Saori Haigo

The coordination of cell movement is an integral process in development, affecting morphological shape as well as cell fate specification. While the importance of this process has been long realized, the molecular regulation of cell movement remains poorly understood. Saori plans to investigate the roles of two genes, fuzzy (fy) and inturned (in), in establishing cell polarity during convergent extension movements in the early frog embryo. Convergent extension is the process by which a population of cells redistributes itself by converging along one axis, thereby elongating along the perpendicular axis. In cloning and characterizing these genes through loss and gain of function analyses, Saori aims to integrate the results she collects to build upon a developing signal transduction pathway that triggers this intricate array of movements for her seniors honors thesis in Molecular and Cell Biology.

Shannon Mathes

Shannon will examine the effects that Rastafarianism has had on the political economy of Jamaica since the implementation of structural adjustment programs by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1977. Specifically, she will describe and analyze the ways in which Rastafarian organizations have challenged the policies of the Jamaican state regarding land use, land availability and small-scale agriculture in relation to the lowering of trade barriers and currency devaluation imposed by the IMF. This summer, Shannon will travel to Kingston and Ocho Rios, Jamaica to conduct archival research and interviews with members of the three main houses of Rastafari. On the basis of empirical findings concerning Rastafarian organization of material practices, her project will closely investigate the relation between political action in non-western regions and the role the organization of spirituality can assume in a political context. Shannon will present her findings as her senior honors thesis in Interdisciplinary Field […]

Lorna Macmillan and Francisco Nanclares

Lorna Macmillan and Francisco Nanclares propose to undertake ethnographic research that examines the shift in gender power relations among Padaung Karen refugees resulting from the influx of tourism to the Mae Hong Son province in northwestern Thailand. Their goal is to build on previous research to explore the ways in which the economic power that tourism has provided the so-called long neck women affects their familial and communal roles. They will do ethnographic field research in Thailand, resulting in a senior honors thesis in anthropology. Macmillan and Nanclares anticipate that their findings could have implications for designing refugee policies.

John Junsuk Lee

Histological analysis has been a vital technique for studying biological tissue structures for many decades now. Recent developments have allowed histologists to use fluorescent labels to visualize dynamic events such as bone remodeling. More advanced biochemical developments have expanded histological analysis to gene expression patterns, protein and mineral deposits. In spite of these advances, histology is primarily used for qualitative visual purposes (usually only in two dimensions). The product of John’s research will be a system capable of performing three-dimensional analysis including the complete reconstruction of bone tissue composition and gene expression, as they are in situ. The immediate impact will be an ability to understand the relationships between the mechanical loading and the cell/tissue response in skeletal loading models. Although this is just one specific example of the proposed systems use, we believe that as this technology becomes more widespread, it will be a critical asset to many areas […]

Kevi Krause

Kevi is studying the work-lives of Alameda County paramedics. His objective is to describe a dynamic process by whereby social relations and culture shape the practices of the paramedic community. His work should improve our anthropological and sociological understanding of factors that influence the behavior of groups of people. Results of Kevi’s research may also be useful to companies and governments that provide emergency services.

Marie Mathiesen

Marie will examine the works of the Danish writer Karen Blixen (1885-1962), known in America as Isak Dinesen. Dinesen lived in Kenya for 16 years, and although she was a colonialist, she respected the Africans as aristocratic and noble human beings. Her position and relations to the Africans grant her a unique dual perspective on the colonial situation in Kenya creating a bifocality that also permeates her later writing on multiple levels. Investigating the colonial aspect of this duality, Marie will use postcolonial literary theory to examine selections of Dinesens authorship, including Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass. This summer Marie will be studying Dinesens texts in both Danish and English at the reading room of the Danish Royal Library in Copenhagen. While in Denmark, she will also meet with several Scandinavian Dinesen scholars. The product of this research will be a senior honors thesis in English.

Margaret Zvanut

Emotional contagion is defined as the tendency to automatically mimic and synchronize facial expressions, vocalizations, postures and movement with those of another person. It is a major means by which one human being comes to feel and behave in the same fashion as another, and may be fundamental to empathy and prosocial behavior. For Maggie’s Senior Honors Thesis in Psychology, she will study whether emotional contagion can be seen in young human infants. To conduct this research, she will videotape infants of different ages (4 to 12 months) interacting with their mother while coding the facial, vocal, and bodily expressions of the infants. Maggie’s research will shed light on the origins of emotional contagion and the purpose it might be serving for the development of attachment, social relatedness, empathy, and prosocial behavior in the infant and young child.

Jennifer Toole

Jennifer plans to write an English honors thesis that will comparatively analyze Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein. She is interested in how these two writers censored sexuality in their writing even though their substantial income gave them the option of self-publication. Jennifer will explore what combination of social pressures and inward conflicts led to this. By combining historical contextualization with an intense critical analysis of the published texts as well as the drafts, manuscripts, and personal correspondences drawn from archives at Yale and the University of Sussex, she hopes to reveal how Woolf and Stein internally and externally struggled when describing the body’s experience.

Timoteo Rodríguez

Throughout Mesoamerica the effects of archaeological practice and the prospect of tourism on communal farmlands have caused native communities and foreign scholars to interact in roles ranging from adversarial to collaborative. A major in social/cultural anthropology, Timoteo’s project is to examine the relationships of North American archaeologists to the Maya farming communities of Chunchucmil and Kochol in rural Yucatan, Mexico. The local communal farmland is a largely unexcavated, non-touristy ancient Maya archaeological site embedded with tens of thousands of artifacts and dozens of pyramids. Archaeologists seasonally conduct research in this area and hire local farmers as archaeology labors. Simultaneously, the local communities use this land to raise cattle, hunt, and farm–often directly on the ancient ruins. Timoteo will research the question: What are the consequences of dissimilar utilizations of the same land by local farmers and foreign academics? The resulting ethnography will serve as his senior honors thesis.

Martín Olea

This project, which will be Martín’s senior honors thesis for Interdisciplinary Studies, will explore the process through which a small town, populated mostly by farmworkers, approved the construction of carceral facilities that are detrimental to a significant portion of its population. Prisons today are of significant importance to the communities of the California Central Valley, yet rigorous debate persists as to whether this is a positive trend. This research, which will draw from key informant interviews and archival research, will try to illustrate why it is important to comprehend the motivations and justifications for this community to want to attract multiple prisons, more specifically, an INS detention facility. The question put forth here is: why does Mendota, a town whose majority is comprised of Latino farm workers, want these facilities? And how have notions of citizenship and legal status legitimized and informed the political decision-making of this small Central Valley […]