Students’ CE/T presentations & reflections at the Kentucky Honors Roundtable

This past weekend (October 26-27), eight CE/T Honors College students attended and presented at the Kentucky Honors Roundtable at Murray State University. Kentucky Honors Roundtable is an organization that invites honors colleges and honors programs of Kentucky public universities to come together to network with one another. It also allows students to present original research that they have been developing. The event is held twice throughout the academic school year, one conference being held in the fall while other is held in the spring.  Students are able to present related-Honors Program material or they can present research that they have been doing in their classes. Most WKU students who present at this conference are students who are finishing  their Capstone Experience/Thesis (CE/T). During the Spring semester, the conference will be held at the University of Kentucky. If you would like more information about KRH, please contact Dr. Baylis at

Titles & abstracts of students’ CE/Ts

Regressions on Personality and Political Preference of Collegiate Greek Letter Social Organizations by Micheal B. Armstong

Empirical research examining collegiate Greek letter social organizations (fraternities and sororities) is minimal. Whenever research does arise, it usually focuses on negative stigmas with these organizations (alcohol abuse, hazing). This study seeks to examine more positive aspects of Greek organizations. This study hypothesizes that Greeks differ from non-Greeks in the Big Five personality traits such that Greek members are less open to experience, less conscientious, more extraverted, and less neurotic than non-Greek members. Greek and non-Greek members will be similar in agreeableness. It is hypothesized that Greek members are more politically conservative than non-Greek members. In a 2 (affiliation: Greek vs. non-Greek) by 6 (traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, conservatism) within-subjects design, 572 college students (395 female) participated in a 24-item online survey consisting of the Mini-International Personality Item Pool and a brief measure of conservatism. Preliminary analyses via logistic binary regression provided partial support for the hypotheses. Greeks are more likely to be extraverted than non-Greeks (p <.001), less likely to be neurotic than non-Greeks (p < .01), and more likely to be conservative than non-Greeks (p < .01). Implications of these finding will be discussed.

The Concise Guide to the Calvinist/Arminian Debate The Concise Guide to the Calvinist/Arminian Debate by David Leonhardt

The Calvinist/Arminian debate is not a new issue to the Protestant Church; however, it is an issue that has resurged within contemporary Christianity.  One major offense committed in this controversial debate occurs when a person or group uses a term from the opposite side in a way that is not the proponent’s original intent or meaning.  Furthermore, misconceptions concerning the actual doctrines maintained by either side have become commonplace in the debate.  In order to improve this problem, this thesis will serve as a guide for understanding the Calvinist/Arminian debate.  It will provide information on the founders of the two systems, the definitions of fundamental doctrines of each, the definitions of lesser-known terminology of the debate, the truth behind common misconceptions, and an analysis on the debate.  This thesis will, in no way, attempt to determine a correct view.  All the definitions, information concerning the founders, and information regarding misconceptions have been retrieved from the proponents of the theology.  Calvinists will only define Calvinist terminology and Arminians will only define Arminian terminology.  The goal of this work is to present an accurate depiction of both Calvinism and Arminianism.

Mattathias’ Other Son: A Novel of the Maccabean Revolt by Ameliah Given

In the primary and secondary literature regarding the Maccabean Revolt, Judas, the son of the man who began the revolt, is depicted as a warrior of epic proportions. Despite a Seleucid king’s attempt to squelch out Jewish practices, Judas brought religious freedom to the people through his military strategy and might. After his untimely death in battle, his younger brother Jonathan finally succeeded in gaining political freedom for the Jewish people. Throughout his lifetime, Jonathan’s feats of valor rivaled, if not surpassed those of his brother Judas. Yet Jonathan’s story and life are not given the attention they deserve. My purpose, then, is to tell the story of the Maccabean Revolt through Jonathan’s perspective in the format of a historical novella. Since Jonathan was most likely very young when the Revolt began, I will show how the Revolt functioned as a catalyst for Jonathan’s initiation into adulthood. Using the best-known sources, this novella seeks to maintain historical accuracy while telling the story of Jonathan, the Jewish people’s unsung hero.

Modern Hispanic Immigration in America: What we are Seeing and What to Expect by Parker Wornall

Hispanic Immigration into the United States is no new phenomena. Within the most recent decades, though, these numbers have spiked to astounding heights, especially in regards to illegal immigration. There are many push and pull factors that have cause this phenomenon, and they will be thoroughly explored and analyzed through poll research; push factors being factors that will drive people away from Latin America, and pull factors being factors that attract them to the United States. This hike in immigration, and the negative attention recently gained by it, has also forced many states to alter or create very strict immigration laws. Arizona has served as the benchmark for “stop” policies in state legislation concerning immigrants, so an analysis of their law will serve as the focal point of this paper. It is my belief that Arizona’s law does not correctly address the current circumstances causing immigration, reflect traditional American values towards immigrants, nor levy the appropriate punishments, which are debatably unconstitutional.

Jesus, I trust in You: St. Thomas Aquinas’ Jubilee by John Allen Sohl, III.

Broadcasters are known for the news. In fact, many are so caught up in things outside of their personal lives that they don’t even enjoy talking about themselves at all. Broadcasters are known for the news. In fact, many are so caught up in things outside of their personal lives that they don’t even enjoy talking about themselves at all. For my Honors Thesis at Western Kentucky University, I plan to challenge that stereotype, not by showing a biased report, but through the professional journalistic approach in the confines of my own close-knit community. My project entails a 20-40 minute documentary on the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Campus Center. Much of my research is based on the history of the center, but more importantly, as head of the 50th Anniversary Committee, I am also charged with celebrating the history as well. My broadcasting and editorializing skills must be reconciled if I am to accomplish the ethically sound, yet positive approach to our October Jubilee. It is my hope to give cause for journalists to no longer see themselves as merely outside storytellers, but to better improve their approach when reporting on events that directly concern their personal lives.

Exploring College Freshmen Students’ Self-Efficacy, Attitudes, and Intentions toward Chemistry by Amanda F. Cook

Recently, there has been much discussion about the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) crisis happening in the United States (U.S.). U.S. colleges are not producing enough STEM graduates. General chemistry is an important introductory course required for completion of many STEM degrees. Intentions have previously been identified as the antecedent to behaviors. Therefore, this study seeks to analyze the variables which predict intentions to enroll in general chemistry courses. Using a sample of 1,126 first-time, first-year freshmen from Western Kentucky University, the following research questions were addressed 1) How well do self-efficacy for general chemistry and attitudes toward chemistry predict intentions to take future chemistry courses? 2) Which is the best predictor of intentions; self efficacy for general chemistry or attitude toward chemistry? And 3) If we control for other known factors that influence intentions (i.e., past experiences, past performances, and choice of major), is self-efficacy for general chemistry and attitude toward chemistry still able to predict a large amount of the variance in intentions to take future chemistry courses? Implications for science educators are discussed.

The Librarian and the Courtier: Changing Attitudes Towards Book Collection and Scholarship in 16th and 17th Century Europe by Anna Helton

The mass availability of printed books in the 16th and 17th centuries not only increased book ownership, but changed the nature of book collection and even scholastic endeavor itself. Collectors and librarians increasingly strove for universality in their collections, and new methods, especially bibliography, were created to cope with the impossibility of this feat. In turn, Northern humanist scholars expressed increasing cynicism towards the ideal of encyclopedic knowledge, often paradoxically ridiculing “book fools,” exhaustive libraries, and the bibliography, which was frequently perceived to be only a shortcut to true scholarship.

Defying Audiences: Wicked in its Various Forms of Media by Amanda Adams

An extensive text-to-stage analysis of the progression from Gregory Maguire’s original novel Wicked to the stage musical of the same name, in an effort to understand a successful adaptation process. I will focus on how each medium uses the characters present in both mediums, as well as the themes of social and political commentary. I will argue that the Wicked franchise is an example of effectively appealing to both separate and concurrent audiences. The use of the two opposing mediums serves as an example of the repurposing of an aesthetic, literary text to create a more popular, accessible text.

Reflections of students on the Kentucky Honors Roundtable

“This year Kentucky Honors Roundtable was held in Murray, KY at Murray State University. WKU sent 8 Honors students to present research to the conference consisting of Honors programs from University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Eastern Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, and Kentucky State College. Topics ranged from religious studies to micro-biology to studies on autism, ancient peoples, endangered wildlife and everything in between. I was looking forward to adding a presentation to my resume, but I was not necessarily looking forward to the conference. I did not even know most of the people attending from WKU! However, my perspective changed over the weekend. I enjoyed bonding with my WKU Honors peers over silly car ride conversations, poking fun at the high “quality” of our hotel, guessing what dinner would be or what “gargantuan game night” may possibly entail. Besides that, I met some really fantastic students from other Honors programs across the state. Their research was so interesting! Not only had I not even considered such topics, but they were very professionally executed and presented. All the same, WKU came home with the win (at least we think so). Presenting my own research was very good experience. I received much positive feedback from my WKU Honors peers as well as students from other universities. It was a good confidence booster, even though I was incredibly nervous leading up to my presentation, gulping down Powerade and trying not to look to sweaty. I think that KHR is something every Honors student should experience and enjoy. Without it, I would never have met or gotten to know some of the most incredible people I have met in college.”  – Bo Armstrong

“My experience at the Kentucky Honors Roundtable at Murray State University was my first time presenting an academic work. I would definitely recommend it to anyone, and I wish that I had done it sooner it my academic career. It was great to present my work for an overwhelmingly accepting community of people. Furthermore, I enjoyed being able to meet other WKU Honors students and discuss our campus-wide research projects.” – Amanda Adams

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