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

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

Tipping Environment: Online Versus In-Person

If you have gone to a fast-casual restaurant within the last few years, you will be all too familiar with how the process of tipping works. After the cashier taps your order into the restaurant’s tablet device, they flip it around with tip options for you to select. The bubbles can range from percentages to dollar amounts, depending on the restaurant (e.g., 15%, 20%, 25%, $1, $2, $3, etc.). Unlike past studies on tipping, which look at situations in which the cashier leaves and returns to pick up your check, my research will focus on these new devices and their impact on the tips that customers leave. I predict that by banishing the “custom” tip amount option to the corner of the screen and having the cashier, and the line of people behind you, immediately see which option you select, customers are being pressured into choosing a higher option. Therefore, […]

...Read More about Arjun Grover

Challenging Immigrant Detention: Race, Class, and Collective Action

The United States has increasingly relied on human confinement and incarceration to manage immigration, despite a large body of evidence showing that it inflicts a wide degree of violence and harms upon our noncitizen community members and their families. How can we challenge this inhumane system? This summer, my mentor and I will try to answer this question. With a focus on the American electorate as a key mechanism for policy change, we will examine the social forces driving mass detention and explore actionable, evidence-based solutions intended to mitigate harm. Community-based case management alternatives offer a realistic pathway that may reshape the current system characterized by ineffective notions of punishment and deterrence that produce a profound human cost. The main study utilizes a nationwide survey experiment that examines whether race-class fusion communication strategies can spur collective action among the electorate in pursuit of an immigration system that preserves liberty, dignity, […]

...Read More about Agustin Guerrero

How and Why Students Select Their College Majors

My URAP Project “Choosing My Major” began in Fall 2021 with the purpose of assisting undergraduates students in choosing their major, as well as understanding why college students pick their majors. One of the main goals of this project was to collect real stories from current undergraduate students on how they came about choosing their major. Another goal was to develop a pilot survey in order to collect information from students on their decision-making process. This initial pilot survey was sent out to 78 undergraduate students, and they answered 30 questions on how they came about choosing their major. As a SURF fellow, I plan on continuing this research by modifying the survey and narrowing the questions to be more specific. Once the survey is completed and re-sent to the student body, I plan to analyze the data collected and write a report regarding the information gathered. Eventually, the information […]

...Read More about Vani Gupta

John Clare and the Poetics of Attention

This project analyzes the origins, uses, and effects of attention in the work of 19th-century poet John Clare in order to illuminate the nature of the relationship between poet and place. I will analyze his poetry for habits of attention not only in his acts of observation, but in the poetic techniques he uses to describe what he sees, and thus translate his heightened sense of attention. By approaching his body of work through the lens of the poetics of attention and his focus on his immediate surroundings, I aim to explore the complex relationship between the poet’s groundedness and the simultaneous sense of unsettledness or imprisonment that comes as a result of the intensely familiar connection to it. I seek to tease out how Clare’s habit of noticing and, importantly, his ability to continue to notice the minute and generally unnoticeable in nature contributes to an almost instinctual, reactionary […]

...Read More about Helen Halliwell

Accelerating Chemical Understanding

One of the difficulties in chemistry research comes from bridging the gap between the data collected by experimental chemists and the computational data analysis done by theoretical chemists. There can be a significant disparity of knowledge between the two branches of chemistry, which can hinder the progress of research and education on both sides. Furthermore, understanding the results of the chemical data can be a daunting task for newcomers to chemistry research. My intention is to bridge this gap by developing a computational framework that gives easily understandable statements on the fundamentals of materials and molecules and their corresponding X-ray spectral fingerprints. These statements will be based on the output of electronic structure and spectral calculations from Density Functional Theory (DFT) from data calculated in the Prendergast Group. The framework can then be generalized to many areas of chemistry research, particularly topics that are energy-relevant, such as catalysis, electrochemistry (e.g., […]

...Read More about Nabiha Hasan

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

Identifying Targets and Biological Mechanisms of Gymnastatins

Proteins are essential parts of our being, but are also at the root of many health conditions when misformed. One novel approach to treating such diseases is with molecular glues: small molecules that can cause targeted protein degradation or stabilization. My project focuses on a set of potential molecular glues known as gymnastatins, which are natural products originating from the fungal strain Gymnascella dankaliensis. The Nomura Research Group has demonstrated that gymnastatins have antiproliferative effects on breast cancer cells. Dankastatin B, the most potent gymnastatin against cancer cell viability, targets the mitochondrial membrane proteins VDAC2 and VDAC3. VDAC2 and VDAC3 were verified to be related to the proteins anticancer effects, but it is currently unknown how exactly these proteins are involved in intrinsic apoptosis (cell death). We hypothesize that dankastatin B acts as a molecular glue between VDAC2 and VDAC3, aiding in the initiation of apoptosis in cancer cells. This […]

...Read More about Emily Ho

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

Optimization of Direct Air Capture in Environments of Steady Flow

Direct air capture (DAC) is the removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the atmosphere. While DAC is essential to achieving net zero carbon emissions and preventing irreversible damage from climate change, DAC plants require extensive energy input to draw in air. Dr. Klaus Lackner at the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions at Arizona State University has developed a prototype of a MechanicalTreeTM that utilizes passive air flow to reduce required energy. Before these machines can be deployed, we need to determine the optimal configurations to place them based on local wind patterns. We want distributions that minimize surface area yet maximize the fraction of air molecules filtered. I will develop a model in MATLAB that utilizes multi-physics simulations paired with genetic algorithms (GA) to optimize the placement of DAC machines. With this model, we can make DAC feasible for implementation on a global scale to reverse the trend of […]

...Read More about Thomas Hosmer

Investigating the Synergistic Anti-tumor Effect of Akkermansia and ICI

The gut microbiota plays a salient role in mediating host physiology and immunity. Several studies link immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) efficacy in extraintestinal cancers to gut microbiota composition, with commensals, such as Akkermansia muciniphila (A. muciniphila). Recently, studies found that A. muciniphila treatment during anti-PD1 immunotherapy showed potential clinical relevance; however, the differential effects on antitumor responses by the different strains of A. muciniphila are not yet elucidated. Becken et al. (2021) genotyped 71 strains of A. muciniphila, together representing the Am (A. muciniphila) I, AmII, and AmIV clades, and identified clade-specific characteristics that may influence interactions with the host immune system in vivo. Using the collection of A. muciniphila strains from the Valdivia Lab, I will test the hypothesis that A. muciniphila clade-specific traits can lead to varied effects on systemic anti-tumor responses. I will first examine whether gnotobiotic mice colonized with representative A. muciniphila strains from each of […]

...Read More about Chen Kai Huang

Developing Analytic Tools for PDEs with Ideas from Geometric Flows

  Geometric flows, such as the Ricci flow, Yang-Mills flow, and harmonic map flow, are natural ways to smooth out geometric objects (metric, connection, and maps, respectively). In this project, we will explore the idea of using geometric flows to develop new analytic tools for studying geometric objects. A possible goal of this project is to use geometric flows to solve problems in dispersive PDEs that involve geometric objects.

...Read More about Yuming Huang

Impact of Sequences of Flavivirus Infections on Dengue Immunity

Dengue virus (DENV) is a viral disease endemic in subtropical and tropical regions that causes one of the most important mosquito-borne viral disease affecting humans, with around 50 million cases annually. Infections are caused by four genetically related but distinct serotypes, DENV1-4, which can lead to individuals becoming infected with multiple serotypes during their lifespan. Primary DENV or ZIKV infections generate antibodies that protect against infection from the same serotype, but they also lead to generation of cross-reactive antibodies that can increase the risk of a secondary symptomatic DENV infection and enhance dengue disease severity. Importantly, the mechanism by which the host immune response provides either protection or enhancement of subsequent infection is not fully understood. My research project aims to describe the complex profile of antibodies generated after primary DENV and ZIKV infection and fill important knowledge gaps regarding the understanding and prediction of epidemics and the development and […]

...Read More about Julia Huffaker

Tuning 2D Electrochemical Properties via Heterointerface Effects

In recent years, the study of 2D materials consisting of atomically thin sheets of matter has exploded into a vibrant research area pursued by materials chemists and condensed matter physicists alike. The structures of these materials bring about many exotic properties which, in the near future, are projected to see groundbreaking applications in energy conversion and storage, as well as low-power computation. The behavior of electrons in 2D materials can be significantly altered by bringing flakes of differing chemical structures into contact. My project aims to better understand and exploit the consequences of introducing these heterointerfaces, in hopes of electrochemically inserting transition metal ions into the gap between the layers. Such a feat has proven extremely difficult, so I intend to make use of the unique properties of TMDs (transition metal dichalcogenides) and α-ruthenium chloride to produce an interface that welcomes the intercalation of such ions. Upon successful intercalation, I […]

...Read More about Rocky Hughes

Improving Cognition in Alzheimer's Disease through Light Stimulation

In Alzheimer’s disease (AD), there is a clear relationship between reduced cognitive ability, asynchronous brain wave oscillations, and neuroinflammation. Microglia, the immune cells of the central nervous system, no longer efficiently target and clear amyloid-beta, leading to an accumulation of plaques that disrupt neuronal communication. This summer, my mentor and I are interested in manipulating oscillatory activity at the gamma wave frequency associated with optimal cognition (40Hz), as a target for therapeutic intervention. We will test a new invisible light-flicker technology on a mouse model of AD that pilot data suggests will synchronize brain wave activity and neuronal firing to induce healthy neuroimmune system functioning. We predict that with 40Hz stimulation, microglia will better function in clearing amyloid-beta plaque accumulation and improve cognition. By employing quantitative PCR, we will isolate microglia and characterize their cytokine profiles to increase our understanding of how non-invasive sensory stimuli can induce large-scale changes in […]

...Read More about Lucy Jiwu

Gut microbiota for E. faecalis Infection Resistance in C. elegans

The animal gastrointestinal tract is colonized by diverse microorganisms collectively termed the gut microbiota, of which bacteria are the most characterized. Gut bacteria play numerous roles in host physiology, from development to immune homeostasis. In recent years, there has been a significant rise in interest in understanding the role of gut microbiota in protecting the host from pathogen colonization. Past research has uncovered that gut microbiota can prevent pathogenic bacteria from colonizing the host gut by competing for resources, enhancing host immunity, or directly inhibiting pathogen proliferation. Yet, more research is required to better understand the modes in which gut bacteria help their hosts resist infections. I will take advantage of the Caenorhabditis elegans model to identify specific gut bacteria that increase host resistance to the pathogen Enterococcus faecalis, a bacterium responsible for many human infections. I hypothesize that common C. elegans gut microbiota members will confer protection against E. […]

...Read More about Da Kyung Jung

Investigating Genetic Determinants of Growth in C. aerofaciens

The gut bacteria Collinsella aerofaciens has two coexisting growth phenotypes in culture, and my research will identify genes driving these phenotypes. C. aerofaciens is a large component of the human gut microbiome, and is able to ferment and metabolize different carbohydrate sources, making it a crucial part of human nutrient metabolism. Looking at variation in growth (pellet versus suspension) will allow me to better understand the ways in which the bacteria respond to different growing conditions. We will use a combination of gene expression analysis and a forward genetic screen to identify the genetic loci that are responsible for the observed differences in growth. This project will contribute new information regarding C. aerofaciens’ growth as a bacteria crucial for metabolism and digestion of certain compounds, and for repression and modulation of pathogenicity in the human gut. Understanding bacterial growth in the gut will provide information as to the role of […]

...Read More about Haaris Kadri

Mechanics and Defensive Functions of Gastropod Shell Ornamentation

Mollusk shells have been objects of fascination throughout human history, in part due to their striking ornamentation in the form of knobs, ridges, and spines. These elaborate structures are hypothesized to be so prevalent among mollusks because they protect against breakage by shell-crushing predators. However, the mechanisms by which ornamentation contributes to defense remain largely unknown. This project will use compression tests of 3D-printed shell models to study the mechanical behavior of spines in gastropod mollusks, in order to better understand how spine morphology affects resistance to forces such as those applied by predators. Using 3D prints eliminates many of the confounding factors that typically accompany studies of biological specimens, allowing the influence of morphology to be isolated and investigated. These results will contribute to our understanding of the selective pressures driving mollusk evolution on geologic timescales and help to explain the high morphological disparity observed today. Knowledge of how […]

...Read More about Leah Kahn

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