Journal of Student Research 2011

Journal of Student Research
Tenth Edition, 2011

Dante and Han-shan: Masters of Visual Communication

Diana Witcher
Undergraduate Student, Fine Arts

Keywords: Dante Alighieri, Han-shan, poetry, visual communication, spirituality

This paper explores the works of poets Dante Alighieri and Han-shan, focusing on their communication through detailed visual descriptions of their subjects. This technique results in a vivid literary painting, informed by the poet’s religiosity and personal experience. Dante was a known public figure in 12th century Florence, who later suffered exile from his home. His work is both political and overtly religious. He expresses a dynamic, dogmatic spirituality informed by the theology of 12th century Christianity. He was educated, versed in the science of optics and utilized allegory in his work. Han-shan was an educated recluse, his poems not as overtly religious. In his poetry, he addresses Buddhist concepts of stillness, endurance, and close observation of nature. The beauty of nature largely influenced his work. Both poets observe, criticize, and comment upon the spiritual and political issues of their time. Their poems enlighten, instruct, and provide inspired insight upon spirituality and the human condition.

Advised by Dr. Jonna Gjevre and Dr. Joan Menefee

Immune Mechanism in Lung Prevents Fungal Infection

Bryan Prahl
Undergraduate Student, Applied Science

Travis Seehaver
Undergraduate Student, Applied Science

Keywords: Aspergillus, host defense, immunology, alveolar macrophage

Aspergillus fumigatus is a filamentous fungus that can cause fatal infections in people with defective immunity. Healthy individuals have a strong resistance to this fungus, even when exposed to high concentrations of the organism in the air they breathe. It is not well understood how the immune system in healthy individuals prevents germination of the inhaled spore-like conidia of A. fumigatus. However, alveolar macrophages are a primary immune defensive cell in the lung and have been implicated in the resistance to invasive aspergillosis. We are examining the hypothesis that macrophages prevent conidial germination by depriving them of critical nutrients, rather than by killing them with destructive antimicrobials. Most pathogens, including A. fumigatus, preferentially metabolize glucose and other highly-reduced carbohydrates for energy. If A. fumigatus cannot obtain preferred nutrients, it will utilize alternative molecules for survival, as shown in the expression of unique metabolic enzymes. Using conidia as a molecular probe, we have identified changes in fungal gene expression when engulfed in macrophages, which is consistent with a starvation response. Isocitrate lyase is known to be increased during the starvation response in fungi, and we have observed that it is upregulated in conidia when phagocytosed within macrophages. Our results indicate A. fumigatus conidia reprogram their metabolism due to the lack of nutrients in the macrophages. Our in vitro data indicate nutrient loss is sufficient to block conidial development. This information suggests alveolar macrophages prevent germination of A. fumigatus conidia by starving them, thereby avoiding both infection and inflammation in the lung.

Advised by Dr. Jim Burritt

Sovereignty and “Jihadist” Movements: A Comparison of Conflict in Northern Ireland and Uganda

Nicole Ries
Undergraduate Student, Applied Social Science

Keywords: globalization, Lord’s Resistance Movement, Irish Republican Movement, Jihad, McWorld

This article synthesizes three theories of globalization (Jihad vs. McWorld, global governance theory, and world culture theory) to explain variance in conflict between two different cases. The Irish Republican Movement (IRM) or Irish Republican Army (IRA), formerly active in Northern Ireland, and the Lord’s Resistance Movement (LRM) or Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), active in Uganda since the late 1980s, are compared. Both conflicts are results of post-colonial turmoil that established systems of social stratification based on standards imposed by British imperialism. However, the conflict in Northern Ireland has come to a more peaceful, and therefore more successful, resolution while the conflict in Uganda continues to increase. Such variance is due to the reformation of the Irish Republican Movement along globally legitimized prescriptions, while the Lord’s Movement has failed to do so. This comparative study helps illustrate a malleable, although generic, solution for conflict resolution.

Advised by Dr. Nels Paulson

Pre-meal Beverage Intake Affects Hunger, Satiety, and Energy Intake

Robin M. Welcher
Graduate Student, Food and Nutritional Sciences

Keywords: energy intake, beverages, fiber, wheat dextrin, satiety, food intake

Increased caloric beverage consumption, especially between meals, may lead to weight gain. Therefore, beverages that increase satiety and decrease meal intake may be an effective weight management tool. The purpose of this study was to determine whether consuming orange juice, orange juice with added fiber (wheat dextrin), or 1% milk 30 minutes prior to a meal affects subjective measurements of satiety, hunger, and fullness, and to assess if there was a difference in subsequent energy intake. It was hypothesized that consuming a beverage containing fiber before a meal would significantly decrease feelings of hunger and reduce energy intake compared to a control no beverage preload.  Twenty-five college students participated; each subject attended four test meals. After consuming the beverages, the subjects waited for 30 minutes and were given a visual analog scale to rate their hunger, satiety, and fullness. The test meal (oatmeal) was weighed before and after consumption to determine energy intake. The orange juice with added fiber significantly (p ≤ 0.05) reduced feelings of hunger, increased fullness, and increased satiety compared to no beverage. The amount of oatmeal consumed was not significantly different among the four treatments. Further research is needed to determine if a larger dose of wheat dextrin added to a beverage consumed prior to a meal decreases overall energy intake.

Advised by Dr. Kerry D. Peterson

University Alcohol Policy and Student Attitudes

Maxwell Perkins
Undergraduate Student, Human Development and Family Studies

Jessica Bord
Undergraduate Student, Human Development and Family Studies

Keywords: problem drinking, high-risk drinking, university alcohol policy

The problems associated with high-risk drinking affect campus and community health, safety, and academic functioning (Lavigne, Francione-Witt, Wood, Laforge & DeJong, 2008). This non- random pilot study examined gendered relationships between university alcohol policy and student attitudes by surveying 87 male and female college students at a midwestern college. Survey data was statistically analyzed using frequencies, cross-tabulations, mean comparisons, independent t-tests, and a reliability analysis. It was hypothesized that female students would be more prone to have alcohol policy affect their attitudes towards drinking. It was also hypothesized that females would perceive alcohol policy affecting their peers’ behavior to a greater degree than males. Results found significant gender differences which supported these hypotheses. It was also hypothesized that there would not be gender differences regarding drink specials and the availability of alcohol increasing the likelihood to drink. Results did not support this; significance testing indicated females are more likely to let the availability of alcohol affect their drinking behavior. The implications for practitioners include the need for university administration to form partnerships with all those affected by problem drinking in order to allow a more comprehensive and inclusive policy. Future research would benefit from examining policy formation, the level of student involvement, and student attitudes toward punitive aspects of policy.

Advised by Dr. Susan Wolfgram

A County Level Analysis of High School Dropout Rates Nationwide

Brandon Hallstrand
Undergraduate Student, Business Administration 

Kunjan Upadhyay
Undergraduate Student, Business Administration

Keywords: counties, dropout rates, races.

Not long ago, the educational system in the United States was seen as an exemplary model throughout the world. In recent years, the United States is losing the competition in terms of educational attainment compared to other industrialized countries, and the situation calls for concerns. In the face of an increased integration of world economies and the associated fierce global workforce competition, it is important for the United States to remain as competitive as it was. To address the issue, this paper analyzes the socioeconomic factors that explain the dropout rates in the United States using county-level data for 1990 and 2000 from the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Our findings point to regional as well as racial disparities.

Advised by Dr. Inoussa Boubacar

Incarceration and Fatherhood: Adapting to the Change

Michael A. Brown
Undergraduate Student, Human Development and Family Studies

Ashley E. Nelson
Undergraduate Student, Human Development and Family Studies

Keywords: incarceration, father involvement, inmates, jail programming

Father involvement plays an important role in the development of children, and for fathers who are incarcerated this presents challenges that seem insurmountable (Sarkadi, Kristiansson, Oberklaid, & Bremberg, 2008; Arditti, Smock & Parkman, 2005). The sites of this cross-sectional and nonrandom pilot study were at two Northwestern Wisconsin county jail facilities with 52 participants. Incarcerated fathers were surveyed on maintaining involvement with their children during incarceration. We hypothesized fathers who had a positive relationship with their children and the caretaker before incarceration would have higher levels of involvement during incarceration. Survey data were statistically analyzed using frequencies, mean-comparisons, correlations, and a Cronbach’s Alpha reliability analysis. Variables that dealt with having a good relationship with the primary caregiver and involvement with the children through visitations and contact with children at least weekly showed there was a significant correlation. Implications for practitioners are that current correctional facility policies and correctional staff limit fathers’ involvement in the lives of their children; facilities need to improve access to support father-child involvement. Future research would benefit by having a large, randomized national sample and a more appropriate survey reading level, as well as qualitative interviews.

Advised by Dr. Susan Wolfgram

Skin Color and Perceptions of Ambiguous Aggression

Jane C. Anderson
Undergraduate Student, Psychology

Erik Feia
Undergraduate Student, Psychology

Pauline Ceulemans
Undergraduate Student, Psychology

Keywords:  prejudice, stereotypes, ambiguous aggression

The present research examines the hypothesis that when viewing ambiguously aggressive acts, the threshold for labeling an act as violent is lower when viewing a black actor than when viewing a white actor. An ambiguously aggressive act is one which could be interpreted as being playful or threatening, such as a light shove. Previous research indicates that black males are perceived as being more aggressive and threatening and less playful and friendly than White males when performing identical acts. In this study, 79 participants were read an ambiguous vignette while looking at one of three pictures of students interacting. Each of the pictures showed a different combination of white and black students. It was expected that the threshold for labeling the behavior of the black student as violent would be lower. The results of the present research showed no significant difference on all but one of the behavioral, personality, and situational measures across the three tested conditions. Marginal significance was found between attributing more “friendly and playful” behavior to the black student and less “friendly and playful” to the white student.

Advised by Dr. Sarah Wood

Pod 3, Study 2, Untitled, and Untitled (Detail)

Kyle Rudy
Undergraduate Student, Fine Art

Advised by Kate Maury and Charles Lume

Ignition of Core

Nathan Carey
Undergraduate Student, Fine Art

Brandon Cramm
Undergraduate Student, Fine Art

Advised by Tom Hollenback

Welcome to Wisconsin, Wisconsin, Concussion, and I Bleed

Ryan Leynse
Undergraduate Student, Art Education

Advised by Amy Fichter and Charles Lume

The Relationship between Gender and Attitudes towards Marriage

Lisa Servaty
Undergraduate Student, Human Development and Family Studies

Kirsten Weber
Undergraduate Student, Human Development and Family Studies

Keywords: marriage, cohabitation,college students, relationships

Marriage as a social institution is vulnerable; fewer people in western societies are marrying, and divorce rates are increasing throughout the world (Beach & Fincham 2010). The purpose of this study was to examine if there is a relationship between gender and attitudes towards marriage. The central research question in this study was “Are there gender differences in a sample of college students regarding their attitudes and beliefs towards marriage?” It was hypothesized that females would have stronger attitudes than males in support of marriage and that people marry mostly for love. Male and female college-aged students were surveyed at a small Midwestern university on their attitudes towards marriage. Survey data was statistically analyzed using cross-tabulations, mean comparisons, independent t-tests, and a Cronbach’s Alpha reliability analysis. Both males and females were in support of marriage, and thus, no gender differences were found, and the first hypothesis was not supported. There was partial support found for the second hypothesis; although both genders agreed that people marry mostly for love, females expressed stronger attitudes. Implications for practitioners would be to not minimize the importance of marriage for young people in spite of the trend towards cohabitation. Implications for future research include using a large, random, national sample in order to be able to generalize the findings.

Advised by Dr. Susan Wolfgram

Guided Reading, Fluency, Accuracy, and Comprehension

Kristi Heston
Graduate Student, Education

Keywords: accuracy, comprehension, fluency, guided reading instruction, running record

The purpose of this study was to determine if the implementation of the Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading System would have an effect on student levels of fluency, accuracy, and comprehension. A total of 40 second and fourth grade students were tested prior to the implementation in March and after the implementation in June. Results were gathered, compared, and totaled to determine what, if any, effect there was on student reading scores after implementing the Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading System. While student scores increased in all three areas, the highest number of students showed increases in accuracy and comprehension. These results suggest that the implementation of the Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading System was successful.

Advised by Dr. Jim Lehmann

Parent Peer Support: Impact on Children with Mental Illness

Deb Ramacher
Undergraduate Student, Human Development and Family Studies

Keywords: peer support, parent peer support, parent support, child mental health

Parenting can be a daunting endeavor. Parenting a child with special needs can be even more challenging (Ireys, Chernoff, Stein, DeVet, & Silver, 2001). This nonrandom pilot study investigated the impact of parent peer support on children with mental illness. It was hypothesized that parents would reportimprovements in their own coping skills, emotional health and confidence, and improvement in their children’s behavior as a result of the parent being involved in parent peer support. An online survey was administered to 35 parents from a Wisconsin nonprofit advocacy agency. Survey data was statistically analyzed using frequencies, mean comparisons, correlations and a reliability analysis. As hypothesized, parents reported improvements in their coping skills, emotional health and confidence.  However, they did not report improvements in their children. Implications for practitioners would be that parents need help recognizing indications of improvement in their children. Future research would benefit from a large, randomized national sample.

Advised by Dr. Susan Wolfgram

The Impact of Hmong Women’s Gender Role Endorsement on Decision-Making

Kao Lee Yang
Undergraduate Student, Psychology

Keywords: Hmong, traditional and modern gender roles, decision-making

Previous research has shown that Hmong women are taking on more modern gender role views as opposed to keeping their traditional, patriarchal views of gender roles. This research investigates Hmong women’s endorsement of modern and traditional gender roles and how it affects their decision in a decision-making scenario with a Hmong man. There were a total of 32 Hmong women participants. Each participant completed a Hypergender Ideology Scale, which measured their adherence to traditional gender roles, followed by instructions to read a scenario involving a man and a woman making decisions. Each decision that was made in the scenarios represented the gender role view (modern vs. traditional) of the woman. An average Hypergender score revealed that participants held modern gender role views. However, correlations of the Hypergender score were significant with some chores from the traditional scenario but not the modern scenario. These results suggest that participants held modern gender role beliefs but still endorsed traditional gender roles. Hmong women grow up in a culture that holds traditional gender role beliefs and where men are the main family decision-makers. As a result, Hmong women rarely find themselves in positions where they can make a decision that will impact their family. They may have felt conflicted to answer according to their modern gender role views.

Advised by Dr. Sarah Wood

Gendered Factors Influencing College Students to Tan

Jessica Schumacher
Undergraduate Student, Human Development and Family Studies

Rhonda Richardson
Undergraduate Student, Human Development and Family Studies

Keywords: tanning, college students’ health risks, UV rays/exposure, appearance

Tanning has become a social problem because the societal pressure to tan as a means to achieve beauty outweighs the health risks involved in the decision whether or not to tan (Bagdasarov, Banarjee, Greene, & Campo, 2008). Tanning is defined as the exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays through sun radiation and sun-bed/sunlamp exposure (Cafri, Thompson, Roehrig, Rojas, Sperry, Jacobsen, & Hillhouse, 2008). This nonrandom pilot study examined differences in the factors that influence male and female college students’ decisions whether or not to tan by surveying 92 college students at a midwestern college. We hypothesized females would engage in sun-tanning behaviors more frequently than males to improve their appearance while being aware of the risks of UV ray exposure. Some of the collected data supported our hypothesis. Survey data was statistically analyzed using frequencies, cross-tabulations, mean comparisons, independent t-tests, and a reliability analysis. Our findings are consistent with previous research indicating females are more likely to tan because appearance plays a large role in females’ self esteem (Cox, Cooper, Vess, Arndt, Goldenberg, & Routledge, 2009). It is recommended that college health care facilities and counseling centers, middle school and high school teachers, and health educators use this information to work against tanning with the perception of attractiveness.

Advised by Dr. Susan Wolfgram

Facebook Used as a Recruiting Tool

Lauren Hooker
Undergraduate Student, Psychology

Brandon Rathke
Undergraduate Student, Psychology

Keywords: hiring, selection, Facebook

Social media is becoming increasingly integrated in the hiring process as companies choose their employees from widening pools of applicants. Past studies revealed that it is important for job seekers to recognize the effect of an unprofessional social profile on their job prospects. This study examines the impact of unprofessional Facebook profiles and gender of the applicant on the likelihood of being hired. Each participant was presented with one of four hiring packets and questionnaires to see if they would hire the applicant for a human resource generalist position. Results indicate that there is not a significant correlation between having a professional or unprofessional Facebook profile and the likelihood of being hired according to gender. However, there was a significant effect of having a professional or unprofessional profile and being hired for the job regardless of gender.

Advised by Dr. Sarah Wood

The Relationship between Gender and College Students’ Career Development

Sarah Fischer
Undergraduate Student, Human Development and Family Studies

Brianna Sauter
Undergraduate Student, Human Development and Family Studies

Keywords: career development, career influence, career resources, college students, career exploration

Although some may think they have control over their future, studies show that one of the most significant influences on career development is the exploration of the environment and the self (Adragna, 2009). The current weak economy may limit a student’s financial resources; therefore, choosing a career that is a good fit is more imperative than ever before. This cross-sectional and nonrandom pilot study surveyed 57 male and female freshmen and sophomore college students at a small midwestern university on their past experiences that have influenced their career choices as well as their future career aspirations. We predicted that there would be moderate differences in gender regarding college students’ career development based on current literature. Survey data was statistically analyzed using cross-tabulations, mean comparisons, independent t-tests, and a reliability analysis. Results indicated that there were no significant gender differences, but moderate gender differences were found within certain variables. Males considered their parents’ career as more of an influence than females did, but did not consider many other factors as very influential (e.g., the media or their parents in general). Gender differences were also found within their current major and ideal career choice. Implications for practitioners are that support, guidance, and resources should be provided early, but children should also be allowed to make autonomous decisions. Future research would benefit from a large, randomized national sample along with rephrasing the negatively correlated dependent variables.

Advised by Dr. Susan Wolfgram

Influential Media: Insight into the College Male’s Perspective on Masculinity

Vanessa Kuettel
Undergraduate Student, Human Development and Family Studies

Kayce Planert
Undergraduate Student, Human Development and Family Studies

Keywords: masculinity, media influences, real man, male college students

Masculinity is an important element of male identity, as well as an increasing topic of media interest. Although masculinity exists in many forms, simply one dominant form is focused upon throughout society (Smiler, 2006). The media’s masculine messages emphasize violence, aggression, and emotional restraint (Soulliere, 2006). Furthermore, the avoidance of feminine traits increases the likelihood males will partake in activities which objectify, control, and abuse women (Kivel & Johnson, 2009). Statistics have shown that one in every four women will experience domestic violence within her lifetime (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 2007). The central research question in this study was “What is the college male perspective on contemporary masculinity in relation to media influences?” We predicted that there would be a correlation between responding strongly to the survey statements I learn about what a “real man” is from media sources (RMM) and I apply media messages about masculinity to my life (AMM) and to the survey statements which refer to masculine characteristics depicted within media messages.The study’s findings were supported within the literature, that is, masculinity can be influenced by social aspects including media messages. Survey data was statistically analyzed using descriptive statistics: frequencies, mean comparisons and correlations as well as Cronbach's Alpha reliability analysis. Implications for practitioners, health educators, and males in general will focus on bringing awareness to the negative influences of the media as well as exposing males to alternative forms of masculinity. Future research would benefit from a random, large, national sample.

Advised by Dr. Susan Wolfgram