Knowledge Exchange

Knowledge Exchanges are a forum for faculty, staff, and students to share their research, practice-based work, and creative work. This program affords productive sharing and networking; may encourage mentoring and modeling; and will encourage an interdisciplinarity that will enrich our campus community of teacher/scholars, teacher/practitioners, and learners. Attendance is open to all.

For more information, contact Professor Raju Parakkal

Upcoming Knowledge Exchanges


Check back for Fall 2018 schedule


Past Knowledge Exchanges




Race, Journalism and Everyday Life in Pittsburgh

4/27 12-1pm Roxboro House

It has been nearly 50 years since the Kerner Commission declared that news about communities of color gets presented to the public “through white men’s eyes” and with a “white perspective.” In the years since, despite the news industry’s efforts to improve news coverage, studies of news coverage have consistently demonstrated the persistence of bias and stereotyping of communities of color. One reason for the absence of change may be related to the lack of agency given to news workers of color within mainstream newsrooms. This study attempts to assess the inclusivity of Pittsburgh-area newsrooms through a series of in-depth interviews with current and former journalists of color, newsroom managers, and community leaders of color who often interact with the media. This presentation will attempt to gain perspective on various issues impacting diversity, inclusion, and representation as they pertain to the Pittsburgh-area media ecosystem.

Presenter: Letrell Crittenden; Assistant Professor of Communication; Program Director, Communication; College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts; Thomas Jefferson University – East Falls Campus



Italian Style on Screen: The Fashion of the 1950s and 60s in the commedia all’italiana (Italian comic films)

3/30 12-1pm Roxboro House

The Italian economy expanded dramatically in the 1950s and 1960s at the same time as the Italian film industry experienced growth particularly in comic films (the commedia all’italiana). The popular character and immediacy of these comic films makes them a valuable medium for examining Italian society and the impact of the new consumer culture. The 1950s and 1960s were also a period of significant developments within the fashion industry as ready-to-wear lines made new styles quickly accessible to a larger audience. Fashion is a powerful signifier, representing an exterior narrative of social and economic change. In Italian comic films the main characters’ dress displays the possibilities of a novel, modernized lifestyle. At the same time, the different styles of dress between those considered successful and society’s losers (perdenti) throw into relief the disparities of class and status engendered by the economic miracle. This presentation examines this unsettling, highly visible aspect of the intersection between fashion and film to reveal the tensions and contradictions in Italian society of the time.

Presenter: Meriel Tulante; Associate Professor of Italian Studies; College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts; Thomas Jefferson University – East Falls Campus



Does the Importance of Apparel Product Attributes Differ by Country? Testing Kano’s Theory of Attractive Quality in India, China, South Korea, and the US

2/23 12-1pm Roxboro House

Built on Kano's theory of attractive quality, this study hypothesizes that apparel attributes contributing to customer satisfaction differ by a country’s level of economic development since consumers’ expectations toward apparel products change with changes in their economic status. Data was collected in four countries (India, China, South Korea, and the U.S.). Attributes classified as performance and attractive categories contributed to satisfaction more than the attributes classified in the other categories, regardless of country. Collectively, the findings suggest that as a country's economy advances, the role of brand is diminishing and attributes such as fashionability and versatility become more important in creating customer satisfaction. By discovering the life cycle of each attribute and tracing the path from developing countries to developed countries, this study provides an initial tool to predict how consumers' expectations toward an apparel product shift as a country advances economically.

Presenter: Shubhapriya Bennur; Assistant Professor of Global Fashion Enterprise, Fashion Marketing Management; School of Business Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce; Thomas Jefferson University – East Falls Campus



Supporting Full Participation Among Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

1/19 12-1pm Roxboro House

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition that has received much press in the last 10-15 years with its drastic increase in prevalence. Individuals with ASD have even been portrayed in television shows such as The Big Bang Theory (CBS), Atypical (Netflix), and most recently, The Good Doctor (ABC). But what really is ASD? Why do people with autism, even with average or above average intelligence, struggle with day-to-day activities? What can each of us do to facilitate the participation in daily activities of those with ASD? This presentation will briefly describe the research being conducted at Thomas Jefferson University to promote the full participation of those with ASD in the occupation of living.

Presenters: Roseann Schaaf, Ph.D., and Marie-Christine Potvin, Ph.D., Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Health Professions Occupational Therapy, College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts Thomas Jefferson University


Watch the presentation on YouTube:

Part 1 - Dr. Potvin: Watch here

Part 2 - Dr. Schaff: Watch here

Download Presentation Slides here





The Power of Sound: Harnessing Acoustics for Improving Patient Care

11/17 12-1pm Roxboro House

At the conclusion of World War II, researchers (many of whom were located in Philadelphia) began applying techniques developed for sonar to image living tissue. Today, ultrasound imaging is synonymous with monitoring fetal development and cardiac imaging. However, ultrasound continues to evolve, with Philadelphia remaining a hot bed for research and development. This talk will cover more recent developments in ultrasound including using ultrasound to identify and track the treatment of cancers, measure tissue stiffness, monitor tissue oxygenation, locally deliver drugs, eradicate bacterial infection, heat tissues in order to treat cancers or brain dysfunction, noninvasively measure pressures within the body, using micro-ultrasound to image organisms as small as fruit flies, and wearable ultrasound.

Presenter: John Eisenbrey, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor of Radiology, Thomas Jefferson University – Center City Campus



Trick or Treat? Sucralose is More than Sweet: The Active Ingredient in Splenda Changes the Way Bacteria Process Natural Sugars

10/27 12-1pm Roxboro House

Sucralose, first made in 1975, was included in U.S. food products for the first time in 1999 under the tradename “Splenda.” Sucralose tastes about 600 times sweeter than table sugar, because the sweet-taste receptors on our tongues mistake it for natural sugar. If sucralose tricks our sweet taste receptors into thinking it’s natural sugar, the question arises whether sucralose can trick other proteins that use natural sugars. And, does sucralose have other effects besides tasting sweet? Studies on sucralose have increased in the past few years, and it's becoming clear sucralose does do more than just taste sweet. Sucralose might cause these “non-sweet” effects by interfering with how living things use natural sugars. This talk presents findings from work that examined the effects of sucralose on bacteria.

Presenter: Mary Ann Wagner-Graham, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology and Director of Health Sciences Program, College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts (CSHLA)



Turkey Feathers, Peanut Fibers, and Hemp Waste: One Person's Trash, Another Person's Treasure

9/29 12pm Roxboro House

In the US, there are 2-4 billion pounds of poultry feathers produced annually as a by-product of meat production. Much of this is landfilled as issues arose when using it as animal feed. In Canada, hemp and flax waste by-products are often burned in the field to avoid paying for disposal. As such, there is a tremendous amount of low cost materials that may be suitable for replacing traditional textile materials such as wood pulp, cotton, and polyester in various applications. This presentation will discuss the processing, evaluation, and comparison of these materials for different applications such as erosion control, absorbent diaper cores, and wipes.

Presenter: Brian R. George, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Engineering, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce



Chemistry in Your Cup: Kinetic Study of Cold Brew Coffee

4/28 12pm Roxboro House

Both small and large commercial coffee brewers have recently begun offering cold-brew coffee drinks to customers with claims that these cold-water extracts contain fewer bitter acids, due to brewing conditions, while still retaining the flavor profile. Dunkin Donuts’ website suggests that the cold-water and long brewing times allow the coffee to reach “... its purest form.” With very little research existent on the chemistry of cold- brew coffee, consumers are left to the marketing strategies of Starbucks and other companies regarding the contents of cold-brew coffee. The present research employs a simple cold-brew set-up to brew coffee. Samples of coffee were analyzed over time to evaluate the kinetic and equilibrium behavior of caffeine and antioxidants during brewing. We tested both medium and dark roast coffee sourced from the Kona region of Hawaii prepared in both medium and coarse grind grounds in hopes to provide some scientific information about this new coffee trend.

Presenters: Niny Rao and Megan Fuller, Assistant Professors (both), College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts (CSHLA) (both)



Rewilding Philadelphia, Empowered Collaboration

3/31 12pm Roxboro House

Research indicates that children gain multiple benefits from out-of-doors’ experiences, yet these occurrences are often isolated and exclusive. Our design efforts seek to bring nature into the everyday life of urban youth by using contiguous vacant lots to create a network of easily accessible, safe, and natural outdoor spaces. Out-of-door experiences provide a fertile environment for acquiring these skill sets, but unfortunately children in poor urban communities have little access to them. Although there is a growing movement to “green” urban school playgrounds, these spaces still remain isolated experiences. However, these individual spaces would benefit by being integrated into a contiguous green network where children can be immersed in nature. This would have significant implications for combating poverty by empowering children to achieve self-sufficiency and a sense of community through contact with nature, their neighbors, and their neighborhood resources.

Presenter: Kimberlee Douglas, Associate Professor, College of Architecture and the Built Environment



What You Think about Survival from Sudden Cardiac Arrest is Wrong: Reframing This Complex Problem

February 24, 2017

Larry M. Starr Director Doctor of Management in Strategic Leadership Director,

Strategic Leadership Consulting,Research and Executive Education School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) Director, Special Task Force on Reframing the System of Survival for Sudden Cardiac Arrest MS in Disaster Medicine and Management College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts (CSHLA) 

In the 1970s and 1980s in the US, the survival rate for a person who experienced sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) was approximately 3%. Now, after 40 years of enormous energy and resources, the survival rate is only approximately 8%. Why is it still so low? Are we doing the ‘right’ things? In this presentation, a new framework, methodology, and tools will be described that are drawn not from traditional medical or biological science but from systems and design thinking. Two studies directed by Dr. Larry M. Starr support the premise that SCA survival is a complex organizational problem and should be addressed using complex organizational methodologies.

Starr, L.M., Ballard, B., Bieter, J., Conroy, N., Frankel, S., Hash, S.F., Malone, K., Scott, J., Vival, A., Braslow, A., Field, J., Benau, D. A., & McLeod, L. M. (2013). A complete redesign of the cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) learning experience. University of Pennsylvania Scholarly Commons Working Paper 13-01:

Starr, L.M., Braslow, A.B., Pourdehnad, J., & Bharathy, G. (2015). Systems and Design Thinking Applied to Out-of-Hospital CPR and AED Performance. Emergency Cardiac Care Update (ECCU) Conference, San Diego, CA, December 10.





The Impact of Genetic Self-Testing Exercises on Student Attitudes about Genetic Profiling

November 18, 2016

Ryan Long, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and

Frank Wilkinson, Associate Professor of Biochemistry

Genetic testing offers the possibility of tremendous benefits in medical risk assessment, diagnosis, treatment, basic biological research, and other areas. However, it also puts people at risk of harm. For example, knowledge of one’s own genetic information may cause distress. More significantly, genetic information that is not kept private exposes one to the risk of being harmed by third parties. Genetic testing, therefore, generates ethical, professional, and public policy problems. This presentation is based on our current research that examines how performing genetic self-tests and participating in classroom discussions on genetic testing impacts student attitudes regarding said problems. The project was implemented simultaneously in Hallmarks core and Biology major courses in both the fall and spring semesters during 2015-16. This talk presents the overall research agenda and the initial results from these investigations.



Do Business and IT Executives Still Talk At Each Other?

October 21, 2016

Irina Stoyneva, Assistant Professor of Management

The classic generalization is that IT executives often run IT organizations without a clear vision of the business while non-IT managers lack a general understanding of the importance, value and complexity of IT, and focus sharply on the bottom line. These stereotypical views describe a gap between the business and IT communities, also known as the IT-Business disconnect phenomenon. The disconnect remains a top issue for organizations and businesses because of its detrimental impact on organizational performance, culture and survival. In this study, we explore the underpinning mechanisms that predict the different mindsets of IT and business executives on the role of IT in organizations. We utilize an online focus group discussion among executives to examine how they view the IT-Business disconnects through the lens of their experiences. The contents of the discussion were analyzed using thematic analysis, construction of a co-occurrence matrix of themes, exploration, and mapping of the co-occurrence matrix. The respondents consisted of four groups: senior-level IT and business people and mid-level IT and business people. Fourteen themes emerged, with significant differences found in some, but not all, of these themes among the four groups.  The results indicate that the disconnect between the IT and non IT executives is greater for the operational level executives than for the strategic level executives, implying that the gap is lessening at the strategic levels of business, but not among mid-levels of management.



Assessing Claims of Green Roofs on Pollinator Biodiversity Through Agent-Based Modeling

September 30, 2016

Shane McFoy, Senior Year Biology Major

(Co-Investigators: Dr. Jeffrey Klemens and Michael Gall)

Pollinators are an important component of both natural and manmade environments. Urban environments, however, present a complex and challenging situation for pollinator populations as these areas consist of a mixture of green space and hardscape. Increasing the biodiversity in urban areas through the installation of green roofs has been argued to benefit these pollinator populations. This project evaluated this claim by using an agent-based modeling approach. Using NetLogo, a programming language and modeling environment, we created a spatially explicit model of Roxborough, an urban suburb located in northwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to examine to what extent the presence of green roofs in an urban environment changed the amount of time an organism spent in favorable versus unfavorable environments as it passed through a given area of interest. The simulation tracked individual pollinators and were adjusted for different variables that were proxies for finding green space. Model results were used to take a first-pass estimate of the range of conditions and situations under which green roofs may be a worthwhile means of increasing urban biodiversity. We expect this research to serve as a framework for modeling individual species dynamics on the urban landscape.



The Eye of the Beholder: When and Why Art Commercialization Leads to Marketing Success

April 29, 2016

Pielah Kim, Assistant Professor of Fashion Merchandising and Management

This study focuses on the rising trend in art commercialization, which refers to the phenomenon that occurs from the strategic incorporation of visual art in the marketing of consumer products. We explored how consumers’ heterogeneous perceptions of this practice influenced their evaluations of products that featured artwork (Pilot Study). That is, whether the extent of involvement (EI) with art undergirds the construction of consumers’ heterogeneous perceptions (Study 1) and what modifications are necessary to improve product perceptions according to their EI with art, which includes both cognitive (Study 2) and affective (Study 3) dimensions. In summary, our study addressed consumers’ perspectives with respect to the emerging phenomenon of art commercialization. We demonstrated the variability in individual traits that predicted different attitudes towards products featuring artwork. By accounting for the individual differences identified, we were subsequently able to recommend effective marketing strategies to achieve uniformly positive responses with respect to products featuring artwork.



Aerial Ambassadors: National Air Carriers and US Power in the Jet Age

March 25, 2016

Phil Tiemeyer, Associate Professor of History

This presentation outlines Phil Tiemeyer's next book project, detailing the expansion of air travel after World War II. As part of this expansion, countries in the developing world founded new national airlines of their own. Such airlines were intended to provide these countries with greater political independence from their former colonial masters, while also helping to modernize their economies. However, these airlines often had such close connections to the United States that they served less as vehicles for greater independence and more as mechanisms for increasing US influence (a form of "neo-imperialism"). Tiemeyer examines this tension between independence and neo-imperialism first in how these airlines were founded. But he also investigates how the flight attendants at these airlines dressed and performed their work, examining whether they embodied truly independent local norms of womanhood or manhood--or whether they instead reflected American-inspired norms.





Amidst Nanotechnology’s Molecular Landscapes: The Changing Metaphor of Subvisible Worlds

November 20, 2015

By Valerie Hanson, , Assistant Professor of Writing
College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts

We use metaphors every day to talk with each other and learn about the world around us: they help us express new knowledge in a recognizable form, or emphasize what’s important about a concept. Metaphors then also shape how we think and act within the world. How does our use of metaphors change and affect how we think of the world around us? This talk explores an example of a common scientific metaphor that compares what we see with microscopes to landscapes in subvisible worlds. As will be discussed, some images made with microscopes that can visualize at the atomic scale, or nanoscale, show a shift away from the metaphor’s association with microscopic worlds and towards participatory, computer-generated worlds. This shift becomes significant because the different associations point to different relations between ourselves and the nanoscale, relations that also affect how we understand the nanoscale, and how we communicate scientific knowledge.



The Motivation To Create: A Unitary Construct Or Task-Specific Phenomenon?

October 30, 2015

Richard W. Hass, Assistant Professor of Psychology College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts

Can beliefs about the nature of your own creative abilities and the abilities of others influence how you approach creative tasks? Recent evidence suggests that the answer is yes: viewing creativity as a fixed (possibly innate) ability negatively affects creative outcomes, while holding strong creative-self efficacy beliefs, along with the belief that creative goals are desirable positively affects creative outcomes. However, much of this research has focused on so-called domain-general creativity, rather than on examining performance on domain-specific tasks. That is, it remains unclear whether the relationship between social-cognition and creative performance changes according to the task at hand (e.g., designing a new building v. designing a better organizational structure for a small business). The focus of this talk will be on promoting broad interdisciplinary collaborations in order to better understand this phenomenon.



American Revolution Meets Economic Theory: How the 1776 National Tragedy at Valley Forge (Pennsylvania) Informs Contemporary American Economic Policy

September 18th, 2015

Sue Christoffersen, Associate Professor of Economics and Finance

The tragedy at Valley Forge, PA during George Washington’s military encampment in the winter of 1777-1778 provides a vivid lesson in economics and economic history. Trade disruptions and price controls - mistaken policies of the nascent republic, but consistent with the political philosophy of the times - were contributing factors to the death of nearly two thousand soldiers camped at Valley Forge. In this paper, Sue Christoffersen employs a fundamental supply and demand analysis to illustrate a price ceiling and subsequent shortages. The glitter of British entertainments in Philadelphian society and the harshness of the Continental soldiers’ meager existence twenty miles away provide a sharp contrast and sparks the imagination for any student of economics and American history. This presentation is relevant for contemporary American economy as the nation attempts to turn the corner on the Great Recession of the twenty-first century.



The Dynamic Impact of Fan Sign-Ups and Word-of-Mouth on Sales – Evidence from a Social Networking Website

April 17, 2015

Hua Chang, Assistant Professor of Marketing

Social media empowers the consumer to become an active participant in a brand’s life. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of consumer empowerment strategies, managers would like to possess tools that help them analyze if social media metrics such as likes, fans, and comments are indeed related to a brand’s sales. We demonstrate that a model based on the vector autoregression (VAR) technique can be used to analyze a brand’s sales in a dynamic fashion, if we know a sufficiently long history of a brand’s sales, its fan-sign-ups and the extent of word-of-mouth (WOM) activity. We fuse secondary data, obtained over a period of 71 weeks, from three sources, and quantify the effect of fan sign-ups and WOM on product sales. We find that WOM has a larger short-term effect on sales than fan sign-ups. The long-term impact of WOM and fan sign-ups on sales may vary depending on the focal brand.



Why Names Matter—The Identification of Bones in the Snout of Palaeoniscoid Fossil Fishes

March 27, 2015

By Kathryn Mickle, Assistant Professor of Anatomy of the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts

Though Actinopterygian fishes are the most speciose vertebrates on the planet, their early evolution is poorly understood. Critical to forming an understanding of this group are fossil palaeoniscoid fishes. Unfortunately, palaeoniscoids have the distinction of being one of the least studied fossil vertebrates. We do not have a firm understanding of palaeoniscoid morphology. The bones of the snout illustrate this clearly. Currently, there is no standardization when it comes to how bones of the snout are identified and named and we are left with a situation where the same bone names are used to identify very different bones. This makes comparing previously described taxa difficult and presents problems for analyses that investigate the evolutionary relationships of palaeoniscoids. A new nomenclature scheme for the identification of the bones of the snout is presented here. The effects of this new nomenclature scheme are investigated with analyses into the relationships of palaeoniscoid fishes.



Implications of Digital Technology Innovations in Architecture

Feburary 27, 2015

By Kihong Ku, Assistant Professor of Architecture

College of Architecture and the Built Environment

Digital technology has co-evolved with the changing needs of architecture, supporting the conception and implementation of novel complex forms, and offering opportunities for higher performance more efficiently to meet sustainability goals. A wide range of software, including BIM (Building Information Modeling), CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and manufacturing), parametric modeling, and computer simulation technologies, have become commonplace tools in contemporary design practices. However, these tools have deeper implications for practice and collaboration as they impact the relationships and roles of various designers and specialists. In addition, there are gaps between the capabilities of current design tools and the constantly evolving needs of architectural design. What digital technologies are adopted in design practice today? How has technology impacted practice arrangements? What are the challenges and barriers of adopting digital technologies? And what are the implications for architectural education? These questions will be explored as part of this presentation which summarizes research and teaching activities conducted by the presenter.