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Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center

Levitt Scholars

Spring 2008


Fieldwork as an Avenue for Travel
Kimberly Roe
Fieldwork is the basis of geology research; fieldwork is the act of studying or acquiring specimens in the environments in which they were formed. As a geosciences major at Hamilton College, Kimberly has had the opportunity to conduct fieldwork in both Antarctica and Tasmania, Australia. In this approximately thirty minute talk, she will share personal stories and pictures of her time in Tasmania and on the ice-breaker in the Antarctic. She will also discuss the geology basics, such as rock types, climates, and geologic histories, of Antarctica and Tasmania. Overall, she will explain how fieldwork has been her avenue for travel and the basis of her geology research at Hamilton.

Bonds Built In Combat: Changing Perceptions of Race in the U.S. Armed Forces
Julia Stahl 
Julia's presentation centers on the interactions between white and African-American soldiers in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II.  She will discuss her grandfather's experience as an officer in an African-American munitions unit in the broader context of military race policy.  Additionally, she will examine accounts of other soldiers who served alongside those of different racial backgrounds in an otherwise segregated military.  Turning to more recent instances of discrimination in the Armed Forces, she will pose the question of what we can learn from these stories of World War II and how they can be utilized to improve the situation in the military today.
 
Antarctic Field Research: A First-hand Look at Studying the Bottom of the Globe
Taylor Burt 
This presentation will introduce the idea of field research as a crucial aspect of sciences and virtually all academic disciplines. It will focus on Taylor's four-week research expedition to Antarctica in 2006 with Hamilton College and the United States Antarctic Program, laying out the day to day life and science that was carried out onboard the ship. The presentation is intended to excite the students about the amazing opportunities available in higher education, and will not be bogged down with technical descriptions of the experiments being performed. Instead, Taylor will use photos, diagrams and stories to illustrate the difficulties and beauty of studying in such a remote place.
 
New York State Geology
Mike Millar
In developing his presentation, Mike has tailored the information to include things that might interest students in New York State. He includes an overview of geologic time, processes that have affected New York State, and lots of pictures. This interactive presentation will leave students with a better understanding of the environment in which they live.
 
Strange Tongues in a Strange Land:  The Refugee Experience in Utica, NY
Katy Lafen
Katy's presentation focuses on the current population of refugees residing in Utica, NY. She explains the ongoing conflict in Burma that is generating a large number of displaced persons, and general conditions in refugee camps. In addition, she focuses on the difficult financial, social and linguistic adjustments most refugees face upon arrival in Utica, drawing on her  personal experiences and stories from tutoring work at the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees. Katy encourages students to become involved with the refugee population in their own community, and to be aware of global social problems, as their repercussions are rarely contained to the countries in which they originate.

La corrida de toros: La expresión de una cultura (The Bullfight: A Cultural Expression)
Emma Slane
In a world where we are often limited by our prejudices, we find ourselves forced to formulate opinions based on a mere image. In this presentation, Emma explores the Spanish bullfight and examines the ways in which it is viewed by other societies. She expands upon the history and cultural contexts of this tradition while emphasizing the importance of taking a holistic look at something we know very little about. 
 
Preparing for the College Experience
Ethan Woods
Today's high school students often do not have the foresight or the guidance to prepare for college or pursue career paths. With his interactive presentation, Ethan offers students insight into the college experience and helps students cultivate a passion, motivate their studies, and ultimately prepare for the admissions process. Ethan draws on his experience as a senior and intern in the Admissions Office at Hamilton to provide college-bound students with tips and much-needed information on what they can do to prepare for college life. His exciting and informative presentation is designed for a group of students who wish to better prepare for the college experience (either in a classroom setting or as part of a special group or club meeting).
 
Shaping Classroom Experiences
Mia Cakebread
Mia's photo-packed presentation focuses on ways in which poverty, culture, and politics shape classroom experiences in other countries.  Using her experiences teaching in Nicaragua and Tibet, Mia explains how different external factors play a large role in schools and the lives of students.  
 
Reform Policies in Communist States: Analyses of USSR and China
Andy Steele
Communism has been hailed as the most influential political system of the 20th century. Andy's discussion focuses on the contrasting models of reform implemented in China and Russia, especially regarding the effectiveness and value of societal reform used to implement communism in these one-party states. With special attention to historical, cultural, and geographic realities, as well as the design of the government, Andy presents two very different images of communism in these countries. This dichotomy of politics culminated in China's Tiananmen Square massacre and Russia's August Coup of 1991, which Andy presents with video clips of each event. The Chinese resorted to violence for political stability and the Russians chose to accept political innovations. This discussion acknowledges students' awareness of the USSR in a historical context and includes only a cursory overview of communism's formative years in the 19th century. The intent is to better inform listeners about China, an often ignored nation, and generate discussion about where it is headed in the near future.
 
The Truth Behind the College Interview
Jack Prior
Jack is an intern in the Admissions Office at Hamilton, and part of his job entails interviewing prospective students. His interactive presentation is designed for a group of students who wish to learn more about the college interview process (either in a classroom setting or as part of a special group or club meeting).  It is the dreaded college process and just when you think you are done, here comes the college interview...  Jack's emphasis is to portray the interview in a different light:  a positive avenue of expressing yourself and interacting with a college in an informative and helpful venue.  He discusses the process from the viewpoint of both the interviewer and the interviewee, and provides insight to the students on how the interviews can go well or poorly.  Jack's dynamic presentation will draw students into the discussion and leave them more knowledgeable and more confident about the college interview process.
 
To the ends of the Earth: Study abroad in South Africa
Maura Kernan
Maura provides a detailed description of how she was inspired to choose a more unusual study abroad experience, what she found when she arrived in South Africa, and how the subsequent 4 months she spent there unraveled.  The program Maura chose to participate in, SIT Multiculturalism and Social Change, moves students among 4 different home stays to provide a sense of the different cultures that exist in South Africa.  South African history is plagued by the racial divide which was legally implemented through apartheid.  Although South Africa has been a free democracy since 1994, socio economic differences which divide along cultural lines persist in contemporary society.  Maura spent the final month of her abroad experience living in an apartment with 6 other American students and writing an independent study on the South African education system.  The SIT program gave her invaluable experience and opened her eyes to another world.  Maura's fascinating presentation includes a slideshow of pictures from her travels.
 
Celebrities and African Aid: Does this Work?
Emily Smith 
Celebrities are all over the media.  Americans are fascinated with their seemingly perfect lifestyles and addicted to celebrity gossip columns.  Recently, celebrities have begun to use their power and name recognition in the world of philanthropy to help raise awareness for a cause.  Simultaneously, there is a change occurring in the world of philanthropy which helps ensure that the money donated is not handled by corrupt officials.  In a case study of African aid looking specifically at Angelina Jolie and Bono, Emily's presentation describes how modern philanthropic practices relate to the new trend of celebrity giving, and examines the trend of celebrity giving to determine its effectiveness.
 
Sex Trafficking: How To Save A Life
Mikhail Bell
Mikhail's thought-provoking and powerful presentation will inform high school students about one of the fastest growing phenomena in the world:  human trafficking. Practiced on every continent, human trafficking is truly a global problem that even affects Americans. This global trade in persons mainly affects women and children who, for social and cultural reasons, are the most vulnerable in any economy. As a result, this presentation will focus on sex trafficking, which is one of the most common examples of trafficking in persons. Students will be introduced to the factors which make people vulnerable, reasons people are "willingly" trafficked, and what governments are doing to tackle this problem. Additionally, students will be equipped with knowledge about how they can affect change at the local level. At its end, the audience should be sobered by the reality of sex trafficking. However they should also be encouraged by how easily the problem can be solved.
 
I Say Hot, You Say …Cold? Social Psychology and the Implicit Association Task
Bridget Moore 
Bridget's presentation starts with a brief overview of what social psychology is and how it is studied. Her main focus is the Implicit Association Task (IAT) and the implications of using this type of test. Bridget will use various mini demonstrations to clarify how associations work or fail. In addition, she will present a Dateline segment and highlight how IAT works using class participation and a practice racial IAT (a different practice IAT can be substituted at the teacher's request). Overall, students will learn how associations are powerful, but can also lead to faulty decisions if one only relies on associations to form a judgment.
 
Setting Stereotypes Straight: The Value of Travel
Kimberly Bauer 
The topic of Kim's presentation is her semester abroad in Botswana. In particular, she presents the many stereotypes about Africa can be found in popular media of Western nations, and the vital importance of looking beyond these stereotypes to understand that there is more to Africa than poverty and wildlife. Kim discusses how traveling with an open mind to a foreign place can be very valuable.

Rethinking Cape Wind: An Exploration of Place and Sustainability in the 21st Century
Jonathon Peros 
In the face of rising energy needs and global climate change, renewable energy represents a clean and green way into the future. In 2001, America's first off-shore wind farm was proposed in the coastal waters of Massachusetts. Seven years later, the fate of the project remains in limbo. Jonathon's presentation examines why the Cape Wind project has been met with both opposition and support, specifically focusing on the environmental values of place and sustainability.
 
Healing Tales: Understanding the Fluidity of Healing [Wangu, South Africa]
Annie Bowler
Examining traditional healing in the South African context and the way that personal narratives can help further understanding of other cultures. The presentation covers research conducted with abroad in South Africa. Residents of a rural community shared stories of times when they or someone they knew were ill and the processes they went through to get well. The over 70 responses from the study showed a pluralistic acceptance of biomedicine and traditional healing, despite these two systems apparent conflict. This presentation examines the narratives and addresses issues of story telling, public health, and cultural understanding. 
 
2008 Beijing Olympics and the Implications for China's Environmental Future
Katherine Kenney 
In her presentation, Katherine will talk about the environmental problems in China, using the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing as a backdrop for what China can do to improve their environmental health situation. Air quality is one of the biggest concerns for the 2008 Games, and some athletes are concerned as to whether or not China will be able to reach World Health Organization standards for air quality in time for the Olympics. She will look at the magnitude of the problem, what the Beijing and Central Chinese governments are doing, and if the model used in Beijing might be implemented across China to address their growing environmental issues.