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2018-2019

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  • Thumbnail for "Keep the Stoke Up:"  An Analysis of Skier Awareness and Attitudes Towards the Environment
    "Keep the Stoke Up:" An Analysis of Skier Awareness and Attitudes Towards the Environment by Carlson, Emily Ann

    Despite its massive popularity, the ski industry has several negative environmental and social impacts. The environmental effects that come with skiing often include deforestation, alteration and loss of habitat, overuse of water, air and water pollution, littering, contributions of emissions that lead to global climate change, and visual impacts from development. Socially, the industry is only available to a narrow, privileged demographic and creates gentrification and racial and income inequality in ski towns. This study surveyed students at an elite liberal arts college located near the mountains as a case study to evaluate their awareness of and action in response to concerns about the ski industry’s environmental and social impacts. The study found that students are generally aware that the ski industry has negative impacts, but most do not intend to stop skiing because they enjoy the sport, skiing is a big part of their lifestyle and sense of self, or they want to be able to spend time with friends and family who ski.

  • Thumbnail for "Orange is the New Black": An Analysis of Obama-to-Trump Voters
    "Orange is the New Black": An Analysis of Obama-to-Trump Voters by Burnham, Emily

    This study uses 2016 ANES data to explore the group of Americans who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and Donald Trump in 2016, focusing specifically on the factors influencing this trajectory. The voting trajectory from Obama to Trump comprised approximately 13% of the actively voting 2016 electorate. I use bivariate analyses and multiple logistic regression models in order to provide an explanation for this voting trajectory, and to separately explore this group outside of the larger populous of Trump voters. The study finds that economic insecurity, misogyny, anti-immigrant sentiment, and racial resentment all had a significant effect on the likelihood of voting for both Obama and Trump for president, controlling for historically influential factors like political party identification and others. Anti-immigrant sentiment proved to have the largest effect on this voting group. The study concludes by calling for more research on this influential voting trajectory, as well as the other trajectories between 2012 and 2016, including non-voters.

  • Thumbnail for An Examination of Transgender Patients' Accessibility to and Satisfaction with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains' Health Care Resources
    An Examination of Transgender Patients' Accessibility to and Satisfaction with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains' Health Care Resources by Dube, Lily

    This study uses data from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) to analyze how their transgender and cisgender patients compare in terms of the degree to which they find PPRM’s health care services accessible and satisfactory. Although prior literature emphasizes transgender individuals’ overwhelming lack of access and satisfaction with health care resources, various statistical analyses run on this data reveal that transgender patients find, on average, PPRM’s services to be slightly less accessible but slightly more satisfactory than cisgender patients. Significant, yet very small, differences were found between mean accessibility and satisfaction scores for transgender and cisgender patients at PPRM. Overall, most patients are very satisfied with PPRM’s services. Additionally, despite gender having a significant effect on both accessibility and satisfaction scores, OLS regressions affirm that there are other factors—besides gender, ethnicity/race, and age group—that influence PPRM patients’ accessibility and satisfaction scores. Further investigation into what other factors impact accessibility and satisfaction is necessary in informing the work of PPRM, especially regarding their transgender patients.

  • Thumbnail for Beautiful Ordinary People: Beauty Capital and Modern Fame on Instagram
    Beautiful Ordinary People: Beauty Capital and Modern Fame on Instagram by Westby, Audrey

    This paper explores the sociological implications of Instagram influencers, and the estimated 1-billion-dollar influencer industry. Building from Bourdieu’s field theory and concept of capital, I suggest that beauty capital is the dominant form of capital operating in the influencer field. Beauty, as well as an aestheticized Instagram feed, allows influencers to work with brands and to expand their Instagram followings, elevating the influencer to micro-celebrity status. Influencers work in a mutually beneficial relationship with brands, each one promoting each other. The relationship between influencer and brand represents a pattern of reflexive accumulation and blurring of lines between individuals and businesses. Given that beauty capital is the central theme of this study, changing beauty standards on Instagram are explored. Personal beauty is, in fact, the dominant element featured in influencers’ Instagram feeds rather than discussions of their interior selves. In this study, I will argue that in the internet age beauty is a greater asset than ever before.

  • Thumbnail for Coercive Control and Physical Violence: College Students Reporting of Intimate Partner Violence
    Coercive Control and Physical Violence: College Students Reporting of Intimate Partner Violence by Morgan, Bryn

    This exploratory study seeks to understand the prevalence and types of intimate partner violence among college students. Using an expanded understanding of Johnson’s typology (2008) of intimate partner violence, which differentiates between types of intimate partner violence based on the use of coercive control and physical violence, this study investigates intimate partner violence in a sample of college students at a small liberal arts school, suggesting that non-physical violence must also be understood as intimate partner violence, especially among college students. It attempts to contribute to the feminist understanding of intimate partner violence, noting that women experience certain types of abuse at higher rates than men and within different contexts. Using a general survey sample, however, the results found no difference between men and women reporting intimate partner violence. This apparent gender symmetry, contradicts past feminist research, suggests that new methodological approaches must be developed in order to effectively study intimate partner violence.

  • Thumbnail for Creative Class Impacts on Community Life: Artists as Social and Economic Catalysts
    Creative Class Impacts on Community Life: Artists as Social and Economic Catalysts by Jacobson, Charlotte

    With the rising presence of gentrification in American cities, sociologists and society began investigations of the possible antagonists of this detrimental issue. To better understand why gentrification perpetuates, this study deconstructs the findings from the ‘American Perceptions of Artists Survey’ on how artist and non-artist, markers for the Creative Class dichotomy, individuals perceive Creative Class influence in city and community contexts. The four multiple logistic regressions revealed patterns pointing to wealthy Creative Class members as perpetrators of gentrification through misunderstanding, with minority members, specifically Asian non-Hispanic populations, perceive their influence in a positive light. All the while, non-Creative Class members of Native American and Asian non-Hispanic populations interpreted the Creative Class positively while those with high levels of education saw the Creative Class as an imposition. This thesis dissects these findings to better inform perpetrators and the complicit in the proliferation of gentrification about how to better address the inequality that flourishes in urban America.

  • Thumbnail for From The Breakfast Club to Boyhood: A Content Analysis of Rape Culture Perpetuation in Coming of Age Films, 1980s to Today
    From The Breakfast Club to Boyhood: A Content Analysis of Rape Culture Perpetuation in Coming of Age Films, 1980s to Today by Chippari, Julia

    Twenty of the most popular coming of age films, five from each decade, 1980s-2010s, have been analyzed for perpetuation of rape culture and rape myth acceptance. This study examines the frequencies and types of perpetuation present in each film. The analysis is based on a widely accepted rape myth acceptance scale (RMA) and a list of other subtler rape culture perpetuations. The films received a point for each scene that fulfilled the sentiments in the RMA or subtler perpetuation list. The films were analyzed in terms of the decade they were released in to find patterns in rape culture over time. Overall, the amount of rape culture perpetuation decreased from each previous decade, with the 2010s films having the least amount of perpetuation. While the overall amount of perpetuation has seemingly decreased over time, there has been a potentially dangerous spike in the number of subtler scenes that normalize and perpetuate rape culture.

  • Thumbnail for Google It: An Analysis of the Coverage of Women's Basketball and Soccer
    Google It: An Analysis of the Coverage of Women's Basketball and Soccer by Loftus, Mary

    As Google, Yahoo!, and other search engines become daily tools for finding information in contemporary American society, it is important to look at potential systemic biases within society that are reflected by Google in reporting information to wide audiences. Similar to previous literature on the coverage of women’s athletics, the present findings point to an overarching pattern of preference for men’s sports teams over women’s teams. Representation of women in the world of sport is essential for young girls to see because without equitable coverage of women’s athletics, girls may not have the chance to seek role models or opportunities to explore their physical capabilities. Sports can provide a host of benefits to people young and old, such as academic scholarships, career opportunities, physical wellbeing, confidence, and social integration. These benefits should be widely available and visible to everyone– not just men and boys.

  • Thumbnail for Mitigating Vulnerability to Poor Mental Health Among Socially Disadvantaged Populations: Findings From MIDUS I, II, and III
    Mitigating Vulnerability to Poor Mental Health Among Socially Disadvantaged Populations: Findings From MIDUS I, II, and III by Gellert, Frances

    Recent studies suggest institutional racism in the health system and racial discrimination in other parts of society add stressors to people of color that negatively affect physical health as well as mental health (Gary 2005; Mays 2001; Okazaki 2009; McKenzie 2007). The MacArthur Midlife Research Network project collected phone interview and questionnaire data on physical and mental health indicators in the longitudinal study: Midlife in the United States (MIDUS). In addition to measures of health, participants in each wave (MIDUS 1 (1995-1996), MIDUS 2 (2004-2006), and MIDUS 3 (2013-2014)) provided responses regarding their self-rated religiosity, experience with discrimination, community integration, friend/family support, racial isolation, and demographic information. The purpose of this study was to a) question the extent oppression affects self-rated mental health, use of mental health services, and psychological well-being, b) examine the role such factors play in mitigating the effect of oppression on mental health and c) assess variation across time. Data were analyzed through multivariate logistic and OLS regression on Stata Software (15.0).

  • Thumbnail for Political Socialization of the Young American Jewry
    Political Socialization of the Young American Jewry by ,

    This research looks at young American Jews complicated relationship with the state of Israel. Previous literature has cited that the younger generation of American Jews are distancing themselves from Israel, citing research that demonstrated differences of attachment levels between Jews aged 65 and older, and Jews aged 35 or younger. For this research, 10 interviews were conducted with American Jews aged 23 or younger in order to compile qualitative data on young American Jews’ relationship to Israel. The findings emphasis three critical factors that shaped participants’ relationship with Israel: older family influence pressure, societal pressure, and the sentiment that Israel is receives unjust scrutiny from the American liberals and the American press. The thesis concludes by suggesting that participants can use current events to inform society– the media, politicians, educators, friends– that they have agency over their opinions on American Israeli politics.

  • Thumbnail for Private Immigration Detention: Economic Racialized Control as Modern Segregation
    Private Immigration Detention: Economic Racialized Control as Modern Segregation by Meraz, Manuel Alexis

    The use of social control for economic gain has been characteristic of the United States since the nation’s inception. From slavery, to post slavery Jim Crow laws, and now mass incarceration, the United States has continuously acted politically in order to control a specific group of people within American society. This report discusses how modern economic implications have led to the social control of Immigrants coming from Mexico and Central America. Recent trends in immigration, key players in the private detention industry, and actual conditions within private detention facilities were analyzed. The report found that social control has been an inevitable mechanism used by the United States, and will likely be used in the future given it leads to heavy profit and because it serves as a solution to economic struggles. It is clear that the use of private detention, just like mass incarceration, Jim Crow laws, and Slavery, serves a clear purpose in American society. The report concludes with a discussion on the next potential avenues of social control that are developing today in the United States.

  • Thumbnail for SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS’ EFFECT ON SELF-PERCEPTIONS OF SPORT SUCCESS:  A STUDY OF ATHLETES AT A TITLE 1 HIGH SCHOOL
    SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS’ EFFECT ON SELF-PERCEPTIONS OF SPORT SUCCESS: A STUDY OF ATHLETES AT A TITLE 1 HIGH SCHOOL by Doerre, Madi

    This paper explores a Title 1 high school and how socioeconomic status affects its student-athlete’s personal perception of their ability to succeed in their sport(s). A survey was created and distributed to student-athletes at LaPorte High School (n=59). The athlete’s view of whether they had an equal chance of success as their teammates (equalchance) and the athlete’s belief of whether they would continue playing their sport after high school (postgradplay) were selected as dependent variables. The descriptive statistics indicate that there is no predictor for having an equal chance as teammates in their sport. However, the statistics did indicate that respondents from multiple races are less likely to play their sport after high school. Finally, extracurricular participation in private lessons increased the likelihood of playing after high school.

  • Thumbnail for Second Chances: Rehabilitation in Jail From the Women's Perspective
    Second Chances: Rehabilitation in Jail From the Women's Perspective by Bombeck, Eva Louise

    This paper examines the Rehabilitation and Reintegration Program (R&R) in jail within a medium-sized city in the Southwestern United States. Within the American penal system, there has been an increased effort towards restorative justice, meaning focusing less on punitive punishment and more on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation and treatment. In September of 2018, the female inmate population of the jail studied reached an all-time high with 364 women, in line with the national trend of an increasing number of incarcerated women. The record number of women represents about one-fifth of the total 1,680 inmate population. Using interview data and informal participant observation, the purpose of my research is to give women a voice in regard to evaluations and recommendations for the R&R program. Findings suggest that a high level of social ties and trust between male and female inmates cultivated in the classroom had a positive outcome, contradictory to previous literature. Counselors who empathized and listened, and who taught from personal experience over counselors who merely “taught,” also benefited inmates’ sense of recovery. There were negative aspects to the program as well. The favoring and privileging of male inmates within R&R (and within the jail population as a whole) was a persistent theme that interfered with recovery. The lack of clarity and organization regarding the program’s incentives were also an issue. Finally, the use of the R&R program by deputies as a means of punishment undermined the goals of the program. At the end of my paper, I outline recommendations and suggestions for change to better meet the needs of incarcerated women.

  • Thumbnail for Setting the Record (Not) Straight: Lesbian Identities in Conversation with the Term Queer
    Setting the Record (Not) Straight: Lesbian Identities in Conversation with the Term Queer by Stoetzer, Kendall

    The identity terms “queer” and “lesbian” often overlap, as both can be used to describe women and woman-aligned people who love other women. Is the term “queer” then appropriate to use in reference to self-identified lesbians? Through qualitative interviewing, this study explores the formation of a lesbian identity for nine lesbians, and their attitude towards the term “queer.” A lesbian identity seems to be empowering in many aspects of respondents’ lives, including in the exploration of gender identity as well as empowering in the formation of a community; however, the process of accepting a lesbian identity seems to be a difficult one. Results of this study indicate that many lesbians have faced societal pressures and biases against the word “lesbian,” and thus find the lesbian identity to be hard-won. Due to the bias against the word lesbian and the ambiguity of the label queer, many lesbians find “queer” to be an unfit personal label. In this study, the label “queer” seems to generalize lesbian identities, and blur the distinct boundary of the word “lesbian,” which is one that explicitly leaves no room for men.

  • Thumbnail for Sexual Orientation, Consistency, and Mental Health: Implications of Adult Identity Transition
    Sexual Orientation, Consistency, and Mental Health: Implications of Adult Identity Transition by Duckworth, Key

    Disparities in mental health outcomes between heterosexuals and sexual minorities – including lesbian/gay, bisexual, and questioning individuals – are well documented in the literature. However, few studies have examined the impact of sexual identity fluctuation over time. This study aims to assess the risk of depression and suicidal ideation in young adults, taking in to account both sexual orientation and consistency of orientation over time. Data from Waves 3 and 4 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (n = 4127) were used to create seven categories of orientation/consistency: (1) consistently heterosexual, (2) inconsistently heterosexual, (3) consistently bisexual, (4) inconsistently bisexual, (5) consistently lesbian/gay, (6) inconsistently lesbian/gay, and (7) heteroflexible. Compared to consistent heterosexuals, all groups except consistent lesbians/gays are at significantly greater risk for at least one measure of poor mental health. Additionally, findings indicate that identity transition throughout young adulthood – as measured by inconsistency in reported orientation – increases risk for both depression and suicidal ideation.

  • Thumbnail for Suicide and Politics: The Influence of Donald Trump on Deaths of Despair
    Suicide and Politics: The Influence of Donald Trump on Deaths of Despair by Richardson, Emily Fischer

    Since 1999 there has been a rise of suicides among less educated white Americans. This demographic group also makes up the majority of Trump voters. To contextualize this trend of suicides through the lens of the 2016 presidential election, regression analyses were run using county level suicide, demographic, and voting data. Before the election, in 2014, the percent of Trump voters in a county was significantly and positively correlated with suicide. However, after the election, in 2017, the percent of Trump voters in a county was no longer a significant predictor of suicide. These data may indicate that the formation of a community and collective conscience around Trump has led to a decline in anomic suicides.

  • Thumbnail for The Promises and Perils of Women's Political Empowerment Against Environmental Outcomes: A Cross-National Analysis
    The Promises and Perils of Women's Political Empowerment Against Environmental Outcomes: A Cross-National Analysis by Vo, Lam Quynh

    Drawing from ecofeminist perspectives, this paper assesses the saliency of women not as victims of environmental degradation, but rather as potent agents of change. Situated within the context of increasing environmental damage and looming irreversible climate change, this study examines whether, and to what degree, women’s political empowerment impacts environmental sustainability. With particular emphasis on women’s status, ordinary least squares regressions models were used to investigate predictors of ecological footprint, environmental well-being and environmental performance cross-nationally. The results demonstrate that while affluence, measured in GDP per capita, is a strong predictor in every case, women’s political empowerment leads to better environmental outcomes only in environmental policy performance. This suggests that women’s political empowerment may be yet another modernisation factor which affects national environmental policies and outcomes, but cannot reduce the overall environmental impact beyond national borders. This study concludes by stating that despite of promising results, women’s status may still suffer from globalisation and other mediating world-system processes.

  • Thumbnail for The Racialized Roots and Repercussions of Pain Prescriptions: A County-Level Analysis of the Evolving Opioid Epidemic
    The Racialized Roots and Repercussions of Pain Prescriptions: A County-Level Analysis of the Evolving Opioid Epidemic by Gonzalez, Emma

    Previous research on the burgeoning opioid epidemic finds that prescription opioids provided the foundation for increasing opioid demand. This thesis replicates prior studies documenting changes in the factors associated with opioid overdose using data from 2008-2010 and 2015-2017 to attend to shifting patterns over time. I also attempt to address the interaction of institutional, racial, and class forces in contributing to high prescribing and overdose rates. With a sample of 546 U.S. counties, I conduct regression analyses to examine how social ecology provokes the flood of prescriptions into an area and how these factors are associated with death rates from both prescription and illicit opioids. Consistent with my hypotheses, high levels of economic distress and a high percent of the population identifying as white interact to predict high prescription rates in both time periods. Economic conditions and racial composition. These factors are also predictive of overdose rates, but are mediated by prescription rates in the earlier time period. However, prescription rate loses predictive power in the second time period, which warrants further research into the racialized roots of this public health crisis and the underground market driving overdose rates today.

  • Thumbnail for The Trump Paradox: Analyzing the 2016 Hispanic Electorate’s Voting Behavior
    The Trump Paradox: Analyzing the 2016 Hispanic Electorate’s Voting Behavior by Mendez, Miguel

    About a third of Hispanic voters in the past have supported republican candidates in presidential elections, but this figure stayed consistent at 35% in the 2016 election despite candidate Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. This research seeks to understand why certain Hispanic voters preferred Trump over Clinton. Research was conducted by analyzing the Hispanic population from the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Survey through logistic regressions to determine the likelihood that different variables had in determining who people voted for in the election. Ultimately, this study found that older, more religious Hispanics that had strong attitudes towards immigration were the most likely to vote for Trump.

  • Thumbnail for We're Home for Originals, Originals like You: A Content Analysis of Small Liberal Arts College Admission Materials
    We're Home for Originals, Originals like You: A Content Analysis of Small Liberal Arts College Admission Materials by Skilling, Chaney

    College and university admission offices function as both decision makers and marketers. They decide which applicants to accept, but are also responsible for marketing their schools to potential students with the intent of maintaining or enhancing their school’s reputation, remaining financially sound, and preserving the school’s public image as diverse and inclusive. This study sought to understand the narrative admission offices present to potential students regarding diversity and inclusion. Using qualitative content analysis, I coded admission viewbooks and websites from 14 small liberal arts colleges for how they portrayed their respective school’s understanding of diversity and inclusion. My examination and subsequent analysis constructed a three-stage narrative. Stage one highlighted schools’ explicit commitment to diversity and inclusion; stage two revealed the vague and abstract conception of diversity which legitimizes schools’ neutral approach to diversity and inclusion; and finally, stage three emphasized the problematic nature of adopting a neutral approach by spotlighting the tokenization of historically underrepresented students. The overarching narrative offers insight into higher education’s role in the perpetuation of social reproduction which maintains social hierarchies and power structures within the United States.

  • Thumbnail for ‘The Cistem Isn’t Built For Me’: A Collaborative Thesis  With the Colorado College Trans Community
    ‘The Cistem Isn’t Built For Me’: A Collaborative Thesis With the Colorado College Trans Community by Perry, Grace Nicole

    This study used Photovoice—a participatory, community-based methodology—to explore the daily, lived experiences of trans students at Colorado College. Research revealed that, despite Colorado College’s institutional commitment to (trans)gender justice, current trans students continue to experience exclusion, erasure and fear on campus in structurally and interactionally gendered spaces. These pervasive adversities persist because of trans-exclusionary, macro ideologies (i.e., the gender binary, cisnormativity and trans aversion/phobia), which permeate even “inclusive” spaces. While some cisgender community members acted intentionally and affirmatively with trans students, such moments were exceptional, demonstrating the need to implement institutional policies which elicit trans inclusion on a micro-interactional level. This paper culminates with two specific examples of such policies proposed by participants: (1) institutionalize the college’s pronoun practice and (2) change the current policy surrounding legal names.

  • Thumbnail for “We Need a Different Target”: Proposing Capstone Projects as the Curriculum Innovation of Mitchell High School’s Innovation Plan
    “We Need a Different Target”: Proposing Capstone Projects as the Curriculum Innovation of Mitchell High School’s Innovation Plan by Fuller, Camilla

    This study explores Colorado Springs School District 11 Mitchell High School’s third year as a Priority Improvement Plan school targeted in the accountability era. It examines the potential of capstones as the “curriculum innovation” within Mitchell’s Innovation School Plan as a mechanism to reduce the harm done in the “reform” era. Data for this study were collected via observations of meetings at the school, district, and state level, interviews with capstone experts and Mitchell faculty and staff, along with reviews of current capstones in practice. The primary aim of this community based research project is to assist the Mitchell High School Administration Team as they move forward with their Innovation Plan. This is done by helping them establish capstones as a viable “curriculum innovation” by providing evidence of capstones’ ability to support the specific needs of Mitchell’s low-income, mainly minority, high-English-Language Learner students. This study also provides evidence of capstone’s ability to effectively improve student achievement, student growth and postsecondary readiness in an effort to reverse its low School Performance Framework ranking.