The Watching Eyes Effect on Tax Reporting Accuracy
Veena Brown, Accounting
The primary objective of this study is to examine taxpayers’ tax compliance behavior. Specifically, we propose to investigate whether the perception of being watched (the watching-eyes effect) increases taxpayers filing accuracy. We will employ a 2×2 between-participants experimental research design to address our research question. We will manipulate anonymity (watching eyes/no watching eyes) and prepopulation of a tax form (prepopulated/non-prepopulated) in this study. The study is motivated by the revenue lost due to noncompliance (tax gap) in the United States (U.S.) as reported by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The U.S. government relies on the voluntary compliance of taxpayers for accurate collection of income taxes. However, the tax gap is substantial and creates multiple social and economic dysfunctions. Several studies have shown that anonymous individuals who are shown artificial cues of being watched behave as if they are being watched by real people. However, to our knowledge this study is the first to incorporate the watching-eyes effect in the context of tax compliance policy. To achieve the study’s objective, we will design a digital tax form and an interface platform in which participants will be randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions. Target participants will be tax-paying individuals across the U.S.

The Cognitive Organization of Attitudes toward Political Candidates and Issues
Celeste Campos-Castillo, Sociology
The student will join a team of social scientists and computer scientists who will test competing social psychological theories that explain how people maintain consistency in their attitudes toward political candidates and issues. The student will assist with collecting and analyzing social media content and interviews with protesters during the Democratic National Convention. The analysis will involve measuring attitudes (rating what people say and developing a lexicon so that a computer program can automatically perform the rating) and creating networks summarizing a person’s attitude toward candidates and issues.

Electrical Manipulation of Micro-particles and Biological Cells in a Lab-On-a-Chip Microfluidic Device
Woo Jin Chang, Mechanical Engineering

The project uses a novel electrical manipulation technique called dielectrophoresis to trap and separate micron sized particles and biological cells. This technology will be further applied to biological cells for diagnosis, cell therapy, etc. The student will support graduate students in microfluidic device fabrication, sample preparation, conducting experiments, image processing and data analysis.

Characterization of the Electrochemical Water Sensor
Woo Jin Chang, Mechanical Engineering
This research group developed novel electrochemical water sensors to detect heavy metals, pH, and phosphate from various water resources. The professor is pursuing commercialization of developed water sensors, and characteristics of the sensors, such as repeatability in detection and robustness in long-term use. This technology will be further applied to environmental monitoring and drinking water quality monitoring. The participating student will support graduate students in electrochemical sensor fabrication, sample preparation, conducting experiments, and analyzing obtained data.

Promoting Infant Safe-Sleep
Hobey Davies, Psychology
We know that bed-sharing with an infant can be dangerous for them, but many instances of bed-sharing are unplanned (i.e., the parent falls asleep) and therefore the parent is unlikely to have planned ahead to make the sleep environment safe.  This project is looking at characteristics of unplanned bed-sharing and examining possible intervention approaches.

Effects of Estrogens on Learning and Memory in Mouse Models of Menopause and Alzheimer’s Disease
Karyn Frick, Psychology
Our laboratory’s main goal is to identifying the molecular mechanisms in the brain through which estrogens enhance memory in mouse models of menopause and Alzheimer’s disease.  This project will introduce students to the basic elements of neuroscience research.  Within the four- week program period, students will gain hands-on experience handling and behaviorally testing mice, and will be introduced to brain surgery, gonadectomy surgery, hormone treatments, brain dissections, and molecular biology techniques.

Neurobiology of Attention and Perception in Humans
Adam S. Greenberg, Biomedical Engineering/Psychology
The Sensory Neuroscience, Attention, and Perception Laboratory (SNAP Lab) aims to understand how human behavior is guided by the world we perceive. We primarily study how perception of objects (in visual, auditory, and olfactory modalities) and attention to objects are implemented in brain mechanisms. We use a combination of cognitive neuroscience methods including psychophysics (human behavioral testing), functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and computational modeling. During this four-week program, students will learn how to create visual/auditory/olfactory stimuli, test human subjects, and engage in supervised data analysis through hands-on experience. There may also be opportunities to collect and/or work with human neuroimaging data.

The Role of Attention in the Precision of Eye Movement Planning
Wendy Huddleston, Kinesiology
Imagine picking up your morning cup of coffee. It is an act done literally billions of times across the world, yet scientists do not yet fully know how the brain does this seemingly simple task. The Visuomotor Lab is interested in how humans use vision to plan movement, and the role of attention in that process. We perform both behavioral and neuroimaging experiments to try to understand the neurophysiology underlying movement planning and attention. We typically use either eye movements or arm movements in our studies, as participants can also perform these movements in the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner when needed. This summer, you will be completing a behavioral experiment, using the eye tracker and some custom eye-movement-analysis software, important for a National Institutes of Health Grant we are submitting about motor planning and attention. You will be studying how people’s strategy changes when we alter the distance of eye movement targets. That is, when do people stop making plans for specific target locations and start to plan for a single movement trajectory, and then compensate for the small difference in locations.

Divergent Fates – Tree Intuiting Chair: graft
Yevgeniya Kaganovich, Art & Design
This project aims to explore the existence and experience of things, not through a human lens, but through their own unique phenomenology. In a larger body of work, our goal is to examine the separate possible lives a tree can live out when acted upon by humans, changing into furniture, paper, and sometimes back again, through the lens of the objects themselves (the three archetypes: tree, chair, and paper). With this project we ask: if a Tree was to intuit a Chair, what would it be like? By growing and shaping trees into chairs, through a process of bending and grafting young trees, this piece imagines the Tree’s conception and understanding of the Chair. Over the course of 4-5 years, we are growing a number of chairs from saplings at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, to produce usable sculptures. As a long term Artist in Residence, I’ve planted 34 saplings of the species Poplus tremeloides and Quaking Aspen in patterns defining the chair designs, grafted multiple branches, built supports and started bending trees into the chair shapes. We will document the process and finished sculptures and utilize this documentation in exhibitions of the larger Divergent Fates project. The student will assist with research into grafting, planting of the trees, and tending to the planted trees (watering, weeding, tending to grafts and bends, and installing and adjusting supports). In Summer 2020 the student will also participate in a number of scheduled public workshops schedules at the Lynden Sculpture Garden.

Neuroscience of Cognition and Emotion Regulation in Anxiety
Christine Larson, Psychology
In this project you will assist with studies in which we use EEG and behavioral measures to understand how anxiety affects cognitive processes, like short-term memory and attention. You will learn to analyze physiological data and about the neural bases of anxiety and how it affects cognition.

Predictors of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Christine Larson, Psychology

In this project you will analyze data from a large project in which we attempt to understand why some individuals develop post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing a trauma and others don’t. The variables available to examine include emotion regulation, cognitive function, brain function and structure, and a variety of participant characteristics and experiences. The sample, recruited from a local Emergency Department, is also largely composed of racial minorities from disadvantaged neighborhoods. Thus, there are opportunities to examine how chronic environmental stress impacts risk for trauma and impacts the brain.

Neurobiology of Learning, Memory, and Aging-Related Deficits
James Moyer, Psychology
The student will learn a variety of laboratory techniques, including protein analyses, animal handling, morphological analyses, as well as general lab procedures/responsibilities. The student will learn responsibility for our neuronal reconstructions, which involve creating 3D-reconstructions of neurons from biocytin-filled neuronal recordings (e.g., filling a neuron with a dye during recordings to make it visible). These studies are technologically demanding and will involve analyzing dendritic length, branching patterns, spine density (as a function of cortical layer, learning, and aging).

Microbes at Your Tap: Diurnal Patterns in Drinking Water Microbiomes
Ryan Newton, School of Freshwater Sciences
Drinking water in the US is among the safest in the world. However, colonization of the distribution pipe system and increasing resistance by microbes to disinfection cause localized problems. In this project we seek to understand how changes in water demand impact the microorganisms at the tap. Drinking water demand exhibits predictable daily fluctuations. Higher water pressure increases the rate of microbial sloughing from pipe biofilms. Consequently, during times of high water demand, we predict that the planktonic microbial community will be composed of microbes originating from biofilms coating the pipes, whereas, during periods of low water demand, the microbial community will be composed of planktonic microbes originating from the drinking water treatment plant. In this project, the student will work with a graduate student to learn drinking water sampling techniques, measurement of nutrients, and quantification of microorganisms with fluorescent microscopy.

Factors Related to Individual Differences in Foreign Language Sound Learning Hanyong Park, Linguistics
Individual differences are often observed among learners of foreign language. Some learners seem to have more “talent” in learning a foreign language than others. For example, two language learners with the same native language background, the same onset age of learning, and the same duration of learning, often differ in their rate of learning the language and ultimate proficiency (e.g., less accented pronunciation). The first objective of this project is to identify specific predictors for such individual differences among language learners, focusing on sound learning. In collaboration with Prof. Isabelle Darcy at Indiana University, I collected a large amount of data on language learners’ various cognitive abilities (e.g., working memory, attention, processing speed, etc.) along with their perception and production data. We examined a portion of the data, showing the relationship between cognitive abilities and perception (e.g., Darcy, Park, & Yang, 2015; Park & Darcy, 2018). I will now examine the rest of the data, investigating the relationship between cognitive abilities and production among language learners. The student will be trained on how to analyze production data using a speech analysis software and perception data using Microsoft Excel. In addition, she/he will be involved in tasks related to experimental research (e.g., recruiting participants for an experiment, running an experiment, collecting perception and/or production data, and coding the data.

Jenny Plevin, Director
doc|UWM is the documentary media center in UWM’s Peck School of the Arts Film Department that bridges academics with real world experience and gives students the unique opportunity to work on professional productions. Students and affiliated faculty collaborate on short form videos that raise awareness about a variety of contemporary political and social well as feature-length documentaries for public television broadcast. Our videos touch on diverse subjects such as elder abuse and fraud, contemporary poetry and animation, freshwater researchers, Hmong culture, Latinos in agriculture, a successful inner city track team, music documentaries, unique Milwaukee neighborhoods, water stewardship and conservation, racism and mass incarceration.

Holding on to a Single Protein Molecule
Ionel Popa, Physics
Proteins are the molecules that perform the majority of tasks needed in our cells, and their activity is what determines how well our cells function and communicate with each other. Our body is made of ~37 trillion cells, and each cell has on average 10^10 proteins. So, it is hard to even imagine that one could separate a single protein molecule from such a high number and perform measurements on it in a laboratory settings. In this project, you will learn to do just that – to separate and tether a single protein molecule between a glass surface and a paramagnetic bead and apply mechanical forces in the picoNewton range (10^-9 N), similarly to what a protein experiences in our bodies. You will be measuring how mechanical forces trigger domain unfolding, which is the loss of 3D structure due to the breaking of the hydrogen bonds that hold the protein structure together. You will be joining a young, dynamic and diverse research team composed of chemists, biologists, physicists and engineers. For more information, visit

Self-Healing and Smart Materials
Pradeep Rohatgi, Materials Engineering
Self-healing materials are inspired from natural biological materials that they can heal themselves when injured or bleed. Incorporating the self-repair function into inorganic systems is seeing the growing interest of materials scientists. Self-healing metals and metal matrix composites can be categorized by Shape Memory Alloy (SMA)-based healing, micro-encapsualtion based healing and precipitation healing. An approach to obtaining self-healing castings is made by incorporating shape memory alloy (SMA) reinforcements in a cast matrix. Another proposed mechanism is to incorporate a low melting alloy within hollow microcapsules that are embedded in a high melting alloy. Self-repairing capabilities can also be imparted to metal castings by aging precipitation during casting the alloy which provides closure of voids making stronger materials preventing the formation of initial cracks. The project work will be directed to developing new self-healing materials and mechanisms which will enable autonomous healing in metallic materials, especially in high temperature materials.

Ultrahigh Performance Metal Graphene Nanocomposites
Pradeep Rohatgi, Materials Engineering
Graphene has attracted attention as a reinforcing agent for metal matrix composites due to its excellent mechanical and physical properties. The purpose of this research is to enhance the scientific understanding of synthesis and processing of metal matrix composites incorporating, Nano size SiC, Al2O3, CNT, and graphene in the matrices of aluminum, magnesium and their alloys, to enable low cost manufacture of metal matrix nanocomposites by U.S. industry. The research will also enhance the understanding of the effect of crystal structure, size, shape, and surface treatment of reinforcing particles on processing and selected properties of nanocomposites. This project will generate basic knowledge needed for solidification processing-based manufacture of graphene-based MMNC components that can produce larger and more complex shaped parts at much lower costs.

Educating Genius
Amanda Seligman, History
This project explores the history of the education of “geniuses” in the United States. UR@UWM students participating in this project during summer 2020 will research the biographies of one or more geniuses from world history and contribute to a research database and blog about how their characteristics map onto contemporary understandings of giftedness.

The Stern Studio
Nathaniel Stern, Art & Design
The Stern Studio engages in a range of art and technology practices that manifest as networked performance, interactive installation, experimental sculpture and printmaking, video art, and more. Their most recent project, The World After Us: Imaging techno-aesthetic futures, explored where and how our electronic waste might wind up, “after us,” and was covered by WIRED magazine the day it premiered in Milwaukee. Having just finished this three-year project (which will continue to travel and exhibit), summer researchers will work on the beginning phases of brainstorming and prototyping new ideas towards the Stern Studio’s yet-to-be-decided research project moving forward.

The Encyclopedia of Milwaukee
Joe Walzer, Project Director
The Encyclopedia of Milwaukee is a digital public history project housed in UWM’s Department of History. With some 700 entries, the project aspires to document Milwaukee’s history from indigenous settlement through the present. Summer 2020 is a critical time in EMKE’s development, as we work to initiate the project’s second phase: creating new teaching and learning tools for Milwaukee area students and educators. Students selected for participation in the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee’s research team will help us build and test model curations for our new Documenting Milwaukee (DMKE) digital primary source repository. In doing so, students will perform a variety of tasks, including archival and contextual research, participate in development meetings, and build digital historical content.