North Central College - Naperville, IL

Poster Presentations

12th Annual Rall Symposium Poster Presentations 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center Lobby
(listed alphabetically by lead author)

The Interactive Age: Advertisers’ Methods of Addressing the Changing Consumer Culture
Megan Andracki ’09, Management, Marketing
Advisor: Dr. Steve Macek, Speech Communication
This study explored the problem facing marketers of consumers’ growing disinterest of traditional forms of media as advertising outlets. First, the research investigated trends within the media industry as a whole, such as the convergence of media forms and media companies’ attempts to reach their customers on a more personalized level. The project then turned to a case study of current and past advertising for Nike, Inc., a leader in advertising trends. This company showed a shift from traditional television commercials to using interactive websites and social networking as major methods in reminding consumers of the popular brand. Conclusions were drawn as to how the changing consumer and media culture will affect companies’ advertising decisions, as well as how executives’ evolving attitudes on promoting their brands will affect media companies in the future.

To Behead or Not to Behead: Translations of French Revolutionary Pamphlets and Speeches and Their Resonance Today
Rebecca Bonarek ’09, English: Writing, French
Sarah Kurpiel ’10, English: Literature, French
Kathryn Pfefferle ’09, French, History
Rachel Alvarez ’10, French
Amanda Olson ’09, French, Music Education: Instrumental Emphasis
Advisor: Dr. Norval Bard, French
To better understand the mindset of the French people during the (first) French Revolution, we read, translated, annotated and analyzed Revolution-era pamphlets and speech texts stemming from various political factions and opinions. Specifically, we focused on texts and speeches by Maximilien Robespierre, Jean-Baptiste Drouet, “citizen Landry-François,” and Thomas Paine while trying to identify an anonymous pamphleteer. These pamphlets dated to and dealt with the trial and sentencing of King Louis XVI, some in a very colorful manner. Our analysis not only sheds light on the French mentality during the Revolution—including the debate about whether King Louis should keep his head— but also how we as human beings react to new, uncertain circumstances and how we hold those in power accountable. Sometimes bad leadership can end in a lot of bloodshed.

The Review in Perspective: Enhancing the North Central Review’s Standing in the Literary Community
Rebecca Bonarek ’09, English: Writing, French
Alyssa Jaracz ’09, English: Writing
Brigit Goudie ’10, English: Writing, Studio Art
Elizabeth Wilks ’09, English: Writing
Grace Hollister ’12, Speech Communication: Organizational Communication
Grant Swanson ’11, English: Writing
Heather Harris ’10, Religion
Jorie Smith ’09, English: Writing
Kristen Soforic ’12, English: Writing
Kathryn Kregor ’10, English: Writing
Kevin Michael Christy ’10, English: Writing
Mary Martinez ’10, English: Writing
Rachel Hamsmith ’09, English: Writing
Sarah Kurpiel ’10, English: Literature, French
Stephanie Kuersten ’11, East Asian Studies, French, Japanese
Sean Hanson ’12, Musical Theatre
Advisor: Dr. Richard Guzman, English
The North Central Review staff focused on gaining a stronger awareness and understanding of design, organization and distribution of strictly undergraduate, general submission and professional literary magazines. To accomplish this goal, we gathered and examined various accredited literary journals and magazines from universities and publishers across the country. We specifically compared how various magazines are organized; how they display artwork, contributors’ names and their own names; how much they cost; who contributes; their cover designs; and overall layout. We intend to apply this research to our own journal with an eye toward increasing our own efficiency, distribution and standing in the literary community.

Ionic Liquids in Green Chemistry
Marlon Brown ’11, Biochemistry
Advisor: Dr. Paul Brandt, Chemistry
The objective of the research is to test the methodology of the BASIL (Biphasic Acid Scavenging using Ionic Liquids) technique on a variety of phosphine compounds. We were able to reduce waste, excess solvents and starting materials compared to conventional syntheses for the three compounds, 1a, 1b and 2b, obtaining yields of 77%, 89% and 71% respectively. Dichlorophenylphosphine (PhPCl2) was reacted with either HNEt2 or HNEt(Me) along with N methylimidazole (MeIm) as the acid scavenger. The reaction forms a biphasic system where [H-MeIm]+Cl- forms a more dense, low melting, ionic liquid. This allows for easy separation of the product from the ionic liquid without the use of solvents. This research also explored making P-S bonds in addition to using chlorodiphenylphosphine (Ph2PCl) as the phosphine reagent.

Rehabilitating the Enemy
Morgan Brown ’09, Global Studies: Developing States, Spanish
Advisor: Dr. William Muck, Political Science
What do you do with the enemy after war? Historically, punishment served as the answer and fallen enemies were enslaved or executed. After the Cold War, a new type of conflict arose which demanded a new framework for its solution. What emerged was a United Nations-led effort to maintain peace through Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) programs. These DDR programs focus on enemy rehabilitation rather than punishment. The emergence of the DDR process signifies a dramatic change in international normative context for appropriate treatment of losing combatants. In this paper I explore the significance of this shift and its implications for human rights and conflict resolution.

Measuring the Digital Divide: A Study of the Effect of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on Economic Development in Poland
Claudia Chlebek ’09, Economics, International Business, Spanish
Advisor: Dr. Diane Anstine, Economics
A significant global issue, the digital divide refers to the gap between those with effective access to information and communication technology (ICT) and those without access to it. The powerful players in our world are those with the highest possession of ICTs. Thus, the digital divide further marginalizes rural people bringing forth serious social consequences. Furthermore, ICT access and knowledge has direct economic implications since jobs and education are directly related to ICT availability. Countries that do not possess adequate ICT cannot compete in the global economy. The goal of this project is to measure and to substantiate the digital divide that exists in Poland through multiple regression analyses. The results of this project will provide an accurate portrayal of the economic variables that explains the digital divide that exists in Poland and the degree to which these variables affect the digital divide.

Are Bad Movies More Profitable? Using Econometrics to Predict Box Office Grosses for 2007 Wide Release Films
Jeffrey Cisowski ’09, Economics, Finance, German
Advisor: Dr. Diane Anstine, Economics
Do you ever wonder if Hollywood even worries about producing quality films? Without employing econometrics, it is impossible to know with a high degree of certainty. Econometrics is the use of statistical linear regression to isolate the effects of independent variables on a dependent variable. For this study, I created a model which predicts total box office gross from a host of factors, including genre, rating, widest theater release and many other variables. The most interesting variable in the study is the rating score from RottenTomatoes.com, a site that aggregates critical reception into a percentage score. With this variable, I discovered a high correlation between profitability and quality. This project will show if the correlation is positive or negative, as well as how the Motion Picture Association of America rating system affects box office gross, why studios make so many sequels, and whether an Oscar-worthy movie is a good financial decision. Let’s go to the movies!

An Oral History of a Hitler Youth Boy in the Final Days of World War II
Jeffrey Cisowski ’09, Economics, Finance, German
Advisor: Dr. Gregory Wolf, German
Sometimes, history will be lost forever if no one records it. Oral histories, as discussed by LaCapra, supplement our understanding of history even when they are collected years later. My grandfather, born in America but raised in Hitler’s Germany during the late 1930s and throughout World War II, lived a piece of history. Using funding from the Richter Fellowship Committee, I traveled to Germany to collect further eyewitness accounts from my grandfather’s relatives. My grandfather’s exposure to Hitler’s propaganda, experiences with French Prisoners of War, conscription into the Hitler Youth Movement, perils during the final days of World War II, and his time in an American POW camp will all be discussed to explain the importance of oral histories. This report explains how history influences everyone involved, the importance of studying and preserving history for posterity, and how easily normal, rational people can be swept up in powerful movements.

Adolescent and Young Adult Personality and Self-Esteem
Jennifer John ’10, Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Patricia Schacht, Psychology
Prior research has connected different aspects of adolescence, such as self-esteem, academic achievement, depression and life satisfaction, to different types of parenting styles. Generally, there are four different styles of parenting: authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent (permissive) and neglectful. Authoritative parenting styles have been associated with the highest levels of self-esteem, academic achievement and life satisfaction, and the lowest levels of depression; whereas neglectful parenting styles are usually associated with the lowest levels of these same variables, and the highest levels of depression (Milevsky, Schlecter, Netter, & Keehn, 2007). The current research to be presented will use questionnaires to assess different but related variables, including perceptions of both maternal and paternal parenting styles, self-esteem and personality. The results will explore relationships between parenting styles and individual self-esteem levels, certain aspects of the personality, as well as differences in these variables in adolescence and young adulthood.

Notions of Blackness and Criminality: A Closer Look at NFL Player Criminals
Lauren Kazmierczak ’10, Finance, Health and Physical Education: Sports Management
Advisor: Dr. Gerald Gems, Health and Physical Education
There is a common perception that blackness and criminality correlate. In this comparative study the relationship between crimes, felonies in particular, and racial perceptions are more closely scrutinized. This evaluation of previous research and historical information helps explain ideas linking African-Americans and criminality by specifically focusing on National Football League (NFL) players. Considering the majority of NFL players who have committed a crime during their careers are black, it can be easily believed that African-Americans are most likely to commit crimes. However, there are many factors that contribute to these one-sided statistics. The racial population of the NFL, African-American history in football, the violent nature of the sport, societal differences and the media all influence this perception. There will be an analysis of these causal factors to determine the truth or falsehood of the idea of blackness and criminality.

Optimism and the Evaluation of Employees
Kyle Kniss ’09, Human Resource Management, Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Karl Kelley, Psychology
Optimism is the ability to think positively about a negative outcome by looking externally, finding its cause to be circumstantial. According to Seligman, individuals are likely to vary in their perceptions of optimism according to three dimensions: permanence (time), pervasiveness (space) and personalization (internal vs. external). His research suggests that those scoring high on optimism may have a more positive effect on the workplace than pessimists. The current research examines how an individual’s optimism shapes his or her perceptions of others in the workplace. In this study we asked participants to role-play an employer evaluating an employee returning from a leave through the Family Medical and Leave Act. Participants were told that while on leave either positive or negative events occurred in the organization. Results indicate that more optimistic participants viewed employees taking leave more positively than pessimists.

The Effect of Active Involvement During Learning on Students’ Interest and Knowledge of Science
Kathryn Kossak ’09, Elementary Education, Psychology
Brittany McNelly ’09, Elementary Education
Advisor: Dr. John Zenchak, Biology
One of the major learning theories in psychology and education is constructivism, which argues that learners actively construct their own knowledge by connecting new information to prior knowledge (Llewellyn, 2007). Active construction of knowledge is directly supported through an inquiry-based scientific approach to learning. Our hypothesis was that active and involved learners will be more interested in and knowledgeable of science content than students who are not actively involved. To test this hypothesis, more than 200 fourth-grade students participated in a study that manipulated their level of involvement during learning: minimum involvement (students viewed pictures and read a text description about conduction); intermediate involvement (students viewed the same exhibit and participated in a group discussion); and maximum involvement (students viewed the exhibit, participated in a discussion, and engaged in a hands-on activity). Results show that more active involvement significantly increases recall of science content and interest in science.

Analysis of Maillard Reaction Products Using Model Systems
Sarah Martin ’10, Biochemistry
Ana Jensen ’10, Biology
Sara Homsi ’10, Biochemistry
Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Bjorklund, Chemistry
The Maillard reaction occurs between an amino acid of a protein and the aldehyde group of a carbohydrate to start a cascade, which will form both flavor molecules and melanoids. We are analyzing the entire product mixture to avoid these purification difficulties. Our approach to the study of the Maillard reaction uses simplified model systems. Glycine was refluxed with aqueous glucose, fructose, sucrose or maltose. A 1H-NMR of the complex reaction mixture product was compared to that of the starting material using ANOVA. The change in color of the reaction mixture indicated that the Maillard reaction occurred but the quantity of products was not great enough to make the product spectra statistically different from the starting materials. We will then use principle component analysis to compare the results from different starting materials. This will statistically determine how similar the mixtures of the Maillard reaction products are.

Lives Regained: Karen Refugees’ Transition to the United States
Esther McCarty ’09, Speech Communication: Organizational Communication, Spanish
Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Keys, Sociology
Within their villages in Myanmar and northern Thailand, the Karen people suffered horrific mistreatment and inhumane injustice: their villages burned, women and children raped, men forced to join rebel armies, and others trafficked into unfair labor. Roughly two percent have been able to escape to Thai refugee camps. This research documents the experiences of three displaced Karen families who have safely immigrated into the United States via a government-funded refugee resettlement agency. Oral histories reveal the challenges and joys that these refugees face through transition to America and the struggle to regain their lives. Observations of a Karen Church in the Midwest, as well as formal and informal interviews with the director of World Relief and an expert on immigrant transitions, are used to examine the services and efficacy of the resettlement agency. My goal is to assess whether the refugees are content and what additional services may be needed.

The Chinese Tributary System: What It Is and How It Is Used as a Framework for China’s International Relations
Sochantra Mel ’10, East Asian Studies, Global Studies: East Asia
Advisor: Dr. Brian Hoffert, Religious Studies, East Asian Studies
The Chinese Tributary system was the method of choice that past Chinese dynasties, especially during the Ming and Qing dynasties, used to maintain a delicate balance of power between itself and the surrounding kingdoms of East, Southeast and Central Asia. After the arrival of colonialism and the fall of Imperial China, the People’s Republic of China emerged from civil war to become the new national government. Based on the historical importance of the Tributary system in the past, China is currently pursuing a policy of economic prowess in the global free market in order to restore prestige to China. My research attempts to clarify what the Tributary system is, how it functioned in the past and why the Chinese might wish to pursue such a system as a contemporary framework for international relations.

Quantitating Oxidized Protein in Escherichia Coli
Kari Nelson ’10, Biochemistry
Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Visick, Biology
PCM is an important repair enzyme that repairs proteins damaged due to environmental stress, which converts normal amino acids into isoaspartate residue. The buildup of isoAsp damage has been linked to cause many pathologic conditions such as aging, autoimmunity, epilepsy and tumor progression. We hypothesize that when PCM is not repairing the isoAsp damage, there is more unfolding of the protein. This makes the protein more susceptible to environmental damage such as oxidative stress. We induced oxidative stress and compared E.coli mutants, which were unable to produce PCM, to wild type E.coli before and after long-term stationary phase. We reacted the samples with DNPH, which binds to the oxidized proteins. The DNPH binding produces a yellow color, which we are able to detect in a spectrophotometer. The more yellow coloring, the more oxidized proteins present. I am currently trying to find better methods of quantitating amounts of oxidized proteins.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in the Female Athlete
Karen Ocwieja ’09, Health and Physical Education: Athletic Training, Psychology
Advisor: Ms. Heidi Matthews, Athletic Training, Health and Physical Education
Minimal research has been conducted into the psychosocial/behavioral aspect of sport participation relating to Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries. My purpose was to gain a preliminary look at how playing multiple sports at one time or specializing in one sport in high school affects injury rates and what was the greatest influence on the decision to play club sports. The current research hypothesizes that ACL injuries may be due to a combination of overexposure and sources of influence (where is the pressure coming from to participate in sports). The project was conducted by surveying 113 female athletes. The results showed that those who participated in club sports and interscholastic sports at the same time had a greater number of injuries than those who did not. Also, time and coaches had greater influence over the athletes than parents.

Widerspruch und Ost Deutsche Geschichte: Conflicting views of East German History
Melissa Proulx ’10, German, Spanish
Paul Loescher ’09, German, Philosophy
Advisor: Dr. Gregory Wolf, German
This project is an endeavor to solidify the culmination of a first-hand study of East Germany and its government as manifested in modern Berlin. The inspiration for this project comes from the GLS 365 course: “Exploring Berlin” and will draw on our experiences and those of our fellow tripmates. This project analyzes the conflicting views between educational and colloquial knowledge of historical East Germany in modern America and Germany. An aspect of the course was to understand Germany as seen through the eyes of a German. This project explores how participants come to terms with and reflect upon their preconceived notions of East Germany before the study trip and how these views changed and evolved as a result of their immersion in the culture and subject matter. The inclusion of our classmates’ reflections will provide anecdotal evidence of the misconceptions prevalent in the cultural collective of today.

The Trial of Louis XVI: The Girondin-Montagnard Political Struggle
Kathryn Pfefferle ’09, French, History
Advisor: Dr. Bruce Janacek, History
The trial of Louis XVI was one of the most significant events of the French Revolution. It marked the complete break of the Revolution with the ancient régime. The trial was also inextricably tied up in the political struggle between moderate and radical revolutionaries. The regicide victory during the trial signified the first and greatest political triumph for the radical, pro-regicide Montagnards. An analysis of the original speeches given by the deputies of each major political group to the National Convention, the institution responsible for conducting the trial, revealed the issues that were at stake during the trial and why the Montagnards prevailed. Ultimately, the radicals triumphed because they were more successful at presenting themselves in their arguments as the true safe guarders of the Revolution. By voting pro-regicide the deputies of the National Convention tacitly accepted radical leadership of the Revolution.

Presidential Inauguration: A Study of the Effects of Persuasion in Leadership
Julie Saflarski ’10, Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Maynard Caliendo, Political Science
Based on extensive research, it is recognized that authority figures hold a higher level of persuasion. Interestingly enough, other research suggests that certain types of speeches hold the same level of persuasion when executed by people seen in higher power (Brinol, Petty, Valle, Rucker, Becerra, 2007). Specifically, it has been shown in research that the presidential inauguration could hold a more persuasive motive toward Americans (Sigelman, 1996). The current study focuses on the possible persuasive effects that the 2009 presidential inauguration may have had on American youth who witnessed it. The author examined these message recipients’ attitude change and how it may or may not affect social judgment. In line with prior research that suggested a link between leadership and persuasion, the author hypothesized that the satisfaction of the president’s ideals will increase after the inaugural speech due to the persuasion effects of the speech itself.

Researching the Role of Women in Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)
Kelsey Staudacher ’09, French, Global Studies: International Relations
Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Keys, Sociology
As African women look out onto their fields, what do they perceive: barrenness, lack of autonomy, poor education and a myriad other factors that contribute to this perception? Agriculture plays a significant role in the economy of SSA; yet, women have not been included in its growth to the same extent as their male counterparts. In reviewing the literature on this topic for my honors thesis, I focused on a case study concerning Senegalese women in agricultural development and the way microcredit can be used to spur economic and social growth in Senegal. With broad implications for further study and action, I have designed a user-friendly factsheet to break down the complexities of this topic for other students, future researchers, social activists and policy makers. I will exhibit the factsheet and explain how these interested groups can utilize the information to conduct research and raise awareness.

The Transposition of Mutator-Like Elements in mop1 Mutants
Dorothy Tran ’10, Biochemistry
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Johnston, Biology
Dr. Ning Jiang, Assistant Professor, Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University
Ann Armenia, Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University
Mutator (Mu) elements are a family of DNA transposable elements (TEs), which are highly active and mutagenic. Although ubiquitous in all organisms, not all TEs are active. The mediator of paramutation (mop1) mutation in maize plays a role in reversing transposon silencing via the RNA-interference (RNAi) epigenetic regulation. With higher activity of TEs in a mop1 background the transposition of the Mutator element, MuDR, Mu1 and Mu8, were studied utilizing the methodology of transposon display developed. Pertaining to the acrylamide gel analysis step in transposon display, primers with an additional selective base(s) increased the sensitivity of detection. Additionally, it was found that of the Mutators studied, all elements either inserted or excised near or in coding regions. The frequency of transposition was calculated to be at least 0.6 transpositions per plant line per generation. Further insight into Mutator elements will elucidate the evolution and diversity of the genome.

A Photographic Study of Value
Timothy Whitney ’11, Mathematics, Studio Art
Advisor: Mr. Kelvin Mason, Art
Modern cameras are equipped with advanced systems of exposure compensation to make an accurate exposure by controlling film speed, shutter speed and aperture settings. The goal of this study is to test the accuracy of the reciprocal relationship between shutter speed and aperture. To achieve this, a digital camera on a tripod is used to take a series of photographs using every aperture and shutter speed combination on six different film speeds. The hypothesis is that for every combination, there are 22 other combinations that result in the same exposure and pixel value for each film speed. The experiment results in the image with a larger aperture and faster shutter speed having a lower grayscale value than ones of smaller aperture and slower speed. Since the value change is not constant, further analysis is necessary to determine a more exact relationship between shutter, aperture and film speed.

The Effects of Two Signaling Pathways in Yeast on Secondary Metabolites Important in the Brewing Process
Ben Youel ’09, Chemistry
Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Bjorklund, Chemistry
Two metabolic pathways in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the RAS/cAMP and the fermentable growth media (FGM) pathways, were manipulated to study their effects on secondary metabolites the yeast contribute during the brewing process. Mutation of the PDE2 gene controlled the activity of the RAS/cAMP pathway, and FGM was manipulated through the GAP1 gene. Six brews using mutant strains of yeast and one brew using the wildtype strain were produced. Quantitative Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (q1HNMR) Spectroscopy was the first method used to compare mutant and wildtype brews. The results of the q1HNMR analyses were varied, but they suggested that only the inactivation of FGM affects yeast metabolism during brewing. Mutant and wildtype brews were compared via a second method: Solid Phase Microextraction coupled with Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (SPME-GCMS). The results of the SPME-GCMS analyses are pending.