College of Liberal & Creative Arts’ Undergrad Showcase Goes Far Beyond Research

Monday, May 13, 2019
Photo of Jasmine Perez wrapping her legs around Nick Christman's neck on the floor during a dance performance
Jasmine Perez and Nick Christman perform Descent, choreographed by fellow student Karen Luu, at the Undergraduate Research Showcase. Photo by Sreang Hok.

A research showcase at an arts school offers far more than the typical academic presentations, papers and posters, as demonstrated at the College of Liberal & Creative Arts’ third annual Undergraduate Research Showcase on May 8. Students presented their research on topics such as emojis, zombies, YouTube makeup tutorials and primate behavior while others showed off their talents in comics, dance, opera singing and graphic design.

More than 350 students from 22 academic programs participated, held at the Seven Hills and Towers conference centers on campus.

Jennifer Hood, Kristy Boylan and Dylainie Nathlich worked with Professor Persis Karim to build tools for a potential traveling exhibition on the Iranian diaspora. During their presentation, they discussed how the experience increased their knowledge and understanding of Iranian history and emigration.

“I was able to expand my own view,” Hood says. “I’m always hungry to learn about the world around me. I just wanted to give the [Iranian] culture a voice.”

Nicole Stefano, a Cinema major, presented a poster showing how the 1989 film Do the Right Thing made viewers feel as if they were on location in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, during the hottest day of the summer. Stefano notes director Spike Lee’s attention to detail, including the color saturation used in the cinematography and the ice being rubbed all over actress Rosie Perez’s body. “Everything he did was purposeful,” Stefano says.

For her Anthropology class on primate behavior, Kendall Nelson studied how guests at the Oakland Zoo affected chimpanzees. She observed the four adult females and three males for several hours on both busy and quiet days. Her results concluded that the males were more likely to act aggressively or repetitively when a crowd of people were watching them; the females were more likely to act aggressively or playfully. However, they did not always put on a show, Nelson observed.

“Both sexes spent less time on exhibit with increased visitor presence, seeming to suggest they preferred spending more time in their ‘night house’ relative to higher zoo attendance,” Nelson notes.

PJ Dolores, Paul Lopez, Kayla Ratliff and Dhita Siswandi collaborated on a poster exploring the legacy of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, in the History of Science from the Scientific Revolution course. The landmark book, published in 1962, documents the harmful impact of pesticides on the environment. They found that the book helped introduce a new perspective in understanding the relationship between pesticides and the planet, despite the sexist backlash that Carson received.

Students, faculty garner $70,000 in awards

The showcase, organized by the College Undergraduate Research Experience Committee, also celebrated winners of several grants that provide funding for student research.

Undergraduate Research Mentorship and Assistantship grants

The 2018 – 2019 Undergraduate Research Mentorship and Assistantship grants includes $2,000 for each student and $1,000 for each faculty mentor.

  • “Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies: Researching the Archive: Building Tools for a Traveling Exhibit.” Students: Kristy Boylan, Jennifer Hood and Dylainie Nathlich. Mentor: Persis Karim.
  • “Media Coverage of Homelessness Survey.” Student: Sylvie Sturm. Mentor: Laura Moorhead.
  • “Congressional Influence on the Supreme Court.” Student: Abigail Richards. Mentor: Rebecca Eissler.
  • “Archaeological Analysis of Medical Practices at the Presidio of San Francisco.” Student: Emma Abell-Selby. Mentor: Meredith Reifschneider.
  • “Where is the Party? Explaining Political Party Shifts on Attitudes towards LGBT Rights in Europe.” Student: Rodolfo Garcia. Mentor: Scott Siegel.

Marcus Research Fellowship Grants

The 2019 – 2020 Marcus Research Fellowship Grants are made possible through the generosity of alumni George and Judy Marcus. Each award includes $3,000 for the student and $1,000 for the faculty mentor.

  • “Does State of Residence Influence Concerns about Economic Inequity?” Student: Hannah Galindo. Mentor: Ronald Hayduk.
  • “Social Media Usage and Political Behavior: Understanding How Situational Context Impacts Participation.” Student: Jorge Urroz. Mentor: Francis Neely.
  • “The Value of Life.” Student: Jamila Hayes. Mentor: Celine Parreñas Shimizu.
  • “The Construct of Love and Sexuality in 17th-Century Japan.” Student: Kayla Ratliff. Mentor: Laura Lisy-Wagner.
  • “Ireland and the Rise of Left-Wing Nationalism.” Student: Mikayla Cordero. Faculty member: Amy Skonieczny.
  • “Potential Wilderness.” Student: Duriel Meisner. Mentor: Sean McFarland.
  • “Development of a Hybrid Motorcycle Conversion Kit to Reduce Pollution in Low-Income Urban Areas.” Student: Anucha (Poh) Maga. Mentor: Silvan Linn.
  • “Gender’s Corporeality: Deconstructing Trans-Boundaries in Cinema.” Student: Linhdan Le. Mentor: Elizabeth Ramirez-Soto.
  • “Battles, Bridges and Books: The Pursuit of Higher Education After Military Service.” Student: Janelle Scarritt. Mentor: Martha Lincoln.
  • “Embodiment in XR: Using Research through Design Techniques in VR to Explore New Approaches to Attention, Interaction Rituals and Spatial Metaphors.” Student: Crystal Candalla. Mentor: Joshua McVeigh-Schultz.

Marcus Undergraduate Assistantship Grants

The 2019 – 2020 Marcus Undergraduate Assistantship Grants are also made possible through the generosity of alumni George and Judy Marcus. Each award includes $2,000 for the student and $1,000 for the faculty mentor.

  • “China’s Multilateral Activism and the Postwar Order: Rule Taker, Rule Shaper, Rule Breaker or Rule Maker?” Student: To be determined. Mentor: See-Won Byun.
  • “A Juggler’s Choice: Agendas and Attention in the Modern Presidency.” Student: Elizabeth Wedel. Mentor: Rebecca Eissler.
  • “What They Bring with Them: Pre-Migration Experiences and Trajectories in American Politics of American Immigrants.” Student: Yvette Osio. Mentor: Marcela García-Castañon.
  • “Is It Teasing or Bullying? Interactional Practices and Blurry Lines.” Student: To be determined. Mentor: Leah Wingard.
  • “Vegetarian Indian Restaurant or Indian Vegetarian Restaurant: Order of Attributes in Search Queries.” Student: To be determined. Mentor: Anastasia Smirnova.

— Matt Itelson


Story updated April 6, 2020

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