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McNair Scholars Program

Summer 1997 Research Projects

Scholar: Teresa Burns
Mentor: David Kromm, Ph.D.


Impacts of the Proposed South Lawrence Trafficway on Haskell Indian Nations University

The Haskell-Baker Wetland area has been the setting of conflict for more than a century. It began in 1884 when Haskell Indian Nations University was founded as the "United States Industrial Training School" to assimilate Native American people into an agrarian society. Haskell has weathered confrontation through several generations and continues to be the site of conflict between cultures and within the community. This study assesses the spiritual, educational, and historical impact of a proposed trafficway on Haskell campus's wetland.

In 1985, city and county officials proposed a major highway to alleviate traffic congestion on 23rd street, a main east/west artery through the city of Lawrence, Kansas. Conflict emerged over the eastern portion of the trafficway, which would cross through the southern end of Haskell Indian Nations University and the Haskell-Baker Wetland. Concerns of spiritual, educational, and historical impact were voiced. The university requested that an alignment south of the Wakarusa River be developed, which would avoid the boundaries of their property and the wetland. Thirteen years later the issue remains unresolved.

From studies, 31st Street emerged as the preferred alignment, in part because this route decimates the smallest portion of wetland acreage, because a two-lane county road currently exists there, and because funding and permits have already been obtained. Although a good argument can be made for the 31st Street alignment, federal guidelines require that all possible impacts be considered, including those on people and their cultures. Although the effects of construction on the university and Native people would be extensive, disrupting the traditional role of the wetland embedded within Native culture, they have not been included in the evaluation.

The spiritual, educational, and historical uses of the wetland, although varied, are interconnected; the religion and culture of Native people have survived because they found refuge in special places such as this to practice their forbidden beliefs. Today, the wetland still fulfills this critical role in these people's lives. The Native American Church of North America recently held its quarterly conference and celebration in this wetland because of its sacredness within Native tradition. Furthermore, use of the Haskell-Baker Wetland complex enables instructors to integrate a diversity of disciplines, while at the same time allowing students to practice and experience their individual cultures through the development of discovery laboratories located within the wetland.

Native religion is inseparable from the land. According to David Wishart, Professor of Geography at University of Nebraska, "religion was the well spring of traditional Indian life; everything else from the structure of society to the performance of everyday tasks flowed from that source . . . they believed that everything in the creation was connected, a web of life reaching from the individual through the family and band and out into nature." For many Native Americans across the United States, the Haskell-Baker wetland area is critical to the continuance of their spiritual, educational, and traditional lives. The extensive impact of trafficway is beyond mitigation. Construction would not be a mere inconvenice, but would require drastic adjustments in the spiritual and educational practices of Native Americans, and would result in the loss of a significant aspect of their history and culture. As a result of these impacts, the preferred alignment is unacceptable. The new trafficway should be routed well to the south.


Scholar: Arnita Furgason
Mentor: Richard Brede, Ph.D.

Preventing Teen Pregnancy: A Survey of Preventive Programs in Geary County, Kansas

When I first decided on the topic of teenage pregnancy, I had a hard time deciding which angle I wanted to pursue, because so many variables interplay in such a complex issue. I examined the day-to-day operations of several pregnancy and parenthood programs on a local level in Geary County, Kansas. I chose this county because of the high rate of teenage pregnancy, community awareness of the problem, and program development. Specifically I interviewed coordinators from Junction City Youth Clinic, Mother and Infant program, Teen Pregnancy Case Management and The Geary County, Ft. Riley Sexual Risk Reduction Project. I used the qualitative method and open-ended questions to conduct my research.

The first program I analyzed was Sexual Risk Reduction Program (SRRP). The SRRP is housed inside Junction City High School. The project mission is to prevent pregnancy by promoting abstinence among adolescents and improving their social health status through long- term changes in health awareness and life style. The SRRP helps to promote abstinence with the aide of a program they developed called Teenagers Actively Promoting Abstinence (TAPA), in which high school students talk to their peers about remaining or becoming abstinent. My findings for this program concluded that this program was ineffective at the junior/senior level of high school for three reasons: 1). The junior/senior level tends to be the time where they lose their virginity and want to get out of the program; 2). It becomes "not cool" to be in the program at junior/senior level, and their peers begin to look at them differently; 3). The program doesn't target the adult males who are impregnating the teenage girls.

The next program I evaluated was the Junction City Youth Clinic (JCYC). JCYC's goal, when dealing with sexual matters, is to educate the teens with factual information. This program was introduced because of the high rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STD's). The coordinator wanted to target teens who are sexually active and offer free medical help. This program was the best program of the four because it provided a safe environment where teenagers could get factual information. The coordinator kept everything in confidentiality.

The third program I evaluated was the Mother and Infant Program (MandI). I interviewed the social worker for the program, whose job is to connect teenage girls with the resources for which they are eligible, such as welfare, WIC, and cab vouchers to get the teenage mother to and from her doctor appointments. The social worker also acts as a counselor to the teenage girls on how to tell their parents about the pregnancy and help come up with solutions for problems caused by the pregnancy. This program is good one because its main emphasis is to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy.

The last program is called Teen Pregnancy Case Management (TPCM). This program is designed to assist teen mothers in developing a support system and receiving supportive services needed to obtain future goals. Out of all of the programs that I evaluated, this was the weakest, because there were no on-site services for the programs that the girls qualified for.

While doing the research I ran across the problem of the absence of the fathers from their children's lives. My data showed that a majority of these men are out of school, and therefore out of the reach of school- based programs. I concluded that programs need to be developed locally and nationally, directed towards males in terms of their sexuality and social responsibility. It is time for these young men to be held accountable for their actions, instead of the of the problem remaining the female's sole responsibility.


Scholar: Olivia Guerra
Mentor: Stephen Kiefer, Ph.D.


Using a Retrospective Procedure to Examine Predictors of Flashbulb Memory: Does the Picture Change Over Time?

Most adults attuned to Western culture claim that they vividly remember the context in which they saw the O.J. Simpson chase or heard the announcement of his trial's verdict. This type of vivid recall for events is generally known as "flashbulb memory." Numerous studies have been done on this type of memory. Researchers still do not completely agree, however, on its components. Some researchers claim that flashbulb memories remain stable and complete over time, while others disagree, citing that the researchers claiming the former have never tested whether the memories of their participants were accurate or whether they changed over time. We agree that interpretations from studies which do not validate participants' memories are suspect, because memories for past events could change or become completely erroneous over time. We also recognize that memory reports cannot always be collected immediately after an event, and that in the past flashbulb memory research has not examined how retrospective reports of flashbulb memory change over time. We contend that memory research should replicate and extend past results using latent retrospective event descriptions. The goal of the current research is to determine whether characteristics of flashbulb memory found in past research predict flashbulb memories using latent retrospective event description procedures. Additionally, this research is designed to discover whether changed flashbulb memories remain more consistent than changed ordinary memories across long retention intervals.

The participants were 662 undergraduates enrolled in an introductory class at Kansas State University. They were asked to write what they recalled about the circumstances surrounding three events: the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, a significant non-embarrassing personal event chosen by the participant, and moving into their college residence. In addition, the participants were asked to complete questionnaires that asked more specific questions about the details of the event (e.g., the time of day the event occurred, where it occurred, how they felt when it occurred, etc.) and also had them rate on a 7- point scale the memorability, vividness, emotional impact, and personal significance of the events, as well as their confidence in the accuracy of the details they had answered. Approximately one year later, 35 volunteers randomly selected from the initial testing group were retested over their memories for the circumstances surrounding the three events they had recorded earlier. This was done by having them complete a package of questionnaires with the same questions that they had answered in the initial phase of the experiment. This procedure was repeated approximately 2 and 3 years after the initial phase.

Following the data analysis, we found that drop in memory rating, drop in emotional impact, drop in confidence, and the occurrence- recording interval may be better predictors of flashbulb memory than drop in vividness across long retention intervals. In addition, the occurrence-recording interval showed the same pattern for events as the flashbulb qualities, indicating that this time factor may explain the data. That is, ratings predictive of flashbulb memories may have already dropped a great deal during the years preceding the initial report which explains why these ratings no longer decreased across intervals of 1-3 years. Thus, we showed that predictors of flashbulb memory were found using a latent retrospective procedure. Additionally, we found that public events had more flashbulb qualities than private events; flashbulb memory predictors remained more stable for public events than personal events.


Scholar: Stella Houston
Mentor: Linda Thurston, Ph.D.

Increasing Positive Attitudes and Skills of Low-Income Mothers in Computers and Advanced Technology

Recent studies on the issues of gender and computers indicate that women and girls are less interested in computers, have fewer skills, and use them less than male counterparts. Low- income mothers, especially, may suffer because of lower educational opportunities and fewer employment experiences. My question is: Does participation in twelve hours of training in computers effectively increase the awareness, positive attitudes, and skills of low-income mothers in the area of computers and advanced technology?

Volunteers from local social supportive services participated in this research. Included in the curriculum were very basic computer skills, Internet accessibility, and benefits of using computers. I expected the volunteers to feel more connected to society, and empowered to participate more fully. The experimental measurements were interview questions asked in a focus group setting and a questionnaire given before and after the training. A follow-up interview will be conducted to assess the continuation of the group interactions and their uses and interests in computers.

Preliminary findings indicate that women and mothers want more knowledge about computers. Several had previously made attempts to make themselves more computer literate by enrolling in classes. However, for them, the classroom environment was not very friendly. The atmosphere of our group setting was more comfortable for them. The interviews and focus group discussions revealed that their attitudes did indeed change in a positive direction, and their skills have increased significantly, leading them to consider more training, purchasing their own personal computers, and becoming tutors to their friends with computers.


Scholar: Jeanne Lynch
Mentor: Linda Hoag, Ph.D.

Phonation Rise Time Characteristics of Breathy, Simultaneous, and Hard Glottal Attacks

The fields of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology are centered around helping clients communicate more effectively. Clinicians are often required to ascertain a patient's level of speech acceptability with the use of objective measurements established by reliable and repeatable research methods. Phonation rise time is one such measurement that has not been studied since 1967 but could provide valuable information about several types of vocal pathologies, such as laryngeal cancer and vocal fold paralysis. Our goal is to answer the following question: What are normal phonation rise time values for the breathy, simultaneous, and hard glottal attacks? We believe this is important for two reasons: 1) a current and reliable objective measurement of phonation rise time will increase diagnostic abilities and give the client more feedback about his/her vocal pathology; and 2) significant advances in technology and research techniques have been made since this measurement was studied in 1967, but the findings are still cited in textbooks. We hope to improve upon the previous research in terms of both clarity and precision to accomplish this goal.


Scholar: Wendy Hanzlik
Mentor: Arthur Rathbun, M.S.

Neurofeedback Therapy for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder

A study on the use of neurofeedback therapy for adults with attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder was conducted using neurofeedback training. Two participants, each diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, were chosen for the study: a 32-year-old male, college graduate, and a 22-year-old male, college senior. Training sessions on the F1000 Instrumentation System--consisting of 14 sessions with four-five minute trials-per session and two minute breaks between each trial--were conducted. A single channel electroencephalograph was used--over the central Rolandic Cortex--to monitor the subjects as they attempted to increase their 14 Hz EEG while decreasing the lower MHZ cycle (6-8 MHZ). A vertical bar graph to the left of the monitor displayed the theta wave readout and a vertical bar to the right displayed the beta wave readout. The program was set up so that when the theta waves dropped below 2 micro volts and the beta waves rose above 2 micro volts, an auditory feedback would be heard in tones. When this occurred a circle would light up, providing visual feedback, between the theta and beta measures. Prior to the start of each session, a review of the goals was discussed while the theta and beta measures were still present on the screen. The Brown Attention-Deficit Disorder Scale was used for pre- and post-measurements to look for behavioral changes that occurred during the study.

Participant 1: the Brown Attention Deficit Disorder Scale showed no significant change in the total score, remaining at a T Score of 91. There were changes, however, amongst three of the five clusters that the test looked at: Activation went from a T Score of 84 to 89, which is a negative effect, but the T Score for Effort went from 86 to 81 and for Memory the T Score went from 85 to 82. The latter two were promising of movement toward significant change in the ADD characteristics. The number of crossovers during the fourteen sessions was higher to begin with and lower toward the end, but when the number of crossovers due to movement were subtracted, the true number of crossovers steadily increased, showing progress. Participant 2: the Brown Attention Deficit Disorder Scale showed promise toward a significant change in the total score, going from a T Score of 77 to 73. There were also changes amongst two of the five clusters that the test looked at: T Score for Effort went from 78 to 71 and for Memory the T Score went from 72 to 68, both continuing toward significant change in the ADD characteristics. The number of crossovers during the fourteen sessions escalated from each session and peaking at the seventh session where it remained at these high levels.

The objects of this study were to design protocol for a future study involving a greater number of individuals with ADD/ADHD, and to show the possibilities of using neurofeedback to aide in the treatment of this disorder. Hyperactivity appears to play a part in the scoring of the number of crossovers recorded. Subtracting the crossovers that were caused due to movement decreases in the number of true crossovers; this presents a possibility of using this protocol to measure hyperactivity and observe its decrease as the sessions continue as was seen with participant number one. Lengthening the time of each session to seven minutes with two minute breaks in between and running three trials instead of four may be more effective; doing so will make the time spent feel shorter when they are actually getting in one more minute of training. These changes, I hypothesize, would greatly increase the behavioral changes shown in this study. Further testing of this protocol, including the modifications I have suggested, will be an asset to the further use of neurofeedback as part of a multi-modal treatment.


Scholar: Amanda Rodriguez Morales
Mentors: Louann Culley, Ph.D., and Gary Woodward, M.F.A.

Sidney Goodman: A Bridge to Modern Realism

Sidney Goodman plays a vital role in the continuation and substantiation of realism as serious art form in the twentieth century. This essay discusses the evolution of his style, his influences and interpretations, the sharing of his knowledge as an artist and teacher, and the impact his career has on the artists of today. The major points researched include: major stages of his career, major influences, his views and odd personal interpretations, his function as an essential link between early Expressionism and modern Realism, and those artists, such as Randall Exon and Bo Bartlett, whose work reflects Goodman's influence.

The transfer of artistic knowledge between generations is the main focus of this discussion; Goodman continues to aide this process, by communicating his techniques coupled with his personal interpretations of human experience, stressing the significance of the figure and how it functions as the medium for imaginative expression. Through his own distinctive work and his straightforward teaching, Goodman completes a creative circle in the world of art.


Scholar: Alice Thomas
Mentor: Pamela Turner, Ph.D.

Financial Abuse of the Elderly in Kansas Via Telemarketing

The incidence of consumer fraud through telemarketing is on the increase, resulting in increased numbers of elderly people becoming victims.

A review of literature including journal articles, publications for and about the elderly, and information gleaned from a questionnaire used in random sampling of elderly in the north central Kansas area, interviews with personnel of the North Central Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging, and the Consumer Protection Division of the Kansas Attorney General's Office are sources of information for this study.

Findings suggest a disproportionate number of elderly persons are being defrauded by telemarketers. These findings include the following: fraudulent telemarketers attempt to defraud older people on the theory that they tend to be more trusting and polite toward strangers, they are more accessible (i.e., at home during the daytime) and may be more easily defrauded through "fast-talk" and "double-talk." Telemarketing fraud is becoming prevalent enough to cause the Federal Trade Commission to pass a regulation entitled "Consumer Protections -- New Telemarketing Sales Rule" which restricts telemarketers by making it illegal and punishable for telemarketers and their associates to defraud citizens.

No numbers are presently available regarding telemarketing fraud complaints which were age-group sorted, making it necessary to use figures by percentage of population who are more than 60 years of age. It is recommended that agencies whose staff field complaints be able also to begin tracking those complaints by the age of the consumer involved.


Scholar: Stacy Yeager
Mentor: Jacqueline Spears, Ph.D.

Impact of Race and Gender on an Individual's Experience with and Use of Computers at Kansas State University

Members of minority groups come to college with varying levels of computer experience, but generally speaking, their experience is not as extensive as that brought by non-minority students, according to Schwalm (1995). In 1992, comparisons between the performance of male and female students showed that males demonstrated slightly higher computer competence than females. Because computers and the Internet are so prominent in our society, it is important to know if everyone is getting their "fair" share of computer knowledge. Before educational institutions can develop programs to address the inequalities that may exist, they must first know the competence levels of the students.

This research explores college students' experience with and use of computers, and the role that race and gender may play in predicting any differences. A survey instrument was developed to investigate the age at which college students were exposed to computers, the availability of computers in the home or at school, current use of computers, familiarity with the Internet and other forms of telecommunications, as well as general attitudes toward computers. Demographic variables collected on the respondents included hometown, major and minor fields, age, race, and gender. The survey was distributed randomly to individuals at common gathering places on campus. The final sample included 130 responses, and was diverse enough to allow analysis based on race (50% African- / 42% Anglo-American), gender (44% male / 55% female), and age, which averaged between 18-22.

Descriptive statistics revealed that most college students had been exposed to computers no later than middle school. At K-State, respondents reported that they used the computer and Internet for homework assignments and research. Those who did not have a computer at home (35%) said it was because of financial reasons. Nearly 78% of college students report that they have access to a computer. Eighty percent of the respondents' use of computers range from four to twenty hours per week. Thirty percent of the respondents use the computer five to nine hours per week. On a scale of one (no knowledge) to ten (knowledgeable), seventy percent rated themselves between five and eight, suggesting a strong relationship between computer time and knowledge.

The differences due to age, race, and gender were examined using multi-variate analysis. Using an alpha level of 0.05, significant differences were found on items related to reasons for not having a computer, the extent to which an individual's knowledge of computers has been enhanced at Kansas State University, the purpose for which they use computers, and the time spent using computers. The findings of the study appear to contradict the view that women and people of color are lacking in computer knowledge. These groups are still behind in some areas but they are catching up to their counterparts. There is more need for education in computers in the lower levels of our educational structure, but by the time they get to college it begins to even out. Clearly the issue of gender differences in computer competence, however, does exist. This study found that the applicants who had the most computer knowledge were African-American women and white men. Enhancing students' environments with technology, especially in ways that recognize and respect ethnic differences, may have immediate and long-range effects on students' persistence, academic success and career satisfaction.