Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Alex Yang Lu

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My research this summer focuses on battling Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), the most common and malignant type of brain tumor. Despite invasive surgical resection and pharmaceutical therapy, patients with GBM have a mean survival time of 12-15 months following diagnosis, making GBM among the most aggressive of human cancers. Tumors growth is dependent upon vascularization through the formation of new capillaries from pre-existing blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis. Numerous cytokines and growth factors have been shown to regulate angiogenesis while modulating cell invasion, growth and differentiation; however, these mechanisms remain […]

Ciara Williams

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The written word has been used to comment on cultural trends and mindsets for centuries. My research focuses on the Beat and modern spoken word movements, seeing how the poets during those times commented on American bandwagon mentality. The Beat poets focused primarily on the post-World War II stoicism that was permeating through the American culture. The modern spoken word poets write about the modern hysteria to join multiple causes that span from global warming to ending world hunger. Both poetry movements seem to have qualms with how people do […]

Melissa Barker

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Single-mother students on welfare are a small, unique demographic in institutions of higher education. My preliminary research shows, more often then not, that social service caseworkers use discretion to impede, rather than support single-mother students in pursuit of higher education. In my Interdisciplinary Studies Field Major (ISF) thesis project, I will conduct a qualitative study of the academic trajectory of single mothers (SMs) on welfare who pursue higher education by transferring from community colleges to universities in California and Hawaii. My research question is: How are single-mothers supported or discouraged […]

Katie McCarthy

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My project is a discourse analysis of the community-donation-based Vinyasa yoga studios of Yoga to the People (YTTP). I will explore issues of embodiment, technique and aesthetics and whether they incite, affect or create a potential space for a community to form within a individualized practice. Yoga teachers at YTTP are kept anonymous (simply, their names are not placed on the schedules) in an attempt to promote an ego-less space. Yet, I believe it is the teachers – through vibrational dialogue, vocal manipulation (timbre, tone, pronunciation etc) music and movement […]

Maia Wolins

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The 2003 war in Iraq displaced 4.2 million Iraqis, deployed over 170 thousand American troops, and changed the lives of many. Its repercussions are seen among the 40 thousand Iraqi refugees in the US, most of whom left behind successful lives as doctors, journalists, and artists. The wars aftermath is also evident among American veterans, who returned home to a community that had a shallow connection with the intense experience the troops had just lived in Iraq. For my senior honors thesis, I will examine the local effects of the […]

Kyle Barbour

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Sevoflurane, a popular pediatric and veterinary general anesthetic, is known to cause deficits in learning and memory when administered to neonatal rodents. Since sevoflurane can trigger epileptiform activity when administered during development, and since neonatal epileptic seizures cause the formation of aberrant neural networks, it is possible that sevoflurane administered during development does the same. If present, this may contribute to the observed neurocognitive deficits. We will explore this possibility by retrovirally labeling the hippocampal mossy fiber pathway and medial prefrontal cortex in neonatal rats, then comparing the connections of […]

Halea Meese

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My project will examine the effect of national health insurance on rates of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS (MTCT) in Sub-Saharan Africa. I will compare five nations of the region that have implemented national health insurance and compare their rates of MTCT to a control group of another five that have not. I will utilize data from various sources to compile a large data set on each of the ten nations and thus control for the necessary variables so that the two groups of 5 may be compared and […]

Nicole Wong Meng Lai

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My research project involves investigating a cytoskeletal protein named WHAMM- WASP homolog associated with actin, membranes, and microtubules. The cytoskeleton is a crucial component of the cell that facilitates protein transportation, structural support, and ultimately the movement and division of cells. It does so through actin polymerization, which is the formation of filaments using actin molecules. An important stimulator of actin polymerization is the Arp 2/3 complex. It is regulated by nucleation-promoting factors, one such example being WHAMM. My project focuses primarily on the WMD domain of WHAMM, which is […]

Alina Boltunova

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Emmetropization is a normal developmental process in which the eyes growth is regulated to achieve a match between eye length and its refractive power. It results in the reduction of refractive errors present at birth and has been observed in all animal species, including humans, studied thus far. The guinea pig is increasingly used to model myopia (near-sightedness), but there appear to be differences between guinea pig strains in their susceptibility to myopia-inducing stimuli. To understand the origin of these differences, I plan to compare the emmetropization of different strains […]

Ariella Megory

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I am studying the Israeli perspective of the Israeli-Palsestinian Conflict as a case study to understand how personal perspectives shift in directions contrary to the dominant national discourse. I will be interviewing individuals who have shifted their perspective from the right-wing ideology common in Israel today to a more liberal (pro-Palestinian/anti-Zionist) viewpoint. My research will shed light on the types of life-histories which promote ideological resilience and curiosity, by identifying common life experiences, interpersonal interactions, and historical contexts which this small group of Israelis share.