Senior Honors Theses, 2000
Michele M Brezinski, Communication
"The Cherokee Phoenix and the Nation It Represents: A Rhetorical Analysis of the Role of Minority Press"
Advisor: Katie Johnson
The Cherokees are among the most well-known Native American tribes in the United States today, largely because of their removal from Georgia along the Trail of Tears. Most American history books depict them as down-trodden victims, yet the Cherokees version of the pivotal events of 1831, as found in their newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, indicates otherwise. The rhetorical strategies used by Elias Boudinot, editor of the Phoenix, in his column suggest that the Cherokees were active players in their own fate. Through the use of contrasting images, irony and logos, and by discrediting the language of paternalism, Boudinot attempted to empower his Cherokee readers and gain sympathy from northern whites. Because of the Cherokees' social history of nonviolence, Boudinot probably attempted to empower them to nonviolent action, as historical evidence from the time suggests. Although the Cherokees were unsuccessful in their ultimate goal – to remain on the land of their forefathers – they left behind a record of their struggle in the pages of the Cherokee Phoenix.
Kevin Thomas Clancy, Communication
"The Media Mirror: The Coverage of the NATO Bombing of the Chinese Embassy in the China Daily and USA Today."
Advisor: Richard Ice
May 7, 1999 – A U.S.-supported NATO mission bombs the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. Within hours the two countries are in the midst of political strife and cultural misunderstanding. As Chinese and U.S. media illustrate, there is one bombing and two very different stories. How correct is the media picture? The question lies at the heart of this research. Consequently, in an attempt to shed light upon black and white journalistic frames of China, this study applies ideological analysis to the China Daily and USA Today coverage of the NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy. The goal of this comparative project is to gain a better understanding of the ideological frames motivating the reporting in each country, whether the newspaper be state-supported or a private media source. Hopefully, an understanding of difference will lead to a greater appreciation for intercultural connections.
Brenda R Dukerschein,. English
"A Joining: A Collection of Poems"
Advisor: Eva Hooker
My thesis culminated in a manuscript of original poetry. I wrote and revised poems and arranged them in a book-like format. My research consisted of reading a variety of poets and studying the architecture of their books. I focused on writing in a variety of voices, forms, and sentence types. I used syntactical imitation as a way of trying different approaches to poetry—it allowed me to explore different sentence syntax, rhythm, sentence length, and structure. As I studied how other poets arranged their poems into a book, I learned various ways of forming my own manuscript. This thesis allowed me to go through many of the creative steps of writing and the concrete steps of readying a manuscript for publication.
Alexander L Evenson,.English
"Exploring the Creative Process: A Study in Playwriting"
Advisor: Nancy Hynes
My original intentions when I began this project were to write and present a full-length play of my own design, examining the farm crisis through the medium of theater. The reason I chose not to use the title of my play for the title of my project is because the vast majority of my time was spent discovering the world outside of my script. Through my struggles to bring my characters to life, to develop an effective plot while avoiding a didactic analysis of the issue, and with the genre itself, I began to discover what the creative process is really about. After this, I was able to write Inherit the Earth, a full-length play about the evolution of a family's relationships over sixty years on a small farm.
Kristopher Glesener, Computer Science
"Applying Machine Learning Algorithms to Othello"
Advisor: Andy Holey
The goal of this project was to apply unsupervised machine learning algorithms to the board game othello. We used eight genetic algorithms to develop eight different othello strategies. Each genetic algorithm played 2.5 million games to develop one of the eight strategies. Each strategy was then tested against the other seven strategies, as well as other computer players and human players. The results show that most of the strategies play at the level of a beginning player, with the best strategies on par with a slightly experienced player. We also implemented a reinforcement learning algorithm in order to improve on the weaknesses of the genetic algorithm. This strategy worked by storing many of the board configurations the computer encountered while playing othello, as well as the results of the games it played. The computer could then make decisions based on past experiences. This method did not produce any significant results, but possibly could with some improvements to the algorithm.
Michelle Gricus Social Work
"Narratives of those who were labeled mentally ill due to sexual orientation "
Advisor: Lynn Bye
Prior to the printing of the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in 1980, mental health practitioners who treated homosexual clients were encouraged by the American Psychiatric Association to define these individuals as mentally ill. The label of mental illness had lasting, damaging effects on many of the people who were categorized mentally ill because of their homosexual orientation. The purpose of this exploratory, qualitative study was to examine the impact of being labeled mentally ill due to sexual orientation from the perspective of labeling and ecological theories. The study showed that the ability to resist some of the damaging effects of the label was mediated by resiliency factors and the development of a commitment to sexual orientation.This research may be helpful in framing questions and methods for further exploration of the impact of being labeled mentally ill based upon sexual orientation.
Patricia D Larson,. History
"The Jean Donovan House: Filling a Need and Leading by Example"
Advisor: Ken Jones
The Jean Donovan Catholic Worker House grew as a response to the political, social and economic climate of the 1980s. Within the tradition of the Catholic Worker Movement, three CSB/SJU alumni endeavored to relieve the physical suffering of the poor and the social suffering of the St. Cloud area in an attempt to take action against the status quo. Through personalism, hard work and the generous help of others, the Jean Donovan House not only fed hungry people, but also helped educate the community about the social problems created by a culture of consumption and morally questionable government leadership. This thesis studies the motivation for beginning the Jean Donovan House, the life of the house and the circumstances surrounding its closing. Through studying two "generations" of the house, I found that this project was remarkably successful in meeting the needs of the people it served and setting an example for the community by providing a venue through which people may act on what they believed. I also found that for this particular Catholic Worker House, the problem with a project that is purposefully anti-structure is its lack of structure and the problem with personalism is personality.
Dierdre C McCarrell, Liberal Studies
" Unspeakable: My Father's Suicide and a Childhood Memoir"
Advisor: M Faulkner
The memoir begins with the letter I read at my father's funeral service in June of 1998. The introduction addresses why I chose the form of memoir and why my relationship with my father should be publicized. Following the introduction are the chapters "Houses" and "Lies" which are stories from my childhood. These chapters are placed in approximately 1984 when I was in kindergarten. The concluding section of the memoir addresses why I chose the memoir form and gave me the chance to recognize works that guided my writing. The books I chose as an accompaniment to my writing fit into three categories, each with very different narrative voices. The first, 'how to' books included narration on the actual process of writing memoir. The second type of reading, and the most extensive, were actual memoirs. The last type of reading focused solely on suicide.
Heather J. Meierhofer, Communication
"Romantic Relationships: Beliefs Reflected, Reinforced, and Created in Popular Song Lyrics and Musical Content"
Advisor: Terry Check
Language and music work together in popular songs to portray messages that help construct listeners' reality. As humans, we understand and interpret the world through the language and images provided for us in our symbolic universe. Mass media – particularly those forms that distribute popular music – help to create and reflect the ideologies, or common sets of beliefs, within a culture. Thus, popular music is an important artifact for examination. Popular music is a mass media form in which messages concerning romantic relationships abound. This study's examination of the Billboard top eight popular songs from 1990 to 1995 provides insight into widely distributed messages about romantic relationships. The specific messages in the lyrics and musical content of the eight songs portray realistic, unrealistic, healthy, and unhealthy accounts of how "normal" romantic relationships function. Some of the observations elicited in the texts include portrayals of gender inequality, power imbalances, codependency, a focus on physical aspects, and utopian idealism that create "normal" accounts of romantic relationships. Such unrealistic and unhealthy portrayals convey dangerous distorted images of romantic relationships that help to form listeners' reality. Thus, beliefs about romantic relationships are reflected, reinforced, and created through popular songs.
Kathryn M. Neunsinger, English
"Freaking Out, Fitting In, And Finding My Way: Looking Back on Four Months in China"
Advisor: Mara Faulkner
This thesis is a collection of essays in which I explore, discuss, and analyze selected aspects of the semester I spent in China through the CSB/SJU study abroad program. It consists of four essays: "On the Value of Trains," "Through the Layers: Getting Off the Bus and Making it Real," "Little Carrot and the Dalai Lama," and "From Minnesota to the Middle Kingdom and Back Again: Growing and Changing in China." The idea behind the entire collection is that there is more to China than most Americans get through the very limited media coverage of it. Each essay involves a different aspect of my experience that contributed to giving me a much fuller picture of China than I would have had had I not gone there, not made some of the choices that I did, and not undertaken this project. It is an analysis of some of the attitudes and behaviors I noticed in myself and other Western guests in China. And it is something of an account of my trying to walk the line between loving my experiences in China and abhorring certain policies and attitudes of the government and the people who give the government its authority.
Matthew Peckosh, English
"'No hallowed skein of stars': The Terror of the Void, the Allure of Solipsism, and the Search for Meaning in Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49"
Advisor: Scott Richardson
The Crying of Lot 49 follows the quest of Oedipa Maas, and through her quest Thomas Pynchon critiques the human search for meaning. Oedipa Maas is a character torn between creating a solipsistic world or refusing to consider meaning at all in order to dodge the concept of a meaningless void. Either method creates a closed system of thought that limits itself to eventual stagnation while instigating violence on anything lying outside that system. Oedipa Maas shows that relying on solipsism or becoming paralyzed by the idea of a void will only hinder finding any universal meaning. The only viable option appears to be a continual struggle of sorting and evaluating beliefs and belief systems, skepticism without despair.
Hope Phillips, Biology
"Evaluation of fish population estimation by removal sampling in King's Creek, Kansas"
Advisor: Gordon Brown
Population estimation is an integral part of fisheries science. Using electrofishing to conduct a multiple-pass depletion-removal method to estimate population parameters is common. However, this method is time consuming and labor intensive. Recent research suggests that, under certain circumstances, reliable population estimates from a single-pass electrofishing event can be obtained. The objectives of this study were 1) to determine if fish density and catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) from a single-pass electrofishing event is correlated with population density estimates obtained from the depletion-removal method and 2) to describe relationships among habitat variables and probability of capture from electrofishing. The study was conducted on Kings Creek, within Konza Prairie Research Natural Area in the Flint Hills region of eastern Kansas. Two species of fish, southern redbelly dace (Phoxinus erythrogaster) and central stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum), were studied. Significant correlations were found between CPUE and estimated density (fish/m2) and first-pass catch and estimated density (r2 = 0.42, p = 0.03; r2 = 0.85, p = 0.0001, respectively) for southern redbelly dace but not for central stonerollers (r2 = 0.37, p= 0.06; r2 = 0.30, p= 0.1). There were no significant correlations between any of the measured habitat parameters and probability of capture for either species. These results suggest that it would be effective and time-efficient to use first-pass catch values as an index to abundance of southern redbelly dace populations in Kings Creek. However, first-pass catch values may not adequately index density of central stonerollers.
Keri A Phillips,.English
"Writing a Novella"
Advisor: Michael Opitz
The novella Spaces Off takes place during the months of August through November of 1990 in Estes Park, Colorado. It is about Lily, a fourteen-year-old girl, who is trying to find acceptance and identity in the midst of various familial and social crises occurring all at once. The crises feed off each other, creating a tense environment from which Lily only manages to escape by cooking, cleaning, organizing, and trying to make things "right" in the ways she can. While this is going on Roger (military-minded, basketball coach Dad), Rose (high-strung, estranged older sister), Sandy (Dad's chain-smoking, well-meaning girlfriend), and Lily go to painful lengths to avoid direct confrontation of their problems, so communication is often in codes, easily misinterpreted, and always awkward. When Rose comes home after four years of living in California by their absent mother whom Lily doesn't remember, it is creepy how they all adjust and adapt through ways they know how to be "normal." Operation Desert Shield and Rose's reappearance parallel each other in that they are both two elaborate productions that carry with them a set of emotions that Lily is supposed to feel. With the Gulf situation, Lily is supposed to feel patriotic, scared for the troops, or a sense of impending doom. With Rose's return, she is supposed to feel a sisterly connection with Rose. In both cases, her feelings are neither black nor white—she is trying hard to conform to these situations, but much of the time ends up feeling rejected or let down. As the situation in the Gulf gets more tense and threatening of war, Dad is quicker to lose his temper and drop his own "bombs" on Lily. Lily is constantly trying to make sense of people who send her mixed messages: Rose coming and leaving, coming and leaving; Dad affectionate and angry for apparently no reason; Lily hearing that her mother is alone and scared and wanting to talk to her, only to discover that her mother isn't interested in a relationship with her. The darkness of the story is relieved when Lily manages to find goodness, beauty, and hope in unexpected places. She escapes into her own world, symbolized by the constant buzz of the refrigerator, her "space off," a place outside of her family structure. It's a story of survival, on many different levels, and what exactly a kid in the throes of early adolescence does to help herself, and identify a place within and without the structure of the family. It's a story about a group of people related by blood and a few photographs, but not much else, who try to act out the roles of family members.
Rebecca Reibestein, Political Science
"Sustainable Development and the State: Analyzing Costa Rica and Nicaragua's Experiences"
Advisor: Gary Prevost
This paper examines the role of the state in the implementation and success of sustainable development. It first argues there are certain concepts (capacity building, community participation, and empowerment) inherent in any type of successful development. These concepts need to be realized and addressed by the state in order for sustainable development to be long-term and successful. The examination of both Costa Rica and Nicaragua's progress in sustainable development in light of their respective political and economic development proves how integral these concepts are. Throughout the paper the issue of NGO/IGO versus state involvement in sustainable development is brought up. The successes and failures of sustainable development in Costa Rica and Nicaragua highlight how key the role of the state is. While there are cases in which certain NGOs/IGOs have been proven to have a positive effect on sustainable development, overall the state remains the central figure in implementing any type of long-term, substantial changes.
Courtney Nicole Remes, Computer Science
"Rethinking Consciousness, Objectivity, and the Potential for Artificial Intelligence"
Advisor: Dr. Noreen Herzfeld
Ray Kurzweil, author of The Age of Spiritual Machines, maintains that conscious artificial machines will be possible within the next century, that we will be soon replacing parts, if not all, of our bodies with silicon, downloading information and experiences, cloning ourselves, and living forever in our new bodies. Such predictions spark some fundamental questions: What is consciousness and from where does it come? Can we find an objective way to understand consciousness and the truth of reality? Is consciousness something we can reproduce? And why do people like Kurzweil think so? This project is an attempt to understand and answer these questions, beginning with an exploration of the history of the pervading western philosophy of materialism that supports Kurzweil's assertions and an analysis of materialist philosopher Daniel Dennett's recent theories about artificial consciousness and the similarities between the human brain and computers. In order to create a holistic picture of the current philosophies of consciousness, the project also investigates the perspective of a few of the major eastern traditions. Recent western scientific discoveries and thought appear to point to a convergence between western and eastern worldviews, forcing us to reconsider Kurzweil and Dennett's prognosis for the future for artificial intelligence.
Erich P Rice, History
"The Use and Manipulation of Che Guevara's Image an Ideas by Fidel Castro and the Cuban Government"
Advisor: Ken Jones
The use and manipulation of Che Guevara's public image and ideas by Fidel Castro and the Cuban government. In my project I answered the question, In what ways have Fidel Castro and the Cuban government used and manipulated Che Guevara's public image and ideas within Cuba to rally support for the Cuban Revolution and its policies. My thesis is Fidel Castro and the Cuban government have used Che's image and ideas to gain support for their various economic and political initiatives within Cuba, and have also adapted their usage of his image and ideas to changes in outside political and economic factors. To better isolate the changes I broke my project down into four sections: 1955 through 1961, 1962 through 1967, 1968 through 1987, and finally 1988 through the 1990s. The results I found were that throughout the forty years of the Cuban Revolution Che Guevara has had a public image within Cuba as a heroic revolutionary whose self-sacrificing manner has led to his adoration by the Cuban people. However, new facets have been added to his image during the different periods, such as Che as an overly aggressive guerrilla warrior, Che the symbol of proletarian internationalism, Che as a valued economist, and Che as a model of perseverance in the face of adversity. All these facets of Che's image within Cuba were developed at different times by Fidel Castro and the Cuban government to adapt to the changing political and economic situation in Cuba. The main outside factors influencing these changes were at first the threat of United States intervention, then the increasing influence of the Soviet Union on Cuban affairs, and lastly the collapse of the Soviet Union and the difficult economic situation facing Cuba.
Deborah Saad, Theater
"A Traveler's Path: An Original Play "
Advisor: Kaarin Johnston
For my senior honors thesis, I wanted to do a creative project. I chose to write an original play, hoping to draw upon my experiences over the last four years, including having already written a one act play my sophomore year. I spent a year working with ideas, reading other plays to examine different forms, and experimenting with the characters. The bulk of the dialogue was written this spring, and I worked with my faculty readers to trim down the excesses and sharpen the focus of the plot. I believe I completed my goal in authoring the play: I learned much about myself in how I write, the way I see and hear scenes unfold in my mind as I write dialogue, and I especially learned about the level of persistence necessary when working solo on such an undertaking as this. I also discovered a deeper feeling of accomplishment; after all the struggles and doubt, I know that "Yes, I did it."
Erin Marie Steinbach Welters, Psychology
" Competitive, Cooperative, and Individualistic Group Environments: Effects on Job Satisfaction and Performance "
Advisor: Steve Stelzner
The effects of task interdependence (competition, cooperation, and individualism) on job satisfaction and performance were investigated. Students from two Catholic, liberal arts colleges completed a creative thinking task in one of four conditions: group competition, cooperation, individual competition, and individual. Rather than supporting the hypotheses, the results indicated that students in the competitive conditions had superior performance to students in non-competitive conditions, and job satisfaction was generally unaffected by the condition students participated in. Trait competitiveness of the participants was also measured in order to determine whether it had a relationship with performance and job satisfaction. A strong relationship between trait competitiveness and performance/job satisfaction was not shown, indicating that the levels of competitiveness of the participants did not affect the results. Several potential explanations, such as validity of the job satisfaction scale, the type of task used, and the testing environment were discussed as elements to consider for further research.
Jennifer L. Valorose, Communication
"Putting Objectivity to the Test: A Study of How the Kurdish/Turkish Issue is Represented in the News"
Advisor: Katherine Johnson
Although the public generally thinks of the news media as sources of factual, complete and objective information, due to the routines of production through which journalists are trained to use to present and gather news, they cannot be objective. The sources journalists rely on for information, and the choices they make in deciding what is newsworthy and how to frame stories influences what and how information is portrayed to the public. Thus, the media can unintentionally influence the way in which audiences understand the events and the knowledge they have to question the decisions being made. Studies have shown that the news media reflect the foreign policy objectives of the United States in their coverage of international events. This study examines the different foreign policy objectives of Great Britain and the United States toward the conflict between the Turks and the Kurds, specifically regarding the Kurd leader's flight and capture in late 1998 and early 1999. Eighty articles from The Times (of London) and The New York Times were analyzed textually to see how the Kurdish and human rights issues, and the political circumstances were framed. My analysis demonstrated that news coverage mirrored the foreign policy objectives of their respective countries.
Lia M. Veenendaal,.Communication
"A Critique of Functionalist and Rhetorical Social Movement Theory: A Case Study of China's 1989 Democracy Movement."
Advisor: Richard Ice
Current Communication-based social movement theory provides an excellent framework for analyzing social movements at a superficial level, but it neglects to include one important aspect that influences social movements – the culture in which a social movement takes place. The dominant theories used to evaluate social movements are written with a Western, North-American bias and thus are inadequate tools for explaining social movements that occur in other cultures. This work uses a non-Western social movement – China's 1989 Democracy Movement – as a case study to demonstrate the Western bias that Communication-based social movement theory holds, as well as to show the inadequacy of using a Western-based theory to analyze and explain a non-Western culture. Using current social movement theory to analyze China's 1989 Democracy Movement demonstrates the amount of misunderstanding and misinterpretation that can occur if theories that are not culturally sensitive are used to analyze social movements. This thesis proposes that Communication-based social movement theory should either be reformed so that it includes the aspect of culture in its analysis, or it should be used in conjunction with another, more culturally oriented theory in order to prevent misinterpretation and the inaccurate analysis of social movements.
Anne L Wells,. English
"Identity and Desire in Wuthering Heights"
Advisor: David Rothstein
The relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff can be examined within Jacques Lacan's theories of the Imaginary, Symbolic, and Real. Initially formed in early childhood, their relationship bears similarities to the relationship of a parent and child, in which the child identifies with the parent. However, the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff is much more unstable than a Lacanian parent-child identification, as both children construct their identities in terms of the other. Bronte's novel is allows Cathy and Heathcliff to return to their Imaginary identification after death, demonstrating a radical revisualization of Lacan's stages. The 1992 film adaptation of Wuthering Heights chooses to emphasize the romantic elements of the novel over issues of identification. The result is an oversimplification of the novel.
Martin J. Wera , Spanish
"Nuevo MÈxico, Escuintla: A Critical Analysis of the Guatemalan Refugee Resettlement Process"
Advisor: Mari Felix Cubas
The 1994 "Agreement on Resettlement of the Population Groups Uprooted by the Armed Conflict" set in motion an initiative to repatriate the estimated 70,000 Guatemalan refugees in Mexico on tracts of land bought by the government and sold to communities of returnees. However, five years after their relocation, the resettlement of Nuevo MÈxico has stalled, being stymied by questions of the land sale and on whom do certain responsibilities for the implementation of the accords fall.
As I will argue, the reason behind this failure to competently implement the goals set forth in the accord and effectively carry out the resettlement process is a result of a lack of cognitive respect and cognitive participation on the part of the government of Guatemala. Considering this, the effectiveness of the resettlement would be advanced if the government would adopt a platform of cooperative compromise, in which both parties take an active, equal role in addressing each other's needs. For this to happen there must exist a conscious effort by both Nuevo MÈxico and the Guatemalan government to define their respective needs and, in conjunction, a committed effort to develop public policy that addresses both sets of needs in the long-term.
I reached this conclusion after field research done in Guatemala on two separate occasions, once in October of 1998 and again in July of 1999. On both incidences, I interviewed individuals from the community of Nuevo MÈxico and Guatemalan government officials involved in the issue of land ownership and resettlement of refugees. In addition to this, I consulted individuals from third-party organizations such as, but not exclusive to, the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA).
Melissa Westerberg, Spanish
"La persecución de los judíos durante la Inquisición española y el proyecto imperial de unificación religiosa."
("The Jewish Persecution during the Spanish Inquisition and the imperial endeavor of religious unification")
Advisor: Gladys White
During the Spanish Inquisition, the persecution of the Jews (and other anti-Catholic groups) was, in my opinion, unjustifiable. The Muslims had conquered Spain in 711, and the Christians began to re-conquer the Iberian Peninsula during the 1300's. In 1492, the Christians took Granada (the last city which was held by Muslim power), Columbus discovered the New World, and the Jews were expelled from Spain. My study involved the countless conflicts between the Catholics and the Jews during this time of re-conquest. One of the main issues that was critical to the predicament of Jewish life involved the desires of the monarchy and the Catholic Church. To have a Spanish Empire was a dominant aspiration of the Spanish throne. Along with the ability to achieve a Spanish dynasty came the desire for unification within Spain and religious homogeneity. The Spanish monarchs and most Spaniards wanted to enforce Catholicism as the only religion in Spain. Thus, the Jews were given three options: convert, leave, or die. The second element of the Jewish predicament involved the Catholic Church's strive to rid Spain of heresy. Catholic converts who still practiced Judaism were considered heretics, and many were brought to trial for these religious crimes. The Catholics justified the persecution of the Jews with a belief that the punishments and torture were purifying the souls of the non-Catholics. Throughout my thesis, these elements were developed, and I found that the homogeneity of Spain was a major factor in religious discrimination.
Suzanne G. Wetzel, Elementary Education
"The Benefits of Teaching a Foreign Language to Students in the Primary Grades"
Advisor Lois Wedl OSB
Research in the field of second language acquisition has existed for decades, proclaiming that children who are pre-pubescent are at the optimum age to start learning a new language. Why, then, do most American educational systems insist on delaying second language acquisition until high school? Why is there such a big gap between the research and the common practices in the American educational system? The answer to these questions stem from both a lack of resources and a lack of knowledge on how students learn a target language best. Research on second language acquisition still remains a little known body of information, an area that is often forgotten when school districts are planning their curricula. Most school districts lack the resources, both financially and faculty-wise, to implement widespread foreign language classes. Currently, there is a shortage of qualified people to teach world languages in the classroom. This paper discusses why it is vitally important for school districts to change their policies and to commit to second language instruction, especially in the primary grades.
Robert A. Zelada, Theology
"Jesus the Jew: Contributions of Geza Vermes to the Modern Jesus Debate"
Advisor: Vincent Smiles
In the spirit of interfaith dialog between Jews and Christians, this project focuses on the Jewish Jesus presented by Geza Vermes in his trilogy of books published during the last quarter of the twentieth century. The paper begins by looking at the life of Vermes as seen from his autobiography and continues into a review and reflection of the major themes Vermes examines in his three books on the search for the historical Jesus. Specifically, the paper covers Vermes' theories regarding intertestamental Palestine, Jesus' observance of Mosaic Law, His notion of the Kingdom of God, and His relation to the charismatic hasidim. These four sections create a believable picture of the Judaism of Jesus while also demonstrating the unique aspects of Jesus' Jewishness. The paper then attempts to reconcile the Jesus presented by Vermes with the Jesus traditionally presented by Christianity
Cody J. Zilverberg, Computer Science
"Design and Creation of a Dynamic Homework System"
Advisor: Jim Schnepf
This paper describes the creation of a dynamic online homework system, that through its versatility covers a variety of subjects, is educational for students, and is productive for educators. The prototype in development has the potential to cover a broad range of subject areas across many disciplines. The homework questions in the system are themselves dynamically generated from templates, each of which refers to a set of dynamically generated graphics. A feedback component of the application records data from student responses in a database, which instructors can access for grading and identifying misconceptions among their students. Future versions of the program will load and execute code from a database during runtime, making the application even more flexible.