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HUTE: Undergraduate Research Projects

Student presenting her research in a classroom


Rachel Simmons (Major: History) 

Dr. Tuan Hoang, Faculty Mentor
Summer Undergraduate Research Project 2018

Desirable Masculinity: Jane Austen and the British Navy

The enchanting romances found throughout Jane Austen's many novels constitute a significant source of her popular appeal. However, it is the timely social commentary woven into each story that constitutes her novel's enduring relevance.Persuasion. Austen's final novel, serves to comment upon society's changing standards of masculinity through a group of naval officers. In this paper, I examine the way in which the naval officers embody a new masculinity that is rooted in their national service and middle- class work ethic. The social respectability of naval officers in combination with their economic status challenges the value of the aristocracy. Likewise, the naval officers represent the ideal of the self-made man, as popularized by historical figures such as Lord Nelson. Through her band of naval officers, Austen demonstrates a new index of masculine worth that still upholds traditional aristocratic values while undercutting the importance of land ownership.

Raquel Grove (Majors: English and French)

Dr. Paul Contino, Faculty Mentor
Academic Year Undergraduate Research Initiative 2018

The Three Torments of Iva Karamazov

In Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov , the fate of brother Ivan has generally been considered hopeless––even demonic. While Dmitry and Alyosha each appear to undergo a passage through torments that result in spiritual resurrection through Zosima's doctrine of active love, Ivan, frequently identified with the Devil, seems to be excluded from the hope of salvation. This paper explores a path of narrative redemption for Ivan by examining the three universal "torments" delineated by his Grand Inquisitor in conjunction with Zosima's "response" of active love. I maintain that Ivan, like his brothers, undergoes a pattern of katabasis––a descent into hell that is not permanent, but purgatorial––which will eventually lead him to set foot on the path of active love and participate in the response to suffering provided by Zosima.

Tatum Shackelford (Major: English Education)

Dr. Jane Rodeheffer, Faculty Mentor
Academic Year Undergraduate Research Initiative, Summer Undergraduate Research Program (2019)

Wisdom's Folly: Analyzing Fools as Agents of Truth in Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky

As Shakespeare's King Lear concludes, "the weight of this sad time we must obey; speak what we feel, not what we ought to say." Although speaking emotionally seems to be the impetus for uncivil discourse, it is the dangerous "ought to say" that truly prevents constructive dialogue. Society's oughts — to have wealth, knowledge, security — dominate characters by isolating them from each other and from the true value of human relationship. In King Lear and The Brothers Karamazov, those who see through the pretense of "ought" and are courageous enough to voice the truth are considered fools. Characters such as the Fool, Father Zosima, and Alyosha are liberated from societal expectations and thus have the ability to voice criticism to those like Lear, Fyodor, Dmitri and Ivan who are confined by their egoism and social isolation. When Lear demands Cordelia articulate her love for him, he is doing so in order that he might "unberthened crawl towards death" while still "retain[ing] the name, and all th' addition to a king" and thus preserve his wealth and security. When Cordelia does not give the answer she "ought" to, however, Lear severs his authentic relationship with her because he values secular comforts more than genuine love. It is the Fool who is exempt from conventional discourse and can thus challenge Lear's public egoism by expressing the truth — that Lear has become old before he has become wise and has made himself "nothing" by giving away his relationship with his daughter. The holy fools in The Brothers Karamazov are similarly "not to be bound by the general rule" and can thus speak the truth freely. Father Zosima knows that although it made him a holy fool, acting sincerely in his relationships with other saved him from the path of "suicidal impotence" that most men follow as they "accumulate wealth in solitude." The holy fools realize that "a man's true security lies not in his own solitary effort, but in the general wholeness of humanity;" they thus pursue a life of authenticity and relationship. Unbound by the general rules of "ought to," fools have the freedom to speak the truth and say what they feel in order to reveal the true value of relationships. By rejecting the protection of egoism and accepting the responsibility to be an agent of truth, the fools of Shakespeare and Dostoevsky foster civil discourse and provide a map for the reconstruction of civil society through the recovery of authentic human relationships.


Josh Myers (Major: Computer Science), Steven Lesky (Major: Economics, Single Subject Teaching Credential)

Dr. Stella Erbes, Faculty Mentor
Summer Undergraduate Research Project, 2016

Teachers Exploring Mobile Device Integration: A Case Study of Secondary Teachers' Responses to iPads in the Classroom Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, v15 p503-516 2016

This qualitative study seeks to understand and resolve the difficulties that teachers encounter when integrating mobile devices in classrooms. To address the issue of teacher receptiveness, three undergraduate researchers collaborated with an education professor in spring 2012 to complete a qualitative study with a two-fold purpose: 1) to investigate "how" two secondary teachers in an independent school responded when adopting a class set of iPads throughout one school cycle (six school days); and 2) to elucidate "what" a school could do better to support teachers who are piloting mobile device integration. Although previous studies have commonly focused on the impact of 1:1 programs on student achievement, this study focuses on the "role of the instructor" when designing and delivering instruction with or without iPads. Qualitative data were collected and recorded after a series of observations and interviews with the teachers and the information technology director. All interviews were roughly transcribed and coded systematically so that patterns could be noted. Results found that both instructors commented about their instructional philosophy, instructional objectives, technology support, teacher efficacy, and classroom. At the conclusion of the experiments, the teachers had favorable impressions of the technology, despite initial misgivings and early technical issues.