Campus News & Events

Wesleyan Media Project Expands Into Health Policy Analysis

WMP logoThe Wesleyan Media Project, which for the past two federal election cycles has tracked and analyzed campaign television ad spending, is expanding into the realm of health policy analysis with a new study examining media coverage accompanying the Fall 2013 rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplace.

The question of inquiry: How did media coverage of the ACA (commonly called “Obamacare”) differ state to state—or even within states—and what impact might this have on new health insurance enrollments? Findings were published July 18 in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law from Duke University Press.

The new project grew out of the Govt 378 Advanced Topics in Media Analysis course taught by Assistant Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, this past Fall. Students in the course were given a choice to investigate either elections-related media or health media. Initially, a small group of students in the course began a limited exploration of advertisements and local news coverage of the Affordable Care Act in 12 states during the October 2013 rollout of the health insurance marketplace. They noted some interesting geographic differences in media coverage, and decided to investigate further. The project was expanded to include all eight students in the course, who together developed and tested a coding sheet, which would be used to code the content of local television news coverage of the Affordable Care Act.

The effort went into overdrive during Fall break, when Fowler and Laura Baum (project manager with the Wesleyan Media Project and a lab manager in Govt 378) hired 40 more students to contribute to the project. The eight Govt 378 students, plus a veteran Wesleyan Media Project student worker, took the reins to train the new student workers in how to code TV news segments. The team collected clips from a commercial content provider, and used its system to conduct a search of the closed caption text for words related to the ACA.

To refine the overwhelming list of potential ACA stories that the coders worked on, Leonid Liu ’14 and Syed “Mansoor” Alam ’15 worked on data analysis preparation, writing syntax to create a priority score for each of 300,000 local news keyword hits to identify the top two local news broadcasts within the highest-rated half-hour of local news in each of 210 media markets. Alumnus Ross Petchler ’12 contributed textual analysis to further refine and prioritize this list. He searched the closed caption information on every news clip for certain ACA-related keywords to give each an “ACA score,” indicating the likelihood that the story actually was about the ACA. This allowed the researchers to narrow their sample and weed out any “false positives.”

One coder on the project, College of Social Studies major Michael Linden ’15, previously coded campaign ads for the Wesleyan Media Project.

“We code the ads for a large range of different variables, from whether the ad is positive or negative to the types of emotional appeals the ad makes to the policy issues (or lack thereof) that it addresses,” he explained. “It was really a neat experience to apply that same kind of analysis to local news coverage of the Affordable Care Act, and it was particularly exciting to get to help new coders learn the ropes on such an important project. Campaigns can often be ugly and make viewers cynical about the democratic process, particularly watching for hours on end. Whereas with the news coverage product, I felt like we had the opportunity to reveal relevant information about political communication, which was particularly cool considering how important the Affordable Care Act is to the current political landscape.”

In addition to studying local news coverage, the team also purchased data from Kantar Media/CMAG (the company which also provides data for the Wesleyan Media Project’s election season campaign ad analysis) on the frequency of health insurance exchange ads, as well as political ads that mentioned the ACA.

The resulting study, published in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law from Duke University Press was co-authored by Fowler; Baum; alumna Sarah Gollust ’01, currently assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health; Colleen Barry of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Jeff Niederdeppe of Cornell University.

The authors knew that the local media is a central vehicle for the provision of information and that coverage would likely influence public attitudes toward the Affordable Care Act, as well as the number and characteristics of those who sign up for insurance through the new marketplace. That is, if fewer than expected people sign up for insurance in a particular location, it might not necessarily be evidence that available insurance plan options weren’t affordable, or that the public wasn’t interested in them. Rather, it could be that the dominant media messages—whether in news or advertisements—contributed to lower public enthusiasm toward insurance options.

The analysis found dramatic geographic differences in the volume and tone of local news coverage, insurance product ads and political ads in 210 local media markets during the two-week period of Oct. 1-17, 2013 following the launch of the health insurance marketplace. Specifically, media messaging was significantly more negative in states where the political climate was generally hostile toward the ACA—those states which chose not to operate their own insurance exchanges, but instead run federal or partnership exchanges. The disparity in volume of coverage was also striking. For example, TV audiences in Kansas City were exposed to more than 1,000 ad airings promoting health insurance options in the two-week period, while those in Nashville, with a similar population size, were exposed to only 50 airings. The researchers even found striking variation in the volume and tone of coverage even within states. For instance, only four news stories mentioning the ACA aired in Syracuse, N.Y. during the time period studied, compared to 14 news stories airing in Buffalo, N.Y. And while local television audiences in Tyler and Lubbock, Tex. saw similar amounts of ACA marketplace-focused coverage, three-quarters of that coverage in Tyler was discouraging, while 60 percent of Lubbock coverage was encouraging. Given these regional disparities, the authors urge researchers and policymakers evaluating the implementation of the ACA marketplaces to consider the role of media influences.

Linden was especially interested in the notion that in more conservative states, which chose not to create their own health insurance exchanges, “the resistance to forming a state-based exchange has become somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy: When you want policy to fail, it often will. In Connecticut, however, we see a very successful state exchange—the most successful in the country, in fact, because our leaders were willing to set up a state exchange and advertise it properly.”

“Increasing evidence suggests that where you live matters for health care delivery and outcomes. What we document in this piece is further evidence to suggest that where you live also matters for what sorts of messages average Americans are likely to receive about enrollment options,” said Fowler. “It’s not altogether surprising that coverage of the exchanges might vary with political environments, but we also document large variations within states. Of course, what we have not yet demonstrated is whether and how much such variation matters for public attitudes and enrollment uptake. That’s a challenge we’re fundraising to take on next.”

According to Fowler, the team is applying for funding to both extend this pilot analysis and to combine its media content measures with surveys to assess the actual influence of media messages on enrollment and public attitudes.

In addition to its expansion into the health policy arena, the Wesleyan Media Project is gearing up for the 2014 midterm elections and will be tracking mentions of the health care law in campaign ads throughout the year. The team plans to release a new analysis in the Fall of campaign ad spending in the 2014 elections, thus far.

Croucher’s Middletown Dig Featured in Courant

The Hartford Courant featured an excavation at the historic Beman Triangle site in Middletown by Sarah Croucher, assistant professor of anthropology, archaeology, and feminist, gender and sexuality studies, and her students.

According to the story:

The dig focuses on 5 acres of land known as the Beman Triangle, a historically significant African American community, enclosed by Vine Street, Cross Street and Knowles Avenue.

The project aims to find household items that will illuminate the daily lives of the area’s 19th century inhabitants…

Read more about the Beman Triangle archaeology project in this 2012 story in the Wesleyan magazine.

Read past Wesleyan Connection stories about the project here, and see an interview with Croucher about the project here.

See the project’s website here.

Beyond the University Makes a Splash

Wesleyan President Michael Roth is the author of a new book published in May 2014.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth is the author of a new book published in May 2014.

A June 10 note to the President’s Office at Wesleyan grabbed attention—Harvard’s Office of Undergraduate Education wanted help in quickly obtaining 125 copies of Michael Roth’s new book to distribute to Harvard faculty members.

The email was indicative of the excitement that Roth’s latest book, Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters (Yale University Press), has generated since it was published in May. The sixth book that Roth has authored, it has received substantial coverage in the national media and has helped put into historical context today’s debates over the value of a broad, liberal education. Roth reminds readers that accusations about the impracticality of liberal education date back to the days of the Founding Fathers, and are never less convincing than now. He draws on the writings of prominent thinkers such as John Dewey, Jane Addams, W.E.B. Dubois and Thomas Jefferson to make the case for a pragmatic liberal education.

Reviews of the book have appeared in The Washington Post and Inside Higher Ed, while a number of related op-eds and essays by Roth have been published in outlets such as The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Boston Globe andThe Daily Beast. President Roth has discussed his book with The Atlantic magazine, and on public radio stations around the country.

“We’ve been delighted with the amount of attention the book is getting, both on the local and national levels. It’s engaging precisely with the big and urgent questions out there about higher education, just as we hoped. President Roth has been a great spokesperson for defending the humanities, which have been under scrutiny of late,” said John Donatich, director of Yale University Press. “We are currently selling into a second printing of the book, and it’s very possible we could go into a third printing. We expect it to sell even more in paperback down the road.”

In addition, Chinese and Korean translations of the book are in the works.

Reviews of the book have been positive. Writing in The Washington Post, Christopher B. Nelson, president of St. John’s College in Annapolis, praises it as a “lucid, helpful and accessible account of the current challenges to higher education.”

“By presenting his argument historically, Roth, president of Wesleyan University, maintains a judicious distance from his subject and avoids the trap—all too enticing for a zealous advocate—of delivering a passionate apologia for a broad generalization. Instead, he gives us a substantial and lively discussion that allows the reader to maintain an open mind while examining the strengths and weaknesses of the several threads, each in its own turn,” writes Nelson.

And Kirkus Reviews writes: “While underscoring the democratic spirit of a liberal arts education, one designed to produce ‘active citizens rather than passive subjects,’ Roth traces how even the Founding Fathers of the republic restricted the education to patrician white males, excluding women, slaves and others—and that the question of whether farmers need to be able to read Shakespeare has long sparked debate. Between pragmatism and idealism, the author strikes a moderate, balanced approach. The result is more like a primer on the history of higher education than a manifesto.”

See all media coverage of Beyond the University here.

Read more about Beyond the University in this Wesleyan Connection article.

Staff on the Move, June 2014

The Office of Human Resources reported the following new hires and departures for June 2014:

Newly hired
Maureen Zimmer was hired as the Academic Affairs coordinator on June 2.

Felicia Harrsch was hired as a research assistant on June 2.

Kendrick Wiggins was hired as a residential operations coordinator on June 2.

Lauren Davis was hired as a human resources coordinator/generalist on June 16.

Hira Jafri ’13, MA’14 was hired as an evaluation fellow/assistant on June 18.

Deborah Colucci was hired as the equity compliance director and Title IX coordinator on June 23.

Jeanne McNeff was hired as an administrative assistant for the College of East Asian Studies on June 25.

Mohit Bachhav was hired as a network specialist on June 30.

Departures

Jelisa Adair, Civic Engagement Fellow in the Center for Community Partnerships.

Zachary Fischman, Center for Prison Education Fellow in the Center for Community Partnerships.

Ann Gertz, administrative assistant in the College of East Asian Studies.

Ann Goodwin, associate vice president for development in University Relations.

Kimberly Ladd, sports information intern in University Communications.

Dale Lee, information services technician in Olin Library.

Dan Manuyag, senior assistant dean in the Office of Admission.

Veterans Join Class of 2018, Tour Campus

Wesleyan's Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars attended an academic immersion and campus visit July 10-11. The 10 scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship. The students will join Wesleyan's Class of 2018. 

Wesleyan’s Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars attended an academic immersion and campus visit July 10-11. The 10 scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship. The students will join Wesleyan’s Class of 2018.

This is the inaugural year for Posse at Wesleyan; the university hopes to add 10 veterans per class for the next three years.

This is the inaugural year for Posse at Wesleyan; the university hopes to add 10 veterans per class for the next three years. Deborah Bial, president and founder of The Posse Foundation, stressed that the Veterans Posse Program seeks to recruit veterans “who have tremendous leadership potential to go out into the workforce and become major contributors” in whatever field they pursue. While typical college freshmen are 18 years old and straight out of high school, the average veteran entering college is in his/ her late 20s or early 30s, and has spent time in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Summer Blooms, Berries, Bees in West College Courtyard

Following the principles of permaculture, the student group WILD Wes (Working for Intelligent Landscape Design at Wesleyan) has transformed the West College Courtyard — once an eroded hillside with compacted soil and diseased trees — into complex ecosystems that provide food, attract insects and requires minimal resources and maintenance. The students also are working on a terraced garden near Summerfields. Follow the group’s progress on their blog.

Pictured are summer blooms, berries, bees and other bugs thriving in the garden on July 8. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

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A yellow jacket collects pollen from a yellow cone flower.

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Since 2010, WILD Wes has worked to replace conventional energy-intensive lawns on campus with scenic, productive and engaging gardens.

Audrey Hepburn Stars in July’s Summer Film Series

Audrey Hepburn stars in the 1961 romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany's. Hepburn was nominated for "Best Actress in a Leading Role" by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for her role as Holly Golightly. The film will be shown July 22 at the Center for Film Studies.

Audrey Hepburn stars in the 1961 romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hepburn was nominated for “Best Actress in a Leading Role” by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for her role as Holly Golightly. The film will be shown July 22 at the Center for Film Studies.

“Hollywood Icons: Audrey Hepburn” is the theme of Wesleyan’s Summer Film Series, sponsored by the College of Film and the Moving Image (CFILM). All four films, featuring Oscar-award winning actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993), take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays in July.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the accompanying “Posters From the Collection” exhibition in the Rick Nicita Gallery.

All films will begin with an introduction by Marc Longenecker, CFILM programming and technical director.

All films are open to the public and are free of charge.

The films include:

Roman Holiday on July 8;
Sabrina on July 15;
Breakfast at Tiffany’s on July 22;
And Funny Face on July 29.

See the Summer Film Series website for more information and additional poster images.

Patricelli Seed Grant Winners Share Project Progress

Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Seed Grant recipients Oladoyin Oladapo '14 and Kwaku Akoi ’14 are spending the summer in New York running a social venture called JooMah, a web and SMS platform that helps African employers find talent and connects job seekers with opportunities. The recent alumni, and other members of the JooMah team have been conducting market research, building connections, honing their own business-related skills and are currently launching their service in Ghana. Oladapo '14 is JooMah's chief operations officer and Akoi is the chief executive officer.

Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Seed Grant recipients Oladoyin Oladapo ’14 and Kwaku Akoi ’14 are spending the summer in New York running a social venture called JooMah, a web and SMS platform that helps African employers find talent and connects job seekers with opportunities. The recent alumni, and other members of the JooMah team have been conducting market research, building connections, honing their own business-related skills and are currently launching their service in Ghana. Oladapo ’14 is JooMah’s chief operations officer and Akoi is the chief executive officer.

In March, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awarded three student-led social ventures with a Seed Grant. Student representatives from each group received $5,000 in unrestricted startup funds as well as trainings, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace, and other resources from the Patricelli Center.

This summer, the students are putting their grants to good use.

JooMahKwaku Akoi ’14, founder of Sub-Saharan African employment service JooMah, is now sharing an office space with other start-ups in Brooklyn, N.Y. and working with fellow Wesleyan alumni and students Oladoyin Oladapo ’14, Max Dietz ’16, Olayinka Lawal ’15, Sam Giagtzoglou ’16, Justin Raymond ’14 and Michael Yee ’14.

JooMah is a web and Short Message Service platform that will connect job seekers in Africa with targeted employment opportunities nearest them. This week, Joomah is launching in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, and home to more than 2 million people.

“Pushing the platform to Ghanaian job seekers and employers will not be an easy task but it is something we are very determined to do,” Akoi said. “The potential for impact both in the short term and in the long term is immense. The opportunity for deep personal growth for each one of us involved has started to pay off. To build world-class machine learning algorithm brings with it a fair dose of intellectual focus and stimulation. To do all this for the sake of touching a life, and then two, and then a country, and then a continent, makes every minute spent sweating it out worth it.”

Read more about JooMah’s progress here.

BUKO has procured their first order of 60 tablets from China, and are in the process of quality testing each tablet.

BUKO has procured their first order of 60 tablets from China, and are in the process of quality testing each tablet.

Joaquin Benares ’15, who founded Boundless Updated Knowledge Offline (BUKO), is working to bring video lectures, e-textbooks, and other online education tools to Philippine public schools to supplement their libraries, teaching aids and contact time with teachers.

As of June 30, Benares reports that he has successfully deployed BUKO, with the support of the Department of Education, to two schools in Metro Manila. BUKO is also teaming up with Teach for the Philippines and the University of the Philippines to help with data gathering.

“The BUKO team is also working to make the interface of the server more dynamic. We hope to add moving buttons, interactive animation, and brighter backgrounds so that the children get even more excited when using our product,” Benares ’15 said.

Read more about BUKO’s progress here.

Tavo True-Alcalá and Brent Packer ’15 developed the the Wishing Well Project to help universities design portable water stations for use at large campus events. The Wishing Well station provides chilled, filtered water anywhere there is a hose connection.

This summer, True-Alcalá and Packer are seeking guidance and support from Wesleyan alumni, learning a new software that will aid in mass production, searching for potential manufacturers and suppliers and designing a Wishing Well website.

“Our plan is that by some time next fall, we will have formed all the connections we need to produce more Wishing Wells, and with the help of the Seed Grant, we will be able to have a new working system that is ready to be produced at a larger scale and marketed to other organizations,” True-Alcalá said.

Read more about Wishing Well’s progress here.

Wesleyan Partners with Make-A-Wish Foundation to Grant Teen’s Wish of Becoming a Photographer

Wesleyan staff and the Green Street Arts Center are helping to make a dream come true for a Middletown girl with a life-threatening illness.

Hannah

During a “Wish Granting” Ceremony June 17 at the Green Street Arts Center, Middletown resident Hannah received multiple donations from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Wesleyan University and Broad Street Books. Nikon donated a zoom lens.

Hannah Vecchitto, 14, is passionate about photography and received a brand new camera for Christmas. Her dream, which she shared with Make-a-Wish Connecticut, was for the opportunity to learn the camera and the art of photography, as well as have the technology to work on her own photography as a true artist.

Make-a-Wish Connecticut grants wishes for children between 2-1/2 and 18 years old who are suffering from life-threatening medical conditions. This year, the Connecticut chapter, one of more than 60 regional chapters in the U.S. and its territories, is on track to grant 170 wishes.

According to Michael Dominick, community and media relations manager for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut, each eligible child is assigned two wish granting volunteers. The volunteers meet with the family, get to know the child and help figure out how to fulfill his or her wish. One of Hannah’s volunteers reached out to Wesleyan for help in granting her wish.

On June 17 at Green Street Arts Center, Hannah was presented with a new Nikon camera lens and Macintosh computer equipped with photo-editing software. She also was given coupons for lessons in photojournalism and nature photography with Olivia Drake, campus photographer and editor, as well as fine art photography and photo editing lessons with Roslyn Carrier-Brault, administrative assistant in the Chemistry Department and a photography teacher at Green Street. Green Street also offered Hannah an opportunity to exhibit her photographs later this year.

In addition, Broad Street Books outfitted Hannah and her brother with Wesleyan gear. Janan Unghire, owner of Sweet Pea Quilts & Crafts in Ivoryton, also is donating a photo quilt with 12 of Hannah’s photos.

Carrier-Brault, a cancer survivor, started taking photos 20 years ago and now focuses her craft on expressive art therapy.

“I am grateful to receive this amazing opportunity to share my love of photography. It my hope to provide Hannah with the skills to expand her natural photographic talents and to lead her into discovering that small inner voice, which sparks creativity into becoming a powerful tool for healing,” she said.

Like Hannah, Drake received her first camera at age 14. She’s been taking pictures of Wesleyan’s campus and campus events for almost 10 years, and photographs wildlife as a hobby.

“Hannah could have chosen a trip to Disneyland or another vacation, but her wish is to become a professional photographer. Photography is one way to tell a story. Through her photos, we’ll see what Hannah sees, feels and experiences,” Drake said. “I’m so touched and honored to help make Hannah’s wish come true. She’s a very special young lady, and based on photos that she’s shown me, she’s a pretty great photographer already!”

“We’re so glad that we could work with the Make a Wish Foundation to support Hannah in her dream to be a photographer. A great group of people donated their talents and passion to a beautiful little girl and we couldn’t be prouder of our team here at Green Street and Wesleyan,” MacSorley said. “I can’t wait to hear all about Hannah’s photography experiences and see her pictures hanging in our exhibit to share with the community.”

More photos of the June 17 “Wish Granting” Ceremony are below:

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The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut donated photo editing software as part of Hannah’s wish to be a professional photographer. Pictured at left is Hannah’s brother, Calvin.

Students Receive Patricelli Center Grants, Priebatsch Summer Internship

This month, five Wesleyan students received Summer Experience Grants, supported by the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. The honor comes with a $4,000 stipend to supplement costs associated with a summer internship experience.

The grants are available for Wesleyan sophomores and juniors currently receiving need-based financial aid who plan to do socially innovative or socially responsible work during summer break.

The recipients include Theodora Messalas ’15, Dara Mysliwiec ’16, Keren Reichler ’16, Geneva Jonathan ’15 and Jared Geilich ’15. In addition, film major Aaron Kalischer-Coggins ’15 received a Priebatsch Internship Grant. All grantees report on their experiences on the Patricelli Center’s ENGAGE blog.

Theodora Messalas

Theodora Messalas ’15

Sociology major Theodora Messalas is working with a food pantry, soup kitchen and women’s homeless shelter called Crossroads Community Services in New York City, exploring ways to implement successful social services in which the needs and preferences of the end-users are paramount.

“I am interested in finding out exactly how Crossroads is run in the hopes of one day spearheading my own similar organization,” Messalas said. “I want to see firsthand how they have translated the desire to provide food and shelter to underserved New Yorkers into a running operation that can actually get these services to people. I want to see all their successes, and I want to get to know the roadblocks that they meet.”

Biology and earth and environmental studies major Dara Mysliwiec is addressing food sovereignty in Lamas, Peru, using sustainable – and previously lost – indigenous farming techniques

Singer’s Study Reveals that Finicky Feeders Avoid Bird Predation

In a recent study, Associate Professor Mike Singer compared 41 caterpillar species to show the link between dietary breadth and vulnerability to predators.

In a recent study, Associate Professor Mike Singer compared 41 caterpillar species to show the link between dietary breadth and vulnerability to predators.

Grandmothers used to warn youngsters against being “a jack of all trades, and a master of none,” and with good reason, at least in the animal kingdom, according to research by Mike Singer, associate professor of biology, associate professor of environmental studies.

Singer’s decade of research in the ecosystems of Connecticut forests reveals that caterpillars with finicky feeding habits avoid predation from birds, whereas those that feed generally on many plants become meals for baby birds. The “specialist” bugs are much better at survival.

Singer and five collaborators published these findings in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences June 16.

Mike Singer studies the Papilio glaucus, one of the most bird-resistant caterpillars. (Photo by Mike Singer)

Mike Singer studies the Papilio glaucus, one of the most bird-resistant caterpillars. (Photo by Mike Singer)

“Dietary specialization of herbivores drives the dynamics of this food chain,” Singer explained. Caterpillars with generalized diets are less likely than specialists to be camouflaged or to display warning colors or features to avian predators.

A familiar example of a dietary specialist is the caterpillar of the Monarch butterfly, which feeds exclusively on milkweed plants. This caterpillar accumulates toxins from its food-plants, rendering it unpalatable to birds and other predators. The toxic caterpillar is distinctively striped and colored as a warning to its enemies.

Starr, Hanakata ’14 Co-Author Paper on Polymer Films, Published in Nature Communications

Francis Starr and Paul Hanakata '14 study the mobility gradient on a thin, polymer film.

Francis Starr and Paul Hanakata ’14 study the interfacial mobility in a thin, polymer film.

Francis Starr, professor of physics, and Paul Hanakata ’14 are the co-authors of a new article published in the journal Nature Communications on June 16. The article, titled “Interfacial Mobility Scale Determines the Scale of Collective Motion and Relaxation Rate in Polymer Films,” is based off Hanakata’s senior thesis research at Wesleyan.

Thin polymer films are ubiquitous in manufacturing and medical applications. Their chemical and mechanical properties make them suitable as artificial soft biological tissue and there has been intense interest in how film thickness and substrate interactions influence film dynamics.

The nature of polymer rearrangements within these films determines their potential applications.  However, up to now, there has been no way to readily assess how design choices of the film affect these dynamic rearrangements.

“Paul’s paper is novel because it demonstrates how an experimental measurement of the surface properties can be used to infer the changes to collective motions within the film,” Starr explained. “These results offer a practical metrology that might be used for the design of new advanced materials.”

Hanakata, who graduated in May, will begin his graduate studies at Boston University next fall.