Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Brittany Gabel

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International tourism provides tourists with a physical space that allows them to encounter new experiences, exotic places, and unfamiliar cultures. For the most part, these experiences abroad stimulate inter-cultural contact, which results in the formation of an ethnic relation between strangers. My research aims to identify the different affinities, misunderstandings, and stereotypes that can characterize this relationship in the tourist setting of San Jose, Costa Rica. I will study two groups: tourists from the United States who come to San Jose for short-term vacations and tour-guides from Costa Rica who […]

Lusha Liang

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In bacterial genomes, functionally related genes tend to be grouped together in operons, possibly to facilitate co-regulation and coordinated horizontal gene transfer. However, co-regulation and the formation of selfish gene clusters cannot explain the co-localization of regulators and their target operons. Yet this co-localization of prokaryotic transcription factor genes and their binding sites is widespread and is a driving force in the specific organization of transcriptional units on the chromosome. Thus in this study I will use the paradigmatic model of gene regulation, the lac locus, to address a fundamental […]

Abhiram Gande

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My research will focus on the effects of stress on neurogenesis (the birth of new neurons) in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the adult rat hippocampus. The hippocampus is essential for memory and learning function. Interestingly, chronic stress has been shown to decrease cell proliferation in the DG and reduce the effectiveness of hippocampuss memory function. My project will investigate one potential factor that may prevent stress-induced reduction of neurogenesis: controllability. Studies have shown that animals that can control the onset/offset of stress do not show many negative effects of […]

Eyal Mazor

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Although considerable scholarship has debunked neo-Malthusian myths of “overpopulation,” its specters and tropes continue to be invoked in environmentalist, anti-immigration, and ‘development’ discourses. However, little historical work has been done on the origins of these discourses. My project focuses on the genesis of a particular concept that raises specters of “overpopulation” — ‘human carrying capacity’– whose various conceptual, political, and historical blind spots I will seek to elucidate and contextualize, and whose textual origins in late colonial Zambia place it at the cusp of a scientific revival of neo-Malthusian thinking. […]

Faith Gardner

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This research explores three pulp novels by 20th century American writer James M. Cain and their subsequent film adaptations of the 1940&Mac226;s: The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce and Double Indemnity. These three movies are a few famous examples of film noir, an American cinematic style that reached its heyday in the 1940&Mac226;s. My research explores the text of these novels in comparison with their film translations, along with theoretical, historical and other secondary resources. I hope to better understand how instruments such as syntax, narrative structure and point […]

Alexander Parisky

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This summer, I will find the precise location of a gene known as rmr4 in the Zea mays genome. This process is known as mapping, and will require me to spend time at the lab bench, in the greenhouse, and on the internet. I will use bioinformatics tools available online to design specialized markers in order to determine the recombination frequencies between known loci and my gene, enabling me to identify exactly where the gene resides. I will employ DNA extraction methods, PCR, and gel electrophoresis in order to gather […]

Miriam Alvarado

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This summer, I will be in Mumbai, India, researching the effects of behavior change approaches to public health issues. As a member of Haath Mein Sehat (HMS), a water and sanitation-based student organization, I will be an active participant in the creation of an intervention intended to increase rates of handwashing amongst children in slum communities. My research will focus on assessing the consequences of HMS focus on behavior change, and how this approach is perceived by the communities in which HMS works. Through this analysis, I intend to address […]

Shauna Peterson

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To the European mind, conditioned by the Renaissance ideals of linear perspective, the two-dimensional patterns of the indigenous people of colonial-era Peru proposed a very different conception of space. In an attempt to qualify a process that defies traditional Renaissance visual standards, art historians termed the indigenous artists conversion of three-dimensional forms into flat patterns planimetricism. Through an examination of a colonial Peruvian tapestry and its relationship with Inca textiles and contemporary colonial church faade decoration I will address both pre-Conquest and European influences and ultimately, suggest that these two-dimensional […]

Jonathon Atkinson

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Friedrich Nietzsche wrote that his was a nihilistic age, one in which the question why, in relation to issues of morality, ethics, and meaning, finds no answer. Using Nietzsche as well as Martin Heideggers writings as points of departure, I will consider the following questions, among others: In what sense might our age be understood as nihilistic? How did this come to be? What can or should be done to cope with this situation? In so doing, I will bear two considerations in mind: First, what it would mean to […]

Erik Petigura

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Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe behind hydrogen and helium. However, measuring its abundance in stars is surprisingly difficult. This is because oxygen transition lines are weak, hard to model, or contaminated with other lines. Recently, new techniques for measuring the oxygen content from stellar spectra have been developed. I will apply these techniques to the nearest 1000 solar-type stars and measure their oxygen content. The oxygen content in stars plays an important role in planet formation. Specifically, the ratio of carbon to oxygen is critical […]