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2001 McNair Program Abstracts

Study of LaD3.0 Switchable Mirror Compound Using 2D Magic-Angle Spinning Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Lisa Browder
Mentor: Natalie Adolphi, Department of Physics, Knox College

Lanthanum metal hydrides (LaHx) are known to undergo solid-solid phase transitions as a function of hydrogen (or deuterium) concentration x and temperature. One transition of particular interest is the transition from the metallic phase to the semiconducting phase when x 3. Here we are studying lanthanum tri-deuteride (LaD3.0) using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy to learn about the structure and the dynamics of deuterium in the various solid phases as a function of temperature. I will present both Magic-Angle Spinning (MAS) spectra and Static 2D NMR spectra taken at various temperatures. (Research Year: 2000)

The Effects of Fire on the Arthropod Abundance and Diversity at Green Oaks
Marie Mahon
Mentor: Stuart Allison, Knox College

This study examines the effects of fire on abundance, diversity, and species richness in the arthropod community at Green Oaks. Arthropods were collected from six prairies that differed in the number of years since last burning. These prairies were located in Western Illinois at the Knox College Biological Field Station, Green Oaks. The total abundance and species richness of arthropods was compared using regression tests. The prairie that was most recently burned had the greatest arthropod abundance and species richness. Simpsons Index of Diversity was used to compare the species diversity among prairies. Species diversity remained similar throughout the summer in all prairies. The Coefficient of Community revealed that the most recently burned prairie shared the highest percentage of arthropods with other sites sampled. The most abundant orders found on each site were Araneae, Coleoptera, Homoptera and Orthoptera. Araneae and Coleoptera displayed a significant decrease among sites as time since last fire increased, while Homoptera and Orthoptera did not. The results indicate fire is essential in maintaining all components of the arthropod community. (Research Year: 1999)

An Analysis of Cherrie Maraga's Cultural and Feminist Writings
Lily Ibarra
Mentor: Magali Roy-Fequiere, Knox College

Essayist, playwright, and poet, Cherrie Moraga is a member of a feminists, who since the late 1970s, have insisted on questioning the narrow definition of womanhood of the Chicano Movement, its nationalism, and on a larger scale the Chicano culture. Chicanas have questioned the sexism in the Chicano Movement and culture through poetry, short story, cultural biography, and essay, forms which have come to shape a new style of literature; one of resistance and change. Often Chicanas who have exposed the patriarchal underpinnings of Chicano gender relations were viewed as "malinchistas" or traitors to their culture.
In her cross-genre book, Loving in the War Years: Lo que nunca paso por sus labios (What never passed her lips), Moraga challenges the denunciation that feminism is a betrayal of Chicano culture. She urges others to examine the meaning of "malinchismo" in their lives by re-examining the Mexican myth of Malinche and its previous patriarchal interpretations. By re-examining the myth Moraga highlights the effects that it has on the Chicana racial/sexual identity in the context of the family and social structure, particularly a Chicana's freedom to express her sexuality and break from the traditional gender roles. I analyze Moraga's central critique of "malinchismo" in her essay "A Long Line of Vendidas" from her book Loving in the War Years. I then trace the solutions that Moraga presents in the essay "A Long Line of Vendidas" through a second essay, "Queer Aztlan," found in her 1993 book, The Last Generation. these solutions are her way of redefining Chicano culture as more inclusive and capable of embracing differences in its midst. Thus, making the Chicana identity a more transitive one, able to release itself from patriarchal bonds.(Research Year: 1999)

The Relationship Between Language Laws and Cultural Identities
Maria Isabel Martinez
Mentor: AnnJanette Rosga, Ph.D., Knox College

This paper examines how law affects how an individual constructs his/her cultural identity. It focuses on the prospect of English Only laws, which mandate the prioritization of English and the neglect of minority languages. The paper then proceeds by questioning how this "prospect" influences an individual's self-perceived identity. I approached this issue through qualitative open-ended interviews. I interviewed fourteen individuals of Mexican descendancy who are bilingual and of first or second generation living in the United States. I found that my interviewees place great importance on the Spanish language. For many, Spanish represents a bridge to their Mexican culture. When asked about language laws, which could make English the official language of the United States, most seemed familiar with the concept of these English Only laws because of the eradication of the bilingual education. Their view on these laws revolves around the argument that it would be a violation of their freedom of speech. It was surprising that although they feel Spanish is central to the construction of their identity, some found it difficult to conceive how these laws would affect them. The majority did realize that these laws could deprive them of their culture and ultimately take a great part of their identity-their self worth and their values. They acknowledge that English is an important part of their identity, but it alone does not define them. Spanish brings them back to their roots and it emphasizes the bond that exits between Mexicans.(Research Year: 1999)

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