Coming and Going: Plotting Time, Space, and Direction in Medieval Music

In my Freshman Monroe Project, I intend to analyze two different types of procedures found in medieval musical compositions.The first procedure, called isorhythm, is a way of constructing larger compositions based on numbers, a common technique in the Middle Ages. The types of pieces that most frequently use isorhythm are called motets, musical compositions which feature 3 or 4 vocal parts. The bottom vocal part is nearly always a segment from a Gregorian chant. The voice parts over the chant line lay out phrases of varying lengths. These phrases often form particular patterns that may relate the voices to each other and to the chant part, forming a kind of large, numerological structure that presented numbers in terms of sound, duration, and structural organization. The second procedure that I would like to investigate is the use of retrograde melodic motion in a number of works from the 14th and 15th centuries. Retrograde motion is the way in which a melody, rhythm, or both can be presented in reverse, allowing composers to organize their material in ways that may strike us as rather strange today.

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Identifying Genes that Counteract Huntington’s Disease Pathology

Researching the ways harmful aggregated proteins, which cause many neurodegenerative diseases, are rendered toxic in basic research is an important first step in finding cures for these diseases. This study looks specifically at the nuclear activities of part of the gene which leads to the production of the mutant protein (Htt) which cause Huntington’s disease. Inside the cell mutant htt forms protein aggregates, and also enters the nucleus where it misregulates the activity (transcription) of genes. This inappropriate transcriptional regulation is believed to cause severe stress to cells. Previous research in the Kerscher lab found that certain proteins could reduce Huntington’s inappropriate transcriptional activity, and decrease its negative effects on the cell. The protein they identified is involved in protein degradation; this discovery lead to the question of whether other proteins are also capable of decreasing the transcriptional promiscuity of the Huntington’s protein. In this project, many proteins will be tested using a novel assay to identify proteins that are capable of decreasing the negative effects of the Huntington’s protein. This approach is called a genetic screen. To do this, a yeast strain with a reporter gene will be transformed into yeast cells expressing mutant huntingtin to reveal the typical transcriptional promiscuity of the huntingtin protein. The production of this reporter will be assayed on growth media that may contains chromogenic substrates. For example, one reporter gene I could use is Mel 1. Colonies expressing a Mel 1 reporter construct will be blue in color, allowing us to easily recognize them. Suppressor genes will then be transformed into the cells, to identify those that decrease in the blue color. A decrease in blue color would indicate suppression of huntingtin’s transcriptional activity by a particular suppressor. I will isolate and sequence this suppressor and functionally analyze it.  Since most yeast genes are conserved in humans this work may lead us to important novel insights about similar mechanisms in human cells that can counteract the progression of Huntington’s Disease.

An Analysis of Filmic Adaptations of The Diary of Anne Frank

Anne Frank is perhaps the best known figure of not only the Holocaust, but World War II in its entirety. Despite the complex emotions and thoughts that she laid out in her diary, her story is frequently reduced to a few trite quotes. The numerous film and stage adaptations of her diary, while bringing her story to a wider audience, also simplify it in an effort to provide a moral and dramatic arc. However, her diary is so much more than a tragic story or an example of a lesson to learn.

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Epistemology in Wallace Stevens

Wallace Stevens, a modernist poet who emerged in the 1920s and gained widespread popularity in the 40s, writes very philosophical poetry, and this element of his work sets him apart from his Modernist contemporaries. Stevens’ poems are about the relationship of human imagination and reality, the role of religion in humans’ understanding of reality, and the source of reality’s value. His poetry seeks to answer questions like: how can we know? How do human beliefs and perceptions affect our understanding of reality? Which version of reality is the true version? Epistemology, a discipline of philosophy that deals with the study of theories of knowledge, investigates similar questions. My summer research will analyze the philosophical ideas found in Wallace Stevens’ poems, focusing on how theories of epistemology illuminate the themes in his poetry.

Hollywood and the Holocaust: The Influence of Jewish Filmmakers in World War 2

The film industry exerts an enormous influence over us. Movies have the potential to greatly influence how we view issues, whether or not we sympathize with others, and what we do about problems. In the 1930s and 1940s, as America rested on the brink of World War 2, Hollywood had the opportunity to influence national sentiment towards the war. Given that many of the studio owners were Jewish, the industry likely had a different perspective than those in the government who turned away refugees and ignored information about the Holocaust.

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Venture Capital Funding Model for Clean Energy Startups

Even though clean energy has experienced a rapid rise in popularity in recent years, funding firms (e.g., venture capital, private equity) have struggled to identify and fund startups that are successful in this field. Through a case study analysis of successful and unsuccessful clean energy startups, this research will answer the question of why startup funding outlets have failed to recognize key factors that determine the success and profitability of clean energy startups. With climate change and environmental issues such a prevalent issue from both an economic and a social perspective, it is vital to understand why the clean energy funding model has failed in this industry even at a time when clean energy is becoming more competitive and more popular when compared to other forms of energy.

The Relationship Between Russian-American Relations and Media Portrayal

This history of Russian-American relations is a tumultuous one. Beginning in the 1940s with the start of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union, what is now Russia, were at odds. The political tensions between the two nations permeated every sector of American civilian life. Throughout middle school and high school, American students are taught of villainous Soviets who were to be hunted down and brought to justice in the United States. Stories of Joe McCarthy and Soviet spies seem to make it clear that the Soviets were, completely and unequivocally, the enemy. Therefore, it is understandable that the media adopted this mentality and created the trope of the Russian villain. However, this trope has continued long past the collapse of the Soviet Union when Russia is no longer an outright enemy of the United States. Why has the American public so willingly clung to this portrayal in an era when younger generations were not alive during the Cold War? This paper will analyze the ways in which the portrayal of Russians as villains in American films as affected how the American public perceives Russians as a whole. Furthermore, this paper will attempt to discover if the same is true in Russian created media. Where Americans negatively portrayed during the Cold War and has there been any continuity in their portrayal following the end of the Cold War and an era of peace?

Investigating the Negative Stigma of Dentistry

The continually lukewarm response I receive when my peers find out I am a pre-dental student stood out to me as a reflection of a larger negative sentiment about dentistry. Just look online and you will find countless comedic routines, blog articles, and social media posts about how Americans find dental work so un-enjoyable. I wonder if interpersonal interactions between the dentist and patient, lack of communication and patient knowledge about procedures, lingering reputations of older, perhaps more unpleasant equipment, or another factor is to blame for these opinions.

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The Trend of Regional Independence Movements in Europe and Its Portrayal in the Media

For my research project, I will be conducting research on the trend of regional independence movements in Europe and its portrayal in the media. Recently this trend has been increasing as more movements in favor of regional independence spread throughout much of Europe in places like Catalonia, Spain and Lombardy and Veneto, Italy. In our current world, the media plays a very important role in connecting people so that these trends do not only pertain to the people in the directly affected areas. These independence movements, if successful, could have large-scale consequences for the countries of Europe along with their economies and governments.

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The Intersection of Mental Health & Gun Violence

I will be conducting research on various conversations going on in academia surrounding the topic of mental health in relation to gun violence. In the last few decades, as shown in the news and in statistics, gun violence including mass shootings have been on an alarming increase. Often in the media, the aspects of mental illness that are inherently intertwined with the issue are overlooked, or used as merely an aspect to place blame to distract from other issues surrounding this gun violence.  Additionally, much of the gun violence that occurs happens on a much smaller scale, and these issues are often overlooked in lieu of the more “eye-catching” headlines of mass shootings, and I want to delve into these aspects as well.

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