Opera is the plural for opus, right? So, here’s a remix of some Honors Students’, er, opuses at this year’s OPUS.
“Stepping Through the Door With Adolescent Novels”
My OPUS work was one outlet for my VanderVelde work with Dr. Boerman-Cornell on adolescent fiction and how it helps readers get deeply into the world of the book. This getting “deeply into the world of the book” is what one researcher more succinctly calls “flow”. Flow is the place you are when you’re so involved in reading that you lose track of time and your surroundings. It’s when most of us most love reading. And, it’s where we want adolescent readers to read. They are more likely to become life-long readers if they enjoy it in adolescence.
Dr. Boerman-Cornell and I spent a lot of time reading adolescent novels (specifically with characters transitioning from a familiar world to an unfamiliar one (think the Pevensies in The Chronicles of Narnia)). Then we tried to define ways in which authors construct these transitions and found three. Through these three transition styles we cataloged several characteristics of transitions in each style. In this, we found that there are many ways to construct a successful transition; e.g. speed or simplicity do not define success for these transitions, but a successful transition does the reader get “into” the book and closer to flow.
My OPUS presentation was entitled “How to Grow a Group: Looking at Leadership within the Lake Katherine Consulting Project.” It was the culmination of my ‘Honors Work in the Major.’ This presentation included a summary of the work that my five person team completed for our Business Department capstone course, Organizational Consulting, during the fall semester, as well as an analysis of my leadership of our team. I shared information about leadership styles, plus highlighted a few lessons that I learned throughout the semester. I concluded by addressing opportunities and challenges we encountered and shared my thoughts on what could have been changed in the organization and structure of our project to make it run more smoothly. Overall, I was pleased with the outcome of OPUS. It was a nice way to tie together the work and research that I did this semester. I also think it was neat for students and faculty to hear more about the Business Department and Honors Program. Hopefully everyone was intrigued, and learned a little about Lake Katherine and leadership, too!
Strategically Planning for the Future: The Worth Public Library
Last semester, for my business capstone class, Organizational Consulting, I worked with the Worth Public Library to plan for the future and work out a strategic plan. Through my work with the library, I led an interdisciplinary team of four other students through about 350 hours of research, reporting, and presenting. Our work resulted in an 85 page report and presentations to the library’s board and professionals who came to Trinity to “judge” our work.
We set out to draft a customer satisfaction survey, look at the implications of eBooks on a library, review the library’s financials, develop marketing ideas, and offer suggestions for a new logo. It was a huge task, but only through teamwork did we get it done well. Aside from all the experiential learning (meeting with a client, presenting to a board, preparing a report, etc.), probably the most important thing I learned through this project was the value to empowering my team to do a great job. There’s no way I could have done everything myself. Usually I’m one of those take-charge people who would assume to do most things myself. But through this work, this opus, I discovered how important it is to have a team working in a committed direction toward a common goal.
The Storied Story of Story
(with Haley Zandstra, Dominique Evans, Daniel Bryant)
This project looks at the social, historical, religious significance of story-telling practices in Homer’s Odyssey. The paper argues that the poem itself is representative of the Greek appreciation of as well as the general necessity of on-going cultural narrative in the maintenance of organized society.
So you ask me who I am, and I wish I could explain…
This poem was a response to personal and communal struggles with identity from a Christian perspective. It was inspired by issues of gender, sexuality, race, and the sudden, simultaneous and utterly inexplicable discussion of Augustine in all of my classes.
I told a story about my experience with teamwork. Last semester, I led a semester-long business group project. At the beginning, I started how I normally start all group projects – assigning individual tasks to each person, and then combining each member’s work at the end. It took constructive criticism from my professor for me to realize that we weren’t truly working as a team. We weren’t using each other to create something greater than what we could each produce individually. It was through this realization that we came together as a team and produced creative and innovative results.
I stressed that true teamwork is a learning process. It’s easy to say that teamwork is important, but it’s hard to actually utilize it. It’s like saying that stopping at the stop signs around campus is important, but for me at least, I still fly through them.
“The Lost Art of Calculus.”
Since the days of Leibniz and Newton, the undergraduate calculus curriculum has experienced changes resulting in the displacement of numerous concepts that provide valuable insight and instruction for the calculus student. This presentation will discuss one way to recover several of these concepts and reinsert them into the undergraduate calculus curriculum by incorporating them into student projects. This presentation will address three projects in particular that restore (among others) the concept of the infinitesimal, differential, and the calculus of variations. Included in these projects are Leibniz’s transmutation theorem and the theorem’s application to the Leibniz series, as well as the application of the Euler-Lagrange equation to discovering shortest paths between points. In addition to familiarizing the student with former calculus concepts such as these, the projects also afford the student the opportunity to integrate and differentiate through more historic methods.
Francis Marion: The Man Behind The Patriot
At OPUS, I presented a paper that I wrote last semester in History 200: Historical Inquiry with Dr. Fry. My paper was on Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox of the Revolution, and his significance to the Revolutionary War. As an attention-getter for my presentation, I noted the connection between Francis Marion and Benjamin Martin, Mel Gibson’s character in The Patriot—though my paper was not a critique of the historical inaccuracies in the movie. Marion was a guerilla-band leader in South Carolina who utilized the environment to raid and attack British supply lines. Though the British saw this type of fighting as ungentlemanly, it was extremely effective. To demonstrate the impact that Marion had on the war, I examined four major battles that he fought in: Fort Sullivan (1776), Black Mingo Creek (1780), Parker’s Ferry (1781), and his final major battle at Eutaw Springs (1781). I also researched the American, as well as the British, perceptions of him during the war. Francis Marion is honored as one of the greatest heroes of the Revolution because of his courage, knowledge of the land, and his unconventional yet effective fighting techniques. While the American South was not often at the center of the Revolutionary War, one of its Patriots, Francis Marion, was at the center of the American victory in the South.