Virtual Festival of Scholars

April 27 – May 1, 2020

Schedule of Events


English Capstone Presentations and Writing Awards


Student Abstracts

Student(s):
Elizabeth Bugtai

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines

The Model Minority Myth: Educators Beware  
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The infamous academic success of Asian American students has earned this group a reputation as the “model minority” in the United States. Asian American and Asian immigrant parents typically impose harsh parental control and extreme demands for excellence on their children. These demands extend not just to academics, but also to expectations about behavior. Problematically, their expectations are often based on the high achievements of the best and brightest U.S. Asian American students, not on the capabilities, potential, and desires of the majority of students in this group. Amy Chua’s 2011 “memoir,” Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and films like Crazy Rich Asians reveal how difficult it is for Asian American children to live up to the often unrealistic aspirations of their parents. Although these sources do demonstrate the benefits of this harsh method of parenting, they also emphasize the perception that all Asian American students should be academically superior. The inherent expectations of such a perception can and have become dangerous to the health and well-being of Asian American youth. Educators need to help mitigate the results of extreme authoritative parenting by examining their own perceptions of Asian American students, lowering the immense pressure laid upon them by school boards, and altering their interrelations with students and parents when needed. Doing so will hopefully reduce depression, anxiety, and behavioral and emotional instability among Asian-American adolescents that can sometimes lead to the unfortunate results reflected in the data on mental illness and suicide in this group.

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Student(s):
Amelia Cassidy

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jacqueline Lyons

“This is How a Daughter Dies”: A Creative Nonfiction Capstone
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“This is How a Daughter Dies” is a personal, narrative essay that explores the relationship between a mother and child through the medium of creative nonfiction. The form of the personal essay allows for a combination of narrative storytelling and reflection, which seek to tell the story with honesty and humor. The goal of this essay is to use these methods to consider parental relationships, point out friction with conventional gender roles and identityc and reflect upon how these shape adolescence. Furthermore, the essay seeks to engage with the form of the personal essay to explore my skills as a writer, culminating in a work that reflects a knowledge of the form combined with the development of a unique voice. This voice, carefully crafted to reflect a persona, is a guide that serves to offer the aforementioned honesty and humor to the work. The use of the narrative second-person “you” throughout the essay is meant to engage readers, translating a personal experience into universal emotions and exploring how the genre of creative nonfiction can create accessibility. Started in class as an assignment and expanded upon to become a complete work, this essay has been workshopped among peers, discussed and dissected with my advisor, and deepened throughout the semester with revision, rewrites, and expansions. It has grown into an essay that affirms my growth as a writer throughout my time at Cal Lutheran, as well as uses my personal anecdotes to tell a truthful story in a unique, creative manner.

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Student(s):
Paulina Cordero

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines

Sleeping with the Fishes: A Sustainable Alternative to Traditional Burials
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Even dead, people continue to be a problem for the environment. In fact, the connection between death and its environmental impact needs to be more emphasized in climate change research. The research to date has demonstrated that our traditional methods of storing bodies are environmentally hazardous. Consequently, people are advocating and, increasingly, practicing alternatives to our customary burial processes. The many different versions of the growing practice of “green burials” typically include a body buried without embalming in a biodegradable casket, and a tree planted to mark its location. But even bodies buried without caskets take up a considerable amount of space. Cremation, another option, produces toxins that pollute the surrounding atmosphere. Being made into a jewel is another alternative, but this option also involves cremation and offers no benefits for the fight against climate change. None of our burial practices contribute positively to this fight, with the possible exception of donating bodies to medical research. Even that option usually ends with cremation. Eternal Reef burials, although also involving a cremation process, is the most environmentally friendly, ethical, and sustainable burial choice. Coral reef burials do more than solve the issue of taking up land space by making use of the ocean’s vast capacity. Creating new coral reefs will substantially benefit the ocean’s ecosystem. They increase the ocean’s food supply, its oxygen emissions, its fish population, and improve its plant biodiversity.

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Student(s):
Reese Coulter

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines

America’s National Park Lands: Weighing the “Ownership” Options
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Many Americans believe that the U.S. government should continue funding our country’s 85 million acre National Park system. The government plans to cut the current budget of nearly 3 billion dollars to about $2.7 billion in 2020--in spite of the fact that there’s a current deferred maintenance budget of nearly $12 billion. Even though the government does not expect to continue funding at its current level, many are against privatizing the parks as the solution to the park system’s money problems. Some object that if allowed to claim park lands, private companies would raise entry ticket and concession prices—a financial objection among other more ideological and/or political objections. Those who argue for privatizing the national parks think that the responsibility for preserving them should not fall solely to the government. They point out that the competition between private companies who are currently allowed to operate in the park system helps to keep expenses down and admission prices low. The Grand Canyon National Park, they say, is an example. Still partially owned by the U.S. government, the park’s canyon, which is on reservation land. is also owned by the Hualapai and Havasupai Indians. A few private companies also own land in the park. This group functions well--sharing maintenance expenses and keeping visiting prices relatively low. One thing is for certain. Whether the National Parks System become privatized or it doesn’t, it will be needing a lot more funding to carry out its mission.


Student(s):
Shysel Granados

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines

Recategorizing Daisy Hernández
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In identifying four distinct stages of the “feminist movement,” scholar Kathleen Kelly Janus insists that the fourth (and current) sequence should focus primarily on social justice activism. She critiques the previous (third wave) generation as overemphasizing and overusing personal narrative and underemphasizing activism. Unfortunately, in Janus’s narrow categorization and implied criticism of Daisy Hernández as a third wave feminist, she devalues Hernández’ position and importance within the broader feminist agenda. Hernández, a second-generation American citizen who is half-Cuban, half-Columbian, and bisexual, has successfully infused the legitimacy of her multipart identity into her work. Her diverse background has armed her with globally relevant facts about the country’s marginalized minorities--groups that include immigrants from other countries and LGBTQ+ communities. Plus, Hernández’ multicultural position gives her an invaluable perspective that results from the personal experience of being raised in an immigrant family in the United States. Her engaging poetic prose and concentration on individual experience (her own and that of others) give Hernández’ work an edge over more rhetorical and less experientially-based journalism. Readers understand and respond positively to her style. They relate to the people and circumstances in her stories. And their impassioned emotional responses are transformed into a substantial activism of exactly the kind that Janus ascribes to fourth wave feminism. A strong, effective writer and a social justice activist herself, Hernández epitomizes fourth wave feminism and deserves to be sanctioned within that context.

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Student(s):
Khadeja Kahn

Faculty Mentor:
Dr Joan Wines

A Paradigm Shift in Brain Theory: Its Implications for Academic Instruction
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I was surprised to learn that recent research has discredited the popular right brain/left brain theory that assumed a person is either creative and artistic or methodical and analytical depending on which side of the brain is dominant. Current studies by brain specialists reveal why the theory is being displaced. What’s important, they say, is that specific segments within different parts (not different sides) of the brain are responsible for specific functions—functions like language processing, sentence formation, memory storage, and speech. The segmented brain paradigm focuses on these functions, not on differences between the right and left sides of the brain. The functions of the various segments, the theorists explain, shape how people think and may determine if they are more mathematically or more artistically inclined. One study revealed that artists (usually categorized as right-brained) have more neural matter in fine motor movement and visual imagery brain segments, indicating that an artist’s ability is innately connected with the capacities of those specific segments. Because the right brain/left brain theory rests at the heart of academic instruction at all levels, educators are having to rethink some of their pedagogical approaches. Rather than assuming a student who has “right brain aptitudes” should be taught and directed in ways that conform to the accepted right brain rubric, educators who understand how the segmented brain works can adjust their instructional approaches (visually-based pedagogies, for example) to find the best fit for the students in their care.

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Student(s):
Triana Lin

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines

Machine Translation in Second Language Acquisition Instruction 
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Scholars Jean-Paul Vinay and Jean Darbelnet categorize language translation issues as either educational, professional, or linguistic. Researchers in the educational research category are currently debating whether machine translation should be a learning method for students developing second language skills. This debate has become more expansive as second language acquisition becomes increasingly important in our fast-changing, globalized world. Educators are working to identify effective instructional strategies that will meet the challenges of this development. Translating words from one language to another is now an easy-to-access internet function whereby students can quickly translate words in a matter of seconds. But educators are at odds about the role “machine translation” should play in second language acquisition instruction. Some allege that machine translation interferes with the learning process, arguing that it stops students from thinking in the language they are trying to learn. Another objection is that students who rely on machine translation are less likely to work with their instructors to achieve a broader understanding of the language. Those who do advocate for the instructional use of machine translation say that it promotes better reading comprehension because it helps students understand unfamiliar vocabulary, which then leads to a more accurate understanding of the text as a whole. They also point out other advantages of machine translation: it’s convenient; it saves time; it’s free; and it promotes vocabulary building. Hopefully these positives will not be ignored in the future by those who have voiced their strong disapproval of machine translation in the past. 

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Student(s):
Dallas Notter

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Griffin

A Different Kind of Beauty: The Bluest Eye & Jane Eyre 
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Too often beauty is the foundation of a woman’s identity and self-esteem. Standards of beauty are determined by race, class and ethnicity.  Those who do not meet the social standards sometimes loathe themselves and compare themselves with others they find more beautiful. Beauty becomes a psychological issue for these women. In my writing, I explore the standards of beauty and their effects on heroines from differing time periods. Both Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre illustrate the overpowering importance of beauty and how it becomes a base for moral judgement. In The Bluest Eye, whiteness defines beauty and therefore defeats an African American young adult at the start of her youth. Jane Eyre explores beauty as a symbol of a woman’s social position. The protagonist of these novels, Pecola and Jane, share the experience of being minorities in a world that measures self-worth in relation to wealth and beauty. In this paper, I dissect the theme of beauty as a determiner of self-worth and the problems that derive from this mentality. This issue holds significance in today’s society as women tend to find faults in themselves due to societal expectations and standards. The goal of this paper is to explore the hardships and triumphs of two women who struggle to find their identity in a world that judges them by their appearance. 

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Student(s):
Hector Rodriguez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines

Anticipating the Future Effects of Virtual Reality Horror
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Humans cannot avoid experiencing fear and adrenaline, naturally compatible components of their make-up. But differences in individual psychology determine that some will seek out stressful situations, while others choose to avoid them at all costs. The “fourth wall” metaphor signifies an invisible barrier between a work’s content and its audience’s experience of that content. This mental barricade reassures Horror fans that what they’re reading/watching/hearing isn’t real. Horror has developed specific subgenres to accommodate different sensibilities within a very broad spectrum of tolerance to fear. Differences in content conventions in Horror’s main subgenres determine how the fourth wall functions differently for different audiences. Comedic Horror only parodies the Horror genre itself, so its audience, protected from fear by laughter, is barely aware of the fourth wall. Action Horror may elicit some audience trepidation but less than is typical in the Romance Subgenre--which keeps audiences intensely apprehensive. The Psychological Subgenre augments the fear factor by immersing its fans in extremely stressful situations that elicit the coveted adrenaline rush they’re after. Yet even here, audiences can will to control their responses if the need arises. However, that will is weakened if not destroyed in Virtual Reality Horror, where the audience “lives” the story. Research is scarce, but as virtual Horror becomes increasingly popular, we'll need to find more definitive answers to two important questions: Is there a limit to the human tolerance for fear?; and how broadly and deeply will virtual intimacy with Horror affect its audiences and the broader populace?

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Student(s):
Marie Rodriguez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines

Bilingual Education: The Key to Displacing Linguicism in a Monolingual Society  
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Linguicism, the discriminatory treatment of individuals based solely on the language they speak, is a toxin in U.S. society--one that ignites and promotes anti-immigration attitudes as well as racial and ethnic conflicts. Columbia University professor and Linguist John McWhorter reminds us that English, one of the world’s most universal languages, is “the language of the internet . . .  of finance . . .  of air traffic control, of popular music . . .  [and of] diplomacy.” English is King, second only to Mandarin in its global importance and dominance. The problem? This dominance is used to “justify” the views of those who insist on retaining English monolingualism in American classrooms and academic programs. Even though students are required to study Spanish or another foreign language in many secondary and university level schools, these languages are not integrated into the general curriculum. They never have been. Monolinguist views and discriminatory directives are deeply embedded in the country’s educational history. The U.S. education system has refused to integrate other languages into core curricula. The lack of language diversity in schools has an especially negative effect on Latinx students--who are a part of a culture of over 40 million U.S. Spanish-speakers. English-only regulations are tantamount to controlling and colonizing minority groups. Bilingual education, the teaching and retrieval of academic content in two languages at all academic levels, is society’s very best option for displacing the systematic linguicism that strips Latinx students of their Spanish-speaking culture.
 

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Student(s):
Dylan Russell

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines

The Importance of Loanwords in English Acquisition for Native Japanese Speakers
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Typically, a loanword is a word borrowed from one language and absorbed, untranslated, for use in another language.  English is the donor language for loanwords in many languages, and they play an important role in English acquisition for native Japanese speakers. Today, there are a staggering number of English loanwords in Japanese (wasei-eigo 和製英語) and that number is increasing constantly, since loanwords offer the perfect opportunity to take advantage of one of the biggest linguistic and cultural crossovers between Japan and the anglosphere. Unlike most languages that absorb English loanwords, the Japanese language creates Japanese words and follows Japanese language conventions for most of the English language origin loanwords it incorporates. One aspect of my research focused on the question of whether loanwords with meanings and pronunciations that differ from their English origins obfuscate the learning of those words. I also wanted more detailed knowledge about how the existence of huge numbers of English loanwords affect native Japanese speakers trying to learn English. The answers to these questions will help us understand how loanwords might best be utilized by teachers in English language acquisition classrooms.  So far, the research I have examined suggests that Japanese students are able to more frequently recognize English loanwords than they are to recognize non-loanwords. While there are still many additional challenges for these students to overcome, a curriculum that taps into the expansive reservoir of loanwords at a student’s disposal will help them in both transferring vocabulary and cementing recognition in reading and listening.

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Student(s):
Harrison Ruud

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines

The Power of Imagination: C. S. Lewis’s Challenge to Postmodernism
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The authenticity and resolute strength of C. S. Lewis’s religious conversion is revealed and verified in much of his work. His beliefs that God is real, that the Bible reveals truth about God, and that God created reality were the bases for convincing him that there is such a thing as an objective standard of truth. This conviction was not only at odds with views held by some during his time; it was also in clear opposition to perspectives that would become the axioms of an emerging Postmodern paradigm. In attempting to identify the ways in which Lewis attacked relativism, I have determined that his primary battle strategy was to craft stories that would stimulate the human imagination to an uncommonly elevated degree. That approach, evident in his essays and even more evident in his fiction, becomes particularly effective in The Chronicles of Narnia and That Hideous Strength--where readers can so well imagine and actively participate in a blatant struggle between good and evil. Lewis made known that his personal study and understanding of the Bible had significantly expanded his own imagination. He concluded from his experience that the imagination was a powerful tool of persuasion, that our imaginations are central to how we understand the world, and that appealing to and expanding the imaginative capacity through storytelling could be an effective and persuasive mechanism to help people understand the Truth and avoid the dangerous and false authoritative claims of relativism. 

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Student(s):
Hannah Strickland

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jacqueline Lyons

The Drums of December 
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The Drums of December is a collection of creative nonfiction lyric essays in which the senses are used to explore important life events through a different type of creative lens—one which allows the reader to get closer to the action and experience each defining event alongside the narrator. Tied together through the lyrical format of the essays, the reader is taken through the innermost thoughts of this narrator and encouraged to explore their own thoughts in order to better expand the conversation against silence.
Relying on an unnamed narrator, The Drums of December allows for reader interaction while still exploring the virulent and hostile emotions we are often forced to keep to ourselves through the use of a distinct second person narrative, mixed with first person reflections of multiple vignettes of various events.  Though unnamed, the narrator plays a key role in the collection, exploring what it means to be a young person fighting to grow up in a world that seemingly molds its people to a standard, ideal model of what it means to be a member of society and the consequences of such a model.
By bringing the reader into such a strong message showing the necessity of bringing attention to the topic of silence and isolation—whether real or perceived—The Drums of December calls for awareness of shared emotions and experiences by encouraging readers to reach out and share their own stories to create a change, to show that in a time of extensive connectivity, silence is not an option.

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Student(s):
Meagan Toumayan

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines

Absorbing the Other: Victoria’s England and America’s “Melting Pot”
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As the impact of western immigration grows more complex, western journalists have become increasingly interested in how immigrants were perceived in earlier historical periods. They often use Victorian author Charles Dickens as a touchstone because of his sympathetic attitude toward the British poor and his sharp criticism of the inhumane treatment they had to endure. But using Dickens to compare negative Victorian attitudes about immigrants and immigration with the perceived attitudes of our current U.S. populace is misguided in this sense--Dickens’ tales have almost nothing to do with immigrant issues. A few other 19th century British authors did include immigrant characters and subjects in their work and these provide occasional glimpses into the difficulties immigrants faced during that time. Bertha Mason, the inferior outsider in Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre, is an immigrant. Her immigrant status is explicitly analyzed in later years in Jean Rhys’ fictional Wide Sargasso Sea, which details migrant brutalities much more specifically and graphically than does the Bronte text. We would go to Israel Zangwill to find the most in depth and comprehensive account of the conditions, attitudes toward, and treatment of immigrants in Victorian England. His 1892 novel Children of the Ghetto portrays the society’s appalling anti-immigrant and immigration sentiments in vivid detail. It provides us with the material we need if we want to gauge how, why, or whether in the context of our own society’s perceived enlightenment, our attitudes towards immigrants are really that different from the offensive perspectives found in the recesses of Victorian literature. 

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Student(s):
Brianna Zaragoza

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines

Updating Critical Thinking Pedagogies in a Post-Truth Era
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Impressionable adolescents, hyper-active on social media, are particularly vulnerable to online misinformation. In a recent NPR article, “Whistleblower Explains How Cambridge Analytica Helped Fuel U.S. ‘Insurgency,’” whistleblower Christopher Wylie criticizes the “completely unregulated digital landscape” which allows social media companies like Facebook to target those most vulnerable to “disinformation, racist thinking, and conspiracy theories.” This current and unprecedented situation calls for a different approach to traditional critical thinking pedagogy—an approach that will provide students with effective tools to judiciously interpret the information they read, hear, and see on our varied current media platforms. Although educators have long taught and emphasized the importance of critical thinking skills in determining the validity of such information, recent advances in technology now provide super-sophisticated media platforms with the means to exceed the intellectual reach of conventional critical thinking pedagogies. After analyzing the origins and existing literature on these pedagogies, I am proposing that educators should add the following to the practices they currently use to teach critical thinking skills: 1) prioritize a detailed teaching of metacognitive awareness; 2) emphasize and demonstrate how students can determine the contextual significance of a text; and 3) explain and acquire evidence that students know how to self-evaluate so they can better identify and understand their own biases. Incorporating these techniques will help students combat the passive absorption of distorted information, provide them with more agency in their learning experiences, and, ultimately, help them to become responsible citizens in a technically-driven, post-truth “democracy.”

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