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2023 Hawk Talks

* Indicates Hawk Talk speaker is an Honors School student

Diederik Boonman Morales, Junior, Marine & Environmental Biology & Policy

Microbial Community Composition Analysis in Coastal Lakes of
New Jersey

Coastal lakes are vital ecosystems in New Jersey, providing numerous benefits
to both the environment and the local communities. However, the health of these
ecosystems is threatened and facing gradual degradation due to human activities,
polluted water runoff, and algae overgrowth. Microbial community composition
can help us better understand and evaluate the health of these lakes.

To analyze the microbial community composition in coastal lakes of New
Jersey, 16s meta-barcoding from eDNA samples were used. These samples were
collected from select lakes and stations in 2021 and 2022 as part of a broader
coastal lakes monitoring program that has sampled 10 lakes since 2019. The
primary goal of this project is to determine if microbial communities in these
lakes show correlation or patterns of similarity to each other based on location
and time of sampling.

This study will employ ordination through non-metric dimensional scaling
(NMDS) to analyze the microbial community composition. The resulting NMDS
scores will be plotted on a graph and a map to visualize and compare the microbial
community composition across the different coastal lakes.

This project will provide a better understanding of microbial community
composition in the coastal lakes of New Jersey. The results will allow for better
visualization of similarities between microbial community composition in
different times and locations. This study will contribute to the conservation and
management of these critical ecosystems, providing a better understanding of the
roles of microbial communities in coastal lake ecology.

Christianna Cardinale, Doctor of Occupational Therapy

It Starts Within: Importance of Mindfulness for Student Well-Being

Occupational imbalance is a term used to describe the lack of balance or disproportion
of occupations (Håkansson, & Ahlborg, 2018). In occupational therapy,
we refer to occupations as activities people do on a daily basis. People experience
stress when being over-occupied or under-occupied between demands
and resources. College students juggle multiple responsibilities and obligations,
often resulting in occupational imbalance, stress, and other mental health issues
such as anxiety (Pedrelli et al., 2015). According to the American Psychological
Association, in the 2020-2021 school year, more than 60% of college students
met the criteria for at least one mental health problem (Abrams, 2022).

Emma Cusano*, Senior, Marine & Environmental Biology & Policy

Phantom Forests: The Impact of Salt Water Encroachment on
Coastal Forest Ecosystems

Coastal forests are ecosystems that serve as crucial habitats for countless plant
and animal species. These areas provide wildlife with the resources they need
to survive and sustain their populations. Researchers are witnessing the death of
coastal woodlands across New Jersey and the rest of the northeast. As saltwater
encroaches upon a healthy freshwater forest, the salt intake by trees results in
their death, and ultimately the functions of the ecosystem change.

Emily Loscialpo*, Junior, Spanish & Emma Cooper, Junior, Spanish & Education

AI as an Additional Tool to Foster Curiosity, Questioning Abilities
and Creativity

ChatGPT and other AI programs can be extremely beneficial to educational
and workplace settings, and as long as we view it as another tool that can help
provide concise information, that still must be carefully analyzed, it will never
replace or harm human creativity or educational capacities. We have been learning
how to properly use this new technology in our Advanced Spanish Grammar
class with Dr. Gac-Artigas, who has stressed the importance of learning to
consult ChatGPT properly, as ignoring its rise will only promote misinformation
about its accuracy and use.

Carlee Migliorisi, Junior, English Creative Writing & Secondary Ed

Bruce Songs

Bruce Songs is a new index textbook that will grant music scholars all of the
basic information they might need when researching the music of Bruce Springsteen.
Similar to the structure of Beatles Songs by William Dowdling, each
chapter of the book will be dedicated to a studio album. Each chapter will entail
historical and musical prefaces provided by Dr. Campbell and Dr. Womack as
well as song analyses for the track list of said album. My contribution consists
of all the statistics regarding the album that a scholar might be looking for when
research Bruce Springsteen.

These statistics range from chart success, production credits, to comments about
the album from Springsteen and his inner circle. Throughout the research I
have combed through the vast materials held here at Monmouth University at
the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music, courtesy of
Eileen Chapman. In 2022, we received a creative research grant from Monmouth
University to fund my contributions to the book which allowed me to devote my
time and efforts accordingly for the best results in the quality of my research.
Both Dr. Womack and Dr. Campbell taught courses in the Spring of 2022 semester
and I took both of them so I was able to take their coursework into consideration
when formulating what research would be most useful for future students
pursuing a study of Springsteen.

Emilia Porier, Sophomore, Business Economics & Finance

Mentoring Beyond Borders: Outreach to Students at Bulacon State
University, Philippines

Enactus has developed our Mentoring Beyond Borders program throughout the
2022-2023 school year that focuses on upholding the United Nations Sustainability
Goals through collaboration with students at Bulacan State University in
the Philippines. We began by collecting data, and analyzed the results to determine
the best possible course of action that would benefit the students the most.
We then planned multiple sessions covering varying topics that were reflected in
the data as high priority.

Julian Rebelo*, Senior, Chemistry

A Call to Action: Create Forensic Sex-Estimation Methods That
Include Transgender and Gender-Diverse Individuals

Forensic anthropology is a field that classifies individuals based on their biological
sex. However, these current methodologies are structured around a rigid binary
system of classification and are not inclusive of transgender and gender-diverse
individuals. The objective of this paper was to analyze the biological and
physiological characteristics of transgender and gender diverse individuals from
the literature, and determine how this can cause misunderstandings and errors in
relation to forensic anthropological assessments of sex-estimation. Additionally,
the objective of the paper expands upon the impact of how the current cultural
attitudes and stigmas towards transgender and gender-diverse individuals negatively
affect the conduct and accuracy of assessments within forensic anthropology
field. Therefore, understanding the strategies and cultural adaptions that are
available in order to induce a cultural paradigm shift is essential towards better
inclusion as a whole for these individuals.

Hana Vozzo*, Junior English

Identity and Belonging: An Intersectional Study of Nella Larson’s
Passing and Quicksand

My Hawk Talk is inspired by my honors thesis project, which aims to explore the themes of identity and belonging in Nella Larsen’s novels Passing and Quicksand. I chose to analyze and write about these themes because of my brother’s experience with identity. My family’s ethnic background is Italian and Puerto Rican, and my parents both identify as white. However, my brother has a slightly darker complexion and facial features consistent with our Hispanic heritage. Since my parents raised my brother as “white” growing up, he considered himself a non-Hispanic white man. However, growing up in a small white populated town, my brother constantly reevaluated his sense of identity because people often made racist comments to him. He has described his experience with establishing a sense of identity as a confusing one, considering he is often publicly perceived as a person of color, but privately, in our family, treated as a white non-Hispanic man. Using the theory of intersectionality and the principles of identity dissonance and identity performance to frame my analysis, I argue that viewing these books as complementary parts to an overall message reveals Larsen’s critique of racial politics during the Harlem Renaissance.

Sydney Strickland, Senior, Criminal Justice

Examining if Crisis Intervention Team Training Improves Officer Confidence in Communicating with Emotionally Disturbed Persons While in the Field

Crisis Intervention Team Training (CIT) is a nationally recognized approach
which allows the gaps between the mental health and the criminal justice
systems to be bridged to provide a safer, smarter, and more understandable way
of assessing and addressing the challenges regarding an individual in crisis.
This program is based on collaboration and communication between a community
™s police department and its mental health system to improve these
stakeholders responses to persons who are in crisis and better identify
those suffering from a range of mental and physical illnesses, developmental
disabilities, and co-occurring disorders. In Monmouth County, law enforcement
officers and mental health providers underwent a five-day 40-hour CIT training
course. This course seeks to improve law enforcement officers and mental
health providers knowledge, skills, and perceptions of crisis situations by
educating participants on best practices in de-escalating incidents to reduce the
use of force and minimize the potential for injury or violence. The present study
focuses on whether Crisis Intervention Team training improves officers
confidence in communicating with those in crisis while in the field and investigates
the following hypotheses: (1) Officers who complete CIT training will
feel more confident to use verbal de-escalation when engaging with emotionally
disturbed persons (EDPs) in crisis situations; (2) Officers who complete CIT
training will feel more prepared to handle situations/calls involving EDPs; (3)
Officers who complete CIT training will feel more confident to communicate
with EDPs; (4) Officers who complete CIT training will feel more confident to
de-escalate potentially volatile interactions with EDPs. Participants for the present
study completed CIT training in May 2022 and October 2022. A total of 58
participants were included in the sample: 49 law enforcement officers and nine
mental health providers. Participants completed pretest and posttest surveys in
order to measure change in perceptions. Findings revealed that after completing
CIT training, officers confidence in engaging with EDPs improved. Policy
and practice implications for joint-law enforcement and mental health provider
trainings are discussed.