Current Fellows and their Projects


  • Examining the relationship between autism awareness and program availability in three contexts: the role of wealth, parental education level, access to specialized care, and community's perceived need

    This semester I will be examining factors that contribute to the relationship between autism awareness & education and availability & quality of programming and resources for individuals with autism and their families. I will be examining these factors through research conducted in Vietnam, South Africa, and Argentina.

  • Premature Emancipation: Serf Manumission in Imperial Russia from 1800-1860

    This semester, I will work as a research assistant to Professor Steven Nafziger. For the first half of the semester, I will help Professor Nafziger with his manumission project. I will spend the second half on his Russian (primary) education project. By the end of the semester, I hope to gain stronger skills in organizing and executing original research projects in economics.

  • This semester, I intend to spend a majority of the time looking for interesting topics. This will involve reading journal articles, the daily news, and keening in on anything intriguing. In other words, I will use this semester to generate promising ideas that could potentially grow to become my senior thesis. At the same time, I also intend to further develop skills I find necessary to do economics research.

  • Investigating Labor Practices Through Representational Detective Work

    My project is focusing on intersections of blackness, disability, and labor.


    Given the continuous unrest relating to immigration that affects the Latinx community (among so many others), the importance of truthfully representing the narratives and experiences of those who are undocumented is crucial to fighting for their rights. Within the art world, I hope to find the ways in which undocumented status, a political identity, is featured within visual work that is primarily seen to project cultural identities. How are bodies politicized AND (hopefully) humanized through artwork that addresses the current climate surrounding immigration?


    This semester I aim to prepare for a Film Festival that will show two films that discuss the ideas of revolution to share it with my community—the black community in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. I aim to introduce the film Whose Streets? directed by Sabaah Folayan and Ayiti Mon Amour by Guetty Felin. The goal of this project is to honor Toni Cade Bambara’s definition of cultural work by bringing films that inspire revolution to my community through a curated fashion.

  • My research project this semester will explore connections between environmental studies and Latinx immigration scholarship. I will begin with analyzing the historical representations of immigrants as hazardous to an ecology to better understand the ways environmentalism is often engaged in anti-immigration discourse. By grounding my work in previous scholarship on ecological borderlands, I intend to better understand the ways in which Latinx immigrants engage in their own dialogues about the environment.

  • Antibiotic resistance is currently one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. One of the ways of addressing this antibiotic crisis is through the development of new antibiotics that target previously untargeted processes such as the two-component signaling system (TCS). By developing drugs that specifically target the highly conserved ATP binding domain of histidine kinases (HKs), we can successfully disrupt cellular regulation resulting in decreased viability of bacteria. This semester, we will be analyzing thiophene derived HK inhibitors developed by Boibessot et al1. We will attempt to synthesize some of their most effective inhibitors and compare their inhibitory activity against our library of inhibitors.

  • Royal Themes: Statuary and Variation in Angkorian Architectural Sculpture

    This project will examine Angkorian statuary and architectural themes in order to study the presence of unique features and allowed variation in monumental religious buildings. Why were variations or unique forms of usually standardized motifs allowed or even purposefully made in Khmer temples? Examining individualized statues and architectural forms will possibly shed light upon 1) the number of mistakes considered acceptable in Angkorian monumental architecture 2) the amount of freedom given to individual artists and 3) the allowed holdovers of alternating official state religions. This project will examine features from selected Angkorian temples near or within Angkor, the Khmer capital. Secondary research will focus on resources available in Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia and Wat Damnak in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

  • The struggles of the #NoDAPL movement in Standing Rock, ND and the water crisis in Flint, MI, share geographic imperatives of struggle, and consequently, liberation. The struggles of the Zapatista movement in Mexico, similarly, center on issues of land, dignity, and liberation. Through comparing and contrasting the literature and analyzing my experiences with “the Wolves Den” in Flint and Oventik, an autonomous Zapatista zone, I will aim to answer my central research questions: What is solidarity? What lessons do these movements have for us?


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    I am interested in addressing how counties shape the policies that liberal and pro-immigrant cities in the United States create to limit the enforcement of immigration. Though immigration is under the federal government's domain, local governments have been implementing immigration enforcement policies since as early as the 1870s. However, the other often overlooked actor are the counties that cities reside within, which are often entangled in ICE and immigration enforcement. I would like to focus on the relationship between cities and counties, and how the initiatives of the county have shaped the variation of policies that cities create to limit local immigration enforcement.

  • "Positionalilty and Faith in Politics."

    Given my summer research imploring  evangelicals who do not support the Black Lives Matter movement to turn and support the movement, I now seek to answer my questions regarding the 13% of Evangelicals who have voiced support for the movement: how and why do these Evangelicals support the movement despite the alleged differences in values, between them and the founders of the movement?

  • "Carceral Feminists at Home in the U.S. of A.: Sex Work, the TVPA, and State Violence"

       By examining the institutionalization of carceral feminism through the legal discourse surrounding the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, passed in 2000, I aim to critique the criminalization of sex workers in the United States. I am partnering with sex workers in the California Bay Area to conduct oral history interviews to weave sex workers’ own voices through academic texts and analysis, as well as better understand how state violence manifests in their own experiences.

  • Examining the marine C isotopic gradient through the Late Devonian using microfossils from the Kellwasser horizons

    In order to better understand the origin of the positive carbon isotopic excursions of the late Devonian, we extracted kerogens from black shales of the Kellwasser horizons at Cameron Creek and Eighteenmile Creek in upstate New York. We measured the d13C of 150 microfossils and kerogen grains using a cryotrapping, capillary-focusing ‘nanoEA’ for trace d13C measurements. This will be combined with biodiversity and relative abundance data of the microfossils to give a fuller picture of the Late Devonian biotic crisis.

  • "Undocumented immigrants’ access to and seeking of health care in the U.S. has been extensively covered in scholarly work. I argue that there is often a heavy focus on undocumentation as a barrier when conducting research on how, why, and when undocumented people seek care. However, I advocate for a more holistic approach that focuses on undocumentation not simply as a barrier that prevents access to medical care, but also as an identity that influences conceptualizations of practices of care. I hypothesize that undocumentation goes beyond understanding the barriers in accessing a clinic by considering how the status of being undocumented could be conceptualized as a liminal state of being that often complicates the types of care undocumented individuals decide to seek. Scholars have examined how, for instance, legal obstacles prevent undocumented immigrants from accessing health care which emphasizes a low access to health care due to policy, fear, etc. (Rhodes 2015; DeRose, Escarce, Lurie 2007; Raymond-Flesch et al. 2014). However, these studies focus on immigration status as a legal category that impacts health care seeking behavior without examining how one’s legal status may itself inform people’s interpretations of their health. How are people conceptualizing their bodies and to what extent is that image influenced by undocumentation? I will consider how the embodiment of identity categories impact views of self-care practices, healthy bodies, and experiential encounters with health in clinical settings. My intent is not to only focus on the physical and social constraints that prevent undocumented Mexicans from seeking care, but also to critically study how they are being affected as reflected in how they place meaning onto their bodies."

  • The Criticality of Understanding Critical Mass

    I am working on an applied mathematics project focused on the notion of critical mass, a loosely defined term used in affirmative action policies. I would like to better define and quantify it to increase its ease of implementation. My final goal is to generate predictive models that can be used to assess contemporary racial affirmative action policies in specific undergraduate universities (i.e. University of California, Berkeley or University of Texas, Austin) in the US.

  • WORLD FORMATION AND WORLD COLLAPSE: A Hermeneutical Account of Symbolic Violence in Coloniality

    "Through interpreting and comparing Hegel and Fanon, and more lately Heidegger, I aim to bring to light forms of symbolic violence perpetrated by colonising processes. Beyond the physical, psychological, even political violence of colonialism, I contend that there stands, as an objective condition for the possibility of these modes of violence, a symbolic structuring of reality imposed from without, which defines the colonised as colonised."

  • What are the physiological implications of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) on postpartum maternal health? How do the stresses (early separation, inability to breastfeed, negative affect, institutional environment) of the NICU contribute to incompetent or under-enriched infant-mother bonding? What are the long term implications of experiential adversity on infant and maternal neurobiological and physical health? How do interventions such as the Family Nurture Initiative mitigate and or regulate these processes?

  • Perceptions of Student Misbehavior, Punitive Discipline, and Psychological Intervention

    My research explores the effects of student demographics on both teachers’ and students’ perceptions of the causes of and appropriate responses to misbehavior. Perceptions of misbehavior and the effectiveness of various interventions likely influence disparities in teachers’ responses to misbehavior, as well as students’ decisions to seek support from school resources. A closer look at perceived etiologies of misbehavior and of various perspectives on interventions can help inform policies regarding school discipline and accessibility of psychological resources in school.

  • The aim of this semester’s research is to establish the theoretical foundation for my Honors Dossier. In essence, I will be tracing the evolution of black radical thought from Reconstruction to the present day. To the question of what I will be studying and who I will be treating as my interlocutors, I await the findings of my coursework, my past creative and academic writing, and conversations with my mentor.


  • Eduardo Avalos, Political Science/LATS - "Art is a Weapon": Questioning Community and Complicity in Boyle Height's Cultural Economy

    Through the study of the contestation over the existence of Chicanx art galleries in the Boyle Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles, my work explores the viability of community-bred alternatives to the inevitable narrative of displacement that accompanies gentrification. By mapping out the particularities of the politics of identity and its contestation in community dialogue and action, gentefication, or non-white gentrification, in Los Angeles operates as a distinct community-driven processes working in tandem with Chicanx historical nationalisms and place-making strategies, but crumbling as an alternative vision to gentrification and displacement. Understanding the racial economies of cultural production highlights the various ways art is a weapon over community and place-making, and the ways it affects the racial repackaging of histories and futures in the Eastside communities in Los Angeles.

    Ricardo Diaz, History/Economics - Agriculture: An Alternative, Sustainable Development Model for Puerto Rico?

    Kiyana Hanley, Political Science - The Philosophy of Education: A Close Look at Imprisoned Populations

    This research focuses on public education institutions and how neoliberalism has become deeply engrained in every aspect of its transformation. Through reflection of my time as a teaching fellow with Uncommon Schools, a charter school network, I will be highlighting the dangers of the neoliberal panopticon and offering suggestions for sites of resistance for incoming educators that are constantly under surveillance.

    David Jaramillo, Chemistry - Gemini Surfactant-Based Lanthanide Ion Complexes for Bioprobe Applications

    Gemini surfactant chemistry has long been utilized in various industries to create petroleum purification products, shampoos, soaps, and gene transfection agents as a result of their solvation characteristics. Similarly, lanthanide metals are a crucial part of the average citizen's arsenal of appliances and modes of transportation due to their unique spectromagnetic properties. In the Patrick S. Barber laboratory, we are exploiting both surfactant and lanthanide chemistry in the design of a gemini surfactant based ligand for complexation with an Ln(III) cation for cellular imaging purposes.

    Alejandra Mejia, Comparative Literature/LATS - Latina rebeldes: Agency and resistance within digital spaces

    This semester, I will be conducting an interpretative textual analysis of the social media platform Latina Rebels to investigate the resistance and agency exercised by self-identified U.S. Latinas within digital spaces.

    Tyrone Scafe, Political Science/Africana Studies/Africana - Decoloniality and its Limits: Student Movements and US Structures of Antagonisms

    This project proposes a comparative study of the trajectory of student-led contestations of higher education in public institutions from the 1960s to private institutions in contemporary times. Ultimately, the aim of this study of institutions of education and student movements is to build on the relatively new theory of structures of antagonism by looking at the contradictions of proposed solutions such as diversity initiatives and affirmative action as well as the formation of “radical” fields such as African-American studies. This work will help future scholars pursue conclusions and solutions that differ from the stagnation of structural antagonisms as proposed by previous scholars.

    Akhir Stewart, Art History/French/Africana - Imagined Liberation: Dismantling the Body Fiction in “Sartorial Anarchy”

    Monica Miller’s Slaves to Fashion offers dandyism as a liberatory project by framing the dandy’s tactical manipulation of ambiguity as a paradigm of freedom. Engaging Arjun Appadurai’s The Social Life of Things, Jose Muñoz’s Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics, and Mignon Moore’s Lipstick or Timberlands? Meanings of Gender Presentation in Black Lesbian Community, this project explores the ways in which the dandy’s apparatus of choice, clothing, complicates the liberatory agenda of creating new social reality from ambiguity. By acknowledging clothing as an agent that actively possesses, obscures, and/or marks subjectivity, challenges to the dandy’s construction of self are revealed. Sartorial Anarchy, a self-portrait series by Nigerian artist Ike Ude, is introduced to not only identify this essential compromise to self-definition specifically as the body fiction, but also present a subversive reclaiming of the body in spite of it. By way of visual analysis, this project reimagines body fiction as a space of ambiguity, thereby expounding on the philosophical ideals of liberation represented in dandy scholarship.

    Maoli Vizcaino, Geosciences - Morphology of fossils from the Tsagaan Olom Group, Mongolia-tintinnids or red algae?

    Fossils in the Tsagaan Olom Group in Mongolia may give insight towards the diversity of early eukaryotes and their continued evolution through the Cryogenian glaciations. We investigate what these fossils are (tintinnids? Red algae?), what their morphology could signify, how abundant their populations were, and the nature of the environment they existed in.

    Jaira Walker, Arabic Studies - The Aesthetics of Affluence: Is the Hyper - in Hypermodernism the Hyper - in Hypercapitalims?

    This paper will focus on Gulf art (multimedia, exhibitions, installations, film, etc.) and development of a hypermodern visual culture that centers global metropolises as transitional spaces of unaligned diasporic encounters across time, space and imagination. I intend to deconstruct and interrogate how these artists are representing complex histories and identities through technologically nascent narratives of becoming, identity formation and state/national deterritorialization. The other portion of this paper pertains to how shift towards hypermodernity has facilitated a visual culture of Gulf dromo-economics facilitated on oil capitalism, hyper-consumerism and the flourishing tourist industry where massive amounts of capital is going towards constructing cultural/art institutions (i.e. Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District).

    Rebecca Williams, Classics - American Law, Athenian Law, and Living Ancient Greek

    This semester I am studying the ancient Greeks and their use of imprisonment. My research is focused on learning about punished in Athens and its rehabilitative effects on victims and criminals. Ultimately, I hope that my research on imprisonment in the Athenian legal system will aid my understanding and conceptualization of the purpose of imprisonment in the American legal system today.



  • Kyung Nahiomy Alvarez, Political Economy/Psychology - When National and Local Antipoverty Policies Clash: How Seattle’s New Minimum Wage Could Impact EITC Eligibility

    Ahmad Greene-Hayes, History - "We Charge Genocide": African Americans and Human Rights, 1944-1955

    Todd Hall, Political Economy - Tipping and Discrimination in the Restaurant Industry: Exploring the Implications of Automatic Gratuities

    Brandon Mancilla, English/History - Ernesto Laclau and the Global South

    Angela Pastorelli-Sosa, Art/History - Religious and Sexual Imagery in Surrealist Art during theSpanish Civil War

    Susmita Paul, Chemistry/Sociology - Bengali Immigrants' Access to Primary Health Care inQueens, New York

    Megan Steele, Chemistry/Psychology - Sporulation and the whiJ gene family in Streptomyces coelicolor

    Roger Vargas, Math/Economics - A Review of Drosophila suzukii and the Implications of Cytoplasmic Incompatibilities in Host Populations

    Cinnamon Williams, American Studies - "Coming Out:" Presenting Real Women and Fabulous Men at Debutante and Drag Balls

    Chienfa Wong, Economics - Cuba: Structural Reforms in the 1990s


Class of 2013

  • Alexis Akridge, Critical Theory - Detroit, the spatialization of industrialism, or wilderness

    Gabriela Azevedo, Philosphy - What could be meant by aesthetics?: Remarks on Wittgenstein's aesthetics lectures

    Sevonna Brown,  American Studies - Caving In: Bearing Witness to Black Womanist Birthing Spaces

    Donald Kost, Comperative Literature - Magical Realism as Postcolonial Discourse in Haruki Murakami

    Tirhakah Love,  Political Science/American Studies - KIPP Culture, KIPP Capital: A Narrative on the Crushing of Cultures

    Laurel O'Connor,  Environmental Studies/Ethnic Studies - Landscapes of Climate Justice

    Alexander Pena,  English/History - Governing the Other: The Alfonsine Code of Law and Islam in Medieval Spain

    Brandon Romero,  Political Economy - Intra-Party Conflict and Induced Policy Stasis: A Modified Theory of Policy Making

    Alejandra Rosales,  Political Science - Unpacking Gendered Representations in Music Video

    Daniela Zarate,  Biology/Astronomy - Understanding the biogeography and genetic diversity of Scottish Asphodel under the impact of past glaciation and current climate change