Stefanie Stella Como

Past research by Shelton, Richeson, and Salvatore (2005) has shown that minority group members feel less authentic interacting with people outside of their ethnic group than with their in-group. There are many reasons why people feel inauthentic during such interactions, but one likely part of the explanation is based on regulatory focus theory (Higgins, 1997). This theorizes that people interact with the world in two ways. People who are promotion focused gear themselves toward aspirations and gains; conversely, prevention focused people vigilantly avoid negative outcomes (Seibt & Forster, 2004). In my project I will test the hypothesis that stigmatized people who interact with someone outside of that group become more prevention focused and less promotion focused which leads them to modify their behavior and feel less authentic.

Ashley Nicole Lipps

Age-related bone loss and osteoarthritis have been exhibited in several mammalian species, and both are especially common in humans. However, the etiology behind age-related bone loss is highly complicated and osteoarthritis is especially unstudied. Previous studies have relied on rodent models and have primarily investigated changes in BMD (Bone Mineral Density); however several weaknesses are associated with both approaches. I will be using Macaca mulatta, a similar species to humans with analogous bone remodeling processes in both cancellous and cortical bone. I will be using two methods: 1) histomorphometric analysis of rib microstructure and 2) physical scoring of vertebral osteoarthritis and osteophytosis. My analysis will thoroughly track the progression of bone loss and disease from maturation to old age.

Jacob Harrison Levine

The current conception of the hormonal regulation of mammalian reproduction purports that the anterior pituitary gland and the peripheral sex organs are controlled by a hypothalamic releasing factor (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone: GnRH) which acts on the pituitary. Recent research suggests that secretion of hypothalamic releasing factor is itself tightly regulated by neuropeptides that are novel to this line of research. One such peptide, kisspeptin, also known in cancer research as metastin for its role as a metastasis suppressor, has been shown to be a positive regulator of the reproductive axis, acting to increase secretion of GnRH from the hypothalamus. Recently, a novel neuropeptide was shown to be a negative regulator of the mammalian reproductive axis by our lab (Gonadotropin Inhibiting Hormone: GnIH). The goal of the lab is to integrate these two new findings into an updated conception of mammalian reproductive regulation. The present study seeks to use seasonal breeding […]

Amy Marie Jimenez

For my senior thesis, I am studying potential neural abnormalities associated with dysfunctional emotion memory and regulation in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). This study will help elucidate the role of emotion processing dysfunctions in the maintenance and expression of the disorder. I will be utilizing previously collected, un-analyzed data for this project. First, I will determine whether individuals diagnosed with MDD demonstrate preferential memory for negative events compared to healthy control individuals in a free recall memory test of emotional pictures. Then I will analyze electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings taken during encoding and retrieval of the pictures, investigating the potentially differential processing of negative versus positive stimuli between the two groups. Finally, I will explore the potential existence of depression sub-types.

Bradley Allen Hunt

‘Comedy’–as a genre, term, and concept–receives relatively little attention and academic exploration when juxtaposed with more ‘central’ fields of literary studies. Comedy is considered ‘low art’ by some, simply ‘illegitimate’ by others, and even believed to be derived from sin itself by a few literary critics. By examining the early travel writings and letters of Mark Twain, as well as the contemporary television program “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” I attempt to determine from where the marginality of the American comedic voice originates, and what effect it has on the so-called ‘power’ or ‘weight’ of American comedic texts. I will also spend time with the existing (albeit, small) body of criticism concerning comedy in order to better conceptualize and articulate the concepts examined in my primary texts.

Mariana Horta-Cappelli

Since the 1980’s our country has been fighting a “war on drugs” that is aimed at the supply side of the drug economy. Domestically this effort caused our incarcerated population to grow much faster in the past 30 years than the total population. Consequentially, a growing proportion of children experience the negative externalities of a parent’s incarceration. My research question is “How have the ‘drug wars’ affected the children of the incarcerated in California?” I’ll focus on the challenges facing families touched by incarceration and the services available to them. This topic is particularly relevant at a time when the state estimates that about 9% of California children are affected by the incarceration of a parent.

Amanda Pojanamat

In developing capitalist countries such as Thailand, many women migrate every day from the rural areas to Bangkok in search of the better life. I would like to explore how their understandings of the good life are influenced by modern discourses and whether their constructions and reconstructions of these modern discourses contain resistance either to oppressive conditions in the rural areas or in the urban. Do their interpretations of modernity ultimately provide them with the discursive tools they need to improve the conditions of their lives? To answer these questions I will work at a McDonalds in Bangkok and interview rural-urban migrant employees about the empowering and disempowering aspects of modern life.

Jobert Poblete

The Philippines has become a leader in the export of nurses. Filipino nurses are leaving by the thousands every year to take positions in chronically understaffed medical facilities in the United States and around the world. This research project is concerned with this migrant flow. Specifically, I intend to conduct ethnographic research on men doctors retraining as nurses in order to gain access to the American labor market. This practice entails a variety of maneuvers gendered, professional, and transnational. Why do these men engage in this strategy of upward and outward mobility? What forces historical, political, social, etc. are structuring this phenomenon? What are the effects on family life and professional practice?

Catherine Ngo

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in America. Hundreds of different diseases are characterized as cancer, but all have the same underlying cause. This mortal disease results from mutations in genes responsible for cell division regulation. For my project, I will positionally clone the curly mutation of Xenopus tropicalis, a defect due to alterations in a tumor suppressor gene. This summer my primary goal is to narrow in on the region in which the curly gene resides–the first step of positional cloning. After this initial step, I can later proceed to uncover the identity of the mutated gene. Through this project, we hope to advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cancer by uncovering the genes involved in its development.

Irene Chemtai Mungo

This summer, I am interested in understanding and highlighting how a local community in Mombasa, a small coastal town in Kenya is responding to the HIV/AIDS threat that is facing its members. I want to understand the role that community support groups, gatherings, church meetings, and community celebrations such as skits and dances are playing in molding dialogue about HIV/AIDS. With an understanding of the historical role of organizing in traditional African communities, this project will study how organizing and dialogue is playing a part in the education and empowering of this community. And how (if at all) it may be different from past forms of organizing. I will study the functioning of a local AIDS clinic, attend womens support group meetings, HIV youth workshops and events, and meet and interview health educators and community leaders in this effort