Janie Chen

During the prison boom of the 1990s, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) prison population in the U.S. exploded by 250%. AAPIs were found to be one of the fastest-growing groups of incarcerated peoples nationwide, despite occupying a relatively small portion of the total prison population. The growing bodies of literature on reentry and Asian American studies have however failed to capture the complex experiences of the racial “Other” entangled in the carceral system. Therefore, Janie’s research asks, how do formerly incarcerated AAPIs experience reentry into their families and communities upon release? Drawing from qualitative interviews, this project centers the lived experiences of formerly incarcerated AAPIs to ultimately gain a stronger understanding of the ways in which we can better support them as they reenter our communities. Photo Caption: The artwork pictured behind Janie is part of a larger project by illustrator Natalie Bui that she had done for […]

Joanna Cardenas

South Central Los Angeles has a long history of male-dominant gang affiliations, categorizing the city of Los Angeles as the gang capital of the nation. This led to excessive surveillance and sky-rocketing rates of male incarceration since the 1980s, making L.A. men jails the face of mass incarceration. Research is lacking, however, around the social and cultural understandings of Black and Brown women in South Centrals carceral landscape. Joanna, therefore, will analyze the way these social and cultural understandings ultimately affect the way South Central women navigate structures of state surveillance in their everyday life. By carrying out qualitative interviews with women in her community, Joanna’s work aims to highlight the way intersectionality across class and gender socially impact the experiences of women of color in South Central LA.

Daniel Basurto

Today, California educates 2.1 million students enrolled at 115 community collegesmaking the California community college system the most extensive system of higher education in the United States. For Daniel Joseph Basurtos history honors thesis, he will fill in the gaps of history that led to the first two junior colleges and ultimately sparked the California junior college movement. His research will focus on the educational, political, and financial influences that led to creating Fresno City College and Santa Barbara City College. He will analyze primary sources at different archives throughout the state of California. Understanding the struggles and successes of the first two junior colleges will shed light on how sixteen junior colleges were created in California by 1917, and eventually 115, today.

Kara Anderson

While extensive research explores inequalities in the criminal justice system, little sociological literature analyzes inequalities in the civil justice system. Whereas a constitutional right to counsel exists for criminal cases, litigants in civil cases must either pay enormous attorney fees or represent themselves in navigating complex issues such as divorce, restraining orders, evictions, and more. The difference between the supply and demand for civil legal assistance is known as the justice gap. Kara’s research examines how Superior Court Self-Help Centers, one of California’s most extensive strategies for narrowing the justice gap, impact access to justice considering litigants’ individual and contextual inequalities. Her research uses quantitative methods comparing Californians’ civil legal needs to available resources, statistically analyzing who is best served by state-sponsored resources and who is left in the gap.

Dane Anderson

In preparation for his senior honors thesis, Dane is studying the relationship between literatures of the Scottish Enlightenment and Romantic periods. Specifically, he is exploring how Adam Fergusons theory of history, described in the Essay on the History of Civil Society, colors major texts of Scottish Romanticism. The scholarship surrounding Fergusons work has focused on its political and sociological implications, but there has not yet been any major study of Fergusons relationship to Scottish Romanticism. Through close reading and archival research in Edinburgh, Scotland, Dane will fill this gap by tracing characteristic elements of Fergusons Essayits communitarian orientation, its republican critiques of commerce, and its ambivalent attitude towards progressin the novels of Walter Scott, John Galt, and James Hogg, and the poetry of James Macphereson and Robert Burns.

Christopher McCarron

Soils derived from serpentine rock host a unique flora while being distributed throughout California in scattered outcrops. Their insularity makes them ideal for examining the evolution and divergence of species restricted to them, such as the leather oak (Quercus durata var. durata). Chris McCarron’s honors thesis will use reduced genome DNA sequencing for 310 samples from 31 separate populations throughout Q. duratas range. Results will determine the levels and depths of divergence among populations, spatial patterns of differentiation, their timing of isolation, and whether there was a single evolutionary event, or multiple. Findings will have implications for oak conservation and management of populations with unique genetic structure in the face of climate change. Additionally, results will inform our understanding of Q. duratas past and how previous changes have affected it.

Do Khym

This research aims to examine the reasons why the Norris Colony in Americana, Brazil was the only surviving post-bellum Confederate exile colony, while all other Confederate colonies around the world failed. Through research in the archives of the city of Americana, especially its Immigration Museum, Do expects to find that small scale agriculture where settlers put in their own labor instead of slave labor, ease of transport, new technology in the form of steel plows, and the Confederados’ superior agricultural skills, were instrumental in securing the survival of the colony. Do’s research topic for his Geography senior honors thesis, this research will be significant in that even though previous studies have described the Norris Colony, they did not address specific reasons why it was the only colony to survive.

Zoe Hsiao

Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is one of eight pathogenic herpesviruses known to infect humans. HCMV can be asymptomatic in those with sufficient immune systems, but lead to serious or fatal disease in immunodeficient persons. Because current medications to treat HCMV have a poor safety profile and risk the potential to select for drug resistance, vaccine development remains a top priority. The goal of this project is to better understand how a component of the human immune system, complement Factor H (FH), responds to HCMV. Zoe will employ a yeast-two-hybrid screen using a HCMV gene library to identify protein-protein interactions with FH. Following identification, Zoe will characterize protein-protein interactions in the context of conferring immunity against HCMV. The outcomes of this research will hopefully identify potential avenues for drug or immunotherapeutics development.

Justin Dela Cruz

Kamayan, which in Tagalog means by hand, is the traditional, communal style of eating Filipino food without plates or utensils. Tusok-tusok, which translates into poke poke, are heavily-fried, Filipino street foods, usually cut into bite-sized pieces and eaten off wooden skewers and dipped in sweet and sour sauces. For Filipino immigrants, these traditional eating practices serve as sites of cultural nostalgia and recollections of a distant homeland. Utilizing ethnographies and interviews to study several Bay Area Filipino restaurants, Justin’s project explores the preservation of Filipino cultural cuisine practices through the styles of kamayan and tusok-tusok. His project invokes new meanings about Filipino public culture, elevating how cuisine is an invaluable locus which engenders new modes of thinking about everyday consumption.

Saida Cornejo

Saida’s research explores how some undocumented migrants generate their income through entrepreneurship. Undocumented entrepreneurs are part of high barrier and low barrier industries, but their undocumented status leaves them vulnerable to policing and wage theft. Their vulnerability as migrants places them outside the traditional image of who an American entrepreneur represents which presents a set of challenges that otherwise goes unnoticed. Through qualitative interviews, Saida aims to reveal these challenges by examining how being viewed as illegal by law and society denies certain rights, privileges, and access to resources that foster a successful business. It is important to create more awareness about the limitations undocumented entrepreneurs face to inform policy decisions that benefit and support undocumented entrepreneurs.