Hood College Student Works

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    Love Letter Part I: Connecting with Nature
    (2024-05-17) Catalina Maria Chiquillo; Natalia Kormeluk; Hood College Art and Archeology; Ceramics Arts
    People are influenced by the connections they make with their environment. Indigenous teachings encourage relationships with all living things based on responsibility, respect, reciprocity, kinship, love, peace, compassion, gratitude, and harmony. Contemporary psychologists have established that spending time in nature substantially alters a person’s life and well-being. This project identifies the importance of interdependency between humans and the natural world and uses ceramic vessels to inspire viewers to connect with nature. Through adjustments made in the type of clay, the glaze, and the firing cycles, the forms and carvings on my vessels remind viewers of the ongoing dialogue with our environment. Findings are discussed by developing cone six and cone ten temperatures within the same firing. Through clay and the wood firing process, the vessels highlight the beauty of nature with its complex forms and bring attention to fundamental indigenous precepts, contemporary psychological research, and the importance of connecting with Mother Earth.
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    The United States Systematically Divided Humanity using Race and Religion
    (2024-05-16) Michelle Townsend; Dr. Noel Verzosa; Hood College Arts and Humanities; Hood College Humanitites (M.A.)
    Using my own personal cultural experiences and graduate studies in Humanities, I have chosen three of my previously written graduate research papers to explain how race and religion have been used in America to create and uphold systemic forms of oppression and outcasting of other human beings. These papers focus on the concepts that were used to separate Americans from its infancy by primarily using race and religion to force Native Americans and Africans into assimilation of European culture. The first paper is “Early American Religions Inflicted Brutal Racism on Native Americans using Christianity and Education” from course 560P, Faith and Belief America with Dr. Jay Harrison in Summer II 2020. In this paper, I argued that English colonizers began redefining the cultural make-up of the United States by forcing ethnic cleansing on Native Americans that were the indigenous people of North America. The second paper, “Birth of a Nation” is Based more on Propaganda than Factual History” from course 560O, Cinema in Context with Dr. Aaron Angello in Fall 2019. I explained how, even though this movie was the first blockbuster in filmmaking, at the same time, was morally unacceptable for society and created demoralizing characterizations of black Americans. Lastly, the third paper is “Comparing Three ‘Doll Test’ Findings and Recommendations” from course 560S, Outcasts and Others In Medieval And Early Modern Europe with Dr. April Morrison in Spring 2022. In this paper, I identify the complexities of negative visual imagery and the effects it has on the viewer by comparing the original “Doll Test” of 1947 to two other more recent Doll Test studies and compare the results.
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    A Phenomenological Study of a Unique High School Program and Its Influence on College and Career Readiness
    (2024) Brad W. Young, CFP/CTFA; Hood College Education; Hood College Organizational Leadership
    A Phenomenological Study of a Unique High School Program and Its Influence on College and Career Readiness Brad W. Young, DOL Committee Chair: Jennifer Locraft Cuddapah, Ed.D. ABSTRACT A committee comprised of the former state superintendent and educational leaders launched a unique high school program (pseudonym Connections) to support the delivery of a high school curriculum that would prepare students for college and careers. Students in Connections complete their 4 years of high school, supported by an Advocate who guides them in developing a personal plan to help them select courses and experiences. It was implemented in 2016 in one of 10 comprehensive high schools in a mid-Atlantic public school district. This phenomenological study explored 16 of these graduates’ lived experiences. The research was conducted to help other researchers and those interested in evaluating what graduates find compelling in assisting them in preparing for college or the workforce. Participants were interviewed using a semi-structured protocol. Additionally, four key staff members and three business partners were interviewed. These supplemental interviews, as well as a researcher journal used to mitigate bias, provided data triangulation. Using Social Cognitive Theory as the Theoretical Framework and Positive Youth Development as the Conceptual Framework was used to analze for a deeper understanding. The research addressed the participants’ perceived value of various program aspects. Five themes were present in the graduate’s experiences: (1) appreciation of college and business visits, (2) increased feeling of being well-prepared, (3) appreciation of dual enrollment, (4) appreciation of exploring career and college options, and ultimately, (5) elimination or reduction of stress. Sub-themes were also identified. Findings reinforce the value of having a formal Advocate position and business and college visits by students. Implications and recommendations for policymakers include providing additional funding for Advocates, improving how students receive credit for classes through demonstrating mastery, making it easier for employers to offer experiential opportunities, and providing more transportation. Future studies should consider including parents. They should also include graduates who attended all 4 years in person, who had adverse outcomes after they had completed college or 4 years in the workforce, and who are more representative of the school’s population.
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    Biochemical, Bioinformatic, and Microbiological Characterization of Cellulolytic Bacteria for Biofuels
    (2024-05-12) Madeline Schwab; Dr. Craig Laufer; Hood College Department of Biology; Hood College Departmental Honors
    Interest in biofuels as a renewable energy source has increased over the years to combat the effects of burning fossil fuels on the climate. Biofuels are categorized as first, second, and third-generation, each having a defined feedstock. All three have advantages and disadvantages, but second-generation is the most promising biofuel production method, utilizing non-food wastes as its feedstock. The wastes, such as corn husks, are made of lignocellulosic biomass. To produce biofuels, the biomass must be degraded by enzymes into sugars. The sugars then undergo fermentation, producing ethanol that is distilled into fuel. An issue is finding microorganisms capable of producing enzymes for biomass breakdown. The current research focuses on finding cellulases, enzymes that break down cellulose, the most abundant biomass found in plants. The bacteria collected were characterized and assayed for cellulase activity, with various genera exhibiting activity. The most prominent was Bacillus, which showed, on average, strong cellulase activity. The assays' results allow for future experiments to reassess suitable ways to quantify cellulase activity and find an efficient cellulase to aid in the production of second-generation biofuels.
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    The Impact of COVID-19 on Work-Life Balance Policy Disclosures of the Top Fortune 500 Companies: An Empirical Investigation
    (2024-05-08) Radwan, Rania; Jose, Anita; Bands, Kathleen; Jim,Carol; Hood College Education; Hood College Organizational Leadership
    The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread challenges across the different sectors of the economy, significantly disrupting organizations and human resource management (HRM) practices. In response, employers have pivoted towards flexible work arrangements and enhanced Work-Life Balance (WLB) policies to safeguard employee health and stable employment. Organizations have communicated important policy initiatives to their various stakeholders through disclosures on their websites. There is a gap in the literature regarding the types of WLB website disclosures and the factors that drive such communication. The objectives of this mixed-methods research are three-fold. First, it analyzed the websites of the 150 largest U.S. corporations on the Fortune 500 list for information on their WLB policies. Second, it examined whether the pandemic affected these disclosures. Third, it investigated the relationship between these disclosures and financial variables, such as revenues, return on assets, and return on equity. Content analysis was employed to understand the types and intensity of WLB disclosures from corporate websites in 2019 (before COVID) and 2021 (after its peak). The codes for a-priori content analysis were derived from the Federal WLB Survey, conducted by the Office of Personnel Management, and adapted based on the latest literature in HRM. The results of the content analysis provided the data on WLB disclosures that were used for the quantitative analyses. Results from the Paired Sample T-Tests revealed substantial growth in WLB policy disclosures from 2019 to 2021 in all reviewed categories. This indicates an increased emphasis on the development and communication of WLB policies by organizations following the pandemic. Results of the multiple regression analysis revealed a statistically significant relationship between revenues of corporations and their website disclosures, after controlling for industry type. The results of the study have both practical and theoretical implications. It validates the importance of WLB policies in areas such as workplace flexibility, leave, health and wellness, family and dependent care, and employee assistance. The results affirm some of the studies in corporate sustainability that companies that have more financial resources seem to provide their employees with more benefits and are more likely to engage in external disclosures.
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    Measuring the Leadership Deficit Across Maryland Organizations - A Quantitative Study of Working Professionals Perceptions
    (2024-05-10) Adam T. Cubbage, Sr.; Jose, Anita; Manikoth, Nisha; Bands, Kathleen; Brown, Philip; Hood College Education; Hood College Organizational Leadership
    The topic of leadership effectiveness is important in the field of management. However, a growing number of people report their organization’s leaders lack the abilities needed to lead effectively. This disparity between the current ability of leaders and the desired level of proficiency expected from followers is called the leadership deficit. The goal was to evaluate the perceptions of leadership effectiveness among professionals in Maryland organizations to determine the extent of the leadership deficit. Also, it was to determine if this deficit varied among different levels of leadership, called the leadership strata. A quantitative survey collected data from 207 participants across the public, private, education, and nonprofit sectors examining six leadership factors – Lead Others, Develop Teams, Achieve Results, Display Character, Demonstrate Presence, and Use Intellect. A paired sample t-test indicated a leadership deficit in each factor, while a one-way ANOVA indicated no significant variation observed in the leadership strata. The study’s results reaffirm the importance of several leadership competencies and attributes and provide empirical evidence supporting the existence of a leadership deficit. Additionally, this study emphasizes the importance of ensuring learning and development activities align with both organizational goals and followers’ needs. The study concludes with an organizational leadership model characterized by collaboration, flexibility, and adaptability. This style is well-suited for effectively leading change, promoting innovation, and guiding teams in intricate contexts characterized by continuous advancement.
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    Qualifying Stream Temperature Measurements of an Aerial Thermal Infrared camera While Gathering Evidence of Thermal Refugia for the City of Frederick, Maryland
    (2024-05-03) Jesse Lynch; Dr. Drew Ferrier, Dr. Eric Annis, Dr. April Boulton; Hood College Biology; Hood College Biomedical and Environmental Science
    Thermal refugia, due to seepages and tributaries, provide mild-temperature sanctuaries relative to the more extreme water temperatures in the winter and summer. Exploring streams for thermal seepages via in-water probes can be a slow and time-consuming endeavor, especially when seasonal timing is of the essence. One way to offset this time-debt could be using a Thermal Infrared Camera (TIR) attached to a small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (sUAV), yet in order to implement this new technology it is necessary to compare the measurements between the two devices to ensure that the drone can effectively replace the probes. This research compared the temperature measurements from the TIR against in-water temperature probes at three sites, one with a known seepage and two with suspected seepages, by analyzing agreement via Bland-Altman statistical analysis. The results of the analysis suggested little agreement between the two devices, and a broad range in the limits of agreement. Evidence of the TIR camera’s ability to differentiate temperatures but not measure them accurately was provided in the form of value-value plots and side-by-side TIR/RGB photographs. This research concluded that the sUAV’s TIR camera was useful for photographing and investigating temperature differentiation but true temperature needed to be evaluated with standardized, reliable ground-truthing methods. Evidence for the presence or absence of seepages at two sites designated by the City of Frederick Sustainability Department was provided in the form of side-by-side TIR/RGB photographs and value-value plots comparing the temperature difference along the stream reach as well as across the stream channel.
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    Nonviolent Political Activism for Democratization in Sub-Saharan Africa:​ A Narrative Inquiry of Leaders from Cameroon​
    Madiesse-Nguela, Adelaide; Nisha Manikoth, EdD; Hood College Department of Education; Hood College Organizational Leadership
    The fight for social and economic justice has been ongoing in sub-Saharan Africa (Dwyer & Zeilig, 2012; Joseph, 1998). Cameroon achieved independence on January 1, 1960. However, the country continues to be an illiberal democracy with flawed elections, corruption, reduced civil liberties, marginalization of ethnic groups, and inequalities in the distribution of resources (Nsangou, 2022). President Biya has personified the regime since 1982, subverting the democratic process by changing presidential term limits and by changing the constitution through legally dubious amendments (Fokwa, 2020). Activism for social and political change has the power to create movements and momentum to effect substantial policy changes and even overturn authoritarian regimes. Given the social importance of political activism, it is critical to understand what motivates these leaders to engage in it, how they become engaged in it, and their experiences as political activists, fighting for social justice and democratization. Scholars have conducted little analysis to determine why some movements fail and others succeed in repressive regimes. In fact, activism in the context of repressive regimes is less studied (Johnston, 2019) due to repressive practices limiting access to data and eyewitness accounts about nonviolent strategies and tactics. (Bayat, 2013; Fu, 2018, Lee and Zhang, 2013, Johnston, 2005; O’brien & Li, 2006; Stern & Hassid, 2012). The purpose of this study was to understand, through narrative inquiry, the lived experiences of nonviolent political activists from Cameroon. This study, which aimed to throw the spotlight on their narratives of identity, struggles, passion, and strengths, and their emergence as change leaders, reveals a diverse range of stories characterized by resilience, sacrifice, and unwavering commitment to democratization and social justice. Despite the uniqueness of each activist's narrative, the motivation to engage in activism and the determination to fight for justice was a common thread. Central to their strength is collective action, as they draw support and political efficacy from their steadfast beliefs, personal experiences, and the solidarity of their peers and supporters. This study concludes by offering a model of becoming, being, and belonging for transformational leadership of political activists.
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    What the Devil: The Roots and Rebirth of Satanic Fears in Twentieth Century America
    (2024-04-30) Scott Coblentz; Barbara Powell; Hood College Arts and Humanities; Hood College Humanities
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    The Back of Beyond: A Spatial Study of J.M. Coetzee Novels
    (2024-04-29) Caleb Shank; Dr. Trevor Dodman; Dr. Corey Campion; Dr. Karen Hoffman; Hood College English and Communication Arts; Hood College Humanities
    At the center of J.M. Coetzee’s fiction lies the question of how one may navigate a world defined by the racial tension of a settler-colonial state. While Coetzee’s work samples multiple perspectives and pockets of society, a common theme of his novels is a character’s struggle to find spaces where they can experience individual freedom. The struggles evident within Coetzee’s work, evocative of the challenge of placing the author within a particular literary sphere, seem to reach all characters, regardless of their identity as either settler or Indigene. Through a spatial reading of three of Coetzee’s apartheid-era novels, as well as one more recent work published after the dismantling of South Africa’s apartheid, this study analyzes how a character struggles for liberation, and what steps may be necessary in order to find a place of one’s own.
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    (2024-04-26) Alexis Speck; Dr. Eric Annis; Dr. Jane Choi-Doan; Hood College Biology; Hood College Biological and Environmental Science
    This study compared the seven abiotic water parameters of temperature, total dissolved solids, turbidity, pH, nitrates, phosphates, and dissolved oxygen between two perennial streams in a rural area versus in an urban area. This rural area (“Israel Creek”) was surrounded by zones of forest conservation and was thought to result in a higher water quality as opposed to the stream in the urban area (“Town Run”) surrounded by residences that may result in a stream with lower water quality. The null hypothesis was that there would be no difference in abiotic parameters within the stream and the alternative hypothesis was that there would be differences. In the case of total dissolved solids, nitrates, pH, and dissolved oxygen, the alternative was accepted. The measurements for TDS and nitrates were significantly higher in Town Run (urban stream) than in Israel Creek (rural stream). These differences suggest that Town Run had poorer water quality than Israel Creek. Future citizen science projects to help protect small streams on private properties are proposed and environmental stewardship in urban areas is acknowledged.
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    Leading with Love: How Elementary Principals' Leadership Influences Teacher Retention
    (2024-04-28) Dinga, Stephanie; Cuddapah, Jennifer; Currens, Christopher; Harris, Keith; Hood College Education; Hood College Organizational Leadership
    High turnover has cost-related consequences for the school and community. Understanding how principals lead and motivate through specific behaviors and characteristics is important to learn what influences teachers’ decisions to return to teaching in their schools each year. This qualitative study addressed the connection between the actions and characteristics of school leaders and the influence they have on teacher’s retention decisions. Elementary teachers and principals from a large public-school district informed this study about how principals’ communication, behaviors, and leadership characteristics influence teachers’ organizational commitment. The researcher sampled schools with 90% or higher retention rates and invited 26 principals and 840 teachers from these schools to participate in the study. Data sources included a survey and interviews. One hundred sixty-one teachers and 12 principals completed the 29-item survey, including a 14-item demographic survey. They answered Likert-Scale and open-ended questions. The teachers (N = 10) and principals (N = 8) who agreed to continue participating in the study were interviewed using a semi-structured protocol and a self-anchoring scale about leadership traits that influence retention. Findings from analysis of the surveys, interviews, and self-anchoring scales indicated: (a) relationships, professional development, and staff recognition are supportive behaviors that influence teachers’ decisions to stay; (b) teachers choose to remain in their schools year after year because of location, leadership, and the communities they serve; and (c) principals communicate trust to keep teachers committed to the school. Recommendations include (a) school-based leaders using strategies to support teacher retention, (b) district leaders supporting school leaders with leading for teacher retention, and (c) administrative and supervisory programs creating courses focused on leadership behaviors.
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    Developing Tni-FNL ET: A Trichoplusia ni Insect Cell Line for Easy Titration of Baculovirus
    (2024) Ashley Mitchell; Dominic Esposito; Hood College Department of Biology; Biomedical and Environmental Science
    Baculovirus titration methods include immunological, qPCR, flow cytometry, plaque, and mean tissue culture infection dose (TCID50) assays, which vary in expense, labor, and length. TCID50 assays are a common tool for determining viral titers and have advanced with techniques that allow the use of microplate readers for easier detection. This thesis work aimed to develop a TCID50 assay for baculovirus titration using the novel Tni-FNL Easy Titer (Tni-FNL ET) cell line. The Tni-FNL ET titration assay was designed to attempt to improve upon the currently offered Sf-9 Easy Titer (Sf-9ET) assay with the use of a microplate reader and a shorter assay time. Tni-FNL cells were stably transfected with plasmid DNA containing the mRuby3 gene under the control of the polyhedrin baculovirus promoter. Infection of the stable Tni-FNL cell line with baculovirus results in mRuby3 production due to the activation of polyhedrin promoter by viral gene products. It was observed that only plasmid DNA constructs containing a homologous region (hr) successfully produced detectable mRuby3 fluorescent protein. Polyhedrin promoter constructs with hr5 sequences were chosen to further develop the TCID50 assay. Relative fluorescent measurements, detected by the BMG Labtech Omega FLUOstar microplate reader, two standard deviations above the mean of the control wells were considered positives when performing TCID50 calculations. Calculations for viral titer were done using the Reed-Muench method. This new baculovirus titration method was able to yield the desired level of signal, as detected by a microplate reader after a 4-day incubation, to determine viral titers in the range of 105 to 1010. Further assay optimization is needed to achieve consistent, usable titers.
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    (2024) Whitney Bruchey; Sylvain Laverdure, PhD; Hood College Biology; Hood College Biomedical and Environmental Science
    Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is a retrovirus that targets immune cells critical to innate and adaptive immune responses in infected patients. Despite viremia suppression by antiretroviral drug treatments, chronic immune activation persists in HIV-1-infected patients, increasing their risk of HIV-associated chronic comorbidities. Defective HIV-1 proviruses harboring genetic mutations may contribute to persistent immune activation in suppressed HIV-1-infected patients through expression of canonical or novel viral proteins. In this study, we presented the steps taken to develop optimal culture conditions for CD4+ T cells from suppressed HIV-infected patients, and an unbiased nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) approach for screening of HIV-1 positive cells. Of the 507 potential HIV-1 positive clones detected, we chose three for further bioinformatic analysis that resulted in observation of two novel open reading frames within HIV-1 integrase and reverse transcriptase genes.
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    Understanding the Concept of Race and Racial Discrimination in Latin America
    (2024-04-25) Axel S. Barahona Perez; Dr. Paige Eager; Hood College Department of Political Science; Hood College Departamental Honors
    Latin America ranks highest in the world in markers of socio-economic inequality, as well as in the negative effects that inequality has on other realms of life, such as access to basic services, access to education and professional opportunities, political influence, and, in many countries, unfair treatment by police and the justice system. These factors of inequality affect the lives of millions of people in Latin America, mainly indigenous and Afro-descendant people. Thus, it is evident that discrimination and racism are a constituent part of the Latin American region. However, many Latin American countries have declared themselves as post-racial because of the multi-racial and multi-cultural characteristics of their population, arguing that racism and racial discrimination are not present in their body politics and society. This narrative is the result of the concept of mestizaje, the mixing of races, that was imposed on the populations during colonial times, and in the post-colonial period. The concepts of mestizaje and racial democracy were utilized by Latin American Elites as tools for the nation-building process of the newly formed nations. Consequently, after political and social processes of integration into Latin American society and identity, the concepts of race and racial discrimination are not considered social issues, and there is a denial regarding the existence of racism and discrimination in the Latin American region by the general public and governments.
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    "Only a Demon in Her Shape": A Queer Positive Reading of Bram Stoker's Dracula
    (2024) Kayla Swain; Dr. Mitchell-Buck, Heather; Dr. Knapp, Elizabeth; Dr. Pincikowski, Scott; Hood College English and Communication Arts; Hood College Departmental Honors
    Since Dracula embodies a lot of Queer stereotypes from the time and multiple members of Stoker’s band of heroes show signs of being closeted, many scholars have taken to reading Stoker’s heroes’ rejection of Dracula as a rejection of their Queer identities. The problem with such readings is that they tend to emphasis the groups’ acts of Queer shame without acknowledging the fact that they come to find love and acceptance among one another and so, resolve their fears, insecurities, and the self-hatred they feel as a result of being a Queer person living in late nineteenth century England. By acknowledging neither the acceptance the group receives from one another nor the resolution of their Queer shame, those who read Stoker’s horror novel through a Queer lens have repeatedly reached the conclusion that Dracula is symbolic of and or intended to represent Stoker’s heroes’ Queer desires and sentiment. All the while, another interpretation, one that acknowledges the groups’ acceptance of their Queer identities and paints Dracula as a symbol of the negative, monstrous image of the “homosexual” that tormented the Queer community in the aftermath of the 1885 Amendment and Oscar Wilde trials, has gone mostly unexplored and ignored. And that interpretation is what this paper explores.
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    Domestic Domains: Understanding the Values and Virtues of the 17th Century Dutch Family through Domestic Genre Paintings
    (2024-04-25) Emma Flanagan; Pulichene, Nicole; Bari, Martha; Marcus, Lisa Algazi; Hood College Department of Art and Archeology; Hood College Departmental Honors
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    Exploring Cindy Sherman's "Untitled Film Stills": A Documentary
    (2024-04-17) Ashlynn Stearns; Dr. Kimberly Morse Jones; Timothy Jacobsen; Dr. Aaron Angello; Hood College Art and Archaeology; Hood College Departmental Honors Program
    Exploring Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled Film Stills”: A Documentary discusses and analyzes Sherman’s body of work, focusing on the photographic self portrait series “Untitled Film Stills.”
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    Digital Ministry: An analysis of social media use in local Christian youth ministries
    (2024-04-25) Weinel, Braden; Goldenbach, Alan; Hood College Department of English and Communication Arts; Hood College Departmental Honors Program
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    Protein-ligand binding affinity prediction using SARS-CoV-2
    (2024-04-25) Anthony Rispoli; Rafael Zamora-Resendiz; Dr. Aijuan Dong; Dr. Dana Lawrence; Hood College Department of Computer Science and Information Technology; Hood College Departmental Honors
    The urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated drug discovery efforts, prompting advancements in computational methods. This study aims to predict protein-ligand (PL) binding affinities using atomic-resolution structural data from SARS-CoV-2 interactions with ligands. Utilizing data from large-scale ensemble-docking experiments, Multivariate Linear Regression (MLR) and Random Forest (RF) regression models were trained. Despite marginal improvement with RF, both models struggled to establish reliable predictions, highlighting the complexity of PL binding affinity prediction. Future work entails exploring larger RF models, integrating deep learning approaches, and developing novel predictor features for enhanced predictive capabilities.