The University of Minnesota, Morris Undergraduate Research Symposium offers undergraduates the opportunity to present their research, creative work, or art performances to their peers, faculty, and the campus community. For more information, see the Undergraduate Research Symposium website . The 2014 Undergraduate Research Symposium was held on Saturday, April 12, 2014.
This study examined attitudes toward drug and substance use during emerging adulthood (18-26 years of age), a stage of the life span that works as a transition into adulthood and is defined by exploration and openness. Since drug and substance use among emerging adults is often a subject of current debates, it is important that more research is done about why young people think of certain drugs the way they do. Specifically, this study focused on how perceptions of drug and substance abuse are related to cultural values (individualism/collectivism) during emerging adulthood. To accomplish this goal, attitudes towards drugs in general, alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco were compared to levels of emerging adulthood and the cultural variables of individualism and collectivism. To quantify these attitudes and variables, 200 participants (18-26 years of age, 133 females, 65 males, and 1 trans*) responded to an online survey with questionnaires assessing attitudes towards drug use, beliefs about consequences of three different drugs, emerging adulthood development, individualism/collectivism, and demographic background. It is expected that (1) students with higher levels of emerging adulthood exploration would be more likely see drugs more positively, and (2) that students who are more individualistic will also tend to see drug use in a more positive way, as individualism supports choice and self-exploration. Results are expected to be relevant for achieving a better understanding of the way people think about drugs. If evidence demonstrates factors in these attitudes, incorrect or harmful attitudes can be targeted through these areas.
In 1902, art historian, Aby Warburg, asserted that in Renaissance Italy, "works of art owed their making to the mutual understanding between patrons and artists. The works were, from the outset, the results of a negotiation between client and executant". This research seeks to examine patronage relationships in the context of politically fragmented Renaissance Italy to further our understanding of art's ability to promote political, ideological, or religious agendas. By referencing renowned works of art from the Italian Renaissance, I attempt to identify the significance of using culture and art as a rhetorical tool, rather than other more direct avenues, through economic inquiry. Contrary to a traditional patronage relationship pitting the interests of the patron and artist against one another, Renaissance Italy saw the unification of both parties’ interest in appeasing contemporary, future, and heavenly audiences. I illustrate the advantage of adhering to the standards of each intertwined audience, as both patron and artist are able to present themselves as servants of both the city and God, affording them positions of great influence within their communities. Finally, I discuss the increase in demand of commissioned artworks to help demonstrate the prevalence of contending ideologies and agendas being advocated by the competing families sponsoring them. This research contributes to ongoing dialogue about an individual's ability to act as a message-sender in a changing rhetorical landscape.
Conner Lewis and Amanda Wiener
Although some research exists regarding collegiate GPAs, little is known about which individual student characteristics predict college graduation. We study 100 students from the University of Minnesota Morris. Information collected includes demographics, standard personality traits (known in Psychology as the “Big Five”), two economic preferences (risk aversion and patience), and three cognitive skills (numeracy, non-verbal IQ, “Hit15”).“Hit 15” is a game played against the computer in which each player must add 1, 2, or 3 on each turn. Winning is exactly hitting fifteen first; players take turns going first and the starting point total varies (game theory calls solving this “backward induction”).
Using standardized versions of our variables in multivariate models, we analyze their power to predict three student success measures—timely graduation (≤ 4 years), graduation at all (≤ 6 years), and GPA. Controlling for other measured characteristics the “Hit 15” measure weakly predicts 4-year graduation and strongly predicts 6-year graduation. Interestingly, “Hit 15” is more powerful than other cognitive skills in a combined multivariate model.
We compare these findings to results from parallel models run on a cohort of 1,065 trainee truckers, from whom identical initial measures were collected. Similar to the student cohort, “Hit 15” is strongly associated with trucking success over time—defined as completing a one-year training contract. This suggests “Hit 15” deserves further investigation as it captures something above our other measures in both settings: the ability to think backwards from future goals to determine the best current action to take under varying circumstances.
World Health Organization reports suggest that approximately 101 million girls under the age of ten have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Africa alone. FGM comes to the forefront as a direct violation of every woman’s basic human rights to a good, healthy, and painless existence, free form discrimination. Most studies focus on a medical approach to FGM. They show that the practice causes several serious diseases and fatal health risks through the use of unsterilized non-surgical instruments and environments, which lead to infertility, genital infections, psychological problems and, death. My research focuses on the less studied socio-legal aspects of FGM. I will present an up-to-date investigation on the association between current FGM laws and their relationship with political situations and cultural practices in Ethiopia, Egypt, Somalia and Sudan. For example, I will evaluate whether the laws of these countries meet international and domestic standards of Human Rights. In addition, I will briefly discuss reasons behind the failure to contain FGM, and will address ways to mitigate the menace of FGM through education and raising awareness of the issue. Our understanding of these issues is crucial since the scholarly literature shows that in countries that already have legal measures against the practice, societal pressure to conform is cited as the main reason for continuing the practice.
The purpose of my study is to examine how Latinos’ cultural health beliefs impact their illness behaviors in a rural setting in comparison to White individuals. Illness behavior is defined as the manner in which a person monitors their body, interprets their symptoms, and their reactions to those symptoms. Although Latino immigrants suffer from higher rates of treatable diseases, they are largely underutilizing the healthcare system in the U.S. The Andersen model of healthcare utilization is the most commonly used model for predicting utilization based on the person's environment (i.e. healthcare system) and personal characteristics (i.e. personal need, available resources, predisposing characteristics). Many studies across the U.S. have looked at health disparities within the Latino immigrant population, specifically looking at issues within the healthcare system and other physical barriers to receiving healthcare (e.g. socioeconomic or immigration status). However, no studies have explored illness behaviors and how the Latino culture impacts these behaviors. We sampled N=40 women about their cultural health beliefs in an American healthcare system by using free-listing questions, rankings of importance of health behaviors, and closed survey questions. Our hypothesis compared to Euro-American women, Latinas’ healthcare utilization is largely dependent upon their access to healthcare and health insurance (as previous studies have shown), and their decision to utilize health facilities also relies on their cultural socialization of illness behaviors. Recognizing this additional factor will allow local health facilities on better ways to communicate and encourage health utilization to this population.
Heather L. Waye and Kirsten T. Sharpe
The eastern tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) is a widely distributed amphibian ranging from Northern Minnesota, down to Florida, and over to the east coast of the United States (Oldfield and Moriarty, 1994). As populations within the species are diverse and seldom studies have been done in the area of radio telemetry in tiger salamanders, there is a need for information in this field. This project was the first of its kind to be implemented in Minnesota.
In an effort to more fully understand the ecology of this species, this research attempts to provide vital information that will allow a better understanding of the tiger salamander and how the species utilizes the habitat around them. This research will provide important information regarding conservation management and land use methods, as these amphibians have specific habitat needs, such as vegetative structure, moisture requirements, and corridors for dispersal (Dodd and Seigel, 1991).