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Thursday, April 15th, 2021

John Mirsky

Housing Illness in a PA Mushroom Town

The relatively small PA town of Kennett Square produces half of the fresh mushrooms for the entire United States. To accomplish this feat, the community relies predominantly on a Latinx immigrant workforce. In order to accommodate this labor source, the local government produced housing in the 1960s. Yet, due to health concerns surrounding abhorrent conditions, the government-provided establishments were discontinued by law in the 1980s. 40 years later, this project investigates how non-government organizational workers in Kennett Square and the surrounding region perceive the current relationship between housing and health outcomes among Latinx community members under coronavirus conditions. The project consists of 21 semi-structured interviews with high and mid-level workers at non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that specialize in issues of immigrant health and housing.
Through transcribing and coding the interviews with the software Atlas.ti, data revealed that my interlocutors believe that the Latinx population in Kennett Square suffers housing-related health outcomes due to low educational levels, relatively low income, and both explicit and structural racist elements. These findings approach a more thorough understanding of housing and health-related issues among the Latinx population in Kennett Square and highlight future areas of scholarship surrounding the region.

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Sunday, April 11th, 2021

Meg MacNeille

What’s Out There? Investigating Online Teacher Created Activites

Despite the popularity of online teacher-created
resource-sharing sites, little is known about the scope and quality of elementary mathematics activities from these sites. Our research specifically focuses on Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT), a rapidly growing educator resource site where teachers can create and sell their own content to other teachers without the process of peer review. This leads to the question, are these high-quality activities?
To answer this question, we downloaded the top 500
free and top 500 less than $5 mathematics activities
from TpT. Our findings are separated into two grade
bands: K-2 and 3-5. Given the difference in learning
styles for the two grade bands, we deemed it very
necessary to look at the data in separate groups. We
coded each activity for its intended grade level(s),
Common Core domain(s), picture type (Brändström
2005), and level of cognitive demand (Smith and Stein 1998). Broadly speaking, our findings revealed a high dependency on price dictating the quality of the activity. We also saw finding quality activities for grades 3-5 is a very difficult task, unless money was involved. This poses a further question, is the marketing and potential payout putting children’s learning in the shadows?
Brändström, Anna. 2005. “Differentiated Tasks in
Mathematics Textbooks an Analysis of the Levels of
Difficulty.”; Dissertation. Lulea University of Technology.
Smith, Margaret S, and Mary Kay Stein. 1998. “Selecting and Creating Mathematical Tasks: From Research to Practice.”; “Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 3(5): 344-50.

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Saturday, April 10th, 2021

Julia Tokish

Uncovering South Asian American Playwrights

American theatre is a discipline heavily dominated by white playwrights, while other races remain disproportionately underrepresented. This includes South Asian American playwrights, who are not only underrepresented but underresearched. Included under the more general umbrella of “Asian American theatre,” South Asian playwrights receive little attention of their own. They are rarely reviewed or published, despite producing vast quantities of work.

My research, conducted under the guidance of Dr. Meenakshi Ponnuswami, aims to uncover these playwrights and bring them the recognition they deserve. I collect and organize information on first- and second-generation immigrant playwrights of South Asian descent as well as their plays. In the future, we plan to use this research to create a publicly searchable database and publish a selected number of the plays from our research in an anthology.

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