ORCA Student presenters 2014



Megan Armknecht
Megan presented on how Louisa May Alcott was influenced by German Romanticism–specifically the German thinker and writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. She had noticed resonances between Goethe’s thinking and personality in the character of Dr. Bhaer in Alcott’s classic, Little Women, and wanted to find out if these connections meant anything and if Dr. Bhaer could have been based–at least in part–on Goethe. Her ORCA project allowed her to travel to Boston and Concord, Massachusetts to read Alcott’s correspondence, diary entries, and manuscripts, where she found out that Alcott was strongly influenced by Goethe’s writings. Although it wouldn’t be wise to say that Goethe was the only model for Dr. Bhaer, it is safe to say that Alcott was influenced by Goethe and that influence can be seen in the character of Dr. Bhaer, not only providing an interesting transatlantic connection, but also giving more depth to Alcott’s works.

Caroline Howard
Caroline presented on her project “The College Writing Experience for At-Risk High School Students.” She talked about the experience she had bringing high school students to campus four times over the course of the semester and the differences she observed in their attitudes toward writing, college, and their own abilities. Her research backed up theories that say mentored writing experiences can help improve the self-efficacy of struggling students. It also posed questions for further research about student identity.

Lauren Fine
Lauren’s paper covered how the transmission of affect (when physiological signals from one person trigger similar emotions in another person) can cause large groups to become unified and form cohesive group identities in a short amount of time. However, as the case study of the Occupy Dayton movement reveals, transmission only leads to unity when group members interpret their emotions the same way, which means effective rhetoric is still sometimes necessary to keep the group together.
Taylor Madsen
Can right make might? This translation of two years of gender studies quantifies variables such as educational deficiencies and social paradigms that nullify the empowerment intended in women’s property rights in Senegal.
Sara Guggisberg
By researching Mark Twain’s little-known 1907 novel “A Horse’s Tale,” Sara had the opportunity to be one of the first to engage in critical conversation about the novel and position it as a significant piece of Twain’s many works. She has drawn connections between this novel, William F. (Buffalo Bill) Cody, and the seminal work of animal activist literature, “Black Beauty,” to validate her claim that Twain’s writing of “A Horse’s Tale” was his truest moment of animal activism.
Ashley Brocious
Oral histories of LDS men offer important insight into how LDS men’s Mormon identity intersects with their masculine identity.  Ashley’s project offers a set of oral histories of LDS males in hopes that their experiences will illuminate the need to include and articulate LDS male experiences in future gender discussions.

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