Where Are All the Women? Exploring the STEM Gender Gap via Social Psychology Methodology

The gender gap in STEM fields in the U.S. continues to be a detriment to women’s advancement. While women represent almost half of the US workforce, only 25% of STEM-related jobs are held by women. Research suggests several sociocultural factors that may account for this gap; however, there is no current research exploring the impact of the traditionally male-dominated environment in higher education within STEM departments and female students’ academic self-efficacy. Mehrnaz’s proposed research will investigate whether or not there is a connection between a graduate student instructor (GSI)’s gender and the level of self-efficacy reported by that GSI’s undergraduate students.It aims to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of specific social factors within the university setting and its contribution to the prevailing gender gap in STEM.

...Read More about Mehrnaz Ahrar
Social Science

Picturing Reality: An Examination of Nabokov's Ekphrastic Photographs

Rikki-Nikol is researching the status of prosaic photographs in Vladimir Nabokov’s fiction, focusing on the problems of verisimilitude that arise when a solipsistic narrator refers to a supposedly objective image. In many of Nabokov’s works, the fictional reality is mediated through a highly subjective, unreliable narrator. These narrators employ ekphrasisthe verbal description of a visual object to insert photographs into their prose. Though photographs require a real subject and suggest an objective reality, Nabokov’s narrators constantly undermine the idea of objectivity. Rikki-Nikol’s research will explore the ways in which photography affects human perception of reality and how the inclusion of ekphrastic photographs affects a readers perception of fiction. Over the summer, she will be traveling to New York to examine Nabokov’s personal papers at The Berg Collection.

...Read More about Rikki-Nikol Anderson

Who's at the Top?: the Effects of Rejection Resiliency on Power Attainment

It should not be surprising to hear that people respond to rejection in various ways. Additionally, there are several different pathways to achieving power, and people in powerful positions consistently have more adaptive responses to rejection. Rather than rejection resiliency being a product of power, Rhonda’s research seeks to show that it is actually a predictor of power attainment. By manipulating rejection resiliency, she intends to find differences across participants such that those who are primed with high rejection resiliency will achieve more power in a paired task than those primed with low rejection resiliency. This will inform power relations and provide an alternate pathway to power for minority groups, such that minorities can be taught resiliency skills to attain power at a similar rate as majority group members.

...Read More about Rhonda Armstrong
Social Science

From the Fields to the Pool Halls: the Plight of the Manong

The colonial relationship between the Philippines and the United States has shaped both migration patterns from the Philippines and Filipino community formation in the U.S. since the start of the 20th century. Minda’s research will examine this ongoing legacy through the case study of Project Manong, a 1970s housing and services project for elderly Filipino laborers initiated by youth and students in Oakland, California. Minda will use ethnographic interviews and primary sources to interrogate the role of race, space, gender, and age in shaping the need for Project Manong, and how the intersection of these attributes informed the emerging Filipino youth sectors response to racial and class subordination. The case study of Project Manong is particularly relevant given the rapidly changing demographics of many Oakland neighborhoods due to gentrification.

...Read More about Minda Bautista

"What-a You Know About Dat, Eh?" Race and Respectability in the Italian American Vaudeville Theatre, 1880-1910

In the year 1890, more Italian-Americans immigrated to the United States than any other ethnic group. They brought their culture along with them, and Italian theatres began to spring up in their urban ethnic enclaves, where Italian performing culture could survive in the new world. However, America had been exposed to Italian theatre before its founding, and that appreciation for Italian performance contradicted rising distaste for Italian immigrants, who were viewed as ethnic inferiors via eugenics. How did Anglo audiences reconcile these two contrasting views on Italian immigrants and their culture? How did Italian-Americans use the popularity of their culture to change public opinion? Connor will explore this topic by consulting archives and research centers in New York and Chicago, two cities at the heart of this Italian migration.

...Read More about Connor Scott Clark
Social Science

Regular Embeddings of Complete Graphs

Sophia is studying regular embeddings of complete graphs on powers of two vertices. A complete graph is one in which each vertex is connected to each other vertex. Loosely, if one starts with a prime power number of vertices, it is possible to symmetrically connect the vertices in such a way that none of the connecting lines cross on the surface of a torus (think doughnut) with a certain number of holes. There isn’t a constructive way to create a visual representation of the embedding of the graph. Sophia’s project illustrates a fully regular embedding of the complete graph on 8 vertices and locally regular embeddings of the complete graphs on 8, 16, and 32 vertices. She is currently working towards a proof of full regularity for the embedding on 8 vertices through computation of the cartographic and automorphism groups. Embeddings of graphs are connected to a wide range of […]

...Read More about Sophia Sage Elia
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The Effect of Awe on Collective Creativity

Researchers have found that, in general, positive emotions lead to greater creativity (operationalized as increased cognitive fluency, flexibility, and divergent thinking) than do negative emotions. Increasingly, innovations and gamechanging insights are the product of not one creative person, but teams of people working together to produce results. It is essential to understand how creativity functions within groups, and how/which emotions play a role in increasing the creativity of these groups. Kristophes proposed research project addresses the question of how different positive emotions influence group creativity. Specifically, he will test whether awe, a positive emotion that has been shown to produce different cognitive and behavioral tendencies relevant to creative performance, and has also been shown to produce prosociality, increases group creativity. Photo: Kristophe (second from right) enjoying a meal with fellow Haas Scholars during Orientation Week.

...Read More about Kristophe Green

Appraising the Role of the Hippocampus in Mediating Prosocial Behaviors

Humans display an intrinsic capability for prosocial behaviors: behaviors undertaken to benefit others. Stress disrupts this capability but also induces neurogenesis in the hippocampus, a brain region that functions in social memory. Understanding the relationship between stress and prosociality allows better treatment of diseases such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and depression, as the asocial nature of these disorders puts affected individuals at increased risk for anxiety. The neural and hormonal basis of this relationship is explored through a behavioral paradigm involving rats. Given that the hippocampus directly projects to components of the stress response and is acted on by chemicals secreted during stress, Jays project examines hippocampal activity during prosocial behaviors as observed in rats. This activity is measured with immunohistochemical staining and fMRI scans of the rats brains.

...Read More about Jay Kumar Gupta
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Hannah's Vineyard: A Seventeenth-Century Island Community

Martha’s Vineyard conjures up various cultural and historical myths. But what did community life really look like for British colonial settlers in the seventeenth century? Who were these people and what did they value? This summer Charlotte will examine the abundant town records that remain in local, Vineyard archives. Yet how do you unpack a community, or even a single human, from their legal footprint, from the tangled mass of wills and land deeds? This project pieces together a single life out of the dismembered details present in the documents kinship ties, bureaucratic titles, commodities, resources, and physical landscapes. In return, Hannah Mayhew, the governor’s daughter and one of the first colonial settlers to call the Vineyard home, offers us a window into her three-dimensional community.

...Read More about Charlotte Hull
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Bifurcated Hope: Stoic Suicide and Christian Martyrdom in First Century Rome

In first century Rome, increasing numbers of the elite class chose to commit suicide rather than forfeit their honor in the courtroom or on the battlefield. Although Stoicism had its detractors in Late Antiquity, suicide was considered by many Romans to be a rational choice. Roman Christians, however, drawn from all social classes, chose to submit to various methods of torture and death rather than participate in civic religious rites that deified the emperor. Their choice was considered to be just deserts for impiety at worst, and pitiful, at best. In Rome this summer, Karen will examine the archeological and literary evidence for these two types of non-natural death in order to discover what it was that gave Stoics the courage to commit suicide and Christians the courage not to.

...Read More about Karen MacLaughlin
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First in Flight: A Comprehensive Study of Etruscan Winged Demons

Current Bio: After 3 years supporting the CEO of a SF based nonprofit (PRC), Marvin recently returned home to UC Berkeley as an executive assistant within the Principal Gifts and Strategic Initiatives, a unit within University Development and Alumni Relations. He supports the AVC of PGSI and both EDs. Haas Scolars Project: The so-called winged-demons of Etruria appear most prominently in funerary art on painted tomb walls, as well as on clay and stone relief, vase painting and sculpture. Yet, there has been little attempt to comprehensively study and interpret their various forms and features, their religious function and funerary contexts. The Soprintendenza of Southern Etruria has invited Marvin to conduct research this summer in the storerooms of the Banditaccia Necropolis at Cerveterithis is a rare opportunity to work on unpublished tomb contents. Marvin plans to conduct a full assessment of winged figures as they appear in tomb assemblages, in […]

...Read More about Marvin Morris
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A Glimpse of the Protein Motions in a Model Hydrogen Tunneling Enzyme

Enzymes are highly efficient biological catalysts. Understanding how enzymes catalyze chemical reactions into physiological relevant rates is of great interest. Moreover, electron and proton transfers are ubiquitous in biological processes, yet it has now become clear that such electron and proton transfers may have quantum mechanical effects. Andy will be studying soybean lipoxygenase, a model enzyme that accomplishes it’s catalysis through a proton and electron transfer known as hydrogen tunneling, a purely quantum mechanical phenomenon. In an effort to better understand how catalysis is achieved through hydrogen tunneling, he will attempt to clarify how the motions of soybean lipoxygenase facilitate effective catalysis. More specifically, he will incorporate an unnatural amino acid in soybean lipoxygenase that will serve as a fluorescent reporter for the protein motions in the enzyme.

...Read More about Andy Nguy
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An Anthropological Study of the Aftermath of the Chevron Explosion

On August 6, 2012, the Chevron Refinery in Richmond, California exploded, hospitalizing 15,000 people and causing severe environmental impacts. In the weeks that followed the explosion, the infrastructure surrounding the refinery became stressed as businesses shut down, hospitals became overwhelmed, gardens and vegetation died, and peoples sense of stability shattered. The purpose of Casey’s project is to explore the extent to which residents in the surrounding areas felt a sense of community before and after the explosion, and the medias role in shaping these perceptions. Her research will explore the personal experiences and understandings of people who live and work in the surrounding areas of the refinery, and to compare and contrast this pattern of resilience and rebuilding is to our contemporary analysis of disasters and their aftermaths.

...Read More about Casey Racicot
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Dislocation: A Transgenerational analysis of political gang violence in El Salvador and Los Angeles

Looking at the factors that led to the Salvadoran civil war, such as the social inequalities of the time, Nalya has found it important to further understand the implications of this political violence in the creation of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) street gang. Using Durkheims theory of religion, she has developed a theory on the religion of violence. This “religion” has created a system of perpetual violence in El Salvador, which was ironically exacerbated by US domestic and foreign policy on gangs and immigration. By interviewing people in Los Angeles who have had experience with the Salvadoran civil war and MS, she hopes to explore the ways the religion of violence has contributed to the current wave of migration.

...Read More about Nalya Arabelle Fenella Rodriguez
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Expression, Performance, and Ritual: An Artistic Exploration of Dance in Tajikistan

The sweeping gestures of the body, the symbolism, the hand movements and fast ecstatic spins of Tajik dance express a history and present reality that cannot be described in words only felt. In Tajikistan, dance is an integral part of ritual, tradition, and expression of quotidian life. Natalie will travel to Tajikistan to immerse herself in the study and practice of the different regional styles of dance to encourage awareness of and conversation about the richness and complexity of Tajik culture. Natalie will teach Tajik dance techniques and choreography to the UC Berkeley student-run dance company, Sorayya. She will also teach a DeCal class and public workshop through the Theater, Dance and Performance Studies Department. Natalies creative project will culminate in a public, participatory performance in the Spring of 2016. See Natalie’s performance of Tajik dance — and her instruction of audience members at the 2016 Haas Scholars conference — […]

...Read More about Natalie Rutiezer
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Matriculating Down: Habitus and Transition for the Private School Elite

Studies of educational outcomes have focused on what prevents disadvantaged students from succeeding, leaving reproduction of educational elites in a black box. Miriams research will focus on how students from elite private schools fare in a large public university, particularly the University of Michigan and Cal Berkeley. Relying on Bourdieus concept of habitus, Miriam will interview graduates of elite high schools who now attend large, public universities. In doing so, she hopes to gain insight into how the elite maintain (or possibly do not maintain) their position of power, providing broader context for discussions of social stratification.

...Read More about Miriam Sergent-Leventhal
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Toward Autonomy: Investigating Grassroots Latino Projects Pursuing Community-Centered Economic Development

Impoverished communities of color (ICC) continue to lack economic self-sufficiency. This diminishes their self-governance and self-determination. However, Latino communities and other racially marginalized peoples continue to develop grassroots, community-led projects that address their need for communal self-sufficiency and political empowerment. Jess investigates: What types of organizational models are emerging within Latino projects? Are these projects using established models or are they creating distinct, uncommon models? If so, what is influencing their innovation and adaptation? Jess will work alongside a few Latino community-led projects in California, conducting qualitative research involving interviews and participant observation. By broadcasting their experiences and advancing critical frameworks and data, he strives to enhance ICCs power to influence law and institutions that impact their economic and political experiences.

...Read More about Jesús Vásquez-Cipriano
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The Cognitive Transformation of The Striving Black Brothers Coalition

The Striving Black Brothers Coalition (SBBC) is a mentoring program at Chabot College in Hayward, California that offers space, peer mentoring, and staff ally support to African American males in order to transform their academic performance. In this study, Tyri Kayshawn will examine how the SBBC facilitates higher graduation rates of African Americans males at Chabot College. His study will utilize a qualitative analysis to uncover the mentoring strategies the Coalition continues to use in order to graduate these students at such a high rate. He will conduct in-depth, one-on-one interviews as well as survey current members and leaders of the SBBC and Chabot students, faculty and administration. In all, this research will provide a deeper understanding of how support programs effectively facilitate a cognitive transformation among African American men. Photo: Tyri (center, on table) is shown with members of Still We Rise (SWR), a group that helped Tyri to […]

...Read More about Tyri Watson
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Facilitative and Competitive Nutrient Interactions With Changing Crop Spacing and Density in a Broccoli and Fava Intercropping System

Intercropping with legumes is an agricultural practice where crops are cultivated with a legume, commonly fava, that is capable of fixing nitrogen and increasing soil fertility. Juliana’s study aims to measure the effect of crop spacing and density on facilitative and competitive interactions for nitrogen and phosphorus in an intercropping system of fava bean (Vicia faba) and broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) in a combined greenhouse and field experiment. The field experiment will implement varying treatments of spacing, fava density, and harvesting time. The greenhouse experiment will incorporate root barriers to isolate biological processes such as root exudation to further understand soil nutrient cycling. Increased understanding of crop nutrient interactions can better inform future agricultural management to utilize biological processes in place of fertilizers, which are expensive economically and environmentally.

...Read More about Juliana Wu
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A Half-Century of Food Rationing in Cuba: A Historical Analysis of the Libreta

Among the Cuban Revolutions socialist reforms, none has influenced daily life more than the food rationing system. Since 1962, Cubans have used the libreta de abastecimiento (supplies booklet) to obtain monthly rations from state-run stores. The system enjoyed initial success, but the libretas efficacy diminished over time and today covers only ten days of food per month. Through historical analysis of the libreta, Kaylee will research how Cubans interacted with the state through food distribution, and how the rationing system affected standard of living. In Cuba, she will conduct interviews and visit Havana archives, seeking to draw lessons from the successes and failures of the Cuban rationing system. Her research will contribute to broader discussions on nutrition and state welfare, and provide a new perspective on the Cuban Revolutions history.

...Read More about Kaylee Yoshii
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