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    Connections Newsletter
    Issue 3                                                                                                                                         Spring Semester 2012


    A Note from the Collaborative Director

    Undergraduate Research: Adjusting to Life at a Liberal Arts College

    2012-2013 McNair Scholars

    Fall-Summer Collaborative Grants

    Convention Spotlight



    • Kaela Gedda
    • Jens Paasen
    • Gretchen Panzer
    • Hannah Schmitt
    • Luanne Spence
    • Sarah Titus

    Collaborative Research Stories

    Important Dates

    May 4, 2012 Student Academic Travel Grant and Attendee Grant applications due

    National Conference on Undergraduate Research

    Reflection on NCUR Experience

    Steven Garza

    The National Conference for Undergraduate Research took place at Weber State University in beautiful Ogden, Utah.  The university boasts wonderful mountain scenery, which quickly sets wondering academic minds at ease.  I spent three days in total at the NCUR conference.  During this time, I enjoyed listening to various presentation sessions pertaining to International Studies.  Students lectured on topics from Mongolian social changes to effective measures against corruption.  This conference was an excellent opportunity for myself as well as other St. Norbert students to meet some of the brightest minds the nation has to offer.  In addition to meeting wonderful fellow students in our respective fields of study, the NCUR conference was an excellent opportunity for networking.  I personally met with various professors hailing from prestigious graduate schools.  Finally, the 2012 NCUR conference presented a unique opportunity to show the strength of St. Norbert academics and research on a national stage.  Through my own presentation and the presentations of other students, I was reassured that St. Norbert College as an institution manifests strong research, mentors, and an academic curriculum that rivals that of any world-renowned university.  Overall, the NCUR 2012 conference was a pristine opportunity to showcase the true reputation and potential of St. Norbert College—conferences like this only seek to spread the positive reputation that St. Norbert maintains.


    For my own research, I presented on identifying quantified variables to explain human trafficking.  I gave a 15-minute power point presentation and fielded 5 minutes for questions.  This presentation helped prepare me for future graduate-school level work, as well as gave me excellent experience inside the academic conference world.  After evaluating my overall experience of the conference, it is my sincerest hope that the St. Norbert College continues to send outstanding researchers to present their work at the annual NCUR conference.  Below is a complete abstract of my submitted research to the NCUR 2012 conference:

    “The proliferation of human trafficking is a global issue that threatens national security, encourages organized crime, and destroys innocent lives.  Extensive research exists on the grave global dilemma of human trafficking; however, the majority of this research utilizes a qualitative examination.  This research paper specifically focuses on the United States’ international standards to eliminate human trafficking and subsequent international compliance.  The research question addressed is: do national characteristics determine a country’s international compliance to end human trafficking?  To measure the dependent variable, international compliance, the research utilizes the U.S. Department of State’s tier ranking system, produced annually in the Trafficking In Persons report (TIP).  Such tier ranking evaluates a nation’s efforts to prevent and prosecute human trafficking, as well as the protection of victims (U.S. Department of State 2011).  The independent variables, country characteristics, used in this research are the percentage national political leadership positions held by women, per capita GDP, the Free and Open Society Index, and the Perceived Corruption Index.  Current literature pertaining to human trafficking discusses the causes using an economic model or corruption model.  For example, Wheaton (2010) and Bertone (2000) emphasize the supply and demand economic factors that drive the human trafficking market.  Additionally, Gamet (2011) and Kendall (2011) identify government corruption as a key cause to the proliferation of human trafficking.  Moreover, Gramegna (2003) and Laczko (2005) argue current literature lacks extensive quantified variables to explain human trafficking compliance.  Because human trafficking is an illegal activity, precise numbers to measure the quantity of humans beings trafficked are difficult.  However, it is possible to quantify a nation’s efforts to eliminate human trafficking, as compiled by the TIP report.  The research expects to find correlation between corruption and international compliance since nations with high corruption cannot maintain border security to stop human trafficking.  Additionally, the per capita GPD will likely emerge as an economical indicator to a nation’s fiscal ability to implement anti-human trafficking programs.  Finally, the research expects to find a correlation between the Free and Open Society Index and international compliance since nations that do not embrace freedom likely do not embrace eliminating human trafficking.  Overall, this research seeks to identify key variables that could be improved upon by nations in order to better eliminate human trafficking.”




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