June 13, 2023

2023 – 2024 Crossing Boundaries Research Award Fellows

Everything Is Connected

The Office of Research, Sponsored Programs & Grants and the Transdisciplinary Studies Program are pleased to announce the Crossing Boundaries Research Award Fellows for the 2023 – 2024 academic year. The recipients and brief descriptions of their research projects are listed below. This is an impressive set of projects that illustrate the high-quality, high-impact research conducted across CGU. Congratulations!

Javier Aguilar

Center for Information Systems & Technology

“Exploring the Relationship of Land Use in the Quality of Life of Modern-Day Los

This research examines the relationship between zoning land use and socioeconomic variables (from the United States Census Bureau) to delve Richard Rothstein premise in The Color of Law of the insidious nature of discrimination in land use policy. It explores this premise for modern-day City of Los Angeles, by employing advanced geospatial and data science techniques to data engineer, visualize, analyze, and model over 800,000 parcel records for Los Angeles, along with the latest American Community Survey data at block group level, and other related data.

This research will utilize a transdisciplinary approach with data science and social science methods to investigate Rothstein’s premise by addressing several questions. Does land use play an important role in equity, diversity, environmental justice, and other societal components in the City of Los Angeles communities’ quality of life? Are there disparities in communities in the City of Los Angeles? If yes, are these communities distributed randomly or clustered? Do these communities have certain demographic and land use characteristics? For the analyses, I will use the Cross Industry Standard Process for Data Mining (CRISP-DM). CRISP-DM six phases are: project understanding, data understanding, data preparation, modeling, evaluation, and deployment.

Essentially, this research employs data and science to tell the stories of millions of Angelenos which may be repeatable to other parts of the United States to address the implications of land use policies on communities.

Rebecca Donaldson

Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences

“Developmental Stuttering & Flow Experiences Among Adults: An Exploratory

Roughly 1% of the population experiences developmental stuttering throughout their lives. Broadly speaking, developmental stuttering is a disruption of fluent speech, characterized by blocks, repetitions, and prolongations that begin in childhood. Its onset is predominately in early childhood with most people beginning to stutter between 18 months and 9 years of age (Türkili et al., 2022). It is a global phenomenon that is not specific to gender, culture, language, or race (Türkili et al., 2022). However, it is more commonly found in boys than in girls, with a male-to-female ratio of up to 4.6 (Van Borsel et al., 2006). Genetics and temperament have also been found to play a role. To date, an abundance of research on stuttering has helped us to understand that individuals vary in their disfluencies with different people and in different contexts. (Tichenor & Yaruss, 2021). While this is understood, no research to date has thoroughly explored when people are most fluent and why (Tichenor & Yaruss, 2021). Given that flow is a state in which social self-consciousness is lost, exploring this mental state among individuals who stutter may allude important findings for supporting their fluency and well-being.

Ximena Giesemann

Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences

“Momentary Cancer Caregiver Well-Being: A Call for Unobtrusive Tools and
Dynamic Methodologies”

The lives of informal cancer caregivers (ICCs)–individuals who provide unpaid care for a cancer patient–are multifaceted. The role of cancer caregiver introduces unique and complex demands for the ICC that emanate from multiple levels of their bioecological system (e.g., psychological, physiological, social). While there have been attempts to examine ICC well-being, most of the extant research relies on methodologies that are either too obtrusive or not well suited for capturing the complexities of the multiple systems in which they are embedded. Thus, I will work with a group of health informatics scientists to build a technology-based tool to assess the complexities of ICC’s lives in an unobtrusive way in order to gain a robust understanding of ICC health and well-being as it unfolds in their ecological contexts. Bringing knowledge from the psychological sciences, I will work on this transdisciplinary project to design an Ecological Momentary Assessment study delivered via a tailored smartphone app paired with health monitors to the ICCs. The study features the following aims: 1) Effectively tailor a health informatics tool to assess the complexities of ICC’s daily experiences in an unobtrusive manner; 2) Identify bioecological elements most important for ICC’s health and well-being; and 3) Determine patterns of dynamical changes in bioecological elements across time and their relation to ICC and patient health and well-being. Findings from this study can inform health and well-being interventions for ICCs that are unobtrusive, accessible, and personalized.

Charo Darwin Glomah

School of Educational Studies

“Leading an Urban Middle School with a Critical Lens”

K12 Educational leadership in the modern industrial society demands a transdisciplinary approach whereby the leader must possess qualities and skills that span several domains and draw from sociological philosophies and critical pedagogies. Historically, leadership frames borrow from philosophical theories but lack a critical pedagogical perspective for the demands required of today’s school leaders. While most researchers agree that effective leaders use more than one leadership lens in a given frame, most theories, frames, and leadership styles are refined versions of one another. This project explores the approach taken by a middle school principal and will
describe how leadership actions inform a critical approach. The author intends to advance the work and provide strategies to lead with a lens of critical pedagogy through observations, interviews, and critical analysis of leadership from the perspective of a middle school principal in Long Beach, California.

Dong Hoang

School of Community & Global Health

“A case study of the resilience of a health service over the impacts of covid-19

Different from health system resilience, the resilience of healthcare service is defined as the proactive capacity that organisations, units, teams and individuals enact to adapt to changes and potential challenges in everyday practices in order to get high quality care (Aase et al., 2020). The countries, which developing resilient health services and systems, can effectively prevent, prepare for, detect, adapt to, respond to and recover from public health threats while ensuring the maintenance of quality essential and routine health services in all contexts, including in fragile, conflict and violence settings (WHO, n.d.). However, there is still a gap to understand how resilient health care works within existing health care systems, how to enhance it and how it can be sustained (Iflaifel et al., 2020). Therefore, the dissertation research explores how a health service is resilient over the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, a big crisis affecting different health system levels. By applying the resilient theories from diverse scientific disciplines such as engineering, psychology, ecology, and sociology to build its theoretical framework and using Donabedian’s model of healthcare quality to assess the quality of the healthcare service, this dissertation will discover the healthcare quality outcomes of adjusting functions and resources of a healthcare service against the big crisis as well as factors affecting on the adjustment and provide lessons to develop and sustain resilient healthcare services.

Aase, K., Guise, V., Billett, S., Sollid, S. J. M., Njå, O., Røise, O., Manser, T., Anderson, J. E., & Wiig, S. (2020). Resilience in Healthcare (Rih): A longitudinal research programme protocol. BMJ Open, 10(10), e038779. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-038779

Iflaifel, M., Lim, R. H., Ryan, K., & Crowley, C. (2020). Resilient Health Care: A systematic review of conceptualisations, study methods and factors that develop resilience. BMC Health Services Research, 20(1), 324. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05208-3

World Health Organization or WHO (n.d.) Health Systems Resilience. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://www.who.int/teams/primary-health-care/our-work/health-systems-resilience

Giang Huynh

Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences

“Evaluation within Institutional Research in the Effort of Driving Institutional
Effectiveness: A Cross-Disciplinary Exploratory Study”

The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between evaluation and institutional effectiveness and how evaluation would contribute and impacts institutional effectiveness in higher education. Previous research on better practice and institutional effectiveness often emphasized on the improvement of accountability and accreditation (Morest, 2009; Gagliardi & Wellman, 2014). This constrained institutional research to a more passive role of mandated reporting and less focused on taking an advocating of enhancing institutional effectiveness. Limited literature has been done to explore how implementing evaluation in institutional research offices could play a role in facilitating institutional effectiveness. Using mixed methodology of interviewing and document reviewing, this study seeks to examine how the chief data officers perceive the role of evaluation within their office institutional research and whether evaluation was incorporated to facilitate institutional effectiveness. Twelve semi-structure interviews will be conducted among those who are at the managerial positions of their institutional research offices. Institutional reports and documents published on the office websites will also be reviewed to explore how and whether evaluation was incorporated in their effort to drive effectiveness. This cross-disciplinary exploratory research will provide insights to how evaluation is perceived within institutional research offices and how it could support institutional effectiveness. This qualitative study hopes to contribute and address the gap in the literature on evaluation within institutional research in an attempt to better the practice and increase institutional effectiveness.

Robin Lehleitner

School of Arts & Humanities

“Paul Tillich’s World War I Sermons: Translation and Critical History”

On 1 October 1914, two months after the start of World War I, the twenty-eight-year-old philosophical theologian Paul Tillich (1886-1965) enlisted in the German Imperial Army and was immediately deployed to the Western Front (Bieuxy, near Soisson) as a field chaplain. Over the next four years, the two divisions with which he would be sequentially posted participated in some of the most violent conflicts of the war. During his post-WWI lifetime, Tillich never referred to the 106 sermons he wrote and preached during these years, but neither did he destroy them. Since his death these handwritten German-language sermons have been housed in the Harvard Divinity School Library archive,1 along with the sixty-seven sermons Tillich wrote and preached in the five years before the war. In 1993, the German philosophical theologian Erdmann Sturm transcribed all of these sermons from Tillich’s difficult to decipher turn-of-the-century Kurrentschrift and published them as Parts I and II of Frühe Predigten (1909-1918), the seventh volume of Tillich’s Ergänzungs- und Nachlassbände.2 To date, they have not been translated into English. The primary purpose of this dissertational project is to convene a committee of academics for the purpose of facilitating their translation en toto.

1. Paul Tillich, Weltkriegspredigten. Paul Tillich Papers, 1894-1974. bMS 649/30 (1)-bMS 649/31 (73). Harvard Divinity School Library, Harvard University.

2. Paul Tillich, Frühe Predigten (1909-1918), Ergänzungs- und Nachlassbände zu den gesammelten Werken von Paul Tillich VII, Hrsg. Erdmann Sturm, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1994. “Fragments, sketches and drafts have not been included,” Sturm explains in his textual-critical introduction, “or, exceptionally, if their content is meaningful and original,” „Zur editorischen Gestaltung,“ Frühe Predigten, p. VIII. Sturm chose not to transcribe the approximately forty-five wartime sermons he judged Tillich to have left unfinished, although he lists them at the end of the book (pgs. 666-670) according to the biblical text Tillich appends to each and includes a brief paraphrase of each central theme. While the standards of contemporary scholarship will not readily embrace a dependence on Sturm’s personal judgment concerning the lack of “meaningful[ness]” or “original[ity]” of the sermons he chooses not to transcribe, one is also aware of the already gargantuan task he shouldered in transcribing the 106 WWI sermons that do appear in Frühe Predigten into legible modern German.

Moina Maaz

School of Arts & Humanities

“Unveiling the American Muslim Women’s Social Space”

Islam is one of the most misunderstood religions because of the violence and hostility attributed to it by the ideologies and practices of radical Muslim groups and by the concept of Orientalism that rejects Islam and perceives it as the unintelligible “other” that needs to be “civilized.” The West has been generalizing these practices of radical Muslims and attributing them to the core of Islam. Moreover, Muslim women have been a part of this dilemma as they are viewed as oppressed and submissive to the men within their religion and religious practices. My research explores the personalized social space that young Muslim women constructed in the United States after 9/11. This space is based on religious tradition, education, fashion, sport, careers, and interactions with social media. Through this space, the young Muslim women present a new facade of Islam compatible with religious duties and American values. The personalized social space that young Muslim women constructed and still construct in the United States is safe for the American public to enter and explore Islam and Muslim women. It is safe because it appeals to Western ideals of athleticism, professionalism, education, modern fashion, and, most importantly, good citizenship. This research will help bring forward a new understanding of Islam and the rights and duties of Muslim women, Islam which can be compatible with the values of freedom, equity, and autonym, especially for women.

Kimberly (Kim) Megyesi-Brem

School of Educational Studies

“Middle School Math Practices in the US and Japan that Increase Bridging Social
Capital of Low-SES Students Through Economic Connectedness”

Unequal access to curriculum has resulted in inequalities for low-SES and underrepresented students (Carroll & Muller, 2018; Conwell, 2021; Hallinan, 2006; Oakes, 2005). Internationally, the US has the second largest gap in math achievement between the 10th and 90th percentiles, and stagnating 8th grade scores between 2015 to 2019 were related to the gap widening (TIMSS, 2021). A key to understanding this issue may be found in bridging social capital, which describes ways in which the sharing of resources across social networks benefits individuals (Putnam, 2000; 2007). According to Chetty et al. (2022a; 2022b), economic connectedness is the type of social capital with the greatest potential for social mobility. They conclude that schools with optimal economic connectedness are those where low-SES students have more above-average SES classmates (high exposure) and there is greater connectedness across SES differences (low friending bias).

In this international comparative study, the United States and Japan provide an informative comparison because of their relative differences in economic heterogeneity (the US) and homogeneity (Japan) and differences in ability grouping practices—within-school in the US and between-school in Japan. Data from 8th grade students in the US and Japan from the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) will be used to analyze ways in
which economic connectedness mediates the impact of SES on math course-taking and math achievement in middle school through school and classroom practices. Findings may highlight new efforts that hold promise to increase math achievement for students from low-SES backgrounds.

Asia Moore

Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences

“‘Can You Hear Us Now?’: A Case Study Exploration of Drumming Circles as a Context for Social-Emotional Empowerment Amongst Urban Youth of Color”

The field of positive youth development (PYD) has shifted the emphasis from youth deficits and pathologies towards identifying the strengths that help young people survive and thrive amidst even the most difficult of circumstances. Substantial work has shown that programs and interventions targeting social-emotional indicators like self-esteem and self-efficacy are particularly effective at empowering today’s youth. Furthermore, numerous evaluations of youth programming have shown these benefits are strengthened and sustained over time when youth are given more leadership opportunities within programs to practice implementing these social-emotional skills.

Despite this robust evidence, opportunities for youth voice to be heard and centered remain limited in both research and programming—a reality even more pervasive for youth of color living in urban contexts. As a result, the current project leverages a research-practice partnership that centers youth voice at each step of its design, application, and dissemination. By using an evidence-based social-emotional drumming program as an empowering context for development, this case study will utilize experience sampling methods (ESM) to examine the critical experiences that emerge for urban youth of color when given programmatic leadership opportunities. Ultimately, this project seeks to provide these often-unheard youth with the platform to be heard, to make a difference in their communities, and to be positioned as experts of their own contexts and circumstances.

Angel Reyes

School of Community & Global Health

“Modelling The Future of Congressional Districts with Equitable Policy Recommendations”

A cost reduction strategy for the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be the by-product of this geospatial exploration of community assets and income inequality. The existing scholarly research needs to analyze the relationship between community assets and income inequality with geospatial considerations. This project will bridge the research gap advancing social mobility literature by understanding the structural factors that produce income inequality. Structural factors such as community assets reduce income inequality by facilitating upward social mobility translating to healthier individuals that require less medical care from the CMS. Bridging this research gap will create a new pathway to promote individual health through understanding income inequality’s structural factors, such as community assets.

Jaymes Paolo Rombaoa

Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences

“What is Well-Being for Emerging Adults? Using Big Data to Answer a Big Question”

Emerging adults are in a transition phase from adolescence to adulthood and are prone to mental health illnesses at higher rates than other adult age groups. After decades of research on well-being in the psychological sciences, there is no consensus on what elements comprise well-being for emerging adults. In response to the psychological needs of emerging adults and the limitations of current well-being scholarship, the current research applies cross-disciplinary theories and methods from the fields of psychology, network, and data science, to provide a fresh perspective on an age-old question: what makes up well-being? This project aims to answer this question for the vulnerable stage of emerging adulthood. Specifically, I aim to: (1) identify psychological and physiological elements that have high predictive power for college-attending and non-college-attending emerging adults’ well-being, and (2) investigate personalized networks of psychological and physiological elements essential for each individual. Analyses will be based on a month-long, intensive longitudinal study of a sample of college-attending and non-college-attending emerging adults. Top-down (theoretically-driven assessments) and bottom-up approaches (participant-informed assessments) will be used to identify elements with the highest predictive power of well-being for this population. Results will enrich well-being scholarship by providing knowledge of whether theoretically-driven well-being elements match participant-driven well-being elements (as reported during their real-world, real-time contexts). Additionally, results can inform researchers and practitioners on how to formulate personalized well-being interventions and tailor counseling programs to emerging adults’ individual needs and lifestyles.

Sophie Sileo

Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences

“Psychological Safety in High School Students: What it is, How it’s Created, and Why it Matters”

As technology, global warming, and inequality make our world ever more complex, it will be up to the next generation of changemakers to create innovative solutions. But to address these wicked problems, students must first practice making mistakes and taking risks in a safe environment. This project proposes that fostering psychological safety in students will benefit the student personally and serve as the foundation that will empower them to solve complex issues in the future. In this mixed-methods study, I will examine the psychological safety of 9th-12th graders who are in a project-based program called REDI Lab. Enrolled students are members of one of three diverse groups: private school students, students in the general Denver area, and Art Street students who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. There is limited research on the psychological safety of students, and none on how to foster it across social strata, which is what this study aims to achieve. Due to the complex nature of this issue, methods and theory from several fields are used, including evaluation; positive, social, and organizational psychology; education; data science; and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Overall, the aim of this study is to begin building a theoretical framework about how we can bolster students of all backgrounds via psychological safety. If our world has any hope of being more equitable, sustainable, and peaceful, then it is our responsibility as researchers and humans to give students the tools they will need to dream big and persist in the face of resistance.

Luciana Simion and Ashley Watterson

Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences

Joint Research Project

“Exploring the Complexities of Multiracial Leaders Development: A Transdisciplinary Study on the Influence of Upbringing Experiences”

As globalization seems to accelerate, the development of cross-culturally competent leaders is growing into a constant concern for organizations. However, not all can afford to implement standardized performance systems to support global leadership talent through dedicated development interventions. Therefore, if we are to develop the next generation of global leaders, other methods and pathways should be explored to close the gap and democratize cross-cultural leadership development experiences in a way that is accessible to everyone. This study explores multiracial individuals’ leadership capabilities and how their upbringing experiences and cultural identities impact their ability to lead effectively in cross-cultural settings. Leveraging a qualitative research design, including interviews with multiracial leaders and their followers, and inductive thematic analysis, this study’s emergent findings suggest that multiracial leaders are skilled in managing followers’ perceptions, perspective-taking, and leveraging code-switching abilities as a strength for building connection and trust. On the other hand, they may require additional emotional and mental labor to make others comfortable, receive equal treatment, and build trust and understanding. Such findings have significant implications for organizations seeking to cultivate and nurture multiracial leaders in their workforce and can contribute to the development of global leaders through identity development, experiential learning, self-reflection, perspective-taking, and creating psychological safe environments for multiracial to manifesting their true/authentic self in the workplace. These findings can advance understanding across-fields, particularly around leadership development, social identity theory, organizational justice, multiculturalism and diversity, and strategic management.

Sneha Suresh

Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences

“Developing Best-Practices Guidelines for Reducing Eyewitness Misidentifications”

After a crime, eyewitnesses are frequently presented with a photographic lineup to assess if they can identify the perpetrator. Prior to viewing the photographic lineup, eyewitnesses are administered instructions. In many jurisdictions, these instructions include an Appearance Change Instruction (ACI), stating that if the perpetrator is in the lineup, their appearance may have changed since the crime. Prior studies have reported, though, that the ACI may increase misidentifications of the wrong person without increasing correct identifications of the actual perpetrator. This is problematic, with mistaken identifications contributing to approximately 72% of wrongful convictions in the US. However, previous research reported no ACI benefit, possibly because the actual perpetrator’s appearance changes were modest. In the proposed research program, we present a stronger test of the effectiveness of the ACI by using perpetrator faces with distinctive features for more salient appearance changes. We then test the effectiveness of two versions of the ACI: Brief and Extensive. Experiment 1 assesses the ACI with distinctive facial features that could change over time (e.g., a bruise); Experiment 2 assesses the ACI with distinctive features unlikely to change over time (e.g., a tattoo). In both experiments, the extensive ACI condition is predicted to produce more accurate identifications than the no-ACI condition. Further, the Extensive ACI is predicted to produce more accurate identifications than the no-ACI and the brief ACI. The results of this study will inform our understanding of the cognitive processes involved in facial recognition and also legal policies, criminal justice reform, and Police Science.

Emily Zavala

Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences

“Estimating Risk in 9-1-1 Calls: Exploring the Role of Mental Health and
Organizational Factors on Call Prioritization”

When emergency call-takers receive public-initiated requests for assistance through 9-1-1 calls, they are required to accurately estimate risk so they can properly classify and prioritize calls for service and dispatch the appropriate response. Call prioritization relies on the call-taker’s accurate appraisal of risk which could be affected by a variety of variables, including organizational factors (i.e., job experience) and mental health factors (i.e., the level of secondary traumatic stress (STS) resulting from exposure to traumatic calls). Currently, organizations have considered addressing inaccurate call prioritization by implementing standardized protocols. However, by using multiple perspectives in clinical psychology, human capital, decision-making, and risk assessment, the impact of job experience and STS on risk assessment can be viewed on a more holistic level rather than purely through policy and procedures. This Crossing Boundaries research project aims to analyze the relationship between job experience and risk estimation in 9-1-1 calls and examine whether STS moderates this relationship. Data collection and analysis will use policy-capturing methodology, which is one of several social judgement techniques that utilizes regression analysis. Participants will be exposed to 15 audio vignettes that assess their risk estimation of 9-1-1 calls. In addition, participants will complete the Secondary Traumatic Stress Survey, a 17-item self-administered questionnaire used in clinical psychology specifically to measure STS symptoms in social workers but will be adapted for 9-1-1 professionals. The impact of this research could shed light on organizational strategies or well-being initiatives that call-takers can use to correctly appraise 9-1-1 calls and accurately prioritize police response.

The Crossing Boundaries Research Award is generously funded by the “Richter Memorial Funds Master Code, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.” The Office of Research, Sponsored Programs, and Grants and the Transdisciplinary Studies Program thank them generously supporting our students and their research.