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Senior Honors Presentations

“so reputed / In dignity, and for the liberal arts / Without a parallel”

~ Shakespeare, The Tempest (1.2.72-74)

On behalf of the University Honors Program and her students, we invite you to celebrate the work of our Honors Seniors. These projects serve as the capstone of the Honors experience at the Mount. They are the result of many months of intense research and the enthusiastic support of faculty mentors, all of whom hold the highest degrees in their subject areas.

As passionate teachers and scholars who call students to engage in meaningful and challenging questions, we share in the successes of our students. Their virtues are our privilege.

Students, we know that the journey was demanding and we have been honored witnesses to your outstanding endeavors to this end. To be sure, the completion of your work marks an important transitional period in your lives. You have successfully taken on a large project that has required you to engage in many constantly evolving fields of study. Now, the fruits of your labor have made these disciplines different from what they were. You have shaped what is to come.

Honors Seniors of the Class of 2020, your success is how we recognize ours. You are our future, and we are Mount proud! CONGRATULATIONS!

Sarah K. Scott, Ph.D.
Director, University Honors Program
Associate Professor, Department of English

Presentations listed in alphabetical order by the presenter's last name.

Veronica Balick
Biochemistry
Using SMALPs to Explore RAS Biology at the Plasma Membrane
veronica balick
Mentors: Christine Seitz McCauslin, Ph.D., MSMU; Andy Stephen, Ph.D., and Constance Agamasu, Ph.D., Frederick National Laboratory
Using SMALPs to Explore RAS Biology at the Plasma Membrane
Abstract
While mutations in the RAS protein drive a significant number of human cancers, there are no current therapies targeting this protein. To understand how RAS associates with the plasma membrane, SMALPs were utilized to isolate RAS bound to both artificial liposomes and intact cell membranes.
Using SMALPs to Explore RAS Biology at the Plasma Membrane
Research in presentation contains proprietary information, not available for publishing.
Hannah Barber
Theology
Reclaiming 'Death with Dignity': An Ethical Analysis of Physician Assisted Suicide
Hannah Barber
Mentor: Lorraine Cuddeback-Gedeon, Ph.D.
Reclaiming 'Death with Dignity': An Ethical Analysis of Physician Assisted Suicide
Abstract
Advocates of physician-assisted suicide use the slogan “Death with Dignity” in their campaign to promote the right to choose when one dies. However, Catholic moral teaching is opposed to this concept. This project developed an ethical analysis of what “death with dignity” truly means.
Reclaiming 'Death with Dignity': An Ethical Analysis of Physician Assisted Suicide
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Elizabeth Bullard
Psychology
The Relationship Between Religiosity and Stress
Liz Bullard
Mentor: Caitlin Faas, Ph.D.
The Relationship Between Religiosity and Stress
Abstract
From tips on mindfully eating chocolate to adult coloring books, stress is a major topic in our busy world. Among promoted stress management tools are religious and spiritual practices like prayer and meditation, both proven to decrease feelings of anxiety. This study examines the relationship between religiosity and stress in emerging adults, a demographic in which religiosity is declining.
The Relationship Between Religiosity and Stress
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Carolyn Ciccocioppo
Visual and Performing Arts
From Brokenness to Redemption at the Well
carolyn ciccocioppo
Mentor: Nick Hutchings, M.F.A.
From Brokenness to Redemption at the Well
Abstract
Drawings and sculptures inspired by the famous Biblical story of the Samaritan Woman at the Well. The work draws upon the symbol of a well to represent a well-spring of life, a gathering space for community, and a cleansing bath of the soul.
From Brokenness to Redemption at the Well
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Hannah Davis
Business / Philosophy
Comparing How and Why Male vs. Female CEOs Commit Fraud
hannah davis
Mentor: Michael Miller, Ph.D.
Comparing How and Why Male vs. Female CEOs Commit Fraud
Abstract
This research examines what fraud is and how Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of organizations and companies in the corporate business world commit this type of crime. It outlines what accounting procedures pose the biggest threats to fraud, the cases of fraud committed by men and women, and finds that women are proven to be more ethical CEOs.
Comparing How and Why Male vs. Female CEOs Commit Fraud
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Thomas DeRosa
Theology
There is No Crusade Here: An Examination of Francisco de Vitoria’s Distinctions between the Spanish Reconquista and the Spanish Conquests in the New World
thomas derosa
Mentor: Barrett Turner, Ph.D.
There is No Crusade Here: An Examination of Francisco de Vitoria’s Distinctions between the Spanish Reconquista and the Spanish Conquests in the New World
Abstract
The Crusades and the Spanish Reconquista are a Christian response to Muslim aggression in both the Near East and Iberian Peninsula. This paper studies arguments proposed by the Spanish theologian Francisco de Vitoria in conjunction with those of St.Thomas Aquinas to evaluate various Spanish justifications to their conquest of the New World.
There is No Crusade Here: An Examination of Francisco de Vitoria’s Distinctions between the Spanish Reconquista and the Spanish Conquests in the New World
Presentation not available for publishing.
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Sean Harris
Business
Financial Literacy Amongst Mount Students: Analyzing Trends in Financial Literacy and the Steps Needed to Correct Them
biochemistry-500.250.jpg
Mentor: Christina L. Yoder, Ph.D.
Financial Literacy Amongst Mount Students: Analyzing Trends in Financial Literacy and the Steps Needed to Correct Them
Abstract
This project studies the literacy of Mount St. Mary’s University students regarding personal finance in the areas of taxes, health insurance, student loans, and retirement plans.
Financial Literacy Amongst Mount Students: Analyzing Trends in Financial Literacy and the Steps Needed to Correct Them
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Michael Hochstein
Chemistry
The Synthesis and Characterization of Cetyltrimethylammonium-3,5-dichlorobenzoate Using IR, NMR, and UV-Vis Spectroscopy in Tandem with DLS
michael hochstein
Mentors: Patti Kreke, Ph.D., and Danny Miles, Ph.D.
The Synthesis and Characterization of Cetyltrimethylammonium-3,5-dichlorobenzoate Using IR, NMR, and UV-Vis Spectroscopy in Tandem with DLS
Abstract
A protocol to synthesize surfactant CTA3,5. NMR spectroscopy confirmed the synthesis of the CTA-benzoate, and the resultant micelles were characterized with UV-Vis Spectroscopy and DLS.
The Synthesis and Characterization of Cetyltrimethylammonium-3,5-dichlorobenzoate Using IR, NMR, and UV-Vis Spectroscopy in Tandem with DLS
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Conor Hoffman
History
Digging for the Past: An Examination of Mount Artifacts
conor-hoffman-presentation
Mentors: Gregory Murry, Ph.D., and Michael Hillman
Digging for the Past: An Examination of Mount Artifacts
Abstract
Metal detecting efforts in and around Mount St. Mary's University can increase our school's publicity and generate historical appreciation for the Mount and Emmitsburg.
Digging for the Past: An Examination of Mount Artifacts
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Kristen Isoldi
Business
The Role of Cognitive Reflection on Order Size Variation in Sequential Multi-Echelon Supply Chains
kristen isoldi
Mentor: Josey Chacko, Ph.D.
The Role of Cognitive Reflection on Order Size Variation in Sequential Multi-Echelon Supply Chains
Abstract
This project considers the role of cognitive reflection on the multi-echelon supply chain and the bullwhip effect by employing the "Beer Distribution Game" to analyze the effects of behavioral characteristics on decision-making.
The Role of Cognitive Reflection on Order Size Variation in Sequential Multi-Echelon Supply Chains
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Jena Johnson
Business
Starbucks versus Dunkin Donuts: An Analysis of Corporate Responsibility of Competing Companies in an International Setting
jena johnson
Mentor: Christina L. Yoder, Ph.D.
Starbucks versus Dunkin Donuts: An Analysis of Corporate Responsibility of Competing Companies in an International Setting
Abstract
A comparison of two major coffee chains in the United States, Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts, for their domestic and international success and corporate responsibility (CSR).
Starbucks versus Dunkin Donuts: An Analysis of Corporate Responsibility of Competing Companies in an International Setting
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Rachel Keifer
Biology
Considering SPEC1 in Critical Cell Mechanics: Is SPEC Involved in CDC42’s Mitotic Role?
rachel keifer
Mentor: Dana Pirone Ward, Ph.D.
Considering SPEC1 in Critical Cell Mechanics: Is SPEC Involved in CDC42’s Mitotic Role?
Abstract
Small protein effectors for Cdc42 (SPEC1) likely play a critical role in mitosis and cell motility. In this project, breast cancer cells were transfected with SPEC1 siRNA and viewed under fluorescent microscopy for significant phenotypic changes. Exciting future research includes visualizing the impact of successful SPEC1 knockdown on mitotic cancer cell cytoskeleton.
Considering SPEC1 in Critical Cell Mechanics: Is SPEC Involved in CDC42’s Mitotic Role?
Research in presentation contains proprietary information, not available for publishing.
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Grace King
English
Resonation of Jordan Peele's Us with Toni Morrison's Beloved
grace king
Mentor: Sarah K. Scott, Ph.D.
Resonation of Jordan Peele's Us with Toni Morrison's Beloved
Abstract
Jordan Peele's film Us deeply resonates with Toni Morrison's novel Beloved through the use of strikingly similar themes and images. In this way, Peele creates a modern work that participates deeply within the American black literary tradition.
Resonation of Jordan Peele's Us with Toni Morrison's Beloved
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Laura Kingham
Biology
Determination of the miRNA Targets Sites of the lin-4 Gene
laura kingham
Mentor: Michael Turner, Ph.D.
Determination of the miRNA Targets Sites of the lin-4 Gene
Abstract
MicroRNAs are known to silence specific, targeted sequences of mRNA as they bind to the targeted base pairs found in the 3’ untranslated region of mRNA. Targeting is vague because it does not perfectly base pair with binding sites. When properly bound, translation cannot occur, potentially causing detrimental effects including cancers. Breast cancer can be an affect of miRNA-125 which is associated with the p53 tumor suppressor protein.
Determination of the miRNA Targets Sites of the lin-4 Gene
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Allison Koontz
Psychology
How Being a Sojourner Influences Personality and How to Tailor a Study Abroad Experience for Maximum Positive Adjustment
allison koontz
Mentor: Jonothan Slezak, Ph.D.
How Being a Sojourner Influences Personality and How to Tailor a Study Abroad Experience for Maximum Positive Adjustment
Abstract
Students took a 90-question personality test (50 from Big Five; 40 from MPQ) before studying abroad and after. Repeated two way measures compared sojourner/non-sojourner data. This project considers how we might use this data to maximize personality adjustment for future sojourners.
How Being a Sojourner Influences Personality and How to Tailor a Study Abroad Experience for Maximum Positive Adjustment
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Scott Korte
Biology
Determination of Target Genes for miRNA-124 and its Function in the Muscular Healing Process in C. Elegans
scott korte
Mentor: Michael Turner, Ph.D.
Determination of Target Genes for miRNA-124 and its Function in the Muscular Healing Process in C. Elegans
Abstract
MicroRNA (mir)-124 has been shown to operate in the wound healing of multiple species and tissue types. This study aims to validate target genes of mir-124 and elucidate the impacts that the microRNA has on the wound healing process of muscular tissue in C. elegans.
Determination of Target Genes for miRNA-124 and its Function in the Muscular Healing Process in C. Elegans
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Emma Krusz
Communication
Wanderlust: The Impact of Study Abroad on the Student College Experience
Emma Krusz
Mentor: Mary Catherine Kennedy, Ph.D.
Wanderlust: The Impact of Study Abroad on the Student College Experience
Abstract
This project collected and analyzed qualitative and quantitative data to study the effect of study abroad programs on college students.
Wanderlust: The Impact of Study Abroad on the Student College Experience
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Daniel Majerowicz
History
London, Toleration, and Secularization: How Religious Toleration Secularized a City
daniel majerowicz
Mentor: Greg Murry, Ph.D., and Jamie Gianoutsos, Ph.D.
London, Toleration, and Secularization: How Religious Toleration Secularized a City
Abstract
A study furthering our understanding of the history of secularization. Focusing on London from 1676-1876, it argues that an increase in religious toleration allowed for a growth in religious pluralism, which created an increase in public challenges to belief in general.
London, Toleration, and Secularization: How Religious Toleration Secularized a City
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Alexis Manning
Biology
Validation of Mir-124 Target Sites Through Measurement of Luciferase Activity
alexis manning
Mentor: Michael Turner, Ph.D.
Validation of Mir-124 Target Sites Through Measurement of Luciferase Activity
Abstract
This research explores which potential target sites for miRNA Mir-124 are true target sites on seven different candidate genes: CKA-1, ECH-2, SQD-1, PAR-6, IFG-1, GLY-6 and F53E2.2.2. To perform this validation, a reporter construct comprised of a luciferase gene and the candidate 3’ UTR was utilized to observe the role of miRNA in expression of the luciferase gene.
Validation of Mir-124 Target Sites Through Measurement of Luciferase Activity
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Carter Merrigan
Business
Weighing the Pros and Cons of Closed Leagues and Open Leagues
carter merrigan
Mentor: Corinne Farneti, Ph.D.
Weighing the Pros and Cons of Closed Leagues and Open Leagues
Abstract
This project compares the open leagues of Europe and the closed leagues of America by studying the positives and negatives of each league and the competitive balance of each.
Weighing the Pros and Cons of Closed Leagues and Open Leagues
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Cheyenne Norwood
Computer Science
Creating a Social Network of Women in Computer Science
Cheyenne Norwood
Mentor: Rebecca W. Portier
Creating a Social Network of Women in Computer Science
Abstract
From the end of WWII to 1986 the gender ratio of programmers declined from 50% to 37%. Some suggest this was due to the birth of the PC in the 1980’s or that women were forcefully pushed out of computer science. To test these theories, a social network graph using data scraped from APIs of publication databases was constructed.
Creating a Social Network of Women in Computer Science
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Erick O'Brien
Biology
A Computational Biology Approach to the Ephrin Signal Transduction Pathway via RuleBender
erick obrien
Mentor: Susan Mertins, Ph.D.
A Computational Biology Approach to the Ephrin Signal Transduction Pathway via RuleBender
Abstract
A model of the ephrin protein tyrosine kinase receptor EphA2 was made using the rule-based mathematical modeling program RuleBender. Since EphA2 plays a role in the regulation of various cellular processes like axon migration, the model may be useful in drug discovery and development in a range of human disorders.
A Computational Biology Approach to the Ephrin Signal Transduction Pathway via RuleBender
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Miltiadis Papadopoulos
History
The Russian Revolution: The Relationship Between Tsar Nicholas II and His Subjects
miltiadis papadopoulos
Mentor: Elizabeth C. Strauss, Ph.D.
The Russian Revolution: The Relationship Between Tsar Nicholas II and His Subjects
Abstract
At the time of the Russian Revolution, the relationship between Tsar Nicholas II and his subjects was at an all time low. This paper looks at how, despite being beloved by family and close friends, the Russian people grew increasingly dissatisfied, angry, and disillusioned with their monarch and Royal Family.
The Russian Revolution: The Relationship Between Tsar Nicholas II and His Subjects
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Collin Riviello
English
Jon Hassler's Agatha McGee: A Case Study
collin riviello
Mentor: Carol Hinds, Ph.D.
Jon Hassler's Agatha McGee: A Case Study
Abstract
Jon Hassler’s character, Agatha McGee, is a Catholic living in a small, largely non-Catholic, rural town in Minnesota. This project examines how a college student in 21st century America can be a Catholic and remain true to Catholicism’s values, like Agatha, in a society that is losing interest in religion.
Jon Hassler's Agatha McGee: A Case Study
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Brianna Rizzo
Psychology
The Relationship between Depression and Religiosity in Mount St. Mary’s Students
brianna rizzo
Mentor: Caitlin Faas, Ph.D.
The Relationship between Depression and Religiosity in Mount St. Mary’s Students
Abstract
An investigation into the relationship between depression and religiosity in Mount St. Mary’s University students that uses self-report data to assess religious behaviors and depressive symptomology. The primary hypothesis was that there will be a group difference in depressive symptomology between individuals who report low, high, and medium religiosity.
The Relationship between Depression and Religiosity in Mount St. Mary’s Students
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Gary Rojewski III
Chemistry
Transition Metal Complexes for Use in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
gary rojewski
Mentor: Isaac Mills, Ph.D.
Transition Metal Complexes for Use in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Abstract
In recent years, Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSCs) have gained attention as having potential for usage as a replacement for current silicon-based solar cells. While they are cheaper to create, made of safer materials, are flexible, have improved heat exchange, and can function under diffuse light, DSSCs have still failed to render their predecessors obsolete. This research suggests that N3 Dye, Co(RhB)2, and Ru(4,4’-dmbpy)2(4,4’- Isochinonic acid)(PF6)2 show potential for use in DSSCs moving forward.
Transition Metal Complexes for Use in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
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Levi Schindel
Business
Starting an Entrepreneurship Center at Liberal Arts Institutions: The Right Ingredients
levi schindel
Mentor: Michael Unruh, Ph.D.
Starting an Entrepreneurship Center at Liberal Arts Institutions: The Right Ingredients
Abstract
The lessons of an entrepreneurial curriculum foster one’s ability to be an effective business leader but also stimulate observational, creative, collaborative, and critical thinking skills that can be applied in one’s future success.
Starting an Entrepreneurship Center at Liberal Arts Institutions: The Right Ingredients
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Aaron Slifer
Biology
Calcium Propionate Shows Positive Impacts on Soil Microorganism Respiration
aaron slifer
Mentor: Christine Seitz McCauslin, Ph.D.
Calcium Propionate Shows Positive Impacts on Soil Microorganism Respiration
Abstract
Calcium propionate is known as an effective fungicide and is commonly used in the baking industry as a preservative to protect against mold growth. CaP may be safe enough to protect turf grasses against fungal pathogens if CaP has an impact on microorganisms in soil.
Calcium Propionate Shows Positive Impacts on Soil Microorganism Respiration
Research in presentation contains proprietary information, not available for publishing.
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Joseph Staub
History
The Darkest Depths of the Rising Sun: The Brutality of the Japanese Armed Forces, 1936-1945
joseph staub
Mentor: Dave Cohill
The Darkest Depths of the Rising Sun: The Brutality of the Japanese Armed Forces, 1936-1945
Abstract
Since World War II, historians have noted the brutality of the Japanese armed forces between 1936 and 1945. Few historians, however, have connected this brutality to Japanese culture itself. This project examines how specific elements of Japanese culture influence their approach to war.
The Darkest Depths of the Rising Sun: The Brutality of the Japanese Armed Forces, 1936-1945
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Katherine Stohlman
English
Truth Behind 'Such Twisted Falsities': Revelation through Myth in C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces
katherine stohlman
Mentor: Sean Lewis, Ph.D.
Truth Behind 'Such Twisted Falsities': Revelation through Myth in C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces
Abstract
This project examines CS Lewis’ novel, Till We Have Faces. In tracing the “conversion” of Orual, from belief in distant, selfish gods to belief in a loving and ever-present Lord, the reader sees a way in which people who lived before the Incarnation could come to a Christian understanding of the divine nature.
Truth Behind 'Such Twisted Falsities': Revelation through Myth in C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces
Presentation not available for publishing.
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Jack Vukelich
Business
Responsibly Profitable: CSR Analysis
jack vukelich
Mentor: Christina L. Yoder, Ph.D.
Responsibly Profitable: CSR Analysis
Abstract
This project investigates changing corporate views toward social responsibility in the current society. Convincing a corporate culture to accept socially responsible projects must be portrayed as having a positive impact to the profit and image of the business, and not just as “the right thing to do.”
Responsibly Profitable: CSR Analysis
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Aaron Weisel
Theology
Aesthetic Pedagogical Anagogy: Beauty as a Response to Apocalypticism
aaron weisel
Mentor: Paige Evelyn Hochschild, Ph.D.
Aesthetic Pedagogical Anagogy: Beauty as a Response to Apocalypticism
Abstract
The Catholic Intellectual Tradition has beauty–specifically the beauty of a good life–at its disposal as a compelling response to apocalypticism. This paper examines Augustine's and Michael D O'Brien's illuminations the apocalyptic discussion.
Aesthetic Pedagogical Anagogy: Beauty as a Response to Apocalypticism
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Joseph Wolfensberger
Criminal Justice
Catholic Moral Assessment of Solitary Confinement in the American Criminal Justice System with Recommendations for Reforms
biochemistry-500.250.jpg
Mentor: Joseph Vince
Catholic Moral Assessment of Solitary Confinement in the American Criminal Justice System with Recommendations for Reforms
Abstract
One of the most controversial issues in the American Criminal Justice System is the use of solitary confinement. This paper analyzes its history and provides a practical and philosophical evaluation of the practice.
Catholic Moral Assessment of Solitary Confinement in the American Criminal Justice System with Recommendations for Reforms
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