Sylvan Guerveno

Sylvan will compose a symphonic poem in two movements, titled “L’Enfer en Soie” (Hell in Silk), based on “L’Hautontimoroumnos” (The Self-Tormenter)–a poem from the 1857 collection Les Fleurs du Mal, by Charles Baudelaire. The dualism that is present in the poem becomes, in this piece, an exploration of the pain of psychological torment, and the relief that may also come with one’s own tormenting behavior. This alliance of pain and pleasure is realized in a musical texture combining unusual orchestral sonorities and music with vocal-like qualities. University Orchestra Director, David Milnes, will conduct this symphonic poem, Sylvan’s Senior Honors Thesis in Music, for its first public performance at Hertz Hall, in conjunction with the Haas Scholars Spring Conference in April 2002.

John Davis Long

Philosophers and scientists alike have puzzled over the question of how we experience the visual world. A double major in Molecular & Cell Biology and Philosophy, John will take up this question from a scientific perspective for his Senior Honors Thesis in MCB. Focusing on the transmission of information between the thalamus and the cortex, he will use the electrophysiological methods of extracellular stimulation and whole-cell recording, in order to study synaptic transmission from the lateral geniculate nucleus to the input layer of the primary visual cortex in an in vitro rat preparation. Using these methods, John will be able to investigate many of the important mechanisms thought to determine our visual perceptions. The goals of his research are to rigorously analyze the interactions between those areas of the brain necessary for visual perception, and ultimately, to propose a mathematical model that describes those interactions.

Tiasha Palikovic

A double major in Political Science and Psychology, Tiasha will be studying how Yugoslavia’s political transition out of communism has affected the region’s stance toward individualism, seeking to determine whether the move toward liberal democracy has produced a genuine effort towards increasing freedom of expression. She will be testing her hypothesis that anti-individualism is a potent political tradition in this region by doing a comparative study of the treatment of dissidents by three different regimes that have held power here over the past half century: nationalists during the rule of Tito (1950-1980); black-listed journalists in the newly independent Croatia (1990-2000); and Radio B-92 and student groups such as Otpor (Resistance) in Milosevic’s Serbia (1990-2000). Her research, conducted in part through fieldwork in Croatia and Serbia, will culminate in a Senior Honors Thesis in Political Science.

Daniell Newman

Daniell’s research in the burgeoning field of eGovernment will examine the structure, implementation, and deployment issues of the use of the Internet as a tool for governance in the United States. For his Senior Honors Thesis in Political Science, he will travel to Washington D.C. and Sacramento to conduct case studies of the eGovernment plans of the State of California, US Treasury Department, and a plan created for the federal government by the Council for Excellence in Government. Daniell will determine if a combination of elements of these efforts could interwork with additional inter-system interfaces, to provide a system of digital governance accessible to all. He will also evaluate the pervasiveness of such services and the quality of access to disadvantaged classes, which will either bridge or increase the split of societal groups across the Digital Divide.

Carlos Miranda

Carlos’s interdisciplinary project, “Beloved: Toni Morrison’s Rhetoric of Libation,” has two aims. First, it will explore how Toni Morrison uses allegory and the West African concept of nommo to reconstruct historical representations of trauma, as well as practices of communal, cultural and self possession, in her acclaimed 1987 novel Beloved. Secondly, it will propose a literary theory that employs (but is not limited to) West African cosmologies in determining the implications of Beloved for African American communities. Following Barbara Christian’s observation that Beloved is a prayer, Carlos will argue that by threading allegory and nommo, two seemingly divergent epistemological systems, Morrison’s Beloved produces a cultural rhetoric of libation. As his Rhetoric Senior Honors Thesis, this project’s ultimate goal is to provide literary theorists with a model that centralizes “Third World” cosmologies and epistemologies.

Haley Mellin

Current Bio: Haley is a painter and land conservationist. Conservation is a central part of her art practice. She completed a residency at the Whitney Museum in New York City, and a PhD in Visual Culture and Education. Haley exhibits in Europe and in the United States and focuses on traditional painting techniques as they intersect with contemporary visual culture and technologies. In her conservation work, she created two non-profits, Art into Acres and They involve people from the wider arts community in learning about large-scale landscape ecosystems, supporting millions of acres of new protected areas to date. Art into Acres supports the art community in conserving land, and supports all people in conserving their first acre. The focus is on historic forests for biodiversity. Haas Scholars Project: An Art Practice major, Haley painted a series of portraits using the techniques and materials found in the Fayum mummy portraits of Ancient […]

John Weedin

A double major in Molecular & Cell Biology and History, John intends to investigate the function of polysialic acid (PSA) on the cellular membranes of cancer cells. Polysialic acid is a relatively long, negatively charged sugar polymer composed only of sialic acid monomers. While the role of polysialic acid in neural and fetal cells has been well studied, information regarding its role in tumor cells has not. John hypothesizes that the long molecule disrupts the cell-cell interactions that prevent uncontrolled cell division, allowing tumor cells to rapidly multiply and expand. By utilizing the techniques of organic chemistry and molecular biology, John hopes to elucidate the function and importance of polysialic acid in tumors. Collaborating with researchers at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, he hopes to show that the presence of polysialic acid helps cause cancer. If successful, further research on the inhibition of polysialic acid biosynthesis could lead to future cancer therapy.

China Star

My research examines the changes in the prevalence of unmarried mothers in Ireland nearly a 20% between 1988 and 1999, the church and community response towards these women, and alternative interpretations of the lifestyles and demographics of single mothers. In recent years the response towards single parents has moved from one of social exclusion, condemnation towards one of outward acceptance and coping, a shift clearly influenced by the increasing prevalence of unmarried mothers and on account of moral condemnation of the alternatives of social exclusion of the mother and her child, adoption and abortion. Members of the clergy and other religious cite similar reasons for their own acceptance of single parents and for the Churchs changing attitude towards those who might have previously fallen outside the pale. I have chosen to focus on limited number of case studies and allowing for voices to be given to a few of the […]

Aida Sadikovic

Aida’s Senior Honors Thesis in Molecular & Cell Biology will focus on investigating the mechanisms behind the murine immune response to Listeria monocytogenes. L. monocytogenes is a ubiquitous intracellular human and animal pathogen that can spread from cell to cell via actin-based motility. Previous studies have shown that VASP-binding deficient strains of L. monocytogenes exhibit slow motility and virulence attenuation compared to wild type strains, especially in the liver during secondary murine listeriosis. She hopes to gain a better understanding of the reasons behind this tissue difference and to determine why VASP-binding deficient strains of L. monocytogenes display more pronounced virulence attenuation during secondary versus primary murine listeriosis. The results of her research, which could have important implications for the development of therapeutics against intracellular pathogens, will be presented at the American Society for Microbiology national meeting in Spring 2002.

Nicholas Parra-Vazquez

A Chemical Engineering & Material Science double major, Nicholas plans to investigate the significance of catalyst structure on a system exhibiting shape-selectivity. In the past, it has proven difficult to synthetically manipulate one catalyst feature without simultaneously altering other features. As a result, the relative importance of various structural features on catalyst selectivity remains generally unknown. By using a novel synthetic method called molecular imprinting, Nicholas hopes to achieve independent manipulation of the catalyst’s structural features, thereby allowing elucidation of the mechanism of catalyst selectivity. Mechanistic information can in turn be used to optimize catalyst design, resulting in significant economic and environmental benefits in the industrial sector.