CARD 2021 About the Scholars



​​​​Headshot of student Alexerd Libed, USF ’21: Biophilic Design: A Catalyst of Renewal in 21st Century Everyday Living

Alexerd Libed is a student researcher interested in the intersection of environment and architecture. His current research focuses on biophilic design as a design strategy to connect people and the natural world within the built environment and our communities. He serves as Vice President for the USFCA Society of Architecture organization and likes to balance school with hikes, listening to music, and playing tennis.

Angelica Carinugan, USF ’21: COVID Architecture: Space for the Body & Mind
Arantza Aramburu, USF ’21: Shared Backyards: Creating a Shared Suburban Space and Revitalizing the Neighborhood
Ariane Corrine Reyes, USF ’21: Testing Grounds: A "Strategic" Analysis of the Military Impact on the Island Planning of Tinian
Danielle McCorkle, USF ’21: Sustainable Design for Southern Engine​​​​Headshot of student ering: Re-Imagining the Levees of the Lower Mississippi River

Danni McCorkle is a passionate knowledge enthusiast interested in all fields. Their undergraduate research capstone focuses on sustainability within the design, placement and methodology of levees located on the lower Mississippi River. In their free time, Danielle enjoys binging anime, eating various cuisines and avoiding unnecessary occurrences if possible.

​​​​Headshot of student Heryann Reyes Ayala, USF ’21: Space Architecture: Why the Architect is Essential to the Progress of Space Exploration

Heryann Reyes Ayala is an ambitious and creative student researcher, curious about the field of space architecture. Her passion for the combination of art and science drives her interest in space exploration in respect to architecture. In her undergraduate studies, she has focused her studies in architecture and engineering pushing the boundaries of design for the abstract and unique. In addition to her main studies, she has also gained knowledge in the field of music, which has helped her develop her balance of expression and structure in an artistic application. In her spare time, Heryann likes to paint, draw, partake in musical performances, and having adventures with her friends.

Jason Reyes, USF ’21: Wayfinding at Great Heights: A Traveler's Experience
Jennylee Flores-Nguyen, USF ’21: Migration Architecture and Identity
​​​​Headshot of student Karen Victoria Monrreal Perez, USF ’21: Sustainable Multifamily Housing for People of Color

Karen Monrreal Perez is a passionate student studying Architecture at the University of San Francisco. Their undergraduate Honors Thesis focuses on sustainable multifamily housing for people of color. They are focused on regeneration, sustainability, and social justice within Architecture.

Matthew Brandon Mejia, USF ’21: Earth Composites: Earth as a Modern Building Material with a Focus on Sustainable, Structural and Aesthetics
Monsse Torres Vela, USF ’21: A Change to Urban Areas: Incorporating Natural/Eco-Friendly Material Building Techniques
​​​​Headshot of student Namuun Mendamgalan, USF ’21: A Contemporary Nomadic City. An analysis of the informal Ger settlements in the urban fabric of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Namuun Mendamgalan is an aspiring architectural designer interested in urban planning and design and is currently a senior undergrad in the Architecture program with a minor in design. Namuun is from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She grew up close to the nomadic culture and her thesis research is on the urban planning issues the city of Ulaanbaatar faces due to a largely unplanned and informal yurt settlement that continues to expand. In her spare time, Namuun enjoys architectural photography and movies with incredible production design.

​​​​Headshot of student Noah Alexander Lopez, USF ’21: Overcoming the Economic Constraints of Universal Design: Accessibility is Deeper than Ethics

Noah Alexander Lopez is an architecture student researcher who focuses on accessibility in the built environment. His undergraduate, architectural honors thesis is a call to action for the architectural profession in bringing more awareness, education, and updating design standards to create a more accessible future. Noah’s father, uncle, and grandfather are all disabled. Both his father and uncle developed cerebral palsy from birth due to certain circumstances in the hospital. His uncle is diagnosed as a quadriplegic, and his father has very limited motion in his legs and fine motor skills in his upper extremities. Meanwhile, Noah’s grandfather is a Vietnam veteran who developed PTSD, night terrors, and mild hearing loss due to his time in the Vietnam War. These three family members, and more people who he knows of, are the inspiration for his research and drive. Noah’s is committed to updating the accessibility minimums through various means. With the help from Universal Design professionals such as Professor Wanda Liebermann of UC Berkeley and Chris Downey from the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco, and disability experts such as Dr. Kaolyan Kamenov who is the Technical Officer of the Sensory, Functions, Disability, and Rehabilitation unit at the World Health Organization (WHO), Noah developed three solutions to advocate for greater accessibility within the built environment. Other than his research and architectural studies, Noah practices Judo at USF and competed regularly in tournaments and competitions (pre-COVID-19). In his spare time, besides Judo, Noah maintains an online webcomic series called Darkness Within which was created to help others with mental health and other mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.

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Nouar Nour, USF ’21: Modular Architecture & Construction: Bridging the Gap
Stephanie Morin, USF ’21: Designing Student-Centered K-12 Schools: The Influence of Pedagogy and Social Conditions on Design



Georgia Brabec, USF ’22: Domenico Beccafumi: Elevating the Italian Renaissance Printmaker and the Art of Printmaking



​​​​Headshot of student Nathalie López Del Valle, USF ’21: Lights, Camera, Action! Defining the Idol in Contemporary Asia

Nathalie López Del Valle is a curious and driven student from Puerto Rico in the Masters of Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS). Her Capstone Project focuses on uncovering how J-Pop and K-Pop idols exercise agency through their communication of identity in interviews directed towards the public. She has previously worked on creating a cross-comparison examination of the exploitation of migrant workers in Singapore and Japan. Nathalie hopes to enter work in the nonprofit sector upon graduating from MAPS this May 2021. 

​​​​Headshot of student Pornpailin Meklalit, USF ’21: Sattha, Money and Fandoms: Intersections Between Capitalist Commodification of Thai K-pop and Buddhist Fandoms

Pornpailin (Pauline) Meklalit is a second-year graduate student, pursuing in a degree in Asia Pacific Studies. In her studies, Pauline is focusing on humanities and social sciences while develop her passionate interest in comparative studies of Thai and East Asian histories, linguistics and societies. When not traveling, Pauline spends her leisure time with her three dogs and enjoying learning foreign languages via variety shows, dramas and films. 

​​​​Headshot of student Serena Calcagno, USF ’21: Fitting in to Stand Out: Taiwan’s Piece in the International Biodiversity Monitoring Puzzle

Serena Calcagno is a graduating second-year in the M.A. in Asia Pacific Studies program who is interested in environmental issues in Asia. She studied Biology and China Studies in college, and in the past few years has become especially fascinated by the ways Taiwan's biodiversity is monitored, protected, and used as a symbol for environmental movements. A former Fulbright ETA in Meinung, Taiwan, she is constantly impressed by the ways the community she once lived and taught in has found ways to simultaneously encourage heritage language maintenance, ecotourism, and biodiversity conservation. In non-pandemic times she is an avid Lindy Hop dancer, and pandemic or not, she is an eager contributor of tidepool pictures on iNaturalist, the California Academy of Science's biodiversity monitoring app.



​​​​Headshot of student Alexandra Palacios, USF ’21: Modeling population responses of California serpentine flora in the face of climate change

Alexandra Palacios is an undergraduate researcher interested in many facets of biology and science in general. Her current research focuses on understanding how plants with an affinity to serpentine soils will respond to the projected trends of climate change. In her spare time, Alexandra enjoys doing gymnastics, running, reading sci-fi and fantasy novels, and has recently taken an interest in anime and gardening.

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Cate Gwinn, USF ’21: Role of serpentine soil in divergent selection and population differentiation in Mt. Tamalpais populations of native flower Erythranthe guttata

Cate Gwinn is a Biology researcher and interested in evolution at the molecular level. Her Honors research assesses evolutionary forces acting on local populations of the seep monkeyflower on Mt. Tamalpais. Cate is also the president of Club Rock Climbing and plans to pursue a career in medicine after graduation. 

Marcello B. Kuan, USF ’21: Hidden Consequences: The Effects of Daikon Radish on the Microbial Communities of Purple Vetch in Cover Crop Mixtures


​​​​Headshot of student Alec Chiono, USF ’21: Testing the Climatic Variability Hypothesis with coastal and inland populations of Mimulus guttatus

Alec Chiono is a Biology graduate student in the Paul Lab where he studies plant evolutionary ecology. For his Master’s, he has researched thermal niche evolution in seep monkeyflowers (Mimulus guttatus) and the potential impacts of climate change on this species. He will continue studying plant evolutionary ecology as a PhD student at CU Boulder in the Fall. When he is not conducting thermal performance experiments, you can find him hiking or testing a new recipe in the kitchen while singing along with Joni Mitchell.

​​​​Headshot of student Ashley Sango, USF ’21: A Systematic Review of the Application of Remote Sensing Techniques for Imaging Land Use Variation in Urban Environments

Ashley Sango is currently an M.S. in Biology graduate student in the Zimmerman Lab working on a research project to understand the relationship between variations in air quality aerial microbial diversity in urban cities. Her goal is to inform the process of designing healthier cities that are equipped with resources people can utilize to improve and maintain good health. In the future, Ashley hopes to help solve preventable health conditions, using the benefits microbiome technologies afford us.

Nicole Ibañez, USF ’21: Climate as a driver of divergence in soil-specialist plants
​​​​Headshot of student Sarah Gao, USF ’23: Microbes out of Water: Drying and Rewetting Stress on Organic Farm Soils

Sarah Gao is a first-year biology grad student studying the effects of climate change exacerbated moisture stress on soil microbes and their processes. She's fascinated by the complex ecological systems that link tiny microbes to the towering plants and animals they share this planet with. More broadly, she is interested in bridging the gaps between scientific research, policymaking, and the broader public. She has worked as a digital designer for the past six years before pursuing biology and still enjoys life as an artist, activist, and cat-mom.

​​​​Headshot of student Sophia Lyon, USF ’21: Examining foraging behavior of southern sea otters at their northern range extent

Sophia Lyon is pursuing her Master of Science in the Biology Department. She is passionate about understanding the foraging ecology and population dynamics of southern sea otters and has been studying them since 2016. Over the past 5 years she has conducted research on sea otters and their diets in Elkhorn Slough, CA; Monterey, CA; San Nicolas Island, CA; and Glacier Bay, AK. Her master’s thesis work focuses on southern sea otters at their northern range extent, where a historic lack of range expansion has stalled population recovery. Through her current research at Año Nuevo State Park, CA she aims to identify the status of this segment of the population and underlying issues they may face in recovery. Ultimately, she hopes to inform management and conservation efforts that may facilitate sea otter recovery and ecosystem restoration along the California coast.



Allan Nojadera, USF ’22; Mary Casis, USF ‘23: Activation of Jurkat T Cells with CD3/CD28 beads and analysis by CD69 markers
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Anthony Doty, USF ’21: Assessing building safety with veriDART by SafeTraces

Anthony Doty is a graduate research student interested in a variety of molecular biology topics. His graduate internship revolves around his job at SafeTraces Inc., a small startup in the East Bay. Prior to becoming a USF student, he got his undergraduate degree from Cal Poly: San Luis Obispo in Animal Science with minors in Biotechnology and Biology.

​​​​Headshot of student Caroline Riedstra, USF ’21; John W. Anderson IV, USF ’21: Molecular and Bioinformatic Approach to Investigating Epigenetic Control of DAX-1 Expression in Cancer

Caroline Riedstra is the second year of her M.S. in biology. Her research in the Tzagarakis-Foster lab focuses on uncovering the story of epigenetic silencing of a gene that codes for a tumor suppressing protein in breast ​​​​Headshot of student cancer. Her contribution to this poster includes the molecular investigation of gene expression through qPCR, western blots, restriction digest, bisulfite sequencing, and ChIP assays.

John W. Anderson IV is a Masters candidate in the Biotech program. He conducted a DNA alignment and analysis of the DAX1 gene in breast cancer and normal cell lines by utilizing bioinformatics skills. Software that was used was SnapGene and R-studio. 

Cole Steinmetz, USF ’21: Department Specific Small IT Solutions using Visual Basics for Applications
Joel Christian Andrade, USF ’21; Naomi Davidson, USF ‘21; Chaitanya Wagh, USF ‘21; Gabrielly Lunkes Di Melo, USF ‘21: Centivax: Antibody Engineering and Pilot Studies
Jordan Seaton, USF ’21: Business Development at Distributed Bio, A Charles River Company
​​​​Headshot of student Kory Melton, USF ’21: Research in Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology at a CRISPR Gene Editing Startup

Kory Melton is a biotechnology enthusiast who loves researching at the interface of Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology. Their Masters Internship combined these interests at a CRISPR Gene Editing Startup, Spotlight Therapeutics. When he is not in the lab or coding you can find the bay area native enjoying Oakland A’s and Golden State Warriors games or playing video games.



Angela Dawn Castile-Krasuski, USF ’21: Effect of Tunneling on 6-Electron Electrocyclizations
Mariana Jimenez, USF ’21: Computational Study of Tunneling in the Electrocyclic Reactions of Helical Systems
​​​​Headshot of student Mikail G. Alejandro, USF ’22: Contribution of Quantum Tunneling to Intramolecular Diels-Alder Reactions

Mikail Alejandro is an undergraduate researcher with a burgeoning passion for the sciences. His research with the Karney/Castro group focuses on quantum tunneling in organic chemistry reactions. Currently pursuing a degree in medicinal and synthetic chemistry and minors in biology and theology-- Mikail wishes to use his knowledge of science and faith to advance public health in faith-filled communities through education and research.

Tyler Raaymakers, USF ’21: Barrier Width and Tunneling Probability in Dynamic Processes of Fluorinated Cyclooctatetraenes
​​​​Headshot of student Victoria Silverman, USF ’22: An Investigation of the Transport Behavior and Treatment Potential of ​Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)​

Victoria Silverman is a second-year undergraduate Chemistry major and Environmental Science minor. Her research interests lie in the intersection of these two fields of study. Her research project for CARD 2021 investigates the transport behavior and treatment potential of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are persistent contaminants in the environment. In her free time, Victoria enjoys dancing, embroidering, and making playlists for her weekly radio show. 


Chance Christian, USF ’23; Matthew Derfus, USF ’21; Marisa Poveda: Effect of Ligand Side-chain Identity on the Electrochemical Properties of Eu(III) Complexes
​​​​Headshot of student Gayatri Raghu, USF ’21: Exploring the Mechanism of the Electrostatic Denaturation of Double-Stranded DNA

Gayatri Raghu is a 2nd year Chemistry Graduate Student (graduation date: May 2021) working with Professor West to gain a greater understanding of the mechanism of electrostatic DNA melting (e-melting). She, along with fellow graduate student Jeffrey Taylor and the undergraduates of West Lab, has been exploring the impact of various factors, such as the formation of the ionic double layer, on e-melting in hopes of developing a method of detecting DNA mismatches based on this mechanism.
Gayatri graduated with a BSc. Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign, following which she joined the workforce for 5 years at Core Laboratories, an oilfield services company, before she chose to pursue higher studies. She has two publications to her name thus far, has utilized her knowledge of Python to convert several brine property equations in to a brine properties calculator in the form of a Windows executable, and is currently working on finishing her Master’s thesis. After graduation, she hopes to continue working in the field of Analytical Chemistry, preferably in a lab setting. In her spare time, Gayatri enjoys reading and crochet.

​​​​Headshot of student Golbon Rezaei, USF ’21: Synchrotron Photoionization Study of the O(3P) + Alpha-Angelica Lactone (AAL) at 298, 550, and 700K

Golbon Rezaei is passionate about chemistry and the environment. She graduated from BIHE (Baha’i Institute for Higher Education) in 2016, and right after, she came to the United States and joined USF’s graduate research spring of 2019. Her undergraduate research was about Nanopackaging and its applications in the food industry and the environment. She is a merit research award winner and speaks four languages. In her spare time, Golbon enjoys making Persian food and desserts as well as playing the piano.

Jeffrey Taylor, USF ’21: Investigating the Potential Arrhenius Behavior of 18 Base-Pair DNA Duplexes Via Electrostatic Denaturation
Matthew Derfus, USF ’21: Development of Redox-Responsive Eu(III) Complexes for Cancer Imaging
Nathaniel Garrison, USF ’21: Modulating the Cytotoxicity of DNA Alkylators through Intramolecular Deactivation
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Rory McClish, USF ’21: A Synchrotron Photoionization Investigation of the Model Biofuel Dimethoxymethane

Rory McClish is a physical chemist interested in using high intensity radiation to shine light on energetic, gas phase reactions. He is a second year M.S. student at USF and enjoys helping teach undergraduate laboratory courses. In his spare time, Rory can often be found surfing at Ocean Beach or sailing. 

Ryan Rodriguez, USF ’21: Absolute Photoionization Cross Section of Alpha-pinene
Sara Gallarati. USF ’23: Investigation of oxidation reaction products of acetylacetone using synchrotron photoionization carried out at the Advanced Light Source in the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Sohee Choi, USF ’23: Understanding Calcitermin and Metal interactions
Umyeena Bashir, USF ’23; Jaycee Peng, USF ‘22: Covalent Inhibition Against Sortase A Activity in Staphylococcus aureus Bacteria
Yu-Chun Chen, USF ’23: Decoding the Mechanism of the Methionine ABC Transporter



Ciarra Nean-Marzella, USF ’21; Nora Ward, USF ‘21; Leah Clatterbuck, USF ‘21: See you Zoom!: How Online Communication Methods Have Changed the Way College-Aged Students Perceive Nonverbal Behaviors Among Friend Groups
​​​​Headshot of student Karina Tran, USF ’21: Lessons in Social Media Coping & COVID-19

Karina Tran is a senior Communication Studies Major and PR minor from Los Angeles, California. Her interest in communication stems from a passion for relationships and human connection, more specifically through the medium of content creation. Her research stems on building an understanding of how the Gen Z community is using--or not using--social media in the era of COVID-19. You can follow Karina's creative and educational journey on Instagram and TikTok @transpectrum. She hopes you have a phenomenal day. 

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Maya Seo, USF ’21: “It’s a Luxury”: The Privilege of Mental Health for 1.5 and Second Generation Korean Americans

Maya Seo is a passionate student researcher interested in Asian American Pacific studies. Her undergraduate research capstone project focuses on how culture, language, and the immigrant experience impact the discourse behind mental health, in the Korean American community. In her spare time, Maya enjoys cross stitching and finding new boba shops to try.

Thelma Ibe, USF ’24: Cambodia’s Human Trafficking Crisis: Are You Listening?



​​​​Headshot of student Nicki Hashemi, USF ’22; Cody Rowland, USF ‘21; Anh Nguyen, USF ‘23; Kevin Beltran: Reducing Implicit Gender Bias Using a Virtual Workplace Environment

​​​​Headshot of student Nicki Hashemi is a student majoring in Computer Science at the University of San Francisco. She is a Research Assistant at the Human-Computer Interaction Lab where they bring their research to life using virtual reality.

Cody Rowland is an undergraduate Research Assistant at the Human-Computer Interaction Lab working on virtual reality development.

Tyler Iams, USF ’21: NLProg - Using Natural Language to Construct Visual Programs


Graduate​​​​Headshot of student

Raphael Yolson Louis, USF ’23: Easing Access to Scientific Data for Better Water Management in California

Raphael Louis is a passionate student researcher interested in water management. His graduate research capstone project focuses on sustainable groundwater management in California. In his spare time, Raphael enjoys playing his saxophone and fellowship with his friends.



Avianna Vasquez, USF ‘24; Evan Chan, USF ‘22; Jasmine Boggs, USF ‘23; Ariana Martinez, USF ‘21: Assessing Border Security: Policy, Power, and People
Emma DeBow, USF ‘21; Olivia Scott USF ‘22; Sky Berry-Weiss, USF ‘22; Cesar Fernandez, USF ‘23: Social Media Activism: The Relationship Between Social Media Posting and Subsequent Activist Behavior
Kiana Rodriguez, USF ‘21; Ixtzel Duran, USF ‘22; Fatima Fahnbulleh, USF ‘23; Ankita Joshi, USF ‘22: Investigating Limitations of Development and Conservation Organization Efforts in Addressing Communities Impacted by Growth in the Safari Wildlife Tourism Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa
​​​​Headshot of student Lucia Grant, USF ‘21; Marisa Mathó, USF ‘21; Cyan Balantac, USF ‘22; Ben Estrada, USF ‘21: Navigating a Rising Tide: Conversations on the Conception and Anticipation of Climate Shocks with Mekong Delta Tour Operators

Lucia Grant is a senior International Studies major with a concentration in Global Politics and Societies and double minor in Politics and European Studies. In her free time, she enjoys long walks and making kombucha with her friends.​​​​Headshot of student

Marisa Mathó is a senior International Studies major, minoring in Latin American Studies, with a Concentration in Environment and Development. As part of this team, she contributed to the initial scientific background on climate, methods and outreach strategy for the project. Marisa is fascinated with sustainable futures and bioeconomy. Off campus she interns in development at The Climate Museum (NYC), dreams about Uruguay and is an accidental empanada connoisseur.   

​​​​Headshot of student Cyan Balantac is a junior International Studies major with a Global Politics and Societies concentration and Asian Studies minor. As part of the team, she contributed to the literature review and findings, and developed the research niche and significance. Her academic interests include issues of identity, decolonization, community-based development, and international politics. Cyan is currently an Asia Bridge Junior Fellow and an intern at Gravity Water. In her free time, she is passionate about traditional Filipino and Polynesian dance and performance.

Ben Estrada is a graduating senior majoring in International Studies​​​​Headshot of student with an emphasis in Environment and Development. As part of this team, he contributed to the initial research, literature review, and outreach for the project. His academic interests include environmental policy and sustainable infrastructure particularly in East Asia and Latin America. In their free time, Ben enjoys being outdoors and doing creative writing.

​​​​Headshot of student Camille Batiste, USF ‘22; Sofia Chavez, USF ‘23; Megan Commers, USF ‘22; Charly DeNocker, USF ‘22: Intersectionality and Inclusivity in Mexico's Feminist Movement

Camille Batiste is a junior International Studies student on the Peace and Conflict Studies track with a minor in African Studies at the University of San Francisco. Camille has participated in research analyzing child safety, online weapons sales, and prison abolition. In her spare time, Camille enjoys music, visiting national parks, and spending time with friends and family.

Sofia Chavez is a Tijuana, B.C. and San Diego, CA native. She is​​​​Headshot of student currently enrolled in the University of San Francisco where she studies International Studies on a Global Politics and Societies track with a regional focus on Latin America and a minor in Legal Studies. Sofia is interested in the tumultuous history of democracy in Latin America and how Latinxs and North Americans are affected by it in the present day. She enjoys reading anything that falls on her lap and spending time in nature (when the NorCal weather allows!).

​​​​Headshot of student Charly de Nocker is a junior at USF studying International Studies with a concentration in Global Politics & Societies and a double minor in Middle Eastern Studies and Public Service. Her research centers on public health and food insecurity, more specifically how we can ensure equity and accessibility in those sectors for disadvantaged communities. She is also ​​​​Headshot of student presenting a research poster today on the uptake of online food stamps nationwide.

Megan Commers is a junior at USF majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Peace and Conflict studies and a double minor in Spanish and Latin American Studies. Her interests include immigration issues and advocacy at the U.S./Mexico border, as well as rights for asylum seekers across the globe. In her spare time Megan enjoys reading, music, and picnics at the park.

Nalleli Sanchez, USF ‘24; Daniella Recinos, USF ‘22; Karli Williams, USF ‘22; Anthony Blick USF ‘23: Effectiveness of Undocumented Student Resource Programs Within the University of California School System


Nika Russi, USF ‘21; Dominique Blakely, USF ‘23; Cheik Ouedraogo, USF ‘23; Kelly Cruchett, USF ‘23; Kip Yegon, USF ‘23: Critical Evaluation of Feed the Future's Nigeria Program from an Agroecological Perspective
Jesus Del Toro, USF ‘23; Alice Kramer, USF ‘23; Erys Gagnebin, USF ‘23; Sierra Davis, USF ‘23; Tarek Eweida, USF ‘21: Feed the Future Ethiopia: Promises and Shortcomings
Paolo Bicchieri, USF ‘23; Fian Sullivan Sweeney, USF ‘23; Chad Baron, USF ‘23; Elizama Rodas, USF ‘23; Sharon Huang, USF ‘21: A Critical Analysis of Feed the Future's Food Security Plan in Guatemala Through an Agroecological Lens



Calia Hunter, USF ‘21; Carson Croel, USF ‘22: The Effects of a Fitness and Wellness Course on Physical Activity Behavior and Intentions: Comparing In-Person Learning to Remote Learning
Sara Flores, USF ‘22; Sabrina Antunes, USF ‘21: The Effects of Class Breaks on Motivation and Behavior in a Remote Learning Environment: Does Movement Matter?



​​​​Headshot of student Kelli Westad, USF ’21: GAPS

Kelli Westad is a first-generation university student and a graduating senior in the Performing Arts & Social Justice program. Throughout their time at USF, Kelli has worked with various theatres and theatre companies in the Bay Area as well as charity theatre company, Good Chance, in London, U.K. The COVID-19 pandemic has made theatre work scarce and creative processes uninspiring. Kelli experienced a mental block when building their senior project, took that block, and made it their inspiration. GAPS is a performance art film reflecting on 2020 America and its political, social, mental, and physical gaps during a year of sickness, discourse, and media obsession.



Paolo Rainier Sayas, USF ’21: Who Owns Ideas?



Suchitoto Rose Tabares-Tarquinio, USF ’22; Christian Woll, USF ‘22: Spectroscopic Search of Strong Gravitational Lenses



​​​​Headshot of student Angelina Polselli, USF ‘21; Charly de Nocker, USF ‘23: Understanding Nationwide Uptake: An Analysis of SNAP Online Purchasing Program

Angelina Polselli is a current senior politics student with a concentration in ​​​​Headshot of student governance and a minor in public service and community engagement. She currently leads the collection of nationwide SNAP Online data at unBox.

Charly de Nocker (she/hers) is a sophomore studying International Studies with a concentration in Global Politics and a double minor in Middle Eastern Studies and Public Service. Charly has worked with unBox to collect SNAP Online data from over 30 states!



Group headshots of five students and their faculty advisorAisha Mohammed, USF ‘21; Emily H. Caprio, USF ‘23; Miranda C. Poulson, USF ‘22; Elizabeth P. Ramirez Vega, USF ‘21; Dora E. Bezonsky, USF PsyD: The Relationship Between Spiritual Connectedness, Organizational Religiousness, Self-Esteem, and Death Anxiety in Older Adults

Hello from the Spirituality and Health Lab at USF! Our lab consists of current and former Psychology students and a student from our very own PsyD program. We focus on ways in which people use religious or spiritual resources (e.g., prayer, meditation, support from the religious community) to cope with various pathologies. This academic year, our research focused on how various religious and spiritual interactions affect death anxiety. We’re excited for you to learn more about our research!

​​​​Headshot of student Lara Nassar, USF ‘22; Saige Ferko, USF ‘21; Megan Schneider, USF ‘21; Jordan Mall, USF ‘22; Alex Dellar, USF ‘22: Is “They” a Truly Gender-Neutral Pronoun?

Lara Nassar is a senior psychology major and neuroscience minor at USF graduating in the Fall. She is a research assistant in Dr. Wagner's Aging and Diversity Lab as well as in Dr. Knight's Emotion and Cognition Lab. Lara is a member of the honors in psychology 2021 cohort and her thesis research is on Loving-Kindness Meditation ​​​​Headshot of student as an intervention to reduce loneliness and foster positive emotions and well-being. 

Saige Ferko is a senior psychology student and a research assistant in the Aging & Diversity Lab. She is passionate about mental health and interested in behavioral interventions for treating mental illnesses. She will be pursuing a Master's of Social Work at Boston College in Fall 2022. 

​​​​Headshot of student Megan Schneider is a fourth-year psychology major at USF graduating this Spring. She works as a Lab Manager in Dr. Knight’s Cognition and Emotion Lab and Dr. Munnich’s Metacognition and Learning Lab, and as a Research Assistant in Dr. Wagner's Aging and Diversity Lab.  Megan recently completed her undergraduate thesis examining ​​​​Headshot of student the impacts of age and beliefs about emotion on jury decision-making.

Jordan Mall is a student researcher who assisted with data collection, cleaning, and analysis for this project. Outside of the aging lab, she is currently designing a study on death anxiety for her thesis within the honors in psychology 2021 cohort.

A​​​​Headshot of student lex Dellar is a Junior at USF majoring in psychology and double minoring in philosophy & neuroscience, hoping to go on to graduate school to become a Speech Language Pathologist. They recently joined the Aging & Diversity Lab as an RA and have been fascinated to learn about the ways that language shifts can carry such big social justice implications. Alex is also on the board of USF’s mental health club, enjoys working within USF’s student-run literary magazine called The Ignatian, and can usually be found hanging out with their toy poodle.

​​​​Headshot of student Madison Badua, USF ‘21; Sabrina Ortiz, USF ‘21; Madeline Price, USF ‘22; Kealoha James, USF ‘21; Chy'enne Verrett, USF ‘20; Wesley Warren, USF ‘22; Augustine Provencio, USF ‘24: Children’s belief in a just world: Construct structure and associations with social adjustment

Madison Badua is a senior undergraduate Psychology student from Honolulu, HI. She is currently a research assistant for the Social Reasoning in Childhood Psychology Research Lab under Dr. Aline Hitti. She is interested in learning more about how children think about the world around them, specifically regarding their perceptions of social status and stereotypes. Her capstone project focuses on the Belief in a Just World measure in children ages 7-12. Due to no research being done with this age range, this project focuses on testing the reliability and validity of this measure. Madison has a strong passion for working with children that inspires her research. Outside of research, she works as a tutor under USF's University Ministry. When she has free time, she loves to dance with ​​​​Headshot of student USF's dance teams, grab a bite to eat with friends, or explore the city!

Sabrina Ortiz is a senior undergraduate student and the research coordinator for the Social Reasoning in Childhood Research Group. She is interested in the way that children and adolescents perceive social status differences and form stereotypes. Her honors thesis project focuses on the perception of occupational stereotypes and what social categories children and adults use to assign individuals to occupations. Outside of doing research, Sabrina volunteers with the LGBT National Hotline and works as a relief counselor for a residential mental health treatment program.

​​​​Headshot of student Megan Schneider, USF ‘21; Bresh Merino, USF ‘21; Marci Adolfo, USF ‘22; Milo Martinez, USF ‘21; Erica Divinagracia, USF ‘22: Does mental simulation of alternative research outcomes reduce bias in predicted results?

Megan Schneider is a fourth-year psychology major at USF graduating this Spring. She works as a Lab Manager in Dr. Knight’s Cognition and Emotion Lab and Dr. Munnich’s Metacognition and Learning Lab, and as a Research Assistant in Dr. Wagner's Aging and Diversity Lab.  Megan recently completed her undergraduate thesis examining the impacts of age and beliefs about emotion on jury decision-making.​​​​Headshot of student

Bresh Merino is an undergraduate psychology student who is serving her fourth year at University of San Francisco. In addition to working as the project manager for the Learning and Metacognition lab on her campus, she interns at UCSF in the Aging, Emotions and Memory lab. Her research interests include stress, health, meditation, and metacognition. 

​​​​Headshot of student Marci Adolfo is currently a second-year B.A. candidate studying psychology and neuroscience. Alongside being a research assistant, Marci is also the current VP of the Women in Science chapter at USF. When not working in the lab, she volunteers at the nonprofit organization, The Shade Tree, which provides aid and shelter to homeless women and survivors of abuse. Her research interests include women’s psychology, trauma, learning, behavioral ​​​​Headshot of student psychology, and providing accessible mental healthcare to marginalized communities.

Milo Martinez is a 4th year psychology major, minoring in Japanese studies. They are a senior research assistant in Dr. Munnich’s lab with a special interest in language learning and cognition. Milo greatly enjoys working with students, currently working as TA for research design and previously as a resident advisor.

​​​​Headshot of student Erica Divinagracia is a junior majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Neuroscience and Health Studies. She is currently working as a research assistant to assess the benefits of counterfactual thinking. Additionally, Erica is doing research on athlete’s ideal leadership qualities. She is also the current Welfare intern at USF’s Southeast Asian Student Association (SEASA), which she helps in increasing membership involvement and engagement. Her field of psychology she is most interested in is Asian American psychology and child development.

​​​​Headshot of student Robin Hyun, USF ‘22; Samantha Plancarte, USF ‘21; Leila Camus ‘21: Viral Moral Outrage

Robin Hyun is a passionate student researcher interested in the scope of social psychology, such as the ways people interact, behave, and feel through the platform of the internet. Her group's project investigates the online concept of callout/cancel culture when viewing viral offensive behavior through the "Karen" phenomenon. Her contribution to the project includes investigating if the perceived outrage of the victim and participants' willingness to callout/cancel the offender would have a relationship with participants' moral outrage. In her spare time, Robin enjoys gardening, baking, and photography. ​​​​Headshot of student

Samantha Plancarte is a passionate student researcher interested in psychology, specifically child development. Her group studied viral moral outrage within the “Karen” phenomenon. Her contribution to the project includes studying participant’s self-identification as social activists and their ​​​​Headshot of student willingness to participate in callout/cancel culture and provide education towards the offender. In her free time, Samantha enjoys painting, gardening, and reading.

Leila Camus is a committed student researcher interested in social psychology concepts. Her group's project focused on callout/cancel culture and the “Karen” phenomenon. Her contribution to the project includes studying the effects of group affiliation on sympathy levels for an offender receiving viral outrage. In her free time, Leila enjoys baking, cooking, and looking for new hobbies.

​​​​Headshot of student Sabrina Ortiz, USF ‘21; Madison Badua, USF ’21; Madeline Price, USF ‘22; Kealoha James, USF ‘21; Wesley Warren ‘22: Gender is Prioritized Over Race in How Children and Adults Assign Occupations

Sabrina Ortiz is a senior undergraduate student and the research coordinator for the Social Reasoning in Childhood Research Group. She is interested in the way that children and adolescents perceive social status differences and form stereotypes. Her honors thesis project focuses on the perception of occupational stereotypes and what social categories children and adults use to assign individuals to occupations. Outside of doing research, Sabrina volunteers with the LGBT National Hotline and works as a relief counselor for a residential mental health treatment program.

​​​​Headshot of student Madison Badua is a senior undergraduate Psychology student from Honolulu, HI. She is currently a research assistant for the Social Reasoning in Childhood Psychology Research Lab under Dr. Aline Hitti. She is interested in learning more about how children think about the world around them, specifically regarding their perceptions of social status and stereotypes. Her capstone project focuses on the Belief in a Just World measure in children ages 7-12. Due to no research being done with this age range, this project focuses on testing the reliability and validity of this measure. Madison has a strong passion for working with children that inspires her research. Outside of research, she works as a tutor under USF's University Ministry. When she has free time, she loves to dance with USF's dance teams, grab a bite to eat with friends, or explore the city!



Alexandro "ATY" Taylor-Young, USF ‘24: United States Detention Centers

Alexandro Taylor-Young is a freshman student in the Martin Baro Scholars Program. His final research project investigated the source of Detention Centers in the United States as well as some of the affects. In his free time, Taylor-Young enjoys writing random analyses of bad TV shows and learning about the brain.  

Anson Tan, USF ‘23: Homelessness in San Francisco
Apurva Aluru, USF ’24: Felon Disenfranchisement
Harlan Crawford, USF ‘24: Brexit: A Case Study for Dwindling Neoliberalism​​​​Headshot of student

Harlan is a passionate researcher, with a devout interest in justice and human rights. He has spent much of his teenage years presenting his research at various events, along with competitions. He is a first-year student here at the University of San Francisco, and much of his research so far in his college experience has been concerned with the "Brexit" movement, and how it will have wide-ranging impacts that impact citizens across borders. Harlan hopes to continue research like this across his entire four years at USF, and hopefully into his professional career, where he hopes to eventually become a prominent politician in the world. In his free time, Harlan is an avid sports fan and podcast listener.  He also spends lots of time with family and friends, as those mean quite a bit to him. 

​​​​Headshot of student Jerome Andrew Faustino, USF ’23: My Perspective through a Zine: ‘Is It a Hate Crime?’: Anti-Asian American Attacks During COVID-19 & 'What happens next?'

Joshua Dineros is an undergraduate student majoring in politics and minoring in advertising. Their passions lay within the educational field with a year-long research endeavor into their hometown school district's efforts to achieve educational equity amongst its own diverse student population. Joshua is committed to local engagement through civic involvement in city hall, school district board meetings, local political campaigns, and community service events that have led him to a calling for politics, advertising, and a local lens to embark on improving our shared world.

Kambria Williams, USF ‘24: COVID-19 Vaccines and POC: The ones that “can’t” and the ones that “won’t”
Manasvi Ojha, USF ‘24: U.S Foreign Aid Cuts in Yemen: Callousness in the Face of Disaster
Nico Bruno, USF ‘24: Raise the Roof: permanent supportive housing
Payton Randle, USF ’24: School to Prison Pipeline - Chicago
Rand Shakhtour, USF ‘24: Small Steps for Big Data: Regulation That Changes Lives
Shireen Charalaghi, USF ‘21: American Stances on COVID-19 Vaccines: Addressing Concerns and Explaining the Science

Shireen Charalaghi is a student researcher who is passionate about public health and making scientific information more accessible and digestible for all. Their undergraduate research capstone project focuses on explaining the science behind the COVID-19 vaccinations and addressing concerns related to them.

​​​​Headshot of student Thanae Stoupas, USF ‘23; Carolina Verrini Lenzi, USF ‘22; Collin Oliver, USF ‘22: Mental Health Services & Eating Disorders at USF: Working with CAPS to provide tailored resources for eating disorders and improve communication with students

​​​​Headshot of student Carolina, Thanae, and Collin conducted research on eating disorders on college campuses, eating disorder rates at USF, students’ feelings toward and experiences with CAPS, specific peoples’ experiences with eating disorders, and ASUSF’s actions regarding mental health. From these findings, they decided to propose that CAPS create a group therapy program for those with eating disorders and a monthly newsletter with ​​​​Headshot of student resources for all students. Carolina is a second-year marketing major who is interested in using marketing to create awareness for important topics and connect people with opportunities. She has many interests including art/crafts, performing arts, and fantasy novels. Thanae is a second-year business major interested in marketing and finance. Outside of school she enjoys going to coffee shops and taking long walks outdoors. Collin is a second-year sociology major and environmental science minor who is very passionate about mental health. In his spare time, he likes to spend time outside and listen to music.

Vicki Young, USF ‘23: Mental Health Services & Eating Disorders at USF: Working with CAPS to provide tailored resources for eating disorders and improve communication with students



Aaron McNelis, USF ‘21: We Are the Landlord: Community Land Trusts and Social Capital in San Francisco
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Andrea Boesak, USF ‘21: "Community Care Not Cops!": Student Perceptions of Policing in the United States

Drea Boesak is a driven sociology student and aspiring academic professional working for transformative justice and equity in their community. Their undergraduate Honors Thesis research topic focusses on conceptions of public safety in the United States. In their free time, Drea loves spending time with their close community and talking for hours! 

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Grace Rose Avila, USF ‘21: “You are so inspiring!”: Social Media Resistance and Disabled Content Creators

Grace Rose Avila is a senior sociology major who is passionate about disability advocacy and awareness. Her senior thesis project focuses on disabled content creators on social media. In her free time, Grace enjoys spending time with her family and hearing alert service dog Charlie, reading, and drinking boba tea.

​​​​Headshot of student Isabel Tayag, USF ‘21: Prison Cinema: The Promise of Counter-Carceral Media

Isabel Tayag is a senior sociology major who is passionate about prison abolition. Her research interests span from criminal legal policy to restorative justice and the role of media as a force for social change. Her scholarship throughout her time at USF has strived to bridge the gap between academia and the real world. Her honors thesis focuses on the transformative power of film and calls for it to be used by organizers as an ideological tool in the fight for abolition. Isabel will be graduating in December of this year and aspires to get her masters in sociology, attend law school, and continue organizing towards a world without prisons. 

​​​​Headshot of student Jacqueline Ornelas, USF ‘21: Ni de aquí, ni de allá: Ethnicity, Assimilation, and the Mexican American Presentation of Self

Jacqueline Ornelas (she/her) is an honors sociology student whose thesis focuses on how Mexican Americans utilize the presentation of self to navigate ethnicity, race, and assimilation in the United States. She is passionate about this topic because she decenters white Americans from preexisting sociological theories, introducing a more holistic and inclusive take on them. Jacqueline holds her research close to her heart as it reflects her personal identity and the identity of millions throughout the country. Besides her thesis, she also loves her friends, family, and her dogs Luna, Brandy, and Puppy.

​​​​Headshot of student Jordan Hopp, USF ‘21: Coloniality of Emotions: Migrant Latina Nannies in the United States

Jordan Hopp is a senior at the University of San Francisco. As a Sociology major with a double minor in Latin American Studies and Public Service & Community Engagement, Jordan is extremely passionate about issues of (im)migration, gender inequality, and colonialism. His Honors Thesis in Sociology discusses the ways in which the commodification of migrant Latina nannies’ emotions both reflects and reproduces colonial ideologies, hierarchies, and relations of power within today’s globalized, capitalist system. Through his research, Jordan hopes to recognize the agency of migrant Latina nannies and inspire acts of decolonization in U.S. society. In his spare time, Jordan loves to paint, spend time with friends and family, and explore the city of San Francisco.

​​​​Headshot of student Shelsie Castillo, USF ‘21: ¡Siempre Pa’lante!: How First-Generation Latinx Undergraduate Students Navigate Imposter Syndrome

Shelsie Castillo is a first-generation student researcher passionate about understanding social reproduction within the education system. Her honors thesis in Sociology focuses on why first-generation Latinx undergraduate students experience Imposter Syndrome and how they navigate it. Shelsie plans to pursue a PhD and become a professor one day. 

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Tash Dardashti, USF ‘21: Big Eyes, Bigger Breasts: How Author Identity Impacts Female Characters in Shōnen Manga

Tash Dardashti is an undergraduate Sociology major with a minor in Philippine studies. Their topic pertains to gender representations in manga and analyzes how it contributes to hegemonic masculinity. In their free time, they enjoy gardening, painting, and playing video games.

Zena Jaber, USF ‘21: The Veiled Debt: Racial Capitalism and Post-Incarceration Labor in the United States