James L. Fisher Outstanding Thesis Award Winners announced

The Graduate School is proud to announce the winners of the 2023 James L. Fisher Outstanding Thesis Competition at Illinois State University. The Thesis Competition is designed to provide recognition of outstanding masters’ theses. The following students exemplify the highest-quality research in their respective fields of study. The overall winner will be sent on to compete at the regional level, with the possibility of competing at the national level.

Mary Crompton (Biological Sciences)–University winner

Crompton’s study investigates the role of neutrophils, the primary cell of the innate immune system, in combating bacterial infections. Specifically focusing on uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC), the study identifies RcrB as a key defense system against reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive chlorine species (RCS). The research demonstrates that RcrB protects UPEC from various RCS and plays a crucial role in countering oxidative stress within neutrophils.

“Mary started in my lab in spring 2020. Mary has completed all experimental work, written up her thesis and the corresponding manuscript as a first author, which was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Bacteriology. This is quite exceptional for an M.S. student who completed the training in a little over two years. Mary’s ability to understand complex topics, her dedication to working hard (often even after hours), as well as her very open and friendly personality will undoubtedly help her to reach her goals.”—Dr. Jan-Ulrik Dahl.

Gladys Momade (Communication)–Runner-up

Momade’s study examines the impact of body-positive influencers on Instagram in promoting positive body image and challenging normative beauty ideals. Through a sample of 100 posts from 10 influencers, the analysis reveals that body-positive influencers use self-assertion to convey messages endorsing body acceptance and self-compassion. Momade suggests a potential oversight in addressing health implications, particularly in relation to dietary choices, as the focus on positive body image may not fully consider the impact of certain foods on overall health.

“(Momade’s) thesis merits recognition based on the hard work in the review of literature, the insightful analysis, and the clearly drawn conclusions. In terms of the data analysis, Momade builds a clear rationale for the selection of ten of the most prominent ‘body positive’ social media influencers on Instagram, then choosing 10 of those individuals’ last posts according to the presence of key hashtags, justifying each step as she goes. She supports each claim carefully, showing a strong ability to apply principles of qualitative analysis.”—Dr. John R. Baldwin.

Holly Filsinger (Art)

Holly Filsinger

Filsinger’s research explores the works of contemporary artists Cannupa Hanska Luger and Ken Gonzales-Day, specifically their series “Future Ancestral Technologies” and “Erased Lynchings,” respectively, focusing on how these artists respond to the intersection of temporality and power. Both series challenge and subvert dominant visualizations of the past, present, and future. Filsinger’s research argues that the artists use a macroscopic temporal perspective to engage with temporality.

“Ms. Filsinger’s master’s thesis, Art, Time, and Power: Temporal Resistance and Liberation in the Artwork of Cannupa Hanska Luger and Ken Gonzales-Day,” shows how the work of these two artists suggests the historical inextricability of dominant temporalities and visualities to exert power. Her research and writing are driven by a passionate attachment to her subject matter, and by a sensitivity to her own subjectivity in engaging with the histories of others.”—Dr. Elisabeth Friedman.

Dani Park (Sociology and Anthropology)

Park’s thesis proposes a new psychoanalytical framework in which the subject is driven for omnipotence, leading them to overcome the Father and progress through different psychological stages. A topographical model of the self is introduced, comprising the Me, I, and Myself. The thesis goes on to explore social relations as divided between love and oppression, arguing that the subject, through the empathic position, unconsciously views others as her Shadow, leading to a choice between love and the reduction of others to self-operating machines in the pursuit of overcoming the Father.

“There are numerous theories regarding how people develop personalities, thoughts, and moral compasses; most of these are in the realm of psychology. Sociology’s most accepted theories focus on the interaction between the self and others, eventually a generalized other (society). Beyond the thesis itself, Dani is an intellectual force; he is brilliant, inquisitive, driven, and quietly powerful.”—Dr. Marion Willets.

Bothwell Piason (Criminal Justice Sciences)

Bothwell Piason

Piason’s thesis explores the mothering experiences of women in two Midwestern jails, focusing on those detained before trial and those incarcerated for one year or less. The study analyzes in-depth interviews with incarcerated and detained mothers. Findings reveal challenges in the mothering experiences of these women, particularly issues related to their parental roles before incarceration and their parenting experiences while in jail.

“Bothwell Piason’s thesis project, Mothering Experiences of Women in Jail, is among the top 1% of projects that I have supervised in my tenure at Illinois State University. The collateral effects of maternal incarceration on children is a topic of global importance—particularly given that women’s incarceration is growing at a rate that is four times the rate of men. Not only is Bothwell’s project significant to the discipline, it also provides an opportunity for a future comparative study of mothers in jail versus those in prison.”—Dr. Dawn Beichner.

Sign up to receive the best Underground art & real estate news in your inbox everyday.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

This post was originally published on this site