Rice Undergraduate Research Papers

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    Stigma and Sociocultural Barriers Associated with Breast Cancer Screening Uptake among Asian Indian Women in the Greater Houston Area
    (Rice University, 2024-01-19) Ganjoo, Shonik; Somani, Soumya; Kulkarni, Shivani; Chandra, Monalisa; Shastri, Surendranath S.; Diep, Cassandra S.
    Breast cancer is the leading cancer in both incidence and mortality for Asian Indian women. The breast cancer screening rates for Asian Indians are also among the lowest across several racial and ethnic groups in the United States (US). However, few studies have investigated factors associated with breast cancer screening rates for Asian Indian women in the US. The objective of this study was to assess sociocultural predictors of adherence to American Cancer Society breast cancer screening g uidelines for Asian Indian women residing in the greater Houston area. We hypothesized that low knowledge of breast cancer/breast cancer screening and negative attitudes such as stigma toward breast cancer screening would be significant predictors of adherence to screening guidelines. Surveys were designed using a Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices (KAP) analysis framework and were distributed to a convenience sample of 104 India-born Asian Indian women over the age of 45. Knowledge was measured using true/false questions about breast cancer and breast cancer screening. Attitude was measured using agree/disagree statements related to perceived stigma, internalized stigma, and sociocultural barriers to breast cancer screening. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that attitude was a significant predictor of adherence to screening guidelines [OR = 0.858 (95% CI: 0.768 - 0.937); P = 0.002], but knowledge was not [OR = 1.16 (95% CI: 0.478 - 2.759); P = 0.736]. The findings from this study can guide the development of educational interventions that focus on improving health literacy and increasing breast cancer screening adherence for Asian Indian women.
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    Diversity, Equity, and Justice in Voluntary Carbon Markets
    (Rice University, 2021) Hartge, Anja; Guo, Lingkun; Gupta, Trisha; De La Fuente, Diego
    Demand for carbon credits in the voluntary carbon markets is expected to grow exponentially in the next decades [1], with the market projected to reach $30 billion in transactions by 2030 [2]. Because of this projected increase in market scale, it's important to consider who will be able to participate in and financially benefit from the voluntary carbon market and its rapid growth, especially in the area of nature-based soil commodities.
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    Exploring Barriers to Women's Political Representation in Thailand
    (Rice University, 2020) Palladino, Lauren
    Gender quotas have proven to be one of the more effective ways of improving women’s representation in legislatures worldwide. While extensive literature exists on the efficacy of these quotas throughout Europe, the Americas, and Africa, there is a newfound need to shift focus to gender representation in Southeast Asian nations. This study applies many of the existing theories on gender quotas to existing quotas throughout Southeast Asia, specifically examining the anomaly of Thailand. While Thailand continues to lag behind other South- east Asian nations, the results of this study hint at the more complex sociocultural forces at play. These findings are consistent with existing theories of women’s representation in global legislatures, and suggest that the efficacy of gender quotas is largely dependent on the context of each nation individually. The results of this study hold critical implications for understanding both women’s roles in government, as well as the barriers to implementing institutional changes for equality.
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    Talking Trump: Exploring the use of Populist Rhetoric in Partisan Rallies
    (Rice University, 2020) Palladino, Lauren
    Presidential speeches have immense power to advocate for policy, influence public opinion, and portray an image of a president. While extensive literature exists studying presidential addresses until the Obama era, this body of work needs to be updated to include the Trump presidency. Donald Trump’s rhetorical strategies have become a spectre of public attention, and a complete anomaly when compared to his predecessors. Notably, his use of the partisan rally format suggests his unwillingness to present issues to a bipartisan format. This study compares Donald Trump’s rally speeches to a form of traditional address, his 2019 State of the Union Address. Specifically analyzing for instances if informative, evaluative, and action based statements, it was found that rally speeches contained significantly more evaluative statements than his bipartisan addresses. These findings are consistent with accepted theories of populism, and suggest that these rallies may be a part of a larger strategy to increase populist appeals among the Trump voting bloc. These results certainly hold critical implications when it comes to understanding both Donald Trump, and the prominent shift within the Republican Party.
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    Increasing Health Literacy
    (Rice University, 2020) Messineo, Ashley
    Low health literacy is a widespread problem in the United States. In 2006, the U.S. Department of Education released the first-ever national assessment of health literacy for English-speaking adults. The survey indicated that 9/10 adults struggle using everyday health information. Possessing health literacy skills is essential for safeguarding against disease and promoting one's overall well being. The paper provides an outlines on the repercussions of low health literacy, noting its impact on the health of patients and costs to the healthcare system. It explores three major policies that have been passed in order to address this issue including the Plain Writing Act, the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy, and the Affordable Care Act. It also offers new and feasible solutions to addressing it which includes: providing funding for literacy programs, increasing translational services, making health literature more clear/concise, and much more.
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    Engaging in the Process of Allyship: LGBTQ+ Community
    (Rice University, 2020) Roland, Ashley; Pachipala, Krithi; Webb, Alisa; Morris, Madison; Park, Yunee; Park, Ji Won; Social Sciences
    The LGBTQ+ community falls victim too often to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. As a result, members are disproportionately affected by mental health disorders, general inequality, as well as many forms of violence. In order to engage in effective allyship efforts, we hope to not only investigate these disparities but also to discover ways to use our privilege and advocate for change. This research project will engage both our group and the Rice community in the process of learning about allyship, with additional input from the surrounding Houston area. Through a multitude of surveys, statistical research, and personal interviews, in the next 10 weeks, we will create an all-encompassing guide for those interested in aiding LGBTQ+ causes.
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    Human Trafficking
    (Rice University, 2019) Jelley, Shannon; Baker, Sierra; Messineo, Ashley; Minarro, Marta Cano; Nwadei, KC
    This document is a guide to leading a workshop on human trafficking in Houston. Included is an explanation of human trafficking's prevalence in Houston and what can be done to combat it. For the workshop, there is a true/false questionnaire, explanation of root causes, and a game demonstrating how the consumption of certain products increases demand for human trafficking.
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    ¡Vota!: Spanish-Language Ballots Affect the Policy Preferences of Voters
    (Rice University, 2019) Rothschild, Connor; Scannell, Maddy; Stone, Eric; Berton, Sarah
    Present research related to racial group interactions has pointed to the existence of a group status threat; when a majority group feels threatened, it takes action to protect its status. This backlash has been observed in white people when primed with an increase in Hispanic immigration or demographic statistics indicating that white people as a racial group will no longer be in the numerical majority. Given these demographic trends and prior literature, this study investigates if backlash can occur against Spanish-speaking populations in elections when voters are exposed to an English-Spanish bilingual ballot. Utilizing Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, 723 participants voted in a mock election with either a monolingual English or bilingual ballot. The ballot contained two races: a mayoral race with a Democrat and Republican and a proposition to support Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Participants then answered a series of questions about their political ideology and perceptions of group status. The results from the election and post-election questionnaire indicate that white, non-Spanish-speaking conservatives report a higher group status threat in the post-election survey, in line with previous literature. In terms of altering election results, we found that the mayoral race was not significantly affected by the presence of Spanish. However, white, non-Spanish-speaking moderates tended to vote against DACA when exposed to Spanish. As demographics change in the United States, there may be an increased need for bilingual ballots as stipulated under the Voting Rights Act, and given the results of this study, that increase could have electoral consequences.
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    Rice Allyship Movement’s Racial Allyship Toolkit: Guidelines to Teaching an Effective Workshop
    (Rice University, 2019-04-04) Huang, Jessica; Tseggay, Sarah; Considine, Craig; Social Sciences
    This mixed methods study explores the experiences and perceptions of interracial dating, interracial relationships, and racial allyship among undergraduate students at Rice University and high school students at Kinder High School for Performing and Visual Arts. In fall 2017, over thirty-four Rice undergraduate students chosen through a multi-layered sampling technique were split into three focus groups and asked questions that fit broadly into the following categories: Socialization prior to Rice, attitudes and perceptions towards interracial dating, students’ experiences with engaging in interracial dating/hook-up relationships, and levels of romantic interaction and family. Findings indicated that white male and Asian female pairings are perceived to be the most frequent type of interracial relationship, parental influence may prevent an individual from entering into an interracial relationship, and there is little, if any, discussion of interracial relationships among black students. Quantitative survey analysis found that these perceptions indeed turned out to be true in that white male and Asian female pairings are the most frequent type of interracial relationship on Rice’s campus, and respondents also indicated a desire for increased racial allyship on-campus. Based off of this response, racial allyship workshops were designed and tested with students at Kinder High School for Performing and Visual Arts, with a toolkit created based off of these previous findings. Future research could build off these preliminary conclusions by having researchers conduct more workshops in diverse areas and with diverse populations, better incorporating LGBTQ+ perspectives, and further breaking down race-class interactions and intersectionality.