The English Department is proud to recognize the following recipients* of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships’
Fall 2021 PEAK Experience Awards. PEAK Awards (short for Project-Based Exploration for the Advancement of Knowledge) are a progressively structured sequence of opportunities designed to support learners as they continue climbing to new heights of achievement in undergraduate research and creative endeavor throughout their Northeastern journeys.
*Note: The students featured here either hold departmental majors or minors and/or received mentorship from an English Department faculty member to pursue their projects.
Emma Isaacs (CSSH ’23), “Exhibit on Dance as Resistance in the Caribbean” Mentor: Professor Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, Department of English This exhibit explores the role of dance in early Caribbean culture, specifically looking to its role as a vehicle for cultural preservation and as a tool to trace the development and blending of cultures among Indigenous Caribs and Africans, looking to areito and set girl performance as critical examples of cultural dances. In the multicultural context of the Caribbean, dance is one way to trace the history of specific ethnic groups and how they combined and changed as a result of colonization. Lucas Faria de Sa Tucker (COS ’23), “Transcription of the Dragon Prayer Book” Mentor: Professor Erika Boeckeler, Department of English This project consists of both the completion of the transcription of the Dragon Prayer Book, as well as the reformatting and more accessible publication of the entire text in a format accessible to experts in the field, student researchers, and eventually the general public as well. This will allow access to the entirety of the manuscript in a format that maintains visual similarity to the original in its coloring, unique spellings, etc., but can be read by anyone familiar with the Latin alphabet. Madi Guski (COS ’22, English minor), “Characterization of a RASopathy Mutant of Ras GTPase” Mentor: Professor Carla Mattos, Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology RASopathies are a family of genetic conditions that cause developmental disorders due to mutations in the signaling protein Ras. This project will explore the biophysical and biochemical properties of the HRasG12S mutation implicated in RASopathies, specifically Costello Syndrome, to determine if and how they differ from Ras mutations in cancer. I aim to determine the structure of the mutant, measure its GTP hydrolysis rate constant, and assess its binding to Raf. If this project is successful, I will publish the findings and present them at a relevant conference. Savita Maharaj (CSSH ’22, English major and Writing minor), “Early Black Boston Curriculum Beta Test” Mentor: Professor Nicole Aljoe, Department of English This project builds on the draft curriculum (created in the summer of 2021) by engaging in a beta test run of the curriculum in advance of the initial pilot of the program in BPS in Spring 2022. In order to improve this tool, we need to engage this material within a classroom setting. The beta test period will allow us to adapt the framework we have built so that it is specifically geared towards the needs of our educators and students. This project will work towards changing the curriculum of our schools today, giving more recognition to BIPOC narratives. Nicole Page (COS ’23, English minor), “Developing a Novel Gamma- and Music-Based Intervention for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementia-Related Disorders” Mentor: Professor Psyche Loui, Department of Music Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related disorders affect millions of aging adults each year. Despite decades of research, there is no known cure for AD; thus, the Gamma music-based intervention (MBI) aims to apply ground-breaking research on Gamma-frequency stimulation to treat dementia-related conditions. Gamma-MBI combines traditional music therapy approaches with SynchronyGamma, a rhythmic LED light controller that delivers Gamma-frequency visual stimulation while synchronizing lighting effects to the rhythms of music. Primary goals of the project include demonstrating that Gamma-MBI improves participants’ memory and reduces cognitive deficits. The results of this project will be shared at RISE 2021, among other venues.
Congratulations to these students on their hard work and fascinating projects!