You are here: American University College of Arts & Sciences Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference

CAS Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference

Robyn Rafferty Mathias
Student Research ConferenceSaturday, April 6, 2024  | In person at Don Myers Technology & Innovation Building (DMTI)

The College of Arts & Sciences is pleased to announce that the 34th Annual Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference will take place on Saturday, April 6, 2024, in person at AU's Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building. This event is a forum for CAS undergraduate and graduate students to present original research, scholarship, and creative work before colleagues, faculty, and friends.

The Mathias Student Research Conference is partially sponsored by a generous grant from AU trustee and alumna Robyn Rafferty Mathias and by the NASA District of Columbia Space Grant Consortium.


Each oral and poster presentation will be juried by a group of AU Community Judges. Top presenters will be awarded a Certificate signed by the CAS Dean. 

Attending the Conference

Attendees are requested to enter the DMTI building via Entrance 1, which is closest to the Eagle Statue or Duber Hall. Free parking at the Nebraska Ave parking lot or SIS garage will be available. All garages are about 5-10 minutes walking distance from the DMTI Entrance 1.

The university provides free AU shuttle service to and from the Tenleytown-AU Metro station on Metro’s Red Line. Shuttle buses will run every 10 minutes from the Tenleytown-AU Metro station. 

All participants and guests must check in before proceeding to the presentation sessions. If you haven’t registered, please complete the registration form.


Contact CAS Events at

Mathias Student Research Conference Livestream

Stream select events from the Mathias Conference via YouTube


Click on a session's name or scroll below to see a full details of the session's presentations.

8:00 am-3:00 pm 
Registration | DMTI 111

Light breakfast will be available until 11 am.

9:00-10:15 am

Breakout Session I
Perspectives on Race in Media | DMTI 109
Arts and Literature Examine the Human Story | DMTI 111
Examining the Health of Our Environment | DMTI 114
Preserving Our Cultures | DMTI 115
Viewpoints on Maternity and Motherhood | DMTI 116
Brain Function and Neuroscience | DMTI 121

10:30–11:45 am

Breakout Session II
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Effects of Public Policy | DMTI 109
Evolution, Mutation, and the Genome | DMTI 114
Inside the Artist's Studio | DMTI 115
Representations in Print and Visual Media | DMTI 116
Art History | DMTI 119
Drugs & Health | DMTI 121

12:00–1:30 pm

Dean’s Remarks followed by Keynote Speaker | DMTI 111
Join us for remarks by Dean Linda Aldoory and Dr. Katherine Grill. Lunch will be provided.

1:45-3:00 pm

Poster Presentations
Students from different knowledge areas: Humanities, Natural Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences, will showcase their research.
Humanities | DMTI 210
Natural Sciences | DMTI 213 (Undergraduate) & 215 (Graduate)
Physical Sciences | DMTI 217
Social Sciences | DMTI 221 (Undergraduate) & 219 (Graduate)

3:00 pm–4:15 pm

Breakout Session III
Issues in Gender & Sexuality Studies | DMTI 109
The Many Influences on Body Image | DMTI 115
Economics, Business, & Society | DMTI 114
New Historical Perspectives | DMTI 116
Language, Race, and Identity | DMTI 119
New Technologies, Practical Uses | DMTI 121

4:30–5:00 pm

Your Next Steps with Paula Warrick, Merit Award Office | DMTI 111
Come learn, win a raffle, and enjoy some desserts!

Breakout Session I

  • Across the Multiverse: Liberatory Potential in Multiverse Stories
    Dani Nowicki

    Crime Junkies: The Investment in True Crime through Short-Form Media
    Krystalynn Oliver-Mays

    Cracking the Code: The Implication of Racial Stereotypes in Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction
    Mattie Branson-Meyer

    Asian American Representation in Film
    Valeria Blanco

  • Ritual Through Art
    Alisha Rao

  • Victims Die, Survivors Live, and Everyone Forgets: Resisting a Victim/Survivor Binary through Outbreak Narratives in Severance and The Dreamers
    Izzy Scholes-Young
  • Skin Deep: Dance as a Medium for Investigating the Essence and Value of Human Existence

    Juliana Pironti

    Queer Identity Through Religious Mythologies
    Miranda Braemer

    Towards a Humanized Biological Profile: Joining Dance with the Study of Human Skeletal Remains
    Samantha Short

  • Arsenic in Spring Valley
    Cristal Mejia, Brian Prudente, and Valeria Maurer

    Temporal and Spatial Variability of Radon Emission from Trees in Wetland and Upland Forest Ecosystems at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
    Glory Ade Iorliam

    Microplastic and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Abundance in the Jug Bay Region of the Patuxent River, Maryland
    Jonathan Craig

    Effect of Marsh Migration on Carbon Emissions in Plant Zones
    Kat Raiano

    Optimizing Fractionation of Coral Tissues to Isolate the Endosymbiont Algae and Elucidate their associated microbiomes
    Kendall Jung

  • (Our) Nuclear Bodies
    Madison Shomaker
  • Documenting the Kabyle Narrative
    Anya Adjroud

    El Pan de Cada Día: The essence of living as a working-class Panamanian
    Carolina Cohen

    Lage Identitet: Making Identity through Nordic Handicrafts
    Hannah Sjovold

    The Learning of the Náhuatl Language by Spanish Speakers Through TikTok
    Neal Franklin

    The Middle East: Sketches Brought to Life through Animation
    Tiffany Sharpy

On Entrapment: Pregnancy, Domestic Violence, and Gender in the Media
Caroline Siebert

The Case for Bad Asian Motherhood
Emma Hua

The Mother-Daughter Relationship in the Fantasy Filmscape
Laurel DePasquale

Different cortical networks are modulated by lateral vs. midline cerebellar tDCS
Joseph Dust, Laura C. Rice, Marissa M. Lee, Marly R. Rubin, Maneli Paknejad, Honeyeh Younesie, Dana C. Gawlitzek, Brooks D. Baucom, and Emily M. Barnes

The impact of TBT on optic nerve regeneration
Nathaniel Ramis Fleming

Therapeutic Uses of Psilocybin: Impact on the Brain and Behavior
Shadan Rahmani

Breakout Session II

Structuring Power: the impact of structural hierarchies within an Environmental Activist Organization
Alaina Giglio

Bite Sized Nutrition Banter
Amelia Rowniewski

The Impact of Political Freedom on Resource Depletion
Joseph Melin

Single-Motherhood Stigma: Associations Between Mothers' Co-parenting Status & Achieved Occupational Prestige
Kat Carpenter

Keeping Disordered Attraction Out: Homosexual Exclusions in Immigration Law Post-World War II
Lillie Ortloff

  • Potential Significant Binding Site within the SEP3 Gene in Arabidopsis thaliana
    Anya Adjroud

    Generation of Gnotobiotic Symbiodiniaceae Strains to Expand Current Knowledge on Algal-Bacterial Interactions in the Coral Holobion
    Brianna Carbone

    Comparing the Central Nervous System of Freshwater Spring and Cave Isopods and Amphipods
    Gwynivere Horton

    Evolutionary invention of a thermocouple-like sensor by adaptation of cytochrome c oxidase in a subterrestrial metazoan
    TreVaughn Ellis

  • Using CRISPR-Cas9 to analyze floral gene expression in Arabidopsis thaliana
    Jordon Iwuajoku

The Artist Thus Far
Jamison Rohan

Tea and Tiling: Art Advocating for Women Silenced by Oppressive Systems
Phaedra Askarinam

A Return to Connection
Pooja Campbell

High fashion Interwoven with Queers
Rowan Gjersvold

Team Edward? Team Jacob? No, Team Joseph Smith: A Study of Mormonism in Stephanie Meyer's The Twilight Saga
Hope Lockwood 

Christ is King: Tim LaHaye's Understanding of Jesus and Its Impact on White American Evangelicals
Presented by Emily Messner

Intersecting Histories: A Critical Discourse Analysis of AP US History Textbook Coverage of the Black Panther Party and Disability Rights Movement
Katherine Greenstein

Is My Very Nature That of the Devil?”: Deconstructing Necropolitics and Racial Hierarchy in Vampires
Tylette Martinez

  • The Virgin Mary & Eve: “Underpinned by their Femininity:” An Analysis of Fra Angelico’s Annunciation and Expulsion of Adam and Eve
    Giavanna Bambocci

    Mapping Difference and Power: Jacopo Ligozzi’s Pope Bonifacio VIII Receiving the Twelve Ambassadors (1592)
    Jenna Mangis

    Liberation found in Andrea del Castagno’s Uomini Famosi
    Jordan Delgado

    Hairy Mary: Female Prayer and Patronship in Fifteenth Century Italy
    Lia Burchianti

    Reframing History: Bisa Butler's Intimate Portrait of Abolitionist Icon Harriet Tubman
    Lucy Phillips

  • The Impact of CBD (Cannabidiol) in Hyperglycemic Zebrafish (Danio Rerio)
    Elizabeth McCarthy

    The Effects of the Drug Lapatinib on Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma
    Erin Greenberg

    Comprehensive Functional HIV Cure Strategy: The role of HDAC and PARTP Inhibitors in the Clearance of Latent Infections
    Hasset Tibebe

    Evaluating HIV Infectivity and Virion Maturation Across Varied Producer Cells with a Novel FRET-Based Detection and Quantification Assay
    Shreyas Gujar, Jeongpill Choi, and Kedhar Narayan

Dean's Remarks and Keynote Speaker

Join us for remarks by Dean Linda Aldoory and Dr. Katherine Grill. Lunch will be provided.

"From There to Here: Leading the Way in Digital Mental Health Solutions for Students and Schools"

Student mental health has been a priority in education following the pandemic. The increased need for accessible mental health resources has prompted the rise of the digital health sector, with new companies, resources, and job opportunities emerging. Dr. Grill will discuss how she went from being a CAS student to a technology executive using tech-enabled solutions to improve school-based mental health. Mathias attendees will gain insight into addressing mental health from a community-driven perspective and learn about career opportunities in health technology.

Presenter: Dr. Katherine Grill, CEO and co-founder of Neolth and CAS Alumna

Poster Presentations

  • Attention in Paul’s Letters
    Alexandra Kallaher

    Pharmakon: An Undergraduate Journal in Philosophy & Religious Studies
    Andrew Wagner, Alexander Kallaher, Henry Mondschein, and Ayantu Gelan


  • Developmental tributyltin (TBT) exposure has long-term effects on the zebrafish visual system
    Jennifer Jensen

    Perceptual decision making in rodents
    Jensen Palmer

    The Impact of 3D Printing on Neuroscience Research Advancements
    Kevin Chavez Lopez

    Tests for Triploid Hardy-Weinberg Proportions
    Lexie Tyson

    Posterolateral tumors impact cognitive outcomes in pediatric cerebellar patients
    Rebecca Tegiacchi

    Associations between interoceptive stimulus control and morphine self-administration
    Shihui Huang, Anushka Valsan, Garrett Denney, Morgan Scott, Honeyeh Younesie, Sasha Abielmona, and Sophie Robinson

    Pain Reduction from the Low Glutamate Diet Is Associated with Reduced High Gamma Power from EEG
    Sidney Murray, Fahimeh Martami, and Kathleen F. Holton

    Anacostia River pollutants impact biological systems in adult Zebrafish model
    Abigail McDonald

    Negative Illness Perception Increases Morbidity and Mortality in Hepatobiliary Cancer Patients
    Alex Benton

    Impact of Lesion Location on Motor Performance and Behavioral Regulation after Pediatric Cerebellar Tumor
    Alexandra Kauffman

    Molecular Dynamics Simulation of Retrovirus Accessory Protein Vpu Association with the Cellular Membrane
    Caroline Arnette and Kedhar Narayan

    The Purpose of the EAR motif of SUPERMAN in Arabidopsis thaliana
    Charlotte Foege

    Understanding the effects of developmental BPA exposure via electroretinogram analysis
    Claire Selby

    Sparking Middle School Students’ Curiosity to Explain Scientific Phenomena: The Impact of Curiosity-Driven Question Asking on Visual Information Seeking and Mental Imagery
    Dalia Abdo Kahin

    Behavioral and Neural Effects of Right Posterolateral Cerebellar Modulation during Semantic Prediction in Autism: A Combined tDCS-fMRI Study
    Dana Gawlitzek, Joseph Dust, Laura C. Rice, and Catherine J. Stoodley

    Assessing the Relationship between Interoceptive Regulation by Satiety and Drug-Induced States
    Garrett Denney & Sophie Robinson

    Impact of Fluoxetine and Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) on the Interoceptive Effects of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) and Ketamine
    Jarin Moonrising, Anushka Valsan, and Sasha Abielmona

    Investigating Behavioral Effects of CBD (Cannabidiol) Treatment on Hyperglycemic Zebrafish (Danio rerio)
    Justin Ciocirlan and Leehy Gertner

    Exploring oxidative and substrate reactivity of acireductone dioxygenase, a unique moonlighting enzyme, with a second generation Ni(II) N3O system
    Kelsey Kirsch

    On-pathway Iron (II) based biomimetic model of the active site of acireductone dioxygenase (ARD)
    Lea Carrigg

    Visualizing How an Old Gold-Based Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Works at the Molecular Level
    Lea Stahr

    Synthesis of small chemical library of fluorinated NMR probes
    Maura Fletcher

    Characterizing the Relationship Between Multiple Myeloma and Adipocyte Progression
    Veronica Locker

  • Temperature Stabilization of an Etalon
    Benjamin Fausto Kanzer

    Exploration of Brownian coating thermal noise uncertainties in Advanced LIGO (aLIGO)
    Jasmin Mundi

    Simulation and control of Inverted Pendulum
    Jason Mema

    Eutylone pre-exposure has no impact on the aversive effects of cocaine and MDMA: Implications of its hybrid neurochemical mechanisms of action
    Nina Ardabili and Shira Tan

    Multimodal One-class Learning for Malicious Online Content Detection
    Nora Lewis

    Weyl's Equidistributional Theorem and Space-Filling Irrationals
    Sy Hargis and Christopher Merola

  • Predictors of IPV Among Transgender Emerging Adults
    Avi Shapiro

    Risk Factors for Physical Violence in the Intimate Relationships of Sexual Minority Emerging Adults
    Benjamin Kramer

    Multivariate Patterns of Substance Use, Minority Stress and Contextual Violence Associated with Sexual Revictimization of Lesbian and Bisexual Emerging Adult Women
    Candace Moore

    Performance Anxiety: Time vs. Task-Completion and Simultaneous vs. Successive-Engagement Competition Effects
    Edward Ayers and Alexis Rinker

    Does awe influence interpretations of ambiguous stimuli?
    Eva Freites

    Utilization of Video Analysis Tools for Understanding the Dynamics of Decision Making
    Harmain Rafi

    How are visuospatial skills and strategies used in science-specific tasks?
    Jazelle Pilato

    Family Accommodation in Intensive/Residential Treatment for Adults with OCD: A Cross-Lagged Panel Analysis
    Kara Kelley

    Minority Stressors and Substance Use Severity Among Gay Emerging Adult Men: A Person-Centered Analysis
    Kelly M. McAleer

    Infants' Perception of Partially Visible Objects: Pilot Studies
    Olivia Lowman

    2010 Floods and Child Education Outcomes: Evidence from Pakistan
    Rida Hameed

    Problem Substance Use Among Bisexual Emerging Adult Men and Women: A Person-Centered Study
    Tu Do

    Using LLMs to discover emerging coded antisemitic hate-speech in extremist social media
    Venkata Dhanush Kikkisetti

    What to Watch Next: The Impact of Stereotypic Portrayals of Women in Media
    Anastasia Meininger

    Contraceptive Education: How Does It Impact Decision-Making and Reported User Satisfaction?
    Bridget Ceplo

    Aging in D.C.: Social Isolation and Loneliness Among Older Adults
    Elizabeth Stockbridge

    Landscapes of Power: Community Based Agroecology and Rose Farming in Cayambe, Ecuador
    Emily Stinneford

    An Animal Model of Bias: A Behavioral-Economic Analysis
    Emma Pilz

    #lostandfound: Relic Hunters and Archaeological Ethics in an Online Age
    Georgia Dolan

    Guiding the Future Implementation of Our Family Our Future: A Family Resilience Intervention to Prevent Adolescent Onset of Depression and HIV/STI Risk Behavior in South Africa
    Hannah Arthur

    Mindful Motherhood: Exploring the Impact of Calma, Conversa y Cria (CCC) on Latina Mothers' Stress Reduction and Adolescent Health
    Kacie Jimenez, Isabella Diaz, and Adela Camposano

    Spirits of the Past: Archaeology of a Ghost Town
    Kaitlyn Rice, Georgia Dolan, Katharine Grace McCartha, Jamie Moss

    Development and Investigation of a Science Trivia Task to Understand Student Curiosity and Learning
    Krista Kanu and Sophia Stull

    The “Good Foreigners”: Racism, Islamophobia, and the Iranian Diaspora
    Lili Gharakhanzadeh

    Exploring the Intersection of Stress and Stress Management in Undergraduate Students at American University
    Louise Benning and Nai’la-Mareen Morris

    Holistic Approaches to Mitigate Opioid Risks on Campus: Integrating Science and Policy for Fentanyl Harm Reduction among AU Students
    Matthew Brink

    Are Things Going Swimmingly for Youth Swimmers? A Look at the Mental Health and Well-Being of Summer Swim League Participants
    Merete Oakes

    Divine Divides and Economic Differentials: Investigating the Impact of Religious Affiliation and Participation on Gender and Wage Disparities in American Society
    Sosina Gebremichael

Breakout Session III

  • Marvel’s She-Hulk and How the Media Hypersexualizes Women, Femme-Identifying, and LGBTQ+ Individuals
    Branden Cunard

    Sex-Ed and Exploration Online: Explicit Fan Fiction and Adolescent Sexual and Gender Self-Discovery
    Margaret Murphy

    The ‘Susan Dickinson Edition’: Presenting Emily Dickinson’s Poetry Through a New, Familial Lens
    Miriam Yarger

    The Perception and Use of Unprescribed HRT in the Transgender Community
    Olivia Carleu

  • Hair Nostalgia
    Alexis Frorup

    Ethical Explorations in Cross-Cultural Tattooing
    Isabella Grasso

    The Portrayal of Masculinity in Social Media
    Jantzen Washington

  • The Impact of Horror Tourism in Salem
    Alexander Grossman

    Orchestral Longevity: Fostering Community-centric Audience Development
    Faith (Smith) Ring

    Does Participating in Global Value Chains Lead to Export Quality Upgrading
    Lin Shi

    On the High Road? International Trade and the Belt and Road Initiative in Vietnam and Rwanda
    MacKenzie Burgoyne

    Thrift: Mapping Socioeconomic Inequality in the Secondhand Shopping Scene of Washington, D.C.
    Noa Conn

  • "Refuge In The Glory of Our Siege”: Building Palestinian Feminist Futures Through Hiba Abu Nada’s Poetry
    Gabriella Hoard

    The (Re)humanization of Black Bodies through Human Trafficking Narratives in Postcolonial Literature
    Gianell Lopez

    Titanic Emotions: The Affective Appeal of the Cinema of Disasters
    Paul Klein

    To Commemorate or Not to Commemorate: A History of the Remembrance of Irish Revolutionaries from 1922 to 2022
    Stephanie Rahtz

    Conquest of the Northmen: A Study of Norman Colonialism in 11th Century Medieval England
    Tyler Batstone 

Felici-drag-es: Testing the Performance and Perception of Sexuality in Spanish TV Media
Aidan Dowell

The Past is Present: A Case for Expanded Epistemologies and Methodologies of History in Health Research
Elise Ferrer

The impact of biracial identity on code-switching
Selene Malench

  • An Adaptive Method Based on Machine Learning for the State-of-Charge and State-of-Health Estimation of Lithium-Ion Batteries
    Ben Wenig

    Infection Clustering: A Bio-inspired Algorithm for Data Analysis
    Collin Coil

    Analysis of Temporal & Frequency Structure in Digital Music
    Harry Pham

    Are Humans Machines?: The Synergetic Relationship Between the Human Brain and Artificial Intelligence
    Mariya Malik

    Cybersecurity Risk Probabilities Modeled in NetworkX
    Sam Spivak