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Social Science Undergraduate Research Awards

Congratulations to the 2020-2021
Center for Social Science Scholarship
Undergraduate Research Awardees!

Click here for a complete list of the 2020-2021 Undergraduate Research Awardees.

Camille Blackford, “A Proposal for an Ethnography on the Happiness of UMBC Students During the Coronavirus Pandemic”
Sociology, Anthropology, and Public Health (Anthropology program)
Mentor:  Dr. Bambi Chapin and Dr. Sarah Chard

The aim of this study is to investigate how UMBC students have been affected emotionally by the coronavirus pandemic, with a specific focus on the happiness of students. I want to examine how student’s happiness has been impacted by the pandemic and what social and cultural resources they have to draw on that helps them be able to be happy, or hinders their happiness, or both.

Maryam Elhabashy, “Cupping and Wellness Among Muslims In the Baltimore-Washington Area”
Sociology, Anthropology, and Public Health (Anthropology program)
Mentor: Dr. Bambi Chapin

I will conduct research on how cupping fits into the health narratives of Muslim women in the Baltimore-Washington area with the intention of better understanding how people consume and promote traditional healing techniques in the face of (or in symbiosis with) biomedical approaches and changing social perceptions of alternative approaches.

Sydney Fryer, “Humanizing Baltimore City Squeegee Kids”
Geography and Environmental Systems
Mentor: Dr. Dena Aufseeser

The aim of this research project would be to conduct human subjects research with the squeegee kids of Baltimore city. In what has been a very controversial issue in Baltimore for decades, young men clean windshields on the street. Many drivers view them as a nuisance, emphasizing a negative and dehumanizing narrative around them. Some drivers (especially as reflected on internet discussion boards) want their line of workto be illegal; and the language used when talking about these young people is often similar to how someone would talk about hardened criminals. In contrast, some of the youth themselves emphasize that they are engaging in hard work to earn much-needed income to support their families, and some city officials and activists strive to support squeegee boys, either by setting up alternative programs or defending them from accusations. The aim of this work would be to use interviews with these young people to investigate, their motivations for work, their experiences, and how they orient themselves in a world that seems ready to write them off as criminals. The aim would also be performing discourse analysis of internet sources as a way of reframing and redefining both the place of squeegee kids in Baltimore city and understanding the strong, fierce opposition to them.

Elle Kreiner, “Ethnographic Examination of Strategies of Emotional Labor in Death Care Work”
Sociology, Anthropology, and Public Health (Anthropology program)
Mentor:  Dr. Bambi Chapin

The purpose of my research is to identify forms of emotional management and strategies used by death care workers as they perform emotional labor. The goal is to provide better insight of backstage, or hidden, procedure in mitigating emotions.

Angel Munoz-Osorio, “The Effects of Sounds on Pain Perception”
Mentor: Dr. Lynnda Dahlquist

The goal of this study is to further understand and explore the potential effects of auditory stimuli (pleasant/unpleasant sounds) on acute pain measured through pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, anxiety, and pain tolerance.

Ada Truong, “Chinese Americans’ psychological well-being and COVID-19 related racial discrimination: The moderating role of ethnic identity”
Mentor:  Dr. Charissa Cheah

The purpose of this study is to examine: (1) the effects of Chinese Americans’ perceived COVID-19 related racial discrimination on their psychological well-being, and (2) themoderating role of Chinese Americans’ ethnic identity in the association between their perceived racial discrimination and psychological well-being.

Kateryna Yakusheva, “What type of government is the most efficient at dealing with pandemics?”
Global Studies
Mentor:  Dr. Brigid Starkey

This project is dedicated to studying how a type of government impacts the pandemic response. My research will demonstrate how different governments have dealt with COVID-19. I will analyze the data on coronavirus cases in each given country and examine the changes in the epidemic curve as new relief efforts are undertaken. I will finally determine if the features characteristic of any specific government system inhibit or conduce the country’s recovery.