2005 Thesis Abstracts
“The Long War or the Third Way? A comparative study of the Provisional Irish Republican Army and Euskadi ta Askatasuna”
Advisor: Gary Prevost, Political Science
While many issues in both Euskadi and Northern Ireland continued to go unresolved, Sinn Fein and the Republican movement continue to maintain their commitment to the peace process, with SF President Gerry Adams going so far as to say that the IRA may need to be "removed" to provide "holistic, definitive, conclusive closure on all the outstanding issues" pertaining to the Good Friday Agreement. In contrast, ETA has maintained its status as a dominate force in Basque Separatism, executing successful operations as recently as March 2005 while Batasuna has remained abstentionist in outlook (at least beyond the local level). My paper will explain these differences as the result of varying levels of commitment from both host states and foreign governments to provide the good offices necessary for successful negotiations to occur.
"Empirical Test for Ricardian Equivalence"
Advisor: John Olson, Economics
The contemporary debate pertaining to the effects of government debt on an economy has resulted in two different conclusions in the research field of economics. The generally accepted view pertaining to the effects of fiscal policy is the Keynesian position. However, the Keynesian school of thought has not been able to fully discredit the alternative view, Ricardian equivalence. The previous debate is nested in the fact that economic theory and empirical results obfuscate the consequences of government debt on an economy. This paper builds on the work of Roger C. Kormendi, who found evidence of Ricardian equivalence in the U.S. economy for the time period 1929 to 1976. The paper updates and extends Kormendi’s data definitions to determine if Ricardian equivalence still exists in the U.S. economy. Evidence is found that Ricardian equivalence may have existed prior to 1976. The data extension reveals that the Keynesian position is the most accurate model for the effects of government debt on private consumption for the U.S. economy.
"L'affaire du foulard: The Muslims’ Search for Identity in the French Republic"
Advisor: Manju Parikh, Political Science
In November 1989, l’affaire du foulard or the Headscarf Affair exploded into the public scene in France. Twenty-five years later in 2004, a law, which was generally supported by the French government and society, banned all “signs or attire which exhibit conspicuously a religious affiliation” from French public high schools. This directly affected Muslim girls for they were no longer able to wear headscarves at schools and subsequently led many in the Muslim community to question the French government’s behavior and actions that seemed to target them. L'affaire du foulard: The Muslims’ Search for Identity in the French Republic intends to explain the reasoning behind why the headscarf is so controversial in France and whether there was a need to ban all headscarves in French public schools. Furthermore, this thesis considers the Headscarf Affair from a broader context by highlighting their increasing presence and the difficulties that Muslims still experience in France.
"An Evaluation of Java as a High Performance Computing Language through Jpetra: A Java Library for Distributed Memory Parallel Linear Algebra Computations"
Advisor: Michael Heroux, Computer Science
The Java programming language and Sun Microsystems' Java Virtual Machine (JVM) provide a cross platform runtime environment that simplifies application development and deployment when compared to traditional natively compiled languages such as C++. Jpetra is a pure Java library for distributed memory parallel linear algebra computations that can be used to test the usefulness of Java as a high performance computing (HPC) language. Through my test results I will show that although Java does provide a promising platform for HPC computing, the way that Sun Microsystems' JVM is implemented makes optimizing Jpetra in a parallel environment challenging due to memory management issues. I will then provide recommendations for how I believe Jpetra should be modified to help alleviate the problems that hurt the performance of Jpetra caused by Sun Microsystems’ JVM’s memory management.
"One Bread, One Body? Catholics, Lutherans and the Eucharist"
Advisor: Susan Wood, Theology
The worship of the Christian Church has always been centered on the celebration of the Eucharist. Over the centuries, Christian groups have embraced several interpretations of it. While theological development and diversity are often positive, some disagreements divide Christians in a manner which hurts the Church. Historically, disagreements about the Eucharist have been part of that division. I will investigate the Eucharistic theology of Lutherans and Roman Catholics, try to understand where, historically, the two have diverged and if, in the light of twentieth-century ecumenical dialogs, agreement on this topic is near. However, the Eucharist does not stand in a theological vacuum. Participation in the Eucharist has ecclesiological significance as well. Perhaps nothing better illustrates the pain and scandal of a divided church that the absence of a common eucharist. Today, although the theologies of the Eucharist in the Lutheran and Roman Catholic Churches are similar enough to permit intercommunion, there are ecclesiological issues which render this practice inappropriate at the present time.
"Factors Affecting Deposition, Implantation, and Retention of Radon Progeny in Glass"
Advisor; Dan Steck, Physics
Radon (Rn) continues to be the second leading cause of lung cancer, responsible for anywhere from 8,000 to 45,000 deaths a year in the United States (EPA 2003). As a wide-spread health concern, many studies have examined the airborne concentrations of Radon progeny (RnP), the primary source of the cumulative energy delivered by radiation or the dose. This study aimed at examining processes RnP undergo near surfaces such as glass. A better understanding of processes such as deposition, implantation, resuspension. and long-term retention will help the reliability of new passive dose estimations.
"Antidepressant Efficacy and Behavioral Comparisons of Two Animal Models of Depression"
Advisor: Linda Tennison, Psychology
The current study examined the validity of the chronic mild stress and learned helplessness models of depression in addition to testing the efficacy of the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine. Thirty-six male albino rats were randomly assigned to three experimental conditions: control, chronic mild stress (CMS), and learned helplessness (LH). Half of the animals in each condition received IP injections of imipramine at 10 mg/kg/day, and the other half received equal volumes of isotonic saline. All animals were weighed daily throughout experimentation. The CMS animals were chronically stressed for a period of five weeks after which learned helplessness was induced in the LH group through one two hour shock session. All groups were tested weekly for sucrose consumption and following the initiation of learned helplessness behavioral tests were conducted. A Morris Water Maze and open field test were used to evaluate the spatial memory and anxiety behavior respectively of the rats. The results of this study indicate that the CMS model of depression is not very reliable in that sucrose consumption did not decrease even after 6 weeks of testing. The animals given imipramine showed significant growth delays which is indicated by their delayed weight gain in comparison to saline animals. LH rats showed more hyperactivity in the open field test on days 2, 3, and 7 of testing and deficits in spatial memory on the first day of Morris Water Maze testing.
"Leading Ladies: Concepts of Femininity in 1937-1941 Hollywood Women’s Films"
Advisor: Kenneth Jones, History
Women’s films centralized women during an era which lauded “the forgotten man.” The films depicted the horrors and successes of female independence and the problems and happiness of marriage. They dealt with conflicts women faced while working outside the home and strengthening their authority within the home. Every heroine portrayed a woman that audiences could aspire to be or chastise for her mistakes. Women’s films provided a model for female behavior at a time when women were uncertain about their own roles. I examined some of the most popular films of all time – including classics such as Bringing up Baby, His Girl Friday, Gone with the Wind, and Rebecca – and studied smart-talking characters played by revered actresses like Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, and Ginger Rogers. I considered how the heroines of 1937-1941 Hollywood women’s films reflected concepts of female behavior and femininity and discovered that heroines in women’s film were feminine yet strong, witty yet gorgeous, in control of their own lives yet happy to choose the socially acceptable path of wife and mother.
"Chopin's Ballade Opus 52: Analysis, History and Performance"
Advisor: Robert Koopmann, Music
The ballade has become one of Chopin’s trademark compositional genres. Performers and musicologists give notable attention to the Chopin Ballades proving them to be landmark pieces in the world of musical study and performance. Among the four Ballades of Chopin, the Opus 52 has been given special attention. Jim Samson writes that Chopin’s Opus 52 ballade is “[in] common consent one of Chopin’s masterpieces, and one of the masterpieces of nineteenth-century piano music in general” (Samson 219). The intent of this research is to create a depth of analytical, historical and performance understanding that will enhance the overall performance of the Opus 52. Understanding of the analytical components was achieved by exploring the form and compositional features of the Ballade. Knowledge of historical influence was gained by researching the history of the ballade genre and Chopin’s life at the time the Ballade was composed. Finally, questions of performance in regards to pedaling, musical interpretation, and other qualities were researched through a lesson and interview with Lydia Artymiw –a distinguished concert pianist. These areas of understanding undoubtedly enhance the overall performance of Chopin’s Ballade in F minor, Opus 52.
"Exploring Distributed Peer-to-Peer Co-evolutionary Genetic Programming of Finite State Automata"
Advisor: Chris Lusena, Computer Science
Genetic Programming is a branch of Artificial Intelligence which uses evolutionary theory to automatically write programs. As of 2003, only 8 people have managed to produce human-level quality programs through Genetic Programming, none of which has produced a program which competes directly and favorably with human-made programs in a head-to-head contest. My Genetic Programming project has evolved a simulated ant brain (a finite state automata machine) which competes, and wins, against other ants in the international programming contest called Ant Wars. In this contest artificial ants battle for food and survival in virtual worlds. This paper will center around the main ideas of Genetic Programming and how I was able to harness the power of evolution in order to automatically give rise to complex programs and sophisticated Ant Wars strategies.
"Before and after a General Theology Course: An Examination of College Students’ Religious Identity"
Advisor: Rodger Narloch, Psychology
An important component of young adulthood involves the exploration of religious beliefs, identity, and traditions. In the present study, I used archival data of 70 participants in a longitudinal study conducted at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University to determine how students’ scores on measures of identity exploration and commitment, intrinsic and extrinsic religious motivation, general and religious self-concept clarity, Quest, and self-reflection changed after completing an introductory theology course. Data showed an increase in pre-post exploration for women, but not for men, as well as significant relationships between gender and commitment and extrinsic religiosity. Furthermore, data revealed a pre-post increase in general self-concept clarity. In addition to significant relationships between extrinsic and intrinsic religious motivation and participation in religious activities, there were also significant pre-post x participation in religious activities interactions for religious self-concept clarity, extrinsic religious motivation, and Quest. This indicates that scores for religious activity non participants increased to the level of religious activity participants post course for religious self-concept clarity and extrinsic motivation, while the scores post course were higher for religious activity participants than non religious activity participants for Quest.
"Long-Term Metabolic and Health Effects of a Low-Carbohydrate, High-Fat, High-Protein Diet in Mus musculus: a Nineteen Week Longitudinal Study"
This study was designed to investigate the long-term metabolic adaptations and health effects of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat/protein diet in mice. One month old male ICR mice were fed a control, conventional high-carbohydrate diet (n!) or an experimental low-carbohydrate, high-fat, high-protein diet (n ). One pair of mice per group was euthanized at two week intervals for five months for tissue analysis. Basic metabolic data, body and tissue weights, blood and plasma metabolite and lipid profiles, liver glycogen and protein content, and liver serine dehydratase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activities were analyzed. The low-carbohydrate group gained significantly more weight (p<0.005 after 4 weeks) than the normally growing control group. Although ketosis was initially stimulated in the low-carbohydrate group, enzyme and tissue analysis suggest gluconeogenic activity was sufficient to alleviate the effects of severe dietary carbohydrate restriction and allow for glucose metabolism close to that demonstrated in the control group.
"On Stilts or Off: Motherhood as a Model and Motivation for Activism"
Advisor: Kelly Kraemer, Peace Studies
Motherhood is often viewed as one of the most traditional institutions in our society, so how can it serve as a model for social change? In this thesis, I hope to begin answering this question by examining philosophical and theoretical frameworks of mothering activities and how they can extend beyond the home into the community and political arena, focusing in large part on Sara Ruddick’s Maternal Thinking: toward a politics of peace. I also examine the revival of peace organizing around the themes of motherhood and nurturing through such groups as Mothers Acting Up, Code Pink, and Another Mother for Peace, analyze the responses of Minnesota women peace activists to a survey I conducted to see if they are similar to the responses of a nationwide survey conducted in the 1980’s, and respond to critiques of using motherhood as a model and organizing theme for activism.
"Roots and Wings: A Collection of Personal Essays"
Advisor: Ozzie Mayers, English
The personal essay, or creative nonfiction, is currently enjoying a revival in literary circles. Now considered a viable genre, the essay is eagerly received by readers and writers alike. Even readers who have not studied the field may find themselves unwittingly enjoying them; they even find their way into national newspapers, such as Ellen Goodman's columns, or onto national radio, such as Garrison Keillor's radio essays. After studying the genre, I soon found that I had been reading, enjoying, and even thinking in essays long before I knew what the genre was. My attraction to the essay is the same reason that it has become so popular recently. Unlike fiction,. articles, or poetry, the essay provides for me a perfect place to combine writing flair, brilliant insights, and myself. In Estranging the Familiar, G. Douglas Atkins asserts that "the return of/to the personal would be unthinkable and impossible without a strong interest in and commitment to the truths of the human heart." Like contemporary writers and scholars, the personal essay drew me in with these truths.
An Analysis of Trade Effects on World Poverty"
Advisor: Daniel Finn, Economics
This study addresses the ethics and economics of the link between international trade and poverty. With regard to the ethics, this paper exposes the flawed moral argument made by many in the developed world: trade between developed and developing nations harms the poor in developed nations, thus it ought to be stopped. This argument is flawed in one crucial way – it fails to take into account the effect trade has on the poor in the developing nation. This study proposes we abandon this nationalistic view and adopt a global perspective on the issue of trade and poverty. Consistent with this global approach, this study examines the net effect of trade on the world’s poor. This study shows that in theory international trade provides a net benefit for the world’s poor through an increase in their real wages. This theory is supported by empirical evidence from Mexico and the United States after the North American Free Trade Agreement.
"Preserving Global Stability: An Analysis of Hard and Soft Power Strategies"
In order for the United States to maintain global stability and its hegemonial title, it must balance its hard and soft strategies through the scope of foreign policy. By overemphasizing military intervention, unilateralism, and hard power strategies, the United States, and specifically the Bush administration, runs the risk of overextending American resources. Instead, the United States must treat international regimes as the framework for developing and enforcing norms that facilitate intergovernmental cooperation if it wishes to preserve its position as the stabilizer of the global political and economical order. This thesis will examine the ideological clash between neoliberals and neoconservatives in its quest to provide foreign policy implications that serve American interests best. Empirically, the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq are provided as case studies to demonstrate that the balance of hard and soft power strategies is much needed in U.S. foreign policymaking and more importantly, the preservation of global stability.
"Regrettable Incidents: The Historical Foundations of Japanese Stereotypes in World War II"
Advisor: David Bennetts, History
My paper will examine the negative stereotype of the Japanese that saturated the American mass media during World War II and its complicated historical bases. Beginning with the first Japanese immigrants to America, external forces such as economic depression, the lingering effects of an anti-Chinese movement, and the Russo-Japanese War created a volatile formula for discrimination against the Japanese. By utilizing census data, newspaper editorials, race theories and elements of popular culture during the early 20th century, I will attempt to illuminate the development of stereotypes that eventually found full exposure after the Pearl Harbor attack. My thesis will address the complex and often misunderstood nature of racism against the Japanese and will hopefully speak to the historical trends of intolerance towards people of other races in America today.
"A Study of Pollen Dispersal Models"
Advisors: Kris Nairn, Mathematics and Gordon Brown, Biology
When monks first arrived in Collegeville, in the 1860's, they recorded pine wood as one of the building materials. The actual pine curtain stops 40 miles north of Collegeville at Little Falls, MN. The question has been asked if the pine trees from Little Falls could account for the pollen deposition at Lake Hilary or if the trees from Little Falls could have a significant genetic impact on the pine population at Collegeville. To determine this, pollen dispersal models were studied and created. They were compared with each other and actual biological data. A total of 5 models were created based on dispersal functions coming from population equations and differential heat equations. A major problem is taking into account the wind, which seems to have a negative exponential relationship with the dispersal constant.
"The Failed Palestinian Mini-State: Governance, Occupation, and the Future"
Advisor: Manju Parikh, Political Science
The Oslo Accords, negotiated peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, conferred limited territorial and governmental jurisdiction through the creation of a Palestinian Authority. The mandates of the Oslo Accords formed a de facto Palestinian mini-state. Since its inception, this Palestinian mini-state has failed for three primary reasons. First, flawed theoretical assumptions associated with the Oslo Accords provided a poor foundation for political and social development. Second, actions of some Palestinian leadership have prevented the organization and functioning required in a democratic society. Finally, Israel, through their military occupation and fundamental control over daily Palestinian life has precluded the possibility of a successful Palestinian mini-state. This paper details the creation of the Palestinian mini-state and its ultimate failure. Analysis of each of the three main causes of failure concludes with a discussion of Palestinians future and their relationship with Israel. Finally, recommendations are made for action that may serve to improve the status quo.
"Construction of the Community and Personal Satisfaction Scale: A Sense of Vocation and Identity in College Students"
In previous literature, vocation has been discussed in terms of religiosity or an occupational goal. The goal of the current study was to create a measure of vocation that does not assume religious belief and is not limited to an occupational goal. Therefore, I created the Community and Personal Satisfaction Scale (CPSS) which assesses the extent to which one approaches one’s major life decisions with the perspective that these decisions will provide a sense of self-fulfillment by combining one’s self-interests with giving of oneself to benefit the needs of others. Participants (N = 200) completed this scale as well measures of intrinsic motivation and altruism and the Sense of Vocation Scale (SVS; Nocks & Angliss, 2001). Results revealed significant positive correlations between the CPSS, intrinsic motivation, altruism, and SVS. Thus, the combination of fulfilling one’s self-interests and benefiting others appears to measure vocation. Results did not reveal significant relationships between the CPSS, year in college, and gender.
"Semi-Direct Product of Edge Colored Graphs"
Advisor: Thomas Sibley, Mathematics
A distance can be defined on a complete graph, called an edge colored graph. Edge colored graphs have many properties; however, this paper is mostly concerned with homogeneity and algebraic properties of edge colored graphs. This paper defines a semi-direct product of graphs, similar to a semi-direct product of groups. A semi-direct product of graphs is based upon similarities of the graphs that compose it. This paper also investigates the homogeneity of the semi-direct product, and the groups of isometries of semi-direct products in certain cases.
"Equilibrium and Transient Modeling of the Fate and Transport of Radon Progeny"
Advisor: Dan Steck, Physics
Current radon risk assessments are based on radon gas measurements, which have long been suspected of being inaccurate predictors of effective dose. Using a mass-balance equilibrium model and a Monte-Carlo simulation, correlations were sought between measurable activities other than radon and the effective dose. Separate correlations for high aerosol and low aerosol environments were investigated. Both active filter measurements of airborne activities and passive detector measurements of surface deposited activities were considered. A number of correlations were found that predicted effective dose much more accurately than radon. Theory and measurements indicate that the coefficient of variance of the effective dose as predicted by radon can be reduced by a factor of two using surface deposited activities to predict the effective dose. A factor of four reduction was achieved using direct measurements of airborne attached and unattached 218-Po. Correlations predicting model parameters such as the attachment rate and deposition velocity from surface deposited activities were also investigated, but found to be too inaccurate for reliable use. Transient response times to step function changes to equilibrium room conditions were investigated. While it was previously assumed that activities took about 3-4 hours to come into equilibrium after conditions changed, measurements indicate that the return times to equilibrium after a change in room conditions can range from approximately 6-20 hours.
“To The Plath Then (A Collection of Creative Works)”
Advisor: J. P. Earls, English
Short stories are the building blocks of bigger works of fiction. Every ending has a beginning, but, as I found, not every beginning has an ending. In my writing of this essay, I had to overcome crippling writer’s block. In my introduction, I describe not only that struggle, but also my writing techniques. In writing the thesis, I attempted to answer the question of ‘Why write?” The answer I came up with: to deal with life. The stories themselves range from science fiction to realistic fiction. I drew from personal experience and wrote entirely fictional works. The seven stories in the collection are not the only stories that I wrote for my thesis, but they were the best that I created. Read at your own risk and try to keep an open mind.
"Red Lake, White Earth and ‘Blackgowns’: The Indian Industrial Schools of St. John’s Abbey and St. Benedict’s Monastery, 1884-1896"
Advisor: Annette Atkins, History
How and more importantly, why did the Benedictines become involved in off-reservation Industrial Schools? In this thesis, it is my goal to answer these questions. The opening of the schools was the result of three factors. First, the Benedictines subscribed to the popular beliefs and stereotypes about the Indians and what should be done with them. Second, the material situation of the mission, as well as the relationship between the Benedictines and the other involved parties on the reservation, created a situation where an off-reservation venture would seem desirable. Third, the financial situation of St. John's and St. Benedict's would have enticed the missionaries into opening schools because of the possibility of financial gain.
"More Than Two Genders: Negotiating Gender in the Ultimate Gender Binary"
Advisor: Sheila Nelson, Sociology
In an editorial entitled, "Expanding the GLBT tent," an African American transsexual female-to-male man points out the necessity for homosexual and heterosexual people alike to come to terms with the last letter in the "so-called GLBT alphabet soup." (Jackson, N., Expanding the GLBT Tent, The Gay Lesbian Review Worldwide, 11(3), 4) Indeed, it is time to recognize the forgotten 'T'. In this paper, I intend to develop an understanding of transgendered and transsexual identity. I will assemble a base of knowledge on the subject as it is understood by scientists and social scientists and as it is understood by those who are transgendered. Through a review of books and journal articles, as well as interviews with three transgendered/transsexual people, I will begin to explore the forgotten 'T', clarifying societal misconceptions about transgender and transsexual individuals. I will also argue that it is our dichotomous gender system that primarily causes identity struggles for transgendered individuals, and I will examine the uniquely dichotomous gender system at the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University.
"Duets for Three Friends"
Advisor: Brian Campbell, Music
Over the course of two years, I composed three instrumental duets: Evil Adventures for bassoon and piano, Sarabande for violin and piano, and March and Tedesca for trombone and piano. For these works, I paired the piano – an instrument for which I feel comfortable composing – with a member of three main instrumental families: woodwinds, strings, and brass. I viewed these works as “composition training wheels,” preparing me for large-scale, orchestral writing. Additionally, I intended each piece as a sort of musical offering for three gifted friends. Working closely with these musicians informed me of more than just their instruments’ ranges; I learned timbre, color, special effects, and “what just sounds good.” With these talented instrumentalists and myself at the piano, I performed the bassoon and violin pieces publicly several times, including at my junior and senior piano recitals. I also wrote a detailed paper on the duets, analyzing key movements, motivic development, unifying elements, and musical influences.
"Words Will Never Hurt Me: The Harm Principle and Free Speech"
Advisor: Joseph DesJardins, Philosophy
Free speech is hailed in societies such as the United States because it promotes individuality and self-expression. However, free speech has the ability to interfere with other liberties and ought to be restricted in certain circumstances. John Stuart Mill outlined the Harm Principle in his 1859 work, On Liberty, which suggests a government may restrict an act if it is deemed harmful to another. Although Mill's ideas have greatly influenced my own, I offer a new interpretation of the Harm Principle as it applies to free speech issues. I propose the emotional harm felt from speech is an inadequate justification for silencing individuals, even if the promoted are abhorrent. My reformulation of the Harm Principle is applied to hate speech and pornography, which many deem harmful in our society. Even in these scenarios, as long as individuals aren't being harassed, threatened, or having their privacy invaded, speech must be allowed.
"Communication in Close Male-Male Friendships in a College Setting"
Advisor: Karyl Daughters, Communication
The literature examining gender and close friendships is somewhat inconclusive. Early literature argued that men’s friendships were superior to women’s friendships while more recent research claims that men are simply incapable of forming close, intimate friendships with the same adeptness as women. Disputing these claims, many all-male colleges and universities argue that the all-male environment provides a communication climate that is more conducive to the formation of close male-male friendships. While there is a wealth of research showing the benefits of single-sex institutions for women, very little research has examined the effects of a single-sex environment on men’s relationships and other men’s issues. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the communication climate created by a single-sex college/university and its ability to influence, either positively or negatively, the development of close male-male friendships. Using Berscheid, Snyder, & Omoto’s (1989) Relationship Closeness Inventory and Jourard’s (1971) Sixty-Item Self-Disclosure scale, the present study revealed no correlation between university sex-composition and friendship intimacy. There were no considerable differences in total self-disclosure, total influence or total time spent with friend. Although the study revealed a few marginal differences regarding specific self disclosures (e.g., self-disclosure about one’s body), the amount of variance accounted for by the differing variables was nominal and hence of little practical importance.
"Re-framing the Gender Divide, Large Scale Abstraction Meets Needlework"
Advisor: Elaine Rutherford, Art
While these paintings help me explore my background, I am also discovering that they are becoming a vehicle for opening up various gender issues. Combining the mediums that I have creates a kind of marriage between the “high art” of painting with craft or “domestic arts” such as embroidery. Painting has been a historically male-dominated field while the “domestic arts” such as sewing or embroidery are traditionally perceived as “woman’s work.” I like to question what art forms can be taken seriously. Are these traditions or needlework that connects me to my family and past as well as women around the world not respected because a woman creates them instead of a man? My choice of media, sewing, embroidery and needlework all connect to memories of my mother’s art and my childhood. I can remember her stitching embroidery for quilt squares at night under the living room lamp. My work is based on a sense of nostalgic memory from my childhood. I grew up in a big old house that was always full of family and forgotten things that we accumulated. Exploring my past as I near college graduation allows me to move in a new direction while remaining attached to home.
"Reproductive Isolation in Drosophila"
Advisor: Charles Rodell, Biology
Speciation, the process by which new species arise, is not well understood. Even less is known about the underlying genetics of this process. My study examines the level of pre-mating and post-mating reproductive isolation among four closely related species of the Drosophila melanogaster group: D. melanogaster, D. simulans, D. mauritiana, and D. sechellia. Biological species are defined as populations that are reproductively isolated from other such populations. The emphasis of this definition is on reproduction, in that groups that are reproductively isolated from one another are not sharing genetic information and, hence, they are pursuing independent evolutionary paths. The isolation process can express itself at a range of levels. Theory predicts that pre-mating isolation occurs first, and is more prominent in populations that are sympatric. in order to test this prediction, I culture single-pair matings for all inter-specific crosses (test) and intra-specific crosses (control). The production of larvae (fertility) and adult offspring (viability) are used to measure post-mating isolation, and the successful transfer of sperm (mating) is used as a measure of pre-mating isolation.
"RNA Secondary Structure: New Combinatorial Representations and Statistics"
Advisor: Jennifer Galovich, Mathematics
In this paper, we seek to construct new combinatorial representations of RNA secondary structure and investigate their properties. We will start by investigating models that are similar to existing models and easy to construct. The behavior of the combinatorial statistics on these models can easily be understood in terms of RNA secondary structure. We will then construct a permutation representation using one of these models as a basis. Since permutations are well understood in a variety of mathematics, we hope this model will encourage additional mathematical research on this topic. Finally, we explicitly identify the connections between the most common combinatorial statistics on these models and structural aspects of the RNA secondary structures they represent. These statistics help identify what structural phenomena are common in RNA secondary structure and what ones are not.
"Smoke Colored River: Depicting the 1862 Dakota War through Historical Fiction"
Advisor: Annette Atkins, Liberal Studies
I have researched and written a novel set during the 1862 Dakota war in Minnesota. For a generation the Dakota people had lived alongside and intermarried with White traders and settlers, but by 1862 relations had become increasingly strained due to land disputes and a government program which pushed Dakota assimilation. The summer of 1862 was particularly difficult. The past year’s crops had succumbed to cut worms; annuity money and supplies due from the Dakotas’ sale of land to the US government failed to arrive. Some children actually died of starvation. In mid-August a brutal crime committed by four Dakota hunters sparked six weeks of horrific warfare which swept through the area, taking both Dakotas and Whites by surprise. My novel tells the story of the war through the eyes of three adolescents of both Dakota and Irish descent.
"Narnia: The Branding of C.S. Lewis’ Literary Classics"
Advisor: Cynthia Malone, English
If Aslan could see what HarperCollins is doing to C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series, he would be furiously shaking his mane in rage and disapproval. Since The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was first published in 1950, the books have met with critical acclaim and sold over 65 million copies in 30 languages. However, for HarperCollins, this isn’t enough. Since recently acquiring exclusive global rights to the children’s series, HarperCollins has been busy desecrating the name of Lewis and beauty of his work. Oblivious of quality or literary integrity, HarperCollins has spent the last few years plotting to Narnia into a brand name, publishing “World of Narnia” picture books, paper dolls, and calendars and, most recently, sequels for the original books. The December 2005 release of the first live-action The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe promises a huge Narnia marketing campaign, complete with action figures and video games. These new developments in the land of Narnia represent a current trend brought about by media corporations’ takeover of the publishing industry; profit, not literature, has become the sole focus, turning a literary masterpiece like Aslan into a British Mickey Mouse.