Spring 2013 Edition

Personal Identity: The 'situation' of Doctor Who
Robert Manley
University of Alberta, Augustana Campus
Mentor(s): Melaina Weiss

Given enough time any science fiction television show will have an episode where two characters will temporarily switch bodies. This interest rises from our fascination with the idea of personal identity and wondering what makes an individual persist as the same person through time. The Doctor from the hit British cult series “Doctor Who” is a unique situation where despite undergoing drastic, sudden, and irreversible changes to both his personality and body he continues to remain The Doctor. While not necessarily a 'swap' the situation is similar; the person that was The Doctor is now in a new body and that body has an associated psychology, or personality different from what was The Doctor's. Philosophers through the ages have often addressed what constitutes personal identity. Many of these arguments address conceptions of the soul as the source of continuity and personal identity. Using The Doctor as an example I will attempt to formulate a criterion for determining personal identity based on how different philosophers have addressed the questions of soul and identity as well as looking at how they would address one of The Doctor's regenerations. In doing this I aim to determine if he is in fact the same person or a whole new entity completely separate from the person he was before.

Robert Manley is a philosophy and religion major from Windsor, Ontario. He plans to teach English abroad and pursue graduate studies in epistemology and philosophy of mind.

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Political Governance: The Rhetorical Presidency and the Post-State of the Union Addresses of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama
John Tienken
University of Illinois at Springfield
Mentor(s): Dr. Jay Self

As American presidential rhetoric has evolved over the last 225 years, presidents have increasingly sought new instruments to affect policy change and new mechanisms to communicate with the American people. Over the course of the last century, many have noted the rise of the rhetorical presidency where the quantity of speeches has dramatically increased and the purpose of presidential rhetoric has changed. In the Presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, their respective post-State of the Union tours have typified a relatively new dynamic of the rhetorical presidency. After a close examination of Bush and Obama’s Post-State of the Union tours in their second terms, one can see the continuing evolution of the rhetorical presidency and a predominantly personal mode of persuasion of the modern presidency.

Through Teagle Foundation Project distance mentoring, John Tienken worked with Dr. Jay Self, Professor of Communication at Truman State University.

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Reconciliation in Rwanda: Is it Really Working?
Johanna DeBari
Keene State College
Mentor(s): Therese Seibert

This paper intends to further explore the reconciliation process within Rwanda. A post-genocide nation, Rwanda has set high standards for itself to overcome the divisions and ethnic tension of the past currently effecting citizens’ quality of life. The goal of this paper is to explain three of the institutions currently in place to help smoothly adjust Rwanda into a peaceful coexistence. Through theoretical analysis, these three programs designed to promote peaceful coexistence will be elaborated upon: Gacaca courts, ingando re-education camps, and the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission of Rwanda. These tools of reconciliation will be evaluated based on an expansive literature review as well as qualitative data collected by the researcher while in Rwanda. This paper will provide a more nuanced view of the complexities of reconciliation in post-conflict societies and a wider perspective on Rwandan culture and its political history.

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Remnants of Fleeting Moments: Interpreting the Fragmentation of Memory through Oil Painting
Hanna Trussler
University of North Carolina Asheville
Mentor(s): Robert Tynes

Over time, memories can become layered, modified, or lost entirely. What does a moment look like after it has undergone these changes? To emulate this breakdown of memory and process of recollection, the artist has created a series of oil paintings that uses polyptychs, or multiple-canvas compositions, for the her exhibition Remnants of Fleeting Moments. The paintings reference new research in psychology and neuroscience; these studies have found that memories are reconstructed every time they are recalled, which distorts the perception of a moment further and further with time. Gaining inspiration from the artwork of David Hockney, Cubist painters, and Alex Kanevsky, these canvases form a single composition showing a figure repeated in a slightly different positions on each panel. The movement conveyed illustrates the fracturing of a single remembered moment, expressing the passage of time and relating to the fleeting nature of memory. Loose, amorphous layers of paint juxtaposed against sections of detailed rendering represent how some elements are remembered, while others are forgotten. The polyptych format compiled with the sense of continuous fading created by selective abstraction creates disorder; this encourages viewers to mimic the process of memory recollection by actually reconstructing the moment in the painting themselves.

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Retinoic Acid Decreases but Does Not Eliminate Murine Macrophage Phagocytic Activity and iNOS Expression
Allyson Cornelis
University of Alberta, Augustana Campus
Mentor(s): Dr. Sheryl Gares

Our immune defenses have the ability to thwart efforts by microbes to invade our body and cause disease. One particular immune cell type, the macrophage, is central to this protective function. Two roles of these cells, phagocytosis (cell eating) and bacterial degradation, are vital to removing invaders from the body and directing the type of immune response that is generated. Phagocytosis involves ingestion, killing and degradation of microbes by macrophages. An important element involved in bacterial killing is the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), an enzyme involved in the inflammatory immune response that produces molecules that are toxic to bacterial cells. Different nutrients have been shown to influence the function of macrophages and the resulting immune response. One such nutrient is vitamin A, commonly found in colorful vegetables and animal livers. Retinoic acid (RA), a form of vitamin A, has been shown to promote a less inflammatory immune response, which is desirable for healing. Our research objective was to determine whether RA changed macrophage function at the level of phagocytosis and microbial killing. Phagocytic activity of RAW and J774 macrophages was quantified microscopically by enumerating ingested yeast in nonstimulated and LPS-stimulated cells that were pre-treated with RA. These 2 cell lines were treated similarly, then lysates were prepared and either immunoblotted or tested by ELISA to detect iNOS. Our results indicated that pretreatment with RA reduced, but did not eliminate, both phagocytic activity and iNOS expression in RAW macrophages. This is consistent with the prediction that vitamin A promotes less inflammatory immune responses.

Allyson Cornelis grew up in Legal, Alberta, and recently completed her Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology. She will continue her education in medical school and become a physician.

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Sensitivity Analysis of a Stage Structured Omnivory Model
Christina Eads
The University of Virginia's College at Wise
Mentor(s): Dr. James Vance

The world of ecology is constantly changing and species survival often depends on approximations and measurements taken by biologists. These approximations help to ensure and predict the future of the given species. Our ecological community of interest involves a unique mixture of competition and predation known as omnivory – feeding on more than one trophic level. We then use a sensitivity analysis to determine how small changes in parameter values affect the solution to the system. Sensitivity analysis proves the importance in determining which parameters require the most attention from biologist to ensure the survival of that species. This mathematical evidence gives biologist crucial information about the future of these species and how each species reacts when small changes occur in parameter values. Our results showed that the mortality rate of the predator was the most sensitive parameter and the time the predator handles the consumer was the least sensitive of our parameter values.

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Small Business and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title III: Feasible Compliance Options
Leah Landes
Fort Lewis College
Mentor(s): Gretchen Treadwell

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was an important civil rights victory for people with disabilities, granting them equal access to public life. Title III of the ADA requires public establishments to be accessible in both their business practices and their physical structures. Business owners who fully comply with the law serve the interests of a more ethical society, but small business owners may think that complying with the ADA is too complicated and burdensome. This research discusses feasible solutions for small business owners who find it difficult to comply with Title III of the ADA. Criteria for analysis include legal requirements, financial and time costs, and the interests of people with disabilities. The researcher concludes that education, careful planning, and creative solutions can make ADA compliance both profitable for business owners and beneficial to society as a whole.

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So, You Think You’re a Super Hero?: An Examination of Vicarious Self-Inflation Through Mass-Media Heroes
Bethany Griffis, Morgan Hamrick, and Hannah Rae Joseph
University of Montevallo
Mentor(s): Drs. John Burling and Kristen Gilbert

In recent years there have been numerous movies, television shows, and novels that emphasize a strong heroic character. Extraordinary events typically result in a metamorphosis whereby the once mundane character becomes extraordinary. Previous research pertaining to audience identification with mass-media heroes holds that the individual characteristics of the consumer may determine the extent to which a person may exhibit vicarious self-inflation through mass-media heroes. Much of the research conducted on this area pertains to children; however, the present study focused on college-aged participants to determine whether certain personality traits correlate with vicarious self-inflation. The present study assessed whether self-esteem, introversion or extraversion, anxiety, high or low sensitivity, and self-efficacy could predict either a greater or lesser degree of vicarious self-inflation. It was hypothesized that lower scores on the self-efficacy and self-esteem scales, higher scores on sensitivity, introversion, and anxiety scales would result in greater vicarious self-inflation with mass-media heroes. While there was partial support for our hypotheses, the pattern was more complex and in some cases opposite to expectations. Specifically, lower anxiety and introversion scores were associated with higher reported levels of identification with the fictional hero(ine), rather than the converse. Implications for future research are discussed.

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The Memoirist and Her Reader: Dialogic Disclosure and Camaraderie
Carrie Busby
University of Montevallo
Mentor(s): Dr. Glenda Conway

Although the literary genre of memoir is defined somewhat differently from that of autobiography, essentially the scope of this research deems them one in the same. This project pertains to all forms of lifewriting: memoir, autobiography, journals, diaries, letters, and any other form of creative nonfiction. Through the comprehensive analysis of the literary women’s memoir in both style and substance, this research investigates the genre from its definition and construction to its intentional dialogic quality. The communicated episodes within each memoir converge with readerly understanding to dispatch dialogue, linking the memoirists’ narrative voices and the readers’ interpretive voices. This discourse illuminates patterns of identity both captured by the narrated experiences of the memoirist and discovered through interpreted meanings by the readers. Disregarding caveats against intentional fallacy, the objective is to reveal a deliberate camaraderie between memoirists and readers; this project reflects on such intentions as disclosed through the dialogic memoir, explains the theory supporting this thesis, and analyzes three distinctive examples of the genre under consideration. The memoirist is both creating nonfictional stories that will reveal information about herself and probing her reader by innovatively urging her to analyze her own stories that mimic or relate, so that the reader, in the course of this examination, develops a stronger assertion of self through her relationship with the memoirist. The reader of memoir is not a fact-checker, but rather a seeker of patterns of meaning that she can relate to, which teach her more about herself and her own stories.

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The Merits of the ‘Christianization’ of Early American Blacks
Zachary Paone
Keene State College
Mentor(s): Michael Antonucci

“The Merits of the ‘Christianization’ of Early American Blacks” is inspired by pre-1800 texts written by both oppressed and freed black authors such as Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglas, Olaudah Equiano, and John Marrant. Each author is critically assessed to situate their narratives within the most accurate confines of race, nationality, history, publishing culture, and religious perspective. This literary study is combined with historical background and post-colonial criticism to determine how Christianity defined the style of these writers and lead slaves to freedom. Antebellum South slave-owners and legislators intentionally used Christian doctrine to keep blacks in chains; however, this plan backfired: an increased faith in God among slaves lead to their physical as well as spiritual liberation. All these writers eventually rose up and defied the station white society had given them, and in the process each group exuded a confidence in their actions supported by their own independent understanding of the same biblical texts meant to humble them. With both the words of great black writers and the beginnings of black bible literacy, this essay is a celebration of redemptive literary power as much as a spotlight over conspicuously overlooked historical truths and figures, such as George Whitfield.

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