Fall 2016 Student Research & Creativity Conference

Greater Allegheny students displayed their semester’s work on November 17, 2016.

Some of the projects were done as part of honors work, and many also related to the 2016-2017 Teaching International focus on the Mediterranean and the theme of climate change.

All participants and their projects are listed below. Winners will be announced in several categories, based on votes by those attending.

Fall 2016 Conference Entries
Rachael Brady, Chelsea Metro, Melissa Loftus, Jimmy Patterson PCMB Premium – Beer of Paradise IB 303 Cerasaro
Jake Eichenlaub The Generation of Electricity PHYS 212 Chandra
Lisa Jones, Kimberly Cowden Wheel Gleam Micro Brush IB 303 Cerasaro
Mikayla Diak The Correlation between Climate Change and Gender Inequality in Tunisia SOC 110 Montecinos
Brian Alvino How Livestock Contributes to Climate Change CHEM 210 Nagel
Natalie Knapton History and Statistics of Heroin Use ENGL 15 Jaap
Julie Frances Martin Jazz in African American Culture ENGL 15 Jaap
Gabriela Selmi Global Warming and its Effects on the Amazon Forest CAS100 Vicaro
Ashley Brandon Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion MATH 230H Lin
Krystal Cella, Sydney Fritchman Energy Resources EGEE 102 Lipsky
Chloe Fine Swedish Immigration to America ENGL 15 Jaap
Brianna Lundy Blues Does Not Always Mean Sad ENGL 15 Jaap
Zach Pollack Can Video Games Treat Depression? PSYCH 434 Signorella
Keitha-Clemon Duhaney Nittany Lion News ENGL 15 Jaap
Jessica Manfredi The Legend of Medusa and the Gorgons COMM 270 Hepner
Sara Copeland Gender Portrayal in Overwatch PSYCH 434 Signorella
Loren Baseler The Unattainable American Dream ENGL 15 Jaap
Tawnya Pirch The Origin of Aphrodite: Goddess of Love COMM 270 Hepner
Zach Pollack The Influence of Genetics on Anxiety and Depression BISC 2 Mitchell
David Lengel How the Gold Rush Changed California ENGL 15 Jaap
Shenglong Zhang The Speedo LZR Racer MATH 230H Lin
Nikki Carter Poverty Around the World ENGL 15 Jaap
Connor Paoletti Syrian Refugee Crisis SOC 110 Montecinos
Sara Copeland, Angela Mayhue The Difference that Energy Can Make EGEE 102 Lipsky
Katlyin McCall Hardship of Syrian Women Climate Migrants SOC 110 Montecinos
Ryan Brown, Ryan Detman Energy and the Environment EGEE 102 Lipsky
Conner Paoletti, Matt Smith The Real Cost of Energy EGEE 102 Lipsky
Alex Riley The Legend of Heru-Hehutete and the Winged Disk COMM 270 Hepner
Marissa Lewis Israeli war and climate change: the women’s perspective SOC 110 Montecinos
Daneen Vecchio ABA Concepts and Technologies: Focusing on Autism and Stress Points within the Family HDFS 431 Pandit
Cody Dishong Applying Physics to Robots PHYS 211 Lindsey
Ashley Bevan, Paige Hako, Elizabeth Legnine, Justin Nix, Marino Swanson, Tracey Thomas Climate Change: Attitudes and Behaviors PSYCH 301W Signorella
Justin Welch Eurpoean Immigration: Then vs Now ENGL 15 Jaap
Haotian Qi Greece’s Refugee and Debt Crisis PLSC 022 Montecinos
Jelani Griffith Overwatch Competitive Mode PSYCH 434 Signorella
Aaron Aweke, Fred Cole, Kayla Zeigler Overview of Mediterranean Energy Use EGEE 102 Lipsky
Zach Ostrander Utopia not Oceania ENGL 15 Higgins
Jeffrey Hunter Hawke Ethnic Jazz ENGL 15 Jaap
Marin Marina Cardiovascular Disease and Women BBH 315 Morrison
Andrew Cummins The Homestead Act ENGL 15 Jaap
Sam Cabot Changes to the Great Plains Ecosystem and Native Americans ENGL 15 Jaap
Funjia Fan Chinese Immigration ENGL 15 Jaap
Trystanne Rawlings Climate Change and Women’s Migration from Algeria SOC 110 Montecinos
Cody Nava The Melting Pot of the West ENGL 15 Jaap
Sarah Karabinos Business Advantages of Climate Change EGEE 1001 Kahl
Lacey Strotman LEED Benefits EDSG100 Kahl
Allison Pruitt Women of the 1870s: The Struggle for a Voice ENGL 15 Jaap
Tyler Yurcisin Net Zero Tiny House EDSGN 100 Kahl
Michael Boyle Cars and Climate Change CHEM 210 Nagel
Simone Harrison Wild Child PSYCH 434 Signorella
Victoria Turowski Female Character Enhancement of Video Game Sales PSYCH 434 Signorella
Sean Cooley Desertification in Algeria PLSC 022 Montecinos
Omar Salaheldin Ibrahim Cultural Diversity and the Homestead Act ENGL 15 Jaap

Margaret L. Signorella

Spring 2016 Research & Creativity Conference

Greater Allegheny students displayed their semester’s work on April 14, 2016.

Entries included posters and videos. Some of the projects were done as part of honors work, and many also related to the 2015-2016 Teaching International focus on Global Pittsburgh and the theme of literacies.

Click the picture below to view the photo album from the conference.

Student Research & Creativity Conference Spring 2016

All participants and their projects are listed below. Winners were announced in several categories, based on votes by those attending.

Kendall Moore Dr. King and Malcolm X: A Comparison of their Philosophies to the Black Lives Matter Movement AF Am 147 Anthony Mitchell
Cody Dishong The Magical Leaf’ and ‘Devil Weed’: Changes in Socially-Accepted Drugs in the US BBH 143 McLean
Jessica Boros Amphibian Declines BIO 220H Peles
Gabriela Selmi Stem Cells BISC 004 Amelia Mitchell
Daneen Vecchio Lung Cancer in Our Region BMB 001H Peles
Emily Taylor The Biology of Breast Cancer BMB 001H Peles
Marissa Lewis Lyme Desease Crawling intoYour City: Greater Pittsburgh Edition BMB 001H Peles
Zach Pollack Lung Disease in Pittsburgh BMB 001H Peles
Cassandra Alberts Speaking on the Chemistry of Bioluminescence CAS 100A Vicaro
Jake Eichenlaub Nuclear vs Solar Power CAS 100A Vicaro
Brian Alvino The Chemistry of Acid/Base Homeostasis Chem 212H Nagel
Nicole George The Myth of a “Chemical-Free” Life Chem 212H Nagel
Brianna Hardy The “Dirty” on FD&C Red 40 Chem 294 Nagel
Alex Riley Naya Shahar – VIDEO Comm 242 Hepner
Brandon Lokey Guilty Until Proven Innocent – VIDEO Comm 242 Hepner
John Ciorra, Scott Valko A Sheet of Paper – VIDEO Comm 242 Hepner
Kenya Thomas The College Experience Comm 242 Hepner
Kenya Thomas The College Experience – VIDEO Comm 242 Hepner
Tawnya Pirch Man’s Best Friend – VIDEO Comm 242 Hepner
Jasmine Holtz Only the Strong Survive – VIDEO Comm 270 Hepner
Shenglong Zhang The effect of Prednisone on patients Math 141H Lin
Melissa Loftus Heinz MKTG 301 Bae
Ashley Brandon Conflict of the Currents Physics 212 Lindsey
Marin Marina Video Games and Incidence of Violence Psych 221H Signorella
MaryLuz Rivera, Brandon Davis, Simone Harrison, Mark Hollis, Evan James, Jennifer Keefer, Marissa Lewis, Jacob Markosky, Kendall Moore, Zachary Pollack, Clayton Rump, Emily Siemen, Joshua Tompkins, Victoria Turowski, Amber Williams, Kayla Zeigler What do Penn State students think about trending topics? Psych 301W Signorella
Veronica Goetz Nutrition Cognition Psych 301W Signorella
Jessica Trent Race and Politics Psych 494 Signorella
Katelyn Joynt What makes a “good” or a “bad” neighborhood? Applying Broken Windows Theory in Pittsburgh SOC 001 McLean

Margaret L. Signorella

Bhangra Dance Workshop – Nandini Mandal

Monday, March 21, 2016Nandini Mandal
12:15 pm – 1:15 pm
Ostermayer Room, Student Community Center

Nandini Mandal is the founder and artistic director of Nandanik Dance Academy and Troupe. Over the last 16 years she has choreographed over 10 dance dramas and participated in several festivals along with her troupe in various U.S. locations.Nandini gives regular lectures and demonstrations on Indian art and culture in schools, museums and libraries in western PA.

Teaching Africa 2005-2006

Teaching Africa began in Spring 2005. A common reading was selected for the campus that included excerpts from a famous slave narrative by Equiano entitled, “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African: Written by Himself” from the book, The Classic Slave Narratives, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Throughout, many classes included Africa-related assignments, African artifacts and articles on current events in Africa were on display, each semester ended with student presentations of final projects, and speakers and other events took place.

Teaching Africa extended until the end of Spring 2016.

A list of speakers and events will be posted below the picture link to the Teaching Africa photo album.

Teaching Africa 2005-2006

Margaret L. Signorella

Teaching Haiti 2004

The first regional focus for Teaching International was Haiti.

In conjunction with the bicentennial celebration of Haiti’s independence, Penn State McKeesport adopted Haiti as a common theme to inspire teaching and scholarship during the year 2004. The campus initiative was led by Dr. Verónica Montecinos, associate professor of sociology.

Approximately 20 faculty members cooperated to address various aspects of Haiti’s history, culture, economic, social and political reality in various courses, student research projects, public debates, service learning activities, theatre productions, art exhibits, and films. Haitian paintings, on loan from the Friends of Hospital Albert Schweitzer, Haiti, were on display at the campus. The campus library page provided resources on Haiti.

Three guest speakers visited the campus during the spring semester.

Dr. Charles McCollester, director, Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Labor Relations at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, gave a talk entitled “Haiti Matters! Upheaval in the Shadow of History.”

Dr. Leon Pamphile, founder and Executive Director of the Functional Literacy Ministry of HaotoI, was the second lecturer. Pamphile, who now lives in Pittsburgh, was born and raised in Haiti. He spoke on “Haiti as an International Symbol of Self-Determination and Liberation.”

Dr. Richard Gosser, acting Executive Director and a board member of Partners in Progress, a national organization that supports associations of peasants in Haiti that are building communities that model sustainable, rural development, discussed “Sustainable Rural Development in Haiti.”

Students from participating classes shared what they had learned through their assignments.

This initiative continued throughout the fall 2004 semester. Teaching Haiti sponsored a visit by Doors to Democracy, a group that uses art to engage thinking about what democracy means. The event included a voter registration drive. Amy Guthrie, instructor in French, was the leader of this event.

The Fall 2004 Theatre presentation by Dr. Jay Breckenridge and his students was “Krik? Krak! Folk Tales from Haiti.”

Margaret L. Signorella

Fall 2015 Student Research & Creativity Conference

Students at Penn State Greater Allegheny presented their work recently at the Fall conference. Click the picture below to view the album from the conference.

Student Research & Creativity Conference Fall 2015

Categories for submission included Honors, this year’s Teaching International region (Global Pittsburgh) and theme (literacies), as well as sustainability, general creativity, and health.

The presenters and their topics are listed below. Winners were announced this week, but all are to be commended for participating.

Brian Alvino Advanced Problem Solving in Online Chemistry Homework CHEM 110H Nagel
Cassandra Alberts Using Molecular Workbench for Atomic Level Potential Energy Simulations CHEM 210H Nagel
Jessica Grassa Canine Mast Cell Disease CHEM 210H Nagel
Jessica Boros Embalming and Alternative Methods CHEM 210H Nagel
Nicole George The Effects of Aluminum of Society CHEM 210H Nagel
Emily Taylor White Snake COMM 270 Hepner
Emily Taylor Where the Sidewalk Ends COMM 270 Hepner
Cory Botti, Brittany Lesko Fracking: A Dangerous Game EGEE 101 Kahl
Haley Kutscher Steps to Hydraulic Fracking EGEE 101 Kahl
Michael Pstir To Frack, Or Not? EGEE 101 Kahl
Kayla Zeigler Hydraulic Fracturing EGEE 101 Kahl
Samuel Bercilla, Courtney Shadd InfoGram EGEE 101 Kahl
Alec Medich, Nick Andrews Impact of Hydraulic Fracturing in Western PA EGEE 101 Kahl
Sarah Csider Fracking Ignites the Local Economy EGEE 101 Kahl
Leah McNeill Hydrofracking Infographic EGEE 101 Kahl
Syed M. Saleem Fracking and Water EGEE 101 Kahl
Patrick Swaney Infographic on fracking EGEE 101 Kahl
Madelyn Ullum Fracking EGEE 101 Kahl
Sam Boliha Hydraulic Fracking – The Golden Age of Gas EGEE 101 Kahl
Kelly Hinerman, Hannah Moran-Funwela Pittsburgh Energy from 1980- Present Day EGEE 102 Lipsky
Savanna Naylor, Eva Rosillo Pittsburgh Energy: Present – 2100 EGEE 102 Lipsky
Amber Williams, Diane Banks Energy Usage in Pittsburgh: 1750 – 1900 EGEE 102 Lipsky
Chris Sichi, Jeremy McMunn, Drew Speranza Pittsburgh Energy: 1900 – 1980 EGEE 102 Lipsky
Jake Eichenlaub Decay in Pittsburgh ENGL 15H Mickle
Ashley Brandon Analysis, Interpretation, and Evaluation of Hilary Masters’ “At the Buena Vista” ENGL 15H Mickle
Mason Pfeifer Storyboard for “Pandora’s Chest” ENGL 212 Mickle
Shelby Bendick, Kyle Hair, Sean Hildebrand Bayer Group: NoCold: New Product Introduction IB 303 Cerasaro
Veronica Goetz Mood Food PSYCH 100H Signorella
Marin Marina Impacts of Early Literacy: Pre-K Through First Grade PSYCH 100H Signorella
Cody Dishong Can You Remember What I Said? PSYCH 100H Signorella
Skylar Randolph Drug Decriminalization SOC 496H McLean

Margaret L. Signorella

APA and torture

The American Psychological Association (APA) has since the early post 9-11 days been enmeshed in a controversy over the role of psychologists in torture and the related ethical issues. A key part of the dispute was a 2005 report, finally retracted in 2013, known as PENS (“Psychological Ethics and National Security”).

A recent report that was commissioned by APA is quite damning (see “Psychologists Shielded U.S. Torture Program, Report Finds,” Risen, New York Times, 2015).  The APA report was commissioned after a book by James Risen (2014) alleged collusion between APA and various government entities so that torture could be deemed acceptable.

Even before the APA report was revealed on July 10, 2015, apparently somewhat prematurely, the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology did its own analysis, and essentially came to the same conclusions as in the report by Hoffman et al. (2015) just submitted to APA (see als0 this news report). Members of the Coalition have been critical of APA’s role in torture long before Risen’s (2014) book (e.g.,

Below is a list of books, articles, and web pages that are addressing this issue. Contributions to the list are encouraged.

Disclosure: I am a fellow of two APA divisions (Psychology of Women; Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues), and am not technically a “psychologist” but rather a psychology professor and psychological scientist.  I signed a petition in 2011 calling for the annulment of APA’s 2005 PENS.

Margaret L. Signorella (msignorella@psu.edu)


Mayer, J. (2008). The dark side: The inside story of how the war on terror turned into a war on American ideals. New York, NY: Doubleday.

Risen, J. (2014). Pay any price: Greed, power, and endless war. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


Ackerman, S. (2015, July 11). US torture doctors could face charges after report alleges post-9/11 ‘collusion.’ The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/jul/10/us-torture-doctors-psychologists-apa-prosecution

APA (2005, July 5). Report of the APA Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security. Retrieved from http://apa.org/news/press/releases/2005/07/pens.aspx and http://apa.org/pubs/info/reports/pens.pdf

APA (2014, March 7). APA informs federal officials of policy changes related to detainee welfare and interrogation in national security settings.

APA (2015). Timeline of APA policies & actions related to detainee welfare and professional ethics in the context of interrogation and national security. Retrieved from http://apa.org/news/press/statements/interrogations.aspx

Emails show American Psychological Association secretly worked with Bush Admin to enable torture. (2015, May 5). Democracy Now. Retrieved from http://www.democracynow.org/2015/5/5/emails_show_american_psychological_association_secretly

Flaherty, C. (2014, October 21). ‘Pay any price.’ Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/10/21/psychology-group-objects-books-portrayal-its-role-post-911-torture

Hoffman, D. H., Carter, D. J.,  Lopez, C. R. V., Benzmiller, H. L.,  Guo, A. X., Latifi, S. Y., & Craig, D. C. (2015, July 2). Report to the special committee of the Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association. Independent review relating to APA ethics guidelines, national security interrogations, and torture. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/09/us/document-report.html

Risen, J. (2015, April 30). American Psychological Association bolstered C.I.A. torture program, report says. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/01/us/report-says-american-psychological-association-collaborated-on-torture-justification.html

Risen, J. (2015, July 10). Psychologists shielded U.S. torture program, report finds. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/11/us/psychologists-shielded-us-torture-program-report-finds.html

History and future

In 2003, Verónica Montecinos proposed an approach to internationalizing the curriculum at Penn State Greater Allegheny (then McKeesport) that began in 2004 with a focus on Haiti. This approach, which emphasizes global study not dependent on travel, spread to other Penn State campuses, and was summarized and celebrated in a conference held at Greater Allegheny in 2012  (“Without a Passport”).

In this site we will chronicle the history of Teaching International (see also greaterallegheny.psu.edu) as well as continue to promote the vision of this program: “Through comparative study we hope to advance a greater understanding of globalization processes and their impact on the lives of people around the world, including our own region.”