As the culmination of the Health and Humanities class, students presented their research projects at a Works-in-Progress Conference last Monday, November 9th. The projects ranged from empirical studies to literature reviews and encompassed topics from science and technology studies to qualitative and mixed methods approaches to research, to visual ethnographies and historical studies. The posters will be on display in the HHIVE lab until the end of the semester.
Katherine Henry explored the concept of aging through the performing body in the antebellum period, focusing her discussion around the mythologized figure of Joice Heth, George Washington’s supposed nurse. Inflected by ideas of dissection and interiority, Katherine’s discussion detailed how the American founding myths, such as George Washington cutting down the cherry tree, help shape our understanding of what it means to age today.
Sarah Singer, a doctoral student in rhetoric and composition, expanded on research she had been conducting for a fellowship application. Her project examined how common visual representations of Lyme disease, such as the “Lyme map” or the bulls eye, work rhetorically as tools for diagnosis. Sarah is hoping to use this research to shed light on this hotly contested issue. Also under the veil of science and the humanities, Kym Weed presented on her ongoing research for her prospectus and dissertation on the “friendly microbes” present in the work 19th century writers such as Alice James and Mark Twain.
Narrative inquiry was a popular topic as well. Two students presented on the ways in which narrative theory is utilized in the social sciences. Natalie Yosipovitch, a junior Interdisciplinary Studies major, conducted a literature review of narrative psychology exploring its foundations, goals, and current applications. Rachel Warner examined how narrative is used in qualitative studies to examine older adults’ experiences of falling. Both projects are fascinating examples of how interdisciplinary research may be successfully carried out.
Perhaps the most standard scientific project was done by Sam Weeks, Isabel Pinheiro and Nakisa Sadeghi at the UNC Burn Clinic. These students played live music in the waiting room of the clinic during two separate visits and recorded observations and reactions from patients. They presented their findings this past weekend at SNCURCS (State or North Carolina Undergraduate Research Creativity Symposium) and were very pleased by the enthusiasm of their peers.
Other projects included an analysis of mental illness as depicted in slam poetry and a literature review of video game playing and surgical skill acquisition by the two masters students in Literature, Medicine, and Culture, Chandler Batchelor and Brandon Rogers, respectively. Chandler is planning to turn her poster into a conference paper to be presented next spring and Brandon will be teaching a class on the topic of virtual reality and gaming at NC State this week!