Library Award for Undergraduate Research

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***Submissions are accepted 11 December - 15 March by noon each year***




The University of Maryland Libraries and the Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research have partnered to showcase and reward undergraduate research projects. The Library Award for Undergraduate Research aims to promote the value and use of library services and information resources.

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 207
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    Imperialism’s Wayward Child: The Impact of Imperialist Thought on Neanderthal Reconstructions
    (2023-03-30) Sennewald, Kaitlin; Forrester, Mark; English
    Our popular and scientific reconstructions of Neanderthals have varied greatly over the past 200 years, following trends in Enlightenment thought and race science. This paper traces Neanderthal reconstructions over time from the Enlightenment to the 1970s, connecting them to Western imperialist ideals and actions, and builds on previous literature by extending the imperialist influence past World War II and into the Vietnam War era. Through analyzing political thought, scientific reconstructions, and artistic/popular work, it is evident that a post-Enlightenment imperialist influence permeated not only the Western sociopolitical sphere, but also the scientific sphere. This research, through its focus on Neanderthal reconstructions, therefore additionally serves as a case study in how sociopolitical activity and scientific approaches reify each other in order to perpetuate a certain dominant narrative.
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    Al-Ghazali’s Interpretation of Muslim Men and Menstruation in the 11th Century
    (2023-03-30) Holland, Schmitz; Yavuzer, Gamze; History
    The paper focuses on medieval menstruation in the Islamic religion. The primary source is Marriage and Sexuality in Islam: a Translation of al-Ghazali’s Book on the Etiquette of Marriage from the Ihya by Madelain Farah, who translated and edited al-Ghazali’s work to English. The paper explores other scholarly work on menstruation in the medieval time period or in various religions. Ultimately, the paper discovered that al-Ghazali’s writing on menstruation was a male oriented view, based in the 11th century, and was therefore very strict. al-Ghazali's views did not follow all of Muhammad’s original views on women, prayer, and menstruation.
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    Cultural Chaos at Comiskey: Baseball and Disco's Intersection in 1979
    (2023-03-30) Roberts, Christopher; Keane, Katarina; History
    Disco Demolition Night was an infamous promotion at Chicago's Comiskey Park in July of 1979. In between games of a Major League Baseball doubleheader, a box of disco records was exploded in centerfield. Fans left their sears and stormed the field. They set fires and destroyed the field. 44 years later, the promotion is remembered in several different ways. Some remember at the promotion as a night as a silly promotion gone wrong, while others view it as a racist and homophobic event to combat the rise of the disco era. There is a clear disparity in how the night is remembered by baseball fans and those studying disco culture in the 1970s. My research looks to answer how Disco Demolition Night happened, how it is remembered today, and how it should be remembered. I argue that it should be viewed as a transitional moment in baseball and disco culture in 1979. Disco Demolition Night demonstrates both the modernization of professional sports, and the the widespread anti-disco sentiment in the late 70s. Viewed through different lenses, Disco Demolition Night can be a part of telling many stories about American culture in the 1970s.
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    Getting from Sesame Street to Sesamstrasse: The Development of Sesame Street's International Adaptations, 1970-1978
    (2023-03-30) Richardson, Evan; Keane, Katarina; History
    “Getting from Sesame Street to Sesamstrasse” looks at the American children’s television show Sesame Street and its international adaptations in the early 1970s, tracing the development of a iterative model of co-production that sought ever-greater collaboration between the Children’s Television Workshop and native producers and educators. Through adaptation, Sesame Street proliferated into many nationally unique programs within the umbrella of the original program, emphasizing the benefits of adaptation against an imperialist model of cultural diffusion. A narrative not present in extant historiography, the coproduction model provides a valuable case study into intentioned cultural adaptation, pointing to a successful model for education and for television production.
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    Homosexual Investigations: The CIA’s Contribution to the Lavender Scare from the 1950s to the 1980s
    (2023-03-30) Hough, Cecelia; Woods, Colleen; History
    This research paper analyzes why and how the CIA participated in the “Lavender Scare,” specifically why and how they discriminated against gay and lesbian employees from the 1950s to the 1980s. The CIA discriminated against gay and lesbian employees because they feared that they could be blackmailed into revealing United States secrets and that they were unreliable and immoral. This justification remained largely the same from the 1950s to the 1980s. Additionally, they were able to discriminate against gay and lesbian individuals for longer than other agencies and departments of the federal government. This is because of their extensive use of polygraph examinations, or lie detector tests, as well as the lack of both internal regulations from the CIA itself, and external regulations from areas like the U.S. government. It’s important to remember this history of CIA discrimination given their recent hiring campaign targeted at LGBTQ+ individuals. This research aims to contribute to the historiography on the Lavender Scare, and specifically the CIA’s involvement in it, both of which are under-discussed.
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    Break the Chain: Incarcerated Women Fight for Prisoners’ Rights in the 1970s
    (2023-03-30) Hernandez, Layla; Keane, Katarina; History
    My research focuses on incarcerated women. Specifically, their contribution to the Prisoners' Rights Movement in the 1960s and the 1970s. I explain why convicted women are disregarded in society and how their status allows them to be overlooked by scholars. In addition, I give three examples of incarcerated women protesting for basic human rights all across the United States.
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    Toward a People’s History of the University of Maryland: AFSCME Local 1072
    (2023-03-27) Fox, Emily; Keane, Katarina; History
    This paper covers the history of how workers at the University of Maryland, College Park won collective bargaining rights on campus through their union, AFSCME Local 1072. Starting in the late 1960s, UMCP campus workers, including housekeepers, dining service workers, and maintenance workers began to organize despite racial divisions on campus. An opportune political moment, along with strategies associated with the 9-to-5 movement to bring in clerical workers was what established AFSCME on campus as workers' exclusive bargaining representative after nearly 50 years of organizing.
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    “A Quest for the Truth:” An Analysis of the Background and Context behind the Southern University Slave Narrative Project and the WPA Slave Narrative Project
    (2023-03-27) Early, Elizabeth; Bell, Richard; History
    This thesis analyzes the two Great Depression Era efforts to interview the survivors of slavery. The first effort was conducted in the early 1930s by John B. Cade at Southern University, a historically Black University. The individuals involved with this project sought to dispel the popular and misleading 'contented slave argument' by interviewing survivors of slavery. The second project, conducted by the New Deal's Work's Progress Administration, was created to provide economic relief to educated Black Americans. This thesis contextualizes these projects, and evaluates how or if they met their original goals.
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    Discomfort and Unpleasantness: The Vietnam Antiwar Movement at the Supreme Court
    (2022-03-11) Krauskopf, Lauren; Keane, Katarina; History
    This submission analyzes the use of the U.S. court system in the Vietnam antiwar movement. Specifically, this paper looks at how activists used the Supreme Court to protect their First Amendment rights to protest. In protecting their rights through the courts, these activists ensured the continued development and growth of the antiwar movement. Legal activism in this way was distinct because it allowed the movement to grow in ways that other forms of protest did not. It also impacted the lives of those not involved in the movement by enhancing their First Amendment rights in ways that protests outside the courtroom never would have been able to.
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    Environmental Justice in South Baltimore: the intersectionality of poverty, race, and environment
    (2022-03-11) Hasan, Yazan; Leslie, Brice; Agriculture and Natural Resources
    A documentary seeking to define environmental justice to unfamiliar audiences, using South Baltimore as a case study.
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    Live Performance: Ritual Therapy
    (2022-03-11) Resnick, Jordan; Garcia, Marielis; Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies
    Live performance facilitating a space for difficult emotions -- such as trauma, depression, anxiety, and fear -- can be explored in a safe environment. Diving into painful themes under a creative lens allows participants to closely examine their own deeply held bodily responses to traumatic experiences while being guided through the process by artistic facilitators. In doing so, actors, audience members, and participants alike can commence on a journey in integrating healing practices within a community environment granting people the opportunity to understand their currently held stress-induced anatomical patterns and thinking models, bringing about closure and acceptance.
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    Educate and Empower: An Online Intervention to Improve College Women’s Knowledge and Confidence When Communicating in a Romantic Relationship
    (2022-03-11) Trovato, Karoline; O'Brien, Karen; Department of Psychology
    Historically, and especially during the covid-19 pandemic, the vast majority of unpaid family care has been provided by women with devastating associated outcomes including lost jobs, increased poverty, and mental health concerns. Notably, equal family work distribution and healthy communication are associated with women’s relationship satisfaction and fewer depressive symptoms. The purpose of this study is to create an innovative online intervention to educate college women about family work distribution, effective communication, and the PARTNERS Communication Model (a strategy for healthy communication based on existing literature and developed by Trovato and O’Brien for this intervention). A randomized controlled trial was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of the video intervention. We hypothesized that college women who completed the intervention, compared to those who read a webpage about relationship satisfaction and those in a no-intervention control condition, would have the most knowledge on family work distribution, effective communication, and the PARTNERS Communication Model. We also expected the women in the intervention condition to demonstrate the most confidence in their ability to communicate with a current or future partner. Data analyses will include qualitative data coding using coding schemes developed through qualitative content analysis and a series of four multivariate analyses of variance to test the hypotheses. Ultimately, the goal of this intervention is to increase future relationship satisfaction, reduce depression, and equalize family work distribution for women.
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    Surveillance in the United States: From the War on Drugs to the War on Terrorism
    (2022-03-11) Kingston, Linette; Lopez, Andrea; ; Anthropology
    Mass mobilization to reform US society by the state is frequently characterized as a “war,” such as the War on Poverty, the War on Crime, the War on Drugs. In particular, aspects of war efforts often parallel the very real discourse and approaches taken during the War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism, for example. Thus, I compare the War on Drugs and War on Terrorism (post-9/11) in terms of the domestic surveillance approaches taken during these periods and examine the disproportionate impacts on communities, in particular, Muslim American ones. I apply the concepts of penality/the logic of punishment to highlight the focus on increased funding for the police over social service provision, the body politic to analyze whose bodies require surveillance and control, and the criminalization of everyday life to explore the consequences of mass surveillance. Through these anthropological frameworks, I demonstrate: 1). in the framing of the War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism, citizens are portrayed differently based on their background; 2). in both wars, the criminalization of everyday life occurs, although the approaches to surveillance differ; 3). by relying on punishment to prevent terrorism, policymakers contribute to hypermarginality among Muslim American communities.
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    Olde Towne, New Townspeople: An Anthropological Analysis of the Life Stages of 1.5 Generation Latino Immigrants in Gaithersburg, MD
    (2022-03-11) Eason, Emily; Getrich, Christina; Honors Humanities Living-Learning Program
    "Olde Towne, New Townspeople" is a research paper written for the Honors Humanities Keystone project at the University of Maryland. It uses an anthropological research perspective to describe three main stages of life that young 1.5 Generation Latinos in Gaithersburg, Maryland go through on their immigration journey to the United States. This paper discusses survey, interview, and focus group results to tell the largely untold story of Latino immigrants in Gaithersburg in order to shine a light on the younger generation and their growing need for documentation.
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    Laputa and its Satire: From Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels to Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky
    (2022-03-11) Dallimore, Elissa; Nelson, Karen; Department of English
    This research project aims to shed light on Jonathan Swift's satire present in the third part of Gulliver's Travels (1726). The paper examines current discourse regarding whether Swift sought to satirize absolute sovereignty or the Royal Society and evaluates these claims using textual evidence and two Royal Society pamphlets. In doing so, this project argues that the Royal Society's corruption demonstrates the dangers of absolute sovereignty that can impose faulty innovations upon the populace. The paper also compares the novel to Hayao Miyazaki's film, Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1989), to demonstrate how it effectively embodies and adapts Swift's warnings for the present day.
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    Black Grief Matters: Disenfranchisement, Social Support, and Coping Among Black College Students Grieving the Deaths of Black Americans by Police Brutality
    (2022-03-11) Harris, Madelyn; O'Brien, Karen; Psychology
    Today, Black Americans are nearly three times more likely than their white American counterparts to be killed by police, accounting for more than 40% of the victims of police killings nationwide (Bor et al., 2018). These murders are receiving considerable media attention as some have been captured on video and shared widely via social media and news platforms. Moreover, the Black Lives Matter movement, which aims to emphasize the precarious state of Black lives, focuses needed attention on these horrific deaths by police brutality (Rankine, 2015). The ubiquity of social media and news platforms facilitates widespread viewing and sharing of police brutality against Black Americans, with the viewing of such events potentially more pronounced among college students, as over 84% of 18 to 29 year-olds use at least one social media site (Pew Research Center, 2021). Exposure to this violence is associated with negative mental health outcomes among Black Americans including heightened stress, depression, and grief and loss reactions (Allen & Solomon, 2016; Bor et al., 2018; Tynes et al., 2019). Factors which may contribute to these negative mental health outcomes include disenfranchisement of grief (i.e., the grief not being recognized or acknowledged; Piazza-Bonin et al., 2015), the absence of social support during grieving (Burke et al., 2010; Stroebe et al., 2005), and the ways in which college students cope with these killings and their grief (Andersen et al., 2013; Fox, 2019). The purpose of this study was to examine how grief disenfranchisement, social support and coping style predict stress, depressive symptoms, and prolonged grief in Black college students as they respond to the deaths of Black Americans by police brutality.
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    Strength in Contradiction: The Radicalization of Incel Rhetoric
    (2021-02-15) Wong, William L.; Coleman, Linda; English
    This paper emphasizes several fields of interconnected research in my investigation of the linguistic and psychological roots of radicalization among self-described “incels” or “involuntary celibates”. Through a close analysis of academic writings and primary sources, I relate my findings on the radicalization of incels to the processes of radicalization seen in established terrorist groups worldwide. What differentiates this essay from other research papers that I have written is its interdisciplinary approach. Furthermore, because of the rapidly shifting landscape and user makeup of online communities as well as the contemporariness of the issue that I analyze, I was very selective with the sources that I included in my work. To verify that the claims and findings from my sources were up to date, I personally reviewed chatrooms and message boards on incel forums and compared them to scholarly research on the topic, even if this research was only two to three years old. By incorporating a broad range of research and analysis and directly monitoring the rhetoric of the groups investigated in my paper, my essay sheds light on how online communities are uniquely capable of radicalizing individuals and pushing them towards acts of terror. My paper’s findings are relevant to present-day discussions over online speech, which have been motivated by the continued power of online groups and individuals to perpetrate violent attacks inspired by white supremacy, misogyny, and conspiracy theories.
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    In Support of Abstinence-Plus Education: Evaluating the Shortcomings of Peer-to-Peer Education and Abstinence-Only Programs in the Context of Attitudes, Intentions, and Behaviors
    (2021-02-15) Anderson, Jesse; Gammons, Rachel; ; Department of English
    This paper examines three primary approaches to sexual education - abstinence-only, peer-to-peer, and abstinence-plus - and weighs their merits in the context of their influence on attitudes, behaviors, and intentions. The Big Decisions program espouses respectful, culturally-sensitive environment is essential to the success of any sexual education program. Pursuant to this belief, the curricula demonstrates sexual decision making through displays of loving relationships across cultures as well as in the context of participants’ personal aspirations in life. It encourages participants to clarify their personal limits and understand how the risks of STDs and teen pregnancy can impede personal goals established at the start of the program. Most importantly, the curriculum does not belittle or demonize teens who are already sexually active or teens who are in the LGBTQ+ community.
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    ‘Minds’ in ‘Homer’: A quantitative psycholinguistic comparison of the Iliad and Odyssey
    (2021-02-15) Dedović, Boban; Bernat, Edward; Epistola, Jordan; Psychology
    “My child, why do you weep? What grief has come upon your phrenes (φρένες)? Speak—conceal not in noos (νόος) in order that we both may know,” so speaks Achilles’ mother Thetis as the fierce warrior weeps tears of wrath on the beaches of Troy (Il. 1.362-363). To be sure, noos likely translates as mind in English in the above passage. However, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey include a total of eight such words that may be rendered as mind, heart, or spirit: noos (νόος), thymos (θυμός), psykhe (ψυχή), phrenes (φρένες), prapides (πρᾰπῐ́δες), kardia (κᾰρδῐ́ᾱ), kradie (κρᾰδῐ́η), ker (κῆρ), and etor (ἦτορ). This complicated situation with Greek translations of mind is at the heart of this study’s empirical investigation. To wit, what is mind in the Il. compared to the Od.? The present investigation sought to quantify and compare the use of mental language in the Homeric epics by means of computational linguistics. Prior scholarly investigations have been mostly qualitative; the few quantitative studies conducted utilized miniscule sample sizes of English translations. Two studies were conducted. 17 translators who translated both the Il. and Od. into English were selected (within-subjects design). The texts were sanitized and compiled for lexical frequency analyses in Voyant, a digital linguistic analysis tool. Study 1 compared how often mental language terms appeared in both works. Results showed that total word density of mental language increased significantly from the Il. to the Od. in both English translations as well as in the original Greek version. Study 2 compiled an English glossary of mental language terms and counted the frequencies for the 34 total works. A paired-samples t-test was conducted to compare the mean mental language densities of the Il. and Od. across 17 translators. There was a significant difference in the mean densities for the Il. (M = 68.2, SD = 8.9) and Od. (M = 91.9, SD = 11.6) conditions; t(16) = -17.798, N = 17, p < .001, d = -4.317. Further correlational tests as well as ANCOVA were conducted in order to determine if various factors could explain the large effect size. No significant results were observed or relevant. All hypotheses were supported. These data suggest that the Od. contains much more mental language than the Il. Implications and limitations are discussed.
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    Anxiety disorders in children and adults: A cognitive, neurophysiological and genetic characterization
    (2020-02-15) Laura, Visu-Petra; Andrei, Miu
    An information-processing perspective has been explicitly adopted by several researchers in order to organize the extensive (and often controversial) evidence supporting anxious children‟s cognitive biases in processing emotional information (Daleiden & Vasey, 1997; Pine, 2007). Such integrative approaches are essential in order to investigate vulnerability markers that contribute to the development and maintenance of child and adolescent psychopathology.