Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Jessica Allen

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The constellation of the black genealogies begins and starts from black wombs. In essence, the womb provides safe incubation for a developing fetus and is, in essence, the location where you’re most connected from your source of life on a physical, emotional, and quantum spiritual level. The inhumane conditions of chattel slavery were rooted in control, regulation, and constant demand.This constant supply and demand to restock plantation communities made Black womb’s an inexhaustible commodity and money-making device. According to the statistics from the National Partnership of Women and their Families […]

Mira McQuown

The project goal is to use microscopic approaches to statistically evaluate patterns in lithic resource utilization and obsidian sourcing using X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) on samples from two archaeological sites in the Santa Cruz Mountains. XRF studies have led to knowledge about how Native people had wide-spread networks of trade, since obsidian can be sourced to specific locations across the state. Examining lithic (stone tool) samples provide markers for social interactions and exchange, showing the patterns of source use before and during European contact. If Native people living in the mountains […]

Christine Wakayama

Infantile epileptic spasms syndrome (IESS) is a catastrophic epilepsy that occurs in children between 3-24 months of age. IESS is frequently associated with developmental regression and cognitive deficits. In over half of cases, IESS progresses into other forms of intractable epilepsy. The ketogenic diet, however, can be an effective therapy for epilepsy–in particular children with intractable IESS. While the mechanism of the ketogenic diet in the treatment of epilepsy is not known, its use has been implicated in reducing neuroinflammation. Specifically, levels of cytokines may serve as markers of disease […]

Candance Sorensen

My research project focuses on investigating the comorbidity of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in women and people AFAB. While PMDD is a common hormonal mood disorder affecting up to 8% of women of reproductive age, it is understudied. Recent studies have suggested a high prevalence of PMDD in women with ADHD, with estimates as high as 45%. The impact of PMDD on daily functioning, mental health, and quality of life is significant, with symptoms including irritability, mood swings, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and increased risk of suicide […]

Ruhao (Irene) Pang

In the framing process of affirmative action, how is our fragmented news system increasingly tailored to targeted audiences of particular political stripes? What interpretation is made available in news publications? In 2014, the decision of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action expanded the influence of affirmative action on college admission. This decision further triggered left-leaning and right-leaning news outlets to inform and set agenda for specific groups.As opposed to the existing agenda-setting research or content analysis research in the 1980s or 1990s for the public at large with unified […]

Denise Mendez

Student parents, a subset of non-traditional students, face unique challenges balancing family, school, work, health, and finances, making it difficult to pursue higher education. My research aims to explore how student parents develop and utilize social capital compared to their non-traditional peers to navigate their undergraduate journey. Social capital, defined as the social resources an individual has access to through their social network, is a vital factor when determining educational access. My research will bring attention to the experiences of student parents and differentiate them from other non-traditional identities. UC […]

Cathy Zhang

Traditional language learning has been a challenging process that emphasizes memorization and repetition, usually in a classroom context. Digital language education could make it possible to immerse individual learners in virtual contexts where they can learn to produce authentic language that imitates real life conversation. The success of such attempts has yet to be widely established. Recent advances in Virtual Reality (VR) immersion and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have the potential to revolutionize the way we learn languages by providing a more immersive and interactive learning experience. My project aims to […]

Johnny Smith

Mass incarceration is a phenomenon well studied among academics and policymakers. Less emphasized is its community-based byproduct: mass probation. Contemporary shifts in cultural attitudes and policy circles increasingly emphasize the need to reduce incarcerated populations. Although releasing people from jails and prisons is a vital step in the right direction, it fundamentally entails adding to the already swelled population under community correctional control. Given the decades-long oscillating landscape, a tension persists among agents pivoting with policy: occupational duality within the probation supervision sector. Johnny’s research interest focuses on this duality—probation […]

Pedro Rodriguez

My project will study the impact that the pandemic has had on farmworkers. The pandemic demonstrated the contributions from farmworkers are essential to society and the economy. While most middle-class workers were at home quarantined, farmworkers were out working to keep food on the table for others. The pandemic exposed the fundamental contributions that farmworkers make to this country. As a result, they were able to be recognized as “Essential” workers. At the time of the lockdown, “essential workers” were praised and glorified for risking their lives and the lives […]

Selina Pacheco

Childhood family income is a powerful predictor of academic achievement and mental health. Prior research indicates that children in poverty with better academic performance and more depressive symptomatology tend to have higher temporal coupling between lateral frontoparietal network (LFPN; supports executive functions) and Default Mode Network (DMN; supports internally-directed thought) than lower-performing children in poverty, in direct contrast to the pattern observed for children above poverty. Thus, an open question is whether this pattern of connectivity adaptive for children in poverty has maladaptive long-term consequences, particularly for mental health. This […]