Senior Distinction Papers
Five seniors of the Class of 2009 wrote distinction papers this spring, under the supervision of Prof. Križ. Abstracts of these papers follow:
Susanne Derby '10 - Evaluation of the Peace Drum Project
The Evaluation of the Peace Drum Project is a qualitative research study conducted through in-depth interviews of elder participants in the program between the years 2000 and 2009 and their Resident Service Coordinators. The Peace Drum Project, run by the Cooperative Artists Institute in Jamaica Plain, is an intergenerational program bringing teenagers and elders in the community together through the arts. The purpose of the research was recognition of an aspect of the program not yet evaluated by the Institute itself. Understanding the elders' experience is an important aspect of evaluating the entire Peace Drum Project. The research conducted by an intern for the year included 30-45 minute interviews of elder participants and Resident Service Coordinators of the program. Specific questions focus on the elders' drums made by the teen participants, perspectives on teenagers, and relationships made by the experience with the program.
Lauren Dupuis ‘10 - Innocence Stripped: The Harsh Reality of Children and Adolescents in the Human Trafficking Industry
The International Labor Organization estimates that there are currently over 240 million children worldwide between the ages of 5 and 17 who have fallen victim to the human trafficking industry. The current study is a collective empirical review of recent research regarding human trafficking, primarily among children and adolescents. Particular regions of the world have severe issues with child trafficking. In west and central Africa children are forced to work as slaves. In the Middle East young boys are forced to work as camel jockeys. Another trend seen all over the world, particularly in Asian nations, is the trafficking of children for sexual exploitation. There are several sociological theories than could explain why this $32 billion continues to thrive into the 21st century even amidst advancements in legislation and technology. However, recent international advocacy efforts have made promising advances in disrupting human trafficking and healing its victims.
Lauren Harris ‘10 - Academic Majors and Political Attitudes at Emmanuel College
Research on the youth vote, on youth political affiliation, and youth political involvement is plentiful, but rarely are one's academic choices linked to political attitudes. A survey method was employed in order to collect data from classes of various academic subjects. This research focuses on the students of many majors offered at Emmanuel College to understand if there is a connection between their chosen academic field and any political affiliations, lack of affiliations, or attitudes they may have about politics and political issues. Through primary data analysis, this research will look at each major individually to analyze patterns of political attitudes and discusses the liberal and conservative tendencies within academic majors. Variances within broader categories will be discussed, as will possible explanations of the findings. Lastly, this research will discuss limitations, possible implications, and ideas for future research.
Amanda Milian '09 - The Influences on Female College Students on their Clothing Purchasing Decisions
Abstract: This study explores whether the images of women portrayed in the media affect the shopping habits of female college students. I expected to find that many of the new popular television shows influence college students to buy certain clothing. Study participants were asked about their purchasing behavior, and what makes them purchase certain clothing items. To get a sense of women's fashion role models, I also asked questions about who specifically in the media they admire. In addition, I took photographs of women's favorite clothing items and compared these photographs with the clothing seen on television and in magazines. I argue that the media does indeed affect the purchasing behaviors of female college students.
Lauren O'Neill '09 - From Generation to Generation: Relationship Patterns and Motivations Behind Them
Abstract: This study investigates the motivations and thought processes individuals hold when pursuing and maintaining romantic partnerships and marriages. This research is based on data collected through in-depth interviews. The researcher recruited respondents though a convenience sample. Interviews included questions about how the respondent defines a significant relationship, which factors are relevant in making decisions regarding relationships, and of how perspectives on partnerships change over time. Participants consist of women of two age subgroups: three women between 21 and 29 and three over 50 years of age. This study compares patterns and opinions surrounding relationships between these two age groups. Specifically, it explores whether participants of the older age group describe their partnerships as more integral in the life cycle, while the younger group describes relationships as they relate to numerous life choices.
Satoko Shimazu '09 - Living in a Gap: The Identity Formation of International Migrants
Abstract: The United States, with its history of immigration, has remained the most popular destination for many international students and professionals. The experiences in the U.S. have a tremendous impact on these international migrants who are neither travelers nor permanent immigrants. This study is based on in-depth, semi-structured interviews with a total of eight migrants, six international students and two international professionals. First, I found that the identity formation of international migrants varies depending on several factors, including the period of stay in the country, their individual experiences, language ability, socioeconomic status, social network and degree of loneliness. Second, I found that migrants grapple with the following three major questions as they go through the process of finding a new sense of self in the United States: "Where is my home? "Where do I belong?" and "Am I different?" My study reveals that international migrants, who struggle with figuring out the answers to these questions, live in a gap between two countries (or more), where they do not feel that they totally belong to any country.
Katiri Willaum '09 - Experiences and Effects of Tutoring in a High Poverty Setting
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to understand the effect that tutoring in a high-poverty, inner city school has on college students. While much literature exists on effectively working in highpoverty, or high-risk school settings, little is available on the positive effects and the tolls it takes on an individual tutoring in these settings. Using the Wolfson Academy Charter School in the Boston area and its current mandatory tutorial program for 9th graders, I explore the experience and effects of tutoring in a high poverty setting. I carried out in-depth interviews with current tutors who are attending colleges in the Boston area. In my interviews, I asked tutors to compare their experience at Wolfson against their own high school experience in suburban, private, or inner-city schools. I started this project assuming that tutors' values of education would be positively affected. What the study has shown instead is a process of dismantling of racial stereotypes among white tutors. I argue that the value added of inner-city programs like the one at Wolfson is the potential to not only raise high school students' test scores, but also increase tutors' level of racial understanding and tolerance.
Amanda Wilson '09 - Confined: A Sociological Look at Women's Plight in a County Jail
Abstract: Confined is a qualitative research study that compares the experiences of women and men with incarceration. This research is based on in-depth semi-structured interviews with three women and two men who were incarcerated for several months in a county jail in New England. Interviews lasted for about one hour, were transcribed verbatim and coded for major themes. This study takes a particularly close look at women who have spent time in jail and analyzes how their incarceration has influenced them. One would expect that spending several months in jail would enlighten inmates on how to live a crime-free life. However, this study found that this was not the case for the inmates that were interviewed. This research discovered that the experience of incarceration was detrimental to women: they experienced discrimination and endured de-humanization through a process that I call "utter confinement"-- a process that involves physical and mental confinement. This paper also discusses the policy implications of my findings.