McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal, 2010, Vol. 2

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    Analyzing the Dream
    (2010) Espinoza, Rossana; Huth, Paul
    The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, otherwise known as the DREAM Act, is a proposed bill under consideration in the US Congress that would give undocumented immigrant minors greater access to higher education opportunities while also providing them with a path to achieving full and legal citizenship. The bill was first introduced in 2001 and is now being reintroduced with new amendments in 2009. My research will center on questions regarding the social and economic effects that this proposed bill would have on the undocumented students if it were passed. Specifically, I plan to investigate the potential consequences of this bill in the country by examining case studies of California, Maryland and Virginia with respect to: a) increases in higher education levels and admissions, and b) economic opportunities. My research will center on a policy-analysis in a non-empirical format. I will mostly use qualitative methods of research, although I will collect and analyze some data and statistics on the undocumented community in the aforementioned states.
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    The University of Maryland McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal, Volume 2
    (2010) Southerland, Wallace III (Editor); Lewis, Jerry L. (Editor)
    The McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal is a collection of abstracts and papers written by McNair scholars at the University of Maryland ( This issue features papers from the summer 2009 research institute written by participants from the University of Maryland, College Park; Frostburg State University; and Saint Mary's College of Maryland.
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    Brain Behavior is Related to Motor Behavior During Competition
    (2010) Thorpe, Elizabeth; Hatfield, Bradley
    In this study the alpha band waves of low to moderately skilled pistol shooters are evaluated to examine the performance of the individuals under a competitive environment. The factors that cater to success in the autonomous stage of learning are different for the athlete. There has been investigation of the brain patterns of experts, while performing a task is efficient and in accord with Fitts and Posner’s claims of what it takes to be successful while in the last stage of motor learning (Hatfield & Hillman, 2001). The problem being addressed in the study is examining Fitts and Posner’s cognitive stage of motor learning. The first question being studied is how does low alpha power relate to variability in the performance of a pistol shoot? The second question being studied is how does high alpha coherence relate to jerk in the performance of a pistol shoot? The first hypothesis to prove is that higher cortical arousal (i.e. lower alpha power), will be associated with better performance (i.e., less variable pistol trajectories). The second hypotheses to prove is networking to the motor planning region (i.e. higher coherence) will be positively associated with increased levels of jerk. The results of the study find that those who performed better (less variability and more jerk) exhibited brain patterns associated with relying on external cues, events and responses.
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    Scholarship and Empowerment in the Age of the Video Vixen: Promoting Black Adolescent Females’ Academic Success
    (2010) Stevenson, Stephanie; Parks, Sheri
    Throughout American history, popular culture and some academic disciplines have created limited characterizations of low income, urban, Black adolescent females as hypersexual vixens who are at risk for early sexual activity and low academic achievement. The promulgation of these negative sexual myths may cause Black adolescent females to internalize these myths and perform sexually explicit roles at an early age; consequently increasing their chances of low academic achievement. The purpose of the future ethnographic/self ethnographic study is to explore the ways that cultural framers such as: families (with emphasis on Black mothers) and the media influence Black adolescent females’ motivation to obtain academic success, and resist or accept negative sexual myths. The researcher will use the framing theory and expectancy value theory to explore these relationships. The study will observe Black adolescent females that attend public middle schools in urban areas within the Baltimore/ Washington, D.C metropolitan area. The researcher will consider how racial, gender, and class socialization may frame the adolescents’ life experiences and the methods that they use to construct their identities, value systems, and resistance strategies to combat negative sexual myths.
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    Examination of Family Environmental Factors Associated with Obesity in African American Youth Resides in Baltimore City
    (2010) Stevenson, Nicole; Southerland, Wallace III
    Obesity is very prevalent in America, making it epidemic (Dalton, 2004). Obesity is the measurement of body fat based on an individual’s weight and height (kg/m squared). This measurement is called the Body Mass Index or (BMI). African Americans are at a high risk of developing obesity which is not considered a disease. The World Health Organization states differences in categorizing obesity across ethnicities. National Center of Health Statistics defines obesity for adolescence as a BMI > 95th percentile based on their age and sex (CDC, 2008). Obesity is defined for adults as BMI > 30 (NCHS, 2007). Obesity affects adult, adolescence and children alike. A study by Ogden et al. (2006) stated more than half of America’s adult population, 32.3%, is obese. Statistics for children and adolescence, male and female, are equally alarming at 16.4% (Ogden et al., 2006). Researchers Freedman et al. (2005) examined the relationship between childhood weight gains leading to adult obesity commonly known as tracking. It has been noted by various studies that adolescent obesity tracks into adulthood (Dalton, 2004; Dietz, 1998; Freedman et al., 2005). Obesity originating from childhood puts individuals at a greater risk for health concerns (Freedman et al, 2005). Understanding the importance of curbing obesity in adolescence so it will not continue throughout an individual’s life is crucial. In addition, it is commonly known that obesity leads to a rise in health cost (Dalton, 2004). Some of the health risk associated with obesity are both short and long term. Some health risks are diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and breathing difficulties or asthma (Dalton, 2004). As youth transition to adolescence, physical activity levels decline (Kimm et al., 2002) thus creating an ideal situation for weight gain. Weight gain is common during this transition. Moreover, overweight or obese African American adolescent began puberty earlier which leads to decrease activity levels (Dalton, 2004). High School years represent a life stage in which girls, and boys are not engaging in sufficient physical activity. The family environment also plays a huge role in the development of obesity (Kimm et al., 2002). It has been revealed there is a relationship between social environment and its influence in supporting or hindering physical activity. The following sections will highlight the general topic of the prevalence of obesity, health consequences and family environmental factors that relate to obesity.