Tim’s study, which will become his senior honors thesis in Psychology, will test the hypothesis that being in a state of positive glow as a result of unconditional self-construal will lead to a decrease in vigilance, hindering performance, and in turn, causing a person to be more susceptible to negative feelings following a subsequent failure. Much research has focused on positive aspects of experiencing positive glow, which is a state in which a persons happiness, confidence, and internal positivity are maximized. One psychological mechanism that contributes to this positive glow is the way in which people construe self-relevant events. The construal of self-relevant events in global, unconditional terms (e.g. I am a great student), has been shown to result in greater shifts in affect (both positive and negative depending on the situation) than construing events in more circumscribed, contextualized terms (e.g. I am great when I study hard).
An Individual Major in Environmental Policy and Investigative Reporting, Jason intends to conduct research on a July 8, 2002, pesticide-poisoning incident in Arvin, California. In the incident, over 250 people were allegedly poisoned by a known carcinogenic pesticide. Focusing on issues of accountability and government response, Jason will use Arvin as a case study to be compared with a 1999 poisoning incident involving over 400 people in Earlimart, California. To place these case studies within the bigger picture of Californias pesticide incidents, he intends to draw upon statewide databases that describe pesticide use and reported poisonings throughout the state. His project will constitute a senior thesis for his major and will also form the basis for a first-person investigative report fit for publication.
Dafna, an Interdisciplinary: Globalization and Development major, will create a body of 50 documentary photographs depicting the impact of tourism and preservation efforts on the town of Bodhgaya, India. Bodhgaya, located in Indias most impoverished state of Bihar, is home to the Mahabodhi Temple, the most recent addition to UNESCOs World Heritage List. The preservation standards decreed by UNESCO require the creation of a buffer zone around the Mahabodhi Temple, which is likely to translate into the displacement of locals who live and work around the site. Contestations over the Mahabodhi Temple have increased dramatically since its inclusion on the World Heritage List, both on economic as well as religious terms. Dafna will travel to Bodhgaya twice: first during the summer tourism off-season, and again at the winter, during the peak-tourism season. The comparative photographs she will produce, accompanied by short narratives from Bodhgayas community, will serve to give the […]
Tara will undertake ethnographic research in downtown Rio de Janeiro, where sex workers earn their livelihoods in extreme economic and social marginalization. They face health problems such as HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Although their work is decriminalized, they struggle with police brutality and have little legal redress against human rights violations. In response, non-governmental organizations offer professional development predicated on an ideology of community development. Using the term profissional de sexo, outreach workers are attempting to disable stereotypes and social stigmatization and empower the citizenship of sex workers. Tara’s project, which will constitute her senior honors thesis in anthropology, will explore the dynamic whereby sex workers and non-governmental organization health outreach workers are engaged in a process to transform social and self-identities. Tara will evaluate and interpret the relationships between sex workers and PIM outreach workers through ethnographic writing that privileges thick description and local narratives.
Alysoun will identify previously undescribed linguistic variation in Yurok, an endangered native language of northwestern California. There are two major Yurok dialect areas, and her aim is to map local variation within one of those: the area along the Klamath River from the coast upriver to Weitchpec, California. Alysoun will use archival and field research to gather linguistic, geographical and population data, which she will then synthesize to create a linguistic atlas. This work will make both an academic contribution (in the context of the Yurok Language Project, a full scale language description and revitalization effort currently underway in the Linguistics department here at Berkeley) and a community contribution, giving the Yurok people access to previously unavailable information about their linguistic history.
Sandra’s project addresses the synthesis and characterization of imprinted heterogeneous catalysts with local organization at the active site, consisting of hybrid organic-inorganic sol gel materials. One of the challenges facing mankind is the cost effective production of chemicals with less waste to meet the societal needs of an ever-growing population. This requires new heterogeneous catalysts, the most predominant type of catalyst utilized in industry, which are able to conduct chemical reactions with both high activity and selectivity. Biological catalysts, enzymes, are excellent paradigms of controlling catalyst activity and selectivity via the precise placement of functional groups. Translating the efficiency of biological systems to synthetic ones involves tailoring the environment surrounding a catalytically active site on the nanoscale. This can be achieved with the technique of imprinting, which allows control of catalyst structural features including shape, degree of hydrophobicity, and local organization, all of which can significantly affect catalyst performance.
Technology for the elderly should satisfy not only their functional requirements, but also their social and emotional needs. To develop accessible technology for the elderly and enhance their social connections with their remote family members, Margaret, an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science major, will design, implement, and evaluate a tangible instant messaging system, which employs tangible user interfaces (TUIs) in facilitating communications through instant messaging (IM) for the elderly. TUIs involve the use of physically interactive surfaces, the coupling of physical objects and digital information, and ambient media, such as sound, light, and movement. IM allows synchronous Internet-based communications through short, instant messages. Margaret will employ user-centered design and evaluation methods such as participatory design and field studies, to determine how much this research improves informal communications between the elderly and their families. Her research will also provide important insights into the design of technology for the elderly through TUIs.
Irene’s senior thesis in Molecular and Cell Biology may contribute to the development of a vaccine for HIV-1. A potential target for vaccination against AIDS is the V3 loop region of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein, gp120, which plays an important role in viral infection. V3 adopts a -hairpin structure; the successful synthetic -hairpin peptide may thus mimic V3 and trigger an immune response. However, conformational fluctuations of peptides in aqueous solutions present an obstacle to this approach. Since the potential of fluoroaromatic interactions as a source of -hairpin stability has yet to be explored, Irene will apply previously developed models of fluoroaromatic interactions to design a small library of fluorinated peptides that should adopt stable -hairpin conformations. By comparing the binding affinities of those peptides, she will investigate the possible contributions of fluoroaromatic interactions to -hairpin stability, and explore the potential of resulting peptides in synthetic HIV-1 vaccine research.
Two fundamental questions in both plant and animal development are how patterns are formed and how cell fates are determined. The maize leaf provides an elegant model for examining these questions because its development is well characterized and its use as a genetic system is well established. Nasim will investigate the role of the gene eta1 (extended auricle1) in maize leaf development. The project entails a two-pronged approach to cloning eta1, a gene affecting the development of the maize leaf auricle. One approach will be map-based cloning with the molecular markers simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs). The second approach will be co-segregation analysis of putatively transposon tagged eta1 alleles. The mutant phenotype of eta1 may lead us to understand how the fates of cells are determined and how patterns arise. The project will constitute Nasims senior honors thesis in Molecular and Cell Biology.