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Honors Program

Honors Program

Honors Thesis Abstracts - Spring 2012 - Winthrop Students' Research

The Classification of False Tendons of the Left Ventricle of Canine Hearts

Student: Jamie Ashbrook 2012

Honors Thesis Committee: Lee Anne Cope, Ph.D.; Laura Glasscock, Ph.D.; and Evelyne Weeks

CAS – Department of Biology

The hearts of humans have been extensively studied and the presence of false tendons within the right and left ventricles has been noted in some of this previous research, but their clinical significance has only been recently studied. It is likely that false tendons play a role in many cardiac conditions such as; thrombosis, premature ventricular contractions, murmurs, left ventricular outflow obstruction, and ventricular arrhythmias. With this likelihood came the need to develop a classification scheme of these false tendons for later anatomical research and their involvement in the aforementioned conditions. The current classification scheme has been developed by several researchers primarily using human hearts and a few select animal hearts. There are, however, limitations with this scheme due to the fact that there are some types of tendons present in the hearts of animals, but not present in humans. Also, the classification scheme used thus far is not consistent among all of the published literature. Thus, the intention of this project is to develop a classification scheme specific for the false tendons in the left ventricle of the canine heart. The classification scheme used to classify the tendons in the left ventricle of human hearts will be used as a template, but modified based on tendon, anatomical, and species differences. Due to recent veterinary technology advancements, it is now possible to identify these false tendons, and with this identification comes the need to classify the tendons and examine a possible connection with the tendons and certain heart related disorders of the canine.

2 TXT or Not 2 TXT: Using Texting to Aid Literacy

Student: Stephanie Bartlett  - Education 2012

With the ever-increasing number of short message service (SMS) text messages being sent around the globe, the language of texting, also known as textese or slanguage, has been vilified by people for destroying the English language. The orthographical features of textese (pictograms and logograms, initialisms, omitted letters, nonstandard spellings, and shortenings) are often considered novel but detrimental conventions to the English language. However, linguistic researcher David Crystal illustrates how these features of textese have actually been in use and accepted historically in standard speech and writing. Therefore, based upon research studies from Nenagh Kemp, M.A. Drouin, and Kevin Durkin that consider the positive correlations between textese use and literacy skills, my paper will analyze the impact that textese can actually have on aiding in the development of literary skills over time. Because these studies cover a wide range of geographic locations such as Britain, Australia, and the United States, as well as a wide range of age categories from young adolescents to college adults, the results are noteworthy. Each study concluded that the use of textese is not necessarily harming the English language; in fact, the use of textese is positively linked with improved literacy skills according to the scores on standardized reading comprehension and spelling tests. Thus, my paper argues that based on the above evidence, as well as research into the pedagogical practices that are traditionally used to improve literacy skills, people need to embrace the phenomenon of texting to aid in literacy and language development of all people; then, if needed, adults should help younger adolescents learn to code-switch out of textese in order to use Standard American English when academically expected.

Stress Levels in Eastern Screech Owls (Otus asio) Kept in Various Captive Settings

Presented to the Department of Biology, March, 2012 and at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Supported by the Winthrop University Research Council


Student: Ashley Bateman 2012

Honors Thesis Committee: William Rogers, Ph.D.; Laura Glasscock, Ph.D.; and Jason Hurlbert, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of Biology

Stress causes similar hormone-mediated reactions in vertebrates. Hormone assays, especially for birds and mammals, are now available and have been used to detect acute stress in both the field and in captive situations. Particularly for birds, human handling has been shown to induce acute stress, especially in recently acquired birds. Chronic stress can be caused by frustration from inability to exhibit migration and mating behaviors in captive situations because the birds cannot participate in activities normal for their species’ life history. Testing for stress was previously a difficult task due to the quick response of the animal’s body when handled for drawing blood. Here we present a noninvasive process developed for monitoring stress that could allow better care of animals by institutions, hobbyists, and others especially if it were made commercially available. The technique uses corticosterone levels retrieved from feces and analyzed using HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography) and ELISA methods. We tested Eastern Screech Owls, Otis asio, in various captive situations on a seasonal basis over the course of a full year to assess their stress levels.

A Historiography on the Bill of Rights

Presented at Southern Regional Honors Council Conference, March, 2012 and the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Melody Chapman 2012

Honors Thesis Committee: Jason Silverman, Ph.D.; Steven Smith, Ph.D.; and Virginia Williams, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of History

Historians have been affected by their experiences and the culture in which they live or have lived. This thesis will research how various authors, throughout a ninety year period, addressed the topic of the Bill of Rights, a central piece of legislation in American History. Research will focus on how these different accounts treat the topics of: original influences, the writing process, and the implementation of the American Bill of Rights. Most historians cite the Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, State Constitutions, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Mason as clear influences of the American Bill of Rights. The writing process includes the politics surrounding the need for a Bill of Rights, and the determination that a separate Bill of Rights would be added to the constitution. The implementation of the document aims to compare how the document has been used by the government and in court cases according to different sources. Each document or person has a clear link to the Bill of Rights, but some historians emphasize certain parts of this list over others. Sources are reviewed for their main ideas and then those understandings are compared.

Quantitative Determination of Trans Fatty Acids by Gradient Flow Analysis — Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometry (GFA-FTIR)

Presented at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Jessica S. Creel 2012

Honors Thesis Committee: Cliff Calloway, Ph.D.; Lennart Kullberg, Ph.D.; and Ponn Maheswaranathan, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of Chemistry, Physics, and Geology

The analytical use of Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) in the determination of trans fatty acids is important to understand. While these fatty acids can be found in a variety of foods, the major sources are products that contain commercially hydrogenated fats. Even though FTIR remains one of the most popular tools for this analysis, there are several techniques that can be applied to this method to make it more effective. Gradient flow analysis (GFA) is a natural candidate to improve the FTIR analysis of trans fats. Gradient flow analysis combines the internal standard method of analysis with the standard addition method of analysis, eliminating matrix interferences and changes over time that can be found when conducting these methods separately. The GFA method also strives to reduce the volume and handling requirements for potentially hazardous substances, along with decreasing the time required for an analysis to produce a result. The GFA technique utilizes a three pump system that will flow directly into the FTIR using a flow cell. Results have shown pump one should contain the unknown oil sample that contains trans fats, pump two should contain Trielaidin and mineral oil (standard addition compound and internal standard compound, respectively) in about a 50:50 ratio and pump three will contain the CS 2 solvent. The oil sample will be pumped continuously at a rate of 0.3mL/min. Meanwhile, the standard syringe, with 50:50 Trielaidin and mineral oil, will be combined with the CS 2 solvent using a gradient com - position from 0 to 100% at a constant flow rate of 0.70mL/min. The improvement of the FTIR method is important for both the accuracy desired in the present day and for future, more complex analyses. In addition to increasing accuracy, the new method, Gradient Flow Analysis FTIR, is expected to provide a safer and more efficient means to determine the levels of trans fat.

Cloning of Human Sphingosine Kinase 1

Presented at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Supported by the South Carolina IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence Grant from NIH

Student: Zachary Curry 2012

Honors Thesis Committee: Jason Hurlbert, Ph.D., Nicholas Grossoehme, Ph.D. and T. Christian Grattan, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of Chemistry, Physics, and Geology

Human sphingosine kinase 1 (SK1) is a sphingolipid-metabolizing enzyme responsible for regulating cellular levels of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), which has been shown to pro - mote antiapoptotic cellular proliferation. Current anticancer therapies, including radiation and many chemotherapeutics, can initiate apoptosis by activating sphingomyelinase, forming ceramide from cellular sphingomyelin. Ceramide can be further processed by ceramidase to form sphingosine, which then serves as a substrate for SK1 to produce S1P. Generation of S1P within a cell has been shown to assist in the evasion of apoptosis. Recent research has shown elevated levels of SK1 expression in a variety of human malignant tumor cells, reducing their response to current therapies via S1P generation. Thus, SK1 has become an attractive target for novel anticancer therapeutics. In order to generate effective antagonists of SK1 action, it is helpful to have a high-resolution structure of the protein. This could enable structure-based inhibitor design to maximize the biological efficacy of novel compounds. Our current laboratory efforts are focused on expressing and purifying SK1 from a bacterial expression system for future crystallographic studies. In order to achieve this goal, recombinant human sphingosine kinase 1 will be inserted into pET 15a, 21a and 28a expression vectors for use in future expression studies.

Subprime Mortgage and How it Led to the Economic Crisis 

Presented at the Honors Thesis Colloquium, Winthrop University, April, 2011

Student: Hien Dang, 2012 - Finance

Honors Thesis Director: Dr. James Schultz

CBA - Department of Accounting, Finance, and Economics

September 2008 was a dreadful month for the United States’ economy as it marked the failure of the biggest banking institutions of the nation, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, American International Group, and especially the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. As a chain reaction, the fiasco caused by those financial headquarters led to market instability and crash, and finally the second biggest economic crisis in the history of the United States since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. What contributed to this horrific nightmare for America, the world leading economic Empire? One of the most significant motivations is subprime loans that are offered by banks to low-credit borrowers. The borrowers then bear higher interests than average prime interest rates to make up for the high risk of default. However, because of the greed and short-termed benefits of leverage and high rates of return for the banking institutions, many banks continue luring more and more risky borrowers with no down-payment who end up bankrupted and fail to pay back their loans. This paper will demonstrate how different factors of the financial market exploit the use of subprime loans, finally fail to control the situation, and cause the major economic crisis of 2008-2010.

“New Eyes and a New Mind”: Wilkie Collins’ Armadale and Ways of Seeing

Presented at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Cayla Eagon 2012 (McNair Scholar)

Honors Thesis Committee: Casey Cothran, Ph.D.; Siobhan Brownson, Ph.D.; and Gregg Hecimovich, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of English (HONR 450 –Cothran)

Wilkie Collins has become a literary figure celebrated for his mystery novels The Woman in White (1860) and The Moonstone (1868); however, this recognition neglects the prolificacy with which Collins wrote during the Victorian period. As Jeanne F. Bedell notes, “Wilkie Collins made contributions more substantial than his current reputation indicates to the development of mystery and suspense.” This research, therefore, attempts to see Collins in a new way by exploring the various themes of seeing, looking, and blindness in his less frequently examined novel Armadale (1866). In order to establish a new perspective that draws attention to one of Collins’ less-recognized works, existing scholarship on Collins will be examined for trends. This study consults scholarship by John Sutherland, Catherine Peters, Jenny Bourne Taylor, Tamar Heller, Maria K. Bachman, Don Richard Cox, and others. Furthermore, the study will trace instances of seeing/not seeing as a theme throughout the text. As this research will show, vision is an ambiguous device portrayed both positively and negatively at different intervals in Armadale. Collins’ manipulation of vision, with its differing consequences, leads readers to question the role of seeing in the novel while Collins also seems to be asking readers to question their own ways of seeing. Ultimately, this metavision of Armadale will further the discussion of the text and rightfully recognize Collins as a prolific contributor to Victorian literature and culture.

Apologetic Athletes

Presented at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Kyrsten Fandrich 2012

Honors Thesis Committee: Kathy Davis, Ph.D.; Shelley Hammill, Ph.D.

COE – Department of Physical Education, Sport & Human Performance

Many researchers have taken a look at the area of female athletics and been made aware of the increased sense of apologetic behavior being expressed in sports. The apologetic behaviors being observed included the increased efforts for female athletes to appear feminine, to apologize for aggressive behavior, and to represent heterosexuality to the public eye. However, with all of the research that has been completed, it is still very difficult to compare apologetic behavior throughout numerous regions, several sports, various time periods, and differing athletes. For this study, previous researchers Davis-Delano, Pollock, and Vose (2009) created a questionnaire that can be utilized to gather the above listed comparisons. In an attempt to assist in gathering further data in order to replicate their results, their questionnaire will be utilized for the women’s basketball, volleyball, softball, and soccer teams at Winthrop University. This questionnaire, having already been developed by the study in question, will require IRB approval, as well as the consent of the student athletes participating. All data will be anonymous. In this comparison, the difference of apologetic behavior between Southeastern female athletes will be evaluated in comparison to other geographic regions. Among the Winthrop women’s teams, there are many students from regions other than the Southeast whose results will be assessed but will not be directly relevant to the proposed study. It has also been reported that apologetic behavior may be more apparent in team sports as opposed to individual sports, so only these team sports will be the focus of the study. During the process of the study, it will also be interesting to ascertain which sport shows the highest levels of apologetic behavior and show how these data compare to previous data collected in the Northeast.

Determining the Least Stressful Environment for the Domestic Cat (Felis catus) through Analysis of Cortisol Levels in Indoor versus Outdoor Cats

Presented at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Supported by the Luckett Davis Endowment, Winthrop University, January, 2012

Student: Brittany Fournet 2012

Honor Thesis Committee: William Rogers, Ph.D.; Laura Glasscock, Ph.D.; and Janice Chism, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of Biology

Many people own domestic cats. These cats typically live in one of three different environments. They are normally kept inside, outside, or let in and out of the home. The purpose of this experiment was to determine which environment is better for the cat through analysis of stress levels of cats under different care regimes. Three different groups of cats were analyzed. There were five cats in the outdoor group, five cats in the indoor group, and five cats in the indoor/outdoor group. Cat hair samples were collected during three different times, once in October, once in November, and once in December 2011. Between 50-100 mg of hair were weighed and placed into a scintillation vial. Methanol was placed in each vial and the vials were sonicated and incubated overnight. The vials were centrifuged and the methanol was allowed to evaporate. Cortisol concentrations were determined using an enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) designed for cortisol. The cortisol levels of the three groups were compared to determine whether there was any significant difference in the stress levels of the three different groups of cats. I predict that the stress levels will differ among the three different groups of cats in the three different care regimes. My hypothesis is that the outdoor group will have the highest levels of cortisol, the indoor/outdoor group will have the next highest levels of cortisol, and the indoor group will have the lowest levels of cortisol, indicating the least amount of stress.

A Narrative in Metal

Presented at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Megan Gainer 2012

Honors Thesis Committee: Courtney Starrett; Eli Arenas-O’Neil; and Karen Derksen

CVPA – Department of Fine Arts (ARTS 456, 555 and 556 – Starrett)

The act of creating is akin to having a family. You bring something into the world that is only noticed on the surface, the end result, until you get a little closer and begin to take in the notion that there might be something under the decorative exterior. Take a closer look and you might just discover exactly how intricate and beautiful the imperfections of hand- crafted objects really are. When I’m forging ideas, I try to let my mind wander. Only then do I discover the concepts that are true to my being, teachings that come from the mountains and back roads of West Virginia where Montani Semper Liberi, men in summer fields make hay while the sun shines, and family is the strongest tie you’ll be able to find. This vignette, deep in traditions and heritage, as well as the importance found in things made long ago when handmade was not only common, but a necessary art unto itself and even the smallest everyday items were treasured, is the true focus of my work. To understand both myself and where I come from and relate what I hold dear about the past, the history of my roots and keeping true to those roots, in a world whose only focus seems to be on moving forward as soon and as quickly as possible, is a tough job as complex and intricate as the inner workings of my grandfather’s wind up pocket watch. What inspires my artwork is strongly tied to my experiences and memories. I have always loved listening to the stories told by my family, knowing well that the more stories you have, the more life you’ve lived. Taking these intangible concepts that have so deeply impacted my life, I try to give them a body, breath, a way to share with others just how influential the past can be on the present. I wish to exhibit my work, or images of, in a way that expresses the evolution of this personal narrative and the techniques used in its creation with the goal of expressing that no story or memory is too small or insubstantial to help mold a person’s life. This will include an artist statement which will express my inspirations, visual ascetic, and how they merge within my art.

Data Mining and the Loss of Consumer Privacy

Presented at Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: John Gamble 2012

Honor Thesis Committee: Barbara Fuller, Ph.D.; Terrence Ryan, Ph.D.

CBA – Department of Management and Marketing

This thesis will examine how marketers and companies use data mining to collect informa - tion on consumer demographics, psychographics, and purchasing behavior. Questions to be addressed in this research include: How much knowledge consumers have regarding their privacy in a commercial environment, how this knowledge affects, or would affect, their purchasing decisions, and the ethics of information collecting as applied to varying demo - graphic audiences. Several different tactics and information collection strategies of common companies will be analyzed through electronic and literary resources. Privacy and end user agreements will also be examined in order to identify the common types of information these companies collect and what the consumer agrees to let these companies do with that information when accepting their terms. Information regarding the consumers’ knowledge and perceived ethics concerning data mining will be obtained via electronic and print survey, and will seek at least 300 responses.

If the Glass Shoe Fits: The Princess Paradox

Presented at the Southern Regional Honors Council Conference, March 2012 and the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Meagan Hogarth 2012

Honor Thesis Committee: Matthew Hayes, Ph.D.; Kathy Lyon, Ph.D.; and Stephanie Milling, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of Psychology (HONR 450 – Hayes)

The present study will investigate the correlation between the internalization of a princess ideal and the resulting career path, current feminine ideal and overall life satisfaction. Princess qualities have been defined as both physical traits (such as young, very thin, and beautiful; Bonds-Raacke, 2008) and personality traits (such as goodness, kindness, and a caring nature; Baker-Sperry, 2007). Previous to the current study, the majority of research in this area has been done with children. However, if a cohort has grown up exposed to the Disney princess and fairytale stories and films, then the question as to whether or not there was some longitudinal affect of the values presented by those stimuli remains unanswered. The study at hand intends to explore if the effect of the princess media perseveres through childhood and adolescence into young adulthood. The data will be collected using a survey. Participants will rate their endorsement of the ideals perpetuated by the princess stories. The survey will also measure career selection using choice of major. Majors will be classified as a relational occupation, such as nursing or teaching, or non-relational occupation, such as business administration or management. The measures of the participant’s current feminine ideal will be measured using the Conformity to Feminine Norms Inventory (Moradi & Parent, 2011). The participants in the study will be comprised exclusively of women who are currently pursuing an undergraduate degree. Correlations will be computed between princess ideal, feminine ideal, and life satisfaction. Differences in the princess ideal between relational and non-relational occupations will be compared using a t-test. The results are expected to demonstrate that the more internalized the idea of “Princessness” is, the more likely the participant is to demonstrate a conformity to the feminine norms and pursue a relational career choice.

Molecular evolution of swine, avian, and human H5N1 Influenza A in Southeast Asia

Supported by the South Carolina IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence Grant from NIH

Student: Matthew Horn 2012

Honor Thesis Committee: Kristi Westover, Ph.D.; William Rogers, Ph.D.; and Victoria Frost, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of Biology

The spread of the highly pathogenic and potentially pandemic avian H5N1 influenza strains threatens not only birds, but other non-avian hosts, such as swine, canines, and humans. Within the last year, avian strains of influenza A epidemic have been documented in Indonesian swine, and even more alarming, Indonesia has reported the greatest number of human cases since the virus first appeared in humans. The evolution of the virus has amplified its ability to spread from mammal to mammal and due to biochemical similarities, there is worry for increasing transmission of the disease from pigs to humans. To investigate this, complete genomes of Indonesian and Chinese influenza A H5N1 strains from avian, swine, and human hosts were collected, translated, and aligned. To date, phylogenetic reconstruction has been completed using the PB2 segment for Indonesian and Chinese swine sequences. Initial results from analysis of the PB2 segment, which plays a significant role in the polymerase enzyme during DNA replication and the initiation of transcription, show a significant relationship between the Chinese strains form the Henan and Anhui provinces and the Indonesia strains. We intend to expand the analysis to include complete genomes, as well as repeat the phylogenetic work with all Indonesian hosts. Further analysis of the swine, avian, and human H5N1 strain may give insight into the transmission of the disease in Asian countries and sup - ply information on future strain adaptations and possible eradication.

The Effects of Priming on Perceptions of Altruism and Nonprofit Organization

Presented at the Honors Thesis Colloquium, Winthrop University, April, 2011

Student: Allison Howard 2012

Honors Thesis Director: Dr. Donna Nelson

CAS - Department of Psychology

Altruism, from the Latin alter or other, means in its most basic form, “for the other.” Psychologists have tested for its existence for decades and the controversy of whether or not altruism, or unselfish devotion to the welfare of another, is truth, is still a relevant topic in psychology and the world at large. I drew on my experience as a volunteer intern for the More than Me Foundation, a nonprofit organization, to gauge the sustainability of the real-world application of altruism. My project explored college students’ perceptions of altruism and non-profit organizations and tested whether priming about personal experiences of altruism would change these perceptions. I also explored predictors of participants’ willingness to act altruistically. I found that priming did not significantly affect participants’ perceptions of altruism or non-profit organizations. Similarly, priming about altruism did not influence participants’ willingness to offer help. However, those with positive attitudes about the existence of altruism behaved more altruistically. Positive attitudes about non-profit organizations also predicted altruistic behavior of participants. The possibilities and implications of these results will be related to the psychological topics of modern racism, empathic altruism, the social responsibility norm, and in-group/out-group bias.

Relations Among Mindfulness, Rumination, Compensatory Health Beliefs, and Holiday Behaviors

Presented at the Southern Regional Honors Conference in March, 2012 and the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Elise Howell 2012

Honors Thesis Committee: Merry J. Sleigh, Ph.D., John Bird, Ph.D., and Kathy Lyon, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of Psychology

This study examined relations among mindfulness (the state of focusing on and experiencing the present moment), rumination (a tendency to dwell on a situation), self-compassion, and compensatory health beliefs (CHB; the idea that healthy behaviors can compensate for unhealthy behaviors). In addition, we examined how these cognitive variables related to participants’ health behaviors during the 2011 holiday season. In other words, we wanted to see if participants’ thoughts predicted their behaviors. Participants were 138 adults who responded to an online survey. Results revealed that individuals high in mindfulness felt that it was important to make healthy choices over the holidays, and participants high in self-compassion engaged in healthy holiday behavior. In contrast, participants high in CHB felt that the holiday season was a time to focus on things other than health and reported overeating during the holidays. Being overweight and having unhealthy habits was also associated with the belief that focusing on health is not important during the holiday season. These unhealthy participants also were most focused on maintaining their New Year’s Resolutions, perhaps as a strategy to compensate for their holiday behaviors. These findings are the first to demonstrate links between some of these cognitive variables, and to show their connection to holiday health behaviors.

Strategies for Improving Language Arts Instruction 

Presented at the Honors Thesis Colloquium, Winthrop University, April, 2011

Student: Rachel McCoy Middle Level Education 2012

Honors Thesis Director: Dr. Judy Britt

This literature review will focus on various ways to improve literacy in middle schools by way of using Writing Across the Curriculum. This review will first start by looking at the literacy and high school dropout rates of the United States, especially in South Carolina. This information will then go on to include literature regarding current techniques to teach writing skills with the use of a practice called Writing Across the Curriculum. The techniques will include examples from four different academic disciplines: math, science, social studies, and art. One example is an action research study conducted by Childers and Lowry, where they found that students were improving from writing practice in a social studies classroom. This review will also take note of how effective these strategies are in the instruction of writing, based on students’ opinions from various classrooms as well as improvements to their reading and writing abilities. This literature review will conclude with a call-to-arms to invoke this practice in numerous schools around the country to help improve literacy rates in schools and keep the dropout rate low.

For-Profit Higher Education and Financial Aid: Are Differences Driven by Schools or Students?

Presented at Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Emily K. Pratt 2012

Honors Thesis Committee: Laura Ullrich, Ph.D.; Robert Stonebraker, Ph.D.; and Cynthia Macri, Ph.D.

CBA – Department of Accounting, Finance, & Economics (HON 451 – Ullrich)

Acquiring a college education has become increasingly important in maintaining a competitive edge in the job market over the past two decades; the number of colleges and universities in the United States has grown right along with higher education’s importance. While traditional four-year and community colleges are expanding and multiplying, so are proprietary, for-profit colleges and universities. It has been noted that the next “bubble” to burst could be in student debt, which is cause for concern for students, their families and taxpayers as well. At the moment, proprietary schools receive federal aid and loans through taxpayer supported programs, as well as private lending institutions. The alarming amount of debt incurred by for-profit students has triggered several investigations by the GAO. GAO found that for- profits tend to overstate the educational benefits their students acquire as well as exaggerate graduates’ potential income. Misleading marketing and financial aid practices may be associated with remarkable differences between proprietary and not-for profit student debt. After using probit regression to find correlation between student demographics and for-profit attendance, I use ordinary least squares regressions to determine borrowing differences between for-profit and traditional college students. The National Center for Education Statistics 04/09 Beginning Postsecondary Longitudinal Study restricted-use data set is utilized. Results show for-profit specific characteristics lead to increased student debt burdens.

On Poverty and Terror: An Examination of Possible Connections between Poverty and Terrorism

Presented at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Robert Ralston 2012

Honor Thesis Committee: Jennifer Disney, Ph.D.; Adolphus Belk, Ph.D.; and Christopher Van Aller, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of Political Science (PLSC 490H – Disney and Belk)

Much research has been conducted regarding the impact of poverty and underdevelopment on terrorism. This paper aims to summarize the hotly contested scholarly debate on the relationship between poverty and terror. Specifically, the paper will summarize arguments made after September 11, 2001, and will seek to provide an overall feeling for the debate at-large.

Minister of Movies: Goebbels and the Nazi Film Industry, 1933-1945

Presented at the Southern Regional Honors Conference, March, 2012 and the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Allison W. Raper 2012

Honors Thesis Committee: Dave Pretty, Ph.D.; L. Andrew Doyle, Ph.D.; and Donald Friedman, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of History

Since his death in 1945, Dr. Joseph Goebbels’s control over the German film industry has been the subject of academic and popular media debate. As Minister of Propaganda in the German government, Goebbels officially oversaw all things concerning journalism, radio, and particularly film. An avid film aficionado, Goebbels believed the new and developing medium was the ideal tool to spread the Nazi message and gain support for the German government’s policies. Through exploring Goebbels’s involvement in the Nazi film industry, this research seeks to determine the degree to which the implicit images and messages present in the popular films of the day resulted from Goebbels’s personal involvement. While director Leni Riefenstahl’s overt Nazi propaganda documentaries are the most studied, they account for only a small percentage of the German film industry’s output. In contrast, costumed dramas, musicals, and light comedies dominated the German theaters during the period and were greatly enjoyed by the propaganda minister. Thus, a careful analysis of Goebbels’s involvement in production of these films provides insight into the full extent of the minister’s influence and forms the focus of this research. Beginning with a historical and cultural frame - work using new scholarship on Goebbels and his role in the German cultural community, the research moved to studies of Goebbels’s life and selected biographies and memoirs of the actors and directors involved. Independent study of the films themselves, along with analysis of their productions assisted in identification of the Goebbels touch. Finally, examination of Goebbels’s personal diaries provided unique insight into the minister’s thoughts about these films and his power over film production. Goebbels’s personal involvement varied from film to film. The Reich Minister maintained close control over the German cinematic content. While the Goebbels touch is more covert in the popular media films studied than it is in the Nazi documentaries, his ideological messages are cleverly interwoven into the themes, plots, dialogue, and imagery. So deeply were these techniques ingrained in his films that they resulted in a cinematic style, which continues into modern German filmmaking.

Gamers’ and Non-Gamers’ Perceptions of Video Game Playing

Presented at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Daniel L. Selvey 2012 (McNair Scholar)

Honors Thesis Committee: Darren Ritzer, Ph.D.; Jane B. Smith, Ph.D., Merry J. Sleigh, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of Psychology

The number of Americans who play video games has steadily risen since companies like Nintendo and Sony introduced gaming consoles to the home. According to the Entertainment Software Association ([ESA] 2012), 72% of American households currently play computer or video games. And teens and adolescents aren’t the only ones that engage; the average gamer is 37 years old and has been gaming for 12 years (ESA, 2012). In the past, research into video games has focused primarily on aggression and addiction. For example, Barlett, Harris, and Baldassaro (2007) found that playing first-person shooter video games increased aggression in individuals as their playtime increased. Polman, de Castro, and van Aken (2008) sup - ported these findings, showing that actively playing violent video games increased aggression in adolescents, while passively observing a violent video game did not. In studying addiction, Skoric, Teo, and Neo (2009) assessed video game addiction in adolescents and found that addiction was negatively correlated with both academic achievement and emotional affect. Despite these findings and others like them, the video game industry continues to thrive with consumers spending $25.1 billion on video games in 2010 (ESA, 2012). The purpose of this study is to examine gamers’ and non-gamers’ perceptions of video games and video game playing. I hypothesize that there will be significant differences in the responses of these two groups on variables such as perceived amount of gameplay, benefits of playing video games, emotional and mood-based effects of video games, and stigma against gamers. Participants will be 60-80 adults who respond to an online survey. The survey will include questions related to the emotional and psychological effects of gaming, secrecy and guilt, the right to play, and demographic questions among others. Gender variables will be analyzed with a t-test. Correlations will be used to examine relations among variables. The data gathered will allow for further understanding of the motivations and behaviors of gamers and how those factors are affected by societal perceptions and misperceptions.

Relations Among College Students’ Hooking Up Behavior, Shame, and Guilt

Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, February, 2012, and the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Nichole Shelly 2012

Honors Thesis Committee: Merry J. Sleigh, Ph.D.; Kathy A. Lyon, Ph.D., Tracy Griggs, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of Psychology (HONR 450 – Sleigh)

This study focused on the aftermath of one of the most prominent risk behaviors among current college students - hooking up. Prior research has focused on the reasons why 75% of college students hook up (Heldman & Wade, 2010), and how these behaviors can lead to sexual assault and unwanted pregnancies, but few studies have been done on the negative feelings afterwards and their impact on the likely action a student will take. The goal of this study was to determine if college students who are prone to shame versus guilt have different patterns of hooking up behavior. College students (n = 130) responded to the Guilt and Shame Proneness scale (GASP), comprised of sixteen questions, in order to assess whether the participant was more guilt-prone or shame-prone. Afterwards, students were asked about their hooking up tendencies. Hooking up was defined as “Any sexual encounter between two individuals who may or may not know each other well, and for which there is likely to be no future commitment.” The results showed that participants with a tendency toward guilt (associated with repair actions) had fewer sexual partners and less sexual activity during their first hook-up. Participants with a tendency toward shame (associated with withdrawal) reported feeling forced to go further and showed an increased amount of sexual partners. In other words, guilt-based and Shame Negative proneness were linked to lower levels of hooking-up behavior while Shame Withdrawal proneness was associated with a higher number of sexual partners.

Proper Valuation of Discounted Rate Adjustments in Multinational Corporations with Subsidiaries in Emerging Markets

Presented at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Sydney Smith 2012

Honors Thesis Committee: James D Schultz, Ph.D., Glenn Wood, Ph.D. and Brooke Stanley, Ph.D.

CBA – Department of Accounting, Finance, & Economics

In order to properly evaluate a Multinational Corporation (MNC), an analyst must consider the true economic and political risks associated with subsidiaries in emerging markets. Often times, analysts do not factor in these risks because the MNC’s headquarters are located in stable countries; however, many of their subsidiaries’ are located in politically and financially unstable regions. This factor could lead to potentially ignoring discounted rate adjustments for the subsidiaries and result in overvaluing the MNC. Using the three main approaches to reach the discounted cash flow (dividend discount model, weighted average cost of capital, and free cash flow to equity approach), subsidiaries in the developing markets could be shown as being overvalued. As a result, these MNC’s will have an inflated rate of cash flow because they are not incorporating the external factors of the developing country(s). An analyst must also consider the following complications when comparing these models: varying income tax rates the MNC must file within its different operational countries, intra-company transactions that may have arranged or artificial prices, and unique MNC’s that have no comparable benchmarking, on which to base their valuation methods. In addition, the study will compare analysts who use the discounted cash flow rates incorporating the economic and political factors to the analysts who omit the factors. This could potentially portray the gap of inconsistency that is synonymous when valuing MNCs. By not adjusting these discounted rates to consider the unstable factors associated with emerging markets, analysts could be overvaluing the MNCs, which would expose their portfolios to an uncalculated risk.

The Impact of New Outdoor Classroom on Student Appreciation of Nature

Presented at North American Association for Environmental Education Conference, October 2011, the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Holly A. Stuart 2012

Honor Thesis Committee: Marsha Bollinger, Ph.D.; Matthew Fike, Ph.D.; and Linda Pickett, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of Interdisciplinary Studies

Today’s youth spend more time inside both at home and at school than did youth just a generation ago. As a result, children may develop nature-deficit disorder, exhibiting such symptoms as attention difficulties and lack of empathy for, and understanding of, complex ecosystems. Using the development of a new outdoor classroom at a Rock Hill, SC, elementary school, this project focuses on students’ perceptions of nature as well as teachers’ use of the new outdoor space. Students’ drawings of the outdoor classroom solicited at four different times through the calendar year (January through December 2010) revealed that the average number of living items and details per drawing did not increase after time spent in the outdoor classroom, which implied that there was no enhanced appreciation of nature in the minds of the students. Surveys of teachers during the same timeframe indicate that although the teachers believed students would benefit from experience in the outdoors, limitations such as adherence to the curriculum map, damage to materials, student allergies, and bad weather prevented efficient use of the outdoor classroom. It is possible that professional teacher training in outdoor education and environmental education techniques could help the teachers use the outdoor classroom more effectively. Research indicates that teachers receiving such training are more likely to incorporate environmental topics into their classrooms and to use the outdoors more frequently. However, administrators facing budget cuts within the school system can find it difficult to obtain funding for outdoor education and environmental training programs for teachers. The No Child Left Inside Act (NCLI) of 2011, which is a part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act being reintroduced to the 112th Congress, could be one pathway toward providing financial support for these programs. If NCLI passes, states could potentially acquire federal assistance for improving outdoor education and environmental literacy through the implementation of funding for teacher training workshops, thus addressing the problem of nature-deficit disorder among our nation’s young people.

Literature Permutations: Traditional Literary Forms as Digital Narratives

Presented at the Sigma Tau Delta International Convention, March, 2012

Student: Edward A. Szeman 2012

Honor Thesis Committee: Leslie Bickford, Ph.D.; Jack DeRochi, Ph.D.; and Jane B. Smith, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of English

My honors thesis is an argument for video games’ recognition as an artistic medium with merit equal to that of painting, writing, or performance arts. The argument is segmented into three primary parts, the first part being an examination of the multifaceted nature of the medium, locating the “intertextual” influences by other artists and artistic works, recognizing the advances video games have made to those art forms as a natural evolution of narrative expression, and realizing the cultural and communal impacts of the medium. The second part serves to highlight the difference between the “medium” of art and the substance—or communicative intent—of a work, a medium being the means of communication while the substance of it holds the truly evocative potentiality of meaning. That is to say, I argue that video games, while their own unique artistic medium, should be included in the artistic category of literature. To further explain, The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas remains literature whether it is in print or an audio book. The medium changes, the substance does not. This notion of medium and substance begets my ultimate focus which is the process of composing these digital narratives, a process which I argue is communal in the extreme and which I believe to be dialogic (involving authors, readers, and various texts), which I believe Bakhtin could not have possibly imagined when he coined the term. I end my paper with a call for more scholarship on video games, if not because the digital narrative is an art of the highest form, then because, as a multi-billion dollar industry and a primary means by which stories are spun today, it is deserving of no less attention than the very worst of literature, below which it has arguably been placed by literary critics for some time.

Media’s Influence on Eating Disorders and Body Image Issues in the Adolescent Population

Presented at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Katherine Zanowski 2012

Honors Thesis Committee: Ameda Manetta, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of Social Work Department (SCWK 330 – Manetta)

Eating disorders are a very serious and wide-spread problem affecting adolescents in the United States. A research literature review investigated many issues involving eating disorders, definitions and descriptions of eating disorders, laxatives and other weight control methods. From there, the research was expanded to include which genders and races were affected most by eating disorders and body image issues and the role the media plays in aggravating these issues. In researching the possible role the media plays in eating disorders, the central research question was derived: what impact does the media have on eating disorders? The methodology of this research was to use existing data from the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey to analyze and explore if there was a relationship between media influence and eating disorders. The YRBS is a national survey of 14,041 high school students in the United States. A sub-sample of 6,821 was used in this research. Three questions were selected from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, these addressed dieting, taking laxatives, and watching television. The finding showed that while less than 50% of students engaged in any of these behaviors; these dieting frequencies were higher than reported in prior studies. Chi-square analysis was con - ducted to see if there were any statistical associations between eating disorders and the media, and there were no statistically significant findings. Based on the statistical analysis, it was concluded that there was not a significant relationship between eating disorders and watching television. However, further research is necessary to determine if other types of media have an impact on eating disorders.

The Ethics of Technical Communication of Medical Products to Consumers

Presented at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, Winthrop University, April, 2012

Student: Catherine Zende 2012

Honors Thesis Committee: Sarah Spring Ph.D.; Josephine Koster, Ph.D.; and Guy Reel, Ph.D.

CAS – Department of English

Ethical technical communication is especially vital for two key areas: advertising and recalls. Companies specializing in medical products have certain legal and ethical responsibilities to fairly communicate the details of their products and services to the public. The purpose of my research was to determine how technical writers can convey accurate, appropriate information that benefits both consumers and companies. To better understand the ethical implications of technical writing, I studied specific examples of how technical writing is used in marketing that targets consumers. For each case study, I rhetorically analyzed the subject matter, audience, medium, context, clarity and completeness of the communication. I also examined published materials (including government documents and independent studies) in order to define ethical technical writing and the benefits of truthful communication. I evaluated products charged with false advertising in terms of the honesty and accuracy of their marketing. With recalls, I evaluated how the company handled the situation in terms of timeliness, effectiveness and honesty. I concluded that the best and most ethical technical communication clearly conveys all important information to the public without making false promises or concealing important information. This effective communication purposefully avoids ambiguity, confusion or doubt that can lead to lawsuits and consumer complaints. Being truthful and forthcoming about realistic results, possible side effects and research studies or trials can help writers avoid providing false advertising; being honest, clear and vigilant about recalling medical products can help companies save their reputation during a period of doubt and fear. While vague technical writing is more convenient and appealing for marketing, honesty and directness in communication better serves companies and consumers.

College abbreviations

CAS = College of Arts & Sciences

CBA = College of Business Administration

COE = College of Education

CVPA = College of Visual & Performing Arts