Students Working on Student-Designed Scholarship Under Carleton Faculty Supervision

Return to 2012 Scholarship Highlights page

Burr-McNeal, Mahal '12

Leading Every Day: A Child Abuse Prevention Leadership Program

Mahal Burr created and implemented a child abuse prevention leadership project for teen mothers. The project aimed to empower young mothers to become leaders on child abuse prevention both for their children and other children in Memphis. The participants were treated as community organizers. They recieved a small stipend, were given professional training on child abuse (including prevention techniques, sign recognition, response and reporting skills and much more) from six leading organizations on child abuse prevention and recovery in Memphis. In addition the participants received leadership training and put these skills to the test with an accumulative community event. Following the program, Mahal Burr is working to create a child abuse prevention week-long curriculum that will be implemented into a Memphis City School starting in Spring 2012.

This work was supervised by Anita Chikkatur

Denny, Adam '12

Geochemistry of the Eocene Crescent Formation Basalt, Washington State: Implications for Mantle Plume Activity

The Coast Range Basalt provinces of Oregon, Washington, and Vancouver Island consist of an estimated 250,000 cubic kilometers of extrusive lavas generated between 62 and 50 Ma. Although previous studies have linked this Large Igneous Province (LIP) to subduction of a mid-ocean ridge (Haeussler et al., 2003) or accreted seamounts potentially associated with a mantle plume (Duncan, 1982), unambiguous evidence concerning the origin of Coast Range volcanism remains elusive. Ongoing investigation of the trace element and isotope compositions of the Crescent Formation basalts of Washington State demonstrates a range of basalt compositions consistent with an enriched mantle source. Compositional heterogeneity of the Crescent Formation requires the tapping of multiple mantle reservoirs as volcanism progressed. This study presents an expanded geographical survey of Crescent Formation compositions in an e_x001E_ffort to further constrain the origins of the Coast Range LIP.

This work was supervised by Bereket Haileab

Foran, Rachel '12

Made and Making: The Construction of Somali Muslim Selves in Rural Minnesota

Existing scholarship has largely overlooked the role of religion in the formation and maintenance of Somali selves in the diaspora. This project seeks to address the lack of scholarship on Somali Islam. Rachel conducted extended fieldwork with the Somali Muslim immigrant community in Faribault, Minnesota. Based on conversations and observations from the field augmented by with theoretical analysis, this study looks at the formation of Somali Muslim identities for Somali female youth in rural Minnesota.

This work was supervised by Shana Sippy

Gupta, Lipi '12

So You Want to Start an NGO?: Why "Empowering" People Takes More Mentors and Time Than You Might Think

This series of qualitative case studies of three NGO programs investigates how the organizations' "empowerment" strategies simultaneously undermine and enhance the quality of their impact in ways that that are not fully revealed or obvious at a glance. This study comprises independent and faculty-supervised fieldwork at Jagori in Delhi, Indi;, the Esilalei Women's Cultural Boma in Esilalei, Tanzania; and Project Why, in Delhi, India. Research in Esilalei was co-conducted with Emily Houser '12. Gupta concludes that interventions aiming to "empower" seem to require a great deal of face-to-face time within a set of new relationships; and these relationships in the NGO spaces take years to influence individuals' broader roles and abilities in daily life. Further analysis will be complete spring term.

Link: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B80E2CnG9xYJYWFhZmI4NmUtOTg1Yy00NmM5LWEwYWEtYTlmODNkZjk5YjU5&hl=en

Kelati, Beserat '12

Polarization of Memory in the Eritrean Diaspora

As a Mellon Mays Fellow Beserat Kelati is studying the development of the Eritrean identity and community cohesion, both in the nation-state and in the context of the Houston diaspora experience. Kelati's research questions are: How has politics in the Eritrean nation-state affected community cohesion in the Houston Eritrean diaspora? And what role has the sociopolitical disjunction between Eritrea's political fronts played in fostering or impeding cultural cohesion with the Houston's Eritrean community? To determine community cohesion in the Houston Eritrean diaspora, she used a multi-method approach. Life histories, participant observation and interviews were conducted in the form of a qualitative approach. Kelati hopes historical memories, personal experiences, community dynamics and emotion will provide alternative narratives that have been excluded from recent literature due to the complexity that exists between the Eritrean diaspora community and the nation-state.

This work was supervised by Van Dusenbery

Kunkel, William '12

Lamp Tag: Building a Safe, Cheap Alternative to Commercial Laser Tag

Lamp Tag is a game of virtual paintball that is played with electronic equipment designed by a group of Carleton physics majors. In the game, each player is equipped with an infrared "lamp gun" emitter and a set of sensors that enable communication along line of sight for distances up to 60 m. While commercial laser tag equipment typically costs over $3000 per set, we have developed a laser-free substitute that can be assembled at a cost of $40 per set.

Link: http://www.people.carleton.edu/~kunkelm/Lamp_tag_report.pdf

This work was supervised by Marty Baylor

Lopez, Paulina '12

The Relevance of Mexican Political Printmaking

This project investigates the relevance of Mexican printmaking as a sociopolitical tool in the 20th and 21st centuries. Paulina researched the historical and social contexts that surround Mexican prints from both eras, and conducted formal analyses of primary sources from art institutions and conferences in the mid-west and along the El Paso-Juarez border. Her research focuses on the way contemporary Mexican artists are embracing form over content in order to preserve the medium's relevance in the digital age. She is incorporating the traditional and contemporary Mexican printmaking methods studied from primary sources into a series of artist's books that document the experiences of Mexican immigrants living in southeastern Minnesota. Paulina collected the oral histories of these immigrants as part of the project during the summer of 2010. Professor Fred Hagstrom assisted Paulina on the studio aspect of this project, which is funded by the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program.

This work was supervised by Fred Hagstrom

Cushing, Benjamin '12

What's Worth Knowing? A Quantitative Approach to the Debate Over What Fills Young Americans' Minds

Borrowing tools from sociology, this paper challenges generational arguments made by popular writers about the essential knowledge that every American must have. These critics, including recent bestseller Mark Bauerlein, overlook the possibility that definitions of essential knowledge change over time and are particular to a historical moment. Through surveying members of the Carleton College and Northfield, MN communities, we set out to find whether peoples' perceptions of essential knowledge and skills are affected by certain sociodemographic or behavioral characteristics. The results of our study provide evidence that older people value categories of academic-content knowledge more strongly than younger people do. The results also show that as people value their education more, they increasingly value these categories of knowledge. The only type of knowledge that younger people valued more than older people did was proficiency in foreign languages. These results demonstrate that the effects of age and generation play important, but perhaps different, roles in shaping an individual’s educational values.

This work was supervised by Bill North and Annette Nierobisz

Bellos, Nicholas '12

What's Worth Knowing? A Quantitative Approach to the Debate Over What Fills Young Americans' Minds

Borrowing tools from sociology, this paper challenges generational arguments made by popular writers about the essential knowledge that every American must have. These critics, including recent bestseller Mark Bauerlein, overlook the possibility that definitions of essential knowledge change over time and are particular to a historical moment. Through surveying members of the Carleton College and Northfield, MN communities, we set out to find whether peoples' perceptions of essential knowledge and skills are affected by certain sociodemographic or behavioral characteristics. The results of our study provide evidence that older people value categories of academic-content knowledge more strongly than younger people do. The results also show that as people value their education more, they increasingly value these categories of knowledge. The only type of knowledge that younger people valued more than older people did was proficiency in foreign languages. These results demonstrate that the effects of age and generation play important, but perhaps different, roles in shaping an individual’s educational values.

This work was supervised by Bill North and Annette Nierobisz

Alexander, Michael '12

What's Worth Knowing? A Quantitative Approach to the Debate Over What Fills Young Americans' Minds

Borrowing tools from sociology, this paper challenges generational arguments made by popular writers about the essential knowledge that every American must have. These critics, including recent bestseller Mark Bauerlein, overlook the possibility that definitions of essential knowledge change over time and are particular to a historical moment. Through surveying members of the Carleton College and Northfield, MN communities, we set out to find whether peoples' perceptions of essential knowledge and skills are affected by certain sociodemographic or behavioral characteristics. The results of our study provide evidence that older people value categories of academic-content knowledge more strongly than younger people do. The results also show that as people value their education more, they increasingly value these categories of knowledge. The only type of knowledge that younger people valued more than older people did was proficiency in foreign languages. These results demonstrate that the effects of age and generation play important, but perhaps different, roles in shaping an individual’s educational values.

This work was supervised by Bill North and Annette Nierobisz

McClellan, Michael '13

Cyclodextrin-Containing Air Fresheners: A New Pathway for Inhaling Pollutants?

The indoor environment contains many pollutants that can be damaging to health and offensive to human senses. A new generation of air fresheners contains beta-cyclodextrin, a cyclic glucose oligomer that is reported by manufacturers to "eliminate" odors by trapping offensive smelling molecules in its core, rendering it scent-free. In this study, the kinetics and mechanism of cyclodextrin-pollutant complexation were studied in solution and in the aerosol phase using spectroscopy and mass spectrometry techniques. Aerosol Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry was used to collect mass spectra of aerosol mixtures of beta-cyclodextrin and naphthalene derivatives (simulated indoor pollutants), which were shown to complex in solution using spectroscopic methods. Markers that indicate complexation of naphthalene derivatives in cyclodextrin-containing mixtures have been identified in the ATOFMS spectra, leading to the possibility of identifying beta-cyclodextrin-pollutant complexes in real-world particles.

This work was supervised by Deborah Gross

McMurtrey, Owen '12

Cowling Arboretum Grassland Breeding Bird Survey

The Arboretum Grassland Breeding Bird Survey establishes the diversity and overall numbers of grasslands bird species of interest. The survey is envisioned as a long-term study that will help Arboretum managers and prairie restorationists understand avian responses to a variety of management decisions. The survey data also serves as an aid in understanding the ecology of grassland birds generally. After three years, the data show an increase in the numbers of grassland species that avoid trees during the nesting season and a coinciding decline in the numbers of species that associate with trees during nesting. The removal of trees from Arboretum prairies is ongoing, and we hypothesize a relationship between tree removal and species composition changes. An example of temporal allocation of niche space among three abundant grassland species is noted, as well as increases in species diversity and overall numbers over the last three years.

Link: https://apps.carleton.edu/campus/arb/connections/student_research/

This work was supervised by Nancy Braker

Overholt, True '12

XXXX Desea Usted? Consumer and Survey Participant Behavior within a Multiethnic Community

Seeing a lack of research sufficiently addressing the issue of acculturation's impact on the ethnocentric tendency of consumers regarding the country of origin effect, we presented Mexican-Americans living in Northfield, Minnesota, with a two-part questionnaire. The first asked participants to rate, according to favorability and purchase intent, advertisements of 12 goods and six services; the second concerned cultural preferences (Mexican or American) and a construal of self scale. We encountered many difficulties cultural and methodological throughout the process working with an under-sampled population that limited statistically significant results. The lessons we learned were rather those of surveying a multicultural immigrant population, the difficulties arising in undertaking such a project, and how to improve future academic studies within a nonacademic population.

This work was supervised by Annette Nierobisz and Mija Van Der Wege

Vang, Pachee '14

Speech Surrogates of the White Hmong: A Study of the Representation of Hmong Tones as Musical Pitches on the Nkauj Nog Ncas (Two-Stringed Violin)

Hmong musicians surpass the combination of melodies by transforming the ineffable through instruments, one pitch representing one word; a phenomenon called speech surrogacy. Unlike our elders, we did not understand the words played from Hmong speech surrogates. Therefore, we looked into studies on Hmong music and language from Poss (2005) flute, Catlin (1981) sung poetry, and Falk (2003) open-reed pipe organ who found similar pitch-system patterns. We expanded on these studies with the two-stringed violin, examining the lexical-tones correspondence to musical-pitches, tones collapsing into one pitch, and the instrument's style of "speech." We collected music pieces from seven musicians and analyzed the pitches of each word. In short, a pattern of high tones to high pitches and vise versa suggests that tones assist in the understanding of the instrument. Through this work, we hope that Hmong youth understand Hmong speech surrogacy better and that advancements in Hmong speech surrogacy continues.

This work was supervised by Annette Nierobisz, Katie Fortin, and Melinda Russell

Vue, Bill '12

Speech Surrogates of the White Hmong: A Study of the Representation of Hmong Tones as Musical Pitches on the Nkauj Nog Ncas (Two-Stringed Violin)

Hmong musicians surpass the combination of melodies by transforming the ineffable through instruments, one pitch representing one word; a phenomenon called speech surrogacy. Unlike our elders, we did not understand the words played from Hmong speech surrogates. Therefore, we looked into studies on Hmong music and language from Poss (2005) flute, Catlin (1981) sung poetry, and Falk (2003) open-reed pipe organ who found similar pitch-system patterns. We expanded on these studies with the two-stringed violin, examining the lexical-tones correspondence to musical-pitches, tones collapsing into one pitch, and the instrument's style of "speech." We collected music pieces from seven musicians and analyzed the pitches of each word. In short, a pattern of high tones to high pitches and vise versa suggests that tones assist in the understanding of the instrument. Through this work, we hope that Hmong youth understand Hmong speech surrogacy better and that advancements in Hmong speech surrogacy continues.

This work was supervised by Annette Nierobisz, Katie Fortin, and Melinda Russell

Vue, Bao '12

Speech Surrogates of the White Hmong: A Study of the Representation of Hmong Tones as Musical Pitches on the Nkauj Nog Ncas (Two-Stringed Violin)

Hmong musicians surpass the combination of melodies by transforming the ineffable through instruments, one pitch representing one word; a phenomenon called speech surrogacy. Unlike our elders, we did not understand the words played from Hmong speech surrogates. Therefore, we looked into studies on Hmong music and language from Poss (2005) flute, Catlin (1981) sung poetry, and Falk (2003) open-reed pipe organ who found similar pitch-system patterns. We expanded on these studies with the two-stringed violin, examining the lexical-tones correspondence to musical-pitches, tones collapsing into one pitch, and the instrument's style of "speech." We collected music pieces from seven musicians and analyzed the pitches of each word. In short, a pattern of high tones to high pitches and vise versa suggests that tones assist in the understanding of the instrument. Through this work, we hope that Hmong youth understand Hmong speech surrogacy better and that advancements in Hmong speech surrogacy continues.

This work was supervised by Annette Nierobisz, Katie Fortin, and Melinda Russell

Walker, Alex '12

What Factors Regulate the Automobile Related Negative Consequences of Alcohol Consumption in the Twin Cities Metro Area of Minnesota?

This project investigated negative consequences of alcohol consumption in the seven county metro area surrounding the Twin Cities, Minnesota. After using statistical modeling to isolate useful variables, a spatial analysis was conducted on the appropriate variables to predict three negative consequences: motor vehicle crashes (MVCs), motor vehicle fatalities MVFs) and arrests for driving while intoxicated (DWIs). The intention was to provide a snapshot of risk for the metro counties relative to each other, for example: which counties have the highest predicted rates of drinking and driving? Demographic, economic, geographic and legal information were incorporated into the model with the intent of identifying the factors that contribute to illegal roadway actions and their consequences. Analysis showed that prediction models for MVFs and DWIs contained serious issues and that only the MVC model was appropriate for prediction. Analysis of the MVC model showed that a wide range of variables determined negative consequences and that differences in legislation did not have an effect in determining the extent of alcohol related issues.

This work was supervised by Tsegaye Nega

Williams, David '12

XXXX Desea Usted? Consumer and Survey Participant Behavior within a Multiethnic Community

Seeing a lack of research sufficiently addressing the issue of acculturation's impact on the ethnocentric tendency of consumers regarding the country of origin effect, we presented Mexican-Americans living in Northfield, Minnesota, with a two-part questionnaire. The first asked participants to rate, according to favorability and purchase intent, advertisements of 12 goods and six services; the second concerned cultural preferences (Mexican or American) and a construal of self scale. We encountered many difficulties--cultural and methodological--throughout the process working with an under-sampled population that limited statistically significant results. The lessons we learned were rather those of surveying a multicultural immigrant population, the difficulties arising in undertaking such a project, and how to improve future academic studies within a nonacademic population.

This work was supervised by Annette Nierobisz and Mija Van Der Wege

Xiong, Milah '14

Speech Surrogates of the White Hmong: A Study of the Representation of Hmong Tones as Musical Pitches on the Nkauj Nog Ncas (Two-Stringed Violin)

Hmong musicians surpass the combination of melodies by transforming the ineffable through instruments, one pitch representing one word; a phenomenon called speech surrogacy. Unlike our elders, we did not understand the words played from Hmong speech surrogates. Therefore, we looked into studies on Hmong music and language from Poss (2005) flute, Catlin (1981) sung poetry, and Falk (2003) open-reed pipe organ who found similar pitch-system patterns. We expanded on these studies with the two-stringed violin, examining the lexical-tones correspondence to musical-pitches, tones collapsing into one pitch, and the instrument's style of "speech." We collected music pieces from seven musicians and analyzed the pitches of each word. In short, a pattern of high tones to high pitches and vise versa suggests that tones assist in the understanding of the instrument. Through this work, we hope that Hmong youth understand Hmong speech surrogacy better and that advancements in Hmong speech surrogacy continues.

This work was supervised by Annette Nierobisz, Katie Fortin, and Melinda Russell

Alexander, Lauren '13

Eckankar: An Ethnography of a Minnesotan New Religious Movement

This project explores the beliefs, lifestyle, traditions, and worldview of Eckankar, a New Religious Movement based in a western suburb of the Twin Cities, MN. Through original ethnographic field work centered on interviews, phone calls, and research of both scholarly and primary sources (sacred texts, newsletters, etc.) of Eckankar, Alexander examined the sites, documents, and texts of Eckankar and took part in services, ceremonies, and group gatherings. In addition to examining Eckankar today, her project placed Eckankar and its development within the wider landscape of New Religious Movements and their acceptance in and rejection from American culture, the unique location of Eckankar within Minnesota, and larger questions about what can, does, and should qualify as 'religion' within our society. Because very little scholarly work exists on Eckankar, this project represents an important and holistic study of a modern, Midwestern New Religious Movement.

This work was supervised by Shana Sippy

Anderson, Kelly '13

Male Preference Is Enhanced in Female Rats Receiving Clitoral-Vaginocervical Lidocaine Prior to Paced Mating Behavior

Female rats exhibit paced mating behavior, in which the female controls the rate and timing of stimulation during sexual interactions with a male rat. We previously found that application of clitoral-vaginocervical (CVC) lidocaine alters the display of paced mating behavior, possibly by decreasing the elements of mating that may be aversive for the female rat. The present study examined the female rats’ sexual motivation as measured by preference for a male vs. female rat during a no contact partner preference test. The results suggest that lidocaine application reduced the aversive aspects of paced mating, leading to increased motivation to seek out a male. This experiment adds to our understanding that the complex interplay of aversive and rewarding sensory information affects the moment-to-moment display of mating behavior as well as sexual motivation. Kelly Anderson conducted behavioral testing, data entry and analysis.

This work was supervised by Sarah Meerts

Baquet, Zachary '13

Street Performance in Quito, Ecuador and Lima, Peru

This project examines the art and culture of street performance in these two capital Latin American cities. It is an ethnographic account of the street performers that tells both how they view themselves and how society views them as street performers. The project consists of two films that attempt to give a voice to these street performers against the stereotypes and phobias they face in their work every day. Baquet filmed this project in Quito, Ecuador. He came up with all of the questions and examined the pre-existing literature on the topic to prepare for the field research and after to better understand it. Ben Walsh (’14) helped Zachary Baquet film in Lima, Peru and was also a part of the video editing process.

This work was supervised by Bill North and Thabiti Willis

Beck, Jared '14

Cowling Arboretum Grassland Breeding Bird Survey

The Grassland Breeding Bird Survey is designed to monitor populations of grassland-dependent birds and establish what species are breeding in the Arb in addition to exploring the impacts of management practices such as prescribed fire on grassland birds. Beck conducted the survey in the summer of 2012, organized the data and analyzed the results.

This work was supervised by Nancy Braker

Epping, Madeline '13

Role of Xanthine Dehydrogenase in Sceloporus Lizard Color Polymorphism

This project is designed to determine the genetic basis for the sexually dimorphic color polymorphism displayed by Sceloporus undulatus erthyrocheilus lizards. Males of this species exhibit orange, yellow or white pterin-based pigmentation along the anterior ventral surface. Mating behavior has been previously shown to correlate with coloration. Xanthine dehydrogenase (XDH) is currently being examined as a potential candidate for the phenotypic color differences. XDH is a member of the pterin-synthesis pathway whose final product is additionally involved in neurotransmitter synthesis. The XDH gene is being sequenced to detect any variations in the code between color morphs. Differences in expression between the morphs or alternative splicing of the mRNA product are also being examined as possible mechanisms.

This work was supervised by Matt Rand

Hailu, Yonas '13

Trust Relationships in the Lives of Missionaries

Hailu is examining the different trust relationships that Missionaries had to develop during the nineteenth century as well as today with different groups of people, such as the indigenous people they are working with, the religious and political leaders of the area, the organizations that send the missionaries, and other fellow missionaries working along with them. He is also looking at how trust with one group of people might either positively or negatively affect the development of trust with another group of people.

This work was supervised by Thabiti Willis and Bill North

Hope, Soren '15

Study in Oil Paint Portraiture

This project was a study in oil paint portraiture, using both friends and internet strangers as subjects. The paintings were done on different materials, such as cardboard, plexiglass, and found wood. In this study, Hope explored different ways in which the subject could be detached or concealed from the viewer.

This work was supervised by David Lefkowitz

Johnson, Elliott '13

Female rats without ovarian hormone exposure during puberty demonstrate higher sexual receptivity after subprime hormone administration

This project studies whether exposure to ovarian hormones during puberty defeminizes female sexual behavior in rats. This behavior is often measured by assessing level of receptivity during a 10 stimulation lordosis quotient (LQ) test with a male rat. Normally developed and fully hormone-primed female rats show high levels of receptivity (an LQ >90). To examine the connection between hormonal exposure during puberty and receptivity, rats that experienced puberty in the presence (O@P) or absence (No O@P) of ovarian hormones received an LQ test under subprime hormonal conditions. No O@P rats showed higher levels of receptivity than O@P rats, supporting a role of ovarian hormones in defeminizing the brain during puberty. Johnson conducted research of subprime hormone dosage for this experiment, designed the experiment with the help of Professor Sarah Meerts, conducted behavioral testing, entered data, and ran statistics on the findings.

This work was supervised by Sarah Meerts

Kieffer, Daria '13

Summer of Solutions: Youth, Identity and Place in Minneapolis

This project investigated how youth working on environmental justice initiatives in South Minneapolis conceptualize their work in relation to place. In order to complete this research, Kieffer did participant observation, as well as 20 interviews with an environmental justice organization called Summer of Solutions. Her aim was to answer questions such as: How does relationship to place affect youth activism, and what does this reveal about the importance of locality and home in large-scale movements? In light of recent studies that seek to connect individual and communities to structural activism, she analyzed people’s connection to place and look at how this leads them to participate in collective action in different ways.

This work was supervised by Adrienne Falcon

King, Shantrice '13

The Link between National Sex Education Programs in Jamaica and Young Women's Health

This project examines how national sex education programs in Jamaica impact young women’s understanding of sex and their sexuality. This summer, King conducted field research in Jamaica, interviewing directors and program managers of pertinent organizations, analyzing relevant advertisements, and reading research reports. This project allowed King to see the complexity of constructing national sex education programs in a country where open discussions about sex are taboo. It also highlighted how the effects of inadequate sex education programs can turn into a public health issue.

This work was supervised by Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg

McClellan, Michael '13

Cyclodextrin-Containing Air Fresheners: A New Pathway for Inhaling Pollutants?

The indoor environment contains many pollutants that can be damaging to health and offensive to human senses. A new generation of air fresheners contains beta-cyclodextrin (Î_-CD), a cyclic glucose oligomer that is reported by manufacturers to eliminate odors ”rather than masking them with fragrances” by trapping offensive-smelling molecules in its core, rendering them scent-free. In this study, the equilibrium and mechanism of cyclodextrin-pollutant complexation were studied in solution and in the aerosol phase using spectroscopy and mass spectrometry techniques. Aerosol Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry was used to analyze aerosolized mixtures of modified Î_-CD and simulated indoor pollutants, which were shown to complex in solution. Samples were also taken on fabrics in an enclosed environment to simulate air freshener use in the home. Markers that indicate complexation of the pollutant simulants in cyclodextrin-containing mixtures have been identified in the ATOFMS spectra, leading to the possibility of identifying beta-cyclodextrin-pollutant complexes in real-world environments.

This work was supervised by Deborah Gross

Ohl, Tanwaporn '14

Skin Whitening in Thailand: Influences of the Thai Media on Beauty Ideals and Class Identity

Ohl is studying the influence of the Thai media on beauty ideals and class identity on Thai youth. She is focusing on the usage of skin whitening products as a means to achieve these ideals within their social class. Ohl’s research questions are: How has the use of mixed race or light skinned models/actors in various media sources influenced Thai youth to use skin whitening products? How has the ability to purchase skin whitening products influenced the perceptions of class identity? To answer these questions, Ohl is pursuing two different tracks of research. She is first completing a review of literary and media sources. Second, she has participated in intensive Thai language study in order to interview participant Thai youth for a documentary that will provide an honest, inside look into their opinions regarding skin whitening, race, social class and the influence of the media.

This work was supervised by Adriana Estill

Piazza, Amelia '14

Lynching As Lesson: Context, Causes, and Consequences of Informal Justice in an Indegenous Guatemalan Town

Focusing on the 1997 lynching of a young thief by a mob of civilians, this research explored social order and deviance in San Antonio Palopo, a highland indigenous town in Guatemala. Piazza examined the town’s history of policing and justice systems over the past several decades, analyzing the syncretism between local, customary law and the state-imposed models of social order, finding that the resulting systems have been largely ineffective. In this context, the lynching can be understood as a public rejection of civil authorities; indeed, because it was followed by a period of more adherence to the law instead of less, the lynching demonstrates that the enduring forces that deter social deviance in San Antonio are generally not institutionalized. Ultimately, Piazza found that ways of thinking about crime and culpability in San Antonio emphasize the crucial communal knowledge and informal social obligations that maintain social order in this small town.

This work was supervised by Jay Levi

Ranum, Jorde '15

Chamaecrista fasciculata Genomics

Chamaecrista fasciculata, commonly known as the Partridge Pea, has emerged as a potential model organism for the study of plant development. Our research focuses on the role of temperature leading to differential flowering patterns of C. fasciculata. We sampled three sites in Minnesota (Weaver Dunes, McKnight Prairie, and Grey Cloud Dunes) and constructed several research transects at each site. We tagged several hundred individual C. fasciculata plants in all transects and recorded height, node of first floral initiation (hereafter referred to as NFI), node of first open flower (hereafter referred to as NFOF), and number of expanded leaves and axillary buds for each site. Data was collected on a weekly basis over the course of ten weeks. DNA extraction and amplification of nine specific flowering genes were sequenced and analyzed to assess whether or not genetic or environmental factors have a stronger effect on flowering patterns in C. fasciculata.

This work was supervised by Susan Singer

Schairer, Rosemary '12

Female Rat Sexual Experience Must be Paced to Affect and Alter Paced Mating Behavior

Paced mating occurs under conditions that allow a female rat to control the timing and frequency of receipt of sexual stimulations from a male rat. The male rat controls the mating interaction in nonpaced mating conditions. Female rats return to the male more quickly following less intense mating stimulations (mount

This work was supervised by Sarah Meerts

Stoll, Isaama '14

The History and Development of Ethical Monotheism in American Reform Judaism

This project looks at the history and development of ethical monotheism in American Reform Judaism. In doing so, the project aims to define the theology of ethical monotheism, and understand how it came to be a part of American Reform Judaism. The project also analyzes the ways the theology of ethical monotheism allowed American Reform Judaism to flourish in the late 19th and early 20th .

This work was supervised by Louis Newman and Bill North

Taxier, Lisa '13

Clitoral-Vaginocervical Lidocaine Alters Paced Mating Behavior in Female Rats

Paced mating behavior, the approach and withdrawal behavior of female rats during sexual interaction with a male, is modulated by sensory input. The specific input of the clitoris, vagina and cervix in paced mating behavior remains unclear. The goal of this study was to determine whether the application location of the topical analgesic, lidocaine, affected paced mating behavior in ovariectomized, hormone-primed female Long-Evans rats. Contact-return latencies following ejaculation differed significantly between rats treated with lidocaine or Vaseline on the 5th test for rats receiving application to both clitoral and vaginocervical areas. No difference in paced mating behavior was observed when ointment was applied to the vaginocervical area only. These results suggest that display of paced mating behavior requires sensory input from both clitoral and vaginocervical areas, and sexual experience may be necessary to observe differences between rats in the lidocaine or Vaseline condition. Taxier conducted behavioral testing and processed data.

This work was supervised by Sarah Meerts

Tetreault, Breanna '13

Nematode Species Ecology

The goal of this ecological study is to determine whether differences in above-ground herbivory affect below-ground nematode populations. This project is in collaboration with an ongoing ecology study being done by the Hernandez lab in the Carleton Arboretum. They are measuring the effects of altered animal herbivory on soil nutrient content and plant growth. We are interested to see whether the relative numbers and species representation of nematodes are influenced by herbivory as well. After nematodes have been collected and extracted from soil samples, we will use morphological and molecular genetic techniques to identify them. By sequencing the genes for the small ribosomal subunit in individual nematodes, we hope to separate them into groups based on what they feed on, to investigate for the correlation between below- and above-ground feeders.

This work was supervised by Jennifer Wolff and Andrea Kalis

Williams, David '14

Casual Determinism and its Implications

This project investigates the philosophical idea of causal determinism and to what extent the effects of causal determinism problematize the phenomenon of existence. Primarily, causal determinism is put forth as a hypothesis to explain the relationship between events; for any given thing that happens, there is always a cause, whether knowable or not. If this is the case, what are the human concerns that follow? Our notions of responsibility, agency and justice assume that individuals with the capacity to make significant choices do in fact make choices. If, however, the pervasiveness of external causes is significant enough to overshadow human agency, a serious conversation must be held about whether or not such things as responsibility can persist. In researching this project, Williams seeks to defend the hypothesis and propose a solution to the humanistic concern.

This work was supervised by Anna Moltchanova

Wyss, Julian '13

Islamic Mobilization in Mali: An Examiniation of Religious Social Movements in Developing Countries

This project aims to employ social movement theory, and theories of perceived political opportunities in particular, to explain the development and success of religious social movement in developing countries. Wyss used the French Studies in Mali Off-Campus Studies program with Professor Cherif Keita as a platform to conduct independent political science research on a religiously based social mobilization against a series of proposed amendments to the Malian Family Code. Seen by many as social progress for one of the few secular, democratic Muslim-majority countries in the world, unprecedented social upheaval in the capital city of Bamako eventually forced the government to dilute and modify the amendments. He interviewed a number of important societal figures in Mali, including politicians, womens rights activists, anthropologists and religious scholars, to gain a better understanding of the impetus and success of the religious mobilization.

This work was supervised by Devashree Gupta (Political Science) and Bruce Whitehouse (Department of Anthropology, Lehigh University)

Zimmerman, Charlotte '15

Developing Polymer Lenses by Liquid-based Curing Methods

This project is focused on developing a liquid curing method for making polymer lenses. As the polymer used is hydrophobic, when it is dropped on water based liquids of varying densities, a lens shape is formed. By using a UV-curable polymer, the lens can then be cured by placing the liquid container under UV lamps. We are focused on testing the shape formed, and how it is formed, by different liquids by varying defining characteristics such as density and polarity.

This work was supervised by Marty Baylor

Return to 2012 Scholarship Highlights page