Current Winners

Undergraduate Merit Scholarship

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The Global Networks of Oocyte Cryopreservation
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Anthropology
Until 2012 oocyte cryopreservation (human egg freezing) was an unregulated scientific endeavor. Following the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s lift on the experimental label, the global egg trade was made complicated by ‘fertility preservation’-- commercial egg storage for those willing to pay to postpone pregnancy. Global transactions of human eggs take multiple forms: in women who donate/sell their eggs for research, for prospective mothers, traveler women who sell or are trafficked to infertile reproductive tourists, and now, in the eugenic underbelly of companies selling ‘...Read more
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Social Networks for the fight against HIV in East African Communities
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Applied Mathematics, Chemical Biology
The high burden of undiagnosed and untreated HIV in sub-Saharan Africa has been a major global health issue for the recent decades. Nature of transmission of HIV, namely, through risky behavior that involve intimate contacts rather than casual contagions, calls for a novel perspective through social network analysis: by building social networks of the local communities, we hope to identify underlying community structures including social hubs and intimate friend zones, which would facilitate us in designing better HIV prevention and intervention schemes. My research will make use of the data...Read more
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A University in Exile: Lianda and Chinese Nationalist Government in World War II
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
History, Linguistics
During the World War II, three of Republican China’s best universities, Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Nankai University were forced to abandon their home campuses in Beijing (then Beiping) and Tianjin, as they were occupied by Japanese troops. They migrated together to the southwestern hinterland and merged to form the National Southwest Associated University (Lianda). Convening the country’s best scholars, the university was also widely acclaimed to be the “bastion of democracy” in Nationalist China, holding up its spirit of free inquiry and liberal education inherited from the...Read more
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Trace Metal Analysis of Lignite Coal From Kosovo and Air Pollution-related Risk
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Public Health
Coal-fired power plants account for nearly 40% of electricity production worldwide. However unfortunately, they also are leading anthropogenic emitters of several greenhouse gases and chemicals that pose serious public health threats, especially through promoting poor respiratory and cardiovascular health outcomes. Kosovo, a country on the verge of a suite of new electricity supply-side investments, relies almost exclusively on lignite coal, which has the lowest quality and calorific value of all coal types, for more than 98% of its electricity generation. We seek to characterize the extent...Read more
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Education and Culture: The Development of Humboldt University
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Interdisciplinary Studies Field
Using the historical development of Humboldt University as a case-study, my research seeks to better understand the relationship between culture and education. My study will examine three culturally significant periods to test Marx and Weber’s theories of alienation and bureaucracy on an educational, as opposed to political or jurisprudential, social structure. The specific case-studies are: (1) the mid-19th century at the height of the German Industrial Revolution and the era in which Karl Marx made his most famous observations, (2) the early 20th century at the time of progressive reform...Read more
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Enter now: Fantastic Worlds in the novels of Charles Dickens and George MacDonald
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
English Literature
In Dickens’ novel Little Dorrit, Mr. Dorrit, debtor turned gentleman, draws “castles in the air” as he imagines the possibilities of his newfound riches. His fantastic landscape, however, proves to be only psychological, as it’s born out of and in opposition to his physical reality. In contrast, Mr. Vane, the protagonist of George MacDonald’s novel, Lilith, enters a world of part fairytale and part terrifying allegory. His experience within a physically fantastic landscape consequently reshapes his understanding of reality. For my senior English Honors thesis, I want to compare Dickens’ and...Read more
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From Algiers To Seine-Saint-Denis - Neocolonial Urban Policies In Parisian Banlieues?
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Development Studies
Since the 2005 revolts in many French inner cities, social scientists have intensified their research on the “banlieues question”. This unprecedented violence mainly from racialized subjects against the French Republican state led to various interpretations. Tensions in inner cities, or banlieues, would be either a reflection of a “clash of civilizations” or it would be the result of socio-economic marginalization. However, analyses regarding uprisings in banlieues as similar to anti-colonial revolts in former French colonial cities due to a neocolonial spatial segregation remain largely...Read more
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“For the Dead”: National Identity and the Ethics of Representation in Jonathan Littell’s Les Bienveillantes
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
English, Psychology
This project explores the intersection of first-person Holocaust accounts and the modern French literary canon in Jonathan Littell’s 2006 novel Les bienveillantes . Holocaust literature generally draws the narratives of victims into the discursive center, giving a voice to the heretofore voiceless. Littell, however, subverts this eyewitness frame by using it to tell the story of an SS officer who helps carry out the Holocaust, a perpetrator rather than a victim. Through its invocation of the banality of evil and its use of direct address, Les bienveillantes suggests that the reader is...Read more
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Effect of Land-Sparing Agriculture on Multiple Dimensions of Biodiversity
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Forestry and Natural Resources, Statistics
An increasing proportion of the world’s biodiversity is threatened by habitat loss, habitat degradation, and overexploitation resulting from human actions. The primary strategy to minimize biodiversity loss from these threats has been the establishment of protected areas, but only 12.5% of terrestrial land is currently protected, and the expansion of protected areas often results in significant economic opportunity costs, exacerbating poverty. “Land sharing” conservation strategies seek to maximize conservation effectiveness in unprotected lands by integrating resource production with...Read more
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The Shifting Politics of Migration: Comparative Analysis of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Political Science, Economics
Despite ongoing demographic and economic strains, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have shared long histories of minimal immigration. Recently, their admissions and integration policies have demonstrated nuanced and stark divergences in certain aspects. My research project in congruence with my honors thesis in the Department of Political Science explores these recent trends by focusing on the impact of civic organizations and political composition of government on each state's immigration policy strategy. This project aims to look beyond traditional Western migration studies and shift focus to...Read more
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Strange Animations in Toni Morrison’s "Home" and Oh Jung-hee’s "Chinatown"
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
English
My honors thesis, titled “Intimate/Intimidated: Strange Animations in Toni Morrison’s Home and Oh Jung-hee’s ‘Chinatown,’” brings together two contemporary luminaries’ works of historical fiction in attempt to reconcile—not simply contrast—the mutually overlooked Black American and South Korean perspectives on the Korean War. Notwithstanding important differences in language, nationality, and race, Morrison and Oh similarly undermine various justifications for war and nationalism by troubling the “naturalness” of violence and biological kinship. Both novelists not only strangely animate the...Read more
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Neutralizing Dissent: The Case of the Iran-Iraq War
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
History
I am interested in charting the characteristics of social control in the Islamic Republic of Iran by analyzing the internal consequences of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) on Iranian cultural production. The Islamic Republic attempted to galvanize public support for the war by representing it as a battle to defend Shi‘i lands against Sunni Muslims, but eight years of combat and hundreds of thousands of casualties left many Iranians wary of state rhetoric. Public disenchantment found its home in film and literature. These mediums were transformed into sites of discursive struggle between state...Read more
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Instigating Democracy without Invasion: What has made Democratic Sanctions Successful?
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Political Science
With this project I seek to find what factors account for democratic sanctions success. Sanctions have for the past two decades been a popular tool for conflict management, and for good reason. For policymakers, it is a tool to signal resolve, it is relatively cheap, it does not require direct confrontation, nor does it threaten the citizens of the sender nation. However, its use is often seen by the public as having inhumane consequences, on top of being seen as ineffective. This does not come as a surprise, we have seen sanctions catastrophic results in Iraq in 1990 and in Bosnia in 1995...Read more
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The Sun Temple of Martand: the Pinnacle of Kashmiri Cosmopolitanism and the Key to Surya Worship in India
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
History of Art
Kashmir: an idyllic Himalayan valley with a rich and diverse, yet highly contested, history. While post-partition India has claimed Kashmir as part of its own and, to this day, fight with Pakistan over the region, the people of Kashmir claim their own cosmopolitan history that is neither tied to India or Pakistan. My project aims to recover Kashmir's long history of globalization, hybridity , and cosmopolitanism by engaging specifically with the 8th century Kashmiri sun temple at Martand dedicated to the foreign (Persian) solar deity, Surya. By looking at architectural layout, sculptural...Read more
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Re-evaluating Claims of Discovery in Data from the ATOMKI 5 MV Van De Graaf Accelerator
Term:
Spring 2017
Department:
Physics, Math
Using the electron-positron pair spectrometer at the 5 MV Van de Graaf Accelerator at the Institute for Nuclear Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (ATOMKI), Krasznahorkay et al. recently announced data not fitting the Standard Model of particle physics. They claim a 6.8 sigma excess in internal pair creation at high relative angles for the particle pair released in the isoscalar transition, indicative of a particle of mass circa 16.7 MeV. A hypothetical gauge boson, a carrier of a fifth force, has been proposed as an explanation for the excess. In this study, we seek a more mundane...Read more

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