Student Activities

Student-Faculty Collaborative Research

The Center provides funding for summer student-faculty collaborative research projects:

Dallas Wulf ('12) worked with Dr. Pedlar in the Physics Dept., researching decay channels of quarkonia. The project was affiliated with Belle, an experiment being conducted at the KEK B-factory in Tsukuba, Japan. Quarkonia are bound states of quark/antiquark pairs of the same flavor. Specifically, their research dealt with bottomonium, which is composed of bottom/antibottom quarks. By studying decay transitions among the bottomonium spectrum, we gain insight into the governing parameters of the strong nuclear force, one of only four fundamental forces in the Universe—the other three being gravity, electromagnetism, and the weak nuclear force.

Andrew White (’11) worked on a project in Cedar Rapids, IA researching the recovery effort that followed the city’s record-breaking flood of 2008. He spent January Term of 2011 personally interviewing residents and business owners affected by the flood, government officials integral to the recovery effort, and recovery workers helping to rebuild the city. From these interviews, he was able to gain an understanding of the complex issues and problems that hamper natural disaster recovery today. This understanding led to a senior project exploring how a more community-based approach may be a better way to help cities recover from natural disasters.

Kia Johnson (’11), Sylvie Hall (’11) and Lori Stanley (Associate Dean & Professor of Anthropology) collaborated on a project in Eluwai, Tanzania involving the detailed documentation of several important medicinal plants used by the Maasai tribe. They worked with the students of Noonkodin Secondary School to interview Maasai elders about these plants, with the aim of both inspiring the students to learn about their own culture’s disappearing medicinal traditions as well as collect data to produce a written profile of the most commonly used plants in the Eluwai area. They also focused on understanding how the practice of traditional plant medicine works with, or in some cases against, western-influenced clinics and hospitals in the community.

Greg Shirbroun (’10) and John Moeller (Professor of Political Science) worked together to take a closer look at the phenomenon of homeschooling. Through reading, conducting interviews, and engaging in in-depth conversation, the goal was to better understand the social, academic, and political implications of homeschooling, and begin to distinguish how this phenomenon manifests itself in Decorah and the surrounding community.

Tyler Best ('10) and Lea Pickard (Asst. Professor of Anthropology) collaborated on an project entitled "The Salad Bowl Versus the Melting Pot: Preservation of Traditional Health Beliefs Among Second Generation Hmong in La Crosse, Wisconsin." Through ethnographic research and one-on-one interviews, the researchers observed the cultural awareness among the Hmong youth of their Hmong heritage. The awareness (or lack thereof) may be indicative of the assimilation of the Hmong into American culture, which is also directly related to attitudes about health and medicine.

Makara Fairman ('10) and Britt Rhodes (Asst. Professor of Social Work) are collaborating on a project, "Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence: The Experience of One Rural Community." Fairman and Rhodes will interview staff, consumers, family members, volunteers and interdisciplinary partners to evaluate the successes and challenges of a program designed to respond to the needs of women in abusive relationships in rural communities.