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Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center

Levitt Center
315-859-4451 or 315-859-4894

Levitt Scholars

Spring 2011

Amanda Cohen
“An American Genocide?: An Examination of the Treatment of Native Americans”
What constitutes genocide? Is the United States guilty of genocide of the Native Americans? Amanda’s presentation examines what factors must be present in order for something to be considered genocide. She defines what genocide is and investigates the various stages of genocide, while examining the treatment of the Native Americans. Various massacres as well as the polarization and dehumanization of the Native Americans lead us to believe that, in fact, the European settlers committed genocide of these indigenous people.

Rachel D’Angio
“Hydrofracturing: Hot Button Environmental Issue”
Hydrofracturing (a drilling process by which natural gas is extracted from shale) is a local and hot button environmental issue. The southern part of New York State is home to the Marcellus Shale, and many are interested in drilling in the Marcellus Shale for natural gas. There are many positives and negatives to hydrofracturing and using natural gas as an energy source. In this lecture, Rachel will discuss some of these positives and negatives, work with the students to come up with possible environmental policies on energy and hydrofracturing, and have the students vote on which policy seems the best and most feasible. The ultimate goal of the lecture is to show how environmental issues and politics go hand-in-hand and how difficult and vast environmental problems can be.

Danielle Forshay
“Why Learn a Language?”
Because English is becoming an increasingly prevalent language in media, business, and politics around the world, and because there is no universal policy requiring language education in the United States, English-speaking Americans are able to rely more heavily on their native tongue and place less emphasis on achieving fluency in other languages. This presentation explores the benefits of studying a foreign language and emphasizes the value of language skills at any level (even if you only know the alphabet!). Through the relation of stories from Danielle’s semester abroad in Russia, this presentation focuses on the ways knowledge of a foreign language can enhance travel experiences, but also gives attention to the ways language abilities can be useful at home in America.

Andrew Harris
“The Best Semester of College: Navigating the Study-Abroad Experience”
Andrew focuses on explaining the process for studying in a foreign country during college, from deciding the location to making the most of your time there. Drawing upon his experience in Italy, he will incorporate his own anecdotes from his semester to paint a realistic picture of what students can expect in a foreign place. The goal of the presentation is to answer potential questions about the entire process, and clarify misconceptions that many people have about a semester abroad. Even though studying abroad can seem like a long time away, it can never hurt to start thinking about where to study, and how to make that possibility a reality.

Mandy Hyne
“All about Attachment: A Presentation Emphasizing Disordered Attachment, Implications and Treatment Approaches”
Mandy, a senior Psychology major, spent last summer working at a residential treatment program for children aged 7-20 who suffer from severe psychological and behavioral disorders. One disorder prevalent in the children she worked with was Reactive Attachment Disorder, which is common in children who have not formed secure relationships with caregivers and have suffered experiences of abuse and neglect. The goal of her presentation is to discuss attachment theory, explain disordered attachment and symptoms in relation to her experiences working at the program, discuss implications for the future as well as to describe treatment options for children and families. After the presentation and description of her experiences, Mandy hopes that high school students will gain a better understanding of a complex disorder and understand why early treatment and preventative programs are important. An additional goal is to convey to students that working in a challenging environment can be an extremely rewarding and positive experience.

Evan Klondar
"Phenomenology in Practice"
This presentation takes an interactive approach to the branch of philosophy known as phenomenology. Using examples from students' everyday lives, Evan encourages students to seek a new perspective on the world. The presentation explores the nature of reality and how society --and our experiences-- contribute to our understanding of what is "real." During the presentation, a number of interesting questions are raised, including "what makes something funny?" and "what are actors really doing on screen?" Students will learn how phenomenology is a powerful tool for evaluating the world and gain a new perspective on thinking critically.

Mary “Bret” Lineberry
“Backpacking Europe 101”
Many people advocate backpacking as the best way to travel and experience Europe. Upon the end of her junior year, Bret spent three weeks backpacking in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria. Before departing from the United States she researched traveling tips, but discovered that there are many aspects you cannot know or understand until you’ve experienced them yourself. This presentation will provide insight into traveling; specifically backpacking, alone in foreign countries and offer tips Bret collected in her travels. She will also share pictures and information from some must-see sights in these three countries.

Tongxin Lu
“History of the Catholic Church in China”
Description: In her presentation, Tongxin explains her summer research (2010) on the current conflicts between the Chinese government and the Vatican. In order to understand their historical misunderstandings, she gives a brief summary of the encounters between Catholic missionaries with the Chinese people from 1294 to the present time and of the basic modern Chinese history and the Chinese political system. The presentation will help students to understand the relationship between church and state in China and its implication to the rest of the world.

Kyle Mason
“Study Abroad: A Life-Changing Experience”
The experience of studying abroad is common at Hamilton College. However, at other institutions study abroad is not seen in the same way. Kyle, after experiencing life abroad studying in Rome, Italy, realized that study abroad is an experience others should also pursue. Using photos taken while abroad Kyle will discuss Italian culture, his experience studying abroad, and what students can do to have the same type of life-changing experience he had.

Julie Meurer
“Speaking Without a Voice: American Sign Language and American Deaf Culture”
Communication is an essential part of our everyday lives and there are hundreds of different ways we can communicate; some of which we may take for granted. Julie’s interactive presentation introduces students to American Sign Language (ASL) and American Deaf Culture. Approximately one out of every 1,000 Americans is functionally deaf. In this interactive presentation students will learn the history of ASL and Deaf Culture, myths and facts about the deaf, and some basic signs. The presentation will end with a group activity that will challenge students to create their own signed interpretation of a song to see how close they can come to the ASL interpretation.

Samantha Rabin
“The Art of Hidden Messages: An Application of Content Analysis”
What do we see upon initially viewing materials? What more can we see when we view these same materials with a critical eye? Using video clips and photographs from popular culture, this presentation introduces students to content analysis, and enables them to critically analyze language, discourse, and images in order to discover underlying messages within written, photographic, and even televised content. Samantha’s presentation seeks to encourage and foster independent thought through an interactive structure based in student participation. This presentation explores how content often includes implicit messages, which are meant to inform a particular reading or understanding of the material for the viewers. Samantha discusses content analysis as a way both to broaden student understanding about topics such as gender roles and family values and to encourage students to make their own meaning while becoming critical viewers.

Himeka Hagiwara
“A Quick Look at Consciousness “
The goal of Hime’s presentation is to encourage philosophical thought on a personal and academic level. She asks students to reflect on their own lives and incorporates their beliefs and intuitions in her introductory explanation of consciousness. She narrows the vast topic to a comparison of two antithetical approaches: dualism and materialism, thus maintaining focus but still leaving plenty of room for fun. Colorful pictures, thought provoking questions, and a follow-up discussion, make her presentation thought-provoking and offers inspiration for young adults to think critically about themselves and others.

Kelsey Mellette
“Civic Engagement: Discovering Interests and Getting Involved”
The goal of Kelsey’s presentation is to encourage students to become actively involved in the civic process. She starts with a brief overview of citizenship, and then challenges students to take advantage of their rights as citizens of their school, community, and country. Through an interactive and empowering presentation, Kelsey will help the students to discover issues of interest to them, discuss how to make a strong argument through the use of reliable sources, and demonstrate how to take action by participating in an activity that addresses the issue. She will also incorporate information from her own experience of discovering her interest in health care policy and working towards change through her internship in Washington, D.C.

Jeff Cardoni
“The Hidden Costs of Car Ownership”
Jeff’s presentation provides an overview of the less obvious risks and costs of driving. The goal of the presentation is to provide a more detailed framework with which new, aspiring, and current drivers can make decisions about how they spend their time and money behind the wheel. Jeff covers issues including the social, personal, and implicit costs of driving. He also discusses how increasingly advanced and numerous safety features may not make drivers as safe as they think. Especially as a new generation of drivers prepare to spend a lifetime on the road and even purchase a new car, it will be helpful for them to understand the true price of their vehicle.


Sophia Boehm
“Ethnocentric Approaches to Africa: The Rwandan Genocide”
This presentation will begin by exploring the tendency of many Americans to talk about "Africa" as a whole rather than the 54 individual countries, and this ethnocentric approaches often negatively affects US foreign policy. By failing to recognize the individual political, social, and economic landscapes of each nation, policymakers cannot begin to develop effective policy. In her presentation, Sophia examines the case of the Rwandan genocide more specifically, dispelling ideas that African people are simply warring tribes. She explains the causes that began the atrocity, namely colonialism, and then she will share two personal stories: first, about her experiences visiting a genocide memorial, and second, the moment when her homestay mother talked about the loss of her family. Sophia draws attention to the strength and perseverance that these Rwandans demonstrated. Her presentation concludes with a discussion of both the lessons that we can learn from Africans as well as what the class can do on a day-to-day basis to change their own environments.