Honors Capstone

A Feather in Their Cap

The Honors Capstone is the pinnacle of an undergraduate experience at Gallaudet University. Motivated and talented students from all disciplines embark on a 11/2-year journey during which they select their faculty committee, pick a topic, propose their original work, and then create their Capstone.

Kallissa Bailey
Psychology, B.A.
Hometown:Cedar Rapids, Iowa

The Role of Childhood Environment and Outdoor Experience on Beliefs, Behaviors, and Emotions about Nature

This study focuses on childhood environment and exposure to nature and their possible influences on adult attachments, beliefs, behavior and emotions about nature. The results showed no significant relationship between childhood environment and connectedness to nature. However, the results showed that the frequency of exposure through field trips as a child has a significant impact on connectedness to nature as an adult.

Director: Dr. Caroline Kobek Pezzarossi, Psychology
Second Reader: Dr. Daniel Koo, Psychology

Sheena O'Donnell
Biology, B.S.
Hometown: Olney, Maryland

Turtle Town: Creating a Self-Sustainable Ecosystem Using an Ecological Approach to Turtle Aquarium Design

Typical pet turtle tanks can require time-consuming, costly, and even hazardous cleaning of waste buildup. To minimize buildup, this study tested the effectiveness of using plants. Measurements of phosphorous and nitrogen from water samples over two weeks helped estimate necessary plant mass as one part of a selfsustainable 40-gallon tank.

Director: Dr. Caroline Solomon, Biology/Science, Technology, and Mathematics
Second Reader: Dr. Daniel Lundberg, Chemistry/Science, Technology, and Mathematics

Brienna Herold
Biology, B.S.
Hometown: Spring Valley, Wisconsin

The Mystery of FUT@: A Population Genetics Analysis of the Secretor Gene Determining Its Involvement in the Immune System

The human secretor gene FUT2 is thought to be involved in immunity, which could have made it vulnerable to adaptations driven by natural selection. By analyzing 1000 Genomes Project DNA sequences for evidence of natural selection, this study infers the immunological involvement of FUT2 in individuals of European and Asian ancestry.

Director: Dr. Derek Braun, Biology/Science, Technology, and Mathematics
Second Reader: Dr. Kathleen S. Arnos, Biology/Science, Technology, and Mathematics

Lisa Van der Mark
Psychology, B.A.
Hometown: Mijnsheerenland, The Netherlands

Deaf Sex Education in India: A Study of Deaf Indians in the U.S.

Despite sex education in schools—especially related to HIV and AIDS—sex is a taboo subject in India. What sex education do deaf Indians receive? The results of this study among deaf Indians educated in India but who now live in the U.S. show that knowledge and awareness varies among individuals.

Director: Dr. Caroline Kobek Pezzarossi, Psychology
Second Reader: Dr. Deborah Schooler, Psychology

Corinna Hill
History, B.A.
Hometown: Boonsboro, Maryland

The Social Integration of Civil War Veterans with Hearing Loss: The Roles of Government and Media

After the U.S. Civil War, government aid to numerous disabled— including deafened—veterans transformed the perception of disabled people as free-riders. Complicating the situation, limited medical tests made deafness difficult to prove. The government and media played roles in shaping the experiences of veterans with hearing loss.

Director: Dr. Jeffrey A. Brune, History/History, Philosophy, Religion, and Sociology
Second Reader: Mr. William Thomas Ennis, III, History/History, Philosophy, Religion, and Sociology

Jessica Hope Walker
Psychology, B.A.
Hometown: Wynne, Arkansas

Group Productivity in Varying Communication Mediums: Testing Face-to-Face and Virtual Interaction

This study of a deaf population compared group productivity in three different communication mediums: face-to-face (FTF), video chat, and text chat. Three task questions of different natures were given to the groups. The results show that FTF groups performed better on the idea-generation task and team members felt more valued.

Director: Dr. Deborah Schooler, Psychology
Second Reader: Dr. Caroline Kobek Pezzarossi, Psychology

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