Past Senior Project Topics - Part 3

Strazi, Andrew

Mentor: Barbara Caldwell

Reader: Chuck Fisk

For my Seniors Honors Project for the Year 2007 to 2008 I have focused my interests on the buying and selling of virtual property. Specifically I intend to research the legality and incentives that either encourage or prohibit the buying and selling of imaginary online property that is produced within MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games). These games are defined as persistent online worlds, meaning that the game itself is an ongoing society or community of people that interact with each other. Currency and goods are created in theses games by the developers, and can be obtained by the players through various actions within the game. Once players have achieved enough “game money” or “items” they can either buy, sell, or trade this property with other players of the game, for similar goods created in the virtual environment. Essentially the players are participating in an imaginary economy that is created within the game. However, in recent years a new market has emerged that involves the buying and selling of this virtual property created in these games for real money. While the players still achieve the “game money” and “items” in the same manner as before, they are selling this virtual property outside the game for real currency.

The act of buying and selling this virtual property for real money is seemingly illegal because players sign an end user licensing agreement prior to playing each game. In the agreement it states that any material “game money” or “items” gathered by the players in the game is the sole property of the developer of that game. This means that items players achieve in the game are not theirs to sell outside the virtual environment. It is my hope to understand the reason why players participate in this market. I also intend to understand why developers of such games do not pursue legal action against the players and third party companies that participate in this new market.

The third party companies I am talking about are the businesses which have been created that facilitate the buying and selling of virtual property. These businesses will either buy the “items” and “game money” that players have gathered, or they will hire players to gather the materials for them. Once these third party companies have gained the virtual property they will then sell it to other players at a mark up. These third party companies are not affiliated with the developers of such games, and have no right to either buy or sell the virtual property they are trafficking.

I will have a variety of resources that will be open to me in order to conduct my research. I will look into journals and essays which discuss the legal ramifications of the market. I will also conduct research on an incorporated business that deals specifically within this market. I intend to look at the articles and statements provided by the developers of these games and their response to the seemingly illegal action of buying and selling virtual property. I will also look into the economic analysis of the market, in regards to its past and potential growth, and what incentives that might hold for people to jump into or stay in the market.

The interest I share in economics and software entertainment has inspired me to choose this specific topic for my honors project. Over the years I have played many of these games, and I have always asked myself why people pay real money for virtual items that hold no tangible value outside the game. I have also wondered why, even though it seems the market is illegal, that players and companies have been allowed to sell this virtual property. I hope to gain a better understanding of the field I wish to work in (software entertainment) and gain a better understanding of economics by applying its concepts to this particular market.

Stroud, Heather

Mentor: Valerie Wright

Reader: Deborah Linden

This is a disciplinary project in the field of education. Particularly, it is going to be in how elementary schools operate on military bases around the world. I am going to be living on military bases for the next five years after I graduate, and I think it would be very important to find out what kind of atmospheres I am going to be teaching in, in the future.

There are many different ways an elementary school can be run from the time it starts and ends, to lunch times, to what kind of specials they offer. By specials, I mean P.E., art, and music. There are even more important questions of my own that I would like to answer through this research. There are many kinds of testing that students are required to pass, and it varies from state to state or country to country. My biggest questions are do all military bases have the same tests or does it vary from base to base, and the other one is what are the general programs for the students. In finding this it will answer many other questions through the process.

It is well known that Saint Leo University is one of the biggest providers of college education to students active or not active in the military. I am sure this will be a huge resource I will use to my advantage. Also, this summer I spent a month at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. Here a volunteered at a mother-children support group, and I met a women named Rosetta. She did a lot of the outside programs that a school runs and already knows a lot about the school system. I will be phoning her and using her as a resource as well. As far as textual resources, I will use an official U.S. Army Military Base website called MWR.com. Basically, I need to know what I am going to be working with in the future. Knowing how things work, and what kind of programs they offer will give me a head start on the information I will need to be successful.

Timothy, Keiron

Mentor: Patrick Draves

Reader: Kevin Kieffer

I propose to conduct a disciplinary study in the field of Psychology. The study is designed to investigate the relationship if any between athlete's personality traits, specifically aggression, and sport selection. Additionally, the study is also designed to measure if athlete's personality traits give them any dispositional advantage over others in their chosen sport.

The expected finds of this study are that athletes with more aggressive personalities will participate in more aggressive sports, e.g. lacrosse or football, while less aggressive athletes will participate in less aggressive sports e.g. swimming or cross-country. Additionally, it is expected that in more aggressive, contact sports athletes with higher aggression will perform better (statistically) when compared to less aggressive athletes, with an inverse effect when examining less aggressive sports.

The resources for this project will consist of self report questionnaires, sourced from a literature review as well as secondary data in the form of NCAA statistics.

Finally, this project has been inspired by personal experience in the sports arena as well as general interest in the field of sports psychology.

Varughese, Shaji

Mentor: Linda Bergen-Losee

Reader: Chris Miller

Starting this summer I will be working hard on my honors project, which is to create some type of instrument or tool that Physical Therapy patients can use while they rehab from an injury. I got this idea while visiting St. Augustine University of Physical Therapy, a couple of months back. I think it’s a great way to get a head start on the career path that I am looking into. I am currently contacting Physical Therapist in the area to figure out who I’d like to work for. The next step would be observing the patients that come in and see what tool that I could create that would be useful to them. Dr. Bergen-Losee and I have discussed several ideas but have not decided on anything yet. It’s been very busy in the last month, so I’m going to wait till the summer to start planning out all the details for my project.

Yates, Connor

Mentor: Thomas Arnold

Reader: Randy Criss

My senior Honors project will be a investigation on the effect of commercial paper in soil on a earthworm population. I speculate that at about half soil and half commercial paper the earthworms will not do well. In this project I will need large containers, soil, and plenty of earthworms along wilt commercial paper (magazines, newspapers, etc.). what inspired me to do this project is when I drive down the road I see a tone of paper trash and I have always heard people say that paper is biodegradable so it ok but what about the chemicals in the paper? Does it affect animals such as earthworms which play an important role in our environment? I hope to gain a better understanding of the world that is under my feet that I never see but affect me everyday.

Zic, Alex

Mentor: Randy Criss

Reader: Monika Vo

The subject of the project is the physical attributes of rock climbing gear that is currently out on the market and the physics of the new climbing device that I have designed and created. The new device will solve a simple problem that has caused numerous deaths in the climbing community. In order for the device to be accepted in the climbing market, it must pass rigorous testing in the labs of the UIAA. The use of physics can determine whether the device is suitable for rock climbing.

I am hoping the results of this project will prove that my climbing device can pass the tests of the UIAA and will withstand the rigors of climbing. If it is evident that it could not pass the climbing trials, I will redesign the device in order to improve it.

The resources that will be employed or consulted in carrying out this project would be the faculty of Saint Leo University, Dr. Criss who is a professor in Physics and Dr. Vo who is a professor in Math. Also, there are numerous reputable rock climbing sites, such as the UIAA home site as well as other research that has been performed by other people. I am also friends with many people in the climbing world, actually few of them work in a climbing lab that tests the gear.

My climbing experience, being a rock climbing instructor for 4 years and my love for the outdoors have inspired me to take on this project. If the outcome of this project reaches my expectations

Baksh, Magda

Mentor: Thomas Arnold

Second Reader: Chris Miller

The aim of the student’s project is to investigate the effect of cypress trees on the environment of the Lake Jovita. Lake Jovita is an artificial lake in that the natural flora that is supposed to be growing there is absent. Cypress is a conifer in the Taxodiaceae Family, often called the Bald cypress Family. Several large cypress trees and swamps are in Florida and can be viewed and experienced by boardwalks, rivers, and trails. Cypress swamps are forested wetlands dominated by cypress trees and located along stream and river banks, spring runs or in ponds and lakes with still or slow moving water. Cypress is the most flood-tolerant of all the Florida tree species.

This project will be conducted by first assessing the lake’s present environment. This may include evaluating the flora and fauna there and comparing it to a similar lake. After which a few Cypress trees will be planted at the lakefront. The growth of which will be observed, monitored and recorded. The impact of the trees will be recorded and evaluated.

The student hopes that the project will aid in the improvement of the lake’s environment and also help replenish and restore the natural animal and plant ecosystem of Lake Jovita. The student hopes that this project will help others to appreciate the natural environment more and cause greater awareness for the need to preserve and conserve the nature that surrounds the community.

Bellot, Jonathan

Mentor: Elizabeth Aiken

Second Reader: Mary Spoto

My Honors project will be in the form of a short novel named Omni. The story, to greatly summarize, is about a boy named Omni and his journey to the end of the Earth and beyond (literally) to find out what meaning, if any, there is in existence. The areas I will be investigating in it are primarily philosophy (most prominently, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, which forms the foundation of the book), religion, and (broadly) literature and art of various periods. In those senses, Omni can be likened (though I presume nothing) to Voltaire’s Candide and Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World, though it is not exactly alike either work. I believe it differs from Candide in being less pointedly satirical and from Sophie’s World in being more of a plot-oriented story than a textbook course on philosophy with a story surrounding it.

Though my piece has a kind of didactic basis with its philosophical roots, it is not a moral fable, nor a philosophical dissertation hidden under a story; I intend it to be a creative work that can be read for both instruction and entertainment, and what instruction one may receive from it is based on one’s interpretation of it (though I must stress that it is not something written randomly; it contains meaning for me, but I hope it will not be terribly black-and-white). My story contains three basic states of being, represented by three colors and various characteristics at each stage; I let you, the reader, decide which of the stages you deem best for living at.

Beu, Christina

Mentor: Anthony Kissel

Second Reader: Jane Bracken

In the Religion Honor Society’s second year, my second year as president, my efforts will be concentrated on defining our mission and goals, writing a constitution, outlining functional job descriptions for the executive board members, working to find creative ways to fund community building and educational efforts, as well as writing bylaws for the structure of the leadership and meetings. A major result that will be achieved through this project is that a handbook / manual will be created with policies, procedures, documents, and suggestions to be used for future executive boards. The bylaws, policies, procedures, and suggestions will come as a direct result of trial and error from our first two years as well as that of other honor societies and clubs on campus. These will be my two major resources. Through my efforts we hope to make the honor society a solid, functioning body of religion majors that is student lead, departmentally supported, self sustaining, and self developing.

It is my hope that with the honor society facilitating better communication and producing students who are better prepared for what awaits them after graduation, future Religion majors will be better connected with the Religion faculty, proud of the department in which they are invested, and excited by the field they have chosen.