Class of 2008 Candidates for Distinction in the Field
April 29, 2008
The Class of 2008 candidates for Distinction in the Field brought a broad range of discussions to the table during the College's third annual presentation forum, which ran April 17th-24th. In all, 39 members of the senior class presented their work during the weeklong event, with presentations taking place in the Jean Yawkey Center for Community Leadership.
Jessica Nieuwenhuizen '08, a psychology major, presented her project "Inducing Empathy to Improve the Attitudes Towards the Homeless" on April 17th. A longstanding interest in "helping individuals in stigmatized groups" provided the foundation for her concept, which utilized a methodology with the ability to influence participants to have more positive attitudes towards the homeless, as well as potentially stimulate additional positive behaviors, such as volunteering.
"These concepts really highlight Emmanuel College's social justice [mission]," said Niewenhuizen. "Although my study did not encourage volunteering, I hope that by inducing empathy it will improve the attitudes towards the homeless."
When Laura Kazanjian '08 started contemplating a direction for her project, she immediately began considering ways she could combine her love of mathematics and baseball. With the help of a book she borrowed from her advisor, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Matthew Tom, Kazanjian came up with the idea of establishing a formula for determining whether or not New York Yankees' slugger Alex Rodriguez deserved to be named the 2007 American League Most Valuable Player.
"While reading the book, I stumbled upon an article entitled, 'Did Shoeless Joe Jackson Throw the 1919 World Series?' in which they used certain statistics and formulas to show that Shoeless Joe actually performed better than anyone on his team during that world series," said Kazanjian, who presented her work on April 18th. "The article really intrigued me to think about how I could adapt it to fit a project relevant to today. This is how I came up with the idea to dissect the MVP candidates' seasons and see which player was actually the most valuable to his respective team."
Stephen Murphy '08 explored "The Environmental Costs of the Expansion of London's Heathrow Airport" due to his interests in the environment, the current media attention surrounding the issue and his personal stake in the situation as a United Kingdom resident. An economics major, Murphy says Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" enlightened him on "some disturbing truths" regarding "humanity's environmental impact," while his family residence's location directly underneath one of the airport's flight paths supplied appropriate reasoning for investigating the situation further. The goal of the project was to examine both sides of the argument surrounding the world's largest international airport and provide an objective view of the matter.
"The Heathrow Airport expansion topic confronts an issue that is central to today's increasingly interconnected world," said Murphy, who presented on April 24th. "Governments and regulatory bodies face the need to stimulate and encourage economic growth, yet at the same time are confronted with environmental implications."
In addition to discussions, Julie D'Alessandro '08 presented a recital on April 28th in the Auditorium as part of her senior distinction project. The presentation events will close with an art exhibition, with students work on display in the St. Joseph Hall Foyer from May 3rd-10th. The opening will take place Friday, May 3rd from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
To learn more about the students and for a schedule of the events, click here.»