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Active Learning and Research

Student projects

Academic Spree Day 2007

Clark and Russian students from the Fall 2006 class presented their work at Clark's Academic Spree Day 2007 through a symposium titled "Cultural Living in the Cities: Bridges Between Russia and The United States."
  • A glimpse of the semiotic borders of Main Street, Worcester. Kate Del Vecchio '07 & Mike Seidman '08 (sponsor: Prof. J. Valsiner)

  • Functional isolation of marginal groups in the city. Elina Dayanova (Higher School of Economics, Moscow)


  • Eating out: Meeting of cultures in the restaurants on Main Street, Worcester. Blair Gross '07, Ruth Bleakley '07, & Steven Cianciarulo '07 (Clark University)


  • Light and darkness as social factors in the city. Alexander Ramonov (Higher School of Economics, Moscow)


  • Cultural psychology of parks: In darkness and in light. Erica Mello '08, Brittney Morrell '08, Stephanie Morris '08, & Victoria Verlezza '09 (Clark University)


  • Sounds in/of the street as invisible boundaries. Marina Nord (Higher School of Economics, Moscow)


  • The dynamics of time and space in the city. Nikita Kharlamov (Higher School of Economics, Moscow)

Students describe their projects

Clark student Kaoru Kawashima '08
My research looks at the kinds of functions that public sculptures in open spaces have, and how they psychologically affect people. The first question uses a more sociological approach, and the second a psychological one. The research involves observing and interviewing people who come to the sculptures we selected, or who pass by them.

Two students in Moscow are doing their research on monuments as well, so we tried to seek for a possibility of a joint project. It turned out, however, that we are interested in taking slightly different approaches. So, instead of doing joint research, we have been helping each other with project ideas and analysis.

Russian student Sania Ramonov
My final project was connected with the perception of partly-lighted objects in the city. The main idea was that dynamic contrasts are the basis for the genesis of meanings within human mind. How does a lack of information (darkness) lead to the play of imagination? As we can perceive only visible (lighted) spots, invisible spots create some tension within our minds—as a reaction play of imagination starts that compensates lack of information.

Clark student Maggie Lajoie '09
My final project is an observational study of Elm Park in Worcester from a cultural perspective. After general observations of Elm Park I decided to focus on the cultural signs and boundaries. I categorized the signs as either informative or instructional and the boundaries as either visible or invisible. The signs were easier to observe and collected within the first few sessions. Some of my favorites were the Do Not Enter sign with Iraq written in the white strip across the middle and the several signs that stated that the Park was closed from 10pm-5am per order of the Park Commissioner. The boundaries were more difficult to observe and after several weekly observations throughout the semester I was able to distinguish boundaries people set up around themselves in regards to their children, dogs, strangers, and various natural elements of the park.

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Maggie Lajoie studied the kinds of signs to be be found in Worcester's Elm Park.

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