Decadent Conservatism and Queerness in T. S. Eliot's Writing

In 1947, T. S. Eliot announced to his epistolary companion, Emily Hale, that heterosexual sex was revolting. This may be incongruous with Eliot’s advocacy for a Christian conservative society, since, in the past fifty years, heterosexuality and political conservatism in the United States have become strongly associated. American conservatives hold political institutions and the reproductive family to be sacred. Conservative forefathers, however, do not consistently align with such political and sexual traditionalism. T.S. Eliot, a cornerstone of Anglo-American conservatism, combined traditionalism and the exploration of sexual deviance and celibacy. This study will examine how queer affect and conservatism intersect in Eliot’s writing, before America’s hardening as a “straight state” after World War II. I will read a selection of Eliot’s works and correspondence, hypothesizing that there is an unexplored realm at the intersection of queer theory and the history of conservatism. This project examines how sexual deviance and political conservatism […]

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Reactive Oxygen in the Locus Coeruleus

Sleep is a fundamental aspect of human health. One way that our body regulates sleep is through sleep pressure, the balance between sleep and wakefulness. The dysregulation of sleep pressure is a common occurrence in patients with Parkinson’s disease, manifesting in sleep disturbances such as insomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness. It is undetermined if sleep problems and neurodegeneration have common mechanisms, but one potential area of research is in reactive oxygen species (ROS), which have been implicated in Parkinson’s disease. Emerging evidence indicates that ROS accumulate during steady activity of norepinephrine-releasing neurons in the locus coeruleus. These neurons are crucial for arousal and being in a state of wakefulness, and they are among the first to degenerate in Parkinson’s disease. In this project, I will use immunohistochemistry to investigate the specific type of ROS accumulation during prolonged locus coeruleus neuron activity, such as during sleep deprivation, and determine whether recovery […]

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Provocative and Fun: How Social Factors Influence Video Game Design

Children who are facing structural disadvantages such as poverty or racism are often left with few opportunities for change. This may result in consequences that directly impact their lifelong economic mobility and opportunities. Interventions such as cognitive behavioral-therapy (CBT), a form of therapy supporting change in thinking and behavior, are effective; yet, the success of these interventions relies entirely on engagement. For children, CBT may be found to be boring, consisting of homework, and not fun to participate in. By creating a video game as a novel form of intervention for behavioral challenges in “heated” (provoking) situations for children, these digital natives can be reached in their preferred medium: fun and engaging video games. But what in-game mechanics and social context are necessary for a game to achieve this? I aim to identify the elements that will be used to guide the development of a novel intervention through co-design playtests […]

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A Transborder Study of Chicana/Indigena Identity Formation

The livelihood of the Poblano community’s oral histories and traditions, “desde nuestros pueblos a los estados unidos” (from our pueblos to the U.S.), is telling of my community’s ancestral resistance. The survival of our heritage allows our families to build community and identity, a home in a country that rejects and displaces both our Mexican immigrant communities and ancestral knowledge and identities. My research project is a transborder study in which I will trace my Indigenous roots in Puebla, Mexico and construct a memoir of the oral histories of my Poblano communities in Los Angeles, CA and San Bartolome Hueyapan, PU. I will identify Poblano histories and traditions that have been preserved and passed across the U.S.-Mexico border and, through this, gain an understanding of how they play a role in identity formation among returning migrants and immigrants from my ancestral homeland. My research will be a reunification with my […]

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The Impact of Enriched Environment Rearing in Cntnap2 Knockout Mice

Contactin-associated protein-like 2 (CNTNAP2) mutations are strongly associated with autism spectrum disorder, which presents with repetitive behaviors. Research has shown that mice lacking CNTNAP2 exhibit decreased numbers of GABAergic interneurons throughout the brain, and that the number and function of these interneurons in the striatum are associated with the presentation of repetitive behaviors. Recent work has shown that enriched environment rearing restores GABAergic interneuron numbers in the striatum and rescues behavioral deficits in rodent models of neuropsychiatric disorders. I will be looking at how different rearing conditions affect striatal gene expression and behaviors in CNTNAP2 knockout mice. My project will explore the interactions between genes and the environment, particularly the potential for environmental aspects to alter striatal interneuron cell types and the presence of repetitive behaviors. The goal of my project is to help provide insight into how environmental factors may influence neurodevelopmental disorders.

...Read More about Emilie Tu

Ana Castillos Black Dove: A Re-interpretation of Paloma Negra

This project interrogates narratology’s semiotic scope by decolonizing the various theories from a colonial perspective and exploring historical and cultural dynamics in Chicanx narratives. Through a close reading of Ana Castillo’s memoir Black Dove, I will contribute to existing literature concerning Chicanx narratives and Mexican ballads by deconstructing narrative theory and introducing a historically and culturally relevant perspective that offers an informed understanding of time and place into an analysis of how Chicanx narratives may work out the dynamics of Chicanx identity. I will conduct a comparative analysis of Castillo’s Black Dove with Mexico’s classic song “Paloma Negra” (Black Dove) to demonstrate how race and gender may continue to shape and reshape symbolic figures in narratives. This study exposes the urgency of research in Chicanx literature as narratology’s limited scope contributes to the erasure of Chicanx voices in literary conversation. My project will demonstrate to contemporary readers how Chicanx narrative […]

...Read More about Elizabeth Vergara