Orange Alert

Student Scholars Head to Meeting of the Minds Conference

Annual event showcases research from ACC member schools

March 29, 2018, by Renee K. Gadoua

Joeann Salvati
Joeann Salvati

Six Syracuse undergraduates will participate in the 2018 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Meeting of the Minds conference April 6-8 at Boston College.

The annual event is hosted by one of the 15 ACC member schools. A faculty panel selects the winners based on the academic quality of the student’s project, clarity of expression in the proposal, completeness of research/creative project, independence of project and relevance of project to program of study.

Meeting of the Minds is funded in part by revenue from athletic events. It celebrates undergraduate research and provides a forum for exchanging ideas across disciplines, networking and collaboration among researchers. Participants will either give 15-minute oral presentations or present posters describing their research. Syracuse hosted the 11th annual Meeting of the Minds conference in 2016.

Syracuse’s 2018 team and their projects includes:

Michael Aiduk ’18, biochemistry: “Towards an Understanding of the Active Site and Catalytic Mechanism of Ghrelin O-Acyltransferase.”

Genesis Felizola ’18, communication sciences & disorders: “The Experiences of Hispanic Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Regarding Physical Activity and Communication.”

Natalie Rudakevych ’18, public relations; information management & technology: “Information Wars: A Look at the Role of Social Media in the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution.”

Danielle Schaf ’19, anthropology, forensic science, writing & rhetoric: “A New Therapy? An Osteobiography Examining the Effects of Labor Therapy and Structural Violence at the 19th-Century Oneida County Asylum.”

Alexandra Logan ’18, biology: “Vocal Ontogeny in the Humboldt Penguin.”

Salvati presenting her latest research poster
Salvati presenting her latest research poster

Joeann Salvati ’18, psychology, forensic science: “Effects and Effectiveness of Confession-Eliciting Interrogation Tactics.”

Salvati was named a Crown Scholar in the Renée Crown University Honors Program for her Honors Capstone project on law enforcement interrogation tactics and false confessions. She received funding from the Honors program to present her research at the 2018 Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) Annual Conference in Atlanta in March. SPSP is one of the largest national conferences for social and personality psychologists.

Salvati will present the same research at the Meeting of the Minds conference. Here’s a look at her research and her expectations for the conference.

Why did you apply to present at the Meeting of the Minds conference? What do you hope to get out of the experience?

I applied because I think it’s important to contribute to the scientific community, both through research and sharing your research. I hope to gain experience in presenting my research in a different way to a different audience, especially because I will be giving a talk to individuals from a variety of disciplines.

Tell us about the presentation you’ll make. How did it come about and how does it fit into your work at Syracuse?

I was interested in why individuals would confess to crimes they did not commit–specifically, why someone would falsely confess to a crime during an interrogation. The purpose of my research is to investigate the relative effects and effectiveness of the accusatory and information-gathering models in simulated interrogation. The data collected provides knowledge about the implications of language and tactics law enforcement uses, and how this can potentially prime the suspect for false confessions. I will be talking about this research and my findings.

What kind of mentoring or support did you have in creating this project?

I began my own research my sophomore year when I started working on my Honors Capstone. Since then, my project has flourished, and the faculty of the Honors Program has been important in its growth.

Dr. Shannon Houck has been an enormous support and resource in developing my Capstone project. Houck has gone above and beyond to help me with all aspects of my Capstone journey, from launching my study and analyzing data, to preparing for a national conference and assembling a manuscript. I am very grateful to have Dr. Houck as my mentor, as she has contributed to my development as a scientist.

Dr. Tej Bhatia has also been an important asset to this project as he helped me with its initial development and pilot study. His knowledge of forensics and linguistics guided me in the beginning stages of my research, and as such, he has been essential to these later stages.

How did you decide to major in psychology and forensic science? What is your long-range goal?

I came to Syracuse with a strong interest in both psychology and forensics from previous course work. As I pursued research and clinical opportunities, my passion for psychology was solidified. I am currently determining what I will be doing after graduation, but I will either be working toward my master’s degree or working in a lab. My long-range goal is to pursue graduate work in psychology. I am interested in conducting research and working with adolescents and adults at risk for entering or already involved in the criminal justice system.

Tell us about your volunteer work with Literacy Corps. How does it fit into your academic experience?

Syracuse University Literacy Corps (SULC) mobilizes students to go into the Syracuse community schools to support student learning. In my freshman year, I started tutoring kindergarten, first- and fourth-graders. Although I do not tutor anymore, I am currently a co-chair for SULC’s Corps Council, the student-run leadership body, and a leadership intern in the Shaw Center office. My experience with SULC has been integral in my professional and leadership development. It has also shown me the importance of including community work in my future.

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