Students Partnering with Faculty (SpF)
The Students Partnering with Faculty (SpF) Summer Research Program was developed in 2004 to support and advance faculty-student research, scholarship, and creative work at Kean University. See program guidelines for complete information.
Click on the links below to view program eligibility and guidelines and to download an application
Completed applications must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org before the deadline.
NOTE: "SpF Application" must appear in the subject line.
IMPORTANT DATES - 2020 SpF Awards
|Application Submission||November 1, 2019 - February 2, 2020|
|Committee Review||February 3, 2020 - March 3, 2020|
|Committee Meeting||March 5, 2020|
|Awards announced in March|
Examining a Web-Based Reading Program as an Intervention for Enhancing the Acquisition of Early Literacy Skills in Preschool Children from Low-Income Families
This research study serves as an effort to address two pressing issues in early childhood education: (1) reading achievement gap between young children from lower socioeconomic families and those from upper socioeconomic backgrounds; and (2) digital divide between these two groups.
We have been invited by the President of Whisper Productions, Inc. and founder of the Kangaroo Crew Early Reading Program (https://www.kangaroocrew.com/) to test the efficacy of the reading program in helping young children learn to read and love to read. While many children are acquiring adequate literacy skills upon entering formal schooling, it has been documented that children from low-income families are lagging behind their peers from affluent backgrounds in reading performance and technological skills.
The Kangaroo Crew Early Reading Program aims to support all young children’s early literacy development, especially those from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. However, it has not been formally evaluated to determine its efficacy. Our goal, thus, is to field test the efficacy of this technologically-enhanced reading program as an intervention for preschool children from low-income families to acquire early literacy skills. If proven successful, the reading program may be distributed to early childhood education programs for implementation, especially those serving children from low-income families. In so doing, we hope that the program will help these children enhance their early literacy skills, so that they may be better positioned for academic success in formal schooling.
Despite the well thought-out purpose and design of the Kangaroo Crew Early Reading Program, it has not been formally evaluated for its efficacy. This project would afford us a valuable opportunity to implement the reading program as an intervention and test its effectiveness in improving the early literacy skills of preschool children from low-income families.
Allen Tavern Archaeological Project: Phase Ill
The Allen Tavern Archaeological Project is seeking continuation of Phase III, which began in Summer Session I in 2018. This phase of the project involves continued academic research and a limited archaeological exploration of the site located on the main campus of Kean University. The site is directly across Morris Avenue from Liberty Hall the historic home of the Livingston/Kean family for nearly 247 years.
In the previous three summers students and faculty have conducted extensive research into the history of the site known as the location of an eighteenth-century way station called Allen's Tavern. Located on what was once called King's Highway and then later, in the early Nineteenth Century, it became known as the Morris Turnpike. Today, it is present Morris Avenue. It is believed that the building that once stood on this location was operated as a tavern as early as 1755. It was destroyed by a Christmas day fire in 1867.
Our student/faculty research team is exploring the realistic possibility that Alexander Hamilton once stayed there with William Livingston while Liberty Hall was being constructed. That construction took over three years with a completion date of 1772. Several prominent historians including Ron Chernow, author of the best-selling biography of Alexander Hamilton, and earl Prince, the editor of the Papers of William Livingston, believe that it is very possible that they stayed there together while Liberty Half was being completed.
We are also continuing our academic research to include an expansive search of New Jersey tax records to discover more about the operations of the tavern. Students will be trained in the techniques of public archival research.
In the summer of 2018 our research team, under the direction of the noted archaeologist Richard Veit, of Monmouth University, found several artifacts that can be dated to the colonial period. We also employed a ground survey company to do an aerial scan of the site in order to locate the tavern foundations as no actual above ground remains are presently visible. This resulted in an accurate mapping of the tavern site. This, in turn, now provides the research team with the precise locations for small exploratory trenches. The research team is also able to avoid any disturbance of underground utility, or technological, underground cables in the study area. We anticipate being able to initially proceed with four 2 X 2 ft. square trenches in early summer 2019. We will then assess the site's potential, consult with the university administration, and determine whether to proceed further.
Making One Play out of Ten for Kean’s Theatre Conservatory: Using August Wilson’s Century Cycle to Build Empathy in High School Audiences
This project proposes to create a theatre script appropriate for high school audiences that introduces all ten of Wilson’s plays using excerpted scenes, monologues, and songs, performed by Kean students. Research into Wilson’s biography, the production history of the Cycle, and critical responses to the plays will be used to craft a framing device that weaves together the ten plays’ highlights with creative narration. It is hoped that the resulting script will be produced by the Kean University Theatre Conservatory as its touring theatre production in Spring 2021. The touring production would travel to local high schools identified as high volume feeder schools for the College of Education, and introduce young people to Wilson’s theatrical heritage. Simultaneously, Theatre Conservatory actors would benefit by performing high quality, popular works that they are likely to encounter when pursuing performance careers upon graduation.
Availability of Psychologists in NJ for the Birth to Five Population
It is estimated that nearly 1 in 4 children between the ages of birth and five are at risk for a developmental, behavioral, or social delay (National Survey of Children’s Health, 2011-12, as cited in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). In a 1993 study, Dodge found that, if interventions are not provided for challenging behaviors before a child turns nine, then future interventions have a low chance of success. A lack of early intervention can have long-term negative impacts on overall skill development, school achievement, and social functioning (Bouras, 2011; Center on the Developing Child, 2016).
Despite the high level of need and the clear benefits, both developmental and financial, associated with early treatment, the mental health needs of the birth-to-five population have traditionally been underserved (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2012). Some of the most substantial barriers to the provision of early childhood mental health services include: (a) low percentage of psychologists being willing/able to work with children under the age of 5 (undertrained); (b) children’s symptoms not being severe enough for the services available (e.g.: therapeutic nursery); (c) professionals adopting a “wait and see” approach; and (d) low affordability and accessibility of services (Zero to Three, 2012; Lyman, Holt, & Dougherty, 2010; National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2012).
Given the importance of early intervention and the challenges many families face in accessing services, the current project aims to describe the availability of psychologists in New Jersey serving the birth to five population. Specific goals of this project include:
Geoheritage: A New Paradigm for Valuing and Conserving the Natural Resources – International Research Collaboration with University of Siena, Italy
With ever increasing technological development, economic and population growth and social changes in this 21st century, we are facing ever more increased serious degradation of the natural environment. These phenomena have inspired many researchers and nature-lovers to a greater appreciation of the fragile natural environment and have resulted in numerous studies conducted in order to preserve it. In most cases, nature conservation is associated with the protection of biodiversity as the most vulnerable element of natural environment. But it is quite clear that protection of both abiotic and biotic nature should get much attention. Geoheritage refers to sites or areas of geologic features with significant scientific, educational, cultural, or aesthetic value. Often times, geoheritage coincides with areas with geodiversity which refers to an location with the variety of the geological and physical elements of nature, such as minerals, rocks, soils, fossils and landforms in addition to the active geological and geomorphological processes. Together with biodiversity and geodiversity, geoheritage constitutes the natural diversity of planet Earth.
Culturally significant geoheritage sites are places where geologic features or landscapes played a role in cultural or historical events. Aesthetically significant geoheritage sites include landscapes that are visually appealing because of their geologic features or processes. Many geoheritage sites can be tourist destinations and provide local and regional economic benefits as well.
In this proposed student partnered with faculty project, we will be visiting the Siena, Italy to understand its territory, cultural heritage, and, of course, the resource exploitation of the geological heritage through the times. Studies will be involved identifying natural resources and available economically valuable minerals starting from the Palaeolithic, Bronze Age, Etruscan, Roman and Medieval civilizations to modern times through field surveys. This project is partnered with faculty members in University of Siena in Italy. Students involved in this project will gain the most valuable learning experience on how to combine hands-on field scientific experiments with economic analysis. Their learning from this project will be applied to analyzing our New Jersey natural resources and analysis with respect to geoheritage perspective. Our proposed study is one of the most innovative and transforming projects in combining scientific studies with economic, historical, and humanitarian project. Furthermore, this research partnership will be the milestone and seed for future long-term collaboration and student exchange program between University of Siena in Italy and Kean University in USA.
Does social media marketing enhance online users’ positive attitude and intention to donate for non-profit organizations?
Recently, social media marketing has become a norm for marketers thanks to its interactivity and relatively low cost. Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) have joined the trend and have outpaced businesses in use of social media being 89% of nation’s 200 largest nonprofit organizations use social media (Butcher, 2009) to reach out potential supporters, volunteers and contributors. Non-profit organizations heavily rely on donation and contributions to support their mission and causes. Thus, nonprofit organizations’ social media marketing focuses on selling their causes and mission unlike for profit organizations.
Yet, there has been lack of academic efforts to investigate people’s perceptions on NPOs’ social media marketing and its impact on people’s behavioral change. Prior studies focused on guide of social media promotion for NPOs (Lovejoy & Saxton, 2012), current social media usage of NPOs (Lovejoy, Waters & Saxton, 2012; Waters & Lemanski, 2011) and case studies of successful nonprofit organizations’ social media campaign (Briones, Kuch, Liu, & Jin, 2011).
A question still to be answered is whether or not consumers will show positive response towards nonprofit organizations after exposed to social media marketing. Thus, this study tries to shed a light on factors that affect online users’ attitude and behavioral intentions towards nonprofit organizations in respect of social media marketing. This study conducts an online experiment by using fictitious Facebook pages that include identifiable information on environmental causes of NPOs combined with an accreditation logo on public charities’ accountability as a device to test its signaling effect.
Sentiment Analysis of Twitter Data on Cybersecurity
We aim to perform sentiment analysis on Twitter tweets related to cybersecurity. This project focuses on developing models and approaches to identify cybersecurity terminology and identify patterns of cyber threats in tweets. By using the Natural Language Processing Toolkit (NLTK), we can classify text and determine whether a tweet is of neutral, positive, or negative polarity. Tweets related to cybersecurity will comprise the data we utilize as the training set, which will help us study related terminologies and patterns concerning cybersecurity in social media.
Twitter is a popular social media platform where users create status messages (called "tweets"). These tweets capture a wide range of human emotion and expression, and are a good means of uncovering how a user truly feels at the moment. Sentiment Analysis aims to build systems that try to identify and extract the sentiments uncovered within text. There has been much research on sentiment analysis for the domain of blogs, association, and reviews. In this project, we are trying to capture the sentiments of tweets and understand what words strongly correlate with cybersecurity, identify the patterns of cyber treats, and uncover connections between the users who tweeted and their human expressions.
Several tools and methods will be developed for natural language processing on the Twitter data. We focus specifically on automating the sentiment analysis techniques and processes. The tweets will be downloaded, processed, and saved into the database. The unstructured data will be transformed into structured and clean data (using Extraction Transform & Load techniques). This data will be categorized used to identify the patterns of threats. To accomplish this, we will use Python 3 and its standard libraries; along with Tweepy (to download tweets), NLTK (the Natural Language Toolkit), and VADER (Valence Aware Dictionary and sentiment Reasoner) - a lexicon and rule-based sentiment analysis tool that is specifically designed for social media. Tableau will be used for data visualizations and reports.
Expanding Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Experiences of the Michael Graves Residence
The overarching mission of this project is to create improved, expanded virtual reality and augmented reality experiences of the Michael Graves Residence. Audiences will experience representations of the rooms inside the residence and spaces surrounding the residence through mobile devices and mixed reality headsets. They will be immersed in experiences that connect with historical information about Michael Graves and his residence.
There are three project goals, which build from my current research with students at the Michael Graves Residence. First, our research team will conduct additional user testing on the new, virtual reality 360-degree video content that has been created at the Michael Graves Residence. Second, our team will research virtual reality platforms that respond to the challenges identified in user testing, create new content, and move existing project content to those platforms. Third, our team will create prototypes of augmented reality scenes which enable audiences to interact with different kinds of digital assets related to Michael Graves and his residence.
The impact of this proposed research is far-reaching. The project will provide visitors with mobility and accessibility concerns with improved interactive experiences of the interiors of the building without having to be in the building. Our research will provide the Michael Graves Residence with improved interactive resources to share with classrooms and the public off-site. Furthermore, this proposed research connects with grants that Professor Johnston has applied for in the upcoming academic year, including a RTR grant. This RTR award would enable our research team to do more iterations of testing and build out more substantial augmented reality prototypes, further enhancing visitors’ experiences at the Michael Graves Residence. This project will provide the site with unique experiences that will distinguish it and Kean University from other institutions. Also, this project will open up the opportunity to collaborate with other faculty and initiatives. I have learned that Professor Efe Kutuk plans to shape a proposal with Industrial Design students to create a digital archive of detailed 3D scans of Michael Graves’ designed objects and tools. I would welcome the opportunity to explore ways of integrating that digital archive with these immersive, interactive experiences.
The Impact of Reading Motivational Books on Attitude Change, Academic Performance, and Retention Rate
Improving the retention rate is one of the biggest challenges that faculty and administrator faced in most colleges currently. In particular, the college with higher minority populations suffers from a much lower retention rate than other colleges. From the research on the factors that influence the retention rates, researchers found that student's self-efficacy, self-esteem, and locus of control play a critical role in improving both short term and long term academic performance such as GPA, class attendance, retention rate, ad placement rate. However, there have been few studies on the program that can promote student's self-efficacy, self-esteem, and locus of control. To respond to this problem, the PI carried a book reading program where participant read motivation books and write an essay to reflect their learning. Form the pilot program, the PI found that reading motivational books improved student's self-efficacy, self-esteem, and locus of control. Often, the participants expressed the changes in the perspective or goals of their life. The current project proposes that reading a motivational book will promote student's academic performances such as GPA, retention rate, graduation rate, and placement rate via the improved self-efficacy, self-esteem, and locus of control. Employing elaborate experimental design, the current project will systematically examine the effect of reading of a motivational book on the development of positive attitudes (self-efficacy, self-esteem, and locus of control).
This project aims to explore the impact of reading a motivational book promote self-efficacy, selfesteem, and locus of control of college students, in particular, minority students. Second, this project aims to explore how individual characteristics such as gender, age, and ethnicity influences the changes in attitudes. Third, this project aims to propose the long term project that enables to test the impact of the improved attitudes on the student's academic performance including GPA, satisfaction with college life, retention rate, and placement rate. Lastly, this project aims to provide the suggestion of the curriculum development to promote student's academic performance and retention rate.
Public perceptions of 2018 Pyeongchang Paralympic Games using social media data analysis
About 12.8% of Americans (around 38 million people) were recognized as having some kind of disability in 2016, according to the Disability Statistics Annul Report (Kraus, Lauer, Coleman and Houtenville, 2018). Although perceptions and images of athletes with disabilities have provided an important and meaningful role for social change and civic integration (Friedman & Norman, 2009), sporting events for people with disabilities, such as the Paralympics, have historically faced a lack of attention compared to other international sporting events (e.g., Olympics, FIFA World Cup).
There has been a significant growth in the Paralympic movement since the games began to be held at the same venues as the Olympics, starting with the 1988 Seoul Paralympics, which marked the beginning of the modern Paralympics (Kell, Kell, & Price, 2008; Legg, Emes, Stewart, & Steadward, 2004; Park, Yoh, Choi, & Olson, 2011). In the meanwhile, the Paralympic movement has played an important role in influencing not only the way people with disabilities view their own roles in society, but also the way people perceive others with disabilities and their participation in sports.
Although there has been a growing body of research examining topics related the Paralympics and disabilities, such as historical aspects of the Paralympics (Bailey, 2008; Vlak, Padjen, & Pivalica, 2009), motivation for Paralympics participants (Jefferies, Gallagher, & Dunne, 2012), and media coverage of the Paralympics (Kim, Lee, & Oh, 2018), there has been a paucity of research exploring what the public perception of the Paralympics is and how that perception has changed over time.
Therefore, the purpose of the current study is to explore who sent out messages about the Paralympics and disability, what kind of messages people send regarding Paralympics and disability on social media platforms such as Twitter, and how they perceived the 2018 Pyeongchang Paralympic Games, using social media analysis. We will also compare how public perceptions have changed before and after the Paralympic Games.
Big data, including social media and mobile phone data, is a new platform for researchers, policymakers, and key stakeholders in collecting data related to the issues, trends, and human behaviors that they want to know about and to approach more comprehensively. Outcomes from social media data will bring new insights into human perception and human behavior patterns, and consequently, these findings will encourage further research on the topics of recreation and sports for the disabled, and the social impact of sports for people with disabilities.
The Quality of Route Recommendation Services: Analysis of Observed and Estimated Travel Times
With the ever-proliferation of vehicles, traffic congestion is a ubiquitous problem which degrades the social, environmental, and economic life for smart cities. Smart cities initiatives require Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to provide reliable and accurate traffic information to improve the traffic flow. The most widely used service in ITS are navigation systems that provide optimal origin-destination (O-D) route recommendations. GPS-based real-time navigation apps via smartphones have become ubiquitous and is used in our everyday commutes. This has led to the exponential growth of real-time traffic data where it is utilized by several popular routing service providers such as Google Maps, HERE, BingMaps, Waze and MapQuest which all aim to provide the fastest route for travelers. Such map providers use historic and real-time crowdsourced traffic information to calculate the Estimated Travel Times (ETA) and construct the fastest route. However, there is limited information on whether these map providers are truly providing valid or accurate information. The purpose of this study is to gain insight and assess the quality of traffic information these popular online maps provide in terms of ETA by comparing the ETA to the ground truth (or observed). The goals of this study include two elements. The first element’s objective is to collect traffic data from all the aforementioned map providers by developing and deploying a web mining system to collect travel time estimates. We also deploy our web mining system to crawl the ground truth (or observed) traffic data from physical loop detectors and electronic toll tag readers that is publicly available provided by the New York DOT. For the second element of this study, we conduct a case study for the Manhattan, NY area with the observed and estimated traffic information to present descriptive analyses along with statistical analyses. The data collected is grouped into three categories (rush hours, non-rush hours, and weekend). The ability to assess the quality of traffic information enables map service providers to improve the quality of their services and empowers the user to determine services that best serves their needs.
A comparitive life cycle assessment (LCA) of vegetable production in hydroponics vs. in aquaponics
This project proposes to conduct a life cycle assessment (LCA) to compare the environmental impacts of vegetable production with two water-based farming techniques, hydroponics and aquaponics, in commercialized facilities built in New Jersey. The study will involve both on-site data collection and software modeling when conducting LCA. The scope for analysis will cover all the impacts in facility establishment, vegetable production, and their supply chains. The two targeted vegetables that are proposed to be used as the plants for analysis are oakleaf lettuce and bok choy cabbage. In the end, the project will compare the LCAresults of hydroponics and aquaponics to the impacts of the conventional farming practice (i.e., growing plants in soil with inorganic nutrients). This project is expected to better our understanding of hydroponics and aquaponics, and promote their application in agriculture. Broadly, the project will contribute to reduce environmental impacts of farming industries while providing healthy food to our society.
Hydroponics and aquaponics have many features that can reduce impacts on soil, water and ecosystems. However, there are also downsides of hydroponics and aquaponics.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a widely used tool for sustainability analysis and can be applied in various areas from scholarly institutions to industries. It assesses the entire life cycle of product manufacturing and provides quantitative and holistic analysis of resource use and environmental impacts. Currently, the LCA conducted for hydroponics and aquaponics is limited and the results of existing LCAs are varied significantly at different facilities. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct a study to compare the two techniques on a common basis with same growing conditions, same products for analysis, and same modeling assumptions. This proposed study aims to conduct a comparative LCA to assess environmental impacts of hydroponics and aquaponics, and then compares them to the conventional farming technique. Further, the study will identify the areas for improvement and also provide suggestions and policy implications toward commercialization.
How Rock Band has changed our lives! Charting the music -making experiences of adults with developmental and physical disabilities
For five years, The Kean Arts and Performance Education Program and the Music Conservatory have partnered with The Academy of Continuing Education (ACE) of Union County, NJ an organization providing courses to adults with developmental and/or physical disabilities. Collaborations have emphasized singing, instrument playing (rock band, percussion, and radio baton), music fundamentals, and composition. Developed by Kean university music faculty, staff, and students, this program has emphasized creativity, collaboration, and community music making as means to support basic skill development, maintenance, and most importantly quality of life.
The purpose of this descriptive research study will be to document the impact of rock band activities and popular music pedagogy (Hayden, 2015, Laes, 2015) upon the musical growth and ultimately Quality of Life of special-needs adults. The subjective nature of Quality of Life is emphasized, ensuring documentation of participants’ feelings and experiences (Taylor & Bogdan, 1990). Though the group music making experience has greatly impacted the adults in this ongoing study, we would like to better document the individual stories, impact, and growth of participants. This will be addressed through one on one interviews and small group rock band lessons (homogeneous instrument grouping). This study is a continuation of ongoing the work with the adults of CAU’s ACE program and includes research completed during our 2016/2017 SpF and more recently our 2019/2019 SpF. Data collected in 2018-19 pertaining to specific accommodations and modifications to music and instruments will be applied to new music. Moreover, emphasis will be placed on advancing their music reading skills.
Researchers will continue to collect data on participants’ experiences in learning to play and sing rock band instruments as factors relating to enhanced Quality of Life specifically emotional well-being, personal development, interpersonal skills, and social inclusion. Data collected in 2018-19 pertaining to specific accommodations and modifications to music and instruments will be applied to new music. Moreover, emphasis will be placed on advancing participants’ music reading skills.
The results of this study will contribute to a growing body of knowledge pertaining to the postsecondary experiences of individuals who have “aged out” of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). With this information, public schools and similar continuing education programs may be able to provide improved support services and resources needed to better prepare these individuals for the demands of living in and contributing to their communities. It should be notes that this year, we will be inviting high schools to participate and will also involving high school guidance departments, as well.