Senior Honors Students Present Research

Senior Honors Students Present Research

2016 SESP Undergraduate Senior Honors Students

Nine School of Education and Social Policy seniors in the honors program presented posters of their research projects on June 3. All are students of Dean Penelope Peterson and teaching assistant Tracy Dobie, a Learning Sciences PhD student. Assistant dean Susan Olson coordinated the event. Following is a description of each student’s research.


Simon Barnicle

Simon Barnicle

Social Policy

Lincoln’s Legacy in Presidential Rhetoric

This research examined the legacy of Lincoln in the context of Presidential rhetoric. The findings suggest that the job responsibilities and rhetorical style of the Presidency changed substantially during the early 20th century, and the types of references to Lincoln varied widely according to the political party of the current President.

Adviser: Quinn Mulroy, PhD
Reader: Daniel Galvin, PhD


Spencer Carlson

Spencer Carlson

Learning and Organizational Change

Challenges of Diffusing Innovative Practices in Peer-Led Learning Communities

What are the challenges of spreading practices within peer-led learning communities? This study found that peer leaders can struggle to share innovative practices because they are vulnerable to a vicious cycle of poor diffusion that both feeds into and results from breakdowns in the innovation-decision process.
Adviser: Matthew Easterday, PhD
Reader: Elizabeth Gerber, PhD


Natalie Dulin

Natalie Dulin

Human Development and Psychological Services

Sex Difference in Pragmatic Language for Individuals with Autism Spectrum
Disorder and their Parents: Group Differences and Related Factors

This study used assessment measures to characterize the pragmatic language ability of individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their parents. There were no statistically significant effects of gender, but subtle sex differences in related abilities were noted.

Adviser: Molly Losh, PhD
Reader: Emma Adam, PhD
Mentor: Elizabeth Lee, MS


Kevin Hardiman

Kevin Hardiman

Learning and Organizational Change

Selfie Society: Framing Anti-Social Social Media Activity as Pro-Social

This study aimed to find out how people respond when told that those outside their social media spheres had access to their information. The research found that knowledge of third-party access to personal information had little effect on online behavior.
Adviser: Gail Berger, PhD
Reader: Mindy Douthit, PhD


Fortunato N. Medrano

Fortunato N. Medrano

Human Development and Psychological Services

Effects of Income and Outlook Framing on Connection, Engagements, and Achievement for STEM Fields

This project aimed to better understand the achievement and motivation of low-income students by re-framing outlooks on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Results indicate greater engagement and performance on STEM tasks when an interdependent match was created for low-income students.
Adviser: Mesmin Destin, PhD
Reader: David Uttal, PhD


Eric Morales

Eric Morales

Social Policy

The Lasso of Truth: Female Representation and Sexualization in the Contemporary Superhero Genre

This study explores the prevalence and sexualization of female superhero characters
in the contemporary American superhero genre. A content analysis of media samples across comic books, television and film showed no significant difference among media and a greater sexualization of females than males.
Adviser: Ellen Wartella, PhD, and Alexis Lauricella, PhD
Reader: David Rapp, PhD


Natalie Sack

Natalie Sack

Social Policy

Undergraduate Understandings of Race and Racism: A Study of Race Relations at an Elite University

This research investigated the everyday implications race/ethnicity and racism have on the undergraduate student experience. Findings indicate that participants’ perceptions of their racial/ethnic identities on the university campus are a continuation of their encounters with race/ethnicity outside of the university.
Adviser: Lilah Shapiro, PhD
Reader: Simone Ispa-Landa, PhD


Renee Wellman

Renee Wellman

Social Policy

Religion and Environmental Attitudes: Valuing Northwestern’s Outdoor Environment

Students were surveyed about why they value the campus environment and what their belief systems say about environmental issues. Religious participants were more likely to express higher pro-environment values than less religious students.
Adviser: Doug Medin, PhD
Reader: Sonya Sachdeva, PhD


Annie Xie

Anne Xie

Learning and Organizational Change

Characteristics of Mentoring Relationships in Online Video Games

In both daily life and the online world of role-playing games, mentoring relationships play a key role in participants’ social development. This research found that guild members, females, higher-level players and self-identified role-players are more likely to be mentors.
Adviser: Noshir Contractor, PhD
Reader: Jeannette Colyvas, PhD

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 6/1/17