2008 GSURC Winning Presentation Abstracts
Faculty Sponsors: Liz Throop and Paul Rodecker
I have been sewing since I was 12, and it has been a hobby ever since. Though I've seen many sewn flowers and hearts and cross-stitched platitudes, I did not find a way to merge my hobby with fine art until I was introduced to Ghada Amer's work in a class taught by Merrie Wright. The loose, textured lines of thread in her work immediately inspired me.
For this project, I wanted to create a self-portrait that would have interplay between controlled and uncontrolled lines. The sewn lines are tight, but I have left the loose ends to fall as they may. Every time I move the piece, the loose threads shift, create new connections, and change the overall piece. I have not used any kind of glue on the piece. Like most women, I have spent far too much of my life concerned with my body; an honest self-portrait would be painfully difficult to create in any other medium. However, the forced simplification of sewn line allowed me to achieve a self-portrait that is totally honest and completely unrecognizable.
Julia Kaye Thomas
Faculty Sponsor: Mark Burleson
Since the early years of my ceramic career, I have been interested in exploring the idea of energy and its relationship to the human body. My work has developed into a study of the energy flowing out of my body and into the body of my clay, not only in form, but also in surface design. The movement of the form and the loose decoration maintain a dynamic energy that brings each piece alive. I feel as though the elements in conjunction with one another are an extension of the energy flowing from my body. One element about ceramic work that I find most intriguing is the fact that clay holds memory. The memory that is held by the clay is very similar to that of the human conscience. The clay remembers what it has been, as does the human mind. I have chosen bottles to represent these elements because bottles are figurative in form, and yet beautiful and graceful like the flow of energy.
My artwork involves research in several different areas of the ceramic field. I began my research by creating my own clay body from a recipe of dried materials that was best suited to my ceramic work. Along with formulating my own clay body, I have also formulated my own slips, which by definition is liquid clay. Slip is used as decoration on the form, similarly to glaze. Additionally, I have been exploring energy conservation in the firing of my work to save time and natural resources. Typically, a ceramic form is fired twice in a kiln, however, by implementing a single firing process I have cut the firing time and natural resources used in half.
"Neural Circuitry Involved with the Regulation of Food Intake"
Bianca Lester, Erin Keen-Rhinehart, Brett Teubner, and Teal Pelish
Faculty Sponsor: Timothy Bartness
Obesity is serious public health problem that is now recognized as an epidemic and a primary risk factor for atherosclerosis, stroke and congestive heart failure, to name a few. One logical strategy to figuring out how to reverse obesity, if not prevent it, is to better understand the development of obesity. Obesity, a result of chronic positive energy balance occurs when food eaten and stored exceeds energy expended. A component of this energy balance equation that receives much attention for weight management is food intake. To this end pharmaceutical companies are focused on drugs that suppress appetite, and therefore decrease food intake. The fundamental designs for these drugs in the market are based on understanding the neurocircuitry that controls appetite and food intake.
Two neuropeptides that have received much attention for their roles in increasing food intake are the agouti-related peptide (AgRP) and the neuropeptide Y (NPY). Both of these neuropeptides independently, increase food intake upon inducing c-Fos activity (marker of neuronal stimulation) within the paraventricular hypothalamus (known feeding center of the brain). Curiously, these two proteins are produced within the same cells of the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus that project to the paraventricular hypothalamus, and are both released in times of fasting. This poses the question as to whether, or not the two neuropeptides work synergistically to increase food intake. In this study, we tested to see if the two neuropeptides, at ineffective subthreshold doses when given independently, increase food intake when given together as a cocktail.
"Predicting Victims' Responses: Correlations in a Study of Street Harassment"
Tracy Hipp and Kim Soenksen
Faculty Sponsor: Sarah Cook
Street harassment, the unwanted and/or unsolicited sexual attention by strangers in public, is a common social problem linked to negative psychological outcomes and physiological repercussions (Gruber & Bjorn, 1986; Stanko, 1990; Gutek & Koss, 1993; Fitzgerald, 1993; Garnder, 1995) Prevalence rates of street harassment vary greatly, with reports of women’s experiences of street harassment on college campuses ranging from 30% to 70% (Belknap & Erez’s, 1995; Adams, Kottke, & Padgitt, 1983). The experience of street harassment on the Georgia State University campus is common for female students. From a random sample of 53 women whom we asked to describe a memorable incident with a stranger on the GSU campus, 29 (55%) described experiences of street harassment.
The current study seeks to better understand not only women’s experiences of harassment but also women’s responses to the initiator (harasser) of street harassment. Perceptions of safety are thought to be key factors in how and why the target of street harassment would respond. From a larger survey conducted by the GSU’s Psychology Department Street Harassment Collaborative in 2005, the researchers analyzed four variables which we hypothesized to be predictors of victims’ responses. A correlational analysis was conducted to test the predictive value of the variable: 1. behav ior described (e.g.: physical contact, whistling) 2. number in each party (e.g.: initiator/target alone or in group) 3. role of fear (e.g.: reported level of fear in deciding how to respond) 4. perception of control (e.g.: feeling in-control or out of control of the situation).
"Mantra: Power and Sacred Sound in Hinduism"
Faculty Sponsor: Kathryn McClymond
My research explores the origins and continued role of mantra and sacred sound in the Hindu tradition. While part of a larger research project completed for Dr. McClymond's course on Hinduism, my presentation will center on a more focused exploration. In my presentation I would like to discuss the role of mantra (highly structured, stylized utterances used in ritual practice) as the locus of power in Hindu ritual (both sacrifice and daily puja practice) and also as the bridge that connects the human realm and the divine realm, directly linking the Hindu practitioner with the sacred. This discussion will explain that through mantra, the practitioner accesses the power of creation and utilizes it to ritually impact and maintain the world. In this way, mantra serves as the source of manifestation and creative ritual power as well as a signifier of the sacred. Finally, in addition to exploring its ritual significance, I would like to discuss the socio-cultural role that mantra may have played in the transition from the hierarchical Vedic period (c. 1500 BCE - 500 BCE), to the more personal Epic or Classical Period (c. 400 BCE - 400 CE), a transition whose effects have continued to the present day.
"Meloy's Healing through Wilderness"
Faculty Sponsor: Randy Malamud
In most Western literature, nature is presented as a wild beast that must be conquered and controlled. Humankind’ s challenge is over nature as opposed to creating a harmony with nature. Ellen Meloy (1946-2004), wrote nature memoirs which criticize the alienating relationship the United States has with its natural surroundings. I argue that in her book Anthropology of Turquoise (2002), Meloy advocates returning to wilderness as a welcomed inconvenience in order to heal America’s postmodern alienation from nature.
Through Meloy’s travel stories of the Mojave, the Colorado River, and her backyard, she concludes that most Americans do not really enter the wilderness. They go into the wild with their Global Positioning Systems, guns, trucks, and other technologies that reinforce their belief of control and resistance to inconveniences. The technology parades as safety measures, but actually serves to comfort our fear of vulnerability. Industrialization has given humans the false impression that they are above nature’s force.
Meloy relates how her region, the Utah desert, has sectioned off bits of land, labeling areas of "civilization" and "wilderness." Meloy writes, "Fences carve out the individual from the communal, they announce, depending on your point of view, what is kept in or what is kept out" (135). The problem with creating and relying on borders is that they give a false impression that the two neighboring environments do not affect one another. Therefore, Americans have successfully set up the impression that their modern life is severed from the natural world.