The Equitation: MCHS Academic Journal yearly academic publication
The Equitation functions as the official publication of academic work across all subjects and genres for the Mira Costa High School community, and intends to publish the work not only of current students, but also faculty, staff, administration, and alumni. The goal of the journal is to highlight the academic work and legitimacy of the many amazing academic ventures occurring on and off campus.
Current (Inaugural) Edition
Volume 1, 2020 [in design full-text edition in process--please check back for active link] Editor Note It was my intention at the end of the 2020 school year to begin this academic journal for the sake of my AP Research students, as a way to legitimize the very real--and very interesting--work being pursued in their projects. Unfortunately, the pandemic had other plans for us, and my research students finished their work under strict Stay at Home orders, with limitations, and major challenges to their processes. However, their resilience was incredibly apparent in their final products. To pay homage to them, I've put together this first edition of the journal in their honor and as a way to give a foundation to this continued endeavor. My hope is to inspire a group of enthusiastic editors--students and staff--for the sake of the completion of the 2021 edition in conjunction with the presentation of such work for the entire academic community of Mira Costa High School. In subsequent years, I hope to see works not just of my own AP Research cohort, but those of the many academically-enthusiastic people on our campus, beyond the subject matter of lesson plans in the classroom, furthering the personal and professional interests of the community at-large. Please enjoy the hard work of some of the early pioneers of the MCHS Capstone program in this first (somewhat informal) volume of The Equitation.
2. The Contingency of the Equal Rights Amendment: A Necessary Safeguard or Antiquated Formality? Kenna Horgan, class of 2020 Abstract: While judicial precedents and legislation protecting against gender discrimination already exist, ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) would enshrine the universal right to gender equality in the United States Constitution, in turn, making the aforementioned stipulations much more difficult to overturn. The residual effects of the ERA opposition’s effective crusade against ratification include politicization of the notion of equality and support for the amendment becoming an increasingly partisan issue. This study serves as inquiry into whether the ERA is a necessary protection or an unnecessary symbolic gesture, as well as a gauge of current youth sentiments regarding the amendment. Analysis was conducted in the form of a case study, with eight students at Mira Costa High School interviewed. The terminology of the ERA was also examined, with participants asked whether their opinion of the amendment would change if the term equality was substituted for equity, in an attempt to address the common criticism that the ERA would prevent laws from differentiating between the sexes. The results ultimately demonstrated widespread unfamiliarity of the ERA among interviewed youth, a discordance in male and female participant appraisals of the state of gender-equality within their community, and evidence of politicization of the ideal of equity.
3. Analysis of Mushroom Cellulases and the Practicalities of Biofuels as an Alternative Energy Jessica Kim, class of 2020 Abstract: Biofuels fail to be produced commercially today despite the fact that using them brings various improvements to the environment. A plethora of improvements can be made to the biofuel production process to produce them more efficiently, and what will be studied specifically will be the enzyme hydrolysis step of the biofuel production process. Although biofuels are not speculated to be a main source of fuel to depend on in the future, they still provide significant environmental changes. By conducting lab work on multiple different types of store-bought mushrooms, species that perform better than the cellulases currently being researched will be identified; lab work will include biotechnology techniques such as micropipetting and light spectrophotometry. In addition, methodology includes studying the rate at which the cellulases perform in biological reactions, and comparing their size to a standard. This study analyzes in depth the rates of several store-bought mushrooms’ cellulase enzymes and draws conclusions on whether any of these species will improve the production process. In addition, the environmental impacts of biofuels, oil, and coal will be used to describe the practicalities behind incorporating biofuels into society.
4. The Presumed Death of 2D Animation Cristian Kloes, class of 2020 Abstract: With the last 2D Animated Feature film, “Winnie the Pooh”, being released in 2011, and the absence of 2D Animation from the screen since then, the Animation industry seems to be certain that 2D Animation is Dead. But 2D Animation is still treading along in Asia, and new short films are released frequently in Europe, so how could the medium be dead? Is “Dead” an exaggeration, or does it perfectly describe the situation? Specifically, it is western animation in the United States that seems to be missing from the picture. Through the usage of interviews with animation professionals and surveys of the Animation Community and General Public, and the analysis of recent animated films and advancements in animation software, this paper aims to find a more conclusive stance as to where the future of 2D Animation lies and whether or not the medium is, in fact, dead.
5. Russia and the West: History and Philosophy of Slavophile Ideology Mia Milosevic, class of 2020 Abstract: The analysis of Russian history throughout the 17th-20th centuries demonstrates an ideological divergence between Russia and the West. The opposition documented between the two entities implies a long held separation that must be acknowledged in order to allow for further investigation into the Russian-Western division. Slavophilism, a 19th century intellectual movement characterized by the desire for the Russian empire to advance in accordance with Russia’s early history and fundamental principles, was advocated by the Slavophiles who preached this ideology. The 19th century Slavophile ideology serves as a microcosm of Russia’s broader perception of and relationship to the West. It is through the investigation of this ideology that a simplified “philosophy of Slavophile ideology” can be developed in order to summarize Russia’s seemingly ambiguous and complex relationship to the West, in addition to Russia’s perception of its own fundamental principles in relation to the West. Recognizing the ideological divide between Russia and the West, the 19th century Slavophile movement was explored with an overarching goal to devise a “philosophy of Slavophile ideology.” The results of this analysis concluded that the philosophy of Slavophile ideology follows a basic Hegelian rhythm which served as a framework for the Romantic, Slavophile dichotomy of “we” and “they”—and may serve as a philosophy from which to further investigate Russia’s perception of the West, in the same or alternative timeframe. Ultimately, it was nationalism, Romanticism, and German idealistic philosophy that influenced broader Russian ideology to posit itself against the “others”. Such a conclusion implies that Western influence fueled Russian opposition; although Russia’s fundamental aim is to denounce the influence of the West, Western thought paradoxically influenced Russia’s ideological framework of which generally condemns Western principles. However, Russia’s early history serves as the original influence of the Slavophile movement and the “Russian path”.
6. Success of CBD Businesses Laura Pickard, class of 2020 Abstract: Following the growth of the cannabinoid (CBD) industry, research explores and culminates distinct patterns between successful CBD businesses. Research includes the longevity of the business, marketing methods, general profit trends, and the parallel between CBD laws. It is expected to find trends between companies that include creative methods of selling and distributing process. The information will be gathered through means of interviews with various owners of CBD businesses as well as literature review on the laws and overall growth of the CBD economy. Hayden Fisher will act as the primary informant on the issue, as a CBD company owner himself, Lokus. Through the research, it was found that the unique qualities that make each business successful vary from each business. Depending on their time of entering the market, the businesses have had different struggles and obstacles to overcome in terms of the law. The current restrictions on businesses that inhibit this growth have lessened as more research has come forward about the product. There still remains to be significant barriers regarding methods of payment and advertising. Through personal stories and trials, companies are often subjected to frequent site closers and suspensions of service. Due to the dynamic nature of this industry, these “shut-downs” create instability and damage to companies reputations and client bases.
7. Practicality of the Use of Animals in Testing Cosmetics Shriya Pillan, class of 2020 Abstract: This paper explores whether or not the use of animals to test cosmetics is practical for companies. Different ways that products are tested on animals will be discussed, and then the positive and negative impacts that using animal testing has on companies. Following this, the paper will have alternatives to animal testing, along with their respective benefits and downfalls. For data, a survey will be conducted in order to determine whether or not a person’s decision to buy a product is impacted by the means used to test it.
8. The Silent Pandemic: How Food Insecurity, in the Greater Los Angeles Area, has Affected Different Demographics and the Consequences which have Resulted from the Lack of Accessible Food Ryan Rossow, class of 2020 Abstract: Researchers Diana Cutts, MD, and John Cook, Ph.D., MAEd define food insecurity, by the US Department of Agriculture, as, "lack of consistent access to enough healthy food for an active healthy life,"(Cutts, Cook, 2017). Food Insecurity has been a problem since the beginning of time with the creation of a class system; some can provide for themselves, and those who cannot, which will be sentenced to penury and woe. Reviewing the causes of food insecurity, and the effects on distinct populations, I hope to better understand how this problem originates in certain areas, amongst certain groups, and therefore how to prevent a perceived guaranteed outcome. I divided my research into different segments. This enabled me to review different demographics that are affected, granularly, by analyzing prior research and conducting comprehensive focused interviews with executives of large regional food banks in my community. With segmenting the topics I was able to construct a pathway to analyze and predict food insecurity patterns while looking at ways to solve the issue. At the beginning of my research, I had perceived food insecurity affects only those considered to be a part of the homeless population, however, the reality of this problem is its reach and depth into communities. Food insecurity is found in low-income families and individuals, college students in our community of Los Angeles and the UC systems, and the homeless population. Through the research conducted, food insecurity is a problem that has many layers and continues to affect the world population to this day.
9. The Foster System Kaitlyn Sciarrino, class of 2020 Abstract: Children are in the foster care system because they or their families are going through a crisis. These children often have been removed from their parents because of physical or sexual abuse, emotional and medical neglect, incarceration, abandonment, death, truancy, or even voluntary placement. These kids enter the system at all different ages, and they all require different levels of care. Mark Courtney, the lead researcher in the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study, or CalYOUTH, says, "There is already much water under the bridge before they even enter into care." In 25 states, these children are still required to leave the system on their 18th birthday, regardless of the amount of time they have spent in the system or their readiness to live independently. In the CalYOUTH study, Courtney found that by June of their senior year, a majority of foster youth will not be able to graduate high school on time. By age 21, 84 percent earn a high school diploma or a General Education Diploma (GED), and 50 percent will have started college.
10. The Corruption of Clemency Ashley Stepczyk, class of 2020 Abstract: In this research paper, I intend to explore the nature of clemency and how it differs when used by various presidents in different time periods. The purpose of this study is to shed light on the numerous downfalls present within our current clemency system. I framed my research by beginning to examine the number of clemencies granted during each presidency. Following this I researched four of the president’s backgrounds and values and how that may have influenced their clemency choices. Presidents base their decisions to pardon individuals based on past relationships, money, background and sentence length, which tends to cause controversy within the public. Clemency has long term implications not only for the person being considered, but for the public as well. Some presidents have granted clemency to further their cause. Clemency can be referred to by some as presidential overreach. Presidents such as George Washington, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Donald Trump were compared based on the individuals they pardoned as well as the circumstances under which they granted these pardons. I found that there were no patterns whatsoever between presidents and each president had their own reasoning for why they feel a person should be set free. By shedding some insight onto the process of clemency throughout different presidencies, I hope to bring awareness to the fact that clemency is not always a fair process and the guidelines to be followed may vary allowing for too much room for one’s own interpretation. I expect numerous clemencies to be issued as our current president nears his term, and I hope my paper can allow readers to view these acts with a more critical eye.
11. Antibiotic Resistance in Propionibacterium acnes and the Implications on Modern Medicine Katherine Stone, class of 2020 Abstract: This study will seek to explore the rise of antibiotic resistance in Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), the gram-positive bacilli bacteria linked as a causative agent in the common skin condition acne vulgaris. In light of the increase in antibiotic resistance in P. acnes over the last few decades and the detrimental effects of antibiotic resistance on medicine, the history of antibiotic resistance and acne pathogenesis will be explored to provide a foundation for this study. The methodology will include Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion tests to determine the susceptibility of P. acnes to common antibiotic treatments for acne. The same methodology will be utilized to evaluate the efficacy of common alternative treatments. Then, the data for antibiotics and alternative methods of acne treatment will be compared to identify solutions to the issue of antibiotic resistance. This study is limited to a singular pathogen for the purposes of experimental design but is cognizant of the varying factors that contribute to acne vulgaris as a whole.