Carnegie Mellon University

Statistics Competition winners

May 17, 2017

Meeting of the Minds: Dietrich College Winners

By Emily Stimmel

Misery loves company – at least when it comes to Twitter. That’s what Blaine Cole discovered when he analyzed the textual features of tweets that were frequently shared.

Cole presented "Why Do People Retweet? An Analysis of the Effect of Sentiment & Rhetorical Devices on Retweeting," at Carnegie Mellon University’s 2017 Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Symposium. It earned him the Dietrich Humanities Prize. 

"The primary finding of my work was that tweets with a negative emotional valence were more likely to be retweeted than tweets with a positive or neutral emotional valence," said Cole, a senior economics and statistics major who also placed second in the statistics oral competition. "This result lined up with the commonly held idea that controversy attracts the most attention, but I thought it was interesting to have hard evidence to back up this idea."

Since it began in 1995, Meeting of the Minds has grown from 157 student presenters to over 600. The university’s diverse array of disciplines and research areas were showcased at the event, which included poster sessions, oral presentations, art installations and more.

Junior Isabel Bleimeister presented her findings from a study in which she examined the effects of chronic, unpredictable stress. She won first place in the Psychology Department’s oral competition.

Bleimeister said she chose to participate in Meeting of the Minds to gain experience discussing her research.

"I am thrilled and honored to have won this award. This experience has shown me that I am capable of giving a strong presentation," said Bleimeister, a neuroscience major with a minor in biomedical engineering.

As in previous years, Tim Haggerty oversaw judging for the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences award categories. He said that he is consistently impressed by the quality of student work from the college.

"Both the Award for Artistic Excellence and the Dietrich Humanities Prize had another fine crop of excellent entries," said Haggerty, director of the Humanities Scholars Program

2017 Dietrich College Award Winners

Award for Artistic Excellence (funded by the Center for the Arts in Society)

Naomi Shimada, Creative Writing; Margaret Mertz, Global Studies 
"Psyche & Parfum: Deconstructing Representation & Diversifying the Film Industry"

Christine Shen, Mathematical Sciences and Art
"Word Play"

Lumi Barron, Art; Michelle Janco, Art
"Rolling Sheep"

Amanda Jolley, Art

Michelle Ma, Computer Science and Art
"The Clinic"

Dietrich Humanities Prize (funded by the Humanities Scholars Program)

Paloma Sierra-Hernandez, Creative Writing and Drama
"COCKTAIL: Tasting Three Different Perspectives about Puerto Rican National Identity Through Poetry"

Kristina Wagner, Technical Writing and Communication
"How a research-based system can facilitate citizens solving wicked problems more efficiently, with the refugee crisis as a case study"

Karen Nguyen, Professional Writing and Psychology
"The Importance of Untold Stories: Coming of Age as a Vietnamese Woman"

Ariel Hoffmaier, Creative Writing and Ethics, History & Public Policy
"Networking: Stories of Queer Lives"

Blaine Cole, Economics and Statistics
"Why Do People Retweet? An Analysis of the Effect of Sentiment & Rhetorical Devices on Retweeting"

Psychology Department Competition

Poster Competition

First Place: Kimberly Hochstedler, Statistics
"Meta-Analytic Review of Pronoun Use and Health and Relationship Outcomes"

Oral Competition

First Place: Isabel Bleimeister, Neuroscience
"Effects of Chronic Unpredictable Stress on Anxiety, Cognition and Neuroinflammation in Rats Subjected to Experimental Brain Trauma"

Statistics Competition

Oral Competition

First Place: Angelina Sheremet, Statistics
"Interactive Model-Based Clustering"

Second Place: Blaine Cole, Economics and Statistics
"Why Do People Retweet? An Analysis of the Effect of Sentiment and Rhetorical Devices on Retweeting"

Poster Competition

First Place: Kimberly Hochstedler, Statistics
"Meta-Analytic Review of Pronoun Use and Health and Relationship Outcomes"

Second Place: Benjamin Teo, Mathematical Sciences
"Determining the Structure of a Population of Neurons"

Third Place: Yu Liu, Statistics and Machine Learning
"Towards Synthetic Ecosystems of Disease Vectors"

Honorable Mentions:

Isaac Haberman, Statistics; LeShaun Jones, Statistics; Grace Lee, Statistics; and Yuan Liang, Statistics and Machine Learning
"Statistical Approaches for Augmenting Synthetic Ecosystems with Agent Activities: An Application of the American Time Use Survey"

Andrew Bryan, Economics and Statistics; Shichen Yang, Economics and Statistics; Apoorva Havanur, Statistics and Machine Learning; Emily Helfer, Statistics and Machine Learning; and Naveen Shankar, Statistics and Machine Learning
"Identifying Donor Trends for the Pittsburgh Civil Light Opera"

Harit Agrawala, Economics and Statistics; Jack Kroger, Economics and Statistics; Sameer Dhavalikar, Statistics and Machine Learning; Megan Fu, Business Administration; and Barbara Samaniego, Economics
"Post-Consumer Food Waste"

Young Researcher Award

Jeffrey Phillips, Mathematical Sciences
"An Extension of the Kelly Criterion for Scenarios with Discrete Bet Amounts"

Emma Flickinger, Creative Writing
"Galaxy Morphology and Environment Density: Detecting a Relationship"

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Award


Asawari Kanitkar, Information Systems; Divya Mohan, Information Systems; and Kathryn Williams, Information Systems
"Heart Rate Analytics: Extracting Heart Rate Through Facial Landmarking"

Pictured above: Students receive awards for the statistics competitions at Meeting of the Minds. (Photo credit: Richelle Bernazzoli.)