Erica Dressler: "Guatemala's Rocky Transition to Democracy & the Role of Non-Profit Organizations like The Guatemalan Project"
Erica discusses the major problems (poverty, corruption, drug trafficking, human rights abuses, and a culture of violence) still facing Guatemala since its transition to democracy in 1996. Her presentation includes a slideshow of her experience living in a Guatemalan village for a month and teaching English at the local elementary school. Erica also describes her interaction with a U.S. non-profit called the Guatemalan Project, and the organization's goal to promote social justice through economic and social development. One goal of this presentation is to raise awareness about the problems facing developing countries like Guatemala and show how non-profit organizations can often be effective in helping to build sustainable communities.
Allison Gaston-Enholm: "Putting Your Best Foot Forward: The College Interview"
Allison is an intern in the Admissions Office at Hamilton, and part of her job entails interviewing prospective students. This 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 provides a quick look at what to do and what not to do during a college interview. Allison will demonstrate that the interview can be the easiest part of the entire college process, and that every student already has the necessary skills to perform their best during an interview.
Charlie Dworkin: "Active Citizen: Developing Your Political Outlook through Congress"
Many Americans, especially young people, do not know enough about the American governmental process. With his engaging presentation, Charlie offers students some insight into the Congressional political process, motivates them to become interested in politics, and helps them to develop their own political outlook. Charlie draws on his experience as an intern in the House of Representatives to provide students with information on how politics affects their daily lives and give tips on how to answer the question of "What can I do?"
Sally Powell: "Ocean Acidification: A Frightening Future for our Seas"
Over the past few decades, the burning of fossil fuels has led to a significant rise in atmospheric CO2, an estimated third of which has been absorbed by the world's oceans. The increase of CO2 in the ocean environment has led to ocean acidification, whereby rapid chemical changes have been shown to have significant and harmful impacts on marine organisms dependent on forming hard parts from calcium carbonate, including those responsible for the production of reef systems. Whether beachside or 600 miles from the coast, ocean health has direct implications for everything from the economy to pharmaceuticals to clothing. Sally spent the past year working with researchers recording chemical and biological changes of ocean acidification firsthand both at sea on the Pacific and onshore in Mexico, French Polynesia, and Australia. Her presentation informs students about the very real threat behind ocean acidification and how it will inevitably affect their future. She explains the what, why, and how behind the acidification phenomenon (both the science and the policy) and most importantly explain what can be done to address the problem.
Katherine Alser: "Combating Antibiotic Resistance: Applications of Research in the Sciences"
In her visually stunning, very accessible presentation, Katherine describes how antibiotics work and explains antibiotic resistance using penicillin as a primary example. The accompanying Powerpoint slide show provides a non-intimidating yet highly informative look at a complicated subject. Her presentation includes a brief description of how research in the sciences is applied to combating antibiotic resistance. In addition, Katherine uses her senior thesis as an example of the relevant on-going research (the basis for her thesis research is to find an antibiotic that would be active against resistant strains of bacteria that cause infections in humans).
Christina Culver: "Inside Congress: Your Representatives and You"
What goes on inside Congressional offices? Most students are familiar with election and law-making processes, but few have considered how the interworking of Congressional offices develop policy. Christina uses insights gained as a Senate intern to explore how the U.S. Legislature functions behind-the-scenes. Her highly interactive presentation uses personal stories and media to discuss daily office operations. Christina concludes by presenting students with ways in which they can become involved, gain similar experiences, and utilize the services offered by their Congress members.
Julia Penrose: "Art throughout History"
Julia introduces the discipline of art history and gives a brief overview of the different art movements throughout history: exploring how art builds upon itself, giving rise to new styles; specifically, how an art movement tends to be a reaction to the previous one. Her presentation will give students the opportunity to learn about some of the most famous artists and artistic periods in history. It will explore how and why these artistic styles came about and the effect that some of these artistic geniuses had on the art of their time. Additionally, it will explore how art can at times reflect the time period it was made in both culturally and historically. Ultimately, Julia hopes to will lay the foundation for a new appreciation for art.
Alexandra Jenik: "Developing Democracy in Iraq"
Alexandra's informative presentation discusses the establishment of a strong, functional democracy in Iraq; in particular, how the development of a democracy will improve security in the country, and ultimately the lives of ordinary Iraqis. Through the use of news articles, photos, and other visuals, she describes the current political situation in Iraq and how Iraqis live day to day life among constant violence. Her presentation follows the development of democracy in Iraq over the past few years, and provides students a closer look at a country standing at an important cross roads in its political history.
Maura Donovan: "Human Rights: An Emerging Field"
Maura provides an overview of basic human rights, and international documents which protect them (such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which marks its 60th anniversary this year). Her presentation includes examples of different types of human rights organizations, and is centered on her personal experience at Amnesty International in Washington D.C. and at the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition in Johannesburg, South Africa. Maura concludes with a discussion of various debates surrounding the enforcement of human rights standards, and provides examples of how individual students can take action.
Leandra Folk: "Genetic Counseling: What It Is and What It Means to You"
Leandra's discussion of genetic counseling provides an overview of what genetic counseling is generally, who might go for genetic counseling, and the most common reasons people seek counseling (such as early onset cancer, a history of genetic disease in the family, exposure to teratogens, or advanced maternal age). She explains that genetic counseling allows people to prepare themselves emotionally and in other ways for an impending or a potential genetic disease. Knowledge gained through genetic counseling can also provide patients with an opportunity to take preventative measures or participate in more aggressive screening options. Leandra describes a few of the most common genetic diseases genetic counselors deal with and takes her audience through a simulated case study. Discussing the clients and the steps involved in a typical counseling experience gives the students a basic understanding of the genetic counseling process from start to finish, and provides knowledge about the process ahead of time that will help take some stress out of what can be an emotionally trying experience.
Emily Stinson: "Learning to Embrace a Different Way of Living in Tanzania"
Emily emphasizes the importance of learning to embrace and accept another culture, and how doing so can lead one to examine different aspects of their own life. Her presentation describes her experience living with the Maasai, an ancient indigenous tribe, while studying abroad in Tanzania. Through her discussion of various aspects of the Maasai lifestyle, Emily shows that they are more similar to us than one might think.
Becca Griffin: "Communication Apprehension: What Is It and How Can It be Overcome?"
Speech anxiety is completely normal, and it can be overcome! This is Becca's message for students. Her lively presentation provides a description of what defines communication apprehension and how it manifests itself in individuals' daily lives. She provides an overview of communication apprehension, skills for recognizing it and tools for combating it. Additionally, Becca offers tips for public speaking and coping strategies for those who experience anxiety in other situations that involves communicating, whether it be with another individual or to a group.
Caroline Sprague: "Retaining Traditional Culture in a Modern World: Scotland and the United States"
After traveling abroad to St. Andrews University, Caroline discovered that the Scottish people retain their cultural traditions in a fundamentally different way than Americans. In her fun, interactive presentation, she first describes the way in which Scots practice their culture through long standing traditions of folktales, music, dance, sports, preservation of historical sites, etc. She then prompts students for ways Americans practice their traditions. Students learn that because the United States is an independent country with a larger and more diverse population, we tend to modernize our traditions or throw them away all together while the Scots continue practicing their traditions in a more original form and mix and match them with the practices of today's modern society. Neither culture's way of doing it is inherently right or wrong, but they are fundamentally different from each other and a reflection of their country's history.
Emma Woods: "Terrorism: Separating Fact from Fiction"
Terrorism: it is a topic that dominates our media, and a security issue that shapes our country's policies both at home and abroad. But how much do we really know about terrorism? The information we receive from the media tends to either over-generalize a complex subject, or assume that we as listeners have a sufficient base of knowledge with which to understand the news coverage and make educated opinions. As a result, "common knowledge" on terrorism can easily be based on a lack of knowledge. Emma's presentation aims to demonstrate that the subject of terrorism is complex field of study that is difficult to define or generalize, even for those who make studying and preventing terrorism their lives' work. But there is a great deal to learn and a great deal more to discover, and what we do with this information has powerful consequences across the globe. The more we know, the better we can filter the information we hear and the better we can face the difficult and pressing task of combating terrorism and promoting peace. By focusing on four main areas – the definitions of terrorism, the different types of terrorist groups, the terrorist mind, and counterterrorism strategies – this presentation will reveal the truth behind common misperceptions. Students will participate in the difficult task of getting to the root of terrorism – what it is, the various forms it takes, what truly motivates its perpetrators, and, importantly, how we can use precisely this knowledge to prevent the spread of terrorism.
Cameron Gaylord: "For the Encouragement of Alternative Energies"
Cameron provides a compressive outlook into the need for alternative energies and ways students can "get their green on!" through his exuberant presentation. He discusses both ways to reduce one's carbon footprint and wean oneself off of petroleum products, as well as a detailed description of the various alternative energies that exist today (including a brief look at the science behind many popular sources of alternative energy, such as solar and wind power). His visually engaging presentation seeks to educate his audience on what they themselves can do with the information given to them and how their immediate geography is conducive to particular alternatives and not so for others.
Eve Stevens: "Uganda in Times of Peace and Conflict"
Eve's presentation involves an in depth discussion of Ugandan culture based on her time spent there last summer. She includes descriptions of food, dress, family life, traditional values, religion, and a brief historical background, complete with photos and great stories about the families she stayed with. She then describes the effect of the conflict in northern Uganda involving Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army. Eve had the opportunity to interview several former child soldiers and affected families. She provides the audience with their stories, describes the reconciliation process typical of Ugandan culture, and her personal struggle to find a form of conclusion or sense of solace after the trip.
Nicole Edry: "Extraordinary Rendition: An Examination of the Outsourcing of Torture"
After the scandals at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, some finally began to call into question the United State's treatment of captured detainees. In connection to that, more evidence was discovered that the U.S. had been practicing an "extraordinary rendition" program where they outsourced suspected prisoners (many captured illegally) to a country known for using torture as an interrogation method. The U.S. claimed that this was not violating multiple international treaties and the Geneva Conventions because the prisoners were not given "lawful combatant" status and therefore not subject to the same rules or rights. Nicole's presentation reviews the extraordinary rendition program, looks at its history, profiles of victims, and international consequences.
Steve Rowe: "Adventuring and Self Discovery"
The purpose of Steve's presentation is to instill a sense of adventure in the students he speaks with and a desire to go out and learn more about themselves. To accomplish this, he spends the majority of the presentation describing 3 adventures from his time studying abroad in Nepal and conducting research in India this past spring and fall, and shares some reflections about them. Ultimately, he concludes that you don't have to go far to adventure; reading a poem, going on a walk, spending time with friends or just having unstructured time to think can be an adventure, as long as you're aware and reflective of the activity. Learning isn't confined to the classroom, and by adventuring, by putting yourself in new situations, you will learn more about yourself and the structures you excel in, and this is the most important thing to learn to have a good life.
Sarah Bertino: "Adventures in Molecular Biology"
What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone says the word biology? Plants, Animals, Lots of Facts… You might think that this is all there is to biology. In a classroom, you're taught the fundamentals of biology, and yes, there's a lot of stuff to memorize. But that is not all there is to biology. The molecular technology boom has led to the discovery of a wealth of new knowledge in the field of biology just over the last few years. Scientists are still discovering new ways to use Nobel Prize winning research tools. While this information opens a multitude of doors for scientists, we still have no idea what most of it means. Today, the focus of biology has turned toward problem solving. Sarah will be discussing her development as a molecular biology student, the research that she is involved with as an undergraduate, and the tools that will be available to students at an undergraduate institution.
Hampus Eriksson: "Social Democracy: What It Is and How It Works"
Hampus provides a comparison between liberal democratic political structures in the United States and Sweden. Through his discussion of the different systems, he demonstrates how different political structures can result in similar outcomes in many cases. He describes what "social democracy" means in political terms, how it affects the individuals living under such a system, and explains that "socialism" has changed significantly over the past several decades (although the term is still often used incorrectly --for example, during the recent US presidential election). Hampus is from Sweden, but spent a substantial amount of his childhood in New York City. His presentation includes personal stories of his childhood and his experience growing up in a social democratic country, and compares it to his experience in the States. His hope is to enlighten his audience, provide them with an appreciation of other countries' political systems, but also give them a better understanding of how similar people and countries in the Western world really are.