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Rock Ethics Institute Announces Honors Thesis Research Awards

The Rock Ethics Institute's Honors Thesis Research Awards are presented to undergraduate students in the Paterno Fellows Program who are researching ethics-related topics in their theses. The award provides financial support for thesis research and related activities. Following the completion of their theses, awardees are asked to present their research at a Rock Ethics Institute event and contribute a blog post on their research for the Rock Ethics Institute Blog.

The Rock Ethics Institute's Honors Thesis Research Awards are presented to undergraduate students in the Paterno Fellows Program who are researching ethics-related topics in their theses. The award provides financial support for thesis research and related activities.  Following the completion of their theses, awardees are asked to present their research at a Rock Ethics Institute event and contribute a blog post on their research for the Rock Ethics Institute Everyday Ethics page.  This year, four undergraduates were presented with awards:

Leah Galmaba

Leah Galmaba is a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Spanish. As an economic student with a focus on international relations and plans to work in the public sector, Leah intends to study income inequality in South America by identifying its origins, researching the economic policies both formerly and currently in place, and analyzing the effects on the citizens of these nations.  Leah’s research will first involve examining economic data in order to draw conclusions on the effects of economic policy on various aspects of society including employment, GDP, income distribution, and income per capita. The second portion of Leah’s research will involve traveling to Peru to see firsthand the effects of neoliberalist policies on the people of the country. She believes that gathering this qualitative data is imperative in representatively completing her thesis. Leah hopes to correlate the effects of neoliberalist policies on the rampant income inequality in South America and be able to use that information to create policies that lead to a healthier and more economically equal future in developing nations.

Jake Pelini

Jake Pelini is a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with minors in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, History, and Italian. Jake intends to write an interdisciplinary thesis that focuses on international carceral systems and their role in promoting national identity. His interest is focused on the prison regimes of Communist Romania, and understanding their role in marginalizing racial and ethnic minorities. Jake will travel to Romania this summer to complete research for his thesis. He hopes to explore how, in terms of identity, the prison is a transformative space for both inmates, who often identify as minorities, and those not behind bars.

Alexander Riviere

Alex Riviere is a sophomore pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Finance. This summer, Alex will be working for a branch company of Johnson & Johnson called McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Johnson & Johnson has been a leader in the pharmaceutical industry, acquiring over 250 companies since inception. In his thesis, Alex will research the ethics involved in these acquisitions, finding answers to questions such as: “What changes occur when a company is acquired by Johnson & Johnson?”, “Do these changes enhance the ability for companies to produce the medical devices or pharmaceutical products or does it inhibit and exploit them?” and, “Does the acquisition end up being good for Johnson & Johnson but worse for any stakeholder who was going to benefit from the continued research while the company was independent?”. The preliminary stage of research will be acquired through interviews with executives at Johnson & Johnson.

T.J. Sullivan

Timothy (TJ) Sullivan is a junior pursing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and French with a minor in Dance. He is a research assistant and lab coordinator for both the Relationships and Stress Lab and Dr. Louis Castonguay's Lab in the Department of Psychology. TJ's honors thesis will investigate the role of decreased expression of emotion, or emotional inexpressivity, in the relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and intimate partner violence (IPV) suspects. His plan for research includes examining both individual and partner characteristics in couples to understand how both partners' inexpression could predict IPV within the context of PTSD. Overall, the goal of this research is to identify an important component of communication in relationships to better inform treatment approaches and prevention efforts in targeting particularly harmful and costly consequences of PTSD.

If you would like to learn more about the Rock Ethics Institute’s Honors Thesis Awards, please visit the awards page.