Fall 2013/Spring 2014
Interpolations is a refereed online journal showcasing superior student writing from the English Department’s Academic Writing Program. These essays represent the finest work – a combination of compelling ideas and outstanding writing – produced by our academic community’s newest members.
One of the purposes of an academic community is to facilitate the exchange of ideas among its members. This journal provides one place where we foster students’ voices in the University of Maryland’s vibrant academic conversations. In each issue, our writers read and analyze, inquire and argue, bringing academic insights to bear on exigent civic issues.
Lindsay Dunne Jacoby
- Catherine Bayly
- Shaun Gannon (Spring)
- Amanda Giffi (Spring)
- Kirk Greenwood (Spring)
- Peter Grybauskas (Spring)
- Nabila Hijazi
- Lyra Hilliard (Fall)
- Heather Lindenman
- Justin Lohr
- Radford Skudrna (Spring)
The Academic Writing Program is pleased to announce an updated Fall 2013-Spring 2014 issue of Interpolations: A Journal of Academic Writing. Since the founding of Interpolations by Adam Lloyd in 2009, this publication has become a valued feature of our English 101 community and has also garnered readership far beyond our campus borders. Now housed within the Academic Writing Program, it continues to offer students and instructors of English 101 a showcase of exemplary writings, a source for modeling and discussion, and an opportunity for student writers to reach a wider audience.
This new issue showcases the work of fifteen talented writers, whose pieces were judged by eleven editors and selected from over 300 submissions. These writers engaged in a rigorous editorial process and enthusiastically share their thinking with you here.
For the first time, we have included a summary, Deanna Rubin’s synopsis of Eric Uslaner’s essay, “Trust, Civic Engagement, and the Internet.” We are also pleased to include a Rhetorical Analysis, Simrin Gupta’s comparison of Jonah Lehrer’s and Brooke Gladstone’s approach to explaining “the decline effect” and scientific truth.
The majority of our selections represent the research sequence that students in English 101 engage in. Posing initial academic inquiries, Lina Lulli questions the effects of song lyrics on listeners; Tarika Sankar investigates the use of non-prescription drugs by college students; and Alexis Thompson explores the effects of social media use on romantic relationships.
Meanwhile, two writers challenge themselves to consider a view of their research topic they hadn’t previously explored: Leo Traub critiques the ethos of citizen journalists and Tamar Gasko argues that the real culprit of mental health stigma lies with healthcare providers themselves.
Finally, eight of our writers offer compelling arguments in their final position papers, on topics ranging from the psychological effects of advanced video gaming technologies, to the media’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, to the role of gender in political debate. We hope these essays by Austin Baldridge, Drew Calamaro, Shachar Gannot, Nicole Hsiung, Christian Johnson, Anastasia Kouloganes, Nicole Newman, and Todd Waters will capture your attention and get you thinking about where you stand on issues that continue to be exigent on our campus and in our world.
I would like to thank our writers for their persistence and excellence in the revision process: with this issue we celebrate you and your fine work! I would also like to thank our Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 Editorial Boards - Catherine Bayly, Shaun Gannon, Amanda Giffi, Kirk Greenwood, Peter Grybauskas, Nabila Hijazi, Lyra Hilliard, Heather Lindenman, Justin Lohr, and Radford Skudrna- for your commitment to this publication and to student writers. Finally, I would like to thank our managing editor, Scott Eklund, for wearing yet one more hat, and our Director, Jessica Enoch, for her continuing support and enthusiasm for all aspects of our program.
We invite students who are taking English 101 in the Fall of 2014 and the Spring of 2015 to submit their best writing from the course, including digital projects, as we anticipate our next issue will also include forms of digital writing, like podcasts and websites. We look forward to learning what you have to say!
Lindsay Dunne Jacoby
Assistant Director, Academic Writing Program
Fall 2013/Spring 2014 Essays
Considering Another Side Essays
Citizen Journalism is Not Yet Credible Enough to Carry Out Its Goals
In the past decade, with the rise of social media sites, blogs and file-sharing sites like YouTube, citizen journalists on the Internet have begun exploring the ever-expanding broadcasting powers at their disposal. According to the definition set by Dr. Joyce Nip of the Hong Kong Baptist University, citizen journalism is media content created out of a professional context (218).
The Truth About Our Mental Health Professionals
When combating stigma and negative attitudes towards mental illness, a commonly accepted solution is to educate the general population about mental illness and foster greater connections between the public and people who suffer from mental illness. According to the studies discussed in this paper, a “negative attitude” may include stigmatization, doubting another’s capabilities, social distancing, dehumanization, and supporting restrictions of people with mental illnesses.
"No Big Deal": The Prevalence and Acceptability of Nonmedical Use of Prescription Drugs on College Campuses
Throughout my orientation program and first few weeks at the University of Maryland as a freshman, I remember being showered with information about various health and safety issues I might encounter in college. This included a mandatory alcohol education course, details of the security measures in place on campus, and a very basic summary of the university’s drug policy.
#IMFanGirling: Third Party Interest in Relationships and the Growing Lack of Privacy in Social Media
My sister and her boyfriend have the same names as the characters from the movie The Notebook. When a girl from our high school realized this, she tweeted, “I JUST REALIZED ALLIE AND NOAH GO OUT AND THAT MEANS #THENOTEBOOK #IMFANGIRLING okbye” (Sievers). They were horrified.
Are You at the Mercy of the Music You Listen to?
I remember the moment exactly. I was sitting on my bed, listening to my iPod when the song “Unfaithful” by Rihanna began to play. Like hundreds of times before, I found myself singing along to the lyrics. However, for some indescribable reason, this time I realized what I was singing about. The lyrics describe a woman having an affair and, not only does she cheat on her boyfriend, she blatantly lies to his face about it.
A Call for Government Regulation within Medical Field Marketing
My heels thumped methodically against the back of the waiting room chair in the doctor’s office. My father had warned me not to fidget, but I could not help it; my seven-year old mind was nervous about my visit and the several shots I knew I was to receive. To distract myself, I resorted to kicking the back of my chair while watching the other patients come and go. The office was quite busy today. I noticed several men exit the back room of the doctor’s office, but I paid them no mind.
A Consideration of the US Trans Fat Ban and its Implications on Society
Walking down the snack aisle in the grocery store, I could almost taste the sweet goodness of my favorite Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies. When I was a child, there was almost nothing more enticing than the array of cookies and chips packaged in colorful, cartoon-covered boxes all along the shelves. “Can we get those?” I asked my mother, pointing to the bright blue box on the shelf. She picked up the box and turned it over to look at the ingredients.
A Force of Distortion: Effects of Media Bias on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The Israeli-Palestine conflict has been a topic of great debate for many decades. I myself have been personally involved in this conflict to a certain extent, not only as an Israeli citizen but as a former soldier of the Israeli Defense Forces.
The word “dope” originates from a Dutch word used to describe a cheap brandy that was given to racing dogs and horses in South Africa in order to slow them down (Hart 383). In athletics, the term “doping” refers to the use of illicit substances, typically stimulant drugs or steroids, in order to gain a competitive edge over other athletes.
Democracy Denied: The Correlation Between Language, Majority Bias, and Gender Exclusion in Political Debate
The injustice of political exclusion and inequality is an embarrassing stain on our society that is as evident in the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies as it is in the halls of Congress. The legal basis of social and political equality in the United States, including in terms of gender, was largely solidified during the 20th century, yet widespread gaps in power and privilege still exist throughout all aspects of society.
Hydraulic Fracturing: A Bridge to the Future
In recent years there has been great concern over the growing demand for energy, and the lack of non-renewable energy resources to meet the demand in the future. In addition, the question of "sustainability" — the ability to balance social, economic, and environmental needs in energy production to meet both current and long-term requirements—has come to the fore.
Succor for the Distraught, Support for the Deserted, Solutions for the Deprived Users of Abandoned OSS
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If software does not benefit users, does it even matter? Presently, users are facing a dilemma choosing between open source and proprietary software. Although open source software (OSS) offers many benefits, it has been struggling with abandonment. One study shows that, on average, 33% of all commercial software projects are abandoned, while nearly 67% of all OSS projects are aband
Virtually Impaired: The Consequences of Technological Advances in Gaming
The explosive development and expansion of a wide range of digital technologies—from networked systems to advanced image processing—have greatly enhanced the utility and appeal of electronic devices. Our consumption of social media is fast and interactive, our phone calls reach people across the world, our movie theaters provide 3-D virtual worlds, and our ability to learn and process information online is unmatched by any other capability in human history.
Rhetorical Analysis Essays
Lehrer and Gladstone: A Comparison of Rhetoric
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche surmised that even the most fundamental facts are merely deeply held convictions, earth is not the center of the universe, drinking red wine is medically beneficial, and it’s possible to fatally overdose on water. These examples highlight the inconstant, evolutionary nature of science. In fact, research dating back to the 1930s reveals that scientific conclusions lose longevity and credibility as time passes.