Preface to The Eagle Feather 2006

Editor's Preface

The Honors College is proud to publish The Eagle Feather as a showcase for research by undergraduate students at the University of North Texas. At the heart of our decision to establish The Eagle Feather is our strong belief that research with the guidance of a faculty mentor is an important and even transforming experience for talented undergraduate students. Our annual Scholars Day each spring provides all UNT undergraduate students the opportunity to present their research. Their presentations are impressive reminders of the quality research taking place across the university in a great diversity of disciplines.

Keynote Address: Scholars Day 2006

We were delighted to have a distinguished scholar in the Department of Political Science, Dr. Emile Sahliyeh, as the keynote speaker at Scholars Day 2006. The wisdom of his remarks in his speech, “The Future of Democracy in the Middle East,” has become even more salient after a summer of renewed armed conflict between the Palestinians and Israel, reminding us that democracy does not come easy.

Political Science: Special Section

Dr. Sahliyeh was also generous in editing a special section of the journal in political science containing papers from two of our Honors College students, Kelly Wright and Andrew Jung. The common theme of the papers in this section is the consequences of internal political conflict in three of the world’s political hotspots in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa. Ms. Wright’s paper, “Palestinian Perspective on Peace with Israel,” is based on her Honors thesis and was supervised by Dr. Sahliyeh. Ms. Wright explored the new two-party system in Palestinian politics, dominated by Fatah and Hamas, and the implications for peace in the Middle East. Andrew Jung’s paper is also based on his Honors thesis, directed by Dr. Kimi King in Political Science. Mr. Jung participated in a study abroad experience at The Hague sponsored by the Department of Political Science at UNT. During this visit, he conducted an original research project on the use of mens rea, or the mental state of the perpetrators, in defense of the crime of genocide. Mr. Jung’s paper won awards from the Department of Political Science and from the University Writing Awards Committee for his exceptional scholarship.

Honors Thesis Section

In addition to the two political science theses discussed above, five additional Honors thesis students successfully submitted their work for publication in TEF2006. We are especially proud of the breadth of scholarship represented by these five articles that include the physical and social sciences, the humanities, and education. Ryan Bosca’s paper, “Modeling and Optimization of Deflection Slits for Fast-Pulsing a Low Energy Beam,” was accepted for presentation at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research held in Asheville, North Carolina, April 7-9, 2006, and appears in the proceedings of that conference as well. We thank Dr. Duncan Weathers, Department of Physics, for his superlative job mentoring Mr. Bosca on this outstanding research project. This is the first time to our knowledge that UNT has had a student present in this prestigious venue. He will begin work on his master’s degree in physics at UNT this fall. Heather Rooth reports on her research with her mentor, Dr. Jeanne Tunks, Department of Teacher Education and Administration, on the use of computer-assisted math instruction in middle school. Ms. Rooth’s research was a factor in her selection this year for a Robert Noyce Scholarship in Mathematics and Science funded through the National Science Foundation. Sarah Hennes developed her thesis on career counseling as a result of her interest in attending graduate school. Under the direction of her mentor in the College of Education, Dr. Dennis Engels, she collected data in original interviews with administrative staff and counselors in the UNT Career Center about the purpose and proper focus of career counseling. Danyel Rios developed her thesis on the ethnic identity of people of Arab and Latino ancestry as a result of her experiences developing her own identity as a Latina. The faculty selected her article, “Cultural Hybridity: Arab/Latino – A Reflexive Approach,” for submission to the annual Posters-on-the-Hill Conference sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research in Washington, D.C. The competition for this event is very tough and even though her paper was not accepted for presentation, it was an honor to be nominated. She will continue to pursue her interests in ethnicity as she begins her graduate studies in UNT’s Department of Anthropology and UNTHSC’s School of Public Health this fall. Finally, in this section, we have a paper on the poetry in the lyrics of songs by The Beatles. Stephanie Murphy conducted her close analysis of Beatles’ lyrics with guidance from UNT’s unofficial sixties expert, Dr. James Baird of the Department of English. Ms. Murphy is the first student from the Honors College to graduate with the college’s new designation, Distinguished Honors Scholar. She is currently working on her master’s degree in English at UNT.

Anthropology: Special Section

The Department of Anthropology at UNT has a special focus on undergraduate education and it shows in the many contributions students and faculty in that department have made to this and previous issues of TEF. Mariela Nunez-Janes organized a special section using papers from her undergraduate anthropology class, “Latinos in the United States.” In this course, students interview a Latino/a professor about his or her experiences growing up, getting his or her education, and becoming a faculty member. Five of her students, Andrew Jones, Ivonne Solano, Bethany Hardikar, Johnathan Myers, and Candace Sibley present the results of their interview in this edition of the TEF. Interviewees include three professors and a librarian who are natives of Cuba, South America, California, and Texas. Dr. Nunez-Janes is interested in using the oral history project to document the stories of failure, resiliency, and success from successful Latino/as for young Hispanics struggling to succeed in the twenty-first century.

Medical Geography: Special Section

We are very excited to have participation from the Department of Geography this year. A native of Ghana, Dr. Joseph Oppong is a world-renowned expert on HIV and AIDS in Africa. Because of his interest and expertise in medical geography, he holds an adjunct faculty appointment in the School of Public Health at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth. The three papers in this special section were written by students in his undergraduate course in medical geography using data from the Texas Department of Health. William Flanagan explored the relationship between dissolved lithium concentration in ground water in Texas counties and suicide rates in those counties. Mara Hedrich examined the geographic distribution of viral hepatitis C in Texas. Nicholas Enwright examined the correlates of the distribution of HIV in Dallas County. All three students are planning to attend graduate school in medical geography at UNT.


We are grateful to all whose efforts have gone into developing The Eagle Feather. This year we added a staff of Honors student editors, including Vivek Jain, Victor Lozada, Nicole Obregon, Ryan Phillips, and Sebastian Zaberca. In addition to their experience with research, they also learned about the process of editing and publishing.

We continue to be especially grateful to Dr. Don Grose, Dean of the University Libraries, and to the UNT Media Center on whose generous support and great expertise we have heavily relied. Kristin Boyett’s consummate professionalism and tireless efforts have made The Eagle Feather the outstanding online undergraduate publication that it has become. In 2006, TEF was featured in a workshop at the biannual meeting of the Council of Undergraduate Research at DePauw University for its innovative presentation of undergraduate research.

The Honors College proudly claims The Eagle Feather and celebrates the accomplishments of the University of North Texas and its many fine students.