Johnny Smith

The era of mass incarceration is a well-studied product of discriminatory policies and practices. Less emphasized are the cumulative effects of the ‘War on Drugs’ and ‘Tough on Crime’ ideologies among those charged with facilitating and supervising post-release reentry efforts. Addressing this underdeveloped scholarship, Johnny’s research examines the attitudinal consequences of foundational mass incarceration ideologies among community corrections officers, and their effects on client revocation outcomes. By conducting in-depth interviews with probation and parole officers of Sonoma County, California, his qualitative approach will explore variation in supervisory strategies to analyze whether officers favor a rehabilitate-and-reform or control-and-surveil orientation. Amid the broader discussion of criminal justice reform, illuminating how community corrections officers conceptualize their occupational roles aims to improve processes of (re)integration.

Desi Carrasco

Contemporary leisure studies research has broadened social and political understandings of leisure, particularly the meanings participants attach towards such activities. Discussions within the field suggest ways in which leisure activities, specifically sports, may promote political development among disempowered groups. Desi’s project and American Studies honors thesis aims to critically examine homeless children’s experiences in sports, specifically experiences of political development through youth sport in the California Bay Area. Through semi-structured virtual interviews, a Critical Race Theory framework will be used to investigate the ways racial identity shapes their sports involvement, the political nature of their experiences, and the social relationships therein. Ultimately, Desi hopes his research can advance the leisure and family studies field, inform youth sports policy, and guide the practices of educators, homeless advocates, service providers, and youth sports leaders.

Tonatiuh Beltrán

It is now common knowledge that the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the industrialized world. Many of the incarcerated population are parents. As the number of children affected by parental incarceration has risen, so too have the challenges in their everyday lives. Incarceration impacts both parent and child. It is the hardships that the children must endure that are ultimately the collateral consequences of incarceration. Tonatiuh’s research will focus on investigating what resources can best support children of incarcerated parents. She will conduct both surveys and qualitative interviews of adults who had parent/s incarcerated during their early childhood-adolescence. This project will have implications for programmatic decision-making in public policy, and enable more robust family reunification programs.

Richard Ruan

Dengue disease is caused by four serotypes of dengue virus (DENV), and associated symptoms can range from undifferentiated fever to severe vascular leakage. DENV nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) was recently found by the Harris laboratory and others to be a key factor in causing the endothelial barrier dysfunction that leads to vascular leakage, but the mechanism is not yet completely understood. Richard will focus on identifying possible host factors critical for NS1-induced pathology by generating a list of host factors of interest from pilot gene expression analyses, and then validating their role in endothelial dysfunction using a murine dermal leak model. Richard will then assess the therapeutic potential of small molecule inhibitors of host factors critical for NS1-mediated pathology and create modified cell lines to better understand the overall mechanism.

Hari Srinivasan

Hari wants to draw on the new science of awe to help autistics thrive and grow, rather than be viewed only in terms of deficits. His research seeks to begin an understanding of the role of awe, an emotion shown to have transformative effects, in autism. More specifically, he wants to see how autistics, who are considered neurodiverse (as opposed to the neurotypical or non-autistic population), view and experience awe, and how these dimensions of emotion may diverge from what has been written from a neurotypical lens. His hope is that this research can result in additional tools, such as “small doses of awe”, that can be used in the coping and navigating toolbox for autistics.

Gianfranco Gastelo

Gianfranco’s interdisciplinary civilizational project, inspired by Michel de Montaigne’s essay “Of Cannibals,” will investigate the concept of cultural relativism within the context of the First Spanish Conquest by exploring the following overarching question: how have the self -figurations of two Peruvian intellectuals of indigenous lineage, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega’s and Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala,  been meaningfully transformed by colonization? Though scholarly literature has coupled these two authors in conversation with written and pictographic portrayals of colonization, their individual receptivity of this period has unfortunately been undertheorized despite the parallels and divergences in their identities. With my investigation, Gianfranco aspires to enrich existing discussions of indigenous texts of the colonial era by complexifying these authors’ polarized identities in the social and educational spectrums, yet with similar motivations, in chronicling the Spanish colonization in Peru.

Violet Henderson

Imagine going to bed at night in your neighborhood, and slowly, over weeks, you witness your community being transformed into a scene that resembles a third-world country. Critical research examines the psychological and physical consequences of people living in urban centers where illegal waste dumping is a condition of everyday life. Oakland’s city streets have been overrun with illegally dumped trash. Before 2008, the dumping was confined to the backstreets of low-income neighborhoods of East and West Oakland. Today, middle-income communities are waking up to piles of debris on the main streets, parks, and recreational facilities in their districts. Violet’s research examines what city government agencies, and the citizens are doing about it and identifies how the tolerance of unlawful waste stigmatizes the city’s image.

Kevin McCarthy

Kevin is committed to researching the experiences of other formerly incarcerated adults who were persecuted under California’s draconian gang sentencing laws. Particularly, he seeks to research the traumatic experiences of people accused of gang affiliation, and whether the court, California Department of Corrections and parole department ever considered their trauma or provided psychological and rehabilitative resources. Kevin will also examine if gang sentencing laws impede access to resources during incarceration and post incarceration, and if this had any effect upon recidivism. To conduct his research, Kevin will travel to Southern California community centers that serve formerly incarcerated people. California sentencing courts continue to impose gang sentencing laws. Therefore, in order to inform policy, it is important to discover whether these laws are conducive to rehabilitation and public safety.

Danielle Cosmes

Return migration is often considered the end of a migration story. However, returning to one’s community of origin after living in diaspora implies emotional processes of reunification and estrangement that are rarely examined. Danielle’s research and documentary film will explore how Indigenous Oaxacan migrants view themselves and their communities after returning to their ancestral homelands in Oaxaca, Mexico. In Oaxaca, where they currently live, Danielle will conduct interviews with migrants who have returned after living in the United States for several years, as well as with representatives of transnational hometown associations and local community governments. Danielle’s life experiences make them uniquely qualified to pursue this multidisciplinary research, as they are a return Oaxacan migrant themselves, and have been sitting with the questions of this project for most of their life.

Laura Rambo

The American mass incarceration boom, beginning in the 1970s, targeted poor rural areas, planned as a recession-proof economic development strategy to bolster local economies. While existing research fails to corroborate these claims, nothing has been published since the Great Recession of 2008. Laura’s research will close this gap. She will use a quantitative case-control approach to examine the economic impacts of carceral expansion projects in rural counties in California, Texas, and New York, through 2020. This project will use linear regression methods to identify causal relationships between building spaces of confinement and subsequent microeconomic variations. Laura’s research will contribute to public policy development, with the intent of providing economic evidence to support the claim that mass incarceration is more than just a humanitarian crisis, but also an economically excessive strategy.