Does the Cerebellum Contribute to the Synchronization of Information Processing: An Experimental Investigation of Current Theories on Schizophrenia

Recent research has proposed that schizophrenia can best be understood as a problem in the way the brain synchronizes information and has located this deficit in abnormal cerebellar functioning. In order to increase our understanding of the unique relationship between cerebellar dysfunction and schizophrenia, Paul intends to test the hypothesis that the cerebellum is essential for the coordination of attention and temporal representation. Paul will conduct an experiment with neurological patients who exhibit focal lesions restricted to the cerebellum, in order to ascertain the extent to which the cerebellum contributes to the synchrony of mental processing. The completed project will be presented as his Senior Honor’s Thesis in Psychology.

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Social Science

The Consumption of Aloeswood and the Incense Culture of Japan

Krisa will travel this summer to Japan and Laos in order to explore the complex relationship between aesthetic and environmental practices through a case study of aloeswood, a highly valued ingredient in many Japanese incenses that is harvested in Southeast Asia. She plans to produce an ethnography of the incense culture of Japan and to explore the environmental impact of harvesting practices by the Lao suppliers of the raw material used by traditional incense arts practitioners. Krisa’s research will serve as her Honors Thesis for her self-designed Individual Major in Ethnobotany, the study of cultural uses of plants. She also plans to document her research in audio-visual form in order to educate the broadest possible audience of artists, scientists and religious groups and to promote more ecologically sound production and consumption practices.

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Humanities

Rock Art in the Matopos: Interpretation, Impact and Identity

This summer, Rachel will travel to Matobo National Park in Zimbabwe to conduct a community-based study of rock art sites, dating from approximately 9,000 years ago when San hunter-gatherers painted images on rock shelters. Her goal is to develop a collaborative interpretation of the sites, through empirical research and qualitative interviews with local inhabitants, including Shona, Ndebele and white Zimbabweans. With the official endorsement and support of the museum that administers the sites, she will be well positioned to deepen our understanding of the effects of tourism and archaeological study on identity formation and nationalism in modern Zimbabwe. Her research will culminate in her Senior Anthropology Honors Thesis and in a multimedia module that will make her research more broadly accessible.

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Humanities

The World Seen Without a Self: The Epistemology of Unoccupied Perspectives in To the Lighthouse

Located at the nexus of linguistics, philosophy and literary studies, Zach’s Senior Honors Thesis in English will examine Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, specifically to illuminate the relationship between the theory of knowledge inherent in the novel’s syntax and the epistemological issues the novel thematizes. In order to understand Woolf’s syntactic use of “unoccupied perspectives” in the “Time Passes” section of the novel, Zach will be making use of a relatively unexploited linguistic approach to looking at philosophical issues in Woolf’s fiction. His project will not only deepen our understanding of epistemological concerns in To the Lighthouse, it will also demonstrate more broadly how linguistical methods can be productively incorporated into literary scholarship.

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Humanities

New Monopolist For the New Economy: The Case of Microsoft

Morgan’s project will seek to address the timely question of whether the current body of antitrust law is adequate to ensure consumer welfare in the new technology-driven economy. Through extensive historical research, he will study how courts have interpreted the original antitrust statute through the decades focusing on representative cases. He will explore continuities and trends in the areas of judicial interpretation, economic theory and technological change that may help illuminate the current historical moment. He will then undertake a case study of the Microsoft antitrust trial, through intensive study of the trial record and interviews with key players in the high tech industry and the justice system. The resulting research paper will offer new insight into the prospects for successful regulation of the new economy.

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Social Science

Ethnographic Investigation into the Factors Contributing to Variation of Academic Achievement Among Hmong Students in a Central Valley High School

The purpose of Leena’s study is to identify factors which contribute to variation in the academic achievement of the Hmong, a relatively recent community of Asian American immigrants to California who first arrived in the mid-1970s as refugees from the Vietnam War. She will undertake a comparative ethnographic study of academically successful, college-bound Hmong students and students who are not academically successful at a high school in the Central Valley, where a large Hmong community has settled. Leena will be testing her hypothesis that, as descendants of refugees, Hmong share characteristics with other involuntary minorities such as African Americans and Latinos rather than voluntary minorities such as Chinese, Japanese and Koreans who are typically associated with the model minority stereotype of Asian Americans. She will submit her research as her Senior Honors Thesis in Anthropology and will share it with educators and community leaders in order to promote more effective […]

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Humanities

Reactive Expressions: Deviance, Control & Erotic Desire in New York City, 1825-1875

Current Bio: Katherine received her Ph.D. in History from The Johns Hopkins University in 2009. After 11 years as a history professor at California State San Marcos, she is now a curator at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut. Her scholarly experitise is in U.S. social and cultural history, with emphasis on women, race, gender, urban history, and visual, print, and material culture. Haas Scholars Project: Katherine will travel to New York this summer to conduct archival research on visual and textual representations of women in the mid-nineteenth century. By examining images of sexual women and women in New York City’s public spaces, she intends to extend our understanding of nineteenth century anxieties about urban crime, urban sexuality and ideals of moral conduct and bodily control. Utilizing a wide variety of archival sources, including illustrations of New York life found in engravings, ephemera and popular literature, as well as textual […]

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Social Science

Effects of C5 Protein on Interactions between RNase P Ribozyme and a Model mRNA Substrate

For his Senior Honors Thesis in Molecular & Cell Biology, Umair will investigate the effects of a protein co-factor on the interactions between RNase P ribozyme and a model mRNA substrate. His research will deepen our understanding of how the protein co-factor affects the sequence-specific ribozyme’s structure and activity as it cleaves an mRNA encoding thymidine kinase of herpes simplex virus 1. By revealing how the ribozyme interacts with the viral mRNA, Umair will provide insight into the engineering of sequence-specific ribozymes as antiviral therapeutic agents, with important applications for the treatment of infectious viral diseases.

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Sciences

Altering the Specificity of IDH by Directed Evolution

John plans to alter the specificity of a well-characterized enzyme (IDH) from its natural substrate to a close relative (IPM) by using a process called directed evolution via random mutagenesis. Challenging a holy grail in biochemistry, John will attempt to change the specificity of the enzyme without losing its catalytic power. Although past attempts at rational protein design have produced only limited success, random mutagenesis is a promising new technique in which evolution that normally takes millions of years is compacted into a few months. John’s research will lead to a better understanding of the features that are important in enzyme/substrate interactions and will enable future researchers to better engineer proteins that will have direct socially beneficial applications.

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Sciences

Biochemical Control of Fruit Ripening and Senescence

Ethylene acts as a unique gaseous plant hormone that is essential for fruit ripening; it is also associated with a variety of aging processes in plants, known as senescence. Sae Hee intends to investigate how the key enzyme (ACC synthase) in the biosynthesis of ethylene functions in order to find an effective inhibitor of this enzyme, thereby providing a means for biochemical control of the fruit ripening and plant aging process. The resulting research will be presented as her Senior Honors Thesis in Chemistry and will have direct applications for the agricultural industry.

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Sciences

Enzyme Activation in Organic Solvents: Surfactant - Assisted Solubilization

Michael will investigate the catalytic activity of enzymes solubilized in organic solvents using a technique called surfactant-assisted hydrophobic ion pairing. By furthering our understanding of the factors that effect enzyme function in non-aqueous media, Michael’s research will enable him to design a system whereby enzyme activity in such media is optimized. The results with have important practical applications in this novel branch of biotechnology. Michael plans to present his research at the National Meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers next year.

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Sciences

Wearable Virtual Keyboard: Acceleration Sensing Glove

An Electrical Engineering and Computer Science major, John’s research interests are in the rapidly exploding area of wearable computing, a rubric that includes palm pilots, pagers and cell phones. His goal is to design and improve a virtual keyboard for a personal electronic device called the Acceleration Sensing Glove. John has already designed a crude prototype of the glove, featured in Science News and Wired Magazine, that can be used as a mouse in a Microsoft Windows environment and can translate at least 64 different hand gestures into symbols. He plans to make the glove even more user-friendly by designing and integrating a MEMS accelerometer coupled with wireless data transmission and an analog-to-digital converter in an approximately 1/4 square-centimeter package, resulting in a fully functional virtual keyboard with 36 alpha-numerical keys. John proposes to test the glove’s usability and effectiveness with human users, as well as to present his research […]

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Sciences

Their War: The Perspectives of the South Vietnamese Military in American Literature and in Their Own Words

For her Senior Honors Thesis in History, Julie proposes to investigate an under-researched aspect of the Vietnam War: the perspective of former members of the lower and middle echelons of the South Vietnamese military. She proposes first to examine the written record of the war, including print media, scholarly works, fiction and memoirs, to examine how American writers have portrayed the South Vietnamese military. She will then compare these depictions against self-representations culled from qualitative interviews conducted with former South Vietnamese military members in San Jose, home to the second largest Vietnamese American community, and in Seattle, where she has already completed a pilot study. Julie’s research will introduce an overlooked viewpoint into a heavily researched field, as well as help us to understand what this significant omission reveals about our historical understanding of the Vietnam War.

...Read More about Hoai Nguyen (Julie) Pham
Social Science

Heroes or Traitors: The Twisted History of a French Newspaper in the German Occupation and After

La Petite Gironde, based in Bordeaux, France, was one of that country’s top regional newspapers from the 1860s to World War II. When the Germans occupied the country in 1940, all of France’s media fell under their control. Newspapers were the most visible expression of French collaboration with Nazi power. La Petite Gironde was no exception. At the moment of Liberation, in 1944, De Gaulle’s new regime was supposed to have rid the country of these symbols of infamy and replaced them with newspapers emerging from the Resistance. La Petite Gironde escaped its untimely end by changing its name and maneuvering through a succession of legal and political obstacles that ought to have stopped it. Today, as Sud Ouest, this daily paper continues as the most important media power in southwestern France, and proudly recalls its origins in the resistance. Yet its claims to resistance have been largely proven unfounded […]

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Social Science

The Social Stratification of Language: A Comparative Analysis of American Indian English Among the Wintun and Kumeyaay

A double major in Linguistics and Native American Studies, Bree will study the social stratification of American Indian English, a single dialect of English that is shared by Native Americans of very different backgrounds across the United States and Canada. Indian English shows parallels to Ebonics, but has been poorly researched by comparison. Bree proposes to investigate the sociolinguistic variation of American Indian English among Wintun and Kumeyaay tribal members within the tribally owned casinos of Cache Creek, Sycuan and Viejas in California, in order to investigate how speech communities are impacted by Indian gaming. The resulting research will be presented as her Senior Honors Thesis in Linguistics.

...Read More about Ariana-Bree Stamper-Gimbar
Humanities

Consensual Executions: Death Row Inmates Who Volunteer to Die

Monica will study the little understood phenomenon of “death row volunteers,” inmates who give up the appeal process and “volunteer” to be executed. Seventy such “volunteers” have been executed since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. In order to test existing theories about this group and to propose her own, Monica will use a mixed research design, beginning with statistical analysis and supplementing it with case studies and qualitative interviews with defense attorneys and other researchers. She will travel to New York to meet with staff members at “Death Row USA,” which keep the most comprehensive data sets on volunteers in the country, as well as with leading death penalty experts at the Columbia Law School. The resulting research will be presented as her Senior Honors Thesis in Social Welfare.

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Social Science

No One Belongs Here More Than You: Creating an Image of Israel for Tourists and Pilgrims

Marc’s interdisciplinary interest in the phenomenon of Israeli tourism in the millennial year is informed by religious studies, marketing, and the anthropology of tourism, as well as his history major. He will undertake a comparative analysis of how Israel uses its Ministry of Tourism to create a range of images in order to market itself to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim pilgrims, as well as secular tourists as an “official destination of the millennium.” Marc plans to travel to Israel this summer to interview officials in the Ministry of Tourism and to compile and analyze data from Ministry of Tourism documents. By exploring some of the paradoxes created by Israel’s need to protect its identity as a Jewish state and , simultaneously, to attract international dollars and good will through tourism, he will make a significant contribution to the burgeoning field of tourism research.

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Humanities

The Politics of Repression and the Arts of Subversion: Contemporary Theater in Iran

Leila will travel to Iran this summer to research Iranian theater, in order to assess the extent to which live theatrical performances offer a location for the subversion of censorship laws–and with what repercussions. She will be investigating censorship guidelines, analyzing scripts, observing performances, attending theater classes at the University of Azad, and interviewing students, directors, actors and playwrights. Leila’s project is a particularly timely one, because of the new movement toward political reform in Iran and the resulting opening of academic exchange opportunities with the United States. Her research, which she will present as her Senior Honors Thesis in Political Science, will provide new insight into the political significance of theater in a post-Revolutionary society.

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Social Science

Negotiating Female Film Fandom, 1910-1940

Shirley will investigate how early female movie fans interacted with film celebrities between the years 1910 and 1940, the formative years of film practice in Hollywood. Traveling to New York and Los Angeles this summer, Shirley will examine early fan letters, publications and other artifacts housed at archives, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Although feminist scholars have given much attention to the theoretical aspects of female spectatorship, fan interaction with celebrity culture has too often been overlooked. At the intersection of film studies, gender studies and popular culture, Shirley’s research has the dual potential to contribute to our historical understanding of early spectatorship and to our present-day participation in mass culture. The resulting interdisciplinary study will be presented as her Senior Honor’s Thesis in History.

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Humanities

Direct Measurement of Time Reversal Symmetry Violation in a P-wave Superconductor

Which way does time flow? Could time really be flowing backwards, and our perception of time passing forward be purely a matter of perspective? Physical phenomena that are asymmetric under time reversal have shown that time must flow forwards, and the discovery of such phenomena in different environments opens the door for new experiments and a better understanding of the nature of the universe. By directly observing the intrinsic angular momentum of a high-quality sample of strontium ruthenate crystals, Tom intends to demonstrate time reversal symmetry breaking (T-violation) in a macroscopic quantum system, confirming the existence of an as-of-yet undiscovered but theoretically predicted p-wave superconductor. Such a direct observation will allow for many new experiments, including the quantum mechanical interference of two macroscopic systems that violate time reversal symmetry. The resulting research will be presented as his Senior Honors Thesis in Physics.

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Sciences