2015-16 Selected honors theses

Paths to Blue Bins: A System Dynamics Approach to Individual- and Population- Level Factors in Pro-Environmental Recycling Behavior

Jordana Composto '16

Why did you recycle today? Why didn't you recycle yesterday? What runs through your subconscious when you throw something into the blue recycling bin? What physical elements around you construct your behavior?
This thesis project examines the individual-level and population-level factors that influence an individual's pro-environmental behavior. There are many factors that make people act or not
act in a certain way. I take a system dynamics approach to understanding the interplay and outcome of the factors that influence recycling behavior.

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Can we use twitter data to better healthcare? Tracking sentiment and content in tweets pertaining to breast cancer screening

Sara Kikut '16

In recent years, breast cancer screening recommendations have stimulated controversy between key health care actors. Breast-­‐screening recommendations have changed over the past 20 years. Current controversy stems from the 2009 United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) announcement. In November 2009, the USPSTF changed its 2002 recommendations such that women should start biennial screening at age 50 instead of 40. Meanwhile, medical societies, such as the American Cancer Society (ACS), continued to
recommend that women begin annual screening at age 40. The inconsistency of recommendations has spurred confusion for women seeking breast cancer care management and prevention [25]. In order to respond appropriately to patients' concerns, healthcare providers and policy makers can benefit from understanding the level of public confusion and anxiety regarding the conflicting recommendations. One solution for public sentiment and opinion surveillance is using social media as a data source. This research study uses Twitter to analyze public response to the use of breast cancer screening technologies.

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