Professor Doug Falen’s Sociology/Anthropology majors, together with Public Health majors with a social science focus present the results of TWO semesters’ hard work: selecting a research question and research design, reviewing literature, learning methods and getting institutional review board approval, followed by data collection and analysis, and now, today, the presentation! sparc 13 audience

Everyone sets up, presenters get nervous, and the inevitable technology misconnections are fixed, thanks to help from Matt Ruby, Calvin Burgamy and Tami Stanko!

These notes present on-the-spot reporting of the news from the front lines by your friendly emerita professor of anthropology, yours truly, Martha Rees: mwr sparc 13followed by a short analysis and commentary!

We’re off. Moza Al-Kuwari sparc 13 Moza Al-Kuwari shows that when mothers work, even though they have high incomes, children’s BMI (body mass index) goes up: 80% eat fast food, but because they all do exercise, they not obese. Since most women in the sample, and most women in the US, work, what does this say about our current obesity epidemic? Not to mention Qatar, where Moza will take her research skills!

net ashford sparc 13 Na’Nette Ashford designed her study to avoid numbers, and by selecting a sex trafficking non-profit to study, she was able to find how why workers picked this line or work: motivation, helping others, or career development.She finds that those who do it because of a passion for the work have had prior exposure to trafficking (through travel or knowing someone), while those who had only recently learned about the topic, had more career-oriented motivations—they aim to start their own non-profit!

Now this one will be of interest to all of us: Destiny barker sparc 13Destiny Barker asks what will keep first year students at Agnes Scott from engaging in risky sexual behavior?  Specifically condoms. Education at home or in school? She finds that it’s family, more than peers, or media, or school. What does that tell us about where sex education should come from?

Rachel Bradley finds, no surprise, that everyone wants to get married, but students at Agnes Scott College are more tolerant of alternative family forms: bradley rachel spacr 13

sparc 13 audience parents

Only 17% agree with the definition of marriage (between a man and a woman) from DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act), and they have a later ideal marriage age. Views of “family” define it as a partnership—having children in the group is more important than the sexual or gender orientation of the partners. She finds that ASC students are tolerant, and the link between marriage and childbearing is getting weaker. Religion, race and cohabitation influence their levels of tolerance to alternative arrangements.

christa carter spar 13Guess what? It isn’t race that determines your post-college career plans as much as feelings of efficacy, social support and finances! And what’s more, as Christa Carter’s research shows, students at Agnes Scott feel prepared, but not just because of classes, but because of internships and presentation experience (like SPARC)! Go Agnes!

Hook-ups or Exclusivity? There were gasps from the audience as Briana Davis reported on students’ reported demands of exclusivity in intimate relationships! briana davis sparc 13 While hooking up is more common that I would have liked to think, Briana shows that more seniors feel that exclusivity is important than do juniors! High levels of physical attraction made students, to more gasps from the audience, more likely to accept non-exclusivity!

Eat your vegetables! Madeline Pietryla shows that, although they rate themselves as above average in nutritional knowledge, most students do not eat the USDA recommended servings of fruits, vegetables or dairy, but they do get their two desserts per day! Pietryla sparc 13

What’s the effect of working mom’s on your educational success? Rhoda Smith confronts those who say it’s bad (less involvement in children’s schooling), with those who point out the positives of having a working mom, and assert that working mom’s have just as much involvement in their children’s schooling, financial stability, and higher daughter’s achievement. rhoda smith sparc 13 But the big news (not a surprise) is that the more hours you study per week, the higher your GPA!! Take note: Students with a 3.6 GPA studied (including class time) more than 25 hours per week!

to think deeply, but our education does not mean that we are immune” to the stereotyping effects of watching reality TV. Deanna tipton head sparc 13Deanna Tipton’s study shows that Agnes Scott students have faith in the special-ness of the Agnes Scott bubble and know that reality TV “is not reality” but they still apply these models deeanna tipton power sparce 13 to women they meet.“Agnes Scott teaches us

Camille Hackney looked at why Agnes Scott students would consider enlisting in the military or not, and found that most students are not interested, but that African American students are more likely to consider the military as a career choice, as the literature suggests. Camille hackney sparc 13Although she loves the military, she realizes that concerns about rape and the way rape is handled is a bigger issue than she realized initially.

Are you shocked? Even though most students feel safe, Emma Kienker demonstrates that 78% of students have witnessed or been victimized by bullying in the last four months, and not just cyber-bullying, on campus.Kienker sparc 13 The main sites of bullying are dorms and parties, unlike social network spaces!

Refugees settled in the multicultural community of Clarkston, Georgia report that they often do not feel safe, and live in conflict, and do not plan to return to their home country. maureen kleinMaureen Klein’s study reports the shocking information that the ethnic conflict experienced by refugees is mainly at the hands of African Americans. This supports social dominance theory; refugees represent a vulnerable group and are easy prey for dominant groups.

Lots of sociology/anthropology research is applicable to life here at Agnes Scott! Students were all primed, well prepared and excited. The halls and audience buzzed. Lots of staff, proud parents and other faculty came to see our talks—even Professor Yvonne Newsome newsome sparc 13who’s on sabbatical!! Also present were President Kiss,sparc 13 audience Kiss Dean Stefanco,sparc 13 audience machamma DOC our beloved Machamma Quinichett, Donna Lee, Toby Emert, and Professor Emerita Lerita Coleman-Brown,Sparc 13 audience lerita coleman and many others. Thank you for coming!

A couple of themes emerged: the importance of family; careers, personal relationships, refugee lives, and finally, the “Agnes is wonderful” category!

Family is important in every domain–in education and health (Moza Al-Kuwari, Madeline Pietryla, Destiny Barker, Rhoda Smith)—and especially Mom’s are important in health and in daughter’s career choices and academic achievement.

Moving into the realm of personal relationships, a number of students sought understanding of marriage, parenthood and sexual relationships (Rachel Bradley, Briana Davis).

Looking at education and careers, a number of students sought to understand more about their own experience, and futures (Na’Nette Ashford , Camille Hackney).

In a class by itself, work with local refugees led Maureen Klein to a deeper understanding of the immigrants in our midst and the problems they face—work that has been taken up and used by the agency she worked with.

Many of the papers conclude that Agnes is wonderful, even though the food isn’t ideal (Madeline Pietryla), but students are able to critically ‘read’ media representations of gender and race (Deanna Tipton) and the Agnes experience sets students up for their careers (Crista Carter), even though there are still negative effects of media stereotyping. Emma Kienker shows an amazing amount of bullying, even in safe Agnes!

At the end of the day, everyone’s tired, but very proud and happy. Presenters pulled off their presentations, timely, organized and each contributed something to the global pool of knowledge, and many contributed knowledge about Agnes Scott.

Most combined both quantitative and qualitative methods, but they all had a human touch—their own motivation for doing this particular research. Almost every presenter showed her dedication to understanding herself and others, and to making the world a better place in their choice of topic—starting right here at Agnes. They all learned a whole lot that they will take forth into their careers or educational programs and apply to good sound, and human research.

Congratulations, it is an honor to hear you all. A good, proud, day.