Recent Research Projects:
Preparation of Silver Nanoparticle Formulations for Biocidal Applications – Sophomore biology major Virginia Noxon joined research at Howard University’s National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network examining the preparation of silver nanoparticles in aqueous media. The research could aid in the purification of drinking water and certain foods.
College Students’ Perceptions of Others’ Drinking Behaviors and Avoidance Strategies – Senior psychology student Beth Walton surveyed more than 400 college students to examine the way today’s students view drinking on college campuses. What she discovered is first–year students perceived greater alcohol usage among college students than sophomores, juniors and seniors.
Labeling Effects on Self–Efficacy, Self–Esteem and Hope: Implications for Academic Performance in High School Students – Lorelle DeStefano, a senior psychology student, found the labeling of high school students affected not only the students’ self–image but also their hope for future success.
Religiosity as a Predictor of College Students’ Attitudes Toward Seeking Psychotherapy – Despite the increasing availability of psychiatric services on college campuses, it has been unclear whether or not students who need help are seeking it. Senior psychology major Kim Redwine investigated if a person’s level of religiosity was a factor in persons not seeking psychiatric services. After surveying more than 100 students she found that the stigma of seeking professional help may be decreasing among college populations.
A Phylogenetic Study of Synodus – Senior biology student Kurt Vollmer looked at the evolutionary relationships of fish in the genus Synodus, commonly known as “lizard fishes.” Vollmer then looked at the similarities between the fins, vertebrae and inter-muscular bones of six different species.
Fibonacci, Lucas, and a Golden Meaning – Sophomore Joel Font researched the generation of Fibonacci numbers to show how the derivation of the number Phi can be worked by using limits dealing with Fibonacci quotients. These sequences are used to model many problems in mathematics and science.
The Politics of Supreme Court Appointments Reconsidered – Senior political science–history major Carlie Fogleman provides a critique of commonly used models for explaining the role of political and ideological considerations in Senators’ approach to advising and consenting to nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court. In her undergraduate honors thesis, Carlie demonstrates why the standard models fail to capture key elements of the political maneuvering that surrounds Supreme Court nominations. Carlie plans to enroll in a Ph.D. program in public law and American politics in Fall 2011.
Portrait of a Tipping Point: Karl Marx and Capitalism in Crisis – In his senior honors thesis, Zachary McKenney, a 2010 political science and sociology double major, explores Karl Marx’s account of the collapse of capitalist economies. He shows that even though the fall of communist countries in eastern Europe in the late 1980s was widely taken to be “proof” that Marx’s economic predictions were false, the 2008 economic crisis was actually caused by critical failures of the capital market systems that Marx anticipated long ago. He argues that Marx’s predictions were in fact very accurate and offers some thoughts on why Marx’s economic predictions can be prescient even if his political conclusions have proven to be problematic. Zak is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program in political theory.
The Constitutional Confusion of the Establishment Clause in the Aftermath of Perry v. Van Orden and McCreary County v. ACLU – In his senior honors thesis, Justin Hoover, a 2008 political science and history double-major, shows why the Supreme Court’s constitutional “tests” to analyze unconstitutional interferences between church and state are incapable of resolving complex social and political issues involving religion. This honors thesis won the Emory & Henry College Undergraduate Research Prize in 2008. In May, Justin will graduate from the Marshall–Wythe School of Law at William & Mary.
Cell Growth and Response to Drugs in 3D and 2D Environments – Senior chemistry major, Acacia Lamb, worked at the Fox Chase Cancer Center examining the effectiveness of cancer drugs in a three–dimensional environment versus the two-dimensional Petri dish. Lamb’s research involved finding cell lines that grew well in both 2D and 3D environments and then testing the cells’ responses to common anti-cancer drugs.
How Long is the Devil’s Staircase? – Senior mathematics minor Jane Groseclose attempted to find the lengths of particular sets of Devil’s Staircases, mathematical functions that increase in a non-continuous manner.
Fluorescent Labeling of Sulfenic Acid Intermediates in Oxidation Sensitive Proteins – Senior Jason Fogleman, who is double-majoring in chemistry and biology, examined the experiments used to monitor the accumulation of Cys SOH.
Cloning of the Anopheles Gambia TREX gene into E. Coli – Junior double–major Anthony Leonard worked with researchers at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center cloning the TREX enzyme found in mosquitoes and introducing it into E. Coli bacteria. The TREX gene in humans works against drugs currently used to combat cancer and viral diseases such as HIV. This research may give scientists a better understanding of how TREX’s structure and function and may increase the effectiveness of treatments cancer and viral diseases.
The Transformation of the American Mind: Reinterpreting the Declaration of Independence – Senior political science major Ryan Hankins investigated the transition of the Declaration of Independence from a revolutionary manifesto to the authoritative statement of the "American Creed."
Cleaning Up the Takings Law Mess: What is Needed to Restructure Current Takings Jurisprudence? – Senior political science major Megan Mullins researched the “Takings Clause” of the Fifth Amendment and researched ways to improve the perennial struggle between land owners wanting to keep their property and government attempting to use private lands to accomplish projects for the good of the community.
Theatrical Administration – Meredith Keyse, a theatre and business management double-major, put both disciplines into action interning at the Barter Theatre. Keyse researched future productions for actors and also coordinated marketing plans for a playwrights’ festival and for developing a literary companion for the theater’s matinee program.
Senior Show “The Dangers of Tobacco” – Senior theatre major Phillip Deese stared in Anton Chekov’s one–man play “The Dangers of Tobacco,” where a lecture turns into a cathartic moment for the speaker.
Senior Show “Anchored” – Senior theatre major Melvin Dillon wrote, directed, designed and starred in his one–man show “Anchored.” The play follows a man who wakes up one day and re-evaluates his life.
The Effectiveness of Lumbar Traction and Pilates in the Therapy of Degenerative Disc Disease in a 28-Year-Old Female Athletic Trainer – Senior athletic training student Angela Patrick conducted a case study into the treatment of Degenerative Disc Disease in a 28-year-old patient. Since there is no one program for the treatment of DDD, Patrick designed her own.
Theatrical Lighting – Senior theatre major Lori Fleenor worked as assistant lighting director and assisted in set design for main stage productions at the Barter Theatre, including "Greater Tuna" and “Four Hearts and a Club.”
Aggression, Violent Film and Viewing History in College Students – Psychology major Patrick Carmody examined the extent to which violent media affects human acceptance of violence and to gain a better understanding of aggressive attitudes and behaviors.
Mental Illness Stigma and its Effects on College Students’ Attitudes Toward and Understanding Bipolar Disorder – Psychology majors Elizabeth Hackett and Beth Walton surveyed more than 60 college students to compare how well college students recognized the symptoms of BPD relative to two other non–psychiatric disorders and examined their attitudes toward mental illness to see if these attitudes affected a person’s ability to recognize BPD.
Attitudes Toward Men and Women in Nontradidional Careers as a Function of Gender – Psychology students Sara Montague and Jodie Gore explored the effects of gender sterotyping in careers and found that although progress is being made toward open–mindedness regarding men and women in nontraditional careers, some sterotyping still exists.
Attitudes Toward Psychotherapy Among College Students – Since past research has shown an increase in psychological distress among college students, psychology students Scott Sutton and Dustin Alvis investigated the effect this increase has had on college students’ perceptions of psychotherapy.
College Students’ Outcomes Between African and European Americans in Appalachia: A Matched Case Analysis – Psychology student Ashley Turnmire investigated the methods used by researchers evaluating the educational outcomes of college students. Historically, researchers either used covariates and matched cases. For her research Turnmire surveyed more than 12,000 students from Appalachian colleges.
Facilitation of Blood Pressure Recovery: Difference Between Classical and Preferred Music Selections – Classical music, particularly Pachebel’s “Cannon in D major,” has been shown to have a calming effect on persons facing cognitive stressors. Psychology student Lewis Chong investigated whether other classical music had the same effect and if a person’s musical preference played on blood pressure recovery.
Teacher/Parent Agreement for Child Psychopathology Ratings: Influence of Problem Type – Finding interrater agrreement for chilrden’s psychopathology has been somewhat unsuccessful in the past. Researchers have examined several factors of both children and parents (including gender, age, and IQ) to explain these discrepancies among informants. Psychology student Carly Fritz examined the potential influence that the children’s problem has on correlating interrater agreement.
Predictors of Subjective Well-being in College Students – Melissa Goliher examined past predictors used by psychologists to determine a person’s SBW, or what individuals consider to be happiness or satisfaction with life. Goliher surveyed 120 college students with the classical four inner traits, but also examined the influence of self–identity and psychological needs as possible predictors of SBW.
An Investigation of the Relationship Between Professor Personality and Student Evaluations – Mathhew Henry surveyed the entire E&H student poplulation for his research project that investigated whether or not a professor’s personality effected how students evaluated their professors.
Locus of Control, the Halo Effect, and Decision Making – A person’s physical appearance has been indicated to influence the decision making process. Psychology student Jessica Mora, investigated this hypothesis and found that females may be influenced more by physical attractiveness more so than males.
The Association Among Viewing Internet Pornography and Relationship Satisfaction and Commitment – Psychology student Ashley Robinson investigated the attitudes men and women have toward their partners viewing Internet pornography and the effects it had on their relationships. With the increased use of the Internet for viewing pornography, the research was developed with the hope of illuminating relationship factors that are influenced negatively by access to pornography on the Internet.