Student News

Danielle Faerber, Carla Heppert to graduate with honors

Danielle Faerber, a senior Elementary Education major, will graduate with Highest Honors from the School of Education May 10, 2009. Carla Heppert, a senior Child Development and Family Studies major, will graduate with Honors.

The two students have earned these distinctions based on their outstanding academic records as well as the successful completion and defense of their independent research projects and senior honors theses. Professor Gerald Unks serves as director of the School’s Honors Program.

Faerber’s project is titled “An Investigation of the Representation of Females in Caldecott Medal and Honor Books: Comparing Winners from 1974-1978 to Winners from 2004-2008.” She examined the 17 books from 1974-1978 and the 20 from 2004-2008 whose illustrator received the Caldecott Medal, which is given to the artist who created the most distinguished picture book of the year. In each book, she compared the number of female vs. male characters, the number of female vs. male pictures and the extent to which females and males in the pictures were represented with traditionally female and male traits.

Faerber found significant differences between the two sets of books. In the more recent books, females were more present than males, both as main characters and in pictures. Additionally, females were represented with more male-dominant traits in the later books than in the earlier ones.

Clinical Associate Professor Rhonda Wilkerson served as Faerber’s faculty advisor on the project, and Assistant Professor Julie Justice served as the reader.

A native of Pennsylvania, Faerber plans to remain in North Carolina next year and teach at the elementary level. In the future, she expects to earn a master’s degree in education.

Heppert’s project is titled “Advertising and Children: Are Advertisements for Unhealthy Foods Aimed at Children? A Comparison of the Rates and Content of Ads for Unhealthy Foods on Child and Adult Television Networks.” She recorded 28 hours of programming on each of four television networks─two morning hours and two hours evening hours each day for a week. She then categorized each food commercial as focusing on either healthy or unhealthy foods.

She found that unhealthy foods were advertised at a higher rate on only one of the two child networks, compared to both of the adult networks. Furthermore, she found that the child networks tended to use cartoon characters to advertise unhealthy foods while adult networks used advertising techniques emphasizing taste.

Heppert’s faculty advisor was Clinical Assistant Professor Sharon Palsha, with Assistant Professor Kate Gallagher serving as the reader.

Heppert, who grew up in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., plans to return to the Outer Banks next year and teach young children in the birth-kindergarten age range.

“I am excited about being able to take my new knowledge back to my home area and put it to good use,” she said. In the future, she hopes to become involved in her home community in planning programs for young children, such as preschool programs and early intervention programs for children under the age of three.