Honors Symposium

2023 Senior Honors Thesis Symposium

The College will celebrate the achievements of the 2023 graduating cohort of the Honors Program with a research symposium on Tuesday, May 16th. Attendees will have the opportunity to listen to research presentations and view posters and slideshows from students across the disciplines.

Light refreshments will be served beginning at 3 PM in the President’s Reception Room on the second floor of Founders Hall.

Presentations will take place in two sessions beginning at 4 PM.


Session One | 4 PM

Panel One: Psychological Investigations into Mental and Physical Health

Founders Hall 301

Moderator: Dr. Katherine Alexander

Ana Isabela Cabardo | “Exploring the Relationship between Ethnic Discrimination, Anxiety Sensitivity, and Self-Esteem”
Mentor: Dr. John McCullagh

My Honors Thesis research contains a review of literature and my own correlational research study that analyzes the relationship between ethnic discrimination, anxiety sensitivity, and self-esteem within adults over the age of 18. Participants (n=81) were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk in which they completed a survey that included demographics and items from the following scales: Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale, Anxiety Sensitivity Index, and the Perceived Ethnic Discrimination Questionnaire. Results from my study showed a positive correlation between anxiety sensitivity and ethnic discrimination. Both ethnic discrimination and anxiety sensitivity had a negative correlation with self-esteem. My results also indicated that anxiety sensitivity was a predictor of self-esteem, while ethnic discrimination did not predict self-esteem. Additionally, discussions regarding further implications of my results are also assessed within my research.

Kahil Evans | “Mood, Music, and Personality”
Mentor: Dr. Stephanie Berger

Music is an integral part of human culture. The popular art form is deeply rooted in modern culture. Music today has evolved to be extremely widespread and diverse. There is a plethora of different genres associated with certain moods and personality traits (Soto et al., 2017). Young adults often listen to music to change or intensify their mood. Because of this, some studies have focused on the effect music has on mood, while others have focused on the connection between music and personality traits. For example, people with certain personality traits were found to like music genres that were reflective of their personality traits (Vuoskoski and Erola, 2011). The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships among music, mood, and personality; to hypothesize that personality traits will be predictors of mood scores. The main research question is, will the effect of music on mood be different depending on how a specific genre of music relates to a person’s personality traits? It was hypothesized that if the music category matches the preferred music for a specific personality trait, then mood after listening to the music should have been strongly positive. However, if the music category did not match the preferred music for a specific personality trait, then mood should have had a less positive effect on mood. Results of the study yielded various interesting results.

Naomi Juvera | “Health Attitudes Among College Athletes”
Mentor: Dr. Katherine Alexander

Student-athletes are perceived to be healthy individuals, yet research shows that body disturbances, disordered eating and exercise may be more common in athletes than in the general population. Anti-fat attitudes like the fear of becoming fat, dislike towards fat people, and negative beliefs about obesity may unconsciously trigger these unhealthy attitudes and behaviors among athletes. Body appreciation is interpreted as the acceptance and appreciation of one’s body and all it can do despite physical appearance. This study explores the effects of anti-fat attitudes and body appreciation on eating attitudes and exercise behaviors among college athletes and non-athletes. I hypothesized that athletes will report higher levels of dysfunctional eating attitudes, anti-fat attitudes, and exercise addiction than non-athletes. I also predicted that there would be a difference between participants who report higher or lower body appreciation on dysfunctional eating attitudes, exercise addiction, and anti-fat attitudes. Seventy-two undergraduates were asked to complete questionnaires about anti-fat attitudes, body appreciation, eating attitudes, and exercise addiction. There was no interaction between athletes vs. non-athletes on eating attitudes, anti-fat attitudes, and exercise addiction. However, there was an overall global effect between athletes vs. non-athletes on eating attitudes, anti-fat attitudes, and exercise addiction. A global effect was also found in body appreciation on eating attitudes, anti-fat attitudes, and exercise addiction. Results show significant effects in that those who reported a low body appreciation showed higher dysfunctional eating attitudes. Athletes reported a higher exercise addiction compared to non-athletes.

Panel Two: Business in the United States, Europe, and the Metaverse

Founders Hall 302

Moderator: Professor Frank Manzi

Anton Kuzmin | “The Legal and Regulatory Framework for CBDC in the United States”
Mentor: Dr. Teresita Ramirez

The thesis provides an analysis of the legal and regulatory landscape for Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in America. While CBDC has the potential to provide numerous benefits, its implementation requires a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework to address the potential risks and challenges. Specifically, the thesis examines the existing laws that could be applied to CBDC. It closely looks at Electronic Fund Transfer Act (ETFA), the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), and the Monetary Control Act (MCA). These regulations have possible applications when creating the digital currency system. The thesis also discusses the potential problems related to the CBDC implementation process. These issues are related to privacy and security, anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), and consumer protection. To further investigate the digital currency environment, the paper examines the results of Project Cedar, a test implementation of wholesale CBDC (wCBDC) conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Moreover, the thesis highlights the issue of the trusted third party, an essential component of the CBDC ecosystem.

Charlotte Martin | “A Historical Analysis of the Causes of Youth Unemployment in Modern Day Spain”
Mentor: Dr. Nina Aversano

Youth unemployment in Spain. What seems like such a modern problem can be dated back to the roots of the modern Spanish constitution, the constitution of the Second Republic of Spain, and those preceding them. The country was late to undergo modernization, having been through the regime of Francisco Franco after the Spanish Civil War. Their democratic consolidation started in the 1970s after Franco’s death; however, it made history in how quick, progressive, and successful it was in creating a new democracy after a dictatorship. But, did this transformation happen too fast? A new democracy was majorly sought after by Spaniards, bringing to light how successful their government and economy could be. Unfortunately, great change can be accompanied by increased risks that can cause even greater problems. In more recent years, the country has worked to catch up with the rest of the world. Because of this rush in democratic consolidation, the social problems at hand such as birth rate, the welfare state, and education system have all had a direct influence on the low youth unemployment rate that Spain faces today.

Kelly Pilaar | “Marketing in the Metaverse”
Mentor: Dr. Jonathan Rosenberg

The Metaverse is becoming a place where brands are able to market and promote themselves to their audience. Many virtual concerts have taken place since 2019 in the Metaverse; these concerts are created in a way to promote the platform and the artist. Companies whose target audience is present within the Metaverse have had successful events reaching a mass audience and interactive engagement. Artists have also received benefits from these virtual music events, such as an increase in streams or followers. These virtual concerts have had success in post experience merchandise. Although there is a specific audience for these concerts, there is room for growth. As companies and platforms conduct more research about the demographic of users in the Metaverse, these immersive experiences can be used to interact with customers, assisting with brand recognition and a positive experience.


Session Two | 5:15 PM

Panel One: Nursing Practice and Scientific Intervention

Founders Hall 301

Moderator: Dr. Pamela Kerrigan

Renee Geanina Gail Giron | “Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Evidence Based Strategies for Nurses to Improve Care for an Underdiagnosed and Undertreated Population”
Mentor: Dr. Arlene Travis

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a type of sleep disordered breathing that is caused by complete or partial airway blockage during sleep. Manifestations include excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, and multiple awakenings related to gasping or choking. OSA has negative effects on the cardiovascular system and neurocognitive functioning. Daytime sleepiness may result in motor vehicle and work accidents, which endanger the public. Despite the rising prevalence of OSA, nurses and other healthcare professionals lack proper knowledge of the condition, which may lead to underdiagnosis and undertreatment. Research shows there are multiple barriers and challenges in clinical management of OSA, including lack of knowledge among patients and providers, inadequate screening in primary care settings which may reduce referral to treatment, and problems with adhering to treatment. Nurses can play a significant role in addressing this healthcare issue as they are frontline providers of patient care and can raise awareness amongst society. This literature review aims to evaluate the factors that may influence the care nurses provide to their patients who are at risk for or diagnosed with OSA and also provides recommendations for nursing practice, which may improve patients’ access to care and adherence to therapy.

Diomarys Pichardo | “Opioid Addiction: An Insight Into its Effects and Treatments”
Mentor: Dr. Pamela Kerrigan

Everyone has the potential to be an addict. Whether it be through genetics, social pressures, or economic downfall, everyone experiences addiction one way or another. Addiction can be defined as a dependency on a particular substance, thing, or activity. With addiction, a whole network of reward chemicals and pathways get triggered, and that is the beginning of the domino effect that we see play out in real time. The challenge with addiction is that many people do not know if they are addicts until they come across a vice. This paper addresses the question of, “What makes people addicts?” and focuses on the molecular/chemical effects and possible treatments of drug addiction, specifically opioid/opiate addiction.

Elizabeth Sheehy | “The Lived Experience of Being a Sister of Charity: Implications for Nursing Practice”
Mentor: Dr. Theodora Levine

The aim of this study is to gain an insight into the lived experience of the Sisters of Charity of New York (SCNY) in nursing at Mount Saint Vincent Convent. This study examines the life narratives of the Sister nurses. The methods used are interviews with 6 SCNY nurses. A hermeneutic phenomenological approach is used to identify the life experience of the Sister to relate to the main themes. The results proved that the SCNY nurses were great nurses who cared deeply for their patients and their nursing students. The participants’ narratives provide a rich insight into how the SCNY nurses interacted and treated their patients. This study is relevant to clinical practice because, as nurses, we sometimes forget to see the patients as humans and treat them with the proper respect, dignity, and communication that they deserve.

Panel Two: Contemporary Applications of Humanistic Study

Founders Hall 302

Moderator: Dr. David Aliano

Kelvin Angeles | “Comparative Analysis of Italian-American and Italian Voting Patterns in the United States and Italy”
Mentor: Dr. David Aliano

This comparative analysis thesis paper demonstrates how right-wing parties in Italy and the United States have established a base of anti-immigration rhetoric and have played on the voters’ fears. This is done through messaging concerning the myth of invasion (how incoming migrants are portrayed as an invasion), nationalism, immigrants voting for right-wing parties as a way of assimilating, xenophobia, and right-wing messaging and politician self-victimization. Over the past few decades, there has been growing interest among researchers in the political messaging about immigration. There is a concern, particularly on the use of immigration as a topic by right-wing parties for gaining political expediency. The United States and Italy represent some of the countries where such a trend has been overrepresented in the political arena. This paper examines the political rhetoric on immigration by right-wing parties in the United States and Italy while highlighting underlying similarities and disparities.

Nicole Castillo | “The Modernization of Forbidden Tragic Love: Adapting Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to Explore Gender, Race, and Class in West Side Story
Mentor: Dr. Stephanie Pietros

William Shakespeare has been replicated hundreds of times throughout history. His influence is strong and prevalent in many modern forms of media, including literature, film, music, and even English education in schools. The impact of Shakespeare on modern media has impacted the classroom—there is a huge American obsession with the writer’s Romeo and Juliet. The story of forbidden tragic love is used as inspiration for modern adaptations, as many artists explore the themes of family enemies, youth irrationality, death by love, and more. Shakespeare’s famous play has especially paved the way for adaptations like Arthur Laurents’ West Side Story to be created, where the original story of forbidden love is manipulated and modernized, featuring more contemporary stories including race, identity-dysphoria, social-class issues, and gender. The modernization of one written piece to another also opens the floor to expansion into other forms of media, specifically seen with Robert Wise’s 1961 and Steven Spielberg’s 2021 film adaptations of Laurents’ story. The films drive conversations, exploring not only the correction of late 1900s media into current societal standards, but also bringing attention back to the original playwright, Shakespeare, whose play turned on the stage lights to lessons through dramatic tragedy.

Caitlin May | “A Closer Look: Factors Influencing Retention of Hispanic Nursing Students”
Mentor: Dr. Rosita Villagómez

There is great need to increase retention of Hispanic/Latino nursing students in order to provide greater diversity in nursing care. By 2050, the Census Bureau projects the number of Hispanics will increase by 60%. However, this increase in diversity is not reflected in today’s healthcare population with Hispanic/Latino nurses representing only 11% of the nursing profession. To determine a root cause of the lack of representation, this study seeks to determine factors that influence retention of Hispanic/Latino students in nursing programs. A research study was conducted through an electronic survey to analyze the factors that have encouraged and limited the success of Hispanic/Latino nursing students at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. The literature review identified that nursing students face a variety of challenges they have to balance while pursuing their degree. Factors identified that influenced retention included financial struggles, academic support, family responsibilities and expectations, and language barriers. This study set out to determine if the College of Mount Saint Vincent, a Hispanic-Serving Institution, would follow the same trends within their nursing cohort. This study identified the need for more financial aid, academic support, and emotional and supportive services to assist these students during their education.

Megan Neiswenter | “Communicating the Gap in Healthcare: Advocacy for Spanish Language Assistance in NYC”
Mentor: Dr. Rosita Villagómez

Language assistive services are an aspect of the United States healthcare system that are systematically underfunded and neglected, which has negative impacts on the communication that patients have with their primary care providers. A concentrated area for this issue in healthcare is the New York City area because there is a high percentage of Spanish speakers, along with other primary languages other than English. However, readily available access to language services is not a challenge specific to the Latino or Hispanic population; the scope of this issue encapsulates all languages in the U.S. other than English and all people who do not have an equal opportunity to communicate when receiving medical attention. The thesis calls attention to the critical significance of advocacy for this injustice for Limited English Proficiency patients and seeks to begin by helping with the Latino and Hispanic population in New York City. Moving forward, this obstacle of delivering care needs to be addressed not only for Spanish speaking patients, but for all patients who speak another language, to improve their healthcare outcomes and intervene in order to save their lives.