Medicine or Poison? The Pesticide Epidemic in Cambodia

Olivia Taylor, `14
Olivia Taylor, `14

By: Olivia Taylor, `14

Cambodia is a unique country because of its 90% rural population and subsequently large agricultural sector.  The agriculture is on a subsistence level for 72% of farmers which means that the majority of the farmers are farming to produce food for themselves.  Buying pesticides in their local markets has become a part of the farming culture.  While these pesticides theoretically aid them with the pests who hinder their crops, in reality they are hurting the farmer’s income, crop yield and health.   After reading a few case studies I found a dependency on not just pesticides but toxic and illegal pesticides.  Cambodian farmers are subjecting themselves to possible death from overexposure to pesticides banned in other nations but available illegally in Cambodia.  The illegal trade of these pesticides to developing countries is a major problem developed countries like the United States contribute to.  However, the more fascinating research is how illegal pesticides are engrained in the Cambodian culture despite their cancerous nature.
This topic interested me because it required an analysis of many factors such as the economic, political, educational, cultural and historical nature of Cambodia.  Pesticides are not a new problem.  I could trace the start of the problems back to the Pol Pot genocide of 1975 where 20% of the population died.  The Cambodian economy is also just as relevant because 85% of the jobs for women are concentrated in agriculture and textiles.  This in conjunction with the fact that 60% of the population relies on one crop, rice, for their daily existence made Cambodia fascinating to me.  Many factors contribute to this dependency on pesticides in Cambodia.  However, potential solutions are being implemented and finally more research is being done to save farmer’s health, modernize the Cambodian economy, educate a generation on new farming techniques and raise the standard of living.

Medicine or Poison? The Pesticide Epidemic in Cambodia

The Berber Ceiling: Social Inequality and Linguistic Reform in Morocco

Julia Yingling, `14
Julia Yingling, `14

By: Julia Yingling, `14

Morocco is a small country in Northern Africa, and is in the interesting position of having three major spoken languages – Arabic, Berber, and French – each of which occupies a unique position in society. It was the difference between these positions that interested me the most. Arabic, and more recently Berber, are the official languages and the first language of approximately half the population. French is the primary second language of Morocco, and is spoken by many at the same level of a first language. However, Berber has only recently started being taught as a language in the Moroccan school system, and is still only taught for three hours per week as a second language. Why is this? What is the connection to the fact that Berber-speakers have lower incomes and literacy rates than the rest of the country?

To this end, I did my research on the impacts of societal attitudes on the usage of a language, and the implications of language usage on a population. Through research on the Berber language and its position in the Moroccan educational system, my research attempts to prove that negative views of a society diminish the effectiveness of both top-down and bottom-up reform efforts. This issue is, additionally, a way of exploring the wider issues of social inequality and the challenges that face evolving multilingual societies, including China and the United States.

The Berber Ceiling: Social Inequality and Linguistic Reform in Morocco

Russian Energy Politics and a Changing Europe

By: Harrison Potter, `14

Harrison Potter, `14
Harrison Potter, `14

Upon the fall of the U.S.S.R. in the late 80s and early 90s, George H.W. Bush was president and Walkmans were quite popular. Though that was a quarter century ago, as a family friend who grew up in the Soviet Union says regarding Russia, “Putin may use the CD instead of phonograph, but they are still playing the same song”.

On that note, I am researching Russia’s energy dominance over Europe and how it affects western, and more specifically American, foreign policy. Russia holds enormous power through its oil and natural gas resources. Through being a primary energy source for many countries, it can use that leverage to affect change through energy-based foreign policy. With their expanding leverage over having the power to shut off oil and gas supplies to former Soviet-bloc countries, it is conceivable that Putin and his administration are looking to expand their political influence back into the governments of those countries. Such expansion, whether simply through remote power or actual territorial expansion, has serious implications for U.S. foreign policy and might re-ignite the Cold War.

In my thesis, I question how Russia is using energy to gain political and economic concessions from its neighboring states, and what effect those actions have on American foreign policy.  Through seeking answers to these questions, I am looking to shed light on a Russia that is perhaps looming larger over the international scene than many realize.

Russian Energy Politics and a Changing Europe

Accessing India’s Energy: An Examination of Privatization and its Impacts on Business

Conor Eckert, `14
Conor Eckert, `14

By: Conor Eckert, `14

For the developed world, energy access is something that we take for granted. Sixty eight percent of all American Jobs are in services; businesses could not fathom working without an efficient and active energy grid. Our heavy service industry is only rivaled by India’s who accounts for sixty percent of its GDP. However, unlike the United States, India has a problem with its power grid. Centralized reforms and strong coal regulation have destabilized the power grid. My research will examine what role privatization has on accelerating India’s energy developments.

India’s energy has been centralized for decades following Indira Gandhi’s socialist reforms. Her reorganizations originated from a strong desire to improve the social welfare of the Indian population in the 1970s. By aiming her focus at industrial and natural resource sectors, millions of new jobs were created.  However, as India has joined the world economy, government inefficiencies pose a threat to business development. The question arises; does privatization of India’s energy production benefit its businesses? Privatization has been experimented in a couple of states within India and has shown promising results. Case studies have shown that the decentralized change in management incentivizes businesses to offer superior services but at a more expensive price.

Accessing India’s Energy: An Examination of Privatization and its Impacts on Business

Obesity in the United States: effects of socioeconomic status, race, education, and gender

Isabelle Swearingen, `14
Isabelle Swearingen, `14

By: Isabelle Swearingen, `14

Over the last century, obesity has become one of the United States’ most pressing issues. More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese. This makes the United States the second most obese country in the world, right behind Mexico. Obesity is the cause of many health issues such as gallstones, type two diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and triglycerides, coronary artery disease (CAD), stroke, sleep apnea, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. These obesity related diseases increase the United States health care costs. It was estimated that in 2008, the United States spend $147 billion just on obesity related illness.  Also, the healthcare cost per obese person was $1,429 higher than those of normal a weight.

I am researching the role that socioeconomic status, race, education, and gender play in the obesity epidemic in the United States. To explore this, I analyzed data from a survey provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). I used the height and weights of the participants to calculate their BMI and break them into four different weight categories. I hypothesized that there is an inverse relationship between obesity and socio-economic status, and that race, education level, and gender affect socioeconomic status.

Obesity in the United States: effects of socioeconomic status, race, education, and gender

The Impact of China’s Modernization on Special Needs Orphans

By: Shelby Marcus ,`14

Shelby Marcus, `14
Shelby Marcus, `14

Two summers volunteering at a Chinese orphanage for medically fragile orphans caused me to focus my Global Thesis on how Special Needs Orphans have been impacted during China’s modernization.

In the wake of the failure of China’s Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward, China’s new leaders sought modernization in the 1970s. China’s drive to modernize has resulted in urbanization, economic reform, industrial development, and birth planning policies. The One Child Policy was implemented to limit China’s large population. Urbanization has shifted the majority of China’s population to cities. China’s economic reform has created the second greatest economy in the world. However, the environment has been destroyed by industrial development that has engulfed cities in pollution.

Urbanization, economic reform, industrial development, and birth planning policies have impacted the fates of special needs orphans. The One Child Policy resurrected the traditional preference for boys that caused families to abandon their healthy infant daughters. These girls flooded the orphanages previously primarily filled with special needs orphanages. By limiting families to have only one child, the One Child Policy promoted quality over quantity. The economic reform further emphasized this concept as the government called on every citizen to contribute to the economy. This emphasis on human quality, known as su zhi, decreased the value of people whose deformities and disabilities hindered their ability to contribute to China’s rise to success. The pollution that entrenches Chinese cities, a byproduct of industrial development, has been shown to increase the prevalence of birth defects.  China’s industrialization has increased the number of children who will be abandoned because of their low su zhi.

The demographics of Chinese orphanages have come full circle as they return to the numbers of pre-modernization. The sad truth is that although special needs orphans don’t have to compete for resources with healthy children, they still are orphans who will never know the love of a family. While the government was reluctant for the first few decades of China’s modernization to address the issues of orphans, in the last few years, China has become more and more involved in attempting to better the fates of Chinese orphans. However, improving their medical resources and physical conditions of orphanages superficially treats the poor conditions of orphans, but will never end the cycle of abandonment and isolation from society that children with any disability or deformity undergo. 

The Impact of China’s Modernization on Special Needs Orphans

Saving the World’s Game: An Analysis of Match Fixing and its Effects on Major League Soccer

Brendan Bieder, `14
Brendan Bieder, `14

By: Brendan Bieder, `14

For the global community, soccer is a game that reaches all aspects of society. In America however, this is not the case. In fact, there is a notion held by many that soccer is un-American, but the sport is rapidly growing in popularity across the nation. Soccer’s effects off the field are what make it have greater importance than most sports. This is why the integrity of the game must be salvaged. What makes soccer so important to the world is its strong connection to society and match fixing can ruin that.
This project will look into why and how match fixing has infiltrated the world’s most popular sport. Match fixing has plagued soccer for decades and recently has surfaced in the most popular competitions in Europe. This problem has stemmed from a massive gambling market in Asia, specifically Malaysia and Singapore. By targeting poorly treated players and corrupt referees, tens of millions of dollars have been made through illegal match fixing. Match fixing begs a question about humanity beyond soccer; why do economic incentives triumph over people’s morals? Through examples of match fixing in multiple sports, this paper will explore how money has become more important than integrity. However, this problem is not something that will threaten Major League Soccer, The United States’ professional league. The MLS has taken measures to protect its players from match fixing. Through reading journal articles and news articles, the research conducted shows that match fixing will positively impact the United States, but is destroying the sport globally.

Saving the World’s Game: An Analysis of Match Fixing and its Effects on Major League Soccer

Mongolia’s Mining Boom: Policies, Social Interactions, and Democracy

By: Frankie Garofalo, `14

Frankie Garofalo, `14
Frankie Garofalo, `14

Mongolia has a unique situation: it has one of the last enduring pastoral societies. This society is put at risk by mining, because mining requires land that would be pastures for herding, depletes water sources necessary for herding, releases dust and chemicals into the air that degrades the health of animals and people, and destroys the topsoil of large areas. In addition, herders’ land rights are made illegitimate by mining rights and licenses. At the same time, the GDP of the nation rises, bringing some out of poverty and to the cities, as well as improving the lives of some herders. However, Mongolia’s economy has its foundations on herding, and it cannot afford to lose that foundation. An effect of a resource curse will be the end of pastoralism.  The fundamental question, which may be pertinent to other developing nations, is how to balance economic development, culture, environmental damage, and prevent social inequality.

In summary, Mongolia’s mining industry has caused and exacerbated rapid changes in Mongolia’s economy, politics, and social structures, jeopardizing the integrity of the nation’s culture; this phenomenon invites a debate of a “resource curse” and tests the viability of a democracy faced with economic, political, social, and cultural issues.

Mongolia’s Mining Boom: Policies, Social Interactions, and Democracy

The Impact of Caribbean Tourism on The Marine Environment

Ryan Schendel, `14
Ryan Schendel, `14

By: Ryan Schendel, ’14

Marine and Coastal Tourism has grown to define the Caribbean economy in the 20th and 21st century. Since it’s beginning, tourism has always centered on accommodating the needs of the tourist, and creating an environment of comfort and leisure. In the process, large changes have been engrained in Caribbean economics, environment, social structure, and government to promote the growth of this commercialized venture. This article focuses on the environmental impact that the developing tourism industry in the Caribbean has on marine ecosystems. Extensive literature review on topics such as marine activities of tourism, coastal development, increasing demand of artisanal fishing, and principles of ecology pertinent to this issue is conducted to determine possible pressures being placed on marine ecosystems. In results, findings show that a combination of these factors has perpetuated the degradation of coral reef communities and subsequently led to a decrease in fish populations. Finally, possible alternatives and solutions are reviewed to determine the future outlook to this environmental trend of decline, determining the most effective use of resources and providing present-day examples of success stories.

The Impact of Caribbean Tourism on The Marine Environment

The Rhythm of Reform: Rap and Timba as Indicators of Political and Social Change in Modern Cuba

Eliza Moley, `14
Eliza Moley, `14

By: Eliza Moley, `14

Cuba, a country that is often characterized by political instability and uncertainty, is currently undergoing a historic formative period. The music of modern Cuban rap and timba artists reflects Cuba’s precarious position on the border of liberal reform and socialist regression. My research utilizes the analysis of lyrics from five unique musical compositions in order to address the manner in which musicians express their opinions of the Cuban state. It concludes with the statement that rap and timba are imperative elements for the promotion of change and expression of dissent.
I became interested in this topic after I was given a compilation record of protest songs from the Cuban Revolution called “Si, Para Usted.” Although the Revolution occurred decades ago, the tradition of Cuban protest music has retained its strength over time. Today, the lyrics of Cuban timba and rap music, as well as the musical expression of Cuban-American dissidents, are an important and accessible vehicle for political expression both on and off the island.

The Rhythm of Reform: Rap and Timba as Indicators of Political and Social Change in Modern Cuba