WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- More than a dozen student/faculty teams will conduct research this spring on subjects as diverse as Scottish poets, the metabolism of parasites, and birth practices in Andean Ecuador, thanks to the college’s Abshire Research Scholar awards.

The Abshire awards have funded undergraduate research projects since the program was established in 1981 by Alfred D. Abshire ’45 in memory of his wife. The awards, given each semester, provide students with the opportunity to work in collaboration with their professors on professional research. (This year, the Whitman Parents Fund helped fund some of the projects.)

The 15 selected teams are:

Michelle Acuff, assistant professor of art, and senior Tyler Calkin will collaborate on the creation of a multi-media installation in Penrose Library. With the help of state-of-the-art video and sound equipment, they will attempt to underscore the connections between modes of thinking in the liberal arts, collapsing the normal distances between disciplines.

Sharon Alker, assistant professor of English and general studies, and junior Aakanksha Veenapani will work on two conference papers that focus on Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns (1759-1796) and his work’s transformation from print to cyberspace.

Paul Apostolidis, associate professor of politics and Judge and Mrs. Timothy A. Paul chair of political science, and senior Caitlin Schoenfelder will explore the relationship between Latin American immigrant day laborers’ political dispositions and their encounters with job-related health and safety problems.

Bob Carson, Grace Farnsworth Phillips Professor of geology and environmental studies, and senior Kelly Dundon will continue work on Carson’s book, “East of Yellowstone: The Geology of Roads and Trails in Clarks Fork Valley and the Adjacent Absaroka Mountains, Beartooth Range, and Bighorn Basin.”

Julie Charlip, professor of history, sophomore Jaspreet Gill, and senior Bryce McKay will analyze the voluminous document collection they acquired in Costa Rica last summer on a Perry Grant. The research will be used in the book Charlip plans to write on “Bearing Arms without an Army: The Security Forces of Costa Rica.”

Dennis Crockett, associate professor of art history, and senior Nick Donaldson will continue work on Crockett’s manuscript on the “Alsatian Renaissance” that developed in the 20 years before World War I, and his research into the competing definitions of what it meant to be Alsatian to the citizens of Alsace.

Tom Davis, associate professor of philosophy, and senior David Blanchard will expand Davis’s essay on “Becoming the Soul Becoming: Supervenient Conversation with the Friend as Beautiful Enemy in Emerson” into an article for publication.

J. Kay Fenimore-Smith, associate professor of education, and sophomore Chelsea Marks will continue Fenimore-Smith’s study of the Nixyáawii Community School on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. A primary objective of the project is the analysis of curricular development and pedagogical processes at Nixyáawii.

Patrick Frierson, associate professor of philosophy, and senior Brian Cutter will work on research and writing related to the book Frierson is writing, tentatively titled “What Is the Human Being?” The book lays out a Kantian view of human beings and then assesses contemporary responses and alternatives to Kant’s view.

Brien Garnand, assistant professor of history, and sophomore Cameron Murray will work on the final report of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) Punic Project excavations (1976-1979) at the tophet precinct in Carthage, Tunisia. One of the most studied yet least understood components of Phoenician society, the tophet served as a votive precinct where the Phoenicians of Carthage dedicated infants to their gods.

Marion Götz, assistant professor of chemistry, and junior Kevin Chung will continue their efforts to create inhibitors that can interrupt the metabolism of parasites that cause Changas disease and sleeping sickness.

John Kitchens, visiting assistant professor of education, and senior J.J. Riley will combine Kitchens’ research about the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Ala., with innovative ways of using map-making software such as Google Earth and GIS to illustrate how social studies educators can integrate technology into the classroom.

Nathan Lien, visiting assistant professor of chemistry, and senior David Thylur will carry out a project that includes the synthesis of thiol-containing ligands and investigations into the interactions of the ligands with selenous acid.

Suzanne Morrissey, assistant professor of anthropology, and Riley Clubb, will continue work on the documentary film project, “Changing Birth Practices and Indigenous Identity in Andean Ecuador.”

Lynn Sharp, associate professor of history, and senior Andrew Hill will work on The Esternay Project, an online archival project that will someday make accessible a set of 19th century archival letters from a family of notaries in the Marne, France. In addition to translating some of the letter, Sharp and Hill will write a paper on these documents’ teaching potential.