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Student Research Symposium Winners Announced

April 27th, 2012

By Jonathan Boes. Photo by Art Cox.

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722
OfficeOfCommunications@phc.edu

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Alex Harris (L) receives first-place research symposium award from PHC Provost Dr. Gene Edward Veith

From a diverse array of student research projects, a panel of Patrick Henry College professors chose three to receive a $100 cash prize at this year’s Student Research Symposium.  On April 25th, students presented nine scholarly research projects at Patrick Henry College’s 9th Annual Student Research Symposium.  The projects, all researched and refined over the last academic year, ranged in topics from ideological voting records to the 1950’s American perception of childhood.

Other topics included: the classical quadrivium; the politics of divorce, natural law and democratic freedom; Roman triumphs; Renaissance political theory; and the rhetoric of public memorials.  Drs. Favelo, Baskerville, Sillars, Aikman, Tallmon, and Middleton served as judges for the event, listening to the student presentations and evaluating their research.  Out of this year’s exceptional presentations, the judges selected the following three to claim the prizes:

Alex Harris claimed first place with Why Divorce is Missing from the Political Agenda in America: A Comprehensive Treatment of the Obstacles to Reform.  His project examined the reasons for today’s lack of political action against no-fault divorce, even among conservatives who fight to protect the traditional family.  In the conclusion of his paper, Alex sums up the main issue:

“It is the lack of political leadership and public support for reform that is to blame, driven by a combination of ignorance, acceptance, and despair. The problem is not simply a lack of support or a lack of leadership, but both together, overlapping, with each constantly reinforcing the other.”

Alex Harris plans to pursue this topic further at Harvard, where he will be attending law school.  The project was sponsored by Dr. Stephen Baskerville.

Nicole Frazer followed in second place, with Gendercide Undone: Evaluating the Causes of South Korea's Return to Normal Sex Ratios, sponsored by Dr. Frank Guliuzza.  Nicole’s project examined the reasons for South Korea’s becoming a “bright light” in the “dismal picture for baby girls throughout the world.”  She narrows her findings down to two main causes: 

“Ultimately, the strongest evidence appears to support the idea that legal crackdowns in the area of reproductive law in tandem with radically decreasing levels of fertility among Korean women have played the greatest role in ending Korea’s gender imbalance problem. Today, few enough women even have children in Korea that many seem happy to merely have a child -- even a girl.”

Nicole concludes by pointing out that the same solutions could not, unfortunately, be carried over to countries like China and India. 

Finally, in third place came Marissa Krmpotich, with The Religious Purpose of the Roman Triumph.  In her project, Marissa argues that “[t]he Romans originally viewed the triumph as a religious occasion, one to honor the gods primarily and to honor a general only secondarily.”  She concludes that the Roman’s saw triumph as a glorification of Jupiter, accomplished through the triumphator (who was thus portrayed in Jupiter’s likeness).  The project was sponsored by Dr. Douglas Favelo.

The quality and diversity of this year’s Symposium projects exemplified in-depth research and analysis and provided a great experience in scholarly presentation, invaluable for any students planning to attend graduate school.