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Volume 5, Fall 2023


This year's edition of Illuminate proudly features 24 authors across 23 pieces of work. These students have spent months working through the editorial process, and we are pleased to be able to publish their work in this fifth volume. 

As in years past, the 2023 edition of Illuminate aligns with the #NRHC2023 conference theme: "Building Resilience from Tragedy: Understanding Hate, Violence, Loss, and Reconciliation." While this theme may not have inspired every piece published in this year's journal, you will certainly feel its presence. 

Resilience doesn't come easily. It has to be cultivated. It has to built. While some may argue that we are more resilient than ever as a result of surviving a global pandemic and continuing to thrive in a world that seems to have so many insurmountable issues, others may argue that our ability to "be gritty" has diminished. As you explore this year’s volume, you will see several impressive works of creativity in the form of creative writing and fine art; and you will be educated with 18 academic papers that contain both secondary and primary research by honors students.

Our contributors examine important issues across a variety of disciplines—Business, Economics, and Technology; Education; History, Politics, and Culture; Language, Literature, and Philosophy; Media Studies and the Arts; Science, Mathematics, and Health; and Social Sciences. It is through the research process that our contributors have built their own resilience. Research isn't always easy, but it always leads to a deeper understanding. 

It also takes resilience and grit to bring ​a project like Illuminate to publication. The contributors began by proposing their work to the journal earlier this year. Two reviewers are then assigned to each piece, providing comments and scoring the work. Based on the recommendations of the reviewers, pieces are either accepted with minimal edits, conditionally accepted with major revisions, or rejected. Students with either accepted or conditionally accepted pieces were expected to make updates to their works. Those who were conditionally accepted went through a second review process before their piece was either officially rejected or accepted. Final drafts of edited work are then proofread by the editorial board. Whether one is going through this process as a contributor or as a volunteer on the editorial board, it is a rigorous and time-consuming endeavor. It has taken nearly five months to complete this volume. 

There are so many people to thank for bringing this project to fruition—you may read every editorial board member’s biography on the Meet Our Team page, along with the biographies of all the authors/contributors to this volume.

​Please enjoy this fifth volume. It has been the pleasure of the Editorial Board to review submissions, work with contributors on edits, and bring this volume online. If you have any questions or wish to contact any of the contributors, please email us at

Be present, be curious, and always be illuminated. Happy Reading!


Kathryn M. MacDonald
Editor-in-Chief, Illuminate
Executive Secretary, Northeast Regional Honors Council
Honors Program Director, Monroe College

2023 Edition Contents

Click here to access Academic Work.


Click here to access Creative Work.


The following are the pieces selected to be featured in Volume 5 of Illuminate. They are organized by author last name:

“Found: Creative AI”
Daniel Abramov, Penn State Berks

“The Effects of Modeling a Ketogenic Diet on the Neurological Development of Drosophila Melanogaster”
Samantha Biseinere, Westfield State University 

“Reframing Recidivism: The Necessary Tools for a Prison System Promoting Growth”
Jason Buller, Vanessa Stolstajner, Maggie Broomfield, and Grace Shartle, Loyola University Maryland              

“The Importance of Body Fluid Identification in a Court of Law”
Megan Dunkle, Cedar Crest College         

“Federal Funding as a Solution to Public Education in the United States: Resolving Disparities and Inequality in the Current System”
Zayn Farooq, Robert Morris University

“Hartford & the West: Ocean Vuong and His Re-Generation of Samuel Colt’s Western Environment” and “To Be a Tree”
Crista Fiala, University of Saint Joseph

“The Art of Fashion as Political Weaponry”
Emili Gibson, Monroe Community College


“The Effect of Family Factors on a Student’s Grit”
Sydney Grandison, Dominican University New York                          

“The Role of Morality in Reporting Indiscretions”
David Guariglia, Dominican University New York

“Modeling Bacterial Resilience: Simulation of Environmental Antibiotic Exposure to Substantiate the Predictive Power of Mathematical Models”
Khoula  Jaber, Cedar Crest College

“Stars” and “Mountain Queen”
Angelina Lambros, Brooklyn College

“Post Pandemic Innovations: Closing the Gap in Children’s Social-Emotional Learning Through Creative Arts”
Logan Lankford, Salisbury University       

“A Feminist Analysis of “Barbie as Rapunzel”: Examining the Powerlessness of Girl Power”
Cloe Loosz, Point Park University

“Sex, Sun, and Stigma: The Serpentine Underbelly of Globalized Sex Tourism”
Rithika Padyala, Thomas Jefferson University

“Finding a Home in Hawaii: Picture Brides and the American Dream”
Allison Rhea, Frederick Community College         

“Quantum Computer Solving Crime: Is Quantum Computing the Future of Cybersecurity?”
Rita Rin, Monroe College

“How Christian Persecution Influenced the Symbolism in Revelation”
Demir Schroyer, Thiel College

“Rewards & Accolades”
Ahimsa Shakti, Community College of Allegheny County

“God the Mother and the Feminine Christ: Representations of the Madonna and Jesus as Divine Maternal Nurturers in Medieval and Renaissance Art”
Rebecca Soriano, Monroe Community College

“Immortal Misconceptions:  A Look into Misconceptions of Immortality in Gilgamesh and Science”

Khushali Vyas, Cedar Crest College

“The Impact of Biases in Facial Recognition Artificial Neural Networks”
Ezra Wingard, SUNY Oswego

Illuminate Volume 5.png

Click the cover for the official PDF

of Volume 5!

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