“Post-Colonialism”: Traditional Foodway Loss and Health in Puerto Rico

Colonialism has displaced traditional foodways all over the globe. Moreover, even though we are in a mostly “post-colonial” world, colonialism and its effects still impact many countries. In the Caribbean, many countries have become independent, but some continue to have relationships with their previous colonizers. Puerto Rico, specifically, is still a U.S. territory and has been since 1898. Since then, traditional foodways in Puerto Rico have transformed through the decrease of subsistence agriculture as a result of U.S. intervention in Puerto Rican businesses. However, an issue that has been left unanswered by scholars is: How did U.S. colonialism over Puerto Rican foodways affect the health of Puerto Ricans? This project will analyze the health effects of U.S. colonialism on Puerto Rico’s foodways by relating foodway changes with an increase of food-related diseases in the country. Specifically, it will link high rates of obesity, diabetes, and cancer on the island to […]

...Read More about Olivia Agnew
L&S Social Sciences

The Hidden Inheritance of Black Genealogies

The constellation of 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 with 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. The agents of white supremacy preyed on colonizing Black wombs by stripping autonomy, severing parent and child attachment bonds, surveillance, and assuming ownership of infants and children to supply the next generation of forced labor and enslavement. This constant supply and demand to restock plantation communities made Black wombs an inexhaustible commodity and money-making device. According to the statistics from the National Partnership of Women and their Families, “Black women are three to four times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than white women in 2019, and Black women are […]

...Read More about Jessica Allen
L&S Social Sciences

Inductive Coding of Provider Reports for the TranS-C Treatment Program

The specific question that my research investigates is how might we better understand and optimize implementation outcomes for a novel transdiagnostic sleep intervention designed for psychiatric populations. More specifically, the goal of this project is to inductively code providers evaluations of the Transdiagnostic Intervention for Sleep and Circadian Dysfunction (TranS-C), thus providing important insight into the efficacy of this sleep-focused program’s implementation. This project contributes new knowledge to the field of psychology by attempting to more deeply understand how to properly and effectively implement novel therapies, especially for those with severe mental illness (SMI) and in community-based health centers (CBHC). It is incredibly important to meet the needs of both patients and providers when creating and implementing a novel treatment, and this project aims to precisely understand to what extent the TranS-C program is doing so. Thus, my research will inductively code providers assessments of the TranS-C treatment for the […]

...Read More about Zia Bajwa
L&S Social Sciences

How Much Black Wealth is “Acceptable” in America?

After embarking on the 100th anniversary of the decimation of the thriving African American community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, also known as “Black Wall Street” (BWS), I was inspired to explore historical and modern wealth thresholds for Blacks/African Americans, leading to perceived threat or bias. My study aims to fill a gap in the literature by testing an unresearched inclination that “black wealth” is an aversive concept to white and perhaps also to black Americans.

...Read More about Ockemia Bean
L&S Social Sciences

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 […]

...Read More about Katherine Booska
L&S Social Sciences

Piobaireachd, Clans, and Colonialism: The Decline of Highland Society

In 1746, the Battle of Culloden ended in a defeat of the Jacobites and quickly spelled the end for the unique Gaelic-speaking society that had developed in the Scottish Highlands. This is the common narrative for the decline of Gaelic-speaking Scotland and the clan system that was associated with it. My project seeks to investigate how this narrative might be complicated because of the ways in which Highlanders and their culture had become increasingly Anglicized since the reign of King James IV, the last Gaelic-speaking King of Scotland. One of the ways this cultural shift will be investigated is through the analysis of shifts in Highland bagpiping from a more Gaelic tradition to a more typical Western tradition.

...Read More about Colin Chamberlin
L&S Social Sciences

Dance as a Tool for Building Healthy Communities

Research across artistic disciplines has demonstrated that participation in the arts has a profound positive impact on the life of an individual, and on communities at large. An ecological public health model even enlists access to the arts as a core factor in shaping an individuals response to their social determinants of health. The art form of ballet, however, is working against a 400-year history of exclusionary practices and elitism that challenges the its relevancy and solvency in contemporary society. Increasingly, ballet companies are designing programming to be accessible to more diverse populations, including neurodiverse communities; however, this is an understudied field. My research aims to fill this gap in knowledge with a specific focus on dance programs designed for neurodiverse communities. The goal of my research is to create a framework of practices, interventions, and strategies that can be adopted by ballet companies to increase accessibility of the art […]

...Read More about Alexandra Cunningham
L&S Social Sciences

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 […]

...Read More about Valerie Ekko
L&S Social Sciences

Comparative Study of Naming Choices of Chinese and Indian Americans

My research seeks to answer why different ethnic groups of Asian Americans adopt American first names at distinct rates; to what extent first names affect one’s identification with one’s ethnic origin; and how gender moderates the naming process. The project was motivated by personal observations: I found that my East Asian peers all have Americanized first names, while most of my South Asian peers have first names that signal their ethnic origin – a pattern I subsequently confirmed using the California Birth Index. The quantitative discovery intrigued me enough to engage in further qualitative research. Through in-depth interviews with first- and second-generation Asian Americans of Chinese or Indian descent, I seek to uncover the motivations and consequences behind different naming practices. Given previous literature’s findings on the adverse effects of racially identifiable names and name-changing as an assimilation strategy, it is particularly interesting how two groups of immigrants display distinct […]

...Read More about Yike Gao
L&S Social Sciences

Implicit Bias & Perceived Disrespect: Latine Girls in the Classroom

My work aims to investigate how the intersection between ethnicity and gender may influence teachers’ perceptions of disrespect. Previous research has found a perceived desire for increased discipline for Black boys in the classroom relative to white boys. However, the same results could not be replicated for girls. I believe that by creating a study that is informed by Latine girls’ intersecting identities, I will find similar results for perceived disrespect. I have created a survey containing a student’s misbehavior that presents the participant with either a stereotypical Latine girl name or a stereotypical White girl name. Thereafter, participants are given survey questions that address perceived disrespect and their feelings toward the student. Participants’ responses will demonstrate whether there is greater perceived disrespect in the Latine girl condition compared to the White girl condition. These results could suggest a need for further research on how differential perceptions may affect the […]

...Read More about Alondra Garcia
L&S Social Sciences

Morphology of Sulci in OFC Predict Emotionally-Related Impulsivity

The characteristics of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and measures of emotionally-related impulsivity (ERI) offer strong diagnostic potential in the identification of internalized and externalized disorders (Nakamura et al., 2020; Johnson et al., 2013). Yet, nearly two dozen papers attempted to locate the neural correlates of ERI with no success (Johnson et al., 2020) until recently, with the discovery of a morphological link between the OFC and measures of ERI (Elliott et al., 2021). Of interest to the present project, separate and prior work identified that the patterning of indentions (sulci) in OFC were different between healthy controls and neurodiverse populations, as well as predicted symptom severity and various outcomes (Nakamura et al., 2020). In the present study, we aim to link these two branches of research to understand the role of sulcal morphology in ERI. Preliminary results support both the qualitative perspective that the number of sulci and quantitative perspective […]

...Read More about William Hastings
L&S Social Sciences

The Role of Episodic Memory in Learning

Studying learning is crucial to understanding the human mind. Currently, active research is being done on the relationship between cognitive processes and memory systems. While most studies focus on the systems individually, much recent research shows that human learning can be better explained by considering multiple systems simultaneously. We focus on the RLWM framework, which suggests that reinforcement learning (RL) and working memory (WM) both contribute significantly to trial-and-error learning. It takes into account the limited capacity of memory, more efficiently accounting for dependence of learning on the number of items learned in parallel than only considering RL to model behavior. Recent literature has shown that episodic memory (EM) contributes to learning alongside RL and WM. However, no study has examined the role of all three systems (RL, WM, EM) jointly so far. This project, therefore, aims to find whether EM affects RLWM learning and how it contributes to the […]

...Read More about Soobin Hong
L&S Social Sciences

The Involuntary Excluder Effect in Varying Group Size

When you get rejected by a member of your group, you may feel as if other members are also excluding you. Such a misconception in social exclusion is documented as the Involuntary Excluder Effect (IEE). Although IEE is known to be robust in one-person exclusion, its scope and mechanism remain unknown. Given the consequences of exclusion on ones emotions and workplace productivity, it is crucial to understand how IEE plays out in real-life situations. How does having more included or excluded members affect the level of IEE? What mechanisms explain it? In this study, I will measure the robustness of the IEE by varying the number of included and excluded members and test its mechanism by measuring how ones role as an included or rejected person changes ones construal of the ambiguous exclusion. This robustness check should increase the external validity of this research, given it is common for one-person […]

...Read More about Rinda Kawamoto
L&S Social Sciences

A Duopoly of Violence: Conflict and Competition in Canada's Fur Trade

For two hundred years, the Hudson’s Bay Company exercised de facto colonial rule over most of central and western Canada. While many concessionary regions monopolizing extractive production have experienced negative developmental outcomes, Canada is one of the world’s most prosperous countries, and has a less negative record of native persecution. I seek to analyze whether this paradoxical result can be in part explained by the HBC’s competition with the French and several independent British firms during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, which may have created “outside options” that increased indigenous bargaining power.

...Read More about Davis Kedrosky
L&S Social Sciences

Dirt, Concrete, and Shifting Inequities on Bay Area Highways, 1910-2020

Since their inception, the role and cultural significance of highways have aligned with contemporary issues of inequity and have been vectors of harm. I will analyze the history of the Bay Area’s highways and examine the inequity that shaped and was built into the public understanding of the highways, as well as the structures themselves. Three main eras I will focus on are: 1910–1940, when highways were novel and their place in culture was being constructed; 1941–1980, when they were used as a tool to reshape communities and the dynamics of urban-suburban relationships; and 1980–present, when the adverse consequences of living near highways has come to be more recognized, which increasingly informs attitudes toward them, particularly in the Bay Area. Using Geographic Information Systems tools, I will investigate the impacts freeways have on quality of life and compare those to the demographics most affected by highways today to understand current […]

...Read More about Silas Kirsch
L&S Social Sciences

Womxn and Queerness: A Fire Within a Revolution

How have womxn and queer people of color created nurturing communities based on mutual aid, care, and solidarity, amid structural violence? Throughout history, revolutions such as the Cuban Revolution and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico, have become landmarks in the fight against colonialism and capitalism in Latin American, Central American, and Caribbean countries. However, there is a lack of research on the impact of womxn and queer people in the fight for revolutionary change. Over the course of the summer, my mentor Juana and I will collect data looking at how womxn and queer-identifying communities of color historically and in modern society, utilize abolitionist practices to organize and mobilize for social change. Through the lens of Cuban society, particularly communities of queer Cuban womxn, the experiences and demands of the most marginalized groups in society can be uplifted and shared. By understanding how womxn and queer community spaces weave […]

...Read More about Alejandra Merino
L&S Social Sciences

Community-Scale Air Quality Exposure Analysis for Health Disparities

What individual- and household-level interventions are most feasible for the mitigation of air pollution exposure in underserved and disproportionately impacted communities? This is a critically important question as exposure to ambient air pollution is a globally leading cause of adverse health and morbidity. Furthermore, underserved communities are limited economically, so it is important to co-develop feasible strategies for those with fewer resources. Centering on the needs of underserved populations in the Inland Empire, with potential global applications, this project will contextualize applications for air pollution emissions data in regions that have been severely impacted by exploitative economic practices (e.g., warehousing and rail expansion for goods movement, fossil fuel mining, etc.). Working within the constraints of an under-engaged population to come up with a practical solution helps them gain autonomy over their own exposure. This project has the potential to inform other researchers in air quality engineering and apply the findings […]

...Read More about Charlotte Mourad
L&S Social Sciences

Ghetto Ebraico: A Medieval History of the Jewish People of Bologna

In early January 2022, I arrived in Italy for the start of my semester abroad at the University of Bologna. While exploring Bologna, I discovered that I was living in what was the city’s Jewish ghetto in the Middle Ages. I was immediately intrigued and, upon conducting further research, was convinced that this important history should be the subject of a research project. This project will carefully construct and analyze a cohesive and holistic history of the Jewish community of Bologna during the Middle Ages. By using a variety of primary sources, I aim to paint a complete picture of the social, economic, intellectual, religious, and personal history of this community. Particularly, I hope to reveal how, despite facing oppression and limitations, the Jewish community of Medieval Bologna experienced a long period of prosperity and was embraced and valued by the general Bolognese population. I thus hope to connect this […]

...Read More about Tessa Mouw
L&S Social Sciences

Educational Equity: Undocumented Students Navigating Higher Ed

Undocumented students are an underrepresented group in higher education. One of their many challenges is having limited financial and academic opportunities as a result of their legal status. Institutions need to create intentional practices that expose undocumented students to resources and opportunities to dismantle inequalities in the college experience. This research study will seek to understand the degree to which community colleges assist undocumented students with navigating the education system by connecting them to opportunities and resources. I will also explore the extent to which undocumented students take advantage of these opportunities and how doing so impacts academic outcomes in terms of grades and college completion. The study will explain the importance of exposing undocumented students to productive activities that are designed to enrich their learning experiences and increase graduation rates.

...Read More about Ana Navidad Rayon
L&S Social Sciences

Increasing the Efficacy of Cognitive Reappraisal

I am interested in studying strategies to increase the efficacy of cognitive reappraisal, an emotion regulation strategy in which one alters thoughts about an event to modify one’s emotional response to that event. Cognitive reappraisal can be effective in down-regulating negative emotions in stressful, emotional situations. However, because cognitive reappraisal has been shown to deplete cognitive resources, implementing cognitive reappraisal can be difficult in emotional situations that are cognitively demanding. The project aims to study whether implementation intentions, a strategy known for its ability to automatize desired behaviors in goal achievement literature, can automatize cognitive reappraisal in the down-regulation of negative emotions. Over the summer, I plan to compare the emotional outcomes of cognitive reappraisal with cognitive reappraisal + implementation intentions in the presence of emotional stimuli to study whether implementation intentions will increase the automaticity of cognitive reappraisal, resulting in lower negative affect and less effortful regulation.

...Read More about Deborah Qu
L&S Social Sciences