North Central College - Naperville, IL

Oral Presentations

12th Annual Rall Symposium Research Abstracts 2009 Oral Presentations
10:45-12:15 a.m. Goldspohn Hall/Kroehler Science Center

Legal and Economic Solutions to Problems of Public Concern
Moderator: Mr. Brian Hanlon, Marketing Room: Goldspohn 11

Back to the Basics: Microfinancing the End of Poverty
Jennifer Ann Fisher ’09,
Advisor: Dr. William Muck, Political Science
Global Studies: Developing States, Political Science
In its current structure, the global capitalist economic system fosters enormous disparity between rich and poor. This inequity has created a world in which millions of global citizens are not capable of fully enjoying the economic benefits of the global marketplace. This has created staggering levels of poverty, which have resulted in and contributed to countless other transnational problems. In this paper, I argue that microfinance stands as the best tool available for alleviating poverty, while continuing to operate within the current economic system. While there has been exceptional work explaining global poverty and there has also been significant study on the positive effects of microfinance, there are no significant studies on microfinance’s unique ability to solve the poverty crisis. This paper endeavors to bridge this scholarly gap by detailing how microfinance works and why it is particularly well suited for taming the exploitative nature of capitalism.

Fixing Baseball: How the Next Collective Bargaining Agreement
Can Restore Competitive Balance in America’s Pastime
Colin McGowan ’10, Health and Physical Education,
Advisor: Mr. Thomas Cavenagh, Business Law and Sports Management Conflict Resolution, Leadership, Ethics and Values
Since its inception, the business of baseball has been divided by the interests of players and owners alike. Finding common ground between these two groups has been arduous. This article examines the very roots and evolution of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in the sport. It will explore the competitive balance in baseball with regard to free agency and the lack of a salary cap which has limited the interest and long-term potential of small market teams. This article will also provide an in-depth look at several possibilities for resolutions from both the players’ and ownership’s perspectives of the aforementioned issues in collective bargaining. The ramifications of implementing a system similar to this one may be unknown, but it presents us with an intriguing possibility. One must acknowledge, however, that this will be no easy task as the players association has held firm when the issue comes up during negotiations.

Authoritative Capitalism: The Visible Hand in the Market
Richard Anderson II ’09, Economics, Finance
Advisor: Dr. Bobby Barnes, Economics
With Mao Zedong’s October 1, 1949, declaration of the People’s Republic of China, the country stepped from its feudal past into an authoritative present. In 1978, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping began an economic revival that has thrust China onto the world stage. This has been achieved by what many have deemed as “Socialism with Chinese characteristics.” The thesis presented in this paper explores the possibility other countries, specifically Vietnam and Russia, have also adopted a similar economic model. The Gross Domestic Product of each country is examined in relation to the positive economic results each has experienced since implementing this new model, which is defined as “Authoritative Capitalism.” To further the argument as to the potential of Authoritative Capitalism, the growth of India is compared to the three aforementioned countries. The results show democracy, albeit the best political model, acts as a braking mechanism for economies attempting rapid expansion.

Changing the Method of “Incarcerating” Juveniles
Tanvi Potdukhe ’12, Sociology: Criminal Justice, Spanish
Advisor: Mr. Thomas Cavenagh, Business Law and Conflict Resolution, Leadership, Ethics and Values
The number of juveniles in the American correctional system is increasing, raising concerns. Alison Leigh Cowan notes that our current system, with its focus on punishment and determent, is not effective. She argues that changes implemented in some Connecticut facilities, including life-skills workshops and art therapy, show promising results. Joel Hood draws upon developmental psychology and neuroscience when making his case for an approach among juveniles that differs significantly from adults. In addition, Edward Meyer demonstrates that placing juveniles in adult prisons increases the recidivism rates, both while in jail and after being released. My paper draws together the contributions of these three and presents a proposal for a fresh approach within the juvenile justice system, one that centers on a more personalized and age-appropriate course of rehabilitation, therapy and career training. It promises both to reduce recidivism and to lower juvenile crime rates.

Mandatory Arbitration and Statutory Law
Catherine Armbrust Rajcan ’10, Entrepreneurship
Advisor: Mr. Thomas Cavenagh, Business Law and Conflict Resolution, Leadership, Ethics and Values
The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to determine whether an arbitration clause in an employment contract can procedurally mandate arbitration and prohibit judicial litigation of a federal statutory claim. In the underlying cause, three union employees worked under a Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Agreement required the employees to have their claims of contractual wage violation and statutory age discrimination heard through arbitration. Thereafter the employees sought federal judicial determination. The defendant-employer moved for dismissal based on the mandatory arbitration clause in the Agreement. Federal District court rulings have not been definitive on whether a mandatory arbitration clause can preclude court adjudication of federal statutory claims. Through sheparding the relevant case law, and analyzing the legal requirements and limitations of an arm’s-length transaction and a contract of adhesion, I conclude that the right to adjudicate statutory claims is not barred by law, as best serves the common good.

Learning to Learn: Technological Progress for Work and Play
Moderator: Dr. Caroline St. Clair, Computer Science Room: Goldspohn 14

North Central College’s Oesterle Library: The Evolution of a Small Academic Library Through Cooperative Efforts and Technology
Denise Zartmann ’09, History
Advisor: Dr. Bruce Janacek, History
North Central College’s Oesterle Library has faced many of the same obstacles as other small academic libraries. The goal of my research was to utilize archival materials to identify challenges the library faced and discover how those challenges were overcome. The library’s main challenge was to provide as many resources as possible while facing budgetary constraints, a small physical space for library materials and new developments in technology that affected library functions. Through cooperative efforts between Illinois libraries, Oesterle Library made millions of volumes accessible to students. Changes in technology redefined the library as an information center rather than a depository for books. My research reveals that through cooperative efforts between libraries, such as interlibrary loan and consortiums and new developments in technology, including electronic resources and online catalogs, Oesterle Library has overcome challenges facing small academic libraries and has been able to provide increased access for resources for students.

From NUDIST to NVivo: Using a Computer Program in Qualitative Research Projects
Susan Creighton ’09, Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Karl Kelley, Psychology
Qualitative research is an important method of experimentation, but unfortunately the process is often long and messy. Researchers now have an opportunity to conduct qualitative research projects with the NVivo program. I have reviewed how NVivo was developed, what the program does and how the program better suits qualitative research. A variety of tools are available in this program to assist researchers, which will be discussed in the context of a qualitative research project examining the content of written communications between elementary school children and college elementary education majors. NVivo allows analysts to manage data and ideas, perform queries, create models, and generate reports from the data. When using NVivo, qualitative projects are cleaner and more organized and enable multiple strategies to be performed concurrently. Using NVivo assists researchers in organizing and analyzing data in an effective and efficient manner, and should be considered more for use in qualitative research.

Analysis and Implementation of Role-Playing Game Design Principles
Chris Cervantes ’09, Computer Science
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Renk, Computer Science
Role-playing games (RPGs) were among the most popular games available, but they have declined in popularity over the last 10 years. There are many causes for the decline, but the primary reason is the fundamental lack of evolution of game play. This project demonstrates that the stagnation is due to the inherently repetitive nature of many RPGs. Further, this project describes how this flaw can be repaired: by looking outside the narrow constraints of game characteristics as they have appeared in previous RPGs and designing a game with a higher degree of realism. This project will then propose a proof of concept solution by implementing some RPG characteristics as they would be designed if based in reality.

Rag Dolls or Frag Dolls? An Exploration of Girls and Gaming Culture
Kelsey Wiseheart ’09, Computer Science
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Renk, Computer Science
Video games are usually seen as “boys’ toys” and are marketed to a male audience, emphasizing competitiveness, violence and static, idealized characters. But what about the girls who want to play? This project explores the relationship between gender, gaming and technological competency by examining research on why girls choose not to play video games as well as what the industry is doing to bring the games to them. Do girls want to use computers to play house and dress-up, or do they want to blow up enemy bases alongside the boys? The answer is vitally important to the future of the entire technology industry. Further, theory is put into practice by designing a game catering to girls’ preferences for submission to a national competition, and the results are analyzed to find firsthand what girls want in their video games.

Psychological Examinations of Roles, Responsibility and Efficacy
Moderator: Dr. Patricia Schacht, Psychology Room: Goldspohn 27

Evaluating Employees Returning from Family Leave: Influence of Status and Reason for Request
Amanda Maloney ’09, Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Karl Kelley, Psychology
Family Medical Leave Act allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for various family reasons. Recent research has suggested that employees are sometimes reluctant to request this leave for concerns about potential negative consequences upon return. This study examined the effects of high (management) or low (hourly) employee status, reason for request (birth, adoption, care of sick child or care of sick parent) and outcome (positive or negative) on participant’s evaluation of the individual taking leave. The results suggested that males in high status positions who request leave for birth of a child, adoption and sick parents are seen as more responsible for negative outcomes than those in lower (hourly) status jobs. Other dependent measures yielded similar trends.

Attributions of Responsibility and Blame: Effects of Victim and Perpetrator Alcohol Use and Degree of Coercion
Allison Shostrom ’09, Psychology, Brandi Balensiefen ’11, Management, Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Thomas Sawyer, Psychology
To assess the effects of alcohol on the assignment of responsibility and blame, eight scenarios providing details of a fictitious social encounter were developed. The variables manipulated within the scenarios include: (1) whether a female victim was intoxicated, (2) whether a male perpetrator was intoxicated, and (3) the level of coercion exerted in the social encounter (mild or extreme). Participants read one of the scenarios and then responded to questions concerning their impressions about victim/perpetrator intoxication, degree of coercion, as well as to whom responsibility/blame should be attributed. It is hypothesized that victim intoxication will increase attribution of victim responsibility/blame, perpetrator intoxication will decrease attribution of perpetrator responsibility/blame, and extreme coercion will reduce victim responsibility/blame but increase perpetrator responsibility/blame.

Rape Allegations in the Military: An Examination of the Effects of Rank and Alcohol on Blame and Accountability
Jennifer Carlson ’09, Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Karl Kelley, Psychology
The occurrence of rape of female service members in the U.S. military continues to be an ongoing problem even as the Department of Defense has instituted a task force and subsequent policy to address this problem. The current study sought to further approach an understanding of this issue in its 2 (rank: equal or different) by 2 (alcohol: present or not present) design, examining the blame assigned to parties in an alleged rape case in the military. It was expected that the greatest amount of plaintiff blame and least amount of defendant blame would be assigned in the equal rank and alcohol present condition. Results indicated three factors emerging, including plaintiff-focused blame, defendant-focused blame and plaintiff’s perceived intention. Findings revealed a main effect of alcohol on plaintiff blame approaching significance and no significant differences or interactions among the groups for defendant blame or plaintiff’s perceived intention.

Alcohol and Responsibility
Bethany Gabel ’09, Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Thomas Sawyer, Psychology
This study was designed to assess college student attitudes concerning attribution of responsibility for behaviors while intoxicated. In addition, relationships between such attitudes and other measures were examined (e.g., authoritarianism, locus of control, alcohol use, etc.). Attitudes were assessed by a questionnaire with specific questions that pertained to participants’ views as to alcohol’s harmful effects and penalties for such effects, participant emotional response to harm done to others, and whether people should be held responsible for intoxication-related behaviors. All measures were assessed via paper and pencil. Data collection is complete and preliminary analysis shows a relationship between an item pertaining to whether people should be held responsible for their actions while intoxicated and their views on harm done to others as well as their views on the severity of penalties. Additionally, there was no significant relationship between views of responsibility and scores on the Internal External (IE) and authoritarianism scales.

The Relationships Among Body Symmetry, Athletic Performance and Self-Efficacy
Miranda Thorpe ’09, Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Karl Kelley, Psychology
It has been suggested that there is a relationship between body symmetry and athletic performance—those with more symmetrical bodies may perform better than those with asymmetrical bodies. The current study extends previous research by examining if a third factor, self-efficacy, is related to both symmetry and performance. Self-efficacy is defined as an individual’s belief in his or her ability to accomplish a specific task. It was hypothesized that increasing symmetry will be positively correlated with both athletic performance and self-efficacy. The results of this study may be beneficial in predicting the future abilities of athletes. The results may also help to determine whether or not athletic performance and self-efficacy levels are biologically based.

Examinations of Marginality and Identity through Language and Images
Moderator: Dr. Renard Jackson, Education Room: Goldspohn 31

La Mode: The Glamorous Coping Mechanism
Brittany Lynn Sodora ’09, Entrepreneurship
Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Jackson, English
It is a common misconception that fashion is merely superficial and unnecessary. My study explores why this critique is not justifiable by presenting evidence that fashion has a positive impact on society, helping both individuals and groups of people to develop, change and cope. Since its creation in the 1700s, people have been using fashion in relation to identity, communication and psychological processes. In addition, fashion is also used as an artistic medium fulfilling the desire for creative outlets of expression and as a tool for individuals to bring beauty, joy and fun into a world that is far from ideal. Through historical information, academic research, interviews and examples of designers, I have discovered that fashion is integral to individuals and culture as a whole.

The Scottish Witch-Hunts in Early Modern Europe
Sarah Morris ’09, History
Advisor: Dr. Bruce Janacek, History
The witch-hunts witnessed in Scotland occurred in response to many of the social struggles prevalent during the 16th and 17th centuries and managed to thrive because of the involvement of major religious and political institutions and the utilization of evidence and confessions that were manufactured by superstition, economic pressure and torture. Social and political change wrought by the Reformation created an atmosphere that required those in power to fight for control. The primary and secondary sources referenced suggest that the conflict between the Catholic and the Protestant institutions was one that became violent through attempts to eradicate competing forces, which threatened any leading power’s fragile hold over the current atmosphere. Through the analysis of the ruling class, the religious leaders and the peasant class, it becomes more apparent why the image of a witch was used as a powerful tool for social reform and control in Early Modern Scotland.

The Relationship Between Hate Speech and the Regulatory Regimes of Expression
Kurt Kamrath ’09, Political Science
Advisor: Dr. Thomas Cavenagh, Business Law and Conflict Resolution, Leadership, Ethics and Values
Despite its absolute language, it is widely accepted that not all speech is protected by the First Amendment. In this work, the justifications for areas of speech exempt from constitutional protection given by the Supreme Court and legal theorists are analyzed, and their relation to common forms of hate speech is examined. The intent of this paper is to determine whether hate speech may be restricted in a manner that is compatible with any of the recognized unprotected areas of speech, or if the overarching rationales for regulating speech may be expanded to include hate speech. The result of this analysis is that currently accepted limits on speech could be used to prohibit certain narrowly defined instances of hate speech. However, there are general rationales for speech regulation that could be extended to allow for new exemptions to be carved out that would catch more instances of hateful speech.

Welcome to the Post-Racial Virtual World
Mark Jenkins ’09, Political Science
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Maynard Caliendo, Political Science
With the election of the first African American president, public opinion has started to shift toward the idea that we have entered into a post-racial world. Before the election, online forums typically mirrored society in the tendency for users to post racially explicit and implicit comments on message boards following both articles and videos. This paper aims to study the impact of racial priming on online argumentation in the new, supposedly post-racial world. Following Canary, the paper focuses on the argumentative patterns employed by users in scenarios where heated discussions may arise. Specifically, the paper looks at discussions that arise as reactions to news articles that have been posted online at major newspapers’ websites. Papers from a variety of geographically diverse areas are examined in order to consider the differences between ideological beliefs and argumentative styles as they are related to geographical locations.

We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby? Gender Roles in Multiple Contexts
Moderator: Dr. Francine Navakas, English Room: Goldspohn 32

Tackling the Female Math Stereotype: Gender Primes to the Rescue!
Lakoda Yturbe ’09, Psychology, Molly Lambert ’09, Psychology, Katelyn Tyndorf ’07, Science, Psychology,
Advisor: Dr. Heather Coon, Psychology
Previous research shows when women are reminded of the stereotype “women are worse at math than men” they conform to it. Will highlighting famous female mathematicians prior to a math test allow women to do well on the test even when reminded of the stereotype? We will provide women with a gender prime: half will receive information displaying famous female mathematicians while the other half will receive information on famous male mathematicians. Next, all participants will take a math test and be reminded of the female math stereotype. Half of them will be told this stereotype is just a myth. We hypothesize that women who receive the female prime will score higher on the math test than those receiving the male prime. In addition, we predict that those who received the myth information will score higher than those who are just reminded of the stereotype.

Students’ Portrayal of Gender in the Context of the Classroom
Whitney Rhew ’11, Human Resource Management, Sociology: Criminal Justice
Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Keys, Sociology
Virtually every aspect of a child’s environment is filled with gendered expectations. This study examines the gender dynamics that operate inside a fifth-grade classroom.  Although the primary method of data collection was observation, interviews, visual methods and document analysis were also used to investigate the gender roles conveyed within classroom.  My findings demonstrate that distinct gender differences can be seen in the following behaviors: helping, body language and interaction. The classroom atmosphere, as well as gender stereotypes, also influence the behaviors observed.  It appears that at least on some level, children are aware that as a boy, or as a girl, they are supposed to act and respond in certain ways to various classroom situations. The importance of this research stems well beyond gender, giving us a better understanding of the influence of societal norms and the structural forces that are ever present within our lives.

Priming Effects on Facial Perception
Jennifer John ’10, Psychology Mike O’Connor ’10, Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Thomas Sawyer, Psychology
Prior research has found a link between facial perception and judgment of personality traits. For example, more masculine faces are associated with more negative personality traits and more feminine with more pro-social traits (Penton-Voak, et. al. 2003). Our study concerned priming effects on perceptions of masculinity and competitiveness of faces. Three groups of participants were primed by having them unscramble several sets of words, which, if put in proper order, created meaningful sentences that included either competitive (e.g., conflict), cooperative (e.g., teamwork) or neutral language. After priming, participants judged several pairs of faces in which one had been computer-enhanced to have more or less masculine features. Half of each priming group judged which face was more masculine, while the others judged which was more competitive. It was expected that competitive priming would enable participants to be more effective in detecting which face had the more masculine features.

Understanding Language as an Agent for Change
Moderator: Dr. Mara Berkland, Speech Communication Room: Goldspohn 33

The Power to Change a Nation: An Analysis of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act
Andrew Phillip Veach ’09, Speech Communication: Organizational Communication
Advisor: Dr. Mara Berkland, Speech Communication
In 2000, the South African Parliament passed the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA). Using a combination of Dreama Moon’s (2002) “Contested Zone” and Hall’s (2002) systemic culture definition, this study shows that a communication act, such as legislation, can transform a culture’s worldview tendencies, values and norms. Communicative texts, like the PEPUDA legislation, provide a “snapshot” of the culture from within. In this study the PEPUDA is critically analyzed. Themes of equality and justice are found to effectively work to undermine centuries of cultural inequalities. This research addresses first, how legislation can impact a culture, and second, how the PEPUDA specifically impacts South Africa and will continue to shape its culture in the future.

Vladimir Putin’s 2007 Annual Address to the Russian Federation: A Transformative Cultural Text
Brittany Goudie ’09, History, Speech Communication
Advisor: Dr. Mara Berkland, Speech Communication
Research within the field of speech communications endorses the transformative abilities of communication in direct regard to culture. Rhetoric, specifically, is one medium through which cultural transformation is initiated. This research explores the communicative rhetorical function of cultural transformation, specifically through presidential rhetoric, that fully proves the following thesis: former Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 2007 Annual Address to the Russian Federation is a rhetorical tool to reaffirm Russia’s dedication to cultural egalitarian leanings, not their hierarchical leanings of the past. The analysis was conducted as follows: first, information such as background, significance and summary information regarding Putin’s address as a cultural text is provided; second, the transformative abilities of rhetoric on culture are explored; third, an explanation of relevant Russian culture is provided such as recent law and economic developments; finally, examples from Putin’s address are extracted and receive further textual analysis. This research fully supports the thesis described above.

The Power of Narratives: Purple Hibiscus and Nigerian Culture
Danielle Cifonie ’10, Speech Communication: Organizational Communication
Advisor: Dr. Mara Berkland, Speech Communication
In order to understand a narrative to its full capacity, the relationship it has to the culture it comes from must be recognized as important. The novel Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie indeed has been influenced by critiques and attempts to transform the hierarchical tendency of modern Nigeria. In order to unpack this claim, this paper first looks to understand the theory of narratives and relationship they have with their culture. Second, it describes the hierarchical aspects of modern Nigerian culture and juxtaposes it with a culture seen before colonization, specifically that of the Igbo people. Third, the paper summarizes the novel Purple Hibiscus, highlighting its important happenings, specifically regarding the differences in experiences between the main character’s own home and her aunt’s home. Finally, it analyzes how the novel attempts to repair the hierarchical tendency of Nigeria and the significance of what it communicates.

From Writing “Revolution” to Blogging Grrrl Power: The Evolution of Feminist Journalism
Alyssa Vincent ’09, English: Print Journalism
Advisor: Dr. Steve Macek, Speech Communication
“You can’t have a revolution without a press.” Those words, uttered by a member of the National Organization for Women in the late 1960s, continue to influence the feminist movement. In 1868, during the first wave of feminism, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton released “The Revolution,” a 16-page newsletter that addressed issues of prostitution, women’s suffrage and reproductive rights. Nearly 100 years later, in the midst of the second wave of feminism, radical feminists harnessed the power of the press once again, spawning hundreds of newsletters about everything from lesbianism, underground abortions and welfare. Now, feminists are attempting to take over the newsstands and blogosphere with glossy magazines like BUST and blogs like feministing.com. By harnessing new media and offering alternatives to publications like Cosmopolitan and Glamour, feminism is re-inventing itself and renewing its hope of inspiring revolution.

Through the Lens and in the Mirror: Scientific Inquiries and Approaches
Moderator: Dr. Christine Weilhoefer, Biology Room: Goldspohn 35

Credibility in Science: Effects of Language Complexity and Ambiguity of Credentials
Jordan Inskeep ’10, Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Heather Coon, Psychology
What makes scientific information seem credible? The purpose of this research was to evaluate the perceived credibility of complex language and a researcher’s credentials in a scientific article.  Participants read a brief article about the possible health benefits of eating fatty fish.  I varied the language used to describe the medical terms in the article, providing everyday language (e.g., stroke) or medical jargon (e.g., cerebral vascular accident).  I also varied the ambiguity of the researcher’s credentials, providing no information (e.g., “the researcher”) or specific information (e.g., researcher’s name, degree and affiliation). A main effect was found for the ambiguity of the researcher’s credentials. The participants who read the article with specific information reported the article to be more credible than those who read the article with no information provided. The results of this experiment will help explore how we evaluate credibility and may shed light on persuasive tactics.

Estimating Basic Reproductive Number by Bayesian Method in a Mathematical Model of Chlamydia Trachomatis
Christina Lorenzo ’10, Accounting, Mathematics
Advisor: Dr. Linda Gao, Mathematics
Based on our previous models of Chlamydia trachomatis, we developed a more realistic model. One critical parameter in the model is the basic reproductive number R0, which determines whether a disease will spread out in the population or not. Another closely related parameter is the control reproductive number R-omega. It is critically important to estimate the possible incidence and effectiveness of various control measures through estimating R0 and R-omega. We used a method based on Bayesian probability to estimate R-omega with quantified uncertainty from time series data for Chlamydia trachomatis and evaluate effects of intervention measures. The data was obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We used the numerical solutions of the model along with the estimation of the parameters to predict the future incidences and effects of possible control measures.

The Characterization of Phenolic Acid and Flavonoid Changes in Green Kale Due to Environmental Changes by Instrumental Means
Heather Farnum ’09, Chemistry
Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Jankowski, Chemistry
Secondary plant metabolites such as phenolic acids and flavonoids are predominant in the dietary consumption of raw fruits and vegetables. These compounds are known to have several health benefits associated with them; however, these known benefits are mainly examined from raw and pure extracts of these compounds. Little is known about their beneficial effectiveness after they are processed. Thus, during my internship in Berlin, Germany, in summer 2008, I explored the thermal and pH environment stability of phenolic acids and flavonoids in kale (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group) through instrumental means, as kale specifically has high concentrations of these compounds and must be cooked for hours before consumption. We set out to test the reproducibility of this newly created procedure and discovered promising precision between trials, other than stability problems with the chosen buffer. During trials run on new buffers, no new/more stable buffers were found; this experiment is ongoing.

Analysis of Glass Haze From Display Cases From the Field Museum of Natural History
Nicholas Swanson ’09, Chemistry
Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Jankowski, Chemistry
The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago has thousands of artifacts on exhibit, most of which are contained in glass display cases. Over the years, the conservationists and exhibitors at the Field Museum have witnessed an unusual problem with the glass of the display cases throughout the Museum. Over time an opaque film, or haze, invariably deposits on the inside surface of the exhibit glass. The goal of this project is to identify the haze and its point of origin in order to assist in maintaining the integrity of the artifacts present and to facilitate the cleaning and maintenance of the cases. Using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy we have been able to identify the main components of the glass haze. Although the qualitative, macroscopic appearance of the haze is similar in all of the display cases, the data indicate that the chemical composition is not the same for all cases.

Industry and Education in the Eastern Hemisphere
Moderator: Dr. Martha Bohrer, English Room: Goldspohn 36

Defining Literacy: A Study of Literacy in Rural Uganda, Nairobi and London
Sarah Martin ’09, Global Studies: International Relations, Sociology
Advisor: Dr. Mara Berkland, Speech Communications
The world recognizes the benefits a literate population possesses and, as a result, continues to undertake initiatives to strive for the eradication of illiteracy. Despite this, there are still varied definitions in use by states, non-governmental originations (NGOs) and individuals. The lack of a universally agreed definition of literacy has led to a variety of standards and explanations since literacy programs often look at literacy through different lenses. This project uses texts and interviews collected from literacy organizations in rural Uganda, Nairobi and London. Using textual and grounded theory analysis, this research explores how literacy definitions have evolved over time and within literacy organizations and seeks to determine if there remains a universal conceptualization of literacy. My preliminary conclusions suggest that there does not remain one universal conceptualization used by all literacy programs, but that there remain strong connections between literacy definitions in use throughout the world.

Implementing Better Farming Techniques in Ghana
Andrea Devine ’10, Psychology, Religious Studies
Advisor: Dr. Martha Bohrer, English
According to soil scientists interviewed at the Soil Research Institute in Ghana, their new research indicates that charcoal can be used as a soil amendment that helps the soil absorb nutrients and slowly release them for up to 50 years. In Ghana, where the majority of people farm, implementing the use of better farming methods that people actually follow can be a difficult task to accomplish. This paper argues that practices used by the Natural Resource Conservation Service in the United States in response to the Dust Bowl may serve as a model for the steps needed in communicating improved Ghanaian practices to local famers. If Ghana follows this model, it could reach a more stable future.

Oriental Sphinxes, Nomadic Goats: Impenetrability via Dehumanization in Orientalist Discourse
Brianna Hyslop ’09, Classical Civilizations & Latin, English: Literature
Advisor: Dr. Martha Bohrer, English
Following Edward Said’s theorization of Orientalist discourse as a penetration of the Orient, later feminist postcolonial critics have examined the female travel writer’s representation of her penetration of the space of the harem. In my Senior Honors Thesis, I look beyond the harem in order to show the limits of representation and cultural penetration into the open spaces of the nomad. Gertrude Bell’s late 19th century text, Persian Pictures, is rife with tension concerning the cultural boundaries that may be penetrated and those that should be created or maintained. This presentation focuses on Bell’s descriptions of the Persian nomadic lifestyle, particularly Bell’s dehumanization of the nomad. I propose that Bell’s act of dehumanizing the nomad, in the vein of female travel writers before her, is the attempt to create an impenetrable boundary, maintaining the East/West binary via the constructed otherness of the Oriental nomad.

How to Solve the Problem of Illegal Gold Mining in Ghana and the Health Risks Associated With It
Anne Adamson ’10, Biochemistry
Advisor: Dr. Martha Bohrer, English
The country of Ghana has recently been experiencing many environmental problems. In particular, two major problems are mining and deforestation. One of the more complex problems concerns mining, because there are both illegal and legal operations. Not only this, but there are countless health risks associated with it, especially in illegal mining. The goal of this project was to try to develop a policy for the country of Ghana that would help decrease the health risks the miners are facing. Research for this project was conducted first-hand, by actually visiting one of the mining sites as well as looking up secondary sources, such as journal articles about the galamsey (illegal) mining and the consequences of it. From this research and experience, the best policy for the country includes mainly government intervention, including education and licensing to prevent harmful consequences.

The Interaction, Intention and Miscommunication Between Foreign Mining Company Newmont and the Community of Kenyasi, Ghana
Kate Schmidt ’09, Sociology
Advisor: Dr. Martha Bohrer, English
Many underdeveloped countries in the world have natural resources that are valuable to a more developed world. Ghana is a prime example of this growing situation. The dynamic between the foreign gold mining company and the local community is a complex one. The research presented attempts to answer the specific issues that can occur through complicated lines of communication. Information was collected through personal interviews while on a two-week academic trip. The research of developing smoother communication between both sides of the situation is vital. This is imperative because the foreign mining companies are taking in large amounts of revenue, but have low accountability to the local community. More in-depth research would be suggested to encompass more decisive proposals.

Studies of Contemporary, Historical and Literary Leadership
Moderator: Dr. Kenneth Campbell, Management Room: Goldspohn 37

Othello: Saint or Sinner
Daniela Moravec ’09, English: Literature
Advisor: Dr. Sara Eaton, English
Screen portrayals of Othello by directors Oliver Parker and Geoffrey Sax explore the connection between Othello’s portrayal and the effect it has on an audience. The film adaptations show Othello in opposing lights, in one scene he is a saint, in the next a sinner. Thus, he has the ability to be both god and sex symbol, human and animal, with no middle ground. How Othello is portrayed, allowing him to be both good and bad, leaves room for a wide range of emotion from the actors. But how does giving Othello a “Jekyll and Hyde” persona work to interpret Shakespeare’s text and what purpose does Othello’s ambiguous status serve in these films?

“The Last Island Fortress”: Parallels of Autocracy from Nicholas II to Stalin
Matthew Janeczko ’09, German, History, Political Science
Advisor: Dr. Bruce Janacek, History
Although the governments of the tsars and the Communists of Russia are considered to have been ideologically opposite, their uses of terror and also religion, and pseudo-religious rhetoric to control populations stemmed from the same root and were used in a similar fashion to justify the oppression of the citizenry. Tsar Nicholas Romanov II believed himself sent from heaven to rule over the peoples of the Russian Empire; Vladimir Lenin’s followers began to see him as a demi-god, the sole creator of the canonized revolution; and Stalin saw himself as a god-like figure destined to continue the work of Lenin. Nicholas II used his Cossacks and the Okhrana, just as Lenin used his Cheka, and just as Stalin used his People’s Commissariat Internal Affairs (NKVD) to suppress dissent and criticism. Thus, all three leaders are linked by their reliance upon the principles of autocracy to lead.

British Perceptions of the ’08 Race to the White House
Laurel White ’10, English: Writing
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Maynard Caliendo, Political Science
Foreign policy scholars generally agree on the primacy and importance of how perceiving “the other” shapes interaction abroad. The election of America’s 44th president in 2008 was preceded by a plethora of complex cultural, social and political perceptions abroad. Implications of “cultural imperialism” and unnecessary militarism clouded the American image in a post-9/11 world: a task of 2008’s presidential nominees was clear—the restoration of the United States’ image. An examination of America’s stance in the global psyche allows the teasing out of several primary themes: global engagement in American politics, perceptions of “polarity” in America’s political system, and evaluations of America’s achievement of its self-professed, lofty ideals. A British audience, engaged through focus groups, surveys, and personal interviews, provides the basis for an exploration of British citizens’ perceptions of the 2008 presidential elections.

Hunting for Scandal: The Press and the Presidency After Watergate
Lauren Hudson ’09, History, Political Science
Advisor: Dr. William Barnett, History
This project explores the role Watergate played in transforming the relationship between the American presidency and the media. It argues that Watergate damaged president-press relations. Having witnessed the corruption that unchecked political power can wreak, journalists began arduously hunting for any sign of political scandal. Over time, reporters began covering presidents’ personal scandals as well as public ones, an act that was once considered taboo. By focusing on presidents’ personal lives, journalists ultimately distracted the public from more pertinent national matters and negatively affected the country. This project examines the media’s portrayal of scandals within the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton in order to demonstrate how post-Watergate, president-press relations have harmed America. It starts by analyzing the media’s coverage of minor presidential scandals and concludes with journalists’ coverage of President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and his subsequent impeachment.

Exploration of 150 Years at North Central College
Dina Tufo ’09, History, Luke Kerber ’09, History, Nick Guido ’09, Secondary Education, Social Science: History
Advisor: Dr. Ann Durkin Keating, History
In 2011, North Central College will celebrate its 150th anniversary. Previous studies, between 1861 and 1961, offer various accounts of North Central College’s liberal arts tradition. This work of original scholarship extends the College’s documented history beyond 1961 by examining current trends in three areas: education, theatre and religious ministry. This project uses official college publications, newspapers, speeches, photographs, oral histories and other archival material from students, faculty and alumni. Following empirical research, these primary and secondary sources were synthesized and interpreted to place North Central College history in the context of national trends in higher education, as well as its relationship to the local community. North Central College will continue to promote the ideals envisioned by North Central’s first president, A.A. Smith, as a “great moral lighthouse sending out a clear and steady light upon all subjects that pertain to the well-being of man.” This original research contributes to publications for the Sesquicentennial.

Conceptualizations of Destiny: Colonialism, Postcolonialism and Neocolonialism
Moderator: Dr. John Shindler, English Room: Science Center 209

Yuanfen, a Sociological Glance at Love Through the Chinese Concept of Destiny
Weien Wang ’11, Biology
Advisor: Dr. Perry Hamalis, Religious Studies
Generically translated as “destiny,” the concept of yuanfen defies conversion into the English language; at the same time, its ubiquitous usage in Chinese everyday conversation makes it difficult for many Chinese people to articulate. This study investigated the perception of yuanfen by Chinese in Beijing, particularly as it relates to romantic relationships. The majority of subjects responded that they do believe in the concept or even that believing in it is non-negotiable; however, while this Chinese idea of “destiny” appears persistently interwoven in the culture of this country, some chose to describe yuanfen as an abstract idea with limited value, preferably employed in hindsight, or even as rationalization for a given action. The discussion focuses on the understanding of yuanfen and its partner term, youyuan wufen, in the romantic arena and speculates whether the concept is changing to fit a new generation of young people in China.

History or Audience: The Struggle to Incorporate a Modern Audience Into Historical Plays
Amanda Kilinskis ’09, English: Writing, French
Advisor: Dr. Norval Bard, French
The largest battle that a playwright fights is to reach her audience. Topics and conversation need to be current and relevant, or simply timeless. The struggle comes when they want to write a play based in a deeply historical context. Can religious and political events from the late 16th century France reach modern audiences? By examining multiple historical texts but also modern day theatrical successes, a balance can be created to cater to each of the necessary sides.

The Reintegration of Hong Kong Into Mainland China and Its Effects Upon Democratization
James Nebl ’09, Global Studies: East Asia, Political Science
Advisor: Dr. Brian Hoffert, Religious Studies, East Asian Studies
In 1997, the United Kingdom officially ceded control of Hong Kong over to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), establishing a 50-year period of semi-autonomous rule for Hong Kong while being reintegrated into Mainland China. The reintegration process of Hong Kong poses a number of important questions pertaining to the development of democratic values and institutions in East Asia. Hong Kong is an interesting case study in that it attempts to blend a Western democratic model with a more conservative East Asian worldview and culture. My paper draws upon analysis of Hong Kong’s system over the past 10 years as well as elite interviews I conducted in Hong Kong in December 2008. I contend that while culture does shape a nation’s political ideology, democratic institutions can be adopted as mechanisms of government that remain consistent with traditional values and norms.

CAFTA, Costa Rica and Neo-Colonialism
Sarah Richardson ’10, Secondary Education Social Science: History
Advisor: Ms. Judy Walters, Computer Science
The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is one of the most recent trade agreements made by the United States, establishing open borders to free trade between the United States and most countries in Central America. Not only does the agreement disproportionately benefit the U.S., but it does so at a large cost to the overall stability of the other countries involved. Costa Rica is the most stable of the Latin American countries involved and was the last to sign the agreement. This research, undertaken during the fall 2008 term I spent in Costa Rica, explores the implications and effects that CAFTA could have on Costa Rican society, environment and technology.

Delving Into the Divine: Christianity and Spirituality
Moderator: Dr. David Janzen, Religious Studies Room: Science Center 214

A Worthwhile Journey: Ordaining Women
Lauren Wallem ’11, Political Science, Religious Studies
Advisor: Dr. Wioleta Polinska, Religious Studies
Women have been practicing authentic and dynamic ministry in Christianity since the dawn of the early church, even in the face of patriarchal oppression. Today, most denominations embrace women as pastors. Few churches, most notably the Roman Catholic Church, still refuse women’s ordination. Not only is exclusion inherently unjust, but it also limits the potential growth of Catholicism by excluding half the population from ordination, even in the midst of a priest shortage. By comparing Catholic mandates and practices to the ideals of full inclusiveness in the United Methodist Church, the effects of this phenomenon appear clearly. Women have proven their motivation, interest and qualifications for ordination, and many want to transform the institution they love rather than abandoning it. Denying women the ability to serve as full clergy members based only on sex limits the scope of Catholic ministry and deprives the church of great potential leaders.

Religious Pluralism
Matt Rogers ’10, Japanese, Philosophy
Advisor: Dr. Robert Lehe, Philosophy
Religious exclusivism is the view that one religion is “true” and all others are “false.” In An Interpretation of Religion, philosopher John Hick rejects exclusivism as unreasonable and proposes a hypothesis of religious pluralism, which states that all of the “great religious traditions” are equally true. In my essay I argue that Hick’s hypothesis is inadequate because it includes a relatively small number of religions and excludes indigenous religions which should, according to Hick’s own reasoning, be included in any pluralistic hypothesis. I also discuss what Hick’s exclusion of indigenous religions reveals about philosophy’s seemingly unthinking failure to take such religions seriously.

Denominational Discord: The Effect of Religious Labels on Impression Formation
Trista Matt ’09, Psychology, Religious Studies
Advisor: Dr. Heather Coon, Psychology
Everyday, we form opinions of others, either as we pass them on the street or meet them face to face. A variety of factors influence such opinions. My honors thesis investigates the role of religious labels on how we form opinions of others. I looked specifically at Christian religious labels. Participants read a short vignette about an individual who is labeled as Roman Catholic, Conservative Christian, atheist, or who had no label. They then gave their initial impressions of the individual by rating him on a series of personality traits (e.g., pleasant/mean, likable/unlikable…), allowing me to gauge how positively or negatively they perceived him. I expected to find the most favorable perceptions toward the Roman Catholic and the least favorable toward the atheist. I also expected to find in-group biases in that the participants would prefer the individual labeled most similarly to how they label themselves. No significant effects were found.

Continued Considerations of Evil
Krystle Noelle ’09, Philosophy
Advisor: Dr. David Fisher, Philosophy
Many contemporary scholars wish to eliminate the term “evil” from intellectual consideration. “Evil” is a concept that has, historically, been rooted in Christian theology and has raised problems about the existence and character of God. Hypothetically, if the theological problems of evil were resolved, one problem would remain: presuming that humans have free will and are able make informed choices for which they are responsible, what reasons can be given for choosing evil rather than good as a basis for action? This thesis surveys Immanual Kant’s discussion of radical evil and his reasons for claiming that “radical evil” is inscrutable, and Hannah Arendt’s investigation of this “inscrutability” through her discussion of totalitarianism and the banality of evil. Both discussions provide reasons to include “evil” in intellectual consideration and provide a reason for continuing to use the term “evil” in a contemporary philosophical analysis.

Angry God/Peaceful Messiah: Understanding Divinely Sanctioned Violence in the Bible
Mallory Mosher ’09, Religious Studies, Sociology
Advisor: Dr. Wioleta Polinska, Religious Studies
In the Nonviolent Atonement, theologian J. Denny Weaver reveals how some of the most sacred images and aspects of Christianity are deeply embedded with violence that is accepted unquestioningly. The most common symbol of Christianity, the cross, is born out of such violence, with God seemingly commanding the brutal, violent death of God’s own son. How can a loving, peaceful God demand such a violent act as payment for humanity’s sins? Would a loving God use a brutal murder as a vehicle for grace? Stories of an angry or vengeful God commanding violence as punishment are commonplace throughout the Bible, yet they contradict God’s supposed benevolence. In my paper, I attempt to not only expose stories of divinely sanctioned violence but to also apply Weaver’s theology in order to reconcile the angry God with the peaceful Messiah.

Construction and Maintenance of Counter-Hegemonic Identity
Moderator: Dr. Michael de Brauw, Classics Room: Science Center 220

Northern Ireland After the Peace Agreement: Will the Next Generation Make It Work?
Paul Finnegan ’09, Political Science
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Maynard Caliendo, Political Science
This study focuses on the potential political and social problems facing the upcoming generation within Northern Ireland since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Existing research suggests that there are still problems with community division and religious violence in the region. The question posed in this research is whether the next generation will continue the tradition of community separation and hostility between Unionist/Nationalist groups. The methods employed to answer this question are a combination of existing interviews, focus group studies and questionnaires conducted over the past decade in the region alongside the use of semi-structured interview techniques with political elites involved in the Good Friday Agreement and other experts. The findings suggest that a narrower focus on the minutiae of the peace and reconciliation process is required, particularly in those locales that are more prone to political and cultural tensions.

The Function of Death and Memory Narrative in the Construction and Maintenance of Identity in Willa Cather and Louise Erdrich’s novels.
Bashirah Abd-Allah ’09, English: Literature
Advisor: Dr. Lisa Long, English
A critical analysis of how Willa Cather’s frontier novels O Pioneer! and My Antonia, and Louise Erdrich’s Midwestern sagas Love Medicine and The Painted Drum delineate two peoples’ efforts—the frontier pioneers and Chippewa and Ojibwe Native Americans—in constructing and maintaining an individual and collective identity through function of death and memory narrative. Cather’s novels demonstrate the construction of new collective/individual identities within the harsh, Midwestern plains threatening to erase it; Erdrich’s novels demonstrate the preservation and maintenance of a “Native American” identity in the wake of modernity.

Identity, Integrity and the Internet Age: A Plea for the Other
Bethany Henning ’10, Philosophy
Advisor: Dr. David Fisher, Philosophy
Although the Internet promises communication accessibility as never before, it is also slowly eroding personal identity boundaries. Persons who engage in text-based communication create separate identities for the purpose of social interaction on the Internet and, as a result, suffer from a lack of those uncalculated behaviors that assist individuals in developing an integral self. When the social “other” becomes less of an actual existent and more a projection of the self, the self suffers fragmentation. The loss of connection with the embodied other results in a loss of connection with the self, creating divisions in identity as well as creating divisions within society. The self is not created alone but in a process of feedback with others. Internet “life” as a “virtual self” in relation to a “virtual other” undermines the need for an actual other and the formation of an actual self.

The Left Bank: A Look at Expatriate Lesbian Paris
Lauren Bentel ’09, English: Literature
Advisor: Dr. Patricia King, English
Shadowed by the works of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound, the women of the Left Bank of Paris are often second choice in discussions of expatriate literature. The Left Bank became home to hundreds of Americans during and in between the two world wars. Although a few women have overcome the male cannon, Gertrude Stein for example, others have been lost in the past. In an attempt to break the boundary of how we look at American writers in between the world wars in Paris, my research study introduces the collective contribution to American writing on four female expatriate novelists from the early 20th century, including their successes and failures, as well as intertwining histories among expatriate France.

Religious and Secular Representations of Women
Moderator: Dr. Paloma Martinez-Cruz, Spanish Room: Science Center 204

On Earth as it is in Heaven: Christianity’s Reinstatement of the Divine Feminine
Amanda Furiasse ’09, Religious Studies
Advisor: Dr. Wioleta Polinska, Religious Studies
Recent theological debates employ Christianity’s association and potentially adverse influence upon the Divine Feminine, the feminine principle of creation and ordination. While some believe that Christianity cannot support a feminine Godhead, others believe Christianity already affirms a God with both feminine and masculine aspects. Responding to this debate, this study seeks to demonstrate Christianity’s affirmation of the Divine Feminine. The specific location allocated for a feminine Godhead is initiated within the contemporary ecological and sexuality crises, for it is in Christianity’s struggle to resolve the crises that Christians are forced to re-examine their faith. Responding to this re-examination of faith, contemporary theologians suggest a reconsideration of Biblical canon. Employing their suggestion, a thorough examination of Biblical literature and religious ritual reveals vivid references to the Divine Feminine. In revealing the existence of a feminine Godhead, this study reveals Christianity’s active affirmation of the Divine Feminine.

Female Virginity and Repression
Megan Noorman ’10, English: Writing, Theatre: Performance
Advisor: Dr. Wioleta Polinska, Religious Studies
Christianity strongly influences American cultural beliefs on sexuality. Many Christian documents, some dating back to the fourth century B.C., lay out rules on what is and is not acceptable for men and women, sexually. These ideas vary due to the time period in which they were written; however, one main standard has remained constant throughout the ages: the delineation between male and female sexuality in regard to chastity. The church has an incredible obsession with the maintained virginity of women based largely on the Immaculate Conception. These principles are not considered necessary for men. This double standard has caused women to suffer sexual repression for centuries. Current research shows that Christianity-related sexual repression is still going on today and is still targeting women. A look at sexual standards on virginity throughout the ages explains where this repression began and how remnants of it remain in our society today.

Opera as Text: Reading Representations of the Tragic Diva
Michelle LeDonne ’09, English: Literature
Advisor: Dr. Sara Eaton, English
Despite its prevalence as a school of critical thought in other disciplines, feminist criticism is rarely applied to musical arts like opera. The systematic degradation and death of the diva that typically defines great opera works calls out for such an application. I read opera as a text and the plight of these women allows for a dynamic exploration of female agency within patriarchal worlds and their victimization by circumstances like class, lineage and ethnicity as these ideas are manifest on stage. Through a Richter grant project funding a subscription to the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2008-2009 season, my research looks at these concerns in performance, investigating how costuming, direction and casting may celebrate, condemn and rethink traditional tragic female representations. Thus, my Senior Honors Thesis builds on the observations of live performance and dissects opera’s many diva archetypes, aiming to examine their causality and interpret their visual representation.

Speech, Silence and Physical Action: Desdemona’s Agency in Three Othello Films
Rachel Hamsmith ’09, English: Writing
Advisor: Dr. Sara Eaton, English
In this essay, I examine the ways in which Desdemona’s death scene from Shakespeare’s Othello is portrayed on film and how this affects her character. The most vital way to interpret Desdemona’s character is through her speech and silence, since, as a drama, all of Othello’s main characters rely on dialogue and monologue to reveal themselves. Shakespeare already limits Desdemona in the original text—She is ultimately suffocated to death, her voice replaced by Emilia’s. But Othello on film often changes these dynamics, creating new layers for Desdemona’s already difficult nature by giving and taking away her very words. Miller’s Othello (1981), Parker’s Othello (1995) and Nelson’s “O” (2001) present three varying examples of Desdemona’s death scene. In these productions, her power and agency change dramatically depending on how speech, silence and physical interaction combine to form her character.

Red: Blending Contemporary Feminist Art with Early American Drama in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles
Valerie Heckman ’09, Theatre: Performance
Advisor: Dr. Deborah Palmes, Theatre
Susan Glaspell, arguably America’s first feminist playwright, used avant-garde theatre to raise social consciousness of the oppression of women in the early 1900s with her one-act play Trifles. Much later in the century, Barbara Kruger did the same with unconventional visual art pieces: black and white photographic images with bold statements overlapped in red, such as “Your Body is a Battleground” (1989). While both artists worked in different eras using very different mediums, their fearless artistic expression inspired change. In my student-directed production of Trifles in Meiley-Swallow Hall, I was inspired to stylistically treat the play as a living, breathing version of a Kruger piece, engaging the audience and cast members in a new discussion on the place of women in society, both past and present, and how art inspires social movement.