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.

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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