2004 Thesis Abstracts

Ellen Albares

"Kruskal's Minimum Spanning Tree Algorithm: Does Partial Sorting of the List of Edges Improve Performance?"

Advisor: Lynn Ziegler, Computer Science

Computer program implementations of Kruskal's MST algorithm frequently create a list of the weighted graph edges and sort the list in ascending order.  My project implements Kruskal's using three sorting techniques: 1) Standard QuickSort sorts the entire list of edges.  2) Modified QuickSort adds edges to the MST as the partition process isolates subgroups of about ten of the lowest weighted edges, stopping when the MST is complete.  3) Heap Kruskal removes edges from a minimizing heap until the MST is complete.

When run on randomly generated graphs, both partial sorting techniques can have shorter run times.  Modified QuickSort is faster when less than about 90% of the graph edges must be sorted.  Heap Kruskal is faster when the graphs have two edge weights and less than 60% of the edges must be sorted; with 100,000 edge weights this percentage drops to 15%.  Modified QuickSort yields significantly better performance than the other two techniques.

Theresa Arnold

"A Challenge to Women: Simone de Beauvoir's Philosophy of Transcendence"

We will approach this paper in three sections.  Before looking directly at The Second Sex, we will take a step back to look at its philosophical underpinnings, which Beauvoir explores in The Ethics of Ambiguity.  We will next turn to The Second Sex to see how Beauvoir applies her philosophy of transcendence to the particular situation of women and challenges them to accept the conditions of their human existence.  Finally, we will turn to a collection of short stories by Rosario Castellanos, Álbum de familia, in order to explore the tension between human relationships and creative transcendence in Beauvoir’s philosophy. 

Joseph Athman

"Using Distributed Computing to Improve the Efficiency of a Genetic Algorithm"

Advisor: J. Andrew Holey, Computer Science

This project will show that the traveling salesperson problem (TSP) will become a much more manageable problem when these two techniques are used: 1) A genetic algorithm (GA) is used to greatly speed up finding usable solutions and 2) The algorithm will be distributed to several computers to further improve the efficiency of the algorithm.  Although GA's have been shown numerous times to be an extremely effective manner in finding possible solutions to NP-complete problems, there are some limitations.  The major drawback to GA is the inability to guarantee that the optimal solution will be found.  GA's employ a great deal of randomness which makes it impossible to say exactly how quickly the best solution will be found or even if it will be found.  It is inaccurate to say that a GA solves because finding the best solution is never guaranteed.  A solution in a GA is simply one possible way of solving the problem, not the best solution.  Keeping in mind the limitations of GA's, the interesting part of this project is to show how distributing the algorithm can really speed up the process.

Anna Bartley

""Beauty - Be Not Caused": An Exploration into the Effect of Beauty on the Life and Selected Works of Edith Wharton"

Advisor: Ozzie Mayers, English

The societal standard for feminine beauty exerts a very strong influence on the minds and motivations of women.  In no society was this truer than during the Victorian Era.  Edith Wharton, as a product of this society, reacted strongly to the beauty standard of her day and what it prescribed for the proper activities and values for women.  In many ways she was able to separate herself from the constrictive nature of her society and was able to criticize it.  In other ways, she remained held fast to the expected values, and continued to hold beauty in high esteem.  In my work, I analyze the influence her culture's beauty codes had on Edith Wharton -- as a woman and as a novelist -- and thus how her feelings on the subject influenced her presentation of feminine beauty through the heroines of her novels, particularly within The House of Mirth, The Custom of the Country, and The Age of Innocence.

Julie Berglund

"Passive Radon Progeny Dosimeters based on Solid State Nuclear Track Detectors (SSNTD)"

Advisor: Daniel Steck, Physics

Radon-related lung cancer is responsible for approximately 21,00 deaths each year in the U.S. alone.  The risk of developing lung cancer is associated with the cumulative energy delivered to the lung by radon progeny.  However, despite the fact that the risk arises from exposure to radon progeny, most exposure studies are currently based on measured radon levels.  The purpose of this work was to develop a detector that could quantify the available dose from radon progeny.  The detector developed is able to accurately measure the airborne dose as well as reconstruct the historical radon concentration when its measurements are combined with a dosimetric model.

Elizabeth Blonigen

"A re-Examination of the Slave Diet"

Advisors: David Bennetts, History and Amy Olson, Nutrition

The genre of literature discussing the lives of slaves throughout United States history is vast and covers all aspects of slavery from the viewpoints of different researchers.  The slaves' quality of life is a complex topic since each plantation had its own unique way of running, and slaves' experiences on the plantation differed in their access to food, housing and clothing, and treatment and punishments.  The aspect of the slaves' life that is the focus of this study is the slaves' diet on the plantation.  This study challenges the recent argument by Robert Fogel and Stanley Engerman that slave diets were calorically and nutritionally adequate.

Michael Brakke

“International Tourism, Demand, and GDP Implications: A Background and Empirical Analysis”


International tourism, a primary source of growth for many countries, is inadequately represented in the economic literature.  This paper attempts to expand upon past research, thereby supplementing some deficiencies and posing new questions.  A pooled model for international tourism demand is constructed for 85 countries using fixed-effects specification.  In addition to conventional variables, a variable representing political conditions acts as a proxy for the many exogenous impacts that affect tourism.  The nature of tourism volatility due to these exogenous shocks is discussed, and a statistical link between concentrations in tourism as an export good and GDP volatility is explored.

Maria Capecchi

Roses on the Kitchen Table: A Choreopoem

Advisor: Mara Faulkner, English

Roses on the Kitchen Table is a choreopoem containing six characters who, through monologues, tell fragmented stories of their lives. Each woman struggles with her desires for her life as they conflict with society’s idea of what women’s desire should be.  The women strive to voice the unspoken emotions, the often hidden and silenced inner lives of women, through their monologues. Roses on the Kitchen Table: A Choreopoem is a kaleidoscopic view of six women’s lives. Through their monologues, the six characters seek to define themselves and grapple with their sense of self in a society where gender roles, consumerism, ethics, the environment in which people live, and cultural consciousness are evolving. The women in the piece are not responsible for the power dichotomy between genders; the blame also cannot be placed completely on the men who hover at the edges of the poems. Rather, Roses on the Kitchen Table portrays a gendered description of a society where women’s bodies are a consumer product, where a power dichotomy exists between genders, and where feminism is considered unnecessary and obstructive, problems to which we all contribute.

Kelly Crow

"Islam in the Media: The Myth of Conflict in Scholarship and Discourse"

Advisors: Noreen Herzfeld, Theology and Michael Opitz, English

Cloaked by the lens of a non-Muslim perspective and filtered through media representations, Islam as a spiritual tradition receives little fair and legitimate consideration in contemporary dialogue. As a result of media and scholarly distortions, many Western consciousnesses directly link Islam, violence, and war. I provide evidence to this powerful and prevalent subtext in contemporary discourse by focusing on imagery from the cover of Time Magazine. Utilizing ideas put forth by theorist Roland Barthes, I explore the symbolic meanings of visual texts discussing Islam, Arabs, and the Middle East. I also present a fair exploration of Islam’s foundational spiritual teachings; doing so allows for comparisons and contrasts between the spiritual realities of the religion of Islam and projected understandings of Islam in Western media and scholarship. In sum, the work presented in this study provides evidence of the scholarly discourses and visual texts distorting Islam as a religious tradition and perverting its meaning in prevalent contemporary world-views.

Laura Cudzilo

"Contar la Historia, el Presente, y el Futuro en Multiples Voces: Le Heteroglosia en En el ultimo azul de Carme Riera"

Advisor: Elena Sanchez Mora, Spanish

Meghan Doyle

"The Effect of Chronic Mild Stress on Ethanol Self-administration in Rats"

Advisor: Linda Tennison

Although researchers cannot manipulate human life stress to determine the effect of depression on alcohol use, research with an animal model provides the opportunity to investigate a causal link between depression and substance abuse.  Researchers developed the Chronic Mild Stress (CMS) procedure to model ongoing strains that may cause human depression.  Exposure to CMS and subsequent reduction of sucrose intake is classified as a decreased response to reward, or anhedonia.  The current study proposed that when exposed to CMS, subjects would decrease sucrose solution intake and either increase or decrease ethanol solution intake.  After 8 weeks of exposure to stressors including paired housing, soiled cage, overnight illumination, and cage tilt, statistical analysis revealed no consumption differences between control and stressed animals.  Explanations for the failure to reproduce the CMS effect include choice of rat strain, stressors used, and consumption testing method.

James Durfey

"Fr. Zosima's Love: Can It Withstand Nietzsche's Critique of Moral Values?"

Advisor: Dennis Beach, Philosophy

Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th-century philosopher, believes that restrictive values, particular Christian values have no objective reality. Not only, he claims, do they not hold sway over us unnecessarily, but they result from and cause damage to our ability to live life. Fr. Zosima, a character from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, makes one of the most eloquent cases for Christian values, and in particular for his doctrine of love, which impels every person to act with love towards everyone else. This restrictive doctrine, which prevents such seemingly natural instincts as hatred, violence, lechery and general barbarism, from Nietzsche’s view, surely damages its practitioners’ ability to respond to life. Specifically, Nietzsche would expect to see from such a character as Fr. Zosima a characteristic pattern of behavior, which Nietzsche locates in religious figures in Beyond Good and Evil and On the Genealogy of Morals. If Zosima’s values do what Nietzsche is afraid they will do, we should see manifested in him Nietzsche’s archetypal behavior patterns for priests. Zosima, however, proves to be beyond the scope of Nietzsche’s criticisms. He fails to live up to Nietzsche’s expectations of his behavior, and even seems to excel at doing the opposite: responding well to life. What enables Dostoevsky to portray a character so committed to Christianity yet so far removed from the pitfalls of restrictive values? It turns out that Dostoevsky understands many of the problems with values. As we see from analyzing other characters in the novel, other values aside from Christianity can breed ressentiment. Even in a vacuum of values (as we see in Ivan Karamazov) the subconscious and the desires it breeds in us can lead to ressentiment-like behavior. By way of explaining the contrast between Nietzsche and Dostoevsky, then, we can say that Nietzsche has much more confidence in the benign nature of the subconscious than does Dostoevsky, who doesn’t trust it at all. Both of these great thinkers, however, centered many of their beliefs around acceptance. Zarathustra, a hero from Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra struggles to be able to accept the last man. Zosima accepts the apparently irreconcilable conflict of innocent suffering. Certainly between two diametrically opposed figures in thought we can neither hope nor should we try for a perfect reconciliation. From a bit of agreement on their parts, however, we might derive some hope that some sort of objective answer to the question of how we ought to live our lives can be pursued in good faith.

Timothy Durnan

"Artificial Neural Networks Applied in a Strategic Bidding Environment"

Advisor: Carl Burch

In this project we applied reinforcement learning techniques to the two-player version of California Jack.  We modified the rules of the game only slightly: due to the inability to translate the "played first" rule into the program, we instead chose to have any situation in which both players bid the same value card to simply count zero for both players.

Peter Ehresmann

"Nairobi's housing crisis: an analysis of the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme"

Advisor: Gary Prevost, Political Science

Nairobi, Kenya is one of the most volatile urban centers in Africa, suffering from 60% of its population living in crowded and poverty-stricken informal settlements around the periphery of the city.  Efforts to upgrade Nairobi's slums have been attempted by the Government of Kenya (GoK) for decades, using different theories and strategies ranging from forced eviction and demolition to the current Sustainable Livelihoods Approach that claims resident participation as its hallmark.  A new initiative based on this strategy entitled the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (KENSUP), headed in partnership between the GoK & UN-Habitat, is focusing on Kiberia - East Africa's largest slum of over 700,000 residents.  Specifically, the KENSUP's starting point is a "village" of Kiberia called Soweto, which has a population of approximately 60,000 residents and is considered the poorest section of Kiberia informal settlement.  This current venture is entitled the Soweto Slum Upgrading Project (SSUP).

On paper, it appears to offer a plausible solution.  However, upon interviewing Kiberia's residents, key NGO, UN-Habitat, and the GoK, it is clear that there is a lack of coordination, dialog, and cooperation between the stakeholders of this project.  This combined with more enduring factors, such as the lack of clear national policies on land tenure and allocation, and Kiberia's dominant political power structure that has strong economic incentives to maintain the status quo, suggest this large-scale slum upgrading project will not be successful, while smaller and more localized self-help efforts provide a brighter alternative.

Amanda Fricke

"Medea:  The Witch or the Woman"

Advisor: Scott Richardson, Modern and Classical Languages

The tale of Medea has been told many times and in many ways. The two most famous versions are those that we still have in their entirety are those told by Seneca and Euripides. Both playwright set out to tell the well-known story of a murderous witch…or do they? While Seneca gives us what we expect is a very traditional version of the play, Euripides changes everything around on us and the result is anything but what we expect. Medea does still murder her children but do we see her as the cold-hearted, murdering witch she is known to be? The question is, what has Euripides done differently from the traditional version we see Seneca presenting that glues the audience to the edge of their seat, waiting and eager, to see what will happen next? How did Euripides give Medea, a witch, a personality that the audience can repeatedly flip between loving and hating with the change of a scene even though she is plotting something considered truly heinous by all moral standards? I chose to examine how the two playwrights used the same myth of Medea to give us such different plays that aroused dramatically different emotions. The key I found was in the portrayal of the characters themselves, especially Medea. Seneca chose to give us static characters and clear-cut boundaries about what to feel. From the beginning of Seneca’s play we know to expect a horror story. Euripides on the other hand created dynamic characters and gives us no indication about how to feel or what to expect from them. These differences carry through to the rest of the characters as well. What we end up seeing is that each playwright had a very different purpose for writing his version. Seneca chose to go back and write a play that was closer to the simple myth as it most likely originally been told. Euripides wanted to create a new kind of tragedy where we don’t just feel sorrow for the wronged and innocent victim but rather everyone involved. He used this play and others that would follow to create a new form of tragedy.

Sarah Gillis

"Women in their Twenties: Life's Issues and Challenges"

Advisor: Rodger Narloch, Psychology

Arnett (2000) recently gave new attention to persons in their twenties when he suggested the concept of "emerging adulthood" as a distinct developmental period that involves undertaking new challenges while gradually working towards long-lasting decision making.  The present study investigated the issues and challenges facing current undergraduate senior women (N = 24) and recent undergraduate alumnae (N = 17), while also exploring their meaning-making and support systems.  Data were collected using an online survey containing four, open-ended questions.  Major findings indicated that undergraduate senior women were behind recent alumnae in regard to finding meaning in their lives.  However, both groups shared similar ideas on where meaning came from.  Also, while senior undergraduate women expected to rely on others, post-college, when dealing with their obstacles and fears, recent alumnae did not admit to doing this.

Adrian Harper-Vassell

"The Virtual Classroom: A Fusion of Education and Computer Technology"

Advisor: Lynn Ziegler, Computer Science

The world of multimedia and computer technologies is a rapidly advancing one.  However, these innovations often fail to be used in the service of public education and global development.  This project demonstrates the viability of remote education software as an alternative when face-to-face learning is not feasible.  This is achieved through the use of java-based software, which allows teachers and students to interact with each other through real-time, streaming multimedia via the Internet, simulating a real-world classroom environment.  User implementation along with observations through programming development shed light on how to improve remote teaching technology, thus making the simulated learning experience more user-friendly.  In addition, this analysis will identify specific areas of Java packages that, with some development, can facilitate all the demands of interactive remote teaching software.

Kathryn Hayes

"From Presidential Debates to Minnesota Classrooms: An Analysis of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001"

Advisor, Robert Weber, Political Science

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 significantly changed the federal role in the United States K-12 education system, but by September of 2003, its impact remained unclear.  This thesis is a preliminary and exploratory assessment of the realities of NCLB and its impact after two years of implementation efforts.  This assessment addresses three different questions: How did NCLB come to exist?  How is NCLB affecting the United States? Finally, how is NCLB affecting individual school districts?  I assessed how the law came to exist by researching what brought NCLB to Congress, the foci of debates, and the origins of opposition.  I assessed the law's affect on the United States by analyzing national media.  I finally assessed the law's impact on local school districts through interviews in two case study districts - Hopkins and St. Cloud.

Researching these three aspects of NCLB reveals that the law is largely the result of a buzzword, "accountability," and a buzz phrase, "Leave No Child Behind," turning into federal law without the Congress or the Administration seriously considering opposition before passage.  The law has subsequently become a frustration and a headache.  Nationally, NCLB is perceived as being problematic because of its onerous details and bureaucratic requirements, its unrealistic expectation, and finally its inadequate funding.  Researching the law's impact on St. Cloud and Hopkins revealed that the two districts face problems within each of the aforementioned categories, but the many characteristics that make the districts unique also make them uniquely affected by NCLB's many details and requirements.

Matthew Horning

"Misremembering 9/11: The Cultural use of Nostalgia in national Memory"

Advisor: Madhu Mitra, English

Restorative nostalgia, which attempt to recreate a monolithic past, detrimentally affects society because it presents itself as truth. Conversely, reflective nostalgia, self-conscious as nostalgia, focuses instead on our longing for the past and the fragmented, unreliable nature of our memory (Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia). Following the US Civil War, nostalgic longings for an idealized South coupled with the creation of whiteness and a collective misremembering of the US Civil War period laid the foundations for problems afflicting society today: discrimination and pernicious white racism.  I analyzed post-9/11 presidential rhetoric, country music, and media coverage in a search to highlight trends in the ways our understanding and memory of 9/11 and the pre-9/11 world are being shaped and molded to fit one particular view of history, searching for parallels and lessons from the US Civil War.  I found that the post-9/11 rhetorical response misremembers the pre-9/11 world using restorative nostalgia and posits one official understanding—lacking complexity, nuance, or reflection—of 9/11 and its implications. By more accurately and critically understanding 9/11 using reflective nostalgia, we as individuals and a society can help direct present decisions and future courses of action towards more positive, appropriate ends.

Rachel Lundby

"Changes in France’s income distribution resulting from the Socialist income redistribution economic programs enacted between 1981-82"

Advisor: Margaret Lewis, Economics

In 1981, France elected their first socialist president, Francois Mitterrand. During his first year in office, President Mitterrand and his socialist government implemented a number of policies designed to redistribute income and reduce unemployment in France.  This thesis examines the overall effect of these policies on the income distribution between low-income earners and wealthy individuals. The effectiveness of the redistribution and employment policies are measured by examining the changes in income distribution between the rich and the poor both before (1979) and after (1984) the enactment of Mitterrand’s programs. The empirical testing used in this thesis utilizes Lorenz curves and Gini coefficients to measure the changes in income distribution. These statistics indicate that France’s income distribution was more equal in 1984 than in 1979, which suggest that Mitterrand’s policies did achieve their desired redistributive goals.

Amanda Macht

"School-aged Bullying Experience and Relation to Interpersonal Relationships of College Students and the Moderating Role of Hardiness"

Advisor: Rodger Narloch

The primary objective of this study was to investigate the possible correlation between bullying history and the quality of current interpersonal relationships in college students.  One hundred and seventy college students completed surveys concerning both friendships and romantic relationships.  I collected these data to assess retrospective perception of bullying experiences from childhood through the present, hardiness, and aspects of friendships and romantic relationships on the dimensions of trust, relationship quality, and shyness.  A statistically significant, negative correlation was found between reported bullying experience and both friendship quality and trust, indicating that as victimization levels increase, current satisfaction and trust in friendships deceased.  A significant, positive relationship was also found between victimization history and shyness, indicating that as reported victimization increased current levels of shyness also increased.  These findings conflict with those reported by Olweus (1993).  Hardiness was not found to significantly moderate the relationship between any of the variables investigated.  Consistent with the findings of Pelligrini and Long (2000), reported victimization increased from elementary to middle school and then decreased in high school and through college.  Finally, gender differences were found in the types of reported victimization experienced, with males reporting more physical and verbal victimization.

Susan Matthees

"Analysis of Obesity Prevention Programs for Children"

Advisor: Amy Olson, Nutrition

Obesity in the United States has increased dramatically in the last 20 years and by the year 2050, it is expected that almost all Americans will be overweight.  Obesity increases an individual's risk for cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer.  The estimated financial burden of obesity is $117 billion per year, which represents 4.7 percent of the total (public and private sector) US health care expenditures in the year 2000.  The significant financial and health costs of obesity make intervention crucial, but there are few successful models for reducing obesity.  Targeting children and adolescents in prevention programs provides the greatest impact opportunity because such programs can teach lifelong weight control and prevent children from becoming obese adults.  The most successful obesity prevention programs take place in the schools and combine several elements including a familial component, nutrition education, and physical activity.

Kathleen McCarney

"Art for a People: An Iconographic and Cultural Study of Mural Painting in Minnesota's New Deal Art Programs"

Advisors: Annette Atkins, History and David Paul Lange, Art

Since their creation in the Great Depression, over 70 murals have decorated the walls of post offices, schools, hospitals and town halls across Minnesota.  As part of Roosevelt's New Deal, these federally sponsored mural programs aimed to provide work relief for struggling artists and to create artworks for the people.  These Minnesota murals, which show images of people working in local industries and on rural farms and living in prosperous communities and in historical settings, share deep uniting themes in the ideas and scenes they portray.  Through my research, I have discovered that they show an idealized vision of life.  This idealization is particularly evident in the treatment of time - an idealized past and a generically positive present, community - an emphasized sense of community spirit but a narrow definition of the community population itself, and work - a narrow by determined definition of work.  These expressions shape what is ideal, good and normal within the visual society they represent, potentially creating a means for citizens to find motivation, comfort or a new definition of reality within the visual imagery they encountered every day.

Teresa Minnich

"Coalition and Conflict: The Formation of the Bush Doctrine"

Advisor: Gary Prevost, Political Science

In June of 2002, following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the consequent military campaign in Afghanistan, President George W. Bush outlined the Bush Doctrine.  This Doctrine, which identifies terrorism as the greatest global threat of the contemporary era, publicly espouses preemptive action as the only means of adequately confronting terrorism.  Using foreign policy decision making theory, this paper examines the formation and legitimation of the Bush Doctrine.  The theoretical foundations and beliefs of neoconservatism are examined and the varying political ideologies within the Bush Administration are analyzed in an attempt to identify the key personalities and pressures leading to the choice of the Bush Doctrine as the administration's response to global terrorism.  This work reveals that fears of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction engendered by September 11, compelled members of the Bush foreign policy team to espouse the transformative , interventionist approach advocated by the neoconservative position.

Laura Peterson

"The Effect of Head Start on PPVT-R Scores: An Investigation into Racial Differences"

Advisor: Dan Finn, Economics

Head Start, an early childhood development program for disadvantaged youth, has been serving children and their families for over 30 years.  In this time, a debate has continued as to whether the program has long-term beneficial results.  Two leading researchers on Head Start, Currie and Thomas, claim only white children benefit from the program as indicated by higher test scores in elementary school.  This paper challenges the idea that race is the main factor affecting success of children and instead suggests that a social characteristic highly correlated with race, like maternal education, is instead the true difference.  In this study, children are grouped by levels of their mothers' education and intelligence; it is found through ordinary least squares regression that Head Start has a significant negative effect for children of mothers with more than a high school diploma and intelligence test scores between the 11th and 20th percentile and above the 50th percentile.  It is suggested additional social variables should be investigated to better understand the factors influencing long-term effects of Head Start.

Paul Sexton

"Towards optimal Usage of C++ Templates and Generic Programming Techniques"

Advisor: Michael Heroux, Computer Science

Tpetra is a C++ library for linear algebra computations on high-performance distributed node systems.  It makes extensive use of templates and the Standard Template Library (STL).  This provides numerous benefits, including the ability to template the Ordinal and Scalar fields on any well-defined types, and automatic resource allocation.  We compare the performance of Tpetra with Epetra, a similar library that does not use templates or the STL.  Specifically, we compare the time needed to create and initialize a sparse-matrix object, as well as that object's performance in computing a matrix-vector multiplication.  We show that it is now possible to use generic programming techniques in scientific computing application without sacrificing efficiency.

Christelle Sitti

"Impact of Education on Economic Growth of Senegal"

Advisor: Sharmista Self, Economics

Economic theory tells us that if a country increases its level of education, we would expect to observe a rise in its income or GDP (gross domestic product). The reasoning behind the theory is this: when people are educated, they gain knowledge that transforms them into skilled labor. This skilled labor, when properly put into use, makes the various sectors of the economy more productive and efficient, and ultimately promotes a rise in the overall income level. The main objective of this research paper is to evaluate this relationship in the case of Senegal by using a model that combines two economic theories. The first theory was developed by Charles Jones in his book Introduction to Economic Growth (1998). The second one resulted from the work of three economists who are Mankiw, Romer and Weil (“A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth”- 1992).

Paul Stenberg

"The Study of Femtosecond Light Pulses from a Ti:Sapphire Laser"

Advisor: Dean Langley, Physics

The Ti:Sapphire laser has been in the forefront of ultra-fast optics for over ten years now, and is still considered one of the most useful lasers for ultra-fast optics. This project has involved the construction of a Ti:Sapphire laser to produce light pulses on the order of ~10fs. Due to the difficulty in measuring a light pulse of that is this short, a Frequency Resolved Optical Gating (FROG) system has been employed. This FROG system is to be used for obtaining information about the length, frequency, intensity and phase of the pulses. Unfortunately, I have been having difficulty obtaining results so this thesis will deal mainly with the theory behind these concepts.

Matthew Syzdek

"Restrictive Emotionality and Affectionate Behavior in Adolescent Males: A Small Groups Norms-challenging Experimental Intervention"

Adviosr: Michael Livingston, Psychology

This study examined the effects of a Small Groups Norms-challenging Model intervention (SGNM) on restrictive emotionality (RE) and affectionate behavior (RABBM).  Participants were 23 males, ages 12-18, from a small preparatory school.  Two modified Gender Role Conflict (GRCS) Scales were used to individually assess participants' actual RE and RABBM and perceptions about RE and RABBM in other high school students at their school.  Twelve subjects participated in SGNM intervention while 11 participants were in the control condition.  At 3 and 7 weeks after the intervention, participants completed both modified GRCS.  Statistical analyses revealed significantly or near significantly lower perceived and actual RE and RABBM scores in intervention participants.  The researcher noted potential social desirability issues and discussed future research applications.

Kevin Trettel

"Bounce Mapping: The Effects of the Range Coordinates Sharing a Greatest Common Divisor on Path Behavior in an Integer Lattice"

Advisor: Michael Heroux, Computer Science

In an integer lattice, patterns can be seen in the number of paths and the number of directions they take in relation to the width and height of the lattice.  This phenomenon can also be seen in 3-dimensional lattices – with the numbers and directions of paths relating to the width, height, and depth of the lattice – and extended beyond that into any dimension, where the maximum value for each coordinate is given by a set of range coordinates.  Given the range coordinates for a lattice, mathematical formulae can be written to describe these patterns within the lattice, predicting the number of paths and the number of directions each path takes.  These path formulae will not directly relate to the set of range coordinates, but to the set of greatest common divisors of different subsets of the set of range coordinates.

Kristin Westlund

"Uninsured: Determining Causes across the Nation"

Advisor: Louis Johnston, Economics

Millions of people in the United States do not have health insurance.  The number of these uninsured varies dramatically from state to state, and across demographic characteristics such as age, sex, and income.  These characteristics are indicative of ones status of whether or not they are insured.  The paper identifies the most significant causes of being uninsured and analyzes why some states are not as significantly affected by the problem.

Rebecca Wolf

"Very Discrete Dynamical Systems"

Advisor: Robert Hesse, Mathematics

The chaotic behavior of discrete dynamical systems, such as that associated with the logistic difference equation, is fairly well understood.  However, what happens when this equation is modified to become very discrete?  In particular, we consider the floor logistic map: Floor[4x(1-x/M)] where M = 3, 4, 5, ... and discuss the dynamics, particularly fixed points and cycles, of this map of the set of integers from 0 to M onto itself.  Results show that the function exhibits modular behavior: a non-trivial fixed point occurs only when M mod 4 = 0 or 3.  A theorem and proof are included.  Cycles can be found by organizing iterates into matrix form and computing eigenvalues, which indicate the length of the cycles.  A second theorem stating that the eigenvalues will be either 0 (which indicate eventually periodic points) or roots of unity (which indicate cycles) is written and proved.  However, through 1000 cases of M, we are unable to predict the order cycles will occur in and which cycles are associated with any particular value of M.  We can, however, based on results, develop a function to predict the number of cycles associated with a given M.  It is unsatisfying that there is no discernible pattern to when cycles occur, but more research may uncover the solution.

Steven Young

"Tarantula Petting Zoo: A Collection of Short Stories"

Advisor: J. P. Earls, English

Having engaged in creative writing for years, my thesis, a collection of short stories, is a culminating work of my skills as a writer so far.  Consisting of ten short stories of no particular theme, the thesis will utilize various literary techniques and forms, with a concentration on originality and humor.  My goal will be to produce ten quality, original short stories that look and sound nothing like the type of short stories written by someone my age. There will be no fluff, no coming-of-age, and no stories about my incredible travels while abroad for a semester.  I don’t care about that stuff and I am not delusional enough to think that you do either.  Instead, I will show you a world of pure fiction, sometimes depraved, sometimes strange, but hopefully, always interesting.  My goal with this thesis, above all, is to entertain.  I also want to examine these strange times we find ourselves in, and attempt to show that even reality can become parody.  So, expect a humorous, original work of fiction that just may violate good taste.  Expect a petting zoo full of twisted things, commanding you to touch them and revolting you at the same time.