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Microtheatre in Miami

Cameron Frostbaum is a senior majoring in Theater Studies and Political Science. He was awarded a Fall 2017 Independent Grant which he used to conduct research on microtheatre in Miami, Florida under Dr. Brent Glenn. 

My honors thesis project explores and analyzes the Microtheatre movement as a new theatrical experience for the next generation of spectators as well as producing two nights of Microtheatre on Emory’s campus. A study conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts found that the three greatest obstacles affecting attendance to performing arts events are limited leisure time, inconvenient event locations, and costs associated with participation[1]. The Microtheatre movement in Spain has revolutionized the spectator experience by addressing these challenges and reinvigorating the performing arts. Recognized this year by the preeminent American Theatre Magazine[2], Microtheatre has taken Spain and South America by storm. While no academic definition exists for Microtheatre, I have composed the following working definition to embody this movement: Microtheatre is a form of theater originating in Spain, categorized by its intimate short plays performed for small audiences in flexible spaces and informal performance formats. Microtheatre possesses the necessary elements to engage audiences who are already accustomed to immediate forms of entertainment: in-home and hand-held devices. The comfortable setting provides a low risk evening of entertainment and socializing. Tickets are inexpensive, performances are fifteen-minutes or fewer and audience members can eat and drink in the performance spaces, breaking down barriers of formality often associated with the performing arts. 

Writing Centers in Transition, Student in Transition: SWCA Research 2018

Kate Norton is a sophomore double majoring in Psychology and English. She was awarded a Spring 2018 Conference Grant which she used to attend the American Southeastern Writing Center Association Conference.

My colleague Lauren and I attended the Southeastern Writing Center Association’s 2018 conference in Richmond, Virginia. At Virginia Commonwealth University, we presented original research about the Emory Writing Center to a group of confederates who were interested in our particular topic, which was “Exploring Attitudes About Conventional Writing Center Sessions and Workshops.” When we began our research, we didn’t have a good handle on what our purpose was, but as we analyzed our data, we came to enlightening conclusions concerning our Writing Center and steps we would like to take to improve it. 

What To Do When Things Go Wrong

Natalia Brody is a junior majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. She was awarded a Fall 2017 Independent Grant which she used to conduct research on the relationship between estrogen and fear generalization under Dr. Brian Dias. 

The first (and most important) thing a young scientist is taught is “the hypothesis.” In middle school, we are taught that a hypothesis is a potential explanation for a scientific phenomenon. Once a little older, if you’re lucky, the abstract idea of a hypothesis comes to life as you write your own research proposals, posters, and even lectures on these “potential explanations.” But, in perhaps the most important lesson of all, you’ll eventually learn that these hypotheses change— their potential nature comes crashing down just as easily as they were created to begin with. This is an in valuable lesson my participation in the research grant program allowed me.

2D Soft Particle Clogging: A Hard Problem

Mia Morrell is a sophomore majoring in Physics. She was awarded a Spring 2018 Conference Grant which she used to attend the American Physical Society Meeting in Los Angeles.

When shaking parmesan cheese on your pizza, have you mused in frustration why the cheese always seems to clog up in the holes of its container? Have you ever clogged a toilet and wondered what led to this most unfortunate form of humiliation? Or on a more serious note, have you contemplated the arterial clotting of human blood cells in the early phases of a stroke?

Our plexiglass hopper chamber displaying hydrogel particles in a clogged state.
These questions have fascinated me ever since I was introduced to soft matter physics upon my freshman year at Emory. During my time in Emory University’s Weeks lab, which focuses on soft matter and complex systems, I have studied soft particle clogging in two dimensions, devising experiments which can be applied to the previously cited situations of blood clots, parmesan cheese flow, and toilet clogs.

Into the Minds of Preschoolers

Tristan Yates is a senior majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. She was awarded a Fall 2017 Independent Grant which she used to conduct research on child development and memory under Dr. Patricia Bauer.

In my honors thesis work, I am investigating whether the structure of newly-learned information impacts preschoolers’ abilities to extend that information to produce novel understandings of related concepts. A large part of this journey has been discovering what it is that preschoolers actually know and care about, and as an aside, it is not always listening to a college-aged researcher, regardless of how many stickers she offers during a session. Prior to entering the Bauer Memory Development Lab, I had little experience within the world of child development. Thus, while developing and validating new stimuli for the lab’s memory integration paradigm, I overestimated the types of information four-year-olds could hold in their little brains. This summer, my graduate student mentor constantly reminded me of this, saying, “No, Tristan, they won’t know what the Eiffel Tower is” and “Yes, it is highly possible they could not point to where their lungs are located in their body.” Although young children have been shown to integrate some forms of information into their existing knowledge base quite readily (e.g., new names for familiar objects), they often struggle to integrate concepts that are hierarchically organized and fail to perform transitive inference on demand. My project seeks to demonstrate these disparities, and I have enjoyed observing individual differences in children’s ability to integrate and extend their knowledge. Some children do in fact guess randomly when given the forced-choice integration question. I had one child tell me that LaLa, one of the puppets I use to determine whether or not children understand the novel integration relation, was always going to be correct no matter what, because her fur was yellow and yellow is the best color. However, some children truly surprise me with their understanding of the task and their memory for novel information. With some kids, I can literally see on their faces when the information “clicks,” and they know that they know the correct answer. It is exhilarating when this happens, and I have to stop myself from immediately emailing my peers in the lab in excitement.