Math on the Sidewalk

St. Mary's Projects

Project Examples

Barkley Parent Training : a look at parent-child interactions in families with ADHD

Name: Bramble, Amanda Marie
Mentor: O'Donnell, Deborah A.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a psychiatric disorder that is common to millions of school aged children. Therefore, it is important to examine how this disorder may affect children in the realm of general functioning, more specifically parent-child relationships. This study looked at the parenting practices of parents and guardians of children who have ADHD. Participants were enrolled in a 10 week Barkley Parent Training program and were assessed using the short form of the Alabama Parenting Questionnaire. Results showed no significant change in participants’ scores from the beginning of the program to the end. However results did show that parents scored significantly lower on discipline than either positive parenting or supervision in both pre and post test, suggesting that consistent discipline should be among the primary focuses of the parent training programs.

Factors affecting cyanobacterial nitrogen-fixation on the Sassafras River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay

Name: Brunner, Elizabeth Lev
Mentor: Paul, Robert W.

Summer nitrogen limitation in the Sassafras River, an oligohaline to tidal freshwater Chesapeake Bay tributary, selects for N2-fixing cyanobacteria that could provide a “new” nitrogen source to this already nutrient enriched system. Despite the prevalence of diazotrophic (N2-fixing) blooms, little attention has been focused on the role of N2-fixation in nutrient enriched, eutrophic estuaries like the Chesapeake Bay, nor has the role of cyanobacterial N2-fixation been considered in N budgets. I analyzed weekly water samples from four stations on the Sassafras River for total suspended solids (TSS), volatile suspended solids (VSS), chlorophyll a, dissolved nutrients, and nitrogenase activity via the acetylene reduction assay. To supplement these ambient data, I performed two nutrient addition bioassay trials, monitoring the same parameters with additions of phosphate (5, 10 µM) and nitrate (10, 20 µM). The Summer of 2009 was relatively cool and wet, with no large cyanobacterial blooms, yet N2-fixation was found to be present at all sample sites. The most consistently high levels were found at Budd’s Landing, a private marina. We found a positive correlation between chlorophyll a and N2-fixation and a negative correlation between TSS and N2-fixation. These correlations are complicated by the bioassay data, which indicate that the environmental conditions required for any phytoplankton to grow or bloom are not necessarily the same conditions that promote N2-fixing phytoplankton (cyanobacteria). I found results consistent with N and P co-limitation in the bioassays. N additions stimulated phosphate uptake and chlorophyll a concentrations and P additions increased N2-fixation without increasing chlorophyll a. These findings may have implications for nutrient cycling in eutrophic estuaries and underscore the importance of combined N and P nutrient management plans. Keywords: cyanobacterial blooms, nitrogen-fixation, Sassafras River

Training a guardian : social transformation at United States Coast Guard recruit training

Name: Buckingham, Cameron Paul
Mentor: Roberts, William C.

Military culture has been a fascinating point of study for anthropologists. Within the United States Armed Services there exist many complex cultural aspects that differ from the surrounding American population. Such aspects that are unique to military culture include: an enormous lexicon of jargon, unique attire, obedience to social hierarchy, and a heighten sense of fraternity and teamwork. These traits have been emphasized when referring to military culture for years, but why? In this project I analyzed these traits from the point of origin, recruit training. Specifically, I examined the teaching strategies, rituals, and overall model implemented by the United States Coast Guard Recruit Training Center at Cape May NJ. My goal was to understand the various positions at the training center, study the social transformation from civilian to military personnel, and examine the tools that they used during recruit training to teach the soldiers in the Coast Guard. My experience as a Coast Guard reservist played a vital role in my research methodology as well as contributed to the pool of resources I utilized to examine this training system. Key words: military, recruit training, United States Coast Guard, drill instructor, military uniforms

Effect of the Magnus force on projectile motion in 3 dimensions

Name: Byrnes, Ian Thomas Behnke
Mentor: Adler, Charles L.

The goal of this project is to correctly model the trajectory of a projectile under the influence of gravity, air resistance, and the Magnus force. The Magnus force arises when a projectile rotates through a fluid. It occurs perpendicular to the direction of the velocity. To do this, a model utilizing Euler’s Method of numerical analysis of differential equations is built in Microsoft Excel. Newton’s second law of motion is used to construct differential equations describing the motion of the projectile. Graphs of the motion in the XY plane and the XZ plane are built using this model.

One voice

Religious Studies
Name: Cooke, Zachary A.
Mentor: Krondorfer, Bjorn H.

One Voice is a non-chronological spiritual autobiography dealing with such themes as exile, freedom, power, sexuality, and intercultural dialogue, in terms of the author’s identity as a white, middle-class American Christian. The essays reflect critically on experiences abroad and childhood memories in a search for truth and a discovery of spiritual roots. The work begins with the author’s hometown of Columbia, Maryland juxtaposed with Jubilee Partners, a neo-monastic Christian community at which the author has volunteered. It progresses to Thailand, describing an interaction with a prostitute, questioning the author’s complicity in exploitation and the role of the religious imagination in the encounter. The third essay wrestles with pluralism from a spiritual perspective through anecdotes from the author’s experiences in Buddhist communities in Thailand. The collection then returns home to confront the plurality of worship experiences within the author’s Christian practice and reveals the tension between ecstasy and order as it reveals itself in Christian worship. Themes of breaking and bleeding are then explored as the work takes a more confessional tone and wrestles with cultural corruption and the ephemerality of human existence. The next chapter brings the underlying restlessness of the author more to the surface in terms of his travels and religious consumerism. The final chapter shows more of the author’s Catholic family heritage and begins to embrace this by the author’s confession of his alienation from embodied spirituality. The work is a creative journey through restlessness, confession, and communion—a discovery of the sacred messiness of life.

Heritage de la colonisation dans l’espace urbain : la transformation des immigrés français dans les 20e et 21e siecles / Legacy of colonization in urban space : the transformation of French immigrants in the 20th and 21st centuries

International Languages and Cultures (French)
Name: Curry, Layne Ashley
Mentor: Gantz, Katherine L.

This project reflects the transformation of immigration, a process depicted by a dialogue between critical history and sociopolitical actuality, and as reflected in contemporary French literature. My research centers on the vestiges of colonization, which include racism and marginalization, within francophone urban spaces. These vestiges connect various vantage points of colonization, not only those blending and creating new personal and cultural identities, but also those pertaining to violence and discrimination against the ex-colonized, referred to in our social hierarchy as the subaltern. These vestiges are examined using 20th-21st century French literature as the primary sources with additional support gathered from texts that offer a more historical framing of the colonial period. A literature case study analyzes those excluded from society; my observations of these so-called “inferiors” produce similarities between each outlined example. These literary figures symbolize the isolation, the exclusion and the disconnection from their inhabited society. Their representation as the maligned immigrant population exposes how the legacy of colonization is oppressive in all contexts. The urban city is a prominent place to measure this legacy because it undergoes incessant transformations of space. These transformations within the city correlate with the transformations of power, knowledge and subjectivities of its inhabitants. In other words, public space is charged and constructed by the cultural and political consciousness that prevails within it. Through identifying examples that illustrate the power of colonial remnants in urban space, one can begin to confront reasons why traces of colonialism remain profoundly conspicuous and operative in society.

Economic analysis of oyster aquaculture on the Patuxent River

Name: Farkas, David Stephen
Mentor: Dowla, Asif U.

The state of the Oyster Fishery in the Chesapeake Bay is in a prolonged state of collapse. A relatively new idea aimed at increasing the oyster population is aquaculture. The aquaculture model involves a transition from the traditional wild harvest model to an agricultural model. This paper provides the theoretical background to oyster aquaculture, case studies of successful transitions to aquaculture and analysis of a current oyster aquaculture businesses or demonstration projects. Specifically, this paper focuses on an active demonstration project on the Patuxent River run by the Morgan State University Estuarine Research Center in St. Leonard, Maryland. Through such analysis one can gain an idea of the policies and preconditions necessary to a successful transition to aquaculture. These include continued research and feasible changes in state regulations, specifically to allow a transferable lease system that allows the market to allocate the best areas for aquaculture to those with the ability to exploit them. Within an aquaculture business, there are three main factors influencing the outcome of any aquaculture activity on this scale; growth rates, survival rates, and price. Growth rates and survival rates both influence the profitability of any aquaculture venture, but in the sensitivity analysis neither variable caused farm survival to drop below 90%. A change of price however, by $0.05 in either direction made an incredible difference in whether the aquaculture project would fail or be successful. Key words: aquaculture, oysters, Chesapeake Bay, Morgan State University Estuarine Research Center, Patuxent River

Isolation and characterization of non-obligate bacterial endospore predators from organic soils

Name: Ford, Jonathan Michael
Mentor: Byrd, Jeffrey J.

Within the soil microbial ecosystem are bacteria that prey upon other bacteria when available nutrients are low. One such predator, Cupriavidus necator, was purported to degrade bacterial endospores. However, this was never proven by direct observation. This study set out to determine the presence of endospore predators in soils from Evenstar organic farm. Three soil locations within the farm were used: currently farmed, 2-year fallow, and 12-year fallow. A filter-baiting technique using Bacillus cereus endospores as prey yielded 31 isolates for further testing. Of the 31 isolates, 3 formed colonies on a lawn of B. cereus endospores on Noble agar and inhibited B. cereus growth on 1/10 brain heart infusion agar. BioLog™ metabolic analysis suggests that two of the isolates are Pseudomonas putida. Based on morphology and biochemical characteristics, the third isolate appears to be a streptomycete. When the survival of endospores in the presence of the predator isolates was analyzed in DI water, none of the isolates elicited a significant decrease in the number of spores in solution nor was a significant increase in the isolate cells detected. There was, however, an indication that the isolates inhibited the germination of the endospores after 14 days of incubation. In addition, both of the P. putida isolates demonstrated signs of predation against another non-obligate bacterial predator, Agromyces ramosus, and the streptomycete isolate showed predatory activity against the prey organism, Micrococcus luteus. Therefore, all three isolates appear to be non-obligate bacterial predators with potential anti-endospore capability that must be further elucidated.

Siblings by chance, friends by choice : determinants of relationship qualities

Name: Gardner, Jamie Carolyn
Mentor: Glidden, Laraine M.

The aim of the present study was to examine the potential links between qualities of sibling relationships (warmth, conflict and rivalry) and measures of adjustment at the individual (self-esteem) and relationship (friendship qualities) levels in the context of two competing models: the carry-over and compensation models. The carry-over model emphasizes links between sibling relationships and adjustment whereas the compensation model posits dissimilarity between the two. Undergraduate students at St. Mary's College of Maryland completed the Adult Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (ASRQ), the Network of Relationships Inventory (NRI), and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale. Results indicated a positive significant relationship between sibling warmth and self-esteem. Qualities of sibling relationships and friendships were largely unrelated. Both sibling and friendship qualities were found to significantly predict self-esteem scores.

Here, there, and the places in-between : building a home in the Gambia

Name: Hendrix, Erin Elizabeth
Mentor: Hammond, Jeffrey A.

I have written a collection of essays inspired by the semester I spent in The Gambia. The essays look at different facets of my experience studying abroad. I have used the form of a personal essay because it offers the opportunity to deal with personal reflection while also remaining factual. Each essay explores a different topic, ranging from the economic situation in The Gambia to my personal observations while sitting on my balcony. In each of the essays, factual data about The Gambia is blended with observations from my own experience. These observations may offer real life examples to back up what the data suggests or may inspire the reader to think about the facts in a different way. As well as providing a personal look at The Gambia as a country, I explore the themes of belonging and place that were raised in my study abroad experience. The essays attempt to understand how we create a home out of our surroundings, each piece looking at a different building block. In the effort to find a place in a new country, there are obstacles that prevent a person from fully fitting in. I discuss the things that challenged me in The Gambia, and explore issues of race, religion, and culture clash. Together the essays deal with the questions of what it means to be part of a place and what we learn in the effort to assimilate.

Living truths in dying times : a social examination of plague in early modern England

Name: Kaisler, Rebecca Catherine
Mentor: Savage, Gail L.

For over 300 years, recurring epidemics of bubonic plague devastated the population of England. Using a collection of 133 treatises, pamphlets, and broadsheets, this paper examines the social issues prevalent in plague-related literature published in England throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In particular, it looks at four prominent issues debated by contemporaries: causes of and remedies for plague, the permissibility of fleeing during an epidemic, and the effectiveness of quarantine policies. The responses of the religious, medical, and political communities as demonstrated in contemporary literature reveal fundamental differences of opinion amongst these social authorities. These debates expose both flaws and rifts in English society, but also reveal its search for answers and provide an insight into the ways that society came to grips with a problem that affected individuals from all sectors of society.

Perfect storm and the response that followed : a case study of Greenville, Mississippi

Name: McKee, Molly Ann
Mentor: Osborn, Elizabeth A.

Past research using the social interactionist and functionalist approaches has identified effects of community behavior in response to natural disasters. This research evaluates community behavior in Greenville, Mississippi following the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Research shows both positive and negative community reactions. Data was collected through multiple in-depth interviews, which revealed networking that took place between evacuees from the Gulf Coast and individuals and institutions in Greenville, MS. Both community and outside organizations supported the evacuees in many ways, most notably by providing shelter, food, money, and many other necessities in the victims' time of need.

You won’t know me : disrupted autobiographies by Asian-American women

Asian Studies
Name: Newcomb, Melissa
Mentor: Cognard-Black, Jennifer

This St. Mary’s Project concerns the question of autobiography as practiced by modern-day, Asian-American women. Specifically, three works are analyzed: Fifth Chinese Daughter by Jade Snow Wong, Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston and Dictée by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. This paper begins with an introduction to the genre and tradition of autobiography and then follows the history of Asian-American female autobiography. By directly engaging in the authorship of their own autobiographies, Wong, Kingston and Cha defy European, masculinized narrative pursuits to establish the Asian-American woman as the white man’s equal. This research paper is particularly interested in the creation of a unified identity through language and what it means to write one’s life story. Language allows humans to construct identities that seem coherent, and autobiography provides the author with the chance to transform the chaotic, lived life into a logical, progressive narrative. Wong’s autobiographical work is an example of such an attempt, while Kingston and Cha engage in autobiography but resist forming stable, fixed identities. Essentially, Kingston and Cha disrupt their own autobiographical works to reveal that all autobiographies are fictions of the self. The reasons why Kingston and Cha create autobiographies that defy conventions of the genre lie in their marginalized position as non-white, non-male subjects. This SMP concludes with an exploration of Asian-American theory involving representation, identity politics, and minority discourse as well as a personal statement by the author which is yet another example of an Asian-American writer’s attempt to articulate her own, complex identity through narrative.

Fight within the frame : a comparative analysis of American conflict photojournalism

Art History
Name: Occhipinti, Caitlin Alyssa
Mentor: Lucchesi, Joseph E.

This paper examines the relationship between conflict photojournalism and American perceptions of war, specifically during the 1960's and early 2000's. Since the Civil War, Americans have developed a standard way of viewing documentary photographs, allowing images of war and conflict to carry significant weight in public opinion and understanding of war. This paper shows how a practice of viewing developed and then analyzes images from Vietnam War and the Iraq War to argue that photographs can have a powerful impact on political action. Finally, this paper argues that the government has consistently approach conflict photojournalism in a problematic way, which actually makes photographs more powerful.

Pakistan and Islam : an analysis of religion as a function of power

Political Science
Name: Ritzinger, Louis Joseph
Mentor: Shafqat, Sahar

In this paper I argue that Islam has been the principal force in the creation of Pakistani national identity and explore how it has been used to legitimate both the state’s very existence, as well as various leaders’ right to govern. Additionally, I will demonstrate that Pakistani nationalism emerged primarily as a response to the impact of British colonialism on the Indian Muslim elite, who used appeals to Muslim solidarity - a concept notably absent during the height of Mughal rule - to fill the identity void left by the destruction of Muslim rule. In using notions of Muslim unity, these elites drew heavily from a bedrock of Muslim Revivalist thinkers who were, as well, reacting in various ways to the devastating impact of colonization on Mughal society. Following this, I will show how the equation of Islam with Pakistani national identity has continued to manifest itself via various leaders’ use of Islam, and particularly the ideas presented by Muslim Revivalist thinkers, to further their own political ends and legitimize their rule. Finally, I argue that the rise of religious extremism in the region is primarily the result of the manipulation of the Islam-based construction of Pakistani identity for short-term political gains.

Extraction of maltol from Fraser fir needles using "green" materials : an experiment for the organic chemistry laboratory class

Name: Spencer, Jean-Paul
Mentor: Eller, Leah R.

In order to find a more environmentally‐friendly extraction protocol for the isolation of maltol from Fraser fir needles, Me‐THF and aqueous EtOH were used in place dichloromethane. The isolation was carried out by microwave‐assisted extraction and by basic bench‐top extraction, both commonly performed in organic teaching laboratories. Yields and purities were compared to results from standard extractions using DCM. A recycling process of Me‐THF was also attempted to discover if recycling the solvent postlaboratories could offset the expensive cost of Me‐THF.

What are we working for? : the American dream of self-making in late nineteenth and early twentieth century American literature

Name: Swope, Alexander Walker
Mentor: Nelson, Colby D.

The popular conception of the American Dream is generally tied very closely to economic success and the attainment of material comfort. My project is an investigation into how various late nineteenth century and early twentieth century American authors posited alternative definitions of success, especially those that explore the potential hollowness of economic gain in modern America. For this exploration I have placed several texts into dialogue with one another. I begin by showing how the success mythologies of Ben Franklin’s The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and the works of Horatio Alger are challenged and reconfigured in WD. Howells’ The Rise of Silas Lapham. I then show how F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Sherwood Anderson’s Poor White link the possibility of the American Dream to the reclamation or loss of America’s pastoral identity. Finally I show how the economic plan for racial harmony set up by Booker T. Washington’s Franklinesque autobiography Up From Slavery is challenged by James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man and Nella Larsen’s Quicksand.

Eatables : food and the politics of memory at Point Lookout prison

Name: Williams, Olivia Rose
Mentor: Holden, Charles J.

Point Lookout, a Union prison camp that housed over 52,000 Confederate prisoners during the Civil War, has been largely ignored by historians, unlike its infamous counterpart in Georgia, Andersonville. Yet the historiography of Point Lookout provides a dramatic case study in how Northerners and Southerners have struggled for the past 150 years to shape, control, and often distort the interpretation of key events in the war that dissolved the Union. My research has focused largely on how evolving perceptions of food and starvation have been used as weapons in a war of propaganda that continues to this day. Wartime documents, including diaries, letters, and sketchbooks, record the prisoners’ daily lives in a matter-of-fact tone. These prisoners did not see their stories as evidence for the prosecution of case they were preparing to make against the Union. In their efforts to compete with Northern atrocity stories, Southern memoirists used increasingly emotional language and more strident claims of abuse than the men who experienced prison life firsthand. Today, the Descendants of Point Lookout, a neo-Confederate organization, seeks to counter the work of what they call the “Northern revisionist historians” by selectively gathering diaries, memoirs, and contemporary articles which support their ultra-Conservative political agenda—one which advocates a return to the pre-war South before what the Descendants see as the destruction of a patriarchal, agrarian, Christian Southern landscape.