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.

Backlash toward Inclusion Policies: Psychological Underpinnings and Solutions"

This research project explores the social psychological underpinnings of the debate around inclusion policies and free speech. As college campuses nationwide have instituted policies designed to promote inclusion (e.g., safe spaces, trigger warnings, hate speech codes, and pronoun usage policies), furor and debate have ignited. While proponents argue that inclusion policies protect marginalized and underrepresented groups from exclusion and discrimination, opponents argue that these policies coddle students and violate the First Amendment. The primary questions we seek to ask and answer are: 1) What are the psychological correlates of opposition to inclusive policies and perceived free speech violation? 2) Is this opposition motivated? Do people with different perceptions of threat react differently to policies focusing on racial minorities as opposed to, say, political minorities? 3) Can opposition be mitigated and if so how? 4) Finally, what are the implications of backlash and mitigation of backlash for attitudes about the groups […]

...Read More about Maja Ahmann

Hormonal Signaling's Impact on Cardiomyocyte Regeneration"

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, which makes understanding the ability of certain vertebrates to regenerate damaged heart tissue by replacing lost cardiomyocytes crucial for developing regenerative heart therapies. Recent studies suggest that the suppression of cardiomyocyte proliferation coincides with the augmentation of metabolic rates and thermogenesis post-birth in vertebrates, in part driven by changes in endocrine signaling hormones including thyroid hormone, glucocorticoids, and vitamin D. Glucocorticoid and vitamin D protein signaling are potential regulators of cardiomyocyte proliferation, but studies have found conflicting proliferative and suppressive effects of both, suggesting more studies should be conducted to clarify their roles in heart regeneration. Through my work with mouse colony management, modern sequencing, immunohistochemistry, authoring a review paper, and other experimental procedures I will investigate how vitamin D receptor and glucocorticoid receptor signaling affect the proliferative potential of cardiomyocytes in neonatal and adult mice in vitro […]

...Read More about Alexander Amram

Access to Justice with the Civil Justice Research Initiative"

My research this summer will primarily focus on access to justice issues. This will be through the research, editing and publication of white papers on the impacts of changes in legal rules, class actions, the role of lawyers in improving outcomes for low income people with civil legal needs, and legal remedies for trauma stemming from racial violence and prosecutorial immunity. I will also assist on a new project on class action redemption rates and an NSF grant proposal to develop an integrated court data network on civil litigation. In short, this work helps shed light on civil litigation issues and the socio-political implications of disproportionate access to justice.

...Read More about Lucas Bainbridge

Post COVID-19: Unhoused Youth Needs"

In light of COVID-19, the unhoused community has been rocked but this situation has also presented the unique opportunity to assess how pandemics affect the community. This summer research project will be specifically assessing the needs of unhoused youth in reaction to the difficulties COVID-19 has led to (loss of jobs, closing of resource centers, lack of support for the homeless, etc). I will be working on dissemination of a report regarding computer provider needs compiled during the spring, then putting together a crowd-sourcing survey to assess how unhoused youth have perceived changes in their needs in the Bay Area, and final I will work to lay the foundation for future research that looks at youth homelessness and COVID-19 on the state level. Our initial project has changed due to the different circumstances, but the Y-SE lab is continuing to move forward in acknowledging and supporting youth voices and needs.

...Read More about Anoop Bains

Impacts of Violence Against Healthcare in Syria"

This summer, I will be assisting Dr. Haar on one of her projects that analyzes the impacts of violence against healthcare in Syria. I will be recruiting participants, assisting in conducting key informant interviews and focus groups discussions, and analyzing qualitative data.

...Read More about Sarah Bakir

Apologies in International Relations"

Professor Mattes’ project analyzes the conditions in which countries apologize, or refuse to apologize, to each other for historic wrongs. I will continue to look into international apologies, including Japanese apologies after WWII, to understand the reactions to these apologies and the context of giving them. Do international apologies really help with reconciliation between two states. If not, why not?

...Read More about Claire Black

Characterization of Resistance to Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato in Tomato"

We developed a high-throughput seedling flood assay to identify wild species of tomato that are resistant against Pseudomonas syringae, a bacterial pathogen that causes disease in a broad range of plant species. The screen identified multiple accessions of wild tomato with varying degrees of resistance to the pathogen. We are characterizing and mapping the resistance phenotype in lines of interest, in order to identify the causative genes. Our work will identify new sources of genetic resistance to the plant pathogen in tomato.

...Read More about Jamie Calma

Curatorial Practicum in Latin American Art"

During the summer I will be collecting and researching the various art objects by Latin American Artists within the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA). I am investigating how objects trace the long history of colonization of the Spanish and Portuguese Americas. Understanding how the world’s expansion and growth during the late 15th Century led to a more globalized New World, I’m researching how the transfer of knowledge during this time transitioned into knowledge that artists then used in their own art practices. Collecting information on each artist and art pieces within the collection to better understand the continuation of written history and how colonization is depicted in the forms of art, literature, and film.

...Read More about Albie Cartagenes

Genetics of Plant Development"

During the development of plants, specific genes are expressed to induce the formation of different plant structures. There are genes that control vasculature, branching, floral growth, and much more. Mutating these genes result in abnormal growth. This summer, I will continue to assist my mentor in analyzing the function of genes important for plant branching and inflorescence development. To do so, I will be genotyping and phenotyping mutant Setaria plants and comparing them to wildtype. In addition, I will be using fluorescence microscopy to analyze where these genes are being expressed in the plant.

...Read More about Jenny Chau

Groundwater Availability and Plant Phenology in Sagehen Basin"

The overarching project investigates the drivers of near-surface groundwater availability in wet meadow ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada. It combines field study and remote sensing data analysis, building upon studies and instrumentation at UC’s Sagehen Field Station by the Kondolf Lab. This summer, I will be continuing fieldwork, monitoring groundwater levels in established well transects, and working to process a combined set of satellite and phenocam imagery. The high resolution satellite imagery will be processed in a time series analysis looking at the phenology of a number of defined plant groups in the meadow system. Paired with an analogous processing of the phenocam imagery, this work will provide insight into plant phenological response to localized near-surface groundwater variability.

...Read More about Nonnie Coelho

Orientalism & Twain: An Analysis of Egyptomania"

This summer I plan on looking at the correlation between Orientalism, within the framework provided by Edward Said’s work Orientalism, and the collection formerly on display at the Bancroft library “Object Lessons: Berkeley’s Egyptian Collection.” Exploring the role that Orientalism played in the excavation of the objects on display and permanent collection, I am hoping to show how a form of Orientalism is activated when visitors engage with certain objects within the collection. Furthermore, I will also utilize Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad, as Twain details what a grand tour typical for upper class Americans to take in this period would be like, covering large parts of Europe and the Holy Land (including Egypt). By doing this, it will allow for a kind of exposition of the kind of framework deployed in excavations by the Americans, as well as how this line of thought still colors our perception of these artifacts […]

...Read More about Zoë Cramer

How Should Air Pollution Co-Benefits be Counted?"

This research project will investigate the economic, environmental, and policy trade-offs associated with the deployment of low-carbon resources in the electricity sector. Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can result in significant reductions of other “co-pollutants” (e.g., particulate matter pollution). In recent years, the health benefits associated with reductions in co-pollutants (co-benefits) have accounted for a remarkably large share of estimated benefits from climate change policies- and other major environmental regulations. This research project investigates the “co-benefits” of this deployment.

...Read More about Lila Englander

Overconfidence in Judgment"

This summer I will be working on several projects examining the three forms of overconfidence: overestimation, overprecision, and overplacement. This phenomenon affects people’s judgments in daily life and has serious implications for the decisions people make and the outcomes they experience. This line of research raises an important epistemological question: do we actually know what we think we know?

...Read More about Karin Garrett

Rates of Death in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infected Corneal Cells"

This summer, I will be working with my post-doc researcher to attempt and study rates of cell death in Pseudomonas aeruginosa infected corneal epithelial cells. We will compare and contrast the different effects that different strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa have on the corneal cells to learn the details of how this bacteria enters, infects and kills cells. Because most of the research will now be remote, I will be working more on the data analysis portion of the research, studying microscope images and quantifying the data within them.

...Read More about Dina Ghandour

Foreign Entertainers In Korean Entertainment"

I will examine how the Korean government uses Hallyu, the export of Korean culture as a soft power to increase the world’s exposure to Korea. I will analyze how Hallyu attracts foreigners to be a part of the Korean entertainment industry, roles given to foreigners and their treatment within the industry including pay gap difference between them and their Korean counterparts. I am going to investigate to what extent these foreigners increase Korea’s exposure in their respective countries and how these foreigners are perceived in Korea versus their country of origin. At the end of my research I will determine if Hallyu is a successful soft power strategy that satisfies the Korean government’s aim for Korea to be recognized as an influential country in the world.

...Read More about Ishani Ghosh

The Role of DNA Methylation in the Northern Elephant Seal Stress Response"

DNA methylation is an epigenetic process wherein methyl groups are added to the nitrogenous bases of DNA molecules. DNA methylation is known to affect transcription and influence gene expression. For the past two semesters, I have been quantifying the global DNA methylation profiles of Northern elephant seals to see how they modulate their gene expression in response to stressors (such as frequent fasting periods and hypoxic conditions) in their environment. This summer, I will continue my research by investigating specific genes involved in the elephant seal stress response and determining how DNA methylation affects the expression of those genes through DNA sequencing.

...Read More about Emily Gibson

Protecting Farmworkers through the EEOC"

This summer, I will be researching the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s efforts to uphold the rights of farmworkers, who have largely received inadequate protection from other federal agencies. I will be conducting research into specific EEOC farmworker-related litigation, including the role of third parties (e.g. public interest or grassroots organizations) in the EEOC’s successful outcomes. The goal is to identify why, exactly, the EEOC is apparently uniquely adept at handling these cases, and how the EEOC process can be replicated by other agencies.

...Read More about Samantha Ho

Linguistic Conventionality"

Words can differ dramatically in how widely they are known by others and this distribution has to be learned. For this study, we ask whether children refrain from using a novel word for an object when speaking to an interlocutor who does not know that word (“give me the bem”), by instead employing a description of the object composed of familiar words (“give me the blue one”).

...Read More about Lily Huang Chen

Comparison of Laminectomy and Laminoplasty with Fusion"

My main focus at the UCSF Spine Center this summer is to examine the possible benefits of a C3 laminectomy in comparison to a laminoplasty with fusion. Since C2 contains an extra spinous process, it is believed that a laminectomy may be more beneficial than a laminoplasty with fusion because a laminectomy allows for range of motion. I will also collect radiographic measurements and administer neurological questionnaires to patients pre- and post-op for the ASR database. The results from the data collection and study will be useful when advising patients pre-operatively.

...Read More about Alysha Jamieson

Quantifying Goal Congruence using Natural Language Processing"

The goal of my work is to identify issues amongst both industry and student teams and recommend solutions that can help teams navigate interpersonal dynamics. So far, I’ve focused my efforts on assessing a team’s goal alignment by studying each member’s responses to the questions: Did your team have a shared goal for your work together? If so, what was it? By using word embeddings and similarity algorithms, we hope to create a program that, given a class or company’s responses to this question, automatically pinpoints teams that are struggling to find common ground, and suggests solutions accordingly.

...Read More about Alan Jian