Creative Activity and Research Day (CARD)

Each spring, the College of Arts and Sciences hosts the annual Creative Activity and Research Day (CARD). Typically, research is conducted by an undergraduate or graduate student in collaboration with a faculty mentor that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline. Each year students showcase their research with posters, videos of performances, and talks given by students detailing their scholarly activities.

CARD logo

We can't wait to see you next year! 

Best Oral Presentation

  • Allan Sainz, Restructuring the SRO: Trauma and Resident Sensitive Design
  • Claire Shiflet Mattingly, Sex Work in California and Around the World: Decriminalization Is the Only Answer
  • Moira Sisco, The Accessibility of Op-Eds: A Genre Analysis
  • Jackson Valler, Response of Reptiles to a Natural Fire in Northern California, with a focus on Alameda Whipsnake

Best Poster Presentation

  • Katerina Fargas and Dishaa Ramesh, Identification and Examination of Methylated CpG islands in the DAX-1 promoter
  • Sarah Gao, Microbes out of water: The effects of drying and rewetting stress on organic farm soils
  • Nichole Donofrio, The Stress Experience of College Students Upon Returning to Campus During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Elinor Carson, Heavy-Atom Tunneling in Bond Shifting of [10]Annulene

Best Poster Design

  • Natalie Ashburner-Wright, Observing the presence of fungal endophytes in experimentally-inoculated Populus trichocarpa leaves
  • David Salinas, Queer and Trans Migrants 

Poster that Best Represents "Living the Mission" 

  • Kaelyn Arcilla, Katie Dace, Study Protocol: Social Group Intervention with a Physical Activity Component for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Following Covid-19
  • Elizabeth Carpenter, Jess Leong, Marci Adolfo, The Urge to Punish: Potential Dark Side to Social Activist Identity

Most Innovative Poster 

  • Melinda Flyash, Workplace Dynamics at Koret Health and Recreation Center
  • Karen I. Amaya Aguirre, The Chemistry and Potential Risks of Synthetic Food Dyes in E-Cigarettes

Creative Excellence in Research 

  • Delaney Bahns, Megan Baker, Jizelle Mariano, Alyssa Ultreras, Bella Sheakley, Nicky Stevens, Julie Ng, Alina von Bernath, Violet Robinson, Sydney Wilcox, Crocheting Through COVID: Community Care in the Curriculum
  • Heidi Erickson, Returning Forward

 

10:00 - 10:30 am: Welcome, Registration
light breakfast, coffee, and tea served 

10:30 - 11:45 am: Oral Presentations Sessions 1A & 1B

Session 1A, MCL 250

10:30 - 10:43 am 

Carlina Chung, “Chamorro Architecture: Concrete and Colonization”

10:45 - 10:58 am 

Marisa Morales, “The Sustainable Rebuilding of Puerto Rico in the Wake of Hurricane Maria”

11:00 - 11:13 am 

Brandt Yamamoto, “The Roads We Travel: The Legacy of the Interstate Highway System, Divestment from Public Transportation, and Role of Community Design”

11:15 - 11:28 am 

Allan Sainz, “Restructuring the SRO: Trauma and Resident Sensitive Design”

11:30 - 11:43 am 

Nathan Schwartzman, “Walkability in Cities: A Comparative Analysis of San Francisco’s Washington & Stockton and 4th & Townsend”

Session 1B, MCL 251

10:30 - 10:43 am 

Isabella Monique Escutia, “Reforming Private Prisons: Ending Increasing Debt through Pay-To-Stay Programs”

10:45 - 10:58 am 

Sheila Fall Ta, “Global Fragility Act: A Wasted American Experiment or A Breakthrough?”

11:00 - 11:13 am 

Claire Shiflet Mattingly, “Sex Work in California and Around the World: Decriminalization Is the Only Answer”

11:15 - 11:28 am 

Isha Timalsina, “Aid vs. Sovereignty”

11:30 - 11:43 am 

DaAujana Florence, “"The Soro Soke" Generation: The Exposed History of Corruption and Torture in Nigeria”

11:30 am - 1:30 pm: Poster Session and Creative Works (MCL Lobby, MCL 252, Tarantino Plaza)
Light lunch and snacks served
 

1:15 - 2:45 pm Oral Presentations Sessions 2A & 2B

Session 2A, MCL 250

1:15 - 1:28 pm 

Ashley Campbell, Adeshveer Bassi, Isabella Hartley, Daniel Manalang, Danielle Marquez, “Reassuring Messages in Health Care: Determining Strategy Options”

1:30 - 1:43 pm 

Destiny Morgan, “A qualitative analysis of Black immigrants’ identity negotiation”

1:45 - 1:58 pm

Moira Sisco, “The Accessibility of Op-Eds: A Genre Analysis”

2:00 - 2:13 pm 

Phoebe Perkins, “The Housing First Approach: The Solution to Homelessness, or the New Problem?”

2:15 - 2:28 pm 

Antonio Gomez, “Exploring the Closure of Guantanamo Bay: Attempts and Possibilities”

2:30 - 2:43 pm 

Heidi Erickson and the Dance Generators, “Returning Forward”

Session 2B, MCL 251

1:15 - 1:28 pm 

Christina Jivanov, “Gardens of Refuge: how community gardens can reduce stress and increase the well-being of college students”

1:30 - 1:43 pm 

Nathan N Chanvimol, “Can Neuroarchitecture Enhance Transitory Housing Programs?”

1:45 - 1:58 pm

Jesse Carlson, “Monitoring Water Resources at Star Route Farms”

2:00 - 2:13 pm 

Qiyu Zhang (Freda), Lakshman Manny, “The Mathematics of Card Shuffling”

2:15 - 2:28 pm 

Jackson Valler, “Response of Reptiles to a Natural Fire in Northern California, with a focus on Alameda Whipsnake”

 

POSTERS

“Assessing Pathogenicity of Alternaria Fungi Associated with Leaves of Cover Crops in an Organic Cropping System” – Christina Tran, Natalie Ashburner-Wright

Biology
 

Agriculture plays an important role in feeding people and fueling the economy. As farmers look towards organic agriculture for a more sustainable solution to growing food, pest management is often a challenge since these farms do not use chemical pesticides. Research over the past decade has discovered that leaf microbial communities are very diverse, and how some of these naturally occurring species can act as protection against pathogens. In this study, we are trying to assess the pathogenicity of different fungal strains in the genus Alternaria (Deuteromycetes) to see if they are pathogens or endophytes (fungi that do not cause disease in their host). Samples of cover crop leaves were taken prior to the cash crop growing season at Star Route Farms, a working organic farm located in Marin County, California. Leaf fragments of these samples were placed in slant tubes containing malt extract agar, which we used to isolate foliar bacteria or fungi. All isolated strains were then quantified, sequenced, and identified. One of the most common genera that we found were fungal species in the genus Alternaria. However, there was notable genetic diversity between these strains, and it is not clear if some or all of these strains might negatively impact the cash crop, little gem lettuce, grown on the same field. To distinguish between Alternaria strains and select experimental targets, we created a Maximum Likelihood phylogeny based on the Internal Transcribed Spacer region of fungal nuclear ribosomal DNA using the program PHYML. From this phylogenetic analysis, different strains will be selected for inoculation onto little gem lettuce grown from seed in the greenhouse at USF. We will assess the extent to which the various strains cause leaf damage to the lettuce over time and relate this to their phylogenetic context. The results could provide information about the extent to which these fungi may help or harm the produce the farm is seeking to grow.

 

“Effects of a toll-like receptor 10 mutation on the receptor’s function” – Dasha Hohlova, Audrey Koti

Biology

 

Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are pattern recognition receptors (PPRs) of the innate immune system that recognize danger-associated and pathogen-associated molecular patterns to initiate immune responses. There are ten such receptors in humans, namely TLRs 1 – 10, with each receptor recognizing molecular patterns that are broadly shared by microbial organisms, such as bacterial cell wall components or viral nucleic acids. While the ligands that activate the first nine TLRs and the consequent downstream signaling pathways are known – for example, lipopeptides in the bacterial cell wall activate TLRs 1/2/6 and drive the pro- inflammatory nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-kB)
signaling – the ligand and downstream signaling pathways for TLR 10 remain
unknown.

Intriguingly, the first nine TLRs are known to drive pro-inflammatory responses, while TLR 10 has been reported to be anti-inflammatory. A commonly occurring mutation of TLR 10, the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs4129009, is associated with several inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, bladder and prostate cancers, and tuberculosis, suggesting that a properly functioning TLR 10 may play a critical role in restraining inflammation. This study aims to elucidate the association of the rs4129009 with inflammatory diseases by investigating the impact this SNP has on TLR 10’s ability to localize to the cell membrane, dimerize with other functional TLRs, and signal downstream. By investigating a commonly occurring mutation in TLR 10, this research may give critical insight into the normal functions of TLR 10, and ultimately validate TLR 10 as a useful therapeutic target for inflammatory diseases.

 

“Identification and Examination of Methylated CpG Islands in the DAX-1 Promoter” – Dishaa Ramesh, Dr. Christina Tzagarakis-Foster

Biology

 

DAX-1 is an orphan nuclear hormone receptor that functions in repressing the transcription of selected genes. Using techniques such as methylation-specific restriction enzyme (MSRE), bisulfite modification, Sanger sequencing, and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays, we hypothesized that DAX-1 is epigenetically regulated by cytosine methylation of CpG islands near the gene promoter which would result in variation of gene expression in our selected cell lines.

 

“Identification and Examination of Methylated CpG islands in the DAX-1 promoter” – Katerina Fargas, Dishaa Ramesh

Biology

 

DAX-1 is an orphan nuclear hormone receptor that functions in repressing the transcription of selected genes. Using techniques such as methylation-specific restriction enzyme (MSRE), bisulfite modification, Sanger sequencing, and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays, we hypothesized that DAX-1 is epigenetically regulated by cytosine methylation of CpG islands near the gene promoter which would result in variation of gene expression in our selected cell lines. The goal of this experiment is to understand the epigenetic mechanisms that control DAX-1 gene expression in human adrenal cancer (SW13), breast cancer (MCF7), and normal breast tissue (MCF10A) cell lines, which will allow us to conduct further research into mechanisms of different pathways of mutations in DAX-1 diseases.

 

“Climate change predicts declining reproductive output in a ground squirrel population in Northern California” – Kayleigh Little

Biology

 

Beginning in the early 1900s, recorded changes in climate have resulted in an increase in global temperatures. This warming has been driving behavioral and demographic changes within a multitude of species populations worldwide. Historically, small mammal populations have responded to changes in temperature by adjusting their population ranges and elevations. However, as temperatures continue to rise, high-elevation populations may no longer be able to adjust as they have before. In this study, we attempt to discover the possible effects of climate change on a high-elevation population of Belding’s ground squirrels (Urocitellus. Beldingi) at Tioga Pass in Northern California. We evaluated local climate data and long-term population data from 1994 to 2021. We observed a significant increase in mean annual daily minimum and daily mean temperature at Tioga Pass across the years of the study. We further observed a significant decrease over the years of the study in the number of litters weaned at Tioga Pass each year. Mean annual daily minimum and daily mean temperature were reliable predictors of the number of litters weaned during a year. The terrain of the study site is not uniform at Tioga Pass, and declines in the number of litters weaned varies across areas of the study site, suggesting that possible effects of climate change on the U. beldingi population at Tioga Pass may have been affected by local features within the overall habitat. Body mass of juvenile U. beldingi near the time of weaning increased over the years of the study, suggesting that maternal female U. beldingi may be better able to channel energy to their offspring under low-density conditions. This study contributes to the evidence that changes in climate can affect a species or specific population, and has applications for understanding the dynamics between climate change and high-elevation small mammal populations.

 

“Observing the presence of fungal endophytes in experimentally-inoculated Populus trichocarpa leaves” – Natalie Ashburner-Wright

Biology

 

All plants in the natural environment associate with dozens or even hundreds of different fungal species, many of which provide benefits to their host. Fungal endophytes are fungi that are found growing asymptomatically inside plant tissues. They can often grow symbiotically with plant leaves and have been shown to impact leaf physiology and gene expression. We examined leaves of Populus trichocarpa that were experimentally inoculated with four different strains of endophytic fungi (or a water control) with the goal to observe if these fungi grew inside or on the surface of the leaf tissues. To do so, discs were punched out of the inoculated leaves and placed in tubes with 1 M potassium hydroxide to remove pigment from the leaf discs. Cleared leaf discs were then stained with a solution of trypan blue -- a stain specific to fungal cell walls. The leaf discs were then observed using a compound light microscope, looking for blue-stained fungal hyphae. Analyses are still ongoing, but preliminary results indicate that indeed there are endophytic fungi present throughout most of the inoculated leaf tissues. Future work will analyze the extent to which foliar colonization levels differ between different fungal endophyte species. This research has implications for understanding the basic biology of symbiotic plant-fungal interactions, and may provide insight into the use of these symbionts as a means to support the growth and development of important natural and agricultural plant species.

 

“Describing Centric Diatom Species in the San Francisco Bay Using Scanning Electron Microscopy” – Nicole Shlimon

Biology

 

Phytoplankton are marine primary producers that play a vital role in marine and freshwater ecosystems. These organisms account for about 50% of the Earth’s primary production although they make up less than 1% of Earth’s photosynthetic biomass. Continuously monitoring the abundance and biodiversity of plankton in marine ecosystems like the San Francisco Bay estuary can be important in understanding its health, productivity, and the effects on marine food webs. Research on San Francisco Bay’s phytoplankton at the University of San Francisco has been conducted since 2015. Previous studies at USF by Theresa Keith (2018), documented the diversity of different phytoplankton species over time. Keith observed the effects of the changing seasons in combination with varying salinity, temperature, and rainfall on species succession. One taxonomic group that consistently exhibited a particularly high abundance was the centric diatoms, indicating that they serve an important ecological role in the estuary’s ecosystem. An important part of understanding biodiversity is being able to identify these organisms to the species level. Unfortunately, the exact species of these diatoms is difficult to identify under a light microscope. The current study aims to observe specific taxonomic characteristics unique to certain species under a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and use them to identify those species.

 

“Effect of Ultraviolet Radiation on the Growth of the Diatom Thalassiosira eccentrica” – Noorain Patel

Biology

 

One of the many adverse effects of the thinning of the ozone layer due to various anthropogenic influences is the increase of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) that reaches the oceans and its effect on the photosynthetic characteristics of phytoplankton. Given the crucial role of phytoplankton in regulating atmospheric carbon levels and effectively fighting against the detrimental effects of climate change, an analysis of growth rates of phytoplankton exposed to increased UVR is necessary. In this study a clone of the diatom Thalassiosira eccentrica isolated from San Francisco Bay was exposed to varying UVR regimes to calculate growth rates. Growth rates of irradiated phytoplankton were compared under white and yellow light conditions to determine effects of photoreactivation and nucleotide excision repair. Dose-response curves indicated that cells exposed to higher levels of UVR had significantly lower growth rates as compared to cells exposed to much lower levels and cells not exposed at all. D37 values were calculated for cells irradiated at each intensity tested to indicate responses of cell survival. D37 values were much higher gher for all UV intensity levels apart from the highest level of UV exposure, demonstrating that cells were tolerant across all levels of UV intensity, and only cells exposed to the highest UV intensity were sensitive. This study corroborates the effects of UVR stress that were observed in Antarctic phytoplankton (Karentz et al. 1991). Such data are essential in understanding the function of phytoplankton as the center of marine life sustenance in response to ozone depletion and fluctuations indicative of climate change.

 

“An Analysis of Phytoplankton Species Succession in San Francisco Bay (Fall 2021)” – Parth Rathi, Javier Lugo Ruiz, Judy Tran

Biology

 

Phytoplankton play an important role in the marine ecosystem as primary producers;
taking up carbon from the atmosphere, producing oxygen, and providing energy to organisms in other trophic levels. Phytoplankton can therefore strongly influence the dynamics of marine communities. San Francisco Bay is an estuary surrounded by urban and agricultural areas which allow for run-off of high levels of nutrients that support phytoplankton growth. The data for this study were collected by the Fall 2021 Oceanography class at University of San Francisco to evaluate temporal trends in phytoplankton diversity in San Francisco Bay. Four collections were carried out from September to November. Species of phytoplankton were identified and their relative abundances were calculated in order to study species succession relative to changes in environmental variables. Environmental data were obtained from the Bodega Ocean Observing Node (BOON). Environmental data considered: water temperature, salinity, seawater density, chlorophyll concentration, and rainfall over the study period. Diatoms were observed to be the most abundant group of phytoplankton. The relative abundance of diatoms increased as temperature, salinity, and seawater density decreased. The most prevalent species were centric diatoms that were not easily identified under a light microscope. Identifiable taxa were Ditylum brightwelli, Coscinodiscus oculus-iridis, and Asteromphalus sp. Dinoflagellates were the second
most prevalent group and had higher relative abundance at higher water temperatures.
Dynophysis sp., Gymnodinium sp., Peridinium sp., and Noctiluca scintillans were the most
common dinoflagellate species. Studying the relationship between seasonal trends of
environmental variables and fluctuations in the biodiversity of phytoplankton can contribute to understanding the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems.

 

“Determining the Effect of Nutrient Concentration on the Growth Rate of the Diatom Thalassiosira eccentrica” - Prabhjyot Kaur Juneja

Biology

 

Diatoms are responsible for over fifty percent of photosynthesis in the world’s oceans and without them, the ocean would be unable to support the life it does. They produce oxygen and draw down carbon dioxide. Thalassiosira is a genus of unicellular centric diatoms, comprising over a hundred marine and freshwater species. The main objective of this project was to determine how different nutrient concentrations affect the growth rate of Thalassiosira eccentrica. The cells were collected and isolated from San Francisco Bay in July 2018; and have been maintained in a nutrient concentration of Guillard’s f/10 culture medium on an 18:6 light: dark cycle at 15. The mean growth rate in f/10 medium is 0.11 with a doubling time of ~6.5 days. Thalassiosira eccentrica cells were put in a nutrient medium with concentrations of f/2, f/4, f/8, and f/16 to check if the growth rate was affected by a change in nutrient concentration. The growth rate in f/2, f/4, and f/8 was calculated to be 0.126, 0.127, and 0.122 respectively, and the growth rate in f/16 was calculated to be 0.10. The results showed that Thalassiosira eccentrica grows at a comparable rate in f/2, f/4, and f/8 concentrations, but the growth rate slowed down in f/16 concentration. Nutrient concentrations of our oceans are changing with the increase in pollution, so further experiments will help examine how the diatom growth rate is being affected by changing concentrations and how that might affect the ecology of San Francisco Bay in the future.
 

“Potential Role of Toll-Like Receptor 10 in Rheumatoid Arthritis Prognosis” – Sonali Joshi, Ally Halliday, Kylie Watanabe

Biology

 

Our innate immune system serves the important purpose of quickly recognizing microbial pathogens and providing the first line of defense against infection. Toll Like Receptors (TLRs) are one class of receptors responsible for enacting our bodies’ innate immune responses. Specifically, TLR10 is an extremely under-researched receptor that has previously been associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an inflammatory autoimmune disease, in addition to asthma, Crohn’s disease, and bladder and nasopharyngeal carcinomas. Some naturally occurring mutations in TLR10 have been linked with worsening prognosis of RA, with previous research uncovering a mutant form of TLR10 that impairs innate immune system-controlled inflammatory responses. This indicates that the wild-type form of this receptor inhibits essential inflammatory pathways. We wish to explore whether other anti-inflammatory markers are involved with TLR10. To do so, we have selected the naturally occuring mutation rs11466657, which substitutes the amino acid isoleucine with threonine at position 473, and will observe its effect on the signaling molecule interleukin-11 (IL-11). Previous studies have shown IL-11’s role in RA and other inflammatory diseases. By studying the effects of our mutant TLR10 on the IL-11 signaling pathway, we aim to elucidate the relationship between IL-11 and worsening RA prognosis.

 

“Investigating the Role of DAX-1 in Steroid Hormone Synthesis in the Human Adrenal Cortex” – Lana Rasoul, Irene Faizi

Biology (MS)

 

Context:
DAX-1 [Dosage-Sensitive Sex Reversal (DSS), Adrenal Hypoplasia Congenita (AHC), critical region on
the X-chromosome, gene 1] is an orphan receptor that is a member of the nuclear hormone receptor (NHR) superfamily. DAX-1 is classified as an NHR based on its homology to the highly conserved DNA binding domain (DBD) and the ligand binding domain (LBD), which are characteristic of all members of the NHR family. It is highly expressed in the adrenal cortex, specifically in adrenal carcinoma cells (SW 13), where all data has been gathered from. One function of DAX-1 is to inhibit transcriptional activity of other NHRs including steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1), estrogen receptor (ER), androgen receptor (AR), and progesterone receptor (PR). It has also been shown to act as a transcriptional repressor for self regulation, as well as the regulation of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) necessary for steroid production in the adrenal cortex. In this study we sought to determine the upstream factors that control DAX-1 expression in the adrenal cortex as well as the downstream factors that are regulated by DAX-1 that result in steroid hormone synthesis.
Objective:
It is known that StAR is a key player in the steroidogenesis pathway. However, the mechanism of DAX-1 and StAR and how they work together to carry out steroidogenesis is still unknown. This is the aim of this study.
Methods:
In order to examine the effect of ACTH on DAX-1 expression, SW13 cells were treated with varying concentrations of ACTH as well as a time course of ACTH treatment. Cells were harvested, RNA isolated and cDNA was synthesized. The resulting cDNA was used in quantitative PCR experiments using primers specific to the DAX-1 gene. In order to calculate DAX-1 expression, the Delta Ct method was utilized, using the housekeeping gene, GAPDH, as the control.
Additionally, gene editing assays such as CRISPR have been implemented to assess the qualification DAX-1 has on steroidogenesis. By comparing wildtype SW13 cells that are normally abundant in DAX-1 and creating a knockout DAX-1 cell line, I will be able to infer how steroidogenesis is impacted by the removal of a critical gene.

 

“The effects of KIT and PDGFRα knockdown on tumorigenicity of GIST-T1 cancer cell and the plasticity of epithelial to mesenchymal transition markers in TGFβ stimulated cells” - Marta Bogaczynska, Muhammed Hamir, Ricard Rubio, Naomi Vinod

Biology (MS)

 

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) are rare and make up about 1% of all GI cancers and approximately 6,000 patients are diagnosed yearly in the US, making it an appealing target to designate as an orphan disease (Clinic, 2021) . In this study we examined the effects of CRISPR knockout of KIT and platelet derived growth factor α (PDGFRα) using GIST model cell – GIST T1. While the intrinsic mechanisms of tumorigenesis still are unclear, results suggest an important role in pathogenicity of KIT and PDGFRα mutations. We also examined markers involved in epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) upon stimulation with transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) by Western Blot and qPCR. The results shown here give more insight to molecular mechanisms of tumorigenesis in GIST-T1 cells and might be a valuable contribution to unveiling molecular markers that drive the disease.
References
Clinic, C. (2021, 08 23). Cleaveland Clinic. Retrieved from Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST): https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17031-gist-cancer-information


“Examination of the Effect of DAX-1 on the Proliferation Rate of Human Breast Cancer Cells” – Nicholas Monares, Gerardo Rubio

Biology (MS)

 

Breast cancer is a disease that is becoming increasingly more prevalent with the lifetime risk of being diagnosed increasing about 4% over the last 45 years. Cancer arises from successive mutations in DNA that lead to expressional dysregulation and, ultimately, uncontrolled cell growth. As a result, specific interest has been given to altered expression levels in cancerous versus healthy tissue. Transcriptional regulators have also gained traction as potential therapies or therapy targets. Nuclear hormone receptors (NHRs) are the largest group of transcriptional regulators in eukaryotes. DAX-1 (Dosage-Sensitive Sex Reversal, Adrenal Hypoplasia Congenita, Critical Region on the X chromosome, gene 1), an orphan receptor member of this NHR superfamily, is abundantly present in healthy breast tissue but almost completely absent in cancerous tissue, suggesting that it may play a role in regulating cell growth. Previous work completed in Dr. Tzagarakis-Foster’s lab has shown seven genes involved in cell proliferation that are differently expressed in the presence of DAX-1. The aim of this thesis is to examine the effect that the DAX-1 protein has on the regulation of these proliferative genes. Additionally, the mechanism of regulation will also be investigated to determine the basis of these trends. Finally, patient arrays will be used to determine if these trends correlate with cancer progression.

 

“Microbes out of water: The effects of drying and rewetting stress on organic farm soils” – Sarah Gao

Biology (MS)

 

With the increasing severity of anthropogenic climate change, California will continue to experience oscillations between extreme rainfall and prolonged drought events. These changes have important consequences for microbial processes in agricultural soils. Excess application of chemical fertilizers in conventional farming can result in nitrogen leaching and runoff into local watersheds and cause adverse downstream effects. Organic farms, in contrast, often grow, mow, and then disc nitrogen-fixing cover crops into the soil to replenish nutrients in preparation for a growing season. However, there is still much to be learned about how increases in precipitation extremes will affect soil microbes’ abilities to cycle nitrogen in cover crop amended soils. Here, I seek to investigate changes in soil microbial activity and soil nutrients at different moisture stress levels. Specifically, I’m examining how the integration of cover crop residue affects soluble nitrogen retention in soils sampled from Star Route Farms, the oldest certified organic farm in California. I conducted a fully factorial microcosm experiment testing the effects of cover crop integration and drying duration on microbial activity and soil nutrient levels. I hope these results will further our understanding of soil microbial responses to future environmental changes and equip agricultural workers with better information to make more informed and climate resilient decisions in a rapidly changing world.

 

“Understanding the role of TLR 2 in phagocytosis of Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease)” – Yukiye Koide, An Tran

Biology (MS)

 

Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) on human cells can recognize lipoproteins in Borrelia membranes to activate downstream cytokine production and immune activation. Specifically, TLR1/2 heterodimers are known to interact with Borrelia membrane protein A (BmpA), and TLR2 has been shown to coincide with the formation of the phagosomal vacuole. Borrelia can be phagocytosed by macrophages as a part of the initial innate immune activation. Mutations in TLR2 also are known to cause differential cytokine production in immune cells, but the impact on phagocytosis is not well studied. I plan to examine the impact of mutations within TLR2 on phagocytosis of Borrelia. I am developing an assay that uses a pH-sensitive dye that only fluoresces in acidic conditions, such as the phagosome. I will use fluorescence microscopy to quantify the amount of Borrelia that are internalized by macrophages. By performing this assay using both immortalized cell lines that have been transfected with mutant TLR2 and primary cells that contain naturally occurring mutations, I expect to show that disruption of the TLR1/TLR2 heterodimer interface due to mutations in TLR2 disrupts downstream signaling that leads to phagocytosis. Better understanding of how mutations in TLR2 impacts TLR2 signaling, macrophage recognition, and uptake of Borrelia will lead to better treatments for Lyme disease.

 

“Study of 2-Tert Butyl Furan in Reaction with O(3P) at 550 K Using Multiplexed Synchrotron Photoionization Mass Spectrometry” – Ameyali Tapia

Chemistry

 

Since the 1970’s, CO2 emissions have increased exponentially, mainly due to the vast use of fossil fuels. Because of this and the fact that fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource, biofuels have become an important area of research to consider due to their ability to be formed from biomass, and they can be readily available when needed. However, research has shown that some known biofuels cause corrosion to engines and have high oxidation rates, therefore, a biofuel additive must be included when considering biofuels to be used for mass production. Many additives are currently being studied, a notable one being furans, which do not produce many harmful byproducts and allow the engine to run without major modification. This project focuses on 2-tert butyl furan, a derivative of the furan family, to identify possible byproducts when it undergoes oxidation. Based on the outcome of our research, our results will help modelers to better understand the mechanisms for pollutants formation and under which experimental conditions these reactions can be suppressed or minimized.

Vacuum-ultraviolet synchrotron radiation at the Advanced Light Source at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was used to examine the oxidation of 2- tert butyl furan with O(3P). The resulting reaction species were inspected using multiplexed synchrotron photoionization mass spectrometry at the temperature of 550 K. Using literature and simulated photoionization spectra, preliminary products at m/z 56 (trans-2-butene, 1–butene), 58 (acetone), 70 (2-butenal), 84 (2,4-pentadiene–1-ol), 112 (2,4-heptadien-1-ol), and 140 (2-tert butyl furan-3(2H)-one) were identified. Future work includes potential energy surface diagrams and branching fractions of the system, as well as identification of products at 700 K.

 

“Elucidating the effects of primary sequence on metal binding to the clavanin family of antimicrobial peptides” - Ashni Bhathella, Nicky Lam, Tammy Lo, Parth Rathi

Chemistry

 

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are a class of small peptides that affect immunity in most organisms. AMPs are part of the innate immune response constituting the first line of defense against a pathogen. As antibiotic resistance continues to rise, AMPs also present a novel therapeutic approach targeting not only bacteria, but also fungi and viruses. One family of AMPs, called clavanins, is derived from tunicates and shows enhancement of antimicrobial activity in the presence of Zn(II) and Cu(II). In this study, clavanin C was synthesized, purified, and tested for its metal binding properties using isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) and spectroscopic techniques. In collaboration with others, the metal binding properties of clavanin C for Zn(II) and Cu(II) are compared to those of clavanins A, B, and D to illustrate the effect of subtle changes to the primary sequence on metal binding.

 

“Photoswitchable metal chelators: Azobenzene driven synthetic siderophores as a model for antibacterial design” – Catherine Rouch

Chemistry

 

Many bacterial pathogens produce protein siderophores to bind and transport iron from the surrounding environment into bacterial cells. Due to their reliance on this metal scavenging mechanism for survival, synthetic analogues of siderophores serve as an attractive model for antibacterial therapeutic agents and for probing biological systems. As a chemical scaffold for photoswitches, azobenzene is among the most widely used and possesses well-characterized photochemistry with distinct absorbance spectra in the UV and visible region for its cis and trans isomers, respectively. Building upon existing work aimed at designing azobenzene photoswitches for the reversible and light driven photocontrol of biomolecules, we report the synthesis and photophysical characterization of azobenzene derivatives of rhizoferrin as potential photoswitchable metal chelators. To evaluate the efficacy of ligand-metal binding, as reflected by a slower cis-to-trans thermal relaxation rate, we conducted UV/Vis kinetic studies on our synthetic siderophore in the presence of various metals. Additionally, we explored the effect of modifying the electronics and length of the chelating “arms” to optimize metal coordination in the active cis state, and to attenuate isomerization back to the inactive and thermodynamically favored trans state. Our efforts to couple the inherent photochromism of azobenzene with the metal-binding ability of siderophores provide novel insight into the structure-activity relationship of a tunable platform for photoswitchable antibacterial design.

 

“Effect of Ligand Side-chain Length on the Electrochemical Properties of Eu(III) Complexes” – Chance Christian, Matthew Derfus, Jaycee Pang, Nicole Donofrio

Chemistry

 

The reduction/oxidation (redox) homeostasis of tissue potential ensures that cells respond properly to endogenous and exogenous species. This potential is maintained by electron transfer agents and redox couples, but is destabilized towards more negative potentials by diseased tissue and cancerous cells. The development of biomedical imaging methods for differentiating tissue redox potential would enable the detection and diagnosis of diseased tissue. One notable non-invasive imaging technique is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which produces three-dimensional images of soft tissue with high spatial resolution. MR images can be further enhanced by contrast agents (CAs). These CAs are primarily Gd(III) complexes, which provide contrast by shortening the longitudinal relaxation times of neighboring water protons (T1 contrast). Although Gd(III) complexes induce T1 contrast in MR images, they suffer from a few drawbacks that limit their application as responsive imaging agents. However, paramagnetic chemical exchange saturation transfer (PARACEST) agents show considerable promise as responsive MRI agents. Eu(III) complexes have been widely studied as PARACEST MRI agents, while Eu(II) complexes exhibit T1 MRI properties as Eu(II) is isoelectronic to Gd(III). Thus, the Eu(II)/Eu(III) redox couple can be utilized in the design of redox responsive MRI CAs. The goal of this project is to acquire a better understanding of the impact of ligand side-chain length on the redox potential of the Eu(II)/Eu(III) couple. To date, three Eu(III) complexes consisting of four side-chain amine groups were synthesized, with the amine functional group varying in distance from the amino acid α carbon by one, two, and four carbons (Eu-1a, Eu-1b, and Eu-1c). The resulting complexes were analyzed by cyclic voltammetry over the pH range 3.7 – 11.6. The amine group of complex Eu-1a was closest in proximity to the coordinating amide, and this complex consequently showed the greatest pH dependence with a -193 mV shift in redox potential as the pH increased. A similar trend was observed for Eu-1b, with a -101 mV shift observed as pH increased. Lastly, Eu-1c was seen to have no pH dependence, as the protonated amine distance from the coordinating amide was too large to destabilize the electron density around the coordinating amide oxygen. Based on these results, we can conclude that metal complexes composed of shorter, amine side-chains exhibit the highest stabilization of the Eu(II) oxidation state at more positive potentials.

 

“Heavy-Atom Tunneling in Bond Shifting of [10]Annulene” – Elinor Carson

Chemistry

 

Heavy-atom tunneling occurs when an atom larger than hydrogen does not have enough potential energy to go over a barrier, so it tunnels through it instead. It has been reported that carbon tunneling may be prevalent in reactions with [10]annulenes. We used computational chemistry to calculate the probability of carbon tunneling in two reactions with [10]annulenes: an electrocyclization reaction from CCCCT-[10]annulene to trans-dihydronaphthalene and a bond shift reaction from CCCCC-[10]annulene to CCTCT-[10]annulene. We found that while carbon tunneling is predicted to contribute significantly to the bond shift reaction at various temperatures, it is not predicted to dominate either reaction. The reason for the small tunneling contribution may be that before bond shifting or electrocyclization can occur, a large degree of conformational reorganization is required. Such conformation change involves large motions of atoms, which increases barrier width and decreases the probability of tunneling.

 

“Effect of Human Serum Albumin (HSA) on the Luminescence Properties of Terbium(III) Metal Complexes” - Emily Bykonen, Jaycee Pang

Chemistry

 

Human serum albumin (HSA) is the most abundant protein in blood plasma. It is synthesized and secreted by liver cells and plays a major role in the transport of fatty acids, hormones, and foreign molecules such as drugs. Due to its drug binding ability, HSA is used clinically in the treatment of illnesses such as liver failure, burns, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. It is therefore an important biological substance to consider when designing drugs or other exogenous substances for medical applications. Numerous studies have shown that HSA binding can impact the blood circulation half-life of drugs and the properties of biomedical imaging agents. In this project, we are seeking to better understand the impact of HSA binding on the luminescence properties of two lanthanide(III) complexes. The lanthanide(III) complexes in this study each comprise a terbium (III) ion (Tb(III)), and an octadentate organic ligand with a pyridine antenna and a di-(2-picolyl) amine (DPA) sub-unit. The Tb(III) ion would furnish this complex with the luminescence properties, while the DPA sub-unit would enable strong interactions with HSA. The luminescence properties of these complexes will be investigated in the presence and absence of HSA. We anticipate that the results from this study would provide a more realistic insight into the behavior of these imaging agents in vivo.

 

“Estimating Tunneling Contributions in a Model System for Electrocyclic Ring Opening in the Biosynthesis of Sclerocitrin” – Ishika Jain

Chemistry

 

Six-electron electrocyclizations usually require relatively high temperatures; however, recent research has shown that such reactions can occur at significantly lower temperatures in biosynthetic and biomimetic pathways. In non-biochemical settings, these reactions can sometimes proceed at least partly via tunneling, a quantum mechanical phenomenon where particles can tunnel through energy barriers rather than pass over them, provided that the atoms do not have to move very far. While tunneling by hydrogen is well established in enzymatic reactions, very little is known about the contribution of heavy-atom tunneling in biochemistry. Our group has embarked on an effort to explore the possible contribution of heavy-atom tunneling (e.g. by carbon) to biosynthesis. Existing in environments like short grasses and wooded areas, the common earth ball Scleroderma citrinum produces a yellow pigment, sclerocitrin, in high amounts. The biosynthetic pathway to sclerocitrin is proposed to involve the disrotatory 6-electron electrocyclic ring opening of a bicyclo[4.2.0]octadiene subunit. Using M06-2X/6-31G* calculations on a model system, we report estimates of the contribution of tunneling using a simple one-dimensional tunneling model, along with determination of barrier width and comparison with reference systems.

 

“Contribution of Heavy-Atom Tunneling to Reactions of [12]Annulene” – Joscelyn Huynh

Chemistry

 

Mono-trans-[12]annulene has been predicted to be the global minimum for [12]annulene, yet it has never been isolated or detected, whereas the tri-trans isomer has been characterized. The proposed lowest-energy “escape route” for the mono-trans isomer has a computed barrier of 15 kcal/mol, which corresponds to the barrier for Moebius π-bond shifting to the di-trans isomer, which then can undergo electrocyclization. Our density functional and coupled cluster calculations yield a barrier of 14-15 kcal/mol for the bond shift and reveal a narrow barrier width. Rate constants computed with and without multidimensional tunneling contributions yield a tunneling-inclusive rate constant of 5 x 10-5 s-1 and a 39% contribution of tunneling at 180 K, suggesting that tunneling does not dominate the bond shift reaction. Given the small rate constant predicted for Moebius bond shift, mono-trans-[12]annulene trans-[12] should have significant kinetic stability, and thus the results suggest that this isomer has not yet been made.

 

“Effect of Metal Mordants on the Color of Carminic Acid Dye” – Joshua Andrada

Chemistry

 

Cochineal insects are composed of a compound called carminic acid. Carminic acid has a scarlet red color. Historically, carminic acid has been extracted from cochineal insects and has been applied as microscopic stains, in dyes, in cosmetics, and various other coloring applications. In this experiment, I focus on carminic acid’s use as a fabric dye. When dyeing fabric with carminic acid, different metals can act as mordants, which are chemical compounds that retain the dye color on the fabric. Depending on the identity of the metal, different shades of red can be obtained. This project explores the different metal complexes that result from the chelation of carminic acid. UV-Vis spectroscopy and fluorimetry were employed to determine the carminic acid’s absorptivity and the max absorbance wavelength. We expect that the metal that best chelates the keto and hydroxyl groups adjacent to one another will best retain color. To test color retention a test strip of several different types of fabrics was dyed then washed with a standardized procedure. Modant complexes that maintain carminic acid’s ability to absorb at 492 nm are expected to best maintain the scarlet color on fabrics. From this experiment, we will be able to determine carminic acid’s ability to chelate in solution.

 

“Heavy-Atom Tunneling in the Electrocyclization of Di-trans-[10]Annulene” – Justin Wong

Chemistry

 

Heavy-atom tunneling has been evaluated for its importance in pericyclic reactions and other reaction types. The experimentally observed thermal conversion of all-cis-[10]annulene to cis-dihydronaphthalene has been proposed to proceed via initial pi-bond shift to di-trans isomer CCTCT-[10]annulene, followed by disrotatory 6-electron ring closure. Based on our hypothesis that the cyclization reaction may require only very small movements of carbon atoms, computational methods have been used to explore the contribution of quantum tunneling to the ring-closure reaction. For 6-electron electrocyclization, M06-2X/6-31-G* calculations yield a barrier height of 7.3 kcal/mol. The results reveal that bifurcations occur on both sides of the electrocyclization transition state, complicating the study. Rate constants were computed utilizing canonical variational transition state theory (CVT) along with small curvature tunneling (SCT), though due to the bifurcations these calculations correspond to cyclization of a reactive conformation partway up the barrier. The electrocyclization rate constants were relatively large at all temperatures above 180 K. Even at 180 K, tunneling is predicted to account for only 22% of the rate of electrocyclization, suggesting that heavy-atom tunneling does not contribute significantly to the reaction.

 

“Estimating the Contribution of Heavy-Atom Tunneling in a Model System for Cis-Trans Isomerization in Retinal” - Kalii Caldwell

Chemistry

 

Tunneling by hydrogen is known to be common in enzymatic reactions, but little is known about the extent of tunneling by heavy atoms (e.g. carbon) in biochemistry. Some electrocyclic reactions— dominated by heavy atom motions— have been found or predicted to involve a significant contribution of tunneling to the rate. This computational study examines key steps in the 6𝜋 electrocyclic cascade of 11-cis-retinal to yield 13-cis-retinal. Isomers of retinal are ligands for certain visual pigments such as rhodopsin, and are therefore biochemically relevant. The electrocyclic ring opening of 2H-pyran was analyzed as a model system for the analogous reaction in the cis-trans isomerization of retinal. A simple one-dimensional tunneling model was used to estimate the potential contribution from heavy-atom tunneling.

 

“The Chemistry and Potential Risks of Synthetic Food Dyes in E-Cigarettes” - Karen I. Amaya Aguirre

Chemistry

 

Electronic cigarettes became the number one tobacco product consumed by young individuals in the United States by 2014, after they were introduced to the American market in 2007. The flavors and colors added to the electronic cigarettes made the product more appealing, thus increasing popularity and raising safety questions about the potential toxicity of inhaling synthetic food dyes. Although it’s mandatory to disclose the identity and quantities of the chemical ingredients in e-cigarettes to consumers, they’re usually not disclosed, leading to disinformation about potential health risks. In order to research the synthetic food dye components in e-cigarettes, e-liquids will be analyzed through high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), UV-vis spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and fluorimetry. These results will be compared to standard solutions of synthetic food dyes to identify which dyes are found in the e-liquids of popular brands of e-cigarettes in the United States and Mexico. The chemistry, stability and decomposition products of the dyes will be studied as well. Completed results will be presented at CARD. These results are fundamental to understanding and raising awareness about the risks of inhaling synthetic food dye, considering that some food dyes contain benzidine which is a human carcinogen and other dyes are severe allergens, may contain cell proliferating agents and have tumor promoting effects as well as developing other symptoms and diseases.

 

“Oxidation reaction of 2-methoxyfuran prompted by O(3P) introduction” – Lauren Lewellen

Chemistry

 

The O(3P)-initiated oxidation of 2-methoxyfuran was conducted by tunable vacuum-ultraviolet synchrotron radiation at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) in the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Reaction species data were collected by multiplexed photoionization mass spectrometry at low pressure and temperatures of 298, 550, and 700 K. Oxygen addition onto the unsaturated carbons of 2-methoxyfuran led to the formation of products at m/z 42, 54, 56, 58, 82, and 86. Mass-to-charge ratios, time traces, and photoionization spectra for each of these primary products have been obtained and are being used for identification using software Igor Pro 8 and Gaussian. Additional potential energy surface scans of the products are being produced through electronic structure calculations to confirm the hypothesized reactions. Currently preliminary matched products are ketene and cyclopropane (42), cyclobutene (54), methylketene (56), and methyl propenoate (86).

 

“Investigating the influence of the arginine residue on the metal binding thermodynamics of the antimicrobial peptide Clavanin B” – Nicky Lam, Tammy Lo, Ashni Bhathella, Parth Rathi

Chemistry

 

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are expressed in the innate immune system of many organisms and serve as a first line of defense against invading pathogens. A family of AMPs known as clavanins are 23 amino acids long and isolated from Styela clava, a marine tunicate studied as a model organism for its immune functions. The clavanin family is composed of five members, A-E. Clavanin A (ClavA) is shown in several studies to possess antimicrobial activity along with metal binding abilities, but little has been reported on Clavanin B (ClavB), which differs from ClavA only at the seventh position (K7→R7). This residue is not included in the proposed metal binding site of ClavA or ClavB, but may influence their metal binding properties through addition of a positive charge in the second coordination sphere. This study focuses on the synthesis of ClavB through solid-phase peptide synthesis and subsequent purification with high performance liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopy, and the determination of binding thermodynamics of ClavB with several metal ions found within the body, such as Zn (II), using electronic absorption spectroscopy and isothermal titration calorimetry. This study will elucidate the role of this amino acid, and the knowledge gained may provide a foundation for development of future antimicrobial therapeutics where current antibiotics are losing their efficacy.

 

“Optimization of Electrostatic DNA Melting” - Sai Namratha Kethineni, Ryan West

Chemistry


The melting of surface-bound DNA tethered to gold surfaces can be monitored through a purely electrochemical approach. This so-called electrostatic melting can be used to understand the structure and stability of surface-bound DNA through its sensitivity to electric fields at negatively charged electrodes. In this study, electric fields and temperature at the DNA-modified electrode surface are used to investigate the behavior of the bound DNA. These preliminary results provide evidence for electrostatic DNA melting through mechanisms of pure electrostatic repulsion. Electrodes were prepared with thiol modified single stranded probe DNA and then incubated with methylene blue tagged target DNA. Square wave voltammetry is used to measure the rate of melting through the diminishing redox current of the methylene blue as it leaves the surface during melting. Ultimately, these initial studies can be used to understand many details about the mechanisms of electrostatic DNA melting. Further considering the role of other interactions and strength of the hybridization complex is also important to be able to further validate this mechanism. These details can be used in various applications such as medical diagnostic tools. Identifying and exploring the specific mechanisms of the electric repulsion that occur can be useful in optimizing these tools in the future.

 

“Self-Immolative DNA-Alkylating Agents with a Tunable ‘Off-Switch’” – Samuel Jacobo, Timothy Chyrklund

Chemistry

 

Cytotoxic small molecules that directly modify DNA bases represent an important subset of chemotherapeutic agents used to target cancer cells. Due to their high toxicity and poor selectivity, clinical applications are limited. Inspired by the self-deactivating cytotoxic natural product ficellomycin, a simplified derivative containing a DNA-alkylating warhead tethered to a caged nucleophile has been synthesized in 33% yield over 5 steps. Upon exposure to biologically relevant stimuli, this bifunctional molecule is designed to undergo an intramolecular cyclization that renders the compound inert, thereby increasing its therapeutic window and improving its selectivity. Structure-activity relationship studies revolving around the kinetics and thermodynamics of DNA alkylation and intramolecular cyclization, are ongoing. These studies have the potential to improve the viability of DNA-alkylating agents in the clinic.

 

“Investigation of Oxidation Reaction Products of Acetyl Acetone Using Synchrotron Photoionization” – Sara Gallarati

Chemistry

 

The photolytically Cl-initiated oxidation reaction of Acetyl Acetone (AcAc) was carried out at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) in the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a third-generation synchrotron facility. AcAc oxidation was studied through various methods due to its role in fuel combustion and its environmental significancy. Using a multiplex photoionization mass spectrometer coupled with the tunable vacuum ultraviolet radiation of the ALS, data are collected at low pressure (4 Torr) and room temperature (298 K). This atmospheric oxidation mechanism is intricate because it involves both the enolone and the diketone form and because it includes several secondary chemistry pathways. Reaction mechanisms for primary products are postulated using electronic structure calculations of the potential energy surface from both the addition of Cl to the double bond of the enolone form and the initial H abstraction radical of the diketone with O2. We have identified m/z=72 (methyl glyoxal) as primary product result of the Waddington mechanism, m/z=114 (2,3,4-pentantrione) as a product coming from the arrangement of the Russell Intermediate from a peroxy self-reaction, m/z=42 (ketene), m/z=30 (formaldehyde) as products of primary chemistry and m/z=60 (acetic acid) as a product of secondary chemistry. Data analysis was performed via characterization of the reaction species photoionization spectra and kinetic traces. Products and reaction pathways are computed using the CBS-QB3 composite method.

 

Quantifying the metal-binding thermodynamics to the antimicrobial peptide Calcitermin” – Sohee Choi

Chemistry

 

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) play an important role in the immune system of our body, as well as in other animals and plants.2 AMPs are diverse and vary in length, overall charge, and mode of action making some members of this peptide family active against fungi, gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, and viruses.1 Currently, treatment of bacterial infections relies almost exclusively on the use of antibiotics; a class of small molecules that specifically target bacterial proteins resulting in pathogen death. However, bacteria continue to adapt and become resistant to these antibiotics leading to new strains like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). An attractive alternative to treatment bacterial infections may be using AMPs.
The list of know AMPs totals over 3,000 and continues to grow.10 Much of the research has focused on the organic chemistry and biology of AMPs by determining their sequences and modes of action against a pathogen. Interestingly, some AMPs (~10%) require a metal ion like Cu(II) or Zn(II) for their activity. Indeed, antimicrobial activity of AMPs utilize metal ions by either sequestering metal nutrients and essentially starving the bacteria or by increasing the toxic environment within the pathogen.7 The need to understand the role of metals and their interactions with AMPs is becoming increasingly important as we learn more about fluctuating metal pools in the body as a response to infection and nutrition.8,11 To date, there is no clear relationship drawn between the coordination chemistry, structural changes, and thermodynamics of metal-AMP complexes. We hypothesize that metal ions modulate AMP properties through structural and biochemical changes.

 

“The Chemistry of Natural Dyes in Hawaii” – Sydney Nucum

Chemistry

 

This experiment is aimed to analyze the compounds in different natural Hawaiian dyes and correlate compound structure and properties to color. The pigments are used to dye different fibers as well as analyzed through Thin Layer Chromatography, Ultraviolet-Visible spectroscopy, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy, and Infrared spectroscopy, which allows us to visualize the structure of the pigments and understand how they react and appear in different conditions. The results are identified through the correlation of the dyes’ structure and color. Understanding the structure and properties of natural dyes and its effect on color can help us more efficiently synthesize dyes and manipulate their hues.

 

“Effects of posttranslational modifications on metal ion binding to the antimicrobial peptide PGKI” – Tiffany Alvarez

Chemistry

 

There has been a rise of antibiotic resistance in which traditional antibiotics lose their efficacy against pathogens. A novel and promising approach is the use of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) because of their low rate of resistance and broad spectrum of activity. These small, naturally-occurring peptides form part of the innate immune system. Interestingly, some AMPs have increased antimicrobial activity in the presence of metal ions like Cu(II) and contain an Amino Terminal Copper and Nickel (ATCUN) binding motif which has the sequence H2N-X1-X2-His3. Some AMPs with a Glu at position 1 can undergo a posttranslational modification (PTM) to form pyroglutamate (pGlu). There has been no study to illustrate how this PTM affects metal binding to the AMP. One such example of this PTM is the tachykinin peptide from the Australian frog (PGKI). This small 11-residue AMP has an ATCUN motif with Glu as the first amino acid and may exist in both the Glu and pGlu forms. In this study, the effects of the PTM on the binding thermodynamics of Cu(II) and other metal ions with PGKI are shown using isothermal titration calorimetry and spectroscopic methods.

 

“Development of Self-Immolative Chemotherapeutics with a Highly-Tunable Off-Switch” – Timothy Chyrklund, Samuel Jacobo

Chemistry

 

DNA alkylators serve as one of the principal methods to treat cancer since the formation of covalent bonds between alkylating agents and DNA often triggers the death of a cell. Implicit in this strategy is the challenging requirement of selectivity. Many obstacles arise due to the inability of chemotherapeutic drugs to distinguish between the genetic material of noncancerous and cancerous cells. Thus, a drug design that offers selectivity is of great importance. A small molecule design, featuring an electrophilic epoxide or aziridine, a protected amine nucleophile, and a variable R group at the N position, was derivatized into an array of compounds. The ability of these molecules to facilitate alkylation in cancerous cells and deactivate by cyclizing onto themselves when in noncancerous cells will be tested. Furthermore, a water-soluble NBP derivative was synthesized for use in colorimetric alkylation assays.

 

“Covalent Inhibition Against Sortase A Activity in Staphylococcus aureus Bacteria” - Umyeena Bashir, Herman Nikolayevskiy

Chemistry

 

The continued rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), has made the discovery of novel antibiotics critical. While bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal antibiotics inevitably exert evolutionary pressure on bacteria to develop resistance, small molecules that target mechanisms of bacterial virulence present a promising alternative for treatment. Sortase A (srt A), a cysteine protease of S. aureus, promotes bacterial virulence by covalently attaching proteins such as pilin to the bacterial surface, enabling bacterial adhesion to mammalian cells. Inhibitory studies of this enzyme have gained prominent interest as a new pathway for drug development since blocking this enzyme's ability to covalently attach pilin has been demonstrated to result in non-virulent bacteria. Recent results from Jaudzems et al. suggest that kojic acid-derived Michael acceptors are able to covalently inhibit the active-site cysteine residue of srt A. Their validated but unoptimized hit, while moderately potent and nontoxic, suffers from aqueous instability and a lack of known structure-activity correlations. Toward this end, we have synthesized several stabilized derivatives of the Jaudzems structure, and evaluated their aqueous stability and inhibitory activity through NMR studies and enzyme kinetic assays. Additionally, by using the modern docking software Glide, we have computationally evaluated thousands of kojic acid derivatives, and have determined two general designs that focus on expanding into unoccupied regions of the Srt A active site. Future work will aim to develop a comprehensive structure-activity relationship on the basis of this computational model.

 

“Changing the Color of Carmine Dye Through the Addition of Metals” – Victoria Silverman, Nichole Donofrio

Chemistry

 

The purpose of this project is to investigate the effects of metal complexation on the optical properties of carminic acid, a chemical compound used to create carmine dyes. Different metals of varying oxidation states were used along with carminic acid. In the project, the chemical structures of carminic acid metal complexes and their resulting colors were explored. Absorbance and fluorescence spectroscopy techniques were performed to assess the effect of the metals on the dyes. With the addition of different metals to the carminic acid, a color change and a shift of the maximum absorbance wavelength of the complex is observed. Because metal complexation changes the maximum absorbance wavelengths, there is a shift in the wavelengths of light that will be reflected, and the observed color of the carminic acid solutions changes. Titration was also used in order to investigate the complexation of carminic acid with the metals. Based on our findings, different metals can be added to carminic acid to create dyes of various colors.

 

“Investigation of O-(3P)-initiated Oxidation Products of 2,3-dimethylfuran Using Synchrotron Photoionization” - Yilan Lori Chen

Chemistry

 

The oxidation of 2,3-dimethylfuran (2,3-DMF) initiated by O-(3P) was investigated using vacuum-ultraviolet synchrotron radiation from the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The reaction was studied at room temperature, 550K, and 700K at 4 torr, 7 torr, and 8 torr, respectively. Products were characterized by analyzing a three-dimensional data block containing mass-to-charge ratio (m/z), reaction time (ms), photon energy (eV), and relative ion signal.

 

“Mechanisms of Substrate Selectivity and Transport by Bacterial Methionine ABC Importer” – Yu-Chun Chen

Chemistry

 

ABC transporters are central in many cellular functions including nutrient uptake, signal transduction membrane assembly, and cellular detoxification. Both structural and functional studies have revealed insights into the high-affinity uptake mechanism of the MetNI methionine ABC transporter. Using the energy from ATP binding and hydrolysis, the MetNI-Q system can import L-Met, D-Met, and other methionine derivatives against concentration gradients. Many mechanistic studies of ABC transporter propose a model in which cognate binding proteins sequester substrates in the periplasm and deliver them to the transporter. In contrast, recent in vivo and crystallographic studies of MetNI-Q suggest that some substrates may be able to access the transporter through a solvent accessible tunnel in the cognate binding protein-transporter complex. These studies suggest that the substrate delivery to MetNI transporter may be more flexible than other ABC transport systems.
To test if the MetNI-Q system transport system uses two mechanisms of substrate delivery, we designed a series of experiments to dissect the individual steps in the transport cycle. As the starting point, we have developed a fluorescent anisotropy assay to measure the binding affinity between the MetQ substrate-binding protein and the MetNI transporter in the presence of different methionine derivatives. Our preliminary data show that MetNI binds to apo-MetQ ~10 fold tighter than L-Met liganded MetQ, and additionally may differ in the presence of D-Met. This suggests that different methionine derivatives may utilize discrete transport models.

 

“The Stress Experience of College Students Upon Returning to Campus During the COVID-19 Pandemic” – Nichole Donofrio

Communication Studies

 

Students are reporting higher stress levels since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Online classes due to lockdown from the pandemic have hurt the mental health of students by increasing their perceived stress. The University of San Francisco held remote classes due to the pandemic for two and a half semesters. Now, USF has returned to in-person classes with COVID-19 adaptations for safety. This study looked at how students experience and manage stress when returning to campus after remote learning due to the pandemic. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with USF students who experienced switching to remote learning in Spring 2020 and returned to in-person learning during the 2021-2022 school year. The results include a description of the student stress experience while returning to campus as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. This study describes how stress has affected students mentally, emotionally, and physically and how students are currently coping with their stress. Documenting the students’ stress experience with regards to the return to campus after the COVID-19 pandemic will help to understand how the global pandemic has affected students as the world tries to return to normal.

 

“Navigating Mental Health Conversations: A Qualitative Analysis of Recorded Conversations with Chinese and Latinx Patients in a Primary Care Setting” – Raneem Harb, Maria Garcia, Leah S. Karliner, Genevieve Leung, Giselle Aguayo Ramirez, Evelyn Y. Ho

Communication Studies


Background: Low clinician recognition of depressive symptoms and poor patient-clinician communication may contribute to depression disparities for racial/ethnic minorities. Our objective was to understand whether and how Chinese and Latinx patients who screen positively for depressive symptoms discuss mental health during routine primary care visits.

Methods: Among patients who screened positive for depressive symptoms (PHQ-2 score ≥2; N= 16 Latinx, N=19 Chinese), we examined patient audio-recorded conversations with primary care clinicians. Conversations occurred in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin or Toishan and were transcribed and translated by bilingual/bicultural research assistants. Transcripts were analyzed using inductive and deductive thematic and discourse analysis by at least two researchers, with the whole research team reconciling differences.

Findings: Mental health open talk or discussion (clinician initiated=9, patient-initiated=8) was evident in 17 conversations. Clinicians demonstrated care in word choice and sometimes hesitation in raising mental health. In comparison, patients were quite open in talking about mood and emotion both when questioned and through their own initiation. In some visits, clinicians and patients used different terminology for emotions, mental health practitioners (i.e. counselors vs. psychiatrists), and possible treatment. Clinicians focused conversations on concrete outcomes that were achievable within the current primary care visit, such as prescription or referral. Whereas, patients expressed a wider variety of needs and expectations around mental health some of which could not be addressed by primary care clinicians.

Discussion: Primary care visits created important opportunities for clinicians to check in with patients about mental health, but only occurred in half of recorded visits. Clinicians focused on getting to treatment and not just open-ended conversations. Patients welcomed clinicians discussing mental health, even across languages. However, mental health conversations were challenging given variation in language proficiency and terminology choice, as well as conflicting expectations about possible outcomes.

“Does nutrient release from sediments in Rodeo Lagoon cause harmful algal blooms?” – Juliana Carmody

Environmental Science

 

Rodeo Lagoon is a brackish water body in the Marin Headlands that has freshwater inputs from the watershed and is closed off from the ocean for most of the year but opens for days to weeks when a breach occurs. It has historically been affected by water stratification and eutrophication leading to algal blooms which have had adverse effects on the ecology and species of interest in the system, including the endangered Tidewater Goby and Coho Salmon. Previous research in the lagoon found that external nutrient sources are small, suggesting that internal nutrient release from sediments may be driving algal blooms. To test this hypothesis we conducted an incubation experiment using sediment cores collected from Rodeo Lagoon in September 2021. Sediment cores were incubated under both light and dark conditions and compared with control samples which contained only lagoon water to determine net fluxes of nitrogen and phosphorus between the sediments and the overlying water column. Surprisingly we did not detect a net flux of nutrients from the sediments to the water column during our experiment. Additional experiments under different lagoon conditions (and potentially longer duration) will be required to confirm our result, but the initial findings do not support our hypothesis that the lagoon sediments are the primary source of nutrients in the lagoon.

 

“Filtration and Identification of Microplastics in the San Francisco Bay” – Samantha Berthiaume, Violet Robinson

Environmental Science

 

Since September of 2021, we have been periodically collecting seawater samples from the San Francisco Bay in order to identify and categorize microplastics. Samples have been collected at the NOAA Gulf of the Farallones Visitor Center dock located at Crissy Field in the Presidio of San Francisco. Microplastics, defined as particles of plastic less than 5 mm, are becoming an increasing issue globally with implications for ecosystem health. Each year, 7 trillion microplastics enter the San Francisco Bay through stormwater, and 17 billion microplastics are discharged through treated wastewater (Sutton et al. 2019). This identifies the San Francisco Bay as a large sink for microplastics, making it an area of interest for microplastic research. The size of microplastics we have focused on ranges from 100 µm to 0.2 µm. This range of microplastics is understudied in existing microplastic literature. As such, we focused on developing a functional method for studying this range of microplastics, as well as preliminary identification of microplastics found in our samples.

 

“Annual Variation in Salinity, Temperature, and UV Radiation at McMurdo Sound, Antarctica” – Kevin Galvin

Environmental Science (MS)

 

Seawater temperatures are an important indicator for climate change, especially at the Earth’s polar regions where warming is occurring at greater rates than many places worldwide. In the Antarctic region, albedo, or the ability of surfaces to reflect incoming sunlight, is very high due to the presence of sea ice. However, as ocean temperatures continue to rise, ice is melted away and the darker seawater, with a lower albedo, decreases the amount of sunlight that is reflected, which further increases water temperature. The oceans play a critical role in regulating global climate, and the concurrent increases in water temperatures and ice melt indicate that change is occurring.
The US National Science Foundation (NSF) Antarctic Biology Course is an advanced training program for PhD students and postdoctoral-level scientists. The intent is to engage early-career scientists in polar research through working on site in Antarctica. Since 1994 more than 240 scientists from over 130 institutions representing 24 countries have benefitted from participation in this series of training programs. During the field portion of the course, participants collected hydrographic data in McMurdo Sound, both underneath the sea ice and at the ice edge. For this study, salinity and temperature data collected from the course, along with ultraviolet radiation (UVR) data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Antarctic UV Monitoring Network, were utilized to evaluate annual variation in these environmental variables over a twenty year period of time (1999-2018) in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

 

“Workplace Dynamics at Koret Health and Recreation Center” – Melinda Flyash

Honors College

 

Student-workers account for the majority of employment on college campuses. Previous data on student experiences within organizational psychology have raised key concerns in areas of trust, communication, and heightened stress in workplace dynamics. During the great resignation prompted by COVID-19, workplace conditions and culture have taken a toll. At the University of San Francisco Koret Health and Recreation Center, about 90% of the employees attend the university as well and many need this employment to pay for educational and personal expenses. This semi-structured interview study will be conducted with 10 student-workers at the Koret Health and Recreation Center that will address their workplace experiences. The anticipated results of this study will examine heightened stress post-COVID in comparison to pre-COVID. In addition, the desirable outcomes will examine questions of trust and communication. In conclusion, the findings will then be presented to the supervisors at the Koret Health and Recreation Center as a way to inform them of student-worker experiences. By providing Koret Health and Recreation Center with student experiences, the hope is that this organization can use these findings to maintain, support and improve a positive workplace.

 

“All People Are Sacred Across Bars and Borders” – Emma Gaut

Honors College

 

The current US immigration system is inequitable and inhumane, with some practices against immigrant men, women, and children even constituting torture. Today, immigrants from Central America, many of whom would qualify as asylum-seekers, are framed as undesirable and unworthy of US citizenship—and are treated accordingly. The purpose of “All People Are Sacred Across Bars and Borders” is to practice Embodied Accompaniment, revolving around intentional solidarity, accompaniment, and advocacy with immigrant populations. The first half of my project consists of participating in the USF University Ministry's Arrupe Immersion to the US-Mexico Border over Spring Break. We will be meeting with grassroots organizations at the border that work with immigrant populations, including asylum-seekers and deported veterans. The second half of my Capstone is working with Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity (IM4HI), a California organization that fights for the rights of immigrants and all incarcerated populations. I will be constructing educational modules for IM4HI, the first being on “Citizenship and the Establishment of Whiteness” and the second on “Family Separation as National Policy.” These informative modules will be distributed to different congregations that are involved with IM4HI through their Resource Library. Overall, the goal of my work is to illuminate how solidarity, accompaniment, and advocacy can be practiced as we strive towards an equitable and humane immigration system, one that preserves the dignity and humanity of all immigrants.

 

“The Effects of the Guided Urban Trail on Stress, Mindfulness and Physical Activity” – Ashley Burdick

Kinesiology

 

Introduction: In Fall 2021, Dr. Sarah Camhi created a mindful walking trail intended to increase physical activity and mental health of faculty, staff and students at University of San Francisco. The purpose of the current research was to 1) explore the potential changes in mental health (stress, mindfulness and anxiety) and 2) measure physical activity during participation in the guided walk format.

Methods: Kinesiology students from University of San Francisco were invited to participate and eligible if they were at least 18 years of age, able to read/write english, had access to a cell phone, able to stand and walk for at least 25 minutes. Two validated surveys measuring state mental health constructs of mindfulness, anxiety, and stress were used to assess the effect before and after completing the URBAN trail. The Short Stress State Questionnaire (SSSQ) measured constructs of worry, distress, and engagement on a 1–5 Likert scale (1=“Not at all”; 5=“Extremely”). The Toronto Mindfulness Scale (TMS) measured curiosity and de-centering on a 0–4 Likert scale (0=“Not at all”; 4=“Very Much”). Anxiety was measured using a visual analogue scale and score 1-10 (10=greatest anxiety). Physical activity was estimated via steps with a Yamax pedometer worn at the hip.

Results: Dr. Sarah Camhi led the guided trail on two different occasions for two different classes during the Fall 2021 semester. Thirty-three Kinesiology students agreed to participate and had complete data (44.1% freshman, 5.8% sophomore, 5.8% junior, 44.1% senior) Participants with valid data (n=31) averaged 1713 ± 337 steps. Changes in mental health variables pre- and post-URBAN trail among participants (n=33) were determined by paired samples t-tests with averages and standard deviations taken for descriptive statistics. Stress was reduced on average 3.09 ± 6.74 points (p=0.01), with distress decreasing 3.97 ± 5.16 points (p=0.0001), engagement increasing 1.36 ± 2.51 points (p=0.004), and no significant differences for worry. For mindfulness, total scores increased on average 2.48 ± 9.78 points (p=0.15), with de-centering increasing 2.09 ± 5.70 points (p=0.04) and no significant differences observed for curiosity. Anxiety was reduced by an average of 1.58 ± 1.50 points (p<0.0001).

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that completion of the guided URBAN Trail can produce significant results for reducing anxiety, reducing stress, and increasing specific components of mindfulness among university students. Future studies should confirm results in a larger, more diverse sample of students in other majors and include faculty, staff, and community members in order to explore results among sex, race/ethnicity, age, and level of regular physical activity. Future studies should also explore whether these effects are similar among a self-guided trail option.

 

“Program Evaluation of the Guided URBAN Trail: A USF Community-Engaged Health Promotion Project” – Ava Sorenson

Kinesiology

 

The URBAN Trail is a guided walk created at the University of San Francisco aimed at increasing mindfulness and physical activity. The walk’s mindfulness prompts based on USF Alumni Hal Urban’s book The Power of Good News: Feeding Your Mind with What's Good for Your Heart. The purpose of this study was to evaluate this activity for feasibility, acceptability, effectiveness, in order to inform future changes. Individuals who participated in this study were recruited through newsletters, emails, and word of mouth to faculty, staff, students and the local community of University of San Francisco. Participants signed up for the guided walk of the trail via an online sign up sheet and chose dates between October 26th-November 17th 2021. Walks were guided by Dr. Sarah Camhi, as well as students involved in the creation of the trail, and students from KIN330 Health Promotion. At the end of the walk, participants were asked to answer a 2-3 minute online survey via mobile phone where participants could opt to enter into a raffle. The survey was multiple choice and fill in the blank and done through the Qualtrics software. Data was summarized from the survey. A total of 17 guided walks were offered with 251 participants who signed up. Approximately 79% of those who signed up attended, and 91% of attendees completed the feedback survey. Participants were 75% USF students, 18% USF faculty or staff, 3% USF alumni, and 3% were community members. The majority of individuals said they chose to be on the trail to add more physical activity to their day (21%), take a mental break from work/school (32%) or support a friend/colleague (24%). In rating the overall enjoyment of the trail, 87% rated excellent or good. The highest rated stop of the trail was at the peace garden whereas the lowest rated stop was Kalmanovitz amphitheater. In asking participants to reflect on the effectiveness of the trail in spreading good news, in accordance with the mission statement, 91% strongly agreed or agreed. Participants found the URBAN Trail most useful for improving stress (strongly agree or agree at 83%), improving anxiety (strongly agree or agree at 73%) and increasing physical activity (strongly agree or agree at 89%). Approximately 57.14% of participants said they were very likely or likely to do the guided URBAN Trail again and 79.83% were very likely or likely to recommend the guided URBAN Trail to others. Participants said they were very likely or likely to do the URBAN Trail in a format where they could access it on their own time (73.73%), 82.2% were very likely or likely to do the URBAN Trail using signage around the USF campus, 71.19% were very likely or likely to access additional information using a QR code and 64.95% were very likely or likely to use a web-based app on their phone to guide the trail. The results from the feedback survey suggest high satisfaction, enjoyment and successful translation of a mindfulness physical activity from the URBAN Trail. Suggestions for the future format will guide a successful translation into a self-guided format.
 

“Prevalence of Low Energy Availability in Collegiate Soccer Players” – Candace Hillegas

Kinesiology

 

Low energy availability (LEA) is an urgent risk among competitive athletes due to the intense physiological demands of training and competition. Because LEA is difficult to assess, it is often overlooked, leading to an underestimation of its prevalence. Currently, there is an extensive body of literature describing LEA among female athletes in endurance and aesthetic sports; however, there is very little research examining LEA in other sports requiring high energy expenditure. Further, preliminary evidence has identified LEA in male athletes, but the studies are limited. The primary purpose of this study is to determine the prevalence of LEA among men’s and women’s collegiate soccer players during a 20-hour training week using a simple, self-report method. Participants will be asked to keep a detailed food and exercise journal every day for four consecutive days. This data will be used to estimate measurements of energy intake and exercise energy expenditure, in relation to fat-free mass. To calculate energy availability, exercise energy expenditure will be subtracted from energy intake. We hypothesize that there will be a moderate prevalence of LEA among this athletic population, based on evidence from initial research. A secondary purpose of this study is to consider the feasibility of using a self-report method to estimate energy availability in collegiate athletes. Thus, participation rates will be calculated as the percentage of participants who completed all four days of journaling out of the total number of participants at the start of the study. Further, a follow-up survey will be provided to participants to evaluate its practicality. Ultimately, this research is important in promoting greater awareness of LEA in young athletes, with the intent to increase its monitoring across sports disciplines.

 

“Effects of a university physical activity challenge on levels of anxiety, depression, stress, and perceived dependency of wearing a physical activity tracker” – Emily Jackson

Kinesiology

 

Many studies have researched the benefits of physical activity and well-being, which has led many universities to develop ways to promote physical activity engagement on campus. However, there is limited research on how engaging in campus activities promoting physical activity impacts mental health. Additionally, limited research has explored the impact of wearing a physical activity tracker and its potential to create dependency on wearing the device. The aim of this study was to understand the effects of a four week campus-wide physical activity challenge on levels of anxiety, depression, and stress in college students, as well as, potential dependency effects of wearing a physical activity tracker. For the duration of the challenge, 44 undergraduate and 6 graduate students (average age = 21.4 years) wore a physical activity tracker with limited feedback, and answered questionnaires regarding their anxiety, depression, stress, and their perceived dependency at the beginning, middle, and end of the challenge, and two weeks post-challenge. The results indicate that anxiety, depression, and stress did not change across time. Interestingly, significant interactions were revealed, such that individuals who wore an activity tracker before the study differed in their perceived dependency on wearing an activity tracker compared to those who did not wear one prior to the study. Further analyses must be conducted to see if there was a relationship between physical activity behavior and mental health measures, as well as activity tracker dependency.

 

“Changes in self-reported physical activity and sleep among university students enrolled in Go Dons Get Fit Health Promotion Program: PROJECT GO” - Eva Westbrook, Stephanie Cooper, Sarah Camhi

Kinesiology

 

Background: Increasing physical activity levels has been associated with increased quantity and improved quality of sleep. Despite the known benefits, research has been limited for examining the effects of a physical activity health promotion program in a university setting on college-aged students. College-aged students are an important group to focus on due to their lack of meeting the physical activity recommendations and poor sleep. Thus, the purpose of this research was to examine the effects of a month-long university physical activity health promotion program on sleep. Methods: Students were eligible if they were at least 18 years old, a current in-person USF student during Fall 2021 semester, willing to participate in Go Dons Get Fit, be able to read and write in English and wear an activity monitor. Participants were given questionnaires via Qualtrics (online) before the start of the program, and at the end of the month-long (31 day) program. Physical activity was assessed by asking how many days per week they engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and how many minutes per day. These values were multiplied together to get a mins/week of MVPA. Participants were also asked to describe their physical activity pattern throughout Go Dons Get Fit (ie., increased, decreased, stayed the same, etc). Sleep quantity and quality was quantified using the validated Pittsburgh Sleep Quality index (PSQI) questionnaire (duration, quality, latency, efficiency, medications, disturbances, daytime dysfunction). Measures were compared at baseline and at follow-up via paired t-tests to determine differences. Results: Participants with complete data were 21±5 years old, 13 % graduate and 87% undergraduate (22.5% freshman, 25% sophomore, 22.5% junior, 30% senior) 80% female and 20% male, 28% white, 50% asian, 22% other race/ethnicity (n=46). Approximately 48% were kinesiology majors. The most common physical activity pattern reported among participants was “no change” (54%), while 26% reported PA increased at first and then plateaued. There was a significant increase in self-reported sleep for hours/night with an average of (mean±SD) 6.34±1.25 at baseline and 6.72±1.22 at follow up (p=0.02), but no significant change for sleep total score which takes into account both quantity and quality (p=0.38). For the individual sleep subscores, there was a significant increase in sleep disturbance score of 0.94± 0.51 at baseline to 1.11±0.38 at follow up (p=0.03), but no other changes in sleep quality, latency, efficiency, disturbances, or daytime dysfunction. Conclusion: In summary, physical activity levels remained unchanged for the majority of participants. Sleep quantity increased with minimal changes in quality. Limitations of the study included a small sample size consisting of only one university. Further research could be conducted to see whether these results are confirmed with objective measures of PA and sleep.
 

“Study Protocol: Social Group Intervention with a Physical Activity Component for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Following Covid-19” – Kaelyn Arcilla, Katie Dace

Kinesiology

 

Background: Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often struggle in social situations. They can have behavioral issues which impact their performance in daily life. Social groups have been seen to improve these issues as well as physical activity. Today, following the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is an increase in social isolation and a lack of interest in socialization. This has made the previous behavioral issues of children with ASD worsen.
Methods: This study outlines a social group with a physical activity component that would best address the behavioral and social issues faced by children with ASD. The study was reviewed by three individuals including an occupational therapist, educator, and parent prior to implementation
Results: Anticipated results will reflect a combination of improved social functioning, motor skills, and mental health for children and adolescents with ASD. Our comprehensive approach will produce positive outcomes by maximizing time through combined interventions as well as utilizing a more well-rounded and holistic approach to address the person as a whole.
Conclusion: Children with ASD often benefit from additional support such as various therapeutic approaches in addition to parental/guardian support. Our approach aims to efficiently combine the leading approaches related to ASD in order to address behavioral concerns and mental health during Covid-19.

 

“Student Engagement with University of San Francisco's Go Dons Get Fit Health Promotion Program: PROJECT GO” – Romane Vigouroux

Kinesiology


Background: PROJECT GO is a seven week long research study led by the Kinesiology department at the University of San Francisco which evaluated a health promotion program called Go Dons Get Fit. To date, no measures have been taken to evaluate the engagement of students for this program. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to 1) summarize demographic characteristics of participants and 2) report student engagement with the various health promotion program resources.
Methods: To be eligible to participate, students from the University of San Francisco had to be at least 18 years of age, be a current in-person USF student for Fall 2021, be willing to participate in the Go Dons Get Fit Challenge (a month long health promotion program), be able to read and write in English, and be willing to wear an activity monitor for 7 weeks. Students with any medical condition that may affect their ability to participate in physical activity were exempted from the study. Various methods were utilized to recruit participants: flyers were displayed in central locations on campus, class announcements were made, a video explanation of the study was emailed to professors, emails were sent, and tabeling at university events were done. Before the start of the study, potential participants were sent a screening form and were then asked to sign an informed consent form. Throughout the study, questionnaires were sent to students to assess their engagement with various health promotion program resources such as newsletter, emails, and videos. At the end of the study, participants were asked to return the watch and they were compensated for their time by receiving $30.
Results: Participants were 78% female and 22% male (n=50). Of these, 44% identified as Asian, 32% as white, and other races characterized <6% of the sample. The participants were fairly well-distributed in terms of student status as 20% were freshmen, 20% were sophomores, 22% were juniors, 26% were seniors, and 12% classified as graduate students. Of this sample, half of the students (n=25) were Kinesiology majors. Approximately 36% of students claimed to be aware of the federal guidelines for physical activity at baseline. When asked about who they most prefer to be physically active with, 56% responded that they prefer to do so alone, 36% prefer to be active with friends or family, 4% prefer a group or class setting, and the remaining 4% preferred another way that was not listed. Approximately 6% signed up for the competition as a team, while 94% signed up individually. Approximately 22% of participants reported convincing a friend/professor/colleague to join the Go Dons Get Fit Challenge. When looking at participant engagement throughout Go Dons Get Fit, it was found that 28% of participants found the competition between staff/faculty and students to be motivating, 40% found that it had no effect, and 32% did not find it motivating. Moreover, 44% of students reported never checking the leaderboard, 38% checked it every other week, 14% did so a few times a week, and 4% checked it daily. Only 26% of participants reported having read an article or newsletter;14% attended the Exercise is Medicine on Campus display, 4% of participants participated in the Kinesiology sponsored game “Bingo”, and 4% posted about the challenge on their social media. Additionally, 44% of participants reported to have entered their minutes of physical activity during all four weeks, while 44% entered their data 1-3 weeks (out of possible 4), 12% of participants did not report entering their minutes at all. The most common way to enter minutes into the website was one time per week (86%). Furthermore, 56% of the participants reported engaging in two or more resources provided by the University of San Francisco, 24% reported using one of the resources, 8% reported using resources other than the ones listed, and 12% did not report using any resources. Finally, 36% of participants found the weekly themes to be motivating, while 64% were unaware of the themes.
Conclusion: From our findings, it is clear that there was low engagement of the resources provided for students as part of the Go Dons Get Fit Challenge Future studies will analyze whether engagement was associated with major.

 

“Can I Get a Break?” - Tiffany Wilson, Rand Shakhtour, Ashwini Pullur, Rineeta Lahiri

Learning Center

 

Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) is a way for students enrolled in general chemistry classes to improve their understanding of concepts. The groups of students meet every week for two hours and work through practice problems in a collaborative environment. During long study sessions, research suggests that taking short breaks help battle fatigue and boost memory and understanding.1 Taking breaks increases productivity and reduces study fatigue which can directly translate to the knowledge of chemistry and enables students to study more effectively.1 The hypothesis is that PLTL students will better retain information after taking periodic breaks during the session. To test this in each session, students took one structured, seven-minute break where students participated in kinesthetic and creative activities. To measure retention, the leaders administered quizzes before and after each session and one quiz that tests the information learned the previous week. It is predicted that overall retention of information, seen by higher quiz scores, will improve after taking breaks. In addition, to eliminate extraneous testing conditions, a questionnaire about the student’s mental health-related to academics will be provided at the end of each session to analyze the impact of breaks on well-being. It is essential to mention that data collection is ongoing. Further research can be done to analyze the impact of different activities during the study break.
 

“The Analysis of Influencing Factors Affecting the Postoperative Prognosis of Elderly Patients with Hip Fracture” - Qiyu Freda Zhang

Mathematics

 

Hip fractures are the most common type of fracture of elders. To investigate the risk factors affecting the short-term and long-term prognosis of elderly patients with hip fracture, we collected clinical information of 100 patients and followed up with them for 12 months. We use multiple linear regression and logistic regression methods to analyze the risk factors. By analyzing the data, we find four major factors that influence poor short-term and long-term prognosis after surgery in elderly patients with hip fracture.

 

“Predicting September Arctic sea-ice extent using a hierarchy of statistical models” – Hannah Myint

Physics
 

Observed Arctic sea-ice decline is a robust indicator of anthropogenic climate change with the resulting ice loss directly impacting local weather patterns, marine & terrestrial ecosystems, indigenous communities, and geopolitical relationships. Thus, increasing skill in predicting summer ice evolution is important for a wide range of stakeholders. In recent years, sea ice has been melting at a faster rate in summer than it is reforming in winter. Here, we create a linear regression model to predict September sea-ice extent (SIE) with parameters including data from the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS), ECMWF Reanalysis v5 (ERA5), and the Arctic Oscillation Index (AO). We pinpoint essential regions of the Arctic which increase skill in predictions for September SIE. We determine that the strength of the winter-time AO and Icelandic Low act as predictors for increasing summer melt. Furthermore, we find strong correlation between early summer sea-ice thickness north of Alaska and an increase in skillful predictions for September Arctic SIE. After identifying these regional climate patterns in both winter and summer, our statistical model achieves a correlation coefficient of 0.74 over our validation data (2011-2020). This simple, multivariable regression model and its regional parameters provide an alternative method to increasing skill in Arctic summer sea-ice predictions.

 

“Machine Learning in Plasma Physics” – Lakshman Manny

Physics

 

The broad applications of plasma have given birth to various physical models that describe different regimes. Unfortunately, these models are often too simplistic or lack the ability to capture the chaotic nature of non-equilibrium plasma. With the concurrent growth in machine learning, a marriage between the two fields seems almost inevitable, and yet only a few papers exist today that employ machine learning as a means of modelling plasma. Our experiment involves the use of a neural network to predict statistical properties (temperature, state densities, etc.) of a given system of plasma using just its emission spectrum. This removes the need for intrusive methods, like the Langmuir probe, and any over-simplistic approximations that often accompany typical spectroscopy.

 

“Spectroscopic Observation and Analysis of Strong Gravitational Lensing Systems” - Suchitoto Rose Tabares-Tarquinio

Physics

 

The gravity of massive galaxies can warp space-time and bend the path of the light from a background source galaxy causing it to appear as multiple images or even an “Einstein ring”. This rare phenomenon is called strong gravitational lensing. These systems facilitate accurate and precise measurements of foreground galaxy mass density profiles and provide the only way to detect dark matter substructure at cosmological distances. From 2021 to 2026, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) survey will obtain spectra for more than 30 million galaxies. Our proposal to target gravitational lensing systems using DESI has been approved. We will model the spectra of both foreground and background galaxies of the lensing system to obtain their redshifts, and to determine the velocity dispersion of the former and the star formation rate of the latter. We proposed and got time to observe some of our systems at Lick Observatory. We succeeded in getting the spectra of several lensing systems, and aim to perform the same analysis for the DESI spectra.

 

“Queer and Trans Migrants” – David Salinas

Politics

 

LGBTQI+ migrants have often been left out of the immigration conversation; however, the U.S. has continued to pass legislation targeting these communities and is responsible for deporting them to their deaths. Although the current research analyzes different pieces of legislation and an intersectional approach to understanding LGBTQI+ migrants, few include their personal testimonies and oral histories on the effects of legislation during a global pandemic. This thesis aims to close this gap by conducting qualitative interviews and reporting on their experiences with the U.S. immigration system.

 

“Are Apologies Useful in Reducing Moral Outrage Online?” – Adolfo Barrales, Niklas Miles Goodman

Psychology

 

In the modern era of online activism and vigilantism, polarization may impact how we not only perceive viral social media events but also how we perceive attempts to repair harm. We tested whether or not one’s political ideology influenced their moral outrage (i.e., anger and disgust).
This relationship was examined through a vignette posted online describing a moral transgression modeled after what is popularly referred to as a “Karen” event. In this scenario, the offender either expressed a full apology, half apology or no apology when the event became viral. A total of 467 participants were recruited for this research; 287 participants were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT) and 180 participants from students taking a psychology class. Only participants who reported high political affiliation were included in the analyses. Of the 467 total participants, a subcategory was created and data for 236 participants was analyzed. Although we predicted an interaction between political ideology and apology on participants’ moral outrage, no significant interaction effect was found F(2, 230) = 1.431, p < 0.241. No significant effect of the type of apology was found F(2, 230) = 0.121, p < 0.886. However, a significant effect was found for political ideology, such that F(1, 230) = 27.756, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.106. In this study, conservatives in general experienced less moral outrage (M = 5.06, SD = 1.38) than liberals (M = 5.97, SD = 1.10). Our data did not provide any support for an interaction between political ideology and apology conditions but reinforced the notion that political identity is a mega-identity in social media interactions and that apologies serve limited use in mitigating outrage.

 

“Pronouns and Perceptions of Gender: Investigating Context and Age Effects” – Alexis A. Chin, Isabella D. Hartley, Lara H. Nassar, Jordan Mall, Nico M. Dellar, Sarah J. Wright, Lisa S. Wagner

Psychology

 

“They/them” has gained popularity in being used as a pronoun that is more inclusive than the cumbersome and binary “he or she.” Although "they" is being used due to its inclusion of nonbinary gender identities and its purportedly gender-neutral nature, some findings suggest that it may have a male bias with people more likely to assume that it references a man rather than a woman or nonbinary person (Lindqvist et al., 2019). Prior research in our lab found that both “they/them” and generic noun identifiers (e.g., the applicant) showed a male bias in essays related to job searching and to older adult technology use, but a female bias in an essay related to college student organizations. Our current study uses only one essay topic (the cognitive benefits of reading) to determine whether different pronouns: “he or she,” “they,” and “the reader” affect the perception of gender. We also manipulated age group: “younger adult,” “middle-aged adult,” and “older adult” to see whether age may also influence the perception of gender. Preliminary findings suggest that all three pronoun types (“he or she,” “they,” and “the reader”) resulted in unbiased perceptions of gender, with the exception that when “they” described a younger adult, participants were more likely to perceive that it referenced a woman (rather than a man or a person of another gender). These results suggest that context may play a role in how gender pronouns are perceived.

 

“The Urge to Punish: Potential Dark Side to Social Activist Identity” – Elizabeth Carpenter, Jess Leong, Marci Adolfo

Psychology

 

 People who consider themselves to be strong social activists may have desires they consider to be justice oriented, such as educating others, creating just norms, and increasing harmony between groups. However, there may also be an underside to these goals: People who score high on social activist identity may also express retributive justice tendencies.  
 
We examined the relationship between self-reported social activist ratings and reactions to a moral transgression depicted in a viral social media event. A total of 180 from an undergraduate psychology participant pool were randomly assigned to read a social media event modeled after what is popularly known as a “Karen” event. In this scenario, the offender either expressed a full apology, half apology, or no apology. Afterward, participants provided their reactions towards the transgressor and the victim of the event.  
 
Along the lines of restorative and retributive justice, we hypothesized that students who self-reported high levels of social activism were more likely to want to educate and punish the offender. Our hypothesis was supported regarding punishment tendencies, however, there was no support for the predicted association in willingness to educate. Specifically, a positive association was found for activism scores and condemnatory judgments (put in parentheses a few of the condemn items)  (r(180) = .34, p < .001) and the more people considered themselves as activists, the more they likely they reported that they would engage in online  “calling her out or canceling her” (r(180) = .29, p < .001). However, we found no association between activist scores and willingness  to educate her or someone like her (r(180) = .03, p <.63).

While social activists may hope to behave consistently with restorative justice principles and practices, these findings suggest that they are willing to engage in behaviors that are aligned with retributive justice practices as well. These findings have important implications for activist movements: Different types of activists may occupy the same movements but have very different notions of what justice means to them.

 

“The Impacts of Identity on Perceived Social Status Assignment in Children” – Maddie Price, Sabrina Ortiz, Augustine Provencio, Emily Flores

Psychology

 

Previous research suggests that as children grow older they become more aware of resource inequity and thus are more likely to assign low status to African-American children (Elenbaas & Killen, 2016). Another study found that both White and non-White children rate Black boys less favorably than they rate White (Perszyk et al., 2018). Based on this research, we hypothesize that children from both high and low status groups will rate White children higher than non-White ones.
This study surveyed 116 participants between the ages of 6 and 12 (Mean age = 8.84, SD = 2). Out of the participants surveyed, 51% identified as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color) and 49% identified as White. Participants matched the faces of different children from different ethnicities and genders to houses and cars that the participants believed the children lived in or rode in respectively. The houses and cars represented varied socioeconomic statuses. This measured the perceived social status (PSS) they assigned to children from different ethnicities and genders. Composite scores for each demographic group were calculated for the participants, with higher scores representing higher PSS.
We used linear regressions to find correlations between demographic variables of participants and PSS they assigned to children from different intersectional identities. Specifically, this study examined if participants’ gender, race and ethnicity, age, or socioeconomic status (SES) predicted higher or lower PSS scores. Gender was a predictor for scores given to boys. Male participants typically assigned higher status to boys than girls did (ϐ = .4607, SE = .0791, p = .014). SES (ϐ = .2173, SE = .0316 p = .026) and race/ethnicity (ϐ = .3421, SE = .1054 p = .080) were predictors for PSS scores for Black faces. These scores show that BIPOC and higher SES children typically assigned greater status to Black children, although the effect for BIPOC participants was marginal. A gender effect was found for PSS of Asian faces (ϐ = .3750, SE = .1385, p = .049), with boys assigning higher PSS to Asian boy faces. Age was not a significant predictor in any of the regressions. There were also no trends in the regressions for White children, Latine children, and girls. The findings will be discussed in light of research examining children’s developing perceptions of social status.

 

“An Examination of the Relationships Between Familismo, Machismo, and Interpersonal Violence in Latinx Populations” – Nicole Pena-Martinez

Psychology

 

Throughout history, Latinx populations have been inaccurately represented and excluded across all disciplines. This study aimed to help close the gap between existing literature and inclusive research in order to work towards creating effective treatments for Latinx populations. Specifically, the study aimed to examine the link between Latinx cultural values and violence within interpersonal relationships. This study explored the relationship between Latinx cultural values and interpersonal violence (IPV), specifically how familism predicts IPV, machismo predicts IPV, and caballerismo predicts IPV. Participants included adults from a Latinx background with proficiency in either English or Spanish and were recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk and social media platforms. The study included an English and Spanish online Qualtrics survey and consisted of three questionnaires and two vignettes. Positive correlations were established between familism and IPV, traditional machismo and IPV, and caballerismo and IPV across both surveys. Multiple linear regressions were run and established traditional machismo as a predictor of IPV in the English survey, whereas, traditional machismo, caballerismo, and familism were all predictors of IPV in the Spanish survey.

 

“Is the Rebound of Suppressed Thoughts Replicable?” – Noa Gross, Elizabeth Carpenter, Marian Scomazzon, Sabrina Hemida

Psychology

 

Can individuals successfully keep a thought out of mind? Wegner et al. (1987) suggested that attempting to suppress a thought paradoxically causes a rebound effect- an increase in the accessibility of the given thought after suppression. In different phases of their study, participants were instructed to avoid thinking of a white bear (suppression) or told to think about a white bear (expression) and then monitored how often the target thought (white bear) came to mind. Participants who suppressed the thought first had a rebound as the thought was more accessible than for participants who initially expressed the thought. While the phenomenon has been recorded in other studies, other studies have shown contradicting results and few studies have reported direct replications of the original methods. Therefore, in the current study we attempted to directly replicate Wegner et al. (1987).

We examined the rebound effect using a non-clinical sample of undergraduates, using methods close to the original study. Following a one minute practice trial where participants practiced verbalizing a stream of consciousness, the experimental group was instructed to not think of a white bear (initial suppression), while controls were asked to think of a white bear (initial expression) for five minutes. In the second trial, participants in the experimental group were asked to think of a white bear, and controls were asked not to think of a white bear while verbalizing their thoughts. Participants reported thinking of the target item (white bear) by pressing a clicker. After being asked to suppress the target thought, the experimental group reported more target thought occurrences (M = 27.061) than those who were asked to think about the target thought from the onset (M = 111.981), p < 0.01, supporting the initial findings of Wegner et al. (1987) and suggesting the presence of the rebound effect. This phenomenon is important because it suggests that under some circumstances thought suppression can be counterproductive, which has significant implications for many clinical disorders, such as anxiety or PTSD.

 

“Effects of COVID-19 on Psychological Well-Being: College Students With a History in Foster Care” – Rayburn Tang, Savannah Perry

Psychology

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only revealed, but also enhanced, hardships in all forms for people across the nation while shining a light on systemic failures that fail to support youth, such as those in the foster care system. The current study looks at a participant group of self-reported college students between the ages of 18 and 26. Participants were surveyed to learn about possible changes in their psychological well-being in the first three months of the pandemic. An assessment of these changes in psychological well-being will help us to better understand how life-altering events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, impact this demographic in particular. Analyzing how certain resources influence the ability of these college students to take care of themselves and feel cared for by the community will be useful in understanding how these needs may transform and develop over the course of the pandemic. With the United States reaching the two year mark since the beginning of the pandemic, possible improvements to collegiate and community support will be considered.

 

“Alternative Outcomes, Surprise, and Predicting Replication of Psychological Research - A Qualitative Analysis” – Sabrina Ibrahim, Joshua Condry, Erica Divinagracia, Marci Adolfo, Sydney Laxson

Psychology

 

When we read research findings, what facilitates consideration of different possible outcomes? 112 Amazon Mechanical Turk Workers read about four psychological studies, and either predicted the results, received the results without explanation, or received the results with a plausible explanation. We hypothesized that 1. receiving results would increase the difficulty of explaining alternative outcomes, and that this would be amplified by receiving explanations, 2. As difficulty explaining alternatives increases, participants would be less surprised by actual results and predict higher likelihood of replication. We did not find the expected differences in difficulty across conditions, and instead found the opposite of predicted results for difficulty of explaining alternative outcomes. Across all four research studies, surprise was negatively correlated with likelihood of replication, indicating that more surprising results are considered less likely to replicate. We consider reasons why difficulty of explaining alternative outcomes resulted in the opposite of our hypothesis, and discuss implications for how research can best be presented to promote consideration of alternative outcomes.

 

“Alternative Outcomes, Surprise, and Predicting Replication of Psychological Research - A Quantitative Analysis” – Sydney Laxson, Marci Adolfo, Erica Divinagracia, Joshua Condry, Sabrina Ibrahim

Psychology

 

When we read research findings, what facilitates consideration of different possible outcomes? 112 Amazon Mechanical Turk Workers read about four psychological studies, and either predicted the results, received the results without explanation, or received the results with a plausible explanation. We hypothesized that 1. receiving results would increase the difficulty of explaining alternative outcomes, and that this would be amplified by receiving explanations, 2. As difficulty explaining alternatives increases, participants would be less surprised by actual results and predict higher likelihood of replication. We did not find the expected differences in difficulty across conditions, and instead found the opposite of predicted results for difficulty of explaining alternative outcomes. Across all four research studies, surprise was negatively correlated with likelihood of replication, indicating that more surprising results are considered less likely to replicate. We consider reasons why difficulty of explaining alternative outcomes resulted in the opposite of our hypothesis, and discuss implications for how research can best be presented to promote consideration of alternative outcomes.

 

“The Thirty Meter Telescope vs. The Kingdom of Hawaii: How Does the Development of a Telescope Affect Hawaiian Sovereignty?” – Jhanalei Sales

Rhetoric and Language

 

With a population of roughly 1.5 million living in Hawai'i, two-thirds of Native Hawaiians reside in the states. Over the course of time, the Native Hawaiian population has plummeted due to the western newcomers who have replaced the once thriving culture with western influenced models. The erasure of the culture is evident, resulting in Hawaiian sovereign movements to be established for which it campaigns to revive and return the culture, the land, and its resources, back to the Native Hawaiian people who have suffered injustices for centuries. With Native Hawaiians being one of the largest groups of indigneous people in the world, the goal of this study was to reflect on the deprivation Native Hawaiians undergo and the minimal rights they possess over their own land. The controversy over the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) that is being constructed on the sanctified land of Mauna Kea is a prime example of Native Hawaiians fighting to protect and spell out their needs for valuable resources. The protests against the TMT are deeper than just the telescope being built; it highlights the broader issue of the unresolved historic violation of Native Hawaiians. The policy instilled in this paper includes the reformation of the once sovereign nation by returning the land that rightfully belongs to those of Hawaiian blood.

 

“A New Age for Medicine: The Obstacles and Opportunities of Psychedelics in Healthcare” – Juliet Meekins

Rhetoric and Language

 

As alternative health care is becoming increasingly accepted worldwide, psychedelic medicine, specifically “magic mushrooms'' and their active ingredient psilocybin are in the midst of being legalized for medical treatment. Not only is psilocybin being used as treatment for depression, anxiety, and PTSD, but it is also used to combat substance addictions, such as alcoholism and nicotine addiction. Opponents of psilocybin argue that it is unpredictable and can cause both immediate and long term negative physical and mental effects. Additionally, indigenous communities point to the westernized use of “magic mushrooms'' as further taking advantage of indigenous knowledge and capitalizing on them. Nevertheless, the two sides have one thing in common. They both agree and advocate that more research and education surrounding the use of psychedelic medicine in health care is needed in order to move forward with its use as well as discover its full potential.

 

“Analyzing Defensive Architecture” – Katherine Mottola

Rhetoric and Language

 

Design has a huge impact on how we see each other and how we interact with the world. It can help us see outside of ourselves and communicate with one another. We view things completely differently based on the word choice and graphics of posters. The way a building’s exterior looks can affect whether we feel welcomed or seen by a space. The design of everything from a toaster to a community center affects us in ways that we often don’t notice, but when we find ourselves suddenly not being designed for, we do notice. This is a big issue with hostile or defensive architecture. Most of us probably understand that the armrests on public benches are not meant for us to rest our arms but rather to prevent a person from lying down on the bench to sleep. But when we see sprinklers going off over concrete, do we know that it is to prevent people camping there or do we just assume it is a harmless mistake? There are so many examples of simple design choices meant to fly under the radar of most of the public, the housed people who can afford to look past the spikes on the sidewalks, but keep some members of the community hidden. That’s the thing about hostile architecture–it doesn’t solve any issues of homelessness, it just makes them less visible. It clearly prioritizes the safety and comfort of “paying customers” of the public over those that have less. The reasons for this prioritization all point to capitalism and its values, which put people with money above people without.
Although I have been using the term “hostile architecture,” proponents of this practice often call it “defensive” architecture instead. City planners, public officials, and some architects say that this defensive approach to public space prioritizes the health and safety of everyone. Housed members of the public get clean spaces and don’t have to be fearful walking down a street with potential criminals. Litter, drug use, and human waste are all reduced in public spaces, which is obviously a good thing. Unhoused people are consequently encouraged to find real shelter, which is safer and cleaner than tents on the street. They say that this defensive architecture goes so far as to help people get off the streets by motivating them with a lack of benches and doorways to shelter under.
But what do we all agree on? Everyone involved in this issue agrees that the issue of homelessness needs to be addressed, design impacts our relationship with space, and public space is important. How we use this knowledge differs, but moving forward I think that finding common ground between keeping the streets and parks clean and helping the homeless is important in order to promote a safe and welcoming environment for everyone.

 

“Gun Control vs. Gun Rights: A Rogerian Perspective” – Melissa Quintana

Rhetoric and Language

 

With the effects of violence in the presence of guns, proponents for and against gun control in the United States argue the justification of statistics on topics of homicides, mass shootings, personal intention, constitutional rights, and self protection. Advocates for gun control argue against the presence of firearms in civilian hands with arguments defending the lives that have been lost to manslaughter, demonstration of positive assessment of control in other nations, as well as data proving a decrease in gun violence to tighter restrictions. All while advocates for gun rights prove the lack in significance of tighter regulations through comparative work on other nations, the citizens right of self preservation, and the role of one's intentions in use of a firearm as opposed to the intentions of the inanimate object. With the compromise of the banning of semi-automatic guns in its entirety, an increase of background checks along with a waiting period, and nationwide regulation of arm laws, this ceaseless debate can be terminated.

 

“Seeking a Just Transition for the Navajo and Hopi Nations” – Melody Woodward

Rhetoric and Language

 

In the United States, Indigenous peoples have long been hunted, slandered, and abused by the colonizers since their arrival. In this presentation, I will be exploring the ongoing exploitation of the largest reservation in the United States, home to the Navajo and Hopi nations, along with the processes that allowed this to happen. While the history of Indigenous torture within the Navajo and Hopi nations begins with the Long Walk, indoctrination, and displacement of their people, I will be starting my research in the late 1800s after these occurrences. In 1882, an executive order was placed, giving the Hopi people and “such other Indians” only 2.5 million acres of land to inhabit in what is now known as the greater four corners region of the nation. This large change caused some disruption between the tribes who were now forced to fight over land, something they had almost never done prior. The colonizers took advantage of this tension and constructed a narrative claiming that the tribes had always disputed over land and were very hostile with one another. In the early 1900s, large oil reserves were discovered under the 1882 reservation land and in 1922 the first extraction lease was proposed to the Navajo Nation, which was turned down. After continual mining denials, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed in the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, forcing the nations to create governance systems like that of the US. This allowed companies to manipulate the politics of the tribes to get what they wanted, one such company being Peabody Western Coal Company. These corporations destroyed the tribes’ health, environment, and economies, then abandoned their projects on the reservation land when the leases expired. To this day, the impacts of these companies have a hold on the nations and they have yet to be held accountable legally and/or financially for their detrimental, discriminatory actions against the Navajo and Hopi people.

 

“The Climate Crisis: Anthropogenic Destruction, Current Legislation, and the Urgent Need for Fossil Fuel Reduction” – Siobhán Larkin

Rhetoric and Language

 

The United States has failed to implement climate legislation that adequately reflects the level of destruction that our society has inflicted on the planet, as well as the dire need for mitigation and adaptation strategies. As the country most historically responsible for climate change, the government of the United States should utilize its resources as a developed global power to act at the forefront of today's rising action for climate justice. In order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the U.S. has the opportunity to take immediate action to reduce fossil fuel emissions and transition the country’s power grid to clean energy. However, many politicians prioritize corporate wealth interests over the preservation of resources that generate life on this planet. Today, the people in the country are taking a stand to advocate for the rights of coming generations to exist and live on a planet that is free of corporate destruction. The Green New Deal has been presented as a structured plan to terminate the extraction and degradation of Earth's resources, and focus jobs and investments into advancing the clean energy economy. This approach would allow the country to transition away from fossil fuel energy, while preserving the economic stability of the country and the social sustainability of generations to come.

 

“Princesses and Parenting Practices: An Analysis of Parental Engagement with Nonheteronormative Themes in Disney Princess Media” – Harley Kalter

Sociology

 

This honors thesis examines how parents and the Disney princess franchise intersect as agents of socialization in formulating children’s understanding of sexuality. Existing scholarship identifies the significant role Disney princess media plays in the socialization of children in Western society through its perpetuation of heteronormativity. Scholars further argue that the relationship between parents, Disney, and children is critical as parents have the power to uphold or counter messages in children’s media. Building off past scholarly work that discusses queer theory and parental mediation (active, restrictive), I sought to understand how parents make sense of Disney’s presentation of nonheteronormative themes and how they communicate these messages to their children. I put forth my own analytical framework that identifies the attitudes behind each form of parental mediation: counter-heteronormative and reinforce-heteronormative. My explanatory research methods, an online survey and individual in-depth interviews, enabled me to identify various factors that explain why and how parents engage with nonheteronormative themes in Disney princess media in distinctly different ways. My findings show that the attitudes parents hold when mediating are influenced by their sexual orientation and their child’s gender identification.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ORAL PRESENTATIONS 

“Restructuring the SRO: Trauma and Resident Sensitive Design” – Allan Sainz

Architecture and Community Design

 

Single Room Occupancy hotels have remained one of the most affordable housing options for extremely low-income individuals and families. However, the infrastructure and facilities of many of these 100-year-old buildings have deteriorated. Many of these residents come from homeless navigation centers, have experienced drug addiction, or other types of mental illnesses. With all of these challenges, their built environment should be designed to be a calm and comfortable space, but the current SRO stock is anything but that. Architecture, particularly evidence-based design, has the potential to alleviate the trauma and mental burdens that these residents experience. More and more research has come out that has linked mental health to our built environment, simply, our surroundings have a great impact on our mood and wellbeing. Lighting, colors, vegetation, and cleanliness are some of the main factors that contribute to an inhabitant’s mental health. This paper explores the viability that evidence-based design has on the current SRO stock in the Tenderloin.
 

“The Roads We Travel: The Legacy of the Interstate Highway System, Divestment from Public Transportation, and Role of Community Design” - Brandt Yamamoto

Architecture and Community Design

 

Following the rise of car-dominated city planning in the early 20th century, the proliferation of infrastructure accommodating car-centric transportation and divestment in others has maintained a legacy of inequity through the urban built environment. From a greater emphasis on the automobile in urban planning ideology, the Federal Highway Act of 1956 and other expansions to the Highway Interstate System have displaced thousands of Black and other marginalized peoples due to the construction of highways in cities. During the past century, trends towards the divestment from public transportation in cities have exacerbated the mobility of the same communities reliant on them. In tandem, these phenomena disproportionately affected have and continue to negatively impact marginalized communities dispossessed of their homes, transportation, and autonomy. This thesis provides a historical overview of urban planning ideologies, trends, and precedents of divestment from public transportation and highway infrastructure to highlight the role and impact of community design. From highlighting community design, its role can help examine how it can be more equitable and impactful concerning inequities in infrastructure and the built environment. Although community design is not the sole answer to these systemic issues, moving forward, it will be instrumental in rectifying the impact onset by them.

 

“Chamorro Architecture: Concrete and Colonization” – Carlina Chung

Architecture and Community Design

 

A small island in the Pacific Ocean, and part of the greater Marianas Islands, Guam is the closest United States territory to Asia. This proximity to Asia has made Guam a key geopolitical location that has led to the exploitation of its people and land by foreigners. The constant waves of colonization have formed a complex culture and identity that, while still vibrant, struggles to wade through all the outside influences. The built environment on Guam is a prime example of this complex struggle where a large majority of the buildings are concrete constructions (a method of building introduced by the colonizer) and most attempts at creating an architecture with a Chamorro identity reads as superficial. This paper examines the complexity of the built environment in Guam and proposes an approach to design and construction that utilizes indigenous and practical knowledge to facilitate the introduction of new materials and ideas.

 

“Gardens of Refuge: how community gardens can reduce stress and increase the well-being of college students” - Christina Jivanov

Architecture and Community Design

 

This thesis presentation is about how designing successful community gardens on college campuses can benefit students who struggle with stress and anxiety. It will discuss the common roots of stress in students, nature’s healing properties, and how to design and promote community gardens that successfully help students increase their well-being.

 

“The Sustainable Rebuilding of Puerto Rico in the Wake of Hurricane Maria” – Marisa Morales

Architecture and Community Design

 

In September 2017, Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, devastating the island. Most housing and infrastructure was damaged if not destroyed, poorly maintained power plants were brought down, thousands of trees blocked roads and access points, and 3,000 people lost their lives. The effects of this tragedy were then aggravated by a lack of federal government assistance and continue to influence the present day, as many are ignorant of the island’s needs. Prior to the hurricane, FEMA maintained a lack of planning in aid contracts, a lack of planning in supply management, and eventual abandonment of the recovery project all together before restoring power to the entire island. This made it clear that Puerto Ricans need to be more self-reliant when recovering and rebuilding the island. This paper not only analyzes the history, relationship, and issues that the island and the US maintain, but proposes a potential solution to Puerto Rico’s long term housing recovery through several sustainable design materials and systems that utilize local resources and communities.

 

“Can Neuroarchitecture Transitory Housing Programs?” - Nathan N Chanvimol

Architecture and Community Design

 

Can a specialized subfield of architecture called "neuroarchitecture" enhance transitory housing programs in the United States? This research looks at the elements of modern hospital and office designs, originally created to enhance patient healing or a worker's comfort, and use those elements in transitory housing for individuals who are currently suffering from prolonged periods of homelessness. The objective of this thesis is to promote new ideas in the living experience of transitory housing programs.

 

“Walkability in Cities: A Comparative Analysis of San Francisco’s Washington & Stockton and 4th & Townsend” - Nathan Schwartzman

Architecture and Community Design

 

In a world threatened by climate change, an obesity epidemic, and increased social alienation, it becomes more important that we work to design sustainable and liveable cities. Walkability is one of the most important aspects for achieving this goal. For my thesis, I will be analyzing the walkability of two areas in San Francisco: The intersection at Stockton and Washington by Rose Pak light rail station currently under construction in Chinatown and the intersection at 4th and Townsend by the Caltrain station in South of Market. Both of these locations are stations for public transit, meaning they serve as connection points for the city and gathering areas for pedestrians. The high density pedestrian populations mean that these intersections should ideally have many walkable features and be good examples of what a walkable city should look like. However, the history and built environments around the two areas are very different and make for an interesting comparison of walkability within a single city. In my analysis, I will visit each site and examine the features around the intersections, ultimately determining which is more walkable and what features contribute to its superior design. I will also look at where one or both of the intersections may lack in walkability and how they could improve in terms of the features discussed.

 

“Response of Reptiles to a Natural Fire in Northern California, with a focus on Alameda Whipsnake” - Jackson Valler

Biology (MS)

 

The occurrences of natural and human-caused fires are becoming more frequent as the effects of climate change increase, especially in California. Our study examines the impacts of a low-intensity fire from 2020 on reptile abundance and richness in the Ohlone Wilderness, with specific attention to Alameda whipsnake (Masticophis lateralis euryxanthus). We performed funnel-box trapping in two locations before and after the fire, recording all vertebrate species captured and marking all snake species with unique identifiers. Additionally, reptile-targeted camera traps were placed at one location for two years after the fire. This study provides information helpful to resource managers when considering the short-term effects of fire on reptiles, and may also provide insight into the long-term implications.

 

“Reassuring Messages in Health Care: Determining Strategy Options” - Ashley Campbell, Adeshveer Bassi, Isabella Hartley, Daniel Manalang, Danielle Marquez

Communications Studies

 

The literature strongly posits that reassuring patients (i.e., reassurance messages) is among the most essential communication practices that health care professionals should provide their patients. As much as the literature touts this practice, there is a paucity of research concerning reassurance message strategies from which health care professionals can chose in an attempt to reduce patients’ anxiety about their health future. As such, the current investigation is an effort to contribute to the literature by bolstering our understanding concerning the possible array of strategies. Research participants were asked to do their best to place themselves in a scenario in which they were in an accident that resulted in needing facial surgery. The nurse that is prepping them for surgery notices that the participant is very anxious. The participants are then asked, “On the lines provided below, please write word-for-word what you would want your nurse to say to you to reduce your anxiety about the process and outcome of the surgery”. Responses were coded according to message strategy and suggestions for future research are offered.

 

“A qualitative analysis of Black immigrants’ identity negotiation” – Destiny Morgan

Communications Studies

 

This analysis focuses on how the experiences of Black immigrants in America shape their identity, if at all. Results demonstrated that experiences have a significant effect on one’s identity negotiation. Results also revealed that Black immigrants have developed a new sense of self in America. This study highlights the need to take into account the increasing number of black immigrants and the impact their experiences have on their identity negotiation.

 

“Monitoring Water Resources at Star Route Farms” – Jesse Carlson

Environmental Science

 

Like many farms around California, Star Route Farms needs to manage water efficiently to mitigate impacts from droughts. With frequent drought conditions and a growing demand on its limited water supply, effective water management is more important than ever to preserve California’s scarce water resources. From a farm management perspective this means applying just enough water for the crops to produce expected yields without applying so much that infiltration occurs below the rooting depth of plants within a field. Star Route Farms provides an ideal opportunity to study water cycling and implement water saving practices on a working farm. In order to implement these practices, however, we need to measure water storage changes on the farm and quantify the soil hydraulic properties at the field level. These properties, including porosity and field capacity, when combined with the current state of soil moisture hold great potential for helping farmers irrigate their fields more efficiently.

To better understand the fundamental soil properties at Star Route Farms, we installed sensors that track soil moisture and drainage events below the plant rooting depth at 15 minute intervals. We used time-series analysis to estimate porosity and field capacity, and verified our estimates using soil maps from the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Web Soil Survey and an in the field soil texture analysis method known as “The Jar Test”. Additionally, we created a tool using the Python coding language to track irrigation events, visualize water storage and document drainage below crop rooting depth. Here we present our initial efforts towards analytically determining hydrologic properties for a field and our first attempt at making scientific observations more useful for farm management. It is our intention to use these findings to provide useful tools and information to land managers that will help optimize irrigation both at Star Route Farms and among other farms throughout the region.

 

“The Mathematics of Card Shuffling” – Qiyu Zhang, Lakshman Manny

Mathematics  

 

A perfect shuffle splits a deck of 2n cards into two equal stacks, then interlaces the cards from the two stacks one after the other. Only experienced gamblers and magicians can perform perfect shuffles reliably. Yet the mathematics behind this shuffle has a rich history, including everything from mathematical card tricks to sophisticated research. Motivated by the questions left behind by Diaconis, Graham, and Kantor, we investigate the mathematics behind generalized perfect shuffles, a variation on the perfect shuffle. A generalized perfect shuffle begins with a deck of mn cards, and splits it into m equal stacks before interlacing them.

 

“Exploring the Closure of Guantanamo Bay: Attempts and Possibilities” – Antonio Gomez

Rhetoric and Language

 

This presentation explores the difficulty and imperative necessity of closing Guantanamo Bay. The prison has committed human rights violations to 770 detainees from 2002 and continues to violate these rights for the 38 detainees who are still there today. Presidents past and present have wanted to close the prison but all attempts at policy and an executive order have been met with failure because of the limited power of Executive Order 13492 signed by Obama in 2009. Furthermore, the United States refuses to allow detainees access to due process as a result of the corrupt nature of their detention. The United States likes to praise itself as a defender of freedom and will often use its status to call for the promotion of said freedom—yet those outside the US are disenchanted with that rhetoric, understanding that the US is not a credible voice against human rights injustices. The continued existence of Guantanamo Bay disrupts the integrity of the US judicial system while undermining US soft power in foreign policy. This presentation further analyzes how Rasul v. Bush (2004), U.S. Code § 2241, and the Suspension Clause may determine the future of Guantanamo Bay.

 

“Sex Work in California and Around the World: Decriminalization Is the Only Answer” - Claire Shiflet Mattingly

Rhetoric and Language

 

Sex work today functions within a dangerous and unjust system that exposes the most at-risk populations to extreme harm. Governments around the world attempting to punish the sex work industry have failed to solve systemic injustice through their poorly informed and enforced policies. While specific policies vary, most approaches fall under one of the following categories: criminalization, partial criminalization, the Swedish model, or legalization. Criminalization fails because it burdens sex workers with criminal records that make it incredibly difficult for them to leave the industry and exposes them to abuse in the legal system. Partial criminalization forces sex workers to operate alone and in more dangerous environments, heightening exposure to dangerous clients. The Swedish model is flawed because it threatens sex workers’ livelihoods and empowers third-party abusers. Legalization creates a two-tiered system where the most vulnerable suffer and only the most affluent and well-connected are protected by the law. All of these approaches are deeply flawed and leave sex workers behind. The only policy that will address sex workers’ needs comprehensively is decriminalization: the removal of all punitive laws and government regulation of sex work. Under this approach, sex workers are safer, healthier, and protected by the law instead of abused by it. California has yet to adopt this method, but it has taken strides in the right direction by ending condom-carry laws and granting immunity for sex workers reporting violence. While these are pivotal first steps, sex workers' lives will be continue to be in danger until decriminalization is adopted and practiced worldwide.

 

“Reforming Private Prisons: Ending Increasing Debt through Pay-To-Stay Programs” - Isabella Monique Escutia

Rhetoric and Language

 

In the United States, private prisons find themselves profiting off of inmates by charging ridiculous rates for room and board. In this analyzed research, there will be a detailed breakdown on how these private reformatories are able to get away with an unjust and capitalistic system. Specifically, these corporations are able to defy the eighth amendment, stating that there shall be no excessive fees or punishment applied to those who are put into the criminal justice system, which is only applicable to federal facilities. What adds to this lack of accountability lies within the lack of oversight the federal government has on private corporations. The federal sector can only intervene on a judicial basis if they agree to center their eyes upon this widespread issue. The raised rate of incarceration and private prisons are a necessity for being able to house the excessive amount of people being thrown into the prison system. Having these charges forced upon a person is what implicates the relationship of a paying customer. This would include having a space in which you can live comfortably, this is not the case with these pay-to-stay correctional centers where inmates are fed foods with no nutritional value. Inmates are seen leaving these conditions with obesity, and a mass amount of debt. This tendency to bill those who have committed a crime, is a broken system with the arrival of guests with little to no money to their name. They then are expected to pay a set fare that can only leave them with nothing to live on when they are discharged in the future, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can help regulate and reform these systems. This research poster will outline specific aspects on the privatization of incarceration and how it affects the livelihood of inmates as well as the economy.

 

“Aid vs. Sovereignty” – Isha Timalsina

Rhetoric and Language

 

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was created by the US Congress in January 2004 with strong bipartisan support. The US government describes it as a smart US foreign assistance to foster good policies and good governance. In September 2017, Finance Minister Gyanendra Bahadur Karki and MCC Acting CEO Jonathan Nash signed the 37 Compact agreement in Washington DC which includes a donation of $630 million ($500M from MCC and $130M from the Nepal government). This is the largest sum of foreign donations to Nepal. The two main goals of the MCC compact in Nepal are the development of electricity transmission projects and road maintenance projects. The debate on MCC questioned whether the infrastructural aid was a hinge to the sovereignty of the country, if it was a part of the Indo-Pacific strategy (IPS), if it would affect bilateral relations with the neighboring country China and the Non-alignment Movement. The MCC was also criticized for its provision to give the US an upper hand to audit the expenses and implementation of infrastructure development of Nepal. Amongst the conflicts, Nepal was given a deadline of February 28, 2020, to ratify the MCC compact. This research presentation explores theoretical research data analysis on how MCC would economically and politically benefit Nepal. Numerous news articles, journals and research papers have been used to present the current political and public debates on the Millennium Challenge Compact–Nepal. However, after the ratification of MCC, Nepal should be able to deploy effective diplomacy to prevent a powerplay between the US and China.

 

“The Accessibility of Op-Eds: A Genre Analysis” - Moira Sisco

Rhetoric and Language

 

In a time of ever-increasing misinformation and distrust towards the media, it is arguably more crucial than ever for all of us to be educated on the political, social, and economic issues that impact us - personally, domestically and globally. Opinion Editorials, or better known by their shorthand “op-eds”, serve as a mode of accessible news media that aims to provide the general public with the facts of a political, social, or economic circumstance while presenting an argument about why the reader should care about and be educated on that issue. Using Sonja Foss’s method of Generic Application, the objective of this presentation is to exhibit the repeated and persistent rhetorical elements of op-eds that make them accessible for our consumption and education in order to argue why op-eds should be viewed as worthy sources of news and research.

 

“The Housing First Approach: The Solution to Homelessness, or the New Problem?” – Phoebe Perkins

Rhetoric and Language

 

The Housing First approach to homelessness has become the most nationally employed framework for creating housing policy and housing initiatives. Housing First has been recognized for being an innovative way of combating the homeless epidemic, as this new model centers client choice, has excellent rates of stability, and has a low threshold for people to get into housing. A new mantra in federal policy is that “the answer to homelessness is housing.” However, because of this new mindset, a new issue has arisen; Housing First at the federal level is becoming ‘housing only.’ This is evident by the lack of federal funding towards services other than the housing units themselves, and the rigidity of this model is being revealed to only work on the individual level, leaving homeless communities as a whole to continue suffering. A model of combining job, mental health, and housing services is the path housing policy should be taking to establish better success rates for communities overall, including programs like the Navigation Centers of San Francisco. Housing First, as it is understood and implemented today by those with the power to fund and regulate housing policy, needs to be critically reexamined before it becomes the only model for creating policy in response to the homeless crisis in our nation.

 

“Global Fragility Act: A Wasted American Experiment or A Breakthrough?” – Sheila Fall Ta

Rhetoric and Language

 

This presentation will offer a critical analysis of US intervention in fragile countries to securely evaluate a new foreign political strategy introduced in December of 2019 as the Global Fragility Act (GFA). Thrown into the chaos of polarized agendas, strategic foreign policy work has been inefficient, utilizing traditional hard power routes to advocate for democracy. The United States is a symbol of potential hope against authoritarian regimes but it must adapt to its setbacks; the short-term social climate of foreign policy, bi-polar agendas, and lack of prioritizing foreign affairs. However, the passage of the GFA indeed can implement the “triple nexus” (humanitarian, prevention, and development programs). The US can initiate leadership in a liberal world order. Acknowledging the challenges and the benefits of this new policy, the US can evaluate and re-envision its use of soft and smart power with the swift enforcement of the GFA. The world is declining in global freedom; now more than ever, the US needs to take action. This presentation offers analysis of successful and unsuccessful US involvement in the following countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan, Germany, Russia, and China. This presentation seeks to examine the challenges of the GFA, priorities for this policy to be successful, and its importance to stabilize national interests.

CREATIVE PROJECTS 

“Crocheting Through COVID: Community Care in the Curriculum” - Delaney Bahns, Alyssa Ultreras, Megan Baker, Violet Robinson, Ellie Mariano, Thanae Stoupas, Bella Sheakley, Sydney Wilco

University Honors College
 

We are members of the HONC 390 class: Crochet, Care and Culture. This semester, we have been acquiring the crochet and crafting skills to be able to share with our larger communities. Through learning the techniques of beginner crochet, we have been bringing art and craft into the academic learning space, while we simultaneously manage our own wellness and return to school during COVID-19. We would like to present/display our crochet projects at CARD and be available to discuss the connection of these projects to research on art therapy, indigenous and traditional weaving and textile practices, maker culture, and social media promotion of crochet.

 

“Returning Forward” - Heidi Erickson, Sebastian Le, Ann DiFruscia, Kathleen Moore, Zoe-Elise Quon, Raychel Hatch, Cissy London, Erik Rotman, Laura Trupin, Yope Posthumus, Victoria Silverman, Kate Conlobo, Eva Mulder, Rebekah Mauney, Mari Selig

Performing Arts and Social Justice

 

Returning Forward is a movement performance created by the Dance Generators, the intergenerational dance company on campus. The company has students at ages as young as 17 and community members as old as 83. This particular piece was directed by Heidi Erickson with the intention of reflecting on the 30 year history of the company with special attention to the recent years of work that involved difficult discussions around anti-racism and decolonization. This piece works to highlight the beauty and magic of intergenerational relationships and hopes to open up the possibilities of what these relationships can accomplish in the social justice world.

Related News

The Show Must Go On
By Claire Jacobs '21, USF News, May 19, 2020