Jennifer Kampe

While economic consensus defined Development in terms of output growth, the Costa Rican state pursued human development both as an end in itself and as a means of achieving economic growth. Previous investments in human capital under a protective labor regime have ensured todays Costa Rican employers a stable, high-skilled work force. Yet in the context of mounting pressure to create a flexible labor market, the Costa Rican labor force risks losing the protections which are in fact the source of its competitiveness. Using national census data, interviews with union officials, and sector reports for high and low skill export manufacturing I will empirically and qualitatively explicate changes in human capital accumulation over the period 1995-2007. My purpose in conducting this study then, is to clarify the role of labor market regulation in determining human capital and to assess the case for a more protective labor regime in Costa Rica.

Adrienne Johnson

Competitive eating is a vernacular form of cultural criticism masquerading as mass entertainment. My research into the significance of competitive eating in American culture will unveil collective but inarticulated perspectives on consumerism, gender roles and our economic climate. Competitive eating is at once a glorification of American excess and an indictment of it; a direct challenge to idealized human form and a confirmation of its strength. Historically, I believe competitive eating served to homogenize immigrant diet in 19th century America. By tracking the foodstuffs of competition, I hope to prove that as American politics globalized, home-grown traditions like competitive eating grew more regional and divisive.

Jenny Hua

With the amazing economic transformations China has shown the world in the past several decades comes an expectation for the country to show signs of also transforming politically. What is the ideological glue that holds the country together after the obsolescence of Marxist-Leninism and Maoist thought? Nationalism seems to be the new official religion of China. Through participant observation in a few Shenzhen high schools, I want to see how nationalism is conceptualized and combined with morality specifically within the Chinese education system. I hope to observe the effect that moral education or deyu has on the students’ views on morality and nationalism via interviewing students and teachers from normal and vocational schools.

Itamar Haritan

I am interested in the personal and political transformations that occur at the beginning and throughout the process of mobilization for social change. In particular, I am interested in the activities of the Jerusalem Open House, a grassroots organization that is the politically active community center of the LGTBQ community in Jerusalem, a city deeply divided along various lines where even close daily contact does not translate into mutual understanding between different communities. By volunteering and interviewing individuals in the Open House, I hope to understand the personal-political transformations that are associated with processes of community-building while negotiating complex existing boundaries. I hope to contribute to the understanding of the transformative capabilities of grassroots organizations.

Sharyn Hall

Habitus is the acquired expression of personal taste in art, dialect, comportment, zip code, literature, entertainment, etc. established by the wealthy (unconsciously) as a means to set themselves apart from the working class. Yet mere expression of habitus by the lower economic strata changes their social class (Bourdieu, 1976). The Protestant Work Ethic (PWE) is best captured by the colloquialism pull yourself up by your bootstraps and is the belief that anyone can achieve wealth and success if s/he is willing to do the hard work. Notwithstanding, the social cues indicating economic status are incongruent with those revealing social position. My research examines the correlation between habitus, PWE, and sensitivity to rejection among members of the same racial/ethnic group.

Cristina Lau

As a third generation ethnic Chinese in Mexico, my research interests focus on the Chinese communities in Mexico. The Chinese people have reached many corners of the world primarily to search for new job opportunities and to start new homes. Especially active during the 19th century, the Chinese mostly migrated as coolies or contract workers, attracted to developing areas like Mexico where emerging economic needs and activities offered them job opportunities. Like my great-grandfather, with time and hard work, Chinese migrants in Mexico eventually started their own businesses, like Chinese restaurants. Chinese restaurants were lucrative because Chinese food was and continues to be considered as an exotic cuisine. Many Chinese in Mexico today work in Chinese restaurants and eventually open their own Chinese cafe or restaurant. Although Chinese migration to Mexico can date back to the colonization of Spain and the current population is over 50,000, they still remain an […]

Zoe Langer

One of the earliest fresco cycles to be of secular imagery and subject matter solely, the Allegory of Good and Bad Government (c. 1337-40) frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti portray an idealized portrait of Sienese society under one of its most potent ruling bodies, the Nine. Within and around these frescoes are inscriptions in the italian vernacular, which have been given insufficient attention and analysis by scholars. The images and inscriptions operate in conjunction, forming a dialogue. This simultaneous operation was utilized by the Sienese government as a form of self-construction and propaganda to legitimize and promote their authority. Through the inscriptions, images, and constitution the Nine used the vernacular language as a form of communication that embodied specific ideals. I hope to demonstrate the importance of the vernacular as it was conceived within the frescoes and by the Nine, and to raise larger questions about the notion of literacy both […]

Alix Mary Lacoste

Growth factors are not traditionally known to play a role in cell migration. However, preliminary data suggest that insulin-like growth factor (Igf) functions in the guidance of granule cells within the cerebellum. The cerebellum is an important structure, responsible for the fine control of balance and movement and also involved in motor learning and memory. The cerebellar granule cell is the most abundant neuron in the brain, and investigating its development and wiring could provide insights into the functioning of the cerebellum and into diseases that affect its function. Using modern genetic techniques, my research approach is to conditionally inactivate the Igf1 receptor in mice cerebella. I will then assay for aberrant granule cell localization and axon pathfinding in these mutant mice.

Baber Khan

Frontotemporal Dementia patients suffer behavioral disturbances which mimic primary psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Unfortunately, awareness of this neurodegenerative disease is limited in the psychiatric world and often demented patients are misdiagnosed. The Memory and Aging Center (MAC) at the University of California San Francisco conducts one of the largest investigations into the frontal variant dementias in the nation. I plan to systematically review 450 patients research charts at the MAC in order to precisely quantify the rate of psychiatric misdiagnosis for each of the dementia subtypes. This quantification has the potential to reduce psychiatric misdiagnosis and promote better patient care.

Joshua Kane

My research fuses the disciplines of genomics and phylogenetics in order to characterize the evolution of large gene arrays. My research focuses on an eighty-one member pre-tRNA gene array located on chromosome one of Arabidopsis thaliana. The array itself is subdivided into twenty-seven triplet gene units, each triplet consisting of a single pre-tRNASer gene and two pre-tRNATyr genes, respectively. Using genomic data, such as syntenic analysis with outgroup species, and phylogenetic reconstruction of the evolutionary history of the genes in the array, my research aims to elucidate the history of the arrays formation, and the mechanism that formed, or equally-possible mechanisms that would have formed, the array as it exists today.