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The Community of Scholars

Enriching Undergraduate Research with Interdisciplinary Dialogue at a Liberal Arts College

Round Table Discussion

The Community of Scholars is a unique cross-disciplinary enterprise of Wofford College undergraduate students conducting independent research full time during 10 weeks of the summer. These 19 student Fellows representing 16 different majors are housed in the Wofford Village Apartments. They conduct their research in collaboration with one of 10 Faculty Fellows who are themselves engaged in their own research projects. Student and Faculty Research Fellows in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences create a community of scholars by meeting frequently, often over meals, to discuss their individual projects and issues of mutual interest.

Our purpose is to encourage undergraduate research in a setting that recognizes and exploits the virtues of collaboration and conversation among researchers pursuing projects in a wide variety of fields at a liberal arts college. We assert that research is enriched by these cross-disciplinary interactions.

Click on the portraits below to read more about each Scholar’s research. Scholars make formal presentations of their research during two symposia open to the public on August 7 and September 12, 2009. Symposia schedules are found in among the “Important Links” on this webpage.

Kensey Wheeler

Spain's Identity reflected in Goya in the Prado Museum

Wheeler

While students of politics have looked to history to understand the process by which national identity has developed, there has been less attention paid to how art is a commentary on what constitutes a nation's identity. I propose to examine the commentary that the works of Francisco Goya, displayed in the Prado, make on Spain's national identity. I will focus on Goya because he possesses the most acute insight to the strengths and weaknesses of Spanish national identity. I hope to explain Goya's contribution to Spain's political self-understanding by placing his work within the appropriate historical context.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

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Dr. David Alvis

Michaelangelo's David and the Florentine Republic

Alvis

Renaissance Florence is historically considered the most resplendent city in Italy. But beneath this lovely veneer of religious and civic statuary was a town known just as much for its vices and underhanded dealings. In his famous statue the David, a symbol of Florentine Republicanism, Michelangelo argues that the city's vices actually have a lot to do with its virtues. Like Florence, the David also possesses a graceful appearance that conceals the lethal weapon by which this mere shepherd boy vanquished the giant, Goliath. My project examines how Michelangelo's reflections in the David offer an instructive political lesson for Florence.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

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Mesha Arant

Hindu Music in the Bible Belt

Arant

What if the world was created with one sound? What if music could connect us to the entire universe? What if your God came into your presence after being evoked by a chant? In Hinduism these are not "what ifs" but realities. Music's role in Hinduism is undoubtedly an important one, but what role does it play in the life of a present day Hindu? By analyzing Hindu worship services, festivals, and family gatherings, I will unveil the importance of music in the life of the present day Hindu.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Wofford Newsroom Article

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Amy Powers

The Chinese One-Child Policy: An Inquiry into Human Rights

Powers

My project summarizes the One-child Policy in China. It will first investigate the history of the policy and its modern effects upon Chinese society. The majority of the focus, however, will be upon the human rights implications of the policy. Does this policy cause violations of basic human rights on the parts of the government and individual members of society? If so, does the government directly violate human rights, or does a mixture of tradition and policy cause human rights violations? Are there any solutions to these issues or is the breaching of human rights inherent within the Policy?  



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Wofford Newsroom Article

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Regina Fuller

Cultural Expressions of Afro-Latinos in South America: A Documentary Film

Fuller

In the discussion of culture and music in Central and South America, Latino popular culture frequently praises African inspired music forms while overlooking the creators of these forms. Despite this lack of acknowledgement, Afro-Latinos are beginning to establish their music as an integral part of their country's cultural fabric. This documentary focuses on the struggle of the Garifuna people and dance in Nicaragua, Congo culture in Panama, Calypso and reggae in Costa Rica, and samba and hip-hop in Brazil. My research makes the assertion that music cannot be understood outside the lens of culture, therefore an understanding of the Afro-Latino contribution to music is essential.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

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Dr. A.K. Anderson

Are all religions, at root, the same? Catholic Christianity and Confucianism in China, 1583-1724, as a test case.

Anderson

This project deals with the question of how can we compare religions to one another: to what extent are the religions of the world similar, and by what means can we know? My proposed method consists of doing case-by-case analyses based on two traditions' interaction with and views of one another, as opposed to focusing primarily on the academic scholar's independent assessment of the religions in question. I will be employing this method this summer as I compare the interaction that took place between Catholic Christianity and Confucianism in China between 1583 and 1724.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

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Amber Green

Educating English Language Learners

Green

Due to the influx of immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries to the southeastern United States, a language and cultural barrier exists that challenges civic life and especially education in our region. There has been much debate on how to overcome this language barrier and meet the needs of ELLs (English Language Learners). Popular approaches include English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Bilingual Education. My investigation includes library research, school observations, and interviews with administrators, educators, parents, and students as I seek to determine how we can best educate the Spanish-speaking population in local schools.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Wofford Newsroom Article

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Dani Metzger

Outside the (gender) Lines: Process Philosophy and Living Beyond Gender

Metzger

Before she wrote about being a woman, Simone de Beauvoir had to first define what it meant to 'be' a woman. This project asks what it means to exist in this world as transgender, applying de Beauvoir's question to persons living outside common concepts of gender. In answering, I apply Nietzschean existentialism to illuminate the internal necessity of transitioning, as well as Whiteheadian process philosophy to define what it means to have an identity that itself is one of inherent fluidity and change.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Wofford Newsroom Article

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Rebecca Heiser

My Dear Wife: A Collection of Letters by W.E. Johnson Chronicling his Time as a Prisoner of War, 1864

Heiser

W.E. Johnson was a Confederate officer who was captured by the Yankees and became one of the Immortal Six Hundred - a group of prisoners who survived a terrible experience and were under friendly fire for several months. Johnson wrote many letters to his wife and father which will be my main source of research along with secondary sources about Civil War military prisons. I will travel to historic sites and interview experts to grasp the conditions under which these letters were written. My goal is to create a context for the letters while preserving the personal narrative behind them.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Wofford Newsroom Article

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Dr. Christine Dinkins

A World on the Edge: Philosophical Perspectives on Contemporary Science

Dinkins

My book with co-author Steven Zides, physics instructor at Wofford, discusses potential global threats and catastrophes. It provides scientific knowledge and philosophical thinking tools to help readers become informed and engaged citizens. We discuss probable scenarios like climate change and bio-terrorism and less likely but more entertaining scenarios like alien invasion. It's not about inevitable doom and disaster, it's about hope and strategy. My philosophy sections include ideas from philosophers such as Plato, Kant, Nietzsche and Heidegger. This summer we're working on chapters 2 and 3, "War and Weapons" and "Overconsumption and Climate Change."



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

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Nicole Mendez

Economic Development and Pollution in China

Mendez

China' s transition from an agricultural society to the world's second largest economy has been accompanied by drastic changes in its environment. The economy, the environment, and politics are intertwined. My research seeks to explore how China's environment has been affected by economic development and the role of the government in these changes.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Frances Choe

From "Madame Butterfly" to "Model Minority": Deconstructing Misconceptions of Asian American Women

Choe

Despite the high value placed on political correctness today, the media continues to preserve sexual myths, racial hierarchies, and the generalization of minorities. From geisha girl and dragon lady to sex-crazed teen and math nerd, such contemporary, archetypical stereotypes serve to reinforce misrepresentations of Asian American women in media and mainstream society. Relying heavily on a review of Asian American women's literature, this project strives to (a) provide an in-depth understanding of the types, origins, social functions, and methods of perpetuation/transmission of these racial and gendered stereotypes and (b) determine how an individual can confront and combat them.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Wofford Newsroom Article

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Dr. Li Qing Kinnison

"Mary, you look fat in those pants!" - What's wrong with that?

Kinnison

"Mary, you look fat in those pants!" This tactless comment from a Chinese to her American friend sounds so rude to Americans who believe in showing respect to others, a basic notion of Western politeness. It also shatters the commonly accepted notion that Chinese are polite and more indirect in expressing their opinions because achieving social harmony is their ultimate goal in life, as instructed by Confucius. This research aims to challenge this misleading notion by analyzing the Chinese concept of politeness, which is more of a ritual practiced among people of out-groups, while directness is favored for the in-groups who enjoy more intimate relationships.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

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Katie Smith

A Reimagined Identity: The Expressionist Artist's Reaction to National Socialism

Smith

Reacting to European avant-garde art movements at the turn of the 20th century, German artists sought to create a purely German artistic identity. Artists including those from Worpswede and groups Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter fostered the Expressionist art movement throughout Germany, which relied on distortion and emphasized high-key color and primitivism. My project examines the tension between the artistic aims of Expressionist artists and the political institution of National Socialism, which exhibited Expressionist art as "degenerate." I will examine how this tension shaped the writings and works of Die Brücke artists Ernst Kirchner and Emil Nolde from 1937-45.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Wofford Newsroom Article

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Dr. Kirsten KrickAigner

Jazz in the Literary Imagination of German Expressionist Poetry

Krick Aigner

My project examines how early Jazz influences in Germany shaped the abstract and dynamic nature of Expressionist poetry in Berlin during the early part of the twentieth century. I will explore the themes of urban musical culture and rhythm in poems by Else Lasker-Schüler, Gottfried Benn, and Ludwig Kirchner. Kirchner of Die Brücke (The Bridge), for example, saw in Jazz a bridge between primitivism -- fueled by his fascination with the thriving African-American influenced Jazz tradition and African art exhibits in Berlin of the 1920s -- and modernity. My paper will appear as a chapter in the volume Jazz in German-speaking Literature.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

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Velma Oliver

The Millennial Generation's Impact on Community Service Nationally and in Spartanburg, SC

Oliver

The Millennial Generation is composed of people born between 1982 and 2000. This generation has had many opportunities to serve others and they have a greater desire to make the world a better place. My research will examine how Millennials are changing community service. My article-length paper will focus on how community service is changing both nationally and in Spartanburg, SC. I will interview Spartanburg County colleges and corporations that implement community service into their business model to track the changes in the amount of community service performed over the last 20 years and to offer suggestions for future trends.  



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

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Dr. John Miles

Native American Rhetorics of Sovereignty: 1880-2008

Miles

My project examines how Native people have defined, redefined, discussed and expressed sovereignty since 1887. Although many people have looked at how the Federal Government has treated Native people since then, not many have looked at how Native people have written and spoken about their own sovereignty. I will be looking at books, speeches, pamphlets, and theoretical works from the 19th and 20th centuries to theorize both how and why Native people have done this work. I will be introducing some little known writers like Laura Cornelius Kellogg (Oneida) and George Copway (Ojibwa) and introducing a new method of historiography.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

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Ben Rush

A Comparative Study of Government HIV/AIDS Prevention Strategies

Rush

Since its discovery in 1981, HIV has claimed an estimated 25 million lives infected nearly 36 million people. This pandemic's spread and mortality make it a public health concern for all nations individually and the global community as a whole. Governmental agencies act to ensure the safety of their citizens and slow the spread of this disease through prevention. Governments around the world may choose to support certain levels of prevention with more resources than others based on the social, religious, or monetary circumstances of their country. This comparative study examines governmental successes and failures in prevention strategies of HIV.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

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Charlotte Van Hale

A Comparative Study of the Stage of Breast Cancer at Diagnosis among White, Black, and Hispanic Women

Van Hale

Breast cancer patient outcomes are highly correlated to the stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis. Multiple studies have confirmed that most African-American and Hispanic patients receive diagnosis at a later stage than Caucasian patients and, therefore, have worse outcomes. The goals of this project are to examine the biological, social, and cultural factors that are the underlying reasons that patients present at different stages, and to understand how to better educate and treat breast cancer patients.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Wofford Newsroom Article

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Dr. Robert Moss

Examination of Health Care Systems Around the World

Moss

Much of the discussion of "health care reform" centers around popular evaluations of our current system, and perceived failures of a few other systems around the world. Most Americans know little more than what they hear from "sound bites": Long waits for "socialized medicine" in Canada; and high taxes to pay for the British system for instance. The goals of this project are to: - Accumulate and describe data on health systems around the world; - Develop and describe an optimal health care system for the U.S; - Communicate information about health care systems to the Wofford community and beyond.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Sarah Hager

The Low Down on the Down Low: The Secret Lives of Black Men in Atlanta, GA

Hagar

The Down Low is a lifestyle practiced by black men who have female partners but also have sex with men.  These men do not consider themselves gay--they reject a gay culture they perceive as white and effeminate.  With the rise of HIV among females in the black community, more attention has been given to these men on the Down Low.  My research will focus on Down Low men and their female partners, as well as the religious community’s position on the issue. Addressing the issue of homophobia within the black community, I will study the socialization of black men.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Wofford Newsroom Article

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Lyn Radke

Romance and Fantasy in Young Adult Literature and Beyond

Radke

Not many scholars would argue that Stephenie Meyer's Twilight has more literary significance than James Joyce's Ulysses. However, about 17 million readers (mostly female) would probably disagree. Through extensive research, I will attempt to get to the heart of a new cultural phenomenon, an explosion of interest in the romance/fantasy genre in books, film, and television. I will explore the effects of fantastical fictional worlds on girls and women from several angles; research will include critical examinations of literary texts, media, and the mechanics of an industry that capitalizes on the obsessions of a large fan base.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Wofford Newsroom Article

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Dr. Kim Rostan

Witnessing, Trauma, and Ethics in Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem

Rostan

People have long associated witnessing and testimony with objective fact or sworn truth, especially in a courtroom setting. Certainly this is true for Hannah Arendt in her journalistic report on the 1961-1962 trial of Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi officer charged with crimes against humanity. My study, however, explores Arendt's irrepressible literary speculations-for instance, when she imagines what Eichmann himself has seen at the concentration camps and constructs his witnessing as a moment of ethical choice. I am pursuing Arendt's foray into subjective and conjectural witnessing to understand its potential for creating ethical responsibility both for Eichmann and the court.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Whitney Sanders

Computer Analysis of Gene Expression in Arabidopsis

Sanders

With the arrival of modern technologies, biologists face the challenge of analyzing increasingly large sets of data. For my project, I will analyze the results of an experiment that quantified the expression level of 24,000 plant genes at 5 time points after infection with a bacterial plant pathogen. Using the power of a computer, I will investigate these three questions: (1) Which genes play a role in the plant's immune response? (2) Are there groups of genes that have common expression patterns over time? (3) Can those patterns help us understand how gene expression changes are regulated following pathogen infection?



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Wofford Newsroom Article

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Dr. Natalie Spivey

A Search for Regulators of Plant Immunity

Spivey

Just like animals, plants are infected with a wide variety of microbial pathogens. To fight an infection, the plant activates a defense response that involves massive changes in gene expression. The purpose of my research is to study how the plant regulates this transcriptional reprogramming following infection, as well as the ways in which successful pathogens are able to evade the plant's defense response. To do this, I will closely examine three transcriptional regulators that are induced upon pathogen infection, investigating both the mechanism controlling the expression of these regulators and the targets of these regulators.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Hannah Jarrett

A World War II Children's Book

Jarrett

There are approximately 3,000,000 WWII veterans still alive and that number diminishes by 1,500 each day, making now the most important time to honor and remember them. I'm writing a picture book that will engage and educate the "youngest generation" about the "greatest generation." In the book I will use Honor Flight SC, a sponsored memorial event for veterans, as a way to take children back in time with the men and women who witnessed the war first hand. I hope to provide teachers with an educational resource they can use in the classroom to inform children about WWII.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Wofford Newsroom Article

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Dr. Deno Trakas

Pretty Pitiful God and Other Stories

Trakas

Making a collection of short stories is like making a complex meal: you have to assess your resources, choose a theme, pick the best ingredients, put them together in the best order, test them to see if the combination is pleasing, look for other resources if it's not, and try again. I've written approximately twenty stories, and as I spread them out on the counter, they seem random and unrelated, and some are clearly unusable. I'll spend the summer re-reading, re-thinking, re-writing, writing, and making a collection.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Holly Holladay

Social Interactions of Autistic Children

Holladay

Autism is a developmental disorder that is manifested across three domains: impaired social interaction, impaired communication, and repetitive stereotyped behaviors. My research will focus on impaired social interaction, especially in children who are less affected by the disorder. I hope to determine whether there is a difference in how autistic children interact with each other and how they interact with those who are not autistic. I also hope to gain insight into how autistic children view themselves in comparison or to others and to determine if their impressions of themselves influence their social interactions.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Wofford Newsroom Article

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Jennifer Coggins

Living Words: A Creative Writing Program for Older Adults

Coggins

Creative writing is a mentally stimulating exercise that can be particularly beneficial to older adults, as writing can have emotionally therapeutic effects and improve memory function that deteriorates with normal aging or dementia. Living Words provides creative writing workshops for older adults in the community. During my ten weeks with the program, I will develop writing activities, help run the workshops, publicize the program, and help organize and edit a collection of writing that comes out of the workshops. Through this work, my collaborators and I hope to give participants not only a creative outlet, but a public voice.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Wofford Newsroom Article

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

Tyler Womble

Uranium Distribution in Geochemically Diverse Sediments

Womble

The S-3 Waste Disposal Pond, at Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL), was used for three decades to dump millions of liters of radioactive waste as part of early Department of Energy nuclear waste policy. A long term effect is that radioactive contamination has been detected migrating through soil and groundwater flowing towards a nearby creek. I will participate in research that will determine, on a molecular scale, the mechanism for the uranium transport in relation to varying groundwater compositions and to characterize the form of uranium present in samples both from the ORNL site and an experimental model.



Abstract

The Project in Two Pages with Pictures

Wofford Newsroom Article

Back to Community of Scholars Introduction

There are 30 participants in the 2010 Community of Scholars. Click on the arrows and photos below to see who they are and what they are researching.

  • Previous ProjectsNext Projects
  • Wheeler

    Spain's Identity reflected in Goya in the Prado Museum
    Kensey Wheeler
    Major: Intercultural Studies in Business/Spanish, Minor: Art History

  • Alvis

    Michaelangelo's David and the Florentine Republic
    Dr. David Alvis
    Assistant Professor of Government

  • Arant

    Hindu Music in the Bible Belt
    Mesha Arant
    Major: Religion

  • Powers

    The Chinese One-Child Policy: An Inquiry into Human Rights
    Amy Powers
    Majors: French and Chinese

  • Fuller

    Cultural Expressions of Afro-Latinos in South America: A Documentary Film
    Regina Fuller
    Majors: Intercultural Studies and Spanish

  • Anderson

    Are all religions, at root, the same? Catholic Christianity and Confucianism in China, 1583-1724, as a test case.
    Dr. A.K. Anderson
    Associate Professor of Religion

  • Green

    Educating English Language Learners
    Amber Green
    Majors: Mathematics and Spanish

  • Metzger

    Outside the (gender) Lines: Process Philosophy and Living Beyond Gender
    Dani Metzger
    Major: Philosophy

  • Heiser

    My Dear Wife: A Collection of Letters by W.E. Johnson Chronicling his Time as a Prisoner of War, 1864
    Rebecca Heiser
    Majors: History and Spanish, Concentration in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

  • Dinkins

    A World on the Edge: Philosophical Perspectives on Contemporary Science
    Dr. Christine Dinkins
    Associate Professor of Philosophy

  • Mendez

    Economic Development and Pollution in China
    Nicole Mendez
    Major: Chinese, Minor: Business

  • Choe

    From "Madame Butterfly" to "Model Minority": Deconstructing Misconceptions of Asian American Women
    Frances Choe
    Majors: Sociology and French, Concentration: Gender Studies

  • Kinnison

    "Mary, you look fat in those pants!" - What's wrong with that?
    Dr. Li Qing Kinnison
    Associate Professor of Chinese

  • Smith

    A Reimagined Identity: The Expressionist Artist's Reaction to National Socialism
    Katie Smith
    Majors: Art History and German

  • Krick Aigner

    Jazz in the Literary Imagination of German Expressionist Poetry
    Dr. Kirsten KrickAigner
    Associate Professor, Foreign Languages

  • Oliver

    The Millennial Generation's Impact on Community Service Nationally and in Spartanburg, SC
    Velma Oliver
    Major: English, Minor: Business

  • Miles

    Native American Rhetorics of Sovereignty: 1880-2008
    Dr. John Miles
    Assistant Professor of English

  • Rush

    A Comparative Study of Government HIV/AIDS Prevention Strategies
    Ben Rush
    Major: Biology, Minor: Government, Concentration in Medical Humanities

  • Van Hale

    A Comparative Study of the Stage of Breast Cancer at Diagnosis among White, Black, and Hispanic Women
    Charlotte Van Hale
    Major: Biology, Concentration in Neuroscience

  • Moss

    Examination of Health Care Systems Around the World
    Dr. Robert Moss
    Professor of Biology

  • Hagar

    The Low Down on the Down Low: The Secret Lives of Black Men in Atlanta, GA
    Sarah Hager
    Major: Intercultural Studies, Concentration: African/African American Studies

  • Radke

    Romance and Fantasy in Young Adult Literature and Beyond
    Lyn Radke
    Majors: English and Philosophy, Concentrations in Gender Studies and Creative Writing

  • Rostan

    Witnessing, Trauma, and Ethics in Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem
    Dr. Kim Rostan
    Assistant Professor of English

  • Sanders

    Computer Analysis of Gene Expression in Arabidopsis
    Whitney Sanders
    Majors: Computer Science and Mathematics, Concentration in Computational Sciences

  • Spivey

    A Search for Regulators of Plant Immunity
    Dr. Natalie Spivey
    Assistant Professor of Biology

  • Jarrett

    A World War II Children's Book
    Hannah Jarrett
    Majors: History and English, Concentration in Creative Writing

  • Trakas

    Pretty Pitiful God and Other Stories
    Dr. Deno Trakas
    Professor of English

  • Holladay

    Social Interactions of Autistic Children
    Holly Holladay
    Major: Sociology, Minor: Government

  • Coggins

    Living Words: A Creative Writing Program for Older Adults
    Jennifer Coggins
    Major: History

  • Womble

    Uranium Distribution in Geochemically Diverse Sediments
    Tyler Womble
    Major: Chemistry

  • Previous ProjectsNext Projects