Metta Nicholson

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.

Calvin Nguyen

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.

Gabriel Perko-Engel

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.

Michael Papias

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.

Esperanza Padilla

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 […]

Emma Yataco

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.

Duncan Wanless

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.

Candace Wang

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.

Jacqueline Vela

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 […]

Arina Stadnyk

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.