2018 AMRE Annual Report

APEX Application System

Team: Miquilina Anagbah (Ashesi ’19), Jemal Jemal ’20, Katie Reese ’20, Scott Stoudt ’19
Advisors: Cathy McConnell (APEX) and Nathan Sommer (Computer Science)

The purpose of this project was to understand the problems of the APEX Fellowship application system and design and implement a system that was streamlined and simplified for both APEX EL and students as well. The team carried out research and the final proposed product was Formstack (an online form-builder that is easily customizable and user-friendly),together with a PDF Merger web application (developed by the computer programmers on the team). This web application allows APEX EL to easily generate master PDFs of all the submitted applicant’s information and documents for review by external officers. The team conducted evaluation on the Fellowship application by sending questionnaires to APEX fellows and some faculty to identify redundant steps and reduce the complexity of the process.

Identifying future resources for funding and creating a strategic development plan for the advancement of the sports program to reduce health inequity and disparities among individuals with disabilities

Team: Jordan Griffith ’19 and Annabelle Hopkins ’19
Advisor: Angie Bos (APEX, Political Science)

In year two of the AMRE social science focuses project, the Adaptive Sports of Ohio (ASPO) team was one of three teams that researched topics related to social science. For this project, the team was tasked with finding policy solutions for ASPO that would provide their organization with additional public funding options that would allow them to scale up their programming across the state. As part of this project, the Team looked into a variety of state laws and funding sources that ASPO could use to get more funding. The biggest source the team looked into was Ohio Revised Code 4511.69 that allows for fifty percent of the fine paid for parking in a handicapped spot to be redistributed to organizations and public entities that would assist citizens with disabilities. The team then looked to use this law statewide to funnel the funds generated to ASPO. The team assembled a database of Ohio municipal courts, cold called the different courts, and generated a report of how much revenue could be gathered from a change in the law. The team also looked into other funding sources from the Ohio Lottery Fund, the BMV, and the Ohio Department of Education. The team then presented a comprehensive report on funding sources to Senator Frank LaRose and Representative Scott Wiggam. By the end of their time working for AMRE, this team constructed an official report, containing a recommendation that ASPO receive a line item in the Ohio biannual budget.

The Search for a Profitable and Long-term Solution to Goodwill’s Excess Textile Salvage: A Market Analysis of Future Strategic Partnerships

Team: Gio Tramonto ’19 and Kiera Parker-Emerson ’19

The goal of our AMRE project was to find alternative solutions to best repurpose secondhand clothes or garments (textiles) for four North-East Ohio Goodwill Thrift stores. Currently, around 20% of the donations given to Goodwill are not sold and then these donations are packaged and sold overseas to vendors. Due to international markets closing their boarders to secondhand textiles, Goodwill’s revenue stream from their left over donations, called salvage sales, was at risk. The AMRE team was given four data sets on Goodwill’s past unsold donations and a list of priorities for conducting future business. The final result was a two-pronged solution that included a short, and long-term plan. In the short-term, 3-5 years, Goodwill would partner with larger organizations to increase the global diversity of their overseas buyers. As the time passes, Goodwill will stay up to date with new companies that are reusing and recycling excess clothes across various industries, using organizational databases. In the long term, Goodwill will look to partner with a technology company that is able to take secondhand textiles at scale, break them down to the molecular fiber level, and build them back up into virgin fiber to be sold to large textile manufactures and brands.

Knots and Links on the Klein Bottle

Team: Henry Potts-Rubin ’20 and Isaac Weiss ’20
Advisors: Jennifer Bowen and Robert Kelvey (Mathematics)

This project was an evolution of previous AMRE work that looked into knots and links on the Klein bottle. We expanded this research by studying links on the real projective plane (RP2), something that had not been previously explored. Our main results include the discovery of equivalencies between certain classes of RP2 links, as well as some generic braid words.

Line of Business Decision Making

Team: Christian Betre ’19, Callie Ogland-Hand ’19, Eric Gabriel ’19, Major Kadonzvo (Ashesi ’20)
Advisors: Robert Kelvey and Marian Frazier (Mathematics)

This Fortune 500 insurance company wanted the AMRE team to explore a specific market. The AMRE team was given three data sets to clean and analyze in order to answer the company’s questions. The team additionally conducted research independent of the data. Some findings include non-trivial differences between customer groups and numerous pros and cons of investing in this business. Analysis methods included; Decision Trees, Clustering, Logistic and Linear Regressions, Statistical Summaries, Frequency Tables, Choropleths (Geographical Heatmaps), and Cost-Benefit Analysis.

Creating A Culture of Talent

Team: Ibrahim Abdullah (Ashesi ’18), Jacob Abramo ’21, Alex Hwang ’20, Phillip Wells ’19

The ProMytheUs project team worked with a startup company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and data systems to identify, grade, map and market “Human Talent” across a wide range of career fields and organizational needs. The AMRE student consultants worked in two general areas: marketing and technical product development. The students performed market research on talent indicators, contacted schools, businesses and non-profit organization in the region to market the product, and assisted with preparing a pitch and connecting to investors for fund-raising. The team also worked on updating the website, performed data analytics, and explored user interface design options.

Workforce Re-Entry (A collaboration of several entities including NAACP, WEDC, Fund for Our Economic Future, and Behind Bars and Beyond)

Team: Emma Cotter ’20 and Halen Gifford ’21
Advisors: Nate Addington (CDI’s Office of Civic and Social Responsibility) and Cameron Maneese (former Director of Wayne County Family and Children First Council)

The 2018 AMRE Workforce Reentry Team was one of three social science projects completed this year. They looked into workforce reentry after a period of incarceration in Wayne County, Ohio. The Workforce Reentry Team had a number of different community clients: The Wooster/Orrville NAACP, The Noble Foundation, The Wayne Economic Development Council, The Fund for Our Economic Future, The College of Wooster’s Office of Civic and Social Responsibility, and Behind Bars and Beyond. The need for this project came out of the low unemployment rate in Wayne County (3.1%) which makes it difficult for employers to find employees, and the perceived unemployability of those who have returned to the community following a period of incarceration. The Team endeavored to meet a number of different deliverables, including completing case studies on other reentry systems in other Ohio counties, studying supportive employment models, researching The College of Wooster’s hiring policies, gathering returning citizen interviews, and generating a database of employers in Wayne County who will hire returning citizens. In regard to the database, the Workforce Reentry Team cold-called over 400 businesses and were able to identify 60 businesses that will hire returning citizens in Wayne County. The Team successfully completed each of these deliverables and presented them at two final presentations open to the community, the first of which had over 70 attendees.

Using Tree Rings to Date Historical Structures and Extract Climate Information from Old Growth Forests

Team: Kendra Devereux ’21, Alexis Lanier ’20, Juwan Shabazz ’19
Advisors: Greg Wiles and Nick Wiesenberg (Geology)

This AMRE project was a unique addition to the program as it was the first time that AMRE worked in collaboration with the Earth Sciences Department. The team used data collected from living trees to update local chronologies and date historical structures. Throughout the course of the program, they worked with a multitude of clients, including David Burke of Holden Arboretum and Ray Leisy, project manager of Sonnenberg village. The team primarily focused on coring living trees and measuring their ring widths in order to update living tree chronologies and analyze past climate data throughout northeast Ohio. Throughout the program, the team interpreted their data to compose multiple reports for their clients and will present their findings at a nationwide geological conference in the fall.

Analyzing the Causes of Personal Auto Premium Changes

Team: Tianyi Cai ’20, Tammy Dinh ’20, Jordan Kirsch ’20, Margaret Odero (Ashesi ’19)
Advisors: Jennifer Bowen and Nathan Fox (Mathematics)

A local insurance company performed a rate revision, and some customer segments experienced unexpectedly large changes in their premiums. The AMRE team was given a set of data, which they then cleaned and analyzed. The team clustered the data into customer segments with similar characteristics and determined which segment was most affected by the rate revision. They also identified the factors that caused the most change in this revision, and analyzed the profitability of these customer segments. They used the techniques: k-means Clustering, Gower’s distance, Partioning Around Medoids (PAM), Boruta feature selection, and Random Forest. The team presented their findings to the company for further analysis and decision making.