Lillian Park

Current Bio: Lillian is proud to be part of the original cohort of the Haas Scholars Program. She completed her Ph.D in Psychology at UC Berkeley with Dr. John Kihlstrom, her Haas Scholar mentor, in 2005. Then she did a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship in cognitive neuroscience at the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto, ON. In 2008, she moved to New York to become a professor of psychology at SUNY Old Westbury, where she is now the Chair of the department. Lillian and her husband are expecting their first child in September. Haas Scholars Project: Lillian will be researching the phenomenon of false recall, in which a person confidently remembers something that did not occur. False memory has been a vexing problem in psychological theory and its clinical and forensic applications. A new paradigm suggests that people spontaneously generate associatively or thematically related material while they encode memories, and later confuse […]

Shahram Misaghi

The goal of Shahram’s Senior Honors Thesis in Molecular and Cell Biology is to obtain a detailed picture of the structure of a novel protein, called Acr A, that has recently been discovered to play an essential role in bacterial resistance to certain antibiotics. Using the technique of protein crystallography, Shahram plans to purify large amounts of Acr A protein from bacteria, crystallize the protein, and then study the chemical structure of this protein. His intention is to identify potential weak points that can be attacked by additional drugs, disabling the process by which the bacteria are able to maintain a high level of resistance to otherwise beneficial antibiotics. By discovering the relationship between the protein’s structure and its biochemical function, Shahram hopes to contribute knowledge that will have important applications in the development of medically useful drugs.

Kwa Yu Liou

Kwa’s Senior Honors Thesis in Molecular and Cell Biology will investigate the RNase P ribozyme, which is one of many RNA enzymes being developed as promising gene-targeting reagents to cleave specific RNA sequences. Kwa’s research will establish a kinetic framework to analyze the catalytic mechanism of RNase P ribozyme to cleave a viral mRNA. By determining the ribozyme’s catalytic efficiency, he will provide insight into the engineering of RNase P for antiviral application, with potential therapeutic use in inactivating specific mRNA sequences of infectious viruses such as Herpes Simplex Virus and HIV. In addition to its implications for infectious disease control, Kwa’s research this summer will help him develop necessary skills to pursue his career goal of becoming a molecular biologist.

Maurilio Arreola Leon

A joint McNair-Haas Scholar, Maurilio will continue his research into the influence of the Latino Caucus within the California State Legislature, in order to determine its effectiveness in addressing issues that impact the constituencies of its members. Founded in 1973, the Caucus has grown from five members to sixteen members, tripling in size in twenty-five years. With the recent election of the second Latino Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa, Latino political leadership has continued to grow. Maurilio’s timely study promises to provide crucial information and analysis about an increasingly important arena of California state politics and policy-making.

Tamarind A. Rossetti-Johnson

Tamarind will create an experiential multimedia performance piece that involves viewers in exploring processes and representations of communication. Live performers will interact with video documentation, photographs and drawings of visual symbols of technological communication, such as satellite dishes, telephone wires and television antennae. In order to add a global dimension to her performance piece, Tamarind will be traveling to Mexico this summer, where she will be researching, collecting and documenting images and interviewing people in Mexico City and Oaxaca City, focusing particularly on the traditional dances of Oaxaca performed during the Fiesta Guelaguetza. “Orbital Revolution” will use images and actions that reflect each other-the dish of the satellite, the curve of the eye, the orbit of the planet, the path of the dancer-to illustrate the many forms of global communication and the human desire to connect.

Patrick Chi-Wai Tsui

Patrick’s research will focus on the status of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong in the wake of the former colony’s 1997 return to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Since 1949, the Vatican has refused to recognize the PRC’S Catholic Church, maintaining its only ties to China through the two European colonies on its southeastern coast: Hong Kong and Macao. Through historical research and contemporary interviews and field-study in Beijing and Hong Kong, Patrick will both examine the historical relationships between the Catholic Church in mainland China and the Vatican-sponsored Church in Hong Kong and explore the possible relationships that may now develop between the Chinese Communist Party and the Hong Kong Catholic Church. His research will also shed light on the larger issues surrounding the Chinese Communist Party’s attitudes toward religious freedom, providing another angle of perspective into the liberalization and possible democratization of the People’s Republic of […]

Neil Arun Tolani

Neil’s project will contribute to our understanding of the biomechanics of human locomotion. By studying backwards walking using human subjects on a treadmill, he hopes to discover how the inverted pendulum mechanism involved in walking is affected by reversing the direction in which human beings normally move. Through further quantitative analysis, Neil intends to determine which biomechanical factors set the metabolic cost of normal walking. The results of his research will have relevant implications for physical therapists and gait-disabled persons, for whom backwards walking is often used as a rehabilitation technique. This project will also help further prepare him for his intended career in biomedical research.

Matthew Wheelock Stahl

Using a combination of participant-observation and interview methods, Matt will study a local subculture of “indie” rock musicians, in order to theorize this marginal subculture’s relationship to the mainstream music industry. A community “insider” as both a performer and producer, Matt will be in an excellent position to analyze the community’s unique features and to determine the extent to which it may be pioneering a new type of relationship to the mass culture industry. Matt’s Senior Honors Thesis in Mass Communications will situate the data he collects in the field in the context of the theoretical debates now raging in the fields of cultural studies regarding the relationship between local and mainstream cultural production. In addition, Matt will be producing a photographically illustrated oral history that will document and give voice to this vibrant, creative community.

Ori Adam Skloot

Ori’s project unites his interest in business with his strong commitment to environmental sustainability. Specifically, he will be focusing on the emerging recycling industry in Israel. Israel presents a particularly interesting case study, because it is a country in which industrialization and expansion continue to progress with only minimal consideration given to their environmental impact, despite generally high educational levels among its citizens/consumers. Ori will begin by studying the organizational structure, government involvement and history of Berkeley’s local recycling system in order to gain a better understanding of the factors that led to its success. He will then travel to Israel in order to do field research on effective strategies for overcoming obstacles to implementing such a model in a localized area in the state of Israel.

Christophe Marc Wall-Romana

Christophe will translate for publication a volume of poetry, titledViens dit quelqu’un, by the French poet James Sacr. Sacr is one of the most accomplished French poets writing today, the winner of France’s most prestigious poetry prize (Prix Apollinaire, 1988) and highest cultural distinction (Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 1987). Translated into Swedish and Spanish, Sacr’s work is still largely unknown in the English-speaking world, despite the fact that the poet has lived in the United States for the last twenty years, where he currently teaches as Smith College. A published poet in his own right, as well as the author of two article-length critical studies of Sacr’s poetry, Christophe is ideally suited to undertaking the first book-length English translation of the poet’s work.