Category: Student Research

2019 Honors Projects

Nabor with his honors project title page and cookie.

In the 2019-2020 academic year, 19 students were awarded honors in independent study for their honors projects! If you’re wondering what this entails, here’s the description from the honors projects web page:
       “Honors Projects are coherent programs of independent work carried out by students, usually in their senior year, on subjects or problems of more than ordinary difficulty in areas that they have studied in considerable depth, usually in their majors or closely related areas. An Honors Project may also be a work of creative, visual or performing art.”

Many students elect to have their projects uploaded into Lux, the Lawrence University institutional repository. Projects from 2019, as well as most from the past ten years, and some going back to 1960, can be accessed in Lux.

Lawrence University Honors Projects in Lux

Uploading to Lux has provided us in the library an opportunity to not only allow students to share their work with the world, but also to celebrate their achievement and share what they’ve accomplished with their classmates. After uploading, each student prints out their title page, adds it to a large tack board, and gets a cookie. It’s a small celebration, but we took photos anyway. See students adding their pages in the Honors Projects 2019 flickr album.

Student Research in the Library: Xiaoya Gao

Xiaoya Gao is a fifth-year senior from Urumqui, China. In June she will be receiving a BA in History and a BM in Piano Performance. That’s right, she’s almost completed a double-degree!

This industrious researcher is planning to attend graduate school after Lawrence.

Xiaoya took some time from her busy schedule to tell us about what she’s been researching in the Mudd.

Student researcher Xiaoya Gao

Sisi, what’s the focus of your research?

Female health in two late Ming novels: a path to women’s autonomy in a closed society.

What are you hoping to learn or gain?

I hope to learn more about the history of healing in late Imperial China by studying the novels written in late Ming and early Qing, especially the encounters between female patients and their healers.

Why do you think this research is important?

My research is important because female health in novels is a newly touched-upon topic in Chinese medical history. From the novels, one could see “hidden” figures and facts that were not included in official Ming documents and yet existed in the Ming society. Novels have unofficial accounts of history that the “official” history is unable to tell. 

In the two novels I’ve studied, the “forbidden practices” of female patients and their healers revealed that women found and wielded their autonomy through an unofficial social system. Also, half of the history of healing is missing if we ignore women’s history of healing. Female reproductive health is significant because it is a tremendous part of women’s life in the Ming dynasty.

How did you become interested in this line of research?

I have always enjoyed taking classes and doing research in women’s history. During my junior year, I took Chinese Women’s History and Women in Early America, and I have been in love with women’s studies ever since. After taking a class on the history of Chinese Medicine and writing a paper on a specific topic I liked, my focus on Chinese women’s medical history in novels became clear.

“Reach out to the library staff when you have questions about citations, or anything related to your research! They are extremely helpful.”

~Xiaoya Gao

What library materials and resources have been the most useful to you in pursuing this research?

Besides the books I used from the Mudd Library, I requested many materials through interlibrary loan. I also found online resources like JSTOR and Historical Abstracts useful.


Student Research in the Library: Sophie Penniman

Sophie is an English and history double major with a creative writing minor from Austin, Texas. She will graduate in June.

After graduation, Sophie will stay in Appleton briefly, applying for graduate school and baking delicious treats at Seth’s Coffee in Little Chute. She also plans to hike the 500-mile Colorado Trail in the Rocky Mountains!

Sophie will pursue her graduate degree in Library and Information Science with a concentration in archives management. She’s been a student worker for several years in the Mudd, and we know that she’s going to make a fantastic librarian and/or archivist!

Read on to learn more about the research she’s been undertaking with the help of the library!

Student researcher Sophie Penniman

Sophie, tell us about your research.

I’m working on my senior capstone for history! I’m writing about the travel diary of Betty May Hale, an American 13-year-old girl who spent six months traveling in Europe with her family in 1937.

What library materials and resources have been the most useful to you in pursuing this research?

Honestly, my office has been a massive help!! Especially at a small, residential school like Lawrence, it’s sometimes hard to find a space entirely to yourself that’s just dedicated to academic work. My office is a place free from distractions where I can just go and work, which has been really useful to me. Also, last term I carried all the books for my research around with me in a tote bag, so it’s great to have somewhere for them to live in the library.

Other than that, the archives were a great resource, especially in the early stages of my project.

” There are so many resources available for you at the Mudd, you just have to take advantage of them! “

~Sophie Penniman

What are you hoping to learn or gain from this research?

I’m studying how Betty May’s travel experiences affected how she thought about herself as an American. I’m also interested in how the travel agency the family used (a company called Thomas Cook) influenced the way they interacted with Europe and the European people.

Why do you think this research is important?

The mid-late 1930’s are a really interesting time for a lot of reasons—America was just climbing out of the Great Depression, World War II was right around the corner, and the United States was in the middle of this big cultural shift from relative isolationism/neutrality to globalism. There’s a lot written about this period on a national level, but there’s not as much about individual people, especially normal Americans like Betty May.

How did you become interested in this line of research?

I studied abroad in London my sophomore year and had an amazing time, so I wanted to do a project that dealt with study or travel abroad to Europe. Initially I was going to compare the experiences of a few different young women traveling before World War II, and I came across Betty May’s diary in a library database called American Women’s Letters and Diaries. There was so much more material in Betty May’s diary than in any of my other sources, and eventually I just narrowed my focus to her.

” Librarian Gretchen Revie has been really involved with helping my capstone class access research and citation materials.”

~Sophie Penniman, discussing all of the ways the Mudd Library has supported her research

Sophie, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your work! It’s been an honor and a joy to support you and we wish you all the best.

The Mudd is Everything!

The Mudd Library isn’t just a place to study, or to search for and gather materials.

Libraries offer so much more, and the Mudd is no different!

  • Print and Copy Shop

Printing projects and papers and presentations, oh my!

We have everything you need to put the finishing touches on your papers and projects. Make copies, print your paper, or use the scanner. We have a universal phone charging station if you’re running low. We have staplers, tape, paper clips, rulers, and all kinds of other accoutrements to help you polish your assignments and hand them in with pride.

  • Academic Support Station

Do you need another primary or secondary source to support your argument? Looking for an open-source photo to add to your slides or for the proper citation for your paper? The reference librarians are here to help you find what you need and engage in the best and most thorough research possible. We aim to help you feel confident and supported as a student researcher.

  • Information Kiosk

Curious about what’s happening on campus? Looking to find local thrift stores, coffee shops, or parks? Not sure when that concert starts tonight? Stop by, we’ll  help you find out!

  • Social Hot Spot

All of your friends are here! Hang out on the first or second floor to discuss, debate, and collaborate. Chat, vent, laugh, share. Sometimes just sitting next to someone who is working as hard as you are can be the most valuable resource. Snap some pics or make a vid! Then get back to that group project! Pull up a whiteboard and teach each other what you’ve learned. Ask someone out on a study date. The options are endless.

Learning, together.

  • Safe, quiet, peaceful haven

The third and fourth floors are meant for quiet study. They also make a great place to read, reflect, daydream, or nap. Write that paper! No one will barge in just as you get in your groove. Or, if you’ve been in your groove and need a little break, stop down to the first floor to nurture yourself with a cup of tea. Text your mom and then get back at it. The library is for everyone, and everyone is welcome here and treated with respect and dignity!

Getting productive while enjoying the peace and of the fourth floor.

What do you need?

Academic support?

A quiet place to get some work done?

A place to belong?

We’re here for you!

Student Research in the Library: John O’Neill

John O’Neill is a double-degree student from Reno, Nevada. He’s been at Lawrence for five years and will earn his BM in French Horn Performance and his BA in Russian and Government in a just few short weeks!

John is also a much-beloved library student worker, and has been the night supervisor at the Circulation Desk. He definitely knows his way around the Mudd and offers great insight into using the library to your best advantage.

Upon being asked what he would like his fellow students to know about the Mudd Library, he responded,

“Get to know the staff, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and always go upstairs to find your own books because you will come down with an entire stack of useful materials.”

Read on to learn more about John and the fascinating and important research he’s been pursuing in the Mudd!

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John O’Neill holds a 2002 issue of Appleton’s local newspaper, The Post Crescent, which he used to research Appleton’s sister city, Kurgan, Russia.

John, what are your plans after graduation?

I am planning to travel to Ukraine for the summer to work with an NGO there that works with under-served regions of the country. After that I will be back in Appleton and hopefully onto Chicago in the fall.

What have you been researching in the Mudd Library?

Over the past two terms I have been working on my senior experience in government. For this project I am profiling the Fox Cities-Kurgan Sister City Relationship. The partnership had an astonishing period of peak activity from the 1990s through 2013, but it has since been dormant. Some of the partnership’s major accomplishments included a 2003 security summit hosted in Appleton with keynote from Mikhail Gorbachev, opening of medical facilities and a domestic violence shelter in Kurgan, obtaining funding for a project to decommission a significant stockpile of chemical weapons in the Kurgan region, and over 100 educational exchanges between universities, high schools, and middle schools in both regions.

What library materials and resources have been the most useful to you in pursuing this research?

For this project I ended up using a wide variety of resources that the library offers students. I took advantage of the main collection, ILL, and electronic databases for most of my background research. Later, I relied on our wonderful reference librarians, who pointed me to contacts at the Appleton Public Library and the Appleton Historical Society. Finally, I learned to be grateful for the VCRs and microform readers that the library makes available to students. Most of my resources were on VHS tapes from the 90s, so having those VCRs on hand was absolutely fantastic.

What are you hoping to learn or gain from this research?

One of my main objectives was to learn how sustainable local organizations are built. This involved finding out how Fox Cities-Kurgan got its start, what program leaders hoped to accomplish, and why it eventually entered a decline. As I progressed in my research I found many other sister cities around the country with similar stories of huge growth followed by a swift decline. This led me to ask just how much these relationships are subject to the broader political climate and what their place is in the global geopolitical environment.

Why do you think this research is important?

For me, The Fox Cities-Kurgan Partnership has been an inspirational example of international partnership that transcends political boundaries. Not only did the program accomplish some enormous objectives that we wouldn’t normally associate with smaller towns like Appleton, but it also forged lasting friendships between the countless exchange participants, volunteers, host families, and students who were involved. By increasing awareness of the program I hope to re-spark the interest in international advocacy that the program was founded around.

How did you become interested in this line of research?

A couple of years ago I found the partnership’s website, which hadn’t been updated since 2013. I later tried to search for Kurgan on the Post Crescent’s website, but due to archiving of the newspaper, my search returned no results. The disappearance of this program from the public eye made me a little sad and I began reaching out to program leaders and participants to find out more.

John, this sounds like really important work. We are so excited to see where you take what you’ve learned and to see the grand adventures that are in store for you! Thank you for sharing.

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In the Mudd Gallery: Wonder and Resonance

Wonder and Resonance is a student-curated exhibit on view in the Mudd Gallery until Monday, March 12th. Using selections from Lawrence’s Anthropology and Archaeology collection, Manuel Ferreira crafted a show which explores the cultural meanings behind various artifacts. Ferreira encourages the viewer to experience the wonder and resonance of these cultural objects writing, “Wonder is the power of an object to grab the attention of a viewer, to convey a sense of enchantment and charisma. Resonance is the power of an object to go beyond itself, to convey the complex and dynamic cultural, historical, and personal forces that created it.”

Mudd Gallery - “The Story Behind the Artifacts” a solo show by Manuel Ferreira

Unlike a traditional museum exhibition, which would likely separate artifacts by time period, culture, and geography, Ferreira includes objects which cross all these boundaries. Walking through you’ll see an Aztec death whistle which dates back to the 12th century a few feet from Chinese ivory. The rich and diverse selection of the exhibit encourages the viewer to consider the consistent power objects have throughout cultures and time.

Mudd Gallery - “The Story Behind the Artifacts” a solo show by Manuel Ferreira

More than just present the viewer with a beautiful variety of objects, Ferreira pushes us to consider what goes into building a collection asking among other things: how did Lawrence come in possession of these objects? Why are they displayed the way they are and how does that affect my experience?  The result is an affecting and intimate experience with objects you otherwise are unlikely to have.

Mudd Gallery - “The Story Behind the Artifacts” a solo show by Manuel Ferreira

We at the Mudd are incredibly excited to house this exhibit and hope you all have a chance to see it before it closes Monday, March 12.

 

 

 

Student Research in the Library: Sierra Parker

We are so grateful when our hard-working students take time out of their busy schedules to share what they’re up to in the library!

Sierra Parker has been spending an awful lot of time in her student office this term. The Linguistics and Russian Studies major is from Michigan’s Upper Penisula and will be graduating in June. Sierra plans to attend graduate school to study communication disorders after taking a year or two off to work with FoodCorps (a branch of AmeriCorps that helps start school gardens and educates kids about healthy foods) or the National Park Service.

Sierra, what are you researching?

I am researching aphasia, a language disorder.  People with aphasia lose the ability to find words and/or use them coherently.

More specifically, I am looking at how aphasia was studied by two Soviet psychologists: Alexander Luria and Lev Vygotsky. I am interested in what they believed about aphasia, as well as the chain of thought that led them there.

What are you hoping to learn or gain from this research?

I am fascinated with how people with aphasia experience the world. I am hoping to gain some insight by learning more about conceptions of aphasia that differ from the modern Western approach.

Why do you think this research is important?

I believe it is always important to step into someone else’s shoes (in this case: people with aphasia, Vygotsky, and Luria) and try to see the world from their point of view. Also, Western histories of aphasiology tend to overlook the groundbreaking work done by Vygotsky, Luria, and other Russian/Soviet psychologists.

How did you become interested in this line of research?

I took the class Brain & Behavior, which introduced me to aphasia. As someone who has always been interested in language, I was stunned by the implications of losing it. I instantly wanted to know more about the disorder, as well as the lives and minds of those who live with it every day.

What library materials and resources have been the most useful to you in pursuing this research?

The library created a research guide specific to my senior seminar, which has been extraordinarily useful. The PSYCInfo database has been helpful, as well as the fact that the library owns four volumes of Vygotsky’s Collected Works!

What would you like your fellow students to know about the Mudd Library?

Apply for an office! They are a big help, especially if you are planning on using many books from the Mudd’s collection.

Also, do not be afraid to ask the librarians for help. That’s what they’re there for!

Thanks, Sierra. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. See you around the Mudd.

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Using Your Library Wisely

The library offers so many resources and services, it can be hard to keep track of all the ways in which we can help you succeed at Lawrence.

Below you’ll find a handy list of just a few ideas for optimizing your experience in the Mudd. How many have you employed?

Lots of seating for lots of studying.

  • Grab a study buddy and a rolling whiteboard to parse out those tricky formulas.
  • Head for the quiet solitude of the fourth floor and hide out in the stacks to read.
  • Contact a reference librarian for research assistance or make a research appointment: visit the desk, call, email, or text!
  • Watch a movie for class or relaxation in one of our five viewing rooms.

    Books and art and standing desks!
  • Browse the fiction and graphic novels on the third floor during a study break.
  • Wheel one of our standing desks to your favorite spot to focus.
  • Lounge on one of the comfy couches in the Milwaukee-Downer Room (1st floor) or in the Roger Dale Kruse Room (4th floor) while doing your class reading.
  • Reserve a group study room on either the 2nd or 3rd floor by signing your name on the clipboard outside the door. Invite your friends for an intensive study session.
  • Practice your PowerPoint presentation in the group study room on the 2nd floor.
  • Check out the art in the Mudd Gallery on the 3rd floor during a study break.
  • Cozy up to read or nap in one of our beanbag chairs! There are three spread out across the upper floors.
  • Browse the free book shelf on the 2nd floor. You can find some great music there as well!
  • Catch up on domestic or international current events with a newspaper.
  • Hide away for some quiet study among the bound periodicals on level A.
  • Visit the Circulation Desk to check out a locker for your research materials. Or check out the Wii for the weekend!
  • Gather some friends for a game break: everything from Candyland to Catan can be found on the 2nd floor.
  • Pop into the Archives on Level B one afternoon and visit with Erin Dix, our friendly and informative archivist. Find out the answers to your burning questions about the history of Lawrence and Milwaukee-Downer.

Are there any other ideas that you would add to this list? How do you use the Mudd? We’d love to hear from you!

Regardless of how you use the Mudd, we look forward to seeing you soon.

The beautiful and serene Lincoln Reading Room.

Student Researcher in the Library: Terese Swords


Whether she’s studying English or biology, we love to see Terese Swords’ smiling face in the Mudd! This Midwestern senior may be winding down her career at Lawrence, but she’s still using the library full force. Read on to learn more about Terese, her research and why she loves the library.

What library materials and resources have been the most useful to you in pursuing your research, Terese?

I frequently use ILL to gain access to both electronic journal articles as well as PDFs of books. The main collection of books within the library, especially regarding 18th century credit economies, has also been extremely useful.

What would you like your fellow students to know about the Mudd Library?

It is a great resource and can allow you to gain a better understanding of questions (in any academic field) that interest you.

Also, having a student office in the library is extremely useful when pursuing large research projects, because it allows for both a quiet study space as well as a secure location to keep an immense amount of research materials.

The Mudd, and its staff, are awesome!

What are you researching?

I am researching many things!

For my honors project in English, I am researching the representation of 18th century economies in two of Daniel Defoe’s works: Robinson Crusoe and Roxana.

For my biology senior capstone, I am writing a review paper analyzing how the parasitic protozoan Toxoplasma gondii is able to manipulate its intermediate rat host and how Toxoplasma, which can infect humans and cause the disease toxoplasmosis, may be manipulating our behavior!

I am planning to use my biology research on Toxoplasma as content for a radio script that I am going to be writing and producing in the spring.

What are you hoping to learn or gain from this research?

For my honors project in English I am hoping to gain a deeper understanding of capitalist economies in the 18th century and how the South Sea Bubble’s burst drastically influenced the social and economic thought of the time. I am also looking to understand where critics stand on the issue of economic representation in Daniel Defoe’s works so I can enter into a conversation with them within my paper.

For my biology capstone, I am hoping to further understand the mechanisms by which Toxoplasma gondii is able to manipulate its hosts as well as the global health implications of the disease toxoplasmosis in humans.

Why do you think this research is important?

I believe that both research topics are important because both projects look to further answer/understand gaps present within the critical literature in each respective field.

How did you become interested in this line of research?

I became interested in researching 18th century credit economies after taking Dr. Barnes class “Gender and the Enlightenment” last winter, where I was first introduced to Daniel Defoe and his work Roxana. Since then, I have not stopped thinking about economic representation within Defoe’s works and other literary/artistic works post South Sea Bubble.

After taking parasitology with Dr. Humphries, I amazed at the idea that Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that is estimated to be infecting ¼ of the population of the US above the age of 12, could be manipulating mammals’ behavior. Since then, for my capstone, I have been researching how humans, a dead end host for the parasite, may also experience behavioral changes due to infection.

What are your plans after graduation?

I am taking a gap year or two before attending graduate school or law school (I haven’t decided yet). For my gap year, I am applying to boarding school programs where I will have the opportunity to teach high school students while earning a masters degree in education. I am also planning on applying to pharmaceutical companies.

My job search is just about as broad as my academic interests! I am hoping that work experience during my gap will help inform my decision of what higher education to pursue.

All the best to you, Terese! We think you’re awesome, too.

Student Researcher in the Library: Laura Deneckere


The Mudd supports students across all academic disciplines. Laura Deneckere, a biology major from Madison, Wisconsin, was kind enough to chat with us about the extensive biology research she has been conducting in the library.

What would you like your fellow students to know about the Mudd Library?

The library is a great resource, not only for special research projects, but also for routine classwork! The librarians and student workers genuinely want to help, are easy to approach and will go to great lengths to assist you with absolutely anything you need.

What library materials and resources have been the most useful to you in pursuing your research?

I have used many immunology and invertebrate textbooks from the library in order to broaden my overall understanding of molluscan immunity.

One of the most useful tools that I have used is the Interlibrary Loan service (ILL). This tool is extremely easy to use and you generally receive your requested materials very quickly! Through this service I have accessed current journal and book chapters from around the world.

Enough about us. What are you researching, Laura?

I am researching the evolutionarily conserved nuclear factor-kappa B(NF-κB) pathway in the snail, Biomphalaria glabrata. This species of snail serves as the intermediate host for the trematode Schistosoma mansoni, which causes the debilitating tropical disease schistosomiasis in humans. The broader aim of my project is to determine if NF-κB is regulating immune responses in the snail. I am using bioinformatics and electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs) to address this question, and am very fortunate to be using Dr. Judith Humphries’s research lab. Thank you Dr. Humphries!

Why do you think this research is important?

The snail plays an essential role in the schistosomiasis life cycle, so molecular-based research is important for furthering our knowledge of the snail’s defense strategies and overall immune-related responses. With over 210 million people affected annually, schistosomiasis is the third most devastating disease in the world, following only malaria and intestinal helminthiasis.

How did you become interested in this line of research?

I have been extremely privileged to work alongside Dr. Humphries in her research laboratory. I was initially interested in her work because of my overall passion for tropical medicine and public health.

In fact, Laura’s interest in public health has led to plans to spend a gap year serving the broader community. As for more long-term goals, she plans to obtain a Master of Science degree in Public Health with an emphasis in infectious diseases.

Given Laura’s savvy use of the resources available to her in the library and at Lawrence, we are certain that she will accomplish all of her goals.

Thank you for answering our questions, Laura!