Westmont Magazine Four Seniors Achieve Major Honors
When a topic or question in their discipline sparks the imagination of students, they often go on to complete a major honors project. These yearlong efforts go beyond any major’s senior capstone requirements. This year, four students completed major honors: Kayla Petersen (social science), Beth Scalise (psychology), Alexa Spandrio (biology) and Char Combrink (religious studies).
Our Bodies and the Church Body: How should churches allocate resources for discussing abortion, promoting human flourishing, and meeting the needs of our community?
Both inside the Church and beyond, we often struggle to communicate with one another about the issues that matter most to us, instead falling into polarizing language. Deliberative forums provide a platform for expressing what we truly value when talking about complex topics such as abortion, helping us to arrive at common ground and make decisions that benefit all of us. I wanted to create an issue guide for deliberation with churches in Santa Barbara that would foster thoughtful conversations and action about abortion and related topics. To develop the issue guide, I spent the year researching policy and faith perspectives on abortion pre- and post- Roe v. Wade, interviewed and surveyed pastors, church attendees, and Westmont community members, and drafted the guide for an online deliberation.
The Impact of Narrative Versus Statistical Persuasion on Attitudes, Intentions, and Behaviors Regarding Dessert Consumption in Undergraduate Students
This study examines the effects of two methods of persuasion. Statistical persuasion involves the presentation of facts and numbers, whereas narrative persuasion utilizes a story or personal testimony. Narrative persuasion is more effective in several health contexts. In this study, the effects of a narrative or statistical video were evaluated for a number of measures including attitudes about and intentions to eat desserts and dessert consumption behavior.
Newly identified in vivo expressed Bordetella virulence genes
Bordetella is a bacterial pathogen responsible for the respiratory disease whooping cough. The goal of this study was to identify bacterial virulence genes that are expressed only during respiratory infection. A genetic system was developed and used to identify several novel Bordetella genes that are expressed while the bacteria are inside the respiratory tract but not on laboratory media. These data could have implications for improving the current whooping cough vaccine.
Evolution-Compatible Fall Narratives: A Heuristic Taxonomy
This paper explores the tensions between a widely accepted evolutionary understanding of human origins and a traditional Christian fall narrative, identifies a selection of scholarly responses to this tension, and organizes these responses in a taxonomy of possible approaches to reconciling evolutionary theory with overarching Christian commitments. It also addresses the difficulties each approach appears to present for remaining faithful to these Christian commitments, and utilizes the taxonomy developed to explore relationships between protology and eschatology.