Summer 2021 Student Research Projects

Byoung Joon (Daniel) Bae, Junior, Economics & Mathematics
Faculty Advisor: William Lincoln

R&D Expenditure behavior of firms

Examination of how firms change their R&D expenditure over the business cycle and whether R&D is reflected in the market valuation of a firm.

First of all, I became familiar with tools like LaTeX and Stata that economists use on a daily basis. Second, I learned that there's a lot of work that goes into reviewing other people's work. Before, I thought an academic paper was solely focused on the "spark" of an idea you have in your mind, but going through several papers taught me that the literature review section, which is where the writer explains and summarizes other work tangential to the topic at hand, is an essential part of the paper. Third, I became a more mature critical thinker. I was given the opportunity to review and comment on various papers, and coming up with insightful comments was a huge challenge that definitely expanded my capacity for critical thinking. Fourth, progress isn't always made at a constant pace. At times, I'd breeze through tasks. Other times, I might be going through a simple task again and again for several hours or actually learning that I had screwed up for several days. But those experiences are all part of the process, and I learned how to embrace such "failures."

Professor Lincoln was kind enough to give me tasks that directly aligned with my future goal of obtaining an Economics PhD. I was able to learn programs that economists use on a daily basis, read through literally hundreds of academic papers, and explore various data sets -- all of which I believe will help prepare me for graduate school.

Rukmini Banerjee, Sophomore, History
Faculty Advisor: Heather Ferguson

State-Building as a Means of Colonialism in the Middle East

Examination of the implications that the drawing of borders and institutional creation had for the people in the Middle East and the subsequent countries that were formed in it.

I learned how to create historical context and deconstruct my own historical perception. More importantly, I learned about the importance of engaging with different ideas to create a well-rounded perspective when approaching an issue as an outsider.

I enjoyed working with my professor and cohort and sharing ideas with each other.

Jonathan Becker, Sophomore, IR and Chinese
Faculty Advisor: Albert Park

The Clash Between Premodern and Modern: The East Asian Tributary System and Its Implications for Sino-Korean Relations

How the historic Chinese Tributary System continues to shape modern Sino-Korean relations and what it can tell us about both the role history plays in shaping national identities and about the tension between pre-modern and modern systems within IR.

Aside from simply learning a lot of interesting things about my topic, I have also learned key research skills like keeping track of sources, outlining effectively, dividing chapters within a paper, and so on.

I love that this program has given me the best introductory experience to independent research possible. I have been able to manage my own time and decide what to do each day, but I have Professor Park available to help me at any point. This has helped me to develop not only as a researcher but also as a person.

Marshall Bessey, Junior, Government and History
Faculty Advisor: Heather Ferguson

The Relationship between Islamic Law in the Abbasid Caliphate and Emerging Categories of Difference

Focuses on how changes in Islamic Law during the Abbasid Caliphate affected perceptions of emerging categories of difference, such as race and gender.

I gained excellent skills in conducting historical research, and I also learned the critical importance of historiography. Through my SRP experience, I developed and refined the skills crucial to conducting historical research, such as locating key secondary and background sources and gathering and analyzing primary sources. Through this experience, I also gained a much stronger appreciation for the importance of historiography. While I previously had a general sense that the way historians portrayed and analyzed history was very important, I now think that the way historians portray and discuss an event is even more important than the supposed objective facts of the event.

I really enjoyed the mix of smaller meetings with just those in our individual groups and larger meetings with everyone participating in SRP. At first, I was skeptical of the group meetings, as I thought that they would not apply to every student's individual research. However, I found the SRP-wide meetings to be incredibly informative and interesting. I thought that the SRP-wide meetings complemented the meetings with just those in our specific groups. The large meetings gave us exposure to other disciplines and research methods, and the smaller meetings allowed us to dive into the methods and discussions that were specific to our groups.

Claire Chen, Junior, PPE
Faculty Advisor: Jennifer Feitosa

Cross-Cultural Performance: A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Perspective

Literature research regarding cross-cultural performance, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

I learned a lot about reading research articles and completing thorough research on a topic before writing about it. I also learned how to write a research manuscript with a partner. This is something I hadn't done before, but it was a positive and interesting experience!

I enjoyed working with my lab partner Spencer and getting to know Ally and Professor Feitosa. SRP is a great learning experience and introduction to conducting research.

Natalie Clark, Senior, Neuroscience
Faculty Advisor: Stacey Doan

Institutional Discrimination and College Student Health: The Impact of Belonging

Investigation into the relationship between institutional discrimination and allostatic load, a comprehensive measurement of the chronic stress on the body, with institutional belonging as our moderating variable.

This summer I learned a significant amount about the research process, from exploring literature and formulating a research question to using new statistical analysis software. I learned how to interpret data, run new statistical analyses, and work in a team setting on a study.

I really enjoyed getting to know my faculty advisor more, as well as the other students I got to work with in a team. I appreciated learning more about the research process and having the opportunity to apply what I had learned in a hands-on way.

Daniela Corona, Junior, Government and Data Science
Faculty Advisor: Andrew Sinclair

New York Administrative Organization

Project that focuses on the administrative organization of New York State executive offices since 1900 and analyzes the impact of electoral and administrative reforms.

I gained a deeper understanding of New York State politics and strengthened my statistical software skills in R and Stata.

I enjoyed the flexibility of research and working with an awesome faculty member.

Julia Cruz, Sophomore, Neuroscience
Faculty Advisor: Caitlyn Gumaer

Assessing the Effectiveness of Telehealth Programming for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)


My SRP worked with the Claremont Autism Center, where I learned both technical and personal skills that have helped me grow academically and professionally. I learned how to coach children through social skills development, efficiently analyze their behaviors, and clearly communicate my findings to an audience. While doing this work, I also learned about patience and perseverance. While coaching the children and observing their behaviors, I recognized that progress is not linear and that I should not have expectations for results that could lead to biases in my research. Since most of my work was online, I had to persevere through the occasional mental strain and adapt by creating a balanced rest and work schedule. I am grateful for the opportunity to gain these skills, as I know they will be applicable to the rest of my college career and beyond.

As a rising sophomore whose first year was completely online, I am most thankful for the opportunity to interact with a small cohort of 5C students and faculty. Through the Claremont Autism Center, I met students of all ages from the 5Cs whom I can now rely on for both academic and personal advice. Through SRP, I interacted with CMC students and faculty of all departments, which broadened my knowledge of the research opportunities available to me. Although I am a neuroscience major, I found the wide range of research topics and the passions of my peers incredibly interesting.

Spencer Hagenbuch, Junior, Psychology and Government
Faculty Advisor: Jennifer Feitosa

Cross-Cultural Performance

Defined cross-cultural performance in the workplace, discussed how it connects to the DEI approach, and provided tips for organizations to combat some issues that decrease or hinder an organization's cross-cultural performance.

I've never done research before so I've definitely gotten a lot better at reading empirical articles. I also learned how to code articles and how to gather the proper information to write a manuscript. In a broader sense, I learned about how important it is for organizations to educate their employees about the culture of their fellow employees in order to expect optimal performance as a company.

My team!! They’re amazing and made the tedious work a lot of fun.

Jasmin Joshi, Junior, Neuroscience
Faculty Advisor: Alison Harris

Using Ragu to Measure the Influence of Autistic Tendencies on Body Movement Perception in EEG

Within-subject and between-subject design to determine the interplay between quantitative and qualitative differences in mu suppression in subjects with High AQ vs Low AQ.

During the SRP, I learned how to use a new program within MATLAB called Ragu. I learned how to be adaptable to conducting research online and troubleshooting and learning a new program. One new research perspective I gained was that it is important in research to confirm prior results, especially if the prior results appear to be contrary to previous research -- this is what we ended up finding. This adds value to strengthening theories, figuring out what potentially went wrong with prior findings, and determining hypotheses and directions for future research.

The best part of the program was the deep data analyses we did and working alongside the brilliant Dr. Harris! She taught us to code and worked with us throughout our several iterations of data analysis. I also had the pleasure of working with Gabby -- we both became friends and were able to collaborate throughout the program on our research!

Bryn Kable, Junior, Neuroscience
Faculty Advisor: Stacey Doan

RSA as a Protective Factor of Depression from COVID-19 Related Stressors

Examination of the relationship between COVID-19 stressors and the incidence of depression in college students and how the relationship is moderated by resting RSA levels.

I learned a lot of practical skills, including how to transcribe videos, use R, use JAMOVI, data clean, run moderation regression analysis, perform a proper literature review, create an academic presentation, and write up a proper research paper. It truly gave me a deeper and more complete understanding of the whole research process from generating a question to the final product.

I really liked working with my group in Professor Doan's lab. Working with peers brought us together even though we were virtual.

Gabrielle Lee, Junior, Science Management
Faculty Advisor: Alison Harris

Using Ragu to Measure Influence of Autistic Tendencies on Body Movement Perception in EEG

Our research looked at how body movement perception differed for action execution and action observation by analyzing EEG data from a low and high AQ group.

I learned a lot of analytical skills by learning how to use and interpret Ragu with little help other than the professor. There were not many online resources I could turn to, so it made me really work on my critical thinking skills. I also feel that I learned a lot about the scientific process in Neuroscience, and I believe that Professor Harris did a fantastic job making us think deeper on issues that arose with our analyses.

I really enjoyed being able to choose my own hours to work each day, as I felt more motivated when I didn't feel like I was forcing myself to work at specific times. I also loved how open and nice Professor Harris was to us asking questions and her flexibility on meeting times. Our team worked really well getting our tasks done.

Trent Lindsey, Senior, Psychology
Faculty Advisor: Caitlyn Gumaer

Analyzing the Effectiveness of the Claremont Autism Center’s Telehealth Programming

As a member of the Claremont Autism Center, I created and participated in organized sessions that taught and promoted social skills for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. From the more research-specific side of the experience, I would watch previously recorded sessions and mark when a child performed an action we deemed as a positive social skill behavior.

I learned how to present self-produced research results, and I learned how to properly code a participant in the study.

What I liked best was hanging out with the children at the center and interacting with them. It truly brightened up my day when I got to see them.

Jacob Lyle, Senior, Government and Economics
Faculty Advisor: Jessamyn Schaller

Associations Between Labor Force Participation and Obesity

Examined how changes in the composition of the U.S. labor force in the '70s and '80s may have impacted the growing overweight and obesity issues that arose in that same time period.

The ability to conduct research independently was extremely valuable to me. I learned how to plan out my work and how to maximize my productivity. This opened my eyes to the depth of the entire research process. I am also very grateful for the technical skills I developed. The chance to do data analysis and work in Stata outside of a structured classroom environment led me to develop a deeper understanding of those concepts. I am much more confident in my ability to perform that kind of work now.

I enjoyed the independent nature of my research. The ability to decide what I wanted to research and what was necessary was something new to me, but I enjoyed the intellectual freedom it provided. The support from my advisor was great, and it greatly enhanced my learning experience.

Sebastian McCullough, Senior, EEP
Faculty Advisor: Andrew Sinclair

The Political Consequences of Wildfires

Minimizing wildfire damage should have electoral incentives for officeholders, so we looked into the ramifications of wildfire damage in California to determine whether retrospective voting is blind or favors politicians with comprehensive prevention and response strategies.

In terms of hard skills, I became far more comfortable working in Microsoft Excel and got my first exposure to Stata. More critically, I gained a much deeper understanding of electoral incentives and retrospective voting. Going into this experience, I expected voters to be more calculated, favoring politicians with comprehensive forest fire policies in elections following extreme fire events. However, I found that blind retrospection is common, though extreme climate events generally galvanize voters' existing political beliefs.

My favorite part of this experience has been working closely with my faculty advisor, Professor Sinclair. Coming into this program, we were focused on determining what kind of incentives officeholders have to respond to climate-related issues. Professor Sinclair helped identify wildfires as a potential input, as fires have both elements of randomness and a direct link to climate change. I also found a lot of value in the weekly research meetings. Even when the content was not applicable to our project, they helped inform how to conduct effective and meaningful research.

Catherine Murphy, Sophomore, Government and IR
Faculty Advisor: Andrew Sinclair

Dataset Evaluation of Primary Elections in California and Washington


During my summer research with Professor Sinclair, I learned a great deal about the process of academic research and publishing a paper in a virtual setting. I learned all about exporting data from public government websites; plus, I gained more knowledge about Microsoft Excel and acquired basic knowledge about Stata. I learned a lot about collaborating with fellow academics in a single Dropbox folder.

I loved the presentations about other research projects in SRP; it allowed me to learn about different research methods across all different fields. I am grateful to Claremont McKenna and the faculty mentors for the incredible opportunity and support.

Elena Neff, Senior, Government and History
Faculty Advisor: Stacey Doan

COVID-19 Stressors and Changes in Depressive Symptoms: The Moderating Role of Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia.

My project explored the role of baseline RSA, an indicator of emotional regulation, as a moderator in the interaction between COVID-19-related stressors and depressive symptoms.

This summer program primed me for a better and more practical understanding of research outside of a classroom. Although I am not a psychology major, I am interested in interdisciplinary research, and I found this experience valuable for understanding the nature of psychology research. I also deepened my knowledge of analytical software like R, SPSS, Jamovi, etc., which are valuable tools outside of the research sector, and my experience with research writing.

The mentorship and meeting new people who enjoyed the same work: it made an amazing experience more worthwhile.

Brianna Roldan, Sophomore, Goverment
Faculty Advisor: William Ascher

Dayaks in Borneo


Throughout the SRP, I learned how to engage with academic material on a deeper level and condense large ideas into more digestible chunks of information, in order to communicate them effectively. Learning about the struggles faced by the Dayaks in Borneo gave me more motivation to understand how better policies can lead to better outcomes for indigenous groups, and how important it is to uplift indigenous voices in decision making. I gained knowledge about the intersections between government policy and the economic/environmental outcomes they produce and hope to carry this perspective into my future studies.

I enjoyed the weekly discussions with Professor Ascher and Nadine where we were able to share our research findings and receive feedback and guidance for the next week. Our conversations challenged me to think more critically about the material, and working collaboratively helped me to expand my depth of knowledge.

Stiles Satterlee, Senior, Economics and Psychology
Faculty Advisor: Caitlyn Gumaer

Assessing the Effectiveness of Telehealth Programming for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Assessing the effectiveness of social skills programming, Acceptance-and-Commitment Therapy, and other programs being offered at the Claremont Autism Center through telehealth programs offered to youth with autism spectrum disorder.

I learned how to effectively create a social skills program for children with Autism Spectrum disorder, while learning techniques to reinforce positive social behaviors in real time. I also learned how to effectively code different behaviors for behavioral research. In addition, I had the ability to learn from many different professors and speakers in the weekly seminars.

I liked the fact that I could hear from many different professors while working extremely closely with a professor and my peers.

Sarah Simionas, Junior, PPE
Faculty Advisor: William Lincoln

Firm Lobbying Practices

Exploration of the incentives, expenditures, and characteristics effecting a firm's lobbying activity, which entailed exploring existing research and exploring related data.

I learned about economic research dealing with firm political activity, international trade, the event study methodology, addressing selection bias, the financial crisis of 2007-2009, and R&D. I gained analytical skills to understand research papers quickly and efficiently, Excel skills in organizing information I found, and Stata skills in analyzing data.

I loved getting a window into the type of research a professor conducts, and their process for establishing what they will be researching. Additionally, I enjoyed the community that was built with the other SRP students through our weekly trainings.

Jon Joey Telebrico, Junior, Philosophy/Data Science
Faculty Advisor: Jessamyn Schaller

Analyzing Algorithms: An Account of Bias and the Future of Health Justice

Explore the presence of algorithmic bias in artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) models employed within healthcare systems, ultimately creating economic recommendations for optimized algorithmic design.

During the Summer Research Program, I gained a plethora of research insights from my weekly check-ins with Professor Schaller (research questions to consider, authors to read, disciplinary approaches to try), allowing me to better think like an economist and to consider economics in a whole new light. Moreover, I was able to practice my command of programs like LaTeX, advancing my own distinct voice in my academic writing and explain dense literature to a public audience. All of these tangible outcomes are ones I will use for the rest of my academic career as a student, scholar, and researcher.

I thoroughly enjoyed the faculty research presentations! While not every aspect was entirely applicable to my specific field, I appreciated the cohort-style of meeting up once a week to learn from faculty members who have a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw from when it comes to becoming better researchers. I learned a great deal about creating a research poster, articulating specific research questions, and in general enjoyed learning about the things other professors were researching.

Phil Tran, Junior, Neuroscience
Faculty Advisor: Stacey Doan

Institutional Discrimination & College Student Health: The Impact of Belonging

The more belonging that individuals feel within an institution, the greater allostatic load (or physical "wear and tear" caused by stress) they experience when faced with institutional discrimination.

My understanding of the research process (data analysis, statistical tests, paper composition) deepened.

I really enjoyed the emphasis on useful and perceivable achievements and efforts (e.g. pushes to actually write a paper and present at conferences instead of just emphasizing the learning process).

India Soranson Way, Junior, IR and Chinese
Faculty Advisor: Heather Ferguson

Nationalism, Feminism and the Muslim Brotherhood


I have learned so much in the past eight weeks, and I am so grateful that I was able to work alongside Professor Ferguson with Marshall, Caleb, and Rukmini. My biggest takeaway came to me while I was preparing for the final presentation. As I compiled the key themes and subthemes I wanted to discuss, I realized that my research has come to encompass so much more than I anticipated. I cannot talk about any subject in isolation without taking into consideration positionality, context, and history. What I mean by this, for example, is when I think about Islam and female participatory politics, I must consider veiling, the fetishization of “the East”, how Muslim women are portrayed in the media, and what preconceived notions I might have on the topic of study. The main themes are the core of a network that connects so many ideas, some that I have yet to discover. I hope I can continue my research because I really feel that I am only at the beginning of my research journey.

My favorite part of the program was having weekly individual meetings with Professor Ferguson and group meetings with my cohort. Each week, we had an assigned reading (on top of individual tasks), and I really felt that allowed us to talk about our own research and how it might relate to each other's. While I was in NYC, I was also able to meet up with Professor Ferguson and go to the MET to look at Islamic art. This was AMAZING and so unexpected because we didn't even know that both of us were in the city. I learned so much from her about art, history, and people.

Caleb Young, Sophomore, Economics
Faculty Advisor: Heather Ferguson

Commercial and Legal Identities of the Post-Classical Arabian Peninsula

Exploration of economic occurrences within the Middle East through the lens of race and cartography.

Two of my biggest takeaways were how my research goals and questions evolved over the summer as I was introduced to new material, and I also feel like I gained a much broader understanding of how other people live in different places, which was both eye-opening and, at times, refreshing.

I liked how my professor helped us think about the interconnectedness of our different topics by leading discussions about articles that related to each of our research projects. I think that was really impactful as it showed how looking at topics from different perspectives can stimulate growth in your ability to research effectively and generate meaningful questions.

Nadine Zahiruddin, Sophomore, Policy
Faculty Advisor: William Ascher

Dayaks in Indonesia and Malaysia


I learned a lot about the Dayak groups in Indonesia, definitely a lot more than I did in my previous school years. I learned about their traditional ways of life, their ability to adapt in the face of external pressures and their extreme marginalization at the hands of large corporations and the Indonesian government. What surprised me the most was their versatility and how they were able to adapt by modifying their income strategies and creating a new 'subsistence economy' by selling rubber and other forest products and turning to wage labor.

I liked being able to meet with Professor Ascher weekly and talk about our findings because these discussions were really interesting and thought-provoking about the situation that indigenous groups in Indonesia, and other Southeast Asian countries, face. I also liked that we had a lot of freedom about what we could research.