McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal, 2008, Vol. 1

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    The University of Maryland McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal, Volume 1
    (2008) Lewis, Jerry L. (Editor); Southerland, Wallace III (Editor)
    The McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal is a collection of abstracts and papers written by McNair scholars at the University of Maryland ( ). Part One includes only abstracts from the Summer Class of 2007. Part Two includes abstracts of some students and featured abbreviated papers of other students from the Summer Class of 2008.
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    The Effects of Reality vs. Fantasy Based First-Person Shooting Video Games on Adolescent Behavior
    (2008) Travers, Christopher; Southerland, Wallace III
    This conceptual paper reviewed the literature on violent video games and aggression. Using the General Aggression Model as a framework, this study provides evidence to support the relationship between video game violence and aggressiveness. To address the lack of research on first-person shooter (FPS) video games found in the literature, a future study will be proposed observing different types of first-person shooter video games (reality and fantasy) and the effects they may have on adolescent behavior. Consistent with the General Aggression Model, findings showed increases in aggression for adolescents exposed to violent video games. While research shows first-person shooter video games increase adolescent aggressiveness, evidence on different types of first-person shooter games and their effects on adolescent behavior were inconclusive. However, research reported by Potter (1988) showed that viewers tend to experience more emotional and behavioral issues when viewing reality based media. In addition, Anderson and Bushman (2002) reported that empirical evidence shows that violent video games and aggressiveness have a positive and significant relationship. The grouping of Anderson and Bushman (2002) and Potter (1988), provide evidence that adolescent aggressiveness will be higher when playing reality based first-person shooter games in comparison to fantasy based first-person shooter video games.
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    A Conceptual Paper on Factors That Affect Public Perceptions of Welfare
    (2008) Yarborough, Connie; Southerland, Wallace III
    This is a conceptual paper to study the effects of external factors on public perceptions of social welfare. The study reviews literature on the history of social welfare during the presidencies of Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, and William Clinton. The paper goes on to analyze three factors that play role on perceptions. These factors are values, environmental factors (economics and politics), and the media. Studies and surveys from Gilens, Gilliam, Los Angeles Times, and the National Election study were analyzed and discussed throughout the paper in the context of factors that influence perceptions. The factors outlined in the paper are analyzed using the theoretical framework of symbolic-interactionism. Symbolic-interactionism states that people act toward things based on the meaning those things have to them; and these meanings are derived from social interaction and modified through interpretation (Blumer, 1969).The model is appropriate for this inquiry because it allows the reader to understand how public perceptions are influenced. Minimal biased methods were used for acquiring literature for the paper. A number of databases in fields such as sociology, social sciences, psychology, and economics were used to acquire literature on the topic. Methods for conducting future research on the effects of experience on perceptions and attitudes towards welfare are provided. The findings of the paper include the types of factors that play a role on perceptions (values, environmental factors, and media), what factor appears to be most influential (media) and whether public perceptions of welfare has changed over time. Conclusions from the literature are drawn that states that living in society plays a key role in how perceptions are made, but the individual’s interpretation of the information should be taken into consideration. The paper ends with recommendations on future research on how experience with welfare affects perceptions and attitudes towards welfare; and future research to better public perceptions of welfare.
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    Traditional Medicine in the Gambia
    (2008) Peterson, Ana; Roberts, William
    The practice of traditional medicine is an important aspect of Gambian life and culture. It has existed in the country since before the arrival of western medicine and even the Islamic religion. Although there have been some additions to the methods of traditional healers of The Gambia since the coming of Islam, many of the values and concepts remain as they were when traditional medicine began. Modern medicine, that is the diagnosis and treatment of patients using scientific study and clinical trials, is the predominant form of healthcare for citizens of the United States while in The Gambia, seeking medical attention from traditional healers still remains to be a popular means of treatment. The popularity of traditional medicine continues to climb in the country, which in some ways can be attributed to the president, Alhagi Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, who claims to be working to acquire cures of devastating diseases using traditional medicine. Initially, I was interested in following the topic of traditional medicine mostly because I found the idea of using plants as medicine intriguing. The use of medicinal plants is also an attractive subject with the current increasing appeal of herbal remedies and medicines in the United States. Keeping this fact in mind, I wanted to investigate the role herbal remedies played in a culture much different from that of the United States. Being a chemistry student without much prior knowledge about traditional medicine in The Gambia, I was under the impression that I might find many herbalists eager to reveal all of the herbs they used, what sicknesses the herbs treated, and what chemical compounds made these herbs. Upon learning more, I recognized that this was not always going to be the case. My purposes for research evolved into much more modest goals: to establish an understanding of the traditional form of healthcare in The Gambia, the measures being taken to integrate traditional medicine into the modern healthcare system, and the reasons for the effectiveness of herbal medicines. As well as being a way in which people attempt to remain healthy, traditional medicine is also a large piece of the culture that represents The Gambia. Traditional medicine remains within the culture by way of the practitioners from one generation passing the knowledge to members of the next generation. In this way, the title of traditional healer can remain within a family for many generations. The continuation of the knowledge of a traditional healer being put into practice is dependent upon the traditional healer himself. By taking a close look at the work of traditional healers in many areas of The Gambia, I was able to come into contact with a part of the country’s culture.
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    Family Environmental Characteristics Associated with Obesity in African American High School Girls
    (2008) Stevenson, Nicole; Skasvig, Brit Irene
    Adolescent obesity is prevalent in America. African American girls are at a disproportion risk for developing obesity. Family environment has been shown to be associated with obesity in African American adolescent girls. Examining the family environmental factors further reveals there association with obesity. This study is examining key environmental factors associated with obesity in that population. This study uses secondary analysis of the baseline data from Project Heart (PH), a physical activity intervention trial at a high school with the goal of increasing physical activity levels. Two hundred twenty- one (221) girls participated. Most of them were African American (83%) and age 13-15 years. They completed questionnaires covering aspects of their family environment, and the data analysis showed the factors association with girl’s obese status. Chi squared test and T-test were used to show significant differences between the two groups of obese and non obese girls in relation to their parents obesity status. Twenty-nine percent of the girls were obese, BMI’s at or over the 95 percentile specific for age and sex. 71% of the girls were not obese. 35% of those obese girls had > 1 parent who is obese compared to 15% of non obese girls having > 1 parent obese. The rest of the data analysis is in progress (chart and graphs in development). The data represented girl’s perception in terms of reporting parent obese status, making them inaccurate. The measures used within the data set analysis are family intimacy, family support and family physical activity. The family intimacy scale is very important environmental characteristic when predicting levels of physical activity/non activity in the high school girls and should be continue to be used in other research. There have not been many studies with predominately African American girls. In the future, more in-depth research on the different type of environments needs to be conducted.
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    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Risky Sexual Behavior in Adolescence
    (2008) Owens, Kristian; Daughters, Stacy
    According to the literature, many adolescents diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have been shown to engage in risky sexual behavior (Flory, Molina, Pelman, Gnagy, Smith, 2006). However, it still remains unknown which particular social and environmental factors influence this positive correlation. Thus, this research examines the social and environmental risk factors that influence risky sexual behavior in adolescence. The results from this research has identified that adolescents reporting having sexual intercourse in their lifetime scored significantly higher on parent reports of externalizing problems, attention problems, rule breaking behavior, and aggressive behavior. Additionally, adolescents that scored high on externalizing symptoms were more likely to report a greater number of sexual partners, and adolescents scoring higher. There also seemed to be a significant gender difference, such that females scored significantly higher on parent reports of total ADHD problems. Considering the potential health problems associated with risky sexual behavior, it is important to identify the specific factors that increase this likelihood among diagnosed adolescents, and to formulate ways to address this issue and thereby reduce its occurrence.
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    Posttraumatic Growth and Religiosity in Latino College Students Who Have Experienced Psychological Trauma
    (2008) Mesa, Franklin; Lee, Courtland
    In the field of psychology, research on the aftermath of trauma has historically focused on the negative consequences. More recently, empirical evidence suggests that individuals often derive benefits or personal growth as a result of these extraordinary events, thus the term posttraumatic growth. The purpose of this future study is to assess the relationship between religiosity and posttraumatic growth in Latino/a college students at a large, predominately White institution using previously validated constructs. Traumatic events are universally experienced, therefore, growth is expected in all populations. Furthermore, research suggests that minorities may face additional stressors, called minority status stressors, which include discrimination and alienation. In addition, college Latino populations remain relatively understudied with respect to posttraumatic growth. Empirical data on posttraumatic growth and deriving benefits from difficult circumstances propose there are several factors that may enhance this experience. Among these factors are optimism, event-related rumination, gender of the individual, time elapsed since the traumatic experience, and religiosity (Calhoun, Cann, Tedeschi, & McMillan, 2000; Park, Cohen, & Murch, 1996; Updegraff & Marshall, 2005; Weiss, 2004). The instruments used for data collection will consist of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory, Daily Spiritual Experience Scale, Impact of Event Scale-Revised, and a demographic questionnaire (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1995; Underwood & Teresi; 2002; Weiss & Marmar, 1997). The measures, hosted on the Internet by Survey Monkey ©, will be distributed via e-mail to Latino/a students currently enrolled at the University of Maryland, College Park. Data analysis will consist of correlational analysis via multiple regressions, and ANOVA’s to analyze the relationship between all variables. The computer program SPSS will be used to perform data analysis. The results expected based on previous findings in the literature include: (a) elevated levels of posttraumatic growth, (b) a relationship between the severity of the event and religiosity, (c) gender differences in posttraumatic growth, (d) greater religiosity and growth among recent migrant students, and (e) a positive correlation between religiosity and posttraumatic growth.
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    African American Vernacular English
    (2008) Lewis, LaWanda; Lavine, Roberta
    African American Vernacular English (AAVE) causes reading problems for majority of the African American students who speak it. There is a strong concern of whether African Americans will perform adequately on the job front, due to low reading levels (Rickford, 1999). Although AAVE is a dialect shared by many African Americans, they need to be able to have proficient Standard English in order to move forward and become successful in America (Rickford, 1999). African Americans have been, and still are performing poorly in reading and have very low academic achievement throughout the nation (Rickford, 1999). Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) Ecological Systems theory was use to determine possible factors contributing to the reading problems that AAVE speaking children face when trying to learn Standard English. For the purposes of this inquiry, of the four systems in the theory only the microsystems and mesosystems were analyzed. In order to gain a healthy understanding of African American Vernacular English and majority of its topics, an extensive amount of literature review and scholarly articles read and analyzed. The results discovered from the literature were that there are three main reasons why AAVE speaking students have reading problems.
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    The Factors Human Resource Managers Use to Determine Whether They Are Going to Hire a College Graduate and How They Communicate Their Expectations and Qualifications
    (2008) Hailey, Tiarra; Southerland, Wallace III
    My research identified the primary factors that human resource managers use when hiring college graduates and explore how the factors are communicated. Through an exhaustive literature review, it has been determined that human resource managers use resume screening, interviews, and written performance tests to determine whether a college graduate is qualified for the job. Several database systems were examined using different search terms to produce research the following results. Resume screenings will determine if the candidate has any experience in the job area. The interview process will determine communications skills as well as job performance abilities. Lastly, written tests are given to also determine job performance skills. There are three factors that the methods are used to identify. A college graduate’s major is identified with the resume screening. The interviewing skills are obviously determined by the interview itself. Finally, the college graduate’s job experience is determined through the resume screening, interview, and the written performance test. These methods are supposed to rank the college graduate’s overall ability to complete the job successfully by meeting the qualifications. These qualifications are sought out by human resource managers through the job analytical process. Afterwards these qualifications are put into what is called a job description. This job description is how human resource managers communicate what is expected of job candidates. Job descriptions are supposed to depict the epitome of an employer who would be successful in that specific job area. If job descriptions are done accurately, college graduates should be able to use them to determine if they are qualified for the job and if they would be successful in undergoing the hiring methods of the human resource managers. My research is intended to identify the factors human resource managers use and how they are being communicated. This conceptual paper is significant because college graduates may be prepared to enter the workforce if they are aware of the expectations.
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    Power of United States Political Parties and Street Gangs: An Analysis of the Strategies Used to Secure Power
    (2008) Guevara, Kathyleen; Southerland, Wallace III
    Many organizations have reputations according to what they can provide others. Street gangs are looked down upon by society because they are violent, are involved with drugs, and commit crimes. Political parties are looked at with respect because they are made up of the potential future leaders of the nation in which voters place their trust upon. This conceptual paper will show that the strategies between both groups are not that different. The strategies used to secure power will be applied to both urban street gangs and political parties to explore the similarities and differences in both organizations. The inquiry will use a theoretical framework from the literature on power and how it is secured. The frameworks used are based on Stewart Clegg’s theory of having power divided upon sub-units, the pluralists’ versus the stratificationists’ points of views, and an analysis of action-oriented themes. The theories will be used to analyze the individual groups and then used to compare the two organizations. Future research will also use the same theoretical framework but will be applied differently. The recommended research for the future will be qualitative as well. The research will be a focus group and then have the members of the focus groups set up a one-on-one interview. The interviewees will be individuals that work closely with the Republican and Democratic political parties as well as individuals that work with current and former gang members.
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    Rehabilitative Methods and the Affect on Juvenile Delinquents
    (2008) Darbouze, Kelie; Southerland, Wallace III
    The purpose of this inquiry is to examine current rehabilitative programs and therapeutic methods employed to assist juvenile delinquents with re-entering mainstream society. Specifically, this research will examine the techniques, the rehabilitative programs, and the use of therapeutic models to assess the effectiveness of programs in addressing the personal needs of juvenile delinquents. Examples of the techniques, rehabilitative programs, therapeutic models are: substance abuse treatment, job placement, skills training, housing, social interactions with peers and family, and proper therapeutic treatment. The type of research that will be conducted is evaluation research which looks at the merit of social programs (Ruane, 2005). Understanding the value of rehabilitative methods will help to ensure which types of methods have greater chance in rehabilitating juvenile delinquents. The rehabilitative methods that will be examined in this inquiry are therapeutic methods which include group therapy, group housing, and family counseling. The inquiry will look at vocational and skill training as rehabilitative methods. This goal of this inquiry is not to discredit all rehabilitative methods but to show the rehabilitative method trends more frequently used with juvenile delinquents. This inquiry was solely based on a critical and extended analysis of research in the literature.
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    Minority College Students’ Perceptions of College Preparation Experiences and Their High School Counselors: One Year Later – A Revised Perspective
    (2008) Chisley, Brittney; Holcomb-McCoy, Cheryl
    There are major problems with high schools preparing minority students for college. These problems stem from many issues, one being the lack of school counselor training in college preparedness. The need for this research is showed by the lack of literature on this topic. This paper will present the results of a study examining minority college students’ high school experiences related to college-going and their perceptions of high school counselors in the process of college admission and preparation. A survey was given to the scholars of Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate program at the University of Maryland College Park. The participants (n = 15) completed the online 68-item survey. The survey included items that asked the students about their high school college preparation courses, activities that prepared them for college, and their high school counselor’s involvement in their college readiness process. The results from my research demonstrated that current college students did not feel that various high school experiences and courses prepared them for college. The results also found that parents/guardians and high counselors were considered the most influential in current college students decisions regarding college preparation and overall decision to further their education.
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    Assessing African American College Persistence at a Predominantly White Institution Using the Cultural Capital Theory: A Research Proposal
    (2008) Anderson-Vines, Calvin; Zeigler, Ronald
    Manning Marable once claimed that there were two distinct Black America’s. Since desegregation there has been a rapidly growing class of middle class Blacks and a similarly expanding “underclass” of Blacks that has led to much diversity in the socioeconomic background of many Black college students. Education has been pitched as the great equalizer, though many Blacks at predominantly white institutions are struggling to graduate. Most research aimed at solving this conundrum views socioeconomic status separate from cultural identity. This research attempts to capture the “socio-psychological” process of developing identity as an African American at a predominantly white institution. This research contributes to the field of African American post secondary education studies by examining socioeconomic status, cultural identity and collegiate persistence as interdependent variables. This study uses Pierre Bourdieu’s cultural capital theory as the theoretical framework. Cultural capital refers to background - knowledge base, skills, and attitudes - families of the dominant socioeconomic class transmit to their children (Lareau & Weininger, 2003). This theory proposes that in order for the dominant group to maintain its dominance some culture is valued or devalued within social institutions. Qualitative research methods were used for this study. Using convenience criterion sampling, six African-American students from various socio-economic backgrounds were identified in the summer of 2008. All participants were seniors, scheduled to graduate in Fall of 2008 or May of 2009. Students were selected from the Eastside University (pseudonym), a premier research institution and predominantly white university. A focus group was conducted during the summer of 2008, supplemented by ethnographic interviews and case studies provided by Lorenzo Dubois Baber (2007). During the data analysis phases four themes emerged that highlighted the cultural identity changes in the participants: 1) the construction of an ethnic identity; 2) the conversion of various forms of cultural capital; 3) the experience of stereotype threat and racism; 4) and the progression towards blended perspectives. This research is meant to add significant data regarding the heterogeneity of the Black community and how the differences in cultural identity are portrayed on predominantly white campuses. Much of the previous research on Black student persistence is based on other forms of capital such as social, human, and financial, and has a tendency to assume that Black’s share a collective identity. As the Black underclass and middle class both continue to grow wider apart it is inherent that researchers study this phenomenon transitionally. This research does that and provides analysis and recommendations for helping future generations of Black students to persist on predominantly white campuses.
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    The Correlation Between the Elimination of Nutritional Risks and Food Insecurity and Cultural Food Preferences Among WIC Program Recipients in Fairfax County, Virginia
    (2008) Ali-Mubarak, Rashida; Roy, Kevin
    This was an exploratory research study in which adult WIC program recipients were interviewed to determine their cultural food preferences. Four daily appointment schedule sheets were chosen at random and evaluated to determine how many persons were being served on an average day at two of Fairfax County’s busiest WIC offices. Data revealed how many adults and how many children were being served per day. Data also indicated if a mother had multiple children who were receiving WIC services. Preliminary results indicate that WIC recipients in Fairfax County do have firm cultural food preferences. Through information gained via direct interviews this study also revealed that some of the WIC-recipient families are also food insecure, have disordered eating habits/behaviors.
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    Case Study on 4 Subjects to Determine the Best Determinant of VO2 max: % Body Fat or Dietary Habits: 2008
    (2008) Fakilede, Oluwabunmi I.; Hagberg, James
    The maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) is very important because it is used to evaluate cardiorespiratory endurance and aerobic fitness. Without knowledge of their VO2 max value, an obese person may not know how much at risk they are for cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease which buttresses the need ‘in such an increasingly obese society, of knowing your VO2 max which can be very beneficial’ (Wilmore and Costill, 1999); due to the fact that it provides you with a baseline idea of your cardiovascular health and aerobic fitness level. The purpose of this study is to determine whether there is a relationship between an individual’s percent body fat and their dietary habits in reference to their VO2 max value. To determine if this relationship existed, a mixed method of quantitative and qualitative statistical analysis was carried out on four active individuals ranging from ages 18-30. For the purpose of this study, an R square value of 0.5 or more suggests a relationship between the VO2 max value, and dietary intake value. With an R squared value of 0.89, percent body fat depicts the most significant relationship with VO2 max. % Body fat is very important because the body uses fat for insulation, thermoregulation and, most importantly it is a form of energy storage. The most significant dietary components were carbohydrates (R2 = 0.50), total percentage of caloric intake from fats (R2 = 0.75), fruit (R2 = 0.65), grain (R2 = 0.78), and total fiber (R2 = 0.62). This study was based on only 4 subjects. As a result, data analysis can only be used to suggest relationships and guide future experiments, not to make conclusive statements or to state a level of significance.