Spinning the Coaching Carousel: How Trends in Scoring Inform Coaching Hires in NCAA Men’s Basketball

In recent years, one of the strongest general trends across sports has been a shift towards a more statistics-oriented understanding of performance and success. For this project, I am focusing in on a specific sport, NCAA Men’s Basketball, a well-defined time period, from the beginning of the 2016-2017 season until today, and a specific portion of that sport, scoring, to examine several interconnected ideas. Firstly, I am exploring the correlations between how a team scores and how that team wins. Is a team more successful by scoring many points or by holding its opponents to few? Can a relationship be established between a the net points a team scores and the amount of wins they compile? I will then focus further on teams that have undergone a coaching change, either after the 2016-2017 season or after the 2017-2018 season. From there, I will look at how those teams changed from before to after. If a team had more wins after the coaching change, was there a meaningful change in the points they scored or allowed to explain it? Do the original trends between scoring and wins help explain these changes, and can they be used to predict the success of future coaching hires? This project will, in time, try to explore each of these ideas and connect them, in the hopes of better understanding the complex relationships between team scoring and team success.

Between Cornfields and K-Marts: Documenting the Stories of the Miami Valley of Ohio through Poetry

I’ve grown up thinking of my home state as unimportant. I’m from Ohio. Specifically, the Miami Valley region. All we have is endless cornfields on rolling hills. Soybean fields are interspersed. A lot of beige. Having lived in that same place for eighteen years, I thought there was nothing to appreciate. But after taking a class about the history of the U.S. South, I started to think about the uniqueness of Ohio in comparison to how other authors described their homes. In an effort to increase my appreciation, I’ve decided to research the history of my hometown, Cedarville, Ohio, and four surrounding cities (Dayton, Springfield, Yellow Springs, and Xenia). I plan on exploring their histories through my local libraries and public museums. After researching their history, I will be interviewing local residents to gain insight on their opinions about these places. Hopefully, those interviews will give me stories about their experiences growing up in different places geographically, culturally, and socioeconomically. To find people to interview, I will be going to local restaurants, cafés, churches, museums, parks, record stores, etc. to find people who know what it is like to live in those areas. I want to learn what these people have learned through their life experience.

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The Artistic Portrayal of the Mexican Revolution and its Effect on the Common Understanding of its Values and Success

With this project, I hope to answer the question of whether or not the US public understanding of Mexican Revolutionary art presents a whitewashed, less radical image of what the revolutionaries and the artists actually believed in. How, if at all, have very radical revolutionary values like workers’ rights, land redistribution, and indigenous rights been transferred to the US understanding of the Mexican Revolution through the works of artists who supported these values? What does the representation of artists such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Jose Guadalupe Posada in the US suggest with regards to our attitudes towards Mexican culture since the Revolution? What level of cultural understanding does this artwork provide us with, and does it detract from our comprehension of the political reality in Mexico?  

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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.