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Undergraduate Scholars Conference

Celebrating BCC Students' Works

Undergrad Conference

When & Where?

February 10, 2022, 2:00 p.m.
The conference will be held virtually. The individual Zoom links for each session are below.

The BCC Undergraduate Scholars Conference seeks to celebrate student work of exceptional merit. The conference will feature student presentations on original scholarly works that go above and beyond classroom assignments. Students may choose to present in a traditional slide format (PowerPoint, video slides, etc.) or a poster presentation.

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Schedule of Events

2:00 PMlina

Keynote address by Lina Grillon, Colombian-born educator, interpreter, and translator  and BCC Alum.

The Undergraduate Scholars Conference Welcome and Keynote Passcode: 931935 

  • Lina Grillon Biography

    Lina Grillon is a Colombian-born educator, interpreter, and translator who is passionate about working with English learners and their families due to her own immigrant experience. She started her higher education journey at Berkshire Community College, having earned her Associate in Fine Arts with concentrations in both Music and Theater Arts. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Westfield State University and is currently working toward a master’s degree in English as a Second Language Education at Bay Path University. She has worked as an English as a Second Language teacher in the Pittsfield Public Schools since 2016. She lives in Pittsfield with her husband, Benjamin.

Time Block

 Session A  Session B  Session C

2:30 PM

LGBTQIA+ Spotlight Glossary

Alex Green & Jennifer Marcel

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  • Abstract

    Marginalized identities, experiences, and ethos are just that: marginalized. Yet in these margins exists a history unto itself that always has and always will be an important part of the human experience. This collaborative glossary project endeavors to call content from LQBTQIA+ experiences out of the margins and into the forefront of our minds and hearts. All entries were created by students enrolled in Honors LGBT Literature in the 2021 fall semester. The topics were chosen by the students and served to supplement the course’s material. This collage assembles these mini-research projects into an eclectic visual representation of the diverse people, places, and concepts that comprise the LGBTQIA+ experience. Many of the entries inform one another as they create a conversation of cross references. Seen together, this glossary spotlights the abundance and depth of life off the heteronormative highway.

Design And Fabrication Of An Automated Rainfall Collection Device For Pollution Monitoring

James Dolle & Rosa Lopez Moritz

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  • Abstract

    BEAT is a non-profit organization that centers their efforts in protecting and healing the environment in the Berkshires area. The aim of this project was to design and build a low-cost prototype device that can collect rainwater samples with the goal of measuring pollutants from runoff flowing into our local rivers, all according to BEAT’s requirements. A key feature requirement of this device is the ability for the samples to be collected immediately after precipitation since rainfall events expand the surface runoff area increasing the flow and level of local streams temporarily. This presentation will describe the product development stages of our prototype device, including flow and storage requirements, design software utilized, and the electronic components selected for automating the collection process. No technical background is required from the audience; the presentation will explain the concepts and tools employed on the project. Emphasis will be given to Arduino technology, a simple to use hobbyist automation platform. Additionally, we will highlight how we quickly went from concept to fabrication thanks to 3d printing technology present on campus. Project funded by STEM Starter Academy.

Harm Reduction and Its Opportunities

Liuba Kurtyn

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  • Abstract

    This presentation compares the US approach to harm reduction to other countries. Harm reduction is an umbrella term for interventions aiming to reduce the problematic effects of harmful behaviors.  Harm reduction practices now often include alcohol interventions for both youth and adults, nicotine replacement, opioid substitution, needle exchanges, and safe injection sites for intravenous drug users.

    Dozens of peer-reviewed controlled trial publications provide support regarding the effectiveness of harm reduction. The results may be worthy of our attention, especially now, when the sharp rise in substance abuse has become one of the unfortunate side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In other countries, we have seen the harm reduction approach become a government policy, supported by the medical community, law-enforcement, and by government funds.

    Studies on nicotine replacement have shown an increase in cessation rates by 1.5 to 2 times compared with placebo or no additional aid, and our country has accepted the value of this type of harm reduction. Similar to nicotine replacement, opioid substitution therapies have been developed for drugs such as heroin, oxycodone, oxycontin, and morphine. The therapies were identified to provide a less harmful opioid (e.g. methadone, suboxone) under medical supervision. Several reviews have identified opioid substitution therapy as effective in reducing illicit opioid use, HIV and Hepatitis C risk behaviors, criminal activity, and opioid-related death. However, this harm reduction approach remains controversial and under strict government regulation, limiting accessibility.

3:00 PM

Northampton State Hospital: Remembering the Forgotten

Cora Lyons

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  • Abstract

    Northampton State Hospital, originally known as Northampton Lunatic Asylum, was home for 135 years to patients with mental illness. Such “insane asylums” earned a bad reputation for their poor living conditions and abuse of patients.  Less well-known is what happened to patients who died there. If a patient passed away and a relative did not claim the body, they were buried on Cemetery Hill, where today no gravestones or names can be found. With many challenges along the way, it was discovered that vital records give hints to those who may have been laid to rest on Cemetery Hill. Those who were forgotten are once again brought back into memory.

The Creative Classroom

Cheyenne Crennan

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  • Abstract

    In an early childhood classroom, creativity fills the landscape. Teachers bring their ideas and expression which allows passion to fill the walls and minds of young learners. Creativity comes in a multitude of forms, from art to dramatic play and beyond. Every area of the classroom offers an opportunity for a child to use their natural expression of thoughts and feelings that fosters learning through their eyes. Often, we are flooded with new opportunities to design a curriculum that both meets all the state standards and continues to grow the love children have for learning. During the Creative Curriculum course offered at Berkshire Community College, I created a free, expandable website that I named The Creative Classroom. Here you will find ideas that I have used throughout my career as a preschool and pre-kindergarten teacher. Each blog post addresses the necessary standards of learning that a curriculum uses for success, along with the activity. I give my insight on related children’s literature and my honest opinion of the activity’s success considering the classroom, and how I would alter it for different classroom demographics. While searching for new activities, I find myself scrolling Pinterest, seeing all these great ideas, yet having to dig back through textbooks and websites to plug in all the necessary standards. The Creative Classroom website guides the reader through activities with clear explanation, easy access to materials, and addresses the learning standards that a preschool curriculum is expected to cover.

26 April 1905

Audrey Bartzsch

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  • Abstract

    Human beings find it incredibly difficult to comprehend time. We know that it passes; we see it on our faces, on our children’s faces, in the places we live. Time wears down stones. We cannot escape it. Instead of accepting this for what it is, we have made time into a prison. It has become an excuse to harm others, harming ourselves in the process. In Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams, the writer explores the human relationship with time, dreaming of various realities in which time exists and plays different roles in people’s lives. My project, ‘26 April 1905’, explores a chapter of Einstein’s Dreams by the same name. I have applied several film, art and music concepts discussed in Prof. Berman’s ‘Film Notes’ and Aaron Copland’s ‘What to Listen for In Music’ to this chapter to direct a film which emphasizes the human relationship with time. This chapter also has a more sub-textual commentary on the class system, which I have brought closer to the forefront through visual cues and animation.

 3:30 PM

“I’m Listening, I Promise”

Ashton Bird

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  • Abstract

    This is a presentation on an essay dealing with the common miscommunications caused between neurodivergent and disabled people with neurotypical and abled people; specifically, with how many of them are due to the standard of ‘active listening’ imposed upon most people as children. It discusses how disabled and neurodivergent people are often unable to meet this standard without extreme difficulty, and as a result, are labeled with poor moral attributions, lack of respect, and an inability to function ‘normally.’

    It continues to speak on how this societal expectation can cost many people their jobs, their school functioning, and their mental health due to trying or failing to meet these expectations.

    It elaborates that listening styles between neurodivergent and neurotypical people are not wrong or right, or normal and abnormal, just different from each other. One study that was cited speaks on how neurodivergent people communicate with other neurodivergent people similar to how neurotypical people communicate with other neurotypicals.

    It touches on how certain therapies such as ABA can be harmful to the neurodiverse because it teaches them to repress and force themselves to act a certain way to cater to the comfort of the neurotypical. The issue doesn’t come with learning skills to pass by in a world not built for them, but for the enforcement of using these skills in private life as well. It also raises the issue that autistic people are actively against the therapy, while neurotypical people are not, and the only opinion being listened to is that of the neurotypicals.

Using Coverboards to Survey Small Animals

Alex Green

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  • Abstract

    Most animal species are not often seen and less often appreciated, which unfortunately can affect efforts for their conservation. As an aspiring naturalist, I want to familiarize myself with organisms of all ecosystems; I believe that appreciation is fundamental to learning about the natural world, disregarding preconceived notions of some creatures being ‘creepy crawly’ or pests. When designing this project for Professor Tyning’s Conservation I class, I emphasized the lack of a target species. My goal was to try to identify any species I found, and in the process, gain a better understanding of the animal diversity found on my own property. Coverboards are a survey method used by field scientists to sample the presence of small animals. They can provide cover for a wide range of invertebrates, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. I set up two groups of coverboards, located next to my garden and in my woods. I checked them weekly, recording my observations and compiling the data into a spreadsheet. Using citizen science projects iNaturalist and, I was able to identify 8 out of 19 and 11 out of 36 observed taxa to the species level for the woods and garden boards respectively

4:00 PM

The Undergraduate Scholars Conference Wrap Up