Stanley Undergraduate Awards: 2012 winners

In 2012, 12 undergraduate students received Stanley Awards of $2,000 each for a total of $24,000. The recipients and their project summaries are listed below.

Alder, Daniel Alexander

Environmental Science Green Track (B.S.), Comprehensive Biology (B.S.), Honduras
Title: “The Impact of Hunting on Populations of Invasive Lionfish on the Island of Roatan”

Purpose: The purpose of this research is to determine whether or not the hunting of invasive Lionfish is having an effect on their population numbers on the Island of Roatan, Honduras. The data I will obtain will also be paired with previous research conducted on the Island at similar sites to give a better estimation as to what degree hunting has affected local numbers of Lionfish. I aim to conduct a comparative analysis between areas where no hunting is taking place to areas where it is. The final intent of this research would be to provide local and international agencies with data that would help them better determine whether or not active hunting of these fish is a viable method for their eradication.

Dunn, Austin

Geography and International Studies, South Africa
Title: “The Political Ecology of Agriculture & Food Security in Malawi”

Purpose: The purpose of my research is to identify how global, regional, national, and local institutions affect agriculture and food security for subsistence farmers in Malawi.  Using secondary and primary research, I will seek to understand how food security is conceptualized and defined by various actors in Malawi, how those perceptions affect different strategies for agricultural production, and the extent to which various farming methods affect food and nutritional security in Malawi, as it is defined by Malawians. My conclusions will be pertinent to assessing the appropriateness of specific development policies on the ground in Malawi.  I also plan to compile a photo essay to be used for my ISBA senior creative project, which will focus on perceptions of agriculture, food, and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa.

George, Jeannette

Nursing and International Studies, Uganda
Title: “Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA) in Uganda: exploring the knowledge about SCA among parents of children with sickle cell anemia”

Purpose: It is estimated that over 300,000 infants in the world are born with severe sickle cell disease (SCD) each year, three-quarters of whom are born in sub-Saharan Africa. Among those born in Africa, an estimated 50-80 per cent of them will develop and die from sickle cell anemia (SCA) before reaching the age of five. The morbidity and mortality rates of SCA among children in Uganda are among the highest in the world, yet public awareness of SCA in the region is reportedly low.  Research indicates a serious lack of knowledge about SCA among parents and guardians of children who have SCA. Many researchers report a knowledge gap between medical providers and parents of children with SCA. In this project, I propose to explore the knowledge and understanding about SCA among parents and relatives of children with SCA in Uganda. The objective of my proposed research project is to provide evidence-based information and knowledge about SCA that will help determine how best to implement culture-specific interventions for preventing and managing SCA. Without research, health care providers and regional and foreign policy makers will lack the information and knowledge necessary to develop strategies for managing SCA.

Read more about Jeannette:
The bravest decision I ever made: a summer of SCA research in Uganda
Student Reflections on Reflections on Race and Ethnicity Abroad
Get to Know...Jeannette George

Gingerich, Ethan

Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nicaragua
Title: “The Culture of Concrete: How Mixing Method Affects Material Strength and Cultural Sensitivity”

Purpose: Bridges to Prosperity claims that the "sifting" mixing method produces a stronger concrete than the "volcano" method and therefore must be used during footbridge construction. The community I will work with in Nicaragua is only familiar with the volcano method. Demanding that they change a method that has always worked for them in the past could be offensive to their culture. The purpose of my research is to determine whether the volcano method can produce a concrete as strong as the sifting method. If so, my results can be used to help Bridges to Prosperity make their required implementation methods more culturally-sensitive.

Read more about Ethan:
Building more than bridges in Nicaragua

Kindig, Allison

Industrial Engineering, Cameroon
Title: “Extinguishing Flames to Rekindle a Population”

Purpose: A solar cooker is a device that captures the energy of the sun in the form of heat to boil water and cook food. Unlike traditional cook stoves, solar cookers do not burn wood. Thus, this technology has the potential to save forests, save lives, and save time throughout the developing world. In order to maximize these benefits, implementation of solar technology will be compared in three villages (Sabga, Ndop, and Bambili) in the English-speaking province of Nore-Quest, Cameroon, Africa. Each village is currently deforested and dependent on wood for domestic energy. I will be partnering with three organizations – Operation Renewed Hope, Climate Healers, and a local missionary team led by environmentalist Tom Needham – to assess how solar cookers can be used to accomplish the common goal of each organization: ecological restoration and service in Cameroon. The study will identify settings most suitable for solar cookers and provide alternative implementation models for areas less suitable to the technology. This information will directly impact the development of the iHawk Solar Cooker Project currently underway at the University of Iowa's College of Engineering.

Langer, Thomas

South Asian Studies and Human Rights, India
Title: “The Role and Impact of New Social Media on the Tibetan Diaspora Living in India Today”

Purpose: My proposed research idea will examine the role and impact of new social media on the Tibetan diaspora living in India today. Using quantitative and qualitative research methods, I will investigate how the Tibetan refugee community forms and expresses its viewpoints to matters critical to the government, in exile and to its people through their use of online news sources, discussion groups, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. I intend to build upon previous research in the field and to also create new primary sources related to this issue, which can only be found by traveling to, and spending time in, these specific communities. My proposed research will take me to several Tibetan communities in India over the summer. including Dehradun, Mussoorie, Dharamsala, McLeod-Ganj, Delhi, and Mysore.

Read more about Thomas:
A karmic connection
intotheheartoftheworld (Wordpress blog)

Larson, Nicole

Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nicaragua
Title: “Agricultural Development and the Impacts on Flood Patterns”

Purpose: I would like to explore the real-world application of engineering principles. I will perform a hydraulic analysis of the region to better understand flooding in the community. Considering the main income of the community is grain production, agricultural land use will be expanding. I will predict how this expansion will affect drainage and river flooding, as well as other negative impacts the land development change will have on the community.

Read more about Nicole:
Experiencing the extraordinary: my summer in Nicaragua

Qu, Wu

History, China
Title: “China's involvement in the Korean War”

Purpose: The Korean War, known as the “forgotten war” to most Americans, marked the United States’ first military commitment in East Asia during the Cold War era. Three years of combat produced 340,000 Chinese casualties and claimed 40,000 American lives, yet the war ended almost exactly where it started in terms of the division of the Korean peninsula between a communist regime in the North and an anti-communist in the South. Just as many Americans do not understand why the U.S. fought in Vietnam, many Chinese today do not know why their forefathers fought in Korea. I will use this grant to research the motivations behind Chinese involvement in the Korean War using archival material in both Beijing and Washington, D.C.

Read more about Wu:
Rediscovering his homeland through the eyes of war veterans

Reynolds, Julia

International Studies and Geography, The Dominican Republic
Title: “Food Culture: Local Impacts of International Trade Agreements”

Purpose: My research will examine the changes in local food preferences as a result of CAFTA-DR food policies.  Changing food preferences, collected through personal food narratives, are one way to identify cultural and health consequences of international trade agreements. The Dominican Republic is one of many developing countries that has experienced decreased food security because of transforming global food systems. A concrete understanding of the local experiences of people will give greater insight to the extent of these global issues, which is crucial for implementing policy.

Roberts, Claire

Anthropology, Ecuador
Title: “Community Health Benefits Ensuing the Support of Food Sovereignty in Ecuadorian Constitution”

Purpose: The growth of our global population that now exceeds 7 billion people raises many concerns, especially those related to a depletion of resources. An obvious and basic need for all people is food. Food sovereignty is defined as “people’s right to healthy and culturally-appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agricultural systems” (Holt-Gimenez 2009, 226). Unsustainable food systems only add to the strain our population has on land and soil, natural resources necessary for food. This project will allow me to observe work that is being done to maintain communities by strengthening sustainable food systems. I will have the opportunity to examine how alternative food systems can be successful, and in what way, if any, these systems add to the overall health and well-being of the local community. As a result of this project, I will gain insight into the opportunities provided by the Article 281, and the effects the article has on the overall wellbeing of these Ecuadorian communities.  

Scattarelli, Justine

International Studies and English, Spain
Title: “Public Space and the Fight for Social Justice”

Purpose: In fall 2012, I will spend six weeks in Spain investigating the historical and current organization and symbolic production of the social movements known in Spain as 15-M and Okupa. I will examine the relationship between the two, as case studies will help us better understand the relationship that exists between radical and more mainstream social movements. I will interview the most active participants in the movements, as well as scholars who have studied the movements.  I will use my research to write an investigative essay for my honors thesis in international studies.

Simpson, Jonathan

History, France
Title: “Third World Voices: Responses to the Return of Charles de Gaulle and the French-Algerian War”

Purpose: I am conducting this research for my honors thesis, which will allow me to graduate with honors in history from the university. I am extremely interested in colonial and imperial history and how the modern world has been shaped due to the renewed imperialism of the modern era. Specifically, I am intrigued by French colonial history with an emphasis on North Africa and in particular Algeria’s cultural, political, and social connections to France. My project, with the working title “Third World Voices: Responses to the Return of Charles de Gaulle and the French-Algerian War,” seeks to understand the relationships between public opinion and diplomacy within the Third World during 1958, a crucial year in the Algerian war. My research will contribute to the larger conversation on decolonization, and will answer important questions that have been left unanswered by other scholars.