• Chatbots: history, technology, and a case analysis

      Jay, Benjamin (2020-08)
      This thesis examines the more than 50 year history of chatbots that led to the development of Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, and Apple’s Siri. A chatbot, commonly known as a conversational agent, is a computer framework that can have a normal conversation with a user by using a natural language processor (Reshmi and Balakrishnan, 2018). The goal is to understand the psychological and mathematical theories that worked well throughout history, as well as those that did not, and the impact they had on the evolution of modern chatbots. This thesis incorporates these theories into a new chatbot created using Google’s chatbot AI platform called Dialogflow. By following a Coursera course titled Building Conversational Experiences with Dialogflow, this thesis creates a chatbot that can schedule tours of a school and can answer questions about the SUNY New Paltz 2020 Commencement ceremony. Creating even the most basic chatbot requires a comprehensive understanding of the underlying theories and extensive coding experience (Abdul-Kader & Woods, 2015). This thesis assumes a foundation knowledge of computer coding.
    • “Children in Misery” or young crusaders?: the political utilization of children by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union

      Murphy, Shayna (2020-05)
      This paper discusses the Women’s Christian Temperance Union’s use of children for political purposes during their fight for Prohibition. In an effort to sympathize their mission and to create a sense of urgency around the banning of alcohol, members of the WCTU created an image of children as victims in their propaganda. However, the WCTU understood the importance of creating future voters, and so often created propaganda that presented children as active heroes. This conflicting portrayal of children showed that the WCTU used children as political tools and used such contrasting portrayals to reach a political goal rather than aptly represent children of alcoholic families. To understand this relationship between the WCTU and children, I analyzed posters created by the WCTU that present children as victims of alcohol and then content produced directly for children by the WCTU.
    • Climate change and childhood communication disorders: a literature and policy analysis

      Dittus, Andrew (2018-05)
      In conclusion, climate change and its threats are becoming and increasingly impending problem for everyone on earth. All professional disciplines will have to come to terms with such problems, as they will affect aspects of all fields in different and unprecedented ways. That being said, communication disorders will have its own unique issues it will have to deal with as climate change ramifications grow more common. Manifesting from problems associated with heat, hydrological stress, and weather hazards, all of our patients (most particularly children) will experience new threats to their speech and language production and development. This is why it is growing exigent for communication disorders professionals to consider how climate change ramifications will affect our practice, and what we can thus do as professionals to deal with said ramifications. The approach outlined in this paper uses the “Action Model” to do just that. Once it is understood how climate change will affect us, the Action Model gives us the ability to use policy and government based approaches to solve our prospective issues. Using past policies as examples, such as the IPCC 5th Assessment Report, we can see policy and government as a route to best meet our clients’ needs. Taking the steps outlined in the “Action Model” can thus be seen 32 as one way communication disorders professionals can help adapt to prospective climate vacillations, and find ways to best help their patients moving toward the future.
    • Cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo: the cost of innovative technology and historical lessons in global economics for a more ethical future

      Seyler, Allison (2021-05)
      This paper focuses on the geologic and political history of the DRC and the effectiveness of existing legislation, including the Dodd Frank Act, and propositions for the Katanga mining sector, more specifically the mining of cobalt. Cobalt mining has also come under scrutiny with human rights groups, as Amnesty International released a report in 2016 finding that child labor and unsafe conditions were present in cobalt mines in the Katanga region. Cobalt is projected to continue to increase in value as the demand for EV and lithium-ion batteries increases (although recycling techniques and different types of lithium-ion batteries are being explored by manufacturers as an alternative to mining cobalt). This paper analyzes the legacy of colonialism in Katanga through a comparison with Chile, and the parallels between their histories and the corruption of their state mining companies. Through this lens, it can be seen that a different strategy can be employed in this region than with coltan in North Kivu, as the primary strategy of the Dodd Frank Act was to reduce violence by decreasing the size of the black market. Rather, business strategies can be employed that can be used to benefit the people of the Congo, as has been observed with CODELCO, the state mining company of Chile. Despite years of bloodshed from ethnic violence and political instability, the DRC shows signs of hope, as the first peaceful transition of power since their independence in 1960 occurred in 2019, and the chairman of Gécamines, the largest state mining company, announced that it would be changing and improving its business model and infrastructure beginning in 2019. The DRC has been called cursed for its geology, but rather it is cursed by colonial politics, greed, ethnic violence, and economic disadvantage. The geology of the region, and the necessity of minerals in a clean energy transition will not change. Perhaps this region’s natural resources can be used to promote development and peace, with the wellbeing of the Congolese people as a central focus.
    • Colonial Creamery: exquisite ice cream the old fashioned way

      Dougherty, Jake (2021-05)
      Covid-19 created an environment that limited everyone's ability to enjoy the little things in life. Once trivial activities that we all took for granted were stripped from us in the blink of an eye. As life slowly returns to normal with individuals' comfort levels increasing daily, we will hopefully see the fruits of everyone's cooperative labors to eradicate this virus. Once this happens people are going to look towards their familiar comforts. Going out and eating with friends is one of those familiar comforts, debatable the comfort that has been missed the most as this pandemic pursuits.
    • Composting the Big Apple: climate mitigation efforts in New York City

      Mayer, Lindsey (2020-05)
      55% of the world’s population lives in cities(United Nations 2018). Cities are responsible for high pollution levels, with urban areas making up for 67% of greenhouse gases (World Bank 2018). The question is what are cities doing to mitigate climate change since urban areas are massive contributors to pollution? International organizations are in place for cities to partner together on the topic of climate change. The New Urban Agenda gives cities a framework to mitigate climate change while the C40 transnational climate network gives city leaders the opportunity to share ideas on addressing climate change. To understand the progress cities have made, Helsinki and Copenhagen are closer to a zero-carbon reality. When looking at New York Cities’ effort compared to other cities, New York City has made progress in reducing its carbon dioxide level, but the city still has room for improvement. New York City has seen a decrease in carbon dioxide in the building sector and the waste sector. There has been only a .1 percent decrease in emissions from transportation between 2014 and 2015. Looking at specific policy, New York City must be pushing for sustainable alternatives that lower greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Conceptualizing disability ethics in the age of CRISPR

      Bisguier, Nissa (2020-05)
      The incipient gene-editing technology, CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats), has raised critical ethical questions regarding the elimination of genetic defects, potential risks about the efficacy and downsides of its use, and parental and medical agency over modifying the genetic material of future generations. This paper will first explain what CRISPR is and how it compares to previous technologies used to modify genes, such as TALENs and ZFNs. After describing the possible short and long-term expectations for CRISPR’s applications, I provide a survey of the ethical concerns addressed by the medical community and how they differ from those that worry some advocates for marginalized communities due to the history of eugenics. I will rely on the work of Joel Reynolds, George Estreich, Alison Kafer, and Elizabeth Barnes that problematizes the cultural values and medical assumptions behind gene-editing and its potential use as a tool for a new wave of eugenics. I explain how the tragic narrative of disability has come from a societal perspective influenced by a position of power and must be re-examined. Many disability ethicists argue that their disability is crucial to their identity and determines a different yet not lesser existence. The idea that gene- editing could be used as a tool in eliminating disability perpetuates a tragic narrative of disability that not only degrades the lives of the disabled, but is incomplete. I end with a contemplation of the concrete ways in which CRISPR could benefit people with severe health conditions, while remaining aware of the dangers involved in the idealization of gene-editing that the discourse has propagated.
    • Constructing Jewish bodies in Germany through physical culture and racial pseudo-science

      Alperin, Marissa (2018-05)
      As industrialization heightened in Europe, so did science and technological innovation. The expanded focus on human biology, evolution and genetics coincided with the growth of racism in Europe. In Germany, one group of people who were subjugated, was the Jewish population. Since, Jewish racism was a phenomenon in Europe during the physical culture movement, scientific “findings” were used in Germany to suggest that the intellectual abilities and physical beauty of Jews were inferior to the Nordic race. As a result of social, political, economic, religious, and cultural factors, Jewish bodies were projected as being abnormal. Thus, pseudoscience was used as a tool for reinventing/protecting the German nation by preserving the blood of the glorious bodily conception of the German people.
    • The continuing problem of housing discrimination in America

      Tatunczak, Trevor (2021-05)
      This study provides a comprehensive review of housing discrimination in the United States throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. African Americans and other non-white minorities have been subjected to discrimination in many sectors, including (but not limited to) employment, education, and housing. While the disadvantages faced by minorities in these sectors are all connected, the primary focus of this study is discrimination in housing. Along with a review of past housing discrimination practices, we will be looking at modern day practices that have been employed to perpetuate this unjust system. Furthermore, we will explore housing discrimination in Dutchess and Ulster Counties to provide a local context for a national problem.
    • Creating a model of integrated restorative justice and treatment for juvenile sex offenders

      Quinn, Caitlin (2018-05)
      The current United States criminal justice system uses a strictly punitive approach in handling cases of sex offenses committed by juveniles. This paper addresses the failures of the current system and analyzes the positive and negative aspects of three alternative models: restorative justice, multisystemic therapy, and the Good Lives Model. Drawing on sociological, criminological, and feminist literature, crime databases, and interviews with professionals in the fields of restorative and juvenile justice, it is shown that no single model meets the needs of stakeholders in juvenile sex offense cases. Instead, I will propose an integrated holistic model of restorative justice and multifaceted treatment that utilizes the most effective aspects of existing alternative models and adds program components related to sexuality and consent would be most beneficial for use with juvenile sex offenders.
    • The dangers of plastic

      DePaola, Nicole (2019-12)
      Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to make plastics and has been found to be a xenoestrogen. Planaria (Girardia tigrina), regenerating flatworms, were exposed to BPA and deuterated BPA (D8-BPA). Phenotypic effects of BPA on the planaria were recorded during exposure and BPA was then extracted to quantify the amount absorbed by the flatworms. Deuterated BPA (D8-BPA) was used to distinguish added BPA from BPA already present in the organism from supply-chain contamination. A control experiment tested whether the multiple washes performed after incubation removed physisorbed BPA from planaria. Additional analysis was performed using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC, reverse phase). Improvements in HPLC method to analyze BPA and D8-BPA resulted in better separation between BPA and D8-BPA peaks. Gas chromatography mass spectroscopy (GCMS) was used to quantify BPA/D8 BPA. It is concluded that planarian regeneration is negatively affected by exposure to 20 M concentrations of BPA/D8-BPA, planaria absorbed BPA and D8-BPA from solution, the washing method removed most physisorbed BPA, and decreasing the HPLC pump flow rate improved peak separation. This section describes studies done by other researchers to explore detrimental effects of BPA on humans, including miscarriage, infertility, obesity, and sexual dysfunction. The detrimental environmental effects of excessive plastic use, plastic alternatives, and solutions to reducing the damage of plastic are also described.
    • A defense of a Mandevillean conception of virtue

      Brydges, Caitlin (2019-05)
      Bernard Mandeville stood in dire opposition to the 18th century Augustinian moral tradition with his work The Fable of the Bees in which he argued that private vices can be public benefits. In response to his paradox, many of his contemporaries responded with resistance and criticism. In my thesis I respond to two such criticisms; one is by George Berkeley, and the other is by Francis Hutcheson. Each of their critiques represents a large body of other criticisms of Mandeville, and I defend Mandeville’s writing against both these responses on account of their misunderstandings of his work. Both of these criticisms attempt to evade the ultimatum Mandeville implicitly puts forth in his poem: embrace a rigorous standard of virtue at the cost of industry or abandon virtue in pursuit of economic prosperity. I attempt to reconcile the ultimatum with a Mandevillean reframing of virtue. This conception rejects the rigorous standard of virtue insofar as it does not require complete and total self-denial as a prerequisite for virtue; virtuous actions in this conception can have a self-regarding element. Through this reframed understanding, society can maintain virtuous conduct and economic prosperity.
    • Designing novels for a visual audience: font psychology, digital text, and the value of printed books

      Gay, Lauren (2020-05)
      In early book design, printed text was defined by production demands and economic pressures. The standard of book design that most people are familiar with reflects traditional needs for communication. Now that modern society has evolved beyond the need for printed text and relies primarily on digital media to receive information, book design must reach a new standard of artistic and personal value to remain relevant. This paper analyzes the history of printed books and their transition from a primary source of information into an art form, as well as the differences between digital and printed texts, font psychology, and the necessity of defining print and digital reading as separate experiences. The primary outcome of this study is a redesign of the classic novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë that highlights the central moments of the novel in a way that is visually appealing and more understandable to a large audience.
    • The devil can cite scripture for his purpose: Shakespeare’s use of the parable of the Prodigal Son in ​Henry IV, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear​, and ​The Tempest

      Almeyda, Dariana (2020-05)
      Scholars have long identified the Bible as one of William Shakespeare’s main sources of inspiration. An extension to “The Devil Can Cite Scripture for His Purpose: Shakespeare’s Use of Biblical Allusions in ​The Merchant of Venice,”​ this paper explores Shakespeare’s implementation and reimagining of the parable of the Prodigal Son in ​Henry IV, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear,​ and ​The Tempest.​ His manipulation of the parable creates a universal sense of morality for the characters in each play and serves as a common ground for audiences of his time to understand and better relate to his works. To modern readers, his reworkings of the parable also serve as a social commentary on sixteenth-century English society steeped in religious conflicts and motifs. He creates several characters that act like prodigals, a term socially recognized by its relation to the parable found in Luke 15, but also universally understood as both an adjective and noun to mean “spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant. / A person who spends money in a recklessly extravagant way” (“Prodigal”). ​Shakespeare’s various reworkings of this parable prompt a conversation about the price of forgiveness, love, and whether or not grace and mercy are truly free.
    • Different types of social protection and progress on SDG 1: no hunger - an examination of social protection coverage across programs in Latin America using SDG Indicator 1.3.1.

      Tipu, Ahmad (2019-05)
      The alleviation of poverty in Latin America has largely relied upon social protection programs in the form of conditional cash transfers. SDG 1 provides a space for such programs to be considered as part of the global sustainable development effort within its own Indicator 1.3.1 which measures social protection coverage. This paper uses that framework as a model to examine programs in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Panama on the basis of poverty alleviation as defined by Indicator 1.3.1. By using the UNECLAC’s database of Non-Contributory Social Protection Programs in conjunction with the World Bank Atlas of Social Protection I narrowed down my focus to a change in percent coverage over time which is constructed using variables from the aforementioned databases. The ensuing results show gradual increases in coverage for Brazil’s Bolsa Familia, Mexico’s Oportunidades/Progresas, and Panama’s Red de Oportunidades accompanied by decreases in coverage for Argentina’s Jefas y Jefes and Chile’s Solidario. Although these results show a commitment to poverty alleviation as per SDG 1 the overall picture is mixed due to incomplete databases, limited range of disaggregated data, and the lack of consensus on a capability-based definition of poverty. Keywords: International Relations, Social Protection, Social Welfare, Latin America, Sustainable Development Goals, SDG, United Nations, Bolsa Familia, Brazil, Chile, Solidario, Mexico, Oportunidades/Progresa, Panama, Red de Oportunidades, Argentina, Jefes y Jefas de Hogar, conditional cash transfer, integrated anti-poverty program, poverty, poverty alleviation, World Bank, UNECLAC, International Labour Organization
    • Dissecting space

      Pellechia, Emily (2021-05)
      I have always found comfort in the smaller parts of nature. For as long as I can remember, as much as I love the bigger picture, the details are what make it even more beautiful. It reminds me that everything has an impact and all of the world is connected on a deeper level. When I see rain droplets on leaves, I think about the water cycle, I think about how that tree was planted, how its roots have taken hold in the ground and become a home to so many other organisms. My thesis work has taken me on an exploration into what connects us with nature; how we are the same and where we differ from one another.
    • Diversity in education: a dialogue or monologue?

      Kwan, Karina (2019-05)
      Classrooms grow increasingly diverse yearly and encouraging an inclusive environment may be difficult as time is rapidly changing. When mirroring the pedagogies teacher candidates are learning, it is important for them to continuously encourage diverse perspectives in their own classrooms. Learning should be done through many collective lenses of multicultural education to allow debate and differential opinions to enhance learning beyond the classroom. Addressing hard topics and stereotypes to learners in an appropriate way can be difficult. It is important for teacher candidates to lead by example when it comes to diverse thinking and promoting self-discovery. Comparing materials that teacher candidates have to read and looking at many educational leaders’ work like Wayne Au and Lisa Delpit, can help in understanding different aspects of multicultural education and raises the question of how can teacher candidates accurately and effectively address diversity in their classroom.
    • Don’t keep it bottled up: an analysis of black glass wine bottles at Historic Huguenot Street New Paltz, NY

      Slater, Reuben (2019-05)
      Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz New York has been a site of human activity stretching back well over nine thousand years, including the Native American Munsee speakers and the French Huguenots who settled New Paltz in 1677. Archaeological excavations over the past twenty years have helped to uncover the rich prehistory and history at the site. In this paper I introduce and examine seventeenth century English black glass wine bottles, as objects of analysis that help illuminate the material culture and foodways of these early Huguenots. Furthermore, I demonstrate how an analysis of this material culture and their foodways, excavated from Historic Huguenot Street builds a data set on the social and economic lives of the Huguenots that the written record does not. This paper will draw heavily from the theoretical framework of Louis Binford’s trinomic categorization of artifacts into the ideotechnic, sociotechnic and technomic spheres to analyze the artifacts in question and gain insight on the interaction between the Huguenots and the world around them.
    • Dream catchers

      LaSita, Emily (2020-05)
      Laurel is a fifteen-year-old who has grown up in foster-care, moving from home to home. She considers herself to be fairly normal, aside from the small fact that she keeps having dreams of dead people she doesn’t know, asking for their dying wishes. When her caseworker, Gina, brings Laurel to her new rich foster-family, where she must attend a new school with privileged kids, she begins to uncover the mysteries of their lives as well as her own. Some things aren’t as they seem and what might happen to her new friends, the memory of her “clients” and Gina if these secrets are exposed?
    • Drift

      Epstein, Dani (2018-05)
      By altering the form and function of traditional objects, I create a looser interpretation of familiar forms. The resulting objects propose to shift and change with the user’s needs; this constant engagement is meant to create a long lasting and changing relationship between object and owner. I create forms that are abstract enough to allow new meanings and uses to be invented; extending beyond my vision and initial intentions for each piece.