Abstracts of 1991-1992 Senior Honors Theses

Alphabetically by Student Name

Matthew Thomas Bremer, Mathematics

"The Statistics of Lotteries"

Advisor Robert Dumonceaux

This project begins with the analysis of several existing lotteries in the state of Minnesota. The raw data of these lotteries are used to calculate the expected values of certain random variables in an effort to describe and compare the lotteries mathematically. Next, the different criteria that contribute to a successful lottery are described and brought together. Finally, via mathematical modeling and computer simulation, a new lottery proposal is presented with the claim that it is superior to existing lotteries from an administrative standpoint.

James Benjamin Clarke, Management

"The Entrepreneurial Management Process in a Growing Small Business: A Case Study"

Advisor: Barbara Edwards

This research case study focuses on the identification and analysis of the entrepreneurial management process and its applicability as a practical solution to the problems resulting from growth and maturity of an entrepreneurial small business. The entrepreneurial management process is one which focuses on managing on organization to develop and capitalize on its entrepreneurial characteristics. It is examined in the context of the development of an entrepreneurial culture, employee empowerment, entrepreneurial teamwork, strategic planning, new ventures, and compensation. The working hypotheses suggest that the entrepreneurial management process is a practical and effective solution of the identified problems related to small business growth. The hypotheses also suggest that a strategic planning focus is a necessary element of the entrepreneurial management process in order for an organization to continue its pattern of entrepreneurial growth.

Christine M. Dold, History

"Women, Catholicism and World War II"

Advisor: Martha Tomhave Blauvelt

This thesis is an attempt to demonstrate the consistency in American Catholic ideology, particularly with regard to women and their role in the home. Catholicism has continuously emphasized that the proper sphere of a mother is in the home; this issue has been addressed over and over again in the Catholic teaching. During World War II there was an intense surge of propaganda attempting to lure women into the work force for the war effort. A dilemma arose within the Church as to how to balance wartime needs with their own stance on women. With little exception, the Catholic Church adamantly advocated that mothers with children remain in the home, regardless of wartime necessity. Looking at Catholicism in an historical context it is shown that, instead of being an unpatriotic, un-American gesture, the Catholic stance on women actually demonstrates a forceful patriotism which views the home as the foundation of a strong, stable nation; the mother is necessary to create a strong family which will, in turn, serve as the "bulwark of democracy," a very American goal. Furthermore, this would show that Catholics were,indeed, American and that Catholic ideals complemented American goals. Thus, Catholicism's consistency with regard to women, patriotism and war can be seen converging into a solid ideology by the end of World War II.

Thomas Aaron Frank, History

"The Cult of Self-Sacrifice: Failure and the 1867 Rising"

Advisor: R. William Franklin

This thesis explores the Fenian Rising of 1867 in Ireland and how the Rising represents an example of the Cult of Self-Sacrifice as described by Daniel J. O'Neil in his article, "The Cult of Self-Sacrifice: The Irish Experience." A secondary goal of the thesis is to bring the 1867 Rising to light in historical discourse. To the author's knowledge, there have been few comprehensive writings on the topic of the Rising itself. Writings which do mention or describe the 1867 Rising describe it as little more than a military disaster, and often ignore how it created martyrs, especially the Manchester Three. By showing that the 1867 Rising represented and example of the cult of self- sacrifice, the author shows how it also represented a conduit between the 1848 Rising and Easter Rising of 1916. Understanding how the 1967 Rising created martyrs provides insight into the tactics of the modern manifestations of the Fenians: the IRA and Provisional IRA (PIRA). Their hunger strikes, Blanket men and deaths become part of ta long tradition of self-sacrifice and martyrdom of which the 1867 was itself an important part.

Patrick Hicks, English

"The Feminine, Feminist, Female and Fitzgerald: A Critical Study of women Characters in F. Scott FitzgeraldÕs Novels and Short Stories."

Advisor: Ozzie Mayers

An exploration of the changing identity of women at the beginning of the twentieth century through the writings of f. Scott fitzgerald, who lived and wrote during this period of radical social upheaval and who "recognized sooner than most that the nature of [womenÕs] advance had changed radically with the coming of the Jazz Age." (Brian Way) and who was "a spokesman for his generation."

Frederic W. Hotz, Government and Peace Studies

"Collective Security and the United Nations Charter: Problems and Prospects of Judicial Execution and Peace Enforcement Under International Law (The U.N. and the Gulf War) "

Advisors: Thomas Boudreau and Gary Prevost

On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. As a statement of fact, Iraq's aggression and annexation of Kuwait was an infringement of the principle obligation of member states under the U.N. Charter. The purpose of this document is to clarify and focus U.S. foreign policy in regard to the case held against Iraq, describing the limitations under the U.N. Charter. It is the goal of this thesis to demonstrate that the resolution of the Gulf crisis was in violation to the U.N. Charter, and that the legitimate and just means as prescribed under international law was not observed. Finally, I will conclude the argument by explaining how this violation of international law is a threat to the role of collective security and the future prosperity of a new world order.

Marc Jaros, Music

"An Essay on the Psychological, Sociological, and Musical Roots of Beethoven's Concerto No. 4 in G, Opus 58, Together with a Project in Piano Performance"

Advisor: Robert Koopmann, OSB

This thesis investigates Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G, Op. 58. Highlighted are psychological and sociological explanations of Beethoven's style and form. Beethoven countered the despair of losing his hearing with remarkable mettle. Indeed, his music may be characterized as a fierce existential roar occasionally interrupted with moments of bliss. Societal aspects of the latter eighteenth and early nineteenth century found expression in the sonata-allegro from (also concerto from): people saw themselves capable of new thematic change, unfettered by the old conventions insisting that people live out their lives according to the class they were born into. Development in society and in the sonata is no longer hindered by determined beginnings. The thesis continues with an analysis of thematic development and structure of the concerto. Finally, I complete the project by performing the first movement of the Concerto No. 4, Allegro moderato.

James Loeffelholz, Biology

"A comparative Study of the Oxygen Dissociation Curves of Deer Mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) and Meadow Vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) Hemoglobin"

Advisor: Marcus Webster

Oxygen equilibrium curves of dilute hemoglobin solutions from deer mice (Peromyscus leucopus) and meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) were determined by optical tonometry at pH 6.8 and pH 7.4. For deer mouse hemoglobin, P50 6.8 = 4.54 KPa, n7.4 (cooperativity index at pH 7.4) = 1.13, n6.8 = 1.60 and Bohr shift = 1.91. For meadow vole hemoglobin P50 7.4 = 2.74 KPa, P50 6.8 = 6.16 KPa, n7.4 = 1.11, n6.8 = 1.63, and Bohr shift = 2.35. The method was evaluated for use in the undergraduate laboratory.

Terri McCargar, English

"Bloomsbury and Gender: Isolation and Connection in the Novels of Forster and Woolf"

Advisor: Cindy Malone

This stud attempts to follow the personal and artistic struggles of Bloomsbury novelists Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster in Modern fiction which challenges conventional English society. Shared themes of isolation and connection are examined. A discussion of gender and sexuality establishes both the similarities and differences in approach between Forster's "problem" as a homosexual and Woolf's as a feminist. The thesis suggests that Maurice and Orlando serve as the creative ideal for each novelist.

John T. Marty, Theater

"Lighting Medea Machine -- Project Summary and Evaluation"

Advisor: Jack Halstead

The conceptualization and realization of the lighting design for the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University Theater Department's Production of Medea Machine in the Fall of 1991 comprised the bulk of this creative project. Directed at a reading audience of beginning theater students, this written summery includes: a description of the various elements of lighting design, a description of the play itself, a detailing of various artistic influences such as postmodernism and Epic Theater, a description of the elements of the actual design, and an evaluation of the design's effectiveness. Also included are reproductions of the design's light plot, and abridged instrument schedule, production photographs, and a production program.

Matthew J. Maruska, Management

"The Difficulties for a Small Business in Obtaining Commercial Bank Loans During a Recession"

Advisor: Mike Norman

This study examines why it is very difficult for a small business to obtain commercial bank loans during a recession. The methodology consisted of examining other research and writings, interviewing sources, and conducting a survey of small businesses. the study discussed the pre-financing preparation of a small business. Aspects of commercial bank financing are discussed, including: description of debt financing, the process for obtaining loans, and problems facing the commercial banking industry. A brief description is given of recessionary conditions and how economic indicators are used to describe those conditions. Various issue concerning financing a small business during a recession are explored. Title contract financing is presented as a method of financing which is an alternative to commercial bank financing. Small business survey seeks to find how various small businesses finance themselves throughout the life of the business. the survey also asks what impact the present recession has had on the respondent's business. Conclusions include: it is much more difficult to finance a small business with commercial bank loans during a recession, commercial banks are getting out of lending to small businesses, and new methods for financing small businesses are needed.

Ann Marie Mayer, Communications

"Men and Women in Management: The Myths Continue"

Advisor: Richard Ice

Today women are held back, not by incompetence or inadequacies, but rather by the myths and social constructions surrounding them as women. The myths American society holds about sex and gender hinder women from obtaining equality in the workplace. Myths are very powerful tools. They allow a society, or in this case an organization, to justify its past and present actions and to predict its future behaviors. Myths provide a sense of identity and are tied to emotion; therefore, it is not possible to dispel them by empirical data alone. In order for a myth to change, the feelings of those who believe that myth must be changed. Before women in managerial positions are allowed to advance in their positions as fast as their male counterparts, our society, American organizations, and men and women of the organization must change their myths. Discrimination in the workplace will cease only when current gender myths are made illegitimate and replaced with new myths more representative of women's and men's equality.

Charlene Saber, German

"The Bridging Motif in the Short Stories of Franz Kafka"

Advisor:Wendy Sterba

In analyzing the short stories "Forschungen eines Hundes," "Ein Bericht fŸr eine Akademie," and "Die BrŸcke," I have found characters who function as creators of new locations -- bridging characters. These figures bridge the gap between extremes and, hence, exist in a state of "inbetweenness." Furthermore, these characters are paradigmatic of the human condition, which also seems to synthesize rebellious tendencies and desires. There appears to be two distinct extremes in Franz Kafka's short stories: the nature Pole and the intellectual pole. The bridge figures in the three stories, as well as other characters in Kafka's works, seem stretched between these extremities. This bridging location is a transitional state, suggests Kafka, which ought to be surpassed. Unfortunately, it seems as though Kafka cannot come to any positive conclusion on whether a person can move beyond his state of inbetweenness.

Michael Anson Schroeder, English

"The Light at the Top of the Stairs is Broken"

Advisor: Elizabeth Spaeth

A creative work of fiction, The Light at the Top of the Stairs Is Broken tells the story of Reardon McCoy, a twenty-nine year old homosexual who panics at the prospect of his approaching thirtieth birthday, remembers a vision he had as a child, prophesizing that he was destined for great and important distinction, and he has begun to despair because he has never truly found his niche. His best friend Boosey coaches him along, particularly in the realm of romantic love interests. Reardon, caught in the dilemma of how to live in the world as a gay male without sacrificing his dreams and ambition, finds himself compromising on the issue of what it means to be in love, despite his romanticism.

Joseph Stahl, Government

"The Requirements of Citizenship in a Modern Democracy"

Advisor: James T. Murphy

Our current understanding of citizenship is grounded in our culture of individualism and results in a flawed conception of the good citizen in a liberal democratic state. The culture of individualism presents a flawed view of the person, fails to recognize our interconnections and common problems, encourages only adversarial democracy, alters the nature of our democracy and fails to recognize the potentials of common action. For these reasons the culture of individualism destroys meaningful citizenship as it alienates us from one another and prevents us from recognizing a limited common good --the protection and enhancement of each individual's life opportunities. The requirements of citizenship presented in this paper espouse a notion of citizenship that goes far beyond individualism. Liberalism and its focus on liberal rights has fostered the culture of individualism, yet we do not abandon these principles, we simply add to them. Indeed, our first requirement entails a belief in the liberal essentials of personal autonomy and basic equality. Onto these essential groundings we add a respect for community relationships and the participation and volunteerism this respect entails. Thirdly and finally we add the requirement of knowledge, both technical (factual) and deliberative (the ability to make and defend judgments). The citizen who attempts to live his or her life in accordance with these requirements is a good citizen in a modern liberal democracy.

Greg Taft, Physics

"Measuring Airborne Alpha Radioactivity"

Advisor: Daniel Steck

This project develops alpha spectroscopy to measure the airborne concentrations of attached and unattached radon progeny. The system is designed and constructed to be used in homes, thus is portable, fast, and easy to use.

Lorie J. Warren, Biology

"Revival of Metabolism in Rehydrated Marasmius oreades"

Advisor: Stephen Saupe

Mushrooms from the genus Marasmius have the ability to revive -- viz., dried specimens regain their original shape when moistened. The purpose of this study was to determine if the basidiocarps are metabolically active upon revival or whether they simply absorb moisture like a sponge. The reduction of tetrazolium chloride to a red, water-insoluble formazan pigment was used as a measure of respiratory activity. Basidiocarp samples were incubated in a phosphate buffer containing 1% tetrasolium chloride. After a suitable period, the samples were extracted with MeOH to remove any formazan pigment and the absorbance measured at 530 nm. Fresh M. oreades basidiocarps stained dark red in the tetrazolium solution. Dried/revived mushrooms also stained red demonstrating that they are capable of restoring metabolic activity after drying. Fresh mushrooms turned red more rapidly than those which had been previously dried. The degree of red coloration in revived specimens did not appear to be correlated with length of time in a dry state. The metabolic activity was killed by microwaving for four minutes.

Paul N. Wilmesmeier, Accounting

"Understanding Postretirement Benefit Accounting"

Advisor: Thomas Murray

This thesis centers around the new Statement of Financial Accounting Standards, FAS 106. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) began researching postretirement healthcare benefits in 1979, and unanimously approved FAS106 on December 19, 1990. This statement will require employers to change from a cash basis to an accrual basis of accounting for postretirement benefits. The first part of this thesis looks at the rising costs and liabilities that caused postretirement benefits to be such an important issue. The second part discusses the FASB's research process, the requirements of FAS 106, employers' objections to these requirements, and the FASB's defense of the statement. The third part of the thesis predicts the initial effects of FAS 106 on financial statements and the stock market, and companies' responses through plan changes and prefunding.

Paulette Wojtalewicz, Theater

"Many Voices: Creating a Theatrical Piece"

Advisor: Kaarin Johnston

Many Voices is a one-act performance piece. It focuses on the topic of sexism. It consists of short scenes and two-person exchanges, plus speeches of various lengths and a framing device based upon the theme of testimony. The piece runs approximately 30 minutes. The remainder of the thesis text consists of a reflection paper on the playwriting process and four appendices, containing other writings by the author and a poem by another writer, Jessica Wampach. The author's approach to this piece was as a highly physical, movement- oriented theatrical piece which represents both male and female perspectives on sexism and gender-related issues.

David Wuolu, Mathematics

"An Investigation of Iterated Function Systems and Fractals"

advisor: Michael Zielinski

This paper explores some of the fascinating ideas involved in the generation of fractals. A linear algebra and strong calculus background is sufficient to understand the main ideas, however many of the proofs require analysis. I examined metric spaces, and in particular, the metric space H(X), which consists of the compact subsets of the space X. The completeness of this space is proven, enabling the construction of fractals as fixed points of contractive transformations on H(X). I use the classical Cantor set and the Sierpinski triangle to illustrate the construction of fractals using iterated function systems (IFS's) which consist of a space together with a finite number of contractive transformations. I also prove that for at least one case, a transformation consisting of an infinite number of contraction mappings is not a contraction mapping.