Amanda Amos, Jennifer Gjelaj, and Valerie Lakestream
Mentor: Prof. Peter Edelstein
Title: Who Can Help Me? A Brochure of Common Legal Issues
Abstract: Law 214: Introduction to Law and the Legal System is an Honors course taught by Prof. Edelstein that presents the basics of law, including issues covering contract law, something many people experience daily. As an AOK1 class, there is a civic engagement component in which the students contribute to the community. The Law 214 students created a brochure of resources that a person in need of assistance can use. Issues covered within this brochure include dispute resolution, domestic issues, employment, family issues, substance abuse, victims' rights, and emergency services. The students visited and researched various sources of contact law for those in need in Westchester County in order to compile the brochure. The brochure is available in public places throughout Westchester County and online.
Mentor: Dr. Nancy Krucher
Title: PNUTS RNAi-Induced Apoptosis Dependent upon the Cleavage State of the Rb Tumor Suppressor
Abstract: Specific alterations in molecules that control cell proliferation can lead to cancer. In previous studies we have shown that by inhibiting Phosphate Nuclear Targeting Subunit (PNUTS) we alter the phosphorylation state of the well-studied tumor suppressor protein, Retinoblastoma (RB). This alteration led to an increase in programmed cell death (apoptosis). There is also evidence supporting the theory that the cleavage of the DEAD-G amino acid site on the c-terminus of the RB protein plays a significant role in apoptosis. We believe that the inhibition of PNUTS leads to RB cleavage, which then causes cell death. The purpose of this study was to elucidate exactly how this process occurs. In order to test this, we used Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts (MEF) that contain normal, wild type RB (WT) and a cell line that has been genetically modified (MEF-MI) so that Rb is resistant to cleavage at the c-terminus. When PNUTS was knocked out in the wild type cells, we found a substantial amount of apoptosis. In contrast, there was an absence of apoptosis in the MEF-MI cell line. This result suggest that PNUTS inhibition directly affects the cleavage of RB, apoptosis, and potentially plays an important role in a pathway leading to cancer. Additional studies were performed to determine whether this event is important in MCF7 cells, which were originally isolated from a breast cancer patient.
Mentor: Dr. Bette Kirschstein
Title: Bold Maid Marian: An Anti-Authoritative Analysis of Maid Marian in the Robin Hood Legend
Abstract: This literary analysis examines the characteristics of Maid Marian in various versions of the Robin Hood Legend. Originally intended as a love interest to Robin Hood, Maid Marian’s addition to the legend brought a strong-willed and independent-thinking woman into a story dominated by men. As a woman of the Middle Ages who stands up to authority, Maid Marian enhances the anti-authoritative nature of the legend. The representative retellings to be discussed are the following: “Robin Hood and Maid Marian” Ballad (16th century); “The Downfall of Robert, Earle of Huntington” and “The Death of Robert, Earle of Huntington” by Anthony Munday (1601); Maid Marian by Thomas Love Peacock (1822); “The Adventures of Robin Hood” by Roger Lancelyn Green (1956); The Forestwife by Theresa Tomlinson (1993); and Maid Marian by Elsa Watson (2004).
Mentor: Prof. Robert Klaeger
Title: Advanced Cinematography: Steadicam and Jib
Abstract: An in-depth hands-on study of the operation of specialized equipment used in filmmaking, was undertaken, including an analysis of the various uses of the Steadicam and camera jib in feature films and television. Instruction on Steadicam operation was received at the Lake Arrowhead Steadicam Classic Workshop during a 7-day intensive course taught by the top Steadicam operators in the world including Garrett Brown, the inventor of the Steadicam, and operator Jerry Holway. The training covered the physics behind the Steadicam, basic and advanced operation techniques, an analysis of the moving camera, vehicle mounts, environmental obstacles, and creating an operator’s business plan. The camera jib is a boom device that allows for fluid camera movement both vertically and horizontally and is helpful in capturing high shots and long vertical shots. The training included exercises using the camera jib that simulate common shots performed using the device. The culmination of the study was the development of a reel consisting of shots that demonstrates the versatility of Steadicam and Jib operation skills acquired during the Independent Study.
Mentor: Dr. Fran Delahanty
Title: Sustainable Business
Abstract: This project analyzes the true definition of sustainable business in the new millennium. An attempt will be made to define sustainable business in terms of current definitions and practices set forth by governments, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and International Governmental Organizations (IGOs). The levels and types of sustainability being practiced by companies from different industries around the world are studied. Each company's sustainable initiatives are examined from three perspectives (the Triple Bottom Line): Economic, Social, and Environmental. Lastly, the future of sustainable business will be considered. Can we have truly sustainable business? What is the role of the public? What is the role of the government?
Mentor: Dr. Alma Wattley
Title: Literacy in Urban South Africa
Abstract: This research project examines the literacy of ESL students in urban South Africa. South Africa has eleven official languages, which makes most of its young students secondary learners to English. Volunteer programs and core curricula in grade schools aim to assist these children in their reading skills and introduce English to students. Efforts such as these make the language available, but there is still great difficulty in reading comprehension. The field research in this presentation is derived from a month-long stay at Prestwich Primary School, located in Cape Town, and will demonstrate the tremendous difficulties urban South Africa is having with literacy advancement. Moreover, although the children of Cape Town face many adversities and are not reading on their age level, they were all very eager to participate and anxious to learn. Throughout the month, the children's daily tutoring sessions improved their reading skills. Updates from their Vice Principal report that the children have been studying their material and performing better on tests.
Mentor: Dr. Sergey Kazakov
Title: Controlling Germination through Understanding Spore Cortex Swelling/De-Swelling
Abstract: The present work concentrates on swelling and shrinking as a regulatory mechanism controlling the primary steps of spore germination. Through understanding of spore germination, one will potentially be able to prevent and destroy bacteria that produce problems in many areas such as illness and foods. The specific goal of this project is to model the swelling ability of the cortex peptidoglycan at different degrees of protonation of ionizable groups. Chemical structure of the cortex peptidoglycan matrix was analyzed to reveal the types and amount of ionizable groups in the repetitive unit. Factors affecting the volume change of the cortex were discussed. A thermodynamic model of volume phase transition in the cortex peptidoglycan was formulated.
Mentor: Professor Joan Katen and Dr. Meghana Nayak
Title: Iraqi Refugee Perspectives in Egypt
Abstract: This study was done via filmed interviews with Iraqi refugees living in Egypt during June and July 2008. The intent was to provide a glimpse of the trials people on the other side of the war face. Currently, there are about 70,000 Iraqis taking refuge in Egypt, many of whom are unable to work, afford medical care, send their children to public school, or legally own property. Because of this, many face extreme poverty and are quickly running out of time. Questions during interviews revolved around individual stories, feelings toward Americans, and experiences that caused entire families to leave everything in Iraq.
Caitlin Portanova and Sara Propper
Mentor: Professor Anthony Alfonso
Title: Bilingual Education
Abstract: This research project studied the Bilingual Education Program in John F. Kennedy Magnet School in Port Chester, New York. Bilingual teachers in the first through fourth grades were interviewed. Bilingual students who are in the program and those who have placed out of it were also interviewed. The principal and teachers who are not bilingual teachers were consulted. This study assessed the functionality of the bilingual program on an academic and social level, the goal being to learn more about the benefits and disadvantages of a bilingual program and how practices used in these classrooms can carry over into other classrooms and real life. The presentation will be in Power Point with video clips of the interviews.
Mentor: Professor Philip Finn
Title: The Liability of Accountants
Abstract: This paper looks at the history of the liability of accounting firms going back to the Securities Act of 1933 through the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. Legislation as well as law cases that set precedence are examined. The difference in the way accounting firms were treated before the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was passed and after the Act are evaluated, and larger firms are compared with smaller firms. The paper concludes that courts have been harder on accountants after Sarbanes-Oxley was passed and they are trying to uphold the strong principals that were set by the Act. The paper also concludes that there is no difference in the way the larger firms are treated as compared to smaller ones.
Mentor: Dr. John Horne
Title: Using Fluorescence Microscopy to Visualize Development of the Brain in Zebrafish Embryos
Abstract: This project focuses on the development of the neurons in the Zebrafish in the embryonic stage. Bacterium is used in order to grow a necessary amount of DNA. Once the DNA is grown it is purified and ready for use. The Zebrafish are matted in order to have the embryos at the correct stage of development (approximately two days). The embryos are then collected. A tiny needle is used to inject the DNA, which has fluorescent dye mixed with it, into the brain of the Zebrafish. Microscopic pictures were taken of the embryos where the neurons, dendrites, and axons being used can be seen. These pictures were analyzed to provide graphic data for the presentation.
Mentor: Dr. Durahn Taylor
Title: 3-Player Chess: The Memoirs of Montgomery, Rommel, and Clark During the North African Campaign (1940-1943)
Abstract: When people think of World War II, key battles come to mind: Normandy, Stalingrad, Iwo Jima and Midway to name a few. Often the two major war arenas of Europe and the Pacific are acknowledged and studied in-depth. However, a third arena is often ignored, grouped with another arena, or is not recognized for its pivotal significance. The North African Campaign is that third arena, dictating the future direction of the war for both the Allied and Axis Powers. This paper examines the insights of British General Bernard L. Montgomery, German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, and American Deputy Commander in Chief of the Allied Forces Mark W. Clark and the unique relationship between the British and American forces in North Africa, as well as Rommel's tumultuous relationship with Hitler. Rommel, Montgomery, and Clark, in their memoirs, each provide excellent reflections on the planning and execution of the battles during the North African campaign, the impact of geography and the effects of the battles on the war effort. These primary sources provide an authentic account of events, as well as the thoughts, sentiments, and reactions of these men. The fall of North Africa to the Allies led to the Allied invasion of Italy and proved to be the turning point of the war in the Allies' favor.
Mentor: Professor George Picoulas
Title: Effects of the Privatization of Governmental Functions
Abstract: This project studies the effects of privatizing governmental functions to private firms. Through the examination of firms such as KBR (engineering), Halliburton (oil), and Blackwater (private security), the cost effectiveness of out-sourcing these industries and the political ramifications will be assessed. The role that political corruption may play in privatization and how this can lead to a lack of accountability for these firms is discussed. The war in Iraq has made this topic prevalent and controversial in politics.