Oral Presentations - Session 1F: UC 333


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Friday, April 13th
9:00 AM

The Roll of Syllabic Consonants in Georgian

Lindsay Combs

UC 333

9:00 AM - 9:20 AM

Georgian, a South Caucasian (Kartvelian) language spoken in the Caucasus region, is known for its phonological complexities such as strings of consonants in a single word. For example, the initial consonant cluster in the word 'prckvna' (to peel) contains six consonants in a row (Butskhrikidze 2002). In comparison, consonant clusters in English have at most only three sounds (e.g., 'split'). What is important to notice in these consonant sequences are sounds called sonorants (e.g., the 'r' in 'prckvna'). Sonorants are consonants that have a high acoustic energy and can sometimes be syllabic, or play the role of a vowel by acting as the syllable nucleus. This occurs in English with words like 'puddle' and 'chasm', where there is no vowel in the second syllable and 'l' and 'm' respectively act as the nucleus. This study aims to analyze whether or not Georgian sonorants are syllabic, a topic that is highly debated in the literature. Working with a native speaker of Georgian, I used rhythmic techniques to identify syllables in words with sonorants and consonant clusters to determine if a sonorant acted as a syllable nucleus or not. I propose that sonorants do act syllabically in specific phonological environments, which serves to break up consonant clusters. However, there are restrictions on this behavior. Factors such as speed, context, style and word isolation alter whether or not sonorants will be syllabic. My findings have implications for Georgian linguistics by providing more insight into a currently debated topic. Additionally, this research makes a significant contribution to our understanding of syllables and syllabic theory in the field of phonology. This project also provides us with more knowledge about how sound systems can act similarly across unrelated languages, even when other aspects of the languages remain extremely diverse.

9:20 AM

The Works: A Loss of Childhood Innocence and Cultural Identity

Yuanyuan Bao

UC 333

9:20 AM - 9:40 AM

My works revolve around the importance of innocence; the magic of childhood; the often overlooked casualties of growth. There is a sense of wonderment, naivety, and curiosity born in each person, an inherent spark of vivacity that grows, flares, and in too many cases, peters out. In the face of the myriad forces of the world—pressures, dangers, responsibilities—oftentimes one loses their sense of self. And the first part to go is the child within; the carefree, short-sighted, impetuous side that finds itself so out of place in a grown-up world.

In my art I wish for that childhood never to cease. I explore subjects such as personal growth and identity. Societal structures and expectations often warp the task of finding oneself into redefining oneself, discarding the past for a leaner, meaner, and more efficient future. My works questions these processes; is growing old really growing up? Or are we all really growing down instead? I try to create spaces in which idealism is not a burden but a gift, not shackles but wings. Most importantly, I strive to rediscover that happiness which so many people leave behind.

I try to convey these broad ideas not necessarily through specific imagery, but also through bold shapes, vibrant colors, and abstract compositions. While I don’t limit myself to specific media, I mostly work with oil or acrylic paints on canvas or panels, in series, single works, and installations. Each piece or series of pieces is a narration of emotional experience embellished with hints of optimism and playfulness, meant to be viewed with an adult’s eyes, but with a child’s heart.

9:40 AM

Skeletons: A Short Screenplay

Jessica Johnston

UC 333

9:40 AM - 10:00 AM

In today’s fast-paced film industry, short screenplays can help new screenwriters garner attention from agents and producers. As part of my “calling card” I have written Skeletons, a short screenplay inspired by events in my hometown of Carlsbad, NM. The story follows Ian, a nervous college student who agrees to clean out the home of his friend Melanie’s deceased grandmother. However, Ian’s hopes of getting romantically close to Melanie are dashed when he discovers the corpse of her missing grandfather in a freezer chest.

This project explores the writing and filming of the short screenplay to expected industry standards. As part of my pre-writing process, I employed different methodologies from screenwriting critics in order to structure the pacing of the narrative in under 30 pages. During and after my writing sessions, I drew from the most useful tips, synthesizing my own methodology for writing and revising short screenplays. While most new screenwriters often focus on the craft of writing, revision should hold as much, if not more, importance in producing a professional, well-developed final draft to potentially be filmed. Furthermore, I have shot and edited a scene which I will present in conjunction with my analysis. By focusing on the construction of the short screenplay, new screenwriters can better mold their ideas into an eye-catching form, thereby increase their chances of selling their script.

10:00 AM

Diversity in the American Newsroom

Emily Foster

UC 333

10:00 AM - 10:20 AM

“Diversity in the American Newsroom” includes research on the ever-changing world of diversity in American journalism—both in the classroom and the newsroom. This research includes findings on the use of the term “minority” to describe a person of color in journalistic writing. This research explores whether or not the use of the term is appropriate in the modern day United States, where minority groups are actually becoming a majority. Should modern day language, especially in news media, shift to include a new word for the growing ethnic populations in our nation? Many experts in the field, including Kenny Irby of the Poynter Institute, agree that the term has lost direct relevance in contemporary world of journalism.

Many fields of study uphold some form of diversity standard within their curriculum, employment and enrollment. However, journalism schools in particular churn out graduates who enter a workforce that is largely in the public eye. Should journalism schools therefore seek to reach and maintain much higher inclusion standards? Most experts in the field agree upon the following conclusion: Diversity initiatives should absolutely be a crucial component in American journalism schools’ curriculum.

This project also includes research on the current decline of employed people of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds in newsrooms. The hiring and firing of employees, whether due to diversity standards or not, is an important topic to explore in light of the current economic slump.

Journalists of color are of course still hired in newsrooms across the country. But are these professionals forced to cover only the diversity beat? Can journalists of color avoid advocacy while maintaining their cultural and racial identity? Emmy award-winning news reporter TaRhonda Thomas, who currently works at 9News Denver, has had positive experiences covering issues of race as a journalist of color. However, other professionals have felt obligated to avoid covering diversity issues to maintain objectivity.

10:20 AM

Vital Resource: Fort Belknap’s Struggle to Secure the Bison as the Future of Its Economy

Victoria Edwards

UC 333

10:20 AM - 10:40 AM

The American bison has been a cultural and historical icon for Plains Indians for centuries, but on the Fort Belknap Reservation in north-central Montana the animal is more than just a tie to the past – it offers hope for the reservation's future. Reintroduced in 1974, the bison managed by Fort Belknap’s Gros Ventre and Assiniboine tribes have become a symbol of economic progress. But the path forward has not been easy. I traveled to Fort Belknap in the spring of 2011 and found the reservation struggling to restore bison as a natural resource. In 2002, the tribes established The Little Rockies Meat Packing Company in Malta – the first tribally owned, U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified meat packing plant in the country. In 2006, the tribes created The Little River Smokehouse on Fort Belknap Agency to process and sell buffalo products from the tribes’ herd of more than 400 animals. Today, both projects face hardships. The meat packing plant has recently shifted its focus to processing beef from local ranchers’ cattle herds. The smokehouse has yet to turn a profit, and it shut down temporarily in March 2011 because operators were unable to fill orders or cover operating costs. My in-depth story titled “Vital Resource,” examines the reservation’s effort to break into the growing market for buffalo meat despite a history of poor management of the meat packing plant and smokehouse, tensions with neighboring landowners, and protests from state lawmakers who oppose the tribes’ plan to import more bison from Yellowstone National Park.

10:40 AM

Access to and Affordability of Transportation on the Fort Belknap Reservation and Its Impact on the Local Economy and Quality of Life

Jayme Fraser

UC 333

10:40 AM - 11:00 AM

It’s difficult to get to work without a car, or to afford the drive to a doctor’s appointment three hours away as gas prices rise. It’s simple challenges like these that can help perpetuate poverty and lackluster economies in rural America and on rural reservations where unique legal and land issues, too, create barriers for business growth. Many stories been researched and written about the land and political issues that plague Native economies, but the geography of Montana’s reservations and proximity to other urban areas, too, have shaped the economy and subsequently the quality of life for Natives in the state. Yet, even as non-profits and tribal governments work to improve public transportation, those solutions could just perpetuate an economic divide as paychecks can more easily be spent at existing off-reservation businesses rather than that money being reinvested in the tribal economy. My research focuses on how access to and affordability of transportation has impacted the economy and overall quality of life on Montana’s Fort Belknap reservation in the last half century. I’ll also compare the relevant indicators with neighboring off-reservation communities such as Harlem, Malta and Havre to better understand if my findings about Fort Belknap are unique to the reservation, or simply parallel to other rural Montana towns. I choose the Fort Belknap reservation because of its isolated location in rural Montana where population density averages just two people per square mile, yet is a short commute to more urban services in Havre and Great Falls. Also, a non-profit/government partnership launched several major public transportation initiatives beginning in 2007 that have generated a handful of studies on ridership and the local economy that will be a fruitful contemporary point of comparison.