2016 Summer Brackenridge Fellows

Emily Ahlin

Major: Political Science

An Exploration in Understanding Human Behavior: Government Surveillance and Scapegoating in the Early 20th Century

Faculty Mentor: Dr. William Chase, Department of History


Lydia Andeskie

Major: History of Art and Architecture; Minors: Studio Arts, Film Studies

Imagery, Iconoclasm, and Terror: Exploring Savonarola, Hitler, and ISIS

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gretchen Bender, Department of History of Art & Architecture


Sarah Atta

Major: Biological Sciences; Minor: Arabic Language and Linguistics

Establishment of a Conjunctival Scarring Model in the Mouse Eye

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ladan Espandar, Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine


Miranda Bridgwater

Majors: Psychology, Sociology

Deficits in Sustained Attention as a Potential Predictor of Schizophrenia

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gretchen Haas, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine


Madeline Denison Budny

Major: Communication

’Only Feminist Logic Could Come Up With Something So Convoluted’:

Anti-Feminist Tropes of Insanity and Dogmatism on r/MensRights

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Paul Johnson, Department of Communication


Elizabeth Caves

Major: Molecular Biology

Evaluating Viral Proteins that Regulate Epstein-Barr Virus Persistence in Epithelial Cells

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kathy Shair, Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics,

School of Medicine


Mark Connuck

Majors: Politics and Philosophy, Economics

Economic Networks in Early Modern China and Spain

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Thomas Rawski, Department of Economics


Joy Cui

Major: Neuroscience

The Role of the Approximate Number System in Math Achievement

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Melissa Libertus, Department of Psychology


Myranda D’Apolito

Majors: English Writing, Film Studies

Filmic Looks from the Lost and Found:

A Contemporary Analysis of Action Films with Female Leads

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Olivia Landry, Department of German


Sarah E. Dickey

Dick Thornburgh Summer Fellow

Majors: Political Science, Communication

Framing to Motivate: An Analysis of the Op-Ed Articles of Governor Richard Thornburgh 

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Andrew Lotz, Department of Political Science


Matthew Eskuchen

Major: Microbiology

Burkholderia Antibiotic Resistance Evolution

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Vaughn Cooper, Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, School of Medicine


Ciara Gray

Major: Studio Arts; Minor: Creative Writing

Unifying Art and Narrative

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lenore Thomas, Department of Studio Arts


Madeline Gray

Major: Chemistry

A Determination of Organic Nitrogen in Nine Mile Run

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Emily Elliott, Dept. of Geology and Environmental Sciences


Joshua Hanley

Major: History; Minor: Political Science

”Lower than God but Higher than Man”: The Politics of Medieval Papal Infallibility

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Janelle Greenberg, Department of History


Stephen Hemmerle

Major: Physics

Wire Design for Magnetically Trapping Nanoparticles

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Brian D’Urso, Department of Physics and Astronomy


Lin Hou

Major: Architectural Studies

What Architecture Contributes to Sustainability: A Comparative Analysis of Beijing and Pittsburgh

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mrinalini Rajagopalan, History of Art & Architecture Department



Hannah Jones

Major: Neuroscience; Minor: Chemistry

Using Facial Expressions to Predict Psychiatric Diagnoses in Pre-School Aged Children

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Susan Perlman, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine


Daniel Lapidus

Majors: History, Politics & Philosophy; Minor: Applied Statistics

Their Ideas Have Legs: The Proliferation of the “Good Old Cause’ in the English Atlantic (1638-1798)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Janelle Greenberg, Department of History


Teresa Leatherow

Major: Supply Chain Management

Business: A Platform for Environmental Change

Faculty Mentors: Drs. Prakash Mirchandini and Eric Paljug, Business Operations and Analytics, Katz Graduate School of Business


Sarah Loser

Majors: English Literature, Sociology; Minor: Classics

Queer Feelings: Community, Identity, and Nostalgia

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Julie Beaulieu, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program


Vinh Luong

Tina & David Bellet Brackenridge Research Fellow

Major: Computer Science

Alternative Agriculture: Optimizing Aquaponics and Hydroponics with Precision Technology

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Joseph Samosky, Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering, and Babs Carryer, MPM, University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute


Noah-Kee Marks 

Majors: Physics, History and Philosophy of Science

Understanding Secondary-Level Mathematics Teachers’ Views of a Racial Achievement Gap 

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Charles Munter, Department of Instruction & Learning, School of Education


Melanie Matyi

Major: Neuroscience; Minor: Chemistry

Characteristic Brain Activity of Mathematics Processing

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Melissa Libertus, Department of Psychology 


Daniel McCalley

Major: Neuroscience

Long-Term Cognitive Consequences of Adolescent Cannabinoid Use

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Torregrossa, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine


Katherine McNeilly

Major: Communication Science and Disorders

Identifying the Salient Characteristics of Clear Speech That Contribute to Improved Speech Perception

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Catherine Palmer, Department of Communication Science and Disorders, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Alexander Nally

Major: Economics; Minor: Mathematics

An Increasingly Important Commodity: An Outlook into the Future of the Lithium Market

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Randall Walsh, Department of Economics


Adrienne J. Newcomer

Majors: Mathematics, Economics

The Long-Term Effects of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs on Poverty: An Analysis of Mexico’s Oportunidades

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rania Gihleb, Department of Economics


Andrew Puglionesi

Major: Neuroscience

Analysis of LEMS Treatment Options Using Computational Modeling

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Stephen D. Meriney, Department of Neuroscience, and Dr. Rozita Laghaei, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center


Wesley Roberts

Majors: Physics, Philosophy

The Impact of Quantum Mechanics on the Status of Logic

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robert Batterman, Department of Philosophy


Vaibhav Sharma

Major: Neuroscience; Minor: Chemistry

Signature Brain Signals During Echolocation

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Pulkit Grover, Pitt-CMU Center for Neural Basis of Cognition and Department of Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University


Amanda Spencer

Majors: Politics & Philosophy, English Literature; Minors: History, Religious Studies

Judgment, Redemption and Dickens’ Parable of the Fall

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Amy Murray Twyning, Department of English


Nicholas T. Sullivan#

Majors: Mathematics, English Writing

The Interplay of Medical Advancement and Social Thought: A Poetical Undertaking

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ellen McGrath Smith, Department of English

# Had to withdraw from the Program in mid-July due to health problems


Serena Tally

Major: Neuroscience; Minor: Chemistry

Identifying the Pharmacological Effects of Statins on Cholesterol Synthesis in Neural Stem Cells

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Donald DeFranco, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine


Stephanie Taylor

Majors: Studio Arts, History of Art and Architecture

Making Multiple Meanings: How Printmaking Can be Used to Explore Perception

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lenore Thomas, Department of Studio Arts


Robert J. Tritschler

Major: Political Science; Minor: History

American Media and Democratic Theory: Consequences of ‘Softest News’ and Political Behavior

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Andrew Lotz, Department of Political Science


K. David Wade II

Major: English Writing

Washington, PA: A Legacy of Rust

Faculty Mentor: Geeta Kothari, MFA, Department of English


Jamila Wemple

Major: English Nonfiction Writing; Minor: French

Chasing Identity: How the World Shapes Those Who Shape the World

Faculty Mentor: Mark Kramer, MFA, Department of English


Kellyn Wilkes

Major: Biological Sciences; Minor: Spanish

Generational Consequences of Stress in C. elegans

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Judy Yanowitz, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, School of Medicine


Emily Yoder

Majors: Political Science, Economics; Minor: French

Business Etiquette: The Harm of Missing Social Clues on Economic Growth

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Svitlana Maksymenko, Department of Economics


Chenoa Yorgason

Major: Political Science

Government of the People, by the People, for the People: Descriptive Representation in Statewide Elections, 2006-2016

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Victoria Shineman, Department of Political Science


Amy Zahn

Major: Pharmacy

Zinc-Induced Oxidative Stress: The Implications of a ZnT9 Knockdown

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kirill Kiselyov, Department of Biological Sciences