Stephens, Olivia

Olivia, in her piece, wanted to create something that touched on the “evil side” of traditional philosophy such as the racist values of classic philosophers like David Hume which shaped a society full of racial inequality and discrimination.



Honors Student Research Conference Program

May 21, 2021

Welcoming Remarks

3:30 – 4:00

Zoom link: https://depaul.zoom.us/s/99375476923

PASSCODE: 864479

  • Jennifer Conary, Director, University Honors Program
  • Guillermo Vasquez de Velasco, Dean, College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences

Session A

4:00 – 5:10

A1:  Creative and Philosophical Musings

Zoom link: https://depaul.zoom.us/j/95849287895

Session Moderator: Prof. Anna Souchuk

  • Brad Brewington – Experience as Interpretation: The role of “Possibility” and “Reality” in constituting a horizon in which experience occurs in the philosophies of Heidegger and Kant
  • Alexis (Lexi) Jackson – The Loss of Strength: On the Undesirability of a Singular Good
  • Riley McLaughlin In Phases: A Poetry Chapbook Inspired by Ties Between the Moon and my Individual Feminine Experience
  • Amelia Modes – A Loving Feeling

A2:  Gender Matters

Zoom link: https://depaul.zoom.us/j/99687321377

Session Moderator: Prof. Lisa Poirier

  • Melanie Anselmo – The Great Mirror of Male Ego: A Literary Look at Japanese Gay Discourse
  • Maya Parekh – A Transnational Feminist Comparative Analysis of Midwifery as Anti-Colonial Resistance
  • Miriam Searcy “Shot Girl Summer:” Why do we Normalize Violence Against Black Female Artists?
  • Grace Weber – ‘Can We All Be Feminists?’ An Existentialist Case for the Abolition of Marriage

A3:  Transforming Teaching

Zoom link: https://depaul.zoom.us/j/91791808667

Session Moderator:  Prof. Kathie Kapustka

  • Mariana Bednarek – Comparing Mental Health Experiences of Latinx Immigrant-Origin College Students Before and After COVID-19: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
  • Isabel Cueto Dual Language Education and Multilingualism in Chicago Public Schools
  • Cecilia KearneySpace for Transformation: Stories of Navigating Transformative Justice Practices Within a Carceral System
  • Erin O’ConnorHealing Justice in Schools
  • Sara Shahein – The Role of Community Engagement in Teaching Poetry in Middle and High School English Classes

Session B

5:15 – 6:30

B1: The Science Around Us

Zoom link: https://depaul.zoom.us/j/97326399878

Session Moderator: Prof. Jim Montgomery

  • Maddie Fernandez Laris – Biotic and Abiotic Factors Influencing Regeneration of an Endangered Oak
  • Maya Fitzgerald – Access to Primary Care by Neighborhood in Chicago
  • Cameron (Cam) Rodriguez – Place and Power: The Nuclear State of Illinois
  • Tom Sykora – High Altitude Ballooning as a Platform for Measuring Ozone Uptake over Agricultural Landscapes

B2: The History and Politics of Place

Zoom link: https://depaul.zoom.us/j/91688632563

Session Moderator: Prof. Scott Bucking

  • MaryJo McManamon – The Hospitality Industry Shown from a Multicultural Perspective: Cairo and Istanbul
  • Elena Medeiros – Seeds of the Carnation Revolution: Can Students Lead the Fight for Change?
  • Justin Myers – Alton: A Mississippi River City of Perseverance
  • Anne Scoltock – Mutual Aid in the Context of 2020’s Concurrent Crises

B3: Rethinking and Re-envisioning

Zoom link: https://depaul.zoom.us/j/95065820076

Session Moderator: Peter Hastings

  • Deyana AtanasovaVenmo: The Fine Line Between Economic and Social Capital
  • Miakoda (Mia) FrostBury It, or Rise Above: The Potential of Popular Media to Destigmatize Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Jacalyn Gisvold – Existing Outside the Hollywood Vacuum: An Exploration in a Reimagination of Filmmaking
  • Shashank Srikanth – The H-1B Visa Program: A System of Continuous Exploitation and Malpractice

Anselmo, Melanie

Senior, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Major: Japanese Studies

Thesis Director: Kerry Ross, Department of History

Faculty Advisor: Heather Bowen-Struyk, Department of Modern Languages

Bio: 2020 Graduate of the Japanese Studies program, member of the Japanese Language Table, and studied abroad in Japan in 2019 Fall. Her interest in Japan goes back to her middle schooldays, but it was throughout her college career that she became more interested in studying all aspects of Japan. It was through her classes at DePaul that she could come across the information that she used to form her thesis. Her love of history, literature, and gender studies led her to her thesis topic.

Abstract: The academic discourse surrounding male-male homosexual relationships in literature from the 1600’s is exemplified by The Great Mirror of Male Love by Saikaku Ihara. In the modern era ofJapan, the misogyny and hegemonic ideas of masculinity that are prevalent in Yukio Mishima’s seminal works on the subject, Confessions of a Mask and Forbidden Colors, fail to challenge Japan’s history of the tropes of “women-hating” and “predatory” gay men. In this thesis, Melanie will not only contextualize these tropes, but also identify their premodern roots as they pertain to pernicious and untrue stereotypes that plague Japan’s sexual minority community today.


Atanasova, Deyana

Senior, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Major: Economics

Minor: Professional Writing

Thesis Director: Laura J. Owen, Department of Economics

Faculty Reader: Martha Martinez-Firestone, Department of Sociology

Bio: During her (almost) 3 years before graduating from DePaul, Deyana worked as a peer writing tutor at the University Center for Writing-based Learning and as an institutional ethnography research assistant alongside Dr. Workman, Dr. Vandenberg, and Maddy Crozier. She also wrote for and/or worked on several publications at DePaul, including Honorable Mentions, Crook & Folly, Mille-Feuille, and Creating Knowledge. Her passion for interdisciplinarity and social justice fueled her research, and she hopes to keep writing as a lifelong learner in her professional life.

Abstract: This thesis explores blurring lines between economic and social capital by constructing a quantitative and qualitative case study of tweets from the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement. As a “vehicle” site of study, Venmo’s social features may deem it a useful tool in supporting sociopolitical and economic movements by way of economic and social exchange, drawing connections between affinity spaces and blending economic and social capital. Through an NVivo analysis of 92 tweets containing the search terms “Venmo” and “#BlackLivesMatter,” 10affinity spaces were identified which exemplified social capital as a central focus alongside the exchange of economic capital.


Bechtel, Harper

Freshman, College of Computing and Digital Media

Major: Film and Television

Honors Course: HON 100: Rhetoric and Critical Inquiry

Faculty: Michael Raleigh, Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse

Abstract: Japanese comics, known as manga, and its television medium, anime, began in WWII with the introduction of American comic books. Anime and manga have multiple subgenres that focus on non-traditional gender roles and sexuality such as mahō shōjo (Magical Girl) and shōnen-ai (Boy’s love). Moreover, the evolution of queer characters in mainstream action anime has increased. Cosplay is also a popular way for fans to express and explore unconventional gender norms. This paper examines how all these elements, along with social media, have affected and will continue to affect Japanese and American culture.


Bednarek, Mariana

Senior, College of Science and Health

Major: Psychology

Thesis Director: Ida Salusky, Department of Psychology

Faculty Reader: Michele Morgan, Department of Psychology

Bio: Mariana is graduating with a BA in Psychology concentrating in Human Services. She will continue at DePaul to pursue an MA in general psychology in preparation for a PhD in Clinical Psychology. She has been in many psychology research labs, and is currently working in Dr. Ida Salusky’s REAL Lab. She is interested in researching mental health among marginalized populations, particularly Latinx immigrants, as she is a Latinx immigrant-origin college student herself.

Abstract: COVID-19 has negatively impacted the mental health of many college students. However, this effect may be even worse for Latinx immigrant-origin college students compared to other populations. This longitudinal, qualitative study aimed to (1) compare the mental health of (N=6) Latinx immigrant-origin college students before and after the onset of COVID-19 and (2) identify factors influencing psychological distress among this sample using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Findings suggest that various external stressors (i.e., academic, financial, work, and medical stress), the avoidance of these stressors, and barriers to mental health help-seeking frequently exacerbate psychological distress pre-and post-COVID-19.


Bennet, Elijah

Sophomore, College of Computing and Digital Media

Major: Film and Television Production

Minor: Sociology

Honors Course: HON 201: States, Markets, and Societies

Faculty: Martha Martinez-Firestone, Department of Sociology

Abstract: Combining U.S. census data with statistics on disability representation in American film, Elijah was able to determine the vast percentage margins between the number of characters with intellectual/developmental/physical disabilities and able-bodied/neurotypical characters in comparison to their actual population percentages. Furthermore, through analysis of linguistic alterations, models of disability, and the development of disability portrayals over the past ~70 years, he was able to identify the progress in inclusivity that has been made. At the same time, though, he was also able to conclude that while perceptions towards historically marginalized groups have been improving, the disabled community continues to remain “invisible”.


Brewington, Brad

Senior, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Major: Philosophy

Minor: Sound Design

Thesis Director: Avery Goldman, Department of Philosophy

Faculty Advisor: William McNeill, Department of Philosophy

Bio: Brad is a senior Philosophy major with a minor in Sound Design, interested in Kant, Aesthetics and Critical Theory. When not reading philosophy or working on film projects he plays American primitivist folk guitar.

Abstract: Martin Heidegger’s 1929 interpretation of Kant in the book Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics is known for its supposed interpretive violence. One important aspect emphasized by both Heidegger and Kant is the role of human transcendence in experience; that our spontaneous faculties, for Kant— and our pre-conceptual understanding of Being, for Heidegger— always go ahead of our engagements with the world, to first delimit the region within which those engagements take place. In this way experience, as conceived by both thinkers, itself takes on an interpretive character. In this essay I examine the differences between this anticipating of experience in the thought of Kant and Heidegger, paying particular attention to the way they define the terms “Possibility” [Möglichkeit] and “Reality” [Realität] relative to the structure of this anticipating and their conception of subjectivity and what the differing nature of this anticipating of experience reveals about the aims, objects, and interpretive possibilities of their respective philosophies.