November Team Meeting

November’s research meeting at CMAC was a “small but mighty” gathering!

Allana, our undergraduate intern from BU, took the spotlight today to show her progress on developing a model for the factors contributing to suicide in rural areas, as part of the STARS-Montana project. Social isolation, access to firearms, and veteran status are just a few factors that increase the flow rate of suicide. Connor suggested researching “frontier psychology” and rugged individualism as cultural phenomena notable in the American West. Building theoretical models from a comprehensive literature review is often the first step in finding solutions to complex social problems like suicide. Combined with data of every suicide in Montana since 2012, this model could provide policy makers with a robust tool to stop the epidemic. Allana has been doing great research and we’re excited to see what comes next.

Catherine brainstormed new ideas for the next phase of ASPECT-Hub: clinical trials, a language-enabled social robot, new innovations from our partner, the Virginia Modeling and Simulation Center. There are many opportunities for future applications of this project.

Connor is almost finished with a paper on the Spectrums project, specifically about the Multidimensional Religious Ideology survey. This paper will explore data we collected about people’s religious beliefs, practices, and moral instincts. This research has potential to examine the rift between religious, ideological, and political groups in the United States.

Ali has submitted her first National Science Foundation grant for viaSTEM! Learning the governmental process in development will be helpful for applying to grants in the future. She’s eager to use this knowledge to pursue more governmental grants for other CMAC projects.

Julia has been helping CMAC Research Associate Megan K. DeFranza create a website for her recent documentary, Stories of Intersex and Faith. The website features a video-enabled landing page, one-page scrolling features, and lots of beautiful and engaging stills from the film. She is also editing a promotional video for CMAC featuring Connor, and will release it soon!