral data to determine the quantity and quality of paternal care and biological data to determine individuals’ ages, I will then apply the results of this project to a reassessment of Allman et al.’s (1998) study, “Parenting and survival in anthropoid primates: Caretakers live longer.” In this reassessment, I will incorporate my data from the field and reanalyze the data used for the original study.
Making decisions is a very complex human process, which scientists have been trying to better understand for years. There are numerous decisions we make everyday, some so minuscule that we don’t even realize them. My research centers around decision making in a retail setting, but based upon the presented stimulus. The current research project is about the different decisions that a subject makes based upon a stimulus of a packaged food product that is solely images versus that same food product presented with solely text. In this case not only is the final decision important, but also the time that it took the subject to reach that decision. The time it takes a person to reach their decision tells us how they are processing each stimulus and whether one is easier to process than the other. The next step in the project is running a similar test but, instead of using only image stimuli or only text stimuli, we will be using a combination of images and text. This will then be expanded to the online realm, which is very different from a brick and mortar store, and used to find an optimal mix of images and text when displaying online products. I would like to thank Dr. Peter Fader from the Wharton Marketing department who is my UScholars mentor, for helping me make connections with faculty and for always being available to chat about how things were going. I would also like to thank Dr. Barbara Kahn who is a Wharton Marketing professor and the director the Baker retailing center. Dr. Kahn is my research mentor and has given me great guidance and helped me to learn about the topics and develop my own ideas.
Under Dr McGann and the Think Tanks and Civil Societies program I am working on the profiling of the top G20 Think Tanks. My team and I have been responsible for profiling and conducting a strategic mapping of the most significant think tanks in the G20 member countries, and to survey these think tanks to identify the foreign policy issues and institutional challenges they face. The result of this research will be a report that includes uniform profiles of all the think tanks, an excel database of the G20 think tanks, and a report that outlines the findings and trends from the survey. This will come to a summit this summer with an international conference held here at Penn. TTCSP at the University of Pennsylvania (USA) and Fundação Getulio Vargas (Brazil) have agreed to co-sponsor this conference that will bring together the leading security and international affairs think tanks to explore the challenges facing G20 countries and the foreign policy think tanks that serve them in a changing global order. The conference will explore the organizational and policy challenges relating to G20 think tanks, for which my research will be highly relevant.
My research examines the stance of the People’s Republic of China towards international law. Last year, I analyzed the first international judicial body to prosecute crimes of war in “Interest and Power in the International Criminal Court,” which was published in the Columbia Undergraduate Law Review and the Sigma Iota Rho Journal of International Relations. Last summer, I expanded my scope by studying international institutions as an intern for the Manhattan-based NGO, the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy. I was in charge of two of their projects—Reform the UN and UN Elections—for which I attended and reported on meetings at the UN. Together with my case study on the ICC, my summer experience gave me insight into how to apply lessons of international reform to other bodies like UN Women or the Human Rights Commission. This year, I switched my focus to Chinese political history, completing a 50-page comparative analysis of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao. My next step will be to put my findings together to address the PRC’s relationship with international bodies and norms.
Yeong Wei Wee
My UScholar research focuses on the neural mechanisms of language. Multilingualism is a deeply studied research field in linguistics but there still remains much to be understood about how the human brain manages to store and switch between different languages. Working together with Prof Ruben Gur of the Penn School of Medicine, the research combines neural imaging with linguistics, utilizing a high-level MRI scanner to track brain activity in multilinguals as they attempt to code switch. The implications of such a study reaches into both neuroscience and linguistics. On the one hand, it would shed more light on how language is stored and accessed in the brain, giving critical insight on how the brain works. On the other hand, it also hopes to contribute to the ever-expanding literature of language acquisition.
My research project focuses on Jews in America during the Colonial/Revolutionary Period. When I was eight years old I started 18th century reenacting at the Thomas Paine Cottage in New Rochelle, NY. I noticed that on Saturdays the museum had several visitors who were Orthodox Jews on their way home from synagogue. That sparked the idea of creating an exhibit about Jews in New York during the Colonial/Revolutionary Era. For the exhibit, my focus is Westchester County and New Rochelle, but I hope to expand my research to look at how the experience of early Jewish Americans varied in different cities and regions.