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McNair Scholars Program

Research Abstracts 2004

Scholar: Sarah Burdiek
Mentor: Karen Myers-Bowman, Ph.D.


An Analysis of Children's Changing Understanding of "War" and "Peace" Related to Cognitive Levels

The current investigation examines the content of children’s responses to questions about strategies to attain peace. Interviews were conducted with 21 children and adolescents ages 6-14 following the September 11, 2001 attacks and before the start of the Iraq war. Children responded to the questions: 1) “If you were President of the United States, what would you do about war and peace?” and 2) if you were “Leader of the World, what would you do about war and peace?” Using qualitative analysis techniques, answers were coded into the following themes: no strategy, stop or prevent war/fighting, change attitudes, talk or negotiate, attack or punish someone, unique answers, uses the term “peace”, and uses the term “war”. Results indicate that more females than males spoke of changing attitudes. Older children provided answers that were more complex, and more often included the strategies of talking or negotiating than younger children. More children spoke about war than peace, even though the question asked about both concepts.


Scholar: Savannah Downey
Mentor: Jerome Frieman, Ph.D.

The Effects of a Positive or Negative Experience on the Ratings of Scents Present at that Time

This evaluative conditioning experiment investigated whether a positive or negative experience affected ratings of scents present at that time. The female experimenter, while wearing perfume, pretended to rate each subject’s physical attractiveness using a fictitious computer program. Subjects then received one of two fake attractiveness scores: either a 46 or 84 out of 100. To determine if the score given to the subjects affected their mood, subjects filled out a survey pertaining to their current mood. Subjects then rated six different perfumes, one of which the experimenter was wearing during the bogus attractiveness evaluation. Females who received a high rating of physical attractiveness rated the perfume worn by the rater higher than those who received a low rating of physical attractiveness. However, males who received a high rating of physical attractiveness rated the perfume worn by the rater lower than those who received a high rating of attractiveness.


Scholar: Hamed Funmilayo
Mentor: Anil Pahwa, Ph.D.

Solar Cell Characterization

Affordable silicon solar cell array types manufactured for terrestrial applications are designed to produce about 18% to 20% efficiency. However, their efficiency decreases dramatically under varying loads. The difficulty of predicting solar cell efficiency is compounded by complex interaction of environmental factors such as high temperature, wind and humidity. Hence, solar arrays must be properly designed to suit the environment where they are to be used.

The efficiency of a photovoltaic cell can be obtained by determining its maximum current and voltage coordinate from the plot of its current against its voltage readings, under a set illumination. However, many environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity and wind, may tend to alter the overall output of these values, thereby affecting the value of the solar cell's efficiency.

This research presents a data analysis that focuses mostly on of the effects of temperature and humidity on the silicon solar cell's "No load voltage" and "Short circuit current". Both variables were measured at outdoors at different hours of the day for a period of ten to thirty consecutive days. Experiments were also conducted indoors to create a controlled environment for observing isolated effect of the temperature. A relationship between some of the atmospheric parameters and the measured values were deduced from the data obtained, thus providing more insight on the efficiency of the silicon solar cell under different weather conditions.


Scholar: Jose Guzman
Mentors: Ray Lamond, Ph.D. & David Mengel, Ph.D.


Effects of Tillage and Nitrogen Management on Soil Physical and Chemical Properties after 23 Years of Continuous Sorghum

No-till (NT) is a conservation farming approach in terms of long-term sustainability of soil and water resources. A great deal of research evaluating tillage and nitrogen applications on soil chemical properties has been conducted with continuous corn in the Midwest, but not on continuous grain sorghum. The objective of this experiment was to examine the long-term effects of tillage and nitrogen applications on soil chemical properties at different depths after 23 years of continuous sorghum. In 1982, a split-plot experiment was established to evaluate i) two tillage methods (NT and CT), ii) N sources (urea, ammonium nitrate, and polymer coated urea), iii) and various N rates (0, 34, 67, and 134 kg ha-1). A significant tillage and depth interaction for pH, P, K, Ca, Mg, NO3-N, and total carbon was observed. NT had significantly higher concentrations of extractable P, Ca, K, Mg, in the surface 2.5 cm and higher percent total C down to 5 cm when compared to the CT treatments. Percent total carbon increased by 1.1 g kg-1 in NT treatments when compared to the CT treatments. KCl extractable NO3-N was significantly higher in CT at all depths when compared to NT treatments. Bulk density was significant lower in CT. This data illustrates the effect of tillage and nitrogen management on the soil after 23 years of continuous sorghum.


Scholar: Joseph Lancaster
Mentor: Anindya Banerjee, Ph.D.


A Language for Producing Programs which Exhibit History Independence and Secure Information Flow

A history independent data structure ensures privacy by concealing information about previous states and the set of operations that led to the current state. Additionally, secure information flow ensures that sensitive information is not leaked to the public explicitly or implicitly. An explicit flow is exemplified by an assignment of a secure value to an insecure variable. Implicit flow is exemplified by a secure value controlling a low security conditional branch. Preventing such flows ensures that high security inputs are not propagated to low security output. The language developed here combines these two concepts into a single secure and history independent language. Therefore any program written in this language will take on these characteristics. The language remains flexible, however, enabling a programmer to make all or part of a program history independent, or all or part of a program secure. In addition to these characteristics the language also remains flexibly adaptive. This adaptivity gives the language its history independent nature. It is hoped that this language can be used to create secure programs, but it lacks testing. Further testing must be done to confirm its congruence, preservation of properties, and utility.


Scholar: Meredith Martin
Mentor: M.H. Hosni, Ph.D.

Measurement of Velocity Profiles of Laminar to Turbulent Water Flows in a Tube Using Particle Image Velocimetry

The transition from laminar to turbulent in-tube flow is studied in this paper. Water flow in a glass tube with an inside diameter of 21.7 mm was investigated by two methods. First, a dye visualization test using a setup similar to the 1883 experiment of Osborne Reynolds was conducted. For the dye visualization, Reynolds numbers ranging from approximately 1000 to 3500 were tested and the transition from laminar to turbulent flow was observed between a Reynolds number of 2500 and 3500. For the second method, a particle image velocimetry (PIV) system was used to measure the velocity profiles of flow in the same glass tube at Reynolds numbers ranging from approximately 500 to 9000. The resulting velocity profiles were compared to theoretical laminar profiles and empirical turbulent power-law profiles. Good agreement was found between the lower Reynolds number flow and the laminar profile, and between the higher Reynolds number flow and turbulent power-law profile. In between the flow appeared to be in a transition region and deviated some between the two profiles.


Scholar: James C. Rivers
Mentor: Lou Falkner Williams, Ph.D.


Elections in South Carolina 1876-1879: The Process to Protect Voting Rights of African Americans and the Apparatus to Frustrate Elections

The consensus among American historians is that President Rutherford B. Hayes' removal of the last troops from South Carolina in 1877 marked the end of federal efforts to protect the black vote, and thus, Reconstruction. However, federal records demonstrate that federal courts and officials continued prosecuting voting rights cases in South Carolina after 1877. Despite federal efforts, white South Carolinians frustrated the prosecutions' to safeguard the voting rights of blacks. Violence, fraudulent elections, intimidation, and state legislative actions became the apparatus whites utilized to control elections. Meanwhile, The United States Supreme Court and white South Carolinians shaped most of the judicial policies and legislative actions that allowed whites to circumvent the federal courts in the years 1873-79. The South Carolina legislature created statutes converting the election process of 1876, 1878, and subsequent elections. The legislators adjusted laws in the following years; however, the altering changes were complete before the 1880 election.


Scholar: Sonia Rosales
Mentor: Roy Barnett, Ph.D.

The Effects of the Attachment, Involvement, and Belief Bonds from the Social Control Theory on Delinquency in College Students

Travis Hirschi's social control theory says that delinquency stems from a lack of conformity through four basic bonds: attachment, involvement, beliefs, and commitment. Generally, social control research is done on juveniles. However, the present research was done using a data set from the University of Oklahoma on college students, ages 18 to 25, testing the effects of the attachment, involvement, and belief bonds. Independent variables were chosen to represent each of the groups of bonds and to test for a significant relationship with the dependent variable, "Steal$20". First, a correlation matrix was done using the independent, dependent, and control variables. Next, a regression analysis was done on "Steal$20" examining the strength of the effect the independent and control variables had on the dependent variable. Results show that at least one variable from each of the groups of bonds had a significant affect on the dependent variable. The only control variable to have a significant affect on "Steal$20" was "Female". General findings from this research show support for the bonds of attachment, involvement, and belief in Hirschi's social control theory.


Scholar: Jennifer Sperfslage
Mentor: Susan Rodgers, M.F.A.

Creating Lives of Their Own: Twentieth Century American Women Writers With Children

The majority of well-known women writers of the nineteenth century never married, or married late in their thirties. Very few had children when young, and all of them had servants. For more than the first half of the twentieth century, the majority of women writers fit nearly the same profile. Thus, the voices of wives, mothers, and women who worked paid jobs were not being adequately represented in the literature.

In the twentieth century, determined women began filling this gap in the literature. In increasing numbers, women are writing in addition to the responsibilities of family and paid jobs. Although women writers are still faced with gender-specific societal pressures that impede their work, conceptions of both motherhood and the writing life have evolved dramatically in the last century, making it more acceptable than ever before to be both a mother and a writer. Even so, those who choose motherhood encounter a particularly complex set of impediments to their writing. Yet motherhood can also be beneficial to a writer's work.

This study does not purport to be all-inclusive; however, a large, diverse sampling of published writer-mothers is discussed in relation to the interplay between their writing and motherhood.


Scholar: Bikat Tilahun
Mentor: Stephen W. Kiefer, Ph.D.

The Alcohol Deprivation Effect in Alcohol Preferring (P) and Long-Evans Rats

Several laboratory studies have shown that after a period of familiarization to ethanol, followed by a period of deprivation, rats show a transient increase in the voluntary intake of ethanol above baseline drinking. This increase has been named Alcohol Deprivation Effect (ADE). In the present study, a three-phase experiment was conducted to produce the ADE in alcohol preferring (P) and Long-Evans rats. In the first phase, rats were tested for ADE after a two-week exposure to 10% ethanol followed by a 5-day deprivation. In the second phase, rats had an additional two-week familiarization with 10% ethanol with ad-lib access followed by a two-week deprivation. In the last phase, rats had an eight-week additional familiarization to ethanol: 2 weeks of ad lib access and the remaining 6 weeks on restricted access. Despite the different manipulations in the three phases, we were unable to produce ADE in all phases. Though Long-Evans rats were found to show a significant increase in consumption in the second phase, consumption did not return to baseline; thus the increase could not unequivocally be attributed to ADE. P rats failed to show ADE in all phases. Different factors can be attributed for our failure to produce ADE. Based on past research, longer familiarization and repeated deprivations are necessary, for ADE to be expressed, then we used in Phase 1 and 2. In the third phase, even if rats had a longer familiarization, repeated manipulation with different procedures could have had a complex interaction effect that altered ADE.