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URA Scholars


Retriever LogoMegan B. Anders, Psychology
“Effects of Culture on Violence Acceptance and the Effectivenes of the Abused Persons Program (APP) of Montgomery County's Victim Empowerment Group”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Laura Ting, Department of Social Work
Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2007

The goal of this study is to explore whether women who come from cultures in which domestic violence is generally tolerated will share such beliefs and have more difficulty accepting help. The purpose is to determine the effectiveness of a six session Victim Empowerment Group on abused women from various cultural backgrounds. The specific aims are to prove the following hypotheses: 1) Women from cultures/countries with high rates of domestic violence will have greater acceptance of violence against women. 2) Women from cultures/countries with high rates of domestic violence will find the Victim Empowerment Group less helpful.


Tawny BarinTawny Barini, Information Systems

"Gender Differences in the Use of Social-Networking Websites"
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Anita Komlodi, Department of Information Systems
Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2008

This study investigates the rising significance of social networking sites in the lives of college-age users. We will specifically look at the gender differences in use of these sites, exploring whether there are any differences in how male and female users represent themselves and relate to their self representations. Data will be collected from thirty participants, fifteen male and fifteen female college students ranging from the ages of 18-21, via participant interviews, observation of their regular use, and analysis of the content of their public social networking profiles. The results will help us gain a better understanding of how and why interaction within online communities has become such a
significant part of life for this user group, despite the lack of face-to-face communication, and in the areas of sociability and usability of online communities in general.

Amina R. BhattiAmina R. Bhatti, Psychology and Social Work
“The Role of Age, Identity Development, and Stress in Predicting Risk Behaviors and Depression in Adolescent Mothers”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Charissa Cheah, Department of Psychology
Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2008

The proposed study will examine how age, identity development and stress contribute to risk taking behaviors in a sample of 70 inner-city adolescent mothers. The interaction between age, identity development, and high stress is hypothesized to predict risk behaviors and depression. Adolescent mothers’ risk behaviors will also be compared to national normative data on adolescent engagement in risk behaviors. Data will be collected through Project ADVANCE, an ongoing study on adolescent mothers and their children. Results from this study will provide the basis for the development and implementation of more effective prevention programs promoting positive development in urban adolescents.

Retriever logoJohn Weller, Philosophy
“Role of Mental Stages on Moral Thought and Ethical Theory”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Susan Dwyer, Department of Philosophy
Expected Graduation Date: May 2007

This research centers on determining the existence (or lack thereof) of basic conceptual stages of ethical reasoning (as opposed to the ideas that there are no ethically-driven aspects of conceptual thinking, or that ethical reasoning is a seamless—and therefore stage-less—process), specifically as it relates to philosophical ethics. In philosophy, ethics is divided into three major types: personal character/intent-based (called “Virtue-Ethics”), obligation-based (called “Deontology”), and consequence-based ethics (called “Consequentialism”). These have, historically, been treated separately and different theories of ethics will emphasize one kind of ethics over the others, usually to the point of making the proposed theories mutually exclusive. By correlating and cross-applying relevant studies from the fields of psychology, biology, and philosophy (including studies of moral heuristics, intentionality, and philosophy of mind), this research was able to a give a new perspective on how we reason when faced with an ethical problem or situation. This could potentially alter how we explain, discuss, and approach ethical issues (inside or outside of philosophy).