What are Resources and Policies that Could Best Support Children of Incarcerated Parents?

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.

...Read More about Tonatiuh Beltrán
Social Science

Political Development Among Homeless Children of Color in Community Youth Sports

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.

...Read More about Desi Carrasco
Social Science

Spatial Characterization of Mechanosensory and Chemosensory Receptor Expression in Drosophila’s Digestive tract

Obesity constitutes one of the greatest public health challenges, having a high prevalence and increasing the risk of serious complications. Obesity is essentially caused by an imbalance of energy intake and expenditure, which is under the tight regulation of the nervous system. The goal of this project is to investigate the genetic causes of abnormal food intake and eating regulation, by studying the different mechanosensory and chemosensory receptors present in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster’s digestive system. Tiffany will perform immunofluorescent staining and imaging using confocal fluorescence microscopy to identify the specific neurons that are involved in gut-brain communication. Following identification, Tiffany will analyze the spatial distribution of neural innervation and characterize the physiological and behavioral functions of specific neurons. The outcomes will further the understanding of neuron function and feeding regulation mechanisms.

...Read More about Yanying(Tiffany) Chen

Me Espera un Pueblo: Return Migration to Ancestral Homelands in Oaxaca, México

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.

...Read More about Danielle Cosmes
Social Science

The Effect of Colonization in Inca Garcilaso de la Vega’s and Guaman Poma de Ayala’s Self-figurations

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.

...Read More about Gianfranco Gastelo

How Do People Living Next to Illegal Dump Sites in Oakland Cope with the Psychological and Physical Consequences of Everyday Life?

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.

...Read More about Violet Henderson
Social Science

The Economics of Agrarian Unrest in The Punjab Region of India

The ongoing farmer demonstrations in India that erupted in late 2020 in protest of agriculture reforms passed by the Modi administration have become some of the largest seen in modern history. However, agrarian unrest in the Punjab region has been a persistent issue since the partition of India, with external pressures such as debt, water shortage, and expensive inputs forcing its farmers to consider suicide as the only option. Simran will be conducting a meta-analysis of economic research in Punjab to determine policy factors that have contributed to the ongoing protests. Alongside this, she will be gathering qualitative data in the form of informant interviews with Punjabi farmers to explore the motivations behind these protests. The culmination of this research will be in the form of a senior thesis in Public Health.

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Social Science

Genetic Modulation of Two Phosphatases, Ptpn6 and Ptpn22, to Examine their Role in NK Cell Desensitization

Natural killer (NK) cells play an important role in the innate immune system in eliminating viruses and tumors. Unfortunately in environments lacking class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC-I) proteins, as is the case in 40-90% of human tumors, the NK cells can become desensitized and unresponsive. In her project, Seungwon will modify the expression of two phosphatases, Ptpn6 and Ptpn 22, that have been found to be expressed at higher levels in anergic NK cells to study the molecular mechanisms of NK cell desensitization. Findings have the potential to guide NK cell cellular therapy.

...Read More about Seung Won Lee

The Role of Mannan Associated Serine Protease (MASP-1) in Immune Recognition of Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV)

Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infects 60-90% of humans globally, and while infections are largely asymptomatic, they can be severe or fatal in immunocompromised persons. No vaccines exist to prevent HCMV infection due to an incomplete understanding of the viral mechanisms used to evade host immunity and establish lifelong persistence. Complement is a system of proteins present in blood that serves as an initial line of defense against microorganisms; however, little is known about the role of complement in protection against HCMV. For this project, Hector will investigate the role of MASP1 (a complement activating protein) in HCMV immunity using a yeast-two-hybrid approach to screen for protein-protein interactions against an HCMV gene library. Identification of novel HCMV-complement interactions has the potential to inform the development of vaccines and novel drugs.

...Read More about Hector Lopez-Orozco

Clothing for a Crocodile: the Humanization of Nature in Post-Stalinist Children’s Medias

This summer, Jonah will be exploring the available digital archives of the Russian National Library, US Library of Congress, Princeton’s Cotsen Children’s Library, and the Gosfilmofond in Moscow, in order to compile and analyze a vast collection of Soviet children’s books, films, and animations produced in the 1960s and ‘70s which display the trope of the personified and humanized animal. Lounds’ research is intended to illuminate any new cultural meanings produced by the common use of a trope that is so irreconcilable with traditional Marxist assertions of human exceptionalism and supremacy over the natural world. Such findings should offer an alternative to the common assumption that, with the waning political relevance of Marxism-Leninism in the USSR’s twilight years, the Soviet Union had become completely devoid of vision and thought.

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The Doom of Zoom? Changes in Educational Accessibility for Students with Disabilities Due to the Shift to Remote and Zoom Learning in the Times of Covid-19 and How Female and Male Disabled Students are Affected Differently

Jae’s project will study how the shift to home and Zoom learning affected educational accessibility for UC Berkeley students with disabilities. She seeks to pinpoint some ways that the intersectionality of womanhood and disability has made this shift different for female-identifying students with disabilities. Jae will also focus on the differing experiences of students with disabilities of the body and those with disabilities of the mind. Jae will  conduct two quality of life surveys and a round of interviews that seek to allow students with disabilities to use their own voices and tell their own stories, and in so doing  give light to the unique and unexpected ways this shift has made educational access better or worse for them. Her goal is to create scholarship that can help create more equitable educational systems.

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Social Science

Do Gang Sentencing Enhancements Promote Rehabilitation?

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.

...Read More about Kevin McCarthy
Social Science

The Role of ORF69 in Lytic Reactivation of Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus

Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) establishes lifelong infections and can cause various cancers in immunosuppressed individuals. KSHV lies dormant in infected individuals’ cells and reactivates intermittently to cause disease and promote transmission. Current scientific literature lacks an understanding of the KSHV gene open reading frame 69 (ORF69). In this project, Christian will employ a two-step mutagenesis technique in E. coli to generate ORF69 knockout and revertant mutants in a KSHV bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC). After transfecting a Kaposi’s sarcoma cell line with the BAC vectors, inducing lytic reactivation, and infecting 293T cells with supernatant from the induced cells, Christian will be able to determine if ORF69 is essential in the KSHV life cycle. The results have the potential to inform the development of novel drugs and immunotherapies for KSHV transmission and pathogenesis.

...Read More about Christian Paul Nixon

The Popol Vuh in the Guatemalan Diasporic Communities of East Oakland, CA

The Popol Vuh is a historical narrative recounting the traditional mythology and origin of the Mayan Kʼicheʼ people. Eunice’s thesis explores how this foundational book and its oral traditions contribute to maintaining the beliefs and culture of Mayan immigrant communities in the United States, specifically in East Oakland. Her work centers on oral interviews of immigrants from northern Guatemala, southern Mexico and parts of Belize, and will investigate how the tenets of the Popol Vuh resonate in these communities. This research helps us understand and interpret how Mayan families perceive and preserve their traditional customs and provides us a new way to understand and interpret the legacy of foundational narratives, such as the Popul Vuh, in the present day.

...Read More about Eunice Elizabeth Paredes Zamudio

Prison Projects as Economic Panaceas? Testing the Claim that has Influenced Policy for Decades

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.

...Read More about Laura Rambo
Social Science

Identifying Host Factors Critical for Dengue Virus NS1 Internalization and Pathogenesis

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.

...Read More about Richard Ruan

Tough On Rehabilitation and (Re)integration: An Investigation of Hegemonic ‘Tough on Crime’ Ideologies in the Post-Release Supervision Sector

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.

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Social Science

Rearticulated Healing Experiences in the Adaptation of "for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf"

Ntozake Shange’s 1976 choreopoem for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf is a work that many Black feminists continue to celebrate today. When Nzinga Stewart, a Black woman filmmaker, attempted to produce her 2006 adaptation of the play, she was directed to Tyler Perry, who rewrote the script and produced his 2010 film For Colored Girls.  Sera is studying Stewart’s unproduced adaptation to recognize Stewart’s intellectual contributions to Black feminism. She uses rhetorical analysis to study representations of healing in Stewart’s screenplay. The project involves examinations of materials at Shange’s archive, interviews with Stewart, and secondary sources about each work, healing and Black feminism. The findings of this research will culminate into Sera’s senior thesis in African American Studies.

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The Autistic Experience of Awe: Can Awe Become a Tool in the Autistic Coping Toolbox?

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.

...Read More about Hari Srinivasan
Social Science

Women on the Waterfront: Barriers and Opportunities

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has been an engine of social mobility by negotiating high-paying jobs for its workers. But what happens when that social mobility is reserved for men? Nationally, of the 1.7 million full-time longshore workers, only 15.2% are women. Selena’s intention with studying the question, “What are the barriers women face in achieving upward mobility as longshore workers, and how can the ILWU better protect women?”, is to help labor organizers understand the underlying barriers and create solutions to improve women representation and upward mobility at the waterfront. Selena will make a documentary film to  present the (anonymous) interviews by women workers, survey findings, analysis on this labor market, and the history of women on the waterfront.

...Read More about Selena Valdez
Social Science