Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Mehrnaz Ahrar

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The gender gap in STEM fields in the U.S. continues to be a detriment to women’s advancement. While women represent almost half of the US workforce, only 25% of STEM-related jobs are held by women. Research suggests several sociocultural factors that may account for this gap; however, there is no current research exploring the impact of the traditionally male-dominated environment in higher education within STEM departments and female students’ academic self-efficacy. Mehrnaz’s proposed research will investigate whether or not there is a connection between a graduate student instructor (GSI)’s gender […]

Miriam Sergent-Leventhal

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Studies of educational outcomes have focused on what prevents disadvantaged students from succeeding, leaving reproduction of educational elites in a black box. Miriams research will focus on how students from elite private schools fare in a large public university, particularly the University of Michigan and Cal Berkeley. Relying on Bourdieus concept of habitus, Miriam will interview graduates of elite high schools who now attend large, public universities. In doing so, she hopes to gain insight into how the elite maintain (or possibly do not maintain) their position of power, providing […]

Natalie Rutiezer

The sweeping gestures of the body, the symbolism, the hand movements and fast ecstatic spins of Tajik dance express a history and present reality that cannot be described in words only felt. In Tajikistan, dance is an integral part of ritual, tradition, and expression of quotidian life. Natalie will travel to Tajikistan to immerse herself in the study and practice of the different regional styles of dance to encourage awareness of and conversation about the richness and complexity of Tajik culture. Natalie will teach Tajik dance techniques and choreography to […]

Nalya Arabelle Fenella Rodriguez

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Looking at the factors that led to the Salvadoran civil war, such as the social inequalities of the time, Nalya has found it important to further understand the implications of this political violence in the creation of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) street gang. Using Durkheims theory of religion, she has developed a theory on the religion of violence. This “religion” has created a system of perpetual violence in El Salvador, which was ironically exacerbated by US domestic and foreign policy on gangs and immigration. By interviewing people in Los Angeles […]

Casey Racicot

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On August 6, 2012, the Chevron Refinery in Richmond, California exploded, hospitalizing 15,000 people and causing severe environmental impacts. In the weeks that followed the explosion, the infrastructure surrounding the refinery became stressed as businesses shut down, hospitals became overwhelmed, gardens and vegetation died, and peoples sense of stability shattered. The purpose of Casey’s project is to explore the extent to which residents in the surrounding areas felt a sense of community before and after the explosion, and the medias role in shaping these perceptions. Her research will explore the […]

Andy Nguy

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Enzymes are highly efficient biological catalysts. Understanding how enzymes catalyze chemical reactions into physiological relevant rates is of great interest. Moreover, electron and proton transfers are ubiquitous in biological processes, yet it has now become clear that such electron and proton transfers may have quantum mechanical effects. Andy will be studying soybean lipoxygenase, a model enzyme that accomplishes it’s catalysis through a proton and electron transfer known as hydrogen tunneling, a purely quantum mechanical phenomenon. In an effort to better understand how catalysis is achieved through hydrogen tunneling, he will […]

Marvin Morris

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Current Bio: After 3 years supporting the CEO of a SF based nonprofit (PRC), Marvin recently returned home to UC Berkeley as an executive assistant within the Principal Gifts and Strategic Initiatives, a unit within University Development and Alumni Relations. He supports the AVC of PGSI and both EDs. Haas Scolars Project: The so-called winged-demons of Etruria appear most prominently in funerary art on painted tomb walls, as well as on clay and stone relief, vase painting and sculpture. Yet, there has been little attempt to comprehensively study and interpret […]

Karen MacLaughlin

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In first century Rome, increasing numbers of the elite class chose to commit suicide rather than forfeit their honor in the courtroom or on the battlefield. Although Stoicism had its detractors in Late Antiquity, suicide was considered by many Romans to be a rational choice. Roman Christians, however, drawn from all social classes, chose to submit to various methods of torture and death rather than participate in civic religious rites that deified the emperor. Their choice was considered to be just deserts for impiety at worst, and pitiful, at best. […]

Charlotte Hull

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Martha’s Vineyard conjures up various cultural and historical myths. But what did community life really look like for British colonial settlers in the seventeenth century? Who were these people and what did they value? This summer Charlotte will examine the abundant town records that remain in local, Vineyard archives. Yet how do you unpack a community, or even a single human, from their legal footprint, from the tangled mass of wills and land deeds? This project pieces together a single life out of the dismembered details present in the documents […]

Jay Kumar Gupta

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Humans display an intrinsic capability for prosocial behaviors: behaviors undertaken to benefit others. Stress disrupts this capability but also induces neurogenesis in the hippocampus, a brain region that functions in social memory. Understanding the relationship between stress and prosociality allows better treatment of diseases such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and depression, as the asocial nature of these disorders puts affected individuals at increased risk for anxiety. The neural and hormonal basis of this relationship is explored through a behavioral paradigm involving rats. Given that the hippocampus directly projects to components […]