From the Kuyper Scholars Program

Kuyper Scholars Papers

The Kuyper Scholars Program is the honors program at Dordt College. Below is a selection of papers written for seminars that I have presented in front of other Kuyper Scholars, or presented through a variety of other platforms throughout the school.

I joined the Kuyper Scholars Program here at Dordt because I saw it as an opportunity to be able to do research in topics that interested me, and yet were not directly linked to my majors. One common theme that has remained constant through my four years in the Kuyper Scholars Program is I tend to write on media, such as movies, photography, and music, and how media influences our lives in different ways. One of my earlier papers compared the politics of Star Wars to American politics and that trend of comparing a creative element to reality continued all the way up to my final paper. My final paper focuses on the role of K-POP, specifically the group BTS, on teenagers and adults. However, with the final paper, I had learned to study not just the media but the culture around the media, and how that itself impacts the media, which is reflected in my final paper. 

Through writing all these papers, I have discovered my love for studying the media and its impacts on society. I believe that the media that is created and consumed influences us in some way, while at the same the media reflects what is happening within the culture. Taking time to study what is popular in the media is a great way to study our culture. Moving forward, I would love to take what I have studied and written about in KSP and use that knowledge to create media that has a positive effect on the culture in America and around the world if possible. 

Select Papers

The Rise of K-Pop

Abstract

This paper is an extended look at how the history if South Korea after World War II influenced the genre that has taken the world by storm, K-Pop. The paper starts with the Korean War, and how music grew and expanded during and after the war. Then it focuses on the beginning of K-Pop with the first group Seo Taiji and Boys and how this new pop music in Korean gain traction. The paper finishes with the explosive growth of K-Pop in America, focusing on the group BTS, as well as what Christians can learn about communicating with the younger generation. 

The reason why I felt the need to do an in-depth study of Korean culture and BTS is for the fact that BTS has had such a positive impact on my life, even though they are from a different culture and speak a completely different language.  As I studied into the history of South Korea, and the culture that surrounded the rise of K-Pop, the meanings of the songs from BTS that I listened to had a whole new meaning, for they were not writing about topic that related to a global population, but they also gave social commentary of living in South Korea as well. BTS is a great example of media that is influenced by their culture, and at the same time using their platform to influence the lives of others. 

Two Unique Ways to Freeze a Moment in Time

Abstract

Living in the modern world, a person is constantly flooded with images, whether that be photos for advertisement, or photos as artwork, or photos they have taken. Photography has come a long way since the first camera. The two main ways of taking a photo are by using a film camera or a digital camera. Both styles of cameras have their benefits and their drawbacks, and they both add something unique to the finished product. The first part of the paper is an exploration of the difference between film and digital photography, and the strengths and weakness of both styles.

 With the advancement in photo manipulation technology, it has become easier to spread false ideas and lies about a variety of subject matter, with the biggest being the concept of the ideal body image. With so many images constantly being shown to any one person, it can become easy to believe the lies that the photo is telling. As Christians, it is important to take time and reflect on what is actually true in a photo and what is the lie that they are being sold. With this discernment, Christians can prevent their faith from stumbling and help those who have bought into the lies told through photos. 

This topic inspired me because I always wanted to learn how to use black and white photography, and the more I learned, the greater confection I drew between film and digital photography. Both ways are able to show a moment in time, yet they each have their own aesthetic. This was a fun creative research paper that I did.  

The Difference Between Public and Private Christian High Schools

Abstract

Here in America, every kid is encouraged to go to school. To satisfy the great diversity, there are multiple different school types that kids can do for their primary education. Most people choice a system of education and stick with it through 12th grade. Then it is off to college and the pot gets mixed with students from all different backgrounds and different educations. Attending Dordt, a majority of the student population comes from a private Christian high school. Growing up, I went to the public schools by my house. Coming to Dordt from a different education made it difficult at the beginning of college to feel truly at home and make friends. 

A common stereotype held among Christian students in public schools is that Christians who graduate from private Christian high school are better academically and spiritually because of the school they went to. Starting at Dordt with that worldview made it difficult to find common ground with my peers throughout freshman year. This year I took time to research and talk with students from private Christian high schools to understand exactly what it means to attend one of those schools, and to break the stereotype and change the worldview that I held.  

This also included an edited video from the interviews.  

This project was near and dear to my heart because it allowed me the opportunity to break some of the stereotypes that I held about private Christian school kids. It also allowed for me to connect with my peers who were from a private Christian school in a deeper way, because I was able to understand where they were coming from in their thinking. I has strengthen my relationships with them and I grateful I took the time to do this research.

The Future Empire of America

Abstract

Star Wars is one of the most popular film franchises in recent history. They have worldwide acclaim, and as the new trilogy is coming out, many people are re-watching the original trilogies and the prequels. Having seen them multiple times before, one thing that caught me off guard is how political relevant this is to America in 2015. This paper looks at the similarities and differences between the two political systems in American and in Star Wars.

I took on this project because I always had this strange love for the prequels, even though they are not as good as the original trilogy. Going through the politics of the Star Wars Universe, showed me how the politics of our current state is important and it is not something to be ignored. I gained a deeper appreciation for the politics of the United States and I take a greater interest in it now. 

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