Chau Thuy Huynh

Chau will be creating an art project that will encompass traditional Vietnamese culture through the mediums of drawing, sculpture, embroidery, and traditional American quilt-making. She will investigate the differences between Vietnamese and Chinese art and culture, while further examining Vietnamese mythologies to determine their true histories. Chau’s art project will include a 3 X 3 circular embroidery of the ancient Vietnamese drum as well as four 7X5 quilts that will illustrate Vietnamese history and culture using American stitching techniques and using as many different fabrics as possible. The foundation of Chau’s art project is a Vietnamese folk tale that describes the traditional Vietnamese drum as the first and only artifact that can positively show the Vietnamese are not Chinese. Indeed, Chau has chosen embroideries and quilt-making to show the distinct history and uniqueness of Vietnamese culture and heritage.

Cherie Hill

Currently in modern dance there are few successful black female choreographers and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founder of the dance company Urban Bush Women, is one of them. In Zollar’s piece, Batty Moves, she combines theater and concert dance styles to create a work that invokes socio-political commentary on the stereotype that black women should have big butts, signifying hypersexuality. Cherie Hill’s project will include a content analysis of Batty Moves that will culminate into a choreographic production. In the analysis Cherie will be looking at how Zollar utilizes formal dance techniques to subvert and redefine stereotypes, how race and gender are represented, and how the piece sits within its socio-cultural context. For Cherie’s creative project, she will interview female Cal students on their thoughts of the black female body and its identity, and explore using movement as a medium for self-identification.

Mary Gardner

Tourism, as Jamaicas largest and fastest growing industry, is vital to the countrys growth and development. Montego Bay, the second largest city in Jamaica, is the tourist capital of the island. The juxtaposition of a large local and tourist population in Montego Bay has created a unique form of physical and material segregation. Mary’s research project will explore how this space and, along with it, the tourist experience, is produced through the forces of marketing by the tourist industry, the physical segregation from the rest of the city and the ways in which Jamaica and its culture are reproduced in this area. Specifically, through interviews and observation, Mary will explore the ways in which the tourist experience, featuring the promise of freedom, is paradoxically created through the tightly engineered and controlled manipulation of the physical and cultural landscape.

Alex Omar Bratkievich

There are strong indications that the factors influencing the alternation between existential (“There’s a book on the table”) and canonical (“A book is on the table”) constructions might be the same cross-linguistically; for example, existentials across languages exhibit the definiteness effect: indefinite Noun Phrases are preferred in pivot (post-verbal) position. Mikkelsen (2002) proposes that the effect is a consequence of constraints governing the subject position. Since the definiteness effect can be overridden, she suggests an analysis within the Optimality Theory framework to model constraint interaction relative to a hierarchy of constraints. As part of a joint Stanford-Berkeley group research project working on several languages, Alex’s project will focus on Brazilian Portuguese in order to establish the distribution of subject and pivot NPs based on analysis of naturally-occurring data, and to propose the ranking of constraints that could explain such a distribution.

Carrie Ann Bodley

Water is crucial to human existence and critical to social and economic development. What happens when this vital resource becomes enmeshed in a violent geo-political struggle? Israel has occupied the West Bank for thirty-seven years, maintaining control over West Bank water resources. Israel’s water infrastructure and technology are far more advanced than that of the Palestinians, which would seemingly benefit the latter. However the Palestinians and many in the international community argue otherwise. They argue that these policies are restrictive and prohibit Palestinian socio-economic development. Carrie’s project will take her to the West Bank this summer, where she will conduct archival research as well as interview Palestinian water administrators and users and Israeli water authorities. She seeks to examine the costs and benefits associated with Israeli water policies and analyze their effects on socio-economic development within the West Bank.

Amanda Liu

Amanda will investigate a novel method of diagnosing, staging, monitoring, and treating prostate cancer. The specific phases of her investigation include optimizing the design and synthesis of N-radiofluoro or N-radioiodo-aryl-cycloalkylcarboxamides, which have high affinity for the TRP (transient receptor potential)-M8 receptor found in prostate cancer cells; and testing the affinity of the designed ligand for the TRP-M8 receptor in vitro and ultimately in vivo. One of the promising medical applications is the visualization of ligand-TRP-M8-receptor complex with PET or SPECT for diagnosis, staging, and monitoring prostate diseases. In contrast, current diagnostic methods are either inconclusive or painful. The ultimate goal is radiotherapy, a less invasive but more effective alternative to radical prostatectomy and brachytherapy. The process of optimizing the design and synthesis of the ligands and the medical exploitation of them will constitute Amanda’s senior honors thesis in MCB.

Ilmo Konstantin Kotaja

Compassion, i.e. empathetic concern for another with the desire to further their wellbeing, is one of the noblest concepts known to man, but our scientific knowledge on the topic is surprisingly limited. Approaching compassion from an evolutionary viewpoint, Ilmo’s project will examine the biological underpinnings of compassion and centers upon a physiological measurement of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA; an indication of the impact of parasympathetic nervous system activation in the vagus nerve on the heart). The goal of the project is to assess whether RSA is a reliable biological marker of compassion, and examine its relationship to perceived individual personality traits. To achieve this, existing data (including physiological measures and videos) will be analyzed and new experimental data will be collected with human subjects. The project is part of Ilmo’s senior honors thesis in Psychology.

David Jiménez

This past November, California passed Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, which allocates 3 billion dollars over the next ten years to human embryonic stem (hES) cell research. How did the majority of Californians decide to vote for this initiative? Before the election, groups for and against the measure tried to sway Californians opinions through advertising and influencing media coverage of this initiative. In his research David will investigate why and how these groups framed their positions in the way they did to present this initiative to the public. David will examine these groups websites as well as newspaper articles from August to November 2004, and interview some of the activists involved in this debate. The outcome of this research will be an extension of his senior honors thesis in sociology.

Kirstin Anne Jackson

Kirstin proposes to ethnographically record and explore the significance, negotiation, evolution, and intertwining of folklore, ethics and business practices in North American funeral homes, aiming in particular to understand the evolution of grief counseling, business interactions, etiquette, and rites of passage or rituals, such as embalming. While scholars and journalists have published many studies and exposs about funeral homes “manipulating” funeral folklore to take advantage of the grieving, few have explored what Americans as agents and actors have had to do with the stasis, evolution, and significance of their own funeral folklore. They too play a part. This project will record and consider the current folklore, how it came to be, and what it symbolizes to different groups of American folk.

Christine Ma

How do you reconcile the phenomenon of self-directed racism by certain minority/oppressed groups towards their own members with the universal trend of ethnocentrism? Given past documentation of such ingroup derogation, questions remain: if ingroup derogation indeed exists among minorities and leads to negative affect towards other group members, then it will exert pressing social implications; on the other hand, if it is entirely the cognitive product of dialecticism, the predominantly Eastern belief system that embraces contradiction/opposing sides of each issue, then it would be a desirable process, rather than a collective self hatred. Thus this study will seek to test the occurrence of ingroup derogation and examine whether such a pattern can be traced to dialectical thinking; furthermore, it will examine whether such negative cognitions of ones ingroup translate into undesirable affect towards the same ingroup members.