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Research Day Symposium 2005

 

The Wilkes Honors College Symposium for Research and Creative Projects

Archive for 2005

Talk Abstracts

Margaret Bichler
Suspicious Closets: Gay Marriage, the Perverse Implantation and Suspect Classification
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Wairimu Njambi and Dr. Mark Tunick

The gay marriage debate has consumed the American political conscience for over a year now. While many important questions concerning equal protection, the institution of marriage, and modern conceptions of family have been asked, few have stopped to question what (aside from Judeo-Christian moral issue) makes homosexuals so wrong – so undeserving of the right to marry and have a family. The process of deviant identity construction and the perverse implantation must be comprehended in order for the gay claim to equal protection and suspect classification to be fully considered and appropriately evaluated. Ultimately, the gay marriage debate and the peculiar circumstance that characterizes the gay claim to suspect classification present an opportunity to examine the larger political scheme, specifically the objective standard that empowers legal and scientific actors. A reconceptualization of objectivity could quite possibly prevent a discriminatory case similar to gay marriage from surfacing in the future.

Sarah Bourget 
Hot-Cold Medicine Revisited
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Rachel Corr 

The origin of hot-cold medicine, as it is practiced in different peasant communities throughout Latin America, has been a subject of debate since the 1950s. While some anthropologists argue that hot-cold medicine originated within the indigenous communities of Latin America, others argue that hot-cold medicine is a simplified version of humoral medicine, which was brought to the New World during the Spanish Conquest. Both sides of the debate contain inconsistencies, but the two arguments can be combined to suggest both New World and Old World origins. The different indigenous groups that first encountered the Spanish shared a cosmology that included beliefs similar to those associated with the European model of humoral medicine. This facilitated the adoption of Spanish words for already held and practiced ideas. In this paper, I analyze this debate in anthropology and trace how it relates to changes in anthropological theory.

Rachel Braun
Silvio Berlusconi and Italian Democracy: Challenge and Consolidation 
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Timothy Steigenga 

Silvio Berlusconi, the current prime minister of Italy, has challenged the consolidation of Italian democracy through his efforts to increase the power of the executive branch, expand governmental control of the media, and restrict the courts from investigating various charges of corruption against his own business practices. During the past three years of his premiership Berlusconi has demonstrated a continued effort to pass legislation that directly benefits his own businesses. However, the parliament, President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, the judiciary, and the Italian electorate have responded with their own efforts to check Berlusconi’s powers by overturning legislation and continuing investigations into various allegations of corruption and actually bringing Berlusconi to trial. The institutional and social changes in Italy’s political system that brought Berlusconi to power in the first place have also strengthened the elements of Italian democracy that have recently checked his power. Italy’s consolidating democracy has surmounted the challenge of Berlusconi’s self aggrandizing administration and has actually strengthened the democratic institutions that he threatened.

Morgan Cable
Developing a Lanthanide Luminescence-Based Method for Detecting Bacterial Spores in Extreme Environments
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Rakesh Mogul

Endospores, produced by certain bacteria under stress, are the most robust form of life on earth. Detection of endospores has applications both in anti-terrorism efforts (anthrax) and in the search for life in our solar system, particularly on Mars. Research is focused on developing a method for detecting bacterial spores based on a unique chemical marker, dipicolinic acid (DPA), to quantify endospore concentrations in soils obtained from extreme environments such as the Atacama Desert in Chile. Specifically, investigations concerned several methods to optimize the extraction efficiency of DPA from soils quantified by UV absorption spectroscopy. Results suggest high extraction efficiencies and low limits of detection for Lab sand and Atacama soil, though these depreciate with more complex soil matrices. In addition, evaluation of cooperative binding effects to enhance the limit of detection and selectivity for the Tb-DPA luminescence assay has been performed using fluorescence excitation. An optimized procedure for rapid detection of endospores in soils will allow quantification of the distribution and viability of the toughest form of life in the most extreme environments.

Rachel Chamberlain
Beyond Cultural Relativism? The Implications of Moving Past the Culture Concept in Anthropology
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Rachel Corr, Dr. Wairimu Njambi 

Moving beyond the culture concept, a proposal brought forth by the 2000 Wenner-Gren conference in Morelia, Mexico, I argue, requires reconsidering cultural relativism, which relies a great deal upon culture in its approach and consideration of various societies. Such a movement beyond culture and cultural relativism provides an opportunity for anthropologists to focus attention on and promote a broader range of individual and social agency wrapped in partial embodiment, solidarity (as opposed to unity, which implies uniformity), and heterogeneous intercommunication between peoples. This act of ‘moving beyond’ may allow anthropology a means of creating new legitimate narratives that destabilize the boundaries of self and other, and open up the interstitial spaces that exist between (and sometimes in place of) coherent identities. This would simultaneously look to respectfully acknowledge difference, and act as a better lens through which to recognize and understand the everyday praxis of the heteroglossic being in anthropology.

Noemi Coltea 
Good Morning America: Television’s Role in Political Election Campaigns
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Travis Lybbert 

The United States holds more elections, more frequently than any other modern society. Americans are among the most opinionated people in the world and yet they do not vote, or at least not enough of them do. The profound changes in mass communications during the past two decades have greatly affected political campaigning, and television’s potential for affecting not only voter turnout, but the criteria of choice in elections was noted from the start. This paper will assess the impact of television advertising on voter turnout during presidential election years. The purpose of the study will be to find the stronger correlation between either, the amount of money spent on advertisements, or number of advertisements aired and voter turnout, a model that would allow political consultants to make an informative decision when allocating a fixed budget in a highly competitive cat and mouse game. Some political advertisements relate positive and encouraging messages, while others are hard-hitting, factual, determined attacks against their candidate’s opponents. The method used in assessing the effectiveness of these advertisements, whether negative or positive, is conducting regression analysis on the revenue, as well as number of advertisements aired on television, both on a national and state by state level. It is essential for the campaign to have crafted the most effective commercials, but it is equally critical that the commercials be strategically positioned for the maximum impact before the right audience at the best available price. 

Stacy Crawford
Mitochondrial localization of telomerase in yeast may bring about increased mitochondrial mutations
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Paul Kirchman

Upon DNA replication and subsequent cellular division, the physical ends of the chromosomes, the telomeres, are shortened. If the telomeres are allowed to be reduced to a critical length, the cell will undergo cell senescence. The function of the enzyme telomerase is to prevent cell death, by elongating the telomeres using reverse transcriptase via the TERT subunit. Previous studies performed by Haendeler et al. demonstrated that when induced with oxidative stress, telomerase exits the nucleus and enters the cytoplasm. Unpublished results have indicated that the nuclear enzyme travels to the mitochondria upon export, which increases mutational frequency. This study seeks to synthesize a mitochondria-directed yeast telomerase enzyme, which will be transformed into yeast cells. We believe that upon reaching the mitochondria, the mutation rate of mitochondrial DNA will increase. Such an assay will provide insight into the relation of telomerase localization and cancer development.

Michael Degani
Rituals of Revolution: Anarcho-Primitivism and Globalization
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Daniel White, Dr. Rachel Corr 

In the last 15 to 20 years, the failure of Communism as a viable revolutionary project has turned many on the Left to its historical rival: Anarchism. Merging with environmental discourses like deep ecology and the struggle for indigenous rights, Anarcho-Primitivism models its utopian discourse on ethnographic descriptions of hunter-gatherer societies and mythologized notions of the “Noble Savage.” Furthermore, its adherents retain high rates of visibility in the burgeoning antiglobalization movement, notorious for their black uniform and tactics of property destruction. My paper engages their attempts to invoke “the Primitive” as a metaphor for resisting the ascendance of global capitalism in the twenty-first century.

Karla Gabriela Dominguez
Comparative Immigration Policy: Out of the country or out of the Society? Case study of the United States and Spain
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Timothy Steigenga 

Using the United States and Spain as case studies, this thesis argues that increasingly restrictive immigration policies instituted by receiving countries have little to no effect on the net inflow of immigration, nor do they promote a higher rate of assimilation for those immigrants already present within the host country. An analysis of the net inflow of immigrants, their social and economic status, and their rate of assimilation in the U.S. and Spain suggests that restrictive policies only further the social and economic exclusion of immigrants from the host society. Restrictive immigration policies are more effective at keeping immigrants outside of the host country’s society than its borders.

Rigers Gjyshi 
Democratization Challenges In Post-Communist Europe: The Case of Albania
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Timothy Steigenga 

This thesis will argue for the value of gradualism in the process of democratic transitions. To illustrate the importance gradual reform, this study examines the Albanian case in the context of Samuel P. Huntington’s theory of “Third Wave” transitions to democracy. The Albanian case suggests that it is necessary for transitioning countries to have a period of reorganization and preparation prior to full transition to democratic governance. During the preparation process, the government should be given relatively wide powers, while simultaneously promoting respect for human rights and orderly public participation. Powerful international actors must allow these countries to undergo this phase even if it is not fully democratic.

Chauncey Graham
“Them Niggers Ain’t Black…”: African Americans, the U.S. Communist Party, and the Construction of a Cultural and Political Identity
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Chris Strain 

The influence of communism and the Communist Party on African Americans after emancipation had far-reaching effects. African-American focus can be described as one fixed on reform, of wanting to secure the benefits of American democracy and equality. The oppression and discrimination that African Americans endured gave impetus for the adoption of communist principles and ideals. Just as African-American identity has developed over time through shifts in ideology and practices, African American attraction and participation in the Communist Party followed suit. There are two key moments in African-American history that this shift in attraction can be analyzed. In the 1920s and 1930s, communism appealed to African-American activists as a vehicle for political organization, viability, and inclusion; in the 1960s and 1970s, the Communist Party attracted activists as a way of resisting racism and oppression and as a basis for constructing an independent, focused, cultural identity. 

Laura R Lynch
Numerical Integration of Linear and Nonlinear Wave Equations
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Mark Rupright 

We will first introduce integration and boundary methods for the linear wave equation and then extend our study to a nonlinear system introduced by Khoklov and Novikov. The nonlinearities are similar to those seen in General Relativity, and thus our analysis establishes the effects of numerical methods on gravitational wave simulations.

Ariana H. Magdaleno
La identidad sexual de las mujeres en la literatura caribeña
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Mary Ann Gosser Esquilín 

Caribbean literature deals with controversial topics such as identity, social class, sexuality, and race. Sexuality, social class, and race contribute to the formation of a woman’s identity. Works such as the antislavery Cuban novel Sab (1841) by Gerturdis Gómez de Avellaneda, Cuban novel Cecilia Valdés o la loma de angel (1839) by Cirilo Villaverde, Puerto Rican play La cuarterona (1867) by Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994) by Haitian-American novelist Edwidge Danticat, and Sirena Selena vestida de pena (2000) by Afro Puerto Rican author Mayra Santos-Febres illustrate this complex interconnection of elements. The representation of sexuality becomes very relevant depending on whether the author is male or female. Furthermore, being a white, mulatto, or black women in these works determines the image and the personality of the characters. For authors and readers, trying to differentiate among the various phenotypes renders the identification of the social class to which a woman belongs to, as well as determining her sexual identity, more difficult. This study explores those issues in depth. 

Savannah McClelland
Nudity in 17th Century England and Milton’s Paradise Lost
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Michael Harrawood 

After writing Paradise Lost, many literary critics of John Milton’s time were uncertain about the propriety of Milton’s juxtaposition of nudity in the Garden of Eden. At the time, however, there was a standing fashion trend of court ladies and mistresses wearing clothing to social events that exposed breasts. Symbolically, the exposure of breasts was both a symbol for loose morality (as seen in known mistresses) and virtue, as seen in many of the works of art from this time period. There were varying degrees of acceptance of such a trend, and the symbolism such clothing choices implied. John Milton can be seen then to be reacting in a statement to the times. In Paradise Lost, John Milton makes literary choices to depict innocence, as a commentary on societal norms of the time.

Paul McCurdy
Isolation and Structure Elucidation of Bioactive Compounds from a Marine Fungus Cultured from a Plakortis Sponge
Advisor/Professor: Sarath P. Gunasekera, Ph.D. 

A marine fungus isolated from a sponge of the genus Plakortis (N595), was analyzed for the novel cytotoxic compounds. Using bioassay-guided fractionation, cytotoxic and antifungal compounds were isolated. Once purified, the chemical structures were elucidated using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) technology. The structures were confirmed by comparison with previous NMR literature data. Although no novel compounds were discovered, ergosterol, a known sterol produced in all fungi, was found to have cytotoxic effects on murine leukemia cell lines, and tanzawaic acid A was shown to inhibit bacterial growth.

Mindy McLester
An Ocean Apart: Campaign Finance in the United States and Great Britain
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Timothy J. Steigenga 

The United States and Great Britain have very divergent approaches to the issue of campaign finance reform. This thesis compares data from the U.S. and Great Britain on election spending, spending by outside parties, and average donation size in order to determine which system works more efficiently. The author concludes that the system in the United States is bloated and overly complex, making it difficult to trace campaign spending. The British system, on the other hand, better reaches the goal of campaign finance reform, which is the prevention of corruption or the appearance of corruption in campaign finance.

Gretchen Myers
Clothing and Gender Identity in Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness and Sarah Waters’ Tipping the Velvet
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Laura Barrett and Dr. Wairimu Njambi 

Authors Radclyffe Hall and Sarah Waters, in their novels The Well of Loneliness and Tipping the Velvet, respectively, both use cross-gendered clothing to signify their protagonists’ atypical gender identities. However, because Hall wrote in the beginning and Waters at the end of the 20th century, the authors’ individual perspectives on gender and cross-dressing were shaped by different cultural forces. In the beginning of the century, cross-dressing was understood as a sign of gender inversion, a category that conceptually lumped sex, gender, and sexuality together under one heading. By the 1990s, sex, gender, and sexuality were considered separate though related categories and many theorists argued that gender is performative. In this context, cross-dressing could be read as a sign of homosexuality, transgenderism, transsexualism, or drag king performance. Taking historical context into account, I will explore the difference between the two authors’ portrayal of cross-dressing.

Nicole Neubauer
The North American Free Trade Agreement as a Two-Level Game and Implications for the Free Trade Area of the Americas
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Timothy Steigenga 

The purpose of this paper is to break through the complexity of the NAFTA negotiations in order to reveal some of the contentious issues from three stages of the NAFTA bargaining process: the fast track agreement, the negotiations under President George Bush, Sr., and the side payments under President Bill Clinton. Putman’s two-level game theory will help describe how the interests of business, environmental groups, and labor unions influenced the outcome of the NAFTA through their respective win-sets, domestic and international power relations, and side agreements. Extrapolating from Putman’s model and the success in NAFTA bargaining, we can predict that the ongoing Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) negotiations are more likely to succeed if international representatives strategize to create favorable conditions for domestic ratification through understanding the domestic constituencies and win sets of the players.

Jeremiah Owens
“Go, and come no more …” : Fyodor Dostoevsky and Friedrich Nietzsche set the stage for world without God
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Christopher Ely 

Friedrich Nietzsche and Fyodor Dostoevsky found themselves pushing the social standards by dealing with the idea of a God-less society at the close of the 19th Century. These two thought of the idea differently, as a result of their cultures and personal beliefs, but were able to capture the not only the large scale social struggle but also the personal difficulties that occur as people deal with such thoughts. The ideas they, or their characters, express in Beyond Good and Evil and The Grand Inquisitor are deeply rooted in their societies and, as a result of this foundation, are able to profoundly influence the future in many ways.

Niina Pollari
Openness and Putrefaction: The Ear as a Symbol of Female Vulnerability in Milton’s “Comus” and Paradise Lost
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Michael Harrawood

Seventeenth-century medical texts show the female body to be something of a receptacle; inward, passive, and responsive, the body (particularly the womb) absorbs outside stimuli and behaves accordingly. Correspondingly, religious sermons and tracts from the same era discuss the body’s weaknesses in similar terms; its vulnerable point lies particularly in its openness, specifically in the ear, which must be closed to wicked words and thoughts at all times. The religious and medical texts come together in the way John Milton symbolizes the ear and hearing in Paradise Lost and “Comus.” Milton, not necessarily wanting to discuss matters of feminine physiology, still thematizes female vulnerability in both poems as a sort of bodily invasion and corruption. Both poems feature a temptation scene in which male figures attempt to seduce a passive female victim with words. The ear is symbolic of the woman’s susceptibility, a gateway into her body and thus into her mind; the words themselves become invasive and polluting.

John Reck
Hell Broke Loose: The Evolution of English Radicalism From Skepticism to Antinomianism
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Michael Harrawood

The popular concept of England during the mid-1600’s – the time of the English Revolution and writer John Milton– is that of staunch Puritanism. There was, in fact, an explosion of radical religious and social ideas during this time. These new religions, in addition to being ‘radical,’ were also popular in that they articulated the hopes and grievances of those outside the ruling groups in English society. There was, during this time, a huge range of “enthusiastic doctrines,” not obviously tied to any particular or established religious sect. Two of these doctrines have commonly been associated with two intimately linked religious movements: The Seekers and the Ranters. The Seekers were a loosely organized, millennial sect that rejected all church authority and dogma, preferring to wait for the millennium when Christ would come and command them directly, without the intervention of ecclesiastic authorities. The Ranters arose from an extreme form of Seekerism, believing that sin was not possible as God inspired everything and that, therefore, it was appropriate to do whatever one felt like doing, unrestrained by law or morality. I will use these two groups to frame the evolution of English Puritanism from the skepticism of the Seekers to the antinomianism and libertine lifestyles of the Ranters and apply their doctrines to the writings of John Milton in order to discover how these two prominent religious movements affected his work, which were very much a product of the times they were written in. I will do this using a variety of primary and secondary sources, including 17th century tracts and pamphlets written by and directed against both the Seekers and the Ranters.

Valentine Sobirov
Embarking on DSP, DFT, and DWT
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Terje Hoim 

The concept of a “signal” extends from such obvious notions as audio and video signals to signals embedded in cosmic gravitational waves. Signal Processing is the area of Applied Mathematics concerned with identifying signals in raw recorded data and describing, analyzing, and modifying them; integral transforms are the main Mathematical tool utilized in Signal Processing. In this talk, I define the general concept of Digital Signal Processing and discuss how Fourier Transforms are used to analyze digitally sampled analogue signals in the frequency domain. I then generalize the notion of a transform, introduce Wavelet Transforms, and work out an eight-point example, using the Haar wavelet basis.

Matthew J. Snyder
Monism, Mortalism, and Milton
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Michael Harrawood

The nature of matter—and therefore of the body and soul—was a topic of heated debate in seventeenth-century England. Milton scholar Barbara K. Lewalski points out that the poet’s beliefs on the nature of matter underwent a profound transformation in his lifetime, from a Neoplatonic dualism (matter, or the body, and spirit, or the soul, are composed of two different and separate materials) to a fully developed monist ontology (all matter and spirit are composed of the same material), and that this transformation is evident when comparing Milton’s early poems to his later prose writings. Milton scholars such as George Williamson, Nathaniel Henry, C. A. Patrides, and Lewalski disagree as to whether Milton exhibits this fundamental change of belief systems in Paradise Lost; textual evidence seems to indicate that he does.

Christin Upshaw, Dr. Julie Earles, Dr. Alan Kersten
Complexities in Eyewitness Testimony- Memory is not Perfect, Especially when Observing Events with Multiple Actors
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Julie Earles 

Undergraduate students and older adults participated in an experiment in which they observed a series of video clips with two actors in each clip. They were later tested for their memories for these video clips. Our data show that even when an individual’s confidence rating is high, memory is not infallible. We compared the performance of younger adults to that of the older adults, and found that older adults are more susceptible to a phenomenon known as unconscious transference, or incorrectly associating the actions of one individual with the identity of another. Our research is especially important in the field of eyewitness testimony. Individuals are often asked to remember specific details of events they have observed, and to rate their confidence in the reliability of their memories. An eyewitness account is often the deciding factor for jurors in court cases. Our data suggest this trend may not be an accurate one.

Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College Symposium for Research and Creative Projects

Friday, April 15, 2005, 1:00 - 2:00 pm, AD Auditorium

Special Honors College Forum Presentation

Dr. Teresa Reyes

Scripps Florida

”Immune and Central Nervous Systems Interactions: Implications for Appetite and Metabolism”

Recent research has uncovered a dynamic interplay between the immune and central nervous systems, with overlapping molecules and pathways providing a link between these two systems. One context in which these interactions are evident is in the control of appetite and metabolism. This seminar will provide an overview of this interaction, and provide examples from research that has examined this important aspect of human physiology.

Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College Symposium for Research and Creative Projects

2005 Posters

Poster Abstracts

Hiyam Ahmad, Dr. Paul Kirchman
A comparison of the effects of manganese and copper-zinc superoxide dismutases on Saccharomyces cerevisiae growth and survival
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Paul Kirchman

Aging is defined by some as the exponentially increasing possibility of death with the age of the organism. The free radical theory of aging states that oxygen radicals created by the cell during energy metabolism are harmful and cause damage that leads to cell death. This study compares the effect of superoxide dismutase on yeast growth and survival. Superoxide dismutase is an enzyme that catalyzes the first step of the reaction that converts superoxide oxygen radicals into water and hydrogen peroxide. Saccharomyces cerevisiae has two genes that code for different forms of superoxide dismutase enzymes, SOD1 and SOD2. Strains with either SOD1 or SOD2 deletions were compared with a wildtype strain. A double mutant was created in which SOD2 was deleted from an SOD1- strain. A growth analysis was performed with each mutant on glucose and glycerol media.

Emily Allard
Listeners’ Perceptions of Speech And Language Disorders
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Dale F. Williams, Dr. Julie Earles

For years, studies have been conducted to assess public attitudes toward individuals with communication disorders. For the most part, these studies have examined individual disorders. In addition, examiners did not generally take into account differences within their subject samples and those that did presented mixed results with respect to how subject variables such as gender and geographic location impact perceptions. The purpose of this study was to assess attitudes toward a broad range of communication disorders and to determine whether these attitudes were affected by within-subject variables. This study supports previous research concluding that the public may still hold negative stereotypes towards individuals with communication disorders. In addition, the results indicate that there are differences in how the various disorders were perceived. No evidence was found that these perceptions were affected by subject age, gender, personal contact with anyone presenting a communicative disorder, or whether subjects had lived in urban or rural settings.

Rebecca Balter
The Five-Factor Model and Contemporary Attitudes Towards Marginalized Groups
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Kevin Lanning

In the wake of September 11th and the Iraqi war, the United States remains preoccupied with terrorism, freedom, and security. Is there a type of person who is more likely to value his or her freedoms over security? Are there certain groups that ought to have more liberties than others? If so, which groups and how much freedom? In the present study, we address these questions in order to further our understanding of prejudices toward marginalized groups in contemporary society. We examined the attitudes individuals have towards these social concerns as well as towards marginalized groups such as African Americans, Arab Americans, women, and homosexuals.

Gabriela Botta and Dr. Paul Kirchman
Copper supplementation extends yeast life span under conditions requiring respiratory metabolism
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Paul Kirchman

The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used as a model for cellular aging.  Life span determinations of yeast have historically been carried out on media containing glucose as a carbon source.  On media containing glucose, yeast utilize both fermentation and respiration, which occurs in mitochondria, to generate energy. Experiments were initiated that force yeast to use only respiration to generate energy.  Glycerol, a non-fermentable carbon source, was used in growth assays.  It was found that supplementation with copper increased growth rate.  Life span analysis on media containing glycerol as a carbon source showed that yeast have a similar life span when glycerol is used as a carbon source to that previously found with glucose as a carbon source.  However, the addition of copper to the plates used for life span analysis increase life span.  The extent of the increase was strain dependent.  The implications of these results will be discussed.

Heather J. Boyer
Cosmetics and the Composition of Femininity
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Wairimu Njambi

Makeup is one of the oldest forms of decorative technology.  Using makeup to enhance facial features began with the Egyptians in 4000 BC,  and for thousands of years, men and women used cosmetics to enhance facial features and to create an artificial representation of self and of beauty.  But today's makeup is overwhelmingly associated with women, especially in Western societies. My research will demonstrate the role that cosmetics plays in the making of femininity. On one hand, cosmetics are empowering to women because they provide them with the option of creating a mask that disrupts the notion of "natural" beauty.  In other words, women are empowered by wearing makeup because it allows them to challenge "nature" and to fool others by presenting an alternate version of the self. On the other hand, makeup can also be oppressive because much of Western society judges the made-up face as the most attractive female face, creating an expectation that all women must wear makeup in order to be considered beautiful.

Morgan L. Cable
Developing Novel Methods for the Detection of Bacterial Spores in Extreme Environments
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Rakesh Mogul

Bacterial spores (endospores), produced by certain bacteria under stress, are the most robust form of life on earth.  Detection of endospores has applications both in anti-terrorism efforts (anthrax) and in the search for life in our solar system, particularly on Mars.  We are developing new methods for detecting bacterial spores based on a unique chemical marker, dipicolinic acid (DPA), to quantify endospore concentrations in soils obtained from extreme environments such as the Atacama Desert in Chile.  Specifically, we investigated several methods to optimize the extraction efficiency of DPA from soils quantified by UV absorption spectroscopy.   Results suggest a high extraction efficiency (68%) and low limit of detection (45mM) for Lab sand and Atacama Desert soil (71%), though these depreciate with increasing soil matrix complexity.  In addition, we are evaluating cooperative binding effects to enhance the limit of detection and selectivity for the Tb-DPA luminescence assay using fluorescence excitation.  An optimized procedure for rapid detection of endospores in soils will allow us to quantify the distribution and viability of the toughest form of life in the most extreme environments.

Satu Correa
Cultural/Social Practices and the Naturalization of Gender Roles
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Wairimu Njambi

Today, the sex of a baby can be determined even before it is born by using ultrasound imaging; babies are dressed according to their gender (pink for girls, blue for boys); and children play with gender-specific toys (girls with My Little Ponies, boys with Transformers). What my research will show is how gender is constructed through technologies such as those indicated above. In this sense, my research will be looking at some of the ways in which the difference between men and women becomes naturalized even before children are born. My research will also be looking at some of the social implications of the naturalization of gender roles.

Shannon, Edmund Malinowski,and Eugene Smith
Reduction Potential of FAD Determined by Spectroelectrochemistry using Factor Analysis
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Eugene Smith

Flavins (FAD) are ubiquitous biological redox centers that serve as electron carriers in the oxidation of fuel molecules as follows: FAD + 2H+ + 2e- → FADH2.  Since the proton and electron transfer steps are coupled, the equilibrium constants for individual steps in the reaction mechanism have not been established.  In this preliminary study, individual species involved in this reaction mechanism were identified and quantified as a function of experimental conditions.  This task was accomplished using two methods: spectroelectrochemistry and factor analysis. The first method is a hybrid electrochemical method that spectroscopically determines species concentrations as a function of solution potential.  Factor analysis is a statistical technique used to analyze large arrays of experimental measurements for unique features.  The final step of this investigation, which will be the goal of future studies, is to calculate the values of the equilibrium constants based on additional experiments developed by this study.

Kari Edelson 
The Effect of Mitochondrial Mutations and Membrane Potential on Metabolic Activity of Yeast
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Paul Kirchman

Metabolism is defined as the sum of all the chemical reactions taking place within a cell. Through metabolic processes, food is ingested by an organism, broken down into smaller components, and converted to a form of energy more useful to the cell. The electron transport chain, which is part of respiration, takes place in the mitochondria and is where most of the cell’s energy is produced. Mitochondrial mutations, as well as alterations in the functional abilities of uncoupling proteins, have the potential to affect metabolic efficiency. Changes in metabolism due to mutations in mitochondrial DNA were detected by growing yeast mutants in aerobic conditions and calculating their individual growth rates. When yeast were treated with CCCP, a chemical which alters uncoupling activity, respiratory growth rates were also significantly affected. Further research is needed to determine if this data could potentially be useful in solving the problem of obesity in humans. 

Katie Glatthorn, Misty Hudelson
Actor Similarity and Unconscious Transference in Eyewitness Memory
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Julie Earles, and Dr. Alan W. Kersten

Eyewitness memory is often the only tool that we have to determine an individual’s innocence or guilt. A problem, known as unconscious transference, can occur when a witness incorrectly matches an innocent person with the crime based on the witness’ familiarity with that person. We expected that unconscious transference was more likely to occur when the actors were the same sex than if the actors were of different sexes. Forty college students viewed 60 simple actions, such as someone flipping a coin. One week later, participants viewed 72 events. After viewing each event, participants were asked if they had seen that actor perform that action at encoding. Our results confirmed our hypothesis that participants were more likely to make binding errors with conjunction items in which the actors were similar (i.e., when the actors were of the same sex).

Chauncey Graham
Men, Women, and Cooking: Household Technology and the Construction of Gender
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Wairimũ Njambi

The Western industrial revolution facilitated an increased focus on technological advancement. For instance, cooking has been transformed through technological advancements of industrialization, and has become more complex and involved. Cooking, once an activity shared by all the members of the household (like many other household chores) became associated with women as a result of the 'separate spheres' doctrine that associated men with the public and women with private (household) arena. Industrialization also brought with it a notion of "true womanhood" which was measured solely on the basis of what a woman did within the household. My research will show how the act of cooking has been used in the construction of gender and the defining of "womanhood," and the resulting societal implications.

Nikki Grottano
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero?
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Wairimu Njambi

Gender is created based on elements of society; ever since birth it is implicit in our lives, especially in the technologies we utilize. Historically, children in middle class America are given technologies at a young age that reinforce our innately patriarchal framework, which is not beneficial to any but the white middle class male. By strictly defining gender for children with G.I. Joe comic books and Barbie dolls, Americans are not problematizing gender laws and are thereby encouraging the further oppression of anyone fighting for equal rights. My research will show how technologies for children create separate spheres for them to place women and men on different levels. 

Meghan D. Hoffman
Impact on Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches Along Florida’s Atlantic Coast: The Effects of Artificial Lighting, Beach Renourishment and Beach Armoring
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Jon Moore

Florida has the highest concentration of sea turtle nesting beaches in the United States. Female sea turtles deposit between 40,000 and 70,000 nests every year. Florida is a year round vacation and retirement destination drawing millions to its sandy beaches yearly. I investigated how development and conservation come together to preserve sea turtles. Sea Turtle protection policies need to be created and monitored so turtle nesting beaches are preserved. It has been well documented that artificial lighting near sea turtle nesting beaches disorients both nesting females and emerging hatchlings. Increasing development along the Florida’s coast interferes with the natural processes between land and sea by accelerating erosion, calling for erosion control (beach renourishment and beach armoring), which adversely affects sea turtle nesting. Are the conservation efforts and management planes in Palm Beach County effectively reducing the negative impacts of humans and sea turtles trying to occupy the same space?

Amanda Kennedy
Just Reproductive Vessels? A Feminist Critique of Gendered Technology
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Wairimu Njambi

Technology, like any human endeavor, is value-laden (though we often forget this and label science “objective”). Science produces, reproduces, and informs culture in both positive and negative ways. As Eileen Leonard explains, “technology is typically envisioned and implemented within the parameters of inequality that fracture our society. In this way, it reflects and even reproduces prevailing social relations, extending rather than eradicating the inequality associated with gender, race, or class” (2003). My research focuses on the construction of female sexuality and female bodies through the Western technologies of contraception, reproduction, and orgasm. Critical analysis of science and technology must involve a look at how gender stereotypes limit women’s access to technology. Additionally, such an analysis should offer a contextualization and critique of certain problematic notions, including the universalized or biological body, what it means to be “natural,” and the idea of progress. 

Erin Kidwell 
The Induction and Resuscitation of Various Escherichia coli Strains into and from the ‘Viable but Non-Culturable’ State
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Paul Kirchman

E. coli resides naturally in human and animal intestines. Outside the body, the fate of E. coli depends on whether it is ingested back into the intestines or remains in the open environment. Seawater is relatively limited in available nutrients and does not always maintain conditions necessary for bacterial survival. Under the highly stressful conditions of seawater, E. coli can enter a “viable but non-culturable” (VBNC) state. Regulatory proteins, such as RpoS, and enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), help E. coli fend against these environmental stresses. Preliminary results indicate that an environmental E. coli isolate has the ability to avoid entering the VBNC state longer than three laboratory strains (wildtype, rpoS—and sodA—sodB—). Specifically, enumeration has shown that the environmental strain cultures 20-30 times more colonies than the sod double mutant strain and 2-3 times more than the wildtype and rpoS— strains. Resuscitation results are pending.

Atalia Lapkin
The Construction of Gender through Corsets and Brassieres
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Wairimu Njambi

Gender is not an innate phenomenon but rather a cultural construction based upon established cultural and societal norms. The historical construction of maleness and femaleness has been manifested from certain gendered ideals of appearance and behavior and have been perpetuated and reinforced by artifacts such corsets and brassieres, which literally force the female body into a specific form that has been declared feminine. My research will show will show how technology helps to make bodies into specific genders, thus disrupting the idea that gender is natural, not constructed.

Gretchen Myers
Technologies of Changing/Blurring Genders, From Drag Performance to Transsexual Surgery
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Wairimu Njambi

Gender is a cultural product, not a natural given. Gendered Technologies serve to shape gender in various ways, usually to reinforce the binary gender system by emphasizing the connections between biological maleness and culturally-constructed masculinity, biological femaleness and culturally-constructed femininity. In this project, I will focus on gendered technologies that are used to cross and/or blur traditional gender boundaries by endowing biologically male bodies with feminine characteristics and biologically female bodies with masculine characteristics. These technologies range from drag performance in which unambiguously-sexed bodies are covered with the clothing/accessories of the “opposite” gender to transsexual surgery in which bodies are physically altered to embody the “opposite” gender. I will discuss how, at times, these technologies reify the binary gender system and, at other times, represent an attempt to subvert this system and instead reveal the performative nature of gender.

Annemarie K. Phelan, Julie L. Earles, Ph.D., Alan W. Kersten, Ph.D. 
Does context affect event memory?
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Julie Earles 

When a person witnesses an event, individual features are bound together to form a complex memory in a process called feature binding. Sometimes, at recall, the brain incorrectly binds familiar features from separate memories. This is especially relevant in the courtroom when a familiar and innocent person is mistaken for a criminal. We investigated whether the context of events affect the occurrence of binding errors. Participants were more likely to make binding errors when a familiar actor was from the same context (seen at encoding) than when a familiar actor was from a different context. Thus, a familiar person from the scene of a crime is more likely to be mistakenly identified as the criminal than a familiar person seen at a different location. Clearly, people use contextual clues when recalling events. 

Bianca Pintado, Jennifer Becker, Alan Kersten, and Julie Earles
Verb Learning in Young Children
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Alan Kersten and Dr. Julie Earles

In this study I examined whether or not children attend to objects when learning new verbs, and if there are differences between English and Spanish speakers when learning these new verbs. The participants in this study were 3 to 5 years old and enrolled in local preschools. These children were shown a puppet show featuring two novel creatures performing two different actions that do not have a single-word label in English or Spanish. These actions were given new one-word names, and we tested to see if the children also attended to the object when learning these verbs. We found that both English- and Spanish-speaking children attended to both the object and motion when learning a new verb, implying that children must first understand an object before they understand the verbs accompanying it, and that children learn verbs similarly across languages.

Danielle R. Reis and Shelia M. Kennison, Ph.D.
The Effect of Trigram Frequency on Second Language Acquisition: Learning French Vocabulary
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Julie Earles

A series of vocabulary learning and recall tasks, presented to 36 undergraduates enrolled in second-semester French language classes, tested the extent to which the acquisition of second language vocabulary was influenced by the orthographic similarity of the L2 (second language) word with characteristics of L1 (first language) in general. Students were presented twice with 36 novel French (L2) vocabulary words, with initial trigrams that are found frequently, infrequently, or not at all in the English (L1) language, and which were associated with sham English translations for learning and retention. Recall tests were administered directly following the learning task and again one week later. Recall performance immediately after the study phase was highest for French words whose initial trigrams did not occur in English and this condition was significantly different from the low trigram frequency condition. Recall performance one week later showed a similar trend, but the difference among conditions was not significant. 

Stephanie Sabshin
The Big Cat Barrier 
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Travis Lybbert 

Big Cat Rescue (BCR) is a non-profit sanctuary for wild cats located in Tampa Florida. This sanctuary is home for over 150 wild cats. With so many mouths to feed, the total cost of running BCR takes $2,000 per day (this does not include emergency veterinarian care). The only revenue at BCR comes from donations and fees charged for tours through the sanctuary. The total revenue from tours on an average weekday ranges from $600 to $2,000 per day. The total revenue on an average weekend ranges from about $1,000 to $2,000. The costs at BCR that are not covered by the daily tour fees are paid through donations, the majority of which come from the founder, Carole Lewis. 

BCR is currently struggling to protect their cats from encroaching development. This requires an 8 foot high concrete perimeter wall that will prevent trespassing. Trespassers could put the lives of the cats in danger, as well as their own. The perimeter of their property is approximately 7,000 feet. To build a wall this long would cost the sanctuary a total of $560,000. The purpose of this project is to find a way to fit such an expense into the budget of a self-sustaining non-profit sanctuary. 

Sara C. Tippins
Creative Fanaticism: Fan Art in the Information Age
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Christopher Strain 

Fan Art is an increasingly popular social phenomenon of the Twentieth Century and early Twenty-First Century. While the authors and artists who lend their talents to the creation of Fan Art are passionately devoted to it, the idea of Fan Art is problematic. Fan Artists, Authors, and even Directors use pre-existing creative products and alter them for their own purposes. Fan Art is original creative ends acquired by unoriginal means: can this constitute genuine "art"? The Postmodern Era and the creation of the internet made possible the spread of fanatic ideas and creative products, but do these products constitute "art" according to the era in which they are created?

Daniela Tortora and Dr. James Wetterer
Ants in myrmecophytic orchids (Caularthron spp.) of Trinidad
Advisor/Professor: Dr. James Wetterer 

Caularthron spp. are epiphytic orchids with specialized hollow pseudobulbs that house ants. We studied ants living in Caularthron bicornutum and Caularthron bilamellatum in Trinidad. We collected C. biornutum from a wide variety of trees in secondary growth forests along the north coast of Trinidad and collected C. bilamellatum from large shad trees in urban areas on the island’s central plain. We found ants in 16 of 20 orchid clusters, with 1-3 ant species per cluster. Collectively, ants represented 13 different species, all native to the Neotropics, seven of which had not been previously reported from Trinidad.

Jessica A. Wassung; Tory Nicole Spokane; Danielle L. Boutte
Memory Errors of Older Adults: The Prevalence of Unconscious Transference Related to Age
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Julie Earles and Dr. Alan Kersten

Previous studies support the existence of the memory phenomena known as unconscious transference, and the effect the hippocampus may have on its likelihood to occur. The present study examines the occurrence of unconscious transference in both younger and older adults. Older adults identifying movie clips they had first seen a week before had more incidences of responding “old” to a video clip in which both the actor and the action had been seen before, but not together. This demonstrates the susceptibility of older adults to unconscious transference. Because hippocampal tissue decreases in volume with age, the results also support the hypothesis that the hippocampus is a vital agent in the binding of memories from working to long term memory.

Erica J. Young and Patrick Monnier
Subthreshold Patterns can Cause Shifts in Color Appearance
Advisor/Professor: Dr. Patrick Monnier

Chromatic induction refers to shifts in color appearance of a target color caused by the colors presented nearby. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that inducing patterned backgrounds so low in chromatic contrast that they cannot be distinguished can still induce shifts in color appearance. In a preliminary experiment, discrimination threshold for a pattern was measured using an adaptive method (staircase). A non-signal interval contained two uniform achromatic backgrounds presented side by side. A signal interval contained one uniform achromatic background and one patterned background composed of purple/lime circles. The non-signal and signal intervals were randomly presented and the task was to indicate which interval was the signal interval. In the main experiment, discrimination threshold was estimated with the same backgrounds, with the addition of a test ring located in the central portion of the purple/lime patterned background. Chromatic contrast thresholds in the main experiment were significantly lower, by about a factor of 2. This indicates that a purple/lime patterned background with a test ring is more visible than the same purple/lime patterned background without a test ring. This surprising result and additional control experiments suggest an inducing pattern that is not visible (subthreshold) still causes color shifts.

Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College Symposium for Research and Creative Projects

2005 Program

8:30 Registration, AD Lobby
9:00 Welcome, AD Auditorium
Student Presentations
         
9:20-9:35 Jeremiah Owens
Go, and come no more...: Fyodor Dostoevsky and Friedrich Nietzsche set the stage for a world without God
Christin Upshaw
Complexities in Eyewitness Testimony Memory is not Perfect, Especially when Observing Events with Multiple Actors
Nicole Neubauer
The North American Free Trade Agreement as a Two-Level Game and Implications for the Free Trade Area of the Americas
Rachel Chamberlain
Beyond Cultural Relativism? The Implications of Moving Past the Culture Concept in Anthropology
9:45 – 9:55 Chauncey Graham
Them Niggers Ain’t Black…:   African Americans, the Communist Party, and the Construction of a Cultural and Political Identity
Paul McCurdy
Isolation and Structure Elucidation of Bioactive Compounds from a Marine Fungus Cultured from a Plakortis Sponge
Mindy McLester
An Ocean Apart: Campaign Finance in the United States and Great Britain
Michael Degani
Rituals of Revolution: Anarcho-Primitivism and Globalization
10:00 – 10:15 Break
10:20 – 10:35 Ariana Magdaleno
La identitad sexual de las mujeres en la literatura caribena (Womens Sexual Identity in Caribbean Literature)
Morgan Cable
Developing Novel Methods for the Detection of Bacterial Spores in Extreme Environments
Karla Gabriela Dominguez
Comparative Immigration Policy: Out of the country or out of Society? Case study of the United States and Spain
Sarah Bourget
Hot-Cold Medicine Revisited
10:40 - 10:55 Gretchen Myers
Clothing and Gender Identity in Radclyffe Halls The Well of Loneliness and Sarah Waters Tipping the Velvet
Valentine Sobirov
Embarking on DSP, DFT, and DWT
Rachel Braun
Silvio Berlusconi and Italian Democracy: Challenge and Consolidation
Noemi Coltea
Good Morning America: Televisions Role in Political Election Campaigns
11:00 - 11:15 Savannah McClelland
Nudity in 17th Century England and Miltons Paradise Lost
Laura Lynch
Numerical Integration of Linear and Nonlinear Wave Equations
Rigers Gjyshi
Democratization Challenges in Post-Communist Europe: The Case of Albania
Margaret Bichler
Suspicious Closets: Gay Marriage, the Perverse Implantation and Suspect Classification
Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 Honors College Forum, AD Auditorium
2:00 - 4:00 Poster Sessions, HC Building
Hiyam Ahmad, Dr. Paul Kirchman
A comparison of the effects of manganese and copper-zinc superoxide dismutases on Saccharomyces cerevisiae growth and survival
Meghan D. Hoffman
Impact on Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches Along Florida’s Atlantic Coast:
The Effects of Artificial Lighting, Beach Renourishment and Beach Armoring
Emily Allard
Listeners’ Perceptions of Speech And Language Disorders
Amanda Kennedy
Just Reproductive Vessels? A Feminist Critique of Gendered Technology
Rebecca Balter
The Five-Factor Model and Contemporary Attitudes Towards Marginalized Groups
Erin Kidwell
TheInduction and Resuscitation of Various Escherichiacoli Strains into and from the ‘Viable but Non-Culturable’ State
Jennifer Becker
Attention to Novel Objects During Verb Learning in Children of Different Age Groups
Atalia Lapkin
The Construction of Gender through Corsets and Brassieres.
Gabriela Botta and Dr. Paul Kirchman
Copper supplementation extends yeast life span under conditions requiring respiratory metabolism
Gretchen Myers
Technologies of Changing/Blurring Genders, From Drag Performance to Transsexual Surgery
Heather J. Boyer
Cosmetics and the Composition of Femininity
Annemarie K. Phelan, Dr. Julie Earles, Dr. Alan W. Kersten
Does context affect event memory?
Morgan Cable
Developing Novel Methods for the Detection of Bacterial Spores in Extreme Environments
Bianca Pintado, Jennifer Becker, Alan Kersten and Julie Earles
Verb Learning in Young Children
Satu Correa
Cultural/Social Practices and the Naturalization of Gender Roles
Danielle R. Reis and Shelia M. Kennison, Ph.D.
The Effect of Trigram Frequency on Second Language Acquisition: Learning French Vocabulary
Stacy Crawford
Mitochondrial localization of telomerase in yeast brings about increased mitochondrial mutations
Stephanie Sabshin
The Big Cat Barrier
Shannon DeMond, Edmund Malinowski and Eugene Smith
Reduction Potential of FAD Determined by using Factor Analysis
Sara C. Tippins
Creative Fanaticism: Fan Art in the Information Age
Kari Edelson
The Effect of Mitochondrial Mutations and Membrane Potential on Metabolic Activity of Yeast
Daniela Tortora and Dr. James Wetterer
Ants in myrmecophytic orchids (Caularthronspp) of Trinidad
Chauncey Graham
Men, Women, and Cooking: Household Technology and the Construction of Gender
Jessica A. Wassung; Tory Nicole Spokane; Danielle L. Boutte
Memory Errors of Older Adults: The Prevalence of Unconscious Transference Related to Age
Nikki Grottano
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero?
Erica J. Young and Patrick Monnier
Inducing Patterns can cause Shifts in Color Appearance
 
Last Modified 11/21/13