2003 McNair Scholars at UW-Superior

2003 McNair Scholars Program Research

Melody Hernandez
Faculty Mentor:  Mr. Alvin (Chip) Beal, First Nations Studies, Human Behavior, Justice and Diversity Department

ABSTRACT: American Indian children are placed in special education classrooms at a higher rate than any other minority group.  This paper examines existing theories as to how to correct the imbalance.  It also looks specifically at a tribally run Head Start located near Cloquet, Minnesota on the Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa Reservation. 

The paper examines the practices of the early childhood special educator and how they relate to the theories in existence.
The paper primarily examines standardized testing, culture and values, and how these tests do not accurately reflect the world of American Indian children.  Until such a test is developed, results should be viewed as unreliable.  The paper demonstrates that the culture in which American Indian children are brought up differs drastically from mainstream culture and the child should be viewed in terms of his/her culture. 

If the educator takes time to view the child as a product of his/her culture, the child is less likely to be inaccurately placed in special education. If the culture is not integrated into the classroom and appreciated, the child will suffer.   The paper also shows that the value system of American Indians is different from that of the majority culture.  The educator should try to understand the value system of the tribe with which the child is affiliated in order to better understand the child.

Jeffrey Melton
Faculty Mentor:  Mr. Gary Johnson, First Nations Studies, Human Behavior, Justice and Diversity Department

: Native American language is an important aspect of Native American culture.It is a significant part of each tribe's individual cultural identity.However, Native languages may also play a crucial role in establishing American Indian nations as sovereign nations.  It is still feared by some language instructors and cultural preservationists that language loss is not being taken as seriously as it should.Native languages are endangered, which is of grave importance because loss of language may result in the loss of cultural identity and sovereignty. Measures are being taken to prevent this extinction by using classroom time and emergence programs.


Kari Eliason
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Raychel Reiff, World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Department

ABSTRACT: William Shakespeare's women are in rebellion against societal norms.  Shakespeare creates female characters surpassing the confines of their cultures while seeking to assert their rights.  Adriana from Comedy of Errors and Kate from The Taming of the Shrew are more than stereotypical shrews; Shakespeare portrays both as intelligent women, skillful with the use of words. 

Hermia from a Midsummer Night's Dream and Juliet from Romeo and Juliet are young women in love who choose their own mates.  Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing resists social conventions and yearns for a match made from mutual trust.  Cordelia from King Lear is a person who follows her conscience at all costs.  The complex characters demonstrate women trying to reshape society to find their rightful place in it.

Erik Bennett
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Dorothy Anway, Mathematics and Computer Science Department

ABSTRACT: This study assesses two things: first, preconceived statistical and probabilistic reasoning skills and misconceptions that selected college students brought to the college classroom; and second, these students' learning subsequent to a college level mathematics class unit on probability and statistics. This inquiry then expands into an analysis of the students' most common correct reasoning types, their most prevalent misconceptions, and areas of greatest improvement.

Results were expected to demonstrate that the students, upon completion of the education unit, showed significantly more correct reasoning skills, significantly fewer misconceptions, or both. The data did not yield the expected results. It is evident that current classroom methods did not significantly affect student learning as defined in this study.

Tanya Johnson
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Matthew Faerber, Department of Music

ABSTRACT: This study was created to find a correlation between vocal classifications (soprano, tenor, alto, and bass) and personality traits.  For this project, the Personal Style Inventory personality test and the Specific Trait Personality Test were used to determine whether there were significant differences between the classifications, as hypothesized. Though there were many surprising similarities in the varying classifications, results show that the stereotypical personality traits were generally confirmed in the surveyed choir.