Sample Abstracts

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
Social Sciences
Visual or Performing Arts
Cross-Disciplinary (Chemistry, Library Science, and Visual Arts)


Sacred Justice: Milton's Theodicy and the Unnecessary Fall    

Author: Zayne Repp    
In the invocation to the first book of Paradise Lost, Milton states his aim to "assert eternal providence, / and justify the ways of God to men" (I. 25-6), yet God the Father tyrannically condemns man to fall in the third book, seeming to evade any notion of justification. This paper examines how the Father's disposition functions as a clever narrative device used in the implementation of Milton's theodicy, by which he intends to create the conditions for a fall that is justifiable, but not necessary. We examine the function of Augustinian free will as it relates to man's state of existence before and after the fall through the lens of Danielson's reading in Milton's Good God. We conclude that Milton's God is not solely the chiding father or compassionate son. Rather, the infinite goodness of Milton's God is exhibited through the twofold-yet-consistent actions of God, Father, and Son.


What are the components of a typical abstract in the humanities?

Topic: What is the subject area in which you undertook your research?
Question: What is the problem or question that your research attempted to solve? What is its importance?
Evidence: What are the main bodies of evidence that you considered in approaching your question?
Conclusions: What did you conclude concerning your question?

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)

Sea Hare Phylogeny

Author: Kelsi Bailey    

There are 80 known species of sea hares (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Anaspidea), but their exact phylogenetic relationship remains unresolved. Current phylogenetic hypotheses for Anaspidea shows Akera is sister to the rest of the Anaspidea, based on mitochondrial genes (Medina & Walsh, 2000; Medina et al, 2001). Using nuclear genes, we are trying to determine if in fact Akera are related to Anaspidea or not. Knowing the phylogenic relationship of sea hares helps determine common ancestors and shows how each organism is more related to another. From this, we can predict how species evolved traits, and hypothesize how and why they evolved those traits. The goal of this experiment is to reconstruct a resolved, and well-support phylogeny of the relationships between sea hare species. Genes Cytochrome c oxidase I (CO1), 12S ribosomal DNA, 16S ribosomal RNA, 18S ribosomal RNA, 28S ribosomal RNA, and Histone H3 were chosen as they are useful in the study of phylogeny. As nuclear genes, 18S, 28S, and H3a are important in reconstruction phylogenies, due to the fact that nuclear genes evolve slower and are able to tell us the difference between families, and subfamilies, making constructing a phylogenic tree more accurate. Mitochondrial genes CO1, 12S, and 16S (Medina & Walsh, 2000), however, evolve faster, and are able to tell us the difference between different species.  We used polymerase chain reaction to amplify gene sequences CO1, 12S, 16S, 18S, 28S, and H3. We aligned the sequences of all six genes, using the DNA sequencing aligning program, ClustalX. From there, we reconstructed the phylogenetic relationship of sea hares using MrBayes. Previous studies suggest Akera share a common ancestor with Anaspidea and Aplysia is a monophyletic group and share a common ancestor with the rest of the Anaspidea. However, our preliminary analysis show Akera is found within Anaspidea. Additional analysis will test the effects of outgroup species selection on Anaspidea phylogenies.

What are the components of a typical abstract in the sciences?

Hypothesis or question: What problem are you trying to solve? What question are you pursuing? What idea are you testing?
Rationale: Why is your problem/question/idea important? What is the broader scope and significance of your project?
Methods: What methods did you employ or approach did you take to resolve your problem/question or to empirically test your idea? What was your experimental design and protocol?
Results: What did you find during the course of your scholarly work? Specifically, what new insight did you gain? What did you learn, create or discover that potentially advances your discipline?
Principle conclusions: Were your results consistent or inconsistent with your original hypothesis? How do your results inform your original question? What are the broader implications of your findings, especially as they relate to your original hypothesis or your question? What weaknesses or limitations remain? What are the original, creative contributions of your work to your discipline and how will your work potentially advance your field of specialization?

Social Sciences

The Intersectionality of Latinx and LGBTQ+ Representatives and Their Effect on HIV/AIDs across the Country

Author: Rodolfo Marquez    

Representation in the political realm has been predominantly recognized on singular components of identification; however, the goal of equal representation is not being met in this system. The American community is comprised of one of the most socially, economically, culturally and sexually diverse peoples. To categorize individuals by only one of these facets of their character, is to dismiss that the others exist. Many research has shown works that focused on race and gender and their intersectional effect on certain policies, but not many research reviews the relationships of race and sexual orientation/gender identity. In this piece, I will carefully examine the ways in which certain state legislatures within the U.S. may be (whether purposefully or ignorantly) affecting specific policies on HIV/AIDs, based on the growing intersectionality of representatives’ different identities, specifically the Latinx and LGBTQ+ communities. HIV/AIDs are diseases that many Americans regularly live with, so determining what drives the policy to ultimately help those affected could be beneficial. There is already a lack of current politicians that identify as Latinx LGBTQ+ and there should be more legislation focused to help mitigate, and possibly cure, the HIV/AIDs epidemic. Therefore, the goal of this piece is to showcase the importance of electing public officials of many identities to rightfully represent their large pool of constituents and to possibly portray the amount of Latinx LGBTQ+ members in legislative bodies, the legislation centered on HIV/AIDs. I plan to define and explain both identities, supported by historical evidence, to lay a foundation for the significance of not only Latinx LGBTQ+ people, but also the importance of the intersectionality of any race and sexual orientation/gender identity. Additionally, I plan to compare six states: three with Latinx LGBT+ public officials and three without. By picking one or two bills on HIV/AIDs, I will analyze if the authors/cosponsors were members of both respective communities and if they had a major role in the creation and the passing of those bills.

Visual or Performing Arts

The Walkers

Authors: Andrew Ortiz, Damyen Davis, Jesus Delgado, Yitong Hua, Maya Choy, Christian Renteria, Thomas Davis, Amanda Gutierrez, Michael Ash, Kaamil Khan, and Shisha Abouhashish    

Wang Luyan, a noted Chinese avant-garde artist, reached out to Professor Robert Marks and Randall Davidson to donate one of his latest artworks, The Walker, to Whittier College. Mr. Wang shared an important connection with Whittier College through his brother who was enrolled in the 1980's as part of a student exchange program. In addition, the reason for the donation was that Mr. Wang could commemorate his brother who tragically passed away in 2004. Dr. Marks and Mr. Davidson arranged the donation and immediately got to work in making this a reality. With the help of Professor Daniel Duran, they recruited a group of students to aid in arranging the logistic actions needed to ship the artwork from Dandong, China to Whittier College, the installation of these at pieces on our campus, and the marketing plan to promote this amazing artwork. The students were split in to five teams; Customs, Budget Management, Logistics, Promotions, and Site Planning-Installation. Each team was assigned specific sets of responsibilities needed in order to successfully carry out this task as a whole. Some highlights of our progress include our Logistic team, who worked alongside Randall Davidson, to acquire three potential quotes from Freight Forwarders in which they then presented the information to the President of the College, Linda Oubre, and the Vice President of Advancement, Timothy Anderson to approve of. Next, our Siting Team worked with WC facilities and our art faculty to select the sites and finalize the best one where the artwork will find their long lasting home here on our beloved campus. As part of the siting process the student team helped situate crafted maquettes to model the exact position each art statue would be installed. Our Promotions Team is currently executing their marketing strategy to create publicity for the artwork's grand inauguration by reaching out to multiple sources of ethnic Medias, influences, and communities, including promotional materials in English and Mandarin. The sculptures have arrived (March 5, 2019) and the student team is now working on the final promotions and installation aspects of the project. This has been an incredible hands-on learning project that will culminate in a cross-cultural demonstration of art, friendship, and legacy. We are the China Sculpture Project Team, a diverse group of enthusiastic, business driven leaders tasked in applying our individual specializations in order to enrich our campus.

What are the components of a typical abstract in the visual or performing arts?

While there is no clear formula for a fine arts abstract, either visual or performing, below are some components that are frequently included. You do not need to have all of these components in your abstract. Please note that abstracts in fine arts are often written in first person.

Necessary background information.
Subject of your body of work.
Purpose or function of your work.
Audience of your work.
Theories and methodologies that inform your work.
Personal perspective.
Meaning(s) of your work.
Note: If you submit an abstract describing some form of visual art, also email a digital image (jpg or tiff) to the following address for evaluation: Please do so within 24 hours of your abstract submission.

Cross-Disciplinary (Chemistry, Library Science, and Visual Arts)

Halloween and Other Western Holidays in Japan: What Purpose Do They Serve in Japanese Culture?

Author: Kelly Stinefelt    

In this paper, I will talk about the culture of Japan and why the Japanese have adopted certain Western holidays, specifically Halloween. I will talk about it from an interdisciplinary approach drawing on an anthropological, historical, and globalization-based perspective.  I believe that Japan thought that it needed to Westernize during the Meiji era and during the postwar period so it could become powerful like the Western nations. Because of that, it adopted certain facets of Western culture such as certain values like individualism and holidays to suit its needs, instead of having it forced upon them as was the case with many colonized nations. I will also talk about the history of modern Japan, particularly the Meiji era and the U.S. occupation, and the West’s influence on Japan. This paper will talk about the Japanese and Western holidays that Japan celebrates, what these holidays are about and why they are celebrated in somewhat brief detail so we can understand Halloween and why it was adopted by the Japanese people.