Punishing the Average? Access to Civil Justice for California's Self-Represented Litigants

While extensive research explores inequalities in the criminal justice system, little sociological literature analyzes inequalities in the civil justice system. Whereas a constitutional right to counsel exists for criminal cases, litigants in civil cases must either pay enormous attorney fees or represent themselves in navigating complex issues such as divorce, restraining orders, evictions, and more. The difference between the supply and demand for civil legal assistance is known as the justice gap. Kara’s research examines how Superior Court Self-Help Centers, one of California’s most extensive strategies for narrowing the justice gap, impact access to justice considering litigants’ individual and contextual inequalities. Her research uses quantitative methods comparing Californians’ civil legal needs to available resources, statistically analyzing who is best served by state-sponsored resources and who is left in the gap.

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Social Science

From Enlightenment to Romance: Adam Fergusons Philosophy of History in Scottish Romantic Literature

In preparation for his senior honors thesis, Dane is studying the relationship between literatures of the Scottish Enlightenment and Romantic periods. Specifically, he is exploring how Adam Fergusons theory of history, described in the Essay on the History of Civil Society, colors major texts of Scottish Romanticism. The scholarship surrounding Fergusons work has focused on its political and sociological implications, but there has not yet been any major study of Fergusons relationship to Scottish Romanticism. Through close reading and archival research in Edinburgh, Scotland, Dane will fill this gap by tracing characteristic elements of Fergusons Essayits communitarian orientation, its republican critiques of commerce, and its ambivalent attitude towards progressin the novels of Walter Scott, John Galt, and James Hogg, and the poetry of James Macphereson and Robert Burns.

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The Rise of the California Junior College Movement

Today, California educates 2.1 million students enrolled at 115 community collegesmaking the California community college system the most extensive system of higher education in the United States. For Daniel Joseph Basurtos history honors thesis, he will fill in the gaps of history that led to the first two junior colleges and ultimately sparked the California junior college movement. His research will focus on the educational, political, and financial influences that led to creating Fresno City College and Santa Barbara City College. He will analyze primary sources at different archives throughout the state of California. Understanding the struggles and successes of the first two junior colleges will shed light on how sixteen junior colleges were created in California by 1917, and eventually 115, today.

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Social Science

Girlz in the Hood: How Black and Brown Women Navigate the Streets of South Central Los Angeles

South Central Los Angeles has a long history of male-dominant gang affiliations, categorizing the city of Los Angeles as the gang capital of the nation. This led to excessive surveillance and sky-rocketing rates of male incarceration since the 1980s, making L.A. men jails the face of mass incarceration. Research is lacking, however, around the social and cultural understandings of Black and Brown women in South Centrals carceral landscape. Joanna, therefore, will analyze the way these social and cultural understandings ultimately affect the way South Central women navigate structures of state surveillance in their everyday life. By carrying out qualitative interviews with women in her community, Joanna’s work aims to highlight the way intersectionality across class and gender socially impact the experiences of women of color in South Central LA.

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Social Science

"Know History, Know Self:" Coming Home for Incarcerated Asian Americans

During the prison boom of the 1990s, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) prison population in the U.S. exploded by 250%. AAPIs were found to be one of the fastest-growing groups of incarcerated peoples nationwide, despite occupying a relatively small portion of the total prison population. The growing bodies of literature on reentry and Asian American studies have however failed to capture the complex experiences of the racial “Other” entangled in the carceral system. Therefore, Janie’s research asks, how do formerly incarcerated AAPIs experience reentry into their families and communities upon release? Drawing from qualitative interviews, this project centers the lived experiences of formerly incarcerated AAPIs to ultimately gain a stronger understanding of the ways in which we can better support them as they reenter our communities. Photo Caption: The artwork pictured behind Janie is part of a larger project by illustrator Natalie Bui that she had done for […]

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Social Science

Entrepreneurial Illegality: Legal and Cultural Exclusion of Undocumented Entrepreneurs

Saida’s research explores how some undocumented migrants generate their income through entrepreneurship. Undocumented entrepreneurs are part of high barrier and low barrier industries, but their undocumented status leaves them vulnerable to policing and wage theft. Their vulnerability as migrants places them outside the traditional image of who an American entrepreneur represents which presents a set of challenges that otherwise goes unnoticed. Through qualitative interviews, Saida aims to reveal these challenges by examining how being viewed as illegal by law and society denies certain rights, privileges, and access to resources that foster a successful business. It is important to create more awareness about the limitations undocumented entrepreneurs face to inform policy decisions that benefit and support undocumented entrepreneurs.

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Social Science

Home is Where the Food is: Preserving Traditional, Filipino Cultural Practices

Kamayan, which in Tagalog means by hand, is the traditional, communal style of eating Filipino food without plates or utensils. Tusok-tusok, which translates into poke poke, are heavily-fried, Filipino street foods, usually cut into bite-sized pieces and eaten off wooden skewers and dipped in sweet and sour sauces. For Filipino immigrants, these traditional eating practices serve as sites of cultural nostalgia and recollections of a distant homeland. Utilizing ethnographies and interviews to study several Bay Area Filipino restaurants, Justin’s project explores the preservation of Filipino cultural cuisine practices through the styles of kamayan and tusok-tusok. His project invokes new meanings about Filipino public culture, elevating how cuisine is an invaluable locus which engenders new modes of thinking about everyday consumption.

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Social Science

The Role of Human Complement Factor H and its Interaction with Human Cytomegalovirus

Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is one of eight pathogenic herpesviruses known to infect humans. HCMV can be asymptomatic in those with sufficient immune systems, but lead to serious or fatal disease in immunodeficient persons. Because current medications to treat HCMV have a poor safety profile and risk the potential to select for drug resistance, vaccine development remains a top priority. The goal of this project is to better understand how a component of the human immune system, complement Factor H (FH), responds to HCMV. Zoe will employ a yeast-two-hybrid screen using a HCMV gene library to identify protein-protein interactions with FH. Following identification, Zoe will characterize protein-protein interactions in the context of conferring immunity against HCMV. The outcomes of this research will hopefully identify potential avenues for drug or immunotherapeutics development.

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Fried Chicken Under the Southern Cross: The Only Surviving Confederate Exile Colony in Americana, Brazil

This research aims to examine the reasons why the Norris Colony in Americana, Brazil was the only surviving post-bellum Confederate exile colony, while all other Confederate colonies around the world failed. Through research in the archives of the city of Americana, especially its Immigration Museum, Do expects to find that small scale agriculture where settlers put in their own labor instead of slave labor, ease of transport, new technology in the form of steel plows, and the Confederados’ superior agricultural skills, were instrumental in securing the survival of the colony. Do’s research topic for his Geography senior honors thesis, this research will be significant in that even though previous studies have described the Norris Colony, they did not address specific reasons why it was the only colony to survive.

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Social Science

The Population Genetics of the Serpentine Endemic, Leather Oak (Quercus durata)

Soils derived from serpentine rock host a unique flora while being distributed throughout California in scattered outcrops. Their insularity makes them ideal for examining the evolution and divergence of species restricted to them, such as the leather oak (Quercus durata var. durata). Chris McCarron’s honors thesis will use reduced genome DNA sequencing for 310 samples from 31 separate populations throughout Q. duratas range. Results will determine the levels and depths of divergence among populations, spatial patterns of differentiation, their timing of isolation, and whether there was a single evolutionary event, or multiple. Findings will have implications for oak conservation and management of populations with unique genetic structure in the face of climate change. Additionally, results will inform our understanding of Q. duratas past and how previous changes have affected it.

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Theming Cities: San Francisco and Twenty-First Century Urbanism

The San Francisco cityscape is changing rapidly, with large influxes of residents, buildings, and communities. This change must be understood with more than soaring rents or other quantified data; it’s evident between Salesforce Transit Center and Embarcadero, banners advertising the East Cut and Yerba Buena, the trash that’s picked up and the trash left behind. Increasingly, San Franciscos neighborhoods have become spectacularly stratified stages of narrative-making, much like Disney’s lands distinct experiential worlds creating a storied landscape for themselves and the city. Through interviews, theoretical research, and fieldwork at these neighborhoods, Calvin hopes to identify the causes, meanings, and effects of the new architectural and urban landscape of San Francisco, to understand what existing in this city means or more precisely, how this city tells us to exist.

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Social Science

Analyzing Methane Emissions from a Restored Bay Area Wetland

Wetlands, known for their potential to sequester carbon dioxide, also contribute to a substantial proportion of global methane emissions. Currently, there is a large effort to restore wetlands in the Bay Area in order to create carbon sinks to help combat the effects of climate change. However, it is essential that wetland managers and restoration scientists understand what factors influence the release of methane from wetland soils, since the release of methane offsets the uptake of carbon dioxide in these ecosystems. To contribute to the refinement of these management practices, Metta will analyze soil methane emissions from Sherman Wetland, a restored wetland in the San Francisco Bay Area, to determine how factors such as soil moisture, temperature, and presence of vegetation impact the release of methane from wetland soils.

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Identity Formation and Affirmation in Autistic Individuals

Autism is typically understood as a disorder rather than an identity. However, the emergence of the autism self-advocacy movement and virtual spaces suggests that autism is more than a diagnosis for many individuals. Esperanza Padilla’s research seeks to delve beyond the medical models interpretation of autism to find out how autistic individuals develop their sense of self. Padilla’s research will utilize both survey data and in-depth interviews to gather information about autistic adults life experiences. She will then analyze her findings using the sociological framework of Symbolic Interactionism by Herbert Mead. The insight of this research will contribute to our understanding of how the identities of autistic adults and children may be supported over their lifetime, and how having an affirming identity may impact them in school and the workplace. Photo Caption: Esperanza displays two books that have inspired her and her project: From (left to right): All The Weight […]

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Social Science

Why do you live with your tia/aunt?: Making Sense of Cultural and Family Identities as a Latinx Foster Youth

In 2017, more than 690,000 children spent time in foster care, and on any given day in the US, more than 443,000 children are in foster care. One-third of all foster youth are children of color, with 93,507 children identifying as Hispanic/Latinx. People identifying as Latinx are the fastest growing group in the child welfare system. Michael will be interviewing Latinx foster youth from across California, focusing on the cultural and family identities of each participant. Familia/family, culture, and ethnic identity are cornerstones of the Latinx community, so how do Latinx foster youth navigate these spaces? The projects goal is disruption: disrupting extractive research practices, disrupting Black/white binaries, disrupting foster youth research conducted by non-foster youth researchers, and emphasizing Latinx foster youth voices.

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Social Science

The Dynamics of Folding

Largely unchanged for centuries, origami in the last hundred years has exploded with innovation! Beginning with the works of Akira Yoshizawa and his introduction of the first technical system for notating folds, paperfolding has transformed from a simple craft to a highly developed field of mathematics, engineering, and artistry. Yet, even as groundbreaking work has been done to determine what objects can be folded and how, fundamental questions remain about the dynamics of even the simplest moving models such as the traditional flapping bird. Building on the existing idealized work of rigid continuous transformations and the emergent phase transitions in slightly deformed folding patterns, Gabriel is applying the tools of computer simulations and statistical mechanics to probe the ways in which real materials fold and collapse.

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Dancing Girls: Margaret Atwoods Gothic and Ecofeminist Dialogic Through Landscapes and Shadow Selves

Arina’s project will examine how Margaret Atwoods short fiction collection, Dancing Girls, uses the elements of landscape and the shadow self as sites of ideological conflict between traditional Gothic tropes and ecofeminist ideology. While scholarly literature has addressed, separately, ecofeminism and the Gothic convention in Atwood’s fiction, there has yet to be discourse on the dialogic that is formed through their interaction. Due to the stories lack of closure, the thematic effect of this dialogic is still unclear, as the tension between these vying ideologies remains unresolved in each story. Arina will travel to an Atwood archive at the University of Toronto to search for any records that provide insight into the creation of these stories and Atwoods intentions for the function of this dialogic within them.

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Melancholy, Memory and the Millennial Experience in Digital Poetry

Jacqueline Vela’s research project will focus on the writings of contemporary poets of the 2010s that have emerged and performed their pieces via the Internet. Closely following this new genre of e-literature, Vela will observe both the bodies of work and digital platforms of poets such as Yesika Salgado, Danez Smith, Olivia Gatwood, and Ocean Vuong among others so to explore how the rapid explosion of technology and the phenomenons of online culture have influenced the form, style, and themes of these so-called insta-poets. With special attention to diverse narratives representing marginalized communities across class, race, and gender, Vela’s study will further investigate how this group of writers has enabled mass accessibility, challenged the literary gate-keeping, and what this may signify for the future of the publishing landscape. Photo caption: Jackie meets with Olivia Gatwood, one of the poets she is analyzing in her project, when Gatwood performed at Cornerstone […]

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Rapid Point-of-Care Diagnostic Assay for COVID-19

As of April 3rd, 2020, there are over a million coronavirus cases worldwide, with more people testing positive every day. With SARS-nCoV-2 being able to transmit from person to person without showing any symptoms, there is a high potential of the virus rapidly transmitting throughout a population undetected. A lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), rapid diagnostic tests, and proper ventilation equipment for those infected have contributed to the global public health crisis we see today. Candace Wang will test and optimize isothermal DNA amplification technologies followed by fluorescence detection in order to create a rapid point-of-care diagnostic test. If successful, this will provide a test that is easily accessible and widely available thus providing public health officials a better estimate of the severity of the problem we face globally.

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Becoming the First Free Town in the Americas: Mobilizing Afro-Mexican Memory, Performance, and Local History in Yanga, Veracruz, 1932-1990

Today, the town of Yanga, Veracruz, Mexico identifies itself as the First Free Town in the Americas because of its origins in the first successful slave revolt in the Americas. Yanga is an anomaly in Mexican culture because it has actively embraced and even mythologized the role of Africans in Mexico’s past. Duncan’s history honors thesis will combine archival research with oral histories to analyze the development of the cultural institutions through which residents of Yanga came to commemorate this history during the 20th century. By putting a local history of celebration in conversation with a national history of erasure, this project aims to show how the descendants of African slaves in a specific community with a unique past have claimed visibility for themselves and their history.

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Social Science

Faith and Apostasy: A Comparative Study of Conversion and De-Conversion to The Church of Latter-Day Saints and Jehovah's Witnesses

Though the term religion is frequently used, it remains difficult to define. As a result, defining religious conversion or developing a unified theory of conversion has not yet been achieved. Emma’s research will explore religion and conversion from the perspective of the religious organizations themselves. She will examine the doctrine and organizational structure of both The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Identifying similarities and differences will help establish a foundation for understanding how religious participation/disaffiliation is affected by the religious environment and teachings as well as how the religious environment affects individuals in three major areas: familial, social, and psychological. Data will be gathered through archival research, as well as virtual ethnographic observations via online religious forums, surveys, and in-depth interviews.

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Social Science