Leilani Hunter

Leilani’s interest in glass bracelet fragments was sparked during the summer of 2013, when she participated in the Dhiban Archeological field school overseen by Professor Benjamin Porter. While discussing the potential for different artifacts to tell us about everyday life in the region, Leilani was intrigued by the sets of glass bracelet fragments that comprised a significant percentage of the excavated assemblage. Immediately her first questions began to form: Where were these bracelets made, how did they circulate, and come to be in Dhiban? Who wore them, and were they used by one segment of society? How were these bracelets understood within Islamic society? There is very little information regarding the bracelets of this region. Lelani’s preliminary research suggests that glass bracelet manufacturing only occurred elsewhere at this time. Therefore, the bracelets are evidence of trade patterns, and could reveal economic differences. Leilani’s study will shed new light on economic […]

Celia Cheung

Current Bio: After graduation, Celia spent a year researching abroad at Imperial College London, funded by the Whitaker Fellowship in biomedical engineering. In August 2016, she started medical school at UC Irvine, and is expected to graduate in June 2021. Currently, she is taking a year off to do more bioengineering research, but eventually plans to enter medical residency for pediatrics. Her passion is both for clinical practice as well as finding engineering solutions to unmet clinical needs. Haas Scholars Project: Alzheimers disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, affecting over 5 million people aged 65 and older. The disease is defined pathologically by the aggregation of the amyloid beta (AB) peptide, forming abnormal clumps of protein in the brain. Understanding the environmental conditions that cause or inhibit the aggregation of AB is crucial for developing new methods of treatment and drug candidates for Alzheimers. […]

Lauren Grant

Catalysis, a critical field in synthetic chemistry, reduces the release of hazardous chemicals into the environment by decreasing the amount of reagents needed for chemical synthesis on industrial scales. Laurens research will investigate more sustainable methods of conducting chemical synthesis via the study of a new class of transition metal complexes based on niobium. In addition to being more sustainable than many alternate catalysts, niobium costs much less than other potential transition metals. With the collaboration of the Arnold Lab, Lauren will develop catalytic reactivity with the aim of synthesizing unique catalysts for important organic reactions while simultaneously reducing the amount of hazardous materials generated in chemical research.

Chad Martin Burns

In the mid-twentieth century, American cities constructed urban freeways in order to bring people from growing suburbs into the center of town. Urban freeways were a harbinger of municipalities giving priority to the needs of commuters versus city center residents. Today, one may ask: were urban freeways essential to the development of cities in a post-industrial era? What was the decision-making process for the location of freeways? Were quality of life implications part of the public dialogue? Chad plans to answer these questions by conducting a comparative historical analysis of American cities before, during, and after the era of urban freeway construction. He will also visit a handful of cities to chronicle first-hand the cultural, social, and economic impacts of urban freeways. Chad’s research will shed light on the ways in which urban freeways have changed the cultural landscape of American cities.

Destiny Dixon

Destinys research aims to investigate the history of Black owned businesses in Compton, West Oakland, and West Berkeley. She will focus on the ways in which a strong Black economy influenced Black solidarity culturally, socially, and politically. While exploring the different types of businesses African Americans owned, Destiny’s research will reveal a new glimpse into what the 1980s drug and gang epidemic destroyed. By examining archival records as well as conducting interviews with current and former business owners and their families, Destiny’s work will offer a richer narrative to Black history, and further dismantle negative stereotypes about Black towns.

Emma Deboncoeur

What began as an investigation into access to health care for transgender women in Montral by way of an institutional ethnography has changed into a larger query of knowledge production, preservation and dissemination. This works seeks to clarify and problematize what is research, who is the researcher, how biomedicine and transgender women are inexorably linked and how macro questions of archiving, and the lack thereof, relate to endemic patterns of burnout and knowledge loss on the micro level.

Anna Darzins

Many people assume that women with disabilities experience domestic violence to a lesser extent than women in general, yet research indicates that women with disabilities are up to four times more likely to be victimized than their non-disabled peers. Given that women with disabilities experience disproportionate rates of domestic violence; where do they go to access domestic violence services? How does their disability status influence their decisions seeking help, and are providers meeting their needs? Anna’s work will investigate these issues through a disability studies and social work lens. She seeks to uncover whether or not disability-related service providers are asking their clients about domestic violence; if domestic violence service providers are knowingly treating women with disabilities; and finally, where the affected population of women themselves report accessing services, if anywhere at all.

Ana Cristina Gomez-Vidal

The rise of China is arguably the single most important event to shape international politics in the 21st century. The United States understanding and response to Chinas ascent will shape global political stability. The U.S. Government, through legislative mandate, created two commissions, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCESRC), whose purposes are to ensure that Congress has the information necessary to make effective decisions relating to Sino-US affairs. Cristinas research project seeks to undergo a content analysis of the information generated by the bipartisan commissions to identify how their work impacts Congressional foreign policy decision making towards China. Her analysis will pay special attention to the narratives Congress utilizes to communicate on Sino affairs that have been informed by the commissions work.

Steven Czifra

How does California continue to find public support for the practice of permanent solitary confinement, particularly when confronted by sustained hunger strike activity against them? Steven will examine all sides of the relevant discourses in response to the hunger strikes, paying special attention to the written statements of strikers in letters to advocates and the media, as well as the state response. In order to disrupt the dominant hyperbolic claims by the state that support solitary confinement practices, the strikers formed a multi-racial/ethnic group coalition that called out the public, inviting us to reconsider the prisoner held in solitary confinement beyond the normalized worst of the worst narrative. Steven’s project analyzes the conditions of thinking that create and support the practice of long-term solitary confinement in our state. The discourses surrounding the California prisoner hunger strike offers a critical, yet missing element of that discussion.

Jennifer Fei

Jennifer’s research will explore the impact of current International Rescue Committee (IRC) Resettlement Programs on female economic empowerment. Her working hypothesis is that the empowerment effect of the IRC on refugee women will vary depending on cultural norms, resettlement program type, and resulting employment. She will study female refugee populations lived experiences and the development of the IRC Economic Empowerment program development in New York City through regional and headquarters offices. She will focus on how IRC programs later affect refugee women’s perception of family life, self-sufficiency, and personal autonomy upon moving to the US. The narratives encountered in this exploratory study may point to the ways in which NGOs such as the IRC can modify existing or new resettlement programs to address the contextual needs of refugee women in the United States.