From the Editor
Bridges: A Student Research Journal continues to showcase undergraduate scholarship produced at
Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC. The newest issue, Issue 8 (Spring 2014), features five articles
based on original research conducted by CCU students under the tutelage of faculty advisers from
multiple disciplines. As such, they represent the best outcomes of the CCU teacher-scholar model. The
teacher-scholar model promotes quality teaching and engaged learning as well as collaborative research
and creative opportunities. Student research and production is often an outgrowth of faculty research and
mentorship, but student publications have value and make contributions all their own. At the heart of
academic research, then, is human connection: faculty and staff who care about student engagement.
The students whose work is featured here are exceptional: they investigated compelling research
questions, wrote up their findings, underwent a (sometimes lengthy) review process, and addressed
intensive editing. The Editorial Review Board received a record number of submissions this year, making
the review and selection process quite challenging. We feel privileged to be in a position to be exposed to
and evaluate outstanding undergraduate research on our campus. We remain impressed by our students’
accomplishments and wish to commend all contributors. Let me introduce the works finally selected for
publication in alphabetical order by author’s last name.
Sean Dove’s “Sustainable Energy in the Galapagos” examines the “Zero Fuels Initiative” implemented by
the Galapagos Islands, a critical scientific and tourist destination, to eliminate fossil fuels entirely. This
initiative, as well as others to reduce unsustainable energy sources, provides a blueprint for addressing the
global energy crisis. Certainly, the stakes could not be higher for such an assessment.
Tom Fernandez investigates CCU students’ post-graduation plans by utilizing public opinion polling in
the article “Education, Employment, and Coastal Carolina University: What Are CCU Students’ Plans
After Graduation?” As Americans debate the purpose and payoff of higher education, determining how
recent graduates will navigate their prospects is very timely.
Karen Jennings displays an innovative and creative approach to analyzing the image of the American Pit
Bull Terrier in “The Pit Bull's Discourse.” This article plays with different genres, reading like a lively
special interest piece in a paper column. In it, the author has readers confront media perceptions of the
vilified pit bull and, thereby, demands we confront our own (mis)perceptions.
Shawnee Lechliter’s “Preliminary Study of Kleptoplasty in Foraminifera of South Carolina” examines the
ability of some microscopic aquatic protists to steal photosynthetic plastids from other microorganisms in
symbiotic relationships. By doing so, much can be determined about great changes in the ecology of a
habitat. She points to further research needed on the phenomenon along the Grand Strand.
Sadara Shine draws on first-person interviews, among other sources, that she conducted on the ground in
Rwanda to consider the roles of state and non-state actors in influencing human rights norms. In her
article “The Globalization of Human Rights in Post-Genocide Rwanda,” she concludes that non-state
actors like international non-governmental organizations have greatly influenced post-genocide Rwanda.
Like last year, the Editorial Review Board guided the second publication of an issue—Issue 7 from
Spring 2013—to print. This feat was made possible by the support of Dr. J. Ralph Byington, Provost and
Senior Vice President. Provost Byington’s unfailing support is one indicator of a campus culture steeped
in experiential learning and undergraduate research—a culture that allows Bridges to flourish. Each issue
is a collaborative effort among students, faculty, and staff, and I wish to express my sincere appreciation
for the many dedicated people who have a hand in producing Bridges. I am personally fortunate to have
had the discerning assistance of Scott Pleasant, the managing editor, this year. Working with amazing people on Bridges is some of the most rewarding work that I do at the University. I hope that you will enjoy Issue 8 as much as I do.
—Amanda Brian, Ph.D., Editor (2012-present)