Honors Project Summaries, 2019-2020

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Anthropology

Writer: Barbara Espinosa
Faculty Advisor: Mark Jenike
Topic: Ramen and Peanut Butter
Summary:

Federal efforts to reduce food insecurity (FI), while successful, (Mabli and Ohls 2014), neglect some parts of the population, like college students (Davison and Morrel 2018). The prevalence of FI among United States college students varies from 21% to 59% according to different studies, making the percentage of food insecure college students outstandingly larger than at the household level (11%) (Davison and Morrel 2018, Henry 2017). Chaparro et al. (2009) conducted the first study looking at collegiate food insecurity. Since then, researchers have found that food insecurity, both by itself and through increased likelihood of mental and physical problems, can negatively affect academic performance (Patton-Lopez et al. 2014, Maroto, Snelling and Link 2015, Bruening 2017).
Most research regarding college student hunger is based on large state schools and community colleges, my research differs because it is based on a small, private, residential liberal arts college: Lawrence University. The purpose of this research is to find the prevalence of food insecurity among Lawrence University students, find how students are coping with hunger, and determine strategies so that the university can better support students that are facing hunger. I have explored this questions through distributing surveys and conducting interviews among students. Preliminary results suggest that while there is a limited number of students facing severe food insecurity, many students are living with low and marginal levels of security.

 

 

Biology

Writer: Missy Eilbes
Faculty Advisor: Judith Humphries
Topic: Sex Specific Effects of Vitamin B on Behavior and Cognition in a Model of Ischemic Stroke
Summary:

 

 

Biology

Writer: Bailey Underwood
Faculty Advisor: Nancy Wall
Topic: 5-TH Receptor Subtype May Mediate CRH Production in Hypothalamus
Summary:

Abstract: Increased levels of corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) are associated with anxiety, as are decreased levels of serotonin (5-HT). Do serotonin levels influence CRH production and anxiety? The ventral hippocampus is associated with anxiety behavior, contains cells expressing 5-HT receptors (including 5HT7R), and extends axons into CRH producing regions of the hypothalamus. Therefore, 5-HT responsive neurons may play a role in the anxiety response and CRH production. To analyze how 5-HT may influence anxiety, 5dpf Danio rerio were examined following application of a 5-HT7R agonist (AS-19) and antagonist (SB-258179). A C-turn assay was used to assess physical manifestations of anxiety response. It is hypothesized that separate application of 5-HT7R agonist and antagonist should result in a decrease and increase in the anxiety response, respectively. Furthermore, it is hypothesized CRH levels should increase or decrease in an inverse manner.

 

Computer Science

Writer: Samuel Luedtke
Faculty Advisor: Joseph Gregg
Topic: Video Games, Virtual Reality, and the Cinema of Interactions
Summary:

The initial stages of virtual reality placed a large emphasis of presentation over creation, which is due to its close resemblance to the beginning years of early cinema, what Tom Gunning describes as the “Cinema of Attractions,” which argues that the purpose of most pre-narrative cinema was the engagement and display of spectacle.  VR art installations are similar to this because they often remove the element of interaction.  By focusing on the interaction, virtual reality can evolve from the Cinema of Attractions into what I call the Cinema of Interactions, which sees cinema and art that solicits the attention of the spectator in order to interact and create their own spectacle. To further develop the idea of the Cinema of Interactions, I have created a virtual reality application of my own.  It combines elements from both VR and console-based games to create something new.  The application in question is a rhythm-matching game inspired by popular music video games like Beat Saber and Audiosurf.  It utilizes gameplay inspired by Beat Saber while implementing audio analysis similar to the system integrated in Audiosurf.  In doing this, it creates an adaptable experience that feels unique to each individual’s music preferences and playthroughs.

 

Dance

Writer: Michele Haeberlin
Faculty Advisor: Margaret Paek
Topic: Movement Research: Exploring the Liminality of Dance
Summary:

Contemporary consumer culture is focused in product value, and from its permeation into social identity corporal commodification affects the way we look at movement, as well as dance holistically. All humans form distinct identities through self-expression of their way of existing within the world. Dance can be used as a way of expressing one’s identity through embodied communication and world building. But with a focus in essential value from a capitalist economical approach, dance has traditionally been reviewed as holding worth within its ability to create spectacle, or performance. This project will approach dance as a liminal concept that can be explored within diverse social settings to break from its societal limitation to the stage to make meaning. By investigating dance as more than a performative expression, a thorough investigation of its flexible definition, as well as the mold-able concept of what constitutes a dancer will be examined.  This project will argue that dance has expressive value beyond traditional viewpoints by investigating the attainability of the social dancer identity, as well as changing traditional audience roles beyond solely observational.

 

Film Studies

Writer: Samuel Luedtke
Faculty Advisor: Amy Ongiri
Topic: Video Games, Virtual Reality, and the Cinema of Interactions
Summary:

The initial stages of virtual reality placed a large emphasis of presentation over creation, which is due to its close resemblance to the beginning years of early cinema, what Tom Gunning describes as the “Cinema of Attractions,” which argues that the purpose of most pre-narrative cinema was the engagement and display of spectacle.  VR art installations are similar to this because they often remove the element of interaction.  By focusing on the interaction, virtual reality can evolve from the Cinema of Attractions into what I call the Cinema of Interactions, which sees cinema and art that solicits the attention of the spectator in order to interact and create their own spectacle. To further develop the idea of the Cinema of Interactions, I have created a virtual reality application of my own.  It combines elements from both VR and console-based games to create something new.  The application in question is a rhythm-matching game inspired by popular music video games like Beat Saber and Audiosurf.  It utilizes gameplay inspired by Beat Saber while implementing audio analysis similar to the system integrated in Audiosurf.  In doing this, it creates an adaptable experience that feels unique to each individual’s music preferences and playthroughs.

 

Film Studies

Writer: Sam Miller
Faculty Advisor: Amy Ongiri and Alison Guenther-Pal
Topic: Transwolves and Werewomen
Summary:

 

 

German

Writer: Sam Miller
Faculty Advisor: Alison Guenther-Pal
Topic: Transwolves and Werewomen
Summary:


 


Government

Writer: Nils Carlson
Faculty Advisor: Claudena Skran
Topic: Beach You To It: Understanding the Determinants to Tourism Specialization
Summary:

The travel and tourism industry is currently one of the fastest growing global industries in terms of both revenue generated and jobs created. Given our understanding of tourism-led growth, it is worth developing a model to better understand what factors promotes the tourism industry. Previous models have been developed on the factors of tourism development, the revenue generated by the industry, and sustainability. However, there isn’t a model on the factors of tourism specialization, which is the percentage of the economy filled by the tourism industry. The focus of this project is to vet some of the factors associated with tourism development including the natural assets, international openness, and prioritization of the industry by the country, and develop a working model on tourism specialization. This study also provides recommendations on further research that could improve this model.

 

Neuroscience

Writer: Missy Eilbes
Faculty Advisor: Judith Humphries
Topic: Sex Specific Effects of Vitamin B on Behavior and Cognition in a Model of Ischemic Stroke
Summary:

 

 

Psychology

Writer: Sara Prostko
Faculty Advisor: Lori Hilt
Topic: Testing the Interpersonal-Psychological Theory of Suicide in a Community Sample of Adolescents
Summary:

 

Suicide is a leading cause of death among adolescents (CDC, 2019), but researchers struggle with predicting which adolescents will die by suicide. The Interpersonal Psychological Theory of Suicide (Joiner, 2005) predicts differences between those who desire suicide from those with serious suicidal behavior. This theory has not been extensively tested among adolescents. The present study aims to directly test the theory’s predictions both concurrently and prospectively among community adolescents. Adolescents (N = 4919, Mage = 15.59, 49.8% female) participated in a school-based mental health screen and completed questionnaires regarding key theory constructs, nonsuicidal self-injury, and suicidal behaviors. A subsample (N = 605, Mage = 15.45, 49.8% female) was screened again one year later. Findings partially support the theory. Concurrent analyses revealed that perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness were associated with both passive suicidal ideation and past suicide attempt. Nonsuicidal self-injury was associated with a previous attempt. None of the constructs from the theory predicted behavior prospectively, suggesting that the theory may be better in predicting concurrent behavior among community adolescents. Assessment of theory constructs may be useful in determining risk, but further prospective tests of the theory should be considered.