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2006 McNair Program Abstracts

Student Initiated and Sustained Structural and Policy Reform in Public High Schools
Erika Barrish
Mentor: Dr. Karen Gourd, Knox College

This study evaluates the factors affecting student initiated and sustained reform (such as changes to discipline policies) in the public high school setting. Principals, teachers, and students in five different rural area high schools in Illinois were interviewed. Questions regarding obstacles faced by student reformers, factors affecting participation in student reform projects, and other related issues were asked. Evidence suggests: (1) Though students identify teachers as a strong source of support, teachers view students who participate in reform projects as selfish, ignorant, and shortsighted; and (2) school often have committees in place for student input but these avenues for student reform are either not utilized by students or not endowed with true power to affect positive reform. The research is balanced against prior studies conducted by scholars in the educational field.

The effects of the Rho protein on the cytoskeletal activity of d-Src mRNA injected Xenopus laevis oocytes
Jason Cascio
Mentor: Dr. Judy Thorn, Knox College

It is known that d-Src mRNA, when injected into Xenopus laevis oocytes, causes cortical contractions and pigment aggregation at the injection site. The contractions are known to be caused by a degradation of the actin/myosin cytoskeleton caused by the constitutively active d-Src protein. Wild type, dominant negative, and contitutively active forms of Rho, a protein known to regulate actin polymerization, were also injected. However, the Rho proteins did not produce a change in phenotype like that of d-Src. These versions of Rho will be co-injected with d-Src to examine whether the Rho protein enhances or decreases the phenotypical changes of d-Src.

Domestic Abuse Prevention: A Program for Knox County, Illinois
Tianna Cervantez
Mentor: Dr. Frank McAndrew, Knox College

Domestic battery is the leading cause of injury to women today. Studies show that programs designed to treat and educate the batterers are helpful in reducing domestic violence. Through researching current batterer intervention programs and interviewing current domestic violence advocates, I will suggest a program that Knox County, Illinois, may benefit from. With an emphasis on education about domestic violence and accountability for one's actions, the program will address the needs of the batterer and be another resource for the community to use in decreasing their domestic violence rates.

Forgotten History: An Edition of an Autobiography of an Early 20th Century Greek Immigrant to the United States, His Experiences, and the Topics the Manuscript Raises
Neil Gonzales
Mentor: Dr. George Steckley, Knox College

The purpose of this project was to take a rough, hand-written autobiography and create an edition of it. The manuscript was written by my Great-Great Uncle, Constantine "Gus" Anastasakis, who immigrated to America from Greece in the early twentieth century. Gus describes his childhood in a village of the Peloponnesus, his pre-teen years in Athens, emigration to America, World War I military experience, and family life in Chicago. My edition will include an historical introduction and an annotated text with standardized punctuation and spelling. The finished piece may be of interest to historians of immigration.

Millerism in the Shadow of the Second Coming
Chor Lee
Mentor: Dr. Sue Hulett, Knox College

This paper examines the impacts of the Millerite movement in the 19th century on American religious culture. Founded at a time when the boundaries of religiously-acceptable behavior were changing, the Millerites unintentionally contributed to and eventually became the definition of radical. Yet Millerite teachings were actually not that radical when compared with what was acceptable. Instead, as opponents of the Millerites narrowed and redefined the boundaries of American religious beliefs, the adopted and integrated views previously considered radical with the norm in order to separate themselves from the Millerites. The causes and effects of such actions are discussed.

A Comparison of African American and Arab American Women on Their Perception of the Public Welfare System
Cheria Thomas
Mentor: Dr. Aloha VanCamp, University of Detroit

This is a comparative study of African and Arab American women on welfare in the Metro-Detroit area. This study examines whether there is a difference between Arab American and African American women in their perception of the public welfare system. A series of interviews were conducted with six African American and six Arab American women, questioning their opinions, knowledge and reactions to the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 and the various programs that are implemented through the revised system. This is a study aimed at observing the differences between Arab and African American women receiving welfare in the state of Michigan.

Accuracy and Bias in New Media Portayals of Poverty and Welfare
Julio Trujillo
Mentor: David Amor, Knox College and Dr. S. Lily Mendoza, University of Denver

My research focuses on how different news organizations portray welfare and poverty in their coverage. It looks at two broadcast news organizations in Denver, Colorado, through content analysis and interviews of individuals responsible for the production of the news at each station. One of these news organizations is a local network television affiliate intended for the general Denver audience. The other station is a Spanish-language news organization intended for and produced by Latinos. My hypothesis is that the Latino news organization will have a more accurate and less biased portrayal of welfare and poverty than the "mainstream" news organization. This is because at the Latino news organization, welfare and poverty issues are more visible by the producers of the news both in their own experience and their audience.

Asymmetry aggression in Betta splendens
Aunda Wang
Mentor: Lynne Weber, visiting professor at Knox College

Ten Betta splendens were exposed to symmetrical and asymmetrical models with changes in various fin length. The caudal, dorsal, pelvic, anal, pectoral, and gills were manipulated to have regular, small, large, or no fins. Latency of approach, duration of fin erection, duration of gill erection, number of tail beats and rate of intense aggression was recorded. It is hypothesized that models with larger overall fins that are symmetrical will elicit shorter latency of approach, longer duration of in and gill erection, and causes more intense aggression.

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