Jordan Larsen, a junior history of science, technology and medicine major from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Roland Lehr Phi Beta Kappa Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Research for an Honors research project she undertook in fall 2015 with Dr. Piers Hale, Professor of History of Science. The award includes at $200 stipend. In her project, she examined Arabella Buckley’s contribution to the late 19th-century evolutionary narrative. In Arabella Buckley’s Epic: Uniting the Evolutionary Epic & Spiritualism to Account for the Evolution of Morals from Mutualism, Jordan posited that although many of Charles Darwin’s contemporaries interpreted his theory of natural selection as evidence of competition ruling nature, science writer and popularizer Arabella Buckley was the first to characterize Darwin’s theory of the evolution of morals as mutualistic rather than materialistic, doing so through a unique consolidation of evolutionary epic and spiritualism. While scholars have stressed Buckley’s contribution to the evolutionary narrative as either driven by a maternal tradition or motivated by her spiritualistic beliefs, Jordan argued that the significance of her distinctive, mutualistic addition to the debate on the evolution of morals lies in her unifying theory of traducianism.
In addition to sharing the findings of her research at the department’s Undergraduate Research Evening last December, Jordan presented her research findings at the OU Undergraduate Research Day on April 2 as part of a panel with two other HSCI students, Brenna McCullough and Jon Self. For her presentation at Undergraduate Research Day, she received the Roland Lehr Phi Beta Kappa Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Research, which was formally presented to her at a reception at the Honors College to recognize all 2015-2016 Honors award recipients. The written portion of Jordan’s project was selected for publication in this year’s edition of The Honors Undergraduate Research Journal, for which she was also recognized at the Honors College reception. Jordan is the 2016 recipient of the History of Science Department Corliss E. and Esther C. Livesey Endowed Scholarship, and she has been elected to membership Phi Beta Kappa. Jordan hopes to attend medical school and become a physician.