Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Marie Thuillier

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In July 2008, the French government finally listed Cauchois, the Norman dialect spoken in Seine Maritime, as an official language of France. Until then, the very existence of a Norman language, and hence of Cauchois had been denied. Similarly, many speakers of the dialect have often and inaccurately defined the language as either “dead” or as a non-standard version of French. In recent years, however, diverse social groups have actively reclaimed and promoted Cauchois. Marie’s research will investigate the discourses and strategies used by different groups to either reject or […]

James Suchy

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Within the past decade, bed bugs have made a startling reemergence in major cities throughout the developed world. Some attribute this epidemic to increasing international travel and trade, evolved pesticide resistance among bed bugs, and the banning of highly lethal chemicals, such as DDT. Nevertheless, these current conditions necessitate the creation of new, environmentally friendlier, pest-control strategies. The dispersal ecology of bed bugs is poorly understood. Studying their response to various forms of stimulation would reveal information about their behavior that could be utilized in controlling infestations. James will monitor […]

Gregg Sparkman

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While navigating the world, we must discover if either we need to prioritize ourselves first, as others will, so that we may succeed, or if people will be there for us so that we may likewise be able to support others. Gregg’s project will explore this decisive process by focusing on whether pro-social vocal bursts, like a compassionate ‘aww,’ will lead individuals to behave more pro-socially in socio-economic games. The study asks if emotional, non-word cues observed in the general social environment will cause similar cooperative (or competitive) behaviors and […]

Ali Rathore

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The resurgent interest in renewable energy within recent years has confirmed that solar energy conversion will be key to the global energy economy. However, the vast majority of modern commercial photovoltaic technology is based on expensive single crystalline silicon and does not provide a practical solution for a sustainable energy infrastructure. Modern research in thin film and nanostructure photovoltaics has been motivated by the requirement of low cost and robust fabrication techniques. Ali will be employing novel fabrication procedures to grow high density arrays of vertical nanowires in order produce […]

Valerie Nguyen

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Through an attempt to gain a sense of the significance of Plato’s extensive discussions concerning the nature of language, this study undertakes to understand how the dialectical representation of rhetoric and the regulation of sophistic epistemologies specifically play into securing the institutionalization of philosophy. Foregrounding the particular role of the sophist Gorgias, both as a recurrent figure in the Platonic dialogues and as a thinker in his own right, in establishing the disciplinary identity of philosophy, Valerie will set out to show how understanding Gorgias’ Encomium of Helen as the […]

Hakeem Naim

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It is well known that the Ottoman Empire had deep influence in the Middle East and South East Europe for many centuries. However, the Ottoman impact on Afghanistan, especially in the late 19th and early 20th century, is less commonly acknowledged despite its relevance to our understanding of contemporary problems in the region. To fill this void, Hakeem will study the relationship between the Ottoman Empire and Afghanistan, in which Islam was used as a political tool. Hakeem will conduct research in both Turkey and Afghanistan in order to examine […]

Nathan Menard

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Lying hidden between the better discussed consequences of environmental degradation and destruction of the 21st century is an equal pressing issue that is receiving little attention: environmental refugee women. Grassroots Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have recently begun making concerted efforts to address issues of environmental refugee women, yet little research has been done to assess their effectiveness. Nathen’s research will address this gap in knowledge by engaging with NGOs in China, India, and Nicaragua. Nathen will spend time in the field observing the NGO and their projects and also conducting in-depth […]

Annie Lin

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Past research on the service sector indicates that workers often suffer from negative psychological consequences when forced by their managers to be friendly. Workers, workers’ rights advocates, businesspeople, and scholars alike have therefore searched for ways to set up the work environment such that workers will be friendly even without management coercion. Taking this search effort into an under-researched sector, Annie will join electronics retail teams this summer to examine how companies’ encouragement of relationship-building between employees and customers affects employees’ likelihood of providing “voluntary” friendliness. Annie will sell electronic […]

Hillary Langberg

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Hillary’s research will take her to the states of Maharashtra and Orissa in central India, to the ancient Buddhist sites of Kanheri, Ellora, Aurangabad, and Ratnagiri, among others, where the earliest relief sculptures of Tara remain in situ. In tracking the early evolution Tara’s form, Hillary’s project will examine how the goddess is increasingly incorporated into Buddhist practice in the 5th-8th centuries CE. As Tara eventually becomes the most significant female figure in Buddhism with the rise of the Vajrayana (Tantric) school, Hillary’s study asks, can these works of relief […]

Marissa Herrman

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Since their discovery in 1993, microRNAs (miRNAs) have become an area of active research and are currently believed to rival transcriptional regulation as a means of controlling messenger RNA levels and ultimately protein production within a cell. In response to viral infection, the cellular miRNA profile shifts to regulate specific protein levels and combat infection. Cellular miRNA mir-7 has been shown to be significantly upregulated following infection with Cytomegalovirus, a beta-herpes virus present in up to 80% of the population. However the messenger RNA target and effects on protein levels […]