Undergraduate Honors Theses


A Biochemical Analysis of the Factors Influencing P0 Oligomerization in Xenopus laevis Peripheral Nerve Myelin
Protein zero (P0), the major structural protein of peripheral nerve myelin, is a ~30 kDa integral membrane glycoprotein consisting of an extracellular domain, a transmembrane domain, and a palmitoylated cytoplasmic domain. In native membranes of Xenopus laevis it exists primarily as a dimer. To determine the effects of glycosylation, acylation, and hydrophobic interactions on protein dimerization, I used SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), Western blotting, and high-performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC) to analyze the effects of deglycosylation, deacylation, and various detergent treatments on myelin isolated from Xenopus laevis sciatic nerve. These treatments showed no effect on P0 oligomerization, suggesting that glycosylation, acylation, and hydrophobic interactions disrupted by these detergents do not underlie P0 dimerization. The data points to the likelihood that covalent linkages contribute to P0 oligomerizaztion in Xenopus.
A Bipolar Structure of Affective Experience
A current debate ensues between the bivalent and the bipolar views of affect. This study has attempted to further support the side of bipolarity. The bipolar model of affective experience explains that affect is experienced along a single continuum and therefore a person processes only one feeling of affect at a time and cannot experience opposite states of affect simultaneously. I predicted that, in accordance with the bipolar model, participants would be unable to process semantic information from both positive and negative narratives at the same time in a dichotic listening. This inability would cause the participants to make shadowing errors when their attention shifted to the unattended channel as well as causing a vocal delay when the narratives switched auditory channels midway through the experiment. They would rate themselves in bipolar space throughout the experiment, but to then rate themselves in bivalent space when they made a summary judgment at the end of the experiment, since they are asked to combine their entire experience into a discreet rating. Twenty-one undergraduate students participated in a dichotic listening task while using the CTVG to continuously record their current state of affect in real time. The percent of errors made in shadowing, vocal delay, position on the grid for the summary judgments and the placement on the grid surrounding attention shifts were all measured. Results suggest that the structure of the affective experience follows the bipolar model. Implications of this research are discussed.
A Case Study of Medecins Sans Frontiers and International Humanitarian NGO Effectiveness
This essay examines the effectiveness of international humanitarian aid. It focuses on the case study of Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF), analyzing how its organizational structure and principles can act as a measure for the effectiveness of its field operations. MSF's HIV/AIDS clinics throughout Kenya as well as their international campaigning efforts are presented as an effective way to provide access, care, and treatment for HIV/AIDS. The overall conclusions of the essay draw specifically from MSF, suggesting that their long-term aid commitments should expand in both breathe and depth and that the organization is a model of effectiveness for other large international humanitarian aid organizations to follow.
A Child Left Behind
This paper uses Brazilian census data to evaluate the correlates, consequences, and possible causes of child labor. I find strong evidence that although most working children are also attending school, they are falling well behind their peers. I then attempt to explain state-by-state variation in child labor participation rates by using state level data, finding that economic concentration in specific industries is correlated with higher child participation in the labor market. Finally, using census data on income, I show that the current Brazilian program to alleviate child labor may also be effective in targeting higher income households then those now eligible for the program.
A Comparative Analysis of the Patterns of Language Development between Children with Williams syndrome and Children with Down syndrome
Williams syndrome (WS) is a genetic disorder marked by a microdeletion of approximately 25 genes on chromosome 7. Down syndrome (DS) is a genetic disorder marked by a chromosomal abnormality in which an additional copy of chromosome 21 is present in some or all cells. A comparative analysis of language acquisition between populations of children with WS and populations of children with DS yielded largely different patterns in language development. Phonology was found to be largely intact in children with WS, while children with DS struggled to produce intelligible and articulate speech. Semantics proved an area of relative strength in comparison to other areas of language development in both populations. Syntax was found to be a relative strength in the WS population, while children with DS struggled with syntactic output. Both groups exhibited difficulties in syntactic processing. In contrast to common conceptions regarding pragmatic strengths in children with WS, results indicated that gesture, narrative and discourse were areas of relative weakness in this population. Gesture, narrative and discourse proved areas of relative strength for children with DS.
A Descriptive Analysis of the Impact of LIFO Repeal
Politicians, accountants, and businesspersons have debated the merits of Last-in, First-out (LIFO) inventory accounting for decades. With the inauguration of a new president and increasingly global business markets, this matter is again rising to the forefront of policy debates. It is especially relevant given the likely adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in the United States. Under IFRS, LIFO would no longer be an option for financial accounting purposes. Though researchers and pundits have written to express strong opinions on this matter, there exists no comprehensive analysis of the effects that a repeal of LIFO would have on the nation. This paper seeks to conduct this analysis and determine the potential effects of LIFO repeal through a qualitative analysis of the merits and shortcomings of LIFO as well as through a quantitative analysis of the industries that would be most affected by LIFO repeal and the tax consequences they would face. This paper looks to make an assessment of the feasibility of LIFO repeal based on these analyses, and to conclude whether LIFO repeal would be beneficial for the nation.
A Difference of Degrees
Ernst Juenger lived through almost the entire 20th century. This longevity has placed him at the center of many of the most defining moments of modern German history. It is not, however, simply his longevity but his attitudes that have caused such a controversy to grow up around him. A staunch nationalist and one might venture to say, war-monger, during the First World War and a virulent enemy of the Weimar Republic, many historians have classified him as a Nazi author. This thesis explores the relationsihp of Ernst Juenger to the National Socialists in the context of his writing and political leanings between the First World War and the end of the Second. Without understanding the integral differences between his ideology and that of the NSDAP (namely their divergence on the issues of racial purity, parliamentarianism, communism, the use of power, and the position of art)one cannot appreciate his place in history and his perspective on Germany.
A Financing Strategy for the New Jersey Tranportation Trust Fund
The New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority (NJTTFA or TTFA) is an independent agency of the New Jersey state government that is responsible for administering the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF of “the Fund”), which is used to fund transportation capital project expenditures by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and the NJ TRANSIT commuter-rail and bus system. The TTF is essential for maintaining, improving, and repairing New Jersey’s infrastructure system. However, since the TTFA was created in 1984, it has been inadequately financed by the state government and has irresponsibly issued enormous amounts of debt. Because of this, it has now it has run into major financing problems. Currently, the TTF’s revenues are insufficient to cover its increasing debt obligations. Because of this, the TTF is expected to be bankrupt by July of this year (2011). If this happens, New Jersey will be left without any financing for its already-troubled infrastructure system.This has become a major cause of concern for the State of New Jersey. For years, politicians and residents across the state have been unable to come to an agreement on how to best solve this growing problem. Because of this, financing strategies in the past have amounted to little more than temporary “Band-Aid” solutions focused principally on the issuance of massive amounts of debt. Now, the outstanding debt of the TTF has built up to the point that, in just a few short months, revenues will be insufficient to cover existing debt obligations. The New Jersey state government needs to take drastic action and adopt a long-term financing strategy that will allow the TTFA to meet its debt obligations and pay down outstanding debt, while still being able to fund essential transportation and infrastructure projects across the state.This paper will examine the causes and effects of the current funding deficit, as well various proposed solutions and strategies. After an in-depth examination of these topics, I will devise a recommended solution for solving the current deficit crisis faced by the TTF and for providing long-term financing for transportation requirements. The results will show that the most logical and effective long-term financing strategy will hinge upon an increase in state gasoline taxes, which are currently among the lowest in the nation. However, solving the problem will also require new sources of revenue and stringent financial management.
A Fool's Journey
My Senior Honors Thesis may be understood as a two-part investigation that addresses both theoretical and practical concerns of physical comedy and the language of gesture. I will first present some of my more general findings about comedy in order to more accurately zero in on the figure of 'the Fool.' I will thereafter investigate the function of the Fool in society and report on two of his most definitive iterations: Arlecchino, of the Italian Commedia dell'Arte and Bill Irwin of the contemporary stage. These theoretical components will eventually serve as a foundation for the practical side of my project- the creation of my own physical performance piece. In the final part of this document I will outline the process of conceiving and developing a physical comedy performance all my own, referring to my research whenever possible. My hope is that this paper will serve as both an informational document about some of the most important historical influences on physical comedy and the language of gesture, as well as relate how those influences affected me in the process of imagination and creation that is the joy of theatre.
A Framework for Climate Change Policies in the United States
Climate change is quickly becoming an important global concern with considerable and varied long-term consequences. In order to lessen the effects of this phenomenon it is necessary to institute regulatory policies that control carbon dioxide emissions, since they have been shown to directly correlate with temperature changes. Despite the prevalence of climate change initiatives, both internationally and within the United States, there is no comprehensive national policy with respect to the issue. The public and political conditions in the United States are presently ideal for the institution of a federal climate change policy, the most effective of which involves the incorporation of multiple emissions reductions measures.
A Look at the Game Theory of Online Auctions
Online auctions have many different formats. Each of these affect the ways in which users bid strategically. One example of this is the end-time format. Some sites, like eBay, use a hard close, under which there is a strict end-time and the highest bidder at that time wins. Others, like Amazon, have an extended end-time format. It has been shown that these differences do, in fact, appear to change how bidders behave. This paper uses data obtained from Yahoo! Auctions, where both formats are used, to examine the impact these differences have on the final price of an auction.


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