Thursday, October 29, 2009

Paper Competition; one grand prize---

Wartburg College Announces

An International Competition

For Undergraduate Research Papers

This competition is supported by a generous grant from the Metanexus Institute

Students from around the world are invited to submit research papers that will focus on the relationships between technology, the natural world, and human identity or spirit.

Submissions are due no later than June 1, 2010. Send papers to All papers must be written in English and will be evaluated by a blind review process. Cash prizes in the amounts of $1,000, $500 and $250 are available to the top three papers. Winning papers will be published at For more information, call 319 352 8684 or email

Sample Ideas for Papers

The following paper ideas are illustrative of the projects sought by this national paper competition.

Flood Recovery and the Human Spirit: the activation of Social and Spiritual Resources subsequent to the 2008 flood in NE Iowa. This research project is designed to document and analyze the psycho-social and spiritual strategies and processes that enabled (or failed to enable) recovery after the devastating NE Iowa flood in 2008. Data will be collected primarily through interviews with victims of the flood, city officials and area ministers, as well as through visits to sites where recovery efforts are proceeding. Although economic factors will be evaluated as part of the study, the focus of the project will be the affective challenges that confront flood victims and the psychological and spiritual strategies they have used to meet those challenges.

The Effect of Social Networking Technologies on Volunteerism. This research project will document and analyze the effectiveness of social networking technology within the community of Waverly, Iowa, for promoting and organizing volunteerism in response to specific needs: the NE Iowa flood, the destruction caused by hurricane Katrina, and the Feed My Starving Children initiative. Robert Putnam’s analysis of different modes of civic engagement will provide a paradigm or analyzing the kinds of involvement elicited by social networking strategies.

Music and Mood: Seeing the World through an MP3-Player.This project will focus on the effect of music on mood and perception while moving through public spaces. The phenomenon of living inside a private world of sound while moving through public space has become common in contemporary society. This study will seek to understand how both mood and perception of immediate surroundings are affected by continuous music.

The Use of Machine Metaphors for Representing Humans and Society in Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters, Henry James and Kurt Vonnegut. This is an attempt to document through time how the use of machine metaphors to represent humans and society have changed. Electronic searches of those texts that are available in machine readable format, or for which there exist concordances, will be used to facilitate the discovery process.