CARD 2021 Oral Presentations

This year, students will be presenting their research in three concurrent webinar sessions. Please review the schedule of events and the program below to find the talks you want to attend, and then register for the corresponding session!

Register for CARD 2021 Webinar Sessions:

Program of Oral Presentations:

Art & Architecture

“Testing Grounds: A ‘Strategic’ Analysis of the Military Impact on the Island Planning of Tinian” – Ariane Corrine Reyes, BA, advised by Professor Steven I. Doctors

This research explores the hidden issue of America’s military expansion in American territories. These “Little Americas’ are purposed to meet the US Command Service Components’ unit level and combined level training requirements within the Western Pacific. As a result, this expansion within different territories impacted these places environmentally, socially, and politically. This is a general analysis of the land value—whether these places exist more than just strategic “testing grounds” for the US military.

With a focus on the island of Tinian, current military reinforcements are put into perspective. The establishment of practice and live ranges include military expansion on land, air, and waters. The intentions of the US Department of Defense and various federal organizations will be addressed in a dialectical discussion with voices from the local communities.

“Wayfinding at Great Heights: A Traveler's Experience” – Jason Reyes, BA, advised by Professor Steven I. Doctors

This thesis project dives deep into the complex world of wayfinding in an attempt to unite one of the most challenging locations of navigation: airports. Airports act as portals that allow people from all over the world to connect with each other. Although this is true, many airports struggle with creating quality and consistent wayfinding systems that cater to all types of users and groups. With a focus on signage and graphics, a variety of studies and interviews were completed. As a result of the different wayfinding strategies found in existing systems, suggestions were formed for creating a comprehensive, unified, and consistent wayfinding system for all airports within the United States to follow.

“Sustainable Multifamily Housing for People of Color” – Karen Victoria Monrreal Perez, BA, advised by Professor Steven I. Doctors

This Honors Thesis goes into the work architects do for communities that are not predominantly White. It goes into depth about how much of an impact it is to know the demographics of the site, and how to not gentrify the area, while still showcasing the beauty that can be enhanced through architecture. It also shows why sustainability and ultimately regeneration and affordability impact these communities like in the Mission District, San Francisco, California. This Honors Thesis also gives a guideline for how to achieve a better outcome from the work produced for these communities.

“Earth Composites: Earth as a Modern Building Material with a Focus on Sustainable, Structural and Aesthetics” – Matthew Brandon Mejia, BA, advised by Professor Seth Wachtel

Earth Architecture is the complex art or practice of designing and constructing buildings with earth materials that come from the soil and is a design practice that has been arounds since the dawn of time. Archaeologists have found evidence of Earth Architecture as early as ten thousand years ago in the Middle East and North Africa, and still to this day, about 30 percent of the world's population lives in a house constructed out of earth materials. In a pursuit of achieving a more sustainable environment, traditional building materials such as concrete, wood and steel should be pushed aside and there should be a bigger focus on earth materials. Intended for those interested in alternative building methods and materials, this thesis provides an understanding of the overall field of Earth Architecture, an overview of the history on a global scale and its relevance to future building and an understanding of the structural, artistic and sustainable impacts of Earth Architecture.

“Modular Architecture & Construction: Bridging The Gap” – Nouar Nour, BA, advised by Professor Steven I. Doctors

Modular construction in the built environment has been a growing catalyst for sustainable development in recent years. It’s ability to recognize problems throughout all processes has proven to show that the modular methodology in architecture as a viable solution to a lot of the challenges we face now and the greater challenges we will face in the future. Although modular construction as a design process is not a new concept, the re-introduction and transformations of modularity in low-income housing to fit today’s challenges is still relatively new. As the least served population within the advancements of modular construction, low-income communities, especially in fringes and suburbs have a lot to gain from the low-cost, improved quality of life, and sustainability options modular construction has to offer. This thesis examines and illustrates how low-income single-family residential housing can benefit from the modular construction sector and why the industry should market to this population.

“Designing Student-Centered K-12 Schools: The Influence of Pedagogy and Social Conditions on Design” – Stephanie Morin, BA, advised by Professor Steven I. Doctors

For decades architects have agreed that it is critical to align a school's physical design with its pedagogical approach, but the discussion of student-centered learning in recent years has radically changed the discourse around what the learning environment should look like. The discourse surrounding the design process for student-centered schools is exhaustive in regard to the topic of aligning the design and pedagogy. Neglected, is the discussion of social conditions and how their impact on student’s education should inform design decisions. Through an analysis of existing literature on student-centered schools and three case studies, this thesis reevaluates the current role of pedagogy and social conditions in the design process of student-centered schools.

“COVID Architecture: Space for the Body & Mind” – Angelica Carinugan, BA, advised by Professor Steven I. Doctors

Since the untimely arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic back at the beginning of 2020, the ongoing fight for a cure and solution remains active. We all acknowledge that we were left unprepared for this chaotic event. As such, the field of architecture was not excluded from this idea of falling behind. This review aims to show the mindset needed to reconnect architectural design to the influence of health as we forge forward into the anticipated post-pandemic years. Based on the complexity of this worldwide issue, the research will present how past pandemics affected architecture/urbanism, what are common design strategies being addressed today, and future suggestions along with limitations to creating a built environment that is not only proper for physical health but also beneficial for a positive mentality. Being more mindful of health in design would hopefully leave us more prepared should there ever be another pandemic outbreak.

“Shared Backyards: Creating a Shared Suburban Space and Revitalizing the Neighborhood” – Arantza Aramburu, BA, advised by Professor Steven I. Doctors

This thesis views present attempts at rebuilding community in community-lacking modern societies. In studying various case studies and articles through the Gleeson Library, it was discovered that once there is a project started and set out, the communal efficacy to create a shared space is largely increased. Factors, such as having resource access, the number of people involved, and having predetermined plans, all greatly contribute to the success of a shared suburban space. The analysis of the collected data, the case studies and an interview all show the problem areas as well tools needed when creating a shared suburban space. These efforts will hopefully encourage more to have a sustainable lifestyle that will not only bring together a community, but it will allow it to thrive.

“Migration Architecture and Identity” – Jennylee Nguyen, BA, advised by Professor Steven I. Doctors

A thesis focusing on the relationship between the built environment and architecture on the construction or deconstruction of identity in the context of migration.

“A Contemporary Nomadic City. An analysis of the informal Ger settlements in the urban fabric of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia” – Namuun Mendamgalan, BA, advised by Professor Steven I. Doctors

In rapidly urbanizing Mongolia, the city of Ulaanbaatar faces major seasonal pollution issues due to the large number of informal settlements that have been created around the suburbs of the city. After a number of harsh winters, a large number of nomadic families emigrated into the city in their gers, the traditional Mongolian nomadic home. This eventually led to layers and layers of problems for the city and its inhabitants such as having no connection to core infrastructure. The city faces congestion and traffic as well as severe air pollution and low quality of life for its residents. This paper will analyze how nomadic culture and religion has influenced the urban fabric of the city and how ger settlements came to be. Furthermore, it will outline the major urban planning flaws in the city and determine how it can continue to grow sustainably as well as the role of the traditional ger in the city of Ulaanbaatar.

“Biophilic Design: A Catalyst of Renewal in 21st Century Everyday Living” – Alexerd Libed, BA, advised by Professor Seth Wachtel

Throughout history, human reliance on the natural environment has reinforced the understanding of the intrinsic human affinity for nature and the idea that an individual's physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being is dependent on experiencing a healthy natural environment. Over the last decades, there has been numerous research that suggests that the contemporary built environment and building design practices have increasingly disconnected individuals from the beneficial experiences of natural systems and processes. Biophilic design or biophilia is an attempt to mitigate prevalent issues that are affecting an individual’s daily life by introducing natural materials, forms, elements into the built environment and inside of a building; thus, increasing an individual's connectivity to the natural environment. The thesis will expand on the concept of biophilic design and propose a set of guidelines to demonstrate why biophilic design and understanding why the connection between an individual and nature is essential for an individual. To aid with my thesis, I will be referencing from different sources including Stephen Kellert, a professor and writer specializing in biophilia, and Gwen Fuentes, an architect at Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects. Also, I will be drawing from online journals including Terrapin’s 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design, and sources such as the National Institute of Environmental Sciences and Living Building Challenges. Biophilia is incorporated across many building typologies such as offices, educational, and commercial environments and the benefits of biophilic design can vary. The Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington, and the Wilkes Elementary School in Bainbridge, Washington case studies are to examine the reasoning of the design and the impact it has on the users. Findings have indicated that benefits to users can lead to improved well-being and rates of cognitive function, increasing the productivity of one’s work.

“Overcoming the Economic Constraints of Universal Design: Accessibility is Deeper than Ethics” – Noah Lopez, BA, advised by Professor Steven I. Doctors

Over the 31 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed, ADA has not evolved much, legally. ADA has certainly enhanced the lives of persons with disabilities, but there are still improvements that can be made. Design ideologies such as Universal, Inclusive, and Empathic Design have and can be argued to be improvements upon the ADA code, but even these three design ideals do not completely grasp the whole concept of total accessibility. By combining three distinct design ideologies, one can find solutions as to how to improve the ADA codes that will benefit everyone, especially persons with disabilities. Taking into consideration the ethics and economics of design, listening to the suggestions of people involved with persons with disabilities or persons who are disabled, and by learning from current Universally Designed buildings, such as the Ed Roberts Campus at UC Berkeley, one can move forward in making logical and supportive suggestions toward greater accessibility. This analysis/critique is a call to action to the architecture profession. As demonstrated in this paper, the architecture profession has much influence on what design ideologies and beliefs get implemented into practice. Finally, this thesis also introduces a new design ideology: one that combines all the great aspects of Universal, Inclusive, and Empathic Design: ‘Cura Personalis Design’, the design with the care of the whole person in mind. With an analysis of ethics and economics affecting accessibility, Cura Personalis Design, and a few suggested moves to be taken by the profession moving forward, this paper is a push to architects and designers to be advocates for persons with disabilities and accessibility for all.

“Sustainable Design for Southern Engineering: Re-Imagining the Levees of the Lower Mississippi River” – Danni McCorkle, BA, advised by Professor Steven I. Doctors, Professor Hana Böttger

Over 100 years the Mississippi River has faced numerous changes. None of which were of permitted excavations. Due to an excessive amount of channel gouging, sediment removal and various daming techniques the Mississippi River has been subjected to a constrained single path. This path, especially in the lower regions of the river, are lined with 46 foot tall levees that gloriously sit on what once was the river's flood plains. My topic of discussion will give a theoretical lenses to what the lower Mississippi River region would look like if more consideration was given to nature's cycle rather than man's.

“A Change to Urban Areas: Incorporating Natural/Eco-Friendly Material Building Techniques” – Monsse Torres Vela, BA, advised by Professor Steven I. Doctors

Most Urban Areas are known for being these high technology centrals full of job opportunities and large populations; however, there is also this opportunity to make them more eco-friendly and inclusive to all. Natural and eco-friendly materials are often looked down upon in construction due to conventional materials overshadowing with their high levels of durability and strength. What many do not realize is that natural materials are just as durable, but there is a setback that prevents them from being used in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco and that is, the small plot sizes. Small plot sizes do not mean that Natural and eco-friendly materials for construction are out of the question in Urban Areas. However, there are other alternatives that can be used to allow for maximum moveable space within an Accessory Dwelling Unit while following all of the regulations and codes necessary to gain a permit. In this thesis, I will be diving further into different alternatives that are made out of natural materials and are eco-friendly while its end product being a relatively thin wall. Typical natural material walls tend to be around 2 feet; therefore, I will be highlighting materials that do not exceed 1 foot and maximize the interior spaces within a home or ADU.

“Space Architecture: Why the Architect is Essential to the Progress of Space Exploration” – Heryann Reyes Ayala, BA, advised by Professor Steven I. Doctors

As space exploration and technology continues to develop, long-term travel and exploration have become more feasible goals towards human expansion. The creation of livable, practical habitats and environments has become a new line of study in the area of the built environment. Space architecture emerged as a new discipline in the twentieth century that consists of the combination of engineering and architecture to develop designs focused around the extraterrestrial environment. However, it appears that engineering has been prioritized over architecture within this emerging profession, despite the applicability and importance of architecture’s impact on humans. This is not only the case in just this profession, it is also the case on the Earth. In this study, the collaboration and competition of engineering and architecture will be analyzed through their developments in history. By looking into the relationship between engineering and architecture as root disciplines, their interaction and successes on Earth, there will be a clearer understanding of what space architecture is, and why architecture should have a bolder presence in its development. The results of this research will clarify the reason for engineering’s current dominance as the first steps to designing in a new environment is getting there and surviving in it.

Asia Pacific Studies

“Lights, Camera, Action! Defining the Idol in Contemporary Asia” – Nathalie López Del Valle, MA, advised by Professor Genevieve Leung

What exactly is an 'idol' and how is this term understood by idols themselves? I address this question by demonstrating how an idol is active in the process of their own production, meaning that the process of idol identity formulation is not a one-way process as it would be in a factory, contrary to popular belief. Rather, idols, producers, trainers, and the public all collaborate to create a definition of this term, the idol's public image and the narrative identity of the idol as an idol. Therefore, the idol has agency in this process and the final say in what they accept, adopt, and present as their narrative and the identity resulting from it. By applying theoretical framework that combines narrative identity theory and Erving Goffman's performance theory, I focus on the analysis of the interview content found in four idol reality shows as case studies. This allows us to have a firmer grasp on why it is that idols have such influence over international understandings of the countries they represent and what exactly it is about them that sways audiences to engage in internet wars on their behalf and scream their names at the top of their lungs in Olympic stadiums.

“Sattha, Money and Fandoms: Intersections Between Capitalist Commodification of Thai K-pop and Buddhist Fandoms” – Pornpailin Meklalit, MA, advised by Professor Brian Dempster

This study represents an initial attempt to investigate the cultural, economic and spiritual meanings, as well as the goals of activities carried out by K-pop fandom-- specifically fans of EXO and NCT, and Buddhist devotees in Thailand and their considerable degree of overlap and similarity. While Thai Buddhism is revered, K-pop fandom is stigmatized as an extreme, problematic form of behavior. This research questions that distinction by building parallels between these activities as forms of faith, which are mostly shaped by the same economic structures, with money as a medium that allows spiritual connection and comfort for fans. Another important aspect to note is how travel and pilgrimages are physical and spiritual journeys that exist for both religious devotees and K-pop fans. The findings from the study indicate that both Thai K-pop fandom and Buddhism bear a striking resemblance in their faith rituals, practices, and capitalist-oriented activities, where fans and religious devotees get happiness and spiritual nourishment in exchange. Through the lens of secondary sources and participant observations onsite in Thailand, the real-life experiences of those involved in religious and fan activities will be illustrated. In exploring relevant connections, this study offers insightful explanations that link K-pop and Buddhist subcultural communities so that we can better understand the complex functioning of Thai society and culture.

“Fitting in to Stand Out: Taiwan’s Piece in the International Biodiversity Monitoring Puzzle” – Serena Calcagno, MA, advised by Professor Genevieve Leung

In this paper, I examine the ways in which biodiversity monitoring has been used in Taiwan to subvert both national and regional power structures since the beginning of democratization in the late 1980’s to the present. This exploration investigates 1) how Taiwanese individuals and communities have strategically utilized biodiversity monitoring to build locality and resist authoritarian development projects by Taiwan’s government since democratization, 2) how contemporary biodiversity monitoring volunteers in one small town conceive of their roles, and 3) how Taiwan’s current government benefits from the accumulated grassroots data from communities like this. Ironically, early historical mobilization stemmed from environmental fervor that was connected to anti-authoritarian sentiment. Today biodiversity mobilization seems to be reorganizing itself around positive associations with community and pro-environment sentiment. Taiwan’s growing presence in global biodiversity monitoring serves as a testament to both Taiwan’s impressive ecological richness and endemism, but also to this impressive grassroots engagement. Altogether, the efforts of passionate environmentalists and volunteer data gatherers to simultaneously make Taiwan’s biodiversity —and Taiwan as a nation— more visible internationally despite efforts from China to control and limit Taiwan’s international image in all spheres.


“Testing the Climatic Variability Hypothesis with coastal and inland populations of Mimulus guttatus” – Alec Chiono, MS, advised by Professor John R. Paul

The Climatic Variability Hypothesis (CVH) states that organisms in more climatically variable environments should be adapted to a wider range of climatic conditions than organisms in less variable environments. Due to marine influence, coastal areas typically experience smaller temperature fluctuations relative to inland areas. According to the CVH, we expect coastal organisms to have more narrow thermal niches because they experience a smaller range of temperatures. We tested the CVH in a novel setting by comparing the thermal niches of coastal and inland populations of Mimulus guttatus using a growth chamber experiment. We measured relative growth rate of individuals from three coastal and three inland populations under eight temperature treatments. We then used relative growth rate to build thermal performance curves for each population and measured thermal niche breadth as the width of these curves. Coastal and inland populations do not differ in thermal niche breadth, with coastal populations having wider thermal niches than expected. In fact, we only found differentiation in thermal niche traits between inland populations, not between coastal and inland populations. Therefore, we do not find support for the CVH, but new questions arise about thermal niche evolution in Mimulus guttatus.

“Microbes out of Water: Drying and Rewetting Stress on Organic Farm Soils” – Sarah Gao, MS, advised by Professor Naupaka Zimmerman

With increasing severity of anthropogenic climate change, California will experience oscillations between more extreme rainfall and prolonged drought events. These changes will affect agricultural fields as soil microbes, whose processes affect plant growth, respond to changes in soil moisture. Additionally, these microbes are the primary drivers of cycling nitrogen, which is oftentimes the limiting nutrient for many ecosystems. To address this, industrial farms apply synthetic nitrogen fertilizers to improve plant yields, but oversaturation can result in nitrogen leaching into groundwater, watersheds, and adverse downstream effects. On organic farms, cover crops are grown, mowed, and then disked in order to incorporate more carbon and nitrogen into the soil. However, not much is known about the intersection of all these factors and how cover cropping systems affect soil microbes’ abilities to cycle nitrogen. Here, I seek to investigate changes to soil microbial life at different drying and rewetting stress levels and 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. With this study, I hope to further our understanding of how soil microbes and their processes respond to more extreme climates.

“Examining foraging behavior of southern sea otters at their northern range extent” – Sophia Lyon, MS, advised by Professor Nicole Thometz

Sea otters are vital keystone predators within coastal ecosystems, but recovery of this threatened species has proceeded slowly in California relative to populations in Alaska, Washington, and British Columbia. Yearly census data comprise the majority of information regarding sea otters at the northern range extent, where a historic lack of range expansion has limited population growth. Although data pertaining to foraging behavior and rates of energy intake can serve as valuable metrics for assessing population status, little is known about these dynamics at the northern range extent. Thus, we collected fine-scale census and foraging data of sea otters at Año Nuevo State Park from October 2019 to March 2021 to determine seasonal abundance, diet composition, diet diversity, and energy intake rates of sea otters at the northern range extent. We found that the sea otter diet at Año Nuevo primarily consists of crabs, urchins, clams, and infaunal worms, and individuals have an average rate of energy intake of 9.66 kcal/min. In addition, dietary diversity (using Shannon-Wiener index) appears to be intermediate to previously studied high- and low-density sites (H=1.81). When examined within the context of previous studies throughout the southern sea otter range, these data help inform population dynamics, range expansion and recovery of sea otters at the northern range extent.

"Effects of small-scale habitat restoration on the population genetics of the ligated furrow sweat bee Halictus ligatus (Family Halictidae)" - Hannah Hayes, MS, advised by Professor Sevan Suni

Pollination by insects is essential for the health of natural ecosystems and agricultural
productivity, as over 75% of crops benefit from animal pollination. Bee populations are in
decline due to a suite of anthropogenic changes. In particular, many studies have found
decreased abundance of bees linked to habitat destruction. Habitat destruction is particularly
harmful when it results in highly fragmented areas of remaining natural habitat, because it limits
dispersal among populations, which is critical for the maintenance of genetic diversity. Past
habitat loss can reduce viability of small isolated populations due to inbreeding depression and
random fixation of deleterious alleles. In an attempt to promote biodiversity, there have been
efforts to restore degraded habitats to a more natural state. Here, I investigated the genetic
responses of a wild bee species following small-scale habitat restoration in an intensively
managed agricultural area. I assessed the genetic diversity and genetic connectivity of sweat bee
populations (Halictus ligatus) in hedgerows of floral enhancements along the margins of large
crop fields in Yolo County, CA, installed by Dr. Claire Kremen and her team. To measure
genetic diversity and connectivity, I performed double-digest restriction site-associated DNA
sequencing (ddRADseq), enabling me to identify genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms
(SNPs). I expect the genetic diversity of H. ligatus populations to increase at a different rate
depending on the maturity of the hedgerow. Additionally, I expect the genetic differentiation of
H. ligatus populations to decrease among all hedgerows over time. A network of small-scale
habitat restoration, which was able to export pollinators to surrounding areas, may be able to
increase connectivity of fragmented populations, enabling exchange of genetic material and
increased genetic diversity. The results of my research will help ensure that future habitat
restoration incorporates strategies that maintain genetically healthy populations.


“Assessing building safety with veriDART by SafeTraces” – Anthony Doty, MS, advised by Professor Cary Lai

SafeTraces, a small biotech startup in the East Bay, is using DNA powered technology to redefine how buildings assess their air quality. In the age of COVID-19, indoor aerosol transmission has been shown to be a significant risk factor forcing many of our institutions to shutter their doors. SafeTraces has introduced a new diagnostic technology, veriDART, to help businesses, schools, and other locations safely reopen and minimize the risk of infection. As a research associate, I use qPCR to help analyze results of the building tests and provide data so it can be visualized and sent to clients.

“Department Specific Small IT Solutions using Visual Basics for Applications” – Cole Steinmetz, MS, advised by Professor Cary Lai

Visual Basics for Applications in Microsoft Excel provide IT solutions for a large Biotechnology company in Pleasanton, California. Projects deemed too small for the onsite IT department to work on are sent to me for evaluation and development. The majority of projects that are sent to me are aimed towards reducing processing times or simplifying complex tasks. In this presentation I will describe how I leverage my knowledge of Visual Basics for Applications, department specific protocols, and laboratory machinery to create innovative macros that help departments continue their work in a more efficient way.

“Business Development at Distributed Bio, A Charles River Company” - Jordan Seaton, MS, advised by Professor Cary Lai

New technologies, business development, and project management practices at Distributed Bio, A Charles River Company

“Research in Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology at a CRISPR Gene Editing Startup” – Kory Melton, MS, advised by Professor Cary Lai

Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated proteins (Cas proteins) form the basis of the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas technology with gene therapy implications. Spotlight Therapeutics is a Biotechnology startup in Hayward developing next generation CRISPR gene editing therapeutics with cell-selective binding, internalization, and editing. This work covers a Computational Analysis Pipeline using Next-Generation Sequencing data for the evaluation of candidate gene editing molecules. The pipeline is built on top of the open-source CRISPResso2 software and Amazon Web Services cloud-computing platform. In addition, we developed an RNA Sequencing workflow to tie genotype to phenotype and validated it on house-keeping genes. This work enables Spotlight’s discovery engine to rapidly evaluate and iterate on the design of prototype gene editing molecules.

“Business Development in Biotech” – Kyle Pratt, MS, advised by Professor Cary Lai

A discussion on my experience working in business development for service providers within the biotech industry.


“Development of Redox-Responsive Eu(III) Complexes for Cancer Imaging” – Matthew Derfus, MS, advised by Professor Osasere Evbuomwan

Cancer cells disrupt the normal balance of reduction and oxidation (redox) processes to maintain uncontrolled proliferation. This distinction between cancer cell and healthy cells is currently being exploited in the development of imaging agents with the aim of improving the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a biomedical imaging technique that provides highly resolved three-dimensional images non-invasively, and without the use of ionizing radiation. These properties make MRI an attractive technique for cancer screening and detection. MR image resolution can be enhanced by administration of a contrast agent, the majority of which are Gd(III) complexes that provide positive contrast via a longitudinal relaxation (T1) mechanism. Over the past few years, the Eu(II)/Eu(III) redox couple has received significant attention due to the unique MRI properties afforded by each oxidation state. The Eu(II) ion, which is isoelectronic with Gd(III), exhibits similar T1-weighted MRI properties, while the Eu(III) ion displays PARACEST MRI properties. These differences in MRI properties can be exploited to design Eu(III)-based contrast agents that are sensitive to the redox state of tissue. Such probes could potentially enable the non-invasive detection of redox dysregulation in vivo. The goal of this project is to develop a series of Eu(III)-based imaging agents and investigate the effect of ligand identity on their redox properties. So far, seven Eu(III) complexes containing acetate-, amide-, amide-t-butyl-, glycine-, lysine-, aspartate- and tyrosine side-chains have been synthesized and characterized by 1H NMR. We performed cyclic voltammetry to determine the redox properties of these metal complexes near physiological pH. Voltammetry results at pH 7.5 showed that the Eu(III) complex of the amide-based ligand had the most positive E1/2, (-0.818 V), while the Eu(III) complex of the acetate ligand displayed the most negative E1/2 (-1.176 V). These results indicate that the amide ligand has the best stabilization effect on the Eu(II) ion, while the acetate ligand has the least stabilizing effect on the Eu(II) ion. Future work will involve the preparation of additional complexes with different functional groups, with the aim of further expanding our understanding of the role of ligand identity on the redox properties of the Eu(II)/Eu(III) couple.

Communication Studies

“Cambodia’s Human Trafficking Crisis: Are You Listening?” – Thelma Ibe, BA, advised by Professor David Holler

This project discusses Human Trafficking of children in Cambodia. The genocide (1975-1979) is the main cause of the resulting poverty and corruption in the government. While shelters are built for these children Cambodia does not have enough money to fund these shelters. They could give more funding to nonprofit organizations (NGOs) or the Ministry of Women's Affairs. The government started a 5 year plan but that plan failed. Agencies from around the world want to help but they can’t due to not having access. This issue deserves more attention and UN intervention.

Computer Science

“NLProg - Using Natural Language to Construct Visual Programs” – Tyler Iams, MS, advised by Professor Greg Benson

The demand for computer programmers exceeds the available supply. Either we need to train more people in computer programming or we need to enable non-programmers to achieve programming tasks without learning all the formalities of existing programming languages. Visual programming languages in the form of blocks-based interfaces have proven to reduce the learning curve for non-programmers to more easily engage in the activity of program construction. However, to expand programming access even further we need new types of user experiences. In this work, we explore combining the use of natural language and visual programming to enable non-programmers to describe a desired program in English fragments. Our research system, NLProg, can convert natural language sentences into visual blocks programs and immediately show how the program behaves on given or sample input. Users can then modify the resulting blocks program to refine the behavior to reach the desired program outcome. We initially focus on string and text processing to explore this type of interaction. NLProg can currently accept a wide range of sentences for describing text processing programs. In this presentation we will explain our work and how we have implemented NLProg. We will also give a working demo and a link to the implementation that participants can attempt to construct their own programs. We view this an opportunity to gain live feedback on our current approach.

Environmental Science

“Easing Access to Scientific Data for Better Water Management in California” – Raphael Yolson Louis, MS, advised by Professor Adam Purdy

California faces many challenges to adapt its water management system to 21st-century conditions. The state’s population continues to grow, increasing the water demand for urban areas. Meanwhile, the agriculture industry has widely relied on groundwater to supplement surface water supplies, especially during periods of drought. Additionally, precipitation is expected to become more variable under a changing climate complicating the challenge to sustainably manage this precious resource. All of these conditions have led to recent legislation to curb unsustainable water use. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (2014) mandates overdraft groundwater basins achieve sustainability within 20 years. While agencies such as the Department of Water Resources do great work compiling data, savvy computer experience is needed to combine and apply these disparate data sets to support management. Here, we developed an interactive mapping tool using Google Earth Engine to synthesize hydrologically relevant data within a water basin. With one click users can select a water Basin in California and access data on precipitation, cropland cover, the state of vegetation, and evapotranspiration. The tool will ease access to up-to-date usable information to support sustainable conjunctive water management in California. We see this tool as a way to improve environmental managers’ efficiency in monitoring water use and adjust strategies to cope with an uncertain water supply.

International Studies

“Assessing Border Security: Policy, Power, and People” – Avianna Vasquez, BA, Evan Chen, BA, Jasmine Boggs, BA, Ariana Martinez, BA, advised by Professor Brian Dowd-Uribe

Many people cross northbound into the United States on a daily basis, often for school and work. However, law enforcement entities at the United States-Mexico border have consistently discriminated against and mistreated people who travel northbound. Our research explores the legal ambiguities of border law enforcement, and how these ambiguities and law enforcement together cause the wrongful prosecution of United States citizens and Mexican citizens. The research focuses on interviews with non-profit and non-governmental organizations, as well as content analysis of court cases involving people who were wrongly prosecuted at the border. Through our discussion, we highlight and survey the current legal situation that has allowed for the unjust prosecution practices at the border.

“Social Media Activism: The Relationship Between Social Media Posting and Subsequent Activist Behavior” – Emma DeBow, BA, Olivia Scott, BA, Sky Berry-Weiss, BA, Cesar Fernandez, BA, advised by Professor Brian Dowd-Uribe

Technology and the rise in social media use is everchanging how groups and organizations are spreading awareness and generating participation in social issues. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which and how engagement with social issues in the form of posting something on social media (related to the issue) will encourage users or blunt users from further engaging in the issues in formats/platforms beyond social media. This study focused on the widely known social movement, Black Lives Matter. Incorporating the use of a questionnaire formed via and follow up interviews conducted anonymously with informed consent, this study sought to understand the relationship between not only posting online and actions beyond posting but also worked to eliminate potential sampling errors and non-sampling errors by isolating other factors such as geography, age, educational background, etc. The information gathered in this study can help understand key phenomena such as “Slacktivism” and the effect social media has in soliciting increased collective action on contentious issues.

“Investigating Limitations of Development and Conservation Organization Efforts in Addressing Communities Impacted by Growth in the Safari Wildlife Tourism Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa” – Kiana Rodriguez, BA, Ixtzel Duran, BA, Fatima Fahnbulleh, BA, Ankita Joshi, BA, advised by Professor Brian Dowd-Uribe

People from all over the world travel to Sub-Saharan Africa to enjoy the unique experiences offered by the safari wildlife tourism industry. With the continued increase in popularity, newer hospitality centers (hotels, restaurants, airports, etc.) have also become more prevalent in areas near where safari wildlife tours are conducted. The appropriation of this land has often had an increasingly negative effect on local communities in these areas. In addition to an increase in the lack of access to resources, excess taxes, and a greater interaction with foreigners, many local communities have also been displaced from their homes.

Two case studies of communities displaced by safari wildlife tourism are that of local communities near the Ruaha National Park in Tanzania and the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique, which will be further dissected in this research paper. Both studies help establish a clear link between the increase in safari wildlife tourism and the displacement of communities. To this day, local communities struggle with land appropriation and loss of natural resources. Nonprofits have been established to help aid some of the infrastructural problems in Sub-Saharan Africa, but not many focus efforts on aiding displaced communities. The premise of our research is to gauge the effectiveness of these development and conservation organizations, as there are many present in Sub-Saharan Africa but many problems continue to persist. This exploration will also include what strategies have been the most effective, long term vs. short term effects, what problems are most addressed, and interviews with leaders of local non-profits.

“Navigating a Rising Tide: Conversations on the Conception and Anticipation of Climate Shocks with Mekong Delta Tour Operators” – Lucia Grant, BA, Marisa Mathó, BA, Cyan Balantac, BA, Ben Estrada, BA, advised by Professor Brian Dowd-Uribe

Climate shocks present a unique challenge for developing countries. They rely on vital industries that depend on the viability of the environment (i.e. agriculture and tourism) but often lack the infrastructure to adequately respond to and recover from natural disasters. Further exacerbating the issue is that many developing countries are located in areas where extreme weather events are progressively severe due to global climate change. Developing countries that depend heavily on the revenue from coastal and island tourism—such as the Mekong River Delta region of Vietnam renowned for its floating markets and tropical scenery—are especially threatened by climate-induced shocks. The research question, "how do floating market tour operators in the Mekong Delta conceive of climate change and anticipate climate-induced shocks?" will be explored through interviews. Operators will answer a question sequence on individual experiences/observations of environmental impact on their businesses, elucidating connections between conceptualization and action vis-a-vis climate change. Evidence could introduce opportunities to investigate how well-informed conceptualizations of climate change could improve stakeholders' ability to respond to risks and disaster adequately. Our research also calls attention to how and to what extent stakeholders are being held responsible for anticipating and mitigating climate-induced shocks. Developments in both areas of interest would improve industry policy-making regarding the viability of tourism in the Mekong Delta, upon which many livelihoods depend.

“Intersectionality and Inclusivity in Mexico's Feminist Movement” – Camille Batiste, BA, Sofia Chavez, BA, Megan Commers, BA, Charly DeNocker, BA, advised by Professor Brian Dowd-Uribe

Mexico’s feminist movements reach far historically and ideologically, with feminists across the country having resisted inequality for decades. Despite the persistence of Mexican feminism, the country’s rate of femicide, or intentional murder of women on account of their gender, has increased by 145% since 2015, with the majority of victims being workers in Mexican factories, or maquiladoras. Mexican women working in maquiladoras owned by multinational corporations represent over 50% of the maquiladora industry, which has contributed significantly to Mexico’s economic growth over the last three decades. Despite the significant impact of female maquiladora workers on Mexico’s development, they continue to be targeted and marginalized in Mexican society. Similarly, despite the significance of female maquiladora workers in defining the agenda and motivations of Mexican feminism, they remain a minority voice in the feminist domain. A question is raised, therefore, if the feminist movement in Mexico adequately addresses the violence and inequality facing maquiladora workers. For the purposes of this research paper, “feminist movement” will refer to an organized movement led by female feminist scholars, students, and/or activists with the goal to end gender-inequality in Mexico. In researching the intersections of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and education in Mexico’s feminist movement, we aim to highlight the voices of those marginalized. Through these interviews, we hope to better understand how the movement includes the narratives of women disproportionately impacted by conditions of violence.

“Effectiveness Of Undocumented Student Resource Programs Within The University Of California School System” – Nalleli Sanchez, BA, Daniella Recinos, BA, Karli Williams, BA, Anthony Blick, BA, advised by Professor Brian Dowd-Uribe

College students who are recipients of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) have faced a multitude of challenges trying to achieve academic excellence, maintain psychological health, and attain financial security. Research has indicated that California is a leading state in the development of Undocumented Resource Centers in the United States. California currently has 46 (and counting) Undocumented Resources Centers (Cisneros and Valdivia). In addition, California has also adopted progressive policies that allow undocumented students that meet certain criteria to qualify for in-state tuition. This study will focus on answering the following questions: How has the University of California (UC) system assisted DACA students academically, psychologically, and financially? What is the perceived effectiveness and challenges of their program by administrators? To answer these questions, several interviews will be conducted via zoom with directors and coordinators of undocumented resource centers at all nine UC campuses. Analysis of the interviews will reveal whether the support services provided on UC campuses have been sufficient in aiding DACA students as well as inform the current challenges that are being encountered. This research will simultaneously help other universities understand the current model implemented in the UC university school system as well as help identify within the nine UC schools where improvement is needed.

“Critical Evaluation of Feed the Future's Nigeria Program From an Agroecological Perspective” – Nika Russi, MA, Dominique Blakely, MA, Cheik Ouedraogo, MA, Kelly Cruchett, MA, Kip Yegon, advised by Professor Brian Dowd-Uribe

As of 2019, there are 24.6 million people who are undernourished and 17.8 million people experiencing food insecurity in Nigeria (FAO, 2021). The Feed the Future Nigeria program attributes this issue of malnutrition and food insecurity to a combination of population growth, import bans that force reliance on expensive domestic products, and smallholder farmers’ lack of capacity and access to markets and value chains. Therefore, their initiative is built around a market-centered approach that seeks to facilitate increased productivity via input intensification, adoption of new technologies and production practices, and connecting smallholder farmers to markets and value chains. This presentation seeks to evaluate and critique Feed the Future’s approach and offer an alternative one through agroecology that not only implements differing techniques and farming practices, but also calls to attention the social, political and historical drivers of food insecurity in Nigeria. By reconceptualizing the issue of food insecurity to be one of power, we aim to push for a transformation of the food system that promotes autonomy through the valorization of the local knowledge and practices of Nigerian farmers.

“A Critical Analysis of Feed the Future's Food Security Plan in Guatemala Through an Agroecological Lens” – Paolo Bicchieri, MA, Fian Sullivan Sweeney, MA, Chad Baron, MA, Elizama Rodas, MA, Sharon Huang, MA, advised by Professor Brian Dowd-Uribe

Utilizing an agroecological approach, we evaluate Feed The Future’s current programs, targets, and measurements of implementation plans regarding Food Security in Gutemala. Sankara International believes FTF should center an agroecological framework. Employing this lens of Agroecology seeks to transform “how we produce and consume food into something better for humanity and our Mother Earth” (Giraldo & Roset 2017 in Anderson 2021). An agroecological outlook arguably aligns with Feed the Future’s intentions of pursuing interventions at all levels, complementing one another to tackle food insecurity, malnutrition sustainably, and poverty (Country Plan 2018). Sankara International offers a more concrete approach that promotes food security while ensuring indigenous peoples’ wishes, using the “Five As”: Availability, Accessibility, Adequacy, Acceptability, and Agency as our guide. Each component of food security will be local stakeholders’ rights, especially indigenous populations, in mind.

“Feed the Future Ethiopia: Promises and Shortcomings” – Jesus Del Toro, MA, Alice Kramer, MA, Erys Gagnebin, MA, Sierra Davis, MA, Tarek Eweida, MA, advised by Professor Brian Dowd-Uribe

With their 5-year plan, Feed the Future, looks for a transnational partnership between the African country of Ethiopia and the United States Government to renew a collaboration that started in 2013. Said initiative will be focused on investing in the forming of productive and healthy livelihoods and building and accelerating economic growth opportunities for Ethiopians over a 5-year span. Ethiopia is one of Feed the Futures 12 partner countries located in parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America. This project assesses the Feed the Future program in Ethiopia with a critical lens regarding the success and shortcomings of the program. The program will be assessed as a whole, but certain areas of focus will be chosen to critique, and suggestions for improvement will be made.

“Police Reform: Response Methods for People With Mental Illness” - Jackson Haney, BA, Jordan Barney, BA, Natalie Chassagne, BA, Diammyra Cruz, BA, Merha Mehzun, BA, advised by Professor Brian Dowd-Uribe

How has the recent push for police reform affected response methods with regards to mental health issues in the San Francisco Bay Area?

Physics and Astronomy

“Spectroscopic Search of Strong Gravitational Lenses” - Suchitoto Rose Tabares-Tarquinio, BS, Christopher Storfer, BS, Christian Woll, BS, advised by Professor Xiaosheng Huang

Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive foreground galaxy is aligned with a background galaxy relative to an observer on earth. The gravity of this massive foreground galaxy can warp space-time and bend the path of the light from the background galaxy which causes the source to appear to us as multiple images or even an “Einstein ring”. Gravitational lensing only occurs for 1 in ~10,000 massive galaxies. Strong gravitational lensing systems facilitate accurate and precision measurements of foreground galaxy mass density profiles and provide the only way to detect dark matter substructure at cosmological distances, either within the lensing galaxies or along the line of sight. In order to obtain large samples of gravitational lenses using imaging data, a background source galaxy has to be sufficiently far away from the lensing galaxy in projection. Otherwise, the foreground lensing galaxy often conceals most of the faint background source galaxy light. Fortunately, emission features from such lensed objects should be detectable in the spectra of a lensing system with small lens-image separation. From 2021 to 2026, Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) survey will obtain spectra for more than 30 million galaxies up to redshifts of ~1.0. We aim to spectroscopically search for background emission-lines from star forming galaxies behind the target galaxy to obtain a large sample of likely galaxy-scale lenses. We use a principal component analysis based fitting algorithm to model galaxy spectra and obtain redshifts. We first fit for the foreground Luminous Red Galaxy (LRG) spectra and then fit the residual using the Emission-Line Galaxies (ELG) templates in order to detect the presence of background lensed galaxies.

Rhetoric and Language

“United States Detention Centers” – Alexandro "ATY" Taylor-Young, BA, advised by Professor David Holler

Since the 1980s the US has seen a rise in the number of immigrants who are detained in so-called “detention centers”; this presentation aims to explain how we got to this point and what the debate is between keeping them and abolishing them. In such we will examine both sides of the issue, as well as advocating for the closure and abolition of detention facilities in the US.

“Homelessness in San Francisco” – Anson Tan, BA, advised by Professor David Holler

The homelessness situation in San Francisco has been extremely dire. Having one of the worst homeless situations in America, San Francisco has a homeless population of about 18,000 individuals (Rufo). Exacerbated by the arrival of the Covid-19 disease, the homeless population ballooned by 285% (Stone), indubitably leading to other issues such as an increase in drug abuse and addiction. A major cause for the homeless population in San Francisco is attributed to the rising cost of housing especially for lower income households and young individuals who are already at a disadvantage. Apart from those high-risk individuals above, the homeless population in San Francisco is an ageing one (Hahn), meaning that most homeless individuals do not normally possess the capabilities to get out of their housing situation themselves due to their struggles with other costly illnesses. In order to tackle this issue, San Francisco has implemented numerous policies aimed at reducing the homeless population and attempting to curb chronic homeless situations, one of the more notable ones being the introduction of Navigation Centers.

“Felon Disenfranchisement” – Apurva Aluru, BA, advised by Professor David Holler

“Brexit: A Case Study for Dwindling Neoliberalism” – Harlan Crawford, BA, advised by Professor David Holler

This paper examines how the first twenty-one years of the twenty first century can be attributed to one philosophy: neoliberalism. Whether it be two catastrophic economic collapses in a span of twelve years, a deadly pandemic, or multiple endless wars, there are a plethora of different examples indicating the need for a paradigm shift, one that shifts away from the neoliberal school of thought. One of the best ways to understand this is by looking at Britain’s departure from the European Union, or “Brexit”, and how it's racist, anti-inclusive, and dishonest elements are microcosms for what Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan wanted when they proliferated this philosophy in the 1980s. In spite of the flaws that neoliberalism and Brexit present, it would be ignorant and shameful to not examine both sides of the coin and realize the value that can be obtained from both. Without an open, honest discussion from both sides, solutions could not exist. The inclusive, prosperous ideology of leftism is central to any chance of prosperity in this complex, multi-layered twenty first century world, as explicated by author Michael Harrington.

“My Perspective through a Zine: ‘Is It a Hate Crime?’: Anti-Asian American Attacks During COVID-19 & 'What happens next?'” – Jerome Andrew Faustino, BA, advised by Professor David Holler

Recently throughout the United States, there continues to be an increasing number of anti-Asian American attacks due to COVID-19 and the rhetoric of our former president, Donald J. Trump. The News media fails to cover issues and assaults against Asian Americans even at the start of the pandemic and continue to contribute to the unbelievable ‘Model Minority' Myth. Although tragic events are circulating through individual social media platforms, there is still much work and attention vital for change. Whether or not the attacks are defined as 'hate-crimes' and follow the investigation criteria of individual states' hate-crimes policy, journalists and reporters approach the issue differently from the way they did with the George Floyd protests. News platforms should cover all issues with one lens, to inform individuals of all topics without categorizing which is more important than the other.

“The Road to Reopening: Crossing From Virtual to In-Person Learning, One Union Bargain at a Time” – Joshua Dineros, BA, advised by Professor David Holler

One year after the initial onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a majority of school buildings remain closed due to various factors concerning public health and risks associated with a physical return to the classroom for educators and students alike. This presentation exists to critique the relationship between the Corona-Norco Teachers’ Association and the Corona-Norco Unified School District in regards to their negotiation and bargaining powers. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, funding has been allocated to offset the growing cost of educating students remotely and for an eventual return to the classroom. Teachers’ unions lawfully play a role in district proceedings, most significantly through financial means. The agreement of the allocations of these funds and the requirements that must be met by the school district in conjunction with local, state, and federal guidelines are established by the aforementioned parties through memorandums of understandings. A shared goal of providing students a quality education is agreed upon through collaboration used within the bargaining process, which is established by the Educational Employment Relations Act. The result of this legislation is a mutual relationship that creates actionable steps towards a common goal of a quality education for all students, beyond the conflicting viewpoints of reopening CNUSD schools amidst the pandemic that fulfills CNUSD’s motto of action towards excellence.

“COVID-19 Vaccines and POC: The ones that ‘can’t’ and the ones that ‘won’t’” – Kambria Williams, BA, advised by Professor David Holler

The United States is a land that has mistreated people of color from the start of its history: from killing off people with disease, slavery, unethical experiments, etc. None of these things have stopped. It is 2021. Coronavirus is taking a toll in every country. The “land of the free'' is not established in the means of vaccinating people that built the nation the White Man steps on every day.

“U.S Foreign Aid Cuts in Yemen: Callousness in the Face of Disaster” – Manasvi Ojha, BA, advised by Professor David Holler

Yemen, for years now, has been in the midst of what is considered to be one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Millions of Yemeni have found themselves in a crossfire between the Houthi and Saudi Arabia and its allies, with 8756 civilians having been killed through Saudi led airstrikes (Yemen Data Project, 2020). The US has, despite its fueling of this conflict, and the pleas of various humanitarian organizations, cut aid to Yemen. Despite valid concerns over the effectiveness of humanitarian aid in the region, especially considering Houthi interference in aid distribution, this has been a flawed approach to the crisis, one which the current administration should strive to rectify, not only through reversal of the aid cuts, but also through an examination of current distribution methods and ways to improve them.

“School to Prison Pipeline – Chicago” – Payton Randle, BA, advised by Professor David Holler

For approximately two decades, the school to prison pipeline trend has been a major social and educational issue in the United States. The term “school to prison pipeline” refers to how public-school students, predominantly minorities, are being pushed out of schools and funneled into the prison system. With policies like zero tolerance and minimum sentencing that were introduced in the early 90s, an increasing number of people have been sentenced to serve time in prisons. These policies were implemented in state and local legislation, but were also added to school districts' school codes, which has led to an uptick in suspensions and expulsions that disproportionately affect young students of color. In addition, during the same time period, there has been an increase in the presence of police assigned to, and patrolling, public schools. The presence of school police has drastically increased the numbers of students being arrested. This paper aims to examine this issue through the lens of one public school district, Chicago Public Schools which has one of the largest school districts in the nation. Also to analyze how policies and policing in schools have affected school youth and have contributed to the school to prison pipeline. This paper also offers evidence of the benefits of restorative justice programs as a key for change.

“Small Steps for Big Data: Regulation That Changes Lives” – Rand Shakhtour, BA, advised by Professor David Holler

The term “Big Data” has evolved over the last century, and is mainly defined by the last five years. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) -passed in 2018- has been recognized globally as one of the stricter federal pieces of legislation. The United States has been clearly hesitant to apply such similar legislation despite some states taking steps locally. The pandemic uncovered major issues for businesses regarding the GDPR’s restrictions. The examination of the tech space as well as the lack of conversation had about privacy and consent are all addressed within this paper.

“American Stances on COVID-19 Vaccines: Addressing Concerns and Explaining the Science” - Shireen Charalaghi, BA, advised by Professor David Holler

In a year where a deadly virus has taken the lives of millions and stripped away all the normalities of life, the COVID-19 vaccine shows us that the light at the end of the tunnel is near; we are closer to defeating this pandemic. Americans have varying stances on the COVID-19 vaccines, and in this presentation I will highlight common concerns related to the vaccines and explain the molecular science behind them in order to alleviate any anxieties and allow people to make a well informed decision about getting vaccinated.

“Mental Health Services & Eating Disorders at USF: Working with CAPS to provide tailored resources for eating disorders and improve communication with students” – Thanae Stoupas, BA, advised by Professor David Holler

Despite high rates of eating disorders in college aged students, university mental health centers like CAPS often do not have the resources to address this problem. We conducted research through surveys and interviews in order to determine the best way that CAPS at USF can support those struggling with eating disorders. Our research consisted of surveying USF students on their experience and knowledge of CAPS, interviews with individuals who have struggled with eating disorders throughout college, interviews with CAPS, and interviews with ASUSF. We identified two problems: a lack of knowledge of CAPS resources and a lack of resources specific to those suffering from eating disorders. To combat these issues, we proposed a monthly email newsletter from CAPS and an eating disorder support group on campus. We utilized other university models when drafting both the newsletter and the group therapy proposal. We also sent out an interest form/petition to determine student interest in both the newsletter and the group therapy on campus. We then proposed our solutions to CAPS, which they decided to establish at USF this semester.

“Impact of FOSTA-SESTA on Sex Workers: How Section 230 Immunity Should Be Reinstated” – Vicki Young, BA, advised by Professor David Holler

In April 2018, FOSTA-SESTA was passed by Congress with the intention of helping protect sex trafficking victims. It does so by creating an exception to the famous Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which essentially provides immunity for internet service providers (ISPs) in regards to content posted by third-party users on their site. This exception FOSTA-SESTA created to Section 230 instead makes websites responsible for knowingly facilitating prostitution or sex trafficking on their site. The response of many ISPs was to immediately censor or shut down many parts of their platforms beyond what was actually necessary in order to comply with FOSTA-SESTA. As a result, this has created unintentional consequences: it affects the freedom of speech online for all internet users, it makes tracking down victims of sex trafficking more difficult, and it ultimately harms consensual sex workers by increasing the dangers and complications of their work. As a policy proposal, the immunity ISPs received under Section 230 should be restored, however with a narrower, more specific interpretation. Rather than giving broad immunity to websites by only holding them responsible for being the direct cause of unlawful conduct, a narrow reading causes websites to be held responsible for playing a substantial role. This forces ISPs to be more proactive in monitoring user-generated content on their sites as to avoid liability, and it will therefore aid in tracking down sex trafficking victims. It also allows consensual sex workers to benefit by advertising their services online again without host ISPs taking action to remove the content out of fear of liability.

“Disinformed: Are We to Hold Media Legally Accountable for The Information It Spreads?” – Zachary Sexton, BA, advised by Professor David Holler

This paper explores the issue of misinformation and how it should be handled between considerations of 1st Amendment protections of the press and the ethics of journalism. Using a Rogerian argumentative approach both the perspective of laissez faire media legislation and the enforcement of ethical responsibility will be discussed. In order to sift through this ethical dilemma, this paper will provide a brief description of the history of misinformation, a dialogue between positions of both beliefs, and an analysis of the factors including current legislature. To address the future implications and suggest potential systemic change a solution will be posed. This solution includes more rigorous fact checking, a system of holding platforms accountable as opposed to individual writers for misinformation, and an incentive to be held accountable for information. The ultimate goal of this paper is to detail how our legislative system is absolutely unequipped to handle this problem.


“We Are the Landlord: Community Land Trusts and Social Capital in San Francisco” – Aaron McNelis, BA, advised by Professor Cecilia Santos

Community land trusts (CLTs) are a land tenure model that allows communities to own land in trust. CLTs redefine the purpose of housing through a new set of institutional arrangements apportioning residents with the power to manage their property democratically. This paper investigates the relationship between self-governance and residents’ social capital –the norms, networks, and trust that characterize their social lives. Effects of the trends of municipalization and regionalization on the SFCLT, its’ residents, and social capital are also explored.

“’Community Care Not Cops!’: Student Perceptions of Policing in the United States” – Andrea Boesak, BA, advised by Professor Sadia Saeed and Professor Jennifer Turpin

Through survey responses and interviews, this project focuses on the student conceptions of the police and the future of public safety in the United States. Using Gramsci's theory of Hegemony as a framework, this study aims to highlight the leanings of students on a spectrum of accepting, reformist and abolitionist. Likewise, this study intends to demonstrate how and where these opinions are formed and encouraged within Bourdieu's framework of school as a site of Social and Cultural Reproduction.

“’You are so inspiring!’: Social Media Resistance and Disabled Content Creators” – Grace Rose Avila, BA, advised by Professor Sadia Saeed

People’s perceptions of disability are often formed by disability representation in movies and television. However, these portrayals are often inaccurate, contributing to ableism and stereotyping of people with disabilities. This paper analyzes how people with disabilities fight against this ableism by advocating through social media.

“Prison Cinema: The Promise of Counter-Carceral Media” – Isabel Tayag, BA, advised by Professor Sadia Saeed and Professor Jaqueline Ramos

Captivity has always been a fixture of American life—from our beginnings as a colonial, chattel slave society to our modern carceral system (one that incarcerates people at the highest rates of any country in the world). As Prison Abolitionist and scholar Angela Davis explains, “the prison is considered so ‘natural’ that it is extremely hard to imagine life without it...the history of visuality linked to the prison is also a main reinforcement of the institution of the prison as a naturalized part of our social landscape.”(Davis 2003:10,17). The notion that the prison is both an ideological and institutional reality that is defined and sustained through visual narratives is the inspiration for this thesis, which builds upon the argument that American culture and film work to maintain our consent of the carceral state and the violence it perpetuates. Using an experimental design consisting of pre and post film surveys (as well as follow up interviews), this research seeks to understand media and film as a radically transformative and counter-hegemonic force that works to undo collective constructions of crime, prisons, and those who are locked away inside of them.

“Ni de aquí, ni de allá: Ethnicity, Assimilation, and the Mexican American Presentation of Self” – Jacqueline Ornelas, BA, advised by Professor Sadia Saeed and Professor Stephanie Sears

Mexican Americans navigate a unique space within the United States, as they are one of the largest ethnic groups to hold on to their culture generations after immigration. Many Mexican Americans feel rejected in white America but are not Mexican enough for Mexico, creating a feeling of being stuck in-between: "Ni de aquí, ni de allá." This phenomenon is common, but certain factors influence to what extent some experience it, if at all. With in-depth qualitative interviews, this thesis analyzes the presentation of self of second to fourth-generation Mexican Americans from the Greater Los Angeles Area, revealing how they navigate pressures of assimilation, racialization, and their sense of ethnic identity.

“¡Siempre Pa’lante!: How First-Generation Latinx Undergraduate Students Navigate Imposter Syndrome” – Shelsie Castillo, BA, advised by Professor Sadia Saeed and Professor Noriko Milman

Being a first-generation Latinx undergraduate student comes with a variety of experiences. However, one experience that remains unexamined is the Imposter Syndrome. This senior thesis analyzes how first-generation Latinx undergraduate students experience and navigate Imposter Syndrome. It deploys personal interviews with students to vocalize their narratives, highlight their navigational skills and resilience, and thus contextualize the institutional causes and management of Imposter Syndrome.

“Big Eyes, Bigger Breasts: How Author Identity Impacts Female Characters in Shōnen Manga” – Tash Dardashti, BA, advised by Professor Sadia Saeed

Manga, also known as Japanese comics, is a fast-growing phenomenon that has quickly gained global relevance among young people of recent generations. This thesis is an attempt to consider whether or not an author’s gender impacts the way that they write and illustrate female characters in their works. Through dialogue and narrative analysis, this thesis examines the history of shōnen manga and compares portrayals of female characters by male and female authors.

“The Veiled Debt: Racial Capitalism and Post-Incarceration Labor in the United States” – Zena Jaber, BA, advised by Professor Sadia Saeed

Racial capitalism is a theoretical macro-level framework that seeks to demonstrate and explain the historical relationship between race and capitalism, both in the United States and globally. This thesis aims to concretize mechanisms driving racial capitalism in contemporary United States by taking a micro-level, ground-up analysis. Specifically, it examines how African American males navigate the labor market post-incarceration. It demonstrates how African American males are expected to perform emotional labor as a life-long payment of incarceration. The veiled debt reveals a paradigmatic shift from racial exploitation via physical labor to emotional labor.