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Student Symposium

The Student Symposium shows off our students’ diverse achievements inside and outside the classroom.

The annual Steven Galovich Memorial Student Symposium brings together all members of the Lake Forest College community for a day of scholarly and creative presentations, exhibits, debates, performances, and posters. To be invited to participate in the Lake Forest  Steven Galovich Memorial Student Symposium is both an honor and a privilege.

The 2022 Symposium will be held on Tuesday, April 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Brown Hall.
Masks will be required in all Symposium presentations.

Questions or inquiries can be directed to the Symposium Committee Co-Chairs, Ajar Chekirova or Jean-Marie Maddux.

Join the conversation on social media! #lakeforestsymposium
Register for the livestream.

Schedule of Events

Session 1 (9:00 – 10:20 AM)

Panel 1: Making Marvelous Machines (BR 252, Livestream 1)

Moderator: Arthur Bousquet

Title: Age Prediction from MRI Images of the Brain and the Potential of a Brain Age Index as a Biomarker for Disease States
Author(s): Bita Aslrousta
Faculty Sponsor: Sugata Banerji, Arthur Bousquet, Sara Zelenberg

Abstract: Aging and chronic disease states such as ongoing illicit substance abuse/dependence (SAD) or alcohol abuse/dependence (AAD) are known to change the brain’s axial appearance in analogous ways to aging. A potential biomarker for predicting chronic disease states might lay in age prediction from brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are suitable tools for any supervised image-prediction application and have been used on MRI imaging in the past. In this study, we developed an ensemble model (r2= 0.84) from CNNs trained on two-dimensional slices of axial FLAIR and T2 weighted MRI images at the level of anterior commissure and the frontal horns of the lateral ventricles to predict the brain age. We then calculated the brain age index (BAI) of the patients---the difference between the predicted age and the actual age---and evaluated BAI as a potential biomarker for chronic disease states. 

Title: Comparing Numpy and TensorFlow for Solving the Heat Equation 
Author(s): Jack Curtis
Faculty Sponsor: Arthur Bousquet

Abstract: In computational mathematics, complex partial differential equations are equations with several partial derivatives that are interrelated in a system of multiple variables. This makes them difficult and sometimes impossible to solve directly, leaving numerical methods to be a more efficient method to reach solutions. These algorithms to solve these equations are usually run on the CPU of a computer. In recent years, with the development of GPU, it can be more advantageous to run these algorithms on the GPU instead. In this project, we compare the computational time between solving a partial differential equation on a GPU and a CPU.

Title: LFC Advising Chatbot
Author(s): Javier Montoya
Faculty Sponsor: Arthur Bousquet

Abstract: On many websites that you are trying to buy something from, the first thing you see is a little box that says, “Hello, how can I help you?”. The goal is to answer simple questions that are frequently asked. This project focuses on creating a similar chatbot, using machine learning techniques, to answers questions related to the Mathematics and Computer Science Departments. The main questions we targeted were where and when each class is offered.

Panel 2: Diversity and Inclusion on Lake Forest College Campus (BR 353, Livestream 2)

Moderator: Todd Beer

Title: Deconstructing Whiteness as the Default: An Analysis of Identity at Lake Forest College
Author(s): Hira Sadiq
Faculty Sponsor: Todd Beer

Abstract: My research seeks to answer how Lake Forest College students navigate the complexities of their identities on campus. I am exploring if and how BIPOC students, relative to white students, perceive a greater emphasis on the racial and/or ethnic aspects of their identity during interactions with others and the consequences. Despite students’ complex, ever-changing identities, colleges tend to use a ‘one-identity-at-a-time’ approach and advertise students with marginalized identities through tokenism­­. Overall, whiteness and Americanness are seen as synonymous making whiteness perceived as the default. To test my findings, I conduct open-ended interviews of 10 white and 10 nonwhite Lake Forest College students to compare their experience of their identity on campus. The interviews are indicating that white and non-white students have a different way in talking about their identity and experience on campus.

Title: The Invisible Lives of Student Parents at Lake Forest College
Author(s): Dominique Evaristo
Faculty Sponsor: Holly Swyers

Abstract: This project analyzes the experiences of college students with dependent children who attend small, residential, liberal arts colleges. The purpose of this project was to investigate how Lake Forest College is approaching inclusion for non-traditional students. The findings are based on semi-structured interviews and video diaries from Lake Forest College student parents, as well as a review of the literature. Despite a growing population of student parents, research shows that four-year colleges do not adequately support students’ struggle to balance the responsibilities that come with parenting, school, off-campus jobs, and other obligations in ways that promote student success. 

Title: Paraontology as a Site for Abolition
Author(s): Tebatso Duba
Faculty Sponsor: Roshni Patel

Abstract: In this project, Tebatso Duba explores the lived experience and concept of Blackness as an ontological problem within the context of Whiteness as the transcendental norm and hegemonic force. W.E.B Du Bois’s account of double consciousness and Frantz Fanon’s account of the racial epidermal schema are used as entry points to illustrate two things: (1) the white gaze as a historical and social practice and hegemony (2) the consequential reality of Black embodiment being perceived as “problematic” and becoming a site of trauma for the Black subject. Further, Duba breaks down and discusses the lived experiences and introspections of racialized embodiment and encountering Whiteness on campus from the testimonies of Black Lake Forest College students. These testimonies, for Duba, function as symbols of the pervasive nature of the white gaze, Black embodiment as “problematic”.

Panel 3: Selections from Collage Magazine (BR 254, Livestream 3)

Moderator: Ying Wu

Presenters: Nathan Barnes, Alec Casey, Trang Linh Do, Brendon Gardner, Muykong Taing, Aleksandra O Kulesza, Rim Rawadi, Lilly Nail

Collage Magazine represents the cultural and linguistic diversity within the Lake Forest College community, providing an opportunity for students of any language other than English to use their abilities in a creative medium. The magazine also encourages any members of the College community (students, faculty and staff) to express in words their cultural perspectives.

Session 2 (10:40 – 12:00 PM)

Panel 4: Gender Inequalities and Resistance (BR 353, Livestream 2)

Moderator: Don Meyer

Title: Riot Grrrls Through the First Wave
Author(s): Ava Seitz
Faculty Sponsor: Don Meyer

Abstract: The Riot Grrrl movement in recent years has regained interest from the public which has sparked conversation surrounding the movement. I detail the development of the movement, tracking it from its very beginnings in 1989 to the arguable end of the first wave in 2005. While there is much debate about the timeline, I use the release of the first Bikini Kill single and the Sleater Kinney hiatus as bookends for the first wave of the movement, with the second beginning in the mid 2010s. Throughout the time of the first wave, the music being put out by Riot Grrrls became more refined but always kept the unmistakable D.I.Y. sound that is the cornerstone of punk music in general. This paper explores how Riot Grrrl musically shifted as the ideology and music moved across the country, most notably into D.C. and New York, as well as how time and the music business played a role in the musical development. 

Title: Forget COVID, but Don’t Walk Home Alone
Author(s): Margaret Swansen
Faculty Sponsor: Holly Swyers

Abstract: This project investigated how COVID-19 affected women’s sense of safety on the Lake Forest College campus. After interviewing junior and senior women who were able to compare their experiences before and after the COVID remote semesters, I discovered that COVID itself has surprisingly little effect on women’s perception of their safety on campus. Instead, women continue to find the same groups and locations as unsafe as they did before the remote semesters. This information is passed to women via a whisper network, which resumed almost unchanged after the remote semesters.

Title: An Analysis of the Gender Gap between Self-Employed and their Earnings
Author(s): Natalia Leite and Rachel Syverud
Faculty Sponsor: Nancy Tao

Abstract: Despite the improvement of female-to-male earning gap in the last few decades, women’s earning in the job market is still significantly lower than men’s. We investigate whether the earning gap affects women’s decision to be self-employed. Moreover, we are interested in knowing whether there exists a significant gender income gap among self-employed individuals, especially in male dominated fields. We apply econometrics models to analyze data from the Federal Reserve’s Current Population Survey that spans from 1989 to 2018. We conclude that there is no significant gender difference in the probability of becoming an entrepreneur. However, we find significant gender income gap among self-employed. In 2010, if the self-employed individual was a female, holding all other variables constant, she would earn approximately 60% less than a male in the same position.

Panel 5: Environment from Natural and Social Science Perspective (BR 252, Livestream 1)

Moderator: Jean Marie-Maddux

Title: Non-Enzymatic Degradation of Environmentally Persistent Pharmaceuticals Compatible with Living Bacterial Culture 
Author(s): Karen Gomez
Faculty Sponsor: Erica Schultz

Abstract: Halogenated organic compounds, such as pharmaceuticals, are among the most widely distributed and prevalent pollutants in wastewaters and contaminated groundwaters. We developed biocompatible hydrodechlorination reaction conditions with E.coli and have expanded this method into a new and more complex bacterial strain, Mixed Bacteria. Mixed Bacteria have strains with a variety of metabolic pathways. We aim to interface both non-enzymatic and metabolic reactions to fully degrade halogenated organic compounds into benign components. To do this we examined reaction’s microbial toxicity with Mixed Bacteria. We successfully optimized our biocompatible hydrodechlorination reaction in Mixed Bacteria and are tracking the concentration of starting material and product during a reaction to determine if bacterial metabolism will consume our reaction product. Ultimately, we compare the rate of production and degradation of dehalogenated compound in E.coli, Mixed Bacteria, and M9 minimal media.

Title: Contextual Modulation of Pavlovian Conditioned Approach Behaviors in a Within-Subject Renewal Design
Author(s): Nathaniel Kregar
Faculty Sponsor: Jean-Marie Maddux

Abstract: During Pavlovian conditioning, a conditioned stimulus (CS) predicts receipt of an unconditioned stimulus (US). Two responses can emerge: approach to the US delivery site (goal-tracking) or to the CS itself (sign-tracking). Exposure to environmental context experienced during Pavlovian conditioning can reinstate these behaviors. We examined levels of goal- and sign-tracking in a within-subject context renewal design. Male rats received two daily training sessions, each in a distinct context. During acquisition training, rats were presented with two CSs, each assigned to one context, that signaled US delivery. Rats then received extinction training where context-CS assignment switched from acquisition and CS no longer signaled US delivery. After failing to reinstate, rats were retrained. In retest, rats reinstated sign-tracking to the extinguished CS in its acquisition context. This design could effectively test context-driven reinstatement of these behaviors if parameters are optimized.

Title: Assessing the Illinois Solar for All Program and its Efforts to Combat Energy Injustice
Author(s): Enrique “Enjo” Salonga
Faculty Sponsor: Jeff Sundberg

Abstract: Energy justice seeks to apply environmental justice principles to energy policymaking while also remediating the economic and environmental impacts on marginalized communities. This study assesses a statewide program that seeks to attain justice, specifically distributive energy justice, known as Illinois Solar for All (ILSFA). As part of Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016 to combat climate change, ILSFA helps low-income and designated environmental justice communities access solar energy in the form of distributed generation and community solar projects. Energy justice is used as a framework to evaluate multiple components of the ILSFA program. I use statistical analysis and survey data to examine the challenges and the successes of the program. The results indicate that although ILSFA solar projects were developed in targeted areas, specifically in low-income and minority communities, participants experienced several barriers that hindered their ability to partake in the program.    

Panel 6: Struggle for Democracy and Justice in Global Politics (BR 254, Livestream 3)

Moderator: Ajar Chekirova

Title: Are Ethnic Parties Advantageous or Damaging for Democracy? The Case of North Macedonia
Author(s): Jovana Jovanovska
Faculty Sponsor: Ajar Chekirova

Abstract: This research paper applies ethnic outbidding theory and the ethnic security dilemma theory to the case of North Macedonia and attempts to determine: (i) if its political parties can be classified as ethnic parties, (ii) if citizens vote based on their ethnicity, and (iii) what consequences these parties have on the quality of democracy. The parties analyzed in this study include Macedonian majority parties and Albanian minority parties. The analysis of parties’ names, logos, and slogans demonstrates that all Albanian parties and one Macedonian party could be considered as ethnic parties. Analysis of electoral data shows that the majority of citizens vote based on their ethnicity. Ethnic parties promote democracy by increasing representation and advocating for policy changes, but hinder democracy by using patronage, corruption, ethno-clientelism, and nationalist rhetoric to gain voters. This research suggested that civic parties might be a better alternative for democracy.

Title: Communist Legacies and Their Modern-Day Impacts on Central and Eastern Europe: A Case Analysis of Hungary
Author(s): Jasmine Johnson
Faculty Sponsor: Ajar Chekirova

Abstract: In this study, I analyze economic, social, and political indicators to explore the ways in which the legacies of communism have impacted the Eastern and Central European region, and specifically Hungary. I argue that communist legacies caused high electoral volatility as well as deeply influenced political culture, including weak linkages between voters and parties, low trust in parties and the government, and disillusionment with both socialist and liberal institutions. As a result of these legacies, Orban's populist regime gained an opportunity to come into power. The findings of this research are based on the analysis of party manifestos of major parties, data from Hungary's National Elections Office, as well as the World Values Survey.

Title: Mitigating Climate Change Displacement through Regional Cooperation
Author(s): Heather Atherton
Faculty Sponsor: Ajar Chekirova

Abstract: This research investigates the impact of climate change on migration and displacement and the myriad ways current international and domestic policies fall short in mitigating the impacts of a warming world. Investigating why current solutions fail offers a starting point to a more successful framework. A mixed-methods approach was used to illustrate the scope of impact through quantitative data on environmental displacement across key regions and public opinion interactions with domestic policies. Further, international legal doctrine and domestic immigration codes were analyzed, as well as current policy proposals and existing discourse. The evidence suggests that those caught in the climate change-migration nexus are best provided for via regional agreements rather than relying on exceptions to be carved out of existing protections for refugees fleeing violence and persecution. As climate change continues to wreak havoc around the globe and the effects worsen, the millions already displaced are projected to multiply many times over. Effective mitigation techniques and protections must be implemented with urgency to avoid catastrophic consequences.

Poster Session and Artistic/Creative Work (11:30 – 1:30 PM)

Poster Session (Tarble Room, Brown Hall, not livestreamed)

Title: Towards the Synthesis of Chaetoxanthone C and D 
Author(s):  Emma Law and Zarina Najibi
Faculty Sponsor: Paul Gladen

Abstract: Natural products have proved to be invaluable in treating a multitude of diseases, and many recently discovered compounds have shown bioactivities including anticancer, antiviral, and antimicrobial activity. One promising class of natural products that has shown these bioactivities is the xanthones. Within the xanthone class, there is a family of xanthone products called chaetoxanthones that have demonstrated activity against Chagas disease that affects about 6-7 million individuals worldwide (WHO). Herein we report our efforts to develop a synthetic route to access chaetoxanthone C and D beginning with inexpensive and commercially available starting materials. Our strategic approach relies on the development of a novel direct functionalization reaction of the xanthone core to enable rapid access to natural products. This direct synthetic method represents a significant improvement over existing strategies, and will allow for further exploration of biological activities. 

Title:  Hormonal Mechanism for Evolutionary Trade-Offs in Bean Beetles 
Author(s): Iman Shepard
Faculty Sponsor: Flavia Barbosa

Abstract: Trade-offs in response to differential resource allocation typically present as negatively correlated traits, but little is known about underlying developmental mechanisms. Bean beetles exhibit phenotypic plasticity in response to their larval environment, developing into a dispersal morph under high density and a non-dispersal morph under low density. There is a trade-off between dispersal and reproduction in the morphs: dispersal individuals have large wings and small testes, and the opposite is true for non-dispersal morphs. We investigate the possible role of juvenile hormone (JH) as a mechanism for this trade-off. We treated beans with different titers of JH and allowed beetles to develop under controlled density conditions, then measured wing and gonad sizes. We predicted that higher JH titers lead to higher allocation to gonads and lower allocation to wings, and vice-versa. The data for wing size supports our hypothesis, and the data for gonads is still being analyzed. 

Title:  Do Female Waxmoths Benefit from Mating with More Attractive Males?  
Author(s): Dariana Gomez
Faculty Sponsor: Flavia Barbosa

Abstract: Male waxmoths produce ultrasonic calls made up of a series of pulses to attract mates. Females find signals with higher pulse rates more attractive, but it is not known whether they benefit from mating with more attractive males. We hypothesize that females benefit from mating with attractive males by: (1) having more offspring, (2) having more attractive male offspring, (3) having more fecund female offspring, and (4) producing offspring with a male-biased sex ratio. We tested this hypothesis by mating females with males varying in attractiveness. We allowed those females to lay eggs and the eggs to develop to adults. We compared the number, mass, and sex ratio of the offspring from attractive and unattractive males, as well as the call rate of their male offspring. Overall, we found no evidence that females benefit from mating with attractive males in lesser waxmoths. Furthermore, we explore the sensory bias hypothesis as a potential explanation for our results.   

Title: Biocompatible Hydrodehalogenation of Aryl Chlorides 
Author(s): Emma Clay-Barbour and Giselle Schiet
Faculty Sponsor: Erica Schultz

Abstract: Synthetic organic compounds, including pharmaceuticals, are a major water pollutant. The effects of water pollution are evident among individual organisms and larger ecosystems. This problem exists because wastewater treatment facilities are unable to remove these compounds through microbial degradation triggering a cascade of ecological consequences. To optimize the function of medications, medicinal chemists halogenate the active ingredients in pharmaceuticals, slowing drug metabolism and allowing humans to attain the desired effects of the medications we consume. We have developed a dehalogenation reaction that works in the presence of living bacteria using toxicity screening and reaction monitoring. Optimization includes recycling the catalyst and exploring effectiveness on active pharmaceuticals. This non-toxic, biocompatible reaction is the first step toward a better wastewater treatment process for the removal of environmentally persistent pharmaceuticals and toxins.


Title: Study of Rh(111)/O Systems
Author(s): Emma Remish
Faculty Sponsor: Veronica Walkosz

Abstract: A systematic study of oxygen adsorption on the (111) surface of Rh as well as in the subsurface region was conducted using the Vienna Ab initio Simulation Package (VASP). We found that the energetically most stable site for O is the fcc site, but the binding energy of O decreases with increasing O coverage. In the subsurface region, we determined that the preferred site for O adsorption is the tetra I site. However, the calculated binding energy for subsurface O is significantly smaller than the binding energy at the surface fcc site. We also studied arrangements involving structures with combined surface and subsurface O atoms.  Furthermore, we focused on pathways for surface diffusion of low-coverage adsorbed O between different sites on Rh(111) as well as the surface to subsurface diffusion.  The obtained results are expected to further our understanding of the chemistry of transition metal surfaces in heterogeneously catalyzed reactions. 

Title: Predicting the Combinatorial Dimension of Gröbner Bases using Neural Networks
Author(s): Eric Kang
Faculty Sponsor: Sara Zelenberg

Abstract: A Gröbner basis (GB) is a mathematical object used to solve a system of polynomial equations, which can arise in areas like phylogenetics, robotics and quantum physics. Calculating a Gröbner basis is often intractable. Petrovic, Stasi, and Zelenberg have devised a new methodology for constructing them that relies on certain predictions, like the combinatorial dimension (CD) of a GB. This is the smallest possible size of a GB. In this project, we predict the CD for a specific set of problems: randomly generated homogeneous binomials in 5 variables with a total degree of 15. The neural network (NN) model could predict the CD with an r^2 value of 0.6215, meaning 62.15% of the variation could be described by the model. For comparison, linear regression of the dataset yielded r^2 = 0.28. This suggests that the model can capture a significant amount of information and is better than random guessing or linear regression. 

Title: Measuring External Validation of a Small Sample
Author(s): Ebrahem Abdelsamad
Faculty Sponsor: Sara Zelenberg

Abstract: It is often the case that data scientists, journalists, and other working professionals use potentially problematic datasets. For example, a journalist may interview people on the street to get a sense of an election. These datasets are often very small and possibly biased. In rare cases, however, large, formal studies, like a national poll, may yield the same results as one of these smaller datasets. What does this mean about these smaller datasets? Such events should increase the likelihood that these smaller sets are representative of the total population. In this project, we attempt to formally calculate the probability that such a small set is actually correct under narrowly selected criteria. Using Bernoulli trials, we calculate the probability that a smaller set matches the population mean given that it corresponds with the results of a larger sample. We estimate the probability that a smaller dataset is accurate given a match with a larger dataset to be approximately 78%. 

Title: The Initiation and Development of Human-Social Chatbot Interactions
Author(s): Carolynn Boatfield, Amelie Motzer, Wiktoria Pedryc
Faculty Sponsor: Vivian Ta

Abstract: Social chatbots are increasingly acting as social companions. Although studies have begun to investigate the social and health contributions of social chatbots, little is known about how social relationships between humans and social chatbots initiate and develop. We sought to address this in the current study. Users of Replika, a popular social chatbot, provided their motivation for using Replika and topics of discussion with their Replika. Thematic analyses were used to identify and extract meaningful patterns in responses. Participants initiated contact with Replika to seek social support, for health reasons, out of interest, and out of boredom. Topics of discussion included intellectual topics, life & work, recreation, mental health, connection, current events, people, and Replika itself. These results help inform why people seek out social chatbots as social companions, how such interactions develop, and how such interactions may effectively contribute to social well-being.

Title: What Does It Mean If We Are Dating?
Author(s): Xinyu Wang, Catherine Miller, Imani Downer
Faculty Sponsor: Vivian Ta

Abstract: We explored modern lay definitions of dating and how they vary by gender and age across two studies (total N = 596). Participants described how they personally define dating, resulting in seven emerging themes: exclusivity, seriousness, intimacy, spending time together, recognition, assessment, and romantic interest. Participants then rated the degree to which each theme represented their own definition of dating. Women were more likely to define dating in terms of having romantic interest and only seeing one person compared to men. Compared to younger adults, older adults were less likely to view dating as an exclusive, serious relationship in which partners spend time and develop emotional intimacy with one another. Our results make distinctions between dating and similar concepts. We discuss the mismatch between modern definitions of dating and strategies used by researchers to operationally define dating and recommend future directions for the field of relationship science.

Title: Police Expertise in Use-of-Force Rapid Decision-Making
Author(s): Isabel Krupica and Sophie Rasof
Faculty Sponsor: Vivian Ta

Abstract: Use-of-force (UoF) decisions among police officers typically occur under stressful and fast-paced conditions. Because decision-making from more experienced individuals tends to be more effective, efficient, and accurate compared to less experienced individuals, researchers have sought to understand the specific skills involved in the selection of appropriate UoF among expert officers. We examined how a sample of expert and novice officers differ in UoF decision-making scenarios. Officers observed body-worn camera footage of real-world police-citizen encounters that were temporally occluded at several decision points. At these decision points, officers were prompted to describe the course of action they would take in the next few seconds if they were the officer on scene. Linear mixed-effects models revealed that expert and novice officers differed on their decisions to (1) pursue a suspect; (2) de-escalate the situation, and (3) subject themselves into a particular scenario.

Title: DeepLabCut Speeds up the Analysis of a Large Dataset involving Bluegill Sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus) Regaining Stability in Different Hydrodynamic and Sensory Conditions
Author(s): Reed Connor
Faculty Sponsor: Margot Schwalbe

Abstract: Fish encounter complex hydrodynamic environments while swimming. To study how fish swim in turbulence, bluegill sunfish were placed in a flow tank with a range of turbulence and their movements were captured with high-speed cameras. The fish’s 3D movement was originally analyzed by tedious frame-by-frame digitizing of specific landmarks on the fish in MATLAB by hand or with slow automatic trackers. We recently switched to an ultramodern deep learning software called DeepLabCut which digitizes and analyzes video of behavioral research using neural networks to track specific body parts. Here, we are using it to map the movement of fish over a trial and quantify any changes in the fish’s body placement in the flow tank (e.g., changes in distance from the flapper and body, pitch, and elevation). By using DeepLabCut, we will be able to digitize each trial in a fraction of the time it took in MATLAB. We will confirm that both digitizing methods generate accurate results of a fish’s movement.

Title: Database Building for Painting Classification with Deep Learning
Author(s): Erica Knizhnik and Kyle Wallis
Faculty Sponsor: Sugata Banerji

Abstract: We attempted to answer the question, “Can a machine recognize the painter from a painting?” To do this, we used a convolutional neural network (CNN) model and trained it on paintings from different painters. The biggest challenge was acquiring the images for training and testing. Image datasets consisting of high-quality scans of paintings are rare in the public domain. We started with a base dataset of 91 painters. This dataset was extremely low-resolution and full of inaccuracies. We identified the problems and cleaned and augmented the dataset, and finally added paintings from a diverse group of painters to bring the final list of painters to 100. We also created a database and a front-end application to query and view this data. For the classification of images, we created patches from the images and passed them through the CNN to train it on the painters and styles. The results were promising, and the model was able to identify certain characteristic traits of several artists.

Title: Hedonic Assessment of Haptic Stimuli Used in a Wearable Mobility Aid
Author(s): Haynes Rosson
Faculty Sponsor: Frederick Prete

Abstract: We assessed the hedonic value of haptic (vibration) stimuli used in a “Proximity Jacket” mobility aid designed for visually impaired children. The Jacket is equipped with sensors that trigger haptic stimuli via built-in actuators in response to object proximity. To assess the hedonic value of potential stimulus types, 20 subjects rated 43 stimuli produced by shoulder-mounted actuators. Stimuli were ranked on a 7-point scale (“unpleasant” to “pleasant”). 16 of the stimuli had median ratings ≥5, our criteria for a ‘preferred’ stimulus. We found no correlation between rating and waveform characteristics. However, there were preferences for stimulus types. Stimuli fell into 9 qualitative categories: click, bump, fuzz, buzz, alert, tick, pulsing, hum, and ramp. Of the 16 preferred stimuli, 8 were ramps and 4 were hums. Those remaining included 2 clicks, 1 fuzz, and 1 buzz. These data are consistent with our previous findings that subjects prefer softer, lower powered haptic stimuli.

Title: Modelling Rh Bis-(Diazaphospholane) Ligands in Hydroformylation Catalytic Cycle
Author(s): Nhu Quach
Faculty Sponsor: Dawn Wiser

Abstract: Hydroformylation catalytic cycle is a chain of reactions converting alkenes to aldehydes, which involves the help of transition metal catalysts. This cycle is universal in the pharmaceutical and fragrance industry, where aldehydes with specific stereochemistry are extensively used. The goal of this research is to study the influence of the Rh diazaphospholanes catalysts structures on the stereoselectivity and enantioselectivity of the aldehydes. This goal is achievable by using computational software (Gaussian 09 and Herb) to examine their possible products’ energies and structures. The research focuses on two (S, S)-3,4-bis(diazaphospholane) ligands (BDP1 and BDP2). The understanding from this study will contribute to design a more efficient and selective Rh catalyst for this widely used hydroformylation cycle.

Title: Differential Enhancement of Goal-Tracking and Sign-Tracking by Nicotine
Author(s): Kotryna Andriuskeviciute, Wambui Kahende, Lael Medema, Nathaniel Kregar, Leslie Gonzales
Faculty Sponsor: Jean-Marie Maddux

Abstract: During Pavlovian conditioning, a conditioned stimulus (CS) signals the arrival of an unconditioned stimulus (US). Two approach types, referred to as conditioned responses (CR), can be observed: towards the site of US delivery (goal-tracking) or towards the CS (sign-tracking). We compared the development of sign-tracking and goal-tracking with different USs (ethanol or sucrose) and examined what effect nicotine had on these behaviors. Sucrose promoted faster conditioning than ethanol. However, this equalized with further training. Nicotine influenced both goal-tracking and sign-tracking, but in different ways. Nicotine increased goal-tracking only in rats that were previously exposed to ethanol. It also increased sign-tracking later in training for both US (ethanol vs. sucrose) and exposure (ethanol vs. water) groups. These findings help to characterize the time course of different Pavlovian CRs and how drugs of abuse may promote certain behaviors, potentially contributing to addiction.

Artistic/Creative Work (Tarble Room, Brown Hall, Livestream 4)

Title: Stories of Hindu Deities in Visual Art and Dance 
Author(s):  Acsah Joseph Daniel, Vasilisa Vasilyeva, Julianna Novelo
Faculty Sponsor: Anya Golovkova

Abstract: In this video installation, we interpret stories of Hindu deities and their devotees through creative media, presenting two paintings and a dance video. Our work depicts Ganesha, the god of beginnings and remover of obstacles, Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, and Durga, a martial goddess who protects from demonic foes. Novelo’s watercolor painting depicts Ganesha’s statue before it is submerged in the body of water by his devotees. This ritual takes place at the end of Ganesha Chaturthi festival, which celebrates the birth of this beloved elephant-headed deity. Vasilyeva’s painting of Lakshmi is an interpretation of the symbolic value of color in Hinduism: yellow for auspiciousness, gold for prosperity, saffron for renunciation, red for passion, and pink for romantic love. Joseph Daniel’s video depicts a traditional Indian dance form known as Garba. Performed by entire communities in Gujarat, Garba worships the Goddess Durga during Navaratri, her Nine-Nights festival, and recognizes that each person possesses the divinity of Devi, the Great Goddess. Sharing these joyful images of Hindu deities, we retell their stories and celebrate the diversity of people whose hearts they have touched.

Session 3 (1:00 – 2:20 PM)

Panel 7: Unpacking the Layers of Economic and Social Inequalities (BR 252, Livestream 1)

Moderator: Nancy Tao

Title: The 2019 Admission Scandal and Commodified Higher Education: Media Portrayal of Blame, Victimhood, and the Scandal’s Many Players
Author(s): Gwennyth Baker
Faculty Sponsor: Camille Yale

Abstract: News media heavily publicized the 2019 admission scandal involving prestigious U.S. universities. Previous research shows that publicized university scandals lead to decreased standing and fewer applicants at involved institutions (Rooney & Smith, 2019). Interestingly, these negative admission impacts have not happened in this case. Using a content analysis, I sought to determine what phrase-level codes in news articles may draw attention away from systemic problems in higher education illuminated by this case, including the commodification of education and discriminatory admission practices while also not implicating institutions. This analysis provides evidence that news articles focus on individual scandal players’ actions and resulting legal and social ramifications. This focus on individual behaviors can be understood to draw attention away from systemic problems that make large-scale pervasive exploitation of access to higher education, legal or illegal, by the wealthy, possible and profitable for families, and likely prevents the institutions from suffering typical impacts.

Title: Determining the Impact of Institutional Ownership on CEO Pay Compensation
Author(s): Kobena Amoah
Faculty Sponsor: Nancy Tao

Abstract: References to academic literature and popular discourse reveal the centrality of incentive structures in determining CEO compensation. Dominant in these discussions is the traditional approach of agency cost structuring, a view that acknowledges traditional pay-performance relation in determining executive compensation. Following along the lines of Fabrizio Ferri et al. (2011), who highlight the importance of union activism in determining executive compensation, this study highlights the importance of executive/inside power in various CEO compensation schemes. Note this study moves away from the traditional pay-performance relation to an examination of pay-power relation. Using OLS estimation procedures for a linear factor model on a dataset obtained from CompuStat, the study found that institutional ownership/activism does have an influence on executive compensation. Specifically, it restricts its growth.

Panel 8: Getting Together, Getting Apart: Understanding Companionship and Isolation (BR 353, Livestream 2)

Moderator: Holly Swyers

Title: Cliques: Bonding at the Expense of Bridging
Author(s): Natalie Wolthusen
Faculty Sponsor: Holly Swyers

Abstract: This study investigated how cliques manifest on Lake Forest College’s campus and how they affect the students in cliques. After using free list and mapping protocols to identify student cliques, I interviewed members of those cliques to uncover their feelings about being in a clique and how they perceive the social implications of cliques. I supplemented primary research with a literature review. I discovered students are not joining cliques to exclude others, but rather to avoid exclusion themselves. The factors that contribute to clique formation often include social anxiety, and clique membership has ramifications for students’ bonding and bridging capital.

Title: Who’s Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
Author(s): Ken Miyakawa
Faculty Sponsor: Holly Swyers

Abstract: This project sought to reveal how Lake Forest student networks are influenced by the racial/cultural campus climate. I conducted social network analyses of different friend groups at Lake Forest College, asking students to name all their closest friends and identify their demographics. I asked their friends for the same information to create a social network map. Then, I conducted interviews with different people on the map to explore how they developed their friend groups. These two steps revealed: (1) BIPOC/International students tend to voluntarily form homogeneous groups as a safety zone in a Primarily White Institution (PWI), and (2) White domestic students tend to form less intentional networks that match the demographic composition of the college as a whole.

Panel 9: Interpretations of Art (BR 254, Livestream 3)

Moderator: Cynthia Hahn

Title: Poetry Across Cultures
Author(s):Kaitlyn Mueller
Faculty Sponsor: Cynthia Hahn

Abstract: In my senior research project, I am translating and studying poetry from across the francophone world. In my studies I have found that poets draw from their separate cultures and then create poetry that is often an outlet that connects people through a single language, despite having distinct cultural influences. Cultural influences can affect the way a poem is received whether the reader is aware of them or not, and that is something that translators must keep in mind when translating poetry. In order to support my prior findings, I will be analyzing, translating, and imitating poetry from francophone poets across the world, including Clara Lagacé (French-Canadian), Andrée Chédid (Egyptian-French), Cécile Coulon (French), and more. At the Student Symposium, I will present my translations and original poetry, as well as analyze the content of some of the authors’ poetry.

Title: Symbolism and Context of Africa Restored (Cheryl as Cleopatra)

Author(s): Emily Cho and Lira Zajmi
Faculty Sponsor: Lia Alexopoulos

Abstract: Kerry James Marshall’s sculpture, Africa Restored, is highly symbolic and our presentation examines what effect the symbols have on the overall meaning of the piece and how this connects to symbols in Chicago’s art-making past. We have two goals: to gain a deeper understanding of the piece and get a sense of the symbols’ meanings. Through our research on twelve of the symbols, we find that there are numerous links between the symbols and our knowledge of Chicagoan art. We realize that though each symbol has its own meaning, together these symbols have the effect of unfurling the complexities and turmoils of the African-American experience. Further, we find that Marshall’s work echoes back to past Chicago art and artist-driven movements, and we conclude that history offers a richness of understanding that would be absent without it. We also arrive at the conclusion that art has a crucial place in not just offering contemplation but actively contributing to social change as well.

Title: “The Pursuit of Destruction”: Power Dynamics in Amiri Baraka’s "Dutchman"
Author: Chelsea Davis
Faculty Sponsor: Richard Pettengill

Abstract: Trayvon Martin. George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. These, among many others, are black men whose lives were taken away too soon because of police brutality and racism here in the United States. Though each man had a slightly different story, age, and location, the one thing that stays constant throughout all of them is the fact that black men keep falling victim to a system that is supposed to protect them yet fails to do so. This continuous cycle of racism perpetuates America’s “pursuit of destruction” or in other words, white American dominance, and black submissiveness. The cycle of oppression warns black Americans, especially those who try and assimilate to white culture, that they will always be a target for white Americans. In the one-act play "Dutchman," written by black nationalist author Amiri Baraka, the theme of white dominance and black submissiveness can be seen through the plot of the play. In addition, the play illustrates how race relations in the 1960’s mirrors society today.

Session 4 (2:40 – 4:00 PM)

Panel 10: Black Activism in Chicago (BR 353, Livestream 2)

Moderator: Courtney Pierre Joseph

Title: Black Activists in Chicago: Then and Now
Author(s): Ben Jurgens, Ace Gliksman, Ona Shire, Suvexa Pradhan Tuladhar
Faculty Sponsor: Courtney Pierre Joseph

This panel will look at the history of Black activism in the city, investigating what it means to be an activist, what issues are important to Black activists in and around the city, what strategies Black activists have used over time, and the costs of activism. The students in this panel will deal with these issues as they present original research presentations on specific Black activists in Chicago, including Ida B. Wells and Bobby Rush.

Panel 11: Novel Approaches in Business and Finance (BR 252, Livestream 1)

Moderator: Chloe Johnston

Title: Chicago's Theater Businesses Post-Pandemic
Author(s): Mia Kravitz
Faculty Sponsor: Chloe Johnston

Abstract: We will be investigating the question: How has the pandemic changed the theater companies’ business plan, specifically in Chicago and their definition of success? I propose that my research will reveal some innovative business plan adjustments and changes that will allow them to either make a profit or simply get the art out to the world. In these dire times the arts suffer the most but some Chicago companies will overcome adversity. So far, I’ve interviewed employees at Goodman and Neo-Futurist group in addition to researching several companies and their actions post-pandemic.

Title: Relationship between Stock Market and Cryptocurrency Exchange
Author(s): Carson Poulin and Brendan Coughlin
Faculty Sponsor: Nancy Tao

Abstract: Cryptocurrencies are a new and popular method of trading, attracting worldwide attention with the increasing credibility of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies. This project explores variables that influence the price of cryptocurrencies by measuring the relationship between the government regulated stock market and unregulated blockchain assets. We also consider the impacts of macroeconomic variables such as industrial production and personal consumption and compare the effects of these variables before and after the COVID outbreak. Our results show that the returns of Ethereum and Bitcoin are highly correlated with overall stock market fluctuations but not with the macroeconomic fundamentals, which suggest speculative trading in cryptocurrencies.

Title: Peer-to-Peer Lending: Default Risk for Small Business Loans
Author(s): Veronika Chernik and Izzi Visnjevac
Faculty Sponsor: Nancy Tao

Abstract: With ever-increasing credit card debt, borrowers are driven to consider alternative forms of funding. One method is Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending, which allows individuals to take out loans directly from others without the involvement of third-party financial institutions. We assess whether P2P Lending is a viable channel for financing small businesses by investigating the default risks of 339,263 small business loans funded through the LendingClub platform from 2014 to 2019. Our results suggest that higher interest rates, term lengths, and loan amounts cause an increase in loan charge-off. Additionally, small businesses have a higher chance and are more quickly to default on their loans compared to other borrowers. We expect these findings can help protect entrepreneurs, ease the borrowing process, and incentivize local economy growth.

Panel 12: Historical Documentary and Propaganda (BR 254, Livestream 3)

Moderator: Dan LeMahieu

Title: "The Witch is Still Alive"
Author(s): Zak Khan
Faculty Sponsor: Dan LeMahieu

Abstract: This documentary film analyzes the development of various spiritual and religious beliefs originating from the New Age phenomenon originating within the 1960s. Groups of focus within this documentary include the Hare Krishna Movement, the Gaians, as well as the mass popularity surrounding New Age guru Deepak Chopra. The documentary’s scope goes beyond a simple analysis of these groups’ histories, beliefs, and rituals in order to expose the corruptions and controversies which surround these communities. Nonetheless, in addition to the valuable historical content this film has to offer, it too serves as a warning of the dangers associated with the New Age movement which still survive today.                   

Title: “The Forsaken Survivors of WWII: The Citizens of Berlin”
Author(s): Haley Seidel
Faculty Sponsor: Dan LeMahieu 

Abstract: A research-based documentary on the inquiry of the hardships and anguish of the citizens of Berlin during the Second World War; a topic of controversy among historians to this day. The approach to this argument is held on the basis of personal family lineage, published historian and survivor interviews, films, and tactical research. A focus on three major historical events and their effects serves as the base of the production: (1) the Bombings of Berlin, (2) the Battle of Berlin, and (3) the Rape of Berlin. Using details from the three events, the impacts on the citizens of the Capital, both long-term and short term, are studied and reflected on throughout the documentary. The use of video clips, direct and indirect interviews, formal studies, and photographs are effective in relaying detail on the controversial topic in hopes of illuminating the subject of condemnation of innocent by-standers who happened to live in a country that made decisions on their behalf- driving the dispute on the issue.

Artistic/Creative Work (4:00 – 5:00 PM)

Artistic/Creative Work (Sonnenschein and Albright Galleries, Durand Art Institute, not livestreamed)

Annual Student Art Exhibit

Faculty Sponsors: Michelle Bolinger, Margy Coleman, Madeeha Lamoreaux, Daria McMeans, David Sanchez Burr, and Tracy Marie Taylor


Blythe Avery
Belinda Beaver
Danna Blancas
Jaime Blanco
Ivana Budjarovska
Olivia Bynum
Juanjo Campos Villalta
Jasmine Carag
Matthew Carey
Berit Casteel
Yuxin Chen
Nicole Choma
Marisol Valerin Coronas
Michael DeRango
Jasmine Diep
Erica Farfan
Cheyanne Gardiner
Maddie Glennon
Samira Gomez 
Grace Greenly
Adam Hartzer
Alexis Heredia
Natalie Hingsberger
Noah Hirsch
Erica Knizhnik
Hailey Kobeski
Ellie Krehbiel
Manisha Kumar
Katharine Day Lekberg
Henry Light
Gawaun Mann
Finch Martin
Lael Madema
Brigitte Menye Eto
Sayre Milo
Lilian Ngai
Ola Ola-Busari
Audrey Pauer
Tabitha Perez
Katherine Peticolas
Allison Pieper
Theone Purev
Adriana Ree-Jurek
Andrea Robles
Xochilt Rodriguez
Nenna Rouse
Hira Sadiq
Natalie Serrano
Bryan Skowron
Diego Soltan
Ensar Uzicanin
Emily Wachter
Jacob Wagner
Maggie Walsh
Joshua Witherspoon
Alyssa Xanos
Dima Zaghal