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This year's Baldwin Scholars are hard at work in a concentrated and self-directed course conducting scholarly research within a field of their own interest. In the spring semester, the students pursue opportunities for real-world experience in connection with their research - this can take the form of interviews, job shadowing and externships. Throughout the Scholars experience, students make presentations to Baldwin alumnae and others, refining and polishing their comfort and skill in this area. The program aims to deliver a learning experience beyond traditional classroom opportunities.
Key areas of learning include conducting research in a college library, analyzing and synthesizing scholarly research from multiple sources, integrating sources to effectively substantiate arguments, managing a long writing project (30-35 pages), refining written work through an intensive editing process, corresponding with professionals, interviewing experts and presenting to adults.
This year's Scholars and their projects are:
Hilary Liu is researching how compounds derived from plant-based medicines may be effective treatments for certain maladies — specifically prostate cancer. Her research is titled "Deriving Pterostilbene, an Analog of Resveratrol, to Enhance ARV7 Degradation in Prostate Cancer Cells." A quickly progressing, highly metastatic and difficult-to-treat disease, prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of death from cancer in men. Through previous studies, it has been shown that resveratrol, a compound commonly found in grapes, can degrade ARV7, a mutation of the androgen receptor, which is linked to castration resistant prostate cancer. Hilary is conducting research on whether pterostilbene, a chemical analog of resveratrol with greater biotissue availability, is able to degrade ARV7 in the same manner, and can potentially be used as a supplement to treat prostate cancer.
Julia Maenza is studying the role of the United Nations in responding to cases of genocide. Her paper, "At the Point When You Decide to Punish: Genocide Intervention, Prosecution and Prevention" uses case studies to closely examine causes and consequences and to assess whether military intervention was a successful tool. Julia applies this analysis to the present to examine how we might stop genocide and mass murder before it takes place.
Oona Maloney is researching contemporary covert racism and overt racism: "I Don't See Color: An Examination of Overt and Covert Racism in Institutions and Political Ideologies in the Post-Civil Rights Era." As someone who participates in diversity work, Oona frequently discusses issues within our society and the oppression of marginalized groups based on sexual orientation, race, gender, nationality, ability, etc. Due to her personal experiences as a multiracial person, she has a strong interest in investigating the different forms of racism, the social structures in place that perpetuate it and the work of sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva. In her paper, she provides a close reading and analysis of Eduardo Bonilla-Silva's work in the context of other sociologists and present day events.
Audrey Senior's paper "The Art of Making Art: An Examination of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George" looks at the lyrics, characters, music and production of Sunday in the Park with George to make a case for the tremendous impact of this show on the genre of musical theatre. She argues that musical theatre is a serious and complex artistic product, despite the fact that the genre is often dismissed as unserious. Her paper also looks more broadly at the influence of Stephen Sondheim on the genre of musical theatre.
Sara Syed is researching assistive technologies for children on the autism spectrum. Sara has always been interested in computer science and how technology can be used to better the world. Listening to criticisms that technology has caused people to lose their in-person social interaction skills got Sara thinking about how technology can be used to actually improve our communication skills. She makes a convincing argument that assistive technology is especially beneficial for children with autism, as they often have difficulty in communicating and forming relationships but have an attraction toward technology. In addition to closely analyzing the current trends in assistive technologies for the autism spectrum population, Sara also looks at the psychology behind technology use.