Student Involvement

The Economic and Biological Impacts of the BP Oil Spill
by Nicholas Bowling and John Jefferson

The BP oil spill that occurred in April of 2010 is the largest human caused environmental disaster to date. Spurring from this disaster there will inevitably be impacts on the local economies, which could potentially extend out to a national level and even an international level. In addition spilling millions of barrels of oil into a delicate ecosystem will pose a significant amount of negative effects on a biological level. This paper will address both the economic and biological effects of the oil spill in the surrounding area. From both of these aspects we will explore both positive and negative aspects of the oil spill.  To address these problems we will observe:

Economic Effects:
- Positive economic effects?
- The oil spills effect of fisheries?
- The oil spills effect of tourism?
- The oil spill's effect on the rental and housing markets?
- The oil spills effect on gasoline scarcity?
- The oil spills effect on the gulf shipping industry?

Biological Effects:
- Dispersants, chemistry and their effects
- Tarballs
- The biochemistry and physics of an oil spill
- Damages

By addressing these topics we will be able to provide a good analysis of the economic and biological impacts of the BP oil spill. Full Paper...


"Climategate": An Evaluation of Recent Controversy in Climate Science
by Jay Howard, Scott Jefferson, Charles Macsherry, Ian Poole, Mark Powell, and Peter Squire

In November 2009, authorities at East Anglia University confirmed reports that the school's server had been hacked, leading to the release and internet-circulation of over 1000 emails and 3000 documents of from the Climatic Research Unit database (Washington Post). The targets of the cyber attack were scientists from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of thousands of scientists from across the globe that have been collecting data on climate change since the late 1980s. The leaked emails, which contain statements suggesting some data were distorted or omitted, have caused a resurgence of skepticism in the science of climate change and how human activity relates to it. Full Paper...


Environmental and Health Impacts of Air Pollution in China
by Professor Kenneth Townsend, Benjamin Brown, Todd Magee, Ben Cherry, Joel Daves.

The environmental and health impacts of China's air pollution are well researched and documented. Investigated to a lesser extend however, is the perception of Chinese citizens about how severe these very present consequences are. For that matter, it is equally little researched how foreigners perceive the same consequences as compared to Chinese citizens. This study was conducted to attain insight as to how Chinese students perceive the impacts of air pollution in China as compared to American students. Study groups of anonymous university students in China and American students of Hampden-Sydney College took surveys which were analyzed by U-tests to determine differences in opinion. It was found that both study groups agreed air pollution in China is a major problem and threat to the environment, but American students were significantly more in agreement with the statements. However, the groups clearly disagreed about government intervention with American students feeling that the government was not properly handling the issue or properly informing the public about its severity. Full Paper...

This paper was presented at the 2009 Summer Alumni College, "After the Olympics: China's Place in the World." Other speakers at the Summer College included a former Ambassador to China.


An Analysis of Pork Production in Virginia: Production vs. Protection
by Philip Agee, Benjamin Cabbell Barrow, Rollo Knight, Louis Nottingham, Dustin Zedaker.

Americans have grown to crave the taste of pork products and other commercially-processed meats.  At the same time American society has reached a certain level of affluence and started to develop an appetite for environmental quality - demanding cleaner air and water.  Recently the American public's demands for pork and environmental quality have met in a showdown that establishes Smithfield Foods in one corner and environmentalists in the other.  Full Paper...


Phuntsho Norbu on Briery Creek

An Eye On Briery Creek
Ecological Study within our small County

Story By: Joe Prempeh '06

The Honors council, under the directorship of Professor Alexander J. Werth, Elliott Associate Professor of Biology, has successfully completed its summer research/internship program for the 2003/2004 academic year. Students worked with professors from the departments of chemistry, economics, history, physics, biology, political science, psychology, and religion. Inside the DuPont Room, FCCI of Eggleston Library, all of the students presented a speech report about their research. The Honors Council, over the years, has encouraged students to undertake research in fields that interest them most. Full Story...