Searching for Parnassus: An Examination and Description of Copies of The Returne from Pernassus
The Returne from Pernassus, a play written by Cambridge students and performed during Christmas either 1601 or 1602, concerns the trials and tribulations of recent Cambridge graduates and their (mostly failed) attempts to find employment. Though it exists in manuscript form, the play was printed twice in 1606 by George Eld, a London printer, for John Wright.
The first part of my research trip occurred from May 21 to June 2. I traveled to England in order to examine copies of the play at the Bodleian Library (Oxford University), St John's College Library (Cambridge University), the Cambridge University Library, Eton Library, and the British Library. In June I traveled to the Folger Shakespeare Library for a week, and in July I traveled to the Houghton Library (Harvard University), Chapin Library (Williams College), and the Beinecke Library (Yale University). My examination of the copies included recording notes written in the copies from past readers and scholars, collating the copies against a base copy in order to discover differences among copies, and describing the paper used to print the copies.
Though my investigations, I discovered that the final two gatherings of the second edition (G and H) are not new settings of type but rather are the type from the first edition reimposed in order to save paper. Likewise, based on fibers in the paper, I concluded that the final three gatherings of the first edition share the same paper as the first and final two gatherings of the second edition. These two facts suggest that the first and second editions were printed very close together, perhaps with part of the second edition printed before the first edition was completed.
Nashrah Ahmed, Chemistry major
The Role of Islamic Education in Promoting Violence and Terrorism: A Qualitative Study of Madrasas in Bangladesh
In deciphering the alleged link between madrasa education in Bangladesh and terrorism, I first distinguished between the various types of madrasas, and then attempted to understand the cognitive world of the students. I did so by asking about their experience with other religious groups, their perspectives on their own religion, Islam, and their activities inside and outside the madrasa. I also interviewed intellectuals and experts in this field in order to orient my research to Bangladesh's cultural and sociopolitical framework.
I have found that madrasas, although an ancient system of education dating back to before even universities were established in Bangladesh, have not evolved to encompass the unique demands of Bangladesh, a secular country which simultaneously has a state religion, Islam. Moreover, its reliance on rote learning leaves little room for analysis or internalization of all the dimensions of Islam. Students are thus often unable to present Islam in a wider perspective to those unfamiliar with it, and instead sound very closed-minded and radical.
The constraints of the curriculum on students' ability to fully understand and articulate what they learn, however, do not amount to violence and terrorism. Moreover, recent findings suggest that mainstream Bengali medium education is almost entirely based on rote learning. In this way, madrasas are not unique in their limitations. In fact, although they are a minority, I have found examples of quality education in institutions within the public madrasa system, which are equipped with modern science labs, spacious computer rooms, and large auditoriums, facilities not even found in many private English medium schools.
I realized that madrasa curriculums do not inherently promote violence. However, reform, which is sensitive to the particularities of the Islamic ideology, is necessary to bring madrasa education into greater conformity with mainstream educational systems worldwide.
Hannah Ayers, History major
Nonprofit Agency Collaboration to End Forced Begging in Senegal
Nonprofit organizations are spearheading the Senegalese movement to end the practice of forced begging of young boys, locally known as talibés. Thousands of boys are sent to large cities to live with a marbout, an Islamic spiritual leader, and learn the Quran. In exchange for their education, the talibés are obligated to beg several hours each day.
International and local nonprofits are becoming increasingly engaged in the issue, creating the need for collaboration in order to lobby the Senegalese government and increase public awareness of the forced begging situation. The nonprofit sector in Senegal has a general atmosphere of competition over funding and resources, especially between international and local organizations that have varying levels of support and take different approaches to the same problem. Now more than ever, nonprofit leaders have the opportunity to work with other organizations despite these tensions.
I interviewed employees from both local and international nonprofits in order to study the dynamics of the campaign to end forced begging, and volunteered with the Senegalese organization Tostan to gain a first-hand perspective of the movement. My research on a specific local problem allowed me to find possible lessons for the nonprofit sector in Senegal as well as its global neighbors.
Andrew Bacher-Hicks, Economics major
A Modern Motorcycle Diary: An Exploration of Che Guevara's 1953 Journey through Latin America
In 1953, Ernesto Che Guevara, an Argentinean-born Marxist revolutionary, traveled throughout Central America, experiencing first-hand the region's poverty and opporession. His impressions of the social, economic and political injustice led him to believe that only armed revolution could lead to a better and unified Latin America, and subsequently influenced his revolutionary activism, including participation in the Cuban Revolution. In the 50 years since Guevara cycled through Central America what has changed? Specifically, how have the civil, political, and economic injustices observed by Guevara changed in the past 50 years?
This summer I retraced Guevara's steps by traveling through Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica on a path similar to his second Latin American road trip. Much like Guevara, I documented my thoughts, and ultimately concluded what has changed in the 50 years that separate our journeys. The final product is a documentary, combining journal entries, personal thoughts, and interviews with footage of Central America and it serves as a comparative analysis of political, social, and economic differences in Central America since 1953.
Applying Community Psychology to and with FSP (faculty advisor: Joseph Galano)
Virginia Bacon, Anthropology major
Gendered Discourses of Motherhood and Fatherhood in Celebrity Tabloid Magazines
Using poststructuralist theory of the construction of fluid gender identities through the use of competing discourses of masculinity and femininity, I examined the construction of motherhood and fatherhood in a qualitative study of celebrity tabloid magazines.
I found that these magazines overwhelmingly construct motherhood and femininity through discourses of intensive mothering and the new momism which insist that while women are not subordinate to men and do not need to have traditional families, their identity as women should revolve around their role as mothers.
These discourses also present mothering as the most fulfilling experience of a woman's life and expect women to sacrifice everything for their children. Though male celebrities were often depicted as caretakers of their children, their caretaking role was seen as exceptional, rather than expected.
Furthermore, I propose that these magazines are helping to create a new discourse of femininity which combines both the traditionally-oriented discourses of new momism and intensive mothering with feminist discourses which allow for non-traditional family structures. I argue that the subtle mixture of traditional and feminist discourses helps prevent men and women from recognizing the way in which it still perpetuates gender inequalities by returning women to the domestic sphere as mothers.
However I also suggest that the discourse of intensive mothering may be spreading into discourses of masculinity and fatherhood, and if fathers are expected to be intensive mothers, this might end up helping achieve gender equality because they would be more likely to share caretaking responsibilities with their female partners.
Nick Bahnsen, Public Policy major
Governance and Behavior: A Study of the Impact of Methods of Selection on Judicial Sentencing Behavior
A competent and impartial judiciary is fundamental to our system of government by the rule of law. Consequently, the selection of individuals to fill positions within the judiciary is of great importance. There exist in this country, however, nearly as many specific methods of selection as there are states.
While some select and retain their judges through appointment processes, others require that judges run for election in partisan elections. Each of these methods subjects a potential judge to various factors that may promote or inhibit these values of competency and impartiality. Therefore, it is the broad goal of this research is to study the extent to which different ways of governing judicial selection may affect judicial behavior.
This research analyzes a database of criminal cases from 2002 to determine if differences across governance methods exist. The sentence for total maximum incarceration term is used as a measure of judicial strictness. Cases from the data set are separated into groups according to methods of selection for trial court judges. The mean incarceration term is then measured for cases in each of these subgroups under various conditions. Significant differences between governance groups indicate that institutional factors do affect behavior and, ultimately, should raise concerns about how the different values are served.
Particularly when controlling for the crime committed, the data in this research offers some evidence of elected judges sentencing more strictly, thus confirming the idea that governance affects behavior.
Sofia Balino, English major
The efficiency of economic measures in the restoration of native vegetation in South Australia: Two case studies
In this project I analyze two sites in South Australia where conservation efforts are taking place to undo the aftereffects of excessive land clearance or animal grazing, which has decimated a significant amount of native vegetation.
The case studies done were at Hindmarsh Island by the mouth of the Murray River, Australia's largest river and a key source of drinking water and irrigation, and at the Bimbowrie station in the Olary ranges, part of the Australian outback. The research was conducted both through hands-on experience at these sites with the organization Conservation Volunteers Australia, along with additional research at the State Library of South Australia in Adelaide.
The research focuses primarily on the use of economic instruments and incentives, especially but not only pertaining to the use of property rights and market creation, and the differing levels of efficiency in their implementation.
Hindmarsh Island proved to be an incredibly successful case and a wonderful experience both times we went there, and if this effort continues to develop they will be sure to achieve some success. Bimbowrie, however, was sluggish in their planning and implementation of their projects, and as fun as it was bush-bashing and mapping out the peppercorn tree infestation in the area, there was much more that we could have gotten out of it had CVA's project partner taken more initiative.
However, the contrast between the two projects provided ample opportunity to see the differences in what strategies do and do not work, and gave a more comprehensive idea of the environmental problems that South Australia is facing.
Sharon Bernacki, Business major
A Better Way: Redesigning the Allocation of Monroe Funds in Accordance with Incentive Economics
This paper attempts to address the allocation of research funds granted to Monroe Scholars. The hope is to find a different allocation method that promotes higher quality projects. By applying a basic understand of incentive economics, such a method is proposed. The proposed method separates the payment into two parts. The first part is a guaranteed reimbursement for all expenses incurred during the research up to a specified ceiling amount. The second part is an additional fixed amount given to all students who submit a "successful" project in the Fall.
Mastering Sondheim: An Adventure in Musical Composition (faculty advisor: Brian Hulse)
Lewis Blake, Biology major
Geomorphological complexity and stream invertebrates in Alaska
Since the mid 1700's, what is now Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park has experienced glacial recession on the order of 100+ kilometers, exposing a vast, raw, and beautiful landscape. This catastrophic retreat left both a geologic and a biologic time gradient detailing the processes of primary succession across the bay from the mouth (oldest environments) to the current locations of the retreated glaciers in the upper arms (youngest environments).
Driving up bay, visitors can observe and contrast areas that have had shorter or longer periods of time for life to return to the land. My project involved examining the relative abundances of terrestrial floodplain invertebrate clades across this chronosequence, primarily beetles and spiders, near streams ranging from ~40 to over 200 years old. This study was in the larger context of Milner et al's research over the past 30 years on related subjects. I also worked as a field assistant to one of Dr Milner's Doctoral students, who was examining stream geomorphology as it changes over time and relates to large woody debris input and salmon colonization.
Kathleen Brasington, Anthropology major
Singing Along: The Folk Process in Summer Camp Songs
As an oral tradition, camp songs are ever-changing. This summer, I explored how and why this change occurs in 4-H summer camps across the country, all overnight camps for youths aged 8-14: the LA County 4-H Camp in San Bernadino, CA; 4-H Camp Howe in Goshen, MA; the Texas State 4-H Center in Brownwood, TX; and the Iowa State 4-H Center in Madrid, IA.
I stayed a week at each camp, recording data and singing along with the group. What I found is that camp songs are part of a "cult of personality" surrounding camp staff members, usually college students aged 18-24. Camp staff members are essentially hired to serve as role models to campers, and singing camp songs helps facilitate the role modeling process. When a staffer stands in front of a group and says, "This is a repeat after me song!" campers follow right along, mimicking the words and actions of the staff member.
Campers tend to favor the camp songs sung by their favorite staff members; they prefer to mimic their favorite people. And it's not unlikely for campers to favor staffers who sing the songs they like best. Thus camp songs and camp staff seem to be deeply intertwined, almost interchangeable.
In the ongoing competition to be everyone's favorite staff member, camp staffers add personalized flare to songs that grab the group's attention: a certain movement or a quirky way of saying a word. Campers copy right along, and if the group likes it enough, the change sticks. While not all change in camp songs comes about this way, adding personality is certainly a notable mode of change that points to the social structure and general purpose of these camps.
Sophie Broaddus, Physics major
Recruiting Women in Physics
Although women's involvement in the field of physics has demonstrably increased over recent years, it has yet to reach the level of rapid and robust expansion occurring in other scientific fields. For example, Ivie and Stowe's 2000 report claims that in 1998 women earned more than 40% of the bachelor's degrees awarded in math and chemistry but only 19% of those awarded in physics.
Data accrued from surveying, interviewing, and researching relevant articles all seems to point to a tangled knot of sociological factors working together to prevent women from realizing their full potential within the physics discipline. The persisting durability of prescribed female social roles in combination with the social reputation often attached to physics goes a long way in discouraging many women from seeking career paths in physics.
The effect of such factors is most readily seen in the sizable gap between women who study physics as part of a high school curriculum and those who decide to pursue a bachelor's degree in physics. As of 1993, more than 2/5 of high school physics students were girls, but five years later in 1998, less than 1/5 of undergraduate physics degrees were awarded to women (Ivie and Stowe).
Survey results indicate that women currently involved in the physics arena attribute this drop to general social deterrents as well as a specific lack of encouragement from family and community. These results are notable in that they point to recruitment methodologies which will more effectively promote the growing role of women in physics.
Greater attention must be focused on engaging women in the study of physics at the undergraduate level, and this can be accomplished by actively working to change the perception that there is a clash between women's professional suitabilities and the institutional social constraints of physics careers.
Katelyn Browne, Math major
Autonomy and Opportunity in L.M. Montgomery's Women and Children
My research centered on a critical reading of L.M. Montgomery's novels with an eye for women, children, and the amounts of autonomy they were able to exercise in their lives.
I spent the first few weeks of my project reading various biographies of Montgomery and criticisms of her work. I also learned more about the development of a Western concept of childhood and about the history of marriage, wives, and mothers. With these new tools, I reread Montgomery's twenty novels (most of which were essential reading in my childhood).
My paper investigates three women from these novels who make deliberate choices to acquire a child outside of a traditional family framework: Marilla Cuthbert, who adopts Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables; Rilla Blythe, who cares for Jims Anderson in Rilla of Ingleside; and Margaret Penhallow, who adopts Brian Dark in A Tangled Web.
Sean Brune, Business major
Competing Investment Strategies in the Stock Market: Are Certain Strategies Always Better Than Others?
The unusual volatility of the stock market and the heightened involvement of the Fed made investment strategies an interesting area of study this summer. I was fortunate enough to tour the Federal Reserve Board in Washington DC in early June as well as make a trip to Wall Street to see the sights of the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall.
While viewing these major financial institutions, I began to conduct a simulated experiment of my own involving three different portfolios. My first portfolio mimicked that of the most successful investor ever, Warren Buffett. I invested in stocks, historically linked to Mr. Buffett, that are undervalued compared to their intrinsic value. My second portfolio encompassed a variety of investing methods including riskier ventures such as short-selling, writing call or put options, and day trading. The third and final portfolio adhered to a strict set of investing rules and principles. This portfolio involved relatively volatile stocks with certain earnings ratios and specific prices at which to sell.
To my delight, the formula of rules in the third investment strategy helped put together a portfolio that notably outperformed the market with an annualized rate of return of 29.90%. To say that I have developed a strategy to beat the market based on the past three months is somewhat of an overstatement, but at least I am heading in the right direction.
Kaitlin Brunick, Psychology major
Finding the Right Size: Examining the Developmental "Scale Error" Phenomenon in Toddlers
An unusual motor-behavioral phenomenon that commonly occurs in toddlers is scale error, in which a child's motor actions toward an object are inappropriate to the size of the object. Children will attempt to sit in doll-sized chairs or enter toy cars. Though their grip scaling and body orientation is commonly appropriate for the object, the goal-oriented action (sitting in a chair, climbing into a car) seems immune to changes in size.
This research project explored in more detail what factors affect the presence of scale error. Specifically, this study aimed to demonstrate to children that changing the size of an object may also change its function. Children were given experience with a cylindrical block and its assigned function: contact between the block and a box would cause the box to radiate light. Children were then given experience with identical blocks of differing sizes that either shared or did not share the same function of the original block.
Experimenters recorded reaching patterns for the blocks, predicting that if the blocks were all established to have the same function, reaching patterns for all blocks would be similar. Similarly, if blocks did not demonstrate the same function, it was predicted that reaching patterns would differ between but remain static within groups. The study aimed to deduce whether the ability of toddlers to categorize objects would affect subsequent size judgments in light of a scale error paradigm.
Nathan Burgess, Geology major
Harvard Graduate School of Design's "Career Discovery Program: Architecture"
Each summer, Harvard Graduate School of Design hosts a unique learning experience. For six weeks in June and July, a ecletic mix of liberal-arts college students, recent college graduates, and older professionals arrive in Cambridge to participate in the GSD's Career Discovery Program--a simulation of the first six weeks of graduate school studio, broken into three fast-paced studio projects, lectures, workshops, and field trips.
This program is led each summer by Harvard graduate students, GSD faculty, and leading architectural professionals. One of two such programs in the world (Columbia hosts the other one), this program provides a rare opportunity for prospective architecture students. With financial assistance from my upperclassmen Monroe grant, I completed the program this summer. Along with my studio group, Arch. 14, I completed a large body of portfolio-grade studio projects and drawings. Each week I presented this work in critique sessions before current third and fourth year Masters' students. Outside of studio, I visited one of the nation's foremost architectural firms, participated in an American Architecture lecture series, visited the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, and discussed my career aspirations with Harvard graduate students.
Throughout college, my academic life has centered on both the earth and environmental sciences and my passion for art, architecture and the humanities. Architectural practice--especially the enigmatic concept of "sustainable design," provides an intriguing possibility for combining my talents and interests. With this in mind, and bolstered by my experiences in the Harvard Career Discovery program, architecture school has become a definite, and now, less intimidating, possibility for graduate study.
Megan Cavanaugh, Biology major
Understanding the Human Cytomegalovirus: Analyzing Mutations in the IE2 Focal Region
Fifty to ninety percent of the population is infected with the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). This herpes family virus causes a latent, lifelong infection in most infected individuals. However, in people with compromised immune systems such as infants, transplant patients, and AIDS patients, it could cause hearing loss, mental retardation, or even death. It is important to discover the details of its replication in order to develop a vaccine in the future. The objectives of this project were to focus on the second immediate early protein (IE2), which is necessary for HCMV replication, and to analyze its specific function in this process.
This summer, I worked at Eastern Virginia Medical School, assisting a graduate student with her thesis research. To determine how the IE2 protein affects transcription of HCMV, single amino acid mutations were made in the important focal region of this protein, between amino acids 535 and 545. These mutants were then evaluated for both the quantity of protein and RNA expressed in vitro, as well as how well these proteins bound to cellular transcription factor TBP. These quantities were compared to the wild type virus, or the IE2 protein with the authentic sequence.
Using techniques like real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), western blot analysis, and GST pulldown assays, unexpected differences were found. It is indicated by previous studies that a tyrosine to alanine mutation at the 537 amino acid position (Y537A) causes an activation of the major immediate early promoter (MIEP), resulting in an increased expression of the IE2 protein. Therefore, it was hypothesized that this 537 mutant protein would bind better to TBP than the wild type. However, the opposite effect resulted, possibly indicating that IE2 interacts in more complex ways than hypothesized. Science has a long way to go in its endeavors to understand this virus's replication.
Justin Connell, Chemistry major
Terrorism in Madrid: A Spanish Perspective in an Age of Terror
In the years since 9/11, Spain has suffered a major terrorist attack, they have participated in and withdrawn from the war in Iraq, and they have changed from a moderate to a socialist government - changes due largely to the very powerful influence protests have on social change in Spain.
In many ways, the Spanish people have one of the most unique perspectives on terror in the entire world, for they must deal with two immensely different styles of terrorism - Islamic and nationalist. With this in mind, I set out to compare the effects protests have on social change in both the US and Spain. A great deal of effort was spent researching news articles, both Spanish and American, that covered the events of 9/11 and 11-M (the Atocha train bombings of March 11, 2004) in order to gain a two-sided perspective of the initial and long-term effects of both events.
In addition to extensive literature research, I traveled to Madrid to interview people who participated in the protests immediately following 11-M to gain a better understanding of why protests have such a great influence on Spanish politics, and what motivations people have when participating in them.
At the conclusion of my project, I found that people in Spain are strongly motivated by a desire to make their voice heard, and find strength in the solidarity of protesting in large groups. It is, perhaps, this feeling of solidarity that causes a much stronger reaction within the general population and thus makes protests a much stronger force for social change. This is a very different attitude than what is found in the US, where people are much less inclined to drop everything and take to the streets and where politics is a much more personal, rather than public, issue.
Brittany Constance, Public Policy major
McCarthy Censors across the Seas: Senator Joseph McCarthy's Investigation into the State Department Information Center's Overseas Libraries
-The best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil (James Monroe).
My research project involved historical analysis of Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Cold War. Although many would like to forget the uglier pieces of our history, there is extreme importance in examining our mistakes so that we need not relive them. The only way to attain the best form of government possible is to keep the evil from rising again; I feel we will only know how to prevent such threats to society by looking at mistakes made in cases which these protections were not sufficient. I felt there was historical importance in researching McCarthy as well as practical, current applications to be found in order to continue and strengthen our government in accordance with Monroe's ideals.
My research looked at McCarthy when chairman of the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee of Government Operations. More specifically, I did research with the executive and published hearings as well as committee records from approximately April to June of 1953 during his investigation of State Department libraries overseas.
There were approximately 200 of these libraries all around the world, created to spread the ideals of democracy and to fight Communism. However, when McCarthy found out they were stocking some supposed Communist books, he immediately gravitated to the cause of rooting out whoever was responsible. Though, instead of investigating the officers of these libraries, he continued his showcase hearings, which became daily occurrences, by dragging in the authors of these books to testify if the books or they themselves were Communist.
His excess throughout this investigation - excess of witnesses, targets, and force - exemplified his failings and was an interesting, lesser known case study of what eventually precipitated his downfall.
Kristin Corcoran, International Relations major
Microfinance's Impact on Women's Empowerment
Microfinance is increasingly promoted as an innovative methodology to increase women's empowerment in addition to reducing poverty. Nevertheless, studies to date have reached conflicting conclusions regarding microfinance's impact on gender inequalities.
Proponents of microfinance for women's empowerment begin by noting microfinance's economic benefits in increasing women's incomes, which translates into increased well-being for both women and their families. Supporters cite credit's potential to give women increased power, enabling them to negotiate a greater role in household decision-making.
In group-lending models, proponents argue that microfinance groups provide women with support networks; these networks further help to promote women's interests at a collective, community level. Critics argue that either microfinance has no impact on gender inequalities or, moreover, that it actual reinforces these gender disparities. Opponents further argue that women often do not retain control over their loans, and this loss of control serves to reinforce male-dominated norms of the subordination of women. Others note that credit is also a debt, and in group-lending models social pressure for loan repayment creates a new form of control over women.
The microfinance sector in Bolivia is one of hte most well-established and developed in the world. Pro Mujer is one of the most well-established and successful NGOs in Bolivia that provides small-scale loans to a largely female clientele. Their credit-plus approach further provides services, such as health support and business training. Pro Mujer utilizes a group-lending model and cites women's empowerment as one of its main goals.
Impact assessments have shown that Pro Mujer's clients, on average, are more civically active and participate more in household decision-making than other women. This study examines the debate surrounding measuring women's empowerment in microfinance, focusing on Bolivia's microfinance industry and a case study of Pro Mujer.
Kelly Creed, History major
Delving into Classical Liberalism
Delving into Classical Liberalism is an ongoing project that will result in an honors thesis in May 2008. The thesis is broadly focused on classical liberalism and more specifically centered on two British theorists of the mid-to-late-nineteenth-centure, Lord Acton and Herbert Spencer.
This summer's research comprised much of the preliminary work for this project. I first explored the methodological problems and debates within the field of intellectual history. From there I examined how historians have approached nineteenth-century British political thought and history. Afterwards I further narrowed my research to consider how historians have approached liberalism, particularly the British liberal tradition.
Key issues within this topic were how to define liberalism, whether or not liberalism has changed or developed over time, and if there is one strand of liberalism that is more true than the others. What makes the historical study of liberalism difficult is how closely it is tied to Western thought and culture. Thus how the aforementioned issues are resolved as well as the conclusions reached regarding liberalism have bearing on the present.
A contemporary illustration of this is the libertarianism-as-classical-liberalism debate. Libertarians sometimes like to style themselves as classical liberals of the nineteenth-century British tradition. Are they really classical liberals? Or are they, by assuming the classical liberal label, making an appeal to authority, performing a legitimization exercise, and attempting to set the terms of debate in modern political discourse?
By studying Lord Acton and Herbert Spencer I hope to either help clarify some of these issues or add new dimensions to these debates.
Amy Dapper, Biology major
The effect of mating on the Hsp70 mediated stress response in Drosophila melanogaster
It is often assumed that traits associated with reproduction are mutually beneficial to members of both sexes. However, it is possible for situations to arise in which traits that benefit the male's fecundity also cause harm to the female. These situations are most commonly found in mating system where males have multiple mates and thus are not bound to the fitness of a single female.
For my Monroe Project, I investigated interactions between sexual conflict and the Hsp70 mediated stress response in Drosophila melanogaster. Hsp70 is an inducible chaperonen protein which aids in repairing proteins denatured due to stress. However, when Hsp70 is induced in female D. melanogaster it also reduces short-term fecundity. Therefore, a male trait that reduces the Hsp70 response in females potentially prospers through natural selection due to the associated increase in male fecundity.
This creates the opportunity for sexual conflict to arise. In light of preliminary evidence, I predicted that mated females will experience higher mortality that virgin females when exposed to heatshock. My project consisted of two parts. First, I measured the survival rates of virgin and mated female D. melanogaster exposed to heatshock and then I assayed the levels of Hsp70 induced in these females using RT-PCR.
Christine Daya, International Relations major
Christian Syria and the 5th Century Byzantine Churches of Old Damascus
Amidst the chaos that currently plagues the Middle East, it is unfortunate that the world tends to neglect the region's rich historical and religious roots. The origins of Christianity in particular, are often overlooked, as Islam is the most widespread religion in the region.
Damascus, the world's oldest continuously inhabited capital, captures the essence of these origins through much of its architecture, which still stands today, dating back to the Byzantine Empire. Two structures, in particular, highlight the integral role of Christianity in Damascus: the Church of Ananias as well as the edifice which was once a church dedicated to St. John the Baptist, but is now known as the Umayyad Mosque.
When Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and declared it to be the official religion of the Romans, he brought about a surge of churches. The structure of the Church of Ananias dates back to the biblical era, at which point it was the house of St. Ananias. The New Testament tells the story of Ananias, who was the first known Christian leader outside of Jerusalem. During the Byzantine era, the home was converted into a sanctuary in veneration of the saint, and continues to exist.
The Umayyad Mosque is a representation of the religious transformation under which the Middle East came throughout its long history. During the fourth century, Roman Emperor Theodosius converted the structure from a pagan temple into a church dedicated to St. John the Baptist. In fact, it is believed to be the location of a shrine containing St. John the Baptist's head. The church served as the city's central place of worship until the Umayyad caliph Al-Walid rose to power in 705 AD. He demanded that the Christians relinquish their share of the building, and oversaw the construction of the Umayyad Mosque. The Christian shrine still stands within the walls of the mosque today.
Devin DeBacker, Philosophy major
A Translator's Perspective: Analysis of Machiavelli's Concept of Political Leadership in Discorsi
Using my fluency in Italian, I examined the third book of "I Discorsi" by Niccolo Machiavelli in the original Italian in order to accomplish two objectives. First, I studied Machiavelli's broader concept of individual political leadership (as presented in "The Discourses"). Secondly (and more importantly), I reconciled Machiavelli's republican ideology from "The Discourses" with his totalitarian regime presented in "The Prince," and created a Machiavellian hierarchy of political structures based on the level of "via libero" (freedom) and "via sicuro" (security).
Laura Doland, History major
Memory and Monumentalization of the War Between the States: A Look at the Capital of the Confederacy
"Memory and Monumentalization of the War Between the States: A Look at the capital of the confederacy" examines how Civil War memory has evolved over the past 150 years in Richmond, Virginia. As a part of this project I visited the Museum of the Confederacy, the Confederate White House, Monument Avenue, the American Civil War Center, the National Battlefield Visitor's Center, Hollywood Cemetery, and the Confederate Memorial Chapel and examined research on each of these sites. In my final paper, however, I limited my scope even further to consider the divergent evolutions of Monument Avenue and Hollywood Cemetery and the different viewpoints presented by the Musuem of the Confederacy and the new American Civil War Center.
Amy Dorsey, Psychology major
Stigma as a Barrier to Recovery: Adolescent Attitudes towards Mental Illness and Willingness to Pursue Treatment
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at least one in five adolescents has a mental health disorder. While many might be surprised at such a high prevalence rate in such a young population, a nationwide study found that half of all lifetime cases of mental illness manifest by the age of 14 and 75% of all lifetime cases manifest by the age of 24 (Kessler, et al.).
Despite the prevalence of serious mental illness in our nations youth, adolescents often have little or no understanding of mental illness. When paired with preexistent societal stigma, I believed that the lack of such knowledge would lead to attitudes that could negatively impact the recovery process.
My research sought to examine the contextual significance of adolescent attitudes in the treatment of, and recovery from, mental illness. To that end, I surveyed area high school students about their attitudes towards mental illness, as well as their willingness to pursue treatment, and analyzed what correlations, if any, existed. In addition, through an internship with the Colonial Services Board, I helped to educate the local community about mental illness, as well as provide support for those living with mental illness. By combining both my survey research and internship experiences, I was able to design and create an educational brochure targeted towards adolescents.
Integration of new member states into the European Union (faculty advisor: Tuska Benes)
Meera Fickling, Economics major
A Case Study of the Social Structure of Japanese University Clubs Using the Keio University Women's Chorus
This summer, I studied Japanese college club dynamics as a microcosm of Japanese work culture. Japanese clubs are unique compared to university clubs around the world, in that that they have a specific, complex hierarchical structure and set of social rules. These myriad social rules are not delineated in any handbook; incoming freshmen are already expected to know how the dynamics work, sometimes leading to amusing results when they misjudge these expectations.
When I studied abroad at Keio University in Tokyo over the summer, I joined the Wagner Society's women's chorus and did a case study of that organization as representative of Japanese clubs as a whole. Our choir was an all-female organization of about fifteen core members, with a few other people who attended sporadically. A few girls joined for a few sessions, only to drop out later. There were 2 ½ -hour practices three days a week, which were led by student leaders and four paid faculty members: a pianist, an assistant vocal director, a vocal director, and a head director.
The social structure of the organization was centered around senpai-kohai, or senior-junior relations, but there were gradations within these designations according to leadership positions within the chorus. I found that status as a foreigner also played a role in social classification. Etiquette varied over different kinds of events, as well; the way one dressed and conducted oneself was different for a concert, for example, than for a rehearsal. Although many of these characteristics and traditions were specific to the Wagner society, many could be applied to a study of Japanese organizational structure as a whole.
Sadie Gardner, International Relations major
Exploring Peru's Formal Sector: What Remains when Incentives Explain Informality
Over the past few decades, discussions of the informal economy have become an important part of development economics. A large informal economy has several negative consequences, from the distortion of many economic indicators used in the creation policies to lowering the amount of taxes collected for the government's use.
For this reason, there have been many studies focusing on why those businesses in the informal economy choose not to enter the formal sector at all. However, in the context of a developing economy, where corruption is often rampant and governments are rarely known for their fiscal responsibility, it appears that the incentives align to explain informality. Therefore, the question must be asked: why do businesses enter the formal economy?
This past summer, I went to Cusco, Peru in order to conduct interviews with small business owners. The purpose of these interviews was to better understand their relationship with the government, what they saw as the benefits for entering the formal sector, and to better explain the relationship between those in the formal and informal economies.
Though I ran into many issues throughout the interviews, they allowed me to see the strong social stigmas held against those who operate informally, better understand the difficulties faced daily by these businesses, and see the complete lack of faith in the government shown by most small business owners.
During this time, I also served as an intern for PromPeru, a government organization designed to help small businesses export their goods. This experience allowed me to get a well-rounded view of the hardships faced by businesses at a higher level of production, as well as understand the issues government workers must face when trying to help small businesses succeed.
Explorations in Digital Photography (faculty advisor: Sharon Zuber)
Content, Coverage, and Availability of Local, National, and International News Media in China (faculty advisor: T.J. Cheng)
John Gilbert, Business major
Student Conservation Association: Mining for Talent, Undermining Success
The Student Conservation Association was founded in 1957 by Elizabeth Titus Putnam, who envisioned students volunteering to work for parks around the country in the name of conservation. Her dream has become reality, as the SCA currently offers 3000 people per year the chance to enjoy and protect the beautiful natural environment in which they are placed. This year, SCA marked both its 50th year and its 50,000 volunteer. Both of these numbers are significant testaments to the success of the SCA as an organization.
Interestingly, the SCA has grown so successfully that many state parks have come to depend on them for volunteers. For example, Baxter State Park is a little-known, ruggedly-beautiful park in Northern Maine, and it happens to be the site at which I worked this summer. The park has used SCA volunteers to field their trail crews for the past 25 years and seen great success.
Because Baxter is so obscure, it has benefited markedly by using SCA as a publicity agent for its trail crew positions, which would otherwise be relegated to those native Mainers who have actually heard of the park. However, the mutually advantageous relationship between the Park and the SCA has been strained in the last several years because of unreasonable charges (Baxter pays the SCA per intern), poor money management, and sub-par communication between the two entities.
It has become evident that the SCA is doing a disservice to Baxter, their volunteers, and many other such parks across the country by inadequately controlling the human relations and accounting aspects of the organization. Thus, the SCA is undermining the good work that it set out to do by failing to adopt efficient and germane policies regarding the support they provide to volunteers and to the organizations that need them.
David Gordon, Business major
Who is Translating? Analyzing Businesses' Role in Global Environmental Governace
When looking into environmental issues, we come across an interesting dilemma; though science and ethics may beckon society towards solving the harm that results from environmental degradation, compiling the necessary groups together to solve the problems too often fails. One of the challenges we face stems from the global nature of our environment. Issues like climate change, biodiversity loss and water pollution do not know national boundaries.
For my Monroe Project, I worked with Professor Maria Ivanova and the Global Environmental Governance Project to clarify the role business plays in environmental governance. Often seen as the enemy to environmental issues, it has been increasingly recognized that the business community plays a vital role in solving our global environmental problems as they have an unprecedented ability to leverage resources, work on the ground, and monitor situations. This capacity has been vastly underutilized, in many ways because there is no coherent information about how businesses work with international environmental institutions. Because of this the partnering process with business is often ad hoc; disconnected through the various environmental organizations that try to solve our global problems.
My research first took me to Nairobi, Kenya where I attended the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This provided me with vital research material as I interviewed participants of the conference, analyzed the businesses that attended, and gained a unique understanding of how the process worked. The disagreement amongst participants was astonishing and truly reflected the lack of knowledge on business engagement. I took this information with me as I continued my research over the summer here in Williamsburg where I worked towards mapping out how businesses engage with various international institutions. I analyzed the structures of different international organizations and spoke with relevant people in the organization to complete this process.
Sarah Gowan, Art & Art History major
Building to the Sky: The Drive toward Architectural Innovation in Medieval England
Religion played a major role in medieval architecture; there was a drive to build to the sky in order to be closer to God. The progression in English cathedral architecture, from the heavier Norman Romanesque to the light and decorative Gothic, shows the utilization and improvement of different architectural elements that work to decrease the width of the walls, permit large windows, and increase height.
In order to better understand the purpose and advantages of such architectural innovations (namely the vault, pointed arch, and flying buttress) I visited England for two weeks to study four cathedrals: Durham, Lincoln, Salisbury, and Christ Church Cathedral at Oxford. In my project, I compare and contrast these cathedrals. Each of them illustrates either an architectural progression or style. Each also demonstrates how the architectural innovations led to the development of lighter structures by directing the horizontal and vertical thrusts of the massive amounts of stone.
In addition, my project explains how the architectural innovations were ultimately the result of the religious drive to create larger, more brilliant cathedrals that were meant to both emulate and reach up to the heavens. These medieval people created an embodiment of heaven to be closer to God.
Alice Harman, Hispanic Studies major
Volunteering in the Hospital Municipal, Ambato, Ecuador: Reflections on Hispanic Studies, Service Learning, and Medicine
Blogging in Ecuador: I volunteered in a hospital in Ambato, Ecuador and kept a blog throughout the experience at alice-ambatoecuador.blogspot.com. As a volunteer I gave shots, rolled bandages, weighed babies and observed surgeries.
This project tied together my Hispanic Studies major and my premedical coursework and allowed me to continue the service learning I began in the Sharpe Community Scholar program as a freshman.
I had the opportunity to live with a local family, participate in regional traditions, explore Ecuador on the weekends and hear Quichua. Ambato is a small city about two and a half hours south of Quito in the Andes Mountains noted for the produce sold there by the indigenous people who live in the rural areas surrounding the city.
I wrote in my blog about the differences and similarities between the medical cultures, patient attitudes towards medicine, and even daily life in the United States and Ecuador. Some differences were obvious. In Ecuador we made cotton balls because it was cheaper to pay the nurses to spend their time doing so than buy them.
Due to the poverty of many patients and their level of education the doctor- patient relationship was also more hierarchical. Other aspects of life in the hospital were not much different from what I have observed in the United States because sick people share many of the same concerns no matter where they live.
While I volunteered at the hospital I learned that I could watch a surgery without fainting, give a shot, eat rice twice a day, speak Spanish day in and day out, travel independently and observe and absorb another culture.
Katherine Harris, Chemistry major
The Defensive Architecture of Edward I's Castles in Wales: A Comparative Study
After a Welsh revolt against the English in Wales was subdued in 1282, King Edward I of England sought to suppress further rebellion by building a ring of castles around northern Wales. In doing so, he utilized many techniques for defense gathered from throughout medieval Europe. He also refortified and rebuilt several Welsh castles to secure control of northern Wales.
The goal of this study was to compare the architectural defenses of the Welsh castles Edward refortified to those that he built himself. Additionally, I studied the effect of castle location on the defenses built. My first step was to research the background of Edward I's castle-building campaign, the key defensive structures common in medieval castles, and the weapons and siege machines they were built to defend against.
Next, I did field research in Wales on two Welsh castles Edward I renovated, Dolwyddelan and Criccieth, and four castles he had built, Caernarfon, Conwy, Harlech, and Beaumaris. On site I studied how the castle's location influenced its defenses and took numerous photographs of many aspects of the architectural defenses.
The final weeks of the project were spent compiling the literary research and photographs into an album highlighting similarities and differences in defenses between the castles. Results show that there is no clear evolution of a castle's defenses based on the time it was built.
Edward I's castles tend to be stronger and more impressive than the Welsh castles, but incorporate many of the same defensive features. Location had a bigger impact on the design of a castle's defenses; each castle's defenses were tailored specifically to its site and to its primary function.
Margaret Harvey, English major
To Marry an English Lord: Women in American and British high society during the Gilded Age
It is a sensational story, something that could be featured in toda's tabloids and society papers: American heiresses using their wealth and status in America to marry members of the English peerage, becoming the most fashionable (and powerful) social leaders in both America and Britain.
Entering into marriages based on wealth and status, many of these heiresses faced adultery, desertion and divorce in their married life. Others relished their newfound freedom and power, becoming shining examples of American womanhood and emerging female empowerment.
Though this story sounds modern and familiar, it is an old phenomenon dating back to the American Gilded Age, when American heiresses migrated in huge numbers across the Atlantic to marry into the ancient peerage and elite social world of Great Britain.
American, British and Women's history has long recognized this as an important historical event, one that potentially influenced not only Anglo-American political and cultural relations at the end of the 19th century, but also served as a boost to women's rights both in America and abroad. Yet few have truly explored the inner lives and motivations of the women who left their homes in America to become de facto ambassadors in a strange land.
My Monroe project was an attempt to view this history from the perspective of the women who created it: the adventurous, intelligent, misguided and even mercenary women who entered the "old world" looking for love, status and power and encountered both the best and worst late Victorian society had to offer.
Visiting the heiresses' homes in both America and England and gaining a factual background from research, I began to write a novel that will show these personages as real women, whose journeys were more emotional, personal and profound than ever before realized in historical studies of the period.
John Hawley, Art & Art History major
Constantijn Huygens: The Politics of Portraiture
Constantijn Huygens was a man of extraordinarily cultivated artistic taste. He was among the first individuals to comment widely on the abilities of the young Leiden artists Rembrandt and Jan Lievens (around 1629-30) and he worked closely with the stadholder Frederik Hendrik to develop a fine collection of contemporary works by Dutch and Flemish masters, including the likes of Rubens and Rembrandt.
But it is in his artistic patronage for works to remain in his own collection that we find the best representation of his artistic sensibilities. The study of Huygens as a collector has been slowed by the lack of an inventory of his collection, the first glimpse we have coming in his daughter's death inventory of 1728, some forty years after his own death.
A study of this inventory to determine which pieces belonged to Huygens personally and which entered his daughter's collection through other means proves too vast an undertaking at this time given its reliance on archival documents found only in The Netherlands. However, the study of Huygens's portraits proves useful, if incomplete.
A number of ideas have become clear in looking at this part of Huygens's artistic patronage. Firstly, Huygens's use of the portrait reflects a wide array of personal endeavors, including roles as disparate as statesman, husband, and father. Also, his early portrait commissions are intended to tie him directly to the court at The Hague, either through his choice of artists like Michael van Mierevelt or subject matter, as in the 1627 portrait by Thomas de Keyser.
Lastly, there is a direct association between literature and the painted image, for on numerous occasions Huygens writes poems on his portraits. This word-image interaction looks back to sources as diverse as Karel van Mander, Vasari, Aretino, seventeenth century English poetry, and - ultimately - classical authors.
Zack Hayden, Biology major
Soil, Vegetables, and GIS: A Summer in Local Sustainable Agriculture
Working as a resident laborer on a small family farm on Virginia's Middle Peninsula provided me with valuable experience in the field of sustainable agriculture. Dayspring Farm, which markets ecologically-grown produce predominately through a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) system, has been owned and operated by the Maloney family for nearly 20 years. By abstaining from the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and applying principles of sustainable soil management, the quality of Dayspring produce has attracted the attention of both local consumers and local restaurants.
Living and working on the farm allowed me to observe and take part in nearly all aspects of the operation, from starting seeds to marketing vegetables, as well as participating in on-farm research dealing with reduced tillage systems for organic vegetable production. Considering the diversity of crops grown on the farm and the complexity of managing soil health through various methods, the need for informed planning was immediately apparent.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has the potential to make such planning more efficient by putting spatial and tabular data for soils, topography, irrigation, pest pressure, cover crops, and more at the farmer's fingertips.
I am currently working with Dayspring Farm to map their fields and establish an intuitive system for managing complex crop rotations over extended time periods. My goal is to provide a useful service for this small-scale farm, and ultimately, to produce a successful model for the application of GIS to similar sustainable farming operations elsewhere.
Michael Hendrix, Government major
The Diplomacy of Energy Security
My research was conducted as part of a year-long internship with the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) in St. Andrews, Scotland. Over the course of the internship, the primary goal of my project morphed to become an assessment of how the United States uses its tools of foreign policy to ensure the security of its energy supplies and infrastructure.
While steps can be taken to physically protect America's critical infrastructure, much of the energy supply now and in the future will be dependent on foreign countries and firms. I found that American's energy diplomacy rests on four pillars: the promotion of a diverse set of energy supplies and suppliers, the encouragement of critical infrastructure development and protection, the promotion of resource sharing among the world's major energy consumers and, last but not least, a substantive dalogue with its strategic energy partners. This paper will serve as a blueprint for future research by CSTPV interns on this subject matter.
Parliamentary Role and Perception in London's Popular Society (faculty advisor: Larry Evans)
Jordan Howell, Anthropology major
What is the Relationship Between Community-Supported Agriculture and Socio-economic Class?
Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a method of food production and distribution in which farmers raise vegetables, fruits and livestock in a way that pays special attention to local markets and customers. CSAs were first started in Japan, in response to expanding urban sprawl and concerns over food quality, but have found their way to America, probably by way of Central Europe.
Similar to a food co-op, CSAs feature relatively small amounts of food produced in an environmentally-friendly way. Offerings generally consist of produce and fruits. CSA customers pay the farmer at the beginning of the season, usually a length of time between 16 and 24 weeks; prices tend to range anywhere between $150 and $600 for a season, and customers pick up their food once a week.
In Michigan, the number of CSAs has expanded quite rapidly, from as few as 10 in2000 to over 50 in 2007. Farms are located all over the state. My goal in undertaking this project was to determine whether or not people who purchase food from CSA farms in Michigan have household incomes that are higher than those of the county in which they live.
I also collected data on the education levels 9f CSA customers, with the hope of getting a better picture of the way socioeconomic class might play into one's decision to join a CSA. Some secondary goals of my project were to understand why people join such farms, whether or not they thought the farm provided them with good value, and whether or not they would continue with their farm in the future.
The final aspect of the project was to learn more about the CSA farms themselves, as well as their farmers. The data strongly suggests that wealthy, highly-educated people are the main customers of any given CSA.
Jennifer Huebner, Psychology major
Storytelling or Storytime: Does One Method of Sharing Stories with Children Have a Higher Impact on Attention and Comprehension than the Other?
The goal of this project was to determine if Kindergarten-aged children would remember more details from a story on the basis of how it was presented to them.
Three children's books were selected, and each story was presented to groups of four children. Each group of four children listened to one of the three stories in one of three ways: orally without visuals, read from a storybook, or reenacted in an animated format with enlarged backgrounds and cutout characters. Approximately 24 hours later, each child was individually asked nine questions about the story he or she had heard the day before to assess how much he or she remembered.
Research has shown that the presence of pictures in stories is important for children as they hear stories. One reason is that young children have difficulty generating internal visuals and rely heavily on accompanying pictures when making predictions about how stories will end. Based on past studies on presenting stories to children, it was predicted that the children in the present study who had a story read to them or reenacted for them on a storyboard would remember more detail from the story than children who merely had the story told to them without visual stimuli.
It was also predicted that children who listened to stories without accompanying visuals would have more creative responses to recall questions than children who had seen visuals while hearing a story. The visual superiority hypothesis states that children have difficulty dissociating from the pictures which accompany stories they hear.
It was found that there was no statistically significant difference between children's recall scores, or the amount of creativity demonstrated in their responses to the recall questions. Given these results, it is possible that all three ways of presenting a story to children are equally effective.
Ariel Hunsberger, Global Studies major
The Language and Theories of Social Change: An Internship with a Women's Empowerment Organization
This past summer I was an intern at the Feminist Majority Foundation in Washington DC where I gained practical experience in political and social activism.
The Feminist Majority Foundation is a research and advocacy organization which focuses on women's rights. While working for FMF I attended briefings, press releases, and other events around Washington DC. I conducted research for a variety of FMF's campaigns, and compiled documents for the use of Feminist Campus Programs.
My main task was a survey of the reproductive services available to young women at college health centers and the costs of those services. My fellow interns and I also organized a briefing on Capitol Hill to provide a forum for discussion of the politics of young women's health on campuses and in Congress. Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Hilda Solis (D-CA) and many other experts on women's health spoke to our audience about issues of concern to young feminists today.
My experiences with the Feminist Majority Foundation have given me valuable insight into the world of non-profit activism, and I will continue to be active in the struggle for women's rights throughout my life.
Jessice Ihne, Interdisciplinary Studies major
Sex Differences in the Effects of Moderate Daily Consumption of Alcohol on Learning
The use of alcohol is widespread in today's society, among both men and women. While many people are already aware of the effects of binge drinking, there has not been as much information gathered about the impact of moderate drinking done on a daily basis. One possible effect is that it impairs learning ability, which could also vary according to the sex of the subject.
This was the area of the research that I studied this past summer in a psychology laboratory at Rutgers University. There, I worked with a graduate student who had already begun experiments about alcohol and learning using rats. We gave the rats a 10% ethanol solution to drink for a two hour period each day. The amount they consumed daily was equivalent to about 2 large glasses of wine or almost 3 beers for a human. Classical eyeblink conditioning was then used to test learning. So far, the results have shown that the alcohol caused significantly decreased learning in the females, but not in the males.
Another part of this research involved determining if alcohol affects the number of new cells formed in an area of the brain responsible for learning. To study this, the rats were injected with a solution that labeled specific cells. Then, they were perfused, and the brains were removed and later cut into very thin slices using a tissue sectioning instrument. The slices were mounted onto microscope slides and stained so that the labeled cells could be counted.
This data showed significantly fewer labeled cells in the females that consumed alcohol, as compared to those that did not. Once again, there was no effect on the males. These results have led to other experiments that are currently being done to further study this area of research.
A view of European proportional representation in the United States (faculty advisor: Larry Evans)
Homes and Habitats of British Writers (faculty advisor: Suzanne Hagedorn)
Nina Jehle, Kinesiology major
Wilderness Emergency Medicine: What do you do when help isn't on it's way?
As a pre-medical student with strong leanings in the direction of emergency medicine who plans to take a break from school after W&M to go an live, play, and work in the woods, I was naturally drawn to the Wilderness Medical Institute's Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician class.
The WEMT is a step up in the the level of certification which I would need to procure employment as an outdoor educator, however, my interest in medicine alone led me to enroll in this month-long intensive class which trained me both as an urban EMT-Basic and included a "Wilderness Upgrade for Medical Professionals" module.
I traveled to the mountains of western North Carolina for a residential program at Landmark Learning (www.landmarklearning.org). Our training included 40 hrs/wk of classroom instruction which was evenly split between lecture and practical scenarios along with upwards of 16 hrs clinical education onsite at various Emergency Departments and EMS organizations.
After three weeks of urban curriculum and testing we transitioned to learning how to improvise and give care without the support of readily available medical direction. I came away with knowledge ranging from extricating patients from vehicles while maintaining spinal immobilization to creating a traction splint with little more than a stick and some clothing. I am now continuing my EMS education at the Center for Emergency Health Services in Williamsburg while finishing my undergrad, hopefully graduating as an EMT-Paramedic in July 2008.
Ashley Kang, Biology major
Uncovering One's True Nature: A Taste at Tassajara
What was your original face, your face before your parents were born?
Tassajara Zen Mountain Center is located at the very end of a road that winds 14 miles into the desert depths of Ventana wilderness. Founded by a prominent figure in the American Soto-Zen community, Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, the monastery has enjoyed widespread respect for its rigorous fall and winter practice periods (sesshins) as well as for its sulfurous hot springs and its tongue-twistingly delicious vegetarian cuisine.
Every year, students stay at these centers for meditative studies in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of Budda's teachings and a greater ability to integrate this chosen Zen practice into their ordinary, everyday existence. Curious for a taste of Zen, I worked and practiced there during the less structured Guest Season.
My fanciful and naïve impression was that Zen would give one tripped-out mind powers, but as one learns, having expectations is like asking for trouble. Really, Tassajara is just a place. What is remarkable is how it can facilitate meetings between people that occur on such an intimate and profound level. In this world of faint, first impressions and superficial, self-based projections, it is no small feat.
Klaudyna Kasztelaniec, Economics major
Analysis of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Poland
Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises play an important role in the economy of Poland. All indicators that are usually used to measure the performance of the SME sector, such as the contribution to the generation of GDP, the number of registered enterprises and the percentage of the national workforce employed in this sector, show that Polish economy has been more and more heavily dependent on the SMEs.
Since the fall of communism, which is considered to be the origin of a free market economy in Poland, the contribution to generation of GDP has almost doubled, nearly all registered entities are accounted for SME sector and they employ 70% of the total workforce. Even though the condition of this sector has improved significantly, it is not as good as it could and should be. There are many areas in which it has to progress. One of them is Academic Entrepreneurship.
It takes a lot of time to change people's mentality and nobody can expect to see the Poles suddenly glorifying the virtues of the free market economy and private business. There exist many people who were raised in communism/socialism and it is very difficult for them to adjust to the new conditions.
The problem is that they rear a new generation in this pro-socialism spirit, which prevents young people from fully benefiting from the opportunities given by the free market. Students are the most skilled and best educated individuals in the society, however their talent and knowledge are not (efficiently) used in Polish economy.
Academic employees if they enter the market, will significantly increase the level of innovation by sharing their expertise. Polish government and the authorities of the European Union should pay an extra attention to the development in this particular area and try to remove as many barriers as possible. The promotion of entrepreneurship among these two groups, students and academic employees, will benefit the entire economy and bring Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Sector to a whole new level, making it more competitive in the global market.
Aileen Kim, Interdisciplinary Studies major
Thyroid Hormone: Reversing the Damage Caused by Fetal Alcohol Exposure
In the summer of 2007, I worked under Professor Redei at Northwestern University Medical Research Center to gain lab experience and learn about the biological mechanisms involved in the depressive behaviors observed in alcohol exposed rats.
Professor Redei speculated that the suppressed maternal thyroid function causes behavioral abnormalities, since prenatal thyroxine administration reversed the behavioral deficits in the fetal alcohol exposed offspring. At present, she is working on the hypothesis that the decreased thyroid hormone milieu of the alcohol-consuming pregnant dam affects the expression of thyroid hormone-regulated genes in the fetal brain, and thereby impacts the cognitive and emotional behavior of the adult offspring.
During my stay in Professor Redei's lab, I learned how to handle laboratory rats and how to perform various lab techniques for assaying gene expression (brain dissection, RNA isolation, Optical density measurements, and RNA gel electrophoresis). I was then assigned to examine the level of gene expression of Dio3 in the postnatal day 21 offspring's frontal cortex and hippocampus.
I expected to find increased expression of Dio3 in alcohol exposed FAE animals compared to non-alcohol fed animals, since Dio3 functions as to curb the excessive thyroid hormone from affecting target animals.
In order to assess and compare the affect of T4 administration on pregnant dams' offspring, pregnant rats were divided into six groups: Control, Pair Fed, Ethanol, Control+T4, Pair Fed+T4, and Ethanol+ T4. Brains of offspring that were 21 days old from each group were collected for RNA isolation of the frontal cortex and hippocampus.
Unfortunately, I could not complete the entire experiment myself during my stay in Professor Redei's lab due to the time limit. The quality RNA samples I obtained will be assayed for the gene expression of Dio3 with Real Time PCR by another lab member.
Although the study was not completed during my stay in the lab, I gained invaluable lab experience and increased my understanding of how alcohol induces changes in hormones.
Sarah Klotz, English major
Amani, Haki, Tumaini- Kenyan Women fight for Peace, Justice, and Hope in Mathare
My Monroe Project brought me to my childhood home, Nairobi, Kenya, to interview women dedicating their lives and work to community empowerment.
I spent most of my time in the Mathare slum, an area wracked by gang violence, police retaliation, and overcrowding, but blessed with dedicated and strong women fighting to improve unbearable living conditions for their neighbors and friends.
I focused on two types of women's groups- those that are faith based and supported by the Catholic Church, and those that are secular. Even though I set up this distinction for the purpose of research, I found that both types of groups overlap and almost every woman I interviewed began her activism based on faith or within a religious group.
Through my interviews, tours of Mathare, teaching in a Government school on the outskirts of the slum, and conversations with many Kenyans on politics, women's issues, and activism, I learned a great deal about the activist climate in Kenya, and the women who empower themselves from their homes and communities. This is a story of strength and achievement despite nonexistent resources, monetary and otherwise, and this is a story that must be told to the richest country in the world.
Jennifer Kramer, English major
The Story of a Grail
The goal of The Story of a Grail was to prepare myself to write a novel adapted from "Le conte du graal," the unfinished 12th century narrative poem by Chrétien de Troyes which inspired the world's fascination with the Holy Grail.
I journeyed to England and Wales, exploring the geographical setting of the romance and engaing in research opportunities at University College in Oxford. Further research allowed me to investigate the historical background of Arthurian Britain, the poem's context in the dynamic Medieval French culture in which it was composed, and a century's worth of literary interpretations and criticism of Chrétien and his work. My findings have provided me with an invaluable critical background as I continue to work on the novel.
Jocelyn Krieger, Interdisciplinary Studies major
Repairing the World: Judaism and Social Action
The phrase tikkun olam (literally fixing the world) has become a focal point of modern Jewry. In various sources, a rabbi declares that she has heard the term from the mouths of Bill Clinton and Cornel West and [has] been tikkun olam used to describe efforts as diverse as teaching Torah, volunteering for social service agencies, raising money for Israel, and supporting the creation of a Palestinian state while a Jewish professor says that a middle-aged Jewish male searching for female companionship can place a personal ad in an Indianapolis magazine and identify himself as searching for a woman "committed to tikkun olam."
Why has tikkun olam, and its corollary, social action, become so central to the modern Jewish experience? I spent the summer in an internship that allowed me to not only work closely in one Jewish non-profit organization, but also to make contacts and interview subjects in other Jewish non-profits.
Over the course of the internship, I researched the religious background of Jewish social action, as well as the history and mission of three Jewish non-profit organizations. The result is a paper exploring the connection between the religious ideas and ideals of Jewish social action and the modern expression of these ideals as found in Jewish non-profit organizations.
Paul Kuenker, History major
"The New El Dorado" - The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859 and its Lasting Significance in Popular Memory
In 1859 over 100,000 emigrants, many with no mining experience, traveled to Colorado hoping to strike it rich. With each small find, rumors escalated and glowing reports were published telling of the new Eldorado. Newspapers published guidebooks and advice columns for soon-to-be prospectors, mostly written by people who had never been there. They told of the ease of the journey, praised the Colorado climate as the healthiest in the nation, and most importantly, informed readers how they could have a share of the region's immense riches.
In reality, however, many never got that share. More often than not, prospectors who arrived in Colorado failed, learning that gold could not just be picked up off the ground. Almost immediately, claims of a Pike's Peak Hoax circulated. The unsuccessful prospectors left Colorado and warned others along the way of the delusion that had led them there. For some, however, Colorado had been everything the promoters had made it out to be. Several made quick fortunes and returned home, others became fixtures in the mining industry of Colorado for decades.
Within a few years, Colorado's placer mining days were over. The streambeds had been panned until they were empty, and miners soon realized gold would now only be found deep in the mountains. Mining in Colorado quickly shifted from an individual venture to a full fledged industry, yet as the reality of mining changed, the glory days of '59 remained the popular image of mining. Within a few years, the 59ers were already being immortalized - their rush to Colorado a legend.
The Gold Rush to Colorado had brought intrigue to the entire nation, and it has continued to interest people until today. The identity of hundreds of Colorado towns, as well as that of the state itself, is wrapped up in this story.
Organometallic Copper (I) Chloride Networking Compounds (faculty advisor: Robert Pike)
When Far East Meets Middle East: Trade Relations Between the Indus River Valley and Ancient Mesopotamia 3000-2000 BCE (faculty advisor: Mary Voigt)
Abby Lauer, Biology major
A Comprehensive Study of Palliative Care and its Complexities in France and the United States
Palliative care is a service that improves the quality of life for patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness. It is a level of care that treats the patient on a global scale, helping to ease his or her physical, psychological and spiritual pain as well as the suffering of the patient's family. Pain control is the central tenet of palliative care; relieving patients from fear of suffering allows them to accept death, make preparatory arrangements, and spend their last moments in relative comfort.
A relatively recent introduction to the health care scene, palliative care has been developing exponentially in countries around the world. France and the United States are two such countries that, despite drastic differences in national health care policy, have seen significant growth of palliative care services in recent years. As investigated by this comprehensive study, both countries now face similar problems as aging populations increase the need for end-of-life health care and increased finances, infrastructure and personnel must be devoted to such services. In addition, issues such as ethical questions and human fear of death increase the complexity of palliative care and often halt its progress.
The importance of palliative care and its ability to improve the quality of life for so many people demands improved understanding of such complexities to allow for the future growth and development of the field.
Sarah LaVigne, History major
God's House or the House of God's People?: Modern Catholic Architecture in the United States
In the mid-twentieth century, American Catholics began to build fewer churches that resembled the ornate edifices of the Old World and more buildings that reflected the modern styles presented by contemporary architects of the Bauhaus or International style. The dramatic litugical changes of the Second Vatican Council also influenced this new kind of church, emphasizing congregation participation and a sense of community. Throughout the 1960's and 70's, liturgists advised parishes to build simpler community-focused worship centers that bore more resemblance to Protestant churches or secular buildings than to Gothic cathedrals.
In recent years, this now-widespread view of a church as not the house of God, but rather a house for God's people has been criticized by conservative Catholics as uninspring and inappropriate for Eucharistic worship. Traditionalist pastors sponsor the construction of churches similar to the ornate, sacrament-focused buildings of past centuries.
For my research, I sought to understand the liturgical theory and social factors that have influenced the present architectural diversity of American Catholic churches. Visiting a total of eighteen parishes in the archdiocese of Chicago and the diocese of Arlington, Virginia, I investigated how architectural ideas take shape and are used in the daily life of a parish.
Through interviews with pastors and parish staff, I discovered that available funding and population growth can be the most influential factors on a church's final design. Day-to-day use of the most experimental building designs has found some of their features highly impractical.
The liberal-conservative gap among the clergy is also a generational one, as younger priests who grew up attending modern churches return to the traditional spirituality of their ancestors. My research also included a large photographic component as I learned to use a tripod and digital single-reflex lens (SLR) camera to capture visual impressions of the churches I visited.
Caroline Lindsey, English major
New Orleans and Mardi Gras: A Study of French Influence on Louisiana Carnival
The French brought Carnival to New Orleans. During the eighteenth century, they introduced masked balls, feasts, and parades modeled after the aristocratic celebrations in France. Citizens of French ancestry continued to dominate Mardi Gras until the mid-nineteenth century, but today's carnival reflects a blend of American and European traditions.
Today, New Orleans enthusiastically claims its French heritage. It is essential to tourism and to cultural identity. However, for a time American and French cultural interests clashed during Carnival.
When the United States bought Louisiana in 1803, New Orleans Creoles found themselves overwhelmed by new competitors in a new social system. Eventually, the Americans and the Creoles reconciled their celebrations into a grander Carnival than ever before.
Mardi Gras has sometimes been a season of cultural conflict. Roberto DaMatta explains that in complex societies we find many national rituals that help their members to construct, perceive, and experience their social universe as a totality, even though it is frequently fragmented by internal contradictions (Carnivals 17). Mardi Gras emphasizes divisions and strata within New Orleans society, drawing out tensions between groups, even as the city joins together into a massive celebration. Carnival's transition from a Creole to an American celebration reflects larger issues of power and nationality in the colony of Louisiana.
Elizabeth Lowe, Psychology major
The Work of His Hands: Perspectives on Religion and Nature
The natural world has a complex relationship with religion. Some see nature as a key into the mind of the divine. Some see it as an awe inspiring creation of God. And yet others consider the material world unimportant compared to spiritual matters. Many have called Christianity a human-centered religion willing to exploit the environment.
This summer, while living in Shenandoah National Park, I explored how present day Christians relate to the natural world, and how this affects their lives and beliefs.
Miguel Matamoros, History major
Venezuelan Economic Development through Foreign Investment: Juan Vicente Gomez and American Business
Juan Vicente Gómez, President and dictator of Venezuela from 1908 to 1935, carries a controversial legacy. He is remembered as the man who brought Venezuela into the modern age through public works and the development of the oil industry, but also as a ruthless dictator who used his power towards significant personal gain.
Gómez was heavily involved in bringing foreign investment into the Venezuelan petroleum market and the intent and repercussions of his participation have been subject to significant debate. Gómez eagerly granted concessions to foreign companies and pushed them to develop infrastructure and exploit the resource.
Traditional analysis portrays Gómez as operating primarily in favor of the foreign companies and toward personal gain at the expense of national and labor interests. More recent revisionist work has reversed this position, arguing that Gómez used his control of the industry to increase government revenue and protect labor rights.
Writers on both sides of this debate focus on legal documents and the personal papers of important figures including Gómez to evaluate his goals and determine the primary beneficiaries of his actions. They, however, place little emphasis on a crucial aspect of such an analysis: contemporary public opinion. The way in which the people of Venezuela and those of investing nations such as the United States interpreted Gómez's policies are an important reflection of the actual ramifications of his involvement.
In this study I weigh in on the historical debate by analyzing previous literature on the subject and incorporating new evidence of public perception, using newspaper and other media to establish that Gómez's oil policies were received more favorably in the United States than at home, indicating that, contrary to the revisionist train of thought, Gómez led the petroleum industry to favor the interests of foreign investors over those of his own people.
Anne Maynard, Economics major
Waste Management: What goes on behind the scenes? A case study of San Francisco
Why might one care about trash? As a nation that continues to consume a large percentage of the world's natural resources, it is becoming more critical that we find ways to keep materials out of the landfill to be reused and recycled in the production of other products. And thus, I decided to spend my summer working with a city agency that has seen some great successes with regards to waste minimization.
The City and County of San Francisco has a very unique system for managing it's waste. The two main players include The Department of the Environment and the waste hauler, Norcal Waste Systems. San Francisco has a three cart system called the Fantastic Three. Residents have a blue cart for recyclables, a green cart for compostables, and a black cart for the remaining materials that are neither recyclable nor compostable.
San Francisco is currently diverting 69% of it's waste from landfill through this system. Norcal has several different types of trucks made to handle these three different waste streams. There are also incentives for residents to participate in the program. Residents receive both the blue and green carts and their services for free, but do pay for their black cart. The larger the cart, the more they pay; thus, if they divert a large percentage of their waste from the black cart, they pay less. This is a "pay as you throw" system.
San Francisco is also continuing to pass legislation that encourages commercial businesses to use both compostable and recyclable products. To encourage further waste diversion The Department of the Environment (DOE) provides funds for local reuse/recycling operations, most of which are run by non-profit organizations.
Legislation, education, producer responsibility and cooperation will all be key factors for San Francisco in achieving zero waste by 2020.
Hetal Mehta, Interdisciplinary Studies - Neuroscience major
Where to Draw the line--An Eastern View to Stem Cell Research
This past summer, I completed my Monroe Project learning about stem cells at the Manipal Institute of Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (MIRM) in Bangalore, India.
Stem cells are primary cells common to all multi-cellular organisms that retain the ability to renew themselves through cell division and can differentiate into a wide range of specialized cell types. There are four major types of stem cells: embryonic, adult, germ line, and cord blood cells. All stem cells - regardless of their source - have three general properties: they are capable of dividing and renewing themselves for long periods; they are unspecialized; and they can give rise to specialized cell types.
I worked with Human Embryonic stem cells (hESC), which are derived from embryos that develop from eggs that have been fertilized in vitro and then donated for research purposes with informed consent of the donors. The embryos from which human embryonic stem cells are derived are typically four or five days old and are a hollow microscopic ball of cells called the blastocyst.
During my first several weeks there my focus was on learning about human embryonic stem cell revival and splitting from the already available stem cell lines. Then through research involving nanoparticles like silver, gold and copper, I learned about new ways to improve the existing culture conditions.
For the last few weeks, the focus was on the High Mobility Group Box 1 (HMGB1) protein, which is known for its role in cell to cell communication and molecular signaling within cells. The aim was to determine the HMGB1 based cell to cell communication in hESC. First, we determined if HMGB1 was actually present in the cell cultures. This was done through the technique of Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). Once HMGB1 presence was confirmed, immunoflourescence (IF) was used to detect where HMGB1 was localized. Lastly, Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and Western Blotting was performed to determine if the cells actually secreted this communicating protein, HMGB1, out into the culture media.
Lauren Merrill, Economics major
A Characterization of Strategy-Proof Rules over the Condorcet Domain with an Even Number of Individuals
For an odd number of individuals Campbell and Kelly (2003) show that over the set of profiles that admit a strong Condorcet winner, majority rule is the only non-dictatorial strategy-proof social choice function. I have shown that this is not true in the case of an even number of individuals. Furthermore, I have characterized the family of strategy-proof rules over the Condorcet domain with an even number of individuals.
Lucy Midelfort, Interdisciplinary Studies major
Capturing the Heart of International Activism: The Impact of NGO Work in Madagascar on Environmental and Public Health
Madagascar, one of the world's most poverty-stricken and environmentally threatened nations in the world, has become a hotspot for global attention over the past several decades due to recognition of the significant quantity of endemic endangered species that the nation hosts as well as the dire situation of poverty that exists throughout the country. With that attention has come much effort on the part of NGOs, both grassroots and otherwise.
By working closely with one small NGO based in Fort Dauphin, Azafady, I experienced how the introduction of organizations like it affects local communities. I researched the level of community involvement in the efforts of the organization, the general opinions surrounding its work, and the overall effectiveness of its projects.
Azafady is an organization that was put in place to improve public health conditions in the most rural areas of southern Madagascar in a sustainable manner and concurrently run projects designed to reforest areas in which local populations have effectively cut their forests past a state of natural recovery. Azafady is currently attempting to expand its work to include conducting workshops designed to teach women valuable business skills and building schools in collaboration with the government.
These new projects are promising, but my observations of the functions of the rest of the initiatives leads me to believe that the diversification of foci is perhaps occurring too quickly for the NGO to stay strong as the positive community force that it has been for the past ten years.
Sarah Milam, Chemistry major
Bullet Proof: An Investigation of the United States' Automated Ballistic Identification Systems
Our Nation's Mental Distress (faculty advisor: Will Hausman)
Martha Morris, English major
Words for the Forest: An Eco-Literature Experiment
My project goes over, around, and inside the mountains of a zone in northwestern Ecuador called Intag. These mountains have gained worldwide attention for the biological diversity of the species living on their slopes, but what lies beneath the ground has also attracted interest.
A Canadian company wants to extract the large deposit of copper discovered beneath the Toisán mountain range ten years ago and has purchased the mining concession from the Ecuadorian National Ministry of Mining to do so. However, the company's attempts to begin the extraction phase have been met with resistance from some local landowners.
My trip gave me the opportunity to talk to people with range of opinions and learn about the conflicts that the proposed mine has been causing in Intag. I stayed first with a family in a small farming community and then on a private forest reserve in order to observe both the social and environmental dynamics of the region.
Since returning, I have used the different perspectives as the basis for a fictional story that aims to introduce children in the United States to the benefits and harms of large-scale mining in tropical forests. The title of the story is Don Julio Walks because the main character takes a rather peculiar journey to find out what might happen if a mine is built.
In the context of a town trying to decide whether or not to sell their land to a mining company, the characters ask questions that I encountered over and over again in Ecuador about the needs of humans versus other species, the environmental effects of different lifestyles in wealthy and developing countries, and the importance of recognizing risk.
Michael Mott, Interdisciplinary Studies major
Testing the Theory of Memorial Reconstruction in Renaissance Theatrical Practices
The theory of memorial reconstruction is one among many controversial explanations behind 'bad' Shakespearean texts. In order to test its plausibility, a team of undergraduate actors was organized to rehearse and perform an uncut version of the first quarto of Hamlet--a shorter, stranger version of the Hamlet text we know and love--in an approximation of American Shakespeare Center's version of original rehearsal practice. These were threefold:
- sides--just the actor's lines and two or three cue words--were given to the actors in place of full scripts;
- no director or designer was present; and
- the entire rehearsal process was limited to roughly forty hours.
At the conclusion of this process the actors were paired together and asked to reconstruct the play as best they could from memory. This paper looks at the fidelity of those reconstructions to the first quarto, especially as compared with the fidelity of the first quarto to the more lengthy and poetic second quarto.
Anna Muto, Chemistry major
Wiara: Polish Catholic Culture in Wilmington, Delaware
In the 1880s, a Polish diaspora to the United States began. Often the immigrants settled in urban centers, such as Wilmington, Delaware. The thriving community grew around St. Hedwig and St. Stanislaus Catholic parishes. The churches were national parishes, populated according to ethnicity, not geographic location.
The parish was key in the development of the ethnic enclave, as Polish and Catholic identities are often synonymous in the minds of the Polish Americans. However, the atmosphere of the neighborhood has changed over the years. Many members of the third and fourth generations have moved to the suburbs, altering the nature of Wilmington's Little Poland.
This summer, I conducted interviews with 18 members of Wilmington's Polish American community. Most were first or second generation Polish Americans, but the third and fourth generations also made valuable contributions. The interviews focused on ethnic and religious identity, as well as customs, family, community and memory. The participants were eager to share with a generosity and openness that was truly moving. The stories and memories are precious documentation of the community as it is loved and cherished by those immersed in it.
Additionally, abundant resources at the Diocese of Wilmington archives and the Historical Society of Delaware provided a local historical perspective. Many of the customs, values, and stories generously offered by those interviewed mark a fading culture.
While a refreshing love can be seen in the younger participants, the parishes and neighborhoods have changed. The older generation continues to exhibit a beautifully enthusiastic dedication to the parish and their Polish culture, however it is passing away. This project sought to capture what the fading generation could share and the beauty of what still exists. The recorded interviews are transcribed, a compilation of research has been produced, and future work with the data is planned.
Jonathan Nadal, Business major
Building a Cross-Platform Real-Time Phase Vocoder With C++
When audio is played back at a different frequency than the original sampling frequency, it becomes distorted. For example, playing a recording at twice the original sampling speed causes a "chipmunk effect" in which the pitch of sounds is transposed up an octave, while playing a recording at half the original sampling speed causes the pitch to drop down an octave.
This summer, I designed a cross-platform media player capable of independently altering both pitch and playback speed by taking advantage of digital signal processing techniques and a concept known as the phase vocoder.
Jonathan Nuckols, Math major
Study of Eigenvalue Algebraic Multiplicities of a Hermitian Matrix with a Given Tree
For a given tree, a natural question arises of the possible lists of algebraic multiplicities which can occur among Hermitian matrices with that tree. Thus far, through various methods, multiplicity lists have been constructed for all trees up to 11 vertices.
The main goal for my project was to write a database program consisting of all of the lists as well as other important data pertaining to these 435 trees in order to allow conjectures to be tested more easily. Once that was completed, I began researching several unanswered questions, including the minimum number of 1's which occur in a tree's lists. I also generalized a construction method previously used for a specific type of tree, which implements the implicit function theorem.
Kathleen Olsen, Economics major
The Czech Republic, an Economy in Transition: A Retrospect
In order to study the transition of Eastern European economies in the 1990s from socialism to market based economies, I went to Prague, Czech Republic to examine the changes that have occurred over the last 17 years. Studying the transition period enhanced my understanding of the capitalist economic system through examination of the relationships between incentive structure and markets, and governments and economic agents.
Political, social, cultural, as well as economic issues were all important factors during the transition period. There was no road map to capitalism for transition countries to follow; instead, they had to make a series of reforms that would reintroduce capitalist institutions and pre-requisites for markets into their economy. Each country's path and end result was affected by its initial conditions.
Relative to other countries, the Czech Republic had a good starting position since it had low inflation, no significant external debt, a positive trade balance, a balanced government budget and great political will to liberalize. This allowed comparisons to be made to show the effect of socialism and the transition to a market based economy on a previously balanced economy. My understanding of transitional economies was enhanced by researching the economy of a country that is just finishing its transition while in its capital.
Romantic Inspiration: An Intimate Encounter with the Foundations of the Romantic Movement in Poetry (faculty advisor: Carter Hailey)
Christina Papageorge, Biology major
An Undergraduate Research Experience in the Medical Scientist Training Program
This past summer I participated in the Summer Undergraduate MSTP (Medical Scientist Training Program) Research program sponsored by the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa. This program, which entailed a combined experience in laboratory research and clinical medicine, was specifically designed for undergraduates planning to pursue MD/PhD training.
Working in the human genetics lab of Dr. Val Sheffield, I conducted an 8-week research project entitled "Use of SSCP Analysis to Screen Candidate Retinitis Pigmentosa Genes ARL3, MOB2, and S100B". Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) refers to a class of hereditary retinal diseases involving the progressive apoptotic death of photoreceptor cells. As the leading cause of hereditary blindness in humans, RP has a worldwide prevalence of about 1 in 4000, affecting over 1 million individuals. Clinically, RP generally results in loss of night vision during adolescence, followed by side vision, and finally central vision during adulthood.
Although there are over 45 genes known to cause RP, these genes account for only 60% of cases. Thus, there is a continued need for the discovery of disease-causing genes. Identification of RP genes will hopefully allow for improved diagnosis, understanding of both normal retinal function and retinal pathology, and treatments.
The goal of my research was to determine whether candidate RP genes ARL3, MOB2, and S100B contain mutations responsible for the disease. Approximately 500 samples were screened using single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis and sequencing. Although no mutations were found in screened samples, the limited scope of the study cannot eliminate the three genes as candidates.
Angela Perkey, Economics major
Stepping into the Beltway: A Look into the Mentor Relationships that have Guided Members of Congress and Shape Who They are Today
Since taking my first government class as a freshman in high school, I have known that I want to serve my country through public service. I believe that elected office is one of the most effective ways one can serve the public and guide America in a positive direction. Many proclaim that money, family connections, or both are necessary in order for one to become a public servant. Unfortunately, I have neither. Yet, I am convinced that there are honorable politicians in Congress who have backgrounds similar to mine and were able to achieve success by initiating relationships with mentors.
During this research project, I interviewed and met with 63 Senators and Representatives to determine if my hypothesis is correct. The experiences that I had on Capitol Hill provided rare insight into how individuals become accomplished elected officials. Throughout my interviews, I identified both how and why Congress members ran for office. I came across individuals like myself who genuinely strive to serve the public. On the other hand, I also met individuals who are in Congress for the acclaim and power that the office brings.
Talking with Congress members about the mentor relationships that helped them launch their political careers helped inform me if I should pursue running for office in the future. A few members of Congress I spoke with took a personal interest in me, not just the research, and may become a mentor for me.
Ashwin Rastogi, Physics major
A G2 Model of Electroweak Unification
A unified theory is a model that encompasses all the interactions of elementary particles within a single theoretical construct. The search for a successful unified theory is one of the primary outstanding issues in particle physics.
This project focuses on the construction of a new model for electroweak force unification using the group G2. Much of our work focuses on deriving various properties of the group that will be useful for model-building applications. We propose a model based on the gauge group G2 x SU(2) x U(1). Furthermore, we consider the production, decay, and other phenomonology of new particles predicted in the model. We also address experimental constraints on the model.
Lauren Richard, Biology major
Colonial encounters: the experience of American Indians and Australian Aboriginals
American Indians and Australian Aboriginals followed parallel paths into dependency. From ancient and successful cultures they were reduced to social and economic failures, dependent upon White society for survival. The similarities in history and present living conditions were made apparent by my research, which incorporated textual sources with visits to Native sites in Australia and the US.
The destruction of culture was accomplished through a mixture of land rights legislation and child removal acts. Land rights legislation stripped the Natives of their land and their spiritual connections to it, while the removal of children prevented the transmission of important ceremonial and practical knowledge. Thus, many Native groups were lost, and Indians and Aboriginals became an invisible underclass, relegated to the outskirts of society.
Janelle Richardson, English major
Doing Shakespeare in the Secondary Classroom: Instructional History, Standards, and Innovations
My project combines two main foci: 1) the experience and concept of doing Shakespeare as well as exploring his relation to Western culture and intellectual currency; and 2) the history of Shakespeare instruction in secondary schools, with an emphasis on strategies for student-centered instruction and reformed teaching practices.
As an educator-in-training, I was hesitant about my ability to effectively investigate Shakespeare's plays in the classroom setting due to a lack of dramatic and personal exploration of his works as well limited familiarity with the teaching strategies thereof. Both as a student and observer in the high school setting, I have often witnessed the cries of dismay and automatic detachment which invariably come with the mention of Shakespeare. Realizing the challenge of teaching Shakespeare in combination with the cultural importance we have placed upon his works thus drove me to question the best practices and possible changes associated with the secondary instruction of Shakespeare.
This inquiry involved the privileges of viewing Shakespearean performances, talking with staff members of the Royal Shakespeare Company and reviewing their campaign for teaching reform, interviewing and surveying faculty in Prince William County and Williamsburg-James City County, and reading case studies and texts related to instructing and understanding Shakespeare.
I produced both a paper on these experiences as well as two lessons on Romeo and Juliet designed to synthesize and apply the accounts of veteran educators, RSC initiatives and strategies, Virginia Standards of Learning, and my own classroom objectives. By sharing these products with contributing teachers and my peers, I hope to further realize its practical implications for the classroom setting.
Brandon Ritzo, Biology major
Microbial Mats: Microbial Growth in the Presence of Pollutants
Microbes literally cover the earth with far greater numbers and diversity than any other form of life. They can tolerate the most extreme environments known, they continually participate in chemical warfare with each other, and there isn't a biological molecule known that can't be broken down by one of them. They are so metabolically diverse that they can form complex symbiotic relationships with each other and can exist in an interdependent self-contained ecosystem called a microbial mat.
This summer, I took mud samples from inlets of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean and grew these mats in completely sealed off glass vials with a light source (this setup is known as a Winogradsky column). In some of the vials, I added a toxin (fungicide, insecticide, herbicide, urea) that would be common in polluted runoff, and looked to see its affect on the microbial growth in the column.
My results showed that some of the samples were able to grow just as well in the presence of a toxin (that was 9x more concentrated than the amount that would kill a human) than without any toxins at all. This demonstrates that there do exist bacteria in the environment that can use for sustenance those compounds that we release to kill, and it is possible that these bacteria can, and potentially do, serve a role in bio-remediation.
Natalie Ronollo, Religious Studies major
Where East Meets West: Religious and Cultural Exchange in Thich Nhat Hanh's Plum Village
Nestled in the heart of the French countryside, the seven hamlets of Plum Village are home to a thriving Buddhist monastic community led by Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. Just 60 miles from the bustling metropolis of Bordeaux, and located in the Aquitaine region of France - known for medieval castles, vineyards, and traditional Catholic faith - the properties now known as Plum Village seem an unlikely choice for a Buddhist center. Plum Village, however, has proven the perfect setting for the development an ddistribution of what have become Thich Nhat Hanh's central teachings and what has attracted countless followers to his message: the ability of mindfulness and other elements of Buddhist practice and philosophy - alone or in conjunction with other spiritual beliefs - to transform suffering and enrich lives.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Plum Village is the unique fusion of Eastern philosophy and Western culture that it embodies. Both Thich Nhat Hanh's philosophical and practical teachings are not only remarkably accessible to a Western audience, but also remarkably appealing.
What is it about Eastern religious practices that appeals to Westerners, and what about Western religions might necessitate these Eastern influences? Plum Village serves as the perfect location for the study of these questions. Ultimately, the success of the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and the popularity of his message suggests that socially-engaged Buddhism - and specifically, the practice of mindfulness uniquely addresses the problems and challenges of modern life.
Life on the Hyphen in Washington, DC: The Immigrant Experience and Formation of Identity (faculty advisor: Jonathan Arries)
Evan Saltzman, Mathematics major
The Development of Application of NHPPs
The objective of my summer Monroe research was to develop a both realistic and tractable stochastic model designed to describe random processes, such as admissions into a hospital or the occurrence of hurricanes. In particular, my summer research focused on non-homogeneous Poisson process models (NHPPs). A great body of literature describes univariate NHPPs, which allow the intensity of random events (e.g. hospital admissions or hurricane occurrences) to vary as a function of one variable (e.g. time of day or location of the event). Moreover, unvariate NHPPs possess many useful mathematical properties and provide a more realistic version of the better-known homogeneous Poisson process models (HPPs), which assume a constant intensity of random events.
During the summer, I worked to develop a multivariate NHPP model, extending the power and generality of the univariate version. In addition to developing the theory behind the model, I also proved many of the properties of the univariate NHPP in the multivariate context. The mathematical proofs required the application of probability theory, statistics, partial differential equations, and multivariable calculus.
Beyond the theoretical foundations of the multivariate NHPP model, I also explored how it can be applied to real-world problems. The attractiveness of the multivariate NHPP model is the flexibility it offers the modeler. For example, federal agencies such as FEMA are deeply interested in how to allocate its scarce resources during the hurricane season. In particular, knowing how the time of the year and the physical location affect the frequency or intensity of hurricanes can improve emergency response. The multivariate NHPP model allows the modeler to incorporate both the time and location variables, creating a powerful predictor for future hurricanes. Building on my Monroe project, I hope to further explore how multivariate NHPPs can be effectively used in practical situations.
The Correlation Between Chinese Modernization and Religious Revival (faculty advisor: Craig Canning)
Pregnancy and Syphilis: Picasso's Discomfort with Women (faculty advisor: Nancy Gray)
Maegan Smith, Government major
The portrayal of cultural identity in the Puerto Rican newspapers
I traveled frequently to Puerto Rico during my childhood, and I have always been interested in the political situation on the island and its relationship with the United States. Puerto Rico became an estado libre asociado, or a commonwealth, so that the island's residents could maintain their customs and continue to use the Spanish language while receiving certain economic and political benefits by remaining a part of the United States.
Puerto Rico's status is still debated on the island as some citizens want to become state, be an independent entity, or remain a commonwealth. With this Monroe Grant, I traveled to Puerto Rico to gain a more complete understanding of the factors that could impact opinions regarding the status question. After reading several books and articles regarding the importance of cultural identity and its influence on political attitudes, I analyzed five major newspapers for three weeks to compare their word choice, selective use of English, and photographs.
I discovered indications of a more American, Puerto Rican or even Latin American identity in some newspapers, suggesting that the media do play a role in the process of identity construction on the island. Citizens reading those papers promoting a more Puerto Rican or Latin American identity would probably be more likely to support the commonwealth option than the statehood option.
This project enabled me to use my political knowledge and Spanish abilities to more fully understand the current political situation in Puerto Rico.
Kaitlyn Smoot, Economics major
Averting the Russian Transition Disaster? Optimal Sequencing of Reform, the Importance of Institutions, and the "500 Days Plan"
I examine Russia's transition to capitalism in the 1990s using New Institutional Economics theories. The shock therapy reforms that were implemented there in 1992 were too rapid and lacked an institutional basis, which is why they failed.
Through my research, I uncovered an interesting alternative plan called 500 Days which was almost passed under Gorbachev in 1990. It offered a much more structured, gradual transition than what was ultimately implemented. It also stressed institution-building, including: an independent central bank, property rights, continued social welfare programs, rule-of-law, and a budget control mechanism. The plan's sequencing of its reforms and its longer time-frame would have given these institutions a greater chance of taking hold.
Unfortunately, conservatives in the Supreme Soviet shot down the plan in 1990. Later, when Yeltsin's economic team, led by Yegor Gaidar, began market reforms, they instituted a sudden, all-at-once liberalization of prices, in direct contradiction to the recommendations of the 500 days plan and to the theories of institutional economists. The result was hyperinflation and severe contractions of the real wealth.
This was only the first of many disastrous policies under Yeltsin, which resulted in a tremendous drop in GDP, concentration of wealth in the hands of a few well-connected oligarchs, the rise of organized crime, and general disaster. If the 500 days plan had been implemented, could this disaster have been averted?
I go through that plan point by point and explain how it differs from the policies implemented by Gaidar, and how it could have prevented the major problems that arose in Russia through its emphasis on institutional development.
This research question is an important one as a test case for New Institutional Economic Theory, but also because recognition of the failures of the past could help Russians to make better policy choices in the future.
Robert Staubs, Computer Science major
Computation and the Study of Language
Computational methods are important to the modern study of language for the exploration of the mechanics of the human language faculty. Such applications of computation to formal problems overlap with solutions to problems from natural language processing but the two areas are not identical.
My summer study involved the investigation of problems in natural language processing, language simulation, and quantitative methods for linguistic inquiry. This study was facilitated by study at the Linguistic Institute at Stanford University. The Linguistic Institute is a biannual gathering of experts in linguistics and related fields to collaborate and teach. Their courses are intended to give students and researchers experience in areas not approached by their host institution.
Natural language processing encompasses attempts to produce or interpret natural human speech or writing using computers. Solutions draw from large amounts of data, thus lending to solutions for problems such as machine translation and speech recognition which rely on the statistics of language.
The noisy channel model views problems of recognition or translation as the deduction of an underlying signal from a distorted output. This process of decoding incorporates probability estimates for the sequence of elements and the distortion of individual elements. Such models are important and influential to the study of NLP.
Language simulation uses computational power to model repetitive processes in language. It is useful particularly for evaluating the explanations of language which rely on the evolution of complexity through incremental change. It is thus an important tool for the study of proposals which posit only a small amount of innate mental structure for linguistic phenomena.
The breadth of experts available at the Institute allowed for success in achieving a holistic understanding of these problems and more without sacrificing the depth necessary to a balanced analysis.
Joanna Stephens, International Relations major
Garlic, Witch Doctors, and the battle over HIV/AIDS Health Policy in post-apartheid South Africa: Urban perspectives at a Johannesburg AIDS clinic
The South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has been labeled Dr. Garlic by her critics for promoting garlic, beetroot, and other traditional remedies for AIDS patients. She resisted promoting antiretrovirals until 2004, questioning their effectiveness and suggesting potential toxicity. Though controversial abroad, her policies have been in keeping with the political climate of AIDS denialism maintained by President Thabo Mbeki in South Africa. The danger is that her stigmatization of antiretrovirals in favor of traditional remedies may have dissuaded many AIDS sufferers from pursuing antiretrovirals therapy. Furthermore, traditional remedies like garlic often interact with antiretroviral drugs, which diminishes the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy.
This research aims to determine the extent to which her messages have been heard and accepted by people living with AIDS, which has important implications in the field of health policy. To gather information about urban perspectives on the health minister, forty-seven patients were surveyed in a small case-study at a clinic in Johannesburg. Surveys asked patients which remedies they had tried and why they had decided to use them. Urban traditional healers and biomedical professionals involved in the AIDS epidemic were also interviewed.
This paper begins by outlining the history of AIDS policy and AIDS denialism in South Africa. It then discusses the implications of the Health Minister's policies for AIDS treatment in the broader context of traditional and biomedical health care in South Africa. Finally, it presents the observed effects of the Health Ministe's policies on the opinions and behaviors of the case-study respondents.
Beth Sutherland, English major
The Medievalism of T. E. Lawrence: Displaced Knight, Modern Monk
Known for his sensational adventures in the Arabian desert during World War I, T. E. Lawrence was arguably one of the most enigmatic personalities in history. One of his defining features was his ardent medievalism. Unfortunately, it has been oversimplified, marginalized, and sometimes belittled in the field of Lawrence scholarship.
By reading his letters and other autobiographical writings, I have attempted to analyze this aspect of him with a higher level of both breadth and depth. He wasn't just a medievalist because he liked the Middle Ages. In many ways, Lawrence lived as medieval people would have. He thought and acted like them. Of course, he is essentially a modern figure, but that's what makes these parallels so striking. The tension between his modernism and medievalism render him a hugely complex personality.
My essay works to pull together all aspects of this medievalism, as explored via his own words--and occasionally those of other Lawrence scholars. I hope to say quite a few new things, as well as simply provide a unified piece of work focusing not just solely on his medievalism, but on every aspect of it. I will section these aspects into three main categories: his intellectual, martial, and spiritual medievalism. Each will be explored for its own validity and in terms of the other categories.
A man who hated to be dissected or examined in any way, Lawrence offers historians a problem. He often spoke in riddles and out of emotion, so it's difficult to navigate through the confusing corridors of his mind. I believe his medievalism, which he both claimed and maintained, offers a key to the study of him. One that he would have approved, and one that proves a fairly reliable independent variable.
My work at the Bodleian Library in Oxford was archival in nature. I looked at his letters, journals, drawings, and several other sorts of documents. I also made use of many collected editions and secondary interpretations of my own and of William and Mary's. The experience garnered in England was invaluable, and it allowed me to make connections in the world of Lawrence scholarship. The actual article is still in production, as it will require a lot of fine-tuning before I'm comfortable sending it off to the T. E. Lawrence Society Journal for possible publication.
Christina Thames, English major
Reflection of Romania: The Children of the Tutova Failure-to-Thrive Clinic
Through the use of methods such as ethnographic field research, creative nonfiction writing, and photography, my original goal for this project was to tell the stories of the children who live in the Tutova Failure-to-Thrive Clinic, a ward of a public hospital located outside of Barlad, Romania.
I sought to better understand how the clinic's circumstances were a reflection of the country's continuing struggle to emerge from the aftermath of crippling Communist regimes, which have only been overthrown in my lifetime - since 1989. In order to fulfill this goal, I traveled to Romania through the organization Global Volunteers and had the opportunity to interact with the children directly - an incredible experience.
Our team fed and played with the children, ages 2 months to 5 years, and provided them the stimulation that they would have otherwise lacked. On the weekends we had the opportunity to travel and see other parts of the country. Ultimately, when I boarded the plane to head home, I did have a good deal of information that would be useful in telling the children's stories. However, I also returned to the United States with so much more.
Reflections on healthcare, history, the simple differences between cultures, and Orthodox Christianity - a faith that I share with 87% of the Romanian population - also found their way into my project, which developed into a much more personal piece than I had anticipated. Fortunately, through the skills I had acquired in a creative non-fiction class, the research I had collected, and the forgiving flexibility of the interdisciplinary nature of my project, I have hope that my final product speaks fully to the impact of my experience.
Court Interpreting: Justice and Delay (faculty advisor: Jonathan Arries)
The Quest for America: Discovering a National Identity on the Road (faculty advisor: Sharon Zuber)
Laura Wagstaff, French major
Narrative Architecture: the city of Paris in the epic novels of Victor Hugo
This project explores the role of Paris, France, in the Hugolian novel. As a Romantic author and a lover of the French capital, Victor Hugo possessed a deep desire to portray Paris in a specific way.
To explore this aspiration, I based my research primarily on the novels Notre-Dame de Paris, Quatrevingt-treize, and Les Misérables, each of which feature Paris as a major setting. During a thorough reading of each novel in the original French, I focused on the vocabulary and literary devices Hugo used to describe Paris, Paris' relationship to Hugo's characters, and the associations between locations and specific emotions or ideals. I then supplemented my reading with the works of literary critics and historians who have also studied Hugo's affinity with the French capital. Additionally, I traveled to Paris in order to experience the specific settings of these novels for myself.
This trip strengthened my understanding of the locations portrayed in each story as well as Hugo's fascination with the city. After examining the Hugolian Paris from many angles, I conclude that Hugo intended for Paris to play the role of character as well as setting in his books. Through this personification, Hugo uses the medium of the novel to create a memorial to his beloved City of Lights, thereby preserving it forever.
Kimberly Walters, Philosophy major
The Evolution of Leadership in Girl Scouting and International Girl Guiding
I studied the changes in the concept of leadership in Scouting and Guiding. These organizations were both derived from Boy Scouting in England. I traced these organizations, from 1908 when Sir Robert Baden-Powell started the Boy Scout movement in England to 1909 when Girl Guiding took off, and then to 1912, when Girl Scouting was founded in the United States.
From the beginning, these two organizations aimed to create good women, loyal to their countries and prepared to be good mothers. The focus of GG/GS at this time in one word would be citizenship. As history marched on, so did GG/GS, and they morphed to fit the times. During the two World Wars, this citizenship attitude of the girls helped the war effort. After the Wars, GG/GS changed, just like attitudes towards women in general.
Girls were expected to be more self-sufficient and were encourage to try new things once reserved for males. The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) was created to be a governing body for Girl Guiding organizations around the world. With this in place, organizations evolved individually, but were also linked together by a common set of goals. WAGGGS set out to be the foremost organization for girls around the world, and has been largely effective, with over 10 million girls in 144 different countries.
Today, citizenship is no longer the primary focus of GG/GS. WAGGGS and its member organizations hold training girls to become leaders as one of their primary purposes. This is shown in different ways in GG/GS, and can be seen through the differences in awards a girl can earn in the two organizations. No longer are girls supposed to just follow directions well, but now take an active role in improving the world around them.
Researching and Stimulating Small Business in Morelia, Mexico (faculty advisor: Carla Buck)
Medical Imaging and the Perception of Self (faculty advisor: Pam Hunt)
Niha Zubair, Math major
Simulated Altitude Exposure Decreases Hunger But Not Olfactory Sensation