2009 Thesis Abstracts

Peter D. Banick

"Thirty years of the Community Reinvestment Act: An Assessment of Intent, Enforcement, and Effectiveness"

Advisors: Jean Didier, Management and Neal Allen, Political Science

In an effort to reduce and further prevent dramatic urban deterioration, the United States Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. It was determined that the decline of America's inner cities could be partially attributed to widespread geographic discrimination in credit availability and unethical lending activities by financial institutions, such redlining and disinvestment. This paper explores the content of the CRA itself, the impetus for the legislation, and the intent and implicit goals of the law. Much of this information is inconclusive as the purpose of and reasons for the CRA have been debated and speculated upon since its enactment due to the statute's great ambiguity. In addition to explaining the responsibility of banks and enforcement by regulators, this paper uncovers the historic and contemporary attitudes and reactions of the banking industry to the CRA. Weak language to guide regulators and a lack of political will for many years after the CRA's passage led to inadequate enforcement and resulted in banks that never fully accepted the regulation. Many different sources and several techniques were employed to ascertain the overall effectiveness of the CRA in meeting its objectives and fulfilling the law's underlying mission. Furthermore, this paper deliberates on the impact of the CRA and its relevance in the 21st century. Most sources indicate that, in practice, the CRA has accomplished its main goals, but due to vast industry changes, among several other factors, the CRA no longer seems to be the most appropriate means for encouraging credit to flow into low- and moderate-income areas - despite its longstanding tradition and establishment in banking regulation.

 

Regan J. Becker

"Miraculous Belief: David Hume on the Possibility of Miracles"

Advisor: Stephen Wagner, Philosophy

"Of Miracles," by David Hume, has been a hotbed of debate since its publication in 1748.  In this paper, I argue for a reading of Hume's essay that takes Part I and Part II as a continuous argument, in which Hume formulates a method in Part I and applies the method to historical miracle claims in Part II.  I also focus on the misinterpretations of Hume's critics and discuss how, using Hume's epistemological framework, we can come to a better understanding of the essay.  In concluding, I show how Hume's methodology has practical implications for assessing any historical miracle claim based on testimony and discuss these implications for many religions founded on miraculous events.

 

Nicholas Bingham

"The Soldier's Gaze of Wilfred Owen:  How the Poems "Dulce et Decorum Est," "Apologia Pro Poemate Meo," and "Spring Offensive" Point to the Gaps in War"

Advisor: Mara Faulkner, English

The three titular poems of this thesis form the most basic understanding of soldiers' experiences and reaction in combat and war.  Further understanding, or shortening of gaps in understanding, come when the civilian-reader learns more about war from soldier-authors.  Alongside my close textual analysis of Owen's poems is supplemental material which helped put into focus how different modern war is from peace and how that difference changes soldiers.  This change widens the gaps in understanding further between the soldier-author and the civilian-reader of war texts.  I conclude that art is a poor conduit for war experience because the gaps in understanding-which inevitably crop up between soldier and civilian-are irreducible, contradictory, paradoxical, enigmatic, and extreme.  The unitary, definitive conclusion the civilian audience places on fictions of war is misplaced, and such a unitary, definitive conclusion does not exist.

 

Catherine Bouska

"The effects of increased FKBP51 levels in the glucocorticoid treatment of Eosinophilic Esophagitis"

Advisor: Julie Caldwell and. Marc Rothenberg, Cincinnati Children Hospital Medical Center; Michael Reagan and Charles Rodell, Biology

Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EE) is a recently discovered allergic disease that is characterized by an accumulation of eosinophils in the esophagus.  In a previous clinical study, half of EE patients treated with the glucocorticoid drug Flovent responded to the treatment.  Our study examined why Flovent worked for half of EE patients by creating a model system in esophageal epithelial cells.  The results indicated that the gene FKBP51, which was highly expressed in patients who responded to the drug, was an important regulator of the drug's cellular pathway and high levels of FKBP51 can perhaps help predict whether a patient will respond to Flovent treatment.

 

Brandon Drazich

"Past the Semantics of Strategy: Identity Formation through Liberation in Frantz Fanon and M. K. Gandhi"

Advisor: Madhu Mitra, English

Upon first glance, Frantz Fanon and M. K. Gandhi seem to be diametrically opposed.  Both, facing questions of colonialism, liberation, and identity formation, arrive at the very different strategies of violence and nonviolence. Academia has separated these thinkers into separate "schools," with Fanon's presence in postcolonial studies and Gandhi's in peace studies and history. Both schools of thought fail to sympathetically consider the deeper implications and demands of the other theory. This rift is unwarranted, and if we are to allow the discipline of postcolonialism to adequately answer questions of liberation and identity, we must bring Fanon and Gandhi into dialog and address both their radical differences and their uncanny similarities.  Fanon and Gandhi's strategies are intertwined in a dual function of colonial deconstruction and post-liberation rebirth. Their strategies for deconstruction are vastly different, but through the second function of rebirth and identity formation, both Fanon and Gandhi point us to a new understanding of cultural and national identity, formed by active participation, that should challenge our traditional ideas about identity as the world continues to globalize.

 

Michaela Engdahl

"Ego Threat and Implicit Egotism"

Advisor: Pam Bacon, Psychology

Although research suggests that evidence of implicit egotism is frequently observed in the real world and elicited in the laboratory, replicating these findings does not come as easily. In this study, participants completed a priming task in which they were classically conditioned to have a preference for a number that reminded them of themselves. Ego manipulations were also implemented to enhance likelihood of demonstrating implicit egotism. The effects seen in previous studies of implicit egotism were not found in this sample. The inability of the manipulations to elicit implicit egotism could have been due to the design of the study. Additional research is needed to determine the true reliability of the methods that support implicit egotism as well as to understand the impact it has on decision making and interpersonal judgments.

 

Collette Fischer

"Dissemination of Services for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Minnesota: A Rural versus Urban Comparison"

Advisor: Rebecca Pohlig, Psychology

 This study investigated the services for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) that are being used across the state of Minnesota.  A primary goal of the study was to examine discrepancies between urban (seven-county metro area) and rural (greater) Minnesota in terms of availability and utilization of ASD services.  Additionally, parent/guardian satisfaction with these ASD-specific services was examined.  Research was conducted using an online survey, which was completed by 89 Minnesota parents/guardians of children (between the ages of 5 and 12 years) with ASDs.  The results indicated that ASD intervention services in rural areas of the state were rated significantly lower on multiple measures of utilization and availability.  The findings suggest that there is significant room for improvement in the dissemination of ASD services to rural residents.

 

Samantha J. Heintzelman

"Relational Self-Concept as a Moderator between Perceived Social Support and Outcome Variables"

Advisor: Pamela Bacon, Psychology

The current study evaluated the impact of the self-concept on the relationship between social support and multiple outcome variables.  In previous research, social support has been shown to be consistently related to distress, but in an inconsistent direction.  To test the impact of the self-concept as a moderating variable clarifying this relationship, 206 participants from a liberal arts college and 79 participants from a technical college completed a survey assessing their relational self-concept, perceived social support, and outcome variables including distress, self-esteem, and satisfaction with life.  The relational self-concept was found to be a moderating variable in the relationship between social support and distress, and again between social support and life satisfaction.  Individuals with a highly relational self-concept were greatly impacted by social support levels whereas, support was nearly neutral for low relationals.  These findings help to explain past contradictory findings and have implications for the therapy setting.

 

Melissa Hendrickx

"Rising from Ashes and Dust: the Poetry of German-Jewish and Japanese-American Women in World War II Concentration and Internment Camps"

Advisor: Anna Lisa Ohm, Modern and Classical Languages

During World War II German-Jewish and Japanese-American women used poetry to express powerful emotions, bear witness to traumatic experiences, affirm their humanity, question their religious identity, transcend suffering, and deal with painful memories.  Among the poets included in the study are Rose Ausländer, Henryka Karmel, Gertrud Kolmar, Mitsuye Yamada, and Sharon Hashimoto.  Much of the poetry comes from within the confines of Jewish ghettos, American internment camps, and Nazi concentration camps.  Studying prisoners' poetry provides us unprecedented access to events of the Holocaust and Japanese-American internment and a better understanding of the role literature plays in traumatic situations.  While the severity of concentration camp conditions far exceeded those of internment camps, analyzing the poetry of both groups of women helps us to understand the creative impulse in other trauma victims.

 

J. Anthony Jastrzembski

"Jugs at the Edge of the World: The Production, Trade, and Significance of Pottery in Medieval Ireland, 1169- The Mid 14th Century"

Advisor: Martha Blauvelt, History

The Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169 changed the island more than nearly any other event in its history. The Anglo-Normans had a completely different lifestyle than the native Irish inhabitants. The use of pottery was one such difference. Unlike other more ephemeral materials, pottery lasts indefinitely, and it is destroyed only though purposeful human action, or the weathering of geologic time. Further, pottery is part of the greater context of material culture and it can tell us a great deal about the material culture as a whole. As political boundaries shifted rapidly in a complex patchwork, in some areas the invaders and natives began to integrate. If their social cultures interwove, so too, must have their material cultures. Through the evidence left by the production, use, and trade of pottery, we can determine, to what degree the native Irish, Anglo-Irish, and Anglo-Norman colonists' material cultures integrated as the groups moved closer to homogenization.

 

Tylor Klein

"The Changing Nature of Mortgage and Capital Market Integration: Testing for Asset Substitution from 1972-2008"

Advisor: Parker Wheatley, Economics

This project explores the relationship between mortgage and capital markets, focusing on the degree of integration between the two as an argument for asset substitution.  The research examines whether mortgage markets are fully (or mostly) integrated with general American capital markets and when this integration occurred.  The paper looks at the potential causes of integration (deregulation, market innovation, securitization, etc.) using statistical tests and regression analysis.  Using data taken from the Federal Reserve Banks, this project finds more integration in later periods, in-line with previous research. In addition, the findings include an interesting development in the recent reversal of the trend toward more integration, possibly related to the sub-prime mortgage market meltdown and credit crisis which began in 2006.  Especially given the current economic climate this topic is important for many people including economists, politicians, home builders, bankers and countless others for its implications on policy making and market analysis.

 

Alex Kurt

"Throwing your words around: Stump speeches, health care, and issue salience in the 2007-2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign"

Advisor: Claire Haeg, Political Science

Throughout the 2007-2008 Democratic presidential primaries, polling indicated that voters considered health care a pertinent issue, even though there was no causal event, as was the case with Iraq, recession, etc.  To what extent did the candidates, and their rhetoric, determine which issues were considered important by voters?  This paper examines the frequency with which three major candidates mentioned health care before and during the primaries, and compares this with polling data, tracking candidate progress and the salience of health care through Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina to analyze the correlation between stump speeches and a campaign's ultimate success.

 

Ashleigh Leitch

"From the Court to the Congress:  Analyzing the Pay Equity Policy Implications from Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Co. (2007)"

Advisor: Claire Haeg, Economics 

How has Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Co. (2007) affected pay equity policymaking in Congress? Why did the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007 fail while the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 passed? I will apply the Ledbetter decision to Meernik and Ignagni's model of decision reversal legislation to determine its impact on the Supreme Court and Congress. I anticipate my research will prove my hypothesis that the Supreme Court's decision was a triggering event for congressional action as it generated enough public interest to propel the issue out of policy stasis. Furthermore, I predict the 111th Congress passed decision reversal legislation because of support from the stronger Democratic majority in Congress, President Obama's administration, outraged citizens, and mobilized women's interest groups.

 

Caitlyn E. Lothian

"Resistance and Reemergence: Immigration and Drug Resistant-Tuberculosis in the United States"

Advisors:  Jeffery Anderson, Peace Studies, and Jeffrey Kamakahi, Sociology

Tuberculosis is spreading in the United States, and it seems related to the new waves of immigrants entering. However, one cannot blame the immigrants, for tuberculosis has instead been profoundly influenced and shaped by political and social forces. Tuberculosis has transformed from a virulent disease to a drug-resistant nightmare, which presents new difficulties and costs associated with treatment and prevention. In this presentation, I plan to address the dangers and problems posed by tuberculosis and its drug-resistant variations, and how this crisis provides the United States with the opportunity to reformat the health system to improve care for all people.

 

Molly Maxbauer

"Beyond Blue Skies: The Political Implications of China's Environmental Movement"

Advisor:  Manju Parikh, Political Science

Environmental protection is quietly becoming China's most promising political issue for citizen participation.  In contrast to recent crackdowns in the autonomous region of Tibet, the failed Charter 08 petition in December 2008, and nearing the twentieth anniversary of the failed 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy protests, the government has displayed remarkable tolerance for environmental protests.  Though not encouraging protests directly, the Communist Party controlled state has shown support for the environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) at the heart of China's environmental movement. 

Despite challenges, there is an independent environmental movement underway in China.  Under the official objective of environmental protection, this movement has formed alliances with the media, academics, international organizations and even government officials.  Facing increased environmental dissatisfaction by its citizens, and unable to enforce its own environmental protection policy, the Chinese government has institutionalized provisions for public participation in environmental protection. 

This project applies the available research and information on China's environmental movement to theoretical frameworks to define and predict its future.  From this investigation, it is apparent that the environmental movement has created an atmosphere in China that allows for discussion and debate of certain issues.  Promisingly, it has adjusted to the realities of Chinese politics much better than the confrontational social movements before it.  Quietly the environmental movement is leading the charge toward a freer and more democratic society in China.

 

Nikolas Chang Hoon Nadeau

"Another Way Home"

Advisor: Matthew Callahan, English

As an overseas Korean adoptee, I belong to the world's largest adopted ethnic diaspora-a global community of some 200,000 members.[i] Many of them are now full-grown adults, spanning three generations of immigrants. Most of them grew up in middle or upper-class families and were raised as Christians and, in some cases, as Jews. Although the media, adoption "experts," and the South Korean government have spent years speaking on their behalf, they are now speaking for themselves, through fiction and poetry, film, law, and academic scholarship. Through all this work, adoptees are trying to understand their experiences and identities, both individual and collective.

 

David Norine

"A Study of Marketing Strategies and the Undergraduate Student Consumer Demographic"

Advisor: Rick Saucier, Management

Billions of dollars are spent annually on advertising and marketing campaigns in the hopes of persuading the consumer to open up their wallets. As the average American's income rises, marketing expenditures have also been increasing. As advertising and marketing expenditures increased so too has the number of marketing messages that the average American encounters. By even a modest estimate it is thought that the average American now sees an average of 5,000 advertising messages per day. These messages are aimed and targeted at children and baby boomers alike.

The Millennial generation however is poised to develop into the second biggest buying demographic in the US, second only to that of the baby boomer generation. Right at the heart of that demographic lies the current college undergraduate student who represents the highly educated and well funded consumer of the future.  Now as the average college student stands at the threshold of being a major buying power, companies will have to cater to them to remain profitable in the forthcoming years. While the average student is being constantly bombarded with promotional and advertising messages every day, many have adapted and become immune to the current tactics and communications being thrown at them by marketers. How can companies and marketers cut through the clutter and reach the imaginations and pocket books of the college student demographic?

 

Chelsea Pettit

"Castle Danger, an original screenplay"

Advisors: Elizabeth Johnson-Miller, English and Kaarin Johnston, Theater

The screenplay Castle Danger details the story of Sally Ohman, a college student struggling to kill off the protagonist of her own creative writing assignment.  This work deals with the writing process, as well as the important influence that fictional characters have in our lives.  In addition to the written screenplay, several scenes were filmed and edited.   Along with early drafts and storyboards, these filmed scenes help to illustrate the progression of an idea from paper to film.

 

Victoria Piehowski

"Business as Usual: Sex, Race, and Work in Spike Lee's Bamboozled"

Advisor: Christina Shouse Tourino, English

 In the beginning of Spike Lee's 2000 film Bamboozled, lead female character Sloan Hopkins is an articulate and promising young professional. Throughout the narrative, Sloan stands out as what critic Ray Black has called the film's "historical consciousness," constantly reminding the male protagonists of the implications of their actions. By the end of the film, however, Sloan stumbles into her boss' office mumbling "Sloan, this is listen to Sloan day!" before losing control of her gun and shooting the film's narrator. How are we to understand a character shift that has baffled critics since the movie came out? A simple acceptance of Lee's inability to create believable female characters does not suffice; after all, Lee has acknowledged his past exclusion of women and stated that he intentionally made Sloan "the most sympathetic and the most intelligent" character in the film.  Yet, as viewers, we are clueless as to why Sloan behaves as she does. Through careful historicizing, "Business as Usual: Sex, Race, and Work in Spike Lee's Bamboozled" unearths the underpinnings of the economic sexual exploitation that African American women face in Lee's cinematic workplace, and attempts to put Sloan in the historical context that Lee does not.

 

Maria Sausen

"An Introduction to Stem Cells with a Focus on Those Found in Umbilical Cord Blood"

Advisor: Elizabeth Wurdak, Biology           

Stem cells are on the cutting edge of medical research and have the potential to cure numerous diseases. However, many people do not know the difference between the two types of stem cells, embryonic and adult, which leads some to believe all stem cell research is immoral. By looking at the scientific, religious and ethical aspects of both embryonic and adult stem cells, this thesis aims to inform the non-scientific community about their differences and potential. Adult stem cells in umbilical cord blood are among the stem cells most rapidly growing in use. By comparing them to adult stem cells found in bone marrow, it is shown that they may have the potential to replace bone marrow as a source of stem cells and a fully stocked public umbilical cord blood bank could allow for all patients seeking a stem cell transplant to find a matched donor.

 

Jeff Schnobrich

""A Desire Named Streetcar": The Hiawatha Light Rail Line as a Case Study in Better Decision Making" 

Advisor:  Matthew Lindstrom, Political Science

The Hiawatha light rail transit line was originally projected to cost $250 million. When the first train left the station in 2004, however, the total project cost was $715 million. This paper analyzes the approval process for the Hiawatha project. It examines and critiques a planning technique called "reference class forecasting," which attempts to improve planning forecasts by comparing them to previous completed projects. Applying this technique retroactively, I conclude that forecasting on the Hiawatha project could have been more accurate. More importantly, reference class forecasting, together with Before and After Studies and a change in incentive structure, will lead to more accurate forecasts. Future projects, which will continue to grow in number as light rail becomes more popular, can benefit from these recommendations.

 

Sarah Schwarzkopf

"Emotion, Gender, and College Professors: Do Angry Professors Make the Grade?"

Advisor: Laura Sinville, Psychology

Previous research suggests that when people in positions of leadership, especially women, violate gender stereotypes they are harshly punished. According to gender proscriptions, it is undesirable for women, but not men, to show anger. Student participants were given a brief sample of a hypothetical professor's tenure file which included a student course evaluation in which researchers manipulated the hypothetical professor's gender and reaction to a potentially angering event. Participants were expected to rate the hypothetical professors differently based on anger expression and gender. Results showed a significant main effect for anger, with participants awarding the highest ratings to the "angry" professor.

 

Sarah Stergios

"Feriae Sub Monte Ignis"

Advisor: Scott Richardson, Modern and Classical Languages

My goal in doing this project was to successfully translate an English book into authentic Latin. I have explored the nature of translation and attempted to make mine so accurate that an ancient Roman could pick it up, read it, and fully understand it; while keeping the authenticity and meaning of the original work. In doing this project, I have employed many of my skills in the areas of Latin grammar, syntax, and accurate cultural idioms. In the process I gained a realization about the nature of translation as a way of thinking and communicating ideas, rather than simply words.

 

Jessica Vining

"Revisiting a Lockean Understanding go Federative Power: A Case Study of the George W. Bush Presidency"

Advisors: Scott Johnson, Political Science and Charles Wright, Philosophy

The Bush administration's use of executive power has brought the notion of the proper role of the executive, particularly in of foreign affairs, to the forefront.  Locke's conceptions of federative power and executive prerogative have been very influential.  Both are particularly salient in relation to the war powers of the executive.  By examining Locke's philosophy, as well as his influence on the Founders and the text of the Constitution, we can better understand modern policy implications of the Bush administration.  A qualitative examination of administration and key members' documents and comments reveal a reliance on Locke.  This calls for a critical assessment of the administration's interpretation of Locke specifically made as a defense of an expansive view of executive power.  The administration's formulation of war powers is decidedly more Lockean.  The implicit argument is that the rightful balance of powers is Lockean as opposed to a constitutional separation of war powers.