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Pforzheimer Honors College

2011 Honors Independent Research Abstracts

Stephen Chamberlain

Mentor: Dr. Joseph Pastore
Title: Family Dynamics within Small, Family-Owned Businesses
Abstract: This paper examines family-owned businesses. Focus is on the defining values of a family business and the different structures that make an establishment a family business. The positive aspects of incorporating family members into the business, as well as some constraints that may consequently arise are assessed. People involved in tightly-woven family businesses were studied, revealing a picture of what the environment is truly like within a family-owned business. The study seeks to answer the question: Is it effective to incorporate family members in a business or do complex family dynamics create too many issues?

Olivia Drabczyk

Mentor: Dr. Marie Werner
Title: The Effect of Cultural Distinction on Mental Health Diagnosis and Treatment: Nepal
Abstract: In an effort to develop a more globally conscious understanding of the field of mental health, research was undertaken at an orphanage in Pokhara, Nepal. The thesis of this study is that specific core cultural traditions make it virtually impossible for mental health care to adopt a global standard, while simultaneously seeking to offer a globalized perspective of what is often considered solely a national issue of mental and psychological disorders. The almost complete absence of a standardized system of mental health classification in Nepal, as well as the lack of formal mental health institutions and/or treatment centers, are evaluated. Further study will be carried out in Nepal next year under the supervision of the Fulbright commission.

Patrick Finnegan

Mentor: Dr. Carl Malinowski
Title: Marketable Differences: Analysis of Disparity between the United States and Barbados in the Marketing of Rum
Abstract: This study analyzes and assesses the disparities in the marketing of rum by companies in both Barbados and the United States. Rum is a popular alcoholic beverage in both countries. However, examination of the differences in cultures, economies, demographics, and target audience elicits some interesting results. Primary research included distributing surveys in Barbados and the United States, as well as conducting in-person and e-mail interviews with directors of rum marketing in both countries.

Kayla Holewienko

Mentor: Prof. Claudia Li
Title: The Impact of Major Accounting Scandals on Corporate Codes of Ethics during the Last Decade
Abstract: As a result of the major accounting scandals of 2002, the ethical behavior of the accounting profession has become an important issue among business professionals, the United States government, and society as a whole. Accounting scandals in companies like Enron and WorldCom have led to stricter corporate governance through the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as well as the revision of companies’ corporate codes of ethics. This paper examines a number of companies that amended their corporate codes of ethics; how this effected the employees’ perception of ethics; and ethics as a deterrent to fraud in the business world. Future business professionals must understand the importance of ethics in the corporate world and the consequences should they choose to engage in unethical behavior.

Brandon Lentine

Mentor: Dr. Nancy Krucher
Title: Site Specific Dephosphorylation of Retinoblastoma Leads to Cell Death and Growth Arrest of Breast Cancer
Abstract: The Retinoblastoma (Rb) tumor suppressor is a protein involved in cancer growth and its role is determined by its phosphorylation state. Cancer cells have highly phosphorylated Rb and are not sufficiently dephosphorylated by Protein Phosphate 1 (PP1) to limit cell growth. PP1 is regulated by the Phosphate Nuclear Subunit (PNUTS) protein. Our data are derived from the following lab techniques: human cell culture of breast and colon (cancerous and healthy), cell lysis, SDS-PAGE, western blotting and RNA interference to study protein and molecular pathways. The PI3K-AKT cellular signaling pathway is openly disrupted in cancer leading to uncontrolled cell growth and PNUTS protein allows PP1 to dephosphorylation Rb and leads to cell death in cancer cells but not in healthy cells. We believe that Rb dephosphorylation of certain amino acids leads to growth arrest, while dephosphorylation of others leads to cell death.

Melissa Muckle

Mentor: Prof. Claudia Li
Title: The Adoption of IFRS in EU, Australia, and New Zealand:Can Their Experiences Help the United States?
Abstract: The harmonization of accounting standards around the world is growing rapidly. International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) make it easier for companies to comply with reporting requirements; with increasing globalization, companies that implement IFRS have an advantage over companies still using local Generally Accepted Accounting Standards (GAAP). A great deal of research has been done on the countries that adopted IFRS, the process of implementation, and the subsequent outcomes. In order to gauge how the United States might respond to the implementation of IFRS, this study examines the outcomes encountered by other countries that adopted IFRS. If the United States does decide to implement IFRS, it may be limited to public companies, or private companies may be required to comply as well.

Erik Nykwest

Mentor: Dr. Mohsen Shiri-Garakani
Title:Physics in Action: A Visual Approach
Abstract: An introductory-level, algebra-based course (lecture + lab) in general physics was created that is intended to be accessible to a wide range of students including non-science majors, exploring, or any student with an interest in basic physics. The lectures, which include topics such as "Newton's Laws of Motion" and "Energy and Momentum" are accompanied with a series of hands-on and laboratory-based experiments, including several exciting new experiments designed using a high speed camera. Emphasis is on real life phenomena that capture and demonstrate fundamental principles of physics.

Marlena Peszt

Mentor: Dr. Patricia Healy
Title: Canada’s Conversion from Canadian GAAP to IFRS
Abstract: IFRS is the International Financial Reporting System this is being implemented to simplify international commerce and make it easier for investors to understand the financials of international companies. This paper analyzes Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to demonstrate the conversion process to IFRS. Minor differences exist between GAAP and IFRS. The integration process and the hope that the United States will be able to make the necessary changes and improve the process to result in a smooth transition are discussed.

Jacqueline Smith

Mentor: Prof. Padmaja Kadiyala
Title: The Boom of China: Companies and Financial Reform
Abstract: Over the past few decades, the Chinese economy has expanded rapidly. China is the world’s second largest economy, after the United States, and is expected to continue to grow and prosper. The growth of the economy is due to the expansion of Chinese companies, but to what is to the success of these companies due? A major contribution to their success is the financial reform of 2006, the implementation of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Enterprise Bankruptcy. The law increased the protection companies were given in terms of bankruptcy, which caused companies to change their decisions regarding long-term debt. By analyzing certain Chinese companies in a variety of industries, it becomes possible to understand how the reform affected different industries in China and their ability to expand by using debt holdings to their advantage.

Matthew Tyburski

Mentor: Dr. Pradeep Gopalakrishna
Title: Cross Cultural Differences between Asian Americans and Americans
Abstract: In recent times, marketers have begun to realize the importance of cultural differences amongst the cultures that they are targeting. Specifically, differences between Asian and American cultures are widely studied, which is demonstrated by articles such as "A comparison of American and Indian consumer perceptions of Electronic Commerce" (Van Slyke, 2005). Additionally, sociologist Geert Hofstede explained many of these differences with his six cultural dimensions. His work is considered the framework for cross-cultural studies, and will be the basis of this particular academic work. The present study will attempt to make evident that cultural differences between Asian-American and American cultures will affect the way that they shop.

Christopher Uhlick

Mentor: Dr. Ross Robak and Prof. Christopher Walther
Title: Cultural Differences in Compassionate Love
Abstract: This research project studies compassionate love and other psychological motives. Compassionate love is characterized by mutual respect, attachment, affection, and trust. Research has shown several elements to be present in compassionate love: cognitive understanding of the situation, understanding of the self, openness and receptivity, and an emotional response. Many studies have examined the differences in cultures, especially in regard to such psychological motives as autonomy and relatedness. Results have shown that, based on the culture of the country, and whether it is collective or individualistic, certain values rank higher than others.The importance of compassionate love among people in the United States and in Barbados is analyzed. The Bajan culture is quite relaxed, unlike the fast-paced lifestyle in the U.S. By conducting surveys of college students in the United States and the Caribbean, insight into the significance of, and differences in, compassionate love across cultures may be evaluated.

Jessica Wade

Mentor: Prof. Robert Klaeger
Title:Film Editing: An Invisible Art
Abstract: A critical step in the production of a film, television show, or commercial is editing, as it is the process that brings together different shots to create a story. This project focuses on film editing and its effect on the viewer. Editing is an invisible art to the untrained eye; the purpose of this presentation is to teach viewers how to see the magic that takes place in the cutting room. Through the analysis of basic cuts in editing that are essential to evoking emotion, compressing time, or advancing a story, viewers will gain the ability to understand the motive behind each shot on the screen. Attendance at Maine Media’s weeklong workshop on editing with Final Cut Pro furthered my understanding of an editor’s job of combining shots, words, and music into a cohesive and engaging piece.