URC and Honors Thesis Forum Schedule
Undergraduate Research Conference
and Honors Thesis Forum
|URC and Honors Thesis Forum Schedule|
|Oral Presentations||Wednesday, April 18||8AM - 5PM||LBJSC 3-5.1.|
|Oral Presentations||Thursday, April 19||8AM - 5PM||LBJSC 3-14.1.|
|Oral Presentations||Friday, April 20||8AM - 12PM||LBJSC 3-14.1.|
|Poster Presentation & Reception||Friday, April 20||1PM - 4 PM||LBJ Ballroom|
Wednesday, April 18 - LBJSC 3-5.1.
Abstract: It is widely agreed on that studying abroad greatly benefits students in their academics, personal life, and future careers; I argue that which country you visit also plays an important role. In this thesis, I review Texas State study abroad programs to analyze the cultural distances between host countries in relation to United States culture and how students will benefit more greatly by studying in countries with a greater cultural distance. To test this hypothesis, I interviewed Texas State students who’ve participated in Texas State faculty led study abroad programs to examine if their experiences which include: personal growth, language acquisition, cross-cultural competencies obtainment, academic commitment, and career growth positively differed by country of study. To conduct my research, I used multiple cultural frameworks, including monochronic vs. polychronic, high vs. low context, tolerant vs. avoiding, masculinity vs. femininity, and individualism vs. collectivism.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Robert Konopaske, Department of Management
8:40am – 9:00am HERNANDEZ, EREN Whisper of the Waves: A Novella Exploring the Transatlantic Slave Ship Experience
Abstract: A vehicle for the rise of Capitalism, the transatlantic slave trade changed the trajectory of the whole world’s history. The slave ship was the engine of the Atlantic trade, carrying cargo, culture, money and lives through the Atlantic world. “Whisper of the Waves” is a historical fiction following the chronicles of Phineas, a nine-year old sailor boy from the slums of Liverpool. The value in historical fiction is the genre’s ability to humanize events from the far past that are often clouded with figures and facts, while also resonating with relevance to today’s human conditions. For historical accuracy, I have been informed through primary sources of the time such as documents, letters and journals from the slave trade, Liverpool and the Eighteenth century. I have also used a variety secondary sources of historical scholarship, such as the work of Marcus Rediker on the slave ship and trade.
The horrors of the slave trade are revealed through the lens of young Phineas, as he explores self-development, the intricate slave ship, Atlantic waters, slave-holding castles and ports off the coast of West Africa. Phineas has joined the slave trade as a means to pull his family out of poverty, but he quickly learns the toll of the trade on the human heart. The slave ship produced deplorable conditions for all residents, but the human cargo experienced the most inhumane treatment. The crewmen were merely investments, and the enslaved were solely for profit. Along the emotional and physical tumult of the voyage, irony intersects as pirates ultimately play the moral agents. A former sailor, in company of abolitionists, raid the vessel and take Phineas, along with other crewmen and slaves, under their protection. In this coming-of-age tale, repression of guilt and morality are central in the greedy endeavors of the Captain, merchants, traders, and even general crewmen.
Supervising Professor: Ms. Stephanie Noll, Department of English
9:00am – 9:20am NDIAYE, N’DEYE The NGO Scramble for West African Development: The Impact of NGOs in Ghana and Sierra Leone
Abstract: Non-governmental organizations (NGO) have become a major part of economic development in West African countries. Since the implementation of Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) by International Financial Institutions (IFIs) in aid seeking countries in the 1980’s, West Africa has seen an influx of NGOs. These NGO’s range in focus and span throughout countries. There’s been a reliance on the power and effectiveness these organization can have on African development. What constitutes as a developed country or what indicators identify economic development is still contested, as there are so many possibilities. Therefore, in my paper I will be analyzing two major NGOs ActionAid and Medecins San Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) in Ghana and Sierra Leone respectively. Each NGO has specific development goals and targets. Based on those identified within each country, this paper will look at the economic factors of development they seek to address. In Ghana, ActionAid’s role in education improvements and agriculture production are highlighted. In Sierra Leone, Medecins Sans Frontieres has worked diligently to address access to medical care and relieve the country of epidemic diseases. The progress of these NGOs is not exclusively judge on the countries major statistics provided by international institutions. Both ActionAid and Medecins San Frontieres have seen success and failures in their programs as outlined in their reports.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Edward Mihalkanin, Department of Political Science
9:20am – 9:40am JOHNSON, RICKEY How Do We Disseminate Health Information to Those in Low-Socioeconomic Status? Is It Effective and Is There Room for Improvement?
Abstract: The intention of my thesis is not to conduct a critical evaluation of the health educators working in the field, but rather to perform a literature review of their research, carry out my own investigation, and provide discussion on how health information is disseminated to members of society in low-socioeconomic status (SES) and the potential for future programs. I have selected 3 research articles to review, summarize, and provide discussion on. I also prepared a general health survey I planned to administer to participants of the women, infant, and child (WIC) program in Williamson County, TX. However, due to not gaining approval from the WilCo Health Department the survey was not conducted. Therefore, I will just provide the contents of the survey, its purpose, and further discussion.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Jeff M. Housman, Department of Health and Human Performance
Second Reader: Dr. Jacquelyn McDonald, Department of Health and Human Performance
Abstract: This thesis aims to show that Americans residing overseas maintain their American identity. In doing so, this project demonstrates how Americans overseas migrate, integrate, and engage in transnationalism. Through a collection of data the thesis provides insights on demographics, and common social behaviors of Americans abroad. Moreover, this thesis provides historical background of U.S. migratory trends and an in depth look into a few biographies of famous American expatriates. This research is important because the American migratory group is significantly understudied. However, professor Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels has chosen this migratory group as her focus and that is why majority of the information in this thesis comes from her book Migrants or Expatriates? Americans in Europe. Klekowski uses a variety of sources in her book including 115 interviews with Americans residing in Berlin, Paris, and London as well as a survey with 884 respondents (Klekowski). Klekowski is an American. She left the United States for Berlin to participate in a 10- month research fellowship and twenty years later she now resides in Brussels where she teaches at the University of Kent. Through my research I conclude that Americans are involved with politics, financially tied to America, and engaged with relationships in the United States. I have determined that Americans take part in traditions practiced back home in America as well as to create communities and take part in social and political organizations.
Supervising Professor: Mr. Alan Schaefer, Department of English
Abstract: Messy is a memoir based on the true happenings of my life; hoping to expand on what I’ve written, this is a section that discusses my family—mainly my mom, dad, older brother, and grandfather. The original idea stemmed from a personal goal of writing a novel; using three texts, Burroway’s Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, Anderson’s Winesberg, Ohio and Lucy Grealy’s Auto-Biography of a Face, I started constructing what my project would be. Burroway and Anderson’s works helped scale down my project into a manageable plan, I started by using the quilting tactic to produce multiple stories about my life’s events. To create a more cohesive structure, Grealy’s memoir shed light on how to write multiple stories from different time periods and piece them together. Burroway also guided the editing process, focusing on imagery, exposition, and dialogue to help bring the wild tales of my family back to life.
Supervising Professor: Ms. Amanda North, Department of English
10:20am – 10:40am IBARRA-HERRERA, MELANIE Legalizing Ambivalent Sexism: A Content Analysis of People v. Turner Court Letters
Abstract: Gender roles and sexism are two problems that are still being combatted in our society today. This is largely due to a lack of awareness of the many ways that sexism can be presented. These issues have recently been gaining some attention through nationally recognized social movements such as #MeToo and Time’s Up. This thesis is a content analysis of the letters submitted during the People v. Turner sentencing hearing. These letters are analyzed for patterns of ambivalent sexism. Ambivalent sexism is the combination of hostile sexism and benevolent sexism. In order to investigate the prevalence of ambivalent sexism within this legal setting, I reviewed each of the 45 letters submitted to the court using both an inductive and deductive approach. From the analysis of the letters, two themes came to light. This study emphasizes the importance of language. The words that are chosen, either in conversation or in a legal context, play a part in allowing sexism to become normalized and accepted. This is an important study because ambivalent sexism runs rampant throughout society. This issue must be fully understood before we can make strides towards a long-lasting solution. More research should be encouraged in order to raise awareness in the general public and get closer to reaching gender equality in all areas of society.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Rachel Romero, Department of Sociology
Abstract: The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), one of the most heavily sanctioned countries in the world, continues to generate enough capital to make consistent strides in nuclear and missile technology, and has been successful in avoiding regime collapse. The following paper details how the isolated regime has been able to function economically in spite of numerous sanctions from the United Nations and other countries around the world, both at the political elite and general citizen levels. Elites have been utilizing state organizations and businesses to generate substantial amounts of foreign currency to fund their lavish lifestyle and nuclear program, while normal citizens rely on border regions and black markets for their survival. The pervasive use of foreign currency among North Korean citizens has appeared to keep the general economy afloat. North Korea has continually had economic setbacks, but the reactions of sympathetic governments and the average citizen seem to have created an economic system that is increasingly resistant to crash. This paper synthesizes information from defector interviews, global trade reports, and UN effectiveness reports to create a comprehensive illustration of how the economy of North Korea continues to function in a relatively stable manner.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Don Inbody, Department of Political Science
1:00pm – 1:20pm POHLMEYER, COREY A Comparative Analysis of the Failure of Bathroom Legislation Aimed at the Transgender Community in Three States: Indiana, North Carolina, and Texas
Abstract: In recent political history, the ever-polarizing ideological nature of the United States is marked by the continued public involvement in certain key issues which perpetuate across the country. One of these issues are regulatory measures or laws pertaining to the public access of restrooms in educational, governmental, or publicly owned facilities, informally known as “bathroom bills.” These bills between the dates of 2013-2018 have appeared in state legislatures across the United States; and their stories are notably marked by one thing: their abject failure in every way, shape, and form.
The purpose of this piece is not to write from an argumentative standpoint, or even a persuasive one at that, it is an analysis of the stories behind a select few bills which have received exceptional national attention, being the bills which have appeared in the States of Indiana, North Carolina, and Texas. The intent of this paper is to show that the public reaction to these bills has been the root of their failure, with notable observations directed toward the economic backlash, both potential and enacted, which these bills brought upon themselves. While it is easy to say that the reason for their demise is rooted in their opposition, their failures are much more rooted in the growing ideological divide within the political structures of both the Republican Party and the United States at large.
Supervising Professor: Mr. James C. Harrington, Honors College
Second Reader: Dr. Kenneth Ward, Department of Political Science
1:20pm – 1:40pm JONES, MORGAN The Willful Blindness of BubbleLife: An Autoethnographic Account of Privilege and Inequality
Abstract: Is the accumulation of wealth an immoral action? Willful blindness is the legal concept that liability cannot be avoided by intentionally striving not to see certain information or facts. Through autoethnography and arts-based research, I explore the social norms of an affluent society and their perpetuation of inequality and privilege through willful blindness. Using personal memories, site observations, theoretical frameworks, and social media images, I create paintings that connect images of the problems faced in poverty to the actions of the wealthy. By indicating the codependent relationship between wealth and poverty, I hope to draw attention to the willful blindness that is generally accepted in American society.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Rachel Romero, Department of Sociology
1:40pm – 2:00pm HINNANT, JADE From Hurt to Healing: A Children’s Story about Families with Military PTSD
Abstract: Facing the difficulties that often come with military life, many service members experience unimaginable hardships. Long after the event is over, its affects may still linger with the individual who endured it and manifest into PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. When an event has a certain level of trauma, it can affect the individual to the point of making them relive the event, cause nightmares, anxiety, depression, anger, and other unhealthy behaviors. As the individual interacts with family members, their emotional turmoil is often projected onto those they love, even though they may have no desire to do so. After researching multiple articles on families dealing with military PTSD, I began to understand the negative ramifications of PTSD not only on service members, but on their families as well. PTSD has tremendous potential to break down the family unit, cause disruption, and even break families apart altogether. Aside from hurting the family, it can actually transfer to family members in the form of secondary PTSD and continue to transfer for generations. While the articles were very informative, many of them simultaneously pointed out the lack of research on this topic. With a passionate desire to help these hurting families, I determined to use my research to write a children’s story about families going through these very challenges. The characters of the story not only model the realistic trials of actual families, but also depict various solutions that families can use. It is my greatest hope that my final project will be a blessing to those who read it by providing scenarios they can relate to and offering tools that will help them heal and strengthen as a family unit.
Supervising Professor: Dr. KeriAnne Moon, School of Social Work
3:00pm – 3:20pm GASPONI, CLAUDIA Evaluation of Central Texas School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) Members
Abstract: Section 28.004 of the Texas Education Code (TEC) creates the requirement of every school district in Texas to have a School Health Advisory Council (SHAC). These SHACs are community volunteer groups that advise the district's school board on health education policies, practices, textbook and curriculum selection and all other health education decisions. In some districts this includes suicide and bullying prevention, district wide nutrition efforts, and sexuality education. The legislation creating SHACs is vague about the expectations, responsibilities and operations of SHACs. There has yet to be research conducted by the state, SHACs themselves, or third parties as to how what each SHACs responsibilities have come to be.
The goal of this investigation is to understand how SHACs function and evaluate member qualifications.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Dawn Robarts, Health and Human Performance
The experiences of people of color and women are some of the most under-represented and over-stereotyped realities of media. This screenplay addresses the restrictions that society has put on women and minorities, while keeping into account the responsibility that a white writer has to not silence the experiences of others.
Lila is the lead female role who is tired of being sexualized and calls for an end to the assumptions that she needs validation through the attention of others. Julian is a black man who has grown weary of the masculine and racial expectations that he is held to as a minority. Through an unorthodox friendship, both Lila and Julian find their voices. Lila and Julian most prominently express the desire to have their stories told with acknowledgment of their personalities instead of their demographic.
The story takes place within the experiences of Wyatt, a writer and director, who is attempting to create a narrative with depth and imagination, without stereotyping his characters. Through discussions with people who have dealt with prejudice, Wyatt has an awakening to his own biases and discovers what it means to relay the stories of those without a voice.
Supervising Professor: Mr. Jordan Morille, Honors College
Abstract: In an economy where investors become increasingly conscious of social and environmental issues, businesses have begun to incorporate corporate social responsibility into their strategic models. This paper will define corporate social responsibility and discuss the factors attributing to the increase in corporate social responsibility. Specifically, I will discuss how gender composition of boards affect a companies’ overall willingness to take on environmental and socially conscious projects and provide a global overview of the topic. In addition, I will address the main factors that differentiate a women’s decision-making process from a man’s and the main obstacles that women face in integrating into corporate boards.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Eric G. Kirby, Department of Management
Abstract: Computational chemistry can be used to quickly predict the properties of molecules. We are interested in studying the potential of 1,2-dialkynylpyrroles to undergo a thermal Bergan cyclization-triggered rearrangement to reactive diradical intermediates that display cytotoxic activity. These diradical intermediates have garnered much interest in the scientific community as a potential tumor suppressant compound. A B3LYP hybrid functional with a 6-31G** basis set was used to predict the electronic energies of each intermediate and transition state in the reaction. The electronic energies were used to construct a reaction coordinate that quantified the energy gap between these intermediates and transition states. The goal of this experiment was to create an analogue of a 1,2-dialkynylpyrrole that maximized the energy gap between the diradical singlet and the Retro Bergman transition state while simultaneously minimizing the energy gap between the diradical singlet and the diradical triplet. An analogue that produced a diradical with these properties would be long lived and reactive. We discovered that the addition of electron withdrawing groups to the 4 position of the starting 1,2-dialkynylpyrrole increased the energy gap between the diradical singlet and the Retro Bergman transition state, while leaving the energy gap between the diradical singlet and the diradical triplet unchanged. Electron withdrawing R groups placed in close proximity to the Retro Bergman cleavage site may discourage the formation of the Retro Bergman transition state. This study provides insight into the further optimization of diradicals to be used for therapeutic applications.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Sean Kerwin, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
4:40pm - 5:00pm KIRBY, RYAN A State Between: A Caring-Virtuosic Argument Considering Decision-Making Before Wartime
Abstract: This dissertation attempts to illumine concepts used to deescalate warring measures designed to protect a nation-State, offered by traditional justice ethics, by integrating them alongside the ethics of care. Because ancient, justice-based ethics were derived while moralizing the virtuosic roles that imply dependency, and, more relatively, protection, it is imperative that we examine what war-measure contributions seem to be overshadowed in ethical decision making affecting the community-at-large. Considering views that are compatible with foremost just-war theories, I argue that our original state of nature is not absolutely cruel and not absolutely utopic, but originally engrossed in a sort of compulsive protection of community members, exhibiting traits of both care and virtue. In regard to arguing a contest to a caring ontology, ideas of the caring-relational being is used to measure the question of how we ought to go about warring while simultaneously active in a society implementing a protective state of nature. The position of war being ethically unjust or ethically just ought to be evaluated by both the ethics of care and justice-centric ethics, producing a decision from the dialectical synthesis of compassionate conflict developing an ethical decision from both justice and care ethics. Conclusively, this dissertation aims to present how protection-as-ontology attempts to strengthen the “problem-solution cycle” of pragmatism in that caring ethics seeks to lastingly resolve hostility. In suggesting ideas for warring measures to be contemplated based on evaluating the protective human state of nature, I anticipate expanding on the intermediary caring state of nature existing between the extremes of Humean-Rousseauian theses.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Lijun Yuan, Department of Philosophy
Thursday, April 19 - LBJSC 3-14.1.
Abstract: The purpose of this research is to rescue Medusa from the misconstrued image she was wrongfully given and understand how her story of having been raped was unable to surface within a misogynistic society. The goal is to show that the eyes that turned men into stone were not looking to abduct gazers, but seeking for the eyes that held understanding and compassion. Researchers have demonstrated how the lustful gaze of men demoralized the body of Medusa and scrutinized the meaning of a woman’s existence by relegating her body to visual objectivity and possession. Her image was created through the lustful eyes of men that created the view of women in a patriarchal society and therefore subjected her to a life of turmoil and punishment. By further evaluating the ideological functions of Medusa, comparing her to other monstrous female figures who were worshipped, and how she is portrayed in media and art, we will uncover who the gorgon was and how her identity has been masked by the scales of serpents.
Supervising Professor: Ms. Rebecca Ross, Department of Philosophy
Abstract: Coming soon.
Supervising Professor: Dr. David Nolan, School of Journalism and Mass Communication
9:00am – 9:20am CALLAWAY, DANIELLE Short- and Long-Term Effects of Addicting Substances on the Brain
Abstract: Drugs are substances that have a physiological effect after introduction into the body or brain. Drugs of abuse have addictive properties that cause a high susceptibility of misuse and abuse, making these substances very dangerous. The reward pathway in the brain enhances pleasurable responses, facilitating addiction and susceptibility of abuse. The primary neurotransmitter in this pathway is dopamine. A few of the most prevalent drugs of abuse are marijuana, nicotine, and prescription drugs, specifically narcotics. Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States. Nicotine is another very prominent abused substance in the United States, and deaths and illnesses from this substance are some of the most preventable. Prescription drugs are becoming one of the most dangerous classes of illicit drugs. The rate of overdose from prescription drugs in the United States surpassed the number of deaths from automobile crashes in 2009. Each of these substances have significant short- and long-term effects on the brain and body. The short- and long-term effects of substances are different on adult and adolescent brains, because adolescent brains are much more sensitive to substances since they are still developing. Nicotine and prescription drug abuse cause a significant and increasing number of deaths per year.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Natalie Ceballos, Department of Psychology
10:00am-10:20am RIVERA, CLARISSA Development of a Low-Cost, Portable Assay to Genotype Strains of the Amphibian-Killing Fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis)
Abstract: With the rise of the fungal pathogens like amphibian chytrids, amphibian species across the world are threatened and some populations are dwindling at an alarming rate. Increased genetic sampling of amphibian chytrids has shown more genetic diversity that previously known. Although there are methods to identify strains by genotyping, these techniques usually involve costly laboratory equipment that are impractical in remote regions such as Ecuador, which is a region of high amphibian diversity. This project focuses on an efficient and low-cost method of genotyping two different strains, Bd-GPL and Bd-Brazil, using tetra-primer PCR and custom-designed genotyping assays. These assays comprise of an external PCR and then genotype specific internal PCRs. Thus far, external PCRs have been successful across several local strains of Bd, and work on the genotype specific PCRs is ongoing. In the next phase, I will test this assay on samples collected from Ecuador, and optimize the assay for deployment in the field using portable equipment.
Supervising Professor: Dr. David Rodriguez, Department of Biology
Second Reader: Dr. Dittmar Hahn, Department of Biology
This analysis is meant to illustrate the past connections that have culminated in Great Britain’s decisions to leave the European Union (Brexit). Through examinations of both primary and secondary source documents the essay will trace the pattern of the British-European connection that has caused turbulence throughout the past two centuries. Starting from the Napoleonic War looking at each subsequent European war and continuing on through until the current day. The purpose of such an endeavor is to explore the cultural sentiments, political rhetoric, and a divided social climate that have lead to the culminating vote on June 23, 2016, and to expand on where Britain thinks their place is in Europe and on the world stage. The ultimate goal is to be able to explain the concept of a British state separate from Europe and to explain where this leaves their citizens going forward. This is all in attempt to key the readers in to something an important historical narrative that is just now taking shape. The ramifications of this decision can have drastic and looming consequences that will affect future generations and their ability to traverse global markets. Though the use of research and analysis the question will be answered, “Why do the British peoples see themselves as a part of Europe but not inclusively European.”
Supervising Professor: Dr. Bryan Glass, Department of History
10:40am - 11:00am EUCEDA, MEGAN Drug Trafficking’s Impacts on the Indigenous Populations of La Mosquitia, Honduras
Abstract: The negative impacts of drug trafficking on regional security in Central America are well documented. However, the effects that drug trafficking has on indigenous communities and livelihoods are less understood. Drawing on the case of the Mosquitia region of Honduras, this research contributes to the knowledge gap by answering: What are the impacts of drug trafficking on the indigenous populations of La Mosquitia? Analyzing secondary data on forest loss in Central America, a media database on narco-trafficking in Honduras, and two in-depth interviews from a Miskitu and Tawahka leader, this thesis argues that narco-deforestation caused by drug trafficking negatively and disproportionately impacts indigenous communities residing in the Honduran Mosquitia. Furthermore, this deforestation is driving indigenous land dispossession, food insecurity, and threatens the very existence of indigenous peoples and their culture.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Jennifer Devine, Department of Geography
11:00am -11:20am WRIGHT, TRAVIS Meaningful Lives, Ecological Lives: Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic as a Framework for Meaningful Living
Abstract: In this thesis, I argued for an ecosophical theory that locates Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic at the center of a comprehensive view of a meaningful life. This theory explains what a meaningful life is, offers a method for living one’s life meaningfully, and accounts for how meaning arises in our lives. I argue that Susan Wolf offers the best account of a meaningful life, which requires actively engaging in worthwhile projects. However, her account needs a substantive theory of value to inform our decisions about which projects are worthwhile. I argue that Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic provides that guidance with its primary imperative to care for the land. I argue that, in conjunction with Wolf’s theory, Leopold’s Land Ethic’s imperative tells us how to live our lives meaningfully by orienting us towards what is valuable, requiring active engagement, leaving room for personal desires to guide our choice projects, and providing direction as to which projects are most worthy. Finally, I show how Edgar Morin’s theories of fundamental anthropology and hominization fill in metaethical and metaphysical details by explaining how meaning arises in human lives.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Vicente Lopes, Department of Biology
Second Reader: Dr. Vincent Luizzi, Department of Philosophy
Abstract: Bias against female political candidates has been a hot-button issue, especially during and after the 2016 election, and the media is not exempt from being a part of the discussion. This article explores this debate through research and examples of female candidates at different levels of government, from the executive office to the state legislature. These candidates include Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Wendy Davis, and Celia Israel among others.
The overall question that this article proposes is whether or not there is a definitive bias against female political candidates in the media based on gender. Peer-reviewed research on the topic suggests that there is, and that it can affect how female candidates are perceived. More specifically, if there is a definitive bias, at what levels of government is it seen and felt the most?
These questions are explored through peer-reviewed research and interviews with political researchers and educators on how they feel the media portrays female candidates. There are also interviews with candidates themselves, exploring how candidates feel any media bias against them because of their gender.
The article concludes in agreement with the research, that there is a definitive bias against female candidates in the media. However, this bias is more present in higher offices like president of the United States and governor than it is with congress and legislature positions. Women running for lower-level offices tend to not feel like the media treats them differently than women running for higher-level offices.
What this article does is bring together existing research to paint a bigger picture on just how the media effects the image of female candidates for voters. Having a bigger picture on this topic can help bring into perspective where we should focus future research to further pinpoint the issues that female candidates deal with.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Kym Fox, School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Abstract: Script to screen: A Production Story focuses on the creation of Trimillennial a sci fi/mystery tv pilot that explores a society that we American’s could be heading towards in a century from now. Imagine living under a New Regime that resembles a Democracy but secretly resembles a Fascist movement. This fascist movement uses progress and technology to hide their deeds while behind the scenes use their justice system of erasing people’s memories to obtain what they want. The pre-production to post production process of this creative work include: original screenwriting, location researching, casting, directing, rehearsals, budgeting and scheduling, and editing. The pre-production process began January 18th, the production process took place over two weekends March 2nd - 3rd, March 9th - 11th, and the post production process began March 12th.
Supervising Professor: Ms. Elizabeth A. Buckley, Department of Theatre and Dance
Abstract: Since the 1960s a growing body of research has emerged which seeks to determine the effectiveness of interactive educational displays on improving information retention, and the development of a sounder understanding of biological processes. Through analyzing this research, I have developed a concept that seeks to incorporate an interactive type display into the Texas State University Department of Agriculture. The display utilizes both the indoor space as well as the garden that surround the agriculture building. The aim of this project is to create an interactive display that corresponds to the Economic Entomology class in order to give students a deeper understanding of the course material as it relates to real world applications. The project consists of four shadow box style display cases to be installed in the Agriculture building. Inside of the display cases will be agriculturally important insect specimens. Accompanying the shadow boxes will be a poster with information relating to the field of Entomology. The poster will also direct students and visitors to the gardens where they will look for insects of agricultural importance as described in the Economic Entomology course. A series of aluminum signs will be placed throughout the gardens containing information on particular insect orders. In addition to creating a more comprehensive learning environment, this project is an attempt to give back to the Texas State University Agriculture Program which has been a huge part of my professional development over the past few years.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Ken Mix, Department of Agriculture
Abstract: The following plays are a glimpse into the world of mental health. They are based on experiences that I have witnessed firsthand. The purpose of each play is to capture moments among a myriad of different people that have undergone some form of stress. I’ve found that there are many generalizations about mental health. In my experience, every person is different. My hope is shed light on that idea. Through these plays, I want to show the good, bad, and ugly of each character’s struggle. My goal is that the audience will obtain a new perspective on the world and how they view others. The topics that I’ve selected for this project cover self-harm, suicide, depression, anxiety, grief, and addiction. I felt as though the best way to capture these topics are through ten minute plays. As mentioned previously, each play is based off real-life experiences. I’ve found that it was extremely important to not create characters completely on an idea. It was essential that each character was fully fleshed out. Meaning, each character had to be completely authentic and true-to-life as possible. Once I achieved this, I believe it helped the way the story was told. It’s important to keep in mind that these works will continue to be edited. I find that people are constantly changing, and my writing must reflect that. From here, I wish to continue to grow and spread a message to those around me.
Supervising Professor: Mr. Jordan Morille, Honors College
1:40pm-2:00pm CAMPBELL, ALEXANDRIA A Comparison of Unschoolers and Evangelical Homeschoolers in Central Texas Through the Lens of Resource Mobilization Theory
Abstract: This thesis is a comparison of unschoolers and Evangelical homeschoolers in central Texas, in terms of Resource Mobilization theory. Unschoolers began the modern homeschool movement in the 1960s. They homeschooled in secret, since it was illegal at the time. Evangelicals began homeschooling in the 1980s, and used court precedent to legalize homeschooling nationwide by the early 1990s. Unschool and Evangelical homeschool groups in central Texas are interviewed and compared using Resource Mobilization Theory. Specifically, their uses of cultural, human, and social-organizational resources are compared.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Bob Price, Department of Sociology
2:00pm-2:20pm CUDDEBACK, LEAH Lions and Tigers and Teens: Exploring Volunteer Influences at the Saint Louis Zoo
Abstract: While early childhood is typically considered one of the most formative times in human development, educational programming aimed at adolescents can prove even more critical to future success. In particular, involvement in clubs and volunteer organizations geared towards a theme, such as environmental education or STEM, can help set students on a trajectory for their future. One such teen volunteer program created to encourage participant’s personal growth in the direction of science and conservation can be found at the Saint Louis Zoo, in the form of Zoo ALIVE. We conducted research targeting individuals currently or previously involved with the teen volunteer program in order to evaluate what sort of individuals are drawn to this program and whether they go on to pursue a future in the field of science. The primary questions driving this research are: 1) what factors drive volunteers to seek out placement in Zoo ALIVE, 2) what elements of Zoo ALIVE do volunteers attribute as influential toward their future goals, and 3) what is the retention rate of past volunteers in science related placements. We conducted this study through the use of both qualitative and previously evaluated, quantitative instruments in an online, anonymous questionnaire. This questionnaire was shared with current and former Zoo ALIVE volunteers and 71 complete responses were analyzed. We found positive correlations between Zoo ALIVE participants’ views of science, science careers, and environmental awareness. In terms of qualitative analysis, approximately 27% of respondents stated that childhood involvement in camp and other educational programming at the zoo ultimately led them to choose to volunteer with Zoo ALIVE, 99% of respondents reported having gained something from their involvement in the program, and approximately 41% of former volunteers reported currently having a job in a science-related field.
Co-Supervising Professors: Dr. Kristy Daniel, Department of Biology and Dr. Shaunna Smith, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract: Depression is one of the most common chronic conditions that remains substantially underdiagnosed and undertreated. It is a illness that has high percentage of morbidity and mortality among college students. The Short Film script: The Invisible Illness, was written to bring awareness to the topic of depression in college students in the United States. It seeks to describe what a person diagnosed with depression might be experiencing and how someone can recognize the symptoms.
The Invisible Illness walks us through the life of a college student experiencing symptoms of depression, eventually becoming diagnosed with depression. The message of the film script is that depression is not a visible illness, but that does not mean it does not exist.
The goal of this story is to encourage more Student Health centers on college campuses to implement preventative services such as screenings for depression, put systems to accurately diagnose depression in place, treat patients and offer regular follow-up appointments. This will reduce the amount of students who do not receive treatment, have never been diagnosed or do not have the resources to attend a private clinic.
Supervising Professor: Ms. Susan Busa, Department of Theatre and Dance
Abstract: Since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, the Erdoğan Regime in Turkey has been harshly criticized by its allies, and has been questioned by the international community with respect to its intentions for the region. Specifically, in regard to Turkish relations with the recently autonomous Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Kurdish organization based in northern Syria. The Erdoğan regime has equated the PYD with that of the Turkey-based terrorist group the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), and as a result has begun military operations against them. This paper will attempt to explore the possible explanations for the Turkish involvement in the Syrian Conflict, especially as it relates to the PYD in Northern Syria and their relationship to the PKK in Southern Turkey. The geographically contiguous nature of these two Kurdish organizations has resulted in a border crisis for Turkey, assuming that the autonomy of the Syrian Kurds continues post-war.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Arnold Leder, Department of Political Science
Abstract: This is a horror screenplay adapted from the life of serial killer Ted Bundy. In college, Ted has a pivotal breakup with his girlfriend Stephanie, which leads him to choose to attack and murder young women who resemble her. His crimes catch up with him however, and Ted is arrested after one of his would-be victims escapes his clutches. Ted escapes prison, and attempts to hide out below the radar, but his insatiable urge to kill cannot be stopped.
Supervising Professor: Mr. Jordan Morille
3:20pm - 3:40pm JARA RODRIGUEZ, VALERIA Achieving Lossless Data Compression Through Numerous Configurations of LZSS Coding
Abstract: Data Compression is the process of encoding information in order to reduce the number of bits of an original source. This is so that the piece of information is stored in compact form. Data Compression algorithms can be Lossy or Lossless, with the latter meaning that no data is lost during the compression process. During this thesis, we used a Lossless Compression algorithm called LZSS to develop a method for estimating the compression ratio and computational complexity of various configurations. The goal was to be able to find the configuration that gives us the best compression ratio without having to run thousands of configurations manually. We initially did this by obtaining the compression ratio of a few configurations. Then, we used the results in a two-pass algorithm. The two-pass algorithm required selective the best configuration and running it on a file. We also used a second method where took the estimation of the best configuration for the current k elements to compress the current k elements, and used the best configuration found for the next k elements. The hypothesis of this thesis is that it is possible to estimate the performance of several LZSS configurations from a just few LZSS configurations. And also, that we can use these estimations to improve the compression ratio or to select a configuration with acceptable computational complexity.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Dan Tamir, Department of Computer Science
Abstract: A western told in the spirit of Don Quixote, “No Birds in Yesterday” is a creative work which explores the themes of nostalgia, what it is to be a good person as well as the power of the human mind. The protagonist, Jackson Hunter, is a man on the run from the law after he steals a large sum of money from his boss. His run is inspired by the stories Jackson has heard about the cowboys of the Old West, and he fancies himself the rebirth of their wild spirit. Jackson spends much of his time on the road alone on his motorcycle where there is little to do but think. As a result, the narrative is often told as a stream-of-consciousness. Where the stream-of-consciousness is broken, Jackson finds himself in the world of far Southwest Texas that has changed little in the past 100 years. Following a series of mishaps leading the police ever closer, and his constant yearning to be a cowboy like Jesse James or any of the other household names of the Wild West, Jackson is faced with the ultimate reality that the past is gone and can never be reached again, but this realization shifts his perspective even further inward, forcing Jackson to come to terms with his own actions and whether he has truly moved on from the past, or if he has been trapped there all along without his realizing.
Supervising Professor: Dr. John Blair, Department of English
Abstract: Coming soon.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Peter Golato, Department of Modern Languages
Abstract: These five stories are centered around a single female character who remains nameless throughout the collection. She is a quirky, independent middle-aged woman, who, at the start seems uptight and reserved, but consistently delves into a more spontaneous lifestyle, intent on living outside her comfort zone. The essence of this character is depicted by the writing style: blunt and eccentric. Each of the stories are written in a fast-paced present tense - which symbolizes the immediacy of the character's decisions - and are based on real-life people and situations that inspired me. My goal for this collection of stories is to embrace and encourage the complexity and idiosyncrasy of everyday life.
Supervising Professor: Mr. Twister Marquiss, Department of English
4:40pm - 5:00pm JAVIER, BRYAN JORREL Pussy Up! A One Act Show Exploring the Effects of Heteronormativity and Microaggressions in LGBTQIA+ Youth
Abstract: Pussy Up! is a one act show that takes place in a world where homosexuality is the norm, male masculinity is insulting, and “manning-up” is pejorative. Taking place in sunny, suburban, Southern California, a group of teens disclose their experiences as “non-queer” youth and the role “homonormativity” and societal expectations play in their lives. Touching on toxic masculinity, internal battles, and gender non-conformity, the absurdity in the concept is meant to lampoon on the unreal expectations and culturally instilled bias towards heteronormativity and fixed gender roles that promulgates a queer person’s childhood and adolescence. Through this piece, I will be highlighting the trials and experiences that members of the LGBTQIA+ community encounter on a daily basis. By switching the norm, I hope to accentuate the irrationality of fixed gender roles and bring forth the effects that microaggressions have on the mental, emotional, and sometimes physical health of its targets.
This thesis is inspired by my own personal experience as a gay male, a short film by “HaierUp,” as well as studies done on the impact of sexual and gender microaggressions on various LGBTQIA+ community members.
Supervising Professor: Mr. James Price, Department of Theatre and Dance
Friday, April 20 - LBJSC 3-14.1.
Abstract: This research consists of the analysis of data from space based observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory. The method includes the stellar identification of optical sources in Messier 51 (the Whirlpool Galaxy) found in images from the Hubble Space Telescope. A Multi-wavelength analysis (including aperture photometry) that is performed on the identified stars, followed by age-dating, and mass estimation. These results are then cross-correlated with the results from preexisting catalogues of X-ray sources. My findings yield a deeper understanding of the nature of the X-ray binaries in the whirlpool galaxy, and thus provides greater insight on the X-ray binary formation, and evolution in the galaxy. This knowledge can be generalized to other spiral galaxies much like our own Milky Way.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Blagoy Rangelov, Department of Physics
8:20am – 8:40am MORROW, MORGAN Questioning Discrimination in Democracy: An Analysis of Texas Voter Laws
Abstract: The discrimination in the democratic process of voting in the United States was discriminatory in its very creation. A citizen being able to have the right to vote is essential in a democracy. Although the United States passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to counter discrimination in voting, states such as Texas, has continued to pass laws regarding the voting process that can be seen to almost serve the same discrimination factor as the literacy and poll taxes during the Jim Crow Era. In this thesis, I focus on how Texas laws regarding the voting process of citizens leads to the disenfranchisement of minority voters and serve as catalysts of disenfranchisement from the basic democratic right to vote. I include an analysis of past voter history in Texas, as well as recent court cases to highlight Texas’ discriminatory practices in voter ID laws, gerrymandering, and ballot issues. In addition, I have conducted an interview with practicing civil rights attorneys Jose Garza and Martin Goland, who are head counsel and co-counsel for the Abbott v. Perez case regarding Texas’ gerrymandered districts set to make its way to the United States Supreme Court, to display the viewpoints of practicing lawyers in the field.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Ashleen Menchaca-Bagnulo, Department of Political Science
8:40am – 9:00am GARCIA, ALLISON Convergence or Divergence: Comparing Environmental Criteria Between Affiliating Organizations
Abstract: Environmental auditing is the measurement and assessment of company compliance with federal environmental laws and private sectors environmental management criteria. Environmental auditing ensures companies are in compliance with applicable standards and regulations. The environmental auditing methods and standards are constantly developing as our environmental impacts and demands change.
This study compares environmental auditing standards between affiliating companies, and determines whether there is a convergence or divergence in their internal environmental criteria. The organizations of Deere & Co., Topcon Positioning Company and Wacker Neuson are studied as a sample size representative of companies engaged in strategic alliances with one another. The organization’s 2014-2017 internal environmental results and future projection targets were used in the study to compare standards. The study finds that Deere & Co., Topcon Positioning Company and Wacker Neuson’s environmental criteria is diverging. The results of the study can serve to enhance the objectives of alliancing company’s environmental targets.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Janet Hale, Department of Finance and Economics
9:20am – 9:40am ROBERTSON, TAFARI Spatial Realization: Understanding Black Cultural Engagement in Context of Space and Whiteness
Abstract: As a space curated to invite audiences to engage with Black cultural objects including media, art, and furniture in juxtaposition to clear reminders of racialized oppression, this installation explores how our interaction with Black culture is affected by the context of who a space represents and who is empowered within it.
Many people of color, especially in the south, are consistently put in a position where we can only hope to occupy space designated for whiteness. So, the act of claiming space for ourselves inherently involves taking it from another entity. Imagining the burden that comes when even the most generalized cultural engagement seems to require confrontation, I wanted to develop a space that embodied this experience. In the exhibit, the artifacts that draw you in and are meant to be used, enjoyed, and learned from are set in direct contrast with a historical reality that seeks to limit this experience. Here, you are challenged to make a choice, ignore the space altogether out of protest or disinterest or immerse yourself in a cultural engagement that maintains your awareness of your own oppression. As this interaction differs depending on the overall space and the audience that approaches the installation, a question of ownership becomes more apparent. Can white audiences engage with black culture without understanding their connection to a history of oppression that informs it? Should they be able to? More importantly, however, can black and brown audiences enjoy their own culture as a refuge or recharge from the systemically oppressive realities that are ever-present in institutional spaces?
Supervising Professor: Dr. Louie Valencia García, Department of History
9:40am – 10:00am DOUGLAS, VICTORIA Fillory’s Not So Happily Ever After: A Creative Fairytale with German Language, Sexual Violence and the MeToo Act
Abstract: The purpose of my project is to create an original story that includes fairytale aspects, the German language and sexual violence in today’s society. I hope that my piece will bring a unique contribution for those creating a thesis through the Honors College as well as the English and Language departments. When starting my project, I had to brainstorm and research topics that are important to me and that reader could relate and benefit from. I decided to create a story that focuses on sex violence along with the MeToo act, since it has been a major topic within society. Including German language was important because of the history within towns that surround San Marcos. I chose to write my story with both traditional and modern fairytale aspects to attract the attention of readers, and so it could have the potential of aiming towards a larger age group opposed to 14 and up. All of these methodologies have helped me create my thesis through creative approaches. The challenge I faced while creating this project was finding an appropriate age group. I intended for this story to be read by all ages, but due to the sensitive circumstances, I had to properly determine a suitable age group.
Supervising Professor: Ms. Laura Ellis-Lai, Department of English
10:00am – 10:20am HOELSCHER, KYLEIGH Pass the Gravy: An Ethnographic Study on Food Insecurity during the U.S. Fall and Winter Holiday Season
Abstract: Pass the Gravy: An Ethnographic Study on Food Insecurity during The U.S. Fall and Winter Holiday Season: During the fall and winter holidays in the U.S., groups typically gather for a meal, granting them a sense of warmth and belonging. But, what if there were no food to begin with? In Hays County, Texas, one out of every seven people experience food insecurity year-round, including the holidays that generally require people to spend and eat in excess. The societal pressure to provide an expensive feast along with presents during this season generally places an equally emotional and financial burden on the household. The Undergraduate Research Fellowship at Texas State University funded my research. I investigate how the food insecure population of Hays County, Texas combats hunger during the holidays, negotiates holiday traditions, and manages other difficulties associated with the holiday season. It accomplishes this through the implementation of ethnographic methods consisting of nine qualitative interviews and demographic surveys from the population who seeks assistance from Hays County Food Bank. Two central questions guiding the research are: what holiday traditions do participants engage in and value?, and how does being food insecure affect their experiences with these holiday traditions? My research aims to uncover specific issues through in-depth accounts of food insecure households in order fill an important gap in the social scientific literature, inform policy in Texas, and improve services provided by the Hays County Food Bank.
Keywords: Food Insecurity; U.S. holidays; Poverty; Texas.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Nicole Taylor, Department of Anthropology
Abstract: The hemp plant, or Cannabis sativa L., has been used throughout the world since ancient times. In the United States, the very fabric of our nation is rooted in this hearty and prolific plant. It is only in the past century that its value has been questioned and cast aside in the name of greed and corruption. Traditional building materials such as concrete, fiberboard, and insulation are detrimental to the environment for a number of reasons. The carbon footprint for their very existence is considerable. Hempcrete, hemp fiberboard and hemp insulation could become some of the most preferred, and economical, building materials of the environmentally-conscious consumer. Unfortunately, legislation enacted decades ago to prohibit this invaluable crop’s growth still stands in the way of its mass production and industrial use. This thesis will explain the history of the hemp plant, both world-wide and in the United States, and how it came to be illegal in this country. This will be followed by an introduction to hemp building materials, their benefits, and several notable hemp building projects. Finally, it will illustrate how anti-hemp laws are still coming between United States citizens and this highly sustainable, health-conscious, and economically promising building material, and what the future of hemp building may hold with respect to legislation.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Dianne Rahm, Department of Political Science
Second Reader: Dr. Heather C. Galloway, Honors College
Abstract: In almost every culture throughout the world, marriage is major lifestage milestone. Marriage ceremonies vary depending on many factors, including but not limited to: religious affiliation, geographical region, personal preferences, and cultural traditions. This study focuses on Harris County, Texas, home of the fourth largest city in the United States: Houston. Specifically, this study explores the most densely populated religious groups in Harris County, which include the Catholic, Protestant Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, Jewish, and Hindu faiths for the reason of analyzing the marriage traditions associated with the religious affiliation. The study also describes the different traditions included within civil ceremonies, those with no religious affiliation, and traditions that are widely practiced. The origins of all these traditions and their evolution are also reviewed. Wedding professionals in the Houston area would greatly benefit from understanding the basic customs of the different groups. The study resulted in the creation of mood boards for each religious wedding type to demonstrate the use and application of the study’s for wedding professionals, specifically wedding planners, who will be involved in the planning and execution of similar ceremonies.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Stefanie Ramirez, School of Family and Consumer Sciences
11:00am – 11:20am MCCURDY, COFFEY Show Iraq the Money: United States and United Kingdom Technical Assistance to the Baghdad Pact
Abstract: The Baghdad Pact, an agreement intended to provide an avenue for economic, scientific, and military cooperation between Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom (UK), provides a specific example to evaluate the level of technical assistance given to the Baghdad Pact member states by the UK and the United States (US). In order to limit the field, the researcher focuses on atomic assistance given to the Baghdad Pact Nuclear Centre, a training centre built in Baghdad that conducted courses on different nuclear techniques requested by the pact member states. From this preliminary basis, the researcher asks, does the US or the UK provided more assistance to the Baghdad Pact Nuclear Centre? Ultimately, the point of the thesis is to ascertain which state, the US or the UK, provided more assistance and in what fashion was the assistance given. To find the answers to these questions, both the UK and US National Archives were assessed for documents relating to the Baghdad Pact and then were narrowed to those discussing the Baghdad Pact Nuclear Centre. Six documents from each archive were selected. The twelve documents are then presented with preliminary findings from each document and then compared to one another to show the level of involvement, gauged by the different types and quantities of technical assistance given to the Baghdad Pact Nuclear Centre. While most would assume that the US was the primary provider of technical assistance to the Baghdad Pact Nuclear Centre, the UK appears to be the largest provider of assistance. The technical assistance being provided to pact member states, by the UK, is quite large, why does the UK find this use of funds necessary? Why is the US largely uninvolved in the Baghdad Pact and its pursuits of atomic knowledge? Both of these questions, while briefly mentioned in this thesis, necessitate more research to better understand both the US and UK’s relationship to the Middle East.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Elizabeth Bishop, Department of History
Abstract: The number of females pursuing degrees in accounting is at an all-time high, yet partners in CPA firms remain overwhelmingly male, with women representing only 22% of partners in CPA firms (AICPA, 2017). Some of the main obstacles impeding women from taking up leading positions in the accounting profession are the lack of work-life balance, lack of role models, stereotypes and lack of formal career progression plans. This thesis investigates the history of women leaders in accounting, examines some of the underlying causes for the lack of women leaders, and provides an overview of programs currently available to encourage the development of women leaders. The thesis concludes with recommendations for developing women leaders in the future.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Janet Butler, Department of Accounting
11:40pm – 12:00pm VALDEZ, ISABEL Breaking the Brain Barrier: The Effect of Brain Breaks on Fidgeting Behaviors in a Lecture Based College Classroom
Abstract: Concentration and focus in class is sacrificed for longer class periods with more students per class. In a college classroom, lecture style dominated programs and crowded classrooms make it more likely for students to lose focus during class. This research seeks to provide a possible remedy for attention drops through the use of “Brain Breaks.” Brain breaks in this case, are a five to ten-minute activities with the goal of refreshing student’s minds and allowing them to focus better in the remainder of their class period. This work combines a review of existing literature with a case study performed in an hour and twenty-minute long college class in order to examine the benefit of placing breaks in lecture presentations. The Brain Break protocol was created using several different exercises. Benefits were tracked via a fidgeting behavior checklist consisting of eight chosen behaviors. Observations were made pre and post brain break in order to track the frequency of fidgeting behaviors for three students over the course of several random days of observation. Three students were observed in this case study, with each having their fidgeting behaviors recorded before and after brain breaks. Overall, the students observed in this study all demonstrated a decrease in fidgeting behaviors after the brain breaks were performed.
Supervising Professor: Dr. Jennifer Ahrens, Health and Human Performance
Friday, April 20 - LBJSC Ballroom.
Please view the full list of poster abstracts.