Kathryn McLane, The Legacy of the Civil War: An Evaluative and Artistic Analysis of Collective Memory and the Performative Nature of American Civil War Commemoration
During the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, it is important to consider why people continue to commemorate the War one hundred and fifty years after its close, how these commemorations have changed over time, and what role collective memory plays in the commemoration process. Performance Studies scholar, Diana Taylor, describes the importance of utilizing both an archive of existing written literature as well as a repertoire of embodied action in order to accurately understand historical and cultural events. My thesis—a combination of a research paper and a ten-minute dance—exemplifies this concept, allowing me to effectively analyze the relationship between collective memory and commemoration in this comprehensive study.
Molly Michie, Parents and Preschool Decisions: How Networks, Research, and Priorities Affect Program Quality
Early intervention through quality preschool has been shown to be effective in closing education opportunity gaps and setting disadvantaged kids on a level playing field with their wealthier peers. Because preschool has such positive effects, it is crucial to find out which children attend preschool and to examine the quality of the programs they attend. There are many studies showing correlations between demographic characteristics and preschool attendance, but few get at the causal mechanism behind these relationships and the program’s quality. To fill this gap, my research explores the question, “Why do parents choose high- or low-quality preschool programs for their children?” I survey parents, asking about their reasoning for their preschool choices and their research processes. My goal in conducting this research is to obtain useful data that will enable me to make concrete recommendations about how to increase the number of children who attend quality preschool.
Mohima Sanyal, Determination of Cyst Stem Cell Progenitor Development and Migration through Live Cell Imaging Studies in Drosophila melanogaster
In Drosophia melanogaster (fruit flies), organogenesis necessitates timely commitment of progenitor cells along particular developmental fates to organize complex tissues. This project addresses one of the major questions that accompany the larger goal of thoroughly understanding stem cell development in the D. melanogaster. Specifically, it investigates what regulates specification of somatic cyst stem cells (CySC) progenitors in developing testes, and examines when, where and how somatic CySC progenitors are first specified in embryonic testes. The research particularly focuses on tracing the lineage of specific somatic gonadal progenitor cells (SGPs) and their progeny via live cell imaging. Live cell imaging will allow testis development to be tracked without killing tissues, and investigate CySC progenitor specification with minimal “noise”. To this end, I was able to optimize important live-imaging protocols and collect data from the gonads of several different fly lines during the summer.
Ashley Fidler, BMP Regulation of Stem Cell Development During Drosophila Testis Formation
Asymmetrically dividing stem cells provide the functional cell types necessary for organogenesis while maintaining stem cell populations that continuously replace dying cells. Despite their fundamental importance of to living systems, the mechanisms regulating stem cell development are not well understood. One of the most thoroughly studied systems for examining stem cell behavior is the adult Drosophila testis, which is composed of sperm-producing germline stem cells (GSCs) and somatic cyst stem cells (CySCs). In the adult organism, the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway has been shown to regulate GSC maintenance. This thesis examines the role of BMP signaling during development. BMP signaling expresses a dynamic pattern of activation in developing PGCs during embryogenesis before becoming restricted to GSCs localized to the larval testis apex. Additionally, the restricted activation of BMP signaling appears to promote the GSC maintenance, while permitting differentiation of more distant GSC daughter
Monica Stone, An Assessment of the Frequency and Cause of Concentrated Flow on Agricultural Fields in the Virginia Coastal Plain Portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Sediment and nutrient loads delivered to Chesapeake Bay have increased over the last several centuries causing widespread eutrophication. This has been detrimental to the Bay’s ecosystem, hurt the local fishing industry (Kemp et al., 2005), and adversely affected human heath (Kleinman et al., 2011). Non-point, agricultural sources are the largest contributors of sediment and nutrients to Chesapeake Bay. There has been little reduction of these pollutants entering Chesapeake Bay since the 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement and subsequent installation of riparian buffer systems between agricultural fields and perennial streams (Boesch et al., 2001). I propose that the occurrence of concentrated flow across agricultural fields and through their bordering riparian buffers is widespread in the Virginia Coastal Plain portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Flow concentration prevents runoff from infiltrating into riparian buffer root zones, where sediments are trapped and nutrients are absorbed (Dosskey et al., 2002). My study utilizes Geographic Information Systems to study this problem.
Sharon Hartzell, Loblolly Pine Needles as Indicators of Pollution from Coal Dust
While the impacts of coal combustion on environmental and human health are well known, the effect of unburned coal in the environment is an area of uncertainty and interest. Coal is enriched in a number of elements, including selenium, mercury, lead, and arsenic, which have known deleterious impacts on human and ecosystem health, and which may accumulate in the environment as a result of coal dust lost from railroad cars during transport. To study the accumulation of coal dust in the environment adjacent to railroad tracks that carry loads of coal through the Williamsburg area, loblolly pine needles were measured for several potentially harmful elements, and correlations between elevated metal levels and proximity to railroad tracks were investigated.
Elizabeth Pelletier, Learning in Harm's Way: The Effects of Neighborhood Violence on School Performance
Children attend school in dangerous neighborhoods around the nation where violence is an almost-daily occurrence. Past research has found exposure to violence to be associated with negative cognitive, behavioral, and mental health outcomes at the individual student level, but this issue has not been examined at the school level. This paper seeks to answer the following research question: does geographic proximity to violent crime affect a school’s performance? To examine the relationship between violent crime and school performance, I conduct a quantitative analysis, using GIS to plot the locations where various crimes occurred and compare them to the locations of schools in the area. I control for other variables that are known to affect student achievement, such as neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics and teacher quality, allowing me to see whether a general association exists linking proximity to violence and school performance.
Rachel Brooks, Can Education Compensate for Society?: Sociolinguistic Theory and High School English Teachers’ Experiences
I seek to address the question, “Can education compensate for society?,” as it applies to sociolinguistic theory and the experiences of high school English teachers from Hampton Roads and Richmond, Virginia. I collected qualitative data from workshops, conferences, and a series of interviews with high-performing teachers involved in the School University Research Network (SURN) at the William & Mary School of Education. Through my research, I evaluate the teachers’ beliefs about their knowledge of cultural and linguistic variation and how they seek to maximize achievement for all student subgroups. The findings highlight effective teaching strategies for culturally and linguistically diverse classes and address the education system’s deficiencies in culturally relevant pedagogy.
Kevin Place, Restaging Rivera's Marisol: Identities, Projections, and New Mythologies
Jose Rivera’s Marisol is a play about a world far different from and yet extraordinarily parallel to ours. This project, tied to both an honors thesis in the Department of Theatre, Speech, and Dance as well as a Senior Directorial in the PBK Studio Theatre will investigate how this political play can be made accessible for an audience far away from New York and Puerto Rican culture. Issues of casting, focus, and thematic content will be considered in order to make the play resonate with both student and local audiences. Furthermore, the limitations of space and budget will provide significant challenges in staging Rivera’s fantastical world. The use of projections and a scaled-down design aesthetic will not only allow for the production to be possible but also help to reign in the at times unwieldy nature of Rivera’s work. By carefully navigating these concerns, a successful production can be staged.
Rebecca Turner, "What light. What possibilities. What hope": Revolution and the Millennium in Rivera's Marisol
Jose Rivera’s 1992 play Marisol tells the story of a young Puerto Rican-American woman in a dystopian New York City on “the edge of the apocalypse.” In his play, Rivera takes many of the premillennial fears and expectations present in America at the end of the 20th century and explores them in a surreal landscape of celestial warfare and human oppression. This thesis investigates Marisol as a work of apocalyptic literature, calling for social change and revolution through the lens of the End of Days. This research will also be discussed in the context of dramaturgy for a production of Marisol produced by the William & Mary Theatre Second Season.