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Friday, April 24th

Character Strengths across Cultures: Examining Virtue Differences in Kenyan and American Samples

Emma C. Harris, Winthrop University

Understanding the development and progression of human character strengths has a direct association with human flourishment and happiness on an individualistic scale. Research suggests that sociocultural factors are more influential to the measure of strength characteristics than biological factors. This research strives to understand any similarities or modifications made to character strengths across cultures by examining an American sample (Winthrop University) and a Kenyan sample (Strathmore University). It is hypothesized that the strength virtues of wisdom, humanity, and justice will be more prevalent in Americans, whereas strength virtues of courage, transcendence, and temperance will be more prevalent in Kenyans. This research further hypothesizes that Americans will feel more overall life satisfaction. A major implication for this research is that existing international and cross-cultural studies do not explore VIA-IS character strengths. A deeper understanding of strength behaviors will inform social efforts directed towards the optimization of characteristics with the biggest positive social influence.

Determining Pronunciation of /p/ and /r/ in Spanish 101 Students Using Spanish Tongue Twisters (Trabalenguas)

Olivia Greathouse, Winthrop University

Previous research shows that tongue-twisters can improve pronunciation in second-language learners. This experiment explores the pronunciation of /r/ and /p/ from participants in two Spanish 101 classes at a small, public, four-year university. One class participated in weekly tongue-twister practice sessions for eight weeks, where the professor read a tongue twister, the participants repeated the tongue-twister, and then practiced on their own or with a partner. The second class was used as a control group and no pronunciation practice was provided. Sound analyses were conducted post-experiment to determine if pronunciation improved when using tongue-twisters in the classroom. Additionally, a pre-experiment survey provided information on participants’ motivations in improving Spanish pronunciation, which allowed for correlations to inform researchers on the non-linguistic factors that may have aided in pronunciation improvement.

Perceptions of Femininity and Body Image in French Culture

Sarah Golzari, Winthrop University

For decades, French fashion and beauty have been idealized by women around the world– particularly Americans– as an emblem of femininity. Countless magazine articles and books attempt to provide detailed instructions on how to achieve that seemingly effortless, feminine French look. But how much effort goes into achieving such a look? And what happens when French women don’t adhere to these strict yet unspoken cultural standards of beauty? Reconciling the gap between feminism and femininity, particularly in a culture riddled with stereotypes dictating how women should look and behave, is a daunting task. This research discusses cultural differences in the definition and expression of beauty in French and American culture. It explores influential factors in the development of culturally constructed female body image ideals, as well as differences in individuals' perceptions of body image with regard to fashion, the media, and socially perpetuated body standards in French culture.

Pieced Together


Streaming video available

Katherine N. Karban, Winthrop University

Pieced Together is a body of artwork that focuses on pattern, quilting, and the meaning items can have to an individual. Historically, visual patterns have been important to family histories as people relate imagery with family meanings. Patterns and symbols can convey feelings, represent ideals, or represent memories. Groups of people quilt together to re-contextualize symbols of importance, visually describing physical paths, showing life-changing moments, or creating new visual stories. A piece of fabric holds significance in the lives of many: a piece of clothing gifted, a family heirloom, or the most comfortable hand-me-down outfit. This project shows particular interest in the stories that reveal the importance of an item and how people relate their own self-images to visual patterns in both the quilted patterns and the patterns of the fabrics used. This could be a realistic flower motif, for example, because a subject is attracted to nature’s comfort and sees herself as a practical person seeking factual answers. This project also uses the act of quilting as a means of building a community and as the driving concept for this body of work. Discussions with individuals result in a selection of one pattern per person. These patterns are used both in a painting of a person and in a section of a quilt, roughened through printing methods as if worn through use. The resulting quilt also represents a community of individuals. It is believed that art can have the same sense of quick and meaningful interaction as a conversation or built relationship.

Spanish in the Workplace


Sandra Reyes

Faculty Mentor: Jo Koster, Ph.D.

Language in America is, and has always been, as diverse as the American population. Never has one language been the sole language of America. However, it is a common belief that English is America’s official language. This misconception has caused issues throughout America, and this essay will discuss how this misconception affects Spanish speakers in the workplace. It will also discuss how implementing English-only policies in the workplace not only hurts Spanish-speaking employees, but how it hurts American business, as well. The sources that have been used throughout the essay range from The United States Business Bureau, The Department of Labor, court cases of Spanish-speaking employees suing against discrimination, Pew Research Center, various reports of the continuously growing Spanish-speaking population, to Benjamin Franklin. From this research, it can be concluded that Spanish in the workplace is necessary and essential for the growth of American business and prompts diversity in various ways. Since America is experiencing a growth in a minority that has normally been disrespected, it is normal for Americans to want to prevent changes from happening; however, this hesitation toward the changing of America is harmful and prevents the growth of America as a whole.