2011 Outstanding Graduate Student Research Awards

  • Kendra Bowen

    Kendra Bowen

    Department of Criminology — Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Roberts
    “An Analysis of Criminal Situations: Decision Making and Other Contextual Factors of Robbery and Assault”

    Kendra Bowen used a social information processing framework to better understand offender decision making in violent and avoided violence situations for her dissertation project. Bowen conducted one-hour interviews with 330 inmates, housed in four facilities, and documented more than six hundred violent situations. She used linear modeling for the project analysis. Bowen’s research verifies the utility of social information processing for understanding offender decision making.

    David Demaree

    David Demaree

    Department of History — Advisor: Dr. Joseph Mannard
    “A Gentleman in Substance: Abraham Lincoln and Changing Perceptions About Presidential Appearance and Character”

    David Demaree had to become familiar with the enormous amount of published literature on Lincoln, the American presidency, antebellum and Civil War political history, and the growing scholarship on nineteenth-century masculinary and morals for his thesis project. Even more impressive, however, was his use of the available primary sources, including newspapers and periodicals, which provided insight on popular attitudes toward Lincoln at the local, regional, and national levels. Demaree’s research has already resulted in the publication of a book chapter.

    Jason Lee

    Jason Lee

    Department of Student Affairs in Higher Education — Advisor: Dr. John Mueller
    “Student Loan Debt Literacy: A Comparison of First-Generation and Continuing-Generation College Students”

    Jason Lee focused his thesis research on student loan debt literacy in order to determine whether “first-generation” college students have less financial literacy when it comes to student loans. His work contributed to the understanding of these students’ debt literacy and the implications it has for their retention and college and success after college. The research is very timely, given today’s growing number of college students who rely on student loans to attend college (66 percent) and the interest of higher education institutions in recruiting the “first-generation” student population.

    Jonathan Libbon

    Jonathan Libbon

    Department of Anthropology — Advisor: Dr. Ben Ford
    “We Had Everything but Money: A Study of Buying Strategies at a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp in the Allegheny National Forest”

    Jonathan Libbon contributed a new approach to the study of archaeological consumer choice and new data to the study of American history by focusing on the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a group for which the federal government provided the basic needs in addition to a fixed income that could be spent on non-essential items. He excavated and analyzed an archaeological collection, compared his findings to historical documents, and examined previously excavated data. Libbon’s findings include a strong relation between the rural or urban origin of CCC employees and their adaptability to economic stress during the Great Depression.


    Shelley Vukman

    Department of Sociology — Advisor: Dr. Kay Snyder
    “Psychological Outcomes of Adolescent Females’ Early Sexual Initiation: An Analysis Using Wave 1 and 2 from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health”

    Shelley Vukman used a longitudinal analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine the effects of early sexual initiation among female adolescents on levels of depressive symptomatology, self-esteem, body image, and disordered eating behaviors. Her thesis research confirms and extends previous studies and underscores the importance of using longitudinal research to better understand the impact and implications of early sexual initiation among adolescent females.