Senior Project Abstracts – Class of 2020

Projects in French

George Castellon Castillo – A History of the Multi-Generational Quest for Full Citizenship From Colonial Algeria to Post-Colonial France

In France, the struggle for full citizenship and inclusion of the Algerian community into French society have been long-standing issues that go back to when Algeria was a colony of France. Algerians have struggled for many generations to find their place in French society due to their colonial past and the insufficient efforts from the French government to grant Algerians equal status and citizenship. This research uses the political and social context of France during the 1980s as the centerpiece to the Algerian community’s multi-generational struggle for full citizenship and inclusion into French society. Subjects that are closely focused on are the second generation Algerians in France or the Beurs and the social movement in 1983 for citizenship rights and addressing xenophobia called, the March for Equality and Against Racism. The Beurs’ social movement protested issues like systemic racism with the police and judicial courts while also pushing against xenophobia within the French national discourse. The Beur generation took a stand against the issues the North African migrant community faced in France and acknowledged the multi-generational struggle for full citizenship. In order to understand the historical context of the Beurs and the multi-generational struggle of the Algerian community. It is also examined the impact that Algerian migration had in France throughout the colonial and postcolonial periods which enabled the growth of the Algerian community in France. This research explains how both the parents and grandparents of the Beurs were pioneers in moving to France to find a better life and transform their destinies. All the research concludes with an analysis of the Beur generation’s activism and the March. As far as the Beurs were able to progress in gaining rights for immigrants and the North African migrant community in France, overall their impact did not last long. Racism and xenophobia continued to persist in French society while also the Algerian community were still deprived of full citizenship.

Majors: French, International Studies

Advisor: L. Reeck

JanaBeth Dellamedaglia – Les Contes de Fées : Une Éducation d’Autonomie Déguisée en Valeurs Traditionnelles?

[abstract unavailable]

Major: French

Advisor: L. Reeck

Manuella Mwihemuka – Les Témoignages de Boris Cyrulnik et Esther Mujawayo: Se Reconstruire après un Traumatisme

After going through traumatic events such as genocide, it is important to be able to talk about the experience and release it through the avenues of testifying and writing. Resilience can be built through the exploration and processing of these past experiences, helping to validate the person, build strength in them and a strong foundation for a new life. This allows survivors to not just survive, but to thrive in their new lives.

Major: French

Advisor: L. Reeck

Projects in Spanish

Samantha Awe – Reconciliation in Post-Conflict Peru: The Impact of the Transitional Justice Measures on the Indigenous Population

The objective of this thesis is to examine the effectiveness of transitional justice measures
in affecting change regarding historically marginalized populations. I will use the measures taken
by Peru following their twenty-year armed conflict as a case study. My research focuses on the
implementation of the Comprehensive Reparations Plan (PIR) that was recommended by the
Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR). I have chosen to explore this particular conflict
and subsequent transitional justice measure since the majority of victims were part of the large
Quechua-speaking indigenous population, and thus the process relied heavily on their
participation. In the first chapter, I will look at the theories of transitional justice and the
advantages and disadvantages of the restorative and retributive approaches to justice. In chapter
two, I will explore the factors of the armed conflict and the implementation of the CVR,
including its conclusions and recommendations. Following in chapter three, I will examine the
implementation of the PIR and the subsequent effects on the political participation and rights of
the Peruvian indigenous population. Lastly, to better understand the current state of society in
relation to the indigenous identity and culture, I will analyze the film, La teta asustada. Based on
my findings, the effectiveness of transitional justice measures is dependent on the
implementation of societal changes in which the participation and inclusion of the marginalized
population is paramount. Otherwise, societies will become stagnant and continue to perpetrate
the same inequalities and violence as before.

Majors: International Studies, Spanish

Advisors: S. Mattiace (Political Science); W. Hernández (Spanish)

Kayla Bilger – “Que sea ley”: La Campaña por el Derecho al Aborto Legal, Seguro y
Gratuito y la lucha por los derechos reproductivos en Argentina

This project sets out to investigate the Argentine social movement called La Campaña por el
Derecho al Aborto Legal, Seguro y Gratuito (La Campaña). La Campaña has been active for nearly
fifteen years and has been fighting to achieve the legalization of and access to abortion in Argentina.
Aditionally, they seek access to contraception and sexual education, and the expansion of women’s
and reproductive rights in general. Through the analysis of the history of Argentina, social
movement theory literature, and La Campaña itself, the end goal of this project is to answer the
question of success for this ongoing movement. Has it been successful or not? Through examining
the context La Campaña exits within, the particular social, cultural, political, historic and economic
climate of Argentina, this project begins to uncover the meaning of success for this specific
movement. Does success mean achieving the legalization of abortion? Or are there more layers to
success for this modern social movement? Although abortion remains illegal in Argentina, I come to
the conclusion that numerous other indicators suggest that La Campaña has seen substantial success
in Argentine society. In addition, the legalization of abortion being in the near future is a strong

Major: International Studies, Spanish

Advisors: S. Mattiace (Political Science); B. Riess (Spanish)

Jose Canela – A Study of Curanderismo and Modern Medicine: The Application of Medical Pluralism into a Community Healthcare System

The United States of America Healthcare system is currently ranked 27th in the world, which in one source revealed that it was ranked 6th back in 1990. The steady decline of the US healthcare system is seen by many healthcare professionals as studies regarding the topic increased. The groups that affect the most are the most vulnerable groups, low socioeconomic and minority groups. In this study, the focus would be Mexican communities. Those within the communities have some kind of distrust towards medical professionals due to prior experiences. Thus, the use of alternative medicine is popular within these communities. The people that they entrust of getting advice from regarding medical plants and other medical practices were called Curanderos. Curanderos practices an ancient medical practice called Curanderismo, which has many disciplines such as herbology, massage therapy, midwifery, chiropractic, and religious counseling. Curanderismo has been part of Mexican culture for an extended length of time within Mexican history, one person helped it become nationally known in México, El Niño Fidencio. I propose that we can integrate Curanderismo into the standard medical field and knowledge. This will allow doctors to have a better understanding of the culture of medicine within the Mexican communities and help improve the access to healthcare for these communities.

Majors: Spanish, Global Health Studies

Advisors: B. Riess (Spanish); K. Pinnow (History)

Christopher Caviedes – Hiring Multilingual Workers : An approach to increasing team performance in businesses

Many studies have tried to look at the association between bilingualism and varying cognitive advantages. One such advantage is greater development in theory of mind. Theory of mind can best be summarized as the capacity of an individual to understand and attribute the emotions, beliefs, and ideas of others as discernable and separate mental states from their own. While much research has gone into establishing this link between bilingualism and increased theory of mind, very few have tried to associate bilingualism with greater communication and teamwork skills. Relating the cognitive advantage of bilingualism to a real world competitive market place advantage is the goal of the study. To relate bilinguals as an asset to the workforce by way of concrete cognitive advantages has not been looked into. An analysis of several studies across cognitive psychology, organizational psychology, business, and economics are used to explain the associations between theory of mind, small group communication, team work, and team efficiency. Additionally an analysis of two Spanish films is used as literary evidence for displaying aspects of area of interest. Based on the research it seems that bilinguals have greater development of theory of mind which in turn could lead to greater communication skills which could then lead to greater performance in team related tasks, ultimately leading to greater group efficiency. Further research must be conducted to prove these possible associations; however, the groundwork has been set in place.

Majors: Neuroscience, Spanish

Advisors: A. Knupsky (Psychology); T. Herrera (Spanish)

Elyse Cinquino – Why is Mexico’s PRD party in decline?: A case study of the cycle of a political party

The purpose of this project is to investigate the current status of the Mexican political
party, The Party of the Democratic Revolution(PRD). The PRD has been one of Mexico’s three
prominent political parties since the party’s creation in 1989. However, despite its beginning
prominence in Mexican politics, it is not currently as successful and is considered the least
significant of the four main political parties in Mexico. The PRD’s current situation is a
particularly interesting case as the project tries to examine various internal and external causes of
its decline. This project will discuss internal party fragmentation, lack of ideological consistency,
cases of corruption and emergence of The National Regeneration Movement(MORENA) party
as reasons for the PRD’s decline. I conclude that the main cause of PRD’s failures is from its
inability to bring together all of the leftist groups and social movements collaboratively in their
ideologies and goals for the party. The PRD chose to make democratic change through elections.
These time and resource coming goals often took away focus from improvements that needed to
be fixed internally to advance the party and prevent conflicts. The emergence of the MORENA
party has put the PRD as the subsequent party of the left, a position they may not be able to leave
if internal issues are not addressed.

Majors: International Studies, Spanish

Advisors: S. Mattiace (Political Science); W. Hernández (Spanish)

Adele Gilman – ¿Cómo pueden las mujeres ser libres? Análisis de las violencias en contra de las mujeres en la primera temporada de Las Chicas del Cable

Despite that violence against women is a public health crisis, this problem often is invisible in our world because it occurs in intimate settings and takes many forms. However, a new soap-opera, Las chicas del cable, brings to light this often-invisible problem by showing its viewers how gender violence appears and impacts the life of women in Madrid in 1928 in Spain’s national telephone company. The objective of this thesis is to show how gender violence appears in the first season of this soap-opera and to identify the possible solutions that the show offers for women to free themselves and to live without violence. This thesis consists of three chapters with each one dedicated to a different woman: Ángeles, Elisa, and Alba. Each chapter begins with a summary of how that character faces gender violence and then analyzes the type of violence and where it appears, the cultural and structural factors that allow that violence to exist, how that character fights that violence, and if they are successful. This analysis reveals that for a woman to be free she needs to acquire a dual perspective that allows her to identify the factors that maintain violence and to understand how she can use those factors to benefit and free herself. Lastly, the soap-opera also suggests that eliminating the cultural and structural factors that uphold violence with the help of men and women is also needed to end violence against women.

Majors: Spanish, Biochemistry

Advisor: Teresa Herrera (Spanish)

Gabriel McIntire – Winner Take All: An analysis of Mexican Drug Cartel’s Insurgence into Politics

This project aims to analyze Mexican drug cartels gradual transition from being strictly
economic institutions into socio-political ones. Specifically, I wanted to answer the question of
why cartels started getting directly involved with political campaigns and financing candidates.
This project starts off with a chapter that attempts to answer the question of how cartels in their
current iteration evolved in Mexico. The first chapter traces the lineage of cartels from the
Medellin Cartel in Colombia under Pablo Escobar. The second chapter focuses on the role that
competition had in being a catalyst for the cartels transition. Ultimately it was both the political
competition that resulted as the decline of the PRI and the competition between the cartels that
resulted from Vicente Fox’s “War on Drugs” that forced the cartels to look for other sources of
income in order to finance their turf wars. The third chapter uses the novel Balas de plata by
Elmer Mendoza to examine the cultural perspective of this topic. Through three major themes
Balas de plata challenges the government narrative of “otherness” that is used to depict cartels as
enemies of the state and form a common enemy for the Mexican people and their government.
The final chapter looks forward and provides three possible courses of action for the United
States and Mexico to engage in cooperatively bilaterally in order to more effectively combat

Majors: International Studies, Spanish

Advisors: S. Mattiace (Political Science); W. Hernández (Spanish)

Gabrielle Ramos – The impact of Foreign Influence on the Cultural Displacement of the Dominican Identity though Tourism, Colonial Mentality, and Corruption / El Impacto de la influencia extranjera en la desplazamiento cultural de la identidad dominicana a través del turismo, la mentalidad colonial y la corrupción

The Dominican Republic is a prominent tourist destination for people around the world as the premier beach and sun vacation spot. Seeing over six million tourists a year, the island has had to adapt to this growing industry accordingly. Tourism has had a large positive impact on the economy of the Dominican Republic and the entire Caribbean. The issue is that tourism has had negative impacts on the Dominican Republic, with the growing number of foreigners visiting the country, Dominicans have had to change in order to support themselves during this unceasing venture. My position is that tourism has had negative impacts on the social, cultural and agricultural traditions of the people that inhabit the island. While tourism has created more jobs, the jobs created are in resorts that work to hide poverty and Dominican struggles. This article aims to provide insight into the ways that colonial mentalities and government corruption as well as biased agendas can influence the culture of the Dominican Republic with reference to tourism as a constant contributor. The implementation of colonial ideals in Dominican society has created a new culture with the emphasis on tourism that commercializes the island to encourage foreign vacationers to visit.

Majors: Community and Justice Studies, Spanish

Advisors: H. Roberson (Community and Justice Studies); B. Riess (Spanish)

Haley Seifert – Does Knowing a Second Language Affect Income?

This study focuses on analyzing the effect that second language knowledge has on income in the United States. Previous studies have found significant increases in income for individuals who know English well and knows one or more foreign languages. Possible differences for this income premium can be explained by differences in human capital investment, which can be related to motivation or ability to learn a second language. In order to analyze the real effects of foreign language knowledge on income, this study conducted a regression analysis on data from the 2018 American Community Survey to assess national variations in income. There are two models that are analyzed. One model analyzes the income effects of knowing any foreign language and the second analyzes the income effects of knowing Spanish. This study finds that there is a 2% increase in income if an individual knows English well and speaks a foreign language at home. It also finds that there is a 7% increase in income if an individual knows English well and speaks Spanish at home. In addition to regression analysis, this study analyzes how the importance of knowing a second language and its effect on income is portrayed through the movie, El Norte, and the book Borderlands/ La Frontera. This study supports the hypothesis that knowing a second language has a significantly positive effect on income.

Majors: Economics, Spanish

Advisors: R. Ormiston (Economics); T. Herrera (Spanish)

Kira Yerofeev – Quantifying animal detritivore effects on red maple (Acer rubrum) leaf breakdown in semi-permanent woodland ponds / Un análisis de la traducción científica en las ciencias acuáticas

(Environmental Science Section) The majority of biomass enters ecosystems as dead organic matter. This dead biomass, or detritus, is assumed to be broken down by microbes (fungi and bacteria) and animals (shredders, grazers, omnivores) that consume microbial-detrital complexes. Many studies have investigated the effect of macroinvertebrates on detritus breakdown in stream (lotic) ecosystems, but few studies have investigated the role these animals play in detritus breakdown rates in standing-water (lentic) ecosystems such (ex: ponds and wetlands). The studies that have explored detritus breakdown in lentic ecosystems have found varying effects in different locations and types of habitats. It is still unclear in which lentic ecosystems and for which types of detritus aquatic macroinvertebrates have an effect in breakdown rates. The aim of this study was to investigate whether macroinvertebrate detritivores have an impact on the breakdown rate of red maple (Acer rubrum) leaf litter in three semi-permanent ponds at the Allegheny College’s Bousson Environmental Research Reserve and to determine the vulnerability of the pond ecosystems to climate change effects. To examine these questions, I created macroinvertebrate inclusion and exclusion containers that held a pre-measured amount of red maple (Acer rubrum) leaves. I collected breakdown rate as well as macroinvertebrate families and biomass data to quantify the effects of macroinvertebrates on breakdown rates and to determine which species within the pond are likely to be facilitating the breakdown. I made inferences as to how food-web interactions could be altered due to species, specifically detritivore, loss in semi-permanent woodland ponds due to anthropogenic stressors. I found that, although there is a statistical difference between the decay slope of the macroinvertebrate inclusion and exclusion treatments, the exclusion treatment had a significantly steeper slope than the inclusion treatments. This is contrary to the hypothesis that the inclusion of macroinvertebrate shredders would increase the decay rate of detritus. Despite these results, I still argue for the importance of macroinvertebrates in lentic food-webs, particularly as a food source for waterfowl and aquatic predators, and found evidence through a literary review that the impending consequences of climate change could lead to the extirpation of vulnerable organisms.

(Spanish Section) The study of translation is extremely important, it allows the transfer of information worldwide. Despite this, little research has been done on translation methods for scientific writing, specifically in the aquatic sciences. I did a literature review of basic translation methods and the history of translation. I also chose three scientific articles published in Spanish and analyzed the format, writing style, and vocabulary used. Finally, I created a glossary of terms that I consider important in the understanding of aquatic science.

Majors: Environmental Science, Spanish

Advisors: C. Bradshaw-Wilson (Environmental Science); B. Riess (Spanish)