Towson Seminar Information Literacy Award

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Inaugurated in fall 2015, Albert S. Cook Library established the Towson Seminar Information Literacy Award to recognize emerging research and scholarship in the Towson Seminar (TSEM102). Towson Seminar instructors were asked to nominate one outstanding paper from each section of their Towson Seminar per fall and spring semesters. Librarians evaluated the nominated papers based on the use of information literacy skills, as well as the quality of research, clarity of writing, and adherence to citation standards.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 18
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    Pricing water's true cost
    Tan, Katherine; Cooney, Terry A.; Towson Seminar
    [From paper]: Recently, a California panel rejected a proposal for a USD 1.4 billion desalination plant to convert ocean water into drinking water. The developer had hoped the plant would address the state’s megadrought by creating 50 million gallons of drinking water a day. Yet, in this age of climate change leading to multiyear droughts, frequent floods, and wildfires, we can no longer rely simply on building new plants and water storage that negatively impact the environment to climb our way out of the increasing water crises. Clean water is imperative to all life and is essential to the economy. Yet, in the United States, clean water is a resource long taken for granted. Part of the reason that people do not value water is because water is priced so cheaply due to the government subsidizing it. Unfortunately, many places still price municipal water much lower than the true cost to provide it. Not surprisingly, freshwater resources are depleting more rapidly due to increased demand, exacerbated by the environmental stress of climate change. The nation’s water and sewer infrastructures are also rapidly aging and deteriorating, while most water providers have insufficient funds to modernize them. The system by which water is priced in the US should be raised to the full-cost pricing because it would generate essential revenue to adequately maintain or replace critical water and sewer infrastructure, and it would markedly encourage the public to conserve water. By implementing one or more of the rate pricing structures to transition to a full-cost pricing system that better reflects the true cost of water, water providers can better protect and ensure a continuous clean water supply for communities in the face of growing water scarcity.
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    Malignant microscopic monsters: future research needed regarding freshwater harmful algal blooms
    (2021-12) Usi, Nathan; Cooney, Terry A.; Towson Seminar
    [From paper]: On August 2nd, 2014, an urgent message was sent out to the people of Toledo, Ohio from the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant: DO NOT DRINK THE WATER. Chemists had detected higher than normal concentrations of microcystin, a hazardous toxin, in the drinking water supply. Suddenly, 400,000 people no longer had access to safe public drinking water. Local officials panicked as health and safety personnel rushed to fix the problem. People from across the community banded together to help each other as restaurants shut down and businesses closed. The local militia set up a water distribution center for those in need and retail stores ordered express shipments of plastic water bottles. Finally, a few days after the excess microcystin was first detected, Toledo’s Mayor declared the water once again safe for consumption. The increased level of microcystin in the drinking water supply was the product of a freshwater harmful algal bloom which had formed on Lake Erie. The toxins produced by the freshwater harmful algal bloom had seeped through the intake for the plant and were not removed by the treatment process. While this was not the first incident caused by freshwater harmful algal blooms, it most certainly will not be the last. The increasing incidence of freshwater harmful algal blooms in reservoirs and recreational lakes necessitates greater federal funding for research into their adverse health effects and effective, eco-friendly ways of controlling them.
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    Lifeblood of the Bay: How increasing acidity threatens the Chesapeake Bay's shellfish and economy
    (2021-05) Maddox, Elisabeth; Cooney, Terry A.; Towson Seminar
    [From paper]: The Chesapeake Bay, an impressive body of water located on the eastern shore of the United States stretches across six states, with more than 3,600 species of plants and animals depending on the Bay for survival and safety.1 Because of this rich saturation of plant and animal life in the Chesapeake Bay, more than 18 million people depend on the Bay as a source of food, shelter, and business. The waters of the Bay are fed by the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which is the third-largest estuary in the world. An estuary, which is an enclosed body of water fed by a series of rivers creates a unique mix of freshwater and saltwater in the Chesapeake Bay2. Since the Bay is so expansive, and its waters so diverse, several factors contribute to the health and quality of the water including concentrations of toxins, acidity, and more. Shellfish that make their homes in the Chesapeake Bay, including crabs, oysters, and clams provide a substantial source of industry and economic success to the surrounding states, growing by the year3. But, ironically, even though these animals are considered cornerstones of American diets and industry, often, the problems facing these animals are completely ignored. In the years since mass industrialization in the United States, the waters of the Chesapeake Bay have been under significant threat from the increasing acidity of the water. The acidification of the water of the Chesapeake Bay uniquely affects essential, yet often underestimated organisms, such as shellfish. The increasing acidity of water in the Chesapeake Bay is directly responsible for the decline in the health of shellfish in the bay, therefore, to combat this, action needs to be taken toward improving the quality of the water so that shellfish and their associated industries can thrive.
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    Harmony in Harlem: an interaction of jazz and culture
    (2020-12) Owens, Rachel; Carlson, Gretchen L.; Towson Seminar
    [From paper]: Much like the chicken and the egg, jazz and culture share a tricky relationship. Is jazz simply a small part of culture, which is made up of thousands of other customs and institutions? Or does jazz create its own culture? Naturally, the answer is a complicated one. Jazz was born out of culture, namely African American traditions, and was therefore created by civilization. However, jazz also shapes that civilization, as it inspires its listeners and spreads different ideas. Duke Ellington, one of the most influential jazz composers of the 20th century, serves as the perfect example of this give and take between music and society. Ellington’s compositions paint an accurate yet passionate picture of life, specifically life as an African American. From African roots to complex orchestration, Ellington infuses countless elements into his songs, celebrating black culture and in turn, inspiring his listeners. First recorded in 1937, Ellington’s “Harmony in Harlem” provides an inside look into Harlem life. Sandwiched between the end of the Harlem Renaissance and the beginning of the Swing Era, the piece reflects both the larger cultural movement at the time as well as Ellington’s personal ideologies about race and music. In 1967, during the civil rights movement, “Harmony in Harlem” was recorded again. Separated by three decades, one can make clear distinctions between the different recordings due to the shifts in both culture and jazz; however, its message of freedom remains prevalent throughout.
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    The marginalization of lesbian-feminism at Towson State College during the 1970s
    (2020-12) Arroyo, Emma; Koot, Christian J.; Towson Seminar
    [From paper]: As a college traditionally dominated by women in the heart of metropolitan Baltimore, Towson’s college campus (then called TSC, or Towson State College) was not only a living site for the women's liberation movement; it also bore witness to the gay liberation movement’s revitalization, which took place after the Stonewall Riots reinvigorated the cause across the U.S. Naturally, these two movements were bound to interact. At Towson in the 1970s, lesbians were marginalized such to the extent that they were virtually absent from the mainstream women’s liberation movement on-campus. They were pushed to the periphery of the movement due to “lavender menace” anxiety that was circulating in liberal feminist circles at the time, and their isolation out of these spaces was only further exacerbated by the uphill battle being fought by all gay students for their visibility and rightful spot in TSC’s community.