Celebration of Excellence Day
Hastings College is celebrating excellence with Academic Showcase and Honors Convocation!
On Wednesday, April 26, 2023, classes are cancelled for the day so the entire campus community can participate.
Students — Submit your Academic Showcase proposal by clicking the button.
Each spring, members of Alpha Chi, the collegiate all-discipline national honor society, coordinate Academic Showcase.
During Academic Showcase, students, faculty, staff, parents and community members enjoy and learn from fascinating student presentations about individual research projects, experiential learning, study abroad experiences and creative endeavors.
Academic Showcase is a chance for students to share their passions and to show off their impressive work. It also gives students a chance to engage in dialogue and discussion as they answer questions about their project.
See the schedule below.
The 2023 Honors Convocation is at 3:30 p.m. in French Memorial Chapel.
The event will be livestreamed on our YouTube channel.
Last year’s schedule and presentations are included below.
The 2023 event may operate with a slightly different schedule.
2022 Academic Showcase Schedule
Doing Justice to Doing Gender
By Natalie Watson
My presentation brings the texts of Judith Butler and Sandra Lee Bartky into a conversation surrounding gender and discipline. Butler’s piece explores the medical mistreatment of David Reimer; born male, mutilated from a botched circumcision, and raised as a girl. Bartky’s piece applies Foucault’s idea of the Panopticon to how we “do” gender. There are three distinctly important ideas in Bartky’s application of Foucault’s disciplinary system of power: the set-up of femininity, the fear of failure, and co-existing desire for success. Throughout the presentation, I pull Butler’s text into conversation with Bartky’s analysis of femininity to complicate Bartky’s depiction of gender. Bartky argues that we are made into feminine and masculine beings through the disciplines that define our society. The discipline of femininity is somewhat inescapable, with the fear of failure and a sense of success following on it, bringing individuals further away from the edge of rebellion. Butler allows us to relate Bartky’s analysis of the discipline of femininity to the case of David Reimer in order to reveal and examine its flaws.
What are the Best Educational Practices for Special Needs Children?
By Courtney Manahan
I will be using qualitative research methods to conduct a survey of special education teachers from different school districts across the state of Colorado to see how those teachers implement practices in their special needs classes. Using convenience sampling, a semi-structured questionnaire that includes demographic questions and a series of open-ended questions will be used to collect data from each of my participants. The population for my study consists of special-education teachers across the state of Colorado. To aid in administering my questionnaire I have reached out to an administrative professional at Eastern Colorado BOCES, who has agreed to email my survey to special education teachers across the state of Colorado. In the email, I will ask for participation in the study.The email will contain an introduction to the study, an informed consent statement, and a link to the Google Form survey. Google forms is the platform used to create the survey, and respondents will be able to provide their answers on the form. Google forms has an anonymity option, once activated it will ensure that respondents emails will not be associated with their answers. Once data has been collected and entered into an SPSS spreadsheet, the Google Forms will be deleted. This procedure will ensure confidentiality. Also to ensure confidentiality only aggregate data will be reported. Data collected from my participants will be analyzed and then compared to previous data on this topic.
Cultural Diplomacy and the Korean Pop Movement
By Savanah Ellis
Jhee and Lee measure soft power using two measures: affective and normative power. The affective dimension is based on increasing the attractiveness of the country, while the normative dimension is based on improving impressions of its legitimacy. There is no doubt that Hallyu, or the Korean cultural wave, has had impacts on the affective dimension of South Korea’s soft power. However, how has the Korean Pop Movement, specifically BTS, affected the normative dimension of legitimacy for South Korea? This study aims to answer two questions: 1) Is BTS having a positive impact on the normative dimension of South Korea’s soft power? 2) What is the relationship between BTS and South Korea’s foreign office? Are the country’s cultural diplomats directing the musicians, following BTS lead, or not even trying to coordinate with this powerful cultural force? Using Jhee and Lee’s method of measuring soft power, this study compares public statements by BTS to determine if they are affecting South Korea’s normative soft power and examines public statements by South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, to determine if he are: 1) attempting to use or lead BTS for their own purposes, 2) simply taking advantage of the goodwill generated by BTS, or 3) ignoring BTS altogether.
A Legacy of Love: Learning More About Grandpa Larry Though Interpersonal Communication
By Rachel Hinrichs
As I dove into learning more about the life of a great man, my grandpa Larry Hinrichs, during a project in my interpersonal communications class, a quote by Pericles is one that I have found to be tried and true regarding the research I conducted: “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others” (Pericles 460-429 B.C.). In order to learn more about the great life that Grandpa Hinrichs led, I interviewed three of the people who knew him best: his beloved wife, his oldest child/daughter, and his youngest child/son (my father). Throughout this ethnographic process, I asked questions to my relatives to help me better understand the kind of man my grandpa was. These traits included being a family man, possessing a hard work ethic and being known for his sense of rumor and pleasant personality. As I continued to talk with family members, it became even more evident, family was the most important in Grandpa Larry’s life.
Leaving a Legacy: An ethnographic report of my great-grandmother, Lillie Hester Barnes
By Landry Hinkson
Family relationships are often some of the most influential, yet simultaneously taken for granted aspects of human life. People are relational by nature, which is why personal identity is deeply intertwined with family and relational experiences in general. It is through engaging in intentional conversation and often uncomfortable conversation that we can learn more about those we love most, and in turn learn about our own nature and tendencies. To understand my own relationship tendencies, I conducted an ethnographic project. Through a series of personal interviews with my family members, I studied the life of my great-grandmother, Lillie Hester Barnes, in order to investigate how her character and values have influenced my family and my own identity. I recorded and transcribed each interview using the app Otter ai, focusing on my grandmother, my father and my aunt. I then reviewed each interview to find common themes, finding that Hester’s life was ultimately defined by her toughness, her morality and her commitment to her family; all values that are still prioritized in my family and my own life today.
Constructing a Superconductive Race Track
By Skylar Balent
I am creating a maglev train system that will allow me to control the motion of a train car back and forth using superconductivity and electromagnetism. The track will be made of neodymium magnets wrapped in copper wire to make it electromagnetic; that way I can control the strength of the magnetic field on the track. Then I will pour liquid nitrogen inside the train car (which will have Yttrium barium copper oxide magnets inside it; YBCO for short) to levitate it on the track via the Meissner Effect (Libretexts). The goal is to use the electromagnetic field of the track to push the train car forward by increasing the current pulsing through the wire; this will increase the magnetic field along that pulse. The train car will ride on the stream of pulse “waves”, pushing the train car forward. I will be able to push it backwards by reversing the current and stop the train car by turning off the current flowing through the track, returning the magnetic field to a static state.
Ethics and Euthanasia: A Philosophical Approach to Contemporary Issues
By Claire Hubbard
This project in Applied Ethics is a combination of research into three major ethical theories (utilitarianism, Kantianism, and virtue ethics) and an application of those theoretical perspectives to the contemporary issues of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. It begins with an overview of some key background information on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. It then provides an overview of the three main theories mentioned above, including definitions and examples of important terms, to make the topic accessible to everyone, even those who have not taken a philosophy course. Applications of the three theories to the issues of euthanasia are next, with the focus being on presenting both sides of the arguement either for or against euthanasia, rather than trying to sway the audience to one side. It ends with a presentation of a contemporary ethical dilemma relating to this issue.
Fool Me Twice: recidivism, restorative justice and rural juvenile offenders
By Elizabeth Miller
Recidivism among juvenile offenders is an ongoing issue within the United States justice system. For decades, researchers have been attempting to find an effective way to reduce recidivism, especially among younger offenders. However, finding the exact cause of recidivism has proven difficult. As a result, some urban justice systems have introduced restorative justice methods as an alternative to traditional justice in an attempt to change the way that offenders are punished, and therefore change their likelihood of reoffending. This paper aims to apply the effective principles of juvenile restorative justice to rural areas. Because there is very little research regarding the efficacy of restorative justice in less populated areas, where the offenders may have different risk factors, this research helps to fill a literature gap.
“If we conquer them and take it, it does not put forth anything” — A Look into the Wealth of Mansa Musa and the Mali Empire
By Max Griffel
Mansa Musa was king of the Mali empire from 1312-1337. During his reign the Mali empire reached its height in territorial expansion and Mansa Musa went down in history as the wealthiest man ever to live. Reports have him arriving in Cairo with 48,000 pounds of gold bars and at least 4000 pounds of gold dust. Ibn Kathir would write that Musa “had so much gold with them that the rate of gold fell by two dirhams.” Despite the account of that wealth, however, little is known about Musa and perhaps even less is known about how he and his empire obtained that wealth. This paper will demonstrate that the sources of his wealth, like the reason for his visit to Cairo, had more to do with diplomacy than it did with mining.
Remember This, Too: Eastern European Memory of the Holocaust and the Ramifications of Antisemitism in the Pre- and Postwar Period Soviet Union
By Olivia Perez
The Holocaust is remembered differently in different parts of the world. While in the West, the Holocaust was a genocide against Jews, and there were relentless attempts to hold those who aided in mass murder accountable, the understanding Eastern European memory is not as sympathetic to the victims. The long standing anti-semitism of the Russian Empire, and Soviet ideology in both the pre- and post-war periods, combine to make the events and tragedies of the Holocaust are remembered differently. The anti-semitic violence of 1941 to 1945, the Holocaust, is but a horrible event in a long series of anti-semitic events, often tolerated by the government and often perpetrated by Jews’ neighbors. This paper hopes to understand both why the events of the Holocaust beyond the countries of Western Europe are remembered differently and to begin to incorporate those events into a fuller narrative of the Holocaust.
Diverse Requirements: Examining Required Courses in English Programs and the Effects
By Brendan Kachnowski
As gatekeepers of knowledge, English programs in higher education have a significant effect on recruitment and retention of students of color. While most programs draw on the conventions of scholarly organizations within the field, such as the Modern Language Association and the Society for Multi-ethnic Literature of the United States, program-specific degree requirements (e.g., whether a program emphasizes the traditional literary canon), course policies, and even donors can act as unintentional barriers to students of color. The purpose of this study is to investigate the current practices of English programs in higher education in relation to students of color. In particular, this study compares program requirements/policies and retention of students of color at public vs. private colleges/universities and small vs. large colleges/universities. While the project is in early stages at this point, my hypothesis is that programs that emphasize the traditional literary canon over multi-ethnic literatures have lower percentages of students of color.
We don’t know what we have until it’s gone: attitudes and beliefs about the natural world among Protestant pastors
By Sam Johnson
Given the limited time we have to avoid climate change’s worst ravages, it is important that we find a common way to discuss environmental attitudes and beliefs. Deeper knowledge about how people’s attitudes and beliefs about the natural world differ from their behaviors so as to explain how people respond to changing environmental conditions and actions. I conducted qualitative research interviewing eight pastors from a Great Plains city’s mainstream Protestant churches. I sought to understand the various ways religious views shaped environmental attitudes, as prior research stressed that this was an important factor. I found that, despite having different political backgrounds, most pastors stressed stewardship of the natural world instead of the dominion model often associated with Christian thought and theology. Instead, they viewed nature as God’s Creation shaped how they and their constituents treated the natural world. However, pastors indicated that the application of shared stewardship principles within their congregations differed based on the political, economic, and other cultural backgrounds and limited the formation of a shared culture of stewardship in the community.
The One Month Novel and Dystopia’s Relevance Today
By Emily Nevins
The project I will be presenting is a full length novel which I completed through the Nanowrimo, or National Novel Writing Month, program in about 5 weeks. The goal for the program typically is to write 50k words, but I adapted it for the class changing it instead to hit a 70 to 90 thousand word count. I did this because this is the average length for the genre I was writing in, young adult science fiction and fantasy and I wanted to complete a whole book from start to finish in this time. The book I wrote was about a girl in a dystopian, high-tech world that is taken from the dregs of the city and forced to pretend to be the long lost princess to keep her country safe. I wrote around 2500 words a day and ended at a word count of 78,867 for the first draft of my book. Since then I have been working on editing the book and will be reading my first chapter aloud for the presentation.
Jackson Dinsdale Art Center – Glass Studio
By Avery Muff and Christian Hessler
Working with traditional Venetian techniques, we will apply a color application technique known as murrini. This technique requires some preparation in that the colored design pieces must be made and cut beforehand. These pieces will be laid out into a pattern where they will be rolled up onto a pipe and blown out into a utilitarian vessel.
Jackson Dinsdale Art Center – Room 101
Writing, Designing and Directing a One-Act Play: A Theatre Capstone
By Kai Marshall
Jackson Dinsdale Art Center – Room 107
Hot Off the Press: New Books from Hastings College Press
By Lyette Erin and Lilly Nelms
Noon to 1:00 p.m.
Lunch for presenters, with a performance by Nikki deSeriere
Hazelrigg Student Union
Hospital Architecture and Wellbeing — Melbourne Palmer
Medical architecture that has a focus on patients needs is a growing interest in design. Patient focused design is especially important in the hospital environment where patients often stay for extended periods of time and experience high levels of stress. This research investigates whether there is a correlation between a person’s architectural satisfaction during a hospital stay and their well being.
Picturing the Early History of Photography — Melbourne Palmer
These three papers seek to analyze the history of photography as an art form. The first paper explores humans’ relationship to light throughout history and across different cultures. The second paper examines primary source materials from the mid to late 1800s to better understand the effects that photography had on individuals of this period. Finally, the third paper investigates the history of three different visual philosophies at the turn of the 20th century and how they shaped photography to be known as an art form today.
Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy — Emma Severson
Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a mitochondrial disease that causes vision loss starting usually in the second or third decade of someone’s life caused by degeneration of retinal ganglion cells. Many may never develop any vision loss because penetrance is only 10% for females and 50% for males. The symptoms of LHON can be broken down into three stages: presymptomatic stage, acute stage, and chronic stage. LHON is the most common mitochondrial disease, affecting approximately 1 in 25,000 in northeast England. This disease is caused by a number of genetic and environmental factors and does not have any currently known treatments.
Sonder: A Solo Exhibition — Savanah Ellis
For the past year I have had the chance to design and create a huge mural. It is truly a cumulation of my skills I have developed throughout the years. The title of the full mural is Let the Children Come to Me. On May 7th I plan to have my first solo exhibition, Sonder, at the Axtell Presbyterian Church. Sonder, a term coined by John Koenig and popularized by the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, is the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. Sonder perfectly describes my mentality from 2016 to the present. Sonder will show my journey with this concept while visitors look at the artworks. My Academic Showcase presentation will give the audience a little taste of what is to come from my first solo exhibition. I will be showing several of the works from 2017 to the present, as well as my most recent mural and explain how they all combine and tie into this concept of Sonder.
Synthesis of Imidazolium Chiral Ionic Liquids — Julia Reimer
Creating new chiral ionic liquids presents the opportunity to develop more applicable compounds. The purpose of the experiment was to synthesize and characterize multiple imidazole based chiral ionic liquids. The compounds were made in a two step synthesis process. We successfully synthesized eight ionic liquids with low melting points. Their characteristics were also confirmed by 1H NMR, as well as 13C NMR, by looking for the similar and different peaks. Our findings were consistent to that of previously published research. We were able to successfully synthesize 3-tert-butyl-1-(1R,2S,5R)-(-)-methoxymethyl imidazolium chloride. This specific imidazole sample has yet to be published in scientific research on ionic liquids. Further research on the tert-butyl ionic liquid could prove potentially useful applications of this novel ionic liquid.
Magnetic Susceptibility of Lithium Bismuthate Glass — Skylar Balent
Bismuthate glasses have potential uses in electronics and medicine due to bismuth being less toxic and more environmentally benign than elements such as lead or cadmium. Li2O • Bi2O3 is a diamagnetic glass family whose magnetic susceptibility has not been previously measured. The purpose of this study is to investigate the magnetic properties of alkali bismuthate glasses, as well as how these properties change upon the addition of (high-spin) Eu3+ ions. Glasses of composition x Li2O • (1-x) Bi2O3 and x Li2O • y Eu2O3 • (1-x-y) Bi2O3 were produced using plate- and roller-quench techniques. Molar susceptibilities (𝜒m) for lithium bismuthate glasses varied from approximately -90 to -20 emu/mol over the range x=0.05 to 0.95. Upon the addition of Eu3+, the glasses exhibit paramagnetic behavior characteristic of rare earth ions.
Let’s Talk About Sex: Examining Attitudes Towards HIV/AIDS — Natalie Watson
My research focuses on the attitudes towards HIV/AIDs in relation to sex education. I surveyed 104 students, faculty, and staff at Hastings College and have begun analysis on the data. Ultimately, the data will help me to understand if there is a correlation between gender and perceived prevalence of HIV/AIDs. Using the data, I will determine if my hypothesis that males perceived HIV/AIDs to be less prevalent is correct. Additionally, the data will be used to determine if there is a correlation between perceived inclusivity of sex education courses and perceived prevalence of HIV/AIDs. I have hypothesized that those who determined the sex education they received was inclusive will have a better understand of the prevalence of HIV/AIDs and will have answered that HIV/AIDs is common to very common on the questionnaire. Hopefully, the aforementioned analysis and demographic data collected can be used to improve our PHIVE-O group on campus to increase education of HIV/AIDs and decrease stigma.
The Importance of Multicultural Children’s Literature
By Grace Sinsel
Multicultural children’s literature should be available to all young children, especially within the classroom. Through multicultural literature, children are able to widen their worldview, see reflections of themselves, and develop empathy for other types of children and their situations. However, many children’s books are not diverse and often contain many stereotypes. Through my Intercultural Communications class, I tried to find a solution to this problem by writing my own multicultural children’s book with a group of people. We even got to observe its impact by reading it to a 2nd-grade classroom. I will be presenting my book, “Daniela’s Sketchbook,” talking about my observations, and sharing research about the importance of multicultural children’s literature, especially within the classroom.
“Weeds to Riches” to Rags: An environmental history of White and Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus albus and Melilotus officinalis)
By Sam Johnson
White and Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus albus and Melilotus officinalis respectively) is a largely unknown plant but has left an indelible mark throughout history on American cattle farming, beekeeping, and the American landscape itself. The invasive White and Yellow Sweet Clover became a common agricultural crop in America in the first 3 decades of the 20th Century. Farmers used Sweet Clover as a fertilizer, hay for cattle, and as a plant for honey bees, which increased agricultural profits and land values. However, its short-term agricultural benefits lead to long-term consequences for both the cattle and beekeeping industries. Farmer’s use of Sweet Clover contributed to the Dust Bowl, economic depression in the agriculture industry, and the rampant loss of pollinators we are still experiencing today. This paper seeks to contextualize White and Yellow Sweet Clover into the larger narrative of the American environment and agricultural landscape.
Beyond the Admission Letters: A Poetry Examination of Operation Varsity Blues and Racism in Higher Education
By Brendan Kachnowski
Collegiate institutions significantly affect the admittance of Latine (a gender-neutral form of the word Latino, created by LGBTQIA+, gender non-binary, and feminist communities in Spanish speaking countries) students. One such case was Operation Varsity Blues, a criminal operation that influenced undergraduate admissions at top American universities and colleges. This controversial case unveiled how several institutions actively facilitate racist college admissions practices. Using critical autoethnography, which Boylorn & Orbe (2020) describe as a method to “expand intersectional representations through autoethnography in order to interrogate cultural experiences from the inside out” (p. 9), this poetry performance underscores how Operation Varsity Blues (and other similar efforts) created irreparable implications for Latine students. This performance ultimately seeks to ensure that Latine bodies are made accessible through storytelling and shared narratives to be heard and taken seriously.
Long Skirt Hullaballoo: How the New Look Reflected Changing Gender Roles in 1950s America
By Hailey Moore
The Second World War saw men abandoning their employment to join the war effort. This left a vast hole in the workforce that needed to be filled. The hole brought a drastic change to women’s lives as for the first time in American history there was a push for women to join the workforce and the Women of America came out in force. At the conclusion of the war, women were forced out of employment to make room for men and were pushed back into the home and their role of housewife and mother.
The end of the war also brought a change to women’s fashion with the debut of Dior’s “New Look”. The “New Look” with its longer skirts, petticoats, and corsets was a vast departure from the fitted suits of the 1940s. This New fashion quickly became the unofficial uniform of the suburban housewife of the 1950s. My research aims to answer the question how did the “New Look” reflect changing gender roles in 1950s America?
Making the Limelight
By Emma Maline
In theatre, the audience’s focus is on what’s happening on the stage. However, in order for the curtain to go up, a technician has to make sure there is a curtain in the first place. In this presentation, I will be talking about the production process of the recent Hastings College Music and Theatre Dept. show, Zombie Prom. As an Assistant Stage Manager for the production, I got a glimpse of almost all aspects of the process. From designing, to building the set, costumes, props, lights, and actually running the show, just behind the curtain is an entire team making sure that everything onstage is flawless.
The Body Game: An Investigation of the Way Coaches Communicate With Athletes About Their Bodies
By Nikki deSeriere
Oftentimes an athlete is not only judged on their athletic performance, but is also judged on their body weight and appearance (Koulanova, Kuzmochka-Wilks, Lucibello, Maginn, Pila, Sabiston, Sandmeyer-Graves, 2020). This study’s purpose was to investigate any differences between male and female coaches talking to their athletes about their bodies. I wanted to identify effects of coach-to-athlete communication regarding the athlete’s body on their construction of body image. For this study I interviewed six athletes about their communication with coaches and how those interactions affected their body image. Results show: (1) high school coaches were more likely to talk to the athletes about their body, compared to their college coaches, (2) with a low number of female coaches in male sports, there is little information about how female coaches communications affects the body image of male athletes, (3) most athletes indicated issues with their body image, although not necessarily attribute to coaching. In conclusion, it is crucial for the well being of athletes to continue research on communication between coach and athlete about body image.
Worth of the Womb: Analyzing the Whitewashed Slave Narrative in The Handmaid’s Tale
By Natalie Watson
Written in 1984,Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale envisions a horrific dystopian society. Scholars have analyzed many influences on Atwood’s novel,such as its ecofeminist perspective, biblical readings, Atwood’s experiencesin West Berlin in 1984 and Reagan era abortion politics. Scholars have not, however, addressed the novel’s whitewashing of slavery. Though there are differences in the presentation of race in the novel and the adapted Hulu television series, neither comments on race specifically. Although the dystopian society of The Handmaid’s Tale is fiction, its lack of attention to race and gender intersectionality nevertheless erases the real history of slavery in the United States. What makes the novel’s fictional world dystopian is not that slavery is bad but that white women are treated like women of color.