When the 20-member South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) consortium announced its summer research funding campaign, Converse College students led the way with more projects and funding awarded than any other private college or university in the state. Of nine total Converse grants submitted, eight were selected for $23,372 in collective funding.
“Since the inception of the SCICU Undergraduate/Faculty Research Grant Program, Converse College has consistently submitted outstanding proposals resulting in significant findings and presentations at SCICU’s annual Research Symposium. The level of scholarship and commitment to learning by the students and faculty at Converse has been outstanding,” said Mike LeFever, President and CEO of SCICU.
The research projects, most of which will be carried out collaboratively with Converse faculty over the summer, are rich in scope and variety. Topics include
• Affects of caffeine on time perception
• The transformation of Hindu goddess Kali from evil to “cherubic”
• Effects of pesticides used during the growth of local produce in the Upstate section of South Carolina
• Parallels between two pieces of music written at different times and in different settings that employ the same use of prosopopoeia in which the composer communicates to the audience by speaking as another person
• How religious writings by men in the 16th and 17th centuries portrayed women of the Bible and how these portrayals reflects modern English expectations for women’s roles in the home as wives and outside the home in politics and religion
• The collection and examination of 75-million-year-old leaves in North and South Carolina
Xochitl Arzeta-Ferrer, a sophomore from Marion, North Carolina; Elizabeth Jewel Powell, a junior from Hemingway, South Carolina; and Ashley Elizabeth Shearsmith, a junior from Inman, South Carolina, will team with Converse Psychology Professor Dr. Richard Keen and Biology Professor Dr. Neval Erturk for a project entitled “An Investigation of Oral versus Intraperitoneal Administration on Time Perception.” According to the group’s grant submission, they are basing their project both on “caffeine being the most common psychoactive stimulant used by humans and the substantially increased need to test chemicals such as drugs, pesticides, pollution and herbal products for safety reasons. Most previous studies of caffeine have performed the actual testing with injections to rats. In most cases of caffeine consumption, it is taken orally.” The group will use results from a precursor experiment which utilized oral consumption and compare them to results derived from caffeine injections.
Converse senior Dalene Marie Prouty of Ruther Glen, Virginia and Converse Psychology Professor Dr. Richard Keen will study the affects of caffeine on time perception in rats. Through their project, “Exploring the Effects of Caffeine on Temporal Perception,” Prouty and Keen will train the rats to distinguish between shorter and longer signals. In their grant proposal, Prouty and Keen write “Caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive drug in the United States, with approximately 80% of Americans consuming 280mg per day (i.e., the equivalent of four cups of coffee). Nearly all human behavior involves some aspect of timing (e.g., circadian rhythms, neuronal firing, etc.) to voluntary timing (e.g., a baseball player estimating the time it will take for the ball to reach home plate, etc). It is important to understand how time perception is influenced by this common psychoactive drug.”
Deirdre Yannello, a junior from Columbia, South Carolina and sophomore Karissa Terry of Inman, South Carolina will collect and examine