Taylor Ashlock, New Music to the Very Ears of God: Heloise the Composer
In 2002, David Wulstan reattributed five pieces of music previously attributed to Abelard to his wife Heloise based on the identification of their early love letters. These pieces, two liturgical dramas and three sequences, have not been given the attention they deserve in previous scholarship and are often dismissed because of their use of erotic imagery from Song of Songs. The sequence and two liturgical dramas for the Easter liturgy particularly demonstrate a coherent theology and an attempt to create liturgical music that rejects the dichotomy between the physical and the spiritual commonly seen in sacred music of the time, in favor of music that is more appropriate and authentic to the experiences of nuns.
Matthew Reese, Dvořák & James: Pragmatism and the Music of Fin de Siècle New York
In 1892, Antonín Dvořák took up the Directorship of the National Conservatory in New York, initiating a three-year tenure that was marked by tremendous musical and personal success. More than a decade later, Gustav Mahler would arrive in the same city, but his time in America was plagued by stresses and disputes. What was it about Dvořák's pedagogy and composition that made him such a natural choice? I suggest that as a politically disenfranchised Czech living in Austria-Hungary, Dvořák was an inheritor, but not heir to the Austro-German teleology. As a result, he felt free to sit in the middle of the intellectual divides of the day, taking liberally from both camps. It was this musical pragmatism that resonated so strongly in the United States, a country deeply concerned with political and philosophical pragmatism.
Kelly Watson, Reducing the Costs of Bird Sampling: A Comparison of Separate- Versus Consecutive-Visit Sampling Designs using Occupancy Modeling
Point-counts are a common method to collect abundance data for various taxa, but estimates of abundance are more accurate when detection probability is included. Occupancy modeling is one method that adjusts the probability of occupancy (a measure of abundance) when detections are imperfect. Using this method, a site is visited multiple times during a single season. The resulting detection history is then used to estimate the detection probability for each species and the detection probability is used to estimate the occupancy probability for each site. Sites may be visited consecutively on the same day or separately on different days. Consecutive visits cost less time and money but may not capture the full variability in environmental conditions, which could result in lower detection probabilities. This study compares detection probability and occupancy probabilities for birds that were surveyed with both a consecutive- and separate-visit sampling design.
Joanna Weeks, Modeling Tick-Borne Diseases in the Changing Landscape of the Virginian Peninsula: A Tool for Urban Planning in the Context of Human Health
The Virginia Department of Health issued a warning to Clinicians in 2011 that tick-borne diseases are on the rise. The focus of this study is the tick-borne bacteria Ehrlichia chaffeensis, responsible for the moderate-to-severe disease human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME). This disease and others have been sharply increasing since 2005. Several lines of research have shown that humans indirectly influence the distribution of diseases transmitted by vectors such as mosquitos and ticks. Considering West Nile virus, recent research showed that increased diversity of bird hosts decreased West Nile virus infections in humans and that urbanization is a major factor decreasing bird diversity. Similarly, it has been demonstrated that Lyme disease occurrence was influenced by anthropogenic fragmentation of forest landscapes. The objectives of this study are to identify factors influencing the prevalence of E. chaffeensis across the Virginia Peninsula between Richmond and Hampton. We collected ticks in 2010 and 2012 by dragging a 1m2 cloth across the forest floor on 101 sites randomly placed along an urban-rural gradient. As our counts occurred in July and August, the majority of ticks collected were nymphs. Nucleic acid was extracted from 101 sites of pooled nymph ticks from 2012. Polymerase Chain Reactions were performed to amplify DNA coding for 16s rRNA unique to Amblyomma americanum ticks and 16s rRNA unique to E. chaffeensis bacteria. Preliminary analyses suggest that over 98% of ticks collected were Amblyomma americanum, the vector of HME, and that the prevalence of E. chaffeensis was low (≈ 4.16%). The results of our study will improve our understanding on the interaction between human land use (i.e., urbanization) and exotic plant invasion to predict the distribution of lone-star tick and E. chaffeensis prevalence.
Elizabeth DeBusk, The Role of Regional Language Variation in Literacy Screening and Assessment: An Evaluation of the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening in Virginia
Since the passing of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, public education has moved toward increased assessment in order to promote greater accountability in public education (U.S. Department of Education, 2003). My research addresses the possibility that linguistic variation can create discrepancies in the accuracy of the scoring of standardized assessments. I evaluate the accuracy of the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) (Invernizzi, Meier, & Juel, 2004-2008) at Mountainside Elementary School, a small school in rural southwestern Virginia. In order to do so, I provide cross-linguistic analysis of student interviews and mistakes on PALS. My research considers educator input from the teachers at Mountainside Elementary School and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). This work builds upon documentation of social language change and variation (Labov, 1994), research into Southern English (Wolfram & Schilling-Estes, 2006), and research of the role of language variation in education (Charity Hudley & Mallinson, 2011). Based the data from students and educators, I conclude that language variation has potential to affect the accuracy of this assessment. Through this work, I strive to show the significance of opening a dialogue for linguists and members of the education community to discuss the role of language variation in school literacy assessments and to begin a conversation about what steps must be taken to eliminate linguistic inaccuracies in the scoring of these assessments.
Kiara Savage, An Analysis of the Extent to Which an African American Child with Autism Develops the Social Language Variation of His Parents
Children with autism spectrum diorder suffer from language production and perception difficulties; this impairment is requisite for diagnosis (Flagg, Cardy, Roberts, & Roberts, 2005). The researcher predicts that communication difficulties could affect the acquisition of social language variation from parents, guardians, or primary caregivers. For typically developing individuals, dialect and language variation are generally acquired as a part of the regular language development process (Schilling-Estes, 2004). Research suggests that children are capable of having variation in their language to the same extent adults do (Schilling-Estes, 2004). This case study based research investigates the extent to which an African American child acquires the social language variation of his African American parents using interview method and phonological analysis for the presence specific features of African American English. The findings of this research could have implications for our understanding of language and social impairments in autism spectrum disorder.
Gretchen Nutz, Think Place – Geographies of National Identity in Oman
Place or the physical environment offers a valuable lens for examining how public and private voices in Oman have constructed a national identity in the decades following the 1970 “Renaissance.” Located on multiple edges and therefore at a meeting point, Omanis highlight their location at the crossing of historic trade and exchange routes. Many narratives emphasize the variety within Oman's natural environment as a feature that is unique in the region. Finally, Omanis are creating a recognizable urban identity using defensive motifs that reference their role as a crossroads as well as their natural environment.
Nina Cavazos, Divine on Display: The Hindu Devotional Object Within the Walls of an American Museum
While focusing on one museum in particular, The Hermitage Museum and Gardens in Norfolk, Virginia, and one of the objects in their collection, the Shiva Nataraja, I attempt to explore the history of the museum, American private collections and museums, the history of the object, and its religious implications within medieval South India. Through all of this, I hope to come to a better understanding of American museums and their educational programs on a broad scale, specifically politics of display when considering recontextualizing objects that may have at one time been considered sacred.