Award Winning Capstones

Liz Melendez and Donna Colebeck

Liz Melendez (right), 2016 Marietta campus Honors Capstone Project Award winner, with Honors faculty member Donna Colebeck.

Full-text of selected award-winning capstones is provided by clicking below.

    • “The Ukraine Crisis: A Comparison of Three European Countries’ Responses to an International Crisis”


      This Honors Senior Capstone Thesis seeks to present and analyze the current war between Ukraine and Russia by comparing and contrasting three countries' responses to this international crisis--Poland, France, and Germany.

    • Math as Text, Rhetoric as Reason: Can the Humanities Save Math Education?


      As a student I had always struggled hopelessly with math. I noticed many of my classmates and associates outside of school shared similar experiences with this subject. However, a unique convergence of fortuitous circumstances shed some much needed light on my difficulties with math. Using a creative and communicative approach, I was able to analyze my experience from a rhetorical perspective, which allowed me to see more clearly, not just the problem I was having with math, but the overall problems many seem to have with math education. My findings were astonishing and became the subject of my research for my honors college capstone thesis.

    • "The JJIE Virtual World Journalism Project: Experimenting with Virtual Worlds as an Emerging Journalism Platform"


      Although immersive journalism in the virtual world was pioneered by journalist and documentary filmmaker Nonny de la Peña years ago, traditional journalists are just now discovering its potential as an alternative platform to report the news. This study explores the singularities of immersive journalism in virtual worlds using the "Marginalized Youth Voices Amplified on Virtual Worlds" project, which a journalism professor at a southern public university received a grant to develop. The grant came from an Online News Association Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, and has been involved in efforts to produce 3D-scenario machinimas (action videos inside virtual worlds) to tell real-life journalism stories of the youth in the juvenile justice system. The project deploys the principles of traditional journalism in the virtual world to re-create the experiences of youth in the Georgia juvenile justice system. As the project's student researcher, I plan to discover what journalism professors, students and professionals can learn from this nine-month experience of using virtual world platforms to tell real-world journalism stories. Using a combination of ethnographic and survey research, this study will undertake a structural analysis of not only the production practices of immersive virtual journalism—such as the reporting and recording of stories in virtual-world scenarios via Open Simulator, an open source multi-platform, multi-user 3D server application— but of the impact of this emerging, evolving form of journalism on audiences, especially media-averse youth audiences. At the conclusion of this experiment, the answers to the following questions will be more clear: Does the immersive, personalized nature of virtual world journalism resonate more with youthful audiences than in traditional journalism? Do college students believe that it provides a richer, more empathetic experience in news consumption? What can traditional journalism learn from immersive virtual world journalism? Can it be the savior of or at least a consequential complement to traditional journalism?

    • “Ultrasonic Data Steganography”


      What started off as a question on the possibility of data transmission via sound above the level of human hearing evolved into a project exploring the possibility of ultrasonic data infiltration and exfiltration in an information security context. It is well known that sound can be used to transmit data as this can be seen in many old technologies, most notably and simply DTMF tones for phones networks. But what if the sound used to transmit signals was in the ultrasonic range? It would go generally unnoted to anyone not looking for it with tools such as a spectrum analyzer. This could provide an unnoticed means of transmitting overhead data without the use of radio signals or physical connections, or, more clandestinely, a means to inject or retrieve data virtually undented for espionage, control, or other malicious activity. As expected, there would obviously be issues with signal quality as the open air is heavy with environmental interference, but in specific cases as seen in the following research, a discrete sonic means of data transmission may not only be practical, but necessary for the task at hand.

      This project is an exploration of the practicality of ultrasonic data transmission between computers. It will include research into the topic in general from scientific, technological, and security perspectives. There will be inclusions from other research projects as well as practical applications already in existence. Interestingly, there already some suspected, but unconfirmed planned systems as well security incidents using this technology. Finally, a short series of semi-formal (in a scientific sense) experiments conducted to provide firsthand accounts and results of the ultrasonic data transmission concept.

    • Animations and Diagrams in Virology: Their Effects on Student Learning


      The contrast in the manner that students receive and interpret information has been a topic of conversation for years. It has been widely debated whether or not the addition of animations have any benefit to a student’s learning and grades. This study was conducted to discover if students learn better, in the context of Virology, from animations or diagrams when presented new information. Participants were chosen from students who attended Kennesaw State University. They were asked to meet in a classroom setting and presented either three animations or diagrams then asked to answer questions on what they had been shown. The results of this research were that students performed better after having had seen the animations. This paper discusses these findings and how they will apply to the educational system.

    • “Ultrasonic Data Transmission and Steganography”


      This project discusses the feasibility of using ultrasound to transmit data between computer systems, particularly computer systems that have been intentionally cut off from traditional networks for security purposes. The goal of this project is to provide a synthesis of the current research that has been done into the use of ultrasonic data transmission, and to conduct a series of tests determining the validity of some of the claims made in regards to ultrasonic data transmission within the information security community. All research, experiments, results, and inferences have been discussed in the context of how they relate to the realm of information security. All security concerns discovered during the course of this project have been outlined at the end of this paper, and potential remediation strategies have been suggested.


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