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Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center

Levitt Scholars

Spring 2010


Anna Barnard: "Understanding Economic Concepts: A Selective History of Recession and Depression in the US"
The goal of Anna's presentation is to encourage high-school students to take an active interest in understanding the economy. It will introduce and explain key economic concepts like inflation, the money supply, the Fed, interest rates, and asset bubbles, and will apply these concepts to historic examples of recession and depression in the US. The historic examples have been chosen to highlight different causal factors in recessions to demonstrate how all elements of the economy interact to stimulate and depress growth. Anna will go over the Great Depression, the Stagflation Crisis of the 1970s, the early 1980s double-dip recession, and the current state of the economy. The oral presentation will be complimented by images of the time periods discussed. By the end of the presentation, students should feel more confident in discussing the economy and what changes it, and will hopefully feel interested in learning more about economics. 
 
Megan Bumb: "How to Make a Gap Year a Possibility." 
This presentation discusses the unconventional path of the "gap year." Megan describes the process of how she arrived at the decision to take a year off from college, as well as the logistics of how such a year works. Using a stunning photo-filled Powerpoint presentation, she presents her experiences during her time in Accra, Ghana teaching English at an orphanage, including her experiences of the Ghanaian culture and the way of life of a third world country. Finally, Megan will discuss with the students how they can make this happen for themselves and help them discover that taking a gap year is a viable option for them.
 
Hathaway Burden: "The Two Washingtons of the World"
Hathaway, a Seattle native, explores cultural differences between the east and west coasts of the United States. Her presentation focuses on the two Washingtons of the world: Seattle, WA and Washington, DC. Hathaway combines her research and experience living in both cities to offer a comparison that touches on historic, geographic, demographic and attitudinal differences. While the two cities are similar in many regards, their differences challenge the common conception of diversity.
 
Julie DiRoma: "The Benefits of the Local Food Movement"
As our food becomes more processed and less natural, people are increasingly concerned over the effects that these foods will have on their health. Julie's presentation highlights the benefits of supporting the movement for local food. She explains the differences between factory farming and small-scale local food production. Julie focuses on three positive impacts of local food: individual health benefits, community economic benefits, and reduced global greenhouse gas emissions. She also incorporates information from her internship experiences to discuss the connection between local food and farmland protection in New York State. The presentation will end with a short, interactive activity to get students thinking about how they can get involved in the local food movement.
 
Lucas Harris: "Trails"
This presentation discusses how trails are built and maintained and why they are important, based on Lucas' experience over the past two summers doing trail maintenance. Included is an overview of how trail maintenance is done, the reasons for building and maintaining trails and how trails protect the country's cultural and natural heritage. Lucas includes great examples and photographs of trails from his personal experience. He also provides the students with ideas on how they can participate in similar volunteer activities, including through the Student Conservation Association and other non-profit organizations.
 
Sam Hincks: "A New Age of Human Computer Interaction: Machines that Literally Read your Mind"
This engaging presentation explores an emerging new field called Brain Computer Interaction, which seeks to develop technology that reads human thoughts. Sam provides an overview of the brain sensing technology and machine learning that comprise the bulk of the process, while simultaneously considering the ethical ramifications of developing technology that strips the mind of its inherent privacy. As part of a team that is trying to develop a system for objectively evaluating user interfaces by using functional near-infrared spectroscopy to gauge the user's experiences, Sam describes how college flung him into the project of his dreams. 
 
Julio Monterroso: "Moving Forward: Preparing for the Transition to College."
College can be one of the most stressful times for those students who are not prepared for the transition from high school. Julio's presentation offers students some key differences such as roommates, classes, and professor expectations, so that they can have a smoother transition between the two. Julio will draw on his experience as a senior and as a three-time orientation leader to provide college bound students with tips and vital information that can make their transition as easy as possible. His presentation is designed for students who would like to better prepare themselves for the college experience.
 
Tyler Roberts: "Trial Outcomes: What Does the Jury See?"
In his presentation Tyler examines what a jury actually sees. Why do two different trials of the exact same crime have different results? Why can the police sometimes not use seized drugs or signed confessions at trial? How does what we see in the news media compare to what a jury sees? Tyler will cover constitutional issues, in trial evidence rules and objections, and the credibility and demeanor of witnesses. Tyler draws on the OJ Simpson, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jackson trials for concrete examples.
 
 
Kevin Rowe: "City/Nature: Rethinking the Human Relationship to Nature in Cities"
How do we interact with and identify with nature in cities? How has the relationship between humans and nature changed since cities started to develop more than 12,000 years ago? Kevin's presentation explores these questions and tries to encourage students to think beyond the conventional polarization of humans and nature and cities and wilderness. Using examples of new directions in urban design, the presentation concludes by challenging students to rethink what it means to interact with nature in cities.
 
Francesca Villa: "Media and Misperceptions." 
This presentation addresses current issues surrounding the mass media and advertising with a focus on media literacy. Using a variety of images and video clips, students will learn how to actively assess and evaluate the messages that we see everyday in magazines, movies, and on television. Students will be asked to take a closer look at their favorite TV shows and beauty products to answer the question, "what am I really being sold?" All the video clips and images have been taken directly from popular culture, but some do involve exposed skin (eg, Dove soap advertisement), thus teacher discretion is advised.
 
Hilary Weiss: "Moral permissibility of torture and targeted killing policies in Israel." 
Hilary discusses the issues of torture and targeted killings in regards to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Her interactive and thought-provoking presentation is a philosophical exploration of "just war theory" and the moral permissibility of certain actions as an act of self-defense.
 
Jennifer Whitman: "20th Century American Prison Writing"
Jennifer's presentation provides students with a look at literature that has come out of the nation's prisons – arguably one of the most extraordinary, underappreciated achievements of twentieth century American culture. She includes a discussion of five prominent American prison writers' work, a break-down of some of the functions of prison writing, and a general time-line of prison writing in the twentieth century America.