Festival Caps Years of Solid Study

May 9, 2008

UPDATE: Nearly 30 exceptional seniors participated in Mary Baldwin’s third annual Capstone Festival May 8, 2008. At the end of the day of diverse poster and paper presentations, as well as visual and audio-visual projects, several were recognized as top award winners (below).

For many, the Festival was not the first and will not be the final time they present their work for an audience. Among those whose research has been or will be showcased outside Mary Baldwin is Capstone prize-winner Ruth Siboni ’10, who co-authored a paper, “The effect of perinatal DHT and E2 on copulatory behavior in the female musk shrew,” with Louise Freeman, associate professor of psychology. They presented at the Symposium for Young Neuroscientists and Professors in the Southeast (SYNAPSE) at College of Charleston in March 2008, and will present in the Netherlands at Society for Behavioral Endocrinology in July. Bethany Cawthron ’09, also working with Freeman, presented “Sex Difference in Spatial Learning Found in Mice via Paddling Pool Maze” at the SYNAPSE.

Nicole Koiner ’08 and Courtney Whittington ’08 presented papers they co-authored with Jack Kibler, professor of psychology at Southeastern Psychological Association in Charlotte, North Carolina. Whittington said she enjoyed comparing noted with a participant in that conference from another college who conducted a study very similar to hers, which was titled “Shyness and the Perceptions of Others’ Attractiveness.”

Capstone participant Katie Lukhart ’08 has presented her study, “Charge Transfer Interactions in Complexes formed by Carbon-60 Fullerene and Derivatives of Calix[4]arene,” in several local and national venues. In addition to sharing her work with the Mary Baldwin Board of Trustees, Lukhart presented at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of Undergraduate Scholarship at Sweet Briar College, and in New Orleans and at University of Virginia.

First Place, paper
Mallory Showalter ’08
Lobbying in State Politics: A Case Study of the Gardasil Vaccine

First Place, poster presentation
Jillian Hartley ’08
Peace in Their Time: The Peace Pledge Union and British Pacifism in World War II

Ruth Siboni ’10
Neonatal DHT but not E2 Masculinizes Copulatory Behavior in the Musk

First Place, visual or audio-visual project
Colleen Pendry
Life Series I: Transitions

First Place, multimedia presentation
Amber Russo
The Effects of Prenatal Exposure to Salvinorin A on Ultrasonic Vocalizations, Body Temperature, and Birth Weight of Mouse Pups

Original article, posted 4/29/08:

The beauty of the Capstone Festival is that it will never be the same. Now in its third year, there is no reason to ask “What’s new at the Capstone Festival?” Each project is new and represents students’ original work.

On May 8, 30 students will vie for prizes in three categories at the festival: paper, poster presentation, and visual or audio-visual project. As the event becomes more established, more students are beginning to recognize Capstone selection as a coveted status, including political science major Mallory Showalter ’08.

“I knew from the moment I started working on this project that I wanted it to be part of the Capstone Festival,” said Showalter, whose paper falls in the category “A Spectrum of Civic Engagement” at the festival. “A friend of mine presented in 2006, and I worked hard to make sure my professor would see my paper as a contender.”

Showalter’s timely senior thesis about the how political lobbying affected legislation in Virginia about the Gardasil vaccine sprouted from an assignment in her Women in Politics course a year ago. Laura van Assendelft, associate professor of political science, was the instructor of that class, and she later nominated Showalter for the end-of-the-year festival.

“Mallory’s passion and enthusiasm for this project inspired her best work to date. She chose an issue that is relevant to Mary Baldwin students — Gardasil is a controversial vaccine marketed heavily without a lot of information provided to young women and their families. This project was more than just a senior thesis for Mallory,” van Assendelft said.

Senior Aki Mishima’s paper highlights student’s global outlook, encouraged by the creation of the Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement and a redesigned position at the college to coordinate international students and studies.

“Aki’s thesis is a brilliantly researched study of China’s navy. She used a broad range of sources in Japanese and English to develop an original study of Chinese naval expansion, a surprising development for a nation that has been primarily a land power through much of its history,” said one of Mishima’s project and academic advisors, Professor of Asian Studies Daniel Métraux.

Sheila Fair’s presentation in the upcoming festival will demonstrate that Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students are just as eligible to participate as residential students. Fair, a Mount Sidney resident who completed most of her courses via independent study or online group tutorial, will explain her research into JetBlue Airways.

“I was amazed at how narrow the profit margins are for the airline industry, particularly when you consider the price of a ticket. I was also surprised at how much outside forces (weather, government, terrorism, etc.) can debilitate an industry that is so critical and strategic to our business and personal lives,” said Fair, whose presentation will be one of several in the Capstone session titled “Managing the Desires and Demands of a Global Society.”

Fair recently won a competitive scholarship from Becker Certified Public Accountants Review, and she was nominated for Baldwin Online and Adult Programs Business Student of the Year, said Lallon Pond, associate professor of business administration and Fair’s advisor.

Showalter, Mishima, and Fair are just a few highlights of Capstone presentations that range from biology to art to philosophy (full schedule on this page). Their projects will not be around for another year or an encore; the time to learn about them is now.