CSB/SJU Senior Honors Theses, 1995 Abstracts
Alphabetically by Student Name
Kathryn Laura Allen, Physics
"Meterological Effects on Radon Gas"
Advisor: Daniel Steck
This project investigated the effects of soil moisture, precipitaion, wind speed, outdoor temperature, and barometric pressure on surface gamma radiation. It also involved an attempt to develop and test a soil moisture gauge that relies on changes in gamma ray fluxes. As part of the development of the gauge, a soil column which approximates an infinite soil distribution was set up in the lab. Automated radiation detection and graphical techniques were used to find correlations between meteorological conditions and surface gamma ray fluxes.
Marie Axtmann, English
Ò'Woman, I promise you another destiny': The Prostitute's Role as an Agent for Change in Four Works of African Contemporary Fiction"
Advisor: Madhu Mitra
My project investigates the role of the prostitute in four African novels: "Woman at Point Zero" by Nawal El Saadawi, "Prostitute" by Okello Oculi, "Jagua Nana" by Cyprian Ekwensi, and "Petals of Blood" by Ngugi waThiong'o. In completing this study, I wish to present a discussion which centers around the potent symbolism in the depiction of prostitutes in a non- Western literary context. I propose that the representations of prostitutes in the novels I read offer a range of complexity; they function as dynamic symbols and as strong narrative voices to explore and evaluate the oppression in post-colonial societies.
Within these complex portrayals, the prostitutes become powerful characters, speaking, or in the fullest sense, acting on their concerns and the concerns of their nations. Through the development of the prostitutes, the authors advocate societal change and show that involvement in corruption leads to degradation for all members of society. The prostitutes do possess a symbolic status, but the symbolic status does not reduce the prostitute's power; the symbolism instead lends the prostitute the ability to indicate social problems on several levels. As the prostitutes reveal societal difficulties, the authors demonstrate the "prostitution" of their countries under corrupt political and social influences and demonstrate the need for change in their societies, transformations either suggested or enacted by the prostitutes, with Ngugi's Wanja serving as the model of enactment. Thus, the authors of these African works promise these women another destiny, a destiny in which the prostitutes serve as agents for political and social change.
Manu Chakravarthy, Chemistry and Biology
"Role of Protein Prenylation in Cellular Proliferation"
Advisor Henry Jakubowski
Prenylation is a post-translational, covalent modification of a protein by the attachment of a lipophilic isoprenoid group, linked by a thioether bond to a cysteine at or near to the carboxyl terminus of the protein. Ras is one of the important proteins which undergoes such modification at the C-terminus CAAX box motif (where C=Cys, A=aliphatic amino acid, X=usually Ser or Met) by a 15C isoprenoid moiety, farnesyl, and is mediated by the enzyme, farnesyltransferase. Oncogenic forms of Ras have been shown to lose their transforming activity when farnesylation is prevent. Given that Ras proteins are implicated in a majority of human pancreatic and colorectal cancers, blocking Ras farnesylation would be a good strategy for developing new anti- cancer treatments. Benzodiazepine peptidomimetics, which mimic a natural dipeptide turn of the two aliphatic residues of the CAAX box, are effective inhibitors of farnesyltransferase, and normalizes the morphology of Rat1 cells transformed with H-ras (v12). The purpose of this study was to further characterize the potency, toxicity, and cellular uptake of the various benzodiazepine analogs using the Met18b-2 cell line as a model. Another aspect of the study was to investigate the reversion of compactin-induced cell rounding with prenyl alcohols. Since compactin-induced cell rounding was known to be reversed by mevalonate, the possibility of such reversion was investigated with prenyl alcohols to demonstrate that the control of cell shape is mediated by nonsterol products of the mevalonate pathway, and in turn demonstrate a salvage pathway for the prenyl alcohols. The results provide preliminary evidence for a salvage pathway, where the alcohols recycle back to the mono-and di-phosphates. The activity of the prenyl kinases, which phosphorylate the corresponding prenyl alcohols to the phosphates were also assayed. Consequently, these data support the possibility of the control of cellular growth and cell shape maintenance by prenylated proteins.
Jennifer Combs, Psychology
"Preliminary Development and Validation of the Concern for Improvement Survey"
Advisor: Steve Stelzner
The Concern for Improvement Survey was developed to serve as a measuring device for organizations, corporate and educational alike. It can be used as a benchmark as well as to measure an organization's progress in their journey towards quality. It was developed from W. Edwards Deming's "Fourteen Points for the Transformation of Management." Initial indications of reliability were obtained by a test of internal consistency of the scales. The resulting alpha levels ranged from .7979 to .8274. Construct validity was supported by consistent factor analyses, and correlations that imply appropriate relationships between the CIS and LABS surveys, without indicating that they are measuring the same constructs. Interesting differences were obtained in regards to gender and year in school. Women significantly reported less barriers to quality while men reported more involvement in the quality effort. Based on year in school, first-year students reported the most involvement in quality and this progressively decreased each year. Also, sophomores report the most barriers to quality, followed by first-year, juniors, and seniors. This survey is by no means an attempt to mark the end of an organizations journey towards total quality. It is only to serve as a tool in an organizations journey toward quality.
Chris Costello, Government
"On the Brink of Reform? Restructuring the UN Security Council"
Advisor: Gary Prevost
The United Nations is based on the principle of collective security-- nations banding together to protect each other from aggression, both from within the group of nations and from the outside. However, the standard operating procedures of collective security, as embodied by the UN, is unable to meet the changing needs of the international community. This is due in part to the shift in the global power structure and the Security Council's lack of accurate geo-political representation. If the UN expects to continue its efforts to maintain international peace and security, the Security Council's composition must change.
In the 1990s there has been talk of adding new permanent members to the Council, with Japan and Germany topping the list of candidates for a permanent seat. This paper delves into what effects the grant of permanent membership would have on Japan, and what obstacles there are to Japan's inclusion as a permanent member.
Deborah Doom, English
"Tillie Olsen: Redefinining Motherhood in the 30's and 50's"
Advisor: Mara Faulkner
I studied mothers in the work of Tillie Olsen looking primarily at two of her short stories, "I Stand Here Ironing" and "Tell Me A Riddle," and her novel, Yonnondio. I used both historical and feminist approaches when looking at these works. I discovered that Olsen creates mothers that did not meet the expectations of the times, the 1930s or the 1950s, but that did not mean the mothers failed. Rather, Olsen depicts mothers that succeed despite the pressures of society, husbands, and children. Finally, I discovered that mothers today are not free from some of the same expectations, and likewise, they are not failures.
Jennifer M. Eckman, Natural Science
"Sex and Extinction"
Advisor: Chuck Rodell
Sexual reproduction, the process of generating offspring through genetic recombination, is viewed as evolutionarily advantageous to a population by enabling it to respond more readily to environmental change. Support of this hypothesis comes from the observation that the majority of species employ some mode of sexual reproduction. Asexual reproduction is relatively rare, suggesting that these species reduce their chances of survival. This project examines some of the parameters that relate to a population's ability to respond to its environment. Using a program coded in FORTRAN, a Monte Carlo model has been developed to test the role of recombination on population survival in a changing environment. Two types of selection (directional and stabilizing) are investigated in concert with varying rates of recombination and environmental change. The simulation results suggest that rates of recombination play a significant role in how well a population adapts and survives. The most favorable recombination rates differ depending upon the type of environment.
"The Petticoat Regime: A Halt in the Progress of Women in Politics"
Advisor: Kay Wolsborn
A study of the progress women have made in representation in American politics, and of the recent stall in this progress, with special attention to the history of women in state government in Wyoming.
Carrie Fenna, Natural Science
"A Comparison of Binge Eating Versus Dieting Onset in Bulimia Nervosa"
Advisor: Jan Holtz
This study investigates the assumption that dietary restriction leads to the development of binge eating in culimia nervosa (BN). Bulimic women reporting an onset of binge eating prior to dieting (n=20) were compared to women reporting an onset of dieting prior to binge eating, using similar age subjects. Results suggest that onset of binge eating prior to dieting in BN is associated with earlier onset of binge eating, higher BMI, and improved response to cognitive-behavioral treatments at 6 month follow-up. The implications are that the widely held belief that dieting causes binge eating may not be relevant for a sub group of individuals with BN.
Jill Funk, Chemistry
"A spectroscopic study of a Rationally Designed Zinc Binding Protein"
Advisor: Henry Jakubowski
Recently, biomedical science has turned its drug research endeavors towards a philosophy known as rational drug design. Its goal is to avoid the guesswork and instead design and create the exact proteins that are needed. In order for rational drug design to be feasible, a better understanding of protein structure and function needs to be obtained. This research analyses the structure and function of a "rationally" designed mutation of the calcium binding protein parvalbumin. Parvalbumin was chosen because certain aspects of its composition facilitate analysis and in addition, there is extensive data already known about the protein. The mutation involved the alteration of three amino acids in its sequence to create a zinc binding site. Zinc plays an important role in stabilizing the tertiary structure of many enzymes that bind DNA. The ability to create a zinc binding site on biological proteins would open up numerous opportunities in the process of drug design.
The ultimate goal of the project was to determine if the protein showed a significant affinity for zinc at the designed binding site. This was attempted by performing a series of spectroscopic and optical analyses on both the mutant and a wild-type parvalbumin obtained from cod. These studies include emission, anisotropy, rotational polarization, lifetime, and circular dichromism measurements.
Jennifer A. Goering, Management
"Diversity in the Workplace: Its Impact and Implications for Human Resource Management"
Advisor: Wendy Klepetar
With the changing demographics in today's labor force, employers are now faced with new challenges in the workplace. The issue of recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce has become both an issue and a challenge for Human Resource departments. The demographics of the labor force are changing with increasing numbers of women and people of color entering the labor market.
Training and development is one of the areas that has seen the most impact through increased levels of diversity in organizations. Through development of diversity training programs, Human Resource departments will be able to impact corporate culture, recruitment, compensation, and the performance of the organization diverse workforce. Companies that address the changing demographics of their labor force will remain competitive in today's market. Diverse employees bring new ideas to the organization which aid in creative problem solving and development of new ideas. The secret to successful diversity management is commitment by the organization to create and maintain a work environment which fosters respect and growth for all employees.
Jenny Gruenes, Philosophy
" 'She called in her soul to come and see': The Identity of Zora Neale Hurston's Janie as Interpreted through Paul Ricoeur."
Advisor: Rene McGraw
Ricoeur uses the narrative as a tool to establish both narrative identity and the identity of human subjects in his most recent work, "Oneself As Another." I use Zora Neale Hurston's novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God", as a practice of Ricoeur's work on identity.
Hurston's main character, Janie, is an extraordinary character whose identity is shaken by the drastic transformations that she with- stands. Given these transformations in character we question who Janie is. Is she the girl who was living a life of abuse until the age of forty, or is she the strong woman that we see when she enters a healthy relationship with Tea Cake? We feel compelled to choose, and yet for Ricoeur Janie's identity is found in both the concordance and discordance of her transformations. Ricoeur also works to establish human identity through consideration of our "aiming toward the good life with an for others in just institutions."
Julie Gunderson, English
"Flammable, A Poet of the Monk 'Illumine': A Study of Creativity in the Poetry of Lucie Brock Broido and Lucille Clifton"
Advisor: Eva Hooker
The essay examines poetic creativity as it is described in the collected work of Luci Brock-Broido and Lucille Clifton. It considers dominant images and metaphors for creativity and the peot's creative process. The essay is seven sections: 1) The Light; 2) The Monk "Illumine"; 3) Flammable, A poet and the Other Self; 4) Voices; 5) The Unsafe Place; 6) "It's a Poet Thing"; and 7) The Particular Path. An introductory poem and prose and a conclusion frame the essay. A brief synopsis of the major findings: like illuminating an old biblical text, the poet, suspended between worlds, gives new light to old poetic truths. She hears old and divine voices; the light fills her almost to breaking. She is a sage of ancient knowing. If she allows herself to fall completely into the human world, her luminosity will disappear. She will cease to glow with the light from the creative world. If she falls completely into the black hole of creativity, she will become flammable, a poet. She will be consumed by the light. She will burn into oblivion like the star that made the black hole.
Jamie Hendrickson, English
"The Strategies of Revealing How Identities Have Become Problematized in Latin America, Using the Selected Works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez"
Advisor: Madhu Mitra
In my exploration of this topic, I chose to focus on two of Garcia Marquez's short stories--"A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" and "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World"--and his novel Love in the Time of Cholera. Apart from an introduction and a conclusion, my paper can be divided into three parts. The first part--which can not be separated from the following two--focuses on the author and the context from which he writes. The following two segments build upon this by analyzing, first, his two short stories and, next, his novel in light of this groundwork. My intent was to prove that Garcia Marquez uses magic realism in his writing as a metafictional tool to demonstrate how identities in Latin America have become problematized since colonization.
Brent Hilbert, Chemistry
"Synthesis of Fluorinated Proline Analogs for the Potential Inhibition of Proline Oxidase"
Advisor: Bill Muldoon
Proline oxidase is an enzyme that has been isolated from the inner membrane of rat liver mitochondria. It is the catalyst in the first step of the metabolic pathway for proline-glutamate interconversion. The enzyme is specific for L-proline which is oxidized to Æ-pyrroline- 5-carboxylic acid. 4,4- difluoro-L-proline has demonstrated irreversible inhibition of proline oxidase. Further kinetic studies of this inhibition need to be performed in order to elucidate a mechanism for the inhibition. Information regarding the site of the oxidation of proline may also be obtained from these studies. New synthetic routes to 4,4-difluoro-L-proline, and the "cis" and "trans" non- fluorinated isomers have been attempted which utilize new blocking groups and fluorinating reagents in the hopes of making these compounds more accessible.
Jill Holbrook, English
"A Different Destination: The American Journey Theme in the Novels of Toni Morrison"
Advisor: Nancy Hynes
The mythic form of the American journey in American literature, which developed from the frontier experience of white male settlers, embraces separatism, escape and isolation as valid options for the exploration of personal identity. For people who are neither white nor male, this definition of journey and this exploration of identity prove an impossibly destructive dream. In her novels, Toni Morrison develops a different idea of journey, one which leads the journeyer back to his or her community and to the discovery of identity in relationship, rather than isolation. The journey back to the community is explored in Sula, Song Of Solomon and Beloved, the three novels discussed in the course of the thesis. The journeys undertaken by Morrison's characters are contrasted with the mythical American journey, and the writer concludes that the concept of journey presented by Morrison offers a more humanistic and inclusive social vision than that endorsed by the myth.
Michele Kieke, Biology
"Gene Targeting to ALU in Cultured Human Somatic Cells"
Advisor: Cheryl Knox
Gene therapy holds the potential to cure many human genetic disorders. Gene targeting, the directed modification of chromosomal DNA via homologous recombination with an introduced plasmid vector, is one technique used in gene therapy. We hypothesized that targeting in ALU sequence, found interspersed throughout the genome at a high copy number, would improve the frequency of homologous recombination. To test this hypothesis, human somatic cells were transfected with the SLU containing vector pBP47. Recovery of integrated plasmids from the human genomic DNA will indicate the frequency of homologous recombination. Experiments to maximize plasmid recovery were performed. The specific human genomic DNA used for rescue in this study showed strong inhibition at the transformation stage of the rescue. Comparisons between individual genomic DNA preparations (human verses barley DNA) suggested that rescue inhibition was caused by either the human genomic DNA itself or something associated with it.
John Koszala, Management
"FIELDS OF GREEN: A Proposal To Save Baseball"
Advisor: Virginia Arthur
This thesis contains solutions to two of the main issues currently facing baseball: the needs for revenue sharing and cost control. The basic premise behind the system of revenue sharing is that the product of baseball is a game. Therefore, both teams that play in the game should be equally compensated for their input. The issue of cost control is addressed by the creation of a salary cap. The cap would be set at a predetermined amount of revenues (total revenues minus other, non-payroll expenses) and all money designated under the cap would be paid to the players in the form of salaries. The instition of these proposals will also positively affect the relationship between owners and players. These propsals will cause the players and owners to work together to create a marketable and desirable product to sell to the fans. If this occurs, not only will baseball be able to face the future, the fans will come out as winners.
Molly J. Lahn, Liberal Studies
"Holistic Medicine: The Journey to Health"
Advisor: Tom Darnall
What I thought was to be a study of "alternative medicine" turned out to be an amazing discovery of not only a way of healing, but a way of life. My work is based on personal experience and supported by literature and the instruction of mentors. Over the span of a year, my experience has included three Healing Touch classes with independent practice and a nine-week class/support group for those with life-threatening illness and their caregivers. I also volunteered at a pain and stress management program at Glenwood Rehabilitation (autogenics/self- regulation training), the St. Cloud Pain Management Center (cranio-sacral therapy), and various physical therapy settings at the St. Clous Hospital. In addition, I observe a chiropractic practice and conducted numerous interviews of physicians and therapists. My thesis tells of my journey into holistic health practice and gives an overview of what I learned first-hand about the importance of mind, the human energy system, and emotions in the healing process.
Patrick Larkin, Government
"Catherine MacKinnon And the Pornography Debate"
Advisor; Kay Wolsborn
In 1983, Catherine MacKinnon, introduced a new and innovative legal approach to the proliferating problem of pornography. Citing that the current court standard of judging sexually explicit material, obscenity doctrine, did not adequatley address women's issues, MacKinnon devised a city ordinance that would provide a legal definition of pornography concentrating on women's concerns. Ultimately, the civil ordinance would provide a means for women to present the injurious harms done to them by pornography and to seek a remedy in an open court of law. However, the city ordinance stirred controversy. At question was the ordinance's authority within the confines of the First Amendment. The spirited debates further divided liberal and conservative ideology and forged a distinct split in the feminist movement. In examining the ordinance, the federal judicial system ruled that MacKinnon's civil ordinance violated First Amendment freedoms as a means of thought control. It was declared unconstitutional. Although Catherine MacKinnon failed in that the ordinance did not meet the constitutional standard, she ultimately succeeded by contributing a new approach to the issue and by bringing the pornography issue to the forefront in the 1980s.
Nick Leonard, Biology
"The Effects of Nutrient Loading on Plant and Algae Population: A Comparison Study of East Gemini Lake and Lower Stumpf Lake"
Advisor: Holly Adrian
Eutrophication of lakes has become an increasing problem for many bodies of water. By analyzing the nutrients available and the phytoplankton and macrophyte populations, evaluation and differentiation of East Gemini Lake and Stumpf Lake were made concerning their trophic state. This determination allowed for the further understanding of the effect the trophic state has on the flora of an aquatic system. It was determined that East Gemini Lake was eutrophic based on its available nutrients and phytoplankton populations. In contrast, Stumpf Lake was determined to be mesotrophic having lower available nutrients and less phytoplankton population density with fewer major phytoplnakton indicators of eutrophication. Stumpf Lake was more diverse in its populations of phytoplankton and macrophytes with less biomass of phytoplankton and more biomass of macrophytes than in East Gemini Lake.
Bradley J. Matuska, Biology
"The Effects of an Early Season Clipping on Several Grassland Species"
Advisor: Steve Saupe
In one year, the Proposed 100-Acres Quarry Park, Stearns County, Minnesota, USA, will be undergoing development. One aspect of the development is the management (i.e. burning, seeding, clipping) of an old grassland within the park. I studied clipping as a management scheme and expected the species richness (number of species) to increase after clipping and the prostrate species to respond better than the erect species. I used the Daubenmire Canopy-Coverage Method to measure my results. The species richness showed no significant change in response to clipping mainly due to the timing of the clipping. However, individual species responded differently to clipping. As expected, the data suggest that erect species suffered a coverage loss due to clipping as compared to prostrate species. A possibility is that the resources (i.e. space and light) previously exhausted by erect species were made available to the prostrate species, allowing the prostrate species to increase their coverage.
Sean McClain, Physics
"Building a Continuous Wave Titanium Sapphire Laser"
Advisor: Dean Langley
In fulfilling the requirement of a senior thesis, I have constructed and optimized a continuous wave (cw) titanium sapphire laser, loosely based on the designs of other experimenters. A maximum output power of 500 mw at 23. nm was obtained after trying several cavity configurations. The beam characteristics, including wavelength, beam width, power and position stability were found to be sensitively dependent on the pump power, supplied by an argon ion laser.
Jean Mengelkoch, Biology
"Regulating Factors of Ovarian Development in Paper Wasps of the Genus Polistes"
Advisor: Jim Poff
Wasps of the genus Polistes were used to determine the effects of larval nutrition, position within the nest, and parasitism on ovarian development. Polistes nests were collected from Iowa, Minnesota, and Utah during the summer of 1994. The wasps were reared out, dissected, and their ovaries examined. The total number of oocytes and the size of the largest oocyte were used as measurements of ovarian development. Due to difficulties hand feeding the larvae, no data was obtained concerning the effect of larval nutrition on ovarian development. Data from first emergence nests of Minnesota were inconclusive. However, data from the second emergence nests of Utah, which were about three times larger than the nests from Minnesota, indicated that the position within the nest does have an effect on the total number of and size of the oocytes. The Utah Polistes which emerged from the interior cells had larger and more numerous oocytes than those from the exterior cells. The results indicate that there may be additional factors, such as nest size or nest age, which may affect the size and number of oocytes. Parasitized and non-parasitized Polistes from the same colony were examined to determine the effect of parasitism on ovarian development. Data indicated that parasitized Polistes have a smaller size and number of oocytes than non-parasitized Polistes.
Kathleen M. Noonan, English
"Tell Me A Story: Fairy Tales and the Feminist Conflict"
Advisor: Mara Faulkner
Although the feminist critique of fairy tales is a legitimate and necessary step toward equality for women in modern society, the traditional fairy tale genre is also a critical factor in the happiness and enjoyment of the audience. Elements of traditional fairy tales such as love, adventure, or beauty do not only place women in submissive and passive roles, but they also provide the entertainment which makes fairy tales appealing. Many feminist readers also want to read and enjoy traditional fairy tales, but are caught in a self-imposed conflict between the desire for elements which they know will oppress women and yet which will provide the hope and entertainment they are seeking the fairy tale genre. Grimms' editions, Victorian fairy tales, and Disney movies are criticized for their harmful representations of children or fall short of the feminist goal. Consequently, feminist readers are caught in a bind between what is right for women and what is necessary in fairy tales. The possible solution? Feminists must learn to accept traditional elements in fairy tales and readers must learn to recognize dangerous stereotypes of women in the same stories.
Paul B. Pekarek, History
"Numeric Transmission/Cultural Transition"
Advisor: Jennifer Galovich
This thesis is a study of the computational methods and common use of mathematics during the Middle Ages. It also discusses the cultural transition that was associated with the numeric transition from the Roman numeral system to the Hindu-Arabic numeral system and the numeric systems' corresponding calculation methods in Christian Europe during the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance. I claim that the transition from Roman numerals to Hindu-Arabic numerals was a result of cultural influences. Furthermore, I show that the transition was steady and found its basis in preexisting forms of calculation. I also look at the influences that cultures had upon one another and how this affected the transitions. My study also questions the bias presented by some sources on the bleakness of the Middle Ages. Finally, I have used manuscript evidence, from the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library to illustrate my hypotheses about the connections between the social and mathematical transitions.
Michelle Persons, Mathematics
"Families of Geometric Designs Whose Groups of Automorphisms are Doubly Transitive."
Advisor: Tom Sibley
Through a combination of linear algebra, geometry, and algebraic structures, one can prove that certain families of geometric designs have groups of automorphisms that are doubly transitive. These geometric designs can be defined as edge colorings of complete graphs. Automorphisms of these geometric designs are permutations of the vertices of the graphs, which are also permutations of the colors of the edges such that given two edges of the same color, their images are also the same color. All cases considered are on the vector space Fn for a field F and the group of automorphisms is a subgroup of the affine general linear group AGL (F,n). Three families of these designs have been explored. The first family is derived from an absolute value, the second from the addition of vectors, and the third from an inner product.
Beth Pettitt, Natural Science
"The Influence of a Bamboo Diet on the Evolutionary Adaptations of the Giant Panda"
Advisor Ingrid Anderson
The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) of China is, anatomically, a carnivore trying to get by on an herbivorous diet (Dolnick, 1989). While it is a member of the order Carnivora, ninety-nine percent of the panda's feedstuff is bamboo. The giant panda has survived on a bamboo diet for millions of years and throughout its history has evolved numerous adaptations for obtaining and processing this plant efficiently. Various characteristics of bamboo are considered, including: anatomy, strength, cyanogenic capabilities, reproductive cycle, nutrition and abundance. Following these characteristics, specific adaptations that appear to correspond with these properties of bamboo are examined. Adaptations can be found in the panda's anatomy and behavior, including: anatomical adaptations in the head, forepaw and digestive tract and behavioral adaptations in the panda's migratory behavior, feeding, food selection, reproduction, rest, and social behaviors.
Brenda Rieland, Natural Science
"Characterization of Bacteriophage X"
Advisor: Ellen Jensen
Bacteriophage X is a virus which infects certain bacteria. It was isolated during the 1970's, but was never studied. The goal of this project was to begin the initial characterization by learning about some of the basic properties of this virus. Electron microscopy revealed that Bacteriophage X had an icosahedral head and non-contractile tail which places it in the family "Siphoviridae". Degradation by DNAse indicated that the genome is composed of DNA rather than RNA. Bacteriophage X was stable in most of the chemicals in which it was tested and did not appear to have any unusual physical characteristics. The thing that made Bacteriophage X unique was its ability to infect an extremely broad range of bacteria. Normally, a bacteriophage will only infect a few strains of a species. Bacteriophage X was able to infect within four different families of gram-negative bacteria. All of these bacteria which this virus infected must have something in common which acts as the bacteriophage receptor. The nature of this receptor remains a mystery.
Greg Schlaefer, Accounting
"Passive Activities: An Explanation of Legislation and Real Estate Tax Planning Strategies"
Advisor: Paul Pladson
Tax shelters were a sought-after investment in the early and mid 1980's and stil are today. Investments in real estate were commonly tax-shelter type investments. Real estate investments allowed investors to make capital investments up front and depreciate the property quickly, which resulted in losses that would reduce taxable income. However, the passive activity regulations activated through the Tax Reform Act of 1986 minimized the usefulness of these shelters and significantly affected the real estate industry. The passive laws were refined through regulations issued in 1988 and 1989, and the Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1993. The passive classification losses from passive activities to restricted the recognition of passive losses to taxpayers who had passive income. Even though passive activity legislation limited the real estate industry's options, tax planning strategies can neutralize the effects of the legislation.
Alyssa Schlander, Government "A Prescription for Health Care"
Advisor: Jim Murphy
Too many people do not have access to the health care that they need and deserve. However, no one should have to suffer through and illness because they do not earn enough money to be able to buy health care. it is our responsibility to make sure that our entire community, regardless of their income, has access to these essential human services that our medical community is capable of providing.
With the spiraling costs and constant development of advanced technology in health care, along with the existence of the third-party payment system, our country has created the most costly health care system in the world. Arguably, we have the best quality care money can buy, but too many people can't afford to enjoy its benefits.
Many proposals have been formulated to resolve the growing inequities and outrageous costs of American health care. some aspect of our current system has to give way to developing a more fair delivery strategy. Quality and easy access suffer as a result of creating a more efficient system, and vice versa. Although whatever measures we employ to offer our uninsured neighbors the security of health care, we will inevitably pay. Health care for all will not come without a cost. Although, as I have estimated, it is reasonable for us to assume we can afford the expanded coverage.
I have speculated that the most effective way to deliver universal health care coverage would be to mandate that all employers offer health insurance to their workers and to expand Medicaid for the unemployed. In this way, we would be able to ensure that no one will suffer with an illness because of their inability to afford health care access.
Heidi Skundberg, Natural Science
"Pre- and Post-zygotic Isolation Between Sibling Species of Drosophila"
Advisor: Charles Rodell
Speciation, the process by which new species arise, is not well understood. Even less is known about the underlying genetics of this process. This study examines the level of reproductive isolation between two closely related species, "Drosophila melanogaster" and "D. simulans." All combinations of intra- and inter-specific single-pair matings were set up in a total of 288 crosses. In all cases, intra- specific crosses (controls) were more successful than inter-specific crosses (P<0.001). For all matings, data were obtained on the success of speram transfer (pre-zygotic reproductive isolation), production of viable offspring (post-zygotic), and, when possible, motility of sperm in hybrid males (post-zygotic). Competing hypotheses exist concerning the level of discrimination among females of derived versus ancestral species during inter-specific hybridization. The data obtained in this study support the hypothesis that the ancestral species ("D. melanogaster") is the most discriminating (P<0.05). Furthermore, for the conditions tested, these data indicate that Haldane's rule is operating as a post-zygotic mechanism when the female of the inter-specific cross is "D. melanogaster", but not when it is "D. simulans."
Tara Sohlman, Management
"Legal and Strategic Issues Embodied in and raised by the Attempted Takeover of the Dayton Hudson Corporation by the Dart Group Corporation"
Advisor: John Hasselberg
In the 1980s, there was a controversy regarding whether takeovers should be regulated more, and takeovers were more complex with target companies defending themselves better. The debate over regulation centered on state laws that were being passed to protect local companies and on pressure for the federal government to adopt uniform laws regulating takeovers. Takeovers were more difficult because of the strategy now required to be successful. There were many protective strategies that target companies could adopt to defend themselves. A takeover that illustrated the controversy and complexity was the attempted takeover of Dayton Hudson by the Dart Group in 1987. This takeover was unusual because it was ended by the stockmarket crash in October 1987.
There are two points that I intend to prove. The first is that the Dart Group, controlled by the Haft family, was not interested in greenmail in this takeover, which it had a reputation for, and only wanted control of Dayton Hudson. The second, most important, point is that Dayton Hudson and Dart both used the best options available to them during the takeover.
Michael B. Sullivan, Chemistry
"A Study and Attempted Synthesis of a Carbocyclic Nucleoside Precursor Via a Chiral Aziridine"
Advisor: John Klassen
Carbocyclic nucleosides have shown promise in treating the AIDS virus and cancer. These molecules terminate DNA replication, thereby preventing the cancer from spreading, in addition to being more stable in the body. For this reason, a highly functionalized cyclopentane ring with three chiral centers would be useful for synthesis of these sorts of molecules. Aziridines offer a means for attaining these goals. Their chemistry is very similar to epoxides, but aziridines offer the advantage of maintaining the nitrogen functional group. Using intramolecular ring opening of the aziridine can be used to form the cyclopentane ring. In the attempted synthesis, L-aspartic acid was the starting material. The addition to the tosylate activating group to the aspartic acid proved difficult to perform. A problem was also encountered later in the reduction of a lactone.
Bergmeier, S.C.; Lee, W.K.; Rapoport, H. "J. Org. Chem." 1993, 58, 5019.
Chris Welter, English
"A Century of Brotherhood: Student Development at St. John's University 1857-1955. "
Advisor: Sr. Emmanuel Renner
Underlying student development at St. John's over its first century (1857- 1955), the University's mission was to help its students become educated, principled, and virtuous men whose experiences at St. John's would be an integral part of their adult lives. Within that century, however, there was a shift in St. John's approach to student development. From 1857 to 1920, the University concentrated more on the students' external discipline. Students were to pattern their livelihood on a series of rules and regulations. They also were under constant supervision, while at class, at church, in study hall, on their dorm floor, or at play outside. Mail was regularly monitored for morally questionable material, and students were not often given permission to leave campus. After 1921, St. John's shifted its emphasis from expecting external discipline to encouraging the students to internalize proper behavior for its own sake. Some of the more strict parental rules were also lessened: the work day was shortened, giving students more leisure time while the University moved away from using such measures that exacted a specific type of obedience.
David Winecoff, Biology
"Small Mammals of Quarry Park Stearns County, MN"
Advisor: Marcus Webster
This wilderness quarry area is in the process of being converted for public use by Stearns Co., and is an ideal area for ecological surveys. I assessed the small mammal distributions in the variety of habitat types within the park, from June to August 1994. The habitats included: grasslands, Oak, Aspen, and Red Pine forests, wetlands, rock tailing piles, natural rock outcroppings, and water-filled quarries. I conducted this survey using Sherman Live traps, scat boards, and pit traps. The grassland consisted exclusively of "Microtus pennsylvanicus", except for a single "Sorex cinereus." "Peromyscus leucopis" dominated in the forests within the park. They also had very high populations in the rock tailing piles, showing the importance of shelter in habitat selection. Other species that were found included: "Blarina brevicauda", in the wetlands, and "Tamius striatus" and "Clethrionomys gapperi" in the forests. Each species appeared to be very habitat specific, and were never observed to venture outside of their respective habitats. The main danger to these populations in the upcoming development of the area will be the destruction of their habitat. The results from this survey will provide insight for park officials when devising a method of management for this park.
Heidi Zapzalka, Theology
"God and Poetry"
Advisor: Ephrem Hollerman
My thesis explores the relationship between God and poetry. I assert that poetry is not only the best language with which to speak to God, but it is the best language with which to speak of God as well. It analyzes poetry from the classical period to the contemporary period, as well as including biblical excerpts from the Hebrew Scriptures (the Psalms, Job) and the New Testament (the synoptic gospels, the Gospel of John). The poetry in the thesis falls in two categories: the celebratory poems with which we speak of God, and the poems of suffering with which we speak to God in prayer. The second half of the thesis explores why poetry is the most appropriate language with which to speakof God. In this half of the thesis I discuss symbol, metaphor, and the transcendence of poetry in relation to the divine.
Mara Zell, Computer Science
"A Knowledge-Based Approach to Class Scheduling"
Advisor: Daniel Challou
A class scheduling application was developed to assist department chairs in producing class schedules each semester. This was accomplished using a knowledge-based system. The system utilized the many constraints involved in the class scheduling process to solve the problem. This application was developed and implemented in an object oriented package called Powerbuilder. Thus, the application is windows based with point and click features. Three trial schedules were produced. These results demonstrate the ability of the application to schedule three types of classes: classes without labs, classes with one lab, and classes with two labs. The end result is that an automated scheduling program is capable of solving the general class scheduling problem at CSB/SJU.