Fellowship Winners

URAP students who have worked with the same URAP mentor for at least two semesters are eligible to be nominated for the URAP summer stipend to continue their work for five weeks over the summer. Calls for nominations go out to mentors each spring.

Molecular Phylogenics and Conservation Biology"

The California Floristic Province is a biodiversity hotspot, and around 30% of its plant species are endemic, so this is a special place for botanical exploration. My mentor’s project studies the Evolutionary Ecology of Rock Daisies. Over the past year, through URAP, I have learned molecular techniques involving DNA extraction, ITS, PCR and gel electrophoresis. The URAP summer stipend award will allow me to continue with what I have learned this past year as well as gain new insights into the next stage of analysis: develop an understanding of phylogenetic relationships. One of the aims and impactful aspects of this research is to help inform conservation efforts.

...Read More about Kaitlin Allerton

Improving Colorectal Cancer Screenings in South Asian Populations"

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the U.S., and one of the more common types of cancer experienced by South Asians. CRC incidence rate is rising for South Asians, however screening rates in South Asians remain relatively low. For the past two years, my research group and I have been organizing numerous health outreach events to disseminate information about the importance of colorectal cancer screenings in South Asian populations. This summer, I will be working to finalize a manuscript evaluating the accessibility and effectiveness of these outreach events. In the future, we hope to use this information to improve our outreach methods, as well as expand our research to include other South Asian populations (e.g. Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives).

...Read More about Zahra Ansari

Farmers and Foodies"

Throughout the summer I will be participating in a research project that is attempting to understand the role farmers play within the rising alternative food movement in the United States. Although the alternative food system has inspired food system activists, academics and community organizers to re-localize the food system through farm-to-table restaurants, farmer’s markets, and community supported agriculture, the experiences of farmers in such activities has not been explored in relation to their current role in the conventional food system. Additionally, the extent to which the “rural-urban divide” is either perpetuated or reconciled within local food systems will be explored.

...Read More about Karna Baraboo

Research Article on the Development of Social Referencing"

I will be working on an article focusing on how emotional communication from others powerfully affects an infant’s behavior, and more specifically, how emotional signaling from the mother can affect the infant’s behavior towards objects and events about which the infant is uncertain. This article will center on the importance of face, voice and gesture on the infant’s behavior regulation, how enduring these effects are at different ages of infancy, and the development of the infant’s responsiveness to these emotional signals. It will also identify the age of onset of an infant’s sensitivity to emotional signals and the role of social referencing of emotions not present in the first year of life such as shame, pride, and perhaps guilt.

...Read More about Abby Blaine

The Genus Iris"

This summer I plan to assist Dr. Carol Wilson in preparing the DNA samples for First-generation DNA sequencing. Our DNA samples include genus Iris and completion of the project will enable the phylogeny of the species.

...Read More about Zoe Boosalis

Women's Empowerment in Niger"

I will be going to Niger to analyse ethnographic research for the Center for Girls’ Education which is part of the OASIS initiative. The Center is expanding to Niger, and this research will allow it to take into account then specific dynamics and characteristic of rural Hausa communities in Niger in order to implement a more tailored program geared towards women’s empowerment in that region.

...Read More about Anna Boser

Examining Connected Learning through Joint Mediated Practices in the Home"

My work for this summer will be a continuation of the research I have been doing for the past academic year. My research project focuses on reconciling the everyday learning practices of members of nondominant communities with the practices they undertake in formal educational settings, such as the classroom. This is a necessary step when seeking to address the disparities presented by the public education system. In order to accomplish this, my work requires me to become acquainted with a specific family’s video data, which I then organize, and for which I create codes and analytical memos.

...Read More about Gilberto Carrasco Urroz

Acute lung injury using the mouse model"

This summer, I will continue to work on a project studying the role of macrophages in acute lung injury. Macrophages are part of the innate immune system and are important for preventing the spread of infection and in the healing process. We have been studying how macrophage affect fibrosis (scarring) of the lung and the local inflammatory response after injury.

...Read More about Suzanna Chak

Genetic Basis of Head Skeletal Development in the Threespine Stickleback"

The Pitx2 gene is involved in eye and teeth development and cancer regulation. This summer, I will be further studying how Pitx2 mutations may affect tooth number in threespine stickleback fish by studying the phenotypes of various genetic crosses. This work will consist of both individual and collaborative projects in the Miller Lab.

...Read More about Mary Chan

Infection studies of a potentially hypervirulent bacterial mutant"

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic bacterial pathogen associated with serious lung, skin, and hospital-acquired infections, as well as a major cause of contact lens wear-related eye infections. This summer, I am focusing on the role of an uncharacterized gene in P. aeruginosa called PA4308 during infection. We hypothesize that PA4308 might play a role in regulating normal bacterial toxin secretion during traversal across host cells, and therefore that PA4308 mutants may be hypervirulent and possibly more capable of serious infection. By using corneal cell cultures and fluorescence microscopy, I hope to determine this and build on the Fleiszig Lab’s work in studying how this bacteria causes disease in its host.

...Read More about Camille Chen

Registration Work at the Hearst Museum of Anthropology"

I will be working with the Head of Registration (Linda Waterfield) at the Hearst Museum of Anthropology. Under her guidance, I will review unprocessed collections and record the material into the museum database, CollectionSpace (CSpace). From there, I will scan source documents and related media into the CSpace file so that it is coherent for researchers to navigate easily. When necessary, I will create finding aids for these collections so that researchers have easy access to them. The finding aids will include information on what is available in the collection, where to access them, et cetera and will be put up on the Museum website.

...Read More about Rileigh Clarke

Conflict, Crime and Intervention"

This summer I will continue working on Professor Matanock’s project regarding invited international interventions. In particular I help research the United Nation’s International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, or CICIG for its acronym in Spanish. Guatemala has one of Latin America’s highest murder rates, with more than 45 homicides per 100,000 people in 2006—eight times higher than that of the United States. At that time, approximately 97% of these crimes went unpunished. For this project, I synthesize information about the CICIG’s 11 year history fighting institutional corruption, analyzing its investigation strategies and proposed reforms, while attempting to explain successes and failures. Additionally, I am also looking to integrate data science tools like webscraping and social media APIs to collect information about the CICIG (and people’s perceptions of the Commission) not available through traditional survey methods.

...Read More about Elisabeth Earley

Digital Refuge: Examining Online Refugee Communities in Europe"

I help with translating themes within the Facebook datasets from Arabic into English, using a qualitative codebook. I read through refugee questions and concerns, smugglers, government officials and others and classify them then, enter them into the spreadsheet. The goal is to participate in eventually forming a reliable database for refugee to extract accurate information from during their journey through Europe.

...Read More about Caroline Eskandar

Discovering post-restoration ecosysten dynamics of restored wetlands"

Wetlands in the San Francisco Bay-Delta have been threatened by encroaching development, climate change and other environmental factors. Local organization and agencies have provided significant efforts to protect and restore the large amount of wetland ecosystems lost over a century of development. For several years, Dronova Lab has been collecting and analyzing vegetation data in the San Francisco Bay-Delta in order to provide quantitative support for restoration effort in the San Francisco Bay-Delta by identifying factors that can promote restoration success at the site and landscape scale. This critical knowledge could then be used by local organizations and agencies to improve the planning and design of future projects. Through a combination of field assessment and analysis of satellite imagery, we can better understand the factors that contribute to a restoration projects success, or what might trigger a projects failure. This summer I will be continuing this research, with a focus […]

...Read More about Julia Evered

Psychology of Anxiety and Mood Disorders"

My research entails operating an MRI scanner for a study conducted by the Cal Mania (CALM) program. The goal of this study is to better understand how factors such as reward sensitivity and planning play a role in various anxiety and mood disorders. My role in this study is to conduct brain scans on subjects while they undergo multiple functional tasks that help assess their reward sensitivity, planning, and emotion regulation. Analysis of these scans will show what brain regions are active during these tasks, and thus will help us better understand the neuropsychology of the people who struggle with these disorders.

...Read More about Jacob Giffin

Forming A Math Crew: A Design Approach to Supporting Beginning Teachers"

Math Crew is a group geared towards first-year elementary school teachers, facilitated by Mallika Scott, my mentor who is working under Professor Alan Schoenfeld, as she recognized the need for a space to discuss relevant issues that teachers face on the day-to-day basis and support theses teacher’s vision of creating a more equitable math classroom. Through qualitatively analyzing one hour videos, emails and end of the semester teacher responses, the goal of this research is to demonstrate the changes these teachers experienced by participating in Math Crew.

...Read More about Celeste Gonzalez

Open Source Investigations in Human Rights"

This summer, I will continue to lead the Digital Verification Corps, a team that partners with Amnesty International to respond to various international human rights violations in real time. The DVC performs the discovery and verification of open source information to provide vital information to Amnesty International in their support of their research and reporting. Much like a task force, the DVC is a fast-paced, versatile team that investigates immediate human rights situations spanning the globe.

...Read More about Sonia Hamilton

High Resolution Optical Scanning of Historical Sound Recordings"

In 1877, Thomas Edison recorded and reproduced sound for the first time in human history. From then to 1950s, most recorded sound was lodged onto cylinder surfaces made by foil, wax, or plastic. To play an audio record, a cylinder is put in contact with a needle on a phonograph. However, because the needle slightly damages grooves on cylinders every time they rotate, most cylinders cannot be played after many rotations on phonographs. The goal of my research is thus to recover the sound stored in the cylinders made in 1910s to 1940s, which mainly come from the collection of Hearst Museum of Anthropology. A large number of these cylinders store the songs of native Californian tribes in their own languages, which are presently very rarely used or recorded. After processing, we provide the audio files recovered from these cylinders to the Linguistic Department, where linguists can analyze these minor […]

...Read More about Baichuan Huang

Privacy in the Digital Age"

I research the effects technological advances (such as expert systems and databases/data collection) and associated practices (like routine use exceptions) have had on privacy. I also research legislative attempts to address these issues, such as the Privacy Act of 1974.

...Read More about Alan Jiang

Assessing Plant-Growth characteristics of Bacterial Strains and Viability in Biofertilizer"

Mutualism is well characterized by the evolutionary relationship between a variety of legumes and their corresponding rhizobial bacteria. Determining which strains most benefit plant growth will help choose bacteria to use as cost-effective components of biofertilizers. These agricultural inputs can help developing countries ensure agricultural yields despite somewhat unfavorable environments. The project involves isolating and genetically sequencing several bacterial strains from Alfalfa, Soybean, and Chickpea plants. During this summer, we will experimentally evaluate the ability of isolated strains to solubilize phosphate and fix nitrogen. These traits will be used to decide which strains will be further analyzed in field tests to identify the best biofertilizer candidates.

...Read More about Satya Karri