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Learning for Social Change: Students' Politicization Through Nontraditional Pedagogies in Multicultural Education

Mai Thai ('10); Lorraine M. Gutierrez*; Elizabeth Thomasson*
*University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Educators develop various multicultural education models to promote civic engagement and an understanding of social issues in order to promote social justice. This study examines undergraduate students’ processes of politicization (the social consciousness of issues of inequality, i.e. by race, gender, sexual orientation…) throughout three Midwestern university courses that utilize nontraditional pedagogies—a diversity course for resident advisors, a service-learning course, and an intergroup dialogue course. An introductory psychology course was used as the comparison group. We used pretest and posttest surveys to measure students’ perception of importance and confidence levels of individual actions and activist activities. Paired-sample t tests show that students tended to rate higher importance and confidence in individual actions of social justice than activist activities. Results in the ANOVA tests show that the resident advisor and intergroup dialogue courses showed the greatest changes in perceptions of social justice actions.
Funding provided by: University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School

Ahwene Pa Nkasa: What Stories Do Beads in Contemporary Ghana Tell?

Manayo Oddoye ('11); Marie-Denise Shelton (CMC)
Interdisciplinary Areas: Art; Culture; Society

Ghanaians have a proverb: ahwene pa nkasa (good beads don't talk). Many view beads as passive glass circles on string, worn by past generations and the elderly. Ghana is rapidly developing, and its increasingly connected generations are embracing global trends, to the peril of local traditions and cultures. A quick glance at today’s necks, wrists and waists belies the claim that allure of beads is timeless, at least in their traditional incarnation. Is there a place in Ghana's cultural and social redevelopment for vibrant reimaginings of The Bead? With this question as my hope and my aim, I interviewed bead makers, traders, designers and wearers, each of whom have a unique and hopeful story to tell about the new dawn of Ghanaian beads.
Funding provided by: The Paul K. Richter and Evalyn E. Cook Richter Award

Valuing Vegetation in an Urban Watershed

Jonathan Kadish ('10); Bowman Cutter; Noelwah Netusil*
*Reed College, Portland, OR
Interdisciplinary Areas: Economics; Environmental Analysis

This study uses the hedonic price method to examine if land cover types – trees, shrubs, water and impervious surface areas – affect the sale price of single-family residential properties in Multnomah County, Oregon. We combine detailed structural and location information for 42,722 single-family residential property sales from 2005-2007 with the percentage of trees, shrubs, water, and impervious surface area on each property and within 200 feet, ¼ mile, and ½ mile buffers of each property. Results using a semi-log functional form indicate that vegetation on a property and within each buffer contributes positively to a property’s sale price when compared to impervious surface area. The percentage of a property covered by trees that is estimated to maximize a property’s sale price, is higher than the current average for the properties in our study, but less than the goal established by policy makers.
Funding provided by: Schulz Environmental Studies Award; Reed College

Defending the Public in Marin County

Yevgeniy Parkman ('10)

Interdisciplinary Areas: Legal Studies

This summer I participated in a law internship at the Marin County Public Defender's Office. During the course of the internship, I assisted attorneys on five specific cases ranging from a misdemeanor DUI to a first-degree murder. My work led me to the courtroom, the county jail and juvenile hall. But besides all the field trips, I also spent many hours analyzing Grand Jury transcripts, deciphering police reports and trying to make sense of the California Penal Code. If anybody reading this gets into trouble in this golden state of ours, you know who to call!

Funding provided by: The Paul K. Richter and Evalyn E. Cook Richter Award

Tuberculosis Demographics of Kenya

Daniel Low ('11); Pardis Mahdavi; John Kah*; Judd Walson*
*University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA
Interdisciplinary Area: Medicine

Despite adhering to the World Health Organization's DOTS (directly observed treatment, short course) program in treating tuberculosis (TB), Kenya continually struggles to fight this infectious disease. Kenya currently has the tenth highest number of incident TB cases worldwide with a national TB case notification rate in 2004 of 301 per 100,000 population (Galgalo, et al; 2008). Yet, with as prevalent an epidemic as this, very little is known about many of the factors necessary for optimizing TB treatment. Based off a model in South Africa, which illustrated the importance of standardizing treatment records to understand the correlations between HIV and TB co-infection, we created a data collection tool in order to adequately gather and streamline the data from the tuberculosis records of clinics in three regions of the highest TB prevalence rate in Kenya. With this treatment data collected, we are now in the process of analyzing the results.
Funding provided by: The Aubrey H. and Eileen J. Seed Award

Connections: Happiness Science and Ethics

Daniel Holleb ('10); Jaime Kurtz
Interdisciplinary Areas: Psychology; Philosophy; Religious Studies

In my SURP application, I proposed to test the hypothesis that the metaphysical assumptions and practical prescriptions of the positive psychology movement closely resemble elements of William James’ philosophy. In practice, I both broadened and sharpened the scope of my research. I sharpened the project’s focus by concentrating on the interaction between positive psychology and ethics. I broadened the project’s latitude by finding connections between the work of positive psychologists and the teachings of philosophers such as Aristotle, Hume, Nietzsche, Sartre, the Buddha, and many others. In addition to studying these philosophers, I read and annotated several dozen books and academic articles by prominent positive psychologists. I also established contact with some of these researchers. Out of this project emerged a cogent structure for my senior thesis, which will explore the connections between modern happiness research and Aristotelian, Pragmatist, and Existential approaches to ethics. I am developing an article to submit for publication.
Funding provided by: Pomona College National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

Research at Pomona