2012-2013 Honors Projects


Student Name: Amber Martin

Academic Major: Anthropology

Project Title: Patas Monkey Skeleton Analysis and Comparison

Advisor: Mary Baker

Student Name: Rachel Riendeau

Academic Major: Anthropology

Project Title: Dumpster Divers and Eclectic Collectives: Today’s Alternative Communities and the Roots of Their Waste Reduction Efforts

Advisor: Holly Dygert


Student Name: Julian De la Garza

Academic Major: Art

Project Title: Exploring Dystopian Theories

Advisor: Diane Reilly

Student Name: Kelly Stoddard

Academic Major: Art

Project Title: Mahler B. Ryder Jr.: Artist, Activist, Teacher

Advisor: Sara Picard


Student Name: Kyle Inman

Academic Major: Biology

Project Title: Determining the Efficiency and Specificity of Cre Mediated Ube4b Recombination and Its Effects on Myoblast Differentiation

Advisor: Deborah Britt

Student Name: Jaclyn Lata

Academic Major: Biology

Project Title: Determining the Efficiency and Specificity of Cre Mediated Ube4b Recombination and Its Effects on Myoblast Differentiation

Advisor: Sarah Spinette

Student Name: Clifford J. Pickett

Academic Major: Biology

Project Title: Can Misexpressing the Ciona intestinalis Myogenic Regulatory Factor Induce Muscle Gene Activity in Embryonic Endoderm?

Advisor: Tom Meedel


Student Name: Meredith Taylor

Academic Major: Communication

Project Title: Rhetorical Analysis of Three Osama Bin Laden Speeches

Advisor: Dr. Audrey Olmsted

Summary: This project was a rhetorical analysis of three speeches made by Osama bin Laden to the American public. The messages were critiqued using Karyn Campbell and Thomas Burkholder's recommended structures for analysis as outlined in the second edition of Critiques of Contemporary Rhetoric. This research also included a brief biography of the rhetor to gain an understanding of what motivated him to attack the United States and then try to persuade Americans that he was justified in his actions. The purpose of this research was to find the bin Laden's purpose for directing messages at his enemy and find the outcomes of his attempts.

Computer Science

Student Name: Travis Quantmeyer

Academic Major: Computer Science

Project Title: Mobile RIC Tour Guide

Advisor: Kathryn Sanders, Mathematics & Computer Science Department

Summary: RIC Campus Companion is an iOS application that combines information about current events at Rhode Island College, transportation to campus, finding your way around campus, and local weather and displays them in one convenient location, formatted to serve the needs of Rhode Island College faculty, staff, and students.

Educational Studies

Student Name: Brittany Richer

Academic Major: Educational Studies

Project Title: Adolescent Literature in Teacher Education

Advisor: Janet Johnson

Elementary Education

Student Name: Samuel Henry

Academic Major: Elementary Education

Project Title: Experiences of Male Teachers in the Elementary Grades

Advisor: MacGregor Kniseley, Department of Elementary Education

Summary: Teaching in the elementary grades is a profession generally seen more suited for women. However, an increasing number of elementary schools are recruiting more males to apply to teach grades K-6. The purpose of this study was to listen to the stories of males in the elementary grades and to understand the experiences, advantages or disadvantages of being a male teacher in the elementary grades. Ethnographic methods, such as interviews, field notes, observations, were used. Eight male teachers with varying backgrounds from six elementary schools were interviewed. In conclusion, the domination of females in the field is still present. A large majority of the male teachers noted that they were hired purely based on gender. Physical contact with the students was a major concern with these teachers; however the response to male teachers by students and their families was positive towards having a male teacher.


Student Name: Christine Dennen

Academic Major: English

Project Title: Narcissism in D.H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow

Advisor: Barbara Schapiro

Student Name: Jeffrey Gaulin

Academic Major: English

Project Title: Assembling Value, Assembling Reality: A Scrutiny of Objectivist Ethics in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead

Advisor: Anita Duneer

Student Name: Stephanie Mastrostefano

Academic Major: English

Project Title: Ideology and Animal Gendering in the Disney Animated Feature Film

Advisor: Joseph Zornado

Flim Studies

Student Name: Kyle Stumpe

Academic Major: Film Studies

Project Title: Falling: Women in the Films of David Lynch

Advisor: Kathryn Kalinak, Film Studies

Summary: Noted as a unique filmmaker, David Lynch has produced works which evoke strong yet varied responses from a wide audience. One thematic element that has been consistent throughout much of Lynch's work has been that of a female in crisis. Two of Lynch's films, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, effectively bookend the filmmaker's career, while also presenting themes and styles consistent throughout most of his works. Analysis of these two films reveals an initial tendency, as evidenced in Blue Velvet, towards representation and treatment of female characters which at times challenges classical, patriarchically-rooted gender constructs, while simultaneously falling into the same patterns of the misogynist Hollywood patriarchy. Over the course of his career, Lynch's work has developed from the clash of feminism and misogyny in Blue Velvet, to the more overt feminism and narrative disorientation in Mullholland Drive, by moving farther away from dominant, patriarchal gender stereotypes and classical narrative construction. I argue that while Blue Velvet exhibits certain feminist tendencies in terms of character and agency as well as through its awareness of itself as a Hollywood product, Lynch's work becomes most feminist when it exploits non-linear narrative, disrupting the Oedipally-oriented cause-effect chain, as it does in Mulholland Drive.
Student Name: Adam Tawfik

Academic Major: Film Studies

Project Title: The Eastern Film Corporation: Resurrecting a Footnote in Film History

Advisor: Kalinak, Kathryn, Film Studies

Summary: For my honors thesis, I have written the history of the Eastern Film Corporation, a short-lived, Providence-based regional movie studio whose years of operation were from 1915-1929. Eastern's prime years of business were brief, 1915-1917. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the building in 1917 and the expenses it would cost to repair it too high for its original founder, Frederick S. Peck, a wealthy Barrington politician. Nevertheless, the studio staggered on throughout the 1920s. The Eastern Film Corporation is almost completely forgotten, mentioned only by a few film scholars and historians, remaining a footnote in film history. I would like to correct this by recovering and interpreting the history of Eastern Film Corporation in the context of early filmmaking in the silent period in the US, a time when many regional studios such as Eastern flourished, providing films for local and regional markets. Unlike the major studios in Hollywood, it did not vertically integrate and had few, if any, significant feature films. In most regards, its fate mirrored regional studios like Flying A located in Santa Barbara.
Student Name: Erica Tortolani

Academic Major: Film Studies

Project Title: Was it a Dream? Psychoanalysis, Dream Theory, and the Films of German Expressionism

Advisor: Joan Dagle, Dept of Film Studies

Summary: German Expressionist cinema is a movement that began in 1919 and is marked by distinct visual features and performance styles that rebel against prior realist art movements. More than twenty years prior to the Expressionist movement, Sigmund Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams in 1899, a groundbreaking study that links dreams to unconscious impulses. This thesis argues that the unexplained, dream-like imagery and motifs found in Expressionist films, especially in Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) and Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (1922), can be seen in terms of Freud's model of dreaming. Although their styles and techniques are different, Caligari and Mabuse nevertheless both use Expressionist strategies to create fantastic worlds and characters that appear dream-like. By constructing a distorted dream landscape, these films exploit the unstable, fragmented identity of post-war Germany. I will argue that Caligari and Mabuse present ideas of the fragmented modern self that appear similar to the ideas on subjectivity in Freud's work on dreams. Three areas in each film that can be directly connected to Freud's dream theory are: the frequent motif of dreaming and sleeping, the dream-like content that the films present, and the multiple dream perspectives found in both films.

Justice Studies

Student Name: Daniel J. McCarthy

Academic Major: Justice Studies

Project Title: Understanding the Determinants of U.S. District Court Judges' Decisions on Patriot Act Cases

Advisor: Thomas Schmeling, Political Science

Summary: Prior research on federal court judges suggests that their judgments are not made solely on legal principles, but on the basis of political ideology and "strategic anticipation" of the actions of reviewing courts. This study seeks to empirically test the role these factors play in Federal District Court Decisions involving the U.S.A. Patriot Act of 2001. The results indicate that both political policy preference and strategic anticipation have an effect on the judicial decisions of U.S. District Court judges. Due to statistical complications, however, it was not possible to determine their relative effects on the outcomes of Patriot Act cases.
Student Name: Susan Wennermark

Academic Major: Justice Studies

Project Title: Did Print Media's Coverage of White-Collar Crime Change After the "˜Bernie Madoff Scandal"?

Advisor: Dr. Roderick Graham, Sociology Dept

Summary: The question guiding this research is: What are the meanings associated with white collar crime in the media, and how, if at all, have those meanings changed in the wake of the "Bernie Madoff scandal"? This analysis explores how the newspaper article was framed (either episodic or thematic) and what labels were used to describe the crime and actors involved. Articles between 2007 and 2011 were analyzed, covering the year before the scandal to two years after Madoff was convicted in 2009. For framing, this analysis found that, unlike stories on poverty or street crimes which focus more on episodic themes, newspapers used a combination of thematic and episodic frames. However, after the Madoff scandal, there was a slight turn towards specific crimes and criminals – suggesting that newspapers were moving more towards episodic framing. For labels, the newspaper articles suggest at least two major types of labels. One is the fairly consistent association of white collar crime with complexity. A second is the omission of working and middle class victims when discussing white collar crime. Further, the use of labels connoting complexity intensified after the Madoff scandal.


Student Name: Elyssa Cipriano

Academic Major: Mathematics

Project Title: Ordered Generalized Whist Tournaments for v players, v=1 (mod 6).

Advisor: Stephanie, Costa, Mathematics

Summary: This project presents constructions for a brand new type of combinatorial design known as an ordered generalized whist tournament. This design is a specialization of the generalized whist tournament focusing on the case when the number of players, v, is congruent to 1(mod 6). The tournament consists of games of 6 players with team size 3, in which every player partners every other 2 times and opposes every other player 3 times in balanced positions around the table.
Student Name: Jason Godek

Academic Major: Mathematics

Project Title: Mathematical Modeling of College Football Championship Seedings Using Only Preseason Data

Advisor: David Abrahamson

Student Name: Nicholas Leveillee

Academic Major: Mathematics

Project Title: Ordered Generalized Whist Tournaments for v players, v=0, 1 (mod 8)

Advisor: Stephanie Costa, Mathematics

Summary: Ordered Generalized Whist tournaments are a new design. In this study, we establish that ordered generalized whist tournaments exist for tournaments with 8n+1 players, n odd, with 4 players per team.


Student Name: Lauren Valcourt

Academic Major: Music

Project Title: Women in Music

Advisor: Teresa Coffman

Political Science

Student Name: Kevin Dwyre

Academic Major: Political Science

Project Title: Pierre Bourdieu: Political Anthropologist of Resistance in a Neoliberal Epoch

Advisor: Rich Weiner

Student Name: Jonathan Lamantia

Academic Major: Political Science

Project Title: An Articulation of the Kantian Social Contract in the Evolution of Reason

Advisor: Rich Weiner

Student Name: Jesse Posl-Rhinehart

Academic Major: Political Science

Project Title: Max Weber and Thomas Mann: Approaches to Questions of Normative Commitment

Advisor: Rich Weiner


Student Name: Jessica Hunter

Academic Major: Psychology

Project Title: Intergroup Trait Judgments as a Function of Facial Phenotypicality: Whites’Judgments of Blacks

Advisor: Tom Malloy

Student Name: Molly LaRue

Academic Major: Psychology

Project Title: Neuroprotective Effects of Inter-Alpha Inhibitor Protein in a Postnatal Day 3 Rat Model of Hypoxia-Ischemia

Advisor: Steven, Threlkeld, Psychology

Summary: We sought to evaluate the effectiveness of IaIp to spare neural tissue in the hippocampus, striatum, cerebral cortex, and corpus callosum in the adult rat following neonatal hypoxia-ischemia. This was accomplished by analyzing volume estimates from serial tissue sections containing the brain areas of interest across three treatment levels, (HI + 2 x 30 mg/kg of IaIp, n=9; HI vehicle, n=13; Sham + 0.1 ml of saline, n=12). We hypothesized that the administration of IaIp would reduce the neurodegenerative effects of HI in the P7 rat as indicated by sparing of adult brain regions implicated in neuropathology of prematurity. Ultimately, our assessments elucidate additional benefits of IaIp on early developmental brain injury, and provide a better understanding of brain injury profiles from this animal model that may inform human clinical cases.
Student Name: Emilee Ray

Academic Major: Psychology

Project Title: The Effects of Perceiver Motivation and Visual Attention Training on the Other-Race Effect during Encoding and Recognition

Advisor: Thomas Malloy, Department of Psychology

Summary: The Other-Race Effect (ORE) is a widely studied phenomenon with basic theoretical interest and important applied implications. Theories pertaining to the ORE are introduced and explained; however, all appear inadequate in explaining the ORE. In contrast, The Categorization-Individuation Model (CIM) combines social categorization, category activation, and motivated individuation as contributing factors of the ORE (Hugenberg et al., 2010). Drawing on this model, research is proposed that will manipulate both motivation and familiarity: perceiver motivation to individuate the facial features of out-group members, and the effect of visual attention training to outgroup faces—as opposed to non-faces—in later recognition accuracy of ingroup and outgroup faces. This study will utilize eye-tracking, which is new in ORE research and would provide new data on misunderstood or unclear aspects of the phenomenon. It is hypothesized that these experimental manipulations will diminish the ORE's occurrence relative to the control conditions. Additionally, researchers propose encoding and recognition exist as dual-loci of the ORE.

Social Work

Student Name: Karen Smith

Academic Major: Social Work

Project Title: Is There A Perceived Benefit For Familial Caregivers Of Dementia Patients IN Pre-Loss Counseling In Addressing The Feelings Of Chronic Sorrow?

Advisor: Bates, Mildred, Social Work

Summary: This quantitative and qualitative study explores the importance of timing in the delivery of the support services that affect the psychosocial health of primary family caregivers of dementia patients. Caregivers' narratives and survey responses reflect their feelings about the impact the experience of caregiving has on their emotional, physical, and mental health as they struggle to manage the stressors of dealing with a patient's physical care, as well as the additional medical, legal, financial, spiritual, and emotional tasks associated with end-of-life issues. The participants in the study indicate that they feel it is important to receive support services early and often during the course of the caregiving process. Delaying the start of support is perceived as adversely affecting their feelings of self-efficacy during the entirety of the caregiving experience.Over three- fourths of this study's participating caregivers report that that the majority of their support and caregiving information is delivered through support group participation. They perceive that support group participation assists them in ameliorating some of the feelings associated with chronic sorrow.


Student Name: Julie Kessler

Academic Major: Sociology

Project Title: “Booting” the Reboot: Diversity in Comics

Advisor: Roger Clark

Summary: Abstract: This study investigates the assertion of increased diversity in DC Comics' "New 52" relaunch by examining visibility of women and people of color in titles published before and after the relaunch. Thirty titles were sampled, fifteen from the month before the relaunch was established and fifteen published specifically as "New 52" titles. The portrayals of these characters were also inspected. Further, animated superhero-themed television shows with the same name as sampled comic book titles were studied qualitatively, looking at connections between the shows and the comic books, as well as amongst the programs themselves. Ultimately, amongst the sampled titles, the "New 52" comics displayed greater visibility of people of color, but less visibility of women. Their animated counterparts also had a stronger relationship to the "New 52" comics than the pre-relaunch titles, likely due to the inclusion of so-called “Legacy Characters” in the latter. As the issues sampled from the "New 52" only included the first issue from each series, visibility will likely change as the continuity progresses.

Page last updated: Friday, April 25, 2014