Towson Seminar Information Literacy Award

Permanent URI for this collection

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 - 18 of 18
  • Item
    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.
  • Item
    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.
  • Item
    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.
  • Item
    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.
  • Item
    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.
  • Item
    Impacts of hurricane experience on risk perception and evacuation
    (2019-12) Laurence, Akeem Daniel Keven; Kedzior, Sya B.; Towson Seminar
    Hurricanes are capable of catastrophic widespread destruction, posing a serious risk to human life that is best mitigated by early and complete evacuation of the storm’s path. This study seeks to understand the impact of hurricane experience on individuals risk perception and evacuation planning so future evacuation orders can be better tailored to increase evacuation rates and prevent loss of life during devastating hurricanes like Dorian (see Fig. 1). I conducted an online survey through Google Forms questioning 20 family members living in the Caribbean about their hurricane experience, forecast trust, and evacuation plans. Respondents volume of experience was compared to their responses on key questions in the survey, finding that greater experience correlated with lower forecast trust, risk perception, and evacuation likelihood. The conclusion can be drawn from my research that populations experienced with hurricanes will require targeted evacuation orders to bypass their lowered risk perception.
  • Item
    The effects of climate change and excess nutrients on hypoxia levels and eutrophication in estuaries
    (2020-05) Zanfardino, Emma; Elliott, Michael; Towson Seminar
    [From paper] In this paper I will be analyzing various studies to understand the effects of the overuse of fertilizers and climate change on estuaries. The main question I am studying is: what are the effects of climate change and the overuse of fertilizers on hypoxia in estuaries? Within the Literature Review, I discuss the methods used in the research from four different studies as well as the results found at the end of each study. In the Analysis, I break down the results and expand upon what these results mean in terms of estuarine health, as well as discussing the possible solutions mentioned in the studies. In analyzing this I find a strong correlation between fertilizer use and hypoxia levels, as well as climate change and hypoxia levels, and possible solutions and preventative measures to lessen any negative effects on the estuaries.
  • Item
    Lost cause and memory in America: then and now
    (2019-05) Braswell, Daniel R., II; Anderson, Patricia Dockman; Towson Seminar
    [From paper:] As the Civil War came to an end, America found itself in a strange state, one it had never experienced. For the last four years, the country had been torn in two, fighting a deadly, historically significant war. Looking to move past the war and the destruction it brought, the defeated former Confederate States of America sought to re-assimilate themselves into the country. The solution decided upon became known as Lost Cause memory. According to historian David Blight, Lost Cause memory is easily defined as “a public memory, a cult of the fallen soldier, a righteous political cause defeated only by a superior industrial might, a heritage community awaiting its exodus, and a people forming a collective identity as victims and survivors.”1 Put simply, it was the South making up excuses for their transgressions, while simultaneously corrupting the true cause and motives of the war. Immediately after the Civil War, Lost Cause memory emerged through literature, a status promotion of Confederate leaders, a romanization of antebellum southern life and slavery, and Confederate excuses for motive and defeat. Although the Civil War ended 154 years ago, the effects of the immediate aftermath can still be felt in today’s world. Today, Lost Cause memory manifests itself still through use of Confederate flags, the erection and defense of Confederate monuments, and modern-day sympathizer organizations, such the Sons of Confederate Veterans, also known as SCV.
  • Item
    The effects of computer-mediated communication in military families during a deployment
    (2018-12) Rodgers, Paris; Wood, Cheryl; Towson Seminar
    The rapid advancement of technology has impacted society in countless ways from transportation to the way one communicates. Computer-mediated communication (CMC), for instance, has allowed individuals to interact through electronics rather than face-to-face. Although critics may argue that it’s made society more anti-social, other groups of people have greatly benefited from this invention. Military families have found CMC to be very advantageous since it allows them to keep in touch with a deployed family member daily. Skype, Facetime, email, text messaging, social media and other CMC have aided the spouse and children as it has relieved them of stress and anxiety during the long separation period. It has also made it easier to communicate with other families that are going through a similar experience and to get support from family members and friends that cannot be easily reached.
  • Item
    Beethoven's hair
    (2018-05) Steinbacher, Will; Fine, R. Samuel; Towson Seminar
    [From paper] The “Guevara” lock of Beethoven’s Hair is an immense historical discovery that yields insight into the life and death of one of the greatest composers of all time, especially the period of suffering during which he created most of his work. Most significantly, the lock provides evidence on Beethoven’s infamous deafness, and the causes of the impairment.
  • Item
    Black women: the forgotten trailblazers
    (2018-05) Winston, Jiana; Koot, Christian J.; Towson Seminar
    [From paper] The 1960s and 1970s were decades of large-scale upheaval and change in the United States. Several social movements brought about this change, two of the most prominent being the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Liberation Movement. The group who experienced the intersection of these movements, black women, suffered greatly from never being a priority in either one. This compounded oppression did not end within these movements but was a part of their everyday life. While both movements aimed to bring about positive change, black women were pushed to the side and forgotten. This pattern did not end at these social movements, but rather was the norm in society and even on college campuses. Black women attending Towson State College in the 1960s and 1970s were the most marginalized group of students due to the intersection of both racism and sexism that they experienced. This intersection created challenges for black women such as lack of leadership roles, minimal representation in student government organizations, and very few programs or services meant to engage and uplift black women on campus.
  • Item
    Black representation on campus
    (2017-12) Sigur, Morgan; Koot, Christian J.; Towson Seminar
    [From paper] In 1966, civil rights leader Stokely Carmichael gave a speech at UC Berkeley where he used the phrase “Black Power” to describe an ideology of racial pride and black autonomy. The phrase “Black Power” had been used before the 1960s, but Stokely Carmichael’s speech in 1966 was the first time the phrase reached a large audience (Odlum). Black Power was an appealing ideology for African Americans dissatisfied with the direction of the civil rights movement and it became a national turning point. During this time period, activism on campuses began to increase due to the spread of counterculture. Also, Carmichael had just become head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which was one of the most prominent civil rights groups on college campuses, which contributed to the rise of Black Power on campuses. In the late 1960s, there were a number of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Maryland that began to embrace the Black Power movement, but there was no sign of involvement at Towson State. Towson State students did not embrace the Black Power movement because of the underrepresentation of African Americans within the school. Instead, organizations on campus worked to empower black students and give them a means of expression through creating and advertising events, meetings, and resources that fostered a sense of community and acceptance among African American students.
  • Item
    Adopting sustainable agriculture in order to recover the environment
    (2017-10-11) Bergman, Knickole; Fath, Natalia; Towson Seminar
    Agriculture practices changed drastically proceeding World War II coinciding with the eruption in birth rate that created the generation known as the “baby boomers”. According to Richard Fry, in 1946, 3.4 million babies were born, increasing the population by 20%. This trend continued for several years following the war, and, by 1964, these “baby boomers” made up almost 40% of the United States’ population (Fry 2016). In less than 20 years, the nation’s population had grown by 76.4 million, generating the need to find newer, better ways to produce food in less time, with less land, and less labor than ever before, all of which resulted in the industrial revolution in agriculture. The industrial revolution of agriculture was highly efficient in achieving all of those goals, which were able to be completed due to the introduction of fertilizers and pesticides used in crops, medication and hormones used in livestock, and new farming practices, like monoculture crops. Though industrial agriculture was effective in creating a new food system that could feed such a large population, it was ineffective in leaving the environment in a state in which other organisms could thrive. Industrial agriculture is a main contributor to climate change, destruction of marine and terrestrial ecosystems, degradation of soil, and loss of biodiversity, all of which are threatening the survival of thousands of organisms across the globe. Industrial agriculture is thought to be exceedingly productive, yet nearly 800 million people a year still go starving (World Food Programme 2016). The agriculture system needs to be altered in order to improve the state of the environment by implementing more sustainable growing techniques.
  • Item
    What can be done?: Delhi's water conservation initiatives
    (2017-10-11) Pargamanik, Alina; Fehskens, Erin McMullen, 1978-; Towson Seminar
    Although local bureaucracies in Delhi, India are implementing new initiatives to address their water issues concerning availability and value, the initiatives currently in place are not enough to withstand the unprecedented urban growth of the city and the high number of poverty level residents who cannot afford water.
  • Item
    Desktop computer use: physiological and psychological problems and potential solutions
    (2017-10-11) Case, Joey; Bailey, Gail M.; Towson Seminar
    The purpose of this paper is to explain the dangers of excessive desktop computer use along with the solutions to treat such problems. In today’s digital society, digital natives are introduced to all kinds of technology at a young age, specifically, desktop computers. This is because desktop computers are present in almost every aspect of the average person’s life; they are found in homes, schools, and the work place. Because the desktop computer is a multipurpose piece of technology, it can be used for activities such as emailing, playing games, social media, and Internet; therefore, most people develop positive opinions about desktop computers. While there are positive aspects to desktop computer use, the desktop computer has been proven to cause physiological as well as psychological issues such as vision problems, musculoskeletal pain, and sleep disorders to the user when used excessively; therefore, it is important to know how to combat these issues to ensure safe desktop computer use.
  • Item
    Social media: a catalyst for Yemeni contagion
    (2016-05-11) McIver, Andrea; Katz, Kimberly; Towson Seminar
    An examination of the role of social media in the Yemeni Arab Spring.
  • Item
    Health preservation over food preservation
    (2016-05) Reifer, Danielle; Fath, Natalia; Towson Seminar
    An examination of the use of synthetic preservatives, synthetic additives, and natural alternatives in food production and their impacts on health.
  • Item
    Can money buy happiness?: the influence of money on well-being
    (2015-12) Noland, Gabrielle; Greenbaum, Ann G.; Towson Seminar
    There are many factors that affect an individual’s well-being, with money being one of them. Multiple sources address the correlations between income and happiness through subjects such as prosocial spending, materialism, the pursuit of intrinsic versus extrinsic values, and the effects of homelessness on physical and mental health. In many cases, money can have a negative effect on both happiness and health, especially through financial stress. In some cases, however, money may have a positive effect on happiness and health, through spending money on others, for example. This paper will investigate the varying influences of money on emotional and physical well-being.