The Organ Fugues of J.S. Bach: A Historical and Contemporary Study

My research will consist of an intensive study of the sheet music to the organ fugues of Johann Sebastian Bach, culminating in a composition of my own intended to replicate Bach’s compositional style. A fugue is a contrapuntal piece wherein a fragment of melodic material (a theme) is repeatedly introduced in the different voices of the piece. Bach is generally considered the master of this art form, which is why I am seeking to study his methods in order to learn about the technical and structural elements that make fugal writing possible. Topics considered will include, but are not limited to, chord progressions, rhythmic motives, key relationships, inversions and augmentations of the theme, and playability as it relates to the mechanics of an organ. I myself am an organist, so through this project I hope not only to hone my music theory and composition skills, but also my performance skills. I will take approximately a week and a half to analyze and take detailed notes on the structural elements of the organ fugues in my New Bach Edition manuscript. I will then begin the composition process by selecting a theme to use for the fugue, which will an already existing and recognizable tune. Through the choice of theme, I will tie Baroque methods to more modern melodic writing, thus forging a connection between eras. The rest of my research will consist of using the techniques I have documented and learned to write a fugue on the selected theme. If I have time, I will learn to play the fugue on organ and record it.

Once Upon a Time in Soviet Russia: Investigating the Role of Folklore within Soviet Propaganda

After the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Russian culture experienced several purposeful rounds of reinterpretation and restructuring. During the subsequent Soviet Era, countless novel methods and genres of storytelling arose, with notable examples being the KinoEye, socialist realist and constructivist art movements. Yet, within this change, Russian culture maintained a connection with several pieces of its storytelling legacy. For example, certain forms of Soviet media—specifically those intended as propaganda—demonstrated a selective maintaining of Russia’s cultural legacy of folklore. In other words, folklore continued to influence media in a manner reflective of the political climate at the time. This observation in turn begs the question: In what ways were archetypes and plot lines from traditional Russian folklore incorporated into Soviet Era media and propaganda? Overall, my project aims at analyzing the intersection between Russia’s cultural legacy of folklore, Soviet-era adaptations of said folklore and the greater political context(s) that motivated reinterpretations of these folk narratives.

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Are Our Kids Tough Enough, Lessons from China and the US Abstract

For my research project this summer, I plan to study school at the secondary and university levels in China and the United States, and the different teaching styles that the two countries use to prepare their students for the transition between the two. The process that American high school students go through to get to college is very different than the process for Chinese students. One example of this is that American students have lots of time for extracurriculars in the afternoon to practice leadership skills, while Chinese universities only look for test scores, so Chinese students have 12 hour school days. What are some of the reasons that these different styles of teaching have developed? What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of the two systems?

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Austen & Abolition Abstract

Kate Kowalski

First Year Monroe Scholar

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Austen & Abolition Abstract

Kate Kowalski

First Year Monroe Scholar

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High School to College Writing Centers: It’s All About The Transition

In recent years, there has been an exponential growth in high school writing centers.  There will likely be more students entering 4-year universities with experience tutoring who plan to continue their work. This study proposes to analyze the differences between high school and college writing centers through the use of statistical data. This data will be collected from different institutions at differing academic levels in Virginia as well as pre-existing article for review.  The goal is to develop a guide for students entering college with writing center experience from high school.

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Investigating the Benefits of Study Abroad

William and Mary is renowned as a leader in global education, often garnering the top spot in study abroad among public universities and ranked highly even among private universities. Last year, the university had the highest percentage of undergraduate participation in study abroad programs compared to any other public university in the United States. This status is likely due to the emphasis which the new COLL curriculum places on global education, requiring either a study abroad or study away experience or a class on campus that addresses global or cross-cultural issues. Students are encouraged by the university to study abroad in order to improve language skills, as well as to gain an appreciation for a foreign culture by living in it and an appreciation for an individual’s own culture by living away from it. In order to support more students in their endeavors abroad, the Global Education Office and Reves Center offer scholarships to students who require financial aid.

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Risky Food: Abstract

“Risky Food: Understanding Potentially Disadvantageous Taiwanese Food Trade Restrictions.”

I plan to research two cases in which Taiwanese fears about the safety of imported food led to trade restrictions. In the first case, fears of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) and the food additive ractopamine led to restrictions on US beef. Restrictions have been ongoing for over a decade. In the second case, Taiwan has instituted and maintained of radioactive contamination of food products from the Fukushima area of Japan, where the 2011 nuclear disaster occurred. While there remains some level of risk with both foods, the danger has been argued to be relatively low. Potentially more consequential is the risk of damaging relations with the United States and Japan, two of Taiwan’s most important partners.

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Using Graph Theoretic Methods to Search for New Generalized Quadrangles

In finite geometry, there are objects known as generalized quadrangles, or GQs. GQs are a collection of points and lines that hold three simple rules: [Read more…]

Investigating the Deficit of Men in Community Service

For my research project this summer, I plan to study the deficit of men involved in community service—the possible causes, the effects, the interplay of stereotypical gender roles. In my experience in community service and engagement, the difference in the proportion of male and female volunteers is quite significant. Why are there so many more women than men? Is it because of typical gender roles? Is it because women are stereotypically known to be more compassionate? Am I wrong entirely? Through a series of interviews, that is what I would like to unearth. Potentially, I could propose solutions to resolve this imbalance at the conclusion of my study.

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