North Central College - Naperville, IL

Oral Presentations

2007 Oral Presentations
Goldspohn Hall
10:30 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.

Explorations of Isoaspartyl Protein Damage and Repair Processes
Goldspohn 11
Moderator: Dr. Jason Lynch, Biology

Separation of Viable and Inviable Stationary Phase Escherichia Coli to Determine l-Isoaspartate Concentrations and Protein Repair in Viable Cells
Matthew Sorenson
Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Visick, Biology
10:30 a.m.

Protein damage is an important contributing factor to aging. One specific type of protein damage, l-isoaspartyl (isoAsp) damage, is a result of the spontaneous isomerization of the amino acids aspartate or asparagine. The l-isoaspartyl protein carboxyl methyltransferase, or PCM, is a nearly universal enzyme that recognizes isoAsp and repairs the damage. The repair function of PCM suggests that a cell lacking PCM (∆pcm mutant) would accumulate a higher amount of isoAsp compared to a cell with a functioning repair enzyme. Past research with E. coli surprisingly revealed similar amounts of isoAsp in stationary-phase wild-type and ∆pcm cells. We hypothesize that there is a difference in isoAsp in the viable cells within the culture. Viable and inviable cells differ in density slightly, allowing separation by density-gradient centrifugation using Renografin-60. This technique separated viable cells from the inviable majority, allowing the amount of isoAsp to be determined in each.

Measurement of SAM and SAH Levels Using HPLC to Determine PCM Activity in Escherichia Coli
Amber Cibrario, Adam Bussell and Matthew Sorenson
Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Visick, Biology
10:50 a.m.

Recent research has linked L-Isoaspartyl (isoAsp) damage to key biological problems such as aging. L-isoaspartyl protein carboxyl methyltransferase (PCM) is an enzyme that recognizes isoAsp damage and repairs it by methylating the isoAsp. It does this by converting S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) into S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH). This study tried to measure PCM activity in cell extracts of Escherichia coli MC1000. We used High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) to measure SAM and SAH levels in MC1000 extract. We focused on improving HPLC methods by decreasing retention times and detection limits of SAM and SAH. Denatured MC1000 had low SAH levels; however, when we added additional isoAsp damage, SAH levels increased, providing evidence for PCM activity. Therefore, there is evidence that PCM activity can be measured in cell extracts. We want to further perfect our techniques and observe the effect of isoAsp damage in mutant E. coli that lack PCM.

HPLC Analysis of Isoaspartyl Damage and Repair in Escherichia Coli Cell Compartments
Adam Bussell and Amber Cibrario
Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Visick, Biology
11:10 a.m.

Spontaneous covalent damage has been shown to drastically affect protein function in organisms ranging from bacteria to humans. Isoaspartyl covalent damage occurs in vivo when the amino acid aspartate or asparagine is spontaneously converted into isoaspartate (isoAsp). Previous research has linked isoAsp damage with key biological problems including cellular stress responses and aging. The repair of isoAsp damage is accomplished by the L-isoaspartyl protein carboxyl methyltransferase (PCM). PCM activity and isoAsp damage are typically measured by a radioactive assay but can be measured non-radioactively using HPLC. We therefore sought to adapt published protocols for non-radioactive detection of isoAsp by quantitating S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH), the by-product of PCM methylation of isoAsp. To date, we have optimized protocols and measured SAH in extracts with a detection limit of 150 pmol, suitable for use in measuring isoAsp damage and PCM activity in fractionated E. coli cells.


A Transnational Examination of our Past and a Look Toward the Future: A Squid, Flamenco Art, Some Yellow Grease and a Formal Model of Population Growth
Goldspohn 14
Moderator: Dr. Stephen Johnston, Biology

A Stochastic Population Growth Model with Spatial Local and Long Distance Dispersing and Block Destruction
Robert Krzyzanowski
Advisor: Dr. Linda Gao, Mathematics
10:30 a.m.

The goal of this project is to explore the impact and importance of various elements in the environment and specie itself for a population to survive and grow. A stochastic population growth model is formulated and studied. In this model, the dynamic of the population is assumed to be a Poisson process containing several types of events including occupied sites becoming empty by destructions that could simultaneously remove the population from a contiguous block of sites. Simulations are used to study the effects on population produced by variation of the scale and frequency of disturbances, reproductive capacity and strategy, etc.

The Kinetics of the Acid-Catalyzed Transesterification Reaction of Yellow Grease Into Biodiesel
Sheri Starks
Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Bjorklund, Chemistry
10:50 a.m.

Fossil diesel fuel is an expensive, nonrenewable resource that is one of the main sources of air pollution. As diesel fuel consumption rises, the need for a cleaner, renewable fuel has arisen. One possible alternative to diesel fuel is biodiesel. To create biodiesel, vegetable oils are transesterified into smaller esters whose size and properties are similar to diesel fuels. Producing biodiesel is expensive because the reaction requires virgin vegetable oil without Free Fatty Acids (FFA). To reduce the cost, waste frying oil or yellow grease can be used in a multi-step reaction where an acid-catalyst esterifies the FFA. The purpose of this project was to determine the optimum temperature for the esterification of the FFA in yellow grease. Reactions were run at various temperatures for two hours with aliquots taken for titration. Results show that the reaction progressed fastest at 90oC. Further research is needed using other types of grease.

Regulation of the Syp Cluster and Its Phenotypes
Deborah Muganda, Elizabeth Hussa and Karen Visick
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Johnston, Biology
11:10 a.m.

The bacteria species Vibrio fisheri has an exclusive symboitic relationship with the Hawaiian squid Euprymna scolopes. This association is an ideal model system for studying signal transduction that occurs between the host and bacteria during colonization. It is known that colonization of the squid requires a bacterial gene cluster known as the symbiosis polysaccharide (syp) cluster. This research studied the effect of several 2-component regulators on syp cluster expression and syp-related phenotypes such as biofilm formation. The results of this research show that the regulation of the syp cluster is controlled by more than one signaling pathway.

Interpreting Flamenco Art
Amado Carrasco
Advisor: Dr. Jeordano Martinez, Music
11:30 a.m.

This paper is based on the review of contemporary musicology in the area of flamenco music and on field research conducted in Andulsia with flamenco artists between September and December of 2006. The field research includes participant observation and key informant interviews. In this paper, I investigate the transmission of flamenco art. Specifically, I describe and critique the way in which flamenco transmissions today constitute a unique relationship between the performers and the audience members that are influenced by globalization. By historicizing the problem of flamenco transmission and describing the major shifts caused by today’s global market economy, I will argue that flamenco transmission began as a regional expression of the tensions between poor and wealthy Spaniards, and has recently become an expression of national cultural identity in the world marketplace.


Gender and (Em)Power(ment) in Shakespeare
Goldspohn 32
Moderator: Dr. Martha Bohrer, English

Listening to Emilia: The Personal Ethics and Values of Othello’s Second Female Lead
Michelle LeDonne
Advisor: Dr. Sara Eaton, English
10:30 a.m.

In the ongoing exploration into Shakespeare’s silent women, I chose to further discussions on Othello’s tragic observer, Emilia, with a focus on the dynamic commentary made on ethics through her actions in the play and in several cinematic interpretations. In Emilia, Shakespeare has characterized the dichotomy between speech and silence in relation to the inner and outer societal spheres of the Renaissance world. Further, what is most interesting are the larger ethical implications Shakespeare explores for a woman forced to straddle that fence in order to survive. Following Emilia’s journey through the play, we see a woman tied to the value system of her time. She has become devalued and dehumanized and has lost her voice. It is only at the play’s conclusion that her personal ethics and values override those of her society and she speaks all she has observed, ultimately costing Emilia her life. 

Chastity in Shakespeare and Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet
Morgan Carey
Advisor: Dr. Sara Eaton, English
10:50 a.m.

In this essay, I study how the social expectation of chastity is a major theme in William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. Examining both the original text and Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film version for evidence of social change regarding male and female chastity, important differences are noted between the original and modernized versions. The scenes in which the two young lovers first meet, the famous balcony scene, and details such as both Romeo and Juliet’s ages and the behavior of the Nurse from both texts all reflect the conventions and expectations of the societies in which each text was created. In the original text, Juliet’s efforts and maintaining and valuing chastity are reluctant, and Romeo represents a threat to her chastity. The Luhrmann film depicts chastity as a value shared by both Romeo and Juliet, although the connotations of “chastity” are aligned with a 20th century, rather than early modern, understanding.

Titania’s Bottom
Georgia Stavroulias
Advisor: Dr. Sara Eaton, English
11:10 a.m.

Though critics regard the king’s trick on Titania, the fairy queen in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, as the ultimate humiliation imposed on a woman, they fail to recognize that the queen maintains possession of her faculties at all times. She not only utilizes her husband’s deception by manipulating it to her advantage, but when appropriate, Titania sheds her maternal cloak and dons one of a lover at will. Surrounded by fairy folklore, Titania’s transformation from a mother to a lover has been portrayed on the screen according the mores of the times. Through analysis of Shakespeare’s play and four adaptations on screen, we witness Titania’s evolution from the maternal to the desired as she pursues her sexuality. As values progress and change, it becomes more and more evident that Titania is not a man’s pawn. She is her own woman.

Who Is Made to Woo?
Jana Tropper
Advisor: Dr. Sara Eaton, English
11:30 a.m.

Perhaps one of the most often adapted playwrights, Shakespeare has been cut up, rewritten, performed live and filmed in a variety of locales and time periods with all different types of performers in the same legendary roles. Still, though, distinct threads connect some of these adaptations beyond the text. What many film and stage productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream share is that virtually all of the final Pyramus and Thisbe play-within-a-play scenes are performed atrociously. However, Thisbe’s final scene carries another weight and responsibility entirely, often turning the tone from slapstick to serious. This scene presents itself as a reflection of one of the play’s many commentaries on love: women must not seek it, and when they dare to, they find themselves adopting masculine characteristics in order to express themselves with any degree of credibility.


Colonialism, Dehumanization and Racial Identity in Othello and King Lear
Goldspohn 31
Moderator: Dr. John Shindler, English

“As Duteous as Badness Would Desire”: Symmetrical Servitude Between Kent and Oswald in King Lear
Regina DeIorio
Advisor: Dr. Sara Eaton, English
10:30 a.m.

When discussing Shakespeare’s play, King Lear, several literary critics attempt to categorize the character Kent as the model good servant and Oswald as the evil servant. However, closer analysis reveals difficulties in such distinctions. This paper analyzes the portrayal of Kent and Oswald in Shakespeare’s play, King Lear, in Michael Elliot’s 1984 film, King Lear, and in Jonathan Miller’s 1982 film, King Lear. Through the portrayal of servant-to-master loyalty and Kent and Oswald’s dedication to servitude unto death, the text and films convey more similarities than differences in these seemingly dichotomous characters.

Sainthood and Degradation in King Lear
Ryan Peters
Advisor: Dr. Sara Eaton, English
10:50 a.m.

The question of whether sacrificial characters are to be understood as figures of divine selflessness or the subject of a society’s degradation is extraordinarily complex to the extent that often both categorizations are partly true. Much of the debate surrounding the sacrificial role of Cordelia in King Lear suffers for the fact that critics seem to want to place Lear’s youngest daughter firmly in one category or the other, that is, she must either be a saintly, innocent figure, or an abased scapegoat. This project explores both perspectives through Shakespeare’s text and artistic depiction of Cordelia, first addressing the belief that Cordelia is a divine figure, and then turning to the notion that she is degraded, meek, and possibly unintelligent. It rests at the conclusion that while Cordelia has the capacity to be a noble figure, she is relegated to the role of a canvas for Lear’s abuse and desire.

Examining Otherness: Assimilation, Murder and Suicide in Shakespeare’s Othello
Amanda Bert
Advisor: Dr. Sara Eaton, English
11:10 a.m.

While much has been made of the title character from Shakespeare’s Othello, this essay aims to specifically examine Othello’s status as a dark, passionate “Other” in a comparatively white world, his failed attempts at assimilation into this world and the devastating consequences that emerge. This essay also carefully monitors Othello’s transformation from an eloquent, pious man to an aggressive black “savage” as he struggles to find a place in a society that abhors the passion and darkness he comes to embody. Finally, while the play concludes with a murder-suicide that has been traditionally viewed as the repercussions of a tormented man coming undone, it seems more probable that this brutal act is actually Othello’s final attempt to assimilate permanently ridding society of the
dark “Other.”

“My People Invented the Word:” Race and Imperialism in Shakespeare’s Othello
Huma Rashid
Advisor: Dr. Sara Eaton, English
11:30 a.m.

My presentation focuses on issues of race and colonialism in Shakespeare’s Othello as well as two film adaptations from directors Tim Nelson and Oliver Parker. My paper explores the extent to which Othello is one of the earliest dramatic constructions of racism and a racist ideology, as well as the extent to which it is a text providing the support for colonialism and construction of the imperializing discourse, and to which extent issues of race and imperialism are inextricably twined. I bring in examples of specific scenes and lines from Othello (Kenneth Branagh, Laurence Fishbourne) and O (Mekhi Phifer, Julia Stiles) to illustrate how these sentiments and rules of racist/imperialist discourse were translated onto the screen by the respective directors.


Student Perspectives From the Inside: Gender, Race and Class
Goldspohn 22
Moderator: Dr. Steven Davis, Psychology

Perceptions of Employees Returning From Family Leave in Accordance to the FMLA
Lauren Romero
Advisor: Dr. Karl Kelley, Psychology
10:30 a.m.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) employees are legally entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a variety of family situations (including the birth of a child). The current research examined organizational expectations for employees taking this leave and potential consequences after their return. More specifically, we asked the question, “Does a person with a higher status within a company receive different feedback than one of lower status?” A sample of 180 undergraduate students participated in the study. The responses indicated a statistically significant interaction between status and sex. More specifically, when high status males requested leave, it was found to be significantly less appropriate than for high status women. The effect was not as strong for those of lower status. Other variables followed these trends.

The Effects of Racial Socialization on African-American College Students’ Self-Esteem
Ashley Hartman
Advisor: Dr. Karl Kelley, Psychology
10:50 a.m.

Racial socialization is a process which involves parents communicating messages to their children regarding the importance of one’s heritage and the prevalence of racism in society (Fisher & Shaw, 2003). This study is interested in exploring whether racial socialization affects the self-esteem of African-American college students. It is hypothesized that there will be a significant positive correlation between reported levels of racial socialization and self-esteem. Participants will report retrospectively on their experiences of racial socialization as adolescents in the Teenage Experience of Racial Socialization scale (Stevenson, 2002). Participants will also complete the Coppersmith Self Esteem Inventory (Coopersmith, 1981). As the research is still in progress, results will be provided when it is finished. These results will be discussed in the context of Leary’s (2003) sociometer theory of self-esteem.

Students’ First Impressions
Matthew Williams, Bobby Nelson,
Advisor: Dr. Mary Jean Lynch, Psychology
Anna Kurzawa and Billy Wangerow
11:10 a.m.

This experiment was conducted to determine if the gender or race of a professor affected a student’s first impression of the professor and the class. Thirty-two students at a Midwestern college rated pictures of professors. They were shown two pictures for each of four conditions: white male, white female, black male, and black female. No significant main effects or interactions were detected; however, there was a marginally significant interaction between the gender of the participant and the gender of the professor. The study was discussed in relation to social perception research.

The First Week on Campus: Identity Formation and the Effects of Leadership on the Success of New Student Programs
Heather Coakley
Advisor: Dr. Mara Berkland, Speech Communication
11:30 a.m.

The first year of college is an exciting time in any young adult’s life. To aid in this transition many colleges and universities have implemented summer and fall orientation programs. While students may view this as a time to meet new people and have fun, institutions see orientation as a tool for increased retention and a way to acclimate students to campus. On a 16-day ethnographic journey I traveled to three small, private, liberal arts colleges to observe their fall orientation programs. My goal was to answer the question, “What factors influence the success of a college or university’s fall welcome week program.” Findings are a successful orientation program begins with a coherent message that was shared with the entire staff, students and parents. Further, the student leaders were the most highly visible among those participating in the activities, and the entire campus and surrounding community took part in the orientation program activities.


Oppression and Leadership in World History
Goldspohn 33
Moderator: Dr. David Fisher, Philosophy

Image vs. Anti-Image: a Comparison of Holocaust Narrative in the Construction of Victim Testimony
Chelsea Lamont
Advisor: Dr. Richard Glejzer, English
10:30 a.m.

Through its capacity to extend beyond verbal or written acknowledgement, photography serves as a means of testimony through which the memory of Holocaust victims may, in a sense, be immortalized through their existence in pictures. While the significance of written or verbal testimony risks being lost through translation, photographs rise above this barrier by needing no language for their explanation. By capturing their subjects in the midst of the Holocaust, photographs serve to immortalize both the victims as well as the event itself. Barbie Zelizer remarks on the “ability to capitalize on the photograph’s truth-value for different aims” (285), which suggests a photograph’s capacity to testify to the rest of the world the atrocities committed by the Nazis. Through photography, it became possible for the stories and traumas endured by the inhabitants of ghettos and prisoners of camps to become a reality for those outside the barbed-wire fences.

Evaluating Quintus Curtius Rufus Through Alexander the Great at the Siege of Tyre in 332 B.C.E.
Daniel Parmet
Advisor: Dr. Steven Killings, Classics
10:50 a.m.

Difficulties are common in the understanding of sources in the ancient world when the aim is of articulation into accurate annotations of history. In the study of Alexander the Great, problems arise with the ancient sources when one attempts to discern history and facts from embellishment and fallacy. One of the four ancient sources available on Alexander the Great, Quintus Curtius Rufus is evaluated for his historical content and credibility. To assess Quintus competently, the study is confined to his accounts of the siege of Tyre in 332 B.C.E. Using two primary methods, source comparison and logistical analysis, the events at the siege of Tyre are reconstructed and examined as carefully as possible in order to offer a conclusion and reasonable analysis that reflects Quintus’ own version. This research, combined with the comparative chronologies of all the sources, provides a basis for evaluating the reliability of Quintus Curtius as a historian.

Unveiled Grace: Transformational Catholic Lay Women as Leaders in 20th Century America
Catherine Mary Kustusch
Advisor: Mr. Thomas Cavenagh, Business Law & Conflict  Resolution
11:10 a.m

Using the Rost model of “transformational leadership,” this work examines the role of women as agents of social change. Discussing leadership within such a context, using Peggy Roach and Dorothy Day as examples, I will compare and contrast the roles for the women who serve within the hierarchical structure of the Roman Catholic Church and those who serve in supporting organizations. Through an exploration of not only individual stories but also papal encyclicals, the Catholic Catechism, and Catholic social teaching, I hope to shed light on the unique role Catholic women have as leaders of social change within their society.

Dramaturgy: Applying History to the Musical Cabaret
Shelley Crawford
Advisor: Mr. Brian Lynch, Theatre
11:30 a.m.

In every American history book, there is a section that covers the uprising of Nazi power, the Holocaust, and America’s entrance into the war. Some of the most educational occurrences are those that we do not learn about in classrooms. We will look at the musical Cabaret from a historical perspective which takes place in Berlin, 1931. We will view the differences between what Germany was and what Germany became. We will also look at how additional historical information can be applied to a show as important and influential as Cabaret.


The City Mouse and the Country Mouse: Urban and Rural Experiences in a Global Context
Goldspohn 35
Moderator: Dr. Richard Guzman, English

The Dying Church: Observation and Evaluation of Somonauk United Presbyterian Church
Paul Rollet
Advisor: Mr. Zachary Jack, English
10:30 a.m.

For my final project in the class Gone Country: American Ruralism, I chose to document various experiences and knowledge of the country church in America. Part I includes two journal entries reflecting upon two trips I made to Somonauk United Presbyterian Church. Each entry is followed by a memoir of my previous experiences at a country church along with pictures I took on my visits to Somonauk. Part II is a write-up that gives a more objective look at country churches, comparing and contrasting them to the up-and-coming megachurches, as well as bringing in information from outside research and class readings. My hope is that the project provides a glimpse for non-churchgoers into the church life of a rural town, and provides important insight to the city churchgoer as to the crisis many rural churches face today.

Orphanage Life in Happy Life Children’s Home: Nairobi, Kenya
Kelsey Staudacher
Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Keys, Sociology
10:50 a.m.

Africa has the highest number of orphans in the world, and according to UNICEF, 1.7 million orphans reside in Kenya alone. Research conducted in Nairobi, Kenya, examined the lives of abandoned babies and young children at the Happy Life Children’s Home. The primary sources of information consisted of participant observation at Happy Life and interviews with staff and the administration. Qualitative analysis revealed a complex picture of positive and negative elements. The children at Happy Life were treated with much love and care, were well-fed, and the staff was paid and devoted to their work. However, the children suffered from slow development while some had no prospects for adoption, and each month, the administration struggled to acquire needed funds. In addition, the research showed the juxtaposition between saving a life, as demonstrated by the arrival of a child, and losing a life, as observed through the death of a baby.

Cabrini Green: A Study of the Neighborhood and the Relating Process of Gentrification
Dani Izac, Jeffrey Balsewicz and Tony Cocarro
Advisor: Dr. Louis Corsino, Sociology
11:10 a.m.

The city of Chicago is ever-changing. In this report, the authors relate their three months of observation to help examine the change that is occurring in the neighborhood of Cabrini Green. The change involves a project to demolish the public housing units in the area, which has been proposed and started by the Chicago Housing Authority. The authors introduce problems associated with the absence of these large high rises as they begin to be replaced with mixed-income townhomes. Gentrification of the area may lead to the expulsion of all previous residents, as there is a visible divide among the population based on economic status and race. Gentrification and loss of community identity are explored based on observations, interviews, and research data compiled
by the authors. 

Cityscapes: Images of Paris and Chicago
Sandra Marchetti
Advisor: Dr. Anna Leahy, English
11:30 a.m.

The city is the height of our civilized universe. Viaducts are the cliffs of the metropolis; the moon proves obsolete behind the phosphorescence of man’s greatest accomplishments. This center is what separates us from our baser instincts and defines us as human; it displays our progress and diversity in the most complex and grandiose means. But, amidst these harrowing altars to the sky, the steel and engineering, there lays “human blood in human veins” (Langston Hughes). The city fleshes out our extremes, as was elucidated in my trip to Avignon, Tours and Paris over interim term, where most of the poems presented here were written. Paris and Chicago are both centers of their own great systems. These are my impressions of two distinct masterpieces: forged by man, sanctioned by God.           


Humanistic and Social Scientific Exploration of Femininity and Masculinity
Goldspohn 20
Moderator: Dr. Wioleta Polinska, Religious Studies

West of Death: Sam Peckinpah’s America
Christopher Orlock
Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Jackson, English
10:30 a.m.

This thesis will explore Sam Peckinpah’s Western films (specifically, Ride the High Country, The Wild Bunch, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, Junior Bonner, and Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid) in relation to a vanishing American frontier and its capitalistic exploitation, the construction and codification of masculinity, and the inevitability of violence. Peckinpah’s films yield a wealth of opportunity for exploring these themes when viewed as extensions of, and contrasted against, a generic tradition found in the Western genre. Peckinpah’s work, however, is unique because of his jaded Romanticism and bitter sense of irony.

Princess Power
Celeste Pille and Jeff Gimm
Advisor: Ms. Judy Walters, Computer Science
10:50 a.m.

Films tend to reflect the customs, values, and assumptions of the cultures that produce them. Our research examined sources and data tracking the progression of women’s roles in American society over the past 70 years and correlated this to how the portrayal of women in American film has changed over this same time period, focusing in particular on the modern keeper of fairytales, Disney. As American women have become more economically independent, leading to newfound social power and more equality in male/female relationships, Disney heroines have changed. Our presentation will demonstrate this, showing how the Disney princess has evolved from Snow White, waiting for her prince to come, to a princess with power.

Effects of Type of Preparation on Menstrual Attitudes: A Retrospective Study
Courtney Vining
Advisor: Dr. Lisa Whitfield, Psychology
11:10 a.m.

This study was designed to examine the relationship between the amount and type of preparation women had prior to beginning menstruation and current attitudes toward menstruation (using the Menstrual Attitude Questionnaire). In addition to completing surveys on these measures, college females were also asked to answer an open-ended prompt that asked them to describe their memory of their first period. Although data are still being collected, past research suggests that girls who are more prepared for menstruation have more positive first period experiences (Koff, Rierdan, & Sheingold, 1982). In addition, some areas of preparation, especially emotional preparation, may be associated with more positive current menstrual attitudes (Pillemer, Koff, Rhinehart, & Rierdan, 1987). The specific areas of preparation that are predictive of current menstrual attitudes are difficult to predict, however, due to the lack of research on this specific area.


Through the Looking Glass of Power: Language, Class and Culture in International Perspective
Goldspohn 37
Moderator: Dr. Jennifer Keys, Sociology

Liminality: The Inside/Outsider Power and Insights
Debra Hayes
Advisor: Dr. Matthew Krystal, Anthropology
10:30 a.m.

Fieldwork is the hallmark of anthropology, a step taken on the “path of becoming” an authoritative voice within its discipline [1988: Van Maanen]. As a rite of passage, it leads us to liminal space. Amidst its trials, rewards lurk, so do the unexpected and unintended consequences, most significantly, marginality. We discover this for ourselves when we step into the “foreign” society, void of kinship attachments, social status, and role, shared linguistic, territorial and time immemorial connections. As we ideally seek “inside/outsider” status and position, from which to observe and record, we discover this designation is not entirely in our hands. Our host community determines it as much as our actions do! Through the exploration and analysis of my fieldwork in transnational, globalized setting in a semi-closed, mid-south city in China and return “home,” I will illuminate the facets of marginality, its power and insights.

Equality and Status of Nicaraguan Immigrant Workers in Costa Rican Society
Shanna Obluck
Advisor: Ms. Barrie Mason, Speech Communication
10:50 a.m.

Costa Rica has been referred to as the U.S. of Central America. Among the many reasons that warrant this nickname is that Costa Rica faces immigration issues with its neighbor Nicaragua just as the U.S. does with Mexico. Immigration of Nicaraguans, both legal and illegal, is a major issue that plagues Costa Rica. However, the social categorizations seen clearly in the ingroup/outgroup formation between these two seemingly similar cultures is a critical issue in Tican society. This study focused on Dodd’s Model of Intercultural Communication and the level of adaptability Ticos show when dealing with Nicaraguans and their culture. I gathered a majority of my research through personal interviews with Nicaraguans and Costa Ricans and through personal observation while I lived and interned in Costa Rica during fall 2006. From my investigation, I found that status was more important to Costa Ricans than equality when dealing with Nicaraguans.

American Students Abroad in Costa Rica: A Qualitative Study of Language and Relationships
Ebony Jones
Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Keys, Sociology
11:10 a.m.

With the recent rise in the interest for U.S. college students to study abroad, much research has been done to better understand the experience of these individuals. While participating in a 15-week study abroad trip to Costa Rica, I explored how student’s foreign language proficiency and the social networks they maintain and develop while overseas shape their experiences. Taking an ethnographic approach, I utilized field observations, my personal journal, and individual interviews conducted with six of the 18 travelers to obtain data. The main aspects explored in this study are abilities and confidence in the Spanish language, relationships with host families and friends, and the subgroups that we created while we were abroad. 

Microcredit: A Case Study in Virudhunagar, India
Melissa Matlock
Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Anstine, Management
11:30 a.m.

In recent years, the number of microcredit programs throughout the world has grown rapidly. The use of microcredit as a means to empower the poor and eradicate poverty is supported by various NGOs and international organizations, including the United Nations and many of its specialized agencies. There are numerous declarations written on microcredit’s efficacy in the fight against poverty, but how does it compare in reality? This case study will compare the microcredit program of a rural, Indian NGO with the claims made in various writings. By examining what is written about the economic and social impact and the problems of microcredit and contrasting it with the Indian program, one can begin to assess the effectiveness of microcredit as established by current literature.


Images of the Human Body: Appreciation, Exploitation and Commemoration
Goldspohn 30
Moderator: Ms. Christine Rabenold, Art

The Nude Figure in its Most Beautiful Form
Pakize Arslani
Advisor: Ms. Christine Rabenold, Art
10:30 a.m.

I will exhibit five charcoal/mixed-media drawings of figure studies completed in 2006. The natural state of the human figure has become less visible since media standards dictate what constitutes the perfect body. My interest in working with the figure was to improve my skills as an artist, increase the ability to “see” with my eyes and hands, while capturing the human form in its most beautiful, pure, natural state. I accomplished this by educating myself about anatomy, drawing, measuring and observing the model. I came to realize that every line, shadow and tone represents the individuality of each figure and how the uniqueness of these elements may influence the subject’s life. The results of my scholarship will be in creating an awareness and appreciation for the human body. This will lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the beauty and uniqueness exemplified in every single sketch.

What Makes or Breaks a Woman? The Sculptural Interpretation of Defining Moments in the Lives of Women
Katie Nemec
Advisor: Ms. Christine Rabenold, Art
10:50 a.m.

Throughout history women have experienced various milestones that have influenced who they are. These memories or stories illustrate the impact historical events have had on the lives of women. The method of research for this series is personal interview and historical imagery research. Four women in my family were extensively interviewed for this project. Each person’s experience and my artistic interpretation were prepared both in written and visual formats. The stories were conveyed using hand-built ceramic sculptures of the female torso. These torsos were altered to better communicate each person’s experience. I feel the female body is very expressive and can best provide a platform for these research narratives. The purpose of this body of work is to better understand and honor the experiences of these women.

The Exploitation of Women and the Effects on the Next Generation
Katy Luxion
Advisor: Ms. Christine Rabenold, Art
11:10 a.m.

Young females are subjected to sexualized images of women on a daily basis. The unrealistic, and sometimes naturally impossible, physical proportions of these “role models” are causing young women to lose their identity, being forced into a mold that they may never fit. The installation shows the relationship between young women and images of “perfection.” As images become more sexualized, I become more aware of the reasons why I tried to fit into this mold during my childhood. Through research and personal experience, the artwork shares my viewpoint on the relationship between the idealized woman and younger females. In addition, I hope to gain the perspective of attendees at the Rall Symposium.